Rodney had been sitting at the edge of the lake with
his fishing pole for the better part of an
afternoon. He had vowed to Sierra that he would
catch them dinner, but two things were wrong with
that plan ... first, he had yet to catch anything
and second, there was no such thing as a pudding
fish. He was slumping forward in his folding chair,
about to doze off, when he felt the slightest pull
at his line. "Uh. Oh!" he said, as he stirred,
excitedly, as he took hold of his fishing pole.
"Sierra! I've got something! Get the net!" he told
her, as he pulled back on the line to set the hook.
Excitedly he leaned forward and began to reel the
fish in. "It feels like it's a big one," he told
her, as he turned to her excitedly, as he was
nervous it was going to be Imperial field rations
for dinner. Suddenly the fish burst the surface,
thrashing about, and splashing the water everywhere.
It would easily feed both of them, even with her
pregnant condition. But just as he was about to
finish reeling it in a family of otters began
whaling on the shoreline. They intercepted his fish,
tearing it apart, and happily devouring it just as
he was about to catch it.
Fishing was a
game of patience...something Sierra Rodney did not
posses in large quantities. She was seated in a
folding chair beside his. She had a book in her
hands, though she wasn't really paying attention to
it. It was a clear, sunny day, so she was cat
napping while giving her pale skin a chance to gain
some color. She had full faith that Claudius would
manage to catch their dinner tonight. So, despite
the fact that there were no bites right away, she
didn't start thinking about the nasty Imperial field
rations that could even make Ewwiekewwieikkie's
dropped her book on the ground as she moved to
rapidly grab the net. She stood at the edge of the
lake, holding it out in anticipation of the fish
that was currently fighting against being reeled in.
She watched as the fish broke from the water. "Woah!
It *is* a big one! Bring it in! Bring it in!" Sierra
grinned. It was so close...so, *so* close ... and
then it wasn't close at all. She stared at the
family of otters who intercepted the fat fish. "Nooooo!
That was our dinner!" She cried out, unable to
actually be mad at them. Otters were, after all, one
of her favorite kind of animals. They were *so* cute
with their tiny paws, noses, and furry bodies.
C'mon, otters fall asleep holding hands so that they
don't drift apart...does it get any cuter than that?
She patted Claudius on the back. "The otters say
'thank you'. Look at how adorable they are!" She
said, lifting her hand towards a little one. "Can we
take them all home? Please?"
sunk as the last of the fish was devoured by the
family of otters, but before he could get angry
Sierra was in full animal love mode. He wondered
what otters tasted like, as there was still the
matter of their dinner to consider. "Where would you
keep them? Ewwiekewwieikkie's bath tub?" he asked,
pressing her, as he walked towards her near the
otters. "Oh they're adorable, all right," he said,
somewhat sarcastically, as he was still bitter about
this lost dinner. "I'm glad they at least said
'thank you'," he informed her, as his hand slowly
moved to the small of her back. "But now what are
*we* going to eat?" he asked, turning his head to
her, with the famous pout that members of his family
were known for.
did follow them everywhere. What were the chances?
The otters devoured the fish as quickly as she might
have. It was soon gone, leaving the otters licking
the remains from their paws. Sierra laughed. "Mayyybbbeeee.
I doubt Ewwiekewwieikkie would mind. We are going to
need to figure out how to keep the bath drain clear
of fur." She leaned against him, glancing towards
the lake while wondering what the probabilities were
of them being able to catch another fish before
Sierra became hangry. Oh no. Not *the pout*! Sierra
tried to remain strong, but the Rodney pout was her
weakness. She was going to be in serious trouble
once Bruce and Olivia arrived as it seemed genetic.
"Ee! Okay, okay!" And just like that, Sierra had
crumbled. She slowly came to stand in front of him
where she wrapped him up in her embrace. "There's a
little town closeby. Why don't we go there, eat, and
then come back?" She suggested, rising to her tippy
toes to bite on his neck. She didn't want to eat
like a wonderful idea," Claudius said excitedly, as
he led her from the lakeshore to the speeder. "We
can bring the otters back some food, if you like,"
he said, before opening the driver's side for her,
and the passenger's side for himself. He had no idea
where they were, so he had no idea where the little
town was. Esseles was once home to a great empire
that governed most of the sector, long before the
current galactic regime. It was a once important
world that had fallen on hard times. Despite being
stationed there for years, he had seen so very
little of it because of his career. He was glad to
be taking the time now to see it, especially since
it was beloved Sierra as his guide. As she drove
them towards the destination he moved his hand
across the control panel, resting it on her thigh,
and giving her an affectionate squeeze.
chuckled. "I'm holding you to that." Maybe if they
fed the otters, the little creatures would be less
inclined to steal their fish...or they'd be more
inclined to go home with them. Either way, it was a
win-win situation. She planted a playful kiss on his
cheek before ducking into the driver's side. For
emergency purposes, she had learned where the
closest city was. Given their luck, anything was
possible. She drove the speeder back towards the old
road that led them to their makeshift sanctuary,
then turned onto a freeway headed to the town. She
was grinning wide and totally happy. She was glad
that they could experience new sights in Esseles
together. She was always seeking out new adventures
for them to embark on. She threw her smile towards
him as he squeezed her thigh. "I love you." She said
happily. "I cannot believe that those otters ate
that fish.." She laughed, shaking her head.
Not long after
they had gotten into the speeder, Sierra turned off
into an extremely small town. There were cute,
little houses lining the main road. Occasionally, a
store popped into view. "Goodness, there's no Auntie
Mae's in sight." She was actually surprised about
that. They had been sprouting up all over the
planet. At the very end of town, there was a diner
with a big sign that said all you really needed to
know: *All u can eat ribs and pie*. Sierra wondered
if she was having a food hallucination, or if the
sign really read like that. She let out a sigh.
"Well Claudius, I hope you enjoyed my slim figure
while it lasted." She giggled, turning into a
parking spot before killing the engine. She wasn't
sure if they'd be noticed this far out or not.
Sierra was dressed as casually as can be in a little
blue sundress. More of her skin was seeing the light
of day today than it had since going to the sea
islands. Opening her door, Sierra made her way out
of the speeder. The first thing she noticed was the
smell. Goodness gracious, the smells of rich
barbeque sauce gave her the biggest food boner ever.
Suddenly, she came to the realization that she *was*
hungry. Really hungry!
"I love you,
Sierra," Claudius said, as they made their way
through the town until, of course, settling on an
all you can eat place. He wondered if there was fine
print declaring no pregnant women. As he exited the
speeder he was punched in the face with the pungent
aroma of ribs and pie. He took a moment to catch his
breath, while looking at Sierra and realizing the
cravings had moved beyond a mere carton of pudding.
"Try to pace yourself," he suggested, as he walked
towards the door and held it open for her. Inside
the smell was even stronger. BBQ sauces from all
across the galaxy were on display as the largest
rack of dewback ribs he had ever seen was slowly and
seductively slathered with sauce. It was enough to
even make his mouth water. "Two," he said to hostess
quietly, careful not to draw too much attention to
themselves. As they were led to the table he saw
some of the biggest people he had ever seen in his
live, along with hulking aliens, who all had more
sauce on them than were on the ribs.
trimester of her pregnancy had been all about
feeling sick and hating food. The second trimester
was rekindling the love for food as morning sickness
became a thing of the past. She stood there, nearly
drooling, until Claudius moved towards the door.
"I'll try." She said, flashing him her silly grin as
she moved into the restaurant. In reality, she
simply couldn't put away food like some people
could. The interior of the diner was fun. There were
various posters hanging on the walls. The music
playing sounded unique and twangy. At last, her eyes
met with the huge rack of dewback ribs, which she
was pretty sure could feel the two of them for *at
least* six months. Sierra's stomach groaned so loud
that it would make even a sarlacc fearful.
alongside of her husband. She briefly gazed to the
other occupants of the diner. Huge, *huge* aliens
who could have feasted on a rack of *her* ribs.
Without the alluring smell of BBQ sauce, this diner
would have been really yucky. They were placed at
booth for two near the back where the hostess placed
gigantic bibs on the table. She left once they had
ordered drinks. Sierra lifted up the bib. "Claudius!
These would be great for the girls!" She exclaimed,
holding the bib up to her neck. It looked like it
was made for the bigger guests, for it completely
covered Sierra's torso, tummy and all. She set it
down, snickering at her own silly joke.
Claudius said, with a heavy sigh, as he studied the
menu, trying to locate anything besides all you can
eat ribs (and pie!). "I still can't get over what
happened to them on Delaya," he said, as he
considered just ordering a salad. "I want to keep
them locked up and safe, but I tried that with
Jelena and it only drew her further away," he said,
before attempting to order a sparkling water, but
was informed they only sell iced tea. He nodded, and
the largest cup he had ever seen was placed in front
of him with tea as sweet as Ewwiekewwieikkie and
Callista's baked goods. Eventually a team of waiters
arrived with a rack of ribs that was taller than
Claudius and Sierra combined. They unleashed a groan
as they hoisted them onto the table, causing it to
shake, and droop. "Um. Enjoy!" he said, as he
cautiously prodded it with his fork. He imagines
Ewwiekewwieikkie trying to bite into it and drag it
either..." Sierra was furious about what had
happened to them. She wanted to deal out
repercussions, but when she tried to talk to
Callista about it, all she said was 'parfait'. What
did that mean? Was she actually talking about the
layered dessert, or had she imagined a gigantic
parfait talking to her? With Callista, one could
never really know. Her imagination was endearing.
Parfait... Hm. She set the menu down. It seemed that
all this place sold was ribs, pie, and a tea so
sweet it was like drinking liquid sugar. Sierra
hoped she hadn't just given Bruce a massive sugar
rush. She sat back. "I feel you, my love. I wish we
could hide them away from the galaxy and keep them
safe, but it would end the same way it did with
Jelena." It seemed like the girls were only safe on
Esseles...but how safe were they?
The rack of ribs that the team of waiters brought
over was *huge*! The table creaked uneasily beneath
the weight of the rib rack. Sierra's eyes went wide.
"Woah.... I suppose we'll have some to bring back
the otters.." She picked up her fork. She wasn't
even sure where to start. She wondered if she should
simply dig her teeth into the meat and gnaw on it
like a puppy. *Parfait...* It was still bothering
her. She took a small bite of meat, her eyes
glancing up towards a TV near the corner of the
diner. It was broadcasting a story about Delaya. She
nudged Claudius with her elbow gently. "Hey...look."
It was *home*. Though the diner was much too loud to
hear the volume, she could see the subtitles rapidly
appearing on the screen. She silenced, reading the
information. The recording showed what remained
(nothing) of the Imperial garrison. Sierra's eyes
grew bigger. "Parfait!" She said, slamming her small
fist against the table. She had made the connection.
Callista said Parfait had given her the large nerf...that
Parfait had given her lots of yummy cake. She felt
stupid for not seeing it sooner. Parfait was Papius
"What ... what
kind of creature was this?" Claudius asked, as he
sampled some of the meat. It was delicious, but
perhaps a tad oversauced. He turned his attention to
look at the HoloNet when she pointed it out, and he
instantly recognized his home planet of Delaya. "Oh
my," he said, in shock, as he learned there was
*another* attack on the Imperial garrison. But
before he could hear the rest of the story his wife
was screaming for dessert. "I don't think they have
parfait. The sign said pie," he said, before trying
to calm her down so he could hear the report. He
wondered if this somehow involved Callista's mother,
and he also wondered if his brother, and yes, even
his sister-in-law was okay. The twins should be here
any day now. Even any hour.
One could only
guess that it was a dinosaur. Sierra didn't want to
see what the rack of ribs had once belonged to, for
clearly the beast was bigger than Rodney Castle. She
was watching the broadcast, but the wheels in her
head were already turning quickly. She looked at her
husband, shaking her head. "No, no. Not *that* kind
of parfait. I tried to talk to Callista about what
happened in Delaya. She kept mentioning parfaits.
She said a parfait had given her the nerf and fed
her cake. I don't think it was parfait. I think she
was trying to say Papius." The attack had to have
been about Iyah Xergo. She had left Mug with the
information he needed to make it happen...so had he?
She prayed that the Rebels had killed Papius Arundel
during the attack...but what of the rest of their
family? Marcus couldn't walk. Zara was so pregnant
that she wasn't capable of reaching safety quickly
either. She looked at Claudius. "I should go to
Delaya and make sure Marcus and Zara are okay." She
wasn't so heartless to wish that her sister-in-law
be injured in the second Rebel strike. The broadcast
wasn't providing them with any additional details.
Sierra felt like she needed more.
Claudius yelled, clenching his fist, and slamming it
into the table, causing the ribs to take a dangerous
lean over. "If he hurt the girls..." he said,
lowering his voice, so that the other patrons did
not suspect anything. "Are you sure? The last time
you went there Zara shot you!" he said, leaning
forward across the table and peeking at her between
giant rib bones. "If Papius discovers you there he
could use it to cause more trouble with Grand Moff
Praji," he said, worried, as he adjusted his head so
he could see more of her. It was a difficult task
having a conversation with a woman when there was a
giant slab of ribs in between them. "If you feel you
need to go, then go with my blessing, but not before
our time here is over," and then he reached forward,
with saucy fingers, and grabbed her hands, squeezing
them for reassurance.
garrison was down. Sierra could only speculate what
kind of condition Papius Arundel was currently in.
She was so angry beneath her exterior. The man could
inflict all the damage he wanted to her and
Claudius, but once he brought in the girls, Sierra's
motherly instincts...and defenses...kicked in. She
was going to find him. If he was alive, either she
would kill him or she'd manipulate the Rebels into
coming back to Delaya to finish the job. "He won't
touch them again..." She said under her breath. "I
want you to check the nerf that he gave Callista for
any kind of devices..."
Was she sure?
*No*. But, this was a matter the family she loved.
She tried to sit up straighter to look at her
husband through the ribs. Ugh, this was
inconvenient. At least he wasn't close enough that
he could feel the heat of her body rising with her
ferocity. "I'm sure. Zara is nine months pregnant,
Marcus is crippled." She had seen the convincing act
on the coronation videos, but she didn't doubt that
both of them were hurting. "They need help. It would
be idiotic of Zara to turn me away. I'll be careful.
I don't want to start anymore problems." She only
wanted to end problems at this point. Her hands took
his. She couldn't help but smile at what kind of
sticky, BBQ sauce mess they'd become quickly. She
squeezed back. "Deal. The otters would be really
disappointed if we didn't bring them back their
doggy bag." She reminded him, wishing that they
could remain in their little paradise forever.
Thankfully, they could come back to whenever they
needed it...which, in their lives, would be within
the next twenty-four hours.
"The nerf? I
think it would break Callista's heart if I had to
take it from her," Claudius said, apprehensively, as
he remembered her sleeping with it incessantly. "You
don't think he'd go as far as to use her in his
plots?" he continued, growing increasingly angry,
until his blood boiled to the temperature of the hot
sauce on the table. "Well I've eaten all I can. Your
otters are in for a real treat," he said, as he
leaned back, unfastening his belt buckle to give his
stomach some much needed room. "I don't think I have
any room for pie," he said, but before he could beg
off the waiter automatically brought him a slab of
pie as tall as the ribs.
Don't take it from her. Tell her that the nerf needs
to go to the salon. If there's something actually
hidden inside of it, I'll carefully remove it when I
get home." The little girl loved the nerf way too
much. It rivaled Callista's love for her crown,
which she wore every single day. "Yeah, I do think
so. I wonder if Iyah Xergo was also an intended
target." She rubbed at her temples. The ribs looked
nearly untouched when both of them were full. She
looked towards another table with two large aliens
seated at it. They had *two* racks of nearly eaten
ribs. *How*!? Sierra smiled. "I can't wait to watch
them. I promise that I'll leave them in the wild ...
for now." She patted her rounded pregnant belly. She
was so full! "Ugh, me either. You might have to roll
me out of here as is." The waiter apparently didn't
care and brought a gigantic pie. "Why is everything
supersized here?" She asked Claudius, swayed to take
a little bite from the pie. "I can imagine
Ewwiekewwieikkie sitting in the middle of this pie,
eating it with both of her hands."
"I don't know,
and if I inquired it would only draw further
suspicion against us. I have conflicted emotions. I
adore Callista and want her to have her mother in
her life, but the woman *is* a Rebel Commander and
would destroy us if given the opportunity," Claudius
answered, as he wrestled with the complicated nature
of their family tree. "I can only hope. Though I do
think Ewwiekewwieikkie and Callista would love them
just as much as you," he said, with a smirk, before
rising from the table. As he stood the air flowed
through him and he let out an obnoxious burp,
causing him to raise his hand to cover his mouth.
"Oh. Excuse me," he pleaded with her, as he began
leading her towards the door. "Some people are
*very* hungry I imagine," he said, as he held the
door open for her. "And yes. Ewwiekewwieikkie would
have eaten until she burst. Remember the baby
shower?" he said, with a snort of hair. But as they
exited he looked up and saw the restaurant's sign
was coming down. A new sign was going up announcing
it was becoming an Auntie Mae's franchise. "That
woman is everywhere," he muttered, shaking his head,
before helping her into the speeder for the trip
back to the camp site.