@Valairy Scot : They loved each other like brothers. If only they had had fewer misunderstandings and a better ending in canon. @Jade_eyes: Thanks! @Lady_Misty : Questioning Mace? Oh, just wait... @Force Smuggler : Thanks! Chapter 13 “The defense calls Jedi Master Mace Windu.” Mace took the stand, calmly surveying the crowd. “Master Windu, how long have you served on the Jedi Council?” Adri began. “The better part of three decades, Madam.” “What is the history of the Sith, or should I say, who exactly are the Sith?” “The Sith are the ancient enemy of the Jedi. We were at war with them a thousand years ago; they were defeated, or so we thought. Thirteen years ago, Master Qui-Gon Jinn brought us word that he had been attacked on Tatooine by a warrior who was obviously trained in the Jedi arts. We initially did not believe that he could be a Sith, because we thought the Sith were extinct. After the battle of Theed, in which Master Jinn encountered this same warrior again and was killed, we decided our initial assumptions were wrong.” “What course of action did the Council take after this battle and Master Jinn’s death?” “We knew that the warrior was a Sith, and we knew that there are always two Sith, a Master and an apprentice. For ten years we were not sure if we were dealing with the Master or the apprentice. Then Master Kenobi was captured on Geonosis by Count Dooku. Count Dooku asked Kenobi to join him in fighting the Sith, and informed him that several Senators were under the influence of a Sith Lord named Darth Sidious.” “So the Jedi Council set out in search of this Darth Sidious?” “We did, especially after learning that he was behind both the Naboo blockade and the Separatist Crisis.” “Master Windu, who was Count Dooku exactly? And was he telling Master Kenobi the truth on Geonosis?” “Count Dooku was once a Jedi. He left the Order about twelve years ago for personal reasons, or so we believed. He had been an apprentice of Master Yoda and he trained Master Jinn. He was angry after Jinn died, felt that we should have investigated further into who this mysterious warrior was before Jinn and Kenobi encountered him on Naboo. This anger was one reason he left the Order. My understanding is that Sidious fed Dooku the same lines that he fed Anakin Skywalker in an attempt to recruit him, lines about teaching him a more efficient and effective use of the Force, a ‘larger view’. Was he telling Kenobi the truth? Yes, he was, he just wasn’t telling the whole truth. He wanted Kenobi to join him on the Dark Side and overthrow Sidious. That is why there are always two Sith; there were more at one time but they killed each other. And the Master and apprentice are constantly trying to kill each other.” “Do you feel that Count Dooku was correct regarding the Order’s ineffectiveness?” Mace sighed. “Yes. We should not have assumed that there was no possibility that Jinn was attacked by a Sith. If we had not made that assumption, maybe he would have lived. Our ability to use the Force had been diminished. The Dark Side clouded everything. We did not understand why at the time. The fact that the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic was a Sith Master is very explanatory, however.” “Objection!” Dorstar said. Adri looked at her. “Two witnesses have already testified that Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and Darth Sidious were one and the same. Do you wish to have those witnesses charged with perjury?” Dorstar shook her head and sat. “Objection overruled,” Rosario said. “You may continue, Madam Adri.” “Master Windu, when you discovered that the Dark Side clouded your vision and believed that the Sith Master must be within your midst, where did the Council begin its search?” “With the Senate. Master Ronhar Kim wished to have midichlorian counts taken of all members of the Galactic Congress. Narrowing down Force-sensitives in Congress would narrow down potential Sith Lords hiding in the legislature.” “What were the results of Master Kim’s study?” Mace frowned. “The study never took place. Chancellor Palpatine sent Master Kim to the front lines of battle and he was killed.” “I see. And what was the Council’s next plan of action?” “We needed an insider, someone that the Chancellor trusted. Understand that we did not think that the Chancellor himself was a Sith, we thought that someone among his closest circle of advisors must be. I personally thought that Sate Pestage was the Sith and was influencing the Chancellor. However, we needed a spy of sorts. When Chancellor Palpatine took over the Jedi Council and asked Skywalker to represent him personally on the Council, we had a ready-made opportunity.” “How so?” “We appointed Skywalker to the Council ourselves and gave him the rank of Jedi Master. We had planned to do so anyway; his accomplishments in battle were highly commendable, especially his defeat of Count Dooku, and his name had appeared for Mastery numerous times. We then asked Skywalker to accept the Chancellor’s appointment and report to us on all his doings. We needed Skywalker to keep the Chancellor’s trust.” “Were you not concerned that either Master Skywalker or the Council would be accused of treason?” “That thought had occurred to us, however, we were at war, and we were much more concerned about the Sith gaining control of the Republic and destroying the Order.” “Master Windu, what happened the day that Master Kenobi defeated General Grievous?” “When we received the news, three other Jedi Masters and I prepared to approach the Chancellor about returning his emergency powers to the Senate. We, along with many members of the Galactic Congress, saw no need for his oppressive security measures with the war ending. As we were boarding the security ship to take us to the Chancellor’s office, I was approached by Skywalker.” “What did Skywalker tell you?” “Nothing initially. He was too sweaty and shaky to talk. I was certain for a moment that he was going to either pass out or vomit on my boots.” “Did you have any idea why he looked so sick?” “Once he told me his story it was pretty clear. He had just come from the Chancellor’s office, where Palpatine had told him personally that he was a Sith Lord. He knew Sith legends and he knew the ways of the Force. He tried to turn Skywalker against the Jedi and convince him to join the Sith.” “What did you do with the information that Skywalker brought you?” “Our mission changed. Instead of asking the Chancellor to return powers to the Senate, we went to his office to arrest him for war crimes.” “You went to arrest him? You did not go to kill him?” “No. The Jedi will always attempt to take a prisoner into custody first. We only kill if we have no choice. We are not assassins, Counselor.” Adri nodded. “What happened after you entered Chancellor Palpatine’s office?” “I told him that he was under arrest. He asked if I was threatening him, and I told him that the Senate would decide his fate. He said that he was the Senate, jumped over his desk and attacked us with a lightsaber.” “Master Windu, what color is your lightsaber?” “Purple.” “And Masters Fisto, Tinn and Kolar—what color were their lightsabers?” “Fisto’s was green, the other two were blue.” “None of you own or carry a red lightsaber?” “No. Only Sith carry red lightsabers.” “The Chancellor attacked you with a lightsaber, and what happened?” “Masters Fisto, Tinn and Kolar were dead almost before they had the chance to unsheathe their sabers. Anakin and I were left to fight Palpatine. During the fight, my saber broke the office window; Palpatine shoved us out onto the dias. But we were able to get back inside, knock the Chancellor onto the floor and knock his saber out of his hand.” “And you were able to arrest him then?” “No. He attacked us with Force lightning. Anakin and I had to deflect it back onto him using our sabers.” “How did the Chancellor die, Master Windu?” “As he attacked us with lightning, he continued to threaten Anakin, telling him that he had seen a vision of his wife dying and that only he, the Chancellor, could save her. As Anakin told him that his wife would rather die than be saved by a Sith, I managed to free myself from the lightning enough to stab Palpatine in the chest and end the attack.” “Master Windu, did you feel you had any other choice?” “Absolutely not. If I had had another choice, I would not be on this stand right now.” “Why did you feel you had no other choice?” “Palpatine had to be disarmed before we could arrest him. We could not disarm him from the lightning. Knocking his lightsaber out of his hands did little good, as he still had that weapon. We were virtually powerless against it. We could have stopped fighting him and attempted to get binders on him, but he would have killed us.” Adri turned to Rosario. “In the Court’s possession should be a copy of the autopsy report on Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. It will show the lightsaber wound to the chest, and it will also show that the Chancellor’s face had become disfigured, essentially melted. This is an effect of the Force lightning deflected back on the Chancellor by Masters Windu and Skywalker.” She turned to Mace. “Master Windu, are either you or Master Skywalker capable of producing lightning with your fingers?” Mace looked amused. “I am not, and Anakin has a metal prosthetic arm. If he produced lightning with his fingers, it would kill him.” Adri nodded. “Final question: what happened after you and Master Skywalker left the Chancellor’s office?” “We boarded the security ship to return to the Temple, only to see the Temple in flames. I immediately contacted Master Kenobi and learned that his and Master Yoda’s clones had turned on them. Anakin informed me that he had heard the Chancellor give an Order 66 just as he left his office to search for me.” “Thank you, Master Windu. I have nothing further.” Dorstar stood. “Master Windu, to your knowledge, did Chancellor Palpatine ever use this lightning on anyone else?” “To my knowledge, no.” “And did anyone see him use it on you and Master Skywalker?” “No.” “Did either of you have any side effects of being attacked by lightning? Did Master Skywalker lose use of his prosthetic arm, even temporarily?” “No. As I said, we deflected the lightning with our lightsabers. We were not hit with it despite the Chancellor’s best efforts.” “Have you ever met another who could produce this Force lightning?” “Count Dooku was able to do it.” “Did you personally witness Count Dooku using Force lightning?” “No. Masters Kenobi, Skywalker and Yoda did.” “Jedi. One of whom is also accused of murder. I see.” “Objection!” Adri called. “Sustained,” Rosario said. “Master Windu,” Dorstar said, “If Chancellor Palpatine had not used this lightning, would you have been able to take him into custody?” “We certainly would have had a better chance of doing so, although Palpatine could have used the Force to drop a heavy object on us or attack us in another way, as Count Dooku attacked Master Kenobi on The Invisible Hand. The only real way to ensure that the Chancellor could have been taken into custody would be to remove the use of his hands altogether, and even that would not have been foolproof. There are many ways to manipulate the Force, Counselor.” “So the gist of your case is built around a battle of a Force that no one understands, or more specifically, an attack of so-called Force lightning that no one witnessed and from which neither you nor Master Skywalker, who has a metal arm, suffered any side effects. Very interesting.” Mace glared at her. “I don’t think so,” he said firmly. “Our case is built around the fact that Chancellor Palpatine orchestrated both sides of the war in order to make himself a dictator, ordered the execution of all Jedi, and then attempted to kill us when we went to arrest him.” Dorstar gave Mace a hard, cold gaze, and after a minute of silence, said, “I have nothing further.” Adri stood. “The defense rests. Your Honor.” “Master Yoda, you should at least come for dinner,” Padme said. The old Jedi Master shook his head and climbed out of the water speeder, looking toward the lodge on top of the hill, the one that Queen Apailana had told him to use as headquarters for the Jedi on Naboo. It was a few houses down from the Naberries’ Varykino retreat. “Generous you are,” he replied. “But much work I have to do. Get established here I must. However, contact me you should, if need me you do.” Padme nodded. “I will do that. And you likewise. If you need supplies, or anything else…” “Contact you or the Queen, I will,” Yoda said. “Have a good evening, Master,” Padme said as the water speeder started again. “You as well, Senator,” Yoda replied, glancing at her and the children one last time before walking up the hill. Captain Typho accelerated the speeder and a minute later, docked it outside the Naberrie home. Typho got out, unfolded the stroller, and lifted the children’s carriers into it as Padme got out behind him, scanning the entrances to the house. 3PO slowly got out of the speeder. “I’m not sure water travel is much better than space travel, R2,” he said. R2 chirped something, and 3PO replied. “It’s not my fault. I was built in the desert, I’m not used to this.” Padme’s mother appeared in the doorway of the home, smiling broadly as she saw her daughter. “Padme? Is that you? It is you!” She called to her husband. “Ruwee, Padme is home!” A moment later Padme’s father joined his wife, with Sola almost directly behind them. Typho put a hand on Padme’s shoulder. “I am going to establish security around the perimeter of the house, milady,” he said. She nodded, pushing the stroller along the walk to the house. Jobal Naberrie wrapped her daughter in a hug. “We’re glad you’re home. It’s been so long; we’ve been worried, especially with the war, and Palpatine...” She looked at the babies, then slowly raised her head to look at Padme again. “So the Holonet rumors were true. Honey, why didn’t you tell us?” “The Holonet does occasionally report gossip correctly. His name is Luke, and her name is Leia.” She returned her gaze from her children to her mother. “And we didn’t tell anyone. I wore clothes that hid my pregnancy until the very end. Even my Senate colleagues didn’t know until right before I gave birth. Anakin would have been expelled from the Order and the Queen would have asked me to step down from my Senate seat if they knew.” “But Padme…we’re your family. We would not have told the Queen or the Jedi Council. Why did you need to hide from us? My goodness, it wasn’t enough that you got married and didn’t tell us until several months later. Now this…” She hung her head, ashamed. “I wanted to tell you, I really did…if I had had the chance to come home. It wasn’t something I felt like I could tell you over a comlink. We were going to come out in the open after the war ended, when we could both step out of public life for awhile. I wanted to have the babies here, we had already discussed it, but…” Padme suddenly felt dizzy, and sat on the garden bench. “The war took a turn for the worse, and Palpatine accumulated draconian powers and then was assassinated. By the Jedi, if the Holonet is to be believed,” Ruwee said. His tone of voice indicated that he did not believe the Holonet at all. Padme nodded. “Unfortunately that’s not all of it. He was a Sith Lord, Daddy,” she said. “The Sith who killed Master Jinn in Theed was his apprentice.” Ruwee had gone pale. “Palpatine was a Sith?” he said. “Yes. He told Anakin as much himself. Anakin told the Council, and five Council members went to arrest him. He resisted arrest, attacked the Jedi, and killed three of them. Anakin…” Luke sucked on his fist and started to cry, followed immediately by Leia. Jobal unbuckled the straps on the stroller and picked up Leia; Sola picked up Luke. “They’re hungry,” Jobal said. 3PO immediately went for the diaper bag. “Mistress Padme, I have their bottles and the warmer, I just need a place…” “We can go inside and use the outlets in the kitchen,” Sola said, looking at Luke. “Yes,” Jobal replied. “We’ll feed them, finish updating your father.” She and Sola went inside with the babies, followed by 3PO with the diaper bag. “Five Jedi went to arrest Palpatine for being a Sith…” Ruwee prompted. “For war crimes. He orchestrated both sides of the war. He was waiting for all his generals and most of the Jedi to be killed so he could declare himself Emperor. His generals and most of the Jedi were killed. And those who didn’t die in battle, were killed when Palpatine ordered the clone army to kill them.” Ruwee’s eyes widened in horror. “Palpatine ordered the clones to kill the Jedi?” Padme nodded. “He declared the Jedi enemies of the Republic. There is a contingency order that was implemented into the clones at the time of their creation, to execute the Jedi immediately upon the Chancellor’s order. Palpatine gave the Order. Thousands of Jedi died, everyone who was in the Temple that day, even the children.” She felt a lump rising in her throat. “They set the Temple on fire.” “Did Anakin kill Palpatine?” Ruwee asked softly. Padme shook her head. “Master Windu killed him. Anakin was there when it happened.” “I’m assuming that he’s involved in this trial that everyone is talking about? We’ve only gotten snippets in the news here, only that Jedi are on trial for their role in the assassination. Few details.” Padme took a deep breath. “Anakin and the rest of the Jedi Council are accused of treason and murder. There were no cameras or witnesses when Palpatine attacked the Jedi, so Anakin and Master Windu are having to prove that they were attacked and that they didn’t just initiate a coup to overthrow the Republic. That they were just stopping Palpatine from overthrowing the Republic himself.” She was suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer injustice of it. Sobs that she had buried inside her since the trial began—or since the beginning of the war—came over her all at once. She buried her face in her hands and wept. She felt her father’s arms around her, his large hand on her hair, her head resting against his chest. He held her for several minutes until the sobbing slowed. “Shhh…it will be alright,” he said quietly. “Organa has appointed at least one justice, has he not?” Padme nodded and sniffled. “Six of the justices are Palpatine appointees, six were appointed by either Bail or Chancellor Valorum,” she said, taking several deep breaths and wiping her eyes. “The chief justice was appointed by Valorum. But the prosecutor’s questions, and the testimonies, even the defense testimonies…it’s been awful.” More tears fell down her cheeks. “People believed Palpatine’s lies. They’ve attacked the Jedi, accused them of being cowards, power-mongers…everything that Palpatine was. They went after Anakin regarding our marriage, accused him of turning against Palpatine because of me…” Her father stroked her hair. “I am sorry, honey,” he said. “How much longer is the trial expected to last?” Padme sniffled again. “Master Windu was testifying today and closing arguments should start tomorrow,” she said. “So you’ll know something very soon.” Padme nodded. “Anakin is coming to Naboo when this is over, if he can, if they don’t…” She couldn’t finish the sentence. Ruwee stroked her back. “Anakin and the Council did the right thing,” he said. “The Court will see that. Did you decide to come here to wait out the rest of the trial?” She sniffled and wiped her eyes again. “Some anti-Jedi demonstrations are planned during closing arguments,” she said. “Since my marriage to Anakin is all over the Coruscant news now, he and Bail both thought that the children and I would be safer here.” She sighed. “Yes..." “Aunt Padme!” The voice came from around the side of the house; Ryoo and Pooja emerged and threw themselves into her arms. “We didn’t know you were home,” Ryoo said. She smiled, returned the hug and kissed both of their cheeks. “That’s because I didn’t tell anyone I was coming,” she said. Pooja was frowning. “Aunt Padme, why are you sad?” Padme hugged the girl again. “Grown up problems,” she said. “I’m not sad now that I’ve seen you.” “Where’s R2?” Pooja asked. “He went inside,” Padme replied. At that moment her mother and Sola emerged, carrying the babies. “They’ve been fed and changed,” Jobal said, placing Luke in Padme’s arms. Sola handed Leia to Ruwee. “Thank you,” Padme said. She looked at her nieces. “Would you like to meet your cousins? This is Luke, and Grandpa is holding Leia.” Ryoo’s brow furrowed. “You had two babies? At the same time?” Padme laughed. “Yes, I did. Luke and Leia are twins.” “When is Uncle Anakin going to come see us again?” Ryoo asked. Padme closed her eyes and opened them again. “As soon as he can. Hopefully in a few days.” “Good. I want him to make my dolls dance in the air like he did last time. That was funny.” “Can we hold the baby?” Pooja asked. Padme stood. “Sit beside Grandpa.” They did, and Padme rested Luke’s head in Ryoo’s arms, his feet in Pooja’s. “Now that is a beautiful sight,” Sola said, smiling. “Senator, all is secure here,” Captain Typho said, emerging from the side of the house. He stopped at the sight of Ryoo and Pooja holding the baby. “Nice,” he said, smiling. He looked at Jobal. “I am expecting a battalion of security droids from Theed by nightfall,” he said. “We will be as unobtrusive as possible in guarding the house.” “Is there any danger that we should know about?” Ruwee asked. “No sir,” Typho replied. “Nothing unusual. But we have taken additional precautions in the wake of the unrest after Palpatine’s assassination. “ Jobal nodded. "Thank you," she said. Padme and her father stood, Padme taking Luke from her nieces, and the family went into the house. “Transmission coming in for you, Padme,” Sola said as the family finished dessert. Padme knew who it was by the teasing look on her sister’s face. She stood and quickly ran into her father’s office, where the com unit sat. A hologram of Anakin appeared before her. “You are so beautiful,” he said. She laughed. “I’m a hologram, Ani,” she said. “And you’re beautiful even in hologram form,” he said. He sighed. “I wish I could touch you.” “So do I,” she said. “Soon…it must be soon. How did it go today?” “Pretty well. Master Windu stood up to Dorstar’s cross examination. Her angle now is that there was no proof that Palpatine used lightning on us and if we knocked his lightsaber out of his hand, we should have been able to take him into custody.” “I thought his face was melted by the lightning you deflected back onto him?” “It was,” Anakin replied. “Plus it is practically impossible to take a Dark Side user into custody without Force binders, which we did not have, and even then…” “Does this mean you’ll stop chastising yourself for what happened to Dooku?” Padme asked. “I don’t know, Padme,” he said. He changed the subject quickly. “I’m staying with Bail. Obi-Wan is being a bit overprotective. He seems to think I shouldn’t be alone.” “He knows you have nightmares,” she said. “This has taken a heavy toll on all of us, Ani. Indulge Obi-Wan a bit. For what it’s worth I think he’s right. None of us need to be alone right now.” “Oh, I’m indulging him. Two words: Alderaanian caf.” Padme smiled. “I thought you were going to say wine.” Anakin laughed. “That too,” he said. “Where are the babies?” “Here,” Jobal said, bringing Luke into the room, followed by Sola carrying Leia. They held the infants in front of the holoprojector. Anakin smiled at each of them; Luke reached for his father’s holographic form. “I know, little guy,” Anakin said. “I want to hold you too.” “Ryoo asked for you,” Padme said. “She wants you to make her dolls dance in the air again.” Anakin smiled. “Tell her that when I get there, I’ll make the dolls turn somersaults and back flips,” he said. "Just a few more days..." Padme said. Anakin nodded. “We hope,” he replied.