Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:6:23) in the Essesia system: Revelation and Retributor.
Doctor Alessandra Bailo, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Major Sierra Rodney, Doctor Pilaq Tohan, Inquisitor Jessa Thrope, and Prav Ulmgo.

Doctor Bailo 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.

Claudius 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 insurmountable heights.

Sierra was 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."

Claudius 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.

Doctor Pilaq 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.

Her husband's 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.

Doctor Tohan 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.

Doctor Bailo 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 smoothly.

Sierra laughed 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 terrified.

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.

Doctor Bailo 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.

Doctor Tohan 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 Rodney child.

Claudius was 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 them.

Pain shot up her spine as she began to have second thoughts about going drug-free. "C-Claudius!" She cried out.

When Sierra 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.

Doctor Bailo 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 melted.

Pilaq had 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.

Claudius 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.

Sierra found 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 cried.

After seeing 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.

Hovering over 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 ship."

Prav Ulmgo 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.

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