Well folks, no real excuse for the delay, have just struggled to get the mental energy and creativity flowing as of late. But I am back, so here’s the next bit of episode III with hopefully more to come relatively soon.
Cut to a large outdoor stage with a podium on Coruscant, where loads of high ranking officials and officers are waiting, as a vast audience of Republic citizens in the crowd watch. As the last of the dignitaries are arriving we those on stage, including the likes of Palpatine, Bail Organa, with a formally dressed Anakin and Carima sitting at the very end of the stage.
She asks on when he’s planning to contact Tatooine. At the question, Nik looks away somewhat gives a non-committal answer. Nivir immediately picks up on this, and softly what to problem is, and he replies that he doesn’t want to talk about it. After a pause and seeing her concerned look he sighs.
“What’s the point? I could send something today, tomorrow or next season, and what would we get from them? Beru can’t even be bothered with the token “how are you” letter these days and all the money I could gift to Owen would make about as much difference as the last few years of messages did.”
She’s sympathetic, but reminds him that they’re his family. He gently grabs her hand and gazes at her pregnant stomach before looking her eyes. “I’ve got a family here, and its the only one I need.” She’s touched by his words, but does ask him to at least think about sending a message to the Lars, which he reluctantly agrees to but makes no promises. They then spot Kenobi arriving; and he sits beside Anakin.
Teacher and student have a warm handshake, and are both thankful for the reunion. Ben’s enthusiasm falters just a bit when he looks at Anakin’s expression and actually sees just how weary and detached his eyes have become. For the briefest of moments and perhaps for the first time in the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan gets a small idea of what exactly this conflict has done to his old friend. He remarks that its been too long since they saw each other and asks with some seriousness how Nik’s been.
The question immediately gets the younger man’s emotional guards up in the presence of his mentor and he does his best to reassure Kenobi’s subtle worry. He jokes about Jedi meditation to ease one’s mind is best helped by a cozy bed and that he’s still healing from an all ration diet. Obi-Wan smirks at the quips, yet his countenance suggests he isn’t entirely convinced. He shares a single look with Carima and its obvious there’s a conversation between them about Anakin to be had soon.
Its at that moment that the major speaker arrives as President Llanand steps out onto the stage. With a fresh face and youthful smile framed by a curly hair and full brown beard, he’s a man seemingly worlds away from the older and more experienced figures of his administration around him. Adorned in a far simpler set of modest robes than those previously seen on Palpatine, everything about him projects the image of the common man in high office.
He looks about the assembled crowd with restrained pride and opens by saying that the people that stand here today don’t do so as survivors, or victors, but as the heart and soul of this government. Lanand mentions that that so many times it easy to define themselves by their loss; by the tragedy and evil that has befallen all of them in this horrific war, and that they have not done that. “This Republic stood in the shadow of annihilation and we have emerged into the light; alive and more importantly for the generations to come… as just.”
He continues, mentioning while many have fought and given their lives to reach the day where that ultimate sacrifice will not be necessary anymore, the spirit of that selflessness must continue even as war becomes peace. “Let us not become a Republic so tired that we will do anything to get rest.”
While the speech continues, Anakin himself begins to get more and more uncomfortable; a sense of growing unease in him as he examines the area around him. The camera follows his gaze as he looks at the security in the distance, the assembled crowd, and eventually those on stage. He settles on Palpatine and a young and blond male human sitting next to him (one not without a certain resemblance to episode one era Anakin), the latter attired in a suit identifying him as a Jedi. Staring intently at the pair, Skywalker begins to shift in his seat, slowly turning his body towards them.
Both Carima and Ben are confused by it at first, before he sees precisely what Nik’s looking at and soon is looking just as intently. There’s a brief zoom to see the unidentified Jedi moving his arm out and opening up his hand. As those around are getting confused. Anakin immediately stands up and starts moving. There’s a cut to a lightsaber moving fast just above the ground, getting close to the stage. In a series of quick cuts the weapon ends up in the blond Jedi’s hand and just as rapidly he activates it. A split second later he makes a spinning throw towards President Llanand, intent on cutting him in two.
It gets within inches of doing so when Anakin grabs the hilt of the blade in mid air. Llanand can only barely react to the act before Skywalker begins charging towards the would be assailant with the other assembled guests hurriedly moving out of the way. The blond Jedi is nonreactive to this until an apparently panicked Palpatine grabs him, seemingly believing he’ll attack again. With his attention on the vice president, the Jedi easily overpowers the older man, knocking him down. From Palpatine’s perspective the audience sees the figure about to attack until he suddenly stops.
The camera reveals a lightsaber in his back, Anakin keeping it there for several seconds before sharply pulling it out. Republic security swiftly moves everywhere to spot other potential ttackers while the crowd and guests on stage are stunned. Llanand is surrounded by guards and rushed away to safety as Coruscant soldiers/police make ensure both audience and others are contained.
With his attention still on his victim and without even looking at him, Anakin offers his hand to Palpatine, who grabs it as Skywalker pulls him to his feet. The vice president appears a bit confused, but as he’s lead away into a safe zone himself by security, he looks back at Nik and seems more intrigued than ever.
Obi-Wan watches in grim silence as the unknown Jedi coughs up a small bit of blood before collapsing into shock. Nik has little response, staring at the dying attacker with pure disgust while the latter is swarmed and carried off by police. Only when Kenobi gets near does he snap out of it, and the shock of the moment seems to hit him. Between heavy breaths Anakin tells his mentor that he sensed something was off about the situation and he knew something was going to happen to, but he can’t even finish before he lets out Carima’s name and runs off to find her.
She’s thankfully nearby and he hugs her tight. He’s talks a mile a minute asking if she was hit, if the baby’s okay, if something happened where she was; she reassures him over and over that she’s fine and wants to know if he was hurt. Nik dismisses any worry about him saying he’s not important right now, and again inquires Nivir if she’s fine. Its Ben who answers, telling him that no one was hit and offering a comforting hand on his shoulder to calm him. Skywalker looks uncertain about the move, but the assuring look on Ben and Carima’s faces manages to ease him a bit.
When Kenobi gently asks if he’s alright, his old friend can only gesture towards his wife and unborn child. “They’re alright, so I’m alright.”
From her office Darelda watches a news video feed, looking sickened as variations of a single headline is repeated by the announcer: clone Jedi attempts assassination.
Cut to a small Republic military meeting room with Bail Organa, Obi-Wan, and Anakin around a table. The former motions to a holographic display of the local Corsucant area. He explains the current intelligence which suggests a half dozen clone Jedi set up replay points at select spots nearby, bypassing security checkpoints via moving the lightsaber just long enough for the next clone to then sense it and then move it further along.
Kenobi asks if they’ve captured all of them and Organa replies that most have been accounted for, but its difficult to determine how many more involved with the attack are still close, even with most ship traffic temporarily stopped. Ben brings up the attacker specifically, and Bail responds that they couldn’t get anything out of him before he succumbed to his injuries.
At that Anakin speaks up “That’s assuming that he knew anything and wasn’t just another confused drone the Mandalorian churned out.” Organa points out its a operation that only makes sense of the planners knew how tight security was and that all Jedi nearby would be without weapons that could re-purposed for an attack.
Obi-Wan brings up the obvious conclusion: there’s some specific gap in their security. Bail agrees, and informs the two that the incident has prompted the President has ordered even tighter clearance of information with increased safeguards at all points and that the prepared assault of Mandalore has been moved up to begin as soon as their forces are ready.
The latter news has major implications and both Jedi know it. Obi-Wan wonders if that’s ideal, however Nik points out that if the Coalition’s trying to assassinate heads of state, then the sooner an attack is launched, the better. Organa mentions that the Vice President strongly agrees, and the latter’s arguments had Llanand fairly convinced that a move now was for the best. Kenobi is still a bit uncertain, and is a bit surprised when he’s told that he’ll be co-leading the operation.
Its expected news to Anakin though, who stands up with a sigh and asks when they’ll ship out. After a pause, he’s told that he’s staying on Coruscant. Nik is greatly confused, even when Bail explains that the President wants an experienced Jedi on the planet in case there’s another clone attack. Skywalker slowly sits back down not sure how to take the news, though he does add that if this is where the Republic needs him, its where he’ll be. Obi-Wan inquires about what the plan is.
In his answer Organa states he’ll give him more specific details in the briefing, but that with a quick and large scale siege already ready to be done with their best ships, Jedi will be the critical point of initial attacks against their remaining ships and eventually the land invasion of Mandalore.
At that revelation Anakin looks up in disbelief. “A land invasion? We’re putting some of the best knights in the galaxy in the line of fire, on the enemy’s home territory, when we have the resources to take care of them from the sky?”
The question throws off Bail just slightly, not used to that kind of talk from Anakin. He details that they will be doing strong bombing campaigns and artillery movements to maximize their position. This isn’t enough for Skywalker who again points out the Republic has the kind of stronger weapons that could devastate all manner of Mandalorian defenses. “We can defeat them without losing a single man if we did it right.”
Kenobi and Organa share a look and the former steps up to address what he said. Softly, but sternly he reminds Anakin that they’re looking to get the Coalition’s formal surrender, not destroy all of them. The older man tells his former pupil that the Republic can’t end this war as a force that wipe out its enemies when it has the advantage. Convinced that his old friend understands his point he turns back to Bail, but is interrupted by a single forceful question by Skywalker.
“And just how many are we going to lose because we decided mercy to them was more important than keeping ours safe?”
The stark silence that follows tells Nik all he needs to know and he walks out, oblivious to the troubled look on Kenobi’s face.