"Not too fancy, but cozy just the same." Anakin Skywalker murmured aloud.
He admired the simple, but sleek Jedi ship. He wandered around the main room and peeked in the two cabins. Everything was austere and useful. A lot like my ship. Anakin thought. But mine is smaller and filled with droid parts. Kaely was in the cockpit arguing with the computer. It had required a little convincing before the ship released control to them. However it didn't have much in the way of security, and they were now cruising through hyperspace.
"You wouldn't know it at first glance, but this ship is pretty nice." Anakin commented to Kaely.
She wasn't able to fly at the moment. The Ragus drink and indeed become sticky and half her internal mechanisms were stuck. He carried her from the cockpit and began searching through the kitchenette compartments for something to clean her with. Anakin sat down at the main room's table and removed her outer hull to assess the damage.
Kaely waited with unusual patience as he cleaned the orange residue. He couldn't deactivate her because he needed her to test each appendage to be sure he got it all off. It was slow and tedious work. Maybe this will help me be more patient, too. he mused.
He smirked to himself. "So, do you like the Jedi ship?" he asked his droid. Kaely gave an affirmative trill. "I would've liked to have seen their faces when they saw the empty hanger! Ha!"
Anakin fiddled with a mild dissolvent and a tiny scouring stick. "You do manage to find the silliest places to hide." He shook his head as Kaely answered with a soft beep. "Don't hide in any food, drink, or anything else that can clog you up anymore, got that?"
He sobered for a moment in thought, but then grinned again. "At least I don't have to worry about them being angry. Okay, move your wheels" Kaely complied, but one was still stuck. "I don't really want them to be angry. But I just gotta be sure."
Kaely whistled encouragingly as Anakin unstuck the last wheel.
"I know that they don't understand why I'm being such a pain. It seems so easy to just go with them. But just because Master Qui-gon and Obi-wan are willing to help doesn't mean they can."
"Open all of your doors and extend just the arms." Anakin instructed her. "I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think going with them would only make things worse right now. They'd both just get in big trouble with the Jedi Council."
He shook his head mournfully. "And if I told them how I learned to do so much with the Force they'd lock me up for sure."
Kaely flashed her eyes at him in puzzlement. She's sweet, but I know she has no idea what I'm talking about. Anakin sighed.
"Now, fire off your special stuff." He watched as her magnetic grapple jammed and began cleaning it. "If things were different...," Anakin began saying. "The Jedi just don't know what to do with me. And if they can't handle me at my worst, then I'll just have to take care of myself alone."
Kaely gave an electronic sniff of indignation and would have pouted if she could. "Okay, with your help. Happy?" Anakin rolled his eyes at her.
He picked up her outer hull. It was mostly orange now with only a little green visible. "I don't know if this cleanser can get the stains off of your coverings. I might end up scrubbing all of the green off and I don't think the Jedi have any paint on board."
The nearby console began beeping an alert. Anakin returned to the cockpit and strapped in. "We'll see about picking out some paint on Tuohctaw." He said as he brought the ship out of hyperspace and smoothly guided it to the nearest populated planet. "I'll have to buy some more clothes and tools too." he said as an afterthought.
"I suppose I ought to warn you now that we need to go into hiding, Kaely." Anakin told her grimly. "After we finish getting the stuff we need here, we'll go back to that little moon. It's a nice enough place. No people, but I'm sure you'll have fun terrorizing the animals." he smiled crookedly. "You don't remember it of course, but I started building you there."
Anakin gave one of his fake IDs to Tuohctaw's space traffic control and maneuvered into the landing line. "We've got to be extra alert for those ugly droids. I don't think that anyone could follow us this quickly from Yawsihtog, but you never know."
They had enjoyed the little shopping trip so far. Kaely got in some much needed flying lessons and Anakin was almost certain that nothing else in her system was still clogged. Kaely was cheerful and chirped excitedly as she examined the array of colors on the paint rack in front of her. Anakin had thought it would be fun to let her pick the paint herself. Big mistake. Not only did Kaely not even have a favorite color, she couldn't choose one. Anakin glanced around the shop warily. This is so embarrassing. Why can't she just make up her mind.
Anakin stiffened. "We've gotta go now!" he dropped the objects he had intended to purchase on a shelf and turned to exit the store.
Kaely didn't follow. Anakin glared at her and pulled the tiny droid to his hand swiftly with the Force. He didn't bother worrying if some of the other customers saw.
"Jedi are here." He whispered to her and attempted to walk quickly out of the doorway without looking suspicious. "This is no time for games."
Master Qui-gon Jinn and Jedi Knight Obi-wan Kenobi sat in a cantina near the ship hangers on Yaw-sihtog. It was raining loudly outside. The two Jedi sat in silence for they had no words to say and none were needed. Obi-wan sat with his head bowed and idly stirred the drink in front of him. It was a local brew that had now become cold. He hadn't noticed. Qui-gon stared out at the miserable weather. He rarely blinked and hardly seemed to breath he was so still. Their hearts were heavy with disappointment and reflection over recent events.
After Anakin stole their ship, they contacted the other two Jedi teams. Once they had warned them of Anakin's power and the droids that attacked, Master Deyonna offered to pick them up. Master Stiaw was closer but they had all agreed that his team needed to immediately track down Anakin. They felt certain that he would be easy find while in Obi-wan and Qui-gon's ship. They had ways of tracing the crafts that belonged to the Jedi. Meanwhile, Master Deyonna would come get them from Tidessim.
Qui-gon and Obi-wan both rose smoothly as they sensed the approach of three Jedi. Together they quickly exited the cantina and walked through the rain without caring if they became soaked or not. They entered the hanger just as the ship finished landing and lowered its ramp. Knight Gnirit met them inside.
"Good evening," he said somberly. "We have received further news since our last contact with you. If you will come this way we will leave at once."
Master Deyonna met them in the central room while Knight Gnirit went to assist Knight Suoixna with the takeoff. The Cihtapme Jedi Master was frowning. Obi-wan didn't know her as well Qui-gon did, yet he could feel right away that something was very wrong simply by the look on her face. Her face should have been expressionless, portraying only her calm demeanor. It is always a sign of terrible events when a Jedi Master frowns.
"Greetings, Master Jinn, Knight Kenobi." Master Deyonna said as all three of them bowed formally. "Our current situation has changed."
Her lined face was grim. "Anakin Skywalker has eluded capture once more." she said firmly as the three of them sat and strapped themselves down in preparation for the jump to lightspeed.
"We have received orders from the Jedi Council to cease our mission and return to Coruscant at once."
Now it was Qui-gon's turn to frown. "We must find him." he argued.
"I understand that this is very important to you. However, disobeying these orders is not an option." Her dark eyes narrowed and she looked at Qui-gon sternly as if waiting for him to challenge her further.
Obi-wan glanced at the two masters and held back a sigh. "What of Master Stiaw's team?" he asked.
"They have already returned to the Temple."
"Did they locate our ship?" Obi-wan inquired carefully.
Master Deyonna smiled. "Yes, I believe they did."
"Then we should at least retrieve it." Qui-gon suggested.
"I am not falling for that old trick." Master Deyonna's smile became a smirk. "You are both determined to follow the boy, but I must disappoint you. I do not know where your ship is."
"Then we will contact Master Stiaw." Obi-wan said.
"I doubt that he can help you." Her face once more became grim.
"Why is that?" Qui-gon asked.
"If I may finish my explanation without further interruptions perhaps you will understand?" Master Deyonna looked at them pointedly.
Obi-wan had the grace to look embarrassed. However, Qui-gon only nodded curtly.
"Of course," he said. "You have our apologies. Please continue."
"Master Stiaw and his team arrived at Coruscant unconscious and their ship on autopilot. In the last transmission, I was told that though all three of them had only minor injuries, the temple healers had still not managed to awaken them. The Council has concluded that Skywalker must have overpowered them."
She paused, but Master Qui-gon and Obi-wan made no response and waited for her to finish.
"The rest of us have been recalled because it is apparent that groups of Masters and Knights are insufficient. The Council members themselves will be pursuing the boy from now on."
The revered Jedi Council convened to hear the report on the search for Anakin Skywalker. As it was his mission, Jedi Knight Obi-wan Kenobi gave the summary of what he, Master Qui-gon, and Master Deyonna's team experienced. The Council listened quietly without interrupting him. As he concluded, Obi-wan looked eagerly at Master Stiaw.
The third Jedi team did not look worse for wear from their encounter with Anakin. There was no visible injuries or any appearance of long term effects from their unwilling sleep on their return to Coruscant.
"We met Skywalker on Yawsihtog in a street of a small city." Master Stiaw narrated. "As we anticipated, he refused to accompany us and we prepared to restrain him."
"The boy fled from us across the rooftops with great speed. We were hard pressed to catch up with him and we were wary of possible traps. As we began to overtake him we approached a large gap between two buildings. The boy leaped and rebounded off the other roof, kicked Master Seta Relot in the head and dislocated Knight Truh Taht's left hip. Skywalker tried to grab me in passing, but missed and he landed on the roof safely. Knight Taht and I levitated ourselves and Master Relot, who was unconscious, to the ground and discovered that Knight Taht couldn't walk. We decided that I would continue chasing Skywalker, while they healed themselves enough to follow after us. However, it was not necessary as the boy had not left."
His old face was stern as he finished his report. "We had fallen into Skywalker's trap. The gap between the two buildings was not a road or space. Somehow the boy had removed part of the roof of a fish packing building. We had landed inside a large packing press whose lid he activated to confine us. He then quickly used the controls to remove all of the air from inside. We failed to escape and had no choice but to go into a hibernation trance. As you know, we did not awaken until after Skywalker had shipped us back here."
The room was silent for a moment. "Thank you all for your great efforts. We, the Council, will pursue this matter ourselves. May the Force be with you." Master Windu dismissed them all.
The Council was not surprised that Master Qui-gon and Obi-wan did not leave with the other Jedi.
Master Yoda visibly repressed a sigh. "Speak your objections."
Qui-gon corrected him. "We do not disagree with the Council's decision to capture Anakin yourselves."
"We request to accompany you." Obi-wan told them.
"State your reasons why." Mace Windu instructed them.
"Anakin has not attacked us on either occasion that we have opposed him." Qui-gon explained.
"He effectively subdued Master Stiaw's team of three Jedi, yet did not even attempt to do the same to the two of us. He knows us and is more inclined to listen and talk to us rather then any of you." Obi-wan strongly pointed out.
The Jedi Council members looked at each other briefly as they considered the request before Master Windu gave their response. "You have our consent."
"Inform you, we must, of our deliberations." Master Yoda announced.
Master Adi Gallia began first. "We have yet to determine the identity of the sender of these droids. The pieces retrieved by Master Deyonna are being analyzed as we speak. It is possible that Skywalker is running from his master and these droids are meant to catch him. Or that an unknown party has discovered the boy's abilities and wishes to exploit him as the pirates did."
"We have studied your reports on the extent of the Force actions that Skywalker has displayed, very carefully." Mace Windu leaned forward in his chair to look at Eeth Koth.
"The Force enhanced speed and agility appear to be Skywalker's most developed skills. He is also able to levitate more than seven objects at one time. How long he can maintain them is still unknown. Part of this skill can be attributed to the pirates insistence that he lift things for them." Master Eeth Koth surmised sternly.
"He also resists Force suggestions and mind tricks. This could be merely an indication that his will and mind are very strong, however it could be due to training. If so, than Skywalker was certainly a willing student. Otherwise his master would have not taught him to resist mind control." Master Yarael Poof's long neck swayed slightly.
Master Oppo Rancisis's tiny eyes seemed to bore into everyone. "We are very disturbed that the boy walked through a laser shield. Such fine-tuned alteration of matter particles is a rare talent that we have always thought to be impossible without decades of training. At this time, only a few hundred Jedi have accomplished this technique and nearly all of them are Master Healers. Even so, most of them could not part, pass through, and return an object to its original state so quickly."
"The glowing is feasibly a combination of a protecting Force wave technique and other, as yet unknown, manipulations of the Force." Master Saesee Tiin told them. "Your explanation of the damage caused by the Force literally exploding around the boy, supports this theory. The strong and dangerous light around him reacted very much like the force field that expands in a protecting wave. Also, Skywalker injured himself due to his lack of control, which is very typical when one is training to produce the wave. Why and how the light occurred spontaneously and with little warning is still obscure."
"He may also have control over energy attacks." Qui-gon pointed out.
"How so?" Master Yoda asked as his ears perked up.
"On Sielilyad, the Knights with me described a bright, narrow beam of light that distracted them." Qui-gon reminded the Council. "I believe that this could have been a Force action."
"Those Knights did not speak of that light with any significance." Master Windu said.
"They could not have anticipated that a child could possibly accomplish what takes a Jedi a decade to learn. I doubt that it even occurred to them." Qui-gon reiterated.
"Skywalker would have to be quite adept at absorbing and dissipating energy in order to create a beam out of it." mused Master Windu as he leaned back in his seat.
"Odd, that do this he can, yet control his glowing, he does not." Yoda added.
Master Even Piell's voice gruffly intruded. "Skywalker's lack of other skills is at this time undecipherable. He has not levitated himself to our knowledge. Yet it is very probable that he can. Perhaps he is concealing or conserving it until needed."
"Likewise after his last theft, our holo-interviews with the guards show that he never preformed mind tricks on them, despite how useful it would have been." Master Depa Billaba tilted her head when she finished speaking.
"The boy was unable to pierce your concealment trick, Master Jinn. And does not know how to hide himself enough to evade us." commented Ki-Adi Mundi.
Master Plo Koon spoke through his breathing mask. "He also made no effort to heal himself of the after effects of his light explosion. It is quite puzzling, as evident from his manipulation of the laser shield, he is capable of doing so."
"In less than four years, learned too erratically, he has." said Master Yaddle concisely.
"We will meditate on the future in order to locate him." Master Windu decided.
"On the unnamed places, we will focus." Master Yoda's eyes were closed.
Obi-wan was confused. "How can this be when no one can see Anakin's future?"
"We will go where the Force shows us no future." Qui-gon replied.
One month later...
Anakin ran through the forest nimbly. They had found him again. This is stupid. These droids can't handle a nature trek! He and Kaely had been so happy here. Every day was filled with exploring and fishing. He spent much of his time working to control his Force light and loved how calm and peaceful this unnamed, deserted moon was.
Anakin leapt down from the tree branch as he smashed the last battle droid. He panted lightly. This is actually becoming easier after all the practice I've had lately.
"Impressive." The strange voice intoned from nowhere.
"Whatever." Anakin said sarcastically in the direction of the mangled droid heap that he knew the comlink must be on.
"Your speed and adeptness at dodging has certainly improved."
"Well then, perhaps you should just lay off on the ugly droids and do the job yourself." Anakin spat in disgust and walked away from the metal droid parts calmly.
Anakin spun around in horror when he sensed a dark presence approach from the large trees behind him. This guy's been here the whole time?! And dimming my senses too! Anakin realized in shock. The owner of the voice was tall, but shorter than Master Qui-gon and wrapped in a black, hooded robe. Even though the cowl blocked most of the face, Anakin was puzzled that he couldn't seem to see any distinguishing facial features. This guy is hiding behind an illusion!
Anakin crouched in a ready stance. The forest surrounding them was silent as all of the animals had fled during Anakin's battle with the droids. No breezes reached them in the dim shadows of the trees. He knew that his usual tactic of simply running would not work against this foe. He had no traps, no weapons and was too tired from fighting the battle droids to make it far.
"If you survive, I will keep you. If not...."
Anakin swallowed his fear and fought down the chills that menacing tone gave him. I can do this. he encouraged himself. He waited for his opponent to make the first move. Due to how much taller his enemy was, Anakin didn't dare attack first. He had no way of knowing how many feet or arms might be hidden beneath that black robe. Or what weapons.
The creature's first strike was a simple punch towards the boy's midsection. It was too strong and nearly overpowered Anakin's block. Anakin jumped up and swung his left fist to uppercut his attacker's jaw. But his enemy caught his wrist and aimed a knife-hand strike at the boy's neck. The boy rotated his whole arm in a reverse hammer blow, ducked the strike and escaped backwards. A Force pull nearly tripped him but he resisted it and Force shoved back. He leaped into the nearest tree above him to gain some distance.
"Uh huh. Just why are you after me, by the way?"
"You are valuable."
Anakin scrutinized the figure below him. Why does this guy seem familiar. I'm sure I've never seen him before, but..
His eyes widened in horror. "You're a Sith!"
The Sith vaulted up to him. Though he blocked the fist coming at his head, Anakin failed to stop the thrust kick to his chest. It knocked the air out of him and he fell to the ground on his hands and knees. He barely rolled out of the way when his attacker followed. He moved stiffly in response to his painful ribs.
A shrill squealing sound echoed in the forest. Anakin's tiny droid came flying madly at the Sith. She zoomed in circles around its head and fired her electrically charged darts.
The Sith waved one black gloved hand in a Force shove that sent little Kaely wailing and spinning off into the atmosphere.
No! Please be alright Kaely! his face scrunched up with worry, but he remained as calm as possible and concentrated on his enemy.
Her intervention had provided Anakin with a much needed diversion. He flipped up to a handstand and kicked the Sith in the forehead.
"You'll regret that!"
"See if I care!"
The Sith threw a Force enhanced punch that connected with the boy's right arm. Anakin screamed and fell to one knee. He ducked a roundhouse kick to his head and scurried further into the woods. It took nearly all his concentration to support his excruciating right arm and ignore the pain from his bruised ribs.
I wonder why that thing hit my arm so hard, but his kick only banged my ribs? Was this guy holding back before? Running was terribly painful and his vision began to blur.
"No more fun." The black clad figure pulled out a blaster from it's voluminous robes. The Sith fired several blaster shots in rapid succession. Anakin had nothing to block them with. He dodged wildly in search of cover as the blots burnt the nearby trees and choked on the smoke. For a second time the Sith tried using the Force to grab Anakin and successfully snagged his ankle. With the pain from his injured arm, Anakin couldn't concentrate enough to free himself. He twisted around and grasped a tree limb for support. The Sith Force yanked him into the open and fired.
They both stared in incredulity as the bolt splashed harmlessly against Anakin's shoulder. The Sith tossed the blaster to the ground.
"Excellent energy absorption skills."
He stood cradling his right arm and gathering the strength he knew he'd need to throw off the Sith's hold.
Boldly, Anakin raised his left hand and pointed his finger at the Sith. "That was a mistake."
A burst of narrow white light shot from his fingertip. The energy he absorbed from the blaster blot greatly enhanced the beam. But his hopes plummeted when the Sith stopped it and closed it's fist over the remains of the light.
Silently, the Sith lifted it's hand and increased the energy within ten-fold. Anakin gasped and staggered backwards. A sphere of light boiled and sparked with a sickly gray and yellow hue. Too quickly for Anakin to react the Sith aimed the ball of energy at him. His eyes widened and he cringed as he saw the grayish yellow blast coming towards him. It was too big and he knew that he couldn't dodge or out run it in time. He thrust out undamaged left hand in a vain attempt to block it. I'm going to die! With his eyes squeezed shut, Anakin waited for the searing blast to strike him.
A warmth began to irritate his palm and a loud crackling was the only sound he could hear. Anakin slowly opened one eye slightly. The ball of gray and yellow fire hung suspended in the air next to his fingers. Anakin jerked his hand away in shock and shielded his eyes from the halted flames. Stumbling, he moved out of it's attack path. He could see that behind the ball was a trail of yellow sparks held in the air as if frozen.
"Ani!" Obi-wan shouted. "Over here!"
Anakin held his injured arm with his sore left hand and scrambled to the Jedi as fast as his feet would allow. He almost tripped over Master Yoda in his haste. The small Jedi Master's eyes were closed in deep concentration as he held the blazing energy with the Force.
Anakin reached Obi-wan and Master Qui-gon with obvious relief on his face. I've never been so glad to see anyone in my whole life! Qui-gon looked a little surprised to see Anakin smiling. A flash of light startled Anakin and he jumped around just in time to see the Sith vault into the trees as his own attack reversed and flew at him. Master Yoda appeared oddly irritated that the Sith avoided it. From the shadows two more Jedi Masters appeared with ignited lightsabers and followed the retreating figure.
Yoda glanced back at Anakin and shared a look with Qui-gon before bounding away to pursue the Sith as well.
"Am I glad to see you." Anakin panted lightly. His face was strained and he leaned against a nearby tree, grateful that the danger was over with.
The Jedi looked at him hopefully. But, they were delayed in answering by a whining hum. Zipping through the trees came a tiny round object no bigger than their fists. It buzzed and screeched around their heads and at their faces.
"Stop, Kaely." Anakin said in a weak voice.
Obi-wan used the Force to snatch the tiny droid out of the air and pull her to his hand. He looked at her closely and turned her upside down.
"What is this little thing for?"
Kaely was indignant at such treatment and squealed at him. Master Qui-gon smiled at his padawan. "To annoy people, obviously."
"Of course, annoy." he looked at Anakin. "Are you com..ouch!" Obi-wan let go of the small nuisance instantly.
She flew up and waved her arm appendage threateningly at Obi-wan's face. Kaely scolded him harshly.
"Kaely, hush! And don't pinch people!" Anakin commanded.
She suddenly halted and chirped at him. "Kaely, this is Master Qui-gon and this is Obi-wan." Anakin took a deep breath. "This is K-LE1, a droid I designed and built all myself." he said proudly.
The tiny droid was suddenly all politeness and cooed sweetly at the Jedi. Anakin rolled his eyes at her.
"Hello, Kaely." Qui-gon said with an amused smile. Obi-wan just looked at her and sighed at his master's absurdity. The Jedi returned their focus on Anakin.
"I didn't know if you'd given up on me or not. Thank you."
"You are welcome." Qui-gon replied.
"Oh, yeah. Master Yoda just saved my life, didn't he?"
Obi-wan grinned at the look of disgust on Anakin's pale face. "Indeed. How bad is your arm?"
"I don't know. That Sith thing hit it hard."
Obi-wan gently held the boy's right arm and examined it. "It is broken just below the elbow." He carefully braced it with the Force to help relieve the pressure. "We will wrap it up back at the ship."
"I..." Anakin's voice trailed off when he felt a prick at his neck. He turned his head around and saw Master Qui-gon holding a medical injector. Anakin gave him a look of betrayal before collapsing unconscious into the Jedi's waiting arms.