Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Liz Dorner and Christopher Levy.
Zero years before the Battle of Yavin (35:3:18) in the Essesia system: Forbearance, Kwai, Renown, and Warspite.
Ewwiekewwieikkie, Major Kerrie Kiley, Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca, Vice Admiral Claudius Rodney, Lady Drusilla Rodney, Countess Htaere Rodney, Lady Jelena Rodney, Doctor Pilaq Tohan, Flight Lieutenant Randi Trainor, and Major Arden Zevrin.

A day had gone by since the Major had last decided to check on Htaere, giving her time to sit alone in her cell and realize that her husband would not simply push a button and release her. The debris from the droid had been cleared away and the furniture had been bolted down to the ground. The door opened revealing the familiar sight of Major Zevrin, followed by a serving droid. The beautiful woman seemed pleased to be returning to her task, a satisfied smile on her face as she sat down one of the chairs. In front of her, the droid laid out a tea service as well as some delicate treats before it retreated from the room. "Good morning..." Arden said as her attention locked on the food and tea rather than her prisoner.

Htaere sat in one of the chairs, with little else to do. Her movement was stiff on account of her wounds, body racked with pain. Not to mention she had not eaten since she'd been abducted. She looked run down and pale, dried blood left here and there. Her tired strained eyes lifted to the agent dully but she did not answer.

Arden breathed deeply as she poured the hot water into her cup, beginning the process of diluting the tea that was submerged within it. "Smells wonderful," she commented as she watched the water slowly brown in color. "Manellan Jasper I believe..." she said, as if unsure as she furrowed her brow to examine it more carefully. "You enjoy a cup of tea ... don't you Milady?" she asked as she pulled the tea from the cup and took a soft sip of the brew. "Hot..." she gasped suddenly as she stood from the table, moving slowly towards her as she held the cup of tea.

Htaere's eyes narrowed as the woman drew closer, hackles raising. "You will maintain your distance" she stated flatly, studying the woman skeptically and shifting in her seat nervously.

Arden smiled down at the young Hapan, her eyes moving towards the cold, metal slab that served as the 'bed' in the cell. "Woke up on the wrong side of the slab today?" she asked as she moved even closer towards the woman. She stopped suddenly and her eyes went wide, her mouth hanging slightly open. "Oh..." she said slowly, as if realizing some great mystery. "How rude of me..." she said as she began to turn away from Htaere. "...I forgot to offer you a cup of tea," she said, before suddenly turning back towards Htaere, thrusting her arm towards the woman in a way that the scalding hot tea would fly from her cup towards her.

Htaere's battered form cringed, arms involuntarily raising to shield her face and likewise catching the blistering hot water on her right arm. "Ow!" she shrieked, clutching at it as the burn got worse as the air touched it. The grimace was still draining from her face as she looked back towards the Major. Her drive was weakening substantially. She did not have the strength for a counter attack, instead, slouching in her chair, shoulders hunched in agony.

"We're you involved in the plot to kill your husband following your wedding?" Arden asked as she moved back towards the table. She would be impressed if she were, as attempting to kill one's husband is something a woman like Arden could relate to. She plucked up a pastry and took a soft bite, smacking her lips as she obscenely munched on the food. "...hungry?" she asked as her hands moved through the rest of the food, seeing what the droid had brought.

Htaere's eyes settled on the grey dreary surface of the table in front of her, her thoughts shifting to her husband indeed, as well as Kerrie and the children, all of them. She felt the sting in her eyes from the hot salty tears that were forming, doing her best to repress it. Her head shook slowly. "No."

Arden dusted her hands off, wiping the crumbs from her hands as she leaned back in the chair and just stared at Htaere for several moments without uttering a word. "...have you been to the Rebel base within the Ringali Nebula?" she asked, her tongue slowly sliding from her mouth to lick the last traces of the pastry from her mouth.

Sullen silvery pools did not lift from the table. In fact, Htaere did not move at all for a few moments. Again she shook her head slowly. "I am not a spy."

"Yes. You've said that..." Arden said as she looked to the tea, wondering if perhaps she should pour herself a cup that she would actually drink. Suddenly the door opened behind her, another of the dreadful IT-3 Interrogation droids hovered into the room before the door shut closed again. Arden looked over her shoulder at the droid and smiled, looking back to Htaere. "As you can see we have quite a few of these models..." she commented as she fixed herself a second cup of tea. "...thankfully you have not succeeded in monopolizing all of the Admiral's budget to put towards your wardrobe," she added unnecessarily as she took a sip of the newly brewed tea.

Still Htaere remained motionless. "My family's money far exceeds the Rodney's. It is my 'own' budget..." her eyes lifted to the major's face, "...peasant" she added with a snide pitch.

Arden chuckled softly at Htaere's expense as Htaere attempted to insult her. "Let us see your money buy your way out of this mess," she commented as she pointed at the Hapan Noble once again. The droid moved towards her slowly, a syringe visibly protruding from one of the many probes. As it closed on her, a tiny drop of the liquid within shot from the tip as it readied its shot. Suddenly it surged forward, attempting to press the needle into her and depress the plunger to fill her with the hallucinogen.

Htaere jumped, but again failed to react beyond that. She rubbed her arm, scowling at the droid before her expression shifted to the agent. "What have you done to me?", the very makings of concern evident on her beaten yet still elegant features.

Arden sat quietly as she watched the droid move away from Htaere. She knew the drug would take some time to effect, the powerful drug would soon cause the woman to experience horrific sights that existed only in her mind. An obnoxious slurp escaped the ISB officer's lips as she finished the cup of tea, content to wait patiently for the woman to fall victim to the drug.

Htaere gazed back down at the table, settling back in her chair, and drawing a deep breath. She focused her thoughts inward, unwilling to let herself break in front of these people. She exhaled, letting the unknown come.

Arden nonchalantly plucked the datapad from the pouch on her utility belt, the same datapad she had used the day before. She examined it once again, sighing softly as her eyes rolled over towards the drugged Hapan. "Sign the confession and this will all be over..." she explained as she rose from the chair, and began to move back towards her. Her hands extended in front of her body, fingers moving like claws as she attempted to use the drug to terrify the naive woman.

Htaere caught the motion in her peripheral vision, peering at her before clamping her eyes shut and turning her head away. "I am not guilty" she forced from gritted teeth, twitching slightly as she felt strange.

Arden motioned with her hand to the transparisteel and suddenly the lights in the room changed to a shade of dark red that flooded the entire cell. The sound of ferocious beasts the Empire had collected from across the galaxy began to play from unseen speakers, one sounding louder and more bizarre than the others. Arden surged forward with her foot, kicking it towards the Hapan's legs.

Hands immediately went to cover her ears, pressing tightly against the sides of her head to drown out the sounds. Her eyelids clamped down tight, Htaere groaned loud enough to be heard, her decorum starting to crack. "Stop it! Leave me alone!"

Arden snickered as she looked down at the Hapan's pathetic display. "If you want me to stop ... sign the confession," she said as she knelt down beside the Hapan. Again she offered up the datapad, pushing it towards the young woman. "Just place your thumb to my pad and this will all be over..." she pleaded with the woman, a deep hunger visible in her eyes.

Htaere did not look at her. "I shall not confess to a crime which I did not commit. I am innocent" she stated again.

"You will confess..." Arden assured her, as she rose back up to her full height. She stood above the woman, tilting her head to the left as she stared down at her without any mercy. The light in the room continued to flicker in shades of red creating quite the psychedelic experience. The sound of the creatures howling continued to echo through the small chamber as Arden's attempt to break the woman continued. She stepped aside, allowing the IT-3 Interrogation droid to move towards her once again. This time, a blade extended from one of the probes and the droid plunged down towards her, attempting to cut into the flesh of her upper right arm.

Htaere did not notice the assault until it had actually occurred, suddenly feeling the sharp pain of the blade pushing through the delicate skin on her arm with ease, causing her to recoil, the blade withdrawing as she jumped away from it. Her hand immediately clamped over he wound, the blood occasionally surfacing between her fingers as her expression flashed towards the droid, then the major, tears brimming over her lower eyelids. She staggered to her feet, retreating from the hideous woman and her awful droid. She backed towards the wall, until she leaned against it, watching them with wide terror-filled eyes.

"Take some time to consider your position, whore..." Arden said as she tossed the datapad with the confession over towards the woman. "Sign it!" she commanded angrily as she turned on her feet and began exiting the room. The droid slowly followed her like a loyal pet and the metallic door closed behind them, sealing the Hapan inside with the creature sounds still booming. As she walked into the surveillance room she let out a tired sigh, and watched through the transparisteel. This was taking longer than she had hoped. Perhaps another day would lessen her resistance.

Htaere let the datapad bounce off of her and clamor to the floor, making no effort to pick it up. With the major gone, her chin dropped to her chest, her knees bending and back sliding down the wall until she sat against it with her legs pulled close to her. In relative privacy, given she couldn't actually see them laughing at her, Htaere broke out into a heart broken sob, the effects of her various wounds, starvation, dehydration and lack of sleep compounding together in a living hell so miserable and lonely, her faith in justice coming to light starting to wane, believing solidly that Claudius would appear at any moment to help straighten this out and save her. Her vision was starting to contort, the inanimate objects in the room shifting into grossly elongated shapes. The sounds of all the strange animals howling at her over the PA and the flickering red shades seemed to be closing in on her, and her crying escalated to full fledged caterwaul, wailing inconsolably at the inevitable defeat she was succumbing to. In desperate efforts to escape, she leaned forward to her hands and knees, crawling underneath the metal sleeping pallet and curling up in a ball on her side to cry herself to whatever sleep the goddesses saw fit to afford her.

The Star Destroyer Warspite arrived in the Essesia system, the large terrestrial world clearly visible through the series of viewports on the Star Destroyer's distinct bridge. Orbiting the planet the shape of a Victory I-class Star Destroyer could clearly be seen and the Admiral's attention moved quickly towards Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca. "Lieutenant, get me a report..." he said eagerly as he leaned down to watch the movements of the Chiss tactical officer.

Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca nodded to the Admiral as she held the comlink to her ear in order to carefully gather each word. She nodded her head as she received the transmission, her red eyes rolling up slowly to look at the Admiral. "Milord, your children have been transferred aboard the Star Destroyer," she explained quickly as the rest of the transmission came in. "Stormtrooper command reports Major Kiley was shot repeatedly and is currently receiving emergency treatment. The damage to the estate was minor. There is no evidence as to who perpetrated the assault. Your children claim they were sealed in their rooms and did not observe anything. There is no trace of the Lady Htaere..." she concluded, the static-laced voice through the comlink ceasing transmission.

Admiral Rodney turned his attention to Captain Anson after hearing the Lieutenant's report. "Captain. Prepare my shuttle and inform Doctor Tohan to meet me on the flight deck," he ordered as he briskly stepped from the bridge and entered the turbolift. The entire ride on the turbolift was spent in silence, the old man fearing the worst. He could not understand why the Imperial security had been unable to protect his beloved wife and he suspected the Imperial spy was playing some role in it. He was tired and desperately needed rest, he had not eaten either and the strain of the situation was becoming unbearable.

Doctor Pilaq Tohan slowly made his way from the turbolift, carrying a large satchel filled with medical supplies. He had been given very little information as to what had happened, and was only given a short amount of time to treat the inquisitor. As he arrived at the ramp of the Admiral's shuttle he looked around at the concerned faces of the Imperial officers with his large, orange eyes, waiting patiently for his old friend.

As the turbolift doors opened, the Admiral ceased using the internal railing for support and hurried out across the flight deck. He could spot his Ithorian physician waiting at the shuttle and it pleased him, knowing that he would not have to wait for any stragglers. "Prep the shuttle!" he ordered as he sprinted across the flight deck, his booted feet carrying him at a hurried pace towards the shuttle.

"Oh no. You ain't going nowhere without me!" the voice of Lieutenant Randi Trainor cried out as she hurried across the flight deck, moving swiftly towards her former shuttle. "I don't care what Doctor Hammerhead has to say, Admiral. Ain't nobody flying you over there but me," the young woman explained as she stormed past them and moved towards the cockpit of the ship. Her back was still badly torn up from her encounter with the Nexu and she barely had time to recover.

Doctor Tohan's large orange eyes rolled at the Lieutenant's behavior, but then he and the Admiral settled themselves in the back of the shuttle Kwai as it descended from the Warspite's hangar bay and began to cross the short distance across the Essesia system. The shuttle moved quickly towards the Victory I-class Star Destroyer, rocking back and forth as it jolted across the system. The two old men slid back and forth in the back of the shuttle as it raced across the system.

"You would think the Lieutenant could manage a simple flight across a system," Doctor Tohan observed, trying to lighten the mood slightly. He frowned as he looked at his old friend, unsure of what they would expect when they got to the other ship. He could feel the shuttle slow and rise inside the other ship and he began to stand, wanting to waste little time in getting to the patient. As the shuttle landed, he made his way down the ramp, pleasantly surprised to see the Admiral's three children unharmed.

Claudius hurried down the ramp of the shuttle, pushing past Pilaq to get to his children. He gathered Jelena, Drusilla, and Ewwiewkewwieikkie in a group hug and sighed contently, tightening his grip around each of them. He never wanted to let go of his children ever again, now deathly afraid that they would not be safe unless they were in his presence. His eyes rolled towards the Doctor, his attention divided on the matter of his missing wife. "Get to the medical bay. Revive Major Kiley. She is the key to finding Htaere..." he explained, not so much concerned with her wellbeing as he was with getting the information about his missing wife.

Doctor Tohan nodded to his friend, tucking the bag of medical supplies under his large Ithorian arm. He hoped that the Admiral's children would be able to calm his nerves while he treated Major Kiley. Moving swiftly, he exited the smaller flight deck of the Victory I-class Star Destroyer and entered the turbo lift.

"What happened?" Claudius asked the girls as he moved them inside of the shuttle. It was the only private place he could think of and sat himself down on one of the benches, letting out a tired sigh as he waited for their report. He hoped that they would be willing to reveal information to him that they might not have felt comfortable telling the unfamiliar Imperial officers. His eyes looked to each of them, inspecting them for any sign of even the most superficial of damage.

"Is Major Kiley dead?" Jelena asked as she stood directly in front of her father, unable to sit down just yet. She paced back and forth, walking in an attempt to collect her thoughts. She was not sure what had happened. After her conversations with Parka, she doubted they would be so foolish as to assault her compound just to seize Htaere. After all, the poor Hapan woman knew nothing. "No one will tell us anything about what is going on..." she explained to her father, visibly shaking as she turned to him.

"This was a dreadful experience, father," Drusilla Rodney explained as she sat on the bench opposite the Admiral. "They locked us in our room and soiled the entire house..." she explained, folding her small arms in front of her chest as she remembered the events of the past day. "You simply must execute whomever is responsible!" she insisted as she kicked her legs back and forth beneath her.

"Everything go boom boom!" Ewwwiekewwieikkie tried to explain in the way only a nave, young Squib could. The blue-furred woman seemed unfazed by the events and a smile was plastered across her face that lit up her large, yellow eyes. She reached forward towards her father and wrapped her small arms around him. "I missed you," she informed him lovingly. The one person in the Admiral's life who seemed to not be caught up in dramatic situations.

Claudius did his best to smile as his adopted Squib daughter embraced him, but he simply was not in an affectionate mood. It seemed Drusilla would be of no help either, and thus all his hope rested squarely on the shoulders of Jelena. "No, my dear, Major Kiley is still with us..." he said to her reassuringly, though the reports he received seem to indicate that her survival was no guarantee. "Do you remember any of what happened, Jelena?" he asked as he looked up to her, his eyes filled with hope that she might be able to assist in the investigation.

Jelena's lips curled upward as she received word that Kerrie had not perished in the attack. She moved forward, sitting next to her father and wrapping an arm around him. Her concern for Htaere was now forefront on her mind as she embraced her father and began to think of anything that might help. "I heard Kerrie shouting and then I heard blaster fire. I tried to look out the window, but they were all darkened with the new reinforcements..." she explained, having protested their installation in the first place. "I heard running up the stairs ... Htaere I think ... but before I could open my door there was someone at my door sealing it..." she said, lifting her face to place a soft, gentle kiss upon his cheek. "I heard some yelling and Htaere screaming, but I could not force the door open..." she explained as she began to tremble, sniffling softly.

It was not the answer Claudius hoped to hear and realized all of his hopes no rested firmly on Major Kiley, who might already have succumbed to her wounds. He said nothing, one arm wrapped around Jelena and the other wrapped around Ewwiekewwieikkie as he chose to leave a tender moment alone. After several silent moments, he rose from the seat and yelled towards the cockpit. "Randi, fly the children back to the Warspite. Place them in the direct care of Captain Anson and have him assign a squad of troopers to my quarters," he ordered as he turned to place a kiss on each of his daughter's foreheads.

"You got it, boss," Randi said as her hands moved over the controls of the shuttle. She felt as if she was carrying the most important cargo of her life and would not allow anything to happen to the Admiral's children. She was not fully briefed on what had transpired, but she sensed it was bad and could only hope all would soon return to normal.

"I will return to the Warspite with Major Kiley shortly. Do not worry," Claudius promised the children as he descended the ramp back towards the flight deck. He turned as he watched the ramp ascend beneath the cockpit, nodding confidently to Randi whom he could observe through the view port. As the shuttle lifted off and exited the hangar bay, he turned to make his way towards the turbolift.

Doctor Tohan examined the unconscious body of his frequent patient, Major Kiley. He grimaced as he read over the reports presented by the medical staff of the Star Destroyer. The Clone Wars-era medical facility left a lot to be desired, and was a far cry from what he was used to dealing with. He sighed, placing the large, elongated fingers of his hand and resting it upon her shoulders, stroking her forehead affectionately. It seemed all he could do was make her comfortable until the bacta had time to treat her wounds.

The door to the medical facility opened and Admiral Claudius Rodney stepped through it, moving quickly to join Doctor Tohan at the bedside of Major Kiley. He sighed looking down at her, noting that bacta patches seemed to cover most of her chest and arm. He grimaced as he grabbed hold of a chair and sat down, needing to take a load off. He sighed tiredly, looking over towards the Ithorian doctor. "How is she?" she asked quietly as his attention focused on the wounded Clawdite laying unconscious in the bed.

Pilaq turned slowly to face the Admiral, his large bulbous eyes looking carefully at the man. "If they wanted her dead ... she would be dead," he explained slowly, believing there was more going on here than had been revealed. "The wounds are from a hold-out blaster, Claudius. Had she been shot with a legitimate weapon she would have expired long ago..." he explained as his hand continued to caress the woman's head.

"Can you revive her?" Claudius asked quietly as he looked towards Kerrie. He rose from his chair, unable to find any comfort from just sitting there. He needed to be doing something ... anything. He walked over towards her and stomped his left foot down angrily on the deck plating. "Damn it," he cursed at himself as he considered his foolishness.

"What is wrong, Claudius?" Doctor Tohan asked as he looked to his old friend. He could not understand what had caused the outburst, as surely he could not feel directly responsible for the Major's injuries this time. His eyes looked intently at him, trying to gauge his intent.

"I forgot bookii," Claudius explained sadly as he looked down at Kerrie. "...her stuffed animal," he quickly explained to his old friend, attempting to sound less ridiculous. A tear formed in the corner of his eyes and began to stream down his face. "Htaere would have remembered..." he said confidently, moving his hand up to his face to wipe away the tears that had formed.

"It will be all right, Claudius," Pilaq said reassuringly as he turned his attention from his patient to Claudius. A large hand rested upon his back, patting it affectionately as he attempted to calm him slightly. "It is likely another ransom attempt. They will hold her and return her unharmed for a large sum of credits. Just like last time..." he said to him with a crisp nod. "The last story became quite the store on the HoloNet and it is likely this is a copycat crime," he reasoned, having no information to base it on.

"She is the only one who might know what happened, Pilaq," Claudius said to Pilaq as his eyes focused on her inhuman visage. "Revive her!" he ordered as he took a step closer towards her, lowering his face slightly so that when she awoke he would be able to talk to her instantly. He had lost all of his patience.

Pilaq sighed in dejection as he considered the situation. His friend was right ... she was perhaps the only one who knew where Htaere might be. He had to weigh the life of Htaere versus the life of Kerrie and finally relented. "Just for a moment, Claudius" he said as his hand moved towards his medical tools. Reluctantly, he jabbed her in the arm with one of his syringes, filling her with a powerful chemical that would jolt her into consciousness.

Kerrie's eyes opened suddenly and she let out a tremendous cry of pain as the blaster wounds to her chest and arm had not properly healed. "Htaere!" she screamed suddenly as she attempted to sit up, still believing she was under attack. She did not recognize the Admiral, Doctor Tohan, or her surroundings and she began to utter strange words in Huttese. She was in an absolute panic as she cried out like a pathetic, wounded animal.

Claudius reached forward to Kerrie's shoulders and shook her violently. "Major. Come to your senses," he shouted angrily as he looked her square in the eyes. "What has happened to Htaere?" he asked her, pleading with every ounce of his being. He could not stand it any longer and let out a tired, dejected sigh as he looked to the Doctor.

"I cannot allow this, old friend," Doctor Tohan explained as he injected Kerrie with a power sedative. The wounded and exhausted Clawdite collapsed down into Doctor Tohan's hands as he gently lay her back down onto the bed. "I am sorry, but she will be unable to help us," he admitted sadly, turning his attention to the Admiral once Kerrie was situated.

"Revive her again!" Claudius demanded as he turned to the doctor. There were tears streaming from both eyes and his face was flushed red with anger. He did not care if it would kill Kerrie, he needed to know where Htaere was. He turned his attention down to Kerrie and reached out with his right hand, smacking her across the face in an attempt to revive her himself.

Doctor Tohan had seen enough and injected Admiral Rodney with the same sedative he had just used with great success on the Major. Collecting the man in both of his arms he dragged him across the room to where an empty bed was available, and placed him upon it. He was by no means a strong man and the activity tired him, causing him to wheeze as he staggered to a chair. "Sleep well, old friend..." he said silently as he looked over him. "...when you awake we begin your new diet," he added, the man's unexpected weight making it more difficult for him to be carried.

Hours had passed, during which time the creature noises did not cease. Arden moved through the door and looked down at the Hapan, clapping her hands just once. The creature noises were instantly silenced and the lights in the room returned to normal, which afforded her a better view. "Comfortable?" she asked as she stood in the center of the room, her eyes moving towards the still-unsigned datapad. "Tsk, tsk" she complained as she sat down in the chair once again.

Htaere's sunken eyes shifted towards the shiny black boots from her nook beneath the pallet. Her appearance was deteriorating daily, the rainbow gem in her forehead the only part of her that still shined. She'd developed a shake, her entire body trembling as a result of non-existent blood sugar, no hydration and electrolyte deficiency. The various burns, tears, cuts and bruises were red and agitated, untreated and evident of lingering infection.

The droid entered the room behind Major Zevrin and floated towards Htaere, the electrodes once again protruding from the small droid. The droid moved towards Htaere and attempted to plunge the electrodes into the weakened woman's flesh, but this time they would not withdraw after only six seconds. The droid would remain, pumping its electrical voltage into the woman ceaselessly. Major Zevrin moved forward and glared at the Hapan. "Sign the confession!" she commanded as her arms folded angrily in front of her chest.

From her hiding spot beneath the pallet, Htaere shrunk further back against the wall as the droid approached, unfortunately cornering herself in the process. With no where to go, the electric current caused muscle spasms, contracting the tissue in erratic and jerky movements. With an energy that surprised even her, Htaere writhed in agony, crying out horribly as the torment failed to cease. The longer it continued, the more small blood vessels began to rupture, unable to contain the charge in her bloodstream, blood trickling from her ears, mouth and nose.

Finally the droid subsided, moving away the Hapan having completed its ferocious assault. Arden stood over the woman, her patience all but gone. She knelt down next to her and glared directly in front of her face. "If you do not sign the confession I will have the Admiral's daughter's disintegrated!" she explained angrily as she threw the datapad down in front of her again. She moved away from the woman, heading out of the room to return to the observation room. She sighed tiredly, knowing by now the entire might of the Empire would be turned out to find the Admiral's wife. She needed results and she needed them now. "Prepare the serum..." she ordered to one of her junior officers, sitting down in the chair to watch through the transparisteel once more.

The recovery much slower this time around, Htaere's sobbing continued, rolling onto her back as the last traces of current dissipated through her body resulting in an occasional shudder. She let her heart rate calm, trying to regain her composure. Her listless grey eyes closed, pushing out more salty tears that rolled down her temples and into her hair, mouthing a few words in Hapan silently.

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