Acacia followed Anakin inside the one ship in the hanger that had room for both of them. Crouching in the entrance, she watch for any signs that they had been spotted. After a few minutes she heard Anakin start to mutter that sending R2 with the ship had been a bad idea.
“Here, try this.” Acacia whispered, handing him one of Scott’s intergrator data cards. Anakin took it without saying anything, but the triumphant noise he made a few seconds later told her it had worked.
“What do we do now?” Acacia inquired, as Anakin handed her card back.
“We are going to have to disable the tracking beam, the other fighters, and the gun implacements to get even have a chance of getting through. And that’s assuming there aren’t two other cruiser class ships out there.” Anakin replied, peeking down the loading ramp.
“Couldn’t we just disable the power? That would also disable inboard defenses, the hyperdrive, and communications.” Acacia suggested as the sound of droids outside made them both pull back into the shadows.
“And the inboard life support systems and artificial gravity. But you have a point. If there was some way we could breath with the systems off, it would be worth the risk.” Anakin answered his mind already working out the details.
“My helmet should keep me alive long enough. But I don’t have an extra.” Acacia observed tapping the side of her Mandalorian helmet.
“Maybe not, but there should be something on this ship that will work.” Anakin commented, his mind already on the mission ahead.
Fenn Rau watched his students as they got ready for the next test. It took time, but he was able to discern who was actually going to make it and who wasn’t eventually. The scientists had tried to create raw talent in the clones, and to a point they had succeeded. But raw talent wasn’t enough and Fenn Rau knew it. He had been training warriors and fighter pilots for years. As he prepped the simulation computer for the mission ahead, he remember teaching a certain young red haired Jedi the same thing he was about to teach the cadets. The importance of trust in battle.
“Gather round cadets.” Fenn Rau called, turning around and facing his students. “Today you are going to take an important test. This test will determine whether or not you continue on your path to becoming pilots for the Republic. Are you ready?”
“Sir, yes, sir.” The group of cadets shouted in unison as they all stood to attention.
“Cadets, to your pods.” Fenn Rau commanded, inwardly shaking his head at the attitude most of the class had adapted. By the time the simulation was over, the class would be cut in half at least. All because half of his students where more worried about winning than they where the consequences.
Anakin felt the air being sucked out of him as he began to black out. His thoughts turned to Padme and Ahsoka as Acacia’s distant call reached his ears.
“Hold on Brother!” Acaci shouted, moving swiftly. Letting the Force guide her, Acacia grabbed a magnetic grappling hook and threw out the line. It was an impossible shot, but she manage to make it anyway. The magnetic hook attached itself to Anakin’s artificial hand. Tugging hard, Acacia hoped she wasn’t to late.
Pulling his still body into the small ship, Acacia closed the hatch and began the startup sequence. The sound of blaster fire bouncing of the hull was mixed with the sound of the engine and sheilds warming up. Taking the controls, Acacia began to slowly move the ship out of the hanger. The ship groaned under the strain of moving during startup, but it did move. Making sure that the ship didnt have any major damage, Acacia keyed in the nav-computer to start its calculations. That was when the entire cruiser shook violently. Still caught inside of the hanger, the escape ship barely missed crashing into the hanger ceiling.
As the ship’s scanners came online, Acacia felt a wave of relief. Obi Wan Kenobi’s fleet had arrived. Wasting no time, Acacia flipped the comm switch to all frequencies and shut off the nav-computer.
“Master, is that you?” Acacia asked even though her eyes and senses had already told her the answer.
“It is, padawan. Where is Anakin?” Obi Wan
“Unconscious, Master. We ran into some super battle droids on the way out and his helmet was compromised.” Acacia explained as she maneuvered the ship out of the chaos that had erupted in the hanger.
“General, the enemy ship seems to be without power. The only power signatures we are picking up are of individual droids and a ship leaving the lower hanger.” Cody reported from his station at the communication counsel.
“Master, Anakin requires immediate medical attention.” Acacia began, but was cut off as a loud beeping distracted her.
“Go to the lower hanger, I’ll have a medical team meet you there.” Obi Wan answered, nodding at Cody who gave instructions to the communication officer.
Fenn Rau walked into the mock-up of a bridge command room with the remaining cadets.
“What did you learn today?” Rau asked as his students gathered around the command table.
“That the cost is as important as the victory?” One cadet suggested.
“That if we have to betray others to win, it isn’t a victory at all?” another cadet suggested.
“Both of those things are true and in them you will find the lesson for today.” Fenn Rau informed them. For a few moments there was silence as the clones thought about their experience in the simulator.
“Trust, sir.” a third cadet said nervously.
“Cadet?” Fenn Rau prodded.
“We have to be able to trust each other to be there when we need them. By finding another way to win together, even if it isn’t part of the original plan.” the cadet added more confidently, looking to his companions as they nodded in agreement.
“Exactly. Whether you are in a ship or on the ground, you can only truly succeed if you can trust the people who are fighting beside you. As a wise person once said, ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand’.” Fenn Rau concluded putting a hand on the cadet’s shoulder.
Obi Wan stood in the temple garden as the light of the sun began to fade. Anakin hesitated a moment before approaching his former master.
“Is something wrong, Master?” Anakin inquired as he fell joined his master.
“Nothing is wrong Anakin, I’m just worried about Acacia. She’s been acting strangely today. Last night she had a nightmare, but she won’t to talk to me about it.” Obi Wan explained, sounding more worried than Anakin had seen him in a while.
“It has been pretty hard to adsorb, Master. She will tell you when she figures out how to.” Anakin said, not sure what else to say.
Obi Wan nodded, turning his focus outward as they followed the path under the trees.
“You didn’t come here to talk about your visions.” Obi Wan Kenobi observed after a few moments of silence.
“Actually Master, I came looking for you. There is something I’ve been meaning to ask you. Do you know Acacia’s father?” Anakin replied studying his friend’s face. The question startled Obi Wan so much that Anakin was worried he had offended his mentor.
“It’s just that based on my estimate of Acacia’s age, you would have been protecting Satine around the time she was born. And since you and Satine are friends, I figured you probably knew who it was. Acacia told me her parents where on the run when she was born when we went to Kot’tur.” Anakin explained hurriedly as he watched his old master’s face. Obi Wan’s expression had changed from that of surprise, to one of consideration.
“It is a reasonable question, Anakin. I’m surprised Acacia didn’t tell you.” Obi Wan assured him his expression remaining thoughtful.
“She told me it wasn’t her secret to tell. We discussed our similar views of the Jedi Council’s ban on attachement, but I could sense that she was unsure how much she should tell me.” Anakin added hesitatingly, turning his gaze to the trees they where passing under.
“For good reason, Anakin. Her and her mother’s enemies would do anything to discover her parentage. Apparently, so will the Jedi Council.” Obi Wan commented, his mind still in conflict.
“Are you saying you don’t trust me?” Anakin exclaimed indignantly, giving his former master a just as indignant look.
“I trust you with my life, Anakin.” Obi Wan sighed. “Acacia wasn’t sure why I hadn’t already told you. I’m surprised you haven’t figured it out by now.” He added after a pause.
“Figured out what?” Anakin asked sounding slightly confused.
“Think it through, Anakin. For once, slow down and listen to what the Force is telling you.” Obi Wan responded, closing his eyes patiently.
“I do listen, Master.” Anakin replied, trying not to be offended.
“To what?” Obi Wan asked.
Anakin gave him a confused look, his mind swirling in confusion. He had come searching for a name and instead his old master had given him two riddles. Two riddles and one answer.
“Why couldn’t I see it before?” Anakin said quietly after taking a few moments to quiet his mind.
“Our perspective often blinds us to what is going on around us. It is often hard to know when we are blinded, especially when there are no evident consequences. If you do not listen to the Force when it tell you there is danger, you will be unprepaired when danger strikes. And so it is when you are blinded to flow of the Force around others. However, the consequences of ignoring the lives of other can often be even more dangerous.” Obi Wan explained, opening his eyes as they stopped under the bigest tree in the garden.
“How do you always manage to turn things into a lesson?” Anakin commented dryly.
“I am simply making the best of the opportunities I am given, Anakin. It isn’t often you take the time to slow down and listen.” Obi Wan observed in an amused tone, a smile on his face.
“Have I ever?” Anakin commented, feeling regretful.
“You have, Anakin. Whether or not you remember it.” Obi Wan responded gently putting a hand on his shoulder.
“I’m sorry, master.” Anakin apologized, but this time the words sounded different than they had the other times Anakin had said them.
To be continued