Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Liz Dorner and Christopher Levy.
One year before the Battle of Yavin (34:10:30) in the Yavin system: Gilded Thranta and Yavin 4 (Great Temple).
Commander Derek Atio and Parka Pepper.

Derek sat in the passenger compartment of his transport inside the main hangar of the Rebel base on Yavin 4. He was rotating his left shoulder repeatedly, a grimace of pain forming upon his lips every time he raised the arm up. He was wearing a white shirt, stained with grease, that fit loosely on his physique. His short hair was messed, forehead dripping with beads of sweat ... tell-tale signs he had been exerting himself. A long day of physical therapy and maintenance on the ship had taken its toll on him and he seemed worse for the wear. He had been avoiding his 'partner' Parka for most of the day, concerned with the talk he had with his superiors earlier in the day. He was dreading telling her the outcome of that meeting, but he did not have a choice.

Parka had made herself scarce, venturing about as far as anyone would permit to silently observe the goings on of whatever group it is she had been assimilated into. She reappeared some time later, strolling casually back towards the POS ship of Derek's, strange flecked eyes taking it in in all its dilapidated glory. By some miracle, she was actually covered up by a pair of snug khaki pants tucked neatly into knee-high black boots. The upper half still left room for improvement with a black sleeveless v-neck shell that was low enough cut to give any pair of eyes a little sampling of whatever it was she was concealing.

Derek exhaled deeply as he stopped his physical therapy. He stood from the sofa and let his left arm hang dead at his side for a moment. It felt good not to be moving. His ears perked as he heard footsteps approaching. Assuming it might be Parka he decided to make himself a bit more presentable. Raising his shirt above his head, he wiped his forehead clean of the sweat. Unfortunately, he used the side covered in grease and the sweaty mess soon become stained with grease causing an even worse sight. A smile formed upon his face as he waited, ignorantly unaware of his present appearance.

Still donning her usual array of silver arm bands and rings and electrical tape on each finger, the mouthy youngster plodded up the ramp, heading through the various parts of the ship in search of the fool who owned it. She stopped in her tracks as she came upon him rather suddenly, eyeing him over, greasy face and shit-eating grin to boot. She lifted her chin arrogantly. "You there, mechanic..." she issued in a commanding old déjà vu.

Derek tilted his head sharply at her as his grin increased in magnitude. "Cute," he said with clear sarcasm. His eyes rolled quickly down and back up as they performed their routine daily scan of her body. "No legs today," he thought silently to himself, "Pity." He slapped his hands together twice, brushing the dirt from them before sitting back down. Looking up at her, his face turned suddenly more serious ... harkening back to the days when they first came together. "We need to talk..." he said with some reluctance.

"Oh...alright" she replied casually with a haphazard shrug thrown in for good measure. She seated herself on the old tattered excuse for a couch, crossing her legs and picking idly at her nails. "What'd I do now.." she asked without looking up.

"It's what you already did, Parka," Derek began to explain as delicately as he could manage. "I know it seems like we've been down this road before," he continued with a bit of apprehension, "but High Command is very interested in that disk. There is a lot they've yet to understand about it ... and you're still our only 'living' link to it." He swallowed as he finished talking, unsure of her response.

"Come again?" she glanced up, eyebrows lifting intently.  This topic had become black and white to her by all accounts. This new development was bothersome at best.

"It seems," Derek began, his grease-stained cheeks reddening with embarrassment, "That those on Alderaan I gave the disk to were not entirely forthcoming." He ran the fingers of his left hand atop his right, stroking it nervously. "It seems that High Command is not sure how the disk was originally obtained, nor were they sure of its destination. They feel there's more to it than what is known currently." He looked at her and tried to form some sort of smile, trying to reassure her.

Parka emerged briefly from her glazed over bored look to blink. "Uh huh...and the point is..?"

"The point is..." Derek paused, unsure of how to tell her this. Finally, with some self-doubt, he decided to just come out and tell her. "Since High Command wants to minimize knowledge of this disk," he swallowed and took a small breath, "They want us to track down how exactly the disk was obtained and what its destination was." He lowered his head, avoiding eye contact, and braced himself for the worst.

Parka still looked stumped as she simply could not fathom that this assignment actually applied to her. "Wow. Well...good luck with that" she concluded, a lengthy yawn following.

"I'm sorry, Parka," Derek said in a serious, more composed voice than he had used previously, "But you're going to have to lend a hand on this one. You're one of only a handful of people that know about the disk. High Command wants it to stay that way."

At that, Parka's head went back in full out hysterical laughter. Just as quickly as it started, it stopped and her gaze dropped back to Derek. "I don't know who 'High Command' is..." she lifted her index and middle fingers of each hand to create gestured quotation marks. "...but I don't answer to them. And I can't help you."

"I told them you'd say that," Derek replied with a wide grin and slight chuckle, "Which is why they've gone ahead and authorized a substantial payment to be made to you if we get the info they need."

Parka inhaled deeply, thinking it over. "Tempting I suppose...but I really can't help you...because I have no idea who that guy was...where he came from, where he was going...and so on and so on."

"That's where our database comes in," Derek said with a confident grin and equally brazen tone in his voice. "We've cracked the Imperial records," he proudly boasted, "It'll take some doing ... but that's where we'll start."

Parka frowned a bit. "I...suppose" she allowed. She recalled her brief moments in Imperial captivity, and while a far cry from what she would have considered "unpleasant," it was not an opportunity she'd jump to repeat.

"Come on," Derek said with a hint of excitement in his voice as he rose from his seat. "Let's get started..." he continued as he walked towards the ramp of the ship, waiting for Parka to follow. Eventually, he made his way down the ramp of the ship into the temple's expansive hangar. He began walking at a slow pace, as he expected Parka would make any excuse to 'get lost,'  towards a terminal room where they could privately access the database.

Parka followed begrudgingly. "This really isn't a good idea. Once they figured out I no longer had the disk, you became the next viable target..." she said to his back. " case there was any doubt in your mind..."

"I'm only planning to get shot once this week," Derek said as he turned to look at her just long enough to flash a smile. "But thanks for the concern," he added as he stepped into the room with the access terminal in it. He toggled a switch to power it on and took a seat to the left of the monitor, leaving the seat directly in front of it for her.

Parka was less then enthused, dropping into the seat unceremoniously. She started to mouth some remark about him not flattering himself, but was too sour to even get the words out. "What exactly are we supposed to be doing here?"

"Enter the parameters of the man's description into the terminal, Parka," Derek explained slowly as he motioned with his hand to the various indicators. "It will create a composite image and profile and begin searching the database," he concluded. "We'll start with the Imperial database first," he said as he set the terminal to search those records.

Parka looked as if he'd just asked for the strings of astrophysics equations that mathematically spelled out how repulsorlift technology was feasible. Stifling the urge to shake her head, she racked her brain...for some time trying to recall what the fellow looked like who'd run into her. She toyed with the database's input features, trying different combinations based off a loose memory at no avail. Finally she leaned back. "This is ridiculous. There's no way I can remember this guy..."

"Maybe he just wasn't an Imperial," Derek explained in an optimistic tone. He smiled at her and nodded his head reassuringly, hoping to boost her morale slightly. "Let's try the criminal database," he said as he adjusted the settings on the terminal once again. "Come on," he said in a cheerful voice, hoping to motivate her.

"You're in an unusually good mood. Did you get laid after I left" she grumbled, reentering the info into the next database. The process was tedious and on more then one occasion, Parka's eyes flickered around for a writing utensil that she could use to gouge her own eyes out with.

Derek sighed as hours of tedious database searching had produced nothing. "Are you sure it wasn't a woman?" he asked her, obviously joking. He slumped his head down on the desk for a moment, his eyes dry and red, his head pounding. "Let's try local security forces,"  he said weakly as he reprogrammed the terminal once again.

It was all Parka could do to not reach across and punch Derek dead in the face. In fact, she fixed him with a lengthy gaze while she imagined herself doing so. It almost brought a smile to her lips. With a good bit of self control, she refrained, continuing to tap away at the keys for the millionth time. She went through the motions, eyes half closed...until...something actually came up. Pulled from her near comatose state, her eyebrows knit slightly, head straightening up. "I'll be damned..." she mumbled.

Derek lifted his head up as he heard Parka's surprised response. His eyes began to focus on the individual for a moment. Eventually his eyes were able to read the information in the terminal. It listed him as a former member of the Alderaan Guard, but provided no other information. The rest of the information was blocked out and detailed records had been sealed. A confused look appeared on his face as the information began to sink in. "This doesn't make any sense," he said to Parka slowly, "If he was working for Alderaan ... my contacts there should have known about this."

Parka shrugged. "Whatever you say...Well. Let's give 'em this guy and collect our fundage" she said, her expression brighter then it had been in hours.

"It's not that simple, Parka," Derek tried to explain to her, "We still have to find out what he was doing with the disk and where he was taking it." He rose from his seat and began heading out of the room, back towards the ship. "It's not over yet," he said over his shoulder to her as he headed towards the hangar.

She got to her feet, hurrying after him. "I'm not following any of this" she called after him. "Now where are you going?"

"To the ship," Derek explained to her as he walked towards the hangar bay from which they came. "We've got to go back to Alderaan and talk to my sources again," he said to her as he proceeded towards the ship, "It's our best way to track him down."

Parka scurried on board, taking up her usual place in the copilot's seat. "I don't get why this is 'our' responsibility. Doesn't 'High Command'..." again she did the quotes "...have anyone else that can handle this sort of thing?"

"I told you, Parka," Derek said as he raised the ramp behind him and headed towards the cockpit, "They don't want this information getting out." Derek slid into his pilot's chair and strapped in, and then began powering up the ship. "Besides," he continued as he readied the ship for takeoff, "I want to know why my contacts held this back in the first place."

Parka seemed to wither more with each passing moment. She leaned back in her chair, draping one leg over an armrest and closing her eyes. "Fine. Wake me up when we get there."

"Not the first time a woman's fallen asleep on me," Derek muttered to himself as he activated the ship's repulsorlift engines. The aged transport lifted from the hangar bay and emerged just above the jungle canopy that covered most of the moon's surface. He activated the throttle of the ship's sublight engine. It only took a few moments for the ship to emerge from the atmosphere into space. The coordinates between Alderaan and Yavin well known to him by now, he activated the hyperdrive and sent the ship streaking into hyperspace towards it's destination.

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