Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:5:13) in the Alderaan system: Retributive Strike.
El-Nay Darr and Commander Sierra Rodney.

The 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 alive.

Sierra Rodney 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.

Sierra didn't know much about fixing 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.

Finally, she 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."

"Yeah. No 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 closer look.

"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 family."

"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?

"I honestly 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.

There needn't 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'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 help?"

"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.

Sierra jumped 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*.

"Listen you 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.

She snickered. 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.

Laughing, 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.

She listened 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 sheepish grin.

Being crushed 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 you through."

"Twice?!" 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.

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