Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:7:19) in the Essesia system: Warspite.
Ewwiekewwieikkie, Major Kerrie Kiley, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, and Lady Drusilla Rodney.

Ewwiekewwieikkie stabbed at a piece of boiled ruica with her fork, and lifted the blue vegetable in front of her face and sighed sadly. The usually cheerful Squib had been depressed since her sister Jelena had left nine days ago. She did not fully comprehend Jelena's message or its political significance ... all she knew that she was gone. She let out a tremendous sigh as she let the ruica fall back into the bowl, before letting her blue fur covered head rest upon her paws as she dejectedly sat at the table. Looking around with her curious yellow eyes all she saw was the boring, metallic durasteel of the interior of the Star Destroyer. This was a miserable experience for her, and for the first time in her adult life she considered leaving to rejoin her people, unaware just so how her adoptive father had protected her from the harsh xenophobic laws of the Galactic Empire.

"Well if you're not going to eat it ... I will!" Drusilla Rodney announced, as she reached across the table and grabbed Ewwiekewwieikkie's bowl. Although Jelena was her sister, she never felt particularly close to her, and viewed her decision to leave as a renouncing of her claims to her family's titles. In her mind, one day it would now all be hers. "You really need to cheer up, Ewwie. You're becoming quite the bore," she said, as she began to heartily devour the ruica that the Squib had passed on. Life aboard a Star Destroyer frustrated her as well ... she missed her home on Esseles, and the castle on Delaya. Everything around her seemed so drab, but her father seemed unwilling to let her out of his sight since Jelena left. And what was worse, the hovering presence of Major Kerrie once again surrounded them.

Major Kerrie Kiley had only emerged from the bacta tank two days earlier, and despite the excellent care of Doctor Tohan she still did not feel entirely herself. The doctor had warned her that wounds like this take time, and the mental wound would last far longer than than the physical one. She was pleased to once again have the Governor's confidence, and being able to do away with Major Zevrin had given her particular satisfaction. She understood now how much the Governor's family meant to him, and what a position of honor it was to protect them. Still, she knew that he would never return to his former self until Jelena was recovered, but after nine days she could be anywhere. Everything had become quite tense aboard the command ship, and the blockade of Esseles was threatening to destroy all of the good will the Empire had built up in the hearts and minds of the people. As much as she wanted to advise him of the ill effects of his actions, she realized his mind was closed to the subject and all she would do is risk losing her recovered position ... and so she kept quiet and minded her place ... as she had always done.

It was then that the doors opened revealing the presence of Grand Moff Claudius Rodney. He immediately tensed when he saw his children, not having taken the time to fully explain the situation to them. He did not know what to say, and said nothing ... frozen by fear and inadequacy. He had come to see Major Kiley, and hoped the children would have finished with their meals by now, but those hopes had been quickly dashed. "Hello, children!" he said in a cheerful manner that he had forced out of his lips, taking eager steps into the room that pained him to no end. He could see how troubled Ewwiekewwieikkie was by this, and took a few more steps until he was standing next to her and began to gently rub her head. Drusilla, however, seemed to be her usual self, if somewhat more reserved. "You really should try and eat, Ewwie," he said, as he looked at the double portion that Drusilla was consuming. To see his family so shattered struck at the very fiber of his being, and it seemed the Rebellion had been able to do to him with one act of betrayal what no fleet of ships could do.

Ewwiekewwieikkie cringed when she felt her father's touch, which usually was a source of great comfort to her. "I am no hungry," she said, weakly, before pulling from his grasp and moving from her chair. "I go watch holonet," she concluded abruptly, not making eye contact with the man who had rescued her two decades earlier during the Battle of Skor II. She thought that if she watched the recording of Jelena enough that she might understand what she was saying, but it seemed that it was all too much for one of her species to comprehend. Instead of running, as she normally did, she simply slinked out of the dining room to return to the bedchamber she shared with Drusilla.

"She'll get over it, father" Drusilla said, as she stuffed another piece of the blue ruica into her mouth, before finishing both her dinner and Ewwiekewwieikkie's. "Maybe a present might help?" she reasoned, knowing full well that the Squib would reject the gift and it would find its way into her grasp. "I'll go keep watch on her," she said, as she sensed an opportunity to get away from her babysitter ... hardly a job for a Stormtrooper, she had always thought. She had found the very notion that she even needed supervision at this point in her life to be quite insulting, being too young and naive to realize the full danger of her situation. Without making any effort to clear her plates, she offered a polite smile to her father, before making her way out of the room on the trail of her adopted sister.

Claudius let out a relieved sigh when both of his daughters had made a quick exit upon his arrival, and his hands instinctively moved to unfashion his tunic. He was tired ... it had been another long day, in a long week, in a long month, in a long year. "Oh," he cried contently as she sat down on one of the chairs and began to remove the uncomfortable boots from his tired feet. Once free, he began to wiggle his toes to return the full circulation to his feet, all the while ignoring the presence of Major Kiley. This went on for several moments with his eyes closed as he focused on the small problems that he could successfully deal with. "Major, please sit down," he finally said, after what seemed like an eternity as he began to get to the reasons he had sought her out.

"Yes, sir," Kerrie said obediently, as she pulled out one of the durasteel chairs, and took a seat at the table across from him. "I am afraid to report that none of our personnel on Esseles or in the system have spotted Lady Jelena today, sir," she reported, with some disappointment, as she feared his reaction. Esseles had a population of 24 billion and she knew that finding one person amongst that would be a statistical impossibility ... if she were even still on the planet. But she dared not mention to that to him, as the hope was the one thing he seemed to be clinging to.

Claudius instinctively clenched his fist and slammed it down upon the table, causing the plates and glasses to lift off the surface for a moment before slamming back down and making a cacophony of sound that briefly filled the room. "Damn it," he cursed, as his cheeks flushed red with anger. He lifted his hand to the bridge of his nose and squeezed it tightly to relax himself, lowering his head and closing his eyes. "No more of this today, Major," he said, as he attempted to regain his faculties and shake off what she had just told him. "That-that's not why I'm here," he explained, after a stammer, as he refocused his attention on the carefully mimicked human face she chose to present herself in. "I have been going through Major Zevrin's archives, and she had a recording of your encounter with Jelena," he said, knowing full what he was revealing to her. He drew back, waiting for her reply, as the recording had presented him with quite the dilemma.

For an instant Kerrie's face flickered back to her natural, reptilian Clawdite form as she believed she had been caught red handed. She knew full well that during her confrontation she had admitted to having knowledge of Jelena's treachery for months, and even killing to protect her involvement in the Rebellion. She lowered her head, unable to look at him ... unable to speak. "Milord..." she said, with no followthru, as she considered her next words very carefully. "When we were reassigned to Malastare I uncovered that it was Jelena who had provided the Rebellion with the datadisk," she admitted, truthfully, believing that she had just sealed your death warrant. "I could not bring myself to arrest her, because I knew that Major Zevrin and the Imperial Security Bureau would destroy her," she said, continuing to speak the truth, but without referencing how the ISB had destroyed Htaere as it was still too sensitive a nerve. "I did my utmost to deter her, to prevent her from acting, to intimidate her ... because my primary loyalty was to you and not the Empire. I was tassked with protecting you and your family ... from all enemies ... including the Empire," she said, with an air of pride, as she was confident in her actions. "I could not bring myself to shoot her. I failed you, Milord. I failed her as well," she said, but without crying, as there was no longer any point for tears. He already knew what she had done, and now she had done her best to explain why.

Claudius sat there for a moment, leaning back in his chair, and staring down his nose towards her across the table in complete silence. He could see her trembling slightly, as if she were a terrified animal. Without saying a word, he rose from the table, and moved over towards her. He had nearly lost her, and was not about to give her up after just getting her back. Unexpectedly, he wrapped both of his arms around her, and drew her into a tight hug. His hands moved up and down and her back to comfort her, as he respected her for her actions and her honesty. "I see now that I chose correctly letting you live when you tried to kill me on Ithor years ago," he said, as he released his grasp, and sat on the tabletop next to her. "I know that when you went to see your people you did not plan to come back, but I am grateful that you did," he said, moving his right hand to grasp firmly at her left shoulder. "I will neither mistreat you, nor misuse you, going forward, Kerrie," he said, addressing her by name rather than rank in a symbolic gesture. "You are reinstated as my adjutant. I need you ... more than ever," he revealed to her, matching her honesty.

When the Governor embraced her she felt the kind of safety and acceptance that she had not experienced since her youth on Zolan before she was turned over to the Mabari. "You are my people now, Milord," she explained vaguely, not wanting to relive the painful memories of being banished by her people for her participation in an Empire that was ravaging her world. "I appreciate the trust you have placed on me, and I promise to devote my life to your continued service, Milord," she said, as she had sucumbed completelt to the cult of personality that surrounded the man. It was only two years ago that she had vowed to murder him for his indirect involvement in the death of her parents, but now she saw in him the vision of a father that she never had. While her true family had been blasted into the stars ... this false family she had created in her mind continued to live on and inspired her every move. "How may I serve you?" she asked, as she lowered her head in the manner of a suppliant.

As he watched her, Claudius still felt she went too far in his devotion to him, but felt that he could use that to his own advantage in due course. He dropped from the tabletop, allowing his bare feet to touch the cold floor. "Easy, my dear," he said, as he released his grip on her shoulder, and collected his discarded footwear. "Bring me my daughter," he said, with his back turned to her, as he moved from the room towards his personal chambers. Given her past experience as a bounty hunter and an assassin he felt she was the right person for this job. Jelena was down there on Esseles in the clutches of the Rebellion and he feared for her very safety. Who knew what foul intent they had for her, he thought to himself, as he prepared to retire for the evening.

"With pleasure, Milord," Kerrie said, rising from the table as he exited the room. She stood there for a moment, having no idea how she was going to find one woman on a planet of so many. She knew the limited success they had against the Rebellion, and if they were hiding her there was little anyone could do. Still, she had to try, and was fortunate to have considerable researches at her disposal given the fanatical approach the Grand Moff was taking to recover his daughter. But, privately, she knew that even that would likely not be enough. As she exited the room she caught a glimpse of an image that had been taken when she had returned from her trip to Zolan. The image was the first family dinner she had been invited to and showed the family as yet untouched by war and captured the image of a happy Jelena less than two weeks before she became a Rebel agent. Her hand reached for that image and she touched it for just a moment, remember what was, but could not be again. She had lost one family to the Clone Wars, and she did not think she could bare to lose a second family to this Galactic Civil War. "I will find you!" she vowed as her eyes narrowed on the image of Jelena, but her motive was not one of revenge, but salvation.

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