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Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:4:33) in the Alderaan system: Nerf Herder and in the Essesia system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate) and Kwai.
Ewwiekewwieikkie, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Lady Drusilla Rodney, Commander Sierra Rodney, and Lady Zara Rodney.

This time around, Sierra took back over the controls in the shuttle. As she prepared the ship to launch, she noticed a miss comm message on the ship's computer. Rather than activate it right away, Sierra opted to take off from the Retributor first. Once the shuttle's nose was pointed towards Esseles, she allowed the message to play. She was surprised to see an image of her sister-in-law appear on the screen.

"Hi guys!" Zara Rodney said in a chipper voice on the message. "I'm here to report that Marcus and I both made it out of Delaya. We got Pilaq too." She darted away from the camera so they could see Pilaq looking unamused. "We're all okay and we hope you are too. Brother, thank you for contacting Marcus about my little ... fieldtrip. I wouldn't have made it out without you. The hospital got pretty messed up..." There had been nothing but panic surrounding Pilaq's injuries. Zara had used the HoloNet to find out how to check his pulse in between losing her mind. The Zara that appeared before them now was relaxed. "We've decided not to go back to Delaya, so don't come looking for us. Send me and Marcus a message and let us know you're okay too. We're worried. Okay? Bye bye!" The recording ended at that. Zara and her family was safe.

"That's our doctor," Claudius said, sounding more than a little jealous as he watched Zara's transmission from the co-pilot's seat of the Kwai. "Well. At least they're okay," he said, but was muttering to himself, wondering if this was payback for their jealousy over his home in the Sea Islands of Delaya. He leaned forward in his seat, bringing his hands up to his face and rubbing it fiercely. "How is Ewwiekewwieikkie? Do I even want to ask what happened?" he pressed Sierra, as the shuttle passed through the rings of Esseles and began their descent to their hillside estate on the outskirts of New Calamar. He could see the increased naval presence over the Terril Naval Base. The Imperial war machine had grown exponentially since their last visit it seemed, but he had yet to review the facts and figures Allegra and Meham'ohorovi'cloca had provided for him. He was content to let Colonel Zevrin deal with this ... it seemed to be what the Emperor wanted anyway. His focus was his family.

"Looks like we're going to have to share for awhile." Zara needed Pilaq more than she did. The poor girl looked like she was about to pop. Sierra was surprised that she hadn't given birth during all the chaos on Delaya...but, that was for the better at the same time. "Yes, I'm glad about that. I'll send them a comm when we get home to let them know we're okay too. I don't know how Ewwiekewwieikkie is doing. It appears Drusilla filled her with jewels..." Just saying it out loud caused Sierra to make a face. "I fear we'll have to let it run its course." She brought down the shuttle slowly. It had not been long since she last visited Esseles, but she was so driven to look for Dru that she hadn't noticed all the changes. She was going to miss Delaya and the Sea Islands. She was careful to land the ship and power it down. "Here we are. Home."

It was much safer here than the Retributor, so Sierra thought. As she rose, she looked at Claudius. "I'll take care of Ewwiekewwieikkie. You need to go eat something." She made a threatening face that wasn't threatening in the slightest. "I'll be with you soon." She kissed him on the lips. There was so much to talk to him about. The rapid changes in their life seemed to be pushing things further out of control. Sierra helped Ewwie out of the ship. "Don't worry, sweetie. We'll get your tummy in ice cream eating order again."

Claudius' estate on Esseles had the feeling of a military compound. There were high walls, guard towers, and even an AT-ST. In a way it reminded him of the garrison on Delaya. He did not look at any of the Stormtroopers and simply hurried into the estate to get away from it all. He did not even breath until he got into the estate. "Thank you. I'm sorry about Drusilla," he said to Sierra, tiredly, as he looked over his shoulder as the two girls moved towards the estate. His head then slowly turned back to make eye contact with Sierra. "I love you," he said, as he took her hands into his own and clung to them. He then leaned forward, placing a loving kiss upon her lips, before the children could interrupt them.

"Don't worry, it's okay." Sierra had no qualms about taking care of the girls. It didn't matter what they thought of her because she *loved* them. Her hands squeezed his. "I love you too." As completely as she could and in every way, Sierra loved him. She kissed him sweetly. They had endured so much since the beginning of their relationship. All these events had twisted them and coiled them tightly together. There was not a doubt in her mind that this was for *forever*. She kissed him until she heard a cough followed by a *clunk* of another jewel hitting the ground. Even then, she slowly backed her lips from his.

She was gentle with the young Squib, guiding her upstairs and to her bedroom. Just like with Claudius, she kept certain medical supplies around for Ewwie. It wasn't the first time, nor the last time, that the Squib would eat something she shouldn't. She did her best to make Ewwie comfortable in her bed. She promised the girl up and down that there would be ice cream once she was well again. Kissing her on the forehead, Sierra left her room. She caught up to Drusilla in the corridor. "Dru! Watch your sister and please, make sure she doesn't choke on one of the gems *you* shoved down her."

Sierra headed back downstairs to round up any food that wasn't expired. She moved back to her room with a smorgasbord of food that made her look *very* pregnant with wilder cravings than her sister-in-law. She set the tray of random food on the little table within their room. Even she had to admit that she was hungry at this point. She picked at the crackers in a Drusilla-like fashion.

When Sierra returned to the room she found Claudius sitting in bed, still in his uniform, but having rid himself of his boots. He had not eaten ... a direct act of insubordination of his wife's orders. He had begun reviewing the datapads that had been prepared for him, but what he found was infuriating. There were details of the ISB strengthening the Imperialization of the worlds through execution and arrests ... and then there were the people who simply disapeared. It seemed this was the fate that had befallen Kerrie and her band of mercenaries ... eliminating those found undesirable by Colonel Zevrin. The worst part? It was all being done in his name. When Sierra returned, he tossed the datapad aside, and offered her a half-smile. "You might be interested to read what they've had Zara's sister been doing," he said, bitterly, as he shifted to watch his wife peck at her food. "Not hungry either?" he asked, as he stretched his legs and wiggled his toes. Sierra was right about the boots. "How is Ewwiekewwieikkie?" he asked, cracking a smile ... part of him thought the entire situation was humorous.

He should have known the kind of repercussions not listening to her would have. After all, Sierra was a mean, *mean* wifey. She picked up the tray and approached the bed, sliding it in between them. All she did was look at him, silently making it obvious that if he didn't each, she was going to begin shoving food down his throat like Drusilla had shoved jewels down her sister's throat. She removed her boots and joined him on the bed. "Ah, let me see that one. Stupid Papius mentioned that she was up to something." She set the datapad beside her leg, intending to read up on her enemy.

"Not at all. This is for our son, not for me." Her stomach hadn't felt well in some time. She realized she had no choice. If she wanted to keep getting better, she needed to eat. His mention of Ewwiekewwieikkie made her smile and laugh softly. "You know how there are things you swore you'd never do until you became a parent? I'd say pulling a fist-sized gem out of Ewwiekewwieikkie's mouth was the first moment like that for me." She shook her head. "I can't believe Dru did that. I gave Ewwiekewwieikkie some medicine to soothe her stomach. She's doing well enough to beg for ice cream. Regardless... I can't imagine what it'll be like to be her for the next few hours." Surely not all the jewels would pass through her mouth. She all but said that. "Now that we're away from the Retributor, we can talk in private. How are you? What are you thinking about, Claudius?"

When Claudius heard Sierra say that she could not believe Drusilla would do that he laughed, wondering if she was prepared for the young girl's antics. The subject of the conversation quickly turned from the slightly comedic behavior of Drusilla and Ewwiekewwieikkie to the more serious conversation about how he was feeling. "I will never forget what I saw on Delaya," he said, as he reached out with his hand and placed it upon her thigh for support. "I don't even know what I'm thinking about," he said, with a tired sigh, as he rolled onto his side so that he could face her with his entire body. "I still can't believe it. It's like it's not even real," he said, as he stretched out his legs yet again. From down the hall the sound of Ewwiekewwieikkie giggling and then gagging broke the silence during pauses in their serious conversation. It was going to be a long night for everyone.

Honestly... Sierra wasn't entirely sure she was ready either! She was just going to have to learn on her feet. Her hand rested on top of his. She wordlessly transferred him all of the support she could offer. She understood. The sight of the burning city was unforgettable. She sunk down into the bed, adjusting on her side until she was comfortable. She kept one hand in his, resting it in between them on the bed. "It all happened so quickly. Kerrie said that Papius had given the order to raze the city. We were never able to find Gaius. We had to leave immediately." She inched closer to them. She could hear the sounds of Ewwiekewwieikkie slowly emptying the gems from her body. At least it sounded like she was having fun ... kind of? Sierra intended to check on the girl again later. For now, Dru was on Ewwie duty.

She scooted right on into his personal bubble until her body settled against his. She held him once more, giving him the opportunity to resume falling to pieces in the comfort of their home. Her heart fell hard in her chest. She had a terrible feeling about leaving Livia behind. She had hoped to spend more time with the woman. Now she didn't know when, or if, she would ever see her again. Laying together, Sierra began to speak again. "Jelena saved my life out there, you know."

"Don't worry, my love, one thing we can take from the disaster is the satisfaction that Gaius almost certainly perished," Claudius said, naively, blissfully unaware that even now Gaius was huddled aboard a Rebel medium transport mere feet from his daughter Jelena. "She has really grown," he said, wishing he had been given a proper chance to say 'goodbye' to her. With the way the war was going he wondered if he would ever see her again. "My command is a real mess," he said to her, as he leaned over her to peer at the datapad again. "As my adjutant what are *you* going to do about it!" he teased, playfully, but in truth if he were going to regain power from Zevrin he was going to need Sierra's help. "Do we sit here on the planet while Zevrin and Thanor have their way ... or do we attempt to govern and curtail their grievous acts?" he asked her, the issue he had been batting back and forth inside his brain since they landed.

"Way to find the silver lining. I'm sure Rikka is finally burning in hell too." There was no way Gaius could have escaped. She had been there, watching the headquarters become nothing but debris. Jelena had turned into a real hero. She hoped that their paths would cross again and that Jelena would come home of her own accord. She wasn't ready to say 'goodbye' forever. She eyed the datapad. There was much work to be done. She'd seen the mess of datapads that he had acquired. "Off with their heads!" Sierra declared as his adjutant, laughing. "Well, my love, it seems we'll have to return to the Retributor and set things right. Regardless of who wins this war, the galaxy would a better place without Zevrin and Thanor. I'm tired of Zevrin thinking she holds the reins to our life. It's time for things to change. It's time for you to gain control again." She knew how dangerous it was. At this point, she'd been in a lot of dangerous situations. At least now they were safe inside of their own home without servants trying to kill them. "However," Sierra added, "You can't overwork yourself. As your adjutant, I get to arrange your schedule. You'll come home with me every night even if I have to drag you." She smiled all cute-like.

Ewwiekewwieikkie came running frantically into the room wearing a giant, oversized diaper. "Waah. I don't wanna wear this!" she said, as she leapt onto the bed between her father and stepmother. When she impacted the bed, her stomach was compressed, and out came an entire string of pearls. "Glug," she groaned, as she reached up with her paw and pulled out the strand. "Here you go!" she said, as she put the pearls on Sierra, complete with a mixture of her saliva and stomach bile. "Boy I ate a lot!" she declared, completely interrupting the private, alone time that Claudius and Sierra desperately needed. "Ice cream?" she asked, looking towards them both with her large, yellow eyes.

"Ewwiekewwieikkie get back here this instance!" Drusilla Rodney shouted, as she marched into the bedroom with her squirt bottle of bad Ewwie water. She aimed it at her sister and began squirting it viciously. "Off the bed. Off the bed," she said, as she squirted away. "...and that's not yours!" she snarled, before she reached to pull the string of pearls off Sierra's neck. "Oh thank goodness. Could you imagine if this had come out the other end?" she asked, as she held up the long string of pearls with only two fingers as it was remarkably gross. "My ... *our* ... fortune will soon be saved," she said, as she pulled her adopted sister away from her father and stepmother.

It was all so comedic that Sierra couldn't help but laugh. This was the insanity she lived in and she *loved* every second of it. The quiet time with Claudius had been derailed by their girls...the sight of Ewwiekewwieikkie looking unhappy in a diaper would never, ever cease to make her laugh. The poor Squib threw up a full string of pearls, warranting Sierra to wonder just how much was inside her stomach. "Ooh, thank you so much, Ewwiekewwieikkie. They're lovely." The smell of stomach bile was sickening. The girl's willingness for ice cream had to be commended. If she had thrown up as much as Ewwie, she would never want to eat again.

Drusilla came in with a squirt bottle. She used it like one might use it to chase a cat away from a tree. "Hey! Your sister coughed these up for me." She teased Drusilla as she sat upright. She grabbed the tray of randoms from the bed, offering it to Ewwiekewwieikkie. There wasn't ice cream, but there was something that looked like hostess cupcakes. "Here Ewwie. Eat something that's actually edible. Dru, take that diaper off of your sister!" Saying the words made her start laughing again. She looked to her husband with happiness in her eyes. Of all the things they hadn't been able to save, all the most important things they *had* saved. All of a sudden, Sierra wrapped her arms around both her daughters and dragged them down to the bed with her and Claudius. She forced them all into a group hug. This was what it was like to have a family.

The worst thing Sierra could have done was to hug a Squib pregnant with jewels. As the Rodney family came together and she was squeezed by her parents and sister she felt a sudden rush coming from her stomach. "Oh. Oh. Oh!" she squealed, as she opened her mouth and began to pant. A moment later the family scepter emerged from her mouth and fell in between the members of the family. How on Delaya she ever got that down her throat would remain a mystery, but like the saying said ... Squibs would eat anything.

"Yes!" Drusilla cheered as she squirmed about uncomfortably in the group hug. As she gave Sierra a pat on the back ... the only form of affection she knew ... she moved her other hand down to stash away the lost scepter. Although they seemingly no longer had a planet to rule, every noble needed a physical implement of power. "Now if only the crown and tiara would come out..." she said, as she looked over at Ewwiekewwieikkie. That was going to take a lot of effort. "Hey. Do you think it's going to be harder for me to marry an Emperor? Or a King? Or a measly Prince now that our Duchy is gone?" she fretted, in her own little world, seemingly the least affected Rodney of them all.

Claudius embraced Sierra, Drusilla, and Ewwiekewwieikkie in a much needed group hug. Although it was torture for Drusilla, it was a wonderful moment for him. As he looked back on what he had been through over the past couple of days he was glad for the blessing of this family. "I love you all," he told them, becoming quite emotional again. Delaya was gone, but his home was wherever his family was.

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