Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:2:13) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Medcenter) and Nerf Herder.
Commander Sierra Dakkar, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Lord Marcus Rodney, Lady Zara Rodney, and Doctor Pilaq Tohan.

The Nerf Herder descended through the atmosphere of Delaya without having received clearance to land. They were not in the assigned approach vector, nor were they even heading towards the spaceport. In fact, they were landing directly on top of the medical center so that no time would be wasted in getting Zara proper medical attention. He landed on the spot reserved for emergency medical speeders bringing critical patients to the facility. Without powering the ship down, he immediately moved to take hold of his wife, and brought her down the lift to the roof of the medical facility. He had ignored the grievously wounded El-Nay, abandoning her to her fate board the vessel, while he hurried to the interior of the medical center. "Help! Help us"! He demanded, sounding much like the spoiled noble brat of his youth as he plowed through the people who were ahead of him in line. "I have a pregnant woman!" he announced, as he shoved some elderly folks out the way, and settled her into a repulsorchair to aid in her movement. He had broken the known speed record getting his wife and his twin unborn children to the doctor ... he *needed* to know everything was ok. "Get me a doctor! I need a doctor! I am Lord Marcus Rodney!" he demanded, like a brat, as he balled his hand into a fist and began slamming his fist down upon the nurse's station. He would not wait one moment longer. Behind them the people who were in line were quickly taking images of them to post on the HoloNet.

It was a hard and difficult trip home. Zara had felt terrible for days now. The whole affair with her sister had not helped matters. Even she was worried at this point, though her bleeding hand didn't matter. It was the twins that mattered to her most. She'd spent way too much time crammed in her cage, scared half to death that she would lose them. She didn't object to landing on top of the medical center, but she did make sure to remind Marcus to change before they reached Delaya. There was enough going on without revealing himself as the Nerf Herder. They were on the move as soon as they landed. Zara looked backwards at the ship...El-Nay...

Marcus was much more aggressive than she was at this point. She collapsed into the repulsorchair where she let the world play out before her. People rapidly snapping photos of them. Zara looked awful. There was dried blood on her face, neck, and chest. Her hair was knotted and messy. Her eyes looked like they were going to be bloodshot for years. She was *raw*. She watched the nurses gather around them. Someone was trying to calm down Marcus. Another had begun prodding at her. She needed to be taken to maternity triage, where the proper equipment could provide the couple with peace of mind. A nurse attempted to wheel her off by herself. Zara was *not* going to leave her husband. If someone captured her again, she would die. "No. I will *not* move without Marcus ... ugh..." Her stomach! Her head felt queasy.

Marcus gave the nurse a deathly stare that he used while on the bounty hunt and quickly she was allowed to accompany his wife into the examination room. "Do not worry, my love. I am not going anywhere," he said to her, as he obediently followed her. "Where is the doctor? Why haven't we been seen yet?" he asked, despite the fact that they had been in the room for less than a minute. His hand moved through her silver hair, finding her scalp, and gently rubbing at her head to sooth her. "I'm sorry I could not come sooner. It took time to track them. To find help," he told her, as he began to cry, panicking as he felt he had let her down. "Your sister became involved with a very notorious bounty hunter ... the Demon, but I'm sure you discovered that. I should have checked him better before allowing them into our home. I should have..." he said, but could say no more, his lip quivered, his voice cracked, and he began to sob against her.

Zara wanted nothing more than to feel better and return to their private life at the chalet. She imagined lying in bed with Marcus, happily day dreaming about their future as parents. She had become more and more excited as time went by. The fact that Luna had done something to potentially ruin that *hurt*. Her mind was driven by paranoia and fear. Until she knew her offspring were okay, she could not rest. Her eyes closed. She couldn't deny that his massage was helpful. She began to cry while he explained himself. Zara wasn't sure how she had ever thought he wouldn't come. Her head turned from side to side. "*No*! It was my fault.. I didn't question Luna at all. I didn't think, for even a second.. I let her get to us. I gave her the opportunity to hurt us." She looked away from him, crying harder. "My family is *horrible*."

The nurse took them into a room where Zara was transferred from the chair, into a hospital gown, and finally a bed. The woman began hooking up different devices to her stomach as well as her chest. Another nurse peeked into the room, "Doctor Tohan is coming to see you." She announced. One of Zara's hands clung to Marcus. She didn't want to see him cry. It wasn't his fault. The brunt of the blame fell on her. Right now, she tossed it all aside because she *needed* him. "You're dehydrated," the nurse spoke like it was new news. Perhaps it was a warning to the IV she stuck in Zara's other hand.

The door to the room opened revealing the towering presence of the Ithorian doctor Pilaq Tohan who had been sent from the Castle when news broke that Lady Zara had returned suddenly. His eyes went wide when he saw the condition of her, and wasted no time in moving to her side. He brandished his walking stick like a melee staff, forcing Marcus out of the way. As he looked at her vitals he saw that they were lower than normal, but not so low that he was concerned. He beckoned the droids come forward with their scanner, which was quickly placed over Zara's stomach. He took a peek at it first to confirm his suspicions were OK, and then delightened in turning the monitor so that Marcus and Zara could see. "See. Two heartbeats. With a few days rest everything will be fine," he promised them, as he took a step back. He wrote out prescriptions for supplements and a health diet to help replenish her, but decided to keep her overnight just to play it safe. He loved giving good patients good news.

The sight of Doctor Tohan was not entirely helpful. She feared what he had to say. Zara liked to play out worst case scenario in her mind. It was something she had already done several hundred times. Her hands were shaking. Her tension grew each time Pilaq's staff collided with the ground. At first, she didn't even look at the screen. Her heart was breaking in her chest. She was upset over Luna...but infinitely more upset about their children. Being helpless to protect them was not a feeling that she favored. As she lay there, Doctor Tohan reassured her that everything was okay. Her head turned, looking at the display. There they were; Darrus and Sia. They were snuggled up together inside of Zara's womb. She could hear the fast beating of both of their hearts. Her sweet, sweet little children were safe. The weight of the world fell off her shoulders. Suddenly, she was crying. She reached out towards Pilaq, squeezing his hand. "Thank you so much," she said through tears. Finally, Zara could smile. As the stress stopped pressing down on her, she was sure she would feel better. Releasing Pilaq, she beckoned her husband back to her side. "They're okay.." She announced to him. "They're okay."

Marcus was happier than he had been in days, reaching forward to wrap his arms around his wife in her hospital bed. "Thank you, doctor. Thank you," he said, as a wide smile threatened to tear his face in half. But then his eyebrows raised and a pained look took hold of his face causing him to leap off Zara and look to the doctor. "Doctor, you have another patient. I had completely forgotten..." he said, as he reached down to take Zara's hand into her own. "If you search my ship on the roof you'll find a young Mandalorian girl with severe burns, shrapnel injuries..." he informed the doctor, relaying the information, feeling quite embarrassed that he had simply dumped her there. He offered a smile to Zara, shrugging his shoulders impishly, as if to say 'oops'.

"Are they ready for visitors, Doctor?" Claudius asked, as he peeked through the door, but it did not stop him from pushing forward. "Brother ... *sister*," he said, looking from Marcus to Zara cautiously. He stepped forward, nodding to Doctor Tohan, as he led Sierra into the room with him. He reached forward, grasping his younger brother at the wrist and holding him tight. "She is well? The children are well?" he asked the man, but his eyes instead moved towards Zara to gauge for himself. "Young lady, you gave us quite a scare. You were at the forefront of our thoughts these last days. We are pleased to see you returned to us unharmed," he said, before nodding his head respectfully to her. "My fiance, Sierra, may be of use to you, should you wish to talk," he said, volunteering her, and also shocking them with the not yet public news that he was engaged for the third time.

Her arms were around Marcus. She smiled against his neck. Finally, Zara was home. At the mention of a second patient, she realized, embarrassingly, that she had forgotten all about El-Nay in the rush to check on their children. Marcus had such tunnel vision for her. She realized that *nothing* was going on there. Her husband had simply done what he needed to do to get her back. She sighed, "Poor El-Nay. Luna made such a mess. I want to apologize to her when she's feeling better." Zara wasn't going to be moving for a little bit. It had been a difficult four days for her. She was so happy to see their children. The image before her continued to refresh her. No sooner had Pilaq left did more familiar faces appear. She recognized her brother-in-law immediately. A moment later, she saw the woman that Claudius had brought home. If she wasn't suspicious of more going on before, she was now. Her mood was increasing. She seemed happy to see them even if they weren't terribly close. "It.. was an adventure," she told him. She didn't want to get into what happened on the ship. "I'm sorry I worried everyone. Marcus had banned me from ever going to the refresher alone. So, hopefully no repeat performances?" She smiled towards her sweet husband. "Look," she said, showing Claudius the ultrasound of their two infants. She refused to let the droids left just yet. "Doctor Tohan says they are well. I'm so glad.." Relief. Zara would sleep easy tonight with Marcus at her side and the twins safe. She perked up as Claudius spoke, eyeing his ... *fiancé*?! "You're engaged?" How long was she gone? "Congratulations, brother. Thank you for offering her help. I might actually need it." How could Luna hurt her so badly? She looked like she was going to burst back into tears just thinking about it.

The news of Lady Zara's return had hit the castle quickly. Sierra knew they needed to see to her and Marcus immediately. So, she and her fiancé headed towards the hospital in a speeder together to visit them. She felt nervous for Zara. Kidnapping was quite the mental ordeal. The poor woman had enough going on without being captured and held away from her family. Sierra slowly joined everyone in the hospital room. Zara was smiling while she talked to Claudius, who fearlessly let them all know about their impending marriage as well as offered her to Zara. Sierra greeted Marcus first, then approached the bed where Zara lay. "Sister, I'm glad to see you've been returned. Claudius and I are here for you. I may be an Imperial, but I went to school for psychology. If you find you need help with *anything*, you can reach out to me." She assured Zara. Her eyes glided towards the monitor featuring Zara's ultrasound. The creation of life was not something she had ever been close to. Her mother had been very vocal about how much she disliked creating Sierra. From a medical aspect, she understood it all. It was different from an emotional aspect. She stared at the image, shocked by how you could actually identify feet, hands, and fingers. She watched one twin prod another in awe. Life really was a miracle.

Doctor Tohan dispatched a trauma team to attend to El-Nay with the expectation that he would see her soon, but before he departed his eyes moved towards Sierra. "Do you need a refill of your prescription while I am here?" he asked her, pointedly in front of everyone, as he was quite shocked that she had worked her way into her best friend's father's bedchamber. His attention then shifted to Claudius, his eyes moving to glare at him, displeased that he would pursue a creature so young. "Congratulations," he said to Claudius, before double checking the condition of Zara and the unborn twins. "You are quite well, Lady Zara. I will be back to check on you later," he vowed to her, before moving from the room to see about the critically injured Mandalorian he was told about.

Claudius did not pick up on what was happening between Pilaq and Sierra as he continued to look towards Marcus. "Did they release her when they received the money?" he asked, as he moved his brother away from the women so they could speak about more pressing matters. "Was it the Rebels?" he asked, his eyes looking across at him with dread and concern. "It turned out the bastard ... your choice to succeed father incidentally ... is a Rebel and perhaps responsible for bombing Jelena's funeral and triggering this mess," he said, perhaps too loud, despite his best efforts not to overwhelm Zara with unpleasant news. "Your old bodyguard Kat Hanson aided in their escape and went over the Rebellion. We can't trust anyone," he said, as his eyes moved back towards Zara. "I knew I didn't like her sister and that fiend the moment we lay eyes on them at the spaceport," he informed him, while the two women continued to talk amongst themselves.

Sierra's cheeks flushed at Doctor Tohan's question. She didn't guess that seeking fertility medicine from him would backfire, though she had discarded what was left over in the trash of her old room. Speaking of their future offspring had made Sierra feel exceptionally terrible. Little did she know, a certain house maid was making sure that she continued to digest her medicine like a good little girl. "No." She quipped back quickly. As far as Pilaq knew, Sierra had been in Claudius' bed for a long time. In reality, he still had yet to see her in a total state of undress. She couldn't make eye contact with Pilaq again. Thankfully, it didn't appear that her fiancé had heard. How awkward would that have been!? She stayed at Zara's side. Like Claudius, he tried not to overwhelm her. The woman had been through enough. "Are you hungry? I can have some Auntie Mae's ice cream here very quickly." Sierra extended the olive branch.

And Zara took hold of it. She looked at Sierra. The look was enough. Chuckling, Sierra used her Holopad to order a gallon of Zara's favorite kind of ice cream. "Are you *really* marrying Claudius?" She asked. She was aware that her brother-in-law had a wife before, though they had never met each other. Until lately, she had avoided spending any time with the Grand Moff. She could overhear some of Claudius' words. While she was aware of Iyah and Mug's involvement in the Rebellion, it came as a shock that they would be behind the bombing. Zara played the shock off her face before realizing what Claudius had said. The bastard was gone. Her face turned five shades of green while she slunk in her bed. The succession crisis was back and ready to rumble. "Noooo.." She dropped her head into her hands. "How can that be?" She reached to Marcus for support. At this point, Zara was ready to go home, pack their belongings, and flee Delaya.

When Claudius heard the young Zara's pained exclamation, he left his brother and moved to her bedside. He reached down, and sandwiched her hand between his. With his top hand he gave her a reassuring series of pat upon her forehead. "Fear not, Lady Zara. I will *not* be renouncing my claim to the Duchy. Sierra will be Duchess ... not you. You are free of any and all obligations," he told her, as he put his fiancé in the spotlight and forefront of Delayan society. With one last smile he pulled his hands away from her and moved away from them. He felt as if they were intruding and moved towards the door, waiting for Sierra to finish speaking to Zara. He was glad Zara and the children were unharmed by the kidnappers, but even more glad she would not be the next Duchess.

Mentally, she was already guesstimating how long it would take for them to pack and leave. She loved Marcus so much. She refused to watch the Duchy steal her husband away until he was a shell of the man she married. He'd have no time for his children and his wife. She felt very sad about it all until Claudius' hands took one of hers. She looked at the older man, feeling aged herself. The words he said were the second greatest thing she'd heard today. She looked shocked. The Duke would be Claudius. Sierra, his newly appointed wife, would be the Duchess. Zara would never have to fill shoes that were much too big for her feet. "Oh my god..." She squeezed both of his hands once. She was happy. She treated Sierra much more like a sister now that she knew Delaya would look to her, not Zara. She gave the girl her best one-armed hug. "Congratulations, you'll be infinitely better at it than I would." Zara was crying happy tears *again*.

It was the first time Claudius had made his claim to someone other than herself. Sierra felt like it was cemented now that they had taken the pressure off of Marcus and his pregnant wife. Like her husband, Sierra did *not* want to see the day Duchess Zara rose. Only she was equipped to take on such a role. The blonde continued to play nice. "Thank you, sister. Please rest. We'll see each other soon." She promised. As she turned around, there was a knock at the door. A nurse carrying a gallon of Zara's favorite ice cream and a spoon appeared. "Ah, there it is. Thank you." Sierra took the ice cream. She set it on the tray close to Zara's bed. Zara looked amazed. *How did she do that?!* kind of amazed. With that, the pretty young girl returned to the side of her lover. Together, they left Zara and Marcus to their own devices ... which probably included eating ice cream.

Claudius offered a small wave to Zara and a nod to his brother before leaving the room with Sierra. "She looks well," he said to Sierra, as he tucked her arm beneath his and led her back towards the speeder. "One crisis solved, only 99 left to go," he said to his fiance, only half joking, as they made their way to safety. "But tell me the truth, was that worth five million credits?" he asked, turning to place a kiss upon Sierra's lips before she could answer. "Don't answer that," he said, rolling his eyes, as he led her into the speeder. It was *only* credits.

"Do you want me to break you out of here?" Marcus asked Zara, as he watched her devour the ice cream. He reached out, grabbing a chair, and slowly dragging it over to the bed so that he could sit beside her. "Do you ... do you want to talk about it?" he asked her, unable to look at her as he began to speak about it. Failing to protect her was the greatest failure of his life ... taking so long to recover her was the second greatest failure. "I love you so much," he said to her, as he felt his eyes tearing up again. A hand moved to her, finding itself back in her hair where it had spent so much time. "You mean everything to me. I cannot go on without you," he explained to her, as he massaged her head ... he did not know what else to do.

She laughed softly. It wasn't a joke at all, was it? "You're making headway, love. Everything is going to fall into line," she reassured Claudius. The press were currently eating them up. They anxiously waited while Delaya's newest couple made a short appearance on the way into the speeder. She did question if Zara was worth so many credits. Five million credits could have been helpful in other ways than in the hands of criminals. She audibly groaned at the question, unsure if she should answer until Claudius made it easy for her. She kissed him. They made quite the team together. "I won't," she said, though the way she said it was an answer in itself.

Zara's spirits were up. No more Duke Marcus. No more Duchess Zara. No more Duchess Livia pressuring her She was eating up four day's worth of meals as Luna had refused to give her anything except the occasional cracker. "Can you? I'm sure Sir Tentacles is starting to miss us... I wish that creature would have eaten Petrus..." Grumble grumble. She rested her spoon inside of her ice cream bucket. She didn't have to read his mind to understand that Marcus was hurting. She didn't blame him for not being there the instant she was captured, nor did she blame him for the ordeal with her sister. Zara's hand reached to his arm. She ran it up and down his skin reassuringly. "I love you so much, my Marcus. You'll never have to go on without me. I knew you would come for me. You were my hope the whole time," she explained to him. His massage was doing the trick again. Her eyes closed. "They said so much horrible things about us. That we didn't love each other, and our babies were nothing more than a mistake. Luna must have seen all the reports on the Holonet and gotten the wrong impression. She only found me because she knew she could steal from me. How could I be so stupid? I put all of us in danger. Your family put out so much credits for me. Maybe if I was noble born...maybe I'd be better for everyone." Now it was her turn to look away from him. If she was like Sierra, she wouldn't have asked Marcus not to become Duke. If she was like Sierra, she probably wouldn't have just caused the family five million credits.

"We do love each other, Zara," Marcus said, as he looked down at her affectionately, unable to take his eyes off of her now. "Don't worry about the credits. Our family can afford it, and hopefully it will give those two deplorables reason enough to leave us alone, but I still wonder if I should have killed them," he explained, as he broke protocol by leaning forward and climbing into the bed with her. With his and her combined weight the gurney nearly gave way, and it buckled audibly beneath them. "I think we're going to get in trouble if they find us like this, but I'll just have mother make another donation," he said, as he pulled her into his arms, and he began to passionately kiss her. "She is not your sister any longer, but there is a family here for you. And soon ... very soon ... we will have a family of our own," he promised her, as his hand moved to rub her stomach and feel Darrus and Sia, who were just a few months away from joining them.

She wondered if she should have allowed him to kill them. If they ever stepped foot on Delaya again, Zara wouldn't have any second guesses about killing them. She didn't voice this to Marcus. She didn't want to think about them anymore. Her husband joined her in her little hospital bed. Zara made a happy noise, abandoning her ice cream so that she could cuddle closely with him; her hero. Giggling, the thief kissed her husband with all of her love. It was so good to be home. She intended to remain attached to his hip for the next few weeks. Marcus would never let anyone kidnap her in front of him. He was her defensive, wonderful bounty hunter husband. He reminded her of the most important things. Her Rodney family was crazy, but better than her birth family. "You know exactly how to make me feel better, Marcus. I have a perfect family here." Now that their mother had relaxed and their father was near, the twins became active again. Beneath his hand, they almost seemed to dance with joy for the reunion with their daddy. Zara's smile grew. It seemed like soon the planet would see a new generation of Rodneys. Maybe Sierra and Claudius would also produce a baby to befriend the twins. She didn't know, but she sure liked the idea of a big, semi-happy family.

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