Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:2:6) in the Alderaan system: Kwai and in the Essesia system: Kwai and Retributor.
Lieutenant Sierra Dakkar, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Doctor Pilaq Tohan, and Major Arden Zevrin.

Major Arden Zevrin was sitting in her office aboard the Star Dreadnaught Retributor, impatiently waiting for Doctor Sierra Dakkar to grace her with her presence once more. The frustration was growing within her, and she was leaning forward on her desk, resting her face on the palm of her left hand, which made it look squished. Her right hand was forward in front of her, her fingers tapping on the soft, smooth surface of her black desk endlessly. Blue eyes scanned up towards the wall chronometer wondering why the minutes of the day did not bow to her wishes and move faster as she commanded. She was not pleased with the doctor's first appointment with the governor, and she wished to confront her about her misgivings before the duo departed for Delaya. Obviously the naive youngster need some coaching in the art of seduction, and she felt adept qualified to tutor her given her relationship with her late superior, Colonel Wulff Yularen. She let out a sudden exhale of air in a huff as she waited for the hour of their meeting to arrive.

"Ugh..." Sierra's head *hurt*. She had been experiencing a nasty hang over all morning. What happened the prior evening between her and Claudius was no mystery. Despite being unable to handle her liquor, Sierra remembered all that had happened. She even recalled the embarrassing offering her womb up to the Grand Moff like she was a commoner. Her hate for him wasn't seething as much. It was the most real she'd ever seen Claudius. Suddenly, he seemed like less of a stone-faced droid. Some of her feelings hadn't changed. She did believe the man deserved to become the Duke of his home. Being the little efficient worker she was, she set preparations in motion for their trip. She was fierce, stressing how it needed to be done quickly. All the while, she feared the meeting that she had awoken to from Arden. She wondered if she should steal a TIE fighter and leave. Delaya was looking like an escape route right now.

Like the prior day, Sierra arrived minutes early for their meeting. Major Zevrin did not look pleased, not that she could recall many times when the woman looked elated. Fear played over Sierra's youthful features. This assignment was her most difficult, especially considering her past. Men lusted for her, but she had trust issues. Whatever her and Claudius would create together had its foundation built on the side of an unstable, rocky cliff. Nothing good could come of it. If he ever fell for her, she would never love him.

"Major," she squeaked respectfully. The calm before the storm.

"Ah. It's the concubine!" Arden said, cheerfully, as she lifted her face off her palm and lept up from her desk. "Wherever did you get that idea?" she asked, as she circled around her desk until she was standing in front of Sierra. "Seduction is a subtle art, my dear," she said, as she brought a gloved hand up to caress the side of Sierra's face teasingly. "Offering yourself to him as a concubine with the promise of a son is not subtle," she said, before pulling her hand back, only to return it with a hard slap a moment later. "Then, when you had him drunk ... you left," she said, as she backed up, until her butt was against her desk. She scooted upwards until she was seated upon it, crossing her legs, and allowing them to dangle down in front of her. "I trust this trip to Delaya will prove useful? Good of him to invite you, as I have no cameras or agents there," she complained, bitterly, as she looked away, the wheels *always* turning. "Make it a pleasant trip for him. Keep him there. It will allow me to do what I need to do here without his interference," she explained, with a firm nod of her head, before glaring up at her. "I do not like the Hapan. She nearly died at my hands. Do you see yourself a Duchess then? Living out some foolish girlhood fantasy from back on Alderaan with the Princess?" she scoffed, exhaling a sharp puff of air in disgust at the Alderaanians and their courtly ways. "Do not get distracted, *Milady*," she said, with unparalleled disgust, as she completed dressing her down.

The meeting immediately began on the wrong foot. Sierra's face turned scarlet red. *Oh no*. She knew about everything and she wasn't going to let her off the hook for the pieces she'd messed up on. Like a fearful tiny mouse, she attempted to make herself small. Her shoulders hunched inward while her arms crossed over her chest. "The wine gave it to me," she commented dryly. Once again, she found herself being taunted by Arden. The woman's touch was even colder with her glove on than without it. She was defenseless when the slap came. Her head flew in the opposite direction. A red mark instantly formed on her normally harmless skin. Now she was a shaking, blubbering little girl. There was no explaining herself. Seduction was not an art which she had practiced much in her life. She spent a majority of her time talking to people, fully dressed, and nothing sexual ever seemed to come up ... until now.

"I felt I had gone far enough. I already had an in. We'll spend a lot of time privately on Delaya," she explained. The topic of Duchess stunned her. Claudius was still married, even if she was in play to destroy that. She didn't imagine that Arden wanted it to go so far as to marry him. Sierra felt she would be a more fitting Duchess than anyone else. She had been groomed for such a position, though at the right hand of the Grand Moff? She said nothing, allowing Arden to remind her of bad times on Alderaan. Claudius was a man like any other. Even if he promised her the world, he wouldn't be able to deliver. "I'm not going to get distracted. This is new grounds for me. I felt that pushing him further last night would have made the situation too ideal. He gets drunk, his daughter's best friend shows up and it just happens that she's attracted to him. I didn't want him to sober up and put two and two together." Perhaps the young woman had said too much. She seemed to notice it and immediately crawled back into her shell. She took a step back from Arden's desk.

"I'm going to give you a piece of advice that my mother gave me, my dear Doctor Dakkar," Arden said, as she slithered her tongue over her lower lips like a serpent. "Never drink with a drunk!" she said, bringing her gloved right index finger up and wagging it back and forth with her. "You must get him drunk, but you should drink colored water that gives the appearance of alcohol. You must remain your faculties. There cannot be a repeat of this mistake," she ordered, her blue eyes momentarily flaring as she glared across the short distance between them. "I would of course order the unfortunate execution of the Hapan if I thought for a moment he would marry you, as that would give me complete control," she explained, as she loved nothing more than a good execution made to look like an accident. She imagined Htaere falling from her Guarlara and breaking her neck, and a cruel sort of smile appeared upon her ruby lips. "...but if his wife were to die so shortly after her daughter he might just as well become a spice addict to recover from the double loss, so the Hapan *must* live," she said, as she rose from her feet and moved only centimeters from in front of Sierra. "You remind the man of his daughter. His innocent, lovely daughter would never be a concubine, never sleep with a married man..." she explained, as she brought a hand up to adjust a loose lock of hair that had fallen from her earlier slap. "She of course would create a propaganda nightmare for us, shoot his adjutant, and give away state secrets!" she said, listing Jelena's crimes as she rolled her eyes dramatically. "...but she is still what you Alderaanians consider a *Lady* so do not make the mistake of compromising yourself again," she said, before raising her boot, and stomping down on Sierra's foot as hard as she could. "That's so you remember, sweetie. Now get out of my office. Go have your holiday on Delaya, and see that there's a lovely arrangement of flowers at Jelena's funeral with my name on it," she said, before moving back towards her throne happily. She had a slew of death warrants to sign and the day was getting away from her.

Sierra's body had gone into panic mode. She wanted to assume the fetal position on the floor. Being faced with Arden like this made her question if she should give in, let her loyalty be questioned, and die at the hands of a dangerous Major. She saw no way that this could end well for her *unless*...

There was so much to Sierra's mission. She needed to carry food coloring with her so that the Grand Moff wouldn't know when she wasn't actually drinking. It had been a huge mistake to get drunk last night. Not only did she receive punishment from her Major, she felt like she'd need to work at redemption from Claudius. She nodded her head submissively. She understood what she needed to do, even if she didn't like it. "There won't be a mistake," she spat out like a good little girl. Arden seemed to be five steps ahead. She was certain that the scenario she played out where Claudius' wife died was one of many.

As if to add injury to injury, the Major's hard boot came crashing down on Sierra's. She let out a pathetic whimper. Tears crowded at the edges of her eyes. It was disgusting to think of a flower arrangement with that horrible woman's face on it. Nonetheless, she was expected to meet with Claudius soon. There was one last pit stop she needed to make...

Sierra arrived in the medical bay having regained composure. She had used makeup to cover Arden's damage and was ignoring the pain in her left foot when she walked. She made a beeline for the reliable Doctor Pilaq Tohan's office. There, she knocked softly. She was about to set fire to her own plan. If Arden found out what she was up to, the woman would murder her.

The kindly old Ithorian doctor, Pilaq Tohan, was in his office that adjoined the Retributor's sickbay. He was getting up there in years and each day he seemed to get tired a little earlier ... today was no exception. He had been complicit in what he had hoped would be Jelena's rescue and escape from the horrors of Imperial captivity, but her death at the hands of those same Rebels was an unexpected tragedy that he had felt responsible for. He had retreated to his office, treating patients when needed, but avoiding Cladius and the rest of the Rodney family. When he saw the young Imperial officer enter, he grabbed hold of his walking stick, and rose to his feet. "Sierra? Sierra Dakkar?" he asked, recognizing her immediately from their time together. Following the death of Jelena's mother during Drusilla's complicated birth he had often spent time on both Alderaan and Delaya with the Rodney children, helping when he could, with Claudius often halfway across the galaxy with his duties. He knew Claudius stayed away not because of his career, but because the children reminded him of his late wife, although he never revealed that to them. He found it remarkable how much the young Sierra had grown to resemble Claudius' late wife, but it was an inappropriate comment to pay to someone. "I trust you are well?" he asked, as he moved slowly towards her, his two mouths each smiling at her.

It was pleasant to see a familiar face that didn't belong to the father of her best friend. Relief spread through her. "Doctor, I'm so happy to see you again." She moved towards him. She hugged him with a single arm. It was hard not to start crying. Her blue eyes tried to convey all of her worries. Instead, she looked cheerful when releasing him. She seated herself beside his desk. "I'm doing well. How are you?" Sierra was smiling, though she looked uneasy too. The topic that she was about to broach with him was incredibly uncomfortable.

"I do have one problem that I was hoping you could help me with." She explained, crossing her legs nervously. He'd known her for a long time. This man had seen Sierra in her most abused states. Her parents had a bad habit of getting physical with her. It was essential that he never saw any injury given to her by Arden. She was susceptible to that kind of treatment. "This is a very awkward topic," she laughed, "I've been trying to have a child for a long time. My doctor on Alderaan had expressed to me that it might be difficult for me. Is there anything you can give me for fertility? My boyfriend and I are getting restless. We've been trying for nearly two years." She sounded so hopeful and excited while knowing that she could face terrible repercussions.

Pilaq welcomed her hug ... there was nothing as cheerful in this world as a hug, he thought to himself. Hugs were the best medicine and her comforting touching soothed his aching bones. "I am as well as can be, child," he said, as he began to listen to her problem astutely. When it came to the subject his large, orange eyes seemed to go wider than they already were. "Are you sure this is the kind of environment you wish to bring a child into?" he asked her, perhaps being a bit more forward than a doctor ought to. But he was old and he was the past the point in his life where he cared what anyone thought of what he said. "What are *you* doing here?" he asked, with genuine concern, as he clung to his wooden walking stick to keep himself upright. "This is no place for you. This is no place for any of us," he said, as he moved towards his terminal to pull up the medical records on all assigned to the massive vessel. It took some time to sort through the several hundred thousand personnel files aboard the ship, but he eventually found it, and began to quietly study it. "So it is Doctor Dakkar?" he asked, sounding both surprised and impressed, as she did not strike him the type back on Alderaan. "If you wish my help you may have it, although I feel it is unwise," he said, as he looked towards her for further instruction.

Her old friend seemed like the best person to come to concerning her problems, even though he wasn't aware of which problem he was helping her with. The room was uncomfortable, but not the same kind of uncomfortable as Arden's office. She listened to him speak. In reality, Sierra saw this as no place to raise a child. She still had a childish dream of getting away from it, living life out as a noble and, most importantly, a mother. No man had ever touched her. Her last relationship had ended in tears and distress. Now she was trying to get pregnant with Claudius' baby, thinking that it would make her untouchable to Arden and extremely valuable to the Grand Moff. This was the only way. Fertility treatment would greaten the probability of pregnancy if she could get him to sleep with her. Goodness, she felt tired just thinking about it.

"Yet we're all stuck here. There's no telling when the war will end, or when the time will be perfect to bring a child into the world. I've had a lot of time to consider everything. I know I'm ready. I wish my body would get on board too. Why are you still here, Pilaq? You should have the opportunity to retire." Before Major Arden came for his throat. He was an unknowing accessory in her plot now. She nodded her head. "I went to school for psychology. That's the reason why I'm here." She remained firm with her decision. "I still want your help. I hope you'll agree to be apart of what follows after this works. You've been a lot of good in my life. I want my child to experience that too."

"It is my place to be here, child," Pilaq explained to her, as he passed his aged wisdom down to her. The older he became the more he enjoyed speaking, it would seem. "If everyone left when things became dark the galaxy would cease to exist. Claudius needs me. His children need me. To leave for personal reasons would be selfish. I will not abandon them," he explained, as he finished examining her chart. "I will aid in your fertility treatments, but the second you report for an examination with me and are found to be pregnant I will report it to ensure you are given light duty," he explained to her, as he moved towards the dispensary where the pharmaceuticals were contained. The pharmacist droid went to work getting the necessary prescription filled and within moments he had a vial of pills for Sierra, much faster than any sentient could fill it. Turning softly, he extended his hand to her, placing it into her hand. However, when his hand touched hers he froze, and he looked towards her with sadness. "No ring," he observed, stating the obvious as he looked down at her. "You should marry. To bring a child into these uncertain times with uncertainty at home is doubly unwise," he said, continuing the lecture, as he moved back towards his desk where he could take a much needed seat.

She wished she could sweep all of her friends under a rug to hide them from the horrors of this world. Sierra wasn't strong enough to save herself, let alone anyone else. Just look at what had happened to Jelena... She felt pain in her chest. The trip to Delaya was going to be extremely difficult. She would have to face Jelena's funeral as well as Arden's plans. With no eyes around, she hoped to align herself with her own personal goals. She sighed, "I know you won't abandon them... That's the problem." Her eyes remained on him. A smile broke out on her face while her internal conflict grew wider than ever. "Oh, thank you so much! I know this isn't the best situation, still, I'm glad you're here." She recalled his close relationship with Claudius. She needed to avoid any genetic testing when this baby came to be.

The pharmacist droid did the rest of the work. She extended her hand to him. Her fingers wrapped around the vial. "Don't worry. We'll get married. All in good time, right?" Her other hand moved on top of his. She squeezed it. The time to leave for Delaya had come. She wished that he could come with them. She wished that he could fix the problem that he didn't know about. Her hands drew away from him. After achieving her first goal, Sierra rose. "Thank you again, Doctor. I'll come see you again soon. I'm to accompany the Governor to Delaya." With that, Sierra made her departure. Outside his office, she read the instructions on the pill bottle and swallowed the first dose of the future. This was stupid. This was a bad idea.

She had already packed herself up. Everything was in alignment for leaving. Feeling entirely too exhausted and hungover, she found herself standing in the doorway of the Grand Moff's office. She clutched her holopad in her hand. Her vial of pills was hidden within a pocket in her trousers. He'd never know until it was too late. "Governor." She called his name, "We're ready to leave for Delaya at your command."

Claudius' was seated with his back to the door, slumped in his chair, and staring out the viewport at the space traffic that dominated the Essesia system. It always relaxed him to watch the seemingly endless flow of ships, as if he were watching a river back on Alderaan. When he heard Sierra's voice a smile crept upon his old lips, but he did not realize it. He rose from his chair tiredly, and turned to greet her when he finally lay eyes upon her. "I am glad to be going," he confided in her, perhaps more than he should, as he closed the distance between them. "Thank you for coming with us," he said, as he took her by the arm, and began leading her towards the turbolift that would take them towards the hangar bay. In reality, she was the only thing holding the sad old man up, and if she escaped his grasp he would wilt and collapse to the floor. His right arm reached around his form, to place a reassuring pat upon her arm that his left arm was intertwined with. "Had I only known you were here sooner..." he bemoaned, as he entered the lift with her, and set them on a course from the hangar where the shuttle had been prepared. A second shuttle would collect Htaere, Drusilla, and Ewwiekewwieikkie from the surface. He did not want them to see him like this, but perhaps, subconsciously, he wanted to be alone during the ride with Sierra. Whether or not he had planned it that way ... this was the way that it was. As they arrived out front of the Kwai, he looked up to the steep ramp that led into the passenger compartment. The short distance looked like a kilometer as it was uphill. He let out a tired sigh, and with her support, he eventually made his way up and into the craft.

Inside her chest, Sierra's heart had begun to pump quickly. She hadn't seen the man since the prior night, when they crashed down upon each other, spoke of the Duchy and children. She prayed that he would never bring that up again. A little smile reflected on her face. It was easier to spend time with Claudius than anyone else. She even felt an immense amount of guilt for bringing Pilaq into her games. He'd have to continue to have a role in them too. "Thank you for allowing me to accompany you. I've already begun arrangements for the funeral. I still have a few things to finish when we arrive." She report to him. Her arm hooked in with his, giving them a closeness that she hadn't expected. The worst part was that he gave her a calm sense of mind. She muted out everything else, if only for now. Her smile grew to his reassuring touch. "I wish I'd come to see you sooner..." She admitted, finding that it wasn't a complete lie. They had so much that they could relate to one another. She had already shared her treasured memories with him.

The young woman became his support. Sharp and no longer drunk, Sierra led him towards the steep ramp. All of the belongings that would be coming with them had already been packed. No one else would accompany them on their trip. She had purposely arranged for all of Arden's potential watchdogs to stay at home, with the exception of their pilot, who was sent on his own special task. They took the ramp slowly. Upon arriving in the craft, it was the psychologist who took to the cockpit. It was the only time she released the Grand Moff. When she had them off, they could reinitiate the contact that was lost. "I sent your pilot to pick up your family," she explained to him, beginning to prepare for lift off, "These past few days have been emotional enough. I felt it more proper for us to travel alone. No worries, I handle piloting much better than liquor." A smile followed as she faced forward. As soon as she was ready, she set the shuttle on course to Delaya. Black space buzzed by all around them. It made being alone with Claudius even more obvious. She planned the quickest route back to his home planet, though it would still take time. At last, she unbuckled herself and stood. "I haven't been to Delaya in years," She admitted to him. She hovered in front of him. "Have you thought about the Duchy?"

"It was good of you not to include them on our journey, Sierra. I do not want to distress them with my current condition, as they have enough on their minds," Claudius said, as he settled into the hyperspace journey that would take them towards the Alderaan system. "I never figured you for a pilot," he said, as he watched her adeptly maneuver the Kwai. "I am glad you're able to pilot, as my hands shake too much from age and drink," he explained, before unbuckling himself as well. "I have done this trip a number of times. It will not take long, but the time it gives us will allow us to prepare," he explained to her, before moving back towards the passenger compartment of the ship. Unlike a typical Lambda, the Kwai's passenger compartment was modified for his purposes and had more ornate and comfortable accommodations than the typical Imperial craft. There was even a simple bar, but he needed to sober up and dry out before seeing his family ... all of his family. "Still think I should be Duke, huh?" he said, as he sat down on a comfortable loveseat. "Do you mind?" he asked, as he lifted his legs and began to remove his boots to allow his feet to breath and be more comfortable. "I trust the foot odor is not too bad," he said, as he kicked off each boot and began to wiggle his toes. His brown eyes glanced at her, noting how much the little girl he had known on Alderaan had grown to fit her Imperial uniform. Sober he hoped that perhaps he could more adequately resist any improper impulses that crossed his mind. He swallowed, but there was nothing but dryness in his mouth ... this ship could not travel fast enough!

More pre planning had gone into the trip to Delaya than her impromptu visit the prior evening. Sierra had eliminated Arden's eyes, though she wouldn't feel fully content until they had arrived on Delaya and departed from the ship. They would all be staying at the Rodney castle, where some strange family reunion would begin. She had familiarized herself with the situation as much as possible given what information leaked over the Holonet. "I'm an Imperial. If my only skill was psychology, Major Zevrin would hang me by my toes." She had commented, alluding to how close Arden was from hurting her already. The doctor followed closely behind Claudius towards his more private quarters. She noted that the passenger compartment was better than any she had seen in her time here. She also noted that their bags were placed right next to one another as if they were expected to share the compartment like a husband and a wife might. The need to drink spiked up inside of her. He was still married, happily, right? She hated to think of facing his wife.

She took the spot on the loveseat across from him. Away from Arden, she crossed her legs indian style. She began to relax. "I do. It's your birthright. I do believe that you'd be a successful Duke, and a much more suitable candidate than anyone else. Marcus may be of the same blood, but he's chosen to marry a commoner who won't be able to handle the pressures of being a Duchess." She shook her head, no, she didn't mind. His comment made her giggle. "It's not bad at all. Though, I do wish they'd install some air filter in these boots. They get so hot." She could feel her swollen toes within her boot. They wanted freedom. She allowed herself to pull one leg out from under her rear and remove her boot. Beneath it, she was wearing black and white striped stockings that ended to her knee. She repeated the same process with the other boot. As long as her socks were on, he'd never know about her injury. "I dusted off some of my more formal pieces for our visit. I assumed we wouldn't be welcomed with open arms if we arrive like this." Her fingers pinched her cream top.

"Do not fear Major Zevrin, Sierra. Her bark is worse than her bite," Claudius said to reassure her, despite the fact the cursed ISB officer had been a thorn in his side since the moment she was assigned to him. She had forced him to bring his family to the Ringali Shell, interrogated Htaere to the point of miscarriage, failed to identify Jelena's connection to the Rebellion, and then utilized her as a pawn to control him. In all his travels she was the most evil creature he had ever encountered. "I met Marcus' wife once ... *once*," he said to her, rolling his eyes at the memory. She was probably a fine girl who had steadied his brother's antics, but she was not one of *them*. When she began to take off her boots he quickly looked away, wishing he could somehow control the thermostat to lower the temperature in the room. "Never be ashamed of who we are, Sierra. I am proud to wear my uniform everywhere I go, as you should be," he explained to her, but still did not turn to look at her, bending over as she was. "If my people are foolish enough to believe the Rebel propoganda that the Empire destroyed Alderaan then it is they who should be ashamed, not us," he informed her, revealing that he had, in fact, bought the Empire's official line on the incident completely. He was in denial about a great many things.

There was nothing he could say to end the fear that she had for Major Zevrin. As far as she knew, the bark was scary, but the bite had bruised her face and likely broken a toe. Arden was playing with Sierra's life. She didn't want to die. He had looked away at the ideal time. He didn't have to see how sad she was. Her hate for him was becoming minimal much too quickly. He was so broken over Jelena. He provided her with no ammunition to feed to her hate. Now she felt like he was the victim of horrible schemes.

He hadn't looked since she removed her boots, so she decided to draw his attention back to where it should be. "That good, huh?" She said laughingly. His eye roll perfectly summed up his feelings on the matter, didn't it? "At least your brother is happy." That was the general idea. Like most other people, Sierra had seen clips from their riskee wedding. She had also seen a little more of Marcus than she ever wanted to, as well as his little *wife*.

Claudius breathed life back into her defeated form. She had not spent any time off of Ringali Shell in some time. It was to be her first experience as an Imperial officer away from her home. Sadness clung to her. She would never stop missing Alderaan, *never*. "Thank you, Governor. I needed that reminder. It's been a trying year. It becomes hard to find pride." Sierra chuckled. She extended her legs forward over his lap. Her ankles crossed. "You shouldn't be the one giving me advice. I'm the one who's supposed to be helping you."

"He does seem happy," Claudius explained to her, wishing he could have the luxury of experiencing such emotions. When her feet unexpectedly met his lap, something began to stir that he had not experienced for sometime. It suddenly felt as if his pants were a size too small, but he did not want to be rude and push her feet away. Instead his hands moved to her feet, and he began to rub at them affectionately. "If you are anything like me your feet must hurt something awful after wearing these boots all day," he said, with an innocent smile, as he attempted to stay within boundaries. His hands moved underneath her feet, rubbing them deeply, as he tried to take his mind off where they were and what they were doing. "You are helping me, Sierra," he explained, as he continued to squeeze her feet with his tired old hands. "First of all you've gotten me off that awful ship where my daughter died. I don't know how I can ever go back there," he explained, as his hands moved up to rub her fingers beneath her socks. "Second of all you've handled all the preparations for my daughter's memorial," he said, tensing up slightly, and showing increasingly more uncomfortable as he thought about it. Right now he wanted to do anything but think about it, as his hands began to move up her ankles, to her shin, moving beneath the pants of her uniform. All the while he continued his lustful thoughts, and before too long, something besides a hand was pressing against her foot unintentionally.

He wasn't the only one longing for what Marcus and his wife, in theory, had. Sierra remembered a time when a man had cared for her. Her life would have ended up like Zara Ta'em's, not like this. There was unexpected affection between the two. His hands were soothing for her deeply plagued mind. She grinned, nodding her head quickly. "Mhm. There's nothing better than taking them off at the end of the day... I'll tell you my secret. When I'm not expecting anyone, I take my boots off for awhile. Mmm.." The girl released a sigh of pleasure. There was so much tension in her feet, mostly attributed to her uncomfortable boots, but also from everything going on. Her feet were limp in his hands.

"You should take some time for yourself on Delaya, Governor." She suggested, grunting and groaning under his touch. Her own body had begun to react to his wonderful touch. Now, her heart beat quickly for an entirely different reason. She was nearing her next goal; sleeping with the Grand Moff. His hands were becoming less innocent as they traveled up the length of her smooth, soft leg. Her breathing was shallow. This wasn't the way she'd expected to lose her virginity; a married man on his trip to her best friend's funeral. Sierra lived in a messed up world, but she didn't stop him once his hands moved beneath her pants. She quickly became aware of his excitement. It was her moment to shine, her moment to *seduce*. She didn't retract his hand from her pants. Instead, she allowed the material to ride up with his hand. Unexpectedly, she started to shift on the loveseat and into his lap. She claimed an awkward position with her rear in his lap. Her legs were extended out on one side. Both of her hands pressed against his cheeks. She said nothing. Even her breathing seemed insignificant at the moment. He probably wasn't thinking about Jelena anymore.

It felt as if the shuttle had become a sauna, and a thin layer of sweat began to form on his aged, but still toned physique. His breathing became labored ... small pants, like a dog on a warm summer day. He was just about to stop when she worked her way onto his lap, causing him to groan awkwardly as she shifted upon him. His brown eyes looked into her deep blue eyes and became lost, as if adrift in sea. His hands moved up, taking hold of either side of her face, with an unnatural fear that she would pull away. It was then he broke, no longer able to resist, and his face moved forward towards her's. His eyes fell closed, content that he could see her just as vividly in his imagination. His lips collided with her's with a gentle passion, but in the back of the mind he knew he was doing wrong. He was married and this one of his daughter's dearest friends. He asked himself what he was doing, but he could not answer, because his mouth was otherwise occupied. His tongue pressed forward, gently at first, before worming its way between her lips and running across her teeth before dancing with her tongue. A melody played in his mind as he held her there, his tongue exploring every centimeter of her mouth. When the kiss broke, his eyes opened, and his hands moved down from her head. "I'm sorry," he said to her, as he looked away in shame, feeling he had dishonored them both.

In her mind, the shuttle had stopped moving long ago, as had all life throughout the galaxy. There was so much going on...and so much not going on at the same time. Though she had never had a man before, she didn't feel absolute fear about him seeing her imperfect body. The transitions came naturally, like if Arden hadn't planned this, it might have happened anyway. She stared into his eyes silently. There was solace to be found in them. They were warm and comforting, just like home used to be. She wondered if he could hear the booming of her beating heart or smell her betrayal.

His hands framed her face in a way that was identical to how she held his. "Claudius..." His name slipped from her lips only to be cut off by a sudden kiss. She fell into it so much more than she realized because it wasn't horrible. It wasn't unpleasant. There were feelings that he gave her that she couldn't begin to comprehend at the moment. All she knew was that this was terribly wrong and that it was unfair for it to be so good.

Like him, her eyes closed. She kissed him so sweetly and sensually. There was no denying that she didn't hate him now. Not everything was an act anymore. Earning his endearment was possible, though not on the terms she would have preferred. She let everything continue forward. Her lips parted and his tongue entered her mouth. She was smiling though it was impossible for them to see. Her small hands slipped back through his hair before coming to reside on his shoulders. Somewhere during the time she basked in his taste the kiss ended. Her eyes opened. She was breathing harder. Her heart couldn't pump blood throughout her body fast enough. It hurt to see him look away. "Don't be..." She whispered.

She might have chased him for more had a beeping noise from the front of the ship gone off. They were exiting hyperspace. Sierra's fingers slowly drifted away from him. Without another word, she stood and headed back towards the cockpit. Her fingers messied her hair along the way. What the hell was she doing? Claudius was married. She was raw...they both were. It was wrong to find comfort in his arms. It was wrong to hurt him like this. Her hands weakly grasped the controls. Hello Delaya.

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