Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:10:21) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Tarkintown).
Commander Iyah Xergo and Mug Zoran.

Tarkintown. The refugee camps that filled a portion of the old part of Leiliani were swelling with refugees of the planet Alderaan, which six months ago had been destroyed by the Empire's Death Star. The remaining Alderaanians who were offworld had flocked to the planet en masse, but Delaya was an industrial world that lacked the agricultural resources to feed all of these people. The foodstuffs had always come from Alderaan, and now it was gone ... the people were starving. Among the many suffering people was Mug Zoran, who had returned to the Alderaan system in the foolish hope that his mother had somehow survived the planet's destruction ... she had not. The man was in his mid-30s, but the starvation, and lack of focus was beginning to make him look older than he was. As he lay on his cot inside his ramshackle hut he wondered if we would ever again find a purpose for his life. He raised his hand to run through his soft, dark hair, and sighed, dramatically, as he waited for a reason ... any reason ... to get out of his rut.

Commander Xergo was not a fan of the recruitment portion of her job. She'd much prefer keeping her distance between herself and the refugees. Seeing them both served to upset her and to inspire her. Like any other Rebel, she yearned to see the fall of the Empire. The destruction of Alderaan had brought a gloom down on her camp. Some of the Rebels scrambled to leave the rebellion and hide far, far away. She saw this and realized the seriousness of the situation. Only her presence would inspire enough people to join the rebellion. The natives of Alderaan looked like a cesspool for antsy, furious people to become war heroes. All which would be taken back to a larger ship by the same shuttle she had rode to Delaya's surface.

Commander Xergo was all business. She was not swayed by the many shinies of Delaya. Instead, she took a small speeder to the refugee camps. The woman mulled over what she would stay to the broken people of Alderaan. The pain she felt in her chest was a fraction of what they felt when they realized their home was gone. For six months, these people had been sitting in the refugee camp. Their lives were out of their hands...until today. For some, this was the turning point. Maybe that was true for Mug. Iyah made no attempts to gather the people for some big, fancy speech. Instead, she started moving through the camp spreading word of the Rebels. "The Empire won't stop at Alderaan! Even Delaya is at risk of facing the same extinction. We must rise together to stop the destruction! Join the Rebellion and have a say in your future! Let your children grow up in a world that isn't plagued with the likeness of Darth Vader." Her voice was fierce and strong. It carried out over the camp.

Iyah wasn't going to do *all* the work. She brought two Rebels along with her to aid in the enlistment process. Already, people were flooding towards the small group to join. No one wanted to sit around and wait anymore. Iyah's work, ironically enough, hit a hitch just outside of Mug Zoran's hut. An old woman with long gray hair and a tear stained face approached the young woman. Iyah noticed how sick the woman looked. "P-Please... Help us..." She stuttered weakly, nearly falling over in the process. Iyah reached out, grasping the woman's wrists softly. Her exterior didn't change. Compassion fell over the deep brown eyes. She turned to one of her comrades. "Get this woman some proper medical attention. Delaya is in under their heads." She grumbled, slowly guiding the woman towards the two Rebel soldiers.

Finally something was going on, Mug thought to himself, as he sat up in his hut once the commotion neared him. He moved so quickly that not enough blood had arrived to his head, causing his first view of Xergo to be a blurry one. Even through the blurred vision he could tell she possessed an exotic beauty that was not from this region, as her skin seemed several shades darker. He sat there for a moment, using the time to regain his composure, but the old lady's plea stirred him to action. She very well could have been his grandmother had his family not been murdered on Alderaan. He never knew his father, so he had a particular fondness for the plight of women, which caused him to leap from the rickety old cot. Before he could reach her, however, he saw the young woman already springing into action, and he was left to stand there awkwardly, with nothing to do. He looked at her again, this time from much closer and with focused eyes, and he could tell just how beautiful she was ... too beautiful for a man like him, he thought to himself. Without saying a word, he turned, too afraid to even speak to her, and began to move back towards his shack. But, as he walked, he could not help but look over his shoulder to gt a last glimpse of the beauty, which caused his knee to collide with an empty crate, resulting in a hard tumble down to the dirty ground below. "Ahh," he cried out after a sharp inhale, holding his bruised knee, and rocking back and forth.

The living situation wasn't the best here. Iyah had been pleading with other planets to take in refugees. It was a lot harder to find these people a permanent home than you'd think. Most saw them as bad fuju, like the refugees would curse their planet to the same fate. She briefly watched the woman waddled away with a Rebel on each side of her. She sighed. Well, it looked like the rest of enlistment rested on her shoulders alone. Iyah would have continued her recruitment scheme if it hadn't been for the man who cried out in pain. He drew in the young woman's attention. She began to make her way through the ground separating them. She maneuvered until she was standing next to the man, looking down at him. "Do you need medical attention too? There are some medics back in my shuttle." Comander Xergo was certainly something else. She wore her shoulder length, jet black hair down. Waist up was covered in a pair of tight black trousers and a pair of boots that stopped mid-calf. Her upper half was lazily covered with a white tank top. It was small, leaving so much exposed, dark skin. The small spaghetti straps were visible leading into the curtain of her hair. Comander Xergo's eyes swept over the man. She was searching for weapons, yet was surprised when she came across someone whom she actually found attractive. Comander Xergo was a loner. She'd turned up on a Rebel base some years ago, spouting Imperial intelligence like no one had ever heard. She was always alone. Always.

The pain of embarrassment quickly eclipsed the physical pain his leg felt when the beautiful young woman approached, offering him assistance. So she is beautiful and kind, he thought silently to himself, smiling up at her silently for much longer, and more awkwardly, than he realized. "Oh. No. There are people here in much greater need," he said, speaking genuinely from the heart, before using the empty crate as a brace to pick himself back up onto his feet. He stood about eight inches taller than her, causing him to have to tilt his head down slightly to look into her lovely eyes. The first time he made eye contact with her it was painful, and he had to look away so that her beauty did not overwhelm him right then and there. "You ... you don't look like any refugee," he said, stammering, as he brought his left hand up to run up the back of his head, through his hair, in an attempt to steady himself against the awkward display he was giving.

Commander Xergo was oblivious to why the man seemed so embarrassed and fidgety all of a sudden. As he stood upright again, she had to look up to maintain eye contact. Handsome he was, but totally out of her league he was as well! Iyah had been working with the Rebels since she was thirteen. Needless to say, her love life fell through a very large crack while she fought to save the galaxy. She nodded her head. His answer was simple and spot on. Had her supplies not been so limited, she would have brought the medics out to the field with her. As much as she wanted to do more, she could only use the tools she had been given until their resources dried up. "You're right, I'm not. My name is Commander Iyah Xergo. I'm here to recruit folks to join the Rebellion. What about you? You're certainly a refugee. You could join. It's the only way for you to fight back against the wrong that has been done to you. You can help the tides change." She was passionate about being a Rebel. It was the best choice she had ever made in her life.

"The Rebellion against the Empire?!" Mug exclaimed, excitedly, as his face exploded with emotion in the form of a wide grin and fully opened eyes. He had heard of them over the past several years, but he had never met anyone. Come to think of it, he had never even met someone who had met one. He looked around the refugee camp slowly, until he realized there was nothing for him here ... there was nothing for any of the here ... Alderaan was gone and the way to honor her was not to sit around in view of her graveyard lamenting her loss. "You don't have to say anything more to convince me, sir ... err ... ma'am," he said, stumbling over her title awkwardly, having had no military experience in his life. "I'll join," he said, realizing the less he said at this point given his nervousness, the better he was likely to sound.

It seemed as if Iyah had lit a fire under the man's rear. He was all for joining. Hell, he was even enthusiastic about it. It was the first time Mug would make her smile. She looked like she was resisting laughing. After all, Iyah was hardly a 'sir'. "Well, alright then! I guess that's settled. You'll be coming with me." Since her comrades were gone, she pulled out her data pad from dirty brown knapsack which she carried across one shoulder. "What's your name?" She started, ducking closer to him so she wasn't blocking the aisle in between huts. Before he answered, she had already begun filling out his paperwork. Military experience? Hell no. She didn't discredit him for it either. Everyone started somewhere.

When she moved close to him he could feel the warmth radiating off her, which caused goosebumps to appear up and down his arms. He had never been so close to someone so lovely, and he privately doubted that he would ever be again. "My name?" he repeated, as if she had just asked him some complex scientific formula instead of the simplest question of all. Her beauty had caused the poor man to temporarily forget his name, "Uh. Mug. Mug Zoran," he said awkwardly, in a way that would make it sound as if he was fabricating a name for a false identity. It was true, his name was rather odd, but his mother had told him she wanted him to have a simple, one syllable name, in contrast to some of the complicated names the noble houses had. He had found it was something that species that spoke all languages could understand and easily speak when communicating with him.

Iyah made a face. "Mug Zoran?" She repeated. It did sound like a fake name. It was a bad fake name at that! Regardless, she notated his name. She stood so close to him that, while her arm moved, her elbow brushed against the side of his goose bump covered arm. She scrolled down the list of information before shoving the data pad in his direction. "Here. Why don't you go ahead and fill this out for me? When you make it to the next of kin section, you don't need to put something." She realized that most of the potential candidates for being next of kin were now dead. Since she had broken his personal bubble, Iyah allowed herself to look over the stranger slowly. He looked as malnourished as most of the other refugees did. "I'm working on relocating the remaining refugees to better homes." She informed him. It sounded more like a reminder to herself. Iyah was the kind of girl who would take the whole box of kittens if she ever found strays, not just one.

That first, innocent touch stirred a sensation in him that he had not felt since college and he could not stop himself from shuddering. He took the datapad from her, which finally brought him back to reality at the mention of a next of kin. He had no one now. Was his father some anonymous soul that had perished in the destruction of Alderaan? Now he would never know. He had never asked his mother who he was, and she had always spoken bitterly about him during the few times she did speak of him. He had to squint his eyes to avoid the tears from coming at the mere thought of the destruction of his family, his friends, and virtually everyone he knew. When he first arrived at the camp he hoped he would at least meet someone, but in the weeks he had been here he had not even met someone that knew someone he lost. "Anything has got to be better than this," he said, as he offered the completed datapad over to her, sniffling slightly in an attempt to vacuum the tears back into his ducts.

If time healed wounds, it remained to be seen for the people of Alderaan. Commander Xergo had been reluctant to come here any sooner than she had. She put on a strong exterior for these people. In reality, she wished she could snap her fingers and bring all they had lost back. Everyone was scared now. When would they use the Death Star again? It was unpredictable. Even if the Rebels did know an attack was under weigh, there was absolutely nothing they could do to save everyone. The Death Star seemed like an invincible force. Thank goodness no one knew where the Rebel base was located. She wondered what the man was thinking about while he faced reality. Iyah slowly lowered herself to the crate he'd hit his knee on. She had an awkward look on his face when he handed her back the datapad. With one hand, she took it, with the other, she patted his back. "I know it seems like everything is futile, but life will improve for you and all the survivors. I'm confident that the Rebellion will lead us to a new day. I'm doing everything in my power to stop something like Alderaan from ever happening again." Her hand dropped. "If you have anything you'd like to collect, grab it. I have some errands to run. I'd prefer to not run them alone. Consider it a field test of some sorts." Or Iyah crushing on a man named Mug.

Mug smiled happily at the Commander as she gave him both encouragement and his first orders. Without a missing a beat, he moved back towards the shack he had been living in and threw his few personal effects into a duffle bag. Most of what he owned consisted of clothing and holovids of his now deceased family. Everything of value that he owned was destroyed with Alderaan. When he was ready, he quickly moved into position in front of her. Although he had no military bearing, he nevertheless tried to stand at attention for her, and offered an incorrect salute. "I am ready to help you with your errands, ma'am," he said, in a serious tone, that was much different from the conversationalist tone he had used prior. He was trying very hard ... too hard ... to be a military man for her.

Others approached her while Mug was gone. It seemed he wasn't the only one hungry to aid in the war. Commander Xergo gave them specific instructions to pack and ready themselves at a certain location in the camp. Mug returned back just as Iyah could be seen crouched down into her boots, offering a small child a chocolate bar that she had been carrying around with her. The Commander stood up quickly and put on a cool demeanor so he wouldn't smell out how human she was. His poor salute brought a smile to her face. He would be taught properly when he began his training. For now, she didn't want to snuff out the fire that she had sparked inside of him. "No need to be so professional, Mug. Show me respect and decency and we'll get along just fine." Commander Xergo said no more. She turned her back on the man and began heading towards the edge of the camp. All-in-all, she really did have appointments to attend to in the city. She was working some rich folk for support in the war. She also had a meeting with a weapon maker who claimed he had something she'd like to see. Hopefully it wasn't his penis. She had made it no more than ten steps when her datapad began to beep at an annoyingly high frequency. Her face winced as she poked the datapad until it silenced. She had a message, a direct order to head back to the Blue Haven. "Ah, looks like our plans are changing. We'll have to roam the city together later. We're being called back to the command ship. Are you ready to start your new life, Mug?"

"Of course, Commander," Mug said, having grown a deep and sincere admiration for the woman, given their brief encounters thus far. She displayed a kindness and empathy that was sorely lacking among the local authorities, and her generosity brought a sincere smile to his face. He made mental notes of all of the tasks and appointments that she had while on Delaya, but just as he thought he had everything memorized ... their plans had suddenly changes. "Yes. My old life died with Alderaan, Iyah. I am in desperate need of a new one," he informed her, with a sense of remorse in his tone. He had called her by her name, rather than her rank, as he had briefly lost his newfound militarism and returned to the almost naive affection he had grown to have for the lovely young woman who was quickly, and perhaps dangerously, capturing his heart.

Commander Xergo's plans had been derailed much too easily. She wondered what news awaited her. It was rare for her to be summoned away from her post, especially when she was snatching up new recruits. It was also rare for her to give sole attention to *anyone*. She felt his pain as he spoke of his old life and a planet no one had been able to save. At times, she had nightmares of what it was like to be on Alderaan in its final moments. The fear of knowing you were going to die before it came had to have been. . . Iyah forced herself away from those thoughts in order to comfort the man. She looked at him with a sadness in her eyes. Though he had called her by name, she felt like it was appropriate. There was no one else around to hear and reprimand him. It wasn't like that with the Rebels. Commander Xergo simply wasn't so anal. "I know you've been through a lot. If you need to talk about it..." She sounded awkward. She was offering him her shoulder. Iyah didn't finish her sentence. Instead, she resumed elsewhere. "Don't forget what I told you. We'll be running our errands once I've attended to business." She met with the group of other recruits were parted from Mug to bark her orders and begin sending recruits back to the hanger in speeders. The Duke of Delaya would surely be glad to see the Commander emptying out the camps.

"I-I ... I would like that very much," Mug confided in her, against his better judgment, and having to muster all his courage against the fear he had of opening up to one who was so beautiful. Once they had shared that moment it was back to business as he joined in with the other men and women who had been pulled from the camp to avenge their homeworld and join the Rebellion. It was good to feel a part of something after being alone for so long, with no purpose and no strategy for life. He had thought many times that this camp would be the end of him. There were no jobs on Delaya for all of the newly arrived refugees, and barely enough food to sustain them. There were constant fights, thefts, and even rapes in the camp as people became increasingly more desperate. There had been riots and the Alderaan Guard had been called out to suppress them. The local government had seemingly been absent, unable to cope with it all, and the man felt nothing but contempt for the old Duke of Delaya. There were reports the man was sick, perhaps dying, and he would be all too glad to see him go. Perhaps the people would throw off the old ways of noble houses lording over the masses and bring about democracy. In a way, it was no better than the Empire.

What in the hell was she doing? Iyah didn't have *time* for men, especially handsome ones like Mug! She took her job as Commander seriously. She was passionate about the war and passionate about saving people. Her outward appearance seemed strong...inside? Inside was a different story. The dark-haired woman controlled herself during the remainder of the transporting of the refugees. She let herself glance at Mug only when she felt he wasn't watching. Her decision on him? Maybe she'd try something once the war was over, should it ever end. If that meant she'd be eighty years old and taking him out for their first date, then so be it. She had very purposely kept herself from getting to know people. Iyah was much too much of a softie. Despite all her efforts, ironically, she'd end up seated next to Mug on the transporter back to her ship. She didn't look at him, mostly because she was busy explaining training to the new recruits. There were times of brief affection, times when her hand brushed over his leg accidentally while she spoke. When the transporter did arrive, Iyah was hustled off without the opportunity to say goodbye. She seriously wondered if she'd see him again. Mug Zoran. He was tangled up in her thoughts from the instant they met.

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