Era of Rebellion - Navigation

D. Wade Hyde and Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:9:1) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Medcenter and Spaceport) and Sonthi.
Kerrie Kiley, Lord Gaius Rodney, and Tycho Starlight.

The shuttle Sonthi descended through the atmosphere of the planet Delaya with Major Kerrie Kiley at the controls. The trip through hyperspace had been a quiet one, filled with awkward silences that allowed her to reflect on her relationship with El-Nay Darr. As the capital city of Leiliani came into view she awkwardly grit her teeth as the unpleasant memories of her past encounters with the Grand Moff's family. On the horizon the Rodney Castle came into view and her heart raced when she saw smoke emanating from one of the spires. "We may be too late..." she nervously muttered towards Tycho, before beginning the shuttle into a descend onto the landing platform. As the shuttle made its final approach the bottom wings gracefully folded up allowing it to touch down. "Control yourself, Tycho. Let me do all the talking," she scolded him, bringing up a gloved finger to scold him. She unfastened herself from the pilot's seat and began to move towards the ramp. She was wearing her black Imperial uniform, complete with matching cover, in the hopes that it would more easily grant them access to the ruling family of the planet, of whom El-Nay's target was a leading member.

Tycho hadn't slept at all in his worry for El-Nay. He hadn't shown it, but instead simply looked dead-eyed. He'd said very few things to Kerrie, keeping his thoughts to himself, but secretly knew there was a pretty good chance that El-Nay was already ... but he couldn't think that. Though he was enough of a realist to expect it, he couldn't accept it. He hit a few toggles on the copilot's panel to fold the wings and extend the landing gear while she simply landed it. He glanced over to Kerrie, silent and hollow-eyed after taking in her words. There were so many things he could have said but, as before, as nothing. He knew that letting her talk was the better idea. He intended to do so, but it would be a question of what happened soon whether he could manage to control himself.

A number of members of the remaining Alderaan Guard began to approach the shuttle as the castle had been on alert since the attack. Among them was Lord Gaius Rodney, who had been acting commander of the guard since the senior command was wiped out during the destruction of Alderaan. He was a distinguished looking man with dark hair, green eyes, and dashing features. He was armed, as were the other members of the guard, and they bore no love for the Empire after the Death Star. As they spotted the Imperial officer descending the ramp they began to glare at her and tension began to build. Gaius did his best to calm their nerves despite the fact they had all lost countless loved ones on Alderaan, but he knew that if there was an incident likely the same fate could befall Delaya. "Welcome to Delaya," he said, offering her a polite nod to the Imperial Major and the mercenary that followed her.

It did not take a Force-sensitive to read the emotions of the guards that had moved towards the shuttle, as their body language and facial expressions conveyed everything Kerrie needed to know. She had spent time on Delaya with the Grand Moff and his family in the past and she knew she would not be welcome among them following the incident with his daughter, Jelena, but she nevertheless proceeded towards the man who seemed to be in charge. "Thank you for the welcome, Commander," she said, diplomatically, looking only at him and doing her best to ignore the jeers she was receiving from the others. "I come on urgent business to see Lord Marcus Rodney on behalf of my master," she said, obediently, with a firm nod of her head. Invoking the Grand Moff was risky business to sure, for if they have verified with him it would likely reveal what was afoot, but she felt it was the most effective way to get the access that they needed.

Tycho stood a few steps behind and to the right of the Imperial officer, knowing how to look like a bodyguard. His rifle was cradled in his arms, waiting to be used if needed, but for the moment it was aimed groundward. He'd happily have pushed through them all and stormed the place, but he wasn't stupid enough to try. Let Kerrie handle it, he reminded himself, and remained the silent, helmeted, intimidating figure that he was.

Gaius' demeanor immediately changed at the mention of his cousin, Marcus. He extended both of his hands to keep the guard calm before telling them anything further. "Major, there was an attempt on his life last evening. That is why we are on alert. He is currently recovering in a bacta tank in the medcenter," he explained to her, slowly, finding it quite the coincidence that she would choose this day for her seeking out the man. "May I ask what business you have with him?" he probed, pressing for information to determine if they had any information on the mysterious attacker. Neither Gaius nor any members of the family had even the slightest indication that their relative was in fact a bounty hunter.

Kerrie blinked slowly as the information was relayed to her and as the man spoke she brought up her left hand to place it in front of Tycho should he experience any kind of uncontrollable reaction. "An attempt on his life?" she repeated as a question, feigning ignorance to hide her knowledge of the incident. "And what of his attacker?" she quickly followed up, perhaps too quickly as there was a sense of anticipation in her voice. "And, as for my reason, I'm afraid it is a confidential matter between the Grand Moff and his brother," she quickly followed up, as she uncomfortably waited for his response, a feeling of dread beginning to build up in the pit of her stomach.

Tycho's grip tightened slightly on his rifle, though it likely wasn't perceptible. He couldn't stop himself from saying, "Foolish...attacking a place like this. The assassin must be dead..." Who said he couldn't show a measure of guile. Of course, depending on what the man said next, things could go very badly.

Gaius studied Kerrie and Tycho methodically before revealing any additional information. Clearly there was something more going on here than had been revealed, but he could provide no justification to withhold the information. "The attack was a young girl. She suffered extensive burning and shrapnel damage. That, combined with the damage to Marcus' quarters, has led us to conclude she was a suicide bomber," he said, with a firm nod of his head, as given his lifelong experience with Marcus he never could have accepted the man was a bounty hunter with weapons and explosive. "She is currently in a bacta tank also. She was nearly dead when we got to her, but we decided the information she had made it worth attempting to revive her. She is in our custody," he informed her, looking her over for any kind of reaction as he shared his report.

At least she was not dead, Kerrie thought to herself as she listened to Gaius' report. Despite her decades of impersonating a human and their behavior, she could not help but quiver with a slight frown as the information was relayed to her. "Thank you, Commander," she said, before looking back to Tycho in order to determine his reaction, again holding her hand up towards his chest. "As Marcus is the brother of a Grand Moff and Delaya is under Imperial protection I'm going to have to insist that the prisoner be placed in my custody. The Empire will take charge of the investigation," she ordered Gaius, slowly turning her head away from Tycho and back to him. She knew that the Empire was detested on Delaya, but she also knew that they were feared ... and she would use that.

Tycho had nothing to say for a moment, simply staring at Kerrie as she showed him a hand for restraint. The only thing he could think was that El-Nay was still alive. She was badly wounded, by the sound of things, and would probably be left scarred, but that didn't matter. She was alive. Tycho did finally speak, though, unable to help himself. "We'll need to see the assassin so I can determine her identity. It's possible I'll have heard of her if she's a professional."

Gaius glared at Kerrie as she made her request, but he would not back down without a fight. "Marcus holds no position or title within the Empire. But as he is a member of the House of Rodney and the attack took place in a governmental structure this is an internal matter and we have the right to conduct this investigation unheeded," he said to her firmly, as he looked down at the petite Stormtrooper officer. "I will of course keep you informed on the progress of our investigation," he said, offering a firm nod of his head, in a token of mock respect for the woman he held in contempt.

Kerrie tilted her head up towards the man, staring back at him intently with her carefully mimicked human eyes. "Right now you have one Stormtrooper before you, Commander!" she said, speaking in the authoritative tone she had heard utilized by members of the Imperial Security Bureau. "Would you like to have a legion of Stormtroopers?" she asked, as she brought up her comlink in a bluff. What she was doing sickened her. She had no love for the Empire after what they had done to her people and her oath of service was to a single man rather than the Empire as a whole, but she would use whatever resource was at her disposal to accomplish her aims. The ends would justify the means ... or so she hoped.

The Major's actions served to justify the actions he was taking behind the scene to remove her 'master' from the line of succession. A move that, coincidentally, would happen to return power to his line of the family. "No," he muttered under his breath at her, shaking his head in defeat. "There is no need for any additional Imperial presence in the matter, Major. I am confident in your ability to handle it by yourself," he said, with a fake politeness to the woman, as in reality he was seething beneath the surface. "I will show you to the medcenter," he said, before clapping his hands to prepare the transport.

The entourage filed into a security speeder that was normally used to transport members of the ruling family. While the speeder was unarmed it did feature reinforced panels designed to protect against blaster fire and light explosions. The vehicle made its way through the city of Leiliani, which was in the midst of a food crisis following the destruction of neighboring Alderaan, from whom they received most of their foodstuffs. There were protesters lining the streets and the
occasional rock was thrown at them, causing the vehicle to at times have to stop. Alderaanian refugees would approach them, screaming, in an attempt to get the attention of whom they assumed were in charge and might be able to provide assistance.

After some time they arrived at the medcenter, where Gaius Rodney was the first to depart. "This way..." he said, as he ushered them past the members of the guard that were on duty to prevent access given the two important patients that were contained within. As they moved further past the general area into the more secure wing of the facility they were presented with the sight of two large, modern bacta tanks against the wall of the room. In one was Marcus Rodney, who was now conscious, bobbing up and down in the tank. He was wearing nothing both a covering over his more sensitive areas and traces of a nasty blade wound were visible on his left leg. In the other was El-Nay Darr who had a blaster wound on her left shoulder and burns and shrapnel wounds on the entirety of her back and the right side of her torso. She was still unconscious and had slightly more covering on her body for modesty sake. Both were connected to a breathing apparatus as they needed to be completely submerged in the healing fluid. Medical droids bustled about carefully monitored their progress as their vitals were displayed on screens. Even a novice could read that he was in a far better state than she was.

Tycho remained silent as a statue during the ride, then walked unflinchingly through the rowdy crowd. When he finally had a chance to set eyes on her, his anger and anxiety abated; she was alive. He could see that she'd gotten torn up pretty badly, but she'd done a good job hurting the Nerf Herder too. The leg wound could have been lethal, but he had certainly come out ahead. At least she was alive. He moved past one of the medical droids to read the panels. She was in stable condition, just healing up. The regeneration cycle had another day for the man, and another few for El-Nay. She was alive, but they had complications. Even if they would turn her over, they'd have to take El-Nay still wounded... and how would they get her armor back? He turned to Kerrie. "Since I'm not important enough to address by this gentlemen, perhaps you could ask him about the suspect's belongings. We will need those to identify her, after all."

Gaius interjected when he heard Tycho's question, not at all amused by his tone. "My apologies," he said, with a slight nod to his head. "From my past dealings with the Empire I did not think you could speak without her permission," he informed him, before nodding his head in the direction of Kerrie. "The bodyglove she wore had to be cut off because of the severity of the burns and the pieces of shrapnel that were imbedded in her body. The armor plates, the helmet, and the remains of the jetpack were collected and are being examined per our examination," he explained to him, before looking up at the unconscious youngster in the tank. "That kind of armor is rarely seen these days. From what we understood you people don't want her people running around," he continued, referring to the Empire's harsh policies against the Mandalorians. "Is that what this is about, Major? Did the Grand Moff run afoul of the Mandalorians and this one decide to take revenge against the man's family?" he asked, pressing her, as it was the most logical thing that made sense.

While Tycho and Gaius had their interaction, Kerrie shifted her attention to Marcus inside the bacta tank. She was glaring up at him as if to signify 'I know', but as Tycho distracted the guard, she quickly moved towards El-Nay's tank. She let out a dejected sigh when she saw just how bad her condition was. She knew why she had made the foolish choice to pursue the bounty alone and while part of her respected the kid for giving it her all, another part of her felt that it had been a stupid, reckless thing to do. She reached forward with her left hand and placed it upon the glass of the tank to offer some comfort. "It remains to be seen whether the Empire's Mandalore policy played any role in this incident, Commander," she said, her voice sounding somewhat distant as she spoke. "I will let you know what my investigation finds..." she continued, before turning back around to face him. "I must confiscate the Mandalorian iron per Imperial policy concerning the material. Have it brought to my shuttle ... immediately," she warned, playing the role of a hardline Imperial once more. "Leave us," she instructed, before shifting her focus back to Tycho, whom she felt had shown remarkable composure in spite of what they had just discovered.

Once they were gone, Tycho removed his helmet and glanced at Kerrie. Composure was something Tycho had never had trouble with until recently. He didn't do well with emotions, but he had channeled his old composure as best he could. If she had been dead, it would've been an entirely different story. For a while, he stared at the man in the other tank, his thoughts lingering on killing him for what he'd done to hurt El-Nay. Yet, El-Nay was determined to be a warrior. She had come to kill the man and he'd only fought back. "You have to get me close to Min Traebor," he said quietly, moving to El-Nay's tank beside Kerrie. He stared at the girl, floating there and twitching from time to time. "We won't be able to get him," he said, nodding toward the other tank, "out of here. That means the only other option is to deal with Min. I'm going to do it." He sounded as though his mind were made up. They couldn't get the Nerf Herder to Min, and he wouldn't see a bounty put on El-Nay's head. Min Traebor had to die.

When Gaius and the rest of the Alderaan guard left, Kerrie let out a massive sigh, before allowing her posture to relax, slumping her petite, feminine form. "That was intense," she said, more to herself than to Tycho. She was beginning to understand why so many Imperial officers abused the power they had been given ... the sensation was almost intoxicating and a girl could get used to it if she was not careful. "And what will that accomplish?" she asked him after a quick snort of laughter. "If you kill an Imperial officer you'll be declared a Rebel and then the entirety of the Empire will be after you," she said to him, with some compassion. It seemed like everyone was so quick to jump to the most extreme positions, which she believed is what caused this war they were all embroiled in. "I'll think of something. Just give me time..." she pleaded, before her hands moved to one another to remove the leather gloves one hand at a time. "Poor El-Nay," she said, as she this time placed a naked hand to the side of the tank, a single tear running down her cheek as she looked up at her.

Tycho shook his head, but said nothing. He didn't think he was content to wait and let Kerrie handle it. If he couldn't have the Nerf Herder, he'd go after the bitch who sent El-Nay down this path. He was out for blood, plain and simple. Min Traebor was a dangerous person to mess with, no doubt about it, but no one was untouchable. There were ways he could make it work without getting caught, he was sure. If worse came to worse and he was declared a rebel... well, there was this whole Rebellion going on and he wasn't above joining them for security reasons. He didn't want to be part of the Alliance. He didn't want to be in the fight at all. However, he was prepared to do whatever it took. If Kerrie was going to do something to take care of the problem, she'd better do it before he got to Traebor. "Don't pity her," he said calmly. "She wouldn't want that. Let's just get her out of here."

"I'm not going anywhere," Kerrie told Tycho, before she moved to take a seat next to the tank. "I left her once, long ago, and set all this in motion," she said, blaming herself for not coming back for El-Nay after her mission to kill the Grand Moff failed and she ended up his indentured service. "Besides..." she continued, moving up her hand to point at the Nerf Herder bobbing in his tank. "He'll be out soon and I'm going to make him tell me why Traebor wants him so badly. There's something larger at play here we don't understand," she said, before moving her hand up atop her head to remove her cover. "There is always with *these* people," she concluded, bitterly, reflecting on her own past experienced with the ISB, before neatly placing her gloves inside the cover and setting it upon her lap.

"No, you misunderstand," he said. "I'm not leaving her either. I want to take her and get out of here. If you want to stick around, go ahead." He paused, then let out a sigh, knowing that he couldn't simply walk out with El-Nay, but not wanting to admit it. He drug a chair across the room to sit down near El-Nay's tank. "I know... we have to wait. I couldn't move her without you anyway. I'm just some bodyguard. I hope you know what you're doing, Kerrie. If we stick around too long and they catch onto us, something could happen to El-Nay trying to get her out of here. You know what would I would do if that happened. I don't have to tell you." Was it a threat? A warning? Maybe he was just sharing his feelings with her. She already knew that he could be unstable, so it wasn't much of a revelation.

"Calm yourself, Tycho," Kerrie warned back, her frustration growing as the last thing she wanted to deal with was *him* on top of everything else. "This is a first rate medical facility. If you simply removed her in the middle of the cycle she would likely die before you got her where you were going. And even still any facility you did get her to would likely be second rate ... or worse ... and she would still die," she said, before moving her hand up to unpin her reddish brown hair, which quickly descended into long ornately woven braids. "Her recklessness is rubbing off on you," she muttered, rolling her eyes at the mercenary in frustration.

Kerrie was right and Tycho knew it. She was right about it all. He sighed, glancing away as if to shut her and his own brash stupidity out. It was a little embarrassing, especially since this wasn't him at all. This was not how he used to be. It was in part because of El-Nay, but there was more to it. "I just haven't been myself lately," he said. "It's gotten... harder to control myself. I'm always angry or frustrated, or just wanting to hurt someone. I don't really know why. I guess all my emotions, in general, are just messed up right now. I don't like it at all. But... I know you're right. I just feel useless right now. This is a problem that I can't solve, you know?"

"Then you should enlist with the Empire. They'll give you plenty of opportunities to hurt people," Kerrie explained to him, sounding as if she were joking, but in reality it seemed that was much of what they were being assigned to do over the past several years. "Look. I'm no counselor. I'm not even a good person to talk to. We all have issues..." she continued, awkwardly moving her eyes from El-Nay's bacta tank down to Tycho. "We are on a world that has seen the effects of the Empire firsthand. Because of my uniform there is not a single person on this planet that would lift a finger to help me. If you lose your temper you'll give them the excuse they need to be rid of us and then I will no longer be in a position to use my power and influence to render aid," she explained to him, with a firm nod of her head from emphasis. "Not every problem has an immediate solution. Not every problem can be solved by rushing in. This is what I tried to impart upon her years ago, but she never learned. She was a child ... you're an adult. She has an excuse ... you do not," she told him, before turning her attention back to her idle hands in her lap.

Tycho listened, knowing she was right, but she didn't know the whole story. She didn't understand his reasons, nor would she ever. More than that, she made assumptions and remarks that he found annoying. "You don't know anything about me," he said. "Don't assume. Like you said, we all have issues. Mine are with as good a cause as anyone's. And I don't want anything to do with the Empire. You told me to keep my cool and I did. That's all that matters."

Untitled 1

Copyright Era of Rebellion 2005-2018. All Rights Reserved
Terms of Use | Legal Notices | Privacy Policy | Press Release | Disclaimer