Acacia shot up in bed, gasping as she tried to regain control of her emotions. Closing her eyes and bringing her knees to her chest, Acacia went through the calming technics Master Syfo-Dyas had taught her all those years ago. Syfo-Dyas Acacia thought with a jolt, wondering why she hadn’t heard his voice in her vision like she usually did. However, she was distracted from that thought by the sudden feeling that her master wanted to ask her something. Focusing on him for a moment, Acacia pinpointed his location and stood up.
“You wanted to see me, Master?” Acacia observed, walking to his side on the main bridge walkway.
Obi Wan looked up from the data-pad in his hand with a mix of surprise and amusement on his face.
Obi Wan went back to studying the data-pad in his hand for a moment, and then handed it to a technician who had just entered from the door to the command center. The technician took it and kept walking.
“Have you learned anything more about the assassins?” Obi Wan asked, studying Acacia’s face for her reaction.
“I received confirmation that my contact’s information was delivered to the Jedi Council by my pilot, but nothing more. Why?” Acacia inquired looking up at him.
“The Jedi Council called while you where resting. Apparently, someone by the name ‘Pilot 1’ delivered a package to Anakin just before he left for Akori. They where wondering how he got into the Senate Building and if you knew anything about him.” Master Kenobi replied with a smile.
“I see. Did they ever figure it out?” Acacia questioned matching her master’s amused look and tone.
“Figure what out?” Admiral Jai Tarris asked as she joined them from the front of the ship.
“Who ‘Pilot 1’ is. It is fairly obvious if you look carefully enough.” Acacia responded as they exited hyper-space.
“What’s wrong, Anakin?” Padme asked with a worried look on her face as soon as she saw the expression on his face.
“What do you mean, Senator?” Anakin replied a little to quickly. Anakin was sitting in the Twilight‘s pilot chair keeping an eye on the control panels in the last few hours of their return to Coruscant. Padme put a hand on the back of his chair, and he looked up to see the worried look on her face.
“You had a nightmare last night, Ani.” Padme reminded him, lowering her voice. Ahsoka was in the hanger working on her fighter, and Padme’s security force was hanging out in the lounge, but you never knew.
“It wasn’t a nightmare.” Anakin responded, returning his attention to the board as something started flashing.
“Then what was it?” Padme inquired taking the co-pilot’s seat next to him.
“It was something else, a vision of some kind. All I remember is flashes from the past. The weird part is I don’t recognize all of it. It’s like I shared the vision with someone else.” Anakin explained as he tapped a few buttons and then flipped the comm switch.
“Everybody get strapped in, we are about to emerge from hyper-space. Eta 10 minutes.” Anakin told the rest of the crew. Strapping himself in, he flipped off the comm and caught the confused look on his wife’s face. Padme was already strapped in, but clearly the last revelation had startled her.
“Is that even possible?” Padme asked sounding more surprised than she looked.
“I don’t know. That is what I am going to ask the Jedi Council.” Anakin replied putting his hand on the hyper-space lever.
“Anakin’s ship just came in from Akori ahead of schedule. We will wait until he and his padawan arrive before we start the meeting.” Mace Windu told Obi Wan and Acacia after exchanging the traditional greetings.
Master Kenobi nodded and turned the conversation to another issue. While she listened, Acacia studied each of the other 5 Jedi Masters as they either listened to or held their own private conversations. Other than Shaak Ti, Plo Koon, Luminara Unduli, and Yoda, there was the head of security for the Jedi Temple and a few clone officers milling about the war room. However, it was the head of security that caught Acacia’s attention. He had been watching Acacia since her arrival and was clearly a little annoyed about something. Acacia wondered if she should say something, but before she could Anakin and Ahsoka arrived once again debating something. Upon entering however, Anakin ended their debate and Ahsoka rolled her eyes.
“Now that everyone is here, we can start the discussion of the Assassin security threat. What is your report, Skywalker?” Mace Windu inquired as everyone moved so that they where around the holo-table in the center of the war room.
“We accompanied Senator Amidala to her mission on Akori and back, as instructed.” Anakin replied, flicking a switch on the holo-table that brought up the mission’s outline.
“What of the assassins?” Master Luminara questioned as everyone scan the information.
“What assassins? We didn’t see a single assassin and there where no attacks on the Senator during the entire mission.” Anakin replied, folding his arms and looking a bit annoyed.
That was when Acacia’s comm-link went off. Coloring at the mistake she pulled it out to silence it when she noticed that it was already off. As it beeped again, she realized what that meant. Flicking on the comm and putting it in tracker mode, she ran out the door ignoring the calls to stop from the war room. Pushing herself to go faster, she reached out with the force. Hang on Cole, I’m coming!
Cole gritted his teeth against the pain as the assassin withdrew his sword from his shoulder.
“That should do it. Now his precious commander will come running to save her favorite pilot.” the assassin sneered.
“You have no idea what your asking for.” Cole growled out, the disgust clear in his voice, over the pain that his wound was causing.
The assassins laughed scoffingly, and turned to face the doorway. That was when Cole heard Acacia’s words echo in his mind. Hang on Cole, I’m coming! The words and the courage he sensed behind him made Cole smile.
They have no idea what they are asking for Cole replied with a confident smirk and a tried to chuckled, but ended up just coughing, wincing with the pain that brought to his bruised ribs.
After a few minutes of waiting, the young of the two assassins turned back to Cole. “Maybe she didn’t get the message.” He said impatiently, fingering the trigger of his sword.
“Oh, she got the message.” The Assassin that had stabbed Cole replied jeeringly. “But if you want to kill him, I won’t stop you.” he added with an evil chuckle.
Cole just glared at them, angry at himself for putting his guard down and putting his commander in such a situation. As the younger assassin moved toward Cole, he activated his sword. That was when the sound of a lightsaber igniting echoed through the chamber as the door to the chamber opened. Within seconds both assassins had engaged Acacia, but they never stood a chance. Fueled by her feelings and the force, Acacia’s sword flew with blinding speed wounding the assassins several times before the both assassins fell to the ground never to rise again.
Dropping her lightsaber on the ground, Acacia ran over to Cole and knelt by his side doing her best to stop the blood flowing out of his shoulder wound.
“You made it just in time.” Cole coughed, groaning at the wave pain talking brought.
“I wasn’t about to let you take the fall for my actions.” Acacia responded gently, putting her hand on his cheek. “Just stay with me, alright. Help will be here any minute.” she added, looking into his eyes with that gentle but commanding look that he knew so well.
Cole nodded, grunting as the pain from the disinfectant that Acacia had applied to his wound intensified. Just then, Anakin, Obi Wan, Ahsoka and a squad of clone troopers came storming through the door. Moving with military efficiency, the clone squad moved checking the entire suite for any more intruders, while the medical team they had brought with them moved swiftly to get Cole’s wounds fixed enough that they could move him. Then, they moved Cole onto stretcher just before he lost consciousness. Rushing him off to the Jedi Temple medical bay with the clone trooper squad as an escort, they left Acacia and the others in the chamber.
Using the force to call her lightsaber to her, Acacia waited for the lecture she knew would be coming.
“Are you alright, young one?” Obi Wan asked instead, looking worried.
“I’m fine. But, I think I’ve solved the mystery of the assassins.” Acacia replied, indicating the two bodies with her foot.
“Will he be alright?” Acacia inquired, looking more worried than Obi Wan had seen her in a long time. A few feet away from them, Cole hung suspended in a banta-tank his wounds bandaged.
“He will be fine, with time.” The Jedi Physician answered, looking down at her data-pad. “He had several bruises and abrasions in addition to the sword wound, but nothing that would be considered fatal.” She added comfortingly after another scan of the data.
Acacia just nodded, the worry in her face mixing with guilt as she watched the steady flux of the banta-liquid as moved around Cole’s almost still form.
“He should be out of the tank in a few hours.” The Physician explained, answering Acacia’s unspoken question.
“When we found you earlier, you said you had solve the mystery behind the assassin attacks.” Anakin reminded he as the other Jedi from the war room joined them.
Acacia stood there for a moment longer watching the bacta-tank. Then she turned to the others and looked at each of them in turn. Finally she spoke, focusing on the floor.
“The list we found wasn’t a hit list. It was a list of people that are close to me that I would be willing to almost anything to protect. My team, my mentor and her nephew, my teachers, etc. If you look at the original layout of the list, it is clear that Ahsoka and the Senator where added to the list as an after thought, maybe even to keep the authorities off the trail.” Acacia replied, steeling herself for their reactions.
“What are you saying?” Mace Windu asked, his irritation at her words leaking out in his voice.
Acacia looked up at him with a look of determination and righteous anger.
“Someone, probably remnants of Death Watch or one of Viszula’s rivals, is on the revenge trail. This may not have anything to do with the capture and disbanding of Death Watch though. Because of my support of the Duchess’ plan for Mandalore, I have political enemies and non political ones due to my heritage. However, a combination of these is more likely due to Sir Ca’azar’s involvement. It is also possible that the Separatists are involved as well, but up to this point I haven’t seen any evidence indicating the possibility of direct involvement.” Acacia responded, her right hand on her chin in a thoughtful position as she once again studied the floor.
“You do know that Jedi are forbidden to have such attachments.” Luminara commented, her voice stern.
“Until recently, I wasn’t ever going to be a Jedi! You cannot just expect me to throw away a lifetime of relationships, just because it might irritate the Jedi Council.” Acacia replied, allowing only a little of the anger she felt out in her voice.
“I think we are missing the point.” Anakin jumped in, noticing the angry looks on the other Masters faces. “We know who the assassins real target is, and who they might try to use against her. Not only that, but they may not know that we know. We should use that to our advantage while we still can.”
“He has a point.” Obi Wan agreed, in a surprisingly calm voice.
“Agree with you, I do. But how to use it?” Yoda inquired, looking from face to face.
“Maybe we will find the answers on Kot’tur.” Anakin remarked, wondering why he had said that.
“How do you know of Kot’tur?” Acacia asked incredulously, looking at him with a mix of surprise and realization.
“I’ve been having visions ever since I left for Akori. I don’t remember much of the last one, but I do remember that someone told me to,” Anakin explained, Acacia joining him in reciting the words from their vision.
“Travel to Kot’tur, to seek the path of light and learn of Mandalore’s fight. Two only shall go, for this is Mandalore’s way. To the distant cave the two must go, this warning do I give: not everything is as it seems, for in the past your secrets lay, some of them unknown. Guardians of the stars, beware the ways of the night.” Acacia and Anakin finished, looking at each other with newfound respect.
“Are you sure?” Windu inquired, his arms folded and his irritation fading away.
“I’m sure.” They responded in unison a determined look on their faces.
“Then go to Kot’tur, you must.” Yoda declared firmly.
A few hours later, the Twilight and its two passengers flew in the space above Coruscant waiting for command to give them the green light.
“What do you think we will find?” Anakin asked Acacia, his hand on the hyperspace lever.
“I don know. Something important from the past, probably. What do you think?” Acacia answered, looking sideways at him from the co-pilot seat.
“Probably.” He agreed, feeling the apprehension rise within him. “That last bit about unknown secrets is what is bothering me.” Anakin added after a moment of silence.
“I know what you mean. Whatever it is, we need to face it together as a team. We have to be able to trust each other.” Acacia replied, looking strait at him this time.
“If Obi Wan trusts you, than so do I.” Anakin responded, finally turning to look her in the eye.
“I only hope I can live up to that trust.” Acacia said with a half smile, holding out her hand.
“So do I, Sister.” Anakin acknowledged, taking her offered hand.
That day, a bond was formed between two Jedi. More important than that however, it was formed between to children of the Force. And nothing in the galaxy could change it, not even the power of the Sith.
To be continued
To read more of Acacia’s adventures, check out The Phantom Jedi.