Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
718 years before the Battle of Yavin (683BrS:3:31) in the Alderaan system: Alderaan (Aldera: Royal Palace) and in the Csilla system: Csilla (Csaplar: Doctor Chode's office).
Doctor Nata'lya Chode, Count Sierrus Dakkar, Baron Germanicus Rodney (Darth Crassus), Magnus Rodney, and Baroness Raeni Rodney (Darth Radic).

Count Sierrus Dakkar was moving with a sense of purpose that morning within the Aldera Royal Palace. He was dressed in the formal robes of governance in shades of navy and light blue. He was looking for someone, and when he found him he was going to erupt. His face looked tense and angry, and as he went from room to room in the massive palace his inability to find who he was looking for he only became increasingly angry. Finally, he spied Baron Germanicus Rodney and his new bride, which made him raise his right index finger and get right in his face. "Baron, your *son* ... if you insist upon me calling him that ... has stolen my hat. I demand you find him, return my hat, and punish him accordingly," he said, as he slammed the base of his walking stick into the ornate marble floor of the palace. His eyes moved towards Raeni, giving her a condescending look to imply that neither she, nor the Twi'lek, belonged.

Baron Germanicus Rodney did not want to skulk about the palace, but if he was ever going to be King he had to engage in the politics that would generate support for his claim. Sierrius Dakkar was one of his chief rivals, but as he was a generation older than him they had come to hate one another. Sierrus knew Germanicus' father and was his contemporary, and viewed the young boy as a 'weird' man who spent far too much time alone with animals. He was initially flustered when Sierrus got in his face, but when the subject turned to young Magnus he found himself becoming angry. "How do you know it was him who stole it?" he asked, but he tended to believe the man, as Magnus had proven to be a handful. "If you're going to bring a charge like that and slander my son, you'd best have proof!" he said, as he puffed out his chest and got back in his face.

Baroness Raeni Rodney wasn't exactly thrilled with the prospect of hanging around the palace. It was necessary, and even more necessary because adopting Magnus had forced the couple into his positive light. People had begun to notice them. The time to make their move was now ... that didn't mean she had to enjoy it. She turned when Sierrus Dakkar came at them, throwing accusations and implying terrible things about their son. Raeni was instantly flung into a mother thranta-like state where she wanted nothing more than to peck the man's eyes out. She stood behind Germanicus to back him up. "Yes, Count Dakkar, please lay out your proof." Sierrus made her feel like an outsider worse than all the others. It wouldn't have surprised her if Magnus had stolen his hat. She wouldn't have blamed the boy either. Raeni wanted to rip the man in half. She was now eight weeks pregnant. She found, as things progressed, that she had less patience for the world around her. The morning sickness was only half of her problems. Her temper was the other.

"Get out of my face, *boy*," Sierrus said to Germanicus, sneering at him, as he moved to produce his small padd. "Proof?! You dare question me. I am a Count, and you are but a mere Baron," he said, as he turned away from the man to keep from committing an action he might regret. "He held up the padd for both of them to view which played a clear holorecording of the young Magnus Rodney running to the hat rack while he was in the bathroom, trying on all of the hats, and finally setting upon and stealing his hat. "There. There is your proof. The boy is a menace. It is because he is a Twi'lek. Not one of us. A little HoloNet press doesn't make him of noble blood," he told them, before placing the padd back in his pocket. "Deal with the situation, or I'll contact the guard," he said, before turning on his heels and marching away angrily.

Ooh, Magnus. Raeni watched the video of the troublesome little Twi'lek causing chaos. She didn't blame him for stealing Sierrus' hat. The guy was, frankly, terrible. The anger was rising inside of Raeni far too rapidly. She felt hot around the neck. Her eyes narrowed as the man stormed off. "I don't like the way he talks to you. Nor do I appreciate the way he talks about our family." She rose her hand discreetly, causing invisible forces to trip the Count on his way out. Her hand fell quickly. "Maybe he'll fall to his doom." She mumbled, turning away from the Dakkar man. She looked outside a viewport at the city below. Raeni needed a moment to regain composure. The next time Sierrus complained would be their last if she didn't calm down. "What games do we need to play here to succeed? When you become King, will you allow me to kill that man?"

Germanicus practiced his breathing exercises. With a thought he could have extinguished Sierrus' life, but that would just raise questions ... questions that he could not risk having answered when he felt on the verge of greatness. "He is a relic ... like my father was," he said to her, as he heard the Count fall, letting out a groan of pain before calling out for a palace attendant to help him. "You must be judicious when you use your powers," he warned her, but he knew the wicked old man deserved it for what he said about their son. "In time he will pay. They will *all* pay, but despite my power he *is* a Count and I am a mere Baron," he told her, with a sigh of great lamentation. "The King must die. All claims will be viewed equally. We must strengthen my claim by gaining support of the other noble houses," he said to her, as he moved next to her, to look out at Aldera. "When I am King you can kill them all," he told her, as his hands clung to the railing, gripping so tightly that his knuckles turned white.

She took heed of his warning though they both knew the Count deserved more than a little trip. The dark side was creeping back under her control. "The King is old and ill. Let me take him out so you can become King." Raeni said coldly. "You've been patient all your life. Don't you think not being patient could be rewarding this time?" She placed a hand on top of his. Raeni had spent time with the hens of the powerhouse families in attempt to gain their support earlier in the day. It was hard to hold together the act associated with politics. She certainly was in a world that wasn't her own...but she was working to *make* it her own. "I'll remember that, Germy. I'll kill every last one of these idiots who ever pointed their finger and laughed at you. I will arrange something special for Sierrus. Something a little more fitting for such a vile man." She sighed. If she continued to think about it, she was only going to end up killing someone right then and there.

"If the King were to die today some Organa, Antilles, or even Dakkar would become King," Germanicus tried to convince Raeni. "The name Rodney means nothing ... for now," he said, as he moved closer towards her, wrapping his arms around her. "We need to find our son before the Alderaan Guard does ... or worse ... Sierrius," he said to her, before moving in to place a quick kiss upon her lips. He was glad that she believed in him. He needed her to believe in him, because there were moments when he believed people like Count Dakkar and crumbled with self doubt. "There's nothing I'm looking forward to after my coronation than that, my love," he said, as he took her by the arm and began to lead her through the castle to seek out their son. "Can you sense him?" he asked her, in a way to imply he was testing her, but the truth was her senses were more highly attuned than his.

"For now..." She said. They still had work to do. Her arms draped around his neck. They shared quick affection before Raeni began reaching out for her son. "Yes." She said, sighing. "He's not far." Her hand ran over his arm. "We need to collect Magnus and go home to pick up my jacket. You're taking me to Csaplar on Csilla. We have an important date." She informed him vaguely while leading him through the palace. "Here he is." She reported, walking through the doorway into what had once been a buffet room for royalty. Now, Magnus was eating a piece of cake. He wore Sierrius' hat on his head. It had a wild feather on the top of it. It had been eye catching for the boy. "Magnus, we're going home now." She called out, offering his hand. Their link through the force made it impossible for her to truly lose him.

"Yummy, yummy in my tummy!" Magnus sung. He sank into his third piece of chocolate cake. He was having a fun day. First, he terrorized an Alderan guard, then he found this really cool hat...and now this food! He was beginning to feel sleepy from running around. A smile instantly appeared on his face when he saw his parents. "Hi mama! Hi daddy!" The boy came when Raeni called him. He gave her a cake smeared hand. The poor nanny droid would be the one held responsible for washing up the boy and getting him down for a nap while he came down from his sugar high. "Lookit!" He said, pointing to the oversized hat. "I found it."

"What are you up to?" Germanicus asked her, as he followed her through the ornate, winding corridors of the royal palace. As he predicted she was able to quickly find him, as it seemed the two had developed a connection through the force that had thus far eluded him. "Cake? Where'd he get cake?" he asked, laughing slightly, as he knelt down in front of the boy. "Magnus you can't go around taking things that don't belong to you," he explained to him, as he pointed to the hat. He hated Sierrus, but he could not have the Alderaan Guard getting too close to the situation. His eyes scanned up to Raeni, as they had yet to decide which would be the disciplinarian in the family. While he had killed dozens, and terrorized hundreds, he could not bring himself to scold the boy.

Raeni only winked. "You'll find out." Usually it was Germanicus who took her on the wild rides without telling her anything. It was her turn. She smiled when she saw her boy. Her hand locked with his. As parents, they were still trying to find their footing. They suddenly had a four year old, after all. She backed up her husband. "That hat is Count Sierrius'. You're going to have to apologize next time you see him. I know you didn't mean to, but you made him feel upset. That's why taking things that aren't yours is wrong." She patted her Twi'lek son on the head. "I want you to be on your best behavior for the nanny droid tonight. Mommy and daddy will be out for a few hours. I'll come say goodnight to you before bed." She promised. She linked her free hand with Germanicus and led all three of them from the palace. Magnus seemed to digest what his parents were teaching him. He had been a social recluse for so long. Raeni realized it was going to take work to get him on the right track. Instead of berate him, she wrapped an arm around the boy and cuddle with him in the speeder all the way home. "We're not mad, Magnus. It was a learning experience... Next time, you'll get in trouble." There was a healthy amount of threat to her words.

Germanicus Rodney did not know why he was taking them to the remote world of Csilla in the unknown regions. As his starfighter exited hyperspace the remote world came to dominate their viewport. "I don't suppose you're ready to tell me what this little jaunt is about?" he pressed her, as he began accelerating the craft towards the planet. Few people even knew this world existed, and he struggled to recall whether he had ever been so far from home. As they descended into the atmosphere the frozen tundra that appeared in front of them made him feel cold. As he guided the ship down onto the landing platform in the capital city of Csaplar, he turned to look over his shoulder at her. "Well?!" he asked her, impatiently, as he could not stand secrets.

Raeni had let her husband suffer more than long enough. She figured it was time to let him in on the truth. Once the ship had landed, She unbuckled herself and began putting on her long, faux fur jacket. She knew how cold it was going to be. Already, the interior of the ship felt like it had dipped ten degrees. Her hands came to rest on his shoulders. She gave them a squeeze. "We're going to see how our baby is doing. We're also going to determine if you have a heir or not." She informed him. "I did not want to see a doctor on Alderaan or any of the neighboring planets. They would leak the information to the press. I want to control when people find out. I will not be subjected to loose-lipped doctors. I have found a Chiss doctor that I felt would be perfect. She's good at what she does, but I believe she may be weak minded too. Controllable." She explained herself.

"We came all the way out here for a doctor? You could have at least told me to pack a jacket," Germanicus teased her, before he opened the cockpit, exposing them to the cold. Within moments he was freezing, which caused him to leap from the cockpit down to the platform. He then turned, offering her his hand to help down the stairs. Regardless of whether she had an heir, she was pregnant, and he could not allow anything happen to her or his offspring. "As long as her office has heat I am sure it will be fine," he said, as he placed his hands into his pockets and began moving into the city. "Are these Chiss naturally blue or are they all just frozen?" he asked her, unable to let go of the subject of the temperature. Privately, he wanted to know whether they were to have a son or not, but he did not want her to know that so she would not be disappointed if it was to be a girl.

She laughed. "I'll share with you." She opened up her jacket with a bright grin on her face. The cold winds seemed to whip right through everything she was wearing. She could only imagine how cold he was. Raeni took his hand and proceeded down the stairs. "I'm not making any promises." Her arm hooked in with his. The cold was intense. Suddenly, Raeni began to like Alderaan a lot more. There was a lot riding on what they'd find out at the doctor today. She needed a son. *They* needed a son. There was no telling what gender the baby would be. Raeni tried to prepare herself. If it was a girl, she would still love her daughter. She anxiously worried about how Germanicus would react. If nothing else, they'd have to keep trying as soon as possible. Raeni, normally the strong one, was folding over this. Each step they took towards the doctor's office brought on more stress. She laughed dryly at his comment. "They're all just frozen. You'd be blue too if you lived here all the time." She pointed out, guiding him into the office of Doctor Nata'lya Chode.

To both of their gratitude, the inside of the office was heated. There were several other women in various states of pregnancy waiting to see the doctor. Raeni quickly signed in. She could barely sign the datapad from how much she was shaking. When she planted herself in a seat, she looked pale. "What if it's a girl?" She asked, placing her hand in her chin. "My mother only had one child. A girl. My grandmother had three children. All girls. Even my great grandmother only had girls." She rubbed her temples. Raeni was winding herself up into one hell of a tight coil. "I told my body to make a boy but it never listens to me."

Germanicus was glad to share Raeni's coat, as it made him warm to be so close to her. Finally, and mercifully, they arrived at the office of their doctor. They had come to see about the baby, but now he wondered if he needed to be treated for hypothermia. He sat down next to her, furiously rubbing his hands together to get warm. "If it's a girl then we will love her, and we will get you pregnant again until we have a son. It's simple. Don't concern yourself," he said, trying to calm her down. As he waited impatiently for their turn to be called he suddenly realized that the sooner they were seen, the sooner they would be back out in the cold. For the first time in his life he was not frustrated with having to wait.

Though Raeni was eighteen years old, she found herself counting approximately how many childbearing years she had left to figure out how many chances at having a son they had. The nanny bot would be busy ... but so what? She thought they might be able to have a dozen before it became difficult. She continued to break down mathematical calculations until Germanicus woke her up. She reached over, placing her much warmer hands on his. If pregnancy had one superpower, it was making her feel like she was three hundred degrees all the time. "You're right, you're right." Raeni tried to swallow. Her throat was so dry that it hurt. "I'm going to get something to drink." She informed him, forcing her legs to help her stand. She made her way over towards the water cooler. She grabbed a small cup and pressed back the handle on the cooler to let out water. It accidently broke off in her hand.

"No!" She awkwardly held the broken piece of the water cooler. Meanwhile, a nurse had appeared and was calling her by a slaughtered version of her name. "Rainery?" The nurse called out. Raeni quickly threw the handle in the garbage and acted like nothing happened. The tension quickly began to build again. Germanicus said he'd still love a girl...but would he *really* still love a girl? She made sure he had joined up with them before they went into the examination room, where the woman immediately took Raeni's height, weight, and blood pressure.

"Your blood pressure is a little high." The woman commented.

Germanicus watched as she broke the water cooler, which let him know how stressed out she had become. He rose from his feet and rushed behind her, placing his hand upon her shoulder. "Are you okay? Did you cut yourself?" he asked her, but before he could get an answer they were brought back into the examination room. Now he was becoming impatient, as he watched them discuss everything *but* her pregnancy. He did not care about her blood pressure, and was here for only one reason. He knew, however, that they were just dealing with a nurse. They needed their doctor, but where was she? While Raeni was getting examined he was still upright, pacing back and forth in the room, and making everyone nervous.

Suddenly, Raeni wanted to leave. All of this was far too overwhelming. She feared failing Germanicus as her master. She feared failing him as his wife more. He did nothing but show concern and support for her. The nurse kept asking her so many questions. Some were about her pregnancy, while otherwise were directed to their family medical history. She had no idea how many questions she answered before the nurse took her finger. She used a small machine to prick her finger and suck blood from it. The blood would provide them with an answer to the gender crisis. The nurse left them after that. She promised the doctor would be in soon, but soon wasn't good enough. *Immediately* was good enough. She remained seated on the examination table, watching Germanicus pace a path into the floor. She anxiously plucked loose hairs and tucked them behind her ear. "Can you get me something to drink, dear? I feel like I'm going to be sick."

"Huh? Wha-?" Germanicus asked, as he snapped his head in her direction to look at her. "Oh. Okay," he said, as he stepped out of the examination room and back into the waiting room. He moved towards the water cooler, but that's right ... she had broken it. Grumbling he left the warm confines of the doctor's office and moved through the streets of the city, desperately searching for some place that sold drinks. "What am I doing?" he asked himself, as he thrust his hands into his pockets and proceeded into the frozen streets on a death march to find a beverage for his pregnant wife. He was the Dark Lord of the Sith, but right now he could not even conjure a glass of water.

The great battle against morning sickness was currently taking place in her stomach. She laid back and waited for Germanicus to return. Opening up her coat, she looked down at her flat belly. "The only thing I want is for you to be healthy." She whispered, having heard the nurse remark that they would be running more than gender tests on Raeni's blood. "I'm taking care of you as best as I can." Germanicus had been gone for three minutes...three minutes too many. What was taking him? She started working herself into a storm of anxiety when Doctor Chode showed up. She was a middle aged Chiss woman who wore her black hair in a tight pony tail. Her red eyes were examining a datapad containing all the precious results to Raeni's tests. "H-Hi Doctor." She needed Germanicus *now*.

Doctor Chode smiled. "Hello, Raeni. I was just reviewing your results. From what I can see, your baby is very healthy. I would like to ask you some more questions, then we'll take a peek at your baby." The woman reported in a leveled voice. She set her datapad down so she could put gloves on her hands. "Do you wish to know the gender?" She asked, approaching Raeni.

Raeni needed Germanicus like five minutes ago.

"Have I missed it?" Germanicus shouted as he burst forth into the examination room, cradling an entire case of fruit beverages. He was exhausted, panting, as he had searched high and low for something to drink. When he arrived he saw the doctor was there, and quickly offered Raeni one of the drinks, before shifting his focus to the doctor. "I'm the husband. I mean the father. The father and the husband," he stammered, as he tried to focus himself. "Did we find out if it is a boy or a girl yet?" he asked, as he had not overheard their conversation. Damn her thirst, he thought to himself, as he waited for answers from the doctor.

Relief blinded all other emotions inside of Raeni when he returned right at the nick of time. "Thank you!" She suddenly sounded a lot happier now that he had found something for her to drink. She opened it up and drank a sip. Her stomach hadn't decided what it wanted to do yet. Her free hand grasped Germanicus'. "No. We don't know what gender yet." She told him. "Doctor Chode, we do want to know the gender." She wanted to know *now*. Germanicus' lack of patience had rubbed off on her.

"Hello." The woman said calmly like he hadn't surprised her. "I was informing your wife that your child appears to be healthy. It seems your wife is approximately eight weeks pregnant." She said as she guided Raeni to lay back. The woman had her adjust her top and her bottoms to reveal her pelvis. It wouldn't be long before Raeni's body began making the physical shift. "Have you considering birthing techniques? The next thirty-two weeks will pass." The woman had no emotion about her voice. Despite 32 weeks being a long time, she made it sound like it was a week away. Raeni tensed, shaking her head in response. Before the doctor could do anymore damage, she brought her tool over Raeni's pelvis. A small TV-screen on the opposite side of the room displayed a picture of Raeni's womb, complete with the image of a little tiny baby. There was still so much growing left to do for that baby, but it had arms, legs, a head, all easily identifiable. For Raeni, as her eyes settled on the image, everything changed.

Germanicus' eyes snapped to the screen excitedly, as he got a first glimpse at the child that Raeni was carrying. "I did not think we would be able to identify so much, so early," he told her, as he moved towards her, placing his hand upon her shoulder for support. "Can you see?" he asked her, as his attention briefly shifted from the screen to his wife. "Well, doctor? What is it?" he asked, as his patience grew thin. He felt like he was watching a competition show on the holonet and the results were being drawn out as long as possible to get people to watch the entire hour.

Raeni said not a word. She was mentally processing what had been placed in front of her. In her mind, she thought the child would be no more than an embryo. Instead, the child was incredibly human looking. Her blue eyes were wide. At one point, she'd been just as helpless as the child in her womb. Her mother had tried, and failed, to protect her from the cruelties of living as a slave. In that moment, Raeni's ears muted. She was focused on that fetus, which made slow movements inside of her that she witnessed on the screen directly in front of her. She wouldn't be like her mother. She would protect her child like a real mother should. Whereas with Magnus, motherhood had not come naturally, it was rapidly arriving for Raeni and Germanicus'' first blood child.

Doctor Chode was speaking again. She delivered the information the couple desired so much in a voice that sounded flat out bored. "The test confirms that it is a boy." She said, red eyes staring off at the screen to ensure the fetus was developing properly.

Germanicus paused for a moment to be certain that he heard Doctor Chode correctly. His hand moved to rest upon Raeni's, clutching it, and squeezing it for support. "A boy..." he said, as if he still not believe it. His eyes moved from the doctor, to his wife, before coming to rest back on the doctor. "You're certain?" he asked, as the realization of every dream was beginning to come to pass. In that moment he felt the warm embrace of the light, which caused him to feel overwhelmed to the point of nausea. In that moment he broke eye contact with the doctor, and instead looked to the floor helplessly. He tried to steady himself ... he tried to collect himself ... but in the end all he could think of was that his love for Raeni had created new life and soon they would have a son. The implications of this were far reaching, and perhaps would play into his plot to move on the throne of Alderaan, but for now all he could do is bask in the glow of newly discovered fatherhood.

"There is no doubt." The doctor said coldly. Doctor Chode clearly didn't have the best bedside manners. She ignored the couple while gathering what information she needed on her datapad.

Raeni didn't hear the doctor at first. She was wrapping her mind around the fact that she and Germanicus now had a child. The hate inside of her started to melt away, for so much of her life had been about hate. She had hated her captors and fellow slaves. Until the day she exploded, the hated her life. Her hate continued to bleed into her new life, but, for once, she had things she loved too.

Germanicus' touch lifted her from her thoughts. She looked at him. "A boy..? *Really*?" Her hand crept upward to rest on top of his. Her eyes fell back on the screen. A *heir*. Everything had worked out. She had given him a wife, a son, and even more. Even if they hadn't been able to manipulate the conception process, it seemed fate had smiled down on them. Her hand squeezed his softly. Her other hand brushed away the developing tears at the corners of her eyes. "Leave us." Raeni suddenly said with a wave of her hand. Doctor Chode said nothing. The Chiss woman simply turned her back on the couple and left. "A boy..." She said, running her fingers through her hair as she sat up. "Can you believe it?"

It took until after the doctor left for Germanicus to process what had happened. "Thank you for giving me a son," he told her, calmly, as if he was on the other side of the galaxy. His head slowly raised until he came to look her in the eyes. There were tears welling up in each corner, but before wiping them away he moved his head slowly towards hers. His lips connected and he held his face there for a tender moment. When the kiss broke he was smiling across at her, looking at her in a new light. "It is the will of the force," he proclaimed, as his hand continued to hold hers. This news has warmed my heart on this frozen world.

Her heart was beating so quickly in her chest. Everything had aligned, though, at that moment, it wasn't about their dreams to take the throne in Alderaan. It was about the family that they were creating. She felt a calm, softness overcome her once they were eye-to-eye. Raeni saw how much it all affected him. "Thank you for giving me a son." She parroted the words back to him, for it had taken two to tango. Her hands grasped his cheeks in such an affectionate way that it was easy to forgot how much blood stained them. As they kissed, her heart continued to come more and more alive. Their son would not live like either one of them had. People wouldn't ostracize him like they had Germanicus. No one would ever enslave him. For once, she felt like she *could* do a good job raising their son as well as their adopted son. Raeni smiled. "Let's go home, my love. Preferably before you develop frostbite." She chuckled, inching towards him again to rub her nose against his. The remaining ice around her heart had melted as Raeni's love for her family grew.

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