Title: Revenge of the Sith AU, sequel to AOTC AU and TPM AU
Genre: Alternate Universe
Characters: Padmé Naberrie, Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Palpatine/Sidious, Dooku/Tyrannus, Mace Windu, Yoda, Bail Organa, Mon Mothma and OCs Danta Pela, Renust Nju/Typhon, Kuan Yin Nevu and a few others… ;)
Timeline: 17 BBY
Summary: After seven years the Clone Wars are starting to come to some sort of conclusion following the capture of Chancellor Palpatine by the leader of the Separatist droid army, General Grievous. Yet even with the war growing in favour of the Republic, the Sith emerge from within to exact their devastating revenge.
Disclaimer: Star Wars is not mine; I just like to write with it. The original characters are my own creations.
Notes: Like AOTC AU before this ROTS AU will follow a remarkably different arc given what's happened earlier. This also incorporates some elements I've had in mind since May 19 last year, well before I had developed the idea of Padmé as a Jedi. There will ieventually/i be a sequel but don't hold yer breath.
BTW, I highly recommend you read AOTC AU first if you have not already. There is a crucial plot point revealed at the end of the story that is discussed here in the very beginning. You have been warned.
Thanks must go to LeiaNaberrie and others for sounding out some of the political problems with this AU and how they might be fixed, ViceroyNuteGunray for putting up with me talking about nothing else, several non-JCers that gave me quite a few ideas on the specifics of how certain scenes should play out and to my readers (you know who you are!) some who have been here since the very beginning, MTFBWYA
When the time grows dark, hope must shine brighter. – Padmé Amidala Skywalker, 'Dark Rendezvous'
He never thought it could have happened, but given what Anakin had seen so far in the Clone Wars it should have been expected. After months in the Outer-Rim, he and Obi-Wan had been called back to the Core as a result of the Separatist's surprise attack on Coruscant. Yet it was not this that made Anakin nervous, what made him work the controls of his starfighter with a fervent urgency.
Chancellor Palpatine had been kidnapped by none other than the leader of the droid army, the dreaded half-droid General Grievous. As much as Obi-Wan tried to convince him otherwise, Anakin blamed himself, mostly for the fact of not being there.
Yet this was not on his mind as he executed his starfighter with the phenomenal skill and dexterity he was renowned for. Behind the controls was the never-ending feeling of the present. The fact that the next moment was dictated by the actions in the one now, and a mistake could mean it was the last. And not just his life, a mistake could cost the life of someone he cared about. Like the Chancellor, or Obi-Wan.
"I don't like the looks of this," came Obi-Wan's voice over the comlink. A voice that made Anakin smile.
They had rounded the last star destroyer and were in full view of the battle above the capital world of the Republic, even Anakin was distracted by the sheer spectacle of it. The many, many, many droid starfighters as well as the Federation droid control ships and the long cruisers engaging with the Republic bulk craft. It was the stuff of his nightmares, it could bring the end to everything he knew and cared about.
But the distraction was merely momentary. After all they had a job to do, didn't they?
"There's no droid that can out-fly you, Master," Anakin said as they dived low above the red hull of the capital ship, "and there's no other way to get to the Chancellor."
Master. Even though he had passed the Jedi trials quite some time ago the word slipped out now and then. Now their relationship was no longer Master and Padawan, more like Jedi Knight to Council member and even more importantly friends.
Anakin knew there was no one better he could trust than Obi-Wan, he had saved his life numerous times during the war and Obi-Wan had returned the favour more than once. On several occasions, he had referred to his former Master as 'the father he had never had'. Which said a lot, even though it was only a small part of their continued partnership.
Yet this was not all that had changed from the war, Anakin's appearance spoke for itself. He wore his hair long about his ears and down the back of his neck yet remained clean-shaven. He had a scar above and below his right eye which was more a friendly reminder to keep up with his lightsaber practise…all this on the surface yet it revealed more. There was the unimpeded confidence he had in his abilities, more so since he stopped being Obi-Wan's Padawan learner. He had discovered a few things on his own, learnt things that Obi-Wan had not even hinted at.
But despite all this there was Padmé, the almost pathetic hope that someday things would change between them. There would come a time when they would meet on his terms, and she would be as open with him as he wanted to be with her.
"Droid fighters on your right," Obi-Wan informed him crisply.
"This is where the fun begins," Anakin said, grinning as he started firing at the departing droids. "I have you now!"
The last of the droids went into a steep dive with Anakin following, firing rapidly as he descended under the belly of a star destroyer where several more were lying in wait.
"Pull up, Anakin! Pull up!" was Obi-Wan's anxious plea over the comlink, his red star fighter was just behind Anakin's.
"No, there's no time." Anakin increased his speed to the maximum. "Artoo, re-route all power to the forward shields on my signal."
R2-D2—the same faithful astromech droid that had served Senator Nalanda—tittered a rebuttal but knew better than to object further. Anakin had the droid on an extended loan from Danta Pela, something he found quite useful given Artoo's unusual resourcefulness.
The fighters neared, gathered under the prow of the vast capital ship. Any moment now…
"Do it now!" he ordered. The droids fired on him at once, their shots rebounded and Anakin flew through the fireball to safety, with Obi-Wan following him.
"Anything else crazy to do today, Anakin?" Obi-Wan asked dryly as they rejoined the squadron.
"Did you say something once about if droids could think?" Anakin added in return. The tactics he had just faced startled him. Were the droids getting smarter? That was a worry.
Artoo apparently had a problem with this, the translation of it appeared on Anakin's readouts.
"Yes, Artoo," Anakin said patiently. "I know you're a lot smarter than those droids, even if Threepio doesn't give you credit for it."
R2-D2 made a rude noise in response to the protocol droid's name but said nothing more. Whatever Artoo had said, Anakin was probably thinking along the same lines. He had left C-3PO in the Temple where he was put to use in encryption, better for the stuffy droid to be out of harms way.
Yet what happened the next moment captured Anakin's full attention.
"Missiles," he murmured, recognising the tell-tale blue streak they left as they went.
"Let them pass between us," Obi-Wan replied as if it were a matter of course.
On Obi-Wan's signal the squadron dispersed, several of the missiles went wide exploding into the hull of the capital ships. Yet some of his pilots weren't as lucky, he heard their death-screams over the comlink as their crafts exploded…one, then another, and a third…cursing himself and what had happened.
Hold on, said a strong voice at the back of his mind, I still have to get to the Chancellor.
Yet it suddenly became much worse.
"I'm hit!" Obi-Wan announced. One of the missiles had detonated behind him and the shrapnel was attaching itself to his craft. Buzz droids, small spherical droids that were a nightmare for pilots, specifically designed to disable a starfighter mid-flight.
Anakin saw all this and more as he diverted his course and went after Obi-Wan.
"Anakin, what are you doing?" Obi-Wan roared.
"Saving you," Anakin replied with characteristic casualness. "Someone has to do it."
"Anakin, the mission…the Chancellor!" His voice was becoming rather scrambled. "Get back there, I'm running out of tricks here!"
"I'm not leaving without you, Master." How many times had this happened, when Obi-Wan had gotten into difficult and he had risked everything to save him? Anakin counted at least ten occasions, though there were probably more.
What does he think he's doing? Obi-Wan frowned as he noticed Anakin's approach. Yet as much as it annoyed him for Anakin to jeopardise the mission in this way, it was a comforting thought to see his former apprentice to go to such lengths for him.
"I'm losing power," he told Anakin, reading the rest of his droid's garbled readout before the astromech's dome was cut off by the buzz droids. "Blast," he swore, feeling the controls lessening.
"Hold still so I can get a clear shot," Anakin said, yet there was little Obi-Wan could do to control his starfighter.
He shot forward in the cockpit bashing his head against the viewport as one of Anakin's blasts caught the top of his cockpit. "In the name of—" He was cut off by another shot, this time in the rear. "Anakin, careful with what you're doing! I'm on your side, remember?"
"Right, bad idea," Anakin agreed, the yellow starfighter turning to approach him from the front.
The droids were well into Obi-Wan's ship now and Anakin could see that the Jedi was rapidly losing control. He made a pass close to Obi-Wan's ship, scraping off some of the droids with the edge of one of his S-foils. Yet one of the droids caught and climbed up onto the wing.
"Not good," he muttered, Artoo was on the other wing and couldn't blast him.
"What's going on?" Obi-Wan asked.
"Nothing, Master," Anakin lied, moving his starfighter from side to side to try and throw off the droid. "Just a small problem."
"Small problem?" The erratic nature of Anakin's starfighter clearly proved otherwise.
Yet the droid finally managed to slide off just as several quick blasts destroyed the last of the buzz droids on Obi-Wan's.
"Good shooting," said Obi-Wan.
"It wasn't me!" Anakin insisted.
"But who, then—"
"Hi there," said a familiar female voice over the comlink. "Is it too late to drop by?"
The voice made Anakin start. "Padmé?"
"Yes, it's me." Padmé turned her green starfighter to fall in line behind Anakin. "There's no time for anything else. I heard you say something about a mission, Obi-Wan?"
"Yes, the Chancellor," Anakin replied before Obi-Wan could. "He's on Grievous's ship, it's dead ahead."
"The great big one with all the vulture droids?" Padmé asked.
"That's the one."
It was pure chance—or perhaps the way of the Force—that Padmé was there at all. She had been returning a delicate extraction mission in the Outer-Rim when she had received word of the attack. Yet there was a lot behind her tone of voice and the cool, methodical way she flew her fighter than at first appearance. She no longer smiled as much as she used to, she somehow kept herself apart for some reason. It all had to do with the fact she had a mechanical right hand instead of a real one of flesh and bone. She now wore matching elbow-length gloves on both her hands, partly to avoid awkward questions and partly to hide it from herself.
The secret she carried, the secret that the Jedi Master Renust Nju was in fact a Sith Lord named Darth Typhon, a secret she could relate to no one as it would be her word against his. How had this impacted the war, the fact that the Sith had such unprecedented insight into the Jedi Order? She had come close to mentioning it on more than one occasion, but was held back by the fact she wouldn't be believed.
Anakin could not help but smile as they re-joined the squadron. It was a surprise—but a welcome one—to have Padmé alongside him when he and Obi-Wan went to rescue Chancellor Palpatine. Perhaps having her along would swing things greater in their favour. And perhaps…no, it wasn't possible and he dismissed the thought immediately.
It had been six standard months since he had seen Padmé, and more than four years since he had had a proper conversation with her. That had had been at the peace talks on Avingnon, and there had not been much time while they were there to do anything other than what they were assigned to.
As much as it hurt him not to be open and honest with Padmé about his feelings for her—feelings which had never abated or lessened during the war—he would do what she said. He couldn't walk away as she had suggested, but he could give the impression he had. Anakin was willing to play by the rules Padmé had set up until she said they could start an entirely new game of his own choosing. This was a thought that kept him moving, a hoped-for pleasure if but a remote one.
"This is going to be tight," he said to Obi-Wan, the squadron were exchanging fire near the open hangar of the ship. Yet the shields were still up, and near the generator several turbolasers was still engaging fire.
"I'll take the tower, Red Leader," said the Twi'lek pilot.
Anakin balked at this. "No, I'll handle—"
"No, no!" Obi-Wan broke in calmly. "They are doing their job so we can do ours. I'm going in, cover me."
"I'm behind you," he heard Padmé say.
The shield generator blew, and the fighter that destroyed it followed. Anakin felt the loss through the Force, but did not let the feeling stay his actions. He let it strengthen them.
The door to the hangar was closing rapidly, Anakin pushed his thrusters all the way forward.
"I've got a very bad feeling about this," he muttered as his starfighter streaked through the closing door with Obi-Wan and Padmé behind him.
Quickly, Anakin reduced his speed as he skidded across the floor. A moment later he ejected himself and Artoo from the craft, coming to land near the battledroids that quickly clustered around him. It took another moment to clean up the droids, and when this was done Obi-Wan and Padmé were there to help him with the others that had scuttled over to join the fight.
"Artoo, locate the Chancellor," Anakin ordered as the little droid trundled up. "The ship's computer."
By the time the last of the battledroids were spare parts at their feet R2-D2 was projecting a hologram of the ship, isolating a certain point at the very top.
"There's the Chancellor's signal," Padmé said as she shut off her lightsaber. "The observation platform."
The image changed the show Chancellor Palpatine shackled to a chair, Anakin could feel his anger rising. If Grievous had hurt him, if Grievous had touched him…
"That's the General's quarters," Obi-Wan said with a frown. "Any sign of Grievous?"
The image swivelled around the room, there did not appear to be any sign of the droid general. But this did not mean their approach would be easy.
"Hmm." Obi-Wan stroked his beard thoughtfully. "What about guards?"
From what they could see from the hologram their appeared to be none.
"No guards?" Anakin asked. "But that doesn't make sense!"
"Of course it does," Padmé replied quietly. "It's a trap, a very convincing one."
"So what's the next step?" Anakin asked in exasperation.
Obi-Wan smiled. "Spring the trap."
"Well, there's only one thing to do then," Anakin replied, walking off with the other two following. For a moment, Artoo followed. "No Artoo," he told the little droid as he glanced back. "You need to stay here."
The little droid protested at this, chirping and humming softly.
"Here." Padmé threw Artoo her comlink, the droid caught it with a grappling arm.
"Wait for orders," Obi-Wan added as they left the hangar. "We might need you later."
This final remark was somewhat reassuring to Artoo, the little droid retreated into the shadows to wait.