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
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
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 door...it 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
"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
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
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
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
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
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!"