Captain Cody found the words “prison ship” were perfect to describe the vessel he traveled upon. According to the Senate, the Lictor-class ship, and many of its kind, were meant to hold prisoners and “keep them in safe custody” until they received a trial. The one thing was that the prisoners weren’t normal soldiers, prisoners of war.
They were Jedi.
Not regular Jedi, not the ones who defended the Republic. No, these were for the bad Jedi, the ones who turned traitor and joined the rebels. These were the ones who went “over to the Dark Side,” as Cody heard so often. Ond such Jedi had been captured on Skye and held in an individual cell aboard the ship.
Cody hadn’t looked at the cells themselves, and he did not want to. The bridge alone gave an uncanny vibe, with the dark corners and dimly lit command consoles. They men using them were dressed in black armor, meant to serve the Republic. Cody himself was a clone, born in the vats on Kamino and bred to fight in the army, so he had a pretty good idea on what servitude what like, but he worked with men. These soldiers acted more like droids, if anything.
“Captain, we’re receiving a message from General Kenobi,” one of the soldiers announced automatically.
“Patch it through,” Cody nodded his helmeted head. Soon enough, the console in front of him lit up with two familiar faces, to whom Cody saluted. “General, Commander Vader.”
“At ease, captain,” said Kenobi. “How is the prisoner?”
“He’s secured as you ordered, sir,” Cody replied.
“Be sure to keep an eye on him, captain. He may be restrained, but he’s still very dangerous.”
“Very well, sir. Is there anything else?”
Obi-Wan paused in thought. “How long will it be before you reach your destination?”
“A couple of standard days, sir.”
“Once you’re done, return to Coruscant. There is something I would like to discuss.”
Obi-Wan gave a bearded smirk. “I’m afraid you’ll have to wait, captain.”
Cody slightly turned his head to Commander Vader, who gave a shrug. An apology or just plain confused, Cody wasn’t sure, since Vader was always an enigma to him. “Very well, general,” Cody told Kenobi. “I will rendezvous with you on Coruscant.”
And with that, Kenobi and Vader vanished from sight. Cody was left alone in the silence of the bridge. Nothing else to do, and keeping the general’s advice, even if it was against his better judgment, he told the officers, “I’m going to check on the prisoner.”
Sadly, no one else on the bridge objected or offered to come with him.
Within his cell, the former Jedi Knight Maw tried to yanked himself free from the electronic binders that kept him arms motionlessly. Unable to, the Boltrunian snarled with sharp teeth, and his craggy face, covered in numerous scars, scrunched up at his vain attempts to break free. After a number of times, Maw stopped ,and let dark-clad form hang there like a motionless puppet.
Eventually, the door slid opened, and in came the warden of his cell, the cursed clone captain Cody. “You’re wasting your time,” he said. “Those binders were specifically made for containing people like you.”
Maw growled, trying to use the Force to peer into the clone’s mind. “You will undo these restrains, now!” he commanded.
The good captain remained still for a second, his expression hidden by his helmet. Then, he said, “Nice try, but that won’t on me. General Kenobi has given me plenty of training to deal with you.”
Kenobi. Maw’s anger grew hearing that name. The blasted Jedi Knight and his pupils defeated and imprisoned him aboard this ship. They beat him, humiliated him!
“And don’t think to try it on anyone else,” Cody added. “They receive similar training. They aren’t so weak-minded,like your friends were.”
“Just you wait, clone!” Maw swore. “When I get out, I will remove your putrid stain from the Force! There won’t be a bone left of you or your crew for the worm to feed on! I will…”
Maw stopped, feeling another presence outside his chamber. His anger still boiled, but the flames were kept to a standstill. Cody, blind to the Force, merely crossed his arms and taunted, “You’ll what, Maw? Go on. You were going to say something.”
The door opened, and the familiar presence made himself my own. “I don’t believe that will be necessary, captain,” said Jedi Master Krell.
The Besalisk, four armed and almost frog-like appearance, easily caught Maw and his warden’s attention. The Jedi Master easily towered over the pathetic clone, who glanced upward at him. “Master Jedi,” Cody greeted. “I thought you were in your quarters meditating.”
“I was, until I heard a noise coming from this chamber,” Krell explained and one of his two right hands stroked the small beard on his wattle. His yellow eyes turned to the prisoner. “Hmm, Maw. Former Jedi Sentinel. Once sought to destroy the Dark Side. How far you have come.”
Maw bared his teeth at the Jedi Master, but held back his tongue. “That won’t do you any good,” Cody told him with a wily tone. “If you keep doing that, you might get some wrinkles.”
“Return to your command post, captain. I shall take it from here,” Krell said before Maw could retort.
Cody glanced at Maw then to Krell. “Yes, sir,” he acknowledged with a salute.
Once the door slid behind clone, Maw finally hissed at Krell. “Why have you done nothing?! I should be free by now!”
“It is not my fault you were sloppy,” Krell shot back. “You were supposed to hold Skye. But you lost to a mere Knight and two children.”
Again, Maw bit back his tongue. “It still doesn’t change a thing,” he whispered. “I can’t be stuck here forever.”
“Don’t worry, my friend,” Krell grinned, his eyes glinting with malevolence as he made his exit. “It won’t be long, now. You just need to wait.”
Alone once more, Maw hung from his restraints and growled at his situation. As much as he hated to admit it, Krell was right. For whatever planned the Besalisk, all he could do was wait.
Anger rising again, Maw pulled on his restraints.
Coruscant was the same as ever, Padme found as she walked onto the planet’s surface. The heart of the Galactic Republic, it was standing testament to rest of the galaxy. The planet being one, big city, Coruscant was filled with sparkling skyscrapers, man-made structures that went down several hundred levels, and hundreds of thousands of human and alien species in each level. Today, there were few planets that could compare to it. That being said, Coruscant was far from perfect.
Upon arriving, Padme’s first decision was to inform the Senate. She took a hovertaxi and went straight to the Senate dome. It wasn’t too hard to find; a giant steel dome surrounded by small statues of ancient Republic guardians and chancellors from long ago. After she paid the driver, a multi-tentacled Revwien, Padme strode blast the many wealthy citizens, senators, and representatives.
“Senator Amidala, is that you?” Padme heard through the crowd
Stopping, she turned and was surprised to see a familiar face. “Vice-Chancellor Palpatine,” Padme gasped, immediately bowing.
The Vice-Chancellor of the Republic, an old, graying man beset in long dark robes and accompanied by a pair of Senatorial guards, Palpatine gave a warm smile. “No need for formalities. We are old friends after all,” he said.
Padme, albeit a bit embarrassed to be wearing a simple white uniform in front of the Vice-Chancellor, managed to smile back. Palpatine had been a mentor in her early days as a senator. “Thank you, Vice-Chancellor. What brings you to the Senate?”
“I was going to ask you the same thing, my dear. I understand you were on Skye.”
“I was, and it’s been liberated,” Padme answered jubilantly. “I’m here to give my report to the Senate.”
“Ah, I see… another victory for the Republic.”
“Yes. Hopefully, this war will end soon. Then, we can peace.”
“And you can go on with your wedding, correct?” Palpatine added with a smirk.
“How-?” Padme asked, but the Vice-Chancellor cut her off.
“My dear, Anakin has a nasty habit of spilling such information. Congratulations, by the way.”
“I see. Thank you,” Padme commented, forming a mental note to talk to her fiance. “And you have some business here, right? Is there something going on in the Senate?”
Palpatine’s eyes shifted, only by a little. “Well, I’m not at liberty to say, but there has been some new… developments.”
Padme blinked her eyes. “Developments?”
“I’m afraid you will find out when you attend the meeting,” was all the Vice-Chancellor said before he and his guards left the area and a confused Padme.
The flight to Coruscant was shorter than Anakin had expected. Upon arriving at the heart of the Republic, he was the first to get out, parting ways with Master Luminara and her pupil, who went to meet with the other masters and the Supreme Chancellor, and Padme, who went to meet with the Senate. For Anakin, his destination was right in front of him.
In the midst of Coruscant’s tall skyscrapers and exquisite luxuries, the Jedi Temple stood tall and proud as it had for centuries. When he first arrived at the Temple, Anakin had been surprised by the sheer size of the ancient ziggurat and the spires sticking out of it. Inside felt bigger than the out, with long corridors and halls made of fine materials, ancient and ornate patterns etched onto the floor, and much more.
Anakin’s boot echoed on the floor as he trailed down the Temple’s corridors. Already, he could hear the constant chatter of apprentices and initiates. About what, he couldn’t hear the exact words, and his curiosity grew up on seeing a rush of tunic-clad apprentices.
Anakin grabbed one by the shoulder, stopping her in place. “Hey, what’s going on?”
“Haven’t you heard?” asked the apprentice, a green-skinned Rodian.
“No, I just got back. Now, what’s going on?” Anakin shot back impatiently.
“There’s going to be a Knighting! All the apprentices heard about, and we just want to see it.”
That caught Anakin’s attention. “A Knighting? Really?” he asked almost skeptically. The apprentice nodded, he said, “Take me there.”
The Rodian did, up one of the many stairs and down another corridor. The area of interest was by the bronzium statue of the great Jedi Master Odan Urr, with a swirling cloak and an ancient, unlit saber and power pack on him. Anakin saw the statue loom over the gathering crowd of Knights and apprentices. When he came closer, Anakin whispered in surprise, “No way.”
At the center of the commotion, a young apprentice, a ghostly white-skinned and bald Rattataki, knelt by the base of the statue. She was dressed in the white garb of a Jedi apprentice. Her master, the legendary and Ky Narec, stood in front of her, his green saber ignited and at ready.
It was rare to see a Jedi knighted outside of the council chamber, let alone seeing it with a large crowd. Anakin himself was surprised that he managed to catch the knighting just in time. He was rather envious that it wasn’t his master knighting him, instead of this apprentice who knelt in front of everyone. The expression on her face was of calm and serenity, but Anakin could feel the excitement radiating off of her.
As the green blade passed over the apprentice’s head, Anakin began to remember the warm feeling of a lightsaber blade, the sizzling smell of blasters bolts, and the kind voice of an old Jedi Master.
“Remember, Anakin. The Jedi trials will test you in ways you cannot imagine. It is for every Jedi not only to prove their skill and courage, but to face their demons. In time, you will face those trials, and it will be them that shape you into the Jedi you are meant to be…”
Then, as Anakin reminisced about the wizened Jedi, the voice of Ky Narec brought him back to the present. The Jedi Master smiled as he brought his blade on his pupil’s right shoulder, then the left, and then back to right, bestowing the ancient rites of passage on her.
“By the will of the council, by the will of the Force, I dub thee, Asajj Ventress, Jedi Knight.”
The procession over, Narec deactivated his saber. The knights and apprentices all around began clapping in congratulations. Anakin to joined in the thunderous applause while Narec’s pupil, the Jedi Knight Asajj Ventress, rose on her two feet. Ventress’ gaze fell over the gracious crowd, grateful for all who came to this special moment.
Her eyes met his briefly, and her lips turned into a proud smile. Anakin merely grinned back, as if to retort her smile. He and Ventress had their little rivalries, one always wanting to one up the other. Ventress may have beaten him to knighthood, but Anakin promised himself that one day, he would be there. He would be knighted and make Obi-Wan, Padme, and everyone else proud.