Acacia waited in the silence following her meeting with elders. And she didn’t have to wait long.
“How am I going to explain this to Korkie? All this time he has believed his mother and sister were traitors to everything he believes in.” Satine commented, and Acacia could sense the regret and guilt behind her words.
“You won’t have to, mother. I already have.” Acacia replied, standing up from her chair and moving to stand in front of her parents. Satine looked surprised and like she was about to say something when Acacia’s waiter droid walked into the room.
“Lunch is ready, Mistress. Shall I bring it to the table?” the droid inquired mechanically, its eyes blinking several times.
“Yes, C4. Will you be doing us for lunch, mother?” Acacia asked in a somewhat formal tone.
“Of course, my dear.” Satine responded as Obi Wan stood up and gave Satine his hand. Cole moved from where he had been standing behind them and offered his arm to Acacia.
“Shadow 2, who is it?” a young man’s voice called from inside the chamber.
Bo Katan stood in the doorway of Acacia’s safe house, hesitating when she heard the voice. Looking to Shadow 2 for confirmation, all she received was a nod.
“Korkie?” Bo called back, stepping into the room and into the sight of her son.
“Mom?” He gasped incredulously, standing up in his surprise. Bo barely noticed Shadow 2 closing the door behind himself. They rushed towards each other and Bo held her son close to her, tears of relief and joy welling up in her eyes.
“Thank Mandalore you are safe.” Bo declared, her voice full of emotion.
“I’m sorry mom.” Korkie whispered as he returned her embrace. Stepping back to get a better look at him, Bo looked into his eyes.
“I should have known better.” He finished as he looked down at the floor.
“I should have insisted on telling you.” Bo responded, “You’re grown up so much. You remind me of your father when I first met him.” she added, kneeling down so she could look up into his eyes so she could see the effect her words had on him.
“Acacia tells me you’re a pretty good pilot.” Obi Wan commented in a moment of quiet, directing his gaze at the one person at the table who hadn’t said much.
“Considering she’s won more pod races than I can count, I tend take it as a compliment.” Cole replied with a shrug. Acacia colored slightly and looked down at her food.
“Is that so.” Obi Wan said, raising an eyebrow and looking from his daughter to her friend and back again.
“It was one of the easier ways to learn who did what in the underground. If you where good enough, any gang with sense would hire you. Once you beat the competition on one planet they would sponsor you to go off world and refer you to an ally if you liked the racing scene there. Cole and I used to jump from planet to planet that way.” Acacia explained animatedly with a sparkle in her eyes.
“Sounds like something your father would have done at you age.” Satine observed, and Obi Wan hid his smile behind his glass. Cole looked amused and slightly relieved at the slight change of focus.
Acacia was about to say something when both her and Obi Wan’s comm-links went off. Obi Wan reached for his belt and brought the small device up near the mouth and flicked the switch.
“What is it Anakin?” He asked, as he and Acacia rose to their feet.
“I’m not sure Master. I just got a priority message from the Jedi Council for the 4 of us to meet them in the war room asap. It sounded urgent. Ahsoka and I are on our way, if you need a ride.” Anakin answered, the sound of wind and whirring engines in the background barely interfering.
“I think a ride would be a good idea. Be careful, Anakin.” Obi Wan replied, as the sound of the speeder weaving through traffic got louder.
“I always am, Master.” Anakin responded distractedly.
“I’d better change.” Acacia commented, standing up quickly.
“You look fine dear.” Satine told her, moving around the table to give her daughter a hug.
“If you say so Mother.” Acacia said, looking to her father for approval. Obi Wan nodded, and the tilted his head toward the door. Acacia followed him out, wondering what the emergency message was about.
Naos had never been so angry. Every attempt he organized on Acacia Drii’s life had failed. Not only that, but he had lost one of his best warriors to the witch. What had Caldor been thinking, choosing to follow the little Jedi and in doing so betraying the cause he had fought for. Naos knew he should be more concerned about how he was going to fulfill what was adding up to be an impossible task. If he had known it would be this costly, he might not have agreed to take this up for the Count. But, there was no going back now.
Acacia had figured out long ago that the Jedi Council tended to avoid things they didn’t completely understand, or feel comfortable with. Which is one of the reasons they avoided topics like love vs passion and attachment. While she wasn’t sure whether this was due to pride or fear of what they would find, Acacia knew that was why they were ignoring her now. Standing in the back of the war room near a data terminal, Acacia slip one of her specially modified data cards into the slot.
Scott, her tech expert, had modified them so that they would download all the data in the data-base and then erase any trace that there was ever a data card inserted. Though it only took a couple of minutes, it wasn’t something you used when downloading specific information (like surveillance footage). Acacia wasn’t looking for specific information, at least not right now. But having a quick and easy access to the war room data base could come in handy. Especially given the Jedi Council current unwillingness to even look her direction.
Exiting the war room, Acacia fingered the data card she had downloaded the info to. Once again she marveled at Scott’s design, and the security measures the small device had in place. Sure, it made it inconvenient for certain missions, but it had come in handy during her recent visit to a prominent Separatist base. She knew that her masters would not be happy when they figured out who much she knew about both Separatist and Republic operations.
No one would understand why she had taken the data, or why she had withheld the Separatist data from Republic intelligence. As Shadow 1 had said once “Nothing is perfect, because no matter how carefully we plan we will always make a mistake somewhere. It is how we adapt from these mistakes that is the difference between victory and failure.”
Anakin had noticed that something was bothering Acacia when he had picked her and Obi Wan up from Acacia’s private residence. However, he had attributed it to the fact that she was wearing a militaristic outfit (similar to ones worn by Republic officers) instead of her more traditional Jedi robe. But, after she had disappeared mid meeting in the war room, he had known it was something more than just the fact that she was going to a meeting with Jedi Council in her academy cloths.
As he sat in the darkened antechamber of Obi Wan’s and Acacia’s rooms, he saw what it was. All around him were holo’s of war data dating back to before the battle of Naboo. Acacia was right, something did stand out. It had taken him a moment to see it, but after turning the problem around in his head he saw the issue. Normally, when you were annualizing intel data you were looking for what was missing. In this case you had to look at what wasn’t missing.
“Its too precise.” Anakin observed, “Especially the data surrounding the beginning of the war. There is just enough of the right data to act on, but not enough to figure who exactly started this whole thing.”
“I’ve been hearing rumors for years that the someone was pulling strings. But I thought they were just that, rumors started paranoid bar customers looking for the excuse to drink. However, when I started digging I discovered that they aren’t as paranoid as I thought. While the info around creation of the Clones is the clearest example, there are others. I’ve spent most of my in-space free time studying the Separatist archives. Sidious and Tyranus are up to something, but I cant quite pinpoint what. Whatever it is, it isn’t your normal takeover the galaxy plan.” Acacia told them, isolating the info on the clones with a wave of her hand.
“Satine told me that you’ve been a bit preoccupied lately. She said it was almost as if you returned to your academy habits.” Obi Wan Kenobi remarked glancing at his daughter’s uniform, his hands folded in front of him as he sat crossed legged on one of the low level chairs. Acacia winced visibly, and looked down at the floor.
“So how do we figure out what they are up to?” Anakin inquired quickly, looking to Acacia.
“Without alerting them? I’m not sure.” Acacia said, and hesitated glancing at the security camera she had disabled earlier. It should still be inactive. “I took the liberty of sending the only one of my opps teams I trust to look for Syfo-Dyas ship on one of the moons of Oba Diah. If they find what I think they will find, we will know where to start.” Acacia finished.
“Oba Diah? Why was he there?” Obi Wan asked, sitting up a bit straighter.
“All he told me was that he needed my presence during a talk with the Pyke Syndicate leaders. He never told me why, but he was acting a bit strange. When I asked him why we were meeting on Felucia instead of Oba Diah, he answered readily. But when I asked him about the other Jedi with him and why the Jedi Order need him to speak to the Pykes, he refused to explain.” Acacia explained sounding more than a bit hesitant this time. Anakin could sense the pain, confusion, and apprehension, battling with her self control.
“We’ll figure it out, Cia.” Anakin said, reaching out to place a hand on her shoulder.
The next day. . .
Dropping to the floor and rolling, Acacia barely dodged the rain of laser fire. Her opponent, his hand shown, doggedly kept up his attack tracking with his moving target. Suddenly another gun opened fire from nearby giving Acacia the few seconds she needed to get her lightsaber out. However, there was no opportunity for her to use it. As if on cue another sound reached her ears. Shadow 1’s blood curdling war cry followed by the sound of an armored body falling from a great hight.
Completely ignoring Cole at her side his blaster in a ready position, Acacia ran around the stack of crates that the attacker had been sniping from. She found Shadow 1 standing over the body of yet another Mandalorian assassin.
“Commander.” Shadow 1 said as he knelt by the assassin to check for anything useful. Average human height, Shadow 1 was one of those people who could hide anywhere. His greying dark brown hair was pulled back in a loose bun, and his worn clothing added to his nondescript appearance. Only the scar that ran from above his left eye to below his right and his assassins knife said differently.
“Sorry we didn’t catch him earlier, Commander. Your position made it. . . difficult.” Shadow 2 apologized in a younger and mechanically filtered voice, approaching from the opposite direction.
“No need to apologize, Shadow 2. No one was hurt, which is the important thing. Anything new?” Acacia replied, turning to Shadow 1 as he stood up. The three other Jedi an evaluating glance, Shadow 1’s eyes came to rest on Kenobi for a moment longer before he turned back to the task at hand.
“Nothing I can see. Rookie mistake, attacking a Jedi in the open like that.” Shadow 1 answered shortly, his eyes never staying still for long.
“Agreed. Either they’re getting careless, or we aren’t dealing with the real deal.” Shadow 2 agreed, and Acacia could sense his apprehension. He was wearing his full Mandalorian armor after all.
“Decoys, maybe?” Obi Wan suggested joining them, leaving Anakin and Ahsoka standing by the ship debating about the repairs.
“Maybe. But what else would they be targeting?” Shadow 1 concurred, studying the scene with the look of one who knew what he was doing.
“I’m not sure, but the Duchess is here on Coruscant.” Obi Wan responded guardedly.
“I now. Shadow 2 and I will check one her, assuming you’ve got this.” Shadow 1 decided after a moment of inner debate. Obi Wan nodded his acknowledgment of the transferring of responsibility and watch the two Shadows slip away.
“Are you alright, little one?” Obi Wan asked in a low tone as the debate behind them got louder.
“I will be, master. Even though his words didn’t show it, Shadow 1 sounded worried. Is there something more about this than just revenge?” Acacia replied, looking up at her master just as the debate behind them ended.
“I am afraid there is much more to it, Cia.” Obi Wan Kenobi answered and the mixed look of worry and anger in his eyes was one Acacia had only seen a few times in her life.
To be continued
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