Thursday, November 29, 2007

BYBS: Really, Really Wrong

I once had a teacher who taught me an interesting lesson: don't be wrong; be really, really wrong.

Once, during a sort of test, I was called on to answer some question that I did not have the answer for…

(Teacher): You! Whatever! What What is the answer to this pointless question?!! (Whatever): Er…umm…"x." (Teacher): Are you sure of that? (Whatever): ummm…(remember other lesson) yes!!!

(Teacher looks around the room and calls on another student)

(Teacher): You! Mr. Something-else! What is the answer to this pointless question?!! (Other student with the correct answer): "y!!"

(Other student goes on to explain his reasoning, thus showing Whatever to be not just wrong, but utterly and completely wrong)

A crimson flush crept up my face, no doubt from the exertion of having to show my unending…uniqueness.

The next time I saw the first teacher, I remember glaring at him. Now, when I am older and still just as foolish, but having had a long time to think about it, I have come to the following conclusions:

  1. With pain comes growth.
  2. I was not fond of growth.

Another thing I realized with the passage of time was that, while I had forgotten much of the things I learned from that teacher I did remember the answer to that question. I've therefore come these other conclusions:

  1. I'm still not fond of growth.
  2. If I really want to learn, then being really, really wrong and then having someone else correct me was an excellent way to do that.

Over the years, I've used this concept, consciously and otherwise, to learn. One example of putting it to use was when I was trying to find out the answer to some question on the internet. First I tried asking:

(Whatever, asking respectfully and humbly): Does anyone know the answer for this?

It was like talking to a hole in the ground.

Then I tried using this principle.

(Whatever): The answer to this question is (some silly, obviously wrong answer). What's more, anyone that thinks differently is obviously a moron! (Random internet person): Sez you! (W): Yeah, sez me you jerk! You're obviously a moron! (Other, random internet person): Yer mom dresses you funny! (RIP): I am not a moron, I am not a morn! (W): You misspelled "moron." (ORIP): Ummm…yeah! (RIP): Yeah? Well, according to (authoritative reference) the answer is "y." Who's the moron now, bitch?!! (Whatever, checking the reference and deciding that it's correct): Hey thanks. (RIP): What?!! (W): I wanted to find out what that answer was. You gave it to me. Thanks. (RIP): You bastard!!! (ORIP): Umm…yeah!

OK, so this example completely loses the original point. But at least I found it amusing.

The point is…umm…the point is that the stinging rebuke that I inflicted on myself made the lesson easier to remember. The other point is that, I don't always want to learn.

But if I do want to learn, then stating my answer in the clear, confident tones of someone who has no clue, and dealing with the light-headed, red-haze induced feeling that comes from having someone who actually knows what they are talking about correct me, is an excellent way to learn.

I'm still not found of growth.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ummm…A Short Story?

Yes, lame, isn't it?

Well, for quite some time™ I have wanted to post some of my writing drivel. As I commonly do with anything, I put it off.

For no discernable reason, I decided today to actually do something about it.

What I really wanted to do was start posting the second installment of the DeathTalker stories, but I realized that, as incomprehensible as it was, it would be much harder to understand if I started with Part 2. So here's part 1.

Assuming anyone actually reads this dog and wants to send spelling corrections, grammar fixes, etc. please direct them to If you want to make general comments, feel free to do so. I reserve the right to whine, mutter and delete comments that I find too accurate (depressing).

If this story is received well (HA) I have a few others knocking around on my hard drive I can also post. We'll see.

For those that read my BYBS stuff (hi mom!), you may have noticed that I have not posted in a while. Not sure if I'm going to continue with BYBS: maybe all the bile and negativity is just risen to the level where I cannot think of anything positive to write about. Maybe I have writer's block, who knows?

At any rate, have fun reading it and avoid gnomes.


DeathTalker: A StarWars FanFic

Disclaimer: This story is set in the "Star Wars" universe, specifically after "Episode 1: The Phantom Menace." If you are not familiar with the Star Wars universe, then this story will make very little sense to you. All the characters in this story are based vaguely on their counterparts in the movies, though their behavior is likely to vary wildly from what is shown in the films: if you are a Star Wars purist, you will probably be disappointed. To the extent that you can copyright a fanfic, this one is copyright (C) 2006 by The setting, characters, etc. are all copyright Lucasfilm. Setting: This story is one of those "what if" style stories. It explores the question "what if Anakin decided not to become a Jedi?" The story picks up near the end of StarWars: Episode I: The Phantom Menance, after Qui-Gon Gin’s death at the Hands of Darth Maul, when Yoda is talking to Obi-Wan about Anakin. Table Of Contents:

DeathTalker: Chapter 9

The next day, bright and early, the Council met again to discuss Anakin’s assassination. Yoda was so dreading the confrontation that he was actually glad when Mandor interrupted the proceedings. "Yes?" Mandor looked even more uncomfortable than normal. "It’s, well, the local law enforcement. Apparently, Mr. Skywalker’s body is, err, missing. They want to know if we took it." Yoda stared at the Jedi for a moment, then looked around the chamber. "No idea, have I." "I didn’t take it either." "Beats me." The sentiment was echoed by the rest of the council. With a resigned shrug, Mandor left the chamber. The announcement was strange enough that no one spoke for a bit. Then they got back to business. After a few minutes, however, the doors to the chamber opened once again. Yoda was about to complain about these constant interruptions, when he felt overwhelming sense of dread. Looking towards the doorway, he could see a robed and hooded figure, whose eyes seemed to shine in the darkness. Whoever it was walked in to the room, all the time staring directly at Yoda. The feeling of dread increased as he advanced. Yoda realized the Dark Side was very strong with this one. When it reached the center of the room, he stopped and regarded the council. "What business have you, with the Jedi Council?" After a pause, the figure spoke. "I believe I’ve found the elusive Sith Lord you have been searching for…" The figure drew back its hood, revealing himself. The council members gasped. Some of them drew their light sabers. "…and you have something I want." As the door to his office opened, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine looked up from this desk and raised an eyebrow. It was very rare that someone arrived without being announced, and nobody had ever gotten in without him knowing about it first. When he saw who it was, however, he jumped to his feet. "Anakin! The police said you had been killed! Thank the stars that you’re alright!" Anakin snorted and moved into the room, all the while glaring at Palpatine. As he advanced, the Supreme Chancellor felt the force become very strong around him; but there was something else. Exchanging glances with the Four, Palpatine exclaimed: "They were the ones Anakin – I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough." As Palpatine looked down, ashamed, the Four advanced upon Anakin. For himself, Anakin had stopped and was regarding the Four curiously. "You should have run while you had the chance…boy." The one closest to Anakin stopped. As if a storm were blowing the wind against him, he put his hands in front of him, trying to stop the onslaught. The force, however, seemed to intensify, and what’s more, he seemed to be disintegrating. As if he were made of dust, pieces of him were flying off in the direction the "wind" was blowing. With a howl, he was blasted into nothingness. The other three retreated to Palpatine’s side. Palpatine’s face registered shock, then, after a moment, joy. "You’ve done it! Somehow, you are able to stop them! Together we will can bring justice to the Republic without all of the sacrifices I’ve been forced to make!" Anakin glared at the Chancellor, and then smirked. "I know the truth Palpatine. I know what you’ve been doing; what you’ve been doing to the dead. This madness ends here." Palpatine’s face was blank for a moment, then contorted into a mask of anger. "Then you should have known, no matter what you can do with the dead, your powers among the living are no match for mine." The Sith Lord’s light saber appeared in his hand, its red glow casting a hellish light on his features. "Oh, I didn’t say that I was going to do anything." Eight Jedi masters entered the room, their light sabers alight. The Supreme Chancellor glared at his hated enemies. But he looked far from defeated. "Actually, while these fools, feeble though their skills are, would normally be able to stop even me, you cannot stand against me and all of my forces!" From behind Palpatine, others materialized. Most were humanoid, but some were obviously aliens. All of them resembled the Four in their parlor. There must have been at least 20 among them and more seemed to be arriving. Anakin nodded and raised his hands. From behind him, a light shore, and through it came the ranks of the dead Jedi. At once, the shades of the Jedi and the Sith engaged each other in a ghostly battle that only Anakin and Palpatine could see. For his part, Anakin regarded the Supreme Chancellor with a look of intense concentration, while Papatine’s face twisted into a look of rage. All at once, Palpatine leapt from behind his desk to try and cut down his target. He was intercepted by Mace Windu, and quickly engaged by the rest of the living Jedi. On both the physical and ethereal planes, battles raged. Anakin’s face was expressionless. His hands still raised, he slowly brought them together in a closing gesture. Nothing seemed to happen in the Chancellor’s office, but the effect on the spirits was profound. Like the fallen member of Palpatine’s Four, it seemed that a great wind was pulling at the Sith and Jedi spirits around them. Like the previous force, it was causing the spirits about them to disintegrate; but unlike the previous wind, it seemed to have a destination. The substance of the spirits seemed to be forming a kind of whirlpool or vortex. And they became less and less substantial, the vortex gained strength. As it gained strength, the force of the wind tearing at the ghosts became greater. Two of the Four seemed to realize what was going on, and promptly vanished. The others were not so fortunate and were sucked howling into the storm. Palpatine, when he realized what Anakin was doing, killed one of the Jedi facing him and immediately jumped towards him. "Damn you! Noooo!" The Sith struck Anakin with his light saber, cutting him from shoulder to hip. This left him open to attacks from the Jedi, however, and Mace ran him through with his own, purple blade. As the would-be emperor lay dying he looked up to where Anakin was standing on the spirit plane. "Why?" Once his last words were whispered, the spirit of the Supreme Chancellor was sucked into the maelstrom with the rest of the dead. Anakin, however, did not seem to be drawn into the vortex. His spirit form held the same stance and attitude that his body had adopted when Palpatine’s light saber vivisected him. The storm seemed to have reached some critical point. In as much as its position could correspond to physical landmarks, it moved into the sky. As it did so, it seemed that more spirits were being drawn into its maw. Once it had drifted far enough away, Anakin’s ghost relaxed a bit. Looking down at his body, Anakin made a raising gesture with his hands. His body stood and reassembled itself. The surviving Jedi, who had been joined by Yoda, regarded this with alarm: they had not witnessed the ghost battle, and had only sensed that something important, something terrible had happened. Those Jedi who were capable raised their light sabers and surrounded Anakin. Glancing about him in a wild and most un-Yoda-like manner, the green alien confronted Anakin. "What have you done?" Anakin opened his eyes and exhaled. In the space where normal, physical eyes would be, a bright, white light was shining. His face turned in Yoda’s direction. The alien could not tell if Anakin was concerned, remorseful or tense, but the boy was feeling something. "I am bringing balance to the Force." "What is happening?!!" "A new balance is being struck. Palpatine had been…manipulating forces. The disturbance you feel is the result." Despite the fact that the changes occurring had no physical manifestation, all the force sensitives in the room, or anywhere on Coruscant for that matter, could feel the pull of the storm. While it made no physical sound, they could faintly hear the winds howling and the screams, laughs, groans and other ululations the dead made as they were drawn into the vortex. Despite the lack of sound, Yoda was shouting. "Not telling us all, are you!" "No. I am not." Anakin gazed at Yoda. The man’s eyes seemed to lose their glowing, star-like quality as time passed. Breaking the contact, Anakin turned towards the door. Mace barred his way. "You are not leaving!" Anakin regarded him coolly. His voice soft in comparison to the harsh sound of Mace’s voice. "You saw what Dark Sidious did to me. You know what happened to me before that. Even if you completely destroy my physical form, I will return and continue my work." Anakin glanced about the room. "I can do this with or without your interference, but if you try to stop me, it will mean the end of the Jedi order." "If we let him leave, he will only become stronger!" Yoda shook his head. "Already, strong enough he is, to defeat us." Mace glanced back at Anakin and did a double take. The boy was no longer standing in front of him. In fact, he was no where to be seen. The Jedi Master lowered his light saber and extinguished it. Previous Chapter, Table of Contents

DeathTalker: Chapter 8

Yoda and Mace Windu listened as a grainy hologram of Obi-Wan gave his report regarding Cameeo. The discovery of the clone army was disturbing to say the least. As they discussed this alarming development the door to the room opened and a Jedi Knight entered. "What is it, Mandor?" "Masters, Anakin Skywalker has been killed." "What?! When did this happen? Where?" "He was shot while getting onto a transport outside the Senate building after meeting with the Supreme Chancellor about 20 minutes ago. As of yet, there are no leads on who may be responsible." Yoda dismissed the Jedi, who bowed and left the room. "Talk about blind." Yoda sat frowning. After a time, Mace spoke up. "Well obviously, it must have been Palpatine!" "Yes, obvious it is. Too obvious. If Palpatine you were, assassinate someone just after meeting with them, you would not." "Then who?" "Afraid I am, to contemplate, for to the Council, it may lead." "What?! That’s ridiculous!" "Agree with you, I would, were normal the conditions. But from the archives, someone removed the information about Cameoo. And knew they did, the Council, that Skywalker, Deathtalker was." Mace glared at Yoda. Eventually, he got to his feet and headed towards the door. As he was leaving, he turned to Yoda and opened his mouth to speak. After a moment he frowned and left without saying anything. Anakin looked down at his dead body. At least the bus hadn’t been damaged. He glanced around curiously and waited. Some cops and the press arrived. Anakin drummed his fingers and waited. As he had suspected, Anakin was completely invisible to people. In fact, people and objects seemed to pass right through him. This briefly made him happy, since it would mean that he would peer in on Padme while she was taking a shower, but then he remembered he was dead. Bored, he wandered aimlessly from the site of his death. What to do? Anakin felt a strange sensation and stopped. The closest he could come to describing it would be a sort of gentle tug, but he could not determine which direction it wanted him to go. He looked around, but didn’t see anything that might be the cause. I wonder what Qui-Gon would say to all this? Probably, "If you had become a Jedi, this wouldn’t have happened!" At that moment Qui-Gon Gin appeared from nowhere. "If you had been a Jedi, this wouldn’t have happened!" "Thanks." "And let me tell you something else!" "I’d rather that you didn’t." "Well I’m going to tell you anyways!" "Oh joy." Anakin groaned and walked away. Mental note: don’t think about Qui-Gon. Anakin felt the weird, pulling sensation again; but this time it was stronger and lasted longer. The surrounding landscape seemed to fade for a second, but then reasserted itself. Strange. Anakin walked back to Qui-Gon, who was still blathering about something. "Hey, shut up for a second." "What?" "Any idea what that strange, sort of pulling like sensation is?" "What are you talking about?" "You know, every now and then things fade for a bit? Does it have something to do with passing onto the next stage? Moving on in the afterlife?" "I don’t know what you are talking about, but a true Jedi could have identified it." "Look: would you cut that out. I mean, what’s the point? We’re both dead now." Qui-Gon frowned. "Now what are you talking about? Whose dead?" "You are." "I most certainly am not!" "Yes you are, that weird guy in the black clothes killed you." "What? The Sith?" "Yeah, you know, black robe, black gloves, black shoes, red tattoos, horns sticking out of his head? Had a double-lightsabre?" At that moment, Darth Maul appeared. The moment he saw Qui-Gon, his lightsabre ignited. Qui-Gon’s flashed green in response. "Look guys, this is ridiculous!" The two ignored him as they circled each other. Darth Maul struck first, only to be parried by Qui-Gon, who returned the favor. Anakin signed and sat down on a nearby bench. Idly, he was surprised that he didn’t pass through. As the minutes passed, the fight continued. Anakin drummed his fingers on the bench and waited. After a bit, he could feel the strange, tugging sensation build again. With a shrug, this time he tried to go with it. The surrounding buildings faded away, to be replaced by dark, boiling clouds. The tugging feeling intensified, and Anakin felt that he was moving faster. He passed through several clouds, picking up speed, until, with an effect not unlike jumping to light speed, he flew off at what seemed to be a incredible velocity. After a few seconds, he arrived at what appeared to be a limitless, rocky plain. Slowly, figures appeared in the distance. Some were humanoid, while others definitely alien. As more and more of them appeared, Anakin became aware of a steadily growing sound. A kind of groaning, moaning sound. It seemed to have a kind of musical quality to it, but it was definitely not a happy sound. The shadowy figures were now crowding around him. Whichever way he looked, he saw more of them, and they were all looking his way. He did not sense any malevolence, but more of a yearning, pleading feeling. The moaning gained volume until is was a roar in his ears. As the volume increased, Anakin could almost make out some words… All at once, he understood. Previous Chapter, Table of Contents, Next Chapter

DeathTalker: Chapter 7

"Weren’t you wearing an Army uniform the last time I saw you?" Anakin smiled self-consciously at Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. "Yeah, well, it was the only one I could find last time." "Please, please! Have a seat." Walking around his desk, Palpatine took a seat in the char opposite Anakin, who waited until then before taking a seat himself. Silently, the Chancellor’s advisors surrounded Palpatine. "Before you left Coruscant, I just wanted to talk with you about home. It’s so rare that I get to talk to someone unconnected with politics, with no agenda of their own…" Anakin noticed that the advisors seemed to be human, but very, very pale. All four were staring intently at him. "I’m…I’m sorry?" "I was just asking you if you followed Gungan football – it’s one of my vices you know." "Oh…well, actually my wingman er…ah bets on some of those. Which team?" "We’ll kill you too." Anakin looked up sharply at the advisor who had spoken. The man had a sickly half-grin half-smirk on his face. "Would you like to see it?" "What?!!" "I have a jersey from one of the Mud Slugs! I know, people in the Republic really shouldn’t deal with the Hutts, but I saw the add for it and I just couldn’t resist…" The Supreme Chancellor had gotten excitedly to his feet and scuttled over to a framed picture. Glancing surreptiously about, the moved it and began opening the safe behind it. Anakin was craning his neck since one of Palpatine’s advisors was in the way. Glancing up at him, Anakin watched one of the man’s hands move slowly to his face. As it neared, the fingers of his hand curled so that he was pointing. Anakin looked around but did not notice anything. He looked back and realized, to his discomfort, that the man was going to pick his nose. Anakin glanced quickly away, trying to latch onto the jersey that Palpatine was proudly displaying. A bead of sweat started rolling down his brow. "Wow! That’s great!" Anakin desperately tried to keep focused on the Supreme Chancellor as be babbled on about how this was the jersey that the great Gungan player, Fwippo or something. Anakin’s eyes were drawn back to the nose-picking advisor. With a start, he realized that the man had something on his index finger. He was smiling an evil, loathsome smile. He slowly moved his finger back towards his face. Anakin shook his head involuntarily. The advisor locked eyes with Anakin. Slowly, deliberately, the man ate it. "Gross! That is just plain nasty!" Anakin was on his feet, keeping his chair between himself and the advisor. "So." Anakin glanced back at the Supreme Chancellor. Palpatine was no longer smiling. "He can see as well as hear us." "This cannot be allowed." "Sooner or later, he will inform them." The Four advanced on Anakin, who backed away. "What the hell is going on here?!" "A moment." The Four stopped. Palpatine was at his window, gazing out at the city. He turned and faced the boy once again. "Gentlemen, please." The Four glanced at each other, then looked back at Palpatine. Like dogs told that no, they cannot eat the baby, they slunk back to the Supreme Chancellor and took up their positions. Palpatine sat down at his desk, steepled his fingers, and gazed at Anakin. "Who are they?" "Friends…allies…advisors…" "Are they…that is, have they…" "They are very old, powerful, and wise. Only people who are…gifted as you and I can see them." Palpatine fell silent and gazed at Anakin. "You were born into slavery, weren’t you?" "Umm…yeah." "My homeworld was occupied by the Trade Federation. That gives us something in common." "What?" "Nothing." "Excuse me?" "That’s what the Republic did for us. That’s what the Jedi did to help us. Nothing." "Well, when you put it like that, yeah." Anakin was still gazing warily at the Four, but it was hard to keep his eyes on all of them, all the time. "In fact, I do believe Newt Gunray was recently acquitted by the courts…again." "What?" Anakin tore his gaze away from the Four to look at Palpatine. "And how did the council react when they discovered that you were a ‘Deathtalker?’" "Not too pleased." Anakin looked away. The Four exchanged glances. "Anakin, the Jedi are in many ways amoral, but in some areas they will intervene directly. Regardless of what they say, they do not tolerate Sith." "But I’m not a Sith! They’ve even admitted that there would be no way for me to have become one without them knowing!" "That may be good enough for some of them, but the council has many members. One of them may act on their own." "What about you?" "I’ve given up on leaving my fate in the hands of others, in trusting in good intentions. I have to struggle to simply survive, let alone to preserve Naboo from being attacked again. In order to do that I have to make…sacrifices." Palpatine gazed ahead, staring at nothing. His face was strained, the muscles tight. "Right now, the council does not know of my alliances. Were they to find out, their response would be swift and merciless. If they already know that you are a Deathtalker, your options are very limited. My advice would be to flee Coruscant, immediately. Better to live as a hunted man than to leave your fate in the hands of others." "No." "We will not allow it." The Four turned and faced Palpatine. While none of them moved, Anakin could feel that some sort of struggle was taking place. While staring straight ahead, the Supreme Chancellor spoke with some difficulty. "I will hold them off…as long as I can. Run!" Anakin ran. Oddly enough, there was a shuttle bus port near the Senate, as if such august persons would deign to use such a means of transportation. Anakin stood by the stop and waited. Time passed. Irritated, he paced back and forth, contemplating his situation. Those damn creepy advisors seemed dangerous, but so was the whole situation… At the thought of the advisors, Anakin jumped and turned around, glancing wildly, but there was no cause for alarm. The whole situation had put him on edge. Just then, the bus arrived and he got on. At least he tried to. As he was boarding, a blaster bolt blew his head off. Had Anakin survived, he would have been happy to know that the bus was undamaged. Previous Chapter, Table of Contents, Next Chapter

DeathTalker: Chapter 6

"See through you, we can." "Wonderful, can I go now?" Yoda frowned. "Impatient, you are." "Well, I’d not applying for a Jedi scholarship this time. Unless you want to charge me with aiding and abetting a known Jedi, you’d better get to the point." "You have been brought before us because you claim to be able to talk to the dead." "I’ve claimed nothing of the sort…it could have been a hallucination." "Believe that, you do not." "Whatever. What difference does it make?" "Deathtalker." Anakin turned and regarded a council member with an extremely long neck who had spoken. As he looked at the alien, he couldn’t help noticing that the other council members seemed…uncomfortable. "What the heck is ‘Deathtalker?’" "Deathtalker is not a person. It is a title, an ability that some people have to that allows them to talk to the recently departed." Was it his imagination, or was Mace Windu glaring at the other council member? "So what’s the problem?" "A rare ability, deathtalking is, and closely associated with the Sith." "You mean like that Jedi who killed Qui-Gon?" "That was a Sith lord, not a Jedi." "So you think I’m a Sith?" The council members regarded him coolly. "If I were a Sith, why would I tell Obi-Wan about it? Besides, you’ve been watching me all my life! I couldn’t have kept something like that hidden!" "Correct, in that, you are." Yoda sighed and looked down. "Trained as a Jedi, you have not been. Yet ‘chosen one,’ some still feel you may be. To find out that you are a Deathtalker is…disturbing." "Master." All eyes turned to the Jedi who had escorted Anakin to the council. "I feel there are some things about this man’s abilities that you should know…" "Speak." "When I found Skywalker, he was in the North tower. He said he had been brought there by someone…by someone who resembled Master Trigon." Yoda’s ears raised at this news. From around the council chambers, Anakin could hear gasps. "What’s more for a moment I…seemed to see Master Trigon myself." "I take it this isn’t normal for a Deathwalker?" At first no one responded until finally Mace answered him. "As far as we know, no Deathtalker is capable of communicating with anyone who has been dead more than a few hours." "Wonderful." Yoda stood. "To discuss this new information, the council must! Mandor!" The Jedi who had spoken about Anakin’s abilities looked up. "Stay here; escort Anakin, another will. Anakin: a few more days, on Coruscant, stay, you must. Soon, call on you, the council will." Anakin went to leave the chamber. As he passed Mandor, he growled "Thanks a heap!" Previous Chapter, Table of Contents, Next Chapter

DeathTalker: Chapter 5

"And believe Anakin, you do?" "After some investigation, I have determined that the projectile used to kill the assassin came from Cameeno." Yoda looked down, thinking. The rest of the council members were reacting in various ways, depending on their views of Anakin and the "Chosen One" prophecies. "Has the boy ever shown this ability before?" "No master, but then, I doubt he has been so close to someone dying like this." Mace Windu nodded. "Whatever the cause, this is something that we should look into." "Agree, I do." The rest of the council nodded in agreement. "Continue with your investigation, you should, Obi-Wan. Our own investigation, the council will make, into this unexpected ability young Skywalker has displayed." The Jedi Knight bowed and departed. "Hello Anakin, thanks for meeting me here." Anakin turned and smiled nervously as Obi-Wan stepped from the elevator. They were in senator Amadala’s waiting area, along with Capt. Banaka. The Jedi walked into the room. "You look tired." "I didn’t get much sleep last night." "Well perhaps we can help you with that." "We?" "The council would like you to drop by and talk with them about what you saw last night. Perhaps they’ll ask you to stay on Coruscant for a few days." "But, umm, I’ll be needed back on Naboo – my squadron is probably upset with me as it is!" Capt. Banaka cut in. "Don’t worry on that account, I’ve already cleared you for ‘special assignment’ with the Senator’s security for at least a week." "Thanks a lot." Banaka smiled evilly. "Excellent." Obi-Wan slapped Anakin on the back. "Master Jedi." All eyes turned to Padme as she entered the room. "What can I do for you?" The Jedi bowed somewhat nervously. "The council feels that it would be wise to leave the capital for a few days, for your own safety." Capt. Banaka cocked an eyebrow at the senator. "That is out of the question. One person has already died getting me to Coruscant – this vote is too important." "We feel that your security is also important." "As a public servant it is my duty to carry the voice of Naboo to the Senate." Obi-Wan sighed and looked down. "I have taken the liberty of consulting with the Supreme Chancellor on this matter and he concurs." "I see." If looks could kill, thought Anakin, that guy would be toast. "This is an executive order then, I take it." "Only if you insist m’lady." The senator glared at Obi-Wan for a few seconds. Even Banaka started to fidget. "Have representative Binks report immediately. Prepare to return to Naboo." Padme whirled and stalked out of the room. "Perhaps I should accompany the Senator back to Naboo, for security?" "Are you really sure you want to be around that kid? "Good point." "Well, on the bright side, your interview with the council should be more amicable..." As others had before them, the Jedi council waited. The sun was setting on Coruscant as they contemplated the nature of the force and what this latest development could mean. "Late he is." "I don’t think he likes us for some reason." "Well, a lot of people are nervous around us." "Maybe it would help if we got a chair or something." "Now we’ve been through that before…" Yoda drummed his claws. Elsewhere in the temple Anakin was becoming increasingly frustrated. "Are you sure you know where your going?" "Patience you must learn, if Jedi, you are going to become." "But I’m not going to become a Jedi!" The little green creature, who looked like a younger version of Yoda, whirled and confronted Anakin. "Start that not, with me, or sorry, you will become!" "You’re awfully pugnacious for a Jedi." "Too long, around, have I been, a punk like you, crap, to take from!" "Well, you look younger than Yoda." "Yoda! Ha! Talk of pugnacious! Seen him, you should have, when younger he was! Ha! Here we are!" Some large double-doors opened into the council area. The little green creature bounded into the room and hopped into one of the chairs. Anakin followed him in and looked around. The council seemed…odd. The other members were from various races, but Anakin didn’t recognize any of them. "To the business at hand!" Anakin waited expectantly. Time passed. One of the council members cleared his throat. Anakin fidgeted. "Well?" "Ummm…you were the ones who summoned me, I have no idea what you wanted. Probably has something to do with that damn assassin." A councilmember who looked something like Obi-Wan Kenobi with dark hair spoke from behind Anakin. "The assassin is more of a symptom than the problem. We need to talk about…accommodations." "Accommodations?! What do you mean?" "And the whole business with how Jedi are trained these days: it’s a total disgrace!" Another council member of some alien race had spoken, Anakin had to turn around again in order to face him. "But…but…what do I have to do with how Jedi are trained?" "Well, take a look at yourself! You call yourself a Jedi?!!" "No I don’t, I’m not a Jedi!" "And that is what we need to really talk about!" The last voice seemed familiar, but in a very odd way. Anakin turned around again and regarded Qui-Gon Gin, who was sitting in one of the council chairs. "What the hell is going on? You’re supposed to be dead!" "And you’re supposed to be a Jedi! Don’t change the subject!" "Now wait just a minute!" At that moment, the doors to the chamber opened and a Jedi Knight entered. "Anakin Skywalker?" "The council is in session! How dare you interrupt us!" "Ummm…yeah?" "The council wishes to see you now. Please follow me." "But this guy said that the council was here." The Jedi who turned and gave him a quizzical look. "The council once met here, but that was a long time ago." "Probably because master Yoda felt a draft!" Anakin started following the other Jedi out. "Where do you think you’re going?" "But the other Jedi here said the council was meeting elsewhere and I don’t recognize any of you!" "Yes, it is not polite to keep the council waiting." "We are the council! That other bunch of fools can barely figure out which end of a lightsabre to hold!" "And Qui-Gon here is supposed to be dead!" The other Jedi was regarding Anakin with concern. "Are you feeling alright?" "No!" "Well, admitting a problem is the first step in solving it." "The first step to solving this problem would be to leave this damn fun-house!" The Jedi stiffened at that. "I will have you know that the Jedi have served the galaxy with distinction and honor for over 5,000 years." "And in all that time you can’t figure you where the council chambers are?!" The younger version of Yoda sniggered at this. "As I have said: if you will just follow me I can lead you to the council." "That’s what he said and look where it got me!" "Who?" "Him!" Anakin pointed at the little green man. The Jedi advanced into the room and peered at chair that Anakin was pointing at. Then he looked worriedly at Anakin himself. "There’s no one there." "Yes there is: he’s sitting right in front of you!" "I told you, there’s no one there." "You’re not even looking at him." Anakin grabbed the man and pointed him towards the creature. The Jedi stiffened, as if he were getting ready to do something violent, but then his eyes opened wide and he gasped. "Wait…I can almost…" "There! Now you see what I’m talking about?" The man was squinting intently into the space where the alien was sitting. To his chagrin, now Anakin was having trouble seeing him. Going…going…gone. "What the hell?" He looked about, but the room was empty now. "What’s going on here?" "I…I don’t know. For a few moments there I thought I…saw someone…master Trigon…" "Is he on the council?" "Well…he once was…but that was over 500 years ago." "What happened to change that?" The Jedi straightened up. "He died." "That’s it! I’m outta here!" "Not so fast! You’re coming with me!" "Now look you…" Anakin was rapidly using up his reserves of patience. "Alright…but one more ghost or piece of Jedi crap and…and…" "Right." The two of them stormed out of the old chambers. Previous Chapter, Table of Contents, Next Chapter

DeathTalker: Chapter 4

"Yahooooo!!!!" Anakin’s speeder slid under him, allowing Obi-Wan to climb into the craft. "What took you?" "Your welcome!" "Follow that speeder!" "Huh? Which one?!!" The answer became obvious as another speeder pulled into traffic, scattering nearby craft. "Oh…" "We’ve got to catch it!" "Are you sure?" "Yes!" Anakin grinned again. The other speeder was dodging through traffic, swerving here and there and generally driving like a maniac. Anakin, by comparison, made him look positively sane. If there had been one area where the Force obviously continued to help him, it was piloting; and if anything, he had gotten better over the years. Anakin was lazily pulling barrel rolls and enjoying himself when something occurred to him. "Hey: do you want me to do anything other than follow him? Obi-Wan?" Anakin glanced over at the Jedi and noticed his ashen look. "Are you OK?" "Stop doing that?" "Doing what?" "What you’re doing!" "I thought you wanted me to follow him." "You’re driving like a madman!" "You’re beginning to sound like R2!" The other driver appeared to be taking more and more chances as it became apparent that he was not going to lose the pursuing craft. As Anakin and Obi-Wan argued, the other craft swerved out of traffic and pulled around a building. As it passed the building, it came too close and glanced off the side. "Oh no." "What?!!" "That’s really gonna mess up his paint job." When Obi-Wan did not reply Anakin looked over at him. "Whaaaaat?" Growing truly desperate now, the other driver swerved to try and make a turn, glanced off a bus heading the other way, bounced off a nearby tower and went down, trailing smoke. Anakin winced in sympathy. The other craft touched down, or rather smacked down, skidded a good 50m and smashed into a building. Anakin landed a bit farther back. The two men jumped out of the speeder and dashed towered the downed craft. As they neared it, someone got out and ran into the crowd. Obi-Wan gave pursuit, but Anakin knelt by the damaged craft. "Nuuuuuuuu!" His cries were met by a stunned crowd of onlookers. Obi-Wan struggled through the crowd as he saw his quarry dash into a nearby bar. Arriving inside, it appeared that the target had into the press of people...or alieans...or alien people. Narrowing his eyes, Obi-Wan approached the bar. Perhaps I can lure him into a making a mistake. While he appeared to be unaware, Obi-Wan was in front of the main exit, and watching the door to the kitchen. His quarry could not leave without the Jedi seeing him, and Obi-Wan’s senses were on the lookout for anything. Feeling someone coming up behind him, he whipped around, light saber in hand. The arc of blue-white light neatly severed the outstretched arm. The arm’s owner, a waiter droid, looked down forlornly. "Does this mean you don’t want a drink?" Just then, someone broke from the crowd and rushed into the kitchen. In the ensuing chaos, Obi-Wan was hampered by bar patrons and an irate droid owner as he tried to follow. Dashing through the kitchen, the elusive assassin headed for the exit. Running down a final hallway that terminated in what appeared to be an alleyway, he glanced behind him for signs of pursuit, thus completely missing Anakin’s outstretched arm. "Argh!" Anakin neatly clotheslined the assassin; who actually flipped once in the air and landed in a heap. "Oof!" His face unreadable, Anakin waltzed over and dragged the unfortunate person to their feet. "I wont talk! You’ll get nothing from me!" Anakin slammed the assassin against the wall, holding him a good 6 inches off the ground. "That was a perfectly good speeder!" "Do you realize who I was trying to kill?!" "Do you realize what it will take to fix it? Even if it’s possible? Do you?!!" The assassin’s eyes went wide as he stared at looked into Anakin’s face. "You’re crazy!" "Anakin! Put him down!" Anakin felt a hand on his shoulder. He glanced behind him and saw Obi-Wan’s visage. "We need information from him!" "Not that you’ll get anything out of me!" Anakin glared at him. "Absolutely nothing!" "Put him down!" Sighing, Anakin tossed the assassin to the ground. The man scrambled to his feet and tried to get Obi-Wan between him and the angry pilot. "Help!" "Who sent you!" "No one!" "So you didn’t do anything?" "That’s right!" "Well then, I’ll be on my way…" Anakin advanced on the man, grinning insanely. "NO!" "Eh?" "Alright! I tried to kill that senator from Naboo!" "I already know that. Who sent you?!" The cornered man glanced between the two of them and decided he would be better off in Obi-Wan’s custody. "It was a bounty hunter from…" BLAM! The man slumped to the ground, a strange dart-like thingie stuck in his neck. Anakin and Obi-Wan looked back in the direction it had come from and saw a strange, armor wearing figure standing on the top of a nearby building. Activating a jet pack the lone gunman flew into the air and slammed into a passing transport. "Now that’s gotta hurt." The person fell back to the top of the building and unsteadily got to his feat. Taking a more cautious approach, he flew into the night. "Sonnofabitch." Anakin glanced back at the fallen assassin. Someone who looked remarkably like him was standing next to the corpse. He was looking in the direction that Anakin had been staring. "That creep." "Hey…" "He shot me!" "Well you did crash that speeder." The figure glared at Anakin. "Oh yeah, and you got caught, and you were about to spill the beans." "I only had two payments left." Anakin mourned along with the assassin. "He was from Cameeno." "Pardon?" "That guy, I never got his name, but he was from Cameeno." "Oh…er…thanks?" "Whatever." "Do you go to hell or something like that now?" "What for?" "Well you did try to kill someone. You probably killed other people." "Are you kidding?" "No." "I’ll have you know all the people I killed don’t count!" "Why’s that?" "They were politicians." The figure faded into nothingness, leaving Anakin to ponder this message. "Anakin?" "Eh?" "Who were you talking to?" "Oh, that assassin." "But he’s dead!" "Yeah, well, I guess he felt guilty about the speeder." Obi-Wan stared at him. "Never mind that. Did he say anything?" "Yeah, don’t become a politician." The Jedi called on ancient calming techniques and counted to 10. "Anything else?" "Oh…he said the bounty hunter who hired him came from Nemo." "No I didn’t I said Cameeno!" Anakin looked back to where the figure had been standing and saw that he was back. "I thought you had left." "Look, just tell the Jedi!" "Alright, he says Lemeeno!" "Cameeno! Jeez! And you’re a pilot?!" Glaring at the specter, Anakin repeated the system’s name. "You can see him?" "Yeah." "Has he got anything else to tell me?" "Yes, tell him you’re an idiot!" "No, that was all he wanted to say." "Jerk." Obi-Wan looked thoughtful and scratched his beard. The ghost of the assassin made a rude gesture and departed. Previous Chapter, Table of Contents, Next Chapter

DeathTalker: Chapter 3

Senator Amedala yawned sleepily. "Hello R2, hi Anakin." Anakin was watching so intently that he didn’t even notice the smug beeps from R2. Naboolian nightgowns were one of the fashions that Anakin actually followed. The Jedi poked the boy in the ribs. "The room!" Anakin looked around somewhat distractedly. "Very nice." Obi-Wan rolled his eyes. "Will the thermoptic sensor work?!" Anakin snapped out of it. "Lemme just hit the lights." Anakin snapped off the lights and R2 dutifully scanned a bit. Trying to keep his attention on the droid – Padme really did look nice in those sheets lying back with the moonlight spilling in from the window – Anakin watched R2 go through a few sweeps. "No problems with that corner?" "Bwop" "Well OK then. I could run a few more tests to up the sensitivity…" "Good night gentlemen." The senator flopped back down. Obi-Wan pushed Anakin out of the room. Padme chuckled a bit and stared thoughtfully at the ceiling. Arriving back in the sitting area, Anakin was hoping for a quick exit when Obi-Wan broke in. "Since you are here, I was wondering if we might chat for a bit." "(Crap)" Anakin turned to him and tried to put a brave face on the situation. "Umm…shouldn’t you be watching the monitors or something?" "Actually, the Force allows me to sense what is going on in that room from here." "Really?" "Yes, but it requires a great deal of training to be able to do that." "What? Oh, right… Just one of things I missed out on when I decided not to become a Jedi." Obi-Wan smiled ruefully. "Yes, I know Qui-Gon wanted me to become a Jedi, but it was my choice. I’m sure he would have understood." "Yes, yes, we’ve been through that. I just wish I had been a bit more…persuasive." Obi-Wan looked off into the distance. "You’re a good man Obi-Wan, and a good Jedi. Besides I’m happy with my life – I get to pilot and tinker to my hearts content. Every now and then I even fix things!" The two of them chuckled together. "You’re a pretty good man yourself Anakin. I’m sure Qui-Gon would be proud of us both." The two men stood in silence for a while. As Anakin remembered Qui-Gon, he could almost see him, standing beside Obi-Wan. Dressed in the simple robes of the Jedi, he had a quiet look of confidence that he always seemed to posses. But something was wrong. Despite Anakin’s feelings of the moment, Qui-Gon was frowning. "I wanted you to become a Jedi!" Anakin cocked his head sideways. "What?" "You heard me!" "What is it Anakin?" "What?" "And you just ignored me!" "Huh?" "Anakin!" The young man looked back at Obi-Wan, then to where Qui-Gon was standing, or at least where he had been standing. "Why don’t you get some sleep?" "Umm…yeah, sleep…" As the two men were talking, a small droid pulled up to the window outside where Padme was sleeping. Soundlessly, it emitted a field that dampened the external sensors, and then cut through the window. The droid opened a small hatch and deposited two strange worm-like creatures into the room. "Braaaaap!" "R2!" Anakin and Obi-Wan raced into the senator’s quarters. Obi-Wan drew his light saber and neatly diced the poisonous worms. "You’re alright!" "So am *I*" Anakin rose from R2’s side and grinned sheepishly. "Yeah…I was just going to check on you, your er…senatorness…er…" "Look" Padme pointed to the window where the droid was pulling away. "Let me grab a tracking device! I’m sure we can…" Obi-Wan crashed through the window and grabbed the droid. The two flew off into the night. "I suppose that works too…" "Shouldn’t you try to help him?" "R2 is fine." "I meant Obi-Wan." "Oh…good idea!" Anakin raced towards the door and then seemed to think of something. "R2!" "Beep?" "Guard the princess!" "Bwraapp" Anakin dashed off. "Senator…whatever…" Obi-Wan clutched the assassin droid fiercely. "Ha! Gotcha!" The droid swung about, trying to dislodge the Jedi. Obi-Wan noticed that he was a long way from the ground. "Oh my…" Anakin arrived at the top of the building. He ran to a speeder and jumped in. After a moment’s thought he got out and jumped into a speeder near the first one. With a roar, the speeder took off. At that moment, Anakin realized he didn’t know which direction the droid had gone. Obi-Wan considered his options. He could use his lightsaber, but that would involve a long drop. He could also try using his communicator, but that also involved meeting the pavement. As he was mulling things over, the droid headed towards a building, nearly dislodging the Jedi. "(OK, maybe this hadn’t been such a good idea after all…)" Anakin sped off in a random direction, dodging to avoid traffic. Just then the speeder’s comm system beeped. "Speeder THX1138, what the hell are you doing?" Anakin looked nervous, but then his face brightened. Hitting the communicator, he put on his best drill sergeant voice. "This is speeder THX1138, in pursuit of assassin droid who just tried to kill senator Amadala; I’m assisting Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, who the hell is this?" "Oh! Sorry!" "Sorry?!!" "Sorry sir! This is Corscant ground control! We are monitoring the situation! There is a target heading North West, 500m from your position, at high speed sir!" "Right!" Anakin swerved, causing several other travelers to dodge and fling insults his way. Realizing that for once in his life he did not have to answer to ground control, Anakin grinned like a shark entering the kiddies’ wadding pool. At the same time that Anakin was closing on the droid, Obi-Wan was eying nearby buildings in the hopes of finding one that he could jump to. As fortune would have it, a blaster bolt chose that moment to hit the droid, destroying it. "Not good…" Obi-Wan plummeted towards the ground. Previous Chapter, Table of Contents, Next Chapter

DeathTalker: Chapter 2

"What are you doing in that uniform?!" Anakin turned and gave a plaintive look at Capt. Banaka. The security chief emerged from the door to Padme’s quarters, glancing about at the guards. "I didn’t bring a dress uniform. And this was the only one that fit!" Banaka gave him a sharp look and continued surveying the area. "And you couldn’t even get a navy uniform?" "It was short notice! I can always go back and…" "Never mind that. Let me know if you sense anything." "Well I’ll try but these impulses tend to come on short notice and…" Banaka ignored his reply and spoke into a communicator. "All clear." The door opened again and sen. Amadala emerged. This time she was dressed the part of a planetary representative. "Senator." "At ease Anakin." Her brow furrowed. "Aren’t you in the Coast Guard?" Anakin was about to explain when the captain broke in. "We should go. The Supreme Chancellor is expecting us." The retinue swept down the hallway and into a transport. Anakin stood uncertainly before the hatch. "C’mon." Banaka said impatiently. "Oh, uh, right…" Padme moved to the side and Anakin got onboard. "Did he say the Supreme Chancellor?" Padme smiled up at him and Banaka rolled his eyes. "My, you’ve certainly grown." Amadala and her retinue were ushered into Supreme Chancellor Palpatine’s office. Apparently he had been meeting with the Jedi, as there were some senior members there when Padme’s party arrived. Anakin had grown increasingly uncomfortable after arriving at the office of the galactic leader. It seemed like he was seeing things every time he turned his head. Mostly dark, indistinct, vaguely man-like forms that disappeared when he gave them a second look. "Shadows" were what he had called them when younger, he hadn’t felt this way in years. As the group entered Palpatine’s office, Anakin heard Yoda’s distinctive voice and stumbled on the carpet. "Senator Amadala! Your tragedy at the landing platform; terrible. Seeing you alive brings warm feelings to my heart." His glance took in Anakin and one of his ears twisted slightly. "And young Skywalker! Much taller, now, then at our last meeting, you are!" "I want to know who is trying to kill me." "Our intelligence points to disgruntled spice miners on one of the moons of Naboo." That last bit was spoken by Mace Windu, who came to stand next to Yoda. The two of them made an odd pair with Mace being so much taller than the older Jedi master. "I think that Count Duku is behind these assassination attempts." As Padme and the Jedi talked some more, Anakin’s attention was drawn to the Supreme Chancellor. While Palpatine’s attention was focused on Padme and her discussion with the Jedi, he was surrounded by four advisors of some sort. Oddly, their attention seemed focused on Anakin. "Are you sure that’s wise? In these stressful times…" It seemed that the Supreme Chancellor wanted the Jedi to assign some protection for Amadala. "An old friend perhaps? Master Kenobi?" One of the men standing next to Palpatine glanced sharply at the Supreme Chancellor. "If the Jedi assign someone to her, she would be very well protected." His voice was very strange. It seemed like it was barely above a whisper, yet it carried throughout the room. "That’s possible, he just came back from a border dispute." Senator Amadala looked doubtful. "Do it for me m’lady. The thought of losing you is…unbearable." Despite the fact that Palpatine looked sincere, one of his advisors smirked. "Then it’s settled. I’ll have master Kenobi report to you immediately." As Padme and the rest left the chamber, Anakin could hear the same advisor’s voice. "I hope you know what your doing…" Anakin was a bit self-conscious around the Jedi, but they seemed to barely realize that he was alive. As he got on the shuttle to head back to the senator’s quarters, he felt a certain tension leave him. That whole "chosen one" crap had always been annoying. "Capt. Banaka. Will you be needing me any longer with the Jedi helping with security?" "No, I think with a Jedi Knight watching over the senator we should be fine. Thanks for your help." "Don’t you want to see Obi-Wan? I know he would probably want to see you." Anakin sighed. While he had once wanted to become a Jedi, that dream had been from long ago. Obi-Wan’s infrequent visits, his questions and the invariable lack of anything interesting in his life seemed to frustrate the Jedi somewhat. Anakin now regarded his visits as a child would at the appearance of an honored but annoying relative. "Of course m’lady. I’ll stay to greet master Obi-Wan." "Anni!" Anakin was almost bowled over by Jar-Jar Binks as the Gungen happily greeted him. He had just stepped out of the elevator where Anakin was waiting for a hopefully short visit with Obi-Wan Kenobi. "Hello Jar-Jar, nice to see you too." How anyone could have made Jar-Jar a representative was completely beyond Anakin’s understanding. "Who’s that with you?" The Gungan swiveled his short eye-stalks and looked behind him. "Whaaaa? Meesa by myself." Dammit, these shadows are getting out of hand… "Sorry I just thought…" "Meesa curious – what might you be doing here?" "Oh, I’m helping out with security." Jar-jar scratched his head. "Isa thought you’n be piloting these days." "I am but…it’s a long story." The elevator door opened again and Jar-Jar pounced on its occupant. "Obi!" "Hello Jar-Jar!" The two greeted each other as Anakin tried to fade into the background. "Anakin? What are you doing here?" "Oh, hello Obi-Wan. I’m sort of helping out with security." "I thought you were in the navy." "I am. I came with the senator’s escort when the transport exploded." "Nasty business that." "You’re telling me? My fighter is going to have to spend 3 days in the shop because of some shrapnel." "Looky, looky senator! Heresa Jedi!" "We’ll talk later, stick around." Anakin sagged as Padme swept into the room and greeted Obi-Wan. The two exchanged pleasantries and chatted for a bit. Anakin did not catch much of the conversation, as he was staring at Padme. As she got up and left the room, Anakin stared at her retreating back. "I know I’ll feel better now that you are here. The situation is far more dangerous than the senator will admit." "What sort of security arrangements do you have here?" The two started in about various precautions, devices and whatnot. Anakin was lost in his own thoughts when one he was roused by one of the two saying something. "Too bad we don’t have a thermoptic sensor." "Oh, I have one of those on R2 so he can look for minocs on the ship." "And it works?" "Of course! Sometimes I use it to help clean out vermin in the hanger bay." Anakin beamed proudly at the other two. After a moment he said uncertainly "I really need him to help repair my fighter." Obi-Wan and Banaka continued to stare at him. Anakin deflated a bit: "Of course he is at your service to help with the senator." The two men smiled at the pilot: "I’ll bring him by in a few hours" Anakin said grumpily, wishing he had kept his mouth shut. Obi-Wan slapped him on the back and Anakin smiled sheepishly. At least he would get to see Padme again. Anakin stood in the elevator with R2 as they arrived back at the Senator’s apartment. "Beep-beep-beeeeep!" Anakin rolled his eyes. "It’s just for security, it is not because she likes you better." "Beee-da-beee-da-beeeee-daaaaa!" "Is not!" The door opened, revealing Obi-Wan. The Jedi looked down. "Ah! R2! Good, you’ve arrived!" "I’m here too." "Of course Anakin!" R2 rolled into the apartment, beeping happily. "Now then…how does it…work?" "Well, it’s easily really. That main sensor on R2 there is a little different than most droids – though it looks pretty similar it collects additional data. The whole thing goes into his main sensor area." "So there’s nothing out of the ordinary I need to do with him to get the therm-optic sensor online?" "No, not at all! Now let me tell you about some of the changes that I made to get this working, some of it is really interesting…" Obi-Wan broke in somewhat hurriedly, putting his hand on Anakin’s shoulder: "Oh, I sure that wont be necessary! R2 and I will manage!" R2 beeped a confirmation and Anakin glared at him. "Alright, alright. Let me just make sure the room doesn’t require any additional adjustments." Obi-Wan frowned. "Are you sure that’s necessary?" "Yeah, you’d be surprised – there are some weird aspects relating to geometry that affects thermoptics." "Well, it’s just that Padme is in her bedroom right at the moment, sleeping…" Anakin’s face lit up. "Oh I’ll be very quiet! I promise!" Obi-Wan glared at him: "Let me just let her know so she can put something on." Anakin’s face fell. Previous Chapter, Table of Contents, Next Chapter

DeathTalker: Chapter 1

Obi-Wan and Yoda left the chamber. Obi-Wan walked tall, looking about and smiling. Yoda seemed lost in though, his form bent, staring at the ground as he walked. Rounding a corner, Obi-Wan collided with Anakin, who had been running in the other direction. The boy bounced off of Obi-Wan, landing on his back and staring up at the new Jedi Knight. "Whoa there Anakin! What’s the hurry?" Anakin stared up at Obi-Won, his face drawn into a look of fear that only a child can have. He was silent for a second and then blurted out: "I’m staying on Naboo!" "You can’t stay on Naboo, you need to come with me to Coruscant." "I’m not going to Coruscant!" "But that’s where the Jedi Academy is." "I’m not going to become a Jedi!" "Yes you are! I promised Qui-Gon that I’d train you!" Anakin leapt to his feet and backed away. As Obi-Wan advanced on him, Anakin’s back hit the wall behind him. He inched along the wall. "I wont let you hurt me, I’m not going to kill anyone and I’m not going to be called Darth!" Kneeling in front of the boy Obi-Won held Anakin by the shoulders. "What are you talking about? What’s gotten into you?!" "Where heard you this word, ‘Darth?’" Momentarily forgotten by the two, Yoda glanced up at Anakin, as if he had been mulling something over. Obi-Wan looked over at Yoda. During this distraction, Anakin wrenched himself free of Obi’s grasp and bounded away, running around the corner. "Anakin!" Obi-Won was about to follow when Yoda’s "staff" cut off his pursuit. "Patience Obi-Won. Until calm, he is, talking, useless, will be." Now exasperated, Obi-Won glanced down at Yoda, looked at the corner around which Anakin had dashed, sighed, and then sagged a bit. "Yes master." "Calm you must be, as well." "Yes master." "His own decision, must he make." "But it was Qui-Gon’s dying wish!" "Never the less, train him, you cannot, if consent, he will not." "Assuming he doesn’t change his mind by dinner." As it turned out, Anakin did not change his mind by dinnertime; or even the next morning. As the person responsible for destroying the droid control ship, as well as being instrumental in helping the queen leave Tatooine, Anakin had become a planetary hero to the people of Naboo literally overnight. His request to remain was met with joy, and a further request to free his mother was the source of celebration. Obi-Wan’s repeated attempts to talk to Anakin were met with fear at first, and later a determined rejection. Not even offering to have someone else train him would change Anakin’s mind. While Obi-Wan relented in his attempts to change Anakin’s mind, he did insist on keeping track of the boy. This Yoda readily agreed to since the Jedi council wanted to keep an eye on this possible "chosen one" anyways. Obi-Wan was at first exasperated by the change in events, but, as it became clear that Anakin was not going to become a Jedi, he resigned himself to the situation. Yoda, on the other hand, seemed greatly relieved – the vague threats that he had seen as a result of Anakin’s training had disappeared. In their place, however, he sensed something else. A gathering storm. In any case, there was still the mystery of the Sith Lord to be resolved, as well as increasing problems in the Senate. Obi-Wan managed 5 visits in the first year, but after it became clear that Anakin was staying, he gradually dropped by less and less. 10 years after first meeting him, Obi-Won had only been by once in the last year. While Anakin still seemed to have the lightning reflexes that were a result of his strong affinity for the Force, he did not seem to display any other Jedi abilities. At least as far as Obi-Won could tell… Anakin drummed his finger impatiently on the helmet sitting on the crate in front of him. The other members of the squad were standing around, chatting with the techs or looking over their fighters. Turning to R2, Anakin addressed the astro-mech. "How long has it been?" Beep-badda-weep-weep! "You’re always in such a hurry!" Glancing over at his wingman, Anakin did a double take. For just a second, it seemed like someone was standing behind Lance. When he had been younger, it seemed like he had seen them more, but the doctors at the time attributed it to an over-active imagination. Anakin smiled ruefully. "Yeah, I guess you’re right. Just seems like everything is screwed up today. First they want us to launch a full patrol on the double, then they tell us to wait, then launch, then wait…what the heck is going on around here?! I mean, all I want to do is try out a few modifications I made to my fighter and then…" "Brap-nud-beep" "Now don’t you start with that R2. It’s just a few changes." "Weep-nap-noop!" "Is too!" Interrupting the two, Anakin’s burly wingman spoke up. "Fascinating. I personally would prefer to drop by the admin area and discuss the new formations with that lieutenant." Anakin rolled his eyes. "The only ‘formation’ you want to discuss with her involves…" "Red squadron, launch immediately! Red squadron, to your craft!" The loudspeaker hat cut them off in mid-gossip. The two men glanced at each other and then hurried over to their fighters. As the sleek craft powered up and began to leave the hanger, Anakin’s wingman chimed in again. "Now remember what the tower chief said about using your afterburners in the hanger…" He was cut off as Anakin’s fighter leapt into the sky, scattering some nearby crates and causing a nearby tech to dash for cover. Doing that never seemed to get old. Anakin grinned happily as he flew away. He always felt so free and alive when he was in the cockpit! Swooshing about he tested the new accelerators he had installed, satisfied that nothing was going to explode…at least for the moment. "Red 3, get back in formation!" "There goes Capt. Belsharon again." With some resignation, he looped around back and joined the others. "And turn on your sensors! How you manage to do that without…" Anakin turned down the volume and snapped on the radar. He couldn’t explain it either; he just knew where everyone was. Experienced pilots could do something similar, but Anakin was by the far the youngest and most gifted aviator in the ranks. But he did set his officer’s teeth on edge. "Hey, can we hit the practice range after the sweep, I’d like to try out…" "We’ll see Red 3. OK, form up and survey points alpha, beta and delta. Use frequency oh nine thirty during…" Blah, blah, blah. Same stuff that they had been through a hundred times. In mid-blather, however, the Capt. stopped talking. "Red 1, say again please." "Stand by wing." A few minutes passed as the group left the atmosphere and entered the blackness of space. "Alright pilots, change of plan. Head to point omega and rendezvous with craft and assume escort." "Escort to where?" "Orders will be given after rendezvous, in the meantime, maintain radio silence." Could the day get any stranger? When the wing arrived at the rendezvous point, there was nothing there. What a surprise. After about 5 minutes, however, a Nabooian cruiser showed up, already accompanied by a fighter wing. Anakin rubbed his face. "Yellow 1 and 2 from fighter escort will accompany Red 3 and 4 to point iota. Myself and Red 2 will replace Yellows 1 and 2 and accompany transport to destination." "Yes sir. Any other fire drills you want us to run while we’re at it?" The last bit Anakin managed to grumble under his breath. "Red 3 has the lead." Two of the fighters from the cruiser peeled away as Anakin and his wingman broke off to head for the other point. "OK, form up on my wing." The transport and the other 4 fighters headed off to wherever they were going. As Anakin and the rest headed to the rendezvous point, it seemed like one of the new pilots was a bit sloppy. "Tighten up yellow 2 – where’d you learn to fly that thing?" "Ummm…sorry sir, this is my first assignment." "(Great, a rookie). Either of you guys know what the heck is going on today." "Negative Red 3, other than that we are to keep comm. traffic to a minimum." "(And a rules lawyer). Rodger that, over and out." The four of them arrived at the second point where an identical cruiser waited for them. "Naboo transport, this is Red 3. We have been ordered to accompany you. What is our destination." "Rodger escort wing. Destination: Corsant. Form up and prepare to jump on my mark." OK, the day just got stranger. Anakin glanced nervously at his instruments. "Umm…R2? How are those mods to the stabilizers holding up? I’d hate to hold up this little outing because of…" "Mark!" The transport entered hyperspace, followed immediately by the fighters. Anakin grinned as the engines performed flawlessly. It’s the little things that count. The approach and arrival at Corsant were rather routine, though the operators in the area seemed a bit tense for some reason. It was only as the ships were touching down that Anakin realized who they were escorting. "Welcome to Corsant, Senator Amidala." "Padme?" Anakin glanced over at the transport as his ship touched down. He was about to dash over to the transport when he noticed the rookie touch down hard enough to cause the platform to bounce a bit. Gritting his teeth, he walked deliberately over to the fighter. "Look, I don’t know who approved having you escort the Senator, but if you ask me you barely belong in a flight suit! When we get back…" "That’s enough pilot." Looking behind him, Anakin recognized security chief Banaka. "Tie? Er…I mean Capt. Banaka! Your pardon, but what the heck are we using a rookie for…LOOKOUT!" Anakin grabbed the other pilot and hit the deck. An instant later a loud explosion threw the Capt. to the ground as well. Several other explosions shook the platform before Anakin could look up. Desperately searching the wreckage, he made out the prone and bloody form of the Senator. "Padme!" Running to her side, Anakin knelt and gingerly turned the body over. Immediately, there was someone else on her other side; then Capt. Banaka shoved Anakin out of the way. "Corday!" Anakin was about to jump up and shove back when he glanced up at the other person. Either she was a spitting image for the Senator or… "I have failed you senator…so sorry…" Anakin glanced back and forth between the prone form and Padme, attired in a pilot’s outfit. Capt. Banaka was now trying to coax Padme up. "We are still in danger here!" Anakin and Padme go to their feet. Somewhat sheepishly, Anakin drew his sidearm and glanced about, looking for any would-be assassins. "Beep-wedal-beep!" R2 had activated a shuttle and was by the open door. "Your highness please!" "Come on Padme, we have to go." Anakin gently took her arm and led her towards the transport. The three of them boarded the shuttle along with R2. Padme looked back at the platform as they sped away, then glanced at Anakin, peering at him as if she had just noticed him. "Annie?" "Padme!" "Beeweep!" Glancing down, Padme’s face lit up. "R2!" "Padme!" "Anakin!" "Cut that out!" The last was snapped by Banaka, who glared at Anakin. "And put that blaster away." Anakin complied as Banaka followed suit and ran a hand through his hair. He returned his gaze to Anakin. "How did you know the ship was about to blow?" "I…I…just did." Anakin’s face flushed. "Umm…I’m force sensitive you see, in fact I was going to become a Jedi…" "It’s OK Tie, he’s telling the truth. The Jedi will vouch for him." Capt. Banaka looked at Padme with a raised eyebrow. She turned her attention back to Anakin. "Thank you." "Of course." Banaka glanced at Anakin thoughtfully. "Has that ever happened before?" "Well, no. I don’t see transports explode every day." "I mean that warning you had." "Well yes…" "Is it reliable?" "Uh…yeah, most of the time…probably…sort of…" The transport can to a stop. With a start Anakin recognized the building that the Queen had used on her last visit to Corsant. "Alright, go get cleaned up and report back to me in 30min." "But…but…" Banaka turned to the senator as if Anakin had been switched off. The door to the transport opened and Padme and the captain left. "Beep?" Still staring in the direction that Padme had gone, Anakin did not respond at once. "Burp-badda-eep?" "What? Of course she was glad to see me!" "Oopa-boopa…" "Don’t give me that you self-centered tin can! And to think of all those adjustments I made for you!" The astromech seemed to be concentrating on giving directions to the transport as the craft lurched forward and headed off to the pilots’ quarters. "Noopa, boopa, oop-oop." "Are you sure?" "Brap." Anakin glowered at R2 as the transport sped away. Table of Contents, Next Chapter