Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Star Wars.
Hello again! Happy to have a new update for all of you and this turned out way bigger than I originally planned so it has been split into two parts. It may seem to not have much action in this chapter but there will be plenty in the next one.
Again, thank you for all the reviews and support. You are awesome!
At some point the Atin class was renamed the Aden class and I forgot to mention that sorry! It is a Star Wars version of the Battlestar Galactica from the 2004 remake series so if you want to know what it looks like that's it. The smaller Mirshko-class heavy cruiser is based on the Battlestar Valkyrie from the same series.
This will be a big change in the Star Wars Timeline in this chapter, one that has some fairly big implications.
Review Responses from the Last Chapter…
Abyss Trinity - Indeed, Anakin will have access to the Master level materials but that will soon be the least of his problems.
Antex-The Legendary Zoroark - I am glad you like it! Haron/Harry has always had good luck where it counted in terms of survival. This latest scheme could really hurt or even get him killed but it has a dramatic effect on where Haron will be when the time comes. Mother Talzin has one last thing to do, one more contribution to the story and in regard to Dathomir? That honour will lie with another. I like some of the characters you mentioned and in fact some may make an appearance.
Callum Runchman - Thanks! The Clone Wars are ending but what comes next will be just as intense as the Dark Times begin. I can see where you are coming with Haron being framed but it will not be him. Palpatine's plans might be coming apart, but he is far from done. As for when Haron's powers will be revealed. Soon. Kal Skirata was the best puppet Palpatine could find at the time since Saxon and his band are currently in hiding. I know what you mean but if you look at professional navies, they come up with a lot of designs many of which never are put into full production. Soon he will deal with this.
Talzin has one last part to play in this story, she is out for revenge and will go straight to what she perceives as the source of her loss.
George Cristian810 - Indeed, one guess who gave them the money to flee. Maybe out of guilt about what happened to Kal? The rest of Omega Squad are probably off fighting the war. Will the Skiratas be recruited by the Mandalorians? Don't think so, they are going into hiding.
HowlnMadHowie - Palpatine is quite arrogant and hadn't realised just how capable these Mandalorians are. He still see's them as the easily manipulated fools they were before, something that is common to the Sith. In addition, he has noticed the build-up but has limited ability to interfere which is why he is so eager to get a puppet in charge or to derail them somehow. He might be strong but his senses and foresight are not infallible, and his main focus is on Anakin and the Jedi, he would never imagine the Mandalorians might develop their own force culture. True but Talzin is biting off more than she can chew and in regard to Fives? Yeah he suspects he had help but he again doesn't realise that Haron would actually help or want to save the Jedi given his low opinion of them.
RoyalTwinFangs - Glad you liked it.
DarthEmrys - I really appreciate you saying that! I try to get them out as quickly as I can but with two stories on the go not to mention real life I can only manage once a month. In regard to how it goes? It may surprise some people but as one war ends, another will begin. In regard to Vysa, her role in this chapter will become clearer, I hope. Sabine, she's only little right now but she will emerge in the future and as for Ezra. Yes, they will meet.
frankieu - I appreciate what you said. I know Anakin having a new apprentice, one perhaps even more stubborn than him is I think good for him. Allara was chosen as if the girl could stand up to Grievous face to face in the comics, then she would be afraid of very little.
mad thought - I get why you think that but bare in mind Ki-Adi Mundi is a zealot for the Jedi way. Anakin does have a lot more of a support system now and is emotionally more stable. In regard to the galaxy becoming more separated into separate states, I don't intend for it to simply be two or even three factions in the war to come. There will be many more.
red demon161 - Glad to hear you liked it! You are right he would rebuke Tarkin's doctrine, but he can also use it to his advantage. He knows it inside and out and can anticipate how the future Imperial Military will be and how its officers will be trained. That is something he can use in the war to come. But getting Tarkin off Coruscant when he has Palpatine's favour? Next to impossible, Palpatine will keep him where he is useful and where he can watch him. Not all Jedi even on the Council ignored the warning and that will have implications both soon and further down the line. As for Ahsoka, I admit keeping her as Haron's assistant was largely to keep her close to Anakin when he might need her.
Tellemicus Sundance - Sorry but I only had a couple of frames of reference in how to stage it. And you might see other Mandalorians become a problem for Haron later on. In regards to Saxon? A guy that ambitious and lacking in morals or loyalty? They never learn.
Blaze1992 - You are right but it is one voice arrayed against a more powerful one, but you are right about a great change. Indeed, the clones will have a much better chance of remaining free and the temple is going to be a big surprise to those that come to bring harm.
Starpottergeek - Happy that you enjoyed the new chapter. It means a lot to hear you liked it. Kal probably would have been a big help but Palpatine played on his own feelings and desires. The Spirit of Fire is a ship I like too and I think Anakin having a new padawan keeps him moving forward and not clinging to the past. Ood Bnar is a Jedi I wish I knew more about and he was the inspiration for Tuwan so it made sense to me that he would be Ood's master. Ood Bnar may yet appear. Halo characters? Probably not but if the need arises maybe.
More Review Responses at the end of the chapter.
On with the story…
Chapter 24 - Revenge of the Sith Part 1
Star Destroyer Negotiator, Outer Rim…
Recent events had taken Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker far from Coruscant, due to recent gains of territory and a shift in the balance of power as the Republic brought its incredible industrial might to bear the tide of the war was now far more in their favour.
But the war was far from over and the Separatists were not just going to give up. After a great Republic victory at Balmorra, General Grievous had begun a hard series of battles and invasions along the Outer Rim. Known rather unimaginatively as the Outer Rim Sieges he was pressing his forces against any Republic target he could find.
This had forced Haron Ordo to redeploy certain generals from other areas of the war to defend key positions, Kenobi and Skywalker however were moving around the vast space the Outer Rim covered to support other generals or protect targets that weren't already covered.
This meant a lot of travelling and hours in hyperspace but it was useful in giving Kenobi and Skywalker time to train their new apprentices.
In a training room of his flagship Obi-Wan was standing to the side while Kalifa stood in the centre of the room with her blue lightsaber out. Kenobi took off his robe and threw it over a table he had moved to the side and told her as he drew his own lightsaber.
"A Jedi must feel the force flowing through them, energy is not only everywhere but in everything. This is something you must understand when using the third form of lightsaber fighting, Soresu." Obi-Wan told her in a serious and stern voice. "It is purely defensive, designed to parry, deflect or redirect attacks away from yourself. Conserving your energy while making your opponent use up theirs, creating an unbreakable wall barrier for yourself."
Obi-Wan made sure he had Kalifa's full attention and thankfully he did before he ignited his own lightsaber. He waited a moment and Kalifa did the same before adopting the ready position with his arm holding the saber held high, nearly over his head and the other pointing forward. Lacking his experience, it took Kalifa a moment to awkwardly copy his stance and Kenobi nearly sighed but continued the lesson.
"It can be used as either a onehanded or two-handed grip. Whatever suits your situation but its greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. It will allow you to create a perfect defence if you master it, it can do only that. You can outlast opponents but not defeat them with Soresu alone. If you want to attack then you will need to learn another more aggressive form of lightsaber combat. I leave that decision up to you but for now you will learn how to protect yourself from not only blasters, but lightsaber wielding opponents as well." Obi-Wan told Kalifa who nodded and followed his moves closely as he began to train her in his art of lightsaber fighting…something that he had become so skilled at that Master Windu had once called him not just a master of Soresu but 'The' Master of Soresu.
They carried on like this for a couple of hours before moving on to her physical fitness and force augmentation and finishing up with some telekinesis practice.
- x -
On the Resolute, Anakin Skywalker's flagship which flew next to Obi-Wan's, Allara was now enduring the same training Ahsoka had when she started training with Anakin.
Allara was standing in the middle of the hanger bay with a platoon of troopers around her, Rex and Anakin standing to the side as they had often done with Ahsoka while training.
Allara had her yellow bladed lightsaber out and was standing ready. Anakin called out.
"The best way I can protect you, is to teach you to protect yourself. Begin."
The clone troopers around her began to fire their blasters albeit only on stun, Allara moved far too slowly to stop them all although to her credit she did manage to block a few of them before she was hit and went down. Waiting a moment since it was thankfully on its lowest setting, Allara slowly got to her feet and picked up her lightsaber.
"Again." Anakin said and she lit her saber while gritting her teeth and waited for the clones to start shooting. They did so and again she was able to block a few shots before getting stunned again. However, when she got up this time and lit her saber she spoke before Anakin could.
The clones all shared a look of surprise but with a nod from Anakin they did as she asked and started shooting again. Stun blasts coming in fast from different directions but Allara kept deflecting them but this time lasted a little longer before she was taken down.
"Again." Anakin said with a small smile as he saw Allara get back on her feet and relit her lightsaber to go again. At his side Rex looked at the young girl with amusement.
"You found another one. Can't quite believe that sir." Rex said with an amused smile on his face which Anakin returned as he watched his new apprentice.
"She has a lot to learn but I think with time she will make a great Jedi." Anakin confided to Rex who nodded, not used to the girl that seemed to have taken Ahsoka's place on the ship yet but she was a member of their unit now. Settling in would take time but eventually she would be one of them.
Allara though didn't seem to be as comfortable with the clones as Ahsoka had been, she was a little bit uncertain around them as if not sure what to say. Anakin put this down to a lack of exposure to them but it wasn't like she disliked the clones just not sure how to talk to them.
Allara was a firebrand in nearly everything else Anakin thought with a smile, she had so much passion and drive that it was like a rocket was tied to her back. She constantly was up for any task or challenge he could devise for her and wouldn't rest until she completed it. He was somewhat concerned she might be setting herself up for a fall like this but at the same time real life experience would calm her down with time, but not without showing her just what her own limits were and his job was to help her recognise that and how she could overcome them.
Admiral Pellaeon chose that particular moment to appear and watched the scene with interest having not seen Jedi training before and found this highly informative although he didn't think it was quite right to have the girl shot at with stun blasts and continually put down till, she could defend herself longer. However, it wasn't his place to question the Jedi on how they trained their future members.
"General, we should be arriving at Boz Pity in a little under an hour." Pellaeon informed Anakin who nodded and told him.
"Good, I just wish we could pin down that coward and end him once and for all." Anakin said with frustration at how many times they seemed to have Grievous but the coward just ran away every time regardless of who he had to sacrifice in order to do it.
Him being dead would certainly make him feel better, Anakin thought with a rising sense of unease. Especially given the visions he and the other Jedi that had opened themselves up to their feelings had been getting recently.
They were vague and difficult to follow but they all felt an increasing sense of danger and coming betrayal. Some had seen what looked like blaster fire aimed at them and blue bolts like those used by the Clone Troopers too, it made all of them very nervous and encouraged other Jedi to think about what Fives had tried so hard to warn them of. Something that few seemed to want to believe was even possible.
Anakin wished he could be ignorant of this sometimes as it continued to eat away at him, he had Rex, Jesse and a bunch of his own clones remove their own chips and they didn't seem any the worse for it but most of the Jedi hadn't done the same.
He only hoped that they still had time to stop these visions from coming to pass but at the same time he doubted it.
Felucia, Outer Rim Territories…
Anakin and Obi-Wan weren't the only ones who were at that moment training their apprentices, on Felucia where she had been assigned to deal with a Separatist invasion, Aayla Secura was doing the same.
Lali Oyun was standing in the sweltering heat of Felucia with only a tank top and a pair of pants on with comfortable sensible boots. She had the same leather headdress as her master now but had her lightsaber out with its green blade humming in the air. Aayla had her blue lightsaber in hand too but they were not sparring today.
Instead, she was going to teach her apprentice something she had learned inadvertently from Skywalker and that Tuwan had helped her refine.
"Now let your mind clear as you lose yourself in the movement. Exercise your mind as well as your body." Aayla said calmly to her padawan as she gave her the introductory lessons in moving meditation. She gave a practical demonstration that Lali was eager to copy albeit slowly since she was still new to this. Her Ataru was very fast and acrobatic which made using it for Moving Meditation a little difficult as you could easily hit something. It could be done but only when someone was making sure nothing was actually in danger at least at first, to make this easier Aayla had begun to teach Lali traditional Shien to increase her defensive abilities and help her find another form to use that was safer at least when under heavy fire.
Still for now Lali was using her highly acrobatic Ataru in the wide clearing near their base camp which Aayla had created for her. She kept an eye on her pupil to make sure she wasn't going to hurt herself or anyone else as she moved around and let herself go deeper into the force.
Aayla personally was surprised to find herself enjoying this, teaching she meant. It was she thought with a smile very rewarding to pass on what she had learned to another and prepare Lali for the day that she would go out into the galaxy on her own. She only hoped that she was able to make sure that Lali learned everything she needed to learn about not just the galaxy and the force but about herself as well.
Especially about herself Aayla thought knowing her apprentice was going to face some big challenges in the future and would need not only to be strong to resist all the temptations and pain that might be coming her way but that she would actually believe in herself, had the confidence to know that she could rise to face whatever challenge came her way.
Bespin, Outer Rim…
Djinn Altis was sitting in his office while he reviewed their progress so far.
When Grandmaster Yoda had warned him of the potential Sith overthrowing the Republic and this Sith Lord coming after them, he had to take that seriously.
So, for over a year now he had been working to prepare for this eventuality, acquiring more ships for his people and moving most of them to another planet far from the regular space routes and hidden from view. Only he and maybe three others here knew the location as the children, families and younger members would be safe if the Sith ever came after him and his friends.
The only reason that he and the others were staying was to act as a potential recruitment point for those that might need their help. Changing their identities and moving to a new city in the clouds they had hidden all trace of their former identities, posing as the staff of this city to hide from view.
It wasn't perfect and he had the people already in hiding set up a new hiding place on another planet that he didn't know about should their existing one be compromised. All this secrecy was eating away at him especially as it kept them from doing the aid work that they loved doing…but at the same time he could see the darkness that seemed to be growing every second and just hoped his preparations had been enough.
The Altisian Jedi were not the only ones who had taken Yoda's warning seriously, in Coronet the capital of Corellia, the Corellian Jedi or Green Jedi as they were known too had been making any preparations that they felt appropriate for a potential crisis.
Their public buildings were still open but secretly a number of safehouses had been established around Corellia for them to hide in and Nejaa Halcyon, one of their masters had managed to establish a hidden alliance with the system's senator Garm Bel-Iblis who like them had considerable worries about the future in regards to the Republic.
It might have been wise to leave Corellia but their own sense of patriotism would never let them do that nor leave any force sensitives who lived on planet who had yet to be discovered.
If the worst came, they would go underground but hoped it wouldn't come to that.
Jedi Temple Site, Auratera…
On the hidden world of Auratera Yoda's team was continuing to work on the temple's construction.
It was a long process but after months here the buildings were starting to take shape although they were completely bare for the moment and they were still sleeping in their nearby parked ship.
But the temple was taking shape and would be big enough to hold hundreds of Jedi with room for expansion if needed. Their time here had been relaxing despite of the heavy workload as the light side of the force energised them and made them feel much better about the darker state of the wider galaxy.
Great Library, Ossus…
Celeste Morne woke to another day on Ossus, another day were she and her team continued to explore and restore the Great Library Temple, guided largely by her memory of the place.
Walking out of the ship that was still acting as their base while the restored the Temple building, she looked up proudly as the building's structure was now reinforced and as stable as it had been during her time. She walked into the main atrium and although it still showed signs of the ages that had passed the temple was at last beginning to be restored.
She looked over and saw Rachi Sitra who was carefully examining the most recent discoveries. Six holocrons, some of which dated back over five thousand years or more; wisdom and experiences from ancient masters like Trayos Toreggen, Ooroo, Memit Nadill, Tharis Orne, Sar Agorn and Hellencha the Jedi Treasure Hunter.
And that was just for starters Celeste thought with pride as they took the utmost care in preserving the texts and datacards they found here in the Hall of Knowledge while doing the same with relics and holocrons in the Chamber of Antiquities. It was slow going but they were making new discoveries every day and when this war they were fighting ended Celeste was looking forward to more Jedi coming here and with time after getting this library repaired, they could travel out across the planet and look at the other former Jedi sites that were scattered around the planet. Not to mention help the Ysanna who were being a huge help in this endeavour she thought with a smile, glad they could help them with medical treatments and some modern technology to improve their daily lives.
"Celeste." A voice called out and she saw Maks Leems coming over looking rather excited about something. They had been here for over a year and a half now; her team were now her friends and she smiled at the Gran Jedi Master and her apprentice Whie who stayed close to her side.
"Good morning, Maks, can I assume the restoration of the southern wing is going well?" Celeste asked and Maks nodded.
"Very well, steady as durasteel now." Maks said with a smile before she got to the reason that she had sought her out. "Myself and Sori were checking out the wing to see what might be left there and we found this small chamber lined with crystal. Its strange crystal though like the force itself is infused into it and when you look into it there is a hypnotic effect. Nearly got us both, do you know what it is?"
Celeste blinked before telling her.
"Yes, I heard of this before the supernova. Come I'll explain when we get there." Celeste said, so she and Maks went back to the newly repaired southern wing. Sori sensed them approach and smiled as she gestured to the open door.
Peering inside Celeste was smiling with awe as the intricately carved crystal covered the walls and seemed to change colour as you looked at it. It really was quite hypnotic she thought, looking away before she was caught in it. Amazed it had survived the supernova really, a testament to the master that had designed and built it.
"This was called the Room of Shifting Crystal. Master Ood Bnar created it." Celeste said to her two colleagues as she explained the room's origin and purpose. "The crystal has been infused with the force and adjusted to help bring about a deep vision state, deeper than any a normal chamber could create that would give far clearer and deeper visions. It was just about finished when…when Exar Kun betrayed us. We never got to test it." She said with grief on her face as she remembered those harsh days before closing the door.
"We'll leave it alone for now. At least till we are sure it's safe." Celeste said sadly before leaving to check out the rest of the south wing while Maks and Sori shared a look of concern before doing the same. The temptation to use the chamber was there but who knew what they might see or if they would be able to control it?
Both Jedi Masters agreed it was best not to try it till they were sure they knew it both worked and that it was safe to use.
Military Command Headquarters, Coruscant…
"So, in summary, the Outer Rim Sieges are going very well." Master Mace Windu said as he and a group of military officers sat around a table with Haron at the head of it, opposite to Ordo.
"Indeed, hopefully we can soon get back to prosecuting the war properly rather than chasing Grievous around the Outer Rim." Tarkin said from the side where he was sitting. His cold and passive-aggressive words didn't endear him to anyone not that he cared in the slightest. At his side his new aide Captain Bili Vist sat there nodding his head in agreement. Tarkin had certainly found himself a loyal lapdog Haron thought with derision, vicious too he thought knowing the man had managed to 'arrange' the deaths of any potential rivals he might have had.
"I am more concerned with the purpose of these raids." Haron said from the head of the table which brought all their attention back to him. "As you yourself said Master Windu they are going very well for us. Not for the Separatists. Grievous is using up assets doing this for very little gain and there have been reports of some kind of build-up of assets elsewhere but no idea of the actual target." Haron said before turning to General Gascon who from his own seat added his own credits on the situation.
"Indeed, a sizable taskforce of ships has been pulled away from several fronts but not showing up on others or in Grievous' fleet. Intel suggests that he is planning a large raid of some kind against a high value Republic target but we don't know where." Gascon said.
"Which also might explain the Outer Rim Sieges." Admiral Maarisa Zsinj said, 'Ace of the Spacelanes' as she was known had a knack for strategy and knew the Outer Rim well. "To divert generals and assets away from a potential target."
"But where?" Admiral Aldanna said with frustration, none of them had an answer to give him.
"There are too many potential targets he could go after. Far too many to cover them all." Haron said with a considering look before sitting back in his chair for a moment to consider what to do. "Send out a general message to all Core World aligned with the Republic and having sufficient facilities or importance that it might merit the Separatists attention. Without more information that is all we can do without stretching ourselves too thin. With that I think this meeting is adjourned." Haron said, giving his order.
The officers around the table nodded and went to get up so they could attend to their own business including Haron who went back to his office with his bodyguards. Ahsoka at his side after taking notes during the meeting, he turned to her and gave her a small smile.
"I shan't be needing you for some time. Take the afternoon off." Haron told her and she smiled before thanking him and left his office to do whatever she did in her off hours. He didn't pry, such things were her own affairs and he knew how to reach her if he had too.
Sitting at desk he pulled out his private data pad and went to work however this was nothing to do with the Republic. No, he thought with pride, he was completing his work on the Mandalorian Special Operations Units he was crafting.
He had designed a highly intensive program that would push the recruits to the limit but it would make them some of the best warriors Mandalore had ever had. Not only that but he was giving them better quality equipment than was normal for their people, including their own version of the modular weapon system used by the Clone Commandoes. Rather than carry around a dozen different weapons they only needed to carry a few attachments to fix to their rifle and they had grenade launcher, a sniper rifle etc. While his new special operators would be trained to use all kinds of weapons this would give them a major advantage.
He was going to commence the program the moment he got back to Reijar but as hours passed and a chime came at the door, he called out for them to enter and saw Ahsoka had returned. Ahsoka looked at her pad and told him.
"Fenn Rau is here to see you." She reported to him and Haron nodded, having expected him.
"Bring him in." Haron told her and she opened the door for him. The proud Mandalorian pilot walked in with their armoured flight suit variant. He saluted like a good warrior and Haron nodded.
"Welcome Fenn Rau, please sit." Haron said, gesturing to the seat on the other side of the desk. Fenn dutifully took the seat. Haron had an idea to prepare themselves for the future and it needed someone of his obvious piloting skills. Not only would they create the best warriors to fight on the ground but in the skies/space too.
"Our new fleet is taking shape back home." Haron said getting straight down to business. "We have all kinds of ships but if we are going to compete with other space faring powers then we are going to need good fighter pilots. Pilots who fly as well as our warriors fight on the ground." Haron told him which was no lie as although they had many good ones already there was no formal training that would enable people to hone their skills to become professional pilots.
"So, I intend to open a flight school, a place where our people can learn to be the best flyers they can be. I want you to set this up and run it as its headmaster. You will have complete control of the training program, selection process in regards to staff and students and what location you want it to be in." Haron told him, making the offer plain and simple.
Fenn was astonished as was Ahsoka, it was a good choice as Fenn was one of their best pilots and thanks to the Clone Wars and his service in it, had a great deal of experience. Not to mention he was regimented and a leader.
Good things to have as a teacher.
Fenn was astonished and not sure what to say given the great honour he was being receiving; it was like a dream come true. He could shape the next generation of Mandalorian pilots and build and operate his own flight school.
But before he could give an answer, they were rudely interrupted by an alarm blaring!
All of them were fast to get to their feet as they saw an information alert, priority one coming in on the display screens all around them.
A Separatist Fleet had appeared right above Coruscant! Not only that but it was led by General Grievous himself!
Well, Haron thought with his teeth gritting against each other, I guess we know where he was planning to strike now.
However, knowing the situation was bad given how many units were already absent from Coruscant, time was of the essence. He rushed to the main command room with Ahsoka, Fenn and his warriors behind him to find it in chaos. The suddenness of the surprise attack especially since it hadn't come from any of the hyperspace routes that they monitored made Haron realise there must be a route they didn't know about probably from the direction of the Deep Core. But that was something they could worry about another time and instead of wasting any more of it, Haron took charge.
"Order All Cruiser Squadrons between the Separatists and the planet to interdict any enemy landings." Haron shouted to the room to make his voice heard over the chaos and its authority meant it wasn't questioned. He looked out at the security board and saw that the situation was bad but not as bad as it could have been. Haron had just in case of a sneak attack had made a standard order to all Republic squadrons that at least half of them had to keep their shields up just in case they were ambushed at any one time.
So, while Grievous had managed to take out hundreds of ships in the initial moments of the attack many were still operational and able to fight back. However, seeing that the Separatists had a very large fleet at their disposal Haron realised reinforcements were going to be needed. The Seps though were jamming their transmissions so he was going to have to do this the old-fashioned way.
"Order Admrial Dylo to detach one of his Carrack-class cruisers to leave the system and communicate the situation to any local friendly units. The Open Circle Fleet too, they will be close enough that they might render assistance." Haron said with a frown as he knew they now had to hold off the Separatists till Anakin and Kenobi could get here.
"Sir, reports coming in. Landing Ships approaching the surface. Hundreds of them." One of the junior comm officers told him and Haron grimaced as the tactical map was updated. A considerable number of droids had managed to make it through before the cruisers had managed to close the gap. Not to mention a good number of Vulture Droid fighters and Hyena Bombers.
"Fenn, take command of the aerial battle. Draw in all planetary fighters that you can raise, take out those droid fighters and have the Jedi scramble what pilots they have and harass enemy ground units." Haron said before going through his mind to remember what generals he had on the planet. Fenn meanwhile nodded and went off to do his duty.
"Have General Windu take charge of units protecting the Senate Building, Master Yoda will command units protecting the Jedi Temple. Both are likely to be main targets. Have Generals Tinn and Fisto head up to join the space battle." Haron commanded but still had one front to assign, fortunately he had just the person for the job.
"Ahsoka, take command of the units protecting the Military Command Centre and the ship docks. We can't afford to lose either." Haron said to his assistant who had been looking at the boards in shock, never having believed the Separatists would manage to strike Coruscant itself. She did however blink in surprise when he gave her the command of roughly a third of the Coruscant Guard.
However instead of questioning him she nodded and went to take her position. Haron watched her leave before turning back to the screen and wondering just what the hell Grievous was trying to achieve here? Despite a great deal of damage being caused to mostly civilian buildings he hadn't brought enough droids or ships to take and hold Coruscant especially as the Republic would bring overwhelming numbers to free it.
To cause destruction and sow fear? Haron considered as he checked through the options. Possibly and most likely but no…Haron thought it couldn't be just that…not with the resources being deployed here.
What else? He thought with concern. What wasn't he seeing?
- x -
Ahsoka Tano with her twin sabers out was enjoying leading an army again as they charged into battle.
Or rather fought defensively to prevent them going any further she thought with rugged determination. Looking out across the devastated streets of Coruscant as the air was filled with fighters duelling in fierce aerial combat while on the ground the Separatist army was drawing closer.
Ahsoka was concerned as she wasn't used to fighting with the Coruscant Guard, they were clones and trained to the same standard as the 501st but had far less combat experience. But they were professional she thought and gave her orders.
"Rocketeers in the upper floors, over there." She ordered Captain Marks, who was her number two it seemed, pointing to the high floors of some of the buildings that lined the street. "Wait till the enemy units are passed then level the armoured vehicles traveling at the rear of the column." Ahsoka said, knowing she and the regular troopers could handle the droids if the rocketeers if the other guys dealt with the armoured units but she wasn't done yet. "Then have snipers in the adjacent buildings further along. Pick off as many units as possible."
"Yes General." Marks told her and that took some getting used to Ahsoka thought with uneasy. Being called General…Anakin had always been the general and she the commander.
Now, she was the one leading.
It felt…strange she thought as she ignited her sabers while behind her the clones drew their blasters and pointed them at the enemy. The lines of battle droids coming up the street made her think of her first battle and how clumsy and incapable she'd been back then.
Well, Ahsoka thought as she regained some of her swagger. Not anymore.
The droids approached and opened fire, her clones responded a split second later and she started deflecting blaster backs back towards the droids…leading from the front and hopefully inspiring the troops many of whom had never served with a Jedi.
Not that she was one anymore but it didn't matter as long as they fought their hardest.
The Separatist column kept advancing despite their fire cutting them down, slowly coming forward without any thought of self-preservation. It was their usual tactic as they were droids and could always be replaced.
Above Fenn Rau commanded what fighters could be raised to fight in the sky, keeping her own forces from being strafed, that was blessing Ahsoka thought with relief as she kept deflecting the enemy fire back at them. Just a little closer, Ahsoka thought to herself with a smile as she saw the tanks and vehicles that were bringing up the rear. Just a bit more.
The Rocketeers aimed their missile launchers at the tanks in the rear of the formation and now they were passed them. They fired the moment was right and missiles streamed through the air, slamming into the backs of the tanks which exploded with some force.
This effectively blocked the road with their wrecks and now the snipers on the adjacent buildings started firing at the droids below while the normal infantry clones continued to fire.
Ahsoka had learnt this tactic from the Eternal Alliance Holocron, the Outlander had used it in his various campaigns and it was still excellent now she thought with satisfaction.
Still there was a lot of work to do she thought as she started cutting through the droids that were managing to get close enough to them.
- x -
Above in the sky Fenn was moving his Fang-class Interceptor around the towers of Coruscant and shooting down Vulture droids whenever he could.
He was still going over the offer the Mandalore had made him, to create his own flight academy! That was the sort of thing that men like him dreamed of! To be able to train and teach the future generation of combat pilots and prepare his people for the wars to come.
Downing another Vulture droid, he had to turn his attention back to the battle and decided to accept the offer the moment this invasion was repulsed.
- x -
One Hour into the Battle…
From the Command Room Haron could see up to date information on where the Separatists were and what they were doing and saw to his confusion that despite the fact they were marching, no attempts were really being made to push the attack. No attempts to take the Senate Building, the Military facilities or the Jedi Temple. The most important buildings on the entire planet around here.
It was a diversion, Haron realised and as he thought that a report came in that Grievous himself was trying to abduct the Chancellor. A likely story Haron thought with derision as he knew who was really pulling the strings but had no idea just what the end game was. Hold the Republic ransom? He thought but shook his head, more likely to create fear which would help Palpatine's rise to supreme power.
He could see it was likely going to work as the sight of a huge Separatist fleet appearing right on the capital's doorstep undetected was going to terrify the Republic, something that hadn't happened in thousands of years. There was nothing he could do about that and wondered briefly if he could allow or even engineer Palpatine's death by firing on the ship he was being held on when Grievous did manage to flee with him but knew that wasn't going to happen. The ship's captains would never do it if they knew the Chancellor was on board and he knew that information would no doubt reach them due to the fact Tarkin was standing not too far away much to his great displeasure.
Still with depression he turned back to the battle and saw in ground and in space things were going well. On the ground Ahsoka, Windu and Yoda had things well in hand while in space things were a little dicier as while Fisto and Tinn had managed to hold the Separatists off and Tinn had even managed to capture a Providence-class star ship when his own cruiser was crippled, but it was still raging as they simply didn't have enough ships to push the Separatists out of Coruscant's orbit he thought with frustration.
And to add to his worries he learned from a dispatch that was handed him that Palpatine had indeed been 'kidnapped'. He was currently on his way to Grievous' flagship the Invisible Hand.
Things are just getting better aren't they Haron thought sarcastically before a welcome sight appeared on the tactical screen regarding the space battle.
The Open Circle Fleet!
Thank the Merlin Haron thought with a smile, now Anakin and Kenobi had brought their ships here he now had the force he needed to deal with the Separatists. It was an insane number of ships up there Haron thought seeing there was easily about three hundred ships a side and mostly large warships too.
The biggest battle of the Clone Wars.
Haron knowing he would be expected to try and save Palpatine ordered with great reluctance.
"Order a path to be made for Generals Kenobi and Skywalker to the Invisible Hand. No one attacks that ship till we have the Chancellor off." Haron ordered.
"Yes sir." The various personnel said and with immediate efficiency went about giving his orders while he told another officer. "Have Admiral Pellaeon deploy his cruisers to the following points; we've got a battle to win." Haron said, turning his attention back to the battle.
- x -
Two Hours Later…
The Separatist Fleet had been routed and the survivors on the run, Haron stood on the landing platform with Windu who gave him a nod in greeting. Given their mutual animosity it was a surprising gesture of respect which Haron returned evenly. It was a big improvement given how they had been with each other through most of the war so far.
Listening to the rumours he heard that not only was Count Dooku dead but that they had crashed half of the enemy flagship when making their escape. Haron would honestly have never believed those rumours if he hadn't known just what Anakin and Kenobi got up too when they went on missions together and Ahsoka who was standing close by looked annoyed that she had missed it, even if she had been doing a vital task when they had been mounting their daring rescue.
Behind them a crowd of senators had assembled along with Ahsoka, Mace and Haron standing at the front of the crowd as the air bus carrying Palpatine, Anakin and Kenobi arrived. Haron saw Palpatine get off and Anakin had some conversation with Obi-Wan before Anakin looked annoyed but only in a playful way before he walked out to join them alongside his droid R2-D2. A short distance away Padme stood with a warm smile on her face and Haron could feel joy just radiating off her, but also a new strong presence in the force centred around her. Or rather inside her, Haron realised with surprise.
Pregnant, he thought and wondered just what the pair were going to do now. He highly doubted that they would give up the baby but it would be a difficult issue if it came out Haron thought but decided to see if they asked for help as after all it was their family. Ahsoka at his side could sense the change in Padme as well and smiled as she felt her joy in it.
"Chancellor Palpatine. Are you alright?" Mace Windu asked Palpatine as he finally reached them, drawing their attention back to him. Mace Windu did seem to be respectful but it was still rather matter of fact about it and lacked any real deference. The Chancellor didn't seem to notice or care to call him out on it and instead replied to his question.
"Yes. Thanks to your two Jedi Knights. They killed Count Dooku, but I am afraid that General Grievous has escaped once again." Palpatine said looking somewhat annoyed at that point.
"General Grievous will run and hide as he always does. He's a coward." Mace Windu said with certainty as years of dealing with him had given the Jedi a good idea of how he operated.
"But with Count Dooku dead, he is now the leader of the droid army. And I assure you, the senate will vote to continue the war as long as Grievous is alive." Palpatine said almost laying down a challenge for them.
"Then the Jedi Council will make finding Grievous our highest priority." Mace Windu said and Haron nodded in agreement.
"I have already gotten our intelligence units on the lookout. If that coward sticks his head up, we will find him." Haron told the Chancellor. The man turned to him and nodded, smiling again.
"Yes, hopefully it will allow us to finally deal with him and thank you Duke Ordo for taking personal command of Coruscant's defence. I am told casualties would likely have been much higher if not for your actions." Palpatine said with a grateful smile which creeped Haron out a bit but he nodded.
"It is my duty Chancellor, which I must now return too." Haron said, knowing he would have to make sure Grievous didn't use them pulling units from other places as an excuse to attack them again. He gave a slight nod and left. He gave Anakin and Senator Organa another one as he passed although it was more genuine. They returned it and Haron meanwhile as he climbed onto the speeder and was returned to the Headquarters building thought deeply on events.
If Dooku was actually dead then Palpatine's plan must now be almost at completion. The reforms being drafted were clearly intent on increasing his own personal power in anticipation of him taking all the senate's influence and they would pass without any problems; the Senate was all but giving Palpatine everything he wanted and more and with that complete the Sith lord would likely be on the market for a new apprentice as well.
Anakin Haron sighted, knowing that the time when the future would be decided had arrived.
He went back to his office and meditated for a while and could feel the oppressive presence of the dark side growing stronger and stronger. It had been slowly creeping up over the course of the war but now it seemed to be accelerating.
Haron began to feel very tense and worried. The time when Palpatine would make his move was almost here and they still had no plan to stop it. He honestly was about to get up and go to the Senate building and kill the man himself or at least try too but almost like a sign of the force itself a message popped up from Luna.
He was surprised but when he read its contents, he raised that to astonished.
Don't go after Palpatine, I had another vision and it showed us attacking him will only bring disaster.
The time is close, be ready to run. He must be preparing to get rid of all his enemies. Tie up all loose ends before leaving.
It almost made Haron smile as he was again impressed at her ability at foresight and better yet knowing him.
His worries remained but there was little he could do about it although he did do one thing, he accessed his private communications network and sent a message to all their people that were currently working for the Republic and gave them the order to return home immediately.
Better not to leave any of their people in harm's way and get them and the crucial knowledge they had back to where it would be needed.
Three Days Later…
Haron and Ahsoka were taking some time off in the morning to spar with Anakin and help in training Allara. Standing on one of the landing platforms Allara was sparring with Ahsoka who was not pulling her punches against the younger girl. Anakin never had during her training and she wasn't going to go easy on Allara now.
Allara, Haron thought was a touch arrogant but was starting to learn humility as Anakin and Ahsoka both showed her just how much she had to learn.
She would do fine Haron thought, wondering what he had to look forward too when he went back home to help train his own children.
But when he drew the Darksaber and Anakin drew his lightsaber, Haron immediately knew something was wrong.
Anakin was not himself; his mind was distracted and his moves sloppy. Haron realised that immediately when he was able to land a hard punch to his mid-section and knock his lightsaber out of his hand.
"What's wrong?" Haron said, seeing that Ahsoka and Allara were talking and distracted so he and Anakin could speak privately for a moment who was winded from the punch. He stared intently and Anakin, honestly desperate for some advice admitted the problems he was confronted with.
"The Jedi want me to spy on the Chancellor. After he names me his personal representative on the Council." Anakin said bitterly, angry at the request but Haron saw things more clearly and told him.
"You do realise that is exactly the same thing as what Palpatine wants you to do on the Jedi Council?" Haron asked him which made Anakin blink in surprise before Haron sighed, clearly Anakin still saw through rose-tinted glasses in regards to Palpatine and explained things plainly.
"Anakin, Palpatine meets with Master Yoda and members of the Jedi Council on a daily basis. He can call a meeting with them any time he likes due to his position." Haron said with a slightly annoyed look on his face. "The only reason he would put someone on the Jedi Council is to spy on them whenever they meet, he's just being more subtle about it. At least the Jedi Council is being honest about what they are asking of you. As soon as Grievous dies it will be expected that Palpatine relinquishes his emergency powers. If he refuses the Jedi will be obliged to remove him from office, the Jedi Order is a threat to him now and he is looking for anything that might prevent that."
Anakin looked stunned, especially as it seemed so obvious when someone said it like that and he honestly was ready to kick himself when Haron explained it. Padme had even said some of the other senators were asking when power would return to the Senate rather than stay exclusively with the Chancellor. He knew Palpatine loved his office and would not give it up without a struggle, of course he would want someone in a position to warn him if they were about to make a move against him.
Anakin honestly was so confused now as he had no idea just what to do. He didn't want to believe the Chancellor would have him spy on the Council but then again, he thought as he recalled previous talks with the Chancellor, he had asked him sometimes quite probing questions on what the Order was doing and Anakin had told him since it had seemed innocent or important enough at the time. Palpatine had been using him and he had never even realised it.
For all he had learned, he was still so easily manipulated Anakin thought with self-derision. How had he not seen this? He wondered and could only think it was because of his recent visions of Padme and his terror at losing her. Seeing Haron looking at him intently he finally admitted that if only to hopefully get some useful advice.
"I…I've been having visions of the future." Anakin admitted, Haron merely raised an eyebrow as he waited for Anakin to elaborate. "Padme is going to die in childbirth."
That was a big surprise to Haron who was stunned for a moment before thinking on the situation and telling him.
"Are you sure these are visions and not just nightmares? I mean does Padme have any health conditions?" He asked wondering if a pre-existing condition might explain her dying in child birth or if it was merely Anakin's fears playing on his mind. Anakin looked angry at the question and told him almost shouting.
"No! I'm sure." Haron however did not react to it and instead just stared at him.
"Sit down." Haron said, suddenly becoming very stern and Anakin was confused but Haron wasn't taking any shit now and repeated with a stern cold voice. "Sit down."
Anakin was still angry and about to refuse the command but he reluctantly did so as Haron stared him down. Haron sighed again before telling him.
"I know how you are feeling." Haron said bluntly, this feeling all too familiar to him, Anakin looked ready to interrupt but Haron reminded him of a key fact Anakin had apparently forgotten. "I'm married Anakin with four children and Din and Lelia. You think I don't understand the fear that you are going through? About not only losing your wife but of being father? The responsibility, the demands, the fear? Of course, I understand." Haron told him with brutal honesty.
"When my wife and I were having our first child I was so afraid of losing her, of losing our son." Haron said continuing his lecture. Not liking to remember that time but the joy of holding his son for the first time was still crystal clear in his mind. "One of my best friends went through the same thing when he became a father to his son. You are not alone in this Anakin; I think every man goes through this when we are faced with fatherhood for the first time." Haron told him with a small smile now as Anakin dropped the anger and was now confronting the thing that was really making him afraid. Aside from the visions.
"How do you cope with it?" Anakin asked him with great uncertainty, not having anyone else to ask that had gone through it no-one else that was around anyway. Haron smiled and told him.
"With this sort of thing there are no simple fixes. You can reassure yourself with facts but the fear will needle away at you. All you can do is be there as best you can." Haron told Anakin before laying out the situation. "Padme is a healthy young woman, with no existing medical conditions. She has her own bodyguards and lives on a planet with the most advanced medical care available and the money to pay for it. Even if she went home, she would still have the best medical care available but also her family and a whole planet of people ready to protect her. More crucially though she has you. It is almost unheard of for women to die in childbirth in this day and age, unless her situation were changed by something there should be no reason to worry." Haron told him and then drew on a story that had been passed down since Revan's time to try and make him see his visions might not come true.
"Have you ever heard of Jolee Bindo?" Haron asked, surprising Anakin who had been deep in thought and he nodded, knowing he was one of Revan's famed companions. "Well, when he was still learning to be a Jedi, he met another Jedi Padawan named Andor Vex. He apparently had the force 'swirling' around him, many Jedi took that to mean he had a great destiny ahead of him and unfortunately so did he. He began to obsess over it and thought it made him invulnerable. One day while they were travelling, they were boarded by a Dimean warship. Nasty people but the moment Andor is brought before their warlord Kraat he starts making demands that they free him now and don't they know who he is. Well, it doesn't take long for Kraat to get tired of this and so he grabs Andor by the throat and throws him down the ship's exhaust shaft." Haron said pausing before he continued while Anakin listened.
"Well apparently Andor hit something crucial on the way down and all of a sudden, the ship's alarms start ringing. Jolee managed to escape but the crew and Kraat didn't. He dies and the Dimeans fall in anarchy as a result, a century of infighting before dying out after a bloody civil war. Changed the political future of the whole sector for centuries to come. Quite a destiny but if he hadn't believed in it and his own invulnerability then it likely wouldn't have happened. His own actions made it happen; the future Anakin isn't set. It can still be changed." Haron said trying to make Anakin see that just because you believed in a prophesy didn't mean it would come true.
He remembered his own experience with such things and how Voldemort had brought about his own destruction by believing in a prophesy even though he hadn't known the full contents. Anakin's vision seemed to him likely the same, the self-fulfilling kind. It was also possible that Palpatine would try and kill Padme to make sure Anakin turned to the dark side.
Haron could feel this was important, a shatterpoint or certainly a major part of the future to come and he then decided that maybe he could offer Anakin another option.
"If you and Padme are willing, she could come to Reijar for the rest of her pregnancy." Haron offered, hoping this was the right thing to do.
Anakin was stunned, that was unexpected. Haron was offering his own home to act as a safe haven for Padme till their baby was born. To actually hide her within their space till everything was settled. However well-intentioned the offer though Anakin had some questions.
"Is it safe? Are there medical facilities?" He asked, Haron just looked at him with a deadpan expression before he told him.
"Of course, we have medical facilities, the best quality ones around and she would be protected by an army of Mandalorian warriors in reinforced stronghold. You could even send Ahsoka and Rex to guard her if you like. I don't see how she could be safer than that." Haron said with some annoyance. As if they wouldn't have medical facilities, I mean really Haron thought with irritation.
Anakin was immediately torn, he wanted to stay as close to Padme as he could to make sure she was safe but at the same time it was seemingly the answer to his worries. Whether Padme would agree or not was another question Anakin thought. But first he thought with some trepidation he had to meet the Chancellor at the Opera tonight. Wondering just what the old man was up to now he had started to realise how much the Chancellor had been manipulating him.
- x -
The Jedi Archive, the Following Day…
Anakin was troubled, the conversation he had with the Chancellor the night before was running around and around his mind. Was it possible? Anakin thought with actual wonder. To manipulate the force like that? To actually save people from death and create life?
It sounded like a miracle but he honestly had doubts about this so he had gone to the Jedi Master who knew the most about the force.
Tuwan sat there with a frown on his face, pondering the question.
"The force possesses many mysteries Anakin and yes it could be possible." Tuwan said after some time to think about it which made Anakin very hopeful. "Some ancient force cultures experimented with such things with mixed success as had the ancient Jedi. But I cannot feel given the nature of the Sith that a lord would pass on such a powerful secret. It is not in their nature to share power especially something as great as this." Tuwan said with concern.
Anakin nodded, wondering just what the Chancellor was hoping to gain from this? That he might become so desperate to save Padme that he would do anything to get such power? Was that it? Anakin thought with growing unease. Did it even exist?
Master Sinube looked up from his data terminal having used all his skill and experience, not to mention his high level clearance. Tuwan and Anakin looked at him expectantly and he told them.
"Sorry but I looked into every record we have. There is no mention of a 'Darth Plagueis' anywhere in the Jedi Archives. Nothing like what you described. If he existed at all then he must be a Sith during the centuries they were in hiding. In which case how would the Chancellor know about him?" Master Sinube said with some trepidation given the dangerous waters they were now treading.
"He would need extensive knowledge of the Sith, the sort they don't share easily…except with each other." Tuwan said with a frown as he now saw the likely explanation for all these events.
Anakin meanwhile was now really torn. He honestly was so confused; this power could be the way to save Padme but did it even exist? Did the Sith Lord in question even exist or was this another deception? Anakin thought with anger, wondering if any of the help Palpatine had given him over the years was genuine or not. Had he always been manipulating him?
Turning him against the Jedi.
Anakin honestly was now surer than ever not to trust Palpatine under any circumstances, that nothing he said was true. Was he the puppet master though or just another puppet? Anakin thought wishing he could know for sure.
Then and there he decided it would be best to get Padme off Coruscant as soon as possible. Get her somewhere safe, Naboo was the first place that sprung to mind but that was Palpatine's home world too and he likely would be easily able to reach her there. Same would be true of a lot of worlds but he then remembered Haron's offer and knew the Republic had no presence or influence there.
Anakin gave his thanks to both of the masters and left the temple immediately, heading straight for Padme's apartment. He piloted his speeder like a madman till he got there and almost leapt from it.
Padme was there, glowing in her dress with her stomach now extended with their child inside her, she smiled that radiant smile of hers when she saw him. It brought a smile to his face but it was dimmed as he remembered the reason he had come.
"Anakin." Padme said with a smile and he walked across the room to embrace her which she gladly accepted.
"Padme. We need to get you off Coruscant." Anakin said with a desperate look. "The Jedi, we think we might have a lead on who the Dark Lord of the Sith is…the one that had Naboo invaded and masterminded the Clone Wars. Dooku's Master." Anakin said with a scared look in his eyes. Padme was confused as although she knew what the Sith were she didn't understand why she needed to leave.
"Anakin, this is good news. We can finally stop him, bring peace back to the galaxy." Padme said with a smile but Anakin just shook his head.
"Padme, if we're right…then there is nothing we can do. We think its Chancellor Palpatine." Anakin told her.
Padme didn't react at first, seeming to struggle to process what he was telling her. She actually laughed a little in disbelief when she finally managed to realise just what he was telling her.
"Anakin, that's ridiculous." She said with a smile on her face but Anakin, now able to see things much more clearly explained the reasoning to her.
"Invasion of Naboo, he convinces you to call for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum's leadership so he can become Chancellor, the Clone Wars he creates an enemy for the Republic so the Senate gives him emergency powers and an army to do his will. Then he uses the chaos and fear created by the war to increase his power and now Senate has virtually no influence at all anymore." Anakin told her. "And now he has put me on the Jedi Council to spy on them just in case they move to remove him from office. And he knows about Sith Lords that even the Jedi don't know about. It's him Padme, or even if it isn't then he's a puppet. And that's just as bad."
There was a silence as Padme began to assimilate what he was saying and realise how likely those events were. She lost her smile as she began to see what he saw and realise he was right, a look of fear coming onto her face as she realised how she and the rest of the Republic had been played by Palpatine and how hard it was going to be to get him out of power.
"What are you going?" Padme asked now looking afraid. Anakin took her in his arms again to comfort her.
"The Jedi Council is waiting till Grievous is dead before we try to make a move. If he refuses to give up his emergency powers and return power to the Senate then the Jedi have just cause to remove him from office." Anakin told her but Padme just shook her head.
"He's created a dozen loopholes that he could use to stay in power. If the Jedi try to forcibly remove him and they fail we could be looking at civil war." Padme said with a scared look on her face as she realised the damage this could do. Anakin nodded; he was no politician but even he knew that Palpatine's position was all but unassailable.
"Then we need to get you somewhere safe, at least till we can think of a plan. Duke Ordo, has offered to let you stay on Reijar, his home till the baby's born. You'll be safe there; I'll even send Rex and Ahsoka with you to help." Anakin assured her, Padme looked very unhappy at that idea. She didn't want to be so far from the senate and more importantly be present in case there was anything she could do to help but at the same time she felt her baby move inside her, as if reacting to her stress and realised she had to think of the baby now. It had to be safe, so she had to be safe too she realised with regret, she had to step back for now.
"Okay, I'll go but only till the baby's born." Padme said with a tired smile and then asked him with fear. "But what about you?"
"I have to be here to try and help when he reveals himself. But if it looks too bad…I'll come as soon as possible." Anakin told her with regret but if him being here helped then this was where he needed to be. He wanted so much to be there with her and hoped to be there when the baby was born but he needed to stay here for now.
Padme sadly accepted that, knowing him too well to argue and hoping that he would actually come to her at the first sign of trouble.
- x -
While Anakin and Padme were having their meeting, Obi-Wan was meditating privately in his room. Trying to gain some private time for contemplation and to plan out future lessons for his new apprentice. The fact he would soon have to journey to Utapau did little to ease his mind especially as he would be confronting General Grievous again. It would not be the first time he had fought the cyborg coward but those last times had been among the hardest fights he'd ever experienced.
To say nothing of the fact this would be the first time Kalifa would be anywhere close to Grievous and he was concerned for her wellbeing. He would tell her to stay with Cody who he was sure would keep a close eye on her while he dealt with Grievous. He knew that the coward would try and use her against him if given half a chance.
He was sure the war would soon be ending but the pressure of this secret assignment the Jedi Council had forced on Anakin made him worry a great deal for his former apprentice's welfare and state of mind.
A sudden knock at the door woke him from his meditations and he looked up in surprise, hearing someone moving quickly away from the door. He got up and opened the door quickly, hoping to see some sign of the person who knocked but whoever it had been was too fast and had gotten well away before he could catch a glimpse of them. Instead, a small ornate box lay in front of his door.
Obi-Wan could feel the force inside the box but it wasn't light or dark side, he carefully picked up the box and opened it, he blinked in surprise at the contents.
It was a holocron, he thought with admiration and no ordinary one either. Not a cube or a pyramid but a very rare sphere. He carefully picked it up and was amazed at the shifting colours inside, never having seen that in a holocron before. He was however suspicious at the fact that a holocron had just been delivered right to his door and knew better than to just open it.
So, taking it in hand he went straight to the Jedi Archives, sending a message for Master Yoda and Master Windu to meet him in the Jedi Archives. After he had a talk with their resident holocron expert.
- x -
"It's only a year old if that." Master Sabla-Mandibu said as she held the delicate holocron in her hands. "Freshly constructed and not by a Jedi. That is all I can tell without opening it." The Miraluka Jedi who had been rather reclusive around the Temple since her arrival except when she was giving lessons in holocron construction or copying them secretly at Master Yoda's request.
"And someone just delivered it to your door?" Windu said with suspicion while Master Yoda looked on with contemplation.
"Perhaps open it you should?" Yoda said with a careful look.
"Do you think that wise?" Obi-Wan asked, curious but knowing the danger of such devices. Master Sabla-Mandibu frowned for a moment before adding her own advice.
"It should be safe enough, it isn't a Sith Holocron and hasn't the dark side aura even if its presence isn't a particularly light one either. It should be safe." She told him and handed it back to him.
Obi-Wan looked uncertain as she gave it to him but with the expectant eyes of the other masters on him, he felt he had no choice so he knelt down and meditated.
It was harder than he had thought to open the holocron, not being totally in tune with the light side of the force it took some effort to get it open but slowly the sphere opened into the separate interlocking rings that made it up and an image appeared, one none of the masters present had expected.
"Greetings Obi-Wan." A projection of Count Dooku said, looking perfectly calm, they all listened as he spoke, wondering just what Dooku intended by sending his own holocron to Obi-Wan. "If you have received this holocron then I can only presume I am dead. I had hoped to have this conversation properly with you in person but circumstances have conspired to make that impossible. I have recently become aware that my Sith Master intends to kill me and replace me with another younger man. I hope to find a way to destroy him but in case I fail this holocron will be entrusted to you to finish what I started." Dooku told him.
The Jedi were now very suspicious of this, Dooku was a master manipulator and expert on strategy. He seemed to be trying to influence them from beyond the grave.
"I know my master intends to transform the Republic into an Empire; he is planning on tricking the Jed into trying to arrest him while manipulating Skywalker into thinking he has the power to save Padme Amidala when he has no real idea how to do the feats of his own master Darth Plagueis." Dooku said, rather matter of factly.
"So, I leave you his real identity and what I know of his plans, inside this holocron Obi-Wan I have put everything I have learned of the Force, of lightsaber combat, of politics & negotiation, of philosophy, of public speaking, of strategy & tactics, even how to charm others…all my knowledge. I have left hidden caches around the galaxy. Hidden credit accounts, small hidden factories and other things you might need to help fight my master. I am leaving this to you Obi-Wan as I feel you are the only Jedi that I can trust to use it wisely. To stop Darth Sidious, known to you and the rest of the galaxy as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine."
That was just what Yoda, Mace and Obi-Wan had feared, while they all knew better than to just trust Dooku it was merely confirming what they had all suspected already. The holocron shut down as Obi-Wan had to discuss first what they had just confirmed with the other masters.
Master Sabla-Mandibu looked deeply unsettled and left when Master Windu gestured for her to do so. The three Jedi Masters all stood in silence before Master Yoda took charge.
"Act on this, we will but for now go through the motions, to not reveal we know. Go to Utapau you must Master Kenobi, to slay Grievous. As I must go to Kashyyyk to help the Wookiees. Master Windu stay on Coruscant he will to protect the Temple and watch Palpatine. Take no action we will take till a plan is decided." Yoda said with a grim look on his face. "An excuse we cannot give him, play into his hands we must not."
Windu and Kenobi nodded, knowing it was the only real choice at the moment. By not giving him an excuse, the Jedi could create a longer-term plan to remove him. He wouldn't have the opportunity to remove them so openly and allow them to undermine him slowly to erode his position and slowly take power away from him or so they hoped.
"Still be ready we must. Master Windu, entrust I to you I do the locations of hidden Jedi Sanctuaries we have prepared." Yoda said which surprised Obi-Wan as this was the first time that he had heard of this. "If needed, know where to send the Jedi in the temple you will. Already many of the holocrons and texts, including a copy of the Archive transported to Ossus they have been." Yoda told them so they knew just where they stood. "Made a holocron have you? While I share my recent discoveries?" Yoda asked Windu who nodded, having learned some of what he had of preserving his consciousness after death. "Send it to Ossus you should. Be of use there it will."
"May the force be with us." Yoda said, hoping it was so the worst outcome of this situation did not come to pass. Looking over to the bust of the Lost Twenty-One, he just hoped it would not be too late, his gaze going from Dooku to the most recent addition to that infamous club Master Keln Gamil who had left eleven years ago and wondering if they had done enough.
- x -
That night as he slept, Haron was uneasy. The force surged as he had one of the most intense dreams he had ever experienced.
He saw Vysa, she was missing her helmet and running through the jungles of Felucia at a great pace. She was sweating profusely with not only the effort but the great humidity of the planet. She looked behind her and someone was clearly pursuing her was closing. She struggled to go faster before suddenly she was shot from behind.
The armour she was wearing protected her but the impact was great enough that it threw her to the ground. She hit hard and the breath was knocked out of her, she tried to get back to her feet but something grabbed her and a snap hiss of a lightsaber sounded, a red glow illuminating Vysa's fearful face. The figure who Haron couldn't quite make out raised the blade and slashed straight into Vysa's helpless body.
Haron woke up in a cold sweat, breathing rapidly. He could still feel all the fear that Vysa had been feeling and wondered if what he had just seen was just a nightmare or something more.
Private Landing Pad, Coruscant…
Haron and Anakin waited with Padme, Ahsoka, Rex and Allara, not to mention C-3PO and R2-D2 for the Star Chaser to arrive. The less people who knew where Padme was going the better and since Obi-Wan had now left for Utapau, it was crucial that the others were as far from the Sith as possible.
The Corvette descended fast through the atmosphere before coming in to land, the sight of a Corellian Corvette surprised the others but the landing ramp descended and allowed Ara and Luna to walk down to meet them.
"I really wish you wouldn't keep inviting people to our home without asking me first." Ara said with annoyance. They had one hanger on already they didn't need another. Haron however didn't respond to that question, instead he just walked up to her and gently pulled her into an embrace, she didn't resist that nor the kiss that followed, Haron used their closeness to whisper in her ear.
"Can you sense it? What she has inside her?"
Ara had to suppress the shiver that ran through her when he was so close but she blinked when she too felt the strength of the two babies inside Padme Amidala. They were as strong as Anakin in the force! Together they would be all but unstoppable. She then kissed his neck which made him shiver and made her smile over the effect she had on him.
"I see, don't worry. She'll be safe." Ara told him in a whisper that almost excited him so much he wanted to drag her away to spend the day together. Something they had been limited in since he had come to Coruscant.
Meanwhile Anakin was bidding farewell to Padme and the others.
"Don't worry, the Senator will be safe with us." Rex said reassured Anakin who did his best to be confident but he was still very nervous about Padme being away from him right now.
"We promise Master." Ahsoka said with a smile, still referring to him as her master which he did appreciate. Given the danger here though, Anakin was unfortunately going to have to break the bad news to his second apprentice.
"Allara, till things are safe here you will be going with them."
Now Allara didn't stamp her feet or even show anger on her face at his announcement which was somewhat surprising. Instead, she just became really stubborn and told him.
"I will not. My place is at your side…Master." She said with all the conviction she could muster and looked very much like an unmovable object. Anakin frowned, really wishing she was more willing to compromise and could only be firm with her.
"Allara, I need you to protect Senator Amidala. I can breathe a lot more easily if I know she and you are in a safe place and do the things I need to do." Anakin told her sternly. "This is your duty and that is what being a Jedi is, a duty to others and this right now is your duty to make sure Senator Amidala is safe." He told her, much sterner than he had ever been before. His other reason was that if something did happen to him then Ahsoka would finish her training in his place.
They all looked on with surprise as Anakin managed to reason with the exceptionally stubborn Allara to back down and she nodded.
"Yes master." She said quietly. Ahsoka and Rex couldn't believe it at first but she had done it and with a last hug and look they got on the ship with Padme. Anakin stared after them with worry but also some comfort as he knew they would be safe whatever happened.
Haron meanwhile was still apprehensive after his vision he had gotten while he slept the previous night. It had been more vivid than any that he had ever experienced before and he was honestly very unsettled about it. His mind drifted back to it as it had depicted the death of his sister, he might not have seen Vysa recently but she was still his flesh and blood and he wasn't going to let her die, he would have gone straight there himself but…he wasn't sure of his own judgement in these matters.
The last time he had a vision it had been a false one, sent by Voldemort. Could this be another trick? He asked himself, unsure what to think and Vysa wasn't answering her comms which didn't help his anxiety.
He saw Luna tilt her head as if reading him and he sighed before admitting it to her.
"I think I had a vision last night." He said and she merely stared, not judging before asking.
So, he explained it all, seeing Vysa running through the jungles of Felucia and then being cornered and killed. Luna listened and thought for a moment telling him.
"You should go."
"What? Now?! Of all moments!" Haron said given how crucial events were unfolding right before their eyes. Luna however was unaffected.
"We've done all we can here now. It's time to cut ties and make sure all we have is locked down tight. Vysa is the one chink in your armour, everyone else is protected but her and Palpatine knows that somehow." Luna told him and Haron was confused at her advice but saving Vysa was important to him and like she had said there was virtually nothing that he could really do to help here now.
It was time to leave Coruscant, and despite the threat he was relieved at that.
Anakin and he watched at the others got back in the ship and it took off, heading out as fast as possible. He turned to Anakin who was as worried as he was but there was nothing to do here now but make sure all their loose ends were tied up before they left.
"Anakin, she'll be safe." Haron reassured him and Anakin nodded.
"I hope so." Anakin said before he told him. "It'd be best if you got off Coruscant too. In case the worst happens."
Haron nodded, glad that Anakin had actually bothered to warn him even if it was unnecessary.
"I know and arrangements are already being made. I would suggest that you be ready too." Haron said before turning to the other man and they shook each other's hand, aware this might well be the last time they ever saw each other.
They didn't say goodbye as hopefully this wouldn't be the last time that they saw each other but said nothing else as Anakin left for the Temple while Haron went to the Canderous as he had some things do before he left.
He sent his resignation as Chief Military Advisor and Acting Head of the Republic Military, downloaded any files he needed and purged the rest. He could operate his shares and information network from anywhere Haron thought as he and his guards with great care to made sure to leave nothing behind before they went to his ship.
Fenn Rau was waiting for them there and Haron asked him as they boarded the ship.
"All our assets secure?"
"All have returned to our territory and all affairs here are closed." Fenn said with a grim expression on his face. Some of this was likely to cause a great deal of trouble in the war but it was time for their people to look out for themselves.
"Good, now set a course of Felucia. My sister is in trouble." Haron said simply as they all got onboard and in short order took off. Haron looked out of the window as he left Coruscant, having spent a good amount time there but didn't feel sad about leaving it at all. The planet was rotten and soon its corruption would be revealed, anyone who stood in the way of that would be lucky to survive. Haron crossed his arms and turned towards the cabin window, watching as they made the jump to lightspeed.
Utapau, the Outer Rim…
Commander Cody was riding down in his gunship, ready to come to the General's aid when things went bad as they frequently did. At his side was the youngling that the General was apparently now responsible for, Kalifa who was currently his responsibility till he could hand her back to the general.
She was a polite girl he admitted reluctantly and did as she was told but despite this, he was really not happy about her being on the battlefield!
This was no place for younglings! Cody thought with distaste. Especially as the battle begun.
Cody's gunship landed so he and Kalifa could disembark, her blue lightsaber already out and deflecting blaster bolts while he and his men shot back at the droids.
She was calm in action, Cody thought with some admiration for Jedi training. Most would be terrified but she wasn't. It was a start he admitted reluctantly.
Still the sight of General Kenobi's lightsaber falling right beside them was a bit of a surprise and as they looked around, they swore they could have seen General Kenobi himself riding some large lizard in pursuit of General Grievous.
"Master." Kalifa called out but they were already far away and Cody wondered just how his general was going to defeat Grievous without his lightsaber but with no idea just where they were racing off too there was nothing he could do. So, he clipped it to his waist and told the youngling as he noticed she was staring after the general.
"Not much you can do to help him. Focus on the here and now." Cody told her as the droids began to intensify their fire. Kalifa reluctantly nodded and turned her attention back to the fight. Deflecting bolts away from the troops as they advanced.
Felucia, the Outer Rim…
The jungle world of Felucia was a miserable place to be, hot and humid at the same time but worst yet was large number of insects and creatures that plagued anyone who dared set foot on their world. Worst of all were the large and vicious Acklays, who stalked their prey unrelentingly and could pursue them anywhere.
The thick jungle also made landing the ship hard as finding a safe location was exceptionally difficult, at least one close to where you wanted to go and not already occupied. The natives were a reclusive people and rarely let themselves be seen but if you ventured into their territory, they would kill you in a heartbeat. The settlers who had tried to tame this planet often found themselves angering the natives and frequently ended up dead with no-one ever seeing who had done it.
Using the force to guide him Haron managed to find a landing zone and put the Canderous down in a clearing. It was remote, the Republic camp was a decent distance away as was the Separatist Camp but Haron could now sense Vysa's unique presence in the force quite clearly but what worried him was that another presence was converging on her. A cold and angry one, Haron with his vision running through his mind didn't waste anytime and issued his orders as he quickly made his way to the hatch.
"Fenn, Morr. Stay with the ship, we may need a fast extraction. The rest of you follow me and activate your packs. We need to hurry." Haron said and took off at a run till he was able to activate his pack while his confused guards ran after him and then flew with him.
- x -
Vysa was honestly more terrified as she ran through the jungle, her jetpack now out of fuel and too far from anywhere that she might be able to get help. Her entire team was dead, wiped out by this one individual that honestly terrified her. She had only seen the sort of things this man could do once before, when she had joined her family in the liberation of Mandalore. Three Jedi had been part of the assault and yet this man that was chasing her was able to do the same thing only to completely wipe out her team in a matter of moments.
She kept on running, trying to get as far away as she could. His red lightsaber cutting through her team with ease or seeing them grasping at their throat while an invisible hand strangled them, the images would be imprinted on her mind forever. She really wished she had taken Luna's offer of training right now because she just couldn't match his expanded skill set.
She thought about her family, would they even know what had happened to her? She thought with distress. She had only just gotten used to thinking of them as family and now she was about to die without talking with them ever again.
That depressed her but before she could think any more on that or come up with a plan to get away from the man chasing her, she felt a massive blast hit her back. It sent her crashing forward into the dirt and before she could recover and get up to start running again, she felt her body being grabbed by the force and she pushed back as best she could but whoever was holding her had far more experience than her.
She looked up and saw the man standing over her while his red bladed lightsaber humming with a sinister intensity.
"I was supposed to bring you in intact, but I think you are too dangerous to be kept alive." He said and made to swing his lightsaber, she snarled at him with her last at of defiance, shouting as loud as she could.
"FUCK YOU!" She screamed at him with her eyes blazing.
He seemed taken aback by her reaction but it delayed him only for a moment, but that moment was enough.
Suddenly the dark Jedi was blown clear off his feet by a blast of the force. Vysa felt his hold on her slacken and she managed to break free, looking around she could hardly believe her eyes as her older brother Haron appeared with a number of his guards. She honestly was thinking this was her mind playing tricks on her just before she died but the ache in her back from the earlier blast was proof enough this was real.
She saw Haron land in front of her and pull out the Darksaber and ignite it. The dark blade coming to life with fierce white lightning arcing all around it. The Dark Jedi looked up in shock as he recovered but Haron with a harsh fury battered away at him, he barely managed to defend himself against the furious barrage of cleaves and swipes from Haron who with managed as the Dark Jedi ran out of energy and then found himself with the Darksaber buried in his chest.
The Dark Jedi fell as Haron pulled it out and let him fall, taking his lightsaber as a trophy. He turned to face Vysa who ignored the offer of help and got to her feet on her own. She looked at him surprised.
"What are doing Haron? I mean, don't get me wrong I'm thankful for the save but this is a long way from your neck of the woods." She said looking confused but Haron told her.
"I had a vision of this guy coming after you, wasn't about to let my little sister lose her head." Haron said with a slight mocking drawl, now feeling a lot better since the fate he had foreseen had been averted.
"Well, thanks I guess." Vysa said, surprised as although she did dream strange things sometimes, she had never seen the future before although she could never be exactly sure of that. That her brother had actually seen the future and saved her life with it was awesome she thought and decided that it was probably time to see about learning just what she could do with the force.
Reijar, the Ordo System…
The Star Chaser emerged from hyperspace and descended down towards Reijar. From the viewing port Ahsoka, Rex, Padme and Allara all looked at the moon and found it largely unremarkable except for the large space station in orbit not to mention a large number of ships both commercial and military around it. Some of the designs they were able to recognise but a few were completely unknown to them. They frowned but were soon entering the atmosphere and coming in on the landing strip.
As the ship landed, they disembarked and saw the size of the Ordo Compound. Ara and Luna exited before them and Ahsoka asked with astonishment as they saw the sheer size of the place.
"The Ordo Family lives here?!"
Ara didn't look happy about her asking questions as she didn't trust Ahsoka or any of them really especially with the children around. Luna however was more open to answer the young woman's question.
"Indeed, have done for generations and will continue to for generations to come. Its not just a compound but a fortress with all the amenities for people to live in for years if necessary." Luna said cheerfully. Ara shot her a dark look at being so open but thankfully they were distracted by Rex seeing someone he had never thought he would ever see again.
"Fives?!" Rex said as he noticed a dock worker moving around, a clone shockingly.
"Rex!" Fives said with happiness as he ran over and stood in front of his former commanding officer and friend. Rex and Ahsoka too were shocked to see him as they had thought him either dead or vanished into the galaxy.
"How in oceans of Kamino did you end up here?" Rex asked Fives who smiled sadly before he explained.
"Duke Ordo was investigating the conspiracy that I discovered and intervened on my behalf. He is the one that helped me get that transmission out and then gave me safe haven here." Fives told them and the idea that Duke Ordo had been trying to fight Palpatine far earlier than they themselves had surprised all of them.
"Allara, this is Fives. A former Captain in the 501st." Ahsoka said to Allara who had yet to learn the name of many of the clones that served Anakin and had never met this one at all. "Fives, this is Allara. Anakin's new apprentice." Ahsoka said to introduce them.
Allara merely nodded politely and didn't say anything, it was frustrating Ahsoka thought to see her hold the clones at a distance but it wasn't out of any sense of superiority but merely just a subconscious unease. As if she was afraid of them for some reason that she herself couldn't understand.
That was strange as while she herself never had, Ahsoka could understand the fear. Now knowing about the chip and what it had been designed to do…well that was scary Ahsoka thought with a shiver. Allara maybe on some level sensed the threat but not consciously. Master Rahm Kota hadn't liked the clones either although it had been more about them not being fit for battle.
But she was at least comforted somewhat by the moon she was standing on. It had a calming presence in the force and she wasn't sure just why but she felt safe here. Allara it seemed did relax a little, standing closer to Rex and Fives with less tension.
"Well." Padme said, still surprised from these revelations and still confused at just how much the Mandalorians seemed to know. "How about we all go inside and get something to eat. I don't know about anyone else but I am starving." Padme wasn't even making that up, her baby must be huge she thought from the amount of food it demanded she eat.
Ara led them inside to get them settled, wondering if having them here wasn't a huge mistake.
Jedi Temple, Coruscant…A Few Hours Later…
Anakin's head was spinning as his worst fears had been confirmed and by none other than the man himself, Palpatine was the Sith Lord and now was offering him the power to save his wife. He was very tempted by that power but at the same time did Palpatine even know how to do what he claimed? Was it even possible? Anakin thought to himself with uncertainty.
What did he feel through the force he thought to himself? It was hard to feel anything with things in such flux but what he could see was her, alive.
Had he done enough? He thought desperately before meeting Master Windu in the landing bay.
"Skywalker. We have just heard that General Grievous has been destroyed. I was about to report that to the Senate so the Chancellor will turn over his emergency powers." Windu told him but Anakin shook his head.
"He won't give up his power. I've just learned the Chancellor is a Sith Lord." Anakin told Master Windu who to his shock nodded.
"Just before Obi-Wan left Coruscant he was sent a private message by Count Dooku. It revealed Palpatine was the Sith Lord and we were just looking to see if we could confirm that. I suppose he told you?" Windu asked. Anakin was rocked by the knowledge that the Jedi had already known or suspected that the Chancellor was a Sith Lord. He was intent on asking questions but Master Windu instead told him.
"I will go with you to see when he intends to give up his powers. We won't take anymore action than that." Windu told him which was something of a relief to Anakin as it meant he had more time to see if Palpatine could actually do as he says and see if his assertions that the Jedi were going to try and take over the Republic had any weight to them even if he already suspected that was just another deception.
"Yes Master." Anakin said as he and Master Windu got into a waiting speeder and they raced towards the Senate Building, Anakin really not sure just what was going to happen when they got there.
- x -
Chancellor's Office, The Senate Building…
The Chancellor was sitting at his desk and seemed surprised to see Anakin standing there with Mace Windu.
"Master Windu. I take it General Grievous has been eliminated. I must say you're here sooner than expected." Palpatine said but it was clearly framed like a statement rather than a question. Anakin was tense at Windu's side as he had no idea just what was going to happen.
"Chancellor, we just received confirmation of General Grievous' death on Utapau. While there is no sign of the other Separatist leaders, we are confident that without him or Grievous the war will soon end." Mace Windu said calmly without expression. "Do have to ask though when will you return power to the Senate?"
Palpatine while keeping on his mask of politeness was actually incredibly annoyed as Windu was supposed to try and arrest him, he was going to coach the answers he needed to set up the Jedi Order as if it were treason against the Republic and therefore give him all the right in the world to wipe out the Order.
"I cannot do that till I feel the Republic is safe Master Windu." Palpatine said hoping to get things back on track, but Windu remained calm and instead replied.
"Then I must see to tracking down the Separatist leaders. Good evening, Chancellor." Windu said and then turned around and headed for the door. Palpatine was now enraged at this but a sudden warning in the force had them all diving for cover.
Green streams of lightning ripped along the corridor and torn into the expensive decorations, followed by a force wave that shattered the window and sending both Anakin and Windu sideways into the wall. Sliding down they got to their feet and drew their lightsabers in anticipation of the threat and Palpatine was openly snarling as he faced the threat head on.
Looking up they saw a green aura enter the room, inside it though was a female figure in red robes which seemed to float around her and her presence in the force which had been invisible until now was no longer being hidden and now was so powerful and rotten with the dark side the two Jedi were almost debilitated at the sheer strength of it.
"Pitiful Jedi." Mother Talzin said with mocking scorn, her voice having a strange echo to it, looking at them with disdain. "No real stomach for true power." She said with the Scepter of Ragnos in her hand. Sidious was however very much invigorated by the sheer amount of dark side energy in the room and stood looking at the Scepter with almost glee.
"Mother Talzin, it has been rather a long time. I must admit I am impressed at how you managed to hide yourself from me given all the power you seem to have acquired. With that scepter I assume, ancient Sith in origin I should think." Palpatine said eying the scepter with obvious interest and planning to acquire it for himself.
"Far too long Darth Sidious. Far too long since you took my son from me, sending both my boys to die…you and your pawn Dooku. He may have escaped my vengeance but you will not!" She shrieked before blasting more green lightning at Sidious who to their surprise was able to absorb the power into his hands and discharge it back at her. He snarled at her and spoke as he prepared himself.
"Your sons. Such limited creatures they were, never better for anything than being cannon fodder. Useful only for a brief moment till it was time to cut off that particularly stem." He said and Talzin screamed in anger and let loose again with her powers. Surges of green force energy swarming around the room which Sidious started using the force to deflect or destroy while Anakin and Windu, still struggling with the intensity of the dark side were regaining their strength and Windu turned to Anakin.
"Anakin…the…window." Windu said as it was shattered by one of Talzin's blasts and probably their only real exit. Anakin nodded and found it strange that he and Master Windu had to get into a situation like this before Windu would use his first name. They managed with effort to get to the window while Sidious and Talzin were fighting.
However, Talzin was getting frustrated that Sidious had ability to manipulate the dark side better than she could, she pulled more power from the scepter and started blasting him with her green lightning again but Sidious countered with his own blue lightning.
They met in the middle and with visible effort both were trying to force through the other's lightning to destroy them. The scepter meanwhile was beginning to act very strangely as it absorbed the dark side energy in the room, pulsing with a sickly orange light and just as Anakin and Mace Windu manged to jump from the window, the scepter as Talzin lost control of it will all her attention on the fight discharged all the dark side energy it had acquired.
The explosion of dark side energy was enormous, ripping through the office and some of the floors below. Shredding them and everyone in them to pieces, the only blessing being that it was so late in the evening that few people were still here beyond security and Palpatine's own staff. Some of whom did perish in the blast.
The Scepter itself was thrown clear into the sky and flew a good distance before it started plunging down into the depths of Coruscant.
Anakin and Mace were left sliding their way down the Senate building's roof and after a long and awkward slide they had only just managed to recover their strength to use the force cushion their landing on the pad below.
Both breathed heavily as they tried to get their bearings and realise what had just happened. The sheer amount of dark side energy in such an intense concentration was almost debilitating if you didn't fully embrace the dark side but used it yourself. Both he and Master Windu had used it but they were staggered by what Talzin had done.
But Anakin meanwhile was feeling something shift in the force, something very important had changed and he was able to have a vision of the future…it was…changing. Anakin realised with joy.
Instead of seeing Padme laying in some medical centre bed, dying while trying to give birth to their baby…he saw her, sitting up in bed with two small bundles in her arms. Ahsoka was there instead of Obi-Wan and helping Padme by being there with her and smiling a big broad smile.
Joining Palpatine? He thought, wondering if that was the thing that would have caused the other future to happen? But one thing for sure it was like a great weight was lifted off his shoulder and he could breathe again. She was alright he thought with relief and turned to Windu who looked up at the wrecked building above and told him with some tension on his face.
"We need to return to the Temple, if he was dead the shroud of the dark side should be dissipating but its not. He survived." Windu said with a worried look on his face. "If so, we need to prepare to evacuate the Temple. But Anakin…you made the right choice. From now on, you have my trust." Windu said with a small smile which Anakin was surprised by but at the same time it was very touching.
Master Windu was notorious for not trusting anyone really, except for Master Yoda and now here he was admitting to actually trusting him?
That was a major step up, Anakin thought but then he realised Master Windu was right. He was sure if Palpatine was dead they would have sensed it but they hadn't and if so, they needed to prepare. He nodded and they rushed for the speeder they had come in and gunned it all the way back to the Jedi Temple, wondering if the fate of the Jedi and the Republic was going to be decided in the next few hours.
- x -
Back in the ruined office, now exposed to the outside and with the entire room shattered beyond recognition, a single form emerged from under some rubble.
His dark red clothes which had been so fine a moment ago were singed and torn and as Commander Fox burst into look for survivors, he was moment taken aback as he saw the figure that emerged from the rubble.
"Chancellor? Commander Fox asked, recognising the robes if not the person who emerged.
"Commander, rally your men. The Jedi will pay dearly for this betrayal." Palpatine said as his voice was warped slightly although still understandable. The Clone Commander hesitated for a moment before saying.
"Yes, your excellency."
Palpatine had no real idea of just what he looked like now, he could hardly feel his own face and had to look around for a piece of glass that was large enough to let him see.
He eventually found one and stared at his reflection in the glass, he would have been shocked had his mind not already been warped by the dark side. His skin, already pale was now an unhealthy greyish white with warped lines all across it that made him almost completely unrecognisable from before. His eyes too had completely changed, they had had a burning orange-yellow colour with dark red around the edge.
He was so caught up in this that he failed to recognise for a moment that Anakin hadn't been 'shown the Jedi's conspiracy' and now was more loyal to the Jedi than ever but he contented himself when he realised that Anakin once caught would be brought over to his side. It wouldn't be as neat as he would have liked but it would be enough.
At least the overly ambitious Talzin was finally dead, he thought with some contentment. Her pathetic grasp of how to handle the dark side was almost comical but unknown to her, she had actually been useful to him.
Talzin might have foiled that plan to get the Jedi to attack him but thanks to her mismanagement of the scepter which he was already making plans to recover, he had the means to frame the Jedi for the 'bombing' and started laughing in a manner that would have left people thinking he was insane, a high-pitched cackling laugh that just burst out of him.
- x -
Arriving back at the Jedi Temple in what must have been some kind of record time, Anakin and Mace Windu jumped out of their speeder and ran up the landing bay towards the elevator. Mace activated his comm link and commanded.
"All Jedi Masters and Knights are to assemble in the main atrium immediately. This is a priority one emergency." He said feeling more tense the longer this took, instituting the highest level of alertness that existed. Anakin beside him was tense too, eager to gather the order so they could make a plan.
Once they reached the atrium level, they broke into a run the moment the doors opened and jumped with the force to the upper floor. They stood there as Jedi Masters and Knights present in the temple moved quickly into the atrium, a number of padawans accompanied their masters but that wasn't an issue given many of them were going to be challenged heavily in the next couple of hours. Anakin nodded to Master Tuwan who smiled reassuringly and his presence calmed Anakin considerably.
Once they were assembled, Mace began talking.
"Now, many of you will not be aware of this but the Sith Lord has indeed been identified as Chancellor Palpatine." Mace Windu said and the crowd all started sharing startled looks but Mace didn't have time to answer any questions so he cut straight to the point. "We tried to stop him but we failed and soon we are going to have Clone troopers forcing down our door. So, we are evacuating the Temple."
That announcement caused chaos as the Jedi below couldn't believe that they were going to flee the Temple that had been their order's home for thousands of years and many were fully prepared to fight for the Temple. But Anakin and Mace who knew full well how bad this was likely to get and Master Windu shouted.
The authority in his voice shut down all the argument immediately and he told them.
"Master Skywalker and Myself will be co-ordinating a defence but that is only till we have all the Jedi away. The younglings in particular. I will be giving a location for groups to go too but only the master who will be leading each group will know that till they arrive for security. The Order has prepared for this, and we will not let the Sith win." Mace said and told them now that they seemed to be in line. "Have the archives stripped of all holocrons and artifacts while it is purged. We cannot afford for that knowledge to fall into the wrong hands." Mace said which immediately upset Master Nu who looked fit to burst at the idea of destroying the archive that she was responsible for maintaining.
"I am however asking for volunteers to stay and defend this temple, but do not volunteer out of sentiment. This is likely to be a last stand!" Mace Windu said with a finality in his words that scared some masters but some did look resolute in their desire to stay.
"Now start organising the younglings into groups. Masters Bao-Dur and Master Paratus stay." Anakin said, following Mace's lead on this which the elder master appreciated and the Jedi went about doing their jobs while the two masters in question came forward.
"Masters, I know you have been upgrading the Temple's defences. Are they ready?" Windu asked and Kazdan Paratus answered with some considerable anxiety as he was about to lose his home.
"They are finished but we haven't tested them yet Master." Kazdan said and Anakin with a grim look in his eyes said.
"No time like the present. Bring them on line because soon we are going to have thousands of clone troopers barging down our door." Anakin said with worry but Bao-Dur, always calm in a crisis reassured him.
"They will work. We've spent two years on this Kazdan…they'll perform." He said with complete confidence that his colleagues wished they could emulate.
Felucia, the Outer Rim…
"So, the war is over?" Vysa asked, wondering just what she had missed while on this miserable planet. They were forced to walk back having used most of their fuel getting there and this was hardly the most pleasant of walks. They'd already dodged a pack of Acklays and three Separatist patrols and they were only half way back to the ship.
"Not entirely but now Palpatine will make his move and the CIS will become a liability. I doubt the Separatist Council will last long now that he has no further use for them. He'll turn on his true enemy now…the Jedi." Haron told her grimly as they made their way back to the ship.
Vysa was silent as were the rest of his warriors, not sure they wanted to think about what would happen if Palpatine was to succeed. However, they were rudely interrupted from speaking further by the sight of a large group of clones approaching. And unfortunately, they had already seen them.
"Halt!" The lead clone called out and those behind him readied their blasters, Haron sighed as he really should be more aware on this planet, should have sensed them a mile off but it was too late now.
"Wait." A familiar voice called out and he saw Aayla Secura herself walking up to the front of the patrol with her apprentice Lali Oyun and her Clone Commander Bly. "Duke Ordo. What are you doing here?" Aayla asked, confused.
"I am here on private business as my sister found herself in some trouble and needed some help." Haron informed the Twi'lek Jedi who too her credit didn't ask too many questions but did ask one that they were happy to answer.
"Good, but I do have to ask you why you didn't just ask us to do it? We are here after all?" Aayla asked them and Haron decided to be honest.
"A Mandalorian will risk everything for their family and I have just resigned my position so asking the Republic for help would be very difficult." Haron said, not wanting to get into a long conversation especially as there were so many clones here.
- x -
The Jedi Temple, Coruscant…
The Jedi Temple, usually a beacon of peace and order in an otherwise chaotic galaxy was now in a state of upheaval. The regular staff who helped support the temple had been sent home as had all the clones inside.
The Jedi themselves meanwhile ran around the temple at a frantic pace, gathering up artifacts and objects to carry them to ships in the hanger bays while younglings, some little more than babies were moved to the hanger bay as well. Herded often by clan into different ships with knights and senior padawans.
But while this was happening Mace Windu was giving a senior master each charge of one ship with a small number of knights or other masters to help them. None of them knew any of the other locations to maintain security and so if one temple was compromised the others would remain safe.
Since they were the two biggest locations the largest two groups would be sent to Ossus and Auratera while smaller groups would be sent to the other smaller temples.
However, as the Jedi scrambled to get their defences ready and for all the ships to be loaded and prepared a large number of clone troopers came marching up the road towards the Jedi Temple.
The Military Command Centre, Coruscant…
Now draped in a long black cloak, Palpatine stood in front of the communications array and sent out a message to all Clone Units across the galaxy.
"The time has come." Palpatine said with a great sense of anticipation and enjoyment. "Execute Order 66."
There you have it; Anakin will now take a very different path in the future. One that will be important for the galaxy. Both he and Haron will have fairly big roles in what is to come.
Please leave a review to let me know what you thought.
More Review Responses from the last chapter…
tf330129 - Thanks!
Cam . Katarn - I hope to keep the story going till Return of the Jedi.
Jebest4781 - Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Things will change but some will stay the same.
Siradla - This chapter and the next one will reveal the full extent of the changes Haron has brought by being in Anakin's life. True, not all the changes will be good but it is a balance.
Berna45 - Glad to hear you liked the chapter. The Nulls? If they were with him, they will be dead but at least one is alive, Darman Skirata. He is still alive and with his wife and son.
please don't1 - Thank you. I really appreciate the support.
Extra-Element19 - Indeed, it will be a shame to see the Clone Wars ends but after…the real war begins.
Lawbringer - Thank you! I really appreciate you saying that.
mr1980rivera - Thank you!
dswiller80 - I know, thank you!
Envy220 - No not as Revan. It was actually bringing Earth into the Star Wars Universe around the time of the Mandalorian Wars.
DeluxeHipster1945 - Cheers!
DeathCrawler - Cheers!
MoinLeute - I know but, in some ways, there are a few similarities and the Mandalorians have a similar design policy to the UNSC.
Bariy - Spot on. About the helmets? Afraid not, the invasion of Mandalore happened much earlier and had no clones present. So no helmet repaint, sorry!
Azai Jin - Hope you enjoy the new chapter.
chao-hellsing - I know, I don't see why he didn't have another padawan later after.
LectorHistoria - I know, but while it might still happen…the changes will ripple.
Guest - Aayla? Shaak Ti? Next chapter will reveal their fates.
MalSer - Happy to hear you enjoyed it!
EP - Thank you.
Hexylen - There will be a time skip but not for long. Haron and his people will not be idle while the Empire is expanding and the connections, they've made so far will bring them into conflict with it. I know, Order 66 is something I dread writing about but it will be a little different this time.
Mr . BrownOptometrist - Thanks!
Guest - I know, they will never really work together but historically it has happened. During the Dark Wars they worked with Meetra Surik to stop Darth Nihilus and his plans and then during the New Sith Wars they fought with the Jedi against the Sith. I was just using it as an example.
Martin-di-Arcov - Thank you! I really do thank you for saying that. Somethings will be different but others stay the same.
aesir21 - The Spirit of Fire? Probably the same with some Star Wars support ships and weaponry. I know, it is now a question of who has made the best moves?
Bia1230 - Cheers!
Apostrophe Catastrophe - I really did like that! Awesome!
DevilishTeller - Thanks! I will do as often as I can.
Jctherebel- Glad you enjoyed it. Some of the changes will be big and small and the Age of the Empire will be far less peaceful.
Lycan01 - Glad you liked it.
Eliazar Chandra - HK-47? A plan has been created to bring him in; he will appear during the dark times.
Dragon VS Phoenix - I know, thank you for reviewing!
ironspike68 - Indeed! Sidious is unfortunately for him anyway sure he is the greatest player. But even the best can lose. The war will come to an end but the aftermath especially the Dark Times will be changed by events.
WhiteElfElder - I cannot say I' am sure but I do think I remember someone else doing this too.
levi . hall . 9279 - Happy to hear you liked it.
Percy Jackson7 - Luna is a bit of a hard one, not sure really unless an OC is made for her. Any thoughts otherwise?
noondark - Hope you enjoy what is to come.
Next Chapter - The Jedi Order faces the onslaught of the clones, Anakin and Mace are fighting for their lives and a desperate mission begins. Palpatine establishes his new Empire and a few surprise figures appear.