Author's Note: Slight warning for (villainous) character death and exaggerated TV-journalist dialogue.

"Nnn... Ani?"

Anakin, sitting on the side of their bed and pulling on a tunic, gave a start. "Shh, shh," he said, turning around and patting her shoulder. "Get back to sleep. You need your rest."

"What's going on?" she murmured, looking up at him. "Where are you going?"

He paused for a moment. "You know about my nightmares."

"Is that what's this about?" She knew the toll it was taking on him; it had given her the most horrible feeling... "Ani, please don't-"

"Oh no, that's not the problem. I'm over them."

"You're... what?"

"Yeah." He mussed her hair. "See, after... what happened with... my mother, I decided Jedi doctrine about 'letting go' and 'allowing the Force's will to come to pass' would never be enough for me. So I started really working on inspecting my visions. Meditation, self-examination... all that stuff."

"Mm... oh, good." She was woozy enough that his words were passing over her mind more than passing through it. She did, however, know that discipline and contemplation could only do her husband good. External forces could only do so much to still the turmoil in his heart; some things had to be internal.

"Yes, it is good," he agreed. "Because, once I stopped panicking and getting distraught over my nightmares, I took the time to see what I needed to do to prevent them."

"Oh good." A moment later, she replayed what he had said. "Wait, what..."

"Don't worry." He leaned down and kissed her cheek. "I'll be back soon. It's just a little fix. You'll be surprised, but you'll see, after a little while, that it ill make everything be okay."

"Everything?" she couldn't resist asking. Even in her half-conscious state, the war was never far from her mind.

"Everything." And there it was: the confidence that at once made her love him and despair for his safety. "Get back to sleep, Padme. I'll be back before you know it."

He squeezed her shoulder, then stood up. Probably Jedi business. Padme sighed and closed her eyes again. She wouldn't trade their life together for anything, but sometimes, she had to admit, a life in secrecy could be very hard...

The next thing she knew, she was awakening to a warm body rolling into bed beside her. "Back already?" she mumbled, already reflexively gathering her husband to her.

"Yeah." He kissed her gently. "I told you, it was just a little fix. Everything will be all right now."

She knew it was nonsense, but she could believe it in his arms. She turned over so he could wrap his arms around her without her pregnant belly getting in the way, and let herself drift off to sleep, comforted by her love's presence...

And only slightly bothered by what Anakin, driven to desperation, might describe as a little fix...

"...we have a journalist reporting to you live on-scene. Hallissa?"

"Thank you, Eito. This is Hallissa Metarn, reporting for HoloNet News. This terrible attack is certain to shake the Republic to its core. I don't know if we've ever seen anything like this."

"Can you describe a little for the viewers?"

"Yes, as you can see here - this terrible, terrible incident - in the early morning today, a SoroSuub speeder appears to have been hotwired for a suicide attack on the Supreme Chancellor's office. I say "suicide", but it appears to have been remote-controlled - an automated, pilot-less attack. Clearly this brutal attack is linked to the Separatists."

"Can you tell us more about the extent of the damage?"

"It's quite remarkable - I suppose we can say it's a miracle, if not for what we did lose. No one was hurt, except for the Supreme Chancellor. As closely as the forensic team was able to determine, he tragically seems to have been seated at his desk, back to the window. If there is any consolation amid this horrible tragedy, it's that, I have been assured, he never saw it coming, and he would not have suffered."

"I'm - I'm sorry, I'm a bit overwrought, Hallissa. Especially after Skywalker and Kenobi - that famous duo - so heroically rescued him such a short time ago..."

"It's brutal, Eito. I just don't have any words. It's brutal."

"So I think we're all asking the same question here, Hallissa - how could the Chancellor have been assassinated so brutally? Weren't there better security precautions?"

"You'd think, Eito. But the forensic specialists did give me a bit of insight into that."


"Yes - as closely as anyone can tell, this horrible terrorist manually overrode the protections on the SoroSuub fuel cells. You know, keeping something like a speeder flying in the air at such high speeds, with such a long period between recharges - well, it takes a lot of energy. We just don't think of how much energy is stored in those innocent little cells."

"I guess you're right, Hallissa. I certainly don't."

"Neither do I, Eito. And what these people told me is that normally, the brilliant engineers at SoroSuub have come up with amazing protections to make sure that, even in the case of a crash, the fuel cells won't be damaged in a way that causes what experts in the trade call an UMER - Uncontrolled Mass Energy Release. But, if someone were to disable all those protections, then it's possible - especially with further sabotage - that, upon impact, all that energy would be released at once..."


"And I have to emphasize that only someone very skilled could hope to pull off such a horrible crime. SoroSuubs are not dangerous to the general public..."

"Not that you'd know it from the way their stock has been plummeting today."

"Oh, yes, that's a major story in and of itself, isn't it?"

"It's really churning up the markets, Hallissa - not to mention the general shock from the news."

"We have a subchannel for that, don't we?"

"We do indeed. For those of you interested in financial reports, tune your device to HoloNet Financial, your source for the most up-to-date look at the markets and the most in-depth analysis of the flow of credits around the galaxy. For those of you who want to hear the touching tributes to our great, late Chancellor, tune to HoloNet Politics, holding an all-cycle Remembrance Marathon. And, of course, if you want to keep hearing more on this story, stay tuned for the rest of this report, coming up next after a few words from our sponsors."

"Feeling blue? Soon you too can enjoy the fragrances of Naboo. With our vast selection, we guaranteed that you have a need for The Essence of Theed, opening soon in a GalactoMall near you..."

"...we have sympathizers inside the Senate Building," Mace Windu announced to the Jedi Council. "I am not at liberty to reveal their identities, but I am able to pass on one thing of interest from the files recovered so far from the Chancellor's servers. There exists correspondence - my sources were uncertain how much, as they lacked the knowledge to understand its importance - appearing to refer to the Chancellor under the alias of 'Darth Sidious'."

Stunned silence came over the Council. Windu himself seemed scarcely immune. He took a heavy breath. "What do we do?"

Inwardly, he added one more question:

Where is Skywalker, anyway?

"...we must give absolutely no credence to the wild reports that the Chancellor was in correspondence with the Separatists..."

Padme spun the dial.

"...refuse to give into the lies of the scumsack government! We are the dissidents! We are the people! This entire war has been nothing more than a planned calamity by the Coruscanti elite to enrich their own interests -"

Padme spun the dial.

"...of General Grievous. The Jedi will neither confirm nor deny any reports of newfound intelligence recovered from the Chancellor's servers, and are unapologetic about taking Senate-unapproved missions with unknown aims - speculation includes targeted assassination on Separatist leaders, though the Jedi officially deny this - quoting General Kenobi, 'we do not kill unarmed prisoners; it's not the Jedi way'..."

Padme spun the dial.

"...all Senators have received an official security advisory to stay away from the Senate Building until further news... fears of further attacks..."

She sat back on the couch and gave her husband a long look. He returned her gaze with an utterly unabashed look - if anything, it seemed as though an enormous weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

If this truly ended the war, the same would be true of her, but even so -

"This is your idea of making everything 'okay'?" she asked, not trying very hard to suppress the hysterical edge in her voice.

"Would you believe that the alternative would be much worse?"

Rubbing her temples, she sank further into the couch. Yes. Yes, knowing Anakin, she would.

Was it too early to go back to bed and pull the covers over her head? She was a heavily pregnant woman, after all... Surely the world could make concessions...

Author's Note: Subtlety is not a Skywalker trait.