Acacia watched from a distance as all of the prisoners (formerly members of the terrorist organization known as Death Watch) where being marched into the last transport ship. The transport ship would take them to the waiting Jedi Cruiser, which was taking the prisoners to a secure location on Coruscant.
The transfer was working exceedingly well, considering the amount of threats Pre Vizsula had been uttering for the last 24 hrs or so. A few minutes after the last transport disappeared from sight, Naemes knocked on the door of the room where Acacia and her mother were sitting. “Lady Acacia, General Kenobi is requesting your presence on board ‘the Diplomat’. The last batch of prisoners has been secured and he would like to leave for Coruscant as soon as possible,” the Duchess’ handmaiden told them through the closed door.
“Thank you Naemes.” replied Acacia. As both women stood up, Acacia turned to her mother, and gave her one last embrace. “I love you, Mom,” she whispered, the tears in her eyes threatening to let the storm loose. “I love you to sweetheart.” Satine replied, not withholding her own tears. It could be soon, or it could be years before they saw each other again. Nevertheless, neither of them would have changed a moment of their time together, short as it had been.
“Wonder what is taking her so long.” Anakin half-stated, half-asked nobody in particular as he and Obi Wan awaited Acacia’s arrival in the bridge. “If I may be so bold, Sir, who is that we are waiting for? The prisoners and personal have all been accounted for,” the Admiral asked the generals, raising an eyebrow in his what-aren’t-you-telling-me look. “My new Padawan.” Obi Wan replied in his famous matter-of-fact tone. Everyone within hearing (including but not limited to Commander Cody and Captain Rex) had a look of complete astonishment at this announcement. There where some suppressed gasps, and several conversations among the bridge’s many clone operators.
“Sir, I don’t mean to be disrespectful but why did the Jedi Council send us to Mandalore?” Cody said in a polite tone, asking the question that had been on all the clones’ minds since they had learned of their destination.
“It’s a long story, Cody.” Kenobi replied calmly. He would have explained further, but a clone voice interrupted the conversation.
“General Kenobi, your padawan has arrived. All stations are ready for departure.” the voice came from Anakin’s comm link. Anakin responded in his usual commanding tone, “Send her up to the bridge please Fives.”
“Sir, yes Sir!” Fives replied.
“Sir, the Jedi Council wants a report on your progress.” Captain Rex informed them, as he entered from the command center located behind the bridge.
Upon entering the command center, they approached the round holo-table that was situated in the middle of the chamber. On it where the holo-images of several council members waiting for Anakin and Obi Wan’s report.
“Did you succeed in your mission, General Kenobi?” Master Mundi asked after Anakin pressed the required buttons to patch them into the conversation.
“Our mission was a success. We will give you a full report on our arrival on Coruscant with the our passengers.” Obi Wan answered, emphasizing the last s indicating that something had changed since their last report.
“Thank you.” Acacia said to the trooper who had escorted her to the bridge, as he turned to return to his other duties. He saluted her silently and then went on his way. Upon spotting Anakin and Obi Wan, she nodded in their direction respectfully. Deciding not to interrupt their conversation with the two clone officers, she kept her distance. When Skywalker and Kenobi returned her nods with nods of their own, the clones turned to see who had entered the bridge.
In the next moment of awkward silence, Acacia moved around them to stand near the huge window.She could see Mandalore in all its beauty just to the ship’s starboard side. “I’ll make you proud mom, I promise,” she whispered as the image of her home was blurred by the stars and the engines sent them hurtling through space.
The Admiral decided to take charge of the situation, so he introduced himself to the young padawan, “I am Admiral Yularen. I assume you have already met the Generals?” Acacia turned from the window and took a few steps to close the distance between them.”Indeed I have, Admiral. My name is Acacia Drii.” Acacia responded, doing her best to keep the sadness she felt at leaving her home planet out of her voice.
When Acacia awoke the next morning she found Obi Wan watching her with a worried look on his face. Blinking several times to wipe the sleep from her eyes, she asked “What happened?” looking at her master, confusion written all over her face. “You where yelling out in Mandalorian, calling for your parents.” Obi Wan explained handing her the lightsaber which had fallen to the floor in her tossing.
“I’ll be fine. It’s nothing, just a bad dream.” Acacia told him, trying to convince herself more than anything else. Though Obi Wan could sense that something was up, he let it go knowing that when she was ready, she would tell him what had happened. “Sir, Rex says we are needed at the bridge.” Cody entered and informed them from the doorway.
As they headed for bridge, Acacia did her best to relax. “Your tense.” Obi Wan observed, and Acacia just nodded. After a few moments of silence, she explained. “Ever since the beginning of the war I have been hiding from the clones wherever I went. Not having to hide anymore feels strange, almost unreal.” Acacia replied, wording her response carefully. Under his helmet, Cody’s face registered surprise.
On the bridge the three of them joined Anakin and Rex who where looking out the main window at Coruscant. “The Jedi Council wants to see us immediately. They seem in a hurry to hear our full report.” Anakin told Obi Wan. With that, they headed for the hanger bay and the awaiting gunship that would take them to Coruscant’s surface. In the hanger bay, they where joined by Ahsoka who fell into step with Acacia, both padawans merely nodded to each other in greeting out of respect for their masters’ conversation.
When they arrived on the landing platform, they exited the gunship. On the other side of the long landing platform stood several members of the Jedi Council. They where standing next to a government transport. As they turned to face the four Jedi, Acacia recognized most of the faces. Mace Windu, Yoda, Ki Adi Mundi, Luminara Unduli, and Shaak Ti. After exchanging the customary Jedi greeting (bowing or nodding, depending on the Jedi), Yoda addressed Acacia. “Good to see you it is, youngling. Come. To the temple we must go. Have much to discuss with your master and Skywalker, the council does.” With that, the group of Jedi entered the waiting transport, leaving Rex and Cody to return in the gunship to the waiting ship.
When their arrival at the temple moments later, they went straight for the council’s meeting chamber. At the entrance to the chamber, Anakin turned to the two padawans. “Wait here,” he told them, gesturing to the bench on a nearby wall made for just such an occasion. After the door closed behind Anakin, Ahsoka sat down on the bench with an irritated sigh. Though Acacia was experiencing the same frustration at being left out as her younger companion, she did not show it. Sitting down next to Ahsoka, she made a quiet comment “The temple hasn’t changed much since I was here last. But the attitude feels very different, almost alien to what I remember growing up.”
“I know what you mean.” Ahsoka replied. There was a moment of silence, then Ahsoka seemed to perk up a little bit. “My name is Ahsoka Tano. I’m Master Skywalker’s padawan.” she said, turning slightly in her seat to face her companion. “My name is Acacia Drii. I’m Master Kenobi’s new padawan” Acacia said, returning the greeting and adding a smile.
Captain Cole Nuhri stood in his room, staring at the holo-image before him. He had found it on his dresser not two moments ago. It’s message told of the reason behind his commander’s disappearance and a few other things. A knock interrupted his thoughts.
“What is it?” he asked, doing his best to keep the irritation out of his voice. His sister, Chyrii opened the door and looking him in the eye said “I think you should hear this.” Following his sister to the command center, he wondered what could have happened since he had been there in the morning.
“What is it Scott?” he asked upon entering the room to see his friend examining what looked like a piece of a holo-transmitter. “I recovered this from the Death Watch camp.” Scott replied, not looking up from his work, “Originally, I thought it was just a piece of a comm-link. Then, a few minutes ago it started to play back a recording,” he said in the strained tone of a working mechanic. “Here it is,” he said a few seconds later as the holo-image showed on the table. It was what appeared to be an old man in a cloak that covered everything but the lower part of his face. At first the noise was indistinct, but by the third time he played the message it was loud and clear.
“Your mission is simple, assassin. Kill Anakin Skywalker’s padawan, Ahsoka Tano. If you are successful, report to Darth Tyranous on Malastare. He will give you ample reward for your efforts. Included in this case is the information you will need to find the youngling. Do not fail me assassin. You know the price of failure.”
“We need to warn Acacia!” Cole said urgently. “Why, what can she do?” Scott asked looking up from the piece of tech in his hands. “Just do it.” Cole replied more urgently, knowing there was no time for explanations.
“How did the Duchess take your unexpected arrival?” Windu asked after the council members (except Obi Wan) sat in their respective seats. “She requested that I inform you that if a Jedi Cruiser comes into her planet’s atmosphere without sending a warning next time, she will place a complaint before the Senate.” Obi Wan told them in his I-told-you-that-she-wasnt-going-to-be-happy tone.
“What of the prisoners that are being transferred to the prison as we speak? Where did you get them?” Ki Adi Mundi inquired almost accusingly.
“From what the Duchess told me, Acacia and a group of her guards and advisors developed and acted out a plan that ended with the arrest of the majority of Death Watch. We transferred them to the base here as the Duchess wished to have them off her planet as soon as possible.” Obi Wan responded, ignoring the accusing tone of Mundi’s remark.
They discussed the mission in further detail for another hour or so when a moment of silence gave them time to reflect. “Somethings not right, Master.” Anakin said in the moment of silence. “Sense it to, do I. In danger the younglings are.” Yoda stated. Windu was about to suggest they send for the younglings when a cry followed by the sound of bodies falling and glass breaking interrupted the meeting for good. They all rushed for the door, Anakin and Obi Wan hoping against hope that their padawans where safe.
To be continued
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