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Beta: Chaos-PSD. Contributor: Kuronodono12.


Chapter XXXIX: Senate Murders.

Truth Can Strike Down, The Spectre Of Fear.

Peace shattered! Once-promising negotiations between the Republic and the Separatists are now in shambles following a droid suicide bombing on the capital city-planet of Coruscant. As fear and anger prevail, the Senate overwhelmingly passes a bill to deregulate the banks, opening a gateway to additional troops and an increase in fighting.…

Coruscant, Senate Meeting Room.

Palpatine looked around the room before raising his arms to the arguing senators. "Members of the senate, please, please!"

"How dare they?"

"They attack, and now they want peace?"

"Chancellor Palpatine, may I remind the senators, that the peace proposal was made before their assault," Padmé said looking at the Chancellor.

"That only highlights its insincerity." A male senator yelled before the Kaminoan senator floated down on her platform.

"Chancellor Palpatine, in light of this unprovoked attack on Coruscant and the vulnerabilities it raises, I propose the Republic purchase an additional 5 million clone troopers."

"The Republic is already operating in debt." Bail said from his platform. "Besides we don't need that many with General Uzumaki's troops not having many casualties. Even then, how do you propose we pay for additional troops?"

"My people are drafting an emergency appropriations bill that would raise funds."

"From the banking clan?" Padmé interjected from her spot.

"Yes, of course. Do you have an alternate means of paying?"

"One alternative might be to stop the war, not escalate it," Padmé said before the others started yelling.

"Traitor!"

"Traitor!"

"Whoever attacked the power grid wants us to continue to fight," Padmé said to her fellow senators. "It's a calculated attempt to destroy the peace process. Not everyone in the confederacy wants this. I know this for a fact."

"You have separatists friends, senator?"

"Whose side are you on?"

"Please, the young senator from Naboo makes a point. There is no need to…" Palpatine said before a button lit on his console blinked, having Mas whisper in his ear. "We have just received a message from our opponent, Count Dooku."

He then hit a button having a large hologram of Dooku appear. "Your Republic forces have carried out a barbaric attack on our people, and among the deaths was the very sponsor of the peace accord, senator Miina Bonteri. I must formally withdraw the proposal for peace offered by our senate."

"We must not show weakness."

Later, Padmé was walking the halls looking at a datapad with her assistant and Bail Organa. "Thank you, Teckla." She said handing Teckla the pad.

"Yes, my lady."

"I can't believe it. I just can't believe the Republic would target Senator Bonteri. She was the only one willing to stand up for peace." Padmé said with a sigh as they got into her office as the Rodian senator joined them.

"You shouldn't believe it." Bail said after the door closed. "The Republic spies are reporting that senator Bonteri was murdered by Dooku's thugs. That message to the senate was a ploy to disguise his true actions."

"I am so sorry, Padmé," Farr said to her as Bail leaned on the desk.

"If your friend met with a violent end because of her politics, let's make sure her courageous effort wasn't in vain."

"What can we do?"

"For one, defeat this bill."

"Can we win this war with the troops that we have?"

"Uzumaki's forces have given us hope. But let's hope we don't have to. I'll start lining up support, but I'll need ammunition." Bail said before Farr looked at him.

"We can't afford ammunition, remember?" They just stared at him while he smiled before losing it. "I joke."

"Go to the banking clan and see how much interest they're going to charge for the loan. The more I know about what the exact cost of this bill will be, the better I can make my case to defeat it."

"Right, let's go, uncle. You know these banking clan people. Plus, you owe me for telling such a bad joke." Padmé said, pushing Farr out of the room.

"(Sigh) Tee ta poo shan aka."

Later, the two sat in the banking clan's representative's office as he paced behind his desk.

"We will lend the Republic at our standard interest rate of… 25%."

"What?"

"25%. That's outright theft." Farr said, pounding the desk as Padmé stood.

"Your previous arrangement with the Republic was 10%."

"Please, please, that was before deregulation. The same rules don't apply, my dear." The man said before sitting down. "The separatists don't seem to mind a rate hike. They just secured a loan to fund an additional 3 million battle droids."

"They would wipe us out. You would let Dooku do that?" Farr said looking down

"You live on Coruscant too," Padmé said, trying to make him see reason.

"We have no stake in this war, senator. You know that. War is… Distasteful to all of us."

Later that night they gave the report to Basil who looked it over on a pad.

"25% interest. That's a lot of credits."

"The interest alone could completely bankrupt the Republic. As it is, social services have suffered because of this war, education, infrastructure, and health care. If we go deeper into debt, the basic needs of our people will evaporate." Padmé explained walking around the room before stopping in front of Bail.

"This is good."

"It is?"

"Taking out a loan on such obscene terms would essentially destroy the Republic, regardless of the outcome of the war. We only need to sway another handful of senators, as long as they don't buckle to the threats." Bail said, getting Padmé's attention.

"What threats?"

"Some members have received messages, warning them not to vote against the bill. Considering what's happened to your friend Bonteri, they're frightened."

Later that evening, Padmé and Bail met with other senators who had bruises or slings for their arms.

"Can't you all see this bill is short-sighted? Millions of clones won't win this war. The only winner will be the banking clan. They want to pass this bill so badly, they're using scare tactics to sway votes."

"I am not intimidated, Senator Amidala." One male said with his right arm in a sling.

"Then why are you voting for additional troops?"

"I happen to believe more clones are precisely what we need, and my caucus agrees With me. I'm sorry." The senator said before he and the others walked away before Farr walked up with his young protege, his arm also in a sling.

"Uncle Ono, what happened?"

"Two thugs jumped me, but I am fine." He replied when they walked over to him.

"This is outrageous. Something has to be done."

"This will not change my mind. No matter what, I will vote against the bill."

Bail and Padmé then went to an office to talk. "As long as senators are being threatened and attacked, I'm afraid we don't stand a chance."

"Intimidation won't work on everyone. Senator Farr is proof of that." Bail said after turning away from the window.

"Even so, we're still at least six votes short of a majority, and you saw how effective my plea was today."

"Some minds can't be altered no matter what they hear." Bail said walking to Padmé who held her head.

"From my experience, it depends a great deal on who's sending the message."

"And what are you thinking?"

"Bail, you're the finest public speaker I know. If anyone can convince the senate that voting for this bill will bankrupt the Republic both financially and spiritually, it's you."

"It will be dangerous." He said hand on his chin.

"I urge you to speak before the full Senate."

"I'll need some time to prepare."

"Good. In the meantime, I'll pay another visit to those still undecided." She said before leaving.

Later.

After she and Farr pay a rather futile visit to Senator Christo, Padmé decides to take a walk to relax her mind. Robonino and Hyoki assault her, but two police droids buy her just enough time to prevent worse. Bereft of her driver, she promptly mounts a nearby speeder bike and manages to shake off her attackers in a vicious chase, but that results in the police taking an undue interest in her, and Padmé is held up while the thugs escape.

Back in her quarters, Padmé is taken care of by the handmaiden Teckla Minnau, who expresses her admiration for the senator. Upon learning that Teckla's family is severely affected by the war, the two young women get into a conversation.

The next morning, Robonino and Hyoki attack Senator Organa as well. Organa manages to summon his guards and the police, and the two thugs are arrested, but he is severely injured in the struggle and therefore asks Padmé to deliver his speech.

After some encouragement by Teckla and Farr, Padmé steps before the Senate and delivers an impromptu and passionate speech, recounting the problems of the simple people like Teckla's family due to the financial strain the war has already brought upon the Republic, arguing that the bill's passage would harm the citizens of the Republic they've sworn to protect. The speech wins reluctant favor and respect from the entire Senate.

Palpatine's Office.

Palpatine stood by his desk with Mas standing in the room. "Isn't it remarkable that one can have all the power in the galaxy, and yet the words of a single senator, can sway the thoughts of millions?" He said walking to the window as Mas looked at him.

"What do you plan to do about this?"

"For now, we must adhere to the principles of our democracy. We must let the wheels of the senate turn." Palpatine said before looking out the window.

War on many fronts! While battles are fought by clones in the field, a different war is waged in the Galactic Senate. As heavy losses add up, a group of senators led by Halle Burtoni of Kamino proposes an escalation of troop production. Senator Padmé Amidala, recognizing that more troops will only prolong the fighting, works tirelessly with her allies to introduce a bill to cut down military spending and stop the creation of more clone troopers...

Coruscant, Padmé's Office.

C-3PO walked into Padmé's office where she was talking to another senator via holo com."Yes, of course, Senator. Thank you for telling me about yourself. I completely understand."

"Did we lose someone else's vote?" Lolo asked Padmé as she, Farr, and another female human senator sat on the couch by the wall.

"Senator Stonk. Worried about public opinion. But he wants us to know how very sorry he is."

"'Sorry' doesn't get us votes," Lolo said, crossing her arms.

"We'll get votes," Farr said standing and pouring a glass of a drink for himself. when, in your speech, you convince people to stand up for what they know is right."

"Padmé had walked over and sat down in a chair. "I hope you're right, Uncle. You've been doing an amazing job rallying votes to our side.

"Chos Koo, Senator Farr," Lolo said before speaking fully in Rodian to Farr

"Perhaps I am the most influential man on Rodia, Lolo, but after all the mistakes I've made, peace is what matters to me now," Farr replied before Bail quickly walked into the room.

"Senator Amidala? They're ready For your speech now. It's time."

"We'll see you in the Chamber, Senator Amidala."

"Good luck, Padmé!" Farr said as they walked the hall to go to the meeting room.

Once getting there, Farr looked to Padmé as they stopped at her platform "It is quite exciting."

"'Exciting' isn't exactly the word I would use." She replied looking back at him. I think 'terrifying' is more appropriate."

"Pay her no mind, Senator Organa. Even as a girl, Padmé downplayed her strengths. Helps her maintain the element of surprise." Farr said with a smile before Padmé walked into her room with 3PO

"I learned it from you. See you inside, Senators." Padmé bid farewell to them as the door closed. She then got on her platform before it floated up for her to speak. "The creation of more warriors will not end this war. The financial costs alone will bankrupt and cripple the Republic. By adding more clones to the conflict, we are only escalating destruction, not winning the war. Which is why we must vote for this resolution, to promote more diplomacy and to bring an end to this killing and hatred."

She finished having everyone start to applaud. Her platform floated back and she stepped out to see another tall human man with fair skin, and short gray hair and in purple clothing with gray pieces on the arms and top for a collar.

"That was quite a moment, my dear."

"Thank you, Senator Deechi." She said with a slight nod before walking as he followed.

"Oh, it wasn't a compliment." He said to her while walking behind "You shouldn't make speeches like that. It's unpatriotic."

"The only thing I find unpatriotic is your warmongering." She said before walking ahead to join back up with Farr.

Later, in Farr's office, C-3PO severed the senator's drinks before Farr raised his to Padmé. "Truly, you have turned the tide!"

"My dear, you were brilliant." The woman said as they clinked glasses and took a drink.

"Thank you. But perhaps we should wait till we actually win the vote before we make a victory speech."

"What a novel idea."

They turned to see Halle walking in. "Imagine that. Amidala's actually making sense for once in her life."

"Senator Burtoni, this is a private conversation." Padmé plainly said, looking at the Kaminoan.

"Private conversation or Separatist conspiracy?"

"How dare you?" Lolo exclaimed with anger. "We are not pro-Separatist. We want to end the war."

"Committing more troops to the front lines will not allow diplomacy to resume," Padmé told Halle who looked at a bottle C-3PO had on his trey.

"Diplomacy failed the Republic long ago."

"Senators, please!"

"Senator Burtoni," Farr said after pouring another drink before turning to face the senator. "The Kaminoans might have bartered their creation of the clones into a seat in the Galactic Senate, but this does not give you free rein." He said, walking towards her and had her walk backward out of the room. "Thank you for visiting, Senator. We would like to continue our meeting now if you don't mind."

"Enjoy your moment in the spotlight, Senators. This war will not end soon." She said before the door closed.

"Well, we must be doing something right if we've rattled Senator Burtoni," Padmé said as Farr walked back to them after picking up the glass that he set down.

"What matters is that we've made great strides in our fight against this bill." The woman said to Padmé before turning to Farr. "Ono, you've done a wonderful job leading the effort."

"I am just trying to do what's right. I only wish I'd tried doing that a long time ago."

"You're doing it now." She said before Bail raised his glass.

"To victory and an end to this war!"

"To victories."

They toasted before drinking. And had Farr sway before dropping his glass and groaned. "My heart. I can't breathe."

"Uncle, what is it?" Padmé asked before Farr fell to the floor.

"Ono! It's his heart! Please, someone, get help!"

Later.

The Senators, Palpatine, Yoda, Mace, and Naruto stood out on the hanger as Farr in his coffin floated by a group of Senate Guards stood by each in a line facing each other before a male Rodian walked to the casket.

"And we are all aware that Onaconda was a flawed man. He knew better than any one of his own mistakes. But he never compromised his principles. And what he did, he did for his people. Their needs always came first."

The casket floated to a ship as each guard walked beside it on both sides. Bail turned to Padmé before speaking with his hands clasped. "Senator, if you need anything…"

"What we need is to get his resolution passed," Padmé replied as the ship flew off before walking to Lolo.

"He was my mentor. I don't know how to carry on without him guiding me."

"I know. No one could ever take his place." Padmé consoled her before one of the guards walked up to them.

"Excuse me, Chancellor Palpatine has summoned both of you to his chambers."

Palpatine's Office.

They walked into Palpatine's office, where they saw multiple police droids are in as well as a human Inspector Tan Divo who explains to them that Farr was murdered, instantly killed by poison. He believes that some secret of his came out and one of his political opponents decided to eliminate him. Padmé and Organa insist that Farr had no secrets and even his enemies respected him. Divo shrugged at that and stated that he will carry out this investigation his way.

Later, Padmé and her group try to speculate who would want to kill Farr and if they are next. However, Padmé decides to investigate this alone, though Mothma advises that Organa accompany her, while the bill is delayed. They both have the most likely suspects: Deechi and Burtoni. However, their opposition denies doing so, as they respected Farr and considered his words a cause for more credits to their fundraiser for the bill that increases clone production.

Deechi slips a tip to Bail and Padmé that the night before Farr died, he had a clandestine meeting at the docks; when asked how he knew, Deechi states that though he and Farr were political enemies, he respected and would not kill him but was looking for stuff to use against him.

Later that night, Padmé and Organa arrive at the docks, only to be attacked by a hooded figure, who shoots at them atop cargo containers. Their attacker escapes by releasing a container right by them after a chase, knocking Organa off and leaving him dangling on the edge. Padmé is forced to help him, just before Coruscant Security Force arrives.

Divo isn't happy that they took matters into their own hands, as now the killer is alerted to their presence. Padmé then realizes that Deechi must have set them up.

The three return to Deechi's office, only to find him dead with a dagger to his chest. Divo puts the Senators under protective custody, in case the killer is after them. Lolo however, refuses to cooperate and walks out. Divo then asks the others who else knew that they were at the docks. When Padmé states that Burtoni was the other Senator, Divo goes to her office, only for his droids to inform him that she had already left.

When he returns to the Senators, Lolo comes rushing in, stating that Burtoni had attacked her. Coruscant Security Force arrests Burtoni, who denies murdering Farr or attacking Lolo, as she saw no political gain in doing so. Divo attempts to trick her into confessing, putting together that she conveniently was in both Padmé and Deechi's office and may have been at the docks.

He further presents a datapad detailing the poison that was used to kill Farr was Kaminoan-made that only affected Rodians. Despite Burtoni's protests, Divo orders her to be taken away, seeing that all the evidence points against her. Padmé, however, quickly pieces together the clues, realizing that if the poison was in all the drinks, then Lolo would have died too unless she didn't drink.

Found out, Lolo takes Padmé hostage with a small blaster. She reveals that she killed Farr because of the 'war' he brought to Rodia, believing that they needed a new leader after showing his 'weakness.' Padmé argues that he just made a mistake, but she refuses to listen to reason. When she heard that Deechi learned about the meeting at the docks, she had to kill him too.

Divo discreetly activates the police droids outside the office, who surprise the traitorous aide. Padmé knocks the blaster out of Lola's hand and delivers a knockout punch.

Later, the bill for clone production was passed. Padmé runs into Palpatine in the halls of the Senate, who tells her that the reinforcements will help further their way to peace.

To Be Continued.


A/N: Thanks for reading and let me know of any mistakes.

Beta: Chaos-PSD. Contributor: Kuronodono12.

Remember to vote in the poll if you haven't.

Next to be updated will most likely be Hero Rising: Next Generation on Friday. But I will try to have Avatar Maelstrom up before.

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Talk To You Later,

Lone Wolf Out.🐺