Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars. I just created my own little AU sandbox to play in.
AN: Hey everyone and welcome to the latest vignette; the eighteenth one. This one promises to be action and suspense packed. So, sit back and enjoy. Let me know what you think! J
"And in the story we've been following closely in the last forty eight hours, there is still no sign of the fugitive Prince Xizor of Falleen. Two days ago, Xizor was sentenced to death by lethal injection for the crimes of treason and murder. But the prison convoy he was aboard was hijacked by a mysterious bounty hunter only know as Bane and several henchmen. And despite the efforts of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Xizor escaped and has yet to be seen. The 501st legion at Skywalker's command has surrounded Falleen, but so far, Xizor has not attempted to return to his home planet. And the burning question on many people's minds is: Has Anakin Skywalker finally met his match in the combination of Bane, Prince Xizor, and a radical new Sith bio-android that we've been told is called Darth Maul,"
The Holonews droned on, as Anakin stared out at the busy Coruscant cityscape from the balcony of the bedroom he shared with his beautiful wife of fifteen years.
"If you think you've won, Xizor, then you are sadly mistaken," Anakin growled…
"Finally! I've been stuck on that blasted ship for the last two days," Xizor complained, as they arrived at Sifo-Dyas secret base deep in wild space. Sifo-Dyas' ultimate weapon was nearly half done now; significant progress from the last time he had been here.
"I see that complaining is still what you do best, your Highness," Sifo-Dyas said, as he stepped off the lift and into the landing bay. Bane and his people knelt, as did Darth Maul. Aurico and Xizor bowed to him.
"Master Dyas, my humble thanks to you for arraigning my release, even if this bounty hunter and his band of hoodlums nearly did kill me in the process. I thought I would be returning to Falleen, but Skywalker's personal legion of lap dogs have my planet surrounded," Xizor spat.
"First of all, there is nothing humble about you and the reasons to keep you breathing are dwindling. As for the 501st legion, they will not stand in the way of my plans," Sifo-Dyas said.
"And what exactly is your plan?" Xizor questioned.
"You, your army, in conjunction with Aron Gunray's droid army, will lead a revolt against Naboo. Aron has been itching for this since his escape from the Jedi prison on Bandomeer. Attacking will not only draw the Skywalkers there, but will create an uproar in the Senate and cause Galactic-wide unrest. Division and conflict will become rampant," Sifo-Dyas said.
"You're going to start another war," Xizor stated. Sifo smirked.
"Yes," he replied.
"That is excellent and all, but how can I mobilize my army with the entire 501st legion in my sector?" Xizor asked.
"That is where my newest weapon will come into play. The ion cannon is now powerful enough to disable all ships in its path. You will take one of my ion equipped Star Destroyers and go to Falleen. You will disable Skywalker's entire legion of Clone Troops and mobilize your army. Aron Gunray will meet you upon arrival in Naboo space and you will begin the invasion," Sifo-Dyas instructed. Xizor smirked.
"I will crush the Naboo and when Padme arrives to aide her suffering people, I will finally capture her and make her pay…" Xizor said.
"You will capture her while Skywalker is fighting, but you will bring her to me…unharmed. She is mine," Sifo-Dyas stated. Xizor fumed.
"I have unfinished business with that prissy little upstart and I will make her beg for mercy. Then you can have what's left of her broken little body," Xizor snarled. Sifo-Dyas' eyes flashed yellow and Xizor cried out in pain. His knees buckled and he held his head in agony.
"You will do as I command or I will find someone else to carry out my orders. You will bring Padme Skywalker to me and you will not touch her," Sifo-Dyas growled, as he ceased the mental torture.
"As you wish, my Master," Xizor responded. He would capture Padme, but he knew Sifo-Dyas would kill him once he had her. Xizor would follow his plan until he captured her. If he was going to die, then he was going to make that little bitch pay before he did…
Padme finished the last pancake and set the large stack on the table. How are the Shaak sausages coming, Kim?" Padme asked.
"Almost done," Kimberly replied.
"The eggs are done too, Mom," Leia added.
"Okay. I'm going to get Daddy. Now remember, it's Father's Day and we need to do our best to cheer him up," Padme said, as she took off her apron and headed upstairs.
She entered their bedroom and spotted her husband on the balcony. He was feeling inadequate and failure like he had never felt these last couple days, even though she had done her best to convince him otherwise.
"Ani…" she called, as she came up behind him.
"Hi angel," he replied.
"We made breakfast. Why don't you come and eat,?" she suggested, as she wrapped her arms around him.
"Thanks, but I really should get to the Temple and check in with Rex. Maybe he's spotted Xizor's ship by now," Anakin replied.
"Rex will call you if something changes. You need to eat. It's Father's Day and the kids have been working all morning making your favorites," Padme said.
"I don't really deserve Father's Day this year," he replied.
"Don't say things like that. You are the most wonderful husband and father in the galaxy. Please stop beating yourself up over this," she pleaded.
"I let a monster get away. You're not safe as long as he's alive," Anakin replied.
"You'll get him. I have no doubts. And the kids and I are perfectly safe. Now come eat," Padme replied. He gave her a faint smile.
"I suppose I don't want to disappoint them," he said. She smiled and took his hand, as she led him downstairs.
"Any changes?" Yan asked, as he entered the situation room that morning. They had been monitoring Falleen and several other "sectors of interest", as they were calling them, for the last two days.
"The 501st is still reporting only normal activity in Falleen space. But we are seeing an increased amount of activity on Cato-Neimodia. I don't think it's a coincidence," Mace said, as Yoda sat next to him on his hover pad.
"Very disturbing, this is," Yoda said.
"I agree. Aron Gunray escaped Bandomeer and hasn't been heard from until now. That's definitely no coincidence," Qui-Gon mentioned.
"All the Chancellor's comm channels that we know about are being monitored. If she is talking to him, then she's doing so on a personal channel we don't know about," Yan stated.
"I hate that there's nothing we can do until they make some sort of move. But there's no way of knowing what the Sith have planned," Qui-Gon said in frustration.
"Is Anakin still blaming himself?" Mace asked. Yan nodded.
"Yes. He's being much too hard on himself, but he's convinced that Xizor will come after Padme. He's worried about it happening while he's fighting whatever distraction the Sith decide to send," Yan said. Mace sighed.
"Wow…I'm stuffed. That was the best breakfast ever," Anakin said, as he sat back from the table.
"We're glad you enjoyed it. Hungrier than you thought, weren't you?" Padme asked, as she kissed his cheek.
"Yeah, I guess I was," he replied. Padme cleared the table, as her children chatted among themselves and to their father. He was happy and relaxed now. She knew it would take more convincing to get him to stop blaming himself, but for now at least, he had stopped brooding.
"Hi Grandpa!" Jenna called, as Riley came into the kitchen.
"Hey kids," he called, as Padme greeted him with a hug.
"Happy Father's Day, Daddy," Padme said, as she kissed his cheek.
"Thanks sweetness. Finding you is the best thing that ever happened to me," he replied.
"Are you hungry? There's plenty of leftovers," Padme said.
"Don't mind if I do," he replied, as he took a plate and sat down.
"Mom says we're going to Mr. Calrissian's for a picnic and swimming. Are you coming, Grandpa?" Jayden asked.
"I wouldn't miss it, little man," Riley answered.
"Okay. Everyone upstairs to get their swimsuits," Padme said, as she followed them.
"Have you and Zia found anything yet embedded in the comm channels?" Anakin asked.
"Not yet, but If Mon Mothma is taking to that green sleaze, then we'll find it," Riley promised, as he swallowed.
"And when we do, Padme won't need to bring a vote of no confidence to the floor. The Supreme Justice court will have grounds for impeachment," Riley said. Anakin nodded.
"I just can't believe I let that slimy womp rat escape," Anakin said in frustration.
"You didn't let him and we'll get the bastard," Riley assured him.
Xizor boarded the cruiser with his father and the many agents that were being sent with him, including Bane. Sifo-Dyas watched, as the cruiser slowly sailed into open space, before disappearing into hyperspace. His plans for the galaxy would soon be realized. The events that were about to take place would wreck havoc on the galaxy and in the end, the Chosen One's power would be his, he would rule with an iron fist and he would soon have the most beautiful woman in the galaxy as his Queen. He was determined that nothing would stop him this time.
"Master, your ship is ready as well," Ysanne reported.
"Then we had best be on our way," Sifo-Dyas said, as they boarded the second Ion Star Destroyer. And soon, they too were safely on their way to Naboo in hyperspace.
Anakin hung back a little, as his wife and children headed for the pool with excitement.
"Don't look too excited," Obi-Wan teased.
"Huh? Oh sorry, my mind was elsewhere," Anakin replied.
"So I see. We'll get him, you know. It's only a matter of time. In the meantime, you need to stop focusing on the negative," Obi-Wan replied.
"I just feel like I should be out there looking for him," Anakin said.
"Oh yes, leaving your family unprotected to go on a wild Gondark chase all over the galaxy. Sounds like a bloody swell idea," Obi-Wan said sarcastically.
"Sarcasm doesn't suit you," Anakin replied.
"And your brooding isn't cute. It's bloody annoying. We are here to enjoy our beautiful families. Now stop sulking and start focusing on the here and now. Xizor will soon surface and we'll get him for good this time," Obi-Wan said.
"When did you get so wise?" Anakin asked. Obi-Wan smirked.
"I've always been wise," Obi-Wan replied.
"Yeah right," Anakin said.
"Just do as I say; not as I do," Obi-Wan replied.
"I'll try," Anakin stated. Obi-Wan shook his head.
"Now Anakin, you know Master Yoda's opinion on the concept of try," Obi-Wan chided. Anakin rolled his eyes.
"Do or do not. There is no try, blah, blah, blah," Anakin retorted.
"Dad, come on!" Jayden called, as he cannon balled into the pool causing his sisters and cousins to squeal.
"Ani…will you rub this sun oil on my back?" Padme asked, as she tossed her swim cover away, revealing a bright blue bikini.
"Coming Padme!" he called back, as he jogged over to her.
"Well, that certainly distracted him well enough. Leave it to my baby sister to pull out all the stops," Sola said, as she carried Will over to him, wearing a light pink bathing suit of her own.
"Speaking of beautiful distractions," Obi-Wan said, as he kissed her tenderly.
"Mama…onna go wimming!" Will called impatiently.
"Okay sweetie, we're going," Sola told him, as she joined hands with her husband.
Anakin gently massaged the oil in with his strong hands. Padme smiled and gently sighed, as he rubbed her shoulders.
"Your hands are magic, my love," she purred.
"And your body is amazing," he replied, as she kissed her neck.
"I thought this might take your mind off everything," she said, as she turned to face him.
"I'm sorry I've been so distant the last couple days. I know you don't feel like I failed you, but I do. You know how much I worry about you. I know he's going to try and come after you," Anakin fretted.
"If he was a smart man, then he would disappear forever. But since we both know he's not, then he'll create his own doom if he does come after me, because I know you'll protect me," she replied.
"But what if I'm fighting Maul or whatever monstrosity they unleash and I can't get to you? How many times has it happened?" he questioned.
"Well..." she started.
"The answer is too many, angel," he replied.
"But if I have to, I'm perfectly capable of holding my own until you can get to me. I'm no weakling, you know," Padme said.
"I know, believe me, you're the strongest woman I know. You have a mean right hook and you're better with a blaster than some of my Troops, but I'm always going to worry, because you're the most important part of my life; you and our kids," he said.
"I know, but we can't dwell on what might happen. We can only trust in our love and have faith that it will be enough to overcome anything," she said. He smiled.
"And do I have faith and I trust in our love," he replied, as he kissed her tenderly.
"Good. Now, let's go for a swim," she suggested.
"The UV rays are strong today. Maybe I should put some sun oil on your chest," he said, wriggling his eyebrows playfully. She giggled.
"Oh, you'd like that, wouldn't you?" she replied, as their lips met passionately.
"Ugh…they're kissing again," Jenna complained.
"They're always kissing," Jayden added.
"You're one to talk, Jay," Leia said.
"What do you mean?" Jayden asked.
"Jayden and Natalie sitting in a tree," Kimberly sang. Jayden turned red.
"Shut up," he called, as he splashed water at his sisters
"Dad, come on, you promised to come in and play," Jayden whined.
"He's too busy. Let's start without him," Luke said, as he tossed the ball to Leia.
"All right, I'm coming guys!" Anakin called.
"You coming in?" he asked his wife.
"Sure," she replied, as they stood by the edge. Padme dipped her toe in to see if it was cold. Anakin smirked and grabbed her around the waist. She yelped, as they went sailing into the water with a big splash. Padme surfaced and splashed her laughing husband.
"Sorry angel, I just couldn't resist," he called, as he continued to laugh. "
You know what you've done, don't you?" she asked.
"Probably a water war," he replied.
"Boys vs. girls," Padme said.
"Bring it on, beautiful," Anakin called back.
"Get 'em girls!" Padme called, as the splashing war began.
"Man, this is the most boring assignment we've had in a while," one Clone, known as Jax, said.
"I know. It's been quiet for hours," another, known as Ty replied, into his comm.
"I think that's about to change!" another Clone called.
"What is it?" Rex called.
"I've got something very large on the long range scanners, Sir," he replied.
"Get ready boys. This might be our slime bag," Rex called. As he said that, a very large cruiser exited hyperspace.
"That's not a Republic ship!" Jax called.
"Unidentified vessel, this is Commander Rex of the 501st legion. Please respond and state your business," Xizor's face appeared on their comm screen.
"Greetings Commander," Xizor said smugly.
"It's him!" Ty called.
"Prince Xizor, you are a fugitive and wanted by the Republic. As Commanding Officer, I demand you surrender to us. If you don't, you will leave us no choice, but to take you into custody by force," Rex announced.
"I'm so sorry Commander, but I am on a very important mission. And I can't have you interfering," Xizor said, as he fired the ion cannon. It spread like a magenta wave over the ships, disabling the engines and weapons. He fired another wave, disabling more ships.
"My engines are dead!"
"I have no weapons, Sir!"
"Damn it!" Rex cried. Xizor laughed.
"It's nothing personal, Commander. Now, if you'll excuse me, my army and I will be on our way," Xizor said. Rex's eyes widened, as he saw several large military cruisers fall in line with Xizor's, as they came from Falleen. Dozens of smaller ships followed suit. And they all disappeared into hyperspace.
"Is anyone's tracking system working?" Rex called into the comm. He received a chorus of negatives in response.
"Damn…good thing the comm system is still working, because we've got one hell of an emergency on our hands," Rex said, as he put an emergency call through to the Jedi Temple…