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Title: Road to Destiny
Summary: Anakin Skywalker defends a planet from the advances of the Separatist army. What will happen when dissension in the Senate complicates his mission?
Author's Note: I wrote this for one reason: Because two people suggested that I write a full length story featuring Anakin and Padme. So I dedicate this story to my Master and my Apprentice, SaraKenobi and JainaandJag.
Anakin Skywalker stood on the edge of the precipice, kneeling down on one knee and looking over the edge. Rain soaked into his already muddy Jedi robes as he watched the Separatit's droid forces moving in the valley below him. This planet was one of the dozens, maybe even hundreds where the war between the Separatist's droids and the Republic's clones battled. The fighting was dormant for now, but it would erupt again soon here and Anakin wanted to be prepared for it.
For the moment he was in charge on this planet. He might still be a Jedi padawan, but his Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, was now a general in charge of the war in this sector of the frontlines. Anakin now held the equivalent of the rank of a Major and this was far from his first solo mission. He had confidence and experience, and while he had experienced his share of failures, he also had one of the highest mission success rates at the Temple.
This mission seemed to be straight forward enough. The Republic would face casualties certainly, but it looked as if the Republic actually had a good chance of winning the battle for this world- that is if this world was still worth anything when the fighting was over. Anakin had seen far too many worlds devastated by this war. He also had a very bad feeling about this place.
His careful observations began to morph into a deep meditation as he reached into the Force. He couldn't sense the battle droids in the Force, but he could sense the disturbance that was growing in the Force around this planet. He let his mind drift without direction hoping for some flash of insight into the situation. Instead he sensed a presence approaching from behind him. Anakin waited until the clone trooper had stopped behind him. Sensing clones through the Force was...odd and it could be difficult to tell one clone trooper from another with the Force, but Anakin didn't need it to know who this was.
"What is it, Captain?" He asked his temporary second-in-command.
The clone trooper didn't move from his customary ready position. "A message for you, Sir, from General Kenobi. He said that it was important."
Anakin restrained an impatient sigh and rose to his feet. "Very well, Captain. "Let's go." With Obi-Wan's summons hanging over his head, he wouldn't have any more success with his meditations anyway. He might as well see what his Master had to say.
It wasn't long before darkness had settled onto their side of the planet, reducing their visibility even further as they continued along the trail that ran along the two kilometers distance between them and their center of operations. They moved as steadily and stealthily as possible through the ominous weather while keeping a careful eye on their surroundings. Separatist forces were everywhere.
Anakin's senses flared to a heightened sense of readiness as they moved through a particularly dangerous area. If he was fighting for the Separatist's this was the place that he would chose for an ambush. A natural rock formation rose about ten meters straight up on their left side and to their right flowed a deep and fast moving river. Anakin made a quick mental note to post a squad of cone troopers up there to secure the passage once he had returned to the base. It was a small, but distinct sound- metal on rock- that caught his attention and triggered his danger sense. It only took him a moment to pinpoint the location of the rest of the droids. As he had half-expected they were surrounded by the droids. The thought hardly filled Anakin with fear. This was far from the worst situation that he had found himself in since the beginning of the war.
He anticipated the move of the droid in charge as he called his lightsaber to his hand with lightning fast speed and sent a spray of blaster bolts whirling away from he and the clone Captain with a dazzling series of slashes and blocks from his lightsaber. As the droids continued to fire, Anakin quickly began to assess the number of their attackers. As far as he could tell there were eight droids shooting at him. Under the barrage of blaster fire, Anakin allowed them to push him back until he was almost in the river, with the Captain behind him, returning fire.
Four of the droids chose that moment to take a predator like leap down from the top of the ledge to close in on Anakin and the Captain for the kill. Anakin took that moment to go on the offensive. He charged the four droids, battering aside incoming blaster bolts quickly as he ran. When he was about two meters away from them, he dove towards the ground and turned it into a roll that quickly brought him in front of the droids. As he rolled to his feet a quick rising, diagonal slash destroyed the first droid.
With a quick horizontal slash in the opposite direction, Anakin bisected the second droid. He batted away several blaster bolts, completing a full turn in the process, bringing him back face-to-face with the third droid. He brought his lightsaber down in a quick slash to destroy the third droid, before it could get off a shot with its blaster rifle. Anakin changed directions mid-flow, reversing his grip on his lightsaber and plunging it behind him at his right side. His lightsaber blade sank straight into the control center of the fourth droid.
His brief skirmish had left him in an excellent position, pressed back up against the rock ledge. The remaining droids were having trouble targeting him. Anakin didn't even waste another moment to take a breath, he simply used the Force to pull all of the droids down from their positions and slam them together as hard as he could.
A moment later only a pile of scrap metal lay in front of him. He leaned forwards carefully over the dismembered droids and nudged one of them with the toe of his boot. As he had expected, it didn't move. On a sudden impulse he bent down beside the droid and began to examine it.
Anakin knew that they needed to get back. Obi-Wan wouldn't call him idly, but there was something here. The Force was guiding him towards something but it was something he couldn't see yet. Anakin rose quickly, kicked the ruined droid with impatience and frustration. His men would be fighting and dying tomorrow- he didn't have time to wait to discover what the Force was trying to tell him. He resisted the temptation to give the ruined droid another kick and took a step back.
He half-turned to the Captain waiting patiently behind him. "As soon as we get back, I want you to send out a squad troopers to secure this passage and retrieve these carcasses. I want them carefully examined for anything out of the ordinary."
The Captain nodded immediately. "Yes, Sir."
They remained in silence until they returned to the base.
When Anakin at last activated the link that would put him through to Obi- Wan, even his Master's ever patient features seemed a bit frustrated with his padawan's delay. Using the Force to slide the doors to the makeshift dwelling shut behind him, Anakin wasn't in much of a patient mood himself.
"Where have you been, Anakin," Obi-Wan asked sharply.
"I was on a scouting mission when I received your summons, Master. We were ambushed on the way back."
It didn't seem to make Obi-Wan much happier about the situation, but it did seem to appease his frustration with his padawan a bit. "Were there any casualties," Obi-wan asked methodically. He considered for a moment, asking Anakin if he had been injured, but decided that his padawan would have already reported it, if he had been and he didn't want to seem over protective or insult Anakin's competence.
"Only theirs," Anakin replied dismissively. "You said it was important, Master," he prompted.
Obi-Wan nodded and stroked his bearded chin as he looked at his padawan seriously. "The Supreme Chancellor has been getting pressured by many of the Senators recently. They are concerned about the reports of the devastation that is becoming common on so many worlds. This committee of senators wants to investigate the situation first hand. They think that perhaps ways should be found to fight while causing less collateral damage to the worlds where the battles are being fought."
Anakin's features darkened into a scowl. "These Senators want us to fight this war for them, but they want us to go about it tidily so that their pockets don't have to feel the hardships of this war. It's ridiculous, Master!" Anger flooded into his voice at the attitudes of the Senators. They were more concerned with their greed than the welfare of the worlds and systems that they represented.
Obi-wan didn't disagree with what his padawan had said or chastise him for saying it. "Chancellor Palpatine has chosen to appease the Senate by selecting a committee of Senators to examine the situation on the front lines. He asked the Council about sending the Committee to your location specifically. The Council agreed to his request on the condition that the status of the fight there on Honoghr hasn't escalated."
Anakin almost growled. A committee of meddling Senators was the last thing he needed to further complicate this situation. For once he was bluntly honest with Obi-Wan. "Master, I have a bad feeling about this."
"About the Senators or the status of the fighting there," Obi-Wan questioned, willing to trust Anakin's well honed instincts.
Anakin shrugged, frustration lacing his gesture. "It's a vague feeling. Nothing more than a hunch, Master."
Obi-Wan nodded. "I trust your hunch, Anakin, but with no evidence, I can't take it to the Chancellor. It will only lead to more problems in the Senate and accusations of obstructing Senate investigations. You'll simply have to deal with any situations as they arrive."
Anakin nodded, frustration and weariness sinking into him now. It wasn't the result that he had hoped for when Obi-Wan had explained the situation, but it was what he had expected. He wondered vaguely when he had become so cynical, as Obi-Wan continued to brief him.
"Anakin are you listening to me?" Obi-Wan's familiar indignant rebuke was enough to draw him out of his thoughts.
"Of course," he responded evenly, not flinching in the slightest under Obi- Wan's disbelieving stare. Anakin quickly used the Force to enhance his short term memory and parroted his master's last lines back at him. "The Committee of Senators will be arriving in two days. The committee will be made up of prominent Senators from a dozen different systems. I will be dealing directly with the Senate chairperson," Anakin ended dutifully. "Is there anything else, Obi-Wan," he asked abruptly. He had already had much to do and now thanks to these Senators he had more.
Fortunately Obi-Wan shook his head. "No, that's all for now." He directed a stern but affectionate look at Anakin. "Update me immediately if the situation takes a turn for the worse, Anakin. This is not something that you have to handle by yourself. May the Force be with you," he murmured almost as an after thought as he broke the connection.
Anakin sighed and looked down at the small desk in front of him. It was full of administrative reports that he needed to look over before morning to keep everything running smoothly. It would be almost dawn before he was finished and he had wanted to examine the droids those droids personally when they were brought in. There was nothing else to do but get started. Hours later, weary from fighting, the unending details of the red tape that he had to deal with, and the loneliness that always threatened to overwhelm him when he was separated from Padme, Anakin fell into a restless sleep.
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