Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:7:10) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Rodney Castle).
Luna Flosgermen, Petrus Flosgermen, Duke Marcus Rodney, Duchess Zara Rodney, RO-E11, Lieutenant Arrik Rost, Commander Iyah Zoran, and Mug Zoran.

It was to Duchess Zara Rodney's displeasure that the family returned to the castle in Leilani. Desperate times called for desperate actions, which is exactly what led to the private meeting between her, Marcus, Iyah Xergo, and Mug Zoran within the secret room inside of the library. No one could ever know that the Duke and Duchess had reached out to known Rebels to try to help their planet. Everything had to be hush-hush. No information could leave the room. She had left the twins in the capable hands of Nana. She had no knowledge that the Governor whom they were conspiring against was back to being pure evil.

Zara wore a stern look. She was hovering over a holographic projection of Governor Arundel's Imperial garrison which she had constructed using the information Marcus' seeker droids had gained during the attempt to rescue Xergo. "I'm sure you can guess why we called you both here. As long as Governor Arundel dwells on Delaya, the planet, and our people, are in trouble. He won't let us rebuild the city. He's forced us to become political puppets. He drove so many of our people out." Zara said, running her fingers through her silver hair. She looked at Marcus, then at Iyah. "We... We have our worries about going against the Empire. If the Governor even has a reason to believe we're conspiring against isn't just Marcus and I who may suffer." She said, thinking of their well as their extended family. "We need help."

The amount of hidden rooms within the ancient castle was immeasurable. Marcus had long since concluded that even if he reigned for half a century he would never discover them all. He wondered what these secret rooms and passages were needed for, but while true nature had eluded him, he was nevertheless grateful to have privacy for this kind of meeting. If Governor Arundel or the Empire learned he was meeting with members of the Rebellion he could use it as pretense to punish him and his family. He stood in the corner of the room, remarkably silent, and uncharacteristically nervous. His wife was a much better speaker than him, thankfully, as he had reservations. "Did our niece make it back safely?" he asked, as he finally broke his silence and walked slowly to join Zara. He exchanged a brief smile and pleasant look at his half-brother, but as he took a seat next to his wife he hoped that this would help his people without hurting his people.

Mug Zoran never expected to be back on Delaya so soon after the secret visit during Marcus and Zara's anniversary. It was a risk to come ... for both parties. However, they were not the kind of people who would turn down a request for help. When the holographic projection of the Imperial garrison flashed to life his eyes widened and he studied it carefully. It was up to Iyah to decide whether or not the Rebellion could help ... and how ... but he could at least give them some reassurance that their niece was alright. "Yes. Jelena is back on New Alderaan," he informed them, with a smile, as it had been a remarkably close call at the ball. Several months ago he was alone in Tarkintown believing he was a man without a family ... now he had too many to keep track of.

Commander Iyah Xergo had not expected to be back so soon either. She had avoided seeing the Governor during the anniversary ball. The sight of him alone would dredge up memories of being held by him...memories she didn't want to remember. It was difficult for her to be back here. It was even more difficult to digest what Marcus and Zara were asking of her. She would be lying if she pretended like she was callous towards her extended family. Iyah did care. No one should be stuck under the Governor's thumb. She thought, in the right circumstance, Marcus and Zara would be able to help the planet thrive. The Imperial presence was stopping that. She heard Mug and his half-brother talking. It had been a close call. She had seen several videos on the Holonet with Jelena's big reveal. *Everyone* knew that she had been there. Finally, Iyah began to speak. "We ... might be able to help you. I want to play a part in the downfall of your Governor for my personal reasons. Unless you give him a reason, if I show up at his front door, he'll think this is about revenge." She sat back. "I have the support of the X-wing squadron, and possibly others but I don't think a large scale aerial attack will be the best opener." She thought about Captain Tong and his group. She had brought up wanting to attack the Governor on Delaya before. Maybe she could utilize him in a ground team, and only attack from the skies if it was necessary.

Zara was happy to hear that Jelena was okay. It hadn't been long since the family had gathered to mourn her death. Now that she was alive...they couldn't afford to lose her again. She, too, was feeling nervous. She reached her hand over to her husband's and took it softly. She had second, third, and fourth thoughts about this meeting. "If we chase him out, what's to stop the Empire from appointing someone new?" Zara asked. Arundel was evil, but the Empire had an endless amount of evil people that were far worse than him. She feared ending up in a worse situation.

Marcus listened to Zara as she spoke. His part in her rescue kept him on the shelf for a long time ... far longer than any other misfortune that had befallen him had. As he looked at the garrison his eyes narrowed on the spot of ground where he had nearly been paralyzed by a blast from the heavy repeating blaster in the guard tower. He wanted the Imperials off Delaya, but so far nothing he had seen had convinced him that this rebellion was capable of accomplishing that. "Commander, the last time your starfighters attacked the garrison the Imperials turned loose on the city..." he said, bitterly, as he would never forget that dark day. "...and they just rebuilt and replaced what they lost. It's going to take more than a few X-wings to help us," he said, matter-of-factly, before he was interrupted by his comlink. "Excuse me. One moment," he apologized, as he placed a hand upon Zara, and then rose from the table. He moved quickly towards the corner of the room where he answered the comm. As he listened to the message his facial expression changed quickly, which made him rush back towards the table. "Lieutenant Rost is here with a squad of Stormtroopers," he informed them all, wondering if someone had given away their secrets.

It was hard to look down at the garrison. The day Marcus had been injured would never be forgotten. He could have died there on Governor Arundel's front yard. He had brought up another good point. The Rebels had attacked before, and that had only resulted in destruction to the city and the death of so many innocent people. The medcenter had yet to fully recover. The city was still in a state of disarray. When his comlink beeped, she wondered what it was. Was it the nanny droid? Had Governor Arundel come to deal repercussions for a known Rebel being within the castle? Zara's heart shrunk to her stomach when he returned from the call and delivered the news. She took a deep breath. There was a chance that they knew...and there was a chance that they didn't know. "Okay." She took a second deep breath. She forced herself to rise to her feet. She looked at Iyah. "Stay here until this is over." She *ordered* them. To Marcus, she tried to stay calm. "They don't know anything. It'll be okay." Without another word, she made her way out of the secret passage. Once Marcus had joined her, she ensured that the passage was closed. No one knew about all of the secret passages. She was willing to bet that the Rebels would not be discovered. She put on her best smile. "It'll be okay." She reminded *both* of them. Seeing Lieutenant Rost made a lump form in her stomach. Her smile grew. "Lieutenant Rost, we haven't seen you in awhile. Welcome."

Lieutenant Arrik Rost had done well for himself since accompanying the herdship Jubilee to Delaya. He had found himself in the position of a loyalty officer in a sector known as a hotbed of Rebel activity, which in his mind would put him on the fast track to promotion. "Duke Marcus, Duchess Zara," he said, with a polite nod, as he did his best to keep his obligatory sneer off his face. "I am here on the orders of Governor Arundel to inform you that a squad of flametroopers will be assigned to the castle to remove the thranta infestation," he informed them, before stepping aside to reveal the troopers behind him in their white armor with red accents. "I assure you, it is for the safety of you, and your children," he explained, as the troopers began to move into the castle with their very visible flamethrowers visible. "We welcome your cooperation, and will not be charging you for this service," he added, with a forced smile and a second nod. As he looked around the castle he felt a deep seeded resentment against the corrupt nobility who lived in such debauchery. It would have been better to do away with them when the Republic was brushed aside, he thought silently to himself.

Flametroopers..? Zara eyed the troopers that Lieutenant Rost had brought with him uncomfortably. She felt sick just seeing them. She was furious once their purpose was revealed. In hindsight, she should have seen this coming. A thranta had attacked him while he was pursuing Sierra. She had told Zara that she had nothing to do with the attack, but Zara wouldn't have blamed her sister if she had. Zara bit her lower lip. She couldn't stop herself from opening her mouth. "There's no thranta infestation." She said, stepping up towards the Lieutenant. "Thranta are an endangered species. There are laws against killing them. It's illegal for you to hurt them." Thranta were very important to her family. She and Marcus had saved them from poachers before.

"You look so cute dressed as an Alderaan guard. I could pinch your cheeks! I'm not talking about the face ones." Luna Flosgermen said with a laugh from beneath her blast helmet. She was darting up the spiral staircase leading towards the Duke and Duchess' private quarters. "Shh! Shh!" She said, pausing just before the stairs ended. Luna bent down. She ran her hand over her small, mechanical cat's back. Her free hand grasped a small bomb at her belt. She placed the bomb inside of the cat's mouth. "Go on, take 'em out." Luna stepped down several stairs. She could see the cat disappear down the corridor leading to her sister's room. As the small bomb detonated, a pink smoke would begin to fill the air. For anything that needed air to breathe, the smoke would knock them out. Luna figured that it would eliminate all people standing between her, Petrus, and the twins. She had no knowledge of the nanny droid. "Wait." She said. It took a full three minutes for the smoke to dissipate. A miscalculation now could land her, and Petrus, in hot water. "We are going to make *so* much money."

Petrus Flosgermen was wearing the ill-fitting uniform of a recently deceased Alderaan Guard who met with unfortunate circumstances. His face was obscured by the blast shield of the white helmet he wore, as after his last visit to Delaya both he and his wife had been banned from the entire planet. "Focus," he told her, with a smirk, after her comment about his cheeks. Her latest get rich quick scheme seemed much worse than anything she had come up with before, which also made it one of the most profitable. It was certainly better than skulking around a cruise ship earning a legitimate income. He watched as her droid did most of the work, which prevented him from getting to have any fun with his blaster. When the smoke finally dissipated he moved into the Duke and Duchess' bed chamber, where the two babies had been sleeping.

"Oh dear! Oh dear!" the nanny droid screamed as the smoke began to fill the room. The droid began emanating a loud noise designed to alert everyone to the danger. When she saw the bounty hunters begin to move towards the bassinet where the babies were she extended all four of her arms and began moving towards Petrus. She began to spin around 360-degrees with each arm flailing wildly, as if she were a blender, to repeatedly strike the scoundrel. Within her deep memory she recalled similar calamities during her time centuries ago with Germanicus and Raeni.

Lieutenant Rost raised his nose to Duchess Zara as she made her comments. "My dear Duchess ... while your planetary laws may be clear on the subject of the thrantas ... Imperial law is the only authority that matters," he informed her, in no uncertain terms. "Governor Arundel is *the* authority here. We tolerate you because it keeps the local citizens in line. I advise you to step aside and allow these troopers to remove the thranta infestation, or perhaps the Governor will issue orders for them to remove something else," he told her, as his eyes widened. He was done playing politics. He had his orders and he *would* carry them out.

Zara didn't move. She was so tired of all the Imperial threats against her and her family. The heat was rising inside of her body with her anger. She loved the thrantas of her House. She refused to see their numbers cut in half because of flame troopers. With a growing frown on her face, she looked over her shoulder at Marcus. The Governor had the power to eliminate her, him, *and* the babies. The pandemonium upstairs had yet to reach her ears. She thought the danger to her children was standing in front of her. Reluctantly, Zara stepped down. It wouldn't be the only time Zara lost today. The young woman looked down at her feet. She wasn't the Duchess her people needed.

On the heels of Petrus, Luna entered into the bedchamber. "Fancy," she remarked in a sarcastic tone complete with a roll of her eyes. "What's that!?" Instead of finding a human nanny knocked out on the ground, she found a working nanny droid. A wide smile quickly took her lips. "Looks like this isn't going to be as boring as we thought!" Luna watched the droid pathetically attempt to protect her sister's twins. She lazily grasped another bomb from her that would go *kaboom*! She flung it towards the base of the droid, where it seemed to magnetically settle into it. "Petrus! Duck!" She yelled, worried that the droid would hurt him while she destroyed it. The bomb went off. It was *loud*. It shook the old castle walls, making everyone beneath them aware that *something* was going on. Both of the twins started crying. When the smoke cleared, the nanny droid was motionless on the ground. "I can't believe Zara was smart enough to hire a droid to take care of her children." Luna commented, kicking the bucket of bolts as she passed by it. She stood over the bassinet. "Which one is the boy?" She asked, glaring down at her niece and nephew. "They'll pay more for him." She grabbed the silver-haired twin: Sia.

Petrus could not believe that he was being attacked by a nanny droid, but before he could grab his blaster the droid's flailing arms were whacking him pretty hard. He was preparing to attack when Luna went for a bomb that would certainly alert the entire planet to their presence. "I thought we were going for 'subtle'," he reminded her, as he moved away from the droid and took cover behind a changing table. When the grenade detonated the nanny droid was blown apart, but their presence had decidedly been given away. "Just pick one and run," he commanded her, as he rose back up from behind the furniture. "Run," he said, as he drew his blaster pistol and began running through the corridors with his wife and niece in tow. It would not take long for the Alderaan Guard to respond, nor was he aware that at this moment a squad of Stormtroopers were on the scene as well.

Marcus was just about to confront Lieutenant Rost when he heard the explosion. His face went white and a terrified look appeared upon his face as his head slowly turned to look at Zara. "The children," he told her, before he began darting up the stairs with the squad of Stormtroopers in tow. He missed Petrus, Luna, and Sia, as he came up the stairs, and instead quickly moved towards their bed chambers. Debris was everywhere and smoke still filled the room. There was no sign of the nanny droid, but his concern was only for his children. When he reached the bassinet a horrified look fell upon his face as only Darrus was visible. He grabbed his comm and began to shout. "Lock down the castle. Lady Sia has been taken!" he yelled over the comm, before turning his attention to the Stormtroopers. "I need your assistance. Please help me recover my daughter," he pleaded with them, before running back towards the corridor to search himself. He needed his daughter back. He needed his daughter back *now*.

"Sorry. I got excited. We've been spending too much time around that boring cantina." Luna grumbled. It was bringing in good money, but the appeal of bounty hunting wasn't always the credits. Coming back to Delaya for Zara's little royal ball had reminded her of such. She liked causing her sister pain. In its own way, Luna was getting the revenge she wanted little by little. She ran with Sia in hand, completely relying on Petrus to get them out of the castle ... which he did. They crowded into a small speeder and raced towards the port in the city. The Demon Cat was waiting for them. Once Luna placed space between them and Delaya, she would make the call. Zara *Rodney* would pay.

The sudden explosion struck Zara to the core. All the blood disappeared from her face. "The children!" They both said together. She broke out into the quickest run of her life. Her heart pounded in her chest. What was going on? Was Sia okay? Was Darrus okay? She could hear crying. Until she was closer, she couldn't tell which child was crying. Nothing could prepare her for walking into their destroyed bed chambers. There were pieces of Nana on the ground, which Zara ignored as she stopped dead in front of the bassinet.

There was Darrus. He was crying hard and terrified from the explosion. There was *only* Darrus. Fear flooded Zara. Who had taken her sweet baby girl? *Why* would someone do such a cruel thing? Tears fell from her eyes. It was uncontrollable. "No..." Sia couldn't be gone. She could hear Marcus shouting for help. Zara reached into the bassinet and picked up Darrus. She cradled her crying boy against her chest. "It's okay, it's okay..." She said weakly. Her legs felt like they could no longer hold up the rest of her body. As Zara turned, she spotted a piece of Nana on the ground. It looked like the explosion had originated from that point. There was an imprint on Nana. It was seared on, like heat had driven it onto the droid. It looked like the silhouette of a cat. Zara's tears stopped. All at once, it clicked. *Luna* had her daughter. Her jaw clenched so hard that her teeth made terrible noises. She looked back to see Lieutenant Rost. "Leave! Find my daughter!" She screamed, rising to her feet. Zara kept her shaking son close to her as she caught up with Marcus, grasping his forearm. "Luna took her." She informed him, sounding furious and terribly heartbroken at the same time. This time, Zara would kill her sister.

Lieutenant Rost was decidedly unconcerned by the explosion or the loss of Lady Sia. "Quite unfortunate, milady. Perhaps if you had accepted Imperial security for the castle such an unfortunate occurrence would not have happened," he said, as he stepped over pieces of the nanny droid within the bombed out structure. "I am afraid that will not be possible. This is a local matter," he said, before turning his attention to the flametrooper squad leader. "Sergeant, proceed with the thranta dispersal," he ordered, before nodding briefly towards Duchess Zara. "Still, you have the one," he said, before departing from their personal quarters to see about the thrantas.

Marcus was joined by the Alderaan Guard as he searched the grounds of the castle, but by the time they had completed their search Luna, Petrus, and Sia were long gone. The anger he felt was considerable, but until he discovered who was behind this he needed to embrace the family who was still here. He moved back through the castle until he returned to the room where Zara and Darrus were located. "She's gone," he said to her, as his heart literally broke at that moment. He surged towards her, wrapping his arms around his wife and son tightly. He drew them both in so close, before burying his head in her shoulder. "We'll get her back. I swear," he vowed to her ... to them both.

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