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Star Wars Episode III: Broken Forces

Kadeos said:

A rather interesting update in more ways than one. Darelda has already proposed to Anakin to help her in the investigation and Anakin is already beginning to act a bit like Darth Vader even with Carima. And the Jedi from the beginning of the episode seems to die at the hands of the construction droids.

Although I must say that in that scene, one thing is a bit confusing to me: the construction droids are from the Republic and have turned against that Jedi? Or were they other droids?

And excuse me if I seem annoying, but could you answer the question I asked you privately?

I want to clarify that when I asked you, I was not asking you to tell me a date or anything like that. Just to know, if with your feelings and the things you have figured out, if the updates are going to come back more regularly or after this update there will be a break again.

Thanks and I look forward to the following part and I’m very sorry to ask this after you put an update.

As far as the droids, the idea was that something’s happened with the droids via likely someone reprogramming to them to attack… the question is who’s behind it.

With updates I am shooting for an update schedule of every two to three weeks, as the time has allowed me to better focus and have made some strides in recurring writer’s block for specific scenes.

Star Wars Episode III: Broken Forces

Back for another update, as we finally get a bit of an action scene followed by some character stuff. I know two months is hardly fast, but given my previous long gaps in posts, I hope its a sign of quicker things to come. Thanks again for the feedback and your continued interest in the story. And now, Act 2 of Broken Forces kicks off:

Cut to the green sky planet from the opening scene, were much of the remaining Republic encampment is gone or is in the midst of being taken apart. Various smaller black and spherical construction droids hover around, disassembling structures and transporting the walls and ceilings of the outpost buildings.

As the sun sets, the same humanoid Jedi from before walks along what’s left of the small camp. She speaks into her communicator, confirming her plan to stay one last night before departing with the rest of her troops tomorrow. The voice on the other doesn’t see the need, but she replies that its orders directly from the commander himself, and that she can’t begrudge the higher ups trying to cover their bases.

Once the conversation’s over she starts heading towards her bunk area only to suddenly stop in her tracks. She takes in a deep breath and looks around, sensing something’s off. She slowly inches her way towards the corner of one of remaining buildings. After readying herself she slowly peeks around, expecting to see something, only to spot nothing. Calmer, but still alert she turns back around, only to come face to face with one of the hovering construction droids.

Initially confused, she asks what it wants, with the machine saying it requires information about the deconstruction plan. She replies that all the relevant data’s been uploaded and that it can contact the engineering core if necessary. It again states that it needs specific information about the project and to come with it to the area for clarification. She’s unconvinced and states if its that critical to tell her what the issue is now. The droid lets out a string of complicated technical jargon to explain the need for her to travel with it. She seemingly does not sense the small hovering object behind her readying a blast.

Quickly enough however she pulls out her lightsaber and deflects it it back at it, destroying the machine’s attempt at an attack. The original droid attempts an attack of its own but only manages to blast her communicator before she cuts the bot in two. With digital communication no longer an option she starts to run, soon yelling out to anyone who can here that she was attacked, only for her to quickly be confronted by a contingent of construction droids, all facing her and armed with weapons beyond just simple tools.

She feints readying her lightsaber for combat only to in fact use the Force to throw various nearby small supply crates at the machines, damaging a few. Distraction achieved she runs off, heading between the standing constructions as the remaining droids stalk after her. After getting some distance, she stops at a delivery skiff, quickly cutting it into smaller pieces. With clear strain on her face she hurls each one into separate directions as the different groups of droids check the source of noise when they land. She deactivates her lightsamber and runs off in the opposite angle away from them.

Soon enough she sees an emptied one story building and leaps through an opened window. Panting hard on the ground, she rolls over and tries to collect herself, listening to see if she’s been followed. After a beat, she crawls over to the wall and pulls out a necklace from under her shirt; staring at it. Its an old Jedi symbol attached to a simple chain. The subtle reverence she has when looking at tells far more than words can.

The silence doesn’t last however as she faintly hears a buzz not too far away, and as she raises her head, she spots the would be mob of droids surrounding the building. There’s no way out now. For a moment, the reality of the situation hits her, but she calms herself, gripping her necklace one last time before letting out only one whispered sentence. “Be well Mistress Nellith”. She activates her lightsaber and jumps through the nearby window. Weapon readied the last thing scene is her charging at the multitude of enemies.

Cut to a large windowed hall on Coruscant at night where Carima sits and looks over the cityscape. A nearby skyscraper projects a gigantic three dimensional holographic program, at the moment displaying a stream of news reports about the war. Someone walks up to her and asks if the nearby seat’s taken. Nivir looks up and is delightfully surprised to see Darelda. Before she can initiate a hug, Organa tells her to not get up, and sits down so they can casually embrace.

The Senator says she was surprised that Carima isn’t resting back at her place, and the latter responds that she’s stayed cooped up in there long enough and that she needed to get out. Darelda is slightly impressed and can’t believe she convinced Anakin and asks where he is. Nivir tells her that he said he was on his way. “No doubt to lecture my ear off about overexerting myself and dazzling me with all the facts about pregnancy he’s commuted to memory.” Darelda says there is a matter with both of them she wanted to discuss.

The other woman is intrigued at that, however Organa first wants to again offer her congratulations and best wishes about the baby. Before she can continue, she notices reports about the war across the street on the screen and adds that it’ll be a child lucky enough to grow up when the war is just history to them, not the news. Nivir agrees with the sentiment with a small smile. “Answering endless questions and telling war stories about their dad, that’s gonna be something.”

Now curious, Carima inquires if Darelda’s thought about having any kids herself and the Senator admits her mixed feelings on the matter. Her and Bail always had to put their duties first before anything else. Now that those are almost finished, they don’t know if its too late or how they would even take to being parents. Nivir places her hand on hers and notes that any woman who worked that hard for so little thanks to help both Alderaan and the Republic would be a hell of a mother. Organa appreciates the warm words and thanks her. Carima can’t help but smirk.

“Plus I’m pretty sure there’s a babysitting subroutine I can put in 81’s programming somewhere.”

Both women chuckle at that and that’s the sight Anakin comes across when he finally arrives. He shakes the Senator hand and sits down next to Carima. Darelda asks him if he’s felt anything off in the room. He’s a bit surprised by the question but after a moment answers that he senses no threat or danger as far as he can tell. After subtly scanning the large room herself and seeing it largely deserted except for the three of them she concludes that its safe.

In a low voice she describes the fears of possible Mandalorian infiltration high up in the Republic to the two of them and mentions that she’s launching a secret investigation into the matter herself. Nivir is noticeably shaken by the news, while Nik can only nod, agreeing that given the attack at the President’s speech, its an idea that does make sense. As she goes on, images of both Llaland and Palpatine appear on the news, unnoticed by the three of them. Darelda adds that she’ll need get information quickly as the closer the invasion of Mandalore happens, the higher the chances of another attack.

He asks if she wants any of his intel and she responds its his direct help she wants in the investigation. Skywalker has no response as at first and Carima looks him, unsure of how he’ll answer. While he still thinks of how to respond Darelda states that there’s very virtually no one she can completely trust with this. Moreover with Kenobi as part of the invasion plans, Anakin is the one officer whom she knows is both uncompromised and capable of sensing the kind of hidden threat involved, especially if there are more cloned Jedi involved.

The senator looks at the other woman and adds that given the potential risk to anyone involved, she wasn’t going to ask him to do it without letting Carima know about the dangers as well and she’ll understand if he can’t accept. There’s an uncomfortable silence as both women wait to see what he’ll say. After no expression for several seconds, he eventually he nods and says he’ll do it. Nivir immediately objects and says Nik can’t put his on the life on the line again.”

For the first time in the film, he takes a commanding tone with Carima, saying if all this is true then all their lives are on the line and that anyone can be a target, them included. His eyes turn ever so briefly cold when he speaks about not letting the Coalition win here when the Republic’s so close to victory. “We root this out now, who knows how many people will be saved.”

Organa asks that he’s sure about doing this and he confirms, stating with a deep frown that his only condition is that Carima gets the best and most secure transportation to another Republic base as soon as possible. That’s a bridge too far for her and she makes it clear she is not leaving Coruscant. She immediately shuts down his protests, pointing out that the best facilities are here and that she’s not going to be away from him this close to the birth of the baby. “You can protect us better than anyone, I know it.”

Skywalker is deeply torn by the situation with his instincts pulling him in two different directions. Its Darelda that comes to his rescue, saying that there’s enough loyal guards and soldiers both of them trust to keep Nivir safe and that there are emergency medical transports on standby for her if the need arises. While neither Anakin nor Carima are at all happy, they quietly accept the compromise and Organa says she’ll start making arrangements immediately.

She stands up and begins to walk off, before looking back at them, regret and sympathy apparent in her voice. “I”m sorry about this.” The pairing doesn’t even need to look at each other to express their shared response, voiced by Nik.

“We know.”

Star Wars Episode III: Broken Forces

To answer some various questions, about 75% of the story beats of Act 2 have been figured out, its just a matter of getting the specific plot points detailed and the dialogue right (the latter of which I’m admittedly too much of a perfectionist about).

Kenobi will encounter Tarkin it as part of his mission as the tension and subtle distrust Ben has of him is something I’m trying to nail as best I can. The latter needs to have sense of deception to him and its a balance of having Obi-Wan sense something’s off without knowing exactly what it is. They’re two intelligent characters, and the key element is making sure neither one quite tips their hand about their suspicions.

Act II is also tricky at points as I want to have some select exciting moments for the audience even though the Kenobi story is a slow build to the invasion of the Mandalorian homeworld, and Darelda looking into the Coalition infiltration is essentially an investigative thriller. Neither one really lends itself to big action set pieces, but the story could use them to remind the audience of the stakes.

To Dloomys, I’ve restored that Phakerem scene as I didn’t mean to delete when I was re-editing.

Thanks again everybody for the feedback.

Star Wars Episode III: Broken Forces

Very small, but significant update, as the Carima/Kenobi and Skywalker/Kenobi scenes have been rewritten (with the previous posts having been edited to reflect this). I wasn’t satisfied with how overt Anakin’s discontent was being portrayed at this point and it seemed like it was giving too much away of how badly his internal struggle was. As a result Carima now no longer suspects something’s seriously wrong with him, and Skywalker’s confession to Obi-Wan is much more indirect and subtle rather than close to blatant like it was.

As far as future updates, the COVID-19 situation is giving me far more opportunities to write than circumstances have allowed in in some time (in fact I’m currently in the longest period of uninterrupted time off from work I’ve had in years), so hopefully the stalling of the last few months and frustrated rewrites of the most recent sections are that their end and actual progress can start happening again. To all those who still want to read this, I want to apologize for my lack of correspondence/updates and say from the bottom of my heart, your comments and continued interest mean a hell of a lot, and I hope I can make up for my bad habits these past two years soon.

Star Wars Episode III: Broken Forces

Cut to a large Republic war memorial atop a series of short buildings in the area. Vast digital grave markers dot the landscape, each with a series of names. Walking around, Ben spots a figure standing by himself. He makes his way over to him, realizing its Anakin looking at the marker in front of him, listing the dead from a particular battle. Kenobi provides the context, noting its casualties from the battle of Coruscant years before. He asks Nik if he’s been coming here regularly. The younger man shrugs, “Not as much as I should.”

Neither man is sure how to initially break the silence that follows at first. Obi-Wan begins to ask how he is, but Skywalker gently cuts him off, apologizing for his earlier outburst, and he’ll send a formal apology to Organa soon. Kenobi tells him its a good gesture, even if the latter has probably heard worse at most Senate hearings. Anakin has a small grin at that, however the lightness of the moment passes and the awkward silence returns.

Without every directly looking at him, its Nik that surprises Ben with a question; asking how he felt when he was promoted to the rank of general. The older man pauses, and answers that it was significant, but that he was most surprised at how much an honor it felt, given that before the war, he never thought he’d be that high in the ranks of the Republic army.

Skywalker manages a quick grin. “When I became a Captain, the first thought I had was “Better enjoy the enthusiastic salutes now, because all these grunts are gonna hate you soon”.” He adds that he’s sure there were a few that probably did, but they respected the orders and believed him when they needed to most. “It didn’t matter how many more the Republic gave me to lead, once I had that, everything else just fell into place.”

The younger man’s smile turns wistful, internally recalling an earlier, warmer time. Obi-Wan seemingly picks up on this and voices the obvious query and inquires if something’s changed. His mood turns noticeably bemused when asking if he’s lost any authority with them.

Nik’s head snaps towards Obi-Wan’s direction and he immediately says that that’s never changed, only adding that he does have to give a certain motivation from time to time. He explains that there’s something else that he can’t stop thinking about and he’s not sure if things changed recently or that they’ve been like that for a lot time and that he never noticed until now. At Kenobi’s small encouragement, Anakin details the matter specifically.

“There used to be a time Ben when I could look at one of the soldiers underneath me and know exactly what they were afraid of. Most of them were scared of dying, especially when the Coalition was taking everything in sight. There were a few others that I just needed one glance at to figure they’d be the ones who would be shaking when the number of targets got high enough. Afraid to die, afraid to kill, that was most of them.”

Anakin eyes are cast downward now, with all the bits of the yearning are gone, replaced by a quietly disturbed stillness to his face. “There’s something else there now. Before the tours, before missions its like nothing can get to them. As soon as its done though, everything’s… different. They all wish they could go home, I know they do. But so many of them… they’re scared to say it. I can look straight in their eyes, see they don’t want be out there anymore, and yet they can’t tell me that, not even the ones I could probably do without. So they just keep going, day after day.”

Nik rubs his hand over his face and gazes at his old friend. He lets out the thought that has been so deeply gnawing at him. “And I keep telling myself that this’ll be done soon, next operation has to be the last one. But there’s always more, always. These people need to be home Ben… I just don’t know if I can get them there.”

They’re heavy words for Ben to take in, however he does soon come to an response. He tells him he understands Anakin’s stituation. At that Nik is hopeful, taking a deep breath in anticipation of his mentor’s next words.

Ben tells him that the fears within others are difficult things for any of them to face, that their link to the Force, and its ability to conquer that fear is not something easily given to others. “But the trust in that, the kind that you have, doesn’t just stay within you; it connects to those around and brings the same to them. A wise Jedi knows to let Force flow through them. The wisest one shares that faith to others.”

Skywalker’s face is rigid, but his eyes subtly reveal quiet disappointment at that answer and Nik manages a few faux nods of agreement as his old friend finishes. Kenobi says that the younger man’s accomplishments as both a General and a Knight also have greater significance to his soldiers than he himself realizes. “They may not know the title, but they do have a Darth Vader to lead them. And that makes all the difference.”

They’re words that have Anakin quietly agreeing afterward, but its a subdued concurrence on his part, only unnoticed by his mentor because of Nik’s forced display of relief. He thanks Ben for his reassurance, and says he’ll think about what he’s said. Before the conversation can continue, Obi-Wan’s comlink goes off with a message from Bail Organa, telling him of one last necessary briefing before his departure. The former answers that he understands and says he’ll be there soon.

He once again tells Skywalker that he should never doubt his capacity as a leader and that as good as Skywalker has been at war, he knows that he’ll be even better in peace time.

This time, Anakin’s small smile is genuine. “I hope so.”

Star Wars Episode III: Broken Forces

Cut to the planet of Mandalore where the full scope of the Coalition homeworld is finally witnessed. Its a bizarre setting, halfway to a hellscape with a mismatch of vast building designs on top of a landscape just as varied in its elevation and features. Not unlike its people, the structures almost seemed stitched together, with only strong structural integrity being the common feature among all of them. Numerous Mandalorian ships and weapon cannons are worked on all over as the planet is clearly prepping for the invasion to come.

The camera moves to a surprisingly modest structure where a high ranking Mandalorian officer walks through the halls. She passes by a number of other troopers commanding their own units, all silently acknowledging her presence whe moves past. What clone soldiers are seen appear of a lesser sort those previously seen, some sporting clear injuries and seemingly physically less strong than those in the previously. The officer’s brief reaction to the clones demonstrates she’s readily familiar with the kind of stock they’ve been left with.

She soon somes upon the room at the end of the hall and enters. Inside the room lies a vast three dimensional holographic display of the planet, with the key features of its cities and defenses prominently lit up. In profile, standing in the middle of it near a small desk is General Phakerem herself, face unreadable as she examines the image around her. The officer addresses the general and the latter turns around to look at her.

In a sharp contrast to the controlled anger of the first film, and the determined confidence of the second, here a very quiet acceptance dominates the Mandalorian leader’s features. While not wholly defeated, this is a woman who’s already run the scenarios of what’s to come and determined the most likely outcomes for her people. She’s also notably without a sidearm of any sort for the first time in the series. She calmly addresses the other woman as Zoetrope and asks for her report.

Zoetrope tells her that the preparations with most of the ships are still behind schedule, and that the clone chambers still working can’t be modified for any quicker production than what they have. The general nods, and says its what they had both calcuated. The junior officer adds that planetary defenses have been prepped with the planned alterations, most of them never utilized before. Phakerem replies that surprise will be their best asset for the invasion.

After getting the general’s approval for a change in unit placement, Zoetrope begins to leave, before stopping and turning back. Voice wavering only a bit, she addresses Phakerem and explains that she has lead the Coalition brilliantly during the war and that every Trooper have and will follow her orders to the very end. However, there is a subject she feels the need to initiate to the general at this moment.

The other woman voices the query before Zoetrope can even begin to say it. “Why are we staying here to be destroyed?” The junior officer is surprised at the deduction and responds that she felt the question needed to be asked. The general says she knows most of the officers are asking the exact same thing, even if they’d never tell anyone else. “What is the victory to be had when we can just as easily retreat and regroup elsewhere?”

At that Phakerem turns to the nearby desk and picks up the unactiviated gauntlet sitting on the edge, the same one she utilized in the first film against Kenobi. She asks Zoetrope if she’s ever read about what happened to the Mandalorians that weren’t killed or part of the exodus after the first war of the Republic. When the other woman replies no, the general details how the survivors left behind became pariahs and prisoners all over the galaxy.

“Too hated to be trusted, too weak to be an enemy. No new era to be won, no better galaxy to be created. Everything that they were, everything we value… ripped away piece by piece for a something as trivial as a continued survival. And to eventually perish as a bit of dirt underneath the Republic’s feet.” There’s a pause as she stares at gaunlet, seemingly recalling better days in the past.

“We have lost this war,” the general states as plainly as possible. “Part of that is my doing.” She looks at Zoetrope, almost daring her to disagree. When none comes, she continues. “There’s a better universe where I brought all of you to victory,” she says as she drops the gaunlet down on the desk. “But its one far beyond my reach now. All that’s left is what this invasion leaves us as.”

Zoetrope knows the obvious conclusion of this point. “As the fallen.” Phakerem turns into her, a half smile just barely visible on her face. “As Mandalorians. In death as much as we have been life.” She glances up at the planetary defense image around the two of them. “Peace has a price; let the Republic pay for every bit of it.”

Cut to a close up of Carima’s face lit by a mix of colorful offscreen lights. There’s a bit of wistfulness to her as her eyes slowly read/examine what’s ahead of her. She’s so caught up in this sight, she doesn’t immediately react to the shadow sillouette suddenly appearing in the room. Its only when the arm of the shadow knocks on a wall that she turns into look at the source. “What are what are you doing here?”

It is Obi-Wan that answers, saying that he was stopping by to talk to her and Anakin. Nivir begins to get up formally greet him, and Kenobi assures the pregnant woman there’s no need. She tells him that the Vice President wanted Nik for a meeting at the capital building. The news brings a brief confused frown to Ben, but he quickly moves past is and asks how she’s been.

“Inactive, but that’s not for lack of trying.” Carima mentions with smile that given her options at the moment being limited to either a hospital or their homestead, the latter was a bit more tolerable. She gestures towards what she was looking at before and Kenobi sees its a detailed three dimensional image of a large white home in a lush green countryside. “I needed something to keep me sane.” He inquires what it is.

She explains its the home on Alderaan Nik wants them to buy. Ben is a bit surprised by the news and replies that Anakin mentioned the idea in passing but never seemed serious about it. He sits down on a chair nearby and takes in the revelation. She casually mentions other places they’ve been thinking about but Obi-Wan’s focus is now on the room itself where for the first time he notices different mementos of Anakin’s married life, including images of the couple on various planets and stations. An old apprentice uniform on a hook stands out as the only object that suggests a Jedi existence.

Kenobi’s body language reveals a man finally beginning to sense how much Anakin’s life has become less apparent in their friendship. He spots in the corner just above various infant related furniture a small novelty landspeeder, clearly a future child’s toy. She notices his attention on it and smirks. “What can I say, I’m a sucker for reminders of home.”He replies that she and Anakin seem well prepared all things considered.

Carima scoffs and with a small laugh states that for a Jedi his sense of perception could use a little work. “I’m nervous all the time thinking about this kid, but fake it till you make it has worked for me thus far, so why stop now?” She slowly settles down into a chair and sighs. “Look, I do get too worked up, but its the damnedest thing. Whenever I think this whole thing is just going to be a disaster, I remember this look Nik gets when he talks about kids, and how excited he is about them seeing him fly in a fighter for the first time. And, I don’t know, something about that means I know we’ll be alright.”

After a beat, Nivir says enough about her and asks what his next plans are. Ben mentions the next immediate assignments, and she clarifies that she wants to know what he’s doing after the war. He tells her that he’s at the service of where the Republic needs him, only for to interrupt. “Obi-Wan, I’ve heard the stock Jedi line enough times from Anakin to know it means you don’t feel right giving a real answer. Talking to the owner of spice freighters, remember? No righteous judgment here, what do you really want to do?”

There’s a pause, and Kenobi quietly admits that part of him thinks about teaching. He adds that with so many Jedi that fell in the war, much of them Masters, there’s numerous apprentices that will need guidance soon. She asks about Skywalker and with a knowing glance he says that there’s little more Anakin can learn from him given how far he’s come. “He’s the Jedi other Jedi want to hear about."

She comments that one great Knight and one great Master seems like an ideal combination going forward. Ben waves off the latter designation, saying he’s no Master yet, and he doesn’t know if that’s where he’ll most be needed. He states that he trusts in the path of the Force; if his knowledge is to be truly passed on to another apprentice, it’ll will find a way.

The conversation is interrupted by a noise on his comm link. He answers it and Anakin’s voice responds, asking if he’s free. The former says that he is and Skywalker asks if the two can meet a top a particular Coruscant rooftop. Carima and Ben share a brief quizzical look at the choice in location, and the latter agrees, saying he’ll meet him there soon. He stands up while Nivir remains sitting. Kenobi asks her how Anakin’s been.

There’s a small shrug and she mentions the situation with Owen and Beru has been an issue for him, though he hadn’t mentioned anything else since he’s gotten back, which is significant for him. “Take it from someone who lives with him, hesitancy to express an opinion on something has never been a problem for Nik.”

Its a statement that gets a smile out of Obi-Wan and the two hug before he goes. Before he’s out the door, she tells him to keep thinking about teaching; Master Kenobi sounds like someone who can do a lot of good. He offers a small nod of thanks and leaves.

Star Wars Episode III: Broken Forces

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.

Star Wars Episode III: Broken Forces

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.

The Jedi Council not existing, or being total d*cks?

For my prequels, I just ended up concluding that the Jedi had long since become far more loosely organized and spread across the galaxy rather than a more tightly knit council around the core systems. They had already descended into myth like status for many as a great deal weren’t really visible warrior monks anymore. There were still Knights of course, but loads of Jedi engineers, farmers, teachers and so forth for their own regions and worlds became far more common. Not only does it allow for sympathetic conflict/disagreement about how deeply non-Jedi knights are to be involved when the war starts, it also demonstrates the greater tragedy of the their destruction by Palpatine; righteous warriors and the backbone of numerous communities wiped out.

Obviously that’s wholly different from the Lucas prequel Jedi concepts, but I think there’s value in moving away from the orthodox council idea

Star Wars Episode III: Broken Forces

Hey folks, I’m back. I have no real excuse for the long delay. Life and work has been a big chaotic, but its also been case of just not managing until lately the writing discipline to sit down and get this stuff finished. I’m hoping to change that, and once again get back to giving updates to this with some regular frequency again. But enough blathering, here (and I’m warning you its largely character and dialogue work, no return to action sections just yet) is the continuing story of Broken Forces.

Cut to the busy streets of Coruscant. The section of surrounding city has been improved since the last film only a few nearly constructed buildings in the distance suggesting any history of damage. The streets and skies in general are abuzz with activity, somewhat more chaotic than the more orderly movement seen during the Coalition Occupation. Massive video screens on various buildings display victorious reports from the war, with bombastic graphics highlighting soldiers coming home and maps of Republic territory retaken.

On the balcony of a high skyscraper, a pair of humanoid Republic (male and female) bureaucrats walk quickly, both in the midst of an argument.

“Its not the type of question you can just bring out out nowhere.”

“Please. As if there aren’t thousands of people in this building asking the same thing right now.”

The male responds there are some institutions you don’t openly doubt, at least not in public. She replies that its not an issue of doubt, its one of security. He stops and gives her a pointed look, reiterating that they’ve protected the Republic since before there was Republic and asks if she really wants to tell the group that selfless and dedicated that we don’t trust them. “For all we know they’re might not be enough clones of them left out there to staff a star cruiser!” he says exasperated.

She sighs and makes her point clear. “The Jedi are compromised. Ten clones, ten thousand clones, the threat’s there, and until enough people here are certain its gone, then yes a few limitations and some uncomfortable question are going to be something they’ll have to deal with.” She asks if he’s really not concerned of the possible danger. He scoffs and says of course he’s concerned; only a fool wouldn’t be frightened at the idea of rogue Jedi in plain site ready to strike at any time.

Before he can finish the the thought, the two are interrupted by the figure they failed to initially notice in front of them, which is an aged and stonefaced Obi-Wan Kenobi, adorned in brown clothes. He’s silent, seemingly curious to see what they’ll say. After an awkward silence, the pair sheepishly greet him; the woman stating she wasn’t aware he was visiting as the man asks if he needs any directions.

Kenobi offers a polite, (though not overtly) warm smile, saying he just needs to see the Senator and can find her office on his own. “Unless you’d prefer I have an escort?” he adds with a raised eyebrow. The two emphatically say no and make a hasty exit after stating its a honor to have him there. Obi-Wan is briefly satisfied seeing them go, but the reality of what they said and the slightly uncomfortable looks various other staff have soon hits him, and he’s left in deep contemplation as he begins walking again.

On a large scale spaceport, a crowd of various citizens waits for a ship to land. Part of the gathered group parts to reveal (from the shoulders up) an older Carima; looking the most refined and ladylike we’ve ever seen of her. A nearby member of the crowd mentions she’s waiting for her wife and inquires if she’s waiting for someone. When Carima nods the stranger says that if he one of the veterans coming back on that ship, he must be brave. Mrs. Skywalker warmly smiles and states he has to be, he’s married to her.

After a smirk the stranger admits she doesn’t know how her wife and others manage to going back to the fighting. Carima gives her a knowing look. “They know they have to. I’ll never stop hating these tours of his, but the war’s needed leaders like him. Who am I to keep him away?”

Cut to the interior of the soon to land vessel where a Republic soldier stands stiff, however the sweat coming down his face tells the real story. From behind we see an imposing figure in dark clothes casting a shadow over the room. We hear a stern, somewhat husky voice order him to explain what happened. After a stammer, the soldier explains that the enemy fire just got to him more than he expected. A tense silence follows, and he adds some of their recent losses included old friends of his and couldn’t get them out of his head and-

Its a harsh voice that cuts him off. “Do not speak to me about losses.” At this we finally see the harsh source is a now older Anakin Skywalker. His hair is slightly grown out since last seen, with a pristine black Jedi uniform informing us of how far he’s advanced. But the eyes betray a tired and worn out man looking a bit older than the early 30s age he’s reached. His words are deliberate, but the anger albeit restrained slips out of them.

“Every person on this ship, practically every man and woman in uniform has lost someone. I used to count every single man and woman that died following some order I gave or strategy I devised. Do you want to know how high it got when I stopped?” The question strikes the junior officer hard, and unsure on how to respond, he remains silent. Anakin isn’t finished.

“You mourn for your friends. You need them avenged. You want the enemy to pay. And you’re telling yourself that means you’re a good soldier.” Skywalker moves in close and looks his subordinate straight in the eye. “It doesn’t. It means you’re a fool, risking the lives of everyone around you and for what? A clumsy attempt at revenge. A single stupid officer is dispensable, large squadrons under his command are not so easily replaced.” The object of Anakin’s scorn can only swallow hard.

Nik takes the opportunity to slowly circle around, rarely taking his eyes off him. “Tell me Commander, if you were watching any other man in your place right now, with that’s at stake right now, would you say he deserves anything other than being thrown out of this army entirely?” The other figure is quiet at first before admitting he doesn’t know.

At that, the Skywalker stops. “Fortunately, I do.” He explains that the man let his emotions take over, put his desires ahead of his fellow soldiers well being, and made a terrible mistake. However he has displayed exemplary service as an officer otherwise, and whatever bad judgment he’s displayed in wartime, Anakin is not the man to completely deny him a chance to prove himself in peacetime. While a mark will be on his record, he will be able to serve again.

Protocol or not, the subordinate lets out a deeply relieved sigh, and quietly thanks the Jedi before being dismissed and allowed to depart. After he exits, Anakin rubs his hand over his face, and closes his eyes; a man very weary of the role’s he’s slowly inhabiting.

Outside the ship various soldiers pour out, happily embracing the friends and loved ones gathered to reunite with them. The last one out is Nik himself and the camera follows his walk as he sees Carima and …(as the wide profile shot reveals to the audience) her very pregnant belly. Its a wide smile on his face as he quickly kisses her on the mouth and hugs her tight, months of anxious worry from both of them melting away in seconds.

When they finally release he asks why she isn’t at the medical center. “There are wonderful medical droids that are a joy to talk to and make all those the hospital visits fly by. They’re not the ones I’ve been assigned.” He chuckles. “Besides, the one thing I’ve wanted more than anything is to spend every single second we’ve got together. I know you’ve got some meetings, briefings, and everything in between soon, but… gods, I’ve missed you.”

She buries her face into his shoulder, just soaking in the moment of having her husband back. He holds her close, gently stroking her hair. “Me too.” She regains her composure, quickly and subtly wiping some small tears from her cheeks. Holding her tight he tells he’s not going anywhere and she’ll get sick of him soon enough. “I’ll get us a transport…” he gets a wry grin “Unless you’d prefer to walk the whole way.”

Carima sighs. “If there’s any hope in this galaxy our children will not inherit your sense your of humor.” The two kiss and walk off.

Cut to Darelda’s office where she warmly greets Ben with a light hug right after he walks in. Organa is dressed in surprisingly casual attire for once, with even her hair looking a biz frazzled. The room is in a similar fashion, half filled with furniture, and various containers not completely filled. She offers him a seat as she sits down at her own desk. He takes a cursory glance around the room. “The building staff not assisting a former politician I understand, but I would think a Queen would warrant some help.”

The remark gets a bit of a glare from Darelda. “Don’t call me that. My husband has a wonderful family, but their decisions in passing down royal lineage leave much to be desired. I think the greatest victory I’ve had is convincing them to wait till at least my term was finished before they started throwing royal titles on my head.”

Kenobi asks if she’s prepared for life away from Coruscant again and she says between this war and this senate anything back home will be a quiet relief for her, even with Bail taking her place in office. Peaceful as Alderaan is, she says she’ll be far more needed there than she would be here. Obi-Wan is skeptical of that, but Darelda tells him that the Republic now has the fresh ideas its desperately needed for a long time. “New Senate, new president, new blood.” Kenobi observes that some of the old blood appears to be in the top office.

She shrugs and says she figured with the war winding down and the critical role he played in cleaning up the elections they could use some of the old guarding helping in the transition, but doubts he’ll serve a full term. “Once we get some sort of peace agreement signed, I doubt Palpatine will think it necessary for him to sit quietly in a Vice President’s office for the next couple of years.”

After a beat Kenobi explains that he didn’t just come to wish her well, but to ask point blank if and when any security measures are being discussed in regards to Jedi. With some disdain she says its been a lot of ridiculous questions and paranoid theories, but no real proposals. Ben slowly nods, but affirms there have been talks then. Organa dismisses it. “Its a few bureaucrats and staff members, Master Kenobi; the ones who hear the crazies out on the streets and think they’re offering sound security advice.”

Obi-Wan still isn’t entirely convinced, and steps out of his chair and looks out the window out onto the vast population moving about on the Coruscant streets. He mentions that he’s gotten enough stares and nervous glances recently to know its more than just a select paranoid view. “Before the war I was prepared for someone to misunderstand the Jedi, or even to have forgotten what we were. I never thought I’d see the day people would be afraid of us.”

That gets her to stand up and walk over to him. Darelda makes it clear that people out there are worried about desperate plans of Mandalorians and Coalition uprisings, however every Republic citizen knows what he and his knights have done for them. “They’re scared of the present Kenobi yes, but the future needs Jedi. They know that.” Her words do seem to reassure Ben somewhat.

Star Wars Episode III: Broken Forces

Well folks, I know its been a long time, with far too many delays, but Episode III writings have finally begun. Work and my own creative struggles have kept me from getting some real progress, but this summer season has really put me in a good mode for getting these ideas out, and I hope I can once again get these updated regularly. This is a bit of a humble start in regards to the first post; don’t expect any long updates like the first act of a Galaxy’s Fury was for while.

Overall this is going to be a bit of a different beast in terms of tone compared to the first two episodes; the action will be there, but its a bit more drama with elements of thriller this time. Might get full blown operatic come the third act, but I’ll try to keep the elements grounded in character as I hope I’ve done thus far.

Once again, my apologies for the long wait, my gratitude for your patience in waiting, and my hope that you’ll enjoy the final ride in Star Wars Episode III: Broken Forces:

Opening crawl details the reversal of fortunes for the Coalition as the Republic has gradually turned the war around largely driving the Mandalorians and their forces back to their home star system. Republic controlled territory is still is gripped by fear of clone Jedi infiltration as areas in the Outer Rim are struggling to recover from the loss of life and resources. Pockets of resistance still remain on war torn planets as Jedi and a newly efficient Republic army fight to liberate the last occupied worlds in the devastating conflict that is the Clone Wars.

Camera slowly fades to a huge devastated battlefield , destroyed bits of various land and space vehicles littering the landscape. A lush green sky contrasts heavily with the piles of ruined brown and silver wreckage dominant on the ground. In the distance movement is heard mixed with the noise of occasional explosions and large blaster shots.

Cut to a vast and open underground bunker, where thousands of Mandalorian shock troopers are gathered. Their armor and equipment has seen better days, clearly repaired and patched together from whatever they could gather. For the first time since they’ve been seen by the audience, the faces of the Mandalorians are not steely eyed or lusting for battle. They’re tired, with some grim determination resembling the former intensity typical of their kind. A token amount of clone soldiers stand awaiting orders. Only thunderous bombardments raining down above break up the somber silence.

The commanding officer present gets their attention and launches into a monologue about their history. Initially bringing up the outnumbered enemy forces, she waxes about how they’ve been the conquered people of the galaxy and they’ve been masters of it; through it they have lived on because their will to battle has never ceased. “We have died millennia ago, we have died yesterday, and when we step out, we may very well die today. But let there be no doubt, our people and our enemies will remember us tomorrow!”

A cheer breaks out as the rallying cry appears to lift some spirits. She looks out over the assembled mass and passionately concludes her speech, “Jedi have the will of the Force and these Republic cowards think victory is fate. History will write that every fighting Mandalorian standing here made their own. So go to your destiny. Not for victory, not for defeat; for the fight!”

Chants of “For the fight!” roar out as the shocktroopers pull their weapons out and move in formation, only small artillery weapons breaking up the endless lines of soldiers. They gather facing a large door and forcefield combination at the end of bunker, ready to exit out into the tunnels and out onto the battlefield. The aforementioned commanding officer stands near the front, her own weapon tightly gripped for the final battle about to come as the forcefield begins to slowly go off.

That’s loudly interrupted by a pounding explosion on the ceiling, shaking the whole building. A few of the troops (including the commanding officer) break their concentration look above but seemingly see nothing. A tense silence passes for moment when deep cracks in the ceiling appear. Small bits of the building begin to fall as the cracks spread and before they can do anything the bunker begins to cave in.

Immediately alarmed, the commander tries to order a retreat outside; its futile and within seconds the large army is crushed underneath an endless onslaught of dense metal and soil. A single shocktrooper near the front almost gets out, but doesn’t get far enough and is buried under the collapsing rubble. A wide shot of the collapse from the tunnel show the only surviving element of this Mandalorian force; a single blaster.

Cut to kilometers away, outside a makeshift settlement ,where a Republic officer of some rank calmly observes with a pair of binoculars. Seemingly satisfied, he speaks into his communicator and reports that while they need to verify with a deeper scan, it appears this latest bomb did the trick. An oddly familiar voice responds, pleased at the news and tells him to utilize it again for any other suspected underground bases on the continent.

The officer assents and as he walks back into camp the camera shows him nonchalantly stepping on small piece of battle debris; a faded and forgotten bit of battle armor with the Mandalorian symbol.

Cut to a young humanoid Jedi on the same planet some ways away overlooking the destroyed section of a city. Its a metal and concrete jungle, impossible to tell the original shapes of most of the buildings. One of her troops walks up and tells her they’ve discovered nothing significant in the most recent sweep. The Jedi nods and replies that she doesn’t sense anything significant. She tells the soldier to leave a token force in certain areas, but to recall the rest back for new orders.

Before she can finish, he suddenly stops and looks behind herself in the distance. The soldier’s confused and asks if something’s wrong. The Jedi stares intently at the sky and mentions there’s Republic bombers headed their way. He suggests they’re probably doing reconnaissance, but she’s not convinced. She pulls out her communicator and asks the local HQ if there’s a bombing raid planned for their location.

She gets dead silence. As the nearby officer begins to get visibly nervous at the prospect of bombers getting closer, she loudly asks if there’s a bombing planned for the area. Again getting no answer, she shouts for HQ to respond. After an agonizing pause, this time a crackling is heard, and a distorted sound lets out a few indecipherable words at first. Soon a clear male voice replies they need to maintain code in case of enemy surveillance.

She quickly cuts him off and yells to cancel any bombing raids for at their location now, repeating the phrase even louder. Through his own binoculars the officer finally sees the crafts for himself and realizes she’s correct about their presence. Seconds tick by as he looks back and forth between them and her, awaiting either the Jedi’s orders or the bombs to drop. Neither makes a noise; only the steady roar of the bombers in the distant sky is heard.

Just as they pass high above, HQ’s voice breaks out on the communicator, repeating to that the raid has been aborted. The officer nearly sits down out of relief, and even the Jedi briefly closes her eyes, grateful at the news. Headquarters explains there was a mis-communcation about coordinates and apologizes, asking about the status of her people. She explains that they’re fine, and they’ll discuss the matter later. HQ understands and cuts out.

Danger now averted, the officer is still a bit shaken by the near destruction. She asks if he’s alright. “I’m not afraid to die”, he replies “but killed by your own side; what’s worse than that?” She considers the question herself.

“I don’t know.”

CWBorne’s Prequel Treatment Omnibus Thread (Current Work: Revisions & Edits)

Very much appreciate the feedback S-Snake88. Glad to know that I’m hitting some good checkmarks as far as a solid Star Wars story. To answer your questions:

Nellith’s lightsaber is green. I really dig the idea that Luke’s color becomes an internal callback to a prominent Jedi of the past, and his role in bringing Anakin to the light recalls Nellith finding her way back.

The large scale station is not the Death Star, though in a broad sense the latter clearly drew upon designs and specs from the former. Its less than half the size of the Death Star, with the general concept being that the nature of Republic designs and schematics are already subtly reflecting the future Empire.

Agewise its roughly like this circa episode I:
-Anakin and Carima are in their mid 20’s.
-Kenobi and Darelda in their mid 30s.
-Bail is late 30s with Crayde around 40.
-Phakerem, being both a Mandalorian prone to stitching herself together with various parts (a character trait that’ll expand upon in future revisions of Episode I and II) is fairly long lived, and is at least 200.
-Palpatine is middle aged… seemingly.

On that last point its never overtly said, but there’s hints that Palpatine is a bit older than quite anybody realizes, and he’s possibly been waiting for some time for an opportunity to gain a high position. Near the end of Episode III when all possible opposition against has dissipated, in private his face begins to show signs of being older and decrepit, suggesting that illusions about maintaining a more youthful facade are no longer necessary now that he’s achieved absolute power. Come ESB and ROTJ, we see that he’s wholly embraced what his age and use of the Dark Side has turned him into.

CWBorne’s Prequel Treatment Omnibus Thread (Current Work: Revisions & Edits)

Chromer, I’ll likely be splitting time between fleshing out elements in the Episode I scriptment and developing initial ideas for Episode III. After the the adventure story in Son of the Suns and the war movie in A Galaxy’s Fury, Broken Forces will be part tragedy, part thriller, so it’s gonna take a while to get the broader pieces set in my head, even before I actually start writing it out. Once all three episodes feel fleshed out in their scriptments, I’ll start turning them into screenplays.

Dloomys, I’ll definitely add a scene of Fordala and company being picked up by the rescue ship, and perhaps a dialogue scene with him and someone in the epilogue if it doesn’t break the pace too much. I heavily considered going with the “name of the first fallen Jedi” angle, but ultimately concluded that Anakin would view himself too much as a hero to goi with such a name, even ironically. Him taking a title and gradually corrupting what it stood for ended up feeling so fitting to his character that I felt it was the perfect end image for Episode II.

CWBorne’s Prequel Treatment Omnibus Thread (Current Work: Revisions & Edits)

Good eye on that Ben/Nik error Chromer, I’ve since fixed it.

JHodges, I might end up putting Bracett into Episode II in a minor role; she wasn’t consciously excluded, there just weren’t any scenes where she came to mind in terms of use.

In regards to the future, in all likelihood its going to be either details and revisions to Episode I (which feels more bare bones to me after some of the more descriptive stuff in Episode II) or beginning initial story layout for Episode III. Possibly simultaneous work on both, we’ll see.

CWBorne’s Prequel Treatment Omnibus Thread (Current Work: Revisions & Edits)

Well folks, its been several years, numerous late nights, countless hours of writer’s block, and a ridiculous amount of caffeine, but Episode II finally concludes. To everyone who’s commented and messaged me about the story, you have my infinite thanks for keeping me going on this. Just working on this Episode alone has been fun, hilarious, exciting, infuriating, and even a little weird; and it draws to a close now. I can’t give any kind of definitive time table on when and how Episode III will get going as there’s a bunch of stuff I need to formulate for that, however I hope you’ll all come along for the journey and see all the future updates and revisions that are to come. Once again thank you, and enjoy the end of A Galaxy’s Fury.

On the streets Kenobi attending to various injured Jedi and immediately senses something terribly wrong in the Force, unsure of what’s happened. He directs his attention towards the only source he can think of and looks at Nellith, who stands some distance away, lost in thought. Hints of the earlier rage and new shame are apparent on her face and she can only manage his look briefly before looking away.

Fighting back the pain, Carima watches as Nik cuts away the heavy weight and frees her from the debris before tearing off part of his shirt to band the injury on her arm. She wobbly manages to sit up as he finishes, and the two look at each other, seemingly unsure of what to say. Skywalker begins to say he’s sorry before she cuts him in a passionate one armed hug and the two quietly embrace each other as the camera pulls out, revealing them as one of the few unbroken elements the amidst the destruction of the battle.

Inside an emergency transport vessel Phakerem sits blank faced as high ranking Mandalorians and others are in a frenzy around her. As the ship exits the atmosphere she briefly looks at the window viewscreen, watching as Republic forces now taking the planet back. Slowly and silently she removes the mechanical implant on her face, exposing her non-functioning eye injured at the end of the last film. She stares at the implant; countless what if scenarios playing out in her mind as the ship jumps to hyperspace.

Its Bail Organa who watches that and many other ships move off the planet, ordering the fleet to let them go as they need to focus on the neutralizing what’s left of the ground forces. He’s told they’re getting several high coded messages from the capital, including Darelda and with an emotional sigh of relief he relays the word to get her and others on relief ships as soon as possible. A small montage follows as the the three pairs left (Kenobi/Nellith, 81/Darelda, and Anakin/Carima) react to the relief craft appearing to pick them up.

Wipe to the damaged but still intact Republic Senate Building where President Palpatine overlooks the half ruined capital, overflowing with small construction vehicles and medical vessels. While frowning at the devastation, there’s a subtle hint of satisfaction and odd hope in his eyes. His viewing is interrupted by the arrival of Darelda who’s let in by his security. He’s immensely pleased to see her in person again, saying he’d feared something terrible after the initial battle reports.

Organa tells him it was just that and worse, adding that’s why she wants to see him. The senator mentions that they’ve both seen the suffering the war’s brought; from the food lines, refugee relocations, prisoners of war, all the families on endless worlds that have lost someone they care about. He sadly nods and says its an all too common pain in the galaxy and that everyone’s felt it. She calmly counters not quite everyone. He’s intrigued and says to go on.

She explains that they may have turned the tide, but if the Senate remains as blind and indifferent as its been, then they will have won this war for nothing. A fact which Darelda says would dishonor the sacrifices she’s seen. “I watched some of Republic’s greatest guardians get massacred like common animals. I never want to see that again.” At that, Palpatine nods. “Indeed not.” He inquires what she’s proposing. “Maybe the Senate can’t be clean, but I have to believe it can function again… with your help.” She gets a warm smile from the man as he walks in close. “Let’s see what we can do.”

Cut to an old, former Jedi temple on Coruscant where Nellith observes several hundred Jedi gathered. Ben walks up, silently standing next to her. There’s a beat before she speaks first; “It never fully goes away.” He slowly looks at her, understanding what she means; still whispering it out loud to remind himself: “The dark side.” Korusya continues, detailing that that most of the time its just a faint whisper in her ear, a shadow just out of her sight, but that it’s always there and always will be.

Obi-Wan nods, and says she’s managed to control it hundreds of years of her life and that one weak moment doesn’t erase that. Nellith raises an eyebrow and asks if he really thinks that’s all there will be. His confidence doesn’t waver and he tells her he believes in that, even if she doesn’t. This mollifies her somewhat and she shifts the conversation to the clone Jedi, saying the one who got on their ship wasn’t like the others here. Kenobi agrees, suggesting it was likely designed for infiltration.

She reflects on the implication, extrapolating that there’s likely countless other subversive Force clones out there, ones not likely beaten by a simple mind trick. The gravity of the situation weighs on Ben, stating that its going to be difficult to find them and we’ll have to trust in the Force to tell the difference when it counts. To his surprise a bitter laugh escapes Nellith’s lips. “Oh we’ll know Sir Kenobi, but I wonder, will anybody else?” Ben has no immediate answer as she walks off.

Not too far away, Nik and Carima move through open street tunnels on Coruscant. With a frown, she stares at her now part mechanical arm, giving it some test movements as she walks while he attempts to cheer her up. “Hey, at least you kept your hand, not everyone’s that lucky. I actually think it adds to your look.” Nivir is unimpressed. “Please don’t make me regret saving you.” Anakin tells her not to worry as he’s got her something to take her mind off of it. She sarcastically asks if its a mechanical leg to match.

She gets her reply as the two walk over to a large abandoned lot and see small but well made triangle shaped vessel, surprisingly clean given the state of other ships in the area. He casually gestures to it, “Not quite a cargo ship, but I figured you could get some use out if it. She’s happily surprised and deeply impressed. “A T-15 Skyhopper, I didn’t think they still even made this model. This your idea of a thank you, Skywalker?” He shrugs.“I prefer to see it as an engagement present.” She’s outright confused for a moment before she figures out what he means and stares at him dumbfounded.

That’s exactly the look that gets a proud grin on his face. “You said my marriage proposal could use a little work. What do you think of this one?” The disbelief lingers just for a moment before she happily kisses him on the mouth and holds his face in her hands. “You ridiculous, handsome, shorted sighted fool!” He smirks. “You did say handsome right?” She laughs and pecks him on the cheek. He says he has to get to the temple, but will meet her back here. “Provided you don’t take of with this thing before I get back." Its her turn to grin. “I think I’ll manage” Skywalker warmly nods and heads off.

Before he reaches the main hall of the temple, Kenobi meets him in the hallway, face curious. “Well?” Nik confirms that she said yes and Ben is thrilled, giving him congratulations on his upcoming marriage. More serious than he lets on, the older man asks if Anakin’s thinking about the possibility of children. The latter’s eyes go a little wide. “Let’s not go crazy, just yet.” Obi-Wan tells him they don’t want to keep those inside waiting.

On the way there, the younger man’s face falls a bit and starts to talk about how he’s not sure if he deserves this whole ceremony and almost describes how something happened during the mission, but Kenobi softly interrupts and mentions that Nik was right. The Jedi need to be on the front lines and furthermore with the new kind of clones the Coaltion’s resorting to, its up to the likes of them and Nellith to step up and lead. Ben appends that’s what this event’s really about, the Jedi in there need to see an example they can follow, and that’s Anakin.

They’re words that rock the latter to his core and when Obi-Wan if there was anything else about the mission Skywalker wanted to mention, he’s initially quiet before finally replying; “No, you said all that needed to be said." Kenobi blithely slaps his old friend on the back, oblivious to the subtly forced nature of Nik’s reassuring smile.

In the old temple grounds, a diverse group of aliens watch a stoic Anakin on his knees in front of an old and hunched over female Twi’lek. In surprisingly booming voice she announces that it is always an honor to award knighthood to Jedi that have earned the rank, but that they are greatly privileged to grant another high honor to one who has lived up to the sacred ideals they have striven towards for milennia.

She continues, stating that’s why they have gathered here in recognition of his role in freeing and protecting the Republic in the most dire of times. Kenobi looks on, expression full of pride while Nellith watches unsure, sensing something more in the air than just an uplifting celebration. The Twi’lek Jedi continues with her speech, activating her lightsaber and safely knighting Skywalker near his shoulders.

There’s a small internal struggle, but the same quiet determination as before settles on Nik’s face as she finishes. “And so Anakin Skywalker you are now recognized as a Jedi Knight and as spoken in the ancient Jedi tongue awarded the title of Highest Guardian: Darth Vader.”

The End

BillionaireHobo Sequel Trilogy and more

I think the more restrained Ren fits there, because that sort of rage beneath the surface seems more dangerous and already has a viewer wondering in the back of their mind, what’s he going to do when he really lashes out?

As far as the black comedy, it can work even with the context of the villains (what does one call the “apology accepted Captain Needa” scene from ESB if not calling for very dark laughs?), its just a little riskier in an opening because you don’t want the audience too comfortable in associating that tone with the antagonists unless its a consistent element.

With the First Order and their presence as a threat, I think the visual and symbolic shorthand is really potentially effective tool in demonstrating that. I’ve mentioned the example in ESB, but ANH as well paints the picture of what the Empire is with just with the Star Destroyer engulfing the Tantive IV and Vader surveying the dead Rebels on board.

The image you suggested in the opening crawl could be the key to selling why the Snoke’s forces are dangerous right now. Maybe we see images of the New Republic now scrambling to maintain order and the Resistance struggling with supplies and coordination (perhaps via surveillance/security video Hux and company are watching if you still want a villain opening) and then we cut to the First Order and it is organized, it is well maintained, and it is disciplined. One overt visual contrast and we immediately know that in a sea of galactic chaos, this is the group that is still in deadly control of itself. They lost their base/weapon, and not only haven’t they not fallen they’re still running like clockwork.

Finally as it pertains to Snoke, I don’t know your full story; it feels like there should be some kind of intrigue to his order of taking out Luke. Perhaps its something involving Rey or some weakness of Skywalker’s Snoke thinks he knows, but “evil overlord ordering destruction of one of the heroes” is such a standard scene in fiction like Star Wars that one kind of needs to have some sort of pizzazz or hook to keep the audience fully interested.

BillionaireHobo Sequel Trilogy and more

Kylo feels like he should be more active and the “miserable wreck” angle feels a little too played up. Force Awakens had the audience wondering who this person was, and I think it might work if the question is now “after killing Han and being beaten by Rey, what does he do?” Granted there’s potential in the scorned and pitied Ren gradually changing/evolving over the course of the film, but him appearing this, well, pathetic this early might be a bit of a turnoff to the audience.

Not helped by there being no real threatening hook with Hux or Snoke to really sell the threat of the First Order in significant fashion. It doesn’t have to be a typical “villains demonstrating how evil they are over the heroes” scene either, just something that really sets the tone for what the antagonists are in the rest of the film. Like in ESB, the scene with Vader sells the Empire’s scope with Star Destroyers/Executor, his intuition in finding the Rebels, and the subtle dismissal of lesser officers like Ozzel. From that you know the Empire is still dangerous, Vader obsessed with Skywalker, and get an idea of Darth’s place within the Imperial order.

This is just the opening, and there’s plenty of places to go from it, but for the first scene with the antagonists, Snoke laying out Ren’s failures and little else other than talk of more training just doesn’t seem like it grabs an audience all that much. Just my take, though.

CWBorne’s Prequel Treatment Omnibus Thread (Current Work: Revisions & Edits)

Whew, some late night writing yields real results as the third act essentially reaches its climax. Its largely cooldown epilogue stuff after this, and I can’t say with any certainty if I’ll get it knocked out in one update or two. Glad to finally finish this huge portion and as always appreciate the feedback you guys have given. Enjoy.

Cool eyes ahead, he stares forward and calmly commands the clones to stand down, still keeping his lightsaber in hand. Nellith is bewildered by this turn as is Phakerem who initially laughs at what appears to be an absurd tactic. Both their moods change as they seen the effect on the clone Jedi, who begin demonstrating the same internal struggle as Obi-Wan clone while the real Kenobi continues the mind trick, telling them the battle is over.

Still not believing what she’s seeing, the general angrily orders her forces to attack, however only a few can even get a few steps forward before they stop; looking almost sick with indecision about what to do. Korusya looks at Ben, her expression revealing a gradual realization and quiet acknowledgment about his strategy. Their gazes meet ever so briefly and she immediately senses what to do, closing her eyes and silently mouthing “the trick” herself.

The effect is soon seen all across the battle as Jedi battling clones pick up the phrase one by one and put it into action. Mandalorian soldiers are thrown off as they see their support suddenly paralyzed into inaction, allowing their foes to start breaking the stalemate. In a wide shot from above the shift in the battle is considerable, with Coalition forces moving back, Jedi moving forward, and the clones haphazardly staying in place, assisting neither side as they continue to break down. Phakerem tells her shocktroopers and clones to stay their ground, with few heeding her words.

On the roof, Carima runs through the wreckage and again Crayde fires a shot. This one counts and with a loud crash the debris falls over and pins her down, with her body covered from the waist down. She struggles to push the weight off and pull herself free, and almost succeeds, but it proves too heavy and she’s trapped. She sees her blaster is still close and she desperately reaches out for it, fingers grasping the handle when her arm is shot, making her scream out in pain. We see Draezin stroll over to her, weapon trained; “A noble effort, would you care to try it again?”

The sounds gets Anakin to look away from the battle on the surface only to find the Obi-Wan clone has somehow gotten himself close, both of their positions parallel to the the edge of the building. Nik starts to raise his hand again for another command, but the other man points lightsaber close to cut off the attempt. The created Kenobi’s eyes, now fully desperate and growing more unhinged by the moment, briefly flicker to the deactivated lightsaber in Skywalker’s hand. Its a given the latter likely won’t be able to get it on in time and for a second the clone is determined again.

That disappears as the madness returns, with his sword hand shaking in anxious terror, and his eyes darting back and forth between his prey and the streets far below. Nik’s face is a mix of subtle horror and concern as he watches this copy of his friend and mentor fall to pieces before him. The clone begins to violently shake his head and almost speaks. Anakin quietly reaches out to him, hand extended in friendship not command: “Ben…” and watches in shock as the clone closes his eyes, and throws himself off the building.

Skywalker watches him go down and then quickly turns his head away, not wanting to see end of it. He sits down, breathing hard and almost in tears before he remembers Carima and heads off to help her.

Cut to Bail Organa’s squadrons and regiments forcing the Coalition forces into widescale withdrawal all over the planet. Phakerem is informed of this on her radio and has little reaction, in disbelief at the sight of her clone project going up in flames as the various replicated Jedi succumb to insanity, a few even rendered catatonic by their condition. One of her lieutenants yells they have to get to one of the few retreating freighters that’s close and the general is uncharacteristically silent, quietly following his lead to the direction of the ship.

The agony continues for Carima as Crayde sadistically kicks her blaster away and puts his foot on her hand, further exposing the deep wound on her arm. “As brave as you are stupid. Tell me, does it feel worth it right now?” Nivir gives him the most hate filled glare we’ve ever seen from her, with Draezin just grins at. “I have to say, Skywalker didn’t prove to be very engaging,” he aims the blaster at her other arm, already anticipating the pain to come “but who knows, perhaps you will.”

That question is never answered as a lightsaber blade cuts the blaster in half and a hard punch to his face knocks him to the ground.

Carima watches in surprise as she sees Anakin standing tall his face enraged and jaw clenched. She yells “Nik!” out to him, however his attention is all on Crayde and be begins delivering a hard series of kicks, making him pitifully roll away a bit with each blow. A few more hard blows and even a few strong stomps have Draezin gasping in pain and for air, resorting to a slow crawl away on all fours as he tries to recover.

Eventually managing to get himself awkwardly sitting, he notices Skywalker; the latter with his lightsaber ready, clearly waiting for the man to give him a reason to use it. Crayde gets a brief glance at the battle going on around them, finally seeing that the Republic is indeed winning the battle. He looks up at Anakin and can say only one thing. “I surrender.”

There’s a beat as Anakin briefly takes that statement in, before giving his own reply of lifting the ex-Senator up by the neck and growling for Crayde to repeat what he just said. Struggling to breath a bit, Draezin reiterates that as Chancellor of the Coalition, he is formerly surrendering as a prisoner of war to be taken into their custody. He adds that it is Skywalker’s duty to escort him to his superior officers to be handed over to Republic officials.

The young Jedi can’t believe it and asks if really expects to be a prisoner after everything he’s done; even asking why he doesn’t think the Republic won’t immediately execute him for his crimes. His typical confidence comes back as Draezin points out he’s far too valuable to get rid of. He knows the Mandalorians in and out, has knowledge of Phakerem’s war plans, has the keys to helping the Republic win the war and save countless lives in the process.

Anakin’s face gets more downcast as the reality of the man’s words become clear. Crayde continues, summing up the situation. “You know I’m right, don’t you? It doesn’t matter what I’ve done, a man like me is the best chance your side has to win. That imperfect little Republic of yours that you want to save, well here’s your chance. So just be the good soldier you’ve always been and do what has to be done.” The young Jedi has a thousand yard stare as all the recent events that brought him to this choice run through his mind.

Still trapped, Carima calls out to Nik again and upon hearing her voice, Skywalker’s face now becomes one of cold conclusion. He deactivates his lightsaber and just as quickly picks the other man up with both hands and walks over to the edge of the roof. A horrified Crayde screams in despair, begging for mercy. “Stop! You’re a Jedi, you have to do what’s best for the Republic!”

“As you wish.” Anakin throws him over the edge, and watches the man plummet to his death.

CWBorne’s Prequel Treatment Omnibus Thread (Current Work: Revisions & Edits)

Sorry for the wait everybody, did not want to post anything till I had some real meaty content to roll out. I’m hoping (but not absolutely promising) to finish the second half of the big climax next time, with one or two updates for the post battle epilogue stuff. Without further ado, the conclusion of Episode II continues:

Skywalker is shocked silent for a few moments, looking at Crayde with disbelief, muttering that there’s no way they could have done this. Draezin clarifies that its remarkable what one can salvage from a crash site on Tatooine; parts, weapons, and even a small sample of blood from an injured Jedi. He looks the clone over. “Its a crude one of course, no brain scan for complete reproduction, but I think it’ll do.” He takes step back, stares a hole through Anakin, and utters a single command.

“Go.” At that the Kenobi double activates not one, but two blue lightsabers and lunges towards Anakin.

Back on the streets, Phakerem’s forces strike first, with small bits of debris telekinetically thrown towards the Nellith and company, with most cut down and the others doing little damage. The initial soldiers on both sides clash in a storm of sabers and gauntlets as Mandalorian shocktroopers don’t hesitate in joining the fray. Very quickly the fighting shifts as Jedi on both sides Force jump to levels of varying height, transforming it into an outright three dimensional engagement.

Some distance away 81 asks Darelda if she’s sure about this plan. She tells the droid they’re in enemy sights either way, they might as well make themselves small targets of ships than big targets of soldiers. He nods and tells her to hold on tight as she clings tightly on his back. With forceful but precise movements HX begins to punch small holes in the side of the building to climb it, gradually carrying himself and Organa up.

Fighting close to each other, Nellith and Obi-Wan work together in perfect sync as both fight off Mandalorian shocktroopers. The former shows off better skill with a lightsaber than the latter, even demonstrating small but significant use of telekinesis in conjunction with the blade. During a small break from the fighting, the two spot Phakerem not too far away with her clones taking out several Jedi. After a beat the General’s eyes meet Ben’s and she quickly gestures to her forces to move in. Koryusa and Kenobi ready themselves, as the camera focuses in on the small sparks coming from her fingers.

All over Coruscant the larger battle rages on as Republic ships and troops begin landing on the planetary population centers en mass, with Coalition ships and mixed regiments of Mandalorians as well as clones scrambling to form defenses against them. His ship within the atmosphere but still far from the surface, Bail Organa orders massive bombardments and specific artillery attacks. The latter proves immediately effective against the still largely immobilized and ill placed planetary artillery.

Cut to Skywalker just barely dodging swings of the Kenobi clone’s blades and rolling away. The replicated Jedi adjusts his movements and starts to get in close. Nik is still trying to make sense of this. “Listen Ben, if there’s any part of you that’s like the man I know, you know this is wrong. Whatever they’ve tried to make you, you can fight it.” The clone responds with another attack, this time a horizontal and vertical swing of his two lightsabers, which comes within a hair of cutting Nik as he dodges to the ground.

This is only a momentary reprieve as the clone continues to stalk after him. Thinking quickly and still not on his feet Anakin attempts to pull the lightsabers from his enemy’s grip, yet the Kenobi creation holds on, using the Force himself to keep them in hand. The attempted disarming makes him more aggressive as he attempts to stab Skywalker outright with both blades as the latter desperately rolls away to avoid each thrust. Each move gets him closer and closer to the edge of the roof.

Cut to 81 continuing his ascent on the building, slowing down only when they begin to get fired on from the ground. Darelda will have none of that, holding onto the droid one armed while she uses the other to grab her blaster and fire at their attacker, hitting them after several attempts. The coast now clear, he resumes the climb.

Back below Phakerem and company are finally close to their prey. At first it appears she’s going to say something to them, but instead merely smiles and attacks. Before her forces can overwhelm him, Koryusa moves in with her defense, immediately taking out one of them before they can react. Ben remains focused on the General, his mood much more combative since their last battle on Alderaan; contrasting with her more controlled and confident manner. Not concerned about the odds still being two on one, Nellith engages both of the clone Jedi left, clearly anticipating many of their moves.

Its a different story for Skywalker who is forced back to the edge of the roof by the clone, both lightsabers pushing inching closer and closer. Crayde watches nearby clearly enjoying himself and awaiting the Jedi to either be cut to pieces or fall to his death. Now close enough the created Obi-Wan raises both sabers and readies his attack as Anakin looks back and forth between him and the distant ground below

Before the killing blow can be made, a blaster rings out a shot which the clone instinctively deflects with the blade in his right hand. Its a perfect distraction however as Anakin knocks the other saber out of his hand and while it flies in the air, pulls it to himself, turning the odds even. An infuriated Crayde looks to the source of the shot and sees a bit of Carima as she hides back behind the ship debris. Eye practically twitching, he grabs his own blaster and fiercely moves to deal with her. Some of his confidence back, Nik readies himself as he and the clone clash.

The clash on the surface continues with the General finally speaking to Ben, mockingly saying as she battles that he should be happy given that the galaxy will have Knights to protect it once again. Emotions only somewhat restrained he angrily asks how many sentient lives the Coalition will enslave, how many twisted creations will they make before Phakerem and her like are satisfied. She iterates that they’ve done what the Mandalorian’s have always done in turning the weak into the strong.

As they battle she continues, pointing out the clones are what the warriors of the Force should be, what they were always meant to be. Obi-Wan doesn’t hide his disgust, saying all the Coalition’s done is corrupt the innocent. Nearly striking him with her gauntlet, she corrects him that they exist to fix everything wrong with the galaxy; “the people, the state…” She gestures to several of Kenobi’s dead allies, “…even Jedi.”

From her spot, Darelda watches aghast as she sees various Jedi cut down in the fighting, eventually unable to keep watching and turning away. As she holds her head in hand, though unsaid, its clear from her face this battle has changed something in her.

Circumstances have changed for Nellith who finds herself encircled by now half a dozen clones with lightsabers in hand. She glances around and sees no allies close, including Obi-Wan some distance away now. Seeing how wholly surrounded she is, Korusya knows there’s only one option. With a deep breath she closes her eyes and holds up her lightsaber above her head with one hand. While her foes initially hesitate, they soon move in for the kill.

Right when they are within striking distance, a sudden flash of blue lightning comes from her hand striking all of them and throwing the entire group to the ground. Quick cut to her eyes which show a slight discoloration not there before. The following wide shot shows the clones not quite recovering, abundantly not ready for this display of the Force. It gets the attention of Ben and Phakerem, both shocked by what they just witnessed. She gives him the briefest of contemptuous looks before running towards Nellith to deal with the Jedi herself, Kenobi quickly following.

The clone is still giving Anakin a fight, even as both men are armed. That and the worry about what’s happened to Carima keeps him in a stalemate against the created Obi-Wan, neither man giving up any ground. When he takes his attention briefly away to see what in the debris Draezin just fired at, he nearly loses his hand from a close swing, leaving his wrist somewhat grazed. Instinctively, he jumps back to regroup.

This is unnoticed by Carima who carefully shuffles from one destroyed pile to another, doing everything to avoid Draezin’s sight. When Nivir spots him, back turned she readies her sidearm to hit him, only for his blaster shot to hit the pile of debris near her, causing some of it to fall over and almost crushing her. She soon hears his footsteps coming towards her and Carima makes a run for it.

Hearing Crayde in the distance shout at her (with sadistic anticipation) to show herself as “Skywalker deserves a show before he goes!”, proves to be to much for Nik. Eyes furious at the clone now charging towards him and fist clenched, the enraged and frustrated Jedi screams “Stop!” To his complete shock his enemy does just that, confusedly halting, just out of lightsaber range. This baffles Anakin at first, before he quickly comprehends what’s going on.

Peace coming back to him he relucantly deactivates his lightsaber, waves his free hand, and calmly states “You don’t want to fight me.” The clone doesn’t nod, but does seemingly understand. Skywalker follows with commands that the Jedi are not their enemy, that he should deactivate his weapon, and put it down. Its seemingly effective, yet before the replicated Ben can go through with the latter order, he hesitates. Within a few seconds, the clone’s hands start shaking and Anakin sees the man’s eyes begin to twitch.

Nik repeats the command, though its clear something has gone wrong with the created Obi-Wan, who stressfully holds the side of his head and is seemingly at war with himself in the act of giving up the lightsaber. Skywalker takes this chance to get close, but the other man holds up his weapon in defense, some part of him still in attack mode. Falling to his knees, the clone struggles to compose himself and for the first time looks up, not with murderous determination or confusion, but desperation and madness. Anakin anxiously moves away and checks on the Jedi in the streets.

Cut to Phakerem catching up with Nellith who upon seeing the infamous Mandalorian quickly engages her. The two meet each ferocious strike with their own ferocious strike, as gauntlet and lightsaber hit one another hard. The general gets out a quick remark on her making for a better clone than Kenobi, with Koruysa remaining silent. Ben himself then arrives just as the previously electrocuted clone Jedi begin to recover in the background.

Already realizing they’ll soon be surrounded once more, Nellith moves herself away, and readies her lightning again, only for Obi-Wan to tell her no. She looks at the younger Jedi defiant, and he implores her that the Dark Side can’t win this. She roars that they don’t have a choice, as there’s no other way. “Its this and we live, or nothing and we die.” Even as Phakerem and clones start to come forward, he yells there has to be another way. She is unconvinced. “Like what?”

Kenobi gets his answer as he looks above and sees Anakin’s skyscraper in the distance. On that building, Skywalker is in fact looking in his general direction and immediately we see the Force connection between the two reestablished, as Nik says quietly to himself and his mentor: “Mind trick Ben, the mind trick.” With a slow turn back towards Phakerem and her clones, Obi-Wan quietly understands.

CWBorne’s Prequel Treatment Omnibus Thread (Current Work: Revisions & Edits)

We finish our set pieces, get the proverbial chess board ready, and finally, finally set up the Act III confrontation I’ve been dying to do. Next update, its showtime.

Back on Coruscant, its utter chaos all around as Anakin and company reach the top of the building, seeing several ships having already taken off. In the distance various ships fly around, battle, and are shot down. After blasting the lock on the elevator Skywalker spots a a small travel craft still left that various soldiers are running towards. He and Carima stay back as he orders the platoon to get a hold of it and they do so, bringing down the enemy troops before they board and (seen via a quick cut to inside the ship) quickly take out those inside.

On his communicator Nik gets the clear from his lieutenant for him and Nivir to board and they cautiously begin to move forward before a large blast from out of nowhere strikes the roof, coming within a hair of hitting the ship itself. Anakin and Carima fall back in shock, and soon enough see that it came from an enemy vessel, a two clone piloted fighter with three wings leading a small squadron of similar fighters. Bewildered, she asks why they’re attacking their own ship, and he mutters one of the soldiers on board must have gotten a message out before they were killed.

Skywalker begins to relay his command, and after Nivir gives him a heavyhearted, but understanding look, orders his platoon to take off and get away safe. The lieutenant loudly protests they won’t leave without him and the Jedi yells that they have risked their lives on his behalf for the last time today and that they have their orders. There’s a half second pause and with clear sorrow in his voice, the lieutenant agrees to obey. He and Carima watch silent as the ship gains propulsion and rapidly speeds away from the battle.

Just as quickly several of the clone fighters move from the squadron to chase after it, with one staying behind. Exposed in their current position they find cover behind a destroyed passenger ship in pieces on the roof as the sole fighter gets in close, its twin guns already firing on their position. All around the pair is dust and debris as the two keep their ears covered and eyes closed, waiting for the moment the cacophony dies down. It does so just briefly as the fighter moves past the building and begins to turn around for another pass.

Faces dirty and both breathing heavy, Anakin and Carima look at each other, sharing exhausted grimaces as the reality of the situation hits them. With only silence he lightly grabs her hand and gives it squeeze as the two ready themselves for the second attack. He however starts to sense something and looks up to the distant sky, expression curious at what’s coming. She starts to ask what he’s looking at and gets an answer as tumbling through the sky is a Phakerem’s ship with Kenobi’s still attached. This proves to be a distraction for the fighter which also spots it and breaks off from its attack.

On the Jedi ship, Nellith screams that they need to break off and with uncharacteristic joy 81 replies that they’ve finally got the field control working and hits the switch. And indeed the smaller vessel finally manages to break off just as it passes by the high rise, smashing into and destroying the clone fighter when it attempts fire. This comes at a cost as the ship is thrown off by the collision, and is still falling towards the surface. The Mandalorian ship manages to stop its tail spin but is also still descending.

In a wide landscape shot we see the vessels hit at an angle very hard, both taking out several small one and two story buildings as the ground is torn apart by the respective landings. Despite the bedlam of the battle, the crash is still terribly loud, with even Nivir and Skwyalker high above reacting to the sound. Following a quick check to see if there are any other enemy crafts coming, they make their way over to the edge of the roof and look down, seeing what’s left of the wreckage.

What’s left is not much, with the Mandalorian ship broken in several pieces; the front still intact and the rear section totally smashed to bits. Ben’s vessel some distance away fares slightly better, still intact but bent and malformed all over. On what’s left of the bridge the entire crew is down, as even Ben and Nellith are almost knocked out by the crash, with the two just barely getting to their feet, battling grogginess the entire way. Giving herself a moment to recover, offscreen she activates her lightsaber allowing her to cut open a hole in the wall we see her walking out of.

Obi-Wan meanwhile attends to the others nearby, checking up on several Jedi who are also recovering. A few feet away Darelda’s eyes open and she finds her body carefully cradled on the ground by HX, who appears to be powered down. Before she can try and move his emergency backup hits and the droid reactivates. Seeing she’s alright, he let’s her body go as Ben makes his way over to help her up. Kenobi says they need to see how bad the rest of the damage is and 81 examines the wreck around them.

“Well, if nothing else I’m told any crash one can walk away from is a good one.”

They glance down at his lower body and react. Briefly confused, he then realizes what they’re looking at as one of his legs is destroyed beyond repair. She manages a small smile. “I’m pretty sure protocol will demand that be called a hop, not a walk.” 81 sighs and dryly responds. “Protect Senator Organa they told me, she’ll be forever grateful by your service, they told me.” Darelda lightly laughs and he’s helped up by the two of them and once on his working leg, leans against the wall for support.

Confident that everyone in the immediate vicinity are alright, Obi-Wan walks out of the hole Nellith created and the others (including 81 using some small debris as a makeshift crutch) follow. They step outside and immediately witness the chaos of the current battle. Kenobi is relieved to see other surviving Jedi slowly coming out of the crashed ship and notes Nellith’s position several dozen feet away. Once next to her she points to the figures in the distance far away from them. He can’t actually see it, yet with the Force he knows what’s there.

What’s there is in fact is an alive and confident General Phakerem, with her own surviving Mandalorian shocktroopers by her side as the destroyed ship lays destroyed behind them. She keys in a code on her communicator and gets into contact with a specific location on Coruscant and gives a single command. “Send the neutralizers in.”

Back on the roof, Anakin and Carima sit near the wreckage, and she accesses their situation. “Trapped with no stairs, no elevator, and no ship. We’re just the biggest fools in the galaxy aren’t we?” Nik begins to say with a shrug that they’ve always been that, however he stops when he sees a very familiar ship come close and rather than fire at them, land carefully on the roof. He tells Nivir to stay where she is and moves to check it out. A tired frown spreads over his face as he sees two figures come out, the second in a hooded robe and instantly recognizing the first as the current chancellor of the Coaltion.

In contrast to their first encounter, Draezin Crayde does not smirk. His face is coldly furious, and he gives the Skywalker all the contempt he can muster which actually somewhat amuses Anakin.” Funny thing about that pending execution Chancellor; turned out not to be so pending.”

The other man stares back and speaks with a bitterness he’s not displayed before. “You’re a self righteous tool of the Republic, but I’ll give it to you, you stayed quiet, kept your group secret, and even pulled off an escape. The loyal soldier through and through.” Nik gives a sarcastic nod of acknowledgment. “Good to know an uncaring lowlife dictator still allows room for humility in his life.”

Crayde ignores the comment and continues. “You’ve taken away my full victory, but I’ll be damned if you take my spoils too. The general wants another Jedi clone, and for once, I’m inclined to agree with her.” Anakin goes stone faced and tells him a clone is no Jedi. For the first time that night, Draezin’s face brightens. “You lack faith in our abilities Skywalker, let’s fix that.” He gestures to the nearby hooded figure who activates a blue lightsaber and reveals his face, utterly shocking Anakin.

Nellith and Ben stand ready as their numerous Jedi allies come by their side, watching as the small Mandalorian army walks towards them. Korusya readies her lightsaber as small one person pods land near the General. Out of them emerge cloned Jedi, all with weapons and all with the same distant and unnatural look their eyes. General Phakerem gets her energy gaunlets ready, flanked by two Jedi clones that do the same.

On the roof, from Anakin’s perspective the camera zooms in close to reveal Crayde’s soldier, who’s expressions are inhuman and machine like, but otherwise is a perfect biological replication of Sir Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Why the prequels shouldn't be about Anakin and Obi Wan

To me there is a freedom and opportunity in how one answers those questions. With Anakin and the original trilogy, all we know is that he was seduced by Palpatine and fell to the dark side, with some general comments about his friendship with Kenobi and status as a pilot. A good story can take those very base elements and craft an interesting examination of characters and settings with it. The story of Vader becomes what makes a good man go bad, same as what makes a Republic turn into an Empire.

Look at something like Godfather Part II, which while only part prequel is brilliant at giving Vito Corleone a detailed history which defines not only his character, but also serves as an effective contrast to that of Michael’s. The base concepts of what Episodes 1-3 wanted to do are not flawed in and of themselves; seeing where Anakin zigged where Luke zagged, getting an idea of what the Jedi were prior to the purge, and providing a window into what conditions allowed Palpatine to grab power. Their failure lies in the execution and answers to those questions being illogical, trite, or unrelatable to viewers.

Yes, the original films benefited from mystery and imaginative world building, but it also spoke to an audience because they connected to the characters. Leia was a strong (literal) rebel fighting for what she believed in, Luke a rural kid with big dreams wanting to make something of himself, Han the cynical wiseass with a hidden compassionate side to him. The prequels didn’t work to a great degree because they simply couldn’t create engaging people the audience was capable of getting into. Anakin moves from darling kid, to bratty teen, to murderous Sith, without ever feeling a person, doubly so with Padme who’s basically the generically good love interest to him and who exists to marry him, give him some kids, and get out of the way via dying.

Lucas was guilty of over-explanation with the prequels to a point, but the idea that no explanation of Vader and others would suffice strikes me as a copout, and ignores that many pieces of media and television have detailed the backstories of major and enigmatic characters, and still made it work because the meat lied in the journey not the destination.

CWBorne’s Prequel Treatment Omnibus Thread (Current Work: Revisions & Edits)

Didn’t want to do a general update without something to show for it, so here’s a little space battle material before we get to the meat of the planetary stuff. Work’s finally calmed down again, so with any luck I’ll have the Jedi vs. Clones showdown (including both Anakin and Obi-Wan) coming very soon. Its not much, so no pressure on feedback as its really just the action set piece needed to get the other big players on the planet. Nonetheless, enjoy.

In space Phakerem’s craft is targeting large scale Republic cruisers close to the planet, pounding several of them with shots, demolishing at least one. On board the general points to Bail Organa’s cruiser in the distance, easily identifying it as the flagship and ordering the crew to prepare its firepower for its destruction. Her second in command states the move will scatter the Republic fleet and she responds that even if it won’t, its one less cruiser to land troops.

She begins to order specific weak points to target before the entire ship is hit hard from the side, almost knocking over everyone except the general; thrown off balance but quickly catching herself. As the crew try to regain their composure, she demands to know what happened.

From the outside we get the answer as attached/wedged perfectly to them is non other than Kenobi’s ship, which even in its new position is still firing its own shots at passing enemy vessels. Inside it, Darelda informs the others that the magnetic field’s not going to keep them bound for too long, though 81 brings up that until it does, no enemy vessel’s going to be inclined to fire on them and risk hitting Phakerem. Organa asks about Republic ships striking them when aiming for the Mandalorians, and the droid replies its a small possibility.

Back on her ship the general herself is quickly informed of the situation and is told to go to lightspeed. She angrily refuses at first, defiant at the prospect of fleeing the battle, but reluctantly relents when told the Jedi ship will be either torn apart or forced to detach if they do so.

Cut to Nellith and Ben on the bridge sharing a look after both sensing the same thing via the Force, with the latter verbalizing their realization that the enemy is about to go to light speed. She says if they break off fast, they’ll have some time before the ship is able to come back from hyperspace, however her expression betrays that she has another idea in mind, one Kenobi quickly and quietly picks up on. He tells the lead navigator to blast the side thrusters at full.

We quickly see the effect as the whole entity begins to jerk in various directions in unwieldy fashion, being thrown off by the unexpected propulsion. The Manadalorian portion tries to regain directional control, all while on the bridge Phakerem’s crew tries to begin the preparations for light speed, struggling with the spatial instability. Just as it manages to get itself steady, its hit hard by a direct shot from a passing Republic cruiser, damaging one of its engines and singeing the Jedi ship in the process.

On board Obi-Wan and company feel the force of that blast. Darelda shoots HX a look, who admits “In my defense, small doesn’t mean impossible .” Ben asks if they can detach from the enemy, but is told the hit knocked out some of the controls and its not possible to do immediately. Nellith spots the same Republic ship coming for another pass and warns about the attack about to come.

That second approach indeed happens and Phakerem is ready, commanding a defensive attack that destroys the cruiser, but not before it gets yet another shot on the engines, severely weakening its strength. The bridges of both vessels are pictures of chaos as the two respective crews attempt to recover. With steady directional control not only lost, but even more unstable than before, both the Mandalorian and Jedi ships being to fall into a combined tailspin towards Coruscant.

From afar on the flagship Bail watches the aforementioned sight shocked, yet quickly breaks out of it when looking at the scanner and seeing that openings have started to appear in the planetary defense. The trademark Organa steely determination takes over and he commands the fleet to start landing troops.

CWBorne’s Prequel Treatment Omnibus Thread (Current Work: Revisions & Edits)

As I said, this is a more minor update in comparison to the one from the weekend, but the character stuff felt worth posting given the action heavy portions recently. I don’t know exactly when or what size the next update will be, however it will be relatively soon and will transition the focus of the invasion from above Coruscant to directly on it. As always, thanks for the encouragement and feedback.

Phakerem watches the power outages on Coruscant aghast and begins to dictate that all of her ships are to prevent any Republic vessels from landing, however she’s cut off by a report that Jedi cruisers are beginning to appear out of hyperspace. Silent and shaking with frustration, through gritted teeth the general orders half of the Mandalorian fleet to halt the invasion and the other to engage the newly arrived cruisers. She’s asked about the lone Jedi ship still heading for them. Composure somewhat regained she replies, “If they get close, we give them everything.”

On that lone Jedi ship, Darelda says she can’t believe they (Anakin and company) pulled it off. Kenobi says there’s something to be said about having an amazing apprentice. HX pips up and suggests they save their compliments for when Anakin’s there and when they’re not currently at risk at being utterly annihilated. Nellith agrees and states the lead enemy ship is still the biggest threat to the landing fleet even if the Mandalorians attentions are divided. Ben asks what she recommends and gets an instant answer. “Let’s divide them further.”

In the lab, Anakin almost has the energy scalpel close to him, with neither doctor noticing. One of the two looks around the room anxiously, still panicking about the power outage, even though the emergency lights are on. Slightly eying the nearby entrance, the other tells him to calm down and that they’ll have to put Skywalker in stasis and do the procedure later. The first vigorously refuses and yells that he’s not taking the risk and they’re better off just finishing the Jedi off and getting out of there.

Outraged at the suggestion, the second tells him that both Phakerem and Crayde will destroy him even if he does, but the nervous one says he doesn’t care. A shouting match starts to ensue, but is interrupted when both hear fire from outside the room. The clone troopers at the door quickly move to see what’s going on, leaving the formerly arguing pair to draw sidearms and turn their backs on Anakin as the blaster sounds get closer.

Such a distraction proves to be well timed as Nik finally gets the energy scalpel activated with the Force and cuts through his restraint and in a few seconds is free from the table. Before the closer one can react, Skywalker jams the tool into the former’s shoulder and as he cries out in pain, grabs the man’s blaster. Anakin manages two quick shots which is all he needs as both doctors are soon down. He starts hearing someone coming in and, preparing for the worst, readies the weapon. In walks none other than a very wired and determined Carima who is ready to shoot until she sees the person in front of her.

The two stare at each other in silent and shocked disbelief for a few seconds before both put their weapons down. Nivir’s face turns a sore frown as she points an accusatory finger at him and says that “Your little distraction stunt on the building was thoughtless, dangerous, and proof positive you’ve lost your mind”. Anakin’s eyes go wide and he replies with indignation that “You risking everything to come here for a what I presume is a rescue was not only against what I said but also the most self-destructively stupid thing you possibly could have done.”

There’s a slight beat with the two still looking at one another before the they can’t help but start smiling. Nik closes the distance first, and “God, I love you” passes from his lips before holding her in a passionate kiss. The loving embrace last a few seconds before they separate; foreheads still touching and a few joyful tears coming from both. Carima breaks the silence. “Right back at ya, flyboy.”

A few moments later the two walk out into the hallway, the rest of Skywalker’s platoon elated to see him alive and well. After being handed a spare blaster he gives them thanks for the rescue and says he’s pretty sure he can overlook them disobeying a direct order this time. “Fingers crossed that the higher ups are as forgiving as I am.” The lieutenant confirms after Anakin asks that Fordala indeed knocked out the power center and they overheard Coalition soldiers saying the planet’s being invaded.

Carima utters that Republic plans appear to be on schedule and Nik replies if that’s the case then Organa’s probably landing the fleet as they speak. He adds that they have to get out of here and one of the platoon tells him that the lower floors are likely crawling with staff and soldiers by now. At that Skywalker says the roof might be their best chance, especially since they’ve spotted small ships land there before. As he leads them to the elevator he mentions they might have to blow a hole to get there, but should be fine provided they haven’t burned through all their thermal detonators.

He doesn’t notice the platoon shooting a look toward Carima who sheepishly speaks up right before they turn a corner, “Well, yeah, about that actually…”