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Saga - PT Fanfic Olympics - Star Wars Team Final Challenge: Attack of the Clones Alternate Ending!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Goodwood, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. Goodwood

    Goodwood Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 11, 2011
    Here is the Star Wars Team's reply to the final event of the first-ever Fanfic Olympics: the Alternate Ending! Our task: to rewrite the ending to Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Though the fruits of our labor are being posted by Goodwood, our entry could not have been completed without the entire team's effort, including Chyntuck, SatineNaberrie, Admiral Volshe and Darth_Furio. We elected to begin our alternate ending at the moment the Grand Army comes to the rescue, during the battle in the Geonosian Arena.

    Final word count: 9,982

    Table of Contents:

    Chapter One

    Chapter Two

    Chapter Three

    Chapter Four

    Epilogue

    __________________________________________________

    Chapter One


    “Around the survivors a perimeter create!”

    The faintest of smiles touched the genteel-looking man’s lips as he leaned back in his chair and observed the holofeed of the scene. If only they knew, he thought to himself. If only they knew that he was sitting in the office of the highest authority of the Republic,watching them from afar through the feed from the photoreceptors in the Separatists’ battle droids. If only they knew that he had placed a similar tap into the helmets of every one of their clone troopers and could now enjoy the sight of the battle from all angles. If only they knew that he, Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith, was also Sheev Palpatine, Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic. That he was leading the Separatists, that he was leading the Republic, and that, for years already, he had been hauling around by the nose Master Yoda and his pitiful posse of Jedi.

    The Dark Lord relished watching Anakin Skywalker fight with increasing desperation against wave after wave of battle droids, attempting to protect the woman he loved. A smirk slithered across his face. Half a galaxy away he could feel, through the ripples of the Force, the young man’s every emotion, fear, or spike of rage. He could perceive his every thought. After years of careful nurturing, he had brought him ever closer, to the point where the boy would be his—and only his. And the Jedi blundered on, oblivious to his planning and scheming. Sidious was looking forward now to giving the "Chosen One" that final push towards the dark side of the Force.

    From the day that fool Qui-Gon Jinn had brought Anakin to Coruscant, Sidious had carefully maneuvered around the child, insinuating himself as father, mentor and friend. The boy had much potential, more than the Sith Lord had ever seen in a sentient being. Behind the thin veneer of youthful enthusiasm and Jedi serenity, his soul was a dark pit churning with the most vile, base, and ugly of instincts—or those described as such by the Jedi Code. Anakin's energy was pervaded with rage and passion, emotion and anger, ambition and lust. He had deep-seated fears—fears that, despite their patronizing talk, the Jedi had never and would never be able to uproot—and, little by little, step by tiny step, Sidious had cultivated these traits to prepare the boy for the future he had in mind.

    Senator Amidala’s return to Coruscant for the vote on the Military Creation Act had been the perfect opportunity to set the cogs in motion for the next step of his plan. He had made sure that the protection mandate given to Obi-Wan would be too narrow for his rash Padawan’s taste—years of listening to Anakin’s sappy ramblings about Padmé had finally paid off—thus driving a wedge between the boy and his master. He had then subtly manipulated the Jedi, allowing Anakin to be assigned as Padmé’s bodyguard and to accompany her back to Naboo. He had sent images to Anakin of his dying mother, meticulously, to ensure that he would arrive too late. He had reveled in Anakin’s deadly outburst on Tatooine. In his frenzy of uncontrolled rage, the young man had sent waves of ferocity through the Force, his wrath and hatred unlike anything Sidious had experienced before. It was just another taste of the galaxy's future, which he was so carefully orchestrating.

    And now, as he watched his army of clones flood from their dropships into the arena on Geonosis, surrounding the surviving Jedi to protect them from the Confederacy's battle droids—his battle droids— he knew the time was right. The boy was exhausted, he was perturbed, he had experienced the stabbing pain of death every time one of his fellow Jedi had fallen to droid lasers. Anakin feared for Padmé, he was very nearly desperate—and it was the perfect setting for him to fall into a glorious fit of violence and see, in all its greatness, the unlimited power he would acquire by embracing the dark side.

    * * *​

    Anakin Skywalker had never been happier to see Yoda in his life, but the sense of relief and elation that overtook him at the sight of the Republic’s troops was short-lived. The battle had taken a bitter toll on him. Wave after wave of pain, distress and death crashed over his psyche, amplified by the Force, as the onslaught snuffed out the light of his fellow Jedi. He was tired, bloody and covered in grime from the confrontation with Dooku’s beasts. He was exhausted from what felt like hours of deflecting blaster bolts away from himself, his friends and Padmé. And Padmé. The woman who had just confessed her love for him. Who had given him more than he had ever hoped for. Who, in the face of death, had not backed down and was still standing at his side, picking off droids with her unerring shots, grinning bravely as they fought for their lives. Who now stood amidst the Jedi, defiant and proud, and whom he could not have saved, he thought with agony, had it not been for the Grand Master’s timely arrival. He feared losing her like he had lost his mother. The wounds were still fresh. He had lost Shmi because he had not been strong enough, fast enough, powerful enough. He would not lose Padmé.

    The dropships swooped low over the arena, offloading troops that immediately took positions around the survivors before pulling up for the next arrivals. Despite the influx of Republic forces, it became clear within seconds that the battle was far from being won. Thousands more of the Confederacy's troops—the super battle droids and the feared droidekas—continued to flow from the tunnels leading into the arena in ever increasing numbers, flooding the battleground. The situation was perilous for all involved. There was nowhere to take cover or to establish a defensive position. Those that were flown out by the clone dropships were the fortunate ones—for the time being.

    In the midst of the shooting and the explosions, a growing feeling of unease started tingling in the back of Anakin’s mind. He peeked over his shoulder, shouted “Master!” and leaped through the air to stand in front of Padmé. Obi-Wan jumped to cover her back. She had been trapped within a circle of battle droids that fired at her relentlessly. Now, all the two Jedi could do was deflect the shots as best they could until someone—anyone—could come to their aid. Their lightsabers waved and twirled in a blur of light, but the droids kept shooting. Laser bolts were grazing their skin and that of the woman they sought to protect. Padmé suddenly fell to her knees with a yelp of pain as one of the red beams hit her squarely in the shoulder.

    It had taken Anakin every ounce of his self-control to remain focused. The sound of Padmé’s voice and the realization that, despite the presence of an entire enemy army, the Confederacy was still coming specifically for her very nearly pushed him over the edge. He took a step toward the closest droid, spinning his lightsaber in a graceful motion, catching every shot that was fired at him. He cleaved the mechanical menace in two, its metal body clattering to the ground. He was immersing himself in the whirlwind of combat now, oblivious to the rest of the arena. Narrowing his awareness to the small group of battle droids around him, he used every ounce of his power to push, shove, and destroy them. Obi-Wan pleaded for him to remain level-headed, but he ignored it, abandoning himself to the inner turmoil that gave him such power—the power to save Padmé. His blue blade sliced through metal again and again, until his danger sense alerted him to a presence behind him. He turned around to find himself staring at the barrel of a blaster.

    The droid’s middle section erupted in sparks and smoke and it fell to the side, revealing one of the Republic’s clone troopers. It took a disoriented Anakin a fraction of a second to come back to his senses, but he soon looked into the eyeless helmet and said, “Thank you.”

    “You’re welcome, sir,” the clone answered in the metallic voice generated by the armor’s annunciator before stepping past the Jedi.

    Anakin realized that Padmé was now surrounded by a group of troopers, one of whom bore a yellow marking on his shoulder. His savior knelt at her side and took off his helmet to better look at her wound—apparently this particular clone had medic skills. He deflected a few more laser bolts as he watched the tan-skinned, square-jawed man help her stand up. An inexplicable sense of discomfort took hold of him—perhaps it had to do with the buzz generated in the Force by the presence of so many identical minds—but the answer rang out loud and clear when the commando went to whisk Padmé away from the battlefield. He leaped after them and screamed, “Wait!”

    The clone troopers continued pushing Padmé towards the exit tunnels. “Wait!” he screamed again, running across the arena as fast as he could while battle droids zeroed in on him. What were those troopers doing? How could they take her from him? Where were they leading her? “Wait!”

    He reached the commando and grabbed the trooper in the yellow armor. Only his finely honed Force sense gave him enough warning. He stepped swiftly aside before the other man could spin around and shove his rifle in his belly. The rest of the troupe closed ranks around Padmé. The medic threw an arm around her torso and she shrieked in pain again. As Anakin saw him pull out a knife and hold it to her throat it dawned on him.

    The clone troopers were not there to rescue Padmé. They were there to abduct her.

    * * *​

    A deafening blast of fury echoed across the Force, smothering Padmé’s cries for help and Obi-Wan’s continued pleas for his Padawan to control his feelings. Darth Sidious chuckled softly. One after another, the holofeed devices he had planted in the troopers’ helmets went out as Anakin slashed and whirled, slaughtering the hapless clones. If the young man’s rage against the Tuskens had been something the Sith Lord could delight in, this renewed outburst was rapture—pure and simple. The tenets of the Jedi Code had been swept away from his future apprentice’s mind, every notion of rationality, respect, and humanity pushed aside. All Sidious needed to do was to prod Anakin’s inner turmoil in another direction to ensure that his anger wouldn’t abate. Why had those clones come for Padmé? he suggested to the Padawan’s deranged mind. Who had sent them after her?What did the Republic want of her? Who controlled the troopers? Why hadn’t Master Yoda or any other of the Jedi sensed their deception? Were they part of it? With each question he could sense Anakin's agitation grow.

    The last pieces of the commando troopers’ armor fell to the ground with a dull thud. Padmé was now cowering against the stone wall of the arena, but Anakin was too far gone to notice. He spun on his heel. Eyes ablaze and lightsaber in hand, he joined the fray of the battle again, killing everyone and everything in his wake, droids and clones alike. Sidious could feel him summoning all his power, calling upon every current of the Force. He could sense it surge around him, like the flames of an inferno. The Sith Lord experienced a rush of satisfaction as the holofeed showed Obi-Wan Kenobi running towards his Padawan, followed by several of his peers. The Jedi were facing their bane, the man who would bring about the end of the Jedi Order. Yet, even in their moment of ultimate doom, their grandiloquent arrogance blinded them. They still sought to save one of their own, despite his betrayal. There would be little need for him to intervene now. He would not need to plant any more seeds of mistrust in Anakin’s mind, the Jedi would do it themselves. The irony was exquisite.

    “Traitor!” Anakin screamed as a blue blade engaged his own. He found himself face to face with Obi-Wan. “Traitor! They betrayed us! They betrayed me! You betrayed me! You tried to kill Padmé!”

    "What are you talking about, Anakin?!" Obi-Wan blurted, as multicolored bolts sizzled through the air about them. "The clones are—"

    His sentence was cut short when Anakin shoved his blade aside, then slashed his saber around through another trio of nearby combatants—a droid and two clones. "The clones are taking Padmé," he yelled, his voice incandescent with rage, "and you brought them here!"

    All the older Jedi could see, however, was clones fighting droids; focused on his apprentice, he could not witness the true treachery that justified his Padawan's seemingly irrational behavior. The imagery of it brought warmth to Sidious's dark heart.

    "Come to your senses, Anakin!" Obi-Wan practically begged. "We've got to focus on the battle if any of us are to make it out of the arena!"

    "I'm not leaving without Padmé—I'm not losing her! I'm not losing anyone else!" And with that, he met Obi-Wan's blade with a brutal Shien kata that refused to let up.

    Obi-Wan was forced back by the sheer ferocity of the attack, tripping on his heel and stumbling to the ground. Kit Fisto dashed forward to intervene, lunging between them. Anakin raised his lightsaber...

    ... and brought it slashing down onto the head of the Nautolan Jedi Knight, cleaving him nearly in half.

    There was an eerie moment of silence. The entire arena seemed to hold its breath, as if waiting to see what would happen next. In the Chancellor’s office on Coruscant, Darth Sidious allowed himself a satisfied smile. It would only take one more grand gesture, one more blunder from the Jedi, and Anakin would be irredeemable. Predictably enough, Mace Windu obliged.

    The Master of the Jedi Order stepped forward, followed by Ki-Adi-Mundi, Plo Koon and Saesee Tiin, and, in a display of their mastery of the Force, they lifted Anakin in an irresistible grip and carried him unceremoniously into the tunnels leading out of the arena, with Obi-Wan limping behind. Anakin screamed and flailed, spittle flying from his mouth. He summoned all his strength to fight back, but failed—inexplicably, when minutes ago he had been all-powerful. The four Masters’ combined grip was too strong for him to shake off. Sidious smiled again. The boy was strong indeed, but not so strong that he could be a threat to him just yet. The Dark Lord was acquiring an apprentice, but that apprentice still needed a master.

    The Jedi and their prisoner passed the makeshift infirmary set up by Barriss Offee, who was now looking after Padmé, and reached a cave Obi-Wan knew all too well—the very cave where Dooku had held him for days. Within minutes, a seething Anakin was trapped within the glowing containment field and the Jedi Masters were gone.
     
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  2. Goodwood

    Goodwood Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 11, 2011
    Chapter 2


    Count Dooku looked on as the dropships fell from the sky and unleashed the clone army that he had helped create—the Sith seed of deception ran deep. The Jedi scattered, the buzz of their lightsabers barely audible over the loud marching of droids entering the arena. Dooku’s former companions were hopelessly outnumbered, and for a brief moment he felt pity for the Jedi as they fought for their lives. They had been his peers and allies, but now they were impeding real progress for the galaxy. The Republic needed to be realigned and his Master would be the figurehead of a new, more civilized regime.

    Yet Dooku sensed that there was another plot at work. Things were not all they seemed to be. As the Sith Lord walked back into the catacombs, his holo-comm chimed from underneath his cape. He activated the device and his Master, Darth Sidious, appeared before him. “Lord Sidious, I didn't expect us to speak before Coruscant.”

    “Lord Tyranus. You have done well,” the Dark Lord said, his face obscured in shadow.

    Dooku bowed his head. “Thank you, Master. Our plans are fully in motion.”

    “Yes, yes they are. Unfortunately, your part in my plan has come to an end.” Sidious said brazenly.

    Dooku was genuinely confused. “Master? I do not understand.”

    “The time has come for me to acquire an apprentice that is better suited to my vision. You have served your purpose. I have no further use for you."

    Within seconds, Dooku understood that what this meant. “Skywalker.”

    Sidious spat a single, final word. “Yes."

    “After all I have done for our cause, you presume to push me aside for a boy?” Dooku said, controlled fury in his voice. “There is still much I must do. That we must do. You need me to fight the Jedi.”

    “The Jedi will soon be wiped away from the face of the galaxy. Their light will be snuffed out, and my plan will finally come to fruition,” Sidious replied simply.

    “I will not stand for this treachery, Lord Sidious.” Dooku said, defiant. “My powers are equal to yours and I have my own failsafes in place.”

    “Do what you must, but know that your feeble powers are no match for mine,” Sidious replied with increasing anger. “You were nothing but a cog in my machine and it is time to replace you. It is the way of the Sith.”

    Dooku realized the finality of the moment. He had to come to grips with the situation.

    “That may be the way of the Sith, but it is not mine.” he said, with severity in his voice. “I have always maintained my honour and dignity but your treachery will not go unpunished, Sith Lord.”

    “Beware Dooku.” Sidious began. Dooku noticed the use of his true name. “Far more powerful beings than you have tried to destroy me and every one of them has failed. Do what you must, but any attack on me or my plans will result in your utter destruction.

    The holocom blinked off and Count Dooku was left alone again. He understood his former master’s fascination with the younger Skywalker, but he never thought that Sidious would betray him in such a dishonorable way. It was truly the way of the Sith, but Count Dooku was no one’s fool. He had built up his own resources through various contacts. He looked up as his most promising asset had just entered the tunnel and was striding through the shadows.

    “You have yet to master the skill of hiding your presence, my dear,” Dooku said to the hooded figure.

    “You have much to teach me still Master, but the Sith betraying one another is an age old story that you seem to have forgotten,” the woman replied sardonically.

    Dooku swiftly turned around and extended his arm. The woman rose half a meter off the ground and clutched at her throat.

    “I am your Master. Never forget it, Ventress,” Dooku said, watching her struggle. “I found you in a hole and I will return you to it if you disrespect me in such a manner again.”

    “Yes Ma...ma...master,” Ventress managed, before Dooku finally released her. Ventress then crumpled to the ground violently.

    The Sith Lord stood above her and then said, “I have a mission for you that is paramount to our survival. You cannot fail.”

    Ventress rubbed her neck. “What about you, Master? What about the Jedi?”

    “I have a new plan for them. And for us,” Dooku replied. “Give me your datapad.” He took the device and keyed in the relevant information.

    “Do not fail me, Ventress.”

    * * *​

    Anakin slowly rotated within the shaft of light, hearing faint echoes of the battle from outside. Emotions still hissed and spat within him as his mind flashed back to Padmé, the dread of her being in danger paramount. All he had done was try to protect her, and yet here he was, in a cell, alone—leaving her at the mercy of the Jedi and their traitorous clones. He squirmed angrily against the invisible bonds, but they held firm, unyielding. A scream of defiance escaped his lips.

    “You did what was right, Anakin,” a voice echoed within his mind. It was faint at first, nearly blotted out by the hum of the cell's circuitry. The sense of dread tingled up his spine once more.

    The voice came again, taking on Chancellor Palpatine’s familiar tone. “The clones could not be trusted. They would have killed her."

    His head, at least, could move about, but he saw nothing.

    A frigid gust of air riffled through his tunic, chilling him to the bone. Anakin looked around, but there was no ventilation capable of producing such a wind.

    The cave around him grew dark. He blinked, trying to chase away the shadows that formed around the edges of his vision. In his mind's eye, black tendrils reached out and began overtaking the room. He squirmed fitfully once more, but the black claws converged upon his mind and consumed all light and sound.

    The darkness began to morph into a vaguely humanoid shape. He watched in disbelief as an image of Chancellor Palpatine emerged from the nothingness. Anakin stared at him with a fear he had never felt before while in his presence; at the same time he felt a growing curiosity.

    “I am not truly here,” the entity confirmed. “There are other methods of communication, but this occasion called for something more, shall we say, personal.”

    “How are you in my mind?” Anakin asked. His own words echoed in his head. A wave of suspicion began to supplant the fear and interest.

    “The Force, Anakin,” the Chancellor purred, smiling as though he were complimenting the Padawan on his observation.

    “The Force?” he repeated, surprise and comprehension dawning. “You can use the Force?”

    “I can do much more than that, Anakin, things the Jedi would not dare mention. Things that only someone with true power and the willingness to use it could achieve. Things you, too, can accomplish.”

    “What do you mean?”

    Palpatine could feel the boy's curiosity meld deliciously with the tempest of emotions coursing through him.

    “Death is non-existent to me,” he replied casually. “As are the limits to my power.”

    Anakin marshaled his thoughts, his mind casting about for something, anything, to focus on. Palpatine could feel the agitation ripple off of him. A smirk danced on his lips.

    “The Jedi don’t trust you,” he continued, crafting his words carefully to stoke the flames licking at Anakin’s psyche. Now was the time to sever Anakin’s final ties to the Order. “They refused to believe you about Padmé. And yet,” he paused, letting the implications sink in, “you were only protecting her.”

    The Chancellor flashed away and the group of clones were before his eyes again, Padmé struggling in their grasp as the rest of the Jedi fought on. The blade to her throat. Her eyes flashing with fear. Obi-Wan trying to stop him. Fury poured out from him, roaring through the Force.

    “They are fighting alongside the very ones who betrayed you,” Palpatine said. “They are no longer your allies.”

    Anakin lashed impotently at the barrier holding him, thrashing at the blackness that was gripping his mind. Palpatine knew that he was dangerously close to the edge, moments from toppling into the darkness.

    “I can’t stop them,” Anakin admitted, more to himself than to the man before him.

    “But you can,” Palpatine replied warmly. “We can stop them, together. You will be able to keep Padmé safe and put an end to all this bloodshed.”

    The young Jedi mulled over the proposition, examining the possibilities even as a sliver of doubt threatened his focus. Palpatine nudged a memory of his mother to the forefront of his mind in an effort to convince him.

    Unbeknownst to Palpatine, it was the wrong memory, of a time when Anakin had tried to rebel against one of Watto's piques. His mother had soothed his punished body and mind with three simple words: “All things change.”

    And all things had changed, starting with his renewed contact with Padmé, and culminating in her declaration of love for him. He had changed with it, but had started to become something worse as his grip on the dream of a life for the both of them was tested, weakened, and nearly broken time after time. His fear of loss, amplified by the grief of his mother's death, had pushed him to commit an unspeakable act, unintentional as it might have been. In his fury, he had killed a fellow Jedi, as effortlessly as he had the Tuskens.

    It was wrong.

    It was the ultimate betrayal—his betrayal—of the ones he had accused of the same crime.

    What had caused this?

    In a part of his mind that the Chancellor could not reach, that part he kept locked away even from Obi-Wan, Anakin sifted through the possibilities as rationally as he could under the circumstances. The clones had been ready at the precise time necessary for this battle to even occur, and yet they had also known who he and Padmé were. Why? And then there was the medic clone, who had removed his helmet to examine her wound—hadn't a bounty hunter attempted to kill her? Jango Fett's face was not unknown, after all—

    There it was, laid bare at last, the truth of the matter. "I want to know who is trying to kill me." The memory of Padmé skittered across his mind's eye, her angelic face tense with worry. He recalled his solemn promise to her---he had the answer now.

    Palpatine’s words echoed again, and in that moment, Anakin realized that his mother, the woman he loved, and the two Jedi who had found and then mentored him had all been right. In a blaze of clarity, he accepted the fact that he had crossed the line between light and dark, a line he had never wanted to so much as approach.

    The image of Palpatine narrowed its gaze as he felt the growing glow of calm within the raging storm that had been Anakin’s emotions. A spot of warmth and a flash of the purest light shone from the corner of the Padawan's mind, expunging the darkness and restoring the vision of the containment field and the room around him.

    Anakin turned slowly, the rage spinning off into the ether as he pulled himself together. His body, once tensed in rage, slackened.

    “You weren’t going to help me,” Anakin stated coldly, his words echoing throughout the room. “You were trying to turn me against them—and to take Padmé from me—all along.”

    In his office on Coruscant, Palpatine seethed as the mental bond he had established began to waver. Something had happened within the Padawan's mind, something unforeseen and profound, and he knew that he had failed. Before the connection crumbled into oblivion, he felt the certainty of the boy's thoughts as they rang resolutely through the Force.

    “I know what you are. You won't win.”
     
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  3. Goodwood

    Goodwood Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 11, 2011
    Chapter 3


    With those words spoken aloud and through the Force all the way back to Coruscant, a strange sensation infused Anakin as he stood, suspended in midair by the energy field that had bound his mentor—who had not betrayed him after all. That old fear, which he had carried from his youngest days, was still there but muted, as though trying to make itself heard over a loud and boisterous cantina scene; it tried to renew its grasp, but could find no purchase upon his heart.

    "Yes, let it go," a soft, familiar voice floated into his mind, a voice Anakin hadn't heard for ten years. "There is no emotion, there is peace."

    The first tenet of the Jedi Code. He learned it so long ago. But only now did Anakin begin to fully appreciate it as more than mere words. The field that spun him around brought his eyes upon a shadowy spot, where a glowing phantasm of the one who found him on Tatooine appeared. "Qui-Gon?" Anakin asked. "But...you died."

    "I did," the ghost replied smoothly, as though commenting on the weather. "But in so doing, I have been able to watch you as no one alive could. You made mistakes, some of them rather brutal. But in the end, you have chosen rightly."

    "But I couldn't save—"

    The ghost held up a hand to forestall his reply. "Your mother knows this, Anakin. I was with her, hoping to keep her alive long enough for you to rescue her, but it was not enough. She knew of your turmoil because I told her of it, but she forgives you. She wants you to know that it wasn't your fault. As for Padmé..."

    As though a switch had been flipped, the cage deactivated and Anakin was deposited on the dusty floor.

    "The Force has taught me many things," Qui-Gon's spirit continued, "but only now do I realize the strength of love unspoiled by passion. Clear your heart for the fight to come, Anakin Skywalker, and you may yet save her—and yourself."

    The phantom disappeared as Anakin rose. Infused with a new energy, one he had rarely taken the time to understand before, he made his way through the prison complex, heading back toward the battle. Yes, he had done horrible things, but now he knew that the only way forward was to atone for them, and to hope that, someday, he could earn redemption not only in the eyes of the Order, but in his own as well.

    "Remember, Anakin, the Force will be with you, always," Qui-Gon's disembodied voice whispered as Anakin reached the arena, holding a pair of blasters taken from clones who had died before they could reach Barriss Offee's infirmary. "And so will your mother. So will Padmé."

    "Thank you, Master," Anakin whispered as he stepped back into the seething horde, a calm confidence beginning to replace the tumult he had never before learned to tame.

    * * *​

    Far, far away in his office, Chancellor Palpatine, otherwise known as Darth Sidious, was apoplectic with a rage of his own—a rage he had never let himself indulge in before now. The boy's proclamation had rattled his composure—how could he have simply stood up and declared himself apart like that?—but this was altogether worse. That fool Jinn had died a decade ago. He could not possibly have returned, yet he had. And why now, when everything was starting to come together? The boy's defiance had not been unexpected, nor was his realization of the clones' source. But even as he felt the connection being severed, the undeniable reality came crashing down upon him. The eccentric Jedi Master who had apprenticed under Dooku had somehow found a way to cheat death, and had used this opportunity to further armor his would-be apprentice against him.

    Setbacks were more common than he made them out to be, and he had never had much difficulty turning them into opportunities before. However, this was something else entirely, a catastrophe that could doom the entire plan he had been nursing along for decades. With a sickening sensation in his gut, for perhaps the first time in his life, Sidious realized that that hackneyed expression of spacer and soldier alike was upon him: he most definitely had a bad feeling about this.

    What if Anakin was able to make amends, to convince the Jedi through words and deeds, that he was worthy of trust once more? Worse, what if they accepted him back into the fold and taught him to harness the full extent of his powers in a manner that not even he, Dark Lord of the Sith, could resist?

    No. Now was not the time for doubt.

    Now was the time for action.

    Returning his gaze to the holofeed being drawn from both sides, Sidious began to regain his calm. The surviving Jedi were still fighting alongside the clones, who were in turn evacuating them from the arena and back to their forward operating base. Meanwhile, Tyranus was marshaling his own forces to push beyond the arena, to take up defensive positions against the clone army's advance. With a set expression, he realized that the game was not over yet, that he still had options.

    A few deft keystrokes later, he had an audio link to all the clone commanders spread out across the galaxy—even those on Coruscant. With only three words, he spoke the death of the Jedi Order.

    "Execute Order Sixty-six."

    * * *​

    Anakin stepped into the arena, watching from the periphery as Obi-Wan and two more of the surviving Jedi clambered into a dropship only to find themselves faced with the barrels of the clones' weapons. Without hesitation, he raised a borrowed blaster and fired a staccato of Force-aimed shots into the open troop compartment. Three, four, then five clones fell dead from the vehicle, tripping up a number of their fellows as they shifted the focus of their fire. Before anyone could see from where the shots originated, he retreated back into the hall, his senses probing outward, seeking out the woman he had nearly lost in more ways than one.

    She was not in the arena, and the Jedi needed all the help they could get. But no, his presence in their midst would only cause confusion and doubt, and that was not an option. He had to find Padmé first, then he could join the fray and, after that, face whatever justice the Order chose for him.

    "I'm coming, Padmé," he whispered to himself as he backtracked toward the temporary infirmary. He had thought the clones were bad news when they had tried to carry her away, but impaired by anger, fear and betrayal, he had been blind to their true nature. When the clones had begun to level their blasters at his master and peers, however, everything became clear: they were little more than tools, droids made of flesh come to do the Sith Lord's bidding. In that moment of clarity, he realized that killing them wasn't murder.

    It was mercy.

    After several minutes of silent running through the tunnels, he approached the grotto where Bariss had set herself up. The Mirialan was tending to a blaster wound that had pierced the leg of another Jedi; others lay still in healing trances. It seemed a miracle that there were no clones or droids present—on the other hand, neither was Padmé.

    The footfalls of armored forms rang in a tunnel opposite, alerting Anakin to the approach of a clone platoon. Centering himself in the light, he aimed his blasters and waited for the right moment—which came when the first of them turned into the grotto, bringing their rifles to bear on their helpless targets. With the Force as his ally, Anakin swiftly dispatched them. By the time Barriss had reacted, the last of her would-be murderers was crumpling to the ground—dead.

    "Anakin, what—" she began as he sprinted past, intent on following the clones' trail back to its source. Her voice trailed off as she realized he had already vanished down the corridor.

    * * *​

    Even as Aayla Secura took control of the dropship, Obi-Wan still couldn't quite believe what had transpired. "I thought for sure they had us," he commented, regaining the last fragments of his composure.

    "They may yet," Aayla said from the cockpit, deftly dodging a rocket fired at them by another transport. "Master Windu reports squads of clones turning against Jedi at multiple locations. Masters Ti and Tiin are wounded, and Master Yoda is attempting to rally survivors at the mouth of a nearby cavern, but we've lost three quarters of our original force!"

    Obi-Wan turned toward Agen Kolar, the Zabrak's normally dark complexion now pale from his grievous wound. "Take us there," he intoned. "But do try and elude our pursuit."

    Several quiet, tense minutes passed as the Twi'lek managed to shake off the clones, the Force helping her to maneuver the unfamiliar craft. Doubling back, it took another few minutes before they reached the rendezvous point. For the moment, all was quiet. A younger Padawan festooned with medpack belts rushed to Agen's aid.

    "Master Obi-Wan, we thought you lost," Mace said grimly.

    "We very nearly were," Obi-Wan replied, gesturing toward Aayla and the wounded Zabrak. "Someone shot the clones in the bay before they could do us in, but Master Kolar caught a blast from the transport's pilot. Even above all that, I thought I sensed something."

    "Sensed it too, I have," Yoda said. "Limited to this world, treachery is not."

    "Agreed," Obi-Wan replied. "But there was also something else..."

    His voice trailed off as another captured transport landed, depositing Barriss Offee and the wounded in her care. "Masters," she said with a bow, "the clones, they've turned somehow..."

    A disturbance deeper in the cavern caused the Jedi to turn around, peering into its depths. The sound of clanking footsteps soon overwhelmed the cries of wind and wounded as a battalion of super battle droids marched toward them. To their collective surprise, the automatons' weapons were deactivated. With computerized precision, the droids broke ranks, allowing a caped figure to stride between them. "Indeed they have turned," Count Dooku announces grandly. "Against me, and against you."

    Unsure what to do, the Jedi moved their hands to their sabers, but they did not assume combative postures. Dooku offered an appreciative, if slightly mocking smile. "As I tried to tell you, Master Obi-Wan, a Sith Lord rules on Coruscant."

    "You have your forces and your war," Mace replied, disbelief in his tone, but the other Masters could sense his acknowledgement of the truth in Dooku's words; this was no Dun Möch ploy, though that meant little. "What more do you want?"

    "Sidious has indicated that he no longer wishes my services," Dooku replied conversationally. "I took exception to this, but find myself in an awkward position. His clones have my forces in a stalemate, one which must be broken if any of us are to live to see the morrow."

    "About this, what would you have us do?" Yoda said, equally unperturbed despite all that has happened. "Less than fifty, are we now. Wounded, many are,"

    "We don't require the moon at this time, Master Yoda," Dooku replied amiably. "Simply a push in the right spot. One of your own, whom my master wished to make his, has already begun to strike a counter-blow." He nodded at Barriss, who reluctantly returned the gesture. "You see? She understands."

    "We don't have much choice, it would seem," Obi-Wan muttered to Mace.

    Yoda looked off in the direction of the expanding battle, his eyes closed. "The place to strike, I sense. Master Windu, your powers in this realm, of great use they will be."
     
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  4. Goodwood

    Goodwood Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 11, 2011
    Chapter 4


    "There it is," Mace Windu decided. "This battle's shatterpoint."

    No one needed reminding of what the Jedi Master meant; everyone knew that his perception of the Force was different in crucial ways. He could see the fault lines between choices, like flaws in a gemstone—strike the right place, and it would shatter. Many times in his years had Master Windu solved delicate situations with the judicious use of this ability.

    Obi-Wan shared a look with Aayla before they returned their focus to the battle below. From their vantage point, they could see that the droids had occupied a small redoubt, connected by bunkers and trenches to an even stronger position further out on a vast plain that separated this hive-turned-droid foundry from another, similar structure. From here, the Jedi could see several clone brigades attempting to turn the Separatists' flank and break into their rear areas, forcing the droids to give ground. It was a classic maneuver, and if the activity in the air was any indication, the clone commander had decided that this was the key point of contention, where events would be decided.

    Ki-Adi-Mundi nodded. "That depression on the far left, just beyond the coverage of the nearest bunker, if we could hold it..."

    "We are only so many," Aayla warned. "Can we count on the droids to provide cover fire?"

    "They will do as they are ordered," Adi Gallia snorted. "It is the person issuing those orders we need concern ourselves with."

    Master Windu raised his hand. In unison, the twenty Jedi stood up and descended rapidly toward the growing conflagration of blaster fire. Dooku had said that the battle droids would recognize them as "friendlies," but that did not mean any of them would willingly expose their flank to one of the things. Punctuating the precariousness of the situation, a number of clone dropships were pounded by missiles, fired by a large, hoop-wheeled machine as it rolled about the battlefield. Each craft let slip a deluge of white-armored figures that corkscrewed haphazardly into the dusty surface of Geonosis.

    There was no need for shouted instructions as the Jedi reached their position. Drawing both sides' attention was easy, it was simply a matter of causing the most mayhem in the least amount of time. Master Windu solved this by reaching out with the Force, wrenching two hovering dropships into the ground, where they ignited furiously amidst an artillery battery.

    "I think that got their attention," Obi-Wan remarked dryly.

    * * *​

    The tremor in the Force was unmistakable as Anakin sprinted through the catacombs, searching for Padmé. "They've rejoined the fight," he commented.

    "I know," Qui-Gon's voice replied. "Keep your focus, she is close."

    Anakin merely nodded and paused, looking up with his Force senses through the rocky ceiling. "There she is."

    The Geonosians were expert tunnelers, and he had been able to follow the clones to a point where he was barely a meter below their base. They had dragged her all the way here while at the same time engaging droids and Jedi, and they would now surely realize that the battle's climax was fast approaching. For the first time, Anakin allowed himself a moment of mirth, remembering Obi-Wan's admonition against losing his lightsaber. Oh well, he still had the Force.

    Moments later, a blast rocketed through the cavern roof and scattered debris throughout the landing zone. Anakin leaped up into the fray, blasters blazing as he picked off clones, all the while sprinting for the command center where Padmé was being held. He cleared the area of guards, which were few in number, most of the army having been sent into the larger battle. Her sense in the Force glowed like a dwarf star as he entered the improvised medical ward, a clutch of unarmed clone medics raising their hands. He spared them no notice.

    There she was, the life-sign monitors at her side indicating that she was merely sleeping restfully. Despite their perfidy, the clones had indeed seen to her care—they weren't monsters. He knew that now. As Anakin approached the stretcher, her eyes fluttered and she began to stir.

    "Rest easy, Padmé," he said, his voice calm as he poured reassuring feelings into her through the Force. "We're getting out of here."

    "What happened?" she asked groggily. Anakin lifted the stretcher before him, leaving the ward behind.

    "I'll explain on the way," he replied calmly, though inwardly he felt a tremor in the Force that had little to do with the battle nearby. "For now, rest while I find a transport. We're not out of trouble yet."

    * * *​
    Count Dooku watched the numerous holo-screens showing the status of the battle. The Jedi’s makeshift medical center shuddered with every explosion. His fragile alliance with the Order was little more than a ruse to access a position from where he could destroy them. He understood that there was still distrust between them, as Master Yoda himself had remained behind with a pair of un-wounded Knights; he would have to be vigilant about letting his darkness show. Although he had every excuse to leave the dark side behind, Dooku felt that he still had a use for its powers. Sidious may have shown him the true nature of the Sith, but Dooku had learned his lessons well and he would retaliate. Losing the confidence of the Dark Lord weighed more on Dooku then he had originally expected. He truly believed in the goals of his Master, no matter how brutal his methods became. It was an old axiom that new regimes were forged in the fires of war.

    Meanwhile, Master Yoda stood by the side of one of the wounded. There were three other Jedi with the Grand Master, but they were occupied with patients. Yoda had to be wary of the looming Sith Lord amongst their ranks. He knew that Dooku was hiding his true nature. Even if this Darth Sidious had betrayed him, his former Padawan was too much of an idealist to rejoin the Jedi so easily after having tried to kill them with his droid army. He would watch Dooku carefully. The dark side had clouded his vision up until now, and the Jedi Master refused to allow Dooku to mislead him again.

    As they studied the tactical display in an uneasy silence, Yoda noticed the quick glances between them were becoming more frequent. There was undeniable tension in the air. Dooku made the first move. “You do not trust me, Master Yoda.”

    Yoda adjusted himself to face Dooku. “Difficult it is to trust anyone. Died today, many have.”

    “I’m surprised you did not sense the deception surrounding the Jedi Order,” Dooku said half mockingly. “Your abilities have eroded with age, I assume?”

    “Much to learn you still have.” Yoda replied.

    “I have become more powerful than any Jedi. You must sense it.”

    “Sense the dark side, I do. Much anger I feel in you.” Yoda said. “Betrayed by your master, hmm?”

    “It is the way of the Sith, Yoda.” Dooku said, almost reluctantly. He gave a final look at the display to see that the clone army was in full retreat, save around Mace Windu's position, and turned around brazenly, igniting his lightsaber. “As is this.”

    Yoda pulled his lightsaber from his robes with the Force. “Betrayal again?" he asked, his tone also mocking. "Fallen far you have, my very young Padawan.”

    “This is not betrayal, Master Yoda. It is survival.”

    Yoda opened by leaping off to the cavern ceiling and behind Dooku, moving the fight away from the wounded. Dooku attempted to take advantage of the situation, firing forks of Force Lightning at Yoda. The Jedi absorbed them with the Force, then fired them back at Dooku. The Sith raised his lightsaber, catching the counterattack. Dooku charged, and the two combatants locked sabers with a heavy crash. They exchanged furious strikes, bucking like frenzied reeks.

    Each warrior drew on the Force in their own way. Yoda flew around the room with superhuman speed, seeking a gap in Dooku’s defense, but there simply was none. Dooku in turn could not catch up with Yoda to inflict a mortal wound. After another round of parried strikes, the duelists stopped and took stock of each other. Doubt crept into Dooku’s mind as he understood that this was not the moment to defeat Yoda. He needed help, and he knew it.

    Outside, the whine of repulsorlifts announced the arrival of a large troopship, drawing the attention of all who weren't involved in the duel. Instead of clones, however, a single man exited—Anakin Skywalker. "Stand easy and climb aboard," he called, calmly as he could. "Dooku, is he here?"

    One of the Knights confirmed this with a gesture, eyes filled with distrust. Anakin bolted inside.

    "Master, look out!" Anakin called before sending a flurry of blasterfire in the Sith Lord's direction, forcing the man to back off. "Let me help."

    “Yes Yoda, let Sidious’ protégé help you,” Dooku mocked with renewed energy. “I will happily destroy him.”

    "As much as I'd like to join you," Anakin quipped, gesturing with his blaster, "I'm ill-equipped. But I can get the senator and the rest of the Jedi offplanet."

    "Yes, Senator Amidala you must protect," Yoda agreed, relief in his voice even as the duel resumed. "Too powerful Dooku is, defeat him I will.”

    Sensing an opportunity, Dooku leaped at Anakin with an overhead slash that would have sliced the boy in two. Anakin ducked, but he was then sent into the cavern wall by a powerful Force push that nearly knocked him out. Yoda attacked once more, but the Sith Lord had timed his maneuver. He caught the Jedi Master in the air with the Force. It was Yoda now who was thrown against the cavern wall; however, he used his feet to brace the impact and propel himself back at Dooku. They exchanged more blows as they each began to tire. Dooku pushed the Jedi Master back once more, creating space between them.

    “Goodbye, Master Yoda," Dooku said, his arms raised. Sending ripples through the Force, he caused the cavern’s ceiling to crumble. The rubble would have pulverized Anakin, but Yoda's hands shot up as he caught the debris in midair. He tossed it towards Dooku, but the Sith Lord had vanished.

    "Leave this place, we must," Yoda said as he and Anakin caught up with the Jedi already boarding the stolen transport. "Retrieve Master Windu's team, as well."

    * * *

    Shaak Ti and Luminara fought side by side against the advancing clone troopers. The Grand Army of the Republic had been a bad idea from the start. Shaak Ti had known it, but what was done was done. Now, despite the wounds she had sustained, she focused on trying to get out of this mess.

    Just as she brought her 'saber down on an armored trooper, she noticed something out of the corner of her eye. Swiftly turning, she brought her blade up just in time to deflect a bolt. The droids had turned on them. Betrayal once more.

    The two women maneuvered back to back, fighting on two fronts.

    "We can't hold out forever," Luminara shouted over the blaster fire.

    Shaak Ti looked around frantically, her proverbial serenity falling apart after so many hours of pain and treachery. The rest of the Jedi force was retreating too, almost surrounded on both sides. It was like being back in the arena. They were bound to be picked off and die one after the other. Would this day truly end in the final eradication of the Jedi Order?

    "There!" Luminara shouted. An armed transport was swooping over their position, spitting fire at the clones. Soon it had landed adroitly, providing cover from the attacking Republic forces. A small green figure appeared at its door, waving for the survivors to come on board. As the small troupe retreated precipitously, a few shots blasted from the transport’s side cannons, flying between the Jedi to hit the incoming droids. It was a move so reckless, yet effective, that Shaak Ti knew of only one Jedi—one Padawan—who would even consider pulling it off.

    By the time the mad scramble was over and the transport had pulled up towards the skies, it dawned on her that her assumption had been correct. Sitting in the cockpit, with a sheepish but cocky smile on his face, was Anakin Skywalker.

    * * *​
    Less than fifty Jedi, out of a force of more than two hundred, lined the walls of the largest troop bay aboard the clone transport. Standing in a knot at the forward end, those members of the High Council present—now including Obi-Wan—wrapped up their discussion. With a gesture, they beckoned Anakin forward so that he and the rest of the Jedi could hear their verdict.

    "You stand before us," Mace Windu pronounced, speaking for the group, "admitting your guilt. In the heat of battle you succumbed to the dark side and, in so doing, you killed a fellow Jedi."

    He paused, allowing the other survivors to digest the meaning of the words.

    "Anything to say, have you?" Yoda asked, his tone blank.

    Anakin had known this moment would come, Qui-Gon and his own experience having told him so. And yet here he stood, calm, serene, accepting of whatever punishment they chose for him.

    "Yes," he said simply. "My actions afterward speak for themselves. Even then I don't assume they make up for what I did. I only hope that, someday, I can redeem myself in your eyes and my own."

    A murmur of surprise rippled through the Force as the transport rushed through hyperspace. Nobody had expected such a response. Anakin and Obi-Wan shared a look, reflections on the day's events passing between them soundlessly. Several moments of terse silence passed before the Council made their decision.

    "Come to a conclusion, we have," Yoda intoned, his eyes downcast in sadness. "Sincere, your remorse is, yet remain with us, you cannot. Exiled you are, from the Jedi Order."

    "Wander the stars," Mace Windu added, his tone not unkind, "as a great Jedi once did in ages past. Only in this way can you find peace."

    * * *​
    Padmé stood in front of the door to her parents home along with Anakin, who was filled with unease. This wasn’t the same as the last time he’d been here. He was no longer a Jedi. He wasn’t their daughter’s bodyguard and his hands were stained with blood. What would they think of him? Would they even want their daughter around him? Could he start anew?

    Life felt foreign to him now. He was without a master. The life of a slave and the life of a Jedi was all he had known. Now, he had neither.

    Jobal Naberrie opened the door. Anakin watched as she embraced her daughter.

    “We were so worried about you. Is everything alright?” Her eyes were on Anakin. He could feel her disquiet.

    “I’m fine.” Padmé looked at Anakin before turning to her mother again. “We have some things we want to talk about.”

    Inside the Naberrie residence Anakin, Padmé, and her parents gathered in the living room.

    "What do you plan on doing now?" Ruwee and Jobal looked to their daughter with concern. She had just finished explaining the situation.

    "I'm not sure." She glanced over at Anakin. Both of their lives had changed. She couldn't return to the Senate, not with it under Palpatine's control. But she had decided she would stand by Anakin. She'd go where he'd go and he didn't want to sit idly in exile.
     
  5. Goodwood

    Goodwood Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 11, 2011
    Epilogue


    Obi-Wan Kenobi knelt in the shadow of the transport ship, cast in a darkness only slightly deeper than the dismal drab of the Dagobah's swamps. Yoda had suggested the planet as a refuge, as certain as anyone could be that neither Sidious nor Dooku would think to seek to find them here—for a while, at least. There was time enough to take stock of the situation and plan out a course of action.

    He gave up his attempt at meditation and joined the knot of surviving Jedi as they too worked to center themselves amidst a pool of light cast by the transport's floodlamps. "I am concerned," he began, rousing the others from their reflections. "Sidious on one side, Dooku on the other, both in control of vast armies."

    "Marginalized, we are not," Yoda stated serenely. "Still exist, the Order does. Those on worlds untouched by clone or droid have heard our warnings."

    "But the galaxy is arrayed against us," Obi-Wan protested. "What are we to do?"

    "Not even Sidious could spread such influence so far, so rapidly" Mace intoned. "We will gather allies, find a place to rebuild..."

    "...and perhaps not all is lost for that one," Barriss Offee offered. Her tone was somber but her gaze hopeful.

    The assembled Jedi nodded in unison, understanding the deeper meaning behind her words. They had all sensed it, knew that it was true. Anakin Skywalker would continue to grow in the light and atone for his actions, even as he lived in exile.

    "In his hands, the future may yet rest." Yoda concluded. "Only begun, this clone war has."

    * * *​

    The rays of the rising sun filtered over the mountains, streaming into the small atrium where Anakin stood. Padmé appeared from behind an archway and stepped into the room. Her beaded lace gown glittered in the warm light. She walked forward slowly but purposefully, every step filled with grace. Anakin tried to control his sheepish smile. She stopped beside him. She looked stunning, her brown curls cascading from beneath the veil and her eyes glimmering in the sun’s golden glow. He could feel the waves of emotion that ebbed from her. Love, elation, anticipation. They melded with his aura effortlessly. Padmé, so beautiful in her mind and heart, was choosing him. Despite everything he had done and every mistake he had made---she was choosing to spend forever with him. She beamed at him. He blushed, knowing she had caught the stupid look plastered on his face. He didn’t care. He only let himself grin wider.

    They met the pontifex's gaze for a second, but didn’t cast him even a second glance. He droned on, while they got lost in each other’s eyes. They barely heard the final question asked of them, but both knew the answer well.

    “Do you promise to love and cherish each other, for eternity?”

    “I promise,” they said in unison.

    The pontifex nodded and closed his small book of flimsiplast. “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”

    Anakin reached out and grasped Padmé’s hand. She took his other hand in return, her eyes dancing in the sunlight. They both leaned in, their lips meeting softly. This was the moment they had been waiting for. Warmth flooded through them as they finally pulled away. They turned, gazing out to the sprawling mountains ahead as the sun rose ever higher. Anakin smiled, squeezing her hand ever so slightly. They both stood in the cascading sunlight, filled with new hope for the future. Neither knew what the future held, but they would face it together.

    * * *​

    Beings of all species, from the richest of the Core Worlds to the remotest planets of the Outer Rim, watched in awe and terror as Palpatine and Dooku marshaled their forces and marched across the galaxy, in a conflict that was bound to kill billions. On Coruscant, Darth Sidious, having expunged the remaining Jedi stationed there, had gripped every aspect of the Republic with an iron fist. The wave of repression was unprecedented. Political opponents were summarily arrested, political assemblies were brought to heel, and the HoloNet News services were muzzled—stifling any rumors of a Sith Lord in the higher circles of power. Clones were now judge, jury and executioner, dispensing the Chancellor’s brand of justice among the populace while also fighting his war.

    Sidious stood tall and proud on the balcony off his office, flanked by several senators, watching his Grand Army of the Republic on parade. He was already germinating the seeds of his next scheme: how to rid himself of Bail Organa and his allies, without alienating their worlds and driving them into Dooku's arms.

    Meanwhile, on his homeworld of Serenno, Count Dooku was overseeing a martial ceremony of his own in the company of his Confederate allies. Row upon row of battle droids paraded across the streets of Carannia, crushing the stone pavement under their feet. Quite a bitter irony, he thought with an aristocratic sneer, that I should be the one to bring these crude mechanical devices to a world of such sophistication. But this was the price to pay. It could well be that this war would devastate the galaxy. Whatever the cost, Sidious could not be allowed to win.
     
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  6. metophlus

    metophlus Jedi Padawan star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 30, 2015
    Concrit reviews permitted?
     
  7. Goodwood

    Goodwood Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 11, 2011
    I can't speak for the rest of the team, but I for one welcome some feedback and observations.
     
  8. SatineNaberrie

    SatineNaberrie Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2014
    I'm fine with it too
     
  9. Admiral Volshe

    Admiral Volshe Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    I'm fine with it too. :)
     
  10. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Fantastic! Riveting and plausible. Still gives Palps his victory but without Vader & an automatic division within the new regime with Dooku being a rival acting like an ally. :p The A/P was stellar! =D= =D= Seamlessly put together & wonderfully written!
     
  11. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    Fantastic! You all did a great job working together to create this. What a fascinating AU! Much better than the movies :p I love Anakin's redemption and growth and the way the remaining Jedi let him set off on a path that will bring him peace.

    If you all ever decide to continue this or write a sequel, please let me know!
     
  12. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    That was a very satisfying alternate ending - which leads into all sorts of interesting questions for what comes next. [face_thinking] My favourite part was Anakin falling - and picking himself back up - a lot earlier than he did in canon. The idea of his exile and finding true redemption with Padme, side by side with a much larger underground Jedi force than in the movies just gave me all sorts of positive feelings at the end of this. Really, this story was wonderfully plotted and seamlessly portrayed for five writers working together in just a week's time! Wow! :) =D=
     
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  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Yuppers, if this continues, I want a tag!!!! I've been around a loooong time and read a lot of A/P variations, but this is one of the most gratifying and intelligent resolutions, and it didn't have to be uber!tragic either. :p
     
  14. Goodwood

    Goodwood Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 11, 2011
    Thank you all for the comments. They really mean a lot to me, and the rest of the teams as well.

    I've never before had the chance to work with so many folks under such pressure on such a project, and seeing such a positive reaction to the fruits of our labor brings out the warm fuzzies... [:D]
     
  15. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Wow, you guys really went all out for this. You guys aimed high and really achieved! I'm shocked that this was put together in a week. I really like that we got to see so many of the Jedi making appearances (Shaak Ti FTW!). I loved the ending. It brought conclusion (a happy ending to the A/P storyline) but also mystery as to what the future holds for this new alternate universe.
     
  16. metophlus

    metophlus Jedi Padawan star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 30, 2015
    Goodwood, @Chyntuck, @SatineNaberrie, @Admiral Volshe, @Darth_Furio

    Wow. How did you write this work of art with so many cooks in the kitchen? Inside a week? Impressive. Most impressive.

    In canon, Palpatine should have triggered Order 66 way earlier than he did. He let's the Jedi become heroes across the galaxy, saving who knows how many civilians, earning more approval points with the public than they ever had before, then suddenly expects everyone to believe the Jedi are really terrorists.

    Here, he goes for the kill when he has the big names of the Order concentrated in a cramped area. Sure, many of his decisions in this story are the result of impatience and desperation finally seeping through his practiced exterior, but his coup is still satisfying.

    Anakin took a crazed leap over the edge of the Dark Side hole. But he grabbed a root and clawed his way back out in short order. The power of possessive love drove him to evil, and the power of... common sense... lifted him back to the light. He's going to proceed in the future as an exiled Jedi, stronger mentally and emotionally. For him to fall again would be redundant and undermine his profound personal growth in this story, thus Darth Vader is effectively nullified.

    Neat use of Qui-Gon's ghost. It's risky business bringing dead characters back for plot relevance, because death should always be a looming, serious threat to the living. Knowing the history of Qui-Gon and Anakin, that they spent such little time together in the first place, gave a sentimental atmosphere to the encounter here. You guys knew when to pull back, too, which sealed the deal.

    My one real complaint is that the impending war between Republic and Separatist felt like it was born out of obligation to the prequel trilogy, rather than necessity. Does Sidious take the 'Rule of Two' so literally that he's going to hand Dooku a pink slip via hologram? Before he's turned Anakin? Well, Sidious will eventually pay the price for his surplus of arrogance.

    The reader will detect shift in writing style. I can only guess at who wrote what, and it's even possible two people wrote it all while taking suggestions from each other and their colleagues. The differing prose voices connect fluidly, at any rate.

    Everyone was in character or else improved upon. The action was engaging in its scope and urgency, though maybe the setting descriptions in the final battle could've benefited from an extension.
    Overall, great stuff. Someone write a follow-up.
     
  17. Goodwood

    Goodwood Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 11, 2011
    Thank you very much for the review, metophlus, this means a lot to the team.

    You're right in that all of us contributed our own parts and offered suggestions/improvements/etc. to one another, so I'm not surprised there's a perceptible shift in style. As for the final battle, I'm fairly certain I speak for the team in saying that yes, you are correct in that a lot more could've been put into it thus making it better. However, we were operating under a hard cap (see the rules post linked in the initial chapter) of 10,000 words. Frankly I'm astounded we managed to skate in as closely as we did; it is a testament to the editing skills of the team that we succeeded.
     
  18. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thanks for the reviews everyone :) I'm happy you liked our little story. It was good fun to write and work together -- having 5 people intervene in the same paragraph at the same time was quite an experience, especially when "at the same time" is taken literally -- and I'm *almost* tempted to send a PM to start planning for a sequel [face_thinking] *mumbles to self, "how do you turn Anakin into Vader after this" and walks away*
    You mean the mad scramble to cut 554 words one hour before the deadline? :p
     
  19. Goodwood

    Goodwood Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 11, 2011
    Yep, that's precisely what I meant. Ah, good times... ;)
     
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