Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:8:32) in the Coruscant system: Coruscant (Galactic City: Salliche Agricultural Corporation warehouse and Spaceport).
Lord Marcus Rodney and Zara Ta'em.

A CR90 corvette that was formerly in the service of the Alderaan Guard landed in one of the many bustling spaceports that dominated the Coruscant cityscape. Removed of its diplomatic markings, the vessel now made for a nondescript Corellian vessel that had more than enough room to carry a variety of foodstuffs ... if they could be acquired. At the controls was Marcus Rodney, who had used his considerable wealth and influence to acquire the vessel for the mission. "Are you sure you want to go through with this, Zara? It's awfully risky. *I* have to do this for my people, but you don't..." he said to her, as he moved from his seat in the cockpit and began to move towards the ramp. He was wearing neither his armor, nor the formal robes of state, but rather the muted attire of a spacer, most of which was covered by a distinct brown duster.

Zara should have carried out this mission by herself. She was skilled enough to make it in and out of Coruscant without anyone finding her. She could have done this mission without endangering Marcus. Her feelings were mixed on the whole affair. It was going to be difficult to pull off. That was why Marcus was at the controls while Zara was seated to the side with her small laptop. This time, she had something that looked like a card reader plugged into it. She swiped one card through it slowly, imprinting it with all the information they would need to get into the warehouse. Being a thief wasn't simply about the stealing. It was about stealth. She had to be a good hacker. She had to be good at getting in and out of places with no one noticing. She set one card down, sliding another. Like him, she was dressed in a quieted blue outfit. She had used a short-term spray dye in order to change the color of her hair from blonde to black. Coruscant was a land of paranoia for her. The Ta'em family had nearly been lost forever here. It was worth taking extra precautions to feel safer.

She looked up from her work. Her eyebrows were arched like he was speaking Chinese to her. "Am *I* sure? I think the question here is are *you* sure. This is what I do for a living. Granted, I don't steal from the Empire, but there could be a serious backlash from this if we aren't careful. This vessel is our best chance. I've stripped just about every possible tracking method. I even set out a fake ping to make it look like we went somewhere else." Her small shoulders were slumped. She was anxious. Her fingers moved through her hair. He'd pick up her nervous twitch sooner or later. "Let's just do it. The more time we waste, the longer the riot rages on. We have to do it, together." She started pocketing the cards. Her hand-sized laptop was hidden away too. With it, all the digital screens floating in the cabin disappeared. She had studied the map enough to remember exactly where they were going. A single finger pointed towards him playfully, "But you totally owe me a bubble bath back massage when we get home. No interruptions!" Crap, did she just call his home her home? She didn't know where home was anymore.

Marcus stood at the top of the ramp as she answered him, and as he gazed down upon her with bright brown eyes for the first time he realized he had feelings for her that went beyond flirtatious attraction. This was the first time he remembered having feelings for a woman that went beyond a single night, and he was not sure how he felt about the inner conflict going on inside of him. He feared losing her should something go wrong on this mission, and he worried that concentrating on her was weakening his skills and dulling his edges. He took a step towards her, his duster flowing up in the cool night air long enough to reveal the grey tunic that lay underneath, the top several buttons of which were undone to reveal traces of his chest. He had a blaster underneath his left shoulder for a quick pull and a hint of it glimmered in the light. "You have a deal..." he said to her, before he aggressively swept his head down towards her. His warm lips pressed against hers as he placed a short, but passionate, kiss upon her just in case this would be the last time he'd be given that chance. "Let's do it," he said to her, with a crisp nod of his head, his tongue gently running upon his lips to savor the taste of her that lingered upon them. And with that, he turned on the heels of his worn leather boots, and headed down the ramp into Imperial City.

Marcus wasn't the only one feeling nervous about their budding feeling. This was Zara's first time playing this game. She had been careful to keep herself locked away from other people. For the most part, that was easy. She traveled alone. She worked alone, for the most part. She lived alone. She hadn't been prepared for someone to come and swoop her off her feet. This was just the beginning of a slippery slope. She was willing to stick out her neck out far to help Marcus. You could count on that not changing. The thief had been effective in providing a sound solution until the planet could grow enough food so the people could sustain themselves. However, Coruscant was a horrible place. It made a part of her mind panic irrationally while the other relived her worst childhood memories over and over again. Zara wasn't at her full potential. She hated herself for throwing Marcus into this mess.

She had just finished putting away her supplies when he caught her in a surprise kiss. Her thoughts and her concerns stopped briefly so she could kiss him back with the stupid, reckless abandon she had for him. Soft hands ran over his face. She didn't want to say goodbye to him. When the kiss ended, the time for action arose. Zara started towards the ramp with him. Her hand, visible at her side, was shaking. Ah, the Imperial City, the city her father had wanted to fight so hard to save. The woman swallowed past a lump in her throat. Her small hand hooked with Marcus' larger. At this point, she was leading the way through the busy city. The closer they grew to the warehouse, the larger the knot in Zara's stomach became. She wished life was perfect, the Empire was gone, and that they could be *happy*. She wished she didn't have to be in a place where ghosts awaited her at every corner. Though Zara was armed, there were many storm troopers within the city. She had her concerns. An intricate path full of blind turns brought them to the warehouse. Currently, there was a large vehicle headed into the warehouse. That was the daily arrivals. Zara positioned herself in an alley near the warehouse. She could see a storm trooper guard talking to the driver. Her pretty blue flickered over to Marcus. *Ready*?

Coruscant did not always used to be like this. He had visited in his youth when the Senate still governed and there was no Empire. There was excitement in the city back those days with bustling clubs and not a hint of war. There was a darkness had been cast over the planet, and it emanated from the Imperial palace that dominated the city, and was built so large that could be glimpsed even from their location. There were no Stormtroopers on every corner then, and aliens were treated more fairly. As they approached the wearhouse his anger began to build knowing how much food had been stockpiled ... food that the Empire could have very easily sent to Delaya to feed the people. As he looked towards the transport and the Stormtrooper he knew it would not be an easy task, and found himself moving into position behind her, and the more subtle approach she would take. He was a frontal assault type, willing to run in guns blazing and take his chances. She operated from the shadows stealing things people did not even notice were missing for days, and that was what was needed at a time like this. "Ready," he said quietly, as he mentally prepared himself for the operation to come.

Zara would have liked to run into the warehouse in a blaze of glory. Secretly, she wished to take a more aggressive approach against the Empire. She hated what the world had turned into...especially Coruscant. She had watched so many friends die here. The emotional part of her wanted to cry, scream, and give off their position. The part of her that was invested in the mission didn't have a difficult time keeping collected. She was counting down numbers under her breath, eyes glued to the scene in front of her. Marcus was on board. It was time. First, she picked two, tiny vials from her pockets. They'd gone over this after she'd forced him on a much needed shopping trip before leaving Coruscant. The contents of the vial caused brief invisibility. By brief, we mean less than two minutes. Her count down hit zero. As the doors of the warehouse opened to her command, she drank the clear liquid. She didn't have time to be sure the effects were working. As soon as the reinforced double doors open, Zara went running forward through them and into the warehouse. The temperature changed significantly suddenly to cater to the foods that needed to be cold. However, the whole warehouse was filled with more food than even they could take. The doors closed. The doors would remained closed for approximately an hour while the transport was emptied...instead, Zara intended to fill the transport as much as possible. In the next 60 minutes, every second counted.

When Marcus observed her fade into invisibility he arched his left eyebrow quixotically, as she revealed that she was just full of surprises. "You're going to have to tell me where you get your toys," he mused to her, wherever she was, before he quickly swallowed his vial to join in her subterfuge. He followed her lead, or at least hoped he did, as he could no longer see her and moved into the warehouse. His first task was to locate the transport in question and as he came upon it he saw the lifter droids carrying various crates down the ramp. The warehouse itself had more than enough food to feed everyone on his homeworld ten times over, but with only an hour the two of them would not have much of an opportunity.

Oooh, a good magician never reveals their secrets. She'd never tell him about the origins of her boiler suit either! Sadly, it wasn't a good time to bring up the boiler suit. Invisible to the blind eye, Zara was currently standing against the transport. Her handy dandy little laptop was back in her hand, only now she also wore her goggles. She used both to hack into the lifter droids in the direct area. Her silver hair became visible just as two lifter bots began to load crates back into the transport. Three other droids appeared to aid in the transaction. "I don't imagine things are going to run smoothly for us. As soon as the transport is full, we'll go. If we run into any problems... Shoot to kill." She was in awe of how much food the Empire was storing from the other planets. People were suffering...*starving* out there. She wished she could empty the warehouse. It was greedy thoughts like that which could make her sloppy. Her free hand dropped to her side. Her finger slid into his slowly. "Remember what you promised. I want my private bubble bath. No Miss Frumpy Hat allowed." Zara teased. Her blue eyes shimmered behind the lenses of her goggles.

Marcus was careful to remain concealed as the chemical ran its course and he became visible once again. He had infiltrated an Imperial warehouse in the heart of the Empire and regardless of his station in life he would surely face execution for the crime ... same as the next man. "Some things run smoothly," he said to her, flirtatiously, offering a wink of his eye at her, before turning his back to cover her behind. "You'll get that private bath..." he said, before turning his head to get a glance at her. "...even if I have to plant a mine on the door," he said, with a slightly sinister laugh, before returning to a more professional watch of the doors. He was impressed by her skills during the operation. There was value in subterfuge and slicing rather than simply blowing door the door, killing everyone, and grabbing what he could ... as his plan would have likely been. His eyes then went to the wrist chronometer and a slightly concerned look formed upon his face ... they were running short on time.

They couldn't get caught. It wasn't an option. Zara would not allow herself to be made out as an example. She refused to die at the hands of the Empire. It felt good to steal from the Empire. The bastards deserved worse blows than this. She didn't think returning to the warehouse was going to be an option, sadly. Once this heist was finished, security would be increased. It would be harder to hack the droids. His light-hearted flirtatious remark made Zara smile. "I suppose we'll see how smoothly things run later, hm?" He even made her laugh softly. "Don't tempt me. I realllyy don't like Miss Frumpy Hat." The happy moment wasn't meant to live for long. His facial features had changed. Her pretty blue eyes scurried down to the chronometer. "*Fuck.*" Time was ticking away quickly. "The droids are under my control. Just start loading food into the transport. We have to hurry." She shoved her laptop away in her clothing. She quickly darted towards a small crate of food. Lifting heavy weight really wasn't in her areas of expertise, but she could grab the small stuff! She started darting back and forth. "Less than ten minutes left." She called to him.

Having been born into the nobility, hard labor was not something that he was experienced with ... but his people were starving. He did the best that he could he began to grab crates that contained the most desirable foodstuffs, but unfortunately to him that was more luxury goods ... and even wine. His usually refined face began to turn bright red as he exerted himself carrying more than he should, the glass *clink*ing with each wobbly footstep. "Backrub leader?" he pleaded, with fake sad eyes and a pout, while passing her during one loading procedure. When he placed his crates down he momentarily hunched over, breathing deeply as he struggled to catch his breath, the sweat beginning to bead on his forehead and mat his dark hair. "We've got to go!" he yelled down the ramp towards her, as his wrist chronometer began to obnoxiously beep, sounding the alarm to indicate that time was up.

They were truly from two different worlds. Zara was used to working hard for every scrap in life. Marcus' lifestyle honestly blew her mind. He had people who cleaned for him! How useful would that have been throughout her whole life?! She saw him huffing and puffing. It made her snicker. "Maybe if you're good!" Of course she'd give him a backrub. She enjoyed giving them almost as much as she enjoyed receiving them. She worked a little quicker while thinking of joyously rubbing down the length of his back. She'd always feel bad when he saw the scars from their little incident, but they also firmly reminded her of her feelings towards him. It reminded her that Marcus wasn't like other people in the galaxy. The annoying beeping reminded Zara that time was up. They needed to make their grand escape. The transport was mostly full. They had done a good job. Zara darted towards the front of the transporter. She took the driver's seat, quickly closing the back of the transporter. Once he was settled, she started the transporter towards the front doors of the warehouse. She was cool and relaxed until a storm trooper appeared seemingly out of nowhere. In a flash, Zara's demeanor changed. She giggled girlishly. One of her hands ran over the top of Marcus' leg.

"*Who are you*?" Questioned the trooper, pointing a blaster at Zara's head. Instead of being afraid, Zara acted even more girlish. Both hands were on Marcus now. "Oh..! I'm Jem Starlin! This is my fiancée. He comes here every day. We just got engaged this morning. I couldn't keep my hands off of him!" Her voice was high pitched and, quite frankly, horrible. She sounded like a whole new girl. She carelessly plucked one of the cards she had made earlier in the ship. "Here's his ID, hun." Even with the helmet on, she could imagine the eyebrow arch the storm trooper was giving them. He scanned the card. The doors flew open in front of them. "*Don't ever come here again, Miss Starlin.*" The stormtrooper warned, giving her the card back. Zara summoned all the effort in her body to slowly pull out of the warehouse and onto main streets. They were going home!

Marcus had his rifle beneath him in the passenger's seat if the Stormtrooper did not buy her little diversion, but with the way she was touching him it was likely he would have been too distracted to have effectively taken the trooper down. Fortunately for them, he bought it. "Well that worked out great," he said, as they moved safely away from the warehouse. Once they were secure he turned the entirety of his attention towards her and leaned over the center console to move towards her. His face canted towards one side, just before he closed his eyes and placed a tender kiss upon her lips ... he had wanted to do that the entire time they were on the mission. He was losing his focus and the poise that had allowed him to survive as a bounty hunter these many years, but he did not care. When the kiss broke he rose from his chair to move towards the cargo compartment, where he began rummaging through one of the crates of celebration wine. Opening it in spectacular fashion he soon returned, choosing to ignore Coruscant's open container law. He took an uncivilized swig from the bottle itself, before offering it over towards her.

Zara was beaming. They had done it. Soon they would arrive home where they would stop the rioting outside of Marcus' home. "It did. I honestly thought this was going to blow up in our faces." She laughed, "That's why I didn't want you to come." She winked. It was good he had come. She liked having him close. The more time she spent with him, the bigger the soft spot she had for him grew. The greatest reward after the mission was the kiss he gave her. Oh, how she adored kissing him. She could do it for hours. She could do it for days. She could do it until her lips hurt too much to keep going. "Marcusss..." She exhaled his name softly when the kiss broke. It was funny how life worked. The man she stole from had become her lover, and what a lover he was. Zara smiled stupidly to herself once she was sure he couldn't see. Somehow, someway, Zara Ta'em was happy.

Normally, Zara wouldn't drink until a mission was completely finished. This time around, a premature celebration sounded good to her. She took the bottle from him, taking her own messy swig. "Horray! We did it!" She cheered, offering the bottle back to him. "Hang on, we're almost back to the ship." There CR90 was waiting for them. The vessel was untouched. The hatch was already open and ready to receive the transporter. Zara carefully maneuvered it into the hatch. "Are you ready to go home?" She asked him. The engines of the transporter went silent. She could hear the hatch closing behind them. She was massively looking forward to the break that awaited them.

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