Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Liz Dorner and Christopher Levy.
One year before the Battle of Yavin (34:10:12) in the Essessa system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate).

Vice Admiral Claudius Rodney and Lady Htaere Ka`a Sha`ar.


Admiral Claudius Rodney sat at his desk impatiently. His eyes focused on a communication panel that remained silent ... no transmission had been received. He had grown tired of waiting for a response from Kerrie, who was long past due to check in. He feared the worst ... that she had somehow failed her assignment and had either been wounded, captured, or perhaps even killed. There could be no other logical reason. He tapped his fingers on the ornate, polished wood that comprised the surface of his desk. "Damn it all," he finally cursed in frustration. He lowered his head and sighed hopelessly. He was beginning to think he had seen the last of that disk. He slumped down against the desk and held his face in the palm of hands and exhaled in a long, drawn out groan of frustration that echoed throughout the room. This was not now he wanted to spend his evenings.

"Claudius..." Htaere's soft melodious voice with its thick Hapan accent came from the threshold of his office. She stood watching him intently, a concerned look about her. A pastel purple gown of a flowing chiffon material draped her amazing figure, her hair curled up into a two-tier bun with matching ribbons. Her hands were folded together in front of her, her sleeves cascading from dainty wrists.

Claudius let his arms limply fall to the desk below, resulting in a *thud* as they impacted to the wood. His head remained lowered for a moment, relying on the muscles in his neck rather than his hands to keep it elevated above the desk. Finally he rose his head and looked towards Htaere, trying to form a smile upon his face. He adjusted his posture in the chair, sitting more upright. "Good evening, Htaere..." he said in a quiet, kind voice, "It seems I am once again having another late evening at work."

Htaere drifted towards his desk, standing in front of him and regarding him curiously. An empathic sadness seemed prevalent on her lovely youthful face. "What has disturbed you so?" she asked gently.

Claudius' eyes looked down towards the transmitter for a moment, a soft sigh escaping his lips. His eyes then returned their focus on his beloved Htaere. "I was just hoping to have received some news by now..." he said, sounding very tired and anxious. "It is nothing important," he concluded, obviously holding back the truth.

Htaere glided around the side of his desk, behind his chair and placed her hands on his shoulders. "Then leave it for now, Claudius. I would be grateful for just a moment of your attentions" she pleaded in a low voice. She pushed with her fingertips into the fabric of his tunic, kneading the skin gently to loosen the muscle tissue beneath it. "Can you not find it in your schedule to relax with me a moment?"

"For you I can find several moments," Claudius said to her with a smile. He swung his chair around and rose from his seat. He made his away around the desk and over towards a couch where people often sat to confer with him. He smiled at her politely and took a seat on the right side of the sofa. He softly patted the left side of the sofa, indicating there was plenty of room for her to join him. "Is there anything in particular you would like to discuss during this moment?" he asked, curiously.

Htaere followed him over and took the seat next to him that he offered. She smiled at him, eyes gleaming. "Well, it is true Claudius that I do worry for you. I have not seen you behave this way before. What troubles you so greatly that your behavior has changed so dramatically?"

"You know I cannot reveal classified information, Htaere,' Claudius began to explain, turning on the sofa to lean back and face her, "There has just been a particular development lately that has become a rather irritating stone in my shoe ... and despite my best efforts to remove it ... there it remains." He raised his eyebrows at her and tilted his head with a slight smile, as if to say 'and there it is.'

Htaere's mouth opened slightly to accompany the slightly stunned expression on her face. "Oh..." she said slowly, her head nodding once. Her eyes dropped, taking him all in entirely. "Should I leave you be?" she asked, scooting to the edge of the cushion of the sofa on which they sat.

"No..." Claudius said quickly, not wanting her to leave. It seemed people were always quick to want to leave his presence at the first sign of trouble ... he wondered what that was about. "Your presence is the only respite I have from this life," he explained to her, a warm, reassuring smile forming upon his face, "Let us turn to more pleasant thoughts..."

She grinned and settled back against the cushions. "Yes, let's. When will you next have personal time for a much needed vacation? Just me and you and no one else for once" Htaere asked, gazing at him expectantly.

"Vacation?" Claudius thought to himself, he dared not even consider stepping aside from his job during these difficult times. However, he did not want to let her know how troubling the current situation was. "Would you enjoy a vacation?" he asked her, genuinely interested, "Is there someplace specific you would like to visit?"

"Anywhere as long as you are with me" she answered with youthful honesty. Htaere became quiet and seemed to withdraw for a moment. "I apologize Claudius. Perhaps it is unfair of me to push you so. I meant only that I miss you" she added finally.

"I miss you as well, Htaere," Claudius informed her quietly. He reached around her with his right arm, draping his arm behind her neck and over her shoulder. He pulled her close again him as he leaned into her. He closed his eyes and did his best to relax, enjoying the peaceful silence and being this close to the woman he loved.

Htaere welcomed the display of affection and reciprocated eagerly.  She leaned towards him as well, nestling against him comfortably and resting her head in the crux of his neck and shoulder. Her eyes half closed, she reveled in the moment, grateful for the time he had, as little as it was.

"I understand your mother has once again entered your life," Claudius said, in a curious tone. He moved his hand up slowly around her, running his hand through her hair gently. He had yet to open his eyes, believing that if he did the moment would be spoiled.

"She intrudes my business as your father intrudes yours" Htaere replied. "She has sent someone to aid in the security efforts." Shifting against him, Htaere turned to face him further, all but curling up beside him, her outside arm curling in to rest across his solar plexus, fingertips curling slowly over the grey fabric of his tunic. "I will deal with her. Spare yourself the triviality of such a peripheral nuisance" Htaere mumbled dreamily.

"I could send Major Kiley to deal with her if you would like," Claudius said in a manner that could be conceived as half-joking, half-serious. "I am sure that would make both of our lives more pleasant," he concluded. Finally a smile cracked his visage, followed by a short laugh.

"I fear for the major's safety. My mother is potentially not a pleasant woman" Htaere answered, unmoving still. "Let me handle her. She cannot stay angry at me because I am her daughter and she is dependent upon me to represent both the family and the Consortium. She does not need to practice diplomatic immunity in her dealings with anyone else." Htaere all but shook her head, reflecting upon the treachery of Hapan elitists.

"Do you think after the marriage ceremony your mother might become a bit..." Claudius searched for the words, fumbling to find the correct ones, "more hands off." His face reddened slightly, realizing that it was not the most flattering of analogies to use.

"If she does not, then I will make it so" Htaere said matter-of-factly. Once married, Htaere became the foremost concern of someone other then her mother, and consequently Htaere was ready to use the proverbial big guns when addressing concerns regarding her mother. Htaere's eyes opened and she smiled up towards him. "Do not fret. I will take care of the problem."

"Perhaps we can book your mother and my father on a trip around the galaxy," Claudius said with a jovial nature. "It would only take several years for them to see everything," he continued to explain. When he was finished he turned his head towards her, leaned forward, and placed a soft, tender kiss upon the top of her head.

Like some ridiculous school girl, Htaere wiggled with delight. "Mmm that does sound like a good idea" she replied. "A few years...of some peace and quiet" she pondered. Her distant expression refocused as another reality shoved its way into her revelry. "She will be very insistent with the wedding" she stated. "She will make it difficult."

"Speaking of the wedding..." Claudius began, playfully as he continued to gently run his fingers through her well-kept hair. "We really should consider when to have it..." he said, waiting to see how she would respond before pushing the matter further.

"And where..." Htaere supplied, mind already spinning with visions of the big day, flowers, place settings, pomp and much to do. "I believe my mother has begun the plans for her end."

"We could elope..." Claudius pondered, half-considering it himself. Numerous dignitaries had planned on the wedding and it had become as a function for politics and society ... their wedding had become merely a sideshow in their parents plans to hoist their families onto the HoloNet and society pages.

"My mother will hunt me down and destroy me" Htaere mumbled, following that line of thinking to the likely conclusion. "Perhaps we may be afforded time for just the two of us after the wedding."

"They have not yet invited themselves on the honeymoon?" Claudius asked her. He sighed, knowing they might very well insist on coming along. He had considered several locations for the vacation, all of them out of the way and hopefully avoiding them some private down time.

"No, most thankfully" Htaere shrugged. She smiled a bit, patting his belly softly. "Considering what you are marrying into, I respect if you decide to withdraw. Were I not already relations to my family, I would not choose to willingly be so" she chuckled. "Unless you will still have me?"

"I'm sorry, Htaere," Claudius said as he finally opened his eyes. He turned his head towards her and smiled widely, before continuing, "but you're stuck with me." He then leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss upon her lips, his arms rapping more tightly around her.

Htaere offered no resistance, her soft supple lips tasting his for a handful of precious heartbeats. "How lucky for me" she said in a low tone, smiling to his aged face. Her grip on him remained firm, holding him as close as she could for as long as she could for as long as he let her.

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