Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:6:28) in the Mustafar system: Kwai.
Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Major Sierra Rodney, and Vaneé.

Claudius sat in the co-pilot's seat of the Lambda-class shuttle Kwai as it traveled through hyperspace towards Onderon. His head was slumped down as he was trying to get some rest, the fresh memory of the defeat at Chandrila and the anger of his daughter eloping still fresh on his mind. He only hoped that he could get to Onderon in time. His head lifted up quickly when he felt himself beginning to drift off. He opened his eyes wide, looking beleaguered, but then just as quickly his head fell again, his chin coming to a rest on his chest, and his eyes reluctantly closed. Moments later the sound of snoring began to fill the cockpit as the tired old man had mercifully drifted off to some much needed sleep.

And then the sound of a beep of the comm panel began to sound once, twice, and then at an incessant pace. It was the emergency frequency and could not be ignored. "Hmm? Huh? Wha-?" Claudius said, as he stirred back awake. He blinked his eyes tiredly, as he looked towards Sierra, and then the comm panel. "Oh what now," he muttered, before he slammed his hand down on the comm panel to answer it.

In the center of the control panel the image of Vaneé appeared. "Governor Rodney," the old attendant stated plainly, as he looked towards the Grand Moff. "You are a difficult man to locate. I would have expected to find you aboard your command ship, or seeing to the situation on Chandrila," he explained, while simultaneously insulting the man. "Your presence is requested on Mustafar ... *immediately*," he said, making it clear that it was an order, not a request. There were no further words. He had made his master's wishes abundantly clear. Without giving the Governor a chance to return he terminated the transmission, for there was another he needed to summon.

Sierra felt like the Kwai couldn't move quickly enough. They were racing something that moved at a rate much quicker than time...Drusilla. She kept her mind away from wondering what would happen if she had already married by the time they arrived by playing with Bruce. While everyone else was sleep deprived within the ship, he'd gotten a solid nap and was wide awake now. Sierra had removed him from the baby sling to play with him while the autopilot did all the work. The sounds of Claudius' snores came to her relief. He needed sleep. It was, of course, at that quiet moment that the beeping began. Sierra groaned. This was it. Dru had been wed.

She placed Bruce back in the sling and prepared for the worst. She looked over at the image of Vaneé that had appeared. The man had worked as an advisor to the Emperor. The blood left Sierra's face. This wasn't about Dru. This was about Bruce. She felt angry as the man insulted her husband, but the message he delivered made her *very* worried. Mustafar was not a pretty place. The planet was covered in volcanic lava...not exactly one's idea of a vacation. She thought that Emperor would be waiting for them there. "Mustafar..." A frown settled on her face. If the Emperor truly was there, then their son was dead. She looked at Claudius. "Should we go?" Her hands lingered over the controls. She'd need to change their destination ... possible to the Unknown Regions.

Claudius listened to the message from Vaneé, whom he recognized instantly as Darth Vader's attendant. He wondered if the Inquisitor had reported him to her master, but before he could seek clarity the transmission had ended. "Of all the times..." he told Sierra, realizing that there was no way they could travel to Onderon to 'rescue' Drusilla now. "We have no choice. One does *not* refuse Lord Vader," he said, before turning his attention to the navicomputer. He began the process of rerouting them to Mustafar. Once done, he rose from the seat and he began to move towards where she had placed Bruce. "C'mon," he said to her, as he moved towards the sling to look at the baby the message was still on the forefront of his mind. "Only I have been summoned. When we land, you should take the ship, and Bruce, and return to New Alderaan," he told her, but his eyes never left their son.

Lord Vader. She had heard stories of him. People spoke in whispered voices in the corridors when they thought they were not being heard. Her fears settled on Claudius as he reminded her that it was *he* who had been summoned, not their son, not even her. The battle of Chandrila was not going well. By Jessa's appearance, they knew that Claudius wasn't exactly sitting in the grace of His Majesty. From inside the sling, Bruce stared at his father in awe. The little guy was quickly developing a personality. She wanted Claudius to be there to watch him grow and grow. Sierra reached out. Her hand softly ran over his arm. "I can't leave you, Claudius. *We* can't leave you." She looked up at him hoping he understood despite all the risks. She didn't want to hide out on New Alderaan, anticipating the fate of the man she loved most.

"Lord Vader is second only to the Emperor in terms of authority and power. He does not accept failure ... and at Chandrila I failed," Claudius informed her, while taking his right index finger and moving it into the sling to let Bruce attempt to crab at it. "I do not think this is about Bruce. If it were, I would have been instructed to bring him," he reasoned, as he was not an entirely incompetent man. During the Clone Wars Commander Skywalker had been in the same fleet as him, but Claudius, like nearly everyone in the galaxy, was unaware that Anakin Skywalker had become Darth Vader. "If I can't talk you out of traveling to New Alderaan to hide, then you must at least promise not to intervene on my behalf should our conversation become ... *unpleasant*," he asked her, as he slowly moved his view from their son to her. "I love you, Sierra. Never allow yourself to think for a moment that I don't," he told her, as he gave her the strongest smile he could muster at the moment.

Bruce was officially the happiest living being inside of the Kwai. He reached out towards Claudius' finger with his tiny hands. Sierra's eyes fell away from her husband's. His words only confirmed her fears. This wasn't about Bruce, this was about *Claudius*. She didn't want to cry in front of him. On this journey to Mustafar, he needed her strength...not her weakness. She couldn't fold at a time like this. Her head shot up. The promise he made her give was so difficult. Sierra worried when her love had a clumsy moment and bumped his head. If Darth Vader hurt Claudius...if he *killed* him... She *had* to be strong. Sierra rose and wrapped her arms around him loosely for fear of crushing Bruce between them. "I promise." She whispered. "I could never allow myself to think such a thing. I love you with my whole heart for now, forever. If anything happens..." Her voice trailed. "...I will take care of the girls. I will make sure Dru never marries that Prince." She kissed him passionately. The thought of something happening to him was in the front of her mind. She was terrified.

Claudius pulled his hand away from his son, and then he slowly moved towards Sierra. He reached out with both of his arms and wrapped them tightly around her, drawing her near until their bodies became one. "I do not trust Governor Arundel. As long as he remains in power avoid Delaya and my brother," he instructed her, while he began to bury his head in her chest. "Go to New Alderaan. Trust in the Rebels to keep the world safe. Stay close to Jelena and the Squibs," he continued, as if he was dictating a last will and testament. When he was finished we moved his mouth to her neck and began to kiss it passionately. The kisses turned to nibbles ... the nibbles turned to bites. While he was doing that his hands moved to her waist, where he unfastened both of their belt buckles. There was just enough time for one moment of intimacy, but would it be their last?

It was hard for her to listen to his instructions. They were currently planning out what happened next if he didn't survive. Her hand ran through his hair softly. "I will." She promised him while her body quivered. Her heart ached inside her chest. A lifetime wouldn't be enough time with Claudius. Less than a year certainly wasn't enough. In such an emotionally raw moment, her passions for him rose. If this was it...if this was truly the end...then she would be with him one last time.

Sierra's hands rolled over his face slowly. Each bite he gave her heated up her body until it became necessary for them to be as close as possible. Step by step she led them backwards to the cabin where they had shared their first kiss on the way to Delaya some time ago. There, she placed Bruce comfortable in his bassinet and let her attention settle on Claudius. She began to undress him slowly. First his tunic followed by his pants. She repeated the same process to herself until she stood before him naked. She embraced him again, only now every inch of the front of her body pressed into his. "I love you. You've made my life so amazing, Claudius."

"I love you, Sierra," Claudius told her, as he found himself becoming undressed in the cold rear cabin of the Kwai. His hand moved to the side of her face to brush away a loose strand of her curly blonde hair so he could get a view of her face in its entirety. "You are as beautiful as the first time I saw you," he told her, before leaning in to place a kiss upon her lips.

It had been meant to be from first sight. Nothing could have stopped the romance had developed between them. Sierra had come to trap Claudius in the evil Zevrin's plans ... but she had found something she *needed* in the process. He was still just as handsome as that first day, and her body let him know that she still found him damn attractive. Her hands reached down and dug into his hair gently. The bad thoughts started to grey. "C-Claudius!" She was in a better place once she had finished...a place where she was going to take Claudius to. Her hands reached to his on her breasts, grasping them, slowly guiding him to his feet then to sit on the sofa within the cabin. Sierra stood in front of him, looking lovingly at the man who'd gifted her the world.

Claudius had never felt passion quite like this. His first wife had died so soon after their marriage that they barely had any time together, and his second was a political sham where nothing transpired between them ... but this ... *this* was love ... and he was so blessed to have it. If Lord Vader were to end his life this day when at least he would have this moment with Sierra to treasure as the end came. His eyes closed and his head fell back while soft, delicate moans escaped his lips. His hand moved down to her head slowly, brushing his fingers through her hair as he tried to hold on.

If it weren't for Claudius, Sierra would have never known true love. She didn't think it was possible to be so close to another human being...until him. If he died today, before Lord Vader, Sierra would never move on. She wouldn't remarry, for she had already married the best man the galaxy could produce. She would be content to dream of him every night, for he was the best dream come true. Her hands ran up and down his legs, the up his torso just to feel him everywhere one more time. She had spent months committing his body to memory until it was unforgettable.

Claudius wanted to finish inside her, perhaps to bless her with another pregnancy before this unwelcome encounter with the Dark Lord. "Stop ... stop..." he pleased with her, as he began to spasm beneath her. He grit his teeth and concentrated with all of his strength to prevent an early finish, but she had very nearly left him spent. "I wish to make love to you," he told her, but he stopped short of saying 'one last time'. "Please..." he pleaded with her, as his hand again graced the delicate features of her face.

Her actions immediately came to a halt. She didn't want their last time to end like this either... She didn't want this to be their *last* time. Sierra smiled lovingly at him. She'd never make him ask for that twice. She crept forward into his lap. Sierra sat, straddling him, with her eyes staring into his. He was so perfect for her. "Mmm..." The addictive feeling of pleasure and completion spread through her like a wildfire. Her heart seemed to beat in union with his at that moment. Her hands cupped his face. "Oh, my sweet Claudius."

As Sierra repositioned herself on his lap he felt a sense of contentment that he had never felt before in his life. His arms wrapped around her and he simply held her against him with no further motion. He angled his head down, placing his ear to her chest, as he listened to the soothing sound of her heartbeat. "I love you," he told her for the thousandth time that day, as he slowly moved his head up from her chest to place another series of kisses upon her lips. "And no matter what happens I will always love you," he promised her, before yet another kiss was shared between the two lovers.

Inside her breast, her heart was racing. Each individual thump was for *him*. Her eyes closed. She held him as close as she could manage. "I love you," she'd tell him it over and over again until they reached Mustafar. She shared kiss after kiss after kiss with him, each more loving than the last. His promise finally broke her. Warm tears slowly crept down her cheeks. "No matter what happens I will always love you." She repeated the very same words to him, for her heart was tangled up in him. Sierra continued to kiss him. If he survived the ordeal with Lord Vader, she would cherish him that much more. She couldn't imagine what her days would be like without him. She felt thankful that she had Bruce to always remember him by. When the kiss broke, she began speaking again with her lips near to his. "I will love you until the end of time. You brought light into my life from the very first moment we spoke. You may think I saved you but it isn't like that at all. I could have never endured losing Alderaan and Jelena without you. You saved *me*."

This was more about passion than pleasure. "We saved each other," Claudius assured her, with a nod of his head, as he looked her in the eyes with a sense of love and appreciation. He leaned forward, allowing his forehead to rest on her shoulder. He let out a sigh of contentment before falling forward into her, never loosening her embrace. From the cockpit another loud series of beeps could be heard as the Kwai lurched to a standstill. They had arrived at Mustafar.

She looked into his eyes. They truly had saved each other. Her arms tightened their embrace. Her head came to rest on top of his. Her own body was responding from all the sensations, both physical and emotional ones alike. "I love you..!" She whimpered. If he were to die today, then he had left Sierra with a piece of himself directly inside of her womb. She didn't release him even after they were both spent. The series of beeps cut through all of Sierra's happy feelings. They had arrived. She didn't make any efforts to part from her husband. If nothing else, Sierra seemed to get closer to him.

Her head tilted downward until her mouth was near his ear. She kissed his lobe. "Out of all the titles I've is being your wife that I am most proud of." She confessed. "And I will *always* be proud of that...and proud of you. Don't you forget that."

Claudius continued to embrace his wife long after the intimacy had passed. He listened to her affectionate words, brought a tear to his eyes. "Oh stop or you're going to make me cry. I would prefer to face Lord Vader with dry eyes," he said, making light of the situation to cut the tension that was so thick in the air it threatened to choke them. "We're here," he told her, stating the obvious, and bringing a more serious tone to their discussion. He could not get dressed with her sitting upon him, but he was not about to move her. He was unaware that they had conceived again, and it would be several weeks before they were sure, but as he clung to her he liked to imagine that they had. "I will never forget, my Sierra. I will never forget any of this," he told her, before reaching up and taking hold of her face. He held there as he examined every millimeter of it and once again signifying their love with a kiss.

Only Claudius could make her laugh at a moment such as this. Sierra giggled. "Oh, just tell him you were cutting onions. He'll understand." She managed a smile for him which faded as they both realized that Mustafar was waiting for them. Sierra wasn't overly inclined to get out of his lap and did not rise immediately. She, too, hoped that they had managed to conceive in that moment. Their son, though a new addition to the family, was already the apple of Sierra's eye. They had both hoped to have a daughter together... When she had stopped making him cry, it was he who made *her* cry. Tears appeared in her eyes. How could they forget? They were happy together no matter what was going on around them. She kissed him for a long, long time.

Eventually they could wait no longer. Lord Vader didn't strike her as a patient individual. After Sierra got herself out of her husband's lap, she helped him dress from head to toe. She ran her hands over the front of his tunic to fix the creases in it. When he was ready, she kissed him again. It was time to face fate on Mustafar.

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