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Into the Abyss

Chapter 1: Cards Dealt and a Showing of Hands.

Obi-Wan moved into the back of the shuttle as Mace had instructed him, with an almost indecernable gesture. "What is it?"

"It's the Chancellor,-" Mace began, but was interrupted by Obi-Wan.

"Haven't we had this discussion before?" he asked in exasperation. "I am aware of the Council's feelings on his friendship with Anakin-"

Mace interrupted him. "That's not what I wanted to tell you." Not waiting for a reply, he continued quickly. "The Chancellor has, one by one, requested a meeting with each of the Council Members."

There was silence, until Obi-Wan eventually asked, "Why?"

Mace shrugged. "He says it's to get to know us better. You're the last one, so expect a request some time soon."

Obi-Wan nodded thoughtfully; he had never trusted the politician. "If you don't mind me asking, what was said at these meetings?"

"As far as we can tell, he hasn't gotten much past pleasentaries with the rest of us. But I don't know, Obi-Wan. Something is telling me that you will be different." An almost disturbed frown made its way on to Mace's brow.

"Thanks for the warning, Mace."

It didn't take long for the request to come, though coming from the Chancellor, it was less a request, than an order.

Entering the Chancellor's office, as he had many times before, Obi-Wan had a sense of foreboding. Whatever awaited him in the office, it would not be good. The dorr opened before he knocked and an aide cam bustling out.

Seeing Obi-Wan near the door, Palpatine stood up from behind his desk and gestured for Obi-Wan to take a seat. "Master Kenobi, how good to see you!" When Obi-Wan made no move to sit down, Palpatine said, "Please, have a seat! I've told my aides not to disturb us."

When Obi-Wan said nothing, but merely nodded his head, Sidious thought, Ah, yes. He will be perfect! Palpatine decided to continue. "You mus be very proud of your apprentice. His deeds are the stuff of legend."

This finally drew a response from Obi-Wan. "Yes, he is an exceptional Jedi Knight."

"Hm." Palpatine seemed to think for a moment. "I wonder, Master Kenobi, why he has not been put on the Council yet." Palpatine was trying to draw him out.

Obi-Wan seemed to realise this and dodged the question by saying, "With all due respect, Chancellor, I do not believe that that is any of your concern. However, I will speak to Anakin and explain it to him if he is having doubts."

Only because I am making him have doubts, Sidious thought, darkly.

Palpatine, however, replied with, "Well he hasn't said anything to me, if that's what you mean." Sighing, Palpatine sat down behind his desk .

Jedi! Sidious thought furiously. I'm never going to get a reaction out of him. Then, another thought occurred to him.

"It would be such a shame to lose him, especially at this late stage in the war." This idle comment earnt a suspicious look from Obi-Wan. "Master Kenobi." He grimaced. "Obi-Wan. I am sure there are things that he has told me that he hasn't told you, and visa versa." When the expression on Obi-Wan's face didn't change, he continued. "For instance , that he is married to Senator Amidala and that she's expecting! Though I imagine he would have told you of something that important." Palpatine continued with the visions Anakin was receiving, seemingly oblivious to the shock written plainly on the Jedi Master's face.

Sidious watched Obi-Wan intently. He was hiding his shock well, a slight widening of his eyes, no more than a millimetre, gave it away. He would be perfect.

Suddenly interrupting Palpatines tirade, Obi-Wan asked a question. "How do you know all of this? I don't know how long they've been married, but if you do the math, Anakin could have only found out about her being pregnant, yesterday and he hasn't had a chance to see you since then, except in public."

"Oh, well. I am sure that you are aware of the close relationship that I share with Senator Amidala. She told me herself. I promised not to tell the Jedi. But of course, I'm sure you already knew." Palpatine seemed quite unperterbed by Obi-Wan's accusation.

"That seems a little out of character to me. I think you're lying. What I want to know is what are you hiding? And why?"

Sidious smirked to himself. He's much more intelligent than Maul.

Palpatine feigned shock at Obi-Wan's seemingly mutinous behaviour. "Why, Obi-Wan. I have no idea what you're talking about. Why would I want to hide anything?"

But Obi-Wan would not relent. Leaning forward, he replied, "I don't know. Why don't you tell me?"

"I can assure you that you are mistaken, Master Kenobi. I think you should stop before either of us says something we'll both regret."

Sidious could sense him reaching out to the Force: could feel the knock against his mental shields: could see the realisation on the Jedi Master's face.

Voice dripping with sarcasm, Obi-Wan said, "Of course. I would never want to upset you, my Lord."

"Very good, Master Jedi. You're the first to figure it out." Sidious had now discarded his Palpatine fa├žade. "But you see, Master Jedi, I'm hiding the key to your former Padawan's heart. The key that merely needs to be twisted so that he falls into my hands: the hands, of the Sith."

"You'll never get your hands on him!"

"Oh but I will. And the entire Jedi Order will fall, by his hand." He paused, savouring the desperation and fear that leaked from a small crack in the Jedi's shields. Now was the time. "Unless..."


"Unless... you become my apprentice instead." Obi-Wan looked absolutely stunned, and Sidious snarled, "You have three days to think about it. Now, get out of my sight!"

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