Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:6:4) in the Alderaan system: Jubilee and in the Esseisa system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate).
Doctor Alessandra Bailo, Ewwiekewwieikkie, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Duke Marcus Rodney, Major Sierra Rodney, Duchess Zara Rodney, and Doctor Pilaq Tohan.

The day Doctor Bailo had been anticipating had arrived at last. Lady Zara's recovery was on the road to success and she would not need to see a doctor until the twins turned a month old. The twins, themselves, were healthy as nerfs. The time to return Pilaq to Claudius Rodney was upon them. Alessandra saw that she was about to miss her opportunity for a *second* time, to tell him how she really felt. Because of this, the Ithorian had been nervous all morning. She acted like a youthful teen, knocking on Pilaq's door and darting away before she could face him. It probably didn't please the old Ithorian, but Alessandra simply couldn't get it together. During one of her escapes, Lady Zara had spotted her. The woman was very sweet, and very much so a matchmaker. The Duchess imparted words of wisdom on her: Just do it. Simply tell him.

At last, Doctor Bailo stood in front of the door leading to Pilaq's room. Her eyes had shrunk. She looked like she was going to be sick. Her heart was in a serious state of distress and was bound to need medical attention if she didn't stop her foolish games. Her long fingers knocked on the door softly, with the hopes that he wouldn't hear her and she could tell herself she had tried...and failed again. "P-Pilaq?" Her cheeks were flushed. She was middle-aged. She was beyond this!

Doctor Pilaq Tohan was busy packing his meager belongs for the return to Esseles. He would have liked to have remained aboard the Jubilee and aided in the restoration of Delaya, but he simply did not trust anyone else to see to the delivery of Claudius and Sierra's son. When Doctor Bailo appeared she startled him, causing him to drop one of his tools. "Oh. Oh," he stammered, as he began to fidget uncomfortably. He bent down to pick up the tool, but ended up banging his head on the table he was packing his bags on and made things much worse. "Doctor Bailo," he said, as he brought the long digits of his hand up to rub his head. "Is ... is everything alright with Duchess Zara and the twins?" he asked, expecting this to be a professional encounter.

It would take her thirty seconds to disappear...and Doctor Bailo was considering it. Her discomfort grew as her sudden appearance caused him to hit his head and drop his tool. "Oh...I'm sorry... I didn't mean to startle you..." She bent down, picking up the tool for him. She placed it on the table and withdrew her hand. "Yes. . . Everything is fine with them. I spoke with Zara not too long ago." She stepped an inch closer...a literal inch. "I came to you to talk about something *unprofessional*." Oh me, oh my! Alessandra couldn't do this. She moved another inch, but there was still so much space between them. When words failed her, she picked up the tool and brought her hand close to his. Her fingers brushed over his. The made the act of giving him the tool much more intimate than it should have been. "I watched you go once before." Alessandra stuttered. "T-This time, you don't have to go *alone*."

Pilaq's heart was racing as her hand neared his. He was trembling ... and not just from old age. His breathing was increasing, causing warm air to be forced through both of his mouths. "I do not understand," the old Ithorian said, as he angled his large hammerhead down to examine her more intently. His large bulbous eyes blinked slowly as he looked at her. "You wish to go with me?" he asked, sounding more like an imbecile that a venerable physician. As she drew near he attempted to back up, but soon found himself pinned against the wall. It was a major drawback of his large body.

He needed clarification at a moment like this? She already felt like passing out. Should she have brought diagrams!? The was so close! Leaving was still an option. He had been avoiding her in encounters that weren't professional. Maybe Lady Zara was wrong about her suspicions. 'He likes you! Go get 'em, girl!' The woman had been trying to persuade Doctor Bailo into making a move. Now, here she was, more terrified than when she saw Lord Claudius beat down the Mandalorian. Her large head nodded slowly to confirm his question. "We worked together well here... I-I'm sure they overwork you. House of Rodney seems to run with trouble." She stepped back as she moved to help him back his belongings. Her head fell. A sadness briefly filled her eyes. "I don't want to see you go again. I want to leave with *you." There it was. Alessandra had done it!

"They do overwork me. Not a day goes by when someone does not get seriously injured there," Pilaq informed her, doing his best to get the conversation back on a professional track. His fingers gripped his walking stick dearly as it was the only thing keeping him from slowly and comedically keeling over. "Very well. You can come. I have been saying I've needed an assistant for the longest time, but no one ever listens to me," he continued, frowning both of his mouths as he moved towards his bags. "It is a warzone, you know. Many of the patients we will be treating will be suffering from war wounds," he continued, as he moved to pack his bags further. He was doing anything to keep from addressing the rancor in the room.

She could come! Doctor Bailo's emotions took a sudden turn for the better. Instead of collapsing into herself, she began to grow to proper size. Things became less awkward as he explained the situation to her. She nodded her head. "I'm aware. I treated a Mandalorian last time I was there seeing Lady Sierra. I am shocked they both made a full recovery." The first step was accomplished. Alessandra would leave behind Jubilee for a new life. She stepped away from him. "I... I have packing to do then..." She needed to give her heart a moment's rest first. It would be nerve-wrecking working with him all the time. Sooner or later, she was going to force the butterflies in her stomach to settle.

As soon as Doctor Bailo left to attend to her packing, Pilaq exhaled in two massive sighs that released all of the air within him. He quickly moved to take hold of his medical device, checking his heart rate, which was dangerously elevated. She had quite the effect on the old Ithorian. Her coming to Esseles was going to necessitate his need for a doctor, but fortunately she was one.

Zara Rodney was one proud mother. She looked forward to seeing her brother, because that meant she could show off her beautiful, *perfect*, *amazzinnngg* babies. The prior night had been the hardest yet. Darrus was sleeping in his infant seat. Sia was sleeping in her own ... and Zara was also asleep with a little drool running down the side of her chin. You could really see the resemblance the twins had to their mother at that moment. Currently, the Nerf Herder was arriving at Esseles. She was thrilled when *both* Ithorian doctors boarded the ship. They had been so awkwardly silent throughout the whole ride. It gave Zara the wrong impression. She thought something *more* had happened. On top of feeling a mother's sense of pride, she also felt a matchmaker's success. She'd be there at the wedding, prodding Marcus with her elbow and proclaiming '*I did that*!' In Zara's mind, most people deserved a happily ever after. Pilaq worked so hard for the family. She was waiting for the day when he snapped and smacked everyone with his walking stick, if only to knock them out so they would stop getting hurt.

As Marcus guided the Nerf Herder into the atmosphere of Esseles he looked over at his sleeping wife, and used all of his strength not to laugh at her position. With one hand on the flight stick, he reached over, attempting to wipe away the drool that was accumulating at the corner of her mouth. Unfortunately, it was a bit out of reach and it caused the Nerf Herder to lurch badly, waking *everyone* up. The starfighter began to fill with the sound of babies screaming. He turned his attention back to flying the ship, hoping Zara did not realize what had happened. "Air pocket," he lied, as he guided them towards the Rodney estate looming in the distance.

"Huh!?" Zara shot awake suddenly. Sia and Darrus were crying. She wasn't sure what had happened, but it had disrupted a pleasant dream about certain events on their wedding day. If nothing else, the Auntie Mae commercials brought back some *very* happy memories. She blinked, rapidly wiping away the drool before Marcus could notice ... so she thought! "Stupid air pocket." She grumbled, having no idea that he had been attempting to make his wife presentable. She rapidly moved to pick up both of her crying children. "It's okay, it's okay..." She cooed calmly while rocking her body back and forth until Sia stopped crying. Darrus was an angry little prince. His nap had been interrupted. The little boy stared at his mother like he didn't know quite what to make of such an offensive situation. He opened his mouth wide and began to gnaw on Zara's soft dress strap. "We're almost there ... right?" Come to think of it, Zara had never visited Claudius' home on Esseles. The first time they met was on the Retributor. She began to wonder what the decor in his home would look like. She imagined a massive painting of himself hanging over an exquisite fireplace. It was enough to make Zara produce a soft giggle.

Marcus guided the Nerf Herder down onto the landing platform that adjoined the Rodney estate, wishing that his brother had been allowed to come to him. Traveling with two young infants was not easy, but he understood Governor Arundel had schemed to keep his brother off their world. "Not even a welcoming party," he said, as he looked out the viewport at his brother's estate. He was careful to rise from his seat and then help Zara unstrap from her seat. He then helped her up before turning his attention to Darrus. "Let's get this over," he said to her with a nervous smile, before leading the parade of individuals down the lift that brought them down to the landing platform.

It certainly hadn't been an easy trip. Both of the twins didn't understand what was happening. They *hated* taking off and had cried through the entire process. It took time to ease both of them, as it would when they left Esseles. Zara let out a sigh. They had arrived! She rose with Marcus' help. She hadn't gotten used to not having the weight of the twins anymore. It was also a new experience to see her feet again. "That's rude. Not even Ewwie came to see us..." Zara carefully cradled Sia as she walked down the lift. A TIE fighter screeched by, inspiring both of the twins to cry again. The sounds and sights of Claudius' estate were new to them after they had already had a wild day. Zara frowned, kissing her little girl's forehead while passing Marcus a look. They both wanted to finish this so they could go back home. Delaya may have its problems, but it was theirs. Eventually, the parade of individuals reached the front door of the estate. Zara rang the doorbell just as Sia began to calm herself.

Inside the estate, Sierra had been busily preparing for the arrival of the twins. She made sure all gems disappeared from the common areas of the house, as she feared them somehow causing an accident. She did what she could to prompt Drusilla and Ewwiekewwieikkie to ready themselves to meet their cousins. Sierra was excited. She had been over the moon to spend some time with Darrus. She was looking forward to holding Sia too, as well as her husband meeting them. Despite all the ruckus going on, she didn't miss the sound of the door bell. She smoothed out her uniform which was covered in blue fur (whoever thought dressing in white was a good idea should be hung). It was Sierra who answered the door, offering a friendly smile to everyone...even Zara. She was most happy to see Pilaq...but wait..! Doctor Bailo had come too? "Hey. Thank you for coming out to Esseles to see us. I'm sure it was difficult. Come in. Make yourselves at home." The estate was officially filled with people. She didn't mention to them that El-Nay had taken up residence there as well.

Ewwiekewwieikkie had not understood the Auntie Mae commercials on the HoloNet and had convinced herself that Sia and Darrus were made of ice cream. So when she was told the babies were coming she had placed a big around her neck and gathered a spoon. When the door opened she was as excited as anyone, but for very different reasons. "Ice cream babies!" she announced, as she circled around Sierra and moved towards Marcus and Zara and the babies. But when she saw them she realized they were not made of ice cream and her face sunk and her hand let go of the spoon, which crashed to the ground and rattled. Demoralized, she turned on her feet and walked back towards Sierra. "No ice cream," she declared, as she moved past her stepmother, to look for something else to eat.

Grand Moff Claudius Rodney had hurried home for the meeting with his brother and sister-in-law. Any excuse to get off the ship and out of the briefings was a welcome one. "Brother, sister," he said politely as he greeted them, while trying to keep Ewwiekewwieikkie from eating either of her new cousins. It was the first time he had seen the twins and upon looking at Darrus he could not help but feel a little jealous at the fact that his brother had produced a son on his first attempt. "Well done," he said, begrudgingly, as he brought his hand up to slap his brother on the back. Behind him he saw there were not one, but two, Ithorian doctors entering the estate. "It's about time," he said to Doctor Tohan in a manner that was uncertain as to whether he was being serious or not.

Zara was happy to see Ewwiekewwieikkie. "Ewwie...?!" The Squib was wearing a bib and holding a spoon. It looked like she was ready to...well, eat the twins. Whatever Ewwie had been expecting was clearly not the reality of the situation. The twins were tiny little humans. There was no ice cream in sight. She watched her niece move towards the direction of the kitchen looking massively disappointed. Next time Ewwie visited them in Delaya, Zara decided she'd take the girl to her favorite Auntie Mae's location. As she moved into the estate, she smiled at Claudius. "Brother. 'Bout time you got to meet our children." Sia's little eyes were attempting to follow the strange, blue blob. She could be seen, peering over Zara's shoulder. When Claudius slapped Marcus' back, Darrus let out a big belch. He began fussing instantly. With the bubble out of his stomach, he was ready to eat again. Zara expertly grabbed a bottle from the side of the diaper bag dangling off of her shoulder. She offered it to Marcus. "That explains why he didn't eat much last time I fed him."

No matter how many times Sierra had tried to explain to Ewwiekewwieikkie that the twins were not made of ice cream, it simply wasn't happening. She didn't know what to expect when Zara and Marcus arrived, but it seemed she understood instantly that there was no ice cream to be had. "Ewwiekewwieikkie ... there's some pudding in the fridge..." Sierra didn't like seeing her upset. It was surprising to see Doctor Bailo again, but she ignored the lady Ithorian because of the presence of babies. She moved over to Zara to play with Sia. Zara seemed content with letting her sister play with the little girl. Sierra held Sia. The smile on her face grew and grew. "Awww. She's such a cutie." Her head lifting, looking towards Claudius. She wondered if he could hear the sounds of her ovaries screaming.

Doctor Bailo felt shy. Claudius Rodney's comments made her eyes go wide and her cheeks turn red. She tried to shrink and hide behind Pilaq, which probably made it seem like the man had guessed correctly. "I-It's lovely to see you and your family again, m'lord." Alessandra managed to stutter.

Marcus was not prepared for his brother's slap on the back and had to maneuver expertly to avoid dropping Darrus. It was still taking a lot to get used to. After the burp his son began to cry, hungry as ever, which was quickly solved by Zara's timely producing of a bottle. As he stood there feeding his son he looked to Claudius and Sierra cautiously, still having conflicting emotions about taking *their* title and seeing them banished from Delaya. The new exoskeleton that Zara had found time to design between 4 AM feedings was doing the trick and he hoped that he could conceal the extent of his injuries from his brother. "Here's your doctor back, old boy," he teased, once he got Darrus' feeding under control. "Won't be too long before you have a son for one of your Ensigns to feed," he teased, in a perhaps unwarranted zing.

Doctor Tohan was quick to move with his walking stick, bringing it down on the top of Claudius' head. "I am too old to be punctual," he declared, as he looked over his long time friend. "As far as your *son* is concerned I am early, and you will soon find out the lesson of all father's of sons ... that he is more important," he declared, before banging the base of his staff upon the floor. "We really must talk about Ewwiekewwieikkie's diet," he said to Sierra, already getting up in their business. "It is not healthy for her to eat nothing but desserts ... no matter how easy it makes her to control," he said, before moving off towards the kitchen to stop her from eating more of the emergency pudding rations.

The exoskeleton was still new. Zara worried that she had overlooked something, or that too much use would quickly break it. That's exactly why she began leading Marcus to sit down on the closest piece of furniture. Her blue eyes followed Sierra and her daughter, unable to give up the feeling of over protectiveness. "That's right!" Zara perked up. "It's only a few months off until Bruce arrives, huh? When are you going to have a baby shower?" Zara poked and prodded. She wondered if Sierra was upset that Livia wouldn't be present like she had been at Zara's. Even Zara felt bad about not making the effort with her mother-in-law now that she was gone.

It seemed everyone was ganging up on Sierra at this point. Even Doctor Bailo examined the girl with her large, bulbous eyes. "We really must talk about *your* diet, milady. Have you been eating your leafy greens? Iron deficiencies are very common in pregnant women. Your color is worrisome." Alessandra would demand to see Sierra as soon as she was set up at the Retributor.

Sierra had seated herself in a large-armed chair. She had her legs propped with Sia seated against her thighs. The little girl stared at her auntie, who began playing peek-a-boo from beneath her hands. She looked up at Pilaq, then the lady Ithorian. "It's nice to see you both too."

"Oof," Claudius groaned as he was whacked on the head by his friend and physician. He raised his hand to rub at the top of his head, before waving his fist at the doctor in faux menacing. "I'm glad you're here, Doctor Bailo. With Pilaq around I'm bound to need a capable physician to nurse me," he joked, before moving out of walking stick range. He ended up sitting on the arm of the chair Sierra and Sia had settled into, paying attention to his niece rather than his brother and sister-in-law. "You've really expanded the family tree," he teased Marcus and Zara, before lowering his head and making faces that he thought were cute, but would presumably terrify Sia fo days to come.

Marcus was getting tired. The exoskeleton was working wonderfully, but it could only support him as long as he had energy, and he was becoming fatigued. He moved quickly towards a seat to avoid falling with Darrus in his arms, quickly flashing a knowing look to Zara. As he sat down he looked around at the estate, which had all of the modern conveyances that could not be installed in the ancient and historic castle. But then the sound of a TIE Striker flying overhead broke the brief silence that fell over the estate, quickly followed by the mechanical noises of the AT-ST patrolling the grounds. It was then that he realized his brother and his family were staying in a fortified compound as virtual prisoners and suddenly he did not feel envious of the modern kitchen, advanced heating and ventilation systems, and potential for a turbolift.

Darrus did not seem to like the sound of the TIE Striker. He briefly stopped drinking from his bottle, simply staring at his father with wide eyes as if he was asking '*Did you hear that, dad*!?' He slowly resumed drinking with a tense little body. Zara rested her hand on her husband's leg. She could tell this wasn't going to be a lengthy visit as nothing sounded sweeter than returning home and huddling up in their chambers with the twins. She was sympathetic towards Marcus and would do everything to make him feel better as soon as they were away from his brother. Claudius' comment made her laugh. "The family tree needed to grow. It's been awhile since there's been babies in House of Rodney. You're one to talk too, Claudius! I didn't see you being patient about making some extensions!" Zara grinned. He teased her first, it was her right to get him back.

Sia was amused by all the attention she was getting. Her eyes went back and forth between her aunt and uncle, unsure where to focus. When Claudius made faces at her, she began to smile *really* wide. At this age, there was only one reason why a newborn smiled. Sierra laughed. "Aw, you made her poop!" Then to Sia, "It's okay. Despite what your cousin Drusilla will say, *everybody* poops." She scooped the infant up in her arms and stood. She took initiative, getting the diaper bag from Zara so she could take care of her young niece. She hadn't missed what Marcus said. It made her imagine asking Bethany to feed Bruce. Suddenly, he'd end up crashed into something just like the Retributor. What a buffoon.

In the kitchen Ewwiekewwieikkie suddenly froze, with a spoonful of pudding half eaten. Her nose began to twitch, subtly at first, but then began to inhale rapidly. "What's that?!" she said, as she suddenly relinquished the pudding and ran back towards the family. Arriving in the center of the room she stopped, and began inhaling so loudly through her nose that it seemed as if she was about to vacuum all of the air. "What's that?!" she asked again, before her attention shifted towards Sia. She hurried towards where the diaper was being changed as if she was heading towards the carving station at a buffet before everyone else got all of the good pieces. "Yum yum yum!" she declared, as she tried to get the diaper away from Sierra.

Kneeling on the floor away from the general public, Sierra had begun to change Sia's diaper. She acting as if she were a surgeon performing open heart surgery, carefully cleaning the newborn. She didn't notice Ewwiekewwieikkie until she said the words no one wants to hear when referring to poo: *yum yum*. "Oh, no, no, no, no." Surely this subject belonged in the things Claudius needed to deal with. She scooped up the diaper with Sia half naked on the ground in front of her. "Ewwiekewwieikkie, this is *not* food. This is poop. The stuff that comes out the other end. Remember? We can't eat it. It's yucky." Sierra grasped a clean diaper while eyeballing her adopted daughter, just waiting for her to make another move to get the diaper. Sierra was learning a valuable lesson: never leave dirty diapers out. Her stomach couldn't even handle the thought of the worst case scenario. Sierra carefully finished changing Sia, then put her little boomers back on beneath her dress. She used small bags located in the diaper bag to place the dirty diaper inside of it. Once Sierra was back on her feet, she gently deposited Sia in Claudius' arms so she could dispose of all temptation.

"Ewwiekewwieikkie, no!" Claudius said, but his laughter kept his stern discipline from being taken seriously. Thankfully Sierra seemed to have a handle on it, but without warning Sia was quickly deposited in his arms. "Oh. Hello there," he said to her, as he shifted from the arm of the chair to the seat of the chair. Fortunately wherever his pregnant wife sat she left behind a heated seat for him to enjoy. An added benefit of her growing size. As he looked down at the little Sia it dawned on him that he was going to have another baby soon. It just did not seem entirely real while the baby remained inside of his wife. This was a physical reminder that he was soon about to have one of these that he could not simply hand off.

It was so hard not to laugh! Later on, Sierra would burst out laughing thinking about what had happened. It was terrifying, yucky, but still... All the way to the garbage disposal, Sierra had to keep the bag held high where Ewwiekewwieikkie couldn't reach it. "You can't eat it." She reminded the girl over and over again until the diaper was disposed of for good. Sierra made her way back towards the living room where everyone else was. She paused, looking over them. Zara was right. It had been a very long time since this family saw growth. Now there was Sia and Darrus. The kicking in her gut was a constant reminded that Bruce's birth wasn't far away either. Before the end of summer, they would welcome a son. Her eyes fell on Claudius and Sia. He'd stolen her spot! It was cute to see them together as she had never seen him around an infant so young before. Sia was staring at him. She let out a sweet coo and reached out towards him with her chubby little hands. Sierra made her way back to the chair. She came to rest on the very same arm her husband had been. She leaned over, kissing the top of his head. As she withdrew, she glared at him and whispered, "You owe me one for that!"

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