Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:8:29) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Rodney Castle) and Nerf Herder.
Yekaterina Hanson, Lord Marcus Rodney, and Zara Ta'em.

Any hope of Marcus' back healing during the hyperspace journey between Etti IV and Delaya was destroyed by the repeated acrobatic activities he and Zara had engaged in. It had been a long time since he had stayed with someone afterwards ... intimacy was not his strong suit ... but as they were inside of a transport of hyperspace he could not exactly throw her out the airlock. But even if they were on the surface he still would not have left her ... not this one ... there was something about her that made him want her to stick around for a while. The only normal clothes he had were burned, stained, torn, and bloodied so he had changed into the custom suit of black armorweave that he wore while operating as a bounty armor. It covered his entire body and kept him well protected from blaster fire and light explosives, but on the downside it kept her touch from penetrating and being truly appreciated for what it was. "We're coming up on the Alderaan system..." he said loud enough for her to hear in the back, just before the craft lurched to a sudden halt as it returned to realspace. Almost immediately after the sound of debris hitting the hull began to permeate through the craft ... like rainfall. They had come out in the graveyard of Alderaan ... a vast debris field that consisted of what was left of the once great planet ... including his mother's family. He was silent as he navigated the craft as quickly as possible through the debris before the brilliant blue and green world that was his home began to dominate the viewport.

"So when do you meet my parents?" he asked her, jokingly, secretly dreading the possibility of the young woman coming upon his overbearing parents who still lived in an adjoining spire. Gradually the craft began to enter the atmosphere, but instead of moving towards his castle, moved towards the outskirts of the city of Leiliani where a warehouse he had acquired on the cheap served as a makeshift base. He had done his best to hide his identity from his family, his friends, his fellow members of the guild, and most importantly ... his enemies. Certain members of Imperial Intelligence had found out and used it against him, and now to this Rodian thug had managed to uncover who he was. Zara knew too ... and there was a liability in that should he ever tire of her. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. "Home sweet home," he announced to her, as he helped her up from the seat and offered a brief, but tender kiss, as after the intimacy they shared it would be impolite not to treat her as a lover. "Just a quick wardrobe change and a speeder ride and we'll be there..." he announced to her, as he began to strip out of the armorweave and place it into storage.

Inside the warehouse he began to change in an ornate and expensive purple tunic made by the finest weavers on Alderaan, and a suitable pair of pants, and in a mere instant had transformed from a bounty hunter into a rich nobleman. A luxury speeder awaited them ... complete with droid chauffeur ... that prepared to take them on their way. Before they reached the castle they passed through the city of Leiliani whose cityscape was dominated by high pollution factories, warehouses, and other industry that the Alderaanians would not tolerate on their world and exported to the neighboring system. His ancestors were all to keen to pollute their world for Alderaanian riches, and as they moved through the city into the pristine mountains where the castle lay it became clear that none of the hardship had touched him or his family. At long last they arrived at the entrance to the castle, where they had been only short time ago. He was the first to exit, and then helped her out, and while his head was near hers he slyly whispered, "Do I need to have them lock the silverware?"

Zara hadn't been very convincing when it came to taking care of his back. The intimate hug after an intense day led to many, *many* more intimate moments between the two. He cracked her open in a way that couldn't be duplicated. She would never forget how he had protected her in the shop. Each time they were close to each other, it led to her feelings growing. The attachment she felt to him was getting stronger quicker than she could manage. She couldn't decide if that was okay or not. He was such a good lover, however. It wasn't just in bed. He treated her like a princess, likewise, Zara was good to him. She told him about knowing his identity. In return, she revealed her own second life. The only thing she didn't reveal was why she had stolen from him—and why she wasn't giving the watch back. She felt a little anxious about returning to Delaya. As stated previously, Zara wasn't rich. That pretty white dress had gone up in flames along with the rest of her wardrobe. Throughout most of their flight, she was either naked or wearing a tank top and a pair of panties, the outfit beneath her boiler suit. She wasn't sure how she would mesh into his life.

Her eyes flickered upwards towards the viewpoint. She could see all the debris of everything she had once called home. In the comfort of her own ship, she had cried during the descent to Delaya. The same pain worked through her now. The silence was shared. Both bounty hunter and thief had retracted into the safety of their heads. At last, Zara's hands covered her face. She cried silently. If Alderaan had still been there, she'd be on that planet now. It seemed like the pain she felt from losing the planet was endless. She was lucky to put herself together before Marcus could see her feeling emotional. It was a raw side of her. She wasn't ready to share. His question, though a joke, was terrifying. She laughed dryly. "Oh, *ha, ha, ha*. You know that will be the worst day of my life, right? Oooh, eff it. Take me to them now in all my sweaty, boiler suit glory." She smiled. She didn't expect to be back here so soon. This was his hunting ground.

Down they went to a secret hidey hole for his ship. No matter what happened, Zara wouldn't say anything about who he was. She understood. You didn't want people to know. You wanted people to know less when you were a nobleman. "Home sweet home.." She repeated anxiously as she managed to unbuckle herself. The worries about the stupid material side of things washed away when he helped her up and kissed her. It numbed the stupid part of her brain and brought her happiness back to the surface. She shared that brief kiss with him. When he came out of the warehouse, he was all made up in fancy clothes. "Your clothing makes me feel like if I touch it, it will break." She joked. In the luxury speeder, Zara's worries came alive again. She didn't want to be away from him. The world flashed by the window. Her life had been uprooted. Was he really going to plant those roots in his backyard? She kept a hand in his all the way. At last, they stopped at a familiar place. It felt like a life time had passed since they'd had a late night rendezvous. She thanked him for helping her out shyly. She even blushed when he mentioned the silverware. "Only the sporks." She whispered in reply. She stayed by his side. It was different to enter the castle without a job on her mind. It was odd to see the servants roaming about the castle. There were many who gave her wide-eyed looks. "Are you sure about this..?" She asked him in a dropped voice. She was referring to her being here, making a spot in his life.

Before they could get any further a member of the Alderaan Guard arrived on the scene. She was somewhere between Marcus and Zara's age and sported brown hair that had been trimmed into a pixie cut. Her feminine form was covered in the masculine military-style uniform that the members of the Guard worn, and even sported a helmet that fit humorously big on her small head. She was armed and boasted a DH-17 blaster pistol at her side. She had a weary look upon her face that moved quickly from Lord Rodney to the young tart he had with him. "Milord," she began, clearing her throat as she gave a condescending glare towards the younger woman. "I have been searching the palace for you," she explained with a firm nod of her head, before motioning for other members of the guard to secure the speeder and seal the gate behind them. "Food riots have broken out in the city below. Another wave of refugees from Alderaan who were caught off world when the planet was destroyed," she reported grimly, as she began escorting them back into the safety of the premises. "Your cousin has ordered you to remain indoors until he can rectify the situation," she explained, as they entered the large entryway that dominated the front of the castle. "Shall I have *her* escorted back to the city?" she asked, in a fake attempt to be quiet, but intending to be loud enough for Zara to hear.

Before Marcus could respond to Zara the guard had surrounded them and any hope for privacy the two would have was soon interrupted by their arrival. Bitterly he bit at his lower lip as he listened to the deteriorating conditions in the city below and wondered why his father did not simply use their vast riches to feed the newly arrived Alderaanians. He feared his cousin's machinations and knew he was positioning himself to seize power as neither he, nor his brother, had produced a suitable male heir for the throne. Things were always complicated, but the prospect of being locked up in his room with Zara brought a multitude of inappropriate thoughts to the forefront of his mind. "No. She is staying. Have her added to the list of approved visitors," he ordered, to the guard's dismay, before placing his arm around the Zara in a public gesture of support. There was no hiding her now.

As if Zara needed another reason to feel anxious, this police lady had given her one more. The woman could only be described as frumpy. She was working hard to be 'one of the guys' even though her hat was hilariously ill-fitting. The silver-haired woman watched her ramble off to Marcus about a food war in the market place. She felt for those who were caught in the act of terror and left without a home...that was certainly a story she understood. What she didn't like was the attitude the cop was laying on her! It made her angry. At his side, the thief started to pump herself up. She brought herself to her full, oh so scary height. She even made the effort to look mean. There was a cute scowl involved and everything. Zara was ready to fight...wait. She changed her mind. There were guards surrounding them like a human shield. Trying to fight the cop suddenly seemed like a bad idea. The bitter girl was quiet. She looked upwards at Marcus. What she didn't know was the family history. She hadn't target him based on who he was. He had been targeted strictly off of what was in his possession. That wasn't supposed to sound like a gold digger!

She nuzzled against him freely once his arm was around her. Apparently he was sure about this. He was sure enough to add her to the approved visitors list. Admittedly, that made her feel a little giddy. It was like they were putting a label on it...were they? Zara had no complaints about staying inside. She only spoke once they were out of earshot of Miss Frumpy Hat. "Wow. Miss Frumpy Hat was a little intense. I get the feeling we should lock the door at night, otherwise she'll steal me and lock me in a cell somewhere." These corridors were to become more familiar to her. For now, she was heading straight towards his bedroom where she could get a proper shower and some clean clothes. "However, she did say you have to stay inside..." Her eyebrows wiggled playfully. There was no breaking into his bed chamber this time around. She entered with him. She even felt guilty when she saw his Alderaan treasure. She sighed, reaching into a compartment inside of her boiler suit. Her fingers wrapped around the pocket watch. Her hand opened his up, placing the watch in the palm of it. "I'm sorry." She said. "This belongs to you, not me."

The watch. The item that had sent him on his quest to find her, and had nearly killed them both ... he had all but forgotten it. Marcus took the small, gold babble into his hands and examined it for a moment. It was like so many he owned, and was not even the most valuable in his collection. "Why this?" he asked her, tilting his head slightly to examine her features more intently when she replied. He placed it back within her hand and closed her hand around it, no longer having any need for it. There was so much he wanted to know about her ... he felt as if he had barely scraped the surface of what she had to offer. The feelings he was beginning to develop her frightened him, because it caused him to let his guard down. His carelessness around her had almost cost them everything, and he worried it would happen again.

Zara had worked hard for the watch. Of course she felt regret when she returned it to its rightful owner. It was like she was losing a part of her life for good, the part that had exploded with Alderaan. It surprised her when he examined the watch and placed it back into her hand. Her fingers wrapped around its smooth surface. Her face reacted first to his question. She looked hurt, though not by him. Her thumb ran over the unique crest. Zara cared about Marcus already, meaning that she needed to open up to him. She needed to give him the chance to get to know her. "Did you know only a handful of these watches were ever made? Kain Burgan, the maker, was a good friend of my father's. The crest you see here.." She opened her hand back up. The crest depicted an image of a fierce male lion protecting his pride. "...Is my family's crest. Kain and my father were good friends. I spent a lot of my childhood on Alderaan with Kain." She rested the watch on his dresser for safe keeping. "...After the *incident*, I wanted something to remember him by. When I heard about your collection, I hoped you would have something. I didn't expect it to be this." Zara turned towards him. It felt weird to say the words out loud. Zara was such a guarded person. She didn't like people knowing the specifics. He wasn't the only one who had been bitten by the carelessness bug.

Marcus circled her, not unlike the predator depicted on the watch, until he was positioned behind her. His brown eyes looked over her hungrily, and he moved towards her in swift, deliberate fashion. When he arrived behind her he moved both of his hands around her body until they found their way into two of her front pockets. He pulled her so tightly against him from behind that he nearly lifted her off the ground. His face moved down, brushing away her silver locks with her nose, before placing several kisses upon the back and side of her neck passionately. The kisses were soon replaced by little love bites, and then soon ones that were more substantial. When he pulled his head away he let out as a deep sigh of passion before he released her, and he began to wonder if there was any time when he was more happy. "You need ... a bath," he said, in a joking manner, but he was decidedly serious.

It was hard to feel sad when Marcus was being sweet to her. Zara let out a soft little squeak as he wrapped her up in his arms and squeezed her tight. Both of her hands rested on his arms. "Mmm..." She was smiling again. Each kiss lead her further away from her sadness until he had her giggling under his love bites. They felt so good while successfully riling her up. Her head rolled to the side. Zara snickered. "I do...and it's all your fault. You keep making me so dirty." She held onto his arms, determined to stay close while she inched towards the bathroom. "I'm starting to think that we haven't expanded my wardrobe on purpose. You want me to be naked all the times, don't you?" Everything was happening so naturally between the two. Deep down inside, Zara already knew she was going to blindly throw herself into this. She would play the part of both his lady as well as his partner in crime. "You need a bath too, by the way."

"Fortunately I'm quite rich and the bathtub fits thre- er...two," Marcus said as he moved swiftly into the refresher behind her, correcting himself and trying to whitewash his womanizing past. "I'll have the help clean your boiler suit," he said, before turning his attention to the more pressing task of filling the large, garden-style tub with hot water. Once he had turned the faucet on he began to strip out of his clothe which, despite being quite expensive, he treated very poorly by discarding it on the ground for the staff to deal with leader. He then moved towards her, holding her while she stepped out of her boots, and then reluctantly removing her from the rest of her attire ... even the goggles. Once they were both in their natural state he attempted to enter the tub, but the water was a bit too hot and he let out a yelp as his first dainty toe broke the surface of the water. "Better let that cool for a minute," he explained to her, before once again moving closer to her. In his current state she would be able to see the extend of the cuts and burns he had sustained on his body in the recent calamity, combined with older bruises and scars that had healed over time.

She certainly wasn't going to complain about a bath for two. Baths were one of her top three favorite things to do. Number one, of course, was Marcus. She knew where things would go once they sunk into the water together. "Thanks," she said, in response to getting her boiler suit cleaned. It was useful for ship repairs, which she would be taking over now. Zara was flabbergasted by the size of the tub. It gave them a lot of space for *reasons*. As a woman who was extremely attracted to her lover, she watched him undress. It wasn't her first time seeing his wounds, but god damn, they looked just as painful as ever. He'd surely scar, and those scars would remind them both of what he had done. "Don't you think you should let me fix up your back now?" She asked him. "You seduced me all the way home, but I haven't forgotten." And he was going to continue to seduce her with a lovely warm bath.

She liked how intimate even undressing was with him. He helped her out of her clothing. Boots, socks, boiler suit, and what little she had beneath it turned into a pile on the ground. Her goggles were last to hit the ground. Like him, Zara had her own collection of scars. There were little ones here and there. The most massive one was a long scar extending diagonally down her back from the back of her left shoulder blade to her right hip. She didn't bother explaining all of her old injuries. Like him, she had a legitimate reason. Nude, she watched him try out the water. Her arms wrapped around his neck the next time he was close to her. "That's fine. I can wait. I know of a few ways to pass the time." Zara's lips pressed against his. Her developing feeling were most present in her kisses. The lonely thief had fallen ass-backwards into something good. She had no idea how much time passed when her sweet kiss ended. She parted from him immediately, dancing towards the tub before she got in. "Don't keep me waiting..." She teased.

As Marcus followed her into the tub the hot water irritated his burns and cuts, and he quickly spun around in the tub so that his back was facing her. Gently he glided in between her legs and presented his back to her for inspection. "It looks worse than it is..." he said to her, trying his best to sound like a badass. He offered a half smirk to her, as he turned his head to look over his shoulder at her. He enjoyed the idea of having someone here beyond the simple one night stand that had thusfar totally the sum of his romantic experience. "We'll have to get you a more extensive wardrobe," he said to her, noting that they were now in a much more different setting than the simple mechanic's shop he had plucked her from on Etti IV. He wondered if this could last forever ... if one woman could possibly keep him entertained long enough to make worth keeping around. So far no one had been able to accomplish this, but as he leaned his head back against Zara's chest, making himself much more comfortable in the bath that began to fill with bubbles from the aromatherapy soap he had added.

Zara had wondered the very same thing...could this last forever? Her foolish heart had decided that he was worthwhile, and thus allowed him to sew the seeds of love into it. Hey! All the man had to do was endure extreme pain to make her care for him. It was a good trade, right? Probably not. Zara wasn't happy that he had gotten hurt. She looked over his back silently. "I know, I know. It doesn't hurt at all, right?" He'd feel her fingers touching him briefly. She was no medic, but she had played medic enough that she knew some things. "I want to see your medical supplies when we're done. Like it or not, I'm going to take care of you." Her legs spread wider so he could comfortably rest himself against her breasts. Her hands were done exploring his wounds, so they settled into his shoulders. They began to massage him slowly. "I don't know how to dress like a noble. You'll have to come with me shopping. I'll probably need help in the dressing room at least a couple of times.." Her legs, which were on either side of him, squeezed him. The bath was so nice. Zara was relaxed and lustful for him.

Just as their moment seemed to erupt into a bout of intimacy the unwelcome presence of the guard from earlier burst into the refresher. "Milord!" she said loudly, before realizing what she had walked in on. Her face sunk, and her cheeks flared red with embarrassment, breaking eye contact with a slight giggle. Kat was careful to shield her eyes before she say anything more, but in truth she had seen everything. "A group of rioters are at the gates of the castle demanding an audience with your father over the food shortages," she informed him, before turning her back to the duo, and waiting for the response. Her eyes darted to the mirror in whose reflection she could still make out what was happening behind her, and a soft smirk crept onto her ruby lips.

"Of course I'll help you dress," Marcus said, as he turned his head to place soft, teasing kisses on her leg, after turning his head to the side to get a better angle of attack. It was at that moment that the guard burst into the scene and interrupted them, causing Marcus to immediately trash about in the tub in an attempt to cover his younger companion. "How dare you!" he screamed in outrage, as he attempted to get out of the tub, but instead just slipped and fell quickly back down onto Zara with all of his weight. As he listened to the guard dictate the story of the rioters nearing the structure he feared for the safety of his elderly parents, knowing that neither was in any condition to deal with this. "I'll see to it," he said to the guard, as he turned to Zara, with woeful eyes, knowing that their chance at making water babies had cut short.

Zara giggled girlishly. Those kisses were *nice*. She could certainly get used to being spoiled like this. They were close, happy, and working their way closer to doing the deed. "Mmm... Don't stop.." She moaned. The atmosphere in the refresher suddenly changed from relaxed to panicked. Miss Frumpy Hat burst in on them. Zara leaned over the tub in attempt to grab her boot and throw it at the guard. Marcus was trying to cover her. In all the mess, they became tangled up in each other. His full weight came crashing down on her after he yelled at the woman. "Ooowwww!" Zara whined, rubbing the front side of her body. She slunk into the water. She wasn't going to say no to Marcus being her human body shield for the second time. Zara was modest. She didn't want people walking in on them getting busy!

The guard wasn't the only one sporting red cheeks. The thief was insanely embarrassed by the events that had transpired. Worse than that, the food rioters had arrived at the gates of his home. She saw the look in his eyes. He needed to attend to business, but not before Zara snagged her boot by the laces from the floor. "Now get out of here! *And knock next time*!" She growled, throwing her boot towards Kat as to send the woman away. She didn't make her way out of the tub until the guard was gone for good. She was understanding towards Marcus. He had responsibilities. "Let me borrow something to wear. I'm coming with you." It wasn't a question. She grabbed a towel, quickly drying off her hair and her body. As long as they were together later, there would still be time to work on baby making.

"Ow!" Kat squealed when the boot unexpected struck her in the small of the back. She spun on her heels to confront the hussy who had attacked her, and raised a gloved finger to scold her. "Listen you..!" she began, but was quickly stopped by the look she was getting from the Duke's son. Clearly she would not win this argument, but she took satisfaction in knowing this was likely only a passing fling. "I'll be outside," she muttered angrily, as she stepped out of the refresher, and moved out of his personal chambers to wait for them to dress. With the stories she had heard about him, she never expected that he would actually keep one of them around for longer than a few hours. This girl bore watching.

"I wish you hadn't done that..." Marcus said to Zara as he followed her out of the tub, referring to the the fact that she had shoo'd her with the shoe. "The only thing I have for you to wear is the suit you came in with or one of the guard uniforms. Which do you prefer?" he asked, as he grabbed one of the towels and began the process of drying her off. He lingered on certain parts of her body to make sure they were especially dry ... he was something of a tease. At least they were clean, he thought to himself as he began the process of drying himself, being especially delicate with his wounds as he did not want to risk reopening them. Once that was done he moved towards his closet to begin the process of putting on clothing in a mix of red and white that would show off his status when meeting with the people. What does one wear to a food riot? he wondered, before settling on something that was a mix of style and comfort.

Zara was angry. Little Miss Frumpy Hat was on the young thief's bad side. The woman thought that Zara was just another trampy ho-bag. She was another Barbie girl who would be around for a week max. The silver-haired woman wore a frown. She wasn't like other woman. Miss Frumpy Hat needed to stop assuming otherwise. She didn't realize how much of a man slut Marcus had once been. You could bet that those kind of actions weren't going to fly with the thief. She'd been through hell and back already. She wasn't going to deal with someone shattering her heart into a thousand pieces for a new prettier tail. She groaned. "That woman needs to learn about boundaries. Pervert." Grumble, grumble, grumble. He joined in drying her off, only it was a lot more exciting when he did it. His hands touched all over, some parts more than others. Zara idly wondered how long it would be until they were back in his bedchambers and wrapped up in each others arms. Not soon enough.

"I'll wear the boiler suit. Seriously shopping tomorrow. This thing it started to smell weird." Zara whined. She turned her towel on him. She was gentle with his body. She didn't avoid his wounds. Instead, she stood behind him and patted them down with the most gentleness she could muster. After that, they parted to dress. Zara, right back into her boiler suit. This time around, she wore nothing beneath it. She collected both her boots and shoved her feet in them. Maybe one should wear a poncho to a food riot. You never knew when things were going to get messy after all. She looked at him. He was dressed handsome and shiny. Zara admired how sexy he was, though there was a sinking feeling inside of her that said she didn't belong here. She could never really be part of his world. With a sigh, the girl slid her arm in his. "Well, let's go make some peace. Don't be too sexy. That pervy police lady is going to be out there watching."

As Marcus descended the stairs he could see that the level of concern was high among the guards that had gathered to protect the nobility that had locked them away in the palace. "How bad is it?" he asked the guards, as they regrouped in the great hall that dominated the entrance of the castle. As he got reports of the food shortages his face went white, and the color had withdrew from his face as quickly as the guard had done from the city. There simply was not enough food to feed everyone, and the Empire was not about to send food to the Rebellious refugees of a planet they just obliterated. By now they could hear the screams of the rioters who were grabbing at the bars of the gate and attempting to pull it down, while others were beginning to throw rocks, rotten produce, and other debris over the gate at the guard. There was concern that they would fire and this would become a full on massacre. "We have to get some food..." he said to Zara, as he could feel the tension beginning to rise.

The situation was bad. People were being forced to watch their families starve to death thanks to the food shortage. Zara walked at Marcus' side with a thoughtful look on her face. She was a problem solver. This problem needed a solution. Long term, they could form an alliance with a planet that produced food. It was a lengthy measure, but realistic nonetheless. They needed a short term plan. One was already swirling inside of Zara's head. The people's screams penetrated through her thoughts. It was a constant reminder that something needed to be done. Marcus was in a bad position on top of everything else. Her hand touched his arm. "We will." Those were the only words she said to him. Her voice was calming, confident...and slightly shaky. She didn't waste time. Zara turned her back on the whole situation in order to run towards the now empty bed chambers. Once there, she found her hand-sized laptop along her possessions that had survived their recent hardships. She plopped down on his bed, a single hand flashing across a hologram keyboard. The Empire had the food...but where exactly was the food?

It had taken Zara a long time to find a weak spot in the Empire's data. Now she was using it to help those around her, and not for personal revenge like she had hoped for. Information lingered in the air all around her. Her hand swiped left and right. She was searching rapidly for what they needed: a fucking miracle. "Where is it.. C'mon..." She mumbled to herself.

"*Ah ha!*" Her eyes lit up...

After gaining what information she needed, the little thief dove into her new lover's closet. She exchanged her jumpsuit with his robe and a pair of pants that she found in a back corner. It was questionable how old said pants were. They most certainly didn't fit her petite body. It was time to do what she was best at: thieving.

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