Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Christopher Levy and Anonymous.

One year before the battle of Yavin (34:10:22) in the Lannik system: Gilded Thranta and Lannik (New Osler: Spaceport and The Wild Flejj Beast).


Commander Derek Atio and Ishara.


New Osler, a second-tier city on the Mid Rim planet of Lannik, stood out amongst the vast desert wasteland of this particular region. Sand was everywhere, but most noticeably in the air. A strong breeze could cause such a dust up that locals were forced to cover their faces to avoid choking or being scratched by pebbles. The buildings looked ancient, but most were new ... the arid climate and rough conditions caused their exteriors to wear quickly. One such locale, which few dared enter unless they were looking for something ... or someone ... was The Wild Nerf, a cantina of some notoriety.

In the rear booth sat Derek Atio, an unassuming Human male in his mid-forties. His rather toned physique was clad in the attire only a space would wear: a dark brown leather flight jacket that fit loosely over a tight-fitting crew-neck shirt; a rugged belt that had seen better days, tattered and barely holding together, and home to the most unassuming of carbines in a right holster, a pair of tan slacks with well-worn pant legs that shown he had spent a lot of time doing some sort of labor; and a pair of boots that seemed to match the jacket perfectly, that somehow he managed to keep clean. The drink in front of him seemed untouched, his eyes focused instead on the holonet screen broadcasting the New Osler Flejj Beasts playing a game of Pugil. The home team was losing ... and so was he ... he had bet the game. If someone did not walk in soon with some prospect of work, he would have to limp home to the Rebellion to find the money to cover his debts.

The Force works in mysterious ways they say, and it seemed that work might have just walked in the front door. This planet had been home to the Trianii female for two years now. She had been planet hopping for years, and was quite accustomed to the need to pack her things and leave when things got 'too hot.' She had good reason to run too. She had been at it since she was very young, probably on some Imperial list somewhere listed as 'at large' or some such thing. Her features were difficult to make out. She wore a dark brown cloak with the hood pulled up, fairly typical for these sandy planets. Underneath she wore a camel colored flight-suit, one piece made of a durable yet pliable leather hide, hugging her lithe form tightly. Two bumps occasionally twitched atop her head under that cloak, arms clasped under the sleeves in front of her as she spoke to the door guard a moment then moved ghost-like into the room towards the bar. She was here seeking transport off this rock. Sure an Imperial patrol came through once in a while. They were easily distracted and sent away, but lately the numbers had increased like they always do, and it was time to go.

"Oh no ... no, no!" Derek yelled loud enough for everyone in the small Cantina to hear. He rose to his feet, his face flushed red with anger as he watched events unfold on the Holonet screen in front of him. The opposing team had scored again. Now, he needed that drink. He sighed deeply and lowered his head shaking it in disbelief. It had been a sure thing ... the team could not possibly lose. "It's fixed!" he complained in a frustrated tone, but no one around him seemed to care. This had been how he had been spending most of his days lately ... this was nothing unusual to them. Settling back in to his seat at the table he stared at the drink in front of him, wondering if he was becoming an alcoholic. Oh well ... there was only one way for him to find out. He grabbed hold of the glass and brought it to his lips quickly. His eyes closed instinctively as he poured the liquor down his throat. It burned, but it was a good burn. As he swallowed he coughed loudly, his eyes reopening as he slammed the glass upside down on the table in front of him. "Another round for the sector's best pilot," he announced to no one in particular, "...and worst gambler."

A tall, pointed ear shifted slightly under the hood of her cloak at the humans outburst but she did not turn, instead she kept quietly muttering with the bartender until the human wandered over for his drink. She turned her head slightly his way, under that cloak the end of her slender muzzle could be seen a moment. Fangs peeked a little as the nostrils of her black nose twitched a little. She took in the various scents of the room, dissecting them in an instant as she watched him down his drink. She paused a moment, her claws clicking slightly on the hard floor as she tapped a foot in thought then speaks softly, her face still obscured. "Best pilot hmm? A bold claim...The Empire is in need of good pilots though..." She offered, testing his response subtly.

Derek's head turned slightly towards the woman in the cloak standing near him. Naturally, as any man would do, he looked her over intently from top to bottom, spending particularly long moments in the middle. Unfortunately, he could not determine much due to the cloak ... still, she was slender and most importantly ... a woman. "Yeah I'm the best pilot in this sector, ma'am," he said in a very arrogant manner, a confident smile backing his play. "As for the Empire..." he began before taking hold of the newly-poured drink in front of him and shooting it down the hatch where the others had all met their doom, "...those bastards can find someone else to fly their ships. Besides ... I've got my own and she does the job just fine."

Her eyes glinted under that cloak as she peered at him appraisingly. He was brash and cocky, but she suspected the claims of his piloting were true. He had lived to this age after all. "I am seeking passage out of this system and through the Askajia system, past that I can find my way. Do you have a fast ship? I prefer no...Imperial interaction." She spoke in soft tones so no others nearby could hear her. Though she did fidget a little in place. She was a little uncomfortable in crowds of any kind. When she was younger it was difficult to stay away from others and sad she couldn't go play with those her age, but solitude eventually grows on you and now she finds herself uncomfortable amongst others.

"Oh I assure you, little lady, that everything about me is fast..." Derek said overconfidently, but then paused and seemed slightly confused by what he had just said ... it did not come out right at all. He narrowed his eyes slightly as he thought of a way to correct himself, "Yeah. The ship is fast alright." He turned his entire body to face her this time. He leaned against the bar to prop himself up lazily. His eyes returned to her body as he studied a bit more intently. Sure he needed work, but he had serious doubts as to whether or not she could afford his services. He also had come to find ... through considerable experience ... that those who wished to avoid Imperial interaction often ended up being more trouble than they were worth. However, he needed the work and there was something about this young woman that he could not yet place. "I can take you to Askajia," he said cordially, a more formal tone being adopted as the matter turned, inevitably, to the dirty business of money, "The cost is eight thousand ... you got that much?" He paused after his question. Her response ... spoken and unspoken alike ... would determine what kind of customer he was dealing with here.

She grimaced and hesitated ever so slightly...eight thousand...ouch. She had amassed a little credit here and there, but holding much wealth was just another way for the Empire to track you down. She had three, maybe four thousand at the most. "...Yes...eight thousand it is. I will be ready to leave by nightfall, which hangar is your ship docked?" She asked, quickly changing the subject from money, perhaps noticeably quickly. Lying had of course been awkward at first but over the years the need for it to stay alive had dulled her dislike of it. Though she still was not the best at it.

"Oh really?" Derek thought silently to himself, both surprised and unsure of her response. No way did he believe this woman had the whole eight thousand. He narrowed his eyes at her, his eyebrows scrunching just above his nose. He was not entirely sure of what to make of her just yet ... it seemed clear that she was in trouble, but did he want to make it his trouble? "Payment," he began in a more serious tone as he continued to probe her, " required in advance of course." He tilted his head to the right slightly and watched the woman intently. He was a sympathetic sort, but he also had debts to pay. *If* he was going to help her, he would have to find out more about her.

She perked her ears under that hood slightly at his reply. Her shoulders rose and fell with a sigh then her steely eyes flickered in the shadow of the cowl. "You'll have your payment before departure. Is that acceptable?" She asked, her paws unfolded from her dark robes, extending one nimble fingered white paw towards him to shake.

Derek took her paw into his hand and shook it two times. He was taken back slightly by the feel of her hand ... it was not what he was suspecting. "This could be interesting," he thought to himself as he let his fingers slowly brush against the fur of her hand as he released the grip of his handshake. As he un-tilted his head, his eyes focused on the eyes looking at him from the shadows beneath the robe. He still could not make out her features, but it was now obvious she was not Human. He smiled at her reassuringly before continuing the conversation. "Pay me what you can," he said quietly so that the others present could not hear that he was giving someone a break ... it could damage his reputation.

Her brow arched in the shadow as she studied him briefly then gave a single nod. Her paw returned to the folds of her robes as she turned. He could perhaps catch the briefest glimpse of a white furry tail-tip flicking to hide beneath the hem, or maybe it was just the lighting. She strode quietly back across the room the way she came, glancing at other potential pilots in case this one did not work out. Nodding to the door guard she padded outside again, she could still be seen through one of the dirty portholes. Her paw came back up, this time fussing with something that took her attention. That something turned out to be a sort of rolling paper that she had filled with some dried plant substance. She placed the cigarra between her thin, dark lips to light and exhaled a puff of white smoke from her muzzle that was only just barely peeking from that hood. She would occasionally glance up and down the walkway.

Derek remained at the bar, his eyes never moving off the young woman. He watched as she made her way out of the cantina and back onto the street and lit her cigarra. "This girl is full of surprises," he thought to himself as he downed another drink at the bar. He was about to follow her and check to see if she would like to leave sooner when he froze in his tracks at what he saw. A lone Imperial Stormtrooper was proceeding down the walkway towards her ... perhaps just on a routine patrol, but perhaps not. He would have to find his courage from the drink he had just downed. Nervously, he swallowed and strolled through the cantina and walked out onto the walkway. He came up behind her casually and stood slightly behind her and to the right. He coughed lightly as he smelled the smoke she was producing, but he didn't mind. "Friend of yours?" he asked in a sarcastic manner quietly as his eyes darted towards the Stormtrooper. "How about we get out of here now?" he asked her pleasantly, deciding he didn't care much for the scenery around these parts anymore.

She had noticed the trooper wandering down the way, she took one last long drag off the cigarra before tossing it into the sand to quench. Another nod was given. "Probably wise." She said, turning down the other direction in a casual manner to head towards the hangar bays. "They should not have patrols in this part of the city for another three days, they must be increasing numbers." She comments softly. As they put distance between themselves and the Stormtrooper her pace quickened a little.

When they reached the docking bay where his ship was parked Derek paused at the door. With a bit of apprehension he looked left and then right down the street. Satisfied that they were not being watched he entered the four digit access code. A brief moment later the door opened, giving clear view of the hangar bay within and the small shuttle within. The Gilded Thranta, a Koensayr model, sat alone in the docking bay. It was not much to look at, but he had used his finances to equip her properly. The ship was more than capable of getting them to their destination. His attention turned to her for a moment, a confident smile appearing upon his lips. "We'll have you out of here in no time," his voice once again sounding very confident. He led her onto the ramp that extended beneath the ship and stepped inside it. Once they were secure in the life, he activated the control panel, which raised the ramp inside the ship. The inside of the ship was nothing like the planet or the man himself. He kept things immaculately clean and well-functioning. It could instantly be realized that this was a man who had a disdain for filth. The interior was well-decorated with works of Core World art and trinkets from his trips around the galaxy. The passenger compartment was well-equipped and would make most anyone very comfortable. "Here we are," he said to her happily.

She glanced about the interior a moment from under her hood. She had expected to go pack a couple things before leaving but emergency departures were not unheard of either. It would not be the first time she left most her things behind. The hood itself was not only to conceal her identity but it helped keep the sand out of her fur. In this air-filtered ship she no longer needed it and reached up to push the hood back over her ears. Her features were distinctly feline-like. Her fur a storm-white color with tall ears and a narrow muzzle. Her dark eyes moved once again around the room as she blinked, letting that hood fall back. "This is quite nice, I suggest we make haste though, yes?" Her paw extended with a cred chip. "It's all I have at the moment."

Derek turned around and a genuinely surprised look came upon her face as she revealed herself. His smile curled upward as he looked over her facial features ... she was beautiful. He was a sucker for beautiful women ... he could not take her money even though he needed it. He extended his right hand towards her, but rather than take the credit chip from her his hand raised towards her face. Gently he brushed the backside of his hand against the soft fur of her muzzle. It felt wonderful. He left his hand there for a fleeting moment before withdrawing it and regaining his composure. "Keep your creds," he said to her quietly, "I just want to help." He gave her one last look, his eyes hovering on her face a bit too long. Finally, he regained some composure as he walked through the corridors of the shuttle and entered the cockpit. He began toggling several switches on the control panel above his head. A humming noise began to sound in the back of the ship as the reactor began to warm up. It would not be long until the ship was prepped for takeoff.

She blinked at his hand coming to her cheek, but she did not pull away, merely peering at him curiously. Her brow arched as he changed his demeanor quite quickly since their meeting in the bar. She watched as he wandered back up front, slipping the cred chip back into her robes. One ear laid back slightly as she followed him to the cockpit. Hovering over his shoulder she glanced outside at the hangar bay to make sure none had followed. "I insist on paying if there is a Star Destroyer in orbit..." She blinked then grimaced and patted his shoulder. "Not to alarm you of course."

"If there's a Star Destroyer in orbit..." Derek said, starting to chuckle lightly at the situation, "Getting paid off will be the least of my concerns." He turned his head over his shoulder and smiled at her face briefly, before turning his attention forward again. Lights on the control panel in front of him began to turn green ... indicating the startup procedure was complete. "Better sit down and strap in," he said to her in a concerned tone, his eyes darting towards the co-pilot's seat next to him. He grabbed hold of the flight stick and activated the repulsorlift engines on the ship. The small shuttle rocked slightly as it lifted off the docking bay floor. As it raised out of the docking complex his hand reached to a button that raised the landing pegs. His head turned to his right slightly as he watched her, the smile returning to his face, waiting for her to secure herself before activating the engines.

She sat at the co-pilots seat, being careful not to touch anything she should not as she pulled the straps over her shoulders and clipped in. She gave him a brief nod before turning her gaze towards the horizon for any perusing ships. She was indeed keen to make it out from the Imperial gaze. This was not entirely unusual, lots of folks fled from the Empire, like one ongoing massive game of cat and mouse. Once satisfied she pushes herself back into her seat a bit more securely, tail curled into her lap.

Derek turned to look at her for a moment. As he noticed the tail curl in her lap, he nearly lost his focus and his hands slipped from the controls and the small shuttle shook violently as it hovered above the docking bay. He laughed uncomfortably and turned to her for a moment, "...sorry about that." Refocusing, he pulled back on the flight stick and moved the throttle forward. As the ship banked upward in response, the sublight engines activated and sent the ship accelerating upwards through the planet's atmosphere and into the lower level of space. The sensors beeped alerting him of several contacts. It detected several civilian craft and a standard patrol of Imperial TIE fighters, but luckily there was no Star Destroyer. Reaching his hand towards the navigation computer he selected Arkajia as the destination. The computer responded with several *beeps* and *whrrls* as it began downloading the hyperspace coordinates. "Shalln't be too much longer now," he said to her with a satisfied grin.

Her eyes swept over the sensor readings briefly and she gave a little nod. Another glance to the navigation system before she seemed to relax a little bit. Her paws resting in her lap as she gave a sigh and perked her ears up a little. "It must be orbiting another planet in the system, we're quite lucky." She would still occasionally peer at the sensor read-outs. She turned her head towards him. "How long is the journey to Arkajia?"

As the navigation computer beeped several additional times, indicating it had completed plotting the coordinates, Derek moved his face towards it to closer examine the data. As he backed away from the screen he turned his head back towards her. "It's going to be just over fourteen hours," he explained to her. Facing forward, his hand grasped the controls to the hyperdrive. Sliding the controls forward the stars in front of them began to streak into blurs as the shuttle exited the vastness of realspace into the folds of hyperspace, commencing their journey. His left hand instinctively moved to activate the auto-pilot. "You can unstrap yourself now," he informed her as he rose from his seat. He paused to smile at her yet again before walking down the ship's lone corridor towards the passenger compartment. "It's more comfortable back here," he said loud enough for her to hear him in the cockpit, as he sat down on one of the many plush seating arrangements that were situated throughout the compartment.

She blinked as he rose, peering nervously at the controls before she abandoned them herself, unclipping the harness and standing. Her blunted toe claws gently clicked on the metal floor as she followed him down the corridor. Ears swiveled slightly to take in the sounds of her surroundings. "It's a nice ship," she commented. Once they wandered into the main living space she moved to one of those bunks and shrugged off the warm cloak from her shoulders, bundling it up carefully. Underneath she wore a camel colored leather jumpsuit, designed with padded areas on the shoulders and some thinner material where the joints met for easy movement. Otherwise it was a full body jumpsuit aside from her bare paws, which were wrapped with dark cloth. She had a long, lush bushy tail of storm white which gave a little shake before she sat down on the bunk, testing it's firmness.

Derek watched her remove the cloak rather intently. His mouth went dry as he watched her movements. He tried to swallow, but couldn't find any saliva in his mouth. He shifted uncomfortable in his seat ... they had a long period of being alone together coming up and he had serious doubts as to how he would hold up. "So..." he began, breaking the temporary awkward silence, "I don't suppose you'd want to tell me why you needed to get out of there so fast?" He doubted she would, but he needed to talk about something after all. His head lowered slightly as his eyes ran over her body, as intense as any sensor scan the ship might perform.

She shifted a little as he asked that question and looked her over. She flattened her tall ears some and pulled a paw up underneath herself, half cross-legged as she glanced over at him "I don't suppose that I do, no." Her head tilted a little curiously as she continued. "I am a Trianii...have you not encountered us before? I just...noticed you staring." She dipped her muzzle slightly.

Derek's face reddened slightly as he was caught looking a bit too long. He moved his line of sight away from her quickly. "Fair enough," he informed her, respecting her desire for privacy. He probably would not be spilling his secrets either if he were in her position. As for her question he struggled to find the answer. "I have seen holo images of other alien races," he began nervously, lifting his head to look at her for another moment, "but ... no, I have never seen one in purpose." He gave her a quick smile, genuinely hoping he had not offended the young woman.

She nodded a bit in understanding, letting her gaze linger on him a moment before drifting around the room. She had a way of staring right through you when she wanted to however "I really do insist on paying or if there are any chores you require, perhaps maintenance that I could perform. I'm fairly handy with a spanner." She gave a faint smile towards the pilot before glancing at some of the artifacts he decorated his place with. Her ears perking alertly. The thrum of the engines was rather relaxing.

Derek looked around his ship, his eyes darting over several control panels. He kept the ship in fairly working order, but he could always use a hand keeping the ship up and running. He rose from where he was sitting and adjust his trousers gently. He walked across the compartment to where she was sitting, feeling a need to be closer. "I really can't take your money," he explained kindly as he sat down next to her. "You needed the help," he continued, "and I was growing tired of Lannik anyway."

"I don't think I ever got used to the sand, I can still feel it in my fur despite my best efforts." She scowled a little and flattened her ears before eyeing him cautiously when he sat near her. Her tail gave a little wriggle as she nodded. "Well, I do appreciate your help. I have never been much of a pilot and sometimes find the need to pick up and move. I have heard there are some less sandy planets in the systems past Arkajia, that sounds nice after a year and a half of sand.

Derek nervously reached his hand forward and took hold of one of her paws. Once it was comfortably in his hand he moved his other hand on top of it and began petting the soft fur of her paw gently. He enjoyed the feel of it in his hands and hoped that she would find it soothing. "We'll find you a nice place to settle down on..." he paused, realizing he did not even know her name. His eyes narrowed at her slightly as he tilted her head towards her. "You know I just realized I don't even know your name," he informed her, a small chuckle escaping his lips. "I'm Derek by the way," he told her, trying to make her feel more comfortable.

She blinked as his hand slipped into her paw. She hesitated then gave a light squeeze. One ear perked slightly and offered a small smile to him. Nodding lightly and giving his hand a small squeeze. Her paws were quite soft and warm, the dark pads smooth. She gazed at him appraisingly for a moment before deciding to give him her name. He had sacrificed his safety for her after all. Her tail twitched. "My name is Ishara. It's a pleasure to meet you."

"Ishara..." Derek repeatedly quietly. A dazed smile formed upon his lips before he continued, "It's a lovely name." His hand continued to explore every centimeter of her hand. He probably did not even realize he was still doing it. He was not sure why, but something was drawing him towards this young woman. He sighed somewhat contently as he just sat there with her, enjoying the closeness between him. This was not like him. He had never felt this way before and new feelings were frightening to him. He struggled to find something else to talk about, but his mind was going cloudy and blank. "A year and a half on Lannik, huh?" he asked, finally bringing up a topic of conversation, "I don't know how you managed to stand it. I was only there a few days and hated it."

"You get used to those desolate, uninhabitable rocks after you've lived on a few. But the sand..." She shook her head. "No one likes sand, that goes for the empire too which makes those planets good hideaways." After a few moments she pulled her paw away from his exploring hand to unzip her jumpsuit a little ways to relieve some warmth. She peered at him, perking her ears. "And what business brought you to Lannik, smuggler?" she asks boldly.

Derek blinked as she pulled away her hand, as if he had come out of some sort of trance. He looked slightly confused before processing her question. "Smuggler?" he said, laughing off her accusation. She was way off base. In reality, he was a Rebel officer on leave, traveling the galaxy for adventure and excitement. However, all he had found was gambling debts and empty liquor bottles ... but now he had found her and things seemed to be taking a turn for the better. "Lannik was just the next stop on the trade lane I was navigating." He smiled, laughing slightly, "It was nothing like the visitor's guide said it would be." His head tilted towards her again. "Still..." he said slowly, "It wasn't that bad." Obviously, he was referring to his encounter with her.

She gave a small smile to him before looking down at her dangling paw, swinging it slightly as she leaned her paws on the edge of the bunk. "Well Derek if there are any things that need doing 'round your ship please don't hesitate to ask, hmm? I hate taking things for free even from kind, trade pilots." She bowed her head before looking down at her toes again absently. It was strange, an hour ago she was at her small home on Lannik, now she was sitting beside a Human on a bunk in a small ship. She was not oblivious to his gazes and looks, she vaguely wondered how much of her jumpsuit he was peeling away with his eyes.

Derek looked down at the deckplating as well. He could tell he was making her nervous, perhaps even uncomfortable. He was coming on too strong and he realized it. He shook his head slightly, admonishing himself. He folded his hands nervously in his laps and intertwined his fingers, trying to occupy himself. He swallowed, the uncomfortable dry feeling in his throat returning. "This is silly," he thought to himself as he released his hands and placed them awkwardly on his knees. His head turned to her slowly and he decided just to be honest at this point. "I'm sorry," he told her in a genuinely embarrassed tone of voice, "It's just ... it's just you're very beautiful and it caught me a bit off guard." His cheeks flushed red again as he looked at her apprehensively, fearing her response.

She blinked at him then chuckled a little at his obvious embarrassment and nervousness. She herself was not really uncomfortable, just simply not oblivious to his gaze. She perked her ears a little with a mirthful grin for once. "You don't have to apologize, it's alright. The last two pilots who offered me passage first asked for me to breed with them as a form of payment for passage." She shook her head though tried to offer this information with some levity in her voice. "So really you've been quite modest and hospitable." She smiled, flashing a white fang.

"Thanks..." Derek replied, feeling less embarrassed as he heard her reassuring thoughts. Truth be told he had, for at least a moment, harbored similar thoughts, but of course he would never admit that. Since the ice was broken and the awkwardness removed from the conversation temporarily, he decided to try and push forward a bit. "Does the fur..." he began to ask nervously, "Does the fur cover everything?" He only had a few more hours with the woman and did not want to spend the rest of his life wondering so he decided to just come out and ask, despite the taboo nature of the topic.

She arched a brow at his silence then smirked a little bit as she stretched a bit. "Hmm. Well, yes I suppose, but in varying density depending on the place." She felt her ears redden slightly though for a moment, she laid them back to hide this. "It's not a bad thing visiting colder planets at least." She shrugged a shoulder then glanced at him with a slightly furrowed brow. "For the record, I heckled those previous pilots down to hyperdrive overhauls." A firm nod was given.

"Oh of course," Derek said quickly, nodding in agreement with her statement. He had never doubted that she had refrained from offering those kind of services to the other pilots. He lowered his head slightly, wondering if it wasn't best to move away from this kind of discussion. "What is she going to do once she gets to Arkajia?" he wondered to himself, genuinely interested in what the young lady might do once she exited her temporary involvement in his life. Even though it was still more than twelve hours away, he already felt like he was going to miss her. It was strange in a number of ways that he felt the way he did, but that was a mystery he could not yet unravel.

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