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Saga - PT A Second Opinion (RotS AU A/P)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mechalich, Aug 8, 2020.

  1. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Title: A Second Opinion
    Author: Mechalich
    Timeframe: 19 BBY - During the events of RotS
    Characters: Rig Nema, Anakin Skywalker, Padme Amidala, Chancellor Palpatine
    Genre: Drama, Adventure
    Keywords: Jedi, MediCorps, Doctor, Clone Wars, Chancellor
    Summary: What if, upon having a vision of his wife dying as a result of physical injury, Anakin had talked to a doctor about it?
    Notes: So, I've noticed, in looking about this board, that there seems to be a common strain of fanfic AU where the Empire just sort of never happened. This spurred me down a path of thinking long-inspired by the 'Dr. Ball' sketch in Robot Chicken Star Wars about the rather, shall we say, medically negligent, nature of Padme's pregnancy and death. And, since I just happened to have spent much of the past year writing about a certain Jedi Doctor who represents possibly the only canon medical professional Anakin actually knew this just sort of snapped into place. At the moment I'm not sure how far it will go, we'll see.


    A Second Opinion (RotS AU)

    I.

    Ever since the moment Master Yoda absconded from her care to go gallivanting about the galaxy on a secret mission he consistently elided adequately explaining Nema made a habit of arriving early for the intermittent health checks she, backed by a somewhat peeved High Council, foisted upon the Grandmaster as penance. Though whatever strange messengers had troubled Yoda’s thoughts were apparently quiescent in the present interval, Nema insisted the meetings continue regardless. The chance to plumb the many biological mysteries of the Grandmaster’s extremely rare and curious species was not one she could possibly pass up.

    As it happened, this particular punctuality chanced to bring her face to face with another of the Order’s extremely famous luminaries, for she was not three steps away from the door to the Grandmaster’s private meditation chamber when Anakin Skywalker walked out.

    At this apparition a witty remark jumped to Nema’s lips, for Skywalker had never actually apologized for his part in smuggling the Grandmaster past her scrutiny, and she intended to make it clear the incident was not forgotten.

    A single step forward and then the Jedi Knight, doubtless keyed to her presence through the Force, turned to acknowledge her being.

    Snide words perished upon Nema’s tongue.

    A different set entirely replaced them. “Master Skywalker, are you alright?” The young knight’s typical expression, well-known to Nema from his many appearances on post-battle HoloNews vids, could not be found. Instead every portion of his face betrayed a gaunt, haunted countenance. His eyes were pale and empty, the target of his gaze lost in spaces far away; a visage common to soldiers passed through the fires of one too many bombardments. In the Force his presence surged wildly, all sharp edges and jagged flows, none of the refined control typical of such a noted member of the Order. He was a man on the precipice of some terrible plunge.

    “Doctor Nema,” recognition drew out the barest suggestion of a nod, but no evidence of friendship or courtesy. “I’m fine.”

    “You do not look fine.” There were any number of peculiar personal choices a Jedi might make whose wisdom Nema would readily forebear judgment upon. Denial of such obvious instability and overwhelming stress was not among them. To neglect such signs would violate more than one oath and no part of her would accede to such a lapse. “Nor do you look like anyone should after a private session with the Grandmaster.” Their elderly mentor could certainly be prickly and, Nema privately recognized, sometimes willfully obtuse, but she’d never heard of him unleashing the kind of brutal reprimand that would account for this level of disruption.

    “It’s nothing,” Anakin brushed her concerns without a moment’s consideration, denial painfully obvious. “He just gave me a lot to think about, about the Council. That’s all.”

    Sufficient holovid exposure long ago made it clear that while often outwardly jovial, General Skywalker was probably the most fearsome living Jedi. Only Master Windu could conceivably challenge for that title, a contest Nema would very much prefer to be parsecs away from should it even occur. That ferocious intent whirled about him now, the rushing coils of a great storm, lashing outward and inward in tandem.

    But none of it directed toward her. Whatever the target for Skywalker’s burning doubts and gestating despair, the doctor before him bore no consequence; shattered by insignificance.

    Yet it was this very lack of consideration, the absence of importance, wherein an opening existed; just enough protection to slip a single helping hand through those blades of whirling durasteel. “Perhaps, if Master Yoda’s words were of little help, you might wish to seek a second opinion on the matter.” A moment’s intuitive impulse, triggered by the startlingly youthful, almost boyish, expression of longing at the edge of the Jedi Knight’s eyes directed her to proffer a particular addendum. “Perhaps with someone who cannot reveal your words to anyone else? If so, feel free to stop by the medbay later.”

    Anakin froze. Every part of his body went completely, impossibly, still. Only his eyes moved. They directed the terrible potency of his complete and undivided attention upon Rig Nema for the very first time. Nigh unbearable in its immensity, it took a distinct effort of will for Nema to hold herself in place before that visage and deny the primal desire to scurry backward.

    “What do you mean?” he demanded, each word hard as durasteel and scalpel sharp. “Can’t tell anyone?”

    The smile Nema forced on her face lacked all sincerity, but she pressed it through her muscles all the same. “Medical confidentiality,” she explained. “If you present yourself for consultation as a patient, with a question the least bit medical, then all conversation is completely privileged. No one, not Master Yoda, not Chancellor Palpatine, can compel my to reveal anything said.”

    The latter statement, she would privately admit, was no longer strictly true. Technically any statement that suggested sedition was no longer protected due to new wartime laws, but that could not possibly matter in this case. Anakin Skywalker was the brightest anti-Separatist star in the galaxy. Besides, Nema knew that if Palpatine’s agents ever asked for access to any of her patient records she’d tell them to eat duracrete.

    “That can’t be true,” the immediate denial and stubborn confusion that followed only reinforced the oddly boyish impression of the Jedi Knight, of how rushed his life had been. “I mean, on Tatooine, that would never-.”

    Fury wavered in the face of puzzlement, enough that Nema dared administer an interjection. “Master Skywalker,” she spoke gently. “Tatooine is in Hutt Space. My doctor’s oaths were sworn here in the Republic. The rules are rather different.” She paused lightly, giving that a moment to find purchase. “Please, don’t consider this any sort of order, merely a suggestion, and you need not speak to me, but any doctor would serve. The war has been hard on all of us, sent us down paths we regret,” she tapped her own lightsaber, felt the suture marks there carefully. “Just speaking of them freely can ease our burdens.”

    He said only ‘maybe’ before turning away. The sudden cessation of this conversation, and the subsequent bitter argument in which she tried to convince Grandmaster Yoda to actually take his joint medication at least occasionally, did little for her hopes.

    Nema had no real expectation that, privilege or not, Master Skywalker would confide in her. They barely knew each other and their paths could hardly be more different. He was the Chosen One, the great general and likely to be one of the youngest members of the High Council in centuries. She was a member of the Service Corps who lived in solidarity with the slum dwellers. The variance between them served up an unbridgeable gulf to honest interaction.

    Despite everything, he arrived in the Medbay the next morning, early enough that he might have skipped breakfast.
     
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  2. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    I am interested to see where this goes.
     
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  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Enjoyed her reflections and reactions to Anakin as a famous Jedi warrior ;) contrasted with her impressions as a medic when they interact in person. [face_thinking] You can literally almost touch his eagerness to take up her offer of a confidential consultation, and sure enough! He comes to see her the next morning. I love this niche you've carved in the SW PT =D= I don't think anyone ever explored this particular what-if. :cool:
     
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  4. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Honestly, I kind of am too, as I've plotted this out way less completely than I usually do things. I am discovering that the entire plot of Revenge of the Sith has this immense tension to it, with even tiny tweaks likely to induce an explosion.

    My general understanding of how the way news media in Star Wars probably works is that, by this point in the Clone Wars, Anakin is the second most famous person in the galaxy, behind only Palpatine himself. His string of truly epic combat victories is honestly kind of ridiculous (kind of like Boba Fett's bounty hunting record, same phenomenon, different scope) and it means that his public persona is just massively out of sync with the actual person of Anakin Skywalker.

    This particular what-if is a bit unusual in origin. I can recall that, when I first watched RotS, I found the 'die in childbirth' bit kind of ridiculous, like 'really George, that's what you picked?' and it's only by spending a lot of time thinking about medicine in Star Wars that I realize the reason I felt that way is because I just naturally assumed that, given the advanced technology of the setting, such a death should almost never happen. At the same time, the actual movie makes no mention of that fact at all.

    Also, and in fairness to Master Yoda, I'd like to think that if Anakin had actually, you know, told him the truth, he would have said something like: 'See a doctor your wife should, yes,' rather than giving the supremely Zen and supremely unhelpful in the moment speech he actually gave. But it's actually more believable to have Anakin randomly bump into Nema (also I love the idea of Nema extracting 'study time' on Yoda as a price for him skipping out on her) rather than that he'd tell Yoda the truth.
     
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  5. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2010
    For purposes of referencing time against events in Revenge of the Sith, I note that this second part occurs the morning after the Opera House scene and the tale of Darth Plagueis.

    II.

    The Jedi Temple’s Medical Wing was a vast structure. On its own it stood larger than many fully outfitted municipal hospitals. The cavernous recesses of the space had long inspired thoughts of regretful emptiness in Nema, reflecting as they did a distant past when there had simply been more Jedi than there were now. The catastrophic impact of the Clone Wars only accentuated such grief. Presently, only a tiny percentage of the space was in use. Most of the Medical Corps was off-planet treating Clones, Jedi, and other allies at forward operating medical centers. The handful of convalescent Jedi currently under care in the Temple were all chronic cases, struck down by atypical wounds no combination of medical science and Force treatment could fully overcome.

    Given such circumstances the private office Nema had acquired as her own encompassed more floor space than the entirety of her underworld clinic. It even had its own private conference room, and it was to this sumptuously appointed space that she led Skywalker upon his arrival. He said nothing, and his expression held to a stern line, drawn up in highly focused and analytical fashion, as if he were reviewing troops. When Nema offered him a chair, he remained standing.

    She sat anyway, medicine was not soldiering. A doctor need not assert dominance in the encounter. “Welcome, Master Skywalker, how can I help you this morning?” A bland opening, but the tension in his face suggested only the least bit of prodding would send the story spilling out.

    “You use the Force to heal people, right Doctor?” the words to line of questioning emerged hard and fast, like saber blows. “So you know what can and can’t be done. You would know if the Force could create life, or prevent death, wouldn’t you?”

    Nema blinked. Her thoughts whirled. Whatever her expectations, Anakin blasted through them all in one rush.

    Conscious of the fearsome stare fixated upon her, she composed her words with great care. “No one knows exactly what can and cannot be done using the Force. In theory, yes, it is possible to manipulate the very foundation of life using the Force.” She offered this with deliberate tentativeness. “With the right compounds as a base a trained practitioner can knit together simple proteins or short strands of genetic material telekinetically, but that’s only the first step, not anything close to true life.”

    “Explain,” Anakin demanded.

    She knew he was not a biologist, a full technical explanation would leave him utterly lost. Instead, she reached into the history of this most well-known of Jedi to find a suitable point of comparison. “You build droids, yes?” A curt nod rewarded this point of recollection, enough to justify continuation. “Imagine trying to put together a droid using nothing but the Force, only you don’t have any fabricated parts, you just have a stock of metal powder and plastic pellets. That’s what using the Force to try and create life would be like, only probably ten times harder because living systems use more variable compounds than droids do. Perhaps the Celestials could do it,” the tales attributed to those legends certainly suggested such works. “Or the Rakata with the aid of the right machines, but we cannot. Besides,” she shrugged slightly, hoping to defuse a measure of tension. “It’s far easier to modify life that already exists than birth an entirely new evolution. If the old archives are correct the Sith engaged in such practices quite readily.” A sudden realization struck her. “You’ve fought Maul before, his existence used the Force to meld flesh and cybernetic components together. That’s a current example.”

    This answer appeared to offer little satisfaction to the need radiating from the Jedi Knight. “And what about death?” Skywalker persisted. “How can the Force defeat it?”

    Desperate passion, a palpable need, transported these words. It could not possibly be missed. Nema leaned back in the face of such raw desire. She looked away from Skywalker, tried to avoid direct address, exposure to this frightening obsession. “It depends on what you mean by death,” she said quietly following a deflecting pause. “A simple understanding of the concept is that death represents the cessation on ongoing metabolic processes. In sapient beings, this is usually measured by brain activity. Can the Force defray or repair injury to the brain and body? Of course. Can it sustain essential thought processes in the face of the failure of biological tissue to do so? Yes, it can, though the strain is considerable and machines can also do this. Can it delay homeostatic collapse due to cellular and tissue decay? Yes, though the evidence suggests not indefinitely.”

    She placed her hands, palms up, on the table between them. “The Force is a tool with many uses. Death comes in many forms. Match the tool to the need correctly and you can save a life, utilize the wrong one and you can destroy that which is not in danger. These are things we know to be possible.” She curled her hands together. “To defy death altogether? Well, as Master Yoda has often said, we are not mere flesh, and the old tales in the archives speak of such strange practices. Even without the Force certain limits can be surpassed. On your own homeworld of Tatooine there is an order of monks who remove their brains from their skulls and place them inside droids. Research suggests they live longer by doing so, but you can clearly see the cost.” She shook her head. “The Force can do many things, but we are limited beings. There are creatures in this galaxy whose minds stretch across worlds and whose physical forms defy decay, but I doubt even they are truly immortal. The Celestials vanished, after all. Besides, to embrace such an existence would make you other than yourself, which could be considered a death of a sort all on its own.”

    “So your answer is the same as Master Yoda’s then,” Anakin barked. “Death is unavoidable, so I should just let go, give up.”

    “No!” Nema snapped to her feet, roused by a vehemence that surprised all in the room. “Life is precious! Human life, Rebaigaic life, all species, we have limits, yes, but we should not surrender this stage of being before its time is up! We learn nothing by rushing to rejoin the Living Force, and lose uncountable wonders.”

    These words, and the brilliant determination behind them, actually caused Skywalker to draw back slightly. “Sorry doctor,” a rare apology graced his lips. “I said too much.”

    This caused Nema to shake her head, no one bit of her ferocity dissipated. “I think you haven’t said enough.” She looked at him, met those eyes, far too hard and tired for one his age. So young, yet so burdened. Seeing them then, she recalled that he was little more than half her age. What elderly platitudes had Master Yoda tried to instill in such a fiery youth? The ridiculousness of it shocked her to the point that her own defiant attitude completely bypassed all reflection.

    “You’re worried about someone,” the deduction assembled all by itself in the next instance, obvious when the pieces gathered together. “Not yourself. The record is clear on that. You would face any danger, any illness, any wound, head on and without fear. It has to be someone else. Not another Jedi, I imagine, or one of the Clones. You’d stand beside them and join their fight with all your might, not shudder with worry and philosophizing.” The tragic similarities between those men forged into weapons and this one, a Jedi shaped much the name, was not lost on her then, but she forced it from her thoughts for the present. “Who is it then?” Skywalker’s biography held much tragedy, but with his family already lost, it removed that obvious suspect. “A friend?” Those words drew not a twitch across his steel-eyed face.

    Nema probed one layer deeper. “A lover?”

    By the Force he was fast. It was as if the table wasn’t even there he blew across it so swiftly. Before Nema was even aware of the motion he’d vaulted the distance, pulled her from her chair, and slammed her against the far wall by her neck. “Who told you?” Fulsome rage burned through every syllable, fear ignited into blazing anger. “Who knows?”

    The utterly unexpected nature of this violent wrath left the doctor stunned. It took her far too long to fight through her panic and squeeze a handful of words past the constricting pressure of his gloved fist. “A guess, Anakin, it was a guess,” she wheezed. “Most Jedi have lovers,” air stole away from her throat as she fought to expel this truth. Black dots erupted at the edge of her sight. Her legs thrashed madly in a pointless struggle to find purchase in midair. “I’ve had six!”

    “What?” He dropped her then. All ferocious fury drained from his face in a single shift. Dumbstruck confusion replaced it, a complete void of comprehension. The profundity of the loss visible there, the complete lack of comprehension, pierced through the emergent pain in Nema’s neck. It told her many things unsaid.

    He was never an initiate. She recalled this peculiar truth at that moment. Never part of a clan, never inducted into the informal whisper networks of students who passed along gossip, rumor, and secrets in the back halls of the temple. He’d barely ever associated with any other Jedi his age at all. Obi-Wan had been his teacher, a pillar of ethical restraint since his own master’s death, and he associated primarily with Council Members three times his age or more.

    As Nema massaged her neck muscles to look up at Anakin Skywalker once again she saw for the first time just how fully the prophecy of the Chosen One warped him. A young man forced to try and become every ideal of the Jedi, ever impossible claim, with no knowledge of what they truly were. Such demands for perfection were absurd, it was a testament to his inner strength that they’d not shattered him.

    Fools, all of us, she swallowed silent regret.

    “Anakin,” she spoke slowly, a goal easily achieved given the sustained aches up and down her windpipe. “The rule against attachments violates extremely strong biological and cultural imperatives in all Human and highly similar species. The Force can help us to overcome such desires, of course, but it is rarely sufficient all on its own. Jedi live hard lives, the majority give in to the need for intimate companionship at least once.”

    “But the rules,” he protested. Confusion left him to fall into their defense. “They’d have to leave the Order.”

    “Only if they get caught, only if someone reports it, only if the Council takes action,” she shook her head. “You think anyone admits to this on their own? Willingly turns their back on the Order? What would we do then?” She tapped a finger against the wall, feeling the grain of the white plastoid paneling. “I have no more than a handful of memories of my time before coming to the temple. I cannot even recall the sun of my homeworld. Many others have no memories at all. Even you, you trained to be a Jedi your whole adult life. What would you do if you left the Order Master Skywalker? Tell me,” she returned to her seat and leaned forward. “Who would you be? What sort of job would you take to support yourself?”

    This halted him a while. He paced back and forth, visibly wracked by deep thought. Nema took the time afforded by such hesitation to straighten her headdress back to its proper symmetry.

    At length Anakin provided an answer, though he did not meet her eyes. “I’d be a pilot.”

    The words were soft, but their impact profound. It was not a glib answer, not some juvenile dream or defiant belief that one could go on living exactly like a Jedi without the Order’s support. This was a true choice, made in the moment. In that little conference room Anakin had looked beyond the Jedi Order for perhaps the first time in his adult life and found something real waiting there.

    It had to have been brutally hard. Nema could barely manage to imagine such a future herself, and she was a member of the barely-acknowledged Service Corps with a standing offer from Arkanian Micro to start at a million-credits a year.

    “That is a far better answer than most Jedi could give,” a soft smile drew across her face. After all, he was a truly gifted pilot, one more than capable of building a solid career at the helm of a starship.

    Carefully leaning forward in her chair, Nema gathered the necessary composure to dare the next step. “Now that we’ve established that you’re not the first Jedi to have worries like this, are you ready to tell me about your fears for your lover?”

    “She’s not my lover,” the defensive shield slammed back into place, but then lowered almost as swiftly. As it collapsed completely it revealed an expression no holocamera or portrait had ever captured. Adoration shown out from every pore, melded to an immense, passionate longing. “She’s my wife.”

    Nema had decades of experience hearing all sorts of bizarre and shocking declarations from her patients, Jedi and otherwise. She needed every last gram of that practice then, faced with this startling revelation. “You’re ah, married then,” she managed to slide the words past her suddenly stiff jaw. “Legally, I mean?” Anyone could call another person their spouse, but to declare it under the aegis of government authority was something else entirely.

    “Yes,” Anakin confirmed. The look on his face proclaimed this the most natural thing in the galaxy.

    Strangely, Nema’s first thought upon absorbing this was that she hoped his wife had access to a talented, and discrete, accountant. Concealing the existence of a spouse with all the financial peculiarities attendant to life as a Jedi from the tax authorities would surely require considerable numeric wizardry. Of course she did not say anything of the sort. Skywalker seemed highly unlikely to find any such jibes the least amusing. “Your wife then,” repetition helped. It made the unbelievable idea seem more real. “Congratulations, belatedly.”

    The rare smile these simple words provoked from Anakin revealed much, and the doctor realized that her failure to react with the vicious suspicion and judgment he’d no doubt anticipated for years earned her more trust than perhaps anything else she could have possibly done. Truthfully, she felt rather ashamed at this. For though she knew well how to conceal her private feelings from a patient’s search, it was impossible to internally suppress the determination that Skywalker, for all his talent, lacked considerably in the realm of maturity. Discretely taking on an intimate partner, even for a prolonged period, was nothing, easily denied. Marriage was not. Inherently legal, it meant documentation, evidence, a violation that could not be ignored.

    “If I may then,” rather than consider the inevitable consequences of such a move, she circled back to the steady sands of medical matters. “Why, specifically, are you afraid for your wife’s well-being? Are there signs of illness? Outwardly or in the Force?”

    Long-standing walls of secrecy now breached, Skywalker proved remarkably direct thereafter, a facet of his nature reflected in his well-known command style. “I had a vision,” he spoke with quiet certainty. “I saw her die.”

    “That is very serious,” Nema’s agreement came immediately. All other concerns vanished, and she focused entirely on solving this puzzle and saving this one life, suddenly endangered. A vision from a Jedi with Skywalker’s unmatched draw upon the essence of the Force could never be discounted. Additionally, she knew from long training and practice that while outcomes shaded along some nebulous spectrum of expectations tended to evade translation into the concrete, stark divisions such as death were far harder to mistake in the winds of the future. “Now, I am sorry about this part, but in order to better understand the implications I need to ask some rather probing questions,” she maintained a careful, restrained pace to her inquiry. Every effort expended to tease out essential information without spooking the patient. “Did your vision reveal any particular symptoms, or specific injuries? Any details at all related to her health that might help determine the nature of the threat?”

    “There was blood, everywhere,” the words tumbled out of his mouth almost unbidden. All that he had wanted to say to Master Yoda, but dared not, now spilled loose. “And she was burning up, like fire, and screaming. And then everything just, fell to pieces.” He looked up and stared Nema straight in the eyes. “It was childbirth. I know it.”

    “Childbirth?” Nema blinked again. Her mind struggled to properly assimilate, to sort into some sort of recognizable framework besides sheer disbelief, this string of revelations. “Then your wife is pregnant?” Such information demanded processing effort unavailable while staring at Anakin. Instead, she stood and turned to the far wall, allowed her words to sort her thoughts aloud. “But you’ve been away from Coruscant for months,” Considering the dramatic nature of his return, she could hardly not have noticed. “The projected birthdate must be close at hand.”

    “Yes.” Fearsome vehemence returned to animate his frame once more. “That’s why I have to know how to save her. Whatever it takes.”

    “Of course you do,” a deflection, but the doctor clearly recognized that attempting to challenge Skywalker head on was a recipe for disaster. “I will not lie to you Anakin, the human process of pregnancy and birth do carry certain inherent risks. However,” she hurried ahead, with the best positive expression she could form fixed on her face. “It is also perhaps the best studied event in medical history, and modern practice has an effective solution to essentially any problem that could possibly arise, and here in Galactic City we have access to all of them.”

    Between phrases, triggered by the combination of secrecy and evasion the Jedi had displayed regarding the topic, Nema’s insight fastened upon a key possibility. “I know you’ve been gone, but I need you to answer the next question as best you can. Has your wife been in consultation with a physician during her pregnancy? Has she received the proper care and evaluation at the relevant developmental benchmarks? Or has she done none of this out of a desire to maximize secrecy?” She moved close to Skywalker now, and leaned forward, anything to emphasize the importance of her next words.

    “Anakin, I need you to understand something critically important. It is entirely possible that what you foresaw represents a fatal complication to your wife’s pregnancy that can be easily treated or bypassed with well understood techniques. Science has solved the dangers of childbirth. We are not on some uncontacted world in the Outer Rim or even in Hutt Space. The most advanced medicines in the history of the galaxy are available here, make use of them.”

    For a long time Skywalker stood silent, unmoving. Deep contemplation weighed heavily on his face. “You want to examine her,” he declared at last, indecision thick with each syllable.

    “It doesn’t have to be me,” this reply was ready, an answer to an anticipated possibility. “Truthfully, gynecology lies far beyond my personal specialty. Pick a physician, someone skilled whom you trust, not just medical droids. If you fear exposure, then I will help you, of course, but no matter who it is, proper care is essential.” She had visited primitive worlds for many years before the Clone Wars, part of research and outreach by the Order, and seen all too many lives lost to causes even common medicines could prevent. Her own hands had administered more than a few to save the lives of mothers and infants from the dangers of labor.

    “I need to talk to her,” Anakin spoke again after another long pause. “We’ll decide together.”

    He said nothing more; left Nema sitting alone with the deeply troubling unknowns.
     
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  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Very plausible and intense discussion
     
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  7. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Very intense discussion. Anakin's fears for Padme came through loud and clear. Well done.:)
     
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  8. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Thank you. One thing I felt it was important to do here was not simply deny Palpatine's promises outright. The Force can defy death, at least after a fashion, even within the limited confines of the Disney canon, which has not only the example of Palpatine himself, but also bizarre stuff like Eternal Rur (silly Disney, you let Dr. Aphra's adventures get just as weird as anything in Legends). However, it does seem to be a common point across both versions of cannot that while ripping out your soul and stuffing it in a box might prolong your life by a lot, it's a rather different sort of life indeed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2020
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  9. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2010
    III.

    “I’m very pleased to meet you, Senator,” Nema bowed carefully as Padme Amidala welcomed her into her private residence.

    It was an untruth, though a well-concealed one. The Jedi Doctor simmered with many grievances, both against the Senate generally and with regard to this woman’s spectacularly poor judgment with regard to her personal relationships in particular. The latter was somewhat unfair, perhaps, but the personal parallels were too much for the doctor to simply disregard.

    Her own bodyguard! For once she learned the identity of Anakin Skywalker’s secret wife the contours of the romance emerged immediately.

    She’d known that particular temptation all too well, but Nema could say she’d resisted such desires and avoided a shockingly unprofessional assignation, never mind a secret marriage and hidden pregnancy. Such moves were madness. This was the Princess of Naboo? The Flower of the Senate?

    Truly, the Republic’s rot went deep indeed.

    None of these views made any difference to Nema’s role as a doctor. Her creed did not require her to like her patients, and she’d performed life-saving surgery on beings whose depravity the romantically impulsive senator could never even approach. She would give her utmost regardless.

    Though for the present, that mostly consisted of watching the GH-7 unit work.

    It was not her favorite model of medical droid, but the diagnostically optimized unit had the singular advantage that, due to its lack of legs as a floating design, it was small enough to pack into a travel bag and conceal.

    “You’re sure this droid won’t report anything?” Anakin, having followed Nema inside, asked this question for at least the tenth time.

    “Don’t worry, it doesn’t belong to any medical establishment,” one of the reasons the senator had neglected proper medical consultation regarding her pregnancy turned out to be that the senate’s medical network was severely compromised and could not be trusted to keep her secrets. Attempts on her life made the alternative approach of sneaking off to try and find a trustworthy private practice largely impossible. A peculiar set of circumstances traceable to the surprisingly long reach of Cad Bane.

    “It’s privately owned,” she repeated the explanation for Padme’s benefit. “By a colleague of mine, not a Jedi, who runs a cosmetic surgery practice. As client confidentiality is utterly essential in such work she wipes its memory after every consultation. This machine does not attach any significance to your names at all, and by tomorrow will no longer recall them in any case.” Nema did not bother to mention just how amused Doctor Risis had been when she’d asked to discretely borrow the unit. She had a feeling the socially astute surgeon had a general idea of the circumstances. Thankfully there were enough Jedi left that this meant little.

    “An unusual acquaintance for a Jedi,” Padme noted somewhat archly.

    “One makes all kinds of friends down in the underworld,” Nema replied. Her voice remained carefully neutral. “But we should proceed, it would not do for this meeting to run long.” They’d developed a plausible excuse to justify Nema’s calling on the Senator involving the production and distribution of domestic relief supplies for use on Coruscant, at this stage of the war such bureaucratic fictions were pure simplicity, but taking up more than an hour or so of her schedule would invite unreasonable scrutiny. Time was not available to be wasted.

    Amidala’s residence, which Nema could not help but notice might have housed as many as ten families by Bucket standards, possessed a private office complete with a sumptuous armchair suitable as a makeshift exam station. The Senator lowered into the chair with Anakin by her side. The change in demeanor by the Jedi Knight in his wife’s presence was considerable, though that was only to be expected.

    Thankfully he followed Padme’s instructions to look away while she stripped off her astonishingly complex array of garments and allowed Nema to drape a light surgical smock over her thin frame.

    Though Nema was no gynecologist, this simple act made it abundantly clear that Padme resided in the very final stages of pregnancy. She was weeks away from birth at most, and the GH-7 unit promptly projected a hypothetical birth date only ten days out after mere seconds of scanning.

    Contemplating the effort necessary to hide her condition for so long while remaining active in public and before the media left Nema numb.

    It would not be the last significant new detail to emerge from the exam.

    The first of these, though doubtless wondrous to the soon-to-be parents, was a fairly prosaic one considered from Nema’s perspective. “Padme, Anakin,” she began her announcement quietly but quickly, trying to minimize the stress she knew ate at the Jedi. “It turns out you’re carrying twins.”

    “You’re certain?” For the first time Padme’s Senatorial formality fell away and the doctor gained a glimpse at the woman beneath, the hidden person behind the position Skywalker fell for. “I’d felt motions, thought maybe it could be, but I couldn’t be sure.”

    “Quite certain,” Nema confirmed. It was nice to be able to deliver happy news. These dark days rarely offered such opportunities. “The scan results are quite clear, and there are two unique DNA signatures as well. Fraternal twins, a boy and a girl.”

    Paired expressions lit up, and Anakin gently squeezed Padme’s shoulder.

    Browsing through additional results revealed by the droid’s sampling, Nema swiftly tapped through many screens on her datapad. “All signs reveal they are perfectly healthy,” she continued. “Every indicator reports they’re within normal ranges for human twins at this developmental stage, and there are no anomalies or red flags. Internal positioning looks good too, I don’t foresee any birth-related difficulties in that regard.” That final note was one she internalized carefully. Improper positioning was a major risk factor in childbirth, especially with twins, but the results clearly eliminated that as a possible source of Skywalker’s vision.

    Padme smiled broadly at this, an emotion genuine enough to cause Nema to privately admit the senator was objectively quite beautiful, by human standards at least; frightfully pale by her own. Certainly it was a face capable of drawing the romantic attentions of any young Jedi pressed into close proximity. Considered from that perspective it appeared ridiculous that the Order had ever allowed such an assignment to happen. Was the Council blind? Whose idea had it been?

    When she changed the focus of her analysis from the twins to Padme herself, however the information on the screen grew considerably less reassuring. “Senator,” Nema began carefully. “I need you to answer me honestly now. Have you recently felt lethargic? Excessively fatigued? Had trouble waking up in the morning?”

    “I…” Padme paused, and Anakin’s expression behind her shoulder sharpened considerably. “I’ve been putting in so many hours in meetings, and state dinners, I thought I was just tired, and the war is…”

    Here, at last, Nema found her first real point of commonality with the senator. “The war grinds on us all, and there is often the temptation to work past what our bodies can properly sustain.” She nodded gently. “I’ve been guilty of the same thing myself. However, your condition places considerable strain on your body all on its own, and that both lowers your tolerance for additional exertion and greatly increases the risks of exhaustion.”

    Noting the growing dark clouds across Anakin’s face, she carefully moved her gaze back and forth from both of them. “Anakin, I believe I’ve found the reason for you vision,” she told the Jedi before turning back to Padme. “In trying to hide your pregnancy, you’ve failed to properly modify your diet to compensate for new needs,” an obvious maneuver, considering the immense portion of her meals likely taken in the presence of others. “Your body has reacted by starving itself to support your children, a common outcome in the case of Force-sensitive infants,” and they were, the midichlorian counts shared the usual muddled intermixing with their mother’s cells, but with Skywalker as the father the signal remained unmistakably strong. “As a result your weight has dropped into the yellow range for a human woman of your size and time progression, and you’re showing severe deficiencies in Calcium, Iron, and Selenium.”

    “What does that mean doctor?” Anakin demanded, hands curled into fists at his side. “What is going to happen to her?”

    “What could happen,” Nema met that fearsome gaze with the full weight of her medical authority marshalled behind every word. “The possibility I suspect you foresaw, is a hemorrhagic event during childbirth, internal bleeding due to the immense stress and likely prolonged labor delivering twins places on the pelvic tissues. Such an event can be fatal due to blood loss, but only, and I must stress this absolutely, only without proper medical supervision.”

    She turned back to the senator. “Were you, at any point in the next two weeks or so, likely to be in a situation where you would be unable to summon a doctor or a proper medical droid at need?”

    “I,” Padme paused, and then her eyes went wide. Sudden panic rippled through her frame, visible acceptance of the possibility, of the vision, long denied. “I was going to return to Naboo for the birth. The shuttle flight…”

    It had to be the future Anakin foresaw. Nema seized upon it. “The medical stations of small starships are not properly configured for this kind of care. Their limited artificial intelligences are designed for triage. Had you gone into labor while in hyperspace it is likely they would prioritize the twins’ survival and postpone your care.” She looked back to Anakin. “But with proper care such an event is completely treatable. Bacta spray, coagulant administration, and prompt application of micro-suturing can easily stop the bleeding and restore damaged tissue with no additional risk. This droid here,” she gestured at the quietly floating GH-7. “Is not optimized for pregnancy but could still provide the proper treatment within less than a minute.”

    Completing this thought, Nema asserted herself further, fully engaged in her capacity as a physician, accountable only to her training, her seniors, and the Force. “However, the best solution is to avoid such an event in the first place. Padme,” she turned back to the Senator. Hands flew across the datapad; tapped out instructions. “I’m prescribing a regimen of nutrient supplements to address your deficiencies and ordering you to increase your daily caloric intake by seven hundred and fifty calories until the birth, and, pending further evaluation, for at least a month afterward. I’m also confining your to home rest with a medical droid standing by until the birth, with the recommendation that if you do not go into labor naturally within fourteen days we induce at that point.”

    “But my work,” Padme sat bolt upright. “The needs of the Senate.”

    “I’m quite sure almost all of them can be conducted remotely from within your office,” Nema remained steadfast. No mere senator would claim her job was too important to ignore a doctor’s orders. She’d put Grandmaster Yoda on bed rest! “And I believe Naboo has a Junior Representative capable of voting on your behalf should that be necessary. Truthfully, had you come to me a month ago I would have suggested a return to Naboo and a leave of absence from the Senate entirely, but it is too late now. You could go into labor at any time, in such a condition a hyperspace voyage cannot be risked.” This earned her a glare, but she ignored it. Eyes continued to scroll through her files.

    “Now,” she paused and looked pointedly at both of them. “As I promised you both confidentiality, I am willing to work up a plausible fiction that will explain this absence. Let’s see if there’s anything in your medical history that would serve as-“ She almost dropped the tablet when she brought up that particular list and saw the entry her Jedi Medical Corps clearance had declassified.

    “You were exposed to the Blue Shadow Virus?” While the look of recognition on both faces confirmed this, Nema was positively amazed the bioterrorism people had managed to keep that out of the newsfeeds. “Well, I imagine that if you survived that a little thing like iron deficiency shouldn’t be more than a minor obstacle to push past. A relapse of that particular plague is a bit too grim to use as an excuse, but it does give me an idea. You’re from Naboo, which means you haven’t been vaccinated against Nova-13 because the plasma residue in the upper atmosphere prevents it from propagating there. I’ll write up a quarantine order saying you’ve been exposed to the virus, quite plausible given the high traffic nature of the Senate. In fact, I can even tell the truth by having you vaccinated right now.” She reached out and gently grasped the senator’s left arm. “Hold still please. GH-7, if you would.”

    Distracted by the brief and painless injection, neither Jedi nor Senator rendered any opposition to the plan.

    “You’re not what I expected from a Jedi Doctor,” Padme commented immediately afterward.

    “If I was,” the words came surprisingly easy, all knotted internal contradictions long since cut. “I wouldn’t be here.” She stood up slowly and carefully. “I can leave GH-7 with you for today, but I’ll need to pick him up tomorrow. My personal recommendation is that you discretely purchase a specialized midwife droid for your own use.” She looked across both of them carefully. “Perhaps it’s not my place to say, but medical confidentiality will get you both as far as the birth, and no further. The existence of children cannot be hidden from the eyes of the authorities, not up here, nor will it be easily possible to conceal their lineage. The genetic data belonging to both of you is logged in multiple databases that are known to have been breached during this war. You have to decide what the next step will be, together.”

    She bowed carefully. “I’ll leave you two to discuss matters.”

    Anakin, somewhat unexpectedly, followed her to the door.

    “She will be alright doctor,” he pushed for certainly. “Can you promise me?”

    “You and I both know the future is always in motion,” she cautioned, but tried to offer real assurance on the back end. “But an unforeseen development is unlikely to arise during the last few days of a pregnancy. Aside from the deficiencies I noted, we didn’t detect any problems, and those should resolve with a bit more food and a chance to de-stress,” she looked up and met his eyes. “Something you can assist by getting your nerves under control.”

    “I understand,” he sounded terribly young and unsure in the moment, but he’d hardly be the first expectant father to find the whole experience overwhelming. “I’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe.”

    “And you have,” Nema made herself smile. “Your vision, what you foresaw, it was not certain, but it surely could have happened, and because you were able to share it with me now it will not. You saved her.”

    “Saved her…” his whole expression lit up.

    It gave the doctor one final opportunity, one she refused to neglect. This family might yet be destroyed by consequences no medical procedure could prevent. “Master Skywalker, Anakin, you need to talk to her now. You’re going to be a father in less than two weeks. When the moment comes you need to be ready.”

    This managed to return him to stoic silence.

    Nema reached up and tapped him on the shoulder. “I’m sure you’ll find a path, evidence suggests you’re pretty good at it. I’ll come back to check in on Padme soon.”

    Anakin rushed back to his wife as the door closed. Nema took a long, empty, turbolift ride down to the public shuttle service pad one hundred and five floors lower. Chosen One, she thought, unable to keep the idea from her mind. What could it mean that the one who was supposed to be the very best of the Jedi had broken their rules in the most absolute, impossible-to-conceal fashion? She did not know, could not even begin to contemplate the implications. She only understood that it was too much for anyone couple to shoulder.

    The secret would emerge, and when it did, it would shake the galaxy.

    Almost idly, she wondered if the Order would punish her, expel her, even, for her small part in extending the deception. Strangely, it seemed an almost entirely irrelevant thought. By the time that could happen, she realized, everything would be different.

    She wondered if it would be better.
     
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  10. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb introspection and interactions. =D= You have a strong grasp of the medical perspective :cool:
     
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  11. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2010
    For purposes of reference this next scene begins immediately after the meeting between Anakin and Palpatine where Palpatine reveals he is a Sith Lord. It is also at this point where the events of this story begin to change the ongoing events of Revenge of the Sith, which to this point have proceeded unaltered.

    IV.

    “Know the power of the dark side, the power to save Padme,” the chancellor’s words echoed, boulder heavy, in Anakin’s mind as he ran to his speeder. They were powerful, certainly, but they were also misguided, false. A lie. He didn’t need the dark side to save Padme. He’d already saved her! She was safe. He’d changed the future.

    Without the dark side.

    Without the Jedi Council too.

    The Chancellor was wrong, Anakin knew it, however convincing his stories might sound in the ear, but that didn’t make Master Yoda right. He could still see it, the golden-skinned form of Doctor Nema, standing over Padme, reading numbers off a datapad. As he vaulted into his speeder; felt the machine start up beneath his tapped commands, he realized that it was the same. A machine, a lifeless system, just as one carried him, one had saved Padme.

    She’d not used the Force at all.

    That meant something, maybe everything, but he could not figure it out. Everything, every thought, every motion, every option, stood wracked by storm clouds. The Chancellor was the Sith Lord! How could that be true? It made no sense. Palpatine was a kind man, a humble man, a generous man, a wise man. He was nothing like Dooku. Nothing like Maul. And he was already the Chancellor. The whole galaxy loved him, the Jedi Council obeyed his summons. What else could he possibly want?

    The Council wasn’t threatening to take his wife away.

    Anakin drove towards the temple, accelerated hard, blasted through priority lanes granted by his military identification. Tell the Council, that was what he should do, needed to do, ought to do. It was the proper action, the Jedi Way.

    But was it right?

    His thoughts refused to cohere on an answer.

    He turned the speeder aside harshly, plunged down out of the clean lanes of the upper corridors and into the scattered chaos of the myriad byways and twisting airborne alleys below. Traffic lay thick upon such narrow paths, dangerous, challenging. Enough to demand a measure of his attention, of effort, to let him act without thinking, free in the Force and capable of accomplishment.

    A feeling he desperately needed now.

    He wanted to talk to Obi-Wan. He could trust his master, whatever their differences. Sure, Obi-Wan might side against him, side with the Council, but he didn’t doubt, didn’t judge, didn’t patronize.

    But Obi-Wan was out in the Outer Rim, fighting Grievous without him. Where he wanted to be, where he ought to be.

    He wanted to talk to Ahsoka. She would understand. The Council and the Chancellor had both abandoned her, and she’d found a path on her own. When he’d seen her last she’d been stronger and tougher than ever.

    But she too was gone, on Mandalore fighting Maul, another place where he should be, and when he’d sent her there he’d also sent Rex and the 501st; every Clone he knew and trusted.

    The only one left, the only one still close enough to help him was Padme. They’d argued, bitterly, decided on nothing, but no jagged memory of raised voices and sharp barbs could stop Anakin’s hands from turning the wheel again. Of course he could trust her; she’d always listened to him, heard him. It would help, he hoped, but it wasn’t enough, not nearly enough. He loved her more than anything, loved her so much it hurt, but nothing about his love could make it so she could feel the Force.

    Padme could never truly understand what it meant that Palpatine, that the Chancellor, was a Sith.

    As he accelerated, recent images of his beloved wife spilled through his mind. A golden-skinned form accompanied many of these, and those memories offered the realization that Doctor Nema would understand. She already knew so many secrets, what was one more. Besides, he had an excuse to call her to meet him alongside Padme. Even better, she was no threat. If she opposed him, well, he wouldn’t have to worry about her escaping and telling the Council.

    He sent the call through Artoo, on a pre-arranged protocol, to have her meet them urgently.

    Anakin had told the Chancellor he’d find out the truth, and he’d meant it. He was tired of being manipulated, tired of being told what to do. If he was the Chosen One, and he was, then he would make his own choice. Afterward, well, Force help anyone, Jedi or Sith, who stood in his way.
     
  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Fantastic twist and very plausible that Anakin would have a realization. Thankfully there is someone whom he can confide in. [face_relieved]
     
  13. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Thanks. Honestly, I feel like TCW Season 7 really helped emphasize just how isolated Anakin must have felt at this moment. He actually does have a support network, including people who know at least part of his true circumstances - the Bad Batch Arc explicitly establishes that Rex is at the very least aware that Anakin and Padme are romantically involved, even if he probably doesn't know about the whole marriage part - but when the moment comes in RotS none of those people are available. However, I felt that it made sense for Anakin to go to Padme in this case since his relationship with her is in a much better place than it otherwise would be.
     
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  14. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2010
    V.

    “Palpatine is the Sith Lord.”

    “That can’t be right Anakin,” Padme’s objection sprang into existence upon raw reflex. “Certainly he’s ambitious, and imperious, but…”

    The Senator continued in this vein for a time, but Nema stopped listening. Those few fateful words, to her, made perfect sense. An old puzzle, long shelved, now confirmed. Her fingers tapped their way along the weathered sutures found on key portions of her lightsaber. The lingered warning fully realized at last.

    Of course it was Palpatine. Ridiculous as the idea that the Chancellor and Sith Lord were one and the same initially sounded, it was at the same time the simplest, most parsimonious explanation by many orders of magnitude. All the conspiratorial cascades condensed into a perfect prism surrounding this one utterly impossible fact.

    Padme knew this too, and her challenges did not even sustain themselves long enough for Skywalker to need repeat himself. Instead she stared upward at her husband’s dour expression and asked. “How do you know?”

    “He told me himself,” Anakin admitted. His jaw clenched hard enough Nema was sure his teeth must ache terribly. “He wanted me to join him. Said that only by learning the ways of the dark side could I save you.”

    “The dark side is entropic,” Nema found herself speaking without any conscious intent to form words. “It cannot truly heal, only distort, reshape, and plunder. To save even one life using the dark side, many others would die.”

    Skywalker shot her a burning glare hot enough to melt steel, but Padme pushed herself between them. “You can’t help him Annie,” she pleaded. “He’ll destroy everything, every future for us, every future for our children.”

    These words, Nema saw, reached him. His arms wrapped around her, gripped gently though his hands shook with each breath. “What future do they have if the Council drives us apart? How do I fix all of this?”

    He was trapped. Granted the privileged position of the observer, Nema saw it with abject clarity. The Jedi Path. The Sith Path. He could not take either one. The lies, the double life, they’d split Anakin Skywalker. Whichever direction he might chose offered only destruction.

    Palpatine had tried to shackle Padme, the one thing Anakin cared for above all else, to the Sith side. The doctor realized it then. The promise of healing, the acceptance of love, the resistance to death, all the tantalizing temptations of the Sith tied together; all too obvious.

    A lie too, of course. The fiercely principled Senator would never survive a Sith regime. Anakin would lose her too, and his children, just as Padme declared.

    But not right away. Not today. Only some yet unknown point in the future. That little doubt, that tiny crack; just that much could tip the balance.

    Except I acted as a doctor, not a Jedi. Ignored the Council’s rules and removed that weight from the scales. Now nothing bound Skywalker to either side.

    Third time. Alternative path.

    Everything made sense at last.

    And even so, Nema realized her part was done. She could do nothing but stand and watch now as the lever of the galaxy pivoted on the fulcrum of Anakin Skywalker.

    “I have to stop him,” Anakin spoke at last. Conviction filled his voice. His eyes bored into Padme. His hands wrapped around her swollen belly. “If I don’t he’ll come after all of us, I know he will. I don’t need the Council. I’ll do it myself.”

    “If the Jedi Council arrests the Chancellor the Republic will split in half again,” Padme’s words surprised everyone in the room. From the look on her face, herself included. “His loyalists are too strong, too numerous, he’ll call us all Separatists and the war will never end. But Anakin,” her expression was calm, focused, as she dropped into the pools of his eyes. “How can you go yourself? Do you have any proof? And if you’re not acting as a Jedi how can you arrest him? The courts will call you a traitor.”

    As she heard these words, Nema discovered to her surprise that she actually had something to contribute. “His midichlorian count,” she burst with sudden inspiration. “If he’s a Sith Lord it must be massive, ten thousand or more. A drop of blood is enough.”

    This drew a strange, cunning smile from the Senator. “That’s perfect. The law prohibits any Force sensitive from the post of Supreme Chancellor,” This peculiar fact caused the two Jedi to stare blankly at each other. “It’s part of the Ruusan Reformations,” she explained. “To prevent the Jedi from taking control of the Senate as they once did. The Separatists changed that rule in their constitution so Dooku could serve as their president.”

    “Then that’s enough,” offered a path, Anakin sounded all too eager to commit.

    “But Anakin,” Padme protested. “You’re still a Jedi.”

    “No.” It happened incredibly fast, events outpaced recognition. His eyes flashed to Padme and back. “I’m your husband.” His hand shifted to the center of her belly. “I’m their father.” He turned and looked directly at Nema, face filled with a passion fixed to melt suns. “Doctor Rig Nema, you are my witness. I hereby renounced my membership in the Jedi Order, effective immediately.”

    Nema dropped to her knees. She could not believe it. This was the alternative? The Chosen One rejecting the Jedi and Sith alike?

    Yet even as her mind reeled from the significance of it all some feeling deep within felt as if all things were now as they ought to be.

    “Here,” Anakin handed her his lightsaber. “I won’t let them say I stole anything.”

    “Anakin, you can’t face the Chancellor without a weapon,” Padme’s voice filled with fear.

    “He won’t,” Nema agreed at once. Cradling the blue lightsaber carefully, she unclipped the green blade from her belt and passed it over. “This one has a few quirks, but I think it may surprise the Sith.” She managed to press a smile across her face. “And you will be bringing it back.”

    “Of course I will,” his smile returned, brilliant and energized.

    “One other thing,” Nema noted. “It would probably be best if you had actual legal authority to arrest the Chancellor, correct?” she looked to the Senator.

    “The best option would be to have an impartial group make the arrest,” Padme spoke firmly. “But Palpatine replaced the Senate Commandos with his private guards, and only Jedi can command the clones, so we can’t use the Coruscant Guard.”

    Nema’s smiled broadened. It would work after all. “That’s not precisely true,” she looked back to Anakin. “I can get you a Guard escort, if you’re willing to be deputized.”

    “Deputized?” the now former Jedi gave her a blank look. “As what?”

    Instead of answering at once, Nema pulled a comlink from her belt and keyed in a preset frequency.

    “Nema?” a hard, mechanically modified voice responded immediately. “Thought you had patient consultations all day. What’s going on?”

    “Morne,” she spoke softly into the receiver. “I need you to meet me at the Senate Office Building with a full Coruscant Guard company, as fast as you can get there. I can’t explain now, but it’s critical.”

    “I’ll get there,” the distant presence affirmed.

    As she turned back to Skywalker, Nema gave him his answer. “As a policeman.”
     
  15. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    FABULOUS! I totally accept this is how it all went down! =D=
     
  16. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    This is great! I like this! Using technicalities of law to oust Palpatine from power. AU approved!
     
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  17. scienfictionfan

    scienfictionfan Jedi Padawan

    Registered:
    Jan 1, 2020
    I just discovered this and think its interesting though I will say its not that Anakin lacked people he could confide in who could give him good advice but more that he was unwilling to actually explain his problems.

    I have to agree with you Yoda would have given better advice had he actually known what the problem was but Anakin was afraid of the consequences of telling Yoda everything and so was vague and so Yoda, as explained further in the Episode III novelization thought he was referring to Obi-Wan or a general anxiety over his friends safety, and so was unable to help him.

    Ironically the idea that Anakin wouldn’t understand Doctor Patient Confidentiality is not that surprising to me since he in canon is an interesting combination of brilliant and oblivious about different things. He is very intelligent but has no wisdom and tends to ignore things that don’t interest him even if told about them and something he should know. I do find it interesting Nema calls Anakin Master Skywalker considering he is just a Knight. Is that because as a knight he outranks a Medicorps member?

    In fairness I think its less Nema randomly running into Anakin and more the Will of the Force in universe since as is said several times with the Force there is no coincidence.

    I feel sorry for Nema having to deal with a Jedi that is pretty obviously on the verge of falling. That said I like how she understands how he lost something due to not being raised as a Jedi something I think many don’t necessarily grasp either in universe or out of it.

    That actually doesn't seem to be the case in Disney or Legends Canon. There is no requirement for Jedi to be Celibate even if they encourage it since we learn about an example in Master and Apprentice of a Jedi who has sexual relations. While marriage is forbidden sex is not though this is obviously not something focused on considering Star Wars intended audience.

    What's the story behind that offer and will we learn more about it in Dr. Nema's journal?

    I love the casual ignoring of Padme's position and reminder that Nema did after all order Master Yoda on bed rest even if he didn't follow it. I wonder can she make Padme follow her orders where Yoda refused.

    Things have changed but, Anakin is definitely still on the verge of falling.

    I love the solution he can no longer be a Jedi and is not a Sith so he becomes someone different to perform his duty and finds a solution no one else thought of its Anakin at his best here.

    Its somehow fitting I think that Anakin is carrying a Green blade like Qui-Gon did and like his son would when he faced Palpatine and a good sign of things to come.

    I love how you weave your characters from your story into this story and yet if fits even if that will be a fascinating conversation with Morne and his support. I admit I can't wait for the next chapter to see how this all turns out.
     
  18. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2010
    I swear I didn't originally plan it this way, but it just seemed like the thing that would happen when everything unfolded. I honestly could not find anyone sort of path towards a 'good ending' where Anakin stays in the Jedi Order.

    I really, really, wanted for Padme to contribute something to the ultimate solution. I feel her character is very much ill-served by RotS (and to some extent the PT generally) and so I wanted her to hit on some kind of solution. This particular technicality (which isn't canonical but feels like it should be), made sense because Padme's efforts towards peace talks in TCW would make it likely that she'd intensely studied the foundation of the CIS government.

    Well I think both contribute. Anakin does explain his problems on occasion - for instance he explains his massacre of the Sand People in AotC to Padme - and he's certainly willing to explain his problems to Palpatine even if that's probably the worst possible choice of confessor ever.

    I also think it's important that Anakin grew up in slavery on Tatooine, and he very much remembers that life and insofar as he has a model of how ordinary people live he defers to that model, not anything he's experienced as a Jedi. It's entirely likely that doctor-patient confidentiality simply isn't honored in Hutt Space because Doctors are corrupt and dump patient info for a quick bribe whenever asked.

    Nema refers to Anakin as 'Master Skywalker' because to my understanding that seems to be general formal address for Jedi Knights as well as masters. Nobody calls anyone 'Knight X.'

    While sex isn't forbidden, having a prolonged intimate relationship surely counts as an attachment, at least within the context of the human mentality. So sure, Jedi can go visit brothels or have random flings with people they meet in nightclubs and the like, but any sort of long-term relationship is going to get them in trouble.

    It's mostly a general comment. Suffice it to same that by this point Nema has accomplished some things of rather substantial medical significance and there's not a medical research firm in the galaxy that wouldn't love to have her onboard (and of course, Marg Krim would probably off her something insane to have her cook spice for him).

    To be honest I didn't actually want to put Morne in this and his ultimate role will be small, but the particular aspects of his position are simply too perfect for the circumstances.
     
  19. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2010
    VI.

    Doctor Nema’s policeman friend arrived in full underworld kit. He drove his speeder with sirens blaring at a velocity sufficient to earn Anakin’s immediate respect as a pilot. The rust-red masked face revealed little as he stepped out, but grim determination seeped through the Force. The launch pad they’d commandeered outside the Senate Office Building began to fill up with red-and-white armored Coruscant Guard immediately thereafter. The clones piling out of their gunships were a welcome sight to Anakin as they assembled in combat formation.

    “He hasn’t left,” it was the first thing the officer said as he nodded toward Nema. “I’ve got friends in Customs and at the Port Authority keeping an eye out, claimed we’d gotten intel on a Separatist plot. He’s still in the building.”

    Anakin avoided saying that of course he was. Palpatine would never run, it was obvious. This man couldn’t know that though, and he respected the military-style thoroughness.

    Rep optics focused on him, and he met them easily. It wasn’t the least bit troubling. “Seems you want to be deputized,” Morne spoke quickly. “Fine with me since Nema vouches for you, but don’t you dare disrespect the oath.”

    “I won’t,” he wouldn’t, not as long as he needed it at least.

    “Good,” Morne did not waste any time. “Raise your right hand and repeat after me.”

    It was a simple oath, only a few lines long. Anakin felt the words pass over him rather than settle deep. Temporary this, a business arrangement, nothing more. He was done with the Jedi, done with the Sith, done with all of them.

    I choose my family. I choose the stars.

    Palpatine was simply the last piece in the way.

    “Master Skywalker,” Doctor Nema’s voice broke through the backdrop of military bustle. “Morne, I’ve just received a priority message on the Jedi alert line. Master Kenobi defeated Grievous, he’s dead.”

    “Then there’s no time,” soldier’s instincts, honed by three lifelong years of warfare, took over. “The Council will be coming. We have to get to the Chancellor first!”

    “Captain Tracks, have your men set for stun,” Morne’s quick decision making was exactly the sort of familiar professionalism Anakin hoped for in that moment. “Palps may be a traitor but the Red Guard are just doing their duty. We launch in one minute. Go!”

    “Doctor,” Anakin had one of the quick intuitive inspirations he’d learned to trust. “Get to Padme, tell her the news. If Grievous is dead those cowards who run the Separatists will fall over themselves racing to surrender. The Senate has to meet, today.”

    “I will,” the doctor nodded. “Be careful, and good luck.”

    She did not say anything about the Force. Anakin found that thoughtful. It did not matter anyway. The Force was always there regardless. He did not need to be a Jedi to grasp it.

    “Advance!” the clone captain called, and white and red forms charged into the hallways of the office building.

    Anakin ran ahead, the doctor’s lightsaber in hand. The policeman followed behind on his right.

    But they found no one.

    Clones advanced down corridors filled with art and luxuries valuable enough to bankrupt whole worlds and encountered nothing but an occasional maintenance droid. They burst into offices with blasters ready and subdued startled staff members and servants, but found no guards. Opposition completely failed to materialize.

    “I don’t like this,” Anakin told the police officer as they pressed up the stairwells to the Chancellor’s office level. “Something’s wrong.” The Red Guard should be there, should try to stop them. Those men were potent, some of the best commandos and martial artists to be found; he’d trained with several personally, knew their ability. Grievous’ attack depleted their numbers, and the office corridors were madness to try and defend, but they still ought to extract an impressive price from the assault force. “I sense a trap.”

    He expected opposition, objection. It was the pattern by now, superiors questioning his judgment, his instincts. To his surprise, Morne said only. “You’re the general. What’s the deployment?”

    “Right,” thoughts churned at the frantic speed of combat. “We only bring one squad into the office. The rest of the first platoon waits outside in support. The second platoon locks down all access platforms and the third holds back in case of ambush.”

    “Captain,” Morne said only one word to the clone leader.

    “On it sir,” the guardsman responded with a stream of orders.

    “Good, one thing though,” red optics interposed in Anakin’s vision. “This is an arrest, not an assault. You’ve got to give me a chance to ask for surrender.”

    “He’ll get a chance.” Anakin no longer had the slightest understanding of the Chancellor’s plans. It did not matter. He was finished with Palpatine, and it would not end with an arrest. That much he knew.

    The final door, amazingly, was not even locked.

    One of the clones simply punched the access button and then surged within, cover-entry formation, Anakin at the tip of spear.

    Familiar, easy, a pattern repeated a hundred times.

    The door closed behind them. Twelve men, armed and ready, stood in the foyer of an opulent room otherwise empty. The Chancellor sat quite alone, apparently perfectly composed, behind his desk.

    Palpatine looked up as they entered and the impression of calm, of patient serenity and wisdom, vanished. As Anakin met his former mentor’s eyes he saw the truth for the first time. A great black and red banner smoldered through every breath, a monstrous all-consuming hunger of greed, of possession, of unquenched thirst for control.

    The lightsaber snapped to life in his hand, driven by a desperate need to display defiance in the face of the horror at last revealed.

    “You disappoint me Anakin.” Palpatine shook his head slowly. His malevolent volcanic gaze passed slowly from one end of the room to the other, across the clones, across the saber-bearing warriors, but as he followed them they skipped a beat. As the cold, frozen condensation of disdain intersected the path of the lightsaber something strange happened. Yellow and black flecks, almost impossible to notice save they gave off an unnamable sparkling sensation in the Force, streaked across the brilliant green plasma of the blade. For just a moment, only long enough to cast doubt over his senses, Anakin felt an unrecognizable sensation. The presence of something utterly ancient, absolutely alien, a thing of the Force completely divorced from Jedi or Sith.

    He did not know what this presence was, but battle-ready senses sharpened by constant conflict recognized what it had done. The eyes of the Chancellor, the Sith, slipped past without seeing the police officer standing in the lightsaber’s shadow, or the camera drone floating at his shoulder.

    One piece hidden upon the board.

    Driven by instinct, he moved to preserve that asset. “Chancellor, by the authority of the Coruscant Security Forces you are under arrest on charges of illegal assumption of government office, high treason, and being a Sith Lord!” He gestured with the green blade. The strange pulsating whispers it seemed to give off with each motion disturbed him, but he pushed them aside for now. “Stand up and put your hands behind your head.”

    Palpatine continued to shake his head. “You could have had anything you wanted Anakin. You could have ruled the galaxy at my side.” His features twisted, hardened to a sneer of absolute contempt. “You were given every gift, and you have wasted them all. Now, you earn the only reward suited to such lack of vision.” With feigned casual aplomb, Palpatine turned his head a few degrees. “Captain Tracks, execute Order Sixty-Six.”

    Threat exploded across Anakin’s senses. Guided by instinct alone he jumped forward, saber up to guard.

    Muscles flashed through rapid motion, directed unseen by the Force. One, two, three, four, he knocked aside the stun blasts launched by clone attackers. Others followed, an unending cascade of attacks. Florid saber-work kept him just ahead, but pinned.

    Ten shooters in a wide arc, no cover, nowhere to dodge. His mind raced to find any possible escape, only to realize that dozens more clones waited beyond the door. The allies he’d been so sure of, men he’d trusted more than almost any Jedi, now represented certain doom. By some hideous treachery turned to tools of the Sith.

    A foolproof contingency plan by the dark lord.

    Except that somehow he had not seen the one man standing in that group who wore not white-and-red, but pale gray. A man whose tactical optics met Anakin’s gaze for a single flickering instant. “Finish it,” Morne said.

    The stun grenade dropped from his open hand to land at the feet of Captain Tracks.

    A single flash; armored bodies collapsed to gilded tiles.

    Skywalker turned. He stood alone with Palpatine.

    The Sith Lord smiled. An electrum cylinder dropped from his sleeve, ignited a ruby red lightsaber blade.

    “I suppose a master must dispose of an unworthy apprentice personally,” he stated, rage unmasked.

    Anakin brought up the strange green blade.

    The battle began.
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  20. scienfictionfan

    scienfictionfan Jedi Padawan

    Registered:
    Jan 1, 2020
    What is this and how is it powerful enough to hide someone from Palpatine? The only beings mentioned in Disney Canon as that powerful are the Ones but the Father, Daughter, and Son are dead while the Bendu is ignoring the rest of the galaxy while in Legends Abeloth might have that power but lacks the sanity to use it this way never mind the fact that she would never aid a Jedi like this so the question remains who or what is it. Also is there something unique about Nema's lightsaber since it seems Anakin senses something odd about it and its odd it is producing Yellow sparks.

    Also is the Camera Drone transmitting because if so I suspect win or lose Palpatine's plans to create an Empire are ashes since it will be very hard for even Palpatine's most dedicated supporters to spin Palpatine admitting that had Anakin aided him he could have ruled beside him, resisting arrest with a lightsaber, and of course the secret command code in the Clones that no one else knew about to attack Jedi.
     
  21. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2010
    VII.

    Anakin had no idea how Palpatine had managed to hide a lightsaber in his office, but he did not for one second dismiss the blade as a prop. When the Chancellor vaulted his desk in a Force-empowered leap he stood ready, guard high.

    Sabers clashed hard, plasma beams crackling together. The furious disdain of Dooku was a gentle breeze compared to the hurricane of contempt that empowered Palpatine’s blows. His strikes landed with the power of a Wookiee and slashed with the swiftness of a Sand Demon. Against them Anakin struggled to position the unfamiliar lightsaber. The blade felt cumbersome in his hands, weighted strangely, and gave off yellow flakes with each impact.

    Before this fearsome onslaught, Skywalker retreated. He took refuge in fleet footwork and slipped back and away along the sweeping expansive of the office’s sloping sides. Three battles fought at once. The first to deflect the hungry crimson blade from his flesh, the second to gauge the timing and technique of his unknown enemy, and the third to master control over the strangely recalcitrant weapon in his hands.

    Too much at once. Only his consummate talent and battle-tested skill kept him ahead of a deadly skewering.

    Palpatine cut low, then hopped back and thrust close. Deflected, he crossed high and low in combination, a devastating double move Anakin just barely matched. The strain jerked the saber against his grip, odd indentations on the hilt surface scraped his palm, and he barely held onto the weapon as he spun away.

    Too close, a graze blossomed along the edge of his coat as the backhand follow-through tracked his motion.

    “You can’t possibly win my son,” Palpatine mocked through a hideously distorted echo of his once friendly tones. “You’re too impetuous to be a Jedi. You’ve always known it. Now you’ve proven yourself too weak to grasp the strength of the Sith. Do you know what remains then?” His face twisted in rictus fury. “Only a fool’s death.”

    Unable to find a counter within for those words, Anakin ran, and his bladework followed. The Chancellor might be a creature of lies, but he could wield truths with horrid precision all the same. Blow after blow and he could only fall back, scramble, all the while knowing that the moment he faltered, made the slightest mistake, stepped over the least obstacle, the end would come.

    He was no Jedi. The Council, he realized bitterly, had been right to hold back the rank of Master. Had been fools to train him in the first place, blinded by their hope in some prophecy. He wasn’t Sith either. He didn’t want the galaxy, didn’t want control. He didn’t even want to be a general. It was just what he’d thought everyone else wanted, his path to prove himself.

    The crimson blade came down hard, and the green barely met it in time. The reaction a fraction too slow. No space to pull away, to retreat, he was locked in the low guard, trapped with his own weapon pressed toward his flesh.

    He pushed back with all his might to avoid having the saber in his hands carve through his bones. Breath roared in his ears at the effort.

    The strength of youth meant nothing in the Force. Fueled by reserves of anger sufficient to devour worlds Palpatine pushed back. The balance tilted in his direction, inexorable, inevitable, one centimeter at a time.

    “Truly, I confess I cannot recall what it was I ever saw in you,” the Sith Lord smiled and his muscles gathered strength for the final crush.

    Memories washed over Anakin, triggered by those words. A rush of images strained from the past through the newly revealed lens of truth. All his meetings with this man, dozens, hundreds of encounters over the years. Always with a word here or there, a suggestion, a proverb, an idea. Directing him, prodding him, grooming him.

    “You’re just like the Council,” Anakin growled between gulps of air. “Trying to make me into your tool. Always the Chosen One, that’s what you wanted, what they wanted. Never me!” Emotions flared then, unleashed the wrath of an entire history of repression, of distortion. “Only worse!” He screamed, recognizing the difference at last. “At least they told me!”

    A surge of power filled his body and Anakin kicked out low.

    Struck hard across the torso, the Chancellor flew back across the room.

    As one the combatants flipped upright and crossed bladed anew.

    Anakin discarded Jedi teachings then. Dropped away all the whispered advice of the Sith. He simply reached out into the Force to grasp what he’d always known was there and fought.

    Raw, crude, unrefined, he utilized no specialized techniques, no elegantly named lightsaber forms, none of the precision skill of dueling. No, he simply drew upon the Force with all his will and rained down blow after blow with unmatched speed and strength.

    The Chancellor reeled. He scrambled away in sudden panic, shocked from his contemptible ease by the explosion of primal potency. “You can’t stop me!” Anakin roared. “I don’t need any of you!”

    A wicked overhand blow drove Palpatine to his knees. Tiles cracked beneath his feet.

    His right hand dropped from the hilt of his lightsaber. The vitality of his dark rage left his face.

    Only an old man remained.

    “Wait Anakin,” the Chancellor wheezed. His body seemed to deflate, to sink into the floor. “Don’t kill me, please. You mustn’t. I surrender. You’re not a murderer.”

    He did not believe the ploy, not truly, not after all he had seen, but it was just enough, the offer. A single twinge of hesitation, one small doubt to hold back the killing stroke and drive away the clarity birthed from pure conflict riotous within. “You’re lying!” he shouted, saber raised high, but when he brought the green blade down it was slow, weak, hesitant.

    Palpatine’s blood red beam turned it aside, deflected with one hand only. Just a little. Just long enough.

    His right arm rose up.

    Lightning lanced out from his fingers.

    Black-purple arcs jumped through the air to detonate in Anakin’s stomach. Flung back, he dropped to the floor. His grip collapsed. The lightsaber rolled away, its brilliance sputtered out.

    Pain exploded across every nerve. It hurt worse than anything, worse than losing his arm. Agony was all, writing torment incapable of cessation. Everywhere, always; the price of failure.

    “Did you think strength alone would overcome the full power of the dark side?” Palpatine cackled from above, his voice far away and in the air at once. “Oh, Anakin,” he laughed. “Not once did you display the discipline necessary to do what you must. I confess, I thought allowing you to indulge your passions made for the perfect crucible to show you the way, but now I see that I was mistaken. Your love made you weak. Love made you fail.”

    Love. Padme.

    Deep within the burning recesses of his mind Anakin latched onto that one word. Her face emerged there, condensed into beautiful, wondrous perfection from the tattered shards of his thoughts. The one thing right in his life, the one thing he would never, ever give up. The one person he could not fail.

    “No!” he croaked the words through cracked and bleeding lips. “Loving her was the only right thing!”

    Everything stilled.

    Anakin took hold of the Force again. Not in quiet contemplation, as a Jedi. Not in wild anger, as a Sith. No, he reached into that endless well of energy out of love alone. He asked only for what he needed to save Padme. To save the children. Just that, and nothing more. That was all.

    And forever enough.

    Anakin stood.

    Lighting slashed and sundered the air. It slammed against his flesh unimpeded. His robes smoldered, his skin scorched. Ozone scarred his nostrils.

    He felt no pain. That was happening to his body, and he was more than crude material elements. He would not let the dark side hold him back through something as limited as physical damage.

    One gesture and the green blade flew to his hand, ignited and twice as bright as before.

    One strike, and he knocked the lightsaber from Palpatine’s grasp; sliced the glimmering weapon in twain.

    One kick, and the Sith Lord crashed against the backstop of his desk. Bones cracked and lightning ceased.

    Anakin advanced, the saber held calmly, extended at his side.

    “Anakin wait, please,” Palpatine sputtered. His fingers twitched wildly. Bruises sprouted across his face. The whites of his eyes burst red. Unable to stand, unable to call upon his lightning, his confidence remained undiminished.

    “You cannot kill me Anakin,” He rose to his feet slowly, and smiled through twisted teeth. “I have mastered arts and rituals the likes of which you have never even imagined. Strike my body down as you wish, but my spirit will persevere. I will return, and I will have my revenge. You can’t stop it. Turn back now, and I’ll let you go. Take one more step and Padme and everything you love will die.”

    It was not a bluff. Anakin could feel it somehow, knew it was true. He paused, held back by fear, by the monstrousness of it all.

    The lightsaber quivered in his grip.

    “Ia!” A voice old as stars and distant as nebulae condensed out of vibrations along his fingertips. Caught there in the moment, lost in the void of indecision, those words from impossibly far away were at last able to reach him. One wish only, but all he needed to know.

    “Ia! Feed him to us. Ai!”

    Destiny recognized its own.

    Anakin plunged the lightsaber into Palpatine’s chest.

    Something colorless, comprised of long, narrow, nearly invisible strands, crawled out of the glowing blade. They burrowed into the Sith Lord’s flesh, and deeper, into that which lay beneath in the Force, spread out in every direction, filamentous devourers unleashed.

    Palpatine screamed. He clawed at his ribs only to find the web-like substance invested his hands, then his face. Spread unceasing.

    When they crawled down his throat the screaming stopped.

    Anakin pulled the lightsaber out. “I am Anakin Skywalker,” he told the remnants of the Sith as they crumbled away to crumbling spider webs of dust. “Never tell me it cannot be done.”

    Breeze from the ventilation system soon blew away the remains of the former Supreme Chancellor and Sith Lord once called Palpatine, naught but scattered motes now.

    As Anakin turned away, he looked into the unblinking electronic eye of the still floating camera drone brought by Morne.

    It had captured everything. “That’s going to be messy,” he opined as he moved to help awaken the fallen clones. “Glad I’m not in charge of cleanup.”




    VIII.

    It was not an end. It was a renewal.

    The Special Session of the Senate called to address their Chancellor’s true allegiance discovered that this was merely the first domino to fall. Others detonated as Mas Amedda, captured by Red Guards as he attempted to flee the planet, and Sly Moore, captured by a disillusioned subordinate as she attempted the same, began to name names. The former spilled all he knew out of a desperate desire to save himself, the latter acted out of pure spite. Maul, captured by Ahsoka Tano on Mandalore, soon added his own corroboration and verse to the litany. When he surrendered the remainder of the CIS forces in a bid to avoid execution for war crimes Nute Gunray did the same.

    Strengthened by war, the Republic was almost destroyed by victory. Bail Organa, elected Supreme Chancellor by virtue of being one of the only Senators believed completely devoid of corruption, found himself presiding over a purge of more than three-quarters of the august body’s membership, with countless lesser politicians and civil officials likewise facing dismissal or imprisonment as the investigation ballooned to unprecedented size. Planets and sectors across the galaxy, including swiftly readmitted Separatist supporters, responded by voting in new representatives from completely outside the thousand year old political traditions of the Senate.

    Younger, drawn not from the old political houses and powerful corporations but from the military officer corps and non-governmental charities, and baptized by the robust government of the Clone Wars, the Republic this new leadership believed in was not that of its predecessors. Strong, united, committed to oversight, directed by a muscular central policy, and support by the twin armies they’d inherited, they took action. Strength was projected outward. Former separatist holdings and recalcitrant neutral regimes were brought beneath the umbrella of the Republic. Beneath the cry of ‘Rebuild! Restore!’ the beacon of organization and representation rushed outward toward the Rim and beyond.

    The Jedi found themselves without a place in this new, revitalized system. With millions of loyal clones and billions of droid laborers to support their endeavors the new wave of leaders found they no longer needed the much depleted ranks of the Jedi Order to conduct their agenda. Further, many of the surviving old guard found the Jedi made a useful scapegoat for the failures of the Palpatine administration. After all, the so-called guardians of the Republic had completely failed to keep a Sith from stealing control of the highest office.

    That the Jedi had driven Anakin and Ahsoka, two of their greatest heroes, from their ranks did nothing to improve their public image. When they tried to reprimand Rig Nema as well, she broke from the Order publicly and took most of the Service Corps with her, further reducing their ability to assist the government. In the end, after Ven Morne, elected by the people of Coruscant to serve as their Senator, proposed a bill removing the Order’s headquarters from the planet the Council offered nothing beyond a quiet protest and decamped to Ossus without additional resistance. A long period of seclusion and recovery would follow.

    Anakin and Padme celebrated the birth of the twins Leia and Luke on Coruscant, but returned to Naboo as soon as possible thereafter. Skywalker took with him only Rig Nema’s lightsaber. “I think you will find the path to where it belongs,” she told him when they said their goodbyes.

    They both resumed work soon enough. Padme left the Senate, but was appointed by Organa as Director of the War Relief department and later headed the Galactic Development Initiative. Anakin joined the Republic Scout Service and repeatedly pushed back the edge of the galaxy, freeing slaves and overthrowing petty tyrants all the while.

    It would be more than fifty years before he finally completed the tale of the lightsaber that slew the last Sith. It ended over a distant planet in the Unknown Regions known only as Mugg Fallow. The day he dropped the lightsaber out the side of his shuttle over the blighted oceans was the first time he recalled the gods of Mortis.

    This time he heard them laughing.

    Notes
    For those wondering what exactly is going on with Nema's lightsaber here at the end, I strongly encourage reading 'Dr. Nema and the Genesis out of Time.' ...when it gets posted in January, 2021 after 'A Drop in the Bucket' concludes. For those compelled to know regardless, please PM me for a summary explanation.
     
  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb conclusion, very satisfying indeed on all counts. =D= The role of the Jedi and the public opinioin surrounding them and more specifically Anakin and Padme and their family. :)
     
  23. scienfictionfan

    scienfictionfan Jedi Padawan

    Registered:
    Jan 1, 2020
    Honestly I loved the entire work but the end. The idea of the Republic just expelling the Jedi after all they sacrificed for the Republic in the entire Clone Wars and after they have loyally served the Republic for centuries at least in Disney Canon and millennium in Legends is an odd choice. It also runs into the fact that I would think the Republic military would face serious problems with all Palpatine's agents naming names of Palpatine's conspirators and accomplices. Honestly I am shocked that the Red Guard arrested Ammeda since from what we know of them they were specially chosen for loyalty to Palpatine even before the fall of the Republic and would expect them to be attempting to flee as well since they are likely implicated in crimes themselves.

    We know that Tarkin at least was a loyal agent of Palpatine and he wasn't the only one in the military in Legends or Canon. That doesn't even get into the fact as seen when Palpatine activates Order 66 among the clones attacking Anakin that the entire Clone Army was composed of sleeper agents positioned to bring down the Republic. In that situation I would think that the military would face serious questions of its loyalty and reliability right alongside the Senate.

    At the same time Anakin chose to leave the Jedi before the arrest attempt he wasn't expelled so I would hardly see that as a cause for backlash against the Jedi. In this situation I would think that the Jedi would be the only group not tainted by scandal unlike the Senate and military and a source of stability even with the decline of their reputation thanks to Palpatine and so no one would want to expel them. While yes they missed Palpatine so did the entire Senate, the military, Republic Intelligence etc. the truth is no element of the Republic is blameless. Despite this complaint I still will look for your next work since you remain one of the best writers on this board.

    Also if that lightsaber absorbs Force energies I suspect Mnggal-Mnggal is about to have an unhappy tine and it couldn't happen to a more deserving horror.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2020
  24. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Thank you. I'm mostly happy with how this turned out.

    A broad-brush epilogue of this nature necessarily rests heavily on certain foundational assumptions, from which events are then projected, so I'm not going to respond to this point by point but just put a few pieces of perspective in play.

    First, and perhaps most important, it's very much essential that whatever happens in this scenario where Anakin kills Palpatine (the fact that the entity inside Nema's lightsaber eat his soul is mostly a poetic flourish and a very blatant dig at The Rise of Skywalker it's not actually essential to the plot in any way) that the status quo not be restored. The pre-Clone Wars status quo is a bad ending. The Republic was a failed, collapsed husk of a government even prior to Episode I that was absolutely unable to serve the needs of its people and was letting widespread suffering spread like cancer across the galaxy (most literally expressed by the dramatic expansion of Hutt Space). Some kind of drastic reform must happen in order for the actions of Anakin and others to actually mean something.

    Second, Palpatine's death does little to erase the impact of his massive propaganda and information campaign that ran for at least his entire tenure as Supreme Chancellor and likely well before. That campaign denigrated the political establishment and the Jedi and exulted the military and the revelation of Palpatine as a Sith Lord and his sudden death do little to change that. Popular sentiment was very much against the Jedi, and the Jedi were unlikely to fight it. Additionally, I personally consider banishing the Jedi from the bosom of government a necessary step for their cleansing and renewal, as implied by Master Yoda's journey in TCW Season 6. Just as the post-Ruusan Republic slowly rotten, its corruption spread through the Jedi Order as well.

    Third, Palpatine always built institutions to collapse in his absence. His subordinates and conspirators might be loyal to him, but they have no loyalty to each other, which means his schemes unravel and come to light quickly following his death and many of his agents will act as best they can to save themselves from the storm. This includes those sufficiently low-ranked that they can plausibly claim they were 'just following orders' turning on those above them in order to win reprieves.