Sunday, December 30, 2007

DeathTalker 2: Chapter 1

Next | Previous | Contents

Anakin watched the vortex as it sat in the sky. It was beautiful in its way. Awesome, apocalyptic, inescapable.

Anakin had had been standing there a long time watching it. He didn't eat. He didn't sleep. He didn't talk. He just watched.

His look did not betray fear or gladness or regret. His eyes were wide, his expression almost blank. If one looked closely, he almost appeared…

A growing belief had formed in him that had been confirmed as time went on. The vortex was shrinking. In days, perhaps as long as a month it would cease to be entirely – its source of food consumed. Its work done.

Anakin was standing atop one of the higher buildings on Coruscant, at least from the standpoint of the planet's "surface." Such a distinction was not entirely clear in a place like this: where buildings could be larger below the ground than above it.

He became aware of someone approaching. A bright point of light – a strong presence.

"Obi-wan. What do you want?"

The Jedi stopped and regarded Anakin's back. An old force trick, to be able to notice a person's approach.

"I thought that I would bring you someone you might be missing."

Anakin seemed to sigh as he turned to face Obi-wan. His grim visage gave way to one of longing and emotion when he saw who was with him. He broke into a run.


Padme's arms were outstretched.



Anakin met the droid half-way. His arms flung about it in a gesture of hopelessness and happiness.

"I'm here too."

"Oh…hi Padme."

Anakin looked up at Obi-wan, his face streaked with tears.

"Thank you."

But then he rose.

His countenance transformed back into a mask; the moisture on his face glimmering in the light of nearby buildings.

"What can I do for you?"

"I'm worried about you."

"Is that so?"


"Thanks R2."

"And uh…so am I!"

"Thanks Padme."

Anakin stopped for a second.

"You're not here just to add a frivolous love element to a crummy story are you?"


"Not you R2."

"No, I'm not. What do you take me for?"

Anakin thought a moment.

"I meant metaphorically."

Anakin thought some more.

"Figuratively…oh never mind."

"So this has nothing to do with the Council sending you on another mission."

"I didn't say that."

"I meant Obi-Wan, but it's interesting that they included you too."

Obi-Wan crossed his arms.

"You have to admit that your last statement was a bit dramatic."

"I was caught up in the moment."

"Why, what did he say?"



"Stop that."



"What happened back there? I felt…something."

Anakin looked towards the Vortex.

"What do you see, there?"

"What? Do you mean, the Zima building?"

"That's the Ramen building."

"They look similar."

Anakin and Padme shared a look.

"Well then, I think it would be best if I left it at that."

Anakin turned about and walked towards a nearby speeder.

"Mind you, I feel something…strange."

Anakin stopped.

"Knowledge can be a burden Obi-Wan. Make sure you can shoulder it before you take it on."

Anakin hopped into the air-car and sped away.

It was all very dramatic up to the point where he had to circle back to pick up R2.

"What the hell was that supposed to mean?

Anakin fidgeted impatiently as R2 got aboard the speeder.

"You know…heavy, burden, knowledge."

"Are you trying to say that with knowledge comes power style of thing?"

Anakin glanced up at Padme impatiently.

"Yeah, sort of."

"Well the point didn't come across very well."

Anakin rolled his eyes and got in the speeder. He vanished into the night.

"Why don't you want me to go with you?"

"Call it compassion."

Obi-Wan and Anakin stood outside a ship called the Ebon Hawk. It was a sort of Millennium Falcon type of affair except smaller. The droids were finishing with preparations and fueling.

"(Ooof). I didn't know you had a ship."

Padme had just arrived with a rather large box thingie. Anakin glanced over at her and shrugged.

"There are a lot of things you don't know about me."

Padme rolled her eyes and walked away.

"Just where are we going?"

"I have to stop something."


"Yeah, what?"

Padme arrived with another box thingie. Before Anakin could answer, she turned and walked away. Anakin fidgeted impatiently.

"Well, where are we going?"

"I'd just prefer to only have to say this once, so I'm waiting for Padme."

Obi-Wan grunted and waited. Time passed. Padme approached with another burden. Anakin turned away as she dropped off another suitcase-like affair.

"As I was telling Obi-Wan, I only want to say this once. The place that I am going is…dammit!"

Anakin turned full around, but Padme had already gone out of earshot.

"You know, you could just tell me, and I could tell her later."

The gangplank to the Ebon Hawk descended.

"She'll just ask later."

"You're probably right."

A droid approached with some sort of futuristic piece of paper for Anakin to sign. Just then Padme approached with some more stuff.

"The place we're going is BEEP!"

The droid was bumping into him and trying to get him to sign its clip-board thingie.

"I think you need to sign something."

"Yes, but I just want to say BEEP! Look alright!"

Anakin snatched up the clipboard and hurriedly signed the sheet of paper. As far as he could tell, it was not made out of 100% recycled material.

"Goddamn son-of-a-BEEP!! BEEPing, BEEEEP!"

"The price that bad?"

"No, she took off again!"

"So she did."

"Look, maybe we can just get on the ship and take off without her."

Obi-Wan shrugged and headed to the gangplank. Glancing surreptitiously about, Anakin followed him. Arriving at the cockpit, he got into the pilots seat.

"This is really for the best."

Anakin hit a switched and nudged a lever forwards. Nothing happened. He tried again. Nothing continued to happen.

"Uh oh, here she comes…"

Looking out of the canopy, Anakin could see Padme heading towards the ship with yet another box. He started hitting switches and pressing buttons. Out on the tarmac, Padme put her hands on her hips and looked about. Finally, she glanced towards the ship. Anakin ducked.

"Get down."


"Get down so she doesn't see you!"

"Don't be ridiculous."

Anakin reached over and yanked the Jedi down in his seat. Obi-Wan protested and tried to get Anakin's hands off him.

"Stop that!"

After a few seconds, Anakin glanced up and saw that Padme was heading back to a nearby building. With a sign, he got back up in his seat and resumed trying to figure out why the Ebon Hawk was not moving. Obi-Wan glared at him and regained his seat. With exaggerated dignity, he straightened his robes.

"Maybe we need to get clearance from the tower or something."

Anakin had popped open a control panel and was rooting around inside.

"Don't be silly."

Obi-Wan put his chin on his hand and waited. Anakin continued rummaging.

"Uh-oh, here she comes again."

Anakin bumped his head and muttered something.

"Looks like she's got some kind of tractor…would you look at all that baggage!"

"We can still make it!"

Some time later, the two of them were sitting in the cockpit. Anakin was glowering at his instrument panel.

Padme came in and sat down in one of the passenger seats. Turing the seat towards another panel, she spoke into a microphone.

"OK, we're ready."

"Roger Senator, you are cleared for take off."

"All set!"

Anakin glared and flipped some switches. Sounds of a ship powering up filled the cockpit.

"Sorry about that, but I was afraid you would leave without me."

The ship raised into the air and pointed upwards. Gaining speed it, it rose into the afternoon sky.

"Where are we going again?"


"Hmmm…why are we going there?"

"I'll just go check our course…"


Obi-Wan and Anakin were in the ship's galley when the Jedi had become upset. Padme wandered in as well.

"What's the matter?"

"Anakin wanted to 'check our course.'"


"That's what I said."

The senator glared at Anakin and then stalked out of the room.



"Before you were saying that you didn't want to take me along out of compassion."


"Well, compassion for what?"

Anakin glanced at Obi-Wan like he was some rather dense child.

"You of course."

"What about me?"

Anakin sighed.

"Obi-Wan, you've dedicated almost all of your life to the Jedi, to the force. What you would learn from me would be…well upsetting."

"How so?"

"It would upset you."

"You're beginning to sound like Master Yoda."

Anakin glared at him. After a bit of thought, the non-Jedi ventured something else:

"What is the force?"

"Don't change the subject!"

"Look, I'm trying to make an important plot point."

"Oh all right. The force is…life. Life makes it grow, luminous it is, not this…"

"Don't get carried away."

Obi-Wan looked put out.


Anakin gritted his teeth.

"Can you be more specific?"

Obi-Wan perked up.

"Life…makes it grow."

"MIDICHLORIANS are what makes up the force!"

Obi-Wan pouted.

"The organelles that live inside us."

"Except for red blood cells."

"Right, except for them."

"Because they lack a nucleolus."

"OK, aside from red blood cells, they exist inside every cell of our bodies…"

"Oh and I think white blood cells don't have them either, but I'm not sure about that. Also…"

"The point is that most of the cells in all know life forms have them. And that it is this that allows us to feel the force. Well, what happens when life ends?"

"The body dies, the cells die and the midichlorians too."

"But not always."

Anakin was silent for some time.

"The term 'Deathtalker' wasn't created just for me. Sometimes, when someone who is strong in the force dies, they…exist for a little longer."


"How much longer?"

"Well, usually a matter of hours at the longest."

Anakin was staring at Obi-Wan now.

"But I was able to talk to Jedi who had been dead for over a century. What do you think that means?"

"Well, maybe you imagined it."

"Do you remember the bit about me being shot in the head?"

"Alright, I'll grant you that. So what do you think it means?"

"Death may not be the end for us."

"Why are you here Padme?"

"Obi-Wan and the council seem to think that it's important that I accompany you."

"And why do you think that is?"

Padme fidgeted.

They were talking in the galley of the Ebon Hawk. Obi-Wan had gone off in search of some place to sleep. Padme had wandered in looking for something to read.

"Probably to remind you that you're human."

"So why does that matter to you."

Padme continued looking around and found some sort of magazine. She glanced up and looked at Anakin with torpid disinterest.

"Beats me."

"Aren't you curious?"

"If I say yes will you quit bothering me?"

Anakin took on a pained expression. Padme flopped down and started to browse through the magazine.

"In a way, you are more honest than Obi. I find your candor refreshing."

Padme rolled her eyes and got up to leave.

"Palpatine had a way of forging alliances between groups that should not have worked together. As a politician I'm sure you can appreciate that. A leader can do so much with personal influence, intimidation, leverage; but Palpatine went beyond that."

"And how do you know that."

"Because as soon as he died, these alliances started falling apart."

Anakin paused. Politics was a point of interest for the senator.


"Well, how did he do it?"

Padme crossed her arms.

"Alright so how?"

"It would be strange enough if you didn't know, since you're quite astute when it comes to politics."

Seeing her look, he added.

"I meant no disrespect."

"But at any rate, you aren't the only one who was confused, were you?"

"Actually there are quite a few explanations for what happened."

Anakin looked troubled.

"There are?"

"Yes, well these things do happen from time to time. You get a charismatic leader, the right situation, certain economic conditions – there is precedent for this sort of thing."

"OK, but not very often, right?"

"Not as such though there were…"


Padme glanced at him, but allowed Anakin to continue.

"Right, so how did he do it then? I'll tell you how: he had help!"

Padme gave him a "well duh!" look.

"But not just any help. I believe that the things that he used were not among…the living!"

Anakin paused for dramatic effect. The silence began to weigh heavily on the conversation. Anakin glanced back at Padme.

"As in not living…dead…you know, beyond the grave style of thing…"

"You mean like ghosts?"

"Yeah…sort of…"

"That is the stupidest idea I've ever heard!"

"Is not."

"I mean what are they going to do: 'Vote this way in the council or I will waaaaail!'"

Padme started laughing. Anakin's face turned red.

"Well, it would be a kind of spooky thing to happen you have to admit."

"I've heard of worse things from my constituents! I mean you wanna talk about whining?!"

Padme was doubled over and making sounds like a horse.

"I mean, they could come back to claim Social Security or something – HA! HA! HA!"

Padme finally settled down, her breathing returning to normal after a short "honk!" sound.

"Anakin? Anakin!"

But he had mysteriously disappeared.

"Dead…not alive…not among the living!”


"Well, that's because you're a droid: of course you aren't scared!"

Anakin paced back and forth.

"But believe me if you were a human being, you would be very frightened!"

"Stoopid…had to take these clowns with me…are we there yet?!"

Next | Previous | Contents

No comments: