Title: "Black Orchid"
One-Shot (4/?)
Written by: Shawn

Summary: Ahsoka Tano confronts her former Master. Master Yoda and Obi-Wan face Padme's fierce refusal to believe her husband wasn't Darth Vader and never turned to the Dark Side. Palpatine and Anakin covertly plot each other's demise. Jobal Naberrie receives a visitor.

Category: Action/Angst/Drama/Romance/Angst/Erotica/Mystery

Rating: MA Warnings: Graphic violence and in later chapters graphic sexual situations.

Timeline/Spoilers: AU. Everything through Revenge of the Sith up until the moment Anakin arrives to save Palpatine's life before Mace Windu kills him. Everything after that is my AU. All else is explained within the story.

Ship: Anakin and Padme Skywalker, Padme /OC - more as the story continues

Disclaimer: George owns everything. We're just playing in his backyard.

Authors Notes 1: The world of Mygetto that this story begins on is the planet Jedi Master Ki-Adi-Mundi was killed on during RoTS when Order 66 was declared. It is a wintry, frozen world bearing the harshest of conditions.

Authors Notes 2: Expect cameos from many familiar faces not only from the Prequel world, but the Clone Wars animated series as well.

Authors Notes 3: Things will turn darker before the dawn.

Authors Notes 4: Please visit my FF authors page for a link to Valhalla, a absolutely wonderful multi-fandom forum that I am one of the mods for. I think you all will have a great time there. Check it out:)

Beta Read by: Master Anne

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free. ~ Catherine Ponder

He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves: one for his enemy and one for himself ~ Chinese Proverbs

Love comes to those who still hope even though they've been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they've been betrayed, to those who still love even though they've been hurt before. ~ Author Unknown

Uscru Entertainment District

Intersection at Vos Gesal Street

Nightfall Lower

Levels of Coruscant

Jedi Knight Ahsoka Tano quickly exited the rusted, over-crowded sky-bus while ignoring the lustful sneers of whore-seekers waiting near the depot. Tonight, her focus was razor-sharp as she sought her former Master.

The boisterous and heavily crowded streets were choked with activity as Ahsoka carefully navigated the smokey lower levels of Coruscant on her way to the rendezvous point Anakin gave to Dex. Apparently he considered someone would reach out to his old friend upon his unforgettable return and if the "right" person came along specific instructions were given on how to possibly reach him. The Jedi Knight's heart beat like a primal war drum in her chest as she wove around the side-streets as per her directions towards the long back alley behind Joxen's Bar. She clutched her dark gray cloak tighter around herself, warding off a night chill while ever aware of her dangerous surroundings in this crime ridden area.

Dead Jedi were worth a fortune to the Empire and she had no intention of becoming someones bounty this dark night.

Ahsoka Tano's mind, heart, and soul were simply on fire.

The 'what if's' were driving her to madness as she waved off a Death Stick dealer attempting to get her attention, and then side-stepped a fight between street dwellers over a bet gone wrong. Lawlessness, hopelessness, violence, and extreme poverty ruled here. At least the Empire's powerful influence rarely made a dent in Lower Level activities.

Her thoughts returned to the here and now. What if Padme was right and this was all part of a elaborate plot to root out the new Rebellion and surviving Jedi once and for all? What if Anakin really had returned and never joined the Dark Side at all? There were two possibilities though. What if the violent battle she witnessed earlier today between Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker wasn't a cunning ploy, but the heroic return of her beloved master? Dare she hope the horrors of the last five years, the disgrace and vicious betrayal of her beloved MASTER wasn't real at all?

Stalling for a moment to brace herself against a grimy wall in the shadows, Ahsoka bowed her head. By the Force, how she'd carried such hatred for Anakin for the longest time. Despised him. Wanted to see him more than dead, but tortured for murdering the Younglings, breaking Padme's heart, ruining her faith in him and countless other unforgivable crimes. How she had a ounce of faith that this was real after all this time was shocking to her, but hope was funny that way.

Master Yoda once told her "Without hope, where would courage gain its strength."

Tonight she called upon all the courage she had, damning the logic that screamed this was a trap. Despite the minor victories the Rebellion had gained there were countless worlds unwilling to incite the Empire's rage by joining them. The remaining Jedi numbered well below one hundred, and their resources were slim. They were being hunted and killed on site along with anyone who aided them. The galaxy needed a miracle to rally around.

It needed the Chosen One.

Still, as hope swelled within her chest, Ahsoka was mature enough to remain cautious. This could be a trap and she was walking directly into it. But the slim chance of what she saw earlier today being real meant to much to the galaxy. So she had to try.

Up ahead she saw it. Joxen's Bar. Dark, dingy, dimly lit and crawling with criminal scum. Bounty hunters, assassins, weapons dealers, off-world smugglers, death stick addicts, gamblers, scoundrels, and all forms of low-life's made up the bars clientele. Various alien races strode in and out, all of them armed. But one thing they were not were supporters of the Empire. Imperial troops frequently disappeared in the lower-levels as it was simply too massive and unlawful to maintain any semblance of full control.

Anakin chose well, Ahsoka thought. She just quietly prayed it really was her former Master and not a plot that was going to get her killed.

Using the Force to project a sense of confusion all around her as she maneuvered through the crowds and around the bar, descending into the depths of shadows that hid the building. The noise level dropped off drastically the further she journeyed alongside the bar until she finally reached the empty back alley. With her hand inside her cloak, her fist curled around the hilt of her light-saber, Ahsoka carefully walked forward.

Suddenly as if appearing from within the darkness, two forms emerged out of the shadows.

"By the Force," Ahsoka whispered to herself, her eyes wide with fear and awe as the taller of the two individuals moved beneath a overhead street-lamp. Her throat began to quiver as she gazed at him. His face... that same high-cheek burn scar... those piercing blue eyes... His hair appeared a bit longer, darker even though the sunlit streaks remained. His expression was like stone, and yet she sensed an aura of calm and even... joy at the sight of her. Dare she hope against hope. "Who are you?"

"You're taller," Anakin noted with as faint a smile as he could muster. "Prettier too. Not that you were ever ugly, but still."

Same voice. Same tone. Same curve of his mouth when he spoke. Same mannerisms. Ahsoka's jaw tightened. "Who are you?" she repeated. "And who's your friend?"

Locking his wrists behind his back, he declared, "I am Anakin Skywalker, your former Master." Looking to his left, he continued, "And this is my friend, Catana-Si. She saved my life."

With her heart racing, Ahsoka noted, "Anakin Skywalker turned to the Dark Side, murdered all the Younglings by his own hand, and then proceeded to betray everyone he loved and every single thing he ever stood for. That was five years ago. Where the Sith have you been if you are who you say you are?"

Anakin sighed as his rage at Palpatine's deeds threatened to overwhelm him again. Had any man in history lost as much as he had? "Did you see my battle today with Darth Vader?"
"Most of the galaxy saw it."

"Palpatine cloned me when I refused to turn to the Dark Side," he explained. "He placed me in some form of crude carbonite-stasis hold off world ever since. I wasn't aware of anything that transpired up until a couple of months ago when Catana found me and nursed me back to health. She caught me up to date on every single vile thing Darth Vader did in my name. But I swear to you Snips, this is the real me."

As profound the emotion was that swept through her when he spoke her old nickname, she knew many people could have known it. And who the hell was this attractive woman with him? "I'll need proof. Lots of it."

"Come here," Anakin ordered her. He sensed equal parts rage, hope, and fear from her. But Ahsoka's courage won out. "Dex told you to bring three items. Did you?"

All the while knowing that taking her hand off the hilt of her light-saber could cost her life, Ahsoka had to give this a chance. She cautiously approached the man wearing her former Master's face and then produced a small silver tube out of her pocket. "Your wrist." Anakin extended his flesh arm. Ahsoka shoved the tube at the inside of his wrist as a twin needles shot out, quickly collecting a blood and skin sample. "Now your friend."

Folding back the end of her cloak, Catana-Si offered her left wrist. "Go ahead."

"Why are you here?" Ahsoka asked her.

"It is the will of the Force, I suppose. But I don't know exactly what that will is."

Though very attractive, Catana didn't appear Anakin's type. No one but Padme ever caught his eye. Pushing that aside, Ahsoka performed the same task, and then tucked the tube back inside her cloak. Thorough genetic testing could reveal if a person were a clone or not. And there would be no way of cloning Anakin's enormous Midi-chlorian count. "Your arm."

"Remember all the adjustments and alterations I made to the original design?" Anakin asked as Ahsoka produced a small holo-cam. He opened the compartment on the inside of his cybernetic arm, revealing the gears and repulsors within. She began snapping pictures and inspecting the hardware. "The design is old now due to the years that have passed, but you know how I fix things."

"Power sources first, sensation arrays second, durability third."

Anakin nodded. If he weren't so broken, so fractured emotionally he would have hugged her by now. Told her how much he missed her and how proud of her he was. For no matter the horrors brought on by Palpatine and his Empire, she survived. His apprentice survived. Pride swelled in his chest despite it all. "I've been back on Coruscant for only a few standard days."

Ahsoka held her peace, snapping photos and inspecting the architecture of his cybernetic arm.

"My last memory before waking up months ago was of Palpatine electrocuting me with Force Lightening after he revealed to me he was the Dark Lord of the Sith behind the war."

Ahsoka's world shifted as he drew closer. She dreamed of slitting his throat from ear to ear for five long years, and now the prospect that it wasn't him committing those atrocities... "What answers do you have?"

"Few." Anakin produced a holo-disk, and with a flick of his free hand Force-lifted it into hers. "From the moment part of a star-ship crashed on Mygetto, Catana has been documenting everything she could about the wreckage, what vessels were in the area and anything else she could find. I don't have time to research all of it, but this will give you as much information as I have about my return."

Ahsoka faced him, and then placed the disk in a hand-held array to ensure it contained no tracking devices. "You said you've been conscious for months. What have you been doing? Why didn't you try to contact someone that could help you?"

"I've been training and preparing to destroy Palpatine and ruin his Empire," he explained. "I have a plan and I intend to execute it. But I have to do it alone." Then he sighed, "But I need your help with something."

"And that is?"

"How many Jedi survived Order 66? And did any Masters survive?"

Taking a step backward, Ahsoka's eyes narrowed. "Let me take you to them."

"Not possible."

"Then you're crazy if you think I'll just give you information."

Anakin dared to almost smile. Almost. She was as sharp as he remembered. "I don't want to meet them, nor do I want their location. My first Master Qui-Gonn Jinn appeared before me in a Force-visionand told me that I had to fulfill my destiny, and that I had to deliver Catana to a Jedi Master. Can you assist her with that once my mission is over with?"

"You mean after Palpatine is dead?"

"Yes."

"Why wont you seek them out?" Ahsoka watched a wealth of dark emotions shroud over his face, and sensed simmering rage and a depth of such loss her heart clenched. She realized in that instant he was suffering greatly. Her voice became a whisper. "You don't want to survive this, do you?"

"I have nothing to live for," he replied as his head bowed, eyes shut for a brief moment. "Palpatine ruined my name, destroyed the Jedi Order, and murdered my wife and child. I want to fulfill my destiny... and then I want peace. Nothing more, nothing less."

Ahsoka read him as deeply as her Force abilities were capable of. Still, she knew he was far more powerful than her, but wasn't using his mental Force shields. He was open before her as she sensed he knew nothing about Padme. For if he did she was certain nothing in this galaxy or any other would keep him from her. For that... for now, she was grateful. But only for now. "I'll be in touch."

Anakin nodded, as did Catana.

But before Ahsoka could walk away, she rushed back to Anakin and crushed him in a big hug, begging the Force that she was right and this was all real. "Listen to me. Don't turn this into a suicide mission just yet. Promise me?"

Anakin could not bring himself to hug her back. At least not yet. "I can't promise you anything."

"Try."

"... for you I will." Ahsoka's tender smile almost awakened the old him, But not quite. "Tell the Rebellion about me. Tell them to use my deeds as a rallying cry for building their army. But I will not work or contact them. My plans for Palpatine are my own. And trust me, the entire galaxy will see him fall."

"If this all checks out and you are who you say you are, then there's no way you're doing this without me. And if you're lying I'll kill you myself." Ahsoka slowly backed away, then broke out into a sprint.

"That went well," Catana offered from over his shoulder. "I think."

"All the tests will confirm I am who I say I am."

"The Jedi will come looking for you."

"By the time they find me it'll be too late."

Emperor Palpatine's meditation chamber

Galactic City, Coruscant

"Tell me what you regard as your greatest strength, so I will know how best to undermine you; tell me of your greatest fear, so I will know which I must force you to face; tell me what you cherish most, so I will know what to take from you; and tell me what you crave, so that I might deny you " While deeply submerged in a meditative state channelled through Dark Side of the Force, Palpatine allowed the maleficent words of his fallen master Darth Plageuis submerge him. He sat before the glowing red Sith Holocron as his former Master's teachings provided no assistance to his current plight. For the reigning Emperor of the entire galaxy now found himself without his most formidable weapon.

His Force foresight.

Ever since the deadly return of Anakin Skywalker earlier today, Palpatine immersed himself within the Dark Side to locate his foe and to foretell his eventual downfall. But even the most powerful Sith ever found an absolute silence that greatly disturbed him.

What Palpatine once did to Master Yoda and the Jedi Order, Anakin had now done to him. Clouded the Force with such midnight that nothing could be seen. It was as if his powers were diminished and the irony was not lost on the Dark Lord.

Gently opening his withered eyes, a wave of his hand silenced the Holocron, its glow fading into twilight. The Sith were a people... a religion... a dictatorship... and a philosophy. They had survived the Jedi's claustrophobic view of the Force since time began and he would emerge victorious once more. Here in his private meditative chamber, surrounded by ancient Sith statues, he slowly rose to his feet, arms extended, and sought the wisdom of the ages.

Nothing.

An absolute nothing.

"Anakin..." he spoke only to himself. "You have finally become the tremendous storm that was your destiny." Walking through his meditation chamber, Palpatine lifted his hand as a smooth hidden wall slid sideways, revealing the open area of his technologically advanced War Room filled with his closest aides and advisers. All rose when he entered, as always. He took his throne at the apex of a glossy black Vibranium table with a bronzium finish. "Report."

Imperial adviser Ars Dangor spoke first. "Imperial forces are conducting a thorough search for Anakin Skywalker throughout the capitol. We have mobilized over one-hundred Clone Trooper squads and are investigating all starships that entered the planet in the last seven standard days. All criminal factions have been given a 'Name Your Price' notice for any information leading to his capture or death. The same can be said for bounty hunters and mercenaries. In addition, the HoloNet has been running hourly responses to today's attack, defying them and promising dire consequences for any and all who aid Skywalker."

Palpatine brooked no response, instead absorbing the mood of those present. Tense and worried to the highest degree. Such pawns, all of them. "What is it you are not saying? Out with it!" the Emperor declared venomously.

Swallowing hard, Ars Randor gazed upon his Master. "The Mandalorian Death Watch, Cad Bane, the Hutt Clans, and a number of our most capable mercenary connections are refusing to hunt Skywalker. It appears his actions today have made their mark. He has created fear in them."

Rage swept upon the Emperor's face, followed as swiftly by a dark calm. He gave but a slight nod before moving on. "What have to you add, Admiral Terrinald?"

The Imperial Navy's Admiral straightened in his high-back chair. "The Imperial Palace is now circled by two Star Destroyers and security has been tripled. Clone squads line the halls at every access point."

"Remove the Star Destroyers."

The Admiral blinked. "... my Lord, we must..."

"I will not give the appearance of fear," the Emperor explained. "And you will not question my order again."

"Yes, my Lord." The Admiral settled back in his chair, his heart pounding inside his chest.

Palpatine continued, "Lord Crueya Vandron, what have you to add?"

As one of the few in the Inner Circle who could speak his mind, the head of Commission for the Preservation of the New Order peered at his Master with grave eyes. "The entire galaxy just watched Anakin Skywalker murder six dozen Clone Troops and dismember Darth Vader, all while your personal shuttle flew off in the distance. Some... some will view that as fear on your part."

Emperor Palpatine admired his bravado, as well as the intense dread he sensed in conveying such a thought. "Continue."

"His rage will be his undoing, Master" Crueya began. "His vengeance must be public, and so his need for spectacle will allow us to create targets that will be impossible for him to ignore. His intent is to destroy your Empire, and so he wants the entire galaxy to know it was by his hand alone. We will use that to our advantage."

"Ego... such a Jedi trait." Palpatine's lips curled into as close to a smile as he was capable of. "Once I wanted Anakin Skywalker as my apprentice, but he is now the single greatest threat to my Empire."

"My Lord," Sate Pestage carefully interrupted. "He is but one man. One. Surely we will find his weakness and exploi...aahhh" The invisible hand clutching tightly around his throat choked the air from his lungs until he gasped a last time, slumping over the table.

"I do not enjoy being interrupted." The Emperor settled comfortable upon his throne as two of the Red Guard removed the dead body from his sight. "Anakin's wife and child are dead. His name ruined, along with Padme's legacy. Obi-Wan, if alive at all, is in hiding. I have watched Skywalker grow from a little boy into the single most powerful Force being in the galaxy. I know how his mind works. For the moment we must watch what he does. Investigate anyone that could be connected to him. He is at his most dangerous right now because he has nothing left to lose. Nothing that he cares enough to live for except my death. No doubt the Rebellion will gain a measure support as this pathetic groundswell of hope emerges. We will crush that hope wherever it arises."

Rising from his throne, Palpatine moved before the broad transparisteel window overlooking Galactic City's night skyline. "Everything I see is mine, and neither this Jedi nor any other will stand in my way. We will increase the bounty on his head and murder a few innocents. Put out fake reports that people were found aiding Skywalker and have them publicly executed. That will tame any who might consider helping him and loose the tongues of others."

"At once, my Lord," all around the table spoke. "Have the Sun Guard mercenaries scour the Outer Rim. Threaten the Hutt clans and anyone else, but find Assaj Ventress. I am in need of a new apprentice."

Jedi Knight Pilar Fahlen's Kessel Star Fighter

en-route to Dagobah

The Outer Rim Territories

A heavily-modified blue Jedi star-fighter roared out of hyperspace as Dagobah came into view in the far distance. "R-2, it's all yours," Padme noted to her long-time astro-droid as she relinquished flight controls to him. Sighing to herself, mahogany eyes shut to the sheer emotion of the last tumultuous day. Her hands were still shaking and she hadn't responded to any of the communications her mother, Caid, or Bail had sent her. It was to much to witness in person, much less discuss it rationally.

Her mind ever sharp as a razor's edge, Padme's keen intellect poured over the few facts and possibilities of Anakin's return from the dead. At best the most miniscule glimmer of hope died as she was sure this was likely a deadly trap waiting to destroy the still-growing Rebellion once and for all. But from the very depth of her heart came such acute pain... such agony that all of her hope had withered and died long ago where Anakin was concerned. That what she knew and felt was right and true was nothing more than a fabrication of reality.

The man she loved with all her heart and soul was a monster. A creature filled with hate and rage and death. A man who defiled their precious love and was a threat to their children should he ever learn of their existence.

The torturous memories returned to her full-force as her star-fighter ventured towards Dagobah, past its closest moon at a brisk rate of speed. The early months after her faked death, when the twins were so young and her grief so fresh it was the joy of her children that gave life and courage to the broken shell of a woman that she was. Darth Vader was known to enjoy a harem of whores and that was the least of his crimes, but did no less than crush her spirit. The immense pain was so great she often wondered in her private time if it weren't for Luke and Leia would she have ended her own life.

Dark, foreboding thoughts such as those weren't of her character, but then again she was far from the woman she once was. Anakin killed Padme as surely as the violent end to the Senator's life that she herself crafted with infinite care. Amidala's name and honor were ruined, branded a whorish woman who sought powerful married men and brokered deals to strengthen her political power at the expense of those she was sworn to protect. The HoloNet, now Palpatine's personal puppet news organization portrayed her as cruelly as she had ever seen anyone treated before. Pictures were fabricated, stories leaked from sources she had never heard of, and the scandal of it all took a great toll on her family and the people of Naboo.

Senator Padme Amidala of Naboo was ruined and desecrated.

But Padme found her courage in her children s beautiful eyes. She found her honor in her late father's memoirs. She found her inner strength in her mother's embrace. She found her drive in the Emperor's arrogance. She found her will to survive anything in the Empire's genocidal exploits. She found herself again, born anew, under the expert guidance of Jedi Master Yoda.

And she found her undying rage at the agony of being betrayed by the love of her life.

Even now as her Jedi-fighter swiftly descended into Dagobah's dense atmosphere, tears wet her eyes. Tears she was sure she didn't have left as she had cried her sorrow away years ago. But what she witnessed just a day ago... Anakin alive and strong, declaring his innocence and that he never turned to the Dark Side... that her precious Ani may have never betrayed her...

"No!" she choked the word out venomously, refusing to believe, wiping her eyes clear of any sadness as she had no time for it. Anakin was dead and this was a trap. There could be no other explanation. But if she discovered exactly what the Emperor was planning then perhaps the Rebellion could use it to their advantage. Their greatest move against the Empire was on the horizon and this could be there chance to truly make a statement.

The mystery of yesterday had just begun and she swore she would get to the bottom of it, and then this Anakin or whoever he truly was would pay with his life.

R-2's incessant chirping caught Padme's attention. "I know, I know. You hate Dagobah and are tired of creatures trying to eat you. That's why it's best you stay on the ship and keep your sensors alert. Now set us down over there on that grassy marsh." A couple of low tones were the astro-droid's unhappy reply. "We won't be staying long, I promise." Padme exhaled deeply as Yoda's small hovel and Obi-Wan's nearby star-fighter came into view.

The world of Dagobah was eighty-eight percent water, with vast jungles making up any actual land on the planet. Yoda chose a world deeply entrenched with the Dark Side of the Force as it would shield his Force-presence from the Emperor. It also gave the legendary Jedi Master time to think, reconsider, and rebuild what the new Jedi Order would become.

As her star-fighter extended it's landing gear and turned beside Obi-Wan's ship she recalled her early training here. At first when it was learned that she was a Force-adept and that her connection to Anakin was more than the love they once shared, Master Yoda still refused to train her. Too old, she was. Too angry and sad to attain the focus and peace of mind a Jedi required. She fought harder than she ever had before to convince him she needed and wanted to do this for all the right reasons. He agreed after several days of intense meditation he finally agreed, although she always wondered if there was more to the story than a simple change of mind.

The pain and suffering of her Jedi training seemed an impossible task. Her intensely focused drive to become strong enough to protect her children and privately take revenge against their father drove her past exhaustion and any limits she thought she had. She became a wild storm that would never be weak again. She became a Jedi Knight every bit as formidable as Darth Vader.

And one day the Emperor and that thing she once called her husband would pay for all the suffering they caused her.

But as the canopy of her fighter lifted and she climbed out, her mind warred with the events of yesterday. Her feet splashed a small puddle as knobby white spiders raced across her dark boots. Misty rainfall wet her face as she saw Master Yoda standing ahead, his small hands clutching the cane he held in from of him. Just over his shoulder, Obi-Wan stood wearing a most ominous expression. Ben's eyes were far older than his age. After her, Padme knew Anakin's betrayal crushed him the most. "Masters," she bowed respectfully as she approached them.

Obi-Wan walked to her, his lips lifting to just shy of a smile. "Ben, Padme. No Master for me."

He hadn't wanted or accepted the title since Anakin turned to the Dark Side. Padme knew the feeling as she hugged him. "Ben it is." Having not seen him in five standard months time, she still felt a deep kinship when they embraced. "I have missed you."

"And I you," Obi-Wan replied

"Good to see you, it is, Knight Amidala."

One didn't hug Yoda, only bowed. But her affection and respect for him were great indeed. She smiled, "Master."

Yoda's ears fell gently as did his gaze. "Great new revelations we must discuss. Inside, inside. Sickness we catch if stay out in the coming storm, we do." The trio entered the small hovel, with Yoda descending upon a small clothed mat. Padme and Obi-Wan assumed meditative poses after bending down to enter. "Communications with Ahsoka, I have engaged. Anakin, she did find." The sharp spike of emotion as shown over his former Padawan's face roared alongside her moody Force-signature. He continued. "Proof, he offered freely. His blood and answers, he provided."

"Lies," Padme spoke softly, attempting to reign in her feelings as she glanced away. "It's a trap. I know it is."

Although he considered resting his hand over hers, Obi-Wan knew now was not the time for friendly affection. He could not imagine what she was feeling as his own thoughts and grief were beyond measure. His greatest failure... his former student... his best friend... his brother in every way... in five years time the pain had not withered at all. "I spoke with Ahsoka as well. Anakin told her that he awoke on Mygetto..." he explained everything Anakin's former padawan told him about the star-ship crash, Catana-Si saving him, and how he trained in the mountains before returning to Coruscant to face the Emperor. Padme listened intently, her face betraying none of her inner turmoil, though her feelings were raw and angry at the mere notion this wasn't a lie. "Padme, Ahsoka ran the cell analysis and midichlorin count test. In addition, she was able to find a small splatter of blood from where Anakin battled Darth Vader."

Padme shook her head, lifting a hand as she felt she had to be the voice of reason. "I know you want to believe, Ben. But Palpatine is clever and bold. This is a trap, I assure you." She felt Yoda's green gaze fall upon her, noting his sadness as well. Sometimes in the midst of her grief she forgot what he and everyone else lost during the Great Purge. "We can use this to our advantage. But first..."

"Anakin, he is," Master Yoda declared in a most serious tone. "Analysis proves a clone he is not. Midi-chlorian count is exactly the same as Skywalker's. Vader's tests prove a clone he is, manufactured and altered. Proof we have, but not all proof is known to you."

Her hand began shaking again as she felt the very air in her lungs were being choked out. She desperately wanted to run away from all of this. It was just too much. "There must be..."

"No!" Yoda pointed his cane at Padme. Then his face softened as he sensed her agony. "No," he repeated in a more understanding tone of voice. "The Force has shifted once more. Felt it, have you?"

"Yes, Master," Obi-Wan concurred. "A great shift has taken place. I have felt it." He paused to gather his thoughts. To try and make some sense of the last five years and what he witnessed yesterday. "Rest assured it is not easy for me to say this, but we must at the very least consider the possibility that Anakin is telling the truth."

"Why!" Padme shouted, her fist slamming down onto the floor. "Why must we consider the impossible? Am I the only one who thinks Anakin turning up the way he did isn't a bit curious? The Emperor could have chosen a grand setting to begin his most ambitious plot ever. Spies may have infiltrated the Rebellion and given him sensitive information." She continued. The Rebellion is about to spearhead its most dangerous attack against the Empire to date. The theft of an Imperial II-class Star Destroyer, the second generation of the Galactic Empire's signature vessel. A mission I am leading personally.

"To believe is to become one with the Force, young one," Yoda announced. "Your pain and fear, think sense it I do not? Your sorrow and grief, pained me it has and still does. Dead now is the Jedi Order. Gone. Dust among the stars. Those left behind, build anew we will. But just as surprise destroyed us, so again could surprise allow the Jedi to rise once more."

Padme could not hear this. "It's... it's too much, Master. I can't..."

Yoda fixed her with his most stern expression, offering wisdom as always. "Nine hundred years, I have lived. Be certain, grieve more than you, I have. Yes. For centuries. Have been betrayed more than you, yes I have. Killed more. Watched more loved ones die, yes, I have endured. Witnessed miracles, I have." He rose to his full height, and then paced before them. "The living Force, communed with it, I have. Despair over my failure to allow the Order to grow for modern times, I sought guidance. But after visited I was by Master Qui-Gonn, my path set before me, it was."

Shock and awe filled the air. Obi-Wan could not believe what he just heard. He swallowed hard in the back of his throat. "Such a thing is..."

"Impossible?" Yoda shook his head. "That word, strike it from a Jedi's memory, I wish was done. Impossible is nothing, Master Kenobi. We who trust in the Force know that all things are possible."

With her heart breaking all over again, Padme just wouldn't allow herself to believe. "Master, forgive me, but Palpatine has clouded the Force before. Even when in your presence."

The words struck Yoda as they had for the past five years. He aged before their very eyes and sighed. Then he resumed his meditative pose, small hands clasped in his lap. "Sense your worry, I do. Offend me, you did not. Truth it was, that Palpatine was able to fool even old Yoda. But no more. What took place is done. Forward, we must look. That was the mandate of Master Qui-Gonn. It was he that instructed me to train you, Padme. And it was he that told me the Chosen One would rise from the ashes."

"Master, you knew?" Appalled, Obi-Wan questioned as Padme's absolute shock swept over her face. The elder Jedi master gave a slow nod. As Obi-Wan allowed himself to feel through the Force, he sensed that this was real and hope was alive. He felt a weight slowly ascend from his shoulders, a guilt that had ruined some dear part of him. Anakin had never turned. He hadn't so failed his best friend and the Order. "What must we do, Master?"

"Find Anakin, you must, Obi-Wan. He is lost. Your counsel he will need. Your perception, he will trust. Rendezvous with Ahsoka on Coruscant and begin your search."

"Wait!" Padme rubbed her eyes, sniffling, her body physically trembling. "I know you want to believe..."

Yoda's ears lifted. "You do not?"

"I can't," she half-sobbed, bowing her head slowly. "It's too much. It's been five horrible years. I have children to protect. You were wrong before and if you are wrong now then their lives will be in mortal danger."

"Understand your pain and apprehension, I do," Yoda began. "But the will of the Force has spoken. To become a Jedi, your destiny, you have fulfilled. The Chosen One, bring the Force into balance, he must. And he will. Together, the Skywalkers, our greatest hope lies in defeating the Sith."

Openly crying, Padme allowed Obi-Wan to rest his hands on her slender shoulders. The comforting feel of his half-embrace and dear understanding calmed her. "Master, to believe this is to... I'm... I'm not strong enough."

Master Yoda promised her with a small nod. "You will be... you will be."

The home of Jobal Naberrie

Evening

Calasari Village, east of Theed Naboo

Sparkling Lake Vespa provided a gorgeous twilight backdrop as Jobal took a long, quiet walk along the sandy shore. A evening trek was their favorite way to end the day when Ruwee was still alive.

With humming Corsair song-birds flying overhead, she thought fondly of her husband and the many, many dear talks they shared as they toured the beautiful shore before making their way back home. Varykino was magnificent when the whole family was gathered, but things changed and as they grew older they decided to relocate from the mansion to the village of Calasari. An older, less populated province peaceful enough to almost forget the terrible state the galaxy was in.

Treading barefoot as the wet sand soothed her feet, Jobal's heart was filled with dear memories of her husband and the deep unrest her beloved Padme was dealing with. Her youngest daughter returned to Naboo earlier today with news she simply refused to believe. Jobal admittedly had a hard time as well, but she trusted the facts. Genetically the man she watched on the HoloNet kill Darth Vader was in fact Anakin Skywalker, while the victim was clearly a clone. Ahsoka Tano was family in her eyes and her word was good enough to trust completely.

Somehow, someway the same man Jobal spent the last half-decade cursing his name for the devastating misery he inflicted on her daughter was never Anakin Skywalker at all. The mere notion made her tremble as the personal implications for her family and the galaxy at large were far reaching and vastly unpredictable.

And yet as she witnissed the incredible HoloNet broadcast of his return, Jobal recalled feeling a jolt of some feminine intuition that maybe... just maybe this wasn't a hoax or plot. And if she were right the incredible joy her daughter would know again was worth the supreme effort it was going to take to believe in this miracle. Her Padme was strong and yet broken in many profound ways. The Mother in her was defiant in not allowing anything to harm her children. Her character and intelligence were priceless to the new Rebellion in its infancy. Her inner toughness gave her the will to conquer her immesnly difficult Jedi training. But the woman... she never recovered from Anakin's heart-breaking betrayal. From the horrible violence of butchering the Younglings and hunting the Jedi to the very public harem of sex-slaves he cavorted around, his actions ruined a part of her daughter's soul. Jobal held her many times while she sobbed uncontrollably, wondering how she could have been so wrong about him. She grieved and grieved like no one her mother had ever known before. That was why she could not fathom this as being anything other than a scheme concocted by Palpatine.

Padme did not hope for anything good anymore, and that hurt Jobal a great, great deal.

To think that it wasn't Anakin at all these past five long years, such a truth would be a miracle beyond measure. But it could also be a cruel nightmare and that possibility was worth keeping their guard up until more was revealed. Earlier, Jobal pleaded with Padme to spend the night with her. Sola and her husband were with the twins as her youngest daughter needed her close by to deal with her heart breaking all over again. She was so upset upon arriving she needed a sleeping pill to calm down and rest.

Jobal knew all to well the agonizing pain of losing the one you love. Though she lost Ruwee to a sudden heart-attack two years ago, she missed him no less than she knew deep down Padme missed her Ani. But Ruwee never, ever betrayed her and for that she was most grateful. Her memories of him were good and untainted.

Upon gazing at the stars above, she spoke a silent prayer that Padme be granted the miracle she so richly deserved. "Ruwee, watch over us all, my love. These are trying times and our baby needs you." Jobal kissed the stars, clutching her emerald-green shawl over her shoulders as she made her way back to the deck with her shoes in her hand. Her home was a short walk down the pebble road littered with blooming red and green Deja-flowers that Ruwee often picked for her, and then slipped behind her ear. He was a wonderful husband. Her dearest other half.

Upon arriving home at her modest estate, she used a small key-card device to open the front gate, and then moments later again at her front door. Padme was still upstairs sound asleep, exhausted from her non-stop space flights around the galaxy and the recent events that had rocked her world.

The her daughter's name was on the tip of her tongue just before the tall, foreboding shadow caught the very breath in her lungs. She gasped, her shoes falling to the hardwood floor, her hands coming to cover her mouth as a fully cloaked Anakin Skywalker stood dead center in her living area, hands clasped before him. She did not know if she should scream or what to do. Quickly looking around, there were no signs of a struggle. Nothing overturned. Shivering, she realized she had no weapon of any kind either with her or nearby. Not that it would have done her any good if he attacked.

"I'm... I'm sorry, Mrs. Naberrie." Anakin began, his voice shaky as he slowly withdrew the cloak from his head. Of all the things that he needed to do, this was the toughest task he faced. The most painful. The most difficult. His utter failure as pure as if it had happened yesterday. And to make matters worse, Jobal appeared terrified. "I'm sorry to intrude, but I mean you no harm. I swear it." He sighed, moving not an inch. "I can only imagine how hard that is to believe."

The front door was a mere two steps behind her, though fleeing would leave Padme alone with him. Praying yet again that the Force and Ruwee watch over her, Jobal walked forward. She needed answers and this was her chance to get them. She only hoped they wouldn't cost her life. "How did you find me?"

"I have been studying everything about the Naberrie family over the last five years. I know how to research people and I learned of your new residence." His jaw tensed when he added, And I am so very sorry to hear that Ruwee died. He was a good man."

Jobal's heart clenched, but not from the mention of her husband. No, it was from the strained despair that lived within his gaze. Eyes once as blue as the sky held no life at all. His face was hard, all lines of pain and anguish. Anakin had always carried himself with a air of supreme confidence and mischief lit his smile. But not now. And she didn't need the Force to sense that he was clearly nervous and... sorrow. Such deep seeded sorrow she had only found in the eyes of her daughter. "Thank you."

Where to begin, Anakin wasn't sure. He wanted to say a million different things in just the right way, but found himself so lacking. His resolve began to crumble as tears descended his cheeks before he even realized he was crying. He could not fathom how he had any left to shed. Trembling before Jobal, his hands lifted as if the motion would somehow convey all that he wanted to say. "I'm sorry," he choked out the words, the column of his throat swallowing hard as he felt nauseous. "I'm so sorry. I swore to you that I would protect her... take care of her and make her happy." Fingers tore through his hair, his face wincing painfully as the raw despair of losing his wife ate him alive. "I tried, Mrs. Naberrie. I swear that I did. Those things... the Younglings... the violence... all those women. I never once betrayed Padme or hurt any of them. It wasn't me."

Jobal listened intently, noting every nuance from the tenor of his voice to the desperation of his apology. Over and over he told her how Padme was his whole world and that he had failed her. His grief was a living entity in the room with them as surely as the furniture.

"I refused to turn to the Dark Side and tried to fight Palpatine. He caught me off guard and then nothing. I can't recall anything until six months ago when Catana-Si found me barely alive."

Jobal listened with her heart, but thought with her head. Padme had always, almost innocently tried to explain the powerful Force-connection she shared with Anakin. She even said they could feel each other from great distances, even across the stars. Such fancies were romantic for certain, but hardly believable. But over time they had proved it to her, much to her shock and then amusement. One thing was for certain right now, Anakin could not feel Padme's presence when she was merely upstairs. How was that possible?

"I am sure Palpatine killed Padme and I promise you... I swear on my life he will pay. I am going to destroy his Empire. I am going to ruin him!"

It was as if Anakin grew in height and sheer power before her very eyes, his omnipotent strength an absolute that rattled the very walls around them. The floor beneath her feet actually buckled. But just as quickly as his immense rage amplified, his face softened once more. His head bowed and then he approached her. He was before her and yet she felt no fear at all. Only the deepest sense of love for him and hate of what he'd lived through. Her heart revealed the truth. Yes... Padme's Ani had returned, but the journey ahead was long and going to be oh so painful.

"I don't deserve your forgiveness and would never ask for it." Anakin could not face her as he spoke, unsure what to do with his hands. "I failed her and your entire family. I wasn't strong enough. Wasn't good enough and she paid the ultimate price. Padme and our child... our precious child."

Blinking away tears, Jobal longed to ease his pain and suffering, but she needed to make sure her mind was wrapped around this correctly. He obviously had no clue Padme was alive, nor the children. He still thought there was only one child. And he clearly didn't know about Caid... thank goodness. If this wasn't real then it was the greatest acting performance she had ever seen. But within her heart she found him. This was indeed real as he wept before her. He was Anakin Skywalker from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet. Force be praised, she thought.

With his stomach twisted in knots, Anakin lowered down himself to one knee, his head bowed. Fresh tears welled up in his eyes as he thought of Padme's mother and all that he had promised her the day she learned that he married her daughter in secret. These were the last of his tears forever, for dear, sweet Jobal who took him into her family and gave him the mother he lost so long ago. The Naberrie's treated him so good and he... mercy, how he failed them all. How the sight of him must disgust her. "Mrs Naberrie, I am so sorry for failing Padme. I never, ever wanted any of this to happen. I wanted our child so badly, you will never know. And the way they ruined Padme's good name," he shook his head at the lunacy of it all. "But I promise you... I swear to you not one person responsible for her death will survive my wrath. I will avenge her." Finally lifting his gaze, he knew he didn't deserve the kind-hearted expression she wore. He wished that she would hit him. Rail on him! Vent her rage and frustration and agony because he deserved it all and far more. "I... I will take my leave now."

Jobal reached out at that very moment, her hand coming to cradle his cheek and jaw. He half-leaned into her touch as if it would save his life. She softly, tenderly caressed his face as he wept before her. Yes, this man had suffered and was still grieving. But he was Anakin, her daughter's beloved. And he needed someone to remind him of the good still in him. "You look famished. When was the last time you ate?"

No one ever left her home hungry, Anakin remembered fondly. Her touch soothed and comforted his grief, but he did not deserve it. Every nerve in his body froze. "I... uhm..."

"Rise." Her gentle command was headed at once, and again she marveled at how he towered over her. The sheer power he wielded on the HoloNet was beyond anything she had ever seen before. And yet before her he was a wounded young man, heart-broken and lost. She took his hand in hers, curling around the larger one and led him towards her kitchen. "I believe you, Anakin."

Her words were far more than he had ever hoped for. Far more than he knew he deserved, but then again, Jobal's compassion was without equal. "I don't know what to say other than thank you."

She led him to a high-back chair, one of six, at the long family dining table. "Swear to me on Padme's life that you are not lying about anything?"

"I swear on Padme's life," he replied while sliding into the chair. She began pulling food containers from the refrigeration unit and began heating them up. The scents were delicious... he could smell the food and... sensations as simple as those were locked away for another time. "You can ask me anything and I will answer."

"Why have you not sought out the Jedi to help you?"

"I want nothing more to do with the Jedi Order. I will help them indirectly, but this war is between Palpatine and myself. I can't be held back by their ancient code of ethics and lessons. I have to do whatever is necessary to bring Palpatine down. That means I will do anything to defeat him. I know I spoke of the Jedi, but that was for the Rebellions sake in terms of drumming up support. For what I have planned though, the majority of it I will do alone."
Conviction laced his his voice and left no doubt to Jobal he would do just that. "Do you think you were followed here? I really don't need the Empire on my doorstep."

"I would never bring danger to your home. I took extreme measures to hide my departure from Coruscant. I placed false stories of possible targets I might strike all over the planet. And I won't be staying here long or visiting you again. But I just needed to see you and tell you how sorry I am for everything I failed in doing. I loved your daughter more than my own life and I promise you I won't fail again."

Two full steaming plates of food were prepared when Jobal was done and she swore she saw a faint smile cross his face momentarily. Oh what she would give to see that wild grin of his again. Hope was something that gave life to you each day, and it had been a long time since she felt so alive. Now if only Padme would accidentally walk down the stairs... then again, it might be more beneficial to have her listening. "Who is this Catana-Si gentleman?"

"A woman," he amended, catching her curious eye. "A native of Mygetto who greatly aided in saving my life, helping me learn of what happened, and helping me plan what I am doing next. I could not have survived without her."

"You care for her?"

"Yes, a great deal. She has been my only friend."

Another woman in his life. Jobal considered how Padme would take that. Then again, if Anakin learned about Caid... better not think about that now. "Why not seek out Obi-Wan?"

Anakin looked away, sighing. "I can't face him." He offered no more.

She asked no more, presenting him with the food and two large glasses of sweet Dorsa tea. "I will forgo you presenting any proper table manners and allow you to be a man. I seem to recall your eating habits were less than socially acceptable." She smiled the whole time, noting that she almost got him again. But not quite.

Stabbing a massive fork-full of food, Anakin announced, "I shall try not to resemble a Shaak."

He didn't live up to that, inhaling the food as if it were the one good thing he'd had in forever. Perhaps it was, Jobal considered. A home-cooked meal in the presence of someone who loved him. He devoured the meal on both plates as if the food might leap from the table and run away from him. At one point she actually giggled, to which his eyes lifted and there was for but a moment... that old light of mischief. The utter joy she could bring him if she took him upstairs right now. Her heart would fill to overflowing at their reunion. And to think of her precious grandchildren, Luke and Leia. Alas, this was Padme's move to make. And she would always respect that. "How does this end for you?"

Wiping his mouth with a soft dinner towel, he declared. "Palpatine dies. Then I find peace."

Her hands folded in her lap as her expression turned serious. "Define peace?"

"I'm one with the Force. Destiny fulfilled. Job done. Amen."

She considered him with tender eyes. He saw himself as worthless and with no future at all. "Death?"

Anakin paused before uttering, "... yes."

The sound of his voice was haunted by his own self-hatred. So broken and consumed with guilt and rage that she was sure his mere presence here cost him dearly. That he found the courage at all spoke volumes about his character. But she knew all that he did not. And as he finished his meal she rounded the dining table to stand before him.

Jobal motioned him to his feet and then took him in her arms, gently. He would not embrace her back, but that was alright. She gave him the caring and understanding she knew he desperately needed. "I love and forgive you, Anakin. You are a good man."

Anakin whispered 'no' into her hair. "Padme deserved better."

"Dear, my daughter loves you with all her heart and soul."

"That love took her to her grave."

"It wasn't your fault." She cradled his face before to stall the retort she knew was coming. "You did not betray Padme or your family. I love you, dear. And I hate what was done to you. But a dawn is coming and the darkness shall fade. For now, know this. My daughter loves you with all her heart. I'm sure she still does. For now, do what you must. But the end of your story isn't written. Be who Shmi raised you to be. Stand strong in the storm and overcome. You are a good man."

What more could he say or do? At last, with his heart whispering the thanks his voice could not find, he returned her embrace, pressing a soft kiss to the side of her head. He held on for a moment longer, soaking in his last connection to his precious Angel. Then he softly released her and stepped away. "I must go. And I won't see you again."

"You never know, Anakin. You never know." Jobal watched him turn and walk towards the back of her estate, fading around a corner. She never heard a door or window open, but knew he was gone.

Coming out of the kitchen area, Jobal approached the winding staircase. At its apex she found Padme seated at the top step, her light-saber lying against her hip, clearly traumatized as evidenced by the tears still wet upon her cheek.

Jobal ascended them, and then took a seat beside her daughter before wrapping her arms around her. At first Padme was eerily still, but then trembles swept over her body as she wept in her mother's arms, pressing her face to her mother's neck.

Despite all reason... despite everything she knew to be true, Padme finally accepted the unbelievable truth of it all. "I heard you both... I heard him," she exhaled. "It's him, mother. It's my Ani. I don't understand how this could have happened and there are still so many questions I must have answers too, but it's him. Force be praised, it's him."

I know, dear. I know.

I can't... I can't feel him, Padme explained as the flood of emotion drowned her. Our Force-connection is gone. How can that be?

All in due time, sweetheart, Jobal reminded her. You've only now accepted that this has happened. You're in shock. But your answers will come.

Padme trembled as she wept, her hands clutching her mother's. I... I created this whole new life. This Pilar Fahlen to escape the horrible legacy of Anakin so that my children would be protected. But we've all been denied so much. Suffered so much. Some nights I thought my pain would never end.

"What will you do, sweetheart?"

Lifting her now steely gaze to meet her mother, Padme found her absolute resolve and indomitable will. "Palpatine cost us five years of our life together. And when I am done with him there won't be enough left to put in a coffin."

Jobal shivered at the dark side of her daughter. "And Anakin?"

Finding a place of deep calm, Padme covered her mouth once more, and then she smiled brightly through her tears.

The Next Day

Emperor Palpatine Surgical Reconstruction Center

Late night

Galactic City, Coruscant

Anakin enjoyed the sharp bite of the cold night air as he stood at the edge of a massive landing platform atop the Emperor Palpatine Surgical Reconstruction Center.

Wind blustered through his heavy, dark cloak as his gaze spanned the whole of Galactic City, soon to be renamed Imperial City. Yet another prime example of the Emperor's supreme rule that he would rename the most legendary city in the galaxy to fit his cruel regime. His arrogance knew no limit, of that Anakin was certain. In fact, he was counting on it.

The Surgical Reconstruction Center towered two hundred and ninety-nine floors from the ground up. Seventeen trillion credits were diverted from Republic accounts to build the monstrosity that on the surface appeared to be a technologically advanced hospital. But Anakin's research revealed a far darker purpose for the structure.

Apparently the Emperor was preparing to have Imperial engineers begin construction on a gigantic Imperial Palace that he would rule the galaxy from. For the time being, far more of his Sith alchemy and dark side rituals were performed here. Horrible experiments were done in the name of science, with countless lives lost in the Emperor's ever increasing lust for power. There was a throne room, war room, and Sith meditation chamber within the facility. Dark Side holocrons were hidden, as well as a entire floor dedicated to the training of Dark Side warriors and the Red Guard.

The entire tower reeked of the Dark Side of the Force.

The interior was lined with ultra dense walls of Neuranium and a Vex reactor core ten times as powerful as a Star Destroyer engine cell. The entire exterior was made of Durasteel with additional Lanthanide and Duralium alloy shielding that could withstand the impact of a direct hit from a ion cannon. A fortress masquerading as a hospital in the heart of Galactic City.

The HoloNet coined it the Emperor's Prize. Brilliantly lit by day and night, able to be seen even from orbit, considered indestructible, and capable to fend off any attack.

To Anakin, it was perfect.

His plan to destroy Palpatine was adaptable, but carried a simplistic note. Show the people there are those who aren't afraid of the Empire. Show them one man who will stand against the Emperor openly and others will join to follow. Turn everyone loyal to him against him using the same fear he employs. Ruin his legacy and bring down his Empire before finally relieving his shoulders of his head.

But all in due time.

Tonight, Anakin slaughtered an entire elite security staff working here after they gave him all the information he needed. Any being loyal to Palpatine was the living dead in his eyes. He showed them no mercy. He showed them what they had shown many, many others. They knew the facility inside and out. Knew how it was built and even why certain design decisions were made by the architects. Those guards told Anakin everything he wanted to know. And then they breathed no more. For the last three hours he'd worked on what he was about to do.

In his hand rested a small control device with two red buttons. Anakin pressed the first button, and then leapt from the landing platform as a deafening blast reverberated from within the tower. He flew through the air, using the Force to dodge hundreds cracked vibra-glass shards and debris while descending rapidly as a catastrophic event took place above him.

From near the apex of the tower grew a blinding blue energy as the reactor core overheated, unleashing a barrage of incredibly powerful radioactive explosions that literally began to burn the structure from within.

Suddenly from the corner of Anakin's eye a flash of silver became Catana in a speeder taxi, roaring past waves of oncoming repulsor traffic. She leveled beneath him as he easily connected with the passenger seat. Anakin turned to her. "You're late?"

"You're welcome," Catana replied while veering them away. "Oh wait, you never said thank you. Jerk," she teased. Leveling the speeder away, a piercing detonation rattled groups of nearby buildings as the Emperor Palpatine Surgical Reconstruction began crumbling to the ground in a gargantuan wave of smoke, fire, and debris. "Now what?"

Anakin shut his eyes, leaning back as a legion emergency shuttles blazed toward the scene. Lifting his hand, he pressed the second red button on the hand-held device. Off in the distance a wide streak of bright light lit the night sky once more with the symbol of the Republic, now the symbol of the Rebellion. The emblem soared over Galactic City for all to see. "Let the galaxy know that the Empire is under attack. Let them know that the Rebellion lives as I live."

"I gotta say, Anakin. You really know how to make an impression."

"If you think that was something," Anakin began. "Wait till you see what I do next."

The End of Chapter 4

Chapter 5: The Skywalker's are reunited at last!