Claudius Rodney sat on the grassy hills that dotted the landscape of
the great plains of Alderaan. His brown eyes wandered over the odd
series of mounds that had been there for as long as his civilization
could remember. He audibly sighed in deep contemplation, staring
aimlessly at the wavy grass beneath him. As the Alderaan star rose
over the horizon, illuminating the plains, he smiled. It was his
only solace in a life currently overwhelmed by war.
Suddenly, a female voice shattered this moment of peace. "Beautiful,
isn't it?" the voice asked quietly from behind his seated position.
"Ugh," Claudius groaned, startled by the disturbance. He looked over
his shoulder to see a beautiful, young human woman smiling down at
him. "Good morning," he told her politely.
"Oh. I'm sorry," she said apologetically, "I hope I didn't disturb
"No..." Claudius replied quickly, "No ... don't be silly. It's just
there's usually not anyone else here."
"Come here often?" she inquired of him. Her face reddened slightly
almost immediately once she realized how foolish her question
"Only when I need to think," Claudius replied quietly, "Which has
become increasingly often."
"Hey," she began nervously, "Mind if I sit down?"
"Go right ahead," Claudius told her.
The woman took a seat next to him on the solitary hill. She looked
at his face briefly with a nervous smile. Then, she once again
looked forward towards the rising Alderaan star.
"I'm Julia Reln," Julia said, finally introducing herself.
"Claudius," Claudius said, returning her courtesy, "Claudius
"Say," Julia asked curiously, "You're not a member of the noble
family from Delaya, are you?"
"Actually," Claudius embarrassingly replied, "I'm the Duke's eldest
"Oh wow," Julia replied in an impressed tone, "Should I be calling
you 'Your Grace' or 'Your Lordship' or something?"
"No," Claudius replied with a light chuckle, "Claudius will do
"Okay ... Claudius," Julia said in an increasingly relaxed tone, "So
what are you thinking about?"
"The war," Claudius said quietly.
"Oh," Julia replied, "I hear the war is going well. I think we're
safe here on Alderaan. You shouldn't let it bother you."
"No," Claudius explained, "You see I'm in the service."
"You are?" Julia asked, "I wouldn't think a man of your stature
would have to go."
"I didn't have to," Claudius clarified, "I volunteered. I'm an
officer in the navy."
"You volunteered?" Julia repeated in disbelief, "That's awfully
brave of you."
"Or awfully foolish," Claudius replied quickly, "If you listen to my
parents that is."
"Have you been in many battles?" Julia excitedly inquired.
"Just one," Claudius began, "I was at Skor II. We liberated the
Squibs from the Confederation. It was hard fighting, but in the end
General Windu led our side to victory."
"You know Master Windu?" Julia asked.
"Well," Claudius continued, "I wouldn't say I know him, but I did
meet him a couple of times."
"Wow," Julia exclaimed, "Do you have any stories?"
"It's really not as exciting as the HoloNet makes it seem," Claudius
quietly told her, "Actually it's quite the opposite ... horrible
really. In the battle I lost friends of mine who I had known from
back when I was a diplomat. Their death made their infant daughter,
Kewwie, an orphan. Following the battle I adopted her. My parents
are looking after her, begrudgingly. She's only four ... hopefully
she doesn't remember too much of what happened." He sighed quietly and lowered his head,
staring aimlessly at the ground once again.
"Oh," Julia quietly said, realizing how foolish she had been, "I'm
so, so sorry. I don't know what I was thinking. That was very kind
of you to take her in."
"It's okay," Claudius reassured her, "You were thinking what
everyone who has never been in a battle thinks ... what I once thought
... that war is an adventure. Well, it's not. As for Kewwie ... I had
to take her in. There has to be some good that comes from this awful
"I should probably get going," Julia quietly informed him, "You
probably want to be alone and I've embarrassed myself."
"If you want to," Claudius nervously told her, "You can stay. My
family didn't approve of my decision, so I don't have much company."
"Oh. Okay," Julia replied nervously and then tried to make herself
more comfortable. She leaned against him slightly, nearly laying her
head upon his shoulder as they continued to watch the Alderaan star
rise. "So beautiful," she told him quietly.
"Yes ... you are," Claudius told her without thinking. An awkward
moment came over them while Claudius' face grew steadily redder from
Claudius turned his head to look at her, "I mea..."
Before Claudius could explain, Julia moved his head towards his and
gently kissed him. When she pulled her head away, he opened his eyes
with a completely shocked expression on his face. He began to open
his mouth, but she places her index finger upon his lips to stop
him. He then moved his head towards hers again, and they
passionately kissed, their heads framed by the rising Alderaan star.
"Out of the question," Claudius' father, the Duke of Delaya, told
him bluntly, "You cannot marry her."
"But," Claudius explained, "I love her."
"Since when has love ever mattered in noble marriages?" the Duke
"It will in mine," Claudius angrily replied.
"Then fall in love with someone from a more prestigious family," his
father demanded, "Not some common schoolteacher."
"I am going to marry Julia, father," Claudius told him in no
uncertain terms, "And you will just have to deal with that."
"Both of you be reasonable," Claudius' mother pleaded.
"Stay out of this, Livia" the Duke informed her.
"He is my son too, Julius," the Duchess told her husband, "Besides,
I have actually met the girl and she seems very lovely."
"I am sure she is very lovely," the Duke explained, "It is her
family ... not her ... that is the issue."
"I am not marrying her family," Claudius interjected, "I am marrying
"Your marriage to her inexorably links her family to ours," the Duke
"Julia is the one I love," Claudius told them, "Julia is the one I
am going to marry. There is nothing more to discuss."
Claudius and Julia both sat at dinner, neither was able to say a
word. Occasionally they would look at one another before withdrawing
away in fear. Finally, both got the courage to speak and both said
the exact same thing, "I have something to tell you."
Claudius and Julia both relaxed from this brief moment of humor,
before he had the courage to try again, "You go first,"
"No," Julia replied politely, "You go first."
"Alright," Claudius hesitated before continuing, "I've been
"That's great," Julia said excitedly interrupting him.
"There's more," Claudius said quietly, "My furlough is over. I
received my new assignment."
"Oh," Julia said sadly. She knew he was in the military and that it
was only a matter of time before he had to rejoin the fight, but she
did not realize it would be this soon. "What is your new
assignment?" she nervously asked him, doing her best to put on a
"Operations officer aboard the star destroyer
Claudius began to explain, "Assigned to General Kenobi's fleet being
sent to the Outer Rim Sieges."
"The Outer Rim Sieges?" Julia replied grimly.
"Yeah," Claudius said before changing the subject, "What's your
"I don't know if I should even tell you now," Julia said quietly.
"No," Claudius insisted, "Tell me. It may cheer us up."
"I'm pregnant," Julia told him bluntly.
"What?" Claudius exclaimed as he leapt from his seat and rushed to
her side. "Are you sure?" he asked her in disbelief, "That's great."
"I hate to ask, Claudius," Julia said quietly.
"Ask away," Claudius said, smiling from ear to ear.
"Are we going to have time to wed before you leave?" Julia asked
"Of course," Claudius reassured her.
Claudius and Julia stood hand in hand in Aldera on a balcony
overlooking the vast landscape of the Alderaan countryside. In
attendance were Claudius' four-year-old adopted daughter Kewwie, his parents, his brother Marcus, Julia's
brother Joseph, former Senator Bail Antilles, and Senator Bail Organa and his wife, the Queen of Alderaan. Claudius' father
struggled to put on the appearance that he supported the marriage,
but on the inside, he disapproved of his son's decision to marry a
commoner. However, his mother was genuinely happy.
There was no time at the conclusion of the ceremony for a private
vacation. Claudius only had moments to embrace his new bride before
boarding the shuttle that would take him to his new assignment.
Julia did her best not to cry as she watched the ramp to his shuttle
ascend. As the shuttle entered Alderaan's atmosphere Claudius'
mother placed a hand on her shoulder, giving the strength she needed
to keep from breaking down.
Above Coruscant the Republic fleet clashed with General Grievous'
massive force that struck in a surprise attack. Claudius' vessel,
the Venator-class Star Destroyer Superb, had returned
from the Outer Rim Sieges when word had reached them that General
Grievous abducted Chancellor Palpatine.
The Superb slugged it out with two InterGalactic Banking Clan
frigates. Explosions erupted all around them as the vessel continued
to plow forward through the fleet of Confederation ships. Commander Rodney stood on the bridge, monitoring his displays and
assisted the tactical officer with his sensor readings. "Sir,"
Claudius shouted to Captain Tyrax Brady, "There's a federation
battleship at zero-two-five."
"Commence firing," Captain Brady shouted to the tactical officer, "All
As the Superb began firing on the Trade Federation battleship
it was bearing down on, the tactical officer received word of an
incoming personal transmission. "Commander Rodney, sir," the
tactical officer began, "You're receiving a personal transmission
"We're a little busy now, Lieutenant," Rodney explained as the
battleship unleashed a volley onto the Superb's starboard
"Captain," the tactical officer shouted ecstatically, "General
Grievous flagship is going down. The Confederation ships are
starting to move off." The members of the Superb crew began
cheering wildly at the news.
"Keep firing," the Captain Brady shouted back down to the tactical
The next volley unleashed by the Superb shattered the central
structure of the Federation battleship and the entire vessel
After the battle, Claudius retired to his quarters to view the
transmission he received during the battle. The image of his Doctor,
the Ithorian Pilaq Tohan, slowly faded into view.
"There has been a development with your wife," Doctor Tohan's
transmission began, "She went into labor. There have been
complications ... your daughter is fine, but Julia was injured. Please
return home as soon as the situation permits."
Claudius' face sunk immediately and he began to go into a panic. He
immediately opened a transmission to his friend, Senator Organa, on
"Claudius," Senator Organa said warmly, "On behalf of the Senate and
the people of Alderaan allow me to praise you and all of the
Republic's brave warriors on your victory against the Confederation
"Thank you for the kind words, Senator," Claudius began, "But I
received a transmission from home. My wife has gone into labor and
she is not doing well. I need to get home. Is there anyway you can
get me in contact with General Kenobi?"
"My thoughts are with you during this time," Senator Organa told
him, "I will connect you with him personally though my office."
"I am indebted to you, Senator," Claudius kindly told him.
After several moments of staring at a blank screen, the image of
Master Obi-Wan Kenobi appeared from the Jedi Temple on Coruscant.
"Commander," General Kenobi began, "Senator Organa has taken the
liberty of informing me of your situation. I have instructed your
Captain to give you a leave of absence until your family matters are
resolved. It is my sincere wish that you find good news on your
return home. May the Force be with you."
"Thank you so much, General," Claudius said with a sigh of relief.
"I have managed to stabilize her condition," Doctor Tohan said,
"When can I see her?" Claudius interrupted.
"Let me finish," Doctor Tohan replied calmly, "I have stabilized
her, but it will be extremely dangerous if you ever try to have
"I don't care about that," Claudius told him, "Just let me see her."
Doctor Tohan stepped aside allowing Claudius to pass. He immediately
surged through the doors to Julia's hospital room. He looked at her
and did his best not to cry. Her hair was a mess and she skin was
frighteningly pale. He rushed to her side and took a seat next to
her bed. He reached across to her take her hand in his. He gently
rubbed her hand before speaking, "Julia?"
"Ugh," Julia groaned. Her eyes opened and she looked at him. She was
tired and disoriented, but that did not prevent her from recognizing
the man she loved.
"Don't speak," Claudius pleaded with her.
"The baby?" Julia asked weakly.
"Fine," Claudius replied, "She's fine. Just as beautiful as you."
"Jelena," Julia told him weakly before falling back asleep.
"She needs her rest," Doctor Tohan said.
"Alright," Claudius said. He slipped his hand from hers and followed
Doctor Tohan out of the room. He stopped at the door, turning to
look at her one last time, before leaving.
"Where is my daughter," Claudius asked.
"With your parents," Doctor Tohan informed him.
"How is she?" his mother asked, genuinely concerned.
"She's resting comfortably," Claudius informed her, never taking his
eyes off his baby girl that he was now holding, "Doctor Tohan
believes she will recover."
"Thank Goodness," his mother replied.
"Have you decided on a name?" his mother inquired.
"Jelena," Claudius told her, "Jelena is what she wanted her to be
"It's not a family name," his father quickly pointed out.
"It's a lovely name," his mother said.
"Hopefully the next one will be a boy," his father said, "You must
produce a male heir."
"There will be no next one, father," Claudius explained, "There were
... complications. Another pregnancy could kill her."
"Could," his father pointed out, "Not will."
"Julius," his mother said disgustedly.
Claudius sat in the main hall of his family's castle watching
his daughters Kewwie, now eight, and Jelena, now four, playing happily. From
behind him, his wife approached, placing her hand on his shoulder.
"Your father asked when I was going to have a grandson again," Julia
told him quietly.
"Ugh," Claudius groaned, "When will he stop?"
"Maybe he has a point," Julia pointed out, "You don't want your
family line to end?"
"You've been listening to him too much," Claudius replied.
"At the very least," Julia reasoned, "If we have a son your father
will be more accepting of our relationship. Please, Claudius, it's
important to me ... to us."
Claudius turned his attention away from watching Jelena playing and
rose from his chair. He turned to face her and placed both of his
hands upon her shoulders. Looking down at her his eyes met hers. "We
can't," he pleased.
"We can," Julia insisted.
"Gah" Julia cried out in pain as she lay in her hospital bed.
The GL-7 medical droid hovered in front of her, waiting for
the child to emerge. Doctor Pilaq Tohan stood next to her, nervously
watching the vital signs. Claudius sat beside her, holding her hand
as tightly as he could. Outside Claudius' family had gathered,
including young Jelena.
As the baby emerged from Julia, the GL-7 droid readily scooped it
up. To everyone's horror, Julia's blood covered the infant. She had
hemorrhaged just as Doctor Tohan had feared. Doctor Tohan rushed in
and attempted to stop the bleeding. The droid brought the baby up to
the couple. Claudius looked at the baby and saw that it was another
girl. The time for disappointment was not now, at this moment he was
more concerned with his wife's health. He took the infant from the
droid, and placed it in Julia's arms, which were growing
"It's a girl," Claudius said with all the cheer he could muster.
"I'm sorry," Julia said tiredly.
"Don't be," Claudius reassured her, "You did great."
"Name her," Julia managed to say through coughs of blood, "Drusilla
... your grandmother's name ... maybe it'll make your father..." Julia's
eyes closed suddenly as the equipment in the room began to beep.
The Duke of Delaya sighed upon hearing the news that it was not a
"We're losing her," Doctor Tohan alerted the droids.
Doctor Tohan tried his best to revive her, but the damage was beyond
anyone's ability to repair. Julia bled to death internally, clinging
to her newborn daughter. The infant Drusilla began to cry
incessantly. Claudius sank to the floor next to the bed and began
Outside the room through the glass enclosure young Jelena watched
on, too young to understand what was going on.
"Mommy is sleeping," Jelena told her grandmother with a smile.