First Star Wars fic written and posted, so please be kind, and bear with it - it gets better, promise! Don't pay very much attention to the summary. (JediMindTrick) It's not the summary that you're looking for. (JediMindTrick)
Disclaimer: Don't own anything. But if anyone owns Obi-Wan, I'd appreciate the gift!...No? Ok then.
Obi-Wan Kenobi was resisting drumming his fingers on his knee. If he did, it would be a mark of disrespect towards the debating politicians, and be very bad decorum for a Senior Padawan of the Jedi Order. Not to mention that Qui-Gon wouldn't be happy. Still, the debate before him was getting nowhere, and he wanted to go back to his temporary quarters in the Governmental Plaza and sleep.
Beside him, even though the young man was completely still and apparently deeply interested with the discussion before him, Qui-Gon Jinn could sense his apprentice's boredom and restlessness through their Force-bond. Politics and politicians never had interested Obi-Wan, and the young man was evidently tired from the days official business and responsibilities.
Qui-Gon breathed calmly, deeply, trying to hide his sigh. 'Obi-Wan…'
'I'm sorry, Master,' came the prompt reply, respectful and apologetic. Almost immediately the feelings of boredom lessened, as Obi-Wan shut them out and turned his attention to what was being said, trying to be interested and forget his fatigue.
The Jedi Master almost smiled at Obi-Wan's reply – he was trying so hard to be a model Jedi, sometimes forgetting he was human. 'No, Obi-Wan, I'm not reprimanding you – I am agreeing. This has become tedious, to say the least.'
Obi-Wan could feel his Master's amusement filtering through their bond, and he was grateful that his usually cool and calm Master's patience was beginning to fray. 'They have been making the same point for an hour now…'
The two Jedi had been summoned to the small, mid-rim planet of Jernosi, where the planet was having its planetary elections. The elections were held once every six years, but this time there had been suspicion between candidates, of corruption, bribery and foul play – so the previous Jernosian Assembly had requested Jedi representation for the new elections, to act as Guardians of Peace and overseers of the election. This had placated all involved and the allegations had ceased. All had agreed anyone who tried to do anything with Jedi around was insane.
They had been planet-side for five days, doing everything from background checks and security traces to sitting in on the debates and question sessions of the lead candidates. In Obi-Wan's opinion, it wasn't exactly the most stimulating of missions. He had found himself, while initially interested, to be tired from the menial work that needed to be done and craving sleep and meditation to centre himself.
The debate tonight was one of the major ones, two days out from the election, and it was broadcast planet-wide and attended by hundreds. It had been going on for a while now, as the two main contenders tried to get the public on their side, and the smaller parties tried to get their voices heard. Education, health care, security and everything else…it had begun to blur together for the younger Jedi. At least he wasn't falling asleep – Qui-Gon had taught him better than that – but he was just bored.
Next to him, Qui-Gon made a barely perceptible movement, shifting his hand slightly, betraying his slowly growing restlessness. 'I agree, my Padawan.'
'Master, what do you think the outcome of the election will be? Public support seems to shift so quickly…' Every night the holo-news seemed to say something different, who would win, what the current polls were saying…it seemed to be whoever spoke last was the favourite at the time.
Qui-Gon had noticed the same thing, but thought he knew planetary politics a little better. 'They will elect, the system will work, a government will be formed. Whether for good or ill will only be apparent in the future, not the here and now.'
'Yes Master, the Living Force, I understand.'
Onstage, the politicians, much to Obi-Wan's private delight, were making their final statements. They bowed to their audience, and left the stage to thunderous applause. The crowd dispersed, the Jedi with them. Outside, the night was cool and clear – and late, Obi-Wan grimaced, looking at the time on a central dial. He'd probably only get a few hours sleep before he needed to rise.
With a shared thankful glance, the Master and the apprentice began the walk back to their guest quarters in the Governmental Plaza. There were other people around, their voices hushed in the lateness of the hour, discussing what had just been said in the hall and how they might vote. True to Obi-Wan's earlier comment, the support of the public always seemed to switch rapidly – it was impossible to guess which way the election might go.
As they walked, the streets became less travelled, many of those going home from the debate turning off towards the residential areas of the city, and soon it was only the two offworlders, their path taking them to the more exclusive paths of the Governmental Plaza, where they had been given an elegant apartment for their use while they oversaw the elections.
Almost as soon as they entered, Qui-Gon sat down at the table with his datapad, bringing up some files he had been looking over before the debate started. Obi-Wan slowed on the path to his private quarters and arched an eyebrow behind his Master's back.
"More work, Master?" he asked lightly, changing his path to come over and lean on Qui-Gon's chair, looking over his Master's shoulder.
Qui-Gon nodded, typing in a few more system commands. "It is merely something I wanted to double-check, Padawan. Get some sleep."
"Are you sure, Master?"
Qui-Gon turned his head to look at his apprentice. The twenty-two-year-old beside him was obviously tired, but still willing to help should it be needed. Catching the drift of his Master's thought, Obi-Wan grinned at Qui-Gon, who couldn't help but smile back. "I am sure, Obi-Wan."
The Padawan nodded. "Alright Master, I'll see you in the morning." He left his position over Qui-Gon's shoulder, pausing in the doorway to his room and calling back over his shoulder. "Don't forget you need sleep too."
A grin flickered over Qui-Gon's face as he heard the door to Obi-Wan's quarters close softly. The boy – no, the young man – had been working tirelessly and without complaint ever since they had arrived. True, much of the work here had been administrative and menial, but there had been some physical requirements – Obi-Wan had acted as a runner today, for instance, taking messages to the participants of the debate to finalise topics and preparations. As a Jedi, he was seen as impartial, and Qui-Gon had been in talks with the previous Jernosian Assembly so had been more than happy to send him knowing that Obi-Wan would appreciate it more than additional sit-down-at-the-table politics. That, and he had been avoiding the daughter of one of the candidates, who had become rather…infatuated with him, much to the apprentice's embarrassment and dismay.
Qui-Gon flicked his eyes back to the datapad screen. The files he was checking were merely administrative too, but he had wanted to double check a name which had come up in investigation…but his search proved fruitless, and soon he was considering talking his Padawan's lead and retiring to bed. Force knows he was tired, too, even if it did not show – he knew how to hide it from those he was with.
Speaking of sleeping…Qui-Gon reached out to the Force-bond he shared with Obi-Wan, feeling his apprentice's deep breathing and relaxed mind. Qui-Gon was always surprised how quickly and easily Obi-Wan could fall asleep, no matter where he was. He was dreaming, Qui-Gon could tell from the subtle waves in his student's mind.
Closing the datapad down, Qui-Gon stood from the table and took a moment to look through the bay window and out into the sleeping city. Lights flickered lazily from streetlamps, the air was still, and there was no traffic or noise. Considering how noisy and busy the city could be during the day, seeing it so still was an impressive contrast. At least the elections were almost upon them, and then this mission would be finished and they could return to Coruscant. At least.
Qui-Gon was about to turn away from the window when he felt a ripple in the Force, at the edge of his perception. Stopping where he was immediately, he reached out to it, letting the Force fill him. There was dark intent in the plaza tonight; the Force was warning him. Another ripple, bigger and darker, flickered across his senses. Not danger, not yet, but something.
Behind him, he heard a door open. Obi-Wan appeared, dressed and holding his deactivated lightsaber, coming to stand next to his Master at the window, peering out into the darkness. The only clue he had been in bed was his slightly ruffled hair. He looked up at Qui-Gon, who nodded. "I know."
Resting his hand on his own lightsaber, Qui-Gon motioned to Obi-Wan with his head, toward the door. "I think it is time for a midnight walk, my Padawan."
Together, the two Jedi pulled on their dark outer cloaks, and left the apartment. Making their way to the lower floor of the building and out into the plaza itself, everything was quiet. The shadows were deep, as it was so early in the morning, and even the air appeared to be still. Master and apprentice walked quickly and quietly, covering as much distance as they could in a short space of time.
Both had stretched their consciousnesses out to the Force to guide them, to warn them, help them. They had sensed nothing since the initial feeling, and were trying to discern the location it came from. It had been close, in the Plaza itself, and had felt focused – a mind with one thought, one action, one motive.
Qui-Gon stopped abruptly a split second before his comlink activated. Glancing at his apprentice, who was curious as always, Qui-Gon answered. "Yes?"
"Master Jinn?" came the hushed reply. The person was obviously whispering. "This is Commander Aderos of the Plaza Security Force. We've been called to the apartment of Lena Owen – she said there was someone inside, waiting for her."
Obi-Wan frowned momentarily, listening in on the conversation. Lena Owen was the campaign manager for one of the lead two candidates. Resourceful and witty, an opinion on the streets was that her client wouldn't have got where he was without her.
"An intruder? We'll be right there, Commander." Qui-Gon closed the communication and started jogging, Obi-Wan beside him, towards the apartment building where Lena lived.
'It feels…darker than a mere intruder or thief.'
'Indeed it does, Obi-Wan. This is what the Force was warning us of.'
The building appeared empty, but the Jedi found the Security Force, Commander Aderos and a panicking Lena Owen in the stairwell landing of the floor of her apartment. Lena had been at the debate earlier that night.
Commander Aderos, a tall man with dark hair and a goatee, greeted the Jedi with a short bow. "This is Lena Owen," he introduced, as she moved to beside him. "She returned home to find an intruder in her apartment and called us. These buildings all have up-to-date security systems, but they've been bypassed without being deactivated. Hence my contacting you."
"Quite right, Commander." Qui-Gon replied in a low voice. He turned to Lena. "Miss Owen, how do you know there is someone inside?"
She struggled momentarily to not look panicked before answering. "The lights were on and I saw a shadow from inside. I turned the lights off when I left for the debate, I'm positive, and the door was locked – I've still got my keycard…I don't have a partner, so it's not them, and they haven't left yet, they seem to be waiting, and the desk clerk didn't say anything about my having a visitor, and I had this really bad feeling, so I called the Security Force, and they brought a rec-droid, and we saw him…" She trailed off as Commander Aderos placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder.
"Master Jinn, what do you think we should do?"
Qui-Gon shared a quick glance with Obi-Wan, before returning his gaze to the Commander. "He has no idea we are here?"
"Not that we can gather. We sent the rec-droid in as soon as we arrived, to check, and sure enough – there's someone in there. He's armed, and hasn't left. He does appear to be waiting."
Beside his Master, Obi-Wan reached out to the Force to help him get a better understanding of the situation. The rec-droid – a tiny droid with a camera – was, in fat, still undetected by the intruder, and sitting by the door with a clear view of the room beyond. The intruder himself was armed with a blaster, and tense – perhaps he could sense something amiss?
Obi-Wan sent Qui-Gon his impressions and was rewarded with a feeling of agreement and pleasure through their bond.
"Commander, we must move now. He is growing restless, and is beginning to sense something is amiss. I suggest we go first," Qui-Gon said, motioning towards himself and Obi-Wan, "to subdue him with the least amount of fighting and damage."
The Commander nodded. "We'll be right behind you. Miss Owen, stay here." he set about finding men to stay with her as Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan took a look at the feed of the rec-droid.
The intruder was pacing, a hand on his blaster, his face covered by a dark mask. He keep shooting unseeing looks towards the door and the rec-droid, obviously on edge. He was lithe and of muscular build, and as he turned, Obi-Wan caught the flash of a knife in his boot.
'An assassin. Someone isn't happy with the elections.'
'No, obviously not. We must capture him.''Of course, Master. Wait…'
Obi-Wan's command was well timed, for on the screen, the assassin suddenly stopped pacing and walked over toward the camera. Sharing a glance, the Jedi also shared the exact same thought. 'He's found it.'
Sure enough, the view was suddenly tilted, lifted, and a close up of the mask shown before fingers appeared around the edge of the frame and the connection was severed as the tiny droid was crushed. As soon as it began, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon had leapt into action, running down the hall as a technician alerted the Commander their droid had been found.
The door lock wasn't strong and gave way under a well-placed kick of Qui-Gon's. Both Jedi ran in, lightsabers glowing eerie blue and green, and found their quarry escaping through a window.'Obi-Wan! Follow him!'
The apprentice obeyed without hesitation, swinging himself out of the window behind the assassin, as Qui-Gon ran back to the commander. The Security Forces were halfway down the hall, and pressed themselves against the wall to allow the Jedi Master to pass.
"Commander! He's escaped, out the western window. My apprentice is tracking him."
Commander Aderos nodded, knowing what needed to be done. As Qui-Gon sprang past him and down the stairs, he could hear the Commander taking charge.
"You two – take Miss Owen to the barracks, she'll be safe there. You – go to the room, out the window, follow Apprentice Kenobi. You three – secure the area. The rest of you, with me. Move out."
Back on the ground level again, Qui-Gon looked up at the western side of the building, searching for a flash of blue – there it was, a few levels below that of the apartment. 'Obi-Wan!'
Obi-Wan was balancing carefully on the ledge outside the windows of the building, his ignited lightsaber in his hand as he followed the dangerous path of the assassin. Qui-Gon could see the assassin a level below his apprentice.
'Master, he's going into an alleyway; I'm going to follow him. If you go to the south end of the plaza I can see an entry point for the alley.'
Qui-Gon almost forbade Obi-Wan to follow, but he wasn't a boy anymore, but a capable and skilled Senior Padawan. 'All right, my apprentice. I'll meet you down there. Be careful, Obi-Wan, something is still amiss.'
'I feel it also, Master.'
The blue bar that was the blade of Obi-Wan's sabre dropped from the side of the building, following a similar leap the dark clothed assassin had taken moments before. Qui-Gon watched it vanish, before running to the southern end of the Plaza. He thought he knew where Obi-Wan might mean, but if he was right, the apartment building was a long way down the length of it…shutting off his lightsaber and re-clipping it to his belt, Qui-Gon called on the Force to enhance his speed.
He had a feeling Obi-Wan would need help.
There we go, hope that was semi-decent in some way.