Chapter 5: Confrontation part 2
"HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?" the usually calm and emotionally controlled Barriss Offee squawked as she and the other Jedi followed behind the power walking Anakin Skywalker.
"I think so, it was around the time I listened to Palpatine," Anakin said, checking his saber on his belt. "So it's only right I get some payback for it."
"Anakin, listen to reason!" Obiwan shook his head, "This is pure suicide … I mean it this time!"
"Twisted your perception and mind once, Sidious did, Jedi Skywalker," Yoda pressed, surprisingly able to keep up with the others on his short legs. "Strong with the Dark Side, Palpatine is. Very powerful is he. Only when mastered are your emotions, and the force at command defeat him can you! Ready you are not yet!"
"I don't have to be ready, I just have to be lucky," Anakin replied turning toward the fighter bay of the carrier.
"Anakin, what about Luke and Leia?" Obiwan pressed trying his trump card.
"A Jedi was never meant to be a father, Padme will be a better parent anyway," Anakin said after a short pause.
"Anakin, you're the Chosen One," Barriss grabbed his arm. "If you go, you'll die! What will we do then?"
"Took me a while to figure this out, but I'm not the Chosen One," Anakin said as he came to a stop before the hatch to the fighter bay. "I'm just his dad."
"Anakin …" Obiwan sighed, as his former Padawan punched in the access code to ready his fighter.
"This is something I have to do. I have to face him again, or I'll never be able to live with what I've done… " Anakin said as he turned to face them. "Tell Luke and Leia what you want when they're old enough … tell them the truth or … tell them I was a spice freighter pilot. I'd rather be remembered a good man flying a spice freighter then a traitor."
"You weren't a traitor Anakin you were-"Obiwan tried to defend him, but Anakin held up a hand.
"Tell that to the people who stare at me like I'm going to bite their head off at any moment, and clear out of my way no matter where I go, tell that to Padme …" Anakin replied, "They think I'm some kind of monster, well … I'm going to let that monster go on Palpatine."
"Then may the Force be with you," Yoda spoke up shocking everyone present.
"What?" Obiwan asked in disbelief.
"A great wrong to the Order you have done, and every code at the time broken, have you." Yoda clarified with a firm nod. "Bloody are your hands, young Skywalker, but think you are without saving, you should not. Go, and face your darkened past, Jedi Skywalker, and a Master you will return."
"But … I thought I was already a ranking Master …" Anakin blinked in confusion.
"Simply a title, Jedi Master is. Faced my own devils I never have. Long gone my chance to do so is. " Yoda chuckled, "facing your past without fear or regret, master of the Force and yourself you will be. Greater then any Jedi Master you will be. If not in power or wisdom, but in mind and soul."
"Thank you Master," Anakin bowed humbly to the aged Jedi.
"May the Force be with you, Jedi Skywalker," Yoda nodded back as the young Jedi made his way to his fighter. "Need it you will … need it you will …"
"So you expect us to just let him go on a suicide mission?" Aayla asked in disbelief.
"Recall saying that … I do not," Yoda replied with a mock-innocent smile.
On Coruscant Palpatine smiled as he sat on his throne feeling the approaching Force Signature. "Darth Neco," the Emperor summoned sitting slightly straighter.
"You summoned me, my Master?" the armored Sith Lord bowed on one knee.
"My former Apprentice is on his way here, and some of the surviving Jedi follows behind." Palpatine spoke, lacing his fingers together in his lap.
"I have felt their approach, my Master," Neco replied, standing up. "Do you wish their ships destroyed?"
"No, Skywalker is mine," Palpatine growled, "Ours … we shall destroy him together."
"And the Jedi?" Neco asked.
"Have the Elites handle them," Palpatine waved, "They failed to destroyed them the first time, let them make up for their mistake or die trying."
"As you wish, my Master …" Neco bowed again, before leaving the room.
Palpatine smiled as he rotated the throne to view the large window. "I look forward to our reunion, my young friend … it will be our last."
"That was easy …" Anakin whispered to himself as he slid along the shadows of the Imperial Palace. "Too easy …" He ducked down and narrowed his eyes as a pair of Storm Troopers passed by. "He's probably expecting me … which means he's confident … hopefully over confident … if Obiwan was here he'd say he has a bad feeling about this … Skywalker, do you realize you're talking to yourself? Yeah. Just checking."
Anakin snuck into the Senate Hall turned Palace and made his way to Palpatine's old office. He ducked and dodged all troopers and guards with a minimal use of the Force. He blinked in surprised when he saw a young human female seated at a desk before the doorway to Palpatine's old office. "What the sun, worth a shot …" he whispered before adjusting his robes and stepping out of the shadows and walked toward the blonde.
"Hello!" the girl chirped with a smile, her bright smile seemed out of place with her dark Imperial uniform. "May I help you, sir?"
"Yes, is this C-Emperor Palpatine's office?" Anakin asked standing with square shoulders and flashing his most dashing smile.
"Indeed it is. Are you here to see his Excellency?" the girl smiled dimwittedly.
"I would like to if I could," Anakin winked.
"Do you have an appointment?" the girl asked with the same mentally void smile.
"I'm afraid I do not," Anakin shrugged with a mock-disappointed smile. "I'm Anakin Skywalker an old friend of his, and was hoping I could catch up."
"I'm sorry, if you don't have an appointment, I can't let you in," the girl cocked her head to the side and smiled. "I can set you up for an appointment for next Tuesday if you like?"
"I'm afraid I won't be on world at that time, I really do need to see him today," Anakin said waving his hand before the girls face.
"I do hate to hear that, but I can't let you in unless you have an appointment," the girl continued to smile annoyingly.
"But I must insist, after all I am an old friend, so you'll let me in right?" Anakin said waving his hand again, a little more forcefully.
"I can't let you in unless you have an appointment," the girl said sounding like a broken record.
"Are you a droid?" Anakin asked with a confused look.
"No, I'm all human, though my mother said I had the IQ of an air speeder," She giggled, smiling gleefully.
"Wonder why … heard of being too smart for the mind trick, but this one seems too stupid …" Anakin whispered to himself as he shook his head, "So who does have an appointment today?" he asked leaning against the desk.
"Senator Kinoto has one in thirty minutes, Mr. Skywalker, why do you ask?" the girl smiled that same goofball grin.
"No reason… I must be going." He said turning and walking part of the way down the hall before turning and coming back.
"Hello!" The girl grinned dimly again. "May I help you sir?"
"Yes, I am Senator Kinoto," Anakin said with his arms behind his back, "I know I'm early but I believe my meeting with the Emperor is quite important."
"Of course, Senator," the girl smiled stupidly, as she pressed a button unlocking the door. "Go right ahead!"
"I can't believe that actually worked …" Anakin grinned to himself as he walked into the hall way leading to the Emperor's chambers.
The momentary enjoyment at the lackluster minded girl melted away when he felt the familiar dark presence of his former Sith Master before him. Anakin pulled his Lightsaber from his belt and carefully walked from the hallway into the large oval office that had since been refurbished into a dark foreboding throne room.
"Lord Vader, I have been expecting your return to me for some time," Palpatine said rotating his throne to face the young Jedi.
"That name has no meaning to me anymore, Darth Sidious," Anakin said glaring into the Sith Lord's yellow eyes. "You tricked me into betraying the Jedi once that won't happen again."
"Trick you, dear boy? I did nothing the Jedi didn't do themselves," Palpatine chuckled, "Or have you forgotten about how they wanted you to spy on me, then planned my assassination. They were just waiting for an excuse, and what would have happened if Master Windu had killed me? Do you honestly believe the Jedi would have let the Senate stay in power?"
"You made sure we never would have found out didn't you?" Anakin replied, lighting his saber, "The Jedi made mistakes. I will not disagree with what they did was wrong, but they never killed innocent children just because they had the chance of rebelling against them."
"Too true, young Skywalker," Palpatine grinned, "Though I didn't … YOU did."
"And I'm going to try to make amends for that," Anakin said raising his saber. "Today if possible."
"You had the potential to be a great Sith, young Skywalker," Palpatine said, standing to his feet and brandishing his own lightsaber. "If you are so anxious to die then … so be it."
"What an interesting smell you've discovered …" Aayla complained as she followed Obiwan, Bail, Padme and Barriss through the sewers below the Senate Hall.
"You should have smelled what Anakin discovered in the Outer Rim territories," Obiwan grinned as he waited through the smelly fluid. "This is nothing."
"How could you have just let him come by himself," Padme growled toward the Jedi. "You know how easily Palpatine manipulates him, and you let him walk right into his hands."
"We don't force him to do things against his will," Barriss replied with a firm glare.
"I never made him do anything if that's what you're assuming," Padme replied heatedly.
"If the boot fits," Barriss crossed her arms.
"The Jedi controlled him more then I did," Padme jabbed her finger in Barriss' chest. "If you people weren't so overbearing with your code we wouldn't have had to hide our marriage, destroying our relationship in the process."
"Now ladies, lets all calm," Bail replied stepping between them. "We've all made mistakes in the past let's get past them …"
"Padme's the one with the temper," Barriss shrugged, before turning an icy glare to Anakin's ex-wife. "Besides you left him, I didn't think you'd care if he got himself killed or not."
Padme took a step back at that one as she tried to come up with a reply. "Let's keep moving, while Anakin is hopefully keeping the Imperials distracted." Obiwan said quickly trying to defuse the situation.
"Ok," the girls replied and followed Aayla, Obiwan and Bail. "Bitch," Padme whispered under her breath before yelping and falling face first and over her head in the muck.
"Better watch your step, Senator …" Barriss smirked as Padme quickly got back to her feet heaving her breath and covered in sewage.
"Are you sure we made it undetected, Obiwan?" Aayla asked as they climbed a ladder to the surface.
"Absolutely, Anakin designed the stealth system, there's no way they could detect us landing," Obiwan said as he used the force to open the covering. The five climbed into the darkness and as soon as they were all on their feet bright light shined on them and a large group of Clone Troopers surrounded them. "I did remember to turn it on didn't I?"
"What's the matter, Young Skywalker?" Palpatine's raspy voice asked near gleefully as the Jedi Knight pulled himself back to his feet, gripping his saber tightly in his hand. "I'm afraid you possibly have bitten off more then you can chew… Did you honestly believe the Jedi's Chosen One fairy tale?"
"I'm not the chosen one …" Anakin whispered turning off his lightsaber.
"Oh really? Are you finally learning your place in the universe, my apprentice?" Palpatine smiled at the young Jedi who he had been throwing around his quarters for the last while.
"Yes, it's simple really. I'm a Jedi Knight. You're a Sith. It's my job to make you extinct." Anakin said swinging his saber at Palpatine's head. "And since I was your last apprentice, you go down and it's over."
"You give yourself too much credit, Young Jedi. Darth Neco?" Palpatine took a step back and laughed loudly as the sound of his apprentice's breather filled the room. "I hope you don't mind I allowed him to wear the armor I prepared for you, Lord Vader."
"Not good…" Anakin breathed as he took a step back from the mechanical monster.
"I've been looking forward to this for sometime, Skywalker …" Neco whispered as his body opened and expanded into a thin, multi-armed battled machine.
"Definitely not good …" Anakin said as Neco stretched his six arms, two of which holding light sabers, two with claws and two with blasters.
To Be Continued