Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars. I just created my own little AU sandbox to play in.
AN: Here's part 9! Thanks for all the amazing reviews! Enjoy this final part and let me know what you think! :)
Planet of Terror: A Forever Destined Vignette
Admiral Daala stood patiently in the docking bay, as the massive cruiser landed. The structure around them was still very much in progress, but when it was finished, it would be a massive battle station. Men and women, as well as artificial beings brought to them by the Xalryn, worked diligently on a daily basis to complete what would someday be the means to controlling the galaxy. They were located in a deserted section of space in the outer rim territories and virtually unnoticed by anything. Daala's head was still swimming from the promotion she had received earlier that day. Tavira was dead and she was named the new Admiral. She had never formally met the Master or his apprentice, so she was nervous to say the least. Standing next to her was a tall, beautiful blonde woman she knew only as Kendra. Daala was not sure what her significance was, but she appeared to be a formidable person, as she wore a tight black body suit, essential in battle. A silver cylindrical weapon rested on her hip, but Daala was smart enough to conclude that she was no Jedi. Standing on her other side, was none other than Prince Xizor of Falleen himself. The Falleen prince was being paid a handsome price for providing them with materials. But his most significant contribution was the pounds of Zyonite he was having smuggled to him...as well as the even more rare, explosive substance known as Zylithium, a radioactive, chemically altered form of lithium. Making Zylithium was illegal in the Republic and punishable with being sent to Kessel for up to twenty years. The evil prince had hired hands to take the risks for him and enjoyed reaping the benefits from his business with the Imperial Underground.
Daala stood straight, as Sifo-Dyas approached, flanked by Ysanne and the bio-android, Xanatos.
"Admiral Daala, you came highly recommended by the late General Tarkin. I trust you are pleased with your promotion," Sifo said. Daala's heart ached, as she thought of her beloved Willhuff. Damn the Jedi!
"Most pleased, my Lord. He would be very proud of the work we are doing here. My complete loyalty lies with you, My Lord," she replied, with a formal bow.
"Very good," Sifo said, as he turned his attention to Prince Xizor.
"Your majesty, I'm quite impressed by your latest contribution. Ysanne will see to it that you receive payment promptly,"
"Thank you, My Lord. The money is good, but I was hoping to discuss a more hefty payment, such as the territory in the mid rim we discussed," Xizor said.
"All in good time, your majesty," Sifo said, as he turned his attention to Kendra.
"And Lady Kendra, I've read the reports. You are well on your way to becoming the best assassin in the galaxy," Sifo complimented.
"Thank you, My Lord," she replied.
"You must be very proud, Ysanne," he mentioned.
"Yes my Master," she replied, as she nodded to the young woman.
"Kendra," she said in greeting. The young woman nodded back, as they began walking with Sifo-Dyas
"Mother," Kendra replied, as they entered the lift that would take them to the bridge of their new base of operation.
Captain Thomas sighed, as his officers loaded their things onto the boat.
"Are you sure you and your wife won't reconsider finishing the cruise? Your family and children are welcome to come," the Captain said.
"That's very kind of you, sir, but we've decided to spend the rest of our vacation here," Anakin replied.
"Well, good luck to you then, though I can't say I'm entirely happy about losing a good kid like Tyler," the Captain said.
"Well, he has to accept my offer first," Anakin replied.
"Oh, he will. He's a smart boy," the Captain said, as he shook hands with Anakin.
"Good luck to you son," he waved.
"You too Captain," Anakin replied, as he approached Tyler.
"Tyler, can I speak to you for a minute?" Anakin asked.
"Certainly sir," he replied.
"Thanks and first off, don't call me sir. Anakin is just fine. Secondly, I was wondering if you would be interested in working for me?" Anakin asked. Tyler's jaw dropped and his eyes widened.
"Me sir...are you serious?" he asked.
"I sure am. I saw the way you handled things down on Xalryn. And you are the type of person I need in my wife's security cabinet. If you accept, you'll be reporting to Captain Typho and to me. In the past, Typho has handled most of my wife's security, but he's had a few close calls and he needs back up with the way things are. Your security duties would also extend to my children. And it would be a promotion to Lieutenant," Anakin explained.
"Me...you really want me?" Tyler asked in disbelief. Anakin chuckled and patted his shoulder.
"Don't sell yourself short, kid. I saw you keep it together down on that nightmare of a planet. You don't belong in a cushy job like the one you were stuck with on the cruise ship. So, what do you say?" Anakin asked.
"I...I'm honored. I accept sir...I mean Anakin," he said.
"Good. Then you'll be coming with us. If you wouldn't mind going back to Milawi and getting the rest of our stuff off the ship, I'd appreciate it," Anakin said.
"Consider it done," Tyler replied.
"Great. I'll see you back here in time for dinner," Anakin replied, as he headed back to the resort. His wife was still talking to Ethan, where he had left her. They had agreed to give Ethan his interview, being that they trusted him to tell the truth about them. He leaned over and kissed her cheek, as he sat down.
"Hi," she said, with a smile.
"Hi," he replied, returning her smile with his own.
"I can't thank you both enough for this interview. You have no idea what this is going to do for my career. You've never given a formal interview before. This is unprecedented," Ethan gushed.
"Well, we trust that you'll tell the true story and not fabricate a bunch of garbage like the datatabs do," Anakin replied.
"You can trust me, because the truth is an amazing story. I only hope I can someday find just a sliver of the love and happiness the two of you share," Ethan said, with admiration.
"You will. You just have to believe," Padme said, as she leaned her head on her husband's shoulder. Calmly, Steph approached them and slid a data card to Padme. Her brow furrowed in confusion.
"What's this?" she asked.
"All the information that I have on your father. I'm not going to run the story," Steph said.
"You're not?" Padme asked.
"No. After all the nasty things I said and did to you, you still risked your life to save mine back on the shuttle, when you certainly didn't have to. I was wrong about you and I'm sorry for everything," Steph apologized. Padme smiled warmly.
"Thank you Steph," Padme replied. Ethan smiled at Steph and saw one of the Captain's men signaling them.
"Well, it looks like it's time to go. Thanks again. It's been a pleasure," Ethan said.
"Goodbye. And good luck to you both," Padme said. Steph and Ethan joined hands, as they trekked off for the boat dock.
"Mommy! Daddy! Will you come play with us at the beach?" Jenna called, as she ran up to them in her pink swimsuit, with her twin brother behind her in his gray swim trunks.
"Sure baby girl. That sounds like fun, doesn't it daddy?" Padme said, winking at him.
"It sure does. Mommy and I will go change and be right down," Anakin said.
"Yay!" they cheered, as they scampered off again.
"Come on daddy, let's go change," Padme said, as they stood. He stopped her momentarily and pulled her into a passionate kiss.
"Wow..." she said dreamily, as he broke the kiss.
"I love you, angel," he said.
"I love you too Ani," she replied, as they ascended the stairs together.
It was tiring work, but Mace and Zia dug up the grave site under the Naboo twilight. Once the vault was finally visible, Zia stood back, as Mace reached deeply into the Force. With no small amount of effort, he lifted the heavy vault out of the ground and gently set it down. Zia plucked a tool from her belt and quickly picked both locks. They lifted the lid and stared at the coffin inside. Zia sighed, as they prepared to raise the coffin lid
"Ready?" Mace asked. She nodded.
"I'm just hoping there's a body in there," she replied. Together, they lifted the lid and sighed, as they viewed the inside. But it was not a sigh of relief...for the coffin was empty. Zia put her hand over her mouth and shook her head sadly.
"Damn them..." Mace said in exasperation.
"Poor Padme. When she finds out he could be out there, she'll be devastated," Zia said.
"But at least we know...and we can prepare. If they've turned him into a bio-android, then he will be formidable," Mace replied.
"We had better get word to Yan about this right away," Zia said. He nodded, as they locked the vault back up. Using the Force, Mace lowered it into the ground again and they buried it. Once they were finished, it was nearly dawn and they trekked back to their speeder. Mace slowly drove back to the palace, where their ship awaited.
Padme sat in the surf, letting it wash around her. She wore a black two piece swimsuit and was enjoying the feel of the sun on her shoulders. She watched her shirtless husband, as he romped around in the ocean with their five children, Natalie, and Mara. She smiled, as Jayden trotted toward her.
"Hi sweetheart," she said, as she opened her arms to him and pulled him into her lap.
"I found this for you, mommy," Jayden said, as he gave her a white seashell, which was iridescent on the top.
"Oh, it's beautiful, baby. I love it," Padme said, as she kissed his cheek.
"I found one for Natalie too. Do you think she'll like it?" he asked. Padme smiled.
"She'll love it sweetie. Why don't you go give it to her. Mommy loves hers and I'm going to treasure it forever," Padme told him. She watched, as her son trotted back into the water and presented the other seashell to Natalie. She laughed, as little Natalie threw her arms around Jayden in a big hug. She smiled, as Anakin sat down next to her and wrapped his arm around her. She leaned into his embrace and rested her head on his shoulder.
"I love you, Ani," she said.
"I love you too, angel," he replied, as he caressed her beautiful face with the back of his hand. Their lips met with tender, familiar passion. Anakin cuddled her close to his chest, as they enjoyed the feel of each other's arms. But when Anakin saw his grandfather standing off to the side with a solemn look, dread began to fill his heart.
"Mommy, will you come in the water with us?" Kimberly asked, as she approached.
"Sure baby. Are you coming, Ani?" Padme asked. Anakin smiled at them both.
"I'm going to go talk to Grandfather for a minute, then I'll join you," he replied.
"Okay," Padme said, as she took Kimberly's hand and went into the water. Anakin took a deep breath and approached his grandfather, who stood under a nearby tree.
"I can tell by your face that it's bad news," Anakin said.
"I'm sorry Anakin, but the grave was empty," Yan said. Anakin closed his eyes and pushed the storm of emotion that this news brought down. Anakin leaned against the tree and signed deeply.
"What am I going to do? Padme is going to be devastated. She's not afraid of much, but Palo terrifies her. He represents everything that was wrong in her life. He caused her so much pain, physically and emotionally," Anakin said.
"But she knows you'll protect her when he surfaces," Yan replied.
"What if I can't get to her?" Anakin questioned.
"Padme is a strong woman. She will fight until someone can get to her," Yan said. Anakin shook his head.
"You're right and I'm going to make sure she has something to defend herself with," he replied.
"What do you mean?" Yan asked.
"If they can build weapons, then so can it," Anakin answered. Yan nodded.
"Just tell me what you need and I'll get it for you," he replied.
"It has to be strong enough to at least beat up one of those things or knock it around. I know it won't be able to kill it completely, but it could buy her some time to get away or for me to get to her. But it has to be built in a form she can use...like a blaster!" ANakin exclaimed, getting a wild look in his eye.
"Can you really build something with that kind of power in blaster form?" Yan asked, then held his hands up.
"Never mind, of course you can," he chuckled.
"Well...I'll probably need Zionite to do it with," Anakin said.
"Say no more. You tell me what you'll need and I'll get it," Yan said. Anakin nodded.
"When are you going to tell her?" he asked.
"I'll break it to her tonight...after we put the kids to bed," Anakin replied. Yan nodded and patted his shoulder, before going back to the resort. Anakin joined his family on the beach, as they were drying off.
"Okay everyone, upstairs, so we can clean up for dinner," Padme said, as they began trekking back to the resort.
"You okay, handsome?" she asked, as they followed. He smiled at her.
"I'm always perfect when I'm with you, angel," he replied, as he wrapped his arm around her waist.
"Empty?" Qui-Gon asked in disbelief. It was long after dinner and night had set in. The children were being put to bed and their wives were readying for bed as well.
"I'm afraid so," Yan replied.
"Empty? What's empty?" Riley asked, as he sat down with them, a glass of Jac's Dantooinian ale in his hand.
"You want to tell him?" Jac asked, as he sipped at his own ale.
"Tell me what?" Riley asked.
"Anakin has a hunch that Xanatos is not the only past enemy we have faced that will resurface," Yan began.
"Go on," Riley urged.
"There is one enemy in particular that Anakin worries about most, so I had a little investigating done for him," Yan said.
"Well, who is it?" Riley asked.
"Palo Danae," Yan replied. Riley's face contorted in anger.
"You mean that little bastard that raped my baby girl?" he asked.
"Yes. Anakin was afraid he could resurface, so Mace and Zia exhumed his grave...and the coffin was empty," Yan explained.
"So, Anakin thinks they've done the same thing to him as they did to that Xanatos dude? Is that where you're going with this?" Riley asked.
"I'm afraid so. We are preparing for the possibility that Palo may resurface and will have powers he never had before," Yan said.
"I don't care. Powers or not, I'm going to rip that Son of Sith apart," Riley growled and then sighed.
"Has he told Padme?" Riley asked.
"He doesn't want to, but he was going to break it to her tonight, so he can prepare her for what might happen," Yan replied.
"So...we just wait until he surfaces and comes after her," Riley said bitterly.
"Yes, unfortunately, all we can do is prepare for him and possibly for other past enemies. For all we know, they are all still in the prototype stage. And Sifo-Dyas' ship has disappeared. None of the patrols we sent out recovered any trace or sign of it," Yan replied. Riley downed the rest of his ale.
"Well, if that bastard thinks we're gonna let him hurt Padme, then he has another thing comin'," Riley said.
Padme moaned, in pleasure, as her husband's lips feasted on her neck. They lay tangled under the bedclothes, lost in their slow, sensual lovemaking. They had put their children to bed together after a story and then had retired to their bedroom, where their love and passion had taken a hold of them. She knew there was something bothering him and she would get him to tell her. But if her husband wanted to make love to her all night first, before he opened up, then by the Force, she was going to let him. Soon, they lay bathing in the afterglow. Padme kissed his sweaty forehead and played with the hair at the back of his neck, making him purr. They stared into each other's desire glazed eyes, as Padme caressed his cheek with the back of her hand.
"There is something on your mind, my love," she whispered.
"There is, but I wish not to spoil this night...at least not yet," he replied.
"Then I will not push and I will wait until you are ready to talk. Until them, I will simply enjoy being loved by you," Padme said. Anakin rolled her onto her back and claimed her lips. Their tongues danced together, as their lips met again and again. Padme smiled at him, as she wrapped a blanket around her and climbed out of bed. Her eyes beckoned him to follow, as she stepped outside onto the balcony for some fresh air. He slipped out of bed and joined her outside, the night air hitting his body. He slipped inside the blanket with her, pressing himself against her back, as they held the blanket around them. He kissed her shoulder and slowly inched his way up her neck. They found their way to the lounge chair and laid there together, beneath the stars. They were thoroughly wrapped together under the blanket, legs entwined, arms around each other. Padme rested her head against his chest, lazily tracing the lines of definition on his magnificent physique. After some time of silence between them, Padme felt the distress return to his mood.
"My love...will you tell me what is bothering you? The distress is rolling off you in waves," she mentioned.
"I don't want to. It will only upset you, angel," he replied.
"Darling, remember how we always promised to tell each other everything, no matter how bad it may be," she said.
"Yes..." he replied.
"Then tell me. I will be fine, because you are here to hold me. I never feel afraid when I am in your arms," she said softly. He took a deep breath. There was no way to say it, other than to come right out with it.
"I...I had Palo's grave exhumed. She paled.
"What? Why?" she questioned, with a quiver in her voice.
"Because I had a feeling it was empty," he replied.
"I...I don't understand," Padme said.
"It was empty, Padme. I think the Sith retrieved his body to use for their own purposes," Anakin replied.
"You mean...the bio-prototypes Tavira was talking about, don't you?" she asked, her voice trembling.
"I don't know for sure, but I strongly suspect so," Anakin said. Padme tightened her arms around him and he felt tears splash on his neck, as she buried her face there. It broke his heart.
"I swear to you, angel, I'm going to protect you with everything I have," Anakin said fiercely, as he tightened his hold around her. He sat up, with her across his lap and her arms around his neck. Padme clung to him, as a memory flashed in her mind.
"You'll never truly escape me...Padme..." Palo's voice hissed in her subconscious.
"Why...can't I escape him? Why does he keep...haunting me?" Padme sobbed. Anakin gently rocked her and kissed her hair.
"I won't let him hurt you again, Padme, I promise," he whispered. She sniffed and looked up at him.
"I know...I always feel safe with you. But I worry about you more than me. If he is an android now, he'll want to fight you. He'll probably be incredibly strong," Padme fretted.
"If he wants a fight, angel, then he'll have one. I've wanted to rip him apart from ever hurting you and if he wants to give me the chance, then so be it. You are everything to me and I will never let that sick bastard lay another finger on you," Anakin said fiercely.
"I love you," Padme said.
"I love you too," Anakin replied, as their lips crashed together in a passionate series of long, hot, deep kisses. Anakin stood up, lifting her into his arms, as he carried her inside to their bed...
Sola giggled, as Obi-Wan spooned her against him. He kissed her shoulder, as they bathed in the afterglow. Obi-Wan kissed her bare shoulder, again as they snuggled together.
"Ben...there's something I need to tell you," Sola said, as she turned in his arms and looked into his eyes. He leaned in and kissed her lips, before trailing them down her neck, causing shivers to course down her spine.
"Baby...I'm trying to tell you something," she chided. He chuckled and pulled back.
"Sorry love," he replied. She smiled at him.
"So, don't keep me in suspense," he urged.
"Ben, I went and saw a healer here, while you were gone," Sola announced. Obi-Wan frowned.
"A healer? What for? Are you ill?" he asked.
"No, my love. I'm fine," she replied.
"Then why see a healer?" he asked.
"Ben...I'm pregnant," Sola announced. He watched, as a grin spread across his face.
"You're...you're pregnant?" he asked. She nodded.
"Oh Sola...that's wonderful!" he said, as he pulled her into a hug.
"Really?" she asked.
"Of course! A baby...our baby," he said tenderly.
"I'm happy too...albeit a little worried," she replied.
"Worried...whatever for?" he asked.
"The older you are, the more risks there are with a pregnancy. I'm forty-two years old," she fretted.
"And I'm forty-five. We're still pretty young," he said, as he caressed her face.
"I'm going to take excellent care of you. And I think us conceiving this baby was the Will of the Force. Everything is going to fine," he promised.
"Oh Ben..." Sola gushed, as she melted in his arms.
"I love you Sola..." he whispered, as he rested his hand on her stomach.
"And I already love our little one," he added.
"I love you too," Sola replied, as their lips met and passion consumed them.
The next day, they loaded their stuff onto the boat, as they prepared to return to Milawi to their ship.
"I'm going to miss you all so much. Promise you'll come back soon," Neela said. Padme nodded and hugged her.
"We'll miss you too and we'll definitely be back, but only if you promise to come visit soon. We'd have so much fun," Padme said.
"I'd love to. As soon as the slow season hits, I will," Neela said.
"You should go now, sweetheart," Jac said.
"But who will help you with the resort, daddy?" she asked.
"Oh, this old man can handle things. I love you honey, but I can't keep you here forever. She's always wanted to see the Capital world. Do you think you can offer a place for her?" Jac asked. Padme smiled.
"I know we can," Padme replied.
"But...I don't have any skills. How will I earn my keep?" she asked.
"Oh believe me, you have just the skills required. When the Senate is in session, I always need help. Besides, just think of all the fun we'll have," Padme gushed. Neela smiled.
"Daddy, are you really sure you'll be okay?" she asked. He chuckled.
"I gotta let you go sometime, honey. You're young and need to get out there and live a little. Just come back and visit your old man once in a while," Jac said, as he hugged her. Neela kissed his cheek.
"I love you daddy," she said.
"I love you too," he replied, as she went to pack.
Riley put his arm around Padme, as she stared out at the ocean. She smiled at him and he kissed her cheek.
"You okay, sweetness?" he asked. She nodded.
"I'm fine," she replied. Riley sighed and put his hands on her shoulders.
"He ain't gonna get near you...not if I have anything to do with it. I wasn't there to protect you the first time, but I am this time," Riley said.
"Daddy, that wasn't your fault. You didn't know me then," Padme said.
"I know...but I wish I would have," Riley replied. Padme hugged him.
"Me too," she said.
Neela dragged her travel cases down the stairs.
"Let me help you with those,"
She looked up and saw Tyler smiling down at her. She smiled back shyly, as he took her bags.
"Thanks," she said. He winked at her.
"No problem. Anything for a beautiful woman," he said, as he went to load her things. Neela blushed and smiled at his retreating form.
Anakin pulled Padme into his arms and kissed her tenderly.
"Ready to go?" he asked. She nodded.
"Yes," she replied, as he kissed her again.
"Mommy! Daddy! Come on!" they heard their kids call. They smiled and joined hands, before boarding the boat, with everyone else. It set sail across the ocean toward Milawi. Once there, they would board their ship and return home to Coruscant...
That's it for this vignette, but this story is far from over! Forever Destined continues in the next vignette. Here is a small preview of what's to come:
One year has passed. Obi-Wan and Sola have a new baby, Neela has adjusted to life on Coruscant, and Anakin is working on a fierce weapon to combat Sifo-Dyas' monster creations. Meanwhile, Riley and Zia are dealing with a troubling case. A serial killer is stalking the streets of Coruscant. Thirty-nine murders, all girls between the ages of 11 and 22. All raped and murdered the same way. But the killer leaves no trace or clues whatsoever. With hysteria growing on Coruscant, Anakin and Obi-Wan are assigned to assist in the investigation. But this sadistic killer, so confident in his ways, enjoys toying with his pursuers. He leaves Anakin shadowboxing, with the promise that it will one day be his own little girl's corpse which he will be picking up. Can Anakin find and stop him, before tragedy strikes his own family? Or is this killer unstoppable? All this and much more, coming soon in...Nightmare on Coruscant.