Era of Rebellion - Navigation

D. Wade Hyde and Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:8:33) in the Essesia system: Esseles (Calamar: Hotel).
El-Nay Darr and Tycho Starlight.

El-Nay Darr was resting as comfortably as possible in a hotel in Calamar, the capital city of the planet Esseles. How they got there she did not know, as she had been unconscious for the trip down from the mountains and back to civilization. She had been stripped of her armor, and the bodyglove that was beneath it, and a bacta patch had been applied to her forehead. As she began to stir she initially thought she might be in the Imperial base, but then she felt the comfortable bed beneath her, and realized she had been moved. She blinked her steely gray eyes repeatedly until the room came into focus, and before she looked for anyone else, she scanned for her armor ... which she was pleased to see had been carefully placed aside. "Tycho?" she called out, barely able to speak because of how dry her mouth had become. She coughed several times, clearing her throat before trying again. "Tycho?" she cried out again with more success, and as the more she woke up, the more she wanted a cigarra to start her day. Damn him, she thought to herself, as she attempted to sit up in the bed, but she was still very weak. It was only then she realized that she was completely naked, and she began to panic, tightly wrapping the blanket around her to cover herself, unaware that she had wet herself during electrocution and needed to be cleaned. That pervert, she thought to herself angrily, before rolling over onto her side and assuming the fetal position, trembling slightly from the thought of what he might have done.

Tycho had given up waiting by her bedside. The doctor he'd acquired had told him that she would be fine with rest, so he'd gone back into the main room of the hotel to watch some holovid and rot his brain. He had dozed off and woke when he heard her call. He jumped up and was halfway to the bedroom when he realized how thirsty she would be upon waking. He'd been in similar situations, and he knew how it went. When he came to her, it was with a glass of water. He placed it on the bedside table. He was no longer dressed in armor, but in a simple shirt and trousers of neutral colors. He had cleaned and shaved and looked quite a bit different. "Relax, kid," he told her. "I had a doc come see you ... under the table, y'know. He says you'll be okay. You need to drink ... come on, let me help you." He reached out and hauled her up into a sitting position against the backboard, then held out the water for her.

El-Nay screamed in fright when she touched him, attempting to pull away from him, but she was simply too weak to resist. "Why am I naked?" she asked, the tears in her eyes beginning to well as she asked, trembling in his arms as he touched her. "What did you do to me?" she asked again, before closing her eyes both to hide her face in shame and to contain the tears. She had been put through countless horrors since they met, but the thought of being ... violated ... while she was unconscious terrified her more than anything. "How could you..?" she asked him, as her head all but collapsed, a pathetic whimper emanating from her as she began to cry. It had all been too much. She wanted to go home. She wanted her parents. She did everything but call out to them in her moment of anguish.

A look of anger crossed Tycho's face. In just a moment he was seething inside, his emotions trying desperately to run away with him. He'd always been a brutal person, but emotions had always been something he could control. Everything he'd done before had been methodical and carefully planned. Since he'd started manifesting the Force it had become harder. Violent thoughts and volatile emotions had become easy to him. He pulled her hands from her face and slapped her. Not as hard as he had before. He had managed to rein himself in enough that the slap was more insult than pain. "How *dare* you accuse me of that!" He snarled, standing and walking halfway across the room. He rounded on her and pointed a finger at her. "What I *did* to you was carry you back from that damn valley, give up most of my pay, and get you a doctor to treat you. Other than the armor, he was the one who undressed you and I even paid him extra to clean him up because you pissed yourself. Again! I came to bring you water and check on you, because for some unknown reason I actually give a shit!"

El-Nay listened to what Tycho told her had happened, and for some reason she believed him. Her face turned white with horror, and her mouth hung agape in shock as she realized how unintentionally cruel she had been to him by jumping to conclusions. "Tycho..." she said slowly, sadly, unknowing what else to say. "Tycho. I fucked up. I'm sorry. Something like that happened to me once," she said, growing uncomfortable with the memory, and shifting beneath the blanket in an awkward tick. "Thank you. Thank you for all that you did back there for me," she said, speaking for the first time honestly, without any jokes or hostility in the voice. This was the real, vulnerable version of herself that no one had seen in years.

Although she had no idea, Tycho already knew a bit about her vulnerable side. It wasn't just the way he'd seen her act; he'd known her feelings, felt them first hand, and knew that she hid a weakness, a vulnerability that she tried to hide from the world. He hesitated for a few moments, as if unsure whether he'd stay or leave. After a moment, he said, "You're going to have to start wearing a diaper." Seeming mollified, he moved to sit beside her on the bed and handed her the water. "Drink up ... then tell me about it. You owe me that."

El-Nay allowed him to make his diaper joke, still too mortified from her mischaracterization of him to say anything in defense of herself. She took the glass of water in both of her hands and brought it to her mouth, drinking the entire contents in one feverish gulp. As she pulled the glass away she was panting lightly, and then brought a wrist to wipe away the last remaining traces of water. "I saw that woman before. On the command ship here on Esseles," she began, trying to remember more, but originally she did not make much of an impression. "I came here to pursue a bounty that the Imperial Governor had placed. Fifty thousand just to recover his daughter. Some teenage brat no less. I thought it would be easy enough," she said, as she found herself moving closer to him, until her hand reached around him for support. "I ended up partnering with a bounty hunter I worked with once. We tracked her to a city here on Esseles, and I caught her!" she said proudly, her arm wrapping around his, almost clinging to him now. "But this bitch he was partnered with ended up jettisoning me from the ship, and I was very nearly killed," she said, sounding more jealous than angry, as she continued to recount the events. "I thought for sure they would have collected the bounty without me, so I demanded to see the Governor and get my cut," she explained, thinking it sounded perfectly reasonable to her. "What's fair is fair right? Only when I got there I found out the bounty had never turned in. They just disappeared. They demanded I go after the bounty hunter. That woman was there at the meeting, but I knew him from when I was younger..." she said, turning to lean her head on Tycho's shoulder, as she drew him in closer. "...but I was just too damn scared and I ran," she confessed, taking in a sharp breath, as the tears began to come to her once again. She turned her head into him, burying her face against his upper chest and shoulder, wetting his shirt with her salty tears.

Tycho listened in silence, thinking about the recording that had been left on the girl. He was a little uncomfortable with her getting all close. It wasn't that he didn't like women getting all close to him, but it was an emotional thing, not a physical thing, and he didn't know how to do that. He didn't know how to comfort people. The last time he'd had a similar reaction was back when he'd had the bounty who had earned him a black mark. Even then it had been awkward. He wrapped his arms around El-Nay and held her so she could cry and hopefully feel better. "The Imperial bitch left a data disk with information on the guy ... and a problem. I'll get to that. We're going to find him and turn him in. But ... that isn't what I meant. I meant, tell me about what happened to you. You were raped? Tell me what happened."

By now the portion of Tycho's shirt that she had used to shroud her face had become saturated with a mix of tears, saliva, and mucus, as she sobbed uncontrollably into him, a mixture of fear combined with the weight of what was upon her. "I had an ori'vod once," she began, her voice muffled, as she was speaking with heated breath into his chest. "In your language that means sister. My father did not wish for me to follow him into life as a mercenary. He would not help me. He would not train me. He discouraged me at every attempt. It was only my mother ... whose armor I wear ... that encouraged me," she began, trying to give the necessary backstory to build up to what he wanted her to reveal. "So when I left my father hired this woman to watch over me. She became the most important person in my life. More than a friend..." she continued, her arms wrapping around him now, and she scooted a bit until she had situated herself practically in his lap. "She went on a hunt to avenge her parents, and she never came back. For a while I was lost. I tried to hunt on my own, but I needed help. I turned to a man I shouldn't have..." she said, angrily, as her fingers dug into his back, perhaps a bit harder than she had intended. "We captured a bounty. And to celebrate he took me. He was my first. But when I woke up he was gone. So was the bounty. So was my innocence," she muttered, angrily, exhaling sharply into his chest. "That's the man they want me to go after..." she concluded, shaking in his lap, a weak puddle of a human being.

As he listened, he found that he was beginning to understand the girl better. He couldn't relate to much of her story, but thanks to his newfound powers, he could empathize just by feeling what she felt. She was still naive and unskilled, but it had been worse before, apparently. She'd been taken in by someone, duped, and gotten screwed over. That was enough of a reason to get revenge. As it turned out, it was the same person they were already required to hunt down anyway. "I need to know," he said. "Did he actually force himself on you, or just trick you?" It wouldn't make it much better if he hadn't, but it would make a difference for sure.

"Trick me?" El-Nay asked, as she pulled away from his chest, looking up at him with a slobbering mess of a face. "He told me he loved me. Some trick..." she said, angrily, before slamming her face back down into Tycho's chest to shield herself. "I can never let another man get that close..." she said, despite the fact that she was wearing nothing but a sheet, sitting on his laps, and wrapped in his arms. "I'm not good enough to catch him. We need to find my ori'vod. She'll know what to do..." she said, pressing her face deeper against him, her arms clinging to him as if he were a lifeboat from the shipwreck of a life she was now living.

Tycho did what he could to keep her sheet wrapped around her. He valued her desire for privacy, for he was not a man that would force anything on her. Seeing her naked was something he certainly would have appreciated, but certainly not in a situation like this. He didn't like seeing her vulnerability and didn't want to take advantage of it. Despite that, there was this little dark place inside of him that said her vulnerability could be useful. He felt even more uncomfortable because of it, and he wasn't about to follow that course of action. "We don't have time to find your ori'vod," he said, his pronunciation of the alien word not bad at all. "We have a deadline of a week to find the bastard and deliver him. I'll do what I can to help you find your sister after that." He pulled back enough that he could look her in the face. "You may not be good enough to take him by yourself, but I'm going to be there. And once we capture him, we're going to kick his ass before we turn him over." He gave her a faint smile, then kissed her on the forehead. "Let me get you some more water. You're dehydrated and you're crying it all out."

"A week?!" El-Nay squealed, her eyes widening in a mix of shock and disbelief. "I don't even know his name. I don't even know what he looks like. He never took his helmet off. Not even during..." she paused, stopping herself, unwilling to go any further. "I know where she is. I just don't know how we're going to get to her," she said, dejectedly, as she was always one to give up far too easily. "In fact, she's right above us. On the governor's command ship..." she revealed slowly, hesitating to revealing the fact that she was asking him to go aboard an Imperial star destroyer.

The interesting thing about that was that it wouldn't be the first time that he'd infiltrated a star destroyer. He didn't mention that, though, instead, giving her a look of frustration. "You can't give up so easily," he said. "Nothing in life, especially in this profession, is ever easy. You have to put your nose to the grindstone and work for it. Hard. That's exactly what we're going to do. We're gonna start by finding him and turning him over ... then we break your sister out. That's going to take too much planning and work to get it done within a week and still have time to find the guy. If we don't get him, you're gonna have a fifty thousand bounty on your head. We can't let that happen." He laid her back on the bed, escaping her clutches, and pulled the sheet up to cover her shoulders, as it had drooped down low enough to show more than she wanted shown. "Just wait here." He picked up the empty glass and went to refill it."

As he left, El-Nay felt a coldness come over her, and a feeling of longing that she had mistaken for anxiety. She pulled the sheep up over her with his help, and rolled onto her side so that she could face him, and continue talking. "No. It's not what you think, Tycho..." she said, nervously, having hoped he would have understood, but apparently it had gone right over his head. "She isn't a prisoner ... she's the one that goes out and catches prisoners," she said, with some apprehension, as she was not sure how he would react to the news that her 'big sister' was now an Imperial henchwoman.

He had indeed mistaken what she'd said. For whatever reason, he hadn't expected her sister to be with the enemy. That certainly complicated things. For a moment, he said nothing. He played it through in his head, trying to work out exactly what they could do to help a woman that had chosen a side already. Sighing, he came to sit on her bedside with the water. He held it in one hand, wrapping the other around her shoulders. "Come on ... we're sitting up again." He helped her up to an incline and held the glass to her lips, tilting it a little at a time. "Drink slowly. Sip. You can't afford to throw it up because you drink too much." With her stomach being idle as it had been and the stress on her body, it was entirely possible she wouldn't be able to hold much down at a time. After a few sips, he took the water away and set it on the table. "We're going to focus on the problem at hand ... then we'll talk about your sister. Trust me. I'll do what I can to help you."

"I *am* focusing on the problem at hand, Tycho," El-Nay said, after taking a guided sip of the water. "And if we have a week to hunt down the best bounty hunter I've ever seen, then we're going to need my ori'vod!" she said, emphatically, looking up at him pleadingly with her gray eyes. "It does not matter what uniform she wears, Tycho. She took an oath to my father long before the oath she took to the Empire. And she will help ... she *has* to," she explained to him, nodding to reassure him. "Now are you going to just keep here until the bounty activates and collect the easy money or are we going to get started?" she asked, regaining more of her composure with each sip of water. The fact that her life was on the line did much to bring her back to reality and sharpen her mind.

"Fine," he said. "We'll see if we can contact her and see if she'll come help. In the meantime, you need to rest. The doctor was clear that you need a day of bedrest. You'll be fine after that, and we need you in top shape. We'll find your sister and get her help. I know who to call. Trust me." After a moment of helping her drink more water, he put the glass aside. He piled up pillows under her and laid her back on them. "Now, about that 'best bounty hunter you've ever seen' ... are you telling me he's better than me?" There was a twinge of hurt in his voice that sounded like he was offended, though it was hard to tell if he was serious or not.

"Well I've never seen you collect a bounty, Tycho," El-Nay said, as she lay back on the pillows, and looked up at the ceiling as she considered her predicament. "I've seen you beat the piss out of me in an alley. I've seen you kill some Stormtroopers, but those guys can't shoot anyway. But I've never seen you collect a bounty..." she said, making light of a situation she ought not have. "But I can tell you he is better than my ori'vod ... better than me ... better than even my father," she revealed, honestly, her hands twirling the edge of her sheet in his hands nervously, as she continue to fidget. "But I think together all of us can get the job done. Really I do!" she said optimistically, her brown eyes flashing with a sense of hope for the first time since they met.

Part of Tycho was unwilling to believe that the man was better than him. As good as, maybe? Better, though? Tycho hadn't yet met his match... or, at least, someone he couldn't escape from when things went bad. If he had to run, he could always regroup and try again. Still, they were talking about another expert bounty hunter. What if he was better than him? Tycho knew, logically, that it was possible. He needed to put his ego away and not underestimate the target. Some of his abilities, namely the Force, he could simply not use in this mission. Not only did he not want El-Nay to know his secret, he was meant to take the bounty hunter in alive. That meant that he couldn't have the man see him using his powers. It was just too dangerous. What good was the Force if he couldn't *use* it? He gave a scowl, but simply nodded. "All right," he said. "I'll get ahold of my guy ... see if he can't give us a program that'll let us contact your sister directly and bypass Imperial channels. He's a sorcerer with computers, so he should be able to do the trick."

Untitled 1

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