“It is to risky!” said Capt. Cole Nuhru, the head of Acacia’s personal guard detail. Since the first physical attack on Duchess Satine by Death Watch, every member of her cabinet had a guard detail in one form or another (depending on their station and personal preference). For Acacia, having some of her closer friends and constant companions given official paying jobs to follow her and help her on her missions was a dream come true. For the most part.
Acacia closed her eyes and leaned on her hands which were resting on the hologram table they were standing around. Her technology expert, Scott Taiosk, was the next member of her team to voice his opinion.
“Cole is right, boss. This plan is too risky. Even if you were able to deactivate all of their weapons without waking anyone up, there is no way you can cut the power without making some noise. We need to think of something else.” he began to drum his fingers on the hologram table as if by doing so he would bang out a new idea.
“We don’t have time to make another plan, Scott. If we don’t act now, we risk thousands of lives and the stability of the entire planet if our spy is right. I would rather face impossible odds and fail, then stand by and let Death Watch take over, even if only for a day.” Acacia stated, and the frustrated feeling that was rising inside of her reminded her of the last time she had faced impossible odds.
“It’s just that. . . last time you did something like this. . . You almost died.”said Chyrii Nuhru speaking up for her companions. Chyrii was Cole’s younger sister and served as a constant companion for Acacia. The two young women had been friends ever since Acacia’s early academy days. So, when Acacia asked her to be a part of her guard detail, Chyrii was more than happy to help her friend especially since she got to work with her older brother.
“The Battle of Geheimen was different. I didn’t have you. I know that this plan is a long shot, but it is the only one we have come up with that has any chance of success.” Acacia said as she headed for the door that led to the outside, her cloak making a loud swish as she did. Acacia pulled her hood up as the door to the conference room closed behind, her mind already on the mission ahead.
Not more than two hours later, Acacia stood in the cover of some foliage, looking over the Death Watch camp. They had moved about several times, but they always returned to their ancestral home, the beautiful moon known as Concordia. Acacia sighed inwardly, already wondering what the next day would bring.
“What are the council’s orders regarding our mysterious exile, Master?” Anakin Skywalker asked as he and his padawan, Ahsoka Tano, joined the Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda in the Jedi Temple’s main hanger bay. (Mace Windu had gone to the Senate building for a very important meeting)
“The council has decided to send you, Ahsoka and I to Mandalore and find her, as she suggested.” Obi Wan informed his former padawan, with a hint of a mischievous smile on his face. Anakin returned the hint of a smile with a full one remember Acacia’s words from the day before.
“Hard for young Acacia to return to the way of Jedi, it will be. A master she must have, to guide her through her training. Her new master, you will be Kenobi. Your padawan, she will be. Know you, she does. Trust you, she will.” Yoda said almost (but not quite) inquisitively, looking at Obi Wan’s face to catch his reaction.
Obi Wan brought his hand up to his beard in the way he always did when he was thinking about something important. “I will do my best, Master Yoda.” Obi Wan answered, not sure why Yoda had chosen him.
Obi Wan and Ahsoka listened to Anakin and the Admiral discussing (some witnesses would have said arguing) their destination on the bridge of the Jedi cruiser, which was (ironically) nicknamed “Diplomat”.
“With all do respect General Skywalker, Mandalore is a neutral system. If we enter the system without a warning, we could provoke the anger of both the Duchess of Mandalore and the Senate.”
“We have orders directly from the Jedi council itself, Admiral. If you have a problem with our course, then I suggest you take it up with them.” Anakin told him in a no nonsense manner. The Admiral shook his head, “As you wish General.” Turning to the troopers in charge of setting the navi-computer he relayed his General’s orders “Set a course for the Mandalore System.”
“What has happened?” Satine exclaimed worriedly as her daughter came in after requesting to have an audience without an explanation. “My team and I found a way to arrest the members of Death Watch without firing a shot. Only one Death Watch scout team is unaccounted for. The rest of the Death Watch are on their way here under guard and will be here shortly for transfer to the republic’s high security prison on Coruscant.” Acacia explained calmly. The Duchess of Mandalore’s relief at this news was obvious, and the relief in her gathered advisors and friends was no less so. A victory had been won that no one had ever dreamed would be possible. Expect a special young padawan, that is.
About an hour later, those who had been a part of Death Watch found themselves in the dungeons of the palace. Not long after, their capture was announced to the planet. A celebration commenced across the entire planet. Those who had helped with the capture where honored wherever they went. Everyone got the rest of the day off, and many of the richer inhabitants gave their money to the poorer among them and some even gave out jobs.
Within the palace the relief that the capture had brought was evident in the absence of the tension that a terrorist organization can bring to a peaceful government. After the Duchess gave her celebratory speech to the people, she went in search of her daughter. Acacia had been avoiding the spotlight, unlike her advisors who where more than happy to make appearances for her. Satine found her daughter walking through the indoor gardens. At one end the gardens opened up to an outside court yard and on the other a huge door connected it to the palace hallways. Acacia was deep in thought, apparently unaware of her mother’s presence.
“With everyone out celebrating, the palace feels empty.” Satine observed as she fell in step with her daughter.
“I hadn’t noticed. But now that you mention it, it has been really quiet.” Acacia responded in an absent minded manner. There was several minutes of silence, which was only interrupted by the insects that could be found in the garden. Then Acacia broke the silence “It is going to be strange to be a Jedi padawan all over again. I am not sure whether I am excited or scared.” she said finally turning to look into her mother’s face.
“Neither do I, dear one. For one thing, you will get to see your father more. And for another, The Republic needs you. No matter how much I want to keep you here, it has always been in your blood to be a warrior and to protect others, as it is in your father’s. I knew that there was coming a day that you would be called elsewhere, I am glad it is in service to the Republic. Just promise me you will be careful and listen to your father’s wisdom.” Satine said, putting a hand on her daughter’s shoulder. “I will Mother, I promise.” Acacia replied, a tear in her eye and a knot in her throat. They embraced, both saddened by the coming time of separation.
“Are you sure going in like this is a good idea Master?” Anakin questioned his old mentor.
“I disagree with the council on this Anakin, but. . .” Obi Wan began, only to be interrupted by the entrance of the Ahsoka. “Master Kenobi, Skyguy, we have arrived in the Mandalore system. The Duchess Satine wants to speak to you in person as soon as possible.” she informed them
“Thank you Snips. Inform the Admiral of our departure. We will contact you once we have a report for the Jedi council.” Anakin replied as Ahsoka followed them out of the chamber. They headed for the lower hanger bay and the awaiting ship, while Ahsoka headed back to the bridge to deliver her master’s message to the waiting Admiral.
“Duchess.” Obi Wan said in a courteous manner as he and Skywalker bowed in the traditional chivalrous way of the Jedi Order.
“General Kenobi, General Skywalker, a pleasure to see you as always.” Duchess Satine responded, returning the gesture with all the elegance of a duchess.”Gentlemen, would you care to accompany me on a walk through the palace’s indoor gardens? I believe we have some important business to discuss.” The Duchess asked them, making a signal to her guards to get out of hearing distance so that they could talk privately.
“Of course Duchess.” Obi Wan replied with a polite nod. They followed the Duchess out of the throne room, through a hallway, to the indoor gardens were she and Acacia had held their conversation only the day before. Upon their arrival, Anakin moved to a respectful distance leaving Obi Wan to talk with the Duchess.
Once her bodyguards were out of hearing range, Obi Wan said quietly, “I assume Acacia told you why the Jedi Council sent us here.”
“Yes she did. However, it does not excuse you bringing a fully-manned Jedi war cruiser into the Mandalore System.” Satine’s irritation was clear in her voice, though the expression on her face remained calm.
“We believe that if the Separatist’s were made aware of Acacia’s return, they might do something to prevent it. The Council decided not to risk sending a message ahead, even for the sake of neutrality. Though I disagree with their decision, there wasn’t much I could do once they made up their minds on a course of action.” Kenobi replied.
“I appreciate that, Obi. I would like you to inform the council that if they do not send a warning next time, I will place a complaint before the Senate.” Satine said decisively as she stopped to smell a specific group of flowers.
“I will inform them, Satine. I can sense you are worried about her. Is there something I should know about?” Kenobi answered.
“It is just that. . . For years after her exile I watched Acacia struggle with who she was and what she was to do without the purpose of the Jedi order. And now, she is an independent woman who’s skills have gone beyond the little Jedi training she received. If the council had sent you to us in a time of peace, I doubt that either of us would have ever considered her return to the order as a possibility.” Satine told him, her concerned expression matching her words.
“I agree with you. It isn’t often the Jedi Council admits they are wrong.” Obi Wan replied.
They now stood on the balcony, overlooking the courtyard. There were two curved stair cases (one on either end of the balcony) leading down into the stone floor of the courtyard. Near the center of court yard stood young Acacia, her lightsaber in hand. She was going through one of the forms as if facing an invisible opponent. It was at this point Anakin rejoined them. Acacia suddenly froze as she realized who was with her mother. Turning off her lightsaber, she put it on her belt. Then she turned to face them.
Obi Wan walked down one of the stair cases, leaving Anakin and Duchess Satine to watch from above. “What did they say?” Acacia asked, looking up into Obi Wan’s face.
“They still want you to rejoin the order. In fact, Yoda asked me to be your new master.” He answered.
She smiled up at him with a mischievous look in her eye that reflected the expression on his face. The next moment, the two were walking off talking about something. Anakin and Satine soon joined them, and their voices mixed with the sounds of a city celebrating the victory of the century. It was a day that none of them would ever forget.
To be continued
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