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Complete Detachment (Star Wars Prequel SI)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by 9adam4, Feb 1, 2019.

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  1. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Thank you. Fixed.
     
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  2. Kandagger

    Kandagger Making the rounds.

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    *cackles in Sith*

    Good...Good...

    *continues cackling in Sith*
     
  3. Threadmarks: Ch. 12 - Fear and Guilt
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    “You wanted to see me, Senator?” I strode into Palpatine’s office, working hard to keep my mind in the present when it had a dozen places it would rather be.

    “Yes, mister Kenobi. Thank you for joining me; please have a seat.”

    I eased lightly onto the edge of one of the chairs facing Palpatine's small desk, ornately angular in the Nabooan style. I was emotionally exhausted from my interrogation by the Jedi Council, and it was difficult for me to open myself up enough to feel his calm concern.

    “I was informed that the committee was attacked by an unknown assailant on Malastare, and one Jedi guard was the only survivor. Is that true?” He wrung his hands together as he looked to me, silently hoping I would contradict his account.

    “That is true,” I related gravely. “A Padawan learner was deliberately left alive to inform the Jedi of what had happened. It was a Sith assassin.”

    “Are you certain?” I could feel the fear and confusion from him strongly. “The last Sith was defeated a thousand years ago, were they not?”

    “It would appear they were not.” I thought about Siri, alone on the Republic diplomatic transport with a hired crew and her nightmares. If I opened myself fully, I knew that I would still sense her grief: a hot brand too far away to sear, but close and bright enough to leave an afterimage. “Was that what you needed, Senator? I’m sorry, but I can confirm your reports are accurate.” I made to stand.

    Palpatine frowned, and I could feel the compassion coming out from him toward me. He raised a hand and gestured for me to keep my seat. “I wanted to privately discuss with you the outcome of the day’s deliberation in the Senate. This is most unfortunate.” His eyes lowered to his desk, checking over notes on a console. “We managed to get the Trade Federation to commit that staggering surety, and to tie liability for the intervention to the source of the incident. But we agreed to defer the intervention vote until after the commission report.” He looked up at me defensively as I frowned. “We thought it was a coup for us; the Trade Federation was expecting that forming and sending the commission would take weeks, while we knew that the delegates would be back with their report by this time tomorrow.”

    “Only now,” I restated the obvious, “the report isn’t coming. At all.”

    “... and so I fear that the Queen will be returning to Naboo, intending to take matters into her own hands.”

    I nodded; this was a scenario I was already quite familiar with. “Thank you for informing me, sir.”

    “Obi-wan,” he leaned forward, earnest. “I beg you, if Padme returns to Naboo, don’t let her return alone. She is in grave danger.” The fear that I sensed from him had Padme firmly in the center. He had concern for his people, surely, but moreso for the newly-elected queen that I could tell he already considered a friend. I did, too, for that matter.

    I stood. “Senator, you can be assured that Padme Amidala’s safety is a priority.”

    The old man stood, too, and came around his desk to shake my hand. He placed his left hand on my shoulder at the same time, suggesting if not quite completing a hug. “Thank you, my young friend. And thank you for lending your talents to matters of state as well. So many young Jedi consider it beneath them.”

    I nodded. “How goes preparations for the ‘house cleaning’?” Another matter I had brought to Sheev for help, and one he had taken to just as enthusiastically.

    “Nearly there. It may be done by the time you return from Naboo.” There was an unsaid “if” in there, and I appreciated that he didn’t say it.

    I thanked him, and left to make other preparations.

    The tangle of shadowy contacts and seedy bars that made up the next three hours of my life did nothing to help my mounting mental exhaustion. By the time I returned to my chambers in the temple, I hardly managed ten minutes of meditation before I was sound asleep.

    “Your slovenly habits reflect poorly on me, Padawan.” I opened an eye to the morning and my Jedi Master, who leaned against the doorway to my chambers wearing his enigmatic half-smile.

    I looked down at my pallet, realizing I hadn’t removed my boots before collapsing from meditation into bed the night before. “Sorry, Master. Yesterday was a long day.”

    “Hungover?” he asked, only half-serious, and accepted my confused denial. “You spent yesterday evening moving around the… less savory.... sectors of Coruscant. I will admit, I had thought if you wanted to go carousing you’d choose an evening in with Miss Skywalker.”

    My Master followed me as I stripped and headed down the hall to get a shower. “Making preparations, Master. Now that we know who our enemy is -”

    “We know what our enemy’s weapon looks like. We still have no idea who our enemy is.” From the echoing sound of his voice, he at least was doing me the courtesy of staying around the corner from the shower chamber itself.

    “That is an interesting perspective.” I raised my voice to make sure I would be heard over the water. “If my Master were here, though, I’m sure he’d point out that no life is a means to an end; each must be regarded as an end in itself.”

    “And if my student were here, he would point out the difference between our own beliefs, and understanding the beliefs of our adversaries,” he replied softly. How could I always hear him, even over other sounds, and he never seemed to be yelling or even speaking louder? A useful Force trick, if that’s what it was.

    I wrung the water out of my braid as I moved back to my room. “A wise student,” I shot. “But, yes, I was making plans and spending money with morally questionable and socially undesirable individuals. After my grilling at the hands of the Council, it was a far less dangerous use of my time.”

    “You're not going to share the details?”

    As I fastened some of my supplies in extra pockets and pouches in my clean robes, I looked up to see the dour expression on his face. I sat down and focused on him. “Master, in this case, I am trying to forget the details. Or at least keep them out of the forefront of my mind.” I waited for his response, but he gave me a look at invited me to explain. “Very few individuals knew about the Naboo investigation committee, and yet, Darth Maul found them on Malastare during the one window they were most vulnerable to attack.”

    “You have been saying for some time that the Sith must have information sources in the Senate,” Qui-Gon pointed out. Any number of Valorum’s aides knew, and those of the other Senators you brought in to help. Not to mention Jedi functionaries arranging details with Adi -”

    Qui-Gon cut himself off as he sensed my pain and guilt at the name. Compassion poured out toward me in a flood; I closed myself to it.

    “Any number of those sources are possible, yes. But with my visions of Darth Maul accessible again, I am struck by how many successes we are shown having by improvisation and luck, and how many failures when things play out according to plans. Come with me, please?”

    He stayed apace with me easily despite my rapid stride. Well, he was taller. “I question your wisdom, Padawan,” he said. “You determine that plans are failing, and yet we succeed by the Force alone.” Qui-Gon’s tone with those words was happy, satisfied. “And you respond by making even more plans? Why not accept the Will of the Living Force?”

    We exited the temple, moving to a nearby platform. I tapped my wrist com and we waited. “I conclude that the Sith are looking farther ahead, or otherwise able to see the shape of coming events. So, instead of a big plan, I'm setting different pieces in motion.”

    Qui-Gon squared himself to me as we stepped on an approaching platform. “Answer my question, Obi-wan. The Living Force guides us to defeat Darth Maul, to save Naboo. Why will you not give over to it?”

    I looked up at him, but I couldn't see him in front of me. All I could see was the look of loss, of weary defeat, as a red blade penetrate his torso. The sharp-toothed grin of a red-faced lunatic. I turned away from him, centering my focus on a distant building, willing the scene banished.

    “You blame yourself for Adi Gallia's death,” Qui-Gon breathed as he stood over me on the rapidly sinking float transport. “You think of her, and your heart turns Dark. You are in danger, Obi-wan.”

    “No, Qui-Gon. You are in danger,” I spat.

    We exited the pallet, and I palmed the scan-lock on the front entrance to the range complex. We walked in silence down stairs to the correct floor, where I inserted my coded key and entered the number sequence.

    “That's where you're wrong,” Qui-Gon said softly as the door unsealed. “I am a part of the Force, and all you have seen is that I rejoin it fully. That future holds no terror for me.”

    “You can stop dwelling on that future, because it isn't happening,” I muttered, barreling my way to my ‘war chest.’

    “What are those?” Qui-Gon pointed.

    “Customized sniper blasters,” I answered while reaching below one of my special armaments and carefully placing a case of microexplosives off to one side. “I own a minority interest in BlasTech; consulting with them is where most of my operating funds come from. Amazing how useful you can be to a weapons company when you've seen what models everyone uses in which conflicts, decades in advance.”

    I pulled out the thick, almost rubberized material and shook it into its shape - a sleeved shirt. “Put this on, please.”

    Qui-Gon took the shirt at arm's length, regarding it like I had handed him a dead animal. “What is it?”

    “Armor. Please put it on, right next to your skin.” I briefly checked the second shirt, which was sized to my smaller frame, and replaced it with the other contents of the chest. Getting a third of those for Anakin in a few years would be just as hard as acquiring the first two, but it would mean that I had kept Qui-Gon alive. Worth it.

    The look my Master gave me told me that his patience was nearly gone. He quickly unfastened his robe and doffed his tunic, flashing a chest with a prominent burn mark and a fading scar along his right side. The armor clung oddly as he inched it down his torso, requiring numerous tugs to get into place, and I could sense his discomfort with the sleeves as they clung to his shoulders and elbows when he tried bending them.

    I had no intent to harm my Master, which is why he had no precognitive warning as I plunged my activated lightsaber directly through the center of his chest. He looked on in surprise as the blue plasma bunched against the armor, spreading out and vanishing with a loud clap as the blade shorted out.

    “Cortosis weave,” I said, opening up my saber’s hilt to make sure the crystal hadn't been damaged by my demonstration. “Made from a very rare metal. It disperses the containment energy of a blaster bolt, and shorts out a lightsaber.” I activated my weapon, letting it flicker and sputter for a couple of seconds before re-initializing.

    “Very impressive,” Qui-Gon opined. “Thank you, Obi-wan. It is a unique gift, and it expresses your concern for me in a tangible way.”

    I nodded, pleased. “You're welcome, Master.”

    “I'm afraid I can't wear it.” He pulled it off with both hands, shaking it out and extending it to me.

    “You certainly can. I will be,” I pointed out. I didn't reach to take back the shirt.

    “That is your choice. Mine is to trust in the Force to protect me. Wearing that,” he nodded to it as though it were already a mile away from him, “would undermine what I believe, and what I have been trying to teach you.”

    “I see it in my head, you being run through,” I mused, eerily calm. “Now that I remember, it keeps coming up. I see it again and again.”

    “Saving me doesn't save Adi,” Qui-Gon said softly.

    I snatched the shirt and folded it. “No, but it might save Anakin.”

    As I replaced my devices and locked the box, my Master replied, “Only Anakin can save Anakin.” He caught my eyes and I shook my head. “No, truly. Listen, I am not intending to die. And if I survive Naboo, then you and I will work together in Anakin's instruction. But in the end, whatever changes you make to his life and whatever differing ideas you teach him, he will confront the Dark Side, and he will make a choice. His choice.”

    I sighed, moving toward the door of the range. Qui-Gon stopped me and said, “Adi also made a choice, taking on a mission she believed in and knew was dangerous. And I have made my own choice about defending Naboo and confronting the Sith. Don't burden yourself with the choices of others, Obi-wan. Focus on making your own.”

    “Yes, Master,” was all I could think to reply.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019
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  4. manzino

    manzino Getting sticky.

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    does he have any other memories of his previous life
     
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  5. MrHam31

    MrHam31 Getting sticky.

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    Scenes with Palpatine makes me want to tear my hair out. He needs to invest in a tactical droid, or coordinate with a non Force sensitive since he's already compromised. But he's probably too far gone.

    Fucking Shroud. I don't know much about it but can't the Jedi Council collectively meditate to try and disperse it or something?
     
  6. Belenus

    Belenus Not too sore, are you?

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    They've been trying. It was the third sith master before Palpatine who created it, and the Jedi have been trying to push it away ever since. Part of the problem is that the Sith adapted very well to the new reality of things post-Ruusan, and have taken to using the Jedi's strength against them. Every time the Jedi use force against darksiders, it just reinforces the dark side, that was the entire purpose of the Clone Wars. I imagine if the Jedi could accept that the Dark Side was natural (note that natural does not mean good or healthy), they could address the problem more effectively.
     
  7. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    I'm not sure I understand the question. Are you asking what memories Ben has of Adam's life on Earth? Or of Ben's childhood before he woke up as Adam at age 18?

    I'm using the "standard" rules: Ben's memories (but not his skills) are overwritten by Adam's, and Adam keeps only his "purely mental" skills (primarily my lawyer training, speaking and arguing techniques, degrees in physics and mathematics, knowledge of fiction, and congenital sociopathy).

    I'm also roughly using a "character building" concept where if SI!Ben is noticeably better at something, it has to mean he neglected something else. This Ben is probably, like, the fifteenth best lightsaber fighter of the era rather than in the top five.
     
  8. Belenus

    Belenus Not too sore, are you?

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    You are taking into account that Obi-Wan only reached that level of skill at the end of the Clone Wars, right? In PM, he was skilled for a padawan, but nowhere near his future level. Maul should have wrecked Obi-Wan's face if it had come down to straight lightsaber ability.
     
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  9. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    That wasn't my understanding at all. Based on some of the stuff he had done along with Qui-Gon prior to Naboo, I was under the impression he was already considered an expert in Form III and competant in IV and V going into Phantom Menace.

    But a little Googling doesn't verify any of that. I'd appreciate the help if you can pinpoint any sources estimating Ben's skill level during this period. I'm not a stickler about canon - if it's appeared in any published source at any point, I'm good borrowing from it.
     
  10. Sceptic

    Sceptic Critical Irrationalist

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    You already mentioned the lawyer training :p
     
  11. Threadmarks: Ch. 13 - Master Windu, Part I
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Centered, with my emotions their most distant and the Force most present, I was touched by the beauty of the violet blade.

    Nineteen standard battle droids, five mobile Scorpion units, and a Titan armored anti-vehicle unit were deployed about the “field” - a cavernous chamber far enough under Coruscant's surface levels it had to be sealed against the pressure gradient. There had been a noticeable build-up to the flurry of activity that showed eight of the droids sliced through simultaneously - or so it appeared - by violet blurs in all directions. And while the Scorpions each managed to weather a handful of blows with electrified arms prepared to deflect a laser sword, they lacked the reaction time to counter Mace Windu’s ferocious, unpredictable assault.

    As pieces of the colossal Titan droid fell to the ground, Qui-Gon softly asked me, “Wasn't this prohibitively expensive, even for you?”

    I nodded towards the team of eight engineers frantically manipulating switches and keying commands at the x-wing-sized control center. “It was free for me. Those battle droids cost BCA a fortune, but you should have seen how they jumped at the chance. Master Jedi seldom attack under conditions where they can record data on it.”

    In fact, none of the Baktoid Combat Automata personnel showed the least consternation, despite the stern red lights now covering every status screen. Awe was the most common reaction, followed closely by energetic interest.

    The side conversation almost made me miss it: the moment when Master Windu's channel of passionate aggression dissipated. I had been expecting to sense it radiate outward as he raised his mental defenses: a shield against the Darkness. That didn't happen. Instead, those last flows of negative emotion were taken in by the mind of the warrior, and in moments were made an undetectable part of his larger psyche. It was as though he had some way of neutralizing their virulence, like a man digesting a meal of poison for nourishment.

    It made me briefly consider if Mace wouldn't be a better trainer for Anakin. I had known the boy for four days, and I could already tell that his talents and weaknesses were the opposite of my own. Whereas I sometimes dissociated from my surroundings so much as to lose the context of the moment, Anakin always felt everything around him. His connection to the Force was so strong that, while the world bent to his presence, he was also swept up in the world. And with this nature of almost “hyper-attachment,” I could entirely understand the Council’s concerns: how do you train such a person, with such thick and resilient spiritual connections, to entangle from them?

    But a quick mental survey of the practitioners of Windu's style, Vapaad, disabused me of the notion. Other than the Master himself, every other user of the technique that I could remember, past or future, was eventually corrupted by it. And the details of Windu's own eventual fate were shrouded from my memory like so many others, so it was possible even he eventually succumbed.

    I redirected my attention to the present as Master Windu approached our position, his saber blade already retracted. “As enjoyable as that was, young Kenobi, can I ask the point?” Even at his most composed, there was always something singularly forward about him; ferocity was latent in even his social and intellectual exchanges.

    “You have warned us, Master Windu, that there is no way to genuinely train with or against Vapaad. I wanted to observe a genuine use of the technique, so I could better understand what was missing when we spar.”

    “And this will help you against the Sith assassin, somehow?”

    I nodded. “You're the closest thing we have to a Juyo master; someone using the full strength and energy of the emotive Force in your technique.” I carefully avoided using the words ‘Dark Side,’ although that's what it really was. “I know it’s not the same as facing a Sith, but it might provide some insight. Might make a difference in the coming battle.”

    Windu grimaced. “I’m still not certain of the wisdom of sending you two into that battle. We have forewarning of Darth Maul; why not meet him with the full force of the order? A dozen of our best weapons masters.”

    Qui-Gon replied, “I am forced to agree with Obi-wan on this. Maul is more likely to flee than to engage if he senses a concerted group - more Jedi than he is certain he could handle. And that would leave him an unpredictable weapon pointed straight at our backs.”

    I bent to the case I had brought along with me and handed a training saber to Windu, whose special blade did not have a variable containment setting like many lightsabers. “Be assured, Master, that we are taking steps to prepare, but hopefully ones that Darth Maul will remain unaware of until he is committed to the fight.”

    We three positioned ourselves in a triangle two dozen meters to a side. The field was still littered with droid debris, and the BCA engineers stopped what they were doing to watch us.

    The hissing sounds of the lightsabers overlapped each other as three blades burned almost-white. I took an open tail guard, Qui-Gon a two-handed chest guard, and Mace a modified head guard in his off-hand.

    We inhaled as one, and we all moved together. Qui-Gon took to the air with a sweeping slash as Mace ran directly toward me, making a low attack that I only barely deflected into the ground. Sparks flew as Mace’s blade spun around to deflect my master’s downstroke while the Vapaad master struck out at my head with a fist. I was forced to jump back to dodge it, which allowed Mace a rapid set of overhand and side slashes at Qui-Gon before I was in reach to thread an opening.

    My instincts expected a moment’s recovery at the end of this exchange, but Mace followed up immediately, alternating between blade strikes and kicks in an oddly symmetric set of exchanges that kept Qui-Gon and me both off-balance. My Master took two steps back to prepare for another leaping charge as I put all my focus into a classic Form III routine of complicated blocks and guards. The hot, visceral emotions coming from my opponent were intoxicating, and it required a strong focus to not be drawn into them as I pressed forward with my rejoinders after each jarring deflection.

    For a moment it seemed as though my pressure was forcing Mace back, but I quickly realized he was dictating our movement in order to crowd Qui-Gon. I opened my guard into Form V to reposition… and Mace immediately punished me with a leg sweep that sent me sprawling.

    In the moments it took me to recover, Mace was already focusing his attacks on Qui-Gon, an unpredictable litany of blows that my Master dodged and blocked with difficulty. Mace’s one handed swings were a strength match for Qui-Gon’s two-handed blocks, driving my Master back and forcing him to pick his footing over the parts-strewn cavern.

    I covered a lateral arc of a quarter circle before diving forward with a graceful Form IV spinning attack. It was a ‘fatal’ mistake; I felt the sting on my right arm at the same time that my saber clattered to the ground. I stayed on the ground for the four additional seconds it took before Mace’s blade stopped at Qui-Gon's throat and my Master accepted his defeat.

    Master Windu helped me off the ground before handing me the practice blade. “Excellent composure, bladework, and footwork,” he said approvingly. “But your cleverness is your undoing.” He took a step back to include Qui-Gon in the discussion, but it was clear my own mentor agreed with him. “You analyze the circumstances of the fight, deliberating on your next move. A fight at this level must be reflexive; there is no time to think, no room to hesitate.”

    I nodded; it was a message my own Master had been telling me for years. The truth was that most of the time my opponents weren't fast enough to take advantage of my slight hesitation - probably no more than half a second - as I decided to change up my technique. But Maul certainly was. I needed to choose and train my strategies before our meeting, and not expect I could adjust them on the fly.

    “Thank you for your help,” I responded sincerely.

    Qui-Gon added, “This was a useful exercise, but we need to make sure that Anakin is prepared for his test this afternoon.”

    “The boy is too old,” Mace Windu insisted as we made our way to the pressurized lift.

    “Even so, you will save your judgment until you have tested him,” Qui-Gon responded, and it wasn't really a question.

    “Of course.”
     
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  12. MrHam31

    MrHam31 Getting sticky.

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    They're going to be cutting it too close... heh.

    But seriously, I wouldn't face Maul with that showing. Not that I expected them to beat Windu.

    I hope they have more time to practice.
     
  13. Threadmarks: Ch. 14 - Preparing Anakin
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    “One last session won’t hurt,” I insisted as we nodded to the guards flanking the massive front gates of the Jedi Temple. The complex as a whole sprawled across dozens of buildings, as massive vertically as horizontally, and made use of far more open space between buildings than much of Coruscant. There were several other entrances and exits, but coming in the main way was often most efficient, especially for accessing the higher-level spaces used for group training. “And I’m sure he’ll want to speak with me before he goes in.”

    “Very well,” Qui-Gon agreed. “I have been asked to join a discussion regarding yesterday’s attack on Malastare. Young Skywalker is expected in the Council chambers in just over an hour.” We exchanged nods as he headed off to meeting spaces on a lower level.

    I didn’t have to ask after Anakin, as his presence called out clearly to me from the library of all places. He was deep in discussion with a junior librarian, a small holo map of Mid and Outer Rim worlds floating in front of them.

    “... significant expansion of resources, just because of the time factors involved in traversing the hyperspace lanes.” The librarian, a human female no older than me, was clearly absorbed in the topic and her young questioner.

    “But the Republic has the resources, right? They can call on members to provide extra ships if needed.” Anakin stared intently at the holo, which marked out in colors what I took to be the spheres of influence of the Republic and other regional powers (notably the Pyke Syndicate and the Hutt).

    “That is their leverage, yes. But in practice, it takes a massive provocation for the Republic as a whole to mount a response,” the librarian explained. “The official Republic policy is for local conflicts to be handled locally, provided everyone follows certain rules. So rather than expecting the intervention of the Republic, planets seek protection among their trade allies and neighbors.”

    “And over time, the willingness of the Senate to overlook blatant violations of their own rules has increased,” I interjected. The librarian started, having not noticed my arrival, but the boy met me with a welcoming smile.

    The librarian nodded, shaking off her surprise. “That’s what some people have been saying, yes: that powers like the Trade Federation and the Syndicates have been emboldened by the Republic’s lack of decisive action. Some say this is natural, and reflects a shift in the balance of power toward trade interests and away from planetary governments. Others see it as a dangerous weakening of the Republic.”

    “If the Republic can’t protect the people of the galaxy the way they should,” Anakin spoke up, “then it is too weak. It’s not doing its job.”

    “Some say that the job of the Republic is just to protect planets from each other, not to interfere in how a planetary government treats its people,” the librarian pointed out.

    Anakin scowled. “That’s dumb,” he said after a moment’s thought. “Jedi Knights have gotta protect people from bad guys. If the Jedis work for the Republic, then it must be the Republic’s job.”

    The librarian didn’t have an immediate response to that, so she shrugged, gesturing in my direction. I took her hint. “We’re nearing the time for your examination, Anakin. Let’s find a place to prepare.”

    “Okay. Thanks, Trella,” the boy called happily as he climbed down off the too-high library chair.

    “Good luck, young man. I’ll record these queries under your library account. Anakin Skywalker, right?” She waved cheerily. “Come back soon and we’ll talk some more.”

    The Temple included many small chambers with a variety of cushions, mats, and chairs; it was easy for us to find a space to be alone. I saw Anakin's face wrinkle in distaste as I sat cross-legged on the ground, inviting him to do the same. His restless energy bounced around like a caged beast as he slowed his breathing, his eyes closed and palms open on his knees as I had taught him.

    “Center yourself,” I instructed, “and let the awareness of your body dim and fade, so that your pure mind can emerge. Picture you and me, our positions in this room. Let the room fade to nothing; let our bodies fade to nothing. Our luminous selves remain.”

    I followed my own instructions, the room disappearing under my closed eyes until the white-hot glow of Anakin’s mind dominated my senses. Behind, under, and through it flowed the Force of the planet, the lives and minds of billions of beings pulsing, swirling just at the edge even as Anakin - and a few other nearby powerful Jedi - stood out brightly and distinctly.

    “Reach your mind out, gently, and touch mine,” I instructed. I opened my mind up, pouring all of my discipline and training into diffusing and softening myself to allow for a connection.

    Anakin had made progress. The first time we tried this, I had brushed against his mind and he flinched inward, a ball of suspicion and remembered pain. Now I felt the ambient energy shift in a gradient between him and me as the ball of his senses distended, stretching, reaching toward me. I received it with the lightest possible touch, and felt his happiness at success. His mind pulsed it, waves of emotion rippling through his mind, pushing him forward.

    As natural as it would have been to do so, I did not respond to his emotions with my own. My awareness stayed in contact with his, but both the mental and physical components of my own feelings were fully smoothed out, damped down, and his ripples of joy passed through me as though I were void, interacting with nothing.

    “Very good, Annie,” I praised, feeling a surge of confidence from him in response. “Tell me what you feel from me, from our connection.”

    “You’re empty,” he murmured, a single spark of curiosity spitting from him and bouncing back unhindered. “You are thinking, but not feeling. How do you do that?”

    The aggressive hunger in his question caused his presence to grow, not only wider but more solid. It also shook both of our minds, jarring and loosening the connection. I thinned myself more, exerting a small gravity to keep him with me. “I am not empty,” I contradicted, “but my emotions are contained. Experienced, but not embodied. Something I do, not who I am.”

    How?” He asked again, and the accompanying desire was enough to yank us completely apart.

    We opened our eyes at the same time, and he spoke first. “How?” the boy implored again. “How d’you lock your heart up so tight?”

    “Discipline,” I answered with a small smile. “Close your eyes again.”

    For our second and third attempts, we focused on Anakin’s fear. It was not, as I had first expected, a single solid mass, like one deep affection or trauma. Instead, it was diffused among a hundred memories and embedded in many other parts of him. Anakin had lived with abuse, in an environment where both physical and emotional injury were very real. He had grown up in a crime-ridden area where there were no strong guarantees of his safety, or that of his mother. His fears were not fanciful delusions; they made sense. He worried about things that could realistically have happened to him and her.

    And in reality, his fears for his safety or Shmi’s were not baseless even today. Although Coruscant was a safer area of the galaxy with far more legal rights for its citizens, the Skywalkers were tangled up however indirectly in a high-stakes conflict involving powers who had already shown a willingness to harm civilians. And even barring that, crime in the corridors and skies of Coruscant was not nonexistent.

    But all of this was a tangent I wholeheartedly kept to myself. My work with Anakin wasn’t an attempt to reason him out of his fears, but simply a set of techniques to understand and tame them. It was a process that would certainly take years, but in even just a handful of days, he had already started to understand the rudiments of mental control.

    I expressed my satisfaction with his progress as we made our way to his examination. “You’re on your way already. A true Jedi sees all of the world from a vantage of complete detachment, involving himself where and how he chooses, experiencing only those connections that strengthen and nourish him.”

    Anakin nodded, taking my hand and squeezing it tightly. “What are they testing me for?”

    “To see if you will still take to training like a younger boy would. The Order usually removes children from their parents early enough that they can cut off their emotional attachments.”

    “Oh.” I sensed his nervousness increase. “So to pass, I have to show I can cut off Momma? And Padme? And you?” He squeezed my hand tighter.

    I nodded. “They will ask you questions and show you images of danger and violence. They will look for fear, more generally, but especially fear based on personal attachments.”

    “I… don’t wanna cut my attachments. I love Momma,” he said fiercely, anger and slight fear underlying his thoughts.

    “Yes, I know,” I agreed. “And that’s part of why I expect them to reject you today.”

    He stopped walking forward as I felt panic join his other emotions; he didn’t like the idea of failure or rejection. “They’ll fail me because of love? That’s not fair!” Standing still, his hand still tightly gripping mine, he looked up at me frowning. “Why am I taking the test if I’m gonna fail it anyway?”

    “These Jedi are very wise. The greatest masters alive today.” I gestured with my free hand down the end of the hallway; we had almost reached the chamber when he stopped.

    “Greater than Qui-Gon?” Anakin looked more excited than nervous again.

    “Some of them, yes. It is good for them to see you, to learn more about who you are and how you feel. And they have earned the right to make this judgment for themselves.”

    “Is Yoda in there?” Anakin pulled against my arm to lean forward, trying to look through the corridor wall to see who was on the other side. “He’s nice. People say he’s a great warrior, but when he came and talked to me he was really old.”

    “Yoda is the Grandmaster Jedi, the leader of the Council,” I said.

    “Oh! That’s okay then. Are we late?”

    As we approached the entrance, I spun Anakin around and picked him up in a big hug. “It’s just you going in, buddy. I’ll wait here for you. Be polite, okay?”

    “Okay. Thanks, Obi,” he said, and walked through the doors to his fate.
     
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  14. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    I think you guys are really going to hate what's coming up. Sorry in advance. I think it's a reasonable set of actions, but it's crappy narrative.
     
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  15. Threadmarks: Ch. 15 - It's a Trap!
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    “Is this even possible?” Qui-Gon asked, still clearly uncomfortable with the ramifications. He blinked at Anakin, who had crawled up onto my lap the moment I sat down.

    I nodded. “Yes. The nature of it is surprisingly self-sustaining, at least as long as we can maintain the focus on it.”

    “Through hyperspace?”

    “Possibly not, but that’s why I’ll be meditating the whole time. The voyage can’t be full of conversations and planning sessions like it was on the way here.”

    “I’m just… genuinely surprised he’s willing to go along with it, is all,” Qui-Gon supplied.

    I shrugged. “He understands what’s at stake, and I think he was also fascinated by the technique itself. It may have strategic implications, if it works,” I supplied.

    “No hugs until we get back?” Anakin asked. He didn’t seem upset by the prospect; just curious.

    “I’m afraid so, buddy,” I agreed. “Gotta keep your distance, leave me to myself. That’s the only reason I’m telling you - I didn’t want you to think anything was wrong.”

    Qui-Gon nodded. “All right. Padme wants to disembark in three hours; I will inform her, the crew, and R2 about your unusual requirements for the trip.”

    “Let’s get you home, Annie,” I said. “We’d never hear the end of it if we didn’t see your mom before we headed out.”

    Three hours later, watching scenes of Jedi history pass me as I rode down to depart the Tranquility Spire, I marveled at the shimmering, multi-hued air around me. It seemed as though gravity itself was pulsing insolently, as though my own weight was more a variable than a constant. A momentary reflection in the lift glass showed my Padawan braid and travel robes, the short-trimmed beard placing some age on my otherwise deceptively young face. It was a decision that the original Obi-wan had not made until a later film, but I had started growing it almost immediately.

    I had trouble getting used to my gait, somehow both too direct and too circular to be truly comfortable. But it had become just another part of the journey by the time I stepped into the hangar where the Naboo Royal Cruiser sat, ready to fly.

    Qui-Gon was just now briefing the Nabooans on my need for solitude during the trip, and I felt the waves of uneasiness from Padme and Ric as I approached. I gave a nod and a small wave, which Padme returned awkwardly as I climbed into the vessel. I strapped myself into a launch seat and immediately closed my eyes, happy to be off my feet after even such a short time.

    Our journey to Naboo was wholly uneventful. We weren’t ambushed, intercepted, or followed as far as we knew. Once we were past the initial launch and solidly into hyperspace, I sealed myself in the utility closet with R2 and the other droids and meditated. He respected my wishes and left me alone, apparently finding nothing unusual about being in close quarters with someone else and not talking to them. I supposed that droids were used to it.

    We landed in a region of Naboo’s swamp that I had determined years ago contained their most sacred historical sites, but none of our scanners detected any appropriately-sized life forms. The captain and I stayed aboard the cruiser while Padme, Qui-Gon, and Ric looked for the hiding Gungans. They returned some hours later, seemingly no worse for wear other than some muddy clothes, and confirmed their success. We would be making base camp with the Gungans while collecting intelligence on the situation in Theed and trying to get in contact with the human resistance elements.

    My conversations with the Gungans were stilted and awkward as we waited for the right opportunity to draw the droid army out of the city and launch the remaining Naboo attack craft. Many of them clearly wanted to be friendly, but were used to dealing with humans that were concerned about proper protocol and easily offended. This put a damper in their willingness to either pick a topic or provide input on one unless asked directly. I suspected that in a more open situation and absent my special circumstances, I would have gotten along with many of them famously.

    By the time we approached the Naboo palace, I had already slogged through the most difficult two days of my life. I felt satisfaction when Anakin and R2 found their way into the cockpit of the Nabooan fighter, and the exhilaration of pitched battle as Nabooans faced off against the Federation troops guarding the palace, but mostly I just felt weary.

    It was for that reason that relief, rather than dread, was my main emotion when Darth Maul finally appeared, his crimson face pulled into a bestial grin, and I felt my own saber hilt drawn in response. And while I certainly would have liked to witness the outcome, the very best thing I could do would be to leave the battle to the Masters where it belonged.

    I opened my eyes in the meditation chamber of the Tranquility Spire, from which I had not moved in the forty-four hours since I had first created my link to Master Kit Fisto as the latter donned my holographic disguise. I disliked a ploy that put myself out of harm’s way, and another Jedi’s life at risk. Still, it would have been hypocritical of me not to do everything in my power to see the story changed, and balance Adi Gallia’s death with the survival of my Master.

    Exhausted, I went to find some water, and a place to wait for news.
     
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  16. Ashaeron

    Ashaeron Getting sticky.

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    Transference of force signature as a deception? Sneaky.
     
  17. Sceptic

    Sceptic Critical Irrationalist

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    And an excellent excuse for an update to the NSFW side story?
     
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  18. Felius

    Felius Versed in the lewd.

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    Poor Darth Maul. Gonna suffer a case of "sudden an extra Jedi Master to the face"... :p

    Ah, but Anakin, who protects people and their local representatives from the Republic and the Jedi? Why are the Republic and the Jedi better at deciding a solution for a problem hundreds of light years away from what they actually are familiar with? I get your point, but this is a far more complex issue than it seems at first glance.

    Bah, just throw Anakin at the Corellians. They are a bit less extreme when it comes to dealing with attachments. Or just train Anakin in the Force, instead of "as a Jedi". Semantics, sure, but should be good enough for most legal purposes, and even the Jedi Council likely sees that an individual that powerful in the force probably needs some training to avoid being a danger to themselves and those around them.

    This on the other hands, feel a bit rushed in terms of narrative. Meeting with the Gungans and reaching a deal with them should probably be at least a whole update for it, even if mostly straightforward, and the SI is not actually physically present. Maybe a change in PoV for that?
     
  19. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Working on it, but it's kind of a downer. Thinking of scrapping the draft and trying a different angle.
     
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  20. Oh I am slain!

    Oh I am slain! ?

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    Oh yeah, to add to this from a while ago, my usual thoughts on these topics:

    On one hand, I can't even be upset because these flaws are often how canon and EU portray the Jedi anyway.

    On the other hand, these kinds of portrayals feel absurdly weird from a broader perspective.

    The Jedi are supposed to be the .00000001% elite, fantastically wealthy, and supernatural paladins who are diplomats, educators, guards, investigators, or warriors with full control of raising their members from infancy. And they have supernatural empathetic sensing, mental/emotional manipulation, and slight precognition to aid in all of this. On paper, Jedi are given far, far more advantages than even most other scifi/fantasy works' elite guardian groups, especially for interaction-based politics and negotiations. But primarily just in theory, or only off-screen. At the rate of on-screen Jedi mediocrity in non-combat roles, I'd question why the Jedi are respected in the setting for anything besides combat.

    I suppose this runs into a typical Doylist wall in fiction. Canon and EU writers can only write what they know, so they default to their knowledge of their familiar human interaction dynamics, and their knowledge of education, politics, and negotiations. And their intuitive familiarity with related tropes from all the other scifi/fantasy works they've experienced. Meanwhile, I suppose that dramatic interpersonal conflict, flaws, and mistakes are fantastic material for stories. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
  21. Threadmarks: Ch. 16 - The Death of Maul
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    “Momma!” the high-pitched squeal was music to my ears. I knew, from Qui-Gon’s message shortly after the conclusion of the Battle, that Anakin had done his part and was okay, but something in me stayed a little on edge until I saw the boy dive into his mother’s arms.

    Or maybe I was reflecting Shmi’s emotions more than I realized. In either event, I had some weeks of meditation ahead to excise these feelings.

    I was not prepared for the next squeal, “Obi!” that was an exact match in tone and energy to the first and was accompanied by an equally vigorous pouncing hug. The boy buried his head in my chest like it was radiation shielding next to a neutron star.

    Okay, months of meditation to deal with these feelings. Because right then, I realized that if someone had touched Anakin, I would have been the one looking at a camp full of corpses. It wouldn’t do for me to have come as far as I had, and then lose my center.

    “Hey Obi, you were wrong about holding off,” Anakin piped up happily.

    “What do you mean?” I went ahead and wrapped an arm around the boy, lifting him up against one shoulder where he could hang off of me.

    “Kit gave me a hug, on the way back from Coruscant,” he beamed.

    I looked up in surprise at the Nautolan Jedi, who sent me a quick burst of affirmation and acceptance. “Well, Master Fisto was filling in for me, after all.” Aquatic species don't tend to show physical affection as much as terrestrials and especially warm-blooded creatures do, but for all I knew, Nautolans could hug as much as humans. I made a mental note to look it up later.

    “He certainly did his part. Although as a Padawan he lacks a certain deference,” came the smooth voice of my Master as he appeared at the hatch of the ship. Qui-Gon denied any offer of help as he carefully maneuvered down the ramp, leaning heavily on the ornate staff in order to supplement his damaged left leg. The hood of his cloak was up, but it couldn't fully mask the bandages criss-crossing the right side of his face.

    “I could only take the pretense so far,” Fisto quipped, “Deference to you, Master Jinn, would have exceeded my acting ability.”

    Shmi took Anakin home as I escorted the Masters, and R2, to the Council. There was to be no delay on the detailed debriefing.

    Qui-Gon set the pace for our trip to the chamber, and it was clear he was in no small amount of pain by the time we walked through its doors. As usual, my Master and I moved into a central position facing the arc of 12 council seats.

    But Master Fisto did not approach his seat in order to take it. Instead, he stood behind it and pushed it across the floor, turning it halfway around as he did, until Fisto’s seat was positioned directly in front of Qui-Gon. Without saying a word, the Council member then returned to his spot and stood patiently.

    With a nod of appreciation, my Master pulled back his hood and carefully sat in the provided seat. I could feel his mental strain as he worked hard to maintain his composure in the face of great physical pain. I hoped that Jedi healers could do more for his injuries than the shipboard medical bay.

    “Certain, are you,” Yoda began, “that Darth Maul is dead?” It was an indelicate question, but nonetheless an important one.

    “After Obi-wan's account of his eventual return,” Kit Fisto answered, “I made sure of that. His entire body was disintegrated, including his brain. He is assuredly returned to the Force.”

    "It is possible, then, that he will be present as a Spirit, or in a Holocron,” I pointed out, wanting to make sure to be complete. My comment resulted in great surprise from the Council; these details had not been included in my earlier account to them. “In my visions, Qui-Gon is the first to regain the lost Force Spirit technique, although Master Yoda and I also both learn it. It is possible that the Sith know if it as well. Their partial survival in imbued objects is well-known.”

    “In fact it is not,” said Master Dooku. As I turned to the older human, I received a confusing knot of strong emotions: frustration and anger, but also relief and satisfaction. “Sith Holocrons are a restricted subject, Padawan, although one that a few of us have studied with some care. They appeared in your visions?”

    “Yes, but mainly in the context of much older events,” I explained. “Happenings from millennia before.”

    “Saved for another time, this discussion should be,” Yoda proclaimed. “Hear Master Jinn’s account we should.”

    Qui-Gon leaned forward on his staff for a moment; I felt him collect himself and his thoughts. A quick stab of anger hit me, stronger than I expected. It took me a moment to realize that it wasn’t from me; I was still sensing Master Dooku’s tempestuous mind. Qui-Gon began, “We departed from Coruscant aboard the Queen’s cruise ship. Master Fisto wore a holographic disguise as Obi-wan; only Anakin and I were informed of his true identity.”

    “What was the purpose of this deception?” asked the small Lannik, Even Piell. “You have confided in the Queen regarding your visions, have you not? And this astromech droid?” He gestured to R2, who responded with a friendly greeting. “Why not include them in your plans?”

    “It was thought,” Master Fisto answered, “that as few as possible should know, so that the Sith would have no reason to alter their approach.”

    Qui-Gon added, “Our shipmates were just told that Obi-wan needed solitude to meditate on the coming conflict.”

    “Yet, told young Skywalker, you did, hmmm?” Yoda mused.

    “That was my decision,” I admitted. “Anakin was likely to see through the disguise, or to become distressed by my unusual behavior. It was better for him to know.”

    “What unusual behavior?” Master Windu asked. “Is it so unusual for you to take time alone to meditate?”

    “It’s unusual for me not to spend time with the boy,” I said, forcing any upwelling of defensiveness down and away from my center.

    “Fond of him, you are,” Yoda’s look at me with placid, but deep. “A dangerous path, you are treading.”

    “I wasn’t aware that my relationship with Anakin was under discussion,” I snarled.

    “You should be,” Mace replied. “The role of Anakin not only in events on Naboo, but with the Order in the foreseeable future, is of great concern to this Council. The relationships among him, you, Master Jinn, Shmi Skywalker, and Padme Amidala are all under discussion here.”

    “I do not see why.” Dooku rose from his council seat and strode to stand on the side of Qui-Gon’s chair opposite me, facing the council. “Their actions, with the help of Master Fisto, resolved a political crisis that the Council was unwilling to address, and defeated a Sith Lord in the process. There is no grounds for further scrutiny.”

    “Concern for the future, we must have,” Yoda shook his head. “Victory in war? Destruction of one’s enemies? Prove righteousness, these things do not. Many battles the Dark Side has won; yet hollow they were in the end.”

    Dooku looked sideways at me, deciding how much to say. “The Council has spent the lives of many Jedi for the dubious goal of political stability, or the appearance of neutrality. Here, a foretold death was averted and the Republic safeguarded, and it is treated with suspicion.”

    “Now is not the time to argue such things,” Ki-Adi-Mundi chided. “Let us return to the events on Naboo.”

    “We evaded the few Federation forces still in orbit, and sought out the Gungans.” Qui-Gon obliged, although Dooku made no move to return to his own seat. I felt a comradeship with the Jedi diplomat as he placed a steadying hand on my Master’s shoulder.

    “Was Obi-wan's prediction as to their location correct?” asked Windu.

    “Yes, and his vision was prophetic in a surprising aspect,” he answered. “The Gungans were hidden from our scans by their shields, and we couldn't pinpoint where among the swamp area to find them. But as we searched, we came upon a lone Gungan dangling by one leg from a tree. He had triggered an animal trap and been stuck there for some time.”

    “Jar Jar Binks?” I asked incredulously.

    “The same.” My Master’s expression was forbearing but sardonic. “Me cutting him free from the trap was enough to create a ‘life debt,’ according to him. And he happily led us to the Gungan sanctuary when we asked.”

    “Many different turns a river may take,” Yoda added, “but to the ocean it will always return. For you the Force provided, yes.”

    “Following Obi-wan's directions, Queen Amidala bowed before the Gungan leadership immediately, and made it clear her belief in their equality and desire to be friends,” Qui-Gon said. “The Gungans accepted immediately, and agreed to the Nabooans’ battle plan with no hesitation.”

    “How many casualties?” Master Mundi asked.

    “The Gungans suffered few losses, considering the size of the battle,” Master Fisto supplied. “Five hundred soldiers dead and twice that many wounded. The casualty rate was worse in the space battle, with seven of the eighteen fighters lost. No human losses on the ground.”

    “The control vessel, Young Skywalker destroyed, yes? As predicted?” Yoda asked.

    “Artoo?” Qui-Gon prompted.

    **Compliance. Projecting.** The holo showed a recording of Anakin's maneuvers in the dogfight, with audio. The whole encounter was an exact match of the movie scenes. The only difference was an exclamation near the end, when Anakin was cheering: “Wait'll we tell Momma!”

    “Anakin’s performance,” Qui-Gon supplied as soon as the holo switched off, “was superlative. Better than any other pilot, biological or mechanical, in that battle. Nearly the equal of our Aces.” The room was silent as all considered these claims. He went on, “The boy has experience operating land vehicles, including racing pods; but other than about two minutes of instruction with our cruiser pilot, he had never handled a spacecraft before.”

    “He has intuitive grasp of three-dimensional positioning,” the slightly muffled speech of Plo Kun sounded behind his mask. “I second Master Jinn’s assessment; the boy's talent is exceptional.” Master Kun was almost as quiet as Master Tiin during Council meetings, and nearly as good of a pilot. His input was a good sign.

    “Confirmed, Young Kenobi’s visions are,” Yoda said. “A dark future they describe. Abide by them, we must not.”

    “Which is why we seek the knowledge to forge a better future,” Master Piell said. “Please, Master Jinn, tell us of the battle with the Sith assassin.”

    “Maul confronted us just as Obi-wan had described, in the hangar bay of the Palace, near the generator room. He engaged aggressively, channeling his anger.”

    Master Fisto interjected, “I immediately severed the link with Obi-wan and dropped the disguise. This threw him off. I sensed an element of fear that accompanied his rage.”

    “Even so, he drew heavily on the Dark Side,” Qui-Gon continued, “and evenly matched us. Kit and I were each struck down on two occasions, and the other took an injury.”

    When he said this, the Nautolan reflexively reached up to touch his tentacles, and I noticed for the first time that two of them on the same side were significantly shorter than the others.

    My Master continued, “When fighting one of us, I could detect no pattern. But there were some predictable beats when he fought both of us. He would use the deflection of one swing as part of his positioning motion for the next. So when Master Fisto made his next offensive, I intentionally missed a low parry, allowing his attack to connect. It severed my leg but allowed Kit a fatal strike.”

    Kit added, “His final words were, ‘My Master will avenge me. Every Jedi will fall.’”

    “By the time we had reconnected with the Nabooans,” Qui-Gon recounted, “the battle droids were shutting down. It was a total victory for the defenders. The Federation personnel remaining on the planet were ransomed for a sizable sum.”

    “With the surety bonds forfeited and Viceroy Nute Gunray already dead,” I announced, “the Trade Federation is ended. In my visions, they were key allies of the Separatist Union in the coming war. This is an improvement for the Republic.”

    “A genuine change, is it?” Yoda asked warily.

    “I am not certain of that,” Dooku answered. “Yes, the elimination of the Federation will scatter supporters, but it will do nothing to deter them. Smaller, diverse elements of resentment will still find ways to band together.” His voice rose as he addressed his fellow Council members. “It is not enough to treat the symptoms. The Jedi Order needs to take a role in addressing the root problems of the Republic, not allowing these attitudes to lead to open rebellion as Young Kenobi describes.”

    “Any more to add, have you, Master Jinn?” Yoda asked, sliding past Dooku’s speech.”

    “Just a repeat of my earlier decisions, Masters. Obi-Wan should take the trials, and I should take Anakin on as my Padawan.”

    Yoda inclined in a shallow bow. “Leave us to deliberate, you must. But stay nearby, both of you should. Need you again shortly we may.”

    “I will attend Master Qui-Gon,” Dooku said, “my opinion on these matters is already well-known.”

    I touched minds briefly with Master Fisto as the four of us (counting Artoo) left the chamber. He felt excited, which made me optimistic as to what might come next.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
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  22. Funeral-Pyre

    Funeral-Pyre I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Seems like the first part of this sentence was cut off, or something got mixed up.
     
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  23. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Thanks, fixed.
     
  24. Threadmarks: Ch. 17 - Master Dooku, Part I
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    “Obi-wan, I apologize that my time away from Coruscant has meant we have not gotten to know each other better,” Dooku began. The four of us sat in a small chamber just down the hall from the Council. “I have taken great interest in your training recently, and especially your political and economic actions. Senator Palpatine speaks highly of you.”

    “You know the Senator?” I asked, surprised. Naboo was a minor world, and until recently, Palpatine’s main political pull had been through some alliances with banking interests that I didn't quite understand.

    “The Senator - and I share this with you because I know that, like Qui-Gon, you can be trusted - is an enthusiast of Jedi lore. He has helped me research some topics not permitted within the Archives.”

    “Including the Sith objects Obi-wan mentioned earlier?” my Master asked.

    “Sith Holocrons, yes. None are known to still exist, as Jedi destroy them when they are found. But sources describing them, and their creators, are available in certain private libraries.”

    I nodded. “Very interesting. Through my visions I may be able to share with you other locations of interest for such items, although I will remind you that my memories tend to be woefully incomplete where the Sith are concerned.”

    The Count nodded. “That is why I wished to speak with you, in fact. I have been considering, for some time, leaving the Jedi Order.”

    The spike of panic that I felt from Qui-Gon came at the same time as his audible gasp. “Leave the Order, Master? Why?”

    Dooku sighed. “You know how often we have discussed my frustration with the Jedi Council. They act as more of an adjunct to the Senate than emissaries of the Force.” I felt his hot anger roar again. “How many lives of our brothers and sisters have they thrown away for political advantage? They care more for the government than for Jedi.”

    “I cannot believe that to be so,” Qui-Gon pushed back. “Surely you cannot fault their compassion. They are Masters; teachers; they have always safeguarded our growth and training.”

    “On an individual level, yes,” Dooku said. “And then a matter needs a forceful response, and they send in a minimal number of Jedi to carry out the minimal amount of action. Both of which assure a Jedi’s demise at the smallest misstep."

    Qui-Gon began to respond, but Dooku held up a hand. He rose and paced a bit. My Master and I exchanged a worried look, but waited until the senior Master spoke again. “When Obi-wan described your death,” the knot of anger and grief almost overwhelmed me, “I realized that it would have been the end of the Order for me. Proof that the Council could not be trusted to protect what is precious in this Galaxy.”

    Dooku turned and looked straight into Qui-Gon's eyes, and… I felt it. Just for a moment, before it was swallowed whole and disappeared under a veil of concentration and discipline. It was strong, an upwelling of delight, a yearning of deliciousness and pain.

    Master Dooku was in love with Qui-Gon Jinn.

    What I felt next were stabs of fear, as both Masters turned to look at me. I couldn't keep the surprise off of my face or out of my mind. They instantly knew that I knew.

    It seemed better to clear the air than to maintain the stand-off. “Are you two…?” I began.

    “Many years ago,” Qui-Gon admitted. From the fondness he radiated, I realized the feelings were reciprocated, on some level. “But Jedi are not permitted such attachments. We agreed to… stop.”

    Dooku's eyes were still on me, waiting for my condemnation. I replied, “I think that losing someone dear to you is often a reason Jedi fall. And Master Qui-Gon knows how I feel about personal relationships.”

    “Yes?” Dooku encouraged.

    “Obi-wan believes they are necessary and healthy,” Qui-Gon supplied. “He claims that attempting to suppress our attachments is more of a danger than our attachments themselves.”

    “I claim that the only reason they become attachments of the kind that compromise your use of the Force, is because they are suppressed rather than satisfied naturally.”

    Dooku raised an eyebrow in skepticism. “You would get along well with the Corellians, I think. They have similar attitudes about family.” He pivoted. “But, I would like to know: in your Visions, did I leave the Order? When Qui-Gon was killed on Naboo?”

    I thought for a moment, diving as deep as I could into my memories. “Yes. Count Dooku of Serenno. You became the last of ‘The Twenty,’ a group of ex-Jedi commemorated in the Library.”

    “I was successful, then, in reclaiming my title.” He was pleased. “And afterwards?”

    “You backed the Separatists, I think. Although in what precise way, I'm not sure.”

    “That's all you know?” Dooku didn't keep the disappointment from his voice.

    “If I remember more, I will certainly share it,” I offered.

    Dooku continued to pace. “I received word that my brother has died. If I wish to reclaim my seat, now would be the time.”

    I spread my hands. “So, reclaim your seat as a Jedi Master. You do not have to forsake the order to do that.”

    Dooku shook his head. “The Council would never accept that. A Jedi Master, taking on the oaths and wealth of a hereditary title? They would consider it a violation of the Code.”

    “I don’t see it as a violation of the Code,” I countered. “Do you?”

    He thought for a moment. “No. Political pull and property are both things the Jedi have and use for the good of the Republic. This is no different.”

    I turned to Qui-Gon. “What do you think, Master?”

    Qui-Gon shrugged, and I felt him wince at the ongoing pain. “I only concern myself with the Code as it constrains an individual to act with wisdom and compassion. Wealth and power can corrupt, but they are not corrupting by themselves.” He looked to Dooku. “If you want to become Count Dooku, without giving up your place within the Order, you have whatever support I can give.”

    “That…” the Jedi diplomat looked over us again, then headed toward the door. “That is what I needed to know. Thank you.”

    He left, and we waited.
     
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  25. The Froggy Ninja

    The Froggy Ninja Experienced.

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    Now this is interesting. I hadn’t considered that Dooku might not be evil yet. I wonder if putting him off that path will lead to Ben being able to remember his sithdom.
     
  26. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Canon is very clear that Dooku left the Order and became Darth Tyrannus in response to Qui-Gon's death at Naboo. I'm not saying that won't still happen, but it makes sense that since Naboo went differently, it won't happen right now.

    The other interesting question involving Sidious's capabilities and allies is, did he still kill Dark Plagueis when he hasn't yet secured the Chancellorship? Because if so, with Gunray dead and Dooku not yet on board, he'd be dependent on Plagueis's monetary resources to fund him.

    I am still trying to figure out what the long-term consequences are if we head into the Clone War and Plagueis is still out there. I really don't have a good sense of what more he might have accomplished given another ten years of research.
     
  27. Threadmarks: Ch. 18 - My Oath
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    It was another hour before the Council summoned us to return. The first thing I noticed upon entering was that Master Fisto's chair was still out of place; Qui-Gon gratefully eased back into it.

    The second thing I noticed was the mood in the room, which was deliberately restrained. The Masters were intentionally sublimating their emotions, blanking their minds. I might have been able to cut through some of their barriers with a focused act of will, but that would have been seen as quite intrusive.

    “Come to a decision the Council has,” Yoda began. The oldest living Jedi slowly climbed down from his seat, claws clutching his cane has he approached my Master… no, as he approached me.

    “Young Obi-wan,” he said as he stood in front of me. I took a knee so that I could see him face to face. “A coward, are you?”

    I mulled the question over in my head. “I don't think so,” I finally said. “I’m entirely willing to risk my life, or to lose it, in pursuit of something I hold to be of greater value.”

    Yoda's eyes narrowed. “A specific example, give me.”

    After another pause, I said, “I would have faced Darth Maul in Master Galia’s place, to save the lives of the committee.”

    “And yet, when an opportunity for you to face Maul actually arose, stay on Coruscant you did. Another you sent in your place.” He inclined his head in Kit's direction, but his wrinkly green face stayed focused on me.

    I shook my head. “I didn’t stay here out of fear. I stayed here to make sure Maul showed up to the battle.” I sighed, suppressing my growing frustration. “I know that knights are expected to charge forward regardless of the situation or the odds, but I prefer to do what I think will help the most. Whether or not I'm in harm’s way. I… genuinely thought you would understand that.” I looked around at the other Council members, somewhat pleadingly.

    “Understand it, we do, yes,” Yoda nodded. He pulled himself to his full height. “Confirm that you understood it, we did.” He pulled out his lightsaber, and ignited it. “Your oath to the Order, recite.”

    I heard the emphasis on my oath, and took it him at his word:

    “I am a Jedi. The Force guides me.
    I shall act for the maximal good of all sentient beings in the Galaxy.
    I shall use violence only against those who endeavor to harm others; them I shall end utterly.
    I shall respect the freedom of conscious creatures, and strive to increase it.
    I shall give my aid and allegiance those people and causes committed to the good of the Galaxy. Today, that includes the Jedi Order and the Republic.
    The Dark Side is my enemy. I shall never use the Force in any way when motivated by anger, hatred, or fear.
    Forsaking all else, neither the Galactic Empire nor Darth Vader shall come into existence, no matter the cost.
    Even my death does not release me from my Oath, as long as my Spirit remains to serve.”

    I could feel confusion and concern from some of those present, but Yoda had heard my modified oath before. He reached out to take my braid in his free hand, and severed it in one simple move of his blade.

    “Rise, Jedi Knight,” he said. “Prove your skill and wisdom you did, in the Spire of Tranquility. Your Trials, you have overcome.”

    As I stood, much of the restraint left the minds in the room; it appeared that they had mainly been trying to keep the surprise. Since I didn't know what to say, I bowed my thanks and took my braid from the Grandmaster's hand. It was done.

    “One matter to consider,” Ki-adi-mundi addressed me as Yoda returned to his seat. “Anakin will be Qui-Gon's Padawan. And while the Council has approved your continued involvement with them, you could also take on a learner of your own. We have many aspiring younglings who deserve the attention of a knight.”

    “I already have somebody in mind,” I smiled.
     
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  28. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Any guesses on the Padawan?

    Big hint: the character has not yet appeared in this story.
     
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  29. prussian-granadier

    prussian-granadier Know what you're doing yet?

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    either Asoka or that one guy that never got a master and ended up never becoming a Jedi because of it, that is just bad luck the poor guy
     
  30. Bellcross

    Bellcross Plot is king

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