Chapter 54AE


'The Force Awakens…Again'

'The Situation'

'You Can't Go Home Again…'Cause There Is No Home'

'Watchoo talkin' 'bout, Ani?'

'The Visit from Three Ghosts'

'Opa!'

'What a Bunch of Crock!'

'Mustafar Coal Oven Pizza'


Scene Crawl: The startling revelation that old man Palpatine has risen from the dead upsets members of the Skywalker family…and the galaxy. Anakin feels he is under attack by family and friends. He also regrets losing his temper and lashing out at his son-in-law, Han Solo. Alas, once again, Anakin is forced to remedy the situation created by his former alliance with the Empire. It is up to him to make the galaxy whole and to bring balance and harmony in the Skywalker home. This will not be an easy mission.

Across town, there is a dark room. A faint beeping sound pulses from a monitor. The red line appears on the display and spikes every few seconds. . The equipment is in a hospital room.

The patient lies comatose in the hospital bed. A visitor stands watching and taps his gloved fingers on the metal footboard. Moments pass before the visitor walks to the head of the bed and tugs at the tube leading to the oxygen port but stops short of disconnecting it. A female nurse walks into the room.

"Oh, hello, Mr. Skywalker." Did the oxygen tube fall out again? I was just going to check his vitals for you. This is the fifth time it has become disengaged since he arrived last night. That alarm panel at the staff desk is driving all the nurses crazy."

Anakin pretends to be appalled by this revelation even though he was almost caught committing the same crime.

"Really? I find the lack of security here disturbing. If we cannot secure our medical facilities then how can we feel safe anywhere?"

Anakin wonders what mystery visitors have been entering the hospital to kill the patient. Word must be getting around that the patient is still alive.

The nurse carefully steps in front of the Dark Lord and checks the oxygen monitor. She then adjusts the IV drip. After completing this task, she reaches for the remote on the nightstand and presses the button. The vertical shade opens to reveal a sunny sky. The nurse turns to Anakin with a chirpy smile.

"There you go. More cheerful, don't you think?"

The patient in the bed experiences blinks several times. He is awake. He speaks through the ventilator. The mask muffles his voice. His breathing is shallow.

"Ahnukin, yoou…came." Vapor forms in the clear plastic mask as he speaks.

Anakin, startled at first, pretends to be enthused that the old sith is alive. He nervously responds.

"Heheh…yeah… (sighs) so, Uhm… how the hell are you?"

The old man tries to lift his head from the pillow. He appears disoriented.

"What happened?" He takes another hollow breath. The nurse is satisfied that all is okay and promptly leaves the room. Anakin questions him.

"You don't remember?" The old creature has deceived Anakin in the past. He will not be fooled again.

"I remember being at the Tagge-Mart and then everything went black."

"You don't recall anything after that?"

"I think I remember ringing a doorbell and then you saved me."

"Uhm…oh…it was nothing…so…that's all you remember?" Anakin is trying to figure out if the old man is lying to him.

"It's still a big blur, Anakin. I have a faint recollection of muffled voices from time to time. Tapping sounds…voices from beyond." He rests his head back on the pillow. There is a brief silence. Anakin presses him.

"You don't recall arriving at the Nor home?"

"Really? Is that where I was?"

"Yes, you were in their home for some time before the ambulance arrived. You ate their food"

"Oh. Did I do that? And they took care of me? I thought they did not like me."

Anakin is about to confirm this statement but decides to remain silent. If he agrees that the Nors do not like the old sith, this would cause another conversation Anakin is not prepared to have. It is not worth the aggravation. The old creature pauses for a moment and then sighs with some blissful satisfaction.

"Well, I will be so happy to return to my own home. How soon will I be released from this place?"

"Uhm…I'm going to have to figure that out."

"Figure what out? What do you mean?"

"You still need to recover. Stay in hospital for awhile."

"I feel well enough to leave. I can recover at home."

"Uhm…perhaps you should hold off on that..."

"Whatever for?"

"Well, Uhm…there was a situation."

"Situation? What sort of situation?"

"The day you were found at TaggeMart by the paramedics and declared…Uhm…dea…"

"What, Anakin? Speak up. I cannot understand you. You're mumbling."

"I said…Uhm…well, we all thought…or so we were informed…you were declared dead!"

"What?! How can I be dead? As you can well see, I'm very much alive!" He gasps as Anakin makes a feeble attempt to explain.

"Well, for the past three days you've been dead."

The old sith manages to lift his head from the pillow again as he hears these words from Anakin. He rips the oxygen mask off his face but it is attached to an elastic headband lands on his forehead. The old sith is visibly agitated. He looks ridiculous. Anakin manages to keep from laughing as the old disheveled sith speaks.

"Dead?"

"Dead! Yes! Dead! There! I said it! There was a funeral and everything." Anakin throws up his hands and pivots. His black cashmere duster swings as he turns and utters an exasperated sigh. "So, there it is!"

Old man Palpatine's eyes widen with child-like wonder and surprise.

"Anakin, you sweet boy. You gave me a funeral?"

"Of course! What sort of person do you think I am to send you off without a service? Give me a little credit."

"You mean…people came to see me? How many?"

"Uhm…there was quite an outpouring of emotion. The event drew reaction across the galaxy."

"Really? How many?"

"Millions…billions. Security had to hold back the crowds."

Palpatine is almost gleeful as he places his hand to his heart.

"Anakin, I'm…I'm touched. So many mourners came out just to see me. I-I hadn't realized how much I was loved."

Anakin clears his throat as he searches for the right words to respond. The old man obviously has a big misconception surrounding the reason for the funeral service. Anakin is not often at a loss for words but this explanation is a challenge.

"Well, not exactly…there were celebrations. I never saw so many jubilant faces. Now they will be sad when they find out you're alive."

"What are you trying to say, Anakin?"

"Everyone was celebrating because they thought you were dead."

"Humph! Well, to hell with them all! When can I go home?" He tries to maneuver himself to an upright position but the tubes and other life support equipment prevents this. Anakin continues to explain what has happened.

"Well, that's another thing…Uhm…when you were declared legally dead, your retirement home was sold and your assets were…Uhm…frozen."

"But…you're telling me I'm homeless and have no money?" His old sith anger is bubbling over. Anakin shrugs.

"Sort of...So… what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."

"A certain point of view?! What sort of bloody answer is that? You sound like that boozy Obi-Wan Kenobi. Are you drunk?"

"No, I am not drunk!"

The nurse returns.

"What's going on in here? The monitors in the nurses' station are flashing uncontrollably. What are you doing to this poor man? He needs rest. Your visit may be too stressful for him."

She notices that the tubes are tangled and disconnected from the monitor and attempts to reconnect them. Suddenly both patient and visitor scream at her.

"Get out!"

She quickly drops the electrode pads that she was about to reattach to the old Siths chest. His response is to sneer at her. The terrified nurse hurries from the room. Old man Palpatine turns to Anakin and points to the Dark Lord.

"I want you to call my lawyer and fix this! Where am I going to go when I get out of here?"

"I haven't thought that far ahead."

"You're telling me that I am destitute and you don't have a plan?"

"Why the hell would I have a plan if I thought you were dead?"

"But Anakin, my property, home, my clothes…I can't exist like this!" He looks down at his unflattering pale blue hospital gown. There is a grimace on his face. His usually neatly combed hair is now an unruly mop of white candy floss. He looks like a lunatic. Anakin angrily shouts back at him.

"Hey! It's not my fault. I did the best I could with the information I was given."

"Well, I'm alive and I'm entitled to return to my home and have my assets returned to me. What about my childhood home on Naboo? Do something. Anakin, I implore you."

"But you signed a standard will. You can't go home again! After your accounts were unfrozen, the assets were distributed to your heirs."

"Heirs?"

"Yes, you willed everything to the kids."

"What?! Call my attorneys and reverse everything!"

"What am I supposed to tell the lawyers?"

"That I'm alive and the will is null and void. That's what you tell them!"

And tell them what? That you crawled out of the grave?"

"It's the truth! It was a lot of work I'll tell you. Those two dopey, burly EMTs stripped my perfectly good clothes off of me."

Anakin rolls his eyes as he listens to the old creature drone on about his plight.

"That will go over well. After all the malicious stunts you've pulled over the years, you really think they'll believe you?"

"Stunts? Everything I have done in the past was carefully thought out and intentional."

"Right. So, how do you explain this 'new life'? What about that funeral, eh? That you faked your death to manipulate the emotions of an entire galaxy? That you made fools out of billions of people for the past three days? They'll kill you… again! We are talking major fraud, old man! And what about me? You think anyone will believe I wasn't in on this? The Senate will burn me alive. I am the executor of your will. I never asked for this! You're going to have to figure a way out of this mess."

"So, I'm supposed to really die?"

"That would help."

"What?!"

The old man hurls a bedpan across the room; he aims it at Anakin. Anakin's quick reflexes cause him to lean backwards in slow motion. Anakin holds his hand out to stop the moving object. The force is with him. The pan sails above his torso and smashes into the wall. Anakin points an accusatory finger at the old man.

"What the Hell? You crazy, ungrateful, old coot! I was trying to help you!"

"You're trying to destroy me! You and your insolent children are stealing my wealth from a fortune I have amassed for decades!"

"You put each of them in your will!"

"Get out!"

"I'm going to leave you alone until you cool your heels, old man! I hope your attitude changes when I get back."

"I said, get out! " The old man's teeth clench in the most otherworldly manner.

As Anakin leaves the room, the nurse hurries in and stares in horror as a small ice bucket sails across the room. The small ice cubes pelt the walls and door like asteroids. Anakin does not stop to intervene. He has another patient to visit on the upper floor in another wing.

'Red Six, Standing By'

The in-patient Jek Porkins Memorial X-wing unit at Coruscant University Hospital is brighter than the dark and unwelcoming ICU. Anakin rolls his eyes as he glances at the bronze plaque with a holo-portrait of its namesake over the door. The sad devotion to that overweight fighter pilot didnot help the Old Rebellion enough to help the rebels' cause. The loose standards about physical fitness of the rebel pilots did not appear to come into play during the fighter pilot selection process. What happened to the weight limitations?

Anakin walks into the room number 1138 and sits in the leather visitor's chair. The patient is still asleep. There are bouquets of flowers with various 'get well' notes positioned carefully on the nightstand beside the bed. Several boxes of exquisite candies imported from Corellia are on the dresser in the private room. The patient wakes up but is not thrilled to see the Dark Lord.

"Oh, jeez! You're taunting me in the hospital now?" He rubs his forehead. The Dark Lord speaks.

"Listen, Solo, I've had a bad morning. You hurt my feelings just now especially after I took time to visit you." He lifts the lid of the chocolate covered Paonga Delights and pops one into his mouth. He grabs another food item.

"I could do without the visit. You attacked me! What about my feelings?"

"You insulted me in my own home! I was stressed after all the crap that happened to me."

"Oh, yeah, I forgot how 'sensitive' you are." Han Solo watches as his father-in-law is eating something from the hospital tray.

"Are you eating my breakfast?"

Anakin removes the spoon from his mouth and points it at Han.

"Listen, faker, you're not sick." He continues to eat from the container. Han points to the food tray.

"That's still my breakfast."

"I only ate the yogurt. You weren't eating it."

"I was asleep!"

"I didn't touch the other crap on your tray. Why don't you calm down?"

Han places his hand to his forehead again.

"I don't 'effing' believe this!"

Anakin stares at him.

"Do you want it?" He offers the half-eaten yogurt to Han.

"Not after you've eaten it!"

Anakin reaches across Han's hospital bed. Han looks terrified, fearing that the Dark Lord is about to attack him again. Instead, Anakin presses the button to summon the nurses' station. A nurse hurries to the room.

"Yes, General Solo?"

The weary nurse stands in the doorway; Han previously summoned the nurses' station several times during the night for better pillows and extra blankets. Anakin speaks.

"Good morning nurse, would you bring a couple of yogurts…" He turns to Han. "Would you like to order something?"

"I'm good."

Anakin speaks to the nurse.

"Bring three strawberry yogurts."

Nurse looks at Anakin, and then looks across the room at Han. Anakin stares at her.

"Why are you looking at him?"

She nods.

"Yes, sir. I'll be right back."

"Thank you, nurse." Anakin looks at Han. See? Service is good here."

"This isn't a hotel."

Anakin ignores him.

"I might check in myself one day to get some rest from the family. This is a nice room."

He grabs a pillow from Han's bed. Han has no time to protest before the pillow slips from under his head. Anakin promptly punches it with his fist to fluff it. He places the pillow in the visitor's chair and sits, leaning back to get comfortable. Han stares at him.

"I'm sure the hospital staff will be thrilled."

"Hey, they would be privileged to have me."

"I'm sure they would. I hear there's a bed available in the psych ward."

"You're fortunate that I'm a compassionate man. So, where's your wife? She tired of visiting you? Whiner."

"She's a working mother with kids to feed."

"I hope someone else is feeding them because she sure can't cook."

"She's doing just fine."

"Yeah, I've seen all the take-out containers in your kitchen."

"So, what's the purpose of your visit?"

Anakin grabs the remote for the plasma screen. After fumbling with the buttons, he tosses it aside and waves his hand several times before there is a channel he wants to watch. He responds to Han's question without looking away from the screen.

"I had to see the old man in ICU. As it turns out, he's more of an ingrate than you are."

"Well, you do always bring out the best in people."

"Hey! I'm a sensitive person. I have compassion. I stopped by to check on you, didn't I?"

"I don't need visitors."

"Did that 10-foot tall chirping wig stop by to visit? No?"

"Chewy is on a mission on Hoth."

"Well, he's dressed for it. I hope he got his lava flea dip before he left."

"You know how large a lava flea is, don't you?"

"That's beside the point. When was the last time he bathed?"

"I'm ignoring you and this stupid conversation."

"Fine! I'm done talking to you anyway."

"Great! Don't let the door hit you in the ass when you leave."

The nurse returns with the yogurt. Anakin eventually leaves after taking his yogurt. Han is not the welcoming patient he thought he would be. The Dark Lord takes the elevator to the docking bay. He looks for his speeder. He then remembers that Luke had dropped him off at the hospital. He does not have a ride home. He pulls out his mobile phone.

"Hey, you old drunk. Put down your flask and come pick me up."

Obi-Wan arrives moments later. He is sober and particularly perturbed that Anakin would think that he would drink and drive. Anakin gets into the speeder and the two men head onto the expressway. He knows that he must return home to speak to his wife. He feels he can always count on her to understand what a terrible day he has had so far.

'Things Anakin Tells His Wife'

Isabel is a reasonable woman. She is logical and fair. Anakin finds his wife in the kitchen preparing the evening meal. He leans against the island counter.

"Isabel, if I told you something, would you be really mad at me?"

"Why would I be 'mad'?" She is holding a chef's knife. There is a pile of vegetables cutting board.

"Uhm… you know how the old guy was mistakenly declared dead and then rose from the dead, and startled your parents and his estate was liquidated?"

"Yes. So?"

"Uh …until we resolve this debacle, he needs a place to stay…"

She stops for a moment and looks at her husband.

"And that is our problem because?"

"I agreed to let him recuperate here…there's no room at the rehabilitation facility and… I promised him that he could stay with us…just until I can get him a retirement condo."

"What?!"

The Skywalker children are listening from the sunroom. Alex winces when he hears his mother yell at their father. This is something she rarely does.

"Oh boy! She's mad at him."

Leia folds her arms as she listens for more drama. She has already heard from Han about the hospital visit.

"This is bad. She's giving him the what for. I don't know how dad is going to get out of this mess."

"How bad can it get?"

"Remember when we were all kicked off the Coruscant City Youngling League Smashball team because Dad kept force choking the referee?"

"We were banished from every Youngling League team. How about summers on Naboo? And don't forget Tatooine. We were kicked off the podracing team when Dad started arguing about the course layout"

"Why weren't we emotionally scarred after that?"

Leia laughs.

"That's because our father was the one with the issues. The coaches kind of felt sorry for us."

There is the sound of dishes crashing to the floor. Alex cringes.

"Oops! There go the dinner plates."

Hobson, the elderly butler slowly walks into the living room to make an announcement.

"It appears that dinner is canceled this evening. I predict that there will be carryout."

Kris slides down the staircase.

"Awesome! Can we order pizza?"

Leia interrupts.

"Easy, shorty. We've got plenty of plates."

There is another crashing sound from the kitchen.

Alex glances at his older sister then turns to the elderly Hobson

"I think five pies will do, Hobson."

"Anything else?"

Leia thinks for a moment.

"Hobson, order some metal plates; two dozen should be sufficient…for now"

"Very good, Madame Leia."

Kris looks at his sister.

"Metal plates? Where are we, in prison?"

"Preparing you for your future behind bars, kiddo."

Leia smirks then pinches his cheek.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen. Anakin tries to calm an already volatile situation. The family canine, Skippy, sits obediently next to the Dark Lord. Anakin pleads to his wife

"Isabel, don't be angry."

Another voice can be heard. Anakin rolls his eyes and sees the three specters of Mace Windu, Qui Gon Li, and Ki Adi Mundi.

"Oh, Great! Reinforcements! Stay out of this! All of you!"

Mace Windu challenges the Dark Lord.

'What are you gonna do? Kill me?'

Isabel figures that the infamous Force Ghosts are present. They cheer when the next plate crashes to the floor in Anakin's direction missing him by inches.

"You just threw a plate at me!"

Force Ghost Mace Windu sits on the kitchen island and chuckles.

'OOOOh, she's mad at you! You'd better walk out while you can.'

Qui Gon throws an imaginary left upper cut jab. Ki-Adi sets up a stack of tea saucers on the counter within Isabel's reach.

'This is hilarious. Do you think he's going to get out of this?'

Mace Windu sits back, amused by the chaos.

'Hell no! She's being nice throwing plates. I'm waiting for a couple skillets and a pressure cooker to fly across the kitchen.'

Ki-Adi-Mundi nods.

'Hey…a pressure cooker or a crock pot would be interesting.'

Mace Windu turns to Ki-Adi-Mundi.

'Shut up! This is not about you. You're taking this personally. It's a marital spat gone awry and it's funny as hell!'

Anakin sees that Isabel is reaching for the last plate. Skippy looks up at his master and then at Isabel. Anakin points at his wife.

"Isabel, you're not being reasonable. This is not my fault. Think about the repercussions before you throw that last plate."

"I thought about it. Leave this kitchen before I use it."

"I'm your husband. You would do that to me?"

"I'm just tired, Anakin. You're going to do what you want. I've had enough. "

"Honey, come on…Who's going to clean up this mess?" He wants to retract this comment but it is too late. Isabel leaves the kitchen. Skippy leaves too. "You're a traitor, Skippy!"

Ki-Adi-Mundi watches as Isabel exits the kitchen.

'She's not going to throw the crock pot?'

Leia walks into the kitchen. She watches as her father sweeps up the fragments of bone china.

"Well, you've really done it this time."

"Are you going to help me clean this up?"

"What? This is all your doing. Why should I have to help clean up your mess?"

"You know, you could be a bit more supportive."

"Yeah, well, enjoy your cleanup. We're having pizza if you want to join us."

"Am I footing the bill?"

"Of course you are. Don't be ridiculous"

At this remark, Leia exits the kitchen.

Mace Windu reappears.

'She sure told you!'

"Shut up!" Anakin continues sweeping the floor as he mutters to himself. "This family has no respect. I hear you kids laughing out there!"

Mace Windu folds his arms across his chest and laughs.

'You're going to go through with your dumb-ass plan, aren't you? You love to antagonize your wife and kids, don't you?'

"I'm the head of this household. I'll do what I need to do."

'You're enabling that fool, decrepit old sith. He is a manipulating old buzzard. You're going to live to regret this, Anakin.'

"Not if I die first! That'll teach my ungrateful family."

Anakin notices something odd about the outspoken force ghost's appearance.

"What the hell are you wearing on your feet?"

Mace Windu looks down admiring his footwear.

'Crocks! Why? Jealous?'

"Hell no! I wouldn't be caught dead wearing those. Where do you get Crocks in the Force World? And Why?"

'Don't worry about it. Better worry about that mess you made with that piece of Sith lying in that hospital bed. Are you sure you don't want a pair of these? I've got connections.' He clicks his heels together.

Anakin leaves the kitchen. He smells pizza.