Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:5:32) in the Essesia system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate) and Retributor.
El-Nay Darr, Commander Kerrie Kiley, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, and Major Sierra Rodney.

Sierra Rodney did *not* enjoy this whole 'resting' thing. While her husband returned to the Retributor, for the millionth day in a row, Sierra found herself remaining on the sidelines at home. There, she could only do so much to help him. Within a few days, she'd return back to normal life and resume her work on the Retributor. What had happened on New Aldera was bothering her...or what she could remember happening. El-Nay had been imprisoned, accused with attempting to murder her...but none of it made sense. It didn't fall in line with the woman that Sierra had gotten to know. She simply couldn't believe that the Mandalorian would place a fee on their friendship.

She had fallen asleep on the couch beneath a blanket. In her dream, she was back on New Aldera dropping Callista home. As she watched the girl bound towards her parents, she felt like she couldn't breathe. There were no hands around her neck, yet she swore that her windpipe was being crushed. Not long after that, the sensation of El-Nay crashing into her body awoke her. Sierra's blue eyes went wide, then she closed them tightly. The memory hadn't cleared up for her. She wasn't sure if it ever would. "Damn..." She said quietly, running her fingers through her hair. There were no witnesses. Sierra had yet to question El-Nay about what had happened. Instead, she'd been left in a cell for days. Little did she know, there was another person who cared for the Mandalorian that would be making an appearance very soon.

Commander Kerrie Kiley had been tearing apart the Void looking for El-Nay Darr, but with no sign of her or her ship, she suspected she 'volunteered' for some personal assignment again. She knew El-Nay did not like the Void, and had witnessed some personal problems between her and Captain Updike on numerous occasions. As the days drew on her level of frustration had transformed into genuine concern and she headed across Esseles towards her former assignment at the Rodney estate to look for more information. Rather than her armor, she was wearing the black uniform of the Imperial Stormtroopers, and was presenting herself in her usual appearance as an attractive young human female, which she felt made the other Imperials more comfortable.b As she descended the ramp of the ship to walk across the irregular stone path to the front door she did not know what to expect, but as long as she got answers she would be satisfied. She rose her hand, knocking at the door, and then taking a step back and standing at full military attention to await permission to enter.

The knock sounded throughout the lower level of the estate loudly. Groaning, Sierra rose from the couch. Who could that be? El-Nay was imprisoned. Her mother was imprisoned. Her step-daughters were home. In fact, she could hear the faint sound off too loud jizz music from Drusilla's room. Sierra headed towards the front door. She was dressed simply with no intention of leaving the house today. Her pajamas were hidden by a large, warm robe. As she checked the door and saw Kerrie Kiley, she knew that things were about to become all the more complicated. The last time they spoke, Kerrie had already been angry with her. Sierra opened the door, stepping aside. "I know what you're here to ask me about, Kerrie. Please, come in." She, too, knew that El-Nay was having a difficult time in the Void. Sierra wished her to be located at the estate, as it would have given her a guard she trusted close to home.

Kerrie blinked when she heard Sierra claim to know why she was here, which made her immediately fear the worst for El-Nay. She swallowed silently, her stomach suddenly feeling nauseous. "Thank you, milady," she said, nervously, as she stepped across the threshold and entered the estate where she had spent so many years. She looked around carefully, wondering where the children were, but she did not ask ... she was here for other reasons. She stood there silently, attempting to be both polite and respectful, but then she could no longer take it. "Where is El-Nay?" she asked, practically blurting it out, as if holding it in was hurting her. She was fidgeting as she waited for a response, finding it a bit difficult to breath and make eye contact. If she had gotten herself killed on some damned fool mission she wanted to know, no matter how painful the news would be.

It was Sierra's hope that she would never have to bring that kind of dark news to Kerrie. Granted, she had no good words to share with the Commander now. She stood, wondering where she should start in all of this when Kerrie burst out. Sierra sighed. "She's being held on the Retributor currently. I feel that there has been a misunderstanding. Let me explain." Sierra still felt bad about El-Nay's injuries. More than that, she hated hurting Kerrie just as much as El-Nay. She wanted the best for them. She could see how much they cared for one another. It was something she, too, understood. "I asked her to accompany me to take my niece back home on the Rebel planet New Alderaan. Something happened when we were leaving. I don't know...a circumstance where she was forced to tackle me very hard." Sierra brought her hand to her head. It bothered her that the pieces weren't coming together. "I don't know. I can't recall everything. My husband only sees the bad in El-Nay. I can only imagine what he thought when El-Nay arrived with me unconscious and bloody."

Kerrie was hit by two powerful emotions simultaneously that threatened to buckle her knees and knock her off her feet. She was relieved that El-Nay was alive, but concerned, and even angry, that she was being 'held'. As someone who had carried out numerous operations for the Empire, and specifically the ISB, she knew the term being 'held' was more than simply spending a night in jail at the hands of a local constabulary. "You asked her to go to a Rebel planet?!" she exclaimed, breaching protocol as she lost her patience in front of her now *superior* officer. "I thought we agreed that would not happen again," she said, sounding tired and exasperated. Her hand moved to the top of her head, where she removed her hat and began playing with it in her hand. "El-Nay would have never hurt you. You were *all* she talked about lately ... *all*," she informed her, with a sound of hurt, and even jealousy, in her voice. She turned her side to Sierra, unable to look her in the eyes at the moment. She did not know what to do or say at this point. Suddenly the vast Rodney estate felt as small and confined as a broom closet. "I must speak to the Governor," she said, before lowering her head, and resigning herself to defeat. She knew it would be a futile effort ... he never liked El-Nay and he was massively overprotective of his pregnant wife. Given what could happen in Imperial custody there was part of her who wished the poor Mandalorian had been killed, as it might have been less painful.

"She's gone with me before." She explained to Kerrie. "We have been very careful each time we went. I don't know how someone figured out who *I* was." That was beyond the point. Right now, they needed to consider how best to save El-Nay. Sierra regained composure, allowing Kerrie to react instead of getting emotional herself. It shocked her to hear that El-Nay had been talking about her so much. They'd become fast friends. Sierra wanted to spend some time with her outside of risking their lives together. She sighed. "I know she wouldn't hurt me. It isn't like her." Her hand reached out, patting Kerrie's shoulder to comfort her. "No. I will speak with my husband. Between the two of us, I have a better chance of convincing him that this isn't what it looks like. Can you take me to the Retributor?" She asked her, knowing that Claudius had the Kwai. "I'll talk to him now. She has already been held for far too long." Sierra began stepping backwards. She wasn't going to make an appearance without changing, but this matter couldn't wait.

Kerrie turned her head slowly towards Sierra, not at all sure what to make of her. She had not spent much time with her, as the woman had taken her job. She wondered if she should simply attempt to break El-Nay out of her cell and flee to the Outer Rim, but that would violate her life debt to the Grand Moff. She was being torn apart having to choose between the man she served and the woman she loved. She lowered her head, closing her eyes, and clenching her fists. She needed a moment to compose herself, and she took it. "Yes. Yes I will," she said, swallowing and exhaling slowly. In a moment she had her hat back upon her head and raised her head to look at Sierra once again. "Thank you, milady," she said, before leading her from the estate towards the waiting ship.

Sierra wanted to avoid a confrontation between Kerrie and Claudius. She knew that she was going to have to talk to him about El-Nay, but she had been dragging her feet on it. Sierra like to have hard facts to show him to support her. Instead, she was going to him to tell him she 'felt' like there was more going on. Sighing, the young Major rounded into her office. The first thing she saw was that the datapads on her desk had breed like Lepi. She noted to herself to grab a handful to review at home. Continuing forward, she passed through into her husband's office. She smiled slyly at him. "Hi you." Even though Kerrie was nowhere to be seen, she could nearly feel the woman breathing down her neck. "I'm not here to work, simply to distract."

Claudius Rodney rose slightly from his desk so that he could see Sierra over the pile, tilting his head tiredly, but still managing to form a smile for her. "When the Empire sent more naval reinforcements I did not realize the amount of paperwork involved," he said, before sweeping his hand across his desk to knock the pile of pads over, so that he could sit back down and still have an unobstructed view of her. "Should you be up and about? Did you speak to Doctor Bailo?" he watched her like a thranta, not expecting her to have returned to duty as soon as she was. His wife was many wonderful things, but she was not a good patient.

No she was not! Sierra couldn't handle having idle hands, forced to sit and *wait* to heal. She crossed his office, eventually coming to stand in front of his desk. As the pads fell over onto the floor, she leaned over and kissed him on the lips before settling in a seat directly in front of his desk. "I did speak to her. I'm allowed to be up, but no 'overdoing' it." You could see how her eyes rolled. "I'm behaving, I promise." She reassured her husband, who knew her far too well at this point. She comfortably crossed one leg over the other and sat back. She was lucky to be doing so well. Their son continued to grow stronger and bigger, currently Irish dancing on her bladder. "Can I take any of this home?" She asked, snickering.

"You're carrying very precious cargo, my dear," Claudius reminded her, with a stern wag of his right index finger for good measure. "Think less of yourself and more of him. If sitting around the estate doing *nothing* for months results in a beautiful and healthy baby boy then it is a fair price to pay," he told her, with a nod of his head. He had been through so many family hardships over the years that he was magnifying all of his concern onto Sierra. "No. It's alright. I'll sort through it ... somehow," he said, as he rolled his eyes at the mess of data in front of him. "I'm told most regional governors don't even bother to review what their staff is doing..." he said, as he leaned across the desk towards her. "I'm beginning to understand why!" he said, as he picked up one random pad, which apparently detailed the agricultural production on the northern continent of Chandrila. Such minutiae was the kind of data his Chiss Lieutenant ... the tactical brains of the operation ... thought would ultimately win the battle.

Claudius was right. She'd do anything to ensure that their son was born healthy and at the appropriate time. After seeing Darrus Rodney, it had suddenly become so much harder to wait for her family to grow. She tried not to think of how many more weeks and days it was until Bruce could safely come, but the numbers sat dauntingly in her head. There was still so much waiting to do! She sighed, nodding. "You're right. I want the best for our son. Right now, that means me taking it easy." After the string of terrible events, she didn't intend to stray too far from him until Bruce was born. She didn't even want to return to Delaya to visit her niece and nephew again, as the presence of Governor Papius was unsettling. She wanted to help her husband *badly*. "Whatever you don't get through, I'll help you with as soon as I'm back. It's only a few more days, then you can thrust all the boring stuff on me." Sierra smiled. That was kind of the point of having an adjutant, yeah? "You're good at your job. Shame on you for wanting to know what's going on!" She smiled, reaching across his desk to take his hand. "I actually wanted to talk to you about the El-Nay Darr ordeal." She brought it up softly. "Has anyone questioned her yet?"

"Perhaps I should make use of some droids, but I find them to be insufferable," Claudius suggested, but then quickly attacked his own idea. He found the personalities of most protocol and administration droids to be more intolerable than even his Chiss Lieutenant. "Take your time. Don't rush back on account of some datapads," he informed her, as his eyes roamed across the room towards the chronometer. He still had several hours left on duty ... not even a Grand Moff had the power to speed up time. When the subject changed so did his personality. He grew more tense, as if her mere mention of it caused him to become angry. "I don't know. I don't even know if she's alive," he said to her, clearly annoyed, which made him rise from his desk and move towards his viewport. "You have too big a heart, my love ... and I love you for it ... but save it for our family," he said, while staring at his own aged reflection in the transparisteel.

"Ugh. No droids. There will be no peace here with droids running around." She had worked with droids enough times in her life. Was it really so hard to give them better personalities? Most droids were obnoxious. The broken ones were the exciting ones. She watched him visibly tense, but decided to tread carefully into the land in front of her. She hoped El-Nay was still alive... Her stomach did a flip simply thinking about the Mandalorian dead in a cage somewhere. Sierra rose. She quietly approached him at the viewport where she looked out of it. Her head turned towards him, staring at the man she loved. "I'm being cautious with El-Nay. That woman has sacrificed herself for me before. She nearly died on Corulag for me, for our son." She explained, running her hand over his arm slowly. "For that alone, she deserves the chance to explain herself. Let's face it. She may wear the brightest armor in the bunch, but she isn't the brightest crayon. El-Nay doesn't have the capability to be malicious like that."

Claudius listened to her carefully, trying hard not to think of her as a bleeding heart. He loved her compassion and her putting others first made her a wondrous asset to him on Delaya, as in the case of the refugee center. However, here amongst the Empire ... amongst Zevrin, Thanor, and their lackeys ... there were those who would seek to take advantage of her good nature and use it against him ... and his family. He considered how best to respond, as he wanted to watch out for herself, but he also did not want to destroy all of the positive qualities that he loved so much about her. He needed to protect his flower without crushing it. "It could have been a ruse to earn your trust," he said, sounding more paranoid with each passing moment. He saw threats against his family in every direction, and for good reason as there had been so many attempts made against him as of late. "You ... you wish to speak to her then?" he asked, finally coming to the point, as he turned to face her.

Her kind heart had already been exploited. As long as she cared about her family, their enemies had the ability to force her to do things against her will. Like Zevrin and her terrible concerts. Sierra didn't like being played. She certainly didn't want to find herself played by El-Nay. It wasn't something she had really considered until Claudius brought it up. Her eyes fell briefly. It was possible. Ultimately, El-Nay was a bounty hunter. Perhaps she was extraordinary at her job. Her hand suddenly took his. Her silenced said that she was considering it, that Claudius wasn't standing without reason. It looked like she was having second thoughts about the whole ordeal by the time he turned towards her. "Yes.." She sounded less confident, for the wheels in her head were turning in the wrong direction now. "If she isn't guilty of a crime, then she shouldn't be here. If she's innocent, I'll seal her to the Void and keep her an arm's length away. There's already so many people trying to hurt us in our life. If I can rid us of just one of those people, then so be it." Sierra stepped forward into him. Her arms wrapped around his waist. Her eyes closed, nuzzling her face into his shoulder. El-Nay was her friend ... right?

Claudius moved closer towards her, trying to maintain a positive exterior, even if he was conflicted on the inside. "I heard her with her own advice admit to colliding with you, and Doctor Bailo indicated many of your injuries were consistent with such a collision," he reminded her, as he placed his hand upon her shoulder. "I can see that the only way to resolve this is to allow you to speak to her, so do so ... with my blessing," he said, surrendering to her. He had learned that in a marriage one had to choose their battles rather than fighting over every little detail. He lowered his head, placing a gentle kiss upon her forehead. "Thank you for once again reminding me why I love you, and why I am blessed to have you with me in all things," he told her, before releasing his hold upon her and returning to his desk to resume the endless paperwork.

Her head lifted as he gave her his blessing. She nearly started crying right there in front of him. The man had her well being in his mind, yet he also let her heart win this. It seemed impossible to love him more, but Sierra did. A small smile broke out on her face. Not only did he allow it, he also made her feel like she wasn't making a foolish mistake. "Claudius.. I love you.." She didn't understand how he'd made everything so much better despite the fact that he didn't care for El-Nay and would rather see her locked up forever. She lingered in his office for a little longer. "I'll come back and keep you company when I'm done. We can go home together." With that, she turned on her heel and set off on her way to see El-Nay. She knew that El-Nay's explanation and Doctor Bailo's examination fell in line with each other. She had so many broken bones throughout her torso from the hard collision. The whole ordeal had been terrifying for both her and her sweet, sweet husband.

El-Nay Darr had emerged from her bacta tank and been placed in a holding cell deep within the bowels of the Retributor. She had been stripped of her armor, her weapons, and left with nothing but her environmental suit. She had no way to conceal her face. No privacy. She was checked in on every few hours. She had even been groped during her ordeal. Her wounds had yet to fully heal, and she had a terrible pain in her head from the abuse she sustained at the hands of the Grand Moff. She had no idea what was going to happen to her. She had talk of execution, or even being sent to Mandalore to work in the mines. She was terrified. She wanted her father. She wanted Kerrie. No one wanted to listen about her side of events, and how she claimed to have been rescuing Sierra from the Rebel. Simply put, no one cared. And so she sat on her uncomfortable cot, her knees raised in front of her chest, with her chin resting upon her knees. She was rocking back and forth as she hugged herself, trying to come to terms with her ordeal. She only had herself to blame.

Sierra Rodney made her way down to the bowels of the Retributor. By the time she reached El-Nay's cell, she suddenly understood that she had gone past 'taking it easy'. She felt so tired. She had to take a moment to regain her composure outside of the cell. In her hand, she held a Storm Commando helmet. She hadn't been able to find where El-Nay's armor was, but she thought she might provide the woman with some sense of security. When she was ready, Sierra inputted a code and made her way into the Mandalorian's cell. She spotted El-Nay on her cot. She didn't look good. Her face was heavily injured. Had the collision hurt her too? Sierra stepped out of the cell, demanding that a medic be sent down to properly treat the prisoner, then reentered and slowly, *slowly* lowered herself to the woman's cot. "El-Nay..." She couldn't help the concern she felt. She simply didn't think El-Nay was malicious, especially not towards her. "I'm going to try to get you out of here... Can you tell me what happened? I... I can't seem to remember it all.." She admitted sadly to her.

When the door opened and she saw it was Sierra, she went into a panic, and turned so that her back was facing her. She brought her hands up to try and cover her face, as she did not want her 'friend' to see how grievously injured she was. She had been ordered out of the tank before her wounds had been given proper time to heal as a further punishment for her crime. When she heard Sierra could not remember, she began to cry, for she knew her goose was cooked without a corroborating witness. "It doesn't matter..." she began, sounding despondent and resigned to her fate. "No one believes me. You won't either," she said, before inhaling deeply through her nose as she began to cry harder. She was quite the pathetic sight ... a far cry from the image she wanted to present as a Mandalorian. If only her father could see her now, he would simply tell her 'I told you so' and leave her there.

It ripped her in half to see El-Nay like this; injured, crying, a shell of who she actually was. Sierra didn't understand why she withdrew from her. She took the Commando helmet, nervously pushing it towards her. The sounds of El-Nay crying only made everything worse. She frowned, inching towards her friend. Sierra ran her hand over the Mandalorian's back slowly. "I'll believe you, El-Nay. I'm sorry you were locked up in here. Did they do this to you? Did someone hurt you like this?" Sierra had seen enough. She assumed that it was the work of nasty Stormtroopers who would take advantage of the situation. "Talk to me... I don't want to leave you here. Kerrie is waiting to take you back to the Void."

El-Nay reached to take the helmet, quickly placing it over her head. She was like an animal who believed that what she could not see, could not see her either. And so as the helmet settled onto her head she began to breathe more regularly, but the tears and mucus did not yet abide. "I was waiting on the ship like you told me," she started, as she began to loosen up somewhat. "I saw a flash. And then a blaster shot. When I got there you were being attacked by a Rebel," she continued, as she finally tilted her helmet up to look Sierra in the eyes. "She was going to kill you ... I was sure of it. I couldn't get a shot..." she said, sounding increasingly more erratic. "The only choice I had was to hit my jetpack and crash into both of you. If I hadn't ... she would have choked you out, milady. I'm sorry..." she said, clearly speaking through tears, as she moved to the cold floor to kneel before her. "I brought you back here for treatment, but I was blamed, and ... and..." she said, before lowering her head obediently. "...and your husband did this to me," she revealed, not sure how she would react to the news. "I'm so, so sorry," she said, as she reached forward for Sierra's boots, groveling before her in the most pathetic display possible.

Sierra's eyes remained on El-Nay. She was paying attention more than anyone else had to her story. She wasn't simply listening with her ears though. Sierra was making sure El-Nay wasn't lying to her in her body language. She had worked with enough people in her heyday to understand when they weren't being truthful. Those who had truly aligned against the Empire showed their true colors in one way or another. The story made sense, as all Sierra could remember was the sensation of not being able to breathe. El-Nay seemed to be falling apart more and more. She was on the ground and kneeling before her. The most surprising fact she revealed was that it was *Claudius* who had injured her. It hadn't been a Rebel, or even a corrupt trooper like she suspected. Her jaw dropped slightly. "*What*...?!" Sierra snapped. She recalled what she told Kerrie. What Claudius saw was El-Nay carrying around her bloody body. El-Nay had provided him with the reason to believe that she had done it. . . and she had. It was meant to *save* Sierra, but it endangered her far more than the Mandalorian likely anticipated. For that, she didn't fault her husband. In a different situation, Sierra would have done the same thing. Rubbing her temples, the young woman considered what she should do about El-Nay.

There was only one solution.

Sierra's hand touched with her helmet. Black wasn't El-Nay's color. The orange suited her infinitely better. "El-Nay... Stop, don't grovel like that." She said softly, sounding *very* tired. "I believe you about everything. If you were trying to kill me, then why bring me here?" Sierra voiced her thoughts out loud. "I'm going to release you, El-Nay. I want you to go back to the Void and recover properly." As she said this, she withdrew her comlink from her pocket. She made a quick call to Kerrie. "Come and get her." Then she muttered which cell she was in. Slowly, Sierra stood. It hadn't been the most intelligent call. El-Nay had been looking for a solution to stop her from being choked out. What she didn't realize was how damaging it would be for Sierra. She stepped over the crying El-Nay. Kerrie would arrive soon to take care of her. For Sierra, it was time to slowly make her way back to her love.

Untitled 1

Copyright Era of Rebellion 2005-2018. All Rights Reserved
Terms of Use | Legal Notices | Privacy Policy | Press Release | Disclaimer