Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Erin Highberg and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:1:8) in the Ringali nebula: Ringali Station.
Commander Derek Atio and Emi Shinohara.

It was the middle of the night aboard the converted gas mining station that the Rebellion had converted into a secret base deep within the confines of the Ringali Nebula, safe from Imperial forces. The lights in the command center were dimmed, as almost of the Rebel personnel had retreated to the station, and there were no ground operations in progress. The operation on Ralltiir would be going off soon, and Commander Derek Atio was standing in the darkness looking at a blue holographic image of the planet spinning in front of him. The last time the Tetan officer had ordered personnel into the field it had resulted in a disaster that plagued his thoughts, gave him insomnia, and made him start drinking again. He was drinking what appeared to be a cup of caf, but he had poured a bit of Corellian whiskey into it, to ease his mind on this restless night. There may have been something he missed, and he thought if he stared at the image long enough, he might find something.

Emi Shinohara, the passive Alderaanian hadn't been able to sleep, well, really ever. Her bare feet hit the cool metal of the space station that they were on as she wandered the cold dim halls. A dressing gown and thick maroon robe covered most of that athletic toned body. She turned the corner of one of the many halls as she saw Commander Atio standing in front of a holo screen. That blue light hitting his face as she was able to tell it was him. She approached him slowly as she crossed her arms over her chest. "Can't sleep either?"

When Emi spoke he was startled, as her bare feet caused no noise, and she was nearly upon him before he realized she was there. He shook so violently that he spilled some of the hot liquid onto his shirt, grimacing lightly as it caused him mild discomfort. "What gave it away?" he asked, with a smile, and a roll of his eyes, as he put the half empty cup down on the rim of the holoprojector. He then shook his hand violently, causing the remnants of caf mixed with whiskey to fly to the ground. "So what's keeping you up?" he asked, as he looked around for something to clean up with. Unfortunately, he was in an orderly tactical center and not a rag was to be found.

Those plush lips made for a straight line as she saw how she had startled the Commander. "Sorry. I... I didn't mean to frighten you." She wasn't exactly dressed for running into anyone on the platform, much less to encounter anyone on the space station. But, alas, here she was, standing in a robe and dressing gown. She moved closer to him and gave a shrug. "I... I haven't really been able to sleep since my home planet was blown up. Call it, survivors guilt." A frown then presented over those plush lips as she reached into the pocket of her robe and pulled out a handkerchief, handing it to the Commander.

"Yeah. That'll do it..." Derek said, perhaps insensitively, as he moved to take the handkerchief from her. Using it, he blotted his stain on his brown uniform shirt, and then turned his attention to wiping at the handle of his mug so he could pick it up again. As he took a sip of the alcoholic caf it dawned on him how awful what he said might have sounded. "I'm sorry. I didn't think when I said that," he said, somewhat uncomfortably, before turning his full attention towards the diplomat. "Things ... things haven't been going well. Have they?" he both stated, and questioned, as he tried his best to maintain his sunny disposition, but lately he was finding it harder and harder to smile.

"Commander... You don't have to be sorry, it's in the middle of the would be night. Most of the crew is asleep. I'm honestly surprised to see you here." She wrapped her arms around herself slightly as she crossed her arms over her chest. She thought about the question that Derek put into play. Emi hadn't really thought of their ragtag team as a failure or anything less than outstanding. She gave a shrug. "We're fighting against something that is wrong. We're putting our lives on the line for what's right. Of course things aren't going to go well." She looked from him down to the floor. That longer dark hair falling around her face and in her eyes.

"I can't sleep," Derek confessed, as his hands moved to the control panel to display the massive Imperial naval force that was building at Esseles. "How is anyone expected to fight against this, ambassador?" he asked her, as he shook his head, and took a longing sip of his whiskey fueled caf. "All I have is a frigate, her escorts, and a couple of squadrons of barely serviceable starfighters," he explained to her, sounding bitter and as if he had already lost. "Just one of their Star Destroyers could obliterate us ... and now they have so many," he said, as he examined real time movement of the Imperial ships relayed from their monitoring buoys at the nebula's perimeter. "We're outmatched *and* outgunned," he complained, before letting his head sink, and his eyes closed while searching for a miracle.

Emi took in a long breath and exhaled while she took a seat at one of the control panels. "Derek, if I may, you can't think like that. Everything has a weak spot. Nothing is infallible. Hell, what's to say they may over estimate our power and will to fight?" She looked up at her fellow crew member and tried to give a smile. "Maybe we need to reach out to some outer-rim systems. It wouldn't hurt to have their backing. Hutt's aren't that bad." She was fishing for a smile from her friend and comrade. She'd hope she'd be able to get it.

Derek circled 'round the holoprojector until he was standing very near her so that the technicians on duty would not be able to hear the words they shared. "Politically it is a real coup for us to be operating so deep within the core," he began, speaking quietly, maintaining a smile for the sake of the others. "Senator Mon Mothma also is keen to have a force so near her home on Chandrila, but the war is in the outer rim..." he complained, as he superimposed their own meager forces onto the map for comparison. A single frigate, five corvettes, and numerous transports were all that appeared on the screen. "The main fleet under Admiral Ackbar has orders not to engage, and they won't spare us anything larger," he revealed, almost complaining now, as he moved to take another sip of the whiskey and caf. He was close enough now that she would be able to smell the alcohol on his breath as he spoke. "And now I have this new Lieutenant from high command breathing down my neck ... watching ... suggesting..." he continued, before trailing off with a sigh. "I'm an engineer. I can fix these ships, but I cannot lead them," he informed her, revealing too much honesty from a combination of lack of sleep and mild intoxication.

"Commander, you might want to hit a refresher, for a shower." She spoke quietly enough for only him to hear. She gave Derek a smirk and shook her head as she wrapped that robe tighter around her, as if to hide a cool shill that went down her spine. "Yes... I have met this Lieutenant. I already hate him." Her face twisted into more of a pout as she stood next to Commander Atio, her shorter stature more apparent now than before. "I'm a negotiator... I represent a planet that is no longer there. What am I really doing here, Derek? What real presence do I even pose anymore? Hell... I don't even know if I even care anymore to be honest. But I'll be damned if I don't go down fighting the Empire with my last breath." She moved a hand up to his cup of caf and whiskey, pulling it from his hand and taking a sip. That was the type of person she was after all. A slight sniff as she handed it back to him. "It's a bit weak." Smirk formed over those lips and she couldn't help but laugh.

Derek lifted up his dark brown tunic and took a whiff, inhaling the awful body odor that wafted up towards his nose. He cringed slightly, bunching his nose, and quickly lowering the garment back to his chest. "You're right," he said, embarrassingly, as his eyes wandered towards the technicians, wondering if any of them knew. "There are six systems out there that still are there, Em-Ambassador," he said, nearly calling her by her first name, rather than a title, feeling quite embarrassed by the stumble he had made. "If it were any stronger I'd be seeing twelve planets on the projector instead of six," he confessed, slightly taken aback by her reaction to the whiskey.

She handed the cup back to him and took in a slow deep breath. "Nothing that says a diplomat can't hold her whiskey." She gave fine grin as her hands moved to her sides. "Well, you're right. And you can call me Emi when it's just us, Commander. I'm in a night gown. Surely you think less of me now. My hair hasn't even been combed in over six standard hours." She said as she placed her hands into her robe pockets. A soft sigh escaped her lips as she turned back towards the commander and gave a sigh. "You're doing a fine job, Commander. It's not easy stepping into the position of leadership when it's thrust upon you." She looked down to the control panel and gave a slight shrug.

"You don't have someone on your staff to brush your hair, Emi?" Derek asked, firing right back, as he wondered when the last time he had washed his hair was. The refresher rarely worked, and when it did work, it did not stay hot long enough for him to do a thurrough job and it was very cold in space. "I appreciate the compliment, but somehow I don't think doing a *fine* job is going to be enough," he said to her, as his eyes again drew to the massive Imperial buildup that had increased exponentially since his arrival in the Ringali Shell. "We have got to score some kind of victory or we'll lose morale," he explained to her, as he took another sip of the caf. His hand moved beneath the table, extending the flask with the straight whiskey to her in a way she would notice, but hopefully the others would not.

"And he can dish it." She said with an impressive nod to his retort. She looked over the map that had caused the both of their faces to be lit up in a bright blue hue. That smirk would slightly turn into a frown. "We'll get lucky... I can feel it. It's all been done with luck. Things will work out. I hope that they will anyway." She looked down and saw his hand as she would reach for the flask, glancing around. Seeing no one take notice she unscrewed the top of it and took a much larger swig than from the caf mix. Slight wheeze was given as she tried to fight off the need to cough. "Wowww. Holy..." The Ambassador cleared her throat as she passed Derek the flask back. "I'll be surprised if I don't grow some hair on my chest in the morning."

The Ambassador's exclamation caused the techs to momentarily disregard their duty and look in her direction, but none of them begrudged her a little late night drink. Derek, on the other hand, was slightly startled by her reaction, and did his best to hide the flask before he laughed loud enough to risk drawing attention to himself. "Well if you grow chest on your hair I wouldn't exactly count that as our getting *lucky*, Emi," he joked, before going back to the process of counting the newly arrived Imperial ships. "They've deployed a total of eighteen Star Destroyers to the region now. When I got here there was only one," he said, with a sigh, before turning to look away from the depressing statistics. "Know anyone who can get us some ships?" he asked, not entirely sure who or what she knew, or what she could do in the way of helping in terms of procurement.

A hand reached up as she would slightly stroke her chin, the way men usually in thought. A slow deep breath as she'd move to sit down against a clear space of control panel as she looked up to her comrade. "Actually... I do know someone. Another diplomat I had the pleasure of meeting once or twice. Though, I hope I might be able to reach out to her sooner than later. I know she would definitely be sympathetic to our cause." She'd tap the lower control panel to bring up the planet of Kuat. She pointed to the planet and then looked to the Commander. "We'll just have to cross our fingers that she remembers me."

Derek followed her towards the terminal, reaching out to place his right palm upon the bulkhead, to support himself as he watched over her shoulder. "Kuat ... they make much better ships than anything we have in our roving line," he said to her, as he studied the image of the Kuat and the massive KDY Orbital Array that encircled the entire circumference of the planet. "I hope she remembers you, Emi," he said, sound a bit excited about the prospect of getting his hands on something larger than a blockade runner or a gunship. The scant force of less than ten ships was all they had, and none of them had dared to venture outside the safety of the Ringali Nebula in months.

Emi couldn't help but hear the excitement in Derek's voice. "Wonder I could try sending her a message. We have the power and means to send encrypted messages, right?" She began to type a little more on the data control panel as she'd look up her acquaintance from Kuat. She'd type in the name Nona Jast, and pull up a bit of information on her. "Oh wow..." She read through some of the data on the other female and gave a rather wide smirk. "You see that?" She turned to Derek and pointed to the wedding announcement and to the name of the planet that she would be on. "They are housing refugees from Alderaan on Delaya..." She'd say in a softer voice as she'd look back up to the Commander.

Derek gave the side of the terminal a good strong whack, and then a second for good measure. "Uh ... not it will ... I hope," he said, as he tilted his head to examine the screen as it briefly powered down and then rebooted. "Not exactly top of the line equipment we have here," he said, as he watched her punch up the data on her friend, Nona Jast. "Yes. They have nowhere else to go," he said to her, awkwardly, as he knew that it was a topic close to home. "It looks like she's marrying Grand Moff Rodney's cousin ... are you sure we can trust her?" he asked, as he tilted his head down to look at her.

"Do you think The Grand Moff will be happy to hear that his cousin his housing Alderanian Refugees? On a planet that got most of it's food in a symbiotic relationship with the planet he blew up? I bet the cousin's aren't exactly on speaking terms." She turned her head towards him. She pulled up more information on Delaya. She read a little more as she smirked. "Commander, I do believe we can trust her. There are riots and unstable living situations on the streets... They won't be able to ask the Senate for help without provoking open threats from the Empire... We have to offer them help, supplies, food. If she doesn't know how to get the ships from Kuat, she'd know who could." Her wheels were turning... The grin on her face widened as she let a hand move to rest on the Commander's shoulder as she almost giggled with excitement. "I believe I've may have found our win, Commander."

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