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Misunderstood V2

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									                                      Misunderstood V2

                                      Quill of Molliemon

Disclaimer: I don‘t own Star Wars. George Lucas, the all-might flannelled one, does. I make
no money, so no suing.

Notes: For new readers, this is an AU of the prequel trilogy. There is an older version of this
story, but don‘t read it unless you want to be spoiled.

For long-time readers, this is the new and improved version of Misunderstood! When I started
writing the old version, I hadn‘t watched any of the prequel movies in a long, long time, and
my memory is crap. Now, looking back on it, I realize that the early part of Misunderstood is
crap too. So I‘m going back over it, and fixing it. Once this new version is completely posted, I
will delete the old version.

Now sit back, enjoy, and always remember to review for reviews make me happy!

                                       A Broken Promise

Four years. He wasn‘t coming. He‘d said a few weeks, a month at the most. Weeks, a month,
that wasn‘t anywhere close to four years. Master Qui-Gon Jinn, that Jedi, had not kept his
promise. Anakin had given up waiting for him three years ago.

The first sun had barely cleared the horizon when Anakin trudged into Watto‘s shop. Watto
himself wouldn‘t make it in until the second sun was up, nearly an hour from now. But if
Anakin didn‘t get started immediately, the scummy blue Toydarian would accuse him of
laziness and strike him a few times with his cane. Wanting to avoid such unnecessary pain,
Anakin got right to work.

A new shipment of scrap had come in yesterday and a good chunk of it still needed to be
sorted and catalogued. With practiced ease he picked through the grimy junk, determining
each piece‘s quality and condition with barely a glance. Once a certain pile of parts was large
enough, he‘d scoop it up and shift it to another larger pile in the lot behind the shop, and then
it was back to the sorting.

It was mindless work and that meant that while his hands were busy, his thoughts were
somewhere else entirely. And at the moment, his thoughts were where they usually went
these days; that blasted broken promise. That Jedi had given him hope, real hope that he
might escape this miserable dust ball and make something of himself. But now he knew better.
That Jedi had used him, just like everyone else (except his mom, of course) used him.

Suddenly he paused mid-motion. Something was going to happen. He wasn‘t sure how he
knew. He just knew. And when he knew things like that, they happened. Curious, Anakin
abandoned his sorting and slunk into the shop, seeking the cause of his odd feeling. He didn‘t
have far or long to look.

Watto fluttered into the shop with an elderly Human man following closely behind.

The man was finely dressed in a style of clothing that clearly marked him as a wealthy
Outlander. While he was old with a weathered face and white hair and gray beard, his sure
strong step spoke of energy and health. And, for some strange reason, Anakin had a feeling
that this man was very powerful, and very dangerous.

―Now please, be reasonable.‖ The strange man purred in a deep, velvety voice that made
Anakin shiver.

―I am being reasonable. The boy is not for sale!‖ Watto snapped back.

Anakin stiffened warily. That man wants to buy me?

―Come now, I‘ve already offered you double his worth.‖ The stranger calmly pointed out.

―His mother I could be persuaded to part with, but not the boy!‖ Watto declared.

―She is of no use to me; it is the boy that I am interested in.‖ The stranger declared.

―Well you can‘t have him.‖ Watto grunted, heading for the counter. ―(Boy, get back to work!)‖
The Toydarian snapped in Huttese when he spied Anakin watching from the back doorway.

―There you are.‖ The stranger smiled before Anakin could escape. ―Wait there, once I finish
these negotiations we will leave immediately.‖

Anakin gaped at the man.

Watto roared foul Huttese curses at the Outlander and swiped at him with his cane. ―I said the
boy is not for sale!‖ The Toydarian snarled. ―Now get out of my shop unless you want to buy
his mother or some parts!‖

―I will have that boy. If you refuse to sell him to me, then I shall simply have to take him.‖
The man replied softly, calmly, and with tangible threat in his tone.

Watto was stubborn, but a coward. He backed down. ―Fine, I sell him to you, but at triple price
or no deal!‖

―Done,‖ the man replied without a second‘s hesitation.

Anakin blinked, dazed, as Watto reluctantly slapped the Outlander‘s palm to seal the deal.
There was some exchange of currency and a small transmitter box that would allow the man
to take Anakin wherever he wanted without setting off his slave implant. And then the man
beckoned to him.

―Come boy,‖ he commanded and strode out of the shop, forcing Anakin to run to catch up.

―Where are we going, sir?‖ Anakin asked, still half-dazed by this sudden turn of events.

―To my home,‖ the man replied.

―Can I say goodbye to my mom before we go, sir?‖ Anakin wondered.

―No, that Toydarian has made me late; there is no time to stop,‖ the man informed him. Then
he smiled a smile that was meant to look warm, but felt more sinister than friendly. ―Perhaps
we can visit her some other time when I am not quite so busy.‖
―Yes, sir.‖ Anakin swallowed and followed his new owner tamely without complaint.

He had no real choice but to do as he was told, he was a slave after all, just living, breathing
property. If he disobeyed, he could be beaten, starved, or even killed. He had no choice but to
abandon his mother and his friends. Although he did manage to find one bright spot in this
otherwise unhappy situation, it did nothing to comfort him.

At least I‘ll finally get off this dust ball…I guess.

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                           font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                      2. 1: The Encounter

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                          Chapter 1
                                         The Encounter

It was too light and too loud and it smelled really bad. The sensory barrage bordered on
overload and it was all he could do to keep on his feet and not fall over or throw up. Doing
either was not a good idea in this neighborhood.

Out here in the slums on the fringes of Coronet if he showed any weakness, any vulnerability,
the gangs, independent muggers, and pick-pockets would descend on him and strip him bare.
They were probably out there already, circling like carrion eaters, waiting. He couldn‘t see
them, but they were there.

He wouldn‘t give them the chance to rob him though. He wouldn‘t let his weakness show. And
if they somehow managed to see past his façade, he‘d make them pay for daring to try and
take his credits and valuables. Yes, he‘d make them pay and enjoy every second of it.

A furry, grimy Bothan nearly knocked him off his feet as it brushed past him and it was all he
could do to keep upright. At that moment, the ground decided to tilt crazily under his feet,
making his task all the more difficult. And then his vision got kind of fuzzy, blurry around the
edges. His stomach churned most unpleasantly. Things began to take on a gray tinge. He was
dangerously close to vomiting, passing out, or both.

Suddenly, a hand grasped his elbow and steadied him. He blinked, startled, and whirled on the
person that dared touch him. This was, of course, a mistake. The sudden movement made his
head throb worse, his vision swim, and bile burn its way up his throat. He swallowed hard,
willed the nausea away, and blinked rapidly, trying to clear his blurred sight.

―You should not be out when you are so ill. Where is your home?‖ A man asked, concerned.

―Why d‘you care?‖ He managed between swallows.

―I sensed your distress and felt compelled to help.‖ The man shrugged, or at least it looked
like he did. Things swam in and out of focus and it was impossible to keep anything straight.

―Whatever,‖ he gulped and tried to pull away.

The man did not let him go. ―Please, where is your home? I will escort you there.‖

―Y‘ can‘t.‖ He muttered thickly. He was starting to lose his battle with his stomach.

―Are you running away?‖ The man asked gently.

―‘m gunna…b-be sick.‖ He gasped, swaying.
The man paused for a long fraction of a second. ―This way then,‖ he ordered sharply and
managed to haul him to a nearby alley where he wouldn‘t make quite so much of a mess.

He barely made it off the street when his stomach finally succeeded in rebelling. He retched
and heaved until nothing more would come up and then he retched and heaved some more.
When he finally stopped, his knees shook so badly that he nearly collapsed and he broke out
into a cold sweat. He couldn‘t decide if he felt better or worse now that his insides were empty.

―Feel better?‖ The man asked softly.

―N-no.‖ He panted.

―Will you tell me where you live?‖ The man asked again.

―No.‖ He replied, managing a firmer tone this time.

―Are you running away from home?‖ The man repeated.

―Maybe,‖ he cautiously admitted, struggling to think past his aching head.

―Well then, I shall take you to child services and have them look after you.‖ The man decided.

He went stiff and glared dangerously at the man. ―I am not a child!‖ He rasped out slowly and

―How old are you?‖

―I‘m fifteen!‖

―Eighteen is the local, and galactic, age of responsibility; therefore you are still a child.‖ The
man calmly pointed out.

―Don‘t care, ‘m not goin‘.‖ He snarled defiantly.

―Please calm down—‖

―Don‘ you tell me t‘ calm down!‖ He cried, his voice ragged and bordering on hysterical.


―Lemme go!‖ He almost wailed and he began to struggle against the man‘s grip.

His efforts to break free were less than successful. In fact, it just made things worse. In the
scuffle, if it could even be called that, he hit his left side against something. Blinding, fiery
agony spiked through him and drove the air from his lungs. And then the pain tripped a little
circuit-breaker in his brain, and his sight simply turned off. Everything was black and silent
and painless…

Obi-Wan thanked his Jedi reflexes as he managed to catch the young man as he suddenly
toppled forward in a faint. Despite his thin, small frame, he was surprisingly heavy. In spite of
the youth‘s weight, Obi-Wan was able to keep his feet and keep the ill boy from crashing into
the hard ground. With a sigh, he hefted the teen up and dragged him to the opposite wall of
the alley and set him down gently to better examine him.

While his clothing was shabby, it wasn‘t nearly in bad enough shape to mark him as a resident
of this area. His boots looked to be of good quality, hinting of at least a middle-class origin.
And his shirt, pants, and hooded cape seemed to confirm that assumption, though they were
very tattered and dirty, like he‘d run through a few forests. Hidden from sight underneath his
cape was a bag of some sort that probably held his most treasured possessions.

―Yes, you certainly appear to be running away. But from what?‖ Obi-Wan mused, not
expecting an answer from the unconscious teen.

A hand to the boy‘s forehead confirmed that he was sick with a very high fever. If it got any
higher, the teen would slip into delirium and his brain would cook in his skull. He was also very
pale and thin, suggesting that he hadn‘t eaten well lately. And then Obi-Wan sensed
something odd as his hands drifted over the youth‘s torso. He lifted the boy‘s shirt and found a
clumsy makeshift bandage tied around his middle, the left side of it was soaked through with
blood. A quick peek under the bandage told Obi-Wan two things: it was badly infected, and
from the looks of it, there was a good chance that it had been self-inflicted.

―Well young man, you have just earned yourself a trip to the hospital.‖ He sighed sadly.

Careful not to injure the boy further, he scooped him up as best he could and headed for the
nearest medical clinic. As he made his way through the slums and towards a nicer section of
the city, he wondered.

Why had the Force pulled his attention on this boy? What was so special about him that a Jedi
Knight was needed to intervene? What was he running from? Had he really stabbed himself?
Why would anyone do such a thing? Who was he? Where did he come from?

Obi-Wan continued to wonder about the boy until he came to the hospital entrance where he
pulled himself fully into the present and banished all his questions from his mind. He brought
the boy inside and handed him off to the doctors. After doing his best to answer the doctors‘
questions, he took his leave and returned to the Corellian Jedi Temple and all but forgot about
the strange encounter…

It was dark, so very dark, and cold. He was floating in a sticky, foul-smelling sea of goo. His
body was as light and flexible as lead, yet he remained buoyant enough not to sink into the
blacker abyss that lay beneath him. He was drowning in slime, yet he still was alive.

Well, he thought that he was still alive. For all he knew, he was dead, and this was hell.
Damnation not in fire, but in sticky, cold, blackness.

For eternity he hung there, suspended outside of time. Sometimes he thought he saw things,
distorted shapes through a greenish liquid haze. But most of the time, it was just darkness
interrupted by nightmares.

Usually it was the nobleman who came for him. He was stride out of the blackness with his
dark cape swirling with every step. He would brandish his red energy blade that glowed the
color of blood. And when he was close enough, the elderly man would cut him down and chop
him into tiny pieces.

Other times it was the Shadow Master – the great Puppeteer – that would come. Hazy, grainy,
and blue, the electronic phantom man, cloaked in a dark concealing robe, would reach from
him with ancient clawed hands. Even though the monster was just a hologram, the reaching
claw-hands were solid enough and icy cold, freezing him from the inside out before dropping
him so that he shattered like glass on the ground.

And a few times, faceless robed figures with blazing blue and green swords would advance
upon him through thick gray fog. The nameless Jedi Knights wouldn‘t say a word as they
approached; they wouldn‘t make a sound except for the humming of their sabers. Then they
would strike with righteous fury, slaying him, a vessel of the Darkness that they opposed, that
their Code condemned.

Every time he died he tried to scream in pain, in fear, in horror. Every time he tried to move
away from the monsters that plagued him, that hurt him, that killed him. And every time,
without exception, he couldn‘t move, couldn‘t scream, couldn‘t stop from dying.

He wished he stayed dead. That way the nightmares would stop. But here – wherever here
was – death was only a temporary state. He‘d be resurrected not long after his nightmares
killed him to start the cycle all over again and again and again.

And it never stopped, it never—

He snapped upright, rolled over, and heaved over the side of his bed. Nothing came up,
though. He just coughed and gagged for a little while.

When his stomach stopped spasming, he sagged back and trembled. He felt awful. His head
was throbbing and dizzy, his guts were all tied up in knots, and he had no idea where he was.

The lighting was dim, leaving the room drenched in gray shadow. It was small and sparsely
furnished, containing just a couple of chairs, a nightstand, and the bed that he was laying in.
The room‘s only door was shut tight and what little light there was seeped in through a tiny
circular window in the door. And it was absolutely silent.

The silence buzzed in his ears, an electronic shrill that shrieked through his brain. It rattled
through his skull and into his teeth, down his spine and into his fingers and toes. It howled a
message he couldn‘t ignore.

He‘ll find you here, the silence hissed. He‘ll find you! He‘ll kill you! Or worse, he‘ll take you
back! He will find you!

He rolled out of bed and instantly collapsed as his legs refused to hold his weight. Spewing
curses made hoarse by his raw throat, he forced himself back up into a standing position.
Pausing only long enough to step into a pair of thin slipper-shoes and shrug on an equally thin
robe over the papery pajamas he found himself wearing, he staggered towards the door.

Taking a deep, shaky breath, he stabbed at the door pad with a trembling finger and
nervously peered out into the dimly lit hallway. It was just as silent as the room and just as
empty. There wasn‘t a soul to be seen, not even a cleaning droid. It was the ideal opportunity
for him to escape.

Without hesitation, thought, or a backward glance, he stumbled down the hall in the direction
of the nearest glowing ‗exit‘ sign. Moving as quickly as his weak, aching body would allow, he
practically fell down several flights of stairs until he reached ground level. Then it was out the
door, out of the building, and back into the streets, chilled by the gray predawn hour.
And even though it wasn‘t silent out here like it had been inside, the buzzing scream still
burned through his brain and drove him on.

He‘ll find you! He‘ll catch you! He‘ll kill you! Or worse, he‘ll take you back and keep you! He
will find you!

Run, run, run!

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                           font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                     3. 2: The Mysterious Runaw ay

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                         Chapter 2
                                   The Mysterious Runaway

Just a little less than a week later, Obi-Wan found himself entering the hospital again. Not
because he was injured, but because the hospital administrator had contacted him concerning
the boy he‘d brought in for treatment. The Jedi Knight paused at the desk and spoke with the
secretary before being directed towards the administrator‘s office. A short lift ride later Obi-
Wan greeted an aging human man with thick glasses and a well-worn gray suit, the hospital

―Thank you for coming so quickly Knight Kenobi, I hope this isn‘t an inconvenience for you.‖
The man – a Mr. Lassen according to the placard on his cluttered desk – apologized.

―It is no problem, what can I help you with?‖ Obi-Wan replied politely.

―It concerns the possible runaway you brought in last week,‖ Mr. Lassen sighed unhappily.
―The staff removed him from the Bacta tank last night and everything appeared to be fine. But
this morning, the nurses found his bed empty.‖

―So he‘s run again.‖ Obi-Wan mused to himself. ―But, why contact me? Why not CorSec?‖ He
asked. Jedi rarely got involved in such small cases, that was for local law enforcement to

―We would have, but then we went through his personal effects a second time.‖ Mr. Lassen
paused to remove and clean his glasses, more to gather his thought than actually clean them.
―The first time we searched his bag and clothes, it was to find some kind of ID, and we found
none. The second time it was to see if we could find any clue as to where he might‘ve gone, or
why he ran away. And we found this.‖ Mr. Lassen pulled a crate out from beside his desk
which contained the missing teen‘s clothes and bag. From that crate, he pulled out a metallic
cylindrical object and laid it before the Jedi. ―Now, is that what I think it is?‖

Obi-Wan picked up the object and studied it very carefully. There was a red activator switch
roughly in the middle of it, and one end was an emitter, the other end had a soft grip…it was
definitely what it appeared to be: a lightsaber. But what in the galaxy would that boy be doing
with one? His clothes were not in the style of the Jedi. He lacked any sign of the distinctive
Padawan learner haircut, or even just the braid. There was no way he was old enough to be a
Knight already, and if he was simply not taken as a Padawan and shipped off to be part of the
Agri-Corp, he would not have a lightsaber. Now he saw why he had been contacted.

―Yes, it is a lightsaber.‖ Obi-Wan sighed, setting the weapon down on the desk. ―Did you find
any clues in his belongings?‖

―Aside from that weapon, no, we found nothing.‖ Mr. Lassen shook his head regretfully.
―Well, I thank you for contacting me. I shall look into this.‖ Obi-Wan promised and gathered
up the small crate of the boy‘s belongings to take back with him to the Temple.

He cursed himself yet again for his impulsiveness as he cowered in a filthy alley. He‘d been in
such a damn hurry to get out of that hospital that he hadn‘t thought to search for his clothes
and bag. Now he lacked his clothes, his tools, his credits, and his lightsaber. He was screwed.
With another soft Huttese curse he glared at the gray, washed-out-looking pajamas, robe, and
thin slippers the doctors had left him in.

At least I feel better… He thought bitterly as his stomach cramped again. Well, sort of.

A stray pack of tiger-hounds started sniffing around the mouth of the alley and he cowered in
the shadow of a dumpster. Shaking, he projected all the nasty feelings that he could, trying to
will the mangy animals away. With sharp yelps and fearful yowls, the skinny beasts fled the
discomfort before they even smelled him hiding.

Clutching at his stomach and his still throbbing left side, he crept out from behind the
dumpster and slunk out of the alley. Even though it had only been a bunch of animals that had
almost found him, he didn‘t feel safe here anymore. It was time to find a new hiding place.
Maybe there was an abandoned building or warehouse that he could take shelter in for a while.
But only for a little while.

Gotta keep running. Gotta get away. He‘ll find me!

After stashing the box of the boy‘s things in his assigned quarters, Obi-Wan took the
lightsaber to one of the Corellian Temple‘s saber-masters, Nejaa Halcyon. If this saber
belonged to someone associated with this particular branch of the Jedi Temple, it was very
likely that Master Halcyon would recognize it. When Obi-Wan located him, he had just let out a
class of younglings.

―Hello there Knight Kenobi!‖ Master Halcyon greeted once he sensed Obi-Wan‘s presence.

―Hello Master Halcyon.‖ Obi-Wan smiled.

―What can I do for you?‖ Nejaa asked curiously as he put the last of the small practice sabers
away in a cabinet.

―I was hoping that you might be able to tell me who this belongs to.‖ Obi-Wan replied, holding
out the mysterious lightsaber.

―Hmm,‖ Nejaa muttered, taking the saber to study it better. After a few minutes, he frowned
and shook his head. ―It‘s very well made, but I can‘t say that I‘ve ever seen it before. What
color is it?‖

―I don‘t know.‖ Obi-Wan shrugged.

―Well let‘s take a look.‖ Nejaa grinned and flicked the activator switch.

The blade sprang to life with the familiar snap-hiss…and Nejaa‘s grin vanished in an instant.
Obi-Wan paled at the sight of it. It was a crimson blade. No Jedi ever, ever, had such a color.
Only those who had fallen to the Dark Side and the Sith used such weapons. Master Halcyon
quickly switched the saber off.
―Star‘s End,‖ Nejaa hissed. ―Where in the Nine Corellian Hells did you get this Obi-Wan?‖

―From a hospital, they found it among a missing patient‘s personal effects.‖ Obi-Wan breathed.

―A missing patient?‖ Nejaa repeated.

―Yes, he slipped out of the hospital last night and no one has seen him since.‖ Obi-Wan sighed.

―So will you go find this missing patient?‖ Nejaa inquired softly, handing the red-bladed saber

―That‘s what I was planning on doing.‖ Obi-Wan replied, reluctantly clipping the tainted
weapon to his belt beside his own.

―I‘ll come with you.‖ Nejaa decided.

Obi-Wan merely nodded. He figured that he was going to need some extra help with this. So
what if he was the first Jedi to kill a Sith in several hundred years? He had no desire to ever
face one again. And a Fallen Jedi was no better. Even if the teen had just found it and claimed
it as his own, he wasn‘t going to take any risks. Together, they slipped out of the Temple and
began looking.

He shivered as the sun set and the warmth quickly bled out of the atmosphere. It didn‘t get as
cold as quickly as it did when the suns went down on Tatooine, but it was close enough. He
never liked being cold. He scowled down at the thin gray hospital pajamas yet again and slunk
through the dark streets in search of a place to crash for the night.

He was so engrossed in looking for shelter that he failed to see or sense a pair of cloaked men
fall in a few steps behind him. He was totally oblivious to his tails for nearly three blocks
before the hairs on the back of his neck stood up and made him freeze. Feeding off his anger
and fear, the Darkness in and around him thickened and whispered to him. Two beings were
behind him, and they were following him.

―Shouldn‘t you still be in the hospital, young one?‖ A vaguely familiar voice asked.

―Prob‘ly,‖ he grunted warily, his slightly hazy mind racing to try and place the voice.

―Then why did you leave?‖ The voice asked.

―Wasn‘ safe.‖ He growled, turning very slowly to face the two people behind him.

―How was it not safe? In my experience, hospitals are very safe places to be.‖ The man

―No where‘s safe for me.‖ He snapped, then paled when he made out who he was talking two.
They were a pair of Jedi. Oh kriffin‘ Hell!

―Why is that?‖ One of the Jedi, the one with a beard, asked softly.

His mind raced as he put things together. The only reason the Jedi were here for him was that
they‘d seen his lightsaber. He was in serious trouble. ―You know why!‖ He spat, shaking.
They‘re here to kill me!
―I‘m…not sure that I know what you mean.‖ The bearded Jedi lied.

―Don‘t lie!‖ He raged. He was very sick of being lied to. Trembling, he started to back slowly
away from them.

―Humor us then.‖ The second Jedi finally spoke. His voice was a good deal colder than his
companion‘s was.

―If…if they don‘t find me, you will, and…and either way I‘ll end up dead.‖ He replied, struggling,
and failing, to keep his voice steady.

―Who are ‗they‘?‖ The first Jedi asked.

―The…the Count and h-his Master and their lackeys.‖ He half-whimpered, cursing himself for
how pathetic he was sounding. Gotta get away!

―Who?‖ The first Jedi asked worriedly.

―The Count, his Master, and—‖

―Who?‖ The second Jedi demanded sharply, taking a threatening step towards him.

―The…j-just gimme my stuff an‘…and I‘ll go ‘way an‘ I‘ll never bother you again, I swear!‖ He
begged, panicking and hating himself for it. I gotta escape! I don‘t wanna die!

―What?‖ The first Jedi muttered, puzzled by the reply.

―I swear, I‘ll…I‘ll jus‘ disappear an‘…an‘ I won‘t bother nobody.‖ He whimpered, staring at
ground and trying not to cry. His legs locked up and he felt frozen. What the Hell is wrong with
me! Why aren‘t I running?

Suddenly the first Jedi was standing right in front of him and the Jedi‘s hands were on his
shoulders. He slowly lifted his head to look the Jedi in the face. ―We won‘t hurt you unless you
force us to.‖ The Jedi promised.

He tried to pull away from the Jedi‘s hands, he tried to run, but he stayed frozen. Roaring,
churning fear burned in his ears and roiled in his mind. The lengthening shadows cast by the
streetlights curled around his feet and seeped into his skin, making his blood run cold. The
Jedi had to be lying. Any second now a lightsaber would be activated and run right through
him and—

…Trust him…

The icy terror dissolved into a gray weariness. He felt dizzy and kind of sick and so very, very
tired. His eyes drifted closed and with a sigh he gave up and pitched forward as his strength
failed. The Jedi grunted as he crashed into him, but the older man caught him and didn‘t let
him fall to the hard ground.

―I‘m so tired.‖ The words tore out of his throat with a sob. ―So tired…‖

―You should‘ve stayed in the hospital, then,‖ the second Jedi scolded.

―No,‖ he whimpered pathetically as his knees buckled and the first Jedi was forced to support
his weight. ―Y‘ don‘ un‘erstan…‖ Everything started to feel far away as his words slurred
together into a barely discernable mess. ―Gotta keep runnin‘…or… or ‘ll fin‘ me…kill me…‘r

―Worse?‖ The first Jedi repeated, sounding like he was miles away.

―Make me…do things…tha‘ I don‘ wanna do…‖ He mumbled, feeling his thoughts unravel.
―Make me a monster…‖

And then he didn‘t hear anymore.

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                           font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                     4. 3: Names

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                           Chapter 3

Obi-Wan sipped his tea and silently studied his most unexpected guest. Sprawled on the couch
across from him lay the mysterious boy from the hospital. He was wrapped up in a blanket
and fast asleep, finally looking peaceful. Now what I am supposed to do?

―He can‘t stay here, you know.‖ Nejaa reminded him softly, so as not to wake the boy. ―You
probably shouldn‘t even have brought him here in the first place.‖

―I know,‖ Obi-Wan sighed. ―But what would you have done with him?‖

―I really can‘t say,‖ Nejaa sighed. ―So when will you call the Council?‖

―In the morning.‖ Obi-Wan replied. ―It‘s too late now, everyone is likely asleep.‖

―You know they wouldn‘t mind being woken up for this.‖ Nejaa pointed out sternly.

―True,‖ Obi-Wan reluctantly conceded.

―Why don‘t we place that call now and get it over with?‖ Nejaa suggested.

―Yes,‖ Obi-Wan nodded after a moment and set his tea aside.

Master Halcyon nodded and the pair of them rose and headed out. Obi-Wan paused at his
doorway to glance back at his most unusual guest. The boy remained completely dead to the
world and so he left without worrying…too much.

I hope he‘s smart enough to stay put if he wakes up…

Something was off. He wasn‘t sure what at first. But then it came to him. He was entirely too
comfortable. In his childhood, his bed had been a simple shelf with some sheets and a pillow.
More recently it was a cell-like room with a cold metal cot. And most recent of all was a wide
variety of uncomfortable places from ship holds, to sewer pipes, to sharp rocky ground. Now
he was very comfortable, probably the most comfortable he‘d ever been while asleep. He
opened his eyes.

He was in a very cozy room, laying on a couch, and wrapped up in a blanket. The lights were
dim though not completely out. Next to the couch was a low table with a cup sitting at the far
end. It was very quiet, and he sensed that no one was around.
For a moment, he couldn‘t fathom where on Corellia he was. Then he remembered…

He‘d snuck out of the hospital, but he‘d forgotten all of his things in his panic. And then a pair
of Jedi had tracked him down. Surprisingly, the Jedi hadn‘t killed him on the spot for being a
Darksider. And then he‘d blacked out…

Where am I?

His eyes darted around the dimmed room, desperately trying to place where he was. Nothing
came to him. He‘d never been here – wherever here was – before.

If I was a Jedi…(hah! what a laugh!)…where would I take me if I didn‘t kill me…?

This place looked like a room in a house, or an apartment. It was a living space that served
the Jedi. This had to be the Corellian branch of the Jedi Temple. And that meant—

Sithspit! I have to get out of here!

He clumsily squirmed upright, hindered by the warm, soft blanket. He peeled himself free of it,
swung around, set his feet on the cold, hard floor and staggered towards the first door that he
saw. But before he reached the door, a dizzy spell hit him so hard that he ended up on the

Agh, I feel awful…

When the room stopped spinning, he slowly sat up and glared at the door which was still so
far away. He wanted so badly to escape from this death trap, but his own body was betraying
him. After holding out for so long it simply couldn‘t anymore, and it couldn‘t have picked a
worse time to quit on him.

I‘m going to die, he thought miserably.

The door abruptly whooshed open and two men came in. They were the two Jedi from earlier.
He flinched away from them, but couldn‘t do much more than that. They both stopped dead at
the sight of him.

―Oh, you‘re awake.‖ The bearded Jedi remarked, clearly surprised. ―Are you feeling better?‖

He stared at the Jedi dumbly. ―What?‖ he croaked.

―Are you feeling better?‖ The Jedi repeated slowly, like he was speaking to someone who
spoke poor Basic.

Are you kidding? ―No,‖ he growled.

―Perhaps you should‘ve stayed in the hospital,‖ the other Jedi retorted sternly.

He tensed up angrily. ―Perhaps you shoulda left me alone!‖

―And left you to what?‖ The first Jedi interjected before his irritated-looking companion could
fire back a reply. ―To leave you wandering the streets in hospital-issue clothing without any
―S-shut up!‖ He snarled and scooted back over the floor until his back hit the sofa he‘d been
passed out on earlier. ―Leave me alone!‖ Let me go!

―Unfortunately we can‘t do that,‖ the bearded Jedi sighed. ―Now,‖ the man started to slowly
approach him, ―let‘s get you off this floor—‖

―Stay away!‖ he hissed, pressing himself into the back of the sofa. ―Don‘ touch me!‖

The Jedi immediately paused. ―Can you get up by yourself?‖

―I don‘t need your help!‖ He spat sulkily and curled in on himself. ―Go away!‖

The Jedi crossed his arms over his chest and his concerned expression turned as stern as the
one that seemed permanently fixed on the face of his companion. ―I can‘t ‗go away,‘ these are
my quarters. I live here.‖

So I am in the Corellian Temple. ―Then show me to th‘ door and I‘ll leave,‖ he growled.

―I can‘t do that,‖ the Jedi told him.

―Why not?‖ he demanded. Because you‘re going to kill me?

―You aren‘t yet well enough to be released,‖ the Jedi pointed out, ―and you lack appropriate
clothing and money.‖

He had no response to that, so he just glared up at the Jedi, his prison guard. Why are you
drawing this out? Why don‘t you just kill me?

The Jedi sighed heavily and took the last few steps that closed the distance between them.
―Come now, be reasonable.‖ The bearded man held out his hand to help him up.

―Why are you bothering to care?‖ he asked suspiciously.

The Jedi frowned. ―I‘m not sure that I‘m following you.‖

―I‘m your enemy,‖ he muttered. ―You shouldn‘t be helping me. You should‘ve killed me or left
me to die.‖

―Why are you my enemy?‖ The Jedi asked slowly.

―Don‘t play dumb!‖ he snarled. ―You know why.‖

The Jedi hesitated for a minute before saying anything more. ―Let‘s start over. I am Jedi
Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi. Who are you?‖

This is unreal. He stared at the Jedi blankly. Does he seriously expect me to answer that?

―Well?‖ the Jedi prodded when he remained silent.

He does, he blinked, surprised. Well tough. Names can be traced. You‘re not getting anything
from me. ―Who‘s he?‖ he asked, pointing at the second Jedi.

―I am Jedi Master Nejaa Halcyon,‖ the second Jedi replied stiffly.
Great, a Jedi Master! No wonder he‘s such a jerk. Even though he was terrified of them, he
made no attempt to hide the contempt that he was feeling at that moment.

―So, who are you?‖ Master Halcyon growled.

He pressed himself even tighter against the back of the sofa and kept his mouth stubbornly
shut. I‘m not telling you anything!

―You can make up a name for us to use if you like,‖ Knight Kenobi suggested hopefully.

Well… ―Vader,‖ he decided.

―What sort of name is that?‖ Master Halcyon asked suspiciously.

Knight Kenobi didn‘t look any happier with that answer, but he accepted it nonetheless. ―Well
let‘s get you off this cold floor.‖ And then, before Vader could try to slip away, Kenobi leaned
down and hoisted him up to his feet.

―Don‘t touch me!‖ Vader squeaked furiously. However, lacking the strength to resist, he had
little choice but to allow the Knight to settle him back on the sofa.

Knight Kenobi wrapped the blanket back around him and then seemed satisfied. ―There, now,‖
he turned to Master Halcyon, ―I‘ll see you tomorrow?‖

―Yes,‖ Master Halcyon nodded curtly and strode from the apartment.

When he was gone, Knight Kenobi turned back to Vader huddled on the sofa. ―Can I get you

―No,‖ Vader growled. But then his stomach betrayed him with a particularly loud growl.

The Knight raised an eyebrow. ―Hungry?‖

―Yes,‖ Vader mumbled, knowing it was pointless to try and lie further.

―I‘ll get you some soup,‖ Knight Kenobi said and vanished from the room.

Vader slouched down as low as he could on the sofa and waited impatiently. Straining his ears,
he could hear Kenobi messing around in the next room, fixing up some instant soup. Against
his will, his mouth started to water.

Five minutes later, Kenobi returned with a steaming bowl of Hoi broth. ―Here you go.‖

Without a word, Vader took the food and ate it as quickly as he could. Since the Hoi broth was
steaming hot, it wasn‘t very fast, but it was still faster than a leisurely meal. The bottom of
the bowl came too soon and he glanced up at the Jedi warily.

Can I get more food out of him?

Before he could bring himself to ask, Kenobi took the empty bowl and vanished again. In
another five minutes, he was back with another bowl full of Hoi broth. Vader took the bowl
back and began eating again. This process was repeated one more time before there were any
words said.
―You can spend the night on my couch,‖ Kenobi offered.

―What if I don‘t want to?‖ Vader challenged.

―You could sleep on the floor, I suppose,‖ Kenobi mused, ―but I wouldn‘t suggest it.‖

―What if I don‘t want to spend the night here?‖ Vader growled.

―It‘s late, I‘m not taking you anywhere else,‖ Kenobi frowned.

―I could just leave in the middle of the night,‖ Vader threatened.

―I wouldn‘t advise doing that,‖ Kenobi replied dryly. ―The Temple is full of Jedi and if you try to
slip out, someone will catch you, and then neither Master Halcyon nor I can protect you.‖

Vader paled. Sithspit. ―Great…held prisoner in a building crawlin‘ with Jedi.‖

―Think of yourself as a guest here,‖ Kenobi suggested. ―Now, how about a full name?‖

Vader worked his jaw back and forth as he thought. ―Dar‘ti Vader,‖ he replied at last. Never
thought any of Mom‘s folktales would come in handy…certainly not like this.

Kenobi stroked his beard thoughtfully. ―Alright.‖

Hah, he didn‘t catch it! Dantillan stories must not be all that popular… Vader polished off the
last of his final bowl of Hoi broth and slumped over sideways on the couch.

Knight Kenobi took the empty bowl and sighed. ―Get some sleep, young one. There are more
things to do tomorrow.‖

―Like what?‖ Vader asked sleepily. Now that his stomach was finally full, it was getting harder
and harder to stay awake with each moment that passed.

―There is a trip to arrange,‖ Kenobi answered cryptically. ―Now sleep, you need to rest if you
wish to regain your strength.‖

―Fine,‖ Vader mumbled and burrowed under the blanket.

―Rest well,‖ Kenobi sighed and left the room, turning off the light after him.

Laying there in the dark, sleep rushed up on him and tried to drown him. But he resisted its
siren call for a while. He needed to do a little thinking before he let his brain turn off for the

There was something about Knight Kenobi that niggled at the back of his mind. There was
something about his voice that was familiar. And then it clicked in his brain. Knight Kenobi was
the man who‘d caught him in the slums and dumped him off in the hospital.

This is all his fault! Vader buried his face in a couch cushion and growled. Why couldn‘t he
have left me alone?

I‘ll get him for this…in the morning.
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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                            font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                   5. 4: Facing the Council

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07
                                           Chapter 4
                                       Facing the Council

The light stabbed at his eyelids and made his head hurt. He rolled away from it to escape from
the irritation. And then he fell off the couch and hit the floor.

―Ow,‖ he grunted. Then, finding that response inadequate, he amended that statement with a
long string of mumbled curses in various languages.

―Watch your language,‖ someone with a stuck-up accent scolded.

He blearily looked up from the cold wooden floor to see a Human Jedi with a beard staring
down at him with a stern expression on his face. ―I c‘n say whatever the kriff I want to say,‖
Vader growled.

―No, you can‘t,‖ Knight Kenobi sighed. ―Now get up, there are things for us to do today.‖

―‗Us?‘ What ‗us?‘‖ Vader sneered.

―Now, now, don‘t be difficult.‖ Kenobi sighed. ―Get up and take a shower and after that we‘ll
have breakfast.‖

Vader glared sleepily up at his captor. ―Where‘s the ‘fresher?‖

―That way,‖ Kenobi pointed, ―the door at the end of the hall.‖

Vader continued to glare for several more minutes before he was able to make it to his feet
and move in the indicated direction. When the door hissed shut behind him and he was alone
at last, he let his face relax. Glaring was only worthwhile when there was someone to glare at,
otherwise it was a waste of energy. And it wasn‘t very comfortable either.

Knight Kenobi‘s refresher was small and plain, but clean. He easily shed the crappy hospital
clothes and hopped into the shower stall. While the hospital people had cleaned him up a bit,
he still reeked of stale Bacta and there was enough of the goo left in his hair to make it stiff
and sticky.

Warm water was as close to heaven as he ever expected to get. Smiling for the first time in a
long time, he set about enjoying his shower. And if he ran up Kenobi‘s water bill in the process,
well…who cared? He certainly didn‘t.

Only when he felt completely clean (and his fingertips were a mess of wrinkles) did he turn the
water off. He smirked in wicked satisfaction to see the mirror and every other cool surface of
the room drenched in steam and condensation. The smirk faded though when he noticed that
his hospital clothes, the only clothing to his name, were long gone.

In their place were his old clothes. They had been washed, so they weren‘t muddy and didn‘t
smell anymore. And when he unfolded them and looked them over, he found them to be
mostly mended with all but the tiniest tears sown back up.

Chewing his lip for a moment, he shrugged the clothes back on. Then he rinsed out his mouth
and ran his hands through his hair until it was manageable. When his hair was drier he‘d tie it
back, but for now he just left it hanging loose just above his shoulders.
Now clothed and presentable, he had no more excuse to hide in the tiny refresher. Steeling his
nerves, he opened the door and crept down the short hallway to the common room. Knight
Kenobi was waiting there for him.

―What took you so long?‖ Kenobi pinned him with a disapproving stare. ―I was beginning to
wonder if you‘d died in there.‖

Vader refused to flinch under the Jedi‘s glare. ―I was taking a shower.‖

―Don‘t take so long next time,‖ Kenobi frowned.

There won‘t be a next time. ―Whatever,‖ Vader muttered. ―What about breakfast?‖

Kenobi watched him for a minute before turning away. ―This way.‖

Vader briefly made a face at Kenobi‘s back before following him.

The apartment‘s kitchen was just like the refresher, small but clean. Sitting on the small table
were bowls of some kind of instant porridge; one for him and one for the Jedi. Vader needed
no invitation; he sat down at the first bowl and devoured the contents.

―Did you remember to breathe?‖ Kenobi asked when he hit the bottom of the bowl.

―Do I get more?‖ was all that Vader asked in reply.

Kenobi sighed, but fixed him some more. By the time Kenobi finished his first bowl of the
bland porridge, Vader had practically inhaled three bowls and was finishing up a forth. The
Jedi appeared torn between surprise and annoyance at Vader‘s appetite.

―Are you done?‖ Kenobi asked as Vader was swallowing the last few spoonfuls of his fourth

Vader waited until the bowl was scraped clean. ―Yes,‖ he smirked.

―Good,‖ Kenobi grumbled, ―because I believe that you‘ve just finished off my entire supply of
the stuff.‖

Vader‘s smirk widened slightly. Serves you right!

He settled back in his chair and sighed in satisfaction. It felt so nice to feel full, especially after
such a long time of not being full. The porridge hadn‘t been anything special, but it was food
and now that he was full of it, he was starting to feel drowsy. A nice long nap looked very
good right about now.

―Don‘t fall asleep just yet,‖ Kenobi warned him as he washed the used bowls in the sink. ―We
have somewhere to go before you can rest.‖

Alarm bells shrieked in his head. ―Oh?‖ he asked warily.

―Come,‖ Kenobi ordered and headed for the door.

―Tell me where we‘re goin‘,‖ Vader demanded.
―Does it matter where we are going?‖ Kenobi inquired.

Vader was on his feet and backing away from the Jedi in seconds. ―You‘re goin‘ t‘ kill me!‖

―What?‖ Kenobi frowned in puzzlement. ―Why would I do that?‖

―I‘m your enemy,‖ Vader snapped. Whether I like it or not!

―Perhaps,‖ Kenobi replied calmly, lying through his teeth.

―You‘re goin‘ t‘ kill me!‖ Vader accused again.

―If I was planning on killing you, why would I let you sleep the night away on my couch in my
own apartment,‖ Kenobi countered, ―and why would I feed you?‖

Vader struggled to come up with a reason. ―Er…well…you…you‘re just tryin‘ to lull me into a
false sense of security!‖

―Young one, you‘re being ridiculous,‖ Kenobi scoffed.

―Don‘t call me that!‖ Vader snarled.

―Please stop stalling and come along before we miss our flight,‖ Kenobi chided.

―No,‖ Vader growled, ―I want my stuff!‖

Kenobi stroked his beard thoughtfully. ―Fair enough,‖ he decided and vanished off into some
other room. Barely a minute later, he returned with Vader‘s tattered bag and handed it over.

Vader snatched it out of the Jedi‘s grasp and dug through it to check his inventory. It was a bit
of slow going as he kept glancing up at the Knight to see what he was doing. But everything
seemed to be there, except…

My lightsaber, he thought bitterly, of course he wouldn‘t let me keep that!

―Now follow me,‖ Kenobi ordered, ―we have a transport to catch.‖

―To where?‖ Vader scowled. I‘m not goin‘ with you ‘til you tell me!

―To Coruscant,‖ Kenobi replied.

Vader took a few hesitant steps toward the Jedi. ―Why‘re you takin‘ me there?‖

―We have an appointment with the Council to keep,‖ was Kenobi‘s cryptic response.

―What the kriff does that mean?‖ Vader demanded sourly as they exited the apartment and
entered into a hall.

―Watch your language,‖ Master Halcyon scolded harshly, seemingly materializing out of thin

Vader jumped. ―You again,‖ he sneered as his heart struggled to stop racing.
―Yes, me again,‖ Master Halcyon said icily.

―Is everything arranged?‖ Knight Kenobi asked Master Halcyon.

―Yes,‖ Master Halcyon nodded. ―I only wish that I could find someone to mind my classes so
that I could accompany you. You‘ll need all the help you can get,‖ he added with a significant
glance at Vader.

Vader bristled and hugged his bag to his chest. ―Why you—‖

―Hush!‖ Kenobi interrupted, giving his shoulder a warning squeeze.

Master Halcyon gave Vader a hard look. ―Well, let‘s get going. I‘ll give you the tickets when we
reach the spaceport.‖

―Thank you, Master Halcyon.‖ Knight Kenobi bowed slightly and then grasped Vader‘s upper
arm. ―Come now, before we make him late for his morning class.‖

Vader shrugged off the Jedi‘s hand. ―Don‘t touch me!‖

―Stop dragging your feet and I won‘t,‖ Kenobi responded.

―Fine,‖ Vader muttered, ―fine.‖

And so, very reluctantly, he followed the strange Knight Kenobi and the cold Master Halcyon to
the nearest spaceport, tamely boarded the transport with the Jedi Knight, and was a good
little boy.


Roughly five hours later, Obi-Wan swallowed yet another sigh as he watched his charge from
the corner of his eye. The boy, Vader, was squirming and fidgeting (and even pacing at times)
so badly that the Jedi Knight was surprised that none of the other passengers on the ship were
yelling at him to stop. But it could be worse. At least none of the other passengers were
Force-sensitive, because the boy‘s physical fidgeting was nothing compared to what his
emotions were doing to the Force around him. It took all of Obi-Wan‘s impressive self-control
not to get up and move as far away from Vader as humanly possible; the negativity around
him was that intense.

To ward off the smothering Darkness that continually rolled off Vader in waves, Obi-Wan did
his best to focus on the positives. For one thing, the boy was now presentable. Before he‘d
been filthy from the streets and wherever else he‘d been. The hospital had cleaned him up for
the most part, but he‘d still looked rather unkempt with his long hair still a mess. Now he was
back in his clothes, which had been washed and mostly repaired and his hair was tied back. If
not for the wildly paranoid glint in his blue eyes, he might almost look civilized.

Vader also was behaving surprisingly well. While he was extremely unhappy with the current
situation, he went along with what he was told with very little argument. Obi-Wan found it to
be miraculous that Vader hadn‘t bolted when he and Master Halcyon took him to this transport
bound for Coruscant. It made him wonder how much longer this obedience would last.

The boy stiffened suddenly and went pale as Obi-Wan sensed the transport slip out of
hyperspace and approach Coruscant‘s atmosphere. In ten minutes or so their ship would touch
down on a landing pad, they and the other passengers would disembark, and then it would be
off to the Jedi Temple for their appointment with the Council. Vader clearly wasn‘t looking
forward to this. In fact, as the ship trembled through the atmosphere, the boy looked almost

―Relax,‖ Obi-Wan chided, placing a hand on Vader‘s shoulder.

―Stuff it!‖ Vader hissed tensely.

―Excuse me?‖ Obi-Wan frowned.

―Yeah, excuse you.‖ Vader grunted, fiddling with the edge of his cape.

―Being rude is no way to get one someone‘s good side.‖ Obi-Wan pointed out, deeply annoyed
by Vader‘s rudeness.

―Wasn‘ tryin‘ to get on your ‗good side‘.‖ Vader spat.

Obi-Wan shook his head wearily as the ship touched down. ―That is not a good attitude to
have when facing the Council.‖ He warned.

Vader paled. ―I don‘t like sucking up to people.‖ He muttered in weak defiance.

―You don‘t have to ‗suck up‘ to them, simply be honest and do your best to be respectful to
them. Lying to them or insulting them is foolish, not to mention extremely rude.‖ Obi-Wan
replied calmly. The boarding ramps lowered and the passengers all rose to exit the craft. ―Now
follow me and we can get this over with quickly.‖ He murmured.

Obi-Wan carefully wove through the crowd on the landing pad and led the boy away towards a
smaller planetary transport that would take them towards the Temple. While Vader remained
anxious, he was clearly awed by the impressive sight of Coruscant, a city so vast that it
covered the entire planet. Obi-Wan, however, had seen it all before. Coruscant was his home-
world, he‘d grown up with this unique skyline.

They boarded a nearby airbus and the public transport rumbled upwards soon after. Vader‘s
face was all but pasted to the window as they entered a stream of air traffic. His eyes,
normally dark and wary, were now glittering with child-like fascination at the artificial
landscape of the Republic‘s capital city/world. Obi-Wan almost smiled at the sight of the boy.

Part of what kept him from smiling was the memories. Memories of his own youth and of his
old Master. He remembered walking in his tall Master‘s shadow as they walked the streets of
the city. But not just the surface streets, they also ventured down to all the deeper levels and
met all sorts of creatures from all kinds of worlds and levels of legality. He recalled their life
together in the central Jedi Temple, the lessons, the exercises, and the minor adventures. And
he thought on the beginnings and ends of their shared missions. Especially the last one…

With a conscious effort, Obi-Wan shoved his musings of his past aside and focused, as his old
Master had always demanded, on the present. The airbus neared their stop and it would be
bothersome and unfortunate if they were to miss it. Vader would probably be more than
annoyed if that happened.

The airbus dipped out of the traffic stream towards a platform, the closest stop on this bus‘
route to the Temple, and it hovered in a stop. The doors swung open, allowing new
passengers to board, while others departed. Obi-Wan almost had to drag Vader to his feet to
get his attention in time before the bus decided to lift off again.
―Leggo!‖ Vader growled, jerking his arm free from Obi-Wan‘s grip once they stepped onto the
street again.

Obi-Wan merely shrugged and started for the Temple. He could feel Vader fuming darkly
behind him, the pall of Dark energy was disconcerting to say the least, and he debated on
whether he should say anything about it. Thankfully, though, the surroundings seemed to
distract the boy enough for him to calm down and the smothering Darkness around him

A few blocks later, the Grand Jedi Temple came into view. The massive structure loomed
above everything around it. The main body of the building was a squat, cap-less pyramid, and
the flat top of it alone was level with most of the nearby skyscraper‘s peaks. And from that flat
top, rose five separate spires, each the size and height of most of the needle-like high-class
apartment buildings. The only other single building on Coruscant that came close to the
Temple in size was the stadium-like Senate Rotunda building that crouched on a distant

―Damn,‖ Vader breathed, clearly overwhelmed at the massive Temple. If Obi-Wan let him, he
might stand there all day and just stare at it.

Obi-Wan couldn‘t let him, though. ―Come along, you can spend as long as you like studying it
after we have our audience with the Council.‖

―Shut up,‖ Vader muttered, flushing in embarrassment at having been caught staring like an
idiotic tourist.

―Manners, please,‖ Obi-Wan sighed as he started up the steps towards the Temple gates.

―Yeah, yeah,‖ Vader groaned as he trudged along behind the Jedi Knight.

Obi-Wan only shook his head and continued on past the guardian statues and pillars that
described the greatest of the Jedi. From there, there were the main gates, ancient wooden
doors covered in intricate carvings that were more ceremonial than practical. And after that
was the main foyer, a vast room lined with columns, floored with beautiful marble, and filled
with art. Its sole purpose was to awe and inspire. It was clearly working on Vader; he could
barely keep walking and keep his mouth closed at the same time.

Forcing back an amused smile, Obi-Wan carefully guided the scruffy youth towards their
destination. And for the first few levels and hallways, everything went well. A few Knights and
Masters gave them a second look since Vader clearly wasn‘t a Jedi, but no one said anything.
But when they boarded the lift that would take them to the top of the tallest spire and the
Council Chamber, Vader nearly crumbled.

Now that he didn‘t have any elegant hallways, intricate floors, large windows, or ancient
artwork to distract him, he appeared to remember what he was supposed to be doing here.
And the thought of facing the Council, twelve of the wisest, most powerful Jedi in the entire
Order, seemed to be driving him swiftly towards full panic. The fear that rolled off him was
sharp and thick.

―Relax,‖ Obi-Wan advised, ―there is nothing to be afraid of.‖

―Easy for you to say,‖ Vader snapped bitterly, his face deathly pale.

―No, it‘s not.‖ Obi-Wan gently corrected him.
―What?‖ Vader blinked, startled and then deeply suspicious.

―There is not a Jedi I have yet met who wasn‘t anxious about meeting with the Council at
some point in their career, certainly when they were young Padawans.‖ Obi-Wan informed him.

Vader frowned and stared at the floor of the lift, making an attempt to gather himself. The boy
wasn‘t having much luck; he still radiated fear like a panicking Jar Jar. Obi-Wan closed his
eyes and extended a few mental feelers towards the anxious boy to try and find a way to help
calm him. And, he had to admit it, he was deeply curious about the nature of his mysterious
companion‘s mind. The reaction he received to his well-meaning attempt to help was not what
he expected.

The instant that Vader sensed the slight intrusion in his mind thick, tight, prickly shields
swung into place. In the next breath, Obi-Wan found himself shoved into the wall of the lift
and Vader pressed himself roughly into the opposite side. The lift car was thick with Darkside
energy and they were only moments away from arriving on their floor.

―That was…quite unnecessary.‖ Obi-Wan gasped, rubbing at the back of his head.

―You were trying to get into my head!‖ Vader snarled, wild-eyed and panting like a feral

―I was trying to help you calm down.‖ Obi-Wan frowned. ―I suppose I should ask first next
time,‖ he added dryly.

―Yeah, you should.‖ Vader hissed, returning to the struggle of regaining his composure.

A few heartbeats later, the lift doors hissed open to reveal the highest floor of the Jedi Temple.
The ante-chamber took up roughly a third of the level. The walls were lined with benches and
a few chairs, places were those who sought an audience or those who had been summoned
could sit and wait their turn. Directly opposite of the lift were the double doors that led into
the Council Chamber itself. And on either side of those doors stood two senior-level Padawans;
the honor-guards.

The current Padawan guards, a Human female and a male Ithorian, gazed at Vader with wary
curiosity. A non-Jedi petitioner to the Council was rare and the echoes of Darkness that drifted
around Vader probably didn‘t help matters much. Obi-Wan swallowed a sigh and gave the
youth a nudge out of the lift car and towards the heavy doors that led to the Council Chamber.

―State your name and business.‖ The girl demanded.

―Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, and a guest, here to see the Council,‖ Obi-Wan replied. ―We are

―Wait here,‖ the Ithorian instructed in his odd double-voice.

Obi-Wan bowed to them and then began to gently tow Vader towards a nearby bench. Vader
was clearly tense, his movements strained and jerky, but he put up no struggle. Obi-Wan was

They were just about to settle down on a bench when the Human girl spoke again. ―The
Council will see you now.‖

Well, that was quick. ―Thank you,‖ Obi-Wan bowed again and steered Vader towards the
slowly opening doors. The boy was as white as a sheet and trembling. ―It will be alright,‖ he
whispered into the boy‘s ear as they approached the circle of Council members waiting in their

And it was.

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                           font: B s : A A A
Author: Quill of Molliemon                    6. 5: The Council's Offer

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                          Chapter 5
                                      The Council‘s Offer

It was nearing evening and Vader was nearly a basket case. Obi-Wan had to hold the boy by
his shoulder to keep him from getting out of his chair and pacing. But even holding him in his
chair, the teenager squirmed around in his seat and fidgeted endlessly.

The early part of the day had been taken up with the Council interviewing (or at least trying to
interview) the boy known only as Dar‘ti Vader. Young Vader, however, wasn‘t very
forthcoming…with anything. For every ten questions the Council asked him, Vader probably
answered maybe one. Maybe.

At first Obi-Wan had stood before the Council with him, doing his best to keep the youth calm
while at the same time trying to get him to answer the Council‘s questions. He wasn‘t entirely
successful in his efforts, Vader remained tight-lipped about pretty much everything, but he
didn‘t panic and do something stupid. Then, after a few tense hours, they sent him away to
interview Vader alone.

Obi-Wan had been quite hesitant to leave the boy alone. While the Jedi Council could take care
of itself if Vader snapped, Vader himself would not be so fortunate. For all Vader‘s blatant
mistrust, there either had to be some scrap of trust there or a good deal of desperation and
fear for him to be following Obi-Wan‘s instructions, instead of trying to attack or escape. But
he was not one to go against the wishes of the Council, so he did as he was told and left Vader
alone in the Council Chamber.

Several hours of anxious waiting in the ante-chamber followed his dismissal. To keep calm and
clear-headed, he ran through several of his favorite meditation exercises. While that helped
pass the time, it didn‘t fully erase his anxieties.

When Vader was released, the boy looked almost ill. He was damp with sweat and very pale
and Obi-Wan was about to drag him off to see the Healers. But it seemed that the Council
wanted to talk to him now, alone. So, reluctantly, he left Vader to recuperate in the ante-
chamber and went in for his own debriefing.

The Council‘s questions were very thorough, of course, so even though he was much more
open than Vader was, his solo session with the Council lasted almost as long. Their focus was
mainly on how he had found the boy and why he had chosen to do what he had done with the
runaway. Obi-Wan answered each question as best he could, and when they finished mining
his memory for information, they sent him (and Vader) off to lunch.

Thankfully, the meal was quite uneventful. Vader was more concerned with eating and glaring
at anyone who so much as looked at him to try anything. All Obi-Wan had to do was distract
the boy to curb his nasty glares before they called too much attention on him and eat his own

And now…now it was time to wait. This was a problem for Vader for it seemed that the young
man possessed no patience whatsoever. Obi-Wan could only hold the boy down and be
thankful that he seemed to have patience enough for the both of them.
―Knight Kenobi?‖ one of the Padawan door guards piped up. ―The Council will see you now.
Your guest will wait there for the moment.‖

Obi-Wan nodded and gave Vader‘s shoulder a good squeeze. ―Stay here and stay out of
trouble,‖ he said in a low voice near Vader‘s ear.

Without waiting for Vader‘s biting reply, or wasting any more words, he stood up and entered
the High Council‘s Chambers once more. The room was spacious, but not overly large.
Enormous windows on all but the wall that divided it from the ante-chamber provided all of
the light that was required. The sun was close to setting now, and everything was stained in
fiery colors, almost making this final meeting dream-like. He paused at the center of the room
and stood at respectful attention as twelve of the greatest and wisest Jedi Masters stared right
back at him.

―Long we have discussed this problem that you have brought us,‖ Master Yoda began without
preamble. ―A great challenge it has been to find a solution. But found one we have.‖

―Before we see if this solution is acceptable,‖ Master Mace Windu continued sternly, ―we
require you to keep this entire…incident…secret. No one below the Council must learn of any of

―Of course, Masters,‖ Obi-Wan bowed. ―And what of Master Halcyon? He knows of Vader‘s

―He has already been sent a message,‖ Master Adi Gallia informed him.

Master Plo Koon pressed a comm key on the armrest of his chair. ―Send Knight Kenobi‘s guest

Obi-Wan remained where he was as he had not been formally dismissed yet, though he knew
that he would be soon. One minute later, the doors opened again and Vader slunk in, his blue
eyes darting in all directions in expectation of some ambush that would never come. The
scruffy youth crept up to stand beside him and waited with unconcealed anxiety, irritation, and

―We thank you for your services,‖ Master Oppo Rancisis hissed in his ancient dry voice. ―You
are dismissed.‖

―Thank you, Masters.‖ Obi-Wan bowed and turned to leave, more than ready to put this odd
episode in his life firmly behind him.

―What are you sending him away for?‖ Vader asked warily.

―His presence is no longer needed,‖ Master Shaak Ti replied, ―there is no need for him to

Obi-Wan paused just before he could open the doors to leave.

―Right,‖ Vader growled disbelievingly.

―Wish him to stay, do you?‖ Master Yaddle inquired.

There was a slight pause before Vader reluctantly said, ―Yes.‖
Obi-Wan swallowed a sigh and turned back around, though he kept his distance from Vader.
So long as he was in the room, Vader would count his presence. He hoped.

―Long this Council has discussed your situation,‖ Master Yoda began gravely. ―And a solution
we may have.‖

―Yeah? And what would that be?‖ Vader muttered, shifting from foot to foot.

―Become a Jedi Padawan,‖ Master Kit Fisto responded.

Obi-Wan blinked. What?

―What?‖ Vader choked. ―What does that have to do with anything?‖

―Considering the nature of those who you claim are pursuing you,‖ Master Windu replied
darkly, ―this would be the last place to look for you.‖

Vader favored the Council with a long suspicious stare. ―How exactly would this work?‖ he
finally asked.

―You would dress as a Padawan and have a Master assigned to you to teach you the ways of
the Jedi so that you would not stand out to anyone, even to other Jedi.‖ Master Koon

Would that work? Obi-Wan wondered. And who would they find to play ‗Master‘ for this boy?

Vader narrowed his eyes in concentration. ―So, basically you make me a Jedi and I have to
follow all of your stupid rules?‖

―You would have to appear to follow our rules,‖ Master Gallia frowned. ―What you do on your
own time is your own business.‖

―And as a Jedi,‖ Vader continued with a scowl, ―I‘ll have to go into dangerous situations, right?
That doesn‘t sound like a very good deal.‖

―On diplomatic missions with low risk for violence we would send you,‖ Master Yaddle assured
him. ―Well looked out for you would be. Protect you your Master would.‖

―How long will this protection last?‖ Vader asked warily.

―So long as you feel the need for it,‖ Master Ti replied.

―Right,‖ Vader snorted disbelievingly. ―What do I have to do to earn this protection?‖

―Serve the Jedi in whatever missions you are sent on and tell us what you know of the Sith
Lords,‖ Master Saesee Tiin answered.

Vader eyed the weathered Iktotchi suspiciously. ―Do I have to tell you that now?‖

―Whenever you feel comfortable, you can tell us,‖ Master Tiin responded. ―We are patient.‖

When Vader didn‘t say anything for several minutes, Master Windu spoke again. ―Have you
any other questions?‖
―Yeah,‖ Vader muttered, ―if I agree to this, who would my Master be?‖

―For you to decide that would be,‖ Master Yoda answered.

―I get to pick?‖ Vader grumbled dubiously.

―Yes,‖ Master Windu nodded gravely.

―How am I supposed to pick,‖ Vader complained. ―I don‘t know any Jedi.‖

―May we make some suggestions?‖ Master Ki-Adi-Mundi asked, not that it was much of a

―Go ahead,‖ Vader shrugged.

Obi-Wan listened along with Vader as each Council member put forth possible candidates for
the young man to choose. Some of the Masters, most notably Oppo Rancisis and Mace Windu,
were more reluctant than others in offering a name, but they all put forth at least one Jedi for
Vader‘s consideration. And they were all excellent choices in Obi-Wan‘s opinion. Some of the
top names included were Master Quinlan Vos and Master Anya Kuro, the Dark Woman.

Vader, however, didn‘t seem impressed or enthused about his options. His expression grew
steadily darker as each name was brought up for him. Obi-Wan was beginning to worry that
he would rudely refuse the Council‘s very generous offer and walk out.

―A problem is there?‖ Master Yoda inquired when Vader failed to select any of the Jedi
suggested to him.

―I don‘t know any of those people,‖ Vader scowled. ―I don‘t know anything about them except
their names and what you like about them.‖

―If we are to succeed in hiding you within the Jedi Order, it is best to start as soon as
possible,‖ Master Gallia pointed out, ―and choosing a Master is essential to this plan.‖

Vader anxiously clenched and unclenched his hands as he stared at the decorative marble
floor of the chamber while he thought. ―Do I have to pick any of those?‖ he asked slowly.

―No,‖ Master Windu replied, ―they are only suggestions. You may choose any Jedi who is free
to take a Padawan and who accepts the assignment.‖

The young man hesitated for a moment before turning back to fix Obi-Wan with a speculative

Obi-Wan felt a surge of worry. Oh no…

Vader walked over to Obi-Wan and circled him a few times as he pondered his choice. Obi-
Wan watched him in silence. The boy was unhappy, agitated, desperate, and fearful – he
didn‘t need the Force to see that – but there was something flickering beneath that. Hope,

―Well?‖ Vader muttered sullenly. ―Would you…would you be my new Master? …Please?‖

Obi-Wan tried to think of some solid excuse, some acceptable reason to say no. He‘d had
more than enough of the boy and had no real desire to have any more prolonged contact with
him. But nothing came to him, nothing at all. So there was only one thing left for him to do:
his duty.

―Yes,‖ Obi-Wan nodded, ―I will.‖ Since you asked so nicely…

―So you accept our offer and all the obligations that go with it?‖ Master Windu asked.

―Yeah,‖ Vader nodded unhappily, ―I do.‖

―Then settled it is,‖ Master Yoda declared in his deep gravelly voice. ―Go and the necessary
arrangements make, Obi-Wan. Early tomorrow to my meditation chamber you will both come.
Dismissed you are.‖

―Thank you, Masters,‖ Obi-Wan bowed. He was about to leave (again) when he noticed that
Vader hadn‘t bowed himself. While he wasn‘t required to say anything to the Council he should
at least bow if he wished to properly imitate a Jedi Padawan. Obi-Wan swallowed a sigh and
lightly poked Vader in the arm with his elbow. ―Bow to them,‖ he whispered.

Vader angrily clenched his jaw and sketched a stiff bow without saying a word.

Obi-Wan sighed softly and led the way out of the Council‘s Chamber and into the lift. While the
lift car dropped down to the main structure of the Temple, Obi-Wan took the opportunity to
study his new charge. He had a lot of work to do to make the Council‘s idea work.

Let me see… He‘ll need some new clothes, a haircut, and some lightsaber components to start
with. I‘ll have to get housing here because I doubt that the Council will allow me to return to
Corellia. And then I‘ll have to arrange for the rest of my things to be shipped back to
Coruscant. …I think we‘ll start off with the haircut.

―So…what‘s first?‖ Vader mumbled, glaring at the floor.

―I was thinking a haircut,‖ Obi-Wan replied.

Vader frowned and glanced up. ―What kind of haircut?‖

―Did you see how the other Padawan‘s wore their hair in the cafeteria?‖ Obi-Wan asked.

Vader nodded, then froze. ―No.‖

―Yes,‖ Obi-Wan retorted. ―It‘s best to get it out of the way now rather than to wait later to do

―It looks ridiculous,‖ Vader scowled.

―Yes it does,‖ Obi-Wan agreed, ―but if you wish to blend in, it is necessary.‖

Vader growled ferally and started reciting something in an alien language. Obi-Wan guessed
that they were very complex and creative curses. Therefore he decided not to ask for a
translation. He just let the boy vent for the duration of the lift ride.

This is going to be a long day…well, evening actually…
Vader sat heavily on the bed he‘d been assigned and stared blankly at the wall. His bag lay
discarded at his feet and a new bundle rested on his lap. Outside of the tiny bare room were
he sat, he could sense Knight Kenobi moving around, probably inspecting the modest
apartment. Vader‘s mind was too confused to really care about it that much.

As Knight Kenobi had told him, nothing terrible had happened to him for setting foot in the
Jedi Council Chamber. He hadn‘t been struck down on sight by most powerful of the Jedi. He
hadn‘t immediately burst into flames for violating the stronghold of the Light either. He was
alive and just as healthy as he had been when he entered.

But, as he‘d known, they weren‘t at all happy to see him. However, their hostility was far
more restrained than what he was used to. Gardulla and her minions hadn‘t been the least bit
hesitant to hit him if they could find, or fabricate, a reason when the Hutt had owned him.
Watto had been slightly more kind, but only because an injured slave could not do as much
work as a healthy one. And then the Count…well, he wouldn‘t go into that, it was still too fresh.

The Council members weren‘t like any of the others. They didn‘t hit or kick or zap. They just
stared…right through him. They read every movement, every twitch, every sound, every word.
And they, unlike all but the Count, had the Force at their disposal. So they listened for outright
lies, hunted down half-truths, and did their damnedest to put any and every kind of pressure
on his mind, but he wouldn‘t let them in.

They interrogated him for hours and hours. They pressed for details when he was vague and
threw him odd questions to keep him off balance. And just when Vader swore he was going to
crack and attack one of them (most likely the ancient little green troll that always talked
backwards…or his younger girlfriend) they sent him away to speak with Knight Kenobi alone.

And then there was nothing to do for a good hour was sit outside the Chamber and wait. And
wait, and wait, and wait. The whole time he could feel those apprentices watching him through
the Force and from the corner of their eyes. Vader wasn‘t entirely sure what had been worse,
the pressure of the Council, or waiting on them after all the pressure.

Again, just when Vader swore he‘d crack, Knight Kenobi had emerged and taken him away.
Vader naïvely thought that he was off the hook, free to go. But he wasn‘t. This was just a
lunch break. And down in the Jedi mess hall there were even more stares. They all knew he
wasn‘t a Jedi, a single glance told them that, so what was he doing down in their cafeteria
eating their food?

After that, it was a quick bathroom break and back to wait in the ante-chamber. And wait, and
wait, and wait. Apparently they were deciding his fate. Knowing this made the wait so much
more bearable.

The Council must‘ve consulted the Force to see just when he‘d snap, the exact second, so that
when they sent for him or sent him away, they could make sure it was just before that
breaking point. Or maybe they didn‘t, but it really, really, felt like it to him. But, when they
called, he was a good boy and came to see what they were going to do to him. He personally
thought it would be either a quick or a slow death by lightsaber. It wasn‘t.

They wanted to help him…sort of.

Their offer: they would keep him safe and give him the ultimate hiding place. If he accepted,
he wouldn‘t have to run and hide in the shadows anymore, fearing that the Count, or some
other Darkside lackey, would find him and drag him back into slavery. He would even get a
bodyguard of sorts…
But, if he accepted, the catch was a nightmare. The hiding place offered was the Jedi Temple
and the ‗bodyguard‘ would be a Jedi that he approved of. The only way he could hide in the
Temple was to ‗be‘ a Jedi. That‘s right, he would have to impersonate a real Jedi, and that
meant, basically, that he would now have to willingly enslave himself to the Jedi Order.

They would make him a ‗Padawan‘ and his ‗bodyguard‘ would pose as his ‗Master‘. He would
have to follow all their traditions, pretend to have their beliefs, and use the Light side of the
Force. If he failed in his impersonation, there was the very real risk that ‗his fellow Jedi‘ would
turn on him, since only the Council and the Jedi chosen to be his ‗Master‘ would know his true

Also, in exchange for this generous offer of protection, he would have to help them out. They
wanted him to betray the Count and his allies, they wanted information on the Sith Lords. The
Council allowed him all the time he needed to tell them all he knew and promised that once
he‘d told them everything they would still keep him protected, but he didn‘t really believe him.

And so what had he done? What had he chosen? To leave and continue running? Or to stay
and become a ‗Padawan‘, a slave, for his own personal safety? He, Vader, being the frightened
baby that he was, had chosen to become a ‗Padawan‘.

And for his ‗Master‘? His chosen guard who would keep him safe and instruct him on the ways
of the Jedi so that he could hide properly among them? Each Council member had their own
personal suggestion on who to pick. But in the end, he‘d turned them all down and gone with
the only Jedi he knew anything of, Knight Kenobi. And Knight Kenobi had, thankfully, agreed
to it.

So, from there, it was off to become a Padawan. And the first stop, a haircut. His long blonde
hair, normally kept up in a ponytail, was almost entirely shorn off. He got a partial buzz cut,
the shortest his hair had ever been since he‘d been a newborn infant. And, oddly, they‘d left a
little ponytail, only slightly longer than the rest, at the back of his head, and a lock of hair had
been uncut just behind his right ear. That lonely lock had been braided. Essentially, with this
haircut, they hadn‘t made him a Padawan, they‘d made him a pansy.

After the nightmarish haircut, it was off to find new clothes. That wasn‘t quite as bad as the
haircut, but it was still bad. For one thing, Knight Kenobi had refused to let him get a
completely black Jedi uniform. He‘d managed to get away with the black leather over-strap-
thingys, but that was really it. The rest was gray and dark brown. When he‘d tried everything
on to make sure it fit properly and didn‘t look ugly, he‘d thought it looked nice. Knight Kenobi
had just looked kind of annoyed.

And, finally, they had come here to this apartment. It included a small kitchen, a refresher,
two bedrooms, and a common room. The whole place was quite bare and it was colored in
pale muted tones. Vader imagined that some prisons looked more inviting than this place. But
this was apparently home for as long as he enjoyed the protection of the Jedi Order.

Slowly pulling himself free of his thoughts, Vader sighed and got up. He opened the bundle
that had rested on his lap and pulled out his first, and primary, set of Jedi robes. He shed his
old tattered clothes and cape and donned his new uniform. It took forever. What was it with
Jedi and so many layers of fabric anyway? Sure the effect of it all was nice, but it took hours
to get it looking right. Scowling with annoyance, he gathered up his old clothes and stuffed
them into his new closet.

Now looking the part of a real Jedi Padawan, he slipped out of his room and warily looked
about the common room. Knight Kenobi, his ‗Master‘, was just out of sight poking around in
the kitchen. Scratching self-consciously at the roots of his ridiculous skinny little braid, he
padded over to the standard-issue couch and sat down to wait.
Sometime later, the bearded Jedi Knight entered the room with a platter loaded with a
steaming teapot and a pair of cups. Wordlessly he set the platter down and began pouring
what was obviously tea into the two cups. Kenobi took one for himself and passed the other
over to Vader.

Vader reluctantly took his cup and very hesitantly sampled the drink it contained. The smallest
taste was enough to make him scowl at the dark tea in disgust. It tasted just as bad as he
thought it would. Very tea-like. Why did people like this stuff, or at least claim to like it,

―Not a supporter of tea, I see.‖ Kenobi murmured.

―No,‖ Vader frowned at the murky stuff.

―Then I apologize in advance. My old Master got me in the habit of drinking tea, especially
after every mission. So I‘ll be asking you to make a lot of it.‖ Knight Kenobi shrugged

―Oh joy,‖ Vader sighed, deeply sarcastic.

―You don‘t have to drink it if you really dislike it that much.‖ Kenobi quietly pointed out.

Vader continued to glare at his cup. His mother had always taught him to finish his food and
not waste it. They‘d been too poor to afford to do otherwise. And fluids were even more
valuable on his desert home world, it was practically a crime to waste any drink. So, most
unhappily, he gave into habit and slowly worked on his tea.

This sucks. It really, truly sucks. But dying, and suffering a lot before dying, is a million times
worse. So…I‘ll give this a few months. And if I‘m not crazy by then, I‘ll stay. Just a few months.
That can‘t be too bad…

…Can it?

  Submit Review                                 6. 5: The Council's Offer

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                         font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                   7. 6: Testing

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                         Chapter 6

Obi-Wan sipped at his morning tea and contemplated Vader‘s closed bedroom door. The boy
had yet to appear, and if he didn‘t do that soon, Obi-Wan would have to go in there after him
so that they wouldn‘t be late for their meeting with Master Yoda. He dearly hoped that he
didn‘t have to do that. But yet another glance at the wall chronometer further diminished his
hopes in avoiding entering Vader‘s room.

Five minutes later, he couldn‘t wait anymore. With a deep sigh, he set down his steaming cup
of tea, walked over to Vader‘s room, and knocked on the door. When repeated knocks brought
no results, Obi-Wan steeled himself and opened the door.

The room was dark and silent. Obi-Wan shook his head and switched on the lights. The lump
on the bed, which Obi-Wan easily recognized as Vader, didn‘t so much as twitch at the sudden
flood of light. Shaking his head again, he walked over to the bed and yanked back the sheets
in one swift motion.

―Wake up young one; we have a busy day ahead of us.‖ Obi-Wan declared.
Vader‘s only reaction was to roll over and hide his eyes from the piercing light that stabbed at

Obi-Wan grasped the boy‘s shoulder and shook it. ―Wake up before we‘re late.‖

Vader mumbled something barely audible that sounded like some another language, maybe
Huttese, but otherwise didn‘t react.

―Wake up!‖ Obi-Wan said louder and gave the shoulder a more vigorous shake.

―Ngh,‖ Vader grunted and squinted up at Obi-Wan sleepily. ―Wha‘ th‘ kreth d‘ y‘ wan‘?‖

―What I want is for you to wake up, take a shower, eat some breakfast, and then come with
me to meet with Master Yoda.‖ Obi-Wan replied.

Vader blinked slowly before rolling over again. ―Sure‘ll do that…in five minutes.‖

Obi-Wan sighed deeply. ―Not in five minutes. Now. We don‘t want to be late. Get up.‖

―G‘way.‖ Vader mumbled and threw his arm over his head.

Obi-Wan forced back his rising irritation with some effort. ―Get up now before I pull you out of

―No,‖ Vader moaned into his pillow, ―go without me.‖

―I would if I could, but your presence is necessary.‖ Obi-Wan crossed his arms over his chest.
―Now up with you.‖

―No, lemme alone.‖ Vader pulled his pillow over his head and growled.

Obi-Wan glanced at the room chrono, sighed, and then, true to his threat, dragged Vader out
of bed and dumped him on the floor. ―I‘m not going to tell you again. Get up.‖

―Agh!‖ Vader yelped, now fully awake. ―What the hell was that for?‖

―We are in danger of being late.‖ Obi-Wan replied. ―You may sleep in some other time, but
now we must be going. Now go take a shower.‖

Vader glared up at him defiantly from the floor for a minute before breaking. ―Fine,‖ he spat
and moved to do as he was told.

Obi-Wan watched the boy go all the way into the refresher. When he heard the rushing sound
of the shower running, he relaxed a little and returned to his tea. The first sip made him
grimace. It had gone cold. Shaking his head, he set about warming it up and making it
drinkable again.

Of all my assignments, this one shall be the most difficult of all. I must make him at least
appear to be a Jedi so much so that even other Jedi are fooled. And…I‘m not sure that I can
do that.
Vader slunk along in Kenobi‘s shadow, fervently wishing that he‘d never been caught on
Corellia. Better yet, he wished that he wasn‘t such a weak coward and had been able to
escape the clutches of the Jedi. But no, he‘d been caught, and he‘d been weak and cowardly,
and now there was no way out.

The ‗offer‘ of the Jedi Council was nothing more than an order. He was a slave again, but now
he held a bargaining chip that he wasn‘t about to waste. He would hold his secrets, few that
they were, until he had no other choice but to divulge them. If he was lucky, he would find a
way to escape this new bondage before he had to say anything.

Keeping his eyes fixed on the trailing edge of Kenobi‘s cloak, he refused to look around at
anything else. With his head down and his mouth shut, no one would notice him, he wouldn‘t
stand out. And that was just what he wanted: to blend in.

After walking through seemingly limitless hallways, Kenobi brought him to a rather ordinary-
looking door. On the other side of that door was the tiny green troll‘s private domain, his
meditation chamber. Vader hunched his shoulders and steeled his nerves as Kenobi calmly
knocked on the door to announce their presence.

The door opened to reveal a small dim chamber on the other side. The shutters on the
windows were shut, letting only thin lines of horizontal light in. The air was stuffy and warmer
than the rest of the Temple, not that Vader minded. He actually found it quite comfortable.
There were a few, low, circular, cushioned stools scattered about the room, one of which
supported the tiny form of the ancient troll, Yoda.

―Master,‖ Kenobi greeted with a bow and seated himself on one of the stools.

Vader didn‘t bother with any greeting; he just flopped down on another stool. He wasn‘t going
to scrape and bow to anyone unless he absolutely had to. If that offended Kenobi or The Troll,
that was their problem, not his.

The Troll gave Vader a long look before turning his ancient gaze on Kenobi. ―Greetings, Obi-
Wan, Vader, punctual you are.‖

Yeah right, Vader snorted.

―Thank you, Master.‖ Kenobi nodded politely.

―Much we have to discuss,‖ The Troll began. ―Appear as a Padawan you do,‖ The Troll told
Vader. ―Now complete the illusion we must.‖

―What d‘you mean?‖ Vader scowled warily. ―There‘s more?‖

―One more thing there is that must be done,‖ The Troll declared gravely. ―Established between
Padawan and Master a training bond must be.‖

Vader nearly leapt off his stool. ―A what?‖

―A temporary linkage between two minds, used for the purpose of training,‖ Kenobi explained.
―All Master/Padawan pairs have one.‖

If I get one of those… ―No,‖ he growled as the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end.

―No?‖ Kenobi repeatedly blankly. ―What do you mean ‗no‘?‖
―I mean no!‖ Vader snarled. ―No, no, no, no, no! There‘s only one person who belongs in my
head and that‘s me!‖

Kenobi frowned. ―But—‖

―No buts,‖ Vader snapped, sliding to the very edge of his seat as far away from the Jedi as
possible. ―You can do whatever you want to me but that.‖

―Well…‖ Kenobi glanced over at The Troll helplessly.

―Accept the bond you will not?‖ The Troll asked Vader.

―Hell no!‖ Vader bit out. ―Over my dead body!‖

The Troll sighed deeply and shook his shriveled head. ―Then no choice there is. Force the bond
upon you we cannot. So bonded you will not be.‖

Vader resettled himself on the stool. ―Good.‖

The two Jedi exchanged some glance that Vader couldn‘t read before continuing with their

The conversation ranged everywhere, from matters of his book-learning to how to handle his
Force re-training. Vader contributed very little to what was said, only speaking up when
something was suggested that he couldn‘t stand. In fact, he barely listened, simply keeping an
ear open for something that didn‘t sound good. The whole meeting was actually quite boring
and he was very glad when it was over.

―Settled for now things are,‖ The Troll sighed at last. ―Dismissed you are to begin your work.‖

―Thank you, Master Yoda.‖ Kenobi bowed and rose from his seat.

Vader merely stood up from his seat.

Kenobi gave him a hard look, and when Vader refused to show the little green gnome any
courtesy, he strode from the room. Vader smirked and followed in his shadow like a good little
Padawan. With the dreaded meeting with The Troll taken care of, perhaps the day would get

―So what‘s next?‖ Vader grumbled.

―We are going to the Archives where you will take some placement tests.‖ Kenobi replied. ―We
must see what classes to put you in.‖

―I don‘t need any more schoolin‘.‖ Vader scowled. Mom taught me all I need to know. I know
my numbers and I‘m literate. What else is there for a Jedi to know?

―Judging by your appalling language skills, yes you do.‖ Kenobi retorted. ―Don‘t worry, the
tests should only take a few hours at most to complete.‖

―A few hours?‖ Vader sulked. ―Great!‖
‗A few hours‘ my ass! Vader fumed bitterly. He‘d already missed lunch and he was still
scribbling away at the miserable placement tests. At the rate that he was going it would be
midnight before he finished.

He glared viciously at the computer terminal screen as he struggled to translate the current
question into terms that were understandable. The whole test had been like that and he had
no hopes that it would be getting any better. Never in his life had he felt so incredibly stupid.

It certainly didn‘t help that he had an observer hovering around him, watching his every move.
Jedi Master and Head Archivist Jocasta Nu, some crazy old Human lady with Jedi robes that
looked like a dress and little black sticks poking out of her snow white hair bun, was proctoring
his tests. Whatever that meant. He could only guess that her job was to stare over his
shoulder and unnerve him as best she could.

Frustrated and fed up, he selected an answer at random so that he could move on to the next
impossible question. This sucks, this sucks, this suck, this—hey! A new screen popped up,
declaring an end to the tests. Yes!

―The tests are complete,‖ Master Nu informed him unnecessarily. ―Remain in the Archives until
your results are calculated, and behave yourself.‖

―Yes, Master Nu.‖ he replied, trying not to sound sullen and not succeeding all that well. It‘s
not like I can go anywhere until Kenobi comes back to pick me up…

Vader slipped off his stool and ambled off with no particular direction in mind. He had to
remain in the Archives, but that didn‘t mean he had to stay in the exact same place. And
seeing as he was here, in the Archives of the Grand Jedi Temple, he might as well look around.

It was a very large room with a very high ceiling, he noted. The center of the room was left
open, decorated only with tables, chairs, and a few clusters of basic-access data terminals.
Around the open space rose towering shelves, laden with old-fashioned paper books. All of
what he could see was probably available in digital format so why they bothered with keeping
actual physical books was a mystery. Maybe it was just to promote the musty, knowledgeable
atmosphere of the place.

Picking an aisle at random, Vader wandered along it, taking his time to look up and around at
whatever there was to see. Thankfully there didn‘t seem to be many people around so he
didn‘t have to worry about being caught gawking like he‘d never been in a real library before
(which, sadly, was true in his case). Relaxing slightly as he got into his sight-seeing, he failed
to notice that he was on a collision course with an idiot until it was too late.

―Would you watch where you‘re going?‖ a Jedi Padawan (a real one) hissed, stumbling
backwards after thudding into Vader‘s chest.

Vader tensed and drew back from the Jedi as nervous prickles raced up and down his spine.
This particular Padawan was a Human male who appeared to be roughly his own age. Unlike
most other Padawans he‘d seen so far, this one didn‘t keep his hair quite as short as the
others, which made the odd blonde lock of hair stand out that much more vividly against the
darker brown of the rest of his hair.

―Why don‘t you watch where you‘re going?‖ Vader fired back. Quietly, of course; the silence of
the Archives felt too heavy to break.
The Padawan‘s faint scowl deepened slightly and his grip tightened on the few books that he
was carrying, but in the end he said no more on that subject. Instead, he jumped into a new
one. ―Do you remember what the homework assignment was for Master Piell‘s class?‖

Vader stared blankly at him. ―What?‖

―Do you remember what the homework assignment was for Master Piell‘s class?‖ The Padawan
repeated. ―‗The History of Galactic Warfare‘?‖

Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap—―I have no idea, I just transferred here.‖ Vader grumbled.
―Weren‘t you paying attention in class?‖

―I was,‖ the Padawan frowned in annoyance, ―but Darra stole my notes and doodled all over
that particular piece of information.‖

―Too bad,‖ Vader shrugged, idiot.

The Padawan gave him a hard look before speaking again. ―I am Ferus Olin.‖

―That‘s nice‖—not!—―I‘ll see you around.‖ Vader turned and walked off, throwing a careless
wave over his shoulder.

He knew that what he was doing was rude, but he didn‘t care. He didn‘t like this ‗Ferus Olin‘
kid. While they looked the same age, Ferus acted twice as old. Something about the way he
stood so rigid and upright, and something about the stiff, formal way that he spoke just
screamed stuck-up snob. He was the sort of kid that would‘ve been beaten black and blue in
ten minutes back in his old neighborhood. Vader had the feeling that he‘d met his first
‗teacher‘s pet‘.

Fantastic, Vader grumbled to himself as he ducked down a new aisle and followed it towards
the wall. This is just so much fun!

When he reached the wall, he found a recessed area that contained a few data terminals and
several busts of what he took to be famous Jedi of ages past. Since the terminals weren‘t in
plain view like the others, they were probably password protected and reserved for higher-
ranking Jedi and their private research, so he didn‘t bother looking at them. Instead, he slunk
over to examine the busts, dull bronzy replicas of the heads of long-dead Jedi.

Each bust was slightly larger than life-size and mounted on squat rectangular pillars labeled
with shiny name plates. Each tiny plaque bore the Jedi‘s name, a set of years, and a number.
Number one was clearly the oldest, he didn‘t need the years on it to tell him that as it looked
worn and slightly dusty. None of the names meant anything to him, but when he reached
number twenty, he stopped dead and stared in numb horror.

No… Kriffing… Way…

―There you are,‖ old lady Nu huffed as she appeared out of nowhere. ―Your scores have been
calculated.‖ From the taut, disapproving sound of her voice, he had done just as terrible as he
had feared. ―Ah, you‘ve found the Lost Twenty,‖ she sighed.

―The Lost Twenty?‖ Vader repeated stupidly, still thrown by the most recent addition: Number

―They are the only Jedi in the entire history of the Order to leave.‖ Master Nu replied slowly as
if he were an idiot. She regarded the busts in silence for a moment before sighing softly and
patting bust Number Twenty affectionately. ―Master Dooku is the most recent addition to this
rather infamous category of Jedi. He is sorely missed.‖

Well I don‘t miss him! Vader thought savagely. I want him to die!

Obi-Wan felt a headache coming on. A big one. Perhaps even a migraine. Vader‘s scores were
just that appalling.

Vader seemed to have no knowledge of even basic galactic history. He, of course, lacked any
knowledge of Jedi history, that, at least, Obi-Wan had expected. He knew basic math well
enough, but more advanced mathematics seemed beyond him. His knowledge pertaining to
science was pathetic. And his knowledge of other cultures was cringe-worthy.

At least he knows how to read, Obi-Wan sighed, trying to find the bright side of this mess. And
he‘s fluently tri-lingual, so he doesn‘t have to worry about foreign language classes in addition
to everything else.

―I‘m going to be in ‗remedial‘ classes for the rest of my life, aren‘t I?‖ Vader mumbled, picking
disinterestedly at the cuff of his cloak.

―A long time? Yes.‖ Obi-Wan conceded. ―For the rest of your life? No.‖

―Wonderful,‖ the teen grumbled bitterly.

―Don‘t be so negative,‖ Obi-Wan chided. ―You are being given a great opportunity to better
yourself; something you would not have had if you remained on the streets as you were

―I don‘t care about bettering myself,‖ Vader sneered, fixing Obi-Wan with an angry glare. ―I
don‘t need to know all that stuff! I can read, I can count, and I know enough math to manage
money, and that‘s all I really need.‖

―Not if you are to convincingly imitate a Jedi,‖ Obi-Wan reminded him.

Vader muttered a long string of something in what Obi-Wan knew to be Huttese (and what he
knew to be profane) and glared at some invisible spot on the floor.

―Well, let us move on then.‖ Obi-Wan decided. ―We still have a few tests to do today.‖

―More tests?‖ Vader whined. ―What tests are those?‖

―Just a few tests to assess your physical skills,‖ Obi-Wan replied. ―And before you complain
that you haven‘t fully recovered from what sent you to the hospital, yes, I know that. All I
wish to see is a brief overview of what you are capable of. More in-depth testing will take
place at a later date.‖

―Can‘t we do this later?‖ Vader complained.

―No,‖ Obi-Wan responded, ―it‘s best to get as much of this out of the away as soon as possible.
Now follow me.‖

―I don‘t want to,‖ Vader groaned, but he did follow in Obi-Wan‘s wake. He simply dragged his
―Hurry along now,‖ Obi-Wan sighed, ―the sooner we get through this, the sooner it will be over
and done with.‖

―Yeah, yeah,‖ Vader grumbled sourly.

Obi-Wan shook his head and kept on walking. He didn‘t have anything complex or strenuous
in mind, and so he sought a casual public space that would be suitable for his purposes. The
Room of a Thousand Fountains would do nicely. And who knew, perhaps the greenery and
soothing waterfalls would help the boy relax a little.

They didn‘t have to go all that far to reach the nearest entrance to the Fountain room.
However, it took twice as long as it should‘ve as Vader was still being sulky and taking his own
sweet time. Following the curving, almost maze-like entrance tunnel, Obi-Wan fought the
rising urge to shake his head as Vader glared suspiciously at each potted plant and small
waterfall-fountain that they passed. And when they left the tunnel for the massive main room,
Obi-Wan had to stop or risk losing his new charge as Vader was rooted to the spot, staring in
unconcealed awe at his new surroundings.

After allowing Vader minutes of staring, Obi-Wan called him back to reality. ―This is the Room
of a Thousand Fountains, and you may gawk at it all you like after we finish what we‘ve come
here to do.‖

Vader jumped and then scowled. ―Yeah, yeah, I‘m coming.‖ he growled.

In the following half hour, Obi-Wan led Vader on a circuitous little hike around the main
chamber of the Fountain room. He led the teen through the garden patches and stands of
trees, around the numerous pools and ponds, and up and down the sculpted rock faces that
lined the walls. When they had covered every inch of the public areas, Obi-Wan brought him
to a small, deep pool and allowed Vader to rest.

The purpose of the long walk had been two-fold. Firstly, he wished to observe Vader‘s agility
and try to gauge his stamina. And secondly, he wanted to show Vader one of his favorite
places in the Jedi Temple, and show him a place where he could relax and spend some free
time in the future.

―So how did you enjoy the grand tour?‖ Obi-Wan asked as he shed his brown outer cloak and
took a seat on a nearby boulder.

―Yeah,‖ Vader grunted dully as he lay sprawled in the soft green grass. ―This place is nice,‖ he
added a bit more sincerely. ―I can‘t remember every being to a place like this.‖

―There are a few more sections that you haven‘t seen,‖ Obi-Wan admitted. ―However, those
are restricted to Masters and used for meditation purposes.‖

Vader rolled his eyes. ―I bet those places are boring,‖ he scoffed.

―You might think so,‖ Obi-Wan easily conceded. ―But you never know, it could be very
interesting there.‖

Vader rolled onto his stomach and refused to reply to that.

―Well, if I ever make Master, I‘ll tell you what I find there.‖ Obi-Wan pulled off his boots and
stood up. ―Now one last thing before you have the afternoon all to yourself.‖
The teen picked his head up from the ground and fixed Obi-Wan with a guarded look. ―I‘m

Obi-Wan walked over to the edge of the pond and tested the temperature of the water with
his bare toes. ―Come here.‖

―Why?‖ Vader‘s question was wary and sharp.

―Why not?‖ Obi-Wan turned and arched an eyebrow at the boy still laying on the grass.

Vader snarled at him and very reluctantly got up. Dusting himself off, he carefully crept to the
edge of the pond. He stopped a good foot short of the water‘s edge and gave Obi-Wan a
defiant glare with his arms crossed over his chest.

―There,‖ Vader growled, ―now what?‖

―Take your boots off and show me how well you can swim,‖ Obi-Wan replied.

Vader blanched white. ―No.‖

―No?‖ Obi-Wan blinked in puzzlement.

―You heard me,‖ Vader glared, trembling.

―You…can‘t swim?‖ Obi-Wan guessed.

―I can swim!‖ Vader retorted. Clenching his jaw, he fixed his burning blue gaze on the still
waters of the pond. ―Just…just not very well.‖

Obi-Wan studied the young man for a long moment. He was pale and shaking as he stared at
the water, regarding it like he might look at a dangerous animal. Something was wrong here,
and Obi-Wan felt that it had more to do than Vader‘s poor swimming skills. The idea of
swimming appeared to frighten the boy.

―We‘ll see exactly how well you can swim,‖ Obi-Wan said finally. ―But not today.‖ He walked
back to his boots and pulled them back on. ―Remain here and stay out of trouble. I‘ll come
back for you when it‘s time for dinner.‖

―Yes, sir.‖ Vader mumbled, hurriedly backing away from the pond.

―Good,‖ Obi-Wan nodded and pulled his cloak back on. ―I‘ll be back in a few hours.‖

―Where are you going?‖ Vader asked sharply.

―I have some arrangements to make, mainly regarding your education.‖ Obi-Wan answered. ―I
need to see if any of my things have arrived from Corellia yet. And I need to start gathering
up some lightsaber parts for you.‖

―I already have a lightsaber,‖ Vader sniffed. ―Or I would if you‘d give mine back.‖

―That lightsaber is too dangerous for you to be seen with,‖ Obi-Wan responded. ―It‘s best to
claim that you lost your last one on a mission and build a new one from scratch.‖
―Fine,‖ Vader grumbled sourly, ―whatever.‖

―I‘m glad that you agree,‖ Obi-Wan replied dryly before walking off towards the exit. ―Now
behave yourself.‖

Vader grunted something in response that Obi-Wan couldn‘t make out. It probably wasn‘t
even a real answer in any language. Obi-Wan simply shook his head and walked off, leaving
Vader alone.

The young man probably thought that the tests were over for the day. But he would be wrong.
There was one test left and he was taking it right now.

Now we shall see how well you handle yourself without direct supervision. Obi-Wan nodded to
Master Yoda as he passed the ancient Jedi in one of the twisting halls that connected the
Room of a Thousand Fountains to the rest of the Temple. I hope that you pass this test…

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                           font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                     8. 7: Playing Jedi

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

Note: Happy New Years! Enjoy!

                                          Chapter 7
                                          Playing Jedi

Vader lingered around the isolated pool that Kenobi had led him to for a while longer until
eventually leaving it behind. While he liked the quiet empty pond as it was free of Jedi, the
deep water made him nervous. So he picked a direction that felt quiet and headed that way,
hoping to avoid the notice of the other Jedi enjoying the Room of a Thousand Fountains.

He found a barely visible path through the dense wooded section of the immense indoor
garden and followed it to a boulder, probably transplanted from one of the Core Worlds.
Glancing around warily, he hoped up on top of the large rock and found a comfortable position
to sit in that gave him good views of several nearby waterfalls. Seeing no one around and
sensing no one close by, he allowed himself to relax. Slightly.

Inhaling deeply and slowly, he could smell the fragrance of flowers from a hundred different
worlds and he could taste the clean, sweet air. A slow, controlled exhale let some of the
tension seep out, but not much. Tension was good, it kept him sharp and alert, and that kept
him alive. Just because he didn‘t see obvious enemies, didn‘t mean that they weren‘t there
waiting for him.

Settling into a calm, but properly alert state, Vader watched the misty flow of the waterfalls.
He always liked watching water, whether it was falling rain or flowing streams. The only time
that he didn‘t like it was when there was a risk of him drowning in it.

This place is nice, he had to admit. Very nice. I could almost get used to this. Almost.

Getting used to a place was dangerous. It meant that he would get attached to it, complacent.
Then he wouldn‘t want to leave. And if he didn‘t want to leave a place when the poodoo hit the
fan (which at some point it most assuredly would) then he was as good as dead.

Death was not something he was looking forward to. The threat of death was why he‘d gone
along with what the Count had wanted for a while. And the threat of death was also why he‘d
fled. Death was an end, and he didn‘t want to end just yet. So now, to avoid death, he was
trapped again, playing along with the Jedi.
So let me see, Vader mused, what are the ―pros‖ of this situation? Nice place to live, awesome
garden room, new clothes, good food… He ran his fingers through his hair and grimaced at
how incredibly short it was. ―Cons‖: pansy haircut, complicated clothes, school, work, Jedi,
work, constant lying about everything, constant hiding everything, no free time to run off and
do my own thing outside of the Temple, no going home… The list goes on and on.

The sound of giggling children slowly began to overcome the faint hissing sound of the
hundreds of waterfalls and Vader swiveled his head, trying to pinpoint the source of the new
noise. Concentrating for a few minutes, he determined the giggly group of children was one
grove of trees away to his left. Shooting that direction a dirty look, he noted that location as
possible trouble and returned to his semi-relaxed thinking state.

Those kids are so lucky, he thought sourly. They get to live here practically from day one.
They never go hungry, they have a great building with crazy-huge gardens, they have good
schooling, and great medical care. I almost wish I was them. Almost.

Vader rubbed at the right side of his neck where the short, thin braid had tickled it. If I was
like them, I‘d never have known Mom. Those kids don‘t care about not knowing their parents.
They don‘t know their families, they just have other Jedi that raise them, so they have nothing
to miss. I‘d take Mom over that any day.

Snorting, he tilted his head back to stare up at the ceiling. It was painted a pale blue that was
meant to imitate the sky outside, but he saw through it easily. For one thing, it was a ceiling,
and for another, it just looked fake to him.

A faint prickling at the back of his neck drew his gaze to some nameless bush less than a foot
away from the base of the boulder that he was sitting on. There was someone there, he could
feel it. And whoever it was had to be watching him. Really, why else would they be in a bush?

Looking away from the target bush, he slowly slid down from his seat. Carefully working his
way around the large rock under the guise of casual meandering, he came up to the
questionable shrubbery. Still seeing nothing, he calmly eased aside some leafy branches to
view his spy. What he saw was not at all what he was expecting.

First of all, the person in the bush wasn‘t a spy; it was a little kid, five years old at most. And
secondly, the kid wasn‘t watching him at all; the boy was just huddled up into a ball with his
back to the boulder that Vader had been sitting on. The boy was apparently unaware of
Vader‘s presence, even now that he was peering into the kid‘s hiding spot.

He must‘ve made it over here when those giggling kids were being extra noisy, Vader
reasoned. Otherwise I would‘ve heard him coming. …What the heck is he doing?

Before he could think about what he was doing, he gave the kid a gentle poke in the shoulder.

The kid jumped and stared up at him with wide brown eyes. ―I‘m sorry.‖

Vader gave the boy a blank look. ―Um, what for?‖

―I‘m sorry for bothering you,‖ the Jedi boy gulped nervously. ―I‘ll go away.‖

―You don‘t have to,‖ Vader replied slowly. ―Why are you hiding in that bush?‖

―I wasn‘t hiding, I just wanted to be alone,‖ the boy shrugged anxiously and stood up.
Why would a five-year-old want to be alone? Vader stared at the kid in utter confusion. ―But,
why in a bush?‖

The kid started to edge away. ―Because no one finds me when I‘m in there.‖

―Well, I found you.‖ Vader pointed out.

The boy took a few more small steps away. ―You don‘t count.‖

―Oh?‖ Vader raised an eyebrow. ―Why don‘t I count?‖

―I wasn‘t hiding from you.‖ He edged a few more steps back.

―So you were hiding.‖ Vader folded his arms over his chest. ―Why?‖

The child hung his head in shame at getting caught in his tiny lie. ―I just wanted to get away
from my new clan.‖

Vader stared blankly at the top of the kid‘s head. …What?

―I‘m in the Lion Clan now,‖ the kid added quietly, as if that would somehow enlighten his

―Oh,‖ Vader nodded dumbly. He almost asked what the heck a ―clan‖ was, but stopped himself
before he blew his cover as a Jedi Padawan to the five-year-old. Gotta change the subject.
―Why would you want to hide from them?‖ A clan is a ―them,‖ right?

―I don‘t like them sometimes,‖ the boy mumbled.

―Well, why don‘t you play with other kids?‖ Vader suggested hesitantly. He can do that, right?

―The others don‘t want me to,‖ the boy pouted. ―I don‘t want to be in the Lion Clan.‖ The kid‘s
tone was now sulky and it almost sounded like he might cry. ―I want to be in the Bear Clan. All
my friends are in the Bear Clan.‖

Crap. ―You can make new friends, can‘t you?‖ Vader suggested hopefully.

―I don‘t want to,‖ the kid looked up with a watery frown. ―I want my old friends back.‖

Argh, I suck at this. And why the hell am I bothering anyways? ―Unfortunately things don‘t
always go the way that we want them to,‖ Vader shrugged. I‘m so lame. ―Why don‘t you give
these new kids a chance, see how you like them?‖

―I don‘t want to,‖ the kid insisted stubbornly.

―I know, making new friends isn‘t easy or always fun,‖ Vader sighed, ―but that‘s what I‘m
going to be doing.‖ Um, sort of. ―I just came here from Corellia. I don‘t have any friends

The boy gaped at him, his own problems instantly forgotten. ―Wow,‖ he breathed, ―what‘s it
like there?‖

―Different,‖ Vader answered vaguely, ―smaller. I‘m sure you‘ll see it for yourself someday.‖
―Wow,‖ the child repeated. ―That‘s amazing. I wish that I was from someplace cool like that.‖

I‘m guessing that ―cool‖ is the same thing as ―wizard.‖ ―It‘s not that special.‖ Vader gave the
boy a curious look. ―You‘ve been hiding for a while, won‘t someone be looking for you?‖

The kid scuffed at the ground with his tiny boot. ―I guess so,‖ he sighed.

―You should get going then,‖ Vader advised.

―Okay,‖ the kid sighed deeply. He started to walk off towards where Vader had heard the
noisy kids earlier, but then stopped. ―Will I ever see you again?‖

―I‘m sure you will,‖ Vader smiled slightly. ―No go on, try to have some fun.‖

The boy gave him an odd look. ―Master Yoda says, ‗do or do not, there is no try.‘‖

―Well, then do it.‖ Vader shooed him along.

―Okay,‖ the child scampered off. ―Bye!‖ he waved as he went, almost tripping over his own
feet in the process.

Vader waved him off until he was out of sight. Sighing, he hopped back up on the boulder and
settled back down. He still had a few hours to kill until dinner and this rock seemed to be the
best place to do it.

Cute kid, Vader snorted to himself, but I‘m so glad that I‘m not him. He rolled the dorky little
braid idly between his fingertips and gazed up at the ceiling again. I didn‘t even get his

Up in the leafy cover of a tree in the Room of a Thousand Fountains, Master Yoda sat cross-
legged with his gnarled cane lying across his lap on a wide branch in deep thought. His ancient,
wrinkled face was slack in trance-like concentration as he mulled over what he had seen.
Vader had been right that someone had been spying on him, he merely misidentified the spy.

The Council could test this ―Dar‘ti Vader‖ all they wanted, but there would always be one flaw.
Vader would know that he was being tested and modify his behavior accordingly, trying his
best to be what he thought the Council wanted him to be. And so, to get around this problem,
Yoda had devised this secret test to try and glean some of Vader‘s true nature. Watch the boy
when he didn‘t feel that he was being watched and see just what he did.

And what he did shattered all of the ancient Master‘s expectations. Vader had obviously had
trouble keeping himself in check under the watchful gaze of great Jedi Masters. He was a wary
and mistrustful youngling with violent and selfish tendencies, and without supervision it was a
logical assumption that he would relax his inhibitions and let the powerful dark aspects of his
natures loose. Logical, but in this case wrong.

Instead of relaxing, he‘d maintained his iron control and behaved excellently. Without
prompting, he had performed a simple near-meditation exercise as he sat on his rock. Then,
when presented with the sulking Jedi Youngling, he had displayed kindness, patience, and
even compassion. Even though it was none of his concern, he had helped the young one with
his problem. And without any assistance or coaching from Obi-Wan, he had pulled off his
impersonation of a true Jedi quite well.
More to this young one than meets the eye, there is. Yoda, Grandmaster of the Jedi Order,
mused thoughtfully as he watched over the boy until Obi-Wan returned for him. Much, much
more, I sense. Interesting times ahead, there are, I think. Very interesting indeed…

Obi-Wan rubbed wearily at his eyes as he finished up the last of the paperwork necessary to
enroll Vader in his classes. In one week, the boy had to be mentally in shape enough to make
it through several hours a day of grueling academics, not counting all the one-on-one tutoring
he‘d need to pull even with his Jedi peers. His general education alone was enough of a
nightmare to contemplate, and that was only one piece of what had to be done.

There was also his physical training to consider. The boy‘s mysterious Sith mentor had
certainly taught him something of fighting, both hand-to-hand and with a lightsaber, but it
was unlikely that all of what he knew was appropriate for a Jedi. Somehow, the teen would
have to unlearn all the Sithly habits that had been so far ingrained in him.

And then there was the Force. In a sense, Vader already had a head-start in that area. But
that head-start was also a disadvantage as all he knew were Dark Side techniques. The instant
that Vader slipped up and reached into the Darkness in front of Jedi witnesses, the charade
was all over.

This is a nightmare, Obi-Wan sighed as he submitted the last file, a request to have his
personal belongings shipped to Coruscant as soon as possible. This is a challenge that I
should‘ve declined. Why the heck did I agree to this again?

Shaking his head at his own foolishness, Obi-Wan left the records room and took a circuitous
path back to the Room of a Thousand Fountains to pick up his charge for dinner. It was a bit
early for the evening meal, but he saw no way to waste anymore time and no real reason to.
And perhaps it was best to head to the cafeteria early and beat the crowds.

Sinking deep into his own thoughts, he made his way to his destination on autopilot. This was
a mistake of course. There were several thousand Jedi who called the Grand Jedi Temple of
Coruscant home, and so in the main hallways there was the potential for a lot of traffic. And a
lot of traffic was just what he found barely more than halfway from his goal.

One moment, he was walking along, minding his own business. The next he‘d walked head-on
into someone else with nearly enough force to send them both to the floor. Thankfully with his
finely tuned balance and sharp reactions, he kept his feet and stumbled a few steps back from
his unfortunate victim.

Well, that was embarrassing; Obi-Wan gulped and straightened out his robes and his
composure before looking up to see who he‘d hit.

―Well, well, well, if it isn‘t Oafy-Wan Kenobi,‖ a familiar, and most unwelcome, voice drawled.

Oh no… ―Hello Bruck,‖ Obi-Wan sighed, wearily glancing up at the blonde Human Jedi that was
roughly his own age. ―What can I do for you?‖

―What can you do for me?‖ The other Jedi repeated slowly, as though he was engaged in deep
thought on that particular question. ―Oh I know! You can tell me why you‘re suddenly back
here on Coruscant. I thought you ran off to Corellia years ago to run with all the other radicals
and rule-breakers and to escape from all the memories.‖
Obi-Wan had to take a deep cleansing breath to order his thoughts a bit before he replied.
―Things change,‖ he shrugged. ―I‘ve taken on a new assignment that has brought me back
here, and so here I am.‖

―Right,‖ Bruck nodded, a suspicious glint flickering in his eyes.

Great. ―I‘m sorry that I ran into you, but I must be going now.‖ Obi-Wan stepped around
Bruck and continued on his way.

―Why the rush?‖ Bruck asked, falling in step beside Obi-Wan.

―I have an appointment to keep,‖ Obi-Wan answered. Please go away now.

―With who?‖ Bruck inquired, some genuine curiosity seeping into his voice.

―No one that you are familiar with, I‘m afraid,‖ Obi-Wan shrugged. Please leave me alone.

―Most intriguing,‖ Bruck snorted. ―Sounds like a person I need to meet.‖

Oh no, you don‘t need to meet him. In fact, it‘s probably best if you don‘t. ―He‘s had a very
long day today,‖ Obi-Wan frowned as he drew near to one of the Fountain Room‘s entrances.
―I really don‘t think he‘s up to meeting many new people.‖

―Come now, I was heading to the Fountain Room anyway.‖ Bruck chuckled as they stepped
through the archway and began the twisting walk to the main chamber. ―I assure you that I
won‘t aggravate this new friend of yours.‖

You were not on your way to the Fountain Room. You were heading in the complete opposite
direction. And since when have you ever bothered to be polite to any of my friends? Obi-Wan
gave no voice to any of his thoughts; he merely shrugged in reply and kept on walking.

Bruck continued to follow him into the main chamber of the Fountain Room, much to Obi-
Wan‘s dismay. Trying to keep Vader and Bruck from clashing was not likely to be easy, and
was certainly not something that Obi-Wan was looking forward to. But he would do his duty,
as always. So he headed for the isolated pool where he‘d left the boy and went from there.

Vader hadn‘t gone far. Obi-Wan found him several yards away, perched on a boulder. It
almost looked like he was meditating, but the boy wasn‘t. From what he could tell, Vader was
shielding himself so tightly it was almost impossible to sense his presence without seeing him,
and he was probably thinking about something.

Mindful of Bruck still hovering in his shadow, Obi-Wan careful got Vader‘s attention. ―Any
interest in dinner?‖

―Sure,‖ Vader shrugged, slowly opening his eyes. The instant he caught sight of Bruck, his
eyes narrowed and Obi-Wan imagined if the boy was an animal, his fur would be standing on
end. ―Who are you?‖

Bruck stepped forward and gave a slight bow. ―I am Jedi Knight Bruck Chun. And who might
you be?‖

―Dar‘ti Vader,‖ was all that the boy said in reply.
―Ah,‖ Bruck nodded, as if he‘d learned something important from Vader‘s answer. Then he
turned to Obi-Wan. ―And what would you be doing meeting with a Padawan?‖

Obi-Wan clenched his teeth, easily hearing exactly what Bruck didn‘t say, but was clearly
thinking. ―And what would you be doing with a Padawan considering the fact that you will
never be good enough to be entrusted with the upbringing and education of an impressionable
child?‖ At least, that was the gist of what Bruck was probably thinking.

―He‘s my Master,‖ Vader interjected, sliding off the boulder he‘d been sitting on and wandering
over to Obi-Wan‘s side. ―Why wouldn‘t he be meeting with me?‖

Bruck gave Vader a hard look before transferring his gaze back to Obi-Wan. ―You‘ve taken a
Padawan.‖ He‘d probably meant it as a question, but it came out as a flat statement of

―Yes,‖ Obi-Wan nodded, ―I have.‖ Well, sort of.

―Oh,‖ Bruck sighed and shook his head. ―I see.‖

Obi-Wan struggled not to bristle at Bruck‘s tone. Why must he always be this way?

―And just what is that supposed to mean?‖ Vader growled.

―Nothing at all,‖ Bruck frowned. He glanced Vader‘s braid over, looking for the colored threads
that would reveal his achievements. However, since Vader had only gotten his braid yesterday,
there wasn‘t anything on it yet. And Bruck read this naked braid, combined with Vader‘s age,
as miserable and continual failure. He smirked slightly.

―Well I need to go to the Archives to do some research,‖ Bruck shrugged and started to walk
away. As he brushed by Obi-Wan‘s shoulder, he paused briefly to deliver his parting shot. ―A
failure for a failure, eh?‖ he murmured in a low voice, and then he was gone.

Obi-Wan forced back a surge of dull anger and allowed a deep sense of relief to replace it.
Punching a fellow Jedi was highly inappropriate behavior, especially for him, and no matter
how satisfying it would feel in the short term, it would cause him nothing but trouble in the
long term. Giving into that particular temptation was also probably the worst example he
could set for his ‗Padawan‘. As the tension eased out of him, he turned to the boy sulking in
his shadow.

―You shoulda hit that prick,‖ Vader grumbled.

―No, I most certainly shouldn‘t have,‖ Obi-Wan frowned.

―I would‘ve,‖ Vader muttered. ―Arrogant bastard. What gives him the right to run around,
acting like he‘s better than everybody else?‖

―He doesn‘t think he‘s better than everybody else,‖ Obi-Wan corrected, ―He mostly just thinks
that he‘s better than I am.‖

Vader scowled. ―Why?‖

―It‘s just a little childhood rivalry that he hasn‘t quite grown out of yet,‖ Obi-Wan shrugged.
―Don‘t worry about it.‖
―If you say so,‖ Vader mumbled dubiously.

―I do,‖ Obi-Wan insisted, ―now come along, let‘s go to dinner.‖

Obi-Wan started towards the exit nearest the cafeteria, but stopped when it felt like his sleeve
caught on something. He glanced down to find that there was a hand clutching the loose
material of his cloak sleeve in a white knuckle grip. Follow the hand up the arm and to the
body, he discovered that it was attached to Vader. Caught red-handed, Vader instantly let go,
angry and embarrassed at being seen engaged in such fearful and childish behavior. Obi-Wan
almost asked him about why he‘d done that, but then thought better of it and said nothing.

―A failure for a failure,‖ Obi-Wan silently repeated to himself as he led Vader out of the
Fountain Room. That‘s not right. Vader‘s only just arrived here, he hasn‘t had the time or
opportunity to really fail at anything yet.

Vader idly stirred his bowl of Hoi broth with his spoon and glared at it. I can‘t believe I did that,
he fumed. Hanging onto Kenobi like a scaredy-cat cry-baby. What‘s wrong with me?

―Don‘t play with your food,‖ Kenobi scolded lightly between bites of his own dinner.

―Yeah, yeah,‖ Vader muttered and downed a few more spoonfuls of his soup.

Kenobi sighed quietly. ―So, did you enjoy your time alone?‖

―Yes,‖ Vader nodded a bit. ―Why‘d you have to bring that prick back with you though?‖
Seriously, what was he doing with you?

―It wasn‘t by choice, I assure you,‖ Kenobi frowned. ―I unfortunately ran into him out in the
halls and he insisted on following me.‖

―Well, tell him to go screw a Hutt next time, will ya?‖ Vader scowled. Really, I hate that guy.
He was so stuck-up and snobby and all ―I‘m-ten-times-better-than-you‘ll-ever-be‖…

―I will not,‖ Kenobi frowned, appalled at the thought. ―That‘s not only rude, it‘s also

―Hmph,‖ Vader grunted and stared into his nearly empty bowl.

There was a long pause before Kenobi spoke again. ―Tomorrow we will begin testing your skill
with the Force and with the lightsaber. Your class schedule should be worked out by then so
we can figure out how to work in your training schedule. And I would also like you to begin
construction on a new lightsaber this week so that it will be completed as soon as possible.‖

―What about my old lightsaber?‖ Vader wondered.

―It really ought to be destroyed,‖ Kenobi sighed, ―you could get in a lot of trouble if you‘re
caught with it. But if you really wish to keep, you may have it back after you complete your
new one.‖

Vader swallowed the last of his soup and leaned back in his seat. ―When do classes start?‖

―You will be expected in class next Monday,‖ Kenobi replied. ―Though, there might be a few
tutoring sessions set up before then.‖
―Fun,‖ Vader mumbled sarcastically.

―It will get better once you‘re settled in,‖ Kenobi promised.

―Sure it will,‖ Vader shrugged and munched on a few crackers that had come with the Hoi

A couple months, Vader sighed to himself as he recalled the timeframe for his trial run that
he‘d thought up the previous evening. ―A couple months‖ keeps looking longer and longer… He
sighed deeply and slumped down in his chair. Kriffing hell, this is going to kill me!

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                              font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                       9. 8: Trip to Talasea

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                            Chapter 8
                                          Trip to Talasea

Vader stared at the red glowing numbers of the alarm chrono that sat on the tiny table next to
his bed and sighed. In about ten minutes, he‘d have to get up. He really didn‘t want to, but if
he didn‘t, Kenobi would make him.

Kenobi was, from what Vader could tell, a model Jedi. He lived by the ridiculous, arcane Jedi
Code (which was one of the first things that Kenobi had impressed on Vader) and he ordered
his life around schedules and routines. He was cool and distant and all business. Yet he wasn‘t
above dumping his ―apprentice‖ out of bed and onto the floor if necessary.

His first experience at being harassed out of bed had been just over two months ago, and it
had happened several other times after that. To avoid the annoyance, and preserve his dignity,
Vader made an effort to get up on time or earlier. Though right now, he was wishing that he
could just hibernate, like some species did, and not wake up until a long time later. However,
he couldn‘t do that, so he would have to face the day, which he really didn‘t want to, because
today (and several days afterward) was going to suck.

After his initial week of endless testing and preparation, he‘d been thrown head-long into the
world of the Jedi. He attended classes with them, though in most of his classes he was one of
the oldest (if not the oldest) student, ate alongside them in the cafeteria, studied alongside
them in the Archives, and even did a bit of training with them. The end of each day brought
physical and mental exhaustion along with a headache. Sleep was his only respite from the
stress, and when it was time to wake up, he had to start all over again. And now it was all
about to get worse.

To properly disguise himself as a Jedi and hide from the monsters that hunted him, he had to
look and act the part. Looking like a Jedi wasn‘t terribly difficult. With the right clothes, haircut,
and a lightsaber, anyone could impersonate a Jedi. But acting like a Jedi was harder. He lived
like them, he learned like them, and now he was going to start working like them. A few days
ago, Kenobi had come to him with news that they had been assigned a mission.

He really didn‘t know the details yet. All that had really sunk in was that they were going to a
world named Talasea in the Colonies Region. There was some minor dispute there that was
threatening to get ugly, so Jedi intervention was required.

Vader hated it and didn‘t want to go. The High Jedi Council had promised to keep him safe,
but in hiding him in plain sight they had to give him assignments like any other Jedi. They‘d
sworn to him that they would only send him on simple, relatively safe missions with a low
probability of violence. He didn‘t believe them for a second. But what choice did he have?
A sharp knock at his door had him rolling out of bed and gathering up his things for his shower
in seconds. As much as he hated what he was going to do today, he was in no mood to mess
with Kenobi this morning. Scowling darkly, he slunk out of his dark room towards the
apartment refresher and the shower.

This sucks, this sucks, this sucks, this sucks…

Obi-Wan led Vader on board the public transport bound for Talasea as a great many doubts
hovered in the back of his mind. His doubts weren‘t focused directly on himself, he knew he
could complete this mission, but his ―Padawan‖ he wasn‘t sure of. If it was up to him, he
would never send the boy out on official Jedi business, but since that wasn‘t possible he would
at least wait for a good six months. The High Council had only given Vader two months,
nowhere near enough time.

The boy was still a mess of rough edges and sharp spikes. Two months had done little, if
anything, to smooth him out into anything decent. Under the eyes of other Jedi he was able to
pull off the image of a proper, if difficult, Jedi Padawan. But when he was alone, with only Obi-
Wan as a witness, he immediately reverted to his overtly suspicious, vulgar, and disrespectful
personality that radiated bitterness, fear, and hostile resentment.

While he could get away with such behavior within the confines of the Jedi Temple, in the
privacy of their shared apartment, he wouldn‘t be able to while they were on duty. There
would be many new eyes on them, non-Jedi eyes. They would be the only visible
representatives of the Jedi Order on the planet, and it would be up to them to uphold the
Order‘s image to the people.

Firmly locking his concerns deep inside his mind, Obi-Wan led Vader to a small, out-of-the-
way compartment medium-sized, medium-ranged transport. Talasea was a Colony planet,
located in the region of space just outside the Core. Their ship would take just over a half a
day to bring them to their destination, which was twice as long as it would take a Jedi
starfighter, but they were in no rush and there was no need to bring armed ships along. They
were Jedi and they were humble, so they would take the slow public transport, just like
everyone else.

The compartment was one of the smaller ones. It was sparse, but clean and relatively new
looking. There were several chairs, a table, some room to move around, a place to store some
luggage, a window, and a small data terminal with limited access to the ship‘s computers and
whatever data was available for public amusement. For a short, half-day hop to Talasea, it
would do nicely.

Obi-Wan selected one of the seats away from the window and settled in for take-off, which
was scheduled to happen in ten minutes. He fastened the seat belt and ran through a light
relaxation exercise. He and flying never really got along, especially take-offs and landings, and
the sooner this was over with, the better.

―You‘re beltin‘ in now?‖ Vader frowned.

―Yes,‖ Obi-Wan replied calmly, ―is there something wrong with that?‖

―We won‘t be takin‘ off for a while yet,‖ Vader blinked and settled into the seat across from
him, right next to the window.

―Ten minutes is ‗a while‘?‖ Obi-Wan questioned curiously.
―Oh I think it‘ll be longer than ten minutes,‖ Vader muttered, leaning back in his seat and
slouch in a most un-Jedi-like manner.

―How do you know that?‖ Obi-Wan inquired.

―Saw a guy in a pilot‘s uniform sneaking into the galley compartment with a server girl when
we were boardin‘,‖ Vader smirked. ―It‘ll be a while.‖

Obi-Wan sighed in disgust. The co-pilot could take off, but that would probably be a violation
of company rules. ―Wonderful.‖

―Isn‘ it,‖ Vader grinned rather wickedly.

Obi-Wan shot him a disapproving look. That expression is even less Jedi-like than your
appalling posture.

Vader‘s expression sobered and he turned to stare out the window at the bustling Coruscanti
spaceport. ―Hey, remind me what we‘re s‘posed to be doin‘ on Talasea.‖ He paused. ―Please?‖

Obi-Wan blinked in surprise. Well, since you said please… ―We are to mediate a dispute
between two prominent families of rival shipping companies. They have not yet revealed the
nature of their conflict, so it is most likely a very private matter that they wish to keep out of
the media. But whatever it is, it is serious enough that they will engage in business maneuvers
that will hurt each other and the planetary economy. So we have been called in to insure that
an acceptable settlement is reached as quickly as possible.‖

―They want mediation but they won‘t admit what the problem is?‖ Vader blinked.

―We will find out once we arrive,‖ Obi-Wan shrugged.

Vader stared at him for a minute and then shrugged and looked back out the window. Silence
reigned for several more minutes. Ten minutes came and went with no take-off.

Obi-Wan sighed. Great.

―Told you so,‖ Vader smirked.

Obi-Wan refused to dignify that with a reply. He simply settled deeper into his seat and
worked to stay calm as he waited for the transport to get under way. Once they were in
hyperspace he would relax, but until then he would have to depend on the basic calming
exercises he‘d learned as a child.

―Hey,‖ Vader interrupted a few minutes later, ―you alright?‖ he asked hesitantly.

―I‘m fine,‖ Obi-Wan replied. ―Why, do I not look fine?‖

―You‘re doing a breathing exercise,‖ Vader frowned. He tilted his head thoughtfully. ―You‘re
not afraid of flying, are you?‖

―No, I‘m not afraid of flying,‖ Obi-Wan insisted. ―I simply don‘t enjoy it and prefer to avoid it if

Vader folded his arms over his chest. ―You‘re afraid of flying.‖
―I am not,‖ Obi-Wan retorted. ―A Jedi does not know fear,‖ he said, quoting the Code.

―Go ahead,‖ Vader snorted, ―keep deludin‘ yourself.‖

Obi-Wan gave his ward a hard, disapproving look. ―I am not deluding myself.‖

―Heh,‖ Vader smirked.

Why am I even arguing with him over this? Obi-Wan wondered as he shook his head. He must
finally be driving me crazy.

Right about then the engines began warming up in preparation of flight. Obi-Wan let his head
fall back against the seat and closed his eyes. He hoped the pilot would be speedier about
getting into hyperspace than he was about getting the ship started and off the ground.

We can‘t get to Talasea soon enough…

Vader sprawled awkwardly in his seat as he glared at his homework. Just because he had a
mission didn‘t mean that he could neglect his studies. No, his teachers insisted that he find
time during his work to keep up with his lessons.

―History of the Jedi Order,‖ Vader grumbled to himself, how I hate thee…

Of all his classes, it was the most pointless. The courses on math and science he could
understand, and the classes covering politics and alien culture he could tolerate, but an hour
of his life dedicated to studying the boring and musty history of the Jedi was just a bit more
than he could stomach. However, he had no choice in what he could take. He would be lucky
to catch up to others his age; there was no time for him to squeeze in elective classes.

So boring, he groaned as he stared blankly at the screen of his datapad that displayed the
digital copy of his textbook for the class. The class is boring, the book is boring, the teacher is
boring, the homework is boring, the subject is boring… Ugh, I‘m gonna die and it‘ll be this
class‘s fault.

And just my luck, the major paper for the class is assigned just before I leave, Vader groused.

The day before, just before class had been let out, the instructor had handed the assignment
to them as they headed for the door. They had to write a paper on an important Jedi in history.
There were few limitation on who they could do their report on; all they had to be was
important and dead.

Scowling, he looked up from the ‘pad screen to glare at his ―Master.‖ Kenobi was napping now
that they were in hyperspace. Even in sleep, the Jedi looked stiff and stern. Vader rolled his
eyes at him and went back to pretending to read.

Who the hell am I going to write about? He idly rubbed his dorky braid between his thumb and
index finger as his gaze drifted away from the glowing electronic screen and fixed itself at
some invisible spot on the carpet. I don‘t know any famous Jedi, and I certainly don‘t know
any dead famous Jedi. …I hate this class so much. I really do.

Some indeterminable time later, when he was thoroughly sick of moping over the evil
assignment, Vader tossed his homework aside and ambled over to the cabin‘s data terminal.
Accessing the ship‘s pathetically dull network, he did a search on Talasea to see just what sort
of planet he was heading for. He didn‘t anticipate much, it was a Colony world and only the
Core worlds could outclass it. But it couldn‘t hurt to check it out anyway, and it was certainly a
more productive way to kill time than staring blankly at his homework.

Hmm, let‘s see here… Vader squinted at the small screen as the results of his query came up.
Talasea… Mildly tropical climate… Rainforests, grasslands, swamps, and one single mega-
ocean… Originally colonized by Humans, also supports a small population of assorted alien
species… High level of technology and civilization… Major exports include industrial chemicals,
fish, and fruit… He ran a hand through his too-short hair and sighed. How incredibly ordinary.

What else is there to do on this thing? Vader wondered, thoroughly bored with studying the
data on Talasea. Vids? …No, nothing good. Games? …No—wait a sec. One title caught his eye
as potentially interesting and he selected it to give it a spin.

Alright, he grinned slightly as the program loaded, let‘s go!

Obi-Wan drifted out of his doze as he felt the transport shudder out of hyperspace. Rubbing
his eyes, he glanced around the cabin to see just what Vader had been up to while he risked
napping. Thankfully the room was still in one piece; however the boy was not where Obi-Wan
had last seen him. Vader was now parked in front of the data terminal, engrossed in whatever
was on the screen.

―What are you doing?‖ Obi-Wan asked.

Vader took so long replying Obi-Wan wondered if the boy had heard him or not. ―Amusing

―Well do finish up,‖ Obi-Wan advised, ―we‘ll be landing soon.‖

―Yeah, yeah,‖ Vader muttered.

Shaking his head wearily, Obi-Wan stood up and stretched out in preparation for the landing.
As life flowed back to his limbs, he was wary for the distinct signs that the ship was breeching
the atmosphere. The instant that happened, he‘d be back in his seat and belted in. A good
many crashes and crash-landings in his youth had taught him the importance of seatbelts.

As he strolled around the small cabin, a half-crumpled piece of paper sticking out of Vader‘s
bag caught his eye. He retrieved it, smoothed it out, and skimmed over the neatly typed text
that he found on it. Inwardly he cringed when he recognized it.

I remember this assignment. ―Who will you write your report on?‖ he asked curiously.

―What?‖ Vader blinked, finally looking away from the screen.

Obi-Wan held up the mildly abused assignment page. ―Which Jedi will you write your report

―I dunno,‖ Vader frowned disgustedly, looking back at the screen again. ―Who do you think I
should write about?‖

Stroking his beard thoughtfully, Obi-Wan considered his answer. ―Ulic Qel-Droma,‖ he

―Who‘s that?‖ Vader grumbled.
―Look him up and find out,‖ Obi-Wan replied.

Vader growled something incoherent under his breath as he shut the terminal off. ―Whatever.‖

Sighing, Obi-Wan settled back into his seat and buckled up. ―Now remember,‖ he cautioned,
―you are to be on your best behavior while on Talasea. You are not a true Jedi, but you are
representing the Order all the same, so keep that in mind. Your duties are to assist me and to
observe your surroundings and the events of the mission. Do you understand?‖

―Yes, sir.‖ Vader grumbled sullenly, melting into his seat by the window.

―The correct answer would be, ‗yes, Master‘.‖ Obi-Wan corrected.

Vader squirmed uncomfortably in his seat. ―Yes, Master.‖ Vader scowled, almost choking on
the word ‗Master‘.‖

Obi-Wan gave his ward a tired look and settled back for the imminent landing. This is going to
be a long mission…

Some fifteen minutes later, Vader slunk after Kenobi off of the transport and onto Talasean
soil. There was a bit of a time difference here, it felt like late afternoon to him but in this
particular spaceport it was early morning. Squinting against the glare of the rising sun, Vader
bit his tongue against a stream of irritated curses and made some effort to imitate a proper
Jedi Padawan. Stiff, stoic, and utterly boring.

Not far the docking bay, they found their guides. A pair of stiff-necked Humans stood up
against the wall with several feet between them. They wore thin loose robes in the local style
that bore distinctive patterns, giving them the appearance of company uniforms. Vader took
them to be representatives of the two feuding families.

Kenobi approached them and bowed slightly. ―I am Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, and this is
my Padawan Learner, Dar‘ti Vader.‖

―Greetings,‖ the man on the right nodded politely, ―I am Jason Montaigne of the Montaigne
family, owners of Starlyte Shipping.‖

―Greetings,‖ the man on the left nodded a bit more stiffly than the first, ―I am Darnnet
Capullon of the Capullon family, owners of Talasea United.‖

―If you would follow us, Master Jedi, we will lead you to where you will be staying.‖ Jason put
a peculiar emphasis on the words ‗us‘ and ‗we‘ as though grouping himself and Darnnet
together disgusted him, or caused him great pain.

Kenobi nodded to them and obediently followed them when they walked off. Vader held back a
snort, with some effort, as he followed Kenobi in the proper, submissive Padawan position.
These two families, these Montaignes and Capullons, must really hate each other. The pair of
representatives took great pains to completely ignore one another as they walked to the same
place, leading the same people.

To keep from rolling his eyes at their guides‘ absurd behavior, Vader focused his attention on
the city that they were passing through. The architecture was fairly uniform with a lot of
roughly cut stone, decorative statues and stone carvings, artistic stained glass windows, and
pointed archways. The roads were paved with lumpy cobblestone and all the buildings
possessed a great feeling of age and vastness. It was quite intimidating really, and Vader
found himself almost stepping on Kenobi‘s heels at several points.

Quit bein‘ such a baby, he scolded himself. They‘re just buildings. Big, creepy, old buildings,
but just piles of rock that people made.

Eventually they came to one building that seemed to have more stained glass and gargoyles
than the rest. Their guides brought them right up to the tall and very imposing wooden doors.
On the other side, they found the interior to be just as grand as the exterior. There was a
grand lobby with a high ceiling, blood red carpets, crystal chandeliers, and elaborate tapestries.
Nestled between a pair of curving staircases was a dark polished desk and several official-
looking men sitting behind it.

I‘m guessing this is a fancy hotel, Vader blinked, struggling to control his awe at his lavish
surroundings. A very fancy hotel.

Darnnet walked up to the counter and had a few words with the staff there. One of them
placed a call, which summoned a teenager slightly older than Vader. Fetching two pairs of
keys, the teen scurried over to them, sketching a nervous bow.

―Good morning, sirs,‖ the young hotel worker squeaked, ―may I escort you to your room?‖

Since when am I a ‗sir‘? Vader blinked.

Kenobi nodded graciously and they temporarily left their guides behind.

From the grand lobby they trekked up the staircase on the left and then snagged a lift ride up
a few floors. Then it was down a couple of hallways and through a door with a number
stenciled on it in such a fancy font that Vader wasn‘t sure what number it was. The bellhop
nervously handed them each a key to the door and took their small bags from them to put

―If you would return to the lobby, sirs,‖ the bellhop mumbled anxiously, ―Mr. Montaigne and
Mr. Capullon are waiting for you.‖

―Of course,‖ Kenobi nodded and shooed Vader out of the room before he could really get a
good look at it.

―What was wrong with him?‖ Vader frowned, glancing back at their room as Kenobi strode for
the lift.

―Some people find Jedi to be very intimidating,‖ Kenobi replied. ―Now don‘t lose that key
otherwise you won‘t be able to get back inside our room.‖

―Right,‖ Vader muttered, leaning against the back wall of the lift car.

―Don‘t slouch,‖ Kenobi scolded, ―other guests could get on the lift with us.‖

―Fine,‖ Vader grumbled, sullenly straightening up.

Kenobi gave him a quick look over. ―Better,‖ he nodded.

―So what now?‖ Vader asked as the lift slowed, then stopped.
―Now,‖ Kenobi stepped out of the lift towards the stairs and their waiting guides, ―I sense we
shall find out just what the problem is between the Montaignes and the Capullons that
requires the intervention of the Jedi…‖

  Submit Review                               9. 8: Trip to Talasea

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                             font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                    10. 9: Romero and Julia
Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                           Chapter 9
                                         Romero and Julia

Vader trailed after Kenobi and their two guides, Jason and Darnnet, from the lobby of the
hotel into a state-of-the-art conference room. It didn‘t seem to fit with the rest of the
building‘s ancient style of architecture with its bright artificial lights, cool pale color scheme,
and high-tech screens and holo equipment. The hotel probably rented the room out to
businesses for meetings and seminars, but right now it housed the two fighting families that
he and Kenobi had to convince to kiss and make up.

There was a very visible invisible that ran down the center of the room. On one side sat the
Capullons and their favored employees in their flowing teal robes, accented with hints of black,
dark green, and yellow. On the other crouched the Montaignes and their own favorite servants
dressed in their flashy crimson robes, trimmed in black and golden-yellow. Both sides glared
at each other and the still air audibly crackled with hostility and tension.

Kenobi walked right down the line towards a small table at the far end of the room. Sitting
there was a regal man, dressed in a loose white suit and pale gray cape, decorated in
elaborate gold, silver, and black embroidery. Kenobi calmly walked up to the table, bowed
respectfully to the man in white, and settled down beside him behind the table. Vader numbly
mirrored Kenobi‘s motions, struggling not to cringe in the crackling atmosphere of the room.

The instant that the doors to the room were sealed, the mediation began.

―Greetings, Master Jedi,‖ the man in white began. ―I am Prince Escal of the House of Tala. I
have called you here to help the House of Montaigne and the House of Capullon settle their
differences in their most current and volatile dispute. Normally the Jedi would not be called on
to deal with such a trivial matter, however both Houses control powerful shipping companies
and if the hostilities between them continue, Talasea‘s economy will begin to suffer.‖ The
prince paused, his expression grave and thoughtful. ―Patriarch Capullon, please state your
grievance to the Jedi.‖

―I object!‖ an elderly man on the Montaigne side roared. ―We are the greater family! The
Montaignes deserve to go first!‖

―Silence Patriarch Montaigne!‖ the prince snapped. ―You will hold your tongue while Patriarch
Capullon speaks, just as he will hold his tongue when it is your turn. Otherwise I shall levy
more fines against both your Houses!‖

The old man, Patriarch Montaigne, melted back into his chair with a sour expression, but he
held his tongue as the prince commanded.

Another old man on the Capullon side, Patriarch Capullon, stood to speak, a faintly smug look
on his weathered face. ―For many generations our two Houses have not seen quite eye-to-eye.
We have always managed to put aside our personal differences in the name of our businesses
and in the name of peace.‖ Patriarch Capullon paused and his eyes turned hard and dark.
―However, no more! In the middle of contentious negotiations between our two shipping
companies I found that my youngest daughter, Julia, had gone missing! The only rival that
would have anything to gain from spiriting my daughter away is the House of Montaigne, yet
they deny any knowledge of my Julia and refuse to return her to me!‖
Patriarch Capullon‘s face was dark red with rage and looked ready to go on a rant against the
Montaignes, but Prince Escal put a quick stop to it. ―Thank you, Patriarch Capullon, please sit.‖
Angrily, the old man did as he was told, muttering something inaudible under his breath. ―Now
Patriarch Montaigne may speak his piece,‖ the prince declared.

Looking just as furious, Patriarch Montaigne stood once more and began to speak. ―As
Patriarch Capullon has said, our families once tolerated each other in the name of business
and peace, but no more! Not only have the Capullons been leveling false and slanderous
claims against us concerning their daughter, I am sure that they have something to do with
the mysterious disappearance of my beloved son, Romero. He is my only son and heir and he
would never leave my side, except by force. Losing him would be devastating to my House,
and the Capullons know it! I demand that they reveal what they have done to my son and
damn their runaway daughter to the icy reaches of Purgatory!‖

That curse against the absent Julia brought the entire Capullon side of the room to their feet
with a roar of angry shouts and curses. Angered and insulted, the Montaignes leapt to their
feet and howled curses and insults right back at the Capullons. Prince Escal pounded his fist
into the tabletop and bellowed at them all to be quiet and sit down. It was absolute bedlam.

While Kenobi managed to sit perfectly still and calm, despite the noisy chaos, Vader clapped
his hands over his ears and hunkered down in his chair. These people are insane! Absolutely
freaking nuts!

Get me outta here!

Many hours later, the two warring Houses departed for their own residences and communal
compounds, leaving Obi-Wan and his reluctant apprentice to wearily trudge back to their hotel

The mediation was not starting off well at all. Both sides were at each others‘ throats and
neither was the least bit interested in hearing what the other side had to say. The Capullons
were convinced that the Montaignes had Julia hidden away as a bargaining chip in their
business negotiations, and the Montaignes were just as convinced that the Capullons had
kidnapped Romero to disrupt the House of Montaigne during the same business dealings, and
neither side claimed any knowledge of the others‘ missing child.

Obi-Wan wearily sank down onto the couch of the main room of the hotel suite and sighed. On
the surface, this assignment hadn‘t appeared much different from hundreds of other
mediations he‘d participated in. But the intense emotions, generations of tension, and the
involvement of treasured children put this mission much higher on the difficulty scale. Given
enough time he was certain he could work this out, but with a Padawan he had to keep an eye
on and didn‘t dare trust, it looked like it would take even longer than it normally.

―They are insane,‖ Vader declared, flopping down on a small cushioned stool by the window.
―Every last single one of them. We should just let them kill each other and be done with it.‖

―Don‘t talk like that,‖ Obi-Wan frowned, appalled by the idea. ―We are here to help them
peacefully come to an agreement.‖

―And how are we supposed to do that?‖ Vader grumbled, folding his arms over his chest.
―They hate each other.‖

―With time and patience we can bring them to see reason,‖ Obi-Wan replied. ―And it would
help immensely if we could track down the missing Julia Capullon and Romero Montaigne and
return them to their families.‖
―How do we find them if no one knows where they might‘ve gone or why?‖ Vader complained.

―Well, what have you learned about them from listening to the Montaignes and Capullons?‖
Obi-Wan asked. When Vader took his time in answering, Obi-Wan shot him a look, ―You were
listening, weren‘t you?‖

―I listened!‖ Vader insisted. ―When they weren‘t screaming at each other. Which wasn‘t all that

Obi-Wan shook his head. ―Well, from what you did hear, what did you learn?‖

―Hmph,‖ Vader grunted and started to tick things off with his fingers. ―Both are very close to
their parents, loyal to their families, close to the family leadership and important in the lines of
succession… Um, Julia‘s engaged to marry the young Count Parin Tala-Vodrain in a few
months. And Romero‘s cousin, Benevol, admitted that Romero was hung up on some girl
named Rosalin the last he knew.‖

―Anything else?‖ Obi-Wan pressed.

―Um…no?‖ Vader shrugged.

―When we asked each side if they knew where Julia or Romero were, did you detect any
deception when they answered?‖ Obi-Wan inquired.

Vader picked thoughtfully at his sleeve. ―No, nothing jumped out at me.‖

―Pay more attention next time,‖ Obi-Wan chided. ―Now I didn‘t detect any lies or deception,
but not all those present answered so the possibility remains that one or more of the
Montaignes or Capullons knows what happened to young Julia and Romero.‖

―Right,‖ Vader mumbled, staring at the carpeted floor. He glanced up thoughtfully, ―Shouldn‘t
we ask for pictures of those two so we won‘t miss ‘em if we see ‘em?‖

―We will,‖ Obi-Wan nodded, rather surprised at the good suggestion, ―in the morning.‖

Vader nodded mutely and abandoned his stool in favor of examined their temporary quarters.
Obi-Wan silently watched as the boy strolled around the edge of the sitting room, examining
the furniture and decorations as he went. When he came to the only other door in the room,
he hesitated before stepping through it to see what was on the other side.

There was a long silence before Vader stuck his head back into view. ―There‘s only one
bedroom,‖ he complained.

―Are there two beds in it?‖ Obi-Wan asked.

―Yes,‖ Vader muttered.

Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow, ―Well what‘s the problem then?‖

Vader scowled at him. ―You‘d better not snore.‖

Obi-Wan gave him an affronted look. ―I most certainly do not.‖
―Whatever,‖ Vader mumbled and withdrew to the bedroom.

Sighing, Obi-Wan abandoned the couch to lean against the door frame and peer in at Vader
who was sprawled out on the bed closer to the window. ―You‘re not too much younger than
Julia and Romero,‖ he observed. ―Why do you think they might‘ve run away if they did so

Vader lay on his back and stared blankly up at the ceiling. ―Not knowing them personally,
anything I say is a complete stab in the dark.‖ he said after a long pause.

―I‘m aware of that,‖ Obi-Wan nodded, ―I‘m only looking for some theories.‖

―Fine,‖ Vader sighed. There was a long silence as he thought and Obi-Wan almost began to
wonder if Vader had fallen asleep. ―Romero is the heir to the House of Montaigne and the
family business. It‘s possible that he either doesn‘t want all that responsibility, is feeling a lot
of pressure to do well, or both, and so he‘s run away to escape it.‖

Obi-Wan nodded to himself. That makes sense.

―As for Julia,‖ Vader continued, ―since she‘s engaged to be married…maybe she really doesn‘t
want to marry this guy. Either she entered into her engagement to please her parents and not
herself, or she was pressured into. And with the wedding looming, she might have gotten cold
feet and run away from it all.‖

Obi-Wan nodded again. That also makes a great deal of sense.

―Though really it could be anything,‖ Vader shrugged, sitting up. An odd smirk drifted over his
face as some idea came to him. ―Who knows, maybe the ran into each other one day, fell
madly in love, and ran off to be married in secret to avoid family scrutiny.‖

―That‘s ridiculous,‖ Obi-Wan sighed.

―It could happen,‖ Vader insisted, ―it‘s within the realm of possibility.‖

―Right,‖ Obi-Wan replied skeptically. It‘s possible…in a bad holo-soap.

―Fine,‖ Vader snorted, ―but if they did run off together to get married…‖ He trailed off,
apparently out of anything suitable to say.

―If your ridiculous little theory turns out to be true, I‘ll buy you dinner at my favorite
restaurant.‖ Obi-Wan promised with a faint chuckle. ―Now why don‘t you get started on some
of your homework?‖

―Urgh,‖ Vader groaned, ―yes, sir.‖

Vader struggled not to fidget as the nasty arguments continued to fly the next day. After the
prince and Kenobi had opened the mediation for business the mud-slinging had picked up
exactly where it left off. And if anything it was getting even nastier than it had been before.
Prince Escal had already thrown two separate fines on each House and it had barely fazed
either group.

They are either very rich and don‘t care about burning up their money, Vader reflected. They
are too mad at each other to care at getting all these fines. Or both. Hearing a particularly
nasty slur against the progenitors of the Montaigne House, Vader decided that it was probably

Shoving aside his musings on their possible wealth, he wearily put himself back on task. He
was supposed to be observing members of both Houses, both those that spoke and those that
stayed silent. Kenobi had the unenviable task of trying to keep them talking and civil; he had
no time to be carefully study all the players in the room.

Let me see… Tybal Capullon‘s screaming again; he‘s almost as loud and nasty as Patriarch
Capullon is. Mercito Montaigne-Tala‘s ignoring everything and playing some handheld video
game in the back of the room again. Count Parin Tala-Vodrain keeps going back and forth
from bad-mouthing the Montaignes and staring at a holo of Julia. He‘s either really into her
and dedicated to her, or a seriously obsessed creep. One of the Capullon servants, Julia‘s old
governess I think, is looking…very uncomfortable. Interesting. Must remember to talk to her

―All Montaignes are vicious liars!‖ Tybal roared. ―If they do not release my precious cousin
from her imprisonment by tomorrow morning, I swear that I will slay every last one of them
with my bare hands!‖

Yeesh, Vader cringed, someone needs some anger-management counseling.

―You slay us?‖ One of the Montaigne servants, Abran, scoffed. ―I‘d like to see you try. We
would slaughter you all in a heartbeat if we so chose to!‖

―Enough!‖ the prince snapped, pounding on the table with his clenched fist.

―Now, now, there‘s no need for death threats,‖ Kenobi chided lightly.

―Stay out of our business Jeedi!‖ Tybal sneered, using the exaggerated and insulting
pronunciation on purpose. ―And it wasn‘t a threat, it was a promise!‖

―There is no need to be promising such death,‖ Kenobi retorted in a calm but firm voice. ―You
have no proof that your cousin is being mistreated at the hands of the Montaignes, or even
that she was taken by them in the first place.‖

―Of course they‘ve taken her!‖ Tybal bellowed. ―They‘re Montaignes! They‘ve always hated us
because we‘ve always been better than them!‖

―In your dreams, Tybal!‖ Mercito laughed uproariously. ―The Montaignes have always been the
better House, everyone knows that!‖

―Silence you fool!‖ Tybal snarled. ―Silence or I‘ll slay you myself, here and now!‖ And to prove
his seriousness, he drew some sort of shiny ceremonial dagger from somewhere on his person
and brandished it menacingly at the still smirking Mercito.

―Weapons of any type are a violation of the rules of this mediation!‖ Prince Escal reminded
them sharply. ―Sheathe that thing and get rid of it during the lunch break. The House of
Capullon is fined a further one thousand Republican Dactaries.‖

Tybal, still red-faced and furious, sheathed his dagger and sat down in a huff. ―This isn‘t over!‖
he hissed. ―I‘ll see all the Montaignes burn in hell for this!‖

―That‘s enough,‖ Kenobi said sternly. ―Let‘s break for an early lunch and give our tempers a
chance to cool.‖
―Agreed,‖ Prince Escal nodded. ―We shall go into recess and return here in two hours.‖

At that declaration, the room dissolved into angry, bitter murmurs and the scuffing of chairs
as both sides broke for lunch. The tension ratcheted up a few notches as the two families had
to pass within inches of each other to pass through the doors. Thankfully no violence ensued
and Vader was able to slip off with Kenobi to enjoy a quick lunch, free of volatile family

―So did you notice anything new today?‖ Kenobi asked once they were nearly finished with
their food.

―Not much,‖ Vader shrugged. He was about to pass on his suspicions about the Governess,
when he caught sight of her out on the street outside of the small café where he and Kenobi
were eating. Making a snap decision, he stood up and headed for the back of the restaurant.

―Where are you going?‖ Kenobi frowned.

―To the refresher,‖ Vader replied. It wasn‘t a lie. He did go there, only to slip out the back and
scamper around the building to catch up with the Governess.

She was an older lady and on the hefty side. In her youth she might‘ve been pretty, but she
certainly wasn‘t now. Her plump, wrinkled face still bore the anxious, worried expression that
he‘d noticed on it earlier. At the moment she was studying some merchandise being offered by
an outdoor vendor and, more importantly, she was alone.

Perfect, he snickered to himself as he casually strolled up to the woman. Hopefully this won‘t
take too long. ―Pardon me milady,‖ he interrupted politely, ―but I was wondering if you could
assist me.‖

―Oh?‖ She turned and almost instantly paled as she recognized him. ―W-what can I do for you,
young Jedi?‖

―I just have a few questions for you, if you don‘t mind.‖ Vader kept his tone and expression
calm and as innocent as he could manage without it sounding fake or forced. Don‘t worry
about me, I‘m not out to get you at all…

―Of course not,‖ the Governess swallowed anxiously, ―anything to help.‖

―You were Julia Capullon‘s Governess, right?‖ he asked, acting unsure.

―Yes, I was.‖ She smiled faintly. ―Though she has long outgrown my services, she still keeps
me on.‖

―And—I‘m sorry; I can‘t remember if you said if you knew where she might‘ve gone.‖ Vader
shrugged in mock-anxiety, playing up the image of the eager but nervous young Jedi Padawan
as much as he dared.

―No,‖ she shook her head, ―I don‘t know where she‘s gone. If I knew, I would‘ve gone straight
to Patriarch Capullon.‖

She‘s lying! He crowed inwardly to himself. ―Oh, I see,‖ Vader nodded gravely, outwardly
pretending to believe her.

―Is there anything else?‖ the Governess asked just a bit too hopefully.
―Well,‖ he purposefully hesitated, ―you wouldn‘t know what happened to Romero Montaigne?‖

―No,‖ she scowled, ―absolutely not!‖

She‘s lying again! Vader successfully smothered a triumphant grin. ―I didn‘t think so, but it
couldn‘t have hurt to ask.‖

―Do you have any other questions?‖ she asked anxiously.

―No, not right now.‖ Vader gave her a small, calm smiled. Gotcha! ―Thank you for your help.
I‘ll see you back in mediation.‖ He bowed politely to her and strolled away as casually as he
had approached.

Slipping back into the café the same way that he‘d left it, he returned to the table with Kenobi,
acting as if nothing at all had happened.

Kenobi wasn‘t fooled for a second. ―What took you so long?‖

―I got side-tracked,‖ Vader shrugged and polished off his lunch.

―Side-tracked?‖ Kenobi pressed.

―I saw Julia‘s old Governess out in the street, so I went to talk with her.‖ Vader replied. ―No
matter how nasty things get, I‘ve never seen her say anything and she‘s never said whether
or not she knows anything about where Julia and Romero might be. So I went over and asked
her about that.‖

Kenobi sighed deeply and looked like he was getting a headache. ―And how did that go.‖

―She denied knowing where either of them was. And guess what?‖ Vader grinned wickedly.
―She was lying!‖ he continued in a sing-song voice. ―She knows where both of them are.
Maybe next time I see her, I‘ll follow her and see if she gives them away.‖

―Won‘t she be suspicious of you?‖ Kenobi asked skeptically.

―Nope,‖ Vader smirked smugly. ―If she catches me following her, I‘ll claim that I‘m just out to
see the sights. It‘s not like she really suspects me of anything. I didn‘t call her on any of her
lies; I pretended to completely believe her. She probably thinks that I‘m a naïve idiot.‖

The Jedi gave him a hard, searching look. ―I‘ll let this slide this one time,‖ he said finally, ―but
next time, get my permission before you start running off and doing things on your own.‖

―Yes, sir!‖ Vader gave a mock salute. Not that I‘ll stick my neck out like this ever again. It‘s
fun right now, but the next mission could be more dangerous. Finding runaway teenagers is
one thing, chasing down criminals with blasters is another…

Kenobi shook his head at Vader and finished off his own lunch. ―Any other observations?‖

―Mercito is a dork who takes nothing seriously and has a thing for video games,‖ Vader
answered. ―And Tybal desperately needs anger management counseling.‖

―Anything else?‖ Kenobi snorted.
―Um…nope, nothing else comes to mind.‖ Vader leaned back in his chair and sighed. ―How
much longer d‘you think this‘ll take?‖

―It will take as long as it takes,‖ Kenobi answered calmly, ―and not a moment longer.‖

―That‘s not an answer,‖ Vader scowled.

―It‘s the only answer that I have,‖ Kenobi replied.

―Hmph,‖ Vader grunted in annoyance.

Great, just great. I‘d better track down those two quick so we can leave. I don‘t like it here.
The buildings are so cold and creepy looking; it makes the Temple like a warm and cozy
―home sweet home‖ in comparison… And that‘s just plain freaky.

  Submit Review                                10. 9: Romero and Julia

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                             font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                      11. 10: StarCrossed

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

Note: I'm back at school...fun. And over break I was mauled by vicious plot bunnies. If you're
curious about the results, check the links to my live journal. If not, that's fine; just giving my
excuses for the lateness of this update...

Now enjoy!

                                          Chapter 10

The mediations on Talasea were nothing but one big headache. For one whole week it was
nothing but screaming insults and death threats all day long. There was no end in sight and in
spite of all the fines being thrown at both sides, actually acts of violence were starting to occur,
beginning with a fist-fight two days ago during the lunch recess. Things were going too far and
Romero and Julia remained missing.

Vader growled obscenities under his breath as he skulked around the streets of Talasea‘s
capital. Ever since Kenobi had given him the reluctant approval for his little spy mission, he‘d
been trying to trail Julia‘s old governess and see if she would lead him to the mission duo of
Julia and Romero. However, he stuck out from the locals in his Jedi garb and no matter what
he did, the wily old woman seemed to notice his presence and never led him anywhere.

But it‘ll be different this time, Vader reminded himself. This time I‘ve got a plan. Old
Governess Norsi won‘t suspect a thing…

After his last failed attempt, he‘d had an idea that was nothing short of brilliant. While
trudging back to the hotel in failure, he‘d spied some annoying groups of tourists wandering
around the streets. Hovering around them were small, spherical camera droids that were
taking stills and vids so that the tourists could show them off later to their friends back home.

Locals ignored the tourists and their hovercam droids. Vader doubted that they even saw the
annoying metal spheres that hovered everywhere. Talasea‘s capital was filled with ancient
structures and ―beautiful‖ architecture that drew tourists from all over the Republic. And to
live with the mobs of tourists that filled the city all year round, the residents made them
invisible in their own minds.
As he made his way back to his hotel room, he ran into Sam and Gregori, a pair of loyal
Capullon employees. Quickly fabricating a little white lie about some sort of homework
assignment, he asked them if they could get him a hovercam droid like he‘d seen the tourists
with so he could record some historical sites in the city. They‘d been clearly annoyed with him,
seeing him only as an annoying kid sidekick to the Jedi negotiator, but they agreed to try and
help him out. They probably hoped that by assisting him, they might sway the Jedi to their

The next morning, a crate had been left on the caf table in the hotel suite‘s common room.
Inside it sat a shiny new hovercam droid. It was small, advanced, and very expensive. The
thing just screamed ―bribe!‖. Kenobi hadn‘t been particularly pleased to see it and demanded
an explanation.

Once he was filled in on Vader‘s master plan he was slightly more agreeable to the droid‘s
presence. He even went so far as to allow Vader access to the magnetic tracking device he
carried in case he had to chase down a fleeing ship to help him out. But the Jedi Knight
remained annoyed with Vader for requesting the droid without asking permission first. And his
mood didn‘t improve any when Vader activated the droid and tested it by having it hover all
over their hotel room.

Slightly cheered at the memory of Knight Kenobi‘s annoyance, Vader glanced down at the
small screen in his hands and studied the map carefully. The little blue icon was his position in
the city and several blocks away, out of sight, was a little red icon representing the Governess.
After a quick trip to an electronic supply store and some after-market modification, the bribe
hovercam droid was now his personal spybot.

Chuckling to himself, he toggled the screen, switching from the map display to the feed from
the hovercam droid‘s camera. As he leaned against a stone wall, he watched the Governess,
three blocks up and one street over, hurry through the city on a mission. Satisfied that she
was oblivious to her tail and heading to the secret location where Julia and Romero could be
found, he toggled back to the map display and casually continued on his way.

One high-class hovercam droid: extremely expensive. Various electronic odds and ends: dirt
cheap. Putting a tracking bug on an old lady and using a modified camera boy as a spy
without getting caught: priceless!

Obi-Wan did his best to relax as he waited in the lobby of the hotel for Vader to return and for
the mediations to start back up after the long lunch recess. The hatred between the two
Houses ran deeper than he had first thought. Without the safe return of Romero and Julia, he
doubted that a peaceful solution would be reached. If they could not be found soon, the feud
would explode into the public and a long legal battle in the planetary courts would most likely

The mediations were on the rocks, hovering on the edge of failure and collapse. Julia and
Romero were the only two beings who had the power to swing things back into a stable
balance. And the only person who had a way of finding them, was Dar‘ti Vader. Obi-Wan
wasn‘t quite sure what to think of that.

―Master Jedi?‖ a hesitant voice interrupted.

Shaking free of his musings, Obi-Wan looked up to see a Capullon employee nervously
hovering near his elbow. ―Yes, Peter?‖ he prompted, managing to recall the young man‘s
―I-I‘ve been hearing some…rumors,‖ Peter gulped nervously. ―I think Tybal might do
something…rash.‖ The man‘s eyes flickered anxious around the lobby.‖ ―Soon,‖ he added. ―But
you didn‘t hear it from me. I don‘t want to lose my job.‖

―Of course,‖ Obi-Wan nodded gravely. ―Your name will never be mentioned.‖

―Thank you,‖ Peter sighed gratefully. ―I don‘t know what exactly he might be planning, but I
heard whispers about him withdrawing large sums of money from his accounts. And I‘ve seen
him sneaking off alone to make calls. I think he might be hiring someone to do…something.‖

―I see,‖ Obi-Wan muttered thoughtfully. ―I thank you for your information. I‘ll keep my eyes
and ears open for trouble.‖

―Thank you,‖ Peter repeated, sketched a slight bow, and scampered away before anyone,
Capullon or Montaigne, caught sight of him conversing with the Jedi, alone.

Well this just keeps getting better and better, Obi-Wan sighed to himself. Not only are the
mediations totally ineffective, but now at least one individual appears to be looking into hiring
some mercenaries or hit men to carry out his threats. No wonder Prince Escal wanted Jedi help
on this; it‘s a nightmare that‘s spiraling out of control. And the only person who can possibly
pull this mess out of its nose-dive is a boy whose real name I don‘t know…

Vader was just tingling with excitement. He was close to his goal, he could feel it. Not five
minutes ago the Governess had led him into an old residential district that, according to a big
fancy sign, was called Veronai. The buildings weren‘t as grand or intimidating as those
downtown, but they were just as old, maybe even older. It was quiet here, with much fewer
people. He worried that his spybot would be noticed and so he‘d adjusted its instructions so
that it hung back further.

Glancing around the area, Vader spied an empty house that looked like a good surveillance
spot. Making sure that no one was around to see him, he drew on the Force and used it to fuel
a superhuman leap onto the house‘s small side balcony. The small area was out of sight and
half buried underneath some kind of local clinging vines. Settling down in the shade of the
greenery, he toggled the screen back to the camera feed and switched on the audio as well.
He tuned his comm-link to the proper channel to correct his hovering spy and then he waited.

His wait was a short one.

Through his spybot‘s unblinking camera eye, he watched the old woman walked up to a small
house‘s front door and knock in a specific pattern. A few minutes later, a bulky middle-aged
man, a bodyguard of some kind most likely, opened the door to greet the Governess. Vader
whispered his droid closer and watched and listened intently.

―Hello Norsi,‖ the man nodded. ―How are things?‖

―Getting worse,‖ Governess Norsi mumbled worried. ―Balthazar, I need to see them.‖

The man, Balthazar, looked around warily and Vader feared that he‘d notice the hovercam
droid. But, if he saw it, he shrugged it off as nothing. ―All right,‖ he nodded, ―they‘re out

―Thank you,‖ Norsi muttered and slipped inside.
Out back, eh? Vader smirked and sent his droid spy to hover over the edge of the roof, giving
it the perfect spot to peer down into the small and secluded back yard. Now let‘s see what
they‘re do—oh my…

The two young adults that appeared on his screen were clearly Romero Montaigne and Julia
Capullon. After studying their holos throughout the week, their features were practically
burned into his brain. Julia was young and beautiful with fair curly hair and smooth ivory skin.
And Romero was handsome and fit with his darker Montaigne features, a leftover from his
family‘s origins in the planet‘s sunnier southern hemisphere. They were perfectly safe, healthy,
and were clearly not being held against their will. In fact, they appeared to be quite happy

Kenobi, you owe me dinner! Vader snickered into his hand as he watched the two
enthusiastically make out with each other. I hope his favorite restaurant isn‘t too boring…

Governess Norsi exited the back door and gave the kissing couple a hard look. ―Are you going
to come up for air anytime soon?‖

The couple reluctantly broke apart and panted for breath.

―Norsi,‖ Julia gasped, ―hello! You haven‘t been over for a while. How are things going?‖

―Terrible,‖ Norsi fussed. ―Even with the Jedi here the mediations are going nowhere. Both
Houses are at each other‘s throats and there are some real threats being thrown around.
Please, my Lady, my Lord, come home and tell them what you‘ve done.‖

Done? Vader raised an intrigued eyebrow. What have you two naughty children done?

―No,‖ Julia scowled childishly, ―I‘m never going back! If I do, they‘ll make me marry Parin no
matter what I tell them!‖

―If Julia doesn‘t want to go back, then I won‘t,‖ Romero added stubbornly. ―I don‘t want to see
her hurt by her own family. And I don‘t want to be put under house arrest by my own family
for disappearing. We‘ll stick with our plan.‖

―The plan won‘t work!‖ Norsi frowned. ―The Capullons and the Montaignes aren‘t calming down,
this isn‘t blowing over. It could be months, even years before you can slip off planet and away
from them. You need to go back and stop this people someone gets hurt.‖

―No one‘s going to get hurt,‖ Julia waved dismissively. ―And the plan will work. The Jedi will
find a way to force a settlement and then Romero and I can move away and live openly
together as husband and wife.‖ A dreamy smile settled over her face. ―I can‘t wait to get away.
No more worry about being bound to some possessive creep like Parin. No more pressure from
mother and father and everyone. I‘ll be free to be me and to be with my Romero.‖

Julia then proceeded to resume her make out session with her beloved, much to Norsi‘s
annoyance and dismay.

―Julia!‖ Norsi snapped. ―The Capullons and the Montaignes are beyond reason now! And
Tybal‘s the worst! You know your cousin. He adores you nearly as much as your parents do
and he‘s out for blood!‖

―You‘re exaggerating,‖ Julia mumbled between kisses. ―Tybal‘s got a temper, but he‘s
Harmless, Vader snorted. I guess she doesn‘t know that he snuck a knife into the mediations.
Three times!

―But, my Lady he—‖

―No more, Norsi.‖ Julia declared. ―You‘d best get back before you‘re missed.‖

―As you wish, my Lady.‖ Norsi sighed in defeat. ―I‘ll return when I can.‖

―Thank you,‖ Julia grumbled and went back to kissing Romero‘s face off.

The Governess left, leaving the young happy couple in their blissfully, ignorant denial of the
chaos they‘d left back home. Vader rolled his eyes at the screen and directed the hovercam to
stay right where it was. Then he switched his comm-link to call in his report to Kenobi.

Obi-Wan remained in the lobby, waiting and watching as the time ran down. The lunch recess
was fifteen minutes from ending and Vader still hadn‘t returned. He tried to stay positive and
view this as a good thing, a sign that he had succeeded and found the missing Romero and
Julia. But he wasn‘t having much success.

Several of the Montaignes and Capullons had returned to the hotel in anticipation of the end of
the lunch break. From his vantage point on one of the lobby couches, he watched the two
distinct groups glare venomously at each other from opposite sides of the large room. When
Tybal ambled over to join the Capullon side, the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end as
he caught the angry young man‘s satisfied smirk. Something big was up. He hadn‘t seen Tybal
wear any sort of smile since his arrival on Talasea.

I have a bad feeling about this…

The chirping of his comm-link interrupted his worrying and Obi-Wan quickly answered it.

―Hi Kenobi!‖ Vader chirped with excessive cheeriness.

I have a bad feeling about this too, Obi-Wan cringed. ―What do you have to report?‖

―You owe me dinner!‖ Vader chuckled. ―Oh, and I found them.‖

―That‘s great that you found them, but…‖ Obi-Wan frowned, ―I owe you dinner?‖

―Yes, you owe me dinner.‖ Vader confirmed, now sounding annoyed. ―You bet me dinner if it
turned out that the two of them had run off together to get married, and considering how
much they appear to like the taste of each other‘s faces, they‘re either married or planning on
getting married.‖

Obi-Wan felt a migraine coming on. ―I see…‖

―So what now?‖ Vader asked.

What now, indeed. Obi-Wan ran a hand over his face as he came up with an answer.

―Should I come back or what?‖ Vader grumbled impatiently.
―If you think you can talk them into coming back to face their families, do that.‖ Obi-Wan
decided. ―If you can‘t, come back.‖


―Yes, seriously,‖ Obi-Wan confirmed. ―Things are getting worse here,‖ he sighed, warily eyeing
the smirking Tybal. ―I‘ve gotten an inside tip that Tybal is up to something big. He‘s been
secretly withdrawing money and making calls to unknown parties. The sooner that Julia and
Romero reappear, the better.‖

There was a long pause and Obi-Wan wondered if Vader had hung up. ―Right,‖ the boy sighed
finally. ―I‘ll see what I can do. Later.‖

There was a faint click and the connection was broken. Shaking his head wearily, he clipped
the comm-link back onto his belt and stood up. Looking over the growing crowd, he made his
way over to the prince and prepared for another long and stressful session of trying to
moderate the screaming.

This is going to be ugly…

Vader switched off his comm-link and stared down at his handheld screen thoughtfully. The
AWOL couple had calmed down a bit and were now cuddling in the small garden plot in the
back yard. They were alone and accessible, but should he try to contact them?

If Kenobi‘s given me the go-ahead to try if I can, it‘s got to be bad. Vader switched back to
the map and studied to route he‘d need to take to get to the house. And if that nut-job Tybal‘s
up to something… Ah, what the hell, I‘ll give it a shot. I certainly cant‘ make things much

Tucking his screen into his belt, he stood up and leapt down from the small balcony. Glancing
around casually, he strolled over to the small house that turned out to be Julia and Romero‘s
secret love nest. When he was close enough, he slipped off the street and cut through
backyards to avoid running into Balthazar the bodyguard.

After a little sneaking and slinking and leaping, he reached the backyard that he was looking
for. He hopped up onto the tall brick wall that isolated Julia and Romero from the rest of the
world and walked around on it until he was as close to the two oblivious people as he could
get. Then he crouched down and interrupted their snuggle-fest.

―Hi there!‖ Vader grinned.

The pair jumped several feet in the air and stared wide-eyed at him.

―Having fun?‖ Vader asked curiously.

―Who are you?‖ Romero demanded.

―I am one of the Jedi that was called in to try and mediate a settlement between your two
Houses,‖ Vader replied.

―How did you find us?‖ Julia gulped.
―That‘s not important,‖ Vader snorted. ―What‘s important is that I‘ve found you. Now why
don‘t the two of you come with me so we can get this mess you‘ve made cleaned up?‖

―No,‖ Romero scowled, ―we won‘t.‖

―That ‗mess‘ has nothing to do with us,‖ Julia sniffed. ―We‘re just the excuse they need the
scream at each other this time. They‘ve been at this for centuries.‖

―Well without their excuse, they‘ll have to quiet down.‖ Vader pointed out.

―No they won‘t, not after what we‘ve done.‖ Romero grumbled.

―And what is that you‘ve done?‖ Vader inquired.

―We‘re married,‖ Julia proudly declared.

―And when they find out, they‘ll go nuts.‖ Romero added sullenly.

―They‘ve already gone nuts,‖ Vader frowned. ―I‘ve lost track of how many fines Prince Escal
has levied against them and still they hurl insults and death threats at each other non-stop.
It‘s getting so bad that the Montaignes and Capullons are getting into fist-fights in the streets
and Tybal Capullon, on three separate occasions, has threatened the Montaignes with a knife.
There‘s not much that can get worse at this point.‖

―Tybal would never do that,‖ Julia argued. ―His knives are collector‘s items, he‘d never actually
use them on anyone.‖

Tybal‘s a knife collector. Figures. ―He certainly sounded serious to me.‖ Vader shrugged. ―And
rumor has it that he‘s up to something; sneaking money from the bank and calling mystery

―No he‘s not,‖ Julia insisted. ―You‘re just trying to scare me.‖

―No I‘m not,‖ Vader scowled, annoyed. This is not working… ―How old are you?‖

―I‘m eighteen,‖ Julia replied.

―I‘m nineteen and a half,‖ Romero added, as if the half a year actually meant something.

―And you‘re completely independent of your families? You have your own funds and resources
that they can‘t touch?‖ Vader asked.

―Yes,‖ Romero nodded. ―Why?‖

―If you‘re completely independent of your families, what are you afraid of? Why won‘t you go
back to face them?‖ Vader crossed his arms over his chest and did his best to look
authoritative and older than he was. ―It‘s not like they can do anything worse than disown you.
They don‘t rule your lives anymore. You‘re legally adults and free to do as you please, no
matter what your families say.‖

―We‘re not going to face them because there‘s no point,‖ Julia glared. ―No matter what we say,
they won‘t listen. They‘ll just go on and do what they want and our own feelings be damned.
It won‘t do anything for us to go before them. Let them fight it out amongst themselves, we
don‘t care what they do anymore.‖
―It‘s not our business anymore what they do,‖ Romero added. ―We‘re starting our own family
far away from them.‖

What a pair of spoiled little—―If that‘s what you want to do, I won‘t stop you. I can‘t. But
before you run off and be deliriously happy with one another far away from them, why don‘t
you go see them and tell them how you feel, just to get your opinions on the record. Then you
can cut ties with them cleanly and go off into your future without being pulled down by the
memories of your past.‖ Vader gave them the sternest, most serious look he could. ―How
about that?‖

The pair looked uneasy as they thought it over. Neither said anything for a long time and it
was all Vader could do to keep from snapping at them. Eventually, they spoke again.

―Do we have to give you our decision now?‖ Julia asked quietly.

Yes! ―No, you can take as long as you need,‖ Vader shrugged, trying to look casual.

Romero chewed his lip thoughtfully. ―Our families are very stubborn; they‘ve been at each
other‘s throats for generations. No one remembers a time when they were ever friends, or
even just neutral towards each other. I wouldn‘t put it past them to try something not quite
legal to split us up and keep us on Talasea.‖

―My Master and I were dispatched here to mediate this dispute,‖ Vader stated, forcing himself
not to choke on the word ‗master‘. ―While we are here to settle the fighting as best we can, we
are also sworn to uphold the law, so if they try anything, we will step in and stop them.‖

―What do you want to do?‖ Julia asked Romero. ―Do you want to talk it over with Father
Fransci first?‖

―Well what do you want to do?‖ Romero countered. ―I‘m all for marching down there and
telling my father what I think.‖

Julia sat there indecisively for several minutes before deciding. ―You know what, let‘s just get
this over with. Most of our things are still packed so we can just go down there, make our
speeches, and then book a flight somewhere.‖

―If that‘s what you want, then that‘s what will do,‖ Romero promised.

―You‘re the best,‖ Julia smiled.

And then the two newlyweds got all mushy and affectionate again.

Vader sighed. ―I‘ll wait out front,‖ he muttered and slunk away to give them some privacy.

Yuck, Vader shuddered, don‘t they ever get tired of kissing each other? And don‘t they care
about their audience? I certainly didn‘t need to see half of that…

Taking up a station near the front door of the house, Vader settled in to wait. He tried to call
Kenobi to tell him that he had succeeded, but the Jedi‘s comm-link was turned off. Then he
called his electronic spy and sent it on to the hotel, in case the scenes that it had recorded
were needed later. As he watched the little sliver sphere whiz away, he grinned.

I love that thing. I wonder if Kenobi will let me keep it when this is all over. If he does, I shall
name it Orbie, and he will be my little friend…who helps me blackmail people.
    …I really hope I can keep him.

      Submit Review                                11. 10: StarCrossed

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    Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                               font: B s : A A A

    Author: Quill of Molliemon                     12. 11: Aggressive Negotiations

    Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:          id:3246919
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                         Chapter 11
                                    Aggressive Negotiations

The time was up, the lunch break was over, and Vader still hadn‘t made it back. The
mediations would have to start without him. Taking a cleansing breath, Obi-Wan sharpened
his focus before leading the incredibly tense crowd back into the spacious meeting room.

Prince Escal took his seat first at the far end of the room, and Obi-Wan sat to the prince‘s right.
The Patriarchs and their respective families and employees sat down next. The only seat not
filled was at Obi-Wan‘s right, since Vader was still missing. Within minutes, everyone noticed.

―Master Jedi, where is your apprentice?‖ Patriarch Capullon frowned, throwing his question
onto the floor before Prince Escal had officially opened the proceedings.

When the prince did not object to the question, Obi-Wan had no choice but to answer. ―He is
investigating a lead for me.‖

―What sort of lead?‖ Patriarch Montaigne demanded.

―Shouldn‘t we wait until this meeting is called to order before we throw questions around?‖
Obi-Wan countered.

―Jedi Kenobi is quite right,‖ the prince agreed. ―Please hold any further questions until after
the summary of our previous discussion. Now let the mediations resume.‖

With that order, a protocol droid that spent its day tucked away in a corner of the room
shuffled forward and recited its summary of the previous discussions. This particular unit stood
from most other droids that Obi-Wan was familiar with in that it lacked the over-exaggerated
personalities usually programmed into protocol droids. In fact, this droid didn‘t seem to have
any personality at all as it dully rattled off its report.

As the room listened to the droid drone, Obi-Wan let his gaze drift over to Tybal Capullon. The
hot-tempered young man wasn‘t the least bit interested in the droid‘s report, though he
pretended that he was. He was still smirking, but there was worry flickering in his eyes now.
Tybal‘s eyes darted over towards Vader‘s empty chair a few times.

What are you up to?

Vader strolled through the capital back towards the hotel with several people in tow. Romero
and Julia were hand in hand, wearing concealing cloaks. He guessed they wanted to do some
kind of dramatic reveal or something. Balthazar the bodyguard brought up the rear.

The end is near, Vader grinned to himself. As soon as these lovebirds sing their respective
songs, all that‘s left to do is sweep up the pieces. Hopefully that won‘t take too long…

―Where would you like to go after this, love?‖ Romero asked.

―I don‘t know,‖ Julia giggled. ―Why don‘t you name some places?‖
―Balmorra?‖ he suggested.

―Where else?‖ she shrugged.

Romero dumped a respectable list of planets stretching from the Core to the Inner Rim.
―Carida? Humbarine? Commenor? Fondor? Kuat? Alderaan? Corellia? Borleias? Bilbringi?

―Alright, that‘s enough!‖ Julia laughed. ―Let‘s pick from those.‖

Vader struggled not to roll his eyes at them. Are all newlyweds so disgusting? he wondered. If
they keep this up I might be sick.

―Hey, Jedi, what do you think?‖ Romero inquired.

―What?‖ Vader blinked, pretending not to have heard a word they said.

―Where do you think we should go?‖ Romero repeated, adding on every planet that he‘d

―I don‘t know,‖ Vader shrugged, ―I haven‘t been to many of those systems.‖

―Well just tell us what you think about what you know,‖ Julia grinned.

Great. ―Um…‖ Vader glanced around at their surroundings. They were still several blocks away
from their destination. He was stuck answering. ―Corellia is known for its wide-open spaces.
Corellia, Bilbringi, and Kuat are all known for their shipyards. Commenor is a city-planet
similar to Coruscant. Alderaan is peaceful and environmentally conscious, its also a center for
learning…‖ He rambled on a little longer about a few other worlds, but he had even less to say
about them.

―What about Naboo?‖ Julia added thoughtfully.

―Naboo?‖ Vader frowned. I know I‘ve heard that name somewhere before… ―I may have
heard of it.‖

―Oh, what have you heard?‖ Romero asked.

―Um…that it exists?‖ Vader gulped. ―We haven‘t covered the entire galaxy in class yet.‖

―Oh,‖ Julia blinked. ―How old are you?‖

―Fifteen,‖ Vader shrugged.

―I thought you looked young,‖ Julia muttered.

―You‘re only fifteen?‖ Romero choked.

―Yes,‖ Vader answered. ―So what?‖

―I‘m almost twenty and my father still won‘t let me walk anywhere alone,‖ Romero groused.
―Not that I don‘t like you Balthazar, but sometimes I‘d like to not have to pay you to look the
other way when I want alone-time with Julia.‖
―No offense taken, my Lord,‖ Balthazar chuckled. ―My poor sick mother loves the extra

―Well my father isn‘t a wealthy business man,‖ Vader replied. For all I know, I don‘t have a

―I guess that would do it,‖ Romero grumbled. ―It still doesn‘t seem fair, though. At fifteen, I
was practically under house arrest and here you are running around the streets of the city,
free as a bird.‖

―I‘m not quite ‗free as a bird,‘‖ Vader sighed. ―The only reason I was allowed to run around the
streets of the city was to find you two. If I didn‘t have to track you runaways down, I‘d still be
stuck in a room with both your families and my Master.‖ It was so hard not to hesitate on the
word ‗master,‘ he swore he‘d never get used to saying it as easily as a real Padawan.

―It‘s still better than being locked up, a prisoner in your own home.‖ Romero asserted. ―Your
parents say that they love you and that it‘s for your own good, but all you want to do is get

―That doesn‘t sound legal,‖ Vader remarked.

―It‘s what all the rich people do,‖ Julia shrugged. ―They lock their children up in their homes
and educate them with private tutors. What I wouldn‘t give to be middle-class instead of rich.‖

I wish I was middle-class too. ―Well that‘s all over now,‖ Vader commented. ―All that‘s left is
to tell them off and leave.‖

―Yes,‖ Julia cheered up some, ―I can‘t wait!‖

―Me neither,‖ Romero agreed.

Me neither, Vader silently added. I want to get out of here, away from all the yelling.

The massive hotel finally came into view and Vader relaxed a bit. The end was still a ways off,
but now within sight. Once he delivered these two, his work was done. All he had to do after
that was sit back and wait.

When he reached the grand front doors, he spied the hovercam droid hovering nearby.
Toggling the control on the remote/screen, he called the droid down to him as he slipped
inside. The happy couple was quite oblivious to the droid‘s presence, but Vader was pretty
sure that Balthazar caught it. However, the bodyguard said nothing.

Five steps inside the door, Vader froze. The clerks that manned the front desk were nowhere
to be seen and the grand foyer was eerily empty and silent. Something was very wrong. He
could feel it.

Wary and alert, Vader slowly led the way to the meeting room. Julia and Romero continued to
chat, though more quietly now, and they seemed unaware of any problems. Balthazar, being
the good bodyguard that he was, was alert and scanning for threats as he brought up the rear.

As Vader came around the corner and saw the doors that led to the meeting room, he
swallowed a curse. The two peace officers who normally stood guard outside the doors were,
like the desk clerks, missing. In their place stood a grungy-looking green male Twi‘lek and a
bald Human man with lots of scars and tattoos. Both of them had large knives and heavy
blasters strapped to their waists.
Vader couldn‘t help but mutter the first thing that came to his mind. ―Well shit.‖

It had all happened so fast.

Obi-Wan had barely felt any warning at all before the doors to the meeting room slammed
open and the mercenaries stormed in. It was a motley crew of rough-looking Humans, a trio of
Twi‘leks, a Rodian, and a Dug. They marched in, weapons drawn, and took control of the room
before the Montaignes and Capullons knew what was going on.

The leader, a dark-skinned man with an ugly scar across the bridge of his nose, marched right
up to Prince Escal and casually pointed his blaster at the nobleman. ―Hello princey,‖ he

―What is the meaning of this?‖ the prince sputtered.

―You don‘t need to know the meaning,‖ the mercenary grunted. ―All you need to do is pay up
or I blow you away.‖

―What?‖ Tybal yelped. ―That‘s not what I hired you to do!‖

―Quit your whining!‖ the leader snapped. ―We‘ll go and kill this ‗Patriarch Montaigne‘ for you
soon enough. But first, we‘re going to squeeze as much money out of this job as possible.‖

Well that‘s let everyone know what he‘s been up to, Obi-Wan sighed to himself as he
carefully tucked his lightsaber hilt into his voluminous sleeve.

―I won‘t pay,‖ Prince Escal scowled. ―Put your weapons down and surrender immediately
before I have you all arrested!‖

―You‘ll be long dead before any cops show up,‖ the mercenary laughed. He sobered
immediately and clicked the safety off his blaster. ―Now get out your princely checkbook or
prepare to have your gray matter splattered.‖

Obi-Wan took the opportunity to move then, capitalizing on the mercenaries‘ fatal mistake:
ignoring the Jedi in the room.

In one fluid motion he leapt over the table, drew his lightsaber, lit it, and sliced through the
barrel of the lead mercenaries‘ gun. Next he brought his elbow around and smashed it into the
mercenaries face, stunning him and pushing him back, away from the prince. And after that,
Obi-Wan was kept busy trying to take out the mercenaries as quickly as possible without
sacrificing any Talasean lives.

He almost succeeded. But ‗almost‘ wasn‘t enough. The agile Dug brought everything to a
standstill when he tackled Patriarch Montaigne and pressed his b‘hedda blade, the tradition
Dug weapon, against the elderly man‘s throat and barked something rough and angry in

―Surrender Jedi, before Duraka puts his blade into the old man‘s neck,‖ one of the Twi‘lek
hissed as he staggered up from the floor where Obi-Wan had shoved him.

Glancing around the room, Obi-Wan could see no way out. While he had disabled over half of
the mercenaries enough that they wouldn‘t be a problem for several minutes, the rest were
recovering quickly. The distance was too great for him to get the Dug safely off the patriarch,
and if he tried he would leave himself open to attack from closer foes. Taking a cleansing
breath, he put his trust in the Force, extinguished his saber, and tossed it aside.

―Very good,‖ the leader croaked through bloody lips as he lay on the floor. ―Now kill him.‖

The Dug snarled, raised his scooped b‘hedda in one clawed foot, started to bring it down on
Patriarch Montaigne‘s neck—

Duraka the Dug went flying as a dark leather boot crashed into his side and his b‘hedda
clattered uselessly to the floor. Vader zipped through the space where the Dug had just been
as he vaulted over the tables and down onto the open floor at the center of the room. The
instant he landed, he was moving again, throwing himself bodily at the nearest foe, a
troubling, feral sort of glint in his eyes.

Taking advantage of the mercenaries‘ shock at the unexpected appearance of a second Jedi,
Obi-Wan recalled his saber hilt to his hand and jumped back into action. He had to get things
under control quickly before Vader completely lost his head and crossed the line. Obi-Wan
didn‘t want to think that the fifteen-year-old was capable of killing someone with his bare
hands, but he wasn‘t going to risk it.

Within a few seconds, it was all over. All the mercenaries were knocked out, knocked down, or
cowering in surrender. The Montaignes, Capullons, and other (mostly) innocent parties were
safe, though decidedly shaken. Vader was no longer on the warpath. And the authorities were
on the way.

And to think that Romero and Julia haven‘t even shown up yet…

There was a lot of nervous mutterings and even some soft crying from the assembled families
and employees by the time the squad of peace officers arrived to cart the defeated
mercenaries away. When he was certain that things weren‘t going to collapse into another
fight, Vader slunk off to retrieve Romero, Julia, and Balthazar from where he‘d stashed them.
He tucked his hands into his sleeves to hide the fact that they were shaking.

―What happened?‖ Julia whispered when he opened the storage closet door.

―A fight,‖ Vader shrugged tensely. ―Why don‘t you ask your cousin Tybal about it?‖ he
suggested as he started to lead them into the meeting room.

―Tybal?‖ Julia frowned. ―What does he have to do with it?‖

―Ask him and see,‖ Vader muttered. Ugh, I feel like crap.

She did just that. As soon as they were inside, she marched right up to Tybal as a peace
officer was binding his wrists and tossed back her hood. ―Cousin, what‘s going on?‖ she
blinked. Then Julia noticed he was being arrested. ―What-you‘re being arrested?‖

―Julia?‖ Tybal squeaked. ―What-wh-where have you been?‖

―Answer my question first, Tybal,‖ Julia demanded sharply.

―I-I hired mercenaries to take revenge for your kidnapping.‖ Tybal stuttered.
―You did what?‖ Julia shrieked. Her shock quickly turned to fury and she slapped him across
the face so hard that the room almost instantly fell silent. ―You idiot! I wasn‘t kidnapped!‖

―You weren‘t?‖ Tybal choked. ―But…but then why did you disappear? You were about to get
married. We all thought the worst!‖

―Oh my darling!‖ Matriarch Capullon – who had done little but alternately curse the
Montaignes and weep for her lost daughter up to this point – cried as she rushed over to
embrace Julia. ―I thought I‘d never see you again!‖

―Oh my daughter!‖ Patriarch Capullon sighed in deep relief as he joined his wife in hugging
Julia. ―Stars be praised, you‘re safe!‖

―Of course I‘m safe, father,‖ Julia muttered as she tried to squirm free. ―I was always fine.
Now let me go.‖

―I‘m so glad,‖ Matriarch Capullon sniffled. ―Parin dear, come here. We have a wedding to

Julia broke free from her parents and retreated to Romero‘s side in the blink of an eye. ―No!‖
she snapped. ―I‘m not marrying him! I‘m never marrying him!‖

―But-but dear, why not?‖ Patriarch Capullon gaped. ―You said yes befor—‖

―No I did not!‖ Julia interrupted. ―I never said yes. I didn‘t say anything at all! None of you
ever gave me a chance to answer, you only assumed that my answer was yes and forged
ahead with your plans!‖

―Julia, why didn‘t you say anything to us?‖ Matriarch Capullon frowned.

―Would it have made any difference?‖ Julia countered. ―No, it wouldn‘t have; especially when I
told you who I was going to marry.‖

―And who would that be?‖ a rather crushed-looking Parin asked.

―Romero Montaigne,‖ Julia announced proudly as Romero shed his own hood.

Cries of horror echoed around the room from both sides.

―You can‘t be serious!‖ Matriarch Capullon wailed.

―Romero!‖ Patriarch Montaigne bellowed. ―What are you doing with her? Come here at once
and explain yourself!‖

―No,‖ Romero retorted. ―I‘m here to say my piece and then I‘ll be leaving forever with Julia.‖

―What?‖ Patriarch Montaigne choked.

―Julia, no!‖ Matriarch Capullon cried. ―Come home at once!‖

―I will not,‖ Julia scowled. ―I‘ve already married Romero and once we‘re done here, we‘ll be
leaving Talasea.‖
―Where will you go?‖ Parin inquired quietly.

―Anywhere as long as it‘s far, far away from all of you,‖ Julia declared. ―I‘m tired of all the
fighting and bad-mouthing. I‘m tired of you trying to run my life for me. I‘m tired of your
stupid prejudices making it impossible to see the man that I love openly and freely!‖

―Julia, sweetheart,‖ Patriarch Capullon pleaded. ―Come home, we‘ll get you some help, the
finest psychiatrists that money can buy—‖

―I‘m not the one who needs counseling!‖ Julia snapped. ―You can‘t change my mind and you
can‘t stop me.‖

―But Julia, this Romero scoundrel has obviously brainwashed you,‖ Patriarch Capullon insisted

―I think you‘ve got it the other way around,‖ Patriarch Montaigne called from across the room.
―Your ‗precious‘ Julia has corrupted my son!‖

―Would you stop this fighting?‖ Romero shouted before another round of cursing and yelling
broke out. ―No one has brainwashed either of us!‖

―How can I trust you, you‘re a Montaigne!‖ Patriarch Capullon sneered.

―If you don‘t trust him,‖ Vader interrupted, ―trust this.‖

Vader fiddled with the remote to the hovercam droid and a selected portion of what it had
recorded started to play on the room‘s large holo-screen. He set it to run from just before he
appeared and interrupted them until they decided to come with him, leaving out as much of
the making-out as possible. The entire room, Romero and Julia included, gaped at it.

While they were busy gaping, Vader tried to calm himself down. Ever since the adrenalin high
from the fight had worn off, he‘d felt all shaky and kind of sick. The Jedi had promised him
that they would send him on dull, but safe missions. They were all a bunch of liars.

This sucks! he fumed. I am not supposed to get into dangerous fights! I hate this!

When the clip ran its course, Julia and Romero took turns blasting their respective families.
Vader barely listened to them. He just stared down at his boots and waited for it to be over.

I hate this place. I hate these people. …I want to go home.

Much later that day, well into the night, Obi-Wan settled down on the edge of his bed in the
hotel suite and reviewed the very eventful day. Vader had located the missing Romero and
Julia and convinced them to return and face their families one last time. Tybal‘s plan had
caused a lot of chaos, but was ultimately stopped. The Montaignes and Capullons were forced
to see the truth of Romero and Julia‘s relationship. And now Prince Escal had formally
dismissed them to finish up the mediations himself, so he and Vader would be catching a flight
back to Coruscant in the morning.

In regards to Vader‘s actions, Obi-Wan couldn‘t help but be impressed. The teenager had
handled things quite well for the most part. He displayed great intelligence in discovering Julia
and Romero‘s hiding place, and great skill in persuading them to return. He had gone a bit
overboard during the fight, punt-kicking the Dug just seemed a bit extreme, though his
intervention was appreciated.
Looking over at Vader now, he found the young man curled up on his own bed with his back
towards Obi-Wan. Once the fight had wound down, Obi-Wan noticed that Vader had appeared
miserable, pale, almost sickly at times. Now he just seemed quietly upset and sullen, much
closer to his normal mood. The hovercam droid that he‘d tricked the Capullons into giving him
idly hovered over his bed, its camera inactive.

―So are you glad to be returning to Coruscant?‖ Obi-Wan asked.

―I expect a very nice lunch after we land,‖ Vader growled.

Ah, the bet, right. ―After we deliver our repot to the Council I‘ll take you out,‖ Obi-Wan
promised. I‘ve been meaning to visit Dex anyway.

―Fine,‖ Vader muttered. There was a long pause. ―Do I get to keep the droid?‖

―If the Capullons don‘t object, I don‘t see why not,‖ Obi-Wan sighed.

―They won‘t,‖ Vader snorted. ―They already told me that I could keep it.‖

―Ah,‖ Obi-Wan muttered. Shaking his head, he began to prepare for bed. Wonderful. There will
now be a camera droid lurking around our quarters… ―Did you get all your homework done?‖

There was a long pause. ―No,‖ Vader muttered.

―What do you have left to do?‖ Obi-Wan asked, dreading the answer.

―Just the report,‖ Vader grumbled.

―Well get on it as soon as we get back,‖ Obi-Wan instructed.

The boy muttered some incoherent response that Obi-Wan decided to take as a ―yes.‖

―Hey Kenobi?‖ Vader spoke up just as Obi-Wan switched off the lights.

―Yes?‖ Obi-Wan prompted.

―Do all the ‗safe‘ missions turn out this way?‖ the young man asked.

―No,‖ Obi-Wan assured him. ―This is a relatively uncommon result.‖

―It‘d better be,‖ Vader grumbled. ―This really sucked.‖

―Language, please.‖ Obi-Wan chided.

―Whatever,‖ Vader sighed and then fell silent.

Force help me, Obi-Wan sighed to himself. This boy is going to be the death of me someday…

  Submit Review                                  12. 11: Aggressive Negotiations

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                          font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                   13. 12: Routines and Nightmares

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                        Chapter 12
                                  Routines and Nightmares

Obi-Wan rose early as usual, took a quick shower, and then set about making his morning tea.
The sun wasn‘t quite up yet, leaving his apartment in a shadowy gray haze. It seemed gloomy,
but Obi-Wan preferred this time of day. The early dawn always felt peaceful to him, and he
enjoyed the brief hour or so of quiet solitude.
When his tea was ready, he settled down in the dim common room of the apartment to enjoy
it. He‘d chosen one of his favorite blends, Gray Alderaanian. As the smooth and mildly bitter
flavor seeped over his tongue, he relaxed and let his thoughts wander.

It was almost four years to the day since his life had gone sideways. Four years since that day
on the fringes of Coronet. Four years since he‘d accepted his current long-term assignment. As
he thought about that segment of time, he couldn‘t decide if it had dragged along or slipped
by without his notice.

Or perhaps it‘s somewhere in-between, Obi-Wan mused as he eyed Vader‘s still-closed door.
My life before Vader seems so far away most days. And it feels like no time at all has passed
since I first met him.

Not much had happened since his first encounter with Vader. There were some improvements.
Vader was a better student, he didn‘t annoy his teachers and classmates quite as much as he
had originally, and his grades were much better. The teen also had a much better grasp of
Jedi behavior, traditions, and Force-skills; his Dark Side slips were practically negligible at this

However, a great deal about him remained unchanged. His attitude was decidedly bad and his
vocabulary of curses had only grown. Vader kept his mouth shut about the mysterious Sith
Lords, whether it was out of spite or paranoia Obi-Wan couldn‘t quite tell. And Vader‘s origin
and true identity were just as much a mystery as the still-hidden Sith Lords.

The door to Vader‘s bedroom opened and the young man stumbled towards the refresher.
Now nineteen, he was several inches taller than he had been, and he looked healthier than
before. At the moment, however, he looked like a mess with his short-cropped hair thoroughly
messed up and his eyes barely open. Vader never was much of a morning person, though he
seemed even less awake this morning than usual.

After Vader vanished into the refresher to take his shower, Obi-Wan turned his attention back
to his tea. Now that the teen was awake, the day was really starting to begin. He worked to
finish his tea…but was interrupted.

A hovering metallic sphere, slightly larger than the training remotes that Jedi used to sharpen
their laser deflection skills, zipped out of Vader‘s room and buzzed around the apartment.
Aside from its larger size, a few other features that set it apart from the training remotes were
its large camera lens eye and a thin, short antenna that sprouted out of the top of the
spherical device. Originally it had been a clean polished silver color, but Vader had gone and
painted bright yellow markings all over it with a few touches of pale blue.

What ever possessed me to let him keep that? Obi-Wan wondered as he warily watched the
hovercam droid drift around the common room.

The droid, which Vader had named Orbie for some unknown reason, served no discernable
purpose. After using it in their first mission on Talasea, Vader hadn‘t found much of a use for it
on any following assignments. All he really seemed to do with it was tinker with it and leave it
to hover around their quarters.

Aside from the paint job, Vader‘s other modifications included a boost in memory, upgrades in
sensors, and a primitive vocorder that Obi-Wan suspected that Vader had taken from a
scrapped Astromech unit. Orbie now was capable of recording things in the infrared and
ultraviolet spectrums, and detecting a range of sounds above and below the Human hearing
range. It now also could produce binary chatter that reminded Obi-Wan of the sounds that the
Temple R4 units made.
While the upgrades made the droid more useful, for the most part, Obi-Wan thought they also
made the droid partly insane. Orbie had a tendency to hover a few inches off the floor and
rocket around at top speed for no apparent reason at all. It also engaged in pointless hovering
acrobatics at head-height and around the ceiling. Most of the time the droid pulled off its
maneuvers without incident, but sometime it would collide with a wall, the ceiling, or
someone‘s head.

―Stop that,‖ Obi-Wan muttered as Orbie lined itself up for one of its crazy floor-level runs.

Orbie let out a long, low moan, but obeyed. The hovercam droid broke off from its run and
drifted over to rest on a nearby footstool. There the spherical robot let out an electronic sigh
and did its level-best to look dejected, quite a feat for an expressionless ball of metal.

Obi-Wan poured himself a second cup of tea and sighed. And to think that I once wanted an
interesting life…

Vader scrubbed the last vestiges of sleep from his eyes as he staggered out of the shower.
After toweling dry, he shaved, since Padawans weren‘t allowed to be lazy like Knights or
Masters could and leave some stubble on their faces every now and then. Then he set about
re-tying his annoying, girly Padawan braid, careful to put the few colored strings back on the
right places, before he pulled back the rest of his longish hair in the dorky, pointless ponytail.

His hair properly done up for the day, it was time for the clothes. After the necessary
undergarments came the pants and the first layer of tunic. Then a second shirt followed by the
black leather tabard-thing, the wide fabric belt, and then the narrow leather belt that held all
the little utility pouches and lightsaber clip. Last, after checking all the pockets on his belt, he
hooked his pretty silver Jedi lightsaber on and pulled on his boots. Dark brown-almost-black
cloak in hand, he left the refresher to begin yet another day of playing Jedi.

―Good morning,‖ Kenobi greeted with an absent nod as he sipped at his cup of tea.

―Morning,‖ Vader muttered back, tossing his cloak onto the couch before sitting down opposite
the older Jedi.

―Did you sleep well?‖ Obi-Wan asked, as was part of their little morning routine.

―Well enough,‖ Vader grumbled the usual answer, mechanically taking his own tea. He always
answered that way, even if it wasn‘t exactly true. The vagueness of the answer generally
protected him from being caught in a lie, since ‗well enough‘ could mean anything. It could
even mean he‘d suffered some evil nightmare.

Obi-Wan nodded silently and kept on sipping at his drink. Vader mutely drank his own cup as
he waited for the fog that still lingered in his own head to burn away. It was like this every
day, every morning.

First he‘d get up and shower while Obi-Wan, who was, of course, already awake, brewed the
morning tea. After tea came morning meditation, an exercise in tortuous boredom. And only
then did they head for the mess hall for breakfast because, as he‘d found out, the Master he‘d
chosen couldn‘t cook anything to save his life. And then after that, the day would truly begin.
It was always the same. Not even Orbie‘s oddball antics could break the monotony most days.

For four years now he had followed this routine. Thinking back on things, he probably
should‘ve left the Temple behind long ago. After those first few trial months, he should‘ve
packed up and left. But, like the idiot that he was, he stayed, thinking: just a few more
months, just a few more. And so those four years had melted away before he‘d truly realized

Mechanically, he set aside his empty tea mug and headed for the thick patch of carpet by the
window. There, he kneeled beside Kenobi and went through the motions of meditation. His
breathing slowed into a deep regular pattern, his eyes closed, his mind emptied, and he
opened himself to the Light.

Once, when he‘d first started the Jedi version of meditation, the Light had burned him. He was
so used to the Darkness that his Force-senses hadn‘t been able to tolerate the power of the
other side of the Force. It was like living in the darkest cave for years and then suddenly being
thrown out into the brightest, harshest sunlight at high noon. It hurt, and only his
determination not to fail had kept him at it until he became accustomed to the Jedi‘s power.

And then, after getting the hang of basic meditation, it was off to relearn everything he‘d
learned before. Levitation, mind control, far-seeing, sensing, saber fighting, all of it he had to
learn anew. While there was the slight advantage that he knew how it was supposed to work
already, the bad habit of the Dark Side made remembering to use the Light a more difficult
prospect. But, being the stubborn bastard that he was, he‘d somehow done it, and now only
Kenobi and the Council knew and truly believed that he had first been of the Darkness, that he
wasn‘t, and would never be, a true Jedi.

After a good half hour or so had passed, Vader drew himself out of meditation. He slowly
stood and stretched to get the kinks out of his muscles and joints. Once he felt and heard the
appropriate cracks and pops, he scooped up his cloak, shrugged it on, and waited by the door
for Kenobi to get up and do the same. It always took the Jedi longer to get going in the
morning, despite the fact that he was the first one up. As he waited, he idly wondered what
was up with Orbie as he noticed the droid sitting on the footstool, apparently sulking.

Finally, Kenobi stirred from the thick soft carpet. The older man got up and pulled on his own
much lighter cloak. He took his sweet time walking over to, and then through, the door. Out in
the hall, Vader fell in step one stride behind and to the right of Kenobi, like a good Padawan.
It was annoying, and stupid, and aggravating, but he did it, because all Padawans did it, and if
he didn‘t do it, he‘d stand out like a Wookiee in a crowd of Jawas.

Breakfast was simple. Today it was thick oatmeal with some scraps of fruit mixed in. While the
cafeteria itself was a noisy place, with Initiates, Padawans, Knights, and Masters all conversing
with each other, Vader and Kenobi ate in silence. Unless Kenobi something important to tell
him, or teach him, there never was any talk while they ate. It was just too early for much
civilized conversation.

Morning meal eaten and over, they disposed of their used dishes and went on with their day.
And that meant, unless otherwise stated, saber practice. Endless, numbing drills intermixed
with short sparring matches. Sometimes he‘d be pitted against other Padawans, maybe even
Knights, though it was mostly against Kenobi. And this would go on until lunchtime.

Vader sighed wearily as they headed for the training rooms. And so begins yet another wasted

Obi-Wan rubbed a tired hand over his face as evening fell over Coruscant. Dinner had been, as
usual, very nice. Nothing fancy, but it was tasty, nutritious, and filling. And then, after evening
meditation, he‘d sent Vader off to bed, and sent Orbie with him.

Glancing towards the boy‘s door he sighed. It was strange. In the beginning, it was easy to
remember that Vader was of the Dark Side, someone to be hidden and protected, though not
to be truly trusted. But, as the weeks had run into months and grown into years, he grew
accustomed to the boy‘s presence and all his…quirks. He could almost think of Vader as his
Padawan, instead of just his ward.

It certainly didn‘t help matters that Vader was becoming too adept at mimicry. He knew just
how to follow along in his shadow, knew just how to bow and address others. His slips in the
use of Dark energy were increasingly rare. Obi-Wan never thought that one of Darkness could
turn away from it into the Light as this boy had. Vader wasn‘t perfect by any means, but in
terms of his Force alignment, he‘d done an almost complete reversal. That had certainly
shattered all of his own expectations.

The only thing that Vader had never overcome, never even tried to overcome, was his
aversion to deep mental contact. He could tolerate light brushes against his mind well enough
now, but anything deeper would make him lash out against the contact. His inability to
tolerate that kind of mental contact had driven him to refuse the formation of a
Master/Padawan training bond, much to Yoda‘s and his own dismay. But they couldn‘t force
Vader into the bond, and so had let it slide.

The reason for such an aversion to mental contact was something that Obi-Wan could only
guess at, since Vader refused to speak of his life before Obi-Wan had found him on the streets
of Coronet. But it wasn‘t a hard reason to guess at. There were few things that he could
imagine that would cause Vader to behave the way that he did when he, or one of the High
Council members, tried to form a connection with his mind. The boy‘s Sith mentor, whoever
he was, had done sometime terrible to him through his mind. The Sith had hurt him so badly
that he could never trust anyone in his mind ever again.

Obi-Wan sighed as he fought off the now-familiar distant ache of anger at whoever the
mysterious Sith was. Vader was really such a bright boy underneath his sullen exterior. He
found himself wishing that Vader really was a Jedi, and his Padawan. The boy was everything
he could‘ve wanted in a real student. Strong, skilled, gifted, sharp (well, most of the time),
cunning, and at times surprisingly brave.

Aside from his mysterious Dark origins and personality flaws, Vader was the Padawan that
Obi-Wan had always hoped to find. Though when he thought about it, the situation concerning
his ―Padawan‖ was not without a great amount of irony. He almost laughed as he considered it
on the way to his sleep couch in his own private quarters.

I find the perfect Padawan in one of the Dark Side. I teach him the ways and techniques of the
Jedi and he most likely will use them against me one day. He is barely a step away from being
the same as the Zabrak that I killed, the one who brought Master Qui-Gon his doom.

Oh Master, what ever would you think of this if you were still here? Would you be disappointed?
Or would you just laugh at me?

Familiar stars shone high overhead, distant and cold. Three moons, waning, hung up above,
illuminating a sea of colorless sand with light that lacked any warmth. Bordering the endless
sand dunes were the wastes, plains of rock riddled with deep craggy canyons. It was near
midnight and it was very cold.

Within the rocky wasteland was a camp of primitives, the sand people, the Tusken Raiders.
Tents made of skins and bone huddled around small, flickering campfires. The women and
children huddled out of sight, in the tents where it was warm and safe. The men sat around
the fires, clutching their weapons tightly. On the fringes of the camp, mighty Banthas lounged,
comfortable in the chill night due to their thick fur coats.
Inside one particular tent on the edge of the camp a single human woman sat. Her arms were
tied apart and over her head, cutting off circulation to her hands and making it difficult to
breathe, impossible to rest. She was trapped kneeling in the sand, waiting.

Several Tusken warriors abruptly ducked into the tent. They barked and snarled in their
violent crude language for a few minutes. And then the beating started. They hit and kicked
and cursed her. Each blow drew a hoarse cry from her raw dry throat and while she struggled,
she was simply too weak to escape. Then, just as suddenly as they had appeared, the Tuskens
vanished back into the nigh, leaving the woman to gasp and moan in renewed pain.

―Oh why…why won‘t anyone help me?‖ She wheezed hoarsely. ―Ani—‖

Vader snapped upright in his bed, soaked in sweat and gasping for air. Trembling and
disoriented, he fought his way free of his tangled sheets and almost fell to the floor. Once he
realized that he was in his room deep in the Jedi Temple, he settled himself on the cool floor
and worked to calm himself. Thankfully, it seemed, Kenobi was deep enough in sleep to have
not been disturbed by the nightmare.

Frowning in concentration (and some annoyance) he thought back on the disturbing dream.
Already the details were draining away from him, like sand running between his fingers. But
what remained was frightening enough. He had seen his mother alone, in great pain, suffering
torture, and she had called for him. Where she was and who was responsible, he didn‘t know,
but now, more than ever before, he was sure that this wasn‘t just a dream. It was real.

For almost a week he‘d suffered this exact same dream. Every time he drifted off to sleep, he
would see her suffering, being beaten, and she would beg for help. There was no other
explanation for such a recurring dream, it could only be real, a warning from the Force. And if
he didn‘t act, she would die.

He wasn‘t going to let that happen. Mind made up, he got up off the floor, gathered up his
clothes, and headed for the refresher. After a very quick, very quiet shower, he got dressed
and gathered up a few essentials.

As he stuffed his tools, a spare med-kit, and a stash of credits into his bag, he was very
careful to mask his activity from Kenobi. He didn‘t want to deal with him right now. After all,
the man was a Jedi, and he‘d never go along with Vader on this. The Jedi Order forbade
attachment, they had no families, they were practically raised in a sterile plastic bubble in the
heart the Temple. Kenobi would never understand, or support, Vader‘s choice in this.

Stealthily he crept out of their shared apartment and through the halls of the Jedi Temple.
There were a few people awake, but not many, and they were easily avoided. Not a soul saw
him as he slunk his way into the Temple Hanger.

He kept towards the section where the Jedi Starfighters were kept. The wedge-shaped craft
was beautiful and highly maneuverable, but it was, in his opinion, deeply flawed. It had no
internal hyperdrive and instead relied on a booster ring to make the jump to hyperspace. Also,
its shielding and firepower were not as great as they could‘ve been. But for a quick trip to
Tatooine, it would do just fine.

Now to find a ship with a good Astromech. Many one- or two-man fighters had slots for the
droids so that they could repair damaged ships mid-battle to improve the pilot‘s chance of
survival and success. In the Jedi Starfighter, the space for an Astromech was limited, so the
droids had their lower halves removed and were permanently wired into the ships. Vader
found this feature to also be a major flaw, not to mention annoying.
In the end, since he‘d never been assigned one single ship for his use, he decided to borrow
Kenobi‘s. R4-P17 was a decent droid. The red-domed droid was very obedient and loyal. It
shouldn‘t take much to persuade the robot to help him out, especially if he told a little white
lie. Droids couldn‘t feel the Force, couldn‘t be Jedi, and so there was no way for it to know that
he was lying. And if he took this ship, Kenobi would be delayed in chasing him down, which
was a definite plus.

He lightly sprung up on the top of the fighter and opened the canopy. This activity awoke the
dozing Astromech and Arfour let out a surprised string of binary warbles and chirps. The
translation of the droid‘s cries flashed up on a screen inside the cockpit which, as Vader began
flipping switches and turning on systems, glowed to life.

The droid wanted to know.

―Master is still sleeping. I‘m going out for a quick little flight. Care to join me?‖ Vader snorted,
as he began to strap himself in.

WHERE WILL YOU FLY TO? Arfour asked curiously.

―A short hop out to the Outer Rim and back. It shouldn‘t take more than a couple of days.‖
Vader shrugged as he keyed up the engines.


―Yes,‖ Vader lied.


―Nope, he trusts me.‖ Vader lied again.


―I‘m investigating a vision.‖ Vader replied truthfully.

The Delta-7 Starfighter was now completely warmed up and Vader entered the codes to open
the hanger. The door in the side of one of the massive spires of the Temple opened and the
platform on which the ship rested was thrust outward into the night air of Coruscant. With
practiced ease, he lifted the fighter up from the platform and through the atmosphere towards
the planetary hyper-limit. As he went, aiming for an orbiting booster ring, he started pulling
up the coordinates he needed for his jump.


―No thanks, I‘m not lazy like Obi-Wan.‖ Vader scoffed, disgusted at his Master‘s attitude
concerning flying. He skillfully guided the pointed nose of his ship into the link-up with the
hyperspace booster ring.


―Don‘t worry, I will.‖ Vader muttered, locking in the coordinates and pulling the lever that
triggered the jump. In a fraction of a second the pinpoints of starlight lengthened into white
lines and then melded together into the white-blue mists of hyperspace. Then Vader sat back
and slipped into a light Force-trance while he waited to arrive over Tatooine.
As the sun began to rise over Coruscant, Obi-Wan got up to begin his day. He rose, showered,
and set a pot of water to boil for the morning tea. And then it was off to make sure that his
―Padawan‖ was conscious and on his way to being truly awake.

He knocked on Vader‘s door and listened carefully for a response. When he got none, he
knocked harder and called out to him. ―It‘s morning, time to get up.‖ Still nothing. ―Vader, get
up.‖ Utter silence.

Obi-Wan sighed before stretching out his Force-senses to check on the boy. He sensed nothing.
Not a sulking Padawan, not a sleeping one either, just nothing. The only explanation for that
was that Vader had mysteriously died during the night, or wasn‘t in there. Since he hadn‘t
detected the boy‘s death, Vader simply wasn‘t inside. A quick peek through the door confirmed
that. So…where was he?

I have a bad feeling about this…

  Submit Review                                13. 12: Routines and Nightmares

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                            font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                     14. 13: Tatooine

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                          Chapter 13

Obi-Wan was at a loss to explain Vader‘s absence. The boy had expressed no serious desire to
leave, or at least nothing that he‘d taken to be serious. Vader‘s room was as neat as it ever
got and it showed no signs of distress or struggle. There was simply no reason for Vader to be
gone, and there was no sign as to where he might‘ve gone.

After thoroughly searching Vader‘s room and the rest of the apartment, Obi-Wan moved to
check the rest of the Temple. He checked the cafeteria, the Archives, the Fountain Room,
several nooks and crannies that Vader favored, and finally the hanger. The boy wasn‘t
anywhere, but at least in the hanger he found a clue of sorts. The Delta-7 Starfighter assigned
to him was missing too.

So Vader had left the Temple, and presumably Coruscant as well, behind. But where had he
gone, and why? What had driven him to vanish in the middle of the night without a word? As
he pondered the possibilities, he grew troubled.

Vader could very well have abandoned the Temple to defect back to the Sith. After four years
among the Jedi, there was a wealth of information that he could be handing over. If that was
the case, the Jedi Order was now vulnerable.

A second possibility was that some agents of the Sith had located Vader and somehow
removed him without being detected. It was a thought so unlikely that it was absurd. The
Temple was filled with thousands of Jedi and there was no way that an intruder could do such
a thing without drawing enough notice for it to be stopped. Yet the idea persisted in his mind
and Obi-Wan couldn‘t quite erase it.

Other ideas came and went, but the first two that had struck him lingered. Either Vader had
betrayed the trust that the Jedi had placed in him, or somehow he had been stolen away and
the Jedi had failed in their promise to him. The thought that Vader had left of his own free will
for some other reason never entered his head.

―Obi-Wan!‖ Mace Windu called, jarring Obi-Wan from his worried thoughts.

―Yes?‖ Obi-Wan blinked, pausing in his worried wanderings of the Temple halls.
―Where is your Padawan?‖ Mace asked. ―Master Veiji reports that he wasn‘t in class. Is he ill?‖

―To the best of my knowledge he isn‘t sick. But as to where he is…your guess is as good as
mine,‖ Obi-Wan reluctantly admitted. ―I‘ve been trying to find him all morning.‖

Mace‘s usual stern expression turned downright grim. ―This is most troubling news.‖

―As far as I have been able to determine, he left, or was persuaded to leave, sometime in the
night by way of my assigned Delta-7 Starfighter,‖ Obi-Wan quietly reported. ―I have yet to
find any clues as to where exactly he has gone and why.‖

Master Windu thought this information over for a few minutes before replying. ―Continue your
investigation and meet me in Master Yoda‘s meditation chambers in two hours. I will see
about having your Delta-7‘s beacon tracked to see if we can locate Vader.‖

―Of course, Master,‖ Obi-Wan agreed with a slight bow.

Mace returned the bow and swept off to make his own inquiries.

Obi-Wan made his way over to a nearby window and stared out at the cityscape of Coruscant
as he tried to think of what to do next. Where else could he check for clues about Vader‘s
whereabouts that wouldn‘t conflict with what Mace was doing? Perhaps if he went to the
Archives again and checked to see if Vader had done some research that couldn‘t be explained
by his school projects…

A twittering whistle and some childish giggles somewhere behind him drew his attention.
Vader‘s modified hovercam droid flitted back and forth across the hallway and playfully buzzed
a Clan of Initiates. Obi-Wan wearily shook his head at the sight before going to retrieve the
renegade droid.

Generally Vader left Orbie in the apartment unless he wanted the droid with him for some
reason. But sometimes the droid would let itself out and drift around the Temple for a while.
Sometimes the droid was barely noticed, and sometimes it caused trouble. Today it seemed
that Orbie had chosen to go maverick and play with children.

Just as the droid was about to make another swoop at the cluster of squealing children, Obi-
Wan thickened the air around it, temporarily immobilizing it. ―Now that‘s enough,‖ he wearily
scolded the droid. ―Come along,‖ he commanded, releasing it.

Orbie made a decidedly rude noise, but did as it was told and fell in behind him.

As Obi-Wan started to lead the naughty droid back to their apartment, an idea came to him.
Orbie was designed to be a camera, and Vader had greatly enhanced its recording range.
Perhaps it had seen something during the night that would give him some clue.

―Now,‖ he turned to the droid when they were safely in the apartment, ―show me everything
that you recorded last night…‖

It was just how he remembered it. A golden-and-brown orb that shone with reflected sunlight
against the pitch darkness of space. It was a vision of his personal Hell and former prison. It
was Tatooine. Home sweet home.

Sighing noisily, Vader took the control stick and pressed the nose down into the atmosphere
after jettisoning the hyperspace booster ring into orbit. As he grew closer to the ground, he
set a course for the spaceport of Mos Espa. Once he got there, he could pay Watto a visit and
check-up on his mother. If his vision was true (and he was pretty sure that it was), he would
take care of it so he could get back to Coruscant and the Temple as quickly as possible.

I probably should‘ve left a note, he reflected as he drew closer to the docking bays. A quick
little note would‘ve let Kenobi know that he was coming back and not to worry about it. But he
was so on edge when he‘d left, so determined to get here as fast as possible, that the idea of
a note never once crossed his mind until now. Oh well.

He set the red and white Delta-7 down in an open docking bay and locked it down to keep
thieves and Jawas out of it. With a few quick instructions to Arfour, he was striding across the
sands of the landing bay and out onto the street. And from there he went on memory, heading
back to the site of the majority of his life as a slave.

When he got there, Watto was perched out front, struggling to repair a broken pit droid. The
greasy blue Toydarian was fatter and scruffier-looking than Vader remembered. The scummy
alien was clearly in a bad mood and impatiently knocked the other pit droids around as he
continually failed to fix the broken droid.

―Dowanga!‖ Watto cursed angrily.

Vader strolled right up to his former owner. ―Chut chut, Watto,‖ he smirked, sliding easily back
into Huttese, his first language. ―(Let me help you with that,)‖ Vader graciously offered as he
took the broken droid and started to repair it.

Watto was understandably taken aback. ―(What? What do you want?)‖ the Toydarian
demanded. The alien‘s eyes spotted a fleeting glimpse of Vader‘s lightsaber and he panicked.
―(Wait! You‘re a Jedi! Whatever it is, I didn‘t do it.)‖

Ever the coward, aren‘t you Watto? ―(I‘m looking for Shmi Skywalker,)‖ Vader declared,
getting straight to the point of his visit.

Watto fell silent at the question and squinted up at Vader. The only sounds were the faint
background hum of the crowds on the street and the buzzing of sand flies around Watto‘s
head. ―Ani?‖ Watto nearly whispered, ―Little Ani?‖

Vader made no comment, he simply put the pit droid back down on the table, completely

The Toydarian grinned disbelievingly down at the droid before slapping his knees in
amazement. ―Nah… You are Ani! It is you!‖ Watto triumphantly declared and fluttered up from
his seat to hover before Vader. ―You sure sprouted, eh? You, a Jedi, whadda you know!‖ Watto
chuckled, then his tone and expression turned grim. ―Hey, maybe you could help with some
deadbeats who owe me a lot a money.‖

Now that I‘m a Jedi, I‘m your best friend, is that it? ―My mother,‖ Vader growled, pulling
Watto‘s attention back to the matter at hand.

―Oh yeah. Shmi,‖ Watto grunted nervously, scratching at the back of his head. ―She‘s not
mine no more. I sold her.‖

―You sold her?‖ Vader sputtered. Do you want me to hate you?
―Years ago. Sorry Ani, but you know, business is business.‖ Watto laughed nervously. ―I sold
her to a moisture farmer named Lars. At least I think it was Lars,‖ he muttered. ―Believe it or
not, but I heard he freed her, and married her! Can you beat that, eh?‖

I am not particularly inclined to believe you. ―Do you know where they are now?‖ Vader asked
sternly, sticking to the point of his visit.

―Oh long ways from here,‖ Watto shrugged. ―Someplace on the other side of Mos Eisley, I
think, hmm.‖

―I‘d like to know,‖ Vader glared. So tell me before I make you tell me.

―Sure, absolutely!‖ Watto smiled nervously. ―Let‘s go look at my records, eh?‖

Vader sighed with aggravation before nodding at Watto and following the Toydarian inside the
dim, cool shop. Why can‘t I ever have it easy?

―Tatooine?‖ Obi-Wan blinked.

―According to the beacon, yes, that‘s where he is,‖ Mace confirmed.

Obi-Wan sat with Master Windu and Master Yoda in his apartment. The two Masters had come
to him mid-morning with the news. After a full day and night of waiting, a reading from the
missing Delta-7 had finally come in.

―That‘s all the way out in the fringes of the Outer Rim,‖ Obi-Wan remarked. ―He must‘ve really
pushed it to get that far so fast.‖

―Very true,‖ Yoda agreed gravely.

―Were you able to raise him?‖ Obi-Wan asked.

―No,‖ Mace shook his head. ―Either he‘s ignored the comm, or he‘s turned it off.‖

―Oh dear,‖ Obi-Wan sighed worriedly. I don‘t like this one bit…

―Very troubling this all is,‖ Yoda mused. ―Unknown Vader‘s intentions remain. Cautious we
must be.‖

―We should contact Ki-Adi-Mundi on Cerea and send him to investigate,‖ Mace suggested. ―The
boy could very well be betraying us right now.‖

―Cerea isn‘t any closer to Tatooine than Coruscant is,‖ Obi-Wan pointed out. ―And there‘s no
way to know if he is betraying us or not.‖

―We can‘t take a chance on this,‖ Mace frowned. ―Master Mundi is already out in the field and
this situation must be kept between the members of the High Council. If we contact him now,
he can be there in a day and a half.‖

Obi-Wan shook his head. ―I don‘t know. Vader could very well leave Tatooine before Master
Mundi can even arrive. And I don‘t think he‘s run off to spill our secrets to the Sith,‖ he
admitted. ―It just doesn‘t feel right to me.‖
―How so?‖ Yoda inquired.

Stroking his beard thoughtfully, he took several minutes to think hard before answering.
―Despite his poor attitude and difficult personality, he has never struck me as loyal to the Sith
in any way. If he were ever to betray us to them, then it would be against his will due to some
sort of coercion. The recordings that we have of him show no evidence of that.‖

―Those recordings are short and incomplete,‖ Mace countered.

―They are short,‖ Obi-Wan readily agreed, ―but they show enough. Some sort of nightmare set
him off and then he apparently left of his own free will.‖

―What course of action do you suggest?‖ Yoda asked curiously.

―I say we should keep trying to raise him on the comm,‖ Obi-Wan decided. ―If he doesn‘t
respond within a day or two, then Master Mundi should be sent to investigate.‖

―That‘s a long time to wait,‖ Mace grumbled. ―It‘s too risky. I don‘t like it.‖

―It‘s far less risky than our original move to admit him into the Order,‖ Obi-Wan shrugged.

―I still don‘t like it,‖ Mace scowled. ―The boy is dangerous. He can‘t be trusted on his own; he
needs supervision.‖

―He‘s generally done very well in solo situations on previous assignments,‖ Obi-Wan reminded

―This isn‘t a normal situation,‖ Mace remarked. ―This isn‘t a mission that we‘ve assigned him
and you are not even on the same planet as him. We don‘t know what he‘s doing or why.‖

―A test, this is,‖ Yoda said suddenly, his green face wrinkled in deep thought.

―A test?‖ Obi-Wan frowned.

―For who?‖ Mace wondered. ―Him or us?‖

―Difficult to say,‖ Yoda sighed wearily. ―Meditate on it I will. Obi-Wan‘s plan we shall employ,‖
the ancient Jedi decided and hopped down from Obi-Wan‘s couch. ―If respond he does not to
our hails by tomorrow, then dispatch Master Mundi we will.‖

Master Yoda had made up his mind and his tone said so. Mace and Obi-Wan recognized this
and didn‘t argue. Master Windu rose from his seat and bowed to Obi-Wan.

―May the Force be with you, Obi-Wan.‖ Mace said as he and Master Yoda headed for the door.

―And may the Force be with you, Masters,‖ Obi-Wan replied.

When the door closed behind them, Obi-Wan settled back into his couch with a tense sigh.
Orbie chose that moment to buzz out of Vader‘s room and hover around the apartment. The
droid dropped down in front of Obi-Wan‘s face and twittered a question.
Obi-Wan ignored the droid as he had no idea what it had asked him. He waved the droid aside
and left the couch to trudge into the apartment‘s tiny kitchen. There he set about making
some tea while Orbie made a pest of itself and hovered questioningly around his head.

Where have you gone? he wondered as he waited for the water to boil. And why?

A few hours later, he settled the Delta-7 outside a small, half-buried farmstead. After
powering it down, he hopped out of the cockpit and headed for the door of the little domed
house where several landspeeders were parked and a Dewback was tied up. On his way, he
passed a grimy protocol droid that, at one point, had been silver. He didn‘t really pay any
attention to it, until it greeted him, that is.

The protocol droid perked up as he passed it and greeted him in a prissy-sounding voice. ―Oh,
hello! How might I be of service? I am C—‖

―Threepio?‖ Vader paused, staring in disbelief. When the Count had carried him off he still
hadn‘t found all coverings for the droid he‘d built for his mother.

―Oh, um…‖ Threepio stuttered for a moment. ―The Maker! Oh Master Ani! I knew you would
return! I knew it!‖ the droid gushed happily. ―Bless my circuits, I‘m so pleased to see you!‖

―I‘ve come to see my mother,‖ Vader announced, getting to the point before Threepio rattled
on for hours about how happy he was to see him.

Threepio‘s good cheer immediately waned. ―Oh, uh, I think perhaps we‘d better go indoors.‖

Vader swallowed and trailed after his old droid. He was suddenly overcome by dread. I have a
bad feeling about this…

Threepio led him down a set of stairs to a sunken courtyard. There he spied a pair of young
people, a man and a woman. Somewhere close by he could hear the sounds of several men

―Master Owen, might I present to you a most important visitor,‖ Threepio announced.

―I‘m Anakin Skywalker,‖ Vader nodded nervously. Yeesh, it‘s been so long since I‘ve said

―Owen Lars,‖ the young man greeted simply, ―this is my girlfriend, Beru.‖

―Hello,‖ the woman, Beru, said.

―I guess I‘m your step-brother,‖ Owen shrugged. ―I had a feeling you might show up

Vader blinked stupidly at the both of them. Um, what? ―Is my mother here?‖

―No, she‘s not,‖ a voice called.

Vader snapped around to see a rough-looking man with a stubbly beard and weathered face
come striding over from one of the buried buildings. Not far behind him, several other men
were leaving the house. They looked just as dusty and worn as the one who‘d spoken to him,
and some of them were carrying the long blaster rifles that were favored by the moisture
farmers of Tatooine.

―Cliegg Lars,‖ the man grunted and held out his hand to shake, which Vader did. ―Shmi is my

So Watto wasn‘t making stuff up when he told me that story. ―Oh,‖ he blinked dumbly.

―I‘d invite you inside to talk, but we‘ve got to be going,‖ Cliegg told him and started to walk
off with the men.

―What?‖ Vader mumbled, feeling rather lost. ―Where are you going?‖

Cliegg paused and looked back at him. ―It was just before dawn, they came out of nowhere, a
hunting party of Tusken Raiders. Your mother had gone out early, like she always did to pick
mushroom that grow on the ‘vaporators. From the tracks she was about halfway home when
they took her.‖ The man‘s expression turned exceptionally grim. ―We‘re going out to get her.‖

Vader looked over the group of ten men. They were just a bunch of normally peaceful men
with long-barreled blaster rifles that were planning on going against an entire tribe of Tusken
Raiders. There was no question about it. They were going to get slaughtered.

The group seemed to read the skepticism in his eyes and one man piped up. ―We‘re meeting
up with some other farmers from the other side of Anchorhead. At last count there were thirty

Chewing this new number over, his prediction remained the same. They‘re going to get
murdered. ―I‘ll make you a deal,‖ Vader offered, his mind racing. ―I‘ll go out and see if I can
get her back alone, and if I don‘t make it back by tomorrow morning, you all can go and see if
you have better luck.‖

Cliegg and his buddies stared at him like he was insane.

―Are you insane, boy?‖ One of the men demanded.

Vader bristled instantly. ―I‘m not a boy and I know perfectly well what I‘m doing.‖

―I‘m sure you do, son.‖ Cliegg agreed, though his tone was on the patronizing side. ―But leave
this to us. We‘ll take care of it. Stay here with Owen and Beru.‖

You‘re not my father! You have no right to boss me around! Vader wanted to scream that at
Cliegg, but he refrained. Instead he fixed them all with a glare. ―Fine, have it your way then.‖

Cliegg gave him a worried look and put what was meant to be a comforting hand on Vader‘s
shoulder. ―Anakin, I mean it. Stay here. Your mother would want you to stay out of trouble.‖

―Of course she wouldn‘t,‖ Vader reluctantly admitted. But that‘s because she‘s Mom.

―So promise me that you‘ll stay here and not get involved in this,‖ Cliegg pleaded.

Vader scowled down and off to the side, refusing to look at the gruff farmer. ―Fine, whatever,‖
he muttered sullenly.
―Thank you,‖ Cliegg sighed and hurried off to join his buddies. ―Let‘s head over to the
Darklighters and finish getting things organized,‖ he told them as they trudged up the stairs.
―We‘ll hit them early tomorrow morning…‖

He waited until he couldn‘t hear their speeders anymore before he moved. Shaking his head in
disgust, he headed for the same stairs that Cliegg‘s grim little band had recently used.
Hopefully there would be some vehicle left that he could appropriate for his mission.

―Where are you going?‖ Owen called after him. ―You promised to stay here.‖

―I promised no such thing,‖ Vader shot back.

―But you‘ll be killed if you go!‖ Beru fussed.

―And they won‘t?‖ Vader challenged and then stormed up the steps.

―Oh my goodness!‖ Threepio cried in distress, thoroughly upset at his Maker‘s course of action.

Idiots, all of them! he fumed. I‘m not a baby. I‘m more suited to rescuing Mom than any of

Of all the vehicles that had been present, only the Dewback and a swoop bike remained. The
Dewback was much too slow, and as the suns were setting, it would soon be useless in the
cold desert night. The swoop bike, though, that would do nicely.

Hopping onto the seat, he keyed the bike on and waited a minute for it to warm up. He lined
his sights up on the faint dark blur of the Jundland Wastes where the closest Tusken Raider
tribe could be found. Setting his jaw in determination, he released the brake and leaned on
the throttle, taking off in a blast of dust before either Owen or Beru decided to run up and try
to stop him.

Vader hunched low over the handlebars of the swoop bike he‘d borrowed and squinted against
the rush of dry, dusty air. In the west, the suns were setting, but he barely noticed. His hard
blue eyes were fixed on the rocky wastes, his ultimate goal for the moment.

I‘m coming Mom. They can‘t help you, but I can. I‘ll find you Mom, and I‘ll save you. I

As the sun set on the Jedi Temple, Obi-Wan stood before one of the west-facing windows and
stared out at the color-stained city skyline. Vader still hadn‘t responded to the repeated hails,
though at least he hadn‘t left Tatooine. If Vader didn‘t respond by morning, or leave the planet,
Master Mundi would go to retrieve him, and then he‘d really be in trouble.

What are you doing out there? Obi-Wan wondered. What was so important that you had to
leave in the middle of the night without any warning or even a note?

―See something interesting out there, Oafy-Wan?‖ Bruck inquired, coming up beside him.

Obi-Wan tensed and clenched his teeth at the hated nickname. Ever since he‘d returned to
Coruscant, he‘d done his best to avoid Bruck if he could. And for the most part, he and Bruck
rarely crossed paths. But when they did, it was never a pleasant event.

―Just enjoying the view,‖ Obi-Wan shrugged.
―I hear that your Padawan‘s gone missing,‖ Bruck commented.

Obi-Wan frowned a bit at that. He‘d taken pains to keep a low profile upon his return to
Coruscant. Of all his friends and acquaintances, only the High Council, Vader‘s instructors, and
Bruck Chun knew that he was here. That Bruck knew that Vader was missing was a bit
troubling to him, though ultimately more of an annoyance than anything else.

―He‘s gone off on a solo investigation to Tatooine,‖ Obi-Wan replied, repeating the cover story
that he and Mace had formulated the day before, adding in Vader‘s current location.

―I see,‖ Bruck muttered. ―When will he return.‖

―Soon,‖ Obi-Wan answered vaguely. Hopefully.

There was a long stretch of silence before Bruck seemed to grow bored. ―Well, tell me how he
does when he returns.‖

Obi-Wan gave him a distracted nod.

―Have a good evening…Oafy-Wan,‖ Bruck snorted, tacking on his parting shot as he walked off.

Why me? Obi-Wan muttered as he watched the endless streams of traffic crawl through the
Coruscanti sky. First Vader runs off and now Bruck shows up. Really, why me?

It was deep night now. The triple moons were mere slivers of white, barely giving off more
light than the sea of tiny, distant stars. The air was cold enough for his breath to form misty
clouds of vapor in front of his face. But he barely noticed the dark night and cold air. What he
did notice was the Tusken Raider camp spread out in the valley beneath his hidden position
high up on a cliff.

Angry did not even come close to describing his mood. Furious was closer, but it still wasn‘t a
strong enough descriptor. Enraged beyond all reason was as close as language came to
defining his current emotional state. If he was certain that his mother was perfectly safe and
he was in the middle of that camp right now, he‘d slaughter them all like the filthy animals
that they were.

But his mother wasn‘t safe; she was down there hidden away in a tent. If he went down there
now with lightsaber blazing, they could very well kill her before he was able to cut his way to
her. And so stealth was his only option. Mass-murder would have to wait.

Grr… need to calm down…need to focus… Vader chewed the inside of his cheek and tried to
think. What would Kenobi tell me to do?

Lemme think… He‘d do something non-violent, if possible. Something sneaky and stealthy…the
Tuskens would never even know that he‘d been there.

I can do that, he decided.

Taking a few deep breaths, he worked to calm his mind and focus on the task at hand. He
couldn‘t afford to let his rage distract him and get him captured or even killed. This was, at
least in his own mind, the most important mission of his life, and failure was not an option.
Silent as a shadow, he slunk down the cliff to the valley camp below. He paused when his
boots hit the sand, waiting for the Force to tell him when it was safe to make his move. When
the prompting came, he darted over the open ground to the cover of the primitive bone-and-
hide tents. From there, it was a simple matter of avoiding the Tusken sentries and finding the
right tent.

Piece of cake.

Despite his attempts at a calm mind, the blood was roaring in his ears and his heart raced.
Adrenalin was doing its best to undo his hard-won calm and focus. There was no place for him
to stop and get his head back in order in the camp. If he was caught, the Tuskens wouldn‘t
hesitate to kill him.

A faint tug in the flowing streams of the Force led him to a certain tent on the very fringes of
the camp. Two male Tuskens sat vigil outside the front flap, so Vader slipped around behind it.
Then, he used a little mind-trick to incite a pair of bull Banthas to get into a fight. Their battle
cries made enough noise to cover the sound of a lightsaber carving a second door into the
dome-shaped tent.

Vader darted inside, squinting slightly against the flickering glare of a glass lamp powered by
animal fat. Against one wall of the tent, his mother hung, strung up by her wrists. She was
eerily still and silent. With shaking hands, he sank down beside her and fumbled with the
leather ties that bound her.

She moaned faintly, gasping in pain when blood rushed back into her hands. Once she was
free, she sank into his arms no longer strong enough to support her own weight. When he
brushed her hair from her face he was horrified at the damage he saw.

Her face was puffy and spotted with bruises. A dried trail of blood was caked at one corner of
her mouth. Her hair was a mess, and greyer than he remembered. Her clothes were torn and
peppered with blood stains. She looked like death warmed over.

―Mom?‖ He whispered hoarsely.

―Mmm…‖ She groaned and her eyes fluttered for several seconds before opening. Her dark
eyes seemed to take an eternity to focus on his face. ―A…Ani?‖

―Yes Mom, it‘s me.‖ Vader whispered, gently stroking her battered face. ―I‘ve come to get you
and take you home.‖

―O-oh Ani…look at you. You‘re all grown up.‖ She croaked, slowly raising an arm to trace the
contours of his face, as if to confirm that he was real.

―Yeah,‖ Vader grinned a little, blinking back tears. He cursed himself for not bringing any
water with him; she sure looked like she was in serious need of some. But there was nothing
he could do about it now. ―Hang on Mom. We‘re getting out of here.‖ He told her and very
carefully gathered her up into his arms.

It was strange, he‘d always thought she‘d be heavy, but in reality she really wasn‘t. Maybe it
was because he‘d always been smaller than her before, but now that he was fully grown and
several inches taller than her, it was no longer true. Moving slowly so as not to jostle her
unnecessarily, he crept out of the hole he‘d cut in the fabric of the tent.

Since she wasn‘t able to run, he used the same mind trick he‘d used before to stir up all of the
Banthas and divert the camp‘s attention. While the small herd milled about on one side of the
encampment, Vader smuggled his mother away on the other. The Force was thankfully with
them and they made it to the cliffs unseen.

From there, Vader was forced to sling his mother over his shoulder to get back to the top. He
could always look for an easier route, but he feared that would take too much time. He really
didn‘t want to be around when the sand people discovered that their prisoner had broken

―Hang on Mom,‖ Vader murmured as he carefully settled her on the swoop bike in front of him.
―Just a short ride and you‘ll be home, safe and sound.‖

―Okay,‖ she moaned, sinking weakly against his chest as he revved the engine.

―Hang on,‖ he repeated and then leaned on the throttle. The swoop bike roared before
lurching forward, swiftly vanishing into the night…

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                           font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                     15. 14: Long Lost Son

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                          Chapter 14
                                         Long Lost Son

The first sun was barely peeking over the horizon when Vader made it back to the Lars
homestead. He‘d pushed the swoop bike to its limits and a little bit beyond as the shifter didn‘t
seem to be working properly anymore. But he didn‘t worry about it all that much. He could
still control the bike without any problem and he could fix anything.

Parking the bike in front of the homestead‘s entrance, he helped his mother off the swoop and
down the stairs. She‘d napped during the long ride back and that seemed to have replenished
he strength somewhat, but he was still half-carrying her most of the way. It was so hard not
to storm off back to the Tusken camp and kill them all for what they‘d done to her. Shmi
Skywalker was a wonderful, gentle woman who had never hurt anyone. She didn‘t deserve
what they‘d done to her at all.

Threepio was shuffling around the sunken courtyard, the hub of the entire buried homestead.
It looked like he was tending to the few hardy plants that grew down there. The instant that
the droid detected their presence, his gardening was forgotten.

―Mistress Shmi!‖ Threepio cried joyously. ―Master Ani! You‘ve returned! Thank goodness!‖

―Of course,‖ Vader snorted. ―Go wake everyone up and call a doctor.‖

―Right away,‖ Threepio bowed and shuffled off, muttering happily to himself.

Good old Threepio, Vader sighed as he helped his mother hobble inside.

As he was setting her down on a dull-colored couch, Owen stumbled into the room. ―Mom?‖ he
croaked in disbelief.

Vader had the sudden urge to hit the young moisture farmer. She‘s not your mom, she‘s my

―Owen,‖ he pale, bruised face lit up. ―Come here sweetie.‖
Owen obeyed and staggered over to her, sat down beside her, and embraced her, trembling
like he was trying not to cry. Shmi hugged him back and stiffly rubbed his shoulders. Vader
took a few steps back and watched in silence.

I‘ve been…replaced. The realization left a sour taste in the back of his throat. Mom found
someone new to be her beloved little boy.

―Shmi!‖ Beru cried as she scrambled into the room.

She spent the night here? Vader struggled not to scowl as she joined Owen in hugging his
mother. She must be a real serious girlfriend. …Maybe my future sister-in-law. …Weird.

―Mom,‖ Owen whispered roughly, ―I never thought I was going to see you again!‖

―I‘m sorry for scaring you, sweetie,‖ she apologized. ―Where‘s your father?‖

―He went out with the neighbors to go get you,‖ Beru answered for her boyfriend. ―They were
going to assault the Tusken camp this morning.‖

Oh yeah, almost forgot about that. ―I‘ll go call them off,‖ Vader sighed and left in search of
Threepio. There‘s no sense in them dying for nothing…

He found the grimy-looking protocol droid several rooms away as it finished up a polite call
with some local doctor. ―Hey Threepio, could you connect me with Cliegg?‖

―Certainly, Master Ani,‖ Threepio nodded cheerfully and fiddled with the ancient comm console
to switch the connection to Cliegg Lars‘s comm-link.

―Thanks,‖ Vader sighed and took the comm microphone from his old droid. ―Go bring Mom
some water, will you?‖

―Of course,‖ Threepio chirped and shuffled away.

―Come on…pick up,‖ Vader muttered as he waited for the connection to go through.

Finally there was the distinctive click of the comm-link being answered. ―What?‖ Cliegg
snapped in irritation.

―Good morning Mr. Lars,‖ Vader smirked. ―You might want to turn around now and come

There was a pause. ―Anakin? What are you talking about?‖

―I got Mom back,‖ he answered. ―She‘s safe and sound in the common room, waiting for you.‖

―What?‖ Cliegg sputtered. ―How—I thought I told you to stay at the homestead!‖

―You did,‖ Vader shrugged. ―I didn‘t listen.‖ And be grateful that I didn‘t.

There was another pause. ―You‘re in a lot of trouble,‖ Cliegg growled at last.

Am I? ―Hurry back,‖ he advised. ―She‘s been asking for you.‖
There was some incoherent cursing and then the connection went dead. Vader rolled his eyes
and turned the old comm equipment off and wandered back towards the common room. He
wasn‘t the least bit worried about being in trouble with Cliegg. His step-father had no power
over him.

―Did you get a hold of him, Ani?‖ his mother asked when he wandered back into the common

―Yep,‖ Vader nodded and leaned against the far wall of the room. ―He‘ll probably make it back
in a few hours.‖ And by then I‘ll be long gone.

―Oh good,‖ she sighed. ―I can‘t wait for you to meet him.‖

―I already met him yesterday,‖ Vader grumbled. And I don‘t plan on seeing him ever again.

―Oh, I‘m sorry I missed it.‖ His mother looked away thoughtfully. ―Well at least we can all
have lunch together,‖ she decided cheerfully.

Aw, damn it. ―No,‖ he muttered, ―not really.‖

His mother shot him a worried look. ―Ani, what do you mean?‖

―I didn‘t exactly ask permission to come here,‖ he hesitantly admitted. ―I‘m probably in
trouble right now.‖ Probably? I am in trouble. I can hear Kenobi‘s lecture now…

―Ani,‖ she gasped. ―Oh Ani, I didn‘t mean to get you into trouble!‖

―Ah, it‘s no big deal,‖ he scoffed. ―At worst there‘ll be a lot of dirty looks, lectures, and some
extra work.‖

―Are you sure?‖ she worried. ―I never met the man who bought you, but he didn‘t seem
terribly kind at all.‖

Huh? Oh yeah… ―He wasn‘t kind,‖ Vader shuddered. ―He was the cruelest of all our owners.
I‘m glad that I don‘t work for him anymore.‖

―You don‘t?‖ she blinked in surprise.

―Nope,‖ Vader grinned. ―I have new employers; much better ones.‖ They know the meaning of

―You do?‖ she smiled in relief. ―I‘m so glad.‖

―Yeah,‖ Vader shrugged. ―I…I should go now.‖

―Please…at least stay for breakfast,‖ his mother pleaded.

Vader thought about refusing, but his empty stomach convinced him to do otherwise. ―Okay.‖

―I‘ll get it started,‖ Beru murmured and hurried for the kitchen.

Not eager to be left alone with Owen and his mother, Vader decided to retreat. ―I‘ll be in the
garage.‖ I need to fix that shifter.
―We‘ll send Threepio for you when breakfast is ready,‖ Owen offered.

―Yeah,‖ Vader muttered as he drifted away. Great.

As he wandered towards the garage, he passed by the cluster of bedrooms. There was a guest
room and Owen‘s room and…his mother and step-father‘s room. He paused before that one,
torn between a sick sort of curiosity and revulsion. It was disturbing to think of his mother
sharing a bed with a man, and yet she had married this Cliegg Lars character and so…

Ew, he shuddered.

But he did not move on. His twisted curiosity won out over his aversion and he slowly slunk
inside. It was a basic bedroom, quite plain, with some cabinets, drawers, and a bed wide
enough to hold two grown people. There were a few personal touches here and there, mostly
keepsakes, holo-stills and such things. One item, however, seemed to draw his eye.

It was an intricately carved box, a jewelry box, covered in the folk symbols for good fortune,
prosperity, and…love. Driven by some unnatural impulse, he picked it up and opened it. Inside
he found the simple sort of jewelry that a plain moisture farmer could present his wife. And
then, tucked in the corner, he found something else.

The thing was small and wrapped in a scrap of stained blue cloth. Unwrapping it, he stared at
the item the cloth had concealed in surprise. Though when he thought about, he shouldn‘t
have been surprised. Of course his mother would‘ve kept it for him.

Once, a long time ago, he‘d encountered a beautiful girl, a servant girl, whose ship had
become stranded. He‘d helped her, along with the Jedi Master, by winning that year‘s Boonta
Eve Classic, his first and only first-place win. In his few spare moments, he‘d carved a simple
pendant from a rare snippet of Japor wood he‘d had the good fortune to find, intending to give
it to that girl. But it hadn‘t been finished by the time that she and her group had left Tatooine
behind forever. He‘d finished the plain jewelry and many times considered giving it to his
mother as a present, but he never did. When the Count had stolen him away, he lost hope of
ever seeing it again.

Hesitating for a moment, he re-wrapped it and stuffed the old carving into a free space in his
utility belt. His mother had other things to remember him by, like Threepio. He needed this
more than she; he needed a piece of home.

Shaking his head, he closed the jewelry box, put it back where he‘d found it, and left for the
garage. He felt a bit guilty for running off with the necklace that his mother had saved. But he
shrugged it off. Who knew? Perhaps he‘d find the girl he‘d meant it for in his travels and give
it to her. It could happen. Maybe.

Locating the garage, he briefly headed outside to move the swoop bike in out of the rising
suns. However, catching sight of the Delta-7, he moved over to it to check it over. He didn‘t
think that the Jawas had carried anything off from it, none had been in the area, but it
couldn‘t hurt to see for sure.

―Hey Arfour, how are things?‖ he asked as he hopped into the cockpit.

GOOD, Arfour chirped.

―Any problems?‖

―Well run a system‘s check for me anyway,‖ Vader sighed as he peered at some of the gauges.


Oh, what‘s this? Vader frowned at a blinking light, then cringed when he realized it was the
message light for the comm. Oh crud…

Wincing, he ran though the entire list of messages. For the most part they were all the same:
hailing calls that demanded he make contact. Mostly it was just from Knights in charge of
Temple communications, though a few messages were from Kenobi and even Windu.

Whoops… Yeah, I‘m gonna be in trouble when I get back. Lots of trouble.

Squirming anxiously, he typed up a text message and sent it off to the Temple. With that
taken care of for the moment, he turned his attention back to the diagnostic that Arfour was
running. When the results came back all green, he moved on to the next point of his little

―We‘re a bit low on fuel,‖ Vader mused as he ran through his navigational files. ―Hmm… We
can take the Corellian Run to Denon, refuel there, then jump onto the Hydian Way, to the
Perlemian Trade Route, to Coruscant. We have enough fuel for that, right?‖


―Good,‖ Vader nodded. ―Lock that flight plan in and be ready to lift-off in a few hours.‖

RIGHT, Arfour chirped.

Satisfied that everything was under control, Vader left the Delta-7 for the swoop bike.
Humming tunelessly under his breath, he shoved the hovering bike into the shadowy recesses
of the cool garage. Once he had this new project situated, he dug up the necessary tools and
got to work.

I hope that breakfast will be ready soon. I‘m starving!

Obi-Wan wandered towards the cafeteria and breakfast, lost in thought and worriedly tugging
at his beard. The time frame agreed upon was nearly closed. If Vader didn‘t make contact
soon and explain himself, Ki-Adi-Mundi would be dispatched to Tatooine to ascertain just what
the errant teen was doing there.

He dearly hoped that it didn‘t come to that. Master Ki-Adi-Mundi was a unique case among the
Jedi. He was a male Cerean and a relatively late entry into the Order. Admitted at age four, he
still held memories of his birth culture. The Cerean species had a low birth rate, mostly due to
the rarity of males; more females were born than males, a twenty to one ratio to be exact.
And so, to help preserve his species, and with the blessings of the Jedi High Council, he had
taken several wives and fathered several daughters.

Though his primary responsibility was to the Order, he was granted a few months out of the
Standard year to return to Cerea and his family. At the moment, he was on one of his granted
retreats on Cerea, and Obi-Wan had no desire to interrupt the Master‘s time with his people.
But if Vader didn‘t call in…

―Knight Kenobi!‖ a voice called and froze him in his tracks.
He turned back and fixed his eyes on the younger Knight who had hailed him. ―Yes?‖

―A message for you,‖ the Knight replied and handed him a folded slip of paper.

―Thank you,‖ Obi-Wan nodded and continued on his way.

As he walked, he unfolded the paper and skimmed the message. Just outside the cafeteria
entrance, he stopped and read it again. Then, just to make sure that his eyes weren‘t playing
tricks on him, he read it a third time.

The message was brief and blunt. MY BUSINESS IS FINISHED, it read. I‘LL BE BACK SOON. It
was signed with a single ―V.‖

His business is finished, Obi-Wan frowned. What business?

Shaking his head wearily, he tucked the message into his belt and walked on into the cafeteria.
First he‘d get his breakfast and then he would take this bit of news to Master Yoda and Master
Windu. Thankfully Master Ki-Adi-Mundi wouldn‘t be bothered after all.

What a nice way to start the day…

Breakfast had been quite nice. Beru had made some very nice oatmeal and Bantha bacon, and
the bluish Eopie milk hadn‘t been all that bad. And with a full stomach he felt much better.

Before the meal, the doctor that Threepio had summoned had arrived to check his mother out.
After cleaning up her cuts and bruises, he suggested plenty of rest and declared her otherwise
healthy. The man had left shortly before Vader had been summoned from the garage, so he
never saw the doctor, but he was glad for the man‘s help.

His mother had pleaded with him to stay longer. She so wanted to see him together with her
new family. And though it hurt him, he had to decline.

Yanking back on the joystick, he launched the borrowed Delta-7 into the dry desert air. Before
climbing out of the atmosphere to dock with the booster ring and leave Tatooine behind, he
made a pass over the Lars homestead. Peering down at the tiny smudge against the pale gold
of the sands, he sighed and looked away as the ship climbed.

I don‘t belong there. I‘ll never belong there. Mom will miss me for a while, I‘m sure. But she
has a new family now, a better family with a husband and a good son who will marry a good
girl and give her plenty of grandchildren. She‘s happy now, and she‘s free; that‘s all that really
matters. She belongs there…

…Maybe someday I‘ll find I place where I belong, too.

Obi-Wan settled down in his favorite corner of the Room of a Thousand Fountains and
meditated. In two days it would be one full week since Vader vanished in the middle of the
night. If the boy didn‘t show up at the Temple soon, message or not, there was going to be

Master Windu hadn‘t been particular impressed when Vader‘s message had arrived nearly two
days ago. The short message lacked the details that Mace desired. And the fact that Vader had
made no other communications, nor had he answered any other hails, wasn‘t helping matters
Could he have picked a worse time to run off? Obi-Wan wondered. Tensions are rising all over
the Republic. This Separatist movement keeps gathering strength and is threatening to
polarize the galaxy. And now Master Luminara Unduli has approached me in assisting her on a
mission to Ansion…

Sighing, he pushed his thoughts away before they gave him a headache and worked through
the familiar motions of meditation. Opening his mind, he let the Force flow in to cleanse and
rejuvenate him. The life around him glowed and pulsed as he let time slip away. It was
beautiful and humbling and awe-inspiring. He could never understand why Vader disliked the
activity so much.

Sometime later, as he was winding down his meditations, his solitude was broken. Master
Yoda hobbled over to his side and settled down into a comfortable sitting position. The ancient
Master sighed deeply and sat quietly for a few moments before speaking.

―Greetings young Obi-Wan,‖ Yoda rumbled in his gravelly voice.

―Good afternoon, Master,‖ Obi-Wan replied.

―Seen anything have you?‖ the diminutive Jedi inquired.

―No,‖ Obi-Wan shook his head, ―I haven‘t.‖

And there was another growing problem. Obi-Wan had never been one with a talent for
peering into the future, but more and more the Jedi who did have that skill finely honed were
having difficulty seeing anything at all. Master Yoda, the most powerful Seer in the Order, was
even having difficulties in seeing anything.

The root of this problem didn‘t appear to spring from the Jedi, but from the Force itself.
Several centuries before, a curious anomaly was detected within the normal flow of the Force.
It was difficult to describe, a sort of flux in the river of energy, an imbalance. This anomaly
had given new life to the ancient prophecy of the Chosen One in certain circles with the hope
that the mortal avatar of the Force would resolve the conflict and bring things back into

Obi-Wan had no particular stance on the prophecy himself, though his old Master, Qui-Gon,
had always held a strange interest in it. But now, in addition to the anomaly, there was a new
problem. Ever since the Sith, Darth Maul, had appeared, the Force had begun to change. With
each passing year it grew more turbulent, darker, and unclear. And now not even Yoda could
see what was to come.

―Troubling these days are,‖ Yoda muttered quietly. ―Most troubling.‖

―Yes, Master,‖ Obi-Wan agreed.

―Any news on your Padawan?‖ Yoda asked after a period of silence.

―No,‖ Obi-Wan reluctantly admitted. ―No word yet.‖

―Think he will return do you?‖ Yoda inquired.

Obi-Wan thought over his answer for a minute. ―I can‘t see why he wouldn‘t. He‘s stayed with
us this long, why vanish now?‖
―Perhaps know something, he does, that we do not, hm?‖ Yoda suggested.

―It‘s possible,‖ Obi-Wan acknowledged. ―He has yet to really participate in his half of the
bargain in regards to the information that he promised us.‖

―Very true,‖ Yoda nodded. ―Toying with us, he could be.‖

―I don‘t think so,‖ Obi-Wan frowned.

Yoda shot him an inquisitive look. ―Why think that, do you?‖

―I have never seen anything in his character that would indicate that he would do such a
thing,‖ Obi-Wan replied carefully. ―There seems to be no hidden motives behind the things
that he does.‖

―Know this for certain, you do?‖ Yoda challenged.

Obi-Wan opened his mouth only to close it again. He wanted to refute Yoda‘s insinuations. Yet
he couldn‘t bring himself to for the simple reason that he wasn‘t certain. He wished that he
was sure, but lingering shadows of doubt refused to dissipate.

If only—

Vader made it back to the Temple around noon. With the hanger in the middle of a shift
change, there was just enough chaos for him to land unnoticed. Leaving Arfour behind with
the instructions to purge the recorded navigational data regarding his movements on Tatooine,
he slunk into the Temple in search of Kenobi and lunch.

Lunch came first. After such a long flight with only crappy ration bars to eat, he needed some
real food. Therefore a quick stop in the cafeteria was his top priority.

Snagging a good-sized sandwich and a piece of fruit, he cautiously wandered the halls in
search of Kenobi. If he ran into some of the Council members like Windu he was sure to get a
tongue-lashing. Kenobi at least would show his poor ears a little mercy. At least that‘s what he

Taking an educated guess, he predicted that Kenobi would be in the Fountain Room, so that‘s
where he went. Munching on his lunch, he picked his way through the wooded section of the
massive central chamber to where he knew Kenobi liked to go. As he went, he worked to
mask his presence to see if he could surprise the Jedi. It was admittedly juvenile, but he had
fun sneaking up on the Knight and catching him off guard.

When he spied Kenobi, he found that the Jedi was not alone. The shrunken green troll, Yoda,
was sitting with him. They were talking quietly and Vader crept forward to see if he could
eavesdrop on them. His lunch was forgotten for the moment as his curiosity beat out his

―Any news on your Padawan?‖ Yoda was asking.

―No,‖ Kenobi admitted. ―No word yet.‖

Hah, they don‘t know that I‘m here, he snickered to himself. Awesome!
―Think he will return do you?‖ Yoda inquired.

What? Vader frowned. What sort of dumb question is that?

Kenobi was quiet for a minute. ―I can‘t see why he wouldn‘t. He‘s stayed with us this long,
why vanish now?‖

Yeah, I knew he was smart, Vader grinned.

―Perhaps know something, he does, that we do not, hm?‖ Yoda suggested.

Vader‘s grin became a scowl. I don‘t like you right now.

―It‘s possible,‖ Kenobi acknowledged. ―He has yet to really participate in his half of the bargain
in regards to the information that he promised us.‖

Well…crap, Vader cringed, he‘s right.

―Very true,‖ Yoda nodded. ―Toying with us, he could be.‖


―I don‘t think so,‖ Kenobi frowned.

Thank you!

Yoda shot him an inquisitive look. ―Why think that, do you?‖

―I have never seen anything in his character that would indicate that he would do such a
thing,‖ Kenobi replied. ―There seems to be no hidden motives behind the things that he does.‖

Exactly, Vader nodded. I‘m a pretty straight-forward guy.

―Know this for certain, you do?‖ Yoda challenged.

Kenobi started to answer, but stopped. Vader waited for Kenobi to cleverly refute the senile
old troll, but he never did. Ice started to prickle in the pit of his stomach.

Oh come on! He glared. Defend me already! You know that I wouldn‘t mess with you!

When Kenobi still failed to speak, Vader got fed up. He walked into the clearing with them,
though out of their line of sight. Then he noisily bit into the sweet, crunchy, purple fruit he‘d
snagged from the cafeteria while simultaneously dropping the shielding he‘d been doing to
mask his presence from them. His actions had the desired effect. Both Jedi instantly turned to
stare at him in surprise.

―So this is what you talk about behind my back,‖ Vader snorted after swallowing the bite of
fruit. ―You debate how I‘m going to kill you all in your sleep, is that it?‖ He took a bite out of
his half-eaten sandwich as he waited for one of them to respond.

―We most certainly do not,‖ Kenobi responded, appalled. ―Now kindly tell us where you have
been and why.‖
Hmm, he sounds kinda mad at me. ―I was on Tatooine and my business was my own.‖ Vader
answered. ―Don‘t worry, it wasn‘t anything illegal, not that that matters on Tatooine.‖

―Why so secret this business is?‖ Yoda frowned.

―My business was personal, and I prefer to keep my private life private,‖ Vader shrugged and
continued to devour his sandwich. Not to mention that I don‘t want you tracking down my
Mom and bugging her.

―Your private life?‖ Kenobi repeated.

Vader felt his irritation flare and he shot both Jedi a nasty look. ―Can‘t a guy go visit his
mother without being tied into a theory of conspiracy?‖

Kenobi blinked. ―Your mother?‖

―Yes, my mother. That was my business on Tatooine,‖ Vader huffed and flopped down onto
the ground across from his audience of two.

Kenobi must‘ve really been shocked by his answer, because he asked an unusually stupid
question. ―You have a mother?‖

Vader gaped at him for a second. ―Yes. I have a mother. I didn‘t just materialize out of thin
air.‖ Force, I think I broke his brain… Wizard!

―Of-of course,‖ Kenobi sputtered. ―I meant, you know your mother?‖

―Yes,‖ Vader rolled his eyes, ―I know her, and she knows me.‖ Duh, she gave birth to me; it‘s
hard for us not to know each other.

―Confirm this we must,‖ Yoda decided.

And then Vader realized how badly he‘d been letting his mouth run. ―No, you leave her alone!‖
he hissed. ―I have taken great pains to keep her clear of my problems; you will not bother

Yoda pulled back his long wobbly ears. ―Give us orders, will you?‖

―Yes, I am giving you an order,‖ Vader glared. ―My mother is safe and happy where she is and
I don‘t want her bothered by anyone, even you.‖

The little green troll gave him a measuring look, which Vader returned evenly. ―Hm,‖ Yoda
grumbled thoughtfully. ―Believe you I do,‖ he pronounced. ―No further investigation there will
be. However, ask permission you must if another such trip home you desire.‖

Phew! ―Of course, Master Yoda,‖ Vader nodded. ―I understand completely. I‘ll remember to do
that next time, if there is a next time.‖

―Good,‖ the troll muttered and hobbled off. ―A report I must make.‖

Vader sighed and put his full energy into finishing off his lunch. However, as soon as Yoda was
gone, Kenobi pounced on him. Not literally of course, Kenobi was far too dignified to do
something like that.
―A note next time would be nice,‖ Kenobi muttered.

―I know, I didn‘t think of leaving one until I was already there.‖ Vader gulped down the last
bite of sandwich. ―I‘m sorry.‖

―Well at least you came back,‖ Kenobi sighed. ―I was starting to think that I‘d be left with that
blasted droid of yours for company.‖

―Oh come on, Orbie‘s not that bad. I think he‘s really funny.‖ Vader shrugged with a smirk.

―I swear, that thing must have a few loose wires,‖ Kenobi grumbled.

Vader frowned. ―He does not!‖

―If you say so,‖ Kenobi replied and stood up. ―Finish up your lunch, we need to get going.‖

―On what?‖ Vader asked.

―You need to get caught up on the work that you missed and we need to prepare for a mission
to Ansion,‖ Kenobi answered.

―What are we going to be doing on Ansion?‖ Vader asked around his last mouthful of fruit.

―Don‘t talk with your mouth full like that,‖ Kenobi scolded. ―We are to assist Master Luminara
Unduli and her Padawan, Barriss Offee, in mediating a border dispute.‖

Vader swallowed a moan. ―Great, a border dispute mediation, just what I‘ve always wanted.‖
He muttered with great sarcasm.

―Come along now,‖ Kenobi smiled faintly. ―The sooner we get started, the sooner we finish.‖

―Yeah, yeah,‖ Vader grumbled and trudged along after the Jedi. Why oh why did I come back
here? I should‘ve run off and taken a vacation…

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                              font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                      17. 16: Night of the Kouhun

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                           Chapter 16
                                       Night of the Kouhun

Vader shifted uneasily as he and Kenobi rode the turbolift up to the Senator‘s penthouse
apartment. While he had agreed to participate in this mission, he still didn‘t like it at all. And
now, as the long ride dragged on for what felt like forever, little whispers of doubt assaulted

―You seem a little on edge.‖ Kenobi observed.

Why thank you Master of the Obvious. ―Not at all,‖ Vader muttered.

―I haven‘t felt you this tense since—since we fell into that nest of Gundarks.‖ Kenobi remarked.

Vader rolled his eyes. ―You fell into that nightmare, and I rescued you, remember?‖

―Oh…yes.‖ Kenobi chuckled in mild embarrassment.
Yeah, go ahead, laugh, Vader sulked. All you had to do with that mess was slip, fall, and hit
your head. I had to do all the real work there. And, for the record, that little misadventure so
violated my deal…like about a third of the stuff that I end up getting involved in.

―You‘re sweating. Relax!‖ Kenobi suggested. ―Take a deep breath.‖

Vader shot him a nasty look. You shut up! And I am not sweating! …Much.

There wasn‘t any time left for conversation then. The lift chimed as they reached the top floor
and came to a halt. Half a second later, the doors opened to reveal the entryway to the
Senator‘s personal residence.

Kenobi stepped out first. Vader stepped out right behind them. And there was, of all things, a
Gungan dressed in governmental robes waiting to greet them.

―Obi?‖ the Gungan blinked. ―Obi!‖ he squealed and rushed over to enthusiastically pump
Kenobi‘s hand. ―Mesa so smilin‘ to be seein‘ yousa!‖

―It‘s good to see you again, Jar Jar.‖ Kenobi smiled as he tolerated the gangly alien‘s energetic

Jar Jar… Vader blinked slowly. Jar Jar as in…Jar Jar Binks? No way…

The Gungan cheerfully sauntered back into the apartment and Kenobi calmly followed him.
Vader hung back a bit more than usual. He‘d only seen a Gungan once before, and to see the
exact same one again…well, it made him even edgier.

At least he didn‘t recognize me, Vader thought in relief. The last thing I need right now is for
him to hug me and squeal ―Ani!‖

―Senator Padmé!‖ Jar Jar called as they reached the common room. ―Mesa palos here! Lookee,
lookee Senator. Desa Jedi arriven.‖

Senator Padmé? I thought she was Senator Amidala. Now Vader was downright perturbed
about the whole situation. And it only got worse.

The Senator had been on the balcony with a man, a security person from the looks of him. At
Jar Jar‘s announcement, she and her security man turned and walked back inside, and a third
person, a dark-haired woman, joined them. The security man was a fine specimen of a male
Human with dark skin and a dangerous-looking eye-patch. The other woman was some sort of
aide clad in a dark, simple dress. And the Senator was young, pretty, and…eerily familiar.

Vader hung back in the shadow of the archway to study her better and escape notice. Hey…
Who does she remind me of?

Kenobi bowed deeply to her. ―It‘s a great pleasure to see you again, my Lady.‖ He said with a
cheerful and polite smile before shaking her hand.

―It has been far too long, Master Kenobi,‖ the Senator smiled.

She led Kenobi a short distance away to a set of couches. Kenobi sat on one couch, Senator
Amidala (or was it Padmé?), her woman aide, and Jar Jar sat on the other. The Senator‘s
security man stood nearby. Vader hung back to listen and observe.
Is that a basket on her head? Vader frowned as he studied the Senator‘s elaborate hairpiece.
Force, the Humans are Naboo are so weird. They make the Gungans look normal.

―Our presence here will be invisible, Milady, I can assure you.‖ Kenobi promised as he settled
himself in his seat.

―I‘m Captain Typho of her Majesty‘s Security Service,‖ the security man said. ―Queen Jamilla
has been informed of your assignment. I am grateful you‘re here, Master Kenobi. The situation
is more dangerous than the Senator will admit.‖

―I don‘t need more security, I need answers.‖ the Senator protested. ―I want to know who‘s
trying to kill me.‖

A little pushy, aren‘t we? Vader scowled at the pretty Senator. Who cares who‘s trying to kill
you? I don‘t.

―We are here to protect you, Senator, not start an investigation.‖ Kenobi replied calmly.

Yeah, Vader nodded, what he said.

―Perhaps with merely your presence the mystery surrounding this threat will be revealed,‖ the
Senator decided after a tense pause. ―Now if you will excuse me, I will retire.‖

She and her female aide stood up and walked off, probably to her bedroom or office. Vader
glared at her retreating back. He‘d known her for the space of five minutes and already he
was ready to be done with her.

I don‘t like you, he decided. You assume too much. We‘re not your own private investigators.
We‘re just here to make sure that no one kills you.

―I know I‘ll feel better having you here,‖ Typho said as he and Kenobi walked towards the lift.
―I‘ll have an officer stationed on every floor, and I‘ll be in the control center downstairs.‖

Vader slipped away from the entryway and slunk over to Jar Jar, who‘d been left behind by
everyone else, and avoided being noticed by the one-eyed security officer. He didn‘t think that
Typho had seen him yet and he didn‘t feel like meeting with the man. Kenobi was known to
the Naboo, Vader wasn‘t, and he didn‘t desire to be known to them. But he would say hello to
Jar Jar for old time‘s sake.

You‘ve certainly gone up in the galaxy since we last saw each other. Vader looked the quiet
Gungan over before he made his presence known. Ditched the nice, simple Handmaiden
Padmé for this stuck-up Senator Padmé, eh?

―Hey,‖ Vader muttered quietly.

Jar Jar jumped and whirled around, nearly tripping on the hem of his robe. ―Whosa—oh, Jedi!‖
The Gungan blinked his yellow eyes in surprise. ―Obi gotta Padywan?‖

Padywan? ―Yes,‖ Vader nodded, trying not to cringe at the Gungan‘s butchering of his rank.

―Ah!‖ Jar Jar grinned widely. ―Mesa Jar Jar Binks!‖

―I know,‖ Vader chuckled. Oh trust me, I know.
―Ooh lookie!‖ Jar Jar marveled and fingered Vader‘s braid curiously.

Don‘t touch the braid! ―Um…‖ Vader gulped.

―There you are,‖ Kenobi sighed as he returned to the room. ―I see you‘ve met Jar Jar.‖

―Yep,‖ Vader replied as he carefully extracted his braid from Jar Jar‘s inquisitive fingers. I‘ve
met him alright…

―Well it‘s time to get started,‖ Obi-Wan decided. ―Let‘s check the security.‖

As darkness fell over this particular region of Coruscant, Vader checked the security
arrangements around the Senator‘s bedroom. Jar Jar had returned to his own apartment an
hour ago, and he took his comic relief with him. Now there was only work to do, and Vader
was annoyed.

Kenobi was off reviewing the security positions of all of Typho‘s men. Hopefully he‘d be back
soon, but until then it was his task to make sure that the camera covering the inside of the
Senator‘s sleeping chambers was positioned correctly. Standing in the middle of the room, he
nudged the lens with the Force as he checked its field of view on a small hand-held screen.

Maybe I should‘ve sent for Orbie, he mused as he worked. Orbie‘s a smart camera, not a
dummy like this one. And his sensors are better.

―Who are you and what are you doing?‖

Vader turned to be faced with an angry looking Nabooan Senator. ―Master Obi-Wan said ‗put a
camera in the Senator‘s room‘ and that‘s what I‘m doing,‖ he replied, not bothering to identify

She frowned and looked him over. ―You‘re Master Kenobi‘s Padawan?‖

―Yes,‖ he nodded, returning his focus to setting up the camera feed. Almost got it…

―I didn‘t know that he‘d taken on a student,‖ she muttered, probably to herself.

―Well know you know,‖ Vader shrugged. Got it! ―All done. Have a good evening, Senator.‖ He
sketched a bow to her and started to leave the room.

―What—take that camera down immediately!‖ she snapped.

Vader paused and stared over his shoulder at her. ―No.‖

―Take it down,‖ she scowled. ―It‘s unnecessary.‖

―Master Obi-Wan wants a camera here,‖ Vader replied patiently, ―so there will be a camera

―It‘s unnecessary,‖ she repeated firmly. ―My droid is programmed to detect intruders so there
is no need to violate my privacy.‖
As if to punctuate her statement, an Astromech rolled into the room with a cheerful whistle.
Vader immediately identified it as an R2 unit, though the exact designation took a few seconds
to ascertain. It was silvery, painted in white and blue; a familiar pattern.

An R2-D2 droid? Vader arched an eyebrow as it rolled past him and settled down in a corner of
the room near a power outlet. First Jar Jar, now an Artoo… This is weird.

―Well I‘m not taking the camera down,‖ Vader snorted. ―An Astrodroid isn‘t enough of a
deterrent against a truly determined assassin.‖

―I know,‖ she shrugged. ―I want these people to show themselves so that you and Master
Kenobi can take care of them. I refuse to let terrorists and assassins rule my life. The sooner
this situation is dealt with, the better.‖

―You‘re offering yourself up as bait?‖ Vader snorted incredulously.

―Yes, now take that camera down,‖ she ordered sternly. ―Artoo is enough.‖

―I beg to differ,‖ Vader muttered. ―The camera stays. Have a nice evening, Senator.‖

Before she could protest further, he left the room and shut the door behind him. Thoroughly
annoyed, he stalked across the apartment towards one of the many windows and glared out at
the cityscape of Coruscant. At the moment, the unique combination of natural and artificial
beauty of the city-planet‘s sunset was lost on him.

Damn that woman and her privacy! Vader clenched his jaw as he stared blankly out the
window. She shouldn‘t whine at me, it was Kenobi‘s idea to put it there! Hmph.

Double-checking the camera feed now that he was outside of the room, he frowned as a hazy
gray image was all that he saw on the screen. What‘s this? After trouble-shooting the
equipment, it came to him what had happened. She covered the camera…damn it!

For a moment he thought about storming in there and undoing what she had done, but only
for a moment. Her pushy, superior attitude rankled him and he‘d had enough of her for one
day. If he confronted her now, he‘d probably end up saying or doing something that he‘d
regret later.

Screw her, he scowled. It‘s her funeral, not mine…

…I miss my Padmé. This Padmé is such bitch.

Night never really fell on Coruscant. The sun just went away, leaving the sky black, and the
countless building and vehicle lights took up as much of the slack as they could. The planet
never slept.

On a neon-drenched street corner in a seedy section of city, a sleek yellow airspeeder parked
by the pedestrian walkway. An exotically beautiful woman, perfectly Human in appearance,
hopped out and strode over to meet a shadowy individual. It seemed to be male, clad in silver
armor trimmed with blue paint.

―I hit the ship, but they used a decoy.‖ The woman complained.
―We‘ll have to try something more subtle this time, Zam,‖ the armored man replied in
exotically accented Basic. ―My client is getting impatient. Take these.‖ He held out a glass tube
with moving, worm-like creatures inside. ―Be careful, they‘re very poisonous.‖

She took the container from him and briefly studied it. Seemingly satisfied with this new tool,
she pulled a concealing scarf over her face and started to walk back to her yellow speeder.
Zam paused, though, when her armored boss spoke again.

―Zam, there can be no mistakes this time.‖

Vader was thoroughly bored, and still fairly annoyed, by the time that Kenobi returned from
his tour of the security positions. The Senator had fallen asleep, he could sense, and he was
glad. The only way that this assignment could get any worse was if she stayed up all night and
bothered him.

―Captain Typho has more than enough men downstairs,‖ Kenobi announced as he shed his
cloak and tossed it onto the couch. ―No assassin would try that way. Any activity up here?‖

―As quiet as a tomb,‖ Vader sighed. Thank the Force.

Kenobi picked up tiny viewscreen to check the camera feed from Senator Amidala‘s bedroom.
―What‘s going on?‖

―Ah she covered the cameras.‖ Vader shrugged. ―I don‘t think she liked me watching her,‖ he
added with a smirk.

―What is she thinking?‖ Kenobi wondered aloud.

―She programmed Artoo to warn us if there is an intruder.‖ Vader muttered. Not that that‘s
going to do her much good.

Kenobi shook his head and wandered over to the Senator‘s closed bedroom door. ―There are
many other ways to kill a Senator,‖ he remarked.

―I know, but we also want to catch this assassin, don‘t we?‖ Vader asked. Well, at least she
wants us to. And if it gets this job over faster, why not?

―You‘re using her as bait.‖ Kenobi frowned.

―It was her idea.‖ Vader replied quickly. Entirely her idea. I had nothing to do with it. ―Don‘t
worry. No harm will come to her. I can sense everything going on in that room,‖ he assured
the Jedi. ―Trust me.‖

―It‘s too risky.‖ Kenobi declared. ―Besides, you‘re senses aren‘t that attuned.‖

―And yours are?‖ Vader scoffed teasingly.

Kenobi shot him an annoyed look. ―Possibly.‖

Zam took up her position on another shady street corner. This location was closer to her
target, but not too close. There was just enough distance for her to be safe.
She took the canister that she‘d been given and slid it into the front of a spherical hover-droid.
It looked like an ordinary traffic-cam droid, but it wasn‘t. It her was hers and she‘d made
some special modifications to it that made it immensely useful to her work.

After entering its instructions, she sent it on its way and watched as it faded into the
perpetually busy Coruscanti traffic. She would not fail this time. Soon it would be done. And
then she could take her cut and move on to the next job and the next challenge.

Vader leaned against the railing of the balcony and stared out at the glittering city lights. The
air was cool, but comfortable. It wasn‘t quite enough to ease the tension that knotted in his
gut, though.

―So what do you think of Senator Amidala?‖ Kenobi asked from his seat on one of the couches.

―I don‘t like her,‖ Vader muttered. ―She‘s so pushy.‖

―Well, she is a politician and used to getting her own way in her own home,‖ Kenobi replied.
―With such serious threats against her life, it‘s understandable that she‘s being so

―Right,‖ Vader snorted.

―Are you any different?‖ Kenobi asked. ―When you feel hunted, what do you do?‖

Vader scowled. ―Hey, I don‘t dictate to you what to do.‖

―What about in regards to your mother?‖ Kenobi challenged.

―Hey, that was the only time!‖ Vader snapped and stalked off the balcony. ―Once in four years!
We‘ve only been here a few hours and all she‘s done is boss us around like we‘re her
servants.‖ Damn woman, I‘m almost tempted to kill her myself!

―True, but she is a Senator and the Jedi are bound to the wishes of the Senate. You‘ve made a
commitment to the Order and so you are bound to do what we do.‖ Kenobi paused as he stood
up to follow Vader to a position nearer the Senator‘s door. ―But don‘t forget, she‘s a politician
and they‘re not to be trusted.‖

―You‘ve worked with her before, but you don‘t like her because she‘s a politician?‖ Vader
asked. ―What is it that you don‘t like about politicians and the Senate?‖

―It is my experience that Senators focus only on those who fund their campaigns, and they‘re
in no means scared of forgetting the niceties of democracy in order to get those funds.‖
Kenobi replied, sliding in lecture mode.

―Not another lecture,‖ Vader groaned. ―At least not on the economics of politics.‖ Also known
as corruption. Really, I know about that already.

Outside the Senator‘s window, the small, spherical hovering droid drifted into position. It
activated a green laser screen to trick the security sensors and then its quiet cutting laser and
carved a small, circular hole to which it pressed up a small canister. A pair of Kouhun, large
centipede-like insects gifted with great stealth and a greater poison, crawled out and onto the
Attracted by the body heat of the sleeping Senator, they scuttled over to, and up, her bed.
One of them made enough of a disturbance in its hunt to trip the Astromech‘s sensors and
Artoo briefly activated to seek out whatever it was. The Kouhun stilled until Artoo passed the
alert off as a glitch and deactivated again.

Feeling safe, the insect assassins slunk up her bed-sheets and wriggled towards her head. The
carbon dioxide she exhaled with each breath drew them like magnets. The pulsing heat of her
jugular awakened their ceaseless hunger. This creature was large and they would feed well…

―You‘re generalizing,‖ Vader argued. ―The entire Senate isn‘t like that.‖

―Give me an example of some politician that doesn‘t seem corrupt then,‖ Kenobi challenged.

Ugh, now I wish I watched the political section of the news more…and actually paid attention
to it. ―The chancellor doesn‘t appear to be corrupt,‖ Vader shrugged, grasping at straws. He
just looks like an ordinary old guy to me. Almost kinda nice, actually.

―Palpatine is a politician,‖ Kenobi countered calmly. ―I have observed that he is very clever at
following the passions and the prejudices of the Senators.‖

Vader sighed in frustration. ―Well…I think—‖

A lance of cold sensation rushed out from the Senator‘s room and stabbed at his back, laced
with the sensation of hungry danger and dark menace.

―I sense it too.‖ Kenobi muttered.

Vader was already running. He rushed through the door with Kenobi hard on his heels. Feeling
the hum of adrenalin, and the Force, in his veins, he leapt onto the Senator‘s bed and snapped
on his sapphire-bladed saber. In two fluid strokes, he severed the two worm-like intruders and
sent their charred remains flying up against the wall.

The Senator shot upright in her bed and stared at him wide-eyed in the dark of the room.
Vader stared right back, the Force roaring wordlessly into his ears. It almost felt like he should
know her, somehow. But all he saw were the frightened brown eyes of a stranger.

A flicker at the edge of his perception drew his eyes to the side. He turned just in time to see
Kenobi dive head-first through the window. Squinting through the shattered transparisteel and
mangled blinds, he spied the Jedi zipping away as he clung to some sort of hover-droid.

―Stay here!‖ Vader barked and dashed out of the room, past the Senator‘s staff who were
rushing to their employer‘s aide.

Almost flying into the turbolift, Vader impatiently jabbed at the down button. He needed to get
out of this building and find a speeder to borrow. Kenobi couldn‘t hang onto that droid
indefinitely; not in Coruscant‘s traffic lanes.

He‘s insane! He‘s completely insane! Jumping out a window like that, it‘s just nuts! Why the
hell do I put up with him?

After an eternity, the lift stopped and he dashed out of it. Finding a parking pad for speeder,
he ran down the neat rows of speeders in search of one that caught his eye. Spying a yellow
open-topped sport-speeder, he hopped into the driver‘s seat, hotwired the ignition, and took
off into the loud Coruscanti night.
Here I come!

  Submit Review                              17. 16: Night of the Kouhun

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                           font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                   18. 17: The Crazy Chase

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:      id:3246919
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                           Chapter 17
                                         The Crazy Chase

Obi-Wan clung to the tiny droid with both hands as he dangled helplessly beneath it. The
mechanical assassin darted and wove through traffic as it sought to lose its clingy pursuer and
make it back to its owner. Obi-Wan squinted against the glaring lights of glowing billboards
and traffic signals as he struggled not to fall to his death. He was starting to regret his rash
leap through the window.

He yelped when the droid suddenly careened against a building and knocked free one of his
hands. Obi-Wan had to shift hands as the droid aimed for a different wall to try and scrape
him off. The Jedi clenched his teeth and held on. He had no other choice, for if he let go, he
would fall to his death.

And then things got even worse. There was a loud bang and the small spherical assassin droid
disintegrated in mid-air. In the next fraction of a second, Obi-Wan found himself falling
downwards into the canyon-like streets of Coruscant.

Oh blast it all!

Vader wove through traffic, his focus fixed on the brilliant and familiar presence of Kenobi. Up
ahead he finally spied the Jedi, still hanging on for dear life beneath the tiny droid. Rolling his
eyes at the older man‘s foolishness, he leaned on the accelerator and zipped forward to assist

And then the droid exploded and Kenobi fell.

Cursing loudly and explicitly in Huttese, Vader practically stood on the accelerator and sent the
open-top speeder into a steep dive. He carefully lined the speeder up with the falling Jedi and
matched the speeds. With his eyes watching the traffic speed past as he dove, he trained his
Force-senses on the Jedi. The instant he felt that the older man climb into the seat next to him,
he pulled up, swiftly climbing back up to the level where Kenobi had fallen from.

―What took you so long?‖ Kenobi asked breathlessly.

―Oh, you know,‖ Vader shrugged. ―I couldn‘t find a speeder that I really liked…‖

―There he is!‖ Kenobi said, pointing at a small, sleek yellow speeder with a closed cockpit and
a pair of almost horn-like prongs sprouting from its front.

Vader locked onto the speeder and adjusted his course accordingly. ―…with the open cockpit
and the right speed capabilities,‖ he continued calmly, as if Kenobi hadn‘t said a thing.

―If you spent as much time practicing your saber techniques as you do your wit, you would
rival Master Yoda as a swordsman.‖ Kenobi complained as Vader expertly wove through the
heavy traffic.

―I thought I already did,‖ Vader smirked. Heh, I‘d really like to see Yoda actually use that
dinky lightsaber of his. I bet it‘d be really funny to watch…
―Only in your mind, my very young apprentice,‖ Kenobi chided.

Vader rolled his eyes and ignored his passenger in favor of focusing on matching his
opponent‘s moves. It had been a while since he‘d found anyone who could challenge him in his
flying skills, so he was having a blast. The fleeing speeder twisted into a suicidal, completely
vertical dive, and Vader matched him without hesitation.

Falling like a stone, Vader almost had to lay flat on his back to keep in control of the speeder.
Traffic flying horizontally zipped by him in a blur, but he ignored it. His target was the only
other speeder that was flying as insanely as he was. An enormous, slow-moving vessel,
thousands of times more massive than any speeder, began to cut across his trajectory. Vader
made no move to change his course. This apparently bothered Kenobi. A lot.

―Pull up,‖ Kenobi hissed, ―pull up!‖

Vader laughed hysterically as he continued his dive. Kenobi‘s panic was amusing, but
groundless. Vader didn‘t crash. He didn‘t have a death wish. At the last possible second, he
twisted away and skimmed over the ship before leveling off and reacquiring his visual lock on
the fugitive.

―You know I don‘t like when you do that,‖ Kenobi huffed.

―Sorry,‖ Vader grinned. ―I forgot you don‘t like flying.‖

―I don‘t mind flying, but what you‘re doing is suicide.‖ Kenobi protested.

It was not, Vader snorted. I was in complete control the whole time.

The chase left the usual traffic lanes for a while as the fleeing assassin darted into a hazy
industrial district. Towering smokestacks spewed oily black clouds and jets of flame, and the
target speeder tried to lose them by zipping as close to the hazardous fireballs as possible. It
was a useless gesture. Even with the borrowed speeder‘s open cockpit, Vader matched the
assassin move for move. He refused to let the gap between the two vehicles get any wider
than it already was.

After passing the cluster of flaming smokestacks, the assassin skimmed through a maze of
electrical towers. Darting between two closely placed towers, the assassin fired a few blaster
bolts into the power couplings, overloading the circuits and causing purple lightning to arc
between the towers. Vader clenched his teeth and fly right through it.

―Vader!‖ Kenobi yelped as he realized that they wouldn‘t be going around. ―How many times
have I told you—Ah!‖ The exceedingly painful rush of electricity interrupted him. Briefly. ―—
Stay away from power couplings!‖

―Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow…‖ Vader hissed between clenched teeth. Ugh, that‘s almost as bad as
Sith Lightning…

―That was good.‖ Kenobi muttered, as the chase continued.

The fugitive continued to take crazy risks. Vader watched as the fleeing speeder come
dangerously close to crashing and side-swiping other vehicles. By the time the assassin
ducked into a tunnel that cut through a skyscraper, Vader had had enough. He didn‘t follow
the speeder through the tunnel, he went another way.

―Where are you going?‖ Kenobi frowned. ―He went that way.‖
―If we keep this chase going any longer that creep is going to end up deep-fried, and
personally, I‘d very much like to find out who he is and who he‘s working for,‖ Vader grumbled.
―This is a short cut. I think.‖

Kenobi shot him an incredulous look, but Vader ignored it. He let the Force pull him down
several streets before he found a spot that felt right. Putting the speeder into a fixed hover, he
peered over the side in search of his prey. Unfortunately, the target speeder was nowhere in

―Well you‘ve lost him.‖ Kenobi frowned and folded his arms over his chest.

―I‘m deeply sorry, Master.‖ Vader scowled. He kept looking over the side and scanning the
traffic. Where the hell are you?

―That was some short cut. He went completely the other way,‖ Kenobi snorted, flicking his
hand in an annoyed gesture. ―Once again you‘ve proved—‖

There! ―If you‘ll excuse me,‖ Vader muttered and vaulted over the side of the borrowed

Vader supposed that Kenobi yelled something to him, but the roaring wind in his ears
deafened him to whatever it was. Lights and shapes blurred around him as his focus narrowed
onto his target. In a few short seconds, he hit the speeder, landing right on the back of the

Why did I think this was a good idea? He asked himself as he tried to crawl towards the driver.
This is all Kenobi‘s fault! If he hadn‘t been stupid and jumped through the window, I wouldn‘t
be out here! Vader scowled as he struggled to get his slightly numb, tingly fingers to obey his
commands. Damn power couplings. He cursed. Yeah, this is all his fault! He‘s a terrible Jedi
role model, jumping out of windows like a crazy man…

The speeder suddenly decelerated and dove, throwing him towards the front of the vehicle
where he clung to one of the front spars to keep from plunging to his death. With a lot of
wriggling and clinging, he managed to get on the other spar and then work his way to the
passenger side of the speeder. The driver glanced up at him, shocked. It appeared to be a
female Human, but then the face shifted briefly into something clearly alien.

Before she could shake him off, he perched on top of the cockpit and pulled out his lightsaber.
Activating the blue blade, he stabbed it into the cockpit and started cutting a hole. The driver
jerked the controls and the turbulence knocked his weapon from his numb grasp, sending the
hilt spinning off behind him. Mentally cursing, He leaned through the small hole and reached
for the controls. The assassin pulled out a blaster pistol and tried to shoot him, but he grabbed
her wrist and they wrestled for a minute or two.

A stray shot fried the control panel and the cockpit quickly filled with smoke. Now out of
control, the speeder took a nose-dive, lurching towards a low level surface street deep in the
bowels of Coruscant. When the speeder skidded across the ground, Vader was thrown free and
rolled for several yards until he hit a wall. Gasping in pain, he staggered to his feet and
hobbled towards the burning speeder and wondered if the driver had survived.

She had.

He saw her scramble free, catch sight of him, and take off down the street. Spitting a few
choice words, Vader gave chase, now on foot. He plowed through the crowded streets,
wriggling past drug-dealers, prostitutes, and seekers of pleasure and vice as he struggled to
keep sight of his quarry. She darted into a night club and he hurried to follow…

Obi-Wan sat there, astonished. He did not just do that. Leaning over the side of the speeder,
he watched as Vader fell down the canyon-like street…and then collide with the speeder that
they‘d been chasing.

―I hate it when he does that,‖ Kenobi muttered. He shook of his shock, hopped into the
driver‘s seat, and continued the pursuit. Always running off on his own without a word about it
to me in advance…

Obi-Wan did his best to shadow the fleeing speeder, but since he loathed breaking traffic laws,
he was unable to properly close the gap between the two vehicles. Sometime during the chase
and scuffle, Vader‘s lightsaber went flying, and Obi-Wan swerved slightly to catching the
spinning hilt. Sighing at the boy‘s carelessness concerning his weapon, he made a note to
lecture him about it later.

And then the assassin‘s speeder began to vent smoke and lose altitude. Obi-Wan uneasily
followed it as it careened down into the lower levels of Coruscant. A flash of worry struck him
when the speeder crashed into the street and burst into flames. Still, he carefully parked the
speeder Vader had borrowed in an open parking space, locked it down so that no one would
steal it, grabbed Vader‘s lightsaber, and jogged to the scene of the crash.

Following the Force‘s guidance, he bypassed the flaming speeder and trotted into the neon-lit
ground level of Coruscant. Vader was chasing the assassin in a wild zigzag pattern, so Obi-
Wan paralleled them and moved in as much of a straight line as possible. At the entrance to a
shady club, he finally caught sight of his errant charge and hurried to catch him.

―Vader!‖ he shouted as he closed the gap between them.

Vader spun on him with a wild look in his eyes, before recognizing him and relaxing. ―She
went into the club.‖ He explained and tried to rush in.

―Patience,‖ Obi-Wan counseled. ―Use the Force. Think.‖

―Sorry,‖ Vader grunted and tried to slip into the club again.

Obi-Wan caught him by the shoulder and stopped him. ―He went in there to hide, not run.‖

―Yes, Master,‖ Vader muttered.

Obi-Wan held up Vader‘s lost lightsaber hilt in front of his face. ―Next time, try not to lose it.‖

―Yes, Master,‖ Vader growled in annoyance.

―This weapon is your life.‖ Obi-Wan added seriously. Really, no real Jedi loses their lightsaber
as easily and as often as you do.

Vader glared at him and grabbed his saber hilt away. ―I try, Master.‖

―Why do I get the feeling that you‘re going to be the death of me?‖ Obi-Wan sighed wearily as
they walked into the club.
―I‘m not that bad,‖ Vader muttered in protest. ―I don‘t want you to do. I rather like

―Then why don‘t you listen to me?‖ Obi-Wan retorted.

―I am trying.‖ Vader shrugged.

Obi-Wan paused in an open area of the club and glanced around. The establishment was dimly
lit and filled with all sorts of things that skirted the edge of legality. There was a bar, of course,
and several types of gambling tables and video games.

―Can you see him?‖ Obi-Wan asked Vader as he scanned the diverse crowd of Humans and
assorted aliens.

Vader leaned over into and whispered into Obi-Wan‘s ear. ―I think he is a she, and I think
she‘s a changeling.‖

―In that case, be extra careful.‖ Obi-Wan advised. ―Go and find her,‖ he ordered and started to
walk off.

―Where are you going?‖ Vader asked with a frown.

―For a drink,‖ Obi-Wan replied mysteriously.

And that‘s just what he did. He took an open seat at the bar and ordered a small glass of
Corellian brandy. As he nursed his drink and scanned the club crowd through the Force, a
foolish alien drug-dealer turned to him.

―You wanna buy some death-sticks?‖ The dealer, a male Balosar, asked.

―You don‘t want to sell me death-sticks.‖ Obi-Wan assured him with a small hand gesture.

―I don‘t want to sell you death-sticks.‖ The Balosar agreed and started to take a sip from his
own drink.

―You want to go home and rethink your life,‖ Obi-Wan added, waving his hand again.

―I want to go home and rethink my life.‖ The Balosar repeated and left the bar to do as he was

With the distraction gone, Obi-Wan returned to searching for the changeling assassin. Not long
after the drug-dealer was gone, he sensed the assassin approach. She foolishly was going to
try and sneak up on him and shoot him in the back. It might work on some ordinary man, but
he was a Jedi. When she drew close enough, he sprang into action.

In a split second he whirled around, snapped on his lightsaber, and took off her gun arm just
beneath her elbow. Stunned and disarmed, she slumped to the floor and did not struggle as
he took her into custody. The boisterous club crowd quieted some and stared at the scene. As
Obi-Wan dragged the assassin to her feet, Vader appeared.

―Easy. Jedi business,‖ Vader informed the crowd. ―Go back to your drinks.‖

Obi-Wan half-carried, half-dragged the stunned changeling outside the club and propped up
on the edge of the curb. Vader trailed after them, his wary eyes looking around for any threats
before fixing on their quarry. The assassin, though in great pain from her maimed arm, was
still lucid enough to be questioned.

―Do you know who it was that you were trying to kill?‖ Obi-Wan asked her.

―It was a Senator from Naboo,‖ the changeling wheezed.

―And who hired you?‖ Obi-Wan pressed.

―It was just a job,‖ she muttered through clenched teeth.

―Who hired you? Tell us,‖ Vader demanded and leaned in towards her threateningly. When she
held her silence, he lost his patience. ―Tell us now!‖ he shouted.

―It was a bounty hunter called—‖ she choked and went into convulsions and her Human face
melted into her natural Clawdite features. ―Wee shannit…sleemo.‖ She gasped and then was

Obi-Wan carefully ran his hand over her neck and pulled a small metallic object out of it.
―Toxic dart,‖ he observed. With a frown, he scanned the area for this bounty hunter, but was
unable to see anyone.

―Well, that went well,‖ he snorted and pocketed the dart. ―Now, let‘s get back to the Senator
and try to get some rest. We report to the Council in the morning.‖

 Submit Review                                18. 17: The Crazy Chase

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                         font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                    19. 18: Fleeing Coruscant

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                         Chapter 18
                                      Fleeing Coruscant

It was around mid-morning when they were let in to see the Council and make their report.
Kenobi did all of the talking while Vader stood beside him and waited for it all to be over.
Peering out the large windows of the Council chamber, Vader couldn‘t help but notice what a
bright clear day it was out there, and wished he could go an enjoy it.

When Kenobi reached the part where Vader had jumped out of the speeder and free-falled
after the assassin, the Council members looked thoroughly incredulous. Vader wasn‘t
surprised at their reaction, but he was annoyed. Sure he whined and complained a lot about
what he had to do for the Jedi, but when things got serious, he did what needed doing. Most
of the time.

―Track down this bounty hunter you must, Obi-Wan.‖ Yoda declared after Kenobi‘s report was

―Most importantly, find out who he‘s working for.‖ Windu added gravely.

―What about Senator Amidala?‖ Kenobi inquired. ―She will still need protecting.‖

Ah, let her rot, Vader grumped.

―Handle that your Padawan will.‖ Yoda decided.

Yeah, I‘ll—what? Vader blinked in shock. You can‘t be serious! He glanced over at Kenobi, who
also looked surprised and shocked by the old troll‘s decision. He can‘t be serious!
―Vader, escort the Senator back to her home-planet of Naboo.‖ Windu commanded. ―She‘ll be
safer there. And don‘t use registered transport. Travel as refugees.‖

…They‘re serious. Oh Force. Vader nervously chewed at the inside of his cheek and struggled
to think of a polite and intelligent way to warn the Council of the Senator‘s incredibly stubborn
and difficult nature.

―As the leader of the opposition, it will be very difficult to get Senator Amidala to leave the
capital,‖ he managed after some furious thought. Ah, Kenobi‘s lectures on current affairs and
politics finally come in handy…

―Until caught this killer is, our judgment she must respect.‖ Yoda stated gravely and folded his
tiny clawed hands over the top of his cane.

―Do not worry about persuading her to leave,‖ Windu advised. ―I will call Chancellor Palpatine
and ask him to speak with her about this matter.‖

Finding no argument against his new assignment that didn‘t sound horribly childish and
cowardly, Vader conceded defeat. He and Kenobi bowed to the assembled Masters and left the
room. In the turbolift ride down from the top of the spire, Vader leaned against the wall of the
car and sighed noisily.

―This sucks,‖ Vader mumbled.

―Your focus determines your reality. If you believe that it will be terrible, then it will be. Try
approaching this assignment with a more positive attitude,‖ Kenobi suggested. ―Besides, such
negativity is unbecoming of a Jedi.‖

―Yeah, yeah,‖ Vader shrugged. ―Easy for you to say. You‘re not the one stuck with the

―Perhaps if you try to be more polite with her, you‘ll get along better,‖ Kenobi advised.

Bah, she must‘ve tattled on my last night about the camera conversation. Vader sighed and
picked at some imaginary lint on his cloak sleeve. ―Fine,‖ he snorted, ―I‘ll be Mr. Polite from
here on out with her.‖

―Good,‖ Kenobi smiled. ―Now relax, this is a fairly simple assignment. All you have to do is
escort the Senator back to Naboo on a refugee transport, as Mace told you to, and keep her in
some remote location in the countryside until you are ordered to do otherwise. As soon as my
investigation is complete, your assignment will be over. Simple.‖

―I know,‖ Vader muttered. ―But why do I have to do this by myself?‖

―The Order has been stretched thin lately. And they probably feel that it would be best for
Senator Amidala‘s peace of mind if she isn‘t shuffled off to an entirely new guardian. It will be
hard enough persuading her to leave on the eve of the vote on the Military Creation Act.‖ The
lift came to a stop and Kenobi gently guided him out and towards one of the nearest exits.
―That the Council is willing to trust you with a solo mission of any kind says something
important,‖ the Jedi told him quietly.

―Yeah,‖ Vader sighed. It says that they‘re all insane…
―Hurry along now and report to the Senator,‖ Kenobi directed. ―I need to start chasing down
leads. The Senator‘s staff will assist you in disguising yourself and the Senator and finding a
proper transport. Call me before you leave and I‘ll see you off.‖

―Right,‖ Vader muttered and trudged off. An odd feeling of foreboding hovered over him,
settling over his shoulders like a tangible weight. I have a bad feeling about this…

Shortly after sending Vader on his way, Obi-Wan found himself once again in the company of
Mace Windu and Yoda. Mace walked on one side of him and Master Yoda came along the other
side in his little hover chair. As they walked along one of the upper walkways in the heart of
the Temple, Obi-Wan took the opportunity to voice his worries.

―I am concerned for my Padawan,‖ Obi-Wan began, careful to keep Vader‘s cover as they were
in a public, open area of the Temple. ―He did not take to his assignment with a great deal of
enthusiasm. And he is most unhappy at being sent off on his own.‖

―Little choice do we have in this matter,‖ Yoda grumbled. ―But the Council is confident in its
decision, Obi-Wan.‖

―The boy has exceptional skills,‖ Master Windu rather unhappily admitted. ―He is fully capable
of handling this assignment on his own.‖

―But he still has much to learn, Master.‖ Obi-Wan sighed. ―His abilities have given him a
tendency towards arrogance at times.‖ Especially lately, as his fear recedes and his confidence

―Yes, yes‖ Yoda interjected before Obi-Wan could add anything else. ―A flaw more and more
common among Jedi, hmm. Too sure of themselves they are. Even the older, more
experienced ones.‖

―Arrogance and other flaws aside, Vader is competent enough to handle this task,‖ Mace
mused. ―And based on his performance, the Council may be willing to put a little more trust in

Obi-Wan was a bit surprised at this bit of news, and rather torn as to how to feel about it. On
the one hand, he felt much like any Master would at learning that his Padawan was close to
earning such respect from members of the High Council; something along the lines of proud
and satisfied. On the other hand, however, there was still the lingering doubt and worry.
Vader wasn‘t truly a Jedi, just a dangerous potential source of information.

Troubled by his thoughts, as well as the deepening mystery surrounding Senator Amidala, he
murmured his farewells to Masters Yoda and Windu and took his leave to meditate. He
desperately needed to clear the clutter from his mind so that he could effectively investigate
the threats against the Nabooan Senator‘s life. A little rest and meditation was what was
called for, and that‘s exactly what he was going to do.

Vader stared boredly out of one of Senator Amidala‘s many windows and watched the endless
rivers of air traffic trickle by. The Senator had just returned from her meeting with the
chancellor and now she was speaking to Jar Jar. He was perfectly content to stay where he
was and eavesdrop.

―I‘m taking an extended leave of absence. It will be your responsibility to take my place in the
Senate,‖ Senator Amidala announced. ―Representative Binks, I know I can count on you.‖
―Mesa honored to be taking on dissa heavy burden,‖ Jar Jar replied as formally as he could
manage. ―Mesa accept dis with muy, muy humility and, uh—‖

―Jar Jar, I don‘t with to hold you up. I‘m sure you have a great deal to do,‖ the Senator

―Of course,‖ Jar Jar gave her a slight bow. ―Milady.‖

The Gungan turned and walked off to do whatever it was that he had to do now that he was
the acting Senator of Naboo. Amidala, dressed in blue, with her hair done up in some
elaborate style, turned and stormed towards where he was standing. Her attitude, which had
been calm and kind with Jar Jar, now did a complete one-eighty.

―I do not like this idea of hiding,‖ she told him sharply as she strode past him and into her

From zero to bitch in less than a second…amazing. ―Don‘t worry,‖ Vader advised as he strolled
after her. ―Now that the Council has ordered an investigation it won‘t take Master Obi-Wan
long to find this bounty hunter.‖

―I haven‘t worked for a year to defeat the Military Creation Act to not be here when its fate is
decided,‖ she retorted and started gathering up some clothing and stuffing it into a suitcase.

―Sometimes we must let go of our pride and do what is requested of us,‖ Vader shrugged and
took up a position by her bedroom window. Hint, hint…

―I‘m not being prideful,‖ she insisted. ―This vote decides the future of the entire Republic. If
the Military Creation Act is passed, I fear war is inevitable.‖

―Never fear, Jar Jar knows your stance on this Act. He won‘t let you down.‖ At least I hope he
doesn‘t. I wouldn‘t want him to get in trouble with you. Jar Jar‘s funny, I don‘t want him to
die… ―And Master Obi-Wan will take care of this quickly,‖ he reminded her. ―He‘s one of the
best Jedi I know; as wise as Master Yoda and as powerful as Master Windu.‖ Spying a little
decorative sphere resting on the Senator‘s dresser, he levitated it in a desperate attempt to
amuse himself. ―I am truly thankful to be his apprentice,‖ he added. He‘s much nicer than all
those dull lumps on the Council. He‘s mostly nice and occasionally funny.

―I know Jar Jar will be alright,‖ she sighed and continued her packing. ―And I know that Master
Kenobi will do his best on my behalf. But what I dislike about this situation is that, in running
away from the capital, I am giving this mysterious bounty hunter what he and his employers
what they want. They want me silenced and out of the vote so that the Act is passed.‖

―What they really want is for you to be dead,‖ Vader corrected and put the sphere back down.
―And by keeping you safely hidden until they are neutralized, you are denying them their
greatest desire.‖

Senator Amidala didn‘t reply to that. Instead she put all of her focus and energy in deciding
what parts of her impressive wardrobe to take with her. Eyeing her enormous closet with more
than a little apprehension, he dearly hoped that she didn‘t intend to take too much of its
contents with her.

Tired of standing, Vader wandered over to her bed and settled down on the edge of it. As she
flitted back and forth between her closet and drawers and her suitcase, he watched her. She
was a beautiful woman, he had to admit. If only her bitchy, superior attitude didn‘t turn him
off so much, this assignment may not have been so bad.
Unfortunately she caught him watching her and took some offense to it. ―Please don‘t look at
me like that,‖ she muttered.

―Look at you like what?‖ he blinked. Really, it‘s not like I was leering at you or anything.

―You were staring at me,‖ she accused. ―It makes me feel uncomfortable.‖

―Sorry, Milady,‖ he shrugged and looked away.

She studied him warily for a moment before putting the finishing touches on her packing job.
Vader just sat there and waited for her to be finished. Thankfully the Senator‘s female aide
arrived with a shopping bag and broke the tense atmosphere that had formed in the room.

―I managed to find you both some nice disguises at this cute little ethnic clothes shop in the
Sooti District,‖ the aide announced with a cheerful smile.

―Did you now?‖ the Senator inquired curiously.

―Mm-hm,‖ she nodded eagerly. Reaching into the paper shopping bag, she fished out a bundle
and handed it to Vader. ―I had to guess at your size,‖ she murmured apologetically. ―I hope it

Vader studied the folded pile of clothes, intrigued. ―I‘ll go check,‖ he muttered and headed to
the refresher to try on his new outfit.

Leaving the women alone for the moment, he hid out in the refresher to swap out his Jedi
robes for civilian clothing. Force, this is weird, Vader reflected as he studied himself in the
small mirror over the sink. I‘ve been wearing Jedi robes for too long.

The only thing that survived his wardrobe change were his boots, the rest was all different.
The pants were a plain shade of tan and the shirt was a pale dull gray that reminded him of
his Jedi under tunic. Then over that was a gold-ish handkerchief-like necktie and a dark brown
vest with intricate zigzagging embroidery all over it. It was certainly different and kind of nice.

I think I‘ll keep this, he decided. And I should tell that lady thank you. She‘s good at guessing

Satisfied with his new attire, he abandoned the refresher and returned to the Senator‘s room.
She had mostly changed herself, switching her puffy-sleeved blue dress for a brown and gold
dress that clearly was in the same style as his clothes. Amidala and her aide were working on
her hair, coiling it tightly so that it would fit underneath a dull gold wrap and metal headdress.
Artoo was in the room now too, sitting in a corner and waiting.

After putting the last few pins in the Senator‘s hair, the female aide (whose name Vader still
hadn‘t caught) scurried over to him. ―Oh, does it fit?‖ she asked and circled around him to
examine his outfit.

―Yes, it fits,‖ Vader informed her. ―Thank you.‖ See, I can be polite. No problem.

―You‘re welcome,‖ she replied. Satisfied with his appearance, she gave a sharp nod. ―Very nice.
Oh! I almost forgot.‖ She returned to her shopping bag and dug out one more piece of
clothing and handed it to him.
Ah, can‘t forget the poncho, he snorted and slipped it on over his head. Now I‘m ready for

―Perfect,‖ she smiled. ―What do you think, Milady? Could he double as your husband?‖

Vader blinked. Um, what?

The Senator turned away from her mirror and studied him critically. ―I suppose,‖ she shrugged
and returned to messing with her hair.

―The captain has decided that you‘ll pretend to be newlyweds while on the refugee ship,‖ the
aide told him at catching his confused look.

―Ah,‖ he nodded seriously. That makes sense… Then he frowned. What do you mean ‗I
suppose‘? I could be a worse fake husband. I could be ugly or old…or both.

―Hopefully Captain Typho will find us a ship to Naboo soon,‖ the Senator sighed and put the
metal headdress on her head, then draped a lacy sort of veil over it.

What is it with her and headdresses? Vader wondered, recalling the basket she‘d had on the
day before. Are all Nabooan women so obsessed with wearing weird things on their heads?

Just as the aide was taking his discarded Jedi robes to pack them in with the Senator‘s things,
the imposing head of security arrived. ―Senator, I‘ve found you a ship back to Naboo. It leaves
in just over two hours,‖ Typho announced.

―Thank you, captain,‖ the Senator replied. ―We will depart in one hour.‖

―Understood,‖ Typho bowed and left to make the final arrangements.

Seeing that the women were occupied, Vader slipped to a quiet corner of the apartment and
placed a call to Kenobi. The Jedi wanted to see them off, and he probably had to impart some
final instructions too. And Vader had decided he wanted to bring Orbie along for company…

A few hours later, Vader, Kenobi, Senator Amidala, Captain Typho, the aide, Orbie, and Artoo
were the only passengers on an airbus bound for one of Coruscant‘s many public spaceports.
The air was tense in the transport as they neared the port. The Senator and her small
entourage sat in their little section, and Vader and his Jedi guardian off to themselves, but still
nearby. As the airbus settled down near the port, they all prepared to debark.

―Be safe, Milady,‖ the dark Nabooan security man pleaded.

―Thank you, captain,‖ the Senator replied kindly. ―Take good care of Dormé. The threat‘s on
you two now.‖

―He‘ll be safe with me,‖ the female aide, Dormé, promised with a smile. But her smile quickly
faded and a tear slipped from her eye.

―You‘ll be fine,‖ Amidala assured her Handmaiden.

―It‘s not me, Milady. I worry about you,‖ Dormé fretted. ―What if they realize you‘ve left the
―Well, then my Jedi protector will have to prove how good he is,‖ the Senator replied casually
and led her group off the airbus.

Is that a challenge? Vader wondered as he started to follow her. However, Kenobi stopped him.

―Don‘t do anything without first consulting either myself or the Council,‖ Kenobi ordered

―Yes, Master,‖ Vader nodded. But really, what is there for me to do but sit on the Senator?

Satisfied with his answer, Kenobi walked over to Amidala. ―I‘ll get to the bottom of this plot
quickly, Milady,‖ he promised. ―You‘ll be back here in no time.‖

―I‘ll be most grateful for your speed, Master Jedi,‖ she replied stiffly.

Okay, that‘s enough of bossing him around. ―It‘s time to go,‖ Vader grumbled and hopped out
of the bus.

―I know,‖ the Senator sighed and reluctantly followed him.

―Vader,‖ Kenobi called after him, ―may the Force be with you.‖

―May the Force be with you, Master,‖ Vader replied.

And then they were off. Vader led the Senator along through the bustling throng of beings
hurrying on and off the ships docked at the port. Artoo trailed after them and Orbie cheerfully
bobbed around them, turning its lens all around to take in the interesting new sights.

―Suddenly I‘m afraid,‖ the Senator abruptly admitted.

Must be polite, he reminded himself, must be nice. ―This is my first assignment on my own,‖
Vader shrugged. ―I am too.‖ Well, not afraid, but a little nervous. At her worried and
incredulous look, he tried to make a joke. ―Don‘t worry. We have Artoo with us.‖

Her anxious look didn‘t dissipate; if anything it only worsened. Artoo, however, seemed quite
flattered that Vader thought so highly of him, and let out a cheerful string of whistles. And
Orbie was thoroughly incensed at being ignored and let out a dry buzz as he orbited around
Vader‘s head.

―Yeah, yeah, and you too,‖ Vader snorted and swatted at the hovercam as if it was a sand fly.

―What is that thing?‖ she asked hesitantly.

―This is my old buddy Orbie,‖ Vader smirked. ―If he bothers you too much, we can always turn
him off and stuff him into one of the suitcases,‖ he whispered conspiratorially so that the droid
wouldn‘t hear the plot against it.

―Oh,‖ she frowned, eyeing the hovering sphere with annoyance.

Great, Vader sighed as he helped her and the droids board the refugee freighter. This is going
to be a long trip. A real long trip…
Obi-Wan stood next to Captain Typho and watched his charge and Senator Amidala melt into
the crowded spaceport with no small amount of apprehension. This was the single greatest
test that Vader had yet undertaken for the Jedi Order. And if Vader failed, the consequences
were dire for all involved.

―I do hope he doesn‘t try anything foolish,‖ Obi-Wan sighed.

―I‘d be more concerned about her doing something than him,‖ Typho replied before turning
away to escort Handmaiden Dormé back to the Senator‘s residence.

Now alone, Obi-Wan remained until he saw the refugee ship that he knew Vader and the
Senator were aboard and watched it lift away in the sky. And then he too left the spaceport,
though his destination was a bit different. He was off to the Temple to keep his promise of a
speedy investigation.

Now to figure out where that toxic dart came from…

  Submit Review                               19. 18: Fleeing Coruscant

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                                 font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                     20. 19: Investigations and Traveling

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                          Chapter 19
                                  Investigations and Traveling

To keep his promise to the Senator of a speedy investigation, Obi-Wan returned to the Temple
and headed to the Archives without further delay. He headed into the analysis section of the
Archives to see if the toxic dart that had killed the changeling led him anywhere interesting.
To prevent contamination to samples, the analysis room was sealed behind a thick pane of
glass and only droids were allowed inside. Obi-Wan settled himself in the seat before the large
window and waited for one of the droids to come over and serve him.

―Place subject for analysis on the sensor tray please,‖ one of the sterile white droids buzzed.

Carefully removing the dart from his belt pouch, he slipped it into the small open tray and
closed it, sending the item into the bright white room on the other side of the glass. ―It‘s a
toxic dart,‖ he informed the droid. ―I need to know where it came from and who made it.‖

The droid picked up the dart and studied it for a second. ―One moment please,‖ it hummed

The droid at the window waved over a second droid and handed it the dart. The second droid
took it over to an analysis machine. It placed the dart on the flat scanner bed, closed the
device, and waited as the machine spun and rotated as it worked. When the machine stopped
moving, the second droid retrieved the dart and started to bring it back to the window.

―Markings cannot be identified,‖ the first droid announced. ―As you can see on your screen,
subject weapon does not exist in any know culture, probably self-made by a warrior, not
associated with any know society.‖ The droid placed the dart back into the tray. ―Stand away
from the sensor tray please.‖

The tray opened again, returning the dart to Obi-Wan‘s possession. ―Thank you for your
assistance,‖ Obi-Wan replied politely. He picked up the dart and studied it for a few minutes.
And then it hit him. ―I know who can identify this.‖

Vader hadn‘t been on the refugee vessel for more than an hour when he decided he didn‘t like
it. The ship had originally been an ordinary freighter, meant to haul cargo, not people. But it
had recently been converted to move as many refugees at a time as possible to more stable
planets. And the conversion was shoddy at best.

The quarters were cramped and overcrowded to the point where Vader wondered if it was
legal. The air was permanently stale and tainted with the lingering odor of countless alien
bodies, signaling that the air scrubbers were in serious need of maintenance or replacement.
And the ship itself was old and outdated, not the type of vessel he‘d entirely trust with so
many lives.

But Master Windu had said to travel as refugees. And Captain Typho picked this ship. So he,
and the Senator, was stuck with it.

Vader sat on the narrow shelf of a top bunk in the tiny cabin that he and Amidala had been
assigned. Artoo was wedged into a back corner near a power socket, and didn‘t seem
particularly enthused about his new surroundings. Amidala was sitting the slightly sturdier, but
just as narrow, lower bunk, reading something. And Orbie hovered over Artoo‘s sensor dome,
slowly bobbing up and down, sometimes moaning softly as if to convey his boredom to the
whole cabin.

Across the narrow aisle was another set of bunks, occupied by a real married couple and their
two small children. Amidala had spoken with them briefly when they‘d first met before taking
off and they had originated from Antar. They‘d come to Coruscant to escape the unrest of their
world, but the city-planet held nothing for them and they were now being shifted off to Naboo.

While Vader felt bad for them, he was also thoroughly annoyed at their presence. It was bad
enough that he had to share a room with the Senator for the two days that it would take to
reach Naboo. But now he had to share it with two strangers and their two small children in a
space barely the size of his bedroom back in the Jedi Temple.

This is a nightmare. Not one that I‘ve ever personally dreamed up, but a nightmare
nonetheless. I‘m starting to think that I just should‘ve dropped out of this mission and spent
my days slowly losing my sanity with Yoda.

Swallowing a sigh, he lay back on his hard bunk and endeavored to take a nap while he could.
The two children, ages three and five as close as he could figure, whispered noisily in their
local dialect before breaking out into a minor fight that needed mediation from their parents.
Vader felt the beginnings of a headache forming within his skull.

Oh this is going to be a long trip…

A short time after his visit to the Analysis Archive, Obi-Wan headed down into Coco Town. The
busy little commercial district was filled with shops and restaurants of all sizes, styles, and
descriptions. Spying one neon sign in particular, he headed inside and was greeted by a server

―Someone to see ya, honey!‖ the WA-7 unit yelled to the back in a high, nasal voice. ―Jedi, by
the looks of him.‖

A hulking male Besalisk peered out from the kitchen. ―Obi-Wan!‖

―Hello, Dex.‖ Obi-Wan smiled.

―Take a seat,‖ Dex called back. ―I‘ll be right with ya.‖
―You wanna cup o‘ jawa juice?‖ the WA-7 asked as Obi-Wan headed for a free booth.

―Oh, yes,‖ Obi-Wan nodded. ―Thank you.‖

A few minutes after Obi-Wan sat down, Dex exited the kitchen and lumbered over to him.
Despite his brown, scaly appearance, his race had actually descended from birds, not reptiles.
Dex waved one of his four meaty arms as he approached.

―Hey, old buddy,‖ Dex grinned.

Obi-Wan stood up from his eat and embraced his alien friend. Dex nearly lifted him off his feet
as he returned the friendly hug. After a little friendly chuckling, they sat down in the booth,
Dex grunting and wheezing as he wedged his Besalisk bulk across the table from Obi-Wan.

―So my friend,‖ Dex chuckled, ―what can I do for you?‖

―You can tell me what this is,‖ Obi-Wan replied and held up the dart for Dex‘s inspection.

―Well, whattaya know!‖ Dex exclaimed as he studied the dart on the tabletop. ―I ain‘t seen one
of these things since I was prospectin‘ on Subterrel, beyond the Outer Rim.‖

―Can you tell me where it came from?‖ Obi-Wan asked hopefully. The WA-7 arrived with two
cups of jawa juice and served them. ―Thank you,‖ he mumbled distractedly to the droid as it
glided away to serve other customers.

―These baby belongs to them cloners‖ Dex informed him. ―What you got here is a Kamino

―I wonder why it didn‘t show up in the analysis archives.‖ Obi-Wan mused and thoughtfully
stroked his beard.

―It‘s these funny little cuts on the side that give it away,‖ the Besalisk cook added and pointed
to the marks in question with a thick finger. ―Those analysis droids only focus on symbols. Huh!
I should think that you Jedi would have more respect for the difference between knowledge
and,‖ he paused to chuckle, ―wisdom.‖

―Well if droids could think, there‘d be none of here, would there?‖ Obi-Wan grinned over his
glass of juice. ―Kamino. I‘m not familiar with it. Is it in the Republic?‖

―No, no. It‘s beyond the Outer Rim,‖ Dex answered. ―I‘d say about, um, twelve parsecs
outside the Rishi Maze. Should be easy to find, even for those droids in your archives.‖ Dex
chuckled and took a drink from his own glass. ―These, uh, Kaminoans, they keep to
themselves. They‘re cloners. And damn good ones too.‖

―Cloners. Are they friendly?‖ Obi-Wan inquired.

―Oh, depends,‖ Dex shrugged.

―Depends on what, Dex?‖ Obi-Wan asked.

―On how good your manners are,‖ Dex answered, ―and how big your, uh…pocketbook is.‖
The Besalisk chuckled teasingly and went back to his drink. Obi-Wan shook his head at his old
friend‘s little joke and picked up the dart again. Studying it, he decided what he needed to do

Looks like it‘s back to the Archives for me, and this time I‘m looking for some planet called

Padmé studied the small datapad in her hands religiously. Endless figures and statistics
scrolled by, but she really didn‘t see them. She couldn‘t focus, and it was driving her mad.

There were a myriad of things on her mind. Foremost were the attempts on her life. She knew
that there were many people out there that disagreed with her actions and opinions, but it she
couldn‘t really think of any that would cross the line and order her death. Several of her
friends and employees had already died for her, and she was desperate to not lose any more.
If only she knew who the guilty party was, she would make sure that the proper actions were
taken against them.

The first attack had been deadly and violent. The assassin hadn‘t cared who got hurt, so long
as the Senator of Naboo was killed. But the second attack with the Kouhuns had proved just
how determined and deadly serious the now-dead assassin was.

Just thinking about that night was enough to make her shudder. Not only did the thought of a
painful death by poisonous insects bother her, but the memory of the events of that night was
just as shiver-inducing. Waking up to a strange man on her bed with a deadly blue lightsaber
humming inches from her body was not something that she ever expected to experience.

The bunk above her creaked as Padawan Vader shifted around and she resisted the urge to
scowl. Obi-Wan‘s mysterious Padawan bothered her immensely. His very presence made his
skin crawl. And it certainly didn‘t help that his was admittedly his first solo assignment.

I wish that the Jedi Council had decided to assign me a different guard, Padmé sighed to
herself. Padawan Vader is just so rude and cold. I really get the feeling that he doesn‘t like me,
she thought, recalling his earlier comment about pride. I wonder what possessed Obi-Wan to
choose him as a student.

A squeaky chirp drew her eyes away from the screen and into the reflective lens eye of
Vader‘s hovercam droid. Why did he bring this thing? Padmé squinted at the curious orb
before shooing it away with her hand. I really don‘t see any reason for it.

―Mama, I hungry!‖ one of the children whined loudly.

―Hush, hush,‖ the mother, Mrs. Denaal, soothed. ―Dinner will be served in an hour, sweetie.‖

―I hungry!‖ the child wailed again.

―An hour isn‘t long, please wait,‖ Mrs. Denaal sighed, and pulled the little girl onto her lap.

Over her head, she heard Vader shift again and guessed that he was burying his head under
the thin pillow that came with the bed. While she could understand his desire for quiet, she
found his actions rude. The Denaal‘s little girl was simply too young to understand how her
whining bothered other people.

Well, at least dinner is coming up, she thought optimistically. Perhaps some food will cheer
him up and make him a little more tolerable…
His second visit to the Archives was even more disappointing than the first. Obi-Wan placed a
call to Master Nu out of frustration and walked away from the data terminal he‘d been using to
clear his mind. As he waited for the elderly curator of the Archives to come find him, he stood
by Master—no, Count Dooku‘s bust and studied it.

When Dooku had been a Jedi, he‘d been Qui-Gon Jinn‘s Master. He was one of the most
respected saber masters and a practicer of the nearly forgotten style of saber-on-saber
combat. After Qui-Gon‘s death, Dooku lost patience with the Council and the Order and left
the Jedi behind to pursue a political career. Obi-Wan had never properly met the man, but he
wished he had.

What are you up to? Obi-Wan wondered as he studied the noble face cast in bronze. Senator
Amidala believes that you are up to something sinister, but—

―Did you call for assistance?‖ Jedi Master Jocasta Nu asked, appearing at his side.

―Yes, yes I did.‖ Obi-Wan replied, jarred from his thoughts.

―Are you having a problem, Master Kenobi?‖ Master Nu smiled kindly as she detected his

―Yes, um, I‘m looking for a planetary system called Kamino.‖ Obi-Wan explained and led the
elderly Master to his abandoned data terminal.

―Kamino,‖ Master Nu repeated quietly.

―It doesn‘t show up on the Archive charts,‖ Obi-Wan told her and started to call up the star
charts he‘d been searching.

―Kamino, it‘s not a system I‘m familiar with,‖ Master Nu admitted. ―Are you sure you have the
right coordinates?‖

―According to my information, it should appear in this quadrant here,‖ Obi-Wan said and
pointed to the screen, ―just south of the Rishi Maze.‖ He typed in a few commands and the
screen zeroed in on a blank spot on the chart.

―I hate to say it, but it looks like the system you‘re searching for doesn‘t exist,‖ Master Nu told
him after a moment‘s thought.

―Impossible,‖ Obi-Wan frowned. ―Perhaps the Archives are incomplete.‖ Dex can‘t be wrong.
He‘s never been wrong before.

―If an item doesn‘t appear in our records, it does not exist.‖ Master Nu declared. Before he
could attempt to dispute that, she turned away and walked off to help a young Padawan who
was patiently waiting for her attention.

Obi-Wan was left all alone, staring at the blank screen. Stroking his beard thoughtfully, he
pondered his strange dilemma. Dex never made anything up. His information had always been
sound. But the maps in the Archives told a completely different story.

Well now what?
When dinner rolled around, Vader escorted the Senator to the ship‘s crowded, ramshackle
cafeteria. After working through the serving line and picking up the cheap soup that was
offered, he found her a nice small table near the edge of the room. But just after they‘d gotten
situated, Amidala realized that she wanted something else and sent Artoo back to the line to
retrieve it for her. Orbie trailed after the Astromech curiously.

―Hey, you!‖ Vader heard the droid cook buzz. ―No droids!‖ Artoo beeped some rude response
as he continued running the Senator‘s errand and Orbie threw in his own two credits with a
derisive whistle. ―Get outta here!‖ the cook droid demanded. Artoo blew the cook an electronic
raspberry as he rolled back to the table. Orbie echoed Artoo as best as it could and zipped
back over to slowly orbit in a circle over their heads.

―Thank you, Artoo,‖ Amidala murmured gratefully to her droid companion. After several
minutes of silently sipping at her soup, the Senator abruptly decided to make conversation.
―Must be difficult, having sworn your life to the Jedi, not being able to visit the places you like
or do the things you like.‖

Ah, small talk. Remember, be polite… ―Or be with the people that I love,‖ Vader added. I really
miss my Mom sometimes. Though the reason that I don‘t see has less to do with the Jedi and
more to do with the Sith.

―Are you allowed to love?‖ Amidala asked with a confused frown. ―I thought that was
forbidden for a Jedi.‖

Well… ―Attachment is forbidden. Possession is forbidden. Compassion, which I would define as
unconditional love, is central to a Jedi‘s life. So you might say that we are encouraged to
love.‖ Vader idly stirred his thin soup and watched the faint curls of steam rise up from it. Huh,
I come up with really weird conclusions when I seriously think about things… Jedi…encouraged
to love…hah! That‘s funny.

Amidala didn‘t reply and after a while he risked glancing up from his dinner to see if
something was wrong with her. He found her staring at him with an unreadable expression. It
was almost like she was studying him, trying to figure him out. Vader quickly decided that he
didn‘t like that and went back to focusing solely on his boring soup.

I hate being stared at like a strange bug under a microscope…I really do.

Obi-Wan strode through the high-ceilinged halls of the Temple in search of Master Yoda. After
much pondering and studying of star charts, he was at a dead end. If the ancient and wise
Grandmaster couldn‘t make sense of this problem, he‘d be forced to abandon the Kamino lead
and start over from scratch.

―Reach out,‖ he heard Yoda instruct as he approached the youngling training room. ―Sense the
Force around you. Use your feelings you must.‖ Obi-Wan stepped into the room and watched
as a score of tiny children deflected weak laser bolts from hovering remotes with their small
training sabers while helmets obstructed their physical vision. Upon noticing Obi-Wan, Yoda
tapped his can several times on the floor and interrupted the lesson. ―Younglings. Younglings!
A visitor we have.‖

The children turned off their training weapons and pushed back their helmets so that they
could see. ―Hello Master Obi-Wan,‖ they chorused politely.

―Hello,‖ Obi-Wan replied to the children. ―I‘m sorry to disturb you, Master,‖ he added to the
elderly Master.
―What help can I be, Obi-Wan? Hmm?‖ Master Yoda asked curiously.

―I‘m looking for a planet described to me by an old friend. I trust him, but the systems don‘t
show on the Archive maps.‖ Obi-Wan explained.

―Mmm. Lost a planet Master Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing,‖ Yoda shook his head and the
children giggled. ―How embarrassing. Hmm. Liam, the shades.‖ One of the boys in the class
pressed a button that lowered the window shades and cast the room into darkness. ―Gather
round the map reader,‖ Yoda instructed. As the children moved to the center of the room, a
thin pole rose up from the floor. Obi-Wan pulled a crystal sphere from his belt and set it on
the pole. There sphere glowed and then projected a three-dimensional star field throughout
the room. ―Clear your minds and find Obi-Wan‘s wayward planet we will.‖

―It ought to be…here,‖ Obi-Wan pointed to the blank space in the star field, ―but it isn‘t.
Gravity is pulling all the stars in this around towards this spot.,‖ he added, waving his hand
around the area in question.

―Hmm. Gravity‘s silhouette remains but the star and all the planets, disappeared they have,‖
Yoda mused. ―How can this be? Hmm? A thought?‖ Master Yoda scanned his class. ―Anyone?‖

―Master?‖ A young boy near Obi-Wan‘s feet spoke up. ―Because someone erased it from the
Archive memory.‖

―Truly wonderful the mind of a child is,‖ Yoda chuckled. ―The Padawan is right. Go to the
center of gravity‘s pull and find your planet you will,‖ the Master advised.

Master Yoda then hobbled away from his class. Obi-Wan followed him and called the map
sphere to his hand, ending the projection of stars. As they reached the doorway to the
classroom, where the students couldn‘t hear them, the blinds opened again and bathed the
room in the bright afternoon sunlight.

―Hmm. The data must have been erased,‖ Yoda grumbled.

―But Master Yoda, who could empty information from the Archives?‖ Obi-Wan frowned,
disturbed. ―That‘s impossible, isn‘t it?‖

―Dangerous and disturbing this puzzle is,‖ Master Yoda muttered gravely. ―Only a Jedi could
have erased those files. But who and why, harder to answer. Meditate on this I will. Hmm,‖
the old Master promised.

Obi-Wan bowed to the diminutive Master and left him to his class. He walked off and fingered
the small sphere in his hand. This mission only seemed to grow more complex and mysterious
with each passing hour. And now there was a truly sinister element added into the mix. The
Jedi Archives had been tampered with; something only a Jedi could do.

I have a very bad feeling about this…

As night was falling over Coruscant, the ship‘s lights automatically dimmed to help keep the
passengers on the proper sleep schedule. Padmé reluctantly set aside her datapad so that the
glowing display screen didn‘t keep the children awake. Across the aisle, the Denaal family was
settling down for the night with some traditional bedtime story.
Padmé half-listened to the parents tell the story in their rolling dialect. They varied their voices
with the emotion of the story and it was cute to hear the children gasp at the rising suspense
and surprise twists of the tale. She almost wished that she could understand what they were

When the story finished, the children were tucked in and then the parents went to bed
themselves. Artoo had already shut off and was recharging in his corner and the hovercam,
Orbie, had found another outlet in the tiny room and was replenishing itself as well. Vader had
been in bed four an hour and had been perfectly silent for nearly as long, so she guessed that
he was asleep.

Sighing quietly, Padmé did her best to make herself comfortable and get to sleep. But sleep
didn‘t want to come. Her mind just kept thinking and thinking and thinking.

She thought about the political situation back on Coruscant. She thought about the pair of
assassination attempts against her life in one twenty-four hour period. She thought about how
the Jedi Council had gone behind her back and roped the chancellor into forcing her back to
Naboo. She thought about how nice it was to see Obi-Wan Kenobi again, and how unpleasant
of a surprise it was to meet his Padawan. And she thought about how infuriating and
contradictory Padawan Vader was.

Vader was rude to her and it was clear that when he was being polite to her that he didn‘t
want to be, but didn‘t have problems with anyone else. Jar Jar had quite liked the Jedi
Padawan. Vader was cold to her, almost uncaring, yet over dinner he‘d spoken of loving
people and given his personal definition of compassion as a sort of unconditional love. And
then there was her memory of him intercepting the Kouhun in the middle of the night. The
image of his hard blue eyes staring at her in the dark, lit only by the sapphire glow of his
weapon, seemed burned into her mind, and it deeply unsettled her.

The past few days have been a nightmare. Padmé squirmed further under the threadbare
sheets as a draft from the ventilation grate in the room chilled her. I just wish I could wake up
from it.

Late in the evening, Obi-Wan headed up to the Temple‘s hanger. He was on his way to the
mysterious Kamino system to see where else the saberdart would lead him. Mace had caught
him on his way and he was updating the Master on the progress of his investigation.

―It appears someone does not want us to know about this Kamino system,‖ Obi-Wan
remarked as he summed up his report.

―Which means there‘s something happening in that system that we should know about,‖
Master Windu replied.

―Master, do you think a Jedi could‘ve erased those files?‖ Obi-Wan inquired, still quite
disturbed by the idea.

―I hope not. But this disturbance in the Force is making it hard to get a sense of things,‖
Master Windu frowned.

They had reached Obi-Wan‘s assigned starfighter now and the landing pad that it rested on
began to move. The hanger door slowly swung open and the platform was extended outside
the Temple spire, allowing for easy take-off. Obi-Wan walked over to the cockpit of the fighter,
but didn‘t immediately climb in.
―I‘m…concerned,‖ Obi-Wan sighed after a moment, ―not only about this deepening mystery,
but…about my Padawan.‖

―Oh?‖ Mace prompted.

―I know he has the ability to do his part successfully, but not necessarily the motivation to do
so,‖ Obi-Wan elaborated.

Mace raised a questioning eyebrow. ―What is the problem with his motivation?‖

―To be plain, he harbors a great dislike for the Senator,‖ Obi-Wan wearily replied. ―And I fear
that his personal distaste for her may lead to hesitation on his part should anything violent
occur.‖ Obi-Wan shook his head and climbed into the cockpit. ―I almost wish that he liked her
or formed some sort of emotional attachment to her, the way he is towards his mother. Then I
could be assured that he would look after her.‖

―Hmph,‖ Mace snorted as though amused by such a thought. ―Go on to Kamino and continue
your investigation, Obi-Wan. May the Force be with you.‖

―And may the Force be with you, Master,‖ Obi-Wan automatically replied.

Now that he felt formally dismissed, he sealed the cockpit and prepared for take-off. Within
moments, he was lifting off the landing pad and rising through the cluttered Coruscanti sky.
Behind him, Mace Windu shrunk to a tiny speck, before vanishing entirely.

As he waited for his hyperspace booster ring to come into view, he did his best to push away
his anxieties. Naboo was a peaceful world and with the Senator away from the capital it was
unlikely that there would be any attempts on her life for some time. She would be safe there,
with or without Vader‘s presence. He had his own work to do.

Onward to Kamino…

  Submit Review                                20. 19: Investigations and Traveling

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                           font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                    21. 20: Naboo and the Naberries

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                        Chapter 20
                                   Naboo and the Naberries

After a very, very long ride on the refugee ship, they finally landed on Naboo. Vader couldn‘t
help but sigh in relief when they stepped off the ship and onto Nabooan soil. It was wonderful
to get off the crowded and smelly vessel, and the clean Nabooan air only made it better.

Vader looked around the clean, airy spaceport where the refugee ship landed and was struck
by how beautiful Naboo was. The sky was blue, the plants were vibrant green, and everything
felt so alive. He was struck at how much like a picturesque fairy tale everything was.

I like it here, he decided as he lugged two of the Senator‘s three suitcases along behind her.
Coruscant is bright and sunny too, but it smells like smog and exhaust. The air smells kinda
like flowers here.

They were on their way to the palace to meet with the current Queen of Naboo, still dressed
up as refugees. Artoo and Orbie were following along and not poking at each other for once.
That, the beautiful scenery and the Senator‘s silence, made the walk very nice.

A curious sound, whispery and hushed, reached his ears as they drew closer to the palace.
―What‘s that sound?‖
Amidala stopped and frowned at him. ―What sound?‖

―That sound…‖ Vader stared off the walkway towards the cliffs and listened.

She cocked her head to the side. ―Oh, those are the waterfalls.‖

Vader raised a questioning eyebrow. ―Waterfalls?‖

―Yes,‖ she nodded and started walking again. ―When I first saw the capital I was very young.
I‘d never seen a waterfall before. I thought they were so beautiful.‖ Her expression turned

―Tell me, did you dream of power and politics when you were a little girl?‖ It was a random
question, but one that had cropped up in his mind a few times during the long transport ride.

―No, that was the last thing I thought of,‖ she replied. A set of stairs came up and as they
climbed, the droids fell a bit behind. ―I wasn‘t the youngest queen ever elected, but now that I
think back on it, I‘m not sure that I was old enough. I‘m not sure I was ready.‖

―The people you serve thought you did a good job,‖ Vader recalled as he thought back on
some of the background that Kenobi had impressed on him. ―I even heard they tried to amend
the constitution so you could stay in office.‖

―Popular rule is not democracy,‖ Amidala explained, her tone on the patronizing side. ―It gives
the people what they want, not what they need.‖ A shadow fell over them as they entered a
section of covered walkway. ―I was relieved when my two terms were up. So were my parents.
They were very worried about me during The Blockade. They couldn‘t wait for it all to be

The Blockade, Vader mused. Pretty tame stuff must happen here for them to call it ―The

―Actually, I had hoped to have a family of my own by now. My sister has the most, amazing,
wonderful, kids,‖ Amidala continued wistfully. ―But when the Queen asked me to serve as
Senator, I couldn‘t refuse her.‖

Vader watched her walk out of the corner of his eye. She seemed to have relaxed some since
they‘d first boarded the refugee ship, but an air of tension still hung around her. Amidala
strode on towards the palace, her expression calm and controlled and unhappy. He chewed at
his lip before he made up his mind.

―I agree with her,‖ Vader decided. ―I think the Republic needs you.‖ Not only am I being polite
here, I‘m sucking up to you, so cheer up!

She shot him a wary look, like she was unsure of how to take what he‘d said. Whatever she
ended up thinking of it, she kept it to herself and just kept on walking. Vader was rather

Fine. Be that way…

Shortly after they arrived at the palace, they were shown into a meeting with the queen and
some of the governors. They hadn‘t even been given time to change so they were still wearing
their refugee costumes. The queen, Jamilla, sat behind her desk, flanked by hooded
Handmaidens. Amidala was seated at her right and Vader stood at attention behind her. Artoo
and Orbie had been dismissed elsewhere for the time being as they had no purpose or place

While Vader stood there like a statue, he let his eyes roam over the politicians present. The
Governors looked like ordinary enough politicians, but Queen Jamilla…she looked like a clown.
Her face was painted white with a little red dot on each cheek and some really weird-looking
lipstick. Her dress was all puffy and flashy and made the Senator‘s attire look tame. And her
hair was wrapped around some crazy hair ornament that made it look like a crown.

―If the Senate votes to create an army,‖ Amidala commented, ―I‘m sure it‘s going to push us
into a civil war.‖

―It‘s unthinkable,‖ an elderly male Governor huffed. ―There hasn‘t been a full-scale war since
the formation of the Republic.‖

―Do you see any way through negotiations to bring the Separatists back into the Republic?‖
The Queen asked with a curious accent.

―Not if they feel threatened.‖ Amidala replied. ―My guess is that they‘ll turn to the Trade
Federations or the Commerce Guilds for help.‖

―It‘s outrageous,‖ the old Governor complained, ―but after four trials in the Supreme Court,
Nute Gunray is still the viceroy of the Trade Federation. I fear the Senate is powerless to
resolve this crisis.‖

Vader caught the queen and the Senator share a look before the strangely made-up monarch
delivered her opinion. ―We must keep our faith in the Republic.‖ Queen Jamilla stood up from
her chair and all those present took that as a cue to stand as well. The elected monarch then
walked over to Amidala‘s side. ―The day we stop believing democracy can work is the day that
we lose it.‖

―Let‘s pray that day never comes.‖ Amidala murmured as they all started to walk out of the
meeting room.

―In the meantime, we must consider your own safety.‖ Queen Jamilla declared.

―What is your suggestion, Master Jedi?‖ the old Governor inquired respectfully.

Master Jedi? Vader blinked. That sounds so weird…especially when it‘s directed at me. What
do I suggest? Well, um—

―Oh he‘s not a Jedi yet,‖ Amidala interjected. ―He‘s still a Padawan Learner, but I was

―Hold on a minute,‖ Vader frowned. Excuse me?

―Excuse me.‖ Amidala brushed him aside and continued on. ―I was thinking I would stay in the
Lake Country. There are some places up there that are very isolated.‖

―Excuse me,‖ Vader butted in. ―I‘m in charge of security here, Milady.‖ Not that I want to
be…but…respect me, damn it!
―And this is my home,‖ Amidala calmly replied. ―I know it very well. That is why we‘re here.‖
She gave him a hard look. ―I think it would be wise if you took advantage of my knowledge in
this instance.‖

Vader dearly wanted to argue with her, drag her down a notch or two, but he could feel Queen
Jamilla and the other Nabooan politicians staring at him worriedly. And as much as he
despised admitting it, Amidala did have a point. ―Sorry, Milady,‖ he apologized with a polite

―Perfect, it‘s settled then.‖ Queen Jamilla smiled and led them on through the palace.

You may have won this round, Amidala, but I shall win the war. Vader clenched his jaw as he
marched along just behind the Senator, playing the role of the obedient bodyguard. I‘ll be all
nice and polite and obedient for our stay in Theed, but when we get to this Lake Country you
watch yourself. I‘ll drive you up the wall and they‘ll be no escape.

Vengeance will be mine, just you wait!

After the Senator made the arrangements concerning their ultimate destination, she decided
she wanted to go home and visit her family before she dropped all the way into hiding. Not in
the mood to argue with her and potentially embarrass himself again, he made no protest. So
after changing, sending ahead the Senator‘s luggage, and gathering up Artoo and Orbie, it
was off to visit Amidala‘s blood kin in Theed.

The walk was slightly longer than the one from the spaceport to the palace. They edged
around a commercial district and stayed mostly in the residential areas of the planetary capital.
Eventually the streets narrowed until they reached a particular street that got Amidala a little
more animated.

She led him under an archway and down into a small alleyway where there was a small, non-
descript door. ―We‘re here,‖ she announced cheerfully. ―This is my house.‖

Before Vader could think over Amidala‘s shift in mood, from cold and controlled to more open
and almost childishly happy, a pair of young girls scampered out of the door. The first girl was
older than the other with dark straight hair. And the other girl, the younger one, had slightly
lighter hair that was very curly.

These must be her sister‘s kids, Vader observed as he remembered her mention of them from

―Ryoo!‖ Amidala grinned. ―Pooja!‖

She knelt down to their level and hugged both little girls. They hugged her back and then
bypassed her to run over to Artoo. The girls poked at the Astromech and giggled when it
whistled at them. And then the hovering sphere of Orbie captured their attention and they
were fascinated.

Vader grinned slightly as he watched Orbie bob, weave, whistle, and thoroughly amuse the
little girls. Orbie‘s such a spaz. He loves kids and kids love him. It‘s cute. Mostly.

Amidala hurried up the steps and inside the house. Since she was so comfortable leaving her
nieces outside with a pair of droids, and since he was supposed to be guarding her, Vader
followed her in. He hung his dark brown Jedi cloak on a hook just inside the door beside the
Senator‘s own cloak and strode after her.
He caught up with her just as she was entering a dining room. There were two women and a
man there, setting the table for an early dinner. The man and the older woman were clearly
the Senator‘s parents. That meant that the other woman had to be the Senator‘s sister and
mother to the two girls still playing outside.

―Padmé!‖ he sister cried upon catching sight of the Senator.

―Dar‘ti, this is my sister, Sola,‖ Amidala said, formally introducing him.

―Hello, Dar‘ti.‖ Sola grinned as he bowed politely to her.

You could‘ve introduced me as Vader. I swear, no one uses my ―first name‖…

―This is my mother.‖ Amidala continued the introductions, directing his attention to the older

―Hello, you made it just in time for dinner.‖ Amidala‘s mother smiled warmly. ―I hope you‘re
hungry, Dar‘ti.‖

―A little.‖ Vader shrugged. It would‘ve been nice if they fed us lunch at the palace.

―He‘s being polite, Mom,‖ Amidala snorted. ―We‘re starving.‖

―Well you‘ve come to the right place at the right time.‖ Amidala‘s father remarked cheerfully
as they all settled down around the table.

Amidala‘s parents sat side-by-side, and Sola sat next to them. Amidala sat across from her
sister and Vader slipped in beside her. Two seats were left open for Ryoo and Pooja when they
felt like coming in.

―Honey, it‘s so good to see you safe,‖ Amidala‘s mother sighed. ―We were so worried.‖

―Dear.‖ Amidala‘s father chided.

―I know, I know, I had to say it and now it‘s done.‖ Amidala‘s mother replied.

Plate and bowls of food were passed around the table and Vader cheerfully began to fill up his
plate. He didn‘t get to enjoy home-cooked meals very often and he was more than happy to
take advantage of this opportunity. And, as Amidala had declared, he was starving.

―Did you know, Dar‘ti, you‘re the first boyfriend my sister‘s ever brought home?‖ Sola asked

Vader snapped his head up from his plate. Boyfriend? Hell no!

―He‘s not my boyfriend.‖ Amidala corrected. ―He‘s a Jedi assigned by the Senate to protect

That‘s right, Vader nodded. The only kind of guy I could see as her boyfriend is some sort of
whipped shell of a man. Do I look like a whipped shell of a man to you?

―A bodyguard? Oh Padmé, they didn‘t tell us it was that serious!‖ Amidala‘s mother fretted.
―It‘s not, I promise. I‘m not in any danger, Mom,‖ Amidala insisted.

Amidala‘s father locked eyes with Vader. ―Is she?‖

Vader stared down at his plate. ―Yes, I‘m afraid she is.‖

Ryoo and Pooja chose the next moment to appear at the table and join the adults for dinner.
Conversation immediately shifted away from the threats against the Senator‘s life to safer,
more kid-friendly topics. But all throughout dinner, Vader could feel Amidala sending angry
looks his way.

Tough, Senator, I‘m not lying to your folks. If you want to lie to their faces go ahead. No
matter what you tell them, they‘re going to worry about you anyway. I‘m at least giving them
a realistic picture here.

Deal with it.

After dinner, Padmé joined her mother and sister in the kitchen to clean up. Padmé stood in
front of the sink and angrily scrubbed at the dishes, occasionally peering out the window over
the sink. Vader had gone and ruined her family dinner and now he was out there talking with
her father.

Why couldn‘t he have just gone along with what I said? Padmé fumed. I went through all that
trouble to nicely introduce him to my family and then he goes and tells them that I lied to
them and that I am in danger. Why did I even bother?

―Why haven‘t you told us about him?‖ Sola inquired curiously.

Padmé shot her sister an annoyed look. ―What‘s there to talk about? I only met him a few
days ago and I can‘t say that I like him very much. And besides, he‘s just a boy.‖

―A boy?‖ Sola snorted. ―Have you seen the way he looks at you?‖ she teased.

―Sola, stop it!‖ Padmé scowled. ―He doesn‘t look at me in any particular way.‖ Except maybe

―It‘s obvious he has feelings for you.‖ Sola continued with her merciless teasing. ―I bet that
one day soon he‘s going drop his disinterested act and proclaim his undying love and
adoration for you.‖

―Our relationship is strictly professional,‖ Padmé insisted. ―There is nothing remotely like that
between us. There‘s nothing at all between us.‖

Padmé shook her head and stared out the window at the backyard again. She could see her
father and Vader strolling along and casually chatting down in the communal backyard. If she
didn‘t know any better, she would guess that he was just an ordinary boyfriend trying to get
along with his girlfriend‘s father. Thankfully she did know better.

She looked away from the window to find her mother watching her speculatively. Shaking her
head, Padmé put her full focus into scrubbing plates and utensils. No matter what her sister
thought, no matter what her mother might be thinking, there was nothing going on with her
and her reluctant Jedi protector.
Sola thinks she‘s so funny, Padmé grumbled. Just because I bring a cute boy to the house, she
takes it as an invitation to tease me about my non-existent love life. It‘s times like these that I
wish that I wasn‘t the little sister…

Vader wasn‘t sure what to expect when Amidala‘s father, Ruwee, dragged him out into the
backyard of the house. The only thing that came to his mind was an unpleasant interrogation
about what sort of situation was going on with his daughter. So as Ruwee paced out the
boundaries of the grassy green yard, Vader grew nervous.

―So tell me, son, how much trouble is my daughter in?‖ Ruwee asked at last.

―It‘s serious,‖ Vader admitted, ―but now that she‘s off the capital, I don‘t foresee any more
attempts anytime soon. My Master should have everything taken care very soon. My presence
here is more of a precaution than a necessity.‖

―That‘s good to hear.‖ Ruwee nodded to himself as he slowly walked along an ivy-covered wall.
―Who is your master?‖

―Obi-Wan Kenobi,‖ Vader answered.

―Really?‖ Ruwee smiled. ―One of the heroes of Naboo?‖

Vader blinked. Huh? ―Yes,‖ he guessed.

―Very good,‖ Ruwee nodded, thoroughly pleased. ―My little girl is in most capable hands,

Vader merely nodded in response. Just smile and nod and pretend to know exactly what he‘s
talking about. Just smile and nod…

Amidala‘s father then shifted the conversation to old stories about his younger daughter,
allowing Vader to do plenty of nodding and smiling. The way her father painted her, Amidala
was nearly an angel; a dedicated public servant who was practically selfless. But, being the
woman‘s father, he was most assuredly biased in her favor.

She may be a wonderful public servant, but that doesn‘t give her the excuse to order me
around and then diss me in front of her queen…

An hour after Sola took Ryoo and Pooja home, Padmé headed up to her old room with her
unwelcome shadow following behind. Vader had come in from his talk with her dad and now
she was wishing that he‘d stayed outside. Feeling his intense blue eyes watching every move
that she made was decidedly unnerving.

Once she reached her room, she dug out another suitcase and began putting a few of her
favorite outfits that she kept at home inside. Now that she wasn‘t limited to bringing along
only what luggage a refugee would, she intended to bring a few things extra to her family
estate in the Lake Country the next morning. At her mother‘s insistence, she would spend the
night here before going away on her forced vacation and Padmé couldn‘t argue with her.

Vader hadn‘t been pleased when he‘d heard about that. Padmé didn‘t see why, though. Her
parents‘ house had a guest room so it wasn‘t like he would be stuck sleeping on a couch.
At least he didn‘t try to argue with me about it, Padmé sighed as she dug through a drawer.
That little tantrum he threw in front of Jamilla was so embarrassing.

Glancing up from her suitcase, she watched as Vader slowly walked around her room and
peered at the holos that plastered her walls. Some of them were looping clips of events in her
life, while others where still images. The images there all marked important events in her life
and displayed all her friends and family.

―So you still live at home?‖ Vader inquired neutrally as he glanced over her room.

Padmé had to force herself not to bristle as she answered him. While this was her parents‘
house, he was her guest and she would be a proper hostess. ―I move around so much, I never
had a place of my own. Official residences have no warmth. I feel good here, I feel at home.‖

―I never really had a home.‖ Vader remarked quietly. Before she could ponder on that
incredibly odd statement, he focused in on one holo in particular. ―Hm, is this you?‖

Padmé walked over to his side and studied the holo he‘d picked out. It was a looping clip, and
in it she was around eleven years old. There were two little alien children with her with gray
skin and enormous round eyes that glimmered brightly. One was sitting beside her and the
smaller one was in her lap. Over and over again she smiled and cuddled them. It was a
bittersweet memory at best.

―That was when I worked for the relief group,‖ she explained softly. ―Their sun was imploding
and their planet was dying. I was helping relocate all the children. See that little one I‘m
holding?‖ she pointed. ―His name was Nakitillo, which means ‗sweetheart.‘ He was so full of
life. They all were. They were never able to adapt, to live off their native planet. They all

Pained, she moved away to the picture next to it. This one was still image with her, slightly
older, standing next to an older man. She was dressed more formally here, and though she
looked serious, it was a much happier memory.

―My first day as an Apprentice Legislator,‖ she sighed. ―That was the start of it all.‖

Vader made no comment and so Padmé returned to packing. She went through her closet and
picked out a few gowns and then raided her jewelry box. Just as she was finishing up, she
looked up to check on her Jedi companion.

He was still staring at her holo of her first day as an Apprentice Legislator. The teen was
staring at it in deep thought, like it reminded him of something or someone. Padmé found it a
bit creepy.

I don‘t get him.

As night fell over Naboo, Vader settled into the guest room of Amidala‘s parents‘ house. The
room was small and simple and as tastefully decorated as the rest of the house. The bed was
quite comfortable and he foresaw no trouble in getting to sleep. Now he just had to get tired.

What a day, he sighed and stared up at the ceiling. Landed on Naboo and got off that awful
refugee ship… Met the Queen of Naboo… Got embarrassed in front of the Queen of Naboo…
Met Amidala‘s family… And all-in-all, learned more than I thought I would, or wanted to, about
Amidala from various sources…
Vader shifted around on the bed until he found a comfortable position. Although he wasn‘t
tired, it was probably best that he got to sleep. The sooner he fell asleep, the sooner that
morning would come, and the sooner they would leave for this Varykino place in the Lake
Country. The droids, Artoo and Orbie, had already been sent on ahead. A security man had
picked them up just after dinner to ship them with Amidala‘s luggage from Coruscant.

Amidala isn‘t so horribly terrible…I guess, Vader decided very reluctantly. Her family loves her
and she loves her family. She loves her people and they love her. And she‘s done plenty of
good things in her life…

Damn it, if only she wasn‘t so bossy and bitchy! Her pushy treatment of Kenobi and himself
still lingered in his mind. And her casual dismissal of him as some kind of worthless novice in
front of her queen grated on his nerves and stung his pride. Force, she probably brushed me
off like that because I told her this was my first solo assignment. I shouldn‘t have told her that!

Sighing, he shifted his glare from the ceiling to the floor. I know I haven‘t been much fun to
deal with—really, when have I ever been fun to deal with?—but that doesn‘t give her an
excuse. She‘s supposed to be the kind, tolerant person who can get along with anyone, and
yet she can‘t deal with me. Ugh…

And then there‘s that picture… The holo of her as a young girl getting her first taste of politics
rose up in his mind‘s eye. She looks so much like Handmaiden Padmé in that picture it‘s scary.
It‘s almost like they‘re cousins, or even long-lost twin sisters. Freaky.

That eerie picture, along with all the other weird coincidences, like Artoo, Jar Jar, and
Amidala‘s first name, made him unnerved all over again. Just looking at that holo and thinking
over things gave him a funny feeling, like he was missing something important. And Kenobi‘s
insistence that there were no such things as coincidences didn‘t help his state of mind much

Whether it‘s coincidence or the will of the Force, this is seriously bugging me. Vader sulked as
he closed his eyes. But enough with that, it‘s time to go to sleep…

  Submit Review                                21. 20: Naboo and the Naberries

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                        font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                    22. 21: Kamino and Varykino

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. -
Reviews: 459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                        Chapter 21
                                     Kamino and Varykino

After a long journey, Obi-Wan finally pulled back the hyperspace lever and reverted back to
normal space. Looming ahead of him was the cloudy orb of a planet. Flipping a switch, the
clamps that held his wedge-shaped Delta-7 to the booster ring released and Obi-Wan drove it
through the ring and towards the alien world.

―There it is Arfour, right where it should be,‖ Obi-Wan muttered, more to himself than to the
Astromech wired into his fighter. ―Our missing planet, Kamino.‖
Arfour whistled something in response as the Delta-7 dipped down into Kamino‘s stormy
atmosphere. The fighter vibrated as turbulent winds buffeted the craft and flashes of lightning
eerily illuminated the cockpit. Things didn‘t get much better when the ship slipped under the

There was nothing but roiling ocean stretching out as far as the eye could see. The only thing
that broke up the gloomy seascape of Kamino was a city on stilts. It was pure white and
nothing but smooth curves and domes.

Locking onto a signal beacon coming from the city, Obi-Wan followed it to an open landing pad.
Setting the fighter down was tricky as it was pouring rain and very windy. But he managed it
well enough, opened the cockpit, pulled up his hood, and jogged to the door that led inside.

Stepping through the door, Obi-Wan found the interior of the city to be just as white as the
outside. Everything looked clean and plain and the hallway was brightly lit and quiet; it was
completely opposite of the stormy world outside. Obi-Wan lowered his hood and ran a hand
through his soaking wet hair.

Why did I even bother pulling my hood up? he wondered. My hair can‘t get much wetter…

He glanced up to see an alien approaching him. It was just as colorless as the rest of the city;
tall and willowy thin with a very long neck. It didn‘t so much as walk over to him, it glided
smoothly and slowly.

―Master Jedi,‖ it greeted in a soft, feminine voice. ―The Prime Minister is expecting you.‖

―I‘m expected?‖ Obi-Wan blinked, startled.

―Of course,‖ she murmured. ―He is anxious to meet you. After all these years we were
beginning to think that you weren‘t coming.‖ She gestured politely down the hall. ―Now please,
this way.‖

Thoroughly confused, but hiding it as best he could, Obi-Wan followed his unusual guide
through the monochromatic halls to meet with the Prime Minster. As he walked, he couldn‘t
help but think that the Kaminoans were too fragile a race to evolved on such a stormy planet.
He could only guess that the weather hadn‘t always been this bad, and when the weather had
soured, they‘d built cities like this one.

His Kaminoan guide led him into an office that was just as white and brightly lit as the rest of
the city. Another Kaminoan, this one with a crest on its head and an air of maleness about it,
was already there, sitting in a curvy, almost spoon-like hover chair. The other Kaminoan, the
Prime Minister, rose to greet them.

―May I present Lama Su, Prime Minister of Kamino.‖ Obi-Wan‘s guide said politely and Obi-
Wan bowed respectfully to the leader. ―And this is Master Jedi…‖

―Obi-Wan Kenobi,‖ he supplied.

―I trust you‘re going to enjoy your stay.‖ Lama Su greeted in a deeper voice, confirming his
gender to the Jedi. ―Please.‖ The Prime Minister waved and a second chair floated down from
above. Obi-Wan graciously accepted the seat. ―And now to business,‖ Lama Su sighed and sat
back down in his chair. ―You will be delighted to hear that we are on schedule. Two hundred
thousand units are ready with a million more well on the way.‖
―That‘s good news,‖ Obi-Wan improvised, his mind racing. Two hundred thousand units? Of

―Please tell your Master Sifo-Dyas that his order will be met on time,‖ Lama Su requested

Obi-Wan frowned a little. ―I‘m sorry, Master…?‖

―Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas is still a leading member of the Jedi Council, is he not?‖ Lama Su asked
with some concern.

―Master Sifo-Dyas was killed almost ten years ago,‖ Obi-Wan replied.

―Oh, I‘m so sorry to hear that,‖ Lama Su responded with as much regret as a politician like
him could muster. ―But I‘m sure that he would have been proud of the army that we‘ve built
for him.‖

―The army?‖ Obi-Wan repeated dumbly. What?

―Yes,‖ Lama Su nodded. ―A clone army, and I must say, one of the finest we‘ve ever created,‖
he added with pride.

―Tell me, Prime Minister, when my Master first contacted you about the army did-did he say
who it was for?‖ Obi-Wan stuttered slightly, his mind reeling.

―Of course he did. This army is for the Republic,‖ Lama Su informed him. ―But you must be
anxious to inspect the units for yourself.‖

―That‘s why I‘m here.‖ Obi-Wan nodded with as much cheer and enthusiasm as he could

The Prime Minister rose from his seat and he and his female aide led Obi-Wan from the office
to tour the facility and view the clones. As they walked, Lama Su began to explain some
technical information about the cloning process. Obi-Wan did his best to listen, but he was
mired in confusion and profoundly disturbed.

What the bloody hell is going on here?

Sometime around mid-morning, Vader and Amidala finally arrived at Varykino. The day had
begun much earlier, with the Senator dragging him out of bed and onto a series of transports
to get them to the Lake Country. When she had described the region as remote and isolated,
she hadn‘t been kidding.

The last stop they made before reaching the Varykino estate was a tiny town at the edge of a
long, curving lake. There they met a pudgy old man that Amidala called Paddy, who loaded
them into a simple water speeder styled after a gondola. And then it was just a short boat ride
to the island where the building was located.

While Theed had an air of flowers and life about it, Varykino was something straight out of a
fairy tale. It was a medium-sized stone building tucked away at the far corner of a small,
forested island. Part of it came right out to the edge of the lake, giving it a fantastic view of
the water.
Old Paddy brought the gondola up to the dock and hefted the Senator‘s extra piece of luggage
inside. Vader hopped out of the boat after the old man, glad to be on solid ground. While he
was now a decent swimmer, he had absolutely no enjoyment for the activity and avoided it as
much as possible. Forcing himself not to rush down the dock to dry land, he lingered long
enough to help the Senator climb out of the gondola.

A servant girl hurried down to greet them and she and the Senator exchanged a few words
before she left again. Amidala then walked up the stairs and onto a paved patio encircled by a
stone railing that overlooked the lake. Trellises of flowering vines added patches of shade and
greenery to the area.

―We used to come here for school retreat,‖ Amidala informed him politely. ―We would swim to
that island every day. I love the water. We used the lie out on the sand and let the sun dry us
and try to guess the names of the birds singing.‖

She came up to the railing and rested her elbows on it as she stared wistfully out over the
water at the neighboring island that she‘d just mentioned. Vader came up beside her and
leaned on the railing to watch her. Now that they weren‘t hurrying to get here, he had time to
think…which was not something he really wanted to do at the moment.

The night before, he‘d been visited by a new nightmare. Instead of the disturbing dreams of
his mother‘s suffering that he‘d previously been stricken with, this one seemed to be a mixture
of memory and something else. There‘d been glimpses of Tatooine—specifically his little
adventure with the Jedi Master, Jar Jar, Artoo, and Padmé the Handmaiden—and bits and
pieces of…something else. Whatever it had been, it had been bad enough to wake him up in
the middle of the night and drench him with sweat. But now as he tried to remember the
details of it, it eluded him completely. Only a lingering sense of unease was left.

Trying to push the worries about the forgotten nightmare, he gazed at Amidala as she
continued staring out over the lake, lost in her own thoughts. Her hair was done up in a
complicated, compact twist, and she wore an airy dress. It was light, pastel, and it showed an
unnecessary amount of skin along her shoulders and back. She looked rather like he imagined
some of the fairy princesses would look from his mother‘s folk tales.

Bothered by the lengthening silence, and trying to distract himself from Amidala‘s beauty, he
tried to get some conversation going from some of what she‘d said before. ―I don‘t like sand,‖
he mumbled and nervously traced a finger over the rough railing. ―It‘s coarse and rough and
irritating and it gets everywhere.‖ …Oh Force, that was so incredibly lame, he cringed. What
the hell is wrong with me?

Risking a peek in her direction, he found her staring at him blankly. ―I don‘t understand you,‖
she said bluntly.

Vader frowned a little and tilted his head questioningly. ―Oh?‖ What‘s not to get?

―You are unlike any Jedi I have ever met,‖ she declared. ―You‘re rude, disrespectful, difficult,
cold, and even when you attempt to be polite to me, it‘s blatantly obvious that you dislike me.
I‘ve been trying to figure out just what Master Kenobi saw in you to take you on as his
Padawan, and I honestly can‘t find anything.‖

An icy spike lodged in his stomach and he glared down at her. ―I see,‖ he growled. I ought to
set you up with Bruck Chun. You are just made for that prick.

She glared right back up at him. ―Tell me, what is it about me that you dislike so much?‖
Honestly? ―Well, firstly there was that disastrous first impression you made on me, ordering
my Master around and then manipulating us into exceeding our mandate. There was that
whole mess with the cameras and your precious privacy. Oh, and let‘s not forget that little
thing with Queen Jamilla and your sister accusing me of being your boyfriend.‖ He crossed his
arms over his chest and peered at her face. ―Does that clarify things for you?‖

Fury flashed in her eyes before she closed them and visibly forced herself to relax. ―All right,‖
she sighed. ―We started out on the wrong foot. How about we agree to a truce and start

Vader‘s first reaction was: Hell no! But he held his tongue and forced himself to consider her
offer. I‘m going to be stuck here, on this island, in her lake house, for an unknown length of
time. I can either try to make nice with her, or I can wreak terrible vengeance upon her.
Hm…well since she‘s the one submitting herself and offering…

―Fine,‖ he nodded. ―Truce.‖ Back to Mr. Polite, and this time I really have to try.

―Thank you,‖ she smiled, though it was forced.

Suddenly aware that he was in her face, he leaned back and took a step away. ―So, Milady,
does Varykino come with a tour?‖

Amidala failed to see the humor in his attempt to lighten the mood. ―If you‘ll follow me, I‘ll
show you around,‖ she invited formally and swept away.

Vader swallowed a sigh and followed her inside. Maybe I should‘ve gone with the vengeance
option instead…

After many featureless, white hallways, the Prime Minister and his aide, Taun We, led Obi-Wan
into a tubular walkway. The clear plastic allowed him to see out at the cloning facilities all
around. And the first part of the facility he saw was endless rows of jars filled with Human

Just looking at it all made him want to shiver. It was all so unnatural and eerie; like something
out of a nightmare. But he kept on with the act. From what he could tell, the Kaminoans
genuinely believed that Master Sifo-Dyas had placed this order for the Republic. Whatever foul
play was involved in this, it didn‘t spring from them. There was someone else pulling the

―Very impressive,‖ Obi-Wan remarked as he followed the Kaminoans.

―I‘d hoped you would be pleased,‖ Lama Su smiled. ―Clones can think creatively. You will find
that they are immensely superior to droids. We take great pride in our combat education and
training programs. This group was created about five years ago.‖

The little tour briefly paused and Obi-Wan peered down into a circular room with no roof.
Inside it were rows of identical Human boys dressed in blue with coppery skin and dark, curly
hair. They sat at desks and wore strange headsets that probably helped accelerate their
learning. And these children certainly didn‘t look like they were five years old.

―You mentioned growth acceleration,‖ Obi-Wan recalled.

―Oh yes, it‘s essential,‖ Lama Su replied. ―Otherwise a mature clone would take a lifetime to
grow. Now we can do it in half the time.‖
―I see,‖ Obi-Wan nodded. Of course…

Lama Su restarted the tour and led Obi-Wan on to other roof-less rooms filled with clones at
various stages of maturity. Not far from the room filled with learning children, there was a
cafeteria filled with much older clones. They looked like adults and were all dressed in red as
they sat at their tables and orderly ate their meals.

―They are totally obedient, taking any order without question,‖ Lama Su explained. ―We
modified their genetic structure to make them less independent than their original host.‖

―And who was the original host?‖ Obi-Wan inquired.

―A bounty hunter named Jango Fett,‖ Lama Su answered.

Obi-Wan‘s interest sharpened. ―And where is this bounty hunter now?‖

―Oh, we keep him here,‖ Lama Su responded. ―Apart from his pay, which is considerable, Fett
demanded only one thing: An unaltered clone for himself. Curious, isn‘t it?‖

Obi-Wan blinked. ―‗Unaltered‘?‖

―Pure genetic replication,‖ Lama Su elaborated. ―No tempering with the structure to make it
more docile and no growth acceleration.‖

Glancing out of the walkway at the floor far below, Obi-Wan could see adult clones being
suited up in white armor. ―I should very much like to meet this Jango Fett,‖ he decided. I have
some questions for him…

―I would be very happy to arrange it for you,‖ Taun We offered helpfully.

The walkway abruptly dead-ended in an open balcony. Coming up to the railing beside the
Prime Minister, Obi-Wan peered down to see scores of fully armored clones doing marching
drills. They marched in perfect unison, forming white square rafts of artificial Human copies.

―Magnificent, aren‘t they?‖ Lama Su asked, clearly proud of the work his people had done.

Obi-Wan said nothing in reply. He simply stared at the marching clones as something hard and
cold settled in the pit of his stomach. Never in his wildest nightmares had he ever imagined
that he would see something like this.

How did we miss this?

Around lunchtime, Amidala decided she wanted to have a picnic, and Vader accommodated
her. They left the island for the countryside around the lake; specifically a field on the opposite
of the lake from the nearby town. Off in the distance was a cluster of low waterfalls that added
a rushing sound to the background of distant birdsong. The field, dotted with wildflowers, also
hosted a herd of some kind of wooly animals.

Amidala had inexplicably decided to change outfits. Instead of the pastel dress, she now wore
a golden gown. Her hair was half down, half up in some buns encased in golden wire. While
this dress didn‘t show as much skin as the previous one, he decided he liked it better; mostly
because her hair was down. He thought she looked better with her hair loose.
They‘d eaten the meal packed for them without saying anything beyond the occasional request
for a napkin. While Vader appreciated her attempts at politeness, he was annoyed and bored.
He was annoyed with her because, despite her claim that they would start over, she remained
stiff and uptight around him.

You need to relax, Vader decided as he made himself comfortable on the picnic blanket. ―Who
was the first boy that you ever kissed?‖

―What?‖ Amidala choked and whirled around to stare at him.

―Who was the first boy that you ever kissed?‖ Vader repeated patiently.

―Why should I tell you that?‖ She scowled.

―Why not?‖ he shrugged. ―It‘s not like I‘m going to run off and tell everything you tell me to all
the trashy gossip columns back on Coruscant.‖ Seriously, this is just innocent, casual

She bit her lip, stared down at her lap, and picked at some grass stalks. ―I don‘t know.‖

―Sure you do,‖ he snorted. ―You just don‘t want to tell me.‖

―Are you going to use one of your Jedi Mind Tricks on me?‖ she asked warily.

―They only work on the weak-minded,‖ he informed her. How unfortunate.

―All right,‖ she sighed, ―I was twelve. His name was Palo. We were both in the Legislative
Youth Program. He was a few years older than I. Very cute. Dark curly hair. Dreamy eyes.‖

―All right, I get the picture,‖ he muttered and suppressed a shudder. I only asked for a name,
you didn‘t need to give any details… Okay, keep the conversation going. ―Whatever happened
to him?‖

―I went on to public service; he went on to become an artist,‖ she replied with a shrug.

Vader smirked. ―Maybe he was the smart one.‖

Amidala eyed him curiously. ―You really don‘t like politicians, do you?‖

―I like two or three,‖ he fibbed, ―but I‘m not really sure about one of them.‖ He grinned at her,
but she didn‘t get the joke. Damn you woman! Would it kill you to at least smile? ―I don‘t think
the system works,‖ he improvised when she didn‘t say anything.

―How would you have it work?‖ she asked.

Grr, why‘d you have to ask that? Now I‘ve got to think up an answer… ―We need a system
where the politicians sit down and discuss the problem, agree what‘s in the best interests of
the all the people, and then do it.‖ Vader smiled to himself, satisfied with his thrown-together

―That‘s exactly what we do,‖ Amidala responded. ―The trouble is that people don‘t always
Um… ―Well, then they should be made to,‖ he decided. What do you say to that?

―By whom?‖ she frowned. ―Who‘s going to make them?‖

―I don‘t know,‖ he shrugged. ―Someone.‖ He briefly considered suggesting her for the job, but
decided not to push it quite that far.

―You?‖ she guessed.

―Of course not me,‖ he snorted. Ugh, no way in hell.

―But someone,‖ she pressed.

―Someone wise,‖ he added. I‘d hate to see an idiot in charge of the galaxy.

Amidala gave him a stern look. ―Sounds an awful lot like a dictatorship to me.‖

―Well, if it works,‖ he shrugged.

He schooled his face into a serious expression and watched her closely. Her reaction was a
look of deep worry that contained hints of horror. Even though it was a bit mean, he couldn‘t
help but grin at her.

―You‘re making fun of me,‖ she accused and shot him a dark look.

―No,‖ he chuckled and desperately tried to stop grinning. ―I‘d be much too frightened to tease
a Senator.‖ She took me seriously! I shouldn‘t mess with her, but she really thought I meant

Amidala scowled at him and looked away. Vader managed to calm himself down and studied
the fuming Senator. She was truly angry at him, he sensed, and saw no humor in any of his

―Oh come on, I was joking!‖ Vader huffed. ―Would it kill you to at least smile?‖

―That wasn‘t the least bit funny,‖ she replied, her eyes locked on the horizon.

Well this is going well… Vader flopped back onto the blanket and stared up at the blue sky.
How to fix this…

―What is that animal called?‖ he asked and pointed at one of the creatures grazing on a
nearby hill.

―That‘s a Shaak,‖ she answered after a moment.

―What are Shaaks kept for?‖ he inquired as he studied the animal. That thing looks ridiculous,
he decided. It was short, squat, clumsy, and it had an enormous butt. How the hell did that
thing evolve?

―For their meat and wool,‖ she replied.

An incredibly dumb idea popped into his head. ―Do people ride them?‖
―No,‖ she snorted.

―I see,‖ he murmured and got up.

Without another word he worked his way up and over the nearby hill so that he could see the
whole herd. The Senator made no move to follow him. He didn‘t care; it was safe out here,
nothing was going to happen to her in the few minutes that he was going to be gone. Pausing
to study the group, he selected a target and cautiously approached it.

It had been a while since he‘d done anything stupid just for fun. The whole episode of free-
falling after the assassin‘s speeder on Coruscant didn‘t count as it was for work and there was
a good chance for serious injury and death involved. What he had planned was quite safe and
tame in comparison, though still in the category of ―stupid‖.

His target Shaak noticed him and its beady eyes followed his movements warily. Vader
extended a hand towards it and sent it soothing vibes to calm it. The animal blinked and then
went back to eating grass with a moan.

That‘s right. Ignore me. I‘m not gonna hurt ya. I just want to have a little fun, since Senator
Amidala‘s being a stick-in-the-mud. Just eat your greens and relax…

After carefully edging up to the beast, he scrambled up onto its back. His intention was to ride
it around, maybe show off for the Senator, but the Shaak took great offense to feeling his
boots on its spine. It immediately started to buck and bray before he could sit down and it was
all he could do to keep from being thrown.

―Whoa, whoa!‖ he cried as the Shaak really got into its bucking. He would‘ve tried to calm it
with the Force, but his focus was completely taken up in keeping his balance. And then it was
all over. ―Oh, whoa!‖

The Shaak gave one good flail and he went flying out in front of it. Before he could roll out of
the way, the bucking Shaak trampled right over him as it stormed away. It was a surprisingly
weighty animal, and its broad hooves crashed into his back and drove the wind out of him.
Vader tried to get up, but fell back to the grass as he tried to get his breath back.

Note to self: Next time I try to tame and ride an animal, sit down faster. Wheezing, he started
to laugh at the absurdity of it all. Some Jedi I am! Taken out by a dumb grazer with a giant

―Are you all right?‖ he heard the Senator ask as she materialized at his side.

She rolled him over to check his condition, but he only laughed harder. The instant she caught
him laughing, she got mad for being worried at him and started smacking him. Chuckling, he
caught her hands to keep her from hitting him and tried to roll over and get her pinned under
him. She squirmed, though, and they ended rolling a short way down the hill before stopping
with her still on top and with him still stuck underneath her.

Seeing no way out of her grip, he folded. ―All right, I give up,‖ he snickered. ―You win.‖

―I win?‖ she frowned in puzzlement.

―You have me pinned.‖ He shrugged as much as he was able. ―I surrender.‖

―You are impossible,‖ she sighed disgustedly.
Vader grinned. ―I know.‖

Amidala glared down at him, but he only smiled back. He considered making a joke about
their current physical position; however he refrained as he had no desire for her to start
hitting again. Instead he just lay there and enjoyed the moment. Really, how often would he
have a beautiful woman sitting on his stomach like this?

She really is pretty… It‘s a pity that we don‘t get along.

Once his inspection of the clone troops was complete, Obi-Wan took Taun We up on her offer
to arrangement a meeting with the bounty hunter, Jango Fett. She led him into a residential
area of the Kaminoan city and pressed the door buzzer at one particular apartment. A few
minutes later, the door opened to reveal a ten-year-old Human boy.

Obi-Wan carefully hid his surprise as he found the child visibly identical to the hundreds of
others he‘d viewed in the tour of the cloning facilities. However, unlike those boys, this child,
according to Lama Su, was a pure copy of Jango Fett. This boy was part of the price the
bounty hunter had demanded for his services as the template for the clone army.

―Boba, is your father here?‖ Taun We inquired.

Father? Obi-Wan mused. So that‘s why he wanted an unaltered clone. He wanted a son.

―Yep,‖ Boba nodded and then just stood there and watched them.

―May we see him?‖ Taun We asked patiently.

―Sure,‖ Boba agreed after a moment and shot Obi-Wan a suspicious look before walking back
inside the apartment. ―Dad, Taun We‘s here,‖ the boy called.

Obi-Wan followed a few paces behind the boy and Taun We glided alongside him. The
apartment fit in with the stark white decorating style of the rest of the city. When Obi-Wan
reached the common room area where an ominous view of the stormy outside was visible
through a large window, Jango Fett himself appeared. He was nearly identical from the mature
clones, set apart only by a few minor scars on his face.

―Jango, welcome back,‖ Taun We greeted. ―Was your trip productive?‖

Obi-Wan bowed to the man and awaited his answer with carefully restrained interest.

―Fairly,‖ Jango replied tersely.

―This is Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi,‖ Taun We added, gesturing to Obi-Wan. ―He‘s come to
check on our progress.‖

―Your clones are very impressive,‖ Obi-Wan remarked. ―You must be very proud.‖

―I‘m just a simple man trying to make my way in the universe,‖ was Jango‘s casual reply.

―Ever made your way as far into the interior as Coruscant?‖ Obi-Wan inquired politely.

―Once or twice,‖ Jango shrugged.
―Recently?‖ Obi-Wan pressed, listening hard for any lies.

―Possibly,‖ Jango answered coolly.

He‘s very good, Obi-Wan noted. He knows better than to right out lie to me. ―Then you must
know Master Sifo-Dyas.‖

Jango strolled over to Boba and gave him some instruction in an unknown language. ―Uh Boba,
rood eht so-heeck.‖ As Boba scurried off to do as he was told, he turned back to Obi-Wan and
switched back to Basic. ―Master who?‖

―Sifo-Dyas,‖ Obi-Wan repeated. ―Is he not the Jedi who hired you for this job?‖

The bounty hunter walked right up to Obi-Wan, leaving only a tiny gap between them. ―Never
heard of him.‖

―Really?‖ Obi-Wan wondered. He‘s telling the truth. And he‘s getting nervous.

―I was recruited by a man called Tyranus on one of the moons of Bogden,‖ Jango replied

―Curious,‖ Obi-Wan mused. And disturbing…

So far nothing was as it seemed in this investigation. He‘d come to Kamino to find the bounty
hunter behind the attacks on Senator Amidala and found him, along with an entire clone army
commissioned by a deceased Jedi Master for the Republic. And now the bounty hunter claimed
to have never met the Jedi Master and was instead hired by a mystery man named Tyranus.

―Do you like your army?‖ Jango asked, breaking the silence.

―I look forward to seeing them in action,‖ Obi-Wan replied with a polite smile.

―They‘ll do their job well. I‘ll guarantee that,‖ Jango promised.

―Thank you for your time, Jango.‖ Obi-Wan bowed politely.

―Always a pleasure to meet a Jedi,‖ Jango nodded stiffly.

His interview concluded for the time being, Obi-Wan turned and left the apartment with Taun
We. As he left the residential area of the city, he headed back for the landing platform where
his ship was parked. Kamino had provided far more questions than answers, and now it was
time to make a report to the Council to see what his next move should be.

  Submit Review                                 22. 21: Kamino and Varykino

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                                  font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                    23. 22: Rising Nightmare and Hunter's Flight

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews: 459
- Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                        Chapter 22
                         Rising Nightmare and Bounty Hunter‘s Flight

Padmé uneasily sat in her seat in the dining area and waited for the final course of dinner –
dessert – to be served. Vader sat across the table from her, completely at ease. His cheery
smirk made her clutch her eating utensils tighter, blanching her knuckles white.

After her offer of a truce and request to start over, Vader had only become more of an enigma
to her. He had gone from being an unpleasant teenaged Jedi who was trying to be pleasant
and failing, to a rather ordinary teenage goof-off. He‘d teased her, made horrid jokes, and
even tried to ride a Shaak; things she‘d never pictured the sullen young man doing.
And now he was cheerfully recounting some previous mission he‘d been involved in. ―And
when I got to them, we went into aggressive negotiations.‖ One of the servant girls finally
delivered dessert, a bowl of fruit. ―Thank you,‖ he murmured to her as she left.

―‗Aggressive negotiations‘?‖ Padmé frowned worriedly. ―What‘s that?‖ It doesn‘t sound very
Jedi-like to me…

―Ah, well, negotiations with a lightsaber,‖ Vader grinned.

―Oh,‖ she muttered and placed a green Shuura fruit on her plate.

She raised her fork and knife to cut the fruit, but when she tried the pear-shaped thing
twitched away. Before she could figure out what was going on, the Shuura floated into the air,
zipped over the table, and came to rest on Vader‘s plate. Using his own fork and knife, he cut
off a slice of the fruit.

―If Master Obi-Wan caught me doing this, he‘d be very grumpy,‖ Vader grinned and winked at

With a twitch of his fingers, he levitated the slice back over to hover in front of her face.
Padmé warily raised her fork up and contemplated stabbing the slice out of the air. The
problem was solved for her as Vader manipulated the slice to gently impale itself on her
upraised fork.

Padmé studied the fruit slice on her fork before shooting Vader an inquiring look. ―Showing off,
are you?‖

―Guilty as charged,‖ Vader chuckled.

―Cute,‖ Padmé snorted. ―Give me back my Shuura and get your own.‖

Vader pouted at her. ―Always ruining my fun,‖ he grumbled and floated the fruit back across
the table and settled it back on her plate.

―Thank you,‖ she replied and slowly began to eat her sweet dessert fruit.

―You‘re welcome,‖ Vader grumbled and chose a different fruit from the bowl.

Padmé resisted the urge to roll her eyes at him and instead focused on her Shuura. She let
the sweet, tart taste of the soft fruit fill her mouth, and she tried to let it fill her mind. But her
thoughts continued to linger on her frustrating companion.

The rude young Jedi… The cocky teenage boy… Which one is closer to the truth? Or…is he
something else completely?

Vader lounged on the couch in a cozy room of the Varykino estate with the Senator. It was
night now and the room was lit only by a roaring fire in the fireplace near the couch. The fire
not only lit the room and kept it warm, but it cast some interesting shadows.

Amidala had changed out of the golden gown she‘d worn around lunchtime and now wore a
very nice black dress. It was tight-fitting with no sleeves or straps, so it showed a good deal of
skin. Her arms were covered in black leather from just over her wrists to just past her elbows.
And she wore a silver headband thing around her forehead as her hair hung down her back in
an elaborate braid. In short, she looked rather sexy.

The Senator stared into the fire, studiously ignoring him. While annoyed at being so blatantly
ignored, Vader let it slide. If she wanted to pretend he wasn‘t there, he‘d just enjoy himself
and admire her choice of outfit. And now that he wasn‘t constantly being pissed at her, he also
found her presence in the Force to be something calm and mildly attractive; an added bonus
to her physical looks.

I wonder why she feels the need to change clothes for every meal. Not that I‘m complaining,
the dresses are all very nice—but it seems so silly. Rather wastefully, actually, he thought as
he recalled the few, dirty and threadbare dresses that his mother had owned.

But as he watched her, a familiar niggling sensation rose up in the back of his mind. It was
like there were little bugs skittering around in his brain. There was something important that
he was missing. At least it felt that way to him. What it was, though, he had no idea.

I probably should meditate on this, he admitted to himself. That‘s what Kenobi would advise
me to do. But I‘m supposed to be guarding Amidala; she‘s my priority, not this weird feeling.
Once Kenobi gets things ironed out with this mystery bounty hunter I can worry about it.

To distract himself from the weird prickling sensation that plagued him and stave off
impending boredom, he again tried to spark some conversation. ―Okay, I‘ve told you about
plenty of crazy things that I‘ve done, what about you?‖

―Excuse me?‖ Amidala inquired warily as she shifted her gaze from the fire to him.

―Tell me a story about yourself,‖ Vader shrugged. ―What is the craziest thing you‘ve ever done?
Well, besides put yourself up as bait for marauding Kouhuns.‖

Amidala studied him for a moment before answering. ―When I was fourteen I retook my planet
from occupying forces with the only support from the Republic being a pair of Jedi.‖

Oh yeah… Very impressive. But Kenobi already mentioned that. ―I heard about that. I meant
something I don‘t know anything about.‖ He shifted on the couch to better face her. ―Not that
that isn‘t impressive, but is there anything else?‖

―Well, during the Blockade, one of my Handmaidens and I pulled off a deception that even
fooled the Jedi assigned to help us.‖ She studied her manicured nails. ―Did Master Kenobi
mention that part to you?‖

―No,‖ Vader blinked. He leaned in, genuinely interested. ―Do tell.‖

―It was a security measure dreamt up by Captain Panaka, my head of security at the time,‖
she explained. ―When the Trade Federation invaded Naboo, I switched places with one of my
Handmaidens; one who was chosen for her position partly because of her strong physical
resemblance to me. And while my Handmaiden pretended to be me, Queen Amidala, I
pretended to be an ordinary Handmaiden named Padmé.‖ Amidala looked rather smug. ―The
Jedi believed that my Handmaiden was the real queen, and that I was just a Handmaiden.
Neither Master Jinn nor Padawan Kenobi knew the truth until I revealed the ruse to help
persuade the Gungans to our cause to liberate Naboo.‖

―Most impressive,‖ he remarked, ―and very clever.‖ I am so going to tease Kenobi about this
the next time I see him!
―Thank you,‖ she smiled. ―Now if you‘ll excuse me, I shall retire for the night.‖

―Good evening, Milady,‖ he murmured as she left the room. Dang, I wanted to talk with her a
little more…

Sighing to himself, he too left the room to check on a few things before he turned in for the
night. After putting out the fire, he stopped by the little communications room where Artoo
was stationed to monitor the comm center. Finding no messages from Kenobi, the Council, or
anyone else, he moved on to check in with Orbie. He‘d set the hovercam droid to patrolling
around the house to see if it could catch any intruders trying to slip in after dark. Vader
doubted that the precaution was necessary, but it gave the poor droid something to do so that
it wouldn‘t get bored. Satisfied with Orbie‘s performance, he retreated to the room set up for

Vader shed his Jedi robes and slipped into a pair of loose brown sleep pants. After a few quick
stretches, he turned out the room lights with a gesture and hopped into bed. With a sigh, he
settled into the large and ridiculously comfortable bed and waited for sleep to claim him.

Heh, image that…Kenobi and some Master Jinn fooled by a teenage girl. No wonder Kenobi
didn‘t mention that part before… I am going to have so much fun with this!

…Hmm…Padawan Kenobi and Master Jinn. …Master Jinn? Like…Qui-Gon Jinn?

The prickling spiders returned full force and ran rampant through his skull.

Amidala switched places with a Handmaiden… Became a Handmaiden… The Jedi didn‘t know
until the very end… Pretended to be an ordinary Handmaiden named Padmé, she said…

He frowned and furrowed his brow in concentration.

Wait a minute… Master Jinn… Handmaiden Padmé… Jar Jar Binks… R2-D2… Wait a min—

Vader felt all the blood drain from his face.

―Oh shit!‖

Obi-Wan forced himself not to hurry as he spied the door that led to his Delta-7. Not only was
it undignified for a Jedi to run to his ship when there was no immediate danger, but he was
also still walking with Taun We and he had the Order‘s image to uphold to the alien. So he
restrained himself and did not exceed the smooth, gliding pace that she set.

―Tell your Council that the first battalions are ready. And remind them,‖ Taun We added, ―if
they need more troops, it will take more time to grow them.‖

―I won‘t forget, and thank you.‖ Obi-Wan smiled politely and bowed before heading to the

―Thank you,‖ Taun We replied to his retreating back.

Obi-Wan pulled up his hood and strode out the door into the pouring rain. The entire time that
he‘d been here, it had stormed continually, and he was beginning to think that the bad
weather was never-ending. Halfway to his waiting Delta-7, he paused for a moment and
looked back. Seeing through the clear door panes that Taun We had left, he picked up the
pace a little and approached the Astrodroid that was permanently wired into his fighter.

―Arfour!‖ He yelled over the wind and rain.

The droid‘s lights lit up and the thing whistled a greeting to him.

―Scramble code five to Coruscant, care of the old folks‘ home!‖ Obi-Wan commanded and drew
his cloak tighter against his frame to ward off the cold rain.

Arfour immediately obeyed. With a string of binary chatter, the Astromech opened a panel in
the side of the Delta-7 and extended a miniature communications dish. The dish scanned the
stormy sky in search for the nearest Hypercom node to make the connection to Coruscant and
Obi-Wan could only wait…

Mace Windu sat cross-legged on one of the circular chairs in Master Yoda‘s meditation
chamber. He had been in conference with the aged Grandmaster before they were interrupted
by the message that there was a call for them. A holo-projector, a small circular pad mounted
on a long thin stick, rose up from the center of the chamber and a tiny blue hologram of Obi-
Wan Kenobi appeared.

―I have successfully made contact with the Prime Minister of Kamino,‖ Obi-Wan announced,
apparently yelling over some terrible local weather. ―They are using a bounty hunter named
Jango Fett to create a clone army. I have a strong feeling that this bounty hunter is the
assassin we are looking for.‖

―Do you think these cloners are involved in the plot to assassinate Senator Amidala?‖ Mace

―No, Master.‖ Obi-Wan shook his head. ―There appears to be no motive.‖

―Do not assume anything, Obi-Wan.‖ Yoda warned. ―Clear your mind must be if you are to
discover the real villains behind this plot.‖

―Yes, Master.‖ Obi-Wan agreed. ―They say Master Sifo-Dyas placed an order for a clone army
at the request of the Senate almost ten years ago.‖

Mace frowned in confusion and looked over to Yoda to find that the old Master was equally
disturbed by this news.

―I was under the impression that he was killed before that. Did the Council ever authorize the
creation of a clone army?‖ Obi-Wan inquired worriedly.

―No,‖ Mace answered. ―Whoever placed that order did not have the authorization of the Jedi

―Bring him here,‖ Yoda commanded. ―Question him we will.‖

―Yes, Master. I will report back when I have him.‖ Obi-Wan promised and then the connection
was cut.

―Blind we are if creation of this clone army we could not see,‖ Yoda sighed after Obi-Wan‘s
image had dissolved.
Mace rubbed his chin thoughtfully. ―I think it is time we informed the Senate that our ability to
use the Force has diminished,‖ he sighed reluctantly.

―Only the Dark Lord of the Sith knows of our weakness,‖ Yoda pointed out. ―If informed the
Senate is, multiply our adversaries will.‖

Mace nodded wearily. That is true, unfortunately. ―What should we do about this army?‖

―Until more we know, wait we must to take any action.‖ Yoda reached out his hand and his
gnarled walking stick floated into it.

―Yes, Master,‖ Mace nodded in agreement. ―Do you think Vader knows anything about what is
happening on Kamino?‖

―Perhaps,‖ Yoda grumbled and hopped off his chair. ―When returned to the Temple he is,
interview him we shall.‖ The aged Master‘s ears dropped. ―Dark are these times. Too long we
have waited, I fear, for the answers young Vader owes us. Only hope we can that a terrible
price is not paid for our mistake.‖

The engines of his racer roared in his ears as the sand flats rushed by him in a blur. He
tightened his grip on his steering handles and gritted his teeth in determination. All he had to
do was pass Sebulba and hold onto that spot for a few seconds and he‘d have first place and
the race in the bag…

A swarm of enormous insects in a dark place lit by fire and filled with machines…

The vibro-blade hummed faintly in his trembling hands. He was almost soaked in sweat and he
felt sick to his stomach as he kneeled on the cold stone floor, his shirt laying discarded beside
him. The Force seemed to flicker out of his reach and he forced himself to focus. He needed
the Force‘s guidance for this. If he messed up, he‘d die. Taking a deep, cleansing breath, he
swiftly stabbed the blade into his side, just below his ribcage and began to cut…

A brightly lit space filled with sand and a horned beast running him down while he
stood, chained…

The Light Side of the Force was a real pain in the neck to touch on. He couldn‘t just reach out
and grab it and make it do what he wanted with raw force of will. If he tried, it would just slip
away like a puff of air. Frustration clouded his focus and a vicious cycle would begin,
culminating in a muffled string of Huttese curses. At a tired, disappointed glance from Kenobi,
he grumbled and set about trying again, determined to do it this time…

A storm of laser and missile fire, the air was rife with explosions and death…

Lightsabers crackled and hummed. Red against green and blue. The green blade was silenced,
leaving it a contest between just two. The red swung in graceful fluid arcs, beautiful but swift
and deadly. The blue struggled to keep up, to predict where the next blows would come. And
then the blue faltered, the red struck, and his arm burned—

He snapped upright in bed, soaked in sweat and shaking. It took several long seconds for him
to remember where he was and catch his breath. As the dark bedroom came into focus, he
sank back down on the bed and moaned.
Ugh, what was that? Shivering as a draft blew over his damp bare skin, he pulled the sheets
up and rubbed at his right forearm. From a point near his elbow down to his hand, it tingled
like he‘d slept on it funny.

Vader tried to recall what he‘d seen in the nightmare, but already it was fading from his
memory. It was like trying to hold sand, the grains only poured through his fingers. Still, he
knew he‘d had it before.

I‘m not going to get back to sleep, he realized after peering at the nearest chronometer and
finding that it was only an hour or two away from dawn. Running a hand over his face, he
rolled out of bed and pulled a loose off-white shirt on. And then he left his room to get some
fresh air, and hopefully get his head straightened out.

Padmé rose shortly after dawn. Her sleep had been troubled and anything but restful. She was
tormented by nightmares fueled by memories of the Trade Federation Blockade and the more
recent attempts on her life. And not that the sun was up, she gave up on sleeping.

She pulled on a dark blue robe over her white nightgown and decided to take an early morning
walk. Normally she loved her time in the Varykino estate, but now she found it almost
ominous. The house was empty, her family miles away in Theed, and her only constant
company was Vader.

Opening a door to the outside, Padmé found Vader already there. He stood facing the rising
sun with his feet slightly apart and his hands clasped behind his back. Curious as to what he
was doing, Padmé walked over to him. Then she noticed that his eyes were closed and
realized what it was that he was up to.

He‘s meditating. Hesitating for a moment, she turned and walked away. From what she knew,
meditation was important to the Jedi and she wasn‘t about to interrupt him.

―Don‘t go,‖ he murmured so softly she almost didn‘t hear him.

She stopped with her back to him. ―I don‘t want to disturb you.‖

―Your presence is soothing,‖ he replied.

Padmé had no idea what to make of that, so she changed the subject. ―You had a nightmare
last night.‖

―Jedi don‘t have nightmares,‖ he insisted.

She turned around to face him and crossed her arms over her chest. ―I heard you.‖

Vader was silent for a long time and Padmé wondered if he was going to continue to deny it.
Her bedroom was right next to his, and in the quiet of the night the walls of the old house
could get very thin. She‘d heard him cry out in the night and the only conclusion she could
come to was that he‘d suffered a nightmare.

―Fine,‖ Vader bowed his head and stared at the smooth stone tiles under his bare feet. ―I had
a nightmare.‖

―What was it about?‖ she asked.
He finally looked up at her, his intense blue eyes troubled. ―I don‘t remember.‖

―Nightmares are just unpleasant dreams and dreams are just thoughts of our unconscious
minds. Whatever it was about, I wouldn‘t worry.‖ Padmé turned away from him again and
headed back inside. ―Breakfast should be served in an hour.‖

If Vader replied, she was gone before he said it. She left a note for the servant girls who
helped keep up the house and served the guests before picking out a dress and hopping in the
shower. While she wished she could spend an hour or two under the hot water, if she wanted
to be ready in time for breakfast, she had to hurry.

That‘s three now, she mused. The versions: the sullen Padawan, the cocky teenage show-off,
and now the quiet and troubled young Jedi. Are any of those three close to the truth?

Determined to carry out his orders as quickly as possible, Obi-Wan immediately went and
checked Jango‘s apartment, but found that the bounty hunter and his ―son‖ were gone. He
briefly visited with Taun We and she told him about Fett‘s ship. After finding out where it was
located, he almost jogged there. Jango knew he was in trouble and now he was running.

Obi-Wan burst out of the door and into the rain once more to find Jango and Boba loading the
last of some supplies into an oddly-shaped vessel. Seeing how close he was to losing his
quarry, he ran towards the ship, ignoring the cold rain that pelted his face. He wasn‘t fast
enough, however, and Boba spotted him.

―Dad, look!‖ Boba pointed.

Jango – now dressed in silver armor with a concealing helmet – spun around and drew a
blaster pistol. ―Boba, get on board!‖

The bounty then dropped to one knee and started to fire his blaster. Obi-Wan lit his blue blade
and deflected the red bolts as he continued to run at the other man. Then just as he was
within striking distance, Jango activated a rocket pack and blasted up and away from him,
firing all the while.

Obi-Wan keep knocking aside the shots though now he found himself at a disadvantage. Jango
now held the high point in the battle while he was stuck on the ground. Rolling away from a
few more laser blasts, Obi-Wan watched as Jango zipped behind a lighted column at the edge
of the landing pad and briefly vanished from sight. And then Jango‘s ship started to move.

Briefly distracted by the moving ship, Obi-Wan suddenly found himself flying through the air
as a missile exploded near his feet. As he skidded backwards down the slick landing pad
walkway, his lightsaber clattered out of his grip, and when he reached for it, things got worse.
The ship‘s laser cannons started firing at him and the blasts knocked him even further back.

Recovering his feet, Obi-Wan lunged forward just in time to catch the diving bounty hunter
with a boot to the chest. Jango crashed to the ground and his sleek silver blaster went
spinning away from him. Noticing that Fett was unarmed now, Obi-Wan attempted to take him
down, but found himself spun around and knocked down. Still laying on the rain-drenched
landing pad, Obi-Wan kicked out at Fett and hit him in the helmet, knocking him over

Obi-Wan rolled to his feet and took a swing at the armored bounty hunter, but his hands were
caught and then Jango rammed his helmet into Obi-Wan, sending him skidding backwards. He
caught sight of his dropped lightsaber hilt and reached for it, only to have his hands bound by
a grappling line shot from Jango‘s gauntlet. And then Jango, once again airborne on his jet
pack, dragged him along the landing pad in an attempt to yank him over the side.

Rolling around as he was dragged, Obi-Wan managed to catch the cable on the lighted pillar
and braced himself on it. This yanked Jango out of the air and sent him slamming into the
edge of the pad. Fett‘s rocket pack was jarred loose and it blasted away before exploding.

Jango recovered his blaster pistol and tried to turn it on Obi-Wan. But Obi-Wan was already
charging at him. He used his bound hands to knock Jango‘s blaster up, sending his shot high,
and then he kicked the man in the chest. The force of his kick was more than enough to send
the bounty hunter tumbling over the edge of the landing pad.

―Oh, not good,‖ Obi-Wan yelped, just before he too was pulled over the edge by the cable that
bound his wrists and tied him to his adversary.

There wasn‘t a straight drop on the other side of the landing pad. It was a curve of one of the
many domes that made up the Kaminoans city. But it was wet and slick and gravity pulled the
both of them down to the stormy seas far below.

The bounty hunter extended some sort of jagged blade from his forearm and dug it into the
side of the city. At first it didn‘t do much more than make a shower of sparks. But eventually,
just before Fett tumbled over the edge of the city, the blades caught and he came to a stop.
Obi-Wan, however, kept on going and fell right off the edge and hung by the grappling cable.

Obi-Wan hung there for a moment, a few hundred yards above the crashing waves of the
endless Kaminoan sea. And then Jango cut the cable somehow and he was falling again, this
time with nothing to stop him. Now that there was no tension on the cable, he was able to get
it off his wrists as he plummeted down, and then he used to catch a hold of a spar on the
underside of the city. Thankfully the hook held and he swung there, panting for breath.

Once he caught his breath, he spied a nearby walkway and swung onto it. He hurried to the
nearest door and used the Force to make it open. Darting inside, he ran all the way back to
the door that led to the landing pad where Fett‘s ship sat.

By the time he returned to where he‘d started, Jango was running into his ship. Obi-Wan
called his saber to his hand an relit it in case he had to deflect any more laser blasts and made
one last attempt to catch up to the fleeing bounty hunter. His efforts were in vain and the ship
lifted off and started to climb through the stormy air. Obi-Wan pulled a magnetic tracking
device from his belt and hurled it at the ship. It hit, stuck, and activated.

He watched as Jango Fett and his son disappeared into the heavy Kaminoan clouds. Switching
off his lightsaber, he clipped it back onto his belt and headed back to his Delta-7. He‘d missed
catching his target this time, but he would follow Jango Fett and wait until another opportunity
to capture his quarry presented itself.

And so the chase is on…

  Submit Review                                23. 22: Rising Nightmare and Hunter's Flight

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                            font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                     24. 23: Trouble on Geonosis

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews: 459
- Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                          Chapter 23
                                      Trouble on Geonosis

After many hours of tricky maneuvering through hyperspace, Obi-Wan finally dropped back
into real space a good distance behind the bounty hunter‘s ship. Up ahead he could see a
reddish-orange orb, an arid planet encircled by a rocky ring of debris. According to his
NavComputer, the planet was called Geonosis and it had no affiliation with the Republic.
Undocking from the booster ring, Obi-Wan left it in very high orbit and followed Fett‘s ship at a
discrete distance.
However, it didn‘t seem to be discrete enough. Fett suddenly dove down through the planetary
ring of rocky asteroids; probably the remains of an obliterated moon. Obi-Wan followed him in,
in the hopes that he would be able to disable the bounty hunter‘s ship and capture him that
way. Since he hadn‘t fled the system on learning that he‘d been followed, he must have some
important business here.

And then, just as he made it into the debris ring, things went sideways. Something tumbled
away from behind the fleeing ship. Arfour squealed a panicky warning as the sensors
determined what it was.

―Seismic charges!‖ Obi-Wan cursed. ―Stand by.‖

Just as he veered away from the charge, it exploded. A highly concentrated blue shockwave of
pure energy expanded outward in a thin disk, smashing anything it touched. As it tore through
the rocky debris, it shattered entire asteroids as it moved. Obi-Wan barely evaded the
destruction and jumped right back on his pursuit.

His persistence was rewarded with a second seismic charge. This one came even closer and he
was forced to really pull out the fancy moves to escape it and not get turned into paste by the
erratic orbiting debris. He squeezed through a narrow gap between two massive asteroids and
barely missed being hit by the wave.

Fett didn‘t appear to be one to waste ammo and so changed tactics. The bounty hunter
swooped down into a dark cave that ran through the heart of one of the biggest asteroids and
tried to lose him that way. Obi-Wan had no intentions of letting him slip away so easily and
darted right in after him.

The inside of the asteroid was a maze of tunnels. It was pitch black and even with his landing
lights on there was barely enough illumination to see where he was going. Obi-Wan thanked
the Force that he was a Jedi, otherwise he probably would‘ve crashed three times while he
was in there. The fact that Fett didn‘t crash earned him a little respect in Obi-Wan‘s eyes as an
excellent pilot.

Once he emerged from the darkness of the asteroid, Obi-Wan frowned. Jango Fett‘s ship was
nowhere in sight. Before he could wonder where Fett had gone to, the bounty hunter dropped
in behind him with his twin laser cannons blazing.

―Oh blast!‖ he hissed. ―This is why I hate flying!‖

Twisting, turning, and spinning until he felt ill, Obi-Wan did his best to avoid the asteroids
around him and the red laser blasts that streaked after him. No matter what he did, the
bounty hunter was right there behind him and drawing him aim tighter and tighter. And then a
blast grazed the Delta-7 right by where Arfour was located, causing the poor droid to wail in

And then the laser blasts were replaced with a single heat-seeking missile. It locked onto Obi-
Wan‘s trail and never let go. Obi-Wan ran through all his tricks again and still the missile held
its lock. He spun, he dove, he flew far too close to asteroids for comfort, and still the weapon
followed him and slowly closed the gap. That left only one option left.

―Arfour, prepare to jettison the spare parts canisters,‖ Obi-Wan commanded tensely.

Arfour whistled a ready signal and waited. Obi-Wan clenched his jaw and aimed for a
particularly dense area of the belt of asteroids. When he felt the timing was right and the
location was as good as it was going to get, he gave the order.
―Fire them now!‖

The droid squeaked and affirmative and executed the order. The back compartment doors of
the Delta-7 opened and the stock of spare parts carried for emergency repairs floated out. As
Obi-Wan streaked away into the shadow of the nearest asteroid, the spare parts triggered the
proximity fuse on the missile‘s warhead detonated.

The resulting energy of the explosion blinded Obi-Wan‘s sensors and he could only hope that it
would do the same for Fett‘s ship. As it was, he only had a very narrow window of time to get
done what he needed. Swinging the Delta-7 around, he nearly crashed it into the backside of
the asteroid, locked down the landing clamps, and then killed all but the absolutely necessary

Then it was all down to a waiting game. If it all worked out, Jango Fett would believe him
destroyed and continue on to the planet below. If not, the bounty hunter would discover him
and blast him off the asteroid before he could get all his systems back online to flee.

I hate flying, Obi-Wan sighed as he waited until it felt safe. It‘s a pity Vader isn‘t here. He
would‘ve gotten a kick out of this. And he might‘ve been able to corner Fett…and I‘d like to ask
him a few questions about Kamino too.

―Well Arfour, I think we‘ve waited long enough,‖ Obi-Wan decided after several more minutes
without a sign of Fett‘s ship.

Obi-Wan powered the Delta-7 back up and detached it from the asteroid. He rose above the
debris field, having no desire to dodge anymore asteroids, and then headed down to the
surface of Geonosis. Even though he could no longer see the bounty hunter‘s ship, he had
Arfour lock on to the last recorded position of the tracking beacon and headed to it.

As he leveled out over the dark planetary surface and drew in on the signal, a base of some
kind came into view. Peering down at the surface through his cockpit canopy, he could see
scores of familiar spherical ships half-visible from sunken landing pits. While they were
missing their characteristic outer rings, they were clearly Trade Federation vessels.

―There‘s an unusual concentration of Federation ships over there, Arfour.‖ Obi-Wan mumbled
more to himself than the droid.

Arfour probably knew that, but chirped something in response anyway.

After cautiously flying over the Federation ships and what appeared to be a Geonosian
settlement, Obi-Wan located a nearby canyon. He settled the Delta-7 down as close to the
canyon wall as he could safely manage to hopefully avoid detection. Obi-Wan powered down
the ship, hopped out, and glanced around.

It was deep night on this part of the planet. Dawn was an hour or two away at least. It was
the perfect time to go in unnoticed. With a little wave to Arfour, Obi-Wan began picking his
way through the canyon back towards the rocky spires of the Geonosian hive…

Vader felt sick. It wasn‘t that he was physically ill; it was all psychosomatic, all in his head.
But that was enough to get him cowering as far away from Padmé as possible. At the moment,
he was doing his cowering out on the balcony overlooking the lake.

This is awful, he moaned. Horrible, awful, terrible… I can‘t believe I was so kriffing stupid! It
was right in front of my face the whole time and I didn‘t see it! I‘m such a moron!
…And now she hates me. She thinks I‘m a creepy jerk now. Which…yeah, I guess is true.

At least she doesn‘t know it‘s me, he consoled himself. There‘s no way that she‘ll ever
recognize me. She‘ll never know it‘s me. She can never know. Never, ever…

All he had to do was keep his mouth shut and do his job. When Padmé no longer needed
protecting, he would leave her and Naboo behind forever. He‘d never see her again. So she‘d
never learn who he was, and she‘d never have the chance to be ashamed of him.

I can do this, he repeated to himself. I can do this no problem. I can guard her for as long as
she needs and then I can disappear from her life forever. She‘ll never know what trouble I‘ve
gotten into. I‘m alright, I can do this… I can do this… I can…

But no matter how many times he tried to convince himself, it never put his mind at ease.

Just as the sun was rising, Obi-Wan reached the base of one of the spires of the Geonosian
hive. No Geonosians were around the crevice he discovered there and so he slipped inside
without incident. Thanking the Force for his good fortune, he crept on deeper into the alien

After many twists, turns, and near misses with the skittering insectoid Geonosians, Obi-Wan
reached a shadowy observation area that overlooked a vast chamber. Below was a massive
factory running full steam. Industrial machines forged parts that were assembled on server
conveyer belts that were overseen by Geonosian worker drones. Obi-Wan couldn‘t quite tell
what was being produced, but he had a strong feeling that he wasn‘t going to like it.

Stroking his beard thoughtfully, he carefully withdrew from the viewing area and continued his
search for Jango Fett. The longer the investigation went on, the more disturbing things
cropped up. First the clone army ordered by a dead Jedi, then the bounty hunter that the
clone army was made from who had been hired by someone else, and now the Trade
Federation on Geonosis with factories turning out unknown products that gave him a bad

As he slunk through the dimly lit corridors of the hive, an eerie sensation settled over him.
Doing his best to mask his presence, just in case, he did his best to zero in on the source of
the prickly feeling. He was drawn to the more active part of the hive, and as he crouched in a
shadowed hallway, he heard voices approaching.

―We must persuade the Commerce Guild and the Corporate Alliance to sign the treaty,‖ a man
rumbled in a deep velvety voice.

―What about the Senator from Naboo?‖ a vaguely familiar voice demanded nervously. ―Is she
dead yet?‖

Obi-Wan pressed himself against the wall as a group of people walked by in the adjacent hall.
There was one elderly Human leading a group of assorted aliens. Although he only caught a
fleeting glimpse of them, he recognized that some of them were Neimoidian, and one of those
was Nute Gunray, the Viceroy of the Trade Federation.

―I am not signing your treaty until I have her head on my desk,‖ Gunray insisted.

―I am a man of my word, Viceroy,‖ the Human replied smoothly.
―With these new battledroids we‘ve built for you, you‘ll have the finest army in the galaxy,‖
one of the other aliens replied in a monotone electronic voice.

Another army? Obi-Wan frowned as the group passed his position. So that‘s what that factory
is producing: battledroids. This is not good…

As soon as he felt it was safe to move, he skulked after the group to see what else he could
learn. This went far beyond the assassination attempts on Senator Amidala‘s life. From what
Nute Gunray had said, the threats against the Senator‘s life were only a symptom of this much
greater threat. He needed to know more so he could warn the Council.

He discovered a narrow, dark passageway that led to an elevated position over a meeting
room. Below he had an excellent view of his targets. And what he could see bothered him

Along with the Neimoidians of the Trade Federation, there were several other representatives
of other alien-run business/political groups. There were pale and gaunt Muuns of the Banking
Clan, a Geonosian noble and various insectoid warriors, some reptilian Koorivar of the
Corporate Alliance, Gossams of the Commerce Guild, and pressure-suited Skakoans of the
Techno Union. They all sat around a ring-shaped meeting table, along with the elderly Human
man, and Jango Fett standing by in his silver armor.

Obi-Wan squinted at the old Human and tried to identify him. His dark clothing and cape,
while plain, looked expensive, marking him as rich as his alien companions. His was old, with
white hair and a nearly white beard. And he was familiar…

That‘s…that‘s Mas—Count Dooku! he realized with a start. He‘s the main spokesperson for the
Separatist movement. What in blazes is he doing here?

―As I explained to you earlier, I am quite convinced that ten thousand more systems will rally
to our cause with your support, gentlemen.‖ Dooku purred in his deep, noble voice.

―(What you are proposing could be construed as treason,)‖ the Gossam chattered in her native

―The Techno Union army—‖ the Skakoan began, but had to stop and adjust a dial on his
methane pressure suit when his vocorder messed up with an electronic squeal ―—is at your
disposal, Count.‖

―The Banking Clan will sign your treaty,‖ the pale Muun promised in a reedy voice.

―Good, very good,‖ Dooku smiled. ―Our friends from the Trade Federation have pledged their
support, and when their battledroids are combined with yours we shall have an army greater
than any in the galaxy. The Jedi will be overwhelmed. The Republic will agree to any demands
we make.‖

There were no words to describe the horror that Obi-Wan felt. Senator Amidala had been right.
Not only was Dooku behind the attempts on her life, he was raising a droid army against the
entire Republic.

I must alert the Council…
Padmé gazed longingly out the window at the neighboring island. Perhaps today she could
convince Vader to swim out there with her to visit it, like she had many times as a little girl.
That is, if she could find him.

The previous day he‘d been her annoying shadow, trailing after her everywhere she went. The
only place she could escape him was when she used the refresher and when she retreated into
her bedroom. While he was just doing his duty in protecting her, his constant presence
coupled with his immature behavior combined to push her feelings of frustration through the

However, today was a completely different story. After her odd encounter with him during his
meditation, and the breakfast that had followed shortly after, she‘d barely caught more than a
glimpse of him. He‘d made a brief appearance for lunch just an hour ago, and then vanished
with some mumbled excuse of checking the perimeter.

He‘s up to something. She frowned and looked away from the window. Either that or he‘s
hiding something from me. I‘ve already checked with Artoo, there aren‘t any messages from
Obi-Wan or Coruscant… So what is it?

Making up her mind to find out, she began prowling the Varykino estate for her skulking
protector. She combed the house, floor by floor, until she determined that he wasn‘t inside.
And then it was on to the outside of the building.

She finally located him down near the small dock. He‘d taken his boots off and was dangling
his bare feet into the cold lake water. Even though he had his back to her, she was fairly
certain that he knew that she was there. Padmé strode right up to him without bothering to
announce herself (it was her house, after all) and spoke to him.

―There you are.‖

The way he reacted it was almost like she‘d shot him in the back. He jumped and nearly
slipped off the pier at the sound of her voice. Clumsily spinning around, he squinted up at her
through the glaring afternoon sun.


Some protector you are. You didn‘t even notice me coming until I said something. ―I‘ve been
looking all over for you,‖ she sighed. ―What are you doing out here?‖

―Uh…just-just thinking.‖ He shrugged and dropped his gaze to the weathered wooden planks
of the short pier.

―About what?‖ she asked. That nightmare you had last night and won‘t talk about?

―Nothing important,‖ he muttered. ―Did you want something?‖

She sighed. ―Yes, I‘m going to swim out to the island today.‖

―Oh.‖ He looked out over the lake towards the small neighboring island. ―Have fun.‖

Padmé stared at him. ―As my protector, aren‘t you supposed to accompany me wherever I go
to ensure my safety?‖ What happened to my annoying Jedi shadow?

Vader tensed. ―Swimming is not one of my strengths.‖
―Well, you do know how to swim, right?‖ she asked. As a Jedi, I hope you do.

―Yes,‖ he reluctantly admitted.

―Then I see no problem.‖

He shifted uneasily on the end of the pier. ―I don‘t have any swimming clothes.‖

―Just swim in your under shorts,‖ she suggested. ―There‘s no one out here to see you.‖ Well,
except for me.

He looked up at her, appalled. ―What?‖ he squeaked.

―It‘s not like you‘ll be swimming naked,‖ she snorted. ―Come on. We‘re leaving in five
minutes,‖ she called over her shoulder as she walked back towards the house.

―Can‘t we do something else?‖ he pleaded to her retreating back.

―Five minutes!‖ she yelled back, fighting a grin. You had your fun yesterday. Now it‘s my turn.

Even though he still had his under shorts and cloak on, Vader felt rather naked. Padmé
wanted to go swimming and so they were going swimming. He had no say in this. And he
wasn‘t terribly happy about it.

By the time he returned to the pier, she was already there, waiting for him. She had a towel
draped over her shoulders, a black one-piece swimming suit, and not much else. Although it
was a single piece suit, it was still cut rather revealingly, showing a great deal of her back. It
was very hard not to stare at her.

Eyes on her feet, shoulders, and face; nowhere else. He pulled his dark brown cloak tighter
around himself and reluctantly trudged over to her. Better yet, just don‘t look at her at all.

―You‘re late,‖ she scolded.

―Sorry, Milady,‖ he muttered.

She cast her towel aside and dove head-first into the lake. ―Come on!‖ she called once she
resurfaced. ―I want to get out there before we have to come back for dinner!‖

Vader nodded wearily and very reluctantly shed his cloak. Before she had much of a chance to
look him over, he jumped in beside her…and the icy cold water promptly knocked the breath
out of him. For him, this was a very bad thing.

COLD! The water was very deep and dark and he sank like a stone. Cold, cold, cold! Come on,
swim… I‘m not drowning, I‘m not drowning, I‘m not… I can swim. I can swim no problem.

After what felt like an eternity, he broke the surface of the water, coughing and sputtering.
Ack! I think I got some water up my nose! Ow!

Padmé grinned cheerfully at him. ―There, that wasn‘t so bad.‖

―This water is freezing!‖ he hissed. I hate being cold!
―It‘s fine.‖ She turned away from him and started out for the neighboring island. ―Come on, I‘ll
race you there!‖

Groaning, Vader struggled to follow her lead. She was a natural in the water; graceful and
swift. He was anything but.

This sucks, he sulked. This really sucks. I hate this.

It took forever to get to the other island. When he finally reached it, Vader was ready to just
curl up on the sandy beach and gasp for air for an hour or two. However, Padmé had other

―Come on!‖ she beckoned at the tree line.

Now that you‘ve got the advantage – and know that you do – you‘re having a great time
pushing me around, aren‘t you, Padmé? ―I‘m coming,‖ he groaned and trudged out of the

―Hurry up! You—oh my Gods.‖

Vader snapped his head up. ―What?‖ Please don‘t tell me that my shorts are slipping.

―What happened to you?‖ she asked and her hand drifted over a small, but ugly, diagonal scar
on his lower left side.

He gently batted her hand away. ―The life of a Jedi is inherently dangerous.‖ Now there‘s a
non-answer that Kenobi would be proud of.

She frowned, concerned. ―But—‖

―Don‘t worry about it,‖ he advised and brushed past her. ―It‘s nothing.‖

―But…oh look at your back!‖ she squeaked. ―What—?‖

Vader‘s shoulders tensed and he stalked into the trees. ―It‘s nothing,‖ he insisted. ―So is there
anything special about this place?‖ he asked, firmly changing the subject.

Padmé hesitated before following him into the shade of the trees. ―Well, there‘s a nice clearing
over this way,‖ she murmured and directed him along a barely visible trail.

Whatever, he thought darkly as he followed her. This day officially sucks. It started out with a
nightmare, and now she‘s seen all my scars. Great. Just great…

It was late afternoon on Geonosis as Obi-Wan crouched on top of his Delta-7. He‘d been trying
to contact the Council for over an hour now and he still hadn‘t gotten through. It seemed that
the laser graze his ship had taken from Fett‘s cannon had done some actual damage.

―The transmitter is working, but we‘re not receiving a return signal,‖ Obi-Wan grumbled as he
examined the circuitry near the transmitter dish. I wish I hadn‘t gotten rid of those spare parts
earlier… ―Coruscant‘s too far. Arfour, can you boost the power?‖

Arfour whistled a low tone that Obi-Wan read as a no.
―We‘ll have to try something else,‖ he decided and set his tools aside.

The Astromech warbled something else as Obi-Wan hopped into the cockpit. ―Maybe we can
contact Vader on Naboo,‖ he muttered and redirected the signal from Coruscant to Naboo.
―It‘s much closer.‖

While Arfour whistled about something else, Obi-Wan locked on to Naboo and ran a search for
Vader‘s tracking signal. ―Vader. Vader, do you copy? This is Obi-Wan Kenobi. Vader?‖

There was no answer. Which made no sense. Vader should have his comm-link on him at all
times, and Obi-Wan had a strong fix on the device. Perhaps if he located the nearest comm
station he could reach him. Senator Amidala always had that droid of hers around and it was
probably monitoring her communications console for her.

―I‘m going to try and widen the range,‖ he sighed and ran his search. ―I do hope nothing‘s
happened to him.‖ Really, why doesn‘t he have his comm-link on him? And if he does, why
isn‘t he answering?

―There, I‘ve got it,‖ he mumbled and fixed the transmitter on its new target. ―What in blazes is
he doing?‖ Obi-Wan shook his head and climbed back out of the cockpit to stand in front of
Arfour‘s holo-recorder.

―We haven‘t got much time,‖ Obi-Wan warned Arfour as he wrapped his cloak tightly closed
and prepared to send his message. Since he isn‘t answering, I‘ll just have to leave a message.
―Vader? Vader, do you copy? This is Obi-Wan Kenobi…‖

  Submit Review                                24. 23: Trouble on Geonosis

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                           font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                     25. 24: Darkness Stirs

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews: 459
- Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                          Chapter 24
                                         Darkness Stirs

R2-D2 was as close to bored as a droid could be. He knew his job was important. It was
essential for the comm console to be monitored at all times. But no messages had been
received and none had been sent and Artoo really had nothing to do.

This is boring, Artoo complained for the trillionth time. I wish I could accompany Padmé. She
always finds me something productive to do… But she‘s gone swimming and I can‘t go.

A red light started blinking on the comm console and a soft chime echoed through the tiny
communications room in the back corner of the Varykino estate. Artoo‘s attention was
immediately caught and he rolled over to the computer terminal. He extended his jack and
plugged in to see what was coming in.

The signal was weak and choppy. When he tried to play it, all he got was a fuzzy blob of blue
and a garbled voice. Artoo was frustrated, but intrigued.

Hmm…let‘s see if I can‘t clean this up some… Yeah, that‘s good… No, that just makes it
worse… I think…I think that‘s…yeah! Got it!


HEY! Artoo whistled. HEY THX-1138! GET IN HERE!

Artoo impatiently waited for the stupid hovering sphere to show up and as he waited, he ran
the message through a few more clean-up filters. Why Padawan Vader had dragged that
stupid blue and yellow ball along with them he didn‘t know. It didn‘t seem all that bright and it
was pretty much useless. But with its hovering ability, it could fetch Padmé and Padawan
Vader from their swimming trip; something Artoo couldn‘t do.

YEAH? THX-1138 whistled when it finally buzzed into the room.


TRASHCAN, the droid added before zipping away with a laugh.

WHATEVER! Artoo blatted rudely. Stupid floating camera… You‘d better get them quick, this is
really important!

Padmé couldn‘t decide if she was shivering more from the cool breeze on her bare, damp skin,
or the lingering image of Padawan Vader‘s scars. The slash on his side had been bad enough
on its own. It was small, but ugly; a stripe of puckered, discolored skin. But the marks on his
back, the numerous straight lines of lighter-colored skin that stood out starkly against his
lightly tanned flesh – whip scars maybe? – spoke of lengthier abuse.

She couldn‘t help but wonder: What happened to him? What could possibly have happened to
him to give him so many scars? He‘s only nineteen…

Careful to avoid any sharp sticks and rocks, Padmé picked her way over to the look-out spot
at the highest point on the island. Vader wanted a tour of the area, so she would give him a
tour. And perhaps while she showed him around, she could figure out a way to find out just
what was going on with him.

―Well, here we are,‖ she sighed as they reached the spot.

It was a decent-sized clearing, one of the only open spots on the entire island. The ground
was covered in soft grass and near the middle of the clearing was a flat, smooth boulder. She
had many memories of coming here with her sister and turning the place into whatever their
imaginations could cook up. It had been a palace, a fortress, a magical glade, a look-out tower
where they could spot pirates coming from miles away.

―Nice,‖ Vader muttered flatly and paced around the edges of the glade. ―What was this, your
secret clubhouse?‖

―Something like that.‖ She shrugged. ―I would come out here with my sister, and sometimes
my parents too.‖

He didn‘t say anything to that. He just hopped up on the flat-topped stone and stood there,
gazing out over the wide swath of lake and distant shore that was visible through the trees.
For the moment, she left him be.

The enigma that was Vader only grew more complex and twisted with each passing hour she
spent with him. First he blatantly disliked her, then he tried to make friends with her, and now
he seemed to either fear her or be angry with her. His changes in attitude were as mysterious
as they were mercurial. He was a puzzle that she had no corner pieces to, a square peg with
only a selection of round holes to fit in. And he frustrated her endlessly.

And then there was the political situation. The vote on the Military Creation Act was due any
day now and she was still tucked away in hiding. She was the leader of the opposition, it was
important that she be there. Yet it was equally important that she not be there to avoid losing
her own life.

A steep price had already been paid. Cordé and Versé, along with many of her security
personnel had laid down their lives for her. An assassin had been silenced to keep the guilty
party secret. And now Obi-Wan Kenobi was off Gods-knew-where, trying to get to the bottom
of things.

The galaxy is such a mess these days, and it‘s only been getting worse. She sighed and
wearily scrubbed a hand over her face. Sometimes I‘m just so tired of all the politics…

Forcing the crushing weight of wider galactic events back, Padmé tried to focus on the smaller
mystery of the young man who stood before her. It was probably childish of her to want to
forget the bigger problems and just think about a boy, but that was just what she was doing.
It was something for her to do, seeing as she was trapped out here without her work to
occupy her.

Aside from the scars, he really doesn‘t look that bad, she noted. He looked quite healthy; well-
muscled but lean. That wasn‘t much of a surprise as the Jedi had to be physically fit to
perform their duties to the Republic. And he was blessed with a handsome face…

But he‘s so young. I know he‘s nineteen and legally an adult. She turned her gaze away from
him and stared out over the lake. I don‘t see why Sola was teasing me about him. He‘s much
too young for me; barely more than a boy, really.

A strange warbling sound drifted through the trees and she scanned the woods in search of
the source. It didn‘t sound like the calls of the Peko Peko bird, or any other Nabooan creature,
and that bothered her. Unconsciously backing towards Vader, she kept listening to the odd
whistling sounds as they drew nearer. And then something spherical and metallic zipped by
her head so fast she shrieked.

―Oh Gods!‖ she hissed, nearly falling over as she ducked away from the fast-moving object.

―Relax,‖ Vader muttered calmly. ―It‘s only Orbie.‖

As she clutched at her racing heart, she spied the object hovering back and forth frantically in
front of Vader‘s face. It was Orbie the eccentric hovercam droid, and it appeared to be having
a meltdown of some sort. Vader studied the droid for a moment before theorizing what the
problem was.

―I think we‘re wanted back at the house. Maybe a message came in.‖

―Oh,‖ she panted and turned to pick her way back along the trail to the lake.

No more words were exchanged on the short walk back to the little beach. Upon reaching the
water, Vader plunged back in without complaint or hesitation. He didn‘t swim any faster back
to the house than he had when he‘d raced her out to the island. It made her think that he
couldn‘t swim any faster, so he wasn‘t exaggerating or making excuses when he claimed he
wasn‘t much of a swimmer.

When they made it back to the pier by the house, he lingered there only long enough to help
pull her out of the water and hand her the discarded yellow towel. Then he was striding off
into the house, his scarred body hidden underneath his dark brown cloak. Padmé secured the
towel around herself to ward off the suddenly chilly air and followed him inside.
Before going to Artoo to check for messages, Padmé headed to her room to get dressed. She
peeled off her bathing suit and exchanged it for a light airy dress of synth-silk that gradated
from pure white at the shoulders to deep pink at the ruffled hem of the skirt. After stepping
into some comfortable slippers and putting her wet hair into a very simple braid, she headed
to the comm room, which was really little more than a large modified closet.

Vader was already there with his crazy droid, waiting for her. He was fully dressed in his usual
Jedi robes of gray and dark brown accented with black leather. The only way that she could
tell that he‘d just been swimming ten minutes before was that his short spiky hair was still

Seeing that they were both present, Artoo chirped something and triggered a recorded
holographic message. A small blue image of Obi-Wan Kenobi crackled into view over the holo-
projector. Padmé held her breath as she waited for his message to play.

―Vader, my long range transmitter has been knocked out,‖ Obi-Wan announced. ―Retransmit
this message to Coruscant.‖

Padmé immediately adjusted some controls on the comm console. She didn‘t have a direct link
to the Jedi Temple, but she did have one to Supreme Chancellor Palpatine‘s office. The
Chancellor would route the message where it needed to go.

―I have tracked the bounty hunter, Jango Fett, to the droid foundries on Geonosis…‖

Mace Windu was attending a meeting in the Chancellor‘s office with a few other Jedi and an
assortment of other politicians when the message was beamed in. Besides Chancellor
Palpatine, the other politicians present were Mas Amedda, the Chagrian speak; Onaconda Farr,
the Rodian Senator; Aak Ask, the Gran Senator; Bail Organa, the Senator of Alderaan; and Jar
Jar Binks, the Gungan representative standing in for Senator Amidala. In addition to himself,
Yoda, Plo Koon, Luminara Unduli and her Padawan, Barriss Offee were among the other Jedi in
attendance. The entire room focused its attention on the large blue hologram of Obi-Wan
Kenobi giving his report.

―The Trade Federation is to take the delivery of a droid army here, and it is clear that Viceroy
Gunray is behind the assassination attempts on Senator Amidala. The Commerce Guilds and
the Corporate Alliance have both pledged their armies to Count Dooku and are forming a—‖
Obi-Wan broke off as something out of the camera‘s view caught his attention. ―Wait,‖ he
ignited his lightsaber and dropped into a ready stance. ―Wait.‖

Obi-Wan‘s holographic image raised its weapon to deflect several laser blasts. He retreated
out of view of the camera, chased by more blaster bolts. A Droideka, a Destroyer droid,
lumbered into view before the message abruptly cut out.

In the heavy silence that followed, Yoda turned and looked up at Mace to deliver his opinion
on the matter. ―More happening on Geonosis, I feel, than has been revealed.‖

―I agree,‖ Mace nodded gravely to the tiny Master. Taking a deep breath, he turned to the
holo-comm to pass new instructions on to Vader…

Vader suddenly had the sense that he was in a waking nightmare. He felt numb and sick and a
million miles away from reality. It was rather like an out-of-body experience. He could barely
hear Master Windu speak to him from Coruscant.
―Vader, we will deal with Count Dooku. The most important thing is for you to stay where you
are. Protect the Senator at all costs. That is your first priority.‖

―Understood, Master,‖ Vader answered numbly.

The small hologram of the Haruun Kal Master faded away as the connection was cut. Vader
turned away from the projector and stumbled to the doorway of the comm room, bracing
himself against the door frame. Something very cold settled in the pit of his stomach.

―They‘ll never get there in time to save him. They have to come halfway across the galaxy,‖
Padmé protested. ―Look.‖ She learned over to a nearby computer and called up some star
charts. It seemed that the tiny comm room was where all the advanced technology was
tucked away in Varykino. The most advanced technological devices Vader remembered seeing
in the house were chronometers and a single vid-screen. ―Geonosis is only a few parsecs

―If he‘s still alive,‖ Vader muttered, looking away from the chart displayed on the screen.

For once he wished he‘d submitted himself to the invasive Padawan bond with Kenobi. If he
had, he‘d know for certain if the Jedi was dead. He would‘ve felt the bond snap the instant
Kenobi‘s life ended, no matter how far away he was at the time.

―Are you just going to sit here and let him die?‖ Padmé challenged scornfully. ―He‘s your

―He‘s like my father!‖ Vader blurted out thoughtlessly. ―But you heard Master Windu. He gave
me strict orders to stay here!‖ He snarled bitterly. And-and Dooku is there. I…I can‘t…

―He gave you strict orders to protect me,‖ Padmé corrected sternly. ―And I‘m going to help
Obi-Wan. If you plan to protect me, you‘ll just have to come along.‖

Vader stared blankly at her, uncomprehending. Then her declaration sunk in and he was
aghast. She couldn‘t be serious about that.

―You-you can‘t be serious!‖ he choked.

―I am dead serious,‖ she replied sharply. ―Queen Jamilla has left me her private yacht to use
in my exile. We leave in a half an hour.‖

He shook his head and started for the comm console. I need to call someone… Someone who‘ll
talk some sense into her… Maybe the Chancellor can order her to stay out of this. She obeyed
him before…

Padmé caught him by the wrist and glared at him. ―You tell no one. Either you do your duty to
me and follow, or you stay behind and be a disobedient coward.‖

Something dark and unpleasant coiled inside of him. ―I am no coward!‖ he hissed. Vader
caught her by her upper arms and leaned in until he was almost nose-to-nose with her. ―But I
have no interest in a suicide mission! If you go to him, you won‘t save him, you‘ll join him on
the execution block!‖ As the words left his mouth, a shiver raced up his spine and the fleeting
image of a charging beast struck him. Whoa, what was that?

―You don‘t know that,‖ she scoffed and squirmed against his grip. ―Now let me go and help me
or stay out of my way!‖
Vader ground his teeth before very reluctantly releasing her. She was so dead-set on helping
Kenobi that there was nothing he could do – short of tying her up and gagging her, which he
wouldn‘t do – to stop her. So he decided to play along with her foolish little plan and hopefully
keep her alive. But even though he was going to help her, he would let her know exactly what
he thought of her plan the whole time.

―Come on you two,‖ he muttered to the droids and trudged after Padmé. ―For the record,‖ he
called at her back, ―this is a really, really bad idea, and I reserve the right to say ‗I told you
so!‘ when we‘re lined up in front of the firing squad!‖

After the shocking viewing of Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s message, there was a horrible feeling of
tension in the Chancellor‘s office. The Jedi would soon depart to formulate a plan to retrieve
their lost comrade. The politicians immediately fell into a debate on what should be done in
light of the interrupted report.

―The Commerce Guilds are preparing for war,‖ Senator Bail Organa mused worriedly and
began to slowly pace. ―There can be no doubt of that.‖

―Count Dooku must have made a treaty with them,‖ Chancellor Palpatine guessed.

―(The debate is over. Now we need that clone army.)‖ Aak Ask bleated and bellowed in his
native language.

―Unfortunately the debate is not over,‖ Bail countered. ―The Senate will never approve the use
of clones before the Separatists attack.‖

Jar Jar Binks listened to his two colleagues anxiously. When Senator Padmé had left less than
a week before, her instructions had been easy to follow. Now with his good friend, Jedi Obi, in
mortal danger, the choice he would have to make was no longer so clear.

―This is a crisis,‖ Mas Amedda declared. ―The Senate must vote the Chancellor emergency
powers. He can then approve the creation of an army.‖

―But what Senator would have the courage to propose such a radical amendment?‖ Palpatine
wondered with a sigh.

―If only…Senator Amidala were here,‖ Amedda lamented.

―Mm,‖ Palpatine nodded gravely.

The young Gungan hung his head to stare at the floor of the office. Their implication was clear:
Senator Amidala was needed, not him. He so desperately wanted to do what she would do.
She was adamantly opposed to the Military Creation Act, but in light of what was going on now,
would her stance change?

Ooh, he moaned. Mesa wish Senator Padmé was here too…

Obi-Wan disliked being held captive, especially when he was held captive in ways that he
couldn‘t escape from. The Geonosians had locked metal bands around his wrists and ankles
and then placed him in a blue stasis field that suspended him at a slight angle to the floor
through the metal bands. They‘d taken his lightsaber, of course, and all his equipment along
with his brown cloak. And now he was locked in a small room, slowly rotating, and he couldn‘t
find a way to use the Force to kill the stasis field or trigger the door.
Then, most unexpectedly, he had a visitor. The door briefly opened to admit Count Dooku into
his cell. Obi-Wan glared at the former Jedi, disgusted and angry.


―Oh, no, my friend,‖ Dooku sputtered. ―This is a mistake, a terrible mistake. They‘ve gone too
far. This is madness.‖

―I thought you were the leader here, Dooku,‖ Obi-Wan snorted angrily.

―This had nothing to do with me, I assure you,‖ Dooku promised. ―I will petition immediately
to have you set free.‖

―Well I hope it doesn‘t take too long,‖ Obi-Wan sighed. ―I have work to do.‖

―May I ask why a Jedi Knight is all the way out here on Geonosis?‖ Dooku inquired curiously,
slowly pacing around the edge of the circular room.

―I‘ve been tracking a bounty hunter named Jango Fett,‖ Obi-Wan explained. ―Do you know

―There are no bounty hunters here that I am aware of,‖ Dooku answered without answering.
―The Geonosians don‘t trust them.‖

―Who can blame them?‖ Obi-Wan snorted. ―But he is here, I can assure you.‖

―It‘s a great pity that our paths have never crossed before, Obi-Wan,‖ Dooku lamented. ―Qui-
Gon always spoke very highly of you.‖ The elderly Count paused in a shadowy area of the cell
and blinked as though he was trying not to cry. ―I wish he were still alive,‖ he murmured
quietly. ―I could use his help right now.‖

―Qui-Gon Jinn would never join you.‖ Obi-Wan growled.

―Don‘t be so sure, my young Jedi.‖ Dooku countered smoothly. ―You forget that he was once
my apprentice just as you were once his. He knew all about the corruption in the Senate but
he would never have gone along with it if he had learned the truth as I have.‖

―The truth?‖ Obi-Wan muttered suspiciously.

―The truth,‖ Dooku repeated. There was a long pause and the Count began to pace again.
―What if I told you that the Republic was now under the control of the Dark Lord of the Sith?‖

―No, that‘s not possible. The Jedi would be aware of it,‖ Obi-Wan insisted.

―The Dark Side of the Force has clouded their vision, my friend,‖ Dooku sighed. ―Hundreds of
Senators are now under the influence of a Sith Lord called Darth Sidious.‖

―I don‘t believe you,‖ Obi-Wan frowned. I can‘t believe you.

―The Viceroy of the Trade Federation was once in league with this Darth Sidious, but he was
betrayed ten years ago by the Dark Lord. He came to me for help. He told me everything.‖
Dooku explained. ―You must join me, Obi-Wan, and together we will destroy the Sith!‖
He‘s insane, Obi-Wan realized. When Dooku had left the Order there were whispers that the
loss of Qui-Gon and his frustration with the Council had driven him towards madness. Now
Obi-Wan knew it to be worse than true. He could see it in the old man‘s eyes, hear it in his

―I will never join you, Dooku.‖ Obi-Wan swore.

The Count accepted this answer. He wasn‘t happy with it, but he accepted it. He adjusted his
dark brown cape and strode for the door to leave. But just before he vanished from sight into
the black void of the doorway, he turned back to deliver a parting shot.

―It may be difficult to secure your release.‖

And then he was gone and Obi-Wan was alone again.

Vader has a lot to answer for. We can‘t wait for him to be ready anymore. Either he tells us
what he knows, or…or we might have to terminate our agreement and imprison him until
things get sorted out.

I hope he gives in and reveals his secrets. I don‘t want to lock him away. I certainly don‘t
enjoy it and I doubt he‘ll like it much better…

  Submit Review                                 25. 24: Darkness Stirs

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                          font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                    26. 25: Some Rescue

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews: 459
- Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                         Chapter 25
                                        Some Rescue…

It was well into the evening at the Senate Rotunda. Mace Windu was just arriving to observe
the proceedings after taking stock of the Knights, Masters, and Padawans available to go on a
rescue mission to Geonosis. Master Yoda was already present in the top floor observation
balcony, peering down into the cavernous auditorium. Down below, Jar Jar Binks, the stand-in
Senator of Naboo, was launching into a speech.

―It‘s-a clear desa Separatists made a pact wesa desa Federation du Trade.‖ Representative
Binks declared from his Senate pod. Sitting behind him in silent support was a security man
with an eye patch. ―Senators, ―dellow felagates‖: In response to this direct threat to the
Republic, mesa propose that the Senate give immediately emergency powers to the Supreme

Representative Binks bowed to the Supreme Chancellor in the central podium, and to the rest
of the Senate. A raucous round of applause greeted the end of his speech. And then many
Senators began to chant.

―Palpatine! Palpatine! Palpatine!‖

―Order!‖ Mas Amedda bellowed after a moment. ―We shall have order!‖

―It is with great reluctance that I have agreed to this calling,‖ Palpatine nodded humbly. ―I
love democracy. I love the Republic.‖ A few Senators applauded the sentiments. ―The power
you give me I will lay down when this crisis has abated,‖ Palpatine promised to louder
applause. ―And as my first act with this new authority, I will create a grand army of the
Republic to counter the increasing threats of the Separatists.‖

The Senate again erupted into loud claps and cheers. This time Mas Amedda was much slower
in calling them back to silence. The Jedi Masters who watched were not so enthusiastic.
―It is done then,‖ Mace sighed.

―Hmm,‖ Yoda nodded gravely.

―I will take what Jedi we have left and go to Geonosis and help Obi-Wan,‖ Mace continued.

―Visit I will the cloners on Kamino,‖ Yoda decided. ―Hmm, and see this army they have created
for the Republic.‖

This is not going to work.

Vader scowled as he set the borrowed Nubian yacht onto a course towards Geonosis. They
hadn‘t even left Nabooan space yet and he knew that they would fail. Not only was the ship
completely unsuitable for the mission, but so was the ―brains‖ behind it: the Senator.

The yacht was fast and maneuverable, sure. But it was flashy; all delicate curves and shiny
mirrored skin. He didn‘t see much of a way to land close by to where Obi-Wan was without
being detected.

And Padmé was no less conspicuous than the ship. She‘d changed out of her dress and into a
skin-tight white outfit that left her arms and midriff bare. In addition to it providing no
camouflage whatsoever, he found it…distracting.

I tell her to wear black, and she says she doesn‘t have anything ―suitable‖ in that color. I tell
her this ship won‘t work, and she says it‘ll take too long to acquire another one. I tell her this
is a bad idea that‘s doomed to failure, and she acts like she‘s deaf. Force, Padmé, you‘re
killing me!

Glancing over at the co-pilot‘s seat, he could see that Padmé was still giving him the silent
treatment. After his third time of predicting doom, she bluntly told him to shut up or don‘t
bother doing his duty to her. Now she wasn‘t saying a word to him, and he was still predicting
doom only now he kept it in his head.

This is a nightmare, Vader sulked as he sent them shooting into hyperspace. Padmé, your
heart is in the right place, but you are not a superwoman. You can‘t just go to Geonosis and
save Kenobi all by yourself; not even with my help. It‘s just not going to happen.

Now that they were on their way, Padmé retreated into the small cabin in the back. Vader
sighed and left Artoo to monitor their progress and retreated to a seat along the wall just
behind the cockpit area of the ship. While he didn‘t particularly enjoy the current breakdown in
their ―relationship‖ – to use the term very loosely – it gave him much needed time to think
without interruption.

It‘s a pity that I never thought to write up a secret will in case of situations like this one. But,
to be fair, I never imagined I‘d be dumb enough to go along with something so obviously
suicidal. If only it wasn‘t Padmé… If it was some other Senator that I don‘t give a crap about,
I‘d sit on him (or her) with a clear conscience and no remorse.

Shaking his head, he pushed back his brooding and did his best to focus on the task at hand.
He needed to prepare himself mentally for what he might encounter on Geonosis. At the
moment, he was in absolutely no mood for surprises. And the best way to avoid surprises was
to think things through.
Lemme see… We‘re going to Geonosis, so there are the natives to worry about. And Kenobi
said that the Trade Federation was involved, and the Commerce Guilds, and the Corporate
Alliance, and…and…

He‘d noticed the name before, but now that he really thought about it, it hit him like a
durasteel fist to the back of his head.


The monster that he‘d been running and hiding from for so long. The stuff his nightmares were
made of. The piece of scum that dared to once call himself a Jedi. And now he was heading
right for him.

Oh Force, I think I‘m going to be sick. He buried his face in his hands and fought the urge to
hyperventilate. No, no, no, no, no, no, no…

It was too late to back out now. Too late to turn back. Way too late to escape. Now the
mission‘s failure wasn‘t probable, it was certain.

Sharp fingers of dread stabbed and clawed at his guts. He felt lightheaded in a very bad sort
of way. The air grew cold and heavy and it pressed down on him like a hydraulic jack. He
could practically feel his own death creeping up on him.

A dry binary chatter combined with the soft hum of a miniature repulsor drew him to the

―What is it Orbie?‖

While he claimed no fluency in the electronic trills of droids, he could usually take a good
guess at what was being said. And due to his great familiarity with Orbie, he was pretty sure
he knew what the question was when it was asked.

―Oh, I‘m fine, just having one of my meltdowns. Give me ten minutes and I‘ll be fine.‖
Sometimes it‘s so easy to lie to droids that it‘s scary.

Orbie accepted his answer and drifted away.

Calm down. Gotta calm down. Freaking out like this is a good way to get killed. Got to calm

Things are going to be fine. Well…there‘s a possibility that things‘ll be fine. I just have to make
sure that we don‘t get caught. It‘ll be all right so long as we don‘t get caught…

Hours later, Vader was back in the pilot‘s seat and Padmé was back in the co-pilot‘s seat.
They‘d come out of hyperspace above the planet of Geonosis and now were skimming low
over the surface of the desert world. They were heading towards where Kenobi‘s signal had
originated from to track him down from that point. Then, as they rounded some rocky mesas,
they spied something that had no business being in a desert: rising columns of white steam.

―See those columns of steam straight ahead?‖ Padmé murmured. ―They‘re exhaust vents of
some type.‖

Obviously. ―That‘ll do,‖ he decided.
With a twist of the steering controls, he angled the sleek, shiny ship into one of the columns of
steam. He eased the yacht down into the circular depression until the landing struts rested on
something solid. Then he shut the ship down and triggered the ramp. Under the cover of the
steam, even Padmé‘s sparkly ride would be well hidden.

―Look, whatever happens out there, follow my lead,‖ Padmé instructed sternly. ―I‘m not
interested in getting into a war here.‖ She shrugged on a smart little white cape that matched
the rest of her outfit. ―As a member of the Senate maybe I can find a diplomatic solution to
this mess.‖

So that‘s your master plan, is it? ―Don‘t worry. I‘ve given up trying to argue with you.‖ He
followed her and shrugged on his cloak. Definitely no interest in arguing with you, but right
now I‘m starting to get tempted to hit you, regardless of who you are to me…

He obediently trailed after her out of the ship and into the steam vent. The air was thick,
warm, and wet, pretty much like how he expected it to be. They marched along a
maintenance walkway right up to a sealed hatch. Vader reached out and triggered it open and
then they slipped inside…

Artoo watched Padmé and Padawan Vader leave the ship and traverse the steam vent. While
they hadn‘t told him to come along, they certainly hadn‘t told him not to. In fact, they hadn‘t
given him any orders at all.

Hmm, he considered. They might need my help…so I‘ll go with them!

Comfortable with his choice, he started to follow them.

WHERE ARE YOU GOING? the annoying hovercam droid asked.


droid, Orbie, made a rude noise and dropped down to hover right in front of Artoo‘s single
‗eye.‘ IF YOU GO, I GO TOO!


I CAN BE YOUR LOOK-OUT, YOUR EYE-IN-THE-SKY! Orbie backed away from Artoo to peer out

Artoo made a rude blatting noise. FINE, WHATEVER, WE‘LL WAIT FOR A MINUTE BEFORE WE
FOLLOW. And you‘d better stay out of my way when we go…

I‘ve got a bad feeling about this…

Just beyond the hatch where they had come in was a long, dark tunnel. Some light filtered up
through the floor grating, but it was barely enough to see by, and it left very inconvenient
shadows all along the circular walls of the tunnel. The eerie, subterranean setting alone was
enough to make him uneasy.
But it was much more than that. He sensed something, lots of somethings, scuttling around
the edges of his awareness. It was almost like they weren‘t alone in the tunnel, even though
he didn‘t see anything.

―Your eyes can deceive you, don‘t trust them.‖

Vader flinched a little at the fragment of memory of one of Kenobi‘s many lessons. It certainly
applied in this instance. But before he could do anything about the creepy ―somethings‖ that
he sensed, his ears detected some very troubling sounds.

His pace slowed as the faint scrabbling noises echoed through the tunnel. Padmé slowed too,
as she heard it also. A feeling of rising danger prickled over his spine and he came to stop.

―Wait,‖ he muttered, tapping her wrist.

Abruptly there was a terrible shrieking cry and he spun around to find a wingless insectoid
creature lunging at them. He snapped on his sapphire-bladed lightsaber and cut the thing
down in a fraction of a second. The problem was, there were many more where that one came

Padmé wisely jogged ahead to avoid being attacked by the giant, ugly bugs, as she had no
weapon to defend herself with. Vader hung back and kept slashing the attackers apart. They
were boiling off the walls, right out of the shadows where he hadn‘t been able to see them,
and they just keep coming in suicidal charges.

It‘s times like these when I really hate being right. He slowly gave ground and backed towards
where Padmé had gone. Ugh, where the hell are all these things coming from?

When there was a lull in the onrush of bodies, Vader turned and sprinted over to Padmé. She‘d
gone through a doorway, but stopped just a few steps in. He could see why.

She was standing on a retractable bridge that was only extended a few feet out from the wall.
And below the bridge was a maze of conveyor belts lined with manufacturing machines. It was
the droid foundry that Kenobi had mentioned and it was running full tilt.

This way was a dead-end, but before they could retreat, the door closed behind them. Then
the bridge fully retracted, leaving no place to stand. Vader managed to jam his hand between
the two doors and keep from falling. He tried to catch Padmé, but she slipped through his
fingers and fell with a scream.


She landed on one of the conveyor belts and got up quickly, apparently unhurt. The belt
carried her away and Vader hesitated only a moment before letting go of the door and leaping
down onto the conveyor belt with her. Before he could catch up with her, giant flying insects
dived at him and he had to relight his saber and cut them down.

What is wrong with these things? Why do they keep coming? Don‘t they see how easily I kill
their friends?

The suicidal alien insects kept on charging at him and diving at his head, and he kept on
slicing them into pieces. Some that were only injured where knocked back into the machinery
and ground up or squished. One warrior showed up with a weapon of some kind and fired it at
Vader, but he easily rolled out of the way of the green pulse and then cut the insect in half.
Tired of being rushed, Vader abandoned his position and leapt onto a different conveyor to
escape his attackers. Taking a moment to catch his breath, he darted around robotic arms
that danced in repetitious movements over squares of durasteel and sprayed sparks
everywhere. He needed to catch up to Padmé and make sure she didn‘t die.

Artoo opened the door and saw a vast factory laid out before him. Machines were lined up in
rows and manufacturing other machines. For a nanosecond, he wondered if he‘d come from a
similar sort of factory.

WOW, Orbie whistled. THIS IS IMPRESSIVE.

YEAH, Artoo couldn‘t help but agree.

UH-OH. Orbie hovered out over Artoo‘s sensor dome. IT DOESN‘T LOOK LIKE THERE‘S A WAY

NO I DON‘T, Artoo snorted. WATCH THIS. He settled back on his two main legs and activated
his rockets. Hovering for a moment, he blasted his way out over the factory. YOU‘RE NOT THE

HEY! Orbie squealed and zipped after the Astromech. WAIT FOR ME!

Padmé looked around nervously. She was surrounded by enormous machines and sparks, and
deafened by all the loud sounds. Beneath her the belt drew her in one direction, past machine
after machine that was doing something to the durasteel plates on the belt with her.

Maybe this wasn‘t such a good idea…

Up ahead, she noticed massive stamping equipment. Huge rectangular presses slammed down
on the metal plates. And the presses were so wide, there was only one way to get past them.

This was definitely not such a good idea.

Biting her lip, she concentrated on her timing. Just as she came up to the first press, she
waited until it lifted before scuttling beneath it before it crashed down again. Then she had to
hop over low-slung robot arms that traced laser beams over the metal that had just been
stamped. She had to do a little dance to keep from being drawn under the next massive press
until she was ready to dart underneath it.

Then, just when she got past the line of crushing stamping machines, she was attacked by a
flying Geonosian. It flittered up to her and tried to take her prisoner. She tried to fight it off,
but it held her wrists fast. And just when she got free, she was knocked off balance and fell off
the conveyor.

Instead of plummeting to her death, she landed inside what appeared to be a giant pot or
cauldron of some kind. It was so big she couldn‘t climb out of it, or even reach the rim. And
the insides were too smooth and steep for her to get any purchase to scramble out.

The cauldron kept moving, though she couldn‘t see where. But after a while of fruitless
jumping and climbing, she noticed that the air was starting to get warm. A sense of dread
hovered over her.

I have a bad feeling about this…
Orbie buzzed along behind Artoo, keeping his camera eye on the look-out for either Vader or
the Senator. Along the way he saw rows upon rows of droids in various stages of assembly. He
wondered what the droids being produced would be used for. They seemed spindly and frail.
Perhaps they would be house servants.

When they flew by a line of cauldrons that were waiting to be filled with molten metal, he saw
a problem.


NO SHE‘S NOT, Artoo snapped. I‘LL FIX IT.

The Astromech blasted over to a walkway where some controls were located. He landed and
rolled over to the control box. Orbie watched anxiously as he jack into the computer and sliced
into the programming.

OH HURRY! Orbie fussed. The Senator‘s cauldron was drawing dangerously close to the spigot
that dispensed the liquid metal. HURRY!

It didn‘t take the crazy bugs long to find Vader again. Another one with a weapon showed up
and fired two blasts at him. He dodged both and cut the warrior bug down with one swipe.

Force, enough already!

More Geonosian bugs showed up and Vader decided that he was tired of chopping them up.
Spying some droid parts nearby, he used the Force to hurl the chunks of metal at his attackers.
He found that technique to be slightly more effective than individually cutting each bug down
as he could wipe them all out at once with just two gestures.

Alright, I‘m outta here!

He flipped upwards onto a higher conveyor to see if his higher vantage point could help him
locate Padmé. However, a second after landing, the moving belt slammed him into a robot
arm that knocked him flat on his back. In the next second, his lightsaber and the hand that
was holding it was pressed under a droid part and thoroughly trapped.

Vader stared at the metal encasing his arm. Damn. He tried to yank his hand and weapon free,
but he found himself stuck fast. Damn it!

And then he looked ahead to see what sorts of machines he had to look forward to. What he
saw horrified him. There were enormous blades that looked disturbingly like gigantic butcher
knives that were wielded by psychotic cooks.

Oh shit!

Padmé redoubled her efforts to get out of the cauldron, but remained unsuccessful. Then her
cauldron moved underneath a spigot of some kind and the bottom of it started to iris open.
Only…to close again.

She blinked up at it, confused. Then her cauldron jerked and dropped to the factory floor. It
tumbled on its side and Padmé rolled right out onto the floor.
Phew! she sighed and picked herself up. I made it!

Her relief died very quickly. Before she could flee into the shadows, a score of winged
Geonosians surrounded her. They screeched and chattered aggressively and hefted strange
weapons at her.

Seeing no way out, she held up her hands in surrender…

Vader started at the massive chopping butcher blades as they drew closer and closer. No
matter how he tugged and squirmed, he couldn‘t break free. And then he was at the blades.

At the first blade, he threw himself over the part that had his hand trapped just before the
blade slammed into the space where he‘d just been. Then he had to flip back to where he‘d
been as the second blade of the pair chopped near his trapped hand. There was a brief break
before another set of monster butcher blades came up and he tried to free himself again. But
he was still stuck.

When he reached the second set of blades, he repeated what he had done to survive the first
set. Once he passed them, he tried to get free of the part again, and this time he was
successful. He quickly rolled to his feet and brandished his lightsaber. Only…

―Oh, not again.‖ He groaned and stared at the hilt, which had been chopped cleanly in half and
now sparked uselessly in his hand. ―Kenobi‘s gonna kill me.‖

There was a metallic rumbling sound and several Droidekas rolled in around him. They
uncurled and pointed their weapons at him. And then a man in silver armor dropped in from
above and pointed a blaster pistol at him.

―Don‘t move, Jedi!‖ the armored man commanded. ―Take him away,‖ he instructed the

Vader looked around. Even more Droidekas were arriving now. With a ruined lightsaber, he
had no chance. He tossed the useless hilt down and held up his hands.

Damn it! So much for not getting caught…

Orbie bobbed unhappily over Artoo as they watched both their Human masters get taken into

WHAT DO WE DO NOW? Orbie moaned.

WE WAIT, Artoo decided.

‗WE WAIT‘? WHAT IF WE GET CAUGHT? Orbie squealed.

down the catwalk towards the shadows. NO ONE PAYS ANY ATTENTION TO DROIDS.

Vader marched alongside Padmé, still playing the bodyguard even though they had been taken
prisoner. He kept his posture straight and stiff and his face stoically blank. Only he knew how
freaked out he was, and he would keep it that way.
Their Geonosian captors marched them into a meeting room deep in the hive complex. In the
center of the room was a large table with a few chairs. On the far side of the table was the
absolute ugliest Geonosian that Vader had yet seen. Standing near the ugly Geonosian was
the man in the silver armor, probably doing the bodyguard thing too. And then…then there
was Dooku.

In spite of himself, he paled and almost stumbled. He tightened and thickened his mental
shields as much as he could and somehow managed to keep pace with Padmé. She proudly
marched right up to the chair waiting for her on the table, opposite from Dooku and his
cronies. She sat down in the chair as if she owned the place and he remained standing beside

Oh Force. He sees me! He‘s staring!

―You‘re holding a Jedi Knight, Obi-Wan Kenobi. I‘m formally requesting that you hand him
over to me now.‖ Padmé demanded sternly.

Dooku finally broke his stare with Vader to answer her. ―We don‘t recognize the Republic here,
Senator. But if Naboo were to join our alliance, I could easily hear your plea for clemency.‖ His
voice was smooth and smug and it made Vader want to puke.

―And if I don‘t join your rebellion?‖ Padmé snorted, doing nothing to conceal her disdain.

―The Republic cannot be fixed, my Lady,‖ Dooku replied sternly, like he was talking to a
disobedient child. ―It is time to start over.‖

―I know of your treaties with the Trade Federation, Commerce Guilds, and the others, Count,‖
Padmé spat. ―I will not forsake all that I honored and have worked for and betray the

―Without your cooperation, I‘ve done all I can for you.‖ Dooku shrugged and made some
attempt to sound sorry about it.

You‘re a lousy faker you bastard! Vader thought viciously, with a tinge of hysteria. Quit
playing the noble good guy! You‘re not noble or good!

The really ugly Geonosian clicked and barked some orders to the guards. The warriors, armed
with spears, hissed at them. Padmé got out of the chair and they were led out of the room.

As soon as he was out from under the Count‘s cold, dark eyes, his shoulders slumped in relief
and his knees shook. He was so glad that the old bastard hadn‘t said anything to him in front
of Padmé. The old creep could‘ve ruined him right there, but he hadn‘t.

That‘s probably the nicest thing that crazy bastard ever did for me, he realized. I‘d tell him
thanks… Nah, I wouldn‘t.

The guards led them to what was probably a detention area. Padmé‘s cape was taken away
and so was his dark cloak. Then their hands were manacled together and shoved into a
holding cell.

Well, Padmé was. Before Vader could go in with her, the insectoid guards stopped him.
Instead of joining her, he was escorted elsewhere.

He was shoved into a different chamber and left there. Unfortunately, he wasn‘t alone for long.
Moment later, Dooku arrived.
Vader blanched and pressed himself in the far corner of the room. Dooku strode right up to
him and studied him critically. Then he chuckled darkly.

―My, my, you almost look convincing,‖ Dooku sneered. ―Amazing how well they managed to
clean up a little piece of street trash like you and make you resemble a proper Jedi Padawan.
But we know better, don‘t we?‖

Vader couldn‘t decide whether to be scared at the man‘s close proximity, or furious at his
insulting comments.

―The Order truly has become blind if they can‘t see through this thin disguise,‖ Dooku sighed
sadly. ―Oh well. I am to pass you a message from Lord Sidious. He is pleased with what
you‘ve done in infiltrating the Jedi Order.‖

He‘s pleased? Vader felt cold and sick. I-I didn‘t ‗infiltrate‘ anything!

―You are to continue on with the Jedi until Lord Sidious calls you to action when it is time,‖
Dooku added. ―However, he has one small assignment for you until then. You remember
hearing of the previous apprentice, Darth Maul the Zabrak?‖

Vader somehow managed to give a jerky nod.

―Lord Sidious was most unhappy when Maul was slain. He desires revenge on the Jedi who
killed him.‖ Dooku flashed him a cold smile. ―And it just so happens that that Jedi is Obi-Wan

Vader found a way to get even paler.

―Obi-Wan is a skilled and resourceful young Jedi. I have no doubt that he will manage to
survive the Geonosians‘ attempts to execute him. Lord Sidious feels the same way. His
assignment for you is to kill Obi-Wan Kenobi, and make sure that his murder is not traced
back to you.‖ Dooku narrowed his eyes. ―Do you understand?‖

Vader couldn‘t breathe. He couldn‘t speak. He could only stare in complete horror.

Dooku lost his patience and yanked on Vader‘s Padawan braid so hard he screamed and
wondered how it didn‘t come out at the roots. ―Do you understand?‖

―I understand!‖ Vader sobbed. ―I understand!‖

―Good,‖ Dooku growled and let go of the braid. ―Lord Sidious wishes you to eliminate Obi-Wan
as soon as possible. War is coming and he doesn‘t want Obi-Wan to play any major role in the
coming battles.‖

No, no, no, no— ―What-what‘s going to happen next?‖ he croaked, blinking back tears.

―It‘s likely that the Geonosians will try to execute you too,‖ Dooku shrugged carelessly. ―But I
trust that Obi-Wan has managed to train you well enough to survive.‖

―What of-of the S-Senator?‖ he gulped.

―She no longer matters,‖ Dooku replied. ―She has served her purpose in drawing the Viceroy
of the Trade Federation into my hands. The war will begin very soon, and her survival or death
is no longer important. Do with her what you please.‖
Vader stared down at the floor beneath his boots. He felt indescribably awful. So cold and
alone in the rising Darkness…

―Tell no one of your mission, young Skywalker, or the consequences will be dire.‖ Dooku
leaned in menacingly. ―Do you understand?‖

―Yes, sir,‖ he whispered hoarsely. Shamefully.

Dooku tore at his braid again. ―What was that? I didn‘t hear you.‖

―Yes, sir!‖ Vader wailed.

―Very good,‖ Dooku purred. ―Very good.‖

The frozen black hole that was Dooku slowly drifted away, leaving Vader alone for a while. He
hung his head, slumped to the floor, and cried. The part of his scalp where his braid was
attached throbbed and he felt incredibly sick. The only reason that he could think of for not
throwing up was that he hadn‘t eaten anything recently enough.

Some time later, a pair of Geonosian guards collected him from the chamber and dragged him
back to Padmé‘s cell. Along the way he managed to stop sobbing and wipe the tear tracks
away with his sleeve. Padmé would throw enough questions at him as it was without catching
him weeping like a baby.

Sure enough, as soon as he was tossed in with her, she fired question after question at him.
But he didn‘t answer her. He couldn‘t. He just sat in the corner and stared blankly at the floor,
trembling slightly.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no…

Despite being handcuffed and held prisoner, Padmé marched proudly into the judging chamber
with Padawan Vader at her side. She was intensely curious about what had been done to him
while they were apart. He‘d looked thoroughly worked over when he‘d been returned to her.
But he had yet to say a word to her.

The chamber was very dark, lit primarily by a single shaft of light let in from the outside. They
were positioned in the shaft of light, right in front of the grand podium where Archduke Poggle
the Lesser sat to judge them. All around were bleacher-seats filled with many Geonosians.
There was also a section of seat filled with other aliens – the Separatist leaders – among them
the Viceroy of the Trade Federation, Nute Gunray.

―(You have been charged and found guilty of espionage.)‖ Archduke Poggle declared in his
clicking, buzzing language.

―You‘re committing an act of war, Archduke,‖ Padmé replied boldly. ―I hope you‘re prepared
for the consequences.‖

―(We build weapons, Senator…that is our business!)‖ Archduke Poggle snorted. ―(Of course
we‘re prepared.)‖

―Get on with it! Carry out the sentence! I want to see her suffer!‖ Nute Gunray shouted from
the gallery.
―(Your Jedi friend is waiting for you, Senator.)‖ Archduke Poggle announced. ―(Take them to
the execution arena!)‖

Their guards buzzed something threatening at them and led them away. Padmé kept her head
held high, refusing to let the Geonosians and other Separatists see any weakness in her. She
would meet her death with dignity and honor, something that the greedy Separatists no longer

You will not break me. You cannot break me. I am not afraid to die for what I believe…

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                          font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                        27. 26: The Arena

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews: 459
- Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                           Chapter 26
                                            The Arena

Directly after their ―trial‖ Vader was loaded into a hover-chariot alongside Padmé. Just ahead
was an entryway that led out into the glaringly bright execution arena. The sounds of buzzing
insect wings and raucous cheers drifted in from the outside.

Vader knew it wasn‘t really appropriate, but he couldn‘t help himself. He leaned over and
whispered in her ear. ―I know this isn‘t exactly a firing squad, but…I told you so!‖

Padmé glared at him, but said nothing in reply.

When she looked away from him, he took the opportunity to study her. He didn‘t really share
the Count‘s optimism that he would survive the Geonosian arena, and so he decided to
commit his last moments with her to memory. If he died today, he would die remembering her.
If he didn‘t…well, things were going to be a mess and good memories would be hard to come

She looked sad, resigned, and perhaps a little afraid. It was enough to make him feel bad
about his ―I told you so‖ comment. He hesitated for a moment before speaking.

―Don‘t be afraid,‖ he murmured.

―I‘m not afraid to die,‖ Padmé replied quietly.

―Really?‖ He snorted and looked away. ―Well, you‘re doing better than I am.‖

―I thought Jedi didn‘t feel fear,‖ she muttered.

―I didn‘t say I was afraid,‖ he grumbled. ―I‘m just a little nervous.‖

Padmé made no attempt to reply. She seemed quite content to wait for their impending doom
in silence. Vader was left even more uncomfortable than before.

Maybe… Maybe I should tell her the truth. There‘s a good chance that one or both of us is
going to die in a few minutes. Do I really want to die – or have her die – without her knowing
who I really am?

Before he could make up his mind on the matter, a wingless Geonosian drone hopped onto the
back of the Orray that was hitched to the chariot and spurred it on with a high-pitched,
The Orray groaned and shambled forward out of the shadows and into the blindingly bright
sunlit arena. All around them were scores upon scores of wingless Geonosian drones and
winged Geonosian warriors, crying for their blood. Their chariot brought them near the center
of the sandy arena where four stone pillars stood.

Kenobi was already chained to the nearest pillar, his arms bound above his head. He stared at
the pair of them in stunned disbelief as they were carted past him. Vader forced himself not to
cringe under the weight of the Jedi‘s eyes on his back.

Padmé was dragged off the hover-chariot first and led two pillars away from Kenobi. A winged
warrior fastened a length of chain to her wrist manacles and then flew up to the top of the
column to fasten it to some kind of ring up there. And then it was his turn.

Vader compliantly followed the Geonosians to the column between Padmé and Kenobi. He too
had a chain fastened to his manacles and the flying Geonosian guard that accompanied him
flittered up to the top of his column. Looking towards Kenobi, he braced himself for whatever
rebuke the man was going to throw at him.

―I was beginning to wonder if you‘d got my message,‖ Kenobi grumbled.

―I retransmitted it just as you had requested, Master.‖ Vader replied. ―Then we decided to
come and rescue you.‖ Well, Padmé did, but I did nothing to stop her so… Yeah, we decided to
rescue you.

Kenobi tugged at his chains. ―Good job.‖

Vader cringed as much as he could with his arms strung up over his head. Oh, ouch! Yeah, I
deserved that…but ouch.

―(Settle down. Settle down.)‖ The ugly Geonosian Archduke called from a highly placed
balcony where all the guests of honor watched the spectacle.

The rabid cheering of the Geonosian crowd obediently quieted.

―(Let the executions begin.)‖ Archduke Poggle declared, probably with some grand gesture.

This announcement, of course, reignited the crowd‘s wild cheers.

Gates at the far end of the arena from their position slowly opened. The first thing to lumber
out of the shadows was an enormous Reek with scaly reddish-brown skin and three heavy
horns. The next creature to be driven out into the harsh sunlight was a shrieking Acklay, a
disturbing blend of reptile and crustacean. And finally came a lithe Nexu with a wide toothy
mouth. It took great offense to being prodded along by one of the wingless Geonosian
picadors and leapt upon the unfortunate being and tore it apart.

Ow… ―I‘ve got a bad feeling about this,‖ Vader muttered.

As the animals were carefully herded towards them, the crowd grew more and more excited.
Vader personally found their enthusiasm nauseating. If he made it off this planet alive, he
never planned on coming back.

―Just relax,‖ Kenobi ordered. ―Concentrate.‖

―What about Padmé?‖ Vader frowned. What can she do? She doesn‘t have the Force like we do.
Kenobi gave him an odd look for suddenly being on a first-name basis with her before nodding
in Padmé‘s direction. ―She seems to be on top of things.‖

Vader looked over and saw that Padmé was no longer standing where she had been moments
before. Somehow she‘d gotten one of her hands free and now was nearly at the top of her
pillar. He gaped at her for a minute.

What the… How did she do that?

The Acklay was the first of the beasts to strike. It scuttled right up to Kenobi and stabbed at
him with one of its sharp foreclaws. Kenobi ducked the first swipe and the second stab
fortunately severed his chain. Now free to move about, Kenobi continued to duck and weave
the Acklay‘s relentless stabbing strikes.

The Reek came in next. With some generous prodding from the picadors, the Reek bellowed
and stampeded right for Vader. Grimacing in concentration, he gathered the Force to him, and
at the right moment he leapt up, twisted around, and landed perfectly on the beast‘s back. He
then caught his heavy chain and tossed it around the Reek‘s thick nose horn. When it tossed
its head to shake off the impact with the pillar, it snapped the metal chain as if it were string.

The Nexu went after Padmé. He couldn‘t really see what was happening as the Reek wasn‘t
happy to find that it had a passenger and charged off to try and toss him. But he did hear
Padmé scream before he was carried too far away.

His ride really didn‘t like him. It thundered around the arena and managed to dislodge him
from its shoulders. However, his chain was still wrapped around its horn, so he found himself
being dragged along on his stomach as the Reek raged on. Vader gritted his teeth and tried to
keep his arms from being ripped out of their sockets.

Oh, this is fun. This is a lot of fun. This is ten times better than the Shaak.

After being dragged a good distance, the Reek finally came to a stop. Without the constant
tension on the chain, it was able to toss it loose with a violent shake of its head. It stood there,
bellowing and tossing its head in distress.

Vader staggered to his feet and studied the animal for a moment. An insanely brilliant (or
perhaps just insane) idea came to him and he gathered up his broken chain in his hands. Then
he slowly crept toward the Reek with his hand outstretched as he projected soothing thoughts.

Relax big guy. I‘m not here to hurt you like all those jerk-bugs. I want to be your friend. You
help me and I‘ll do my best to help you. Just relax.

When he was close enough, he made another Force-assisted leap onto the Reek‘s back. Before
it could panic and throw him again, he threw his chain around the animal‘s head, catching in
its mouth and forming a crude set of reins. The Reek didn‘t like it very much, but he was able
to hold control of it.

―Hyah! Hyah!‖ he barked and sent the Reek charging back toward the pillars.

As he rode back, he could see that Kenobi and Padmé hadn‘t had much of a better time than
he had. Padmé was still trapped on top of her pillar while the Nexu circled her slowly. Kenobi‘s
pillar had been knocked down by the Acklay and now he and his monster were engaged in a
merry, stabbing chase around the arena.
Vader chose to help Padmé first. He spurred the Reek on and aimed it at the Nexu. Just before
the feline beast could claw its way up the stone column and attack Padmé, his Reek slammed
into it and gored the unfortunately predator to death.

He carefully maneuvered the Reek up against the column and squinted up at her. ―Jump!‖

She hesitated for a moment before standing up and leaping off the top of the column. She
landed behind him on the Reek‘s back and hugged him to keep from falling off. In spite of the
grave situation, Vader grinned.

―Hyah! Hyah!‖ Vader barked again and sent the Reek trotting off to help Kenobi.

Although Kenobi‘s hands were still bound together, he‘d managed to steal a spear from one of
the Geonosian picadors. The Jedi confronted the vicious Acklay and the two stabbed and
feinted at each other for a few moments. Then Kenobi hurled the spear and buried it in the
base of the Acklay‘s serpentine neck.

Vader smirked. Alright!

The Acklay shrieked in furious pain before twisting around to pull the spear out with its jaws.
Then with one bite, it snapped right through the shaft of the spear. Kenobi hesitated before
turning and sprinting away from the beast.

Damn, Vader blinked.

He slowed the Reek down and Kenobi gratefully hopped on behind Padmé.

Okay, Vader glanced around the arena. Now what? Maybe we could ride back through where
we came from and escape the arena that way…

Any fledgling plans he might‘ve had immediately went up in smoke as a squad of Droidekas
rolled into the arena. The deadly droids swiftly encircled the Reek and uncurled into their
offensive mode. The Reek stamped and snorted nervously while Vader held it still. He shot a
glare up at the balcony where the Archduke, and presumably Dooku, was.

I hate you!

Mace strode through the dark tunnel that led to the VIP balcony over the Geonosian execution
arena. Up ahead he could see the backs of the Geonosian Archduke, Poggle the Lesser, Nute
Gunray and his Neimoidian aide, a Human man in silver armor with a young boy, and Count
Dooku. Knowing that all the Jedi he had brought with him were nearly in position for the strike,
he marched on.

Of all those present, there were only two real threats: Dooku and the man in the silver armor,
who he took to be the bounty hunter, Jango Fett. Since the bounty hunter was closer, Mace
moved to neutralize him first. He drew his saber and held the deadly violet blade at the
startled man‘s throat.

―Master Windu,‖ Dooku greeted calmly, ―how pleasant of you to join us.‖

―This party‘s over.‖ Mace declared, fixing Dooku with a stern look.
Sensing that he had revealed himself, the two hundred Jedi that had come with him tossed
aside their cloaks and lit their weapons all throughout the vast arena. The task force was
incredibly varied. It was made up of many different species of varying ages and talents. Along
with well-known Knights and Masters like Ki-Adi-Mundi, Kit Fisto, Saesee Tiin, Aayla Secura,
Luminara Unduli and her Padawan, Barriss Offee, there were just as many lesser known
warriors. Together they were a force to be reckoned with. They were more than enough to
startle the Geonosian crowd into fleeing.

―Brave, but, uh, foolish, my old Jedi friend,‖ Dooku sighed. ―You‘re impossibly outnumbered.‖

―I don‘t think so.‖ Mace scoffed.

―We‘ll see,‖ Dooku chuckled darkly.

The sound of metallic marching feet drew Mace‘s attention back to the shadowy tunnel where
he had just come from. Looming shadows quickly resolved themselves into a different style of
battledroid from the Trade Federation type. They were more heavily built and their blaster
weapons were built right into their arms as Mace discovered when they raised their hands and
fired at him.

Mace was forced to take his blade away from the bounty hunter‘s neck to deflect the lasers
fired at him. Immediately taking advantage of Mace‘s distraction, the bounty hunter put on his
helmet before joining the attack on the Jedi Master. Fett raised his hand and fired a
flamethrower at Mace.

Leaping away from the flames, Mace flipped over the balcony railing, still deflecting laser
blasts from the attacking droids as he jumped away. Gravity pulled him down, but he used the
Force to fight it and cushion his fall. When his boots hit the sand, he shrugged his smoldering
cloak off and prepared for battle. He didn‘t have long to wait as hordes of battledroids spilled
into the arena from every direction…

Obi-Wan carefully hung on to Senator Amidala‘s shoulders, mindful of the slash wounds on her
back from the Nexu. He was still on board the Reek that Vader had managed to briefly tame
and they were all still surrounded by Droidekas. But now the Jedi Order had arrived in force,
so they had a fighting chance.

It was really too bad that a new, more deadly droid army had also arrived in force to meet
them. The Jedi rushed to meet the droids and chaos erupted. A small group of Jedi attacked
the Droidekas that had them held captive and a pair of Knights tossed him and Vader spare

While it wasn‘t as good as his own lightsaber, beggars couldn‘t be choosers. Obi-Wan lit the
replacement blue blade and twisted it around to cut Vader‘s wrist manacles. Vader returned
the favor and used the emerald saber he‘d been tossed to free Obi-Wan‘s hands.

Before they could get off the Reek themselves, an explosion ripped into the ground near them
and the animal panicked and threw them. Obi-Wan was back on his feet instantly and neck-
deep in the fray moments later. When he glanced around, Vader and the Senator were
nowhere to be seen.

There was simply too much going on for him to go track them down, so he focused on keeping
himself alive and taking out as many droids as possible. Not too long after falling off the Reek,
Mace found him. They fought back-to-back, guarding the other from blaster strikes in their
weakest areas.
As Obi-Wan ran through the familiar motions of knocking aside blaster shots, a horrible thing
began to happen. Jedi began to die. He could feel them falling all throughout the arena. And
he had the terrible feeling that many more would die before the battle was over…

One moment, Mace was fighting alongside Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the next he was diving out of
the way of a charging Reek. The Reek, angry and confused, stopped and turned around.
Pawing at the ground, the horned beast charged Mace again and as he dodged it, his violet
blade cut through one of the Reek‘s side horns. However, the awkward position he‘d been at
the time of the strike knocked his saber hilt out of his hands.

The bounty hunter arrived then by way of his jet pack, taking advantage of Mace‘s weaponless
state, he tried to keep it that way. Fett lunged for the dropped hilt, but Mace called it back to
his hand with the Force. Before they could get into a fight, the Reek charged back through
again, this time focusing in on the bounty hunter.

The Reek trampled the man quite thoroughly, damaging the hunter‘s jet pack. When Fett
rolled free, he faced down the Reek as it came back around at him. He drew his blaster pistol
and shot the animal in the eye, killing it instantly.

Mace charged after the deadly bounty hunter, intending to take care of the Mandalorian
himself. Fett shot back with his laser pistol and steadily gave ground as Mace continued to
come at him, blocking every shot. Without a functioning jet pack, there was no escape for
Jango Fett. And when Mace closed the distance, he lopped the bounty hunter‘s head off and
sent his silver helmet rolling away.

The Haruun Kal Master regarded the crumpled form of the Mandalorian sadly for a moment
before moving on to his next opponent. He regretted having to kill the man. But if he had let
the hunter live, he would only have killed more Jedi before he was taken down.

Very soon Jango Fett‘s death faded from his mind. He had more important things to worry
about. Like the battle that continued to rage and intensify all around him…

After being thrown from the Reek, Vader had made it a priority to look after Padmé. Windu
had told him that she was his first priority, that he was to protect her, and so he would. And
when she ran off like a mad woman possessed, he followed.

She‘d picked up a heavy blaster from one of the downed battledroids, and then had sprinted
after the Orray-pulled hover chariot. Padmé swung herself onto the Orray‘s back and then
started shooting at anything that was a droid. Despite thinking that she was crazy, Vader
darted after her and jumped into the hover chariot still hooked up to the Orray and cut down
droids as he passed them.

It was actually kinda fun. But the fun ended when the Orray took a blaster shot to the chest
and crashed into the sand. That overturned the chariot and sent him and Padmé flying. Now
she had taken cover in the limited shelter of the chariot and he was covering her with the
spare lightsaber he‘d been given earlier.

Why did it have to be green? he sulked. I don‘t like green. I like blue.

―You call this a diplomatic solution?‖ He shouted to her as she picked off droids with her
blaster. Really, aren‘t you supposed to be a pacifist?

―No, I call it aggressive negotiations.‖ Padmé called back.
Vader shook his head and continued providing her cover. That‘s cute Padmé. Really cute…

Obi-Wan continued on fighting after the Reek chased Mace off. It was riskier without the
Haruun Kal Master guarding his back, but he would just have to deal with it. Then the Acklay
came back.

One minute he was expertly twirling his lightsaber to deflect a flurry of laser fire, and the next
he was turning around to see the Acklay looming over him. How it had survived the battle so
far he didn‘t know. And there wasn‘t much time to ponder that as it renewed its stabbing
attacks on him.

He cut through one foreleg and then the other as it charged him. Off-balance, the Acklay
tumbled forward and crashed into the ground with a shriek. As it fell, he slashed it across the
chest. And when it was on the ground, he stabbed it in the back, piercing its heart and killing
it instantly.

Then it was back to cutting down battledroids and reflecting blaster bolts.

Will this ever end?

Artoo finally managed to sneak his way into the execution arena. It had taken far too long to
figure out what had happened to Padmé and Padawan Vader and then find his way to him.
Orbie hadn‘t been much help. The dumb camera was distracted by every little thing, always
stopping to record some footage or other of whatever they passed.

That‘s what I get for working with a droid that‘s programmed for taking pictures for tourists.

But now they were finally here, and Artoo felt as much dread as any mechanical being could.
There were lasers firing in every direction, and the numbers of lightsabers were dwindling by
the minute. It was an absolute mess.

THIS DOESN‘T LOOK GOOD, Orbie moaned as he began to record high-quality footage of the

NO, Artoo decided after several seconds of deep consideration. SEE IF YOU CAN FIND PADMÉ


Every time Vader swore the battle couldn‘t get any more intense, it did. Some indeterminable
amount of time after it began, he found himself being driven back along with Padmé in a
circular cluster of other surviving Jedi. The sands of the arena were littered with broken droids,
dead Geonosians, and the corpses of Jedi. And then, just as he felt the dark fist of death
closing in around all of them, the droids inexplicably stopped and lowered their weapons. The
entire arena fell eerily silent.

Glancing around, he found that among the other Jedi in the cluster were Mace Windu and Obi-
Wan Kenobi. Vader was admittedly relieved that his Jedi guardian hadn‘t been stupid enough,
or unlucky enough, to get shot in the head while he was away. A few more Jedi survivors, like
Ki-Adi-Mundi, were herded into the circle with them by droids. Taking a rough count, there
couldn‘t be more than twenty of them left alive, himself included.

―Master Windu,‖ Dooku called down from the VIP balcony, ―you have fought gallantly, worthy
of recognition in the Archives of the Jedi Order. Now it is finished. Surrender, and your lives
will be spared.‖

―We will not be hostages to be bartered, Dooku!‖ Windu bellowed back defiantly.

―Then, I‘m sorry, old friend.‖ Dooku apologized, almost sounding sincerely regretful to Vader‘s

The sea of droids that surrounded them leveled their weapons at the last clump of Jedi and
waited for the signal to resume firing. Vader sucked in a shaky breath, twirled his borrowed
green blade, and brought it up into a high guard over his head. In spite of Dooku‘s confidence
that he would somehow live through this, Vader held no illusions that he would make it off
Geonosis alive. But he would go down fighting along with—

―Look!‖ Padmé shouted and pointed up into the sky.

Several strange atmospheric craft zoomed down from high above. They were odd, boxy things
that were apparently armed to the teeth. Circling down, the craft pumped lasers into the droid
army that surrounded them. As they drew closer, he could see what appeared to be Humans
in white body armor and helmets inside the vehicles.

Who the hell are these guys and where in the galaxy did they come from?

Yoda squinted against the wind as his gunship dipped down towards the surviving Jedi. They
were just in time, it seemed, to keep them from being wiped out entirely. But still…so many
had fallen.

―Around the survivors a perimeter create.‖ Yoda commanded the troops.

All the gunships landed in a circular formation around the stranded Jedi and the clone troops
leapt out to provide cover fire. The Jedi hurriedly hopped into the transports, using their
lightsabers to deflect as much fire as they could. When all the Jedi were on board, the clones
climbed back in too, and the gunships lifted up and out of the arena.

Yoda glanced around at the new passengers aboard his gunship. Master Windu, Ki-Adi-Mundi,
and Fisto had joined him for the moment. He turned to Mace to impart a grave warning.

―If Dooku escapes, rally more systems to his cause he will.‖

As the battle left the arena, Artoo and Orbie were left very much alone.

NOW WHAT DO WE DO? Orbie wondered.


I GUESS, Orbie sighed and took one last panning shot of the arena before ending his recording.
  Submit Review                              27. 26: The Arena

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                                  font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                   28. 27: Battle of Geonosis and the Duel

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews: 459
- Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07
                                          Chapter 27
                                Battle of Geonosis and the Duel

Vader glanced around the inside of the strange, armed transport at the mysterious soldiers
clad in white armor. He had jumped into this particular one with Kenobi and Padmé in the
arena, and while he was glad for the rescue, he was confused. Just who were these soldiers
and where had they come from?

The gunship-type craft banked along with the others around a high, rocky mesa to reveal a
wide open desert plain dotted with machines and droids.

―Hold on!‖ Kenobi advised them as they drew in on this new target.

Clasping a handle hanging from the ceiling, he stood between Padmé and Kenobi and watched
as the target facilities drew closer. There were enormous metallic structures up ahead that he
decided were fuel refineries of some kind. And if the things were filled with highly-combustible
starship fuel, the best way to take them out would be to…

―Aim right above the fuel cells!‖ Vader shouted to the pilot.

The pilot obeyed and several rockets were fired at the targets he‘d specified. The resulting
explosion was intense and totally devastating. After the initial fireball, the metal towers
groaned and collapsed down into the sand, crushing several nearby droids in the process.

―Good call, my young Padawan.‖ Kenobi praised.

Vader grinned for a moment, and then it turned into a scowl. Wait a minute. Did you just call
me your young Padawan? In front of other people? In front of Padmé? Remind me, why was I
so worried about you before?

Deep in the bowels of the Geonosian hive of Archduke Poggle the Lesser was a war room. It
was dark and shadowy, lit only by red glows and the mainly red holographic strategy table
that tracked the progress of various military units. Geonosians scuttled to and fro, manning
numerous consoles. Archduke Poggle, Count Dooku, Nute Gunray and his Neimoidian assistant
stood by the table, watched the battle unfold.

―The Jedi have amassed a huge army.‖ Viceroy Gunray fussed.

―That doesn‘t seem possible,‖ Dooku frowned. ―How could the Jedi have come up with an army
so quickly?‘

―We must send all available droids into battle.‖ Gunray decided.

―There are too many,‖ Dooku dismissed with a wave of his hand.

―(Our communications have been jammed.)‖ Archduke Poggle announced grimly a moment

Yoda squinted against the wind as his gunship rushed through the sky. They were drawing
near the front lines of the real battle. The rescue in the arena had been a relatively minor
operation. Where they were going now was where the real fight was beginning.
―Pilot, land in that assembly area!‖ Mace yelled over the wind.

―Yes, sir!‖ the pilot agreed obediently and changed course appropriately.

The gunship landed at the indicated assembly area within moments. Mace, Kit Fisto, and Ki-
Adi-Mundi leaped out and hurried over to the troops massed there. Yoda remained behind and

―Sir, I have five special commando units awaiting your orders, sir.‖ A clone commander
informed Mace.

The Haruun Kal Master nodded and gestured for them to head off towards the line of
battledroids. Yoda watched as the Human, Nautolan, and Cerean Jedi Master raced off at the
head of their new clone units, leading them into the teeth of a new battle. Satisfied with their
actions, Yoda turned to the pilot.

―To the forward command center take me.‖ he ordered.

Obi-Wan clenched his teeth as the gunship made a hard turn. He could see the Federation
starships that he‘d noticed on his arrival on Geonosis were slowing heaving themselves into
the air in a desperate bid to escape. Unfortunately for them, he couldn‘t allow that to happen.

―Attack those Federation starships!‖ He shouted to the clone soldiers. ―Quickly!‖

Reacting instantly to his instructions, the gunship made a pass at the nearest spherical ship
and fired several rockets at it. The rockets hit their target, sparking blasts of fire over the
white skin. And that was just the beginning…

Yoda‘s gunship soon reached the forward command center that managed the entire battle. The
tiny alien Master rested his hands on his cane and glanced around at the clones and battle
equipment present there. The clone commander in charge of the area jogged over and saluted

―Master Yoda, all forward positions are advancing,‖ the commander reported.

―Very good,‖ Yoda declared and hobbled off the gunship to take command. ―Very good.‖

―This is not looking good at all!‖ Viceroy Gunray fretted as he nervously watched the
Separatist droid forces clash with the mysterious Republican army on the surface of the planet.

―We must get the starships back into space.‖ His aide, a fellow Neimoidian declared and the
two abandoned the holo-table to evacuate themselves and their forces.

―(We have to order a retreat.)‖ Archduke Poggle the Lesser declared.

―My Master will never allow the Republic to get away with this treachery.‖ Count Dooku
promised grimly.

―(I‘m sending my warriors to hide in the catacombs.)‖ The Archduke left the holo-table to view
a red holographic schematic of a spherical object of some kind. ―(The Jedi must not find our
designs for the ultimate weapon. If they find out what we are planning to build, we‘re

The Geonosian noble tapped a few keys and the large red hologram vanished. The schematics,
downloaded onto a small, hand-held holographic storage unit, rested in the palm of the alien‘s
hand. Poggle presented the object to Count Dooku.

―I will take the designs with me to Coruscant,‖ Dooku decided, studying the smaller image of
the red sphere projected by the tiny unit. ―They will be much safer there with my Master.‖

At the forward command center, Yoda surveyed the battlefield. A small sea of droids clashed
with an equal number of cloned soldiers. In one particular area, more Federation starships
were straining against gravity in a bid to find safety out in space.

―Concentrate all your fire on the nearest starship,‖ Yoda ordered.

―Yes, sir!‖ the commander replied. He turned to his fellows that manned the controls to the
heavy laser cannons. ―Move all quadrants to sector 5-1-5.‖

The adjustments were made and multiple beams of crackling blue light slammed in to the
nearest Federation ship. At first it continued to slowly climb, but then it hung briefly still in the
air before falling back to the ground. The impact of the massive ship sparked a miniature
sandstorm that reduced visibility to any ground units in the area and any air units that
happened to be flying through the area at the time.

Vader squinted against the storm of sandy grit that whipped through the open sides of the
gunship. An enormous Trade Federation starship had just been knocked out of the sky and the
resulting impact-shockwave had raised a dust storm of sand and dust that was almost blinding.
The gunship turned away from the heart of the battle in search of clear air so that it could
reorient itself and jump back into the fray.

―Look over there!‖ Kenobi pointed just ahead and to the left.

The dust began to clear and several small shapes became visible, moving quickly away from
the fighting. Two of the shapes appeared to be needle-shaped fighter craft of some kind. The
third shape was a man with a dark cape on a speeder bike.

―It‘s Dooku!‖ Vader choked. Crap! ―Shoot him down!‖ he shouted to the pilot.

―We‘re out of rockets, sir,‖ the pilot replied apologetically.

Out of rockets? Vader stared, wrestling with his rising panic. Well what about the laser—

―Follow him!‖ Kenobi ordered.

Follow him? Vader wanted to scream. I don‘t want to follow him!

―We‘re going to need some help!‖ Padmé yelled over the roaring wind.

Yeah, listen to Padmé. We should—

―There isn‘t time!‖ Kenobi protested. ―Vader and I can handle this!‖
What? Vader openly gaped at him. Are you insane?

The gunship suddenly rocked as fire rained down on it from behind. The needle-nosed fighters
that had been escorting Dooku had fallen back into the gunship‘s blind spot and now rained
laser fire on it. The gunship possessed shields strong enough to hold out against the barrage,
but there was the possibility that under continuous fire they might fail.

They were flying over reddish sand dunes now. It reminded Vader of Tatooine‘s Dune Sea, the
only difference being the red-orange sand instead of pale gold sand. While Dooku comfortable
coasted over the dunes, the gunship was pushed closer and closer to the sands by the heavy
fire from above and behind.

And then it happened. The gunship dipped too low and the flat bottom clipped the crest of a
particularly high dune. The jolting impact rattled the passengers and Padmé along with a
soldier were jarred loose as the ship rose again. They fell out and rolled right down the steep
side of the dune, limp as rag dolls.

―Padmé!‖ Vader shouted, horrified. NO! ―Put the ship down!‖ I need to go get her!

―No!‖ Kenobi interrupted. ―Follow that speeder!‖

―Lower the ship, then!‖ Vader snarled. I can jump out and get her!

―No!‖ Kenobi shook his head. ―I can‘t take Dooku alone! If you help me catch him, we can end
this war right now!‖

No you can‘t! Vader wanted to scream. ―But…what about Padmé?‖

―One of the clones fell out with her!‖ Kenobi replied. ―He‘ll take care of her! She‘ll be fine!
Keep your mind on what we‘re doing!‖

Vader blinked, startled. He glanced around at the white-armored soldiers, stupefied. They all
looked the same in the armor; same exact build, same exact height.

They…they‘re all clones?

At the forward command center, Yoda bowed his head over his cane. The Force, so loud and
chaotic from all the death and destruction going on around him, yielded a disturbing ripple to
him. Reading it, he felt the need to be on the move to somewhere. Some place that was vitally

―Hmm,‖ he grumbled as he considered his options.

―The droid army is in full retreat,‖ the clone commander announced, breaking into the ancient
Jedi‘s thoughts.

―Well done, Commander,‖ Yoda replied. ―Bring me a ship.‖

The gunship lurched and bucked under the withering fire of the Geonosian fighter craft. Vader
knew that the shields wouldn‘t hold out much longer. But a bright spot appeared on the
Dooku apparently reached his destination: a cave high up on a sandstone cliff with a metal
platform jutting out in front of it. The ex-Jedi flew right inside; it was probably a secret hanger
of some kind with a ship waiting for him. The old man was trying to escape Geonosis.

Vader and Kenobi‘s job was to make sure that he didn‘t. Their gunship pulled right up to the
metal platform and he and the older Jedi leaped out and darted inside. Just behind them, as
the clone soldiers tried to follow them, the shields on the gunship failed and it, and the
soldiers, vanished in a ball of fire.

Jogging alongside Kenobi, Vader followed his example and lit the green lightsaber he‘d been
given. They raced through the dark tunnel into a cave-like hanger. An oval-shaped ship sat
there, tended to by a few simple laborer droids.

Count Dooku was there as well, and he casually turned to regard them, completely
unconcerned at the sight of their active weapons. His calm, almost bored stance turned
Vader‘s stomach. Vader‘s hatred of the man only grew and deepened.

Ordinarily, Vader would be terrified out of his mind to be so close to the Count. But now he
had back-up, he had protection. And so his mind-numbing fear retreated at the comforting
presence of Kenobi, and his limitless hatred of the old man boiled up to roar in his ears.

―You‘re going to pay for all the Jedi you killed today, Dooku,‖ Vader snarled. You‘ll pay for that,
and for what you did to me!

―We‘ll take him together,‖ Kenobi instructed quietly. ―Go in slowly on the left—‖

―I‘m taking him now!‖ Vader snapped and charged at the Count.

Something in him had just snapped. Reason fled his mind as the drive for revenge became
overwhelming. He was deaf to Kenobi‘s pleas for him to stop. And it was all a terrible, terrible

Crackling blue lightning slammed into him and hurled him sideways into the stone wall. It
made him scream and set his nerves on fire. He couldn‘t breathe, he couldn‘t move, he
couldn‘t make it stop. The familiar agony left him helpless…and useless.

Obi-Wan couldn‘t help but wince when the boy was blasted into the wall by unnatural blue
lightning that Dooku had cast from his fingertips. Just hearing Vader‘s screams and seeing the
young man writhe told Obi-Wan just how painful the lightning was. When Dooku stopped
pumping the Force-generated electricity into Vader‘s prone form, Obi-Wan began to warily
circle the Sith Lord.

―As you see, my Jedi powers are far beyond yours,‖ Dooku boasted. ―Now…back down.‖

Punctuating his demand, he sent another blast of the infernal Sith lightning towards Obi-Wan.
Snapping up his sapphire blade, he caught the twisted, Dark energy and it was harmlessly
dissipated. When Dooku noticed that his lightning was not having the desired effect, he ended
the assault and lowered his hand.

―I don‘t think so,‖ Obi-Wan replied defiantly.

Dooku drew his curved saber hilt with a dramatic flourish and ignited the bloody crimson blade
in response. The circling immediately ended with the crossing of their blades. There was a
flurry of blows exchanged with neither of them clearly coming out on top.
―Master Kenobi, you disappoint me,‖ Dooku taunted. ―Yoda holds you in such high esteem.‖

Obi-Wan didn‘t bother to reply and redoubled his efforts. He tried to make high attacks and
found them blocked. He slashed in low and repeatedly missed. No matter what he did, Dooku
expertly matched him.

―Surely you can do better!‖ Dooku sneered when their blades briefly locked.

Clenching his teeth, Obi-Wan broke the lock and again tried to best the former Jedi Master.
However, it seemed the Dooku was taking more of an interest in the duel and now expended a
little more effort. The older man drove him back and he was forced to do a back flip to avoid
tripping over the lowered boarding ramp of Dooku‘s ship.

This is not good. Not good at all…

Padmé stirred near the base of the sand dune she‘d rolled down. The impact had winded her
and her long slide left her disoriented. Opening her eyes to the blinding Geonosian sun didn‘t
help matters much. She sat up stiffly with a groan.

Oof…what hit me?

―Are you all right?‖ one of the white-armored solder‘s asked as he jogged over to her.

―Uh-huh,‖ she nodded. Nothing feels broken or anything.

―We‘d better get back to the forward command center,‖ the soldier suggested.

―No,‖ she frowned and staggered to her feet. ―No. Gather what troops you can. We‘ve got to
get to that hanger. Get a transport. Hurry!‖ Obi-Wan thinks that all he needs is that
apprentice of his for back-up, but I don‘t want to take any chances here.

―Right away!‖ the soldier agreed easily and he led her away to some help at an easy jog.

Men, she thought wearily. They think they can handle anything on their own. They don‘t need
anyone else‘s help. And they‘re certainly not going to listen to a woman‘s opinion on the

It was like a dream. No, it was like a nightmare. He lay there, half-propped up against the
cave/hanger wall and watched the duel unfold as his useless body writhed in lingering pain.

The whirling and flashing of the red and blue blades was hypnotic, almost soothing if it wasn‘t
so deadly serious. The quasi-musical hum of the weapons added to the dream-like feel. He
tried to pick up what was being said, but the burning residual pain made it impossible to really
catch anything.

The Count‘s probably bad-mouthing me, Vader hazily decided. He‘s telling Kenobi just how
horrible of a person I am. When old Dooku‘s done, Kenobi‘ll never look at me the same again…

It took too long for the agony and paralysis to fade. Way too long. The haze that clung to his
thoughts dissipated, but slowly. And then a jolt of clarity penetrated the slowly receding
mental fog.
Kenobi cried out as Dooku‘s red blade slid down his to slash at his upper right arm. The cut
was shallow, but the resulting burn was incredibly painful and debilitating. Then Dooku cut
him, this time on his right thigh. In terrible pain, Kenobi crumpled to the floor, his
replacement lightsaber skittering away from his hand.


The Count loomed over Kenobi‘s fallen form menacingly, staring down at the Jedi with a
mixture of disappointment and disgust.


The wicked old man raised his red blade high over his head and then brought it down in a
killing stroke.


Vader wasn‘t sure how it happened. But somehow, some way, he moved from laying against
the wall to holding off Dooku‘s blade with his green one on the complete other side of the
chamber, all in a fraction of a second. The only people more surprised at this turn of events
than he was were Kenobi and Dooku.

―Brave of you, boy,‖ Dooku managed after a moment. ―But I would have thought you‘d
learned your lesson.‖

―I am a slow learner,‖ Vader spat. ―Don‘t you remember?‖ He thrust against Dooku‘s blade
and forced the man to retreat a few steps.

―Vader!‖ Kenobi called and tossed him his saber, which he had called to his hand while the
Count had been distracted.

Vader caught it with his free hand, lit it, and turned both humming blades on the old man.
He‘d never formally studied the art of dual-wielding. He‘d never even tried it as a joke. But he
had done some sword-play with just his left or just his right hand as a sort of fun challenge.
And so he drew on that experience to keep him from hurting himself as he fought.

Unfortunately, his double-bladed assault didn‘t last very long. In fact, in only a few strikes,
Dooku sliced through the emitter of the green saber, destroying it. Vader cast the ruined hilt
aside and shifted back to the more familiar two-handed grip on the remaining blue lightsaber.

Mimicking Dooku‘s fluid style, Vader mirrored every strike and twirl that Dooku made. The old
man had been his first lightsaber teacher, and so he knew the style. It was probably the only
thing that was keeping him alive. Dueling into the back of the cave, Vader‘s blade dipped too
low and sliced through a thick power cable, causing the lights in the area to flicker and die.
They circled each other in the dark, lit only by the glow of their red and blue blades.

―The Jedi have tutored you well, it seems,‖ Dooku growled. ―But it will not be enough, young

Dooku launched into a new attack and Vader was hard pressed to keep up with him. It was a
violent dance of deceptive beauty, with beams of red and blue light spinning and twirling
gracefully. Then Dooku knocked him off-balance and brutally sliced through his sword arm
near the elbow. And then he knew no more as Dooku blasted him backwards, knocking him
out cold…
Obi-Wan lay where he‘d fallen. With his right side incapacitated by the slash on his upper arm
and leg, he was useless. He couldn‘t move well or fast, so it was best if he just stayed where
he was.

He was quite surprised when Vader had leapt to his defense; it wasn‘t something he‘d ever
imagined that the boy would do. But he was glad of the help and did his best to assist Vader.
However, his extra blade didn‘t do much good, and he anxiously watched the rest of the duel
play out.

Watching the two men fight, he came to realize that Dooku was the one who had first trained
the boy. That was the only explanation for how easily Vader mimicked his complex saber style.
It was a style that had long fallen out of favor in the Jedi Order so there was no chance that
he‘d secretly studied it while in the Temple.

Then there was that name. Skywalker? He blinked when he heard it. Is that his name? Or just
another lie?

And then Vader was maimed. His right arm was casually hacked off and then the youth was
smashed into the hard floor. Vader slid several feet before his head came to rest on top of
Obi-Wan‘s shins, unconscious.

Obi-Wan was horrified. Such a mutilation was devastating for anyone, but even more so for a
Jedi. The boy would never be the same again. That was for certain.

―You have done well, Obi-Wan,‖ Dooku chuckled. ―He was really such an abominable
swordsman when I last instructed him. This time he was almost a decent challenge.‖

―You‘re a monster,‖ Obi-Wan hissed. ―He‘s only a boy—‖

―He is more dangerous than you realize,‖ Dooku countered smoothly. ―When you least expect
it, he will stab you in the back.‖

The Count turned away to leave, but froze at the distinctive tapping of a tiny cane. A shadow
slowly flowed into the hanger entrance. And then Master Yoda himself appeared.

―Master Yoda,‖ Dooku greeted.

―Count Dooku,‖ Yoda pronounced grimly, resting his hands on top of his gnarled gimer stick

―You have interfered with our affairs for the last time,‖ Dooku declared ominously.

The Sith Lord made a gesture with his hand and a chunk of metal was ripped off the hanger
wall and flew at the tiny Jedi Master. Yoda dropped his cane and easily stopped the debris,
casting it back into the wall. Dooku tried again, ripping another piece of metal from the
opposite wall. But again Yoda brushed it aside with little effort. Frustrated, Dooku raised both
his hands over his head and pulled down. Large chunks of the rocky ceiling came loose and
rained down on Yoda. The ancient Jedi caught the pieces that threatened to crush him, held
them over his head for a moment, and then tossed them aside.

―Powerful you have become, Dooku,‖ Yoda growled. ―The Dark Side I sense in you.‖

―I‘ve become more powerful than any Jedi,‖ Dooku boasted. ―Even you.‖
Dooku emphasized his claim by firing more of the blue lightning at Yoda. The diminutive alien
caught the blast with his bare hand, held it for a moment, and then reflected it back at the
elderly Human. The Count held up his hand to block the energy and it ricocheted up to the
ceiling where it exploded in a tiny fireball. Dooku hurled another, more powerful blast at Yoda,
who again caught it. This time, instead of throwing it back, he held onto it, absorbing the
twisted energy and harmlessly dissipated it.

―Much to learn you still have,‖ Yoda chided.

―It is obvious that this contest cannot be decided by our knowledge of the Force,‖ Dooku
declared and reignited his crimson lightsaber, ―but by our skills with a lightsaber.‖ The Count
raised his saber and held it in a ready position.

Yoda moved aside his cloak to reveal his lightsaber hilt and used the Force to draw it into his
hand. He lit the tiny emerald blade and grimly raised it in preparation for the impending duel.
Yards away on the floor, Obi-Wan sucked in a deep breath and watched anxiously. Even
though this was deadly serious, he couldn‘t quite squash the sense of excitement he felt at
watching Yoda enter into a rare lightsaber match.

Then Dooku leapt at Yoda and Yoda leapt at him. There was a flurry of strikes that went so
fast it was nearly impossible to follow them. Despite Dooku‘s height advantage, Yoda easily
held his own with energetic spins and flips. Watching him fight, it was unbelievable to think
that he normally needed a cane to walk.

No matter what the Sith did, Yoda matched him. The Master darted all around him, bounced
off walls, and generally ran circles around Dooku. The Sith Lord couldn‘t win this, and Obi-Wan
was fairly certain that Dooku knew that.

The duel briefly came to a halt when both opponents locked their sabers together.

―Fought well you have, my old Padawan,‖ Yoda growled as he strained against the bigger

―This is just the beginning,‖ Dooku promised maliciously.

Dooku reached out into the Force and crushed the bottom of a pillar-like cluster of pipes and
electrical tubing. Obi-Wan stared at the column in horror as it slowly toppled over to crush
both him and Vader. Injured as he was, and with Vader still out cold, there was no way they
could escape.

Yoda dropped his lightsaber and immediately interceded on their behalf. Calling deeply on the
Force, the tiny alien strained with all his might to catch the heavy cluster of metal pipes and
wires, but gravity kept pulling it all down. And then, just when Obi-Wan was sure that they
would be crushed, the pillar leveled out and levitated over their heads. Master Yoda shifted his
focus a little and moved the heavy pillar away from them before dropping it with a
tremendous crash.

The next thing that Obi-Wan heard was the firing of the ship‘s engines. Dooku had taken
advantage of Master Yoda‘s distraction and now his seed-shaped ship lifted off and shot
through a launch tunnel. They had all failed; the Sith had escaped.

So much for ending the war, Obi-Wan sighed to himself.

A soft moan stopped his bitter musings before they could really take off. Obi-Wan stiffly
contorted himself so he could get a better view of Vader, who was still stretched out on the
floor by his shins. After staying unconscious for the entirety of Yoda and Dooku‘s duel, he was
finally coming to.

The young man slowly forced his eyes open, rolled his head to the side, and caught sight of
his mutilated arm. Even in his dazed and disoriented state, the horror Vader exuded was
strong enough to be palpable. As addled as he was, he knew just how terribly his life had been
changed. Obi-Wan couldn‘t help but ache for him.

Master Yoda had retrieved his cane and was now hobbling over to them. His usual stride had
shortened into a weary shuffle. Yoda was old, Obi-Wan knew that, but at the moment he
appeared to have aged centuries in mere minutes; so great was the ancient Master‘s grief.

Then Senator Amidala arrived on the scene with a squad of clone troops. She paused and took
in the scene before jogging over to the Jedi. Apparently she missed the ugly sight of Vader‘s
stump of an arm and checked on Obi-Wan first.

―Are you alright?‖ she asked and gingerly examined the charred cut in his sleeve.

―I‘ll be fine,‖ Obi-Wan hurriedly assured her and somehow staggered to his feet.

Vader was already on his feet. He‘d walked a little ways away from them and turned his back
to them. His shoulders were slumped and trembling, like he was trying not to cry.

Obi-Wan limped painfully over to him and rested a hand on his shoulder. ―Come. Let us leave
this place.‖

―Yes,‖ Vader whispered hoarsely. ―Yes, Master.‖

  Submit Review                               28. 27: Battle of Geonosis and the Duel

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                           font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                   29. 28: The Many Dark Days Ahead

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews: 459
- Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                       Chapter 28
                                 The Many Dark Days Ahead

Obi-Wan sat stiffly on his medical cot and tried not to move overly much. The clone medic that
had tended to him earlier had done a decent job of dressing his wounded arm and leg, but if
he moved too much, it would start to hurt again. So he stayed still and watched his Padawan
lay on the cot next to him.

Vader had barely spoken since he‘d come to after Dooku fled Geonosis. True, there hadn‘t
been much time to sit down and chat. After the duel he and Vader had been hustled off the
planet for medical treatment, and there hadn‘t been more than five minutes at a time when
they‘d had a moment of peace and quiet.

But now things were quiet, they were alone, and Vader still wasn‘t saying anything. Even
though the boy had his back to Obi-Wan, he knew that the boy wasn‘t sleeping. He also knew
that Vader was troubled. The strong sense of horror that he‘d exuded had waned, but a slow
simmering stew of negative feelings still hovered around him like a toxic cloud.

Gathering his thoughts, Obi-Wan prepared to make an attempt to engage Vader in
conversation. However, his attempt was over before it even began as their solitude was once
again broken. Master Windu and Master Yoda had arrived to see them.

―Hello, Obi-Wan,‖ Master Windu bowed. ―Vader.‖

Master Yoda clambered up onto a stool placed between the two medical cots. ―How feel you?‖

―I‘ve been better,‖ Obi-Wan sighed.
Vader remained curled up on his right side, with his back to everyone, and stayed silent.

―Fool us you cannot,‖ Yoda scolded Vader‘s back. ―Awake you are. So tell us: how feel you?‖

There was a heavy pause and Obi-Wan came to believe that Vader wouldn‘t answer; but, as
usual, the boy was full of surprises.

―Does it really matter how I feel?‖ Vader‘s voice was so soft, that if they hadn‘t been listening
for it, they probably wouldn‘t have heard him.

―What sort of question is that?‖ Obi-Wan asked with a frown. ―Of course it matters.‖

―No it doesn‘t,‖ Vader sighed. ―Please…please just leave me alone.‖

―We would very much like to leave you alone,‖ Mace replied, ―but we have some questions
that we need answered before we can do that.‖

Vader‘s shoulders shook a little and he chuckled bitterly. ―Whatever. Ask away.‖

Unsettled by his behavior, Obi-Wan jumped in with the first question. ―What do you know of
the planet Kamino?‖

The bitter, soft laughter died away and Vader was quiet for a few minutes. ―Kamino… I heard
that name thrown around a few times. Never knew what it was or where it was or what the
kriff was so damn important about it. But…somehow it felt important, I guess. That‘s it.‖

―Did Dooku often visit Kamino?‖ Mace asked.

Vader lifted his head off his pillow and half turned it towards them. ―I have no idea,‖ he
muttered in annoyance.

Yoda perked his long ears up. ―Why not? Hmm?‖

―What am I? His keeper?‖ The teen stiffly pulled himself up into a sitting position with his legs
hugged to his chest by his intact left arm. The truncated stump of his right arm was tucked
into the front of his tunics, hidden from sight. ―I wasn‘t told the details of what he did. He
never shared his itinerary with me. I wasn‘t in his ‗inner circle‘ or anything.‖ Vader finally
looked at them, his blue eyes dull, almost dead-looking. ―I was so far beneath him that I was
an insult.‖

Obi-Wan could only stare back at Vader in confusion. What in the name of the Force does that

―Just give us straight answers here,‖ Mace scowled. ―The time for stalling and beating around
the bush is long past us.‖

―Your relationship with Dooku you must explain,‖ Yoda commanded.

Vader gazed blankly back at them for a few minutes before he spoke again. ―Dooku began my
training in the ways of the Force and of the lightsaber, but he didn‘t want to. Any part of my
training and education that he could delegate onto someone else, he did. He would always
observe my lessons and exercises, but he took great pains to keep his hands clean of me. He
rarely punished me directly; he‘d just order one of his hired thugs to do the deed, unless he
had something Force-induced in mind. I disgusted him, my presence offended him, and the
fact that he had to teach me insulted him.‖

―He trained you, but he didn‘t want to,‖ Mace repeated slowly. ―Care to elaborate on that?‖

―He only did it because Darth Sidious ordered him to do it,‖ Vader shrugged awkwardly.

Obi-Wan stiffened at the mention of the name. It was the same one that Dooku had dropped
to him while he‘d been imprisoned by the Geonosians. ―Darth Sidious?‖

―The grand puppet master,‖ Vader muttered. ―He pulls all the strings from the shadows. And
whether we know it or not, we‘re all dancing to his tune…right now.‖

―Don‘t be ridiculous,‖ Mace scoffed.

―Have you met this Darth Sidious?‖ Obi-Wan inquired. He was so tense that his arm and leg
wounds were starting to throb.

―In person? No, thank the Force, no.‖ Vader‘s left arm tightened around his legs. ―I only spoke
with him a few times, by hologram. I never saw his face; he always wore a hooded robe with
the hood pulled down so far that I couldn‘t see anything. They weren‘t very good hologram
connections either, and he was probably disguising his voice too. But I know he‘s an old
Human, and he‘s very real.‖

―Hmm,‖ Yoda tapped his cane a few times on the flat metal seat of the stool. ―For what
purpose was Dooku to train you?‖

―They never out-right said anything specific, but it wasn‘t all that hard to figure out.‖ Vader
shivered a little. ―I was to become a living weapon, a powerful pawn, a tool to be used to
achieve their ultimate goal…‖

Obi-Wan felt cold dread settle over him. ―And what is this ultimate goal?‖

―As far as I can tell,‖ Vader shrugged, ―the ‗ultimate goal‘ is two things. The first is domination
over the entire galaxy. And the second…well, the second is the complete annihilation of the
Jedi Order.‖

The air in the small medical room on board the Republican Star Destroyer grew icy cold.

―Do you know how they plan on accomplishing these goals?‖ Mace asked.

A faint flicker of annoyance flashed through Vader‘s dull eyes. ―No. Like I said, I was beneath
Dooku. He never told me anything more than vague snippets, and Sidious didn‘t say much
more. All I know are little scraps, a name or two, and what I can put together from all that.
That‘s it.‖ He looked away, radiating a genuine sense of apology. ―I‘m sorry.‖

Yoda studied the young man for a moment. ―Anything in particular that we should know?

―Yeah.‖ Vader took a shaky breath. ―There are a few things…‖

―Well?‖ Mace prompted sternly.
―Senator Amidala was used as bait for Nute Gunray. Dooku promised him to kill her to get the
Trade Federations support, but now that the war has started, her life no longer matters.‖
Vader squirmed uneasily on the cot. ―At least, that‘s what Dooku told me…when I was
imprisoned, before the execution arena.‖

―Did he tell you anything else?‖ Obi-Wan inquired, his own encounter with Dooku in the
Geonosian prison running through his mind.

Vader licked his dry lips. ―Sidious…knows that I‘m with the Jedi. Well, according to Dooku. An-
and he‘s…pleased.‖ The boy looked vaguely ill. ―Dooku said that-that, Sidious…has plans for
me…because of my…position. And…‖

He stared right at Obi-Wan, the dullness in his eyes replaced with something of a feverish glint.
―He said that Sidious wanted me to kill you, Master. He wanted revenge for you killing Darth
Maul. Neither of them thought that the Geonosians would be able to kill you, so they wanted
me to murder you and make sure that no one knew that I did it.‖ His voice was soft, but
strained with an almost hysterical edge to it.

―Dooku didn‘t want me to tell you any of that,‖ Vader continued. ―But you know what?‖ A
flicker of something dark, a flash of inhuman yellow, darted through Vader‘s dark blue eyes,
and his voice turned rough. ―Fuck ‘em both.‖

It was night now. Well, according to the warship‘s chronometers it was. In the depths of
hyperspace, it was impossible to tell.

After he‘s spat on Sidious and Dooku‘s names, Yoda and Windu had decided to leave him
alone and left the room. Obi-Wan tried to talk to him, but he was done talking, so he just lay
back down and let the Jedi talk to his back again. Eventually Obi-Wan had given up on talking
and fallen asleep.

Vader couldn‘t sleep. He just lay on the hard medical cot, with his mutilated stump buried in
the folds of his tunics, and stared at the blank metal bulkhead inches from his face. And the
hours slowly crawled by.

He was doomed. A cripple. A useless body to be cast aside and forgotten. Sure, Obi-Wan said
that he‘d have a robotic prosthetic hand surgically attached on his arrival on Coruscant, but he
held no illusions about how well the replacement hand would function. He would never wield a
lightsaber properly again, would never be of use again, and so his time as a Jedi was finished.

The Order would probably keep him around in the Temple. They‘d find some simple, painfully
dull work for him to do, to keep him close. That way they could mine him for more information
and keep the Sith‘s sticky fingers far away from him.

Sometime in the middle of the night, he found himself unable to lie on the cot anymore. So he
got up and left to haunt the ship‘s dim corridors. Only a skeleton crew of clones manned the
ship now that it was ―night‖ and they were in hyperspace, so he had the halls mostly to

No one bothered him. He easily evaded any medical droids that might send him back to bed.
There wasn‘t any reason for him to be confined to his cot; there wasn‘t anything wrong with
his legs or his head. And all the other Jedi were sleeping, so he didn‘t have to worry about
But his fortunate solitude wasn‘t meant to last. He paused by a large window near the bridge
and stared out at the bluish-white mess of hyperspace. And then someone found him. One of
the last people in the galaxy that he wanted to see right then.

―Shouldn‘t you be in bed?‖ she asked.

―Shouldn‘t you?‖ he countered.

He didn‘t look at her, but he could see her reflection in the transparisteel window. Padmé
wasn‘t any happier to see him than he was to see her, and her expression did nothing to hide
that fact. And even if she‘d tried to be pleasant, he would‘ve sensed her unhappiness with him

―What have I done to offend you this time?‖ he asked wearily.

She sighed and scrubbed at her eyes. ―I‘m not mad at you, I‘m just…frustrated.‖

―Frustrated about what?‖ he mumbled, feeling numb. ―Just in general, or about something

―It‘s just this whole situation,‖ she muttered darkly. ―A thousand years of peace and prosperity,
shattered in an instant through greed and misunderstanding. Now war is upon us, exactly
what I feared would happen. It‘s times like these that I hate being right about things.‖

―Yeah,‖ he laughed dully, ―me too.‖

She stepped closer to him and leaned her shoulder against the window to look at his face.
―How is Master Kenobi doing?‖

―He‘ll be fine,‖ Vader replied. ―Some rest, some burn salve, and a soak in a Bacta tank, and
he‘ll be as good as new.‖ Not that I‘ll ever be as good as new again.

She blinked in surprise. ―Really?‖

―He was only grazed by Dooku‘s blade,‖ he shrugged stiffly, somehow keeping his voice from
sounding overly bitter. ―It could‘ve been a lot worse. Master Obi-Wan was very fortunate.‖

―While I wish he didn‘t get hurt,‖ she smiled, ―I‘m glad that he‘ll be all right. Especially since it
seems that all my friends have been dying lately,‖ she added and her smile fell away.

A bitter lump formed in his throat and he looked away from her. He tucked his maimed arm
tighter into his layered tunics and turned to leave. But it was too late. She noticed that
something was wrong.

―Did you hurt your ribs?‖ she asked, concerned. ―If you did, you should be in bed resting.‖

―No, my ribs are fine,‖ he muttered and started to walk off. ―Good night, Milady.‖

―Hold on.‖ She caught him by his left arm before he could make a clean getaway. ―Let me

―You don‘t want to see,‖ he warned her and kept his ruined arm turned as far away from her
as possible.
―Yes I do,‖ she insisted. ―Now take your hand out of your shirts and show me.‖

Vader couldn‘t help but fire off a bitter question as he removed the remains of his right limb
from the cover of his tunics for her inspection. ―What hand?‖

Padmé turned as white as her silly action outfit as she beheld his new deformity. She even
recoiled a step or two at the shock of seeing his arm just…end. He really couldn‘t look at it
himself. If he did, he started to feel incredibly sick. Once he was satisfied she‘d had her fill of
horrified gawking, he tucked it out of sight again.

―Happy now?‖ he muttered.

―Oh…oh Gods!‖ Her hands flew to cover her mouth. ―I-I‘m so sorry!‖

―Yeah,‖ he sighed, ―me too.‖

―What‘s going to happen to you know?‖ she asked, still clearly stunned by his horrific injury.

―Master Obi-Wan says that I‘ll get a mechanical prosthetic attached when we reach Coruscant.
After that,‖ he shrugged awkwardly, ―I don‘t know.‖

She stared down at the deck under her boots for a minute. ―Is there anything I can do to

A bitter bark of laughter slipped out before he could stop it. ―Unless you can turn back time,
no; there‘s nothing you can do.‖ He walked away to return to Obi-Wan. ―But thank you for the
offer,‖ he called over his shoulder to her. ―Goodnight, Milady.‖

Before she could stop him or call him back, he was gone. He wandered the corridors for a little
while longer and then returned to his tiny medical quarters and his sleeping guardian. Tired,
but not sleepy, he curled back up on his hard cot, and waited for time to crawl on once more.

If only you could turn back time, Padmé. Then I could go back and start over with you, start
over with the truth. Or better yet, I could go back to Mom, back to before the Count took me
away and everything went so wrong…

In the crowded airspace over Coruscant, a seed-shaped ship attached to a unique sort of sail.
As it drew nearer to the atmosphere, the sail furled up and was retracted into the ship. With
the sail tucked away, it dove into the Coruscanti sky and skimmed over the surface of the
planet until it reached a barely inhabited industrial district.

The ship slipped into an abandoned factory building that had been converted into a secret
hanger. After touching down, the ramp was lowered and Count Dooku strode down it. A single
cloaked figure, slightly bent with age, was waiting for him.

―The Force is with us, Master Sidious,‖ Dooku declared and bowed his head slightly to his Dark

―Welcome home, Lord Tyranus,‖ Sidious greeted in his raspy voice. ―You have done well.‖

―I have good news for you, my Lord,‖ Dooku smiled. ―The war has begun.‖

―Excellent,‖ Sidious smiled from under his concealing hood. ―Everything is going as planned.‖
―Perhaps not,‖ Dooku replied after a moment‘s hesitation. ―Skywalker made no attempt to
carry out your orders, my Lord. He even went so far as to protect Knight Kenobi from me,
instead of assisting me in killing him. He is unreliable; he could be dangerous to us.‖

―That is not your concern, Lord Tyranus,‖ Sidious rebuked. ―Leave young Vader to me. When
the time comes, he will play his part, and the Jedi and the galaxy will fall at our feet!‖

The abandoned factory in the Works echoed with a gurgling, sinister laugh…

Evening was falling over Coruscant now. Obi-Wan stood uncomfortably by one of the many
windows with Mace in the High Council‘s meeting chamber atop one of the four corner spires
of the Jedi Temple. Master Yoda sat in his council chair, deep in thought. As the High Council
was not in session, no other Jedi were present in the room. The lightsaber burns that Dooku
had inflicted upon him had been mostly healed on the way back to Coruscant and after a day-
long soak in a Bacta tank, he was well on his way to being as good as new. In a few days, he‘d
be cleared for active duty.

―Do you believe what Count Dooku said about Sidious controlling the Senate?‖ Obi-Wan asked
quietly. ―It doesn‘t feel right.‖ We should have sensed something like this if it was true.

―Joined the Dark Side Dooku has,‖ Yoda sighed. ―Lies, deceit, creating mistrust are his ways

―Nevertheless, I feel we should keep a closer eye on the Senate.‖ Mace decided.

―I agree,‖ Yoda concurred.

―And do you believe what Vader told us?‖ Obi-Wan inquired.

―Difficult to say,‖ Yoda grumbled. ―Keep it in mind we must.‖

―At the very least, he seems to confirm that the other Sith is called Darth Sidious, and that
this Sith is not to be underestimated.‖ Mace mused.

―Knows more than he told us, he does.‖ Yoda frowned. ―Perhaps knows more than even he
realizes. Continue to question him over time we must.‖

―Where is your apprentice?‖ Mace asked after a thoughtful pause.

―On his way to Naboo, escorting Senator Amidala home,‖ Obi-Wan replied. At both Masters‘
questioning looks, he hastened to explain. ―She specifically requested him. I believe that she
wishes to give him the opportunity to finish his early recovery on her beautiful home-world,
and perhaps make up for her difficult behavior.‖

The Masters accepted the answer and silence filled the chamber for a while.

―I have to admit that without the clones, it would not have been a victory,‖ Obi-Wan remarked
as he stared out over the cityscape of Coruscant.

―Victory?‖ Yoda asked incredulously. ―Victory, you say? Obi-Wan, not victory,‖ he chided sadly.
―The shroud of the Dark Side has fallen. Begun the Clone War has.‖
Bail Organa stood along with Chancellor and several other Senators, Ask Aak the Gran and
Onaconda Farr the Rodian among them, on a balcony overlooking the Republic‘s new army. It
was evening now and the orderly sea of clones was marching in formation into the bellies of
enormous, wedge-shaped vessels, dubbed Star Destroyers. Most of those present on the
balcony stared down in admiration of their new fighting force, their Grand Army.

Senator Organa, the Viceroy of Alderaan, was not one of those who found anything admirable
about the spectacle that went on below him. All he saw were the grinding gears of war
beginning to turn; a disturbing vision of the many dark days that he knew were coming. He
looked away, feeling a horrible sort of dread press down on his shoulders.

What have we done?

 Submit Review                              29. 28: The Many Dark Days Ahead

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                            font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                     30. 29: Return to Varykino

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                          Chapter 29
                                       Return to Varykino

Vader stared out glumly over the deep blue Nabooan lake; the only thing holding him up was
the stone railing under his forearms. In spite of what he‘d told the Masters about Dooku no
longer giving a Womp Rat‘s ass about whether Padmé lived or died, they still wanted to hide
her away for another week, just to be on the safe side. Surprisingly, Padmé had agreed
without protest, and even more surprisingly, she specifically requested him as her protector.
And so here he was at Varykino, Naboo; with Padmé…again.

He shifted his weight slightly and hissed sharply as a burning pain spiked up his right arm. The
doctors told him that the pain would fade in a few weeks, but all he could think about was how
every time he moved his new right hand it felt like someone was dipping what was left of his
nerve endings in acid. And the numb, tingling sensations that plagued his new limb didn‘t help
much either.

Phantom pains my ass, Vader grumbled. They certainly don‘t feel ―phantom‖ to me! This sucks!

Not only had he been maimed, but the replacement he‘d been given was hideously awful. It
was shiny and golden-colored for one thing, and it looked disturbingly like a skeletal hand for
another. And on top of that, it was stiff, clumsy, and painful. He had trouble looking at it; he
felt sick to his stomach if he did.

It certainly didn‘t help that he‘d been shipped back to Naboo right after his surgery. He‘d still
been groggy from the anesthesia and Padmé had had to fly the shiny Nubian yacht into
hyperspace en route to Naboo while he‘d slept the lingering traces of drugs off in the ship‘s
cabin. He felt so shuffled around it made his head spin. From Coruscant to Naboo to Geonosis
back to Coruscant and back to Naboo, all in about a week.

What a nightmare, he sighed. And it‘s only going to get worse. War has started…

War. That meant death and destruction on a hideous scale. Everyone would suffer. No one
would win. And how long it would last, and how it would end, was anyone‘s guess.

I should‘ve said something sooner. He stared done at the disgusting sight of his new
prosthetic. Not that I know all that much, but they could‘ve chased down the leads, maybe
found something out, had more warning…something.
But no… I had to keep my mouth shut, keep it all to myself. Just hide in the shadows like a
coward, too scared to even want to ax the bastards who got me running away. I‘m such a
pathetic jerk. I—

―Moping, are we?‖

Vader turned away from the lake to find Padmé watching him.

―More or less,‖ he shrugged. No point in lying here.

―Well stop it,‖ she commanded sternly. ―That will only slow your recovery.‖

Recovery? ―It doesn‘t really matter,‖ he sighed. ―I‘ll never wield a lightsaber again. This
thing,‖ he hefted his right hand up in disgust, ―is barely good enough to keep me
independent.‖ Without it, I‘d need help to do just about everything, even to do up my pants…

―If you believe that, then yes, you‘ll never be able to swing you pretty light sword around
again. It‘s a self-fulfilling prophecy.‖ She walked up to the railing and gazed out at the lake
like he had been doing earlier. ―But if you work at it, really try, I think you can regain your old
level of skill, and then exceed it.‖

―If you say so,‖ he muttered. Meaning: yeah right…

―I just thought I‘d let you know,‖ she said after a pause, ―my family will be coming out here in
a few days for a vacation, so our stays will overlap for about a day. And an old friend of mine
will be arriving later today.‖

―An old friend?‖ he asked, only half-feigning interest. Anyone I might know?

―You‘ll see,‖ she smiled.

He raised an eyebrow. Being all mysterious, eh? Whatever.

―Is there anything you‘d like to do today?‖ Padmé inquired.

―No,‖ he answered. Just mope, but you don‘t want me to do that.

―Really? There‘s nothing that you want to do?‖ She tilted her head inquiringly at him. ―You
don‘t want to go Shaak surfing again?‖

He cast her a dark look. ―No.‖ What‘s with you today?

She looked away uncomfortably and fell silent.

While he appreciated her attempts to cheer him up, he really wasn‘t in the mood. And he was
admittedly bothered by her sudden shift in behavior. Before she‘d barely been on speaking
terms with him most of the time, but now she was being friendly, even joking around with him.

It‘s pity, he realized sourly. Now that I‘m a cripple, she pities me. She feels bad for me and for
how she treated me before; now she‘s trying to make up for it.

…Well that‘s enough of that.
―I‘m going to go meditate for a while,‖ he announced and walked back to the house. ―Come
get me if you need anything.‖

He retreated to his bedroom, shut the door behind him, and flopped back limply on his bed.
He had no real intention of meditating. It was just an excuse that he could use to escape from
her and not be bothered. And now he could mope as much as he pleased.

Ooh, I want to go home…

Well this is just going splendidly!

Padmé heaved a deep sigh and began to slowly pace over the stone back porch. He was
pushing her away and shutting her out while all she wanted to do was help him somehow. It
was frustrating…but could she blame him?

No, I really can‘t, she reluctantly admitted. I‘m just some stranger to him; just some politician.
I was difficult when he had to guard me, I pushed him around, and I pushed his buttons. True,
he didn‘t really help matters with his own attitude, but that‘s no excuse. I should‘ve known
better…done better.

But it was too late now. What was done was done. She couldn‘t go back in time and try to fix
things; make a better first impression. Now she had to try and find a way out of the hole she‘d
dug for herself where Vader was concerned.

I judged him too quickly and too harshly. He‘s studying to be a Jedi, but he‘s also just a
teenager. He‘s not perfect, but he is skilled, brave, and determined. Just a little polishing on
his manners and diplomatic skills and I‘d say that he would be on the same level as Obi-Wan
was when I first met him.

Now, however… She thought back to the state of his hand and winced. Now he has other,
more serious problems than his personal differences with me. I wish…I wish that I could make
it better…somehow.

―Credit for your thoughts?‖

Padmé started in surprise and turned towards the invading voice. ―Sabé! When did you get

―Oh, just a minute or so ago. I didn‘t let the servants say anything so I could surprise you.‖
Sabé grinned. ―So, were you surprised?‖

―Well, what do you think?‖ Padmé sighed in annoyance that was only half-feigned.

Sabé flashed a triumphant smirk that oozed smug satisfaction. While Padmé returned the look
with an expression of vague annoyance, she was, deep down, genuinely happy to see her old
friend again. The two of them being together again almost made it feel like old times…

―So what were you thinking about?‖ Sabé inquired.

―My guest,‖ Padmé sighed and slumped down onto a stone bench. ―He‘s such a mess.‖

―He?‖ Sabé‘s brown eyes grew very wide. ―There‘s a man here that you invited?‖
―Yes,‖ Padmé nodded. And then she realized what this sounded like. ―It‘s not what you think.
He‘s not my boyfriend, nor will he ever be.‖

Sabé frowned. ―Um, why not?‖

―He‘s a Jedi Padawan, Sabé. He is the definition of the ‗unattainable man‘.‖ Padmé leaned
back against the vine-covered wall of the house. ―Not that I‘m interested in pursuing him,
mind you,‖ she hurriedly added.

―Oh,‖ Sabé sighed and joined her on the bench. ―Why do all the good, and good-looking, guys
have to be Jedi?‖

―Not all good men are Jedi, Sabé,‖ Padmé snorted.

―True,‖ Sabé conceded, ―though all the really good ones seem to be Jedi.‖

Padmé shrugged and adjusted the track of the conversation. ―This situation is somewhat
similar to what happened with Padawan Kenobi, except this time the Padawan hasn‘t lost his
Master, he‘s lost his right hand. I know this is your vacation time, and I hate to ask this,
but…think you could help me out with this?‖

―Of course,‖ Sabé smiled, ―it‘s no problem at all. Now tell me everything…‖

At some point during his sulking and hiding away in his room, Vader fell asleep. It was a nice
little nap, quite peaceful and blissfully dreamless. But, of course, it didn‘t last nearly long

Someone had invaded his little sanctuary. It wasn‘t one of the servant girls who kept up the
estate; neither of them would‘ve come to sit on the edge of the bed. That was something that
Padmé would do. And when he cracked open an eye, that‘s who he thought he saw sitting
there. But she didn‘t…feel right.

―Who are you?‖ he asked gruffly, still staring at her with his one open eye.

―My name is Sabé,‖ she smiled kindly. ―I‘m an old friend of Padmé‘s.‖

He opened his other eye and took a moment to study her. This Sabé woman looked eerily
similar to Padmé. They shared the same color hair, the same color eyes, and the same skin
complexion. But there were subtle differences, their facial features were subtly different, and
Sabé‘s hair was straight instead of curly like Padmé‘s. Still, they were similar enough for him
to suspect that they were secretly (fraternal) twin sisters long-lost from each other.

―Are you sure you‘re not related to Padmé?‖

Sabé giggled. ―Yes, I‘m sure. Our strong resemblance to each other is purely coincidental.‖
She smirked. ―In fact, it‘s part of how we first came to work together years ago.‖

―How nice,‖ Vader muttered and stiffly rolled over. ―Please leave.‖

―Make me,‖ she replied sweetly.

Oh, she did not just say that. He peered over his shoulder at her. ―Excuse me?‖
―Make me,‖ she repeated in the same overly sweet tone. ―If you want me to leave, you‘ll have
to physically pick me up and move me.‖

Grr… ―Whatever,‖ he grunted, let his head fall back to the bed, and tried to go back to sleep.

―You can‘t just sleep the rest of your life away,‖ Sabé informed him. ―It‘s not going to make
the world go away or solve all of your problems. So wake up and join the rest of the galaxy!
Gods only know how much you‘ll be needed, especially now.‖

―The galaxy doesn‘t need me,‖ he sighed into the fluffy comforter. And it certainly doesn‘t
need me now.

―Nonsense!‖ she declared. ―Of course the galaxy needs you, D!‖

Vader sat up and stared at her. ―‗D‘?‖

―Dar‘ti starts with a ‗D‘ doesn‘t it?‖ she blinked innocently.

―Yes,‖ he frowned, ―so what?‖

―I‘m trying to find a cute nickname for you. Would you prefer ‗V‘?‖

He scowled at her. ―No. It‘s ‗Vader‘ or nothing at all.‖

―Well you‘re no fun,‖ she pouted. ―From what Padmé told me, you‘re supposed to be loads of

―She never seemed to think so before,‖ he muttered. Really, who have you been talking to?
Padmé hates me…and now she pities me.

―She didn‘t exactly describe you as fun, but from what she told me, you sounded fun. Now
come on!‖ Sabé grabbed him by his left arm and started to tug. ―Let‘s get some lunch. I‘ve
been traveling all day to get here and I‘m starved!‖

―I‘m not hungry,‖ he muttered dully.

―Well then just come and sit with me and Padmé,‖ Sabé pleaded. ―It‘ll be fun!‖

No it won‘t. ―I‘m really tired,‖ he sighed, ―can I just get back to my nap?‖

―Nope, nap time‘s over!‖ She yanked more forcefully on his un-maimed arm. ―If you won‘t
come to us, we‘ll come to you and have lunch in here,‖ she threatened. ―It‘s up to you. So
which way will it be?‖

Vader glared at her sourly. ―What part of ‗I‘m not hungry‘ or ‗I‘m really tired, I just want take
a nap‘ do you not understand?‖

Sabé wrinkled her nose. ―You know, Padawan Kenobi didn‘t give me half as much trouble
when I took care of him after the Blockade.‖

In spite of himself, he was curious. ―What did you have to take care of him for?‖ He doesn‘t
have any mechanical parts or anything…
She cocked her head in mild confusion. ―He…didn‘t tell you?‖

―Didn‘t tell me what?‖ he frowned. ―What was wrong with him?‖

She let go of him arm and studied him for a minute. ―How much do you know of Master
Kenobi‘s life before you came into it?‖

―Um…‖ He shifted uncomfortable. ―Almost nothing.‖ It didn‘t seem fair to pry into his life when
I didn‘t let him pry into mine. And besides, all he ever does is drink tea, meditate, and
practice; what could he have possible done in his life that would be remotely interesting?

―Oh.‖ She stared down at her hands, which were folded in her lap. ―Well, when we were
fighting the battle that ended the Blockade, he and his Master, Qui-Gon Jinn, were separated
from the rest of us by some sort of strange creature with black and red tattoos and horns.
When the dust settled, the creature was dead, but…so was Master Jinn.‖

Vader stiffened. Master Qui-Gon‘s dead? He died? What…how…

―Obi-Wan was the only survivor of that battle,‖ she continued. ―And though he tried to hide it,
it was pretty clear that he was really broken up about it; spent a lot of time hiding out in the
room that he was given or walking out in the royal gardens. I—I suppose he felt guilty about it,
that he‘d somehow failed his Master. But whether that‘s true or not, I don‘t really know. He‘s
the only one left who knows what happened down in the power plant underneath the palace,
and he never told me, or anyone else that I know, what occurred there.‖

―Oh,‖ he mumbled numbly, his mind far, far away.

A lifetime ago he‘d been incredibly bitter towards the Jedi known as Qui-Gon Jinn. That Jedi
had promised to come and see him again, and he had believed the man. He‘d had such hopes
for that promised return. Perhaps Qui-Gon would free him and his Mom. Maybe he‘d even get
to be a Jedi. But Qui-Gon had never come back.

Later, when he‘d come to live in the Jedi Temple, his greatest fear was running into Master
Jinn again. He feared that the man would somehow recognize him and out him to the rest of
the Order. He worried that the Master would reveal his identity and force him to spill the
secrets he‘d so jealously—so foolishly and selfishly—guarded.

Now his bitterness and his fear were all moot. Dead men couldn‘t keep promises. Dead men
couldn‘t reveal secrets. Dead men couldn‘t give the living hugs and whisper that it would be all
right somehow…

―Hey, you okay?‖

He blinked and forced his eyes to refocus on Sabé‘s concerned face. ―Not really.‖

She tugged on his arm again. ―Come on. Have lunch with us outside. The fresh air will do you

―You‘re just as stubborn as Padmé, aren‘t you?‖ he asked wearily.

She smirked slightly. ―When the situation calls for it, yes.‖

―Well then fine,‖ he sighed. ―I give up.‖
―Good.‖ She beamed at him and coaxed him to his feet. ―Let‘s go eat.‖

Sabé swallowed a sigh of frustration as she watched Padmé and Padawan Vader interact. Well,
actually they weren‘t interacting, and that was a problem. Padmé wanted to help him, but he
was shutting her out and she was afraid of pressing him too hard.

Currently, Padmé was picking at her salad and Vader was glaring glumly at his own bowl of
greens. This was the first course and while she and Padmé had dug right into it, Vader hadn‘t
even made a move to pick up his fork. Although he claimed to not be hungry, Sabé didn‘t
believe him. A strong young Jedi like him had to be famished. So why wasn‘t he eating?

―Not a fan of salad?‖ Sabé asked him.

―Not really,‖ he muttered.

―Would you like something else?‖ Padmé inquired hopefully.

―No,‖ he mumbled.

―How about some fruit?‖ Sabé suggested.

―No,‖ he sighed. ―I…I don‘t want to be any trouble.‖

―You‘re no trouble at all,‖ Padmé insisted.

―It‘s not all that hard to throw together some cut up fruit, you know,‖ Sabé added.

He shifted in his chair. ―It‘s all right. Salad is fine.‖ He awkwardly grabbed his fork in his left
hand and stabbed at his food. ―It‘s fine.‖

Sabé mutely shook her head as she watched the young man struggle to feed himself. He
clearly wasn‘t left-handed, and his new prosthetic lay uselessly in his lap. Seeing this gave her
a bad feeling on how the rest of the meal would proceed.

When Padmé had called her up the previous day, she had never imagined that she would be
dealing with something like this. It had seemed to be a happy coincidence that Padmé would
invite her down to Varykino on the same week that Queen Jamilla had granted her vacation
time from her duties as Royal Handmaiden. But now she was beginning to think that Padmé
had gone to Jamilla first and requested Sabé‘s presence.

Just because I was able to help Obi-Wan while he stayed on Naboo doesn‘t mean that I can
help his apprentice. They are two different people in two different situations. But by the stars
above I will do my best for him. It‘s the very least that he deserves…

It was late evening when Vader finally found himself alone again. The two women, Sabé
especially, never left him alone for more than ten minutes. They kept him busy all day after
Sabé‘s arrival, leaving him precious little time to mope like he wanted to.
That was probably the idea, he sulked as he stared out his bedroom window. Keep him so
busy that he doesn‘t have time to feel bad about his hand and how useless he is now. I bet it
was all Sabé‘s idea…

After lunch, Sabé had helped Padmé persuade him to go into town with him. There they
visited all the shops and constantly asked for his opinion on whatever they were looking at.
He‘d given opinions on everything from dresses to jewelry to shoes to color combinations.
Then, after the marathon bout of shopping, they‘d tag-teamed him conversationally, keeping
him talking until long after dinner.

He supposed that he should be grateful. They meant well in doing what they had done. But he
wasn‘t grateful; he just wanted to be left alone. He just wanted to get far, far away from here.
Far away from her.

Hearing Padmé call him ‗Vader‘ was like nails on a chalkboard. It was so hard to not correct
her. There were times when all he wanted to do was stand up and yell: ―Damn it, my name is
Anakin Skywalker!‖ But at the same time, he didn‘t dare.

If she knew his true identity, he would have to explain several things to her that he didn‘t
want to explain. He‘d have to tell her why he‘d lied about his name and why he treated her so
terribly before. He‘d have to say how exactly he‘d become a Jedi, since the last time they‘d
seen each other, he was a nine-year-old slave boy and too old to be admitted to the Order for
training. And he‘d have to tell her everything that had happened in the years that they‘d been

She would be ashamed of him if she knew the truth. She would be disappointed that he had
kept what little information he‘d had to himself for so long, that he had allowed the war to
break out when he could‘ve stopped it. And though she was no Jedi and did not understand
the nature of the Force, he was certain that she would not be thrilled to know of his Dark Side

His only real choice was silence. He would keep his secrets from her as long as he was around
her. And when he was finally free to leave Naboo and her company, he would disappear from
her life and never come back.

Let her think that I‘m someone else. Let her believe whatever she wants to about what
happened to little slave boy Anakin. Let her be protected by my lies and never be dragged
down by my truth, for ignorance is bliss.

  Submit Review                               30. 29: Return to Varykino

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                          font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                    31. 30: Waterfalls

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                         Chapter 30

Vader dozed in the warm sunshine and did what he did best: He didn‘t think. Thinking would
inevitably lead to negative thoughts about his situation. He would think about how worthless
he was and how there was nothing he could do to fix it. And so he didn‘t think. For a while,

Eventually thoughts would creep into the nothingness inside his skull. They would worm their
way in and set off a whole chain of thinking. And it would either spur him to action, or force
him to work the thoughts out of his head so that he could go back to not thinking.

The only fool-proof way to not think was to do something with his hands, like fix a droid or
tinker with a speeder. Considering his current physical…situation…he couldn‘t do anything with
his hands. He could only do something with his one hand, as the other was all but useless.
A low rumbling groan near his ear induced him to open his eyes. This led him to discover that
a Shaak had ambled over to where he was sprawled and was now grazing dangerously near
his head. Sparing the stupid beast a brief scowl, he closed his eyes and mentally persuaded it
to move on, away from him.

It was going on day five of his stay at Varykino. Thankfully, after the first two days, the
women seemed to have wound down in their feverish attempts to ―help him.‖ They still spent
most of their time with him, but they didn‘t drag him along on any more shopping trips or try
to talk him to death. Instead, they just stayed with him and made efforts to include him in
what they did. It was nice…sometimes.

Like right now. Sabé had felt like a picnic and Padmé had brought them back to the meadow
where he had gone ―Shaak surfing‖ before. It was a nice day, the food had been good, the sun
was warm, and the soft hiss of the nearby waterfalls was soothing. He couldn‘t think of a more
perfect place on Naboo to just lay in the sun and not think.

―How has your family been?‖ he heard Padmé ask Sabé.

―Same as always,‖ Sabé sighed. ―My dad‘s great, my siblings are okay, and mom won‘t stop
nagging me about everything. What about your family?‖

―They‘re doing fine,‖ Padmé replied. ―They miss me and they worry too much about me…‖

―Your ship exploded and then poisonous bugs were slipped into your room,‖ Vader interjected,
not even bothering to open his eyes. ―Why wouldn‘t they worry about you?‖

―I don‘t see the point of worrying them unnecessarily,‖ Padmé argued.

Worrying them unnecessarily? ―Whatever,‖ he muttered.

―Well…how about Sola?‖ Sabé inquired. ―Has she changed her mind about having more

―No, there‘s no way I can see her having any more children. She never wanted many children
to begin with, and she didn‘t handle either pregnancy well at all.‖ Padmé paused to sigh. ―I
can‘t say that I blame her for not wanting to go through pregnancy again. I can‘t imagine
suffering morning sickness for the entire nine months.‖

―Yeah,‖ Sabé muttered. ―But…I thought she had her heart set on having a boy?‖

―She did, but two pregnancies was more than enough for her. If she has a boy, it‘ll be through
adoption. And if she goes that route, she‘ll be lucky if she gets any child. The waiting list is
just so long…‖ He could hear Padmé shifting around in the tall grass and wildflowers. ―It‘s
really a pity. Mom wanted a boy so bad, but she couldn‘t have any more babies after me.
Then Sola wanted a boy, but she couldn‘t take the strain of pregnancy again. And now there‘s
me; I want a boy, but I don‘t even have a boyfriend.‖

―Hmm, well I think that should be your next goal for when you get back to Coruscant,‖ Sabé
declared. ―Find a man.‖

―Sabé!‖ Padmé squeaked indignantly. ―Don‘t be ridiculous! Besides, war has just broken out.
Now is not the time to go hunting for a boyfriend, nor is it a good time to be considering
having children. I need to focus on work and getting this war settled as soon as possible.‖

―Right,‖ Sabé sighed. ―Duty first, everything else a distant second.‖
―Not a distant second,‖ Padmé corrected. ―Just…second. Duty to my people comes first as I
am their servant.‖

―I wish I knew the number for Workaholics Anonymous,‖ Vader snorted, ―so I could pass it on
to you. It sounds like you could really use it.‖

―Now wait just a minute,‖ Padmé huffed. ―I‘m not—‖

―Don‘t go biting his head off,‖ Sabé advised. ―If I knew the number for Workaholics
Anonymous, I‘d give it to you, too. Not that I think you‘d ever call it, but it couldn‘t hurt.‖

―What, are you ganging up on me now?‖ Padmé grumbled. ―That‘s not fair! Sabé, you‘re
supposed to be on my side, not his!‖

―Normally I would,‖ Sabé replied calmly, ―but in this case he has a point. Really Padmé, when
was the last time you took a vacation of your own free will that didn‘t last more than two

―Um…‖ Padmé fell silent for a few minutes.

―When you were still in school?‖ Sabé suggested.

―Yes,‖ Padmé reluctantly admitted. ―That sounds about right.‖

―You need to take a real vacation!‖ Sabé declared. ―Even if it‘s just a week off.‖

―When things settle down, I will,‖ Padmé promised.

―Then you‘ll never take a vacation,‖ Sabé sighed morosely. ―I give up.‖

―Wow, I‘m impressed. You got Sabé to quit.‖ Vader smirked. ―Even I can‘t do that!‖

―You‘re so horrible!‖ Padmé complained.

―Yeah, I know,‖ Vader sighed, all his painstakingly gathered cheer evaporating in an instant. I
am horrible…such a liar and a fake…

―Hey.‖ Padmé poked him in the shoulder.

―Hmm?‖ he grunted, his eyes still closed.

―Come on, get up.‖ She poked him again.

―I am enjoying the nice, warm sunshine,‖ Vader grumbled, ―please leave me alone.‖

―The nice, warm sunshine isn‘t going anywhere, Vader.‖ Padmé poked him again. ―Sabé,
however, is. And when she gets back, she expects you to be up and ready to be about.‖

―Does she now?‖ he muttered. I sense a pre-planned event of some kind…

―She does,‖ Padmé confirmed. ―Now on your feet! You‘ve been laying around the whole time
you‘ve been here. It‘s time you got some exercise.‖
He cracked one eye open and peered up at her. ―You call that shopping excursion on day one
and that hike around the waterfalls on day three ‗laying around‘?‖

―Well, aside from those two instances…‖ She fixed him with a scolding look. ―Really, if your
fellow Jedi could see you now.‖

―Yeah,‖ Vader muttered, rolling on his side and away from her. The gloom, which had started
to recede just a little bit, now rolled back over him.

Padmé sighed in frustration. ―Come on, get up before Sabé makes it back here.‖

―Fine,‖ he grumbled and staggered to his feet. Why is it always so hard to get up after you lay
down for a long time? ―So what is this ‗exercise‘ going to be?‖

Padmé smiled brightly. ―It‘s a surprise!‖

Vader frowned. ―Can I have a hint?‖

―Nope,‖ she answered cheerfully.

Grr… ―Stop being so incredibly happy,‖ he growled. ―It‘s really starting to get on my nerves.‖

―I‘m…sorry.‖ She blinked, startled. ―What happened to your good mood?‖

―It went away,‖ he shrugged.

―Oh, well then I don‘t know…‖ she trailed off and glanced towards where he guessed Sabé had

Vader narrowed his eyes suspiciously. ―You don‘t know what?‖

―Well, back in school, Sabé took a few fencing classes and she had this idea to, um, challenge
you to a match.‖

―Fencing?‖ he repeated blankly. What, we‘re going to build fences?

―It‘s a kind of sport sword-play,‖ Padmé shrugged nervously. ―And, well, it‘s not everyday you
can challenge a Jedi to a match.‖

He pointedly glanced at the golden, skeletal monstrosity that served as his right hand. ―She‘s
going to win.‖

―If I were to place a bet, I‘d put my money on you,‖ Padmé replied. ―Sabé hasn‘t practiced in
a long, long time.‖

He shook his head. Whatever. She‘s still going to win. ―Where did she go anyway?‖

―Over there.‖ Padmé pointed to a clump of trees several hills away. ―She went to find sticks to

He arched an eyebrow. ―Sticks?‖
―Unfortunately we aren‘t at the palace where there are nice training rooms and spare weapons
lying around, so sticks will have to do.‖ Padmé bit her lip. ―If you really don‘t want to do this,
I‘ll go against Sabé instead so she‘s not stick-hunting for nothing.‖

Vader immediately flopped back down on the ground. ―Be my guest.‖

―Fine,‖ she sighed.

Not too much later, Sabé returned with a pair of long, thin sticks. They weren‘t terribly
straight and looked pretty flimsy, but he could see them used as surrogate swords. Sabé
looked rather displeased to see Vader sitting cross-legged on the ground, prepared to be a

―Not up for a duel with a rusty novice, eh?‖ Sabé grumbled.

Vader shook his head. ―Nope.‖

―Oh well,‖ Sabé sighed. ―Up for a duel, my Queen?‖

―I haven‘t been queen in years,‖ Padmé frowned. ―And yes, I suppose so.‖

Sabé passed Padmé a stick and the two faced off. Vader‘s interest quickly shifted into painful
dismay. Neither woman had any talent with a sword. Their stances were awkward and
unbalanced and their strikes and parries were horrendously sloppy. It was almost physically
painful to watch. After Padmé accidentally snapped the tip off Sabé‘s stick, he just had to act.

―Stop, stop, stop.‖ He picked himself up off the ground and crossed his arms over his chest.
―You weren‘t kidding when you called yourself a ‗rusty novice,‘ were you?‖

Sabé grinned cheerfully. ―Any hints to improve our form?‖

Vader sighed and went over to her first. With a few touches, he adjusted her opening stance
to something more acceptable. And then he did the same for Padmé.

―Now try this fencing of yours again.‖

They obeyed him and immediately made the same mistakes as before as they stumbled out of
the decent stances he‘d put them in. He pinched the bridge of his nose with his left hand and
sighed in despair. It seemed that he would have to take a little more drastic action here.

He instinctively reached at his belt for his lightsaber, only to find that it wasn‘t there. Oh right,
I forgot. Mine got chopped up in the droid factory. ―Give me a stick.‖

Padmé handed hers over and he spent several minutes trying to make it work. It, being a stick,
had no proper balance, it wasn‘t straight, it wasn‘t the right length, it was…just plain terrible.
And to make things worse, his right hand gave him a handicap he didn‘t really need at the
moment. He couldn‘t get it to grip the stick right and it was very difficult, and a little painful,
to get his wrist to rotate right.

―Okay,‖ he grumbled. ―I‘ll show you a few simple moves. The bare basics.‖ He shifted into a
simple, neutral stance. ―Welcome to Form I: Shii-Cho.‖

Vader then ran through a few of the easiest strikes and parries step-by-step. He kept his
language simple, leaving out all the ancient technical terms that the Order had developed to
teach and describe lightsaber combat. When he was done with his little tutorial, his right arm
felt like it was on fire, yet he was oddly satisfied.

―You seem to know a lot about this style,‖ Padmé remarked. ―Is it what you specialize in?‖

―No,‖ Vader snorted. ―I‘m a Form V: Shien specialist.‖ Though, now that I think about it, I
probably should‘ve put my focus on Djem So instead. That‘s better for lightsaber-on-lightsaber
combat than Shien…

―How many forms are there?‖ Sabé asked curiously.

―There are seven forms recognized by the Order with many variations, allowing for hundreds
of personal variations. It‘s all pretty technical stuff,‖ he shrugged, ―I won‘t bore you with it.‖
Seriously, they have names for strikes that take someone‘s hand off, someone‘s head off, et
cetera, et cetera… ―Why don‘t you try again?‖

After passing the stick back to Padmé, he watched the women stumble through what he‘d
shown them. The looks of concentration on their faces were almost comical as they slowly
went through the motions he‘d demonstrated. He covered his mouth with his hand so they
couldn‘t see him smirking at them as he observed. And then Sabé lost her footing, tumbled
into Padmé, and they both went down, collapsing into a fit of giggles.

―That was some duel girls,‖ he snorted.

―Thank you,‖ Padmé giggled.

―Will you fight me now?‖ Sabé inquired.

―If you really want me to,‖ he shrugged.

Padmé immediately surrendered her stick to him, and the top half of it promptly fell off and
dangled by a few strings of bark.

Vader stared at it. ―This…is not going to work. I think I need a new stick.‖

―I think you do,‖ Sabé giggled.

―Sorry,‖ Padmé cringed.

―It‘s okay, I‘ll just go find…‖ He cocked his head and listened hard. ―What‘s that?‖

The faint sound soon resolved itself into an electronic wail. The source of this electronic wail
soon revealed itself to be Orbie, as the small, spherical droid zoomed onto the scene. The
brightly painted droid whirled around their heads, squealed, and generally behaved excited.

―Huh,‖ Vader blinked. ―I‘m thinking that we should go back to the house.‖

―Yeah,‖ Padmé agreed.

―I think that thing‘s insane,‖ Sabé declared.

―No he‘s not,‖ Vader huffed. When the hovercam droid darted too close to him, he caught it by
its antenna, stopping it cold. ―Knock it off, we‘re going.‖
Orbie whistled cheerfully in response, and when released, it hovered around them rather
sedately, as if nothing was wrong.

―Where did you get that thing?‖ Sabé asked.

―It was intended as a bribe, not that it worked.‖ Vader smirked. ―Now I keep it to tinker with
when I‘m bored.‖ And to annoy Obi-Wan, too.

―No wonder it‘s insane,‖ Sabé snorted.

―Hey!‖ Vader scowled. ―He‘s not—‖

―Enough!‖ Padmé interrupted. ―Let‘s get this stuff picked up and get back to the house.‖

―Yes, Milady,‖ they both agreed meekly.

Setting aside their sticks, they helped her gather up the picnic supplies and blanket. Then it
was a short hike out of the Shaak-filled meadow, away from the waterfalls and back towards
the lake and their boat. Orbie calmly bobbed along behind them, probably recording them just
for the heck of it.

I wonder what‘s going on…

Obi-Wan sat with the entire High Council (except for Treblor Coleman, who had fallen on
Geonosis) at one of the highest points in the Room of a Thousand Fountains. They were at a
platform at the top of some of the tallest of the artificial waterfalls, a place usually restricted
to Jedi Masters only. But since they were discussing Vader, he (a mere Jedi Knight) had been
given special permission to be here with them. The exclusive location, combined with the hiss
of the nearby waterfalls, made this spot one of the best for conducting a secret meeting inside
the Jedi Temple.

The issue of Vader had been debated exhaustively for several hours now. With the outbreak of
war, and with his new handicap, they now had to determine what to do with him. Several
options had been put forth, but Obi-Wan really wasn‘t sure that he agreed with any of them.

Master Oppo Rancisis promoted the idea of casting Vader out after mining him for all the
information he possessed. The Thisspiasian Jedi had never been terribly happy with Vader‘s
deal or his presence among the Jedi. Now that there seemed to be a justified reason to get rid
of him, the snake-like alien was all for it.

Master Depa Billaba was in favor of keeping Vader in the Jedi Temple, but more as a menial
servant. She suggested putting him in a simple job that kept him far away from danger and
any sensitive information. That way they could keep their promise of protection to him, and
keep him out of the way.

Master Plo Koon thought that they should send Vader out to war, just like any other Jedi. The
only reason Obi-Wan felt that Master Koon‘s idea had any support at all was that the Council
partly blamed the start of the war on Vader. He‘d kept his information too secret for too long
and now it was probably useless. He believed that they agreed with the idea in the secret hope
that Vader would be hurt or killed.

The rest of the Council was split fairly evenly between the three options. The only people who
hadn‘t voiced an opinion one way or the other were Master Yoda and himself. Obi-Wan
wondered that if he did speak, his opinion would have any effect on what the Council
ultimately decided.

―He cannot be trusted!‖ Master Rancisis rasped. ―He is reckless, disobedient, and irresponsible.
We gave him years and he gave us nothing! We must cast him out.‖

―He is reckless, yes; and he is very difficult to deal with, but he has done excellent work,‖
Master Luminara argued. ―My Padawan and I worked with him and Obi-Wan on Ansion and he
handled himself very well. We cannot just turn him away after years of service for making a
mistake in holding on to his information for too long.‖

―His record of good service to us could be make us complacent,‖ Master Kolar argued. ―He
could betray us at any time.‖

―He cannot betray us if we keep him close in the Temple and never let him out of our sight
again,‖ Master Billaba retorted.

―Enough,‖ Master Yoda interrupted, speaking for the first time. ―Many hours we have argued
and nowhere we have gone. Obi-Wan, what do you think?‖

―I would give him the choice between remaining in the Temple, or remaining with me even if it
leads to the battlefield.‖ Obi-Wan replied. ―I don‘t think he‘ll enjoy either option, but it would
help if he felt he had a choice.‖

―Thoughts?‖ Master Yoda invited.

―He cannot be trusted, especially not now,‖ Master Rancisis reiterated. ―We are at war; we
cannot risk his presence among us any more.‖

―I agree with Obi-Wan,‖ Master Fisto stated.

―As do I,‖ Master Tiin grumbled.

―I think that we should keep Vader under close watch in the Temple,‖ Master Billaba decided.
―But I support Obi-Wan‘s motion.‖

―I don‘t trust him,‖ Master Windu stated bluntly. ―I don‘t feel safe in sending him to war, but I
would not cast him aside after keeping him with us for so long.‖

―We should find out what he knows and release him from our service,‖ Master Kolar frowned.
―We gave him more time than he deserved to reveal to us what he knew.‖

―I support Obi-Wan‘s position,‖ Master Ti murmured.

―As do I,‖ Master Ki-Adi-Mundi added.

―And I,‖ Master Luminara nodded.

―I also agree with Obi-Wan‘s course of action,‖ Master Koon mumbled through his breath mask.

―I do not like the idea of letting Vader run wild over a battlefield,‖ Master Gallia frowned. ―But
I agree with Obi-Wan. Let the boy decide his fate.‖
―Then decided it is,‖ Master Yoda declared. ―The majority supports you, Obi-Wan. Go to Naboo
and retrieve him. When returned he is to the Temple, question him we will.‖

―Yes, Master,‖ Obi-Wan nodded. He rose and bowed to the assembled Council and mumbled:

Released from their meeting, he left the Fountain Room behind. He stopped by his quarters to
gather a few supplies before continuing on to the hanger. And from there, he rode in his
freshly-repaired Delta-7 out of Coruscant‘s atmosphere, docked with his booster ring, and
jumped into hyperspace, bound for Naboo.

To keep himself occupied, he pulled out his mostly completed new lightsaber. It only required
a few finishing touches and he could easily do the work in the cramped cockpit. By the time he
reached Naboo, his new weapon should be complete.

I‘ll be there soon…

As soon as they returned to the Varykino estate, they knew why Orbie had rocketed out to
find them. Padmé‘s family had arrived for vacation. One full day ahead of schedule.

―Padmé!‖ Mrs. Naberrie cried when they reached the dock by the house. ―We were wondering
where you‘d gone. We almost thought that you‘d left early for Theed.‖

―I wouldn‘t do that and miss seeing you all again!‖ Padmé cried as she embraced her mother.
―Hi Mom.‖

―Hello,‖ Mrs. Naberrie sighed. After returning her youngest daughter‘s hug, she pulled back to
look her over. ―It doesn‘t look like this forced vacation has done you any harm,‖ she teased.

―Ha ha, very funny,‖ Padmé sighed. ―Is everyone here already?‖

―Yes,‖ Mrs. Naberrie smiled. ―We all decided to surprise you and come up a day early.‖

―Well we‘re very surprised,‖ Padmé assured her.

―Hi Mrs. Naberrie!‖ Sabé waved cheerfully.

―Oh hello Sabé!‖ Mrs. Naberrie cried in surprise. ―I didn‘t know that Padmé had invited you

―It was a last-minute thing,‖ Sabé grinned.

Mrs. Naberrie nodded her understanding, and then caught sight of Vader. ―Oh, you‘re still here.
Is Padmé still in danger?‖

―No,‖ Vader assured her, tucking his glittering prosthetic into his wide cloak sleeves. ―The
danger is past; my presence here is only a precautionary measure.‖ Not that I‘d be much help
if something did happen, me being maimed and weaponless and all…

―Oh good,‖ Mrs. Naberrie smiled in obvious relief. ―Come inside,‖ she commanded her
daughter, ―everyone‘s waiting inside.‖
Padmé obeyed without protest and Vader trailed after her with Sabé at his side. The entire
Naberrie clan was present inside, including Sola‘s husband, Darred, who had been absent
before. They warmly embraced Padmé, treating her like they hadn‘t seen her in years instead
of just a few days. Watching them interact, Vader felt distinctly on the outside of things.

As a child, he‘d never had a big, extended family, just his mom. And she was very far away,
with her new husband and step-son. While he observed the closeness and warmth of the
Naberrie family, he felt distinctly lonely and homesick.

After exchanging some polite hellos, he took the first opportunity to retreat outdoors. He
didn‘t want to get in the way of Padmé‘s family time. And he didn‘t want to worry about
answering questions about his hand. Leaning on the railing, he gazed out over the lake

Maybe I should just go home…to Tatooine. Mom‘ll be all upset about the hand… She‘ll cry, but
she‘ll get over it…eventually. Probably before I will.

The Jedi won‘t care. I‘m useless to them now. I‘ll just-just write down everything I know and
send it on to them and they‘ll be happy.

And the Sith won‘t care. I‘m a cripple now. I‘m no good for fighting. I‘d barely be good as a
spy within the Jedi. Maybe…maybe they‘ll just forget about me…and leave me alone.

Yeah. I‘ll just slink off to Theed, hop on a ship to Tatooine, and disappear. No one will miss me.
No one at—

―There you are!‖ Sabé called and joined him at the railing. ―I was looking for you.‖

―What for?‖ Vader sighed. When did it get so late? he wondered as he glanced up at the
darkening sky.

―Well, Padmé and I were thinking that, since her family‘s here so early, that it might be best if
I took you back to Theed with me to stay at the palace. That is,‖ she added, ―if Padmé really is
safe now.‖

―She is,‖ he assured the Handmaiden.

―Good,‖ Sabé smiled. ―So, do you want to come? Or would you rather stay here?‖

―I‘ll go to Theed,‖ he replied without hesitation. ―Just let me gather up my stuff.‖

―Okay, I‘ll go tell Padmé. We‘ll leave in an hour, before it gets too dark.‖ Sabé patted him on
the shoulder. ―So I‘ll see you in a bit.‖

Vader watched her walk back inside before turning back to stare out over the lake. He would
go with Sabé back to Theed and spend a little time in the palace—really, when else would he
get a chance to explore a real palace? And then, after satiating his mild curiosity about the
place, he‘d slip away to Tatooine.

Just one more day, and I‘ll be home again…forever this time.

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                           font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                   32. 31: Flow ers and White Stone

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                        Chapter 31
                                  Flowers and White Stone
Today was the day. He‘d spent two full days at the royal palace in Theed. Sabé had shown him
pretty much everything there was to see. And now, with Padmé scheduled to appear in a few
hours, it was time to go.

But before he abandoned Theed, Naboo, and everything else, he wanted to wander through
the elaborate royal gardens again. After seeing it on his first day, he decided that – after the
palace hanger – it was his favorite part of the palace complex. It was usually empty, it was
quiet and peaceful, it was big enough to get lost in, and it was – in his mind – the perfect
distillation of Naboo‘s natural beauty and character.

As he slunk through the bright halls of the palace towards his destination, a flash of himself in
a nearby window made him pause. He had to admit, he looked rather awful. Since the hideous
events of Geonosis, he hadn‘t been sleeping or eating well, which left him slightly pale with
grayish shadows forming under his eyes. And his Learner braid was looking frayed.

Normally he would re-braid it every week or so to keep it looking decent. But with his right
hand next to useless, there was no way he could fix it now. It had been hard enough to do
when both his hands were fully functional. Now…

I should just cut it off, he thought bitterly. It‘s not like I need it or anything. I‘m no Jedi. Just
a little bastard child, a piece of slave scum.

Sighing tiredly, he continued on to the gardens. It was still a bit early so there weren‘t too
many people around. He preferred it that way; fewer people meant fewer pairs of eyes staring
at him.

The air was fresh and cool when he stepped outside. The sun wasn‘t high enough in the sky to
properly illuminate the thousands of square feet of cultivated flowers, flowering shrubs, and
flowering trees. The only sounds that he heard were the whistling cries of native birds. Taking
a deep breath, he wandered out into the elaborate maze of the gardens, desperate to lose
himself in its flowery folds.

It‘s too bad that Tatooine‘s just one big desert. If it was more like Naboo, I wouldn‘t mind
living there so much. But it‘s just one big ball of dry, hot, irritating sand…

He came to the large fish pond at the heart of the gardens and stared into the clear circle of
water. Small brightly colored fish darted and drifted around in the water. They were so calm
and carefree that Vader wished that he was a fish, just a small stupid fish too simple to really
know pain or despair.

Vader closed his eyes and unconsciously slipped into his favored meditation stance; hands
clasped behind his straight back with legs braced apart. It was an active stance that, unlike
sitting, kneeling, or hand-standing, allowed him to spring into action in a fraction of a second.
Sighing, he let the calm energy from the life around him to seep into his consciousness and
push out everything else.

It did work to a degree. He went from feeling awful and bitter to just feeling numb. But he
couldn‘t quite move past the cold, hard metal that his left hand felt as it clasped his right hand.
And the feeling of metal kept his problems firmly rooted in his mind.

I don‘t know why I care so much. I never wanted to be a Jedi anyway. They don‘t know how
to loosen up and have fun. I‘m surprised that they even know how to smile. But…

…They do good things. They‘re important to the galaxy. I suppose I just wanted to be
important too.
It doesn‘t matter now. I‘ve made too many mistakes. It‘s over now. All that‘s left to do is send
the Council all the information I have and leave here before Padmé gets—

A rising glow in the Force caught his attention. A powerful presence that touched him all the
way down to his toes. A person with a clear connection to the Force was coming.

―Credit for your thoughts?‖ Obi-Wan asked quietly.

Vader slowly opened his eyes and glanced over at the Jedi who now stood beside him. Obi-
Wan looked fine, just as he always did. He‘d only suffered two shallow burns on Geonosis; of
course he was fine.

Obi-Wan looked him over, a concerned expression on his bearded face. ―You look awful.‖

Gee, thanks. ―I know.‖ Vader looked away to stare into the fish pond again.

―Have you enjoyed your little vacation?‖ Obi-Wan inquired.

―A little,‖ Vader mumbled. Some days were okay, I guess.

―Good,‖ Obi-Wan replied. There was a lengthy pause before he spoke again. ―I always enjoyed
walking in these gardens.‖

―So I‘ve heard,‖ Vader muttered. Sabé told me all about it when she gave me the tour.

Obi-Wan blinked. ―Oh, did you?‖

―A little Handmaiden told me,‖ Vader snorted and folded his arms over his chest, tucking his
hands into his sleeves.

There was another stretch of silence. ―How long have you been in the palace?‖

―A few days,‖ Vader answered. Might as well get this over with. ―So, I‘m guessing that the
Council has decided what to do with me.‖

―Yes,‖ Obi-Wan nodded, ―they have agreed upon two options. Either you stay tucked away in
the Temple, or you stay with me and follow me to whatever battlefront I am shipped off to.
And whichever you choose, you will have to provide the Council with all the information you
possess on the Sith and their activities.‖

The ―tell-all‖ condition Vader had expected. And the first of the two options he had expected.
But the second choice was something of a surprise. He really didn‘t that the Council would
trust him to serve them in the war, even with Obi-Wan‘s supervision.

―I…I would go with you, but…‖ Vader pulled the hideous golden prosthetic out of his sleeve
and stared glumly down at it. ―But I‘d be more of a liability than an asset. So I suppose I‘m
stuck at the Temple.‖ He flexed artificial fingers and winced a little. ―I don‘t suppose they‘d
just let me go after I tell them what they want to know.‖

―Let you go where?‖ Obi-Wan asked slowly.

―Home of course,‖ Vader grumbled. ―Where else would I go? I‘m no use to anyone now, so
why stay in a place that I don‘t belong?‖
Vader swore that he could hear the gears grinding in Obi-Wan‘s head. ―Why don‘t you think
you belong in the Temple?‖ the Jedi asked at last.

―Is that a serious question?‖ Vader chuckled bitterly.

―I wouldn‘t have asked if it wasn‘t,‖ Obi-Wan replied.

Vader glared at him. ―The Jedi Temple is for Jedi, and I am not a Jedi, ergo I do not belong in
the Jedi Temple.‖ There, does that spell it out for you?

―True, the Jedi Temple is intended as a living space for Jedi,‖ Obi-Wan replied carefully, ―but
non-Jedi are permitted to stay there as well.‖

―Don‘t try to justify this,‖ Vader grumbled, ―I‘m too tired to argue right now.‖

Obi-Wan sighed. ―Walk with me then.‖

Seeing no reason not to, Vader followed the bearded Jedi away from the fish pond and deeper
into the gardens. He wished that Obi-Wan hadn‘t shown up here. Now it would be harder to
leave. The older Jedi might even persuade him to go back to Coruscant and face the Council,
instead of just forwarding his information and disappearing.

Why is he even bothering to justify my staying? I‘d think he‘d be jumping for joy at the idea of
me leaving. It‘s not like if I stayed I‘d be much help. Obi-Wan‘s not stupid, he has to know
that. He‘s a real Jedi, a real embracer of the Code, so why won‘t he let me go?

His Master led him down a path he hadn‘t noticed before. There were fewer and fewer flowers
and the bushes that lined the path grew higher. Then the path opened into a small grove of
trees. And at the center of the grove was a miniature obelisk.

It was made of pure white stone, only slightly stained by years of rain pounding on it. The
base and lower third of it was choked in thick green ivy of some kind. From what he could see
of it, it was unusually plain. All the other Nabooan architecture leaned towards the elaborate.

Obi-Wan paused before the mysterious monument and bowed his head in respect to it. He
stood there for a long time, looking almost like he was praying. Vader felt like an intruder as
he hung back and watched at the edge of the path.

―I only came here once before,‖ Obi-Wan said suddenly, ―when Queen Amidala had it
dedicated. And I only came because my presence was required.‖

Vader hesitantly crept up to Obi-Wan‘s shoulder, feeling as though he was somehow violating
hallowed ground by setting foot in the shadowy clearing. ―What is this place?‖

―This is the memorial commissioned by Queen Amidala and the Naboo people in honor of my
former Master,‖ Obi-Wan replied quietly.

So, this is Master Qui-Gon‘s grave? Vader felt a chill prickle at his spine. ―You didn‘t want to be
here for the ceremony?‖

―I wanted to forget that the whole mission ever happened,‖ Obi-Wan sighed. ―I wanted to just
disappear instead of facing my own mistakes, my own failings. But I had to remember. Queen
Amidala requested that I eulogize him as part of the dedication, and I couldn‘t refuse.
Honestly, I don‘t know how I managed to do it, even a month after it all happened.‖
―Your mistakes?‖ Vader frowned.

―The Sith apprentice lured us both down into the power plant beneath the palace and then he
separated us. Before I could rejoin my Master, the Sith mortally wounded him. I forgot myself
then, I forgot my training, and I went after the Sith out of anger and hatred; in pursuit of

Obi-Wan delivered his confession in a dull tone, like he was reciting dry facts that meant
nothing to him. If Vader hadn‘t possessed the ability to sense emotions, he might‘ve thought
that Obi-Wan really wasn‘t bothered by the story he was telling. But to his senses, the Jedi‘s
grief and shame were still powerful and raw.

Vader stared down at the ground and traced the fingers of his left hand over the cold
components of his right hand. ―Did you kill Darth Maul out of anger?‖

―No,‖ Obi-Wan replied after a minute. ―When I killed him, I had released my anger. But before
I was able to do that, I had lost my lightsaber and I was dangling from a blinking red light on
the side of a reactor shaft with the Sith about to kill me.‖

―Still, you did it, you let go of your anger and ended the fight the right way.‖ Vader scuffed his
boot heel over the soft ground. ―Not many people could manage that.‖

Obi-Wan didn‘t reply for a while. ―I felt unworthy of my knighthood for years afterwards. I
never went through the traditional Trials; instead, I was promoted for surviving when my
Master did not, and for killing a Sith that my Master could not. Sometimes I still wonder about
the wisdom of the Council‘s choice in my knighting.‖

Vader ran the tips of his flesh fingers over his coarse, frayed braid. ―I don‘t know anything
about the Trails, but…but it seems to me defeating Maul was a fair substitute. I mean, you
rejected the Dark Side in the heat of battle, not only survived but defeated a Sith, and you did
it all without Master Jinn‘s help. That‘s more than enough to impress me.‖ He turned away
from the white stone and stared down the path that led back to the rest of the gardens. ―Had I
been in your position, I couldn‘t have done that.‖

―Oh?‖ Obi-Wan prompted.

―If I was put in the same situation, I would‘ve gone ballistic on Maul. I would‘ve skewered
myself on his saber if it meant that I could take his tattooed hide down with me.‖ Vader smiled
grimly. ―Light or Dark, Jedi or Sith, it wouldn‘t have mattered to me. All I‘d care about was
making him hurt.‖

That shut Obi-Wan up for several minutes. Taking advantage of the Jedi‘s silence, Vader
strolled off down the path back to the main area of the gardens. He didn‘t feel like hanging
around Master Jinn‘s grave anymore. He didn‘t feel worthy of the place.

Obi-Wan waited several minutes before slowly following Vader. The boy looked awful. He
looked almost sickly, he was clearly depressed, and he was obviously not handling his new
hand well. Now, more than ever before, he regretted allowing Vader to come here alone.

I should have come with him. I shouldn‘t have left him alone for so long. Obi-Wan sighed

It was hard to say if Vader would be doing better if he‘d been kept at the Temple instead of
sent right back to Naboo. Obi-Wan liked to think that the boy would be doing better if he
stayed in the Temple for a while and was kept busy; distracted with work. But with such a
devastating injury as losing his dominant hand, some depression and distress had to be

But to think that he‘s permanently useless, that we would abandon him simply because he is
temporarily disabled… Obi-Wan shook his head. He may never recover all of his skill, but he is
by no means a lost cause.

Rounding a tall bush with clusters of tiny blue flowers, Obi-Wan found Vader slumped on a
gray stone bench and staring listlessly out into space. Again, he was struck by how different
Vader seemed. Gone was the rebellious youth that he was so well acquainted with, leaving a
crushed and despondent young man instead.

You are a mess, aren‘t you? Obi-Wan swallowed a sigh and took a seat on the bench on
Vader‘s right. Still consumed with staring at nothing, Vader had no reaction to Obi-Wan‘s
presence beside him. Taking advantage of Vader‘s distraction, Obi-Wan studied him more

What stood out the most to him was the state of Vader‘s Padawan braid. It was frayed, the
colored threads that signaled levels of achievement were starting to slip and come unwound,
and it was in desperate need of being re-braided. Considering his recent disability, Obi-Wan
took it upon himself to repair that part of Vader‘s hairstyle.

Obi-Wan carefully removed the colored threads, undid the braid, and smoothed out the hair.
Then he ran through the familiar process of plaiting the braid. Vader gave no sign of noticing
this, until about halfway through.

―Why are you bothering with that?‖ the boy sighed.

―Somehow I doubt you would have willingly asked me or someone to do it,‖ Obi-Wan
shrugged as he tired the braid off and began putting the colored threads back on.

―I‘m going to cut it off,‖ Vader grumbled.

―Cut it off and you‘ll have to grow a whole new one,‖ Obi-Wan pointed out.

―I‘m no good to anyone now,‖ Vader mumbled, ―so I‘m going home.‖

―Aren‘t you worried that the Sith might follow you there and harm your family to try and lure
you back into their service?‖ Obi-Wan wondered as he let go of Vader‘s now-neat braid.

―Why bother?‖ Vader muttered bitterly and held up his golden prosthetic hand. ―Like I said,
I‘m no good to anyone now.‖

―Not with that negative attitude, no,‖ Obi-Wan agreed. ―But there are many Jedi who have
continued on serving the Order after suffering similar, or worse injuries. The Archives list
many Jedi who have lost limbs, some before the advent of feasible mechanical prosthetics,
who were able to regain their skills with a lightsaber. And there are others who suffered other
debilitating injuries, like losing eyes, or even going completely blind.‖

―There have been blind Jedi?‖ Vader frowned disbelievingly.

―Yes, I knew one, in fact.‖ Obi-Wan informed him. ―Master Tahl, the head Archivist before
Master Nu, was blinded by a lightsaber strike, yet continued to serve as an active member of
the Order for several more years.‖
Vader tilted his head curiously. ―What happened to Master Tahl?‖

―She was murdered,‖ Obi-Wan replied grimly.

―Oh.‖ The boy shifted awkwardly.

―It happened a long time ago,‖ Obi-Wan sighed. ―You might not have even been born when it

―So,‖ Vader squirmed, ―I…guess I can‘t really go home then.‖

―If that‘s what you really want to do, I can‘t stop you.‖ Obi-Wan replied. ―But with things as
they are now, I wouldn‘t suggest it.‖

―Just great,‖ Vader grumbled and returned to his more familiar sulking posture.

Obi-Wan almost chuckled, but refrained to avoid offending his younger companion. It was
strange, but he was actually glad to have Vader sulking. If Vader was too depressed to sulk
about something, he would‘ve been really worried.

―Hey Master?‖ Vader mumbled after a minute.

Obi-Wan raised his eyebrows in surprise. What‘s this? He never calls me ―Master‖ in private…

―Stupid question, but…the Council‘s mad at me for keeping quiet for so long, aren‘t they?‖

―They are displeased with you, yes; some more so than others,‖ Obi-Wan answered. ―Some
were unhappy enough to push for you to be cast out, but most did agree with the idea of
putting the two choices before you.‖

―Oh,‖ Vader swallowed anxiously. ―So…it‘s stick with you, or rot in the Temple until the war
ends, is it?‖

―Well, yes,‖ Obi-Wan nodded.

―I guess you‘re stuck with me then, Master.‖ Vader smirked faintly. ―If I stayed in the Temple,
I‘d get bored and probably go back to sabotaging droids for fun.‖

Obi-Wan arched a questioning eyebrow. ―So you admit to reprogramming those R4 units when
I was sent to Telos that one time?‖

―Er, yes,‖ the boy shrugged. ―Master Billaba gave me lists of historical facts to memorize that
day. I found messing with Astromechs to be much more interesting. It was especially funny to
see the looks on the other Jedi‘s faces when they saw droids running into walls or spinning in
circles for no good reason.‖

Obi-Wan sighed wearily and shook his head in mock-despair. ―What am I going to do with

Vader shrugged and then rested his head on Obi-Wan‘s shoulder. Obi-Wan was quite surprised
by such open and trusting behavior. Usually Vader limited himself to guiltily clinging to Obi-
Wan‘s sleeve or cloak when he felt the need for some sort of physical comfort.
―Master,‖ the teen mumbled, ―have you ever been afraid to close your eyes, for fear of what
you might see?‖

―Not really,‖ Obi-Wan frowned. ―You do?‖

―Sometimes,‖ Vader replied softly, still resting the side of his head on Obi-Wan‘s shoulder.
―Back when Dooku still…had me, there would be times when I would start to think that I
should buckle down, really try to learn what he was shoving down my throat so that I could
get stronger, strong enough to kill him and be free. And if I thought that way long enough, I‘d
have these nightmares…

―I‘d see a monster. Big and black, a huge shadow. It had this hideous mask for a face and
shiny black armor with a black cape. There were flashing buttons on its chest. I could never
tell if it was just a suit, or a droid, or some sick kind of cyborg. It had a red lightsaber, like a
Sith, so I guess it was at least partly alive. Then there was the breathing…this ominous,
mechanical sound. I think that was the scariest part of the whole thing.

―And I would know…somehow…as I stared at this thing…looming over me….that-that inside
that…monster…was me.‖

Abruptly, Obi-Wan was reminded of something that Vader had said years ago, back on Corellia.
The teen was panicked, exhausted, and at that point, barely coherent. But what the boy had
said had chilled him then, and chilled him now.

―Make me…do things…tha‘ I don‘ wanna do… Make me a monster…‖

―It‘d scare me so much,‖ Vader continued quietly. ―And I‘d go back to thinking of ways to run
away. I didn‘t want to be a monster.‖

Obi-Wan awkwardly patted the cold metal of Vader‘s right hand. ―I don‘t think you‘ll ever be

―Thanks,‖ Vader snorted.

―You‘re welcome,‖ Obi-Wan replied politely.

Then Vader‘s odd little droid decided to reveal itself. Orbie the hovercam droid floated across
their field of vision, drifting sideways and locking its one camera eye on them. For all the
droid‘s eccentric behavior, at times it could be eerily quiet and downright invisible when it
wanted to be. As far as Obi-Wan could tell, the hovercam had been watching most of their
exchange, only showing itself when they had stopped talking.

―You were watching us the whole time,‖ Vader accused the droid.

Orbie made a whistle of agreement, then bobbed off to drift aimlessly through the maze-like

―Are you certain you didn‘t remove any essential circuits in that thing‘s artificial brain?‖ Obi-
Wan inquired curiously.

―Yeah, I‘m sure,‖ Vader sighed.

―All right.‖ Obi-Wan glanced up at the sky to gauge the time. ―Any interest in a late
―Hmm…okay,‖ Vader agreed and got up.

Obi-Wan nodded in satisfaction and led him back towards the palace. I do hope that they still
have some of those breakfast pastries left. I always liked those…

Vader trudged after Obi-Wan back towards the palace. After Obi-Wan had mentioned
breakfast, he realized that he was a little hungry and saw no reason to not join his Master for
a little breakfast. There was no point in trying to slip away now anyway.

Not only was Obi-Wan now on Naboo, but Padmé had returned to Theed. He‘d left Orbie at
Varykino with her and since the hovercam was here, she had to be too. So there was no
chance that he could leave without her telling him good-bye.

Oh well, Vader sighed. There goes my sneaky escape to Tatooine. Looks like I won‘t be seeing
Mom for a while.

He glanced down at his glittering right hand. Maybe I‘m wrong. Maybe I‘m not so useless and
hopeless after all. Maybe…

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                                 font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                       33. 32: Farew ells and Old Friends

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                           Chapter 32
                                     Farewells and Old Friends

Vader slunk after Obi-Wan back into the palace in search of breakfast. Fortunately the kitchen
staff hadn‘t yet cleared away the buffet laid out for palace staff and employees so they didn‘t
have to make a special request for their meal. And it was late enough that most of the staff
had already eaten, leaving them with the room pretty much to themselves.

Obi-Wan cheerfully grabbed a plate and drifted along the buffet table, taking bits of just about
everything offered. Vader sighed and did the same, though he didn‘t take as much food and
was more choosy about what he put on his plate. Then, with plates filled, they settled down at
one of the tables to eat.

Nibbling at a slice of bread slathered in some kind of pink fruit jam, Vader stared down at the
off-white table cloth, lost in thought. He was in a lot of trouble now. War had begun. The High
Council was mad at him. And he had a lot to answer for.

―Hey, Master?‖ he mumbled.


―I…I typed up everything that I could think of into a report.‖ Vader toyed nervously with a
slice of shuura fruit. ―Do you think that if I gave them that, their little interrogation will go

―It might,‖ Obi-Wan shrugged. ―It‘s impossible to say for sure, but it can‘t hurt.‖

Vader nodded. ―Okay.‖ I‘ll do that then.

The rest of the meal proceeded in silence. Vader felt too smothered by gloom to try and spark
up some conversation. Obi-Wan seemed perfectly content to just sit there and eat his
breakfast pastries. The silence was only broken when Padmé appeared just as they were
finishing up.
―Good morning,‖ Padmé smiled as she breezed into the staff dining room. ―Enjoying your
breakfast, gentlemen?‖

―Yes,‖ Obi-Wan replied politely.

Vader nodded mutely.

―Have you been enjoying your vacation?‖ Obi-Wan inquired.

―For the most part,‖ she answered and sat down beside Vader. ―How are you this morning?‖
she asked him.

―Okay,‖ Vader shrugged, not looking at her.

He could feel her watching him, but she eventually shifted her attention away from him.
―Master Kenobi, I admit that I didn‘t expect to see you here.‖

―I came to collect my Padawan personally,‖ the Jedi replied. ―And I wished to see Naboo
again,‖ he added cheerfully.

―What is the situation on Coruscant?‖ Padmé asked, slipping back into politician mode.

―Chaotic mostly,‖ Obi-Wan sighed. ―The Senate voted the supreme chancellor emergency
powers to deal with this crisis, but the Senate is still struggling to catch up with all that‘s
happened. Nothing definitive has been decided yet and the Order is managing the war in the

Padmé sighed deeply. ―So what are your immediate plans?‖

―Vader and I will return to Coruscant within the hour and we will most likely remain there until
we are sent out to the battlefield,‖ Obi-Wan replied.

―You‘re sending him out so soon?‖ she frowned.

―There‘s not much of a choice,‖ Obi-Wan shrugged uncomfortably. ―The Order took heavy
losses on Geonosis; out of the two hundred Jedi that were dispatched there, only twenty
returned alive.‖

Vader flinched at the hard numbers. I knew it was going to be bad, but…that bad?

―We are both experienced Jedi,‖ he continued, ―and our skills will be in some demand.‖ Obi-
Wan smiled. ―Don‘t worry, I‘ll look after him.‖

―I‘m sure you will,‖ Padmé replied, but still projected a lot of worry.

―Relax,‖ Vader sighed and glanced up at her. ―I‘ll be okay.‖ If you don‘t believe him, believe

She smiled. ―All right.‖ She reluctantly stood up. ―I have to go meet with Queen Jamilla. I‘ll try
to make down to the hanger in an hour to see you off.‖

―Take care,‖ Obi-Wan smiled.
Vader merely waved to her as she turned and left to meet with her queen.

Obi-Wan gathered up their plates to dispose of them. ―Well, why don‘t we go see if your ride is

―My ride?‖ Vader repeated blankly.

―A spare Delta-7 was sent here on autopilot shortly after I left,‖ Obi-Wan replied. ―I really
don‘t think you want to try and squeeze in with me into my fighter.‖

―I get one of my own?‖ Vader blinked, stupefied. Seriously?

―For the time being,‖ Obi-Wan said with a hint of warning in his tone. ―At the moment, you‘re
restricted to flying it under my supervision. If I‘m not flying with you, you‘re not flying.‖

―Great,‖ Vader sighed as he slunk after Obi-Wan towards the palace‘s hanger. Well that‘s a
downer. They give me my own fighter, and I‘m not allowed to fly it…

The palace‘s hanger was just as pretty and clean as the rest of the planet. It was practically a
work of art, filled with sleek N-1 starfighters that looked more like sculptures than one-man
snubfighters. Vader had already explored the hanger the previous day, so he didn‘t dawdle to
look at all the pretty ships.

This just shows how pacifistic these people are. Their one combat hanger looks like an art
gallery, and is just as clean. I don‘t see one oil spot anywhere in here…

Obi-Wan headed right for the corner of the hanger where the visiting ships were always
parked. ―Oh good, it‘s here.‖

Vader followed his gaze to see a second Delta-7 sitting beside Obi-Wan‘s red-trimmed ship.
The other fighter was trimmed in blue with a green-domed Astromech wired into it. But aside
from the difference in color and droid, it looked identical to Obi-Wan‘s fighter, and the hundred
other Delta-7s that belonged to the Jedi Order.

―Why don‘t you look it over,‖ Obi-Wan suggested as he leaned into his own cockpit. ―We won‘t
be leaving for a little while.‖

With a shrug, Vader wandered up to the blue fighter. He hopped into the cockpit and looked
over all the gauges and controls. Everything read as normal, just as he expected.

Good but…boring. He sighed and turned off the autopilot controls. I almost wish something
was broken on this thing.

―Hey,‖ he called to the Astromech, ―what‘s your number?‖

The green Astromech let out a burst of whistles and squeaks that were translated on the small
screen near his joystick. R4-P44, AT YOUR SERVICE.

―R4-P44‖? That‘s so boring. Hm, he crossed his arms over his chest thoughtfully. Arfour? No,
Obi-Wan already calls his droid that. Peeforty-four? …No. Peeforty? …No. Pee…forty… Petey?

―Well, from now on, you are Petey,‖ Vader declared.
OKAY, the droid agreed.

―Very good,‖ Vader smirked faintly.

―Did you just give your Astromech a strange name?‖ Obi-Wan asked, peering down at him
from the Delta-7‘s wing.

―Define strange,‖ Vader responded.

Obi-Wan shook his head wearily and passed him a cloth bag. ―Here, I brought you something
to keep you entertained during the long hyperspace ride.‖

Vader studied it curiously for a moment. ―What‘s in it?‖

―You‘ll see when we get underway,‖ Obi-Wan promised. ―Now why don‘t you gather up your
things and that loose floating camera of yours, so that we can leave.‖

―Yes, Master,‖ Vader agreed, tucking the bag under his seat and climbing out of the cockpit.
―Be ready to go at 1100,‖ he commanded Petey with a pointed finger.

The green Astromech whistled a cheerful affirmative.

Vader strode off to track down Orbie and pick up his bag of spare clothes. As he ran through
his simple tasks, he thought about his new ship. Since he couldn‘t fly it all that much,
maybe…maybe he could tinker with it. Make it better.


Just under an hour later, Vader had all his things gathered up and packed into his Delta-7.
Orbie regrettably had to be deactivated for the journey since there wasn‘t any extra room in
the cockpit for the spherical droid to float around, and it had been stashed in the small storage
compartment behind his seat. Then he‘d used his ship‘s transmitter to send his report on
ahead to the High Council on Coruscant so they could review it to their hearts‘ content while
he was still in transit. And now all there was left to do was leave.

―Oh good, you‘re still here!‖ Padmé called as she hurried through the hanger towards them. ―I
was worried that I‘d miss you.‖

―No, you just caught us,‖ Obi-Wan smiled.

―I‘m glad.‖ She hurried over to Obi-Wan first and gave him a friendly hug. ―You be careful,
Master Jedi.‖

―I will,‖ Obi-Wan promised.

Then Padmé moved on to Vader and gave him a hug too. ―And you be careful too,‖ she
admonished. And then – seemingly as an afterthought – she gave him a friendly peck on the

―Okay,‖ he gulped, forcing himself to not touch the cheek that she‘d kissed. Holy kriffing hell!
She kissed me!
―Now you‘re both welcome to stop by my Coruscanti apartment anytime you want,‖ she said
with a wave as she backed away from their ships. ―Take care of yourselves!‖

Obi-Wan bowed politely to her and leapt into the cockpit of his star fighter. Vader gave her a
jerky nod and scrambled into the refuge provided by his own ship. He hoped that he hadn‘t
been blushing, but knowing his luck, he had been.

Why‘d she have to do that? His hands – well, his left hand – trembled a bit as he ran through
the pre-flight checks. His insides felt weird, kind of fluttery, and he dearly wished it would stop.

Damn it, Skywalker! he scolded himself. It was just one little kiss—not even on the lips! It‘s no
big deal. It means nothing. Grow up!

Shaking his head, he forced himself to focus solely on what he was doing. He was an
accomplished pilot, but he hadn‘t had much opportunity to fly a Jedi star fighter. The only
times he‘d ever flown one was during some training flights and the few occasions that he‘d
used Obi-Wan‘s—with or without permission.

Just fly, he sighed as he lifted off a few moments after Obi-Wan. Just fly. Don‘t think about
anything else until hyperspace.

Clutching the joystick with a death grip, he steered the Delta-7 out of Naboo‘s atmosphere
just behind Obi-Wan‘s fighter and towards the orbiting booster ring. They locked into their
booster rings about the same time. And then, since their routes had already been
programmed into the computers, it was just as simple as waiting until they‘d cleared the
planetary gravity well and throwing the hyperspace lever.

When the stretched out star lines blended into the jagged blue-white nothingness of
hyperspace, Vader slumped back into his seat with a weary sigh. He was free of Naboo – and
her – forever. Now there was only facing the Council‘s angry questions and then the war to
contend with. No problem at all.

Padmé had offered him and Obi-Wan both an open invitation to visit her anytime. It was an
attractive offer. But he‘d never take her up on it. He couldn‘t. He‘d had enough of deceiving
her; of playing ‗Dar‘ti Vader‘ for her.

Sighing, he dug around underneath his seat for the bag that Obi-Wan had given him. It was
going to be a long and boring flight, and whatever his Master had given him to do, it was ten
times better than doing nothing but waiting to arrive at Coruscant. Dumping it out into his lap,
he was startled at what came out.

There were a few tools, but most of what was there were parts: wires and circuits, a power
source, and a focusing crystal. All the parts needed to build the guts of a lightsaber. The only
materials missing were what he would need to form the outer shell of the hilt. And that part
would require the use of the Temple‘s little machine shop.

He picked up the crystal, sapphire blue and already perfectly cut, and stared at it. Thank you,
Master. Thank you…

Obi-Wan settled down in the Room of a Thousand Fountains in a calm corner that he‘d
frequented as a young Padawan and sighed wearily. They‘d just returned from Naboo after a
long flight, just over a day and a half of solid flying plus refueling and eating stops, and Vader
had promptly been led off to meet with the High Council. It had been a closed session and
Obi-Wan had not been invited. So, after stopping in the cafeteria to get a decent meal, he‘d
come to the Fountain Room to wait.

I hope he‘ll be alright, Obi-Wan worried as he stared into the clear waters of the pond. I hope
that sending that ―report‖ of his helps. After the week he‘s had, and that long flight, he‘s got
to be tired.

Shaking his head, he slipped into a meditative pose, closed his eyes, and opened himself to
the currents of the Force. The soft, soothing sounds of flowing water, and the gentle glow of
the trees and plants made this one of the best places on Coruscant to meditate. But even this
place was not free of distraction…as he was reminded once more.

―Stars above!‖ someone exclaimed. ―Obi-Wan Kenobi, is that you?‖

―Yes,‖ Obi-Wan sighed, opening his eyes, ―who‘s ask…ing.‖ He blinked. ―Hello, Garen.‖

Garen Muln, his old friend and sometimes body double, stared back at him, just as surprised
to see Obi-Wan as Obi-Wan was to see him.

Though, Obi-Wan reflected, he can‘t impersonate me anymore. No beard.

―Obi-Wan!‖ Garen cried and dropped to his knees to embrace him. ―I never thought I‘d see
you again!‖

―Garen,‖ Obi-Wan sputtered, awkwardly patting Garen‘s shoulder. ―Why would you think

―I haven‘t seen or heard from you in nearly ten years,‖ Garen complained. ―You ran off to
Corellia without even saying good-bye!‖

―I‘m sorry,‖ Obi-Wan apologized. ―I didn‘t mean be away for so long.‖

―It‘s okay,‖ Garen grinned and yanked Obi-Wan to his feet. ―Come with me.‖

―Where are we going?‖ Obi-Wan asked as Garen enthusiastically towed him along.

Garen didn‘t answer him. He just pulled him out of the cover of the grove of trees and brought
him towards one of the artificial hills. At the base of the hill, he waved to a small group of Jedi
congregated near the top.

―Siri! Bant! Quin! Look who I found!‖ Garen cried.

―Oh my!‖ Bant Eerin blinked her large silver eyes and clasped her webbed hands together.

―Obi-Wan!‖ Quinlan Vos half-smiled.

―So the long-vanished finally returns,‖ Siri sniffed in mock-annoyance. ―And here we thought
that you had abandoned us for those insane Corellians.‖

Obi-Wan smiled weakly in response. ―Hello, fancy meeting you all here.‖ All at once, too. Blast!
Upon his return to Coruscant from Corellia, he‘d kept a very low profile. He hadn‘t had any
contact with his old friends; the only people that knew he was here were those that had
stumbled across him, like Bruck, or those that he had to deal with, like the High Council. Since
they were so surprised to see him here, he got the feeling that those parties that were aware
of his presence had not clued any of them in to his return.

This is bound to be a bit awkward, he mentally cringed as his friends practically tackled him in
their haste to get in a hug with him. Siri might kill me for this. Or at the very least, she‘ll hurt
me for this.

―Did they call your sorry hide back here because of Geonosis?‖ Garen asked after the flurry of
hugs and good-natured teasing died down.

―No, I‘ve been around for a few years,‖ Obi-Wan reluctantly admitted. ―Bruck didn‘t tell you
that he saw me?‖

―We don‘t talk to him anymore,‖ Siri reminded him with a hard look.

Back when they‘d all been teenagers, Bruck had been led astray by Xanatos duCrion, a Dark
Jedi and Master Qui-Gon‘s former apprentice. Bruck had kidnapped Bant to provoke Obi-Wan,
and Obi-Wan had managed to free Bant from him and subdue Bruck without killing him. The
Council had sent Bruck away for a few years and managed to rehabilitate him. But even being
brought back from the confused edge of the Dark Side, Bruck still resented Obi-Wan and
blatantly disliked his circle of friends.

―Of course,‖ Obi-Wan nodded, ―I just thought he might share that information, whether you
wanted him to or not.‖

―No,‖ Bant replied quietly with a shrug, ―he stays away from us.‖

―Oh.‖ Obi-Wan frowned. I wished he‘s stay away from me…

―So…‖ Siri tilted her head questioningly. ―What have you been up to lately?‖

Obi-Wan shifted nervously. ―Nothing terribly exciting. Just ordinary missions…‖

―No mission is ‗ordinary‘,‖ Garen snorted. ―Come now, give us some details. You don‘t have
anywhere to be today, do you?‖

Obi-Wan shook his head. ―Not to my knowledge, no.‖

―Good,‖ Garen grinned cheerily. ―Then we have all day to get caught up.‖

It was around dinner time when the High Council finally let him go. They had questioned him
mercilessly about his report. They picked at every name, every scrap of conversation he‘d
passed them. And they picked at every theory on the Sith‘s plans that he‘d offered them. The
council of Masters didn‘t appear happy or satisfied with his responses to their questions,
despite the fact that he was honest and sincere. But still, they let him go with little more than
some harsh words and harsher looks.

They‘re probably still annoyed that I won‘t tell them anything about myself, he sighed as he
stumbled towards the cafeteria and food. The deal is that I had to give them everything I
knew about the Sith, and I have. I‘m no Sith, so they‘ve got no grounds to demand
information on my own background.
Sighing wearily, he trudged through the halls in search of dinner. All around him clusters of
Jedi hurried to and fro, agitated and on edge. The Order was gearing up for war and that
made all the Jedi nervous. They didn‘t know what they would be called on to do, or where
they‘d be sent, or if they‘d live to see the end of the war.

Vader ignored them in favor of food. The Council had snapped him up before he could get any
lunch, and after all that hard questioning, he was starving. Everything could wait until he got
something to eat.

The cafeteria was even more crowded and crackling with tension than the hallways. Master,
Knights, and Padawans crowded around tables and shared whispered rumors about what was
happening now and what would happen soon. Most of the tables were full, leaving very few
seats open.

Great, Vader grumbled as he got in line. Where the hell am I going to sit?

After loading up his tray with whatever looked good that was being offered, he aimlessly
wandered through the maze of tables in search of a place to sit down. He found a few open
seats, but rejected them quickly. Throughout his stay in the Temple, he‘d worked to keep a
low profile, and that meant he hadn‘t really made any friends at all among the Jedi. Sure, he‘d
worked with other Padawan‘s in class, in training, and occasionally on missions, but he only
spent the absolute minimum of time with them and held them at a distance. Now, with no
friends to sit by, and in no mood to sit in a sea of strangers, he was a bit lost.

Where‘s Obi-Wan? he wondered. He should be down here by now…

A few tables later, he caught sight of his Master. But he was sitting with a small cluster of
other Jedi, chatting animatedly with them. This was something he hadn‘t really seen before.
Aside from occasionally sharing a meal with some members of the High Council, Obi-Wan
generally did as he did, and ate alone.

Confused, but mostly intrigued, he worked to mask his presence and carefully approached.
The table just behind Obi-Wan‘s back was half empty, leaving more than enough room for
Vader to sit there and eavesdrop to his heart‘s content. And that‘s just what he did. He sat
down, ate, and listened…

Obi-Wan sat in the cafeteria, surrounded by all his old friends, and couldn‘t help but feel
happy as he enjoyed his dinner. He regretted not keeping in touch with them after he‘d
returned to Coruscant. Not only could they have provided some assistance in looking after
Vader, but they had all led such interesting lives and had interesting adventures. He‘d really
missed out on a lot.

Bant, after having lost Master Tahl, had successfully completed her apprenticeship under
Master Kit Fisto‘s guidance. She was now continuing her studies as a Jedi Healer and was
studying surgery with Stass Allie, Adi Gallia‘s cousin. In addition to her healing work, she still
occasionally went out on missions.

Garen had continued to focus his efforts on improving his piloting and saber skills. He was an
accomplished swordsman and talented pilot and took many missions to combat space piracy.
Recently he‘d been hearing some rumors from his superiors that he might be granted the rank
of Master soon.

Quinlan had taken the blue Twi‘lek girl, Aayla Secura, as a Padawan not too long after Obi-
Wan had left for Corellia. But midway through Aayla‘s apprenticeship, she and Quinlan had
suffered overdoses of a dangerous drug that destroyed most of their memories. Quin had
suffered a brush with Darkness during his amnesia, but had since recovered. While some
areas of his memory were still fuzzy, he‘d recovered much of what he‘d lost. He had recently
been granted Mastery, while Aayla was now a Jedi Knight.

Siri had also taken a Padawan, a Human boy named Ferus Olin. Her Padawan had not yet
been Knighted, but she expected it to happen in the next few years. They worked well
together and had completed many missions, both alone and with other Master/Padawan pairs.

Her Padawan, Ferus, had joined them for dinner. He was about Vader‘s age, with brown hair
with a streak of blonde over his eyes, and dark eyes. The boy seemed intelligent and
competent enough, but he was also stiff and very serious. His name was also vaguely familiar
and he wondered if Vader had had any classes with the boy.

During their hours of catching up with each other, Obi-Wan had managed to say as little about
his Padawan as possible. While he trusted his friends, he didn‘t want them probing too deeply
into Vader‘s background. Vader‘s secret had to remain between himself, the boy, and the
Council. And he would prefer it if Vader met his friends and decided if he wanted to be friendly
with them or not before he went and shared most of the boy‘s history with them.

―Come on Ferus,‖ Garen chuckled. ―Tell us a story now.‖

―Yes, Padawan,‖ Siri grinned. ―We‘ve gone over all of our youthful misadventures. Now why
don‘t you share a tale of you and your age-mates‘ exploits?‖

Ferus shifted uneasily in his seat between Obi-Wan and his Master. ―Well, Master Siri has
already shared most of the more interesting stories…‖

―There has to be something else,‖ Bant encouraged.

―Any horror stories?‖ Quinlan asked. ―Nightmare missions, evil homework assignments?‖

Ferus frowned. ―Well, as to ‗evil homework assignments‘, any project that I had to do with
Dar‘ti Vader was…unpleasant.‖

Obi-Wan felt the smile start to slip from his face. Oh dear. Now I know that I‘ve heard Ferus‘s
name before.

―Ah yes,‖ Siri sighed grimly. ―Him.‖

―What was so bad about him?‖ Bant asked.

―He‘s rude,‖ Ferus replied, ―lazy, distant, and he bends the rules whenever he can. He never
outright cheats, but he always questions the Code and Jedi traditions. I find his personality
abrasive and his quick temper worrying. It‘s almost impossible to get along with him. No one
ever wanted to work with him in class; the teacher always had to lump him in with some other

Obi-Wan cringed. He‘d heard such comments before from Vader‘s teachers. But to hear one of
Vader‘s age-mates list every single problem was worrisome.

―I never met this Padawan Vader or his Master before,‖ Siri frowned, ―but I‘d certainly like to
give them a piece of my mind. This boy obviously has some problems and he either shouldn‘t
have been chosen, or been chosen by a more appropriate Master. And as to the Master, he
needs to get a better grip on his Padawan.‖
Obi-Wan swallowed. ―Siri—‖

―The Council has to know about this problem,‖ Siri continued. ―I don‘t see why they haven‘t
intervened in this case. This boy clearly needs some counseling and perhaps some retraining.‖

Oh dear, Obi-Wan sighed as Ferus tore into Vader some more. I get the feeling that this is not
going to end well…

Vader munched quietly on a sandwich as he listened in on Obi-Wan‘s conversation. He seemed
to be friends with all of the Jedi at the table, except for Ferus who was just there because his
Master was there. They were sharing stories – some recent, some old – and generally having
a nice dinner. And then the focus shifted more towards Ferus.

―Any horror stories?‖ the Kiffar Jedi asked. ―Nightmare missions, evil homework assignments?‖

Vader listened harder, curious to see what Ferus, the teacher‘s pet Padawan, would say.

―Well,‖ Ferus began reluctantly, ―as to ‗evil homework assignments‘, any project that I had to
do with Dar‘ti Vader was…unpleasant.‖

Vader sighed. Of course. Pick on me why don‘t you?

―Ah yes,‖ Ferus‘s Master sighed grimly. ―Him.‖

Huh, I guess I‘m infamous in Ferus‘s world…

―What was so bad about him?‖ Bant asked.

―He‘s rude,‖ Ferus replied, ―lazy, distant, and he bends the rules whenever he can. He never
outright cheats, but he always questions the Code and Jedi traditions. I find his personality
abrasive and his quick temper worrying. It‘s almost impossible to get along with him. No one
ever wanted to work with him in class; the teacher always had to lump him in with some other

I‘m not lazy, Vader huffed. I try to keep up, but it‘s not my fault that my early education
sucked so bad. Owners don‘t care about sending their slave children to primary school.

―I never met this Padawan Vader or his Master before,‖ Ferus‘s Master remarked, ―but I‘d
certainly like to give them a piece of my mind. This boy obviously has some problems and he
either shouldn‘t have been chosen, or been chosen by a more appropriate Master. And as to
the Master, he needs to get a better grip on his Padawan.‖

I know I have problems, Vader scowled at his plate. But they‘re not Obi-Wan‘s fault, so don‘t
go blaming him. He does his best. I‘m the problem, not him.

Obi-Wan tried to protest. ―Siri—‖

―The Council has to know about this problem,‖ Ferus‘s Master continued. ―I don‘t see why they
haven‘t intervened in this case. This boy clearly needs some counseling and perhaps some

But I am being retrained, Vader sulked.
―I don‘t see why anyone chose him in the first place,‖ Ferus added boldly. ―He‘s behind in all
his classes, and he‘s still taking some courses that he should have graduated from by now, so
he can‘t be all that quick-witted.‖

Okay, Vader growled, that‘s it.

―And he—‖

Vader got up from his seat, turned around, closed the three-step gap between himself and
Ferus, and he rested his forearms across Ferus‘s shoulders and leaned in close to the other
Padawan‘s left ear. ―Hint: If you‘re going to talk behind someone‘s back, make sure that they
can‘t hear you.‖

Ferus went stiff as a board under Vader‘s forearms. ―How long have you been back there?‖

―Oh, a good half hour or so,‖ Vader answered casually.

―Ah,‖ Ferus swallowed.

―Kindly unhand my Padawan,‖ Ferus‘s Master, a sharp blonde woman, demanded tartly.

―Unhand him?‖ Vader repeated innocently. ―I‘m barely touching him.‖

The woman opened her mouth to snap at him, but Master Obi-Wan headed her off. ―Enough,‖
he sighed quietly.

―Fine,‖ Vader grumbled and stopped leaning on Ferus. There, you see? My Master can control

―So,‖ the Mon Calamari woman narrowed her large silver eyes, ―you‘re Dar‘ti Vader?‖

―Yeah,‖ Vader shrugged. ―So?‖

The entire small table (sans Obi-Wan) stared at him in silence. Vader gazed calmly back at
them and refused to squirm or flinch. He could outlast their mute stares, and he would.

―Who is your Master?‖ a Jedi who superficially resembled his Master asked.

Crap. He didn‘t want to get his Master in trouble with his friends, but he didn‘t want to try and
fib. It was always very tricky to lie to Jedi, and after his marathon meeting with the Council,
he was mentally too tired to try. So he ended up looking away guiltily and pointing at Obi-Wan.
There he is.

―Obi-Wan, he‘s the Padawan you mentioned earlier?‖ the Kiffar Jedi asked.

―Yes,‖ Obi-Wan confirmed.

―But,‖ the Mon Cal frowned, ―the boy that you mentioned and the boy that Ferus described
sound like two very different people.‖

Vader felt a little flash of cheer. Hey, Obi-Wan found some nice things to say about me.
―Ferus only sees him in class, I see him when he isn‘t in class.‖ Obi-Wan shrugged and
scooted over, opening a gap between himself and Ferus. ―I‘m not surprised that our opinions

Vader hesitated a moment before retrieving his meal tray and sliding into the space that his
Master had made for him before it disappeared. Ferus shot him an annoyed look and subtly
shifted further away from him. Vader ignored him and worked on the last of his dinner.

―This is more than a difference of opinion,‖ Ferus‘s Master retorted. ―Ferus is not one prone to

―I know Vader has some problems,‖ Obi-Wan sighed. ―But they are not ones that are easily
fixed; it takes time. He‘s already made some vast improvements since I‘ve taken him on as a

―What was he before he became your Padawan, a Sith?‖ Ferus‘s Master asked rudely.

―Siri!‖ Obi-Wan snapped warningly. ―Why don‘t we talk about something else?‖

―That sounds like an excellent idea,‖ the Mon Cal smiled.

While Obi-Wan and his friends wrestled the conversation onto a neutral topic, Vader stared
down at his plate. He didn‘t want to be a friction point between Obi-Wan and his long-lost
friends. And it wasn‘t their fault that they didn‘t understand him. But the whole questioning of
Obi-Wan‘s abilities and everything had him…irritated.

The servomotors in his right hand started to whine in protest as he curled his fingers into an
ever tighter fist. First my interrogation after a long flight, and now this? Today is just not a
good day…

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                            font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                     34. 33: General and Commander

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                         Chapter 33
                                    General and Commander

Long after the sun had gone down, Bant had organized a little trip out of the Temple to the
Dizzy Mynock. It was a mid-level bar, not too upscale, and not too seedy; it was a place they‘d
all gone as soon as they were of legal age to drink. After sending Vader to bed, Obi-Wan left
the Temple to rendezvous with his old comrades.

They‘d all beaten him there. Bant was sipping at some Mon Calamarian wine, Garen had a
glass of dark brown Chandrilan ale, Siri fingered a tall glass of some kind of clear alcoholic
drink with little pink berries floating in it, and Quinlan had a squat glass of something greenish
sitting near his hand. Obi-Wan slipped into the booth with them and keyed in an order for
some blue Corellian whiskey.

―Ah, Obi-Wan!‖ Bant greeted cheerfully. ―Now we‘re all here.‖

―First time in a long time,‖ Garen remarked.

―Yes,‖ Obi-Wan smiled slightly and a server droid delivered him his whiskey.

Quinlan fixed Obi-Wan with a curious look. ―Tell me, Obi-Wan…what happened to your
Padawan‘s hand?‖
―His hand?‖ Siri frowned.

―His right hand was recently replaced with a mechanical prosthesis,‖ Obi-Wan informed her.
―He lost it on Geonosis.‖

―Oh, I‘m sorry to hear that,‖ Bant blinked. ―If he has any problems, bring him to me.‖

―I will,‖ Obi-Wan promised.

―What exactly happened to him on Geonosis?‖ Garen inquired curiously.

―We attempted to stop Count Dooku from fleeing the planet and we were…less than
successful,‖ Obi-Wan replied dryly. ―Vader was beaten down more soundly than I was.‖

Quin leaned in. ―The two of you went head-to-head with Dooku?‖

―And survived?‖ Siri added disbelievingly.

―Yes,‖ Obi-Wan shrugged and sipped at his drink.

They all stared at him with varying degrees of shock and awe.

―So…what?‖ Siri frowned thoughtfully after a few minutes. ―Vader rushes in, gets his hand
lopped off, you save him, and then you get knocked out?‖

―Not quite,‖ Obi-Wan responded stiffly. ―He jumped the gun, was brushed aside with a burst of
Sith lightning, I interceded, Dooku cut me on my arm and leg and was about to finish me,
Vader then interceded, they dueled for a while, then Vader lost his hand, and then Master
Yoda had to save us both.‖

Garen let out a low whistled. ―Wow! That sounds like some duel.‖

―Yes,‖ Obi-Wan sighed grimly. ―It was.‖

Siri stared down into her glass. ―I had no idea…‖

Perhaps that will be enough to soften you and your Padawan‘s views on him, Obi-Wan mused.

―Do you think your Padawan will be all right?‖ Bant asked. ―Do you think he‘ll be able to
handle going off to war?‖

―I don‘t know,‖ Obi-Wan admitted wearily. ―I hope so. But I just don‘t know.‖

Bright and early the next morning, Vader slunk down to the machine shop to finish
constructing his new lightsaber. Most Jedi, under ideal conditions, would take a month or
perhaps even more to build their weapon; carefully designing it to reflect their personality and
pausing throughout construction to meditate deeply on it. But, not only did he lack such
incredible patience to do all that, he was in a hurry, and he had the skills to build high quality
things very quickly.

For most of the morning hours and into the early afternoon, he expertly machined the
cylindrical outer components of his new saber hilt. Then it was a simple matter of putting the
two parts together; attaching the interior parts he‘d put together on the long flight back from
Naboo to the inside of the newly created hilt shell. And when that was done, only the final step
remained: testing it.

Lightsabers were very precise weapons. If the components were incorrectly assembled or if
the focusing crystal was not properly aligned, the weapon would either not work or it would
explode. In no mood to lose another hand, he gave the newly completed saber to one of the
test droids, a robot whose only purpose was to turn on a lightsaber, run it through a few paces,
and then give it back.

―Success,‖ Vader smirked a few minutes later as he watched the primitive droid give the new
sapphire blade a few experimental twirls.

When the droid had completed its routine, it gave him the weapon back and turned itself off.
Vader ran his fingers over the hilt for a moment before hooking it onto his belt. The weight of
it bouncing against his hip was comforting, he‘d sorely missed it.

Well now what? he wondered as he ambled out of the machine shop in the bowels of the
Temple. Done with the lightsaber… Should I go to the training halls?

He gazed down at his right hand and slowly flexed the golden fingers. No, he decided. I think I
need to do some modifications first.

Thinking back to that pathetic mock-duel on Naboo, and the more recent delicate mechanical
work on his lightsaber, he found the dexterity of his new appendage to be lacking. The wrist
was stiff and the fingers sometimes would stick for a minute or two. Being the prodigy with
machines that he was, he intended to correct these minor problems before they flared up into
a bigger problem.

After catching a snack in the cafeteria, he returned to his room where he kept his tools. While
Jedi were not really paid, they were granted an allowance. Padawans didn‘t get very much,
Knights received a little more, and Masters earned a little more than that. Most saved up their
money for emergencies or to decorate their quarters. He used his to buy tools.

At first, when his tool collection was new and small, he didn‘t have much to do with it. He‘d
done a little tweaking of Orbie‘s circuits, and sabotaged a few droids for kicks, but that was
about it. But, every now and then, he‘d work up the nerve to slink out of the Temple late at
night to sort through the trash heap for broken things to fix. Sometimes he‘d find components
to put in Orbie, and other times he‘d just find broken things he could fix to amuse himself.

Walking into his room, he had to duck as Orbie almost crashed into his head. ―Hey, watch it

Orbie whistled some cheerful apology and darted around him to dart around the common
room of the apartment.

Okay, maybe I tinkered with his electronic brain just a little teeny bit too much. Shaking his
head, he flopped down at his desk and pulled out his box of tools. Note to self: Do not mess
with Orbie anymore. Instead, transfer need for fixing/modification to my new Delta-7.

He laid his right arm out on the table, rolled up his sleeves, and stared at the golden thing as
he pondered on how to proceed. This thing is so damn creepy! A shudder wracked him as he
contemplated the join between the stump of his biological arm and the droid replacement.
Grow up Skywalker! Just think of it as a machine, not a part of your own body…
Swallowing hard, he opened the tiny access panel near the base of the prosthetic and started
to study the mechanisms in detail, looking for any way at all to improve the function…

Obi-Wan regarded Vader critically from across the sparring mat. The boy had come far in just
over three weeks, about a full month since his injury. He wasn‘t ready for combat yet; he was
still far too vulnerable on his right side. But, at the rate that he was going, in another few
weeks Obi-Wan felt that he would be ready.

Well, at least physically ready. Whether Vader could handle the mental and emotional strain of
prolonged battle, Obi-Wan didn‘t know. Outwardly, Vader seemed stable enough, but beneath
that façade he knew that it was a different story.

Behind all the curses, glares, defiant behavior, and sulky attitude, was a fragile mind. He‘d
seen glimpses of it, most especially in their early days together. After some stressful situation
– a fight, an animal attack, an explosion, anything unexpected, really – Vader would look
shaken, almost sick, and would general seek solitude if he could, lash out verbally if he

Vader appeared to be much better recently, but his vulnerability remained. The level of
depression following his maiming on Geonosis was a good indication of just how fragile his
mind could be. Obi-Wan had expected him to take his injury hard, but the depth of the young
man‘s despair had surprised him.

But, with a little comforting and encouragement, Vader was back on track and rising to the
challenge again. With his new lightsaber constructed, he threw himself into training to adjust
to his new hand. Every day he worked himself into exhaustion with katas and drills and spars.
Obi-Wan couldn‘t decide whether to be impressed by Vader‘s intense dedication or worried by
his obsessive practicing.

With a fractional nod, the match was on and Vader charged him with an aggressive lunge.
Obi-Wan easily countered with his Soresu style, weaving a tight defense against Vader‘s more
offensive style. Originally, Vader had focused his lightsaber studies on the laser fire-blocking
Shien style of Form V, but now he was beginning to incorporate maneuvers from the more
lightsaber-on-lightsaber-oriented Djem So styling of Form V.

A consequence of the duel with Dooku, no doubt, Obi-Wan mused as he continued to
efficiently turn aside Vader‘s lightsaber strikes. When before all he cared about was knocking
aside blaster bolts, now he worries about deadly lightsaber duels and so modifies his combat
style accordingly.

Obi-Wan let the duel drag on. The longer the fight lasted, the more tired and frustrated Vader
would get. And that would lead him to make mistakes that Obi-Wan could then exploit.

After many grueling minutes, Obi-Wan spotted the opening he was looking for. He caught
Vader‘s blade with his own, pushed it up, stepped in close, and hooked his leg behind Vader‘s,
knocking the younger man flat on his back. Before Vader could regain his feet and press the
attack again, Obi-Wan had the tip of his blade at the young man‘s throat, trapping him.

―Concede?‖ Obi-Wan panted.

Vader gave him a venomous look. ―I concede,‖ he wheezed.

―Good,‖ Obi-Wan smiled and deactivated his weapon. ―How about lunch?‖
―Fine,‖ Vader grumbled as he put away his own weapon and staggered to his feet.

―On second thought, shower first and then lunch,‖ Obi-Wan decided after consulting a nearby
chronometer and realizing just how long they‘d been working.

―Yeah,‖ Vader agreed and dragged a sleeve over his face to wipe away some of the sweat. ―I
call the shower first.‖

―You most certainly will not shower first,‖ Obi-Wan frowned and gathered up his cloak. ―You‘ll
use up all the hot water.‖

―Whatever,‖ Vader growled as he picked up his own cloak and trudged after his guardian.

Obi-Wan shook his head and continued on to their quarters. He would get the first shower, not
just because Vader would use up all the hot water, but because he was the Master, and that
position came with a few perks and privileges. Vader had lived in the Temple with him for just
over four years now; he really should be used to this.

Leaving Vader to rest in the common room of their quarters, Obi-Wan slipped in the refresher
to shower.

Things were getting ugly out in the galaxy. The war was only one month old and already it
was going badly. The Separatists were ready for war while the Republic was not. The Republic
was stronger than the Separatists and their Confederacy of Independent Systems, but only
two hundred thousand clone soldiers out of their initial order of one million were ready for
action and only a fraction of the ships ordered for them were complete. So the Separatists
held the advantage while the Republic scrambled to keep up.

After the fighting had erupted on Geonosis, several other flashpoints had flared up. The
Republic had targeted Atraken, a mining world of the Confederacy, to try and disrupt the flow
of mineral ore to slow the production of battle droids, but the Separatists clung fiercely to the
planet and the warrens of mines made it difficult to dig out the enemy. The Trandoshan race
jumped in with the Separatists to gain more weapons and support to try and finally conquer
Kashyyyk and enslave the Wookiees—a goal they had been working towards since they
discovered space travel, and their nearest neighbors. Mirgoshir was now a battlefield, Excarga
occupied by the Separatists, and the ancient, ruined Jedi world of Ossus was under threat.

No, things are not looking good at all, Obi-Wan sighed as he let the hot water of the shower
soothe his bruises and aching muscles. I don‘t see how much longer the Council can let us
stay in the Temple. They‘ll be sending us out very soon. The only questions are where and

After Vader took his shower, he felt a bit better. A nice, hot shower was one step away from
heaven, and it was even better after a long, sweaty work-out. Feeling clean and refreshed, he
followed his Master to the cafeteria for lunch.

Obi-Wan led him to a smaller table populated with is friends. Knight Muln and Healer Eerin sat
side by side as they discussed a news-fax. Master Tachi sat one seat away, alone; Ferus was
nowhere to be seen. And Master Vos was also missing.

―Hey, Obi-Wan,‖ Knight Muln greeted distractedly as he studied some article in the paper.
―Glad you could join us.‖
Obi-Wan shook his head and set his attention to his hot soup. ―So, what are the rumors for

―Nothing much new,‖ Healer Eerin the Mon Calamarian shrugged. ―Except for one big one
that‘s just been whispered about an hour or two ago.‖

―Yes,‖ Master Tachi frowned, ―something about Supreme Chancellor Palpatine using some of
his new executive power to give Jedi military ranks to clear up where we fall in the command

Vader frowned as he speared a meat-stuffed square of pasta with his fork. Say what?

―I thought the hierarchy of command was already clear,‖ Obi-Wan replied. ―The clones obey
the Jedi commanding them.‖

―I guess the chancellor just wants to make it official,‖ Knight Muln shrugged.

―Perhaps,‖ Master Tachi snorted. ―But the consequences of such a broad act could mean that
all Jedi are required to participate in the war, regardless of their personal opinions and beliefs
on the matter.‖

That could be a problem, Vader mused. ―Wonderful,‖ he muttered sarcastically.

―My thoughts exactly,‖ Obi-Wan agreed. ―If you‘re right, Siri, this could lead to even more

―I think I am,‖ Master Tachi sighed. ―Quin was called up to meet with the Council about a half
hour ago. Hopefully he‘ll be back soon to clear things up.‖

―Hopefully,‖ Obi-Wan nodded.

Vader munched on his meaty pasta and only half-listened as the conversation drifted onto the
more mundane ―how was your day?‖ topic. It was strange to think that, if Master Tachi was
correct, he might be given a military rank. He – a runaway slave, coward, and imposter Jedi –
might soon be a…a captain…or something like that.

How weird would that be? he wondered.

And then his thoughts shifted to possible deployment. He knew that he and his Master would
be sent somewhere, and soon. After a month of laying around in the Temple, he couldn‘t
imagine that the Council would give him much more time to adjust to his new appendage.

I wonder where we‘ll go… Ossus maybe? That‘d be neat.

Wherever they ended up going, he hoped that Dooku wouldn‘t be there. After Geonosis, he
was torn between wanting to kill the old bastard very slowly and painfully and staying as far
away from him as possible. Neither choice seemed like a plausible option for him, but he really
couldn‘t think of anything else to do if he ran into the elderly count again.

If I run from him, it would be cowardice. If I try to painfully kill him, it would be revenge. So
which sin to commit? Vader idly twirled his braid around one metal finger. Decisions,

―Hey, Quin!‖ Master Tachi called, interrupting Vader‘s thoughts. ―What‘s the word?‖
―Not good,‖ Master Vos grumbled as the Kiffar Jedi joined them. ―The rumors are true.
Chancellor Palpatine has bestowed military ranks on all Jedi of the Order. All Jedi who are
currently in the field will by cycled out to officially receive their ranks, and those of us who are
already in the Temple will be getting our titles within the next few days.‖

Oh boy, Vader frowned.

―So what sorts of ranks are being handed out?‖ Knight Muln asked curiously. ―Captain,
commander, general?‖

―Master and Knights are being made generals,‖ Master Vos answered, ―and Padawans are
being made commanders.‖

So what, Vader blinked, I‘m Commander Vader now?

―What about Jedi Healers?‖ Healer Eerin inquired worriedly.

―I‘m not sure,‖ Master Vos shrugged. ―But I‘m sure that you‘ll be kept very busy soon enough
in treating the wounded.‖

―Of course,‖ the Mon Cal mumbled thoughtfully.

―Obi-Wan, the Council wishes to see you and your Padawan within the hour,‖ Master Vos
announced. ―Something about your first deployment, I believe.‖

Great, Vader gulped nervously. This is really it. Vacation time‘s over. Not that it was really
much of a vacation…

―Did you hear anything about where we might be sent?‖ Obi-Wan asked quietly.

―I heard the name ‗Raxus Prime‘ while I was up there,‖ Master Vos replied.

―Raxus Prime?‖ Obi-Wan frowned thoughtfully and stroked his beard.

―It‘s in the Outer Rim,‖ Vader muttered, disgusted. ―It‘s a garbage planet. Big companies
dump all their waste there to avoid polluting their own planets.‖ At the surprised looks from
around the table, he shrugged. ―What? I‘ve heard of it before.‖ Yeah, I‘ve heard that it smells
awful there. What the heck do the Separatists want with that place? I don‘t see them as big

―Interesting,‖ Obi-Wan muttered. He glanced at a nearby chronometer and sighed. ―Well,
Padawan, let‘s finish up here and pay a visit to the Council. Might as well get it over with

―Yes, Master,‖ Vader agreed politely and focused on devouring the rest of his lunch. Oh this is
going to be fun! …Not.

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                              font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                   35. 34: The Relic

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                        Chapter 34
                                         The Relic

I want to go home.
Vader moaned as he hung slumped against the cold metal wall. His wrists were shackled over
his head, just high enough off the floor to put a lot of strain on his shoulders and back. And on
top of that discomfort, his head ached and his entire left side felt tingly and numb.

I‘m such an idiot, he cursed. Such a kriffing moron! Stupid, stupid, stupid! Why did I do that?

Everything had been going fine. He and Obi-Wan had arrived on Raxus Prime with their task
force without incident. The planet had been just as miserable as he feared; it smelled rank and
there were piles of scrap and streams of sludge as far as the eye could see.

They had been deployed to the garbage planet due to reports that the Separatists were
digging for something. Intelligence had no idea what they could be digging for, but someone
thought it might be dangerous enough to send Jedi and clone troops to put a stop to it. Vader
had thought that the whole mission was stupid, a waste of time, but he wasn‘t in charge.

Upon landing on Raxus Prime, the task force had broken down into groups and began
searching the industrial wasteland for any Separatist presence. He and his Master‘s group
were assigned one of the more remote search areas. Vader had not appreciated that.

For nearly two days they‘d picked their way over broken ships hulls, corroded droids, and
twisted hunks of metal that were no longer identifiable. Rusty, leaky barrels of toxic waste
oozed their contents into vile ponds and sluggish streams near the bases of the scrap piles.
There were no birds or plants or animals of any kind to be seen. The only sign of life had been
a distant glimpse of what Vader swore was a Jawa sandcrawler trundling away off in the
distance on the first day.

Then, on the beginning of day three, they‘d found the Separatists. And it wasn‘t just any
group of Separatists; Dooku had been personally overseeing the operations. Whatever those
operations were, they hadn‘t known, but it appeared that they had been successful as they
were loading…something…into the cargo compartment of a ship.

And then Vader had done something very, very stupid. He charged the old man, in spite of his
Master‘s warnings (again), and tried to stop him. If Dooku was involved in something, he had
reasoned, then it was very important and needed stopping. And he‘d still been bitter and
seething about his hand.

He‘d been so focused on getting to Dooku and taking him out, he hadn‘t been paying attention
to anything else. He certainly hadn‘t been paying attention to Dooku‘s new pet mercenary,
Jango Fett‘s replacement. So when the mercenary had hit him with a stun blast, he hadn‘t
even seen it coming…

When he‘d woken up from the stun blast, just a few minutes previously, he found himself
shackled and imprisoned. It was dark here, and quiet, but there was a subtle vibration in the
floor. He was on a ship moving somewhere. But where?

Vader cursed himself more, weakly banging the back of his head against the metal bulkhead
at his back. Stupid—thump—stupid—thump—stupid! …And ow.

His utility belt had been picked clean. No mini-medkit, no comm-link, no grappling hook, no
multi-tool, and of course no lightsaber. He could use the Force to free himself, but he still felt
to numb from the stun blast to try it. And his head hurt.

The door to his cell abruptly whooshed open and his blood ran cold. Dooku had come to see
him. And Obi-Wan could not protect, could not save him here.
―Hello again,‖ Dooku sneered in his dark voice. ―I didn‘t expect to see you out and about so

All his self-recrimination melted into fear, which he desperately tried to hide. ―Well, I‘m full of
surprises,‖ he spat defiantly, trembling.

―How unfortunate,‖ Dooku sniffed. He walked right up to Vader, towering over his chained
form. ―What‘s more unfortunate is that I‘m not allowed to kill you.‖

―Yeah, it‘s a pity, isn‘t it?‖ Vader snarled sarcastically. ―It stings, doesn‘t it? That your Master
values me over you—‖

Dooku backhanded him so hard that he saw stars and tasted blood in his mouth. ―Hold your
tongue you miserable cur!‖

Vader blinked dazedly and managed to swallow a pained whimper.

―Now,‖ he roughly grabbed Vader‘s chin, forcing him to stare into Dooku‘s dark eyes, ―tell me,
why haven‘t you killed Obi-Wan Kenobi yet?‖

―No opportunity to,‖ he mumbled. Not that I will. Ever.

Dooku gave him a long, hard stare before apparently accepting that answer. ―Lord Sidious
wants it done as soon as possible,‖ the count harshly reminded him.

―Yeah, yeah,‖ Vader croaked. He ran his tongue over his cracked lips and tried not to gag at
the metallic taste of his own blood. ―So what was with all the digging? I never pegged you as
a dumpster diver.‖

The count released his chin and moved his hand to grip Vader‘s hair, forcing his head back at
a painful angle. ―Lord Sidious instructed me to recover the scattered parts of the Dark Reaper
personally, and the Force Harvester is the more important component. Very soon now the
Republic will tremble in fear at the relic that I have unearthed. When it is unleashed, you had
best stay out of the way.‖ Dooku slammed his head back into the bulkhead and released his
short hair.

Vader swayed by his chained wrists, blinking and desperately trying to regain his wits. ―So…so
what‘re you goin‘ to do with me now?‖

―You will be released…eventually.‖ Dooku flashed him a frozen smiled. ―But until then…‖

A lance of acid-pain slammed into his thick mental shields, penetrating them with the ease of
a hot knife through warm butter. A screamed blasted in his ears that sounded rather like his
own, only higher pitched and more strained than usual. And then his mind exploded in fire and

Obi-Wan paced the length of his quarters on board the Republican Star Destroyer, Vindicator,
and worried. Every now and then he would curse Vader‘s reckless impulsiveness. But mostly
he just worried.

This Darth Sidious wishes Vader to act as a sleeper agent, he reminded himself. Dooku will not
kill him. He can‘t without drawing his Sith Master‘s wrath.
Still, knowing that, he worried. He‘d tried to stop the boy, tried to call off his blind charge up
the scrap pile. He‘d tried to follow him, tried to engage Dooku‘s forces to prevent him from
leaving. But Dooku and his mercenary had easily detained Vader, loaded him into their ship,
and left before reinforcements could arrive. The ship was gone from the system before anyone
could stop it.

He paused in his pacing and sat down on his narrow cot. I‘ve failed him. First in him losing his
hand, and now this—captured by the enemy he fears most.

Sighing, he ran a hand through his shaggy hair and tried to meditate. He was not just a Jedi
Knight now, but a general of the Republic‘s grand army. He had other pressing responsibilities
to attend to. If an opportunity arose to free Vader, he would, but not at the risk of his troops.
Only a fraction of the full order of clone soldiers was active, and for the moment each one was
precious and not to be wasted.

A chime at his door gave a few seconds‘ warning before Master Fisto entered his quarters. ―I
know you‘ve already given your official report, but do you have anything to add – off the
official record – that could further explain Vader‘s behavior?‖

―What needs explaining?‖ Obi-Wan asked.

―The Council was under the impression that you had more control of him,‖ the green Nautolan
frowned. ―And yet he blatantly ignored your orders to charge right into Dooku‘s grasp.
Honestly, it looks very suspicious.‖

―It does, doesn‘t it?‖ Obi-Wan sighed and ran his hands over his face as he took a moment to
think. ―The boy suffered under Count Dooku for years, and then to be exposed to him so soon
after the man mutilated his arm… I can‘t say that I‘m surprised that he attacked so recklessly.
He hasn‘t had enough time to find a way to deal with the rage he feels towards Dooku. Seeing
him again only brought to mind thoughts of revenge and blinded him to all else.‖

―Not a very Jedi-like response,‖ Kit remarked.

―He was not raised to be a Jedi like us,‖ Obi-Wan reminded the Master. ―We cannot expect him
to behave as we would.‖

―True,‖ Kit conceded. ―But the Council still views his actions as suspicious.‖

―We shall just have to wait until he turns up again,‖ Obi-Wan shrugged wearily.

―He may not be alive when he does,‖ Kit warned.

―I don‘t think so. Vader is more valuable to the Sith as a sleeper agent within the Jedi. He
can‘t perform that function if he‘s killed.‖ Obi-Wan shook his head. ―I doubt he‘ll be killed. But
hurt? I wouldn‘t put that past Dooku. Not after Geonosis.‖

Master Fisto‘s normally cheerful face looked downright grim. ―I have to agree on that count…‖

The first thing he became aware of was pain. It wasn‘t actual physical pain, but it might as
well have been. It was a psychosomatic pain so powerful that it threatened to burst his skull
and set all his nerves on fire.

He was very familiar with this sort of pain. That didn‘t make it any easier to bear. It did,
however, give him some clues as to how to end the pain.
Breathe… Let it go… Let it all go… The pain isn‘t real… It‘s all in my head…

Vader gasped in agony as he forced his mind open to the currents of the Force. His mind felt
raw and bloody. But he couldn‘t wait for it to heal or recover. Somehow, he knew he didn‘t
have enough time for that.

It felt like it took forever, but eventually, the pain faded into a much more manageable dull
throbbing in his skull and ache in his joints. His mental senses still felt overly-sensitive but
only time would help with that. Besides, he was simply too worn out to whip his mind back
into order any more today.

With his mind patched up, he pried his eyelids open. Instead of seeing the dimly lit insides of a
shipboard cell, he saw green. Lots and lots of green. He wasn‘t on the ship anymore; he was
on a planet somewhere.

Slowly, stiffly, he sat up and glanced around. He was in a deciduous forest filled with
enormous trees and tangles of vines. A few yards away was an escape pod resting against the
leaf-littered ground.

I guess I crawled out of that, he mused. But…I don‘t remember doing that. Ugh, Dooku really
messed me up this time.

The cruel count had done it many times in the past, when he‘d been the dark noble‘s unwilling
possession. Dooku would plant pain in his mind, horrifying hallucinations, visions of his
childhood friends and mother dying horrible deaths or abandoning him. Sometimes it was
punishment while other times it was just for the count‘s amusement.

I have been violated… He sighed and hugged his knees to his chest. Again. …Damn it!

It was why he‘d refused the training bond with Obi-Wan. After what Dooku had done to him,
the thought of anyone else inside his mind was horrifying, intolerable. The idea of having a
bond, a pathway between minds, was even worse. Even now he couldn‘t imagine having a
bond with anyone.

Shaking his head sharply, he forced himself to stand up and think. Okay… Step one: figure out
where the hell I am. Step two: figure out where the nearest Republic base is. Step three: find
a way to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible.

Looking around again, he saw no signs of any kind of civilization. No people, no buildings, no
vehicles aside from the escape pod that had dumped him here. The only sounds he heard
were rustling leaves and animal calls. He was alone.

―Well this is just great,‖ he grumbled to himself and picked his way back to the escape pod.
―Much nicer than Raxus Prime, but I‘m really not in the mood to go camping.‖

There wasn‘t much in the small pod. His dark cloak was neatly folded on one of the seats.
When he picked it up to put it on, most of his gear, some ration bars, and a water canteen fell
out of it.

Hey! He grinned and sorted through the stuff. I got all my stuff back! Lightsaber, mini-medkit,
multi-tool, re-breather, grappling hook and line, and…

―Damn it!‖ Vader shouted. ―No comm-link,‖ he cursed. The one thing that I really need…
He cursed and fumed for a while as he jammed his gear back into his utility belt. This was
turning out to be the week from hell. First he‘d been sent to Raxus Prime, then he‘d been
really dumb and let Dooku catch him, then Dooku had had his way with him, and now he was
stranded on a planet with no comm-link.

Still quietly ranting and spewing profanity, he turned away from the escape pod and started
walking. He was too mad to try and make a more focused attempt at getting to help. And his
head still hurt too much. So he stormed aimlessly through the woods for what felt like hours.

It was a stupid thing to do, to let his anger and frustration get the best of him. He let it
distract him, and that cost him. One minute he was hiking through the dense woods and the
next he was hanging upside-down by his left ankle, several feet above the ground.

―Damn it!‖ he howled again as he hung from the tree, half-blinded by his own cloak. ―This is
so not fair!‖

Irritated in the extreme, he beat aside his cloak and pulled his lightsaber from his belt. As he
was contorting himself to cut the vine that had snared his ankle, he heard a roar that made
him freeze. He strained his ears and heard another roar, closer this time.

Oh shit! Whatever that is, it sounds mean! I gotta get out of here! Need to get—

There was a roar almost directly beneath him and he twisted around to see…a Wookiee?

Vader blinked stupidly. ―Um…hi?‖

The Wookiee stared up at him quizzically and made a questioning growl.

―Sorry, I…wasn‘t looking where I was going.‖ He cringed at how lame that sounded. ―Could
you get me down, please?‖

His Wookiee savior nodded in agreement and briefing vanished from Vader‘s sight, making a
sound that was suspiciously similar to a chuckle.

Yeah, laugh it up, hairball, Vader fumed. Laugh at the stupid Jedi Padawan that walks right
into the trap. It‘s hilarious!

A few moments later, the vine that held him slowly lowered him to the ground. Once he was
no longer suspended, he clawed the noose off his ankle and jumped to his feet. The Wookiee
watched him straighten himself out with an amused stance.

Vader hesitated a moment before asking what was probably a very stupid question. ―This isn‘t
Kashyyyk, is it?‖

The Wookiee snorted at him and shook his head.

―Yeah,‖ Vader muttered, ―didn‘t think so.‖ It‘s not my fault I have trouble deciding what‘s a
jungle and what‘s just a temperate forest. I‘m from Tatooine, a freaking desert! ―Um…I‘m kind
of lost and stranded. Could you help me out?‖

The Wookiee chuckled at him again and gestured at him to follow.

Well that was embarrassing, Vader sighed as he followed his tall, hairy guide. But, at least I‘m
getting somewhere now…
It was evening now and the light was fast fading from the dense forest. His Wookiee guide,
Graffarl, had brought him to a tree-bound Wookiee village a few hours ago. Since then, he had
learned that he was on Alaris Prime, a Wookiee colony moon in the Kashyyyk system. The
Wookiees had only just recently founded this colony, and to avoid drawing the attention of the
Trandoshans, they were keeping it quiet to prevent the murderous reptiles from launching
slaving raids here.

After a meeting with the Wookiee elders of the village, complicated by the fact that he couldn‘t
understand a word of Shriiwook, Graffarl invited Vader into his home for dinner. The Wookiee
hunter had no mate, but lived with his two brothers and a cousin. At least one of them was a
good cook; Vader couldn‘t remember the last time he‘d eaten so well, even if it was mostly

Now, as the sun was setting, he leaned on the railing outside of Graffarl‘s house and enjoyed
the cool night air. The Wookiee elders had promised to send the Republic a message, telling
them that he was here. So hopefully a ship would be arriving in a few days to pick him up. But
he didn‘t mind waiting. It was very nice here.

I‘m glad I got ditched here. It‘s like a second vacation. If only Dooku wasn‘t my travel agent…

Closing his eyes, he opened himself to the Force to try and feel the forest. His find still felt raw,
but it was getting better. In a few days it would be like it had never happened. Before, when
Dooku had still held him, it had taken much longer to recover from the old man‘s attacks on
his mind. But now Master Obi-Wan had taught him better, how to soothe the mental wounds,
even though Vader had never let the older man see those scars for himself.

The forest felt so alive he felt like he was going to drown in it. The massive trees, dense plant
and animal life, and the Wookiee colonists made signatures in the Force that were unlike
anything he‘d ever sensed on Coruscant. It was as beautiful and awe-inspiring as it was

A strange shiver drew his awareness upwards, away from the surface of Alaris Prime to the
stars above it. Something cold lurked there. Something cruel and…

Dooku! he started. He‘s up there! And…

There was something else near the Sith Lord. Something ancient, black, cold, depthless,
implacable, hungry, powerful, and boundlessly, irredeemably evil. It wasn‘t alive, but it wasn‘t
a machine either. It was a distillation of pure malice and recoiled from it, instinctively.

What is that thing? Vader shivered violently as he returned to himself. And what is Dooku
going to do with it? Obviously nothing good, but…

Graffarl yowled questioningly at him, not that he could tell what the question was, only that it
was a question.

―Something‘s wrong,‖ Vader muttered. ―Something terrible is going to happen…and soon.‖ He
couldn‘t say how he knew, he just knew it. And when he just knew things, they had a terrible
habit of being correct.

The Wookiee rumbled something that sounded either confused or worried, or perhaps both.
A spike of ice slammed into his chest, snapping his head up to the sky. Electricity crackled
over his nerves as the air grew thick, almost solid in his lungs and around his chest. The
feeling of danger in the Force was so strong he thought he might die from it.

Graffarl was holding his shoulders and barking something at him urgently, but Vader could
barely hear him. The Force was screaming in his head, demanding that he move, that he run.
It was like what had driven to flee from the Corellian hospital, except that he knew that this
was the Force talking, and not his own terror-soak paranoia.

―We need to get out of here,‖ he gasped dazedly. ―If we stay here we‘re all going to die!‖

His host stared at him in blank incomprehension before a panicked Wookiee howl split the air.
There was a lot of confused and frightened roaring back and forth for several minutes, the
whole time Vader felt the urgency growing, pressing down on his shoulders, making him feel
sick. And then there was action as the entire Wookiee village began to move.

Graffarl dragged Vader along by the arm as he and his relatives raced through the walkways
of the village. Overwhelmed by the screams of the Force, Vader was only half with them as he
struggled to keep up. The Wookiees brought him to some platforms where vehicles were kept
and Graffarl dumped him into a strange contraption that was small, half-wood and half-metal,
and didn‘t seem capable of flight. But fly it could and within moments Graffarl had it rising
over the treetops, it‘s rotor blades pumping up and down at blinding speed, reminding him
very much of the wing beats of insects.

―That way!‖ he pointed urgently. ―We need to go that way!‖

As the Wookiee turned the frail craft onto the indicated heading, Vader gathered his wits
enough to turn around and see what they were running from.

At a point a few miles away from the receding village the forest was dying. The vibrant green
of the trees‘ leaves was stained the brown of death, and the mark was spreading at an
unnatural rate. It was as if some invisible force was sucking all the life out of the forest.

And then he felt it. The evil object that Dooku had hovered over Alaris Prime had sprung into
terrible life. Without even trying to he could feel it expanding into a black hole. Its ceaseless
hunger was awake now, and that was what was killing the forest. That was what they were
running from.

Graffarl snarled something that sounded like a curse and urged the craft faster. Behind them
the rest of the Wookiee transports, star ships and atmospheric craft of all kinds, followed them
at top speed over the canopy. But some were just not quick enough.

The expanding circle of dead and dying trees grew faster and faster. Soon it was close enough
for Vader to see with his own eyes. He could watch leafy treetops wither and thin and brown
until the entire tree wilted over. A few of the vessels at the back of the pack started to wobble
before falling out of the sky, the Wookiee occupants drained dead like the forest below them.

Soon the draining death grew close enough and strong enough for Vader to feel it. Dooku‘s
Dark Side object began to pull at him. He could feel it try to devour his life force. The pull was
cold, so very cold, and painful. It was like having fish hooks stabbed into his skin all over his
body and then pulling on them.

Vader doubled over, gasping in agony. Oh make it stop! It hurts! I don‘t want to die!
Then, just as he felt himself start to lose the battle, it slowed, then stopped. The fleeing
Wookiee craft pulled away from the dead circle of forest. And they kept going, even after it
had stopped, for several miles before daring to stop and land.

Trembling, Vader practically fell out of the strange two-person craft. With great effort, he
focused his bruised mind and tried to see what Dooku was doing. What he found was a relief.

The mysterious thing that had ravaged Alaris Prime‘s vast forests had slipped back into its sort
of dormancy. Dooku was pulling away from the colony moon, taking the thing with him. Soon
the Sith Lord and his sick toy would be gone from the system.

Vader slumped into a boneless heap on the relatively bare hill where the Wookiees had landed.
―He‘s leaving. It‘s over.‖ For now, anyway…

Graffarl crouched by his head and barked a question.

―Count Dooku, the Sith Lord and Separatist leader,‖ Vader explained quietly. ―He‘s the one
who did that to the trees. He used some sort of Sith weapon. But he‘s leaving now…I can feel

The Wookiee moaned something sad.

―The Republic needs to know about this,‖ Vader mumbled. ―Things have just gotten a whole
lot worse.‖

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                         font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                    36. 35: Dark Reaper

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                         Chapter 35
                                         Dark Reaper

Obi-Wan forced himself to not pace as he waited for the Star Destroyer to revert from
hyperspace into the Kashyyyk system. Nearly two days ago a message had reached their
small fleet from the Wookiees claiming that Vader had mysteriously turned up on one of their
colony moons. And shortly after that, a second, more frantic message was relayed to them,
reporting mysterious, wide-spread devastation of the forested moon, Alaris Prime.

Instead of pacing, he waited tensely on the bridge along with other Jedi from the Raxus Prime
campaign, most notably Kit Fisto. Clones and specially drafted non-clone officers manned the
various stations around the bridge, keeping the ship running smoothly. The non-clones would
sometimes pause and take a minute or two to stare at the Jedi in their midst, but once their
brief curiosity was satisfied they went back to their jobs. The clones simply worked at their
stations, unmoved by the Jedi that lingered in their domain.

A mellow chime sounded throughout the bridge before the hypnotizing view of hyperspace in
the forward screens shifted back to the star field of normal space. Obi-Wan had to work to
release the tension in his muscles as he waited for the ship to reach Alaris Prime. It was
ridiculous for him to be so nervous, but the second message sent by the Wookiees had dread
clawing at his insides.

Within ten minutes the pale emerald orb of Alaris Prime was clearly visible on the viewscreen.
Nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary as they made their approach after locking on to a
signal beacon on the forest moon‘s surface. But as they rounded the curve of the planet-sized
moon there were faint gasps and curses.

―Sweet stars above,‖ the Jedi Knight to Obi-Wan‘s left muttered.
―That‘s not natural,‖ Kit Fisto frowned.

It was a brown bruise in an otherwise perfect sea of green; a perfectly circular blemish. The
aberration was made worse by the fact that it was large enough to be clearly visible from
space. It couldn‘t be an impact crater, the edges would‘ve been charred and irregular from all
the forest fires. But the brownish circle edge was smooth, artificial, and definitely not natural.

―What could‘ve done that?‖ another Jedi wondered.

―We shall find out soon enough,‖ Kit replied. ―Captain, bring us in.‖

It took over an hour to land. Alaris Prime, while not a dense jungle like Kashyyyk, was a thick
forested moon with no clearings large enough for the Star Destroyer to land safely in. So they
ended up setting down in the circle-splotch of withered trees—trees that disintegrated into
dust at the down-rushing force of the repulsors as the warship landed amongst them.

Once the clone soldiers had cleared the landing site, Obi-Wan was one of the first Jedi on the
ground and he was immediately repelled by what he felt. He was a well-traveled Jedi and he
had sensed many kinds of life and death, but this…this was different. It wasn‘t death, it was
an absence of life. The Force was hollow here and shadowed with hints of Darkness. And Obi-
Wan had a terrible feeling that this scar within the Force and upon the land would linger for
many years.

Shivering at that thought, he pressed on towards where the Wookiee village was supposed to
be. But every step he took only showed him more of the bizarre and disturbing devastation.
All the plants, from the tiniest weed to the tallest tree, were withered and brown. Animals,
who could‘ve fled from the weapon, lay frozen where they fell, withered and mummified.
There wasn‘t a hint of green, a flicker of movement from another living thing (that wasn‘t a
clone trooper or a Jedi), nothing at all. The air was unnaturally still, stale and dead as
everything else.

The Wookiee village didn‘t look much better off than the rest of the forest. All the plants that
had been carefully cultivated to form parts of tree huts, elevators, and walkways were dead.
Wood and plant material that was already dead had warped and withered too; all faint traces
of life-energy drained. Basically, the tree-bound village was in shambles. Wookiee survivors
shambled around the fringes of the ruined settlement, moaning their grief and despair.

Ursin Sa‘lyc, an aging Bothan Jedi who was the most experienced with Shriiwook, cautiously
approached the Wookiees to set up a conference with the Elders. Obi-Wan waited next to Kit
Fisto, doing his best not to fidget. He would see his missing ward soon enough, he just had to
be patient.

After several minutes, the Bothan Jedi returned with several older Wookiees in tow. ―Master
Fisto, the Elders of Alaris Prime,‖ Master Sa‘lyc announced.

―Elders,‖ Master Fisto bowed respectfully. ―Can you tell us what happened here?‖

Master Sa‘lyc listened attentively as the Wookiee leaders growled and bellowed their tale,
occasionally rubbing at his graying muzzle as he considered what he was hearing. When they
finished, he took several minutes to organize his thoughts before launching into his translation.

―They are not sure what happened. To their knowledge, nothing was out of the ordinary until a
Jedi Padawan that one of the young hunters found lost and wandering in the forest suffered
some sort of fit. He babbled some nonsense about how they had to leave. And then a lookout
at a high point in the canopy spotted the…disturbance. They describe it as watching the trees
suffer a year of intense drought within a matter of seconds. It began a few miles from the
village, giving them just enough time to flee ahead of the destruction. Even with the advanced
warning, two atmospheric shiploads of Wookiees were lost.‖

―This Jedi Padawan, where is he now?‖ Master Fisto inquired.

―He is staying with the hunter who found him,‖ Master Sa‘lyc translated, ―Graffarl.‖

―If his Master could be directed to him, it would be much appreciated,‖ Master Fisto requested

The Elders were agreeable to this and one of the younger members broke off from the group.
Obi-Wan followed, doing his best to not look like an over-eager youngling. While all he wanted
to do was get Vader and leave this unnerving part of the forest, but he was a Jedi Knight and
had to behave as such.

Still, he worried. Vader had been out of his sight for too long, and in Dooku‘s grasp for too
long, for him not to worry. And with Vader‘s lingering issues from losing his hand, it was all
just a recipe for disaster.

His guide brought him to a dark corner of the dead village. There he found Vader with one of
the biggest Wookiees he‘d ever seen. This Wookiee, Graffarl, was almost solid black with only
a few splashes of light brown on his face and hands, and the only things he carried with him
were his bowcaster and tool belt.

Vader sat on a rock near Graffarl‘s feet, idly drawing patterns in the lifeless dirt. He looked
pale, worn out, and younger than he really was. At least, Obi-Wan consoled himself, the boy
was alive and not visibly injured.

―Having a bad day?‖ Obi-Wan asked to catch Vader‘s attention.

Vader flinched in surprise. ―More like a bad life,‖ he muttered with a shudder. ―Will we be
leaving soon, Master? I don‘t like it here. It all feels wrong.‖

―I don‘t foresee us staying terribly long,‖ Obi-Wan answered, walking over to stand beside him.
―What happened?‖

―Where do you want me to start?‖ Vader sighed miserably.

―After you woke up from the stun blast that took you out would be a good place,‖ Obi-Wan

The boy finally stopped playing in the dirt and dusted off his fingertips. ―I was chained up in a
dark room aboard a ship when I woke up. And then he came. I…I didn‘t want him to know that
I was scared of him, and I was tired of being scared of him, so I just did my best to insult
him.‖ Vader snorted. ―He didn‘t like that very much. Then he asked me…‖ He paused, as if
recalling that Graffarl was still there, listening intently. ―He asked me a question that I really
didn‘t answer. I just kept talking to him to see if I could get him to tell me things…‖

―What sort of things?‖ Obi-Wan asked when Vader failed to continue.

―I tried to find out what he‘d been digging for on Raxus Prime, and he bragged about how
what he was doing was on Sidious‘s orders. He was gathering parts for something he called
the Dark Reaper, and the part that he dug up on Raxus Prime was the most important part,
something he called the Force Harvester.‖ Vader hugged himself and stared avidly at the dirt
under his boots.

Obi-Wan frowned thoughtfully. ―This thing he dug up, that‘s what killed the trees?‖

―Yes.‖ Vader peered up at him, his blue eyes wide, fear rolling off him in tangible waves. ―I felt
it. It wasn‘t really alive, but it wasn‘t a machine either. It was this…thing…this evil thing…like-
like a black hole, but instead of devouring matter and light, it devoured life energy. I could
feel it sucking the life out of everything—it almost got me! For a few seconds, it felt like I was
dying! It was awful…‖

Obi-Wan felt his skin crawl in sympathy. ―So how did you get from his ship to Alaris Prime?
And what happened to your mouth?‖ he asked, noticing a fading scab at the corner of his

―I insulted him and he hit me,‖ Vader shrugged, as if the answer should‘ve been obvious.
―When he was done bragging he…messed with my head…and when I woke up, I was on Alaris
Prime. There was an escape pod near me, so I guess that‘s how I got planetside, but I don‘t
really remember riding in it or anything. He took my comm-link so I couldn‘t call for help on
my own. And then…well…‖ He waved his mechanical hand around in a vague circle. ―…this

―I see,‖ Obi-Wan nodded.

Vader shifted a bit on his rock before getting up and turning to the imposing black Wookiee.
―Hey Graffarl, thanks…for everything. I guess I‘ll have to learn some Shriiwook so that we can
have some meaningful conversation the next time we run into each other.‖ He grinned weakly
and the Wookiee laughed at him. ―Well…bye.‖

Before he could walk away from Graffarl, the Wookiee ensnared him in a massive hug. Obi-
Wan expected Vader to react the way he usually did: tolerate it, but get tense and anxious.
Vader generally didn‘t like to be touched, especially by strangers, unless he initiated some sort
of physical contact first. But, instead, he smiled and he laughed and he returned the hug.

Obi-Wan blinked. Well, this is different.

―Thanks,‖ Vader sighed when he was finally able to wriggle free from the Wookiee‘s burly arms.
―I‘ll see you later…if I can.‖

Graffarl yowled a farewell before ambling off to rejoin the other Wookiee villagers.

―Let us be on our way as well,‖ Obi-Wan sighed after a quiet moment. ―Master Fisto and the
rest of the Council needs to hear what you know.‖

―Yeah,‖ Vader shuddered, ―let‘s get out of here…‖

Vader curled up on his cot on the Vindicator and sighed in relief. There were no words strong
enough to describe how happy he was to get away from the scarred surface of Alaris Prime.
The hollow stillness of the Force there, and the withered plants and animals, were so chilling,
so unnerving. He fully expected to have nightmares for weeks, if not months, about the death
of Alaris Prime‘s forest and the Wookiee village.
But at least he wasn‘t there anymore. Now he was on board the Republican Star Destroyer,
Vindicator, in hyperspace en route to…somewhere. He didn‘t care where, he hadn‘t bothered
to ask. So long as it was away from the life-drained land, he didn‘t care.

Obi-Wan was off talking with Master Fisto. He‘d already called in to the rest of the Council and
passed on the names of the Force Harvester and the Dark Reaper. Soon he‘d return to their
tiny quarters…and Vader was undecided about how he felt about that.

On the one hand, he‘d really missed his Master. Even though it had only been for a few days,
being tormented by Dooku again and fleeing for his life from the destruction of Dooku‘s life-
sucking relic made it feel like a much longer stretch of time. Now he was really safe again,
back under his Master‘s protection, and that felt nice.

On the other hand, he didn‘t want to be stuck in the closet-sized room with Obi-Wan and be
forced to talk to him, because sooner or later (probably sooner) a certain question would come
up. Obi-Wan would ask him about what else Dooku had done to him besides the obvious
physical hit to his mouth. Vader didn‘t want to talk about it ever, but the Jedi wasn‘t stupid, he
knew that more had happened than what Vader had admitted to.

Sighing wearily, he traced the fingertips of his left hand over the metal components of his
right and tried not to think about the past few days. His head still ached at times, usually
when he was using the Force, but it was getting better. Hopefully it would be totally gone in
another day or two. He‘d never had to go to the healers who specialized in mental and psychic
afflictions, and he never was going to go to them. Even if the pain never went away, he‘d
never go to them for help.

Then the door hissed open and Vader‘s solitude was ended.

―I‘m afraid that the news isn‘t good,‖ Obi-Wan sighed as he settled down on the cot next to
Vader‘s back.

―Is it ever?‖ Vader grumbled into the wall inches in front of his face.

―The Council combed the Archives and what they‘ve found isn‘t good,‖ Obi-Wan stated grimly.
―The Force Harvester was what ruined Alaris Prime, but it is merely the power source for the
ancient Sith weapon, the Dark Reaper. After the Harvester draws a sufficient amount of life
energy from a nearby planet, it is converted into destructive energy by the Dark Reaper into
an energy beam that can destroy warships or annihilate cities.‖

―Well shit,‖ Vader blinked. ―This is an ancient weapon?‖

―Yes,‖ Obi-Wan nodded. ―It was created several thousand years ago during the Great Sith War
by the Sith Lord, Exar Kun. After it was defeated over Raxus Prime near the end of the war, its
parts were scattered to the furthest reaches of the galaxy and forgotten.‖

Vader frowned. ―They scattered the parts and forgot about them? Why not just destroy the
whole damn thing and be done with it?‖

―I don‘t know,‖ Obi-Wan shrugged. ―All I know is that if the Dark Reaper is successfully rebuilt,
the Republic is in serious trouble.‖

―Yeah,‖ Vader agreed. ―Does the Council know where the other parts are?‖

―They know of a few locations, teams of Jedi are being sent to them as we speak. But only half
of the parts‘ locations are known, the rest have been lost to time.‖ Obi-Wan folded his arms
over his chest. ―The only person who knew where all the parts were hidden was Ulic Qel-
Droma, and he‘s long-dead.‖

―Great,‖ Vader grunted. ―We‘re screwed.‖

Obi-Wan didn‘t reply to that. Instead, he turned around to stare down at Vader. ―So how
exactly did Dooku ‗mess with your head‘ as you put it?‖

―Use your imagination,‖ Vader huffed and curled up tighter on the uncomfortable bed. ―I don‘t
want to talk about it.‖

―How‘s your head now?‖ Obi-Wan inquired.

―Almost back to normal,‖ Vader muttered. ―I‘ll be fine.‖

Obi-Wan raised a dubious eyebrow. ―If you‘re sure…‖

―I‘m sure,‖ Vader scowled.

―All right,‖ Obi-Wan nodded and looked away.

Vader squirmed upright on the cot. ―How close do we think Dooku is to getting the other
Reaper parts?‖

―So far there are several rumors of Separatist forces raiding archeological sites or digging on
various Outer Rim planets, but nothing has been confirmed yet,‖ Obi-Wan replied.

―What will be doing next?‖ Vader wondered idly.

―Tomorrow we‘ll be in our starfighters chasing down rumors of Separatist dig sites.‖ Obi-Wan
distractedly patted Vader‘s shoulder before heading to his own bed. ―Try to get some rest,
we‘ll be leaving early.‖

―Yes, Master,‖ Vader agreed and prayed that he‘d get enough sleep around the probably
nightmares to make the next day‘s flight enjoyable.

Has it only been two weeks? Obi-Wan wondered as he twisted his red Delta-7 around a
Vulture droid that tried to ram him. It feels like longer…

It was exactly two weeks to the day since Count Dooku had unearthed the Force Harvester on
Raxus Prime. In that short span of time since, Dooku had acquired the other parts to the Dark
Reaper with a speed and ease that seemed to indicate that he knew exactly where they all
were. Now, as the Jedi-led Republican forces desperately tried to stop him, he was doing the
final assembly of all the parts on Thule, the planet that was only a few miles below the battle
he was currently embroiled in.

Thule was an abandoned world of ruins. It had once been an important world in the ancient
Sith Empire, but those days were long past. However, Dooku had found a new use for the
world. The ruins of a Sith city on the planet served as an ideal location to rebuild and activate
the Dark Reaper.

Swallowing a curse, Obi-Wan twisted his fighter into a disconcerting maneuver to avoid getting
blasted into oblivion by another Separatist droid unit. He disliked flying and he absolutely
despised flying in a chaotic battle. And the situation was made worse by the fact that he
hadn‘t seen Vader since the battle broke out nearly a half an hour ago.

The boy was a talented pilot. From what brief glimpses he‘d caught of Vader during the early
part of the battle and in previous battles, Obi-Wan had to admit that the boy was very good.
But Vader‘s problem was that he ignored whatever strategy he was supposed to follow and
just went from dogfight to dogfight the entire time. He also had a bad habit of forgetting that
he was supposed to be Obi-Wan‘s wingman. While his antics racked him up an impressive kill
count, it didn‘t earn him many points with Obi-Wan or the Council.

When this mess is over, he and I are sitting down and having a nice long talk, Obi-Wan
decided. If he keeps this behavior up, the Council will revoke his flying privileges. I‘d rather it
not come to that, I‘d really like to have his help in fights like these.

The Delta-7 vibrated around him as he skirted a little too close to a violent explosion. The
space above Thule was choked with white, ring-like Trade Federation ships and clouds of droid
fighters swarmed everywhere. The Separatist forces massed over the planet were easily
double what the Republic had expected, making an already difficult battle even worse.

I really wish that all the clone troops and warships were ready, he sighed. But it will be at
least one more month until that happens. I hope we can hold on for that long…

Clenching his jaw, Obi-Wan dove towards the Federation ship that served as the control ship
for the droid forces and strafed it with his lasers. If this ship could be destroyed or
incapacitated, it would cut the droids‘ effectiveness at least in half. And then the Republic
forces could make a more substantial landing on Thule and hopefully destroy the Dark Reaper
before it could be unleashed on the galaxy.

Master Windu was already leading a small ground campaign against the ruined Sith city, but it
was not going well. He and his force of Jedi-piloted light hover-tanks just couldn‘t get through
the defensive line of Separatist droids. It seemed that Dooku‘s new pet mercenary, Cydon
Prax the armored Chistori, was a very able commander.

―Blast!‖ Obi-Wan hissed as a missile nearly clipped the stubby wing of his Delta-7. ―That was
too close!‖

He wasn‘t the only one having such problems. The comm channels were a cacophony of curses,
requests for help, and answers to those requests. It was pure chaos in sound form to go with
the chaos of battle swirling over the planet.

Arfour shrieked a warning as a Vulture droid locked onto Obi-Wan‘s fighter. Obi-Wan did his
best to shake his pursuer, but this droid was unusually persistent. When one of its lasers
landed a glancing blow to his wing, he‘d had enough.

―A little help would be nice, Vader!‖ he snapped into his comm. Another close shot left a
carbon score along the clear bubble of his cockpit canopy. ―Any assistance would be
appreciated! Anyone!‖

―I‘m coming, Obi-Wan!‖ a voice – not Vader‘s – answered rather cheerfully.

Within moments, the fighter that contained the speaker appeared as promised and took care
of Obi-Wan‘s dangerous droid tail.

―Thank you, Garen,‖ Obi-Wan sighed.
―Lost your Padawan in the confusion?‖ Garen inquired curiously, taking up Vader‘s vacant
wingman position.

―To be honest, he ditched me,‖ Obi-Wan reluctantly admitted as he made another run on the
control ship, attempting to vaporize one of the communication dishes. ―That cocky little fly-
boy,‖ he huffed.

―He ditched you?‖ Garen chuckled. ―Shame on him! He should know its his job to look after
you, you lazy pilot!‖

―Thanks, Garen,‖ Obi-Wan scowled as he rained fire down on a nearby Vulture droid.

―You‘re welcome!‖ Garen chirped, taking out a pair of droid fighters himself.

Obi-Wan frowned in concentration as he lined up for another run at the droid control ship.
―Garen, would you—‖

―The Dark Reaper is taking off!‖ Master Windu‘s voice cut in. ―Repeat, the Dark Reaper is
taking off! All fighters and ships be on alert!‖

―Kreth!‖ Obi-Wan swore.

―Kriffing hell!‖ Garen added; along with a slew of other curses from the rest of the Jedi force.

Obi-Wan aborted his run on the control ship and repositioned himself to see if he could catch a
glimpse of the ancient craft while not getting blown out of space by the droids that still
swarmed around him. At first he didn‘t catch sight of it, but after a few minutes it lumbered
out of Thule‘s atmosphere. It was a saucer-like ship with thin, claw-like spars tipped by
turbolasers. At the center of the moderately-sized saucer ship was what was clearly the
primary weapon. It was a massive pit where the destructive beam that was powered by the
Force Harvester would be emitted when it was fired.

―Force save us,‖ Obi-Wan whispered as he stared at the thing.

At the heart of the Dark Reaper he could feel the evil presence that Vader had described. It
was cold, hungry, ancient, and immeasurably powerful. He‘d only casually brushed his senses
against the ship and he was more than ready to flee from it and never see it again. They were
too late to stop it, and now they were doomed.

―Let‘s get it!‖ someone‘s overeager Padawan cried and blasted off towards the ancient weapon.

―No Padawan!‖ the Master shouted in vain. ―Pull back!‖

It was no use. The Padawan stubbornly, foolishly charged the Dark Reaper, bent on taking it
out before it could be used. But the Padawan‘s efforts were in vain. Before he was even in
range to use his laser canons against it, he started to swerve wildly. The Force Harvester had
locked on to him and was painfully sucking his life away. And then one of the turbolasers that
ringed the Dark Reaper struck his starfighter, reducing it to an expanding ball of plasma.

―Everyone pull back!‖ Master Tiin ordered. ―We‘re withdrawing! Repeat, we are withdrawing!
Mace, retreat and get ready for pick-up.‖

―Copy that,‖ Master Windu replied.
Swallowing a bitter lump in his throat, Obi-Wan turned away from the Dark Reaper and the
Separatist ships and blasted towards Thule‘s most distant moon; Garen right behind him.
There they docked with their hyperspace booster rings and made a micro-jump to a few light-
years outside the system. As soon as one of the Star Destroyers arrived at the out-of-system
rendezvous point, he and Garen landed in the docking bay to wait more comfortably for the
Republic forces to gather and reorganize in preparation for the full withdrawal from the Thule

Within a half an hour, all the Republic ships had massed at the rendezvous point. An hour
after that, Master Windu‘s ground forces had been successfully evacuated from the surface of
Thule. And just before the entire task force retreated to the nearest Republic base, casualty
lists were compiled and a head count taken to make sure everyone was accounted for, dead or

Obi-Wan stared at the completed lists in utter dismay as they made the jump to hyperspace.

I just got him back! He can‘t be missing again!

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                          font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                    37. 36: Icy Tomb

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                          Chapter 36
                                           Icy Tomb

Obi-Wan laid on his back on his military-issue cot and prayed that his migraine would go away
soon. After interviewing all the other pilots he and Master Fisto had determined what had
happened to Vader. He had reluctantly obeyed the order to withdraw to the rendezvous point,
but he didn‘t lose his last tail as he was docking with his booster ring and the Vulture droid
landed a glancing shot on his ship. As far as they could tell, this caused his hyperdrive and/or
navigation system to malfunction, which meant finding him was going to be a big problem.

A few scouts had been sent to systems nearby Thule, but really all they could do was wait for
him to show up at a Republic base somewhere, or wait to hear his distress signal. Without the
training bond that most Master shared with their Padawans, Obi-Wan had no easy way of
tracking the boy through the Force. And on top of that, Vader generally hid his presence in the
Force. He only really dropped his guard when he was in the heat of battle.

Blast it all! Obi-Wan sighed. One way or the other, this boy is going to be the death of me!

―This is so not fair!‖ Vader wailed into the sky. ―Twice in two weeks! Someone up there must
hate my guts!‖

No one heard these complaints, except for Petey and it wasn‘t like the poor Astrodroid could
do anything about the situation. Petey was just a robotic mechanic, and he was further limited
by the fact that he was hard-wired into the Delta-7. All the droid could do was try to fix the
damaged fighter as quickly as possible so that Vader could get the heck away from…wherever
he was.

An icy gust of wind hit Vader, making him yelp and clutch his cloak tighter around himself. ―I
hate being cold,‖ he moaned and huddled in the shadow of his grounded Delta-7.

He was a native of Tatooine, a desert planet with two suns. He really had no business being on
some unidentified ice ball. But he was on one nonetheless, and he wasn‘t leaving anytime
The Delta-7 hadn‘t suffered any major damage; it could still fly just fine. However, the
navigation system was fried, and worse, the hyperdrive was damaged. The controls were
shorted out and the booster ring had taken a hit, rendering it useless. So he was quite stuck

The ride to this nameless planet of snow and ice had not been fun at all. Just before he could
make the micro-jump out of the Thule system he‘d taken a hit from a persistent Vulture droid
and then gone spinning out of control. His Delta-7 had lurched into hyperspace and it had
taken him nearly an hour to get back into normal space, leaving him thoroughly lost.

Another gust of frozen wind hit him, eliciting a long string of frustrated profanity. As far as he
was able to determine before landing to try and make some repairs, the entire planet was a
frozen wasteland. His sensors hadn‘t detected any strong life signs or electrical signals that
would indicate any sort of advanced civilization. He was very along out here, and very cold.

The region where he‘d landed was rocky and mountainous, making it ever colder and snowier
than most of the planet. He‘d landed here because he didn‘t feel like wasting fuel by looking
for some place hospitable. Also, there were some ruins of a small city nearby, so he could take
shelter there if the weather worsened. And it looked like the weather was going to worsen
very soon.

Dark clouds were gathering around the jagged, black mountain peaks that surrounded him
and the temperature was dropping even lower. It looked like a blizzard was brewing, but
Vader knew he wasn‘t terribly knowledgeable about cold-related weather. He still had trouble
telling if rain was likely on more temperate worlds too. But he didn‘t feel like taking any

―Okay Petey, the weather‘s looking bad, so here‘s what we‘re going to do,‖ Vader grumbled
and fished his pack of emergency supplies out of the cockpit. ―I‘m going to hide out in these
ruins here, and you‘re going to go orbit up by the booster ring. You keep trying to fix the
navigation systems, see if you can‘t restore the booster any, and try to make contact with any
Republic forces around. If the sensors pick up any Separatist activity, go silent until the
weather breaks and then land here again. No matter what happens, once this storm is over,
come back and get me; I don‘t want to be down here by myself for too long. You got that?‖

I‘VE GOT IT, Petey whistled.

―Good, I‘ll see you soon,‖ Vader smiled weakly before turning away and hiking towards the
abandoned city. At least I hope so.

Behind him he could hear the Delta-7 warming up and taking off. Soon the howling gusts of
wind drowned out the fading sounds of the fighter‘s engine. And then it was gone and he was

Up ahead the frozen city loomed out at him from the steep side of the mountain. An advanced
civilization had once lived here, but it was long gone, along with the better climate that had
supported it. Now the empty brown metallic towers, caked in snow and ice, held a sense of
ancient, hollow serenity. It was paradoxically ominous and threatening, and yet calm and

It was a short, but perilous climb to the buildings, and it took a little longer to find a way
inside. Once he was inside the dimly lit ruined complex he felt a bit better. It wasn‘t windy
inside, which made him feel less cold. But the air was still chilly and he cautiously picked his
way deeper inside to try and find a good place to curl up and wait out the possible blizzard.
―Well this is just fantastic,‖ Vader muttered to himself. ―Lost on an ice ball and now wandering
through a ghost city. I wonder if I‘ll see any ghos—yaugh!‖

His foot slipped and he found himself tumbling end over end down an icy tunnel. When the
world stopped spinning around him, he sat up and hugged his bag to his chest. He‘d gone
from a dark alien building to…an ice cave.

―Great,‖ Vader huffed. ―Some basement.‖

For some reason, the light seemed better down in the cave, and since the tunnel he‘d fallen
down was so slippery and steep, he decided to stay where he was for the moment. Besides,
the glittering stalactites and stalagmites were prettier to look at than a bunch of shadowy,
empty hallways and rooms. It also felt a little bit warmer too. So he got up and did a little
exploring to pass the time.

He aimlessly wandered through the glittering tunnels of ice, pausing every now and then to
stare into one of the ice formations and snicker at his distorted reflection. But then he came to
a chamber that somehow felt special. At the back of the chamber was a slab of ice that almost
seemed shaped somehow. Vader walked right up to it and stared down into the opaque block
of ice curiously.

―What is this?‖ Vader mused and tapped the frozen formation with a metal finger. ―Natural or

Cocking his head, he focused on the smooth, crystalline rectangle and tried to probe it with
the Force to see if he could detect anything about it. To his senses, it shone with a strange
energy, almost like a Force presence, but he felt no life in it. Intrigued, he concentrated harder

―Who are you?‖ a man‘s voice asked. It sounded strange, echoing from all around and yet

Vader jumped back from the ice and looked all around, seeking the other person who had
mysteriously spoke. ―Who am I? Who are you? And where are you?‖

―I am here,‖ the man said, and a blue image of a Human dressed in Jedi-like robes appeared
over the ice formation. It looked very much like a holo-image except…there were no grainy
lines, and it was only blue-tinged, not completely projected in shades of blue. But it had to be
a holo of some kind, Vader could see right through the guy, and he sensed no living presence
in the room.

―Wizard,‖ Vader blinked. ―Where‘s the projector?‖

―Projector?‖ the blue man repeated blankly. ―What projector?‖

―This has got to be some kind of high-class holo—I can see right through you! So where‘s the
projector?‖ Vader asked.

―There is no projector,‖ the blue man frowned in annoyance. ―I am not a holo.‖

Vader felt his skin crawl. ―If you‘re not a holo, then what are you? And who are you?‖

―I am Ulic Qel-Droma,‖ the man answered. ―And I—‖
―Wait a minute!‖ Vader held up his hand and scowled at the blue image. ―My Master told me
that Ulic Qel-Droma lived thousands of years ago. So how can you be him?‖

―I‘m dead,‖ Ulic answered calmly.

―You-you‘re dead?‖ Vader blinked and started to edge away. ―Okay, this must be hypothermia,
I‘m seeing things.‖

―Yes, you‘re seeing me: a ghost,‖ Ulic replied. ―Hypothermia has nothing to do with this.‖

―You‘re sure?‖ Vader frowned. ―Wait, why am I even asking you that?‖

―Yes, I‘m sure,‖ Ulic snorted. ―I‘ve been dead for a very long time, but I still remember what
hypothermia feels like. You‘re not suffering from it, and so long as you stay down here, out of
the wind, you won‘t get it.‖

Vader shifted nervously from foot to foot and hugged his bag tighter. ―Okay… Um, where am

―You are on Rhen Var,‖ Ulic informed him, ―standing in front of my tomb.‖

Eww, that ice is his coffin! I touched that! Vader shivered. ―Are there any occupied systems
nearby? My hyper-capabilities are pretty much fried right now.‖

―What am I, a trading station attendant?‖ Ulic scowled. ―Rhen Var is in the Tion Cluster and
the nearest Republic world to my knowledge is Haashimut, the ancient Jedi fortress world. It is
several days flight at sub-light speed from here.‖

―Thanks,‖ Vader gulped. ―I think I have enough fuel to get there. And that gives me plenty of
time to dream up ways to blow up that stupid Dark Reaper.‖

―Dark Reaper?‖ Ulic repeated, startled. ―Why would you need to blow up the Dark Reaper? All
its components should be safely under the guard of the Jedi Order.‖

Vader squinted at the see-thru Force spirit. ―What are you talking about? The Sith have the
Dark Reaper rebuilt and ready to use. The Jedi Order never got close to a single piece of that
evil monstrosity.‖

―But how can that be?‖ Ulic frowned in puzzlement. ―A Jedi Master came to me and asked for
the locations of the Dark Reaper parts to keep them out of the hands of the Sith not too long

Vader wasn‘t sure whether to laugh or cry about this. So it‘s possible to trick dead people…
―That man hasn‘t been a Jedi Master in a decade. He left the Order to become the Sith
Apprentice, Darth Tyranus. And now he‘s got the Dark Reaper to use against the Republic.‖

Ulic buried his face in his hands and looked very much like he was suffering from a headache.
―No, no, no…‖

Can dead people get headaches? Vader couldn‘t help but wonder as he watched the ghost.

The dead Jedi reclaimed his composure quickly and studied Vader for a long, uncomfortably
minute. Then the Force specter stepped off his icy pedestal and paced around Vader. Vader
really didn‘t enjoy the scrutiny, especially scrutiny from a dead man. He also had to restrain
himself from reaching out to see if Ulic was solid or not.

―This Tyranus portrayed himself as a respected Jedi Master and projected nothing but sincerity
and honesty to me,‖ Ulic said at last. ―And since I fell for his act, I will do what I can to help
you fix my error of judgment.‖

―What can a ghost do to help?‖ Vader wondered.

―I will teach you how to withstand the destructive power of the Force Harvester,‖ Ulic replied,
―so you can destroy the Dark Reaper from the inside.‖

Obi-Wan sipped at the cup of caf in his hand and grimaced at the bitter flavor. I miss my tea.
This sludge is just…uncivilized.

Forcing back a sigh, Obi-Wan glanced around the briefing room onboard the Vindicator. In
addition to Master Fisto and a few other prominent Jedi generals from the assault on Raxus
Prime and Thule, Masters Windu and Gallia were also present. Currently, they were reviewing
all the major events of the war.

After Geonosis, the Republic had focused on taking worlds like Atraken from the newly born
Confederacy of Independent Systems. Mirgoshir was under fire, Excarga occupied by the
Separatists, and now Alaris Prime was the first victim of the Dark Reaper. Ossus was under
attack, and with the Dark Reaper occupying the Republic, the ancient, ruined Jedi world was
likely to fall—which would be a bitter blow to Jedi morale at the very least.

And then, while the Order had been distracted by trying to find the pieces to the Dark Reaper,
there had been the incident with the Decimator Tanks. Prototypes of a new super tank had
been out on Tatooine for field testing when a Chiss general working for the Separatists had
boldly stolen them. They had been unleashed on Sarapin, a volatile planet that provided a vast
amount of geothermally-generated power to parts of the Core. Before they had been stopped,
the Decimator Tanks had destroyed several power plants and power relay stations, plunging
sections of various Core worlds into darkness. Even parts of Coruscant – and the Jedi Temple!
– had gone dark for hours to days.

Now the still-shaken Republic had a new terror to deal with. The fully restored Dark Reaper
was on the loose and no one knew where it had been deployed yet. Worse, the Order had no
way to stop it.

―Whatever we do to destroy the Dark Reaper, it must be done from a distance,‖ Master Fisto
frowned. ―We cannot risk sending snub fighters in against it, for all the pilots will be killed and
their life-energy used to fuel the weapon.‖

―But will turbolasers, missiles, and torpedoes fired from a distance be enough to take it out?‖
one of the other generals wondered.

―It will have to be enough,‖ Master Windu rumbled. ―Unless someone has a better plan?‖

There was silence from around the table, which quite effectively answered Master Windu‘s

―Then I think we have covered everything,‖ Master Windu sighed. ―You are all dism—‖
―Masters!‖ a breathless Padawan exclaimed as he burst into the room. ―Reports have just
come in from Mon Calamari. Several Mon Cal floating cities have been blasted into ruins and
entire stretches of the ocean are filled with dead sea-life!‖

―So the Dark Reaper has made its first strike,‖ Master Gallia frowned uneasily.

―It has begun,‖ Master Windu added grimly. ―Padawan, did the Mon Calamari report where the
Dark Reaper went after the destruction?‖

―No, Master Windu,‖ the Padawan shook his head apologetically.

―Thank you, Padawan,‖ Master Gallia murmured. ―You are dismissed.‖

The Padawan, still panting, bowed and scampered from the room.

Well, this day just got a whole lot worse, Obi-Wan sighed quietly and took another unhappy
sip of his black caf.

―This meeting is over,‖ Master Windu declared. ―You are all dismissed.‖

The conference of Jedi generals immediately broke up and filed out of the room. Masters Fisto,
Windu, and Gallia remained, and Obi-Wan remained with them. They hadn‘t requested that he
stay, but he knew that they wanted him to. Vader‘s behavior and whereabouts needing

―Any word from Vader?‖ Master Windu inquired once the room was empty.

―No,‖ Obi-Wan admitted, ―not so much as a whisper.‖

―He‘s gone missing two times in as many weeks,‖ Master Gallia remarked. ―That doesn‘t look

―It doesn‘t,‖ Obi-Wan agreed. ―Witnesses report that this time the reason for his absence is
due to a damaged fighter.‖

―Accident or not, I don‘t like this,‖ Master Windu scowled. ―Obi-Wan, tell us, how has he
behaved during space battles?‖

―He has done well in defeating enemy units—he has the highest kill rate in the entire battle
group. However, his discipline is…lacking.‖ Obi-Wan covered an annoying sigh with another sip
of his drink. ―He is supposed to stay on my wing as much as possible, yet he consistently
leaves me within the first few minutes of the fight and I don‘t see him until it is all over. I was
planning on grounding him after Thule if he behaved similarly during that battle, but I see that
will have to wait until he turns up again.‖

―Perhaps we placed too much trust in him in assigning him a Delta-7,‖ Master Windu mused.

―I don‘t know,‖ Master Fisto argued. ―He has great talent, his only problem is discipline. If he
can be made to learn to stick to the battle plan I think he could be a great asset to our aerial

―That may be,‖ Master Gallia reluctantly agreed. ―I propose that he be grounded until the Dark
Reaper crisis is resolved,‖ she decided after a few minutes‘ thought.
―That sounds reasonable enough,‖ Master Windu nodded after considering it.

―I hope that the Dark Reaper can be neutralized quickly, then,‖ Master Fisto remarked. ―His
skill will be missed.‖

Obi-Wan nodded in silent agreement. Even though he‘s never around when I need him, on the
whole he will be missed…

―I will go to Mon Calamari to survey the damage,‖ Master Gallia volunteered.

―I need to go report to Master Yoda,‖ Mace frowned thoughtfully.

―I‘m turning in for the night,‖ Master Fisto decided. ―You should try and get some rest too,
Obi-Wan. Things are likely to get very busy soon.‖

―Yes, Master,‖ Obi-Wan agreed and followed them out of the briefing room.

Master Adi Gallia left for the hanger bay to depart for Mon Calamari in her shuttle. Master
Mace Windu headed for the communications area of the Star Destroyer to contact Master Yoda.
And Master Kit Fisto left for his sleeping quarters. Obi-Wan, as he was following Master Fisto,
stopped when he ran into Garen.

―Any word on your Padawan?‖ Garen asked worriedly.

Obi-Wan shook his head. ―No, nothing.‖

―Do you think he‘s…okay?‖ Garen hesitantly inquired.

―I‘m sure he‘s fine, wherever he is,‖ Obi-Wan replied. ―I sense no pain or death from him.‖ Not
that I would sense either thing, seeing as I have no training bond with him. But Master Yoda
would sense anything and tell me so if he had.

―Well, I hope he makes it back to friendly lines soon, then,‖ Garen grinned weakly.

―So do I,‖ Obi-Wan whole-heartedly agreed. So that I can tell him that he‘s grounded and then
wring his neck…

Vader munched listlessly on a dry ration bar during his lunch break. His store of emergency
food was almost gone, not that there had been very much of it in the first place. Today was
day three of the blizzard and day three of dead-Jedi Master Ulic‘s survive-the-Force-Harvester
boot camp.

The technique itself wasn‘t terribly difficult to learn. It worked very much like how mental
shielding worked, except the point wasn‘t to protect the mind but to protect the life force.
While learning it was easy, mastering it was harder, since it was too dangerous to practice the
technique. He didn‘t think that Dooku would let him borrow the Force Harvester for a little
while, either.

So the only way to master the technique without being able to practice with the Force
Harvester was to practice the technique over and over again for hours at a time. It was
incredibly boring, but seeing as there was a long-lasting blizzard going on outside there wasn‘t
much else for Vader to do. And so, when he finished his plain ration bar lunch, he would go
right back to practicing the damn Force skill until Master Ulic said stop.
Swallowing the last tasteless mouthful, he got up, moved from the back of the chamber closer
to Master Ulic ice tomb, and sat down again. He would‘ve preferred to use his standing
meditation pose to practice, but Master Ulic insisted that he sit on the icy floor with the idea
that the cold would force him to focus more and ignore the distraction of physical sensation.
Vader just mentally cursed the ghost for giving his butt frostbite and took it.

Eyes closed, Vader ran through the mental motions of constructing the shield. It had to be
strong, smooth, and free of cracks that the Force Harvester‘s pull could exploit. But at the
same time, he had to remain connected to the Force so that he could take advantage of Its
guidance and Its protection. It was a delicate balancing act, but he was pretty sure he had it

―The storm is clearing,‖ Master Ulic‘s disembodied voice abruptly informed him. ―You should
prepare to leave before Rhen Var‘s winter descends again.‖

I‘m outta here! ―Thanks,‖ Vader sighed wearily and picked himself up off the icy floor.

As he moved to pack his meager bag and find his way out of the frozen labyrinth, he could feel
the Force spirit watching him, even though the specter wasn‘t visible. It was unnerving to
know that he was being watched all the time by an invisible being, a man long-dead who
needed no food, water, or sleep. But it was better than feeling alone for three days in a cave
of rock and ice.

Before he left the tomb of Ulic Qel-Droma behind, Vader hesitated. ―Master Qel-Droma, do you
think that I‘m strong enough to succeed in defeating the Dark Reaper.‖

The Jedi ghost answered him with a faint chuckle that echoed from everywhere and nowhere.
―You are stronger than you think, young one. Have faith for the Force is with you, and always
will be. Go now.‖

―Yes, Master Qel-Droma.‖ Vader bowed to the icy coffin and departed.

―You are stronger than you think‖? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Vader wondered.
Alive or dead, Jedi just love their cryptic remarks and damned riddles…

Scowling in frustration, Vader picked his way through the twisting tunnels of ice, up the
slippery incline, and through the dark halls of the abandoned building complex. Slipping
outside, he found that the blizzard was gone, leaving only deeper drifts of snow to show that it
had happened at all. Tugging his dark cloak tighter around his body in a vain attempt to ward
off the frozen air, he trudged through the waist-deep snow to meet the growing speck of his
blue Delta-7.

Here I come, Vader grumbled, whether I‘m ready or not…

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Movies » Star Wars » Misunderstood V2                                              font: B s : A A A

Author: Quill of Molliemon                      38. 37: Destroyer

Fiction Rated: T - English - General/Angst - Anakin S. & Obi-Wan K. - Reviews:
459 - Published: 11-15-06 - Updated: 07-11-07

                                           Chapter 37

Obi-Wan leaned against Garen‘s fighter and watched as his old friend checked over the
innards of his green-trimmed Delta-7. Garen wasn‘t nearly as good a mechanic as he was a
pilot, but he still liked to look over his ship all the same, just to be sure there wasn‘t anything
obvious that the mechanics had missed. He never did catch anything, but it was habit drilled
into him by his Master.

―Everything‘s in working order,‖ Obi-Wan informed his friend from over his shoulder.
―On this side, yes,‖ Garen agreed. ―But I haven‘t even started on the left side.‖

―Why are you even checking this?‖ Obi-Wan wondered. ―You picked apart your ship

―It‘s a good way to pass the time,‖ Garen shrugged and scuttled around to the other side of
his Delta-7.

Nodding in understanding, Obi-Wan settled back on the wing while Garen amused himself. He
wished he had something similar to occupy his time. With the Dark Reaper still lurking about
in regions unknown, there was really nothing to do but wait until it could be located.

The ancient Sith weapon had struck another world since Mon Calamari. Its most recent victim
was Bakura, a world near the very fringes of civilized space. It was so backwater that most of
its citizens weren‘t even aware that there was a war going on. They had been wholly
unprepared for the destruction of the Dark Reaper.

We need to get some intelligence on where it‘s going, not where it‘s been, he sighed.