Saga A Glimmer of Hope (AU, ANH, Luke, Leia, Han, Mara, Obi-wan, Anakin, many more)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by JABrown, Nov 4, 2012.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. JABrown Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2004
    star 1
    Taglist - @Lady_Misty , @bentheswguy
    Chapter 11

    With a final click, the magnetic lock collapsed and the door to Luke's cell whirred open. He stood there for a moment, listening carefully, then stepped out into the ship's corridor.

    He had been working on the door for a couple of hours now, using a piece of metal wiring he had broken from the bed. He said a silent thanks to his friend Whistler - if the thief hadn't taught Luke how to pick a standard magnetic lock, he'd never have gotten out.

    Tiptoeing carefully, he made his way down the corridor. He glanced in every room he came to, checking either for the presence of his captor or something he could use as a weapon. Most of the rooms seemed to be empty, though a large storage room filled with unmarked cases seemed to suggest he was aboard a smuggler’s ship.

    As he turned the corner into another featureless corridor, he froze at the sound of grunts and groans coming from somewhere up ahead. Pressing his back against the wall, Luke eased down the wall until he reached an open archway. The sounds seemed to be coming from inside. Dropping down to his haunches, he put one hand on the archway’s cold metallic frame and peered around it. What he saw made him gasp.

    Inside the room, the woman who had caught him was working through some kind of strange martial art. Dressed in a very revealing body suit, which left little to the imagination, her body flowed through a series of exotic moves, twisting and turning in the artificial light. Luke could only crouch down and stare at her, captivated.

    Lifting one foot high in the air, she propelled herself forward, catching her weight on her hands and sommersaulting into the air. Half way through her tumbling mid-air spin, she kicked out suddenly, both of her legs stretched out straight. She landed with her legs split, her hands supporting her weight. As he watched, astonished, she flexed her arms once, twice, then was somehow able to spring upwards, spinning in the air again and landing on her hands.

    It was all he could do to tear his eyes away from her, but he forced himself to look around the room. His attention was drawn to a silver and black cylinder on the side of a unit close by. Her lightsabre! This was his chance. Keeping a close eye on his captor, who now seemed to be fighting with some unseen opponent, he waited for her to turn her back to him and ran into the room.

    He reached the unit just as she turned back around. He would have sworn her eyes met his just as he ducked behind it, but when he risked a quick glance over the top, he saw that she was still engaged in her exercise.

    Ducking back down, he reached up his hand, feeling along the wood for the metal tube. Come on, come on, he prayed, straining for the sabre. Come to me, come on, where are you? He reached out with his mind, imagining the sabre in his hand. If he could just…

    Suddenly, he felt the metal against his palm. Clutching his fingers tight around it, he quickly drew his arm back. He crouched there, staring at the beautiful hilt. He found the button that would turn it on, but he hesitated. If he did this, if he attacked her... He might have to hurt her. He might even have to kill her. Can I do that? He didn’t know. Telling himself that it wouldn’t come to that, he closed his eyes, preparing himself for what he was about to do.

    "Are you just going to sit there stroking that or do you plan on using it any time soon?"

    Luke scrambled backwards, his eyes snapping open. His kidnapper stood over him, her smile taunting.

    “Get back,” he said, struggling to his feet and pointing the lightsabre at her.

    “Ooh, what are you going to do, Son of Skywalker? I’m just a poor, defenceless woman.”

    A surge of anger overwhelmed him. She’s making fun of me. With a snap hiss, a green blade appeared from the end of the sabre. He tried to steady his hand.

    “Don’t come any closer,” he repeated.

    Her face changed, her sneer replaced by a snarl. “You want to play, do you?” She reached behind her, unhooking something, and when her hand reappeared, she held another sabre in her palm. She activated it, revealing a red ruby blade. “Alright then, let’s play.”

    She lunged forward, her blade hissing towards his head. He stumbled back, bringing his blade up, his hand guided by fear. To his surprise, he parried her blow, more by accident than intent. The sizzle of the two blades’ meeting left a hint of ozone hanging in the air. His opponent took a step back, more amused than surprised.

    “So, you do have a backbone after all,” she said. “That should make this much more interesting.”

    She surged forward, her blade moving round in an arc towards his head. He raised his own blade to catch hers, but her arm moved as quick as lightning on the Dune Sea. Before he knew what was happening, her blade was speeding towards his belly. He jumped back, his feet landing at an unnatural angle. He felt something pop in his ankle and he stumbled back, almost falling to the deck. He reached down, clutching at his strained ligament.

    “Did that hurt, farmboy?”

    He shook his head, standing up and taking a step back. She danced towards him again, the point of her lightsabre darting towards his arms, his belly, his face. Her arm looked like a snake. Luke realised that she was backing him towards the wall, but he couldn’t do anything except take careful step after careful step, keeping his sabre half raised towards her. She’s going to kill me, he thought.

    The blade of her lightsabre scythed towards his head again. This time, he managed to get his blade in the way in time, but the impact almost drove his lightsabre from his hands. “You’re going to have to do better than this, Son of Skywalker. Come on. Use your feelings. Use your hatred, your anger, your fear.”

    “I’m not afraid.”

    “Really?” She smirked. “You know that I can sense your feelings, don’t you? I could feel you, looking at me earlier on. I could sense your lust.”

    She stopped moving forward, her lightsabre dropping slightly. Her free hand started to caress the collar of her bodysuit, a single finger running over her lips. Sliding the length of her body, her hand moved down over her breasts, across her uncovered midrift, then began to softly caress her hip. His eyes were glued to her fingers as they trailed across a bare patch of skin. “Tell me, Luke,” she whispered. “Have you ever been with a woman?”

    He swallowed. His voice was hoarse when he spoke. “Stop it. I know what you’re doing.”

    “I’m just asking you a question”, she pouted. “Well? Have you?”

    “I…”

    “You haven’t, have you? You’d like to, though, wouldn’t you? I could feel it as you crouched behind the door, I could feel your eyes roving over my body, burning with desire...” She stepped towards him. “Would you like to touch me, Luke?”

    He looked up into her eyes and felt his hand begin to drift upwards. Then he saw something in her eyes, the mearest hint of a smirk. He realised she was toying with him. He felt another surge of anger – closer to fury this time – that washed up and over him, overwhelming whatever effect she was having on him, overwhelming his fear. He allowed the anger to feed itself, felt it strengthen him. He could feel – something – building within him. With a roar, he surged forward, gripping the sabre with both hands.

    The element of surprise more than any ability on his side carried him the first few steps. His opponent was forced back, her lightsabre mo ing just fast enough to deflect his battering blows. Ozone filled the air and the crackle of phased energy against phased energy filled Luke’s ears. He roared again as he used his superior height and strength to force her even further back.

    Her superior technique and experience was always going to work in her favour, though. With a few simple twists of her hand, she disarmed him, sending his lightsabre skittering across the floor. She kicked out, taking his legs out from under him. Before he knew what was happening, Luke found himself on his knees, the tip of her blade at his neck.

    “That… was interesting,” she said, out of breath. “Unfortunately, I don’t have time to play anymore.”

    She waved a hand. Luke felt the very air harden around him and lift him to his feet. Then he was floating off the ground and something was tightening around his throat. He reached up to try and tear whatever was choking him from his neck. His captor began to laugh, her fingers clenching into a fist. He kicked out wildly, darkness already beginning to gather around the edges of his vision.

    Suddenly, she waved her hand to the side. Luke flew across the room, his head striking the bulkhead, hard. Darkness rushed in, then stars, then nothing. The last thing he heard was her laughter echoing in his ears.

    ***

    Mara stopped above Skywalker’s prone body and tapped a finger on her lips. That had been… interesting. Disappointing, but interesting.

    She had been expecting something more from the boy. After everything she had heard about Anakin Skywalker and his strength in the Force… Towards the end there he had begun to show a hint of his potential, but it had fizzled out so quickly that it might as well have been nothing. She shrugged. There would be more than enough time once he was back on Coruscant to turn him into whatever her master required him to be. Plenty of time before his father tracked him down and her master got everything he wanted.

    Deactivating her lightsabre, she hooked it behind her, hanging from her belt. Stepping over Skywalker, she headed for the door. She left the other lightsabre behind on the floor – if Skywalker wanted to have another go at her when he woke up, all the better. It couldn’t hurt to start his training a little early.

    Out in the corridor, she wrinkled her nose. The whole ship stank of Rodian. The two smugglers she had stolen the shop from now floated in the sewerage tunnels below Mos Eisley, but their scent still seemed to infect the walls. Trying to breath through her mouth, she walked rapidly down the corridor and up a couple of steps into the bridge module.

    An insistent beeping sound filled the small circular chamber as she arrived. It took Mara a moment to realise that it was coming from the comm unit on the far wall. She crossed the bridge and dropped to her haunches, studying the readouts. She felt a surge of adrenaline when she recognised the signal encoding. The incoming transmission was coming from Coruscant.

    Pressing a series of buttons to decipher the code matrix, she stepped back as the comm unit lit up, projecting a life-size hologram into the middle of the room. Mara fell to her knees as her master stared at her across the gulfs of space.

    “My master,” she breathed.

    “Rise, Hand Jade.”

    She stood up on trembling knees, daring to look up at the cloaked figure. Two golden eyes glowed from beneath the shadows of the hood, seeming to pierce her. She sensed his presence in the Force grow stronger in the back of her mind as he smiled.

    “You succeeded?”

    “I did, master. I have Skywalker’s son, here on this ship. We are two days away from Coruscant and should be arriving…”

    “That is why I am contacting you, my Hand,” the Emperor interrupted her. “The Son of Skywalker cannot be brought to Coruscant, not now. It would be too much of a risk with the Alliance on world, especially with his mother as part of the diplomatic delegation. The final part of our project is at hand, I will not allow anything to ruin it.”

    “Of course, master. I will take him to Korriban instead.”

    “No! No. I do not trust the priests to teach him what he needs to know. No, I wish for the Son of Skywalker to begin his training at the hands of a true Sith. You are to change course and take him to Corellia. Darth Vidius is waiting there with our new weapon. He will take the boy off your hands.”

    Mara’s jaw tightened. Darth Vidius?! No! The Emperor saw her reaction and he chuckled. “You should not be jealous of my apprentice, Mara Jade.”

    “I am not jealous, master,” she said quickly. “I… I do not trust him.”

    “And well you should not, my young Hand. We are Sith. Trust is not the way of the Dark Side. Do you think I trust any of you?” He laughed again. Then his voice hardened. “Nevertheless, you will take the Son of Skywalker to Corellia. It will give you the opportunity to see the final part of the Project in person and report back to me on the progress of our little surprise.”

    Though her every instinct screamed out for her to object, to fall on her knees and beg her master to change his mind, fear held her in check. She dropped to her knees again. “I obey, of course, my master.”

    “I know you do, Mara Jade,” he said, his holographic hand resting on her head. “You always have.”

    She felt a surge of pleasure through the Force, allowing a tiny gasp to escape her lips. Gone as quickly as it had come, the surge left her trembling. She looked up at her master. He was smiling.

    “Contact me when you reach Corellia, Mara Jade. I will have new orders for you.”

    She bowed her head. “May the Force serve you, master.”

    “And you, my Hand.”

    His holographic presence faded away, but his presence through the Force lingered a moment longer. He maintained this link with all of his Hands – a constant presence in the back of their minds. Some claimed that Darth Sidious could use that link to read his Hand’s minds, to see through their eyes, even to kill them at distance. Most assumed it was the reason why no Hand had ever been captured alive. Mara didn’t know how true the rumours were, and she did not care. She had no fear of her master’s displeasure – her loyalty was beyond question, the loyalty of an adopted daughter for the man who had raised and cared for her.

    Still… Darth Vidius. She could not understand why her master persisted with his obsession. The Tantiss Project had been a disaster from beginning to end, leading only to madness, pain and death. Vidius may be an improvement on her master’s previous apprentices, but only by a little. And now she was to hand the Son of Skywalker over to the man. Why did her master continue to trust him?

    She channeled her frustration into pure rage. Rage and anger fueled her and she embraced them, as she embraced her healthy fear of her master. Her emotions gave her strength. They gave her power.

    Sitting down, she manipulated the ship’s commands, pulling it out of hyperspace. The blue tunnel of light before her collapsed into a starfield. She quickly checked her sensors – there wasn’t a single star within a dozen light years from her location.

    Calling up the ship’s navigational charts, she checked her course. Following the Imperial Corridor would take her directly to the Core systems. That seemed to be the easiest solution.

    She calculated the vector and laid the course into the nav computer. Once she was satisfied that there were no hidden dangers along the route, she engaged the hyperdrive again. The stars spun around her, then snapped into long lines of pure white light. Revolving, they eventually coalesced into the familiar blue hyperrealm.

    She sat back in her chair. Her anger still raged, but she knew that without an outlet, it would simply burn itself out. If she was going to be facing Vidius, she needed her anger. She needed to be ready when she faced him. If he gave her an opportunity to kill him… She smiled. It wouldn’t be the first time she had been forced to slaughter a pretender to the title of Sith apprentice.

    Her smile hardened as she realised a perfect way to stoke her anger. Standing, she reached behind herself, using the Force to draw her lightsabre into her hand.

    It was time to wake young Skywalker again.
  2. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    I was guessing that the apprentice was going to be Luke, but now I'm not so sure. This Vidius guy sounds like one creepy darth.
    Great chapter, I enjoyed both POVs.
    Lady_Misty likes this.
  3. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    LOL I was with Hazel - that's why I mentioned personal implications -- re: Mara [face_laugh] =D=
  4. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    Oh boy, this day just got worse.

    I look forward to meeting this Darth Vidius guy.
    Jade_eyes likes this.
  5. bentheswguy Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    Darth Vidious ey??? Sounds interesting apparently him and Mara have a history? Oh and Mara is such a tease haha good work, keep it up!
  6. JABrown Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2004
    star 1
    @Hazel - Glad I was able to surprise you (and a few others apparently, ie the Sith apprentice). Of course that doesn't mean that the Emperor doesn't have those kinds of plans for Luke in the long run. Who know what goes on in Palpatine's twisted little mind! :) We'll be seeing Vidius eventually. Thanks for the comment, glad you enjoyed the chapter!

    @Jade_eyes - Yes, that would have had more personal implications! ;) Glad you enjoyed the twist as well!

    @Lady_Misty - Yep, things are not looking up for the Alliance with this new Darth on the scene. As I said to Hazel above, Darth Vidius will definitely be making an appearance in the upcoming chapters. Thanks!

    @bentheswguy - Thanks for the comment! Yes, Vidius and Mara have a little bit of a history, mainly centering on the fact that they both want Palpatine's approval. I thought it seemed logical that Mara-as-Sith would use this kind of "trick" on Luke as a way of beginning to turn him. Plus, as she says, it gives her something to do!

    A new chapter coming up later tonight as we return to Anakin and Obi-wan back on Tatooine.
  7. JABrown Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2004
    star 1
    Taglist - @Lady_Misty , @bentheswguy

    Chapter 12

    Anakin cursed as the hydrospanner slipped from his grasp. He went to catch it, leaning backwards and almost tumbling off the tiny shelf where he sat. Grabbing a hold of the nearest pipe at the last moment, he pulled himself back to a secure position, face pressed against the cold metal, and waited for the sound of metal on metal as the spanner hit the deck.

    It never came.

    He looked round to find the spanner spinning slowly just within reach. He leant out and picked it out of thin air, then glanced down.

    Obi-wan grinned up at him. "You're welcome."

    Anakin scowled and turned back to the hyperdrive. He had a fleeting urge to throw the spanner at his old friend, but he knew it would be pointless. He'll probably throw it back with the Force.

    "What do you want, Ben?" They had both decided to keep up their pretense even when they were alone, just in case someone walked in.

    "I came to see whether you were alright, after..."

    After you told me my son is some kind of fulcrum of the Force? After I found out Master Yoda died making a prophecy about my family? After you revealed that my son and my daughter are...

    No. He wouldn't go there. He concentrated on the drive instead. At least this is something I can fix. I can control.

    "I'm fine."

    "Listen, Anakin, about what I told you, you need to know that..."

    The sound of running feet saved Anakin from hearing any more of what Ben had to say. Both men turned in time to see Greedo burst through the hanging bay door, out of breath, his eyes wild. He folded almost in half with his hands on his haunches, his whole body shaking.

    "Captain… wants you… roof,” the Rodian said through wheezing breaths.

    The roof? "What the hell for?"

    "Imps."

    ***

    Anakin ran up the stairs after the Rodian. His lungs burned with every step. His last bacta inhalation treatment was only a few days old, but if things carried on the way they had so far, he was going to have to schedule another one.

    That was, of course, if they didn't get arrested in the next few minutes.

    Imperials! On Tatooine? How was that even possible? Tatooine was protected under the Corellia Accords. He glanced back at Obi-wan, wondering whether his former master had something to do with it.

    When they reached the rooftop, they found Ana and the bear-like Oath lying on their bellies, peering down at the streets below. Ana turned and motioned for them to drop down and join them. Anakin shared a look with Obi-wan - we're getting too old for this. Still, amidst much muffled groaning, they managed to drop to their hands and knees, and crawled over to where the crewman and captain waited.

    "Took you long enough," Ana whispered.

    "It was all the Rodian's fault," Anakin said.

    "Slowed us down," Obi-wan quipped.

    Ana glanced at them. "You two should start a double-act. Tour the galaxy."

    "Maybe you'd like to start by entertaining those troops," Oath growled.

    All three of them looked at one other sheepishly, then turned their attention to the streets below.

    The familiar white armour of Clonetrooper uniforms filled the warren of Mos Espa. Anakin vaguely remembered hearing somewhere that Palpatine had changed the name to Stormtroopers. He snorted. Palptaine had always had a flair for the dramatic - Grand Army of the Republic, Emperor Palpatine, Stormtroopers... Shaking his head, Anakin returned his attention back to the oncoming troops.

    "When did they arrive?"

    "Two hours ago. They flew in on shuttles and seized the mayor's mansion. From what Ji-abi was able to find out, they're claiming the whole planet."

    "The Alliance won't let that happen," Obi-wan said.

    "You don't sound so sure of yourself."

    He shrugged. "Well how could I be? I'm only an engineer."

    Anakin glared at him, then turned to look at Ana. "What are we going to do?"

    "We'll wait until they finish inspecting all the hangars and then we'll blow this joint.”

    "But how are you going to stop them inspecting the Venture?"

    "Why would I want to do that?" Ana seemed confused. "I'm in between jobs, so I don't have any contraband on board. I have a very elaborate false flight plan ready. There's nothing to worry about.

    Anakin and Obi-wan shared a look. Ana frowned and looked from one to the other. "What? What aren't you telling me?"

    "You can't let those imperials find us, Ana."

    "Ani, what is going on?"

    Anakin looked at Obi-wan, then sighed, nodding. Obi-wan reached into his cloak and slid out his lightsabre. He rolled it over to Ana. She looked at it for a moment, then picked it up between the tip of her forefinger and thumb, holding it as if it were a rattlesnake. She just stared at it for a moment, eyes wide with disbelief.

    "Oh Goddess." She looked up at both of them. "It was true? All that about being a Jedi and Luke and... Oh Goddess, how could I have been so stupid?"

    "Ana, listen I..."

    "I don't want to hear it, Skywalker,” she snapped. “You lied to me. Worse, you've put my ship and my crew in danger."

    "Well, what did you expect?” Anakin snarled back. “We tried telling you the truth, you didn't believe us. What were we supposed to do?"

    "Showing me this would have been a good start.” She ran a shaking hand through her hair. “All this time? You've been keeping this from me?"

    "I... I'm not that man anymore, Ana. I wanted to leave all of that behind."

    "Well, you're doing a smack-up job of it."

    "Not to interrupt your little spat," Obi-wan said, "but I think we have a problem."

    Anakin followed Obi-wan's gaze. A squad of 'troopers were marching towards their hangar bay, led by two humans, a Gand... and a Hutt.

    "Mysthu!" he cursed. He looked at Obi-wan. "They followed us."

    "Friends of yours?" Ana asked as Obi-wan nodded. Anakin sighed.

    "You could say that,” he said. “I almost killed one of them yesterday."

    "Wonderful. You've really put me in the poodoo now, Ani." She shook her head. "Still, I guess the damage is already done. The question now is what do we do about it?"

    Before Anakin could say anything, Obi-wan spoke up. "You get Anakin off this planet. I'll take care of them."

    "I don't think so," Anakin started to say.

    Obi-wan put a hand on his shoulder. "I brought this trouble to your doorstep, Ani. Let me do what I can. Your son is waiting for you."

    Anakin blinked. The back of his eyes prickled. "You called me Ani. You never call me Ani."

    Obi-wan smiled. "I'm not the same man, anymore, Anakin."

    Anakin looked into his old master's eyes for a long moment, searching. Then he nodded. "I can see that."

    "Sorry to interrupt this touching moment of male bonding but..." Ana inclined her head to the 'troopers who were drawing closer and closer.

    "Alright," Obi-wan said, taking his lightsabre back from Ana and gathering his robes. "Get down to the ship and get it ready. I'll delay those troopers as long as I can."

    Ana and the Chaol nodded and began to crawl backwards towards the door that led back down into the bay. Anakin, though, hesitated.

    "You asked me for my help, Anakin. This is it."

    He pressed something round and hard into Anakin's palm. When Anakin looked down, he found a small comm unit. He looked up at Obi-wan, confused.

    "This will lead you to my contact once you reach the Run. He'll see you safe to Coruscant."

    "Obi-wan, I --"

    "Attention Bay 352. This city is now under the jurisdiction of the Galactic Empire. Prepare for inspection."

    "Go," Obi-wan hissed and pushed his old friend away. Anakin stumbled to his feet, looked back at Obi-wan for a single second, then he ran.

    ***

    Obi-wan watched Anakin vanish through the doorway. He allowed himself a thin smile - perhaps after this, he would be able to let go of the guilt he had carried with him every day since Anakin left Naboo. Perhaps the Force would finally give him some peace.

    Mastering his thoughts, he closed his eyes for a few short seconds, allowing the Force to wash through and fill him. The reassuring bond gave him a measure of solace, the conviction that he was doing the right thing. Opening his eyes, he turned and leapt off the top of the hangar bay.

    Obi-wan allowed the Force to hold him, slowing his fall and landing him softly on the street in front of the hangar bay. As his feet touched the ground, he ignited his lightsabre, staring through the haze of brilliant green light at the gathered imperials before him.

    He stretched out with his feelings.

    As was to be expected, the clonetroopers themselves were calm, though a hint of anticipation tinged their feelings. He sensed more intense emotions from the gang members who had accompanied them – fear, excitement, anger, menace. Pulsing through that maelstrom of differing emotions was an intense thirst for revenge. Revenge against him and Anakin for their humiliation.

    Not that they were looking to face him directly, of course. They had all moved swiftly as possible to get out of the way the moment he had appeared, the Hutt in particular slithering out of sight with surprising speed. His whining tones now made themselves heard from behind the nearest wall.

    "That's one of them, boss. He's one of them Jedi."

    "Thank you,” the lead trooper said drily, eyeing Kenobi’s sabre. “A highly useful piece of information. If you hadn’t been here, we would never have known.”

    Interesting, Kenobi thought with an inner smile. Looks like Fett’s personality is asserting itself in these new models.

    Before he could pursue the thought, the trooper took a step towards him, hands raised. “We don't want any trouble, Master Jedi."

    "Of course you don't," Obi-wan retorted with a tight smile. "That's why you've surrounded this hangar bay and have your blasters pointed at me."

    "A precaution," the trooper said, “nothing more. Now, if you'll let us past, I'm sure we can discuss this unfortunate situation and come to some kind of a solution."

    They negotiate as well. Still, he shook his head.

    "Oh, you're not getting inside."

    The leader’s whole stance changed, becoming more threatening. "I can assure you, Master Jedi, we will. You may have the Force, but you're only one man." His voice hardened. "And we’ve had lots of practice against Jedi. Now. Let us through."

    The quip about practice against Jedi firmed Obi-wan’s resolve. He shifted his own stance to match the trooper’s. "No."

    Obi-wan would have sworn the trooper hesitated. Then he shook his head. "Very well."

    He must have had some kind of silent signalling system in his helmet, because the moment he finished speaking his troop went on the attack. Spreading out to cut off every exit, they began to fire their blasters. Obi-wan swept his lightsabre around in a wide arc, the Force allowing him to perfectly time his movement to deflect every single blaster bolt. Then he dropped back a step, allowing the troopers to move towards him.

    Hurry up Anakin, he thought as the Force enfolded him and began to guide his movements. Began to guide him towards his inevitable death.

    ***

    The sound of blaster fire echoed through the hangar bay.

    Anakin sensed Ana glance at him from the other side of the hyperdrive. "I'm sure he'll be alright,” she said. “He’s a Jedi.”

    Anakin found he couldn't meet her eyes. Gaze locked on the malfunctioning machine, he shook his head. "No. He won't be." But thanks to him, we will.

    Oath shouted suddenly from the doorway where he was standing guard, a blaster rifle in both hands. "He's... He's holding them off! For now.” He looked over at them. “How much longer?"

    Anakin reattached three wires, tightening them with a laserplaz welder. That should do it. He pushed the unit back into the hull. Or tried to, at least. It stuck. He pressed on it with all of his strength, but the damned thing wouldn't budge. The screws that held it together began to groan, but he just kept on pushing. He would make it work, if it was the last thing he did. He --

    Ana's hand suddenly appeared on top of his. He looked up. She was smiling at him sadly. Without saying a word, she tipped her hand back and forth, rocking the unit slightly. After a few seconds, it slid easily into its socket. She didn’t let go of his hand, squeezing it until he met her eyes.

    “Go,” she said.

    "Wh- What?"

    "Go help your friend."

    He shook his head. "But what about --"

    She smiled and squeezed his hand. "We'll get you out, don't worry."

    He still hesitated. If he did this, he was putting all of their lives in danger not just his. He might be wasting Obi-wan's sacrifice. And he might be putting paid to his chance of saving Luke. At the end of the day, though, he realised he didn't really have a choice.

    Leaning forward, he kissed Ana gently on the lips. "Thank you."

    "You're welcome. Now move. And get your ass back here in one piece."

    "I'll do my best."

    He jumped down from the small shelf and ran across the hangar to the door. He stopped, catching his breath. Oath looked up at him in surprise, but before he could ask him what was going on, Ana called out from the ship’s hatch, ordering him to move his mangy butt over to the ship. The big hairy alien seemed to hesitate, then shook his head, grumbling about damned humans before heading towards the ship. Anakin watched him go, then turned to the door.

    Peered round the doorframe, all he could see was a hail of light. The troopers fired round after round at Obi-wan, who knocked back every bolt with economy of motion. His every twitch was designed to maximise his effectiveness. The sight brought back memories of the Wars, of fighting side by side with Obi-wan against the separatists. Of course back then, the clones had been on their side.

    That was a long time ago.

    Pulling his lightsabre from his cloak, Anakin ignited it and waded into the fray.

    ***

    A sweep of his lightsabre sawed off the barrel of the nearest stormtrooper’s blaster rifle. Obi-wan spun on both feet, his hands snapping down and around, catching three or four laser blasts and ricocheting them back at the oncoming ‘troopers. Coming back face to face with the group of soldiers, he reached out with the Force, giving two nearby clones a hard shove, pushing them back into their companions and sending the whole bunch tumbling into a mess of arms and legs.

    His muscles ached, despite the Force flowing through him. All he wanted was to let his arms drop, let them take him. But he couldn't. Not until he was sure Anakin was safe.

    As if the thought had summoned him, a green blade hissed into existence beside his. He glanced to the side and saw his old apprentice stood beside him, both feet planted firmly on the ground, both hands wrapped around the handgrip of his sabre. In the morning light, the scars on his face seemed like a patchwork of cobwebs against his skin. His eyes, though, were as flinty and hard as Tatooine cavastone.

    "What are you doing?" Obi-wan snapped.

    "Saving your behind again, master," Anakin replied. Though he was too concentrated to smile, Obi-wan was sure that inside, he was grinning at him with the same cocky smile he always wore.

    Obi-wan felt a warning through the Force, and allowed it to guide his hands down and round, catching three blaster bolts in quick succession, sending them ricocheting back towards the troopers who had fired them. One hit the target, sending the trooper reeling backwards and down.

    "You're supposed to be getting out of here."

    "Don't worry, we will."

    Anakin took a step forward as one of the troopers fired twice in quick succession. As he brought his hand up and over, though, his arm faltered and seemed to lock. His lightsabre stuck in a downward sloping position, leaving Anakin wide open. Obi-wan saw a flash of light and smoke, and then Anakin fell back.

    "Anakin!"

    Without thinking, without allowing his fear overwhelm him, Obi-wan stepped forward, lightsabre whirling as he caught half a dozen more shots. Reaching out with the Force, he tried to get a sense of Anakin, but despite his injury, his former apprentice was still masked from him. He forgoe his attempts, concentrating on protecting Anakin.

    From behind, he heard the sound of repulsor lift engines firing. Moments later, the triangular shape of the Misbegotten Venture appeared from inside the docking bay. Some of the Imperial troops began to fire at the hovering ship, but whoever was in the gunnery tower began to lay down covering fire. A hatch in the bottom opened and Obi-wan saw a figure in the shadows, waving.

    Batting back a flurry of laser blasts, Obi-wan reached out for a nearby dumpster. With a tremendous effort in the Force, he pulled the metal box towards him, dropping it in front of Anakin and himself. Falling into a crouch, he crawled over to Anakin's body. Disactivating his lightsabre, he tucked it into his belt. When he put his arms around Anakin, his old friend moaned slightly.

    "Don't worry, Ani. I'll get your out of this."

    Obi-wan gently moved his friend’s arms away. What he saw left him reeling. The laser blast had caught Anakin in the chest. Where he should have seen burned skin and shattered bone, blood pumping through inner organs, was a mess of wires and tubes, hidden beneath artificial flesh. He looked at Anakin’s tortured face.

    Oh Ani! What did you do?

    By now, the Venture was almost overhead. They're taking a hell of a risk for Anakin and me, he reminded himself. When these troops informed their commander that the Venture had fired on them, every ship in the Rim Territories was going to be gunning for them. For us.

    Still, for now, their efforts were paying off.

    Pushing away his fears, Obi-wan gathered Anakin into his arms, then reached out with the Force. He seized a hold of part of the hatch’s metal structure with his mind. I hope I'm still up to this, he thought. Using the Force to increase his strength and his hold on the hatch to guide him, he leapt.

    He almost didn't make it. At the last moment, when he saw that he was going to undershoot the hatch, he reached out a hand and grabbed hold. The impact shook his whole body and almost rocked Anakin out of his other arm. Obi-wan grunted, sweat breaking out on his forehead.

    "Give me your hand!"

    Obi-wan looked up to find Oath stood on the hatch, reaching down for him. "Give me your hand, I'll pull you up."

    Before Obi-wan could respond, a hail of laser blasts struck the inner hatch around Oath, forcing the Chaol back. Obi-wan heard him roar for back up. Moments later, he returned with the Rodian, Greedo, who was holding a Jawa’s rifle in his hands. Dropping to one knee, he started to lay down covering fire.

    "Now, give me your hand!"

    "No!" Obi-wan groaned through his teeth. "Anakin! Get... Anakin!"

    The Chaol looked as if he were about to argue, but one look into Obi-wan's eyes convinced him not to bother. Dropping down on his belly, he reached down to the limp form in Obi-wan's arms, and seized him under the arms. With an animal roar, the huge alien lifted Anakin out of his arms and up onto the hatch.

    Instead of grabbing a hold with his other hand, Obi-wan used the force to call his lightsabre into his hand. He ignited it. Blind to what was happening behind him, he followed the will of the Force, allowing it to guide his hand so as to deflect the incoming laser bolts.

    "Jedi!"

    Obi-wan looked up. Oath was there again. "Come on. Give me your hand."

    Obi-wan felt the will of the Force nudging him. He knew what he was supposed to do. He smiled and shook his head. "I'm the one they want," he said. “If they get me, they’ll give you the time you need.” He knew it was true, as clearly as he knew that if he got aboard this ship, everything would be lost.

    "Not after this, they won’t. They’ll be gunning for us. Now come on. Don't do anything stupid."

    "Oath!" Ana's voice came over the intership. "What by the Goddess are you doing down there? We've got incoming."

    "Come on Kenobi. Give me your hand."

    "Tell Anakin I'm sorry," Obi-wan said, smiling sadly. For everything.

    Then secure in the will of the Force, Obi-wan Kenobi let go and fell.
  8. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    What is Obi-Wan doing?!?

    I don't know how Padme's going to feel towards Anakin if Obi-Wan dies. Speaking of Padme who poured salt in her oatmeal?
  9. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    Fantastic action sequence =D=

    But now I'm really worried about Obi-Wan.
  10. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    :shock: !!!!!! That was a riveting, but unexpected twist =D= [face_nail_biting]
  11. bentheswguy Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    OBI-WAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Wow intense chapter, poor Obi-Wan what a great guy though... I could really feel the emotion!
  12. Darth_Kiryan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2009
    star 4
    Wow, what a way for Obi-wan to go.

    Also, Are you re-posting this, because this seems familiar.
  13. ccp Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2005
    star 4
  14. JABrown Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2004
    star 1
    Hi guys!

    Sorry for the delay in posting, things have been a bit crazy in RL. I should have a new chapter up tonight, though.

    @Lady_Misty - Not a fan of the selfless sacrifice? :D I would definitely agree that Padme will probably not be particularly happy with Anakin if she learns her husband died because of him. Of course, it could be argued that Obi-wan's sacrifice was as much for Luke as it was for Anakin, so maybe she'll forgive him... Thanks for the comment!

    @Hazel - Thanks, glad you enjoyed it! You can be worried, Hazel. You can be. :p

    @Jade_eyes - Wow, riveting? Thanks! I'm glad that it got your attention.

    @bentheswguy - That means a hell of a lot, ben. Glad that the intent of the chapter came across and that I got a reaction.

    @Darth_Kiryan - Welcome, thanks for the comment. Yes, this is a repost of a story I had on the other board but never got around to finishing. Since we have a new board, I thought I would try a new posting and finally get to the end of it! Hope you're along for the ride! :)

    @ccp - Thanks very much. Glad you enjoyed it!
  15. JABrown Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2004
    star 1
    Taglist - @Lady_Misty , @bentheswguy
    Chapter 12

    Leia hated politics.

    As she stood, her back against the wall of the Palace’s vast reception room, she stifled a yawn. All of this talking, posturing and haggling - give her a flightstick or a lightsabre any day. Why couldn't people just stop wasting time with fancy speeches and flowery words and just make a decision?

    Today seemed even worse than the past few days had been, though. Tarkin had not shown up, claiming that he had a last minute meeting with the Emperor to attend. None of the minions he had sent in his stead were able to make a decision, so the negotiations seemed to be going round and round in circles. More than they usually did, anyway.

    She fought back another yawn. Three days the talks had been dragging on. Three days of bald-faced lies and false promises - and that was just on the Alliance side. As much fun as it had been at times to watch that Corellian snipe at Tarkin, most of it had been boring, tedious details. Who should receive the mining rights on this asteroid? What planet should be given up if we are to gain this one? How many ships of each side should be allowed to remain near the Corellian Line? By the Force, sometimes she wanted to scream.

    Of course, her nightly activities didn't help her mood.

    Her search for Tantiss and the Emperor’s apprentice were hardly any more exciting. Biggs had accompanied her to an unending series of rundown bars and ill-frequented tapcaffs, looking for information brokers willing to barter Imperial secrets. Surprisingly, there were very few of them willing to deal.

    One tiny break had come the night before. Leia had got back to her quarters after another fruitless series of visits and checked the anonymous message service she had rented in the lower levels. A female Hutt they had contacted on the first night had left her a message. According to the Hutt, she had found an obscure reference to Tantiss in an old galactic almanac, referring to a mountain on the planet Wayland out on the Rim.

    Leia had credited the Hutt’s account and passed the information on to Mace, asking him to check the reference against Jedi Archives. Still, she didn't hold out much hope.

    Wedge Antilles, the Rogue she had assigned to protection duty today, nudged her. She glanced at him, then followed his eyeline. Her mother had turned around and was waving for Leia to come closer. Leia noticed that many of the delegates had stood, stretching beside their chairs or pouring drinks at the table off to one side. How did I miss them calling a recess? She shook her head. Concentrate!

    "Keep your eyes open," she ordered Wedge, then walked over to the table.

    Dropping into a crouch at her mother's side, she leaned in so that her mother could whisper in her ear.

    "Can you sense anything from the Imperial delegation?"

    Leia glanced over at the three Moffs and two generals. Emptying her mind, she reached out with the Force, trying to get a read on them.

    "They seem... Tense. As if they're waiting for something. Tarkin probably."

    "Maybe. Without him here, none of them are willing to talk. Anything else?"

    Again, Leia reached out. "One of the Moffs seems worried, but both of the generals feel... Confident."

    "That can’t be good."

    Leia turned her head so she could look at Padme. "What's wrong, mother?"

    Her mother shook her head. "Nothing I can put my finger on. Something seems wrong. They seem too... Reasonable."

    "And that's a bad thing?"

    Padme smiled. "In this kind of negotiation? Always."

    “What about the Corellian?”

    “Prince Solo?” Both women glanced at the Corellian diplomat, who was carrying on an animated conversation with one of the generals. Padme shook her head before speaking. “He is having trouble staying concentrated. His eyes keep on drifting to the general he’s been talking to.”

    “Why?”

    “He’s worried about the Corellian communications’ blackout.”

    “The what?”

    Padme glanced at her daughter. “The day before the talks began, the military took over the Imperial Communications’ Ministry. Ever since, no one has been able to reach any planet along the Corellia Line.”

    “How didn’t I know about that?”

    “Well, maybe if you had spent less time bar-crawling with your pilot friend, you might have been awake for your morning briefings.”

    Leia felt her cheeks burn. How does she do that? Padme Amidala’s spy network was legendary, but Leia hadn’t expected it to reach as far as Imperial Centre.

    “You should be careful, though, dear. Lance may be understanding up to a point, but he has too much pride to allow himself to be made a fool of.”

    Leia frowned for a moment, then realised what her mother was saying. “You think I’m sleeping with him?!”

    A nearby servant glanced over at them. Leia dropped her voice. “I’m not sleeping with Biggs. We’re… We’re on assignment.”

    Now it was Padme’s turn to frown. “Assignement? What kind of assignement?” She looked into Leia’s eyes, then her frown deepened and her eyes grew cold. “For the Order?”

    Leia forced herself to hold Padme’s gaze. “Yes. I am a Jedi Knight, mother.”

    “What have they asked you to do?”

    “You know I can’t tell you that.”

    “Commander Skywalker, I am giving you a direct order. You will tell me what orders you have received.”

    “No.”

    “Do not try my patience, Leia, or – “

    The double doors leading into the reception room burst open, cutting Padme’s threats off. They banged against the walls, making everyone jump. Her Jedi reflexes brought Leia to her feet just in time to see a column of white-armoured stormtroopers rush in to the room. She glanced up to see more of the soldiers filling the corridors and arched balconies on the first and second levels.
    “What is the meaning of this?” Leia turned to see Han marching towards the ‘troopers, his face dark as a stormcloud.

    “I was about to ask the same thing,” her mother said, getting to her feet. Her anger forgotten, she looked as regal as a Queen and as angry as a Tystorian she-bitch protecting her cubs.

    The troopers separated in two columns, revealing Grand Moff Tarkin stood in the doorway. Behind him stood two of the Sith priests, draped in robes that hid everything but their eyes. Each one of them had a strange curved pipe wrapped around their chests and shoulders, affixed to which was a fur-scaled salamanderlike creature.

    “Tarkin! What do you think you’re doing? You do realise that I’ll…’

    “Oh do shut up, Solo,” Tarkin snapped. “I’ve had more than enough of you over the past few days.”

    Solo’s eyes bulged. “How dare you? I’m a Prince of Corellia and…”

    “Actually as of yesterday, Corellia no longer has a prince. It no longer has a King, in fact.”

    “What are you talking about?”

    Tarkin didn’t respond in words. Instead, he threw a padd across the room. Solo caught it as if in a daze and turned the screen up so he could read. His face grew whiter and whiter as his eyes flicked across the contents. When he looked up, he seemed to have grown younger, more fragile. For the first time, Leia realised that he probably wasn’t that much older than she was.

    “This… This is a fake.”

    “I’m afraid not, Master Solo. As of 1000 hours yesterday, the Corellian system officially joined the Empire.”

    “That’s a lie. It has to be,” Solo cried out.

    Tarkin waved a hand. “Oh please don’t make a scene, it won’t change anything.” He seemed to take an inordinate amount of pleasure in humiliating the prince. “As of now, you are a subject of the Empire and you will show me the proper respect.”

    Solo lowered his eyes and bowed his head. Leia felt a surge of anger rush through her. Why doesn’t he do something? No! I have to stay calm. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath, then stepped forward.

    “He may be, but I am not.”

    “Ah yes, our young Jedi.” Tarkin looked her up and down, then sneered. “Your ancient religion is dead, Miss Skywalker. As dead as you all will soon be.”

    “Not if I have anything to do with it.”

    Leia reached down and unclipped her lightsabre. Reaching out with the Force, she tried to get a sense of what the troopers were going to do – and with a deepening feeling of despair, Leia realized that she couldn’t touch the Force. She couldn’t sense anything. She tried to shove one of the troopers with her abilities, but nothing happened.

    It was like suddenly becoming deaf, blind and dumb.

    “As you can see, we have planned this very, very carefully.”

    “Leia? What is it?”

    “The Force,” Leia whispered. “I can’t feel it.”

    ***

    Han Solo looked down at the floor. He felt as if his whole world was falling down around him. The padd with his father’s surrender on it still hung loosely in his hand. How could he do this? What did they do to him?

    “As you can see,” he heard Tarkin say as if from a great distance, “we have planned this very, very carefully.”

    He looked up in time to see Padme Amidala take a step towards her daughter. The young woman had her lightsabre in hand, but she looked as lost as he felt.

    “Leia? What is it?”

    “The Force.” The horror in her voice sent shivers down Han’s spine. “I can’t feel it.”

    Solo saw Amidala spin round, her face a mask of fury. “What did you do?”

    Tarkin smiled. “Me? Nothing.” He didn’t need to look behind at the Sith priests for his meaning to be clear.

    “Whatever you did, undo it.”

    “Oh, Padme.” Tarkin tutted. “You really need to be shown your place.”

    He waved a hand. Five of the stormtroopers surged forward as if sharing a hive mind. They pushed Leia Skywalker out of the way, sending her tumbling to the floor. Two of them covered her with blasters? Why doesn’t she… Of course. From what he understood, without the Force, she was just like any of them. Vulnerable. The Alliance soldiers around the walls had surged forward, but from her position sprawled on the floor, Leia waved for them to stay back. The troopers surrounded both women, then looked at Tarkin, who nodded.

    The first fist broke Padme’s cheek. The crack echoed through the room, followed by Padme’s scream as she fell to her knees. The next blow caught her in the stomach, knocking the wind out of her. Han looked away after that.

    Once they had finished, Padme lay on the floor, moaning incoherently, covered in blood and spit. The most frightening thing about the whole thing had been the total silence with which the clones had carried out the beating. They stood over her broken body now, looking at Tarkin and waiting for more instructions.

    Tarkin didn’t look at Padme, or at the troopers. Instead, he stared at the rest of the Alliance delegation. Solo glanced at them out of the corner of his eye – he saw Lance, the Alderaani prince, glaring at the Grand Moff with barely restrained fury.

    “You won’t get away with this.”

    Tarkin laughed. “You simple minded little fool. I already have.”

    He motioned with his hand again. Another group of troopers marched into the room. They split into pairs, one pair surrounding each of the diplomats. With the other troopers’ rifles trained on them, none of them put up more than token resistance, except for Lance who kicked out at his captors until one of the troopers slugged him over the back of the head with the butt of his rifle, knocking him out.

    “Take them away,” Tarkin ordered.

    As the prisoners were frog-marched out of the room, Tarkin turned to Han.

    “You are very lucky, Master Solo.”

    “Really? You’re dying of a horrible disease?”

    Tarkin laughed. “How droll. Unfortunately for you, no. However, you are going to be able to tell your grand-children that you witnessed the birth of a new age. The age of a Reborn Empire bringing peace to the whole galaxy.”

    “I think the other Jedi may have something to say about that.”

    “The Jedi are the past. The Sith – the Empire – are the future.”

    “I don’t think I want any part of that future.”

    Tarkin drew close to him. He looked Han in the eyes, then reared back and slapped him. Pain flared in Han’s cheek and shivered through his teeth. He shook his head and turned back to the Grand Moff as Tarkin leaned in to whisper in his ear.

    “If you don’t learn proper respect, that could very easily be arranged.”

    Tarkin stepped back. “Now, it is time that the leaders of the Alliance learned the price that must be paid when they rebel against the rightful rulers of the galaxy.” He nodded his head. “Pick her up.”

    “No!” Leia stumbled to her feet, still unsteady. She held the lightsabre in her hands. “I don’t need the Force to kill you, Tarkin.”

    “Maybe not. But you certainly need it to avoid a blaster bolt.”

    Before anyone could react, he pulled a small blaster from his sleeve. Showing his military training, he lifted, aimed and fired in one smooth motion. A blue circle of energy spread out from the blaster’s muzzle, catching Leia and throwing her back against the wall.

    “What have you done?” Han breathed. Had he actually killed her?

    “Don’t be so melodramatic. She is much too valuable to be killed. I set it to stun only.”

    With Leia out of the way, the stormtroopers had no difficulty in lifting Padme to her feet. Han winced at the sight of her. The pain of her injuries must have been intense, because it forced her up out of her unconscious state with a drawn out scream. Once she was done, she managed to open her eyes.

    “You… will… never… win,” she said in a croak.

    Tarkin smiled. “Milady, I already have.” He turned to face the whole audience of stormtroopers, Imperial delegates and Alliance soldiers. “Know this. The days when the Empire sat and talked with terrorists and rebels is at an end. From now on, any member of the so-called Galactic Alliance will be hunted down and killed.”

    He turned back to Padme. “Padme Amidala Skywalker Kenobi. You have been found guilty of treason to the Galactic Empire, of conspiracy to murder the Emperor, and of collusion with the Jedi, from now on branded enemies of the Empire. The only sentence is death.”

    “No, my lord, you can’t,” Han said, taking a step forward.

    Tarkin spun to face him. “You would like to join her? To suffer her fate? Say the word, Master Solo and I will gladly see you at her side.” He waited for a moment as Han glared at him, then stood closer, his voice drawn out with fury. “Well? I am losing patience, Master Solo. It is time you chose a side.”

    Han just stood there. He opened his mouth, looked at Padme, then back at Tarkin. He closed his mouth. Finally, he lowered his head.

    “No,” Tarkin drawled. “I didn’t think so.”

    Turning smartly back to Padme, he smiled. “As I was saying, the only sentence is death. Let all know that the Empire does not offer clemency to those who betray it.”

    Motioning for the stormtroopers to stand back, he called another group forward. Han lifted his head and looked at Padme. She stood precariously on her feet, swaying slightly from side to side. Despite her injuries, she somehow found the strength to smile.

    “The harder you tighten your grip, the faster the Alliance will take all of this away from you.”

    “Do you really want those to be your last words, Padme Amidala?”

    “I wouldn’t give you the satisfaction of saying anything else.”

    Tarkin bowed his head. “Nor did I expect you to. Very well. Men, at arms!”

    Han saw her eyes lift and spear into his soul. He found he couldn’t look away.

    “Ready!”

    She seemed to be pleading with him through her eyes, begging him to do something. He wanted to look away, knowing that he couldn’t help her.

    “Aim!”

    Her eyes darted to the side. He followed them and realised she was looking at Leia. The girl? She wants me to save the girl? But I - -

    Before he could take the thought any further, Tarkin screamed, “Fire!”

    Red fire flickered in her eyes for an instant and then was gone. Padme crumpled to the floor, blood already soaking through her white dress.

    She was gone.

    A moan went up from the gathered Alliance pilots and soldiers. One rushed forward, but a trooper in the gallery above picked him off instantly. The rest settled back, murmuring softly.

    Tarkin looked at them. “This is the Empire’s justice. If any of you would care join us and help spread that justice to the rest of the galaxy, step forward now.”

    No one moved. Tarkin allowed them a moment, then he smiled. “Good. I would have been disappointed if any of you had.”

    Turning, he swept across the floor. The imperial delegation scurried after him, both generals smiling, the three Moffs casting terrified glances at the dead body lying on the floor. As Tarkin walked away, troopers moved in, gathering Leia Skywalker’s limp body and hefting her onto their shoulders. Han just stood there, staring at the bloody corpse that moment before had been Padme Amidala. She never gave me that game of sabaac, he thought numbly.

    “Master Solo!”

    Han turned and saw Tarkin waiting in the doorway. “You are a subject of the Empire now, according to your father’s surrender. Your place is not here.”

    Despite himself, Han felt a surge of relief. Part of his mind screamed out for him to do something, but he quieted it much too easily. Glancing at the soldiers gathered around Padme’s body, he fought back a sudden upsurge of tears. She’s gone. She’s really gone. Turning away, he kept his eyes on the floor as he hurried out of the room. As he passed Tarkin, he heard him give an order to the commander of the troopers.

    “Wait a moment, then kill them all.”

    Han lifted his head to say something, but when he saw Tarkin’s raised eyebrow, he dropped his head again. He hurried away, wanting to put as much distance between the reception room and himself.

    He had almost reached the door outside when the sound of blaster fire and the screams of dying soldiers echoed down the corridor. Trying to ignore the sound, Han hurried from the Palace and into the Coruscant daylight.
  16. krtmd Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 4
    This made me laugh.

    Of course, I think that was the last laugh of the chapter. *sniff*
  17. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    :shock: -- Now there's total chaos [face_thinking] Your Tarkin is the evillest I've ever read. Palpy seems to have the upper hand. [face_nail_biting] The last time he had such a mega huge advantage was in blank101's trilogy. Very well written scenes. Reminds me of a classic tragedy where everything is wayyy bleak, like in Hamlet - [face_thinking]

    I do believe Han will have a lot of 10-ton baggage of guilt to lug around. :p
    Last edited by Jade_eyes, Nov 15, 2012
  18. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    I have no problem with self sacrifice I just was surprised.

    So the Empire is taking control. It was all a ruse to get certain people on Coruscant. :_|

    So Palpatine has Luke, Kai-Wan and Leia in his grasp. This is not good.

    I will admit that I am shocked that you killed Padme. I thought that she would have been used as a bargaining chip.
    Jade_eyes likes this.
  19. ccp Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2005
    star 4
  20. Darth_Kiryan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2009
    star 4
    Yeah, i think i remember this from the old board. glad to see it back up again.
    Last edited by Darth_Kiryan, Nov 15, 2012
  21. charmedjedi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2012
    :(Poor Padmé, at least Leia didn't see her being killed. Anakin better hurry and help his children. I can't wait to read more there are so many twist and turns. I have no idea what gonna happen next.
    Last edited by charmedjedi, Nov 15, 2012
  22. bentheswguy Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    First Obi-Wan, now Padme!!!! That really kills the tension I expected that would be bewtween Anakin and Padme. I'm really interested in Kai-Wan. His character good go in alot of directions. Tarkin is flawless! This was my favorite chapter so far.
  23. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    :eek: I did not expect that! Anakin will not be happy.

    Your Tarkin is perfectly vile.
  24. JABrown Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2004
    star 1
    @krtmd - I'm glad I was able to get one laugh out of this chapter. As you mentioned, it wasn't the most Ha-Ha funny of chapters I have posted so far. Good that you enjoyed it anyway! Thanks for the comment.

    @Jade_eyes - Ah yes, total chaos, you have to love it don't you?! [face_devil] I loved Tarkin as a character, and Peter Cushing as an actor, so being able to bring him back and make him even more evil than he was in the Original Trilogy was a joy. Yes, this does seem to give Palpy the upper hand, but the main reason for this AU (as will become clearer going forward) was that in fact Anakin's decision to turn to the Dark Side may have been a good thing.

    I'm not aware of blank101's trilogy but I will have to check it out. Thank you for the comparison to classic tragedy, and for your kind words about the writing! Means a lot!

    @Lady_Misty - Glad I was able to surprise you, then! :p Yes, the Empire is definitely getting the upper hand, Palpatine is still as sneaky as ever. As you say, this one fell swoop has given him exactly what he wanted and things are not looking good for the Alliance or our heroes. I am glad that Padme's death came out of left field for you, was definitely the intention! Thanks!

    @ccp - Thanks! :cool:

    @Darth_Kiryan - Glad you're joining this for the second time, then! Hope you enjoy what's coming.

    @charmedjedi - Welcome, thanks for the comment! Anakin is doing his best, of course he has no idea what is going on with either Padme or Leia at this point. He is focused entirely on Luke. Glad the twists and turns are working for you and have you looking forward to the next chapter (which should be up later tonight). Keeping you all guessing is part of the fun.


    @bentheswguy - You're right, but it will create a whole lot more tension between Anakin and his kids! As for Kei-wan, we will be seeing more of him as the story progresses, definitely. I hope that it will meet with your hopes for the character! Thanks for the kind words ie Tarkin and the chapter! Means a lot!

    @Hazel - No, I doubt Anakin will be happy. Neither will Luke when he finds out. Glad Tarkin lived up to his vileness!!! [face_devil]

    Thanks again to everyone for the comments! Gives me a real motivation! New chapter coming up tonight.
  25. JABrown Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2004
    star 1
    Taglist - @Lady_Misty , @bentheswguy
    Disclaimer - Mention of sex in this chapter, nothing too graphic but still...

    Chapter 14

    Luke fell back on the sheets, his whole body sheethed in sweat. Moments later, his captor collapsed beside him with a heavy contented sigh. He tried not to look at her.

    "You do learn fast, don't you farmboy?"

    Luke winced slightly at the purring tone in her voice. He flinched as she trailed the tip of her index finger up his belly and over his chest. By the time she reached his neck, he was shivering.

    "Do you like that?" Mara Jade whispered, teasing.

    Though he shook his head, Luke couldn't really deny the effect that the Sith woman had on him. Not after the events of the past two days.

    They all seemed a blur, a never ending cycle of combat and sex, interspersed with moments of clarity when she locked him back in his cell. Ever since he had woken from their first sparring match to find her straddling him in the middle of the training room.

    He flushed at the memory of the things she had done to him, and even more when he thought of the things she had taught him to do to her. Despite what she had said during their first sparring match, he hadn't been a stranger to sex - he had lost his virginity to a spacer captain a few years earlier. But the things he had done with Mara Jade... He had never imagined doing anything like that.

    Then there were the sparring matches. They seemed as intense as the sex, though in a markedly different way. It seemed - during those rare moments of clarity - that while she fanned his desires and lusts during sex, the Sith woman played on his fears and his anger when they fought. She always seemed to know what to say or do to drive him mad with fury. It was as though...

    As though she’s playing me. Like an instrument, he admitted to himself. He knew that was what she was doing, and yet…

    She reached over and cupped his cheek, forcing him to turn and face her. He took in her lithe, sublime naked body and felt himself stirring. He groaned. Why can't I fight this? he asked himself. Why can't I...

    He didn't get a chance to finish the thought. A beeping sounded through the room, accompanied by a shrill robotic voice.

    "Ten minutes to reversion to real space. Ten minutes."

    Mara sighed, then allowed her hand to drift back down his chest and stomach. When she touched him, he groaned.

    "I wish we had time for some more fun," she breathed, "but it looks like play time is over."

    Her hand clenched, eliciting a yelp from his lips. She smiled wickedly, then released him.

    He watched, entranced, as she slid out of bed and padded over to her jumpsuit, which still lay in a puddle where he had torn it off her. He had torn it off her. He felt himself blushing again, and he hated himself for it.

    Still, he couldn't keep his eyes off of her as she slid the jumpsuit on, pausing just long enough to snap her bra on again. He watched as she twined her long red hair behind her back, and then let it fall out again.

    He had come to hope for and dread these moments when she left. The moments when he would be alone with his thoughts and memories, when he could actually think about eveything he had done. She left him with nothing but regrets and self-recriminations, abandoning him to soak in his anger. And yet at the same time, these were the only moments when he felt like himself again.

    To his surprise, though, this time she didn't leave and lock the door. Instead, she paused on the threshhold and turned back to him.

    "Are you coming?"

    He blinked, sure he must have misunderstood her. When she just stood there staring at him, though, he scrambled to a sitting position.

    "Really?"

    She smiled as his voice broke at the end of the word, then nodded. "This is the end of the road, farmboy. I think it's best you face what's coming like a man."

    What did she mean? He wondered. Still, he wasn't going to pass up the opportunity. Scrambling out of bed, he ran over to his clothes and began to pull them on so quickly he had to reach out to steady himself a good half a dozen times to avoid falling flat on his face.

    Within a few seconds, though, he was following her down the corridor to a series of steps that led up into the bridge. By the time they entered the module, the ship's computer had begun a steady ringing sound to inform them they were almost arrived. Luke stared around him with wide eyes - he had been in ships before – Ana’s ship, the Venture, amongst others – but he had never been this close to real bridge controls. Everything seemed so… complicated.

    "Not as easy as dusting crops, is it farmboy?"

    "Don't call me that," Luke replied through gritted teeth, feeling a flush rise to his cheeks.

    Mara Jade laughed, her sarcasm evident, then dismissed him, walking over to sit in one of the three chairs. As her fingers began to dance over controls, taking back command from the automatised computer systems that had been running the ship until now, she glanced back at him.

    "You ever worked a sensor system before?"

    Luke shook his head. "But I've repaired them."

    "Good enough. Take the navigator's seat."

    "Me?"

    "Do you see anyone else here?"

    "But... But I've never..."

    "Don't worry, farmboy. I don't need you to do anything complicated. Just confirm our position with the computer once we drop out of hyperspace. Do you think you can do that?"

    "O- Okay."

    "Good. Now sit down. We're almost there."

    Luke scowled at the tone of voice, but moved over to the seat she had indicated regardless. Settling into the synth-hide chair, he brushed his hands over the controls, studying them. He had often repaired systems like this one in his father's shop, so he had a basic understanding of how it worked.

    Moments later, the sound of the ship around him changed, returning to the more standardised hum of sublight engines. He glanced up in time to see the blue tunnel of hyperspace collapse into the spinning white lines of elongated star light, and then snap back into the twinkling points of the stars themselves.

    Although he was supposed to be checking the sensor screen, Luke's eyes were drawn inexhorably to the sight of the star system in front of them. Corellia.

    For Luke - who had last left Tatooine when he was so young he couldn't remember - it was an amazing sight. The five planets of the system – Corellia, Talus, Tralus, Selonia and Drall – spread out before him, Corellia much closer than the others.

    Remembering his role, Luke looked down at the sensor screen. He immediately confirmed that the ship had arrived at the right place - the positions of the surrounding stars were unmistakeable. He also noted the positions of the various planetoids in-system. He glanced away, about to tell Mara Jade that they were in the right place, when he realised that there was something... off about them. What is it? He looked back at the sensor screen, trying to make sense of what he was seeing.

    Before he could study it more, though, they were being hailed. That was fast. Luke checked his board again and noted that two bogies were approaching - fast. A welcoming committee.

    Mara Jade grunted, then reached forward, switching on the comm system.

    "Unidentified ship, this is Imperial System Control. Identify yourself or be shot down."

    Imperial? Luke frowned. He might not know a lot about galactic politics or the war, but even he knew that Corellia was part of the free worlds, not the Empire.

    Mara Jade didn't seem surprised.

    "Imperial System Control, this is the Lubok’s Fire on approach to the Star. Identification code Alpha-Gamma-Coruscant, 9-7-7-8."

    There was a moment of silence and when the controller came back on the line, his tone had taken on a much more respectful tinge.

    "Welcome to Corellia, Lubok’s Fire. Permission granted to approach the Star. Sending approach coordinates now."

    A light began to flash on one of the boards next to Mara Jade. Luke assumed it was the transmission of coordinates. His captor tapped a few buttons, then flipped a switch before nodding.

    "Received, Corellia Control."

    Luke watched out the screen as the ship deviated from its former course, heading towards Corellia itself. Luke was still searching his board, trying to work out what was wrong. He searched the screens for the vast space station known as Centrepoint. He frowned. There didn't seem to be anything there. He glanced out at the view through the viewscreen, looking for it visually. Nothing.

    As he looked down to his sensor screen again, he noticed Mara Jade looking at him, a smile playing on her lips.

    "What?" he demanded angrily. He really hated it when she looked at him like that. As if she knew something he didn't.

    "It's gone," she said.

    "What's gone?"

    "Centrepoint. I could see you searching for it. But it's gone."

    He gaped. "But... But how?"

    She nodded forward. "That."

    At first, he didn’t understand what she meant. Then he saw it.

    "What is it?" he gasped.

    What he had taken to be another moon orbiting Corellia was rapidly revealing itself to be something artificial. He could make out the metal gleam, reflecting the light of Corellia’s sun.

    "That is the weapon that will give the Empire victory over the Alliance. They call it a Death Star."

    Vaguely, he noticed that she didn't sound entirely happy to be talking about it, as if there was something about this Death Star made her feel uneasy. But he was too astonished at the sight before him to do more than note it as if from a distance.

    As they drew closer, Luke started to make out detail. What had seemed like a single, smooth surface from a distance was actually pock-marked and uneven, vast towers and turrets rising from the surface into the space around. The openings to vast hangar bays appeared like miniature seas or lakes, dark in the light of Corellia's sun. Swarms of fighters and smaller ships flitted around the larger construct like bees around a hive.

    "Never seen anything like that in your backwater little world, have you farmboy?"

    Luke could only shake his head.

    How had the Empire done this? His father had always told him that the Empire was far from being as powerful as they claimed. Then again, he thought ruefully, was there really anything his father had told him that he could really trust after all the lies he had told him?

    Mara Jade piloted the ship deftly towards one of the smaller hangar bays. Two Imperial fighters - Tie-fighters, if Luke remembered correctly - broke off from a nearby swarm and fell into place on either side of their ship. Mara Jade never even glanced at them. Why should she? They were all on the same side.

    Within minutes, the ship had ducked beneath the roof of the hangar and Mara Jade had begun to guide it down towards the deck. Luke saw that there were two columns of gleaming white troopers standing at attention in front of the space where Mara Jade was about to land and for the first time, Luke realised where he was and what was really happening.

    Oh frak! He was about to bolt to his feet, make a run for it, try and find somewhere to hide, when Mara Jade reached out and clamped a hand down on his arm.

    "Don't even think about it," she said softly. Luke glanced at her and was surprised to see a hint of pity in her eyes.

    "I don't want to," he moaned. He felt like a little boy, all of a sudden. All his fear rushed over and through him, leaving him feel drained and weak. "I don't want to."

    "I know," she said, her voice growing even softer. "I know you don't, farmboy."

    With a bump and a metallic thud, the ship settled to the floor of the hangar bay. Mara Jade squeezed Luke's arm one last time, then began to flip off switches, killing the ship's systems. Once everything was off, she took a deep breath, then stood.

    "Come on, farmboy," she said, all the arrogance and restrained anger he had sensed in her flooding back. "Time to pay the piper."

    He stood on shaking legs and followed her out of the bridge. She led him down the corridor, past the rooms where they had fought, where they had had sex, past the cubicle she had locked him in when he first arrived on the ship. By the time they reached the ramp, his knees were shaking. He hesitated at the top.

    "What is going to happen to me?"

    Mara Jade turned to him. "You're about to meet your new master."

    She turned before he could ask her what she meant. He had no choice but to follow her down the ramp.

    Both columns of stormtroopers stared straight ahead as Mara Jade led him through their ranks. Luke glanced left to right, taking in their featureless helmets and impenetrable gaze. Then he glanced to the end of the two columns.

    A figure stood there, draped in black. Luke gazed at him or her, feeling a shivering sense of excitement radiating from his belly. What is going on? Who is that?

    By the time they reached the darkened figure, Luke was shaking again. To his surprise, Mara Jade fell to her knees before the figure, then eyed him to do the same. Too afraid to rebel, he did what she wanted, falling to his knees at her side just as she spoke.

    "Darth Vidius.”

    "Mara Jade. It is... pleasant to see you again."

    Something about the voice - unmistakeably male - sent a shiver of recognition through Luke's mind. I know this man? But how? Who could it be?

    "Is this him?"

    Luke sensed more than saw Mara Jade glance at him, then her gaze dropped back to the deck. "This is the son of Skywalker."

    "Aren't you going to introduce us?"

    Luke could feel the anger roiling from Mara Jade, mingled with fear verging on terror. Who was this man that Mara Jade could be terrified of him?

    "Luke Skywalker, this is your new master. Darth Vidius.”

    Luke sensed the man throw back the hood of his cloak and dared to look up. When he saw the man's face, he couldn't look back down, his eyes drawn to that oh-how-familiar face. The man laughed.

    "Now, now, Mara, why so formal? I think my own son can call me by name." The man stared down at Luke with fond eyes. His father's eyes, staring from the face of Anakin Skywalker, though five decades younger. Luke could only stare back as the man laughed again. "Welcome, Luke. You may call me Annakin. Annakin Skywalker."
Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade