Mug Zoran was
battling mixed emotions as he settled into the back
of the Gilded Thranta. While he was glad to have his
fiancé, Iyah, back with him, the loss of Callista
was devastating. She was an innocent in all this.
She did not ask to be a pawn in some game between
the Rebellion and the Empire. Part of him had missed
Callista more than Iyah. His arm wrapped tightly
around Iyah, as tears were welling up in the corner
of his eyes. "I'm sorry I lost her. I'm so, so
sorry," he told her, as he finally became
overwhelmed, the years flowing from his eyes as he
felt the full effect of the loss. "We'll get her
back," he pledged to her, as he felt the shuttle
lift off and blast away from Delaya. He had one
simply job ... to watch Callista ... and he had
failed ... *miserably* ... and he knew it.
Iyah felt like
her heart had been ripped from her body. That
terrible ISB woman was holding Callista! Her
daughter had slipped before her fingers just like
the snow. She looked miserable as she clung to Mug
for support until they could embrace one another
inside of the Gilded Thranta. She buried her head
into his shoulder, unleashing all her tears into his
Rebel uniform. "I'm sorry... I didn't know they had
her. I didn't know she was so close." She felt like
she could have done more. She wondered what they had
told Callista, or if her daughter was scared and
thought she'd been abandoned again. She didn't see
this as his failure, or anyone else's failure. It
happened far too quickly for them to stop. Her body
felt so weak and horrible. Pain grasped her heart so
hard that she fell to the ground, hugging Mug's legs
while her body shook. "We *have* to get her. We have
to save her. They must be keeping her at the estate
on Esseles... We have to go there now!" She was so
weak. She was not in the position to rush into a
place, dirty with Stormtroopers, to steal her
daughter. Could Jelena Rodney protect her baby?
thought if they got married it would solve all of
their problems, but he was wrong. "We can't, Iyah
... we can't," he said, clinging to her, trying to
protect her from the outside world. "It's too well
defended. They'd probably just kill her..." he said,
sadly, swallowing slowly in such a way that caused
his throat to bulge. He loved Iyah very much, but
they were not a complete family without their
Callista. "I promise you I'll keep fighting to get
her back," he said to her, fighting back the tears,
as he did his best to console her. The flight back
to the Ringali Shell would be particularly painful,
as they would pass through the system where their
daughter was being held. They would be close, yet
so, *so* far. It was killing him, but the Empire had
given him no choice. He hoped Jelena would be able
to protect Callista, as he prayed his Alderaanian
relations would not be so vile as to harm an
innocent young girl.
people be so cruel hearted? Callista was *four*. She
wasn't trade bait. Iyah recalled listening to
Callista talk endlessly about her uncle and her new
best friend. Maybe, just maybe, they'd show mercy on
the sweet girl. The powerlessness was a weight so
heavy that it threatened to crush them both. "No.."
She couldn't think about Callista dying. She wanted
her daughter back right *now*! Iyah forced herself
to stand, looking at her sweet husband who was
enduring the same hell she was. She took him, held
him, and began to comfort him just as he did for
her. Her fingers moved in and out of his wild hair.
"I promise you I'll keep fighting to get her back,"
she repeated. Their daughter had to come back
someway, somehow. For now, Iyah's mind was
shattered. She was not a productive soldier anymore.
"I love you. I'm sorry everything that happened like
that. I should have never brought us to Esseles..."
Her other hand rubbed his back. She felt less
confident about her life choices. They had caused
her to lose Callista. Was Mug next?
pick the mission, Iyah," Mug told her, rising to his
feet to keep encouraging her. "Command did. You
never could have foreseen what happened," he said,
as he moved to wrap his arms around her. "I love
you, Iyah. And we will be a family again," he vowed,
dramatically, before moving his lips to hers,
pressing them passionately against her. Their tears
mingled as their faces collided, burning their eyes
as the passion between them burned as well. "We will
get her back and add to our family," he promised
her, as his hand moved up her back, rooting itself
in her flowing black hair. She was so beautiful, and
he felt so lucky to have her. He wanted to marry her
so badly, but he also knew it was important to have
their princess, Callista, there as well. "Perhaps
Marcus and Zara can help us? They did not seem as
bad as the others. I'm sure they won't stand for her
being held as a political hostage," he suggested to
her, as he grasped at straws to get his baby girl
became necessary that they use each other for
support. Losing Callista could tear them apart, or
bring them together and make them stronger. Her arms
returned around him. Mug's dramatic vows and his
passions brought Iyah's heart back together again.
They would be a family again. She cried harder,
kissing him. They shared passion. They shared
sadness. They shared *everything*. "We will. We'll
all be happy. You, me, Callista, and any others."
She, too, wanted to marry him badly. She had
intended to marry Mug after the Esseles mission, and
that would still happen once Callista was back.
After all, she was the promised flower girl. It was
a chance to make her feel like the princess that she
had nearly been. She looked in his eyes. He made her
feel like everything would really work out.
brought up Zara and Marcus, Iyah didn't reject the
idea. Zara had treated Callista so sweetly,
especially when her daughter adored the woman so
much. She had never felt that Marcus was a bad
person either. He certainly wasn't involved in the
affairs of his brother and the Empire. She looked at
him. "Let's do it. We'll go back to Delaya as soon
as we retrieve my ship. What his brother is doing is
wrong. Maybe... Maybe they will help us." She was
aware that the deal had occurred just outside his
home, though she hadn't seen it. If the man had a
shred of good in him, he would help.
was already stripping out of his armor as he
returned to the chalet where he expected Zara to
have an onslaught of questions. Her being left out
must have killed her, he worried, and he would do
his best to fill her in as best possible. "Honey you
wouldn't believe it. The sea monster nearly derailed
the whole thing when he attacks Sierra's transport,"
he informed her, as he placed his helmet on the
table, and then shifted his attention to the rest of
the armor. "Jelena looked well," he explained, as he
began to strip right in front of her. They had
settled into married life and most of his manners
had gone by the wayside. He no longer had objections
to marching around the house in his underwear ... or
less. "Kerrie was there to help, and she brought
El-Nay of all people with her," he said, with a
smirk, as he began to place his armor back in
storage. He never knew who was bound to stop by.
"The bastard was there on the Rebel side," he
explained, as he hid everything behind the wall.
"The one thing I didn't expect was that Claudius and
Sierra are holding little Callista as collateral to
ensure the Rebels didn't get out of line," he said,
as he put a robe over his body and moved to sit with
Zara in the living room.
disliked not being apart of the action. She had
lingered near their large, bay window. She could see
absolutely nothing. She could hear nothing. Now, she
was *finally* going to get some answers. She was
seated in the living room with a cup of hot
chocolate in her hands. There was a second cup on
the coffee table for her husband to consume. Zara
snapped her fingers, "Well, Sir Tentacles nearly
solved some of our problems..." She was still on the
line about Sierra. While she felt like the woman had
been handed a bad set of cards, Zara questioned if
she was playing it right. Regardless, that was
Claudius' problem now. If he wanted to be with an
ISB officer, then so be it.
"It's too bad
you didn't get to spend more time with her. I really
wanted to meet her." She sipped on her beverage and
watched him strip. There was no question of their
privacy. Zara, herself, wore a comfortable
see-through nightie to remind her husband that
pregnancy hadn't caused her to lose a lick of her
sexuality. Besides, it always turned her on when he
was in his armor. "El-Nay? Seriously? I'm shocked
things went so well." As to Zara's feelings on that
woman, well, they were clear. There was one thing
that Marcus said that was massively upsetting.
"*What*!? They are doing *what*!?" Her ears must
have deceived her to hear that her brother and his
wife were holding a little girl hostage. She set her
mug on the table before it ended up broken against a
wall. "Callista? The tiny refugee girl, right?
Surely that can't be. That's low, even for the ISB."
quick to take the cup of caf that was offered him,
as it promised to warm him up on what had been a
particularly cold night. It was as if the planet
knew what was going on and responded by lowering the
temperature even more dramatically than normal.
"Yes. I'm afraid so. It seems that the ISB will stop
at nothing," he said, disgustedly, as he shifted his
attention towards his wife. "Do you still have an
active feed of the ISB cameras on the Retributor?"
he asked, as he took a sip of the caf. He wondered
what other secrets about Sierra and the ISB were yet
to be uncovered.
She wore a
disturbed look on her face. It was one more threat
to add to the twins. Zara wanted to save Callista
and return her to her rightful place. "They are
horrible!" She shouted. "I'm going to punch Sierra
next time I see her! We have to save her. Your
brother doesn't seem like the kind of man to hurt
little girls. I can't say the same about the ISB..."
Her hand brushed over his. "Yes. I've concealed my
presence in the Retributor. I'm sure that they don't
know about me." She reassured him, her body tilting
into his. "Do you think they took Callista there? If
we can find her, we can take a trip to see Doctor
Tohan..." Zara was desperate.
punching anyone. That's your hormones," talking,
Marcus said in jest, as he paused to count the days
until the twins were likely to arrive. "I don't even
want to imagine where they're holding Callista," he
said, as he moved his *very* pregnant wife towards
the terminal where they had the connection to the
data spike aboard the Retributor. "Just ... no more
sex tapes," he begged his wife, as he helped her
down into the chair. "I don't want to find out
Claudius' Chiss tactician is caught up in a romance
with Doctor Tohan. Neither my eyes nor my heart
could take it," he teased her, as he pulled up
another chair behind her. He rested his chin on her
shoulder as he watched her do her wonderful work of
slicing into the Imperial cameras.
of the hormones." Zara said jokingly,
half-seriously. Time was ticking down to D-Day. She
avoided thinking about all of that. She was supposed
to arrange some sort of breathing class, as well as
decide a medcenter. For now, she was furious with
Sierra *and* Claudius. She waddled towards the
terminal. There, she sat and began typing away in
attempt to find her niece. She nose cringed. "Ewwww!!!
No! Stop!! Don't say that! Not Doctor Tohan!!!"
Despite all odds to block a disturbing image out of
her head, Zara couldn't stop it. She whimpered,
closing her eyes tightly. "You're a meanie! You've
disturbed me and the babies!" A little bit of
comedic relief was necessary sometimes even if it
meant that Zara would be scarred for life. "Hmmm..
Look, there he is, fully clothed." She grinned as
she skipped through the live feed. "Callista, where
are you?" She brought up Arden's cameras.
on his wife to get to the bottom of this. The
brother that he knew never would have kept a child
hostage. Of course that same brother was the one who
just sucker punched him and married a childhood
friend of his daughters who was in the ISB. More and
more he felt like he knew less and less. As he
watched the footage of Sierra going about her
business aboard the Retributor he wondered what the
next shoe to fall was. When he saw her alone in her
quarters with Doctor Tohan he was horrified that the
sex tape he teased about was about to come to life
on the screen. He lowered his head, using her back
as a human shield to cover his eyes. "Please,
please, please," he mumbled into her back, as his
hands tensed around her, squeezing onto her for dear
Sierra's movements seemed like the most logical way
to find Callista. If the little girl was on the
Retributor, then there was no way Sierra was staying
away from her. She jolted upright when she stumbled
upon the footage of her sister and her doctor
together, *alone*. "Marcus, you have doomed us all!"
She squeaked, hiding her head in her hands. If her
hubby got to avoid seeing the strange, intimate
affair, then so did she! However, things played out
differently. Peering out from between her fingers,
Zara watched something else unfold altogether. It
was hard to see the tiny pregnancy test in Sierra's
hands, but she did notice a familiar tool in Pilaq's.
"Oh my god!!!" She sounded horrified, as if the act
they both feared was unfolding between her eyes.
"What is he doing to her!?" She bit on her lower lip
so hard that it began to bleed. One of her hands
dared to leave her face to turn up the volume on the
video. *The cheap test you purchased has indeed
proved to be accurate...* Zara was leaning forward
now. Eventually, more surprising words than the last
came out of her doctor's voice. *You are blessed
with a son.* Pilaq's words hung in the terminal. If
she had heard them, then Marcus had too. "Ohfuck."
They'd just stumbled on another bombshell.
heard Doctor Tohan declare Sierra to be pregnant
with a son he lost his balance, and tumbled from his
chair onto the floor behind Zara. "What?!" he
exclaimed, as he looked up at the monitor from his
hands and knees on the floor. "Play it again," he
said, as he rose back up, and stood next to her.
"Well, at least Darrus is off the hook," he said,
with a smile, as he cast his eyes down at her. He
could not believe that the young ISB agent had
already skillfully gotten herself pregnant by his
seemingly changed brother. He could not believe the
old boy did it. He would have congratulated him
under different circumstances. As he listened to the
recording several times it dawned on him that Sierra
was now entrenched in Claudius' life and there'd be
no removing her now. "A son..." he repeated,
sounding shocked, as he gradually resumed his seat
behind her to cope with the news.
okay?!" She reached down towards the floor in
attempt to help him back up. Zara replayed the video
from when Pilaq had shown up. Now she noticed what
Sierra was holding in her hands. The positive
pregnancy test was right there. Everything was as
Pilaq confirmed. She played the video over and over
again. There was a ray of light which Marcus had
pointed out. Sierra and Claudius had set their boy
free. That made her smile, all things considered.
"I'm so happy about that! I was worried your father
would start grooming him for the throne as soon as
he could." She sat back in her seat and let herself
feel absolutely relieved. She watched Sierra happily
hug Doctor Tohan. Even if they couldn't understand
what was going on between the ISB officer and
Claudius, perhaps it was working out for Marcus'
brother. Zara clutched his hand as she slowly rose
from her seat. She hugged him. "He won't be much
younger than our own." She sighed. "I feel like the
more we learn, the more complex it is to mend
relations with your brother. I'm sorry I ever