Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:5:7) in the Essesia system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate) and Retributor.
Commander Allegra Ames, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Lady Jelena Rodney, and Commander Sierra Rodney.

Sierra Rodney had experienced one hell of a day. Everything that happened after her husband saved her was a blur. There was Kerrie and El-Nay who were taken to be submerged in a bacta tank. Sierra, herself, went back home to Esseles with Claudius and Jelena in tow. Thankfully, the stun gun worked its magic and her eldest stepdaughter did not wake on the way back. In fact, she had not come back to as of yet. Sierra was fast asleep in her husband's lap. After removing her armor and treating what little wounds she had, she'd settled in to cuddle him on the couch within the sitting area of their room. There, in the security of his arms, the young woman gave in to exhaustion. Her arms were draped around him lazily. She had stolen one of his tunics to wear. It was oversized, comfortable, and smelled completely of him.

Slowly, she began to stir. She nuzzled her face into his chest. "Claudius..." She would never forget how heroic he was. The sound of his voice on Delaya had struck her to the core. There was nothing like realizing just how deeply he loved her... Which made it that much harder to be the messenger of bad news. She had yet to fill him in on Livia, or even all the happenings within the castle. Her sleepy blue eyes opened. She glanced up at him. Slowly, a smile began to form on her lips. This was home.

"Don't think just because you did infiltration missions you get to sleep all day," Claudius said, as his hand slowly moved to her head. His fingers spread as he dug into her hair, running through it slowly like a rake. "Lieutenant Meham'ohorovic'loca has more datapads for your to review. And you have a stepdaughter who could use your help in the refresher," he told her, as he looked down at her with a smirk. Everything was back to normal for the time being, but he knew there would be fallout once Governor Arundel collected himself and complained to Grand Moff Praji. He was go glad to have Sierra back safely, and then there was the fact that Jelena was once again under his roof. He decided it was best to cherish this moment rather than worry about the uncertain future.

Mmm. Her head turned, practically rubbing into his hand like a kitten. Sierra began to laugh. "Oh, I'm so glad I picked up some of those rubber gloves that reach to my elbows..." Though she didn't rise immediately. She needed to collect herself before she became Ewwie's birthing coach. "I'm taking her to the doctor." Sierra mumbled, sitting up. By the fact that Jelena had not burst into their room, she figured it was a pretty safe bet that she wasn't up yet. Her hands ran over his cheeks slowly. "Just so you know... Once Jelena wakes, you're going to hear a lot of screaming. The best thing to do is make sure there's nothing sharp near us and then just let the storm blow over." Sierra sighed. "She wanted me to save that Rebel Commander and I refused. I allowed Kerrie to stun her in order to get her out safely." And the mother of the year award goes to... Not Sierra! She drifted forward to hide her head against her husband. "Five more minutes?" She asked. She wasn't ready to get up and face the world yet.

Claudius listened as Sierra began to detail some of what happened on Delaya, wondering what had happened with Jelena. "You had Kerrie shoot her?" he exclaimed, momentarily halting the stroking of her hair. "Well, I guess Kerrie owned her one," he said, trying to make light of an otherwise tense situation. "Why would Jelena want to save the Rebel commander?" he asked her, angrily, as he detested the apparent brainwashing the Rebellion must have done to his oldest daughter. "Fine. Five more minutes," he said to her, before looking towards the chronometer on the wall. "Four minutes, 59 seconds..." he said, with a wink, as he went back to rubbing on her.

"Well, carrying her out kicking and screaming wasn't an option. Have you lifted her lately? Not a light load!" She squeaked. "That girl has like five inches of height on me." Just trying to drag her across a bedroom had been way more difficult than you'd think. She made a face when he began counting down every second. "Hey!" She leaned forward to playfully gnaw on his neck. "If you don't be nice to me, I'm going to send *you* to help Ewwie in the refresher." She was smiling again. A shit storm was on the rise, but at least she had a wonderful family to make it through the hard times with. "Jelena said it was *her* fault that the woman had been captured by Papius. I don't know what she was talking about, nor did I give her a chance to explain..." She tensed just thinking about the explosion they were going to have. "How are you doing..?" She asked him suddenly. His mother was gone. His daughter was a weapon of the Rebellion. His adoptive daughter couldn't stop passing gemstones.

"I've done quite enough with Ewwiekewwieikkie this week," Claudius said, hoping she would not notice what happened to her hand towels while she was away. "Do you think she'll talk to you when she calms down? That Xergo woman is has caused us a lot of problems..." he said, as he continued to count down the five minutes in his head. "The troops searched the castle, but there was no sign of the Commander or even Governor Arundel," he said to her, bitterly, as he clenched his jaw tightly. "Me? Well, I lost my mother, but regained a daughter," he said to her, as he went over the cold calculations of life. However, he had his doubts as to how long they would be able to manage keeping her this time. "Is there any update on the status of Commander Kiley and her little friend?" he asked, as he nearly finished counting down five minutes. "I feel lost without Doctor Tohan," he lamented, but he did not want Zara to give birth at the hands of a random doctor.

Awww. She liked those hand towels...and she liked them being pink, which they no longer were. "Eh..." Sierra shrugged her shoulders. "That's a good question. I am not sure of the answer. I know she is going to be furious." She recalled what had happened the first time she brought Jelena home from the Rebels. That girl could cut through steel with her tongue. Sierra was not looking forward to it. "That's disappointing. I'm sure Governor Arundel has her, and that he'll torture her until she sings like a bird." Sierra sank into his lap. Perhaps she should have made the effort to save the Rebel Commander and dump her off at her ship. It simply wasn't her responsibility to save Rebels. She listened to him, reminded of the ring she had brought home from Livia's collection. Slowly, Sierra rose from the couch. She adjusted the tunic over her rather round rump as she made her way over towards the sack which had accompanied her on her mission.

"I haven't heard anything yet." Sierra sounded worried. "The feeling's mutual. I'll see if Marcus can return him to us after his children arrive..." She began making her way back to Claudius. "Kerrie got hurt saving *me*. Governor Arundel shot at me. *She* stepped in front of it. It's *my* fault that she got hurt." Sierra lamented it. She felt terrible about Kerrie's injuries. Slowly, she lowered herself back down onto the couch. As the feelings of success began to wear off, Sierra began to feel sad. "I... I brought something back." She said as she opened the sack and dug into it. Between her fingers, she withdrew Livia's ring, the ring of Raeni Corliss. "I thought we could do something proper for her." Sierra's voice cracked. The video played in her head of Livia jumping from the landing platform. She dropped the ring in his hands, using her own to hide her face while she tried to control herself.

"I hope that is not a loose end we'll regret not taking care of, my love," Claudius said, before slapping her playfully on her behind to let her know that time was up and it was time to get back to work. "Last time the Governor had her he was able to get her to implicate you as a Rebel collaborator. Under further strain who knows what she might say..." he said, as he began to worry about the implications of what they had done. "It is her duty. Better her than you and our child," he said to her, regarding Kerrie, and hinting at some of the complex history the two of them shared. When he saw the ring it dawned on him that his mother was really gone. In his youth he remembered his grandmother wearing the thing, followed by his mother. He began to cry, but he did not know it was happening. He cupped his hand, catching the ring and brought it up slowly to examine it more carefully. He took hold of Sierra's hand and slid the ring on her finger. It fit perfectly. "This is yours now, Duchess. Wear it well. Do my mother honor," he said, before leaning his head down to place a kiss upon her hand.

"Eek!" She squeaked when his hand collided with her rear. The noise seemed to bounce off the walls.Sierra realized that she was going to need to go back to Delaya once more. She didn't like loose ends. She could only imagine what Xergo would say about her to stay alive. Like herself, Iyah had a family that she'd want to get back to. The woman would give Sierra up all day long to make that possible. She was going to continue to feel miserable about Kerrie, yet she also agreed. It was her job to protect the family, which included Sierra and the unborn son. As he took her hand, Sierra saw that he, too, was crying. She watched him slid the ring on her finger while the tears continued. It brought her back to her engagement, her wedding day, and now this. It was the first time he put a ring on her and she felt like she didn't deserve it. Her free hand ran through his hair and down his cheek to collect his tears. The ring, undeniably, fit her like it was made for her to wear. "I.. I don't know if I deserve this, Claudius." She told him honestly. "I don't begin to know how to fix the state of Delaya right now." She missed Livia already. Her five minutes were surely up, but now she was making herself even more comfortable by wrapping her arms around his neck and offering him her support.

Claudius took her ringed hand into his old and clutched it tightly, as his eyes locked on hers intently. "Spend everyday ensuring that you deserve it, Sierra," he told her, with a face as serious as the tone of voice he used. "History tells us that Duchess Raeni was an extraordinary woman," he said, as his eyes moved skyward as he tried to remember some of the tales his father tried to tell him and Marcus when they were young. He was just about to tell one when his comm system began to beep, causing him to let out a dejected sigh. "It'll have to wait for another time. You had better answer the comm, Commander. It could be news about our wounded," he said, before giving her another pat in order to motivate her to get moving. They had an Oversector to run and a Rebellion to crush, all while combating meddlesome subordinates and political infighting.

Her blue eyes stared into his browns. Livia would have wanted her to have it. Sierra felt strength in her husband's words. He believed in she needed to start believing in herself. She settled in to hear an old family story when the comm system began its insistent beeping. There was a joint sigh from husband and wife. "Alright, alright." She rose, making her way over to the comm. She cleared her throat then coolly answered the comm. "This is Commander Rodney." She wiped the remainder of the tears from her cheeks. Sierra worried that something bad was about to happen. She had spent the trip back to Esseles mentally listing all the potential bad things that could happen to her husband for acting so recklessly to save her. Granted, that was a story she'd be telling their children's children.

A miniaturized holographic image of Commander Allegra Ames, operations officer of the Retributor, appeared on Sierra's terminal. She blinked slightly, expecting to see the Grand Moff himself, and hated the fact that his new wife served as a gatekeeper. "Commander Rodney," she said, with a polite nod, which pained her. "Please inform the Governor that the Emperor's advisor has arrived and requests his presence aboard ... *immediately*," she reported, not mincing any words. She seemed nervous, and was shifting about unpleasantry. The fallout of their mission to Delaya was about to begin.

As soon as she spotted Commander Ames, Sierra realized that this wasn't an update on Kerrie and El-Nay. The young woman tensed where she stood. The words that Allegra spoke played in slow motion. The Emperor's advisor was on the Retributor and he was there to deal out retributions for what had happened. Sierra felt like she'd been punched in the stomach. She couldn't breathe anymore. "I'll let him know, Commander Ames. Thank you." The transmission ended rapidly. Sierra turned around. The room had begun to spin very rapidly. Everything was catching up to her. Claudius had been working hard to keep her from being arrested...but now it was *he* who was on the chopping block. She couldn't even focus her eye sight on him. "The Emperor's advisor has requests your presence immediately." Sierra paroted, holding onto the first piece of furniture that she could find. She needed to get dressed too. She could see her uniform hanging in their closet, but it was a million miles away. Even her husband seemed to be growing further and further away.

Jelena Rodney began to stir and as she stretched she could feel a warm, comfortable bed beneath her. "Mmm," she moaned slowly, before her eyes slowly opened and she realized she was back on Esseles. "No!" she screamed, as she sat up suddenly in her bed in a fit of rage. She rose from her feet and began marching towards her father's bedroom at the end of the corridor. When the door flung open it was not Ewwiekewwieikkie with another gemstone that would not budge, but a furious Jelena they would have to deal with. "Why did you have her stun me?" she screamed at Sierra, getting right up in her face. "Dad, she had me shot!" she said, as she turned to look at him. "Where is Commander Xergo?" she asked, both of them, as her head moved quickly around the room. She clenched both of her hands together and unleashed a powerful scream reminiscent of her younger sister.

It couldn't get worse, could it? Famous last words, apparently. Sierra could hear the familiar pounding of Ewwiekewwieikkie's feet down the hallway. She tried to regain composure before the Squib appeared, but quickly found Jelena making her way into her face. Sierra's eyes went wide. This was exactly what she expected to happen. "Jelena, we can't do this right now." She tried to reason with the girl. She cringed at the way she screamed. It was so loud that it felt like water was rushing through her eyes. "Ugh..." She grasped her step daughter by her shoulders. "Your father has been summoned back to the Retributor, we have to go. We can discuss Commander Xergo when we return." Sierra's sickness was increasing. She hadn't had a bout of morning sickness in some time, yet she was pretty sure what was happening was stress induced. She did her best to fight it down, but Jelena was spinning her ... wasn't she?

Claudius could not believe that the Empeor had sent one of his advisors to his command ship. He expected repercussions for what happened, but not of this magnitude and certainly not this quickly. "You should take the girls and go," he warned Sierra, when the door flung over and revealed a furious Jelena. The noise coming out of her mouth caused his head no shortness of pain. "Jelena ... your stepmother's quick thinking may have saved your life," he said, as he grabbed hold of her by the shoulder and tried to calm her down. "Commander Xergo is part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor," he told her, in no uncertain terms, as his mind returned to the message from the ship. "I simply don't have time for this now. I'm sorry," he told her, before he started to turn to get ready.

Jelena reached out with her hand quickly, slapping her father across the face. "Shame on you, father," she said to him, furiously. "She is a woman fighting for what she believes. A mother," she said to him, as her face turned red and and she began to cry. "If her daughter could see you now," she said to him, behind a crumbling exterior. "You're a terrible ambassador from candy land," she said, as she stomped her feet, and began walking out of the room. As soon as they left for the ship she would begin her planned escape.

After a moment, Sierra started seeing straight again. He wanted her to take the girls and run, meaning the seriousness of the situation was beyond her understanding. She turned her attention away from Jelena, who continued to tantrum over Commander Xergo. Seeing her cry broke Sierra's heart. Though Jelena was not her daughter and they had grown up together, she felt an immense amount of love for the girl. She never wanted to see her cry. It stung to hear her bring up Callista, who she knew her husband had enjoyed having around at Castle Rodney. Even Ewwiekewwieikkie still spoke about the little girl on occasion. She frowned, watching her leave.

Yet they simply didn't have time for it. Sierra stopped her husband from dressing by grabbing his wrist gently. "I won't leave without you. We can all run." She was terrified for her husband. Running seemed irrational, but Sierra was right there. All the sane options were gone. "You can either come with us, or I'm coming with you. Jelena can take the girls elsewhere." When push came to shove, Jelena wouldn't let her sisters be killed by the Emperor. Sierra's hand was shaking. There were unbeatable villains in the world, and one of them was waiting for Claudius above Esseles. "You can't go alone..." She was about to lose him. The Empire would take him away from her *forever*.

The smack stopped Claudius dead in his tracks, and he said nothing as his daughter fled the scene of her crime. He missed Callista very much, and had worried about her often. If only she was here to help with the Ewwiekewwieikkie situation he thought to himself. As Sierra stopped him and refused to comply with his wish that she take the girls away, he frowned and lowered his head. "I do not know what is waiting for me up there, but I cannot run. I would dishonor my family and everything it stood for," he said to her, but that did not mean he wanted her to accompany him. "I suppose there's nothing I can say to dissuade you?" he asked, as he looked at her sadly, half dressed. He did not want to have risked so much to save his wife just to lose her to the Emperor's advisor.

She had no idea what was waiting either. What she did know was that there was no allowing Claudius to face it alone. She pressed her forehead to his. She could feel his worries and stress. "No. Nothing. We'll face this together. That's kind of the way we get through things, isn't it?" She kissed him suddenly. She kissed him with all of her love just in case... Just in case this was the end. Her hands met with his tunic which she aided him in putting on. "I will have Jelena take the girls somewhere safe. I do not want any harm to come to them." The family had just been pulled back together. Now it was being pushed away. She stepped back from him, leaving him mostly dressed. She grabbed her ISB uniform from the closet and made her way to Jelena's room, forced to rapidly dress along the way. Her trousers and top were on by the time she reached her door.

Sierra burst through as she adjusted her belt over her growing stomach. "Jelena, if you want your precious Rebel Commander saved, then you need to gather Ewwiekewwieikkie and Drusilla and leave." She said, already putting a hand on the girl's back and guiding her out of her room. "Your father went to great lengths to see that we survived the ordeal on Delaya. Neither one of us know what's going to happen when we go back to the Retributor right now." She produced a card from her pocket. She placed it in the palm of her friend's hand. "Take the speeder into the city. There, you'll find a Nella 342 Light freighter. Get your sisters on board and take them somewhere safe. Do not contact me or your father. I will reach out to you on a private line if we survive this. If you do that, I give you my word that I will return to Delaya and save your Commander."

Jelena was busy in her room trying to dry her eyes when Sierra barged back in. Jelena was expecting round two when the conversation turned to her escape. "Come with us. The Empire is evil. There is nothing for you up there," she said, as she rose from the bed and moved towards Sierra. She knew exactly where she would take Drusilla and Ewwiekewwieikkie ... to New Alderaan. It was the only safe place, she had convinced herself. "I tried to convince my father what the Empire had become, but he did not hear me," she said, as she moved to wrap her arms around Sierra in what she wondered what was a final embrace. "He won't hear you either," she said, before letting go of her and moving down the corridor to find Ewwiekewwieikkie and Drusilla and prepare them for the journey. She had yet to be made aware of the incident with the family jewels.

"My life is with the Empire." She told Jelena, looking worn down. "I will never leave your father. We've talked about it. There's no way to escape the Empire." She confessed to her step daughter. Sierra hugged her tightly. Even at this moment, Jelena still was an outstanding friend. They were only looking out for each other. "Thank you..." She whispered, watching Jelena begin the difficult process of escaping with her sisters. It hurt so bad knowing that they would all be separated. She bit her lower lip to stop herself from crying. "Goodbye, Jelena..."

Sierra made her way back to their bedroom. She felt defeated, yet she powered through finishing dressing herself. If nothing else, if she died, this was the last time she needed to wear these terribly uncomfortable boots. "Are you ready, my love?" She asked him, positioning her hat on her head. She drew herself towards him, eyeing the chronometer. If they did survive, the house was going to feel so empty without the girls. When would they be reunited again? "Jelena is taking care of Drusilla and Ewwiekewwieikkie." She told him by means of making this somewhat easier. Their girls were safe. She came to stop in front of him. "I love you, Claudius."

Claudius stood in the mirror looking over his Imperial uniform carefully when Sierra found him. There were few in the Empire who outranked him, but an advisor to the Emperor was certainly one of them. "Yes, I am ready," he said as he moved towards her. "At least they are safe," he informed her, with a great sense of relief, as he took her by the arm and began to lead her towards the landing platform. "I love you, Sierra," he said, as he lowered his head, and placed a loving kiss upon her lips in front of the shuttle. Whatever was to come he was a better man for having her in his life.

Claudius had become a pillar of strength in her life. Right now was a prime example of how he made her capable of standing and facing the hardships in life with dignity. She could hear a speeder in the distance. She recognized it as the girls making their getaway. It truly was relieving to know that they were safe. Standing with him on the landing platform, Sierra kissed him lovingly. It was Claudius who had flipped her life upside down. He had opened her eyes to how wonderful life could be. Her greatest achievement thus far had been becoming his wife. Hope still hung in the back of her mind...the hope that they would remain together for many, many years.

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