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
"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.
"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?"
"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
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
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.