Episode 2A

TITLE: Collapse

AUTHOR: Susan Zell

DISCLAIMER: All characters from "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" series are the property of George Lucas and Lucasfilms Ltd. No profit has been made by this venture. I've merely borrowed the characters to tell a small tale of "in between". All toys will be returned to their rightful place in the toy box at the conclusion of playtime. All scrapes and bruises are the fault of the previous owner….oh wait that's me.

SUMMARY: A diplomatic mission goes awry, leaving Obi-wan, Anakin, and Padmé struggling to survive an assassination attempt.

TIMELINE: Sometime after Bombad Jedi

SPOILERS: Bombad Jedi (maybe)

RATINGS: PG-13, Non-slash.

TYPE: Action/Adventure, Hurt/Comfort

WARNINGS: Violence

APOLOGIES: I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV; Nor am I a SW fanatic with factual nuances at my beck and call; therefore, all discrepancies be it SW jargon/lore/etc or medical diagnoses are my own. Also, this story hasn't had the nurturing I usually give my stories. I've been distracted of late with a new career direction. But I know folks have been clamoring for a new story. Hopefully this one can stand enough on its own as a decent narrative that will bring interesting character interaction and exhilarating adventure.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: I'm an Obi-wan fan, but I do love the father/son/brother relationship between Obi-wan and Anakin and how it plays out against the backdrop of the Clone Wars, both the movie versions and the television show. So my stories will evolve around that. Hopefully I've treated both characters with the respect they are due.

NEWS: I know it's been a long time between stories, but there is no helping that. First off, I don't post stories unless they are complete, aside from minor tweaking. Second, my new career takes precedent over all fan writing, but fear not since it still includes being a published author. Look for my new steampunk alternate history novel "Vampire Empire: The Greyfriar" on bookshelves in November under the name Clay and Susan Griffith. The link at the author's page will tell you all about it. Please check it out!


Chapter Ten

Prison Break

The battle droid's armor was far thicker than the seeker droids out in the jungle. Disabling it would take a great deal more force than Obi-wan could muster at the moment. So instead he tried to keep it maneuvering, never giving it a clear shot; all the while he continued angling nearer and nearer his true objective.

He needed a few moments to visually locate his lightsaber. Then he could Force call it to him. It could be locked away in a box for all he knew, which he sincerely hoped wasn't the case. But regardless, he needed to buy himself time.

Which was the one thing, the battle droid was unwilling to give him. Blaster fire again ripped through the air coming dangerously close to Obi-wan. Suddenly he was grateful for the armor he wore as one bolt clipped his shoulder. It spun him hard about like a child's toy, connecting with teeth jarring force with a steel shelf. The Force around him cushioned the blow somewhat and the world only spun for a few seconds instead of deadly minutes.

He rolled under the shelf into the next row and struggled to his feet, his head pounding warningly. But he ignored it, centering only on the ever growing stronger pulse of his weapon's call.

The battle droid again muscled through the metal barrier between it and it's quarry. Obi-wan was already running, ducking his head against flying debris. He was close and then he saw them. Both his own and Anakin's lightsabers rested on a table up ahead. With his outstretched hand he summoned his salvation. The sleek cylinders sprang to him, one to each hand. As he spun about both erupted to their bright powerful potential with their customary hum and sizzle.

Dual wielding the fearsome blades, Obi-wan turned back toward his opponent, just stepping into view behind him.

The first blade took off the droid's blaster arm at the elbow. The Jedi spun about and leaped up, drawing back the second saber and driving it through the gleaming red eyehole. He back flipped to the ground, crouching low and swept at the legs, bring the battle droid crashing beside him on the floor, its legs severed. It was helpless, vainly struggling to right itself. Obi-wan conducted the coup de grace.

It was over.

Obi-wan moved as quickly as he could back to the cell holding Bail, but it took more effort than it should to move that short a span. The weakness he felt became more and more pronounced. Whatever small advantage he had gained during the last deep mediation was rapidly depleting, leaving him wrung out and unsteady. He had to place a hand on the wall occasionally as he made his way back to the main cells where Bail was waiting for him. But he straightened with resolve from the support as he rounded the corner.

Bail was waiting with visible anxiety, hands pressed to the cell's clear side. His face lit with a grin as he saw Obi-wan emerge victoriously.

Bail stepped back as Obi-wan drove the lightsaber straight into the cell wall, piercing it all the way through, and slowly cut a doorway since he saw no visible entrance, both hands drawing the weapon in a circular motion. Within moments, an entry was created.

"Did you have much trouble? Or does one need to bother asking a Jedi such things?" Bail moved quickly keeping his body away from the molten edges that still flared brightly and dripped like melted candle wax.

"We're not indestructible, you know?"

The exhaustion in the Jedi's face told Bail all the story he needed to know. "All too well, my friend."

"This diplomatic mission is proving a tad difficult. You would not believe the trouble it's been to secure your release. We've had to use more creative diplomacy."

"Do you always go through these channels?"

"Only when no other recourse remains open," the Jedi told him with a wry grin. "This way," Obi-wan directed as he maneuvered toward the prison exit where hopefully Anakin was holding off the rest of the forces with the confiscated gunship.

The sounds of battle grew louder up ahead of them. More than one ship had joined the fray and it sounded like a fleet had taken up after Anakin. But Obi-wan wasn't overly worried. Even without his lightsaber, a ship in Anakin's hand was a weapon onto itself.

A squad of separatist droids entered through the main prison door. Obi-wan closed the gap, racing down the cells, lightsaber rhythmically swinging never ceasing. He couldn't. If he did, he wouldn't start again. Droids fell before him, his body a blur to their sensors. Soon they were outside in the courtyard. It was chaos. The grounds were littered with the wreckage of numerous droids. Gaping holes were torn into the earth where blaster fire had struck from a strafing. There was no sign however of Anakin or the ship. Though the sounds of a battle over the distant hills indicated that Anakin had his hands full with fighter ships on his tail.

Bail shouted his name and pointed behind them. More droids were approaching and behind them was Prince Illidar. His eyes were wide at the damage around him, all caused by only two Jedi, and mostly unarmed. But his eyes held still a trace of imperial arrogance as he screamed to the droids surrounding him. "Kill him! Kill the Jedi!" Intense blaster fire rained over them.

Obi-wan's blade spun redirecting the incoming bolts back the way they came, preventing them from concentrating their attention on Bail trailing behind him. The droids outflanked Obi-wan who moved his lightsaber in a dizzying display to ward off the attack from both sides. The blade swung repeatedly up and over his head casting a blue halo about the Jedi.

But one man, even a Jedi, could not hold off such a furious barrage for long. Bail grabbed a discarded weapon and crouched behind a dismembered droid offering supporting fire. Droid after droid went down, and for a brief moment both men held a glimmer of hope till another battalion started marching on them.

The maniacal laughter of the Prince reached their ears as he obviously reveled in gaining the upper hand.

Until an unfamiliar ship swooped down, it's forward guns shifting into position. The sight elicited a gasp from the Senator who crouched low. However, Obi-wan had a small relieved smile on his lips. Bail whooped with triumph as the ship opened fire on the encroaching droids ahead of them, blasting them to pieces.

As the rush of adrenalin faded Obi-wan staggered a few steps, sweat dripping down his face. His saber arm fell to his side without the strength to lift it again. Bail quickly reached his side and grabbed him. Obi-wan couldn't help himself as he slumped against the Senator, but his eyes never left the ship as it continued to lay down cover fire.

"I gather it's on our side?" Bail queried with a wide grin.

The Jedi nodded wearily. "Our rescuers. Anakin and Senator Amidala."

Bail almost paled. "Oh no. That's twice she's come to my rescue. She's never going to let me live this down."

Obi-wan grinned. "I fear we are in the same boat, Senator. Though for me it is my former padawan I will have to face as well."

Bail studied his friend with a great deal of worry. "Are you alright?"

Obi-wan straightened off the Senator. "I will be. It's just been a very long day."

The displacement of air as the ship hovered near them buffeted the two men. The side hatch slid back to reveal a relieved Anakin. The young Jedi leaped down to alight next to them. Obi-wan took a step toward him but staggered only to come up against the rock that was Anakin whose metal hand reached out to steady him.

Obi-wan offered Anakin's lightsaber to him, and they both smiled, silently expressing their gratitude. Anakin waited until Obi-wan caught his breath and straightened. Any sign of weakness now could signal the demise of their upper hand. They were still greatly outnumbered only the Prince did not realize how little effort it would take to regain the upper hand. Bail's gaze was upon them also, the Senator sensing something amiss by the continuing pale continence on the elder Jedi's face.

Only when Anakin sensed that his old master had regained his balance and saw Bail come up beside Obi-wan did he step away and walk toward his enemy. The steady rumble of the ship behind him boosted his confidence as his wife trained the forward cannons on the Prince and his guards. Anakin's voice boomed carrying with it the weight of the Force.

"The Republic revokes all diplomatic privileges and immunity to this government. In order to reclaim your seat in the Senate you will need to plead your case with the Supreme Chancellor and your peers in the Council."

The Prince's face was like rigid wood but his eyes bulged at the Jedi's words. The finality of them ripped away any chance of power and glory he may have had with either the Republic or the Separatists.

"And good luck explaining your losses to Count Dooku," Anakin said. "He is most understanding about such matters." He glanced back at Obi-wan with a devious smirk. "Remember when he severed the arms of General Grievous after he lost Malevolence?" Obi-wan frowned at his former apprentice as Anakin's gaze returned menacingly to the Prince. "Did you really think the likes of you could ever hope to take down a Jedi, much less two of us?" He stepped toward the Prince who shuffled back fearfully. "Be grateful I have more urgent business elsewhere," Anakin growled

The young Jedi held up his hand as a signal to Padmé. Then he nodded to Bail and Obi-wan who turned around as the ship landed, the ramp lowering to take on passengers. Once they were safely on board, the ship ascended again and Anakin leaped onto the ramp, a leap of fifty feet, enjoying the stunned expression on the Prince who stood watching as his sole tickets into the hierarchy of the Separatists league disappeared. The heavy clanking sound in the distance heralded the approach of the droid army, no longer to welcome him but to reproach and punish him.

Anakin felt no remorse as the ramp closed behind him and the ship lifted and headed for deep space.


The skies were surprisingly clear as they slipped into hyperspace, indicating the main Separatist fleet had yet to arrive. For once, Anakin relished their luck. He bent down and kissed the head of his wife. "Excellent job threatening the Prince, Senator."

"Thank you. I had lots of practice."

He grinned at her, and then glanced behind him at the door to the midsection. "I want to check on our passengers. I'll be right back."

She nodded understanding fully where his attention was directed.

Obi-wan and Bail were securing themselves in their seats. The ship wasn't big enough for a medcenter or sleeping quarters, but at least the seats reclined.

"Glad to have you back, Senator Organa," Anakin said.

"You had me a little worried. But I guess I shouldn't have been. Truly, I had no idea Prince Illidar had already made his deal with the Separatists."

"Obviously, it was his plan all along to collect politicians as bargaining chips against the Republic, and the Jedi in particular. Gaining favor in Count Dooku's eyes and acquiring a stronger foothold within the Trade Federation's hierarchy is becoming an ongoing tactic with some worlds. Hopefully, we have sent a defining message."

"I admit, for a diplomatic mission it certainly had its pitfalls." Bail glanced over at Obi-wan who had yet to join the discussion.

Anakin laid a hand on his fellow Jedi's shoulder. "You look wrung out again," he said softly as Obi-wan opened one acerbic eye to scowl at him.

"Fine sentiment after all the trouble it was to return your lightsaber."

Anakin grinned, grateful to hear the normal wit of his master. It made him relax a bit more. "Thank you, Master," he offered with an incline of his head.

The elder Jedi grunted and closed his eyes, crossing his arms and settling into his seat as best he could. His brows pinched slightly as he shifted position. Anakin frowned but knew there was little more that could be done until they reached safe space. He made his way over to Bail Organa. "And how are you fairing, Senator? Any bumps or bruises?"

"Better than you lot," he told the Jedi honestly after taking a long look at their disheveled appearance and Obi-wan's pale pallor. "I've seen better specimens crawl out from under a rock."

"Don't mention rocks," muttered Obi-wan still searching for a comfortable position.

"Nothing that a little soap and water won't fix," Anakin lied sweetly, more for Obi-wan's sake than his own. He knew Padmé would inform Bail much of what went on. They were close friends and in the confidence of the Jedi these days, but there was no need to make Obi-wan any more uncomfortable than he already was.

His former Master still looked like poodo but Anakin could sense that much of it was exhaustion, but that didn't stop him from stepping close to his friend and laying a hand on his shoulder once more.

Obi-wan's eyes opened blearily again with a heavy sigh. "I'm fine, Anakin. Truly."

"I'll believe it when we get you to a medcenter. Do we need to find the nearest one?"

Obi-wan shook his head. "No. I have it under control. There's been no more nausea, and the headache is minor in comparison to what it was. Mostly I just want to sleep. I can't remember ever being this worn out. Except for maybe that time I had to watch you and ten younglings. You were more than this old master could handle."

Anakin scowled. "That wasn't my fault."

"Well, it certainly wasn't my idea to give you all a hamper of sweetened nutrient bars. Though I blame Mace more than you. You just should have known better."

Anakin laughed remembering how hyped up they all were with so much sweetened nutrients in their system. "I didn't sleep for a week."

"Neither did I."

The hand squeezed. "Well, sleep now, Master. I'll get us home."

Bail shifted from the other side. "I can help fly the ship. Just let me know when to spell you or Padmé."

Anakin nodded. "I'll take first watch."

"Wake me for the next," Obi-wan told him, closing his eyes. Warm eyelids sleepily flickered as he tried to resist the overwhelming urge to fall asleep. After a moment he opened them again and regarded his friend who still stood there, arms crossed, his expression set. "You're not going to, are you?" he asked his dour companion.


Obi-wan sighed, studying the resolve in the young man's face. Then he closed his eyes once more, relaxing back into the seat. "Take us home, Anakin."

Anakin smiled down at Obi-wan, pleased at the faith the elder Jedi had in him, and relieved that the man was willing to concede the battle and finally heal. "Yes, Master."

The End

Author's Final Note: Thank you all for being patient with this one. I had full intentions on keeping on schedule, but alas, life isn't always that obliging. I wish there was more time to respond to each of you individually but novel deadlines loom and we are still picking up the pieces of the last emergency. However, I appreciate all the wonderful comments and hope to find the time to write another story when life permits. I have a feeling it will be a Obi-wan and Cody story and how they became to respect one another. But it's still very early in it's crafting. Till then.