The Mandalorian Security office was full of frustrated silence. It was only broken by the random beep or flash from the computers. Cole shook his head, bewildered at their inability to contact their commander. “Surely Jedi training isn’t that time consuming. . .” he muttered under his breath.
“Jedi training!?” Scott exclaimed the question unmistakable in his voice.
Cole looked up from the data pad Scott had handed him a few minutes before, only to find all three of his fellow advisors giving him odd looks. Besides his sister, Chryii, and Scott, there was young Andre Onasi, Acacia’s intergalactic customs advisor.
“So that’s why she went to Coruscant with the prisoners. They’ve reinstated her in the Order.” Andre commented to the surprise of his older companions, scanning over his own data pad. “Highly unusual, especially under the current leadership.” he added as an after thought looking up from his own data-pad.
“Why don’t we just call the Jedi Temple then? If she trusts them enough to return, shouldn’t we trust them enough to give them the info?” Scott asked, giving Cole a questioning look.
“This isn’t a matter of trust, Scott. It is a matter of duty. She left strict orders not to contact her via any comm-links affiliated with the Republic.” Cole explained calmly.
“We still need to get this list of targets to her as soon as possible.” Andre pointed out.
“Good point. I will take a small ship and rendezvous with her main contact. I’ll need you to transmit the required code to the contact’s comm-link an hour after I depart. If nothing else, I’ll be a few lightyears closer to getting the info to Lady Acacia.” Cole replied after a moment’s thought.
Acacia glared at the medical droid, wondering how many times she would have to refuse before he gave up. “I am not having blood work of any kind done. I am fine.” She stated flatly, finally letting her annoyance get into her voice. It was a calculated risk, for a Jedi Master could be just around the corner. On the other hand, preventing anyone from having anyway of identifying her parents was worth the risk of a lecture.
“So you say. However I cannot clear you for combat missions, unless…” The droid was replying with robotic insolence when he was interrupted by a young dark haired Mandalorian, dressed in the stereo-typical pilot outfit.
“Will this be sufficient to get her cleared?” the young man asked with a raised eyebrow, handing the startled droid a data-pad.
“Yes, but how…” the medical droid replied after looking at the data pad the man had given him.
“That is none of your concern. This way, Miss.” the pilot answered in a tone that was a mix of commanding and respectful.
Acacia waited until they had gone out the senatorial medical bay’s main doors and where around the corner before she halted her escort.
“What in the galaxy are you doing here? If the Jedi Council learns that I have. . .” Acacia started, only to stop upon getting a look at his face. She knew that look. Instead of continuing, Acacia lead him down one side street and then another. After about a half hours walk, they arrived at a building which Cole immediately recognized as the location of one of his companion’s Coruscant safe houses.
The room they entered would have been clean, if it hadn’t been for the thick layer of dust on everything. The furniture resembled what might have been found on the planet of Ryloth, though the more extreme minimalistic style of the layout suggested another influence.
“I had this room set up incase I ran into trouble when visiting with my father or delivering information to Master Kenobi.” Acacia remarked dusting off the furniture rigorously. Cole remained silent and opened the window to allow the dust a place to exit.
“It’s been so long since I’ve needed it. . .” she added as she looked out the one way glass at the view of the city and joined him at the window. Cole looked more relaxed now that they where out of the bustle of the city, though the look was still there.
“You found something didn’t you?” Acacia inquired after studying his features for a moment.
“Yeah. Scott found this in the Death Watch camp. I would have sent someone else, but I am the only one who knew where to look for you.” Cole explained handing Acacia the small disk. “This is an un-altered copy of the information.” he finished.
After looking over the data, Acacia put it in one of the compartments on her belt. “Thank you, Cole. I’ve missed this. . .” Acacia’s voice trailed off as she watched one of the many ship pass the window.
“There isn’t much to miss, the office has been pretty quiet since. . .” Cole began, though he was interrupted by Acacia raising her hand.
“That’s not what I meant, Cole.” Acacia responded gentle but regal tone as she turned to look him in the eye. “As much as I love my team and my job, it’s not the same as what we did when we where younger.” She added after a moment’s careful consideration.
“Our focus, ship, and crew may have expanded, but our mission is still the same.” Cole reminded her, changing his attitude from that of a subordinate to that of an equal.
“True. But it doesn’t feel the same.” Acacia responded, now confused by her own words.
“Maybe that is because we finally know who we are.” Cole suggested, studying her closely. She only nodded, turning his words over in her mind. We finally know who we are.
“Thank you for your report, Padawan Drii. We will let you know if we require anything else.” Ki Adi Mundi said after the council had heard Acacia’s report and had received the data disk. Indicating that Acacia was dismissed, Master Mundi waited until the door had closed behind her before he spoke.
“I assume I was not the only one who noticed how differently she was acting?” Mundi inquired after the moment of what would have been awkward silence anywhere else passed.
“Hard to restore, a lost trust is.” Yoda observed, clearly trouble by the developments.
“Especially a child’s boundless trust.” Obi Wan added, doing his best to not sound accusatory. Though the frustrated looks he received told him his point still had been made.
“So it seems.” Windu agreed, though he was a reluctant.
“Showing that we trust her might help her.” Shaak Ti suggested, looking at her fellow Jedi each in turn.
“I agree.” Kenobi agreed readily.
After studying his friend’s faces for a moment, Yoda decided to say what most of them where thinking. “Assign Acacia and Ahsoka to protect Senator Amidala, we should. On the assassin’s list, Amidala is.” he proposed.
“We would have to assign someone, and most of our Jedi Knights are on the battlefront.” Kit Fisto added, speaking in favor of the idea.
There was a general murmer of agreement, though not everyone looked happy with the idea. “It is settle then.” Plo Koon said decisively, ending the debate.
“What of the Mandalorian assassin?” Shaak Ti asked, changing the subject.
“He is in custody, and is being questioned as to his mission. We will see what else he reveals.” Windu replied thoughtfully, looking to Yoda.
“You must focus on the here and now, my young padawan. Do not let your vision of the future prevent you from using your full capabilities.” Obi Wan explained calmly as he watched his young padawan go through her lightsaber form again.
“Master, I know that practicing the forms helps me improve my technic, but I’m not sure if it will fully prepare me to face an opponent in lightsaber combat.” Acacia remarked questioningly, changing the subject to ask a question that had been on her mind since they had been training. Turning off her lightsaber and she turned to face him.
“From what I was told about the Death Watch situation, you can handle a sword duel.” Obi Wan replied coolly, noting the hint of surprise he sensed in his young padawan.
“Even so, the Sith don’t use normal tactics or training technics.” Acacia reminded him as she followed him into a smaller room off to the right of the larger training room.
“A true observation, my young apprentice.” Obi Wan Kenobi replied, picking up a training saber and tossing her one. Then Obi Wan Kenobi facing her in his signature ready stance, indicating that she should do the same. Moments later the clash of sabers and the occasional instruction from Obi Wan Kenobi could be heard echoing down the hall.
The next morning Acacia was reading some historical texts in the Temple Library when the librarian, Madam Jocasta approached her. Acacia stood up and bowed respectfully, and Jocasta responded with a nod and a wave of her inciting that the young one should sit back down.”How are your studies going, padawan?” Jocasta asked in a grandmotherly tone.
“They are going Madam Librarion. I have almost finished the history of Ryloth that I am reading for Master Secura’s class.” Acacia answered touching the cover of the book she had been reading.
“Good. May I suggest the story of Lord Revan and the Mandalorian Wars next? You will find it has many hidden gems that don’t always show up the first time you read it.” Jocasta offered, noting with satisfaction the look of curiosity that came over the young one’s face.
“I’ve studied the Mandalorian records thoroughly, though I am sure the Jedi Archives talk a great deal more about Revan than they did. Where can I find the book, Madam?” Acacia asked suddenly full of interest.
“The books are just over here.” Jocasta replied with a gentle smile, showing her to the shelf where 4 matching books stood out from the others.
“Thank you, Madam Librarian. Revan’s redemption story is one of my favorites!” Acacia thanked her enthusiastically, taking the first book down carefully from it’s place on the shelf.
An hour later, she had finished the history of Ryloth and was a few minutes into the story of Revan when her comm-link buzzed and her Master’s voice came through calm but urgent. “Meet me in the private briefing room in ten minutes.” Kenobi ordered her.
“Yes, Master.” Acacia replied without hesitation. Gathering her books to study later, she hurried to her desk in the class room down the hall from the library to put her books away before hurrying off to meet her master as instructed. As it was, she was a few minutes late having stopped on the way to help one of the older Jedi up some stairs.
“You called me, Master?” Acacia said inquisitively, greeting her master with a bow which he returned. After greeting the other Jedi in the room in similar fashion, she stood by her Master’s side waiting to be addressed. As she waited, she looked around at the concerned faces that stood around the holo-table. Between the long faces and low toned conversations, a definite sense of worry filled the room. Guessing they where waiting for another alate arrival, Acacia listened to Obi Wan and Master Fisto about the effects of the war on the Outer Rim Territories.
Anakin and Ahsoka walked in the room, discussing something heatedly ignoring the frustrated looks of some of their elders. After a few moments, Windu addressed the gathering and the meeting began. Many things involving the war where discussed, including the placement of troops, how to go about sending reinforcements to places taking heavy fire, and so on. Finally, the matter of the assassins was brought up, and the list worked through.
“The list is shorter than I expected.” Windu commented, scanning the faces around the table.
“Furthermore, most of the names are unknown to us and do not appear in the current records of those working for the Republic.” Shake Ti added. Just then Plo Koon’s eye fell upon Palawan Drii’s face. It had a look of pain and worry, though these where both faint compared to the determination that also made itself obvious in the young one’s face.
“Do you know these names, Padawan?” Master Plo asked her, startling many of his fellow Jedi Masters.
Surprised only a little at being so addressed, Acacia replied with the calmness and dignity that surprised everyone but her own master. “I do Master Plo. Many of them serve under me as part of the department of security for Mandalore. Cole Nuhru and his younger sister Chyrii Nuhru, Scott Taiosk, and Andre Onasi are my personal body guards and my closest advisors. Andre’s father, Sergeant Datec and his wife Tiilaph serve Mandalore as teachers at the academy, and his cousin, Naemes, is The Duchess’s handmaiden and constant companion. Korkie Katan is the nephew of Duchess Satine and the three names that follow it are other distant relations to the Duchess.” Acacia explained as she examined the list.
“What of the Senator and Ahsoka? Why are they on a list with members of the Mandalorian Government?” Anakin inquired, to a murmer of agreement from the rest of the chamber.
“Though I do not express to know the actual reason, if I where hazard a guess it would be due to their involvement of the discovery of the Prime Minister’s corruption (see episodes 5 and 6 of Season 3 of the Clone Wars). As for myself, I have always been a strong supporter of the Duchess’s plan for our planet and have therefore made plenty of political enemies on the subject.” Acacia replied, careful to keep her tone completely respectful.
“That would explain their inclusion on the list. Seeing as your security advisors are the ones who brought us this list, I assume they will take care of those under their protection?” Ki Adi Mundi asked questioningly, turning his eyes from the lit to the young padawan’s face.
“Yes Master. I also doubt the Duchess would accept the Republic’s help even if it where offered freely.” Acacia pointed out, trying to find a balance in her duel roles as padawan and representative.
“Assign you and young Ahsoka to protect the Senator, the council does. Together, solve this mystery you must.” Yoda interrupted to the surprise of all present.
“We would assign others, but we need all those we can spare leading the war effort.” Shaak Ti added, noting the disappointment in Skywalker’s face.
“In fact, both of your Master’s are to be assigned on a mission to Geonosis to ensure our hold there is still strong enough to resist the Separatists efforts to retake it.” Plo Koon continued, before Skywalker could protest.
If Kenobi was surprised, he didn’t show it.
“May the force be with you.” Obi Wan said bidding farewell to his young padawan in the time honored way of the Jedi.
“And with you Master.” Acacia replied in the traditional way. After bowing to her master, she turned to follow Ahsoka out the door wondering what kind of adventure lay before of them. Little did she know Mandaorian Assassins would soon be the least of her problems.
To be continued
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