Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars. It all belongs to George.
AN: Here it is! The sequel to A Matter of Trust. Obviously, you should probably read A Matter of Trust first if you haven't already, or you might be lost otherwise. Important note: This takes place 12 years after A Matter of Trust
A Matter of Hope
Chapter 1: The Death Star
Twelve years had passed since Empire had risen and the remaining Jedi were forced into hiding. Those twelve years had been dark times for the galaxy. Emperor Palpatine and his apprentice, Darth Psion, ruled with an iron fist. Psion had searched relentlessly for the Skywalker family, but Anakin had kept them well hidden on Andea, despite he and Padme's involvement with the rebellion. Anakin began training Luke and Leia actively when they turned 10 and not a minute before. This had caused tension between he and Master Windu of course and Anakin wondered if the tension between them would ever ease. He never seemed to be able to please the Korun master.
Luke was his father's willing student, enjoying every waking moment he and his father spent training, piloting, and fixing things. Leia learned the ways of the Force as well, becoming adept with her saber and Force training. But she proved to have the gift for politics and spent a lot of time learning them from her mother. Then, there was the youngest Skywalker. Larisa Skywalker was only six and bundle of contagious energy and fun. She was small and would probably be petite, like her mother and sister. She had many of Padme's soft facial features and was smart as a whip. She had her father's sandy blonde hair and a pair of lively green eyes. She had already decided that after Luke was done with his training that she would be her father's next padawan. And Anakin couldn't disagree, for she had a very strong connection to the Force. Out of curiosity, he had taken her midichlorian count after she was born and found that while it was not as high as his, it was higher than Luke and Leia's, reaching 19,000. Larisa had the second highest count of all the living Jedi, even higher than master Yoda and only lower than her father's. Of course, Anakin's decision to teach all his children, sometimes at once, clashed again with Master Windu, as Mace felt that Anakin was yet breaking another sacred code of the Jedi by training more than one padawan at once. Even after everything that had happened, Mace was still having some trouble letting go of the old ways.
A few other Jedi, though not many, had survived the purge. They were scattered across the galaxy and also in hiding. Most were valuable assets to the rebellion. Usually, Anakin and Obi-Wan's missions never lasted more than a week at most. The latest had been no different and after their mission was over, they had been returning to pick up Padme and his daughters from the rebel base on Dantooine. Anakin didn't much like them being on any rebel base without him, but Padme insisted that she would not sit at home worrying about he and Luke. She wanted to be working if he was working, so reluctantly, he had agreed. And now he wished he hadn't. Two days ago, Master Windu had contacted them with grave news. The base on Dantooine had been discovered and attacked. Most of the rebels had been killed, but Psion herself had taken Padme, Leia, and Larisa as her prisoners. She knew that nothing would draw Anakin to her faster.
Darth Psion entered the small detention cell where Padme Amidala Skywalker lay on a metal cot. Padme sat up slowly, her hair falling around her in disheveled ringlets. Her white battle uniform was tinged with gray from the battle and explosions that had occurred on Dantooine during her capture. The mid section of her uniform had been torn, leaving her midriff bare and she wore the silver Nabooan arm cuffs proudly.
"Where are my daughters?" Padme asked sternly.
"They're in another cell and they're fine for now," Psion replied.
"What do you hope to accomplish by keeping us here?" Padme asked.
"Oh, you know very well what I want. And with you and his daughters as the bait, he's probably nearly here already," Psion said, as she placed a pair of shackles on Padme's wrists.
"Where are you taking me?" Padme spat.
"Governor Tarkin has expressed an interest in meeting the former esteemed Senator of Naboo and now rebel leader," Psion said, as she pushed Padme forward and made her start walking.
Governor Tarkin stood on the bridge, overseeing the day's progress on the death star.
"Ah Psion, I see you brought our guest to see what will one day be the most powerful weapon in the galaxy," Tarkin said. Padme scowled at the evil man before her. It was well known that Grand Moff Willhuff Tarkin was one of the most evil men in the galaxy. Some considered him equal to Palpatine in his cruelty and tyranny, even though Tarkin had no Force aptitude, nor knowledge of the dark side.
"You must be Padme Amidala. I've heard much about you, for you have been a thorn in Emperor Palpatine's side for many years," Tarkin said.
"My name is Padme Skywalker, a name that I'm sure you won't soon forget," Padme spat back.
"Ah yes...the wife of Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. I look forward to meeting him. After he is here, Psion has informed me that you will no longer be useful and that you will be executed. She wishes to be the one to do it. I'll make sure they bring your daughters up to witness that," Tarkin said with a cruel smile. Padme lifted her head to him in defiance, showing him that she would not cower to his threat. She knew that Anakin would come for her and their daughters and they would escape.
"You're arrogance will be your downfall someday," Padme replied.
"And your confidence in your husband will be yours," he said, as he stepped close to her and touched her shoulder. Padme defiantly shrugged his hand away.
"Such a pity for such a beautiful woman. Skywalker is a lucky man, or at least he was," Tarkin gave her an evil smile, before one of his charges came to him.
"Sir, we are detecting fighters approaching us. They appear to be Jedi Star fighters, two of them," the lackey said.
"Well, well, it seems that your husband is already here. Send out a greeting party, we shall at least make them work for entrance onto our death star," Tarkin ordered. Tarkin roughly pulled Padme to the railing that over looked the vastness of space through a large panoramic window. He held her there, as they watched Imperial fighters begin to leave the death star in pursuit of the Jedi. Psion stood on her other side, knowing that Anakin would soon make his way here.
"Whoa, what is that thing?" 12-year-old Luke asked his father. He was seated behind his father in their star fighter.
"That is what they are calling the death star," Anakin replied.
"Tie fighters!" Luke called out.
"Looks like they've come to greet us. Luke, take the canons. Artoo, switch over control of the ship to me," Anakin said. Artoo beeped in reply and did so. Both father and son grinned.
"This is where the fun begins," Anakin said. Luke laughed, as his father began their weaving spiral and Luke started taking the tie fighters out with their weapons.
Obi-Wan Kenobi glanced over at Anakin's ship and shook his head in amusement.
"Dad, is that the terrible thing mom was talking about?" Zach Kenobi asked from his seat behind his father. Obi-Wan smiled at his 8-year-old boy.
"Yes, I'm afraid so. It's called the death star," Obi-Wan said. His comm chimed.
"Master, there's an open bay on this side of the death star," Anakin said.
"Aren't the shields up?" Obi-Wan asked.
"She hasn't bothered, she knows I'm coming," Anakin replied.
"Well, don't you think barging in there will be playing right into her hands?" Obi-Wan reasoned.
"She has Padme master, and my daughters. She knows what she has and she knows I'm coming. There's not much else we can do, but get in there," Anakin replied.
"I have a bad feeling about this, but we're right behind you," Obi-Wan replied, as their ships slid into the docking bay. The two Jedi and their padawans ejected from their fighters and surveyed their quiet surroundings.
"I sense that Padme is on the bridge, but the girls aren't with her," Anakin said.
"You and Luke go after Padme. Zach and I will get the girls and meet you there," Obi-Wan said. Anakin nodded, as he and Luke slipped into the hallways using their stealth.
"Where do you think they're keeping Larisa and Leia?" Zach asked.
"Probably in the detention block, come on," Obi-Wan said, as he and his son headed that way.
Anakin and Luke stepped onto the bridge and were met by the stare of Psion.
"Welcome Anakin, it's so nice that you have finally joined us," Psion purred.
"Anakin!" Padme tried to run to him, but Tarkin's grip on her arm held her in place.
"It would be wise for you to take your hands off my wife," Anakin said, as his eyes bore into Tarkin.
"I'm afraid that your wife has been charged with treason against the empire. A crime that is punishable by execution," Tarkin replied.
"Oh, I don't think so," Anakin replied. Psion ignited her saber.
"I'm afraid so Anakin. I've invited you here to witness her execution by my hand," Psion said, as she swung her saber, ready to plunge it through Padme. Luke had never seen his father move so fast, as not a second later, his saber met the Sith's.
"I've told you before and I'll tell you again, I'll die before I let you harm her!" Anakin shouted, as he parried and blocked her saber blows. Psion turned his saber aside and made a kick for his chest. Anakin slipped aside and blocked her. With a swift movement, Anakin shed his black cloak, tossing it aside for Luke to catch. Tarkin began to pull Padme away from the battle.
"Come my dear, it's time to get you out of here," Tarkin said, as he pulled her toward his men, intending to have one of them take her back to her cell. He had no doubt that Psion would defeat Anakin and he did not worry about the boy in the least. Padme struggled and swung her arms up, hitting Tarkin in the jaw. Astounded by the fierceness from the petite woman, he turned to look at her with a cruel snarl, before wrapping a hand around her neck. Suddenly, the humming of a blue light saber caught his attention. Luke stood in front of him, his light saber pointed at him. But the arrogant Tarkin chuckled evilly.
"Very brave of you boy, but you won't kill me. You don't have the guts little one," Tarkin said with a cruel smile.
"Take your hands off my mom. My dad asked you once, he won't ask again," Luke threatened. Tarkin chuckled, clearly amused by the young boy.
"I suggest you listen to him Governor, he has the guts to do it," Obi-Wan said, as he entered the bridge, with Zach, Leia, and Larisa. Obi-Wan ushered his son and the girls off to the side to stay, while he drew his saber.
"And even if he didn't, I do," Obi-Wan said, as he ignited his saber and approached them. Tarkin released his hold on Padme and she backed away, gasping for air.
Obi-Wan ushered her toward the exit, where she picked up Larisa.
"I missed you mommy," Larisa said.
"I missed you too baby," Padme replied, as she brushed the girls sandy blonde hair from her eyes.
"Let's go, we need to get out of here before the storm troopers arrive," Obi-Wan said.
"What about Anakin?" Padme asked.
"He'll be right behind us Padme," Obi-Wan assured him. Padme looked hesitant to leave him fighting with Psion.
"Go angel, I'll be right behind you, I promise," she heard Anakin tell her through the Force. Over the years, their connection to one another had grown so much, that they could always feel one another and they could always speak to one another if they were close enough through the Force. She nodded and followed Obi-Wan and her children.
"Good, let them go. I have what I want," Psion said.
"You don't have anything," Anakin replied. She smirked and hurled Force lightning at him. She absorbed most of it with his saber and tossed the remainder aimlessly at the ceiling.
"I see you haven't learned anything since we last met. Still tossing Force lightning whenever you get angry," Anakin said.
"Twelve years since the last time we met, it seems like a lifetime," Psion said longingly.
"Wasn't long enough for me. I would have been happy if I never saw you again," Anakin shot back. Psion snarled and slashed at him with her saber. Anakin parried and Force pushed Psion into a bulkhead. She crashed hard and fell unceremoniously to the floor. Anakin extinguished his saber and made his way through the exit.
"Make sure he doesn't leave this station!" Psion growled. The order was put out and storm troopers were alerted.
Anakin ran through the corridor and saw the storm troopers coming toward him. Thinking quickly, he used the Force to open a ventilation shaft above him. With a quick Force jump, he leapt up into the opening and quicky began crawling through the vents. Using his senses to locate Padme and his children, he followed the vents to the docking bay they were in waiting for him.
In one of the docking bays, Obi-Wan had found a small Imperial cruiser that was large enough for them. It would be enough to get them out of there and into hyperspace. He knew that they would have to ditch the stolen Imperial ship soon after their escape, but he knew Anakin would know what to do. He, Luke, Leia, and Zach fought off the oncoming troops with their sabers. Suddenly, the cover to one of the ventilation shafts clattered to the floor and Anakin crawled through. He jumped down and ushered his wife and children into the ship. Everyone strapped in and Anakin took the helm with Artoo and shot out of the docking bay, quickly gaining distance from the death star. Tie fighters began to follow them, but Anakin outmaneuvered them and jettisoned them into hyperspace as soon as he could. Once they were safely in hyperspace, Anakin turned it over to Artoo and went back into the cabin.
"Daddy!" Larisa called, as she bounded into his arms. He picked her up and hugged her tightly.
"Mommy said you would save us from that mean lady with the scar," Larisa said. Anakin chuckled.
"I missed you princess," Anakin told her.
"I missed you too daddy," Larisa said, as she got down and scampered off.
"Daddy!" Leia said, as she hugged him.
"We were so scared daddy and that woman kept saying she was going to kill mom," Leia said with distraught.
"I know sweetheart, but that's not going to happen," Anakin said, kissing her cheek. She smiled and hugged her brother who was standing next to her father.
"Hey dad, that was a wicked scar that the Sith had. Did you give that to her?" Like asked slyly. Anakin smiled and laughed.
"No, your mother gave that to her," Anakin laughed at the shocked looks on his children's faces. He stood up and smiled at Obi-Wan and Zach, as he went back into the cabin where he knew Padme was waiting for him. He closed the distance between and wrapped his arms around her. He picked her up and spun her around, while kissingher passionately.
"I was so worried when I heard the base was attacked," Anakin said. Padme kissed him again, desperately.
"I'm fine," she promised him, as he kissed her deeply again.
"Now do you know why I think you're safer at home when I'm not there?" Anakin insisted. Padme smiled and stroked his cheek.
"Ani, you know that I would go crazy if I knew you were out helping this galaxy and I wasn't. You know that when we're not together, I have to work to keep from worrying about you and Luke. If I'm busy, there's less time for me to miss you and worry about you," Padme said. Anakin sighed.
"I know," Anakin replied. She smiled and kissed him again.
"Where are we going to get rid of this ship? We don't want to risk going home to Andea in it," Padme said.
"We'll unload it at Mos Eisley. It should be easy enough to find an unmarked transport to take us home or we could charter a flight," Anakin said. Padme nodded, as they wrapped their arms around each other and exited the cabin.
"I assume that we're going to Tatooine," Obi-Wan said.
"It's the best place. There's no Imperial presence," Anakin replied.
"Master Windu and Mon Mothma want to meet with us to discuss the location of a new base of operations. Do you think your brother's place would be safe?" Obi-Wan asked. Anakin nodded.
"It should be. I'll contact him once we get closer," Anakin replied. Obi-Wan nodded and prepared to relay the message and coordinates of Anakin's brother's place to Master Windu on Chandrilla...