Chapter 33: When one door closes…..
"You have brought me to that moment where words run dry,
To that moment where speech disappears into silence, silence……
Past the point of no return,
The final threshold –
What warm, unspoken secrets will we learn?
Beyond the point of no return……" - Point of no Return (Andrew Lloyd Weber – Phantom of the Opera)
Osei-Tutu looked at the foreman expectantly. She could feel the tension in the room stretching to a point it would snap at the sound of a heartbeat. Even now, virtually everyone held their breath. Glancing around the room quickly, her gaze caught the lithe form of the rogue. He stood tall, with his head slightly bowed in submission to the decision, yet his face was a blank slate. The only indication of his rolling emotions could be glimpsed in the murky blue-green portals to his soul.
Suddenly, she had the urge to end this quickly. Osei-Tutu could no longer stand the suspense, but more importantly, she could no longer take the thought of this young man being put through more agony. And that is exactly what was happening. The question of his future weighed heavily on his young shoulders despite his calm appearance. It was time to put an end to that question. Turning back to the Panel, in a clear voice she prompted, "Foreman, please inform the court of you decision on the subject of Obi-Wan Kenobi."
The foreman locked his gaze with the Arbitrator. To look away meant his resolve would crumble and he knew that what was to come would be hard. "Regarding Obi-Wan Kenobi, this Panel finds that on the count of Damage and Destruction of Property: guilty. On the count of Aggravated Theft and Larceny: guilty. And on the count of Aggravated Manslaughter: guilty." There was a soft murmur from the audience as the verdict was announced.
Osei-Tutu continued with the formalities of the courtroom, ignoring the whispers. "Having found the accused guilty on all counts, what is the Panel's recommendation?"
The foreman took a long deep breath, his gaze still locked on to the Arbitrator, "Based upon the charges this Panel recommends a sentence of one year in a Republic Reformation facility with option of possible parole." The previously soft murmur abruptly rose, but the foreman continued in a loud clear voice, "However, in light of the accused's recent actions in returning the passengers and crew of the Zenah to the safety of the Republic as well as willingly turning himself over to the Republic for prosecution, we recommend a reduction in time to a period of three months. In addition, as the criminal has a unique background, we also suggest that he be placed in the Ashua Detention and Reformation Facility in the Juvenile Division to undergo an intensive rehabilitation program where at the completion of said course, he will be released into Jedi Custody for the Council's final decision."
The low din continued for a moment in the spans before the Arbitrator would agree or disagree with the findings. Nodding, her head in silent gratitude for the Panel's verdict and sentence, she cut through the whispers to silence the crowd. "Thank you for your recommendations, as Arbitrator in this case I concur with your findings and agree with the suggested sentence. Obi-Wan Kenobi will be taken to Ashua Detention Center this afternoon to begin the rehabilitation process, effective immediately. At this time, the court considers this case closed. Court is now adjourned." Osei-Tutu rose and left the room, followed quickly by the Panel.
As soon as the majority had left, many of the spectators began talking amongst themselves. Obi-Wan stood where he was, slightly numb. He never expected to be absolved of all his sins, nor did he really expect to be handed over to the Jedi without question. But even with the foreknowledge that incarceration was a likely option, he was still shocked. He was only pulled from his void when he noticed Guillaume fussing with his things. Then a familiar voice spoke behind him, "Gi…." The deep baritone was a conflict of emotion. Desperately trying to hide the anger boiling within, the word was both a plea and a warning.
The barrister didn't bother turning, "Not now, Qui. Later."
It was the strain in both voices that caused the rogue's brow to furrow. "What's wrong?" When no answer was forthcoming, he added, "You didn't think I would get off without some time in prison, did you?"
At this, Gi stopped and allowed his shoulders to drop. Turning, there was concern and compassion in the sharp gaze. He placed a hand on Obi-Wan's shoulder. "It's not that. It's just we didn't expect this."
"This what? I don't understand."
Closing his eyes with a small shake of his head, Gi squeezed the shoulder. "Ashua. We didn't expect Ashua." Suddenly, the barrister looked pointedly at the confused youth, now holding the rogue by the shoulders, "Obi-Wan listen to me, I'll see if there's anything I can do to appeal but it will take time. Until I do, be on your best behaviour. Do not give them cause to prolong your rehabilitation. Do you understand me?" A tiny nod. "Good. I will work fast, I promise."
Obi-Wan was still beyond confused. He didn't understand why they seemed so upset, why the room's tension spiked when his sentence was announced. He watched as Guillaume went back to gathering his things. No further explanation would be heard from the focused man, so instead he turned his gaze to the audience and found a certain Jedi Master standing a few steps away. The intense sapphire gems were blanketed with concern and sorrow. "Obi-Wan…" he said softly, his hand rising to reach out for him.
"Master…." Automatically, Obi-Wan mimicked both voice and gesture. But before more could be said, before hands could touch, his upper arms were grasped tightly. His escorts had come to take him back to his cell to await his punishment. They pulled him back and away but could not force him to break their stare. As the distance between them grew, Obi-Wan could see other familiar faces standing next to the Knight. And it broke his heart to see the pain in their eyes. And a voice deep inside spoke, Even with my good intentions, I have still managed to hurt those I love. Unable to bear that weight, he closed his eyes and willing allowed himself to be led to a cold empty cell, the start of a cold empty future.
Standing at the window of his office, he heard the door hiss open and closed. Before his visitor could take a breath, he said, "Don't start, Qui. I did everything I could to get Obi-Wan released to you. And I warned you that it might not happen."
"I know, and I thank you for everything that you have done, but….. Ashua? Why there of all places?"
"I don't know. I don't understand it myself. In most cases, he would have been sent to Oolon or Lasti. Those are the typical Juvie Centers. There's just no obvious reason as to why they would have chosen Ashua."
In a hollow voice, Qui stated, "They mentioned that it was his unique background that forced that decision." Unconsciously, one fist tightened.
At that, Gi turned to regard his friend. "I know you don't believe that any more than I do. You know as well as I do that Ashua's for hardened criminals, the kind that are heartless and without remorse. A Jedi background should have kept him far from that place, not force him into it. No, there's just no logic." Glancing down, the barrister crossed his arms.
For many moments there was silence. For the first time in too many years than he could count, the Jedi was at a loss. "What do you suggest we do now?" he asked of his friend, hoping to find a way through the legal mess that surrounded them.
Sighing, Gi's hands dropped to his sides. "I have a few of my assistants scanning through every Republic law, bylaw, stature, and just about everything else, looking for a loop hole. There has to be one hidden somewhere, and we'll find it."
"And what happens to Obi-Wan in the meantime?"
Sadly, the barrister caught the Jedi's eyes. "Obi-Wan goes to Ashua to start the rehabilitation program."
Qui-Gon slumped into one of the chairs in the room. Everything seemed so surreal. During the trial, he maintained the belief that somehow the Force would get the rogue released to the Jedi. But now that that didn't happen, he felt somewhat hollow and - betrayed. Never had he questioned his faith in the Force and he didn't like doing so. He just couldn't comprehend that his Obi-Wan was no longer in his care. Leaning forward in the chair, he placed his face in his hands.
Silence filled the room as Gi watched his friend. He really had no idea how console the Knight, but he couldn't just stand there either. "Look, even if Obi-Wan has to stay there the three months, he will still get released to the Jedi. It just won't be right now."
"That is not good enough." A harsh whisper responded.
Gi said as he walked over to his desk, "Three months isn't that long, you know. It will be over before you know it." Once he made it to his friend's side, he sat on the edge facing the Jedi.
"It's not a matter of time." Qui-Gon spoke through his hands. While simply sitting, the Jedi could feel the Force tremble. "This is wrong. He needs to be with the Jedi." At least, that is what he thought he understood in the encompassing.
"He will be, I promise just…."
"No, you do not understand. I need to get him back before his birthday."
Still a little muddled by his friend's stubborn determination, Gi let out a quick nervous chuckle. "I don't see how that's going to be possible. If - when we manage to find that loophole, we still have to go through the proper channels to get it to work for us. And that in itself can take a month at least. His birthday is only a few weeks away. How do you plan on doing it? Break him out?"
Qui-Gon's hands dropped and gave his friend a hard glare. Guillaume threw his hands up in surrender. "I know you wouldn't do that. You may not always follow the rules exactly, but you still stay within the boundaries. But why his birthday? Can you explain this urgency to me so that I can understand?"
The Knight's large hands came up again to rub at the weathered face. The silence stretched out while the barrister waited for an answer. And just when he was about to give up, he heard the quiet baritone. "I promised."
Elbows on knees, hands clasped tightly, blue crystal gems looked up at the barrister. "I promised Obi-Wan's Patron that I would have him back by his birthday."
Guillaume stood dumbfounded. He couldn't believe his ears. A moment later the shock receded back to a point where he could speak again, "For heaven's sake, what in the universe possessed you to make such a promise?"
Qui-Gon's reply was as calm as ever. "Because I believed I could do it."
"Qui-Gon, friend, you must have known that there was a chance you could not do it?"
Qui-Gon now stood and walked over to the window to watch the midday traffic. "I understood there was the possibility, but I truly felt the Force would guide us down the correct path."
Coming up beside Qui-Gon, Gi looked up at the stern profile. "I don't pretend to know a lot about your Force and how it works, but is it possible that this is the path you were meant to take?"
Closing his eyes, Qui-Gon stretched out with his sense. Easily touching the incredible power he searched for answers. He only made it so far when a shadow crossed his vision, blocking him from going further. The tremor he felt before continued to echo in his mind. At last, the crystal gaze emerged once more to stare out at nothing. The smooth baritone deepened slightly. "No, there is something darker here. It was not supposed to happen this way. He should have been released to us." They stood in companionable silence for a moment.
Guillaume slowly nodded and joined the other to watch the speeding vehicles just past the transparasteel. "Then you suspect something too. I figured you would, just wasn't sure until now. The choice for Ashua was not expected and therefore someone must have wanted him to go there. I'm disappointed that even a small Panel could be so easily manipulated but it is not unheard of."
"We must get him out quickly." Qui-Gon stated with conviction.
Gi sighed again, "I already told you I'm working on it. But it will take time."
"Time we don't have." Guillaume glanced at the leonine features. There was something in the man's voice that revealed the truth behind the words. Even before the boy had been sent to the detention center Gi could feel time slipping through their fingers. But how to stop the inevitable march ahead? Could they find a way?
Silence engulfed them while each searched for a way to accomplish their goal. Seconds seemed like minutes and minutes seemed like hours. Finally, the Knight questioned, "Is it possible to have Obi-Wan released for a brief period of time? Just enough to visit his family and come back."
Gi cupped one elbow in one hand and with the other rubbed his chin. "I don't know, I'll have my people check. But it will need to be a valid excuse to disrupt his rehab program," the barrister warned.
Qui-Gon never hesitated, he had already chosen the proper excuse. "The sabotage on the Zenah. Is it possible to get him released to help with the investigation? It was something we had wanted him to do since the technology was so similar."
"I can see if that will be enough. But I can't promise anything." Gi answered truthfully. But now that the subject had been brought back up again, he couldn't help his curiosity. "Has there been any headway in the investigation?"
Qui-Gon shook his head, "No, most of the wreckage is still en route to Coruscant for them to examine. At this point, the only thing we do know is that the Pirate's technology and the saboteur's technology are so similar that they are almost indistinguishable."
Astonished still by the similarities, Gi remarked, "That's incredible. And you're sure that the pirates were not involved with the device at all?"
"Yes, I sensed no malice or deception from them. They seemed as equally surprised to see it as we were. Besides, Obi-Wan mentioned numerous times that had he known we were on board, he would have avoided us at all costs. So why threaten something you do not wish to be connected to?"
"Perhaps one of their crew had a grudge against the Jedi and wanted to get rid of you."
"No, I do not believe so. Many of them would have been happier not getting involved with us. And with their desire to reduce the death toll, I doubt they would have arbitrarily set out to destroy us. It must have been someone else."
"That in itself is a scary thought. And with all these conspiracies, we can only hope that they never join forces." As the words left his mouth, the half-sarcastic remark suddenly brought a whole new light on the subject. One that illuminated new shadows and left their hearts racing. Both men's eyes widened and sought the other only to lock once they connected. "My god, Qui, do you think it's possible?"
"I had not thought it possible before, but now….." His mind was racing. Subtle connections were beginning to link together. The nightmare that had just been suggested chilled them down to the bone.
"Could it be that the person after the Jedi and the person after Obi-Wan have been working together from the beginning? I mean, why use a device to blow up a Jedi transport that could easily be mistaken for Pirate technology unless that was the intention all along?"
Qui-Gon shook his head, he didn't want to believe that it could be possible because it would only strengthen the silent terror that gripped his heart. "Even though there was a threat of a Pirate raid, with random raids it would have been quite risky to place such a device without knowing for certain that we would even come in contact with the Pirates."
"It was a gamble. Or perhaps they knew the Pirates' routes?" Suddenly another through struck the barrister, "No, wait. You said that the device was badly damaged, right? Maybe what was deciphered from the remains was wrong. Maybe it wasn't rigged to explode at a set time, but set to go off once it came in close proximity to the Pirate vessel. If the technology's so unique it could easily differentiate from normal Republic transports."
Qui-Gon thought back to the raid and watched as it played out. As the sequence of events advanced at an accelerated pace, he noticed something. Going over it once more, he realized the suggestion had plausibility. "The pirates were able to attack our vessel and board before the device went off. If we had been a full transport it would have taken them a little longer to collect the bounty, but since it was only a handful of Jedi initiates they were done fairly quickly. Just as they were leaving, the device exploded one of the engines. If not for the previous damage done when the pirates initially attacked the destruction would have included both ships. That suggests that there was not just one target, but two."
"If that's the case, this saboteur had really thought out this plan. And with all that hard work in setting everything up, I can't imagine that they're too happy right now that their plans have failed," Gi observed.
"And they would try to salvage what they could." There was something dark in the Knight's eyes. At first, Gi didn't understand what his friend meant, but soon realization finally dawned on him.
"Obi-Wan ?!" Gi's eyes widened in shocked horror.
Bowing his head, the Jedi recalled some of the talks he had back on the Zenah and Norelwind with his dearest friend. "Tahl had mentioned a darkness on the horizon. I felt it as well, but I did not see it until now. Obi-Wan is in danger."
Hurriedly, Guillaume tried to reassure his friend, "We'll get him out, Qui, I promise. I'll get every single one of my people in here to look for a way to get him out. We won't rest until we find it."
"Thank you. I know you will do your best. But I must see Obi-Wan, I need to warn him of the possible threat. I will contact you later, Gi." Reaching out he clasped his friend's shoulder. Gi did the same.
"I'll let you know as soon as I find something." Qui-Gon nodded. The barrister tried to smile encouragingly. "He'll be home soon. May the Force be with you." They stood for a few more moments before breaking off. Qui-Gon hurried from the Judicial district back to the detention center intent on seeing Obi-Wan.
As soon as he returned from the trial, Obi-Wan went to his normal place in the corner. Knees bent up, he placed his arms on top and let his forehead rest against them. There he sat pondering the events of that morning. At first he thought his death was assured, even welcomed that fact. But as he made his way to the courtroom to await the verdict, the seed that had been planted in his conscience grew. The night before he had been visited by his dearest friend, Bant. And as much as that touched him, it was the words of another that affected him deeply.
Words spoken gently by the Koyn Soulhealer. Words chosen carefully and voiced to achieve the results she wanted. Master Uulia Uvontra Vylond had asked him to do what he always had, live for others. His motives for returning to face trial and hopefully death were with the intention to save his friends and family from more grief. But he realized that to seek out death in such a manner would only hurt those he was trying to protect.
But you've done that anyway, Bauudi. Did you not see their faces as you walked away? You're going to be locked away and punished and all they can do is sit and wait it out. Is that what you wanted? To have them suffer through your fate?
As soon as the deep rumbling voice echoed through his mind, his hands shot up to cover his ears. 'no' his mouth motioned without sound. His entire being started to tremble as he desperately tried to banish the words that haunted him. "Leave me alone."
No, you've kept me locked away for far too long. And I am enjoying my time with you. Just think, we'll be spending so much time together once you get locked away. Alone in your room, walking the halls, locked away in solitary. A guttural laugh rang in his ears. Oh, I am positive you will be locked away - all alone. You have never done well in captivity. You will lash out eventually and get yourself in trouble. Isn't that right, Bauudi?
"please," he begged, the sting of tears in his eyes. "please, just go away."
Never. Do you know how long I have been waiting to make you suffer? And now that I have the chance, what do you think you can do to stop me? Without your Force you neither have the will nor the power. You will never be anything more that the lost stray I picked up and tamed all those years ago. It would seem that you have once again forgotten who your true master is. You must be punished.
Obi-Wan let out a small sob knowing that he was at this phantom's mercy - a word it did not understand. A heartbeat later the ghosts of pain flared in his body, illuminating old scars with heat and agony. Through gritted teeth he whimpered at the assault determined not to give the satisfaction of his tormented screams. And there he sat, waiting for the torture to abate.
Hours passed. The world moved without him. So much was he lost in the nightmares of his mind that even the sound of the door and the entry of a person did not penetrate that darkness. From the visitor's point of view, the sight caused his heart to constrict. The young man had pressed himself into the corner, arms wrapped about him tightly, he rocked back and forth as the tears fell down pale cheeks. Not worrying about the consequences, the visitor quickly moved to the boy's side and dropped to his knees. Carefully, he placed a hand on the rogue's back to alert him of his presence. The reaction to his touch was alarming but not unwelcomed.
The gentle touch banished the condescending voice to the corners of his consciousness. Thankful to be free once more of the insults and pain, Obi-Wan looked up at his saviour. Recognizing the leonine features instantly, he flung his arms around the man's neck. Unashamed, he cried on the Jedi's shoulder. His hands grasping desperately at the cream cloth, holding onto him like a lifeline. Moments passed and when he stilled some, Obi-Wan pleaded quietly, "Please don't leave me. I don't want to be alone again."
For his part, Qui-Gon comforted the youth with his presence and gentle reassurances. But when the young man spoke, he misinterpreted their meaning. "I'm here, young one. I won't leave you. I will always be with you. Even if not in body in spirit."
The former Jedi wanted to protest and explain that that wasn't enough, but he decided against it. To do so would mean he would have to reveal his bane. And how can telling someone you have the voice of a dead captain floating around your head who enjoys making you suffer without it sounding incredibly stupid? No, it would do no good. Even if the Knight believed him, there wouldn't be anything he could do about it. So why worry the man any further? He would keep this secret to himself.
Slowly, he nodded against the man's shoulder in response to the supposedly comforting words. Forcing himself to let go, Obi-Wan pushed himself back up and away from the Knight. Vacantly, he said, "thank you."
"Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon started, a deep concern in his voice. He placed his hands on the boy's shoulders. "I do not have much time. We have come to escort you to Ashua Detention Center. I was able to convince them to let me speak with you first. You must listen to me carefully. Gi is still looking for a way to get you out, but you must not provoke them in anyway while you are there. We have reason to believe that while you are there you could be threatened. I cannot say for certain or when and where this threat may come from, just that you should stay on your guard at all times. Do you understand me?"
Once again confused sea-washed eyes stared up at the man. Still, Obi-Wan nodded. "Good, lad. I wish I had more time or could give you more information but my time is up." As if on queue, the door slid open again to admit a couple of guards, the rest of the entourage waited in the hall.
"It's time to go." The official announced.
"Yes, one more moment please." Qui-Gon looked back at the rogue and watched as Obi-Wan wiped the tears away and slid the mask back in place. A twinge of regret tightened in his chest, as he wished he could reach out and wipe the tears away himself. But their roles were already precarious. It took a great deal of reassuring to allow Qui-Gon to escort Obi-Wan. To show such outward bias would only prove that he was not capable of doing his duty without allowing his emotions to get the better of him. Rising to his feet, Qui offered a hand to help the youth up. Without waiting for instructions, one of the guards stepped over and placed a pair of binders on the criminal. Together the troupe left for a port at the base of the detention center where a transport was waiting.
The journey was silent and foreboding. Qui-Gon did his best to always remain beside Obi-Wan's side, on occasion even stealing soft touches to the boy's arm and shoulder. It was risky but he needed to show Obi-Wan he was still there for him. Something in the plea when he arrived in the cell told the Knight not all was what it seemed. But there had been no time to approach the subject. So he did what he could where he could. Another concern was the worry in the blue-green eyes. To the others Obi-Wan was calm, collected even emotionless, but the Knight knew better. Something was still troubling the youth and it wasn't his warning. He saw it in those captivating eyes when the boy clung to him. He hoped that he could dispel that worry with words but he feared there would be a struggle before it would finally be banished.
The trip didn't take long and they soon arrived at another tall grey building. The back hatch of the transport opened allowing the group to exit. They emptied out into an enclosed bay for the facility where a man in a white lab coat stood waiting.
The smile on the man's face was obviously fake and somewhat unsettling. "Good afternoon gentlemen, Welcome to Ashua Correctional Facility. My name is Hendriq and I will guide you to our admissions room. Follow me gentlemen." With that he turned and walked to a doorway. There he stopped and placed an access card on a panel next to the door. A quick verification of identity permitted them to enter.
As they walked, they passed a couple of security checkpoints. And as they made their way further into the facility the tension gradually electrified the air around them. At last, the group entered a moderate sized room with a few chairs, blank walls, a set of double doors in one wall and a cut out window next to the doors. Their escort stopped and pointed to a spot indicated on the floor. "Have the prisoner stand here while we begin the process. May I please have the data cube now?" The head guard stepped forward and handed the man a small chip. Obi-Wan was lead to the spot and held still. Qui-Gon stood right behind the young man who had not spoken a word since the cell.
Hendriq took the chip and walked over to the doors. Going through one more security check, the doors opened to let him in. He disappeared for a moment before rounding the corner and entering the office behind the cut out window. Placing the disk into the computer he downloaded the information. "Ah, so this is Obi-Wan Kenobi. We will take special care of him." A sinister smile followed.
The words sounded friendly enough but both Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan tensed. Cautiously, the young man looked over his shoulder at the Jedi, eyes sparkling with tumbling emotions. Unable to offer more, Qui-Gon placed his hand on the boy's shoulder not caring what the other's thought anymore. What should have been a comforting gesture only left them feeling even more helpless. Neither knew what was going to happen once he disappeared behind those doors but worse, neither knew how to stop it from happening at all.
Hendriq's voice sliced through the air. "In just a moment the doors will open and some of our staff will collect Kenobi, then your job will be done gentleman while ours has just begun. Master Jedi, I assume that you will be our contact when we have completed his rehabilitation program. Please provide me your information before you leave. At this time he is scheduled to be in our care for a period of three months, subject to our approval. We will get in touch with you about one week before his release to determine if he has made sufficient progress at that time for dismissal."
The administrator's speech was cut short as the doors opened once more. Two intimidating orderlies stepped into the room. Qui-Gon could feel the muscles tighten beneath his hand. Feeling his own desperation, and not wanting to let Obi-Wan go, he tightened his hold. The young man turned to look up at the tall Jedi, bright sea-foam eyes sparkled up at him. Caught up in the gaze, they were barely aware of the CSF officials releasing their hold and stepping back to relinquish their prisoner.
The orderlies quickly assumed their positions. Obi-Wan jerked as they urged him forward, a single word escaping his lips as he was lead away. "master…" The word encompassed the plea in his soul. Qui-Gon's hand remained hovering in the air when Obi-Wan was torn from his grasp. His heart shattered with every step that led his Obi-Wan away from him. He didn't know if he could take losing the boy again and that is precisely what he feared. The darkness loomed ever closer and he was certain that it was set on destroying the youth. Unconsciously, he took a step forward.
Just past the doorway, Obi-Wan stopped, twisting out of his guard's arms, he stood looking back at the Jedi. Jaded gems locked with cobalt crystals connecting their souls. The world fell away and only they existed. They stayed honed in to the other as the doors slowly began to close. The white metal partitions severed the link leaving each one drained and empty.
And while Qui-Gon stood staring at the place he last saw his charge, he could hear weeping. At first he believed it to be coming from his own heart, but soon realized that it was the Force itself crying out it's sorrow. He knew in that instant that this was not what the Force had intended for them and that fate was not yet finished dealing out pain and suffering.
Well, the end of a two year journey has finally come to an end! I know, it's kinda sad but hey there is a sequel planned. ;) THANK YOU EVERYONE who has ever read this story, reviewed or otherwise!! There have been many ups and downs and I appreciate all those who have stuck with me throughout all of it!! Please keep your eyes posted for 'Reliving Shattered Dreams' which I hope to start posting in the next two-three months. For more detailed updates please checkout my Yahoo group! Thanks! :D
LOTRFaith – I'm sorry to have kept you in suspense, but I do so love cliffies. ;) Of course there was still the possibility that I could have killed Obi, the sequel could have been how Qui the other Jedi and Tuuvu and the pirates coped with it. ;) Yes, I have decided that both Bant and Tahl are soothing balms to our boy's pain. And those lines fit very well actually with my little fic. ;) Thanks for sharing and joining my group!! I hope you liked reading the drafts. ;)
K-Rock – What?? Me, evil?? You should know by now that I'm not evil, I'm worse than evil!! I'm badong!! LOL, oh uh sorry, that was a Kung Pow reference. The main char was thinking there should be a new name for evil, like bad wrong or 'badong.' :8} I know it's a stupid movie but it's funny. ;) Anyway, off tangent, I could have killed him, you never know. But then again, to do that would have shown mercy. And that is something I couldn't allow. Mwahahahahaha. Oh, uh, sorry, that was the Sith in me trying to get out. I hope you enjoyed the drafts. Catch you later. ;)
Wisdom1 – Aww, thanks. I like being evil. ;) Thanks for reading!! :D
Chandilia Jade – HEHE, maybe, well, the beginning of the sentencing anyway. ;) My muse and I thank you!! Hope to see you for the sequel! :D
Sano's Honey – LOL, I must admit I love hearing that word when it comes to my cliffies. :D And thank you very much for the kind words!! :D I hope to live up to the standards I have set for me when I get to the sequel. And I hope to see you there. ;)
Fudge – Yeah, I thought Qui needed a lot of guilt. I was very mad at him for dumping Obi in front of the Council in the movie so this is my act of revenge. ;) And I must say I enjoy Tahl and Bant's moments, they are soothing to write. :) I hope to see you at the sequel! Thanks for all your wonderful words, they have meant a lot to me!! :D :D :D
Shan – Friend, wonderful Beta, this would never have come about with out you!! :D Thank you so much for the wonderful PB. I'm hoping to get back to the other one now that this is over, but everyone's already looking for the sequel so I will do my best. I'm sure you'll be catching some drafts at my group and if I need help you know I'll be contacting you. Thanks once more for everything!! :D :D :D
YLJedi – Thanks, and yes you bring up a good point I haven't fully addressed. Bant didn't tell Reeft and Garen for a couple of reasons. First this was being kept tightly under wraps, well as much as possible anyway. It wasn't broadcast on the Holonet nor was it an "open" courtroom. It was only for those involved and not for the public. As for Reeft and Garen, you'll find out that Garen was off planet and Reeft was kinda busy. But that will be addressed in the sequel, hope to see you there!! :D And the issue of Griven will also be addressed during the course of the sequel. I have many loose ends to wrap up. I hope I can do it. ;) Thanks again!! :D :D
Amazed – I know, and I'm sorry!! ;; The good news is that this is only book one, and that the story isn't entirely over. The bad news is that I felt it was time to cut this portion of the story off and give it an 'end' so to speak. Well, other than the first chap all of my chaps for FnB have been a minimum of 5 pages on Word. So even though it was short, it still met my standard. And I really do love cliffies. ;) Yeah, uh, that optimism was completely shot down this chap, sorry. :8} And I did like your bit of cheerleading! LOL. I wish I could have gotten this up sooner but I was busy last week working on my Sanzo costume for Otakon, which I think came out beautifully. :D And my daughter's b-day was July 28th. ;) Hopefully, you will accept this as a belated b-day present!! LOL. I thought it was cute!! Now if I could only have the muses with me along with the Force and I'll be golden. ;) Thanks again!! :D :D :D
Death Rider – Awww, CH are my bestest friend's in the whole world. I've only recently had a bad reaction to one myself, but then I said, I am a fanfic writer and clifies just come with the territory so shut up and deal woman! ;) Then I got over it. :8} And who said anything about Xani?? Oh, uh wait, I think I did in a response to you, didn't I? Well, you'll just have to find out all the details in the next exciting book of FnB. ;P Thanks for reading!!! :D :D :D :D
ObiLover – Thanks, I'm glad you like it. Sorry this wasn't up sooner but I hope it managed to entertain still. Thanks for reading!! :D :D :D
justpassinthru – hehe, a sequel! :D Thanks for reading!! :D :D :D
Oh, and just one more note, I will be posting replies to the last chap reviews via review, but I will update the description to let you know when I do. OR I will post them with a trailer and then final replies in Review. Well, we'll see what happens. Catch you all later!! And as always, THANKS for reading!! :D :D