Tuesday, January 1, 2008

DeathTalker 2: Chapter 4

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Leaving the building, Palpatine sighed with the first feeling of freedom he had had in many years.

"That was heart warming."


Palpatine had gotten to the point where he could sense the Sith Lord's presence. Without looking he knew that the ghost was lurking near one of the statues.

"I could have just killed him you know."

"The discipline needed to restrain yourself will come in useful later."

This time Palpatine did turn and gaze at the specter. The old man did manage to return his stare without snickering.

"Don't you have some inhibition or something about being outside while the sun is up?

The figure smiled a nasty smile.


Palpatine sighed and followed him.

For the umpteenth time, the training droid managed to slip past his guard and score a hit. Naga had "kept things interesting" by blindfolding Palpatine and tying his feet together.

"I'm sick of this."

Palpatine ripped off the blindfold and untied his feet.

"Sick of what?"

"I'm sick of sitting around in a damn cave, spending all my time training, and for what? Nothing that's what!"

Palpatine stalked off down the corridor. Coming out on the surface, he headed off in the direction of the nearby town. Evening was drawing near.

In a foul mood, Palpatine walk restlessly through the buildings as night wore on. He avoided the more lively areas, preferring the dark and silent buildings and courtyards.

Some time in the night he found himself leaning against a pillar, gazing at a silent courtyard. No fountain, no birds, no plants, just the rock and the silence.

"This will not be an easy time for you."

Like one of the shadows surrounding them, Naga had drawn up behind him.

"Aren't you going to threaten me?"


Palpatine gave him a long measuring stare.

"You're being awfully understanding."

The figure was silent for a change. After looking at him for a while, Palpatine went back to staring at the courtyard. After a time, he went into the night, heading for home.

On the way, he encountered a bar, the people spilling out into the street and signing as they went their own ways. Palpatine stood in the shadows, gazing silently at them.

"You want to join them?"


"Why not?"

"It's boring." he said after thinking a bit.

"Follow me."

For no reason that he could explain, Palpatine followed Naga Sadow. The ghost flitted about the shadows, heading into a large building. Going into the basement, Palaptine found himself in one of the main power generators for the city. He gazed thoughtfully at the pulsing energy.

"You want answers? I can't help you. I do not know why I followed the path that I did, or why I continue to do so."

The dark figure was framed in the light of the generators.

"Some people see a mountain and think only of its beauty. Others see something to climb. Something to conquer. Other people see something in the way."

"I look at a planet and I see something to control. There is no reason behind it – it makes no sense. It is the same way with The Force. I feel it, know it, and I must control it. There is no other way."

"You and I are the same in that regard. You have tasted The Force and you will never be free. If you leave this path now, it will haunt you forever. When you sense other people, you will feel the force about them, and you will be tempted to control it. When the wind blows though your hair you will know that the force is behind it and you will seek to change it. When you witness the cheap manipulations that some try to weave on each other, you will know them for what they are."

"It is a difficult path. It requires sacrifice and discipline. You must remain secret and hold back your hand when you want to strike. You must be quiet when you would talk."

Now he looked him in the face.

"But there is power. With each day that passes, you will feel it grow. You will become more powerful than anyone, even a Jedi could hope to be…"

"Until it ends."

Sadow glared at him.

"I'll bet you never expected to be a bed sheet with holes in it, did you?"

"My power was always limited. The only way to increase it is to have someone else to work with you."

"Until they decide one day that they're stronger than you are."

"That was always the problem. We Sith are always looking to new challenges, always be the strongest. Train someone else, your power increases, but eventually, they will betray."

"During my time as a lord, I tried to find a way to change that."

"And you failed."

"I failed, but I think that we may be able to succeed."

"And why is that?"

"To use this idea of mine, you have to be a Deathtalker."

Palpatine's eyes narrowed.

* * *

Anakin, Padme and Obi-Wan strode down the gang plank of the Ebon Hawk to the lush, green jungle that seemed to dominate Yavin 4.

"Oh I have a bad feeling about this."

"Shut up."

Obi-Wan glared at Anakin, who sighed and fished out a packet of freeze-dried strawberries and handed them to Obi.

"That's better."

"What's the plan?"

Padme, sporting a blaster in one hand, a crowbar in the other, and who was chewing a full pack of bubble gum, looked around with something approaching mild interest. Obi-Wan talked with a mouth full of freeze dried strawberries.

"Well, (munch, munch, munch), according to Jedi legend (chew, chew, chew), the Sith tomb on this planet has a lock that you need three keys to open…"

Padme popped her gum.

"…one of the keys, which is incidentally made out of (munch, munch, munch) a glassy black volcanic rock..."


called jet, is guarded by a beast that no Jedi…" here Obi-Wan up-ended the packet of strawberries, spilling several on his robe, "…has ever fought with and lived! (burp)" The second key is said to reside on an island..."


"...that cannot be found by any save those who already know (pop, pop) where it is!"

"And the third key?"

"Ummm…I don't have any idea where that one is."

Obi-Wan looked apologetic, Padme blew a huge bubble.

"Hey! Where'd Anakin go?"


Anakin strode purposefully through the jungle along a barely discernable path. Puffing, Obi-Wan and Padme caught up to him.

"(puff, puff, puff) Anakin! We have to find the first key!"

"Which is incidentally made out of a glossy black rock…"

"Shut up."



"And stop doing that."

Padme looked at him disinterestedly and blew another, extra-large bubble. Irritably, Anakin waited until she had deflated it and was taking a breath for another when he gestured with his hand and the gum flew from her mouth.


"That is not the gum you're looking for…"

Padme raised her crow bar.

"There's the temple!"

Sure enough, poking out of the foliage was a crumbling, ancient, evil-looking temple.

"Not that is will do us any good without the first and second keys. Did I mention that the second key is located on an island…"

"Shut up."

Rounding a bend, the three of them beheld Palpatine. With him were The Three and a fellow who bore a striking resemblance to Darth Maul.

"Well I can't say that I'm too surprised that you managed to escape from Jango, it's a wonder he can see out of that stupid suit of his."

"He ran into our ship and knocked himself out."

Palpatine rolled his eyes.

"Good help is so hard to find these days."

The Darth Maul look-alike grunted.

"Which reminds me, have you met my new apprentice? Darth Maul."

"Aren't you supposed to be dead?"

"The Second."

The Sith smiled and waved.

"Hallo! Hi there!"

"As you can see, he's still a little rough around the edges."

With a flourish, Darth Maul (the second) took out a two-bladed light saber and twirled it about.

"Were you ever a cheerleader?"

Darth Maul (the second) smiled shyly.

"Well actually…"

"Shut up!"

"Right, sorry."

"But he's got it where it counts."

Maul grunted and tried to look menacing.

"And just in case…"

A bunch of Jango Fetts, complete with body armor, came running out of the temple and raised their weapons. Some of them were pointing at trees; others were aiming at Palpatine.

"Are these clones?"

"How did you know?"

"Just a guess."

Palpatine pointed the muzzle of a blaster away from his head.

"Deal with them!"

Obi-Wan took out his light saber and glanced at Anakin.

"Can you use a light saber?"


"I have a bad…"

"Shut up!"

Darth Maul (the second) did an amazing leap through the air and landed in front of Obi-Wan. He almost did a gymnast dismount but caught himself before it was too late. Obi-Wan struck and the two were hotly engaged.

Gesturing, Anakin summoned a wad of bubble gum from the jungle which landed with a loud "splat" on the visor of one of the clones. Unable to see, the unfortunate panicked and shot one of his fellows. Immediately, pandemonium reigned and the other clones started shooting each other.

With a war cry of "My gum!" Padme rushed the armored figures and started whacking them with her crow bar. Anakin strode through the clones after Palpatine.

Raising a cloud of dust, Anakin emerged from a corridor into a large chamber. Anakin seemed to be listening to something. Abruptly, he turned and beheld Palpatine, the Three behind him. Palpatine's face was hidden in shadows.

One of the Three flicked a finger at Anakin and a bolt of power flew from his had to be deflected by Anakin.

"You'll have to do better than that."

The figure smiled nastily and raised his hands. Another blast of power, a stronger one, struck out at Anakin.

Raising one hand, Anakin blocked his attack. Then another of the shades joined him. Anakin raised his other hand and blocked him too. The final apparition joined them and Anakin managed to block all three, but he was starting to perspire. Their attacks were unremitting.

"I have to admit that I'll a little curious as to why you came here. I would imagine that you of all people would know what you faced."

Anakin was panting now and his shield was weakening.

"And where are your friends? All the Jedi ghosts gone? Used up? Sucked into the void? Where's your sense boy?"

With a sweeping gesture, Palpatine threw Anakin against a wall.

"You'll have to excuse me, but I just don't get to indulge myself in this sort of play as much as I'd like."

Making another gesture, Palpatine threw the boy against the opposite wall.

"To be honest, the thing that surprises me is that you haven't drafted any allies from here. I would imagine that you have a certain rapport with the dead that even I lack."

"Well that's one difference between you and me. I ask for their help, whereas you command it."

"That I do."

Glancing over to the side, Palpatine raised his hand in a "come hither gesture." A spirit could be seen taking form in front of him. It would come close to forming, but then vanish. Form again, vanish again.

"Having trouble?"

Glancing over at Anakin, who had raised himself to one knee, he smiled.


The Three strode over to him and added their power to his. Immediately, there was a change. It took on a definite form and slowly moved towards them. Finally it fell in place behind them.

"All you need is a leash."

"Actually I think he would understand. It is our way that the strong should rule the weak. To be used as tools."

Anakin was leaning against a wall and breathing heavily.

"Yes, I would imagine that they would understand. That they, of all…people would know the nature of the Sith and what they are capable of."

"What are you spouting? Some Jedi nonsense? That the strong should guard the weak? That we should make our lives one of sacrifice so that the sheep might rule?"

Anakin glanced around.

"Well, I wouldn't exactly call them sheep. In fact, I wonder if some of these aren't a match for even you."

"What, are you trying to recruit some of them?"

Palpatine chuckled.

"Save your breath. Even if you could rouse them, they wouldn't help you, pawn of the Jedi."

"That's one thing I don't think you understand."

No longer breathing heavily, Anakin pushed himself away from the wall. He stood facing Palpatine, though he swayed a bit.

"I'm not Jedi."

"Then who do you serve?"

"You could say I'm an advocate of dead causes."

Now Palpatine did laugh.

"You expect me to believe that? You obliterated everyone on Corescant!"

Palpatine's newly acquired spirit seemed to be staring at Anakin. Abruptly, Palpatine stopped laughing.

"You cease to amuse me. I think it's time you joined my new friend as one of my 'hired help.'"

Raising his hands, Palpatine unleashed a blast of energy at Anakin.

Anakin blocked once again, but it was immediately apparent that he was weaker this time.

"Something wrong, boy? Even for you, your powers are weak."

"You could say I'm a bit…distracted."

Glancing around the chamber, Palpatine noticed the room no longer appeared empty.

"None of them are a match for me, let alone all of three of us."

"True. No one of them could defeat you."

"Now don't be fools! This one is a pawn of the Jedi, he is the true enemy."

"And after I am defeated, what then?"

Anakin addressed the assembled host.

"You know what he can do. You know what any of you would do. The only question is, what do you choose?"

Abruptly a vortex formed. The dead began advancing on it. The closest of them were sucked into oblivion.

Palpatine's face betrayed his utter lack of belief. He looked about wildly at the departing dead.

"This is madness! You would choose annihilation to conquering the galaxy?"

Palpatine glared at Anakin.

"It's you, you damn fool! You're forcing them to do this!"

A blast of energy lashed out at Anakin. In an instant, his body was blasted into nothing. Looking back, the vortex was still there. Gesturing at the nearest apparition, Palpatine strove to keep it from leaving.

Incredibly, he was unable to stop its advance. With a look at the Three, their efforts were added to Palpatine's. The spirit's progress was slowed, but at the cost of forcing the Three to themselves move closer to the vortex.

With each passing moment, more of the dead were eradicated and the vortex grew. It seemed as if a wind were now tearing at the Three. Abruptly they stopped.

"We cannot win here."

"It has become independent of him."

"We must leave."

The Three faded away, despite Palpatine's furious cries.

"Damn you Anakin! DAMN YOU! If you weren't already dead I'd…I'd KILL YOU!"

Shaking with rage, Palpatine left the chamber.

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