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Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:5:1) in the Ottega system: Jubilee.
Doctor Alessandra Bailo, Lord Marcus Rodney, Lady Zara Rodney, and Doctor Pilaq Tohan.

Zara and Marcus Rodney had easily settled into life on Jubilee. The Ithorians were *so* nice! Though, some of them seemed to treat Zara like a ticking time bomb. She still missed the chalet and Delaya like crazy. Against all of her curious urges, she had not looked into the current shape of Delaya. It was like she couldn't bring herself to turn on the HoloNet and face it. They had already received word via comlink from Sierra that their side of the family was safe...but there were still so many questions. No one had heard from Livia. If it weren't for being massively pregnant, Zara would have insisted they go back and look for her.

For now, it was too dangerous.

Without pushing herself, Zara had begun to involve herself in Ithorian life. After visiting Pilaq in the medcenter, a nurse roped her into reading to a bunch of the young patients who actually knew who she was...which was still weird for Zara. Up until that moment, she had never seen a young Ithorian. It was cuteness overload to walk into a room with approximately twenty of them and forty small, smiling mouths. She was in *love*! She promised to come back to read again the very next day. On her way out of the medcenter, a female Ithorian approached her with a flyer for a Lamaze class later on in the day. Zara stared down at the paper all the way back to their room. She hadn't brought up the subject of how her pregnancy would end *ever*. She certainly hadn't brought up Lamaze, or how incredibly awkward it would be for her and Marcus to attend one of these first-parenting classes. The nurse had reminded her of the horrors, or joys, of having twins: You can go into labor *early*. Those words alone had shaved a decade off of Zara's life. Was she ready?!

She roamed into the room like a zombie. "Mrrrr..." She groaned, plopping herself on the first seat that she could find. Being on her feet for long periods of time was incredibly uncomfortable. She propped them up. "Marcus, I got to read to a bunch of Ithorian kids at the hospital." She reported to him in a sudden upward hormonal shift. "They were soooooooooo cute!" She squeed. "It was really tempting to steal one...but I was good!" Zara declared with a laugh. Unsure how to bring up the following topic, Zara *accidently* dropped the Lamaze information on the ground near his feet. Oopsies!

Marcus Rodney had taken to life aboard the Jubilee more cautiously than Zara. He had been spending most of his time in the room that had been provided for them, seeking to avoid the Imperial officers who roamed the corridors. He still was not entirely sure what happened back on Delaya and was worried the Empire might have unfinished business with his family. Zara, however, seemed to waste no opportunity to explore and ingratiate herself into Ithorian life. "There you are!" he said cheerfully when his wife returned to their room. Immediately she began talking about the Ithorian children and he knew that she was ready to be a mother. Fortunately, she did not have much time left ... less than a month now he figured. "I'm glad you enjoyed yourself, my love, but you really need to take it a bit more easy now that you're near the end," he suggested, as he went into full overprotective mode. "Did you run into any Imperials?" he asked, pressing her, almost foaming at the mouth with hunger for information from beyond their room.

"I know, I know. Trust me, my feet are telling me exactly the same thing." Zara could never get used to how easily simple activities tuckered her out while being pregnant. "I saw a couple on the way back. No one said anything to me. I didn't hear anything either." It had been tempting to hack into the herdship's computers and unravel all of its secrets. She also didn't want to make trouble. Behaving herself was awfully difficult! "You should come with me to the medcenter later." Zara spoke, deciding that she could be mature. "There's.... There's a Lamaze class there. It might be... *helpful* or horrifying, who knows! I figured we should... errr... *prepare* ourselves for what's coming." She said it without saying it; Zara Rodney was feeling a taddd bit terrified of the actual act of having children. The amount of oversharing that occurs while one is pregnant is incredible. Strangers had been approaching her, sharing their *birth stories*. The word itself make her shudder. It was like war vet recounting their most grave, dramatic missions. She had failed to tell him about all the women who complimented her breast size and how she'd be *great* at making milk.

When Zara mentioned her feet, Marcus sprung into action like a dutiful husband. He moved towards her, removing her shoes, and began the process of rubbing her tired, swollen feet. "An Ithorian Lamaze class?" he asked her, as he began to pull on each of her chubby little toes. "Now *that* I have to see," he said to her, as his hands continued to work their magic on her feet, while he occasionally tilted his head so that he could smile at her. "You're the one that needs to be prepared, my love," he said, as he tickled the sole of her right foot. "I just have to stand there. If I manage to get through the ordeal without losing consciousness I'm declared a hero," he said, with a cruel wink, before he went back to a more delicate and affectionate foot rub.

A purr was nearly audible from the young pregnant woman as her husband rubbed on her sore feet. She seemed to sink deeper and deeper into the couch that she was laying on. "Ooooh my gez, I love you so much." He was working wonders on Zara's poor feet. She was happy that he had agreed to dive into the class with her, knowing it could potentially go awfully. She looked up at him, laughing. "That's no fair! I get the hard part! You better not pass out. I can't do it without you.." She frowned. Chances were that the twins would be born here, not on Delaya. She was too far along to manage the stress of what had happened to their home planet. "I have no idea what an Ithorian Lamaze class will be like. They have an advantage...they've got two mouths for breathing!"

The door to the room Marcus and Zara occupied opened suddenly revealing the arrival of Doctor Pilaq Tohan, who was finally up and about. Against better judgment he was carrying a small tray of food for Lady Zara. Even though they were technically a guest in his home, he felt that visiting them in their temporary quarters required a small gesture. With the food in one hand and his walking stick in the other he laboriously made his way towards them. "Greetings, gentle beings," he said, as he offered Zara the tray of local fruits and a sundae from the Auntie Mae's kiosk that had recently opened. The HoloNet business station recently did a profile on her, which conservatively estimated her as one of the top 20 richest woman in the core due to her lucrative franchising and marketing blitz in the wake of Marcus and Zara's visit. The woman had recently released a version of Marcus and Zara's sex tape where all of the unseeable areas were covered in her logo, therefore making it viewable on mainstream HoloNet frequencies. Some thought it was in bad taste, but it did wonders for sales among young men.

As if Zara couldn't be anymore spoiled, the good Doctor Pilaq appeared bearing gifts of fruit and a sundae from Auntie Mae's. She wanted to squeeze her Ithorian friend, but decided it best that he recovered more before suffering from a Zara tackle. "Doctor Tohan!" She exclaimed happily. "It's good to see you up! Thank you!" She took the tray from Pilaq, resting it in her lap where she and Marcus could share it. She first picked a strange, bright pink fruit up from the tray and began to eat it. *Mmmm*! She had to admit, the food here was amazing. Thankfully, Zara was unaware that her sex tape had been made even worse than the original, unedited version. She tried to avoid looking at how many copies had been downloaded and bought. She supposed it should be comforting to know that she and Marcus could do adult films with each other if they ever *really* needed the money. "How are you feeling? We were just talking about going to the Ithorian Lamaze class later." She reported to him happily, rambling on. "I got to read to little Ithorian babies today." Her eyes went wide. "They were so cute!" Yes, Zara was going to tell *everyone* about it. Even Sierra would be exposed to Zara's rambling later on via comlink.

"I am better than your brother-in-law would prefer," Doctor Tohan said, with a bit of sass, as he took a seat in their room. "Ah. Yes. I am familiar with that class. Among my species the teacher is considered very beautiful," he reported, as a trace of a smile appeared on both of his mouths. "I am sure they enjoyed it very much, but you must be mindful. Your image is very well known ... even in these parts ... thanks to the sale of Zara's Island Passion Sorbet," he reported, blinking both of his large bulbous eyes. Even he had to admit it was a delicious and refreshing flavor on a hot day.

"Ugh. Don't bring him up. I'm gonna make his head hurt next time I see him." She was sorry. She had apologized to Pilaq for it roughly three million times while he was out in bed. If she was lucky, Petrus had died slowly and painfully. Her eyes lit up and a naughty grin crossed her face. She looked at Marcus. She could not resist the chance to tease Pilaq. "Really? Maybe you should come with us then. I'm sure your lady friend wouldn't mind it..." Teeheehee. Zara couldn't help playing matchmaker. The conversation led her to wonder how on earth Ithorians bred. Did they put on some smooth jazz and make jiggy with it? Zara's face turned red. She considered Ithorian baby making for *way* too long. She was red for an entire other reason when Pilaq brought up her signature sorbet that Auntie Mae was selling. "One time. *One time* on the beach!" She grumbled.

Marcus' eyes briefly flared when Pilaq confirmed his suspicions that Petrus was the one responsible for his injuries. The pain those two were unleashing on the galaxy had spilled over to the Ithorian doctor, perhaps the kindest and most innocent soul in their orbit. "Speaking of the class ... we're going to be late if we don't hurry ... and you don't exactly move very fast anymore," he said, as he rose up and moved to help his wife. He attempted to lift her up, but he made zero progress. He grit his teeth, groaning slightly, as he finally pulled her up from her chair. He could not wait until the twins were out of his wife ... carrying all three of them was beyond his strength.

Doctor Tohan began stammering when Zara suggested *he* attend the class as well. He began to blush as much as the brown skinned Ithorian species could. "Oh. No, no, no. I really would be out of place," he said, nervously, as the long digits of his hand began to flail wildly. As he saw them rise up he, too, rose from his seat. "I will walk with you though," he said, as he grasped his walking stick and began walking down the busy corridor of the city sized ship with them. Ithorians and species of all kind were busy going through the business of daily life ... all under the watchful eye of their Imperial minders. In many ways it was much like his time as herd leader 20 years ago, but in some critical ways it had been forever tainted by the Empire.

"I'm sorry, Marcus! I feel as big as a Hutt." She took his hands, needing his help to rise again. He wasn't the only one looking forward to life after having the twins. Zara missed being able to fool around with him in the chalet without causing him serious injury. Stairs would also no longer be her worst enemy. Her hand remained in Marcus' as she guided the group down the clustered corridor. Together, they moved towards the medcenter where the class was being held. "You can really stay. I'm sure no one will mind.." Zara hinted at Pilaq on the way.

Alessandra Bailo stood in front of an open door. She wore a friendly smile on both of her mouths. She was greeting all the anxious, expecting couples. "Welcome, please sit in and make yourself comfortable. There are refreshments located on the front table." The female Ithorian nurse had been working in labor and deliver for a *very* long time. The Lamaze classes were one of her favorite parts of her job. She knew that she could instill confidence in some of the nervous couples expecting their first children. Her smiles grew brighter when she saw Marcus Rodney and his incredibly pregnant wife. There was an additional member in her group who she recognized: Pilaq Tohan. It had been some time since he had been the herd leader, but she still recalled him. She walked towards them, offering Marcus a long fingered hand. She took his hand, shaking it. "Congratulations, Marcus Rodney. I oversaw your wife's treatment here." She told him. "Your babies are very healthy. You should be proud." Then to Zara. "I heard what you did for the children. Thank you. They *loved* it." And finally, to Pilaq. "It's good to see you around, Doctor Tohan." He was the last person in line to receive a handshake from the nurse. Instead, he ended up with a warm, one-armed hug.

Doctor Tohan's eyes went wide when he saw Alessandra again ... just as beautiful as he remembered. When she attempted to speak to him his weak old heart began to beat out of his chest. He turned suddenly, doing his best to run away, but his knees did not cooperate. "Ow," he cried out, as he wobbled down the hall, stabbing his walking stick into the deck in a desperate attempt to get away faster. That was too close, he thought to himself, as he rounded the corner to catch his breath. He was not prepared for that at all.

Marcus blinked silently as he watched the elderly Ithorian run away. Clearly he had an attraction to the Lamaze instructor, but had yet to work up the nerve to do anything about it. Perhaps he should try to give the doctor some courage. A pep talk might help. Before he could introduce himself to the teacher, some of the other students had come forward to take pictures and ask for autographs. Several of them were even eating Zara's Island Passion Sorbet, which advertised it was now made with *real* Delayan sea cow milk. Feeling swarmed he did his best to please everyone, before finally taking a moment to exchange pleasantries with Alessandra. "Thank you. Thank you so much, Doctor Bailo," he said to her, with a courteous smile as he shook her hand. "I'm sorry. I hope we don't provide too much of a distraction," he said, as one more flash went off, forever capturing the moment to be replayed endless on the HoloNet.

Tsk. Tsk. Zara was going to have to work overtime to play the part of Pilaq's little matchmaker. He *clearly* had a thing for the Ithorian nurse. As much as it was none of her business ... she was making it into her business! Her attention split away from her doctor friend when the first flash went off. *Nooooooooooooo*. It appeared that the young children were fans of the couple because their parents were. Zara liked it when the children flooded around her. It was much easier to make little ones happy. Now there were full-sized adult Ithorians swarming them. Zara did her best to keep a pleasant attitude while realizing that yet another intimate moment would be exploited on the HoloNet. She looked apologetic at the nurse.

Alessandra was understanding. The appearance of such a noble couple had excited everyone. "All will be well, Lord Rodney." She reassured him with her calm, endless smiles. "Make yourself comfortable." She made her way to the front of the class. "Hello everyone!" She called out in a pleasantly soothing voice. "Please take a moment to place all electronic devices inside of your personal bags. Let us give our guests some privacy." She winked towards Marcus and Zara. She could sense that they were nervous just like every other couple there. In order to provide them with some comfort, she needed to shield them from another HoloNet video leak. While she stood in front of the class, Zara slowly lowered herself on the plush, amazingly comfortable, ground where the other eager couples listened to Doctor Bailo begin to talk about the beauty of life and other wonderful things. Zara grinned to herself, looking down at her belly. Life had changed so much in the last year. She had never imagined that she'd be married and starting a family with *two* children.

As this progressed, Doctor Bailo explained the *whole* birthing process from a medical standpoint. Zara tried not to listen. She tried to ignore all the graphic parts that made her want to cry. Looking around the room, she could see other pregnant women who looked like they were going to pass out. When terror time was over, Doctor Bailo passed out baby Ithorian dolls and cloth diapers. Zara had become so nervous that she dropped the doll as soon as it was placed in her hands. "Oh no! I dropped our baby!" She panicked!

Marcus watched in horror as their pretend baby fell to the floor. "No!" he cried out, lunging forward in a desperate, but ultimately futile effort to catch the doll. As it impacted, the head popped off and slowly rolled across the floor. It was the most horrific sight he had ever seen. He crawled upon the floor until he retrieved the head, and began trying to screw it back upon the body. "It's ok! I fixed it!" he said, as he handed it back towards Zara, with the head screwed on backwards. Neither of them knew what they were doing and in less than one month they were going to have a real one to take care of. *Two* of them.

The newest member of the Rodney family had been beheaded in a cruel testament of fate. "No!" She could see flashes going off behind her. Despite the doctor's orders, Zara and Marcus were not meant to be left alone. "I'm so sorry!" She whimpered, quickly fixing the baby Ithorian's head. As for the cloth diaper... Zara was clueless. The Ithorians were tree huggers in the most intense of ways. She thought of her go-bag located inside of the Nerf Herder which held everything they thought she, and the twins, might need when she went into labor. They had decided to use diapers like *normal* people. She picked up the cloth. "Okay, Thermos Rodney, let's get you ready..." Zara fiddled with the cloth. Beside her, she could see the future expert parents navigating their way through the Great Baby Trials like it was nothing. "Um, maybe like this..." She started wrapping the cloth around the baby's waist. "Er, um. Um." She was growing tense. The occasional flashes made her feel like her inadequacy was now out for people to publicly humiliate her over. She looked at Marcus for help.

Doctor Bailo could see the noble couple growing more and more tense. It seemed she couldn't stop people from ruining a special moment between a mother and father. She approached her helper, tapping the young nurse on the shoulder. She whispered something, then moved towards Marcus and Zara. She was very gentle. "Come with me you two." The nurse led the way out of the room with all the couples. She moved into the empty room next-door. When she flipped on the lights, she revealed a room identical to the one they'd been in...only this one was empty. She closed the door behind them. "Why don't we try this again?" She asked, rounding to the front of the room. In a box, she pulled out a diaper which she then gave to Marcus. "I know our ways can be a little ... *different*."

Marcus Rodney had spent the past two decades earning a reputation as one of the most fearsome bounty hunters in the galaxy. He had battled foes across the known galaxy and had often found himself in hopeless, desperate situations ... but he had *never* changed a diaper. "Me?!" he asked, as he looked from Doctor Bailo to Zara, and back to the Doctor. "Shouldn't *she* go first?" he asked, incredulously, as he was hesitant to take the baby prop yet again. Finally he rolled his eyes and unleashed a sigh of acceptance as he took the baby and moved towards the changing station. He had done extensive repairs and modifications to his transport, assembled weapons, disarmed explosives, and penetrated impregnable security. But it was a mystery to him how to place the diaper on the baby. He tried it one way, but that did not work it all. Then another, but somehow the diaper ended up on the baby's head. "No. That's not right at all," he said to himself, as he rolled up his sleeves and tried again. Six hours later the diaper was on, but everyone else had gone. "There! Perfect!" he said, as he looked around, but realized the lights had been turned out and he was alone.

In that time, Zara had spoken with the doctor about everything. The Ithorian woman provided her with some comfort. She even demonstrated how to manage holding two babies at once, seated. Ultimately, Zara ended up in a glider with two of the plastic babies in her arms. She rocked them softly, watching her husband until she nodded off. She only awoke again when he had successfully placed a diaper on the baby. "Hm?!" She blinked. The lights were off. It was late at night. He had been so determined that Doctor Bailo had let him continue on. She saw that he'd successfully diapered the baby and squeed. "*Yay*! Good job, Marcus! You did it!" Zara rose from the seat. She placed the babies inside of a box containing all the other dolls. From behind, Zara hugged her husband tightly. "I know you're going to be the best daddy ever." She said, "Because you already are." Though the class had been a disaster, it left Zara with the feeling that they were, in fact, ready.

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