Era of Rebellion - Navigation

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

Doctor Bailo stood in the sickbay examining the Rodney child. She kept 'hmming' from both mouths. She had spent the last half hour giving the boy a thorough check up. What she found was shocking. In all of her years of helping bring lives into the world, there was nothing quite like the case of Bruce Rodney. She looked toward Doctor Tohan. "This... this is amazing." She said as she began to report the first good news anyone had heard since the boy was born. "This boy... He's way ahead developmentally. He weighs nearly four pounds, which is unheard of for how young he was. I have found *no* problems either. Look at him." Doctor Bailo stepped to the side so Pilaq could see the boy. He didn't even act like a preemie. He had a determined look on his face as he kicked his legs out. "A child this young should spend much longer in NICU, but if he continues to grow accordingly and stays healthy, then he'll be able to go home much sooner." She stood before the boy again. He was laid out in a specially designed bassinet-like box so Doctor Bailo could properly complete her examination.

Doctor Tohan was seated, breathing heavily out of both of his mouths, as he attempted to steady himself after a grueling day. His hand maintained a grip on his walking stick, fashioned from the remnants of a naturally fallen tree from his beloved Ithor, for support. "Then it is a blessing," he told Doctor Bailo, as he slowly tilted his head to look upon mother and child once again. "How long do you expect to keep him here?" he asked, but he did not rise to join her. He was too old to get up and down for every event. The long digits of his hands continued to open and close, squeezing his walking stick, as he tried to relax and come down from the intensity of the delivery.

"A blessing indeed." Alessandra agreed. She could see that Pilaq was exhausted. Everyone involved had endured a very long day...and it was only beginning. Carefully, Doctor Bailo began bundling the baby in a blanket. She had already put a sleeper on him to keep him warm. Then, she scooped the bundled Bruce up and took him back to his parents. She approached Claudius, offering him the boy. His bright baby blue eyes were open. He kept trying to kick, but the blanket stopped him from being able to do so. "I... I'm not sure yet. We need to continue to monitor him closely." Once she had handed the child off, she moved to wash her hands and collect a glass of water for Pilaq. She stood by the old Ithorian, offering it to him. The poor doctor needed a rest.

Sierra Rodney had stabilized once Bruce was born. The pain had mostly disappeared, replaced with exhaustion. She remained alert, anxiously watching Doctor Bailo work over her little boy. It seemed that, somehow, they had been granted with best case scenario. Yes, Bruce had arrived far too early, but it was *relieving* to hear that there had been no problems yet. Sierra regretted all those baby books she'd read now. She *knew* the risks. She let out a sigh, adjusting onto her side so she could watch Claudius and their boy. Her hands reached out, brushing over his knee. "Goodness, all he wants to do is kick and kick." She smiled. Bruce was slowly getting himself out of the blanket by staying active.

The events were moving quickly, but to Claudius Rodney everything seemed to be in slow motion. As he sat in the chair next to Sierra, at a state far beyond exhaustion, he watched every motion of his newborn son. When Doctor Bailo took him away for his examination he tensed up, and did not relax until the baby was placed back down with Sierra. "Hmm. Instead of shockball perhaps he'll go into the martial arts," he theorized, as he leaned forward over Sierra's bed, hovering as he watched his son kick. Everything he did, no matter how trivial or insignificant, seemed to be a monumental feat. He was in full overinflated father mode.

From outside the room the sight of an orange helmet kept peeking into Sierra's room. The Mandalorian had been sent for by Claudius the first moment he had the chance should the Inquisitor pose a further damage. While he did not think the Mandalorian stood a chance against one of Lord Vader's Inquisitors, he thought, as always, that she might prove a welcome distraction. She could not quite see into the room, which prompted her to raise up onto her tiptoes to peer into the room, which made for the comedic image of her helmet slowly moving up and down. She wondered if she should go in, but she was not clean or sterilized, so she decided to wait out. She had not been briefed on what happened, and therefore she had no idea what was going on. The one thing she did know, however, was that Sierra was not supposed to give birth for many more months.

She smiled. "Maybe. I had assumed that it was his fists I was feeling. I didn't realize he was going to arrive with such strong legs." She adjusted the blanket to keep her son cozy even if he didn't want to be. Sierra's concerns were massive, but she blocked them out for the time being. She was too happy to have Bruce. She trusted Doctor Tohan to see that her son continued to stay healthy. She knew that Claudius had sent for El-Nay, which was relieving. It brought another line of defense between their baby and their enemies. She anticipated Kerrie coming back to the family now more than ever. They *needed* her. All of a sudden, Bruce made an unhappy face and began to cry.

Inquisitor Thrope made her way to the sickbay. She was furious. She pushed aside anyone who dared get in her way. "I'll kill that baby myself." Jessa had decided she was getting replaced. The more she felt the presence of the child, the more worried she became. It was her own strength that stopped Lord Vader from overseeing her death. Even then, she hadn't started showing her skills until she was older than the Rodney boy. She stomped forward into the sickbay and would have proceeded right into Sierra Rodney's room if it weren't for an orange eyesore. Jessa's blazing red eyes landed on El-Nay. "Move it!" She yelled.

El-Nay turned when she saw the Inquisitor approach, but she was at yet unaware of what she was. However, because of her diminutive size and outwardly 'cute' appearance she underestimated her. She raised her arm, whose gauntlet contained her flamethrower, and took up a defensive position in front of the door that led to Sierra's suite. "Nuh uh, toots," she said, as she puffed out her chest and acted like a big shot. "No one gets in there today. So hop back where you came from," she snickered, as she prepared to burn her to a crisp if she took another step towards the woman whom she had sworn to protect.

Was this Governor Rodney's attempt to keep his wife safe? She stared at the woman. She had *no* idea who she was messing with. Jessa had already blotched part of her mission by making Sierra give birth. She had to straighten things out again or else she would be punished. She smiled. "'Hop back to where you came from?' Is that the best you can do?" Jessa reached to her belt. She grasped only one curved-hilted lightsaber, for she saw El-Nay as weak and not worthy of two. She ignited it. The red blade cast light over her face. "I'm sorry, I didn't introduce myself... I'm Inquisitor Thrope. I'm here to terrorize Governor Rodney." She inched closer to the Mandalorian. She kept an eye on her gauntlet curiously.

"Oh shit," El-Nay exclaimed in terror from beneath her helmet. She had never seen a lightsaber in person before, but she had heard her father tell stories about the Sith who briefly conquered Mandalore during the Clone Wars. Under her helmet she was beginning to sweat, and she swallowed anxiously, finding her mouth to be as dry as a desert planet. She closed her eyes and unleashed her gauntlet, sending forth a column of flame at the Inquisitor. "I'm afraid I can't let you do that," she said, as she did her best to protect the Rodney family. With her other hand she began to bang on the door behind her to alert them as to the danger.

Jessa skidded backwards to avoid becoming a delicious dish of cooked Lepi. She reached a paw out. Two hoversleds beside her began to shake as she summoned them. She moved her paw and they zoomed towards the Mandalorian. Jessa was overly confident. She was certain that she could kill El-Nay very quickly...but then it wouldn't be fun for her. "Then I'll step on your dead body when I force my way in there!" She screamed. She had so much rage built up. She hadn't said a word to Prav about this mission, mostly because she was embarrassed and she didn't want him to think she was weak.

Sierra cradled Bruce in her arms. "Shhh. It's okay." She snuggled him closer. It took El-Nay's panicked banging for everyone to become aware that bad things were happening outside the door. Sierra's whole body tensed. Her thoughts immediately shot to the Inquisitor who had thrown off her perfect pregnancy. Bruce was no longer in her stomach. That meant that she could protect him more adequately. Her exhaustion seemed to disappear as her motherly instincts took over. If someone walked through that door with the intent to harm her family, they would die. It didn't matter who it was. "She's back again. I just know it..." She sat up and let out a groan of pain. Her eyes scanned the room for any weapons that could be used against the Inquisitor. She was scared.

"Fuck!" El-Nay groaned as she saw the hoversleds hurdling towards her, which made her instinctively activate her jetpack. Unfortunately, she was in a confined space, and only rose high enough to smack herself into the ceiling. "Ugh," she groaned, but as she was recovering one of the hoversleds slammed into her, sending her hurtling toward the corridor, and eventually pinning her to a wall. She was hurt ... badly. She had internal injuries and was already starting to spit up blood inside of her helmet. Her vision was beginning to become blurry and she would not maintain consciousness long. She weakly raised her other arm, while her head bobbed around, as she was unable to keep it steady. She squeezed her hand into her palm unleashing her wrist rockets down the corridor in the direction of the Inquisitor before her arm fell weakly back to her side. Only a moment later her head fell forward as she lost consciousness.

Claudius rose from his sweet and began gathering what medical equipment he could and placing it in front of the doorway to the suite. Unfortunately, this was a room in sickbay aboard a starship so there was no back door and no secret exit at their disposal. "Security to sickbay," he ordered over the comm, as he placed one of the large medical devices in front of the door. As he moved it the leads connected to Sierra were disconnected and the alarm began to shriek wildly as it no longer had her vital signs and feared she had died. "I'll protect you. I'll protect our son," he pledged to Sierra, as he put his back to the door and attempted to hold the large medical devices against the door to hold it shut.

The Lepi laughed obnoxiously loud when the Mandalorian tried to escape only to collide with the ceiling. All she had to do was stand back and watch the hoversled slam into her body. After that, Jessa forgot about the woman. She had a baby to steal. She turned her back on the Mandalorian, assuming that she had instantly lost consciousness. As Jessa began trying to get into the room, El-Nay's wrist rockets collided with her backside. She let out a scream of pain for even her armor couldn't protect her from that. Her paw reached backwards. She could feel the wet blood. Her anger shot through the roof. She lashed out on the equipment inside of the sickbay. She slashed her lightsaber through various machines that she didn't even know what they did. She didn't care. Jessa was out to cause damage. "*Gah*!" She pulled on her floppy ear. When her tantrum had finished, additional security had reached the sickbay. "Damn! Damn! Damn!" She didn't want to kill a bunch of the Governor's men... *her* men. With a powerful force push, she shoved every Stormtrooper stupid enough to oppose her out of the sickbay. She pressed her hilt back into her belt, opening up her paws. She bore her teeth as she manipulated the walls in the sickbay, stretching the metal thin so she could close off the entrance. It took a lot of her strength. She was breathing heavy. "There." Her attention came back to the door separating her from success. She tried to push it open, but there was something in the way. Jessa rolled her eyes, yanking the door right off its hinges.

When the door was pulled off, Claudius realized he was now blocking nothing. He rose into a dignified, upright position and turned his attention toward the Inquisitor. He paused for a moment, pulling down his tunic to ensure he was appearing at his very best. "What is the meaning of this, Inquisitor?" he asked her, in a commanding, authoritative voice. "You are wrecking my ... His Majesty's ship. Put an end to this at once," he insisted, as he folded his arms in front of his chest and stood between her and his family. His eyes glared at her, as his cheeks flushed red with anger, but a drop of sweat upon his forehead betrayed his true emotion ... fear.

Tears had welled up in Sierra's eyes. Claudius was so strong. He pledged to protect them. "Claudius.." Sierra said worriedly. Bruce seemed to have become the one in the room who was least fearful. He stared towards the Inquisitor from his mother's arms. She thought to her uniform, which she could see folded up on a nearby chair. She'd begun carrying a blaster pistol with her after the Crion incident. She wondered if her weapon was with her belongings, or if she should do anything more than protect Bruce. Claudius had become the first line of defense...the *last* line of defense. She made herself strong while her husband did the same. She was so proud of him... She hoped that the Inquisitor wouldn't hurt him.

Jessa was breathing heavily. She was in pain. Once the door was gone, she found herself face to face with the Governor. Her eyes looked around him. She could see the baby in his wife's arms. Her eyes fell back on Claudius. It was an awkward position as he was so much taller than her that she had to look *up* at him while he looked *down* on her. She snarled. "What's the meaning of *this*!?" She screamed. "Your Mandalorian shot me!" The mention of 'His Majesty' made Jessa deflate slightly. Claudius reminded her of the man she was trying to impress...who may not be pleased with her after he found out what happened. She took a deep breath to calm herself. "It'll end as soon as you hand over your son." Jessa said.

"With the way you are conducting yourself she had every right to shoot you," Claudius informed her, confidently, but when the subject changed to his son a decidedly different attitude came over him. He staggered back until his legs made contact with Sierra's bed. He reached behind him, grabbing hold of the safety railing on the side of her bed as he stared down at the diminutive Inquisitor. "My son?!" he asked her, confused as to what she could possibly want with his son. "I will *never* hand him over to you!" he shouted, as his hand moved from the railing to search for Sierra's hand. When he found it, he intertwined his hand with hers and gave it a reassuring squeeze.

Suddenly, and perhaps unwise, Doctor Pilaq Tohan emerged from the side of the room with his walking stick. He swung it forcefully at Inquisitor Thrope's head with all of his remaining strength. He had waited 20 years for Claudius to have a son and he was not about to let this creature take the boy. He had watched as the Empire trampled Ithor and, indeed, the entire galaxy ... but it would stop here, now, today. He had stood idly by when the Empire came to Ithor, and even went into hiding under Claudius' protection rather than fight. But today, with his last strength, he would summon his remaining strength and *fight*.

El-Nay had done good. While she hadn't stopped Jessa, the injury was a small win ... that quickly felt less successful as the Inquisitor let it be known that she wanted their son. Adrenaline surged through her veins. No one would take that baby away from them. She clutched Bruce to her chest protectively. "No! You can't have him!" Sierra yelled. Fear ripped through her too. If Jessa took Bruce, then she would never see him again. Her hand linked with Claudius'. She squeezed it back tightly. She blindly believed that he would make this stop. *He* would not allow Sierra's worst nightmares to come true.

The Inquisitor watched the Governor stumble backwards. In forcing Sierra to have her baby, she had created a new weakness to strike him from. He wasn't going to like her when she presented the baby to the Emperor. She crossed her arms. "It isn't your decision, *Governor*. It is the will of His Majesty that I bring this...this *thing* to him!" Jessa was growing angry again. "Don't you see it, you idiot!? You've finally done something useful. Your son is force sensi-" Her rant was broken off. Pilaq's hard walking stick collided with her head. Inquisitor Thrope fell limply to the floor. She was unconscious and bleeding. El-Nay had dealt her a blow and Pilaq took care of the rest.

When Claudius heard that it was the Emperor that wanted his son, and that he was force-sensitive he knew what that meant. He swallowed, his throat constricting against the collar of his uniform, which suddenly felt a collar size too small. But, before he could react Doctor Tohan emerged upon the scene and disabled the Inquisitor, buying them precious time. He wasted not a second as he swung around dramatically to look at Sierra. "You and Bruce have to leave. It isn't safe here anymore," he said, as he looked towards the doctors in a sheer panic. "You must go to Jelena on ... New Alderaan," he said, as he detested the name they had chosen for their safeworld. "Take the doctors. Take the children. Take what's left of El-Nay," he said, as he was scrambling verbally as he knew the moment she woke up the Inquisitor would exact a terrible revenge. "Take the girls too. Leave her with no leverage to use against me. I will win the battle and perhaps gain the favor with His Majesty needed to secure your return," he pleaded with her, as he nervously looked down towards the Inquisitor. He considered killing her, but he knew that the Emperor would just send another one ... perhaps Darth Vader himself.

The Inquisitor dismantled a bomb on Sierra's family for the second time in the same day. She revealed that Bruce was force-sensitive and that the Emperor wanted him. . . and Sierra knew why. The Emperor would kill her boy. The tears came fast after that. How could they hide Bruce from the Emperor? Sierra's heart was breaking. They had to leave. She was taking in every word that Claudius said. She logically understood them, yet emotionally, she couldn't accept them. Her face shrunk and shrunk. "No.." She could see Doctor Bailo scrambling to help Pilaq in the foreground. "I *can't* leave you." Sierra summoned her strength and rose from the bed. She cradled Bruce carefully while approaching Claudius. Her eyes were filled with tears. No one wanted this. Sierra functioned best with her husband at her side...and vice versa. She embraced him with one arm. Her body was shaking. Her mind rejected his idea entirely. "I-I-I can meet with the Emperor and beg him to spare our child." Sierra choked on her tears. The war was about to spread their family farther apart than ever.

Claudius smiled down at his wife's optimism, which could have been interpreted by sum as naivety. "My love, the Emperor cannot be bargained with. He will accept only one thing ... victory," he said, as his head sunk to his chest. "I will make swift work of these Rebels and petition the Emperor for your return, but now ... you must go ... before that vile creature awakens and plagues us once more," he said, as he looked towards the doctors who were already gathering what they could in the wake of the catastrophic battle between the Inquisitor and the Mandalorian and, unexpectedly, the Ithorian doctor.

She forced a smile of her own for him. She was confident in him. "You *will*. I know you'll beat the Rebels on Chandrila and then we'll all come right back home." Sierra didn't want to go. After all they had been through, parting was so painful. There was no debate here, as much as Sierra wanted to argue. Time was running out. If the Inquisitor awoke and she was still there, then everyone would pay. She kissed her husband on the lips longingly. "I... I love you so much." She couldn't leave. Her feet even objected to this idea. "I-I'm still here for you. Right *here*" She poked his chest over his heart. The baby in her arms cooed softly. "And Bruce too. We'll all be waiting to come home to you."

Claudius walked alongside the hoversled as Sierra was led from the Retributor's sickbay through the winding corridors of the massive vessel. Every footstep felt like a mile, and as they first exited the suite he caught a glimpse of the battered El-Nay being pried out from behind the debris and haphazardly thrown upon a sled of her own by the droids. Despite every negative thing he had said, and thought, about the dimwitted Mandalorian he could not deny that when the time came she had been willing to lay down her life to protect his family. He would remember that. As they reached the hangar he moved towards El-Nay's Mandalorian ship, which looked to be in rough a shape as she was. He could not, however, risk sending an Imperial ship to New Alderaan. It would endanger everyone. "This is we part, my love ... my loves," he said, as he leaned down over his wife to place a kiss upon her lips. Then he took a moment to press his lips against his son's lips also. "Can you fly this bucket of bolts?" he asked Doctor Bailo, as he felt that time was now his enemy.

Doctor Bailo was rushing as much as she could to get everything loaded into the old Mandalorian ship. It seemed that *everyone* looked as worn as the ship. El-Nay needed medical attention, and she felt Pilaq did too...then there was Sierra and her son... The pressing time restraints had caused the Ithorian woman to move quickly. She grasped Sierra's hoversled, looking at Claudius. She nodded her head. "Yes, milord. You're family will arrive safely in New Alderaan." Doctor Bailo reported. She avoided watching Sierra and Claudius say goodbye to each other.

There was nothing she could do. Sierra hated this powerless feeling more than anything. Claudius made great sacrifices to protect their family. Her heart thudded hard in her chest. Her heart wasn't going with her to New Aldera. It would stay right here, right with her love. She kissed him, throwing all of her passion into it. " My love..." She blinked away her tears. Bruce cooed sweetly at his father. Sierra pressed her forehead against Claudius'. "I love you. Win this battle so I can come home. I'll be here as soon as I learn of your victory." She squeezed him one last time before Doctor Bailo loaded her into the ship. Her head turned, watching Claudius until she could no longer see him. It wasn't long after that when the ramp rose and the ancient Mandalorian ship too off, first to collect the girls at the estate, then go to on to New Aldera. Inside the ship, Sierra continued to cry.

Claudius backed away from the ship as it prepared to take off, so he would not get blown away by the force of its engines. The day had seen both the birth of his son and his speedy departure, both of which had been prompted by the horrific actions of one creature he found hard to use the descriptive term of 'woman' upon. He kept his held high as the ship lifted off and departed the hangar, bringing his hand up to wave, although he knew no one inside could see. When the ship was finally gone his head sunk, and he dropped to the floor of the hangar bay. He sat there ... utterly broken ... as several concerned officers, technicians, pilots, and Stormtroopers rushed to his aide. None of them could help him, however, his fate was in his own hands. He must defeat the Rebel fleet at Chandrila to earn his wife and son back. His hand balled into a fist and he weakly punched down at the deck with the remaining, meager strength that he had left. The Rebels would pay, and then Inquisitor Thrope would pay.

Someone else was watching also ... Prav Ulmgo. He was standing by the Inquisitor's cruiser, seeing to the refueling process, when he spotted the Grand Moff and his entourage moving towards the old Mandalorian design, which was state of the art when he last roamed these worlds. He recognized the Grand Moff from his days in the Republic, but he did not wish for his presence to be known. He moved behind one of the landing struts on the cruiser so as to obscure his presence, but his gaze remained focused on what happened next. He was certain this had to do with his master, but what all the pieces meant he did not know. It would be up to her to put the puzzle together.

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