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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
"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
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*.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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