Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:5:15) in the Essesia system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate and The Void).
Trooper Kaiya Crion, El-Nay Darr, Commander Sierra Rodney, and Captain Thaddeus Updike.

El-Nay Darr was in The Void, looking over her Mandalorian Kom'rk-class starfighter in the wake of the harrowing incident in the Alderaan system. She had climbed on top of it, to examine the pockmarks and carbon scarring. She was using a lot of elbow grease to clean it, as it meant a lot to her, and there was no way to replace it should anything catastrophic ever happen to it. She removed her helmet, which was something she did not like to do when around the Imperials and other mercenaries, but as she was sweating profusely beneath the dome she had no choice. "Phew," she said, as she brought her arm up to her forehead to wipe away the sweat. As she sat there on top of her ship, taking a break, she reached into her pouch on her belt and produced a cigarra and lighter. She placed it between her lips, quickly ignited it, and took a drag, blowing out a plume of toxic smoke as she looked down at everyone. She did not belong there, but she had no place else to go.

"We don't need their scum," Captain Thaddeus Updike said, as he stood in his black Imperial uniform watching the mercenaries go about their business. The decision by the Inquisitor to employ such fiendish operatives to conduct her dirty work was something he found to be both dishonorable and distasteful. "Anything they can do, we can do better," he said to Kaiya, one of his Troopers and his lover, as they walked around the hangar of The Void, looking everyone over with a disgusted look on his face. "I had my command taken from me, replaced my some bureaucrat who presumably got her job servicing an incompetent Grand Moff, and now I have to work with the likes of..." he continued, before angling his head up at the Mandalorian starfighter and the dimwit pseudo Mandalorian who sat upon it. "...*her*," he said, reserving the heaviest level of disgust for that orange imbecile.

Kaiya Crion had not been having a good life. After being shot by an Alderaan guard, she had spent a lengthy time in a bacta tank recovering. What was worse was that the idiotic doctors on the Void didn't know how to treat Cathars. They had shaven her chest, feeling it necessary for her to be hair-free before dunked in the bacta. Kaiya wasn't sure if they had done it out of ignorance, or the chance to humiliate an alien. Regardless, she was still growing her hair back. On the field, she found herself working with the likes of El-Nay and Kerrie. She missed the days when Thaddy had control. "Nyahhh." She pawed towards El-Nay. "That girl doesn't know her head from a hole in the ground. Without her armor, she's nothing!" She wondered where Kerrie was. Probably providing illegal services to the Grand Moff again. Kaiya let out a growl. "Thaddy, we gotta get you back in charge ah...g...a...i...n..." Sniff. Sniff. *Sniff*!? She stopped walking. Her ears twitched and her tail swished behind her. "I smell something that doesn't belong..." She pointed her head towards El-Nay.

Thaddeus wanted nothing more but to be back in charge of the ShadowWhispers, but he knew that as long as Grand Moff Rodney was in charge of the oversector he would use his power and influence to keep Commander Kiley from falling from grace. It would take a major screwup on her part to lose her command, or perhaps an *accident* that left her physically unfit for duty or even dead. Several vicious ideas swirled about inside his head as he stood there with Kaiya in the midst of mercenaries. "What ... what is it, Kaiya?" he asked, never doubting her superior olfactory senses. Unlike many Imperial officers, he believed that many non-human species could be of great service to the Empire, and that many possessed skills and abilities superior to humans and droids. One such skill was the Cathar sense of smell, which had saved his neck on the battlefield on more than one occasion.

The smell was familiar to her: a Rodney. She could smell the Grand Moff's estate, more than that, she could smell starfruit shampoo. A *female* Rodney. All at once it hit her. "I smell the Grand Moff's wifey lady alllll over El-Nay. I wonder what they've been doing." She looked back to Thaddeus. "I smell the Squib too..." Then her nose scrunched up. "...*And* the human daughter. Ewwww." She pawed at her nose desperately. Whatever perfume Drusilla Rodney used was not kind on her senses. "Whatcha think? El-Nay's been up to somethin' naughty?" Her tail moved excitedly. She began to purr softly.

"What?!" Thad replied, angrily, yet in a hushed tone so that he would not be overheard. He took Kaiya by the arm and led her away so that no one would overhear them. "Of course that pathetic imitation of a Mandalorian has been up to something," he said, as he looked over his shoulder at her. "I'm going to distract you. You check her ship," he said, before moving over towards the Mandalorian piece of junk she claimed was a ship. "You, girl. Get down here!" he ordered, as he pointed up at El-Nay, using his Imperial authority over her. He had two ways to get back his command, as he saw it, get rid of Commander Kiley or get rid of her protector, Grand Moff Rodney. Perhaps this clown of a mercenary would be the key.

"Me?!" El-Nay said, as she looked down at the Captain, who was pointing right at her. "I didn't do nothing!" she said, like a child who had just been yelled at. Stubbing out her cigarra, she placed her helmet back upon her head to hide her face and boost her confidence. Activating her jetpack she guided herself back down to the hangar floor, coming to a standstill in front of Captain Updike. "Yes, Captain," she said, trying to sound professional. She understood that she was hired under an Imperial contract, and begrudgingly had to take *orders* from the man, although she had signed up with the hope that she would *only* have to deal with Kerrie. Underneath her helmet she was a quivering mess, breathing heavier than normally, and generally unnerved by the cold blooded Captain who was dressing her down.

Kaiya nodded her head. She was always looking for a way to get Thaddy promoted ... and Kerrie trashed. Kaiya briefly watched her lover order around the Mandalorian, then went racing off into her ship on all fours. Inside, it smelled like the Grand Moff's family. "Ewwwwww!" She cringed, having smelt the gemstones that El-Nay had squeezed out from the Squib. "That's so nasty! What the heck!?" Her nose had been abused today. There was fur from the Squib all over the cockpit. It made her dream of the day when she would eat the Grand Moff's odd child. Eventually, she made her way over to the ship's computer. "Where have you been..." She fooled around with the navicomputer. She recognized that the ship had been to the estate on Esseles, then the Alderaan area, but the other place... She had no idea what that was. She decided to jot down the information and shove three of the largest gemstones in her pockets. When Kaiya was finding, she ran out. The girl hoped that the information she'd gotten would be helpful!

"You call that rustbucket a ship?" Captain Updike said snobbishly towards El-Nay Darr as he looked past her towards the ship, smiling slightly when he saw Kaiya successfully infiltrate the ship. "And look at this armor..." he said, sticking out his hand and roughly shoving her in the chest. "It's older than you. And painted ... orange?!" he said, leaning back his head and rolling his eyes at her. "Are you trying to get yourself killed? No wonder your people were defeated," he said, as he continued to tear into her to keep her occupied while Kaiya went through her ship. When he saw the Cathar sneak back out of the ship he smirked in satisfaction. Mission accomplished. "Clean yourself up. You're a disgrace," he said, as he turned his back to her and began to march away. "Oh. And another thing, Darr. You smell," he said to her, with a laugh at his inside joke, before circling back around in the direction he saw Kaiya going.

Beneath her helmet, El-Nay was becoming a sniveling mess at the bullying she was being subjected to at the hands of Captain Updike. Her hands clenched into fists and she wanted to lay the man out, but as she looked past him towards the Storm commandos she knew she would not last 30 seconds if she made that mistake. So she did the hardest thing of all ... she stood there and took it. Once he was gone, she lifted up her armpit and took a whiff, before looking confused underneath her helmet. "I don't smell," she muttered to herself, before returning to the job of cleaning her ship, blissfully unaware that the Cathar commando had ransacked it for clues to her recent adventures with Sierra.

Ugh, she couldn't get all those weird scents of El-Nay's ship out of her nose. She breathed hard, her little nose scrunching. She pawed at it, finding blue fur. "This stuff gets everywhere." She growled. The Cathar slowed at her Captain caught up to her. "The Squib was in her ship." She said, showing him the blue fur before flicking it off her finger. "It smelled so yucky. I don't wanna know what she's been doing in there. Ewwww!" She waited until they had turned down a quiet corridor to divulge what she had found to him. "I'm sure that Dru-Dru and my prey were there. 'Smells like Rodney's wifey lady too. I'm not sure what they were up to. Nay-Nay went to the estate, then Alderaan ... or what *used* to be Alderaan ... and then this place!" She presented him with the information. "Can we go check it out, Thaddy? Please?" In her dreams, the Squib was where ever they had gone to. She licked her lips while considering all the ways she'd cook up Ewwiekewwieikkie.

Thaddeus reached out to collect the data from Kaiya, as he listened to her recount the information she had obtained. Everyone knew the Grand Moff had received a reprimand and was no longer to set foot in the Alderaan system, but he did not know if his wife's presence was enough to get the job done. He moved with her towards a terminal where he entered the data into a map of the galaxy, finding the coordinates among a group of planets decimated thousands of years ago. "Why would she go out there?" he asked, as he brought his hand up to the back of his head and began to scratch it. "This is out of our area of operation," he said, with a frown, as he removed the datadisk from the terminal. "Unfortunately, we cannot take the unit there without orders," he said with a frustrated sigh, as he considered his relatively low position in the chain of command. "But, there's nothing to say this can't be the sight of our next vacation," he said, with a smirk, as he moved towards her, wrapping his arms around her and giving her fur covered face a soft kiss. Around them they got looks from the mercenaries and silent glares from the commandos beneath their helmet, but at least for the moment he was the senior officer present and could do whatever he wanted. If only he was always this free, he thought to himself.

The Cathar silently watched the map. The location was a little out there ... so what could it be? "Methinks we should keep an eye on the Mandalorian. I bet she'll smell like the Grand Moff's wifey lady again. She smells so much like a Rodney." That wasn't said as a compliment. Her eyes sparkled as he brought up going to the random location on their next visit. A smile crossed her lips. "Oh Thaddy..! I could *really* use a vacation." Kaiya confessed truthfully. Having been seriously injured unlike ever before, the Cathar had been hoping he'd take her away from the Void briefly. His affection drew her in like a moth to light. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him slowly. She needn't look behind her to know that their affection wasn't well received. She loved Thaddy. He didn't see her being a Cathar as a bad thing. In fact, she was pretty sure that was part of what drew him in. She was determined to help him advance. If El-Nay could help with that, then she'd sniff the girl every time she saw her.

Sierra Rodney placed the sceptre of Germanicus Rodney in a box with the coronation crowns for Marcus Rodney. To her delight, Ewwiekewwieikkie and Callista had eventually come down from their sugar rush *hard*. She wasn't sure if they were sleeping, but an unnatural silence was coming from the upstairs of her home. She could only assume that they were down for the count. Since Sierra was not on good terms with Zara, the infection of the House of Rodney, she decided to summon El-Nay for help. After all, she needed to borrow the Mandalorian's ship one more time to go to New Alderaan with Claudius... She could only imagine how that would be for him. He'd have to see Jelena in her natural environment. Using her comlink, Sierra called for El-Nay to join her at the estate. As she did it, she realized she really needed to call her for other reasons than to help her with things. Maybe she should take her and the girls to the Auntie Mae theme park.

El-Nay wasted no time in piloting her starfighter to the Rodney estate on Esseles, as it was only a short flight across the planet. She could not get over the things that Captain Updike said, and she had begun to wonder just how much she could take before she left. She valued Kerrie more than any other human being, but she was being asked to put up with *a lot* to continue spending time with her. Whatever Sierra wanted had to be better than loitering around the Void, even if it meant crashing again. This time no alarms were sounded and the Stormtroopers refrained from opening fire as she casually landed her ship on the landing platform. She was quick to exit the vessel, walking down the ramp, and heading across the winding stone path towards the estate. She raised her hand to the door and knocked three times, entering the front door this time, as requested.

Sitting on the couch, Sierra groaned. "Ow..." When she reached behind her, she withdrew a jewel. It made her laugh every time she found a random one around the estate. There had even been one in the shower drain the other day. She was going to need to search the house before Bruce arrived, otherwise the little guy would end up attempting to eat one. Upon hearing the knock, she rose and headed towards the door. Unlike normal, she was not wearing her ISB uniform. The reason was obvious: all the stains! She was already covered from having made lunch for the girls, who hugged her with jelly stained faces. Sierra loved it. Opening the door, she greeted El-Nay with a smile. "Hey you. Come in," she stepped aside to allow her access to her home. "How's it going in the Void? I hope you didn't get into any trouble for our last.. Er, girl's day out." Sierra hugged her softly. It was awkward considering El-Nay's armor and her growing stomach. The Mandalorian had officially earned Sierra's trust.

El-Nay had gotten comfortable enough that the moment she saw it was her who answered she reached up to the side of her head and removed her helmet, offering her a kind smile with her exposed face rather than beneath her helmet. "I gotta tell you ... the void fucking sucks," she said, but immediately after she looked embarrassed and peaked around to make sure none of the children had heard her. "I'm sorry, milady. I'm not used to being around children," she said, as she moved deeper inside the estate. "Nah. Nobody wants me there, so nobody really notices when I'm gone," she said, beating up on herself after her interaction with Captain Updike. "Since they have nothing for me to do, is there anything I can do for you?" she asked, with both her voice and her face looking very eager.

She led El-Nay through the estate towards the living room where Sierra had been relaxing. Her violin was resting inside an open case on the coffee table in front of the couch. Its bow lay on top of it, awaiting for her to return to make music. She had read that Bruce's ears were developed enough that he could hear outside the womb at this point. It was a good excuse as any to let the boy hear some classical tunes. She smiled, "Don't worry. I think the girls are passed out upstairs." She lowered herself down onto the couch while gesturing for El-Nay to sit.

She was glad that El-Nay was so comfortable around her. Sierra thought she had a really cool hair cut. . . not that she could ever rock it! She crossed her legs one over the other. "Does that mean I can steal you and you can hang around the estate?" She laughed. "I'm sorry the Void sucks so much. Are there people being rude to you? I know a girl who can rocket people up the as...-rear end." Sierra corrected herself. With Callista around, she had to be especially careful. Mug would be in a world of hurt when she returned a fluently cursing little girl to his doorstep. "I actually need two favors from you. Given that Zara has banished me from Delaya, can you take these to Marcus?" She nudged the open box with her foot. "Last time I saw them, they were still living on the herdship Jubilee which was parked over Delaya. There's a good chance that they've gone back to their chalet in the north, however." She explained. "Er... I also might need to borrow your ship again. After telling Claudius about New Alderaan, he wants to see it himself. Don't ask me how I'm going to work that out."

El-Nay sat down on an upholstered chair, the weight of her armor immediately squishing the cushion, and the dirt upon it soiling the fabric. She was not the ideal houseguest. She let out a sigh as she listened to Sierra's question, because she knew Kerrie had sworn her to secrecy on the Void. "Oh what the hell," she said, as she raised her head and let out a soft chuckle. At this point Sierra was becoming a better friend anyway. "That's the problem, milady. The guy being rude is the one who I did shoot a rocket at. It's the commandos from the medcenter on Delaya," she revealed, slowly, and with grave apprehension for how Sierra would react to the news. "A courier mission?!" she replied, sounding a bit insulted, but then quickly forced a smile onto her face. "Yeah. Sure. I'll do it, milady," she said, realizing that she owed the woman for saving their lives, and being a courier was a small thing to as considering. "Do I get to go?!" she asked, sounding excited at the prospect of taking a couple of Imperials back to a secret Rebel base. But then she remembered that the Governor did not exactly like her, causing her to sink back in the chair.

The chair deflated in front of Sierra. It was comical in a way. She listened to El-Nay fill her in about the Void, a place which she had only visited a handful of times. Her work was on the Retributor ... or here, attempting to stop the girls from tearing the house apart. Her fingers anxiously played a song on her thigh. She could never forget the commandos and the damage the Cathar could have done. "Ugh, not them." She rubbed her temples with her other hand. "I'm sorry that they are being such jerks. You've probably heard this advice before, but don't take what they have to say to heart. You're an amazing warrior and a great friend. What do those idiots know? Do they see the color orange and their brains leak from their ears?" She defended El-Nay, then offered an apologetic smile.

"I know, after last time, it's kinda lame. I will warn you that there's a scary sea creature in the lake near Marcus' home. Land far, far away from it. Don't bother it. Don't even look at it." She gulped. "I appreciate you doing this for me, El-Nay. Thank you. You'll probably want to watch out for the sea beast living within the chalet..." She bitterly referred to her sister-in-law. "I'm not sure about coming with us to New Alderaan yet. Something tells me that the Governor wouldn't be cool with that. I worry about what will happen when he sees it. Sometimes, I find I forget that the Rebels are real people. I blanket them in this one, evil persona and go at them like a savage beast. Going to New Alderaan opened my eyes. Even I could feel for people like my bastard brother. It's all so complex." She opened up to El-Nay.

"If I kill them before they see me then the color of my armor does not matter," El-Nay boasted, confidently, as she thumped the Mandalorian iron plate that covered her chest. "A sea creature? Heh. Ain't no monster going to scare me," she said, as she was feeling quite cocky as of late. Little did she know the true nature of the fearsome sea beast that lay at the bottom of the lake beside Marcus and Zara Rodney's chalet. "It's okay. I know he doesn't like me," she said, with a reassuring smile, to show that she was not offended. "Many of my people have aided the Rebellion rather than be forced into Imperial service. I think my parents would hate to see me like this..." she said, lamenting some of her recent life choices. "Do you have a ship I can take to see your in-laws, or should I steal someone?" she asked, leaning forward in her chair, with a growing level of interest.

Sierra grinned. She hoped that El-Nay's cocky attitude might rub off on herself. She also hoped that the woman heeded to her warning. The sea beast was not to be messed with. It was nice that she understood how Claudius felt without holding Sierra responsible. After all, she didn't keep her husband on a leash nor did she control him. Her eyes softened. "It's all in the path of getting stronger, isn't it? Besides, I'm sure Kerrie appreciates you being there with her in the Void. I'm glad someone was there. Especially after she was demoted..." She ran her hand over her face. She had felt guilty for long enough over that. There was little she could do to fix the reassignment ... for *now*. "You can select any of the Imperial ships outside the estate. It'll raise the least interest with that damn Governor. If you see him, like always, rockets up the ass please."

"Yeah. Personally I'm glad she was demoted, because it wouldn't be any fun sitting around in an office all day listening to the Chiss report who moved what where," El-Nay said, as she raised up from the chair and placed her helmet back upon her head. She then tucked the package underneath her arm ad gave Sierra a very sloppy salute by connecting the side of her head with her helmet. "Thanks for the job, milady. If I see that guy I'll take care of him for you," she said, before nodding her head and proceeding from the estate, this time through the front door, to check out the available Imperial ships. Sierra had been such a good friend and she owed her ... perhaps she would go out of her way to ensure she did see the man.

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