The Final Betrayal – The Fate of Ahsoka Tano
(author's note: I own nothing in the Star Wars universe - it all belongs to George Lucas)
Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano was recently reassigned to a new master after having served under Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars.
The end of the Jedi Order is eminent as Chancellor Palpatine sets his plans into motion after the murder of Jedi Master Mace Windu and Anakin's final turn to the Dark Side of the Force.
Even as these events transpire, Ahsoka is in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, unaware of the impending doom about to befall the Jedi Order…
Inside her quarters in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, Ahsoka Tano gathered her gear as she prepared for her next mission with her master, Ta'ura Thennal. Ahsoka had been serving with Master Thennal for several months, assigned to humanitarian missions on worlds recently re-captured for the Republic.
Ahsoka had just completed her first mission with Master Thennal, who was a very good mentor for the young Togruta. Ta'ura was a Lethan Twi'lek, a few years older than Obi-wan Kenobi. While she had respectable skill with a lightsaber, her real talents lay outside of the realm of combat and she served as a Jedi Diplomat.
The Jedi Master understood that her new Padawan needed some time to adjust to her new assignment after having served on the front lines of the Clone Wars. Ahsoka had begun to display symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from her combat experiences, so the High Council felt that assigning her to a non-combat position was a good change for her.
The Padawan found her new duties boring compared to the intense combat missions she participated in with her former master Anakin Skywalker. But she tried to remember that it was as much an important part of her training as combat. Given Ahsoka's exceptional record of service and performance, she was likely to ascend to the rank of Jedi Knight soon.
Ahsoka thought, I wonder what we'll be doing this time. Humanitarian missions covered a wide spectrum of duties. So far, she and Master Thennal helped rebuild a town, ensuring people got the essential supplies they needed and provided the locals with a stronger sense of security.
By the time she and her master arrived, the fighting was over and most of the clone troopers were gone. The Jedi worked together with the local populace to restore the governing infrastructure and return to some semblance of normality in the aftermath of war.
After Ahsoka finished packing her bag, she grabbed her two lightsabers. During the war, she perfected the Shien reverse grip form of lightsaber combat even though Anakin insisted she use the standard grip instead. Later on, she also learned the Jar'Kai method, which allowed her to wield a second lightsaber. These skills made her quite a formidable fighter despite her young age. Ahsoka attached her weapons to her belt, grabbed her rucksack and left her quarters.
Ahsoka was going to meet Master Thennal to board their Consular-class cruiser bound for their latest mission. The Padawan hummed a pleasant song to herself as she walked down the wide hall. It was a tune that Master Plo Koon taught her not long after he brought her to the Temple when she was very small. Those fond memories always gave her a warm and peaceful feeling.
Suddenly, Ahsoka felt an unpleasant ripple in the Force and stopped mid-walk and -song. She tried to focus on the sensation, but it had quickly passed. The young Togruta figured it was another mental aftershock from the effects of serving in the war. She started walking again.
Even though numerous Jedi were spread throughout the galaxy leading clone squads in the wars, there were still many Jedi present in the Temple. Ahsoka passed numerous other Jedi in the halls as she made her way to the landing platform. She would nod to some of them or say 'hi' as she passed by. Some she was familiar with, but many she didn't know well if at all.
It was a typical day at the Temple. It was the hub of Jedi activity through which great numbers passed between missions. Even several masters from the High Council were out serving the Republic on the front lines leading legions of clone troops.
Just as she recovered from the disturbance in the Force, Ahsoka heard the unmistakable sounds of blaster fire and lightsaber ignitions. She dropped her rucksack and ran top speed towards the noise.
Ahsoka rounded a corner and stopped cold in her tracks. Before her, she saw several Jedi lying dead on the floor. Just past the fallen knights, she saw a squad of clone troopers from the 501st Legion. They had their weapons out, scanning their surroundings.
Ahsoka nervously called out to the troopers. "Hey there! What the hell's going on here?"
The clone troops turned to face in the direction of Ahsoka's voice. She could hear one of the clones say through the speaker in his helmet, "there's another one! Blast her!"
The clones immediately loosed a heavy concentration of blaster fire in Ahsoka's direction. With no time to think, the young Togruta jumped back and around the corner away from her attackers. She drew both her lightsabers and ignited them. She held them ready for battle and looked back down the main hall she came from.
Ahsoka noticed that the hall was now deserted. She could hear sounds of combat elsewhere in the Temple. The fire from her attackers past the corner ceased. Breathing heavily, she slowly peered back around the corner. She saw the troops running toward her. She turned and ran back down the wide empty hall.
Panicked thoughts raced through Ahsoka's mind as she ran away as fast as she could. Why are they attacking Jedi? Her thoughts flashed to the time she and Barriss Offee were attacked by clone troopers who were infected with Geonosian brain worms, but shook herself back to the present situation. Somehow, this time was different.
The clones from the 501st rounded the corner behind Ahsoka and resumed their onslaught. Without looking back, she used her Force-augmented reflexes to avoid their blasts as she ran from them.
Ahsoka's first thought was to turn and engage her pursuers, but given that they were apparently able to take down the Jedi back there she changed her mind. I've got to get to my master and the ship! We have to escape with any Jedi we find alive!
Despite Ahsoka's incredible skills, it took all she had to evade the clones' attack. She pushed more speed into her run until she came to a corridor junction. She quickly turned into an intersecting corridor. She couldn't quite navigate the turn all the way and slid, painfully smashing her shoulder into the corridor's wall as she entered. While she was safe from her attackers for the moment, she did not slow her run nor extinguish her sabers.
Ahsoka sped by more of her fallen comrades along the corridor as she continued to flee. She had to put aside the pain she felt at the sight of the dead Jedi in order focus on her survival and that of any others she might meet up with.
As she approached another intersection, Ahsoka's Force-enhanced senses fired off a warning signal of danger in her mind. Sure enough, a clone trooper stepped out into the corridor in front of her and began firing at her. Ahsoka juked side to side, avoiding the blasts as she barreled down on her assailant. She brought up one lightsaber and deftly decapitated the trooper as she ran by.
Ahsoka continued to make her way towards the landing platform where Master Thennal should be waiting for her. Ahsoka hoped that she would find her master alive, waiting for her to arrive and escape together.
The young Togruta came around another corner and found three Jedi facing another squad of clones. The knights fought valiantly as they managed to take down a few of the clones, but they were still greatly outnumbered. Ahsoka joined the fray.
None of the Jedi said anything to each other as they fought side-by-side for their very lives. One Jedi, a lupine Shistavanen male, managed to violently Force-push a trooper into some of his squad mates. But it gave another trooper just enough time to draw up a bead on the Jedi and he fired, hitting the Shistavanen squarely in the chest.
Ahsoka yelled to her compatriots, "let's charge 'em!"
The other two Jedi nodded to her and the trio ran at the clones, parrying the blaster fire. A couple of troopers fell to deflected blasts as the Jedi approached them.
Ahsoka launched into a spin as she approached the nearest clones. She easily sliced through two of the soldiers and pushed on.
One of Ahoska's fellow Jedi, a female Mirialan, leaned into her run and impaled her saber through a clone's abdomen. She was cut down by another clone only a moment after.
The third Jedi, a young male human Padawan, valiantly slashed at his attackers and managed to cut through three troopers until he too was gunned down.
Ahsoka watched the other Jedi fall as she pushed through the squad of troops. She decided to not look back when she cleared the other side of the enemy. As she continued to run, the clone troops did not pursue. Instead, they lobbed thermal detonators toward her.
The charges exploded right behind the Togruta and the force of the blasts threw her to the floor. Without missing a heartbeat, she scrambled to her feet and kept running.
Ahsoka could just hear one of the clones say behind her, "let her go, she won't get far!"
Sounds of intense combat now filled the halls of the Temple. Ahsoka saw more and more fallen Jedi and clones as she ran. There was tell-tale damage throughout the hall resulting from the fierce fighting. Debris was scattered across the hall's floors. Lung-stinging smoke began to fill the air.
Ahsoka approached each intersection with extreme caution. While she was terrified by what was happening, her state of mind was that of a wild animal ready to fight to the death, predator against predator.
Ahsoka continued to push on, making her way toward the landing platform where she was to meet Master Thennal. Ahsoka fought hard to keep up the hope that she would see her alive, but with all of the unbelievable death and destruction around her she could no longer be certain of anything.
Along her route to the platform, Ahsoka came across random individual clone troopers and dispatched them with ease.
Ahsoka finally arrived at the door of the landing platform. She stopped just inside of the open door and checked up and down the hall. The floors were strewn with dead Jedi and clones alike, but the young Togruta was the only living being in sight. There was no sign of her master.
Breathing heavily and with her sabers at the ready, Ahsoka slowly peered around the doorway out towards the platform outside. Deathly chills ran down her spine and she audibly gasped.
What remained of their Republic consular cruiser was a tremendous pile of burning rubble on the landing pad suspended countless meters above the planet surface. The ship's crew inside were likely dead. Then what Ahsoka saw next caused her heart to drop to the floor.
Trembling, she whispered, "no…"
Ahsoka ran along the narrow walkway towards the pad to a motionless figure lying several meters in front of her. It was her master, Ta'ura Thennal.
Ahsoka extinguished her lightsabers and knelt down over her fallen master. Ta'ura was clearly dead, her body riddled with blaster wounds. Her saber lay on the walkway nearby. Ahsoka tried her best to hold back her tears, but could not.
Ahsoka lifted her face to the darkening sky. "MASTER!"
Frantically, the Padawan took her master in her arms. "Master Thennal, Master Thennal! Ta'ura!"
Ahsoka held her master in her lap; her bitter tears fell to Ta'ura's crimson face like rain. Ahsoka gently rocked her back and forth and stroked one of the Twi'lek's head-tails.
More sounds of combat could be heard from within the Jedi Temple, and smoke and flames could be seen pouring out of the vast structure. Ahsoka looked all around her with several emotions swirling within her. Sadness, anger, fear, confusion all intertwined inside her mind. The maelstrom in her psyche threatened to shut her down. She summoned all of her mental strength to keep herself together and not give in to those feelings. She had to find a way to escape and hopefully regroup with any other survivors.
Ahsoka gently lay Ta'ura's body down and respectfully put the master's lightsaber in her hands crossed on her chest.
A warning of danger fired through Ahsoka's Force-augmented senses. She instantly brandished her lightsabers and spun around just as more clone troopers from the 501st opened fire from the Temple entrance behind her. She sprang up and deflected her attackers' blasts back at them, picking the troopers off one by one. She stood panting on the walkway with her reverse-gripped sabers at the ready as more troopers streamed out from the Temple.
Ahsoka muttered to herself, "You've got to be kidding me…"
The troopers prepared to open fire on the lone Jedi. Ahsoka responded by lowering her stance, ready to spring at an instant's notice. Then she heard a voice that sounded familiar, yet strange.
"Wait, Captain! Leave her to me!"
The clone captain answered, "Yes, my lord." The clone troopers of the 501st Legion stood down and stepped aside.
A cloaked, dark figure emerged from the squad. Ahsoka kept her ready stance as the newcomer steadily approached her.
Ahsoka tried to make out the face of the man from under his hood. "Stop right there! Who are you?"
The figure said nothing and continued to advance.
"I'm warning you! Stop!" Ahsoka tightened her grip on her lightsabers' hilts.
The mysterious person walked a few paces towards Ahsoka and then stopped. "It's good to see you again… Snips…"