Clouded Future, Clouded Past

Chapter 1. Duel of the Wrong Fate

Obi-Wan Kenobi dashed down the electron-gate corridor leading to the melting pit as soon as the first gate, which he was behind, was open. He barreled down the corridor full speed, trying to get beyond the last gate before it shut. He didn't make it. He slid to a stop as the last gate closed before him. He looked anxiously toward the two warriors just beyond it. His master, Qui-Gon Jinn, was out there, fighting the evil Sith lord, Darth Maul. Obi-Wan could feel his Master's fatigue, saw the strain in his face. He worried about Qui-Gon.

Suddenly a mental image flashed through his mind. He saw the Sith lord raising his blade to strike his dear Master down, saw the bright red blade slice through cloth and flesh, felt the pain as his beloved Master crumpled to the ground. At first, he was not sure what to make of it, whether or not it was simply his own worries. But as it played through his mind again, he understood. It was the future. Filled with a boiling, red hot rage and hatred, he slashed with his lightsaber at the side panels, cutting the power to the electron-gate that barred his path. He had to stop this image from becoming reality!

As he rushed forward, he saw Darth Maul raising his saber for the kill, then turn as he felt the intense anger flowing with a rush toward him. He faced his enemy with an evil grin on his face, then drooped the smirk as he saw the fury with which his opponent was bearing down on him. Obi-Wan came in full speed, hacking and slashing with his saber, every ounce of his energy bent on killing this menace. Qui-Gon stepped back in shock as the wave of anger and hatred hit him like a slap in the face, his lightsaber still activated and in a ready position. The two fierce warriors continued to fight to the death, each searching for the opening that would mean the ultimate defeat and death of the other. They circled the melting pit, Obi-Wan slashing away, and Maul doing all he could to keep him away. Obi-Wan was gaining an advantage, and that only fueled him further, his hatred of this striped menace growing with every cut and slash. Finally, he found the opening he was looking for; Maul had lowered his defense, counting on his opponent's fatigue to work in his favor. He miscalculated. Obi-Wan's bright blue blade plunged into his chest. He could smell the odor of scorched flesh as the laser went through his enemy's heart, felt the exhilaration as the evil Sith Lord crumpled dead to the ground. He stood triumphant over the body of his opponent, looking at his Master across the pit. He found he could not meet Qui-Gon's saddened, piercingly questioning gaze. He knew he should be ashamed of his hatred, should release it before he was in too deep, before it took hold of him, but he found he couldn't. He didn't want to. He dropped his eyes to the ground, angry with Qui-Gon for not recognizing his triumph, angry at his opponent for provoking him into such actions, angry with himself for allowing himself to be provoked.

Above it all, a satisfying, exhilarating, boiling, red hot rage was still coursing through his body. Suddenly, a terrible anger boiled up next to it, anger at Qui-Gon for never letting him experience such a satisfying feeling. He raised his eyes to meet his Master's. He knew his Master could see the flashing anger in his eyes, but he didn't care. Until he saw the sadness in the Jedi Master's eyes as he watched his Padawan going through such a change. He stood there until he could not bear his Master's disappointed gaze any longer. He had altered time like he had wanted to. Now he rushed out through the service door that was next to the melting pit, quickly deciding there was no way he could stay with the Jedi Order now. Nor could he go around the pit, back to his Master. He did not know how he would react if his Master were to reprimand him, and he did not want to risk his dear Master's life or sorrow. He would have to leave, find a new life for himself. And he would have to do it quickly.

As Obi-Wan ran through the streets of Theed, he began to think about what he was doing. There's still time, he thought. I can still go back! But no, it is too late. I must now find a new life for myself. That includes a new name, so nobody can find me. After thinking for a moment, running names and words through his mind, he settled on the name Cloud.

He continued through Theed toward the hanger. If he could only borrow a ship, he could get away. He entered the hanger and located a small, sleek craft that would be perfect. Now, if only it were not guarded. He looked around, but didn't see any guards. He made his way toward the ship. Suddenly, he looked to each side. Qui-Gon was coming toward him from the right, and Padmé Amidala from the left. They were obviously trying to intercept him, trying to stop his decision. He stepped up his pace, then became dismayed when the others did likewise. Doubtless Qui-gon had told Padmé what had happened. He couldn't let them catch him, or...he couldn't think what might happen.

"Stop!" Padmé called out. "Don't! don't understand!" His Master called his name. Cloud kept running. He jumped into the ship, not heeding the eager, saddened calls of the other two. "Obi-Wan, don't do this!" Qui-Gon called out. "You can still turn around! You can come back! It's not too late!" Yes, it is, he thought sadly. He couldn't endanger his master like this. He wasn't sure what it would be like if he stayed. That's why he had to leave. He fired up the engines and took off from the beautiful Naboo. He wasn't sure where he was going, but he knew he just couldn't stay here.