Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Christopher Levy and Sarah Riggs-Shute.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:7:29) in the Essesia system: Esseles (Nurrale: Slums and Spaceport) and Nerf Herder.
El-Nay Darr, Dimona Xirie Nuebla, Lady Jelena Rodney, and Lord Marcus Rodney.

Marcus Rodney walked quietly through the slums of Nurrale, in the slums not too far from the Togatto Speedway. The Alderaanian nobleman was clad in his dark bounty hunter armor and operating under the guise of 'The Nerf Herder'. There had been reports of a young human woman dwelling among the non-human inhabitants of the dilapidated section of the city, which was a fairly uncommon occurrence. Before proceeding further, he stopped, and turned his attention to Dimona and El-Nay, glaring at them from beneath the safety of his visor. "Remember ... we get *nothing* if she's dead. We take her alive," he warned, as he raised his right index finger menacingly towards them. "No rockets. No flamethrower. No grenades!" he added, before slinging his AXM-50 'Blaster and Smash' over his shoulders, and moving instead towards his sidearm, which was set to the stun setting. If it was indeed his niece he could not allow any harm to fall to her, no matter the damage his reputation might suffer.

The moment Marcus began to lecture her, her pink tongue slid from between her lips as she mocked him beneath the safety of her Mandalorian helmet. "This perky little bitch ain't nothing to worry about," she said after he finished with great disappointment, but nevertheless followed his instructions and deactivated some of her more impressive weapons. Her eyes then glared to Dimona ... his new favorite ... and she could not help but wonder if he had sent her to cut the door to protect her. Regardless, she hated her, as she would any woman that got this close, and she wondered if perhaps she could arrange for an accident to befall the hyperactive dimwit. She had already spent quality time in a bacta tank being worked on by a hammerhead whom she barely understood and suggested she switch to a more agrarian diet. In her mind, she deserved extra ... and if Dimona were out of the scene her share would grow from a third to a half.

Dimona crossed her arms over her chest as she listened to the nearly insulting speech by Marcus while a huge and obnoxious grin spread across her face. She figured it was more for El-Nay's benefit as Dimona always took great care in acquiring her targets as Marcus himself should still well remember. A relaxed hand pointed a finger to her own face as an innocent look formed with a mock-pout. "Are you suggesting *I* would do such atrocities? Oh, darling! You know how I operate. But as for this one ..." The hand that was lazily pointing to herself shifted so that a thumb was directed towards El-Nay's direction. "... I wouldn't be too sure!" There was good reason Dimona found the other woman to be untrustworthy and all she had to do to confirm that doubt was just to listen to how El-Nay spoke, quite the nasty woman indeed. "Goodness, hun!" She exclaimed after El-Nay's harsh statement. "She is merely a child, no need to get all feisty. Save that for alone time." She winked towards the other woman quite suggestively, trying to soften up the mood. It was still a mystery to her why El-Nay was so damn bitter towards her. Maybe she needed a good lay.

Marcus rolled his eyes at the two 'ladies' as he turned his back to them, and proceed towards the small ramshackle structure he had been directed to. "Clear out," he said to the Rodian family huddled in the doorway, before stepping forward inside. A hand was brought to the side of his helmet as he shifted his view so he could more easily see within the darkened building. All around them were aliens huddled around small fires attempting to keep warm, with raw sewage floating downhill, and inadequate lighting and temperature controls. Hardly the place one would expect to find an Alderaanian noblewoman ... yet there she was. With a hand gesture he ordered El-Nay to cover the back entrance, while he took a more direct approach. "You're not going anywhere, Your Highness!" he shouted menacingly, as he drew his sidearm and leveled it with her midsection.

Jelena had spent the past two weeks hiding within this compound, wrapped in a soft blanket, that by now had grown incredibly filthy. She had not been able to shower, and was forced to pop a squat in the corner whenever she needed to use the refresher. Her clothes were soiled and tattered, her face obscured with soot, and her once magnificently cared for hair was matted and greasy. She still had her father's DH-17 which she kept cradled next to her, having expected something like this to happen. Without saying a word, she pulled back on the trigger, unleashing a deadly bolt at the bounty hunter that had approached her. In a blur, she began to run towards the exit in a daring escape.

As Jelena began to run, El-Nay extended her leg, and tripped her, causing her to fall roughly to the shit-stained ground below. "Not so fast, sweetie," she said, as she lowered a deadly wrist dart to the teenager's head. Oh, how she wanted to pull the trigger, but she remembered her orders and pulled her arms away. In a rage, she simply began stomping on the fallen Jelena in an attempt to disable her. In her mind, she imagined it was Dimona, and unleashed a torrid of curses and grunts as she began to go overboard.

As Dimona began to trudge through the multiple layers of filth and excrement, her overly amused smile only slightly turned to a look of mild miff at the horrid conditions she was being coerced through. "Damn Scruffy, you are such a cheap date! Remind me again how you convinced me to come? Oh right, you are damn cute." This was not at all her idea of fun and excitement, nor would it be the way she would handle this particular bounty. Just pulling out a gun on the girl all intimidating like? It was no wonder their target fired upon them. This all could have been avoided if Marcus was not so freaking sloppy. The moment she realized El-Nay had apprehended Jelena, Dimona quickly turned to Marcus to analyse his condition but she did not have long before El-Nay became out-of-control and began to pummel the unfortunate young woman further into the grim. Satisfied that Marcus was not dead, she intervened on Jelena's behalf to prevent El-Nay from possibly seriously harming her. Safety first though! Dimona retrieved the DH-17 to remove any further threat before fully attuning her attention on El-Nay. "Calm down hun! You got her, you got her! Put some cuffs on her and we can get out of this dump. It sucks in here."

The blaster bolt impacted with his chest, but armor dissipated most of the energy, causing only minor burning to his flesh below. It took him quite off guard as she was no longer the little girl he watched grow up years ago. When he turned and witnessed El-Nay foot stomping the target he growled angrily and moved towards her. "Damn it, El-Nay. Stop that!" he yelled, ignoring both Dimona and El-Nay for the time being, and instead swiftly moving towards the fallen Jelena. He shook his head as he looked over her, noting that she had been kicked to a state of near-unconsciousness. He was wrong to have brought the inexperienced brute with them, but better with them than against them. In one fluid motion, Marcus lifted the young woman over his shoulder, like a fireman, and began to carry her out of the structure.

Jelena was barely conscious at this point, having first fallen flat on her face, and then kicked and stomped on repeatedly by armored boots. She tried to resist, tried to fight off, but she barely had any strength left. All she could do was spit one last mouth full of blood at Marcus, before lowering her head and losing consciousness. It had seemed her little adventure had come to an end.

El-Nay was both aggravated and embarrassed that the other hunters had stepped in to calm her down, but all of her criticisms were left beneath her helmet ... save for one. "Watch who you call 'hun', hun," she muttered, as she fell into line behind Marcus, attempting to position herself between him and Dimona to exert some sense of dominance over her rival. Marcus had changed, she thought silently to herself. He was no longer the fast talking lothario who had gotten her drunk and charmed her armor off of her, causing her to give herself to him in a way she had never done before. She had learned a valuable lesson the next morning when she found him gone, and their bounty delivered without her ... she would not let that happen again. She wanted to tell Dimona what he had done to her, what he probably would go on to do to her, but she was too proud to admit her shame to anyone.

Dimona grimaced when she noticed the pitiful, bruised and bloodied state Jelena was in as all of that damage was completely unnecessary. A few kicks to disarm her were one thing, but what had happened seemed to be the act of a vendetta from a sour and acidic woman with apparently no humanity under all of that pretentious armor. Her eyebrows perked up when El-Nay voiced her disapproval of the petname 'hun' and Dimona could not help but to giggle just slightly at the other's excessive grumpiness. "How about girlfriend? Treasure? Pet? Hrm... Love? Baby? Oh, can I say sexy? You pick! I like them all." As El-Nay forcefully brushed past her to get closer to Marcus, Dimona threw up her hands in an exaggerated huff. What was that woman's deal? El-Nay seemed so jealous or protective or something. Marcus had a lot of women in his life... a lot. So it would not surprise her if El-Nay was just one of a long list of one-night stands. Maybe she should ask and it was heavily debated with a sly grin.

"Will you two concentrate?" Marcus pleaded, as he continued to carry his niece towards the spaceport. The burn on his stomach, while minor, was nevertheless quite irritating and the sweat that ran down his chest caused it to burn ... but not nearly as much as these two were making his ears burn. All along the route the alien population had come out to watch the young woman carried by the trio of hunters, as it was vastly more entertaining than anything on Imperial Holovision ... with the possible exception of Doctor Shuura. When they arrived in the spaceport, he proceeded towards his ship, the Nerf Herder, where he could both contain her and give her proper medical attention. Once inside, he lay her on a cot in the back, but did not place her in any of the restraints he typically used.

"I swear that if you call me even one of those names I will end you," El-Nay muttered beneath her helmet to Dimona, before listening to Marcus' instructions and silencing herself. When she moved up the ramp to enter the ship she was surprised to see how gentle he was being with the girl, and wondered if he was up to his usual self. "Do you plan to deflower her too?" she asked him, briefly losing her composure and spouting off something she should not have. "Argh!" she groaned beneath her helmet when she realized what she had said in the heat of the moment, and hoped that Dimona did not hear what she said. She wondered how she could have been so stupid ... she had not been thinking clearly since she reconnected with Marcus ... she had hoped to never see him again.

"Okay darling, I won't use any of *those* names." She cooed gently to El-Nay's helmet, so close that she left her warm breath fogging the faceplate before she sauntered past to check on the condition of Jelena. It was no surprise to her that Marcus was being overly gentle with the bounty, she knew the reasoning behind his obsession with obtaining Jelena, and by the way El-Nay treated the poor girl, she surmised that El-Nay did not realize the connection between Marcus and Jelena. Dimona was on the fence with the decision to not place Jelena in any restraining bindings, but she understood why Marcus shied from it. As long as the girl stayed unarmed and was locked within a room, she posed little threat, but Dimona would have still placed some stun cuffs on the young captive. Her attention immediately snapped back to El-Nay with that slip of some very juicy information and the widest inappropriate smile etched into her features. "Oh! Oh ... that is delicious. And I wasn't even going to say anything. Too late!" Bright eyes flicked between Marcus and El-Nay, indecisive on who she should address here, it was all so exciting and deviously delightful. "El-Nay, no girl talk? Tsk tsk on leaving out juicy tidbits." Dimona waved a finger at the other woman in a mock-condescending fashion, feeling left out and neglected on this information from both of them.

El-Nay was already furious from her mental slip, but when Dimona got in her ear and just would not stop her rage began to grow. Her gloved hands curled into fists and she began to tremble as she lost all composure and saw nothing but red. "You ... you bitch!" she screamed at the top of her lungs, as she turned towards the woman and began charging towards her like a wild animal. Weapons would have ended this too quickly ... no she would settle this with her hands. As she approached the woman she thought that her display of strength and conquest would win her Marcus, as it would have done so in Mandalorian society. When she finally arrived, she lept in the air, and attempted to tackle the other hunter down to the ground, putting the full weight of her superior armor into the attack.

Dimona's eyes opened wide with surprise and delight when the woman screamed at her, confirming the suspicions all along. "Oh Scruff, you broke her heart? You lady killer! Shame." Dimona was way too enamored with this reveal to be prepared for an onslaught, or even caring at this point. Instead of attempting to evade the oncoming charge, she conceded to it to lessen the blow, bending to the tackle instead of being rigid which caused both of the woman to collide to the ground in a spectacular fashion with El-Nay on top and clearly with the advantage. Dimona coughed a few times to fill her lungs with air, but that smile never even faded, and in fact, it appeared the woman was actually enjoying the interaction. The contact had hit her hard but her loose strategy prevented it from being a far more serious impact. There was absolutely no struggle or defense on Dimona's part as she looked up quite coyly to the other who perched on top of her with the full weight of the armor. "This was your plan to get him interested again, wasn't it? You can be honest! Men love this, two woman, rolling around. It was, wasn't it? I can tell you a secret. I rolled around on the ground with him too, you get to guess which one of us was naked." A knuckle of Dimona's right hand was nibbled gently to suppress a laugh due to her over excitement. What would El-Nay do? She was about to find out and it was thrilling. Dimona was absolutely intoxicated by the adrenaline rushing through her system with a blistering fast heart rate, causing her eyes to dilate into what could only be described as a burning hunger.

The comments made by Dimona were causing El-Nay's head to spin. This woman was being thrown to the ground, and still she could not stop herself from making witty comments. "He ... he did not break my heart!" she yelled at her, obviously lying, as she held out the blades on her right gauntlet. "You ... he!" she screamed, as she prepared to bring her gauntlet down on the woman's face, when suddenly she felt herself grasped from behind.

Marcus had seen just enough of this, and while he wanted to continue to work on Jelena's injuries, he could not allow these two to destroy themselves or his ship ... though he was mildly flattered that he had gotten under El-Nay's skin like he had. His hands grasped at her sides, and he roughly pulled her off Dimona, tossing her aside as he would a duffle bag. "Enough of this. Both of you, stop it!" he said angrily, as he came between him, his eyes looking between Dimona and El-Nay from beneath his helmet. "Dimona, stop picking on her. El-Nay, stop trying to kill her," he insisted, as he extended a palm of each hand at them in case either of them continued to the fight.

Despite the apparent dire circumstances, Dimona was far from the helpless victim here and could have defended herself but had chosen to concede the first action to El-Nay out of intense curiosity. She was not exactly innocent here either, clearly instigating a confrontation, but only because El-Nay was too impulsive and restless about the whole issue which Dimona found irresistibly entertaining and captivating. It was a real shame that her current entourage was really a bunch of downers. She could not get her adventurous fix if Marcus kept coming to her 'rescue'. But no matter, she had learned quite a few new tasty treats with this exchange, and it had not been a complete loss ... she did get quite the rush just then. This little contest had been far more interesting than anything they did the past week! Dimona slowly sat up, appearing slightly disappointed at her Knight in gringy armor. "Were you at least somewhat enthralled? Say yes."

"This isn't over," El-Nay said to Dimona, before retreating at Marcus' insistence. Her hands moved to the sides of her helmet, and she quickly removed it to reveal her beautiful, young face below. Her cheeks were flushed red from the argument and tussle, and she was panting slightly from the ordeal. Her hair was blonde, shaved on both sides, and leaving only a short tuft of hair atop her head. She reached into a pouch on her utility belt, quickly producing a cigarra and a lighter. Folding her arms in front of her chest, she took a seat in the corner, and lit her cigarra as she attempted to calm herself ... it was not working.

This was the first time Dimona had a chance to gander at what El-Nay looked like under all that unbecoming and bulky armor. So all of that feistiness and spirit was focused and concentrated into such a young and attractive woman, but it was now apparent El-Nay still had some serious adolescence issues to work out. "You should have taken your armor off before tackling me. Wasted opportunity." Dimona was almost going to suggest that she wanted her five minutes back for a do-over, but she minded Marcus' gruff demand and decided to leave it at that. Picking herself off of the ground, she absently waved at the rest of the occupants as if she wrote them off for the evening, because she did, and then retired to her self-appointed room on the ship, feeling only marginally satisfied with the turn of events.

Jelena let out a long, slow groan as she began to stir. As her eyes opened the trio of bounty hunters came into view, but she could not yet sit up as a result of the brutal beating she took at the hands of El-Nay. "Are y-you tak-taking me back ... to my father?" she asked weakly, broken almost to the point where she would welcome going back ... if only to have a shower before her execution. She wrapped her arms around herself, as she attempted to comfort her wounds, and perhaps a broken rib.

When he heard Jelena awaken, Marcus quickly turned his attention from the fellow hunters to rush towards her side. He placed a reassuring side to her shoulder, which she reacted too with an uncomfortable cringe. He did not know how to answer her question, but he knew that he could not take her back to her father. His hands moved to the side of his head, to remove his helmet and reveal himself to her. He offered a soft smile to her, in the hope that would calm her down. "No," he said with some hesitation, but offered no more ... as he had no more at the moment.

"Uncle Marc?" Jelena said weakly, blinking repeatedly, as if she could not believe it was really him. She offered a smile, as he was always the 'cool' uncle, but at the same time she was being held hostage and the woman in the corner had nearly killed her. "I'm sorry I shot you," she said quietly, with a half laugh, as she tried to lighten the mood. She felt them closing in and suddenly a feeling of claustrophobia came over her. "So what are you going to do with me?" she asked, as she finally managed to sit up slightly on the bunk.

"Uncle?" El-Nay exclaimed from behind a cloud of smoke, as she raised up from the deck to look at the duo. "What do you mean *uncle*?" she asked, as she tossed what was left of the cigarra aside and moved towards them in an angry huff. "You're not going to give her to the Governor?" she asked again, in equal disbelief. "I risked my neck for this money. First, that bitch witch on the Star Destroyer nearly killed me. Now, I got this one ridin' my ass," she said, as she motioned with the thumb of her left thumb to Dimona, who she had her back to. "I'm getting paid ... even if you're not. I'm taking her!" she said, as she quickly brought her left wrist launcher up and aimed it squarely at the Marcus and Jelena. This was finally her chance to prove herself to the bounty hunters guild *and* get revenge for what Marcus had done to her.

Dimona was prepared to have a nice relaxing and very boring evening lounging in her room, but the commotion outside perked her attention. As she entered back into the main room she was introduced to a developing scene that was escalating into a dangerous situation. So her assumption that El-Nay knew nothing about Marcus' relationship with Jelena was correct ... even the more reason to think that man was foolish to request El-Nay's assistance in this bounty which was further complicated due to their strained relationship. Dimona rolled her eyes at yet another issue that could have been avoided if Marcus was not the one calling the shots for this mission, and she was definitely planning to take the lead for future bounties. An overly amused smile once again crept up on her face as she realized she had quite the opportunity to get the drop on El-Nay as that inexperienced young hunter was far too focused on just Marcus and Jelena, not at all considering the missing Dimona. She had plenty of time to pull out her Q2 blaster from her holster and set aim on El-Nay's jetpack. A clear shot to the unit may just explode it and kill El-Nay instantly, or it could cause the mechanics to short out and fling the woman around the bulkhead in a catastrophic failure that would be beautiful to witness. Either way, it was winning. A steady hand and a grin was all that was needed before she gently pulled the trigger, sending a brilliant red bolt towards El-Nay's jetpack shouldered on her back. "You really should have removed that armor!"

"Wha-" El-Nay began to ask when suddenly the bolt of deadly energy impacted her jetpack, catching her completely unaware. "Ahh!" she screamed, as the unit activated suddenly and lifted her up in the air in a terrified panic. As sparks began to fly, she went hurdling down the ramp, exiting the transport, and was thrown to the ground below. "Ungh," she groaned, and began rolling frantically along the hangar deck until she impacted the wall, causing the remnants of the jetpack explode. The explosion left her unconscious and battered ... for the second time in as many weeks. Her last thoughts were of revenge on Dimona for what had just transpired, but that would be another day.

"Dimona!" Marcus yelled as he watched El-Nay fly out of the Nerf Herder in an uncontrolled frenzy. For a moment, he ran down the ramp, but saw nothing but smoke and fire and was sure that she was dead ... he did not want that. "We have to move. That explosion will certainly attract attention," he shouted, as his hand slammed down on the button to raise the ramp. He then spirited himself towards the cockpit of the transport, where he hastily strapped himself in and began to prep the ship for flight. "You should not have done that, Dimona. She was just a kid really. I could have handled it," he chastised her, as his hands frantically moved over the control panel to power the main reaction.

"Oh, yes please!" Dimona nearly shouted with excitement as the jetpack burst into sparks and sent El-Nay soaring out of the Nerf Herder to explode in a fiery ball in the docking bay. She could not quite tell if that woman was dead or not, and normally she would not have used such tactics, but El-Nay did try to kill her and she was a little bit over the thematics. "Please, Marcus. If she was old enough to be your one-night stand, she was old enough to burst into flames. Besides, you should not have invited her along for many reasons. This is on you, just saying!" Dimona hopped into the co-pilot chair and assisted in the preparations, musing if Marcus was so damn concerned, which he was not, he would have at least checked to see if El-Nay was okay. "And I don't see you rushing to her aid. Is this what happens to all of your one-night stands? This is why you are still single, isn't it? Exciting!"

Marcus rolled his eyes at Dimona's banter as he gripped the controls of his transport and began their ascent into Esseles' atmosphere. "No. Not all my one night stands, but I have a poor track record with Mandalorians..." he said, with a soft smile, as the craft began to shake from the rapidity of their ascent. "I needed her here, because I did not want my niece to fall into the hands of the Empire. I'm going to have to take her somewhere that she'll be safe," he said as the blue sky began to fade into the blackness of space. In front of them was a large Imperial blockade that was in place to find Jelena should she attempt to leave the surface. "I'm sorry that I've gotten you caught up in this," he said, in a lie, as in reality he felt he needed her for this mission.

A weakened, filthy, battered Jelena made her way into the cockpit, taking a seat behind her uncle and strapping herself in. "Uncle Marc, what is all this? This doesn't look like one of our family's luxury transports ... and what are you wearing? ... and who is she?" she asked in a neverending series of questions, as she had no idea that her uncle was a renowned bounty hunter. Her eyes widened when she saw the blockade, realizing that it was all there just to capture her. "Can you get us through that?" she asked, genuinely afraid after what had happened ... she knew her father would stop at nothing to get her back.

"You're not sorry, be honest, you just wanted to check me out some more. Regardless, this was super sloppy Marcus, not at all a clean execution. If I decide to take another job with you, I will be calling the shots next time. You made this far more difficult than it had to be. But as all men tend to need a woman's touch, I will forgive you due to your ingrained genetic disposition." Dimona's attention was directed towards the wretched form of the unfortunate Jelena Rodney. "You poor thing! Don't you worry ... your uncle is a boob, but he means well. I kinda know what he has planned and it should work out. Now, why don't you go clean up? Because dear ... you reek."

Marcus let out a tired sigh as he looked over her shoulder at his niece and considered his next option carefully. He looked at the nearby Ringali Nebula and frowned, realizing, reluctantly, that it was their only choice. His hand moved to the throttle as he began to accelerate the Nerf Herder towards the safety of the nebula where he hoped he could place her in the hands of the Rebel Alliance. "We'll talk about that when we're alone, Dimona," he said, trying not to embarrass himself in front of his niece. "We accomplished our goal ... even if we did lose poor El-Nay in the process," he said with a smirk and subtle laugh, as he switched his attention from her to piloting the craft.

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