AN: Another consistent update. Hooray for me. But don't expect it to keep up, I've been having a tough time with the next chapter. Also I find it odd that there are so few reviews for this story, oh well it's still young.
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars, I barely own this storyline if I do own that it is which I doubt, oh well. Then again with the way Lucas runs things I could probably get this published… Nah at least not this one.
The small, red, republic cruiser shot out of hyperspace towards the fleet of lucrehulk battleships oof the Trade Federation which comprised the blockade around Naboo. The pilot and copilot in the blocky cockpit were swiftly moving their hands over the controls, occasionally glancing nervously back at the two shadows standing in the doorway, one dressed in simple tans and browns while the other wore robes so dark they blended into the shadows that the two figures stood within. They were waiting on instructions from the ambassadors as Nute Gunray, his ever present scowl in place, waiting upon their intentions over the comm channel.
The cruiser captain turned slightly in her seat to acknowledge the tan robed figure, "Yes sir?"
"Tell them we wish to board at once."
"Yes sir." The captain said before turning and facing Gunray on the screen. "With all due respect, Viceroy, the ambassadors of the Supreme Chancellor have requested to board at immediately."
Gunray nodded quickly, "Yes, yes, Captain of course. We would be happy to receive the ambassadors at their convenience."
The screen went black, and the Captain hesitated, glancing back at the figures behind her, "Sir?"
"Proceed, Captain," Qui-Gon Jinn said, before returning to the passengers cabin.
Master Antilles approached the captain bending low, and whispering just so that both her and her copilot could hear him, "A word of warning, Captain, as soon as we are on board keep your shields up, and be prepared to leave at slightest sign of hostility or betrayal." He left before the Captain could comment.
"Yes…sir." The Captain said to his retreating back confused and more nervous than before.
As Master Antilles entered the cabin he heard Obi-Wan question his master on whether or not they were going to board the Trade Federation's flag ship.
"The Viceroy will meet with us." Qui-Gon responded to him before contemplatively glancing at his padawan. Then he glanced out of the viewport and asking, "Why Naboo, do you think, my young apprentice? Why blockade this particular planet, when there are so many to choose from, most larger and more likely to feel the effects of such an action?" Obi-Wan said nothing in response though he too felt it was odd.
Qui-Gon hesitated a moment longer, thinking the matter through, then said, "Come let us be off." Leading his padawan and Master Antilles from the cabin, through the bowels of the ship to the main hatch, waited for the light to turn green, and released the locking bar so that the ramp could lower. Raising their hoods to conceal their faces before stepping into the light.
A protocol droid-who introduce itself as TC-14-met them and escorted them to a meeting room. The droid took them from the bay down a series of hallways to an empty conference room and motioned them inside, "I hope your honored sirs will be comfortable here." The tinny voice reverberated, "My master will be with you shortly."
The droid turned and exited the room, the door sealing behind it. Qui-Gon watched it go before turning and joining his padawan at the viewport and watched the magnificent planet below through the maze of Federation ships, while Master Antilles relaxed in a chair at the table, his fingers intertwined in his lap, as he glanced around the room casually.
"I have a bad feeling about this," Obi-Wan said after a moment's contemplation of the planet below.
"Hm, in a sense your feelings are well placed." Master Antilles stated understanding one thing that Obi-Wan may be sensing.
Qui-Gon glanced at both jedi in slight contemplation before adding his own two cents, "Really, I don't sense anything."
Obi-Wan nodded, "It's not about here, master. It's not about this mission. It's something…elsewhere. Something elusive…"
Master Antilles countered, "You claim this sense to be elusive, yet still you are quick to claim where it is not. Perhaps you are being alerted because while it may not be about here, it is in fact about this mission. This could also explain its elusive nature, being that you are looking for it in the wrong place."
The other master scowled slightly at talk of the future and distant events before placing his hand on his apprentice's shoulder, "Don't center on your anxiety, Obi-Wan. Keep your concentration on the here and now, where it belongs. As for you, Master Antilles, Obi-Wan is my apprentice and I would appreciate my own teaching of him."
"Master Yoda says I should be mindful of the future."
"But not at the expense of the present." Qui-Gon waited until Obi-Wan had turned to him, "Be mindful of the living Force my young apprentice."
"My apologies Master Jinn, I meant no disrespect to your teachings, in fact I respect and agree highly with your views on the living Force. In fact I fear that the order's obsession with what is beyond their sight may well be their undoing." Master Antilles declared gravely.
This worried Qui-Gon greatly, "What do you mean the undoing of the order?"
Master Antilles began "hypothetically", "Let us say in the next few years the council discovers the existence of a sith lord but they do not know where it is. So the council searches and true to their character they try to see beyond themselves, into the future, out into the universe, yet they still cannot find this sith lord for they've become blind to their present time and place where the sith truly has taken up residence leading the galaxy. By the time the order learns the truth it is too late and the order falls. Of course this is not to say you should outright ignore the future. This I fear may lead to your own personal demise. Say you are dueling a sith marauder in a cramped hall and eventually an equally cramped room. He's using a form of Juyo enveloping himself in the force, and you've focused entirely on Ataru which is far less effective in such tight spaces. There is a small lull in the combat created by a laser barrier. You drop deep into meditation to reconnect with the force and reenergize yourself. While in your meditation you feel a warning from the force about a near future occurrence, yet you ignore it to focus on the present. You are defeated in combat having ignored information that could have saved you. Of course this is all simply hypothetical seeing as you've already been convinced to take up Makashi to supplement your Ataru in your spare time, as well as force valor, and fighting sight. All of these could potentially prevent such a situation."
"That is a very disturbing situation you have described; however, I can see it has its merits, so I shall take this council to heart. Thank you." Qui-Gon replied begrudgingly.
"Neither of those hypothetical's are possible! The sith no longer exist. They are a myth, a legend simply used to scare younglings into proper performance." Obi-Wan countered incredulously.
Master Antilles grew more serious than either jedi had ever seen him as he glanced at Obi-Wan over his intertwined fingers, "The sith are far from a myth. A sith lord killed my mother and corrupted my father who eventually died saving my life from him. My first master was killed by a sith, who then in a later duel took my right hand. Another tortured my son who had idolized his torturer before the man's fall, he then attempted to hunt down his own parents, killed my wife, and attempted to corrupt the woman who had once loved his long deceased younger brother. They killed my great-grandson, and nearly corrupted his son. I've slain more sith than I care to remember. Do not assume that they do not exist simply because of their inactivity, that would be a mistake." He then muttered under his breath too low for his fellows to hear, "Though hopefully I can prevent these atrocities."
"My condolences Master, I did not know of your misfortunes." Obi-Wan replied dejectedly though slightly intrigued by the situations he described. He thought the order viewed such attachments as forbidden. He gazed out of the viewport again before changing the topic, "How do you think the viceroy will deal with the Supreme Chancellor's demands?"
Qui-Gon gave an easy shrug, "These Federation types are cowards. They will not be hard to persuade. The negotiations will be short."
Master Antilles heaved a deep sigh, "I certainly hope as much." He said agreeing partially with Qui-Gon, but at the same time sounding doubtful.
After about an hour of waiting Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon had each taken a seat across from one another at the conference table, "Is it customary for Nemoidians to make their guests wait this long?" Obi-Wan questioned.
Before he could receive an answer TC-14 returned with refreshments, which were placed before the jedi and sipped from. Qui-Gon nodded to the droid then looked at Obi-Wan, "I sense an unusual amount of maneuvering for something as trivial as this trade dispute. I sense fear as well."
"As I said there is more to this than you would expect." Master Antilles reiterated.
"Perhaps-" Obi-Wan began before they felt a disturbance in the force causing Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon to leap to their feet igniting their lightsabers. The droid backpedaled muttering apologies.
"What was that?" Obi-Wan asked his master.
Qui-Gon felt out with the force before replying, "It seems they've forced the retreat of our ship." He glanced around before swiftly noticing the hissing sounds coming from two vents near the door.
"Dioxin." Obi-Wan warned before he and Qui-Gon shut down their lightsabers and sucked in a large breath of air before holding their breaths. Master Antilles simply kept sipping his drink, a tea which was very popular on Cato Nemoidia at the present date explaining their choice in offering it to them, no matter the composition of the gas it paled in comparison to that which existed in the Jek Jek Tarr on Nar Shadaa.
After about five minutes of the gas moving through the room the doors shot open. TC-14 left the room mumbling apologies as he went then the jedi heard a nasally robotic voice say, "Check it out corporal." Another similar voice responded, "Roger, roger." Before hearing the clang of robotic feet hitting the floor, they didn't let it reach the room.
The two younger jedi leapt into action within the corridor, Qui-Gon cutting through half of the platoon of battle droids using the spinning and flipping slashes from Ataru mixed in with the occasional quick thrust coming from Makashi making quick work of the attacking droids as if they were made of flimsiplast, while Obi-Wan simply stood in a loose defensive stance moving his lightsaber in quick spherical arcs reminiscent of Ataru yet used in a way completely reliant on Soresu, perfectly reflecting every blaster bolt sent in their direction. As soon as they had finished decimating the platoon of battle droids they began to use Force Speed to rush down the corridors leading to the bridge, Qui-Gon slashing away and Obi-Wan simply reflecting blaster bolts and slamming the droids against the ship's bulkheads using the Force.
As the younger jedi rushed through the corridors, Master Antilles followed behind at a leisurely pace taking in his surroundings with the Force as he watched his compatriots. He watched as Obi-Wan covered his master's back while Qui-Gon shoved his lightsaber into the blast doors.
"Master destroyers!" Obi-Wan warned calling Qui-Gon from his task as they felt the droids coming in the distance, "Off hand, I'd say this mission is past the negotiations stage." Obi-Wan stated with a smile attempting to lighten the mood, as he and his master rushed down another corridor in flight from the destroyer droids.
The ten destroyers unfurled facing the bridge with their shields up, but they were too late, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon were gone so they attempted to turn and face Master Antilles, but he had already begun his attack. There was a popping sound between the first destroyer and its shield followed by a snap-hiss which precluded the droid collapsing in on itself, its internal mechanisms fried. Then with a twitch of his left hand he flattened the three remaining destroyers on each side into the bulkheads while sending the last three flying back about ten meters. Then waves of white electricity leapt from that hand and began dancing across those droids' shields. They tried to fire at the jedi, but every bolt fired simply dissipated as it made contact with the electricity. After half a minute the shields themselves dissipated and seconds later the droids collapsed, their inner systems no longer able to receive transmissions.
Once the destroyers were dealt with he approached the blast doors, after recalling his lightsaber. He placed his hand on the place where Qui-Gon's lightsaber had turned the steelcrete into molten slag. It swiftly cooled to a point far lower in temperature than the rest of the blast door, while his hand began to glow with the energy he had absorbed. He then stepped back and observed the blast doors searching for a shatterpoint which he found soon enough in a crease connecting the two doors just above the previous molten area. He smashed his super heated fist through the shatterpoint and using the force to augment his strength as well as telekinetically gripping the doors and pulling with considerable force he was able to wrench the doors free from their home and dropped them to his feet before walking nonchalantly onto the bridge.
As he entered the bridge he saw Nute Gunray speaking with Queen Amidala, "I know nothing about any ambassadors. You must be mistaken."
Master Antilles took this moment to introduce himself, "My apologies, your majesty, I am jedi master Ben Antilles I was sent to oversee the ambassadors on their mission."
"It seems you have lied to us Viceroy. So tell me Master Jedi when can we expect an end to this ridiculous exercise?" The Queen questioned.
Ben frowned and sighed disappointedly at this question, "I apologize again your majesty, but as I said before I was sent simply to oversee the negotiations not participate, and as such I am unprepared for that particular responsibility. Unfortunately, the negotiators met with a degree of hostility a short while ago and were forced to flee. Though rest assured this situation will be resolved in your favor within a week, two at the most. Myself and my compatriots will contact you shortly after we make landfall and so for now farewell." And so with that Ben vanished with nothing more than a resounding 'pop'.
In the main hanger bay
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan crouched in the opening of a large circulation vent looking down at a large army of battle droids. All of a sudden a pop sounded behind them and both turned, lightsabers at the ready and prepared for an attack before they saw who it was and let out a sigh of relief.
They both turned back to the droids as Qui-Gon said, "Nice of you to join us Master Antilles."
"My apologies Master Jinn, but I had other duties to take care of, much like we too have other duties to take care of."
"It appears to be an invasion army." Obi-Wan stated at that cue.
"It's an odd play for the Trade Federation." Qui-Gon intoned.
"The question is: what are we going to do about it. What say you Obi-Wan?" Ben asked testing him.
"Hm, we should probably split up and sneak aboard their ships."
"Whatever we do we must do it quickly." Qui-Gon barked.
"You were right about one thing master, the negotiations were short." This drew a surprising, small smile from all three.
AN: Alright I'm sorry that it took me so long to update this but with ZERO reviews I was kind of discouraged, I probably won't feel like updating again until I get a few. Sorry guys I'm not trying to strong arm you or hold the story hostage but it is kind of discouraging to have that many views and yet no reviews.
On another note, now that his name is out there I want you all to try and guess Jedi Master Ben Antilles true identity, though it really shouldn't be hard. And if anyone figures it out can they tell me if he's being ooc? I'm not sure I'll be able to change it beyond what I already had planned but it's still nice to know for the future.