_Huzzah, regular updates again! The following sequence is probably the most conversation heavy of my scripments thus far, as both scenes (especially the latter) have been in my mind a long time and I felt I couldn’t quite do justice to their tone without quoted dialogue. Enjoy and I hope to get to some more action-y bits next update. _
Cut to a pair of hands picking up a blaster rifle, which we soon see belong to steely eyed Carima inside the resistance headquarters. From behind her, Fordala says she goes to rescue Anakin, she won’t survive. “Maybe I will, maybe I won’t; but he needs my help, and I don’t care how many troops I have to go through to give it to him.” She grabs a few thermal detonators from the supplies and one of the resistance members starts to object, but Fordala silently stops him.
One of the Republic soldiers walks up to Nivir and tellers that they do have their mission orders from Commander Skywalker, and that they intend to follow them. She grimly nods and says she understands, but he interjects and adds that the Commander didn’t specify which officers were assigned to the mission, and since a rescue is a high security operation, she could use a small escort team as backup. He then gestures to roughly half of the platoon who move alongside her and offer their help.
This brings a grateful smile to Carima, whom gives him a very warm thanks. It also causes Fordala to scoff and say the plan of knocking out the power supply and back-ups was bad enough before, and that splitting the platoon gives them no chance of pulling it off now. He points out that Skywalker may have been crazy but the only chance they have is sticking to his plan; it won’t be a rescue it’ll be suicide.
She stares at him and the other resistance members with questioning eyes and asks if he’s offering to change the odds. Stubbornly as always Fordala growls that none of them signed up for this mission or agreed to follow a Jedi’s orders. Tone getting intense, Carima says she’s not asking them to, she’s asking him to do what has to be done to help save a lot of innocent people. Practically shouting, Fordala angrily reiterates that they are not dying for a Republic that left them to rot here.
At that Carima’s voice turns quiet and her face melancholy. “You what what? They did. They left you behind, gave you commands they probably had no right to give, and told you die for them.” She looks up at all the resistance members around the room. “You know what Anakin did? Gave himself up to get captured by the Coalition to do whatever sick things they have so you could be safe. And that’s because he believed people like you deserved better than to be treated as disposable. Because when he was given a choice, he served others first.” She turns back to Fordala
“Now you got a choice; no one’s giving any orders here, pal. You can work with the Lieutenant, help take out the power supply with the backups, and make sure other people out there never go through what all of you did. Or you can just be like all the empty suits at Republic HQ; safe and secure while everybody else suffers and dies for them. Do what you have to Commander, I would hope that’s what you’re best at.”
This statement visibly punctures the tough defenses of the resistance members in the room, Fordala included and Carima looks at them a moment longer before turning to the Republic soldiers. She tells them to get moving as the invasion will start very soon. She and the entire platoon begin to walk out before a voice yells for them to wait. Nivir slowly turns back to look at them, face neutral and eyes forward.
The face of Fordala is a bit softer, as if wistfully recalling some distant past feeling long since forgotten. “I can’t stand being talked down to by a big shot, overconfident, loud mouthed civilian who thinks they know everything.” He pauses. “And I really can’t stand it when they’re right.” Fordala looks at the resistance members and asks if they’re in. They look among themselves and affirm that they are. He picks up his own blaster rifle and hangs it on these shoulders. “If we have to help out these Republic hotshots, I say let’s show them how its done.”
A small smile emerges on Carima’s face and she tells the Republic Lieutenant to get the mission plan ready. She asks how he’s going to find Anakin and she reminds him that just like them, his internal tracer is still being picked up by their communicator. One of the officers says she has to ask if there’s a possibility if Skywalker might already be dead. Nivir’s face is solemn but she gives him answer. “Anakin will survive. I don’t know if its the Force or what, but if there’s a way to keep going, he’ll find it.”
Cut to 81 sitting and examining a data padd in his Darelda’s quarters as Organa walks in. He says that as her personal security droid he is strongly recommending she ask the Jedi to be allowed to evacuate and he escort her in a separate ship until the situation is safe. She pauses before asking what the thought the actual odds were that she would in any way agree to that. “Astronomically low I admit,” he replies. “but for a droid protocol is next to godliness after all.”
There’s a beat and she inquires why the seclusion, with him responding that peace and quiet are precious resources these days, especially on a warship. The senator agrees, but points out its unusual for him to so actively seek it out. All 81 can do is shrug and state they live in very unusual times. “Hmm, never a happy individual saying that sentence, is it?” Darelda brings up the real issue at hand; that he’s worried about the upcoming battle.
At that HX stands, his form towering over the average sized Organa. He makes it clear that he’s not particularly perturbed about what will happen if they fail, as he’s already calculated it’ll most likely mean their quick deaths in a shipwide explosion before the Coalition can get to them. She gives him a brief blank stare before replying. “Oh, just that then.” He ignores this and asks that if anyone’s considered what will happen to those in Republic who sought armistice if the mission succeeds.
At her silence, 81 lays out the likely backlash coming for such people. “People hate traitors who have perfectly good reasons, let alone those with bad ones.” He predicts the consequences for just those in the Senate alone will bitterly divide it even more. Darelda shakes her at and responds that she can’t let the infighting there get any worse and that if they do get Coruscant back, she has to get the Senate united again. He looks her straight in the eye and inquires if there’s anyone she thinks could help her pull it off. Organa looks away briefly and gives reluctant answer. “There is… one.”
In Nellith’s quarters, Kenobi walks in and informs her they just got out of hyperspace ahead of the coalition and are about the send the coded message to the Republic. She says nothing, with only small nod acknowledging his statement.
Subtle concern on his face, he slowly makes his way over to her. Not looking back at him, she softly but with a hint of hardness says that she’ll have one of the crew include her own communique in the coded message, one that she’s positive will reach most of the prominent Jedi leadership in the galaxy soon enough. Neutral tone and all, he asks what she’ll be saying. Nellith finally turns slightly to look at him, the audience just briefly seeing all the decades of regret fully coming out in her before her eyes turned cold as she says… all available Jedi are moving to the front.
That answer gives Kenobi no real satisfaction, just a grim acknowledgment of what she’s just agreed to. He moves a short distance next to her, now both watching the moving stars. The younger Knight makes an effort at some reassurance “I know its going to terrible, wars like these always are. But the people will be safe, this Republic will endure. We’ll protect it; every future Jedi will remember that.”
Korusya can take no more, and Obi-Wan sees her fully turn to face him, looking to be on the verge of bitter laughter and furious outburst. “You know they’ll remember Sir Kenobi? They’ll remember that some of the greatest teachers, engineers, and healers in the galaxy went to the frontline to fight, and those that came back could never be the people they were ever again. And they’ll wonder those about who made this decision knowing what they were destroying and ask “Did they care at all?””
Its a mountain of emotion for Ben to take in, yet he only has one response. “A Jedi is willing to give up anything for the Republic.” Nellith pauses, but bitterly nods.“Anything.” She tears the lightsaber away from her neck. “And everything.”
On the bridge of Phakerem’s cruiser one of her captains tells her the fleet is about to be out of hyperspace. She starts to say they can’t stay here long, but is cut off when the ship comes out of lightspeed to find a Jedi fleet awaiting them. The same captain asks how they got here first and the General angrily yells that he’s forgotten his history. “They’re Jedi, they find ways!” Another captain asks how they’ll engage them, and Phakerem orders him to to target the largest cruisers at the front and center first.
She inquires about the integrity of enemy shields and one of the bridge crew tells her that while strong, their own cruisers will outlast them in any kind of extended firefight. Very quickly her angry frown turns into a delighted evil grin at their prospects. “No hiding spot, no space to run, just time. A perfect target.” After a moment however, her twisted smile turns into a small frown as she quietly repeats “A perfect… target” to herself as the crew looks at her confused.
The direct battle only a few moments away, she abruptly turns to the captain closest to her and questions why the Jedi would engage now. “They can’t defeat the fleet, they’re not keeping safe in Quandmar and they know we can outmatch any reinforcements they call in. There’s no reason to be here.” The captain replies they may have a secret strategy in mind and voice getting quicker she asks why they’d wait to use it till they’re at a disadvantage. Consternation now taking over she states there’s no strategy to be seen except delaying the inevitable.
That last comment lingers for just a moment and the realization hits her like a freight train. For once, the powerful Mandalorian leader speaks in almost a low whisper. “They want us here. They wanted us in the nebula. We fell for a diversion.” Phakerem turns abruptly to the navigator and the communication officer and tells them to get the cruiser back into hyperspace and to relay the same order to the rest of the fleet.
On the Republic cruiser bridge, Darelda and 81 watch the Coalition ships move out just as Kenobi and Nellith arrive. Ben asks what the Mandalorians are doing and Organa retorts that they’re apparently retreating. The battle droid observes that’s an odd response to a battle they’re sure to win. Korusya flatly says they’ve already figured out the plan. “At this point in the war, nothing’s more suspicious to a Mandalorian than a definitive victory over a Jedi.”
An officer cuts in and says an intercepted enemy code suggests they’re definitely heading towards a planet, but before he can name it, Obi-Wan grimly concludes the exact heading to be Coruscant and asks 81 if all of the fleet can beat the Coalition ships to the planet. HX shakes his head no. Weight of the galaxy on shoulders, Kenobi can only say “Then for now, Anakin’s the best hope the Republic’s got.
Cut to the floor of the torture room with a slow pan up to reveal an exhausted and trembling Anakin, just barely sitting against the wall, His face is red and eyes bloodshot, his form clearly struggling to even breathe after all the pain he’s experienced. “Very good… Chancellor. You’re… you’re as ineffective as you are… delusional.” Cut to Crayde sitting in his office, quietly furious watching the defiant Skywalker, whom continues to talk. “Tell me, is enough appreciation for you?”
Draezin continues to stare daggers for a moment before asking in a low, accusatory tone what Nik thinks any of this opposition is accomplishing. He questions that given both of them know that the Jedi will be dead soon one way or another, what is their to be gained from this ridiculous last stand. Cut back to Skywalker as he once again manages a very small satisfied smile and tells him its the same thing that’s kept him going this entire conflict; the satisfaction of opposing twisted people like Crayde.
The other man abruptly stands up, his patience long since evaporated. “Are you people capable of anything other than than self righteous moralizing? The typical Jedi oh, I expect this sort of talk, but you Skywalker; I was hoping for something a little different.” He mentions all the intelligence he’d read about Anakin, bringing up how his name appears almost more than any other Jedi’s in their reports and that given how much he’s seen of the war, he should be much smarter than this. “All that, and yet how little understand.”
Between hard breaths Nik states the last being he’s getting any enlightenment from is a corrupt ex-Sanator turned Mandalorian lackey; adding that Crayde needs to realize no matter how this war ends the galaxy will have no use for him. That remark gets Draezin in close, his holographic face inches away from Anakin. “I am… the galaxy.” The Jedi just scowls at him. Crayde stands back up and begins to pace around, shaking his head.
“Do you know what the eternal constant in this universe is, Skywalker? Its not the Mandalorians, its not the Republic, its not even the Jedi. Its people like me. All of your little propaganda has gone on and on about how how I’m the scum that double crossed the his people, behold the monster that’s helping to destroy everything good and decent. But I come from the same place as you. Just like the Hutts on Nar Shadda do. Just like the pirates on Ord Mantell. Just like every crooked rep in the Senate trying right now to figure out how to best appeal to me for a peace deal.”
At this point, its Anakin getting quietly angry, refusing to accept Draezin’s premise. The latter continues, however. “You see, Jedi like you think that once you win, all those terrible Mandalorians are destroyed, and those like me are put away, that galactic peace will reign eternal again. “Look out your window citizen, because justice has returned!” But its not going to be that way, because the problem? The problem is the Republic, Skywalker. Its broken, and it has been since long before you or I.”
The chancellor begins to look satisfied, increasingly proud of his argument. “And I know you’re thinking in the back of your mind, “We’ll get a new Senate, take out all of crime lords, put a Jedi on every street corner the galaxy if we have to.” And all it’ll do is just make it easier for the next Jabba the Hutt to grab all the power that they can. Because the truth is young Skywalker, the Republic gives the galaxy disorder, and dares to calls it democracy and freedom.”
There’s an attempt by Anakin to stand up, but he still quite can’t, and relents to sitting slightly higher while saying through gritted teeth (and anxious eyes) that even if he did believe a word of that, what’s happened under the Coalition prove its far worse. Crayde doesn’t care, only offering an evil smile “Coalition, Republic. Same crumbling house with new owners. In the end, the only thing that matters is making sure you get the nicest room in the place, and in that regard, I’d say I’m the master.”
A silence passes, soon broken by Skywalker himself whom says in a low, though slightly unsure voice that he doesn’t believe him. The older man shrugs, expressing that its a shame Nik isn’t convinced, and that he’ll just have to allay his disappointment with the Anakin’s pending execution. The younger man replies he can kill him, but nothing will change the fact that there will be other Jedi.
Draezin surprisingly agrees, and states what’s why Skywalker’s taking a brief detour to the medical wing first. At the Jedi’s confused face the he explains that true to his generous nature as Chancellor, he’s giving a little compensation for his upcoming demise with the gift of immortality. “Of a sort anyway.” As Nik’s eyes go wide, Crayde tells him that the Coalition will soon reveal one of their greatest spoils of this war; a clone of the great Anakin Skywalker.
Draezin enjoys the Jedi’s immediate horror at that prospect and says one last thing before the hologram turns off. “I do hope he makes for better conversation than you did.” Camera cuts out on Nik’s face just as various clone troopers arrive to escort him to his fate.