"3PO, search the ship. Make sure that Master Kenobi is not on board."

"No need to waste his time, Padmé." Obi-Wan appeared in the doorway.

"She stood. "Get off. Now." An edge crept into her voice. "I will do this alone. If he can't be saved, then I'll tell you where he is. But not until then."

He looked resigned. "All right."


"I saw your ship."

Padmé looked up at her husband as she exited his embrace. He asked, "What are you doing out here?"

Her voice trembled. "I was worried about you." Her breathing was erratic, as though she were on the verge of sobbing. "Obi-Wan...told me terrible things," was all she could bring herself to say.

"What things?" Anakin's voice was harder than usual, but she didn't notice it.

"He said..." She breathed, "You've turned to the Dark Side. That you..." she broke off, her voice cracking, "killed younglings."

Anakin leaned down slightly and said softly in that voice of his that she had come to love, "Obi-Wan is trying to turn you against me."

She shook her head. "He cares about us."

"Us?" His voice was in the same whisper, but it was not the same.

She nodded. "He knows." She stroked his arms as she said, "He wants to help you."

He smiled softly, trying to show that he was the Anakin she always had known.

"Anakin, all I want is your love." She looked into his eyes hoping against hope that she was right.

She wasn't. "Love won't save you, Padmé." She saw the change—so small, yet there it was. "Only my new powers can do that."

"At what cost?" She knew she had to try and save him. "You're a good person, don't do this!"

He was sad. "I won't lose you the way I lost my mother." So that was it. "I am becoming more powerful than any Jedi has ever dreamed of. And I'm doing it for you. To protect you." As he spoke, Anakin seemed to slip away.

She decided to try a different tactic. "Come away with me. Help me raise our child," she begged, stroking his head. "Leave everything else behind while we still can."

"Don't you see?" Anakin smiled. "We don't have to run away anymore. I have brought peace to the Republic." He was vanishing into a person that she didn't recognize. "I am more powerful than the Chancellor. I—I can overthrow him," he realized as Padmé began to back away. "And together, you and I can rule the galaxy...make things the way we want them to be."

She saw the hunger for power in his eyes. Part of it frightened her. But it also...attracted her. She backed away. "I don't believe what I'm hearing." She shook her head, trying to clear the intense...attraction she felt to him at that moment. "Obi-Wan was right. You've changed."

Anakin seemed to tense, then turned away for a moment before saying, "I don't want to hear any more about Obi-Wan." His voice darkened. "The Jedi turned against me. Don't you turn against me too."

She fought the attraction desperately, showing the desperation on her face. "I don't know you anymore." She shook visibly. "Anakin...you're breaking my heart." She began to cry. "You're going down a path I can't follow."

"Ah, but you can. I can see it, buried deep inside, hidden, perhaps even from yourself. You desire power as much as I do—maybe even more. You want the power Palpatine has. And so do I." Anakin—no, Vader—grinned at the revelation of Padmé's heart. "Come with me. We can kill Palpatine. We can have his power for ourselves. The people love us, and they'll trust us." He gazed into her troubled eyes. "That's it, isn't it? The trust. It's infectious. It's addictive. You want trust, you need it. And in that trust comes power. Join me. We can end the corruption, and reform the Republic as we see fit."

She wavered, then gave in. "Yes."

Vader smiled. "Excellent. Together we shall rule the Empire.

Vader got on Padme's ship, followed by Padme, and they left the planet, setting a course for Courscant.