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A Not So Ordinary Day
Author: Siduri Archanes

Characters: Armand Isard (and a cameo by a young Ysanne Isard). Since as far as I know, there's been no actor cast as Armand, I've taken to imagining him being played by Rufus Sewell, in his "Fortinbras" uniform from Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet since he has the right intensity for the character- http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v516/SiduriArchanes/RSasFortinbras.jpg to see what I mean.

Category: Armand's point-of-view, domestic type scene; what happens beyond closed doors (no, not THOSE doors. wink)

Time Period: Prior to Episode III (NO SPOILERS)

Rated: G (this is really tame stuff)

Disclaimers: God-King Lucas and Michael Stackpole own Iceheart and her daddy-dear. I'm just taking them out to play for a little while, filling in the spaces with my own version of what canon doesn't cover.

*Coruscant*

I am a man who believes in order and stability. This war has started to grate on me and frankly, it irks me that we are unable to get our hands on all the information needed to put an end to all this nonsense started by Count Dooku. The Republic has stood firm for generations; it cannot and will not fall apart for the sheer arrogance of a single being.

I smile to myself; I'm formulating rhetoric for my own self, it seems. I can barely tell where Isard the strategist ends and Isard the man begins. My own wants, needs, and desires have been channeled into my work. I can barely recall a time where there was more than the need for success and power...when there was a need for love. Now my love is for the Republic, and yes, although I do have a daughter, there are very few that I have allowed to know of my personal life, of my past. I want to protect my Ysanne, and those who would see harming her as a way of getting at me. Yes, I know the game quite well; well enough to have employed the very same tactics against the children of my enemies. I will not have my own daughter drawn into this fold.

Ysanne. It's been too long since I've seen her, and I mean to rectify this. I have traded my uniform for a rather nondescript black shirt and pants, along with a black hooded cloak. The designs are so plain that it is almost Jedi-like, but I've always been a man who has favored simple, clean lines, and it is almost strange being out of uniform. This is just another testament that I have not lived for myself in quite some time.

I pull the hood over my head and then slide a belt with a blaster inside its holster around my waist. It's not my standard weapon, but a more down-and-dirty model that has been modified for usage on the streets of Coruscant. Although I am not a Jedi, I know how not to be seen leaving the official center of the city for the private chambers where my Ysanne resides. No, I do not live with her; that would compromise her security. Instead, I see her as often as I can, as often as my work will allow. One day she will understand why I have made these sacrifices for her.

I meander through the back alleys, mixing among the droids and servants of those who rule the galaxy. None bother to give me more than a first glance; they have work that must be done. Besides, a droid can easily be reprogrammed and a servant have an accident. Those who had tried to hinder me when my mind was set would not be treated lightly.

The speeder bike is where it is supposed to be: it's a non-military model from a few year's back. There's carbon scoring on it, so I know that it's gone through other hands before. None of this matters as long as it works, and my subordinates know that when I ask for something, it had better work.

I straddle the bike and power up its systems. Everything seems to be operational. Ah, yes. The comlink. I reach into my pocket and turn it off; it's best if I were not disturbed.

It's time. With a howl, the bike takes off, and I'm flying through the streets of Coruscant, the cloak flying behind me like a dark shadow. I fade into the masses of traffic; speeders and all sorts of craft clogging up the lanes, with aliens from every corner of the galaxy glaring and cussing at each other as one tries to get an inch ahead of the others. I'm beginning to lose patience, so I dive, dipping down several levels until I can find an open road, and I cut across here. The architecture is considerably less ornate, the people less affluent, and I, seem like I am one of them, instead of one of the masters of the universe from the world above.

The route is not a long one, but there are many twists and turns, and as Coruscant is a living, changing city, the landmarks are not necessarily the same each time I make the trip.

I drop a few more levels, just to alter my course so that it is never completely static; I have no reason to suspect that I've been followed, but patterns can be deadly and you can never be overly cautious. Especially not in my line of work.

When I get to the right location, I yank the bike back up, my hands gripping the handlebars tightly as gravity works against me. Almost there....almost there. Yes! Now! I punch the bike, leveling it out just one layer below the one where I'd begun my journey, but I'm nowhere near the Senate or the Jedi Temple for that matter. It's a residential district in a comfortable neighborhood, not too refined where my current appearance would demand attention, but hardly a taste of the underworld, from which I'd just scraped the surface.

I leave the speeder bike in my customary place: inside an enclosed area designed for those who live in the complex to keep their vehicles. It's a short walk to the entrance, which I gain access to by means of a palm and a retina scan, for which I lower the hood of the cloak.

I'm greeted at the door by the droid that serves as the bellman. He offers to take my cloak once I'm in the vestibule, but I decline and sweep past him to enter the turbolift, taking it to the penthouse, where the entire floor belongs to my Ysanne and her guardian.

When the turbolift reaches the top, the doors slide open to reveal a hallway, antiseptic and bare apart for the single door. There are security measures in place here: lasers and forcefields that can be activated at will, but these have been deactivated before I approach the door.

My hand touches the lock and I can feel the familiar jolt of pain pass through me. It's a sophisticated system that only permits entry to those whose DNA coding matches its programming, else it sets off a number of other alarms. But once the pain is gone, the door slides open soundlessly, revealing my private retreat: the one place where I am Director no longer, but a man.

The floors are hardwood, imported from Kashyyyk, and the glow-globes cast a soft light throughout the penthouse. But my daughter knows my footsteps, that very particular sound of my boots against the wood, and I can hear her shout, "Father!" before she sees my black-clad form approaching her. She is still fairly young, and I don't think she's been told exactly what I do for a living yet. I will explain it all to her one day, when she is old enough to understand that my lies and prolonged absence from her daily life were for her protection.

Instead, now I'm savoring the moment, pretending as if I were just any father, and my daughter just any child. She runs into my outstretched arms, and I marvel at how tall she is now. I hold her, and then gently run my hands through her long black hair before they come to rest on her cheeks. Her eyes are mis-matched, and have been since birth, but they do not mar her angelic face, even now as they are opened wide with wonder. Yes, she will bleed and become a woman, and will have others seek her attention, her favor, one day. But this is all years' away.

"My darling Ysanne," I say as I slowly release my hold on her, unfastening and handing my cloak to her guardian, who has appeared quietly, having come up from behind the girl. "I've missed you very much, my dear."

"Has she been well-behaved, Ch'antara?" I ask, cocking my head to the side, speaking to my daughter's guardian: a human woman appearing to be about 10-15 years my elder, with similar coloring that one might have suspected that she was blood kin to us. She is not, but she is fiercely loyal to me, as I would not have entrusted my only child to anyone.

"That she has," Ch'antara replied, giving both Ysanne and myself a smile before she went to hang my cloak. I respect this attention to detail, for there are droids and servants aplenty, but Ch'antara is essentially the "lady" of the house, and her word is law in my absence. That Ch'antara has taken my outer garment from me is still a sign that the hierarchy has not been toppled; she knows that she holds her position because of me.

Ysanne was smiling brightly, and then grabbed my hand, tugging me toward her own rooms. "Come, Father! She said excitedly. There's so much to tell you..."

And I, I returned the smile and allowed to let my daughter lead me. Yes, there was much I would still need to teach her of the world, when she was ready. Just a few more years, though, until she turned 13, when I had decided that I would take the first steps to broadening her education and bring her closer to me so that she might be able to observe and learn. She would be a woman then, at least in terms of her body beginning to mature, and so, her mind must as well. I hoped that the war would be over then, as well, and that the future would be a far more happy time for us all.

But for now, I'd put aside the politics of the Senate, and the secret whisperings of my spies across the galaxy. Today, none of this mattered, for I was nothing more now than Armand the father, and today belonged to my daughter.

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