was standing on a supply crate trying to motivate
her people. "The shelters will be up shortly.
There's food enough for everyone. The Alliance will
help us," she said, as she tried to bring a warm
smile to her face. There were so many suffering
people around her ... men, women, children, the
elderly, and even some of the alien species that got
caught up in the evacuation. As she stood there she
felt like she was blossoming into the leader her
family always wanted to be. In a word, she felt
proud. But that's when she was hit in the side of
the face with a vegetable. "Your family did this.
You're responsible!" said voices in the crowd, as a
mob suddenly formed, threatening to get hostile
towards her. To many her contributions to the
Rebellion went unnoticed ... the only thing they
knew that she was the daughter of an Imperial Grand
Moff. They needed someone to blame and it was *her*.
was doing her best to be cast in a brighter light
than she currently was. While none of the refugees
knew about her betrayal, she felt uncomfortable
around her fellow Rebels. All morning long, she had
spent time with the refugees providing medical
attention to those who were hurt. She had ended up
in the camp of Jelena Rodney...a woman she didn't
know but hated by her association with the Rodney
family. From afar, she watched the woman make her
speech only to find herself attacked by the angry
refugees. Ash rose and made her way towards the
crate where she stood. She bent down, picking up the
vegetable. "Everyone...I know you're angry but
you're blaming the wrong person. Jelena Rodney is
not the culprit. Everything began to change when
that damn Governor Papius showed up. If you want to
be angry at someone, be angry at him! Don't waste
food by throwing it at someone who saved you!" She
threw the vegetable back down to the crowd.
"Refugees, this is your chance to start over. New
Alderaan will become your home. Let go of your hate
and embrace the fact that finally you have somewhere
to belong. We will keep you safe here!"
Yekaterina Rodney was *trying* to keep guard. She
was still recovering from her vicious standing at
the hands of Ashori. She was too slow to bat down
the vegetables that were flying towards Jelena, but
she had begun to move forward to pull her away.
*That* is when she saw Ashori. "Traitor!" she yelled
out, surging forward past Jelena and the crowd
towards Ashori. She leapt up in the air to tackle
her to the ground, but the crash did more to hurt
her than it did her target. The bacta patch was
dislodged and her shoulder began bleeding again. The
crowd who viewed Ashori as a member of the Rebel
Alliance who had saved them, and Kat as a member of
the Alderaan Guard who had persecuted them, began
attacking Kat and trying to help Ashori. It was not
long before she was in a world of hurt.
Uh oh. Ash
noticed the woman who she had stabbed immediately.
By making a speech, she had just called the woman's
attention to her. Kat successfully tackled her to
the ground where the red-haired girl covered her
face. She didn't fight back against her *comrade*.
Kat's display caused a huge backlash for her. The
refugees, already hyped on adrenaline, turned on
her. "Stop! Stop!" Ashori called out, grasping
Yekaterina and helping her to her feet. She used her
body to shield away anyone else who was trying to
hurt Kat while leading her away. She noticed the
blood on Kat's shoulder while recalling what it was
like to stab her. Papius had changed her ... for the
worse. "You're bleeding." She stated obviously. "Go
rest. You can't protect Jelena like this." She made
no mention of Kat calling her a traitor. She would
Mug Zoran was
sitting in what would ultimately become his family's
homestead. He watched as Callista drew the
blueprints for their home in the dirt with a stick
he had fashioned. "This is going to get expensive,"
he whispered to Iyah, as he watched it get bigger,
and bigger, and bigger. It was then that he heard
the commotion surrounding Jelena's speech, and he
looked over towards the crowd and the dust that was
getting kicked up. "Something is wrong..." he said
to Iyah, before placing his hand upon her in an
attempt to get her to stay while he went. As he
rushed the crowd was getting more and more riled up.
As he pushed forward his eyes first caught a glimpse
of Jelena ... his niece, who he had thought dead!
But then as he looked down he spotted Ashori in
trouble ... again ... and the unexpected sight of
Kat Hanson upon her. "You're alive!" he said, as he
tried to get closer to her to protect her. That's
when a fist suddenly connected with the side of his
face, knocking him to the ground as well, where he
promptly began to get trampled.
The petite Callista lay on the ground with her head
propped up by one of her hands. She held the stick
in her other hand, drawing something that was
beginning to look more and more like a castle. There
were large balconies coming off from both her and
her parent's bedrooms. She had even drawn in the
furniture. The only problem was that she kept adding
rooms. There was even a room for her best friend,
Ewwie. She never realized how many rooms a house
needed until she was busy drawing one. There was a
room for ice cream, several bathrooms, rooms for all
of her stuffed toys... Indeed, the Zoran house was
seated on the ground cross-legged beside her
daughter. After a ridiculous amount of work, she had
managed to untangle the little girl's hair and form
it into buns on either side of her head. To Mug's
whisper, she nodded her head. "She suggested we
paint every room pink.. Even the outside of the
house..." She loved her daughter's imagination. She
couldn't wait for the house to be built. She had
plans to make Callista a nice table specifically for
her tea parties and attempt to acquire the sweet
little girl a better tea set.
The sound of
the ruckus made Iyah raise her head. She was ready
to run off to see what was wrong when Mug let her
know otherwise. "Be careful." She said. People had
mixed feeling about the bastard of Delaya still.
Many of those mixed feelings were negative. She
watched over their daughter. "Is that a gigantic
crown on top of our house, Callista?"
in the crowd was becoming worse. Ash tried to
navigate away from the refugees when she noticed the
Rodney bastard. He was another person that wasn't
going to like her any time soon. She saw a fist
collide with his face. He went down right afterward.
Ash cursed, rounding back through the crowd. She
shoved away a group of vicious refugees and wrapped
an arm around his waist. With more effort than she
thought she possessed, she successfully brought Kat
and Mug away from the crowd and into one of the
empty supplies units. She ducked her head out.
"Medic!" She cried out to a group of Rebels passing
by. One parted from the group to come help with Mug
and Kat's wounds.
stop! No!" a panicked-stricken Jelena Rodney cried
out, as she attempted to calm the tensions in the
crowd, which had surely turned into a mob. She
briefly saw her uncle, Mug, of all people enter the
fray and quickly get laid out. She wondered what
Leia would have done in a situation like this and
she wished her friend was here, but she knew that
she could not always rely on her. In a fit she
reached down towards Kat and pulled up her A280
blaster rifle. She raised the weapon into the air
and began firing off deadly bolts of energy into the
sky. *That* got the attention of the crowd, who
began to back off and gave Kat and Mug room to
breath. "Listen. We cannot build our new world if
we're too busy fighting with one another. I have no
love for the Empire and no love for my father as
long as he continues to wear that uniform. I am one
of you. A refugee. A woman without a home," she
said, as the tears began to well up in the corner of
her eyes. She did not let them flow though ... she
bit down on her lower lip and breathed in sharply
through her nose. She would inherit the stiff upper
lip her people had been known for right there on the
spot. She *was* a leader.
action had earned her what she wanted: attention.
Everyone in the mob stopped what they were doing.
Wide-eyed refugees stared at her. Some were swayed
by her speech. Others would never believe that the
daughter of a Grand Moff could truly side with them.
Against all odds, the crowd began to disburse into
smaller groups. There was much talking about New
Alderaan and the trials they had been through on
Delaya. There was no hope in the air here. If
anything, hopelessness hung between them.
All done!" Callista began to rise from the ground.
She brushed off her sundress and held out her arms
before the picture. "Tadaaa!!" She looked around for
her Daddy. Where had he gone? Her tummy was
beginning to rumble. She didn't want to have lunch
without him. "Where'd Daddy go?" She asked, pouncing
her mother just as Jelena began to shoot off the
blaster rifle. She clutched her mother, shaking like
a little leaf. "What's happening!?"
over her daughter's shoulder at the blueprint of
their new home. They'd have to make compromises but
overall... it was wonderful. She squeezed the little
girl until she squeed. "I don't know. Why don't we
go find him?" No sooner had Iyah asked the question
did blaster fire erupt. The woman went into
defensive mode. She held Callista close. Instead of
heading towards the noise, she moved in the opposite
direction. She worried for Mug. What the hell was
going on over there!?
sound of a starfruit being bitten into broke the
silence at the other end of the camp. It was Gaius
Rodney, former commander of the Alderaan Guard,
clinging to what little he had in his flimsy tent.
"Would you listen to her?" he scoffed to his
daughter, before aggressively tearing into the fruit
with his teeth and getting his face covered in
juice. "To have leave Delaya and the rulership of
Claudius Rodney just to end up on this rock ruled by
his daughter?" he said, before throwing the
starfruit as hard as he could in her direction. He
was getting riled up. He was in danger of drawing
attention to himself. There would be many in the
crowd just as angry with the Alderaanian Guard
commander as they were the Imperial forces. He had
to calm down, and he had to formulate a plan to get
control of this world.
*not* happy. The last thing she wanted was to be
reduced to this: a refugee living among Rebels. She
had been thinking about how they could come back
from this...*if* they could come back from this. She
had nothing. As she sat in the tent, listening to
Jelena Rodney, she scoffed. "It's an insult!" She
cried out, slamming her fist against the ground. "I
*refuse* to let her rule us." Farrah ducked. The
remainder of the starfruit flew out of their tent.
She wanted everyone to pay. If Claudius Rodney still
lived, then she would kill him eventually. She was
feeding off of her father's anger which was getting
them nowhere. With a sigh, Farrah crept towards him.
She crawled into his lap where she began to massage
his shoulders. "We could cause an uprising here.
There are some people who won't side with us, but
there are many who will." She suggested to give her
the support of the princess. The Organas always did
play favorites," Gaius muttered, as he settled into
the tent with Farrah. He brought up his legs up, so
that his knees were in front of his chest, and he
clung to them. Inside his head the wheels began to
turn as he focused on what best course of action to
take. "I'm a gambling man. I don't think the kid has
it in her," he said, as he turned his head to look
out at the dispersing crowd. "She'll fail. She'll
crack. And then they will welcome my experience.
They will view us saviors," he said, before moving
closer towards Farrah and embracing her. For now
let's make the most of our new home.
alright?" Jelena asked Ashori, unaware of who she
was and what her involvement might have been. "Oh,
Kat ... you've gone and opened up your wound again,"
she said, as she rolled her over onto her back and
smiled down at her. She looked across to Ashori,
wondering why Kat had attacked her ... but now was
not the time for accusations. She held pressure to
Kat's wound until the medics arrived to cart her off
for yet another repair job. Her attention then
turned to Mug, who she recognized as her
grandfather's bastard son and therefore her uncle.
"Uncle Mug?!" she said, as she helped him sit up.
"What are *you* doing here?" she asked, as she
helped him up. "Oof," she groaned, as he weighed
quite a bit more than she was expecting. "Here. Help
me," she instructed Ashori, as she began leading him
back towards the area from which he had came. "We'll
get you home," she said, as she struggled to help
him walk. "...maybe," she muttered to herself,
between labored breaths, as she stopped to wipe her
it best not to tell Jelena about what had happened
in the refugee center. "They'll be okay..." She
said, watching as Yekaterina was taken away. That
only left them with one injured Rebel to take care
of. She ducked over to Mug's opposite side to help
Jelena with the man. She groaned. "H-He weighs more
than I thought!" Ash followed Jelena, who seemed to
know where to deposit the bastard. She thought of
Papius and how he had tortured Mug. She recalled
watching it, laughing and smiling while she did it.
Killing Mug was out of the question, as much as she
thought Papius might like it. It would expose her
betrayal once again.
Lookit Mama, it's Daddy!" Callista's head could be
seen over Iyah's shoulders. She wiggled in her
mother's arms excitedly as Iyah turned around. She
spotted Jelena, an injured Mug, and *Ashori*. She
held Callista closer to her body. Iyah stomped
towards them. "What happened to him?" Iyah glared at
Ashori. Her words sounded accusing. She allowed a
worried Callista to slip from her arms so that she
could take over for Ash. "Thank you for bringing him
over..." Iyah said. She noticed that Mug had been
punched. On top of that, his uniform was dirty with
boot prints. Iyah felt furious.
that she wasn't welcome anymore once they met with
Commander Xergo and her child. She freed herself
from the bastard. She looked at Iyah. "Commander
Xergo, please excuse me..." Ash left casually. It
was going to be hard to sway Iyah to like her again.
forward, quickly moving to sit back down on the
blanket they had placed next to Callista's drawing.
He brought his hand up to the side of his face where
he had been sucker punched. As he touched it, he
grimaced, as the pain was considerable. "Callista,
I'd like you to meet your cousin, Jelena," he said,
as he stood back up, picking up his daughter as he
did so. "Niece, this is my daughter, Callista," he
said, as he held her up close so that Callista could
get a closer look. He mumbled as he spoke, as his
jaw was still quite sore. He moved it around
gingerly, content that it was not broken. It was
more his pride that he had damaged as he foolishly
went rushing into a dangerous situation without
knowing what was going on. And that was then he
remembered that he had forgotten to tell Iyah the
biggest news. "Iyah ... Kat was there!" he said,
careful not to mention that she was *alive* because
he did not want to scare Callista with the mention
that they thought she was dead.
Callista!" Jelena said, as she gave her niece a big
smile. She stepped forward giving a group hug to
both Callista and Mug. "Commander Xergo, it seems I
am always having to thank you and your crew," she
said, as she looked towards the bruised Mug. "I am
sorry for the injury he sustained in rallying to my
defense," she said, lowering her head in a slight
bow of thanks. "I would ask another favor of you, if
I could..." she said, as she moved closer, and grew
quieter. "I am concerned for the defense of our new
home. It's all very fragile right now. It would not
take much for it to all just blow away..." she said,
with a frown, as she cringed slightly, almost
hugging herself. "Could you and your crew stay? At
least until we have some semblance of a defense?"
she asked, flashing her blue eyes and hoping to
elicit her aide.
girl looked to Jelena, who she did not recognize.
Nonetheless, Callista's whole face lit up bright to
meet someone new...especially her cousin! She
thought hard back to their limited time living at
the Rodney Castle. It seemed to take her a minute,
but as soon as she figured it out, she was in love.
"*Oooh! You're Ewwie's sissy! Ewwie is my bestest
friend *ever*! We had an ice cream fight at Auntie
Mae's! I think she won..." Callista giggled. "We
were both covered!" Callista was happy to squeeze
Jelena and her father in her little arms. "*Daddy*!
You saw Auntie Kat!! Is she still warm? I promise
I'll be a better fan this time!"
worried for her husband. After all he'd been
through, to get beaten by the refugees was just the
shit cherry on top of the world's worst
sundae...certainly not the kind they serve at Auntie
Mae's. Mug provided her with something to be
massively relieved over: Yekaterina Hanson was
*alive*. She looked like she might cry. She didn't
even know how it was possible. She thanked the stars
regardless. "I'm so glad to hear that you saw her.
We'll have to go visit her and see if there's
anything we can do to help." Iyah, too, avoided
letting Callista know the dimmer fate that they
thought Kat had suffered. She offered a soft smile
to Jelena, while she touched Mug's back.
Jelena. Things happen. Mug is the finest man on my
crew so... I think he'll be okay." What a wonderful
double entendre. She didn't know what kind of favor
the girl was about to ask of her. Her stomach
cringed. They had just picked out a plot for their
home...was Jelena about to send them away again?
Iyah listened to her quiet words. She knew that they
were building on unstable ground. It was going to
take time for everything to work out. Iyah's face
lit up in a fashion alike to Callista's when she
finally reached her favor. The Commander wrapped an
arm around Jelena, giving her a squeeze to offer
strength and support. "We'll stay as long as we can.
Since we adopted Callista from the refugee camp,
we've been wanting an opportunity like this to come
along. I'm devoted to the Rebellion, but I am also
devoted to my family. I get both here, so thank you
for considering us."
galaxy Papius Arundel had settled into the suite
previously occupied by Grand Moff Rodney and his
wife. With the garrison a wreck he decided to occupy
the vacant castle to see what it was like to live
the life of excess that he suspected the Alderaanian
noble lived. The smoke had settled over Leiliani and
in the dawn of the new day the catastrophic damage
was visible. In its place he would build a new city
... an Imperial city. Despite the fact that most of
the Rebels escaped he considered it a victory
because he had rid the planet of the Rebels ... from
a certain point of view. However, to secure his
position he would have to find where those Rebels
went and deal them a final, fatal blow. As he sat at
the desk used by Claudius Rodney he kept looking at
his comlink. When would Ashori Monoceros make
contact? Had she infiltrated the Rebel Alliance? Was
she even alive? The silence was killing him and he
stared at the device time seemed to set still. His
hand curled into a fist and slammed down on the desk
sharply, knocking over the image of the Grand Moff
and his family.
Castle was left mostly disrupted. The master suite
where Sierra and Claudius Rodney had dwelled looked
as if they would return at any minute. Their
Imperial uniforms hung in the closet. Their memories
were showcased all over the rooms from pictures to
datapads which showed the first ultrasounds of
Bruce. There were no Rodneys left to live in the
castle now. It, and every possession within it, now
belonged to the terrible man.
the sweat from her brow as she settled into her room
within the Blue Haven. It had been so long since
she'd lived there, yet everything was exactly as she
remembered it. The only change was in herself. She
sat at her desk with her comlink. Most of the other
Rebels were out helping rebuild. She had done her
duty earlier in the day. No one would bother her,
she was sure of it. It had been too long since the
last contact between herself and Papius. She didn't
want him to think that he was the one being double
crossed. With no reluctance, Ash contacted him. "Are
you alive out there?" She asked into the comlink.
The last time she had seen Papius, the city of
Leiliani had been suffering. From what she had
heard, many people had died on both sides. What
would she do if Papius had failed? Destroy the
Rebels from the inside without him?
for the comlink like a bird of prey diving out of
the sky to claim its victim. "Of course I'm alive,"
he said, condescendingly, as he activated the comm
and acknowledged her single. "I didn't know you
cared," he continued, as he leaned back in the
chair, kicking his boots up on the desk. He was
making himself quite at home. "What do you have for
me?" he asked, as his foot collided with the framed
image of Claudius and Sierra's unborn child,
carelessly knocking it to the floor. He cared not
about the imbecilic Grand Moff or his treacherous
wife. They were gone. No longer an obstacle in his
rise to greatness.
"Of course I
do." Ash was grinning on the other line. She turned
in her chair so that she was facing the door leading
into her room. "I know where the Rebels have
relocated to. Within the Ash Worlds lays a planet
they are calling 'New Alderaan'." She chuckled,
"Which will be all too fitting when this place is
destroyed. I have coordinates for you. I'm still
doing research. Give me time, I'll have an adequate
report for you on these Rebels." She already wanted
to be back on Delaya, serving him in ways she
couldn't from thousands of light years away.
Alderaan?" Papius replied, restarting her words,
with a combination of a laugh and a snort. "Not very
creative ... these Rebels, eh?" he said, as he
turned his attention towards the coordinates. As he
moved to his terminal to bring up the map of the
galaxy he was disappointed by how remote it was. If
he smashed it like a bug no one would even notice.
"Time is a resource on short supply, my dear Ashori,"
he said, as he rose from the desk, carrying the
comlink. The sound of screeching thrantas was coming
from someplace, grating his nerves. As he reached
the balcony he walked out, spotting the thrantas
flying near Sanctus Mons. How did the Rodney family
deal with all this noise? He wondered silently to
himself. *Something* would have to be done about it.
She cringed at
the sound coming from the other side of the comlink.
It prompted her to wonder if he had somehow ended up
staying with an army of toddlers. "I know. I'm not
going to let you down. I have a pleasant surprise
for you when you come to visit. Not one, but *two*
Rodneys are here. I saw Jelena this morning making
some pathetic speech which pissed off the refugees.
She isn't a confident leader. The refugees will
stand off against her. The bastard is here also.
Considering his time in the garrison, it doesn't
seem like there's much fight left in the man." She
ran her fingers through her hair. As unlikely as it
was, everything was looking up again.
revealed that Jelena Rodney was alive and well on
New Alderaan it was almost too much to ask for. He
fell to his knees on the balcony, and tears began to
flow from his eyes. "Thank you. Oh, thank you," he
said, as his eyes looked toward the heavens. He had
just been given the gift that would result in him
becoming a Moff. Victory was in sight.