Disclaimer

All characters appearing in Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Deep Space Nine and Star Trek Voyager are copyright Paramount Pictures. All characters appearing in the Star Wars saga are copyright Lucas Arts and the Walt Disney Cooperation. No infringement of these copyrights is intended and is not authorized by the copyright holder.

All original characters are the property of Celgress.

Star Trek/Star Wars – Galaxy at War: Part Forty-Four What You Leave Part III Ends and Beginnings

by

Celgress

Star Trek Dimension – October 2375 C.E.

The New Jedi Temple on Halka IIV Alpha Quadrant, morning

"Absolutely not," Jedi Master Mace Windu with a scowl. His expression of displeasure made that much grimmer by the presence of his new artificial purple eye and the metallic plate which surrounded it. Windu along with his fellow surviving Jedi Masters sat in a circle as was the custom of the Jedi Council when in session.

"With all due respect Master Windu, Master Gallia makes a valid point. We desperately need to replenish our number. Perhaps we should grant Skywalker the rank of master. He did defeat a Sith Lord who he then spared rather than slay in cold blood when he easily could have done otherwise." Jedi Master Cin Drallig said thoughtfully.

"Skywalker remains unstable. I can sense his inner conflict. I still don't completely trust him. He could prove dangerous under the wrong circumstances." Windu said.

"Any one of us could prove dangerous under the wrong circumstances." Jedi Master Adi Gallia pointed out. "Why must we hold Skywalker to an impossible standard?"

"Because of his raw power," Windu said. "If he should fall I sense what remains of our Order would be swiftly destroyed."

"All the more reason to keep him close." Jedi Master Quinlan Vos said by way of a flickering blue life-sized hologram.

"I feel it is important I add the following." Said Jedi Master Aayla Secura whose hologram was seated next to Vos. In recent months the two had become lovers something that they did not try to hide from their fellow Jedi. "Skywalker deeply loves his wife and his unborn children. He is devoted to their safety as well as their happiness. He would never do anything which would jeopardize their well-being or that of his former padawan Ashoka Tano. While he may struggle at times with his inner darkness, I sense his alignment in the Light Side of the Force is unshakable. If for no other reason than to protect those he holds dear Skywalker would never turn."

"Skywalker is not a good candidate for masterhood. By Skywalker's own admission he killed civilians after entering an uncontrollable rage." Windu said sticking to his guns.

"He was an adolescent when the incident occurred. Also, his mother was butchered by some of these same civilians." Cin Drallig said.

"Which is irrelevant. He shouldn't have killed them no matter the circumstances. Seeking vengeance is not the Jedi way." Windu said.

Jedi Master Kit Fisto sighed shaking his tentacled head. "Windu why don't you just admit your personal disdain for Skywalker? Everyone here knows you've never approved or him or the way he conducts himself." He said dispensing with the usual honorific use of the "master" when directly addressing a fellow council member a clear show of his annoyance with Windu.

"Fisto are you accusing me of lacking impartiality?" Windu said repaying the show of disrespect.

"That I am. When it comes to Skywalker I contend your reasoning is clouded by personal feelings" Fisto said not backing down.

"And I contend your reasoning is clouded on a much grander scale than mine." Windu countered. "Revising the Code so Jedi can be in the Order while maintaining attachments is wrong. Such a deeply flawed stance is only a recipe for disaster, Fisto."

"None of our members have fallen to the Dark Side, unlike your own," Fisto fired back.

"What about Vader?" Windu challenged.

"Vader was never really one of us. His fall is his own responsibility unlike those of Knight Marek and Guardian Bumal who were practically pushed towards darkness by the actions of rigid uncaring masters." Fisto said.

"Master Fisto is correct, Master Windu. Vader was never receptive to our rules or ideals. From the moment I became aware of his existence, I tried my best to impress upon him the importance of both centering oneself in the Force and suppressing negative emotions. Rather dealing with his conflicts head-on, he rebuffed me at every turn." Said a flickering hologram of Jedi Master Obi-wan Kenobi via a heavily encrypted subspace connection.

"Be that as it may Master Kenobi we cannot tolerate members of our Order flagrantly disregarding our ancient customs simply because doing so has become fashionable," Windu said taking a personal jab at Kenobi who was betrothed to Duchess Satine of Mandalore.

Before matters could spiral further out of control newly elected combined Jedi Council Grandmaster Shaak Ti verbally stepped in. Although Ti lacked confidence in herself after recent events the other masters felt she would be the best choice, much to the displeasure of Windu who felt the position should be his. "I propose we conclude our debate. I sense it is high time we voted on this matter." Shaak Ti said.

Windu objected but he was overruled by the majority who moved to have the vote. When the votes were tallied the motion had passed. Other than Windu and the typically divisive Jedi Master Luminara Unduli (who like Kenobi was present via hologram from Bajor) the council members voted to offer Anakin Skywalker the rank of master and a seat on the greatly diminished Jedi Council. The next matter for consideration was the proposed knighthood of Ashoka and Barriss La Forge. Once again save for a lack of support from Windu and Unduli (Windu abstained while Unduli voted against) this motion also passed. Furthermore, it was decided while the offer of knighthood would be extended to Barriss immediately, as it would be to Ashoka, a provision of one year would be made to account for her having a young daughter. Barriss would assume her full duties after such time as she was ready.

With the session concluded Drallig, Gallia, and Fisto would proceed to Deep Space Nine. There they would rendezvous with Captain Benjamin Sisko and his Starfleet Security Team. The Jedi hoped their looming confrontation with the hidden Sith Lady Kai Winn would land a decisive blow to the activities of the Sith in this galaxy, and perhaps beyond. Only time would tell if their hopes would be realized.

Central Command on Cardassia Prime, afternoon

"Spare me your excuses Gul Dukat. I don't care how it happened. The only thing I and my master, our illustrious Emperor, do care about is a positive outcome." Thundered an image of Darth Vader on the massive overhead viewscreen. One either side of him stood a Republican Clone Trooper of the 501st Legion. "With our key tactical advantage of the Breen energy dissipator potentially compromised, and the Jem'Hadar starving, we must move quickly against our enemies in the Alliance to prevent a stalemate from ensuing. Fortunately, the Emperor and I have formulated a solution." Vader paused here for a moment as if to collect his thoughts. "Given the strategic situation, which includes a lack of mapped hyperspace lanes between the Alpha and Gamma Quadrants, the most straightforward path to victory would be seizure of the Bajoran Wormhole. With control of the Wormhole firmly established we could move reinforcements along with foodstuffs for our Jem'Hadar from the Gamma Quadrant directly into theatre via the Bajor System." From another viewscreen, the masked Darth Hereticious observed the proceedings but said nothing preferring to remain a silent observer.

"Lord Vader taking control of such a well-fortified objective as Deep Space and holding it could only be achieved with the commitment of our entire available Alpha Quadrant fleet. If we were to lose our fleet or a substantial portion thereof, our core worlds would be laid bare to a possible counterattack by the Alliance, if not a full-blown invasion. Is taking such a risk at this crucial juncture a wise choice?" Asked a brash young male Cardassian who stood between Dukat and contingents of Breen, Geonosians, Neimoidians and holographic blue-tinged Tholians.

"The risk involved is minimal," Vader said dismissively with a wave of his hand. "My fleet will simultaneously attack the Alliance from the Barzan Wormhole. They will have no choice but to divert resources to protect their suddenly vulnerable core worlds which will make your attack on Deep Space Nine all the easier.

"Admiral Trench muster the largest best-equipped fleet you can for imminent deployment to the Alpha and Beta Quadrants," Vader ordered.

Vader silently regarded the Geonosians and Neimoidians he probed their minds with the Force as he did so. He did not trust them. Given the recent fate of the CIS, he suspected at least some of them might turn traitors. As if the Gamma Quadrant Rebellion and the nascent Cardassian Rebellion (the latter led by that turncoat Damar, curse him) were not enough to worry about he and his informants had to closely watch these bugs for signs of betrayal.

"I shall do so at once, my lord." Admiral Trench clicked with a slight bow.

Trench had only emerged from his coma less than a week ago. The image of the cybernetically reconstructed Harch dominated another of the large viewscreens in Central Command. The right half of Trench's body had been completely replaced by integrated implants which gave him an even more sinister appearance than before.

"What of the Klingons, my lord? They have recently launched a series of attacks against strategically important systems such as Avenal." Ask Dukat's new Vorta advisor the vaunted Eris. Eris was the first Vorta the Alpha or Beta Quadrant powers (in the personages of Captain Sisko and Quark) ever encountered.

"By all reports, these attacks have proven foolhardy. The Klingons have lost many vessels, warriors and clones at a time when they are already stretched thin due to picking up the slack for their incapacitated allies." Vader scoffed. "If the Klingons wish to throw their ships and their lives away on such useless endeavors, let them."

"Our spies in the Alliance indicate Sarpedion is their next likely target." The Eris continued.

"If they are stupid enough to attack Sarpedion they'll be annihilated by the Twelfth Order." The young male Cardassian said.

"Dispatch a Battle Droid Fleet to the Sarpedion System to tighten our defenses there. I want these pests dealt with once and for all." Vader commanded.

"Yes, my lord," Eris said.

"You have your orders. This briefing is at an end. I will contact you again when necessary preparations have been made on my end. I expect you to be ready when I give the order to move against Deep Space Nine." Vader's image then blinked away.

Deep Space Nine

"How is Martok doing?" Ask Captain Sisko who stood looking out his office window when Commander Worf arrived.

"Medical staff says he will make a full recovery," Worf reported.

"I'm glad to hear that," Sisko said. "Mr. Worf we have a serious problem." He walked over to stand in front of Worf who remained in front of the doorway.

"Gowron," Worf said knowingly.

"He seems hell-bent on continuing these offensives regardless of the cost," Sisko said. Three attacks and three losses in as many days.

"He is a stubborn and arrogant man," Worf said.

"Maybe so but I had thought he wasn't a fool," Sisko said. "His ill-advised missions are risking our entire defense posture. Why can't he see that?"

"I suspect the Chancellor cannot see anything at the moment other than one man," Worf said.

"You mean Martok?" Sisko asked.

"The Chancellor sees General Martok as a political threat. Martok's rise from humble beginnings and survival in war against all odds has been an inspiration to Klingon Warriors everywhere and those beyond the borders of the Klingon Empire alike. These failed attacks are designs to humiliate the General in the eyes of the public so as to erode his support by forcing Martok to endure defeat after defeat" Worf explained.

"Are you telling me while we face invasion on multiple fronts Gowron is engaged in a political vendetta against one of the best military leaders in the entire Alliance?" Sisko said. He desperately hoped this was not the case but in his heart knew it was so.

"It would not be the first time a Klingon Chancellor has put his own interest ahead of the greater good," Worf said to his great embarrassment.

"Something must be done," Sisko said.

"Agreed," Worf said. "And I do have a solution but it will not be easy."

"Do whatever it takes Mr. Worf," Sisko said. "Until the Starfleet and the Romulans ships are operational again the Klingon fleet is the only thing standing between us and our enemies. Gowron is risking the safety of the entire galaxy and he has to be stopped." Sisko paused briefly. "I what this matter resolved by the time I return from Bajor." Sisko's team would depart the Station at 06:00 tomorrow. Over Sisko's initial objections, the wife of Worf Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax had convinced Sisko to take her along correctly reasoning he needed her vast experience given the thorny nature of the mission against Kai Winn.

"Understood," Worf said with a nod.

Medical Bay, an hour later

"Leave us, I wish to speak privately with the General," Word said. The Starfleet & Bajoran medical personnel departed as did the small contingent of three Klingon Clone Troopers assigned to guard Martok. Worf wasted no time stating his case. "You must challenge Gowron for the leadership of the Empire there is no other way."

"Challenge our leader during a time of war? No Worf, I can't. It would be dishonorable." Martok said from his sick bed.

"Gowron has dishonored himself already by his conduct. We both know he does not care about victory only his own political survival." Worf insisted.

"Even if you are correct. Who am I to challenge him? A common soldier from the lowlands of Ketha Province without a drop of royal blood. Gowron is a descendant of the Imperial Court, by comparison, I'm nothing." Martok said dejectedly.

"Kahless himself was not highborn." Worf reminded his mentor.

"Kahless is a special case, my friend. I am no hero. I'm only a man. A flawed, weak man." Martok insisted.

"But General if y-," Worf began only to be interrupted by Martok.

"I've heard enough. Go, before I forgot our bond of brotherhood." Martok said. Worf knew he was fighting a losing battle so he left.

Klingon Conference Room the next day, morning

Martok, Worf, and the four Klingon generals Gowron had brought with him sat around a long table. Gowron meanwhile stood in front of a display with had a map of the current strategic situation projected upon it. He pointed at a system deep inside enemy territory. Along the walls of the room stood Gowron's personal guard of seven Klingon Clone Troopers weapons at the ready.

"Our next target Sarpedion IV," Gowron said.

"Sarpedion is the headquarters of the entire Cardassian Twelfth Order," Martok said in disbelief.

"Yes," Gowron said. "You'll take fifteen Vor'cha class battlecruisers in to soften their defenses. Then General T-,"

"Chancellor that world is one of the most heavily fortified positions in the entirety of enemy-held space. Fifteen battlecruisers will barely make a dent in their defenses." Martok currently observed.

Gowron slowly walked around the table until he stood by Matrok. "If you lack the courage to fight an uphill battle then perhaps you should retire to your bed, General Martok," Gowron said the last two words with such spite everyone noticed his blatant show of disrespect.

Martok was immediately on his feet. His face mere inches from Gowron's own he grounded out the following words. "I will fight any battle, anywhere, for the Empire." One could cut the tension with a bat'leth.

"Spoken like a true warrior," Gowron said. Martok sat down but all could tell he remained extremely agitated. Gowron walked back to the display. "Once Martok has softened their defenses w-,"

Worf rose to his feet. "No," He said cutting off Gowron much to the shock of his fellow Klingons. "We cannot attack Sarpedion."

"I decide what can and cannot be done," Gowron said firmly.

"You rule without wisdom and without honor. The warriors who are gathered here today will not say this to you but I will. You are squandering our ships and our lives on a petty act of vengeance."

"I should have known better than to trust you again," Gowron said staring at Worf who stared right back at him. "If you were a true Klingon I'd kill you where you stand. Fortunately for you, that child's uniform shields you for your rightful fate." Gowron indicated with his eyes Worf's Starfleet uniform.

Worf made of show of taking off his Starfleet comm badge and placing it on the table. "What I say now I say as a member of the House of Martok and a Klingon Warrior, not a Starfleet Officer. You have dishonored yourself and the Empire. You are no longer worthy to lead the Council."

"There can be only one answer to that!" Gowron snarled.

Gowron took off and threw down the Klingon sash of office onto the table. He and Worf moved to the nearest wall where each took down a bat'leth while the Klingons seated around the table got up in anticipation of a duel. All were aware a formal challenge had been issued and accepted.

"Worf this is madness," Martok said trying to dissuade his friend. Worf, however, ignored Martok's words of caution.

Worf and Gowron dueled with their bat'leths until Worf caught his blade on the edge a table and Gowron broke it apart with a vicious strike. Worf then used two of the blades from the weapon to flip Gowron and himself straight through the overhead display which shattered as a result. Gowron's bat'leth spun out of reach in the fall. Gowron pulled forth his lightsaber and activated the milky white blade. Martok tossed Worf his own white bladed lightsaber.

"You'll soon die a traitor like your father before you." Gowron snarled as he locked blades with Worf.

"My father was no traitor as you well know." Worf snarled back.

Most Klingons only knew Djem So as they preferred a strong style of blade work. Unfortunately for Gowron, his opponent was an exception. Worf had familiarized himself with all seven forms. Worf used elements of Soresu to block Gowron's attacks. Frustrated Gowron made a mistake which Worf capitalized on by using a precision sequence from Makashi. Worf tagged the wrist of Gowron's blade hand with his lightsaber. Gowron howled in paining dropping his lightsaber. Gowron then fell to his knees clutching his injured wrist.

"You are defeated!" Worf said pointing his blade at Gowron's neck.

Gowron looked around the room at the faces of his former followers. His story could not end this way. He looked to the Clone Trooper Commander for assistance. "Kill this traitor! I order you to kill him! Kill him now!" Gowron said.

The Clone Commander pointed his disruptor rifle at the pair. He pulled the trigger. Gowron collapsed on his back dead a disruptor bolt having passed cleanly through his chest.

"We may be clones but our hearts are still Klingon." The Clone Commander said. He removed his helmet and walked over to where Gowron lay. He spat on Gowron's corpse. "Let the Gates of Gre'thor swallow your filthy spirit, Gowron the forever dishonored!"

Martok grabbed the sash of state. He rushed over and draped the sash over Worf. "Hail Worf Leader of the Empire!" He declared. "Worf, Worf, Worf," Martok and the other generals chanted. The Clone Troopers rushed around their new leader.

"Wait, hear me, hear me," Worf said ending the chant. "What I have done was for the Empire. A new day must dawn for our people as well as for the entire galaxy. I am not the person to usher in that day. But, there is a person here who can." Worf looked directly at Martok when he spoke these words. Worf took off the sash of state.

"Worf, I am but a humble soldier. I do not seek leadership beyond my station. I know nothing of politics. " Martok said.

"Kahless said truly great warriors do not see power, they have power thrust upon them," Worf said putting the sash of state on Martok. "Hail Martok Leader of the Empire, leader of destiny!"

"Finally an honorable Chancellor under which you can proudly serve." The Clone Commander declared.

"Martok, Martok, Martok," The generals and the clones alike chanted.

Former Seat of the Provisional Government now Official Residence of Kia Winn on Bajor, morning

"Captain Sisko and you've brought friends. To what do I owe the honor of your visit?" Kai Winn said with a warm smile. To the right of Kai Winn stood her personal attendant Ro Laren. Around Sisko were gathered Jadzia, six Starfleet Security officers, and Jedi Masters Cin Drallig, Adi Gallia and Kit Fisto.

"Kai Winn you are hereby placed under arrested by order of the Alliance," Sisko said.

"On what charges?" Kai Win asked calmly.

"Sedition, murder, terrorism, and conspiring against the Alliance and its people with known enemies," Jadzia said. Like the security officers Jadzia and Sisko each held a fully charged and primed phaser rifle. Each Jedi held his or her ignited lightsaber.

"On whose authority?" Ro Laren asked a bitter edge to her voice. "Neither your Alliance, Starfleet nor your precious Federation holds jurisdiction here. Bajor is not a member of any galactic state. Tell me, captain, are you going to break your own Prime Directive by interfering in our internal affairs?"

"The Prime Directive doesn't apply here as you well know," Sisko said. "Both you and your master (he correctly guessed) belong to a transgalactic movement dedicated to the violent overthrow of democracy. The Sith through both of you and likely others have already interfered in the natural evolution of the people of this world. We are simply restoring the balance of this civilization by removing your toxic influence."

"It's war then." Kai Winn said her smile fading.

Kai Winn made a gesture with her hands and said something Sisko did not understand. Sisko felt a wave of dizziness pass over him. He blinked then blinked again. Kai Winn and Ro Laren were gone!

"What just happened?" Jadzia asked blinking.

"She used Force Stasis on us." Cin Drallig said in disbelief.

"We were out for three full minutes." Adi Gallia said checking her chronometer.

"I didn't know such an advanced application of Force Stasis was possible." Kit Fisto said. "The technique usually only works against the weak minded and never for more than a minute."

"Why didn't they just attack us why we were defenseless?" Jadzia asked.

"Two reasons," Cin Drallig answered. "One, unless they could attack all of us at once they risked the others being released from the effect when they broke the field. Two, Kai Winn likely was greatly taxed by such an advanced use of the Force so Laren would have had to attack us by herself further reducing the chance of success."

"Where did they go?" Sisko wondered looking around for any sign of the missing pair of Sith.

"They couldn't have gotten far in three minutes." Adi Gallia said.

Kit Fisto caste his mind through the Force. He searched around the compound and adjacent areas for the two Sith. After a short time, he found them in a clearing not far from the compound.

"I found them. They are less than a kilometer from here in a field. They are no longer moving." Kit Fisto announced.

"Why would they go there rather than continue to flee or seek help from Winn's guards?" Jadzia asked.

"I don't know old man," Sisko admitted. 'Why indeed,' He thought. There was no doubt in his mind Winn had a trick up her sleeve, but what was it?

Clearing

"Why have stopped here, master?" Ro Laren asked. In her arms, the black-clad Ro held the Book of the Kosst Amojan. Winn insisted they take the ancient tome with them before they retreated.

Kai Winn undid her golden robes and threw away her golden hat. "The time has come, child. With this act, I shed a lifetime of hypocrisy." Beneath her Kia garments was the pitch black hooded robe of a Sith.

An all too familiar snap-hiss was heard an instant before Hereticious felt a blue blade at her throat. Luminara Unduli stood next to the Sith Lady an unreadable expression on her face. "You've also come here to kill us?"

"No," Luminara Unduli said. "I've come to join you." She deactivated her blade. "The Jedi Order is no longer my place. I know that now. I belong with an Order which exercises true discipline, not one that bends to and fro with the trends of the day. I pledge myself to the Sith."

"Give me the Book of the Kosst Amojan my apprentice." Darth Hereticious commanded. Ro Laren handed her master the book. Hereticious flipped it open to a page near the middle. She ran aloud a spell in the all but forgotten language of the Sith of old.

"What did you do, master?" Ro Laren asked as she felt the ground rumble below their feet. Overhead ominous swirling purple-black clouds which had not existed moments ago filled the sky.

"To face down the Jedi and their Starfleet friends we need an army which does not fear will never stop and cannot die. I've secured us such an army." Hereticious said. "This is the site of the Kendra Valley Massacre. Officially forty-three Resistance members were killed by the Cardassians here during the Occupation. In truth, several hundred died. Their rotting bodies lay beneath our feet ready to serve us with proper coaxing." Hereticious laughed a terrible sound which sent a shiver down even Ro Laren's spine for her part Luminara Unduli found the laughter almost musical.

A few minutes later

"Where did this fog come from? According to our scans, the weather was sunny and mild when we beamed down." Jadzia said. The entire area behind the compound was now shrouded in a bank of dense fog.

"Something isn't right. Stay sharp people," Sisko said.

Sisko swept the light mounted on his phaser rifle across the area but could make out little. The illumination cast by the lightsabers of the three Jedi was not helping much either. Nothing could seemingly penetrate the gloom.

An eerie shriek was heard. "What was that?" One of the security officers a young female human asked nervously.

Before anyone could comment a swarm of shadowy shapes attacked the group. Within seconds four of the security officers were literally torn limb from limb by the decayed zombies with their glowing red eyes. The phasers barely slowed the zombies down. Only dismemberment by the lightsabers stopped them. Even with three Jedi Masters present it soon became clear victory was impossible. The survivors retreated. Once back aboard their vessel waiting in orbit, Sisko ordered the area cleaned by phaser fire from above which incinerated the undead ending the zombie threat.

Darth Hereticious, Ro Laren the Jedi turncoat Luminara Unduli could not be located. Alliance Intelligence would later learn they had escaped Bajor. Days later they would show up Cardassia Prime where Luminara Unduli soon commanded a great degree authority among the Cardassians who were not fond of taking others from the two Bajoran women. Through her frequent broadcasts in the days to come, Hereticious extolled the virtues of the Sith and the Pah'Wraiths while running down the Jedi and Prophets. She claimed the Cardassians were no longer the enemies of Bajor rather the Federation and its allies were. She urged Bajorans everywhere to rise up against their oppressors these agents of the false gods. Shockingly opinion polls indicated more nearly 40% of Bajorans believed her. The planet rapidly became a hotbed of anti-Alliance sediment a troubling development given the strategic importance of the Bajoran System.

Ferenginar a day later, afternoon

Ex-Federation Ambassador to Ferenginar Ralph Offenhouse sat in an outdoor cafe enjoying his meal. It was a sunny day in the capital city something unheard of until six months ago when Grand Nagus Brunt ordered the weather control grid drastically adjusted. Ferenginar was typically an extremely wet place, however, Brunt changed that when he grew tired of purchasing specialized Aqua Droids for his security forces from the Sith Dominion formerly Imperium. Standard B1 Battle Droids were much cheaper than their Aqua Droid counterparts but they had the disadvantage of wearing out rather quickly in wet climates. Brunt's cost-cutting decision had a disastrous effect on the ecology of Ferenginar to the point where the world was in the grips of a planet-wide famine. While Brunt, his advisors along with a cadre of privateer DaiMons (who prey on Alliance shipping) grew imaginably rich off plunder and kickbacks the vast majority of Ferengi teetered on the brink of utter destitution. Tube grubs the main staple of the Ferengi diet were less than tolerant of dry sunny conditions. Prices soared accordingly and people soon starved. While always a place of great inequality even Offenhouse with his mid-20th Century Earth mindset was appalled by the sheer amount of beggars roaming the streets in recent weeks. One could not go out of doors without tripping over the sick or dying covered in their filthy rags.

Offenhouse was about to finish his drink when an explosion rocked the cafe. Offenhouse would later learn the building across the boulevard which belonged to the hated Bureau of Security (an invention of Brunt's) had been targeted by an MFEF (Movement for the Emancipation of Ferenginar) bomb. The device had been smuggled in by a disgruntled employee. The loosely organized MFEF had been gaining traction ever since the famine started. Although non-violent by nature Ferengi, especially the young were setting this cardinal rule of their nature aside in hopes of getting rid of the pro-Sith Brunt and his equally detestable cronies.

That evening a weary and somewhat battered Offenhouse entered the small house he shared with his lover Gahnava. Gahnava was a rare red-haired Orion. Most Orion females had either black or dark green hair. Gahnava told Offenhouse her red hair was a trait passed down from her maternal grandmother Gaila who had served in Starfleet, he did not quite believe her not that he cared much one way or the other. Gahnava was a carrying companion who was very skilled in the art of seduction, what more could a vagabond time displayed businessman such as himself ask for?

"How was your day my darling?" Gahnava asked Offenhouse when he entered the kitchen.

"Dreadful as usual. How was yours, my sweet?" Offenhouse asked.

"Fine, although when I went to the market food prices had got up again. I could only buy a third of what was on your list." Gahnava said with a frown. "How much longer must we remain here my love?"

"Until the war ends," Offenhouse said. "I'm the last remaining Alliance official in this sector, even if I've convinced Brunt I'm a defector. You know how important the intelligence I provide is."

"If the security forces ever realize what you're doing we're both finished." Gahnava reminded him.

"I know," Offenhouse said with a heavy sigh. "I'm going to take a shower."

"Don't be long supper is almost ready," Gahnava said.

Offenhouse headed to the second story. He slipped into his bathrobe after taking off his clothes. Before he entered the small sonic shower unit he stopped to check the secret micro communication until hidden behind a pale blue shower tile. Right away he noticed the blinking light which indicated an encrypted message awaited his attention. He was flabbergasted when he decoded the message. They wanted him to make contact with and help the MFEF and provide them with all assistance possible. He knew nothing about running an insurgency. How was he supposed to help these rebels topple Brunt? Just when he thought things could not become more complicated they did.

"I wish the crew of the Enterprise had never found my pod drifting in space. I'd be much better off as a popsicle in cryogenic storage." Offenhouse groaned.

San Francisco on Earth, morning

Anakin with Ahsoka in tow rushed into the hospital after materializing via the main entrance transporter terminal. Anakin had been attending a briefing at Starfleet Command about plans to deploy the new generation of starfighters he helped design when Ahsoka arrived with the news, Padme had gone into labor. Two weeks overdue Padme had joked that morning she would never have the twins at this rate. Out of concern, Anakin had left his former padawan with Padme in case she went into labor while he was away. Although the droids insisted they could handle things he did not believe them. After the incident with Vader and the late Imera he would only leave Padme's side when absolutely necessary.

"Slow down Skyguy," Ahsoka said. "I'm sure Padme is in good hands. Besides I left Barriss with Padme she's a healer. If the doctors can't handle things on their own, Barriss will help them."

"What do you mean if they can't handle things on their own?" Anakin said panicking.

"Breath, Skyguy breath. Everything is going to be okay." Ahsoka said.

"You don't know that Snipes," Anakin said. "What if Vader or the Emperor tries something again? If anything happened to Padme or the twins I'd never forgive myself."

"They won't. We're safe here. They're safe here." Ahsoka said.

"I hope so," Anakin said.

A hospital scrubs wearing Barriss meet Anakin and Ahsoka at the entrance to the maternity ward where the droids also stood. By the time the trio reached Padme's room, no droids allowed, she was in the final stages of labor.

Anakin stood by his wife's bedside. She reached out to him. Anakin took her hand in his organic hand. Padme squeezed his hand harder than he thought she could. Stoically Anakin bore the pain knowing Padme was experiencing far more pain than him having opted for natural childbirth.

"Ani," Padme cried out as the doctors urged her to push.

"I'm right here, Padme. I'm not going anywhere." Anakin said soothingly. "You're so beautiful to me right now so radiant." With his artificial hand, he gently brushed strands of Padme's wet hair from her forehead. "I love you, my angel. I always will."

Encouraged by Anakin's affirmation of their love Padme made a final effort in spite of her growing fatigue. A baby girl was born followed less than a minute later by her brother followed her into the world. The happy parents named the pair Leia and Luke.

Several hours later

Anakin sat in a chair a pink blanketed bundle in his arms. Next to him stood Ahsoka in her arms was a blue-blanketed bundle. Barriss had returned to her own family. Little Leia gripped one of Anakin's organic fingers in her small hand. Anakin smiled down at his daughter who was unusually bright-eyed for a newborn. Anakin felt at peace for the first time he could remember. All his fears had been unfounded. Padme was safe. The twins were safe. Everything had worked out for the best. A crushing weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

"Ahsoka I want you to be the godmother of Leia and Luke. I discussed it with Padme this morning and she agrees. We're going to ask Obi-wan if he wants to be their godfather. Also, I want you to train Leia if she chooses to become a Jedi when she's old enough. Obi-wan, if he accepts, will train Luke if Luke wants to become a Jedi. The Order won't allow me to train either of the twins, which I can honestly understand. As their father, I would lack objectivity." Anakin said.

"I'm honored," Ahsoka said. "I promise I'll do a good job looking out for these two as well as training Leia in the Jedi arts if she wants."

"I know you will," Anakin said smiling. "Up until now training you was the best thing I ever did. I consider you the sister I never had. I'm glad your in our lives and so is Padme. She told me so. I love you, Snipes."

Ahsoka felt herself crying. But these were tears of joy, not sadness. "I love you too, brother."

Paris, evening

President James T. Kirk poured over the latest strategic assessment with his good friend Commander-In-Cheif of Starfleet Commander Spock. After a week of feverish work, Scotty's team had developed a countermeasure for the Breen weapon. Starfleet and Romulan vessels could, at last, rejoin their Klingon counterparts at the fronts.

"Dr. Lenara Kahn has arrived from Trill." The image of Captain Janeway dutifully reported over the small viewscreen mounted on Kirk's desk.

"Once Dr. Kahn has prepared the equipment target the Barzan Wormhole with the modified phase-conjugate graviton beam," Spock ordered. "We are left with no other option. We cannot permit the Galatic Empire to invade our galaxy. The Barzan Wormhole must be sealed."

"Understood," Captain Janeway said.

USS Voyager near the Barzan Wormhole Beta Quadrant, a few hours later

From its deflector disc, Voyager fired a pulsing blast of energy which caused the Barzan Wormhole to open. The Wormhole shuddered, turned multiple colors then imploded. While the anomaly remained embedded deep in subspace it was no longer accessible from normal space, at least for the time being.

Star Wars Dimension – October 19 BBY

Vader's Flagship

Vader could hardly believe what happened. The Barzan Wormhole, gateway to the other galaxy was gone! It would appear he had seriously underestimated his foes in the Alliance. An error he would not repeat if ever given another chance. How was he going to explain this to the Emperor? There was little doubt in his mind Sidious would be beyond furious. The only consolation was he had left strict instructions his orders for the final conquest of Alliance territory could not be countermanded. Hopefully, this pawns Hereticious and Dukat would finish the job he and that pompous old fool Dooku had started. With a flourish of his cape, he departed the bridge.

To Be Continued

Next Up the Third Battle of Deep Space Nine followed by the end of the war in the chapter after that as "What You Leave Behind" ends.

Author's Note -

We won't be seeing Vader, Sidious & co. again until around the events of "A New Hope" in this AU. I want our alternate Luke and Leia to have an adventure as similar to their canon outing as possible thus the Empire needs to develop in isolation so it will closely align with its canon counterpart with only a few notable exceptions (most of which I have already shown).