Acacia listened to the everyday bustle that surrounded her. Her informant was doing his best to hide his nervousness. Obviously the man knew something, something very important. “Reno, please.” She pleaded, careful not to sound to desperate.
“Alright, alright. I overheard one of the lower city apartment managers talking at the cantina. Rumor has it that his apartment complex is the one Mandalorian assassin’s regularly stay at. And, I also learned that one arrived about moon rotation ago. This disk has the entire discussion recorded on it, among other things.” The old man answered nervously, handing her the disk in trade for the credits she had offered.
“Be careful, child.” Reno voice wavered, full of grandfatherly concern. He looked her in the eye something he hardly ever did. “Mandalorian Assassins aren’t your everyday criminals.”
“I’ll be fine.” She replied gently squeezing the hand that had her arm, which automatically released its hold. “I’m not going alone.” Acacia finished, pulling her Jedi cloak about her as she drifted into the crowd.
“I can’t just sit here and wait while the assassin is still out there!” Anakin raised his voice in frustration. He was pacing back and forth, clearly to upset to stay still.
“Patience, Anakin. Acacia will get the information we need, without getting the attention of others.” Obi Wan replied calm, placing emphasis on the later part of his rebuke.
“If we don’t do something right now, I won’t be the one raising a commotion!” Anakin tried to argue stopping and turning to face his old master.
“Rushing into things won’t get us anywhere.” Obi Wan observed, letting only a hint of his one frustration to show in his own voice.
Door opened and Acacia passed through it, her cape fluttering slightly as the door closed behind her seconds later.
“What did you learn?” Anakin asked somewhat sharply, clearly still frustrated about waiting.
Acacia, ignoring his question completely, continued past them to through the next door to the Council Chamber.
“What have you found?” Mace Windu asked as the chamber door closed behind Acacia, Anankin, Ahsoka and Obi Wan who had followed her through the door.
Holding her right arm out in front of her, she touched a button and her comm-link replayed Reno’s words: “I overheard one of the lower city apartment managers talking at the cantina. Rumor has it that his apartment complex is the one Mandalorian assassin’s regularly stay at. And, I also learned that one arrived about moon rotation ago. This disk has the entire discussion recorded on it”
“Where did you get this information?” Mace Windu inquired after Acacia had finished her report. Anakin and Ashoka stood close to the door, while Obi Wan had already taken his place in the circle of chairs that formed the Jedi Council.
“I’d rather not say, Master Windu. However, I can assure you my source is reliable.” Acacia replied, ignoring the mild glare she received from Windu.
Before he could question her further, he was interrupted by none other than Master Mundi.
“It is not the information itself that surprises me. It is the fact that your resources reach this far. As Duchess Satine’s security advisor, having eyes and ears on Mandalore is understandable, but having one on Coruscant… Is intriguing and unexpected.” Ki Adi Mundi cut in calmly, noting the flash of indignation in Acacia’s eye at Windu’s tone.
“My interest is not just in the security of Mandalore but of all the neutral systems and the Republic.” Acacia responded, keeping her voice level and hiding the rising irritation she felt at being treated like a child. Jedi do not ever let their emotions control their words and definitely not their actions. Master Sifo-Dyas had always reminded her at times like this, when she felt like no one was really listening. I never dreamed I’d have this problem in a council meeting. Acacia thought, the irony bringing a sparkle to her eyes.
“We will present the evidence before the Chancellor, but I don’t think this is enough information to initiate anything more than an apartment sweep.” Master Luminara stated, dismissing Acacia with a wave of her hand.
“Why do I have the feeling she doesn’t trust us?” Windu asked after the door closed behind the padawan.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if she doesn’t trust us. As we all know, the only reason she is here is to help us stop Duuku. She would have never returned had the Republic not been in such a dire situation.” Master Shaak Ti said in her soft but firm voice.
“Trust her, you should. No longer a child, is she. Wiser, she is. More experience, she has gained. Know the ways of the underworld, she does.” Yoda chided Windu in his gentle way.
Obi Wan stayed silent for a moment, thinking over what he and his young padawan had been studying only that morning. One sentence from Sifo-Dyas’s old books came to mind: our padawans learn by our example.
“As we have all just witnessed, Acacia is fulling capable of controlling her emotions. Over the last few days it has come to my attention that her knowledge of the force, the galaxy, and the way of lightsaber are well above the normal.” Obi Wan commented, changing the subject ever so slightly.
“It would not surprise me, that even during her exile, she was receiving training in the Jedi Arts from one of her old friends. She appears to have been taught more thoroughly than most of the Jedi getting the rank of Jedi Knight, during these times of war.” Plo Koon added, giving Obi Wan a meaningful look that Kenobi ignored.
“Are you sure this source of yours is reliable, Master Jedi? I don’t want to waist an investigation team.” The Chancellor’s computerized voice inquired upon hearing the Council’s report through without any interruptions.
“The source is questionable your honor, however it is the only lead we have been able to find on the assassins.” Windu responded diplomatically, having a hard time not showing his own hesitation.
“I see. I will order the apartment complex checked for any illegal persons or weapons. That is all I can do with this limited evidence. However, I will have the report sent you as to what the investigator finds.” Chancellor Palpatine said decisively after a moments consideration.
“Thank you, Chancellor.” Windu said, bowing before he turned off the holo-transmitter.
“Your assassin was found dead in his apartment. He was killed by his own comm-link, probably triggered by whoever hired him as a payment for his failure to complete his assignment. My team wasn’t able to get any of the electronics in the room to work, and we are still digging for any other type of evidence. I am sending you my current report, Master Jedi. Let me know if you find anything else that might help in my investigation here. Oh, and one more thing. The assassin was defiantly Mandalorian.” The Inspector told Windu. After his holo-image disappeared, one of the surfaces of the command consul lit up indicating an incoming document.
“It appears that whoever hired the assassin doesn’t want to leave any trace of his intentions.” Plo Koon observed.
“Or their own identity.” Anakin added a note of disgust in his voice as he studied the inspector’s report.
“It is not uncommon for a client to threaten an assassin after a failure. . . But this seems different somehow.” Madam Jocasta, the temple librarian commented. “Considering the fact that young Acacia is a leading member of the Mandalorian government it would not be surprising if the Sith wanted her dead.” she added after a moments thought.
“Only a Sith would hire an assassin to attack a member of our order in the Jedi Temple itself.” Ki Adi Mundi admitted with regret in his voice. The meeting dispersed then, as it was late and many had duties to fulfill early the next morning.
Acacia sat in the antechamber that served to connect her bedroom and her master’s to the main hallway. The only furniture in the room was two round seats and a candle stand, as the Jedi live a minimalistic lifestyle. The room was a sort of rounded pentagon with vaulted ceilings, with three doors. One lead out to the outer hallway the other two leading to the for mentioned bedrooms. Acacia closed her eyes and focused on the gentle breeze that came from the open window in her bedroom. The candle flicker once and the before her eyes rose a scene from the past, her old master’s voice as clear as if he was in room with her. Your powers are a gift, young one. You see things no one else can. Some may never believe you, but they are not the ones your visions are for. Remember that, Cia. The Force will guide you, always…
“Acacia?” the voice of Obi Wan Kenobi woke her up. She noted the lightness in the room, indicating that it was early the next morning.
“How long have I been sleeping?” She asked drowsily, sitting up.
“Long enough past your usual time to worry me. Did you have another dream?” Kenobi asked sitting across from her on the other chair.
“Just of old memories and of old friends long gone, Master.” Acacia replied respectfully, doing her best not to yawn. After a moment of silence, she asked him a question “Did my parents ever visit the caves of Kot’tur?” Acacia said looking questioningly up into his eyes as they sat opposite each other.
“That is where you were born, why?” Obi Wan answered, obviously surprised by her question and a little unsettled by her question.
“All I can remember is Master Sifo-Dyas telling me to ask you. He said it was important. . .” Acacia replied, her voice trailing off in puzzlement by her own memory loss.
“It may come to you time, young one.” Kenobi comforted her, and turned her attention to their training schedule.
The later that same morning, Obi Wan was walking in one of the Jedi Temple’s outer courtyard during a break in the afor mentioned schedule. He was thinking on what Acacia had said earlier Why Kot’tur would be important at all, beyond it being. . . he was thinking when Anakin approached him and interrupted his train of thought.
“Master, there is something you need to see.” Anakin said, clearly upset about something.
“. . . Meet us at the designated rendouz, and we will give you further instructions. She took out some of my best men, and I want reimbursement.” A scruffy looking human male threatened, holding up Acacia’s lightsaber. The transmission ended an everyone looked to Obi Wan Kenobi.
“What are we waiting for?” Anakin asked after a moment of awkward silence.
“Patience Anakin, being impatient won’t help us find her any sooner.” Obi Wan replied, allowing his amusement show over his worry.
Anakin rolled his eyes, “I assume you have a plan, Master?”
Obi Wan’s only response was a grim smile as he headed for the door. It only took a minute for Anakin and Ahsoka to be right behind him.
“The padawan has been taken by the gang lead by Igni Artikus. You know what to do.” Lord Sidious growled from under his cloak’s cowl.
“What if Igni refuses to give up his prize?” The Assassin asked nonchalantly, leaning on the table.
“Then eliminate him from the equation.” Sidious replied levelly, his voice nowhere near implicating the significance of the assignment.
Acacia woke up to find herself in a energy cage in the center of the Igni’s gang’s hanger bay. The gang members bussled around the cage, preparing their ships for departure. The smuggling craft were nothing to look at compared to the ships she saw every day back home, but the cargo caught her eye. She noted the many kinds of things only available on the black market, including some very rare high power pistols, worth millions a piece.
That’s when there was a disturbance at the entrance. Igni had just returned from his dealing with the Jedi as a man dressed in Mandalorian armor accosted him. They argued for several minutes, before the Mandalorian shot Igni and started taking out everyone else in sight. One of the gang member’s panicked and ran his cart full of pistols into the power generator, the resulting explosion killed several more gang members and deactivated the force field that served as Acacia’s cage.
“Stop!” the assassin shouted as Acacia charged forward. Ignoring his order, she grabbed one of the pistols and opened fire on the assassin as she scanned with the force through the chaos for her lightsaber. Her mind found something else instead. Within seconds the fight stopped as the clones and their Jedi commanders came to a little to late to call it a rescue. Wincing at her disheveled appearance she approached the assassin who was already being put in hand cuffs.
Acacia went around him scanning the dead bodies of Igni and his guards for…
“They don’t have it.” Obi Wan informed her quietly from right behind her.
Hiding her surprise at his unseen approach, she turned and gave him a questioning look. “If they don’t have it, then who…”
Before she could finish, Obi Wan held her lightsaber out to her. Acacia took it but it only increased her confusion.
“How?…” she started to ask and then caught the look in her master’s eyes. A look she’d seen many times over the years. . .
To Be Continued
Until next time!
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