signal from Iyah Xergo had left Sierra Rodney
feeling very uncomfortable. Instinct was telling her
to worry...so 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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 angles...so 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
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
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."
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
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
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
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*.
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
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
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.
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.
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,
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
the explosive into the door then ran back towards
her comrades. "Go, go, go!"
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.