I suck.


Here's the third chapter.

Episode 1 is boring.

Chapter 3: Valuing Life

That very night, the Trade Federation invaded Naboo. Battle droids buzzed in, swarming the streets. Over the city, enemy ships blotted out the moon. The next day, people were still being snatched off the streets, from their homes, and hauled off to camps.

They invade at night, so no one can oppose them. The cowards. Were I in charge, they would have invaded during broad daylight, and destroyed anyone who dared try to stop them. Amidala pretended that she was distraught that she had failed. As soon as she had heard the news, she had gone to her bed chambers, and had begun to feign weeping.

Truthfully, she knew she could best the Federation easily.

She knew what she had to do. She would have to go through with Captain Panaka's plan. She had protested, of course.

"Milady, it's the only way to ensure your safety..."

Her hands had come dangerously close to meeting his bare neck. She could wring his neck, watch the life drain out of him, watch his eyes slowly bulge out... "You think I cannot defend myself, Captain Panaka?" she snarled, gritting her teeth. She closed her eyes, and turned away from him. She didn't need a mirror to tell her that her eyes were twin suns, the way they always were when a Sith was livid. She had already told Panaka she would not do it!

"Not against the entire Trade Federation." He had walked away after that, as if to say, This discussion is over, and you will do as I say.

"That's where you're wrong," she had murmured.

And he was still wrong. But it was better this way, she knew-pretending to be weak and vulnerable.

Amidala called Sabé to her chambers. She looked her handmaiden up and down. My height, my eye color, and my hair color. She's the perfect decoy. She informed Sabé of the plan-her handmaiden would pose as Queen Amidala, while Amidala would simply be another handmaiden.

"Posing as Queen will put you in grave danger." There were only so many ways that she could protect Sabé without going out of her way, and she would use them all. Because no one dies for me. No one!

"I am ready for anything that happens, Your Highness," her handmaiden said softly.

Her respect for Sabé grew, just a bit, after she heard this. "Padmé," she corrected gently, forcing herself not to wince. It had been her master's idea to use her birth name while she posed as a handmaiden. She knew that he had suggested it because he wanted to see how she would react, and she was fairly certain she had done well. In truth, she hated the idea-she had no desire to hear or speak of Padmé Naberrie ever again, and she would have to fight not to begin shaking and hyperventilating whenever anyone called her that name.

Padmé Naberrie was a happy little girl with a family. She's been dead for nine years.

She breathed deeply, and gave Sabé a tight smile. "Good. Well. We must act quickly." She sat Sabé down at her new vanity set (supplied by her uncle, before anyone ever knew what had happened to the old one).

They had just enough time to paint Sabé's face white and her lips crimson. Amidala brought out a black cloak with black feathers, and her handmaiden slipped into it. Sabé was unrecognizable.


As Bedadarislipped into a more simple garment of a handmaiden, the doors flew open, and Yané dashed inside.

"Milady, the Trade Federation - " the other handmaiden started, speaking to Amidala, the real Amidala, her body trembling.

"Yané!" Bedadari snapped. "We are trying to keep quiet about the Queen's identity, remember?" She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Only the handmaidens had been informed of the switch between Amidala and Sabé. And with your help, everyone will know!

The girl stiffened. Bedadari was careful to instill a certain amount of fear in her handmaidens-none of them knew that she could truly kill them, but they were aware of her abilities to give them the most severe tongue lashing. And after that... well, let their imaginations run wild.

"O-of course... Padmé." Yané turned towards Sabé. "Milady, the Trade Federation is here."

Nute Gunray had requested Amidala's presence in the throne room, immediately.

My throne room. Not his. He's got no right to act as though he belongs here, and we are his guests!

Sabé gathered all of the handmaidens. Immediately, they were apprehended by several battle droids.

Apparently Gunray doesn't trust us. I'm hurt, Viceroy. Really.

The droids escorted them towards the throne room, where Amidala could see Captain Panaka and Sio Bibble, along with several palace guards, also being brought by legions of droids. The Viceroy was waiting for them, with his minion, Rune Haako.

Sabé had been taught what to say in these situations. Gunray was not terribly clever-it was easy to guess what he would say next. "I brought you here for a reason, Queen Amidala," he began lamely.

"I was not brought. This is my throne room. I do not recognize your authority, Nute Gunray!" Sabé snapped.

Bedadari ducked her head and smiled. That was good! If Neimoidians could flush, Gunray would be bright red by now.

"How will you explain this invasion to the Senate?" Sio Bibble snapped suddenly.

Yes, I'd like to know that myself.

"The queen and I will sign a treaty that will legitimize our occupation here," he informed them as though it were the most obvious solution in the world. "I have assurances it will be ratified by the Senate."

Bedadari would have wondered what assurances the Viceroy could possibly have, had she not known better. Undoubtedly, he had been assured by the man who had been telling him what to do all along: her master. She almost laughed at the irony: Amidala, who was so angry at the Viceroy for the blockade, and the Viceroy, who only started the blockade because of the order of Amidala's own master!

"I will not cooperate."

Had Bedadari been speaking to Gunray, she would have used a few more...colorful words. I also would have sliced both his legs off with my lightsaber already... Perhaps it's a good thing Sabé is posing as Queen right now.

Gunray's mouth twisted into a smirk. "Now, now, Your Highness. In time, the suffering of your people will persuade you to see our point of view."

Bedadari's blood boiled in anger. How dare he threaten her! How dare he assume she-I-would give in so quickly!

The Viceroy appeared to be bored. He motioned toward a battle droid, instructing it to take the prisoners to Camp 4. Bedadari allowed herself to shoot Nute Gunray her fiercest glare as she walked away. He stiffened, and she could feel the fear emanating from him.

When they reached the plaza, Bedadari looked up with a start. She sensed something...two very distinctive presences. She didn't recognize them, but they were practically screaming at her. She looked around wildly. Jedi. Jedi! The Jedi are here! The Jedi ambassadors are her? She had never met a Jedi before, but that was all they could be. No other presence could be strong, so defined.

One of the first things she had been taught by her master was how to bury almost all traces of her dark Force presence-that was how they had both remained hidden for so long, and how they would remain hidden.

She didn't like the term hidden. It implied that they were scared, when it was just the opposite, in truth. They remained unseen under the cover of their own darkness, watching their prey, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. It will be soon.

The further they walked, the stronger the presences grew. There were two. No, three. The first two were strong, stronger than any other person she had ever met, aside from her master. One was bright, but not blindingly so. Calm. Assured. Faint twinges of darkness, she sensed, but very faint.

The second one was... different from the others. Stronger in some ways, weaker in others. Brighter, but not nearly as assured. Slightly more...innocent. Younger. He or she had probably seen just a bit less tragedy in his or her lifetime. She attempted to look further, for any traces of darkness. Before she could find anything, though, she was startled by another discovery. A connection... to me? Not simply the kind of connection two acquaintances had-far deeper. Their destinies were connected, in some way. Romantically? Well, let's just see when I get a look at 'em, she thought wryly.

The third one was more difficult to read. No strong Force presence-probably had a low midi-chlorian level. So why would he be with the Jedi?

Before she could ponder her own question, they rounded a corner. Seemingly out of nowhere, two men and a gungan-the Jedi and the tag-along-appeared. Before she could take in both their appearances, she caught the eye of the younger one, and her mind plunged into a different world.

Everything was dark, except for the figures before her-two beings-a man and a woman.

She knew, the way one always could in a dream, that the woman was herself. Her face was painted in the traditional Naboo queen way-face powdered white, upper lip painted bright red, lower lip split by the Scar of Remembrance, and a red dots on each cheek.

Looking at the other figure, the male, she discovered it was the younger Jedi. He looked a bit older than he had when she had first seen him.

The two were engaged in a deadly lightsaber fight, but something felt... odd to her. She noticed several instances in which one could have defeated the other, and yet they continued to fight, with neither attempting to gain the upper hand.

It was as though neither wanted to actually kill the other. But... it's me! she thought, puzzled. No connection, no matter how deep, would keep Darth Bedadari from killing the Jedi! Would it?

The Sith lunged for the Jedi, attacking him with all her strength. The Jedi faltered, obviously surprised. He suddenly found himself on the ground, and his lightsaber fell out of his hand and rolled away.

She angled her lightsaber at his neck, and...did nothing. She did nothing! She simply held it there.

"What are you doing? Kill him!" Bedadari the observer could not stop the words from leaving her lips. It was not as though they could hear her-neither of them even turned their heads. She craned her neck to see the expression on dream-Bedadari's face.

Her eyes were their normal shade of brown, as opposed to Sithly yellow. And, they were wide, and filled with... fear? In fact, her whole face was etched with pure terror.

"What? No! You do not show the Jedi your fear! You do not even feel fear! Kill him now, you idiot!" Observer-Bedadari was screaming and flailing her arms in an attempt to get Dream-Bedadari to notice her.

A smile played upon the Jedi's face. "I told you valuing life was not weakness."

Dream-Bedadari took the comment the same way she would have taken a slap in the face. A mangled yell clawed its way out of her throat. She raised her lightsaber and plunged it into the Jedi...