"Tadaaaaaa!" Duchess Zara Rodney burst through the
doors leading into her and Marcus' private quarters.
"Look who's working again!" She opened up her arms,
"Presenting ... the new and improved Nana!" She stepped
aside to reveal the nanny droid. It had been difficult
to fix her, taking age into consideration as well as how
hard it was to find refurbished parts. "If anyone blows
her up again. I'm gonna blow them up..." Zara grumbled,
marching forward so he could view all of her hard work.
She didn't realize how much she had come to depend on
the Nanny droid until she was gone. Nana was good about
taking the middle-of-the-night feedings. Though, Zara
had to admit that the twins were closing in on sleeping
through the night. It was becoming less and less. With a
hydrospanner in hand, Zara came prepared for the droid
to break. She had never had to do the kind of work she
did on Nana before. Ships were common ground for
her...but droids? Not so much!
It had been a hard thing for Marcus to watch as the
man who murdered his father go unpunished, particularly
because his father was condemned, in death, as part of
the Rebel Alliance and a traitor. He had not said much.
There was much to reflect on, and in the back of his
mind he worried if this would somehow touch his family.
When Zara arrived with a loud 'tada!' he jumped up,
almost frightened, with his hand moving for his Model
434 blaster pistol. "Zara ... you startled me," he said,
his heart racing, as he tried to collect himself. He was
quiet a moment, while he steadied his breathing. "Oh!
You fixed her," he said, as he rose from his chair and
moved over towards Zara and the droid. When he neared
her, he leaned in and placed a kiss upon her cheek. His
wife, not the droid.
"Oh goodness. It certainly is good to be back in one
piece again," the nanny droid said, as she spun around
to display she had been repaired. "I shall return to my
duties of caring for Lord Darrus and Lady Sia at once,"
she said, as she moved over towards the bassinet to
examine them. "That awful bounty hunter reminded me of
the time when ... oh, oh, oh!" she said, as she started
to remember, but her memory circuits began to overheat.
Her photoreceptors dimmed for a bit before lighting back
up again. A moment later she was back to herself and
reaching into the bassinet to check each of the twins
It was disturbing that Gaius Rodney had gotten away
with killing the Duke of Delaya. It served as a
reminder: the Empire's influence was strong. In the back
of her head, she wondered if they should be increasing
security around the castle. If Gaius wanted revenge,
killing Marcus and their family was the best way to
start. "Sorry... I got excited." Zara brushed her finger
through her hair. She felt for her husband. She wanted
to wave her hand and make things change. The fact that
their wrists were tied behind their backs had become
more and more obvious.
"Thank you, Nana. I'm happy to see you're doing
better." Zara beamed at her work until Nana began to
overhead. "Uuh... I still have to make some
adjustments." She reasoned with her husband, turning her
head to kiss his cheek. "I'm sorry you got blown up. My
sister was that bounty hunter." Zara could feel the
guilt inside of her stomach. Her sister was gone
now...gone and never to return. Zara stepped closer to
the bassinet to check on both of the children. Her
overprotective nature had grown recently. She leaned
forward, kissing each baby. Her hand ran over her
stomach as it grumbled. "Marcus, do you wanna go to
Marcus watched the nanny droid carefully,
particularly as she neared the ship. "You sure she's
alright?" he whispered to Zara so that the droid could
not hear. "Auntie Mae's?!" he asked her, as he started
to smile and laugh softly. He remembered when he rushed
her to get the purple potato ice cream and turned the
little ice cream parlor into the second greatest evil in
the galaxy behind the Galactic Empire. "Sure. If you
think she's got things under control, let's go!" he
said, with a broad smile, before unexpectedly moving to
pick up his wife, sweeping her off the feet, and
carrying her through the corridors that would lead to
the speeder park.
Zara eyed the droid. It looked like she was seriously
considering her answer before delivering it to Marcus.
"I think so." She only sounded half-confident at that
point. They both had fond memories of Auntie Mae's. Zara
liked how cold it was in the chalet, because her ice
cream never melted while she ate it. She couldn't help
but laugh. Now, Auntie Mae's featured so many different
flavors inspired by their family. The woman had really
cashed in on the royal family. "Yay!" She grinned. There
was nothing like ice cream to shift their minds to
better things. "Weee!" He swiftly lifted her from her
feet and into his arms where she remained until they
reached the speeder. She enjoyed her ride, placing
kissing on his neck occasionally to remind him of how
much she loved him. "We haven't been there in awhile.
Did you hear about the ‘Big Time Hero of Beyond
Squib-Deliciousness'?" She laughed. The commercials for
Auntie Mae's were becoming more and more ridiculous.
Once they were in the speeder and on the way to the
parlor, Zara's smile grew. "Mmmm... Purple potato ice
"On guard!" a very sugar filled Ewwiekewwieikkie told
El-Nay Darr, as she swiped at her armor with her spoon.
She was standing in Auntie Mae's ice cream parlor,
surrounded by a dozen empty bowls. She had tried every
flavor. Thrice. As she ran around looking at all of the
colorful displays, including a new one advertising
Auntie Maeland, she was the happiest Squib in the
galaxy. "Isn't this awesome Melickielickie. Daddy used
to own this planet, but now Uncle Marcy Marc does. He's
funky," she informed her Squib sister, before moving
back towards El-Nay in a surprise spoon attack. Her
yellow eyes widened as the sugar entrenched itself in
her blood, causing her heart rate to elevate and a
sudden rush of energy to flow through her.
El-Nay Darr was having the longest day of her life.
She was sitting in Auntie Mae's in full Mandalorian Nite
Owl armor, complete with helmet, in front of a
half-eaten bowl of plain ice cream. One of the employees
had mentioned naming an orange creamsicle after her,
which immediately caused her to lose what little
appetite she had. As the Squibs devoured almost every
drop of ice cream in the restaurant, she wondered what
would come later. They had still not dried off and they
had gotten sand all over the floor, the tables, and even
on the counters. If they were not the nieces of the Duke
and Duchess they likely would have been shown the door
long ago. She did not know how Sierra managed to deal
with the two every single day. She lowered her head,
raising her hand to hold it upright. "You girls almost
ready to go?" she asked ... hoping ... praying.
Melickielickie was seated on top of the table beside
El-Nay. Her tummy was full of ice cream after devouring
her own weight in the sweet, sugary delight. She looked
like she might fall asleep as she watched her sister
fight off El-Nay. "Funky? What's dat mean?"
Melickielickie asked. Today was full of learning
experiences for the young Squib. She went to the ‘ocean'
for the first time, which she had decided to call ‘the
big water'. She had been to an Auntie Mae's on Esseles
at one point, but it was nothing like this location. The
ice cream was unlimited here. Melickelickie reached
behind her, pulling forth a long piece of seaweed from
inside her dress. She draped it over El-Nay's neck like
a boa. "That looks better." The small Squib declared.
She was relatively calm until El-Nay mentioned leaving.
"Noooo!" She squeaked, dropping off from the table and
running towards her sister. "Stay forever?" She asked,
peering up at Ewwiekewwieikkie.
It was that very same moment that Zara and Marcus
arrived. "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice
cream!" Zara chanted happily. The bell over the parlor's
door chimed as Zara walked through it. There were
several things she immediately noticed: her nieces,
El-Nay's obnoxiously orange armor, and the smell of ice
cream. "Hi there guys! I didn't realize you were here."
Zara reached out to hug Ewwiekewwieikkie, then
Melickielickie. When she made it to El-Nay, she offered
her a handshake. Then, she turned towards the case of
ice cream flavors. It was... It was... *empty*!!! Zara's
smile dropped off of her face. "Where's the ice cream?"
She asked El-Nay, or anyone else who would provide her
with a decent explanation.
When Marcus and Zara entered Auntie Mae's, El-Nay
looked up at Zara with a look of complete and utter
desperate that was safely hidden beneath the T-shaped
visor of her Mandalorian helmet. "Oh Zara. Uh, I mean,
Duchess Zara ... you have to help me," she pleaded, as
she accepted her hand, but never let go. "Ewwiekewwieikkie
and Melickielickie ate all of the ice cream. All of it,"
she said, her voice becoming increasingly high pitched
and erratic. "And now I can't get them to calm down,"
she said, her breathing increasingly rapidly as her eyes
darted from Zara to each of the Squibs. She still had
the seaweed draped over her, which was another story
Marcus followed his wife in, but he never expected to
see what was unfolding before his eyes. There was no ice
cream in Auntie Mae's ice cream parlor! It did not take
his powers of perception from years of bounty hunting
told him that it was his two nieces responsible for it.
"Did you girls eat it all?" he asked, as he lowered
himself to get down to her level. He had just seen what
two Squibs had done to Auntie Mae's. He would hate to
see whatever happened if more showed up. "Have more ice
cream brought," he told the droids, as he looked towards
his anxious, hungry for ice cream wife.
Zara couldn't escape the clutches of El-Nay. The
words she said made her stick her lower lip out. "...All
of it..?" There wasn't a drop of ice cream left
anywhere. The bucket, which previously housed her
favored purple potato, was totally empty. Zara sniffed.
"But.. But.." She heard El-Nay's plight, but she was
having a problem of her own. She looked at Marcus in a
full pout. "There's *no* ice cream.." Zara reported to
him dramatically. Thankfully, he had a solution to the
problem by ordering more ice cream. Instantly, Zara's
mood improved. It wouldn't be long before she had her
own bowl of ice cream to enjoy. Zara squatted down next
to Melickielickie, who she had not spent much time with.
"Awwww. You're so cute and tiny." She squeezed the
little Squib lovingly. Zara didn't have whatever
Claudius and Sierra had that made them capable of
adopting two Squibs. She liked being Auntie Zara. Auntie
Zara was allowed to hype the girls up on sugar, then
return them to their parents for the aftermath.
The small Squib stood before Marcus. "Funky Uncle
Marcy Marc!" She recalled that her uncle lived in a
castle with a room filled to the brim with sweets. "Ice
cream yummy. We ate until our tummies were full." She
explained to him, lifting up her dress to show him her
furry stomach. "I all full now." Melickielickie let out
a grunt as she was squeezed, possibly a bit too tight,
by her aunt. "Eeee. Eeee. Auntieeee." She warned,
It did not take long for the Duke's request to be
fulfilled. At the main Auntie Mae's factory just outside
of the city, a speeder truck had been filled with new
ice cream. As it quietly drove through the city, a herd
of Squibs began to follow it. By the time it stopped in
front of the decorated windows of Auntie Mae's, there
were roughly fifty Squib right behind it. Zara watched,
in absolute awe, as a mess of Squib broke into the
speeder truck and began consuming *all* the ice cream.
Zara was still hungry, yet there were bigger problems
than her growing hangry. "Marcus..." She reached out,
grasping his shoulder. "Did your brother adopt more
Suddenly a badly out of tune horn blasted, followed
by an onrush of Squib guards into Auntie Mae's ice cream
parlor. "Greetings, ill-favored stranger ones! Bid
welcome to Illustrious Chieftan of Junkyards, King
Ebareebaveebeedee!" was announced, loudly, in a
commanding voice, before the diminutive King, covered in
blue far barged into the ice cream. He glared at the
announcer with his yellow eyes and tapped his foot
repeatedly. "Oh. Uh. ...and his ambassador extraordinary
*and* plenipotentiary ... Callista!" was shouted as loud
as he could. The Squib King brought his paw up to his
chin as he looked around the Leiliani's Auntie Mae,
which seemed much nicer than the one in Metrobig City.
Then, his eyes went wide ... they had *real* spoons and
scoops. He began surging forward, grabbing as many of
the spoons and the scoops as he could. He just could not
help himself, even as a King.
"Dududududadadaahhhh!" Callista Nilar was singing her
own introduction song while the Squib guards announced
her. The little girl burst through the door of the
parlor. On her head, she wore the crown given to her by
her uncle. In her hand, she held an unusually large
spoon as if it was her spectre. She looked around the
parlor, suddenly letting out a loud gasp. "*Ewwie*! *Mewwie!*
*Uncle Marcus*! *Auntie Zaraaaaaaaaaaaaa*!" She
screamed, dropping her spoon as she moved forward to
embrace her aunt, and favorite celebrity. "Auntie!
Auntie! I brought my friend King Eba... Ebar... *King
Ebbie*!" She still couldn't get the pronunciation right.
"He says he wants your trash. He's really nice. You
should give him your trash." Callista advised like the
‘wise' ambassador that she was. She picked her large
spoon up from the floor.
Zara just stared. There were more Squib than she had
ever seen in her life ... and Callista too? As happy as
she was that three of her nieces had arrived, she was a
little worried that the King of Skor II had also come.
What did Delaya have to offer them? The city was in
shambles. The environment was improving, but that was
only thanks to the effort of the Ithorians. "Uuuhh..."
She hugged Callista while debating how to respond to his
situation. Outside the window, Zara watched as a group
of Squib quickly deconstructed the speeder they'd rode
to the parlor. One Squib was petting the shiny bumper.
The HoloNet had been reporting on the horde of Squibs
ransacking the streets of Leiliani near Auntie Mae's ice
cream parlor due to a lack of food. There was only one
man who thought he could make a difference. One man who
thought his food held the solution to the crisis. One
man who thought he was the hero that Delaya needed. And
that man was Doo-Doo Fast. With his restaurant shuttered
by Governor Arundel, he had transferred into a food
speeder truck that operated in the hipster section of
Leiliani. Down the street he came, running every step,
until he arrived smack dab in the middle of the Squibs.
"Yousa hungry? Well, mesa feed you!" he announced, as he
opened up the side of the truck to reveal his assorted
array of Gungan delights. He thought these new customers
would be the answer to his problems, restore his
finances, and make him a hero to the Duke and Duchess.
Unfortunately, the Squibs did not possess credits, and
we're attempting to haggle and negotiate with parts of
his speeder truck that they were pulling up. "Oh noes!"
he cried, as he brought both of his hands up to the side
of his face and looked on in horror.
Dee-Mee Foost had enjoyed the change in scenery that
came with working inside of the food speeder truck. She
liked that every day was an adventure. Today was the
biggest adventure she had ever had. There were so many
hungry Squibs in the city. They flooded the food speeder
truck where it stood. Dee-Mee held half a dozen Gungan
delicacies in her hand. It looked to be something alike
to a cooked newt on a stick. She wasn't worried about
credits. She was worried about feeding people. "Heresa
you go!" She said, happily handing out free food. One
Squib gifted her with a funny statue of some guy who he
called a ‘big time hero'. Dee-Mee didn't know much about
it, but she thought it was a cool toy. "Thankya!" She
said, throwing the remaining newts out into the crowd.
Inside the parlor, Zara realized that she needed to
think fast in order to stop the Squibs from picking
Delaya apart. "Um. Um. Um." She looked at El-Nay,
wondering if she would make a good sacrifice for the
Squibs. "Nooo.." Her blue eyes lifted. There was even
more chaos outside. She could see a Squib carrying a
piece of a speeder truck away. On the piece, it read:
Bombad Gungan Restaurant. Zara had a quick flashback to
the time she and Marcus had decided to go somewhere new
for dinner ... what a mistake that had been. She
wondered why Doo-Doo Fast, *giggle*, had thrown himself
in the crowd of hungry Squib. "Uhhh. King
Ebareebaveebeedee!" She said, approaching the Squib King
nervously. "I understand why you're here and I think I
might have a solution that will give us both what we
want." Zara felt just as nervous as when she had
presented herself on the Jubilee. "You want shiny
King Ebareebaveebeedee looked towards Zara. He
recognized her immediately as the one from the ice cream
advertisements and the HoloVid that had become standard
use in Squib schools on human mating rituals. "Hmm," he
said, as he studied the features of her face while
considering the bargain. He felt himself getting lost in
her eyes and suddenly he felt dizzy. He wondered if she
had magic powers and was attempting to hypnotize him.
"You grand bargainer, Duchess," he said, in a panic, as
he looked towards Callista. "Ambassador. Take over," he
said, before moving over towards her. "Get the trash ...
all of it," he whispered in her ear, while looking
towards Zara. When done he brought his paw up to cover
his mouth to conceal the fact that he was smiling and
laughing. He had brought a secret negotiator that was
sure to bring big profits to himself and his people, but
Duke Marcus Rodney looked on in horror as Squibs and
Gungans collided in the streets of Leiliani like two
special education schools fighting. "Oh no," he said, as
he moved towards Zara, watching as Doo-Doo Fast began
hurling food at the Squibs defensively. "You talk to the
King. I'm going to see what I can do outside," he said,
as he placed a hand on his wife's shoulder for mutual
support. As soon as he walked outside ... literally in
that exact same instant ... he was hit in the face a
small octopus hurled haphazardly by the Gungan.
Unfortunately for Marcus the Gungans served octopus raw
... alive in fact ... and the suckers began digging into
his face. "Zara!" he screamed, but his voice was muffled
and he doubted she would hear it. He outstretched his
arms in front of him, unable to see, and began
staggering through the street recklessly.
Thankfully, Zara didn't realize that even the King
had seen her and Marcus' lovefest. If she wanted to talk
to anyone seriously ever again, she had to pretend they
hadn't seen her naked. She was relieved that she would
be bargaining with Callista instead of King
Ebareebaveebeedee. She noticed that he bore Claudius'
rank insignia, which had to make him a great bargainer.
"Princess," Zara said, bowing politely to her niece. She
ruckus outside was impossible to miss. She looked at
Marcus, frowning. "I hope this is one of those horrible
moments that we can laugh about later on. Good luck."
Zara only watched her husband long enough to see him
leave. She didn't realize that he was about to be
assaulted by an octopus.
Zara sat at an empty table in the parlor, offering
Callista the seat next to her. "There is a lot of
debris, er, *trash*, in the atmosphere surrounding our
planet. That's what makes it feel all bumpy and weird
when you come here in a ship." She explained in simple
terms. She didn't want to tell Callista that those were
the remains of her home planet. "You can take half of
that trash as long as you clean it up." She was trying
to bargain intelligently with the young girl.
Princess Callista perched herself on the seat. She
made her best serious look while correcting her posture.
She wanted to be just like her auntie when she grew up.
She folded her hands in front of her. The little girl
silently listened to Zara speak. She understood what was
being talked about, as she had experienced the
turbulence coming into the planet earlier. Suddenly, she
stood up. Her little fist smashed on the table. "No
deal! I want all or nuffin!" She declared, making a
scene so the King would see how good she was at being
King Ebareebaveebeedee clapped excitedly as he
watched his ambassador put the naked Duchess of Delaya
in her place. "Hah hah!" he said, as he raised his feet
up and down in rapid succession. "Nice try!" he said, as
he moved over to the duo with a big grin on her face. "I
think it's time for the present," he said to Callista,
with a firm nod, as he produced a small datadisk from
his robe. "A gift to benefit the schools of Delaya," he
said, with a firm nod of his head. As he slid it across
the table to Zara he felt quite confident. On the
datadisk was contained a demonstration of the mating
practices of Squibs, featuring none other than the King
himself. When he completed handing over the desk, he
winked at her, and gave her a thumbs up.
Zara couldn't begin to guess what was on the datadisk.
The King said it was a gift, and even a gift to benefit
the schools. She made the wrong judgment by assuming it
would contain anything G-rated. "Oooh! Thank you!" She
said, plucking the datadisk from the table. "I will make
sure the schools get good use out of it." She smiled,
giving him a thumbs up as well. Zara intended on viewing
the contents of the datadisk before letting it pass
through her hands to anyone else. She slipped it into a
pocket within her robes. She had been taught that, as
Duchess, it was her role to graciously accept gifts from
other rulers. "You both drive a hard bargain..." Zara
acted like she was holding out on them. Then, she stuck
out her hand. "Okay. Deal. You can have *all* the trash.
When you complete your project, come see me again for
another." Zara looked around anxiously. Where had Marcus
gone? It looked like the scene on the street was
beginning to die down.
Callista knew not about the contents of the disk. She
had recommended giving them statues of her uncle as a
present. The little girl sat across from Zara, beaming.
She tried to laugh exactly like the King. When her
auntie agreed to give the Squibs *all* the garbage,
Callista pointed her chin up to the King. "Did you hear
that?! We get it *all*!" She quickly shook Zara's hand,
then moved to tackled King Ebareebaveebeedee.
Ewwiekewwieikkie had not been feeling well. She
wanted to play with the other Squibs and the Gungans,
but she was just too full. Even in the presence of her
King she was feeling lethargic. "Oh no," she said, as
she suddenly felt all of the purple potato ice cream
coming back on her. She knew what was going to happen
next. She lurched forward throwing up a big, purple mess
in front of her. She started to cry, but after a moment
the pain turned to something else and a smile appeared
on her mouth again. She waddled over towards Zara
excitedly, and began tugging on her sleeve. "Auntie
Duchess," she said, as she leaned up to look at her more
closely. "I'm hungry!" she screamed, her eyes going
wide, and her mouth hanging open excitedly, dreaming of
the wonders to come.
The visit to Auntie Mae's had been far from what Zara
expected. Three out of five of her nieces had made an
appearance. She had met the Squib King and Marcus...
Marcus risked himself for the lives of Doo-Doo Fast and
Dee-Mee Fost. After doing everything they could to help
El-Nay feed the Squibs *again* and get them on their
way, Marcus and Zara retired to their secluded castle
spire. To Zara's relief, Nana was still working and the
twins were happy. "I never did get to have any ice
cream..." She mumbled disappointingly. She was perched
in her husband's lap, cleaning off his face with a cloth
from where the octopus had clung to him. "Oooh yeah. I
almost forgot. King Ebareebaveebeedee gave us
something." Zara reached into her pocket, showing Marcus
the datadisk. "He said it was for the schools. What do
you think it is?"
Marcus sat there silently, pouting, as Zara treated
the suction cup marks on his face. "Perhaps makeup would
be more effective," he said to her, glumly, as he tried
not to look at himself in the mirror. Maybe the Empire
was right to shutter Doo-Doo Fast's restaurant, if only
because of the public nuisance factor. "Something for
the schools? Well it could be anything..." he said, as
he thought about the possibilities. "It could be
instructions on how to negotiate. How to resell
merchandise. How to collect trash. Salvage
operations..." he went on and on and on, but never quite
hit the mark. "Well we had better watch it before just
giving it over to the Minister of Education," he said to
her, as he considered all of the loony things that had
happened during their trip to Auntie Mae's. "You know
... I didn't want to tell you this, but Auntie Mae has
been pressing us to allow her to install a kiosk *in*
the castle itself..." he told her. He felt that before
today she might have reacted with offense, but after
today she might react with joy.
"Oh shush. Suction cup marks and all, you're still
ridiculously sexy." Zara grinned. "Look on the bright
side. At least it was little octopuses and not Sir
Tentacles." She demonstrated ‘Sir Tentacles' by moving
her arms around like an octopus might then resumed her
activities. She giggled. "Well, I guess some of those
things can be useful. He didn't say anything else about
it." She slowly made her way out of his lap to retrieve
a device to watch the datadisk on. She paused in her
tracks at the wonderful words he spoke. "What!? *In* the
castle!?" Private ice cream. The kiosk would never be
out of purple potato ice cream. As she returned to him
and sat in his lap, she considered it. "How fast can
they install it? Can we make a servant do an ice cream
run. I *really* want some purple potato ice cream..."
She had started craving it during her time working on
Nana much earlier. The datadisk began to load on the
datapad she held. When it began playing, Zara was still
oblivious. "Ookay..." She said, watching a female Squib
There was something that stood out to her: the
background. It looked like someone had painted the Sea
Islands on canvas ... badly. "Uuummmmm." The King came
out next, only he wasn't quite as dressed as normal.
"Marcus..." It took ten seconds longer for Zara to
figure out what was happening in the video. "*Ahhh*!"
She yelped, throwing the datapad towards the wall. "*Ahhh*!
*What did I just see*?! *I can never unsee it*!"
Marcus tried to close his eyes, but the pain of the
sucker marks made stretching his skin painful. He had no
choice but to watch until Zara had the brilliant thought
to throw the datapad. "That ... that is not going
anywhere near our schools," he said, as he clung to his
wife, trembling with trauma and fear. But as these
emotions subsided he considered the day and the lengths
they had gone through to get Zara purple potato ice
cream. It reminded him of the early stages of her
pregnancy with the strange, almost desperate food
cravings. As he leaned his face against her neck and
shoulders to kiss her, he silently wondered if someone
other than Doo-Doo Fast had something new and unexpected
in the oven.