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Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:2:30) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Marcus Rodney's chalet).
Lord Marcus Rodney, Commander Sierra Rodney, and Lady Zara Rodney.

The evening was late...or the morning was early, whichever works. Sierra Rodney was having the longest night of her nearly two-decades alive. She figured it best to meet with Marcus and his wife face-to-face, and so, she made the rash decision to appear unannounced at their chalet. In hindsight, this was a *terrible* decision. The last time she had seen Marcus, he was bloody and had just shed a light on the cruel truth. Now she was at his door, clutching her coat close to her chest. She didn't know how they survived. The cold shot down the collar of her coat and threatened to freeze her to death. Regardless, her fist pounded on the door in a panicked fashion. She was driven to complete the trade off as quickly as possible. The thought of Claudius sitting on this for a lengthy amount of time was unpleasant. They *needed* to know the truth.

Zara Rodney was finding it hard to make herself comfortable tonight. The twins were active. She wasn't sure if they wanted to comfort their father, or burst their mother's right lung. After tossing and turning for far too long, she rose from bed and headed downstairs for a late night snack. She figured it would give her husband a chance at some rest. He'd had it hard. Since Claudius had departed, the emotions of the house fell down by several notches. She was eating a piece of string cheese when a ruckus came from the door. Zara jumped. When you lived in the middle of the tundra with a gigantic octopus as protection, you *really* didn't get visitors. It was great for Zarcus, because all the Holonet reporters had no way of attacking them at home. She didn't answer the door by herself. Instead, she rushed upstairs to wake her husband. All those efforts to keep him asleep were spoiled when she shook him awake. "Marcus?! Marcus! Wake up! There's someone at the door!"

As Marcus Rodney opened his eyes at his wife's prodding the first sensation he felt was a throbbing pain in his jaw. The blow struck by his own brother was painful, but the emotional damage that had been done was far worse. "The Empire?" he asked her, as he rose swiftly, before swinging his legs off the bed and reaching for his blaster rifle that was never out of reach. Wearing just his boxer shorts he moved swiftly from the bedroom in a low profile movement, weapon at the ready, preparing for any eventuality. He made his way down the stairs, keeping Zara behind him, before performing a combat roll that brought him near the window. As he peered out the window it was not the Empire coming for them, nor more mercenaries attempting to profit off them ... it was his sister-in-law. "It is Sierra!" he shouted towards Zara, before moving towards the door. He opened it slowly, so that he could see her, but not wide enough for her to stride through. "What do you want?" he asked cautiously, although he made a point to lower his weapon away from her. Perhaps his brother wanted round two.

Maybe it was El-Nay returning to curse them out for being so emotionless towards her. Zara hadn't even bothered to check on her once she was released from the med-center. Between the two of them, their enemies were vast. Anyone could have been behind the door, which is exactly why Zara went for reinforcements. "I don't know..." She said, her face sinking. It could have been Luna and her abusive husband too. The pregnant woman felt much safer behind her husband. Together, they descended to the ground floor where Marcus confirmed that it wasn't any of Zara's worst nightmares. "Sierra?" That was a person she hadn't expected to see for some time. "Leave her outside to freeze!" She whispered, grasping his arm to try to stop him from answering.

Her lips were quivering. Sierra brushed the ice gathering on her face away. To her surprise, the door opened. She saw her husband's brother, clad it only boxers. His wife was nowhere to be seen, but she did notice his weapon. "Your help." She started. "...having to do with the possibility that Jelena is alive. Please, hear me out. I know what you saw on that video. I know I damaged your relationship with Claudius," understatement of the century, "But I need you...*he* needs you. Please, just let me explain myself." As Sierra finished her plea, she heard the scream of a tauntaun in the distance. Her eyes went wide.

Marcus was about to slam the door in Sierra's face and doom her to a grisly fate at the tentacles of the sea monster. If she had anything *but* that Jelena might still be alive he certainly would have, but she said the one thing that was a trigger for every member of the House of Rodney. His hand moved from the door, no longer barring it, but not opening it either. His complexion grew as white as the snow that was falling outside, and he began to backpedal away from the door slowly. "Zara!" he cried out, sounding as if he had been wounded. He needed to sit down, and he stumbled backwards until he landed in one of the living room chairs. He knew not what to say, nor what to do. This was very likely an ISB plot given the knowledge Zara now possessed of their database, but could he chance it? He needed his wife's clear mind to cast light on this.

Sierra had passed the first threshold. She slowly walked into the chalet. The door closed behind her to stop any more of the cold from driving inside. The young woman did not seat herself, for she felt like she deserved no respect from her brother-in-law and his wife. Instead, she lingered in the middle of the living room in front of the fireplace trying to decide how to even start this.

What Sierra said brought to mind the video of Jelena *alive* that she had found. It wasn't something she would give up immediately. The woman was a member of the ISB, and thus dangerous. Admitting to hacking into the Retributor would be enough to warrant her and Marcus' execution. She drew herself to her husband, sitting on the arm of the chair. Her hand moved into his. She looked towards the blonde. "Go on." Sierra wasn't welcome here.

"I have arrested the Rebel Iyah Xergo. She is charged with murdering Jelena as well as the attempted murder of the Rodney family," she began. "She confessed to Claudius and I that Jelena is alive. She provided some evidence..." Sierra's hand dug into the pocket of her slacks, having already hung up her ISB uniform for the mission ahead of her. She produced the comlink, which she offered to Marcus. "This news has worn incredibly hard on my husband." She sounded legitimately worried. She didn't know if she should prepare for this to all be a lie, or allow herself to get excited over the idea that her best friend lived. "...Xergo wants to trade herself for Jelena. I spoke with Commander Kiley. She advised that we find neutral territory to make the trade. A place where *no one* is watching. *Here*. I need to know if you can help us. Kerrie only has one other person who can aid in the trade. I need you. If Jelena is still alive...even if there's a's worth it to try. She was my best friend for many years. Her death..." Her voice trailed off. Her death had hurt.

Marcus listened to everything that Sierra said ... he *wanted* to believe ... he *needed* to believe. "How do I know this isn't some ISB trick?" he said, angrily, as he lashed out at her. "We know what the ISB is capable of. We know what *you're* capable of," he said, referencing the recording they had of her with Arden Zevrin. He did not know who to believe, but he did know who he could trust ... Zara. He reached out for her, clutching her, as his eyes sympathetically lingered on her. "What do *you* make of this?" he asked her, hoping she had the answers he needed to make the right decision. Was the ISB capable of sinking so low to dangle the prospects that his niece was live to manipulate and control him? Yes.

Zara had not stopped diving into the Arden Zevrin files. Finding out Sierra was actually betraying the whole family reminded her of Luna. She wanted to see what she had missed. Why had Sierra been so convincing? Zara had watched every meeting with Arden. She listened to the woman before her attempt to defend herself and her family. In this, Zara had allowed herself to become soft. She hadn't told Marcus about her delving. The wounds were raw and, ultimately, she sided with him. She held him, looking down at her husband anxiously. "It ... aligns with what we know. What we *saw*." Her head turned towards Sierra. "How do we know you're trustworthy? I've seen your meetings with Arden Zevrin." Zara revealed herself, staring the woman down like she was threatening her to just *try* something.

Sierra finally settled herself in a chair. She was uncomfortable and tired. How did she prove herself to her family? "This is no ISB trick. What you saw...what she made me's not so easy to understand. I may have come to Claudius under her control, but what I have for him is real. I need to see this through for him. Your home is a key location because that snake cannot reach us here. I have nothing to offer you to gain your trust." Sierra's voice cracked. She would need to scramble to find a new place if he did not agree.

The splicer looked down at her husband. There were reasons why Luna had been able to get under her skin so easily: Zara had a big heart. "We should show her the video," she said, "The evidence is building that your niece is alive."

Marcus did not respond to Sierra or even Zara with words, but instead unleashed a deep and profound sigh. He rose from his chair and led his wife and sister-in-law to the terminal that Zara had downloaded all of the Imperial files onto. As he sat down and began to operate the controls he could only hope that he would not accidentally load the video of Claudius and Sierra having sex in the office. Instead, he brought up the recording of Iyah and her team loading Jelena into the crate. He then followed along until the crate was loaded in the shuttle, safely, rather than the official story the Empire told about the Rebellion killing Jelena. On the surface all of the pieces fit together nicely, but it was not beyond the capabilities of the ISB to fake. He angled his head upward, looking over his shoulder, waiting to gauge Sierra's reaction and, more importantly, Zara's reaction to Sierra's reaction.

Zara directed Sierra towards the terminal. Sierra drug herself towards it. They spoke of other videos, though she didn't know what they were talking about. She prayed that they hadn't seen anything inappropriate. Despite the cameras in Claudius' office, they'd engaged in certain activities. Her worries were fleeting. She leaned forward while the video began to load. Her eyes deceived her brain in what she saw. Her best friend, alive, hidden away in a crate. Her mouth opened wider and wider while her eyes grew the size of dishes. She felt like she might pass out. How the hell was this possible? Like everything else, it could have been a fake. "Can you play it again..?" She said dryly. She watched it again, and again, and again. Her eyes grew teary. Over the past twenty-four hours, she had heard her dead friend's voice. Now she was seeing an escape that may or may not have happened. Sierra stepped back. "I... This all makes no sense. All reports stated that she'd been killed. Arden Zevrin personally told me..." Red, hot rage surged back through her. This was another set up by Arden! It was a ploy to hurt Claudius and turn his back on the Retributor briefly. "Why didn't I see it sooner!?" She shouted. In a fashion like her own husband, Sierra swung her arm back and slammed her fist into the closest wall. She felt so *stupid*. "Jelena *is* alive! She played Claudius. She played me."

Zara eyed her sister-in-law, who was entirely sucked into the video. She saw real, true emotions. There were tears. It became clear to her that Sierra and Jelena *had* been close. Her stern look faded away to pity. Sierra had been taken advantage of. She didn't know if she was as vindictive as they once thought. When the young woman panicked, Zara stopped her from damaging her home any further by taking her arm. She tossed Marcus a look and then nodded her head. She was agreeing to help Sierra while fearing the idea of allowing evil into her home again. She hoped this would also help Claudius and Marcus to make up.

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