Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:1:19) in the Hosnian system: Hosnian Prime (Darropolis: Riaca Degor's clinic and Spaceport) and Nerf Herder.
Doctor Riaca Degor, Lord Marcus Rodney, and Lady Zara Rodney.

Since the first doctor's appointment, Zara had been looking forward to the next one. Julius still had her hologram of the baby. You know? The one he'd likely die holding. She hoped to get a replacement so that she didn't have to pry it from his hands sometime in the future. She wondered what they'd find out today. According to the HoloNet, at fourteen weeks, the baby was roughly the size of a lemon. A Zara-Marcus lemon that they had created. Though she understood anatomy and where babies came from, it was entirely different to actually do it yourself. Anyway, the trip to Hosnian Prime was filled with excited chattering about their baby. Zara had been having a much better week with her morning sickness. She looked infinitely better, despite how stressful their lives had become. Today, Zara didn't care about the who was Duke. She didn't even think about how horrible Livia's baby shower would be. Instead, she was focused entirely on those who mattered; Darrus and Marcus.

Hosnian Prime offered a safe haven from all of her problems. There were no paparazzi, no Orange Julius, Frumpy Hats, or anything else to derail her. There was no need for El-Nay to show, so Zara let herself feel comfortable. The calm trip ended with the Nerf Herder landing in the spaceport. Zara unbuckled herself. She looked towards her husband. "I bet we're going to get to see the little guy again. I can't wait! I barely slept last night!" Excitement wasn't entirely at fault for that. The couple had a healthy addiction to each other. Tossing her hair over her bare shoulders, Zara stood. She turned towards Marcus. Leaning over his sweet, she promptly kissed him on the lips. She was happy that he was so involved in her pregnancy. "Let's go!"

Darraopolis housed Riaca Degor's clinic. The city was full of life. Thankfully, the life didn't want to be in their faces, snapping pictures. The waiting room at the clinic was crowded with pregnant women to the point where Marcus was the only testosterone in the room. Zara sat, looking pretty in a simple, flowy skirt and a cute top. Her hand rested on Marcus' leg where she held his. She leaned into him playfully. "Wanna do some shopping after this? I need to get some things." It seemed like her belly had grown significantly since the last time they'd been here. Apparently any child of Marcus was going to be gigantic!

Any excuse to flee Delaya was a welcome one, but he relished the opportunity to return to Hosnian Prime for a follow-up visit with Doctor Degor. Despite her youth and inexperience, Zara seemed to be handling the pregnancy well, but he also valued the professional opinions of doctors. Zara had refused to allow the Delayan court physicians to examine, nor would she allow Claudius' doctor, Pilaq Tohan, to re-examine her. Hosnian Prime was not exactly around the corner, as they had originally chosen the location due to the unlikelihood anyone would recognize them there. The last time they came he was dressed down, in discreet clothing designed to blend in, but this time he allowed himself to dress up in his more traditional wardrobe. He was still casual compared to the ornate and excessive wardrobe of court, but his athletic figure still wore the navy blue tunic and grey slacks well. Leaving the rifle behind, he did take his Model 434 blaster pistol 'just in case'. "Of course I want to go shopping after this!" he said in a faux overenthusiastic tone to please his pregnant wife, as he knew there was no way he could avoid it so it was best to just go along with it. He struggled to catch up with her, as she was moving with such boundless enthusiasm that he wondered what a race between young pregnant women would look like as a sport on the HoloNet. When they finally entered Doctor Degor's clinic, Marcus signed them in at reception, and then sat with her in the waiting room next to a diverse group of pregnant women of many ages and species. Unfortunately for them, their faces were on one of the HoloNet devices provided for people to read as they waited. People were staring.

Doctor Degor was a nice woman. She had been willing to accommodate their statuses and, as she had promised, never gave the media any information. Anyone on Delayan would have immediately reported to Julius and Livia. Poor Pilaq Tohan had fallen prey to her hormones. He associated himself with the Empire, therefore he could do nothing to gain Zara's trust. She blamed everyone stupid enough to side with Darth Vader for what had happened to her family. It was Pilaq Tohan who associated himself with the wrong crowd. The only problem with her choice was that Doctor Degor was so far away. When the time came to deliver Darrus, they'd have one hell of a chaotic flight to Hosnian Prime. Zara's face dropped the moment she saw a video of them arriving at the royal wedding several days ago. Zara, looking nervous, as she clung to her husband like she might tumble over. Suddenly, people were staring. She flashed a smile his way, "At least we're fully clothed." She commented optimistically, though it was very likely that they were in a room filled with people who had seen them naked. Awkwardddd.

Before Zara could make herself hyperventilate over the fact that Doctor Degor's royal patients had been revealed, she heard a nurse call her name. Her *real* name. "Zara Rodney?" The three-eyed woman said, peeking out from behind a door. Just as fast as she had come in, Zara rose to her feet and made her way towards the nurse. They chattered together. Zara, answering simple questions about her pregnancy while the nurse took her weight down. That was the part Zara didn't look at. She didn't have time to talk to Marcus again until they were situation in a room waiting for the doctor. "Does it ever strike you as totally insane that we're going to be parents? Especially considering *who* we are." A bounty hunter and a thief. Who'd have thought they'd go so well together?

Marcus reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a pair of glareshades, putting them over his brown eyes the moment people began to stare. He felt immediately more comfortable once he had them on, as no one could see his eye rolling or facial mannerisms with them on. Then, as if a blessing, the nurse called them in, and the happy, but famous, expectant father moved as swiftly as Zara could remember through the door that led to the patient rooms. "You'd think now that they know who we *really* are they could bring us in through a secluded room and see us right away," he said, for the first time sound a bid entitled due to his noble status. "Perhaps she could make a house call to the chalet?" he asked, Zara, as he took her hand and held it, impatiently waiting for the doctor to arrive. He had agreed to succeed his father less than a week ago, or rather Zara had agreed for him, yet he was already acting as spoiled and selfish as the rest of the family. It was a change in himself that *he* had not noticed, but would his wife?

As far as Zara could tell, you never stopped hating the fact that public wanted to be within an inch of one's ass. The women in the waiting room had not pleased Zara. Even the nurse had acted star struck in a way that she didn't like. The appointments with their doctor were precious to her, after all. When they were alone, it enabled her to decompress and release the tension that had built in the waiting room. The nurse had briefly mentioned that her blood pressure was high. No shit, Sherlock. It was a little shocking to her Marcus utilize his noble status. He'd never made a big deal about it, and neither had Zara. She squeezed his hand. "We can make different arrangements next time. With everything going on, I honestly hadn't thought about it." She took on the blame herself. There was no way that she'd let him act like the rest of his family. Zara would kidnap him and hold him in a remote location lonnnggg before she allowed that to happen.

The wait was much quicker than last time. Doctor Degor knocked on the door before she arrived. She was reviewing Zara's vitals when she entered through the door. She was the least star struck out of anyone in the office. She respectfully greeted both of them. When her eyes lifted to look as Zara, something crossed her face. Was it concern? Anger? Did she want something more because of who they were? Doctor Degor had been a doctor for many decades. She was knowledgeable, and, despite her shitty waiting room, a good doctor. On sight, she thought her patient's stomach was big. She needed to measure to be sure. For all of you who do not know, there is somewhat of a correlation between belly side and how far along a woman is in her pregnancy. For example, if you are twenty-five weeks pregnant, then your belly should measure between twenty-three and twenty-seven centimeters. Of course, large bellies existed and everyone was different. The doctor's face turned back to normal. "How are you feeling, Zara?" She asked kindly while directing her towards the checkup table. Zara had caught the look. Now she was scared. Was their little lemon okay?! She didn't want to let go of her husband's hand. The happy environment had gone to shit over nonverbal communication. "I-I've been doing better. Less throwing up, more desperate cravings." Zara explained, situation herself on the checkup table.

"Good. Maybe you'll get more relief in your second trimester. Now lay down. Let's take some measurements" Degor instructed. She immediately began to measure Zara's belly to confirm her suspicions. The size was all off. It was enough to make the doctor ponder if she had miscalculated due date or something else. Stranded on the table like a beached whale, Zara wished she could cuddled Marcus while she was examined. She was massively uncomfortable. "You're measuring large for how far along you are. That could mean nothing... But, I'd like to do an ultrasound right now so we can be sure there's nothing else going on." These were not the words Zara wanted to hear. In her hormonal driven mind, something was wrong.

At first Marcus was glad to see Doctor Degar. She had arrived much quicker than last time, and he felt as if the time they spent waiting had been slashed in half. He remained silent as the Doctor came in and spoke to Zara, offering a sweet smile as he watched their interactions. Everything seemed fine until it wasn't, and he could tell from decades of questioning people for the location of bounties that something was *wrong*. His heart rate began to elevate and his head began to hurt, as he instinctively moved to grasp his wife's hand and squeezed it. "I'm sure everything is fine, Zara," he said to her, but in reality he was looking at the doctor. He moved to get a small cushion to place beneath Zara's head as she was laying down, both to make her more comfortable and allow her a better view at what the Doctor was doing. What the doctor was doing, however, was beyond Marcus' expertise and he watched her carefully, with more fear than he had ever experienced in his life.

For a moment, Zara felt like she was drowning. She couldn't breathe while doubts and fears began to fill inside of her. Had Marcus not grasped her hand at that exact moment, she surely would have been swept away. He was as kind to her as ever. First, by taking her hand, then by offering words of reassurance and added comfort while she lay. Zara looked like she was going to cry as a result of how sweet he was. She looked as if she wanted to say something, then opted not to. Her head nodded. She wasn't going to give a voice to all the *what ifs* that began to form in the back of her head.

Meanwhile, Doctor Degar was quickly setting up for an ultrasound. It looked like she'd come with more heavy duty equipment than before. Helpless, Zara focused on her husband, his hand, and told herself that everything would be okay. The doctor prepped her for the ultrasound by smearing a warm gel on her stomach. As the machine booted up, only its quiet hum interrupted the silence in the room. They all waited and watched as Doctor Degar pressed a familiar device against Zara's stomach. Nearly instantly, and image appeared on the screen. The thing was, what they all saw was significantly different from the first time. There were *two heads*. Before anyone could accuse her of messing around with a strange alien species, she saw two pairs of arms, and four wiggling little legs. The whole image was processed in slow motion before it became complete. Zara wasn't having a baby. She was having *two* babies. Above her. Doctor Degar was in awe. The twin must have been masking itself behind the brother during the first ultrasound. It was entirely possible, and amazing nonetheless. Doctor Degar's found her voice with a cough, "Congratulations! You're pregnant with *twins*." And there they were. The two unborn Rodneys, snuggling each other in the womb.

As the image slowly appeared on the screen it first appeared as if their child had developed a strange mutation that resulted in the growth of a second head. He inhaled sharply, squeezing down on Zara's hand, until it became clear that it was a second baby. Zara was pregnant with twins. Suddenly the room began to spin and Marcus felt himself beginning to lose consciousness. Without warning, Marcus collapsed forward, hitting his head on her examine table as he went. Fortunately, he was in a doctor's clinic, which was one of the best places to strike one's head. As he lay, unconscious on the floor, there was a strange smile fixated upon his face, left there from the sudden and unexpected realization that he was going to be a father not just once, but now twice. What was meant to be a simple checkup from the doctor was now a life altering change.

*Twins*! Zara was having twins! The shock hadn't worn off when Marcus, literary, passed out. She looked towards him just as his lifeless body fell forward. She reached out, trying to stop his head from injury. His hair grazed her fingers as he collided with the examination table. "Marcus!" Doctor Degar rushed over towards the unconscious man. Zara quickly joined the Doctor on the floor. His forehead was bleeding. Though he was unconscious, she couldn't miss the smile on odd smile on his face. He was happy, he just had a weird way of showing it! Doctor Degar called in for the help of some nurses to move Marcus into a room of his own, only this examination room had a bed. There, she treated his head wounds and checked on him to make sure that he'd be okay.

The rest of Zara's examine was held in the room (mostly because she was hard-headed and refused to be away from her husband). Doctor Degar revealed that the second child was a girl, causing her mother's heart to swoon. It was scary and perfect all at the same time. Other than her blood pressure, Zara was a healthy woman. Her children seemed to be doing well also. Near the end of the appointment, even the Doctor recommended her finding someone closer to home, as twin pregnancies can easily become complicated. After receiving a new hologram, which she would watch a million time, Zara planted herself in a seat next to the love of her life (and apparently the carrier of super sperm), and waited. Her fingers ran up and down his arm. "We're having two babies, Marcus." She felt like she needed to say it out loud to make it reality. Her other hand cradled her belly. This couldn't get any better.

As Marcus lay there in the darkened examination room the first thing he felt was the swelling, burning sensation coming from the gash in his forehead. His vision was slightly blurred, but he could clearly hear the voice of his lovely wife concerning his suspicions. "Twins? How could they have missed it?" he said, as he turned his head to the side to look at her, but it caused a bit of pain to even slightly shift his head. "This is wonderful news, Zara. Twice the blessing. I do not think either of my parents could survive such a development," he said to her, as he allowed her to gently sooth him by caressing his arm. "Maybe this means you'll get twice as many presents at the shower my mother is throwing for you," he said, laughing at his own joke, which unfortunately caused his head to hurt even more.

"Doctor Degar said that the second child must have been perfectly placed the last time, and that Darrus' heart beat likely overshadowed our little *girl's* heartbeat." Zara proudly revealed to him the second child's gender. Her hand moved. It ran through his hair softly now, keeping away from his bandaged head. His reaction to their second child warmed her. He was so happy. He was so pleased. Her image of their perfect family had changed for the better. She laughed. "Okay, so that means we're going to go tell them right now, okay? I'll even go deliver the news by myself!" She offered, half joking, but also half serious. She didn't know if Livia and Julius would be happy for them, or if they could ignore the news of their daughter because of Darrus. She didn't care for their opinion anyway. His joke made her laugh once more. Strands of her silvery hair fell into her face while she produced the hologram of the ultrasound that Marcus hadn't seen. "I don't know if there's a more horrifying string of orders than *Livia* and *baby shower*." She nose twitched. "Oh god. What kind of presents am I going to get?" It was a royal baby shower, and the first in some time. Zara leaned over. She kissed his cheek. His head had to be killing him.

Zara turned away from him. She picked up an unopened bottle of water, which she opened, and several pills from on top of a paper towel. She offered both to him, "This should help with the pain. Why don't we stay in Darrapolis tonight?" She suggested. She didn't want him to travel immediately after hurting his head so badly.

"No! Don't tell them!" Marcus pleaded, as he attempted to raise up suddenly, but only succeeded in hurting himself from the swift movement. Unfortunately, the blow to his head seemed to have impacted his sense of humor and made him unaware that she was joking. Eventually he realized she was kidding and gave her a small grin, before leaning forward to place a small kiss on her cheek. "I have no idea what kind of presents you'll get, Zara. Useless things I expect. Silver rattles. A state of the art repulsorstroller," he rattled off a list of ridiculous items, before bringing his hand up to his forehead to survey the damage. He gratefully took the bottle of water and the pills, and quickly downed them, hoping his pain would subside sufficiently for them to travel. "All right. We can stay here. That way the castle won't have to issue a press release to explain my rather obvious bruise," he said, bemoaning the fact that he had struck his forehead and not some concealable area. "Remember that shopping trip? I'll need a hat!" he was quick to point out, as the pain medicine started to take its effect and relieve some of the throbbing on his head.

Zara didn't *want* them to know anything. She was savoring the news, even if it meant that the couple would have to make *another* crib. "I figured as much. We'll behave during the baby shower, but we can poke fun at all the weird presents once we make it home. I'd rather we picked out everything anyway." They weren't going to be able to leave until some of the pain had subsided. Just as much as Marcus was overprotective of his pregnant wife, she was the same about him. She watched over him like a little hawk. "Would you really have to do a press release over visible injuries? How the hell did you ever live a double life as a bounty hunter? I used to go to work with all kinds of bruising. At best, my boss seemed to think I was getting abused." She sighed. She worried that, should she become his Duchess, that she might fail him in some way, shape, or form. She wasn't carved from the same stone he was. Her family had been nothing. The possibility of jumping class like she did wasn't high. She giggled. "Okay. We'll go out in the morning and get you a hat. I'm sorry you hurt your head... I felt like passing out too. Let me show you what you missed." With that, she hit the play button on the hologram. An image played of the Rodney twins.

"Yes. They would have to issue a press release. There'd be some concerned, speculative citizens who would think you were abusing me," Marcus informed her, half-joking, as he gave her a little wink. "When I was a bounty hunter I wore a helmet ... a very good one ... and I *never* let anyone hurt my beautiful face," he said, as he gave her a big smile, and struck a matinee idol pose for her. "In my youth I was very beauti- ... er, handsome," he said, as he swung his legs off the table, placed his hands, palm down, on either side of him and sat back up. "So what kind of hotel should we look for?" he asked her, before she distracted him with the holoimage of the two babies growing within his wife. A sort-of dreamy smile curled upon his lips as he looked at it, taking it from her hands so that he could examine it more carefully. "Let me guess, you're going to need *more* ice cream?" he said, before dropping his feet to the floor, wrapping his arms around her, and lifting her off the ground. "I better do this now while I still can," he said to her sweetly, before he spun her around in a dramatic flourish. When she landed he placed a loving kiss upon her lips and he tightened his grasp around them ... all three of them.

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