Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:5:7) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Rodney Castle), Retributive Strike, and Retributor and in the Essesia system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate).
Governor Papius Arundel, El-Nay Darr, Commander Kerrie Kiley, Ashori Monoceros, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Lady Jelena Rodney, and Commander Sierra Rodney.

The distress signal from Iyah Xergo had left Sierra Rodney feeling very uncomfortable. Instinct was telling her to worry she did. She dismissed herself from her comrades in order to spend time in the cargo area, seated on the ground with her datapad in between her hands. She searched the HoloNet in case someone had spotted the supposedly deceased Jelena Rodney. She made no grounds in finding out what was going on until a notification from one of her cameras popped up on her screen. It stated that there was movement in Jelena's old room which was odd. Even the servants normally kept away from there. It wasn't until Sierra switched to the video that she saw the worst possible sight: Jelena Rodney. Governor Papius had made the Rodney Castle his new home. She could put one and one together all too easily: he had caught her. She started to shake in fury...and fear. That man had stripped her and hurt the ones she loved. What would he do to her?

What would he do if he caught Sierra?

She gave herself a minute to catch her breath. Then, she did the only thing she could do: she grabbed her comlink. Her fingers traced along it. She wasn't so confident that she would make it home now. The fact that another Rodney daughter was in trouble meant that Sierra was going to free her one way or another. Before taking advice from El-Nay or Kerrie, she decided to make a call to her husband. She could hear the comlink beep while she waited for him to answer. She wanted to be with him right now.

Claudius Rodney was in the refresher in his estate on Esseles scrubbing his hands endlessly after helping recover one of the crown jewels from Ewwiekewwieikkie. His hand moved to the soap dispenser, but he had run out. "Sierra!" he cried out for help, desperately, as he held his partially soaped hands under the water. But that's when he remembered ... she was gone. He sighed as he washed his hands as best he could, and then drying them with the pink towels marked "Her's". It was then that the comlink beeped, and as he expected it was just Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca with another trivial report he did not exactly move towards it quickly. He picked it up his comlink and sat on the edge of the bed, activating it. "This is Governor Rodney," he replied, sounding tired and not expecting it to be anything more than a tedious report.

"This is Commander Rodney." Sierra's voice perked up from just hearing him. She couldn't help but smile on the other end. "Hello, my love. How are you holding up over there?" Sierra needed his strength right now. She needed him to rejuvenate her for what she was about to do. "Has Ewwiekewwieikkie stopped passing gems yet?" *Home*. She loved her home. She loved Claudius. She loved the way Ewwiekewwieikkie's hair got on all of her clothing. She even loved Dru's complaining about her damn yacht. Though she hadn't been away long, it felt like forever.

"Sierra?!" Claudius replied excitedly, having not expected to hear from her like this. He brought his hands up his face, sniffing them briefly. "Ew," he said, as he quickly moved his hands away. "Not good. Come home ... please come home," he said, pitifully, as he pleaded with her over the comm. He was lost without her, clearly. "No. Unfortunately she hasn't," he replied, not wanting to go into too much detail about what he had just gone through. "I miss you," he said, after a pause, with an increased level of seriousness in his voice. "Did you ... did you find out anything about mother?" he asked her, before exhaling softly and lowering the comlink. He was terrified of the answer, but in his heart he already knew.

Her heart throbbed in her chest. She wanted to be there taking care of him and the girls. Sierra hadn't realized how much she had come to depend on him until now. Her codependency with him was intense, yet he had never done anything to make her think he didn't like having her around all the time. She sighed. "I want to. I miss you so much. I'll take the head on things with Ewwiekewwieikkie when I get back." She promised, knowing that it was nothing but unpleasant business as far as that went. His question was answered first with silence. Sierra's eyes fell. She would *never* get the image out of her head of Livia falling to her doom. "...I did..." The tone of her voice said it all. She had no good news to report to him. "I think we ought to discuss that when I'm home. There's.... There's something else, Claudius." She looked down at the datapad which sat between her legs. Damn it, Jelena.

As Sierra gently revealed the fate of his mother, Claudius dropped the comlink to the side of him on the bed. His heart stopped beating for a moment and he forgot how to breath. There was nothing but deafening silence over the comm. After a moment that seemed like an eternity his hand fumbled at his side until he felt the comlink and raised it back in front of his face. "What?" he asked quietly, trying to keep it together. "What else?" he asked, as his teeth bit down upon his lower lip trying to keep from crumbling until after they were off the comm.

The silence made her desire to be with him greaten. "You aren't alone. I'm here with you. I'm coming home soon." She offered words of encouragement to him. "Breath slowly, don't pass out on me." Her worry bled through. She looked towards the cockpit wondering if she should run home... *No!* It was Sierra's turn to go silent. Her husband was being attacked at from all how did she protect him? She brought the comm back up in front of her. "I'm going back to Delaya." She told him suddenly, forcing herself to sound strong. "That damn Papius has taken Jelena. I am going to get her back right now." Now she was angry...furious. Inside, she was sad and scared. "I'm bringing her home. We are almost back on Delaya right now."

When Claudius heard that Papius had his daughter all reason left his mind and he rose suddenly from his bed. "No! Sierra it's too dangerous!" he pleaded with her over the comm, terrified of losing them all. "Don't do anything foolish. Let me send people," he begged her, as he began to completely panic. The last thing he wanted was for that fiendish Governor to have his entire family. The man was a menace and had to be dealt with, but first he had to reason with his wife.

It didn't surprise her that he retaliated over her plans. He did, after all, love her. "Claudius, I *have* to. There was a distress signal sent out by that Rebel woman I captured. No one else is going to answer it. No one else is as close as we are. I can't let that man hurt Jelena. The best people for the job are right here." Now it was she attempting to reason with him. "You have to trust me. You have to let me do this for our family."

"Wait a minute..." Claudius replied, as it dawned on him who Sierra was speaking about. "That wretched Rebel is the one that told the Governor you were a Rebel sympathizer!" he exclaimed over the comm, wishing he was with her to have this discussion in person. "Leave her to rot!" he begged her, as he began to wonder how long it would take him to get Delaya. He feared for his wife. He feared for his daughter. For a man who was used to wielding power and being control this argument over the comlink was insufferable for him.

"And I shall leave her to rot!" Sierra exclaimed. "The problem is that she and Jelena are currently being held at Castle Rodney. I can see Jelena through *my* devices. It isn't a lie. I know what you're thinking. You can't come to Delaya. You have to stay home. I'm going to need you there when I bring her back." Sierra's heart was beating quickly. Her fear was growing. She took a deep breath, relaxing herself just slightly. "Trust me." She whispered to him.

Claudius closed his eyes, trying to hold back the tears that were beginning to flow. He knew that there was nothing he could say to her that could change her mind. "I do trust you," he said, weakly, as he moved to sit back down on the bed. He made no commitment to stay on Esseles, however, and he began plotting how he could best aid her. He did not trust the Governor, nor did he trust the Rebel commander. As far as he was concerned the two of them had conspired to frame his wife as a Rebel, which directly endangered her life and the life of their child.

She closed her eyes tightly. In her mind, she was home. In her mind, she was able to hug him, kiss him, and hold him while he cried. It was impossibly difficult being so far away. Sierra had to stifle a sniffle. "I love you.." Her words were bittersweet. Getting back into Castle Rodney was going to be *so* hard. "I'm going to be home soon." She reminded him. "I won't let anyone stop me. I'm the wife of a Grand Moff. Doesn't that entitle me to being some level of frightening?" She could almost feel him in her arms.

"Yes, my dear, but it is *me* you are frightening!" Claudius replied over the comm, as he shook his head at the situation. "You come home soon ... and don't stop for pudding!" he warned her, as his lower lip began to quiver. "Bring back my children. Both of them," he instructed her, referring to both Jelena and Bruce. "I love you," he said, as he began to cry, before lowering the comm and preparing his next move. The weight of the galaxy was heavy upon him as he struggled with the process of getting himself dressed.

Sierra began laughing at his pudding comment. It also gave her tears the opportunity to begin escaping her eyes. She adored her husband endlessly and hated to think of leaving him behind *forever*. "Both of them." She repeated, glancing down at her armor covered stomach. Bruce was already taking after his father. She could feel the boy moving around in her, trying to convince her to go home. "I love you... Don't let Ewwiekewwieikkie eat all of my pudding." She gave one last sad chuckle before terminating her call with him. Sierra remained in the cargo bay where she cried for the man she loved. Life was so, so *hard*.

*Delaya* had come back so soon. Sierra had place space between her, El-Nay, and Kerrie during the remainder of the flight back to her planet. She felt miserable after talking to Claudius. Her heart strings were urging her to return home. Her determination for her family told her that this was what she had to do. She only made an appearance again with her helmet on her head, shielding everyone else from seeing her bloodshot eyes and the occasional tear. She was ready, prepared with a blaster rifle and various knives hidden on her persons. She let an angry calmness settle inside of her. "There's not going to be any time to fool around this time." She said, pulling out her datapad. She had drawn (badly) a floor plan of where Jelena's room was for El-Nay to reference. "I don't believe it safe to enter the castle through El-Nay rocketing us up to Jelena's balcony. Since we've already made an appearance, I'm sure that damn man has snipers littering the castle. The best way will be to repeat what we did last time...through the garage, up into the castle and out again." She became more serious with each word. "Watch each other's back. I don't want to come back to my husband in a body bag."

"Oh. So you *don't* want me to carry you this time?" El-Nay Darr smugly asked as she examined the floorplan of the castle. She had never imagined living so luxuriously, and as she looked over to Sierra she wondered if she appreciated it. "Yeah. They'll never expect us to go back after what happened last time," she said, as she began loading the representation of the castle into the pad on her wrist gauntlet. She could not trust herself to commit it to memory, and there were so many corridors and rooms she imagined she could spend a lifetime trying to find her way out of there.

"It is a sound plan, milady," Kerrie Kiley said to Sierra as she looked the layout of the castle. "However, I think myself and El-Nay are perfectly capable of retrieving Lady Jelena," she said, as she attempted to dissuade her from accompanying them. She remembered her pledge to Claudius that no harm would come to his wife, and now there she was outlining a second infiltration into a fortified Imperial structure ... to rescue a high profile prisoner no less. "I don't suppose I could convince you to wait on the ship?" she said to Sierra, already knowing the answer before she asked, but she had to at least try.

"Don't worry, El-Nay, you might end up carrying us out." She hated asking this of them. If anything, Sierra wished Kerrie and El-Nay would stay back inside the ship while she, personally, saw to the suicide mission that is rescuing Jelena Rodney. She sighed. "No... I need to be there to bring Jelena home." This was her plan, her choice, her responsibility. Sierra set the datapad down. "Let's go. I'd rather rip this band aid off." She told her friends, departing from El-Nay's bucket o' bolts. The speeder bikes that they had previously used where still right where they had left them. Sierra took more of a lead this time, mounting the bike. She made herself comfortable on the bike while her baby brutally assaulted her innards. Her hand touched with her stomach. "I know. We've got to rescue your sister first." She revved the motor of the bike. She was off, flying through the streets of Delaya towards Castle Rodney. Everything she was doing was much more rapid. She couldn't live with herself if Papius raped her best friend. She had to stop him. She *had* to! As she started up the path towards the castle, she realized how damn scary it was when you were unwelcome.

Kerrie was proved right when Sierra refused to stay in the ship, which would make her job all the more difficult. Not only did she have to infiltrate the castle (again), but she would have to keep Sierra safe while simultaneously rescuing Jelena. She was convinced that the Governor would have reinforced the structure after their last little stunt, and she was further convinced that he was not likely to let go his prisoner without a fight. As she climbed aboard the speeder bike and followed Sierra back towards the castle she had serious doubts as to whether everyone would make it back alive.

El-Nay brought up the rear, not at all aware of the complex relationships between all of the parties. She looked forward to another attempt to kill Stormtroopers and prove herself in battle. As she climbed aboard the speeder bike she pulled up behind Kerrie, touching the back of her biker with the front of hers playfully, before accelerating past both Kerrie and Sierra. "I remember the way!" she announced to both of them, as she sped off by herself in front of them both. She was actually beginning to think this was going to be fun.

The doubts lived in Sierra as well. If her life came to an end here, then what would happen to her husband? She let El-Nay continue her playful attitude as she passed by her. Sierra ended up riding beside Kerrie. She had an intent look on her face. She reminded herself repeatedly why they had to do this. Despite all of her inner conflict, they took a back road into the garage beneath the castle and successfully arrived. Sierra couldn't believe that they were back. She wished this were a nightmare that she would awake from at any minute. She was really in bed on Esseles, wasn't she..?

Only she wasn't.

The woman turned her attention towards Claudius' small collection of weapons. She began arming herself with additional weapons as well as several grenades. When she was finished, she stepped up to the door splitting the garage and the castle. "I have no doubt that this will be difficult. I appreciate you two coming with me. If we get separated, get back to El-Nay's ship. Do not look back." She ordered the women before pushing through the first barrier into the castle.

Right from the beginning, there were more Stormtroopers. Sierra was forced to utilize her E-11 immediately. A calmness came back to her the second time she found herself on the battlefield. Her sights were set on Jelena. Everything that happened in between was necessary. As she laid out Stormtrooper after Stormtrooper, she realized that they had announced that they were back.

El-Nay rose up from the catacombs of the castle that they had navigated to reach the ground level of the castle where once again she saw Sierra blasting away at the Stormtroopers. "Not again!" she yelled, before moving to nudge Sierra out of the way. She crouched down, aiming the rocket on top of her jetpack down the corridor. In a flash the rocket burst forward from her jetpack, impacting the onrushing Stormtroopers and obliterating them, and causing structural damage to the castle. "I *always* wanted to use that thing," she declared proudly, as she rose back up to her feet, attempting to slap Sierra's hand in celebration.

Kerrie moved quickly behind Sierra, wrapping her arm around her waist and dragging her back behind cover as El-Nay readied her rocket. She was behaving much more overprotective during this mission, as she was not about to fail in her primary assignment to protect Sierra. "You're here, milady, but let us do our job," she said to her, from beneath the veil that covered her face, in no uncertain terms. "Think of the child you carry. I'll think of the child trapped above us," she said to her, raising a gloved index finger to accentuate her message.

Sierra watched El-Nay and the classy way she used the rocket on top of her jetback to take out several Stormtroopers. "Damn..." She tried to reach to slap the girl's hand, wondering if she could give her a medal for such a flawless victory. Instead, Kerrie pulled her away from the wild Mandalorian to remind her of her own sanity. Sierra didn't want *anyone* to get hurt. The more she helped, the less chance that Kerrie or El-Nay would suffer, right? Something snapped properly back into place when Kerrie spoke. "Bruce... Jelena..." She looked above their heads. Though they couldn't see Jelena through the floor, she was still there. She sighed, nodding her head. Sierra decided to step down. She let Kerrie and El-Nay lead the way while she provided back up when necessary. There was such a significant difference now in the amount of Stormtroopers that were hanging around. As Sierra climbed towards Jelena's old room, she began to wonder what she would find there.

"We're almost there. It's down the next corridor." She announced. The end was already so close. She was hyper vigilant, seeking out the presence of Governor Arundel. He had to still be close. Chances were, he was pissed about Kerrie injuring him as well. " El-Nay, on your right!" She pointed out a fresh group of Stormtroopers. While Kerrie and El-Nay took charge over them, Sierra ran to Jelena's door. Not to her surprise, it didn't open. She couldn't put in any overriding code onto the datapad beside it in fear that Papius would find out she was there. Instead, she gripped a small explosive from her belt. "*Get away from the door*!" She called out, attempting to deepen her voice. No one could know.

She pressed the explosive into the door then ran back towards her comrades. "Go, go, go!"

El-Nay was doing her best to blast as many Stormtroopers as she could with her DT-57 heavy blaster pistol, which was older than she was. "Well aren't you bossy," she said, as she turned to her right and began to lay down cover fire. "Are all Duchesseseseses like this, or just you?" she asked, as she grit her teeth and began quickly blasting each of the Stormtroopers coming down the corridor. "I don't know how long I can hold 'em. Better hur-" she began, but stopped dead in her tracks when she saw what Sierra was doing. "Hey! Are those explosives? Where did you get those? I want to blow it up!" she said, as she focused all of her attention on Sierra and the explosives rather than the hallway she was defending. A moment later a blaster bolt slammed into her shoulder, dropping her to the ground. Beneath her helmet she was clenching her jaw so tight that it threatened to force the teeth from her mouth, but she did not want Kerrie or Sierra to hear her scream. With only one good arm, she sat herself back up, relying on the wall for support as she began to return fire down the hall.

Kerrie was more focused on Sierra than El-Nay. Although she knew El-Nay longer, and their relationship was much more complicated, she thought the girl could handle herself. She was surprised when she saw Sierra produce the explosive, as that was something that they did not cover during their training. "Where did you learn that?" she asked, in dismay, before moving her away from the door once the explosive was set. She lay her body on top of Sierra to shield her, and the unborn child, from the effects of the blast as the door blew off. "Think you used enough?" she asked, with a smirk, as the fragments of the door fell down upon her.

Ah, El-Nay brought a snicker to her face. "Nope. Just me." There was nothing she could do to defend El-Nay. She saw her take a blaster bolt to the shoulder. She could only imagine how painful it was. Poor girl. On the floor beneath Kerrie, Sierra felt like she was going to pass out. This was the most sensitive part of the mission: saving Jelena and removing her from the castle. "I'll tell you later!" She called out to the Clawdite. Thanks to Kerrie, Sierra and her baby were safe. "I coulda used more!" Sierra quipped, slowly withdrawing from beneath Kerrie. She quickly moved into Jelena's room. There, she found her best friend; her step daughter. Her heart fell back into place. She was *alive*. Sierra stepped forward. There was nothing about her that made her obviously Sierra. Thinking fast, she spoke in that heavy, deep voice. "Oi, Lady Tovar is the worst ever." She spoke of the worst woman at the Academy. Sierra had vocally hated her for years. She hoped Jelena put it together. Now she was sure Governor Arundel was on his way. They had to go.

Governor Papius Arundel was furious as reports were coming in that there was a battle raging near Jelena Rodney's makeshift cell. "Dispatch two additional platoons," he ordered to a subordinate, as he refused to let go of his meal ticket. His attention quickly turned to Ashori, leading her away from the others so that he could speak more discretely. "I have no confidence in these troopers. Get back to New Alderaan ... *immediately*," he ordered her, as he needed a backup plan in case the Commander or Jelena was rescued. At that moment he considered destroying the entire castle with everyone inside, but he knew Jelena was useless to him dead. He began moving towards where the action was, readying his personal DT-29 heavy blaster pistol. He might have to do this himself.

Ashori was watching the perfect plan fall to pieces over the presence of three unidentifiable figures in armor. She was very upset. Jelena Rodney was going to slip through their fingers if they didn't hurry. Ash was ready to aid *her* Governor by dressing as a Stormtrooper and pursuing these idiots who trespassed into the castle. Instead, Papius led her away from the unfolding chaos. She looked up at him with big, green eyes. "Yes, Governor." The young woman's obedience was unfaltering. She followed his order to a T, immediately heading towards the landing pad on top of the castle. Her confidence rode with him. Papius would fix all of this.

When the door to her old room blew off, Jelena initially thought it was Commander Xergo come to rescue her. When she spotted a figure in what looked like bounty hunter armor, she worried it was one of the two who attacked her and Iyah at the refugee center. She looked around for something ... anything ... to defend herself with and she quickly threw a shoe at Sierra. When she heard the voice, a shocked expression came on her face. "Sierra?!" she exclaimed, as she surged towards the woman, moving to wrap her arms tightly around her. "Thank goodness you've come. Did you find Commander Xergo?" she asked, as she looked past her, not seeing the woman. "I am *not* leaving without her!" she explained, folding her arms and planting her feet on the floor. It was her fault the woman had gotten herself captured after all.

The shoe hit her helmet with a *clunk* and fell to the ground. "You could have done damage with that heel." She smirked. Sierra was beginning to feel exhausted. She wrapped her arms around her dear friend, squeezing her tightly. "I'm so glad you're safe. I was so scared..." She looked relatively untouched. "I've got Jelena." She told the other two women. Jelena's words stopped her in her tracks. And there was that Rodney pout! Sierra exhaled. "There's no time to find her. Governor Arundel is flooding the castle with Stormtroopers, we have to go." She bent down, attempting to grab Jelena's arms and pull her up. "Damn it, Jelena, I'm *pregnant*. I can't carry you out of here. We'll all die if we stay." Sierra didn't know where Xergo was. She had what she had come for. Commander Xergo could rot in hell.

Jelena grit her teeth as she resisted Sierra with all of her might, literally forcing her to drag her every centimeter across her battered bedroom. "No. You don't understand. She's here because of me. I won't leave her," she said, as she pushed past Sierra and moved towards one of the Stormtrooper corpses. She reached down picking up the E-11 blaster rifle and prepared herself to fight her way to Iyah herself. "Wait. You're what?!" she said, as she turned around to look at Sierra. She turned her attention towards her, moving towards her quickly. "Go. Get out of here. I'm an adult now. I *have* to do this. You don't," she turned, spotting Kerrie who had thus far been quiet and avoiding talking to her. "Will you make yourself useful and get her out of here?" she demanded, as she became incredibly frustrated.

Kerrie sunk when Jelena spoke to her, but she had overheard their conversation and was not pleased by it. She did not want to rescue the Rebel commander, nor did she want to let Jelena go off on her own. "Do you want me to stun her, milady," she asked Sierra, as she readied her blaster pistol. She was *not* kidding. She found incredibly hard to look at Jelena, as the two had *a lot* of water under the bridge. "We've gotta go," she insisted, before raising her blaster pistol to shoot at a Stormtrooper who got further than the others as El-Nay began to fatigue due to the severity of her wound.

"Ughhh. Jelenaaa!" Sierra groaned. She was so hard-headed that she attempted to drag her across the floor until Jelena actually rose herself. She followed her eldest *stepdaughter* out of the room, watching her pick up the E-11. She knew where this was going. Jelena was going to get herself killed trying to save the Rebel commander who had pointed her out as Rebel sympathizer. Well, Commander Sierra Rodney had no love for the Rebels. She stood before Kerrie coldly. "Commander, stun her." This was a clear, confident request. "My husband ordered me to return with both of his children. I will not fail him." She was forced to begin firing as well. The Stormtroopers just kept on coming. "El-Nay! We're leaving!" She called out to the tired Mandalorian. She completely ignored that she had dropped a bombshell on Jelena with her pregnancy announcement. She also ignored the girl's stupid motion to go save the commander by herself.

"Now wait just a damn minute!" Jelena protested, as she tried to aim her E-11 at Kerrie in an attempt to shoot her *again*. However, Kerrie had been through that once before and was content that once should be enough. The moment Sierra gave her to go ahead, she pulled back on the trigger of her KYD-21 blaster pistol and unleashed a blue stun bolt at point blank range. Jelena froze immediately, her eyes rolling back in her head, before her body collapsed forward to the ground. "I'm glad someone around here has some sense," she said to Sierra, as she holstered her weapon and prepared to help Sierra carry Jelena.

Governor Arundel arrived on the scene behind the latest column of Stormtroopers when he saw the same familiar bounty hunters as before moving to rescue his star prisoner. He raised his DT-29 blaster pistol at one of the bounty hunters, which he had no way of knowing was Sierra Rodney. Glaring, he aimed down the barrel of the heavy blaster and pulled back on the trigger unleashing a deadly bolt of crimson energy at the young woman who unbeknownst to him was his target all along.

Kerrie heard the sound of the blaster and immediately let go of Jelena, before rising up to put her body in front of Sierra as the blaster bolt impacted. "Run, milady," she said, as the deadly bolt of energy slammed into her back, causing her to become immediately incapacitated. Her body fell forward, her human face slowly fading away to reveal the Clawdite that lay beneath. As she hit the ground as her true self she was content in the fact that she had taken the blaster bolt meant for Sierra and the unborn child.

"I woulda stunned the brat!" El-Nay announced as Kerrie stunned Jelena. She did not think either of them would appreciate the story of the time she captured Jelena on Esseles and gave her a severe beating before being nearly killed by Marcus, but she never liked the spoiled Jelena. When she saw Kerrie take the blaster bolt she felt a pain in her heart that was unspeakable. "No!" she screamed, before grabbing hold of the wall and rising back up. "You bastard!" she screamed, as she began to run headlong down the corridor towards the Governor and the Stormtroopers firing off her blaster. She took another hit from the Stormtroopers in her side, but simply bit down hard and continued surging forward. She took down several more Stormtroopers but the Governor remained an elusive target.

Governor Arundel raised his DT-29 at the familiar orange armored Mandalorian, and leveled it slowly at her head, preparing to deal a death blow. Suddenly the castle was rocked with a massive explosion that caused him to stumble as he fired his blaster, causing him to miss. "What the hell was that?!" he asked his subordinated, as a layer of dust began to fill the air obscuring his vision. "Sir. The Retributor has arrived in orbit and is targeting our forces!" the lieutenant announced, as they began scrambling, unsure of what to do given the collision of Imperial forces.

"This is Grand Moff Claudius Rodney," he announced over the comm to all Imperial forces. "Lay down your weapons ... immediately ... or we *will* destroy you," as the massive Star Dreadnaught tore through the Alderaan system. He was in violation of his orders, had invaded another Oversector, and opened fire on friendly Imperial forces ... but where family was concerned none of that mattered. On the surface the Imperials loyal to Governor Arundel began laying down their weapons, terrified of the presence of the massive Imperial vessel. "I'm here, Sierra," he said to himself, as he watched the battle unfold on the holotank. He could only hope he was not too late.

"Damn that man," Governor Arundel complained, as he began firing wildly down the corridor at the bounty hunters, despite the fact that his troopers were abandoning him. Realizing that all hope was lost of using Jelena his attention focused entirely on Iyah, who could testify against Sierra and give him ultimate victory. Vacating the corridor he made his way back down towards the command center where his speeder was waiting to take him, and his favorite Rebel Commander, to a new, more secure location. This was not over yet.

It was relieving to see Jelena go down. Sierra couldn't fight with her right now. Her mind was moving in so many different directions. She had no idea how they were going to get out. She didn't know *if* they were going to escape. "I had to..." Sierra said with a sigh. Jelena would be back to hating her again after that move. The Rebel Commander was the last of her worries. She didn't spot Governor Arundel immediately. Instead, she was working down his human shields. The blast from his pistol came before she even saw it. It was barreling towards her rapidly. Had it collided with her body, it would have killed her child, if not herself too. Kerrie's body seemed to appear out of nowhere. "*No*!" Sierra screamed. The woman had been shot. "*No*!!!" She cried out. "*Kerrie*!" She dove in front of the Clawdite to stop her body from being hit again.

She was trying to decide if El-Nay could make it off the balcony with her, Kerrie, and Jelena... Unlikely. The young Duchess began to feel sick in her stomach. More than anything else, she wished Claudius was there. She wanted to cry to him and explain that she *tried* to make it out alive. She *tried* to reunite the family once again. She couldn't... "El-Nay! Stop!" She backed up the Mandalorian, though she couldn't protect her from each wound she sustained while rushing stupidly forward. There was blaster fire raining in all directions. Sierra started thinking about the last explosive on her belt when her outer thigh was grazed. *Shit*! It was small in relation to the injuries her comrades had sustained, but it still hurt like a bitch. "Damn it, damn it, damn it." She aimed her rifle at Governor Arundel, spotting him attempting the kill shot against El-Nay. She squeezed her trigger but the blaster had overheated. "*No*!!" She smashed the blaster rifle to the ground just as the castle rocked with explosion. "What the?!" Sierra stumbled backwards towards Kerrie's body.

She didn't know what had happened until the voice of her husband rose above everything else. She immediately began to cry like a child. "*Claudius..*" She whimpered. Her knight in shining armor had come to save her. Exhausted, Sierra fell to the ground. "El-Nay, he listened to you. He brought his big ass ship.." She said through tears. She realized that some very bad repercussions might come from this. At the moment, when it came down to life or death, Sierra realized that she didn't care. Claudius had just saved her from certain death. Governor Arundel scampered off to who knew where...who cared! Sierra leaned over Kerrie and began checking her vitals. She was still alive ... but not well. "We have to get up to the landing platform!" Sierra told El-Nay. Instead of making the injured woman do the work, Sierra grabbed hold of Jelena and Kerrie. The weight was *immense*, yet she forced herself on. "We're almost there..." She kept repeating.

At last, the bodies of Jelena Rodney and Kerrie Kiley lay on the landing platform on top of Castle Rodney. Sierra was sitting down. She pulled her comlink from her utility belt and placed a very important call. "Claudius..." She started, breathing heavily. "Take me home. I'm on Castle Rodney's landing pad with everyone else." She was going to cry into his arms as soon as she reached him. In fact, she was still crying while she spoke to him. "You saved me." She whimpered.

El-Nay emerged through the dust, slowly, unwilling to reveal to Sierra just so how many hits she had taken from the Stormtroopers on her foolish, headlong charge down the corridor. She was in agony and fading fast, but channeling her inner Mandalorian she did not complain, nor did she ask for help. She did her best to help with Kerrie, but the strain simply served to open up her wounds. When they reached the landing platform and everyone seemed safe she attempted to take another step forward, but suddenly she felt lightheaded and the lights went out. She dropped and she dropped hard, the Mandalorian iron of her armor slamming into the landing platform. In her last moment she reached out to touch Kerrie, before she lost consciousness beneath her helmet.

Suddenly through the clouds the sight of the Lambda-class shuttle Kwai emerged heading straight for the landing platform. It descended so quickly that it nearly crashed into the landing platform, but when it had finally landed the ramp descended and Claudius Rodney emerged. "Sierra!" he screamed, as he moved down the ramp and across the landing platform until he reached his wife. He did not notice the fallen bodies of Kerrie and El-Nay, nor even his own daughter. "Are you alright?" he asked her, as he surged towards her, wrapping his arms around her in a tight embrace. He never wanted to let go. All around them Stormtroopers began to form as they emerged from the shuttle to protect their Grand Moff from the other Imperial Stormtroopers. None of them understood what was going on, but they would follow their orders. "I love you," he said to her, amidst the chaos of the landing platform. They were reunited ... and it felt so good.

She had no idea how El-Nay was still moving...and that was about the time she collapsed. She felt terrible for her and Kerrie, who had sustained serious injuries. Kerrie had saved her... That was something Sierra could never forget. As the Kwai emerged, Sierra removed her helmet and placed it on top of Jelena's head. If Arden Zevrin found her on the Retributor, then there would be even bigger problems. Claudius was going to be in a massive amount of trouble already. Sierra forced herself back to her feet as soon as the ship she and her husband shared landed. The second she saw him, she screamed out for him. "Claudius!" It had been too long as any amount of time away from him was too long. She made her way towards him. "Claudius...!!" Her arms locked around his neck. The tears came so rapidly that she couldn't make them stop. She nuzzled her head into his shoulder. "Claudius..." She couldn't believe he was there. "I love you. I'm okay. I'm tired but I'm okay." She was complete again. Her heart soared in her chest. Never again, she told herself. She was going to spend the next forty-eight hours clinging to him.

At the front of the castle Papius Arundel was busy throwing Commander Xergo into the back of his speeder when he spotted the Imperial shuttle landing above. He rushed towards one of his Stormtroopers, grabbing hold of their DLT-19x targeting blaster. He raised it quickly, looking through the sniper scope as the Grand Moff emerged from the ramp. He was just about to pull the trigger when he saw him rushing towards the bounty hunter. Only that was no bounty hunter ... it was Sierra Rodney. His hand hovered on the trigger, but as he watched them embrace he did not pull it. They deserved something more painful than an anonymous blaster shot. Instead, he focused in on the thranta nest that had disturbed him during his time in their castle. He pulled back on the trigger to silence it once and for all, sending a message given the House of Rodney's family crest. "Drive on," he said, as he tossed the weapon aside and boarded the speeder. "It seems we get to spend more time together after all," he said to Iyah, as he wrapped his arm around her shoulder while the speeder took off down the mountain.

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