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Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:7:4) in the Essesia system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate).
Ewwiekewwieikkie, Commander Kerrie Kiley, Melickielickie, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, and Major Sierra Rodney.

Kerrie Kiley had gone to the Rodney Estate the night before, perhaps to confront the Governor for abandoning her, perhaps to dredge up the past and open old wounds, or perhaps to beg for a role within his regime. She had made it as far as the front door when she got cold feet, and so she simply sat on the porch for most of the night. She could not return to the Void after what had happened, and she no longer had quarters aboard the command ship. She was a woman who had no place to left go. Finally, when she could no longer keep awake, she rose from the porch swing and moved towards the shrubbery in front of the estate. She lay down, thinking she was out of sight, and tried to get a few hours asleep. And there she remained as the sun rose over a new day, still in her tattered uniform, laying asleep in some bushed.

"Ugh, not again," Sierra Rodney sighed. Her boots were missing *again*. She had managed to dress herself, feed Bruce, and make the girls breakfast. She was feeling like a superstar until she realized that she couldn't go to work with no shoes on. Melickielickie had mentioned that the boots were in the front yard where the duck pond was already nearing completion. With a sigh, the young ISB Major made her way out of the front door. Kerrie had never knocked. Kerrie had never made her presence known, so Sierra had no idea she was asleep in the shrubbery. The Clawdite had done a good job of hiding, because Sierra didn't see her. As she passed by, she accidently stumbled on her body and fell forward. "Ouch!" She rubbed her scuffed knee, looking behind her shoulder to see what toy she had managed to trip on. Instead of finding a toy, she found Kerrie Kiley. "Kerrie!" Sierra gasped, afraid that the woman was lying in her own grave right now. Life for the commandos had not been easy. She'd read the report on Commander Kiley's most recent mission on Chandrila. She knelt down beside Kerrie. "Are you okay? What happened?!" She saw no visible injuries, but her uniform was ripped where her rank should have been.

"Ugh," Kerrie groaned as she felt her body kicked, forcing her out of her slumber almost instantly. As her eyes attempted to focus on what happened to her horror she saw Sierra down on the ground. "Milady!" she shrieked, fearing she had made things worse and was about to lose her one last port in the storm. She attempted to rise to her feet, but before she she did so she concentrated long enough to shift back into her attractive human female form. "Inquisitor Thrope happened," she said, no longer mincing words or playing office politics. "I have been relieved of my duties. Of my purpose. Demoted to who knows what," she said, as she slowly sat up. Her spirit was broken, and she turned her head away from Sierra so that she could not see that she was starting to cry. She was supposed to be better than this. As she sat there covered in dirt, in a tattered uniform, crying she realized the Inquisitor was probably right in her assessment of her. Maybe she was useless.

She was shocked to see Kerrie at the estate...and worried. El-Nay had revealed enough about the Void that Sierra knew it was a bad place. She had wanted to save Kerrie from it. It seemed that she hadn't acted quickly enough and that something had happened. "Inquisitor Thrope..." Sierra repeated. The words caused her to visibly shake. She was briefly taken back to the pain Thrope inflicted on her as well as the things she set in motion. Sierra hated the Inquisitor. Kerrie rapidly explained everything to her; relieved of her duties. Demoted. This was the second time that Sierra had watched Kerrie suffer from a demotion. Last time, it was Arden Zevrin who was there to make things worse. She frowned deeply. The shift in Kerrie was noticeable. She felt for her friend, taking a single step forward. Sierra wrapped her arms around the Clawdite and hugged her. "Inquisitor Thrope is an angsty teenager. She doesn't know what she's doing. She doesn't know you or your capabilities." She said, continuing to hug her friend. "You can come back here. I already spoke with my husband about having you transferred to the estate. We couldn't do it while your unit was active in Chandrila, but maybe now..?" She wished she could place all her friends and lov`ed ones into a box to keep them safe. Poor Kerrie.

"An angsty teenager with the ability to wield the force. What is it with you teenagers? Jelena shot me. Who knows what Drusilla will end up doing to me," she said, as she tried to make light of the situation to hold herself together. "You would have me back?" she asked, as she shifted her head back towards Sierra to look her directly in the eyes. "...but would the Governor have me back?" she asked, feeling she had someway displeased him to result in her being left to rot in the Void. "...and what about El-Nay? Isn't she responsible for your security now?" she asked, snickering slightly, unable to believe the absurdity of the words as she was speaking them.

She laughed softly. "You have to worry about Dru now. When we attending Marcus' ball in Delaya, Claudius beat the punk who's trying to marry her." Sierra grumbled, slowly releasing Kerrie and giving her a little bit of space. "Of course we'd *both* have you back. El-Nay is responsible for my security but with Inquisitor Thrope around, additional children, and being pregnant *again*, we need the additional help. Not to mention the fact that the Rebels are coming out of their hiding places. I need to know everyone is safe at home. Do you know what Inquisitor Thrope did to me? What she did to Claudius?" She asked.

"Oh. Do you think then that if I assassinate the boy the Governor would find me useful?" Kerrie asked, with a deadly seriousness to her voice. She listened as Sierra explained the situation to her, which caused a look of growing concern on her face, which then transitioned to surprise. "You're pregnant?! Again?! Already?!" she exclaimed, as she looked to the woman, wondering what she was putting into the Governor's food. "What did she do?" she asked, as her face grew very serious as she wanted to hear more about what had happened in her absence. There was a time when she had every inch of these grounds under her watchful eye as she desperately attempted to keep the Governor and his family safe. Now she felt like a strange here.

"If you assassinated the boy, he would raise you to a Moff in the span of a heartbeat." Sierra said. She wondered if Kerrie could make it look like an accident and how quickly it could all happen. With how things had ended in Delaya, Sierra knew Dru wasn't going to come home any time soon. Her cheeks lit up at Kerrie's reaction to her subtle bomb drop. She became bashful and shy. "Um, yes! It's very early yet...but yet, I'm pregnant again. I...I don't know how it happens so easily for us." Sierra quickly snapped out of her moment. The conversation had shifted to that unpleasant, wild day that lead to Bruce's birth. Sierra sighed. "She came in Claudius' office and attempted to throw down her weight. When he didn't bend, she demanded he call for me." She began to explain. "Kerrie, I can't tell you exactly what she did. It was like she was manipulating my insides. It was so painful." She ran her hand over her cheek. "That's why our son arrived early. Whatever she did set my body into motion and the doctors couldn't stop it. It didn't even end there." Sierra said, finding herself lowering to sit down on the steps leading to her home. "She came back after the boy was born. El-Nay was seriously injured protecting all of us. She was in the bacta tank for four days, Kerrie. *Four*." Sierra was trying to rapidly explain everything. "Thrope broke through anyway. She wanted to take Bruce from us."

"I seek only to be of assistance, milady. Not for personal gain or promotion," Kerrie began, being too raw to realize that Sierra was kidding, and that she would *not* be promoted for assassinating Pollix. "Are you sure you're okay? You fell..." she said, sounding concerned, as she did not want anything to happen to Sierra. "She ... she did that?" she asked, as her heart ached for the young woman. "She hurt El-Nay?!" she quickly followed up, with a hint of pain in her voice the betrayed her true feelings for the girl. "She wanted to take your son? Why?" she asked, before realizing that they were still on the ground. She wondered what the Stormtroopers must have been thinking at this sorry sight. "These Inquisitors are a menace. They think they can just do whatever they want to whomever they want. I've seen it," she explained, as she tried to dust herself off to look more presentable. It did not work.

Kerrie was selfless, just like El-Nay. They made for the best bodyguards because even they cared for the family above themselves. Sierra needed them around to help her rest well at night under some sense of added security. "I'm okay. I just scuffed my knee. No biggy. I wasn't watching where I was going." She reassured her. Maybe having Kerrie here would reunite her with El-Nay. The two cared about each other. It seemed like there was some missed communications going on. Whatever it was, she wanted them both to be happy...which Kerrie very much so wasn't right now. She nodded her head, remembering El-Nay being loaded into a bacta tank with severe injuries. The second question was first answered with silence. The young woman looked around. Stormtroopers were watching them, but they were alone otherwise. "That they are. Inquisitor Thrope has been assigned to my husband. She isn't going anywhere any time soon. It has been a very wild ride since she arrived, Kerrie... I feel as if I need to keep my family closer than ever before to keep them safe." She said. Sierra realized that Thrope could do whatever she wanted. That included storming into her home and killing all of them.

"She wanted to take my son because..." Sierra's voice lowered. "Bruce is force sensitive. I know it to be the truth now. After the loss at Chandrila, Lord Vader summoned Claudius *and* Inquisitor Thrope to Mustafar." Sierra's level voice started to crack. Tears began to form behind her eyes. "Lord Vader intended to kill them both... I...I was helpless. Bruce was there. I'm sure he is the reason why I still have a husband. Lord Vader has commanded that..." The words were getting harder to say. She sunk into herself, placing her head in her hands. "...That we are to bring Bruce back to Mustafar on his fifth birthday to be trained."

"The Emperor prefers to motivate his commanders by dangling a sword above their heads. I personally do not find such a strategy effective, but I am a mere Commander. Even you outrank me, ma'am," Kerrie replied, with a hint of disappointment in her voice. "I will see to the safety of your family, milady. Fear not," she said, before raising her hand to place it upon her shoulder in a sign of comfort and support. "Force-sensitive?!" she exclaimed, as her face looked on with a sort of horror to it. "Lord Vader is taking your son? Oh. I am so, so sorry, milady," she said, as she lowered her head, empathizing with the woman's pain.

"Sierra!" the voice of Claudius Rodney exclaimed from within the estate. "Sierra!" he cried out again as he searched the estate looking for her. He finally exited the estate, finding her in an unceremonious position on the ground with her predecessor. "Well, this is a strange way to find you," he said, as he smiled down to his face, while barely acknowledging the presence of Commander Kiley who had seemed to see better days. "Sierra, you won't believe it," he said, as he offered her up a datapad. "That Drayen boy. His family is suing me. *Me*!" he exclaimed, as he too moved down to the grass. "He corrupts my daughter and I simply defend her honor as a father should and yet *I* am the one being sued," he muttered under his breath, while he let Sierra read over the suit.

It was still a difficult fact to swallow: Bruce was force-sensitive. It seemed to have come out of nowhere. As far as she knew, House of Dakkar had never experienced such a thing. House of Rodney seemed to be the same. It was simply a freak accident that Claudius' long awaited son would also be a force user. Sierra prayed that the child within her would not share that trait with their brother. Pain erupted from Sierra's chest. Logically, she knew training with Lord Vader would be the best thing for him. Emotionally, it was going to be hard to take her baby boy to Mustafar and leave him there forever.

Her tear filled eyes looked at Kerrie, who had come to her for comfort and yet things had ended up working the other way around. She suddenly heard the voice of her husband. She quickly wiped away her tears with a sleeve. "Hi honey." She said, looking up at him from where she said. She reached up to take the datapad. More bad news? She was sure she was about to find herself face-to-face with a damage report. Had they lost *another* Star Destroyer? "Suing you!?" She felt enraged. "Why!? Because *their* son decided to steal our daughter!?" She looked down at the datapad, quickly beginning to read through its contents. They were being sued by a rich Royal family which was something they really couldn't afford at the moment. She was gripping the datapad so tightly that it looked like she would rip it in half. "I think it's time to pay a visit to Onderon. I will not stand for this family suing you because their son is a nitwit." Sierra said, turning her head towards Kerrie. "I need you to stay here." She sounded desperate. She would take Bruce with them, but the Squibs needed protection.

Ewwiekewwieikkie took a break from eating the partially eaten desserts from Marcus and Zara's ball, which no one else wanted due to their touching everything, to wonder where everyone was. "Hmm. Hmm," she said, as she scampered around the estate, her soft little feet making a *pitter patter* on the hardwood floors. "Melickielickie, where everybody go?" she wondered, but as she looked out the window she saw *everyone* on the ground. "Oh no!" she screamed, as she began running towards the door. "They havin' a pounce party without us!" she squealed, as she reached up to open the door, and then burst forward from the house. "Kewwie!" she yelled, as she leapfrogged over Sierra and came to a crash on top of her old bodyguard. "Pounce party!" she declared, wondering why everyone else was on the ground.

"Yes, milady. It will be..." Kerrie began to reply to Sierra, when the blue blur of fur began running towards her. "Oh no," she mouthed, as she braced herself for what was to come next. Although the Squib did not weigh much due to her small size, she nevertheless exerted considerable force when she wanted to, and thus she found herself slammed haphazardly back onto the ground. "I, uh, missed you too," she stammered, as she became the latest victim of a pounce party. "I will manage here," she said to Sierra, as she the Squib began to bounce on her stomach, causing her to once again gasp for air. "Go do what you need to do," she assured her, before attempting to extricate herself from beneath Ewwiekewwieikkie. She failed.

Melickielickie was desperately lapping at her cereal bowl attempting to drink every last drop of milk. "Nummy!" Her nose was damp with milk. Her eyes went wide when she realized that her sister was right...everyone had disappeared. "Mummy? Daddy?" She called out, sliding off of her chair and into the floor. "Mummmmyyy? Daddyyyy?" She dashed towards her sister. "What!! *Pounce party*!?" She gasped. The little Squib wasn't as fast as her sister. It took her longer to reach the yard, and even longer to tackle not her father, nor her mother, but the other woman who had come to visit. She barely remembered Kerrie from the worst day of her life. "Hiii! Me Melickielickie!" She warmly introduced herself. She had changed since that day.

Sierra watched the two blurs of blue fur settle in on Kerrie. "Remember, you have El-Nay too." She told her, hoping to spark something there. Slowly, she rose. "Contact us if something goes wrong." Sierra grasped her husband's hand and led him back into the house and to their room. "Onderon, huh?" She ran her finger over the datapad, pulling up information on the planet quickly. She began packing a diaper bag for Bruce as she wasn't overly comfortable with letting him out of her sight yet. He was currently inside of his bassinet making distressed noises in attempt to get someone to pick him up. "I can't believe they'd go so far as to sue you." Sierra grumbled, picking up her son. "You want to come to Onderon and beat up your sister's fiance with mommy and daddy?"

Claudius just stood there as he watched two Squibs, loaded with sugar, incapacitate an Imperial Storm commando. "Hmm. It would seem Stormtroopers have difficulty with small, furry creatures. Someone might want to make a note of that," he observed, as he began to be led away by his wife towards the estate. "Onderon. Should we stop in the armor and pick up some rifles? Perhaps a few grenades?" he asked her, as they neared their bedroom. "I think they're sending a message. This is probably just some ploy to force us to agree to the wedding," he said, as he helped her pack, which, because he was a man, only made things more difficult. "Maybe we should just let her. We have two Squibs now. Bruce. Another on the way. We can't possibly deal with *all* this crazy," he told her, as he came up behind her, watching as she lifted up their beautiful boy.

"Mmm... Can we bring a little bit of everything? I can't decide it I want it to be slow and painful or quick and painful death for Pollix. Slow and painful, don't you think?" She rolled her eyes. He was probably right. They were going to go to Onderon where the royal family would bully them into marrying off Dru. Sierra already hated Pollix's parents long before meeting them. She appreciated him helping her pack, even though they kept stepping on one another's feet. Sierra cradled Bruce in her arms. The small boy began to coo and kick his legs, as he often did when he was excited. His baby blue eyes were already turning to a darker color. Sierra had really noticed the difference over the last few days. His blonde hair was filling in quickly. She was briefly derailed by their son, but quickly put back on the course of killing Pollix. "What did you say?" She felt like she needed to clean out her ears. Maybe they should? Sierra had spent a lot of time thinking about the best option here. She wanted Dru to be happy. At the same point, she didn't know Pollix, his intentions, and if he would treat their sweet daughter right.

"It's hard to decide what to do. I don't object to Dru getting married *someday*. It's that she's so young still." She turned around to face him. Their son spotted his father and went through another excited fit, only now his arms were outstretched as he reached for him. "We should go to Onderon before we make a decision."

Claudius could see his son reach out for him, which caused him to reach out and take the baby from her. He smiled down at the little baby, making a few faces, which caused him to forget what they were even talking about. "Oh. Right. Onderon," he said, as he held his boy close to him. "Yes. We'll go, and we'll get to the bottom of this ... one way or another," he vowed to Sierra, before moving out of the bedroom. "Do I even want to ask what Commander Kiley is doing here?" he asked, as he carefully carried Bruce towards the stairs. "No. Nevermind. Don't tell me. I've got enough on my plate," he said, as he turned to look back at her. "I'm sorry for all of the trouble Drusilla has caused. If I had been a better father, a better presence in her life, instead of hiding from her due to her mother's death maybe this wouldn't be happening now. I'm just ... sorry," he told her, as he tried his best to keep a happy face.

Bruce let out a happy shrill. He enjoyed his father's funny faces. Though he had been born early, the boy was growing like a weed and proceeding on schedule developmentally. It was a damn miracle. After Claudius had taken the boy, she gathered up their bags and followed her husband out of their room. "I'll fill you in on that later. Let's just say she'll be hanging around." Sierra gave him the quickest, least painful version of the story. Everything else could come once they resolved the issues on Onderon. She came to a sudden stop. His words were sad, especially when there was no way to truly turn back the clock. Sierra stepped forward, placing a hand on his back. "Claudius, you went through so much after Dru was born. Any person would have done the same thing you did. You can't hold yourself accountable for taking a step back when you needed it most. There's nothing to say things would have been different the other way around." She inched closer to him, beginning to wrap him up in the safety of his arms. "You *are* a better father. None of this has to do with how you parented. Drusilla is a teenager. Teenagers rebel against their parents. This has been a hard year for Dru too. She lost the family treasury and the yacht. She gained all sorts of new family members, and so on. This is a way of acting out. You're a good father because you care, even right now."

"Thank you. Thank you for your kind words, Sierra," Claudius told her, as a smile returned to his face as she once again magically restored his confidence in himself. "She's not lost yet. There's still time for me to be a father," he told her, as he carefully repositioned his son and began walking towards the stairs to descend to the lower level. "I can't give up," he said, as he walked passed Kerrie and the Squibs and down the winding stone path that would lead to the landing platform where the shuttle was waiting. As he walked up the ramp he knew now awaited them on Onderon. Would he lose a daughter ... or gain a son? Only time would tell, but he was fortunate to have Sierra with him on this incredibly difficult and strenuous journey.

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