New Aldera did
not know what was about to hit it. Doctor Bailo's
hands were sweating by the time she landed the
Mandalorian Kom'rk class starfighter/transport. She
had not piloted a craft in a *very* long time and
having to do it with so many people aboard was
stressful. When she was able to use autopilot, the
doctor had time to stabilize El-Nay, check on
Sierra, Bruce, and even Pilaq. Needless to say,
Doctor Bailo was a busy woman.
didn't make it much longer once she was *sure*
Callista, Ewwiekewwieikkie, and Melickelickie were
all aboard the craft. She knew that Dru was
gone...and she knew exactly where she was. Sierra
simply couldn't reach her right now. Besides, it was
probably better for her to be away with Pollix where
his guards would keep her face... If they all
survived this, she might actually thank the boy.
There was no
time to explain anything...not even to Jelena, who
was about to get one hell of a surprise. She fell
asleep with Bruce carefully bundled in blankets at
the crook of her arm. Her heart hurt. Her body hurt.
The worst part was having to be strong. Right now,
she was the glue holding her family together. Both
mother and son slept through the entire trip. Sierra
awoke again when Doctor Bailo brought them down for
a rather rocky landing. "Mmm..." She blinked away
the remaining tears from her eyes. They had arrived
in the one place where they *really* didn't belong.
Sierra gritted her teeth and sat up before bringing
her legs over the hoversled. "I have to be
strong..." She muttered to herself, forcing herself
to her feet. All she wore was the long nightgown
which Doctor Bailo had helped her into after she'd
given birth to Bruce. She had no other clothes,
shoes, or anything else. Her legs shook underneath
her. "I need you to go find Jelena." She directed
the order to Doctor Bailo, but it came out so
Rodney was in the makeshift command center at the
heart of what was slowly becoming New Aldera. She
was reviewing preparations for the upcoming battle
in the Chandrila system, which had stripped much of
the planet's defenses for the coming offensive,
including Commander Xergo who she had come to rely
so heavily on. She shifted nervously as she watched
over her remaining resources with the full awareness
if the Empire chose now to attack there would be no
defense other than refugees with sticks and stones.
A controller alerted her that a Mandalorian craft
had been detected, which could have been the same
one that was used to smuggle Sierra here. She grew
concerned, as she knew her forces were about to
attack her father's forces. It could be a trap.
mouths both looked grim. There was so much about the
Rodney family that she didn't know...like the fact
that Claudius Rodney's daughter was a Rebel. It felt
uncomfortable taking the family of Imperials to a
Rebel camp. She didn't even know what Jelena looked
like. Her eyes went wide. Seeing Lady Sierra pushing
herself inspired her on. She touched the woman's
shoulder. "Milady, *please* don't push yourself. I
will be back..." She was the most capable person on
the craft above the age of twenty. She couldn't very
well ask for Pilaq's help. She quickly left the
ship. She tried hard to remember the picture she'd
seen of Jelena on Claudius' desk. Brown hair. Long,
brown hair. It wasn't much to go off of. Thankfully,
the female doctor was treated well by the first
Rebel she found. "Can you tell me where I can find
Jelena Rodney?" She asked. The Rebel was kind enough
to take her directly to the makeshift command
center. He pointed out the woman. If this wasn't
Jelena Rodney, then Alessandra was about to put the
whole family at risk. She stepped forward. "L-Lady
Jelena..?" She stuttered, "I need to speak with you
about something *very* important..."
when she heard her name called, but what she saw was
not at all she expected. A female Ithorian?! "Yes?"
she asked, as she cautiously approached the woman.
She wondered if she was somehow connected to Pilaq
Tohan, because she was an introverted girl who
assumed that every Ithorian knew every other
Ithorian. "What is this about..?" she asked, feeling
somewhat concerned, as Doctor Tohan was not just old
... he was *very* old. She swallowed apprehensively,
as she attempted to maintain a calm and stoic
exterior. She was a leader now, and she knew she had
to act like one. Everyone was watching, or at least
she thought they were.
It *was* her.
Alessandra took no time in steering the eldest
Rodney away from all the other Rebels so they could
converse where no one could hear. The look on her
face was grave. "Your family." She spoke quietly
with both mouths. "Your stepmother gave birth this
morning. The circumstances are ... *complicated*."
She was trying to be vague until they were someplace
where Lady Sierra could explain everything. "I have
wounded and children aboard my ship. We all require
somewhere safe to stay. Lady Sierra will tell you
wasn't supposed to give birth for months," a
concerned Jelena said to the Ithorian, her blue eyes
growing wide with concern and fear. If this had not
been happening so close to the operation in the
Chandrila system she might have been more inclined
to trust Doctor Bailo, but the timing was very
troubling. "Wounded? And children? My sisters?!" she
asked, as she reached out and took hold of Doctor
Bailo by the arm. "Take me to this ship!" she
demanded, as she began moving from the command
center into the streets of the growing settlement.
She hoped she was not working into a trap but, like
her father, she rarely executed sound judgment where
family was concerned.
let out a sigh. Jelena was right. This wasn't
supposed to happen for *months*. "Your sisters are
safe." She reassured the girl as they began moving.
"The Mandalorian tasked with protecting Sierra has
been injured. Doctor Tohan is overly exhausted and
needs his rest." She moved as quickly as she could
through the streets and towards the ship. "Here!"
She said, leading her up the ramp.
still standing. She held Bruce close to her chest.
The woman had entered an extreme overprotective
state. She wasn't simply watching her boy, she was
watching her girls too. As soon as she had a way of
contacting Dru, she needed to find out she was safe
for sure. Relief spread over her when she saw Jelena.
It had been some time. She regretted that fact
because she loved her eldest stepdaughter very much.
"Jelena!" She became teary simply seeing her
childhood best friend. She approached her slowly,
letting her see her little *brother*. "Jelena,
terrible things have happened. The Emperor has sent
an Inquisitor to watch over your father..." The
tears started as she continued to explain things.
"She *made* me give birth. She forced it to happen."
She was distraught, pointing towards El-Nay. "She
tried to keep the family safe and the Inquisitor did
*that* to her." Sierra's voice dropped, "Your
brother is *force sensitive*. The Emperor wants
him... He'll kill Bruce..."
Ewwiekewwieikkie yelled from behind Sierra, as she
pushed past her stepmother and ran towards her
sister. With one of her arms she was dragging
Melickielickie as if she were a plush toy. She
lifted up into the air and tackled Jelena, pouncing
her to the ground. Her tongue slid from her mouth as
she gave her sloppy kisses on both of her cheeks. "I
missed you!" she said, before she sat back up and
looked down at her. "This Melickielickie!" she said,
as she pointed to the junior squib. "She's mine!"
she said, beaming proudly, as if she were one of her
to listen to what Sierra was saying, but before she
had a chance to reply she was tackled by her sister.
Just when she was trying to process everything that
Sierra had told her, she was presented with what
Ewwiekewwieikkie claimed was 'her' child. "Uh. Did
Ewwiekewwieikkie have a baby too?" she asked Sierra,
as she struggled to sit up, her Rebel uniform now
covered in blue fur. "Where is my father?" she
asked, with some trepidation in her voice as she
rose from the ground and began to dust herself off.
"Did ... did the Inquisitor kill him?" she asked,
before turning her attention away from as she braced
herself for an answer. "You can stay here. You can
all stay here," she said, as she finally allowed
herself to look at her brother. She could not even
begin to process what she said about his ability to
use the force. She was too young to even understand
what that meant. "No, no one will kill Bruce," she
said, as she raised a hand and gently brushed her
hand across his cheek.
was gnawing on Bethany's rank code cylinder. She had
sat in Ewwiekewwieikkie's lap the whole entire
flight, which kept her both amused and happy. The
little Squib looked at the girl that Ewwie called
'Jelly'. "Eeeeeee... Jelly!!" She lapped at Jelena's
face like she expected her to taste like real fruit
jelly. "We friends!" Between the two Squibs, there
had to be a massive amount of blue hair on Jelena.
Melickielickie's smile grew as Ewwie declared that
she was hers.
"No, no, no."
She shook her head. "This is Melickielickie... We
are intending on adopting her... Surprise..." Sierra
said anti-climatically. A more serious look fell
over her face. She wanted Claudius to be with her.
"No! Claudius ... he stayed at the Retributor... He
wanted to protect us." Her face shrunk. Her frown
could have reached the ground. "I don't know how
long he'll have to keep us hidden from the
Inquisitor." Sierra purposefully didn't bring up the
battle of Chandrila. She was on the enemy's side,
after all. Sierra wanted her husband to win. It was
relieving to hear Jelena grant them with a safe
haven. "Thank you, Jelena..." Sierra stepped
backwards until she could feel the hoversled behind
her, then she sat. The woman was running out of
energy. She watched Bruce and Jelena interact. The
boy silently stared at his sister. "He's so
little... The doctors say he'll need to be monitored
for some time. It was so early..." Sierra slowly
outstretched the bundled boy from her chest. "Do you
want to hold him?"
to come to terms with everything that Sierra had
told her, but it was so much that she moved to take
a seat. "I can hold him?" she asked, as her features
lit up again. "Sure!" she said, as she adjusted
herself, and prepared to hold her baby brother for
the first time. She reached out with her hands and
took the baby Bruce from her. "So, how did you come
upon this name? I don't recall a Bruce in either of
our families," she asked, as she held him carefully,
while supporting his head. He was *so* tiny. It was
hard to imagine he would grow into a big, strong
male member of the House of Rodney one day.
"Wait..." she asked, with some degree of trepidation
as she looked around the crowded ship. "Where's
Drusilla?" she asked, as she looked up from her
beautiful baby brother, and desperately searched for
a trace of her sister.
ago, this moment would have seemed totally
unrealistic. It was hard to believe that there had
ever been a day where Sierra didn't love Claudius.
Now, they had a son. As physically and emotionally
exhausted as she was, Sierra couldn't help glowing
with pride. She watched Jelena and Bruce with a
happiness growing in her chest. "You're right. There
isn't. There was an Alderaan Guard on Delaya who
sacrificed himself for me during an assassination
attempt. He gave his life for that boy. I felt the
only proper way to honor his sacrifice was to name
my son after him." She explained to Jelena. The baby
boy began weaseling his way out of his baby burrito,
first with one hand, then a leg. He fought to get
out the rest of the way and was unable to.
Frustrated, he looked up at his big sister and
pouted. There it was. The infamous Rodney pout.
Sierra had feared it would be passed down to her
son, for she was quite the sucker.
Dru." Sierra sighed. "To make a long story short, a
Prince from Onderon has begun courting her. I
grounded her and I'm quite sure she ran off to his
planet while everything else was going on. I will
confirm that as soon as I can..." She rubbed her
forehead. "You Rodney children are difficult!"
Sierra prodded her with an elbow gently.
"Was that at
my 'funeral'?" Jelena asked, as she could hardly
keep track of all of the assassination attempts
against her family during the last days on Delaya.
"Oh he's pouting already. No need for a paternity
test," she joked to Sierra, as she continued to
smile down at the little guy. "A Prince?!" she
exclaimed, as her face flashed up at Sierra. "Well
she always wanted to be a Princess..." she
commented, before turning her attention back to her
baby brother. "Is Pilaq alright?" she asked, as she
was still trying to understand what was happening,
while still balancing the fact that her forces were
about to attack from whence they came.
She shook her
head. "No, some other thing... Don't ask. Your uncle
Gaius wanted to be Duke *very* bad." She rolled her
eyes. Sierra broke out in her first real laughter
since this morning. "Oh thank goodness. I was *so*
worried about that." Mug and Iyah were going to have
one hell of a surprise when their house was suddenly
filled with Rodneys. Callista had graciously offered
them a place to stay. It was to be insanity. For
Sierra, everything was finally slowing down. She
couldn't stop thinking about Claudius, nor would she
stop wanting to be with him. "I know ... but I don't
trust the boy yet. I want to make sure his
intentions are pure. Dru is blinded by his wallet."
She sighed. "Pilaq is very tired. I'm not sure who
had a more wearing day, him or your father. He... He
saved Bruce. When the Inquisitor came to take our
son away, Pilaq hit her with his walking stick."
Sierra explained in awe. She was going to give the
Doctor a big hug as soon as she could. "It's been
such a long day." She admitted to Jelena. "I'm
worried for your father. In the wake of all that's
going on, he needs me... he needs his family. Now he
has nothing but fears and additional stresses. What
is that Inquisitor going to do to him when she finds
out we're gone?" Sierra's head lowered. Her hands
came up over her eyes so Jelena couldn't see her
cry. She was supposed to be the strong one now.
"I would be
more concerned about Dru's intentions. Don't let her
pull the wool over your eyes. She's not a sweet,
innocent girl," Jelena revealed, having perhaps more
experience with her sister, as she was instrumental
in raising her with their mother dead and Claudius
away. "Pilaq attacked the Inquisitor?!" she
exclaimed, but quickly lowered her voice to avoid
startling the baby. "You don't want to be there,
Sierra. And I don't want any of you there either.
Not with what's about to happen..." she said,
cryptically, but realized that she already said too
much. "Let's get everyone situated," she suggested,
as she offered the baby back to Sierra. "Just one
more question. *How* did you end up with Callista
gain?" she asked, smiling, and shrugging her
shoulders, as she attempted to lead them off the
a nugget of information on Sierra. It seemed the
Prince situation would warrant more research. . .
*after* the family was reunited. Sierra nodded her
head to confirm as she, too, was shocked by what the
old Ithorian Doctor had done. Jelena's cryptic words
made sense to Sierra. They both knew something was
about to go down. Sierra knew the Imperial plans,
while Jelena was aware of the Rebels movement. "I
know. Something terrible is going to happen soon."
She carefully collected Bruce from Jelena, wrapping
him back up in his blanket. She forced herself to
stand once more. Everyone needed rest and no one was
going to get it on the ship. She followed Jelena
slowly. She chuckled. "I have no idea. She appeared
at the estate one day... I didn't ask questions. We
love it when Callista visits." The group slowly
unloaded from the ship. Everyone would take shelter
in Callista's home until the time to return to
Esseles was upon them. In Sierra's heart, she knew
she wouldn't stay away from Claudius for long. When
the battle ended and the smoke cleared, Sierra
Rodney would return for her love.