For last week's b7friday topic of Jenna, 500 words set pre-series. This ties in with another Jenna story of mine, Guilt.
"Message for you, Stannis," said the duty officer.
"Thanks. Send it to my pad." Jenna flicked her datapad on and looked at the sender code. Her mother. She sighed and touched the 'open' button.
It was just one word. "Run."
They'd got her at last. Jenna sat still, hoping her face showed nothing. Her mother had always 'spoken her own mind' (Jenna could hear her saying it now, all smug self-righteousness), ignoring all warnings to be more discreet. Everyone was fair game: the regime, local authorities, politicians, even the schools Jenna attended. Her father had left when she was five, and Jenna hadn't wasted time applying for the Merchant Fleet and getting as far away as possible. They'd both known it would happen one day, and unfortunately, when it did, Fenella Stannis's family would be considered just as liable.
She got up slowly, trying to look casual, and strolled out of the rec room. By the time they missed one of the shuttles, it would be too late to track her.
"This run," said Esteban, "is out to the eighth sector."
"Food and basic supplies?" Jenna regarded the warehouse full of crates, puzzled. "Who taxes those?"
"No one, but rebels tend to find it hard to get people to deliver."
Rebels? One was enough for a lifetime. "Oh, no."
Esteban grinned. "Fifty thousand credits."
"Just for food?"
"You’d be surprised what's hidden in the grain."
Esteban laid a finger along his nose.
Jenna sighed. Fifty thou would pay off her ship. "All right. Just this once."
Jenna checked the payment had gone through. "Right, that seems in order." She pocketed her datapad and hesitated. "What about the other matter?"
"Oh." The woman's face closed. "Avalon will see you about that." She waved to someone behind Jenna. "Avalon?"
Like most of the Federation and many outside it, Jenna had heard of the rebel leader who had started uprisings on several worlds. She didn't expect this slight, pretty young woman though.
"You wanted to know about--" Avalon frowned, trying to remember the name, "--Stannis?"
"My contacts tell me they consider her to have been part of a resistance group, but she never revealed anything under questioning."
Because there hadn't been anything to tell. She'd just been one stroppy-natured woman.
"She died five days after they arrested her." Avalon looked at Jenna sympathetically. "Someone you were close to?"
"Not really. Just someone I knew once. Thanks."
Nothing more than what Jenna had expected, but all the same, she felt as if someone had hit her. Keeping her face calm and business-like, she nodded to Avalon and the other woman and left.
Not close, no. How could they be when her mother's ideals had mattered more than her family and their safety. All the same though, there was that message--and at what cost? Could she have possibly escaped? Still, that risky arms delivery ought to cover it. "Consider us even," Jenna said out loud as she broke orbit.