Mandalorian Kom'rk class starfighter/transport
exited hyperspace in the Alderaan system ... not the
'New' Alderaan system ... as pilot El-Nay Darr had
downloaded the wrong coordinates from the
navicomputer. As they exited hyperspace they found
themselves in the graveyard of Alderaan, the
collection of debris that once comprised the planet.
The ship started to shake as small pieces of debris
impacted the hull of the ship. "Oh shit!" she cursed
from beneath her helmet as a particularly large
piece of debris appeared in the viewport. She pushed
forward on the controls, sending them into a dive,
but the debris slammed into the outer hull of the
craft regardless. The ship suddenly went dark as the
main reactor went offline, and the ship was filled
with a dim red light. A conduit burst sending forth
a surge of gas, followed by the incessant sound of
an alarm. "Hang on, Milady," she shouted to Sierra,
as she struggled with all of her might to keep the
ship from spiralling out of control. As the ship
descended she spied a particular large chunk of
debris, which might have been from Alderaan's core,
and she did her best to direct the ship towards it.
"This is gonna be rough," she apologized, as she
grit her teeth, and pulled back on the flight stick.
The starfighter crashed into the surface of the
debris, before bouncing slightly back into the air,
crashing again, and then skidding across before
coming to a dead stop. The pilot was forced forward,
then backward, and then forward again inside her
suit of armor, which unfortunately resulted in her
throwing up inside of her helmet and getting tossed
around like preserved fish in a can ... but she was
was nearly asleep when they reached the *wrong*
destination. Her eyes were half open. At first, the
debris around the ship seemed like a trick of the
eye. As they began to collide with it, Sierra's
heart sank deeply. *Oh no*! 'New' Alderaan was ...
gone. Her eyes went wide. It took her seconds to
realize, from the ship's navicomputer, that they had
gone to the graveyard of Sierra's home, *not* the
Rebel safehouse. It wasn't enough to calm her, as a
large piece of the planet decided, at that moment,
to hit the ship. "Crap! We aren't supposed to be
here." Sierra sat up and became alert rapidly. No
matter how many times she saw it, this place still
made her sad. The memories associated with Alderaan
were not all bitter. The nauseating nostalgia
feeling soon changed to simply nausea as the
starfighter suffered from the debris. "I'm hanging
on..." Sierra said, clutching both armrests of her
seat. She was going to be *sick*.
She tried to
continue watching El-Nay navigate through the field
of debris, but all the bouncing around. Oh, it
didn't sit well with her tummy. What made matters
worse was that she could smell the distinct scent of
stomach acid...El-Nay's stomach had emptied itself.
Grasping her helmet from beside her seat, Sierra
vomited. The starfighter seemed to be tossed about
endlessly before stopping on the largest chunk of
'Old' Alderaan. "Ooooh... Shit... El-Nay, are you
okay?" She didn't dare rise to her feet. She was
still feeling very dizzy. What in the hell had
happened. "What's the ... what's the status report?"
As the ship
settled on the remnants of Alderaan the emergency
generator kicked on, providing minimal lighting and
life support. One thing it did not provide, however,
was heat and it would slowly get more cold within
the ship if main power was not promptly restored.
From beneath her helmet she began to recover her
senses, raising her hand to the overhead panel in an
attempt to cycle the main reaction back on, but
nothing happened. "I'm fine. Are you okay?" she
asked, feeling ashamed that she had flew them right
into this mess. Her hands moved to her harness,
unfastening it, as she slowly rose to her feet. She
moved behind Sierra, getting down on the floor in
the near dark and opening up her toolkit. She found
a glowrod and activated it, improving the lighting
somewhat. More importantly she found a pipe patch
and rose back to her feet in an attempt to attach it
where the gas leak was occurring. With some effort,
she managed to get it in place. The immediate
problem of the leak had been solved, but the bulk of
their problems were just beginning. "I'm sorry,
milady. I'm so so sorry," she said, as she sat down
on the floor, raised her knees against her chest,
and began to hold them against herself.
know much about fixing ships...in fact, she knew
absolutely nothing! She could pilot fairly well
(ignoring what Kerrie might say) and that was it.
She began unbuckling herself. It was good to hear
that El-Nay wasn't hurt. "I'm okay. I think we're
going to need to take our helmet to the dry cleaners
though." She used her foot to push the helmet
further away from her. It was dark. Gas was
currently leaking into the cockpit which needed to
be fixed immediately. Thankfully, El-Nay took care
of that first. She could see the woman, her orange
armor illuminated by the glowrod. Sierra realized
that they were in trouble. If they didn't figure out
how to get the starfighter moving again, then they
would slowly die on the Alderaan rock.
stood, only to find herself sitting again shortly
after. She knelt down on the floor next to El-Nay.
It was getting cold. She regretted not having
changed into her armor. The civilian clothing she
wore was doing a poor job of fighting the cold. She
patted the Mandalorian's shoulder softly. "Hey, we
can figure this out. There is nothing to apologize
about." She tried to soothe the woman. "Though... We
should keep this story to ourselves. My husband
would *kill* you if he found out what's happened."
Sierra winked, slowly rising to her feet and
offering her two hands. "Come on."
shit," El-Nay said, as she pulled her helmet off her
head, taking a deep breath as she breathed fresh
air, but she wondered how much longer she would be
able to. "...and let's not tell Kerrie either," she
said, as she raised the glowrod up the bulkhead of
the ship until getting to the ceiling. Fortunately
there was not a hull breech or they both would have
been sucked into the void of space. She held the
glowrod out towards Sierra, lighting up her face,
and smiled towards her. As she looked at Sierra, she
wished she was as pretty as her, and grimaced
slightly. "Hey. There's something I've got to
know..." she asked, getting slightly nervous, as she
looked towards the ground. "Is that ... is that your
natural hair color?" she asked, as she moved the
glowrod closer to the side of Sierra's face for a
"Deal. Not a
word to either of them." Sierra could see that the
relationship that El-Nay and Kerrie had was complex.
Regardless, she hoped Kerrie treated her well. The
Mandalorian was a good person...even if she didn't
frequently make use of doors! The young woman
offered El-Nay a calming smile. Taking this one step
at a time, Sierra wasn't melting down. It wouldn't
do her companion any good to deal with that. All she
could do was focus herself in and hope that she
would see another day. Her eyebrow arched...what did
she want to know? They hadn't had a lot of time to
play twenty-one questions together. She chuckled.
"Yeah, natural blonde. I look absolutely nothing
like my mother or father. They both have very dark
hair. People used to rumor that I was a blue milk
man baby. I'm not sure if that's better than the
truth or not." She grimaced. Maybe, *hopefully*
Rikka Dakkar had perished in the Battle of Delaya.
"I've got a question for you too. What's the deal
with Kerrie and Claudius? She's so devoted to the
"You mean you
don't know?" El-Nay asked Sierra, as she placed the
glowrod on the floor between them. It created the
environment not unlike a campfire they were sitting
around, appropriate for a story. "Well, okay. I just
hope I have enough oxygen to get through this," she
said, with a smirk, as she tried to lighten the
mood. "Kerrie is from a planet called Zolan, which
is *mostly* human. *Mostly*," she said, as she began
the sad tale. "Her people, the Clawdites, were an
oppressed minority who viewed The Clone Wars as a
chance to gain control over the planet. They sided
with Count Dooku and the Separatists. A mistake my
parents also made, briefly, but that's another
story," she continued, before letting out a brief
sigh. She wished her father was there to bail her
out of this now. "Well Kerrie's parents owned a
small shipping company with Republic contracts so
they did not support the Clawdites in their fight
against the Republic, but that did not stop the
Senate from stripping them of their contract. They
found themselves without a business and without a
people, so they gave Kerrie over the Mabari, an
order of warrior-knights, who trained her," she
said, before suddenly getting a bit uncomfortable.
"The member of the Senate that created the
legislation that stripped Kerrie's family of their
business and destroyed their family was the Delegate
of Delaya, your husband, Claudius Rodney," she
explained, before coughing slightly. "Her parents
were forced to become smugglers to make ends meet,
and when Kerrie finally reunited with them they
wanted nothing to do with her because she had become
an assassin. Her family would later be killed while
evading CorSec. I was with Kerrie back then, and it
hit her ... *hard*. She turned to drink and went
about killing everyone involved. CorSec, the Hutts
who hired her parents ... finally she left me on
Corellia and set out to kill your husband in a
suicide mission," she said, as she began wonder how
Sierra would feel about all this. "Well, she failed,
obviously, and Claudius convinced her that if she
kept him alive the hatred she had for him would
never die, and she could always cling to that. So
she keeps him alive to keep that alive inside of
her," she concluded, finding it all a twisted story.
She finally raised her eyes to look at Sierra,
wondering what her response would be.
She shook her
head. "No. I've been meaning to ask him." To say
they had been busy lately would be the
understatement of the century. Sierra lowered
herself back to the ground. The atmosphere reminded
her of youthful sleepovers with Jelena the few times
that she was allowed over at the Dakkar residence.
She sighed. She *hoped* there was enough oxygen. It
would be a shame for Marcus Rodney to have
sacrificed himself only to have her die inside of
his backyard. With her eyes on El-Nay, she listened
to her recount the sad, twisted story of Kerrie
Kiley and Claudius Rodney. She felt soft for Kerrie.
The woman had been through much more than she
realized. At first, it was shocking to hear that
Claudius was behind stripping Kerrie's family of
their work, but then it made sense. He was a
politician in that sense, though it didn't make
decisions like that any easier. She made a mental
note to ask him for more. After all, she was still
learning so much about her husband.
Her heart ache
for Kerrie grew, her face sinking upon learning that
her family no longer wanted anything to do with her.
Put in Kerrie's boots, she surely would have
spiraled downward into destruction in an identical
way. That only left one question...why did Claudius
still live? El-Nay answered that question. It was
Kerrie's hate that kept him alive. The situation was
very, very twisted. As El-Nay concluded, Sierra sat,
processing all of it. "I had no idea..." Kerrie had
the maturity of someone who had endured hardships.
She didn't realize how hard until now. "I'd have
never expected she hated him so much. Does she still
feel that way?" Sierra thought of how Kerrie had
taken a serious injury to keep her, and her child,
safe. "The things that the war has done are
terrible. I feel bad that Kerrie had to go through
all of that. To be rejected by your family like
that..." She shook her head. "It shocks me that
she's able to treat my family so well. In the short
time I've known her, I already feel like I'm in
several life times of debt to her." The Clawdite
felt like a part of the family in many ways. How did
she see herself?
don't know, milady. She doesn't talk to me like she
used to. Whatever happened to her during her service
in the Empire changed her," El-Nay said, sounding
very remorseful. If it was not so dark, Sierra might
have been able to see the tears that were welling up
in the corner of her eyes. "She didn't even tell me
what happened. She let me think she was dead. I only
found out she was alive when your husband contacted
me to hunt Jelena ... for nearly killing Kerrie,"
she explained, before looking around the darkened
ship. She wondered if it would be their tomb. "Don't
worry, milady. I'll get you out of this," she said,
before rising and moving back towards the reactor.
"...somehow," she muttered quietly to herself, as
she pulled off the access panel.
be any lights for Sierra to sense how El-Nay's mood
had changed. She could feel the Mandalorian's
sadness. Being in her position had to be difficult.
First, having to watch the one you love self
destruct, then live fearing that they were dead. She
reached across them. Her hand landed on El-Nay's.
"I'm sorry, El-Nay. Believe it or not, that woman
still needs you. Maybe times have been hard and it
seems like that's never going to end. But, if
there's one person who can bring Kerrie back to the
person you knew...it's you." Time was running out.
It had grown so cold that Sierra was working to hold
a strong exterior and stop herself from shaking. She
yearned to be warm in the arms of her husband...or
anywhere else that wasn't here. She dropped her hand
from El-Nay's. "You better." She teased, following
her towards the access panel. "What can I do to
"Thank you for
the kind words, milady," El-Nay said, as she reached
into the reactor in an attempt to see if anything
felt loose or dislodged. "Gaah!" she screamed as she
hit an open circuit, sending a surge of electricity
through her body that caused great deal of pain. She
pulled her arm out, which was now tingling, as she
backed away from it. "I don't know what to do," she
said, lowering her head in defeat and self-pity. "My
father never wanted me near it. He kept it hidden.
He never taught me," she said, turning her attention
back to Sierra. "Can you try and find a hydrospanner?"
she asked, as she realized that if she did *nothing*
they would surely die, but at least if she tried
there was a chance.
back. "Shit! Are you okay!?" Being that El-Nay had
just been electrocuted... probably not. Sweat rolled
down the back of her neck despite the near freezing
temperatures. "Okay..." Deep breath. "Okay..." She
didn't know what to do either. Sierra fumbled her
way back to El-Nay's toolbox. In the dark, she was
working all off of feeling. She grasped what she
thought was a hydrospanner. "I found one... I
think." As she came back into the light offered by
the glowrod, she realized it was one. Feeling a
teeny tiny bit brave, Sierra stepped towards the
access panel. "Here, hold the glowrod up. Let me do
some poking around." Neither girl knew what they
were doing. Sierra felt around carefully. As tension
began building, Sierra continued to talk. "Are your
parents *gone* too?" She asked. Now it was possible
that they would share a grave with her father. She
felt something loose inside the access panel, so she
searched for screws or *something*.
you giving orders on *my* ship!" El-Nay teased, as
she held the glowrod up for her as instructed. "I'm
sorry you're not a Duchess anymore," she said, with
a frown, as she angled the light so they could
better examine the reactor. "No. They're on Corellia.
Hiding from the Empire, and ignoring what's
happening on Mandalore," she informed her, while
raising herself up onto her tippy toes to get the
light up higher. "My father disowned me for
disobeying him and becoming a bounty hunter, but ...
but my mother helped," she said, cheerfully, as she
watched Sierra work. "This was my mother's armor,
years ago," she added, as her eyes widened as she
watched Sierra. "Hey ... where'd you learn to do
that in between dress shopping and mani-pedis?" she
asked, genuinely surprised by her skill.
Her head moved from side to side. "Aw, don't be
sorry about all of that. Despite what people may
say, I didn't marry for title. I joined the Empire
to get away from my family's nobility, then it was
there in my face. I'm relieved it's over now. It was
too much for my husband. It was too much for me."
Sierra was working slowly. She seemed convinced that
not treating the reactor properly would cause it to
blow up or something. It came as another surprise to
hear that El-Nay's parents still lived. Her nose
scrunched. "Want me to go beat up your dad? I will!"
As for her mother, now that sounded like a good
person. She found that the respected El-Nay's
decision to sport orange armor when she told her it
belonged to her mother. "Do you get to see her much?
You gotta admit, your mom has style." She smiled,
glancing towards her armor. She'd never seen a
person rock orange as well as El-Nay.
Sierra added, "You forgot about princess lessons!
Really, I'm winging it right now. I've read a lot of
books about ships. When I still lived on Alderaan, I
wanted nothing more than to get off of it... Irony,
am I right? You can thank a life of music lessons
for my steady hands." Which she was now using to
make repairs to the reactor. They were so close to
Delaya now...Sierra's second home which Zara had
taken from her. Her mind wanted to thoughts of her
brother. She still felt guilty about that whole
situation. "Hey, how much do you know about Marcus'
wife? Does she have a hand in illegal doings too?
When I took your ship, a lot happened. Marcus was
seriously hurt. Zara blamed me, shot me, and
banished me from Delaya. I can't help but wonder if
she's manipulating him...or using him."
"No. No that's
something that I'll need to do one day. It's the
only way he'll ever respect me, but I'm not good
enough yet," El-Nay admitted, in self defeat, as she
continued to do the one job she was suited for ...
holding the glowrod. "No. I haven't seen her since I
left Corellia, and if I saw her it would only cause
conflict between her and my father, and I do not
wish that. They need each other," she explained, as
her arm was starting to feel tired. Internally she
chastised herself, beating herself up inside her
brain at the fact even holding the light was
beginning to become difficult. "Oh this? No. My
mother had nothing to do with the color. Each
Mandalorian must pick the color that represents
them, and for me I chose orange, which to my people
signifies a lust for life. Shereshoy in our
language," she explained, with a nod of her head.
"Good thing you got off of it, milady," she said, in
a tasteless comment, as they lay stranded among the
ruins of the once great world. "She's a thief. She's
a slicer. A general ne'er do well," she replied,
owing the woman no loyalty, and much preferring
Sierra anyway. "She shot you? Well, shit. It's right
over there. Let's fix this ship and go fuck her up!"
she suggested, as she lowered her arm, and
transferred the glowrod into her other, fresh hand.
"Well she's way younger than him," she said, without
thinking about the age difference between Sierra and
Claudius. "...not that there's anything wrong with
that," she said, lowering her face, embarrassed.
"Please let me
be present for that. I'll record it. We can make a
remix video with some horrible cantina song." Sierra
joked. "You'll get there. You're already a bona fide
bad ass in my eyes." The woman laughed. El-Nay had
already saved her butt enough times. She found that
El-Nay was a very selfless person. She could have
ruined her parent's relationship to keep in contact
with her mother. Instead, she realized it for what
it was. Even Sierra was growing teary-eyed. She
hoped that El-Nay couldn't see it. "Shereshoy." She
repeated. "A lust for life... Let's hope that your
lust for life is strong enough to get us out of
here." She'd seen El-Nay survive some pretty gnarly
situations. She hoped to learn more about her
friend's Mandalorian roots.
to El-Nay fill her in on Zara Rodney. "That does
explain how she swiped ISB files from the Retributor
without getting caught..." Zara had caused a lot of
problems when she exposed her to her husband. Sierra
groaned. "Sadly, she's untouchable right now. Zara's
about to pop. It would be wrong of us to harm my
brother's children. Sorry...I think I'm almost
done." El-Nay's comment about the age gap between
Marcus and his wife made her face turn red. She
giggled at her friend's embarrassment. "I guess that
runs in the family, huh? Pervert Rodneys." She
teased. All of a sudden, the lights inside of the
ship came on. The engine slowly rumbled back to
life. "Did I fix it, or is it giving us a moment of
relief before we die?" She withdrew her hands. They
were both covered in grease.
"I've been in
tighter spots than this, milady," El-Nay boasted,
but in fact she had not. Personally, she thought
they did not have much of a chance, but she wanted
to keep a brave face for Sierra. "Okay. Okay. But as
soon as she gives birth we should totally kick her
ass or something," she said, as she moved closer to
see what Sierra was doing. Maybe she could even
learn something. "I didn't mean you!" she squealed,
still feeling bad about her inadvertent comment.
"Holy shit!" she screamed when the lights went back
on, immediately dropping the glowrod and rushing
towards the pilot's seat. "Let's not stand around
waiting to find out!" she said, as she began
toggling switches to bring the engines back online.
The ship began to shake and then slowly began moving
forwards again, but she gently eased back on the
controls to raise the starfighter off the debris.
"Okay. So I suppose I should have asked this before,
but ... where exactly is New Alderaan?" she asked,
turning over her shoulder to look at Sierra with a
underneath a Cathar just barely eclipsed this moment
in Sierra's list of tight spots. Had she not gotten
lucky, within an hour, that would have changed.
Instead, she stood there tensing up. Was it
over...or had they died? Like El-Nay, she darted
forward into her seat, buckled in, and prepared for
take off. By some strain of good luck, the ship made
its way off of the debris. Sierra seemed to deflate
in her seat. "Oooooh man. We made it!" She thrust a
fist up in the air triumphantly. Sierra peered at
her, laughing and shaking her head. She happily fed
El-Nay the coordinates to New Alderaan. They were
back on track to get the girls and return back to
Esseles. "I'll turn my back and let you squeeze
Ewwiekewwieikkie twice for all the hassle I've put
El-Nay replied excitedly, feverish with the notion
that she would soon be rich. As she watched Sierra
enter the coordinates it dawned on her just how far
off course they were. She felt foolish for doing
such a bad navigation job. "Thanks for fixing the
ship and saving us," she said, somewhat begrudgingly
as she did not like to be indebted to people. "I owe
you a debt, milady. It shall not be forgotten. "Vor
entye," she said to her, in a deadly serious tone of
voice. It was then that the navicomputer broke the
tension by beeping to signal it had downloaded
Sierra's coordinates. She moved her hand on the
controls, pushing the activator forward, which sent
the starfighter back into hyperspace towards the
correct destination. An unlikely bond had been
struck between two very different, yet somehow
similar, young ladies.