Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:2:13) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Rodney Castle and Spaceport).
Commander Sierra Dakkar, Farrah Ette, Yekaterina Hanson, Callista Nilar, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Lord Gaius Rodney, Duchess Livia Rodney, Commander Iyah Xergo, and Mug Zoran.

When the speeder arrived at Castle Rodney carrying Gaius Rodney the look on his face was not one of pain, but displeasure. No one had greeted him upon his return as they were too concerned with Zara's kidnapping and the burgeoning romance between Claudius and Sierra. He was furious that he had orchestrated the bombing to make himself like a sympathetic hero, only for the planet's attention to shift back to Claudius and his romance and Marcus and his kidnapped wife. Damn his security forces for not being adept enough to protect Zara for one measly day. He had a *another* meeting scheduled with Claudius, who had seem to have taken a sudden and unexpected interest in Delayan politics once again. That was the last thing he needed. Instead, he needed Claudius and Marcus to quickly renounce their claims to the Duchy, drive off the bastard with the intelligence that he is a Rebel, and then have Farrah complete her assasination of the Duke. He was *not* giving up. As he entered the castle he was pleased to see Farrah, the one blessing in his life. "Daddy's home," he said to her, quietly, so that others would not hear. He needed some time alone with her, but his schedule was packed all day.

It was most unfortunate that Gaius had been hurt so badly in the bombing. Farrah had not been able to visit him in the hospital which infuriated her to no end. She was forced to learn information second hand. What was even more infuriating was that things *had not* gone according to plan. Claudius and his stupid skank now stood in the spotlight. The playboy was right there with them. She hated to think that the bomb was a bad idea, but now she considered it. If he'd died, it would have been the biggest mistake of her life. Adding insult to injury, talk of Claudius and his new engagement was spreading faster than the black plague. If there was one wedding which could upstage Gaius', it was the eldest Rodney brother. However, she wasn't angry while she waited for Gaius to return home from the medical center. She *missed* him and had been worried sick. She was the only one who cared enough to intercept him at the front door, and intercept him she did. Her small arms wrapped around him. Her head nuzzled against his chest. "I'm so happy to see you, Daddy," her words were equally as quiet as his. "Are you well? I was so worried.. No one has been properly keeping me updated." The bombing had succeeded in one thing: taking the blame off of Gaius. No one would suspect him.

Mug Zoran watched from his window at the speeder's arrival, sneering once he saw the return of his cousin Gaius. "How can he have determined so quickly it was the Rebels who bombed Jelena's funeral?" he asked Iyah, as he moved away from the window in a huff. "The Rebels did not do that, but we certainly can't tell them how we know," he explained, looking up at the ceiling, before collapsing on the bed dejectedly. "The attack on my father ... now this ... it's not the Rebels, but who?" he asked, as he rolled over onto his side and looked nervously at his beloved Iyah. "I am worried for you. I am worried for Callista. Has she calmed down since the excitement of the bombing?" he asked, as he reached across to move a strand of her wavy hair out from her beautiful young face, caressing her cheek with affection. "Are we safe here? I wonder if we might not be safe in combat ... at least there we know who the enemy is," he informed her, as he tried to maintain a firm exterior on his face. On the inside, however, he was breaking.

Danger hung in the air. The news of Rebels being behind the bomb at Jelena's funeral had set a passion to those who did not like the Rebels. Iyah Xergo had begun to question her family's safety, or if they had been the actual intended target. She could have easily lost Mug and Callista ... a thought that absolutely killed her on the inside. As a precaution, Iyah had decided not to let Callista have full run of the castle. She had to protect them. Standing beside Mug, she felt like they were being slowly suffocated. He had voiced worries that were growing in her head. Ultimately, the Duchy meant nothing if it got Callista or Mug hurt. After losing Derek, she couldn't comprehend what the loss of one of them would do to her. Iyah sighed. His touch was soothing in these hard times. "I'm worried too, Mug." She saw that he was breaking. She knew him too well for him to hide it from her. She pulled him close to her. "She's still scared. She doesn't understand what happened, but she was very worried for Lady Sierra." And Iyah hated that because Sierra Dakkar was the enemy. "I don't know who is behind all of this. Do you think.... Do you think maybe *you're* the intended target? First your father's hospital room, then the bomb? The Duke wasn't seated as close as you were. If the bomb had been any bigger, you might be..." Her lip quivered. "I'm starting to question if we should scoop up our little family and leave."

Claudius Rodney's eyes opened as he enjoyed his first full day engaged to the lovely Sierra. They should have been out of bed hours ago, but *she* had a breakfast meeting with his mother, and he was not the least bit excited about the idea. As his eyes moved towards the antique chronometer that adorned the wall he felt fear ... the fear every child had of his mother. "Oh alright!" he announced, as he suddenly pulled the covers from him and leapt to his feet. "She is not that much of a monster," he said, not to Sierra, but to himself, as he moved to begin getting dressed. "I have delayed my meeting with cousin Gaius and Officer Hanson until after your breakfast so that you can be with me. It's important that you gather a full understanding of what's transpiring here," he explained, as he said, dressing himself in his grey-green uniform. "Wear your uniform. Use it to its advantage with these local authorities," he said, as he adjusted his uniform to achieve the perfect fit in the mirror. He wanted to look his best when giving orders ... it was time to remind them who would one day be ruling this planet. He had a new passion for the planet due to Sierra's interest, but unfortunately neither of them knew what was transpiring back on Esseles while they were away.

Sierra Dakkar was living the life. The complex, insane, absolutely crazy life. And it was good. Her recent engagement seemed to have been the best medicine for making her feel better. She'd woke up feeling better than her old self... then she proceeded to procrastinate responsibility with Claudius. After all, who said that career *always* needed to come first. She enjoyed laying around in bed with him, talking about meaningful topics and ones much meaningless. She had been lying at his side when the chronometer made it obvious that they could no longer slack off. She bounded out of bed right after him. She didn't doubt that Livia now knew that she had accepted Claudius' proposal. Her only worry was that the sudden shift in his life would cause her second mother to reject her. "Thank you. I want to be present for that discussion. Though, I can honestly say I'm less nervous to meet with your cousin than your mother." She tossed him a smile over her shoulder. Still, she wasn't *that* concerned. If Livia only saw this as a political marriage, then she would be happy. It helped that Sierra wasn't a terrible person.

As he instructed, she opted to wear her ISB uniform. The cream top was pressed neatly against her chest. Her boots seemed minorly uncomfortable after having a break from them. Finally, she wrapped her hair into a clean, neat bun behind her head. She met with Claudius in front of the mirror, squeezing him from behind. Even she didn't understand the magnitude of what was happening while they were away. She rounded to steal a quick, little kiss. "I'll see you in a little bit. Don't worry. I know your mother. I'm ready for her." Another kiss later, the future Lady Sierra Rodney made her way down the castle spire. Breakfast was to be in the very same garden where Claudius had proposed to her. When she arrived, early, there was already a table set. What little nervous feelings she had disappeared. Their marriage was a good thing.

The doors to the small room where the two women would have breakfast suddenly opened, revealing the arrival of Livia, Duchess of Delaya. "Sierra!" she said cheerfully, as she moved swiftly towards the young girl, embracing her with the affection of a grandmother. "I was just telling Julius about the first time you came to visit us. It was more than fifteen years ago and your parents..." she stopped, frowning slightly as she spoke of the dead. "I can't tell you how very sorry we were to learn of their passing," she said, before placing a kiss upon her cheek. She moved towards the table where a small offering was provided for them, but this was more a conversation than a meal. "I wish to congratulate you on your engagement to my son. You will make a splendid addition to the family. Much more-so than the sixteen-year-old my Marcus has impregnant, have you met her? The people love her, but..." she was digressing, as she moved to take a glass of her juice. There was notably no wine present at the table. "Sierra, I value your time, and I value your intelligence. You are one of us," she explained, stating her genuine admiration for the Alderaanian noblewoman that sat across from her. Indeed, their families had gone back, and intermarried, for countless generations. "I need your help..." she said, outstretching her hand, revealing a gaudy bracelet that dragged across the tablecloth. Her wretched old hand clasped Sierra's, waiting for her acknowledgment before telling her what it was she needed.

It appeared to her, immediately, that nothing had changed between the two women. A smile bright enough to light up the whole room appeared on her face. "Duchess Livia," she greeted her happily. The memories of her first time on Delaya were precious to her. Jelena had offered her a good place to stay. Without her friend, it might be she who was dead. She pretended to be sad when Livia brought up her parents. "I appreciate your condolences. I extended my own to you. We've all lost friends. It's such a shame.." She respectfully kissed the woman's other cheek. The conversation hit another high note when talk of her engagement came up. Sierra was very pleased about that. She thought of her morning with Claudius and how much she loved him. "Thank you, Duchess. I look forward to joining the family. The sooner the better, right?"

Referring to Zara, Sierra shook her head. "I've seen the woman a few times, though I have not had the chance to speak with her. I think we ought not to speak distastefully of her considering her current circumstance." In other words, Sierra wasn't going to voice her opinion to her future mother-in-law. Their breakfast was going well so far. She couldn't wait to report back to her fiance, who would surely feel relieved that his mother was for them, not against them. At the old woman's request, Sierra reached across the table to meet with Livia's hand in the middle. She held it with warm confidence. "What is it, Mother? I'll help you in any way I can."

"Yes. Her kidnapping is most unfortunate. I have seen neither hide nor hair of Marcus since this whole incident began. Where could he have gone to?" Livia complained, rolling her eyes at some of the antics of her exponentially growing family. "You may have heard that Marcus and Zara were interested in succeeding Julius, but I must regrettably inform you that it is not so. It would seem neither of my children wish to succeed their father," she lamented, feeling the need for a drink, but knowing that she *needed* to be sober for this conversation. "My nephew Gaius wants to be Duke, and Marcus has pressed the bastard to push his claim to prevent that," she revealed, with a desperate sigh, her hand never taking itself from Sierra. "I wish neither of them to succeed Julius. It is important to me that it is passed on to one of *my* sons. As much as I tried to spare Claudius of this burden, the young Zara has cast a spell on Marcus and pulled him from this life..." she said, moving her violet eyes upwards as she lamented on the state of affairs. "You *must* convince Claudius not to renounce his claim and to succeed his father!" she said, raising her voice, and clasping her hand as tight as she could on Sierra's warm, young, soft hand.

That was a worrisome comment. The Rodney family was currently going through the ringer. Marcus' disappearance was not good news. Sierra noted that she needed to tell Claudius about it. This trip to Delaya had become one thing after the next. She couldn't seem to keep her fiance's plate from overflowing with responsibilities. She listened to her old friend's concerns and complaints. It seemed Marcus was willing to do *anything* to avoid becoming Duke. Gaius was not a prime candidate for no one loved him. Sierra understood the importance of the Duchy to Livia, Julius, and the Rodney family. Her other hand came to rest on top of the old woman's. It stroked her hand softly as to soothe her. "Ease your mind, dear Mother. I understand what this means to the family. I have spoken with Claudius about the Duchy. He told me about his intentions to renounce his claim on our flight here. I advised him not to. We both know that he's crafted for this. I will do what I can to stop him from renouncing. Ultimately, it is to be his choice. I know he'll do what's right for all of us." Duke Claudius and Duchess Sierra. In all of her wildest dreams, she'd never have guessed that to be their future. She withdrew one hand from Livia's.

"My dearest Sierra, in my husband's long life upon the throne I cannot think of a single matter of state he has done without my blessing. And, in the times when he was wrong, I saw it as my *duty* to set him on the right course," Livia said, as she patted Sierra's hand repeatedly for encouragement. "You and I both descend from fine families that have been connected for centuries, but neither of us was destined to sit upon the throne. However, what is to keep us from being the power behind the throne? Absolutely nothing," she said, as she rose from the table, and encouraged Sierra to join her. "As women we are more sensible and know what is right for the people of this world, even if the stubbornness and vanity of the men our lives blinds them. It is our mission in life then to guide them, as if we were companions for the blind. You know what is right ... guide your husband to it. See to the future of this world. In time his vision will match yours, but he is only a *man* remember and we are *women*," she said to her, before wrapping her arms around her, and placing another kiss upon her cheek. "Now I must go forgive my husband for his infidelity so he can die absolved of his sins against me. Another horror, but we must do what we must do. Claudius is too good a man to ever subject you to this I am sure," she said, as she released Sierra from her grasp and began to depart. "Now go to your meeting and aid your husband in fixing this mess," she instructed, as the guards opened the door for her. *Finally* she would be able to have that much needed drink.

Breakfast with Livia had turned into a rather interesting affair. She hadn't a clue why everyone wanted her to control Claudius like she was a puppet master. Slowly, she stood to join her mother-in-law. She thought of the man she loved and what decision he would make. "I understand, Mother." She said softly. She shared an embrace with the woman and kissed her cheek. There were other pressing issues to attend to now. "I am sure too. You raised a good man. I'm sorry that your husband ever strayed. He's foolish for doing such a thing," she knew that was something she would never have to deal with. Though she had technically been his mistress, or something of the sort, she didn't see a repeat performance happening to her. She could have easily been blinded by love. She bid Livia a final adieu before departing for her second meeting of the morning. Livia's words were in the forefront of her mind all the way to the security room where she hoped to meet with Claudius before his cousin showed up. She silently wondered how long it would be until Livia began pressing her for *more* grandchildren. She arrived early enough that she could gain her composure before her love appeared.

When she emerged from the small antechamber where breakfast was served, Claudius appeared, quickly hurrying towards his young fiancé. "You gave survived?" he asked her, as he pulled his head back to examine her in his entirety. "Well, no look no worse for wear," he said with a smile, before he placed his arms around her once again. His lips connected with hers, and he pressed his tongue momentarily between her lips. He was pleased that everything was out in the open and that he no longer had to hide his love and affection for her. "We have a few moments before this meeting, my dear," he said, as he found free time to be a blessing in his older, more wiser years. "Was she mean?" he asked, as he stopped their movement through the halls, and he looked at her, almost with an embarrassed look, as his mother could be quite the handful.

Ooooh, she was glad to see him. "Just barely. She nearly took an arm with her, though." Sierra was only teasing him. Her arms locked around his neck. Her lips met with his. Claudius even made *her* feel young when he kissed her. It was like being a giddy young teenager again. Her heart fluttered in her chest. Their tongues moved together shortly. Between getting engaged to him and falling so deeply in love with him, a lengthy kiss was only going to result in the inevitable. She wanted all of that to happen at the right time. With a heart full of happiness, she looked upon him. "No, she was kind to me. We have her blessing. She mostly wanted to talk about the future of Delaya. She's concerned that the torch will be handed down to Gaius or the bastard, not one of her blood sons. She was also surprisingly sober..." Though, probably not now! "She wants me to bully you into claiming the throne." Her arm hooked with his so they could proceed down the hallway slowly. "Have you made a decision, my love?"

"Oh. That old tale," Claudius said, snorting slight at his parents boundless determination to see to the succession of the throne. "Had you not arrived I would have renounced the claim, and returned to the Ringali Shell without giving it a single thought. I would not have cared if it went to Marcus or Gaius ... not even Mugus," he said, smiling down at her, and shaking his head from side-to-side. "But since I've met you, and since you've agreed to share your life with me, I would like to see you become Duchess of Sierra," he said, moving to place a brief, tender kiss upon her forehead this time. "I will please my family, but I fear we will have a problem with the number of Rebel sympathizers that have taken root here ... like the fiends who bombed my daughter's funeral," he said, growing increasingly, as he appeared to look through her. "Come. Let us see if the Alderaan Guard has managed anything. If not, we may need Imperial assistance with this matter," he informed her, as he began leading her towards the security center in the castle.

The future of the throne seemed to have been rehashed to pieces by now. Julius would see his oldest son rise. Sierra didn't second guess her support of this. She didn't know where the path of the Duchy would lead them, yet they were following it together now. She smiled. Mugus was the most ridiculous name she'd ever heard of. Sierra felt happy for her husband. "You're making it too easy. Your mother and I will have nothing to talk about next time we share breakfast," the young girl teased. The smile on her face was brighter than ever. Somewhere, her parents were eating their own words. They had both convinced that Sierra was nothing; a bargaining chip that only a pure drunk would take. Claudius was helping her realize her potential, which would be a problem for her enemies. "That is something we'll have to deal with step by step. Don't worry. As the truth is more widely known, people will stop sympathizing with the Rebels. I intend to see that the refugee camp's name is changed later on this afternoon." she reported to him on the way to the security center.

"There is one other thing I learned from Livia. Marcus has not been seen or heard from since his wife was abducted. Should we be concerned with his whereabouts?" They had paused in the doorway leading to the room where Gaius awaited them. Sierra had already taken to the Rodney family. Legally, she would soon belong to them. She wanted to ensure their safety. They had lost Jelena this year, dealt with Julius on his deathbed, and now this. The family needed to see better times.

"If we worried every time Marcus' whereabouts were unknown we would be in a constant state of panic," Claudius said, as he clasped her arm reassuringly. "Despite the gossip I am confident Marcus does love his wife and I assume he is holed up somewhere drunk and agony. That is how he deals with these things, and the last thing he wants is our intrusion. We will pay the ransom and restore his wife to him and then, in time, capture those responsible," he pledged to his wife, as she seemed to have a better sense of the state of affairs than he at the moment. "Did she mention a male heir yet? Or did she plan to leave that to my father?" he said, as hands moved down her sides, stopping to squeeze at her hips. "I'm sure you'll produce an heir and spare the good people of Delaya the tyrannical and financially ruinous reign of Duchess Drusilla," he said with a smirk, as he drew her in closer. "And I certainly look forward to trying," he whispered in her year, before biting down on her ear lobe and sucking it between his lips playfully.

Sierra nodded her head. It seemed a resolution was in play for Marcus. It wouldn't be long before he was back at the castle with his wife. As strange as their relationship looked from afar, it really did seem like they loved each other. Given the age difference between her and her husband, she really couldn't say anything. "Okay, I'll put him from my mind for now." Because there was just too much going on otherwise. His question did not catch her off guard. It was one she had prepared herself to hear from Livia, not from Claudius. She was speechless and her cheeks had turned red. This wasn't a subject they'd broached yet. "Mmm, she's probably leaving it to your father as a means of punishing him for the bastard." Her hips swayed from side to side while he squeezed them. Despite the lies she'd told Doctor Tohan, Sierra's body had no objection to offspring. She had continued to secretly ingest fertility medicine, though she felt increasingly guilty about it. It was dishonesty. She already had enough of that going on.

The words he whispered into her ear made her lower lip quiver and her body go hot. Her body shook against his. He provided her with such sweet, sensual sensations. She had felt a natural ache for him for some time. She was ready. "As do I," she whispered. Her hips nuzzled against his now as a means to inspire his imagination. "Will we be *trying* right away?" She asked him.

Their closeness caused Claudius to ache in a way that made him pull back from her and bite into his own fist in an effort to compose himself. "Not *right* away, my love," he said to her, reluctantly, despite all of his urges and natural instincts. "I have done so poorly with my first two marriages I want the final one to be done correctly. We will wait until we are married, but that does not mean we must wait to get married," he explained to her, before he drew her in close to him again. As he embraced her she would be able to feel just how much he wanted her, even though he could not act on it presently. "Let us get to the meeting before Gaius sends a search party," he said, making any excuse to get them moving so that he did not succumb and ravage her right then and there in the hall.

He wasn't the only one feeling the pressures of natural instincts. The empty hallway was starting to look better and better, despite how badly she wanted them to have a very special first time. It only seemed right that his promise of waiting until marriage caused her wants to grow that much more. She could only fantasize about what it would be like to lock in ecstasy with a man she loved so much. Her arms were around him once more. She gave him a final embrace. She knew how badly he wanted her. "Good. I don't want to wait long to marry you. I might get stupid, take you to a private island, and pull a Marcus," Sierra threatened him emptily. She did not want to be *too* late for the meeting with Gaius and so, they resumed their walk. Inside the security room, Sierra Dakkar greeted the man who'd suffered worse than she had in the explosion. "It's good to see you looking so well, Gaius." She was good at being civil. You'd never suspect that she held such distaste for the man.

Gaius rose when Claudius and Sierra entered the security room, but he had to admit that he was taken back by the presence of Sierra. He had expected just to be meeting with Claudius. He remained silent, perhaps somewhat shaken, but for only an instant, before he moved to greet them. "Cousin, I kiss your hand," he said, with a polite nod of his head, but not actually performing the act. "And Commander Dakkar. So good to see you up and around. I cannot tell you how displeased I was to learn of your injury," he said, genuinely, as he had planned to be the only victim of the bombing. "I believe you remember my aide, Yekaterina Hanson," he said, as he motioned to the silent woman who was standing behind him. "Will you, uh, be staying then, Commander?" he asked Sierra, as he moved back to his seat. "I can assure you that you won't be missing anything exciting. Just boring old reports for us boring old men," he said, dismissively, as he took his seat and activated his datapad.

Her attention turned towards Kat, who had become her wise guru during the shopping trip. She nodded towards Yekaterina respectfully. Gaius' question showed his ignorance to the current situation. The Holonet reporters had yet to catch word of Claudius and Sierra's engagement. The news was still new, and Gaius had only just arrived. She smiled at the man as she slowly moved towards the table to make her decision to stay very clear. "Yes, I'll be staying. Claudius has asked me to be his wife," she announced proudly to the whole room. Suddenly her engagement ring seemed a lot more noticeable as she sat with her hands folded on the table. "And I have accepted his proposal. He was kind enough to make sure I could be included in this meeting." To her husband, she gave a pretty smile.

Claudius looked toward Gaius angrily at his attempts to dismiss his fiancé. "Cousin, let me make one thing clear at the start. Events have transpired here that have been kept from either ... either accidentally or *deliberately*," he began, as he took his seat opposite his cousin. "You will keep *nothing* from she who will be my wife. At present she has my full confidence ... soon she will have my full authority," he said, not mincing words, as he glared across at his younger cousin. "Now what have you to report concerning the bombing and my sister-in-laws abduction?" he asked, as he assumed the posture of an Imperial Grand Moff. His head was raised, his chin jutted out, and he folded his hands neatly in his lap. He was determined to take charge.

It was inspirational to watch Claudius take control over the room...and a little sexy. Sierra was pleased to hear she had his full confidence and soon his full authority. It seemed like her husband was properly utilizing her skills, for she had been carved to become the Duchess. His posture stated that he wasn't fooling around. He wanted his answers and he wanted them *now*. She checked her own posture to make sure she wasn't hanging over the table like a bum. "We have heard that the Rebels were responsible for the bombing. Where did this conclusion come from? I want there to be no doubts as to who will pay for this. I also want to know how a woman, pregnant with twins, was kidnapped right under our noses." She stated. Zara stood out in a crowd. She looked foreign compared to the tanner, dark haired Rodney family.

"Upon reviewing the security footage it seems that Lady Zara was last with the two individuals who accompanied you to the castle the other day. I believe they were related to her somehow?" Gaius asked, feeling they knew more about the pair than he. "One can never trust family," he said, ironically, as he was their family and could certainly not be trusted. "We've identified their ship, but it has traveled beyond our authority. We informed the sector rangers," he explained, as he shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He was not used to being this closely supervised. "It seemed that Rebel agents on what they claimed was a mission of mercy to deliver food to the refugee camp was actually an infiltration of our world. As you were the at the casket only moments before I, I've concluded that it was an attempt on your life, he explained to them, as he leaned back in his chair, hoping they would buy into his narrative.

Arrghhh. What a headache. Sierra felt sickened that the duo claiming to be Zara's family had played them. For that, she felt guilty. Her face remained stone while she cursed silently. "I want to be informed the moment we hear something from the sector rangers. We *must* return her." Marcus must feel terrible. She questioned if they should fetch him from his chalet and offer him time closer to his family until his wife was returned. Her eyes remained on Gaius while he told the rest of his story. She recalled the food bins in Tarkintown. His story aligned with what she thought to be the truth. She sat back, furious that she had no idea what Rebels were screwing with her husband's planet...with *her* planet.

As if a gift from God himself, Farrah burst into the room unannounced. The little servant girl was holding a brown beaten jacket. It held the emblem of the Rebellion on its backside as well as patches indicating rank on the front. She looked breathless. Her cheeks were red. Before all, she quickly bowed at the waist. "Forgive me please.." She said through her huffs and puffs. Her feet carried her quickly over to the table where she slammed the jacket down upon it. "I know I shouldn't have..." She said in a little whimper. "..taken this from Lord Zoran's room." Farrah did a good job of playing up her innocence. Inside the pocket of the jacket, they'd find a paper with notes written by Iyah regarding the food transportation to Tarkintown. It was everything they needed to identify the Rebels.

Gaius offered a sweet smile to his beloved daughter Farrah as she provided the jacket that would eliminate at least one contender to the Duchy. "As I suspected ... the bastard's arrival was too convenient!" he shouted, as he rose from his seat, tossing the jacket towards Claudius and Sierra. "Rebels in our very midst. The insolence! The outrage!" he said, angrily, in mock protest, to stir up Claudius and Sierra's passions and sway them towards believing the Rebels were responsible for *everything* instead of he. "Hanson, put them into custody, immediately!" he said, as he looked down at his officer. "What a wonderful child," he said, as he reached out towards Farrah, giving her the gentlest of hugs.

"Rebels in my own house," Claudius said, as he rose from his chair, and turned to leave the security room. "I would speak to them when they are captured, cousin," he said, with no formal exchange of goodbye. "Come, Sierra. I must rest after these tumultuous events," he said to her, reaching for her arm for support. He knew he did not like the bastard, and now he knew why. "You must find me everything you can about this Iyah Xergo from the ISB," he said to Sierra, as he became more vicious with his temper and desire for revenge in matters that involved his family and potentially the death of his daughter and fiancé.

There it sat; the physical proof that she had been waiting for. Her jaw had fallen to the table in shock. The bastard's woman was a Rebel? He was involved too! Her hand curled into a fist while Gaius struck the fire inside of her. The revenge she wanted awaited her inside the castle's walls. She was on her feet, at Claudius' side, providing support for him. "They will be captured, my love. We'll see more clearly soon." She reassured him, hoping that many of her questions could be answered while torturing Iyah Xergo. She needed to delve into the woman to see what her association with the Rebellion exactly was. Together, they left the room in a hurry.

"It will be done so at once, Milord," Kat said to Gaius, before she rose from her seat and hurried from the room. She had to be the first to make contact with Iyah and Mug to prevent them from being captured. She knew her way around the palace as well as anyone and, moving through the corridors swiftly she came to the room that contained the Rebel couple. Without knocking, she flung open the door and looked to them with grave concern. "You must leave, immediately," she insisted, as she moved to the door to listen for the remainder of the guard. "They have discovered your identity as Rebels and an order for your arrest has been given. I won't let that happen, but we have to move quickly," she said, as she drew her blaster and took up a defensive position.

The conversation with Mug had eventually made it into bed. Iyah lay on her back with Callista sprawled out between her and the love of her life. "Mama," Callista said, staring at the ceiling, "Are all the people who got hurt going to be okay?" The small child had asked some complicated questions since Jelena's funeral. She had been spending a lot of time in Iyah and Mug's room. She felt most comfortable around them.

Iyah also felt better having her close. She rolled to her side. Her fingers brushed through her daughter's beautiful hair. "Yes, sweetie. Even the man who was hurt the worst is up and walking around now." She attempted to soothe her little girl when Yekaterina burst into the room unannounced. Instinctively, Iyah's arms swung around her daughter to protect her... only Kat wasn't the one whom she needed to protect her daughter from. She listened to the woman's words until she felt sick in the stomach. They were coming for her and her family. It was just as they had feared. She looked at Mug, "Hold Callista. We need to go *now*." Iyah ground into action. She sprung from the bed. First, she grabbed a sack she had packed for getaway purposes such as this. Then, she accessed a lockbox beneath the bed where her blaster lay along with an armored jacket. She grasped the jacket, flinging it towards Mug so that he could use it to keep Callista safe. "How were we discovered?!" She asked. The Blue Haven was not docked at the station. It levitated somewhere near the planet, waiting for its commander to return. "Thank you.. Thank you for helping us.." She was scared. She could not allow Mug or Callista to be captured.

Mug did not completely understand what was happening, but he did know how to follow his fiance's instructions. He took careful hold of Callista, lifting her in his arms and watching Iyah as she packed. "Everything is going to be okay, Callista. We're just going to the rocket ship!" he said excitedly, pressing his lips to her cheek to calm her. When Iyah was packed the group made their way through the halls of the castle to where they could commandeer a speeder and move towards a safe landing spot for the Blue Haven. "Thank you, Kat," he said to the woman, as they moved closer towards the speeder in front of the castle.

"Thank me when we make it out of here," Kat said to them, as she moved through the halls of the castle carefully, but not fast enough to draw unwanted attention. Right now only Gaius, Claudius, and the women knew that Iyah and Mug were fugitives and she felt there was enough time to get them safely to the speeder. But, as they exited the castle, members of the Alderaan Guard were already upon them. "Go! Save the child," she pleaded with the couple as she drew her weapon and began shooting at the Guard, her former colleagues, somewhat reluctantly. She was not shooting to kill, but simply to provide enough cover for them to escape. Suddenly a blaster bolt connected with her left shoulder, wounding her, and causing her to drop down next to the speeder. "Ugh," she groaned, in terrible, burning pain, but she was content that at least the family would make it to safety.

Callista clung to her father. She couldn't begin to understand what was happening, other than they were leaving the castle, her best friend, and the man she deemed the Ambassador of Candyland. She cried into her Daddy's chest quietly. As long as she still had her Mama and Daddy, she would recover. They had to both make it out alive.

The group moved quickly out of the castle. If Kat had failed to warn them at the very moment she did, the whole family would have been captured. Iyah was grateful for the head start that Kat had given them. She didn't waste any time. She promptly pulled a driver out of a waiting speeder and shoved him to the side. With it's engine running, she ushered Callista and Mug into the back. As she closed the door and turned, she spotted Yekaterina on the ground. No soldier was left behind no matter what the battlefield was. Iyah fired off her blaster as she darted over to Kat. "You're coming with us!" She told the woman, aiding her in standing. She pushed her into the speeder and slammed the door behind her. Iyah was in military mind mode. She moved from one thing to the next fluidly. Seated at the wheel, she drove towards the spaceport as quickly as possible. "How is she back there?" She called to Mug, referring to both her daughter as well as Kat. One of her hands darted into the bag beside her. She blindly felt until she found a small bacta patch. She threw it into the backseat. "Put this on her shoulder. We'll have better supplies as soon as we reach Blue Haven."

Mug's first priority was to see Callista safely in the speeder, but when he was confident their daughter was safe he focused his attention on Kat and her wound. "Drive, Iyah. Drive!" he pleased with her, as he placed the bacta patch upon Kat's burning speeder wound. "Do you think we'll make it to the ship?" he asked Iyah, as he worked on getting the bacta patch in the right position. "Don't be scared, Callista. It's going to be alright. Mommy and daddy are right here," he said to her, as he moved closer towards her. Once Kat was secure he placed his arms tightly around Callista and held onto her for dear life. "We're going to be on the rocket ship soon, but first we're going for a fun ride with mommy. Wee!" he said, as he ran a hand through her hair, trying his best to comfort her and prevent her from realizing what was going on all around them.

She was putting pedal to the metal. There wasn't a second when she looked back at the Rodney castle. She was way too concerned with the safety of her family. "Yes!" She called out in reply to Mug. "There's no other choice." These people would take her daughter from her. They would rip her and Mug limb from limb while they searched for the truth. She hazardously drove through the streets towards the port.

Callista would not let go of her father. There was a new, weird lady in the car who she faintly remembered from the shopping trip. Her tears stopped. This was just a fun ride with Mommy? Wiping her tears in his shirt, a smile broke out on her face. "Weeee! Mama, go faster! Go faster! I wanna go flying in the rocket ship!" Callista hadn't had the chance to go onto her mother's ship. The things that they had purchased for her were still there, like they had been waiting all along for the family to return.

When Iyah successfully made it to the port, she rushed everyone into a tiny pod that would take them right back to the Blue Haven. Yekaterina had no choice. She was leaving Delaya today, surrounding by Iyah's little family. The young Commander's brain was still grinding into action. They weren't safe until they had boarded her ship and started away from this crazy planet. She found herself piloting again, feeling what was natural coming back to her. "Just a little while longer, sweetie. We're almost to the rocket ship."


The Blue Haven was a breath of fresh air. Just the sight of it alone brought Iyah back to sanity. *Safe*. They were safe. The little escape pod returned back to its station. She had done it. "We're here." She announced with relief in her voice.

Gaius stood in the throne room at the heart of Castle Rodney, his arm wrapped around the throne itself, but he dare not on it. Suddenly a member of the Alderaan Guard came running into the room, moving down the long red carpet that led from the doorway to the elevated platform on which the throne itself sat. "Sir," the guard began, hyperventilating, as he tried to catch his breath after the length run. "Yes. Oh get on with it!" he said to the man, as he circled around the throne to get in the man's face. "Sir ... Xergo and Zoran have escaped the palace with help from Hanson," the man, reported, grimly, with incredible shock. Gaius looked at the man, roughly brushing him aside, and then moving down the red carpet to inform the Grand Moff. When he falsely claimed the Rebels were behind the attack on Jelena's funeral never did he expect so many Rebels to conveniently appear. He had his daughter to thank for that, but now that he had run off the bastard, it was time to scare off the Grand Moff with tails of Rebel boogeymen. With Hanson betraying them, he could no longer guarantee the safety of Commander Dakkar. *This* he calculated was his old cousin's weakness and he would play for full effect.

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