Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Liz Dorner and Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:8:31) in the Rhinnal system: Rhinnal (Rhire: Marketplace).
Major Kerrie Kiley, Petty Officer Tashi Ling, and Parka Pepper.

Since her conversation with Htaere, Kerrie's thoughts had dwelled on the mission she had been asked to undertake. She had pledged to do whatever Htaere wanted, but never did she expect to be asked to find Parka Pepper ... a woman who had played a central role in Jelena's defection. Tracking the Hapan had not been easy, and she wondered if she had been undercutting her own efforts simply to avoid putting the two Hapans back in contact with one another. It had taken some doing, but she had tracked her to the city of Rhire on the planet Rhinnal. Gone was her Imperial uniform, and instead she found herself wearing the distinct armor of the Mabari, an order from her home planet of Zolan she had since been banished from due to her Imperial activity. She looked the part of a bounty hunter in the dark suit of armorweave, with the simple blast helmet perched upon her head. But she was not here to eliminate Parka ... as much as she would have liked to ... but to simply deliver a message.

From where she stood out of sight, the Hapan known as 'Parka Pepper', a pseudonym to be sure, studied the "contact" intently. She could not have imagined this in her wildest dreams. Looking around she produced a pocket scanner and for the millionth time she scanned the area, for spooks, leaks, bugs and wires. With a reluctant sense of obligation, she emerged from the shadows. The young woman in cargo pants, knee-high boots, a tight cami that boasted her incredible godess-given curves and chest and a jacket over it strolled straight over towards this "Mabari" warrior and took a stance in front of her. "Well I'll be are alive..." she evaluated the being that stood before her.

"There are days when I wish that statement was untrue," Kerrie replied to Parka coldly, restraining every urge she had to charge down the woman and tackle her. Her carefully mimicked human eyes looked around, wondering if there were any Rebels lurking in the shadows who might have come with her. "You alone?" she asked, as she reached atop her helmet to bring down a targeting scanner. She peered through the darkness, and did not detect any immediate threats, which mildly surprised her. A moment later she slapped the scanner back above her helmet, before moving to the business at hand. "I'm not here for the Empire," she began, not that she expected the Hapan to believe her, but she did not care what she did or did not believe.

"That is what you requested," Parka reminded her. "I must say, surprised is an understatement to describe what I felt when you contacted me. Jelena told us she shot you and left you for dead. We used to have many discussions together," Parka smiled, as if it was some distant fond memory. "I never expected to revisit such. S...if you are not here for the Empire, pray tell, what is it you are here for?" She took a seat casually, her grey and black flecked eyes studying the Clawdite Imperial officer intently. She flipped a few of her braided dreadlocks over a shoulder. "Do you wish to defect as well?"

"Then you have her?" Kerrie asked quickly, confirming what she implied from Parka's statement. At least from that she knew that she would likely not be found the ISB. "The Lady Htaere wishes to meet with you," she informed her, unable to believe the words that were coming out of her mouth. This was more than a terrible mistake ... it was pure folly. She reached up to her head, grasping at the helmet, and bringing it down beneath her shoulder to reveal more of herself to Parka. "I wish you wouldn't," she said honestly, shaking her head at her own actions in this madness.

"Do I have who?" Parka asked, brow knitting. "If you mean do I have the Admiral's daughter, then I can assure you, *no one* has her. She is her own person and in full charge of her own faculties and decision making." Parka folded her hands in her lap. "A part of me wishes *you* would follow her lead, decide what *you* want in life, what makes *you* happy. You have been Rodney's punching bag for long enough..." she relented a bit. "...but that is for you to decide, isn't it." Parka studied Kerrie for a while. "For some strange reason that I cannot explain, I feel the need to tell you that I am ... see you still alive," she allowed a light smile. "I don't know why, cuz you're a total pain in the ass," she waved a hand. "And the lady Htaera...Rodney's ridiculously oppressed wife who he barely touches...another of his harem of submissive women...she wishes to meet with me?" Parka canted her head. "Why?"

"I *am* my own woman!" Kerrie snarled, taking her statement quite personally, as she turned to face her. "My life is one of service to a great man, And to his family. He has given me focus. I have a purpose..." she continued, going into a feverish rant, which caused droplets of spittle to fly from her mouth as she spoke. Finally she caught herself, and placed each of her gloved hands on her hips, and began to breath deeply, attempting to calm herself to focus on her 'mission' for Htaere. "I really don't know. I really don't know," she repeated, shaking her head, before turning her back to Parka. "I guess she'll tell you that *if* you decide to go through with it," she said, followed by an exasperated sigh. I should leave, she kept thinking to herself repeatedly.

"Go through with what?" Parka asked. "All things aside, Kerrie, I honestly don't know what it is you're asking of me." Her eyes burrowed into Kerrie hotly. "You...came here...and you brought no Imp spies with you...this must mean something to you..." She scratched at her neck for a second. "Why does the Lady Rodney wish to meet with me, exactly? And don't tell me you don't know. You know exactly why she sent you here. What is it that you want?"

"Look. Parka ... I don't know what she wants. I fear the reasons," Kerrie revealed, as she turned on her heels to face her again, her voice quivering and threatening to break. "Things are bad. But if you're any good at your job you already know that," she continued, continuing to shake her head, as if that would somehow get her out of this situation. "Are you going to meet with her or not?" she said hastily, snapping at her as she asked the question, not wanting to spend any more time with her than she already had.

Parka evaluated Kerrie for a long time. Finally, she conceded. "Fine." She dropped her booted feet from where they were propped on the table and leaned forward intently. "But if you cross me *Major Kiley*..." she let the sentence trail off. "You have a very secure and private channel. I suggest you use it sparingly and with the utmost discretion. Tell me when and where, and I shall do my best."

It was then that an Imperial patrol gunship appeared on the horizon on a routine patrol, turning its light on the streets, as it scanned for any Rebel activity. The planets of this region were an active war zone, and the Imperial activity was increasing by the day. "Damn!" Kerrie cursed, as she could hear the engine approaching, and she nervously looked towards Parka. "I didn't call them. I swear," she said in a panic, as she tried to judge how much time they had before the gunship would arrive. "I'll have to find a way to get you and Htare together. Now go. Get out of here!" she yelled at the Hapan, just as a spotlight was shone down in her direction. "Halt!" the unmistakable sound of a Stormtrooper was heard to shout from above, but that he had not yet spotted Parka.

Parka snapped upright, eyes narrowing first on the gunboat and then on Kerrie suspiciously. There was no time to decide if Kerrie had betrayed her. Instead, she darted out of her chair and was off and running, ducking closely under a series of canopies that appeared over the common marketplace. The protesting by the shop owners was far less antagonistic these days, succumbing to the servitude that Grand Moff Rodney had placed ont hem instead. Parka met with little opposition when she entered into an open doorway, looking about briefly before plucking some old dusty robes lying about and covering herself with them abruptly. As if a hunched decrepit trader, she hobbled her place among the multitudes of impoverished as they drifted about the near vacant market.

As the gunship prepared to land to detail her, Kerrie's thoughts filled with dread, as she could not explain what she was doing here on Rhinnal. She considered running, but there was no way she could escape on foot. Her right hand hovered over the KYD-21 blaster pistol in her holster, and as the Stormtroopers began to close in on her position she began to snap off a couple of quick shots in the direction of the Stormtroopers. The first one dropped in an instant, but she missed the second one, and began to take cover as the remaining trooper opened fire. She could only hope that Parka had managed to get away or this whole situation was going to become far worse. There she was having to kill an Imperial to protect the family again. She lowered the targetting scanner on her helmet as she focused in on the remaining troopers, firing off in rapid succession to whittle their numbers.

Out of the blue, a voice called to her. "Are you gonna hang around and die or you wanna live today?" Parka hissed, clearly irritated at her own conscience. "Let's go, before you get blown into pieces. You can thank me later."

"I'm not going anywhere with you!" Kerrie snarled at Parka from between grit teeth, all the while continuing to return fire at the oncoming Stormtroopers. It was then that a deadly blast of energy impacted with her left shoulder, causing her to fall back to the ground momentarily. The armorweave did a good job of dissipating most of the blast, but she had a nasty burn that would need treatment. "Damn it. Fine," she said, holstering her weapon, and hurrying with Parka into the unknown. She was now on the run in the company of a Rebel agent. This was not how she planned this meeting to go.

Parka smirked but turned and ran. "Don't look now, but you look ridiculous," she chuckled. As they dodged amid baskets of sad looking fruit and vegetables, and a couple hand-woven items, jewelry here and there, Parka produced a comm link. "Tashi, we need either a distraction or a nondescript pick-up. Pick one," she shouted into it.

An acidic husky voice came on the other end. "Are you serious? Ugh...damn you, you bitch." A brief pause ensued and then the voice reappeared. "On your six. Don't waste time." Parka shoved the robe she'd lifted towards Kerrie. "Roger that," she answered Tashi before shooting a grin to the disguised Imperial. "Time to blend in, sister." And with that she plucked a couple more things as she ran, leaving the stand owners in the market to shake an appendage behind her. Parka hunched over again and slowed pace to a ridiculous crawl towards a junky looking puddle jumper with a few poultry cages on the back of it.

"Who was that?" Kerrie asked Parka, as she reluctantly shrouded herself in the robe, before following her through the marketplace. "I hope you have a plan," she said, as she moved towards the speeder, stopping to look over her shoulder to see how close the remaining Stormtroopers were. She stopped running when she saw the vehicle, and she stopped dead in her tracks when she realized this was their escape route. "That thing?!" she asked, in disbelief, as she wrapped the robe tightly around her rather distinctive armor. "I'd rather take my chances!" she said, her head turning in every direction, her eys tracking every subtle movement in the night.

"Well by all means," Parka offered. "I'm sure the Empire will *completely* understand why you are in the company of a rebel agent thoroughly *not* in uniform," Parka pointed out. "Rodney is soooo understanding about such things..." She paused, letting Kerrie think it over, if only for a fraction of a second.

"Oh all right. Damn it!" Kerrie yelled, as she could hear the Stormtroopers closing in, and and she reluctantly climbed into the speeder with them. Once she was in the rear, she lowered her head in shame, bringing her hand up to hold her helmeted head upright. "This is humiliating," she muttered, not caring if they heard it. She had really stepped into a mess this time, and she as yet had not figured a way out of it.

Parka tugged the robe further over Kerrie to conceal her completely, as well as herself, nearly buried among the poultry cages and junk as they sputtered off rather unthreateningly amid the other market traffic. It was only a short time later that the robe covering the two was pulled away abruptly. Tashi's unamused form immediately came into view, cigarra between her lips and arms folded.

Parka's eyes popped open and she sat up with some kind of smile. She regarded the other rebel haphazardly. "Tashi, you're looking...cancerous as usual," she grinned before climbing out and turning to likewise take in Kerrie's huddled form. "You fucking brought an Imperial," Tashi muttered, the cigarra bobbing slightly as she spoke. "You're gonna get killed for this."

Parka chewed at the side of her lip, evaluating Kerrie. "Awwww can't we keep her? I swear she followed me home..." She leaned forward to tap Kerrie on the shoulder. "Come on, Major Kiley," she spoke leisurely. "We gotta figure out a way to get you the hell out of here and off both of our radars."

"You'll have to forgive me for not having a sense of humor at a time like this," Kerrie said to Parka, from beneath the robe in the back of the vehicle. "Just get me out of range. I can circle back to my ship on my own," she reasoned, though she realized this was her first trip to Rhinnal and was not exactly sure where they were at this point. "The longer we stick together the greater our chance of getting found out, and the more we're likely to get on one another's nerves," she added, as she tried her best not to breath in the foul stench emanating from the creates of animals they were hidden between. "I'll never eat one of these creatures again!" she said, before moving her hand to her face to waft away some of the foul odor.

"You came looking for me," Parka noted. "Tell them, you found me. You obtained this...and it's last known location was Rhinnal," she tossed her a nondescript comm unit. One of many Parka had on hand, cheap, disposable, and prepaid. "We can get you back to where you need to go. Question is...where DO you want to go?" Parka cast a sideways glance at Tashi, who still stood looking all the menacing and unfriendly. "Can we get a second?" Tashi's eyes traveled to Parka, narrowed briefly, then back to Kerrie before she turned and stalked off.

When she was sure Tashi was beyond earshot, Parka re-centered her attentions on Kerrie. "You want a meeting? I promised one," she began. Producing yet *another* throw-away comm link, she handed it to Kerrie. "You seem reasonably intelligent. Use this to find me. Once we make contact, destroy it." Parka's unusual eyes hardened. "Your Imperial cohorts are not welcomed," she reminded the major.

Kerrie listened to Parka's warnings, as she stowed both of the comlinks in pouches on her suit of armorweave. "I'll contact you when the situation improves," she said, before turning to scurry off into the night. She stopped, and turned her head back over her shoulder to look back towards Parka. "If you harm Htaere ... I'll kill you. Know that," she warned her, before running off at her best speed. Her shoulder was starting to hurt badly as the adrenaline wore off ... it seemed she had another wound for Doctor Tohan to examine.

Parka's gaze stayed on Kerrie as she disappeared into the darkness. She thought on Kerrie's words, on this entire event and found it odd. When Kerrie had vanished from sight, and Parka had run both the scrambler and scanner a few more times, she regrouped with Tashi to make plans to join the others. Her first order of business was a little chit-chat with Jelena to try and make sense of such an unusual request for a meeting with the girl's Hapan step-mother.

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