IC: Setarcos Rhemes General Manager’s State Room, Crown Jewel En route to Keldabe, Mandalore For only the second time that season, Setarcos travelled with the team. He could not help notice the strange looks and hushed whispers that emanated from the crew as he boarded prior to the last match. They scrambled to finish prepping his room just moments before departure a week ago. One brave soul girded up enough courage to inquire if the Queen would be accompanying him as well, only to depart relieved that she was not. The truth of the matter was that he had not seen Variise for nearly one and a half orbital periods. Ever since the destruction of The M’nrydo she had been holed up in her private wing of Ryell Palace. Not once did she make a public appearance, not for the Monarchs home matches. Even when Kerry Trieste made her final public appearance at the Blue & Gold Bowl, Variise was conspicuously absent. All of this had gone completely unreported by any media outlet on Rydonni Prime. This meant that pretty much no one, outside of those close to the Queen, in the rest of galaxy would have noticed either. Setarcos guessed that being able to control the news did have some advantages. His daughter, Erika, wanted to do a tell-all report until he gently reminded her that by doing so would not only endanger herself, but her half-sister Laura, her cousin Nicholas, himself, and countless others. He reassured her that everything was well in hand and that once certain events had transpired that she would be more than welcome to publish her findings. He knew that those events were almost upon them. “So, Aria, what news do you have for me?” Aria Tor, the Deputy Director of S.P.E.A.R., along with Agent Melanie Mai, had been placed on the Crown Jewel at the insistence of Director Fu’rey. As far as the team and rest of the crew were concerned, she and Agent Mai were the co-pilot and pilot respectively. Their cover story was that the regular flight team contracted a highly contagious flu and was grounded. “Agent Kol’sin just reported in. Both Houses are secure, Sentinel is on station, the Raptors are watching the nest, and the Commander is waiting for the green light from Director Fu’rey.” “What about the rest of the family? “They’re on schedule and should be here in time for the game.” “Thank you for the update, Agent Tor,” Setarcos just sat in his chair rubbing his tired eyes, “Make sure that this news does not reach the team. I don’t want them distracted before the biggest match of their careers.” “Understood,” Aria was un-phased, the picture-perfect image of a disciplined soldier, “Is there anything else that I can get for you sir?” “No. Thank you, Tor. That will be all.” She exited as silently as she had crept into his office. Alone with his thoughts, he couldn’t believe the course that his life had taken over the past decade – from reporting the news to making the news. And it was just getting started… IC: Vesper Lynd Oyu’baat café, Keldabe, Mandalore Galactic Cup Week, 276 ELL Season Awards The glitz and the glamor of the Season Awards were starting to become old hat for Vesper, even if each year was unique in its own way. Last season she was the sole Monarch representative, having become shunned by ownership because of her contract and personal life choices. She even went as far as sitting with the Bakura Miners at the ceremony. This year she was surrounded by her entire team, including the coaching staff. With the Monarchs being one of the two squads in the Galactic Cup Final, it was expected that they would all be in attendance, regardless of the number of nominees they had. Most of her teammates seemed to be comfortable in their suits and gowns, although it was hard to tell with Romo since he always had the same stoic look on his face. Two of them, Bry Dougant and Sugnok Umanh, kept tugging at their collars. “Quite fidgeting you two,” Mia Silas smacked Bry’s hand as she was fixing Sugnok’s tie for what seemed like the tenth time, “From now on, each time your finger touches either of your collars you will owe me ten laps around the outside of the stadium. Trust me, Lex and Dawn will ensure that you repay your debt to me. Understand?” Both players nodded their heads. The first Monarch nominee, Bella Starr, was announced to a loud chorus of cheers from the Monarch faithful. But they were drowned out by the cheers and boos for the next nominee, Erin Windreaver from the Smugglers. But when the winner’s name was read, it was apparent that the Monarchs lackluster defensive performance in the regular season was enough to tip the scales to Windreaver. “Hey, being one of the top three rookies in the league ain’t bad for the 10th overall pick in the draft,” Bella commented as Erin walked up to get her award. The next award featured a couple of familiar names, specifically Alana Glencross and Vesper. Since 270, Alana and Vesper had each been nominated three times. Vesper’s were all consecutive and the last time both of them were nominated in the same year Alana walked away with her second win. So when Vesper’s name was in the envelope she was pleasantly surprised. As she walked up to the podium she realized that she was the first person to win back-to-back Duchess Eldins. “Wow,” the Monarch Army of Sixteen were still going crazy, “Wow. I mean… WOW!” The crowd gave a polite chuckle as they settled down, “When I found out that I was nominated against Duchess Alana for the Glencross Award… I mean Alana for the Duchess Eldin Award,” she felt her cheeks flush, “I thought I had less of a chance then I did last year going against my cousin Fae,” she couldn’t look up at the crowd, instead her eyes were glued to the award, “I am honored to be honored with this… well… honor for the second year in a row. Thank you and Alana,” she held the award out towards the Miners’ contingent, “I’ll flip you for number three. Thank you all.” By the time she got back to her seat from her post award interview and reaction holos the new Comeback Player of the Year Award had been granted to Kasin Urdaaza. It was a shame that post season performances were not accounted for because Abe’s two straight shutdown games were definitely award worthy. ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- Visitor’s Locker Room, Mesh’la Vhetin, Keldabe, Mandalore 121st Galactic Cup Final, Monarchs vs. Smugglers Vesper just sat, staring at the letter in her hands. Her eyes slowly welled up as a single tear trickled down her cheek and fell to filmsi below. With an audible sniffle she dried her eyes with the back of her hand. She felt that something like this would be almost common place for someone in a normal, run-of-the-mill family. But this was huge to her. What some would look on as a simple, almost cheap, gesture of a handwritten note, invoked a powerfully emotional response from her. Honestly if the note had come from her mom or even one of her dad’s sisters, it would have warmed her heart, but it probably would not have reduced her to tears like these words. For the first time in her life, she felt like she was more than just a part of the Noble House of Trieste. She felt like she was part of the family. Carefully she folded up the letter and replaced it in its envelope. Looking down, her palms are sweaty, knees weak and arms are heavy. She looks over to a corner where Abe is vomiting in trash bin. She feels nervous, but on the surface she looks calm and ready to drop bombs on the Smugglers. Each time she closes her eyes she sees that she keeps forgetting the plays they’ve drawn up. The crowd gets loud when she touches the bolo, but the ball just won’t come out of her hand. She chokes, becomes the butt of everyone’s jokes, the game clock runs out, the Cup is lost, it’s over. BUZZZZ! Her eyes snap open, back to reality. Slipping the specialty jersey over her head, she takes a deep breath and stands in the middle of the room. “Listen up everyone. You need to ask yourself, if I had one shot, or one opportunity, to seize everything you’ve ever wanted - just one moment – would you capture it, or just let it slip away? So lose yourself in the match, the moment. You need to own it. You better never let it go. Because you may only get one shot, so don’t miss your chance to own the galaxy. This opportunity may come once in a lifetime. Just remember that you can do anything you set your mind to.” “At the beginning of the season we were just learning who we were to each other,” She looked into each and every one of her teammate’s eyes, “Now we know. We are a family. I love each and every one of you. Now let’s get out there and show those Smugglers what happens when you go against the FAMILY!” TAG: @Trieste & @Vehn & Everyone else indirectly, if you went to the awards.