Saturday, December 29, 2007

DeathTalker: Chapter 4

Next | Previous | Contents

"Weren’t you wearing an Army uniform the last time I saw you?"

Anakin smiled self-consciously at Supreme Chancellor Palpatine.

"Yeah, well, it was the only one I could find last time."

"Please, please! Have a seat."

Walking around his desk, Palpatine took a seat in the char opposite Anakin, who waited until then before taking a seat himself. Silently, the Chancellor’s advisors surrounded Palpatine.

"Before you left Coruscant, I just wanted to talk with you about home. It’s so rare that I get to talk to someone unconnected with politics, with no agenda of their own…"

Anakin noticed that the advisors seemed to be human, but very, very pale. All four were staring intently at him.

"I’m…I’m sorry?"

"I was just asking you if you followed Gungan football – it’s one of my vices you know."

"Oh…well, actually my wingman er…ah bets on some of those. Which team?"

"We’ll kill you too."

Anakin looked up sharply at the advisor who had spoken. The man had a sickly half-grin half-smirk on his face.

"Would you like to see it?"


"I have a jersey from one of the Mud Slugs! I know, people in the Republic really shouldn’t deal with the Hutts, but I saw the add for it and I just couldn’t resist…"

The Supreme Chancellor had gotten excitedly to his feet and scuttled over to a framed picture. Glancing surreptiously about, the moved it and began opening the safe behind it.

Anakin was craning his neck since one of Palpatine’s advisors was in the way. Glancing up at him, Anakin watched one of the man’s hands move slowly to his face. As it neared, the fingers of his hand curled so that he was pointing. Anakin looked around but did not notice anything. He looked back and realized, to his discomfort, that the man was going to pick his nose.

Anakin glanced quickly away, trying to latch onto the jersey that Palpatine was proudly displaying. A bead of sweat started rolling down his brow.

"Wow! That’s great!"

Anakin desperately tried to keep focused on the Supreme Chancellor as be babbled on about how this was the jersey that the great Gungan player, Fwippo or something. Anakin’s eyes were drawn back to the nose-picking advisor.

With a start, he realized that the man had something on his index finger. He was smiling an evil, loathsome smile. He slowly moved his finger back towards his face. Anakin shook his head involuntarily. The advisor locked eyes with Anakin. Slowly, deliberately, the man ate it.

"Gross! That is just plain nasty!"

Anakin was on his feet, keeping his chair between himself and the advisor.


Anakin glanced back at the Supreme Chancellor. Palpatine was no longer smiling.

"He can see as well as hear us."

"This cannot be allowed."

"Sooner or later, he will inform them."

The Four advanced on Anakin, who backed away.

"What the hell is going on here?!"

"A moment."

The Four stopped. Palpatine was at his window, gazing out at the city. He turned and faced the boy once again.

"Gentlemen, please."

The Four glanced at each other, then looked back at Palpatine. Like dogs told that no, they cannot eat the baby, they slunk back to the Supreme Chancellor and took up their positions. Palpatine sat down at his desk, steepled his fingers, and gazed at Anakin.

"Who are they?"


"Are they…that is, have they…"

"They are very old, powerful, and wise. Only people who are…gifted as you and I can see them."

Palpatine fell silent and gazed at Anakin.

"You were born into slavery, weren’t you?"


"My homeworld was occupied by the Trade Federation. That gives us something in common."



"Excuse me?"

"That’s what the Republic did for us. That’s what the Jedi did to help us. Nothing."

"Well, when you put it like that, yeah."

Anakin was still gazing warily at the Four, but it was hard to keep his eyes on all of them, all the time.

"In fact, I do believe Newt Gunray was recently acquitted by the courts…again."


Anakin tore his gaze away from the Four to look at Palpatine.

"And how did the council react when they discovered that you were a ‘Deathtalker?’"

"Not too pleased."

Anakin looked away. The Four exchanged glances.

"Anakin, the Jedi are in many ways amoral, but in some areas they will intervene directly. Regardless of what they say, they do not tolerate Sith."

"But I’m not a Sith! They’ve even admitted that there would be no way for me to have become one without them knowing!"

"That may be good enough for some of them, but the council has many members. One of them may act on their own."

"What about you?"

"I’ve given up on leaving my fate in the hands of others, in trusting in good intentions. I have to struggle to simply survive, let alone to preserve Naboo from being attacked again. In order to do that I have to make…sacrifices."

Palpatine gazed ahead, staring at nothing. His face was strained, the muscles tight.

"Right now, the council does not know of my alliances. Were they to find out, their response would be swift and merciless. If they already know that you are a Deathtalker, your options are very limited. My advice would be to flee Coruscant, immediately. Better to live as a hunted man than to leave your fate in the hands of others."


"We will not allow it."

The Four turned and faced Palpatine. While none of them moved, Anakin could feel that some sort of struggle was taking place. While staring straight ahead, the Supreme Chancellor spoke with some difficulty.

"I will hold them off…as long as I can. Run!"

Anakin ran.

Oddly enough, there was a shuttle bus port near the Senate, as if such august persons would deign to use such a means of transportation. Anakin stood by the stop and waited. Time passed.

Irritated, he paced back and forth, contemplating his situation. Those damn creepy advisors seemed dangerous, but so was the whole situation…

At the thought of the advisors, Anakin jumped and turned around, glancing wildly, but there was no cause for alarm. The whole situation had put him on edge. Just then, the bus arrived and he got on. At least he tried to. As he was boarding, a blaster bolt blew his head off.

Had Anakin survived, he would have been happy to know that the bus was undamaged.

* * *

Yoda and Mace Windu listened as a grainy hologram of Obi-Wan gave his report regarding Cameeo. The discovery of the clone army was disturbing to say the least. As they discussed this alarming development the door to the room opened and a Jedi Knight entered.

"What is it, Mandor?"

"Masters, Anakin Skywalker has been killed."

"What?! When did this happen? Where?"

"He was shot while getting onto a transport outside the Senate building after meeting with the Supreme Chancellor about 20 minutes ago. As of yet, there are no leads on who may be responsible."

Yoda dismissed the Jedi, who bowed and left the room.

"Talk about blind."

Yoda sat frowning. After a time, Mace spoke up.

"Well obviously, it must have been Palpatine!"

"Yes, obvious it is. Too obvious. If Palpatine you were, assassinate someone just after meeting with them, you would not."

"Then who?"

"Afraid I am, to contemplate, for to the Council, it may lead."

"What?! That’s ridiculous!"

"Agree with you, I would, were normal the conditions. But from the archives, someone removed the information about Cameoo. And knew they did, the Council, that Skywalker, Deathtalker was."

Mace glared at Yoda. Eventually, he got to his feet and headed towards the door. As he was leaving, he turned to Yoda and opened his mouth to speak. After a moment he frowned and left without saying anything.

Anakin looked down at his dead body. At least the bus hadn’t been damaged.

He glanced around curiously and waited. Some cops and the press arrived. Anakin drummed his fingers and waited.

As he had suspected, Anakin was completely invisible to people. In fact, people and objects seemed to pass right through him. This briefly made him happy, since it would mean that he would peer in on Padme while she was taking a shower, but then he remembered he was dead.

Bored, he wandered aimlessly from the site of his death. What to do?

Anakin felt a strange sensation and stopped. The closest he could come to describing it would be a sort of gentle tug, but he could not determine which direction it wanted him to go. He looked around, but didn’t see anything that might be the cause.

I wonder what Qui-Gon would say to all this? Probably, "If you had become a Jedi, this wouldn’t have happened!"

At that moment Qui-Gon Gin appeared from nowhere.

"If you had been a Jedi, this wouldn’t have happened!"


"And let me tell you something else!"

"I’d rather that you didn’t."

"Well I’m going to tell you anyways!"

"Oh joy."

Anakin groaned and walked away.

Mental note: don’t think about Qui-Gon.

Anakin felt the weird, pulling sensation again; but this time it was stronger and lasted longer. The surrounding landscape seemed to fade for a second, but then reasserted itself. Strange.

Anakin walked back to Qui-Gon, who was still blathering about something.

"Hey, shut up for a second."


"Any idea what that strange, sort of pulling like sensation is?"

"What are you talking about?"

"You know, every now and then things fade for a bit? Does it have something to do with passing onto the next stage? Moving on in the afterlife?"

"I don’t know what you are talking about, but a true Jedi could have identified it."

"Look: would you cut that out. I mean, what’s the point? We’re both dead now."

Qui-Gon frowned.

"Now what are you talking about? Whose dead?"

"You are."

"I most certainly am not!"

"Yes you are, that weird guy in the black clothes killed you."

"What? The Sith?"

"Yeah, you know, black robe, black gloves, black shoes, red tattoos, horns sticking out of his head? Had a double-lightsabre?"

At that moment, Darth Maul appeared. The moment he saw Qui-Gon, his lightsabre ignited. Qui-Gon’s flashed green in response.

"Look guys, this is ridiculous!"

The two ignored him as they circled each other. Darth Maul struck first, only to be parried by Qui-Gon, who returned the favor. Anakin signed and sat down on a nearby bench. Idly, he was surprised that he didn’t pass through.

As the minutes passed, the fight continued. Anakin drummed his fingers on the bench and waited. After a bit, he could feel the strange, tugging sensation build again. With a shrug, this time he tried to go with it.

The surrounding buildings faded away, to be replaced by dark, boiling clouds. The tugging feeling intensified, and Anakin felt that he was moving faster. He passed through several clouds, picking up speed, until, with an effect not unlike jumping to light speed, he flew off at what seemed to be a incredible velocity.

After a few seconds, he arrived at what appeared to be a limitless, rocky plain. Slowly, figures appeared in the distance. Some were humanoid, while others definitely alien.

As more and more of them appeared, Anakin became aware of a steadily growing sound. A kind of groaning, moaning sound. It seemed to have a kind of musical quality to it, but it was definitely not a happy sound.

The shadowy figures were now crowding around him. Whichever way he looked, he saw more of them, and they were all looking his way. He did not sense any malevolence, but more of a yearning, pleading feeling. The moaning gained volume until is was a roar in his ears. As the volume increased, Anakin could almost make out some words…

All at once, he understood.

Next | Previous | Contents

No comments: