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Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:6:17) in the Essesia system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate).
Commander Kerrie Kiley, Melickielickie, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, and Major Sierra Rodney.

Commander Kerrie Kiley had wasted no time in traveling the short distance across the Ringali Shell from Chandrila to Esseles with the newly orphaned Melickielickie. She did not know what to say to the poor girl, nor had she managed to clean her up in the slightest. It was a short flight, but it felt like an eternity. As she landed her shuttle, the Sonthi, on the landing platform outside the Rodney estate on Esseles a terrible thought came over her ... how would she be able to get the Squib passed the impressionable Rodney children? "Come on, Melickielickie. These people will help you," she said, as she took the Squib by the hand and led her down the ramp into the front yard of the Rodney estate. Immediately they were getting concerned looked by the Stormtroopers on guard, which only made the entrance even more difficult. Instead of heading to the front door, she circled around the estate to the back door which was off the kitchen. As she reached the privacy behind the estate she produced her shiny comlink, before activating it. "Major Rodney, this is Commander Kiley," she began, quietly, as she looked around with shifty eyes. "Could you please meet me at the rear entrance of your estate?" she asked, while trying to hold onto Melickielickie to keep her from getting away.

The small Squib had not spoken a word other than her name and crying out for her mother. She seemed to be stuck in a state of trauma. The Cathar had displayed extreme violence in killing her family. Melickielickie didn't know where she was going. The lady had been nice to her. She clung to Kerrie as she hurried after her. Together, they moved further into the unknown place. Melickielickie looked like she was about to cry. Her feet hurt! She sniffed, but then something caught her eye in the gleam of the sun. "Eee..." She reached up towards the shiny comlink. "Uh! Uh!" She made noises, pawing at the pretty piece of metal. She wanted it!

Major Sierra Rodney was currently squished on the couch within the estate. Ewwiekewwieikkie sat on one side of her. Callista was on the other...and beside Ewwiekewwieikkie, making everyone uncomfortable, was Sorbet. They were all watching a Rainbow Rancor video which had released early this morning. It featured the baby Rancor learning about eating healthy from a group of Ewoks. Sierra liked the meaning of the episode the first million times she watched it, but now that she could recite, and reenact, the episode, she was feeling a little done. From beneath her rear end, her comlink began to go off. She moved from side to side, reaching beneath her to grab the device just as she heard Kerrie's voice. Her message was cryptic. Sierra responded sounding more than a little confused. "Commander Kiley, I'll be there in a minute..." She wiggled her way off the couch and headed quickly through the estate. She looked behind her shoulder once to make sure none of the girls, or the mini bantha, were following.

She opened the back door to a shocking sight: a small Squib drenched in blood. Her mouth went wide. "Oh my goodness." She gasped. It suddenly made sense why Kerrie hadn't knocked on the front door. Sierra rushed them inside. "Hurry, hurry." She pressed her hand into Kerrie's shoulder and quickly led her into the downstairs bathroom. She locked the door to ensure no one saw the Squib like this. "What *happened*?" Sierra said as she took Melickielickie from Kerrie. She offered her a gentle smile. "Hi, I'm Sierra." She adjusted, sliding a bracelet from her wrist. She gave it to the little Squib to play with. The Major looked behind her shoulder at Kerrie, awaiting explanation.

Kerrie allowed Melickielickie to take the comlink, as she remembered from her times guarding Ewwiekewwieikkie how much the Squibs liked metallic objects that had a shine to them. She was quick to move with Sierra into the downstairs of the Rodney estate, glad that none of the children had seen what had happened. "Your husband recently issued orders for more reprisals on Chandrila," she began, as she decided that the young Squib likely would not understand what she was saying. "My unit was tasked with carrying out the executions and arrests. I found this one at the estate of an assemblyman targeted by your old 'friends' Updike and Crion," she said, shaking her head sorrowfully. "The rest of her family didn't make it," she explained, as she looked down to Melickielickie with a forced smile upon her face.

Melickielickie's yellow eyes were glued to the shiny that the nice lady had given her. She brought it to her mouth and attempted to bite it. "Owwiiieeee!" Well, it wasn't edible. She continued to play until she was passed over to someone new...someone remotely familiar. Her eyes lit up. "Siewwa?" She quickly took the bracelet and repeated the same process with it as she had the last shiny. She bit down on it and tongued one of the jewels on it. When she decided it wasn't food, she began bashing it against the comlink. "Melickielickie." She said as she looked around the bathroom.

Sierra's eyes fell as she listened to Kerrie recount what had happened. That damn Cathar had something to do with it...and Updike too. They both were troublesome as she had learned from past experiences as well as second-hand information from El-Nay. She could only imagine how gruesome the scene was for the child to be so covered. She turned her head away from Melickelickie and Kerrie so they couldn't see her frowning as she collected Ewwiekewwieikkie's special, extra-powerful shampoo. When she bought it, she'd been looking for something that got everything under the sun out of Ewwiekewwieikkie's fur. She never thought she'd be using it on blood. Sierra regained her composure and smiled towards them both. "That's horrible... This child is so young to have lost her family." It made her think of the stories Claudius had told her about saving Ewwiekewwieikkie. "Ready to go on the turbolift?" She asked the little girl, forcing herself to sound excited. She grasped the child under her arms and lifted her upward and into the bath tub. "There we go! Wasn't that fun? Now, let's get you nice and clean..." She turned on the water. As she did, Melickielickie began to cry. "No! No bath!" She cried, dropping both of her shinys as she moved forward and chomped down on Sierra's wrist.

She also recalled her husband mentioning how badly it hurt to get bit by a Squib. She could confirm that to be true. Sierra internalized a whimper and ran her free hand over the Squib's head. "It's okay. Baths can be fun, I promise. I'll make the water warm and you can play with your toys." She tossed a look back at Kerrie. "Thank you for bringing her to me. I'll see to it that she's taken care of... I pray war times will end sooner than later and families can stop suffering so much." Her heart sank for the little Squib.

"I will reprimand them for this misdeed, milady," Kerrie said, as she shifted uncomfortably watching the child misbehave. "Unfortunately, do to Colonel Zevrin's xenophobic policies she may overruled my directive. I may ... I may need your husband to authorize my actions against them," she informed her, slowly, knowing how difficult a thing she was asking of them. When the Squib bit Sierra she cringed, before bringing her hand up to her face, uncertain of what she should do. By now Sierra had more experience in dealing with children and Squibs than she, so she was content to depart the scene and leave her to it so that she could chastise Updike and Crion. She turned on her feet and moved towards the lift when she froze, slowly turning her head to look back at her. "Uh. How is El-Nay?" she asked, blushing slightly, and feeling quite uncomfortable from even asking.

She wanted to see that proper repercussions were taken against the Storm commandos. Still, there was a slight pause in her response when Kerrie brought up Claudius authorizing her actions against them. Nothing was easy anymore and Zevrin would surely find out. She nodded her head. "Okay, let me know if Colonel Zevrin overrules you and I'll see it to it that my husband takes care of it." Melickielickie's mouth released from Sierra's arm, but she was still fighting bath time. Soon, Sierra was more wet than the Squib. She maintained a good attitude and continued trying to soothe the girl. "El-Nay? She's doing okay. She misses you, you know? I'm worried about her. She traveled with me to Delaya. Since then, she's been acting strange. I can tell there's something wrong. She's just not talking about it.... You should really go see her yourself." Sierra suggested as she gave in and crawled into the tub, fully clothed, with Melickielickie. "See? The water doesn't hurt me. Let's play!" She reached over the side of the tub and grabbed one of Callista's bath toys. She'd do anything to get the girl clean. Sierra idly wondered how Ewwiekewwieikkie would react to another Squib. As she cleaned up the Squib, she realized that she *did* know her.

"I will do so at once, Milady," Kerrie replied, with an obedient nod of her head, as she again turned to leave. Unfortunately, before she could ascend the lift the subject again turned to El-Nay. Her concentration momentarily shifted and her attractive feminine face faded to repeal the reptilian Clawdite appearance that lay beneath. She swallowed, closing her eyes, and slowly she appeared human once again. "I'll consider that when the time is right, milady. Thank you for finding use for her," she said, before moving into the lift to escape the scene before having her heart strings tugged any further. Her only hope was that she could return to the Void without a chance encounter with the Mandalorian.

There was no pushing El-Nay and Kerrie to 'kiss and makeup'. Sierra wanted the best for both of her friends. She hoped that they found the best in each other. She didn't see Kerrie leave because she was already too busy bathing Melickielickie. It took far too long to get all the blood out of the Squib and involved so many injuries on Sierra's part. When the bath finished, Sierra carefully wrapped her in a towel and made her way upstairs. She changed Melickielickie into one of Callista's dresses, which was still two sizes too large for her. Her heart ached for the child. She recalled the first time she had met Melickielickie. She was lost in the baby store. It had been hard for Claudius to see her, and it would be even more difficult this time knowing what had happened to her mother, father, and all of her many siblings. Sierra spent time rocking Melickielickie and singing to her until *both* of them fell asleep in the seating area in her and Claudius' bedroom. The Rodney family was growing *again*.

Hours went by and another shift of Grand Moff Claudius Rodney ended on the Retributor. He wasted no time shuttling down to the surface to be with his family. As he entered the state he was not surprised to see Ewwiekewwieikkie, Callista, and the bantha on the sofa watching a holovid. It seemed to be a new one about healthy eating, which made him smirk slightly, but he doubted it would have the desired effect. He assumed Sierra was upstairs taking a nap before the chaos that passed for dinnertime at the estate, so without interrupting the girls he bounded up the stairs with the enthusiasm of a man half his age. He moved past Drusilla's room, where he once again heard the pulsating sound of jizz music blaring at the top volume of the expensive sound system she purchased. He opened the bedroom door without knocking, not expecting there to be company. When he looked towards Sierra asleep in the bed he spied the Squib laying with her, but he was confused because he swore he saw Ewwiekewwieikkie on the sofa downstairs. But, as he drew closer, he noticed it was a young Squib ... perhaps even the one from the baby shop. He crept towards the bed to avoid waking them, but once he was close to the bed he reached out to gently nudge Sierra, hoping to wake up *just* her.

It was only supposed to be a quick power nap. Once Sierra was out, she was *out*. The bath had taken far too much effort for the pregnant woman. She was still asleep when her husband arrived home. She didn't wake until she felt the gentle nudge. Sierra began to stir. "Mmmm.." The nap was more necessary than she realized. The first person she saw when she awoke was her favorite. A sleepy smile appeared on her face. "Hi honey," she said quietly. There was a lot of explaining to do. Concern showed on her features almost immediately as she thought of what Kerrie had told her. "Kerrie brought me this child." She began. "Two Storm commandos who were sent to Chandrila to carry out assassinations slayed her family." Around Claudius, it was easier for her to show how much it disturbed her. She frowned. "She was covered in blood when she came to me. This poor child..." Her eyes fell down to the sleeping Squib girl who was cuddled close to her.

At first Claudius assumed that they had somehow ended up with another house guest, but when Sierra began to tell the tale of what the child had endured his knees began to buckle and his stomach began to feel sick. He backed up slightly until the backs of his legs crashed into the chair, causing him to haphazardly fall back into the chair. It took him a moment to process the words that she was speaking, but as the tale unfolded he felt himself transported back to Skor II during the Clone Wars. He could hear the screaming and feel the heat of the flames. He remembered the young Ewwiekewwieikkie still clinging to her dead parents in the rubble. It was all too much for him. He said nothing. There were no words for how he felt. He wanted the commandos punished ... severely ... perhaps permanently.

Sierra's worries redirected towards her husband. The similarities in Melickielickie's story and Ewwiekewwieikkie's were undeniable. She nervously watched him crash into the chair. His mind had wandered and she was certain that she knew where it was at the moment. Carefully, she slid from the bed. Melickielickie whined, grasping at Sierra's warm pillow as soon as she was off the bed. She made her way over to Claudius where she rounded behind the chair and began rubbing his shoulders. "I'm here for you, my love." She said softly. "Talk to me." She looked back towards the small Squib. It was going to be a difficult transition, but Sierra was sure that they could give her a better life here. Where else was Melickielickie to go? She leaned forward to place a kiss on top of her husband's head. She worried for him. She could tell he was hurting.

When Sierra first touched him Claudius tensed slightly, but then relaxed into her soothing rub. "I just keep thinking about when I found Ewwiekewwieikkie on Skor II. The Emperor promised us peace, but these Rebels continue to plague us ... to plague innocents like her," he explained, as he slowly lifted his head to nod in the direction of the sleeping Melickielickie. "The commandos who did this went too far, and what's worse ... they did it in *my* name," he said to her, as he tilted his head up to look at her. "*My name*!" he shouted, before clenching his hand into a fist and slamming it down upon the arm of the chair violently. "It's not bad enough that Colonel Zevrin issues these directives, but she has the unmitigated gall to attach my name," he said, feeling quite sickened by the whole affair. "What action did Commander Kiley say she was going to take?" he asked Sierra, having grown so distant from Kerrie that he no longer referred to her by her first name.

*His name*. Something inside Sierra twitched for the first time in months. Zevrin had gone too far this time. They had been forced to sit back and watch her murder people repeatedly in the name of Grand Moff Claudius Rodney. She felt sick and furious all at once. Her hands fell from his shoulders. She came to stand in front of him with a look of anger on her face. "Commander Kiley said she was going to punish the commandos responsible. She wasn't overly confident that Zevrin would allow it and asked that I seek out your help if she was denied." It was another way Colonel Zevrin held all the cards. Sierra sunk down into her knees, looking up at her husband. "I won't see another day where your name is used like this." There was venom in her voice. "I've sat back for far too long allowing her to run rampant. It's time to reclaim your name, your ship, and your sector." Sierra rose up. She turned away from him to gather up her uniform.

Claudius rose from his chair with a new sense of purpose, pulling down his tunic as he rose to ensure it fit perfectly on his middle-aged frame. "We are going to this secret base. Too much has gone on under my nose," he informed his wife, as he seemed a changed man ... more forceful ... more decisive. "Prepare the ship, and as much as I hate to say it ... collect Darr," he said, as he treated her more as a commanding officer than a husband. He moved forward towards the closet, reaching up into a box that was on the top shelf that seemed to not have moved since they moved into the estate. Inside was the blaster pistol he had not used since his days as a junior officer. He did not know it even worked anymore, but he would take it with him all the same. "Now, Major," he said, as he began to move out of the bedroom to confront the commandos responsible for this. In his mind they were the ones who had killed Ewwiekewwieikkie's family all those years ago. He was a man possessed.

She rapidly changed into her ISB uniform and prepared herself for what could be a *very* ugly day. She quickly armed herself with a blaster pistol of her own which was concealed underneath her long tunic. Sierra simply wasn't dumb enough to walk into this situation with nothing. He, too, had decided to arm himself. It was worrisome to watch him do it, despite it being necessary. The young Major was ready to go rapidly. "Yes, Governor." Sierra realized her role was as his major right now. She split briefly from her husband to collect El-Nay, but she did not allow El-Nay to use her own craft. Instead, they all moved into the Kwai where Sierra sat behind the controls. She was feeling an adrenaline rush. No one knew what was going to happen in the Void.

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