Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Liz Dorner and Christopher Levy.
Zero years before the Battle of Yavin (35:4:25) in the Coruscant system: Coruscant (Galactic City: Coruscant Creations Sweet Shop and Museum).
Ewwiekewwieikkie, Vice Admiral Claudius Rodney, Lady Drusilla Rodney, Countess Htaere Rodney, and Nitt Thorgen.

The Coruscant Air Taxi moved through the mid-afternoon skies of Coruscant, frantically interweaving between the numerous speeders and transports that were bustling through the sky lanes. The Quarren driver angrily waved his fist at a nearby speeder as a collision almost occurred, causing the vehicle to juke to the left frantically. After some time the taxi found itself at the landing platform of the prestigious Coruscant Museum, where numerous crowds had gathered to take in the art and culture. "It's about time you children got some education on this trip..." Claudius Rodney said as he opened the door of the taxi and stepped out onto the platform. He was again wearing traditional Alderaanian dress rather than his uniform as he attempted to blend in on the remainder of his vacation. As he paid the driver he was careful to keep an eye on Htaere and the children, reaalzing it was a long way down should anything go wrong.

In a stunning burgundy sari trimmed in gold embroidering, and adorned with an array of jewelry, Htaere descended the taxi and waited for the rest of the family to unload, gazing about at the museum front eagerly. "This will be lovely," she commented with a smile.

Ewwiekewwieikkie was wearing a white toga that covered most of her blue-furred body, with a pair of gold sandals that she had picked up during her recent trip to Gallinore. She thought they were very pretty, but they were not all that comfortable. "Big building," she announced cheerfully as she followed Claudius and Htaere towards the museum.

"When do we eat?" a clearly annoyed Drusilla Rodney said as she moved her way out of the taxi and began walking with the group. She absolutely detested museums as none of the beautiful things were ever for sale. She saw them as nothing more than a cruel tease that did not interest her in the slightest.

Claudius turned to Drusilla and dropped slightly, never quite knowing how to deal with her. "When we get back to Cantham House a meal will be served," he pleaded with her, always giving in to her demands. "Now if you behave yourself and take in what we are about to see ... I will buy you a new dress," he said, offering her his usual bribe as he began to user his entourage to the entrance.

Htaere ignored Claudius' continuous placating of Drusilla, moving ahead with Ewwie and letting her grey eyes pan over the layout of the building, anticipating the exhibits. She cast a quick glance to Ewwie in approval. "Your sandals are quite stunning by the way. You look most impressive for a museum tour."

"Yay!" Ewwwiekewwieikkie clapped at Htaere's compliments as the two walked up the towering staircase leading to the grand entrance of the museum. A massive banner hung over the entryway arches advertising the latest exposition of 1,000 year old art from Naboo was being displayed.

Nitt Thorgen, one of the security officials, turned his attention to Htaere and held his hand up in annoyance. "Your servant will have to wait out here," he ordered, his eyes darting to the Squib that was stumbling her way up the stairs.

Htaere's brow knit, scowling at the third time she'd been subjected to derogatory comments directed at Ewwie. "She is my stepdaughter," she stated evenly, with a hint of acidity to her tone. "Her presence is not negotiable."

Claudius hurried up the stairs after Ewwie and Htaere when he saw the security guard giving them a hard time. An angry scowl curled upon his lips as he berated the guard. "What is the meaning of this?" he demanded, raising his hand to point at the man angrily.

"Her species is not permitted within the halls of the Coruscant Museum," the security guard announced as he pointed to a sign on the wall that listed the names of the sentient species that were permitted in the facility.

Htaere's head canted, engulfed completely in incredulity and stupor. "Why would you bar the splendors of the museum from anyone interested in partaking? I do not understand."

"She will touch things. She will break things," the security guard angrily replied to Htaere, wondering why she would even ask such a question. "She is a Squib. They are filthy, dirty race!" he announced, folding his arms in front of his chest as he glared down at her.

"Squib!" Ewwiekewwieikkie announced, as she began hopping down excitedly when she heard her species name mentioned, but she did not understand most of what the man was saying.

"How dare you, sir!" Claudius said as he stepped forward, interjecting himself between the security guard and his daughter. "I demand to see your supervisor!" he screamed, which caused the casual people around them to grow silent and stare.

Htaere put a hand on Claudius' arm. "Let us just depart, Claudius. Perhaps we can find something else to do, like find the girls a dessert parlor or some such thing," she whispered, eager to vacate the premises.

Claudius allowed Htaere to calm as they began walking back towards the taxi. His heart was beating out of his chest as a fury came over him like he had never before seen. He had never been so insulted in his life. "Dessert ... yes," he said, sounding a bit dissoriented as he made his way down the staircase.

"No pictures?" Ewwiekewwieikkie asked Htaere as they went back down towards the air taxi. She was very confused by what had happened, although the word dessert was quick to perk her up. The poor creature had no understanding of the discrimination against her, although she was disappointed by the fact that she was not going to get to see all of the 'pretty things' that had been described to her.

Htaere herded them towards the air taxi pad just to move the family along before a catastrophic public scene played out. "No, no pictures," Htaere patted Ewwie's head. "They ran out of pictures, so dessert instead, ok?" She risked a glance at Claudius before moving close to him and addressing him quietly. "Easy Claudius, let us compose ourselves and think what we can do about this injustice without being arrested for creating problems with security."

"I cannot understand this, Htaere," Claudius said as he made his way back into the air taxi. "The Squibs were loyal during the war. They serve the Empire by hauling away all of our trash..." he continued, as he situated himself. He let out a tired sigh as he looked at Ewwiekewwieikkie, whom he cared for very much. "She deserves better," he said as he helped the three women back into the speeder.

"Do I still get my dress?" Drusilla asked as she sat down in the speeder, hoping that this rejection on the part of the museum guard would not prevent her from getting her reward. "I was perfectly well behaved on the way into the museum..." she quickly pointed out as hopeful eyes looked to her father.

Htaere looked appalled. "Hauling the trash?!" she shook her head in disgust. "Claudius, listen to what you are saying! Can you not hear your own words?" Frowning, Htaere folded her hands in her lap and shifted her gaze out of the window, unwilling to make an issue of it in front of the children.

"The King himself negotiated the contract..." Claudius pointed out as he reached out for Htaere, attempting to calm her. "They consider it a great honor. Like a treasure hunt. You've seen how she is with the forks!" he said, smiling over towards the Squib whose face was now plastered to the side of the taxi looking out at all the vehicles flying by.

Resisting the urge to shake her head again in dismay, Htaere remained silent and motionless, keeping her eyes averted to the world of durasteel and glass beyond the viewport of the air taxi while envisioning their return to Esseles.

At long last the taxi arrived at a sweet shop on Coruscant's lower levels, which the driver had recommended. Here in the lower section of Coruscant there were hardly any humans to be seen as most of the aliens had been forced down into the depths. There seemed to be poverty all around and a generally gloomy mood about. "Are you certain we're in the right place?" a nervous Claudius asked, to which the driver only nodded.

Htaere stepped out of the cab, eyes narrowing slightly as she looked about at the destitute populace of non-human species. Stifling a sigh, she glanced around for the dessert parlor in question before casting a glance to the Rodneys. "Shall we?"

Ewwiekewwieikkie was the first out of the cab, her golden eyes widening as she took in all of the variety of aliens that were lurking about. She had never seen so many species before and it was an amazing experience of sights and sounds for her that threatened to overwhelm her. "Where are we?" she asked Htaere, blinking slowly as she studied a nearby Aqualish.

Claudus helped a reluctant Drusilla out of the air taxi and made his way to the front door of the sweet shop. "Everyone stay close to me," he said, as he prepared to open the door. "I'm not sure what kind of place this is..." he cautiously whispered as he opened the door, and stepped inside. Immediately he was hit in the face with the pungent aroma of 100 different flavors of sweets from all across the galaxy. A child-like smile formed upon his face as he was immediately taken back to his youth when he would indulge in such things. "Perhaps it won't be so bad..." he said to Htaere as he ushered everyone inside.

Htaere drew a deep breath, and found it immediately melt away the tension of their previous ordeal. Welcoming yet another deep breath, the corners of her mouth lifted involuntarily as she savored the scent. "By the goddesses, that smells divine," she mumbled absently, stepping further inside, and pulling one of the drapes of her sari about her shoulders a bit more.

The alien working behind the counter glared at the humans entering the shop, having served mostly aliens. He was annoyed that he had been forced to close his business on the upper levels by the request of the humans only for them to have the nerve to come down here to his shop. Drusilla and Ewwie began frantically picking out treats, while Claudius retreated to a small table, stopping to dust off the chair before he sat down. "This is not how I remember Coruscant..." he said to Htaere quietly as he looked around at the hapless aliens aimlessly walking through the streets.

Htaere followed suit, taking a seat at the table and letting her glassy eyed gaze shift over the interior of the store, wall to wall with confectionaries. "Everything changes, Claudius," she replied absently. "Change is the only constant." Drawing herself out of her revelry, she looked towards Ewwie and Drusilla. "Well the children do not mind the change of plans. I am enjoying this as well."

Drusilla quickly arrived at the table with a plate of cookies and small pastries that were reasonably priced compared to some of the dishes she usually ordered. Taking a bite she quickly smiled and in that instant appeared to be a perfectly normal child.

Ewwiekewwieikkie's face was already turning brown from the sweets she was devouring and her tongue extended from her mouth to frantically lick it from her face. "Yum! Yum!" she cried out in delight as she continued to fill her snout with the food.

Claudius took hold of something resembling a brownie and savored it for a moment, smiling across the table at Htaere. "Oh yes. This is much more enjoyable than that ... flower ... I tried to digest the other night," he smirked as he finished the rest of it in a few quick bites.

The heiress flashed a grin. "Perhaps we should not tell Dr. Tohan of this indiscretion. He will not be so pleased with such dietary disregard," she commented. "It is a nice change though."

Claudius could not help but feel out of place as he felt the patron's set of eyes glaring down upon him. Something was definitely out of sorts among the non-human population of Coruscant, but he was not entirely sure what. He brought his left hand up to shield his eyes as he could not stand the sensation of being stared at in such a way any longer. "Pilaq has been trying to get me to modify my diet for 25 years..." he reluctantly admitted as he moved towards a cookie with a jelly filling in the middle.

"It is easier to end this war I think," Htaere ventured a joke, letting him grovel in the various delectable items.

"I was hoping she could have seen the museum..." Claudius said sounding somewhat dejected, cheered only by the pleasurable sensation of the cookie. "There were so many wonderful exhibits that I'm sure she would have loved. I intend to make a formal inquiry regarding the policy..." he said to her, shaking his head in disbelief, not wanting to believe xenophobia had taken hold of the Empire.

"You are willing to risk any favor gained by this event? Any chance of promotion?" Htaere asked curiously, folding her arms on the table top. "You are willing to gamble on your career for stirring up trouble with the Empire's policies?"

"I refuse to believe this is the policy of the Empire," Claudius replied as he dug through the pile of cookies, like an experienced treasure hunter. "Perhaps ... one more..." he said mostly to himself as he grabbed hold of a cookie and took a small bite. "This is obviously the action of some minor bureaucrat who perhaps had an unfortunate encounter with a Squib," he assured her, being in complete denial of the New Order and its policies.

"Yes, of course," Htaere consented quietly, leaving it go to Claudius and his delusions. "Should we be returning to the embassy shortly?"

Claudius eyes moved from Htaere to the two daughters, who were laughing and giggling as they were enjoying the treats. As he watched them he wished that all humans and all aliens could behave as the two of them were doing right now. "Perhaps ... just a little longer..." he said as he flashed a smile at Htaere across the table, content to live in the moment. "Ad perhaps ... one more cookie," he added with a laugh as he went diving for another treat.

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