Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:2:9) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Rodney Castle).
Lieutenant Sierra Dakkar, Callista Nilar, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Commander Iyah Xergo, and Mug Zoran.

"No. I won't go," Mug Zoran, said in a pout, as he sat in the window seat and looked out at the distant city of Leiliani down the mountains. "You can't make me either," he said, folding his arms in front of his chest in stubborn fashion. Ever since Callista had returned from her unauthorized shopping spree with Claudius' children the request for a tea party had been on the forefront of his mind. He did not want to meet his older half-brother, Claudius, the Imperial Grand Moff ... he hated everyone that wore the Imperial uniform ... *everyone*. The Empire had destroyed Alderaan and taken his mother's life, along with billions of other Alderaanians. Then, to rub salt in the wound, those who had been off world when the planet was destroyed had been collected in a poor refugee camp and denied basic food and essentials by the oppressive Imperial regime. Even though he knew it would be a tremendous disappointment to his adopted daughter, Callista, he did not want to expose his family to the Imperial guests in the palace. He was in the faction that did not want an Imperial Governor to ascend to the Duchy, even if it meant acknowledging his father and taking the title for himself. He sighed, unable to look at Iyah, and instead was focused on drawing on the window condensation. It seemed, today, Iyah had two children to deal with.

Callista had come home with much to say about Claudius' children, as well as Claudius himself. In her innocent mind, he was just another person to play with.... And another person to invite to tea parties, which is exactly why they were in this predicament. She'd made a special invitation for Claudius and slid it underneath his door. Though he hadn't RSVP'd by sending a flying dragon to her window, as her letter stated in between horrible misspellings, she believed he was going to show up. She was bouncing up and down in Iyah and Mug's room. "Pweasepweasepweasepweeeeeeeeassssssssseeeeeeeeeeeee!" She begged, dropped into her knees dramatically.

So it seemed Iyah had two children. Mug, singing the I-don't-wanna-you-can't-make-me song and Callista, desperately begging at her feet for them to attend. The Commander wasn't pleased with the situation. If her identity as a Rebel Commander leaked to Claudius, who's to say what would happen. She was doing her best to aid in Mug's efforts to become the Duke, not squash them. She perched herself on the window seat beside her fiancee. She joined in with his window art, adding to his picture so that they could create something great together. "I don't want to do this either," she commented, looking at him. Derek had died on the very same Star Destroy where Claudius reigned as Grand Moff. "This isn't a *want* to do kind of thing, it's something we *have* to do for the greater good. If he becomes the Duke, those people in Tarkintown will be screwed. You have to play nice to save them." She understood Mug's feelings. Alderaan was gone. In Iyah's mind, there was a clear side to blame for that. Her other hand landed on his knee, squeezing it softly. "We only have to play nice for a little longer. Endure a tea party with the man. We'll be able to watch him leave soon." She leaned forward to kiss him on the cheek.


The kiss sealed the deal. "One cup," he said, as he raised his right index finger at Iyah, the very same he had been drawing with moments earlier, to signify the number one. He let out a tremendous sigh that fogged up the window again, rising up from the window seat and looking down towards Callista. "Lead on, Princess," he said, as he took Iyah by the arm and began to follow their adopted daughter towards the tea party. If he were not a contender for the Duchy with the lives of all Tarkintown at stake, he might have considered assassinating the Imperial. It would be a real coup for the Rebellion to eliminate an Imperial Grand Moff. "Did you see all the stuff she came home with?" he whispered, uncomfortably to Iyah. "We can't afford to pay for any of that stuff," he said, still thinking in terms of their meager Rebel paychecks. This was going to be the worst tea party ever.

"*Yayyyyyyyyyyyyy!" Callista cheered, jumping up into the air. She patted her pretty pink dress down to make herself look more ladylike. "One cup," Iyah repeated. One cup was going to be more than enough. They could mention nothing of their lives as Rebels. Her hand moved into Mug's like she thought she might need to be his human anchor should he decide to take flight, or try to assassinate the Grand Moff on the spot. The temptation had crossed the Commander's mind. In an instant, she could slay someone who she hated, who so many other people hated. She'd instantly become a war hero. Unfortunately, this Imperial Grand Moff was eventually going to be her brother-in-law. Maybe his head would make a fitting honeymoon present for Mug? She sighed. Callista had taken to leading the way. She freely danced down the hallways like she was the grand ballerina. Iyah wished she could be so innocent minded.

She squeezed his hand. "Don't worry. We'll figure all of that out." She had spent nearly everything getting Callista settled into her new life. Iyah had her own financial worries, only she was trying to conquer them as they came up.

Sierra stood in the Grand Moff's suite. She was looking at the adorable picture that Callista had sent through the door. This one pictured her and someone that looked remotely like Claudius (only he was wearing neon colored clothing) having an ice cream war. It had taken one hell of a long shower to get all the ice cream out of her hair after taking the girl's out. She couldn't imagine how much it sucked for Ewwiekewwieikkie. They had returned to the castle in a total mess. "I think it's time for you to meet your half-brother. You can't deny an invitation like this." She flipped the paper over. The scribbly lettering was almost impossible to read. She could see the time. It looked like someone had helped her write that (likely Farrah). There was also a picture of a winged creature carrying a scroll. It was the very first time where Sierra thought about having children for the sake of *having* children. Callista was a special kind of adorable. It was easy for the child to wheedle her way into people's hearts.

Claudius was sitting in a large chair with his feet on a small cushion in front of it and an antique quilt draped over his lap. He had been resting ever since he found out he had a half-brother and then investigating the refugee camp, where he had taken an awful blow to the head. He looked towards the children's drawing and initially smiled, but then frowned as he remembered a time when Jelena used to do such things ... back when her mother was alive. "Do I have to meet the bastard?" he asked her, having grown increasingly more reliant on her since arriving on Delaya. "Will you come with me?" he asked, as he sat up in his chair with a soft groan, bringing his hand up to rub the back of his head ... there was still a knot. As he stood, he pulled down his grey-green tunic to adjust his uniform so that it was perfect. He extended his right arm to her, to begin escorting her towards the momentous occasion. "I will not take 'no' for an answer," he said to her, as they moved towards the corridor towards where he had discovered Callista the other day. In the distance he saw the trio approaching and if Sierra were not holding his arm, he likely would have turned around and fled.

Mug was walking slowly behind his overenthusiastic adopted daughter as they moved towards the tear party. Down the corridor he could see his half-brother in that vile uniform and he decided he had made the wrong decision and that he hated the man. "One cup," he reminded Iyah, as he moved to greet him. He immediately suspected the blonde at his arm was in a romantic tryst with him, as that was corrupt Imperial officers did. The irony was that Claudius and Sierra had not yet made love, whereas he had been screwing *his* commanding officer from almost the beginning. "Greetings ... *brother*," he said, nearly choking on the words, and offering neither a handshake or a bow. "I am Mug. This lovely woman is my fiancé, Iyah, and I believe you know our daughter, Callista ... she certainly knows you," he said, to awkward silence, which was only broken by the sound of a chair being dragged against the floor as he pulled it out for Iyah. No matter how hot the tea was he was going to drink it down in one gulp.

Sierra looked over the picture at him. "Yes, you have to. I order you to," the young girl snickered. "Share one cup of tea with the man and we can leave. I think it's good for you to meet the man who intends to succeed your father." She worried about his head and considered ratting him out to Pilaq Tohan. "It still hurts, doesn't it? Let me look at it when all this is over. This meeting is only going to make your head hurt worse." She did not intend to accompany him to meet his bastard. She had a more relaxing afternoon planned. One in which she utilized the large tub in her which never happened. She was roped up in Claudius' arm before she could scamper away. Her arm hooked in with his comfortably. "You owe me one..." A joy ride on the speeder bike sounded like a pretty good way for him to pay her back.

She caught sight of Callista, then her parents much too soon. What do you say to your father's bastard? *Hey, Daddy's semen made us both!* No. There was no Halmark card created for such an occasion. Sierra's grasp on Claudius seemed to tighten, as if reminding him that he couldn't abandon her right now. It was much easier for her to play the nice girl. She smiled. "It's lovely to finally meet both of you. My name is Sierra. I've had the pleasure of spending time with your daughter. She's a very sweet little girl."

Callista spotted Claudius first. She squeaked. "Uncle!" The little girl sprung down the rest of the length of the hallway towards them. She first greeted Claudius with a big, tight hug. Next, she squeezed Sierra. "Auntie! Have you seen Ewwie!? Is she wearing her friendship bracelet? She's my *bestest* friend ever!" She lifted her arm up, showing Sierra the gaudy bracelet that her and Ewwie had selected.

It made Iyah sick to her stomach to see her daughter loving on the Imperials. She wanted to hide Callista away from all of them. The tension filled the air the very instant they were all together. "Hello, Lord Claudius, Lady Sierra. Callista has told us so much." Iyah wanted to throw up in her mouth... or grab her tea spoon and use it to dismantle both Imperial officers. Instead, she smiled. She had a difficult time lowering herself into her chair. It seemed everyone anticipated the end of this tea party. Iyah picked up the kettle, pouring drinks for her, Mug, and Iyah. The water was steaming. Damn it.

Claudius looked down at Callista and returned her hug, wondering how he could explain to the young girl that Sierra was not her aunt. In the end, he decided it best to simply say nothing and not confuse her further. When he was done with Callista his attention turned to Iyah, blissfully ignorant to the fact that she was a Commander in the Rebellion. "My dear, your daughter is lovely," he said politely, as he reached out with his hand, bowing, and placing a soft kiss upon the top of her hand. His attention next to turned his half-brother ... the resemblance was uncanny and he could not protest the family connection. "I welcome you to *my* home ... Mug," he said, finding it difficult to even speak the name. He wanted to make a comment about the man's name, but bringing up the sore subject of the man's mother would be a mistake. Damn his father for not being able to control his urges, he thought, as he sat beside the beautiful young blonde who had been escorting him around the planet and was noticeably *not* his wife.

Hearing their daughter call Claudius 'uncle' was a bitter pill to swallow, even if it were factually correct. "Thank you for your kindness towards are daughter, and for allowing her to be included in the children's excursion to the city," he said, politely, as he took the first sip of his hot tea. "A palace can be a difficult place for a child to grow up," he said, with a slight dig at the man's upper crust status, as he took another sip. He was drinking the hot tea as quickly as someone drank an iced tea. "Thank you, to you, too," he said, to the woman in the ISB officer, whose eyes he could not look into. The only thing worse than someone in the Imperial Military was someone in the ISB. Why had Iyah had poured him such a large cup of tea? Was she torturing him?

Ahhhh, Callista. She *had* to call her Auntie, didn't she? Sierra felt embarrassed and frazzled. If whatever sat between them was obvious to a child, then what did the adults think? She had avoided spending any time with Claudius' wife. Perhaps the ISB officer's hole of guilt went deeper than it seemed. She was thinking more than Iyah was. When she poured Claudius a cup of tea, she made sure it was less than half full. She mocked the same behavior for her own, then dropped in roughly ten pounds of sugar cubes.

Iyah needed to wash her hand. No. She needed to burn the clothing off of her body after spending time with these pieces of human scum. She saw how much Claudius and Mug looked alike. It made it difficult to look at the man in fear that her sex life would die for months. "Thank you, Lord Rodney. We'd never dreamed of staying anywhere like this. It was such a freak incident." And one that she shouldn't have brought up. Open mouth, insert foot. The Rebellion was deeply seeded in her life. They wouldn't have been here without it. Beneath the table, her foot tapped Mug's. *Behavvveee* her eyes said. He was taking down that steaming hot tea like a champion. Iyah was far behind him. She'd barely taken a sip. "So... Callista has been over the moon about your daughters. I hope she treated them well." Iyah felt so awkward. She wished she could sneak underneath the table and disappear. Claudius couldn't know who they really were.

And then there was Callista, who happily sat herself far too close to Claudius. "Wanna come see my room after tea time?" She asked him, gently tugging on his arm. There was blue hair absolutely *everywhere* from Callista inviting Ewwie over. "Can Ewwie spend the night tonight? We got all messy with lots of ice cream on us yesterday. Mama said I needed a lonnnngggg bath so she couldn't sleep with me last night." She giggled. She would never forget it. "Auntie Sierra got so messy too! Ewwie was licking the ice cream off of her all the way home. Did you have to take a long bath too, Auntie?"


"Yes. I heard about your *accident*," Claudius began, before taking a delicate sip of tea. As he raised the cup he extended his pinky finger and was extra careful to ensure he did not slurp. "It was fortunate you were there when you were, to both save our father, and discover your true identity," he said, as reached forward to pluck a starfuit scone. "One thing I did not see in the reports," he continued, taking a break in speaking to finish the scone. "What caused you to see our father? You didn't know he was your father at the time..." he continued, but his interrogation was halted by Callista. "I am not sure if I will have time to see your room, my dear," he said, as he shifted the gaze of his brown eyes towards the youngest person at the table. "You will need to ask your parents of Ewwiekwwieikkie can stay over, but I've no objection," he said, as his eyes went towards Iyah for her tacit approval. Unexpected he moved to refill his tea ... he was settling in as there was no such serving in his old room.

Mug sat there, deciding that it was best not to cause confrontation due to Callista's innocent mind and the fact that she had become enamored with her new family. She had gone from abandoned in the refugee camp to becoming a member of the first family of Delaya ... what a whirlwind she had been on lately. When he asked why he was with the Duke his face went white, and his eyes descended into the cup of tea. His foot moved under the table towards Iyah in a desperate effort to find help. Before he answers he moved to grab one of the scones, placed it in his mouth, and bit off more than he can chew. Suddenly he was choking on the crumbs of the dry pastry ... forcing a dramatic incident was the only thing he could think of delay answering the Governor's very pertinent question.

"Can she, Mama?! Can she!? Please!" Callista was oblivious to the tense situation growing at the table. She received a large triumph when Iyah nodded her head and agreed. Her little fist flew into the air. "Yayyy!" As if she didn't already *love* Claudius, the sight of him properly holding out his pinky did her in. Her bright smile lit up the whole table, but it wasn't enough to draw away the dark clouds that had settled over them. She danced out of her chair to talk to Sierra about all the grand events that had happened yesterday. In Sierra's mind, the conversation was going pretty well. She didn't feel overly confident about these two taking over. At the current moment, her role was to make sure things remained human between the bastard and his brother. She kindly spoke with Callista.

Iyah had promptly put them in a corner. The Grand Moff's question was answered with blankness. It was a hard question to answer when you really *didn't* have a reason to be there. Surely, this question was destined to come up. She should have had an answer on deck for it. In her defense, Iyah's mind was a little bit preoccupied by everything going on. She was busy fighting Gaius off, not this man.

What the hell? Who was playing foostie with her? Sierra's cheeks turned red. Was that..? Her head turned towards Claudius suspiciously. No way. It was the bastard? Maybe Iyah, the woman? If it was Claudius, then she didn't understand the message.

Mug was choking! Oh no! Iyah hadn't realized that he had purposely made himself choke. It seemed like just the freak incident to pop up at the moment. Not thinking, Iyah jolted upward. Her mashed against the table roughly. "Ouch!" The table tipped uneasily towards Sierra and Claudius. Iyah was busily moving behind Mug. She wrapped her arms around his waist. Was she really saving him? If he choked on a pastry, at least he could die with something yummy in his mouth. She could kill the Grand Moff after that. "Mug!"

Sierra's cup of tea splashed over, sending hot liquid running down the table and into her lap. Instead of acknowledging the pain, she grabbed the table and evened it out. While chaos ensued around them, she picked up her empty teacup and looked at Claudius. "One cup." It was time to go.

Claudius was on the verge of getting answers out of his half-brother when the imbecile began choking on the scone. He rolled his eyes at the conveniently times calamity, when Iyah suddenly had upended the table on him, covering his newly pressed Imperial uniform with tea and cream. He rose swiftly, throwing his arms up in the air, and shouting angrily. His attention first turned to Sierra, to ensure she was alright, and then he looked over towards the bastard. "Miss Xergo, I leave him in your assuredly excellent care," he said, as he offered a nod towards the young woman. "Fare thee well, Callista," he said, with a wink, and a dignified wave, before he proceeding back towards his section of the castle to clean himself once again.

Mug continued to choke on the scone when the table suddenly went flying, the shock of which caused him to spit out what was left of the pastry on the ground in front of them. When Claudius and Sierra were out of sight, he turned to Iyah with a wink. "That was *too* close," he said to her, as he began to raise himself back up to his feet to return to the opposite side of the castle. "Did you enjoy your tea party, Callista?" he asked her, as he reached down to scoop her up. With his fiancé at his side, and their daughter in his arms, he beat a hasty retreat. He would make it a point to avoid his half-brother during the rest of his stay on Delaya. Hopefully he would be quick to leave following his daughter's memorial and expected abdication.

Mama and Daddy sure were acting silly with each other! She giggled during the whole affair, entirely oblivious to the fact that Sierra had just burnt her thighs and that her father had nearly choked. It was the *best* tea party yet. She happily nuzzled her face against her father's. "I did! Thank you, Daddy! Thank you, Mama! Let's do it again tomorrow!"

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