A/N: All right, I realize that the likelihood that Mace Windu actually survived would be little to none. But I've simply never been able to come to terms with the idea that he died after falling out a window. It just never fit. Also, I hated to see a man who devoted his life to the principles of the Republic die like that. I just felt that he deserved better. So I decided to write this little story. I'm not really sure how long it will be, and although I have a vague idea about where it will go, any suggestions would be appreciated.
Alema fell to her knees, holding her head in her hands from the sheer power of all the deaths she was feeling. She hadn't been the strongest in her class, but she had been strong enough to make it as a Padawan. If not for her decision to leave the Order, she knew that she would have made it to Knight. If she had not left the Order, she would now be at the Temple. The temple which was now burning, the echoes of its children's screams ripping through the Force.
What was happening? Why was the Jedi Temple being attacked? Why couldn't she move? She had to move…she had to help them! Alema struggled to her feet, blindly stumbling back to the bed and rummaging around in her bag. Hands shaking violently, she finally managed to find her blaster before placing it on the bed. After hastily pulling on her robe, she began feeling around for her shoes in the dark. The motion awakened Dia, who groggily turned on the light beside their bed and rubbed at her eyes. One of her lekku twitched slightly in annoyance. "What are you doing?" she asked thickly. "Where do you think you're going?"
"I have to help them!" Alema sobbed, pulling on her boots roughly. "I'm sorry, Dia, but I have to help them!"
"Who? What are you babbling? Alema, what's wrong?" Dia asked before grasping her sister's shoulders. Alema roughly jerked away before retrieving her blaster and standing. Dia, by this time truly concerned, rose and followed Alema out into the foyer. "Alema. Alema!" she cried, grabbing her sister by the arm. Alema rounded on Dia before making a simple motion with her hand. An unseen force slammed Dia into the wall, knocking the breath out of her.
"Dia…please…I'm sorry! So sorry!" she heard Alema sob before rushing out the door. Dia shakily got to her knees, still half asleep. Moaning, she rubbed her neck. Her back and shoulders ached from the impact, and she could barely take in a breath. As the sleep left her eyes, she slowly crawled to the couch, hoping for some leverage to stand. When she finally found it, she struggled to stand. But as she looked out the window, she almost lost her balance anew. The Jedi Temple was on fire. Dia shakily opened the door to the patio, lost in the horror of the scene. The warm Coruscant wind whipped past her, drowning out the sounds of the traffic. But somehow, although her ears were mute to the traffic, she could still hear the screams.
Alema had hailed a transport, who refused to go near the Temple. He said the area was under lockdown and no transports were being allowed, save the GAR gunships. Alema had been tempted to use a Force suggestion but had though better of it. No need to draw unnecessary attention. Instead, she had told him she was a journalist and needed to be near the scene. He raised an eyebrow at her blaster but agreed to set her down about two miles from the Temple. It was the closest he would go.
And now Alema stood at the entrance to the Jedi Temple, the bastion of freedom on Coruscant…her one-time home. How many times had she walked up those steps with her Master after a mission, only to be greeted warmly by her brothers and sisters? How many times had she watched the sun set behind the 'scrapers on Coruscant from those hallowed halls? How many times had she bounded down the steps with her Master, eager to begin a new mission? And now her she was again, facing down the barrel of a DC-15A blaster. The clone held the weapon almost as if it were an extension of his being, instead of an instrument of death. How many of her brothers and sister had already fallen to him, or to others like him? Alema glared at him, her lekkus twitching wildly, and knew that she was close to touching the dark side. The blood of the Jedi sang out to her, urging her to take revenge.
But how could she? She stood on the front lines of a small crowd, all of whom were in her same predicament. Some had been attracted by the noise, others by the sight, others by the Holonet. But all were unable to provide any aid, to stop this senseless slaughter. How dare they? Alema feet moved of their own accord, her hand going to the blaster at her side. The DC-15's barrel went from her face straight to her heart. "Ma'am, don't make me do this. Back down!" the trooper insisted, his helmet obscuring his eyes.
"You dare to harm the innocent?" Alema whispered, her voice deadly. What she wouldn't give to have her lightsaber…
"Ma'am, I'm just following orders. Now, back down," he commanded. "Please…" he added, his voice losing some of its edge. "I don't understand…I don't want to have to…please don't make me…not again." Alema reached out in the Force, probing his mind. What she found made her lift her hand back up as the tears leaked out of her eyes. He was being used; he knew it, but he didn't do anything about it. He couldn't…he just couldn't.
"How can you do this?" she whispered, voice trembling. "How? Why?"
"I don't…I don't know," the trooper sighed, his voice almost inaudible. "I'm sorry."
"As am I," Alema sobbed.
Mace Windu slowly opened his eyes, although that simple action cost unspeakable energy. He immediately wished he hadn't. The night sky above him turned and twisted, churning his stomach. His head throbbed and ached; he could feel every slow beat of his heart as it pounded in his head. He tried to move his left hand, to provide some relief to the pain. But he simply didn't have the energy.
Instead, he simply focused on breathing. But as the seconds passed, the nauseated feeling only increased. And although he was trying to calm his heartbeat, it kept speeding up. His legs felt the need to run, to fight; but he was unable. A pit was forming where his heart should have been, the darkness invading. He could hear screaming, could feel flames licking against his skin, could feel the bitterness of betrayal sing through his veins.
Not even the younglings survived…they were in danger. He had to help! A bright flame danced before his vision before suddenly turning jet black. He tried to escape, tried to run; but what good was running when you couldn't even move? It was a night terror…it had to be. The flame rushed at him; Mace's vision succumbed to the invading darkness.
Alema stumbled back into the room, her eyes bloodshot from crying. She had stayed until the morning, unable to tear herself away from the screams of her brothers and sisters. She vaguely remembered falling to the ground, her knees unable to support her weight any longer. It had been at that moment that part of the Temple had exploded, and she knew. She knew that a dozen Jedi had just joined the Force. The man beside her had crouched down and tried to console her, tears streaming down his face.
As the night progressed, more Jedi died. At one point Alema recalled retching, the strain simply too much to bear. After that, she had begun dry-heaving, having nothing left to empty. And yet the death continued. But she would not leave…how could she? She had already abandoned them once before. Not again. Never again. And so she had stayed until the last tremor rang out in the Force. Then she had stood, looking up at the smoldering ruins that had once been her home. There was nothing left. They were gone.
As she had stared up at the Temple, survival instincts had suddenly taken over. She needed to leave. They would recognize her. So, taking one last longing look, she had turned and run. She had broken her promise and abandoned them, again.
Alema stumbled into the room and mechanically locked the door behind her. She jumped at the sight of Dia, whose normally tan skin was several shades paler. Her sister trembled violently, looking out the window. Almost as if possessed, Alema crossed over to the window and stared. Her home…she had abandoned them. What had she done? Yanking the curtain across the window, Alema struggled to maintain her balance. She felt Dia's presence behind her and visibly sagged.
"Alema…" her sister began but failed to finish. After all, what could anyone possibly say?
"Are our parents safe?" Alema asked hollowly.
"They are sleeping," Dia nodded. "They do not yet know of this."
"Good, let them rest. Let them all…rest," Alema whispered before her vision turned black. Darkness entombed her, and she began falling.