Era of Rebellion - Navigation


Christopher Levy.


One year before the Battle of Yavin (34:10:3) in the Alderaan system: Alderaan (Aldera: Aldera Royal Palace) and Delaya (Leiliani: Rodney Castle).

Captain Cade Frost, Viceroy Bail Prestor Organa, Senator Leia Organa, Vice Admiral Claudius Rodney, and Lady Jelena Rodney.

Within the majesty of the Aldera Royal Palace Princess Leia Organa nervously paced in one of the luxuriously appointed meeting rooms. The young woman had recently been appointed a member of the Imperial Senate, replacing her esteemed adoptive father who had served since the Clone Wars. She was dressed in the regal gowns of state in a luscious shade of lavender. This was supposed to be a happy occasion ... a celebration ... but the war overshadowed everything.

Standing serenely in the room was Viceroy Bail Organa, whose brown eyes watched over his daughter like a thranta. Soon she would be on Coruscant, traveling through the galaxy on missions of both a diplomatic and covert nature. He would no longer be there to protect her, to guide her, but deep down he believed she was ready. "You must calm down, my dear," he said to her in a calm and steady voice. "She will be here soon and if you continue in this manner she will surely suspect something," he warned her, taking a step towards her and offering a firm hand to rest upon her shoulder.

Leia came to a halt when her father placed his hand upon her, turning her face slowly to look into his venerated eyes. "Do not ask me to do this, father," she said in a meek voice. "...ask anything, but this..." she continued as she looked down in shame, the thought becoming less pleasant by the moment.

Bail let loose a soft sigh as he looked down at her. He understood what she was going through, but also knew that this would just be the first of countless difficult tasks she would be asked to perform during the difficult years to follow. "We have no choice," he explained to her rationally. "We need information to be able to halt Imperial progress in the Ringali Shell, my dear," he continued as his hand gently squeezed her shoulder. "You will be saving millions of lives," he said to her emphatically. That was, after all, what this war was about.

"What of her life?" Leia asked as she turned her head to look her father squarely in the eyes. "She did not choose who her father was," she implored, trying to rationalize not fulfilling his request.

"Neither did you," Bail said quietly as he moved his head down, placing a soft kiss tenderly upon her forehead. He was referring to Anakin Skywalker, not himself, but it was not yet time to reveal that to her.

The door to the meeting room was opened by Captain Cade Frost, a leading member of the Alderaan Guard, who was dressed in the regal dress uniform that officers were required to wear when serving in the palace. He snapped to attention in the presence of the Viceroy, holding the large ceremonial door open. It was heavy, made of an ancient wood, and carved with ornate designs of Alderaan's landscape. "Lady Jelena Rodney," he announced, quite formally to those in attendance.

Lady Jelena Rodney stepped inside the meeting room, her elaborate gold dress with blue accents doing much to reveal how much of a woman she had become. Her long flowing royal blue train making her fell as if she could parachute from the trop of the large palace. The tiara that sat upon her head once belonged to her mother, its ceremonial function now placed squarely upon her young head. "I never get used to that..." she said with no formality, rolling her eyes at Captain Frost.

Bail's face turned to meet his guest and a kind smile came upon his face. "You look lovely my dear," he said warmly as he strode across the room to greet her. He had known this girl since the day she was born, and represented her when she was introduced to Alderaanian society. Her father was one of his oldest and dearest friends, but the war threatened to change all that. He leaned down and placed a friendly kiss upon her cheek. "It is lovely to see you again," he said as he pulled back. "If you will excuse me, however..." he said as he turned to give Leia one last assuring look, "I have much to attend to before the ceremony. I look forward to seeing you and the rest of your family there." He moved swiftly away from the room, the large door closing behind him.

Leia remained frozen where she was, her eyes looking over Jelena and offering what was at best a lukewarm smile. They had been friends since their earliest days in the royal court, and had only just recently completed the Select Academy for Young Ladies together. Eventually she moved towards one of the large sofas, moving towards the tea that had prepared. "Did you have a pleasant journey?" she asked, making nervous small talk.

Jelena had never seen her friend behave in such a way, but she assumed it was merely caused by the nerves she was experiencing about assuming the Senate seat. "It was unremarkable," she commented as she sat opposite Leia and moved towards one of the crumpets that had been laid out. "It is good to be back on Alderaan," she added as she took a dainty bite.

Leia leaned back on the sofa and silently sipped her tea. She had negotiated with representatives from planets throughout the galaxy, helping to secure their support for the fledgling 'alliance' they were attempting to create. None of those meetings had caused her half the apprehension that she was feeling now. "I will be needing a competent Aide. I can choose whomever I wish," she began quietly, placing the tea back on the table in front of her. "I would like it to be you," she stated plainly.

Jelena looked shock as she heard Leia's words. Her eyes went wide with amazement, and her face lit up with an illuminating smile. She would love nothing more than to serve her dearest friend in the Senate and see the galaxy. But then she came back down to Alderaan, sinking back into the chair and becoming visibly deflated as she remembered her place. "I am sorry," she said in a genuinely disappointed tone. "It would be my honor to serve you, but my father simply will not allow it," she bemoaned, breaking the eye contact as she awkwardly looked to the ornately finished marble floor.

Leia already knew what the answer would be. In fact, that is why she asked the question. She needed an opening and now she had it. Leaning forward from the couch she stared Jelena directly in the eyes, her voice becoming less pleasant and more serious. "Perhaps there is some other way you could serve me," she speculated in a hushed voice. "Without having to leave your father's side..." she added, a reassuring smile curling onto her lips. She could not believe what she was doing ... she was maneuvering her friend and it sickened her.

"You know if there is anything I could ever do, your highness, I would gladly do it," Jelena responded quickly in an enthusiastic voice as she raised her head to lock eyes with her once more. The smile returned to her face, hoping that there would be some way she could assist her.

Leia swallowed, her lip quivering slightly. She had reached the point of no return and was about to cross it. "You have access to certain information that in the right hand could do great things," she explained slowly, her voice attempting to sound steady and calm. "If you could provide me this information," she explained slowly, " would be a great service not just to your people, but to the entire galaxy."

Jelena blinked as she carefully processed Leia's words. She could not believe what she was being asked to do, but she was her dear friend and she felt compelled not to refuse based solely on what she had heard before. "...what kind of information?" she asked slowly, arching an eyebrow at Leia as she pulled back slightly.

"Information on Imperial activity in the Ringali Shell," Leia stated bluntly. There was no longer any point to being coy. There would be no mind games, no tricks. She would state her case plainly and it would be for Jelena to decide. "The Empire is perpetrating many atrocities in the region and without additional information we will be unable to assist the people who are suffering," she explained to her, attempting to put it in as clear a perspective as possible.

Jelena's heart sunk and she slumped down in the chair, her hands nervously gripping at the padded arms. Her mind was a blur, trying desperately to process the words that had just been spoken to her. "My father..." she stumbled to get the words out, her breathing becoming erratic. " father is committing atrocities?" she asked, not accepting it nor believing it. She was defiant in her resistance to the news, which if true would destroy her psyche.

Leia reached forward and placed a hand upon Jelena's knee, attempting to steady her. "No. Not your father," she said in a sweet, loving voice as she tried to provide a calming influence. "...but many of those around him who he is oblivious too..." she explained, believing that now was the time to keep pushing in order to sway her loyalties. "By helping us you would be helping him," she concluded, as that is how she saw it from a certain point of view.

Jelena's breathing was frantic and the news struck at the very fiber of being. "Help my father?" she asked, sounding slightly dizzy as she restated Leia's words. She did not quite see it that way, but she believed her when she said there were atrocities beginning. She had met some of the creatures, such as Arden Zevrin, whom she speculated was capable of anything. "How..." was all she managed to say.

Leia nodded to her reassuringly as she motioned for the Guard to come forward. "This is Captain Frost," she said to Jelena as she introduced the man. "He has served my family well. You will provide him with what information you can and he will deliver it safely to us on Alderaan," she explained clearly and thoughtfully, going over all the details.

Cade nodded respectfully to the noblewoman, placing a small box in front of her. Opening it revealed what appeared to be a tube of lipstick. "Inside this tube, milady," he explained, opening it up to reveal the transmitter hidden beneath the cosmetic product, "we have placed a transmitter. It is quite secure. By activating it I will be able to home in on your location anywhere in the galaxy. Simply press this button when you want to meet and I shall get to you ... wherever you are." He was confident and believed in his skills, believing the mission would be no problem.

This was all so overwhelming for Jelena, who looked at the lipstick with doe eyed innocence. "I will do what I can..." she said to Leia, breaking down as she slid the tube of lipstick into her clutch. Betrayal was such an easy thing it seemed, able to start just by reaching down and picking up one device. How far it would go, she dared not think.

"Enough of this for now," Leia said as she rose and extended her arms to help the young Rodney up. "We will be late for the ceremony and you will be seated next to me as a guest of honor," she said cheerfully, thankful that the awkward moment had passed. She would never forgive herself if this mission ended with Jelena being hurt ... or worse.

Following the ceremony, a tired Jelena paced outside of her father's office in the family's ancient castle. She tried to walk away several times, but could not bring herself to do it. She was just about to leave when the door to the office opened.

Claudius Rodney emerged from his office, still wearing the formal attire he had worn to the ceremony on Alderaan. He was not expecting to see Jelena there and a surprised, but happy, look came upon his face. "I did not know you were here," he said to her with concern, "Have you been standing here long?"

"Oh. I just got here," Jelena flubbed, now apparently in the business of lying to her father as well. She squirmed uncomfortably in front of him, finding it hard to look him directly in the eyes.

"I was just about to go see your mother," Claudius confided in her sadly. He had not visited the crypt of his late wife in some time, and now that he was to be married he felt it was appropriate to pay his respects and seek out her permission. "Would you like to come with me?" he asked, tilting his head to look down at her.

"...I don't..." Jelena said as she shifted again. The crypt of her mother was a place she rarely visited, but when she did it was often a tearful, private event. "Not this time, father," she said quietly as she looked towards his officer. "I was actually hoping to use your computer to get on the HoloNet..." she admitted to him, uncomfortably. There ... she had at least tried. That was enough for her.

Claudius laughed softly at his daughter and leaned his face down to place a kiss upon her cheek. "Go ahead, my dear," he said as he began to move down the corridor to where the catacombs began. "Just do not stay up too late," he instructed her as he moved off. He had assumed she wanted to speak to some boy and that is why she was nervous. There was something comfortable and 'normal' about that, which made him smile.

Jelena stood outside his office for several quiet, agonizing moments after her father had departed. She took a step away from the office, but then she froze, remember what Leia had said. Thinking about the millions of lives at steak, wanting to help Leia, help Alderaan, and help her father. She trembled, and swallowed deeply, and then she did it ... she turned and walked into his office. She did not look back. Nothing would ever be the same.

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