Don't know why, but my viewcount just went up. And I got a review. So is is encouraging me to keep going. On with the story.

Chapter 11

A year later...

Yoda flicked an ear, then slowly raised himself of the ground in his meditation chambers.

"Master Windu?"

The door hissed softly open. The Korun Master slowly walked in.

"Master Yoda." Mace Windu bowed.

Yoda returned the bow. "Summoned you here for a reason, I have." With a flick of his wrist, he activated a small holo.

A Twilek padawan flickered to life, wearing a blindfold and surrounded by training droids. With amazing skill and perception, she deflected bolts with blinding speed.

Mace Windu rubbed his chin. "Padawan Tae So? What about her?"

Yoda waved a hand. "No. Not the point, Tae So is. Merely an example, she is."

He touched another button, and the feed changed. The date scrolled forward a month or two, and there she was again, fighting the droids.

But her performance was terrible. Ineffectively, she blundered about, waving her lightsaber around. Again and again, she was stunned by the droids.

"Yoda?" Mace frowned. He reached out with the force to replay the video, but nothing happened. Pulling deeper into the force, he touched the button.

The diminutive little master laughed. "You see, my friend. In Padawan Tae So is not the problem. In the force is the problem."

Mace Windu held his hand in front of his face and flexed it a few times. "The force as, of late, been extemely positive. All force sensitives I see are glowing with light."

Yoda shook his head. "Unbalanced, the force has become. The stronger the light becomes, the weaker the dark becomes."

Windu frowned again. "Doesn't that mean good for us?"

Yoda shook his head. "If the dark dies, then the light force dies as well. They exist with each other." He looked out the window over Coroscant. "The force has not chosen for its host a sentient being for a million years. Trees. Plants. Animals. But never a sentient."

Mace Windu looked shocked. "You mean... Asher is the root of the problem?"

"Say that I did not," Yoda chided. "He is not at fault. We have let the force disconnect itself."

"You mean..." Mace whispered, "We must get rid of him?"

Yoda drooped his head. "The only way I see out, that is. All other paths are surrounded by darkness."

He paused, then took a deep breath. "But the only problem he brings, that is not. The force choosing a sentient for its host is significant of something. Fulfill his destiny, the chosen one will."

Mace Windu took a breath. "You mean..."

Yoda waved a hand to silence him. "'Balance the Force', the prophecy said."

After a long pause, Mace Windu stood up, gathering his robes. "I must meditate on this," he frowned, and began to leave.

Yoda stopped him. "My old Padawan, one thing to know you still have."

The two met eyes.

"To an end, this Jedi order is approaching. With it, we will go. The force has spoken."

An apprentice. Any would do, Dooku, Ventress. Anyone who would pull through... To get his revenge. Growling in anger, Sidious drove his strongest angers into keeping the dark side of the force alive, not caring that the dark forces spread like a beacon, sending shockwaves of force energy throughout the galaxy.

It would be so easy. To pick up the COMM and growl, "Execute Order 66". At least he would have his revenge.

No. Patience was the way of the Sith. But if the Dark Lord himself was struggling to keep the wavering light forces at bay, then how would his apprentices fare?

He sank deeper into concentration.

There was a roar of engines as Asher furiously used the force to levitate a welding device and fire it. Anakin, nearby, was similarily welding a plate onto their custom fighter.

Asher had gotten his way after all, an ARC-170. Anakin had overseen the modifications, from Asher's original template that he'd dreamed up during a force meditation. Sleek, fast and deadly, with heavy weapons. It even had room for extra cargo, fellow clones or Jedi, and sleeping compartments.

That is, Anakin thought sourly, 2x0.5x0.5 meter compartment could be called a sleeping compartment. Cargo was shoved into inconvenient spots underneath everything, and passengers had to lie in a cramped compartment next to the R2 slot. Not an inch of space was wasted, and everything was stored efficiently. And definately not comfortably.

"That's the final plate, master," Asher shouted above the roar of the engines and hissing of the welders. Asher jumped down and turned off the welder.

Anakin forced a smile. "Wanna test fly?"

Asher grinned. Only on special occasions did Anakin let him fly as pilot, and he was going to take the opportunity. "Can we take R2?"

Anakin shrugged.

Asher whistled, and Artoo Deetoo emerged from behind a heavy chunk of machinery, where he had been controlling the welder. Activating his boosters, he jetted a few meters into the air and entered the R2 slot, beeping cheerily.

Anakin usually wasn't this lax, Asher noticed. He was extra morose today. And docile. Insults that would have his master fuming in mock anger resulted in a tired sigh, or no response at all.

Had everyone gone insane? Or was it just Asher. Aubrie had been moping lately, exhausted for some unknown reason. The Padawans and younglings no longer had their childish games. Even Yoda seemed - if it were possible - older.

Asher dismissed the problems. Everyone had their idiosyncrasies.

Aubrie snapped off her saber and bowed. "That was a good duel, master."

Aubrie's master - a tall female Nautolian - bowed back.

"Your skill is increasing slowly, Padawan," she said, as she flicked off her own saber. "Too slowly. Something is wrong."

Aubrie nodded dumbly.

"Not with you. With the Jedi."

Aubrie burst out. "No! I was going so well before, than I just dropped. It's my -"

The Nautolian chuckled. "Aubrie. So quick to blame yourself. No, something is wrong with the force. Master Yoda and Windu are discussing it."

Aubrie looked puzzled, then realization dawned. She remembered the day Anakin, Asher and she had gone to the caves of Illum, when Asher had built his saber. And that eerie glow in the force, now long gone.

Aubrie's master frowned. "I must meditate," she mused. "You may go."

Aubrie nodded. Asher had been asking the senior Padawans to come down to Dexter's, and she wasn't planning on missing out.

She hurried to her dormitory, selected a dark brown cloak and belt. Quickly changing, she went out to the hangars.

The entire hangar was empty, except for two R3 units welding a broken fighter together, with an engineer supervising. Aubrie went past them and picked a speeder bike.

Normally, she would take public transport with the rest of the padawans, but she had to run an errand. But she was going to Dexters first.

Soaring above Corosuant, she considered her options. She could spend the normal amount at Dexter's, and risk running out of credits for the energy cells her master had requested, or buy less and run the risk of running out.

No. She'd just ask Asher for a loan.

Sliding the speeder neatly into place, she entered.

Dexter's was an unruly place, space pilots and locals milling around. Anakin had originally introduced the restaurant to Asher and Aubrie while serving as her short-term master. Asher loved it, and introduced it to all his friends. Dexter enjoyed the steady stream of customers from the Jedi temple, and welcomed them every time.

One of the Padawans, Che'nae - the girl Asher had bumped into, starting the chase in the Jedi temple - waved to Aubrie from a table. Che'nae and Asher had made fast friends after that. In fact, so did everyone else.

"Hey, Aubrie," Che'nae grinned. "Good to see you managed to get out."

Aubrie forced a grin, but inwardly she thought she shouldn't have come. She wasn't in the mood.

The rest of the meal passed as a blur. Aubrie hardly remembered much of it, except Dexter's friendly face popping up constantly asking if anyone wanted a refill. It irked Aubrie somehow.

Eventually, she could stand it no longer, excused herself and left, under the excuse of running a mission for her master.

No, and she didn't have enough credits. But she couldn't go in there and face the other Padawans, or ask Asher for some money.

Black market, she decided, as she wheeled her speeder round a corner, and began to drop into the lower levels of Coroscant.

"And then," Che'nae laughed, "my master hit a water tank and got absolutely soaked!"

The entire group of Padawans burst into laughter.

"You pranked your master that badly?" grinned another boy, slicking his hand through his hair. "I am so going to do that."

Asher was just about to shoot in another comment about a prank he'd played on Anakin a few nights earlier that had backfired and landed Master Windu in the -


It was Aubrie's voice. Clearly. A call through the force.

The other Padawans heard it to. Asher jerked to his feet.

"Who... Who was that?" Che'nae breathed.

"Aubrie," Asher snapped. "She's in trouble."

Sorry for the late update. I've been busy recently.

Kmj170, out.