Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:5:6) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Rodney Castle) and Retributive Strike.
Governor Papius Arundel, El-Nay Darr, Commander Kerrie Kiley, and Commander Sierra Rodney.

The best place to search for the truth was the very last place where Livia Rodney had been seen alive: the Rodney Castle. It was not sweet to return home. In fact, Sierra Rodney was very displeased. The city of Leiliani was absolute chaos. It had been destroyed in the battle between the Rebels and the Imperials. Governor Papius wasn't the type to make any effort to clean up his the messes remained. She stood, pacing the small garage beneath the castle that served as her husband's 'man cave'. Her hands were fumbling with a datapad, watching Papius move about the master suite. He was dressing and readying to leave. The trio had rode speeder bikes up the sketchy mountainous road to the castle. Sierra hoped to retrieve two of her ISB devices which were not working properly. Maybe, just maybe one of them would show the *real* truth. Until then, the trio was camping out inside of a small enclosed space. Sierra was certain that Papius was too pompous to get himself dirty and look in every nook and cranny within the castle. She was confident that he had no idea about the man cave.

Sierra wore a mishmash of armor that Kerrie and El-Nay had graciously given her. It was a deep blue in color. The armor perfectly concealed her baby bump and her helmet, which remained firmly on, did a much better job of keeping her identity secret than the Storm commando helmet had. "He's leaving." Sierra informed the women. She was disgusted beneath her helmet. She had seen the holographic image of herself that he had. It was hard to battle her emotions, which begged her to go rip apart her suite just to complicate his life. With a sigh, Sierra turned off the datapad and slid it back into her sack. It felt terrible having to break into her own home. She wished she could snap her fingers and return everything to its rightful place. "We'll give him ten more minutes and move in after that." Now she was beginning to act much more like a Commander.

El-Nay was watching the camera monitor Governor Arundel's movements, but what happened next caused her jaw to drop under her helmet. "Ew. Gross. Are those *your* underwear?" she asked Sierra, as she watched the man. "What a creeper. You sure you don't want me to shove a rocket up his ass?" she asked, as she raised her wrist gauntlet with the rocket launcher on it. She would love nothing more than to activate her jetpack, fly to the upper level, and do him in. All this creeping around in the shadows, being quiet, and not killing anyone was beginning to get on her nerves. Her trigger finger was no longer itchy ... it was throbbing.

"Be quiet," Kerrie said, as the Mandalorian girl's voice traveled in the stillness of the night. She knew that there had to be more security than they detected on the way in. There was no way an Imperial Governor on a world where a Rebellion had just been put down would not have at least a company of Stormtroopers protecting him. "As you command, milady," she said obediently to Sierra, before concentrating on keeping El-Nay under control. She was familiar with the layout of the castle as she had served there for many years protecting the Governor and his family, but she never had to sneak in before.

Sierra's face turned bright red. "I liked that pair too... I'm going to have to torch everything in that room if we ever move back in." She felt angry. Papius had been upstairs with his pants all but wrapped around his ankles. She made the decision to do nothing. She was sweating in her armor. El-Nay's joke seemed like a lot less of a joke now. It would please her to see that man take a rocket up the ass. "Now that I've had some time to think about it... You can shove a rocket up his ass." She could hear the sound of a speeder leaving the castle. It wasn't going to be as easy as it looked. Sierra's eyes were limited to only a few rooms. They had the whole castle to worry about. Unholstering her E-11 blaster rifle, Sierra sighed. "I suppose it's time. The first device we'll be going for is the most difficult. It's near the landing platform. I was monitoring our unwanted visitors." She rose. "If either one of you crosses paths with Papius, shoot to kill." She added coldly. Sierra made her way towards the door leading into the depths of the castle. Her finger hovered near the trigger to her blaster. She had considered asking El-Nay to string her up and fly her to the top of the castle, but decided against it. She needed to see, with her own two eyes, what had happened to her home.

Kerrie's eyes went wide when Sierra suggested to El-Nay that she could attack the Governor, prompting her to quickly raise her hand in front of the Mandalorian to stop her. "She's kidding," she said to El-Nay, realizing that she had not yet learned the fine art of sarcasm. "Understood, milady," she said, remember the Grand Moff's orders to eliminate the man if possible. It seemed his wife was on board with the notion as well. She followed behind Sierra, her hand hovering over her KYD-21 blaster pistol within its holster. She had never made it down to this section of the castle, and found herself surprised with Sierra's familiarity with it.

"Yay!" El-Nay cheered when she got the go ahead from Sierra, but before she could blast off in her jetpack she was stopped dead in her tracks by Kerrie. "Aww man. You never let me have any fun," she muttered beneath her helmet, as she brought up the rear in the trio of women investigating the bowels of the castle. "You got it, milady. If he comes within a kilometer of this place I'm firing my rockets!" she said, while making a nasty face at Kerrie from below the anonymity of her helmet. If she went back to Esseles without killing someone or blowing something up she was going to be extremely pissed.

Secretly, Sierra hoped that the opportunity arose to assassinate the man. He had hurt her family so many times. If he wasn't taken care of properly, he would continue his mission to destroy the Rodney family. She felt the support from Kerrie and El-Nay. Both of them were on board with her. Like Kerrie, Sierra was incredibly familiar with the castle. She looked towards the small Clawdite. "I remember playing down here with Jelena when we were younger." She said, sadly reminiscing. "During our breaks at the Academy, she'd always offer to take me here and give me sanctuary from my home life." Jelena was the first person she had ever opened up to about it...the first person she *trusted*. "I miss her." Sierra really did. Though she was not dead, she was *gone*.

To El-Nay, she smiled beneath her helmet. "Thank you. If we have good luck, we'll be able to catch it all on holovid." As they left the underbelly of the castle, they emerged on the main floor. Sierra's stomach lurched sideways when she saw a group of Stormtroopers patrolling *her* home. This was exactly what she and Claudius had never wanted for them or for Delaya. She saw the group before they spotted El-Nay's obvious orange armor. She began firing her blaster rifle. She felt more clear headed this time than in the Alderaan guard headquarters. What little target practice she had gotten helped. She remembered Kerrie's advice and kept herself calm and level. Sierra actually hit some Stormtroopers too!

Kerrie was pained listening to Sierra talk about her past with Jelena, as her failure to protect her was the greatest shortcoming in her life. It haunted her. Her duty to protect Jelena went as far as covering up her realization that she had been providing intelligence to the Rebellion, and even eliminating Intelligence officers who had learned the truth. When Jelena defected she shot Kerrie, almost fatally, but she bore her no ill will and if she had it to do again she would let her shoot her once again. When they were spotted by the Stormtroopers she frowned when Sierra began using deadly force, as she considered herself to be a Stormtrooper at heart. Once the firing began, she pulled the KYD-21 from her holster and began firing at the squad as well. "We don't have much time to look around now, milady," she said, as the final Stormtrooper fell and they were currently safe.

El-Nay sprung to life when she heard the blaster fire ensue, but as she was in the rear by the time she got there Sierra and Kerrie had dispatched all of the Stormtroopers. "You *have* got to be kidding me!" she exclaimed, throwing her hands up in the air, and allowing them to fall back to her sides, slamming against her armor. "You trained her to shoot too good. I didn't get to shoot one of them. Not a single one," she began carrying around, while walking around in a circle in an attempt to calm down. Beneath her helmet she was seething, with her cheeks turning red, and a thin layer of sweat forming upon her body. She took her gloved hand, balled it into the fist, and punched it into the century old marble wall. It did more damage to her hand than the wall, which she immediately recoiled and began to wave about frantically. Beneath her helmet she was crying out in pain. "I'm going in front this time," she declared, as she walked up to Kerrie and Sierra. "Uh. Which way?" she asked, as she looked up and down the unfamiliar corridors.

Sierra had never been on the battlefield before. Her first kills had happened on this very same planet. She understood that in order to order to keep her baby safe...killing was necessary. Sierra would raise her weapon for her family any day. Between her and Kerrie, they disposed of the Stormtroopers. If Kerrie hadn't reminded Sierra of their time restraints, she might have started a rampage. Beneath her helmet, she breathed hard. "You're right." She sounded resentful to admit it. The more trained Sierra became, the greater a threat she would be. She realized that, right now, a rampage in the castle would provide no answers.

"You were moving too slow!" She equipped at El-Nay. The woman really was domesticated. She reminded her of a dog when she walked in a circle. Her tempter tantrum transpired. "You don't..." Sierra began to warn her but it was too late. "Yeah... That wall isn't going anywhere..." She mumbled, watching El-Nay take the lead. Sierra made a face then laughed. "I'll lead. If we see any more Stormtroopers, I'll cower behind you and you can take care of them." Sierra took the lead. She broke out in a sprint in the direction of the Dowager Duchess' suite. "We're making a pit stop first." She informed Kerrie and El-Nay.

The Dowager Duchess' room looked like it was untouched. Livia's bed was made from the last time the servants had fixed it. Sierra roamed the room. She carefully started looking underneath things. She was searching for a secret note from Livia detailing out where she might have gone. The search had started out with Sierra feeling confident. As she found herself coming out empty handed, she began to feel that something very bad had happened. She paused at Livia's little vanity and looked over all the various perfumes that sat upon it. "Mother..." She whispered. Where was that woman? Sierra's eyes fell on something that worried her more: Livia's most cherished ring. Between her gloved fingers, Sierra picked up the heavily jeweled ring. She recalled listening to Livia's wild tales about this ring. It had been owned by the first Duchess of Delaya, then passed down the family. Every Duchess wore this ring. If it no longer sat on her finger, then... *Then* ... Sierra's head fell. Her hand closed around the ring. It was shaking.

Kerrie remembered the last time she saw Duchess Livia. She was investigating the whereabouts of Jelena after her defection and came to Delaya to look. Livia blamed her for what had happened, and slapped her across the face ... Kerrie felt she deserved it. As she stepped inside of the room behind Sierra, she reached out with her hand and placed it upon her shoulder. "I am sorry, milady," she said with genuine empathy and remorse. "...but we really need to go," she said to her, as her eyes moved towards the door. When that patrol of Stormtroopers was discovered she expected the castle to go into lockdown and perhaps even the planet to be blockaded.

Her eyes felt so hot. It wasn't just her hand that was was her entire body. She didn't want to bring back bad news. She wanted to bring *Livia* with her to Esseles. Sierra's head rose suddenly. She looked behind her shoulder at Kerrie. She was beginning to understand why El-Nay wore a helmet frequently. Underneath her helmet, Sierra was crying. She first shoved the ring into her sack. "We need to reach the landing pad. We can leave after that." The ring wasn't enough. She needed to see what had transpired after her family had left Delaya. "We'll leave after that..." She repeated weakly.

Rather than rush back into the main part of the castle, Sierra pushed the double doors leading to Livia's balcony open. She stood there, looking upward towards the highest points of the castle. "El-Nay." She said. "Can you use your jetpack to get us up to the landing platform? We're running out of time. We'll never make it if we travel through the castle."

"Oh sure. *Now* you need me," El-Nay said, as she sauntered through the Duchess' old bedroom. She stepped out onto the balcony, raising her hand to the side of her helmet to lower the targeting scanner over her visor. It looked clear, but looks could be deceiving. "Hang on," she said, as she took hold of Kerrie by one arm and Sierra by the other. Bracing herself she activated her jetpack, blasting them off the balcony and sending them over towards the landing platform. It was a much more graceful flight than last time, and she managed to touch all three of them down flawlessly. When it was done, she took several steps away, and bowed at the waist, extending her arms out behind in her flourish like an entertainer waiting for applause. "See! I'm good for something," she declared, unaware that an entire squad of Stormtroopers was moving in behind her that she could not see.

Sierra braced herself for a wild flight above a massive crevice. She clung to El-Nay like a child. "Don't drop me... please..." She whispered. "My husband *will* kill you if you do." Sierra threatened playfully...or not. To her relief, El-Nay performed incredibly. The flight was easy. She wasn't thrown to the ground in an uncomfortable heap of people either. Instead, she landed on her feet calmly. She spotted the Stormtrooper squad headed towards them. "Shit! El-Nay! Fire your damn blaster!" Sierra's E-11 was in her hands instantly. She began shooting immediately. It was only a matter of time before that bastard Papius knew that they had arrived. She needed to get the device and hide with El-Nay and Kerrie somewhere else. "Distract them! Rockets up their asses! *Something!*" Sierra called out, suddenly taking off in a jog towards the Stormtroopers. She headed through them, continuously shooting as to not get herself killed. She found her device hidden within an empty cargo crate on the platform. She grabbed it and hid it in her sack before anyone else could see.

"El-Nay you idiot," Kerrie said, as she raised her KYD-21 blaster pistol and began shooting over the bowing Mandalorian at the Stormtroopers behind her. When Sierra began running towards the Stormtroopers she had no idea what she was doing, but she had no choice but to run with her in order to keep her safe. "I wish you'd tell me before you start running," she said to Sierra, breaking her obedient speech pattern as the blaster bolts went on either side of her. "Do we have everything we need?" she asked her, as she began returning fire against the surging troopers.

"What?" El-Nay asked, as she turned around, seeing all of the Stormtroopers. Instead of freaking out or becoming scared she got excited. She raised her wrist gauntlet and fired a rocket at the oncoming troopers. When it impacted it sent a trio of Stormtroopers flying into the air. She activated her jetpack, sending herself into the air over Kerrie and Sierra as she closed the range with the troopers. When she landed, her other wrist was quickly raised and a jet of flame shot from her arm and began cook the troopers alive in their armor. Beneath her helmet she was laughing hysterically and smiling from ear to ear. *Finally*, she thought to herself, as her hands moved to unholster her DT-57 heavy blaster pistol. "I hope they send more!" she said to Sierra and Kerrie as she began shooting.

"Sorry about that..." Sierra wanted to get out quickly now. She flung her sack over her shoulder. "That's all we need. Let's get out of here." When she turned her back, El-Nay was in the sky providing great coverage. Thanks to her and El-Nay, it looked like Sierra would make it back home in one piece. She had no backup plans if the device didn't work, or didn't show anything. Those thoughts surged to the back of her mind. Another crucial part of the mission was the getaway. She looked at the happy Mandalorian. "I hope you've enjoyed yourself. Can you get us back down to the ground?" Soon, the troopers were nothing more than bodies on the ground. Another danger had been eliminated.

Governor Papius Arundel was nearly down the mountain when he began getting conflicting reports that the castle was under attack. Could it be the Rebels that he was expecting creating a diversion to get his attention? If so, it had worked. The speeder began accelerating up the mountain towards the castle, and when it arrived he began moving towards the sight of the battle with his personal guard. "I want them alive," he ordered his men, as they began moving towards the landing platform. From a distance he could see three individuals ... two blended in, but one wore a distinct set of orange Mandalorian armor. That one would be easy enough to track and identify.

"Aww. So soon?" El-Nay asked, as she began firing at the reinforcements. "It looks like they're sending more for me to play with!" she said, sounding excited, as she was in no rush to leave. In her head she was tallying her kills, but the newly arrived troopers seemed to have more skill than the ones they had earlier dispatched. Their blaster bolts were getting closer, and they were avoiding the blasts she was sending back at them. "Ok! Ok!" she said to Sierra, as she began to withdraw from the battle towards Sierra.

Kerrie was relieved that Sierra was *finally* ready to leave, but as she looked out upon the troops she saw Governor Arundel and remembered her promise to Claudius. "Just a minute," she said, before she ran out from cover. If only she had her rifle, she thought to herself, as she raised her blaster pistol at the man. She snapped back an aimed shot, before return fire began forced her to return to cover. "Let's go," she said to El-Nay, as she wanted to complete one issue without getting wounded.

The blaster bolt impacted with Papius, but he took the blast in the shoulder. It was painful, but he would live. He staggered backwards, bringing his left hand up to cover the wound, which immediately cauterized. He took cover behind one of the large, decorative columns that supported the overhang that led to the landing platform. "Get them! Get them, you fools!" he ordered, from beneath his hiding position. He slowly slid down the column, until he was sitting on the floor. The pain was excruciating and he immediately vowed revenge. "Medic!" he angrily called for, wondering who these people were, and what they were up to.

El-Nay wanted to keep fighting, but when push came to shove, she always did what she was told. She grabbed hold of Sierra and Kerrie less gentle this time, bracing herself and blasting off the landing platform as they came under heavy fire. She began lowering them towards the garage where they had left the speeder bikes. She knew that this was not over yet ... they still had to make it back to her starfighter and get off the planet. "Did you get him?" she asked Kerrie, sounding a bit jealous. She had strange priorities at a time like this.

Governor Papius Arundel was there. He stood, not even twenty feet, from a woman who he had infuriated time and time again. Now she was armed. While she continued to shoot towards his personal guards, her eyes were following him like she was a hungry predator. She had told El-Nay and Kerrie to kill him. Instead, *she* wanted that honor. She was glad that El-Nay hadn't immediately pulled them out. It gave her this golden opportunity. She looked to her side at Kerrie, who had taken her command seriously. She darted after the Clawdite, finding coverage to continue firing ... this time at the Governor himself. Sierra was so angry. Day by day, she watched the man saunter around her and Claudius' rooms, rubbing himself on all of their belongings. He tortured their family from far away. It was *his* fault that Delaya was in ruins! Her eyes were trained on him, paying less and less attention to those around him. She saw the pathetic man run and hide. Sierra shot into the column. She shot the medic that darted through the battlefield to try to reach his superior. As adrenaline poured into her brain, Sierra began to understand why El-Nay enjoyed this so much. She wanted Papius gone.

She was slowly destroying the column when El-Nay grabbed her. "No!" Sierra snapped. "I'm not done with him!" Her neck felt so hot. The adrenaline high was taking her to the next level. Sierra was forced to stop shooting her blaster once her feet were off the ground. "I'm not... I'm *not* ..." He wasn't dead. El-Nay had derailed her and now she was headed back to the garage. Once her feet met the ground, Sierra furiously mounted her speeder bike. She couldn't believe she was retreating without killing *him*. When Kerrie and El-Nay were ready, she kicked off and started down the lone, cold mountain road. Her heart ached. Angry tears stained her cheeks. Sierra Rodney had failed to kill her enemy.

"Got a taste for it, huh?" El-Nay asked Sierra, as she moved to get on her speeder bike. She was not capable of understanding the complex dynamics going on between her and the governor. Her hand moved on the throttle, accelerating her speeder bike out of the garage and moving down the mountain path. "Race you!" she said to Sierra and Kerrie, indicating that she was not taking the situation seriously.

Kerrie did not know the status of the Governor when she got on her speeder bike, and she did not have time to answer El-Nay's question. Between her aimed shot and Sierra's furious barrage it was possible the man was dead, but she always assumed an enemy was alive until she saw a body. The whole trip to Delaya had been foolish in her opinion, but she knew how Claudius and Sierra felt about Livia, and given her years of anguish not knowing what happened to her parents she understood the motivations. For now she was concentrating on getting down the mountain and back to the Mandalorian starfighter. Given the desperate nature of their escape she wished they had taken a more reliable craft.

Sierra only had a taste for killing horrible people like Papius. She didn't engage El-Nay. In fact, it seemed like she rode the slowest of them all. Like an upset child, all she wanted to do was race back to Esseles and hide with her husband. On Esseles, he had the power to protect her from Governor Arundel. Despite the chaos on the landing platform, the ride back to the starfighter was calm. All three women boarded the ship in one piece. There were *no* injuries.

After the craft had successfully taken off, Sierra turned her attention to the device she had recovered. She hadn't even bothered removing her armor. Her helmet sat on the ground near her feet. She had not said a word to either Kerrie nor El-Nay since leaving the castle. She was focused elsewhere now. She spent half the trip back to Esseles fiddling with the device until she was able to get it in working order. From there, she hooked it directly to her datapad and began sifting through the footage. It took very little time to find what she was looking for. The Kwai sat on the landing platform on that fateful day. She watched without blinking, as Livia remained on the platform while the Kwai took off. Sierra's heart thumped. She kept her eyes on the woman. She expected her to turn around and dart back into the castle. What she did... What she did...

Sierra replayed it. She watched it once, twice, half a dozen times. "No..." She whimpered quietly. "No, no, no!" She couldn't deny what she was seeing. These were *her* devices, completely untampered with. She watched Livia Rodney step over the railing and plunge into the void over and over again. "No, no, no." Sierra couldn't handle it. Livia Rodney really was dead. She dropped her datapad on the ground. Her head retreated into her hands where she began to cry hard. All this time she had held onto hope only to watch it jump off the landing platform. She felt immensely guilty for not forcing the old woman inside the ship. She had no idea how to tell Claudius...let alone the rest of the family.

Kerrie moved her hands to the simple metal helmet that sat atop her head, pulling it off along with the veil that covered her face. She let out a heavy sigh as she watched Sierra's reaction ... she did not need to look at the recovering to know what it showed. She rose from her seat and moved towards Sierra, wrapping her arms around her in a tender and unexpected embrace. "I am sorry for your loss, milady," she said quietly, as she moved her gloved hand up and down Sierra's back in a further attempt to comfort her. She had lost her own parents to the Corellian Security Force some years ago, so in a way she understood the pain that Sierra was feeling, and that Claudius *would* feel. "Is there anything I can do?" she asked her softly, as she hated to see anyone in as much pain as Sierra seemed to be in.

El-Nay looked over her shoulder from her seat at the controls of the starfighter, unsure of what to do. She had a relatively positive relationship with her mother, Sarin, who was currently residing on Corellia in semi-retirement. It looked like Kerrie had a good handle on the situation and she worried that she would just say something insensitive that would further strain the situation. Now that they were safely in hyperspace she felt herself begin to calm down from the adrenaline rush of the battle on Delaya, and her hands moved to the side of her helmet to remove it. Little did she know that the Governor was busy investigating her identity and her problems were just beginning.

It hurt so bad. Sierra had never loved her own parents. Her father was neglectful. He spent little time at home, for the obvious reason that is Rikka. Rikka herself was a terrible woman. Livia had always made her feel like she had somewhere she belonged. Kerrie was comforting to her. Her arms quickly wrapped around the woman. She weakly cried into her embrace. "She was supposed to be here to see our son... This *never* should have happened.." Livia's age hadn't stopped Sierra from imagining a small Bruce sitting, listening to her recount tales of the Rodney family. That image had been so clear in her mind... and now it was gone.

Kerrie's question floated in one ear and out another. She couldn't stop the thoughts that were running through her mind at the speed of light. She thought of her husband, who would be wrecked by what she had seen. Sierra's eyes went wide. She released Kerrie, grasping the ISB device containing her mother's suicide. She extended it to her with shaky hands. "There is one thing I ask of you." She said in a whimper. "You must destroy this. There can be nothing left over. I...I..." She rubbed her forehead with her hand. "My husband can *never* see this. Hearing is one thing. Seeing is another. If it's in our home, he will find it and he will watch it." She needed Kerrie to agree to yet another favor. This one was important...nearly as important as helping her rescue Jelena.

Kerrie understood immediately. She agreed there was no reason for Claudius to have to watch the recording, and when Sierra handed her the datadisk there was no question that she would destroy it. Her hand wrapped around the disk, closing on it firmly, which caused a cracking sound to escape. When her hand opened again the disk was fractured into a hundred pieces and unreadable. Just to be safe, she placed the contents in a pouch on her armor, vowing to incinerate it at the first opportunity. "It is not my place as a mere servant to say it, milady," she said, as she looked her directly in the eyes. "But you are a good wife to the Governor," she said, with a smile, and a polite nod of her head. After all he had been through she was glad he had found a woman like Sierra.

El-Nay was doing everything in her power not to ruin the moment between Sierra and Kerrie. Despite all of her ill manners she did, occasionally, know when to shut up. It was then that she noticed a light beeping on her control panel indicating they were receiving a distress call. She brought her headset up to her ear and listened to it twice to make sure she had it right. She spun her chair around to face Sierra and Kerrie, reluctantly interrupting the lovefest. "Do either of you know an Iyah Xergo? We're receiving a distress call from Delaya," she reported, not knowing what to make of it.

Sierra watched, with great relief, as Kerrie carried out her wishes. The datadisk was impossible to recollect now. There were so many tiny, ity bity pieces. She went the extra mile by keeping what was left. Sierra didn't ask, understanding that it *would* be destroyed. She started wiping the tears from her cheeks and her eyes. There would be more to shed for Livia once she returned to her family. However, it was Kerrie's generous words that moved Sierra back to tears. She appreciated it endlessly. Her love for Claudius was immense. She'd do *anything* to make his life just slightly easier. All of a sudden, she snatched Kerrie into a second hug. "Thank you..." She cried. Kerrie was the best kind of friend. She silently vowed to place her back with the family as soon as possible. It was right where she belonged.

She had ignored the distress call entirely until El-Nay asked about someone named Iyah Xergo. Oh, that name rang so many bells in Sierra's mind. "She's a Rebel Commander. You've seen her before too." She commented to El-Nay and Kerrie. "That's the one we traded for Jelena... Was there any additional information provided?" Sierra asked, releasing Kerrie slowly. Her worries had shifted to the living: Jelena. They weren't far from Delaya. She could be there in a heartbeat...or, considering El-Nay's ship, ten heartbeats.

Kerrie remembered that night vividly. Despite the way the Empire treated her people, she had no love for the Rebellion for their involvement in Jelena's struggles. In her mind they took advantage of an emotionally vulnerable and confused teenage girl and weaponized her daddy issues. "Let her rot," she declared, going from sweet and loving companion to cold blooded warrior in the blink of an eye. They had no business aiding a Rebel anyway. They were still Imperials, she reasoned, and they were at war with the Rebellion. It was likely the woman needed rescue from Imperial forces anyway. Regardless of her hatred for Governor Arundel, he still represented the Empire in that system.

El-Nay turned her attention back to the comm system, desperately pressing the headset to her ear in an effort to gain additional information. The Empire had persecuted her people as well, forcing them into servitude and effectively neutering them. She did not share Kerrie's universal loyalty to the Empire, or hatred for the Rebellion. "The same message keeps repeating over and over," she reported to Sierra, grimly. "I'm sorry. I don't have any more," she told her, as she looked to her for instructions.

They really did have no business aiding a Rebel. Sierra was the one tasked with making this decision...should they return to Esseles or investigate the distress signal on Delaya? She placed her head in her hands. If Governor Arundel ever successfully captured Jelena, she would be tortured to the highest degree. Saving her would be extremely difficult. She couldn't risk Claudius losing his first daughter *again*. El-Nay's news didn't help make the choice any easier. "We have to go back." Sierra stated suddenly. "That damn Rebel is friends with Jelena. I cannot risk her falling into the Governor's hands. This isn't a matter of the Rebellion. This is a matter of family." Her heart ached in her chest. It seemed that she wouldn't be able to reunite with Claudius as quickly as she might have liked. "We don't have to stay long. Once we confirm Jelena isn't a part of Xergo's group, we'll leave." She looked up at Kerrie, hoping she understood.

"I suppose there's nothing I can say to dissuade you, milady?" Kerrie asked, as she listened to Sierra detail her plan to return to Delaya. When she heard Sierra mention the possibility of Jelena she knew her words would fall on deaf ears, and that there was nothing she could do but go along and attempt to keep everyone alive. She backed away from Sierra and sat back down in her seat, strapping herself in, and looking forward. She had a bad feeling about this. "Set a return course to Delaya," she ordered El-Nay, as it dawned on her that they had gotten away too easy. They were not the kind of people who were that lucky.

"*Back* to Delaya?" El-Nay repeated, rolling her eyes and throwing her hands up in the air. "Fine, fine," she said, as she rotated her chair forward to take the controls again. The starfighter exited hyperspace halfway between Delaya and Esseles while her hands moved over the controls of the navicomputer to get them headed back to Delaya. "I just want to point out that this time they'll be expecting us, and they're probably really ticked," she said, with a small laugh, as the computer beeped indicating it had the coordinates. She hesitated for a minute, before her hand moved forward on the controls, sending them back into hyperspace for Delaya.

A part of Sierra wanted to turn her back on Delaya and scurry home. There were new wounds to lick, and a husband to inform of his mother's *suicide*. She didn't like the idea of being gone longer than necessary. Slowly, Sierra nodded her head. "You're right, Commander." There was no changing her mind. She felt sick in her stomach as El-Nay pointed the craft back towards Delaya. "I know. We're going to have to be very careful..." Her eyes closed. She needed to clear her mind before they arrived in Delaya. She had no idea what she was going to find. If Jelena was captured, she didn't know what extent she would go to save her best friend.

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