El-Nay Darr had been looking to do something nice for
Sierra, and had chosen to throw a baby shower for her.
Unfortunately, most of Sierra's friends had been killed
during the destruction of Alderaan, so she was forced to
invite her fellow officers. Although she meant it to be
a casual event, all of the new and unfamiliar faces
caused her to remain within the safety of her orange
Nite Owl armor with her helmet strapped securely to her
head. The hardest part was finding a way to keep all of
the desert safe from the youngest members of the Rodney
family. As she looked to the chronometer she realized
the guests would soon be arriving, which caused her to
fret, and pace around anxiously.
Flight Lieutenant Haven Anson had collected a number
of female officers from the Retributor and filed them
into the Kwai after receiving the strangely worded
message from El-Nay. No female officer aboard the ship
would dare refuse an invitation from Major Rodney, as
they viewed their future promotions tied to impressing
the Grand Moff's wife and adjutant. "The shields are
up," she mused to the others, unaware that it was
designed to keep a family of ducks on the grounds of the
estate who at times desperately wanted to flee the
Rodney girls. "Shuttle Kwai to Terril Naval Base, lower
the deflector shield," she announced over the comm,
which allowed her to land the craft on the platform
adjacent to the Rodney estate. She reached down to pick
up a small gift that her father, Captain Anson, had
recommended and then descended the ramp with the others.
Ensign Bethany Sheppard carried with her a tray of
homemade sweets that her mother had sent from Berchest.
Ever since Colonel Zevrin had been taken out of action
her mother's care packages had once again managed to get
to her. She had fully expected to be tasked with
watching the children, and she made it a point to hold
the platter of snacks as high as possible so that the
Squibs could not get it.
Commander Allegra Ames was carrying an ornately
wrapped box, as she wanted to sufficiently bribe the
Governor's new adjutant. She had gone much further in
the Navy than someone as incompetent as her was likely
to go. In fact, she owed her latest promotion to Colonel
Zevrin, whose influence was no longer in a position to
help her. With the Senate disbanded her father was no
longer in a position to help her either. Therefore, she
needed to make a good impression with Major Rodney and
this gift was the first in a series of steps designed to
butter her up.
Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca had to look up what a
baby shower was. At first, she thought it was a ritual
cleaning, but after spending some time on the HoloNet
she discovered it was just another human exercise in
exchanging gifts. She had collected a piece of local
Esselian art that she felt held significance, but she
did not bother to wrap it. She was the last in a series
of officers who filed into the Rodney estate, feeling
quite uncomfortable in such a foreign social setting.
However, she was flattered, as an alien, that she had
been invited to such a formal and public event at the
Grand Moff's personal residence.
Commander Kerrie Kiley flew the short distance from
the Void to the Rodney estate where she was intent on
doing her best to support Major Rodney, particularly
after her encounter with Inquisitor Thrope. She was
surprised when El-Nay contacted her, as ever since she
fled the Void they had little personal contact. When she
arrived she saw the officers of the Retributor, and
moved quickly towards the ground. In her hands was a
small, stuffed bantha, which was similar to the one her
parents had given her prior to her being given up to the
Mabari for training. She was actually surprised that
El-Nay had managed to pull off such an event, but then
again, the night was only starting.
Major Sierra Rodney was completely unaware of
El-Nay's plans to throw her a baby shower. In fact, she
was out cold in bed after a long night with Bruce. She
had promised her husband that she'd join him on the
Retributor after a short nap, but, when the baby didn't
wake up, she didn't either. Four hours later, Sierra
awoke in her bed feeling rested. "Hello there." She said
as she picked Bruce up from his bassinet. Visibly, Bruce
was already getting bigger. He was a hungry little guy
and it had helped him to put on the weight that he
needed. Sierra started feeling significantly less
worried about something happening as a result of him
being a premie. She stayed in her room long enough to
change Bruce, feed him, then put on her own uniform.
With Bruce cuddling against her chest, Sierra made her
way downstairs slowly. She was nervous upon seeing
El-Nay pacing near the foyer. She was even more
surprised to see the familiar faces from the Retributor.
She smiled nervously. "Hello everyone." Life had been
such total chaos since Bruce was born. Even his room
wasn't fully assembled, but he would not need his crib
for several more months. The family had scrambled to
gather the necessities for the baby. Sierra noticed that
everyone was carrying gifts. As a woman who grew shy at
such attention, she began to blush. She looked at
El-Nay, who had become an even more important part in
her life after being injured by the Inquisitor. In
Sierra's eyes, the Mandalorian had repaid her life debt
over and over again. "W-What's going on here?" She
asked. She had a feeling this wasn't about the situation
on Chandrila. Even Kerrie was there, whom she had not
spent time with in awhile. There was no time to catch up
with her when she brought Melickielickie to the estate.
She wondered if she might be able to smooth things over
between El-Nay and Kerrie, but then again, it was Zara
who was the matchmaker of the family. She adjusted how
she was holding Bruce so he could see everyone too.
El-Nay stepped forward towards Sierra, before bowing
her head in obedience. "Milady, this is your baby
shower. I know they normally happen before the birth,
but..." she began, but she did not quite know how to
phrase what came next. "...but since he came earlier
than planned I didn't want to cancel it," she explained,
before stepping aside so that everyone else could greet
her. "So take a seat and I'll try to corral the Squibs,"
she said, while smirking beneath her helmet. "And best
of all, since you're no longer pregnant you can actually
drink some of the celebratory wine!" she said, as she
motioned over towards the small arrangement of food and
drinks she had arranged for.
From the railing on the second level of the Rodney
estate Ewwiekewwieikkie had come bounding to see what
was going on. "Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!" she said, as she
began hopping up and down. "Melickielickie! Callista!
Everyone is here and there's food ... and ... and ...
and presents!" she said, before grabbing hold of the
banister and slid down to the bottom. She tumbled into a
bundle of blue fur before rising up and looking towards
everyone ... and the food. She surged forward, but
quickly found herself obstructed by El-Nay. "Ugh! Ugh!
Ugh!" she grunted, as she tried, unsuccessfully to shove
Sierra's cheeks turned bright red. She also wanted to
cry. It was so sweet of El-Nay to throw a baby shower
for her. She looked at her friend with teary eyes.
"T-Thank you." She stuttered, wrapping an arm around
El-Nay in her armor as best as she could. Her thoughts
trailed shortly as she wondered if she should drink
anything or not. Ewwiekewwieikkie's words from the other
day were very cryptic. Sierra left El-Nay to greet each
guest with their own one-armed hug. "Thank you all for
coming." She said kindly. She only came to a stop once
she was standing in front of Kerrie. "I'm glad to see
you, Kerrie." Sierra couldn't travel to the Void. The
Cathar was there, and she hardly trusted that monster.
"Now you can finally meet Bruce." She adjusted so the
baby could look at her. The boy's fuzzy blonde hair was
slowly filing in. His eyes had already become much
darker as they worked to change to a shade of brown.
"Say hello to your hold-mother, Bruce." She said,
revealing her decision to name Kerrie as one of his
hold-parents. El-Nay was to be the other hold-parent,
she simply hadn't told the Mandalorian yet. Bruce's eyes
met with the bantha plushie in Kerrie hands. He reached
out for it, for *her*.
The girls had been managing some quiet play time in
Ewwiekewwieikkie's room. Callista was holding a pink,
plastic teacup with her pink finger pointed outward
awkwardly. "Lovely day we're having." She said in her
most proper voice. She heard Ewwie calling her. "Food!
I'm starving!" The little girl declared dramatically.
She stood up on her feet and raced down the stairs. The
pounding of children feet could be heard as Callista and
Ewwiekewwieikkie joined the party goers. Melickielickie
was at the very end of the parade of children. She took
the stairs slower, uneasily making her way down them
until she landed in front of El-Nay. "Hungee!" She said,
lifting her arms up toward the woman. "Yummmyyy!" She
stepped forward, lapping at the orange armor like she
thought it would be tasty.
"Thank you for inviting me, Milady," Kerrie replied
in a bow, but she was not quite prepared for what Sierra
was about to say next. "Hold-mother?" she asked, knowing
what the title meant, but uncertain if she was worthy of
such an honor. "Did you speak to the Governor about
this?" she asked, with some trepidation in her voice,
before offering up the stuffed bantha to the baby. "My
parents gave me one of thsee when I was young," she said
to Sierra, as the toy was handed over to the baby. "I
still sleep with it," she admitted, to the great
embarrassment of everyone else in attendance. "He looks
a lot like each of you," she said, a she smiled down at
the baby. She did not want to reveal the contents of her
discussions with Inquisitor Thrope, as that was more
appropriate for a private conversation.
"Girls we'll get you some food," El-Nay Darr said to
Ewwekewwieikkie and Melickielickie, as she used all of
her strength to keep them from crashing the party. "It's
yucky old people food ... uh ... uh ... uh ... salads!"
she told them, before trying to lead them into the
kitchen. "You don't want any of that yucky stuff. I'm
sure there's some pudding in the kitchen," she told
them, as she was perfectly willing to sacrifice Sierra's
pudding now that her pregnancy was over. This was going
to be a long day!
Sierra nodded her head. "Yes. We spoke about it. I
also requested that you come back to the estate. It's
going to happen as soon as everything else calms down."
Sierra knew the situation in Chandrila well. Kerrie and
her commandos were involved in that mess. She wondered
if she should warn Kerrie of the Inquisitor to try to
keep her safe...only, now wasn't the time. "You deserve
to be one of his hold-parents. You did so much to keep
us safe. El-Nay too." She commented, looking in time to
see the Mandalorian convincing the Squibs that there was
nothing good for them to eat. Bruce took the small
bantha from Kerrie. His little hands brushed over it. He
stared at it like he wasn't quite sure what to think of
it. Then, he decided he liked it by kicking his feet.
Sierra smiled at Kerrie's innocent admission. "Your
secret is safe with me. I can already tell he likes it a
lot." Sierra allowed herself to glow with pride over her
boy. She supposed Bruce didn't want to miss his party.
"After everyone else has gone, stay awhile. I have
something I wish to discuss with you." Sierra overheard
El-Nay giving away the last of her pregnancy pudding.
She supposed it would be some time before she needed
"Ewww! Salad!" Callista made a face and choking
noises. "Yucky! I don't like to eat leafs!" She
declared, having been convinced that her auntie's party
only had yucky food. She skipped off to the kitchen with
Nay-Nay. "I like pudding." She told the woman. "And ice
cream and cookies and candy and mashed potatoes and the
color orange!" She said, plucking a container of pudding
from the fridge. "Nay-Nay. Ewwie got ducks now. Did you
Kerrie became overcome with emotion, as tears began
to well up in the corners of her eyes. "It is a great
honor, milady. One I will endeavor to prove myself
worthy of each day," she pledged to Sierra, before
bringing her hand up to wipe away her tears. "Yes. Of
course, milady," she said, before bowing her head and
stepping aside to allow the others a chance to give
their gifts. "I think I'll go and help El-Nay," she
said, before moving off to join El-Nay in the kitchen
with the three young girls. "Need any help?" she asked
her, nervously as she fumbled about. They had not had a
chance to speak since Kaiya ran El-Nay out of the Void.
"Yeah. Salad is gross," El-Nay replied, hoping her
little ruse was helping to keep them away from the
party. She was glad to be away from all the Imperial
officers, whom she feared might be judging her. "Ducks?
No. I didn't see them. You'll have to show me later,"
she said, as she helped everyone with the pudding. "I
got it," she said to Kerrie, before waving her hand to
send her away. She was not ready for this ... not now.
It was Sierra's day and she did not want to take away
from it by hashing things out with her ori'vod.
Ensign Sheppard stepped forward once Kerrie had moved
off, holding up a platter of homemade treats. "Milady,
my mother sent these all the way from Berchest," she
explained, with a nod of her head. "As the children had
devoured all of your food while I was watching them I
thought it only fair I sacrifice some of my food to
replace it," she said, before uncovering it to show both
Sierra and the baby. "I also want you to know that I
always stand ready to help in any way possible," she
said, as she began to squirm and stammer. "I wish to
prove to you, and your husband, that I am a capable
officer and that the incident with your daughter
crashing the command ship on my watch was only a one
time incident," she said, barely able to look the woman
in the eyes now.
Sierra would be glad when Kerrie came back to the
estate. With the Inquisitor hanging around, she wanted
it to happen quickly. She watched Kerrie leave, hoping
that her and El-Nay would find happiness in each other
again. She knew how much El-Nay hated the Void. With
Kerrie positioned here, perhaps everything would begin
to smooth out. It was Bethany who stepped up next.
Sierra knew Bethany well from the times they had used
her to baby sit as punishment for crashing the ship.
When she saw the platter of treats, she thought of how
many times Colonel Zevrin had eaten the poor girl's care
package. Sierra smiled softly. Bruce had no
understanding of what a 'cookie' was, or even solid
food, yet he was staring at the tray like
Ewwiekewwieikkie might. "Thank you, Ensign. I assure you
that your care packages will find you more often." She
plucked a cookie from the tray and ate it. It was good!
"Please pass my compliments along to your mother. These
are delicious." She patted Bethany on the shoulder. She
knew the girl had been made to suffer for the
Ewwiekewwieikkie incident. "You're slowly proving
yourself in our eyes." She reassured the woman. "In
time, you'll be tasked with watching this one as well."
She looked down at her son.
Callista licked the pudding off of her finger. "Mmmm.
I'll show you later. They are so cute, Nay-Nay!" The
little girl wasn't paying attention to the world around
her. As she moved forward, she tripped on Melickielickie
and fell forward into El-Nay, shoving her into Kerrie. "Owwieee.
Sorryyy!" She rubbed her forehead while unknowingly
making the situation so much more uncomfortable for the
"Thank you, milady, I will, and I look forward to
being of service to the young lord whenever I am called
upon," Bethany replied, feeling somewhat hurt that she
was only 'slowly' proving herself to the woman. With one
last smile she moved aside to let the others approach
with her gifts, before moving to place the cookies at a
high enough level where the young children could not get
at them. Unless, of course, they climbed on one
another's shoulders. They were quite clever when it came
to matters of food ... ingenious even.
Meanwhile in the kitchen El-Nay found herself the
victim of a collision, with young Callista slamming into
her, and knocking her into Kerrie in the process. It was
the first time she had been in physical contact with her
some time, which stirred a range of emotions within her.
Under her helmet she was flustered, and her cheeks
glowed red with embarrassment. She quickly squatted down
on the ground to get closer to Callista, to avoid
directly addressing Kerrie for the time being. "Princess
Callista, are you okay?" she asked, as she checked on
her for any signs of injury. Mandalorian iron was one of
the hardest materials in the galaxy, and she was worried
the young girl might have hurt herself more than she was
Commander Ames was up next, wearing a large smile on
her face that she had so excellently learned to fake as
the daughter of a diplomat. "Milady, I went through some
trouble to acquire this," she said, as she extended to
her an ornate wooden box that was wrapped in a bow.
"Since you have your hands full with your son, please
allow me the honor of opening it," she said, with a
brief nod of her head. As she undid the bow she was able
to open the box, revealing an antique rattle. "It is
rumored that this antique once belonged to the first
Duke Claudius of Delaya, son of your husband's dynasty's
founder. It was at various times in the possession of
museums and private collectors before the current owner
was persuaded to relinquish it," she revealed, but went
into no further detail on just how he was persuaded.
"Owwieeee." There was a red mark on her forehead from
where she had collided with the Mandalorian's hard
armor. "It hurts, Nay-Nay." She sniffled, huddling
closer to El-Nay to hug her. The Squibs were
semi-preoccupied by eating every remaining package of
Sierra's pregnancy pudding. Melickelickie's dress had
pudding smeared on the front of it. She had remembered
to use a spoon, but her little hand was so unsteady that
she kept spilling it on herself.
It was Commander Allegra Ames who presented herself
to Sierra next. Sierra offer the woman a smile, while
wondering how El-Nay had gotten all these people to show
up for her baby shower. It was true, her friends, all
except Jelena, had perished when Alderaan was blown up.
She was glad to see that Rikka Dakkar had not shown up
unannounced. She had not seen the woman since Arden
disappeared. It would only be a matter of time, she
thought to herself. Sierra's blue eyes met with the
ornate wooden box, but she had no idea what was inside
of it. By now, Bruce was *very* interested in what was
going on. He'd already gained a cute little bantha
plush. What Allegra revealed was a shocking antique
right from her husband's family. She knew some of the
family history as she was the *only* one who could
handle listening to Livia's wild stories. "Wow!" Sierra
said, her smile growing. "I have no idea how you were
able to track this down but thank you...thank you so
much. I'm happy this rattle can be in our family again."
Sierra was getting teary again. She tried to stop
herself from tearing up in front of Commander Ames, but
couldn't stop. All of a sudden, she stepped forward and
gave the woman a very careful one-armed hug. Bruce cooed
happily against his mother while drooling all over his
"Oh no. Your aunt is going to kill me," El-Nay said,
as she reached down and grabbed hold of Callista, before
picking her up. "Sierra," she called out, as she began
carrying her into the living room. "I'm afraid there's
been an accident. Callista tripped on Melickielickie and
hit her head on my armor," she said, as she began to
tremble with fear. "I swear it was an accident," she
said, as she held up the injured young girl, not sure
what kind of punishment she would be in store for. She
was still traumatized by the encounter with the Grand
Moff following Sierra's injuries and feared the worst.
"It was no trouble whatsoever, milady. Family, as you
know, is very important," Allegra told Sierra, when the
Mandalorian came in carrying the youngster. "Oh how
awful," she said, sensing this as an opportunity to
undermine the dimwitted El-Nay and ingratiate herself to
the Major. She moved past the Mandalorian and went to
the freezer where she was able to find some ice. She
placed it in a bag and moved back to the living room,
where she placed it on the young girl's bruise. "There,
there. Does that feel better?" she asked as she smiled
at the little girl. "...and what a lovely tiara you
have!" she said, smiling sweetly, but out of the corner
of her eyes she looked towards Sierra to see how her act
was going over.
Callista made her way back into the living room with
her hand on her forehead. "Auntieee!" She cried. There
were so many visitors! Callista looked over them, then
to Sierra. "Is there going to be a wedding? Can I be the
flower girl?" She asked, briefly forgetting the ache in
her forehead as she thought about putting on her fancy
dress for a second time. She didn't recognize the lady
who came to take care of her, but she didn't complain
either. Callista was a girl who loved attention. "Ooooh.
Burrrr! It's cold!" She told the lady, but it *did* make
her head feel better. She smiled wide and nodded her
head. One of her hands reached up to touch the tiara in
her hair. "Oh! My uncle gave it to me! Isn't is pretty?!
I love it!" She exclaimed joyfully. "You made me feel
better. Thank you!" Callista gave Allegra a big, bantha
"Oh no." Sierra frowned as she saw Callista crying.
There was nothing more sad than that little girl's big,
blue eyes filled with tears. She was readying to rush to
Callista when Allegra took the lead. It was shocking to
her to see her tend to Callista...and adorable. Sierra
made her way towards El-Nay. "Don't worry, I know it was
an accident. If I wore armor all the time, these kids
would have so many bumps and bruises." Especially since
'pounce parties' had become a thing. She patted El-Nay
on the back, then led her off to the side where they
could talk. She still had to say hello to
Meham'ohorovi'cloca and Haven, but she wanted to talk to
El-Nay first. Sierra smiled. "Thank you for putting all
of this today. It was very kind of you." She kept an eye
on Allegra and Callista in case she was needed. With
Meham'ohorovi'cloca present, she knew it wouldn't be
long before Bruce was asleep again. "I spoke with my
husband about selecting hold-parents. We believe that
you *and* Kerrie deserve that honor the most. You both
have proved, time and time again, how much our family
means to you. It is a loyalty I cannot hope to find
As El-Nay transferred Callista to Allegra, she moved
with Sierra to a more private locale. The news that
Sierra wanted her to be a hold-parent floored her, as
she thought she was being taken aside to be disciplined.
"Milady ... I don't know what to say," she said, as she
suddenly dropped to a knee in front of her. "I
thoroughly pledge myself to you and your family. I will
serve and protect you, and if need be lay down my life,"
she promised her, as she remained in that position until
she was commanded to rise.
"Your uncle gave it to you?" Allegra asked, as she
hugged Callista back tightly. Her uncle was the Grand
Moff, which told her that he must have liked her very
much. This meant that she had to make a good impression
on the youngster. It was then that she carried her over
towards where Ensign Sheppard had hid the cookies. "Do
you want a secret cookie, Princess?" she asked her, with
a big smile, before uncovering the cookies for her.
"It's okay. You can have some. It's a gift from me to
you," she said, as she leaned her whole body forward so
that Callista could easily reach the cookies.
"A secret cookie!?" Her eyes lit up. All damaged to
her head had been long forgotten. "Yes, please." She
said politely. Her eyes wandered over the cookies that
Bethany had brought over. Callista didn't realize that
these were secret cookies that her best friends were
being left out from. She took one cookie, paused, then
took two more. "Ooh! Thank you! Thank you!" She jumped
up to her feet and performed a little dance for Allegra.
"You're my friend now!" She stopped, reaching to her
hand. She was wearing a Drusilla amount of plastic rings
on her fingers. She picked one off and forced it onto
Allegra's pinky finger. "There." With one last smile,
Callista went darting back off into the kitchen. She
gave a cookie to Melickielickie and Ewwie before
nibbling on her own. The little girl simply didn't
forget about those she loved.
Sierra felt El-Nay had received the short end of the
stick far too many times. She was a good person who
deserved to be rewarded. The title of hold-mother was
hers to keep. Sierra's emotions seemed to be continually
getting the best of her today. El-Nay's pledge was very
meaningful to her. Her family was her everything, after
all. "Thank you, El-Nay. Now rise and help me out with
all these children." She laughed. "I'm going to say
hello to the other guests. Watch it. As soon as I start
talking to the Chiss woman, Bruce will fall asleep." She
adjusted the boy so he was in a comfortable sleeping
position within her arms. She knew what was coming.
Sierra slowly approached Meham'ohorovi'cloca.
"Lieutenant, it's nice of you to come." She was growing
to like the Chiss woman despite her voice.
Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca had waited patiently
for her chance to speak with Major Rodney. "It is an
honor to be in your home, Milady," she said, before
reaching down to pick up a framed piece of artwork.
"This dates from the period of the Esselian Empire. It
is a quite rare piece that I acquired when we first
arrived in the sector. My mentor believed that by
studying an opponent's art you could discover their
weaknesses," she explained to her, as she extended the
gift towards her. "I have studied this, but
unfortunately it has not helped. Perhaps you can make
use of it on one of your walls as was originally
intended," she said, politely, in her exotic way of
speaking. The painting itself was of a sun rising over
Calamar centuries ago.
All that was left was Haven, the daughter of the
captain of the command ship who had been reluctantly
relegated to shuttle pilot to protect her. "Milady," she
said, as she took a step forward cautiously, not wanting
to interrupt the moment between her and the Chiss. "My
father suggested this," she said, as she opened up her
gift box for her. "It's a toy model of the Governor's
ship that he made," she said, as she showed it to her.
"He thought your son might enjoy him having a toy of his
father's ship. When I was a girl he made me toys of all
the ships he served upon. I think he wanted a son," she
said, with a soft smile, as she offered it up to her.
Sierra looked over the gorgeous piece of artwork
which Meham'ohorovi'cloca had gifted her son. It was a
beautiful sun rise that she felt would be perfect for
Bruce's space-themed room. "This is *exactly* what I
needed in Bruce's room." Sierra exclaimed, looking down
at the little boy who was fighting sleep. "Come with
me." She told Meham'ohorovi'cloca, but was briefly
stopped by Haven. The gift within her box was an
incredible toy replica of the Retributor. The detail in
it was amazing. She knew Bruce would like it, and so
would Claudius. She couldn't wait for him to get home so
she could tell him all about the baby shower. "This is
incredible. It looks *exactly* like the ship.. Thank you
so much. Please pass my thanks on to your father." It
was so cool! She didn't know that Anson's father was so
talented. "I'm sure your father is proud that he had a
daughter. You pilot the Kwai better than I do." Sierra
admitted. "Don't tell my husband that." Sierra waved her
hand to both women as she made her way up stairs towards
Bruce's room. As she turned into it, she nudged a box
aside with her foot. While the room wasn't complete, the
walls were painted. "I think your picture will look
amazing in my son's room." She told Meham'ohorovi'cloca
excitedly. "Your present is great addition, Haven. I
haven't found any toys of ships that I actually liked
... until now."
Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca followed Sierra up the
stairs into the incomplete child's room. "This reminds
me of my room at home," she said to the Major, unaware
that it was unfinished. To her the simple room was a
reminder of the world she came from. "You honor me by
hanging this here," she said, with a firm nod of her
head. "I see that you convinced the Governor to abandon
our costly defense of the nebula in the Chandrila
system. I think it will make quite the difference," she
added, unable to cease talking about work for more than
an hour. Even at this party she was entirely focused on
her duties as tactical officer.
"You are kind to say that, Milady," Haven said, as
she followed Sierra and the Chiss up to the child's
bedroom. "Oh I am sure you pilot the Kwai excellently.
There is no great skill to piloting a shuttle. It
practically flies itself," she commented, bitterly, as
she thought perhaps she might improve her situation with
a subtle suggestion. "A TIE Interceptor ... now that is
a challenge," she said, as she looked skywards. "I had
hoped to be a TIE pilot, but my father thought it too
dangerous. He has me flying shuttles to keep me safe,"
she informed her, which was inappropriate, but she was
young and such oversharing was common among those her
"I believe so as well." Sierra didn't shy away from
the work talk. She had been thinking about ways to
defeat the Rebels but thus far had little in the way of
plans. "However, a win of some sort is necessary,
Lieutenant. Neither I nor my husband feel pleased about
the recent developments with the Rebels. I had
considering if, perhaps, we may set a trap for them. The
Rebels will never have the resources that we do. Our
numbers are greater, and so, we use that to our
advantage." She explained to the Chiss woman. "If we
provide solid intel that there are Rebels on another
planet within the sector, they'll bend over backwards to
save them, right?" She didn't want Claudius to ever meet
with Lord Vader again. She would never, ever be able to
erase the image of her husband being force choked in
front of her eyes. So, she would make sure that she
never saw it again.
She looked over at Haven. She could tell what the
girl was getting at, but, as a parent, she understood
where her father was coming from. "You'll have to
understand where he's coming from. I don't have to tell
you that being a TIE pilot is a whole other ball game
compared to shuttle piloting. I know you are skilled.
Where did you say your father is positioned?" Sierra
asked, pondering if she should go speak to him about
Haven's skills being used in other ways.
"The Rebels have displayed a strong amount of
compassion for one another, Major," Lieutenant
Meham'ohoroiv'cloca reported to the woman. "They have
shown a willingness to go to great lengths to aid one
another," she said, as she moved towards the window.
"Oh. You can see the Terril Naval Base. I am sure the
young Lord Bruce will enjoy this," she said, as she
looked out at the massive sight of the Star Destroyer
Warspite lumbering over the planet. This was the kind of
view she would have liked to have had growing up.
"Unfortunately, the ISB and Intel are too busy feuding
with one another to provide up to date intelligence on
Rebel positioning within the sector," she reported,
indelicately, without giving it a single thought.
The plotting and planning among sector level
officials was beyond Haven's pay grade or comprehension,
so she stood quietly as the Chiss went on and on. "My
father is Captain Tiberius Anson. He commands the Star
Dreadnaught Retributor. Your husband's command ship,"
she reported, with a nod of her head. Her father
certainly sounded impressive on paper, but to her he was
still just plain old 'dad'. She remembered the simpler
days when he was in Corellian Defense Fleet, before
then-Admiral Rodney persuaded him to transfer to the
Imperial Navy to serve under him.
Sierra let out a long sigh. "Ugh, someone needs to
slap the ISB and the Intel silly. We're losing out
because they can't get it together." She groaned,
stepping forward towards the window. Bruce had fallen
asleep at this point, for the work talk didn't hold his
interest quite like when people were baby talking at
him. She looked at the Terril Nala Base, wondering if
Bruce would ever get to enjoy the view from his room.
Lord Vader would take the boy from him when he was
five... Sierra fell silent in the room for an awkwardly
long time. She and Claudius had somehow created a
force-sensitive child. He needed to be trained, but
Sierra realistically worried about the boy becoming a
monster like Inquisitor Thrope. She let herself listen
to Haven but did not respond. She couldn't believe her
father was on the command ship, yet she had failed to
meet him. It was more than a little embarrassing. "Oh
gez, don't I feel silly now." Sierra was blushing
wildly. "I know you want more than shuttle work, Haven.
I'll see what I can do to help you."
On the ground floor of the Rodney estate Grand Moff
Claudius Rodney arrived, but as he walked in he spotted
just about every woman in his family and in his command,
he simply turned around and walked right back out the
door. "Whoops," he said, as his cheeks flushed red,
realizing that he must have arrived for something he was
never meant to see. Instead, he moved down the path
towards where the Stormtroopers had gathered, to inspect
the landscaping project. "8,000 credits for a hole with
some water in it..." he muttered to the Stormtrooper.
Perhaps he should have let the girls dig and fill it
with a hose instead.
She had been looking out the window when she noticed
her husband arrive home, then quickly retreat upon
noticing all the additional estrogen in the house.
"Excuse me," she said to both of the women as she made
her way out of Bruce's bedroom and down the stairs. She
carefully put on her baby sling so Bruce could remain
asleep away from all the noise outside. "I'll be back."
She said to El-Nay, putting her in charge while making
her way out the front door and away from her party
guests. Sierra made her way towards the landscaping
project, which already looked better than what
Ewwiekewwieikkie had started creating. She came to stand
by her husband. "Found a new hiding place, hm?" She
teased, leaning over to kiss him. "El-Nay surprised me
with a baby shower. Even Lieutant Meham'ohorovi'cloca is
in our house." She took his hand. Her fingers slowly
weaved in between his. "Would it be wrong of us to
escape to the lake house?" She snickered.
Claudius did not turn to acknowledge Sierra when she
came up on him, until she gave him a kiss that brought
him back to reality. "Surprised me too. I nearly choked
on the estrogen. Did you really leave Bruce alone in
there with all those women?" he asked her, with a
playful smile, as he moved to place his hands on her
hips. "Wrong? No. Wrong would be coming back before
everyone else cleared out..." he told her, before taking
her by the arm and leading her towards the landing
platform where they had their pick of ships. "Wait.
Meham'ohorovi'cloca came ... to a baby shower?!" he
asked her, as he stopped dead in his tracks and looked
at her quite confused.
"With all his sisters, he's going to need to get used
to being choked out by estrogen." She laughed softly.
She was glad to have him home. Sierra didn't object to
being left around by the house full of women that were
trying to impress her. Allegra had earned some brownie
points by caring for Callista. "She did! I had never
seen her away from the holotank before. I was beginning
to believe her boots were glued there." She confessed to
Claudius. The woman even ate her lunch there! "She
brought us a lovely picture for Bruce's room.
Surprisingly. . . I'm not saying that sarcastically
either." She picked a ship to take them away from the
chaos briefly. "You must have been bored today. Anson,
Sheppard, and Ames were all at the baby shower too. I
even gave you a day free of tactical meetings. Happy
baby shower to you." She teased, sitting down in the
"Well that was nice of her. Did we get any other
memorable gifts?" Claudius pressed her, wondering which
of his junior officers to reward and which to ostracize.
"It was a good day. I didn't pick up on the fact that it
was because everyone was down here," he said, as he
moved into the cockpit of the Kwai and settled down into
the co-pilot's seat. He wanted to make a comment about
feeling bad that their closest friends were subordinate
officers, but he did not want to spoil the moment. "Did
you get a chance to tell El-Nay about being a
hold-parent then?" he asked her, being surprised by her
decision, but after El-Nay was injured by the Inquisitor
attempting to save Bruce's life he could not possibly
decline her suggestion.
Sierra nodded her head. "Oh yes. Commander Ames had
somehow acquired a rattle from Germanicus Rodney's son,
Claudius. Lieutenant Anson's father crafted a small, toy
version of the Retributor." She told him of the most
surprising presents. "Kerrie gifted Bruce with a small
bantha plush. Needless to say, it was love at first
sight for him." The ship began to take off. They would
only need to fly a short distance to the lakehouse where
quiet paradise, and a whole lot of animals, would greet
them. "I think some people were trying to earn points
with me." She giggled. "Perks of being your wife, I
suppose." She valued all the women in different ways. If
she had to pick someone for a promotion, it was most
certainly going to be Meham'ohorovi'cloca, who excelled
at her job. "I did get a chance to tell her." Sierra was
glad he'd sided with her on naming El-Nay a hold-parent.
She had watched Doctor Bailo work on the girl's injuries
after the Inquisitor attack. It moved Sierra's large
heart. "She seemed touched. She pledged herself to our
family. After what happened with Inquisitor Thrope,
those words hold a lot more weight around here." Sierra,
too, was touched. She had a good group of people around
her now. As the ship landed, Sierra looked upon the
lake. She could see the family of otters playing about.
Sea Betsy was slowly swimming to the other side of the
lake. Sierra, feeling very happy, turned to Claudius and
placed a hand on his. "I love you. I love our life."
"Ah. My namesake," Claudius said, with a smile, as he
enjoyed the pleasant flight from the estate to the
lakehouse. "Allegra must have dipped into her father's
account to pull that one off," he said, with a smirk, as
he listened to other gifts. "Kerrie really is attached
to her bantha. She was there, huh? Did you tell her
about the honor also?" he pressed her, as he turned to
look at her. "I'm sure they were. The Empire is full of
officers who use bribes to get ahead," he said, as he
adjusted his massive rank insignia. "Certainly no one
ever attempted to bribe Kerrie when she was my adjutant,
so it must be because you're my wife," he said, as he
extended his hand to her and walked down the ramp to the
side of the lakehouse. "At least these blessed creatures
are safe from our overly excited daughters fascination
with nature," he said, as he looked over the otters and
the transplanted sea cow. "I love you, Sierra. I would
never want to trade lives with anyone else," he said, as
he lowered his head and placed a tender, loving kiss
upon her lips. "I adore you. I adore every moment of our
life together," he told her, as he lived in that moment,
not wanting time to pass.
"That explains it." She had wondered how Allegra was
able to find such a rare antique gift. "Yes, she told me
she still sleeps with her bantha... That's so cute..."
Sierra wanted to hug the Clawdite just thinking about
it. "I did tell her. She took it very well. I think I
nearly made her cry. I'm glad they both accepted the
honors. I'm not sure who would be runner up after them."
Together, they made their way down the ramp into their
home away from home. All the life around the lakehouse
made her love it that much more. Claudius had provided
her with the perfect getaway. It wasn't just beautiful,
it was inspiring. It reawoke her muse and made her want
to write music that much more. "The otters thank you for
that." She said, looking up at him. The girls were so
excited about the ducks. She had heard all about them
this morning. Callista had drawn half a dozen pictures
of ducks and hung them in Ewwiekewwieikkie's room.
Her heart melted in her chest as Claudius spoke. He
knew exactly how to make her happy. She lingered
outside, kissing him like it was the first time all over
again. "I adore you." She whispered. "I'd never trade a
second of our lives. With you, even the hardest times
are great." The familiar completeness fill her heart. It
had been a very good day. She had a wonderful baby
shower and now she would spend the evening with her
husband. Sierra couldn't even count the infinite
blessing that had been bestowed upon her.