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  1. In Memory of LAJ_FETT: Please share your remembrances and condolences HERE

Saga Death of a Jedi (Barriss Offee, Post-TCW S5)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Kablob, Sep 11, 2014.

  1. Kablob

    Kablob Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Note: This story takes place in early 19 BBY, shortly before Revenge of the Sith.


    Death of a Jedi

    "Truth may bring enlightenment, but it won't always bring happiness to your heart."



    "This is Barriss Offee on cargo ship TB-73, entering Ord Cestus space. Can anyone hear me?" Static was the only reply from the comm unit. Barriss could see the medical station rapidly growing larger through the frost-covered viewport. It was so cold she could barely operate the controls, her skin sticking slightly to the frozen metal. "I'm shutting down the engines, I'll try to reroute the-" Barriss sensed danger and dove out of the pilot chair as a searing green light arced through the space her head had been, slicing through the control panel instead.

    As alarms began blaring in the bridge, Barriss spun around and ignited her lightsaber just in time to block her assailant's next attack. Ahsoka Tano stood before her, blank eyed and covered in frost, a savage scowl on her face. The accusation in her eyes somehow chilled Barriss even more. Ahsoka swung the lightsaber lazily, and Barriss easily parried her possessed friend's attacks. The creature controlling her had none of the young Jedi's skill, wielding the lightsaber like a cleaver. After a few more easy parries, Barriss kicked the hilt out of Ahsoka's hand. With an unnatural shriek, Ahsoka lurched forward and grabbed Barriss by the throat. The grip was like durasteel; her vision blurred as she gasped for breath. Panicking, Barriss stabbed her blade through her friend's abdomen, the bright blue beam protruding from Ahsoka's back.

    The anger on Ahsoka's face vanished in an instant, replaced by a look of intense pain and betrayal, a look Barriss had seen on her face in another time and place. There was no parasite inside her, Barriss was horrified to realize. It was all a horrific misunderstanding, a cruel joke of the Force. She fell back onto the deck, throwing her lightsaber away as if it had become red-hot. Ahsoka's wound began smoking as though she was burning apart from the inside. Her friend was dying, and it was all her fault.

    "I'm so sorry Ahsoka, I had no choice!" Barriss pleaded. Somehow, with a blade of superheated plasma impaling her Ahsoka found the strength to say the words that had been burned into Barriss' mind long ago.

    "Barriss? Is that true?"

    -----------

    Barriss awoke suddenly in a cold sweat, breathing rapidly. Not finding the strength to move, she lay for a few minutes staring at the ceiling of her cell. I'm sorry, Ahsoka. Eventually she forced herself to sit up and slide off the edge of the sleeping bench onto her feet. She walked over to one of the rooms few features, the water basin. Splashing water onto her face, she tried to push the accusatory image of Ahsoka out of her mind. She hadn't had a good night's sleep in the four months she had been imprisoned.

    Every night someone who she had hurt visited her. Ahsoka appeared in her dreams the most, though this was the first time her mind had brought up the brain worm incident. Other times it was her friend Tutso Mara with his face half blown off, Jackar Bowmani exploding from the inside out, or Letta Turmond trying to pry off the invisible hands that had strangled her to death. Once she had seen Trap, the worm-infected clone she had killed in a panic so long ago. But Barriss knew that the nightmares would never trouble her again. The thought was oddly comforting.

    As Barriss shut off the water and pushed the wet locks of hair out of her eyes, she wondered if this was how people usually felt on the day of their execution. She had thought there would be some amount of anxiety, but Barriss Offee felt strangely at peace in a way she hadn't since the war began. Had it really only been three years ago? It felt like an eternity of hellish battlefields across the galaxy. Geonosis, Felucia, Drongar, Umbara, thousands of lives being wasted. Barriss had tried so hard to save them. Most hadn't made it, but the worst were the ones she had healed only for them to be killed pointlessly days later.
    It was more horrible than anything Barriss could have imagined, and after all of that death a few more sacrifices to end the madness had eventually seemed like nothing. Jackar, Tutso, Letta, and all the rest had died for a good cause. She desperately hoped they had. It wasn't enough, a gnawing fear whispered in her mind. You didn't do enough to stop it. Barriss pushed the thought out of her head. This was no time for doubt, not now. Doubt had taken her far enough.

    The cell door slid open and the ray shield deactivated. It was time. She turned to see the helmeted figure of Commander Fox enter the cell followed by four shock troopers. She could feel his icy glare, even through it was hidden by his helmet.

    "Prisoner Barriss Offee, the time has come for your execution by firing squad." The clone officer seethed with barely-contained loathing for Barriss, which she thought was ironic. Neither he nor the other clones could see she was trying to end the injustice being done to them. It would be amusing, if it weren't so sad. As Barriss put her hands forward to be handcuffed, another figure appeared in the doorway. Barriss' heart skipped a beat at the sight. It felt like years since they had last spoken. Her throat suddenly dry, she swallowed and failed to contain her surprise.

    "I...never thought to see you again, Master."

    Luminara Unduli's eyes narrowed as she regarded her former apprentice. Barriss became acutely aware of how disheveled her stay in prison had made her. Her hair had grown down to her shoulders, and instead of hiding it as she always had before she let it fall wildly around her face. A hood was not part of the standard orange Republic prison uniform. Luminara hadn't changed a single bit from the day she choose Barriss to be her apprentice, except for one detail. There was a second lightsaber hanging from her belt whose hilt Barriss instantly recognized. Her lightsaber, the one Anakin Skywalker had wielded against her.

    "I'm here to make sure your sentence is carried out," Luminara said as she fell into step beside Barriss' escort. Her voice didn't betray an ounce of...well, anything. Luminara's emotions seemed fully repressed, as usual.

    "Oh? Are you going to do it yourself? It would save the Republic a few blaster bolts." Barriss asked, trying to mask her uneasiness with sarcasm. For the first time in her life she felt free to speak her mind to Luminara. If only it hadn't taken such drastic measures to break that barrier of formality.

    "No. Do not mock me, Barriss." Luminara looked away from her former apprentice.

    Barriss pressed on. "Is that anger I hear in your voice, Master? That's not the Jedi way." She was finding the prospect of imminent death had a liberating effect.

    "I did not come here to debate the Jedi Code with one who has forgotten it as completely as you have." Luminara said. Her voice had taken on a hardness that made Barriss wonder just how controlled her feelings really were.

    "Forgotten it? You're the one who has forgotten it Luminara!" Barriss had never used her master's name before, and it had the desired effect now as she could feel her former Master's unease slightly increase. "You and all the rest of the Jedi! "There is no emotion, there is peace," you lecture me, but what kind of peace is this?! It's a lie Luminara! It's war! It's war, and it's wrong! All I want to do is open your eyes to that!" Please understand, you have to understand, Barriss thought frantically. If Luminara at least could see why she had done such terrible things, then the Jedi might not be lost yet.

    Luminara listened to her tirade without reacting, but Barriss could feel the roil of emotions just beneath the surface. The overall feeling was...

    Disappointment.

    Finally, she spoke. "You have done horrible things Barriss. You've allowed the dark side to twist your desire for peace and turn you into a murderer. And you must be dealt with as one." They had reached the entrance to the execution chamber, a stark grey door in a stark grey hallway. Everything was a shade of grey in this place.

    Barriss felt despair, not at her imminent death, but at her Master's harshness. "It didn't work," she said softly to herself, "you haven't learned anything from it, and so they all died for-"

    Barriss' words were cut off by a the loud booming sound of a distant explosion. A moment later the hallway shook violently. Barriss struggled to keep her balance, a task made difficult by her stuncuffs.

    "What was that?" Commander Fox asked in alarm. A second boom rocked the base.

    "We're under attack!" Luminara realized, her eyes widening slightly. Fox's head tilted to one side, a sign Barriss recognized meant he was listening to someone on his helmet comm.

    After a moment, he turned to Luminara. "General, the main Separatist fleet just dropped out of hyperspace on the edge of Coruscant's grav well. We need to get to the command center immediately!"

    Barriss laughed bitterly, if she didn't laugh she knew she would have cried. "It looks like Palpatine's war has finally come home. Go on and fight it for him Luminara. War is all you're good for anymore!" There would be so many senseless deaths soon. Another boom rocked the corridor.

    Luminara didn't acknowledge her, but Barriss could see a hint of anguish in her Master's normally stoic expression. "Very well Commander Fox, the rest of you..." Luminara took a deep breath and closed her eyes, "...proceed with the execution." She turned to walk away. Barriss felt a pang of sorrow, aware this was the last time she would ever see Luminara. But it was too late for regret.

    "May the Force be with you, Luminara Unduli."

    As Luminara stopped and looked at the fallen Jedi, Barriss thought she looked like she wanted to say something more. But instead Luminara turned about and followed Fox away. Goodbye Master, she thought. I'm so sorry it had to end this way.

    Boom boom!

    The doors opened in front of Barriss, and the clones pushed her forward. Boom! Ahead of her at the end of a long walkway was a platform floating in one of the chasms the designer of this place liked so much. Standing at attention there were four helmeted clones carrying long rifles. My executioners, Barriss thought.

    Boom boom!

    Time for the end.

    Boom boom!

    She wondered if the clones had drawn lots to see who got to shoot her.

    Boom boom!

    They must hate her terribly. They would never understand, it just wasn't in them.

    Boom boom!

    This walkway felt a few parsecs long.

    Boom boom!

    Were those distant explosions she was hearing, or her own heartbeats?

    Boom boom!

    Soon she would be one with the Force.

    Boom boom!

    Maybe there would be peace there.

    Boom boom!

    She wondered if Ahsoka forgave her, wherever she was.

    Boom boom!

    Had they been too embarrassed to let her back in the Order, or was she back in the fighting right now?

    Boom boom!

    Did Ahsoka hate her too? She had every right too.

    Boom boom!

    Maybe she alone among the Jedi had seen Barriss' message. That at least was a comforting thought.

    Boom boom!

    It would stop mattering to her soon.

    Boom boom!

    She was at the end of the line.

    Boom boom!

    Barriss took her final step.

    The clone sergeant walked up to her. "Would the prisoner request to be blindfolded?" Barriss remained silent.

    "I'll take that as a no." The clone walked away.

    "Ready!"

    I wish it didn't have to be this way, Barriss thought.

    "Aim!"

    There is no death… She closed her eyes.

    "Fire!"

    ...there is the Force.

    Four blaster shots rang out.

    Boom boom boom boom!





    What?

    Boom boom!

    She didn't feel anything.

    Boom boom!

    Was this what death felt like?

    Barriss heard a clattering sound and knew she was still alive. Bewildered, she opened her eyes to see the firing squad aiming their blasters at her still. Had they somehow missed? No, she realized. They didn't aim for me. She turned her head and saw the bodies of the four clones behind her lying on the floor, the acrid stench of cauterized flesh hanging in the air.

    "Who are you?" Barriss asked. The four alleged clones lowered their rifles and removed their helmets. Three of them she instantly recognized as Separatist Commando droids. Their white photoreceptors stared at her impassively, the least judgmental look she'd gotten in months. The fourth was different, very different. He was a blue-skinned Duros whose red eyes bored through her, analyzing her the way a butcher looked at a carcass. Remembering the stories Ahsoka had told her, Barriss knew there was only one being this could be.

    "Cad Bane?!" Barriss would have been scarcely more surprised by the appearance of Darth Bane.
    The bounty hunter nodded his hairless head as though he was tipping an invisible hat. "My reputation precedes me."

    "What are you doing here?" Why are you helping me? She knew enough of his reputation to be wary. He was one of the most dangerous men the the galaxy, and Barriss was in a very vulnerable position. Though the idea that he had come this far to assassinate her during her execution was ludicrous to say the least. Bane dropped his rifle to the ground and unholstered a pair of pistols. A single crimson blaster bolt later her handcuffs were broken apart.

    "I'm here to rescue you, of course." His gravelly voice was not reassuring.

    Barriss glared at the bounty hunter. "Who said I wanted to be rescued?"

    Bane laughed at her. The sound of it raised the hair on her neck. "What, you want to be a martyr, Jedi?" He aimed one of the blasters directly at Barriss' forehead, "I could oblige. But there's some people out there who want to meet you, so much so that they're paying me a fortune to rescue you. They think you have a lot in common, and they'd rather you inspire them with your, ahem," he made a gesture with his free hand, "heroic actions against the Republic, in person rather than from beyond the grave."

    Barriss was disgusted. "Nothing I've done has been heroic, Bane. And if the Separatists think I want to work with them they've got-"

    A short bark of laughter cut her off. "Who said anything about the Separatists? This job's not for them, this is another group that hates the Jedi and the war and whatever else it was you're so..." He seemed to have difficulty thinking of a word. "Passionately against. They don't think you did enough to make a difference and they want to change that. But hurry up and decide Jedi, I've got other jobs to do today and we're on a tight schedule." As if to emphasize his point another explosion rocked the base.

    Barriss prepared to tell Bane to pull the trigger and get it over with, but something in his words stopped her. She had accepted the necessity of her death months ago, before she had even put the plan into motion, but now Bane had stated aloud the fear that had nagged at the back of her mind ever since she had felt the Temple shake from her sabotage. Everything she had done, every terrible act, had been done with a greater purpose that would make it all worthwhile in the end. But it hadn't worked, the Jedi hadn't understood, Luminara was proof enough of that. They were still on the dark path. You can still succeed Barriss, she could almost hear another voice whispering inside her mind. There is so much more you have to do to restore the Jedi. You have to make them understand! It was true, Barriss knew then. She had gone to far to go back now. She owed it to everyone she had hurt to make that all of their pain worth something in the end.

    If I stop now I am lost.

    To return the Jedi to the light she would have to go further into the dark.

    Force forgive me.

    She took a deep breath and gave Cad Bane his answer.

    -----------

    Luminara Unduli was a veteran Jedi Master, an expert at suppressing her emotions. But this situation was stretching her abilities to the breaking point. Some part of her was grateful for the excuse to leave Barriss' execution, she was had to admit to herself. She had been meditating in a lull in the fighting on Chalacta when she got an emergency transmission from Master Yoda telling her the news. At first Luminara had assumed Barriss had been killed, and she felt grief, but she was prepared for death. She wasn't prepared for the news that her student had fallen to the dark side, bombed the Jedi Temple, and framed Ahsoka Tano for the crime. Death would have been easier to process than that.

    Luminara had considered Ahsoka's guilt a likely possibility at the time. Luminara had interacted with the young Togruta Padawan on many occasions, and though the idea of her falling saddened her it made a certain degree of sense. Ahsoka had always seemed full of anger, quick to resort to violence to solve problems. Betrayal seemed out of character for her, but then she had thought the same of Dooku before he revealed the extent of his fall on Geonosis. Dooku, Sora Bulq, Quinlan Vos - though he had actually been a double agent - Luminara had considered all of them to be good people before the dark side had twisted their minds. If Jedi Masters could fall, why not Ahsoka?

    Why not Barriss?

    Why Barriss?

    She had ordered the clones to not disturb her and watched the video of Barriss confessing to the Senate. It had taken all of her willpower to not break down in tears, but the security recordings of her fight with Skywalker had been even worse. Barriss hadn't held back at all. She had looked unrestrained next to Anakin Skywalker, one of the least restrained Jedi that she knew. She couldn't fathom what had sent Barriss down that dark path. Barriss had been a model Padawan, a model Jedi, and more than that she had been a model person, one of the kindest she had ever known. Though she rarely indicated it, Luminara had considered Barriss to be her greatest student. She had several long conversations with Yoda, whose former Padawan Dooku had fallen similarly. But even his experienced advice hadn't helped her to restore her own balance. Luminara had decided she had to talk to Barriss in person to find out what happened to her. But between the war and her own trepidation, she hadn't gotten the chance until today, and now Luminara almost wished she hadn't. Barriss was as defiant and unapologetic as she had been before the Senate, utterly convinced that what she had done was for the best. She had expected that somewhat, but what took her aback was how the anger and snide remarks had felt almost...pitying. It was as if Barriss was sad for her, upset that Luminara hadn't understood why she had fallen. All she could take away from it was that she didn't trust herself to ever train another apprentice again. Where did I go wrong?

    As they reached the command center Luminara pushed those thoughts away. There would be time to mourn Barriss later. She emerged into a large room with banks of computers on multiple tiers, each with a clone technician working busily. One wall was dominated by a huge window that overlooked the exterior of the complex.

    "Sir, you're receiving a message from General Windu," one of the clone technicians said.

    Luminara nodded, "Patch it through." A moment later the image of the veteran Jedi Master appeared, activated lightsaber in hand, clearly talking on the move.

    "Master Windu, what's the situation?" From what Luminara could see out of the window across the room, it was bad. Windu ran her through it quickly, sounding slightly out of breath.

    "Master Unduli, the planet is under a full scale assault and the Home Fleet is getting ripped apart. Kenobi and Skywalker are on the way with reinforcements, Shaak Ti and I are getting the Chancellor to safety, we've got Grie-" Windu's image dissolved in static for a moment, then returned. "-ku's presence. We think they'll try to free the Separatist Council members at your loca-" the holo-image disappeared completely this time, fizzling out into nothingness. Luminara felt uneasy, but not due to the comm troubles. There was a quiet dread in the pit of her stomach but she couldn't place what was causing it.

    She turned to the technician, "Try to get him back." As the clone worked at the controls Luminara walked over to the window to see the battle for herself. Military equipment of all types were scrambling all over the complex, the clones with them looking like white armored insects from this distance. She could see smoke rising across the city while Vulture droids flew through the urban canyons, taking potshots at airspeeders that were scattering for cover. The sky was filled with the flashes of turbolasers in the upper reaches of the atmosphere. The tiny dots of orbiting craft filled the sky; this was a fleet battle on a scale that boggled the mind. In the distance a huge piece of a Munificent frigate was crashing into one of the skyscrapers. Barriss had been right about one thing: this war was madness.

    If only it hadn't driven her mad along with it.

    "No good, General, it looks like we're being jammed," the tech said, before doing a double take at his screen and standing up in alarm. "We just lost the security cams! The enemy must have infiltrated us already!"

    Fox cursed in a language she didn't recognize."How did they get past our defenses so quickly? Nevermind that, sound the alarms!" He pointed at the few troopers in the room who were carrying blasters. "You three, get to the transmitter and try to boost the signal! We have to get reinforcements if we're going to live through this."

    "Yes sir!" they said in unison, running for the door. At that moment Luminara realized what her bad feeling had been about.

    She could still feel Barriss' force presence in the base, when she should have died nearly fifteen minutes ago. Had the clones delayed her execution for some reason? No, it dawned on her. Her old apprentice felt too close by, much closer than the execution chamber. Oh no. Horror rising inside her, she turned to shout a warning to the clones reaching the door. Oh please no.

    The next few moments seemed to pass in slow motion.

    The door slid open. "What the-?!" One of the clones exclaimed, raising his blaster.

    Luminara felt a weight disappear from her belt. No.

    Barriss' lightsaber shot across the room towards them. No!

    She heard a familiar snap-hiss sound. "NO!"

    A blinding azure blur swept them aside. The three clones fell dead to the ground, steam rising from the gashes across their torsos. Luminara stared at the blue energy beam numbly, her eyes travelling up it's length, past the tattooed green hand gripping it, stopping when she they reached its wielder's face which had gone deathly pale. The two Mirialans looked into each other's eyes for a moment. Barriss' were wide and full of pain and guilt, but there was a fire in them that Luminara had never seen in her old apprentice.

    It chilled her to the bone.

    -----------

    The moment was interrupted when Commander Fox drew his blasters and vaulted over a console towards Barriss. "You traitorous-!"

    Before she realised what she was doing, Barriss reached out her hand towards him and made a gripping motion. Fox stopped mid sentence and began gasping for air, dropping his weapons to grab at the invisible hands around his throat, exactly the way Letta had.

    "Let him go, Barriss!" Luminara demanded, drawing the hilt from her belt. Barriss could feel tears welling in her eyes. All she wanted was to help the clones, not kill them! The emerald blade shot out of Luminara's hilt with a snap-hiss.

    "Let. Him. Go!" her former Master demanded again.

    Maybe I can just knock him out, keep him from interfering - but before she could consider it Cad Bane walked in the room behind her and casually shot Fox through the forehead. With a cry of frustration Barriss let his corpse fall to the ground.

    "I'm sorry Fox, you deserved better than this." Yet another who had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. The commando droids entered, shooting at the unarmed clone technicians; their screams of pain were quickly silenced. Cad Bane opened fire at Luminara, and as the Jedi Master expertly deflected his shots Barriss jumped between them.

    "No! Stop," she yelled. Bane held his fire, backing off to watch the two Jedi. "Master, I don't want to hurt you! Please, just stand aside and let us go!" Please, don't make me do this, I don't want to hurt you I don't want to hurt you! Luminara raised her lightsaber to a defensive stance.

    "You know I cannot do that, Barriss. This is your last chance, put down your lightsaber and surrender!" she demanded, desperation creeping into her voice.

    Barriss wanted to scream. "And why would I do that? So you can kill me on the spot? I've done terrible things, Master, but they had to be done for any hope of peace! And the fact that you're standing there ready to execute me proves that nothing I've done has made a difference!"

    Why can't she just see the truth?!

    Luminara's stoicism completely collapsed. "Listen to yourself! What you've done is to murder dozens of innocent people and destroy your best friend's life! If you truly believe that was for the best, then may the Force help you Barriss Offee, now you are truly lost!"

    Barriss raised her blade and steadied herself. If that was the way it had to be, then so be it. "I see there's no hope for you." If I stop now I am lost.

    Luminara did the same, her voice cracking. "As do I."

    "So it begins." Cad Bane remarked.

    They met each other in the center of the room in a whirlwind of blue and green light. Years and years of training together had made the duo fight as a single unit, and now each of them knew what move the other would make almost before they made it. Barriss found every attack she made was useless, but so did Luminara. They were in an impasse, made worse because neither of them truly wanted to kill the other. Barriss grabbed the nearest droid, hurling it at Luminara in an attempt to stall her. But she only slashed it to pieces, hurling them back with the Force. Barriss managed to dodge most of them, but one hit her square in the stomach, nearly knocking the wind out of her and forcing her backward. Luminara pressed the advantage, putting Barriss on the defensive. Desperately she locked her blade against Luminara's with all her strength. Behind her she could sense Bane working furiously at the control panel.

    Barriss yelled at him over her shoulder. "What are you doing?!"

    "My job," was the only answer he gave. Barriss stopped thinking about him for now; distractions would be her undoing. I just need to find some way to slow her down, she thought. Stall her so I can get away. Luminara's face was a mask of determination. Each of the two women were pushing against the other with all of the power they commanded, Barriss' blade was pressed so close to her she could almost feel it's heat on her skin. Finally Luminara won, pushing Barriss' blade up and slashing at her. Barriss ducked to the side just in time to avoid being killed, the blade skimming across her face instead.

    A sharp agony sliced across the side of her head and she screamed, clutching the wound with her left hand. Luminara could have finished her there, but instead she hesitated, seeming as suprised as Barriss was at what she had done. Barriss couldn't believe it; Luminara had gone for the kill, just like Anakin had back in the Jedi Temple. How could she?! Her Master had fallen as much as she had, and so had all of the Jedi.

    She shouldn't be suprised.

    She shouldn't be.

    In her pain, both physical and mental, Barriss' reservations about fighting Luminara disappeared. Her pain was transformed into an anger, an anger that drowned out her other feelings. The urge to use it was overwhelming. It washed over her like a raging torrent and was channeled into a burst of the Force that threw Luminara across the room and through the window.

    Barriss ran over to the shattered window. Below, the base was on fire, being bombed by vulture droids, the defense turrets curiously inoperative. Dead clones and scrapped droids covered the courtyard like a gruesome blanket. But Barriss didn't see any of that. Her focus was on the form of Luminara struggling to her feet, exposed to attack. Do it, something whispered to her once more. Finish her. Barriss couldn't think straight, the empowering rage directed her, taking over her mind. All she could think of was her pain.

    She jumped down, aiming for her Master's heart.

    Luminara rolled out of the way, Barriss' lightsaber stabbing down through where she had been, melting into the roof. She pulled it out just in time to block Luminara's next attack. For the next few minutes Barriss hammered away at her former master, slowly forcing her backwards. Luminara couldn't predict her moves anymore, Barriss was swinging her lightsaber erratically, the former grace and fluidity of her strikes giving way to rage-fueled slashing. It was undisciplined, but effective. Luminara was pushed back to the edge of the roof, jumping off onto a passing Vulture droid. Barriss followed her, continuing the fight. The droid, alarmed at the two dueling passengers it had picked up, tried to shake them off. Barriss fell, landing on the orange rock of the Geonosis battle memorial. She got to her feet just as Luminara jumped down in front of her.

    Barriss attacked again, but Luminara backed up steadily along the monument until she had no room left, a very long drop at her back. Luminara dug her heels into the rough surface, standing her ground, resisting all of Barriss' attempts to dislodge her. As she was forced into blade lock again, Barriss noticed a LAAT/i gunship flying towards them from the other side of the base.

    "I have failed you Barriss," Luminara lamented.

    "No, I've failed you! If I hadn't you would be joining me now! You and all the Jedi!" The gunship came to a stop behind Luminara and it's doors opened. The sight inside it was so startling it cut through the haze of Barriss' mind. Cad Bane stood in the troop bay, smirking at her, raising his blaster. The image registered in her mind just before a blaster shot rang out and Luminara cried out in pain. As Luminara's legs gave out her lightsaber fell from her hand, bouncing once and disappearing off the ledge. Bane aimed again at Luminara, and Barriss' compassion for her Master came back stronger than before, overpowering the darkness in her mind.

    Oh Force, what am I doing?

    "What the hell do you think you're doing, Bane!" She stepped over Luminara protectively. Bane looked exasperated.

    "Here I thought I was doing you a favor, saving your hide again. Now are you getting on this thing or not?"
    Barriss looked down at Luminara, who was gazing back up at her weakly, barely conscious. I tried to kill her. Barriss was horrified at herself, overcome with guilt. What is wrong with me? She was right, I have fallen, I should just let her end it now. But again, that would mean admitting that all the terrible things she had done had been for nothing. She couldn't do that. She owed it to the people she had hurt. If I stop now I am lost. She had to see who these people that wanted to meet her were.

    It was her only hope.

    Barriss shut off her lightsaber and whispered, "Goodbye."

    Barriss stepped onto the transport, avoiding looking at her Master's wounded form. It was too painful. If I look back I am lost.

    "Good choice, Jedi." Bane chuckled to himself. Barriss glared at him and opened her mouth to respond when she heard someone else speak behind her in a bizarre alien language. Geonosian, she realized after a moment. Barriss whirled around, and sure enough standing at the back of the transport were Poggle the Lesser and Wat Tambor. Her mind began to race. They must have been the other job he had mentioned. A job for the Seperatists.

    Had he been lying when he told her someone had hired him to break her out? Was she just the distraction for Luminara?

    Or did the Seperatists want her too?

    She whirled back around and grabbed Bane by the collar of his armor. "You told me you weren't working for the Separatists!" She yelled in his face.

    "No I didn't. I said I had other jobs today. And your use is done, Jedi."

    Barriss tried to respond, but suddenly she didn't have the strength to. Confused, she found herself falling onto the deck of the gunship. What had happened? Oh. The problem was suddenly clear to her.


    He shot me.

    And then Barriss felt herself falling, falling into the deep black void of unconsciousness.

    -----------

    Gradually Luminara became aware of her surroundings again. She could feel that she was lying in a bed of some kind, and the searing pain of her blaster wound had faded to a dull throb. She opened her eyes to see that she was in a military hospital room. A medical droid stood next to her, and a familiar Jedi Master was standing with his back to her, gazing out of the window.

    "Master Kenobi?" She asked weakly.

    Obi-Wan Kenobi turned and smiled at her. "Glad to see you awake Master Unduli. You had us worried there for a while."

    Luminara sat up, ignoring the agony that shot up her back at the sudden movement. "What happened? Is the battle over?"

    Obi-Wan nodded, a slight grin on his face. "Yes, and we won. Anakin and I rescued the Chancellor from Grievous' command ship, but he managed to escape with about half his forces. But there is good news. Anakin and I engaged Count Dooku in lightsaber combat. I was out of sorts when it happened, but Anakin took him down."

    It took a moment for the news to register. Count Dooku was dead? She could hardly believe it. With the Sith Apprentice dead, the end of the war was finally in sight. He had held the squabbling factions of the Confederacy together, now Grievous was the only thing keeping them from falling apart. Luminara leaned back and sighed.

    "Maybe Barriss will have her peace then after all," she muttered to herself.

    Obi-Wan looked extremely uncomfortable at the mention of the former Jedi Knight.

    "Master Unduli," he started softly. "We know Barriss helped free the Separatist leaders, do you know what happened to her?"

    A wave of sadness washed over her and in her weakened state she couldn't keep Kenobi from seeing it.

    "I do. Bane killed her as soon as he ran out of use for her." Luminara raised her head and looked Obi-Wan in the eyes. "You don't know what it was like, Kenobi, seeing her like that. I practically raised her for nearly a decade, and she tried to kill me. We've always taught about the corruption of the Dark Side, but I never expected that. When she gave in...it was like she was dead already, and some horrible thing was wearing her face. I prepared myself years ago for the possibility of losing an apprentice, but this was so much worse. I didn't think that was possible."

    Obi-Wan looked away. "I'm so sorry, Luminara."

    Luminara looked out of the window. In the distance she could still make out smoke hanging over the city. It had been a hard won victory indeed.

    "What's the point of all this? Why are we even...?" She asked no one in particular, but Obi-Wan was the one to respond.

    "You know why, Luminara."

    She looked up at the ceiling, lost in thought. "I thought I did. Now I don't know. I thought we were fighting this war because Dooku was a Sith, but what's the point when it keeps making us as corrupt as him? Master Bulq, Master Krell, even Master Vos for a time. And now Barriss." To Luminara's shock, she felt tears welling up in her eyes. Had her emotional control been that compromised?

    "Barriss was one of the greatest Jedi I ever knew. She was the best of us, Obi-Wan. If she can fall, are any of us safe?"


    Obi-Wan sighed. "I don't know, Luminara. We have to trust in the Force it will all be over soon."

    It sounded like something Luminara would would have told Barriss so long ago.

    So why did it ring so hollow in her ears?

    She looked up at the ceiling, suddenly recalling a conversation she'd had with Barriss just before she left for Chalacta, just before all of this had happened.

    Master, why are the Jedi even fighting this war?

    Luminara had told her not to question the Council's wisdom, whatever they decided was the best course of action. How could she have been so blind to the conflict in her old apprentice?

    "Barriss tried to talk to me about the war, before all this started," she began thinking aloud. "I should have listened to what she was saying, talked to her, and maybe none of this would have happened."

    Obi-Wan hid it behind a stoic mask, but she could see the stricken expression in his eyes. "You can't blame yourself Luminara. Whatever choices Barriss made were her own." But something in his tone made her thing that even Obi-Wan thought the words were empty.

    Luminara continued. "The worst part was, even after everything she did, there was still part of the woman I knew buried somewhere inside her. I feel it, I know she could have been redeemed, but now she never will."

    Obi-Wan had no response for that.

    There is no death, there is the Force, she thought to herself. For once the code didn't seem helpful. Oh, Barriss. If there's some part of you in the Force now that can understand me, know that I forgive you.

    -----------

    If I stop now I am lost...

    Master, no, please be alright...

    I'm sorry, I never wanted to hurt you Luminara...

    I never wanted to hurt you Ahsoka...

    I never wanted to hurt any of you...

    Barriss was beginning to think she may still be alive as she slowly emerged from the abyss her mind floated in. If I stop now I am lost. Feeling returned to her body, a painful ache in her chest. Barriss felt sore all over, lightheaded, like she hadn't eaten in days. She tried to move, but no matter how hard she struggled her body refused to budge. Confused, she slowly opened her eyes.

    She was suspended in a containment field in the center of a large, dimly lit room. At the other end she could make out a hooded figure standing with his back to her, studying a holo-recording that Barriss recognized as herself confessing to the senate.

    "Who are you?" she asked. The lack of moisture in her mouth made the words sound strained.

    The figure spoke in a deep, raspy voice that raised the hair on Barriss' neck, "An army fighting for the Dark Side," he quoted her. Everything about him felt wrong, somehow, like a deep, humanoid-shaped wound in the Force. "You have no idea how right you were, my young Jedi friend."

    Barriss felt her heart racing, she wanted nothing more than to get as far away from this sinister man as possible. He was utterly terrifying. "What do you want with me?" she struggled to keep the fear out of her voice, but she felt that her captor sensed it anyway. He began slowly circling her, staying in the shadows.

    "You impressed me, Barriss Offee. I never would have thought a Jedi as meek and dogmatic as you would have seen through their lies so clearly. And the lengths you went to to show the Jedi their own lies were most impressive. A pity they won't see." He said the last with amused sarcasm. "I couldn't let someone with as much potential as you be wasted, so I hired that bounty hunter to bring you to me."

    "Then why did he shoot me?" She could still feel the wound aching, feeling like someone had driven a spike through her gut. Barriss was surprised she was still alive, to be honest; Bane's blaster must have been on low power.

    The figure laughed condescendingly.

    "I couldn't have the Jedi come looking for you. They think the bounty hunter used you as a pawn to free the Separatist leaders and killed you when he had no more use for you..." he came to a stop in front of her, and she could see sickly yellow eyes shining from under the shadows of his hood.

    "...along with Master Unduli."

    Barriss' mind froze, taking a moment to comprehend his words. "No. No that can't be true. She was alive! SHE WAS ALIVE!" she screamed at him.

    The figure was unfazed, amused even. "It seems that your actions led to her death. But I thought that was what you wanted? You tried so hard to kill her, after all." He smiled malevolently.

    Barriss felt hot, furious tears running down her face, irritating the fresh scar that ran along her cheek. It's a lie it's a lie it's a lie. Oh Luminara I'm so sorry. Why couldn't you have...why did I... She knew then that there was only one being her captor could be. "You're the Sith Lord, aren't you!" Her mind raced to remember the name of the unknown Dark Lord. "Sidious." She spat the Sith honorific at him.

    "Why, yes, I am," he cackled at her, "And everything that has occurred has done so because I have allowed it to. You thought everyone was deceived by your little plot, but I saw through you from the beginning. You were nothing more than an extension of my will and you didn't even know it." He cackled briefly before continuing. "I must thank you, Master Jedi. Now the peoples of the galaxy distrust your kind more than ever before. They will not miss them, and in the Jedi's place will arise a new order, my order."

    Barriss tried to respond to Sidious but she couldn't find the words to. She had only an inexpressible anger that coursed through every fiber of her being. Sidious noticed.

    "You want that, don't you? To end the corruption? To end the war?" He taunted her with the rhetoric she had once used.

    Barriss found her words at last, and threw the little strength she had left into them. "You're wrong! You'll fail! The galaxy will never let the Dark Side rule over it!"

    Laughing at her words, the Sith stepped forward into the light.

    "Don't be so certain of that."

    He lowered the cowl of his robe.

    Barriss felt like her mind had shattered into a thousand pieces.

    The image in front of her made no sense. She blinked, but his face remained the same. "You...you're..."
    The man finished her stupefied words in an entirely different voice, one Barriss had heard hundreds of times.

    "Indeed. And what do you think of that?" Supreme Chancellor Palpatine smirked at her.

    There were no words in any of the millions of languages in the galaxy to express what Barriss felt then. She was right about everything, more correct than she could ever have imagined.

    And in the end, it meant nothing. All she had done was make things worse, she was just a cog in Palpatine's game. Her pawn Jackar, the bombing victims, her old friend Mara, her co-conspirator Letta, her friendship with Ahsoka, her master Luminara, and Barriss herself had all been sacrificed for absolutely nothing. She had been so sure all that death and betrayal would pay off in the end, but the war it had been meant to stop was only a plot by the man in front of her to destroy the Jedi.

    She had failed.

    I am lost.

    "Do you want to kill me?" Palpatine asked after letting her stew in despair for what could have been minutes or hours. She said nothing, but inside she wanted nothing more. It was the only thing left for her to do, the only way she could possibly redeem herself. Palpatine saw right through her silence.

    "I know you do. I know you've tasted the Dark Side, I know you've felt it's power coursing through you. You liked it, didn't you? The power it gave you? I can feel all of it, your anger, your hatred, your despair." From the folds of his robe he produced a gleaming metallic cylinder. In the state her mind was in it took Barriss a moment to recognize her own lightsaber. He threw it on the ground in front of her.

    "Act on them. Take your weapon and destroy me!" The bonds suspending Barriss deactivated,
    dropping her roughly to the floor. It was the one thing she could do now, in the name of everyone she had failed. The only thing she had left to live for. Seizing the hilt, she ran towards Palpatine with a cry of determination.

    He made no move to defend himself until the blade was almost touching his throat. One moment Barriss was about to run him through, the next she was writhing in agony on the ground. It felt like every nerve in her body was on fire as lightning coursed throughout her into the ground. It was pain like she had never imagined before, so intense she couldn't even think. She was vaguely aware that she was screaming, and Palpatine was laughing as he tortured her. Eventually it stopped, but she couldn't even muster the energy to stand, much less attack him again.

    "Pathetic," Palpatine sneered. Barriss had lost everything.

    "Kill me," she begged the Sith Lord. "Please." She already felt dead on the inside.

    Palpatine laughed again. "Why would I do that, when I have so many other possibilities for you, young Jedi? You're nowhere near apprentice material, but there will be a use for you. Everyone has their uses, however small they may be. Soon you will truly be an extension of my will."

    Barriss unsuccessfully tried to stand. "Never!" She hissed through clenched teeth. Palpatine shook his head in condescension.

    "Never is such a long time my friend," his hands began to glow with lightning again. "All the time I need."

    He blasted her again, and this time Barriss' scream seemed to stretch into eternity.
     
  2. TheSilentInfluence

    TheSilentInfluence Retired Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 15, 2014
    This is perfect. You've done a really good job on this story.

    I loved Barriss and Luminara's interactions. The way Barriss was almost mocking her while at the same time trying to tell her that the Jedi were corrupt was outstanding. And Barriss's escape was well exacuted. Especially with the appaearence of Cad Bane ( He's so awesome).

    Also, I liked how she was sorry, or at least a part of her was sorry that she had betrayed Ahsoka. It makes me wonder if she would do it the same way if she go back and redo the Jedi Temple bombing over again.

    The ending was chilling though, in a good way. I loved that you brought Palpatine in this and how Barriss refuses to join him. And then the force lightning treatment. It makes me wonder how long she'll be able to hold out and resist the dark side etc.

    Keep up the good work. :)
     
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  3. Kablob

    Kablob Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Thanks for reading. This is a short story, so it's actually all of it. You've read the beginning of what it's a prelude to over on FF.net. I'll be posting that over here too eventually.
     
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  4. TheSilentInfluence

    TheSilentInfluence Retired Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 15, 2014
    Opps my bad I totally forgot lol.

    I look forward to your other stories to come. :)
     
  5. SatineNaberrie

    SatineNaberrie Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Will this story continue past ROTS?
     
  6. Kablob

    Kablob Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 24, 2014
    I am going to write Barriss after this, yes.
     
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  7. skygawker

    skygawker Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    May 25, 2014
    This is great! I like how you got into Barriss's head, and I think the way you portray her helps connect the character we saw in the earlier seasons/EU with the acts she committed in the season 5 finale. I'll have to check out the story it's a prelude to.
     
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  8. Kablob

    Kablob Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Getting into Barriss' head is exactly what I was going for with this. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
     
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  9. King Joker

    King Joker Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Sep 13, 2014
    Fantastic on every level.
     
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  10. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    I've been an avid reader of Dusk since you started posting it, but I hadn't paid attention to the fact that it had two mini-prequels. Thanks to the awards process I finally found out (congrats on the nominations by the way) and boy am I happy I did! This is as good as any of your writing in terms of plot and characterisation, but what really made me tick is the parallels but also the differences between Luminara/Barriss in this fic and Obi-Wan/Anakin in RoTS, down to the tiniest details of dialogue. Bravo!
     
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  11. Kablob

    Kablob Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 24, 2014
    *coughs*

    So, this is happening:

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    More info, please? This looks...intriguing. :)
     
  13. Kablob

    Kablob Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 24, 2014
    It's being adapted into a comic. (Which I still can't believe is actually happening!) I should get a new page from the artist about once a week or so. :D
     
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  14. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    The quality of the author's work is top-notch, is he a professional? Sounds like a dream come true. :)

    And I need to leave a proper comment on this thread, as I finally caught up with the series enough to understand it.