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Saga Children of Circumstance (AOTC A/P story ) A story about Anakin, his love and his path

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by geo3, Nov 14, 2002.

  1. geo3

    geo3 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2002
    CHILDREN OF CIRCUMSTANCE

    To be elated at success
    And disappointed at failure
    Is to be the child of circumstances.

    How can such a one be called
    The master of himself?

    - - - Ancient Chinese Philosopher


    Author?s note: This story takes place entirely within AOTC, beginning after the Battle of Geonosis and ending with Anakin Skywalker?s marriage to Padmé Amidala. It fills in the gaps left by the film, and came about because I had a lot of unanswered questions. It follows on from two prior stories:

    [link=http://fanfic.theforce.net/fanfic.asp?action=view&ID=651&#HourSouls]The Hour of Souls[/link]

    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=9821603&replies=0]Step Into My Parlor[/link]

    The sequel to this story is in progress now. It is called [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=10432520&start=10432559]The Winds of Change[/link].



    The usual disclaimers apply. Everything Star Wars belongs to George Lucas and Co. I?m just a storyteller.


    Chapter 1. Departures


    There is an old expression that describes joy as ?the soul taking wings?.

    When the soul flies, so do the feet.

    Anakin Skywalker leaped off the lift at the far end of the serpentine corridor in the Senate office building and sprinted toward his next assignment, which he believed involved another cozy, private journey to a jewel-like planet near the Outer Rim with the woman who was the center of his universe.

    The last thing he expected when he arrived at the Naboo Delegation?s suite of offices was a crowd of people. The babble of voices flowed all the way down the curving hallway to the bank of lifts. It sounded as though he were hurrying toward the waiting room of the Sector Three Transport Station.

    He slowed down in time to avoid getting slammed by one of the heavy double anteroom doors when it was abruptly flung open inches in front of his nose.

    ?Oof, sorry.? A burly figure in the dress uniform of Naboo?s security forces shot out of the noisy anteroom and belted down the corridor in the other direction. Anakin cautiously peered inside.

    The room was a riot of color and noise. In one corner he recognized Captain Typho, also in uniform, in a huddle with three more security guards. A vividly dressed group of humans had gathered in the center of the room, talking animatedly and periodically glancing toward the closed door of the inner office. Six more people lounged on the grand couches in the alcove, surrounded by assorted luggage. Everyone seemed to be talking non-stop.

    As soon as Anakin stepped into the room all of the conversations died down.

    The Jedi effect. Without conscious shielding the very presence of a Jedi created movement in the Force that even non-Force sensitive people could perceive on some level. It usually caused them to stop talking or to slow down or stop momentarily, so the Jedi were in the habit of shielding themselves whenever they were out in public. Thinking he was going to meet Padmé alone Anakin hadn?t even thought to shield himself ? even after he heard the voices. What was he thinking? It was a mistake. He couldn?t afford to make mistakes now that he was truly on his own.

    The conversations quickly returned to their normal levels.

    Captain Typho?s attention snapped to the door as soon as Anakin?s presence announced itself so dramatically. When he saw the Jedi, he waved him over.

    ?Skywalker.? Typho generally deferred to Jedi Knights, but as far as he was concerned, this one was still a learner and therefore under his own command if his Jedi Master was not there. He treated him accordingly. ?Wait over there until I finish this briefing.?

    Anakin nodded and withdrew to a polite distance. He took up a position with his back to the wall where he could survey the room and waited, picking up snatches of conversation from around the large space.

    It seemed that Padmé was not the only one returning to Naboo on this trip. The people with the luggage appeared to be administrative staff on their way home. Typho was outlinin
     
  2. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Whoooooooooooooo! Yes!!

    Poor Ani! Nobody ever cuts him a break!

    [face_love]
     
  3. geo3

    geo3 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Chapter 2.1. Impasse



    Obi-Wan Kenobi fell out of an uncharacteristically deep sleep as though he had been thrown off a cliff.

    Something was terribly wrong.

    Anakin. Something had happened to Anakin.

    He jumped up and strove to regain his focus, reaching out in his mind for his constant companion of ten years. His Padawan.

    Anakin was gone.

    Think.

    Anakin had been sent on assignment to Naboo with Senator Amidala. Again. That was in order. That was where he was supposed to be.

    But no. Anakin was truly gone. The link between them ? the telepathic link between Master and Padawan ? was no longer there. Obi-Wan closed his eyes as he probed the place that Anakin had filled. It was a painful gouge in his awareness.

    He has left me. He cut our bond and he has left me.

    Obi-Wan fumbled for his console and checked, not very optimistically, to see whether he could find Anakin?s transponder signal.

    Of course not.

    Maybe something has happened to him. Maybe he is hurt, or dead.

    He wouldn?t just cut me off like that. He would not give up everything he has worked for. That we have worked for. He wouldn?t abandon the Order.

    Obi-Wan calmed himself and stretched out with his feelings with a somewhat un-Knightly sense of urgency. His awareness surged through the quarters they shared in the Jedi temple, finding traces of Anakin everywhere like the shifting and thinning pictures in clouds. He searched more deeply. He found wisps of sadness and regret. There were clumps of determination and tendrils of guile. And love. And loneliness. And very clearly, he found intent.

    Anakin was gone, and he had deliberately separated himself from his Master.

    Stunned, Obi-Wan searched within himself to understand why.


     
  4. geo3

    geo3 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Chapter 2.2. Impasse


    The Queen?s Yacht was unlike any other ship in Naboo?s otherwise modest fleet. Designed for protocol, diplomacy and entertaining it was larger and more luxurious than the other starships and provided many of the amenities of palace life. Although travel at light speed made short work of most journeys, the Yacht provided the opportunity for longer, slower journeys, for off-planet diplomatic encounters and for high-level meetings while in transit. It contained luxurious staterooms and servant?s quarters, a galley and dining salon, two conference rooms, and even an elegant salon where guests could meet and mingle. The centerpiece of the salon was a large viewing port ? a great luxury, but one that befitted the overall style and purpose of the vessel.

    The entire complement of passengers had been quickly and efficiently settled in their quarters. The Senator and her handmaidens occupied the Queen?s suite of staterooms on the starboard side of the salon. The D?laian delegation had similar accommodation to port. Security personnel, staff and crew were housed in a separate section of cabins aft of the dining salon and conference rooms. The larger of the two conference rooms was immediately in use as the two delegations faced off on another round of negotiations before the ship had even lifted off.

    As a luxury liner with minimal armament and no fighters of its own the yacht was generally accompanied by an escort wing to discourage piracy and assure the safety of its important passengers. On this journey it had been agreed that the ship would travel unaccompanied from Courascant to the outskirts of the D?laian system. There a complement of D?laian fighters would rendezvous with the Nubian ship and provide a largely ceremonial escort to Naboo, where the finalized treaty would be announced.

    That didn?t leave much time to finalize the treaty. That was a problem because the Nubians and the D?laians were at complete disagreement on several points, not the least of which was the D?aian?s insistence that the agreement be sealed in the method common to their own culture ? through a marriage between members of the ruling elite. Since Naboo?s aristocratic culture was shot through with the annoying economic and social egalitarianism of democracy ? an elected Queen with a limited term; had one ever heard of such a thing? - the D?laians had decided that Senator Amidala would fit their requirements for a suitable partner of equivalent social and economic value. At least she had formerly held the title of Queen, and even had some small reputation as a warrior.

    It was nothing personal. D?laian law contained very interesting provisions for ownership of and disposal of assets between partners joined in this way. No wonder the entire planet of D?lai was in the hands of a relatively small ruling class.

    The D?laian?s were openly offended at the Nubians' unwillingness to concede on this point. They had gone out of their way to select a prime partner for the Nubian woman. Wolan was a member in good standing of one of the finest houses, and had an outstanding reputation as a warrior ? surely the most important criterion of all. He was young enough to be appealing, if the Nabooans were silly enough to care about that sort of thing when it came to forming alliances. Surely there could be no objections. All that remained was for the planetary government to allocate to the Senator a suitable dowry, and the treaty could be completed.

    The Nubian Foreign Minister thought that in his entire thirty ? year career in the foreign service, including a long stint as Senator, he had never encountered people as arrogant and unyielding the D?laians. As chief negotiator on this mission he had the onerous task of leading this distasteful treaty negotiation. He found the assignment deeply unpleasant, not least because the Senator herself had insisted on being part of every minute of every meeting. It was difficult enough to deal with the matter-of-factness with which the D?laians bought and so
     
  5. jedi scholar

    jedi scholar Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Oct 31, 1999
  6. starwoid

    starwoid Jedi Youngling star 2

    Registered:
    May 26, 2002
    I like this - keep it up!


    starwoid
     
  7. geo3

    geo3 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Chapter 2.3. Impasse

    Anakin stood alone before the large viewing port in the Salon like a dark statue silhouetted against the vastness of deep space. He was so still and his outline against the starry illumination was so faint that an idle passenger wandering into the salon might not even notice him at first. The salon was empty except for a small group of Nubians who sat together at the other end of the spacious room, chatting and having drinks. They had long since forgotten the young Jedi?s presence, if they had ever even noticed it to begin with. He had been standing there for a long time.

    Anakin had spent the first few hours on board thoroughly familiarizing himself with the ship and the people aboard. He had given considerable attention to learning about the D?laians. What he had learned so far did not give him comfort.

    Now he had nothing to do but wait.

    Idleness was his darkest enemy. He could cope with anything but a lack of purpose. Meditation was an acceptable and useful kind of stillness as far as he was concerned but this business of having nothing to do and nowhere to go was a rarefied form of torture. It meant that his mind was not fully occupied with a task, and that allowed room for the thoughts that he most wanted to avoid. The thoughts that lurked inside him like demons.

    He hated how much he missed Obi-Wan.

    He hated feeling guilty for having severed his telepathic bond with his Master this morning when he left and not even having said goodbye properly.

    He hated the deepening realization that their bond had been so much more than a way for his Master to check on his whereabouts.

    He hated feeling lost and lonely. It was like being orphaned again, only this time it was his own doing. All because his passion for Padmé had become the bright center of his universe, blinding him to all the other parts of his life.

    He also found that he hated having - well, no proper status. As a Jedi Knight he would have arrived here with a clear mission and a full background briefing. He would have been present at all meetings. His advice would have been asked for and respected and he would have been given the authority to make decisions.

    Instead all that Anakin had going for him was a grudging agreement that he could tag along if he stayed out of the way.

    Padmé was unavailable. Meetings between the D?laian and Nabooan delegations had continued as soon as the Star Cruiser lifted off. He had not seen her once since coming on board, and there was no way to know whether he would even get the opportunity.

    Typho had been right. Anakin hated that, too.

    Misery began to stalk him like a shadow.

    You are now master of yourself, he reminded himself. You can decide your own actions from now on. You are free.

    The bittersweet demon thoughts suggested that freedom might always be lonely.

    He looked inside himself with the intention of strangling the demon voices and found instead his own bright, shining center.

    Not loneliness. Padmé. He felt her presence. He turned around and she was there.

    Misery lost its foothold and the voices stilled.
     
  8. starwoid

    starwoid Jedi Youngling star 2

    Registered:
    May 26, 2002
    Very nice - keep it coming!


    starwoid
     
  9. starwoid

    starwoid Jedi Youngling star 2

    Registered:
    May 26, 2002
    UP! More people should be reading this



    ;)
     
  10. geo3

    geo3 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Chapter 2.4 Impasse


    After the abrupt departure of the Nubian woman Wolan made the decision to follow her rather than trying to gain a strategic advantage with the old man during her absence. He had a sneaking feeling that she was up to something. He had already made up his mind not to allow her to confer with her security team or the other passengers. He wanted to know where she was going and why. He signaled to the three young warriors who were his constant companions, bowed to the people who still remained seated around the large conference table and followed her at a discrete distance. Action was better than that stupid talking any day.

    She didn?t get far. He followed her into the Salon, lengthening his stride so he entered the room only a few paces behind her. He saw her walk unhesitatingly across the room toward the viewing port.

    And then he saw the Jedi.

    Battle-rage rose in him like heat. She had no business inviting the Jedi here. It was none of their concern what kind of treaty was made with Naboo. The D?laians never allowed those sneaking sorcerers to get involved in their affairs.

    ?Senator Amidala!? Wolan?s voice cut across the quiet room like a blaster bolt.

    The woman stopped momentarily as though she had been struck, then continued to walk forward without turning until she stood at the Jedi?s side. Only then did she turn her gaze toward him.

    ?Senator, I must insist that you return to the negotiating table.? Wolan did not look at her as he spoke. His eyes were locked on the hated Jedi. ?Unless, of course, you wish to concede on all points.?

    ?I will return when I have finished speaking with Jedi Skywalker,? she said coldly. ?You may wait for me in the conference room.?

    No woman had the right to speak to him that way, thought the D?laian warrior.

    ?Our negotiations are not a matter for the Chancellor and his lapdogs,? he snarled. ?Our business must remain between us.?

    The Jedi had not moved.

    ?I will not ask you again, D?ai Wolan,? said the insufferable woman, ?You must do me the courtesy of returning to your delegation until I have completed my business here. You are a guest on my ship.?

    When she put it that way, Wolan had to back down. For now. But he would not forget this insult. Grudgingly he turned on his heel and left the salon without so much as a bow, and with his minions tagging along behind.

    If the D?laian warrior had known more about the silent Jedi at the Senator?s side he would perhaps not have spoken with such confidence. He did not know how little stood between him and his immediate demise.

    For Anakin had listened to the entire exchange with an ice-cold heart.

    The other passengers in the Salon were now staring at Anakin and Padmé with undisguised fascination. They could no longer speak privately. But Anakin could sense everything that was in her heart and on her mind, and she in turn gained strength from his mere presence. At this moment his fierce protectiveness felt like the only safe place in the world.

    Padmé turned her back on the spectators and gazed unseeingly out the viewing port. Anakin turned with her.

    ?I have to go back in,? she whispered, ?but I need to see you. I will send Sabé when I can.?

    ?Let me help you,? he said quietly. ?You know that I will do anything you ask. Anything.?

    ?The D?laians seem to believe I am plotting against them with you.?

    ?Then,? Anakin said, with grim satisfaction, ?let them continue to think so.?

    Padmé remained standing next to him as long as she dared. Somehow it gave her strength. Then she whispered, ?I have to go back.?

    ?You don?t have to give in to them,? Anakin said with a hard edge in his voice. ?There is always another way.?

    ?I wish that were true.?

    Anakin could think of a number of ways to make it true, but kept them to himself.

    ?I will not leave you, ? he promised.

    Padmé did not know how he could be of help, but she felt comforted. Without a backward glance, she left him and returned to her duty with a quieter heart.

    Ana
     
  11. starwoid

    starwoid Jedi Youngling star 2

    Registered:
    May 26, 2002
    Hmm. This is getting to be quite interesting.

    I hope there isn't (very much) trouble ahead for our heroes! ;)


    Great post, geo3.


    starwoid
     
  12. geo3

    geo3 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Chapter 3. Changes

    At the end of that grueling day Padmé collapsed into the relative safety of her stateroom on the Queen?s Yacht. One more minute, one more meeting, one more miserable conversation and she would have exploded.

    ?Make sure that door is double-locked,? she demanded. ?Better yet, put a time lock on it. I don?t want to come out again until this is all over.? Sabé shook her head and made sure the door was secure.

    Padmé collapsed onto the nearest chair and buried her face in her hands.

    ?Miss Padmé, are you all right?? Balé?s worried face peered at her from behind a pile of luggage.

    ?Sabé hurried over and took the child gently by the shoulders. ?Miss Padmé is very tired. Let?s let her rest a bit.?

    ?No,? Padmé said, ?It?s all right. Come here, sweetheart.? She held her arms out for the little girl, who happily ran into them and scrambled into her lap, dislodging a few exquisite pleats and tucks in the process.

    Padmé couldn?t have cared less about the dress. She wrapped her arms around the child and buried her face in her silky hair. It felt indescribably good to hold her warm little body. To feel gentle fingers stroking her cheek and then playing with the heavy necklace that had been bothering Padmé all day. She drank in the child?s innocent love like a plant that had spent a season without water.

    Impulsively she reached up and unfastened the annoying jewelry and fastened it around Bale?s neck. ?There,? she said. ?Now you?re the Senator and I?m the Handmaiden.?

    The little girl squealed with delight and slid off Padmé?s lap to go find a mirror.

    Sabé looked at Padmé with that searching look that rarely missed anything.

    Padmé looked back. ?I wish,? she said.

    Balé admired herself in the necklace very much. Padmé continued to sag in her chair. Finally Sabé decided to take steps.

    She retrieved the necklace.

    She sent the little girl to find Dormé and Versé.

    Then she pulled up an exquisitely enameled packing case and sat down on it facing her mistress and friend.

    ?It?s getting out of hand, isn?t it,? she said matter-of-factly.

    Padmé felt stinging tears of rage well up. ?I have never been outmaneuvered as badly as this. Not even when I was Queen.?

    Sabé gathered Padmé?s hands into her own, trying to pass along some kind of reassurance.

    ?Surely something can be done.?

    A couple of tears dropped. ?Those arrogant, power-hungry, ignoble, strutting, self-important, arrogant??

    ?You said that.?

    Padmé ignored her. ??narrow-minded, unyielding, spiritually void, culturally retarded, mercenary dandies have succeeded in boxing us into this unbelievable treaty before we could find a way out, and now they?re besieging us.?

    ?Well,? Sabé said reasonably. ?They are a warrior culture. That is why we wanted to ally with them ? they can provide protection for us in our Sector that we can?t get any other way.?

    ?Warriors? Try imperialists.? Padmé pulled her hands away from Sabé?s and started to yank pins and fasteners out of her hair. ?Imperialist barbarians.? Pins and combs dropped onto the floor like rain. Sabé watched her mistress with mild astonishment.

    ?They know we need them.? The ever-practical Sabé had found the hairbrush and offered it before last pin came out.

    Padmé kept talking while she savagely brushed her hair. ?We can?t protect our planet or our ability to trade if this sector becomes embroiled in the War.?

    ?No one can,? Sabé reminded her. That?s the terror of war.?

    ?True.? The Senator was warming up to her speech while at the same time impatiently tearing off jewelry and dropping it on the floor with the hairpins. It made a fascinating spectacle. ?But neither we nor the D?laians are planning to secede from the Republic. Neither are most of the other worlds in our sector.? She waved the hairbrush. ?If the worlds in our sector can just stay together and remain loyal to the Republic, we might not see the worst of it.?

    Her hair done, Padmé started viciously unbuttoning her long narrow sleeves, sna
     
  13. starwoid

    starwoid Jedi Youngling star 2

    Registered:
    May 26, 2002
    Very nice insight into Padme - it was a nice touch to have Bale talk with Anakin and for Padme to dress her up like the Senator. :)
     
  14. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Waiting waiting waitng!!
     
  15. geo3

    geo3 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Thanks for the feedback and for checking in!

    New chapter up shortly.
     
  16. geo3

    geo3 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Chapter 4.1 Warnings


    Tensions throughout the ship were high, made higher by the fact that all of the parties strove to maintain the appearance of trust and goodwill. Meetings continued with a veneer of civility. Nubians and D?laians greeted one another politely in corridors and in the Salon.

    Yet everyone was watching everyone else.

    The D?laians believed they had all the areas of concern covered. No one from the Nubian delegation could move without it being noted. They could not speak to one another without a D?laian joining in the conversation. The D?laians made their presence felt everywhere on the ship.

    They had only one problem.

    The Jedi.

    That one was the one unknown factor in the plan ? Jedi presence on this journey had not been announced, and indicated that the Nubians might not be quite as vulnerable as the D?laians had surmised. Jedi presence meant Senate attention, and that would not do at all. But the D?laian?s objection to the Jedi went much deeper than that. To them the Jedi were magicians and sorcerers, the darkest and most evil of all enemies.

    The D?laians outlawed sorcery and magic of any kind. Their culture was deeply materialistic, believing only in the knowledge they could gain through their observation and their senses. They trained their bodies and their minds to the limits of their physical prowess, but anything they could not manipulate themselves, see with their own eyes, or prove with their scientific laws was not tolerated. They feared what they could not control.

    People accused of using magic were put to death on D?lai.

    They knew of the Jedi, of course ? who in the Galaxy did not? But they avoided any contact with them. No Jedi had set foot on D?lai for hundreds of years.

    And now there was one on this ship, presumably using his evil powers on the Nubians. Wolan was certain that the Nubian Senator was under his influence; otherwise how could she continue to hold out against the inevitable?

    Wolan made a particular effort to make certain that he always knew where the Jedi was. But it was a problem. Sometimes he seemed to simply disappear. And then he was suddenly there again. Quiet. In the background. But there. If Wolan were prone to admitting such things, he would have acknowledged that it made him nervous.

    Somehow the Jedi had to be gotten rid of. His influence had to be ended.

    * * * * *

    As soon as the young Knight appeared before him Yoda knew why he was there.

    ?You are concerned about your Padawan,? he observed gently.

    ?He is gone,? Obi-Wan said simply.

    On assignment, your Padawan is, taking Senator Amidala back to Naboo. Has he done so?

    ?Yes, Master Yoda. As far as I know he is carrying out that mission.? He looked up and the ancient Master saw that his eyes reflected the pain in the deepest part of his being. ?You know I had reservations about allowing him to take that assignment.?

    ?Aware of your objections the Council was.?

    Obi-Wan took a deep calming breath. ?Anakin has severed his link with me.?

    Yoda nodded gravely. ?Painful this is. My heart is saddened for your loss.?

    ?You don?t seem surprised, Master.?

    ?With a future as clouded as your Padawan?s, unwise it is to have expectations.?

    Obi-Wan was shocked. ?Are you saying that I should just let him go? Without even trying to do something about it? His voice rose a bit. ?Is that the view of the Council??

    Yoda sent out a wave of love and peace to help support the young Knight, and said, ?A Jedi does not do his duty because he is told to. Infused with the desire to serve, a Jedi?s entire being is. He performs his duty out of the deepest, sincerest acceptance of his higher purpose.?

    ?He is still young, Master Yoda. He still has much to learn. He can become a great Jedi, he just isn?t ready for this kind of responsibility yet.?

    ?Not ready?? Yoda repeated. ?How will he know his own readiness if forever you hold him close??

    Realization dawned. ?This is a test!? Obi-Wan exclaimed. ?The Council is testing him!
     
  17. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Oh BEAUTIFUL!!

    I LOVE the fact the Obi-wan at last has an incling of what it must be like for Anakin... sad to say it's another example of "too little too late".

    But the D?laian?s objection to the Jedi went much deeper than that. To them the Jedi were magicians and sorcerers, the darkest and most evil of all enemies.

    People seem to forget that dispite the cultural diversity of the Jedi, not all races/systems will even YRY to understand... Rich and well plotted, I am looking forward to more exploration!!

     
  18. starwoid

    starwoid Jedi Youngling star 2

    Registered:
    May 26, 2002
    Nice post. Interesting insight into Obi-Wan: it definitely is painful for him to be without Anakin, yet he knows at the same time that it's time for him to go (I think - I may be completely wrong on this)

    I like how this story is going. Keep it up! ;)


    starwoid
     
  19. geo3

    geo3 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Chapter 4.2 Warnings


    Sabé was good, but she wasn?t that good.

    She hadn?t gone far down the corridor that led from the Salon when a hand was clapped over her mouth and she found herself inside an adjoining room within the space of two heartbeats. It happened so fast she couldn?t even struggle. Then she was released again just as quickly, and turned around to find herself looking straight up into two very blue eyes.

    ?You could have asked,? she said. ?I?m really very friendly, even when it comes to sorcerer scum.?

    Anakin was not in the mood for jokes. ?Sorry,? he said shortly, securing the door of the small conference room. ?I ?m not taking any chances.?

    The glowlamps came on, illuminating a pretty room with a highly polished table. The walls were covered in tapestries depicting scenes from Theed. Sabé leaned against the table and regarded her captor with amusement.

    ?You?re just the person I was hoping to find. I have a message for you.?

    ?Where is she?? His voice was very, very soft.

    Gods, Sabé thought. They both have it bad.

    ?You?ll have to be patient a little longer. They are watching every move she makes.?

    ?I know.? Anakin scowled, remembering the D?laian?s pursuit of Padmé into the Salon. ?The D?laians are not to be trusted. They are afraid and they?re hiding something.? His intensity filled up the small room. ?She is not safe.?

    ?Well, ?Sabé said, ?They are certainly afraid of you.?

    ?It seems to me,? he said, carefully, ?that their? discomfort? with my presence here might offer an way to encourage them to reveal their true motives.?

    Sabé gave him a hard look.

    ?What exactly do you have in mind??

    ?It?s time I made my presence felt. They spend all their time watching me, anyway.?

    Sabé had been thinking along the same lines herself. She was tempted, but cautious. ?The Senator won?t approve of any actions that might damage the credibility of the negotiations.?

    ?We are on the same side,? Anakin reminded her.

    Sabé looked at him thoughtfully. It seemed to her that he might be their last, best resource at this point, but she was concerned about his diplomatic skills. It was one thing to be a brilliant fighter and bodyguard, and quite another to manipulate a situation with subtlety and discretion.

    ?I ask you again, Anakin,? Sabé persisted. ?What do you intend to do??

    ?A little provocation. Some goading. It shouldn?t take much to make them overplay their hand.?

    ?Whatever takes place has to stay within the boundaries of Naboo?s political and diplomatic needs. Nothing personal, do you hear me? Our ideal outcome is to find a way out of this mess with the least amount of damage done.?

    Anakin felt himself bumping up against the outside boundaries of his patience. Why did he have to prove himself over and over again?

    ?I am offering you my help,? he said shortly. ?As a courtesy.?

    There was a long silence while Sabé made up her mind.

    Something clearly needed to be done. And it sounded as though Anakin would take matters into his own hands with or without her approval. Better to work with him, she thought.

    ?All right,? she said, ?I suggest you meet me for dinner in the Dining Salon to raise your profile. All the best people will be there.? She paused. ?Except for our favorite Senator, who flatly refuses to lay eyes on the D?laians unless she absolutely has to.?

    ?A wise choice,? said Anakin, unlocking the conference room door.

    ?I have to see Captain Typho,? Sabé said quickly, but I will join you as soon as I can.?

    ?Invite him to join us,? Anakin said with some irony. He was certain that Typho would disapprove.

    Sabé laughed, and disappeared down the corridor.

    Anakin looked pointedly at the D?laian soldier who suddenly happened to be lurking at the end of the corridor and then walked in the other direction.


     
  20. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Whoooo hooo a posty!!
    Ya gotta watch Geo here... sneaks 'em in without warning!!

    "They Both have it bad!" tee-hee!!
     
  21. starwoid

    starwoid Jedi Youngling star 2

    Registered:
    May 26, 2002
    Great post, geo3.


    When will we get some A/A? :D


    oh, and UP! ;)


    starwoid
     
  22. geo3

    geo3 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2002
    If you're getting impatient, imagine how they feel!

    Soon.
     
  23. Jade_Max

    Jade_Max Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 28, 2002
    Wow, this story is amazing! Talk about well plotten! I'm impressed geo3, you've got your characters well planned and written, the twisted plot line and "vilians" are very unique.

    I love How "scheming" Anakin is *laughs*

    Great job, really impressive, I can't wait to see more!
     
  24. Darth_Lex

    Darth_Lex Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 17, 2002
    Very impressive, geo3, very impressive indeed.

    I enjoy the D'laians -- to me, like a cross between the Gungans and the real-world Prussians, or something like that.

    I like where you're headed with this. Keep up the good work. Although, I have to say, I think the "real" Anakin (at this point in AOTC) probably would have just drawn the 'saber and chopped up the entire D'laian delegation for even thinking about taking Padme from him. :mad: Then again, your version makes for a longer (and better) story. :D
     
  25. geo3

    geo3 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Chapter 4.3 Warnings

    The elegant dining salon was noisy and busy. Anakin kept his mental shielding in place as he entered the room and memorized its layout and occupants as he made his way leisurely to the heavily laden sideboard. The D?laian?s chief negotiator was there with two others from the delegation but Wolan and his inevitable entourage had not yet arrived.

    Anakin suddenly realized that he was hungry ? he couldn?t remember when he had last eaten. He might as well take advantage of the opportunity. He helped himself sparingly to the simplest of the many elaborate dishes that were displayed, and then found a table in the corner furthest from the room?s entrance. He seated himself so that he could survey the entire space, and began his meal.

    It was not long before the gang of warriors announced their arrival with loud voices from the hallway. They swaggered into the dining salon and took quick note of all its occupants, just as Anakin had done. They spotted him right away but he did not appear to be looking in their direction.

    Of course they occupied a table at the very center of the room, where other diners had to walk around them to get to their seats. They did not sit with the other D?laians. They seemed to occupy a place in the world unto themselves. Wolan sat so that he could watch the far corner.

    Anakin ate slowly, but had still finished his modest meal before Sabé arrived. He was surprised that she had the one-eyed Captain of Security with her. Typho must be very uneasy if he agreed to be part of Sabé?s scheme. Particularly if it relied on Anakin.

    Unless of course he was here to put a stop to it.

    Anakin smiled to himself as he watched Sabé wend her way through the room toward his table. She must have brushed against at least three of the D?laians at the center of the room, ensuring their full attention. She was an extremely lovely woman. Typho followed her stolidly with a scowl on his face.

    Anakin stood courteously as Sabé seated herself at the table. He could feel Wolan?s eyes on him.

    Typho nodded gruffly to him.

    ?I don?t like this,? Typho growled without preamble. Although they were visible to all, the noisy room gave the three a useful opportunity to speak without being overheard. ?But I need a diversion. Their fighters are supposed to join us at midday tomorrow. I think that?s when they?ll make their move.?

    So he had the Captain?s trust after all. Anakin was oddly pleased.

    ?Kidnapping?? Sabé asked quietly.

    ?Probably. I have to plan for it in any case.? Typho looked at the young Jedi, wondering just what his capabilities were. ?What exactly do you have in mind??

    ?I don?t know yet,? Anakin said easily. ?We?ll let them think they are making all the moves. They have to be allowed to reveal themselves.?

    Typho was an orderly man whose career had been based on thoroughness and careful planning. He didn?t like the sound of this at all. How could you guarantee the outcome of a situation if you didn?t control all the variables? Anakin felt his resistance but ignored it. The good Captain could not know that his awareness had been extended throughout the ship, and it seemed to him that an opportunity to make a move was just coming down the corridor toward the dining salon.

    He waited.

    Balé came into the room with a somewhat disconcerted Vespé in tow. The little girl searched the room carefully, and when she saw Anakin she came straight toward him as though he had been her destination all along. In her child?s mind he was her friend already because they had met twice before and he had played with her. None of the other grownups on this ship had time to play tumble sticks.

    Anakin smiled at her. She came close and leaned against his leg.

    ?Hello, Jedi,? she said, happily.

    ?Hello again, Balé,? he said. ?I thought you said you had to go to bed??

    Vespé looked miserable. ?I tried,? she said, ?but she wouldn?t settle down. I said we could come here for a snack if she goes to bed straight after.? She looked meanin