Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:10:2) in the Essesia system: Nerf Herder and Warspite.
Major Kerrie Kiley, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Lord Marcus Rodney, and Zara Ta'em.

As Marcus and Zara meandered through the corridor of the Imperial Star Destroyer Warspite they would suddenly come face to face with the presence of an Imperial officer in a striking black uniform with rank insignia indicating she was somewhere in the middle. Although she was a little short to be a Stormtrooper at only 1.57 meters, she nevertheless had endured the training and risen through the ranks to her current position as adjutant to the Grand Moff of the Ringali Shell Oversector. She stood there, unmoving, arms folded in front of her chest with a stern gaze upon her face and icy blue eyes that were glaring with an intent rage at the duo as they bounded towards her. "Halt!" she finally ordered, raising her right hand and holding her palm out towards them to back up her statement with a physical gesture. She had a long and complicated history with Marcus Rodney going back towards their days as bounty hunters ... he had even tried to bed her before he found out her true nature ... but she was sworn to secrecy about his bounty hunter alter ego and had not even told his own brother, her master. The teenager she did not recognize, but she could imagine, and almost immediately she looked past the man to study the girl, sizing her up in her tactical mindset. She could not recall Marcus, or any member of the Grand Moff's relations, ever coming aboard the Warspite ... something was definitely going on and she had been ordered to find out exactly what. "Milord," she said in a tone of voice with a nod that would allow Zara know there was history between them. "...and you are?" she asked, contorting her body to the right in a way that she could look behind him and more carefully view the girl.

Zara felt like she'd been riding one insane rollercoaster all day. Though Marcus held the biggest bombshell in his hand, Zara still was exhausted. She wanted nothing more than to retreat to their isolation, draw up a bath, and relax for a lengthy amount of time. As much as she tried to tell herself otherwise, being on Warspite was not a comfortable situation for her. Imperial troops really had killed her family, not to mention what had happened to Alderaan. The last thing she needed was for them to be stopped by yet another stranger with cold, calculating eyes. Those eyes sized her up, likely making the same assumption about her that everyone did; she was *nothing*. Those outside their relationship couldn't understand that their affection was motivated by things much deeper than appearance. She was pretty, but she was also fierce and hotheaded from the meeting with the doctor. Zara didn't shy away from the Imperial officer in the clean, neat black uniform. In fact, she came out from behind Marcus. She stood with her body puffed up with confidence. Her own icy blues landed on the woman. As much as people cowered to the royal family, the Ta'em family had their own unique strength. She didn't fear this woman.

"Ta'em. Zara Ta'em." She answered the woman firmly. "Unless you want your boots shined with my vomit, you'll get out of the way right now. I've had a vicious stomach bug all week. Multi-colored vomit. The good stuff. You know? Anyway. We're going home." Zara's voice was firm. The look on her face was also daring. *Just try and stop me*. She was sick of being on this god damn enemy ship. She was sick of letting everyone fuck them with a spiky, shiny dildo.

Marcus let out a dejected sigh when they were stopped by his former associate turned Imperial lapdog, but before he could respond Zara had gotten her dander up ... perhaps fueled by a rush of hormones caused by her pregnancy. He was quick to move in front of Zara, knowing far too well Major Kiley's tendency to quickly escalate things. "Really, Major, we must be going," he said to her, cordially returning her glance and nod, before moving his hand behind Zara to usher her further down the corridor. "My best to my brother," he was quick to add, as he began his attempt to pass her and quickly continue on their way.

Kerrie blinked once at Zara's outburst, and made a mental note of the young woman's name, as she was sure to run a full background check on her the moment she had an opportunity. She extended her left arm directly out from herself, preventing them from passing with physical force, before tilting her head upwards to look at Marcus. "Your brother has requested your presence," she said, making it clear that it was order rather than a request. "You didn't really expect to come aboard his command ship without paying him a visit, did you?" she questioned him, but her eyes instead began rolling towards Zara. "I'm sure he would be hurt if you didn't stop by," she said, playfully biting at her lower lip, before turning her body to her side, and motioning down the corridor towards the lift that would lead to the Grand Moff's suite. "You too," she said, eyes moving towards Zara, before winking her left eye at her momentarily. She was going to enjoy this.

Her hormones were decent right now. Just wait until shit hit the fan with the other Rodneys. Zara was seeing red when Marcus cut off her warpath. He could have never brought her here if she wasn't pregnant. It took everything in her not to rage war from within unfamiliar walls, as stupid as that sounded. Vengeance boiled in her blood. She had never been able to find out who *exactly* was involved with the execution of her family. Did it really matter? She felt like she needed to save the whole goddamn galaxy to make up for what had happened. She didn't understand why Marcus' brother was involved in all this. At the moment, she didn't want to understand.

Kerrie could dive deep into Zara's life if she wanted to. She'd never find a breadcrumb of her secret identity. Mostly, everything related to Ta'ems was about the execution. Zara quickly discovered that Kerrie rubbed her the wrong way (as did most people). She didn't like how the woman acted or the way she meddled in affairs that had nothing to do with her. Though she was blocking the way to the dock, Zara neither followed or tried to move around her. "Yeah, no. *Sorry*. No thank you. We'll send a fruit basket as an apology. We simply can't stay." Her hand gripped Marcus' arm. It didn't look like Kerrie was moving...and that was all fine and dandy. She looked at the woman, flashed her a cute smile and a single finger. *One sec* the motion said. She ran her fingers over a pendant she had been wearing all along [just roll with it]. Instantly, her favored digital screens popped up all around her. Zara's hand glided through the air in an expertise way. The manner that said it wasn't her first time doing what she was doing. And just what she was doing might you ask? Well, in a matter of *minutes* a loud alarm sounded over their heads indicating that there had been a security breach. The wispy little teenager looked towards the woman just as her screens disappeared. "Sounds like there's a problem for you to attend to..."

When the alarm started to off, Kerrie's attitude changed almost immediately, and she raised a finger of her own in the face of the young girl. She pointed her gloved index finger directly in her face as she began to scold her. "Unless you want to spend time in the brig I *suggest* you stop that incessant noise ... immediately," she ordered, before her attention shifted to Marcus once again. "So nice of you to visit us, Milord," she said, before moving towards the nearest control panel in an attempt to alert all commands that it was a false alarm. There was something increasingly aggravating about the young woman that the Grand Moff's brother had bought aboard.

"Zara!" Marcus pleased, as he became increasingly uneasy with how things were dramatically escalating. All around them Stormtroopers were frantically moving about in determined formations, and small mouse droids were zipping up and down the corridors. "We'll just spend a few minutes with my brother," he said to his fiancé, as he moved to place a hand reassuringly on each of her shoulders. He held her in front of him, lowering his head to place a soft kiss upon her lips as if that would somehow get her to comply ... so old-fashioned. "Just a few minutes. Then we can go," he said to her, as the kiss broke, and his eyes once again opened to reveal the most modest of smiles as he attempted to convince her.

Think the alarms were bad? Wait until they say the catawampus chaos that she could do. Zara had been put in an uncomfortable place. Like an animal, she was ready to fight her way out. The baby kept her from dying in a blaze of glory. He had to understand, her hated for the Imperial army was in her blood. Zara didn't lift a finger. Kerrie's threats weren't changing her attitude either. Even Marcus didn't get to her immediately. She didn't like the sound of spending any time with his brother. What she saw was a growing margin for error. She was pregnant. His brother finding out wasn't exactly on her to-do list. Kerrie was about to escort them further into the known. There would be no way to break out should something happen. Those were the thoughts that ran through her head while her husband beckoned with her to come down from the edge. In her eyes, Zara looked tired and worried. She still kissed him back and let him attempt to soothe her. It seemed that no one was going to let them go home. She exhaled. "Just a few minutes," she reiterated. She was even *kind* enough to silence the sirens crying out all over the ship, adding to the chaotic nature of the moment. Zara sighed, shoved an arm in between his, and submitted. He owed her, dammit!

"Smart," was all Kerrie said as the alarms ceased, and she was able to step away from the control panel. "This way, *please*..." she said, with forced politeness, as she began to move down the corridor that led to the lift. Once inside it was just the three of them in the tight, cramped space and the trip up to the command spire of the massive Imperial Star Destroyer seemed to take three times as long. When they arrived they would move into an outer office, bristling with security, which they quickly bypassed to directly enter the Grand Moff's private office. She brought a gloved first up to her mouth and cleared her throat twice, signifying their entry into the darkened office. "Your brother and his ... *associate* ... are here, milord," she said, with a firm nod of her head, before stepping aside to give the duo to enter.

Grand Moff Claudius Rodney was dressed in his gray-green Imperial uniform, but his back was to them, with his hands visibly folded at the small of his back. The middle-aged man was look out the viewport at the planet Esseles below and the number of Imperial warships and starfighters that were buzzing about. The large screen that dominated one wall of the room displayed the six planets of the Ringali Shell and the current tactical situation. The man's desk was cluttered with datapads and a holographic image of his eldest daughter, along with a half consumed bottle of Alderaan ruge. In front of the desk was a more relaxed seating area where he would have informal meetings with subordinates to determine how best to govern the Oversector. He had not seen his brother since his wedding, and had quite honestly been taken by surprise when news was brought to him that he had come aboard. "Marcus," he said, but did not turn around to physically acknowledge him as yet. He was quiet and withdrawn, and moderately distracted by the events around him ... both political and personal.

The uncomfortable situation grew in discomfort from one second to the next. Zara found herself diving further into the unknown with only a single weapon on her body. When she thought of meeting Marcus' brother, all she saw was a miniature version of his father. They were about to meet another person who would judge them. Zara lost some of her spitefulness inside the lift. The ride seemed lengthy. By the end of it, she was nuzzled up against Marcus' side looking like she might drift off. The first real bout with morning sickness had woken her so early. She didn't have a lot left in her. Being an intelligent little lady, Zara put together who his brother was by his office, Kerrie, and what little she had seen on the ship's crew while hacking into the ship. That fact was enough to make her feel horrible. She didn't like how Kerrie called her an associate. It sounded one step above a *hooker*. She didn't fight it, not this time. She needed her strength for Brother Rodney.

There was only one other person inside the office and that was the Grand Moff himself. Zara felt zapped all over again. Marcus had just earned himself the honor of drawing her bath when they got back home. What!? He owed her! First the Imperial star destroyer and now *this*. She looked over the backside of the man [oh my god, look at his butt, it looks like he's one of those rap guy's girlfriends], sizing him up for herself. She looked at Marcus until the sound of his brother brought her focus back to him. She let go of him, venturing towards the large screen with slow, anxious steps. She looked over the information, then to the Grand Moff himself. She had deflated for the time being. She didn't even know what to say, all she knew was that she felt *really* stressed out. They hadn't had time to talk about the pregnancy in private. It was natural for her to worry that Marcus might... well, might be having his second thoughts. She didn't understand how, but she did understand that the gender of their baby was potentially chaotic. A boy could force Marcus back to Delaya... Another Rodney brother.. Another person to treat them like shit. Zara suddenly felt sick as a dog. "*Oh no*..." She knew what was coming. Her stomach gave her such a little warning that she had to quickly locate a trash can to promptly lose her cookies in. She *did* make it. At the very first meeting with her brother-in-law, she made herself look like a vapid drunk by vomiting in a trash can. It was too much. No sooner had Zara finished throwing up had she began to cry. Sensory overload. Please forgive her.

Before Marcus could speak to his brother, Zara made her move to the trash can, and it was all he could do to keep from having an anxiety attack of his own. "Zara!" he exclaimed in a panic, to Kerrie's incredulous look, as he rushed to her side, and placed each of his hands upon either side of her waist to keep from her keeling over. "Come sit down," he urged, as he moved her over towards one of the well appointed sofas that made up the seating area near the entrance of the office. "You there, Kerrie, fetch some water," he barked in the most arrogant of noble tones as he aided his fiancé and getting herself composed and situated. What an introduction.

The Grand Moff watched silently from the reflection on the viewport he was fixated in front of. He did not turn to watch the drama unfold firsthand, nor did any type of reaction form upon his seasoned face ... instead he stood silently, observing as he was prone to do. When he heard his brother order Major Kiley it was only then that he moved, turning towards the corner of the room where a pitcher of still water was on hand. He deliberately moved towards Marcus and Zara and placed a crystal glass on the table in front of her. He then poured the contents of the pitcher into the glass, before setting aside and taking a step back so that he could more easily look at both of them ... it was a sorry sight. "Marcus, I've not seen you since the wedding. I trust you are well, and that mother and father are well?" he asked, studying the man's facial mannerisms and body languages in an attempt to read between the lines. "And this..." he said, as he turned his attention towards the young Zara Ta'em, bring a hand up to stroke at his chin as he examined her carefully. He took a step forward and placed his hand upon her chin, lifting her head with a slight squeeze, so that he could examine her as if she were on trial. "...and this must be your daughter," he concluded, unhanding her and turning his attention back towards Marcus. "Well, it was bound to have happened with all of your carousing. What does she want? Money? Property?" he asked, turning his head back and forth between the two in quick succession. "Surely not a title," he said at the very end, as he waited for what was to come.

The introduction was memorable, right? *Maybe*. Her focus was torn from the Grand Moff. There were other things going on as well as other things to worry about. She was starting to feel childish in the unwavering way in which she wanted to go home. Everyone had witnessed this accident. The problem was stress. As her pregnancy went on, they'd find that was the prime cause of her morning sickness. She felt like she had hit rock bottom, throwing up in a trash can in her brother-in-law's Imperial craft. Kerrie was watching...who the hell wasn't? She felt Marcus close to her, touching her and keeping her on her feet until her heaving stopped. Her body was rag doll like as he took her towards the sofa. One way or another, she made it into a sitting position with her stomach residing in her throat and tears streaming down her cheeks. They couldn't even have a normal celebratory moment. There had to be more Rodneys sticking their faces in her rear end. She leaned against Marcus though she didn't look at him. She was embarrassed. The Grand Moff had been forgotten until he appeared in front of her blurry vision. He was pouring a glass of water for her. Zara took the cup without saying anything. She drank slowly as to ease her stomach.

Marcus was incredulous at his brother's sordid accusation, and rose from his seat so quickly that his shin connected with the side of the coffee table, causing a wave of pain to surge up his body. "Argh!" he groaned in pain, bending over to momentarily rub at his bruise, which gave Zara the opening to speak first ... but what she said caught him completely off guard. "She's joking of course," he said, giving Zara a quick sideways glance, as if to question if she *really* said that. "No. She is to be my wife. I brought her here to meet you," he said, telling a story that was half truth, and half false. He continued to rub at his shin as he did his best to calm the situation, which had already been marred by Zara's stomach, his brother's jump to conclusion, and Zara's blue sense of humor.

The Grand Moff scoffed at Zara's statement, only to for his brother to quickly follow up with the equally disturbing truth. His eyes rolled in his head so deliberately that they very nearly spilled from his sockets and landed on the floor. "For 25 years I've never seen you with the same woman for more than an hour. Now you've come here to tell me that you're marrying this ... *child*," he said, as he took a much needed seat at the head of the coffee table. His hand weakly moved for the pitcher of the table, dragging it along the surface rather than picking it up. "Forgive me, dear, but you are young," he interjected, as his trembling hand struggled to pour himself a glass of the water. He took a quick, deep sip of the water that aided in cooling both his temperature and attitude about the whole thing. "Do mother and father know?" he asked, as he lifted the glass to his mouth again, but his eyes never left the young woman that was seated diagonally across from him.

It was a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day. That's what it was. Marcus' brother thought that Zara was his daughter. Marcus himself bashed his shin on the table. Nothing earned them any points of sympathy. It seems like those involved, and associate, with the Rodney family were doomed to hate them. Zara gave her hubby an apologetic look, reaching forward to rub the fresh bruise softly. And yes, yes she had *really* had said that. It was questionable if Zara would ever become royalty friendly. Probably not. Marcus lied spectacularly. Besides, if she didn't know about his brother, then his brother certainly didn't know about her. The Grand Moff demonstrated some serious eye roll action. Honestly, Zara wondered if he'd earned a reward for his performance. Of course, it was only natural for the man to dredge up the past. Ah yesss, Marcus' slutty days. Zara, feeling slightly less queasy, propped her head up with her arm. Child, huh? No child could do what she did all the way here...

The creases that were forming in Zara's forehead were never going to go away. His question made her sigh audibly. "Indeed I am young, but I am to be your brother's wife. I think that warrants a little more respect. I've dealt with your asshole parents already. I'm not going to take the attitude from you too. Frankly, I'd rather be mauled by a rancor than spend another moment with here you. We've paid our respects. You now know I exist. Let us leave..." She paused for a moment, "Unless you want me to ruin your office with the perma-stench of vomit."

The Grand Moff listened to young woman's outburst, but did not respond to it directly, instead focusing on his glass of water. "I suppose congratulations is in order then," he said to his brother, before finishing the glass of water. "Very well, be on your way then. I'm sure you'd much rather be with our parents arranging the wedding," he said to them, sarcastically with a bit of dry humor. He placed his hands on his legs and rose from the chair to stand before them, bidding them farewell ... he had much to do as well. "If the situation in the sector remains stable I will attempt to attend the ceremony," he said, politely, before motioning for the door to be unlocked. There was a strangeness to this situation that he did not completely understand, but he would have his people look into it and attempt to get to the bottom of it. It was not like his brother to do something like this, and he was slightly concerned that something could be amiss.

Had she found the magical words to making the man behave? She wasn't sure what she thought of the Grand Moff. As she stepped up to rise against him, it seemed that he stepped back, played nice, and allowed them to leave. He even made Zara laugh with his comment about her future in-laws. "I'd rather be bent over by the rancor in that case." The small teenager rose. She rounded the coffee table so that she stood closer to his brother. "Well, that's a dandy thing for you to say. I suppose we'll see you then." One of her hands reached out toward him, hoping for an awkward handshake or something of the likeness. "I know about your brother's history. This isn't like that. I've been living with him for *months*. If I was going to get old, I already would have. Let's play nice at the wedding. Your mother is going to be more than enough beast for me to handle." Zara didn't mention that she was not going to be a part of some highly stressful royal wedding. Oh no, she was taking Marcus somewhere calm to share her heart with him.

Claudius tilted his head down to look at her more carefully, seeing in her a natural beauty that understandably attracted his brother. It would take further research and more time with her to determine what it was exactly that caused him to stay. He reached out to take her hand into his own, and then bowed slightly at the waist. He pressed his lips against the top of her hand in a polite ... if not formal ... gesture. "Welcome to the family then," he said, as he rose back up to normal level with a kind smile, if not somewhat forced as he was still feeling her out. He then moved towards his brother, and slapped his left hand firmly upon his back, unaware of the bounty hunting injury that was concealed beneath his shirt.

Marcus watched the interaction between his fiancé and his brother, deciding not to interject into their conversation as it would only serve to frustrate both of them. When he saw his brother move to kiss her hand, he moved towards them in mock jealousy. "Now, now, Claudius. You have your own wife ... a Hapan no less!" he said jokingly, trying in his usual charm to lighten the mood. When his brother's hand connected with his back he wanted to scream out in pain, but only grit his teeth so firmly against one another that he nearly cracked them. After a moment he let out a deep breath that he hoped would be taken as a sign of stress and not draw attention to his injury. "Thank you for your hospitality, brother," he said, with both sincerity and formality, before nodding a goodbye to him ... it was as far as the family went. He then placed his hand against the small of Zara's back and led her from this dangerous den and back towards the lift. When they were out of the ability for them to be overheard it was only then that he spoke to her. "I think it went well ... after the vomiting," he said to her, with a slight laugh, as the lift descended back towards the flight deck where their transport awaited.

Quite possibly the hardest lesson about being royalty was always acting. Zara knew that there was no love between her and his brother...or any other members of his family that she met. He was decent enough to take her hand and go through with the proper niceties, so she played the game as well. "Thank you." Her own fake smile played across her face. Zara knew he was going to research her. He would find out that her parents had been rebel scum. Maybe he would cause a stink about it. Zara was the escapee, after all. Marcus' attempts to lighten the mood were appreciated, but not successful. She wouldn't be happy again until she was home, home where no one could reach them. Probably also eating chocolate and taking care of Marcus. God damn, his back had to hurt.

A weight instantly disappeared from Zara's shoulders as soon as they had left the office still. She let Marcus guide her towards the lift. This time around, she didn't care for the surveillance. The platinum-haired woman crept into her lover's arms, draping her own around his neck. She smiled, "Well, if *someone* had told me his brother was the Grand Moff, then I wouldn't have panicked so hard. I blame you." It took so much time to unwind from the events that partook on the star destroyer. All in all, Zara was happy. She already adored their little Zarcus baby.

Marcus was quick to get Zara and his unborn son aboard the Nerf Herder, wasting no time exchanging pleasantries with the deck officer or the pilots gathered around their transport. He took her by the hand and led her up the ramp, treating her so carefully that it was getting close to being overbearing. When he got her seated it was he who strapped her in, perhaps a bit too tightly, rather than allow her to do it herself. He leaned forward, placing a tender kiss upon her forehead, before moving to his seat to begin the process of hurriedly getting them out of there. He had decided not to share with her the extra tidbit that she was carrying a masculine child, as she seemed incredibly stressed and worried it might push her over the edge. As he blasted his transport out of the star destroyer's hangar bay he let out a sigh of relief, and reached out with his free hand to squeeze her thigh as if to signify that they had done it. He was unaware, however, that a tracking device had been placed upon the transport by his brother's meddlesome adjutant in an effort to learn more about why he was doing this.

Untitled 1

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