Disclaimer: I own neither the Naruto series nor the Star Wars franchise.
Mace Windu only grew more nervous as he sat in the chancellor's office, pondering over master Yoda's premonition, or rather lack-of.
For the most powerful Jedi master that had existed in generations to be unable to foresee anything through the force disturbed the senior councillor like a Gundark in the night. So immersed in his own thoughts was he that he almost failed to notice Senator Amidala enter the room. It was only when the former queen began to speak that the Jedi was brought out of his musing.
"Do you have any idea who is behind these attacks?" Padme asked. With the senate vote on a military response to the Confederacy of Independent Systems almost upon the Republic, the attempts on her life had increased to dangerous levels.
Well, dangerous levels for a politician at least.
"Our intelligence currently points to disgruntled spice miners on the moons of Naboo, though nothing conclusive has yet to come to light." Windu answered as he left his seat facing the chancellor. Despite this answer however, the Naboo senator understood that the statement was just code for, 'We've got no idea'. 'How reassuring.' She thought.
Swallowing nerves that had taken route in her throat without her notice, the young senator made her thoughts known to the assorted Jedi and politicians who now trained their eyes on her. "I think Count Dooku is behind this."
She could practically hear the inaudible snorts of disbelief from the master Jedi in the room as her words sunk in. "He is a political idealist, not a murderer." Ki-Adi-Mundi politely refuted.
"You know milady that Count Dooku was once a Jedi. He couldn't assassinate anyone. It's simply not in his character." Reasoned Windu. This only served to aggravate Amidala further however, rather than put her at ease.
"But for certain senator. In grave danger, you are." Insisted Yoda. It may not have been much, but Amidala could feel the pent up frustration mellow, if only slightly. Maybe it was a passive Jedi skill he was using. Or perhaps it was that grandfatherly smile that the diminutive, but wise master wore. Either way, Padme was grateful that at her opinion was being taken seriously by someone.
"Master Jedi," The voice of the elderly chancellor coming from the office window drew the attention of the senators and Jedi alike. "May I suggest the senator be placed under the protection of your graces?"
Almost instantly a wave of whispers and muttering amongst the senators filled the room. The death of a number of prominent Jedi in recent years, several of which were members of the Jedi high council, had left some within the Republic doubtful of the organisation's ability to protect itself, much less important political figures such as Amidala.
The representative of Alderaan, Bail Organa, was the first to openly question the proposal. "Do you really think that is such a wise decision in these stressful times?" He asked. Concern for his Naboo counterpart clear in his tone.
Amidala however wasn't quite as reserved in voicing her opinion. "Chancellor if I may comment, I don't beli-""Believe that the situation is that serious?" The chancellor finished, cutting of Padme before she could further oppose the idea.
"No, but I do senator. I understand all too well that the additional security might be disruptive for you. But," Palpatine continued, either unaware of the suspicious stares casted on his person by Yoda and Mace, or simply ignoring them. "Perhaps you would prefer an escort you're familiar with. An old friend like… Master Kenobi?"
"That's possible. He's just returned from a border dispute on Ansion." Informed Windu. The unrest that had occurred in the system between the other inhabited planets in the system and Ansion itself had been largely kept under control by Kenobi and Master Luminara, but there were still riots breaking out between separatist sympathisers and those who still supported the Republic. The Jedi believed that the local crime boss Soergg the Hutt had been involved with at least some of the turmoil, but there was nothing the Jedi could do to prove his links to the confederacy. At least, not until more evidence surfaced. Or unless the local government dealt with the Hutt themselves.
The Chancellor seemed to look anxious as he continued to urge the senator. "Do it for me milady. Please. The thought of losing you," his words appeared to be painful for even the experienced politician to say. "Is unbearable."
The Korun Jedi Master turned to face the young senator. "I'll have Obi-Wan report to you as soon as is possible milady." Padme would've liked to outright refuse, but it didn't appear that neither the chancellor nor Windu would let up. Resigning herself to what would effectively become a willing house-arrest, only her good manners stopped her from sighing before thanking the Jedi before exiting Palpatine's office.
And with the departure of the senator and her security escorts, the other senators and Jedi soon followed, with only Luminara and her apprentice Padawan Offee, who had remained quiet throughout the meeting, asking to discuss a matter with the senior Jedi Masters disrupting a quick vacating of the room.
Leaving Chancellor Palpatine the only person left in the office, with the thoughts in his head and a knowing smile on his face.
Padme would've been a rubbish Jedi at this moment. There hadn't been a time before today where she felt she had been treated more like a child in her professional career. Her bodyguards kept doting over her, asking what felt like every two minutes if she was alright or not, the Chancellor's rather patronising tone, along with the majority of the present Jedi and senators not taking her opinions seriously, only served to irk her further.
So tested was her patience and occupied was her anguish that she almost missed the Jedi senior councillors approach her from down the oval red halls leading to the chancellor's office. Quickly composing herself again she addressed the diminutive master and his Korun counterpart.
"Master Jedi, I am most grateful for your services, even I personally feel that they are unnecessary." Normally Amidala condoned outright lying, but it was all she could do to maintain any semblance of politeness with anyone at the moment.
"We apologise for the extra precautions that are being taken milady," Expressed Windu, being surprisingly respectful, given his lack of patience for politicians. "But we must do everything in our power to make sure that war with the separatists is avoided. That includes making sure that the debate in the senate go through as expected." He informed.
Seeing that the senator was still displeased with the arrangement, despite understanding the circumstances, Yoda chose at this moment to propose a solution to the dilemma the Naboo representative faced.
"Perhaps, feel more assured if we were to start an investigation, you would, rather than just protection, hmm?" He suggested.
Now that was an idea that Padme could get behind. An investigation would allow for any extra security issues to be dealt with that much faster, or at the very least help reveal those responsible for the attempts. There was only one problem with this plan.
"While I appreciate the sentiment master Jedi, I don't believe that it is within the legal limits of your order to launch an investigation into a senator's case without the chancellor's permission." She pointed out.
"Correct senator, that is." Answered Master Yoda, although judging from the knowing smile growing on his face, Padme guessed that wasn't all that the master had to say.
"Which is why we were considering hiring a bounty hunter to look into the attempts." Continued Mace. Needless to say, Amidala's initial reaction was one of doubt.
"A bounty hunter…" She repeated, uncertainty clear in her tone. "Do you… Have a certain hunter in mind?"
"Actually it was Master Luminara and Padawan Offee that reminded us of him. He's considered a close ally of the order." Windu assured. Seeing the confusion still present on her face, Yoda decided to better explain their choice.
"Familiar with the man known as Díni are you not milady?"
The SN-559 blaster sniper rifle.
Despite its blocky appearance, it was a surprisingly comfortable to wield, especially when lying prone on the ground whilst looking through its telescopic sights. Its powerful scope, coupled with a high-quality durasteel gyroscopic stabilizer, meant that when looking down the sights of this impressive piece of equipment, it was nigh-on impossible to miss a target.
So when Díni pointed the barrel of his rifle at the local crime boss, Soergg the Hutt, he knew that, despite being a good mile away from the roof of the small watchtower he had chosen as his nest, it was nigh-on impossible that he would miss the slug.
Díni shifted slightly, releasing some tension in the leg he was currently resting on. The bounty for the death of the Hutt crime boss wasn't much, but money wasn't a real concern for the hunter. The fact that he had caused the recent riots across Ansion which left hundreds, if not thousands dead or injured, was enough of a reason for the seasoned huntsman.
Through the visor of his Mandalorian helmet, Díni didn't see an intelligent life form. He saw a murderer. A megalomaniac criminal with delusions of his own grandeur. A rabid dog.
"Yo N. You there?" Came a voice from the com-link inside his green and orange helmet.
"Zep, I'm on a job. When I'm on a job-"
"It's Díni, I know. But it's a secure line. It's not like anyone's listening."
"I'd rather not take chances. Not when I'm on someone's tail. Especially a Hutt's." Replied the hunter. If there was one thing that he had learnt in all his years in this strange and twisted galaxy, it was that it always paid to be paranoid.
"Anyways, I've got details for a new job that's come up once you've cleaned up shop down there." Continued the voice. Díni picked up on the choice of words on the other end of the com.
"The munchkins there?" He asked. The silence over the radio was all he needed to hear.
Returning to the blaster sights, he resumed his hunt.
"I won't be long. This customer is taking forever to pick their poison." He stated. The Hutt had just left his personal skiff and was slithering his way to the small palace that Naruto presumed that he owned on the outskirts of the city of Doigon. The guards were walking behind the Hutt, and in front of the Hutt. Not beside him.
It was quite a morbid thought, but there was a part of Díni's mind that found it funny when Soergg's falling body landed on the guard in front of him, effectively crushing the poor pig man.
In this line of work, you had to find humour wherever you could.
"I'm done down here. Bring the Falcon out of low-orbit." He requested down the channel, as he brought himself out of his crouched position to stand, pressing his hands against his back in an attempt to soothe a dull aching that had taken hold there. Damned sniper and the stiffness it brought…
His musings were interrupted by the sudden presence of what appeared to be three thugs with blaster pistols to his head. Wow. News travelled really fast around here.
"No sudden movements bucket head." Ordered one of the criminals, in a vain attempt to intimidate the bounty hunter. Fortunately for Díni, they were neither intimidating to observe, nor menacing to listen to.
They also didn't appear to be very smart, given that they hadn't noticed the spiked traps that Naruto had placed on the ceiling.
With a sigh, Díni pressed a button on his orange wrist brace, resulting in an shower of lightning hitting the three would-be-attackers. Their screams and pleas for help did nothing to distract their indirect torturer as he disassembled his assassination weapon of choice.
"What's that noise? Droid chatter?" The voice over the com-link probed.
"Nah. Just a couple of kids shocked by the quality of customer service." Answered the hunter, before leaving through the same door that his ambushers had entered through, who now laid across the room, limbs twitching as their nerve cells attempted to recover from almost complete annihilation.
*That one was terrible.* Came another voice seemingly from the com-link. The hunter left it unacknowledged as he turned to the ladders outside his workspace.
'Huh. Sensei was right. Nobody ever does look up.' He noted as he made his way to the top of the tower, the light YT-Corellian freighter hovering close to the building with its entrance open, as if beckoning Díni into the ship as he arrived onto the roof.
"So, after I collect my pay, where are we going next?" He asked as he stepped onto the entrance hatch and the Falcon rose above the city.
"Better be prepared country boy. We're heading to Coruscant …"