Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:7:9) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Sea Islands: Claudius Rodney's retreat).
Duke Marcus Rodney and Duchess Zara Rodney.

"Claudius and Sierra had such a lovely house constructed. It's a shame they never got to use it," Duke Marcus Rodney informed his wife, but the smirk on his face revealed he was being sarcastic. He sat in the center of the house, which had a circular hole in the middle that opened up into the sea below. The water was pristine and fish and sealife of every shape and color were swimming beneath and clearly visible. The construction of the house allowed them to enjoy the sea without trampling around on the islands, with the added advantage of sand not getting everywhere and ample shade from the sun. His brother's droid engineers had outdone themselves. As he sipped a starfruit smoothie with his glareshades pressed to his face, and long swim trunks in the House of Rodney colors he had not a care in the world. It was the perfect spot to take his wife and children to escape the city and the watchful eye of Governor Arundel. His only hope was that the nanny droid would not rust or fall into the sea.

Duchess Zara Rodney was enjoying all the benefits of the Sea Islands without ruining nature ... or being caught on film being 'natural'. She was laying back on a blanket on the ground wearing nothing but a bikini. Their young twins were next to her, each of them on their bellies having 'tummy time', which was important for their continued development. It was wonderful to get away from the city and *everything* else. Governor Arundel couldn't find them here...or, that was the theory. She laughed. "It'll make a lovely vacation home for us. Now we can take the twins here for the summer, and up north so they can have a white fete week in the winter." She glanced upward at him, briefly wondered what state Sir Tentacles was in. They were no longer there to feed him a steady stream of tauntaun. "Gah, Darrus, don't eat the blanket." She said, plucking her wild haired son from the blanket. She was glad for the lack of sand, otherwise the babies would be *very* unhappy. She cuddled him against her chest happily. "It's really nice to get out of the castle with no one here to bother us."

"We deserve it," Marcus replied, before taking an obnoxiously loud sip of his smoothie. "Yes, being Duke and Duchess has its downside, but we knew that before we got into it," he added, as he sat up in his chair and moved to assist her with dealing with the blanket. "It's hard to see the city like it is with the knowledge of what it used to be," he added, as he focused on their son for a bit. "The pollution. The destruction. The Imperial presence," he added, in a list, as he reached out and took Darrus off his wife. With his boy in his arms he drew him close to him, feeling the warm of the little boy's body against his chest. "Thank you for all you have given me," he told her, as he lowered his head to press a kiss upon Darrus' head. He truly was a happy man.

"Sometimes it's still hard for me to believe we *actually* became Duke and Duchess." Zara commented. When she had been a very young girl, she had never even dreamed of something like this happening. If Marcus had been the first son, it would have been a lot harder to make everything work out for them. No one had been able to stop them from marrying at the time. She sat up and crossed her legs comfortable. She peered over at Sia, who looked to be nodding off. Zara gently rolled her baby girl onto her back. Sia was far too young to be sleeping on her tummy. She gripped the blanket and pulled it over her daughter, leaning down to place a kiss on her forehead. Her attention moved back to Marcus and Darrus, who was enjoying time close to his daddy. Zara's eyebrows knotted. "I think we need to start putting solutions into motion. The Ithorians are working on the pollution, but until we get Governor Arundel out of here, the city will never be able to totally recover. We need to meet with Iyah." It was risky, she knew. Looking at Darrus, she couldn't imagine handing him over the planet in the state it would be in several decades with continued Imperial occupation. She placed her hand on Marcus' leg. Zara was in a very good mood. The time away from the Governor's eyes gave her the opportunity to think clearly about what came next. Her heart overflowed with happiness at her husband's words. "Oh nononoono, thank *you*! You gave me the galaxy's most beautiful bebes. Look at Darrus. Look at him! He's so cute!" She said, pointing to the dark haired boy. His sister had passed out on the blanket, just as Zara thought. "I want our planet to be better for them. I feel terrible for the people of the Delaya, but it is my family that comes first."

"When the Rebels attacked Governor Arundel so many were lost ... my mother ... and the Imperials only responded by sending *more* Stormtroopers, more walkers, more ships..." Marcus said, as he wondered if it was possible for the Empire to be defeated given their limitless resources. "Do you really think it possible for them to do anything? I know this sounds hard to believe, but they might actually send us a Governor *worse* than Arundel," he said, as he moved his hand up behind his son's head to support it, before leaning back in the chair to get more comfortable. "Then there is my brother and his family to consider. The Empire may act against them if we are thought to be supporting the Rebellion," he told her, as he smiled at her gentle touch. By now Darrus, too, had fallen asleep, despite their conversation, which made him not want to move an inch. "The Empire destroyed Alderaan. Every night when we look into the heavens the debris can be seen. I do not want our planet to suffer the same fate," he told her, as he grimaced slightly. "How can anyone stand up to that kind of power?" he asked her, as he began to consider what was best for Delaya and his family. The two were not always one in the same.

His mother. Zara's heart ached. It didn't matter how she felt about the woman, *no one* deserved what happened to her. Marcus opened up her mind to more things she needed to consider. Even an inkling of support for the Rebels could cause Claudius' family to suffer, as well as their own. Zara could see that Darrus had fallen asleep in one of his favorite places. It made her happy to see how well their family had bonded. Through good times and bad, they would always be together. She was careful not to disturb their son as she rested her head on her husband's leg and draped her arm over them. It wasn't hard to believe that there were Governors worse than Arundel. She briefly recalled the Governor who had ordered the death of her mother, father, and brother. She bit down on her lip. It was her biggest fear that the repercussions would lead to their deaths: publicly hung savagely like her parents.

A shiver ran up her spine despite how warm it was. "It's... It's totally daunting. My father attempted to lead the Rebellion in Coruscant...and we both know how that turned out. We can't allow that to happen to us too." She didn't talk about her parents much. It was a difficult topic since seeing them murdered so many years ago. To live on Alderaan, then to lose Alderaan had been painful. "I have heard rumors about the Rebels winning battles in your brother's sector. But, it's not like winning battles really kicks the Imperials out of anywhere. The Rebels just knock down their numbers slightly, and the Imperials can easily replenish what was lost. How is it possible to stand up to that?" She questioned just as he had. "The only other alternative is to do everything we can to help the people ... and *wait*. Because ... what if we make the situation worse? I mean... What if this is life now?"

Marcus listened to every word his wife said, with a look of concern upon his face. "I don't want to lose what I have," he said to her, as his eyes fell first upon Darrus and then moved to Sia. "The Empire is cruel and would use our children to get at us," he reminded her, as he smiled down at his son who was fast asleep on his chest. "I am sure there will be fallout from Jelena's presence at our ball. It was unfortunate that she was revealed," he commented, as his eyes rose towards the skylight that allowed the sun to shine down and fill the room with natural light. "We can meet with Iyah. She and the Rebellion may have a solution to this problem that we can't see," he informed her, as he offered her a smile. "At least most of the people are safely on New Alderaan," he reminded her, and he was glad for that, although he wished they would be able to return home. However, he knew as long as there was an Emperor and Empire they could just keep appointing Governors and sending more and more troops.

Zara didn't want to lose what she had either. She also knew, bitterly, that she couldn't completely protect her family from the Empire. If Delaya was destroyed in the same way Alderaan was, the death would come so quickly that she wouldn't know it was on its way until it was far too late. She clung to him. If they had not accepted the Duchy, it might have been easier to hide out in the unknown regions and pray this all would end someday. Instead, they stood at the frontlines with no ability to protect their people. She let out an audible groan. Yes, the Jelena incident. She was known to be a Rebel. Her eyes fell onto Darrus. She hoped that repercussions would not involve him or his sister. "Not to mention what happened with the thranta." Governor Arundel had left the ball on a stretcher bleeding profusely.

"Okay... We'll meet with her, but if she doesn't have a good solution, then I don't want to risk it. I'd rather roll over on my back like a dog against the Empire if it means keeping you and our children safe." She regretted the loss of so many of their people, but, frankly, it was for the better right now. Zara slowly inched back towards the blanket where Sia was sprawled out asleep. Her eyes lit up and a look of absolute pure love settled on Zara's features as she carefully picked up the little girl. She walked slowly to place Sia in her bassinet under the care of their nanny droid. When she returned, she lingered over Marcus and their son. "Aw, look at him..." She sighed. She had some pretty amazing people in her life. "Do you want to try to transfer him into the bassinet?" She asked, knowing what it was like to have to lay like a statue because one of the twins had fallen asleep on her.

"I'm sure the Governor will find a way to blame us for that as well. Perhaps we should send flowers or a fruit basket and a note wishing him well in his recovery," Marcus suggested, as the last thing he wanted as another Imperial crackdown on the castle. "Yes. Let's do try or else I'll be stuck here all night and will likely get a crick in my neck," he said, as he slowly rose from the seat holding Darrus. Gently he moved towards the bassinet, placing each foot down very quietly to avoid waking the boy. But just as he was about to put him down he woke up and began to whale. "Oh no," he said, as he pulled his son back into his arms and drew him near. "Well that didn't work," he told his wife, as he smiled at her. He moved towards the circular opening in the center of the room, and sat at the edge with his two legs down in the water. Then, very carefully, he began to lower Darrus into the opening so that his feet could splash the water.

"Okay... We can send him a fruit basket, but only with nasty fruit!" She said, crossing her arms in front of her chest. Zara wanted to send the Governor a knuckle sandwich, not an edible arrangement. She hovered over Marcus and their son as he carefully attempted to rise and place Darrus in his bassinet. It seemed the boy had found his happy place with his daddy, which wasn't surprising to Zara, and woke as soon as he realized the scenery was changing. She smiled, resting her hand on Marcus' back. "A for effort. You were very sneaky." The silver haired young woman checked on her sleepy daughter before joining her husband at the water. She extended her legs down into the warm ocean.

Darrus' eyes were wide. The only times he got wet were during bath time. Half the time he liked bath time...the other half, he hated it with a passion and let everyone know all about it. The boy flexed his small feet in the water. Suddenly, he became so excited that his entire body shook. He waved both of his arms and kicked his feet, causing little splashes in the water.

Zara giggled. "It's nice, isn't it, Darrus?" She ran a hand over his dark hair, which was rapidly filling in to the point where she thought he might need a haircut sooner than later. Zara scooted in closer. She was shoulder to shoulder with Marcus. "Despite all the other stuff going on, you guys make me so happy."

"To think Claudius and Sierra are doing this right now in an Imperial bath tub," Marcus joked, as he dipped his son briefly into the water up to the waist as if he were bobbing a tea bag. "You all make me so happy as well," he said, as a school of fish began to flock to the motion in the water. Suddenly the widest array of colors began to appear beneath them, including some that illuminated. "Look at the fish, Darrus," he said, with a big smile, as allowed his own feet to move back and forth themselves. "This really is paradise," he said, as he leaned back into Zara's shoulder. "It's good to be the Duke," he said, as he sat inside his aquatic abode within the midst of an island preserve that belonged entirely to them.

She laughed. "They don't have time for this. Claudius and Sierra are going to have to take up secondary jobs to afford all their children." Zara teased. Darrus seemed receptive to the ocean. He was distracted by all the vast colors around him. His arms, continuing to flail, splashed a little bit of water on both of his parents. His excitement seemed to quadruple at the sight of the fish. He let out a loud, happy squawk. The boy had a huge smile on his face. "It really is. Finders keepers. It's ours now." She rested her head on his shoulder. The islands held such significance to them. Thanks to their extended family, now they could enjoy the islands without destroying them.

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