“This so called peace keeper don’t stand a chance, my lord. My brothers and I are more than able to take care of a padawan and her overprotective pilot.” boasted the holo-gram of the Mandalorian Assassin.
“Do not underestimate them, Naos.” Dooku warned him with a glare and then ended transmission.
Padme Amidala was sitting at her desk looking through her messages when Ahsoka and Acacia walked through the door with Captain Typho. Typho was the head of Padmes’ security guard, and as such had already started a conversation of the security regulations with Acacia.
“I have some men setup down stairs and there are guards at every outer door and some of inner ones. Just call me if you need me.” Typho was explaining as Padme stood up and came around her desk to great them.
“It is good to see you Ahsoka.” Padme said affectionately, putting a hand on the young padawan’s shoulder.
“And you, Senator.” Ahsoka responded respectfully. Turning to where Acacia and Typho stood, she introduced her companion; “Senator Amidala, this is Acacia Drii, Master Kenobi’s new padawan.”
“It is an honor to meet you Senator Amidala.” Acacia said, bowing as was the Jedi custom.
“The pleasure is all mine, young padawan.” Padme replied, returning the greeting with a nod of her head. After a few minutes of small talk, Padme turned to Ahsoka and said: “I am always glad to see you Ahsoka, but I have a feeling this isn’t just a social call.”
“I wish it was Senator.” Ahsoka replied, looking at the ground as she tried to think of the best way to explain. However, it was Acacia who answered the Senator’s question.
“As do I. The Jedi Council assigned us to protect you, Senator. They believe that someone has assigned a former Death Watch squad to assassinate you. As the security advisor to the Duchess of Mandalore, I have seen what these assassins are capable of first hand.” Acacia explained politely.
“I was going to ask why the Council assigned padawans on such an important mission, but I think you answered my question. With your permission, Senator, I would be willing to show padawan Drii our procedures and make some adjustments.” Captain Typho said in a formal tone.
“You have my permission Captain. You and Acacia will work together in joint command of the security forces until the Jedi Council decides all the extra security is no longer necessary.” Padme responded after a moments thought, her slight irritation at the added security evident in her voice.
“As you wish my lady. Right this way, Padawan Drii.” Captain Typho answered, showing Acacia to the office door.
“What do you think of the assignment?” Obi Wan’s hologram image asked after the traditional greeting had been exchanged. It had been many hours since Acacia and Ahsoka had arrived at the Senator’s office. Acacia now stood alone in the Senator’s main office, going over what evidence she had been able to gather from the other assassination attempts. Padme, Ahsoka, and Typho where attending a party being hosted by Senator Bail Organa just down the hall and weren’t due to return for at least another hour.
“It was as I expected. The security is doing everything it can at the moment. Captain Typho listened to my suggestions and made a few adjustments, but I am not sure it will be enough. Here in the senate building (she waved her hand a hologram of the building’s inner layout showed up), we should be able to defend the Senator with relative ease. The issue is the Senator’s visit to the neutral planet of Akorii for a meeting the neutral systems council members. It’s well out of Republic monitored space, and the route has been a prime place for pirates of late. Not only that, but none of her security force will be able to accompany her once we land. The Senator was barely able to convince the delegate to let Ahsoka and I accompany her. Despite the risk, the Senator has insisted that she is going. As a peace keeper, I understand her position but I doubt that the timing for her being requested by name to attend the meeting is just a coincidence.” Acacia replied, studying the security displays before her of the Bail Organa’s party.
“Indeed. I will relay your concerns to the Jedi Council and see what they say. In the meantime, do your best and remember what I have taught you.” Kenobi reminded her gently, a fatherly look on his face.
“I will do my best to remember, Master. May the Force be with you.” Acacia responded respectfully.
“And with you, my young apprentice.” Obi Wan answered before ending the transmission.
Glancing around the chamber, Acacia once again noted the position of the shadows. That was when Acacia saw a movement to her right followed by a soft whistle. Startling slightly at being caught unawares, Acacia turned towards the noise her hand straying to her lightsaber on her belt. Next to her feet lay a metal disc. As she bent to pick it up something sliced through the air where her head had been a second before. Using her crouched position to her advantage, Acacia rushed forward and bowled into her unknown opponent. He hit the wall with a crash.
Turning on her heel, Acacia barely moved her lightsaber into position to block the cut that was rushing towards her. In a flash, Acacia darted around the Senator’s desk, surprising her opponent. As he moved to pursue, he glanced around the dark room warily as if expecting another Jedi to jump out at him. It was a foolish mistake. His slowed advance gave Acacia the vital moments she needed to bring her full force behind her sword with a two handed aggressive barrage.
Acacia knew that in a contest of height and weight, the assassin had the advantage. Therefore, Acacia relied on her speed and experience. As she deflected her opponent’s first offensive combination, Acacia sensed rather than saw her opponents next move. Thwarting it easily, she allowed there to be a break in the fight. Using it to her advantage, Acacia pulled the Dark Saber from inside her robe and ignited it.
For a second neither of them moved. The Mandalorian stared in awe at dark blade, fully aware of what it stood for. Suddenly, the assassin turned and jumped through the window sending glass everywhere. The fear Acacia sensed in him startled her, and she wondered if using the blade had been a good idea.
Moments to late the security team came running, only to find Acacia examining the knocked out assassin.
“Are you alright?” One of the men asked, out of breath. Acacia straitened as the other men moved in and secured the assassin’s hands with hand cuffs.
“I am fine. Inform Captain Typho and the Jedi Council that we have taken a prisoner.” Acacia ordered in commanding tone. Hurrying back to the security station down the hall the man did as he was instructed. It wasn’t long before the Senator, Ahsoka, and Typho arrived on the scene.
They found Acacia and looking over the assailant’s belongings, discussing how to go about identifying them with an analyzer droid. “It seems highly unusual for an assassin to go after the protector and not the target.” The droid said mechanically as he looked over the information on the data pad in his left hand.
“Agreed.” Typho said, crossing his arms and giving Acacia a no-nonsense look.
“I don’t think they where after me. Not originally at least.” Acacia responded to the droid calmly, ignoring the coolness in Typho’s tone.
“Why do you say that?” Padme asked, looking more than a little confused.
“I know a disrupted plan when I see one. They weren’t expecting to find me here. They were looking for someone else.” Acacia answered in an even tone.
“That still doesn’t explain why they attacked you.” the droid reminded them.
Acacia blinked and looked at the droid with more attention than before. “I am on the list, why wouldn’t they. . .” Acacia started and then stopped, the realized that no one in the room but Ahsoka was supposed to know about the list.
“What list?” Typho exclaimed indignantly.
“The list of the assassins targets.” Anakin replied from the door behind them. Rex was standing to his right, helmet off and a grave look on his face.
“Master, what are you doing here? I thought the council sent you on another mission.” Ahsoka asked incredulously.
“The Council sent me to check on your progress. My mission was… Delayed. Did you find anything, Padawan Drii?” Anakin inquired, looking to where Acacia was standing.
“Nothing that differentiates from what we have found at the other scenes, except. . . The markings on these swords. If I remember correctly only the guards of the house of Ca’azar carries weapons with markings like this.” Acacia responded sadly.
“Ca’azar?” Ahsoka said questioningly.
“He is the only weapon provider on Mandalore. He supplies the security forces with what little weapons we have. He also has a foot in the ship building industry, and is based mostly on Concordia.” Acacia explained calmly, lifting one of the swords from the table and examining it further.
“I have someone here on Coruscant that should be able to identify the blades. I will take one of these swords to my contact and see if she can identify it. In the meantime, I am going to insist that you delay your trip to Akorii.” seeing that Padme was about to object, Acacia raised her hand. “Delay it long enough for my contact to confirm the swords origin. Once we do that, I will be able to arrest Ca’azar and his men when they land on Akorii, and you will be temporarily safe.”
“Fine.” Padme responded cooly.
Acacia left the room quickly, feeling like she was failing in her ability to interact with people.
“She is just doing her job, Padme.” Anakin chided his wife after everyone else had left for their duties (including Rex).
Padme put a hand to her head and sat down on the nearby sofa. “I know Ani. She took me by surprise, that’s all.” Padme answered after a moment of quiet.
“Yeah, she tends to do that.” Anakin replied automatically.
Padme raised an eyebrow and gave him a look full of curiosity. Sitting across from her, Anakin just rolled his eyes and smiled.
“So, is that why you went to Mandalore? Because of this list?” Padme asked, trying to change the subject.
“We originally went to convince Acacia to rejoin the Jedi Order. In the end, we also moved the former members of Death Watch to the higher security prison here on Coruscant. It was through her we got the list in the first place.”
Cole entered the room, and bowing to Acacia, “Commander, you called.”
“So I did, Captain. I need you to take this to Cara and see if she can identify it. Also, send a transmission to Bo Katan Kryze and Ava Restis to meet with me here, in person.” Acacia instructed him as she handed him a hard case.
“Understood, m’lady.” Cole replied, taking the case and turning to leave.
Cole turned around in the doorway to face her “Yes?”
“Be Careful.” Acacia said with a worried look on her face.
Ava stood next to her mother on the mountain top overlooking the valley below. Behind them, the remainder of the missing squad of former Death Watch warriors lay asleep minus a few sentries. The sun was rising over Concordia, making the scene below even more beautiful than normal. Both warriors had known and faced the daily risk of informing on Death Watch from the beginning. As time had gone on, it had become less of a favor for a relative and more of a personal mission. The amount of lives Death Watch ruined in recruiting alone was infuriating, especially Ava. A young mother herself, the fact that Vizsula had been getting away with destroying families and homes was unacceptable.
“Do you think it will last, Mother?” Ava asked, speaking the question she hadn’t dared to ask before.
“All sunrises end, Ava.” Bo Katan replied teasingly. Seeing the downcast look on her daughter’s face, she soften her expression.
“I know that my sister hopes it will. But even if the fight moves away from Mandalore, I can’t see Vizsula’s allies giving up that easily.” Bo Katan added, placing a hand on her daughter’s shoulder.
Ava nodded and placed her hand over her mother’s. Just then a small voice came from behind them. “Capn’ Cole is calling!” Ava’s young daughter, Ella, squealed with joy.
To be continued
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