"Do you think everything is alright?" Marcus Rodney
asked as the G-1A starfighter descended through the
atmosphere of Esseles towards Larius Lacus. The fact
that his brother and sister-in-law had summoned them was
initially a bit startling, but when the coordinates
guided them not to the estate, nor even the ship, but to
a remote location he grew slightly concerned. "Do you
think something happened to the children?" he asked, as
he began piloting the ship towards the landing platform.
The area that they were descending in was a picturesque
lake nestled within a mountain valley, but despite its
natural beauty it did not compare to the sea islands to
him. Still, he was glad his family had found something
to replace their last home on Delaya. As he landed the
ship he reached to the weapons locker in the center
console. His hand hovered over his Model 434 blaster
pistol, but he did not collect it, instead his hand
hovered over to it. He looked towards Zara but did not
ask the question, instead he simply said it with his
The message from Sierra and Claudius could have been
perceived in so many ways. The terrible luck that the
House of Rodney possessed quickly convinced Zara Rodney
that something bad had happened to her family on Esseles...but
*what*? She spent the trip to Esseles nervously
anticipating bad news. "I... I don't know. There's so
much that could have gone wrong. They gave us *no*
additional information. Do you think they're on the run
from the Empire or something?" Zara commented as she
looked down on the very remote location that they had
been taken to. She felt uncomfortable, and this
discomfort had led her to leave the twins in the capable
hands on their nanny droid. Zara gazed towards the Model
434 blaster pistol, then looked at her husband. Slowly,
she nodded her head. They needed to be prepared if
something had gone terribly wrong. "I hope they are
okay.." She anxiously unbuckled herself and rose from
her seat. She grasped Marcus' hand with her own. "Do you
think we should have brought Pilaq too?"
Marcus was dressed in a shirt not too dissimilar from
what he wore on his wedding day, black with accents in
the House of Rodney's chosen shade of red. "I don't know
if Pilaq's heart can take whatever it is we're about to
hear," he said to her, as he lowered his hand into the
weapon's locker, picked up the Model 434, and hid it
within his clothes. Together they rose and moved towards
the lift, which lowered them down to the surface of
Esseles. The air felt not too hot, but not too cool, it
was like something out of a fairytale, which was why he
assumed Claudius and Sierra had chose it. He turned his
head to Zara, giving her a half smile, before taking her
hand and moving down the path to the simple lakehouse
whose coordinates they had been given.
Zara's mind had come up with a million different
reasons for the call. She worried something had happened
to one of the children, or Sierra had miscarried because
it seemed like that lady was *always* doing something.
Zara gulped nervously. Hand in hand, Zara and Marcus
departed down the lift towards the lakehouse. It was
really pretty, Zara thought. She preferred Delaya to it
as well. When they reached the door, Zara didn't even
have to knock. As she lifted her hand, the door opened.
Sierra Rodney had been anxiously waiting for Marcus
to arrive. He was the last piece of the puzzle; the
final person who could give them answers. She had
hovered near the window, along with the black and white
felinx which had recently joined the family. "I wonder
what Marcus will have to say for himself.." Sierra
grumbled. She was stuffy-nosed and still not feeling
particularly good after eating so much sugar. Sierra was
worried about how everything would go. The House of
Rodney was beginning to crack as they uncovered the
family's deceit. "They're here.." She announced, moving
towards the front door. "Come in, come in." She said,
allowing them access to her and Claudius' hidey hole.
"Thank you for coming so quickly. There's something
important we want to talk to you about."
Claudius was seated, staring into the fireplace,
despite the fact that it was not lit. He was silent, nor
did he pay them the respect of rising when they entered,
nor did he even give them a verbal greeting or spoken
acknowledgment. *This* was going to be hard, so he had
elected for his wife to start, as she was less
emotionally connected to the situation, and had the
added advantage of being a trained psychologist. They
were here ... he would have his answers soon ... but did
he want to hear them. His facial expression was weary,
and he looked to have aged given the developments of the
past few days. He was giving off an impression that
would make Zara and Marcus fear the worst.
"Don't get up," Marcus said to Claudius, in a joking
manner, having not yet seen Claudius face. When he
finally did he cringed, not understanding what was going
on, but given Claudius' expression he immediately feared
it involved the children. He had yet to let go of Zara's
hand, and frankly he would not, until the matter became
more clear. "What has happened..." he said to Claudius
and Sierra, but his attention was focused on Zara. He
had a bad feeling about this.
It was uncomfortably tense inside of the little home.
Zara felt unwelcome as she stepped in. One could
practically see the doom clouds in formation over
Claudius' head. Uh oh, she thought. "Hi Sierra," she
said with a dry mouth. The seriousness of the situation
really settled in when she saw the age on Claudius'
face. Something *terrible* had happened to their family.
Zara clutched Marcus' hand tighter. "We got the
message... We're here for you guys if you need
Marcus' joke may have well been answered by crickets.
Sierra drew herself away from the door to sit on the arm
of Claudius' chair. Her hand made its way into his. This
conversation was not going to be easy. *She* was tasked
with starting it. "While *we* were in Delaya to oversee
Gaius' trial, we were presented with a video from Arden
Zevrin, as you know. It showed Livia and Julius
conspiring with a Rebel general, as well as Jelena... I
spoke to Jelena about what had happened. She said a
certain bounty hunter had delivered her to Delaya...
El-Nay confirmed that hunter was you, Marcus." Sierra
accused, her voice turning rough. "Why? How could you
betray your own brother like that?"
Marcus blinked when he heard what Sierra said, not at
all expecting to have been brought here to be
questioned. "What?" he asked, as he tilted his head, as
if unable to believe what he just heard. "Now I need to
sit down," he said, as he moved, still clutching Zara,
to a loveseat where they could both be somewhat
comfortable. "I did *not* betray my brother, I saved my
niece," he said to Sierra, with a bit of resentment in
his voice, not wanting to be accused. "Jelena was on
Esseles afraid, being hunted by the Empire. If I had
returned to Claudius someone wearing one of your ISB
uniforms would have tortured her, no matter how much he
wanted to prevent it," he continued, as he looked from
Sierra to his brother. "And, in fact, when they finally
did catch up to her on Rhinnal that's exactly what they
did to her. And Claudius wasn't able to stop them.
Delaya was the best place for her," he said, defending
his actions with reason and logic.
Sierra was offended that he would dare point out her
uniform when he was on trial here. "Was it your place to
decide that Delaya was best? In saving Jelena, you *did*
betray your brother. You decided to make the choice for
him, and because of that, ultimately, she's in New
Aldera, far, *far* away from us." Sierra *was* close
enough to the situation to feel emotional about it. "And
what of your parents? How long did they conspire behind
his back? Why did we have to learn all these things from
Arden Zevrin and not *you*?" She said Arden's name with
disgust in her voice. She hated that woman above all
"I love Claudius ... he's my brother, but I also love
Jelena," Marcus said, as he rose from the seat, now that
he felt as if he were being attacked. "She's not just
far, far away from you, Sierra. She's far from the
Empire that would torture her and execute her," he said,
as his voice grew in intensity. "I saw what they did to
Delaya. I've seen what men like Papius Arundel and women
like Min Traebor are capable of first hand. I was held
within your very own oversector by Imperial
Intelligence," he said, before squeezing Zara's hand.
"We both were. They tortured your last wife. They put a
bomb on Jelena's heart. What haven't they done? When
will you wake up?" he shouted at Claudius, who had thus
been far been silent in the chair. "I had no idea that
mother and father would link her up with the Rebellion.
I only knew they would keep her safe," he said, as he
brought his arms up in front of his chest and folded
Claudius had remained silent long enough. He rose
from the chair at about the same time Marcus did, his
jaw clenched so tight that his teeth were in danger of
cracking. "You had no right!" he said, as he stepped
forward, coming between Marcus and Sierra. "She is *my*
daughter. Who is to say what would have happened? If you
had brought her to me I would have protected her," he
said, as he shook his head in disgust. "You have
destroyed my relationship with her. You have endangered
her further by driving her into the heart of the Rebel
Alliance..." he said, before stopping mid-sentence, and
grabbing at his chest. "Sierra..." he cried, as he
crumpled back to the chair he had just been sitting in.
Zara watched the escalation. All of this was new news
to her. She had only met Jelena just once. She and
Marcus had never really discussed her too much. Zara
felt that Jelena belonged on New Aldera because no one
wanted to hurt her there. The ISB had made it out like
she died... How good could they be? She could see both
brothers growing more and more angry with each other. It
seemed Marcus had finally cracked, unable to handle his
brother's deep association with the Empire. Zara rose to
her feet with the intent of stepping between them.
"Marcus!" She called out to him to snap him out of it.
"We should go... Nana is waiting for us." She began to
suggest. She sided with her husband on this matter. Min
Traebor had extracted Marcus and Zara from their home
and held them against their will... She clung to Marcus
a little harder.
Anger was erupting all around them. Sierra was on her
feet, taking steps to get into her brother's face. She
felt for her husband, who had been lied to and deceived
over and over again. Now she was here to defend
him...and to save him from ever having to go through
such an ordeal again. Sierra was ready to unleash a
second attack on Marcus when something happened that
changed *everything*. Claudius clutched his chest and
appeared to be in pain ... a lot of it. Sierra crumpled.
The conversation they were having didn't matter anymore.
"Claudius!" She shot to his side to help him into the
chair. Panic started to rise inside of Sierra as she
regretted not becoming a medical doctor over a mental
doctor. Tears rolled down her cheeks uncontrollably. He
was having a heart attack. She grasped him with shaking
hands. "It's okay, it's okay. It's going to be okay."
She blubbered, looking up at Marcus. "Get help!" She
cried. She held her husband tight. This was one
situation that Sierra didn't know how to handle. They
needed Doctor Tohan.
Marcus kept right on glaring at his brother,
unwilling to retreat, unwilling to be pulled away by his
wife, despite the fact that it was probably for the
best. Suddenly Claudius was fading, looking piqued, and
was back in the chair. He stopped speaking and all of
the color left his cheeks. He froze. He was in a panic.
"Zara, wha-" he started, and then stopped, as he
listened to Sierra and moved for his comlink.
Unfortunately, in his haste, he knocked the Model 434
blaster pistol he had hidden from himself, which
awkwardly crashed upon the floor. There was time to
explain that later, but for now he needed a doctor.
"Doctor Tohan, emergency. Come right away!" he pleaded
on the comm, while his eyes never left his brother.
Doctor Tohan was at the Rodney estate making sure
that Melickielickie was well, as she was due for a
checkup, and the sickness needed to be left after. For
some reason Ewwiekewwieikkie had been asking him how
many spoons he was getting for his visit, but he did not
understand the meaning of it. When he heard Marcus over
the comm he groaned, as he had only just been out to the
castle. "I am over 80 standard years old. Who do these
people think I am?" he asked Alessandra, on full sass
mode. "Yes, Marcus?" he replied over the comm. No Duke.
No Milord. Just Marcus, the young man he first met more
than two decades ago. He was too old for titles.
Zara had never expected to make Claudius die. She
didn't know what to do, and thus she did *everything*
wrong. She stood by Sierra, offering pillows and
blankets. "Does he need water? Does he need food? Does
he need *anything*!? She bit down on her lower lip
nervously. She overheard her sister-in-law coughing from
her flu and wondered if Sierra was beginning to die too.
"Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh." She
hyperventilated. As the pistol crashed to the floor, it
brought on a dramatically loud sound that surely
everyone noticed, but no one seemed to say anything
about. Zara darted towards Marcus, grabbing the comm. "*Pilaq*!"
She yelled. "Claudius is dying! Hurry up! Come quick!
Something's wrong with his heart!" In Zara's mind, these
words were spoke with some levelness to them. In
reality, she was screaming into the comm trying to talk
the old Ithorian into flying to see them. "Here are the
coordinates! Hurry! I don't know what to do!" She cried
In the Rodney Estate, Doctor Bailo was wondering why
there was an open bag of sugar that looked to be
half-eaten sitting next to Melickielickie. She could
hear the conversation going on between Pilaq and Marcus.
She wondered if the young, anxious father had
experienced something new with the twins. She chuckled
to herself, but quickly stopped when she heard Zara
yelling words like ‘dying' ‘wrong' and ‘heart'. She
quickly gathered up her medical bag. "We must leave
*now*." She grabbed Pilaq's hand to aid him in quickly
reaching their transport.
"Marcus... Help me lay him down.." Sierra was trying
to recall everything she knew about heart attacks. For
the first time, her mind went blank. She was terrified.
How long would it take Doctor Tohan to arrive? Was
Claudius going to be okay until then? Her heart ached
It took Marcus a moment to react to what Sierra was
saying, as if everything was occurring with a delay. He
moved to the chair where Claudius was seated, and took
hold of him, moving him to the sofa where he could be
laid out. "We should take his boots off," he said, as he
moved down his brother's body and began to roughly pull
the constrictive boots from his feet. He was not sure
what was going on, as he was not an experienced medical
professional. Was his brother dying right in front of
his eyes? Had he caused a fatal heart attack? He looked
from Sierra to Zara before his eyes suddenly came to a
stop on Claudius. He felt miserable.
The transit between the Rodney estate on the
outskirts of New Calamar and the lakehouse on Larius
Lacus was quick, but even a short journey had its
effects on the venerable Doctor Tohan. He was sitting in
the back of the shuttle, eyes clothes, breathing
shallowly in an attempt to regain his composure for what
was about to come. There was always *something* going on
with the House he served, giving him little time to
rest. As the ship touched down on the increasingly
crowded landing platform, he wasted no time in rising
and heading towards the ramp. With walking stick in one
hand, and medical bag in the other, he began moving
towards the lakehouse. This was not a time for
formalities, so he barged into the lakehouse, whose
small size made it easy for him to locate his patient.
"Step aside," he told everyone, as he began examining
Sierra knelt down in front of the sofa near her
husband's head. Her hand slipped into his while the
other unbuttoned his collar to ensure he wasn't being
constricted anywhere. Her whole body was shaking with
her sobs. Claudius had such a hard life as it was. The
developments concerning Jelena had been far too much for
him. Attacking Marcus had been a stupid idea which she
now regretted. "Doctor Tohan is coming.. He's going to
make everything better.. It's going to be okay." She
kept repeating those words like a broken record because
she could say nothing else to make this better. Sierra
could fight away any external sources of pain for
Claudius, but this was out of her control. She looked
towards Marcus, tears streaming down her face. "He'll be
here soon. He *has* to be here soon."
Zara was no medical professional either. She had
taken care of herself when there were accidents on the
job. However, she had no experience with anything like
this. "Oh my gosh... Um... I'll be right back!" Zara
quickly ran off back towards their ship. She raided all
the medical supplies that they still had hidden within
the Nerf Herder. She brought them back into the
lakehouse, emptying her arms on the floor. She quickly
began picking through everything. "There's gotta be
something..." There wasn't. Bandage, bacta patches, and
painkillers weren't going to do *anything* for her
husband's brother. When she realized this, she came to
stand beside Marcus. She grasped his arm tightly.
Doctor Bailo arrived immediately behind Doctor Tohan.
She had activated a medical droid for additional
assistance. It zoomed towards where Claudius lay on the
floor. "Please give him some room." She told Marcus,
Zara, and Sierra, only Sierra did not release her hold
on Claudius' hand. The Ithorian doctor frowned. The
House of Rodney was cursed, but even this was too much.
She patted Sierra's back softly.
What the medical instruments could not tell him,
Pilaq's six decades as a physician could. He knew it was
not a heart attack, but that Claudius was instead having
a panic attack. As a result they were dealing with
something psychological rather than physical and
therefore there was but one treatment. "Move aside. All
of you," he said, as he rose to his feet and stood over
Claudius. Then, without warning, he brought down the
head of his walking stick and hit Claudius firmly on the
head with it. "Claudius, take hold of yourself. There
are women present. You're frightening them," he said,
with his usual prescription of sass.
The moment the walking stick connected with Claudius'
forehead he seemed to get better, the color returned to
his face, and his pupils looked less dilated. "Huh?
What?" he asked, as he looked around at everyone
standing over him including, now, Doctors Tohan and
Bailo. He had not remembered anything that happened the
last several moments, and began to attempting to sit up
before being denied movement by Pilaq's walking stick.
"What's the matter with all of you?" he asked, as his
eyes moved to each of them individually, before stopping
Finally, Sierra stepped aside. She stood at Marcus'
free side, now holding his hand for support. The
horrible, helpless feeling inside of her was
overwhelming now that she wasn't in physical contact
with Claudius. She watched Doctor Tohan use
unconventional methods with her husband. She was far too
upset to realize, even then, that it was a panic attack
and *not* a heart attack. Somehow, someway, Pilaq
managed to bring Claudius back. He changed very rapidly
from sickly to normal. Sierra broke away from Marcus and
Zara to arrive back at her love's side. She wrapped her
arms around him gently. The tears came even harder now
that he was back. "T-There was some problem with your
heart." She explained. Her head turned towards Pilaq.
"What h-happened? Is he okay?" She felt like *she* was
going to have a heart attack at the moment!
"There was a problem with his heart?" Pilaq asked
Sierra, half tempted to give her a bump on the noggin
with his stick as well. "There was no problem with his
heart. There was a problem with his brain. As a
psychologist you of all people should have known!" he
said, as he brought the base of his staff down upon the
floor twice to accentuate his point. "He will be fine.
As for me? That is uncertain," he told her, before
beginning to walk out of the lakehouse, making audible
grumbles from both of his mouths.
Claudius felt he needed a glass of water, but was in
no position to rise up and get one. "I don't ... my
heart?" he asked, as he brought his hand up to the fresh
bump on his head. "It's my head that hurts," he told
Sierra, as he rubbed his head repeatedly. "I'm
alright... I'm alright..." he told her, repeatedly, as
he began to sit up once Pilaq had moved on and was no
longer holding him down with the walking stick. He
slowly began to remember the conversation about Jelena,
and started to get agitated again. If he were not
careful he would get another whack on the head for his
She looked hurt by Pilaq. She was a psychologist, but
she was hardly prepared for something so serious to
happen to Claudius. Both of the ancient Ithorians left.
Sierra realized that this was her place of expertise.
*She* needed to help her husband. Her small hands
pressed into his chest to force him back down, "Don't
get up yet." She look at Marcus. "Don't let him get up."
Sierra quickly rose to retrieve Claudius a glass of
water. In the kitchen, she stopped to take a deep breath
before they needed to call Doctor Tohan for her. When
she came back, she noted that he was growing agitated
again. Rubbing the tears from her eyes, she did her best
to resume her position of his mental support. She
offered him the water. "You have to stay calm otherwise
it will happen again.." Her head turned to Marcus and
Zara. "Please leave us."
Marcus moved to hold Claudius down so he would not
rise prematurely and injure himself. He remained in this
position until Sierra returned and asked him to leave.
He did not say anything, but simply nodded his head to
Sierra quietly and began moving from the lakehouse. As
he did so, he reached out, taking Zara's hand and
beginning to lead her out. "That was ... that was not at
all what I expected," he said, to his wife, once they
were out of the lakehouse and on their way back to the
Nerf Herder. Another rift had developed between the
brothers, and he was not sure if it could be repaired.
"Damn that El-Nay and her big mouth," he said, shaking
his head, as he helped his pregnant wife back onto the
ship. "Let's go home," he pleaded with her, as he
watched the doctors head to their own ship. "I can't
believe they're a couple now," he said to her, in a low
voice so that they could not hear.
Claudius raised his head only high enough so that he
would not choke as he drank the water. "I'm trying to
stay calm, but..." he began, but stopped himself, so he
would not get further worked up. "Well, that went well,"
he said, after a long pause, before allowing his bruised
head to fall back upon the pillow. "So the orange menace
told the truth," he said, quietly, as he looked up at
the clouds through the skylight. "Who hit me?" he asked,
as again his hand felt its way up to his forehead. His
thoughts dwelled on Jelena, the sense of betrayal on the
part of Marcus and his parents opened a fresh wound
within him. He was also angry at himself for being
unable to see the deception.
Zara felt miserable for Marcus. They had both come to
Esseles in a fit of worry to have *that* happen. The
young Duchess tossed a cold glare to her sister on the
way out. Now a new rift divided the brothers of the
House of Rodney. "Me either..." She frowned. "Will you
tell me more about what happened? It doesn't matter what
they said, you *did* do the right thing. What were you
gonna do? Let El-Nay kill her?" She wanted to go home.
Home was a place far, far away from family problems. Sia
and Darrus certainly weren't going to surprise them with
a heavy conversation when they arrived back at the
castle. Zara snorted at Marcus' comment. "I made that."
She said. Zara was a proud matchmaker.
Inside of the lakehouse, Sierra had begun to breathe
properly again. She ran her fingers through her
husband's hair slowly and set aside the water when he
was finished with it. "So it seems." She sighed. "It was
Pilaq who hit you. He's becoming a menace with that
walking stick.." And he gave *her* sass for not properly
diagnosing Claudius? Her hands worked down his face
slowly. "I know you're thinking about everything soon.
Don't bottle it up. Talk to me. I won't let you go
through another panic attack." If he kept it inside, the
recent developments would only tear him apart more than
they already had.
Once back on the Nerf Herder, Marcus sat down and
reflected on the turbulent days following Jelena's
defection. "Claudius' bodyguard slash attack dog,
Kerrie, was once an assassin," he explained, as he gave
her the backstory. "We had crossed paths before, but she
never knew my identity. When she joined up with the
Empire she helped create a database on the bounty
hunters she had worked with," he informed her, as his
thoughts lingered on what had just happened to his
brother. "When Jelena defected he shot Kerrie in order
to escape. Nearly killed her. Claudius went through her
files and contacted some of the bounty hunters to track
down Jelena. Me and El-Nay were among those who showed
up," he continued, before reaching down to his canteen
and taking a swig of water. "I knew El-Nay and Kerrie
were involved to some extent, so I could not trust her
to bring in Jelena on the outside chance she actually
found her. So I had her team up with me. We eventually
tracked her to here on Esseles," he explained, as he
continued his side of the story. "Jelena was frightened,
still had the blaster she used to shoot Kerrie, and she
shot me not knowing *I* was the Nerf Herder. I couldn't
take her to Claudius, because I knew what the Empire
would do to Jelena. Delaya was the safest spot for her.
I have no regrets," he told his wife, nodding his head a
"Struck down my own doctor ... figures," Claudius
said, with a snicker, as he took another sip of water.
"My own family did not trust me and conspired behind my
back to keep my daughter from me," he explained to
Sierra, before finally deciding to risk sitting up all
the way. Her hands on her face soothed him, and kept him
from getting upset again. "Marc us a bounty hunter? Who
would have thought? I've seen him fall trying to get out
of a speeder," he commented, before moving back for
another sip of water. "I could not see it. I could not
see any of it," he confessed to his wife and for him, as
a proud man, his incompetence was the hardest part to
Zara came to stand in front of him. She was worried.
She'd seen Claudius punch Marcus once and it left less
damage than this did. Now she knew why Marcus could
understand the complex relationship she had once had
with her sister...though, Luna pushed things so much
further than Claudius ever had. She listened to him talk
about the database of bounty hunters, and being hired
alongside El-Nay to find Jelena. Marcus was *right*,
because look at what the Emperor had done to Jelena. In
shifting through Imperial files, Zara had learned a lot
about what the family endured. People like Arden Zevrin
had tried to blow Jelena up...and for some time,
everyone had been convinced that she succeeded. Hearing
all of the insanity that surrounded the Imperials made
Zara want to keep their family further away from it. She
leaned forward, kissing his forehead. "Good. If I were
in your shoes, I wouldn't regret it either. Maybe...
Maybe one day your brother will wake up and see that
too. He's just all brain washed by the Empire." Her arms
wrapped around him in a tight squeeze. She felt so bad
After such an intensely stressful afternoon, the
mental image Claudius placed in her head of Marcus
falling out of her speeder made her start laughing.
Hard. "Oh my." Their son was doomed. They'd need to
replace all the flooring in the estates with something
padded when the poor boy began learning how to walk. "I
can't say as I know if Marcus is a *good* bounty hunter
or not..." Sierra squeezed onto the sofa right next to
him. "It was not an easy time in your life, my Claudius.
You're so bad about beating yourself up. If you don't
stop it, I'm going to borrow Doctor Tohan's walking
stick.." She leaned in, kissing his forehead. "Keep in
mind what you just said, that you've seen Marcus fall
out of a speeder. He didn't know what he was doing."
Claudius sat on the sofa silently as he listened to
Sierra's theory concerning his brother's actions. He
*needed* her to be right, or there would be an
irreconcilable divide between the brothers. "We need to
get passed this," he said to her, as he leaned over,
using her for support as he nestled in with her. "I want
to go to our home. I want to hold my son," he told her,
knowing that for the good of everyone he needed to move
past the Jelena situation. She was gone and nothing
would bring her back. Agonizing over what led to her
being gone would provide no positive outcome. He needed
to focus on what he had, instead of dwelling on what he
lost. When the war was over and the Rebellion destroyed
he would have his daughter back.
"We will get passed this..." They *had* to. Her arms
provided him with a place to hide as well as all the
support she could muster. Her head bent down to kiss his
forehead. "We'll go home right now. He'll be happy to
see us again." Jelena could not be saved immediately. It
didn't matter how badly they wanted it to be that easy.
Jelena wouldn't see the light until the Rebels had lost
the war. For the time being, they needed to hold onto
the family that had remained on Esseles. Sierra wasted
no time in helping him to his feet and leading him back
towards the shuttle. Before she sat down at the
controls, she paused to kiss him. "I'm here with you,
Claudius. I won't let this storm sweep you away." With
that, she sat and began piloting the transport back to
home sweet home.
"Just hold my hand like the otter. That way we'll get
swept away together," Claudius asked her, as they moved
towards the transport. He could barely feel his feet
touching the ground as he walked, for he had been put
through so much, including a nasty bump on the head from
his doctor. As he settled down into the co-pilot's seat
he was glad to let her do the piloting. He was glad to
let her do a lot of things. There was so much on his
mind, but all he wanted to think about was Sierra and
his children. If only the tea house were ready.