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Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:8:35) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Rodney Castle).
El-Nay Darr and Lord Marcus Rodney.

El-Nay Darr had been methodically reviewing the Intel file on The Nerf Herder, whom she learned was in reality Marcus Rodney, a nobleman from the Alderaan system. On the surface he appeared to be a rich, charming, playboy who lived a life of partying and womanizing without a care in the world. Digging deeper she learned how the man had adopted the nickname of Nerf Herder, which referred to the lowest position on Alderaan in sharp contrast to his noble upbringing, and began a successful career as a bounty hunter to amuse himself. The file contained her ori'vod Kerrie's notes on the man, which detailed their various encounters during her previous career as a bounty hunter and assassin. The file noted that he did not like to take a life and that he had, whenever possible, brought his bounties in alive. Whenever she closed her eyes all she could see was the man, stripped down to nothing but his helmet, on top of her. She had done her best to purge the image from her subconscious, but it would be with her always. After all, he was her first.

El-Nay had tracked him to his home planet of Delaya, which was in the midst of a food crisis, and as he was a member of the first family of the planet he was kept well guarded in a castle in the mountain range overlooking the capital city. She had performed aerial reconnaissance of the structure using her starfighter in an attempt to find any weak points of entry. She was taking her time. She was being cautious. She was being anything but what she had been when she recklessly pursued other bounties. Under the cover of darkness she landed her craft surreptitiously in the mountains near the castle and then moved into position where she had a clear line of sight to the man's bed chamber. She waited there all night, her targeting scanner down over her left eye, as she impatiently awaited his arrival home from some dinner party with what she expected was yet another random encounter. When she saw him appear a feeling of dread began to fill her and she very nearly vomited into her helmet. She had never seen him without it before and it caused her a mixture of emotions. She held out her DT-57 heavy blaster pistol and aimed at him, but she did not pull the trigger. She was out of a range, but even if she had a long rifle she was no assassin. This was something she was going to have to do up close and personal.

Marcus Rodney, the bounty hunter known as the Nerf Herder, returned to his chambers in one of the upper spires that rose up from the ancient castle. He had enjoyed a few drinks that evening and the company of some young noblewoman whose name he had already forgotten. His wrist gauntlet beeped slightly, alerting him that there was a contact in close proximity. In the mountains one of his seeker droids was observing El-Nay Darr and alerting to him every movement. His first reaction was one of laughter, but then quickly switched to concern as he realized she had learned his identity. While he was not concerned about her skills as a bounty hunter, he was worried that if she knew then it was likely countless others knew ... and that jeopardized his family. Unsure of what her plan was he decided to wait and let her make the first move with the confidence that their two previous meetings had revealed all he needed to know to best the unpredictable youngster. He turned his back on the window and began to slowly undress, presenting the ideal distracted target, all the while watching her actions via the droid.

El-Nay closed her eyes and steadied her breathing as she watched the man from a far. Now was the time. She activated her jetpack, which sent her quickly off the mountain and heading towards the Nerf Herder's balcony at a rapid pace. She kept her helmet focused with the window as she made a couple of adjustments on her left gauntlet in mid-flight. Rather than stop on the balcony she elected to fly threw the window, but immediately upon making contact with the glass she hit an energy shield and crashed haphazardly to the ground. "Oof," she groaned, her body impacting the ornate marble that lined the balcony, having never expected there to be a shield.

Marcus grabbed hold of his AXM-50 "Blast and Smash" as he heard the impact with the shield without even bothering to turn around and examine what had happened ... he knew. In an instant he turned around, the weapon aimed towards the window, but he did not fire. "El-Nay Darr!" he yelled, before switching the weapon to the grenade setting. "While I certainly did enjoy the time we spent together ... I don't believe I ever invited you to my home," he said, moving around the bed and closer towards the window, stalking his downed prey like the most vicious of predators. "That being said ... you're going to tell me how you found out about me," he said to her in a commanding voice, but moved no further. "And then I'll let you go," he said sincerely, having no desire to kill someone he very much viewed as still a 'child'.

El-Nay lay there for a moment ... humiliated. All of her planning. All of her studying. All of the care she took and she still had noticed the shield. It would not end like this and as he addressed her she pushed down with her gloved hands to lift herself back onto her feet. In a flash she had activated her jetpack and blasted off the balcony and moved out of visual sight, but unbeknownst to her a trio of seeker droids were watching her every movement. She lowered her targeting scanner and visualized she shield and noticed the extent of it only covered the window. Having an idea, she aimed the rocket atop her jetpack at the roof of the structure and depressed the button on her gauntlet to unleash it. The rocket flew from her and impacted with the roof of the spire, causing the millennia old masonwork to collapse, giving her an access point.

Marcus did not expect that, and had to quickly move out of the way of the falling stone and debris, before quickly switching the weapon over to the blaster setting. "I did not want it to be this way, El-Nay," he yelled up towards her, before raising the barrel of his rifle. He squeezed back on the trigger a multiple of times letting loose a torrid wave of deadly crimson bolts of energy at the girl he had once worked with. She was being more than foolish at this point, he thought to himself, she was being nihilistic.

Being stationary made for an easy target, so El-Nay descended towards the hole she had created at the jetpack's top speed. She swerved side to side as she approached narrowly avoiding one blaster bolt after the next. "Gaah!" she screamed as one of the bolts impacted into her left shoulder, tearing through her environmental suit and causing her a major burn. She had gone from a graceful bird in flight to falling debris, but her destination was still the same, and she landed right atop the bounty hunter with all of her weight.

"Unf!" Marcus groaned as the full weight of the young girl came crashing down upon him, causing them both to tumble down to the ground. "Why are you making me do this?" he asked, as he used his considerable strength from two decades of condition to toss her aside. He quickly pressed a button on his own gauntlet causing the trio of seeker droids to recall to his position. Seeing that she had dropped her blaster pistol, he quickly kicked it under the bed so it would no longer be of use to her.

El-Nay was quick to scurry away as he crawled from beneath her having avoided saying anything to him thus far. He was a master manipulator and she worried that if she gave him even the slightest bit to work with he would have her. The only weapon she had left was her beskad ... a blade of Mandalorian iron that had been with Clan Darr for generations ... it was fitting that she used it. She raised the blade in front of her as she stared down the man who had caused her so much anguish and whose life would now clear her debt to both the Empire and the Black Sun. "Tonight you die, Nerf Herder," she said, before moving towards him swiftly, and bring her blade down to slash at him.

She was possessed by unknown force Marcus felt and it broke his heart to know that this had to be this way. As she slashed at him he backed up quickly, but the blade cut through his nightshirt and drew a diagonal cut down his chest that caused him to bleed, but was not very dangerous. He moved away from her with all the agility of a dancer ... he was buying just enough time for the droids to arrive. "I'm sorry, El-Nay," he said to her as the first of the three seeker droids arrived. No longer observing the fight the droid had been programmed to suicide mode and it immediately crashed into her backside and exploded with all the force of a frag grenade.

El-Nay had not expected the droid and the explosion propelled her forward onto the ground, burning most of her backside and filling it with minor shrapnel wounds that were almost immediately cauterized by the heat that followed. It was of all small consolation that she would not bleed out, but the pain was considerable, and her jetpack was crippled. She was feeling disoriented and the sound of the explosion was ringing in her ears, which negatively impacted all of her other senses. She was lying upon the ground in front of him, and with what strength she had, she brought the beskar up and drove it directly into his left leg.

Marcus let out a primal scream from deep within the moment the blade connected with his leg, the sharp Mandalorian iron cutting his bone as if it were butter. Without the use of the leg he dropped to one good knew in front of her and looked down upon her as a creature worthy of pity. "If this is about the Jelena bounty I never collected it. But I can pay you that and more if you stop and tell me what this is about," he pleaded with her, almost begging as the remaining two droids descended from the opening she had made in his roof. His hand moved to the gauntlet programming them to stop, but that if he did not make an input into the gauntlet in two minutes to seek out and impact the target ... just in case she got lucky.

"This is not about credits," El-Nay said from beneath the orange dome of her helmet. "This is about you using me. This is about you taking from me. This is about you lying to me. This is about doing ... what you did ... and not caring about me," she said, as she slowly pushed herself up into a seating position in front of him. "I am not afraid of you anymore. Now finish it. Let me meet my ancestors clad in beskargam!" she said proudly, smiling beneath the helmet with the satisfaction that she had not backed down. "Ni verd! Ni verd!" she repeated, banging her fist upon the breastplate of her armor as she prepared for her death.

Marcus reached down to the blade that was stuck in his leg and pulled it out, causing a sudden rush of blood from his leg. He grabbed hold of one of the sheets from his bed and quickly made a tourniquet before he bled out, which resulted in him not paying much attention to her speech. "I'll give you one chance to tell me who sent you and stop this madness. I'll take you the medcenter and you can go find peace," he told her, before tossing her blade away like so much garbage.

"You sent me. The moment you did what you did," El-Nay said defiantly, before moving her hands to the side of her helmet to reveal herself. "Look upon me. I am no longer the girl that you victimized for your enjoyment," she said, defiantly, before reaching towards the dresser to stand herself up weakly. "I will die on my feet!" she vowed, glaring towards him, before bringing up her left wrist gauntlet. A button was activated and a cable was sent forth, wrapping around the man's body and temporarily containing him.

"I am sorry, El-Nay!" Marcus shouted at her as she wire enveloped him, preventing him from moving. He was not saying that to save his neck, but because he was truly sorry that his actions had wounded her. "I have had so many casual relationships in my life that I did not think they affected people," he said, speaking from the heart as he looked upon her with his deep brown eyes. It was then one of the droids made it's suicide run towards her, but because he was wrapped up he could not move his hand to deactivate it. "No!" he screamed at the top of his lungs as he watched in horror what was to happen.

El-Nay was prepared this time, but it did not stop the pain from the droid slamming into her right arm and exploding, sending forth a wave of shrapnel that tore at her arm, her neck, and the side of her face. She dropped almost instantly from the impact, suffering from a debilitating wound that had disabled her arm. "I caught you. I did..." she said, mostly to herself, looking up at the man who was wrapped in the cable, unable to move, with a leg that was in danger of bleeding out.

Marcus crawled over towards her, hopping on one knee to see how bad it was. "Yes, El-Nay. You did it. You caught me. No one has ever done that before. Only you," he said to her sweetly, when he realized the extent of her injuries. The tears began to well up in his eyes as he looked down upon the once beautiful young girl that he had met during a time that now felt so long ago. "Help!" he screamed at the top of his lungs, hoping that one of the members of his staff would hear, but he had the structure sound dampened due to the frequent late night activities he engaged in. Gradually he made his way towards her sword and began to rub it against the cord, cutting it as best he could, but not without sustaining more damage to himself. Eventually he was free and he moved to deactivate the third droid, before hurrying back to the girl. He bent down and picked up her battered, broken body and began to carry her out of the room. The sheet that was wrapped around his leg was now bloodsoaked, and the blood was going right through. Every step he took caused him incredible agony, and caused the blood to flow. If he rested he likely would be ok, but he was endangering his very life as he moved, but he could not let her end like this.

El-Nay was barely conscious in the man's arms. She had suffered major burns and shrapnel damage to her back and the right side of her body, while her left shoulder had sustained a major blaster wound. "I caught you. Now they won't kill me. Now they'll leave me alone. Now I'll be respected," she said, sounding delirious, as her head slumped down against the man. She looked up at him one last time, before her eyes grew too heavy to keep open. With one last groan and sharp intake of air her eyes fell shut and she slipped away into a state of unconsciousness.

Marcus was wondering what she was talking about and who had put her up to this. He vowed that when this was over he would get to the bottom of this and avenge her. As he got to the bottom of the stairs his own blood loss was too much, and his eyes began to roll back in his head. He, too, let out a soft groan before stumbling forward and dropping her to the ground. He was on his knees in front of her for just a moment, before it became too much for him and he slumped forward on top of her, bleeding all over the floor. She had gotten him all right, were his last thoughts as he, too, fell under.

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