Ahsoka and the Rebellion – Chapter 1: Aftermath of Malachor

Chapter 1: Aftermath of Malachor


Malachor, Chorlian Sector, NE Outer Rim, 2 BBY 0 months 2 days

Ahsoka Tano dabbed at her eyes as she walked slowly through the remains of the Sith Temple on the barren world of Malachor. At first, the smoke and fetid smells seemed to be the cause of her discomfort, but she soon realized she'd been crying. A feeling of anguish had come over her, a feeling of helplessness. "Why did this happen to you, Anakin?" she spoke aloud. "Why couldn't I have been there for you?"

As her mind raced through the recent past, and back to the day she had declined her readmission into the Jedi Order, she remembered Anakin's near-desperate pleading for her to stay with them – with him – in the Order. And it was truly difficult, because the Jedi were all she could remember since she was a precious child of three years of age. But the Jedi had also become a source of great disappointment to her, as they seemed too hidebound to adapt their ways to changing times and furthermore, in her mind, had shown no loyalty to someone that had been steadfast and true to them. "The house no longer felt like home" to Ahsoka and she was bitter about the way she'd been treated, hunted down like an animal through the streets and sewers of the seamy underbelly of Coruscant.

On her way out, as Anakin tried to reason with her, he'd remarked that there were times when he, too, felt overly restricted by the Order – and she had responded, "I know …" with more than a wink and a nod. Ahsoka was well aware of his relationship with the beautiful and accomplished Padmé Amidala, the woman who had served as Queen of the planet Naboo at age 14 – the same age when Ahsoka became a Jedi Padawan – and then had gone on to serve as her world's representative in the Galactic Senate. Anakin could scarcely contain his feelings for Padmé when the three of them were together and Ahsoka herself greatly admired the senator, as someone who stood for justice and was a tireless defender of the rights of free peoples throughout the galaxy. And of course, would-be Jedi Masters like Anakin were forbidden involvement in romantic relationships …

But Anakin Skywalker also had developed a very strong bond with the one who had become his apprentice and they went through many adventures together. They saved each other's life countless times. They had become far more than Master and Padawan – they were brother and sister in all but blood. So walking away from the order meant walking away from him as well and this was her most difficult decision.

So this day of reckoning had come at last, and it was painful – likely for the both of them. When she faced off against him in his new guise as the arch-evil Sith Lord Darth Vader, at first she just couldn't believe that behind that mask was her beloved former master. But once she had sliced it open to reveal that familiar face there was no room left for doubt, and when he spoke her name, sounding just like it had some 15 years prior, it was an eerie feeling. Her heart opened to him immediately as he asked why she had deserted him all those years ago – with an impassioned cry she told him, "I won't leave you, not this time!"

But he was unmoved, telling her, "then you will die." It seemed so final, but as much as Ahsoka, in her despair, truly wondered whether that might have been the best course, there was still that determination to salvage something from the situation. So she fought. And used all of her abilities to stave him off, but then the Temple they were in started to crumble and fall and both the combatants had to flee, lest they be buried in the wreckage. Vader had been scarred by the encounter with his former apprentice and at the same time – as bad as the physical damage she had done to him was – the psychological damage was even greater. To hear Ahsoka Tano almost taunting him drove him to intense anger as he never wanted to relive those days again. The time they had spent together – as "Skyguy" and "Snips" – was truly a wonderful thing, but Vader had no need of those sentiments any longer. As he limped away from the temple, he found his way to his TIE Advanced x1 fighter and quickly left the world of Malachor – wanting no part of any further encounters with this woman. Best to keep that buried in the past where it could produce no further harm.

Ahsoka was also deeply scarred psychologically, as she knew now that there would be little chance of her ever again seeing the Anakin she loved, and that his tortured soul was truly lost. Yet she was somehow deeply unsatisfied with this turn of events. How did this happen? She wondered aloud. There must be something unspeakably evil that could have swallowed up my master and turned him into … The answers, of course, were not available to her at this time. So it was time to attend to the matter at hand – how to get off this awful rock of a world. Then we can figure out what to do next, she thought.

She then started piecing together the events of this day. It was clear that both Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger, her companions on this journey, had escaped in the Phantom – as she would have urged them to do, since being in close proximity to Darth Vader was quite hazardous. And Maul had also decided he was better off elsewhere too, and it wasn't long before she deduced that he had made use of the Inquisitor's TIE Advanced v1 fighter and had "exited, stage left." But since there were three Inquisitors on Malachor that day – and all had perished – Ahsoka realized there should be additional craft still available to her. On her way to find such a ship, she came upon the discarded body of the Seventh Sister, an Inquisitor that she was intrigued by in their previous encounters. This one deserves a decent service, she thought, as she tended to the woman's corpse.

But as she removed the helmet and mask of the Sister, Ahsoka seemed to recognize her from encounters long ago – when they fought on the same side. Serra Keto, as I live and breathe … Serra was another figure from the past that Ahsoka had thought about from time to time as she processed the horrors of Order 66 and the death of so many former friends. Friends like the Twi'lek Aayla Secura, and her fellow Togruta, the wondrous Master Shaak Ti – always the very picture of serenity and composure, and someone she hoped she could someday be herself. The brave, fearless and cheerful Kit Fisto, her earliest mentor Plo Koon … all of them gone, all of them sorely missed. Ahsoka teared up again to recall them all. And Serra had been a fellow Padawan that Ahsoka had a friendly rivalry with – they loved to train together at times and they both used dual green-bladed sabres. At times, they would share a cup of tea or a snack together – and had a friendly wager on who would be the first to face the trials. Of course, when Ahsoka had been cleared of the Jedi Temple bombing accusations, Masters Yoda and Windu had declared her as already having passed the trial and were ready to confer upon her full status and privileges as a Jedi Knight … it should have been her happiest day but of course it was quite the opposite.

So how could Serra have survived and then turned into this, Ahsoka wondered in horror. But then she recalled that the Inquisitors were Force wielders that in many cases had been former Jedi. She'd often wondered what became of her other former friend and rival, Barriss Offee … but the bottom line here was they had been turned because something made them turn and the lure of the Dark Side was strong, especially after Order 66. How many had told themselves that Emperor Palpatine – who Ahsoka remembered best as the kindly, soft-spoken Chancellor – was doing a great service to the galaxy by uniting it as an Empire and restoring order? After all, the last decades of the Republic were fraught with much crime and chaos and the populations cried out for some form of sanity. When despicable men like Cad Bane and Boba Fett were free to ply their trade as bounty hunters for the likes of the Hutt clan and other slimy syndicates of sordid doings, who really was safe? So maybe a former Jedi might grow a bit disillusioned … I just wish I could have talked to her first, Ahsoka wistfully thought.

She then gathered up some dried branches and other debris into a pile and laid Serra's body down across it. Before igniting it with one of her white-bladed sabres, Ahsoka eulogized her deceased former friend. "Serra, we were a pair of gals that were so alike it was scary … stubborn to a fault, but equally sure that we were doing it right. We served our masters with pride and never gave up. We won many battles and had some good times. I will always remember you, friend." As the pyre flame climbed into the Malachorian night, Ahsoka looked up with determination. I will carry on … however I must.

As Ahsoka started to search for the spacecraft, she also came upon the Sister's emblematic circular lightsabre contraption – which could quickly ignite a double blade but also could be used for short flights due to its helicopter-like design. Though it was clearly a darksider's weapon of supposed evil, it might be of some use down the road. She clipped it to her belt along with her trusty white blades. Soon enough, she located the v1 TIE, and it was no worse for wear as she opened the cockpit and boarded the ship. A quick glance around saw the controls were easily managed, as it had the standard Imperial design. A light craft, it was very maneuverable and it had shields as well as a hyperdrive capability. "Perfect," she said aloud and chuckled. "Now just where are we headed?"


AUTHOR'S NOTE


2018-June

When I first set out to write this story, I was aiming at the legions of fans that Ahsoka has all over the world. I kind of expected everyone to know about her the way I and so many others do, but I realize there are many now who are reading the story that are not as well-versed about her history. For those folks, and really for anyone that wants to review, I offer the following to provide some background.


Ahsoka Tano was born around 36 BBY (Before Battle of Yavin) on the planet Shili, the home world of the Togruta species of sentient beings. Togruta are traditionally a hunter-gatherer society and they are quite in touch with their surroundings and as a result, many of them are sensitive to the Force. Some over the years were quite proficient and there Jedi Masters and Sith Lords in their history. Ahsoka was discovered at age 3 by the Jedi Master Plo Koon, who ended up taking her to Coruscant, where she was raised at the Temple. As her skills progressed, she grew more and more skilled, and by age 14 she was given the chance to be a Jedi Padawan and was assigned to Knight Anakin Skywalker.

At first, Ahsoka and Anakin had some difficulty relating to each other and often had arguments, but Skywalker came to respect her and eventually became quite fond of her. Ahsoka's ability with the Force continued to grow and grow and she became a renowned warrior during the Clone Wars. There were many exciting story arcs to be found and some of the best included:

Jedi Crash (season 1, episode 15) where Anakin was gravely injured and she had to take charge – when she was still only 14.

Later that year, Ahsoka learned a valuable lesson in the Ryloth story arc (episodes 20-21-22), where she was given a chance at redemption after earlier leading her clone force into a massacre where they all perished.

In Weapons Factory (season 2, episode 7), she and Anakin went to Geonosis to destroy a droid factory, and she ended being trapped underground with Barriss Offee. Anakin never gave up on his Padawan, who eventually was able to escape and get to safety. This episode helped to deepen the bond between them.

The episode Lethal Trackdown (season 2, episode 23) saw Ahsoka work with Plo Koon to pursue the young Boba Fett and his allies, with Ahsoka besting bounty hunter Aurra Sing and showing her impressive array of talents, while still rather young (age 15).

In Sphere of Influence (season 3, episode 4), Ahsoka helps Riyo Chuchi of Pantora fight back against the tyrannical Chi Cho. Riyo and Ahsoka became good friends after this adventure. Later that season (episodes 15-16-17) she and Anakin went to the mysterious world of Mortis, where Ahsoka appears to die but is saved by the Daughter. In Padawan Lost (episodes 21,22), she was pursued by Trandoshan hunters on Felucia and teamed up with the Wookiee Chewbacca to fight back and defeat them.

In season 4 (episodes 11-12-13) Ahsoka and Anakin infiltrate the Zygerrian slave trade and help free her fellow Togruta, and in season 5 (episodes 1-2-3-4) Ahsoka took the lead and helped the people of Onderon fight off the Separatists and their puppet king. It was during this time that she and Saw Gerrera first became allies. Finally, in season 5, Ahsoka faced her greatest test as she was wrongly accused of bombing the Jedi Temple and placed on trial for her life (episodes 17-18-19-20). Although she was finally acquitted, mostly due to the efforts of Anakin (the only one who believed she was innocent), she decided to leave the Jedi Order, even though she was due to be promoted to Knighthood.

During her time away from the Order, the Galaxy fell under the domination of Emperor Palpatine and Anakin turned to the Dark Side of the Force and became Darth Vader. As one of the few surviving ex-Jedi, Ahsoka went into hiding on the Outer Rim world of Thabeska, where she was employed by the Fardi smuggling organization. She also took an interest in the Fardi's 4-year-old daughter Hedala, who she discovered was Force-sensitive.

Things became too dangerous for her to remain on Thabeska, so Ahsoka went into hiding once more on the agricultural moon of Raada, where she aided the local farmers and worked as a mechanic, hiding her Force ability and her true identity. But when the Empire came calling, she helped lead the farmers of Raada in a successful revolt. Ahsoka was then discovered by Alderaanian Senator Bail Organa, who was secretly organizing a rebellion against the Empire. Ahsoka agreed to help with transmission of intelligence among the fledgling band of rebels and took on the code name Fulcrum.

It was during this time that she met and befriended Hera Syndulla and the crew of the Ghost, whom she aided in their efforts as part of the rebellion. She and Kanan Jarrus discovered an old Jedi Temple on the Outer Rim world of Lothal and they made contact with former Jedi Grand Master Yoda, who was in hiding on the world of Dagobah. Ahsoka received a transmission and came under the scrutiny of Darth Vader, whom she later started to realize might be her old master Anakin Skywalker.

Eventually, the Inquisitors tracked she and Kanan, along with young Jedi in training Ezra Bridger, to the planet Malachor, where they sought information from an old Sith Temple that Yoda told them of. They first met the former Sith, Maul, who helped them defeat and kill the three Inquisitors and then Vader arrived. To protect Ezra and Kanan (who had been blinded by Maul), Ahsoka faced Vader alone and battles against him, causing damage to his mask and thereby confirming that he was indeed Anakin. The battle started to turn against her, but then the Sith Temple started to collapse due to Ezra having removed a holocron. Vader and Ahsoka both escaped the Temple, and though Vader was seemingly injured, he fled Malachor and left Ahsoka in the wreckage of the Temple, where this story then begins.

Ahsoka Tano is now thought to be dead or at least unaccounted for as the story begins (around 2 BBY) but she not only survives, she goes on to great adventures as you will discover in the thrilling tales ahead. ENJOY!


FURTHER NOTES

To learn more of what Ahsoka Tano was doing prior to the timeframe of this story, see Shaak and Maris – A Star Wars Story by this same author.

I am now in the process of reformatting the story scenes with subheadings, showing the time and place which they occur in, to make it easier for the reader to follow.