stood outside of Sierra Rodney's room in the sickbay
of the Retributor. She worried for the couple and
their child. What should have been a joyous moment
had come crashing down around them rapidly. Try as
Alessandra could, there was no way to stop the child
from coming. He would be born early and require
assistance for some weeks to come. She had prepared
for every obstacle that might occur. There was only
one she couldn't prepare for; death. She pushed
through into her room. She knew Claudius and Sierra
didn't exactly trust her, but she had more
experience in this than Pilaq. She stood beside
Claudius, patting the man on the back gently. "Your
son is coming today." She reported. "It *is* early,
but Pilaq and I have taken care of your wife
throughout her pregnancy. This little guy has been
extremely healthy and always further along
developmentally than he should have been. It is my
belief that he will be okay." She looked toward
Sierra. "Your wife is experiencing pain from the
contractions. As far as I can tell, whatever
happened was like going through labor very quickly.
Your sister-in-law spent about fifteen hours in
labor, while Sierra will be ready within the hour.
*She* will be okay. All of her vitals are great.
Pilaq and I will be here for the rest of things."
She spoke softly with both mouths. She had come to
care for this family too.
tensed when Doctor Bailo patted him on the back, as
he was lost in deep contemplation about the fate of
his wife and son. The memory of his first wife's
death during the birth of his daughter Drusilla
still haunted him, and he was terrified that he was
about to lose Sierra. "It is too early," he weakly
said to the doctor, with his face hung low, and his
eyes looking towards the ground. He did not believe
her when she said that his son would be okay, as he
simply did not know her well enough. "You had better
see to it, doctor," he said as he brought his fist
up to his mouth and anxiously gnawed upon it. When
he heard that it would be within the hour he
suddenly raised his head and looked her squarely in
the eyes with his red, tear stained eyes. "That
soon?" he asked, as his anxiety crept up to
distraught to say the least. Her pregnancy had been
derailed by a terrible Lepi. Everything had been
going so well. She loved it. She loved growing a
baby inside of her. She loved preparing for it and
anticipating her due date...that was supposed to be
months away. There was *so* much going on right now
too. Instead of reviewing the Chandrila information,
Claudius had stayed with her throughout this entire
ordeal. She knew that he wasn't going anywhere, yet
she still felt guilty that all of this had happened.
Doctor Bailo briefly made her feel better but it was
fleeting. She squashed the hope she built when she
nodded her head, confirming that their son was to
arrive so soon. The pain had been going on so long
now that it had become manageable. She wondered if
there was any way to stop it, if even just for a few
more weeks. She'd lay in a bed and do
nothing...she'd do *anything* to let her son grow a
little longer. Tears rushed into Sierra's eyes. She
looked away from her husband. "I-I'm sorry,
Claudius. I'm so sorry. This was supposed to be
*easy*. He isn't supposed to come yet."
brought his hand up to gently rub Sierra's forehead.
"Don't apologize, my love," he said, as he looked
down at her, trying his best to maintain a pleasant
exterior for her. "Just stay strong for our son.
This is not according to plan, but since when does
anything go according to plan around here?" he asked
her, trying to make a joke, as he continued to
stroke his wife's hair. "I love you ... so much," he
said, fighting back the tears, before lifting his
head to look at each of the Ithorian doctors. He
clenched his jaw tightly as he inhaled sharply, as
if trying to suck the tears back into his eyes. It
was all too much for him, but he was not even the
one given birth.
Tohan was watching an image of the Rodney child on
the monitor as an imaging device hovered over
Sierra's stomach. The baby seemed strong and
healthy, but that did not change the fact that he
was *only* 24 weeks along. He flashed a concerned
look to Doctor Bailo, who he feared might be a
little too optimistic given the circumstances. He
sunk himself as he looked to his oldest friend, and
suddenly he felt weak himself, trembling slightly.
He was getting too old for such dramatic
circumstances. He moved back towards Sierra, trying
to maintain a positive attitude himself. "How are
you feeling, milady? Would you like something for
the pain?" he asked her, as his large eyes moved
upward to look at her monitors.
attempt at a joke seemed hilarious after such a
serious shift. Sierra laughed softly. He refocused
her while she looked into his eyes. Jelena had told
her the story of her mother. She wouldn't let
herself think, even for a second, that this was the
end of her. She found strength in her love...the
strength *he* had given her. He had made her a
better person, and she was determined to still give
him the son he'd waited for. Her tears stopped for
his sake. "I love you, so, so much." She turned her
head to look down at the monitor. *Bruce*. Her
little baby boy was coming to meet them. Despite the
gloomy presence in the room, Sierra found a ray of
sunshine in that. She began to feel energized again.
No Inquisitor was going to kill her *or* her baby.
She turned her head towards Pilaq, looking at him.
"I'm alright. No...nothing for the pain. I intended
to do this without anything, I'm still sticking to
my plan." She groaned. The contractions were,
indeed, intense. With her free hand, she took
Pilaq's hand. He had known her for some time. She
trusted him. A little smile appeared on her face.
"I-I have a bet with Zara going... Have you taken
Doctor Bailo *out* yet? If not. S-She owe me thirty
credits." She attempted to make Pilaq feel better
too. She had what she needed to make it through this
inside of the room.
became flustered when the subject turned to him and
Doctor Bailo. "Have you already been medicated?" he
asked, as he turned his attention away from her,
quite embarrassed. He could only hope it was a wave
of euphoria that caused her to say something such as
that. "Now is the time to focus on you, milady. My
affairs can wait," he said, as he moved as far away
from Doctor Bailo as he could while still being able
to treat Sierra. He moved towards Claudius, who
needed his emotional support as much as Sierra
needed his medical attention. "This too shall pass,"
he told his wise old friend, as the two had seen
many ups and many downs over the course of their
long lives. He knew that whatever happened here was
meant to be and while they would use every means at
their disposal there were some things that living
beings could simply not control. "Trust in the
force," he said to his friend, despite the fact that
he knew that he believed the Jedi were responsible
for much of the galaxy's ill in line with the
Emperor's official propaganda on the matter.
couldn't believe that Zara had gotten Sierra in on
her matchmaking games! The Ithorian woman felt even
more uncomfortable than previously. She blushed,
suddenly unable to make eye contact with Doctor
Tohan. Admittedly, she was glad she had come with
him. Every day was a change of pace here, and she
supposed she wanted some more variation than what
she was getting at the Jubilee medcenter. She stood
by, awaiting for the moment to come. She hoped, for
Claudius and Sierra's sake, that everything went
softly. At least she could still embarrass Pilaq
even when she was in pain. Her head rolled over
towards her wonderful husband, who had been dealt
the worst set of cards at the moment. Both of her
hands grasped his, both to help support him and for
him to support her. Her grip grew tighter and she
let out a little groan. The pain was becoming worse
as her body naturally readied itself to bring Bruce
into the world. Sierra felt like her body was
beginning to press her to push. Despite
everything...despite every precaution...Bruce would
arrive dangerously early. "It's time!" She called
out, her strength fading away for a moment. She
forgot to breath, then began hyperventilating. Her
erratic mind went right back to where it began. She
looked at Claudius. "It's too early..." Her knees
seemingly wouldn't part as Doctor Bailo approached
her. "We're not ready. We don't even have any
clothes for preemie. None of the furniture is
ready...his room...*nothing*." She tensed again.
"Is that what
you're worried about at a time like this?" Claudius
asked her, as he reached down and took hold of her
hand. He smiled at her, despite the tears, as he
knew the moment was drawing near. "We'll get the
clothes. We'll get the furniture. We'll get the room
ready," he promised her, before switching his gaze
to look at the doctors. He did not appreciate
Pilaq's comment, but now was not the time for
philosophical and political debate. "I'll order
Ensign Sheppard to do all that at once," he said,
with a soft laugh, before sniffling slightly. He was
trying to remain positive and maintain a brave
exterior for her. On the inside he was absolutely
The terror was
a feeling they shared. When Sierra thought of this
moment, it was significantly different. She had
spent a lot of time fantasizing about meeting Bruce.
Under the bad circumstances, she didn't know what to
expect. What she did know was that Claudius was
soothing her momentary insanity with answers. She,
too, let out a laugh. "Yes... She's good at
following instructions. . ." Ensign Sheppard was
going to be stuck at the estate for an unknown
amount of time. Sierra didn't know what came next.
She wasn't going to be able to leave immediately.
Sierra could feel Doctor Bailo prying her legs open
with all of her strength to assess the situation.
She took a deep breath. Claudius' brave exterior was
not missed...not for a second. "Our baby is coming,
Claudius." She reminded him. This time, she sounded
happy and less scared. "I hope he takes after you.
You're such a wonderful man." She beamed up at him.
When she was recovered, she was going to do
something amazing for him.
looked up. "It *is* time." She admitted. She looked
up at Sierra, who had to be feeling exhausted by
now. "Take your time. Pace yourself. Let it come
naturally." She instructed while adjusting Sierra's
hospital gown. A massive change was about to happen
in the Rodney family that no one had expected to
come so early.
moved into position at the foot of the bed as the
droids prepared to receive the baby when the time
was at hand. "You must push now, Lady Sierra. You
must push harder than you have ever done in your
life," he instructed her, before slamming the base
of his staff into the ground several times in rapid
succession to drive the message home. "Push for
yourself. Push for your husband. And, above all
else, push for your son!" he demanded, as he built a
steady rhythm, pounding his staff where he hoped she
would push at each *thump*. It was building to a
crescendo that should lead to the emergence of the
breathing so rapidly that he might soon need oxygen.
One hand continued to rub Sierra's forehead while
the other clung to his hand. "Listen to the doctors,
Sierra," he said, very nervously, as he watched them
spring into action. "Push and our son will soon be
with us," he said, as the tears began to stream from
his eyes like a powerful waterfall. He swallowed,
struggling to find anymore words, as he waited for
nature to do the rest with a little help like
Sierra. He had wanted a son for all of his adult
life, but not like this. It was supposed to be
months from now with minimal risk. Their son had
been virtually ripped from her womb by the dark arts
of the loathsome Inquisitor.
There was a
moment where her faith in herself faltered. Could
she do it? She looked down at Doctor Tohan and
Doctor Bailo, then up towards Claudius. It was all
happening so quickly. Pilaq demanded for her to
push. Instead, her body began to shake. She needed
her son to be well. She needed everything to be
okay. Her husband helped focus her. Sierra's fears
began to melt away. She had become very determined
to protect her family. She would make sure Bruce
grew big and strong despite the complicated
circumstances which began his life. There were tears
in her eyes, yet they held determination. She began
to push with all of her might. "He's going to
survive." She told Claudius, pushing hard again.
"We've waited too long for this." It had been
decades upon decades for Claudius and significantly
less for Sierra. She wanted the large family she'd
imagined. Bruce was part of it...Bruce belonged with
Pain shot up
her spine as she began to have second thoughts about
going drug-free. "C-Claudius!" She cried out.
called out his name he panicked, as he did not know
what he could possibly do to help her. "I'm here.
I'm here, my love," he told her, as his hand that
was upon her forehead moved to stroke her blonde
hair. He lowered his head to place his lips upon her
sweat covered forehead. "Just a little more," he
said to her, as he lifted his head up from her once
again. His attention turned back to the doctors, as
his anxiety level skyrocketed. He began to feel mild
discomfort in his chest and he needed to sit down,
but he decided to stay with her instead. The baby
needed to come now for all of their sakes.
Pilaq did not
notice the discomfort that Claudius was
experiencing, as all of his attention was focused on
Sierra. "Push!" he demanded of her, as he slammed
his walking stick down upon the ground so hard it
threatened to crack the durasteel floor. His eyes
slowly moved to Doctor Bailo to make sure everything
was alright. He, too, needed to sit down, but he
would not leave the foot of the bed until the baby
was safely delivered. He wondered if this would be
the last delivery of a Rodney child he would
supervise due to his advanced age and the toll this
was taking upon him.
The tension in
the room had reached new heights. Sierra wanted to
reach out and comfort Claudius, but she wouldn't be
able to do it until the baby arrived. She briefly
closed her eyes to focus herself. Suddenly, she was
transported to the back of a thranta some time ago.
She recalled soaring in the Delayan skies falling in
love with Claudius. Every day since then, he'd taken
her on a magic thranta ride. She spent her days
falling in love with him over and over again. Each
obstacle brought them closer together...and this one
would too. Her eyes opened. With one last push,
Bruce Rodney entered the world. While indeed, he was
small, he was born strong. He came out from his
mother kicking and screaming, covered in blood, with
a mouthful of teeth. Bruce Rodney was destined for
greater things than anyone in the room knew.
looked shocked, for the boy was much larger than she
had expected. She held him in her hands and quickly
moved to take down all the information she needed
to; weight, height, vitals, and so on. He continued
to kick her while the female Ithorian wiped him
down. At long last, the male Rodney was placed on
his mother's chest where he continued to cry as if
he was trying to let his parents know that he was
okay...or that he *hated* the person who had taken
him from the womb early.
Sierra let out
a gasp. She was already running low on strength. She
didn't know how much longer she could keep going. It
was then that she heard crying. She could hardly
breath. She didn't relax. Instead, she sat up
slightly and tried to see her boy. His continuous
screaming kept Sierra from fearing the worst. At
long last, her son met with her chest. After thirty
seconds, he found the familiar sound of his mother's
heartbeat and settled down. Sierra was crying hard.
Her hands touched him so gently. He was so little
and so wonderful. He had fuzzy blonde hair on his
head. When he opened his eyes, he looked furious.
His forehead was scrunched up. Sierra's heart
waited for this moment for two decades, but had
expected to continue waiting several months.
Nevertheless he was prepared and moved towards his
medical bag where he produced a laser scalpel that
could have passed for an antique given its age and
condition. "This was the same scalpel used on Jelena
and Drusilla. I have kept it all this years, because
I knew one day you would need it again," he informed
Claudius, before slowly extended it towards him with
an unsteady hand. His large eyes then shifted
downward to look upon the son that Claudius never
thought he would have. The old Ithorian had lived
long enough to serve his purpose and perform one
last task for the House of Rodney.
looked towards Pilaq and took the laser scalpel
without saying a word, as his the look on his face
communicated more than words ever could. His hand
was not steady either and he approached the
umbilical cord several times before he felt he was
ready. With that he activated it and it cut through
neatly, severing the physical bond between mother
and son, but the emotional bond would live on
forever. Placing the scalpel aside he reached down
with both hands to take hold of his child for the
first time. "I have a son," he said, as he lifted
him up slowly and with expert care. "I have a son!"
he shouted, at the top of his lungs, which echoed
throughout the room and, indeed, the entire sickbay.
As he examined the boy he smiled down at him, but
held him for only a short period, before gently
laying him back upon his wife where he belonged. The
day he never thought would come had come at last.
it incredibly touching that Pilaq had kept the old
laser scalpel from Jelena and Dru. She cried harder
as she watched her husband sever the umbilical cord.
Finally, she was able to relax back into the
inclined bed. All of the seriousness had melted
away, if only briefly. She was smiling brightly. It
touched her watching Claudius pick up his son for
the very first time. Decades and decades and decades
had finally granted him with a little boy. Sierra
felt prideful too, because she wanted to make all of
her husband's dreams come true. Her happiness
escalated with his proclamation. "A son.." She
gently held Bruce to her once he was back on her
chest. As tired as she was, she couldn't imagine
taking her eyes off of her son for any amount of
time. "Oh, Claudius..." She took his hand. "Our
baby.." Sierra had become a mother for the *fifth*
time despite this being her first blood child with
Claudius. She was a proud new mother. "Thank you..."
She said to her husband. Her hand shook in his.
"Thank you for having a son with me. Thank you for
giving me this incredible life. Thank you..." She
that their son was securely upon his wife, he
staggered backwards and sat down in the chair next
to her bed. As she took his hand he reflected on all
they had been through, and all that was still yet to
come. "No. It is I who should be thanking you," he
told her, as he looked upon her glowing face and the
new life that they had brought into this tumultuous
galaxy. He wanted their son to be born into a galaxy
free of conflict, but now they seemed to be facing a
new, more dangerous enemy from within. He wondered
what this new Inquisitor's purpose was, and what her
interest in his wife was. He wanted to savor the
birth of their son, but in the back of his mind he
could feel them being watched, and felt it as if a
dark shadow was being cast over them, which made the
hairs on the back of his neck stick upright.
Whatever was coming he would deal with in time, but
for now, in this moment, he would simply be a father
to a son for the first time in his long life. He
reached out, placing one of his fingers upon the
boy, with the other hand being placed upon Sierra.
If he had his way he would never let go of either of
them, but the galaxy was not known for letting him
have his way.
Esseles, Jessa Thrope sat in her ship monitoring the
situation from far away. "No!" She yelled, sensing
the birth of a new force-user. "No!" She screamed,
knowing full well that she had incorrectly
manipulated the Governor's wife and, instead,
accidentally caused her to give birth. She doubted
the Emperor expected her to return with the boy so
quickly. She sat with her head in her hands. There
was to be trouble for her on Coruscant, but it was
by his will that she take the boy to his death. "Prav,"
she said in a growl. "Take me back to that damn
wondered when his master was going to clue him in on
what had gotten her so irritated on Coruscant, but
based upon her current outburst he realized that
once again *now* was not the time to question her.
"Yes, mistress," he said to her, as he took hold of
the controls of the Revelation, and began adjusting
their course back towards the Retributor. The
massive command ship dominated their forward
viewport, and he quickly accelerated to take them
back within the expansive hangar bay. He, too, could
sense something, but his senses were not refined
enough to tell exactly what. Instead, he remained
silent, rather than risk making a fool of himself by
guessing. Soon enough they had landed, again, within
the hangar of the Star Dreadnaught, which gave the
deck officer a terrible case of déjà vu.