More Detailed Summery: An assassination attempt on Palptine's life brings Sabé and Obi-Wan back together. As they search for a lead, the pieces begin to fall together, spelling out a bigger conspiracy that's impossible to believe. Can they unwrap the mystery and find out if it's a friend or foe who's behind everything?

Author's Notes: This is a sequel to my Chained to You - Book One: Meeting Your Destiny. This fic is colored with characters of my own creation, and a plot that I developed all by myself. You may find this one more interesting since you don't already know what's going to happen as you did in the prequel to this. Almost every character mentioned in here I created myself, so don't get any ideas about taking them. (I rather like Clem and Roth.)

I'm worried that this beginning may bore you, since you really don't know who Clemens Lorcan is, but that's explained as we go throughout the story. He's a major part of the plot, so I wouldn't delete it for the world. Just keep on going -- Obi-Wan gets to visit in the next chapter.

* * * * *

Senator Clemens Lorcan was practically biting his fingernails in apprehension when the doors he was sitting next to slid open suddenly. A tall, hulking figure stepped into the waiting room and nodded at the secretary.

"The Chancellor will see you now," the woman behind the desk said to Clem absently as she studied a holo in front of her, waving her hand to let him know he could pass through.

Clem felt his gut tighten in nerves as he stood up slowly. Though Clem was indeed not a small person, the figure that was waiting at the door was so huge that Clem was nearly shaking, so intimidated was he. But Clem was a Senator, and he had been trained since a child for a life in politics. He didn't let anything show on his face as he followed what he deciphered to be a man through the set of doors and into another.

The man punched a code in, his fingers moving so fast that Clem couldn't manage to see even one of the digits, and the doors slid open before them. Inside the huge room was a single desk, its back to a wall made of glass where speeders could be seen flying in traffic. The room was luxurious, no doubt, and there were several chairs placed sporadically around the room. Three were directly in front of the desk.

"Ah, Senator Lorcan, I presume," a dashing figure said, his voice warm and friendly. Clem recognized Chancellor Palpatine as the older man turned around to face him. Palpatine moved to his desk and stood behind it, motioning for Clem to sit in one of the three chairs across from him. Clem moved to the one in the middle, and he took the hand that Chancellor Palpatine offered, clasping it firmly in his own before sitting down in the comfortable seat.

"I have been notified that you are here with a problem in the Lark system," Palpatine said as he sat down, looking down at a data reader and skimming it quickly. He looked back up at Clem with a smile. "I've had the pleasure of visiting there before. It's a very beautiful planet."

"Indeed it is," Clem agreed. He cleared his throat in nervousness. He hadn't expected the Chancellor to be so open and friendly -- not that he was complaining! "Although not much can be said for it anymore."

"Oh?" Palpatine said, sounding attentive as he leaned forward, indicating for Clem to speak.

"Yes," Clem continued, feeling more at ease with each passing second. "As far as eight months back, our hospitals began to fill up with strange symptoms; inability to breathe and boils on the skin being the most common. Since then, the reports have skyrocketed. Around half of our population has died from whatever this disease is. We thought we could handle it on our own, and we invested in the help of our most prestigious scientests. After testing the air, it was concluded that something had been put into it. Irregular chemicals were showing up on the charts. We also studied the planet, looking for a volcano that had erupted or some other natural phenomen. When we found nothing, only one possibility remained. Our scientest are quite positive that . . . a biological war weapon was unleashed on the planet."

Palpatine sat for a second in what looked like numb shock, listening carefully to every word Clem spoke. There was a long silence after the Senator's little speech, and Palpatine finally cleared his throat and blinked, the picture of calm once more. "Did you bring the data from your scientists and pictures of the destruction?"

"Of course, Chancellor," Clem said immediately. "I have prepared everything so that when we present this case to the Senate, it will take them less time than months to find a solution for our problem."

"That is all very good," Palpatine said, his voice straining with something Clem couldn't figure out. The Chancellor smiled, and all trace of whatever it was that had shown up on his face was gone. "Do you have the information with you now? It would help me rest easier to see this ahead of time. I'm sure if I rally on your side, Lark will be as good as new in no time."

Clem was about to stutter his thanks, but he thought better of it. He didn't want to appear uneducated. Instead, he settled for fumbling for the bag on his shoulder. He unzipped it and pulled out three data cards, handing them to the Chancellor. "They're all labeled according to the information they hold. That one has holos of our people and the side effects of what is happening. That one has the information that our scientists have gathered. And the last one has information on all natural disasters in the past five years. As you can see, we did a very thorough job."

"Yes, I can," Palpatine said. He put one of the cards into a holoviewer on his desk. Clem nearly shuddered at the sight that appeared in the middle of the desk. A man that was in his last days of life, covered in boils and heaving for breath. Palpatine pulled the card out again, his jaw clenched. "I will go over these later, Lorcan, and will have someone present them to you just before the meeting. I assure you, Lark *will* find justice."

Clem felt as if the Chancellor had lifted a few tons of weight off his shoulders. He sighed in obvious relief and shook Palpatine's hand once more, standing from his seat. "Thank you so much, Chancellor Palpatine, you truly are the best leader we've had in a long time."

Before Clem could blunder anymore, his arm was taken by the man who had led him into the office. Instead of feeling intimidated this time, Clem let himself be escorted out of the office in an air of relief and joy. Clem loved his planet and his people with all of his heart, and that heart was ripped to pieces with each life that was killed with the biological weapon. He hadn't thought there was any hope. Years of watching the Senate argue amoungst itself over petty indifferences had taken away all respect he had for it. Yet, talking with Chancellor Palpatine had reassured every bone in Clem's body. Lark's people would be saved; Chancellor Palpatine had promised that much. And, inexplicably, something about the Senate's leader made Clem trust that his promises would be fulfilled.

* * * * *

"The Senate is about to start in three minutes," Gemina Yrrk hissed into Clem's ear as they stood impatiently in the hallway outside of their box. "You're *positive* that Chancellor Palpatine told you he'd give them back, right?"

"He was very friendly," Clem replied evenly. "I trust him."

"If you trust him, then why hasn't he returned the data cards? If we want any chance of being noticed, we have to have those!" Gem continued, her voice rising with each word.

"Calm down, Gem. Everything's going to work out fine," Clem said in what he hoped was a comforting manner. Secretly, inside he was also a bundle of nerves, senses on red alert as he waited for Palpatine to return the disks.

"How do you know?"

"Chancellor Palpatine promised me that he would be sure Lark received justice," Clem said by way of an answer. He put a hand over Gem's. "It has to work, Gem, and I believe that it will."

Gem took a deep breath and managed to give Clem a smile. "Okay. Okay. We can do this. I'm sure he's just running a little late."

"I'm sure he is," Clem said reassuringly. He wasn't really paying attention to Gem anymore though, not since she'd stopped screeching. He was looking down both sides of the hallway, impatient for the data cards to be in his hands again.

"One minute," Gem said, sighing. "One minute. We're not going to be able to do this, Clem!"

"Yes, we are. Hold on a minute," Clem said. He narrowed his eyes in the direction he had seen a dark figure coming forward. Another few steps and he was sure. Nobody else he'd ever met could be as tall as the hulking creature he'd met in Chancellor Palpatine's office. "I think that's one of Palpatine's staff."

"Really?" Gem demanded, her voice hitting a high note once more. She put a hand over her mouth at Clem's glare, indicating that she'd stay quiet.

"Clemens Lorcon," the man said, stopping in front of him. "Zoilo Pollock."

"Hello, Mr. Pol--"

"People call me Zoilo," the man interrupted menacingly.

"Yes, yes, of course," Clem stuttered. "My terrible mistake. Did you come to bring us the data disks?" Zoilo held out a bag, and Clem took it eagerly. "Looks like they're all here. Did the Chancellor comment on what he saw?"

"The Chancellor is very angry," Zoilo said simply. He shrugged and turned around, walking away before Clem could gather the courage to ask why.

"Get in the box!" Gem whispered, grabbing Clem's arm and pulling him into Lark's Senate box.

"What was the Chancellor angry about?" Clem asked. He felt something cold settle in his stomach, but he wasn't sure why.

"Probably that Lark is under so much destruction," Gem said impatiently. She smoothed down the thick folds of her dress. "Do I look ready to stand before the Senate?"

"Don't you always?" Clem replied. He set the disks down only to find that his hands were trembling. "What if the Senate doesn't agree to help? Or what if they don't decide to help until all of Lark is lost?"

Gem stopped smoothing her gown, and a look of genuine concern crossed her face. She held out her hands and took Clem's shaking ones in her own. "Clemens, everything will turn out all right. You can't think about what *might* happen. You have to concentrate on making what you want to happen, happen. Did that make sense?"

"Yes," Clem said. He pulled away from her but offered her a smile. "Thank you, Gem. I'm glad you're here for support."

Gem smiled back. "Anytime, Clem. Anytime."

"It's about to start," Clem said, pointing to where Chancellor Palpatine had stood up and spread out his arms in greeting. "Turn on the holoviewer."

Gem switched it on and turned back to Clem. She fussed with his microphone, attached to his neck so that everyone could hear what he said when he stood before the court. She reached up and kissed Clem on the cheek. "Save Lark for us, Clem," she whispered shortly in his ear.

"I'll do my best," Clem said, a smile on his face. He looked ready to speak again, but their attention swerved back to the post where Palpatine was standing.

"The chair recognizes Senator Clemens Lorcan of the Lark planatary system," Palpatine said. On cue, Gem began to direct their box to the middle of the room.

"Thank you, Chancellor Palpatine," Clem began. He ignored the clammy feeling in his hands as he bowed. "I come before the Senate with a case of supreme importance. Lark and its people are quiet and peaceful. We like to keep to ourselves, so I would not come before you today unless it was an emergency.

"Eight months ago, people began filling up our hospitals with symptoms such as difficulty breathing and wicked-looking boils. In those eight months, the number of people sick and dead have skyrocketed. Half of our population has died out.

"The ruling Royal Family of Lark as well as myself were at a loss in what to do. We finally decided to hire the most well-known scientist in our sector; we knew not where to start, and we needed help. Unnatural chemicals were found in the air; chemicals that had never been in Lark's system before. The scientist concluded that it must be a biological weapon released on the planet. Since Lark is such a peaceful planet, we rejected the idea and had the surface studied for sign of any natural disaster that could have caused this. We found no such thing, and we finally had to accept that someone purposefully released a biological weapon onto Lark. I do not come before you with accusations, I come before you with a plea for help. Please, take pity on our small planet."

Gem shot Clem the thumbs up sign, and he blushed slightly. Gem was able to make him do that a lot more often lately. He sighed deeply, feeling relief flood his veins. That had gone over well. Nobody was boo-ing him out of the limelight, so he decided that he must have been professional about relating to the Senate Lark's case.

"The chair recognizes that you have footage of such atrocities and data collected by your scientists," Palpatine said. When Clem met the Chancellor's eyes, a shiver went up his back. Palpatine's eyes were cold and unfeeling, so different from what he had seen the day before.

"Y-Yes," Clem stuttered after a moment. The Chancellor's cold gaze had thrown him off. He emptied the bag out and placed one of the data cards into the network computer system. "These are the results of the scientists' studies, as you can see."

There was murmering and quiet laughter from around the room. Gem gasped beside him. Clem looked down at his computer and felt his jaw drop in shock.

"Is this some kind of joke, Senator Lorcan?" Palpatine demanded, gesturing to the holo that had come up in the middle of the room for all to see. "These are results from a podrace on the Outer Rim world Tatooine."

"S-Sir . . ." Clem couldn't think straight. He ejected the data card immediately and placed another one in, wanting to get back on track. "These should be . . ." he trailed off, staring in open shock at the screen before him. This time Gem ejected the data card. That had been a holo of two people in bed together, their gasps droning out the laughter and shocked gasps for a split second.

"What is the meaning of this?" Palpatine demanded.

Gem took the microphone from Clem, a cool look in her eyes. "I can tell you exactly what the meaning of this is, Chancellor. Someone switched the tapes. Probably the same person who set off the--"

Clem yanked it away from her. Something told him to keep her quiet. "Gem, don't do this. Not now."

"He obviously switched the cards!" Gem shrieked, her voice rising as it always did when she was angry or upset.

"The chair wishes for Senator Lorcan of the Lark system to leave the floor. Until they have real information to present us, we should try and get something *done* here."

The box began to move without Gem touching the controls. Clem collapsed backwards onto the bench on the side of the box. He buried his face in his hands. He felt numb with shock.

"Why would he do that?" Gem murmered beside him. She shook her head furiously. "Clem, do you think he set off the disease?"

"What motive does he have?" Clem asked hoarsely.

"I don't know," Gem whispered. She felt just as helpless as Clem did.

* * * * *

The day went from bad to worse. Clem had to sit through hours in the Senate. Never before had he minded; he had always enjoyed politics. But as each minute passed, as Clem studied Palpatine's face, he wondered why it had never struck him before. Chancellor Palpatine was a cold, unfeeling man with no soul. Clem wasn't sure if he discovered this because he was more perceptive than most people or because he was angrier at this one man than he had ever felt in his life.

Gem had taken him out drinking. They went to the lowest level of Coruscant, looking for the seediest bar they could find, wanting a way of escape. They had failed the people of Lark. Clem couldn't help feeling that it was all his fault. He had trusted Palpatine. He hadn't made two copies of the data. He had been unprepared. There were so many things he had done wrong. Even if he went back to the planet to collect the data again, it might take months before the Senate let him present his case again. With the rapidly increasing deaths, he wondered if there would be anything left of Lark by that time.

Gem and Clem eventually decided that drinking was just depressing them more so than before. They stumbled back to their apartments and parted ways. Clem fumbled with the door to his rooms, trying to get it open. When he finally thought he had done so much, he found that there was a lone figure in the room.

Clem stared stupidly for a minute. "I must have the wrong apartment," he muttered to himself. He remembered that he was drunk. "Or I'm seeing things . . ."

"Clemens Lorcan, I presume," the man said. He stood up, and there was an air of supreme importance around him. HIs features were contorted in what looked to be anger and rage. Clem didn't think the emotions were directed at him though. He had a strange feeling that the man's face always looked like that. Clem wondered what had happened to make the man be such a way.

"Yes," Clem answered timidly, clutching at the door for support.

"We saw what happened to you at the Senate today. We saw what Chancellor Palpatine did to you," the man said. "And we want you to know that you're not the first. But maybe you can be the last. We will bring Chancellor Palpatine down."

Clem felt his stomach do some weird flips. He had no doubt that this man was speaking the truth. "What exactly are you trying to say?" he asked, his voice cracking.

"We want you to join a Federation we have built."

"Who's 'we'?" Clem asked.

The figure was joined by two more, reptillian-looking creatures. Clem felt something stir in the back of his mind. "Hey, aren't you--"

"Yes," one of them said. "Now, Lorcan, let's discuss this Federation of ours and how you fit in with it."

"Me?" Clem gulped.

"Yes," the original man said. He smiled calmly. "We are presenting you with the opportunity to get revenge upon the man that just screwed over your home, your planet."

"That's one way of putting it," Clem admitted.

"That's the only way to put it," the man corrected. "Now shut that door and sit down. We need to talk."

* * * * *

Nearly a month later, Chancellor Palpatine could be found in the Senate's vast banquet hall, dancing the night away with many a woman. His conscience wasn't clouded with what he did to the Lark system. In fact, he hadn't given a second thought to Senator Lorcan since he'd gotten the pesky man out of his hair.

Sabé Yéré, one of Chancellor Palpatine's most trusted security employees, waited on the sidelines along with Phira Quintessa, one of Palpatine's favorite bedmates. She watched the Chancellor with an intent eye, not even daring to blink. She had been working for him for only a few months, and in that time she hadn't had to use her training once. Everybody seemed to love Palpatine, and never had he been put in any danger. Yet she wasn't going to let the lack of violence keep her from doing her duty and slacking off.

Phira was fidgiting next to Sabé, and the younger girl had to feel some pity. Phira was one of Sabé's closest friends since Padmé never visited Coruscant. The woman was in her late thirties, but unless you knew her well you wouldn't be able to guess. She was one of the lucky women blessed with good looks all their life. It wasn't a mystery why Palpatine chose her as a "companion".

Phira's only problem was that she was a little naive. Sometimes she reminded Sabé of a child, and most of the staff that worked around her kept a watching eye out for Phira. She was very obviously in love with Chancellor Palpatine. The Chancellor didn't return her feelings, and was making it very obvious at that banquet. He had danced with every single woman there. Except for Phira.

"Sabé?" Phira asked softly, tugging on the security officer's arm.

Sabé turned her head slightly, trying to keep an eye on Palpatine while still paying attention to Phira. "Hmmm?"

"Does my dress look all right?" Phira asked, tugging at the edges of the skirt. Sabé turned to look Phira over, an intent look on her face. She figured that Phira deserved an honest answer. The dress was beautiful. Of course, Sabé was certain that Phira Quintessa would look gorgeous in a brown paper sack. One of the most charming things about Phira was that she didn't seem to realize how beautiful she was.

"It's absolutely perfect," Sabé said sincerely. She smiled reassuringly at Phira. "You know that dark green is your best color."

Phira smiled back, and her face seemed to light up with intensity of it. "Thank you, Sabé," she said shly.

Sabé noticed that Phira stopped fidgiting, seemingly calmed down for the moment, so she turned around to try and find Palpatine in the crowds. He was on the dance floor again, a blonde woman who couldn't be older than seventeen in his arms. Sabé felt like slapping him. He was a nice, decent man, she knew, but the way he was treating Phira was intolerable.

"He hasn't asked me to dance yet, Sabé," Phira said, breaking Sabé's thoughts with her frantic voice. "He's going to replace me with someone younger and more beautiful than me, isn't he?"

"Of course not," Sabé said, but she wasn't so sure of this. She decided the best way to go about it was to change the subject. "Don't worry, the night is still young. Besides, dinner should start at the end of this song. You're going to be sitting next to him at dinner."

Phira's happiness with that statement would have been obvious to anyone who wasn't Force-sensitive. Sabé didn't even have to glance at the woman to know there was one of those purely happy smiles on her small features. Her mood was so intoxicating that Sabé began to feel the beginnings of a smile on her own face.

"He is a man," Phira said softly, defending the Chancellor weakly. "He needs his distractions."

Sabé heartily disagreed with this, so she didn't comment at all. As she predicted, the song began to slow in pace, and instead of a faster one starting up, the music ended altogether. Palpatine let his dance partner drift off to the sidelines, and he headed straight for the long table at the front of the hall where the most important people sat. Sabé took Phira's hand in her own and pulled her up to that point. Phira came along willingly, and Sabé pushed her in the direction of her pre-assigned seat. Once Phira was well off, Sabé retreated backwards into the shadows of the room where she could watch over Palpatine unnoticed.

Once the guests were all seated, the various doors around the room opened, and waiters and waitresses poured out. Since it was a Senate meeting that the Supreme Chancellor himself would be attending, they had opted for real live people instead of droids. Just as the people were pouring in, Sabé felt something dark curl in the Force around her. Somebody in the audience had malicious intent, that much she could tell.

Her danger sense was flaring up so that she couldn't ignore it. She scanned the room quickly, but she couldn't identify who it was that was setting her off. Then her danger sense became louder and more demanding. Acting on instinct, Sabé leaped forward and knocked the Chancellor onto the floor with a shout. He was pinned to the ground beneath her, a shocked expression on his face. Blaster shots were heard just as they were falling to the ground, and when Sabé looked up the wall behind where Palpatine had been sitting, three neat holes were sizzling through it. One right where Palpatine's head would have been, and two on either side of his chest. Whoever it was who had shot the blaster had an incredible aim.

The room filled with screaming of woman, and everyone dropped to the floor. Trays that the waiters had been holding dropped to the ground in a clatter. Sabé let her sense go out as far as she could. Whoever it was had moved into the hallway. She closed her eyes and plunged deep into the Force, looking for enlightenment on the situation. Her eyes snapped open. He was making an escape! Sabé jumped to her feet, then onto the table. Everyone around her screamed at the sudden movement. She ignored them though and jumped down from the table, running for the door. She used the Force to help give her speed and to keep her from running into tables, chairs, and bodies.

When she got out into the hallway, she stopped again, breathing heavily, and let her Force-senses scan the area for that distinct presence she had felt. This time she felt nothing. The man had escaped right through the front door. Apparently the security had been too slow to figure out that after blaster shots had been fired, they shouldn't let someone go running out of the building.

Sabé whirled around when she felt someone touch her shoulder. Zoilo was standing there. He was supposed to have been standing guard at the door leading into the hallway. By the looks of all that lipstick around his mouth he had gotten a little . . . "distracted".

"You'd better wipe that off your face before the Chancellor sees," Sabé warned in a low voice. He brought a hand up to his chin, and she stepped past him to return to the banquet hall. Someone had to break the news to Palpatine that the culprit hadn't been caught.

Just as she was walking, a siren sounded, and a bunch of guards burst from a door further down the hallway came running out. Sabé laughed sardonically. No wonder they hadn't been out there in time. The whole lot of them looked lazy, fat, and incredibly stupid.

* * * * *

The next day, Sabé found herself in the dark corner of Palpatine's office, watching as the Chancellor retold the happenings of the night before to the Jedi Council. Like the good Jedi that they were, no expressions passed their faces as they heard each word. When Palpatine was done, there was a long silence where the Jedi considered the tale curiously and the Chancellor waited patiently for their answer.

"From us, what desire you?" Yoda asked finally. He leaned forward on the chair he sat, resting his small head on an even smaller hand. His eyes narrowed as they watched Palpatine, almost as if he was trying to see right through the man.

Palpatine looked contemplative for a moment, as if trying to find a way to state his request. "What do I want? Obviously, I would like to know who is behind this."

"The Jedi are peacekeepers, Chancellor, not detectives," Mace Windu reminded Palpatine pointedly.

"But you've been known to try and figure out a case or two, have you not?" Palpatine countered.

"I suppose," Windu admitted reluctantly. "You must understand though, we don't always have extra pupils on hand. It might be hard to find someone who has no other assignments to work on."

"I don't care who you give me. All Jedi are intelligent, so just pick someone who can find out who is behind the assassination attempt and whether that person will try it again," Palpatine said, letting a little of his fury out in his voice. His hands balled into fists, and Sabé noticed that a vein on the top of his head was becoming dangerously more prominent.

Windu clenched his jaw, and he looked ready to reply snappily, but Yoda beat him to it. "Find you a Jedi, we will. Here to serve, we are."

Palpatine took a deep breath. "Thank you, Master Yoda. I have another request though."

Yoda's ears moved forward on his head. "Oh?"

"My security are some of the finest people in the galaxy," Palpatine began. "I handpick them myself, and I am satisfied with each and every individual. However, this attempt on my life has made me cautious and wary. I request that you loan me a few more Jedi for added protection."

"This is more like the dealings we are used to, Chancellor," Mace Windu said, his voice calmer than before. "If you want Jedi for protection, we can accept that. How long will you need them?"

"Until the person who is behind this is either dead or in prison," Palpatine answered in an 'isn't it obvious' voice. He didn't give the Jedi a chance to comment before he spoke again, his voice overly casual. "I've seen on recent holonews that young Anakin Skywalker has been chosen as a Padawan by the infamous Obi-Wan Kenobi. Is this correct?"

Sabé sucked in her breath deeply at the sound of that name. She hadn't heard it from anything besides holonews for . . . had it really been three years? She snapped back to the conversation, not wanting to miss anything important because of a funny feeling in her chest, the leftovers of her first love, the brief romance she had encountered as a teenager.

"Yes--" Windu begain reluctantly, but he was interrupted almost immediately.

"I have had the honor to meet Skywalker; he's a very special young child. Obi-Wan Kenobi was under the training of Master Qui-Gon Jinn, was he not?"


"Good, good." Palpatine rubbed his hands together and leaned forward on the desk. He managed to give his most intimidating look. "I want that Padawan- Master team to be my protection."

"Chancellor Palpatine," Windu said in a warning voice, indicating that Palpatine had gone too far in favors, "to ask for protection is one thing. To ask for a specific Jedi duo is . . . *impossible*."

"They are on planet," Palpatine said defensively. "Kenobi gave his clearance codes just last week, and I haven't had news of him leaving planet again."

"Master Obi-Wan and his apprentice are already reassigned. I'm sorry, Chancellor, but you will have to make do with whom we can get you," Windu said, his tone harsh.

"Surely you can send anyone in Kenobi and Skywalker's place."

"Just as surely as we can give you anyone else for protection," Windu replied. He sat back, shaking his head. "No, Chancellor, that is our answer."

"Why Master Obi-Wan do you request?" Yoda asked, his voice the voice of reason in the tension-filled air that had built between Windu and Palpatine.

Palpatine sighed. "He worked in security for the Queen of my home planet not so many years ago. I also had the chance to meet with him. He is a noble and honest fellow. I want someone who I know personally, someone I can trust. I want someone who can do the job right."

Sabé felt as if time had actually frozen. Obi-Wan? Here? Working with her? She didn't know whether to be terrified or ecstatic.

"Get back to you, we will. Meditate on this, we must," Yoda said with finality in his voice. "Our answer tomorrow you will recieve."

Palpatine sighed, knowing this was the best he could get. He stood up and offered his hand to first Yoda, then Mace Windu. The latter Jedi still had his jaw clenched, and his handshake seemed overly tight. "Thank you for your help," Palpatine murmered politely.

"It's always a pleasure," Mace Windu said in response for all of the Council.

Palpatine nodded at Sabé, and she went for the door. She typed in the activation code, and the door swooshed open. One by one, the Jedi Council evacuated the room. When they were out, she shut the door again and turned to look at Palpatine expectantly.

Palpatine had put his head in his hands on his desk. "Your Excellency," Sabé said softly, taking a step forward in the now empty room, "is there anything you need me to do?"

Palpatine looked up at her. At first he seemed confused, as if he'd been so lost in his own thoughts he didn't even recognize her. Then he smiled reassuringly at her. "Send Zoilo in for protection. Then I want you to use that wonderful brain of yours to get a head start before we get those Jedi. I want to know who attempted assassination on me, and, more importantly, I want to know *why*."

"Yes, Your Excellency," Sabé said. She bowed her head in admission. Just as the doors swished open again, she turned around to look at Palpatine. "What will you do if the Council does not allow you to have Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi?"

Palpatine looked up at her, the hint of a smirk on his face though his eyes were cold and hard. "That won't happen, my dear Sabé."

Sabé turned around as fast as she could, not wanting him to see the joy- filled smile on her face. She was sure of his words. After all, only three years ago, she and Obi-Wan had been sure they'd see each other again. She had been shocked, to say the least, when Palpatine made the specific request for those two. That shock had left her body for a sense of dazed hopefulness. Now she was teetering on the edge of crying out and leaping for joy. She had spent three years dreaming about Obi-Wan. He had tainted her young hear to the point where she hadn't desired another man since. All she wanted was her handsome Jedi Knight. Now they would work in security together, and they might be able to work things out. Sabé knew the Fates had to have something to do with their meeting -- her feelings were too powerful to be explained other wise. So she was convinced that there had to be a way for them to stay together, no matter what. The Fates were disappointing sometimes, Sabé knew, but they couldn't be so evil as to give her Obi-Wan only to take him back again.

Suddenly, Sabé stood stiffly, straightening her spine. What if he didn't want to work things out? Just because she spent all of her time woo-ing over her memories of him and the hope that she might make more later on didn't mean that he had done the same about her. Sabé bit her lip and continued down the corrider. Her stomach was flipping with nerves, and doubts began to fill her mind. She tried her best to vanish them, but none of the Jedi soothing tricks she'd learned would work.

She sighed and blanked her mind, focusing only on the task at hand. It was soon enough too, because she was just stepping out into the waiting room. Zoilo stood waiting by the door. He was a huge man, and he always sent a trickle of fear down Sabé's back. If he wanted to, she was sure that he could crush her small body with the flick of his wrist. She attempted to smile at him, but she wasn't sure if he noticed. "The Chancellor has requested your presence," she informed him in her most mature voice.

Zoilo didn't acknowledge her words or thank her. He just turned around the corner and down the corrider, obviously expected her to shut the doors. She sighed and typed in the security code. Security around Palpatine was tight, and her fingers ached from typing in so many codes day in and day out.

Sabé took a deep breath and headed for the library, her mind still swirling with images of Obi-Wan. How was she supposed to work on finding out the assassinator when Palpatine was insisting on making her former lover work with her?