Another update after less than a week? Yeah, believe it or not I’ve actually managed to regain something resembling efficiency as of late, so here’s the newest bit of Episode III. Not sure if I can keep up a regular update schedule necessarily, but I will make the effort. I’ve also made a small change to the previous update as I realized Bail and Kenobi came to a conclusion a little too early for the story so that particular revelation has been moved to a scene with Darelda here. As always, thank you for patience and kind comments, and enjoy the next portion of Broken Forces.
Outside the room a fed up Anakin storms out, eventually stopping to lean against a wall. Eyes closed, he takes several deep breaths, doing what he can to calm himself. The process is interrupted by a voice off camera saying “Meditation of the force, a technique worthy of mastery.”
As he opens his eyes the camera moves to show the face of Palpatine some feet away, looking at him with admiration. Flanked by two red adorned security officers he steps in closer. He apologizes for interrupting his moment, saying that he hadn’t gotten the chance to properly thank him for his courage in saving himself and the President. Skywalker, distinctly used to this kind of praise, casually downplays the kudos, offering that he was doing his duty as a soldier, and any Jedi including his master would have done the same.
The Vice President nonetheless points out that Anakin was the one that did it and says he has to shake the hand of the knight who’s done so much to keep their people safe. He indeed does so, adding a friendly slap on the shoulder and tells him the galaxy once again owes him a great debt of gratitude. The two begin to walk and with the tone and ease of their conversation its obvious that it’s a relationship that’s become warmer and less formal since the last film. Nik replies that at this point he’d just settle for the galaxy never having another large scale battle to fight.
Palpatine sadly agrees. “One of the greatest disappointments of my life has been not getting the chance to serve the Republic in peace. “The War President” has its own legacy of course, but speaking honestly it was never what I wanted mine to be.” Skywalker is surprised by that, noting he has the honor of being the leader who led them to victory. The older man gives him a knowing smile. “You know as well as I do my young friend that if galactic history teaches us anything its that the strength in achieving the peace rarely compares to the strength needed to keep it.”
At that Anakin can agree, yet he adds that he (Palpatine) and the new President are an ideal administration to pull it off. The other man slowly nods and replies “We’ll need to move quickly and efficiently; so may the Force be with us then.” Those words remind Skywalker of the earlier comment and he asks him about how he knew he was meditating with the Force.
Palpatine lightly chuckles at the question, answering that a power that helps win wars is one worth respecting and understanding as much as possible. He mentions how he’s dabbled in studies of the Force, believing that maybe the more he knew, perhaps the better he could understand the best role for the Jedi to play. Anakin is a bit intrigued and when he pushes for what the Vice President has researched, the older man casually brushes off any serious comparison between their respective knowledge. “I’m no Jedi Knight, Sir Skywalker, just an enthusiastic learner of sorts.”
Finally reaching their diverging point, the former president laments that they’ve reached the point even mentioning such an interest publicly would get politicized in no time on the floor of the Senate. Skywalker sighs, and says he unfortunately understands why he would be discrete “The more I learn about the Senate’s priorities, the less I seem to understand them.” As the older man makes his exit he turns back to Anakin and tells him he’s thankful a Jedi like him will be on Coruscant for now. The quietly proud smile Nik has afterward seems to show that he’s starting to agree.
Cut to a now formally dressed Darelda working in her office, before quickly standing at attention and officially addressing one President Llanand. He is the picture of stoicism, his impenetrable gaze briefly concentrated on a mounted photo display of her and Palpatine in the news following a major Senate bill being passed. After a pause her words get him out of his stare, and with a small nod he greets her. They shake hands and he sits down nearby.
Llanand brings up the plans for Mandalore and compliments Bail Organa for his work in developing the tactics for the siege, adding a small apology for the latter’s last days before retirement from the service being so dominated by strategy meetings. Darelda lightly smiles and responds that her husband would never forgive himself if his last days as a commanding officer weren’t pouring over planetary maps and reading reports. The President adds he hates losing her as a Senator, but has little doubt Bail will be as dedicated as she’s been in the office.
She replies that he’ll be invaluable in this critical period, especially when so much of the public still doesn’t believe the Republic’s close to secure. “Nor its public servants for that matter” adds the President. Darelda inquires if he’s recovered from the stage attack and he says he’s fine, but the attempt is why he’s requested her presence. He looks around the room, seemingly checking to see if there’s anyone who could be listening.
Some of the earlier stoicism drops a bit to reveal the almost middle aged man now with a great weight on his shoulders. He tells her in no uncertain terms that a high level of the Republic has been compromised by the Mandalorians. In detail the President describes that even with the constant screenings for clones, constant checkpoints, and security acts of all types, the Coalition has managed to infiltrate and coordinate movements right there on the planet.
This gets a dark look at Darelda’s face, confirming a fear she’s definitively had for some time. She asks if they’re certain someone is working for them inside and with a sigh he answers its either that or they’ve developed a surveillance so hidden and so efficient, its beyond their detection. Regardless, he can no longer trust any official investigation into it without either the possibility of being lied to or informing the spy outright. Thus that’s where she comes in. “You’ll have me working with the investigator?”
Llanand is to the point. She is to be the investigator.
Organa needs a moment to let that settle in. She tells him that there are better people for that role and he can only reply there are, but not ones above suspicion. The President mentions her previous history, discovering the initial invasion on Nar Shadda, and assisting the Jedi in the battle for Coruscant. Simply put, she might be the only one he can entirely trust to be faithful and rely on to be effective. “I know your record and I know you Senator. If you can’t get to the heart of this, I’m not sure anyone else can.”
This time, there’s no silence she needs, and Darelda immediately asks what she must do. He replies that that no one outside this room can know the full extent of their conversation. Some aspects can be told to whomever she implicitly trusts to help her investigate, but not everything. Llanand also stresses the need to be careful in whom she gets assistance from as if it is indeed a spy they could be in Senate, among the service ranks, or somewhere else entirely. She makes it clear she will be extraordinarily cautious.
With that, he departs, thanking her for her service, and telling her to update him on any significant information. She tells him that given he’s a target here, he would be safer away from Coruscant for a bit. Llanand replies that her understands her concern, but that the people are owed a President and he won’t ask any of them to risk their life for the Republic if he can’t do the same. Its a sentiment she clearly respects and the look between the two underscores the shared understanding of their respective duties before he formally leaves.