Era of Rebellion - Navigation


Liz Dorner and Christopher Levy.

One year before the Battle of Yavin (34:10:15) in the Essessa system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate).
Major Kerrie Kiley, Vice Admiral Claudius Rodney, and Lady Htaere Ka`a Sha`ar.

Kerrie Kiley paced back and forth though the lower level of the Rodney Estate. She had arrived promptly in the morning to meet with Htaere as she always did, but after waiting the appropriate thirty minutes she was still nowhere to be found. Assuming she must be in her room, she proceeded up the spiral staircase that led to the upper levels. She stopped at the top of the stairs and listened carefully, but heard not a sound. "She has never slept this late before..." she thought to herself and proceed down the corridor toward Htaere's bedchambers. She wrapped her knuckles around the door three times and waited patiently for some sort of response or acknowledgment. The wait lasted several moments until her patience finally subsided. Reluctantly, she pushed against the door and it opened with ease. Her mimicked Human face turned ghostly white as she realized she was alone in the room. Horrible thoughts began to run through her head ... nightmare scenarios. Quickly she rushed out of the room and across the hallway towards the Admiral's suite. She did not stop to knock, she did not wait for permission to enter ... the matter was too urgent. She forced the door open and hurried into the room, but she soon stopped herself ... an amazed look upon her face as she spotted the Admiral and Htaere in bed together. "Oh no..." Kerrie said quietly to herself, realizing what she had done. Like someone who just got their hand caught in the cookie jar, she backed up quietly and attempted to slip back out before either of them could realize she had been there.

Htaere had been lulled into a calm and passive rest, vague dreams and dark deep REM sleep constituted most of it. Whatever tugged her from the soft grip of unconsciousness, her eyes flickered open, taking a moment to focus before narrowing slightly. She rolled slightly from her side onto her back, her head continuing to the side to take in the still sleeping man beside her. With the warmth of him beside her, it was never truly lost on her where she was, yet at the same time, it took a moment to gather her bearings. Slowly she sat up, dismayed that she was still in the same clothes she wore last night. Glancing again at Claudius and slipping the sheet further up on him, she slid to the edge of the mattress and let her feet drop to the floor. Grey eyes flashed towards the door, noting it ajar. Bear feet padded towards the threshold, she looked about curiously. She came to a stop just outside the doorframe, blinking down the hallway in perplexion.

Kerrie had nearly escaped back to the staircase, but froze like a deer in the headlights as she heard Htaere's footsteps approached from behind. She gritted her teeth firmly and muttered quietly to herself, "damn it!" She exhaled slightly and spun around on the heels of her feet so that she was now facing Htaere, her usual forced smile appearing instantly upon her face. Taking an apologetic, embarrassed tone she began to apologize, "I am sorry, Milady. I should not have intruded. I did not mean to wake you. I was merely concerned by your absence." Her cheeks flushed slightly and she lowered her head slightly, genuinely embarrassed by her actions.

Htaere cast a final glance towards Claudius before pulling the door closed all but an inch and moving towards Kerrie. "I am sorry. I did not realize it was so late" she spoke in a soft tone. She motioned down the stairs, bare feet falling silently on the long runner carpet that spanned from end to end of the hallway. "Tea?"

"I believe it has already been prepared for you downstairs, Milady," Kerrie explained politely. She stepped aside to allow her access to the stairway, the polite smile plastered as ever on her face.

" lovely" Htaere answered absently. She stopped on one of the top steps and turned to glance over her shoulder up at Kerrie. "Would you care to join me? Claudius  was not feeling well and was up late packing. We should let him sleep" she said apologetically.

Kerrie looked a bit confused ... why would the Admiral himself and not one of his orderlies be packing? Still, being what she was it was a question she could not ask  "Of course, Milady," Kerrie said kindly, as she waited for her to descend the stairs.

Htaere heaved a taxed sigh. "Please forgive my lack of etiquette" she mumbled regarding her wardrobe. She eased herself down the steps towards one of the small parlors. Htaere selected one of the soft couches to curl up on, leaning heavily on the arm rest as one of the attendants emerged with tea and biscuits on an elegant silver tray. "Sit and have some tea" Htaere smiled pleasantly enough, though still a little groggy. She felt completely naked being un-primped, yet her comfort in Kerrie's presence barred her self-consciousness from becoming a significant issue.

Kerrie obediently followed Htaere down the stairs, and into the parlor. She looked around, noting the amount of furniture that would have to be created and brought aboard the ship ... it would be a very difficult move to coordinate and she was glad to have no part in it. She nodded silently to Htaere and took a seat opposite her. She crossed her right leg over her left, and focused her attention on the tea that had been prepared. She fixed herself a small cup and drew it to her lips, sipping in the manner of a commoner, an audible *slurp* echoing through the room.

Charmed by Kerrie's more secular approach, Htaere smiled. She contemplated various topics they could talk about, and yet, she felt uncompelled by any of it for reasons unknown. Despite her pleasant disposition and lovely smile, it was visibly an effort to dodge something that ate at her. Her mind still churned from the previous night's episode. The silence was awkward but even Htaere's penchant for social talent failed her.

"I hope the move will not be too much of an ordeal for you, Milady," Kerrie said, breaking the silence in an attempt to make conversation. She took another sip of the tea, with as much ignorance of the rules of pleasant society as the previous one.

"No, I do not suppose it will be. I am not sure I understand it, though Claudius seems unhappy with the arrangements" Htaere's eyes dropped to the cup of tea she held on the dainty saucer. Finally she glanced back to Kerrie, looking hopeful. "Will you be coming as well?"

Kerrie lowered her head for a moment as she listened to Htaere convey the Admiral's unhappiness ... she believed it was her fault, but she was not sure if he had conveyed that to her. "Yes," she said quietly, wondering if the Admiral even had a choice this time. "Yes," she repeated again, mostly so she herself could hear it, "I'll be going with you."

Htaere's smile broke through, like a hefty sense of relief. "Oh that is good then" she said. Again Htaere made an effort to continue the conversation, and again she failed. "I am sorry. I am not myself today" she admitted. "I am...preoccupied" she nodded slowly.

"I can understand that, Milady," Kerrie said quietly as she took another long sip of her tear. "I feel as if we just got here..." Kerrie said, slightly dejected, as her eyes darted around the estate. She seemed to be taking it all in, as it might be the last time she saw it.

Htaere's face took on a pensive hue for a moment. "Yes, it does feel that way..." she commented quietly. For a moment she was quiet before a pleasant smile appeared. "Perhaps it will be a better arrangement for you. Claudius could use the rest as well" she idealized, unclear as to whether the transfer was a promotion or demotion.

Claudius Rodney slowly made his way down the staircase, wearing a simple robe over his undergarments. He had not showered, nor shaved, and had an unkempt appearance that was unusual for him. He held his right hand against the side of his face, nursing the hangover that was plaguing his morning. As he stepped into the parlor where the two women were, he squinted his eyes as they came in contact with the light. "Ugh," he groaned audibly as slid out a chair and sat down at the table with the two. When he finally realized his situation, he smiled politely and addressed them, "Good morning, Htaere ... Major."

Htaere concealed her amazement well. She had never seen the man "behind the scenes" and it was odd and fascinating all at once. Her smile was genuine though. "Good morning." One of the numerous attendants came shortly with another delicate tea cup and saucer, setting it front of him. "How do you feel?" Htaere asked, an eyebrow arching.

Claudius raised the cup of tea to his lips slowly, his hand slightly trembling. He took a quiet sip of tea before placing it back down in the saucer. He smiled briefly at Htaere before answering the question. "I feel like I have just been a shuttle crash," he confessed quietly, as he gently rubbed the side of his head.

"Relax today Claudius. I will arrange to have your packing done" Htaere replied. "The gardens are very peaceful and soothing to the soul" she added, nodding encouragingly.

Kerrie shot a glance as the Admiral nervously, choosing not to say anything. Their discussion the night before had been rather ... unpleasant. She did not even expect him to be there. She raised the tea to her lips and took a nervous sup of the tea, taking another obnoxiously loud sip.

Claudius closed his eyes as he heard Kerrie sip, the noise rattled his brain. He shot her a quickly deadly glance before his attention refocused on his own tea. "I will try and relax this morning, my dear," he explained to her as he turned his head towards Htaere, "but I have lunch with my replacement and then ..." he paused, taking a sip of tea, "we should be departing the region."

Htaere winced a bit. For the sake of being polite, she easily overlooked Kerrie's lack in etiquette. Claudius, apparently, did not share the same leniency. She made it a personal goal to work with Kerrie and reform her into something that could be taken out in public. Htaere's chin dipped once, inwardly pleased that he agreed to her request, at least partially. "Very well. Is there anything I can do for you to facilitate your brief respite?"

Kerrie meekly looked down at folded her hands nervously in her lap. She was tremendously uncomfortable as she had never dealt with the Admiral in a situation like this, and she felt as if her presence was unwarranted. Still, she felt as if getting up and leaving would cause a problem ... so she sat there silent, unmoving, hoping to just go unnoticed.

"Your presence is enough to soothe me, Htaere," Claudius told her as he reached for her wrist with his left hand. He placed his hand upon her wrist and lay it there gently, glad to just be touching her slightly.

Htaere placed her other hand over his and gave it a gentle squeeze. "Would you prefer later that the Major and I take the girls ahead so the movers can work unobstructed?"

"Thank you, my dear," Claudius said as he finished the last of his tea. "But..." he continued in a slightly more serious tone, "We should all travel together. Where we're going is nothing like where we are now. I believe we may have to live aboard the ship."

Htaere's expression slipped. "Oh..?" she blinked, eyes vacillating briefly to Kerrie. "Where exactly are we going?"

"Malastare," Claudius said slowly, not liking the sound of it himself. "It is not glamorous and the local population is not Human," he continued to explain. He lowered his head slowly, frustrated by the change in assignment.

"Are the locals dangerous?" Htaere asked casually. She was distraught at the potential loss of all sightseeing prospects.

"Yes," Kerrie interjected quickly even though Htaere was speaking to the Admiral. "It is the homeworld of the Dugs ... a particularly intolerable species. The pod racing and gambling brings in all sorts of undesirable elements as well ... it is no place for a Lady."

Claudius turned his head to Kerrie for a moment, narrowing his eyes. He then smiled towards Htaere, giving her wrist a reassuring squeeze. "The Major is being overly dramatic," he tried to reason with her, "I can assure you it is perfectly safe."

Htaere's bewildered gaze shifted between the two again, unwilling to determine which was more accurate. And experience had taught her not to clarify between the two without starting another war. Instead, she nodded slowly to Claudius' endearing need for protection, while inwardly acknowledging Kerrie's more realistic 'street-smart' experience.

"The quarters aboard the ship, while not as luxurious as this estate, nevertheless are quite comfortable and quite livable," Claudius explained to Htaere, trying to remove any doubts that might be lingering.

Htaere managed a tight lipped grin. For Claudius' sake, she appeared collected at the idea of living on the ship. Inwardly, it was spend hour upon hour, day after day in the belly of the war ship, sterile and unyielding walls to stare plants, no fountains, no warmth of the sun. She also couldn't imagine what her mother's reaction would be.

"I'm sure everything will be fine," Claudius said as he took a hearty bite of his scone. Taking a moment to swallow and clear his throat of the crumbs, he smiled at her one last time before rising from the table. "I'd better get ready for my lunch appointment." He leaned forward, placing a single kiss upon her cheek gently. "I will see you tonight."

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