slowed since Zara Rodney brought her husband and
sister-in-law back to the herdship. There had been
so much chaos surrounding Marcus. Ithorian doctors
swarmed him and took him away to the OR...and that's
where he had remained for hours upon hours upon
hours. Zara sat on a bench just outside the room.
She had *no* idea what was happening to the love of
her life. She couldn't imagine a day without him.
All of a sudden, it became a possible option. She
cried while she waited for someone to tell her
*anything*. Doctor Bailo had come to check on her
several times. There were three plates of food and a
carton of Auntie Mae's which had now turned to
sludge sitting beside her. She had eaten *nothing*.
She had done *nothing* other than wait. The life she
had imagined for her and Marcus was crashing down at
her feet. What would she tell the twins? *How* would
she raise them? She had already thought that he was
going to make the best father ever. All the effort
he put into building the children's cribs.
Everything he did to keep Zara and the twins safe...
Was this one mission with Sierra destined to take it
woman sat with her head in her hands. She was three
shades more pale than her normal complexion. She had
cried until the tears stopped coming. She was
beginning to feel spent. Her body wanted to rest,
but rest required her to leave Marcus' side. As her
eyes began to close, the door leading into the
operating room opened. Zara was up and on her feet
so quickly that she became light headed and had to
grab at the wall for support. "Pilaq!" She gasped.
With her world still spinning, she approached the
old Ithorian doctor and grasped his arms with both
hands. "Please tell me something! Please!" She
Tohan received words there was an emergency, he
could only assume that Zara had gone into labor
early. Given how close she was to her due date he
did not find this to be out of the ordinary, and was
prepared for just such an occasion. As he arrived he
discovered that it was Marcus, rather than Zara, who
was in need of desperate medical attention. The
wound he discovered on the man's back was massive,
and was clearly caused by a heavy weapon. In order
to complete his exam the droids had to carefully cut
away the armor, and when it was removed the complete
extent of it came into view. Pilaq swallowed slowly
in both of his mouths as his large bulbus eyes
slowly turned towards Zara, but he said nothing. A
device was quickly brought to the bed, which was
held over the wound. On the monitor an image similar
to the twins emerged which showed the affected area.
The Ithorian's head lowered, as he set the droids to
the task of preparing for surgery. "You should not
be here," he said to Zara, gently, as he moved
towards Sierra. "Please. Please we must be allowed
to do our work. It will be time until we know
anything. Please help get her out of here," he
pleaded with Sierra, before he quickly returned to
Marcus' side to study the diagram for the coming
surgery. He looked down at his tired, old hands ...
they were shaking. He closed his eyes, slowed his
breathing, and tried to steady himself. This was not
supposed to happen seventeen days before the birth
of the twins.
Pilaq's eyes like she was trying to read his mind.
"What is it!? Tell me!" She didn't understand what
was going on. The image of the infected area told
her neither how good nor how bad it was. Her
complete lack of medical knowledge made her all the
more fearful. As if to make matters worse, she
overheard Doctor Tohan talking to Sierra. In Zara's
mind, the situation had just become more serious
than she previously thought. The last thing she
wanted to do was leave. If she wasn't close to him
and something happened... She began to cry again.
"No! Don't make me leave!" Even Zara's hands were
shaking. "Tell me what's going on with my husband!"
felt miserable. Not only had they failed to collect
the Rebel Commander, Marcus Rodney's life was
compromised. Looking at his back on the way to
Jubilee, Sierra had been sure that he was going to
die. He took a massive hit to his backside.
Reluctantly, she had been treated for her wounds and
now sat within his room wearing a hospital gown. Her
heart went out for Zara. The poor woman's heart was
broken. Sierra could see it in her eyes. They had
said nothing to one another. It seemed tension was
growing in the room. It burst as soon as Zara could
not handle being in the dark anymore. Sierra heard
Pilaq's pleas. Her frown deepened and her eyes sank.
"I'll take care of her." Sierra promised him, rising
to collect her sister-in-law, who retaliated
immediately by grabbing Sierra's shoulder (including
the injured one) and planting her boots into the
ground. "I can't leave him..." Zara sobbed.
looked at Zara, realizing he and the droids would
never be able to get their work done with her
behaving like that. "Lady Zara, your husband has
suffered damage to his spine," he said, gravely, as
he lowered his head to her. "I am sorry. We will not
know how serious until we have a chance to examine
the damage, and allow him to safely awaken," he
explained to her, as he circled around towards her.
He placed his hand upon her shoulder to comfort you.
"The people on Delaya need you. The people of this
herd need you. Please, allow me to treat your
husband," he pleaded with her, while looking towards
Sierra for support. "I cannot safely operate with
you in the room," he informed her, as his head
turned towards the droids. Every moment was
precious. "I promise as soon as it's over you can
come back in," he told her, before releasing her and
moving back towards Marcus where the droids were
preparing to make their incision.
made her step back. Her knees felt weak. Her eyes
had gone wide. "Wha...t..." Spinal damage. Her poor,
wonderful husband may never walk again? This came so
far out of the left field. Earlier that day, they'd
been happily planning the move into the Rodney
castle and setting up the twins bedrooms. Everything
had been so perfect *until* ... Her eyes landed on
Sierra. She looked sick and hurt. Her eyes fell on
Marcus, who she had failed to protect. She looked
back at Pilaq. Warm tears washed over her cheeks.
She was still processing the information. The wheels
of her mind took it so slowly. Marcus... Spinal
damage... They didn't know how bad it was.
"Marcus..." She was snapping. Pilaq's words greatly
displeased her. "I need *him*!" She screamed,
pointing towards her husband. She said nothing more.
Zara turned her back on Pilaq and left the room. For
an eight month pregnant woman, she moved quickly
back to her suite.
the only one who was taken back by Doctor Tohan's
words. Sierra understood what spinal damage could
mean depending on severity. She was shocked that
Marcus had even managed to survive such an attack.
She closed her eyes, thinking of their playful
banter on the way to Delaya. She felt like she had
finally bonded with her brother-in-law. She didn't
realize she was sending him on a death mission.
"Zara I'm so-" ... Sierra began, only to watch the
young woman snap. She took off from the room
rapidly. She pressed her hand into her forehead
anxiously. What was going to happen? Approaching
Pilaq, she rested a hand on his shoulder. "Please do
everything you can. I will take care of her." Sierra
*furious*. This was Sierra's fault! She paced within
the privacy of her room. In her hand, she held her
comlink featuring a picture of her and Marcus'
wedding. The only good part to come out of the
HoloNet leak was that she could get videos and
photos of their special day. While her tears had
slowed, the pregnant woman had now boarded the crazy
train. Marcus was hurt and she was going to attack
all persons involved. Her list began with her
brother-in-law, Claudius Rodney. She decided to call
him. The very second she heard his voice, she ripped
into him like a lioness. "*It's your fault*!" She
screamed. "*How could you marry *her**!? *How could
you bring Sierra into this family*!?" She burst,
waving her hand in the air as she began to speak.
"This is both of your faults! Because of
you...because of *Sierra*, Marcus may never walk
again! He nearly *died*! *She almost killed your
brother, Claudius*!" Zara's fury turned into sobs as
she admitted the truth to him. Before she could let
the man get a word in, Zara cried harder.
Retributor Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca was
preparing the daily briefing on the tactical
situation in the Ringali Shell Oversector. The blue
skinned, blue haired, red eyes Chiss was working at
her terminal when the emergency comm line from
Delaya began to flash. She knew that only members of
the Governor's immediate family had that frequency,
so she moved to answer it immediately. Before she
could give an acknowledge or identify herself the
voice of Zara began blasting over the comm,
screaming erratically. She blinked silently as she
listed the the rage and emotion in her voice, and
when she finished she simply blinked again. "Stand
by for the Governor, please," she said, before
transferring the comm to the Grand Moff. "Milord,"
she began, clearing her throat, not entirely sure
how to explain. "Milord, I believe it is your
sister-in-law. Apparently she wishes to know why you
married your wife. Unfortunately, I did not have
that information on my screens, so I could not
answer," she reported, dutifully, before patching
Claudius Rodney was seated in his office aboard the
Retributor looking out Esseles and the bustling
space traffic when yet another message from the
tactical officer arrived. This time, however, it
came in the form of a confused interpretation of a
message from his sister-in-law. "What?" he asked the
Lieutenant, before stepping over towards the comm.
"I'll talk to her myself," he said, before
terminating the line to the bridge, and replaying
Zara's message. His eyes went wide as he listened to
her screaming and trying to relay the information.
"Zara ... what has happened to Marcus? Where is
Sierra? What are you talking about?" he asked
feverishly, as he had only the scant bit of garbled
comm chatter from a very emotional, *very* pregnant
steamrolled the poor, innocent Chiss officer who got
in her way. When the woman spoke, it briefly caused
a pause in Zara's emotional tyrant. The brief time
on hold served as a chance for Zara to rev herself
back up for round two. Her blood pressure was
bursting through the herdship. She could hear a
gentle knock at her door, but the slicer had seen to
it that no one was getting inside. She ignored the
person at her door, focusing all her efforts on
eliminating Claudius and turning him into a debris
field that would make the Alderaan debris look like
nothing. She was actively crying while she spoke to
him. At least it slowed down her words. "Marcus is
having surgery right now! He went on some stupid
mission with *your* wife! He was injured badly! He
almost died!" She whimpered. "Pilaq is with him
right now but they don't know *anything*! He says
there's spinal damage. *Spinal damage*!" She rapidly
recounted an abridged version of the story. "Where
is Sierra?!" She parroted back at him. "She's here!
I will send her back to you and *you* can deal with
her! She's nothing but trouble! What if Marcus had
died!? *What if he dies*!?" Zara voiced all of her
fears to her brother-in-law as she collected a
blaster pistol hidden in between her clothing in a
attempted to process all of the fast facts that were
coming in over the comm. This was no way to talk to
someone he said, before clenching his hand into a
fist and slamming it down onto his desk. He wanted
to have his ship prepared, but he had promised Sate
Pestage that he would stay within the boundaries of
his designated oversector. He was powerless, and it
felt terrible. He feared for his brother, he feared
for his wife ... he feared for his entire family.
Now that he had so much there was too much to lose.
"Surgery? Spinal damage? What mission?!" he asked,
desperately, unable to understand what those two had
gotten involved with. In his mind, his brother was a
drunk playboy, and Sierra was an ISB administrator
... what kind of *mission* could they be apart of?
"Yes. Yes. Send her back. Please," he pleaded with
Zara, as he hovered his face directly over the comm.
What the devil was happening on Delaya, he wondered
silently to himself.
bouncing back from furious to a depression-level
sadness. It seemed like she could maintain no
emotion very long. She fell to the bed where she
continued to try to explain the situation to her
brother-in-law. Her fingers anxiously pulled at her
silver hair. "I don't know what's happening to him!"
She wanted to return to the hospital and hover until
Pilaq told her *something* more. Instead, she needed
to punish all people involved. Zara wiped her tears
away. "She contacted us and said she needed help
with something. I guess she promised Jelena if she
took your kids to safety, that she'd go get Xergo.
They went to the Imperial garrison together... Ohno.
I *let* him go." She remembered sadly. She had been
so determined to keep him close. This was what
happened when he was away from her. Zara stopped
talking, only sobbed into the comm. "What if he
*dies*?" She cried.
"Zara ... Zara
please calm down," an exasperated Claudius pleaded
with her from across the galaxy. "If Doctor Tohan is
with him I am certain everything will be okay. He
won't die, Zara," he said, desperately trying to
reassure her, despite not knowing the extent of
Marcus' injuries. She mentioned spinal damage, but
that was hardly enough for him to form an opinion
on. He had the utmost faith in Doctor Tohan and his
abilities, however, and believed it when he said the
doctor could help him. As Zara relayed the news that
this involved the Rebel commander and Jelena again
he became even more irate. Why had Sierra not told
him what was going on? "Is Jelena there? Are my
children there? Where are my children?" he started
asking her, so rapidly that he nearly tripped over
his words. He looked up towards the ceiling as tears
began to flow down his face. He wanted to get
everyone in the family in one place and put them
under house arrest for their own safety.
Arrik Rost, the ISB loyalty officer assigned to the
Jubilee who had one day awoken to find out he was no
longer above the planet Ithor was moving down the
corridors on his way to speak with Marcus Rodney.
Unaware that he had been gravely injured, he
expected to find him in his cabin aboard the
herdship until the refurbishment of the castle
below. As he rounded the corner he saw Commander
Sierra Rodney, technically his superior within the
bureau, and stopped dead in his tracks bewildered.
"Commander?" he asked, as he tilted his head while
examining her. "I was not told you were aboard. I
would have welcomed you personally," he informed
her, as he began to suck up to the noblewoman and
ISB agent hybrid. "I was contacted by Governor
Arundel. He informed he there was an attempted
infiltration of the garrison. He ordered me to
report the situation to Duke Marcus. Are you here to
see him as well?" he asked, having not been told by
the Governor that Sierra was one of the assailants.
be calm until she had a *real* update. She had to
remind herself to breathe in between her sobs.
Claudius' questions came pouring in so quickly. The
pregnant woman's thoughts were centered so hard on
Marcus. It took her a moment to remember anything
else. "Um. She said Ewwie was with Callista. She
smelled like frosting and...and cookies." Only Zara
could manage to say the word *cookie* with such
sadness. "I don't know anything else..." She wanted
to run and hide with Marcus somewhere else.
trying to talk Zara down from outside her door.
"Zara? Let me in... Please. We can talk. Everyone is
here for you. We can get through this as a family."
The guilt of Marcus' wounds would ride with her for
the rest of her life. They were unimportant right
now, but would come back to bite her in the rear.
Lieutenant Rost found her in an exposing moment;
dressed in a hospital gown, begging her pregnant
sister-in-law to talk to her. She wasn't ready to
see anyone, let alone a fellow ISB officer. Sierra
stood upright suddenly and nodded towards the man.
"Lieutenant Rost." She greeted him in her best
relaxed voice. Now was not the time to deal with
him. She listened to him suck up to her, which
didn't impact her at all. "Oh, I didn't want to make
a big commotion about coming here. I was only here
to have a prenatal appointment with my doctor. It
seems my sister-in-law thinks it's funny to lock me
out of her room..." Sierra smiled softly.
into her features as he informed her about the
infiltration on Delaya. "Oh no! Was Governor Arundel
hurt?" Her thoughts slowly turned to a dark place:
informing Claudius of her lengthy list of crimes.
She didn't know if she could face him and tell the
truth. She recalled Kerrie complimenting her about
making a good wife for the Governor. . . was she
still a good wife? She felt uncomfortable when he
brought up Duke Marcus. Governor Arundel could not
find out what he was involved in. "Oh, *yes*. Did
you know that he is expecting the arrival of his
twins any day?" She was trying to disinterest him.
"Let me go in first. Given Duke Marcus' presence on
the HoloNet, it would probably be wise for one of us
to make sure that he and his wife are decent." She
smiled, clawing at the door until Zara allowed it to
slide open. Sierra rushed inside. She saw Zara
quickly terminate a call on her comm as her
sister-in-law entered. The door closed before Arrik
could see anything, but Sierra was already pushing
Zara towards the refresher. "We're in trouble." She
told her quickly as she turned on the shower water.
"Stay in here. Do your best Marcus impression.
There's an ISB officer out there and if we don't
convince him that Marcus is in here, he's going to
figure out what happened at the Imperial base." She
explained as she mostly closed the door into the
refresher. "Come on in, Lieutenant. They're as
decent as they are going to be."
"Ah. Yes. You
must not have HoloNet News, or else you would be
aware that their impending delivery has been one of
the top news stories," Arrik replied, with a thick
level of disgust at how the media embraced Marcus
and Zara. Personally, he did not see what was so
interesting about them. "Unfortunately, they turned
down my officer of assistance to have an Imperial
physician supervise the child birth, and she has
elected to have these disgusting creatures perform
the procedure," he said, almost spitting venom as he
spoke about the Ithorians. "Perhaps, as both a
member of the bureau and a member of the family you
could find new ways to motivate her," he began, but
before he could continue she disappeared into Marcus
and Zara's cabin. "How very droll," he said, as he
bit his lower lip and rolled his eyes at her
behavior. When the door finally opened, he stepped
forward, expecting to find Duke Marcus, but instead
only saw Sierra. "Where is Marcus?" he asked,
arching an eyebrow at Sierra.
Arrik was a
rather unpleasant human being. Doctor Pilaq was the
official baby doctor of the Rodney family. When the
time came, Sierra would feel just as insistent that
he was there. She was reminded of how real the hate
for Ithorians was...it was sad. Thankfully, the
subject had changed by the time she saw Arrik again.
Sierra sat on the edge of the bed. She looked up at
Arrik. "In the shower with his wife." She stated.
herself standing in the shower getting soaked. She
had no idea what was happening now. The terrible ISB
officer was back. She couldn't lay into Claudius
anymore, so her sights were slowly aligned to
Sierra. She couldn't take the matter into her hands
until the ISB guy left, so, she played the part of
her husband. "What is it!?" She asked in her best
Marcus voice. It wasn't that bad of an impression
considering how deep his voice was next to her soft,
"I did not
realize both of them could fit in the shower at this
point," Arrik shared with Sierra, before moving
towards the refresher door when summoned. He leaned
against the door, before clearing his throat.
"Milord ... Milord, Governor Arundel wishes me to
inform you that there was an attempted infiltration
at the Imperial garrison," he began, speaking loudly
to enunciate his voice through the door. "Imperial
forces drove them off, but they escaped. He
requested that I offer you additional security," he
asked, through the door, before stepping back to
look towards Sierra, politely.
shrugged her shoulders. "I hear Ithorian showers are
much bigger." It was hard to play calm and relaxed
around him. She imagined Marcus in operation with
Doctor Tohan doing his best. The weight upon her
shoulders had grown. She didn't know how she'd ever
get the girls back from Jelena other than slipping
them out under her radar. Somewhere far away,
Ewwiekewwieikkie was off having the time of her life
with the bastard's child. She watched the man
attempt to communicate with the 'couple'.
This was all
too much work for Zara. She giggled in her own voice
like they really were in the shower together. She
wanted nothing more than to be fooling around with
him, joking about how ridiculous Auntie Mae's latest
advertisement campaign was. She straightened up and
prepared Marcus voice again. "What?! They
*escaped*!? See to it that these people are
captured! Did they cause any damage?" The sound of
her fist slamming against the shower wall could be
heard. "No! No additional security. My wife and I
will remain here until my twins are born. I don't
want to worry her by allowing strangers to linger
nearby." She wanted Marcus. She *needed* Marcus.
his throat again before placing his mouth to the
door. "Only superficial damage, milord. Nothing to
be too concerned about," he explained, not going
into the amount of destruction caused by the droids.
"Very well, milord, however the Governor did want me
to express to you that your safety is of his prime
concern," he explained, before backing away from the
door. "Commander," he said to Sierra, with a nod of
his head, before departing from the cabin to make
his report to Governor Arundel. In his report he
would lie, claiming he *had* met with Marcus, if
only to make himself seem more useful than he
The comm had
never been deactivated. Claudius had remained silent
as he heard the ISB officer enter the room, as he
knew his wife and sister-in-law were up to
something. When he heard the man exit and the door
seal he turned his attention back to the comm.
"Sierra! Sierra you get back here this instant!" he
exclaimed, sounding more like her father than her
husband. He needed her back. He needed to be told
what was happening face-to-face rather than over the
blasted comm system. As far as he was concerned if
he could not go to Delaya, neither could she.
The water to
the refresher shut off a moment after Arrik left.
Zara hadn't expected to shower, but she found that
she needed it to level her thoughts for what she was
going to do. As she dried off and quickly changed,
she heard Claudius' voice. *Oh no*! She'd forgotten
to deactivate the comm before Arrik had arrived.
From the crack in barely open door, Zara watched
Sierra pick up the comm.
Sierra let out
a yip. "Claudius!?" Oh no! She saw the comm on the
bed and quickly grabbed it. It showed that he was a
father of three girls in the way he verbally
reprimanded her. She hung her head... Then she felt
the cool barrel of a blaster pistol on the back of
her head. *Zara* ... The woman had snuck up on her.
Sierra was unaware of Zara's illegal life. She
didn't realize that the woman's slicing was more
than a digital affair. Zara bent down, whispering
quietly into her ear so Claudius wouldn't pick up
how much the situation had changed. "Tell him you'll
come back right away." Zara instructed.
denied her angry sister-in-law, she had a feeling
that she'd end up back in the hospital ... or dead.
She looked down at the comm. "I-I'll be there right
away." Sierra commented dryly. She deserved this.
Zara, more than anyone else, should kill her.
breathed a sigh of relief when he heard Sierra's
voice, which only grew as he heard her assume she
would return right away. "I'll have the pudding
ready," he promised her, as he began to dry his
eyes. He was smiling from ear to ear, as he leaned
back in his chair, satisfied to know that at least
his beloved Sierra was okay. "I love you, Sierra.
I'll see you soon," he said, before deactivating the
transmission. Now he would have to track down his
very confused Chiss Lieutenant and return to the
business of governing so he would be free of
responsibility when Sierra arrived.
were racing. All of the ones centering around if she
*could* return to Claudius, tell him everything, and
still be graced with his love came to a sudden stop
as he mentioned the pudding. She frowned. The tears
followed. "Claudius.." She wanted nothing more than
to race back into his arms. She was sorry about
Marcus. She felt *miserable* about it. He reassured
her of his love before terminating the call. With
that, Claudius was gone. She was stuck in a room
being held prisoner by a *very* pregnant Zara.
"Zara, you don't have to do this. I'm sorry about
what happened to..."
Zara yelled, pressing the barrel harder to Sierra's
head to remind her of who held control. "We're going
for a ride. You. Me. This pistol. I want you to walk
to the hangar and board the Nerf Herder. If you try
to get help, I can have this gun on you in seconds.
Marcus isn't the only one who's been leading a
double life." She warned, shoving the girl forward
towards the door. She concealed her blaster pistol
by putting it on her hip beneath her maternity
shirt. She grasped Sierra's arm. Together, they made
their way through the corridors and all the way down
to Jubilee's hangar bay.
The flight to
Delaya was terrible. Sierra was seated in the
cockpit with Zara beside her, a blaster pistol in
her lap. The young woman said nothing until she had
landed at a familiar port...the very same one where
El-Nay's ship was waiting for her. As the engines
fell quiet, Zara set her sights on her
sister-in-law. Her features were all scrunched up.
She was furious. "I never want to see you again."
She calmly informed Sierra. Her voice cracked as her
emotions came to life again. "*You did this*!" She
screamed. "*You hurt Marcus*! *You're responsible*!"
She stood up to gain height on Sierra. She shoved
her pistol in the ISB officer's face again. "All you
do is tear this family apart! Did you *really* have
to hurt Marcus too!? He's all I have!" She grabbed
Sierra by the hair, dragging her towards the ramp
with no regard for her safety. "I should kill you!"
Each of Zara's
carefully chosen words visibly hurt Sierra. She was
giving a voice to her worries. She felt so guilty.
"Zara, I'm sorry! Ow!" She had to follow Zara
towards the cargo bay. The woman was ripping out her
hair along the way. "Zara!" She pleaded only to find
herself left on the ground.
"I should kill
you! Nothing good *ever* comes from the ISB. It's
your fault if Marcus never walks again! Yours!" Zara
leveled the gun with Sierra. She squeezed the
trigger. The shot collided with Sierra's already
injured shoulder. The close range shot hurt so
*bad*. "You're going to run home to your Imperial
husband now." Zara growled. "And you'll never come
back here again. I *banish* you, Sierra Rodney.
*Never return to my home*!" She pistol whipped the
girl in the cheek. "*Leave*!" She screamed, watching
Sierra scamper off towards El-Nay's ship. With her
anger semi-soothed, Zara returned to the cockpit and
blasted off towards Jubilee. She was *done* with her
getting through to Zara. She was so upset that
Sierra seriously thought she was going to kill her.
Her eyes closed tightly as she shot her, opening up
the injury in her shoulder in the worst of ways.
Sierra cried. "Zara... Stop..! I didn't
intentionally hurt Marc..!" You wouldn't expect such
a little woman to have so much physical power, but
it hurt when the pistol collided with Sierra's
cheek. She coughed. The words were so much more
painful than every individual wound. Sierra was
crying. She realized that she didn't belong anymore.
The perfect family that she had been trying to build
had just blown up in her face. Sierra took the
chance to limp away back to her ship. It took off
with no questions asked as Sierra cried her way back