Tuesday, November 27, 2007

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

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