Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Danielle Langley and Christopher Levy.
Zero years before the Battle of Yavin (35:2:6) in the Mygeeto system: Mygeeto (Thang Kreto's mining facility) and Nerf Herder.
Sophia Cromwell and Lord Marcus Rodney.

On the ice planet Mygeeto the Rebel Alliance had established an outpost inside one of the planet's many environmental domes. Inside the dome, the Rebels had formed a profitable mining corporation that provided them with both raw materials and a source of credits. As the operation became more profitable, the local Black Sun Vigo had become envious and issued a bounty on Thang Kreto, the Rebel agent at the head of the operation. Thus far all who had attempted to collect the bounty had failed and Sophia Cromwell was no exception. Locked in a cage in an unheated section of the dome, she was left to 'cool off,' as the Rebels had put it, and there she would assuredly die ... if not for the timely intervention of Marcus Rodney.

Marcus "Marc" Rodney stood above the access hatch of the Nerf Herder looking down at the dome as the ship hovered in the stratosphere. Swallowing in anticipation, the experienced commando leapt from the hatch and began plummeting down towards the surface at breakneck speed. The black suit of armor that seemed molded to his muscular Human form prevented him from being detected by radar as he continued to fall. A normal individual would be terrified, but not Marc, who had done this countless times before. As he approached the failsafe point he reached across his chest and pulled the ripcord, deploying a chute specially designed to minimize surface area and avoid detection. "Gurk," he groaned as he slammed into the top of the dome, the chute immediately getting picked up by a breeze and threatening to pull him away. As he began sliding down the side of the dome he reached down and grabbed his knife, cutting the cords that held the chute and then forcing it into the side of the dome to keep himself from falling to his certain death. Using the knife as a climbing instrument he made his way towards the nearest access hatch and began crawling through the ventilation system to make his entrance.

Sophia's ribs were bruised, her head was pounding, her whole entire body ached. A soft groan left her, and as soon as she found herself to be even partly awake, so did the cold find her senses. Her body shook lightly, her teeth were clenched together so as not to chatter. Hands were bound and numb behind her back, her legs bound at the ankle. She moved so that she could at least lay on her back and hands, easier to breath. "...damn..." It was soft, more gentle and raspy than a whisper, hair was matted from the sweat of a beating and frozen from the surrounding...well...entire planet. Her simple attire was torn, not helping with the warmth, the poor girl did her best to ignore that fact, mind reeling trying to figure out get out of such a situation. There was no point for guards, she was unarmed, hell they had found every weapon on her, bound and half frozen like she was... What a sorry excuse for a bounty hunter... "Tch..." tongue clicking gently before she just let out a soft breath.

As Marc approached a grate in the ventilation shaft he peered downward, surveying the layout beneath him. He could clearly make out several sentries guarding key locations of importance to the mining operation, but he was not there to take down the dome ... just the man in charge of it. Upon further inspection he spotted an observation tower that seemed the most likely spot to find his target. He did catch a casual glance of Sophia, but for now she was nothing more than a girl in a cage who might have been someone's pet. "Hurugh," he groaned as he lowered himself through the opening and held himself dangling from the shaft by only his fingertips. Hanging for just a moment he released his fingers and felt to the ground below, the padded boots of his armor absorbing most of the impact as he landed in a knelt position. Moving quickly, he unslung his rifle and moved quickly towards the observation tower using crates and machines for cover to obscure his movement. As he approached the ladder leading towards the tower a blur of energy moved past his head and slammed into the wall behind him ... he had been spotted. Unable to see where the shot came from, he was forced to take up position behind one of the crates as more blaster fire headed his way. Coincidentally, his current location put him particularly close to Sophia's cage.

Her eyes had been closed the entire time. But then she heard it, familiar sounds and now voices, well she certainly was not the cause of it so that mean someone else was there. To save her?...Wait...that could not be, who the hell knew she was here in the first place. And with that thought a little piece of her broke seemed to die. A small groan she opened her eyes then, blinking to adjust before she looked around. Could she sit up? Worth a try...more groans, soft whimpers and a hiss of pain before she had her back pressed to the freezing bars. That is when she saw him, not just him, but the gun fire as well. Two things could happen, she could easily yell to help guide the enemy to where he was, then hopefully bargain her way out, or...bargain with him. She knew at that moment she could not yell worth a damn, but a soft whisper would do. "...Hey..." It was pathetic, but meant only for his attention, nothing more.

As Marc had the voice call out to him his first instinct was to turn and fire off several defensive rounds, but something about this voice sounded different and he held his finger off the trigger. He cocked his head slightly to the side and examined the young woman trapped inside of the cage. Even in her disjointed state he could not help but think she was beautiful, which caused him to assume that she was nothing more than someone's pleasure slave and not someone that could possibly help him. "Pipe down," he responded quickly towards her as he crawled his way on the ground towards the cage. The blaster fire had stopped for the moment and the sound of several troopers scurrying soon echoed through the chamber. They would be on top of him soon. "I don't have time for small talk. Where is Thang Kreto?" he demanded in a hushed tone, stopping to check the power back on his blaster rifle. He could not be sure how many he was up against, and he was considering moving to Plan B.

Her body tensed when she saw him turn around, but the way he acted towards her, caused her eyes to narrow. Her voice was hot with anger and her wounded pride hanging off every whispered word. "...Rat bastard...only shot off...had sentries hidden..." She shook her head slowly, good thing...she could hardly speak a whole sentence. Waiting a moment she took a deep breath then let it out. "...In his chambers...counting his books...he's got two sentries seen behind him...but...four others lurk about." Then her eyes became fiery in panic, and her voice broke its tone "...that's all I know...please...let me out..."

Marc listened to what she had to say, but only a look of confusion emerged on his face as he heard what she was describing. " a shot off? What are you talking about?" he asked incredulously, not willing to accept that this battered woman in tattered clothing was anything more than someone's idea of a pet. Before he could question her further a blaster bolt slammed into his left shoulder, most of which was absorbed by the armor, but it nevertheless shook him. Rolling around onto his back he quickly raised his rifle and snapped off several rounds that hurled randomly towards the assailers. Two of the bolts hit their marks and the carcasses hit the floor with dull *thuds*. There were too many of them to do this neatly and it would soon attract too much attention unless he thought of something. Again, he turned to the girl as he checked on his minor abrasion. "Who are you? What are you doing here?" he asked as he slung the rifle and went for his rucksack.

"You're...the one who said...there's no time for small talk." She watched him, silently through the action. Who would have ever thought a man would come to save her. Wait, should she care it was a man? Sometimes, those fleeting ideas a normal girl would have, slipped back into her mind, and this was one of them. Closing her eyes for a moment before they snapped back open to glare towards him. " me you thick headed..." shaking her head slowly... "Let me out...give me a gun...I'll be a bit useless in close combat...but...I can still aim...I'll cover you."

Marc did not like the idea of just giving this woman a gun, but the oncoming soldiers were quick to change his mind. "Don't make me regret this," he snarled at her as he aimed the barrel of his rifle towards the lock on the change. Still not believing he was doing this, he snapped back on the trigger and unleashed a bolt at point blank range that shattered the lock and opened the cage. With a deep sigh he unholstered his sidearm and tossed her the blaster pistol, but was careful not to turn his back on her. "A frontal assault won't get this done. Follow me, but remember ... I'm watching you," he warned as he headed towards one of the generators he had seen when he first entered. All of the guards would be searching for him now and he expected to find the generator unguarded.

The woman was still visibly shaking from the cold, but she caught the gun, even with slow reflexes. No matter how he liked it she stayed behind him but close so he could still keep an eye on her if he chose. All she could think about was getting warm, but staying crouched down, her hand shook as she pointed the gun. But once the time came, once she spotted someone creeping too close without him knowing, she took in a slow breath, then let it out gently firing and hitting dead on. A smirk curled to her lips. It was always nice to prove people wrong.


Amazement came over Marc's normally unfazed facial expression as he watched her kill one of the sentries. He could not help but look over his shoulder and flash a smirk in her direction as he let out a soft chuckle. "Well, everyone gets one," he said in a playful manner as he hurried towards the generator. He was fortunate to find it unguarded and immediately crouched down next to it and began rummaging through his rucksack. "I had hoped to avoid this..." he explained to her between grunts as he twisted something inside of the sack, "...but it looks like I have no choice but to make it look like an industrial accident." He pulled out a rather large shape charge that he slid beneath the generator. The timer was already counting down by the time he stood back up. "You're not moving half as fast as you need to if you want to get out of here in one piece, sweetheart," he said condescendingly as he moved his arms to her. Without wasting much time, nor exerting much effort, he lifted the light young woman's body into his arms and began moving quickly towards a makeshift exit.

"What?!" That got her blood boiling, and seemed to let her limbs have a little more action that before. She began to twist a bit trying to get out of his arms, the whole time looking back on the...explosive. "You're just...going to blow it up?!" She glared up to him "Put me...down then! I'll kill that rat myself...before it goes off...I'll..." Within his arms, even with armor on there was warmth slipping against her. The fighting in her slowly died and exhaustion and pain kicked in. Soon she was limp against him, eyes closed, head tucked gently beneath his neck on his chest, curled like a babe. Even passed out the girl still held the gun as if she could do something, but hey! this made her easier to deal with, especially from someone whom she would rather rip the head off of.

Marc rolled his eyes as the 'girl' helplessly struggled against him, but soon found himself disconcerted when she fell asleep. He let out a loud sigh and spoke to himself, "What have you gotten yourself into?" Behind him a loud roar echoed throughout the dome, which soon began shaking violently. Large shards of glass began hurdling towards the ground as a large fireball erupted from where the generator once was, sending the entire complex into darkness. The observation tower where Kreto had been perched rocked back and forth before finally falling to the ground and becoming engulfed in flames, killing him and completing the mission, but Marc still had to escape with his life before the rest of the complex came crashing down upon him.

A large support beam gave way, collapsing to the ground directly beside them that threatened to flatten them both into a pancake that would no doubt be considered a delicacy by countless alien species. "That was too close..." Marc murmured to himself as he carried the girl out of the dome as it collapsed into itself on the ice planet behind him. Moving several meters away he lay her down on a snow bank and began pressing buttons on a device attached to his wrest. Before long the Nerf Herder appeared directly above them, having made the descent from the planet's upper atmosphere. For a moment, he considered stranding her on this rock and leaving her to her own devices, but he hesitated and in that moment he went against his better judgment and lifted her back into his arms as he was elevated into the ship. Once inside, he lay her down on one of the beds and covered her with a blanket while the craft sped away from the exploding remnants of the dome. "Not the most subtle way to handle things, but the job got done..." he commented as he dropped his rifle and most of his gear to the floor of the ship.

She stayed asleep for a good awhile, and before she knew it the woman was thrown awake yelling about nothing or other in her dreams. Sophia had sat up so fast, and was completely disoriented she had forgotten her sore body. Cringing she began to pant lightly from the pain while glancing around trying to find her surroundings...Bounty...Getting beat to a pulp...a a ship...he blew up the damned facility! She pushed herself up, walking with her left arm over ribs, she began to move about until she found him, no matter where he was anger seemed to take over. It took a few deep breaths before she finally let it out "You blew it could you! You blew the whole damned place up didn't you?"

"It had to be done," Marc replied coolly as he sat on his rack disassembling and cleaning his blaster rifle after all of the use it had seen today. He made no acknowledgment of her presence until he had finished, placing the disassembled components of the weapon in their rightful place before finally raising his head to look at her. "I saved your life," he was quick to point out as he stood up. He was quite taller than her and his frame was considerably more toned, further enhanced by the molded body armor that covered his frame. He was older too, perhaps fifteen years older than her, but he managed to keep himself looking well. "I could have left you in that cage and you'd now be a smoldering corpse or I could have left you to freeze to death on the surface," he pointed out as he brushed pass her to get a drink. "If you want, I can turn around and drop you back off, but if your ship was anywhere near that facility it's nothing more than melted durasteel at this point," he said matter-a-factly as he helped himself to a drink.

"Damn it! And damn you for that matter..." She leaned against the nearest thing she could. Pressing her back into it she raised one foot to press against it, her head leaning back and her eyes closed. With her hair out of her face it was easier to see her softer features. "Some hero you how am I supposed to get paid..." She took in, then gently let out a deep breath before opening her eyes to watch him...all of him. No matter how good of a shot, she was a girl after all, some things just couldn't be helped.

"Hero?" Marc questioned her statement as he finished his drink and let out an uproariously laugh. He moved over towards her swiftly, a wide smile from ear-to-ear covering his handsome facial exterior. "Hero?" he repeated again as he sat back down on his rack with a childlike flop. His strong hands reached for her waist and he pulled her down onto his knee, forcing her to sit on it like she were a child. "Kiddo, you have a lot to learn," he pointed out as he shook his head at her in dismay. "Those guys I killed back there," he began as he grew more serious, "...those were the heroes."

Her cheeks were flush, her heart was fluttering and anger poured through her so that she lashed out to reach for whatever weapon was not taken a part. "...Tch...Rat bastard...You owe me for the money I lost!" She felt...odd. She did not know what to do about sitting on his knee. On account of if he did not stop her grabbing something it would be pointed at him, hell even if he did stop her, the same words would spill from her mouth "You...touch me again and I'll blast you to nothing..."

Marc just laughed at her outburst and after a moment he pulled his hands away and released her from his grasp. "Calm down, sweetheart," he said to her as he moved back towards where the alcohol was kept. "You need a drink or anything?" he asked as he began clanging bottles to find exactly what he was looking for. "If money is all you want I can take care of that. Technically, you didn't kill Kreto so you won't be getting all of the money, but I admire your spunk and if you're twice as good with a blaster when you're healthy you'll do all right around here. I'm going to keep you until you die, which you probably will, but as long as you're alive you'll be paid ... paid well," he added as he fixed himself a second, stronger drink.

Well damn. That was not the reaction she had hoped for. She just stood there dumbfounded. Her hand slowly raised to press against her head for a moment, trying to prevent a headache of mass confusion to slip through. "Wait...what..?" A slender brow rose, and for a moment she forgot how angry she was, taking a few steps closer "...You're going to keep me?...I'm not...I'm a free person." Her eyes narrowed. "Paid..? What are you talking about..?" She waited then gave in. "A drink. Yes."

Marc reached down and quickly fashioned another drink, but this time handed it to her instead. "Yes. I am going to keep you," he explained as he moved back towards his rack to sit down again. "You've seen me. Know what I look like. Know how I operate. And can pin the deaths of Kreto and his associates on me ... not to mention the destruction of the mining facility," he reminded her as he patted the area next to him inviting her to sit down. "A man doesn't get to where I am and stay alive as long as I have by handing out business cards, sweetheart," he added with a coy smile as he leaned back against the bulkhead and observed her. She looked even more beautiful now that she was given a chance to warm up and have the color return to her skin. She might prove more of a distraction than she were worth, but time would sort that out.

She did not accept his invitation. Instead she stood where she was, on arm across her stomach, her elbow resting on her arm and drink in hand she swirled it a bit. "Stop calling me that..." And with that, she decided to stay, there was money in it, and hell her ship was gone for that matter. "My name is Sophia...Sophia Cromwell, not sweetheart or kiddo, got that?" With that she pressed the cup to her lips and downed it, whatever the hell it was and did her damnedest not to make a face though she felt like coughing up a storm.

Marc smiled fondly as he watched another one of her outbursts, trying his best not to laugh at her need to put on a display for his sake as she foolishly chugged her drink. "All right, Sophia," he said begrudgingly as he stood up and walked over towards her again. He began examining her, checking the bruisers and injuries she had sustained and his armor-covered hands moved across her rib cage where she had been flinching. "Let me know if this hurts," he said as he did everything but fondle her as he catalogued her injuries.

Her hands flashed out to grab his upper arms, at first to push him back, but when the pain kicked in from him poking and prodding, soon it was for balance as she hunched over and whispered to keep her voice smooth:: "...S-stop..." Her cheeks were flushed, she was panting lightly and gripping him as if he were her only anchor. "...Touching...makes it worse...leave it."

"You'll live," Marc commented dryly as he pulled his hands away and took a step backwards. "I'm going to have a set of this armor made for you," he said to her as he thumped his chest several times to show off both of it's flexibility and absorptive qualities. "It will keep things like this from happening to you again," he added as he looked her over from head-to-toe mentally computing her sizes. "It is not indestructible however, so don't get cocky or you'll end up deader faster than someone naked," his cheeks flushed red as he said this, unable to help but form the quick mental image of her without clothing. "The clothes you have on now are unsuitable. Get rid of them," he said plainly as he finished sizing her up.

When he let go she took her own step back, now covering her ribs with both her arms, mostly to protect them from him. She glared up at him, ready to yell again before she canted her head finally taking in the type of armor he wore. She could not think of a thing to say, hell the girl was a bit excited...until she registered his last words. "What?! I'm not some be prancing around bare as the day I was born!" She narrowed her eyes and took another step back "...Besides I've nothing to change into! And...unless that suit of yours comes instantly in my size...then these clothes suit me just fine."

"I'll see if I can find you something," Marc said as he looked over her again. "You can't very well go around in tattered shards of clothing. They're filthy and wet," he continued as he started to laugh at her again, "and quite honestly ... they stink." He began rummaging through a storage bin and pulled out a pair of gray shorts and a gray tank top. He held them up and gave them a quick sniff. "They smell clean," he said as he tossed both items in her direction. He then turned around and stared at the wall, doing his best not to look over his shoulder at her. "Don't worry. I won't look," he sighed at her as if he were addressing a child.

"Jerk." After taking the clothes she turned her back to him. Her cheeks were red, her hands were shaking, but just as she calmed herself before she took in a deep breath then slowly let it out. Once the last of her sigh was gone she began to strip slowly from her clothing, letting them pile on the floor. Despite the beating, no bruises had formed yet, so thankfully if he did look she wouldn't have to be embarrassed. Her skin was a soft, creamy tan...there was a light curve in her back as she stood there, her movements shy and unsure before she bent at the waste to slip on the pants, then the tank top before turning around and looking off to the side. "Okay..."

Marc slowly turned around and when he did he was pleasantly surprised with what he saw. Removed from the tattered, soiled clothes her feminine form was shown in a much better state and he could not prevent a small grin form forming on his face, accompanied by a pair of embarrassed, reddened cheeks. "Is the pain bad?" he asked as he walked over towards his footlocker. "I'm sure I have something in here that can kill the pain if you need it," he said as he flipped it over to reveal his scant assemblage of personnel effects. Whatever traces remained of his life before this seemed to have dwindled away, leaving not much of a trace of who he was or where he came from.

"You said I'll live right..?" She shrugged a bit leaving her clothes in a pile before she made her way towards him. Damned girl was as curious as a cat, it  was too bad she did not have as many lives as one. "Then...I can suffer through it." Another shrug, and a tiny wince "I've had worse..." She felt, not so tough wearing his clothes, or what she thought was his clothes. It was like taking the clothes off before had taken off a bit of her defenses. "Who are you anyway..?"

"Stay alive long enough and maybe you'll find out," Marc told her in a very serious manner. "I've known people for years who don't know my name and I like to keep it that way. I've made a lot of enemies out there and if they knew who I was or where I came from my life would become more difficult than it already is and others would be made to suffer," he said as he moved back towards where he could fix himself another drink. "...and suffering only interests me when there's money involved," he concluded as he poured his drink and consumed it quickly. "What do I need to know about you now that you're on my ship and only going to be sleeping meters from me?" he smirked as he moved back towards her. "I can see you can handle a drink, but do you have any other bad habits? Snore, perhaps?" he asked half-jokingly.

"What am I supposed to call you then..? Jerk?" A slender brow rose, a smirked curled to her lips, then finally a real smile...and following a small she was laughing, until the fool figured out it hurt and she was back to moaning and holding her sides. "I don't snore...and...if you do..." She shook her head slowly, once the soreness was subsided she removed her arms and crossed them behind her. "...Give me something to call least." Suddenly her hand was held out her eyes glared at his cup. The girl wanted another but would not ask for it.

"You can just keep referring to me as your 'hero'," Marc said half-jokingly as he moved towards her with the bottle of liquor in his hand. Without taking his eyes off hers he filled her glass with more of the near-toxic drink. "This time sip it," he said with a grin as he moved to sit back down on the rack. He pat the area next to him again, wondering if he'd be more successful the second time around. At least the alcohol is with him he thought as he poured himself another drink.

"More like zero..." She shook her head slowly, held the drink to her lips and did as he said, she took a small sip. Narrowed hues watched his hand pat the spot next to him. Sighing, she succumbed to it...moving slowly she sat next to him, though with obvious space, at least as much as she could. Both hands wrapped around her drink then and another sip was consumed. "Fine let me get this over with..." She bit her lower lip, staring at the ground "Thank you...for saving me."

"Now that wasn't so hard, was it?" Marc asked as he leaned up against her in a playful nudge. He then moved the bottle back towards her glass and filled it to the brim once again, defeating any attempt she made to finish it. "I will give you a couple of days to rest up," he began to explain as he shifted into a more serious tone again, " which time your equipment should be ready and I can see what you're truly capable of. There's a lot of work to be done out there." The scent of a woman, even one that desperately needed a shower, was a pleasant change from the grease and gunmetal that normally occupied his sense, but he was not about to let her know that her presence was a positive one ... at least not yet.

She could not help but let a small smile creep to her lips, until he filled her drink back up which just frustrated her into taking a...swallow. And followed by a sputtering cough and red cheeks before she truly listened to his words. A nod of her head before she spoke lightly, but with meaning. "Keep me warm, fed, and paid...and I'll do anything you ask..." She did owe him for saving her...of course, on any chance someone wanted to pay her more, well...that was another story. She glanced towards him then, having no idea that her words could easily have double meanings."

By this point in his life Marc had grown bored with easy missions and with easy women, so he passed on the apparent opportunity to take advantage to the slightly drunk young woman in his debt. Twenty years ago he would have pounced on her, but at this point he was content just to have someone to occupy space and make him feel less a hermit on this aging ship that continued to hurdle through space towards a destination as yet unspecified. "Do you need anything?" he asked as he placed the bottle down on the ground and shifted to lay back, making himself more comfortable on the simple cot he called a bed.

A smirk curled to her lips, another sip, and she could not take it the stuff tasted awful and was strong. She set her cup down then stood up before glancing back down at him. "A name...but since I can't have that...when you said meters...please tell me you were exaggerating and you meant...further away from you right?" A hand slipped to her hip, a slender brow rose and the woman was dead serious.

Marc motioned to the cot on the other side of the room. It was identical to his own and made for a very basic lifestyle. There was only one pillow that barely raised a head three inches, and just one uncomfortable, synthetic blanket likely to be found in a twenty credit a night hotel on a backwater world. "It is what it is," he added as he adjusted himself in the bed once more. The battle to become comfortable was one he could not win.

Fortunately for her, she was comfortable, or could get comfortable anywhere. She moved towards it, and moved slowly to lay down before she could hurt something worse. Laying down let the drink hit her like a ton of bricks. She pulled the blanket around her promising to buy something better...eyes closed for a moment, before she peeked them open "...You make me call you hero long enough...people might think you are one...of the good guys..." A smile curled to her lips then, and her body curled into the tiny space and blanket, fighting it no long her eyes closed. "...being...a mystery am...I supposed to trust you too?" And with that she was out, soft breaths that began to just blend in with the background.

Marc sat and watched her sleep for nearly a half hour before he stood and removed the molded armor from his tired frame. He groaned as he checked the burn mark on his shoulder from where he took the hit earlier. "I'm getting too old for this shit," he lamented before laying back down on the rack and letting out a content sigh. He would have a hard time explaining her presence, but if she handled herself well in a fight he believed everything would be all right. With that, he closed his eyes and drifted off to what he hoped would be more than his customary four hours of sleep.

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