A/N: This is based on a prompt from "NonSoCheNickMettere" on a challenge thread: "Palpatine is the good guy and Yoda the bad one". I'm afraid that I ignored all of the other ideas from the prompt, including Palpatine being a Jedi all ready. I hoped to include hints that Palpatine, ever the one playing three moves ahead of his opponent, knows that Yoda is trying to turn him; however, the first-person voice that I created in order to avoid Yoda's grammar prevented this. I will for 99% sure not be continuing this story, so the fate of Anakin et. al. is up for anyone else who would like to respond to the challenge. It is also my slow easing into something I haven't done in a while, namely, decent length Star Wars fic.
strong with this one
Everyone fears creeping things: insects, crawling on their bellies. You are that small, young, so young politician with idealism.. They do not suspect you, don't fear for your guards, just wave flags at your ceremonies. You have the thick, bright hair and long jaw of a young man, human, that most common of creatures. I am the alien, living off to the side of standard deviations like a livid red star. I croak and distort words in my own image; you make speeches from the Capitol rotunda. I stay near the ground in the dust.
No one suspects you.
I needed to build up the trust of the taller, larger species who look at farther horizons than I do. They can see more of the world and less of the Force. And you, with your red hair and strong jaw, see the towers of power and wish to capture them for peace.
I am the figurehead of a monastic order, paid only in room and board. The children come to me and lift up their heads. "Master Yoda," they say, respectfully, and serenely shuffle away. I can teach them the code.
No one suspects me, Senator Palpatine.
The Padawans, they are sweet and kind. It gives me great peace to sit in the gardens and watch them play, jumping and climbing, learning the Force through joy. Rage is also joy, Senator Palpatine.
No one suspects you.
But they will.
l am old, old, so terribly old and gray. I have seen five generations die, and I will see more. I appreciate it, yes, I pity the others. (Pity and appreciation - the same, are they?) I feel my age, the stiffness popping in my limbs and the thinness of my arms. I should not have to worry about this at my age, at my species, but I have lived among humans for hundreds of years and they look at me like I am old.
I feel my age. I feel one step away from immortal, but that step is too long for my small feet.
Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.
This they taught me, in their strange grammars and foreign tongues. They tried to take away spore-born plans of my world but the most they could do is teach me their new language, and not to believe the words. We are an old species, and not just naturally. We know how to preserve ourselves. When nine hundred years old you reach, there will barely be enough of you left to look dirty.
The Jedi could not remove my people, my parents, our old old ways from me, as I could not remove the light from you.
I tried: do you remember, Senator Palpatine? You did not know who made those calls, sent those assassins. Surely not the Jedi. Surely not their figure head leader, sitting on his small chair like a toy.
But you're the one who sneaks and tricks. I am straightforward, Senator Palpatine, and I do not quite think you ever understood that a leader could have such a trait in him. Plageuis did.
You invited me to your office very politely. You had prepared chairs, small round ones not unlike my own. You came down to my level and smiled.
You are as imperious as the statues on your world, although not as solid. You do many reactions on your face. Your mind too barely flinches, but there is an intense curiosity in you, as focused as a laser. You are smart, Senator-now-Chancellor Palpatine, but you expect everyone to be inferior to yourself. You continue in the voice you use for the cameras. I have not heard any other from you but there must be one: every person has one voice he uses in civilization and one he uses in the wilderness.
You say, "I wished to extend formal pleasantries from my office to the Jedi Order. We value your service, Master Yoda. Moreso than ever in wartime."
"Well, do you speak. What is your concern?"
You spread your hands, offering the surrender of a man who thinks he is old. None of us know who we are because we have never been anyone else. Every year is new, but no one can ever be old. You say, "No concern, my friend. I simply wished to offer you my hospitality. Would you care for a glass of wine?"
This, like all of your actions, is a test: not of my monastic adherences, but of my mood. You wish always to use the people around you, although in your soft desire to break only the laws that exist instead of the ones that you hate you use them mostly to make yourself comfortable.
I am too old, Senator Palpatine, and I am never comfortable.
I speak directly, asking you a question that you will not expect. "From which planet do you come?"
"Naboo," you say. That is a matter of public record, Master Yoda. Why do you ask?"The public record makes you feel like you has an advantage, like my monastery has not prepared me for the galaxy. Your small measure of Force ability will tell you that something is unsettled underneath, like rot on a log. You will now know what.
"Important is one's relationship to one's home," I say, enjoying the simple conversation. Refreshing, it is, to simply speak to someone who knows almost as much as you do and almost reminds you of family. "Grounded you must be."
Your spread your hands again. "I learned well how to govern on Naboo. I admit, there were times in my life when all I wanted was a fast speeder, and to go speeds that would probably not be allowed by local law. Where are you from?"
"Matters it does not. On the here and now, you must focus!" I find myself using the voice I use with the children, and although it was the first tactic I developed against you, it works. I sense you relaxing. You are not trusting - you still have a blaster hidden under your desk and another in a human-sized statue by the door - but you are taken in by the trick. You see a doll sitting in a chair. That is, of course, what I am.
You laugh. "Politicians have their own creeds, Master Yoda. Ours are a bit less..ephemeral. I am afraid I would not make a good Force-sensitive. I cannot see the world in black and white."
I ignore the insult, if indeed you are attempting one.
"No," I reach out one claw, pawing at the air. "Deceptive, can the Force be. Hides itself it in you it does."
You did not think I would let you hide it for long.
You lean back, pointed one pale, long finger at your own chest. "You think that I am..."
I interlace my fingers. "Potential, I see."
And then, the final trick. One bauble, a treat on the end of a dog's nose so that the animal quivers, knowing that what it wants is right out of its reach.
"Too old, you are. Too old to begin the training."
You remain composed. "Perhaps I could come visit your temple, see how...the other half lives."
"Why do you seek this?"
You are smart enough to latch onto the idea of the Jedi and refer to them as a whole, not to keep having the false conversation about meditation classes. "To try to help people. I have seen suffering, Master Yoda." Your eyes go hard. I am, for a moment, almost afraid of what you can do with this righteousness and your hidden weapons.
"Possibly, possibly," I say kindly.
You sit back in your chair, the possibility sliding out of your thoughts because it is not immediate. The politician training shows though.
You will not become a master, too encouraged by the idea of being a student. You will be a child in a garden, peaceful, innocuous, as I am. You will not take my Chosen One from me.
I will teach you what I know about the Force, and where it resides: the dead trees, the predators, the dark places of the world. This is not a trick. You try to wheedle, and I will have to be on the lookout for that. My Jedi Council and advisors will be on the lookout for that, some of them more seasoned in dealing with politicians than others. I will simply tell you what I know about the world, while you will scheme to change it.
And no one suspects me.