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Saga Under Fire (an ROTS AU)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by anakinfansince1983 , Sep 21, 2012.

  1. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Four Realms star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Mar 4, 2011
    Valairy Scot : I've focused more on Anakin in this story, but the answer to your question is yes, and that's coming.

    Lady_Misty : There's more of that as well.

    Thanks for reading. :)

    Chapter 8

    “Well, it is done,” Mace Windu said, addressing a coalition of Senators and Jedi in Chancellor Organa’s office. “Ask Aak has filed a petition with the courts to have the Jedi tried for the assassination of Chancellor Palpatine.”

    “Took him awhile, didn’t it?” Anakin snarked. “Chancellor Organa has been in office for over a month now.”

    Bail looked amused. “Aak was busy attempting to force the hands of the courts to order a recount. His lust for power outweighed his hatred for the Jedi, at least temporarily. He seems to have moved on to plan B now.”

    “Or,” Fang Zar said, “this was his plan all along. If he had won the Chancellorship, a Jedi trial might have happened faster for him.”

    “I would say so,” Organa said. “Unfortunately for him, one seat on the court remains unfilled, and that appointment is mine to make. The evidence is on the side of the Jedi, however, it would be prudent to prepare for hostile cross-examination.” He looked at Anakin. “Master Skywalker and Master Windu will be the star witnesses, along with the clones who carried out Order 66.”

    “Witness to Lord Sidious’ orders, Viceroy Gunray can,” Yoda said. “Saved hologram transmissions, the Separatists did. Possible, it might be, to make the connection between Palpatine and Lord Sidious, based on these transmissions.”

    Fang Zar nodded. “Certainly. And those of us on the Delegation of 2000 can testify to his attitude towards our petition.”

    “I can do the same,” Anakin added.

    “Master Skywalker, do you know if the meeting that the Delegation of 2000 held with Chancellor Palpatine was recorded?” Mon Mothma asked.

    Anakin nodded. “It was. He shut off the recording device after you left, after which he tried to accuse you of wanting to seize his power.”

    “He practically did that while we were still in the meeting,” Padme said bitterly.

    Mon Mothma looked meaningfully at Padme. “How much longer until the birth?”

    “About six weeks,” Padme said, shifting in her chair. “I hope to leave for Naboo in four weeks, assuming I do not deliver earlier.”

    “Ask the twins to stay put as long as possible,” Bail said, smiling at her. “I need you for the debate on taxation and trade. The Trade Federation has submitted a petition to decrease taxation along the Corellian Trade Spine. It has been signed by the Mining Guild and the Commerce Guild as well as a handful of other delegations—essentially, the groups that were drawn to Count Dooku and the Separatists. Their petition has a great deal of merit. However, the war has broken the Treasury. If we decrease taxation along the trade routes, we need to discuss spending cuts and an alternate means of revenue.”

    “An increase in income taxes will not go over very well right now,” Mon Mothma said. “Individual systems are having to raise taxes to cover war destruction in their own areas.”

    “When have people ever taken well to a tax increase?” Fang Zar asked.

    Bail nodded. “Very true.” He looked at Padme. “Are you alright?” He asked, noticing that the heavily pregnant Senator was shifting in her seat again.

    She nodded. “It’s my back,” she said.

    “Why didn’t you say something earlier?” Her husband asked.

    “Because my back always hurts lately, Anakin,” she said. “It’s just worse today, that’s all.”

    “Why don’t I adjourn this meeting,” Bail said. “I will call a session of Congress next week regarding taxation; I want to allow the Trade Federation and the Commerce Guild to present their petition to the entire Senate delegation.” He looked at Mace and Obi-Wan. “I will submit to the Council any further information I receive on Senator Aak’s efforts to bring the Jedi to trial.”

    “Thank you, Your Excellency,” Mace said. The group stood; Anakin offered Padme his arm, which she accepted, rising slowly from the plush chair. Jedi and Senators walked towards the door of the Chancellor’s office.

    “I hope we will soon be able to put Palpatine’s regime and its aftermath behind us. Discussion of taxation, no matter how ugly it may get, will be a welcome return to normal,” Fang Zar said, opening the door for himself and Mon Mothma.

    “I could not agree more,” Padme said. “Have a good afternoon.”

    “You as well,” Mon Mothma said. “Get some rest.”

    “The trial…be over quickly, it will not be,” Yoda said after the Senators left. “Mindful we must be of the Living Force. Oblivious we were before, and arrogant. Our knowledge and wisdom, a liability it became.”

    “The Dark Side surrounds Senator Aak,” Mace said.

    “Angry he is,” Yoda said. “But cunning and powerful he is not.”

    “He is not as dangerous as Palpatine,” Obi-Wan said. “Never has been. Nevertheless, we must…”

    “Be mindful,” Anakin finished, smiling as his former teacher. Obi-Wan returned the smile. “Yes,” he said.

    “I will contact you later,” Mace said. “May the Force be with you.”

    “With you as well, Mace,” Obi-Wan said as the Korun Jedi Master left.

    Padme suddenly stopped just shy of the door. “Anakin…” she said. Her face was contorted with pain. “Anakin, something is wrong…”

    Anakin put a hand on her large abdomen. “What is it?” Then he looked down. “Oh no…”

    Padme had lifted the hem of her dress. Blood was running down her legs, leaving puddles on the carpet.

    From behind his desk Bail quickly punched a code into his comlink. “This is Chancellor Organa. I need a medical team immediately, in my office.”

    Anakin carried Padme to a nearby sofa, laid her down, and knelt beside her, taking her hand in his. “Tell me where it hurts,” he said.

    She had gone pale and tears were leaking from the corners of her eyes. “My back…” She said. “No contractions…just my back.”

    Bail rushed to Anakin’s side. “A medical team should be here quickly. They said to keep her awake and distracted as much as possible.”

    “Anakin, do you know how to ease her pain through the Force?” Obi-Wan asked.

    Anakin shook his head. General Skywalker, the Hero with No Fear, looked as frightened as his Master had ever seen him.

    “Can you roll onto your side, Padme?” Obi-Wan asked. She nodded and obeyed. Obi-Wan rested his large hands on Padme’s lower back and closed his eyes. Within seconds, Padme’s face visibly relaxed.

    Obi-Wan looked at Anakin. “I really should have taught you to do that,” he said.

    “I’m not even sure I can touch the Force right now, Master,” Anakin replied.

    “Trust in the will of the Force, you must, young one,” Yoda said. “Only in trusting its will, can you reach it at all times.” He rested his hands on Padme’s abdomen and closed his eyes. For seconds which seemed an eternity to Anakin, he said nothing.

    “Hmmm…the babies…healthy and strong they are,” he finally said. “Very healthy and strong.”

    At that moment one of Organa’s guards palmed open the door. “Medical droids, sir,” he said. The team entered the office with a stretcher. Anakin lifted Padme onto the stretcher and walked beside it into the lobby, never letting go of her hand. Obi-Wan, Yoda and Bail followed.

    The speeder ambulance trip to the medical center only took a couple of minutes. Anakin was taken into the medical pod with Padme; her bloodstained dress was removed, she was changed into a hospital gown, and monitors were attached to her abdomen. For a few moments there was no sound other than the humming of the monitors. Padme held Anakin’s hand tightly. Her eyes, which met his, were filled with fear.

    Finally one of the droids spoke. “We have isolated the problem,” it said. “The placenta of one of the twins is separating from the uterus. Both babies are healthy at the moment, but we must operate quickly.”

    Anakin and Padme both nodded.

    “Senator, if you will sit up and lean against Master Skywalker, I will give you an injection in your spine, which will numb you from the chest down.”

    Padme nodded and obeyed, sitting up and resting her head against Anakin’s chest. He ran his hand over her hair and kissed the top of her head as the droid injected her in the back with a long needle. Anakin laid her gently back down.

    The droids dropped a curtain at the level of Padme’s chest, disappeared behind it, and began to work. Anakin held Padme’s hand and waited for what seemed an eternity, with no sounds in the room other than the clinking of medical instruments. Finally they heard a cry, and one of the droids emerged, placing a baby in the crook of Anakin’s arm. “A boy,” it said.

    “Luke,” Padme whispered, reaching to touch the top of his head.

    Anakin nodded and smiled, holding him closer to his mother. “Yes,” he said. “Luke. Happy birthday, son.” The baby’s blue eyes opened and met his.

    Another cry, and the droid emerged again, carrying another baby, which he placed in Anakin’s other arm. “A girl,” it said.

    “Leia,” Padme whispered. The baby girl opened her eyes and looked at her mother. Padme smiled, touched her head, then looked at Anakin. “Ani, we were both right. A boy…and a girl.”

    He returned the smile. “Funny how well that worked out,” he said, then looked at his children. “You are so…beautiful. Both of you.”

    Anakin turned to the medical droid. “Is she…”

    “The Senator will make a full recovery,” it said. “We are stitching her incision right now and we have contained the blood loss.”

    Anakin leaned over to kiss Padme, his relief palpable. “Are you ready to hold them?” he asked.

    “Yes,” she said, “but I can’t feel anything below my chest yet.” She smiled at him. “Take them to meet Obi-Wan and Bail and Yoda. You’re ready to show them off. I can tell.”

    He laughed. “Well, of course…” he said. He kissed her one more time. “I love you,” he said. “I will be back in a few minutes.”

    Anakin emerged from the pod, a twin in each arm and a wide grin on his face. Obi-Wan, Yoda and Bail stood as the pod door opened, then slid shut. “Everything went well then?” Obi-Wan asked.

    Anakin nodded, still grinning. “Padme is going to be fine, and look,” he said, gazing at the babies. “I’m a father!”

    Obi-Wan and Bail nodded. “Congratulations,” Bail said. The three of them gazed at the twins for a moment, then Bail extended his arms. “May we…?”

    “Of course,” Anakin said, handing him one of the infants. “This one is Leia, and this one,” he said, putting the other twin in Obi-Wan’s arms, “is Luke.”

    “A Jedi already,” Obi-Wan said, gazing at Luke as the baby reached up for him, seeming to want to grasp the beard.

    “She’s beautiful,” Bail said, smiling down at Leia. Then he looked at Anakin. “Did the droids determine what caused the bleeding?” Anakin suddenly realized how worried Bail looked. Breha Organa’s efforts to produce an heir to the Alderaani throne had only ended in heartbreak and loss.

    "They did," Anakin said. “Placental abruption. We were very lucky...” Suddenly his vision blurred from tears he did not know he had been holding back.

    “Anakin,” Bail said softly. “You should sit down. It’s been a very long day.”

    He did, and cradled his head as the sobs overtook him. Obi-Wan shifted Luke to his other arm and sat beside Anakin, put an arm around his shoulders.

    “My…nightmare…Master,” Anakin managed to say.

    “Didn’t come true,” Obi-Wan finished. “Padme is going to be fine.”

    “A real vision, the dream might not have been,” Yoda said. The old Jedi Master had not spoken since Anakin emerged from the pod, had merely been observing the scene. “Sidious…sent you the vision, he may have. Promised you, didn’t he, that the power to stop death, he would teach you? Fear is the path to the Dark Side, young one. Wanted you afraid, he did, so that manipulate you, he could.”

    “But it almost…” Anakin protested.

    Yoda banged his gimer stick. “Almost matters not!” he said. “Focus on the negative, we must not. Fear every possible outcome, we must not. Keep our concentration on the here and now, we must!”

    “Here,” Obi-Wan said, handing Luke to Anakin. “…is what matters. Hold your son.”

    “…and your daughter,” Bail said, approaching Anakin from the other side and placing Leia in the crook of his other arm.

    Anakin said nothing, just gave his children a watery smile.

    Yoda approached, laying a hand on each twin’s head and closing his eyes. “Hmmm…” he said. “Yes…strong in the Force, they both are. Very strong in the Force. Powerful Jedi they will be.”

    Luke glanced in Yoda’s direction, yawned, and closed his eyes.

    Padme sensed her husband in the room before she saw him. When she opened her eyes, he was gazing at her, smiling, with a baby in each arm.

    “Hello,” she said.

    “Hi,” he replied softly, settling the twins on either side of their mother and kissing her forehead. “How are you feeling? Are you in any pain?”

    She kissed the tops of the twins’ heads then smiled at Anakin. “Not at all,” she said. “A nice injection from the med droids took care of that. As long as I don’t need to operate a speeder for awhile…”

    Anakin laughed. “No, I don’t think so,” he said.

    “What about you?” Padme asked. Being careful of Luke nestled at her side, she reached her hand to squeeze Anakin’s flesh hand. “Are you alright? You’ve been crying.”

    “I got a little shaken up but I’m fine,” he said.

    “Your nightmare?” She asked.

    He nodded. “I thought…”

    She gave his hand another squeeze. “I know,” she said. “I was afraid too.”

    “Master Yoda thinks that Palpatine sent me the vision in order to turn me.”

    “He could have,” she said, letting go of Anakin's hand and stroking the babies' heads. “Thankfully that’s over and here we are.” She kissed Luke and Leia again. “You are beautiful,” she said. Luke opened his eyes and gazed at his mother. “Oh, Anakin, he has your eyes,” she said.

    “And Leia has yours,” Anakin said.

    “It’s going to be interesting to see who inherits whose temperament,” Padme said.

    Anakin laughed. “I think we’ll know soon enough,” he said, then added, “Master Yoda says they are both Force-sensitive.”

    Padme looked at Anakin. “Did that surprise you?”

    “No,” he said.

    “You just haven’t decided how you feel about it yet,” she said.

    “I’m afraid,” Anakin said. “Being a Jedi isn’t exactly what I thought it would be when I was nine.”

    Padme laughed. “Anakin, almost nothing in life meets the expectations we have as children,” she said. “And being a Jedi…I can’t imagine what you learned on Tatooine. I’m sure the deep space pilots gave you a lofty vision of Jedi superheroes. But even knowing what you know now, wouldn’t you have left Tatooine with Qui-Gon? Do you regret becoming a Jedi?”

    Anakin sighed. “Yes, I would have left with him, and no, I have no regrets.” He let go of Padme’s hand, ran his finger over each twin’s cheek. “Qui-Gon was right though. It’s a hard life.”

    Padme smiled. “So is any life that is worth living,” she said. Then she yawned.

    Anakin kissed her. “You should sleep,” he said. “Your med droid says you can come home tomorrow as long as your incision is healing.”

    Padme nodded and yawned again. “Good,” she said. “I need to sleep in our bed again.” Her eyelids were drooping. Anakin picked up Luke, then Leia and settled them in the bassinets next to their mother’s bed. Then he kissed Padme’s forehead and said softly. “I know it won’t be overlooking the garden in the Lake Country on Naboo, but I’ll do my best with the nursery before tomorrow. I think the room next to ours will be perfect. It’s relatively quiet…”

    She opened her eyes, smiled at him, and nodded. “I love you,” she whispered. She closed her eyes and drifted off before Anakin could reply.
  2. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Backpacking One Pack a Day Mod of New Films star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 16, 2005
    Ah, babies. Everyone's bewitched by babies, right, so involve them with Senator Aak.
    Lady_Misty likes this.
  3. Lady_Misty

    Lady_Misty Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 21, 2007
    Cute babies!

    Leia will remind people of her mother in llooks but she will have her father's temperament. Luke will remind people of his father but have his mother and grandmother's temperament.
  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Great update! =D= I'm glad the Senator that bears watching is just steamed up and not cunning and sneaky like a Sith. :p Yoda's assessment of Anakin's worst nightmare -- very, very insightful and very probable too. And fearing what-ifs definitely paralyzes one into inaction and freezes one into guilt. [face_thinking] Right now, they don't have time for either inaction or second-guessing. ;)

    Padme's right -- no life worth living is easy all the time; but it shouldn't feel futile either [face_frustrated] And right now, it probably does until things get stabilized.
  5. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Four Realms star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Mar 4, 2011
    Valairy Scot : Aak needs someone to charm him; not sure Luke and Leia could do the trick though. [face_worried]

    Lady_Misty : Yep, you nailed it. ;)

    Jade_eyes : Yes, and their battle is very much uphill for awhile, with seemingly no benefits whatsoever to being a Jedi. :( But Aak is just a hothead. The comic about the Star of Iskin is great but I can't remember the title right now.

    Thanks for reading. :)

    Chapter 9

    Obi-Wan found Anakin on the veranda. In the weeks since Organa’s election, Coruscant had returned from chaos to a semblance of normality. Bright lights, rushing speeders and happy shouts had replaced the smoke in the evening skies and the screams from the streets. Anakin sat in a rocker, feeding Luke, who rested against his father’s chest, facing outward. The baby’s eyes seemed to scan the horizon as he drank from his bottle. Obi-Wan patted him on the head, then laid a hand on Anakin’s shoulder. “Good evening, Padawan,” he said.

    Anakin nodded and smiled. “Master,” he replied.

    Obi-Wan’s gaze returned to Luke. “That’s a curious position for him,” he said.

    Anakin laughed. “It’s the only way he’ll eat. He cries if I cradle him. Not going to be content to sit still and focus on the present, this one. Eyes already on the stars.”

    Obi-Wan shared in the laughter. “Not that we can see any stars here,” he said. “How is Padme?”

    “Recovering well. She’s been going to her office an hour or two a day this week, working on the taxation debates.”

    Obi-Wan’s eyes widened and he looked at Luke. “The twins are three weeks old. She had surgery. What is she thinking???”

    “That she’ll go stir crazy if she has to stop completely,” Anakin said. “Once I realized that, I gave up trying to persuade her to rest. Besides, she usually takes at least one of the babies with her.” He sighed. “Fortunately she and Leia are both sleeping now. Both twins have hit a growth spurt and have been waking up to eat more often.” Anakin set Luke’s empty bottle on the table, rested the baby's head against his shoulder, and patted his back. “Of course this one has been in one constant growth spurt since he was born.”

    Obi-Wan smiled. “He is growing fast,” he said. The smile disappeared. “Anakin, I did want to see you and the children, but that isn’t the only reason I came by.”

    “I suspected that,” Anakin said. “What is it?”

    “A date has been set by the courts for the Jedi trial for the assassination of Palpatine.”

    Anakin frowned and nodded, resigned. “When?”

    “We begin in two weeks,” Obi-Wan said. “Aak and Free Taa wanted you and Mace taken into custody for the duration of the trial, but Bail gave an executive order that you are to remain as you are, saying that you are not a danger to either his office or the Republic itself. There is a contingency to that order, however.”

    Anakin looked at him. “What would that be?”

    “You are not to leave Coruscant for any reason.”

    Anakin nodded, and looked at Luke, who was falling asleep, snuggled against his chest. Anakin stroked his son’s cheek with one finger, kissed the top of his head, then looked at Obi-Wan again. “Master,” he said, and his voice was tinged with fear. “What if we lose?”

    “Losing is not an option, Anakin,” Obi-Wan said firmly. “The Sith have won many battles but they will lose the war.” He looked at Luke. “Are you going to lay him down?”

    Anakin shook his head. “Not right now. I want to hold him for awhile.”

    Obi-Wan nodded, and both Jedi sat silently, gazing at the skyline of the bustling city.

    It was early morning, before sunrise, when Ahsoka re-appeared. Anakin had fed Leia and was rocking her. He sensed his Padawan’s presence before he saw her.

    “Good morning, Snips,” he said, without looking up from gazing at the sleeping baby in his arms.

    “Good morning, Master,” Ahsoka replied. She moved closer, also watching the baby. “She’s beautiful,” she said. Anakin smiled.

    Ahsoka turned her attention to him. “Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked.

    Anakin looked up. “About Padme?”

    The ghost form of his apprentice nodded. “You were always taking off to ‘be somewhere’ and not telling me where you were going. And I thought…I could see it in your eyes when you looked at each other. Now I know. I would have kept your secret.”

    Anakin shook his head. “I know you would have, but it wasn’t yours to keep. I couldn’t put you in that position. If the Council questioned you, it was better that you knew nothing. It wasn’t a matter of trust, Padawan, I promise. It was a matter of not involving you in my issues.”

    “I’m sorry, Master.”

    Anakin smiled. “For what?”

    “For all that has happened lately. That I was reckless and got myself killed. That I haven’t been able to help you.”

    He sighed. “I’m sorry you had to take Grievous alone. Twice. As much as I wish you were physically here, I’m thankful for Master Qui-Gon’s teachings, that I can still see you.”

    “Anakin, I came to give you some information about the trial.”

    He looked up quickly.

    “You need to make sure you watch your temper in there,” she said.

    Anakin laughed. “You are telling me to watch my temper?”

    Ahsoka scowled. “This isn’t funny, Master. I am hardly the only member of the Order who is, to put it nicely, unpredictable. Your fuse is shorter than Master Yoda’s thumb. The prosecution will try to goad you into losing it on the stand. They will start by trying to paint Palpatine as a good man who was only striving for peace, and then will paint you and Master Windu as power-hungry angry men who hid behind the Jedi guise in order to accumulate more power for yourselves. In other words, they will try to paint a picture exactly the opposite from reality. They cannot be successful. Fortunately for Master Windu, he is much less easily provoked than you are. Your losing your temper on the stand would be disastrous, Anakin. So no name-calling, no shouting, no Huttese curses, and for the love of the Force, stop reaching for your lightsaber every time someone says something that makes you mad. You have to be the perfect picture of a Jedi. The evidence in the case is on your side, and the prosecution will be relying on character assassination. Please do not play into their hands.”

    Anakin held up his mechanical hand in surrender. “Ok, ok, call off the gundarks, I understand.”

    “Good luck, Sky Guy. May the Force be with you.”

    “Master Anakin, Mistress Padme, very important visitors here to see you—the Chancellor, two Jedi, and another,” 3PO announced.

    “Thank you, 3PO,” Padme said, emerging from the bedroom where she had just settled Leia down to sleep.

    “Of course,” 3PO said. R2-D2 chirped something. “No, R2, I don’t know what is happening or what Master Anakin has been involved in lately, other than taking care of infants. I wish I could help, but I am afraid I am not programmed to understand the smallest humans…”

    “Maybe it’s time for some reprogramming, 3PO,” Anakin said, smiling. “I think you could handle changing diapers, with the right instruction.”

    “Oh dear…” 3PO said, disappearing into the kitchen.

    Padme went to the entrance hall as Anakin went into the bedroom, carrying Luke.

    “Senator Amidala,” Mace said. “I would like you to meet Arili Adri, counselor for the Jedi defense.”

    Padme shook her hand, met her eyes. They were soft and brown, her dark blonde hair pulled back into a chignon. “Very pleased to meet you. Please come in and have a seat. Anakin will be back in a minute; he’s settling our son down for a nap.”

    Adri nodded, and the group followed Padme into the living area and settled on the couches. 3PO brought a tray of caf and cups, settled it on a table, then quickly disappeared.

    “How are the twins?” Bail asked.

    “Healthy and growing fast,” Padme said.

    “Growing at .5 past lightspeed,” Anakin said, emerging from the hall leading to the bedrooms. “I’m afraid they’ll be flying their own space cruisers next time I blink.”

    “Or if they are like their father, modifying all the space cruisers on Coruscant,” Obi-Wan said. “Good morning, Padawan.”

    “Good morning, Master.” Anakin approached Adri and extended his hand. “Hi. I’m Anakin Skywalker.”

    She took the proferred hand and smiled. “Master Skywalker. Arili Adri, I’ll be defending you in court. I look forward to it.”

    Anakin smiled. “So do I.” He poured himself a cup of caf and settled down.

    “As you are probably aware already, the hard evidence in the case is on the side of the Jedi,” Adri began. “The prosecution will try to make the case that Palpatine was correct, that the Jedi used the war to take control of the Republic, that you betrayed the Chancellor and initiated a coup in order to do so. They will attempt to feed into any innate anti-Jedi sentiment in the Court.”

    “What is the breakdown of the Court?” Obi-Wan asked.

    “Of the twelve members, six are Palpatine appointees,” Bail replied. “The other six were appointed by Valorum or myself. I have appointed Keyan Ijaaz to replace Raene Sularen, a Palpatine appointee who retired shortly after the assassination. Ijaaz is very supportive of the Jedi.”

    “The prosecuting attorney, Telera Dorstar, was a supporter of Palpatine but I don’t know that she holds strong anti-Jedi sentiments, mostly just skepticism and distrust as opposed to outright hatred. Resmi Rosario will preside over the trial. She is a Valorum appointee and has had good relations with the Order,” Adri said. “And there was an important breakthrough three days ago on the side of the Jedi.”

    “What would that be?” Anakin asked, taking a cautious sip of caf.

    “The 501st arrested Sate Pestage on Telos IV. Pestage was complacent in many of Palpatine’s war crimes. In exchange for immunity, he has agreed to testify for the defense.”

    Padme’s eyes widened and her hand shook as she sat her cup on its saucer. “Pestage…agreed to help the Jedi?”

    “I was surprised as well,” Mace said. “Considering that at one time, I thought Pestage himself was Sidious.”

    Adri nodded. “It seems that Palpatine offered him a share of power in exchange for doing his dirty work and keeping his secrets,” she said. “And now that that is over…”

    Bail was scowling. “Pestage is a thug,” he said. “I only hope I have not endangered anyone by granting him immunity.”

    “I am quite certain you will have saved more than you might endanger, Chancellor,” Adri said. She turned to Anakin. “Master Skywalker, were you aware that Palpatine had Sith statues in his office?”

    Anakin shook his head. “I may have seen some statues but I did not know what they were,” he said.

    “Pestage bought the statues for Palpatine,” Adri said. “The coroner droids found a red lightsaber next to Palpatine’s body, and the janitorial droids found a Sith robe in the Chancellor’s office, with a comlink inside it. The comlink was not erased. Viceroy Gunray will testify, and he has turned over all transmissions between the Separatists and Darth Sidious. Captain Rex will testify on Order 66, as he was among the legion that assaulted the Temple. Then Pestage, whose testimony will do the most to prove that Palpatine was a Sith Lord. And of course your own testimonies will be important.” She looked at Mace, then at Anakin, then turned to Padme. “Senator Amidala, does the Court know that you and Master Skywalker are married?”

    Padme took another sip of her caf. “I don’t know,” she said. “My closest colleagues in the Senate and members of the Jedi Council are the only people we have told personally. We are no longer actively trying to hide our marriage but we haven’t made any official announcement either, especially given recent events.”

    “We’ve been trying to stay out of the Holonet,” Anakin said. “We don’t want reporters’ cameras in our children’s faces.”

    Adri nodded. “That’s certainly understandable. I don’t know that the prosecution will question you about your relationship. But with rumors floating about Coruscant that a Jedi fathered Senator Amidala’s twins…”

    Padme scowled. “How did those rumors get started?”

    Anakin looked amused. “You have always been a little too cozy with the Order, love,” he replied.

    “That’s probably accurate,” Bail said. “You were always able to gain access to the Temple more quickly than the rest of us.” He looked amused as well.

    “Plus Luke has already tried to mind-trick at least one Toydarian…” Obi-Wan said. “I’m teasing,” he said, looking at Padme, who continued to scowl.

    “I know,” she said. “It just seems that with the Republic in turmoil, people would have more important things to discuss than my love life.”

    Bail laughed. “You overestimate them, Padme,” he said. “Especially when Anakin and Obi-Wan have both been cited in at least one woman’s magazine’s monthly feature of Jedi We’d Like To…”

    Bail!” Padme said. Anakin and Obi-Wan were shaking with laughter. Even Mace had cracked a smile.

    “Anyway,” Adri said. She looked amused as well. “It’s possible that the prosecution will ask, and try to use it against you. They might try to accuse Master Skywalker of trying to create a political alliance.”

    “That would be a bit ridiculous,” Padme said. "Anakin doesn't have the patience for political alliances."

    "Hey!" Anakin said. He pretended to look hurt but his amusement showed.

    Padme smiled at him. "Sorry, darling, you don't."

    “I think the notion is ridiculous as well, and could be easily debunked, so I don’t think they’ll try that," Adri continued. "Just be prepared to be asked. Both of you.”

    “Are you planning to put me on the stand?” Padme asked.

    Adri looked at her. “We may need you to testify about the Naboo blockade, the vote of no confidence in Valorum, and Palpatine’s ascension to power. I don’t think that will be necessary, however. I believe we have enough evidence to make our case without your needing to testify.”

    Padme nodded. Adri stood. “I will take my leave,” she said. “I will keep you apprised of new evidence as it becomes available. And Master Skywalker…”

    Anakin looked at her.

    “During the trial, only speak when spoken to. Everything you say can be used against you. Even your facial expressions could influence the Court. I have already told Master Windu the same.”

    Mace nodded. Anakin, who was trying to count the number of times in the past 13 years that he had seen Mace’s facial expression change from "completely unreadable," nodded as well. “Understood,” he said.

    “Good,” Adri said. “I will see you in two days at 0800. Have a good morning.”

    Anakin got up early, well before sunrise, and took his caf alone in the living area, gazing out the window. As the Coruscant horizon grew pink, then orange, with daybreak, Anakin thought he heard one of the twins. Or was it both of them? He was never sure. He stood to go into the nursery to see if Padme needed his help, when she appeared in the doorway, holding Leia, and handed her to Anakin. “She just ate. Can you burp and rock her? I need to take care of Luke; he’s hungry.”

    Anakin nodded, taking the baby in one arm and with the other, throwing the burp cloth over his shoulder. “Of course,” he said, kissing Leia’s soft cheek as he rested her head on his shoulder. “Good morning, Princess,” he said, giving her back a firm pat with his flesh hand. “Let’s go on the balcony.” He did, settling into a rocker there. The sun was rising brilliantly now, turning the sky several hues of purple and red. The morning was cool; Anakin wrapped Leia’s lower body in the folds of his robe.

    Padme joined him on the veranda, sat down in the other rocker, and began to feed Luke. “Have you slept at all?” She asked.

    “Some,” he said. Insomnia had plagued him since the Separatist Crisis. The fact that he was only able to sleep three hours on the night before his trial, was not a surprise to him.

    She watched Luke as he ate. “Anakin, we must have faith that the Court will do the right thing,” she said. “We lost faith in the system before, remember? And almost became a dictatorship.”

    “How could I forget?” Anakin said bitterly. “I’m going on trial for stopping the dictator.” He sighed. “I killed the Sith apprentice and was lauded as a hero. I helped kill the Sith Master and suddenly I’m the villain. What kind of kriffed-up system is that?”

    “Bail has made a lot of strides in restoring faith in the Republic but we’re not going to heal overnight,” Padme said. “Palpatine twisted too many minds. But we will heal, Anakin.”

    He sighed again. “I know, and I certainly was not trying to disparage Bail’s work. Or yours.” He paused. “The anti-Jedi sentiment that Adri talked about…I wonder how much of it is present in the Court. It was present all over Galactic City at one time; even Bail didn’t like us much a few years ago. Thankfully he’s become one of our strongest allies.”

    “I think it was more a mistrust because the Jedi were seen as secretive,” Padme said. “Not so much a dislike.”

    “Then Palpatine made sure our faces and our doings were made public,” Anakin muttered. “Of course maybe that was the one thing he did right. No one can mistrust us for being secretive if our doings are splashed all over the Holonet. There is something to be said for transparency.”

    “Even if his motivations for doing so were evil,” Padme said, putting Luke on her shoulder. “But I think your actions during the war spoke for themselves, and helped build public trust more than Palpatine’s publicity did.”

    “Depends on who you ask,” Anakin muttered.

    “You drove the Separatists out of the Core Worlds, Inner Rim and Mid Rim pretty quickly. If only Palpatine hadn’t insisted on continuing the world on the Outer Rim…”

    “With Dooku taking his orders. I know,” Anakin said. “As long as we can prove that Palpatine as Sidious was giving the orders for the war to continue…”

    3PO appeared on the balcony. “Master Anakin, Mistress Padme, Master Obi-Wan is here with two soldiers. Soldiers, oh dear…Master Anakin, are you going into battle again?”

    Anakin stood, Leia still in his arms. “In a manner of speaking,” he said. “Tell them I will be right there, 3PO, as soon as I put Leia down.”

    He took the baby into the nursery where two bassinets sat side by side, one blue, one pink. Anakin had constructed them himself, the day the twins were born. Gently and methodically carving the wood had helped fill the long hours while he waited for Padme to be released from the medical center. And the happy tears that filled her eyes when she saw the cradles made the effort well worth his time.

    He gently laid Leia in the pink one, handed her a rattle, and kissed her forehead. “Daddy’s expecting a rough day, Princess, but knowing that I get to come home to you, will make it all better.”

    Leia looked at him and smiled. Her eyes met his. They were already darkening to a blue-grey, and Anakin knew they would eventually be brown like her mother’s. And like their mother, Luke and Leia’s mere presence was a balm to Anakin’s soul. He kissed her forehead again. “I’ll be back soon,” he said, and stood, forcing himself to back out of the room.

    He nearly ran into Padme and Luke, who were standing near the doorway to the nursery. Padme stood on tiptoe and kissed him. “You need to go ahead. They’re waiting for you. Being late would definitely not be good.” She shifted Luke to her other arm and took Anakin’s flesh hand in hers. “I love you. The truth will prevail, Anakin.”

    Anakin nodded and held out his arms. “Let me hold him for a minute,” he said.

    Padme handed Luke to him. Anakin held him, saying nothing, just gazing into the baby’s clear blue eyes and rocking him gently. After a minute he kissed Luke’s forehead and handed him reluctantly back to his mother, giving her a long kiss. “I love you. I’ll be back as soon as I can,” he said, then went into the entrance hall where Obi-Wan waited for him, with Rex and Cody.

    “Are you ready, Anakin?” Obi-Wan said, obviously trying to sound cheerful.

    “Is that a rhetorical question?” Anakin asked, then looked at the clone soldiers.

    “General Skywalker,” Rex said. “This is just a formality. We aren’t expecting you to try to escape.”

    “I hope not,” Anakin said, and smiled. “Good to see you again, Rex.”

    “You as well, sir.”

    Anakin nervously smoothed the front of his tunic. “Alright, let’s do this.” He said it as if they were leaving on a mission.
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Great update. =D=

    I like the lawyer for the defense and the make-up of the court justices seems promising. Pestage's testimony -- hope he doesn't try to pull a double cross even subtly although that would nullify the immunity agreement.

    “How could I forget?” Anakin said bitterly. “I’m going on trial for stopping the dictator.” He sighed. “I killed the Sith apprentice and was lauded as a hero. I helped kill the Sith Master and suddenly I’m the villain. What kind of kriffed-up system is that?” [face_laugh] :p I know that's right. I like Padme's optimism. I hope it's warranted. [face_thinking]
  7. Lady_Misty

    Lady_Misty Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 21, 2007
    Luke is just curious to know what is out there; beyond his father's arms. :)
  8. Ocelotl_Nesto

    Ocelotl_Nesto Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 29, 2004
    Nice closure... I wonder if clone wars will give us a story on how Asohka steps out (my hope is stuck in carbonite to be discovered by Luke 30 years later)
    Lady_Misty likes this.
  9. Lady_Misty

    Lady_Misty Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 21, 2007
    I have a story that has that in it.
  10. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Four Realms star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Mar 4, 2011
    Jade_eyes : Adri is good; I enjoyed writing her. As far as Pestage--his testimony is, um, interesting. That comes later.

    Lady_Misty : Yes, he is. Even in this universe, he's still Luke.

    Ocelotl_Nesto : I haven't decided what I hope TCW does with Ahsoka, but I imagine they'll resolve her fate somehow.

    And here's the beginning of the trial:

    Chapter 10

    They approached the door to the courtroom in hushed silence. “Master Kenobi, Master Skywalker,” Cody said just before the guards opened the large polished doors. “I have to ask you to surrender your lightsabers. They are not allowed in chambers.”

    “Of course,” Obi-Wan said, nodding. He and Anakin put their sabers in the clone commander’s palm.

    Well, Snips, you won’t have to worry about my reaching for it if someone irritates me, Anakin thought. While he wasn’t surprised at the command, somehow having to surrender his weapon made him feel more vulnerable, and alone.

    Adri rested her hand on Anakin’s arm. “The only thing you need to do the next few days is sit and listen,” she said. “And use whatever meditation techniques you need. Dorstar and her witnesses are going to brutally attack the Jedi. You need to be prepared.”

    Anakin scowled and nodded. He and Obi-Wan entered the courtroom and sat silently next to Mace. Yoda sat on Mace’s other side, his eyes closed, seemingly going into meditation himself.

    “This session of the Galactic Supreme Court is called to order,” the bailiff said. “The Honorable Chief Justice Resmi Rosario presiding. Case number 87623: the Republic v. the High Council of the Jedi Order, on the charges of treason and murder in the premeditated assassination of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. Lead counsel for the prosecution, Telera Dorstar. Lead counsel for the defense, Arili Adri.”

    Dorstar took the stand. “Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen of the Court, three months and ten days ago, five Jedi entered the office of the Supreme Chancellor, attacked him, and murdered him. They used their supernatural powers to assault the Chancellor’s guards without using weapons, rendering them unconscious so that there would be no contest and no witnesses. The cause of the Chancellor’s death was a chest wound inflicted by a lightsaber. Three of the five Jedi were also left dead from lightsaber wounds. The defense is going to attempt to convince you that the Chancellor himself attacked these Jedi with a lightsaber. Palpatine was 64 years old, not healthy enough to win a battle against five Jedi, and a lightsaber is a Jedi weapon, not the weapon of a politician or his guards.” She paused. “Just prior to the Battle of Utapau, the Galactic Congress voted to relinquish control of the Jedi Order to the Chancellor himself, in an effort to end the war more quickly. The Jedi, in spite of the fact that their mission is to serve the Senate and obey its orders, resisted this change. Two weeks later, the Chancellor died at the hands of the Jedi. These are the facts, and they are undisputed. Three Senators, all close allies of Palpatine, including Palpatine’s Vice Chair, will take the stand for the prosecution. They will speak of Palpatine’s leadership as Chancellor, his attempts to find a diplomatic solution to the Separatist Crisis, and his betrayal by the Jedi Order. The Jedi so strongly resented having their own power challenged that they were willing to murder in order to keep it.” She nodded towards Adri, and took her seat.

    Adri stood. “Ladies and gentlemen of the Court, for 25,000 years, this Republic has stood, its Constitution virtually unamended, with the Order of the Jedi as its peacekeepers and protectors. In the past 13 years, the Jedi Knights’ role has changed from that of peacekeepers to soldiers, leading a clone army whose creation they opposed into a war whose outbreak they tried to prevent. During the war, the Galactic Constitution was amended to the point of being virtually unrecognizable, with so many powers concentrated into the office of the Supreme Chancellor that Palpatine became a virtual dictator. The Senate even voted to allow Palpatine to stay in office until he personally chose to step down. Members of the Senate and average Republic citizens who have spoken against Palpatine have been demonized at best, and at worst, secretly murdered. Madam Dorstar is correct in that the Jedi resisted being put under direct control of the Chancellor, and their fate became the same as many who protested Palpatine’s orders. A clone soldier, Captain Rex, will take the stand for the defense to describe the nature of Order 66, in which the Supreme Chancellor ordered the clones to murder their Jedi generals. Because of this order, only 100 Jedi survived the war.” She paused. “The Jedi have an ancient enemy which until recently, was not well known to the general public. That enemy is the Sith. The Sith have the same powers that the Jedi have, which Madam Dorstar referred to as ‘supernatural,’ but they use their powers for evil. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn was murdered 13 years ago by a Sith apprentice on the planet of Naboo. Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi killed this apprentice, and the Jedi have been searching for the Sith Master since that time. Viceroy Nute Gunray of the Trade Federation will testify to the fact that Sith Master Darth Sidious led the Separatist side of the war. The defense will then present indisputable evidence that Darth Sidious and Chancellor Palpatine were the same person. Yes, the facts on Chancellor Palpatine’s death are undisputed, however, the Jedi Masters acted in self-defense and in an attempt to preserve the galaxy. They had gone into the Chancellor’s office to arrest him for war crimes, and only attacked the Chancellor when he drew his weapon, a Sith lightsaber, on them. Thank you.”

    Dorstar stood again. “The prosecution calls Senator Ask Aak of Malastare.”

    Aak took the stand and swore an oath to tell the truth.

    “Senator Aak, can you recall where you were when you received the news of the Chancellor’s assassination?” Dorstar asked.

    “In my office,” he said. “One of my aides had brought me word that Master Kenobi had defeated General Grievous. We were rejoicing because we assumed this meant the end of the war, and we were anticipating a Holonet speech from the Chancellor that evening, as well as a special session of Congress, in which the Chancellor would declare victory and lasting peace for the Republic. Instead we received the tragic news that the Chancellor had been murdered in his own office.”

    “Did you know right away who committed the murder?”

    “No,” Aak said. “I assumed that the Separatists had infiltrated Coruscant. Count Dooku was able to enter the Chancellor’s office to kidnap him; I assumed that in spite of the increased security in the Senate building since that event, his office had once again been compromised. I was correct, only this time it wasn’t the Separatists.”

    “Were you surprised to learn that a team of Jedi Masters murdered the Chancellor?”

    Aak shook his head. “I was surprised at their boldness, but not at the act itself. For several years I have been suspicious of the Jedi Order’s level of secrecy, which they have always claimed necessary to protect their special powers. I was also suspicious of the lengths they will go to extend those special powers. They proclaim themselves the guardians of justice and peace but quickly set themselves as head of the Grand Army of the Republic when the war began. They preferred the glory of battle to peacekeeping and protection, which is allegedly the mission of the Order. Many worlds have suffered due to their dereliction of duty, including Aargau, where my predecessor, Aks Moe, was murdered.”

    “Were the Jedi protecting Moe at the time?”

    “No,” Aak replied. “Moe’s alleged protector decided that he would rather fight pirates in the Atrivis sector.”

    “You have often criticized the Jedi for their role in the Battle of Parcelus Minor. Can you tell this court what happened there?”

    “It was a disastrous loss for the Republic. Jedi Master Roblio Darte, realizing that he had no hope of victory, ran like the coward that he is, leaving his wounded clone troops to die in the swamp.”

    That’s not true! Anakin thought, wishing desperately that he could stand and say it aloud. Obi-Wan looked at him meaningfully, and Anakin knew that his Master had sensed his thoughts.

    Adri raised an objection, which was sustained.

    “Senator Aak, you recently supported the repeal of the Enhanced Security and Enforcement Act, after being a strong supporter of the Act’s passage two years ago. Can you explain why you originally supported the act?”

    “Again, because the Jedi were not doing their job of protecting the people. After the Star of Iskin was destroyed by an assassin directly above Coruscant, with its shrapnel raining down on the city and killing innocent people on the ground, I, along with several other Senators, realized that the Chancellor needed the liberty to take any necessary action to protect the people of the Republic.”

    “The High Council of the Jedi opposed this act, am I correct?”

    Aak nodded. “They claimed the act would make policing the galaxy more difficult. The Act itself and its amendments did take several of their powers and concentrate them into the Supreme Chancellor’s office.”

    “One further question: What do you know of the Chancellor’s relationship with Anakin Skywalker?”

    Aak looked meaningfully at Anakin. “Skywalker was the only Jedi that the Chancellor felt he could trust. I believe Palpatine considered him a friend.”

    Dorstar nodded. “I have nothing further.”

    She sat, and Adri stood. “Senator Aak, you say that the Jedi set themselves as head of the Grand Army of the Republic. Did they officially appoint themselves as leaders of this army, or did another appoint them?”

    Aak's three eyes scanning the room nervously. “They were appointed, Madam.”

    “And who appointed them?”

    Aak hesitated for a moment, then replied, “Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. With the approval of the High Council.”

    Anakin’s mechanical hand clenched and unclenched rapidly.

    Adri nodded at the Chief Justice. “I have nothing further, Your Honor.”

    Dorstar stood again. “The prosecution calls Senator Orn Free Taa of Ryloth.”

    Free Taa took the stand and swore the oath.

    “Senator Free Taa, you were the one who nominated Senator Palpatine to the Chancellorship after the vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum, is that correct?”


    “Of the 2000 Senators in the Galactic Congress, why was Senator Palpatine your first choice to lead the Republic?”

    “He was an outstanding statesman, had made many friends among the Senators and few enemies. In any dispute, he worked well for both sides, resisted conflict and always called for a diplomatic solution. However, when diplomacy failed, he was strong enough to do what needed to be done. After years of Valorum’s rule, which was ineffective at best and corrupt at worst, we needed change. The other two nominations after the vote of no confidence, Bail Antilles and Ainlee Teem, were unacceptable. Both of these Senators had announced their intention to run for the Chancellorship months prior to the vote of no confidence. They would have continued the corruption and ineffectiveness in the Senate while pretending to promote stability.” Free Taa paused. “Palpatine’s home world was under attack, and it was he, along with then-Queen Amidala, who were able to defeat the Trade Federation, in spite of the fact that they received no help from Valorum’s administration and little help from the Jedi. He above all Senators deserved the Chancellorship.”

    Little help from the Jedi??? Anakin thought angrily. He looked at Obi-Wan. His former master’s expression was unreadable but Anakin sensed his thoughts. Irritated, but also resigned. I’m used to it, Anakin.

    One day, Anakin thought, I will ensure that Qui-Gon’s legacy is given its rightful place…

    “Did you regret nominating Palpatine after his failed attempts at handling the Separatist Crisis?” Dorstar continued.

    Free Taa shook his head. “No,” he said. “Chancellor Palpatine worked tirelessly for peace.”

    “Did the Chancellor ask for a peace settlement with the Separatists?”

    “Yes. He pleaded, begged, across the Holonet for Count Dooku to meet him on Bothawui to work towards a diplomatic solution to the crisis,"

    "What was Dooku's response?"

    "There was none. He ignored the Chancellor completely.”

    “To your knowledge as a member of the Galactic Congress, how did the Jedi respond to the Separatist Crisis?”

    Free Taa scowled. “They requested that the Chancellor let the Outer Rim worlds go. We mean very little to them I suppose. They were also in denial that Count Dooku would do us any harm. Count Dooku was once a Jedi, and according to their High Council, no Jedi, present or past, would ever commit murder or promote war.”

    “You were one of the initial members of the Loyalist Committee, were you not?”


    “Why was this committee formed?”

    “We were to advise Chancellor Palpatine on the Separatist Crisis. We were also to cleanse the Senate of Separatist traitors and promote loyalty to the Republic.”

    “Were the members of the Loyalist Committee supporters of the Clone War?”

    “No. We often disagreed politically. Senator Amidala, who was the most vocal opponent of the Military Creation Act, was a member of the committee, as were Aks Moe and later Ask Aak, two of the most vocal supporters of the Act. I was also a supporter of the Act.“

    “Did Palpatine himself support the Act?”

    “Absolutely not. He believed Senator Amidala to be correct when she said that the Separatists would take the creation of the Army as a threat of violence.”

    Anakin, underneath his irritation at Senator Free Taa’s blatant falsehoods, felt a swell of pride for his wife.

    “So Palpatine wanted peace with the Separatists?" Dorstar continued. “This is what he told you as a member of the Loyalist Committee? This is what he asked you to help him achieve?”

    “Yes. This was our main focus.”

    “I have nothing further.” Dorstar sat.

    Adri stood. “Senator Free Taa, what was Chancellor Palpatine’s very first act after the Senate voted him emergency powers?”

    “He created a Grand Army of the Republic to counter the increasing threat of the Separatists.”

    “He created the Army himself? He did not allow the Senate to vote on it?”

    Free Taa looked irritated. “As I have said several times, the Separatists gave him no choice.”

    “Senator Free Taa, your home world of Ryloth was invaded by the Separatists, is that correct?”


    “Can you tell the Court who helped you defeat the Separatists?”

    Free Taa looked around the courtroom. “Generals Skywalker and Kenobi and their legions led a successful ground assault. General Windu led the negotiations with Cham Syndulla to retake the capital.”

    "General Windu negotiated? As in, without violence?"

    "Yes." Free Taa looked more nervous; the ends of his lekku twitched.

    “Were you pleased with the assistance you received from the Jedi?”


    “Did you sense any attempt to usurp power, either yours as a representative of your home world or the Chancellor’s as leader of the Republic?”

    “You mean before I learned that they were willing to murder the Chancellor to get power?”

    “Yes or no, Senator. When these Jedi Masters helped you take your home world back from the Separatists, did you feel that they were trying to set themselves in a position of power, either on Ryloth or in Coruscant?”

    Free Taa hesitated, scanned the room, glared at Mace for a minute. Then he replied, “No.”

    “I have nothing further.”

    Padme opened the door with two glasses of wine in her hand. She handed Anakin one of the glasses, pulled him in for a quick kiss, then took his hand and led him to the sofa. He said nothing for a minute, just gazed at her. Her emerald green dress was simple, long and flowing; her hair, free of the headdresses she wore in the Senate, fell in curls around her shoulders. Anakin touched her hair, running his fingers through the curls. “You’re certainly a sight for sore eyes after today,” he said.

    “I saw most of the trial on the Holonet, Ani,” she replied. “You did well.”

    “You mean I didn’t splinter any courtroom furniture using the Force after a couple of wonderful Senators demonized my friends and made a mockery of my life’s work?”

    “Yes. Exactly.” She sipped her wine, set the glass on the table, then put her hands on Anakin’s shoulders, encouraging him to turn around, and began working her fingers into the muscles near his neck. “I can tell you’ve been tensing these muscles all day,” she said. “You’re one giant knot back here.”

    “Well whatever you’re doing, it feels wonderful,” he said. He set his wine glass on the table next to Padme’s, and closed his eyes, willing the headache that blazed behind his sockets to disappear. “Are the babies asleep?”

    “Sound asleep,” she said, working her fingers outward around his shoulder blades.

    “Where are R2 and 3PO?”

    “3PO has shut down to recharge. R2 is probably with him.” She worked the muscles in his shoulders with her fingertips, then her knuckles.

    “Tell me what you did today,” Anakin said. “Other than watch the Holonet.”

    “Held babies, fed babies, rocked babies, changed diapers,” she said, working her hands inward, near his collarbone. “Luke spit up on 3PO. The poor droid thought Luke was sick, wanted to call a Healer. When I told him that all babies spit up, he said something about not understanding the behavior of small humans.”

    Anakin laughed. Padme worked a little deeper on the tense muscles near his shoulder blades. “I also went to the office for about an hour. I’m still working on the taxation issue; the final vote is next week. The Trade Federation and Banking Clan want a repeal of BR-0371…” Her fingers kneaded slowly down Anakin’s back. “…which is fine, but if we’re not going to tax the hyperspace lanes in the Mid Rim, we have to find another source of revenue. We’re going to have to make some spending cuts. I don’t know that we can increase taxes right now.” Her hands moved up Anakin’s back, kneading the muscles over his ribs. “Unfortunately most Senators take a ‘not on my planet’ approach to cuts in earmark spending. I’m also working on a proposal to stop the production of clones. We’ve paid the Kaminoans a fortune, that’s one cut that needs to be made. Fang Zar is heading a committee to work with planetary leaders to rehome existing clone soldiers on safe and welcoming worlds.”

    “You will find a solution,” Anakin said. “One that will please everyone. You are better at negotiation than anyone I know.” He turned around slowly and kissed her. She ran her hands along his chest, under his tunic, and he slowly deepened the kiss, running his hands along her back, under her hair.

    “How long will the babies sleep?” He asked between kisses.

    “They went down just before you came home,” Padme replied in a whisper. “We should have about an hour.”

    “And your med droid checkup?” He said, his hands fumbling with the zipper in her dress.

    “I’m healthy, fully recovered, and ready to resume normal activities,” Padme said. She cupped his face with her hands, her eyes locked onto his.

    “So let’s resume them,” Anakin said, smiling. He stood, picked her up and carried her back to the bedroom.

    Several minutes later they lay silently, listening to the sound of speeders rushing by outside in the early evening twilight. Padme hoisted herself up on her elbow and brushed her husband’s curls away from his sweaty forehead. “Anakin?”

    He opened his eyes, touched her cheek and smiled. “Yes, love?”

    “What really happened on Parcellus Minor?”

    Anakin’s smile disappeared, he closed his eyes again. “Padme…” he said.

    “I just want to know,” she said.

    “You don’t believe Aak, do you?”

    “Of course not,” she snapped, lying back down. “If I believed Aak, I wouldn’t ask you what really happened.”

    Anakin sighed, wrapped his arm around her, and kissed her forehead. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m still a bit on edge.” He took a deep breath, closed his eyes again. “Nothing in that battle went well for us. We grossly underestimated the size of the Separatist fleet. The planet is a massive swamp and the clones couldn’t land any of their equipment. Darte should have retreated from the beginning. And you know I don’t like retreat.” He sighed. “Soon after he landed, the Separatists sent reinforcements although they already grossly outnumbered us. Then they set the swamps on fire. Literally ignited the planet. The tzeonine resin in the plants is highly flammable, and the fire spread quickly.” Anakin swallowed. “Darte had to immediately mobilize himself and any troops who could run, or they’d burn alive. They could not carry anything or anyone. So yes, he left the wounded troops behind. He was sick about it, spent a month with a Mind Healer, didn’t go back in battle for six.” He opened his eyes again.

    She rubbed his chest. “I’m sorry, Ani. That’s heartbreaking.”

    “Darte was no coward. The fact that Aak could make such an accusation means that he is either grossly ignorant or the highest level of kung that ever lived. My guess would be the latter.”

    Padme said nothing, just reached across Anakin’s body to take his other hand in hers, and for several minutes the only sound in the room was, once again, the sounds of the Galactic City outside. The sound of an infant crying, then another, broke the silence. Anakin sat up, quickly putting his pants back on, and leaned over to kiss his wife. “I’ll get them,” he said. “I haven’t seen them all day.”

    She nodded, closing her eyes, the last rays of the setting sun making shadows across her face.

    “The prosecution calls Vice Chair Mas Amedda.”

    Amedda took the stand and swore the oath. Dorstar stood. “Vice Chair Amedda, you served under Chancellor Valorum, but you presided over the vote of no confidence and encouraged Senator Free Taa to nominate Palpatine for Chancellor, is this correct?”


    “Can you tell the court why?”

    “Valorum was ineffective as Chancellor, and the Republic needed stronger leadership. The Senate should not have been hamstrung by bureaucratic laws when the people of Naboo were dying. Queen Amidala needed our help, and Valorum was either unable or unwilling to give it. She had already told him that she held him personally responsible for the suffering of her people, and few in the Senate could blame her for that. But Valorum did nothing in response to her pleas.”

    “Was Valorum not your friend?”

    “Yes, but friendship does not make for effective leadership.”

    “Why did you feel that Palpatine would make a better leader?”

    “Counselor, Palpatine wrote the book on political leadership. At the time of his ascension to the Chancellorship, his political theories and leadership philosophies were being taught in universities and military academies around the galaxy.” He paused. “He knew how to get things done. He made friends among many of the Senators, many with opposing political philosophies, and won them over to his side.”

    “How did he handle the Separatist Crisis?”

    “He held the Republic together with his bare hands. He did all that he possibly could to appeal to the Separatists. He desperately wanted a diplomatic solution, pleaded with Dooku and the Confederacy to listen to him. His pleas fell on deaf ears.”

    “You initiated the Emergency Powers Act, is that correct?”

    “I could not initiate it from the position of Vice Chair, but it was my idea, yes. Representative Jar-Jar Binks proposed it in Senator Amidala’s absence.”

    Anakin inwardly cringed. Oh, Jar Jar, you know Padme better than that. He felt another twinge of anger at Palpatine for shoving Padme out of the way and taking advantage of the vulnerable eager-to-please Gungan.

    “Why did you feel the Chancellor needed emergency powers?” Dorstar continued.

    “Like Valorum, he was bogged down by procedure. After Master Kenobi discovered a droid army foundry on Geonosis—proof that the Separatists were ready to wage war—we had to act quickly. The Chancellor needed to be able to take action by executive order rather than waiting for a Senate vote.”

    “And do you feel that the Chancellor abused his powers?”

    “Certainly not. His initiation of the Military Creation Act enabled the Republic to regain control of all Core, Inner Rim and Mid-Rim systems very quickly.”

    “Vice Chair, what do you know of the Chancellor’s relationship with the Jedi Order?”

    “He had a great deal of respect for the Jedi and had formed friendships with several of the Knights. He and Master Ronhar Kim were friends for some 30 years.”

    “What do you know of Palpatine’s relationship with Anakin Skywalker?”

    Amedda looked directly at Anakin. “He made a point of taking Skywalker under his wing upon his arrival at the Temple. He was sad for the boy, who had been taken from his mother, rejected for training, and then lost Master Jinn in battle. He understood that Skywalker was not a typical Jedi and hoped to make his adjustment on Coruscant easier. He offered him a listening ear, and advice, which Skywalker received willingly for years. He came to love the boy like a son.” He paused. “He was greatly saddened at his betrayal.”

    Dorstar nodded. “I have nothing further.”

    Obi-Wan looked at Anakin, who had suddenly become interested in the toes of his boots. He closed his eyes and tried to sense his former apprentice’s emotions through the Force. There was plenty of anger and irritation there, but underneath that, a deep sadness and…was it embarrassment?

    Adri stood. “Vice Chair Amedda, were you aware that Chancellor Palpatine was a Sith Lord?”

    Amedda hesitated, looked uncomfortable. “The Chancellor and I did not make a point of discussing his religious beliefs…”

    “Yes or no, Vice Chair.”

    Amedda opened his mouth, closed it again, then opened it. His voice was barely audible in the courtroom. “Yes. Yes, I knew.”

    “And how did you know?”

    “He told me.”

    “He told you? Why did you not report this information to the Jedi Council?”

    Amedda’s voice grew stronger. “Because the Republic’s laws grant freedom of religion, Counselor. It is not illegal to be a Sith. The Chancellor’s religious views were none of the Jedi Council’s business.”

    Anakin gritted his teeth, clenching and unclenching his mechanical hand.

    “None of their business, although the Sith religion mandates destruction of the Jedi Order? Is that the only reason you kept this identity a secret?” Adri continued.

    Amedda hesitated again. “No,” he replied.

    “And what other reason might there be, Vice Chair?”

    Amedda said nothing for a moment.

    “Answer the counselor’s question, Vice Chair,” Rosario commanded.

    Amedda did, his voice once again barely above a whisper. “He threatened me,” he said. “He personally destroyed the Outbound Flight project for which I had lobbied; that nearly ruined my political career. He even sent his former apprentice to kill me, only calling him off after I agreed to support him as Chancellor. He had already arranged for Master Kim to be killed in battle after he and his Padawan wanted to take midichlorian counts of all Senate members. If I were to ever oppose him, or reveal the information he gave me…”

    “That is over now,” Adri said softly. “But Vice Chair Amedda, while being a Sith Lord may be legal, are death threats and blackmail from the Chancellor’s office legal?”

    Amedda opened his mouth and closed it, did not speak.

    “I have nothing further,” Adri said.

    “That went well,” Obi-Wan said as he and Anakin entered the turbolift. “I’m not sure Dorstar was prepared for that entire testimony, although obviously she had prepped her witnesses on the legality of the Sith religion. Who would have thought that Palpatine had trapped Amedda that way years ago?”

    Anakin shook his head. “I had no idea,” he said. “I doubt anyone in the Senate did either, but I can’t be sure of that. Free Taa might have been privy to it.”

    “Palpatine probably threatened a few Senators and bribed many more,” Obi-Wan said.

    Anakin nodded. He continued to stare at his boots as he had in the courtroom, not meeting Obi-Wan’s eyes. Obi-Wan reached through the Force to sense Anakin’s emotions. Sadness and shame prevailed.

    “What’s wrong?” Obi-Wan asked.

    Anakin shook his head and sighed, but said nothing.


    “A few years ago I would have believed him,” Anakin said.

    “Who? Amedda? What he said about you and Palpatine?”

    Anakin nodded, looking away from Obi-Wan, out the turbolift’s glass walls. “Palpatine did put on quite a show of pretending to be interested in me. ‘I know the Jedi are upsetting you, they don’t appreciate you, come talk to me any time, boy, my door is always open…’ He also took way too much pleasure in blowing sunshine up my ass. ‘You are the most talented Jedi I have ever met, Anakin. The Council does not fully appreciate your abilities, it is just too bad…’ And I lapped it up like the idiot that I was.”

    Obi-Wan pushed a button on the turbolift, making it stop in midair, then put his hands on his former apprentice’s shoulders, forcing him to turn around. “Anakin, look at me.”

    He did; Obi-Wan saw sad blue eyes and a set jaw. “It wasn’t really your fault, you know that.”

    Anakin said nothing.

    “If it was anyone’s fault, it was mine.”

    Anakin shook his head rapidly. “Obi-Wan, no,” he began.

    Obi-Wan interrupted him. “Let me say this, Anakin. I owe you that much.” He took a deep breath. “I wasn’t prepared to train you, and I resented Qui-Gon for pushing me to face the trials so that he could take you, without even a word to me in advance. Then you and I both lost him. I was new to Knighthood, I certainly didn’t know how to be a Master. And I was a bit harsh and unfair to you. I thought, since you came to the Temple at a later age and we needed to make up for lost time, that you needed a stern teacher more than you needed a friend. I could not have been more wrong, and it took you losing your mother, then your arm on Geonosis, and being thrust into Knighthood early yourself, for me to realize that. I am sorry, Anakin. But if I wasn’t offering you the friendship you so desperately craved, who could blame you for turning to Palpatine?”

    Anakin looked away again, not speaking, obviously moved. A couple of minutes later, still not quite trusting his voice, he said, “You didn’t have to say any of that, Obi-Wan, but thank you anyway.”

    “You’re welcome, Padawan. I have tried to make it up to you since then; I’m glad it wasn’t too late.”

    “Well, all it took was one or two attempts to stop Palpatine from getting his way, for him to show his true colors. Padme knows that better than either of us.” Anakin pushed the button to get the turbolift going again, and put his arm around Obi-Wan’s shoulders. “Why don’t you come by for a visit? I’m sure Luke would love the chance to try to pull your beard again.”

    Obi-Wan laughed. “I think Bail can manage without me for awhile, especially since Mace is with him."

    “The prosecution calls Thrynka Padaunete.”

    A dark-haired, green-eyed woman took the stand and swore an oath.

    “Madam Padaunete, you founded the group known as People’s Inquest, is that correct?”


    “What is the purpose of this group?”

    “We are a citizens’ watch group designed to hold the Jedi Order accountable for its actions.”

    “Why did you feel that such a group was needed?”

    “I and several others were tired of the Jedi doing whatever they pleased, often times at the expense of Republic funds and manpower, using ‘security’ as an excuse.” Padaunette spat the word “security” the way Padme had when she discussed Palpatine. “The Jedi claimed that we average people could not possibly understand their special powers and therefore we must be too stupid to have access to their deeds.”

    “Is it possible that the Jedi were correct, and their use of special powers needed to be classified for security reasons?”

    Padaunette rolled her eyes. “Absolutely not. They wanted to use their powers to take over the Republic, and did not want average citizens catching onto them.”

    “What happened with Baby Ludi?”

    “She was rescued by the Jedi from an earthquake and taken to the Temple. The Jedi thought her mother had died and were planning to raise her in their Creche. When her mother, who is very much alive, came for her six months later, Master Windu refused to return her.”


    “He and the rest of the Council claimed that the baby’s mind had already been opened to the Force or some such garbage. The truth was that the Jedi had already begun their mind-control tactics on Ludi, and if she were returned to her mother, the rest of the galaxy might come to fully understand how the Jedi kidnap and brainwash children.”

    Anakin’s jaw clenched. He closed his eyes, counted slowly to 20 in Huttese, and took a couple of deep breaths.

    “What happened when several students from the University of Coruscant protested the Council’s decision not to return Baby Ludi?”

    “Jedi Master Plo Kloon mind tricked them and made them leave. The Jedi are good at mind-tricking people into compliance.”

    “Do you believe that the Chancellor was killed because he could not be successfully mind-tricked?”

    “Objection! Speculation,” Adri said.

    “Sustained,” Rosario said.

    “I have nothing further,” Dorstar replied.

    Adri stood. “Madam Padaunette, what happened just prior to Master Plo Kloon subduing the student protestors?”

    “Two Jedi Padawans attempted to disperse the crowd.”

    “Were they successful?”

    “No, hence a Master stepped in.”

    “So not all Jedi are able or willing to mind-trick Republic citizens?”

    Padaunette said nothing.

    “Madam Padaunette, are you aware of the presence of the Sith?”

    Padaunette rolled her eyes again. “The Jedi’s chosen enemy? Yes.”

    “Are you aware that the Sith possess the same ‘supernatural powers’ that you attribute to the Jedi, they just use them for evil?”

    “In other words, these Sith are noncompliant Jedi?”

    “Are you aware that a Sith Lord was in charge of the Separatists?”

    “Count Dooku?” Padaunette laughed. “He’s a Jedi. Was a Jedi. So Sith Lords are not noncompliant Jedi, they are Jedi who no longer wish to be. I see.”

    “Are you familiar with the Chancellor’s Order 66?”

    Padaunette looked confused. “Order what?”

    “Order 66. The Chancellor’s command to the clone captains to assassinate all Jedi. An order which resulted in the deaths of 99 percent of the members of the Order.”

    Anakin saw the court members looking at each other, the same appalled look in their eyes. 99 percent??

    “No, I am not,” Padaunette said. “But Chancellor Palpatine was a wise and discerning man, and he has been the only Chancellor who did not allow the Jedi the free reign that they wanted. I am assuming that he executed the order to stop a massive Republic takeover by the Jedi…and was unsuccessful.”

    “Was he? Do the Jedi run the Republic now?”

    "They once again have a Chancellor who is in their pocket. Interesting how well that worked."

    "But do they run the Republic, Madam Paudaunette? Coruscant was under martial law after Palpatine was killed. Are we still under martial law?"

    "No, of course not, but..."

    "When did the Jedi promise to lift martial law?"

    "After the election of a new Supreme Chancellor. Their new Supreme Chancellor."

    "Really? Did they promise to lift martial law if Organa was elected, or upon the election of a new Supreme Chancellor?"

    "Upon the election of a new Supreme Chancellor," Paudaunette said quietly.

    "And did they keep this promise?"

    "Yes," she replied.

    “I have nothing further.” Adri sat.

    Rosario looked at the prosecuting attorney, who stood.

    “The prosecution rests, Your Honor.”

    Rosario pounded her gavel. “We will reconvene tomorrow, when Madam Adri will call her first witness.”
  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Awesome stuff - the courtroom testimony - Adri is slam dunking all over the prosecution LOL Woot! Awwwwww! for Padme and Anakin's - talk and unwinding ;) and for Obi-Wan's talk with him in the 'lift. That was a very insightful bit of conversation there - =D= very much what drove Anakin away unintentionally. [face_thinking] To tell the truth, that whole Qui-Gon seeming to dyss Obi-Wan - give him the bum's rush - was inexplicable to me :p -- that's why I appreciate AUs where that whole thing is either cleared up or circumvented somehow. :D
  12. Lady_Misty

    Lady_Misty Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 21, 2007
    Adri is superb and knows how to tear at the enemy.

    It is amusing to see people eat their own words. [face_laugh]
  13. Ocelotl_Nesto

    Ocelotl_Nesto Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 29, 2004
    Good to see they have a good lawyer... Nice dialogue in the cross examination.
  14. Janakin Skywalker

    Janakin Skywalker Jedi Padawan

    Sep 21, 2012
    This is a really fascinating piece of work. Really looking forward to the next chapter. I love ROTS AU and onward where Anakin doesn't turn or he is not required to wear the Vader suit if he does turn. I wonder what direction you have planned for this. I'm wondering what the next big challenge will be for the Jedi after the trial. I'm hoping we'll somehow see a Return of the Sith.. make it interesting. Keep up the great work.

  15. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Four Realms star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Mar 4, 2011
    Jade_eyes : Not enough time was spent on Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan in canon, to explain what happened in TPM. And Anakin and Obi-Wan never communicated well enough. :(

    Lady_Misty : She's good, and her side is the right one.

    Ocelotl_Nesto : Thanks. More from Adri coming, when she's on the offense.

    Janakin Skywalker : Glad you're enjoying it. The Jedi definitely have some good challenges ahead; there are two sequels to this taking place in the time frame of the OT which address those. Not exactly a "return of the Sith" but the Jedi and the Republic's problems are far from over.

    Here's the defense testimony:

    Chapter 11

    “The defense calls Viceroy Nute Gunray.”

    “Viceroy Gunray, you are president of the Trade Federation, is that correct?”


    “And your organization was responsible for the blockade and invasion of Naboo thirteen years ago?”


    “Why did your organization blockade Naboo?”

    “We were protesting BR-371, the Senate bill signed into law by Chancellor Valorum, which levied such heavy taxes along the Corellian Trade Spine that many groups affiliated with us risked being put out of business completely.”

    “How did the Senate handle the blockade?”

    “They sent two Jedi Knights to negotiate with us.”

    “And you refused to negotiate?”



    Gunray looked around the room, his eyes filled with fear. He swallowed hard. “We were directed to refuse negotiations and invade the planet.”

    “Directed? By whom?”

    Another swallow. “Lord Darth Sidious, Madam.”

    “But wasn’t such an invasion illegal?”

    “Darth Sidious said he would make it legal.”

    Adri nodded. “And how did he propose to do that?”

    “I do not know, Madam. I did not ask.”

    “What happened after you invaded the planet?”

    “We captured Queen Amidala but she was rescued by the Jedi. She then went to Coruscant to seek help from the Senate, and called for a no-confidence vote in Chancellor Valorum after he agreed to hear our case. She then returned to Naboo, where she and the Gungans destroyed our droid army, costing me a fortune.”

    “So Queen Amidala—Senator Amidala—thwarted your invasion and blockade. Is this why you joined the Separatists?”

    “Count Dooku approached me about joining the Separatists. He needed resources. I provided them on one condition, that he…help me take revenge on Senator Amidala.”

    Anakin’s hand went to his waist, to a lightsaber that he did not have. Obi-Wan sent him a wave through the Force, a warning.

    “And who did Count Dooku work for?”

    “Darth Sidious. Sidious promised to help the Separatists work for peace.”

    “This Darth Sidious…did he bring peace to your alliance?”


    “Did Count Dooku?”


    “What about Chancellor Palpatine?”

    “No. He made the plea over the Holonet, but Darth Sidious told Count Dooku to send no response.”

    “I see. And who finally approached you personally and offered you a peace treaty, Viceroy?”

    “Jedi Master Yoda.”

    “And was Master Yoda’s treaty genuine? Were there any threats of violence? Conditions in which you must cede power to the Jedi?”

    “No, Madam. He did not even bring his weapon to the negotiating table.”

    “The Trade Federation has been welcomed back into the Republic?”


    “By whom?”

    “Chancellor Organa.”

    “And are your concerns being heard in the Galactic Congress?”

    “Yes. We are currently working on a repeal of BR-371 and a revision of tax laws.”

    “I see.” Adri turned to Rosario. “If it please the Court, I would like to present holographic transmissions of the Viceroy’s Darth Sidious.”

    Rosario nodded.

    Adri plugged a comlink into the astromech droid sitting near the judge’s bench. R4-D6? Anakin was not sure of the droid’s number, but it was a serviceable droid. It beamed a hologram of a man in a hooded cloak. Although the cloak hid the man’s eyes, the beaky nose and set jaw were too familiar to Anakin. He wondered if anyone else noticed. Unfortunately, probably not, Anakin thought. As Palpatine allowed few to become as familiar with him as I became.

    “Wipe them out. All of them.” Came the transmission. Adri paused it.

    “Viceroy Gunray,” she asked. “Who was Darth Sidious talking about?”

    “The Jedi, Madam. The Jedi sent to assist Queen Amidala and the Naboo after we invaded the planet.”

    “Did Sidious wipe out the Jedi?”

    “He sent his apprentice, Darth Maul. Darth Maul killed one of the Jedi. The other Jedi, Master Kenobi, killed Maul.” Gunray glanced at Obi-Wan, who sat stoically on the bench, his face revealing no trace of emotion, although Anakin felt the strong wave of sadness at the mention of Qui-Gon’s death.

    Adri started another transmission. “We seek the deaths of many Jedi, my apprentice. Remind Grievous of that. Remind him that he is hardly indispensable.”

    Adri paused the transmission again and addressed the bench. “Your Honor, in the Court’s possession should be a written account of the findings of the coroner and janitorial droids after they took inventory of the Chancellor’s office during the transition between the Palpatine and Organa administrations. This comlink, with these transmissions in its memory, was found in one of the private closets in the office, along with the black robe worn by Darth Sidious in the hologram. Also in the Court’s possession is a red lightsaber found next to Chancellor Palpatine’s body. Masters Windu and Skywalker will testify as to the color of their own lightsabers and those of the three Jedi accompanying them to arrest Chancellor Palpatine. None of them carry red lightsabers. Red is the lightsaber color of a Sith Lord.” She paused. “I would like to play one more transmission before Viceroy Gunray steps down.” She pressed another button, and Palpatine’s voice rang through the courtroom again.

    “The time has come. Execute Order 66. Captain Rex, all Jedi, including your commander and friend, Anakin Skywalker, are now enemies of the Republic. Go to the Temple, Captain, take your company and do what must be done. Show no mercy. All Jedi must be killed, including younglings and padawans.”

    Adri turned off the transmission and pushed a couple of other buttons. “Viceroy Gunray, do you recognize the channel number now being beamed by this droid? The channel number from which this transmission came?”

    Gunray nodded. “Yes.”

    “Was this code used by the Republic, Viceroy?”

    “No, Madam. That is a Separatist code.”

    “I have nothing further at the moment. Captain Rex will testify further on Order 66, including the fact that the order came from Chancellor Palpatine.” She sat.

    Dorstar stood. “Viceroy Gunray, you said that you asked Count Dooku to help you take revenge on Senator Amidala. What exactly do you mean by ‘take revenge’?”

    Gunray looked frightened. “I…” Then he said nothing.

    “Viceroy Gunray, did you or did you not say that you would only join the Separatists after Senator Amidala’s head was on your desk?”

    Anakin pursed his lips together tightly, clenching and unclenching both fists. He shifted in his chair. He glared at Gunray, who gulped, sparing only a minute glance at Anakin before returning his gaze to the prosecutor.

    “I…I did, Madam.”

    “And Count Dooku agreed to your demands?”

    “Yes. He sent a bounty hunter to assassinate the Senator.”

    “Who was this bounty hunter?”

    “Jango Fett. He was the prototype for the Grand Army of the Republic.”

    “And who ordered the production of the clones?”

    “A Jedi Master named Sifo-Dyas.”

    “A Jedi Master ordered the clones? How interesting. And Count Dooku…who was he exactly? Was he a Senator as well?”

    “No. He was a Jedi. Was once a Jedi.”

    “Was he really? I see.” Dorstar looked at Rosario. “I have nothing further.”

    “The defense calls Sate Pestage.”

    The black-haired man had a cold look in his brown eyes and a permanent scowl. He did not walk up to the stand so much as marching up to it.

    “Mr. Pestage, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”

    “That’s why I’m here, isn’t it?” He said. He met Adri’s scowl with his own. “I do.”

    “Mr. Pestage, what was your role in the Palpatine administration?”

    Pestage leaned back in the chair, seemingly deciding that he was going to enjoy this. “I was his chief advisor.”

    “For how long?”

    “From the time he came to Coruscant as Naboo’s Senator.”

    “What were your duties as his chief advisor?”

    “Whatever he kriffin’ told me to do, Madam.”

    “I see. And what did he, um, kriffin’ tell you to do?”

    Anakin bit his lip to keep from laughing.

    “Cover for him.”

    “Cover for him? How?”

    “Let’s just say the former Chancellor was involved in some activity that was best hidden from the rest of the Senate…” He looked at Mace and Yoda. “…and the Jedi.” He spat the word “Jedi.”

    “Really? And what might those activities be?”

    “Oh, do I get to pick where I’m going to start?” Pestage smirked. “Chancellor Valorum. How about him?”

    “How did you help Palpatine with Chancellor Valorum, Mr. Pestage?”

    “Remember the two assassination attempts back before the Battle of Naboo? We arranged those. Right in the Coruscant Opera House. I checked the noise-cancelling equipment.”

    A few gasps came from the courtroom. I guess Palpatine did all his dirty work in the Opera House, Anakin thought, his heart pounding.

    “Mr. Pestage, do you recall why Senator Orn Free Taa was so convinced that Chancellor Valorum was too corrupt to remain in office?”

    Another smirk from Pestage. “Oh yes. I helped him a bit there. Broke into his apartment and planted a bit of false evidence of corruption on his computer.”

    Free Taa stood, his eyes blazing in anger, his lekku trembling. “Senator Free Taa, take a seat,” Rosario commanded. “Continue, Madam Adri.”

    “You were responsible for managing Palpatine’s schedule as Chancellor, were you not?”

    “Among other things, yes.”

    “What instructions did the Chancellor give you regarding his meetings, specifically, who he met with?”

    “I was told to keep an eye on Senators who might oppose him, and to not allow their agendas to in any way interfere with Palpatine’s agenda.” He scanned the audience, looking at the Jedi. “I was told to do what needed to be done to cleanse the system of traitors.” He paused. “I don’t know how many Senators caught on, though. Mostly I just…interfered with their meeting times. It was easy to just pretend that I had no knowledge of their scheduled meeting and that the Chancellor had a conflict elsewhere.” Another smirk.

    Anakin remembered Padme’s frustration at the Delegation of 2000 being constantly put off by Palpatine.

    “What exactly were you told to do in order to, as you said, cleanse the system of traitors?”

    Another smirk. “Let’s just say that a small reminder of what happened to Chancellor Valorum was sufficient for then-Senator Organa.”

    “Are you saying that Palpatine ordered Valorum’s assassination aboard the Star of Iskin?”

    “Yes, he did.”

    “And he told you to threaten other Senators with assassination if they did not comply?”


    “Final question: Mr. Pestage, did you know that Chancellor Palpatine was a Sith Lord who also went by the name Darth Sidious?”

    He smirked again. “Yes, I did.”

    “And how did you know this?”

    “He told me himself. He entrusted me with keeping his identity a secret and managing his dealings as Darth Sidious. He also entrusted me with his Sith artifacts, including his lightsaber and statues.”

    Another gasp from the courtroom.

    “And where were these artifacts kept?”

    “In a closet in the Chancellor’s office.”

    “What color was his lightsaber blade?”

    “Red. All Sith Lords have red lightsabers.”

    “Was anyone else to learn of his identity?”

    “Eventually. Once the war was over, he had eliminated the Jedi and brought peace to his Empire.”

    “His Empire?”


    “Chancellor Palpatine planned to turn the Republic into an Empire?”


    “Final question: To your knowledge, what was the Chancellor’s relationship with Anakin Skywalker?”

    “Skywalker could join him or be eliminated. Same as anyone else. The only difference is that Palpatine thought Skywalker was gullible and easy to manipulate. It was way too easy to get a rise out of that kid. Prime Dark Side material.” Pestage looked directly at Anakin. “I give him credit for proving Palpatine wrong on that. This time.”

    Why that half-witted overdressed exhaust for brains… Anakin thought. Obi-Wan once again felt the wave of anger coming from Anakin and gave him a significant look with raised eyebrows. Are you trying to prove his point?

    “So Palpatine did not love Skywalker like a son, as Vice Chair Amedda claimed?”

    Pestage laughed. “Palpatine loved no one but himself. And Vice Chair Amedda has always been a gullible fool.”

    “I have nothing further.” Adri sat.

    Dorstar stood. “Mr. Pestage, why have you chosen to side with the Jedi in this court?”

    “I’m not siding with the Jedi. This was purely an exchange. I got arrested. I told Chancellor Organa…” Pestage said the name with a great deal of venom. “…that I would help him out with a bit of information if he would help me out by not throwing me into some dirty jail or sending me to a mining colony.”

    “And Chancellor Organa agreed?”

    “He certainly did. His Jedi friends need me.” Pestage’s smirk was ear to ear.

    “And your relationship with Chancellor Palpatine—was it also an exchange? How did he reward you for your work as his chief advisor?”

    “He paid me handsomely and promised to make me Grand Vizier once he finished creating his Empire.”

    “So your loyalty is to whomever pays you most handsomely.”

    “I am just a simple man trying to make my way in the universe, Counselor. I work for money. I’m assuming that you are getting a paycheck for asking me all these questions? You and I are no different.”

    “Except that you can only be trusted as much as you are being paid, is that correct, Mr. Pestage?”

    “Objection!” Adri said. “Mr. Pestage is not on trial here.”

    “Sustained,” Rosario replied.

    “I have nothing further,” Dorstar said.

    “Sadly,” Obi-Wan said, pushing the button on the turbolift, “Dorstar is right. Pestage is purely mercenary and cannot be trusted.”

    “But we assume he was telling the truth, right?” Anakin said.

    Obi-Wan nodded. “There is no reason to think otherwise,” he said.

    “Palpatine liked getting others to do his dirty work for him,” Anakin said bitterly. “He was too big a coward to do it himself.”

    “Or, he could not have kept up the image of the soft-spoken well-mannered old man if he were caught blackmailing people and committing murder.”

    Anakin said nothing for a minute, then said, so quietly that Obi-Wan almost didn’t hear him, “Palpatine ordered me to kill Dooku.”

    The elder Jedi whirled around to face his former apprentice, his eyes wide with shock. “What???

    Anakin did not look at him, instead stared at a nondescript spot on the turbolift’s wall. “After Dooku knocked you unconscious. I fought him for a few more minutes and won; I cut his hands off and took his lightsaber. And Palpatine ordered me to kill him. Dooku was on his knees in front of me, his wrists bleeding, I had his lightsaber, he had this look in his eyes that begged for mercy…and Palpatine told me to kill him.” Anakin squeezed his eyes shut to stop the tears of shame that threatened.

    Obi-Wan put a hand on Anakin’s arm. “Palpatine told you to kill him, and you just…did it.”

    Anakin nodded. “I cut off his head. And Palpatine cheered.” Anakin took a deep breath. “I told him that I should not have done that, it wasn’t the Jedi way, Dooku was an unarmed prisoner, and Palpatine said that he was too dangerous to be left alive.” Anakin wiped his eyes with his flesh hand. “He wasn’t, Master. Not like that. He didn’t have any hands.” He sniffled. “This is what I should be on trial for. Cutting down a man who was unarmed and in a position of surrender. Not helping Master Windu cut down a man who had just murdered three Jedi in front of us.”

    “Anakin, you did the best you could with the information we had,” Obi-Wan said.

    “Palpatine also told me to leave you on the Invisible Hand, that carrying you out would slow us down.”

    Obi-Wan looked amused. “Well, Palpatine was never as fond of me as he was of you.”

    Anakin did not return the smile. “I told him that your fate would be the same as mine in that case.” He sighed. “I had had suspicions about Palpatine before, mostly from listening to Padme complain about what he was doing in the Senate.” He took another deep breath. “But that was the first time I really got to personally see him for who he was. Pestage may be a thug but it takes one to know one. He has Palpatine nailed. He used people. Padme, Amedda, Orn Free Taa, Gunray, who knows how many others…and me.”

    “Am I detecting sympathy for the Senators that testified for the prosecution?” Obi-Wan’s amusement showed again.

    This time Anakin met his eyes. “As much as they make me want to throw large objects using the Force…maybe a little sympathy,” he said. “At least Pestage knew he was being used. The Senators did not. The Separatists did not. And if they were gullible idiots…well, so was I.” He looked away again.

    “We all were, Anakin, at least for awhile.” The lift stopped and opened. Obi-Wan stepped out. “I’m headed to Bail’s office. Are you coming or going back home?”

    Anakin closed his eyes for a few seconds, and Obi-Wan knew he was stretching out with the Force. “Padme is in there, and the twins are with her. I’ll come with you.”

    Bail’s guards admitted them to his office. When the doors slid open, they saw that Padme was indeed there, and in a towering temper. “The nerve of that man, getting on the stand and bragging about extortion and murder with a smirk on his face!”

    “I did not relish granting him immunity, Padme,” Bail said quietly. “But he knew Palpatine better than anyone, had been with him for a long time. We needed his testimony.”

    “I know. I’m not angry with you, Bail. I’m just…angry.”

    “Anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering,” Obi-Wan said, entering the room.

    She glared at him. “I really don’t need any of your Jedi platitudes today, Obi-Wan,” she snapped.

    He smiled and raised his eyebrows. “I can see that,” he said.

    Anakin crossed the room, hugged her and kissed her forehead. “Hey,” he said. “Easy.”

    She sighed. “Pestage is disgusting,” she said. “Bail, do you remember when he used to try to block us from getting an audience with Palpatine? Pretending he didn’t know we had an appointment and that Palpatine was ‘busy’?”

    “You mean that time we sat outside Palpatine’s office for three hours and told Pestage that he could lose all the appointments he wanted but we weren’t leaving until we saw the Chancellor? How could I forget?” Bail said.

    Meanwhile, Anakin had spotted the double hover stroller parked in front of the expansive windows of the office, crossed the room and knelt in front of it. “Luke and Leia,” he said. “Is Mommy letting you watch all the speeders go by? You have noticed that the ones with open cockpits are the best, right?”

    “Except when it rains,” Obi-Wan said dryly.

    Anakin lowered his voice. “Don’t listen to Uncle Obi-Wan. He doesn’t like to fly,” he said. His voice returned to a normal level. “It’s always important to check on speeder capabilities, and acceleration. And colors—a good speeder usually comes in a really gonzo color.”

    “I’m a bit surprised that you haven’t modified that stroller, Anakin,” Bail said. “Added a motor or a sunroof, a racing stripe, or some sort of voice detector… ‘diaper change needed, infant on left’…”

    Padme scowled. “Don’t give him any ideas,” she said. Anakin was smiling.

    “The diaper change alert wouldn’t be necessary. The twins let us know about that well enough on their own,” he said. Luke babbled; Anakin raised his eyebrows and smiled. “Yes, you do,” he said. He looked back at Bail. “Your other ideas, however…” He grinned mischievously at his wife, who scowled.

    “Why do I think I might be in trouble now?” Bail asked. “Padme, did you finish with your briefing before I made the mistake of turning on the Holonet while Pestage was testifying?”

    “Yes,” she said. “We should meet with Viceroy Gunray and Senator Dodd tomorrow so they can review the proposals, but I am done for today.”

    “Good,” Bail said, “because I have some more…personal news.”

    The other three turned to face him quickly. “What is it?” Obi-Wan asked.

    The Chancellor’s face was set in a wide grin. “Breha and I are adopting a baby girl. She comes home in two weeks.”

    “That’s…that’s wonderful,” Anakin said, standing.

    “Yes, it is. Congratulations!” Padme said, giving him a hug.

    “Congratulations are definitely in order,” Obi-Wan said.

    “Thank you. I wanted you to be the first to know,” he said, then looked at Padme. “Especially since Queen Apailana and your father offered a great deal of assistance. The baby comes from a children’s home on Naboo.”

    “What will her name be?” Padme asked.

    “Alys,” he said. “I’ll be taking two weeks’ leave to go to Alderaan. I hope the Jedi trial will be finished by then. I also want to finish the taxation debates and the proposals on the clones before I leave. Let’s meet with Gunray and Dodd in two days’ time; we should meet with Fang Zar and Mon Mothma tomorrow regarding the clones.”

    Padme nodded. “If it’s going to be a long conference, I would prefer to meet in my apartment,” she said.

    “We can do that,” Bail said.

    Leia, who had been flailing her arms, started to cry, and Anakin picked her up.

    “We should get them home,” Padme said. “Who is testifying tomorrow, do you know?”

    “Captain Rex,” Obi-Wan said. “On why the 501st destroyed the Temple.”

    Bail frowned. “That is going to be painful to hear,” he said.

    “Unfortunately, yes,” Obi-Wan said.

    “Probably painful for Rex to talk about as well,” Anakin said, cradling Leia and rocking her.

    Padme sighed. “But necessary,” she said. “We’ll see what happens.

    “The defense calls clone captain CC-7567.”

    Rex went to the stand.

    “State your name for the court, please.”

    “My number is CC-7567; I go by Rex.”

    “Captain Rex, you are the commander of Torrent Company, a unit of the 501st legion, is that correct?”


    “And you served under General Anakin Skywalker and the late Commander Ahsoka Tano, is that also correct?”


    “Captain Rex, can you state the nature of Order 66?”

    “It was a contingency order to cover emergency situations, in this case, involving the Jedi. ‘In the event of Jedi officers acting against the interests of the Republic, and after receiving specific orders verified as coming directly from the Supreme Commander, GAR commanders will remove those officers by lethal force, and command of the GAR will revert to the Supreme Commander until a new command structure is established.”

    “Captain Rex, who is the Supreme Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic?”

    “The Chancellor, Madam.”

    “And when you received the command to execute Order 66, you were able to verify that it had come from Supreme Chancellor Palpatine?”


    "There was no doubt about that?"

    "None whatsoever, Madam. The order came from the Chancellor himself."

    “The Supreme Chancellor gave the 501st more specialized instructions regarding Order 66, is that correct?”


    “What were those instructions, Captain?”

    “We were told that the Jedi had betrayed the Chancellor, that all Jedi were now enemies of the Republic, and that we were to storm the Temple and execute everyone inside.”

    “What did you do after you received this order, Captain?”

    Rex looked nervously around the room, fixing his eyes on Anakin. Anakin read a silent plea for forgiveness in the clone captain’s orbs.

    “I called together the members of the 501st and gave them our instructions, and we marched on the Temple. We shot down any Jedi who approached us. Once they figured out what we were doing, some of them ran and hid, some of them fought back with their sabers, but we outnumbered them easily. The deed was done within several minutes.”

    Adri paused for a moment, looked around the courtroom, then back at the captain. Her voice was softer now. “Captain Rex, tell us what happened in the Council chambers.”

    Rex hesitated, looking around the room again. Then he spoke. “I opened the door and found several Jedi padawans and younglings, huddled together. A couple of them hid behind the chairs. One of the younglings, a boy of about five or six, came up to me and said, ‘Captain Rex, we didn’t know which way to go.’”

    “And what did you do?” Adri prompted.

    “I raised my blaster and pointed it at him. He cried out and ran back behind the chair.” He swallowed.

    “Captain?” Adri asked, aware of a few audible sobs coming from the courtroom behind her.

    “I looked around at those frightened kids and lowered my blaster. I don’t kill unarmed and scared little ‘uns, Chancellor’s orders or not. I knew I had just signed my own death warrant if the Chancellor found out, but I could not carry out the mission.”

    “Palpatine would have had you executed for refusing to kill children? Do I have that correct?”

    “For disobeying orders, Madam. We clones were hardly indispensable to him. He just called Kamino and ordered more.”

    “Captain Rex, I know this isn’t easy but the court needs you to continue,” Adri said. “No one was left alive in the Temple, is that correct?”

    Rex nodded. “I lowered my blaster, but Checkers, Echo, Fives and Hevy fired theirs. Several rounds and the deed was done. Then they promptly removed their helmets and vomited. We were trained for war, Madam, but this so-called mission was the absolutely worst we had ever been asked to do.”

    There was now hardly a dry eye in the courtroom. Anakin’s face was buried in his hands, his shoulders shaking. Obi-Wan hastily wiped his eyes. Even Mace Windu’s cheeks were streaked with tears.

    “Did the Chancellor know that there were children in the Temple?”

    “Yes, he did.”

    “And he told you that they had to die as well?”

    “He told us to show no mercy, that all Jedi, including younglings and padawans, were enemies of the Republic and must be destroyed.”

    “What was your final act that day in the Temple?”

    “We ignited it in order to destroy all Jedi artifacts and any Jedi that might have escaped our blasters.”

    “Captain, to your knowledge, having served under Anakin Skywalker, did he betray the Republic? Was he an ‘enemy of the Republic’ as the Chancellor said?”

    “Absolutely not.”

    “Were you planning to kill General Skywalker?”

    Rex looked at Anakin again. “I had hoped that General Skywalker would not come to the Temple that day, and I am thankful that he did not. I did not want to kill him, and I was not going to hunt for him.”

    “Final question: Captain Rex, do you have General Skywalker’s lightsaber?”

    “I am holding it for him while he is in the courtroom, Madam.”

    “Is it a red lightsaber?”

    “No, Madam. It is blue.”

    “I have nothing further.” Adri sat.

    Rosario looked at Dorstar. “Counselor, do you wish to cross-examine this witness?”

    Dorstar stood. “Only one question,” she said. “Captain Rex, what is the nature of Order 65?”

    “Order 65: In the event of either a majority in the Senate declaring the Supreme Commander unfit to issue orders, or the Security Council declaring him to be unfit to issue orders, and an authenticated order being received by the GAR, commanders shall be authorized to detain the Supreme Commander, with lethal force if necessary, and command of the GAR shall fall to the acting Chancellor until a successor is appointed or alternative authority is identified.”

    “In other words, the Senate—or the Republic Security Council, of which our current Supreme Chancellor was a leading member—could have ordered your legion to declare Chancellor Palpatine unfit and have him killed.”


    “I wonder why they never did that, Captain.”

    “Objection!” Adri said. “Relevance, and speculation. Captain Rex has not attended any Republic Security Council meetings and could not possibly know why they did not implement Order 65.”

    “Sustained,” Rosario said.

    “Maybe the Republic Security Council did not find the Chancellor unfit?”

    “Objection!” Adri repeated.


    “I have nothing further.” Dorstar sat.

    Adri stood again. “Your Honor, I request a short recess before I call my next witness.”

    Rosario glanced at the Jedi, all of whom had swollen eyes; Anakin was still wiping away tears. Without hesitation, she said, “Recess granted, Counselor.”

    Members of the Court stood; Adri led the Jedi into a small antechamber off the courtroom and closed the door. “I know that was difficult,” she said. “But it had to be done.”

    Obi-Wan sniffed and nodded. “We understand,” he said. Anakin still did not trust his voice, but nodded as well.

    “There should be no doubt now regarding what Palpatine really was.”

    None of the Jedi spoke, but they all nodded in agreement.

    “And there is someone who would like to speak to you directly,” Adri said, pushing a button to slide the door open again.

    Captain Rex entered the room hesitantly, glancing nervously at the Jedi seated on the sofa. He looked pointedly at Anakin as he spoke. “I just wanted to say that I’m sorry,” he said. “If I had it to do again, I would have disobeyed Order 66, spared all the Jedi and left the Temple alone. I’ll never stop regretting what happened.”

    Initially no one answered; the Jedi gazed at him sympathetically.

    “Not…not your fault, Rex,” Anakin managed.

    Mace shook his head. “Certainly not. You were doing what you were ordered to do, what you were trained to do. You are a soldier and your job is to obey the Chancellor. If it’s anyone’s fault, it’s ours. We should have been able to see this coming.”

    “Assigning blame, a waste of time it is,” Yoda said. “Learn from our mistakes and move on, we must.”

    Mace nodded. “This is true.”

    Obi-Wan looked at Rex. “Thank you for trying to spare the children,” he said.

    “General Kenobi, I wish I could have done more,” the captain replied. For the second time ever, Anakin saw tears in Rex’s eyes. The only other time had been the day Ahsoka died.

    “It makes me angry that Palpatine gave you such an order,” Anakin said. “You’re a human being, not a droid; he could not expect you to commit such an act without hesitation or any empathy.”

    “You Jedi saw us as human, General Skywalker, but unfortunately Chancellor Palpatine never did.”

    “He saw no one as human,” Mace said. “All sentient beings were pawns to either be used or destroyed.”

    “You owe us no apologies, Rex,” Obi-Wan said. “None of the clone soldiers do. And in all likelihood, your testimony has helped us. If we can win this trial, we can pick up the pieces and rebuild the Order, and help rebuild the Republic itself.”

    “I will help in any way I can,” Rex replied.

    "We owe you our thanks," Mace said. "And please do not feel that you owe us any apology."

    Rex nodded. "Thank you, General Windu."

    Adri stood. “I need you on the stand next, Master Skywalker. Are you ready?”

    Anakin sighed and stood. “As ready as I’m going to be. Let’s do this.” He and Rex touched each other’s shoulders as they walked towards the door.
  16. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Backpacking One Pack a Day Mod of New Films star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 16, 2005
    So I'm caught up now - and still enjoying this immensely. Loved this:

  17. Janakin Skywalker

    Janakin Skywalker Jedi Padawan

    Sep 21, 2012
    Rex's testimony must have been very tough or the Jedi. I'm looking forward to Anakin taking to the stand next. It should be interesting. I still can't see where this is going to end up which is great. Really looking forward to it. Keep up the great writing.
  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    =D= =D= on the talk with Rex, whose testimony did a great deal of good. lOL and wonderful comedic relief about Anakin and his love of things that go really fast and look really fancy at the same time ;) Great news for Bail and Breha too. :)
  19. Ocelotl_Nesto

    Ocelotl_Nesto Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 29, 2004
    lets see if Anakin gets his words twisted and turned....
  20. Lady_Misty

    Lady_Misty Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 21, 2007
    Ah the hover stroller. :)

    I hope the Dotstar looks like a fool at some point. :)
    Jade_eyes likes this.
  21. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Four Realms star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Mar 4, 2011
    Valairy Scot : I keep wanting to repeat the conversation just before Obi-Wan left for Mustafar...over and over again...without that being the last time they meet as friends. Pretty sure that's the only time Anakin came close to telling Obi-Wan that he appreciated him. Since you seem to be as much a fan of the friendship as I am, I think you'll like the sequels to this story.

    Janakin Skywalker : It was tough on everyone--the Jedi, the court members and Rex himself. But probably toughest on the Jedi.

    Jade_eyes : Rex's testimony will be unforgettable in the final round. And I think if Anakin had lived long enough as Anakin to see his children be born, he would have built a stroller that flew itself. :p

    Ocelotl_Nesto : Oh they'll try...

    Lady_Misty : Well...we'll see.

    Here's Anakin's testimony:

    Chapter 12

    “The defense calls Jedi Master Anakin Skywalker.”

    As Anakin took the stand, the courtroom grew as silent as it had been the entire trial.

    “Master Skywalker, when did you first meet Chancellor Palpatine?”

    “When I came to the Temple 13 years ago.”

    “And how did you meet him?”

    “He sought me out, welcomed me to Coruscant and told me to call on him if I needed anything. He said he would be watching my career with great interest.”

    “And did you call on him?”

    “Yes, fairly often. I considered him a friend.”

    “He was supportive of you?”

    “Define ‘supportive’. He assuaged my ego.”

    “How so?”

    “He told me repeatedly that I was the most gifted Jedi that he had ever met, that the Council did not appreciate my abilities, that they should have made me a Master and given me solo missions at age 18. No one reaches Mastery at age 18, few Jedi reach Knighthood at age 18. I am one of few who reached Knighthood at 19 and Mastery at 23.”

    “And did you believe Palpatine when he said these things to you?”

    “I enjoyed it for awhile, and then I got tired of it. It no longer seemed sincere.” He looked at Obi-Wan. “My Jedi Master and the Council were less forthcoming with praise, but at least the praise they did give me was real.”

    Obi-Wan looked down, blinked rapidly, then met Anakin’s eyes again.

    “Master Skywalker, what happened in Palpatine’s office after the Battle of Kothlis?”

    “More fake praise. He ignored the accomplishments of the other Jedi, virtually ignored their presence in his office, and said that no one would be alive if it weren’t for me. It was embarrassing.”

    Adri smiled. “Your saving the lives of the other Jedi and your squadron--fake praise? I understood that to be an accurate summation of the battle.”

    Anakin returned the smile. “I won the battle, Counselor, but only with the assistance of Master Kenobi, my Padawan, Captain Rex and the Torrent Company, and Admiral Yularen.” The smile disappeared. “It was utterly unfair to them for the Chancellor to ignore their accomplishments and exaggerate mine. I’m good, but I’m not that good. And my success is due to the excellent training I received from my Master.”

    Now who is delivering false flattery?

    Anakin looked at Obi-Wan, who was giving him a half-smile, but Anakin could see the moisture in his eyes.

    “Master Skywalker, what was your opinion of Chancellor Palpatine at the beginning of the war?”

    “The same as most of the Jedi and from what I understand, most of the Galactic Congress. I thought he did the best he could to keep us out of war and keep the Republic intact.”

    “When did you begin to think that maybe the Chancellor was not exactly who and what he pretended to be?”

    “My initial suspicion came about a year into the war,” Anakin said. “We had driven the Separatists out of the Core Worlds, Inner Rim and Mid-Rim, which means they had essentially lost the war and there was no reason we could not at least attempt a peace agreement. Several Senators on the Loyalist Committee asked him repeatedly to do so, and he refused. He was not very diplomatic in his refusal either. He insisted on fighting in the Outer Rim, blaming Dooku and Grievous. And at the time I set aside my suspicions, believing it was only fair to the Outer Rim worlds to give them a chance to remain in the Republic. However, during this time Congress voted Palpatine more and more so-called ‘emergency powers,’ allowing him to issue so many executive directives in the name of ‘security’ that the Republic became virtually unrecognizable. Palpatine pretended to be reluctant to accept these ‘emergency powers’ but he certainly used them to make life more difficult for Congress, the Jedi and the average citizen of Coruscant, especially those of non-human species. Citizens who happened to be of the same species as the Separatists were often treated brutally, arrested under false pretenses, received no assistance from the government when they were crime victims. And the emergency powers did nothing to bring an end to the fighting, did not even slow it down.”

    “You were present when the Delegation of 2000 presented their concerns to the Chancellor, were you not?”


    Adri turned to Rosario. “If it please the Court, I would like to play the recording of that session.”

    Rosario nodded, and Adri pushed a button on the nearby R4 unit. The astromech droid projected the hologram of the meeting: Anakin standing behind the Chancellor’s desk; the delegation members, led by a very pregnant and frustrated Padme, asking Palpatine to please attempt diplomacy with the Separatists; the Chancellor’s caustic rebuttal that he would do what was right and that should be enough, the way he spat the word “committee” at them. Then the recording ended.

    “Master Skywalker,” Adri continued. “Chancellor Palpatine shut off the recording at this point, is that correct?”

    “He shut it off right after the Senators left,” Anakin replied.

    “Then what happened?”

    “He accused them of trying to take over the Republic.”

    “I see. Sounds familiar. Did he not accuse the Jedi of the same?”


    “Master Skywalker, what happened the night the Chancellor asked you to join him for a viewing of ‘Squid Lake’ in the Coruscant Opera House?”

    “He dismissed Vice Chair Amedda and Sly Moore, then told me that the Jedi were planning to betray him and take over the Republic.”

    “How did you react?”

    “I told him that he was full of poodoo.”

    Adri looked amused, as did Obi-Wan and Mace. “Master Skywalker, could you tell the Court exactly what you said?”

    “I told him that the Jedi are unselfish, only care about others, and that they use their power for good.”

    “And how did he respond?”

    “He told me that good was a point of view, that the Jedi and the Sith are similar in their quest for power, but the Sith are considered evil only because they will use whatever means necessary to achieve that power, whereas the Jedi limit themselves to their own orthodox methods. Then he told me of a Sith legend of Darth Plagueis, who had the power to stop death.”

    “Why would he have told you of such a legend?”

    “Prior to my mother’s death, I had visions for months that she was suffering. Unfortunately I reached her too late to save her.” Anakin looked down.

    “I am sorry to hear that,” Adri said. “Did you have any idea how the Chancellor might know a Sith legend?”

    Anakin looked up again. “No,” he said. “That’s why the conversation was so disturbing. There were only two ways he could know: he either broke into the Temple Archives, which was highly unlikely, or he was a Sith Lord himself.”

    “Why did the Chancellor ask you to personally represent him on the Jedi Council after the Enhanced Security and Enforcement Act gave him control of the Council?”

    “He said he thought the Jedi wanted control of the Republic and he wanted me to keep an eye on their doings, to look for signs of disloyalty to him.”

    “So Palpatine thought that both the Jedi Council and the Delegation of 2000 wanted control of the Republic?”


    “Interesting. And why did the Jedi Council ask you to spy on the Chancellor after they granted you Mastery?”

    “They suspected that Palpatine was either a Sith Lord himself or was under the influence of one.”

    “And did you determine which was correct?”

    “Yes. I determined that Palpatine himself was the same Darth Sidious that we had been looking for since the Battle of Naboo.”

    “How did you determine this?”

    “He told me himself.”

    “He did? In what context, Master Skywalker?”

    “It was just after Master Kenobi had been sent to Utapau to engage General Grievous. He told me that I should have been sent after Grievous instead of Master Kenobi, he said that the Jedi did not appreciate my abilities, and that he could help me embrace a ‘larger view’ of the Force and that I could learn to stop any more of my loved ones from dying. Only the Jedi and the Sith know the ways of the Force, so I asked him point blank if he was a Sith Lord.”

    “And what was his answer?”

    “That he was a Sith Lord, but he was also my friend so it didn’t matter.”

    “How did you react?”

    Anakin took a deep breath. “I ignited my saber and threatened to kill him.”

    “Why did you decide not to kill him?”

    “He was unarmed, or so I believed, and I thought he needed to be taken into custody. I left and found Master Windu, who was on his way to the Chancellor’s office.”

    “Why was Master Windu going to the Chancellor’s office?”

    “Master Kenobi had just defeated General Grievous, and Master Windu, along with Masters Kolar, Fisto and Tinn, planned to ask Palpatine to return emergency powers to the Senate. When I told him that the Chancellor was a Sith Lord, the mission changed. The five of us went to his office to arrest him.”

    “What happened after you arrived in his office?”

    “Master Windu told him that he was under arrest. Palpatine asked if Master Windu was threatening him, Master Windu said that the Senate would decide his fate, and Palpatine said that he himself was the Senate. Then he pulled his lightsaber out from under his robe and jumped over his desk, lunging at us.”

    “Palpatine jumped over a desk? But wasn’t he an old man with health problems?”

    “That’s what he wanted everyone to believe. But 64 isn’t old. Master Jinn was an excellent swordsman and he wasn’t much younger than that.”

    “What happened after he engaged his lightsaber?”

    “Masters Fisto, Tinn and Kolar did not see that coming at all. They were killed almost instantly. Master Windu and I were behind them and were able to fight back.”

    “Master Skywalker, the Senate office repair team reported a broken window in the Chancellor’s office. How did that window get broken?”

    “Master Windu’s saber broke it during the fight, and Palpatine shoved us onto the dias using the Force. He wanted us to fall to our deaths. Master Windu forced him back inside. Palpatine then attacked us with lightning.”


    “The Sith have the ability to shoot lightning from their fingertips. Dooku attacked us that way on Geonosis.”

    “How did the Chancellor die?”

    “We forced the lightning back on him with our sabers. Then Master Windu stabbed him in the chest.”

    “Master Skywalker, did you feel that you had any other choice than to kill Palpatine?”

    Anakin shook his head rapidly. “Absolutely not. The Jedi would have much preferred to take him into custody so that he could be the one on this stand explaining why he committed war crimes and had most of the Order slaughtered.”

    “Thank you. I have nothing further.”

    Dorstar stood. “Master Skywalker, your Padawan was killed in battle, is that correct?”

    “Yes. On board General Grievous’ ship.”

    “When did this happen?”

    “Eight months and 17 days ago.”

    “Did you blame the Chancellor for your Padawan’s death?”

    “Not directly, no.”

    “Not directly? Exactly what do you mean, Master Skywalker?”

    “I blamed him for continuing the war, for not attempting any sort of diplomacy with the Separatists. Master Yoda was able to reach a peace agreement with the Separatist leaders within a few hours, and this was after the Chancellor’s death. How quickly could Palpatine have done this himself? Ending the war would have spared the lives of many Jedi, including Ahsoka.”

    “So you do blame the Chancellor for not reaching a peace agreement quickly enough for your tastes?”

    Anakin looked at the prosecutor and raised his eyebrows. “No, I do not blame Palpatine for not reaching a peace agreement quickly enough. I blame him for not seeking a peace agreement at all, for not even wanting a peace agreement. I blame him for orchestrating both sides of a war that killed thousands of people—Jedi, clone soldiers and ordinary Republic citizens. And I blame him for accusing his Senate colleagues of betrayal when they presented him with concerns. I blame him for the attitude that opposition to him was tantamount to betrayal of the Republic itself.”

    “I see.” Dorstar folded her arms. “Master Skywalker, what is your relationship with Senator Amidala?”

    “Objection!” Adri said. “Relevance?”

    “I’m interested in the relevance of this as well,” Rosario said.

    Dorstar turned to the Chief Justice. “Your Honor, Senator Amidala is a prominent member of the Galactic Congress and the so-called Delegation of 2000, a committee that led the opposition to Palpatine in the Senate. She recently gave birth to twins and has never been forthcoming about who the father is, however, the rumors surround Master Skywalker, Master Kenobi, and Chancellor Organa. If Master Skywalker does have an intimate relationship with a Senator who has been vocally and vehemently opposed to Palpatine, I think that relationship is indeed relevant.”

    Rosario said nothing for a minute, then nodded. “I will allow this line of questioning but it must remain relevant to Chancellor Palpatine’s death. This Court has no time for idle gossip.”

    Dorstar turned to Anakin. “So, Master Skywalker…your relationship with the Senator?”

    Anakin met her eyes with a hard, cold look in his. “She is my wife.”

    Several in the Court gasped. Dorstar looked as if she had just won the lotto. “Are Jedi allowed to marry, Master Skywalker?”

    “No, we are not.”

    “But you got married anyway?”

    “Yes, we did.”

    “I see,” Dorstar said. “And since love led you to violate the sacred code of the Jedi Order, Master Skywalker, perhaps it also led you to violate the laws of the Republic? As a gift to your bride, did you agree to take vengeance on her political enemy?”

    Anakin gritted his teeth and did not answer immediately. Behind the stand, his mechanical fist clenched and unclenched. The sound made by the prosthetic hand was all the court members heard in the uncomfortable silence that had settled over the room. Obi-Wan met Anakin’s eyes. Take a deep breath. Now.

    “Master Skywalker, answer the Counselor’s question, please,” Rosario said.

    He took a deep breath, the mechanical fist relaxed, and he met Dorstar’s eyes again. “Counselor, Senator Amidala and I married at the very beginning of the war. At the time, she was as much a supporter of Chancellor Palpatine as I was. It was her vote of no confidence in Valorum that put him in office. He was her Senator when she was Queen. I would invite you to put her on the stand so that she could tell you how often we disagreed politically, but that testimony would last through several meal breaks and probably at least one sunrise and sunset. She did not turn me against Chancellor Palpatine; he did that himself. And my role in his death had nothing to do with her; it had to do with the fact that he ignited a red lightsaber in my face and then tried to electrocute me with Sith lightning.”

    “Master Skywalker, when you were on The Invisible Hand, were you able to disarm Count Dooku?”

    “Yes, I was.”

    “And you did not take him into custody? You killed him instead?”


    “Why did you do that? I thought that the Jedi did not kill unarmed prisoners. I thought you only killed in self-defense.”

    “Normally that is true, and my plan was to take Dooku into custody and bring him back to Coruscant for trial. But Chancellor Palpatine told me to kill him.”

    Anakin could tell from Dorstar’s face that that was not the answer she expected. “The Chancellor told you to do it?”


    “Were there any witnesses?”

    Anakin shook his head. “No. Dooku had knocked Master Kenobi unconscious. He did not know what happened until later.”

    “How convenient,” Dorstar said. “Interesting how there never seem to be any witnesses when the Jedi kill unarmed prisoners.”

    “Objection!” Adri called.

    “Sustained,” Rosario said.

    “I have nothing further,” Dorstar said.

    “You did well,” Obi-Wan told Anakin as they entered the lift. “She baited you, and you didn’t take it.”

    Anakin sighed. “Believe me, it was close.”

    Obi-Wan laughed. “I know, but you kept your head and that’s what matters,” he said.

    “I just hope I’m not in trouble with Padme,” Anakin said. “Kriffing reporters are going to love this.”

    “I don’t think you will be. It’s not like you had a choice. You were under oath,” Obi-Wan replied. “Besides, she’ll probably be relieved to have the truth out and the rumor mill silenced. Although I’m a bit flattered to have made the list of potential fathers of the twins.” He looked amused.

    “I wonder how Bail feels about it,” Anakin said. He was also smiling.

    “I think that might depend on whether Breha has heard the rumor and taken it seriously,” Obi-Wan said. “Which I somehow doubt. Bail Organa would be the last man alive to be caught in an illicit affair.”

    “Other than you, that is,” Anakin said. Both men were laughing as the doors to the lift opened, revealing Padme, standing outside the Chancellor’s office. As Anakin stepped out of the lift, Padme put her arms around his neck and kissed him passionately. Cameras flashed, and Anakin knew that several reporters were in the corridor as well.

    “Padme, what are you…?” Anakin whispered fiercely.

    Padme turned to the camera crew. “There,” she said. “You should have enough to fill the gossip sections of the Holonet for at least a week now. Master Skywalker is my husband. The twins are his children. While you are furiously writing that story, I hope that you will also find time to report on the GAR Reassignment Act and the Trade and Taxation Act, which we will vote on in the Senate tomorrow. Both of these acts will have a much greater impact on the Republic than any aspect of my personal life.” She turned back to Anakin, taking his hand in hers. “That should take care of things. Bail wants to see you and Obi-Wan. Master Windu arrived a few minutes ago.”

    Anakin squeezed her hand, intertwined his fingers with hers. “I thought you were going to be angry with me.”

    Padme squeezed back. “Of course not, darling,” she said, then glanced back at the chattering reporters. “These idiots, on the other hand…they’ve been mingling in this corridor ever since Dorstar asked you about us. They’re relentless. And they’re going to be annoyed next week when the excitement of finding out about us wears off, and they discover that they have to fill Holonet space with something more substantial than speculation on my children’s paternity.”

    “Bail and Obi-Wan,” Anakin said, laughing. “Love, you never told me.”

    “Like there was anything to tell,” Padme said, laughing as she palmed the door open. Anakin turned to look at Obi-Wan, who was waving his hand at the reporters.

    “You will not take holos of the children without their parents’ express consent…” he said.

    “We will not take holos of the children without their parents’ express consent…” they repeated.

    “You will leave now,” Obi-Wan said.

    “We will leave now,” they repeated. With glazed eyes, they put their datapads away, turned, and entered the lift.

    Bail was sitting at his desk, giving Leia her bottle; Mace was holding Luke; Yoda sat next to Mace. Bail waved the Jedi in, looking directly at Anakin. “I thought I’d feed your daughter while her mother runs off the media,” he said, looking amused.

    Anakin laughed. “I think Obi-Wan just finished that job,” he said. “You’re not in trouble over those rumors, are you?”

    Bail laughed. “Breha has been around Padme enough the past several years to know exactly who fathered the twins. Without being told.” He grinned at Padme, who raised her eyebrows.

    “Now, Bail, are you trying to tell me I wasn’t discreet?”

    “You tried, Padme. The constant questioning about when Anakin was going to be home from battle and whether he was injured was sort of a giveaway though. Understandable, but no, not exactly discreet.”

    Anakin laughed, put his hands on his wife’s shoulders. They both sat down on a nearby sofa. Obi-Wan sat in a chair next to Mace, took Luke from him. Luke immediately grabbed for the beard. Obi-Wan winced, then laughed, using a finger on Luke’s palm to loosen his grip. “We’re going to have to get you out of that habit, little one,” he said, smiling.

    “Mon Mothma and Fang Zar just left. We were discussing the clones,” Bail continued. “Rex and the 501st want to stay on Coruscant, and I think Cody wants to stay as well. We are going to re-home legions on Naboo, Alderaan, Sumeria and Chandrila. We are discussing the possibility of re-homing a legion on Corellia as well.”

    “Will that take care of all of them?” Obi-Wan asked.

    Bail frowned. “We lost so many in the war that unfortunately, yes, that’s all the legions that are left. The Kaminoans are in the process of growing a few others, which will be fully ready in five years. We’ll discuss those when the time comes. Padme has written a provision into the Trade and Taxation Act to order a halt on the production of clones, which will open up a significant portion of the budget. We will still hire the Kaminoans to clone limbs and other body parts for those that need them, particularly with wartime injuries, so they will not completely lose government business, but we will not be hiring them to genetically engineer soldiers.”

    “This is good news,” Anakin said. He looked at Yoda. “The Jedi Council—are we working on this as well?” he asked.

    “No,” Yoda said. “Another issue, we are presenting.”

    “Assuming we survive this trial, we need to look at a bit of re-homing ourselves,” Mace said.

    “What do you mean?” Obi-Wan asked.

    “All the discussion about the Jedi being complacent and hidden in the ivory tower that was our Temple,” Mace replied. “Yoda and I were just discussing that it might be better if we had some training outposts on Core and Mid-Rim worlds.”

    “But we would keep a headquarters here, would we not?” Obi-Wan asked.

    Mace nodded. “Several of us would be stationed here in order to be on call for the Chancellor and the Senate, but if we were dispersed a bit throughout the galaxy, we could respond to, for example, mediation calls on Outer Rim worlds more quickly. And younglings in training could maintain contact with their families more easily.”

    “And more in tune with the citizens of the Republic, we would be,” Yoda said. “Better able to serve them, we would be.”

    Anakin nodded. “Because we would see first hand how they live, have a better understanding of what their day-to-day lives are like . I think that’s a good idea,” he said. “Assuming we survive the trial…”

    “After recent testimonies I don’t know how the Court could decide against you,” Bail said. "And on that, another issue has come up,” Bail added. “The People’s Inquest are planning some demonstrations during closing arguments.”

    “Demonstrations?” Padme said, blanching. “What kind of demonstrations?”

    “Protests,” Bail said. “We can hope that they aren’t violent but I’ve alerted the 501st just in case. And I’m tightening security around 500 Republica.” He stepped out from behind his desk and placed Leia in Padme's arms. “But it might be better if you went off planet. For the children’s safety as much as your own, especially now that your marriage is going to be in the news.”

    Padme scowled. “You know I don’t like the idea of hiding,” she said.

    “It wouldn’t be hiding,” Anakin said. “You’re taking a break. And I think it’s a good idea.” He rested his hand on her hair. “Go to Naboo for a few weeks, love. You were planning to have the babies there, remember? So you’ve delayed the trip by ten weeks.”

    Padme’s scowl deepened; she looked at her husband and then Bail. “Did you two discuss this ahead of time?”

    Anakin and Bail looked at each other and laughed. “No,” Bail said. “But is it really so bad that we agree?”

    “I wanted to go to Naboo when all this was over anyway,” Anakin said. “Assuming I can.”

    “Assuming you can,” Padme repeated. “I want to see you through this, Anakin.”

    “And you will. But I was so afraid for you during the Battle of Coruscant, and the aftermath of the attack on the Temple…I don’t want to have to go through that again, especially with the babies.” He took his wife’s free hand in his, meeting her eyes. “Please,” he said. “Go visit your parents and Sola for awhile. You never even took maternity leave.”

    “They’re at Varykino this time of year.” She sighed again. “They never even knew I was pregnant. I never got the chance to tell them.”

    Anakin smiled. “I guess you’ll have a couple of surprises for them, then.”

    Padme scowled again. “I’m outvoted, aren’t I?” she said. “I’ll go. I don’t like it, but I’ll go.”

    Anakin kissed her cheek. “I will feel better if you are there and I don’t have to worry about you as much,” he said. “I don’t know how ugly this is going to get as it winds down, especially with the People’s Inquest involved.”

    “Accompany you I can, Senator,” Yoda said. “Speak with Queen Apailana, I must.”

    Padme sighed again but met the old Jedi Master’s eyes. “I would appreciate your company, Master Yoda,” she said.

    “And your protection,” Anakin added.

    “It’s settled then,” Bail said.

    “We are ready for takeoff, milady,” Captain Typho said. “Are we stopping in Theed or do you plan to go directly to Varykino?”

    “We’ll go to the Palace first,” Padme replied. “Master Yoda and I both need to speak with the Queen.”

    She looked at Anakin, who was kneeling in front of the infants, who were strapped into their carriers. He held out his flesh hand, letting each of them grip a finger. “You’ll like Naboo,” he said. “Everything is lush and green and the lake is beautiful. There is plenty of open space and at night you can see the stars. I fell in love with the planet and your Mommy at the same time. It was easy.”

    They both gazed at him. Luke shook Anakin’s index finger, then put the tip in his mouth. Anakin smiled. “I’m glad I washed that hand just before we got on board,” he said.

    “Ani,” Padme said sadly. “It’s time, darling.”

    He sighed. “I know,” he said. He kissed the twins’ foreheads. “Daddy loves you very much,” he said. “I think about you all the time, and I hope you’ll be able to sense that, even from far away.” Their eyes met his, as if to say that they understood.

    Anakin kissed them one more time, stood and backed away slowly.

    He felt his wife’s arms around his waist and turned to face her. The intensity of the kiss that followed made Typho and Yoda avert their eyes; Yoda said “harrumph” under his breath.

    “I love you, Anakin,” Padme said.

    “And I love you,” he replied, stroking her cheek. “I will come to you at the first possible moment.”

    She nodded. “I know.”

    He looked in the direction of his protocol droid, who was chattering with R2 as the latter ran diagnostics. “3PO,” he said. “Make sure the babies have their pacifiers before the ship goes into hyperspace. It will help their ears.”

    “Of course, sir,” 3PO replied, immediately looking among the babies’ bags for their pacifiers.

    Padme smiled. “Good call, Ani,” she said.

    “A few of the old space pilots would travel with kids,” Anakin said. “Some infants. Refugees. I paid attention.” He looked at the babies. “Maybe some extra blankets too. Space is cold.”

    Captain Typho approached him. “I will watch over them, General. The Senator, and the children—I will guard them as if they were my own. You have my word.” He extended his hand, and Anakin took it, his other arm wrapped around Padme’s waist.

    “I know,” he said. “Thank you, Captain.”

    “My pleasure, sir. Good luck to you.”

    “Leave we must,” Yoda said. “Be in hyperspace before daybreak, we should.”

    Anakin nodded, kissed Padme again, hugged her tightly, then moved slowly away, continuing to hold her hand until only their fingertips touched. Then he was on the platform waving goodbye, the ramp closed, the ship took off, and disappeared into hyperspace. Anakin was alone. He sank into one of the rockers on the balcony and closed his eyes.

    He wasn’t sure how long he had been sitting there; even from behind closed eyelids, he could sense the sun growing brighter in the sky. He heard a speeder slow to a stop, footsteps on the platform and then Obi-Wan’s voice. “Are you alright?”

    Anakin opened his eyes slowly and nodded.

    “Padme and the children left with no mishaps?”

    Another nod.

    “Good.” Obi-Wan sat in the rocker next to Anakin and handed him a travel mug. “I brought caf. The good stuff from Alderaan. Thought I’d save you the trouble of making it.”

    Anakin nodded his thanks, took the mug, and sipped. He stared into the sky, to the spot where he had seen Padme’s skiff disappear into hyperspace. “With the war over, I didn’t think I’d have to be apart from her again. And the children…” His voice trailed off.

    Obi-Wan nodded, wanting to say that he understood, or that he at least wanted to understand. After a minute he said, “You should come stay with us for the rest of the trial. Bail has a couple of extra bedrooms.”

    Anakin closed his eyes again. “I’m fine, Obi-Wan, really.”

    “Did Padme take the droids with her?”

    Anakin nodded, his eyes still closed. “I programmed 3PO to warm up bottles, sanitize bottles and pacifiers and set up diaper-changing stations, even if he is still being weird about the idea of actually changing diapers. He’ll be of some help to Padme; he’d just be bored sitting around here. Or if the People’s Inquest does demonstrate, he’ll probably freak out. He’s better off going to Naboo, complaints about space travel aside. And I sent R2 to help fly the ship and keep 3PO from driving Yoda and Typho crazy.”

    “Bail once said that only you would build a droid with a personality,” Obi-Wan said, laughing. “Really, Anakin, you don’t even have the droids for company. Don’t stay here alone.”

    He opened his eyes and took another sip of caf. “I’ll think about it,” he said. “Especially if this caf is readily available.”

    “A full pot every morning,” Obi-Wan said. “We need to be off to the Courts soon. Mace’s testimony should seal this for the Jedi.”

    “Let’s hope,” Anakin said. The fear that rose up in Anakin at that moment made his heart pound, made him break out in sweat in spite of the chill of the early morning. Fear of never seeing his wife and children again, or seeing them only from behind bars. “What if…?” His eyes closed again.

    Obi-Wan squeezed his shoulder. “No what if’s,” he said. “Do not focus on the negative right now. We can’t afford it.” He let his hand linger on Anakin’s shoulder, having felt the horrific wave of fear rise from his former apprentice. “You were always so confident on the battlefield, Anakin.”

    “I was in control there,” Anakin said. “Most of the time. My fate was not in someone else’s hands.” He opened his eyes again. “No amount of skill can help me through this one, Master. Either those justices decide that our story is valid, or they don’t.”

    “Anakin, you are not the only one with skills,” Obi-Wan replied. “Discerning the truth is a skill as well. So is winning a defense case for innocent clients.”

    “I certainly was not doubting Adri’s abilities,” Anakin said. “She’s been brilliant so far.”

    Obi-Wan squeezed the shoulder again. “I understand why you are afraid,” he said. “Palpatine controlled the courts when he was in office. But that is no longer true.”

    Anakin sighed. “I know,” he said. He was suddenly very tired. He fought the urge to close his eyes again, took a couple of sips of the caf, and stood. “Let’s hear what Master Windu has to say. Come to think of it, Dorstar trying to cross-examine him might be amusing. She won’t know what hit her. I think the last person who questioned his authority was Dooku.”

    “No,” Obi-Wan said. “Even he would not dare.” Both men laughed as they got in the speeder.

  22. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Backpacking One Pack a Day Mod of New Films star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 16, 2005

    Love their interaction, even silent. Their friendship and support of each other just shines.
    Jade_eyes likes this.
  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Terrific testimony!! Wonderfully tender and lighthearted moments mixed in too. :)
  24. Lady_Misty

    Lady_Misty Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 21, 2007
    Questioning Master Mace Windu's authority will be like expecting me to not talk rather loudly shortly after being told to talk softly. I have only three volumes. mumbling, loud and really loud.
  25. Force Smuggler

    Force Smuggler Force Ghost star 7

    Sep 2, 2012
    Great story. Can't wait to see where it goes from here