Thundering Force: Chapter 21: “Parallel Truths.”

“Thundering Force”

Chapter Twenty-One: “Parallel Truths.”

By Paul Cousins.

Copyright Disclaimer: All copyrighted places, characters, items, and events, within the story, are held by their current owners. No profit is being made on this work of fiction.

(_)

It had been a few weeks since the Resolute Star Destroyer had been destroyed. With Padme, Anakin, Ahsoka, Rex, and the others on their transport successfully fleeing to Coruscant and landing by the Jedi Temple, through use of Thor's portal abilities.

Upon learning that of Padme's portal abilities as Thor, and that she kept this a secret, had created an uproar with both the Jedi High Council and Chancellor Palpatine.

The one exception being Obiwan, whom already knew of Padme's portal ability as Thor.

Even more problems arose when it was learned that Anakin, Ahsoka, and even Obiwan had kept this a secret from the Jedi High Council and Chancellor Palpatine.

Fortunately, Obiwan was able to help smooth things over. Obiwan was able to point out how such an ability could cause an escalation of the war to a level that no one wanted.

While it was obvious to Padme, Obiwan, Anakin, and Ahsoka that they were in some political hot water, no disciplinary actions were taken by anyone.

Though, this did not mean that they were off the hook, especially for Padme.

Padme made it clear to both the Jedi High Council and Chancellor Palpatine that she refused to allow the use of her portal abilities in a military fashion.

Padme knew her refusal could cause her to face a court-martial and be sent to prison. But, Padme stood by her beliefs.

Still, given Padme's value as Thor to the war effort, her excellent service recorded as a soldier, and the logical reasons she was against doing so, the Jedi High Council and Chancellor Palpatine let this act of insubordination slide.

Due to Padme's refused concerning her portal abilities, besides the basic reasons Padme and Obiwan gave for Padme not using such abilities in a military fashion, Padme did not talk much about the matter with the Jedi High Council, nor Chancellor Palpatine.

While this was happening, it had been learned by the Chancellor and Jedi High Council that the Separatists were sending out political feelers for possible negotiations for a truce.

Even though the Chancellor and the Jedi Council were against anything but a full surrender by the Separatists, they realized it would be best to hear out the Separatists diplomats, in the hopes this would lead to a formal surrender of the Separatists.

As such, Yoda volunteered to go the negotiation. Also, Yoda ordered that Padme would go with him, as the representative for the Galactic Senate. Chancellor Palpatine agreed with this arrangement.

While Padme was not happy with being volunteered to go on the mission, given everything else, she did not voice her displeasure. Though, while she was not happy about how she ended up going on the mission, she was open to being part of peace negotiations which might end the war.

In addition, Padme realized that Yoda was using this opportunity to spend some time with her. To get a measure of her character. And Padme was sure everyone involved realized this.

The only draw back was that Chancellor Palpatine made it clear he consider this to be an informal meeting and would not be considered an official negotiation by the Galactic Republic.

After some communications with the Separatists, it was agreed that the location for the negotiations would take place on the wookiee homeworld, Kashyyyk. Kashyyyk was on the northeastern Mid-Rim of the galaxy. Kashyyyk was a planet where except for the oceans, almost all the land mass was covered in forest of very large, tall trees.

For security reasons these meetings would be secretly conducted. Only those direct involved and the leadership of the two nations would know who would attend the meetings, along with when and where the meetings would take place.

The exact location was the capital city of Kashyyyk, Rwookrrorro, The city of Rwookrrorro was set high in the trees of the planet.

Presently, a Jedi Diplomatic ship was in hyperspace, in the northeastern Mid-Rim, along eastern part of the Greet Kashyyyk hyper-route heading east, which would take them directly to the Kashyyyk system.

Inside the cockpit of the ship, Padme sat in the pilot's armchair, on the left front side of the cockpit.

Padme was in her normal form. Padme allowed her brown hair to hang loose down her back. She wore a green long sleeve shirt, dark brown pants, a black leather belt around her waist, and black leather boots. She had a small blaster pistol hidden on the interior side of her right boot.

Mjolnir was currently in Padme's sleeping quarters on the ship.

To Padme's right side, sitting in the other armchair by the instruments was Yoda. He was wearing his usual Jedi garb and robes. He had his small deactivated lightsaber hidden among his clothing.

Though, Yoda was in the armchair, given his small size, he sat on the chair with his legs crossed.

Besides, Padme, Yoda, and Mjolnir, there was no one else inside the ship, except for a medical droid in the medical bay of the ship, and an astromech droid plugged into the computer on the back right side of the cockpit. The astromech droid was not R2.

While Padme and Yoda were sitting in front of the cockpit controls, the ship was set on autopilot.

Yoda's hover chair was set on the floor, on the back left side of the cockpit.

In their day-night rotation, it was mid-morning for Padme and Yoda.

After a few days of traveling, Yoda finally brought up the subject both of them knew was coming.

Yoda, turned to Padme. He asked, “A concern I have on the abilities you had chosen not to disclose to the Jedi High Council.”

Padme turned to Yoda. She stated, “For the same reason the Jedi hide what they can really do with the force from the public. They do not need to know. And it is none of their business.”

Yoda inquired, “Surely you much realize how useful your abilities would be. Such as your ability to create bridges between vast areas of space.”

Padme soberly responded, “As my friends and I stated. We realize how useful my portal ability could be. And that is why I worry about the more militant factions within both the Republic military and the Jedi Council. I am sure they would love for me to create a portal to drop a bomb on the Separatists capital city of Raxus Central on Raxus Secundus, while the Separatist Parliament is in session. But, I will not do that. Even under threat of receiving a court-martial and imprisonment.”

Yoda questioned, “And why not?”

Padme stated, “Doing so would escalate this war in ways we cannot predict. And Loki knows who I am. We have an understanding. If I visit trouble on her doorstep, outside the battle lines of this war, she will visit trouble on my door step. I would do the same in her place.”

“We both know Loki is clever enough to kill me. All she will have to do kill me in my sleep. Like the attempt on my life which was done by the bounty hunter, in my home, years ago.”

“To add to this. While I have not mentioned it before. Loki told me has her own portal abilities. And I have personally seen her teleport away in front of me. I am sure she is better with such abilities than I am.”

Padme thought, 'Though, I do wonder if not only can I create portals, but teleport Loki. Still, that is a matter for another time.'

Yoda responded, “The points you make. I see. Though, what about the Resolute? And her crew?”

Padme pointed out, “That was within the battlefield. I miss the crew. But, I do not hate Loki for killing the people trying to kill the people on her side. To do so would make me a hypocrite.”

Yoda agreed, “That is true.”

Padme said, “Those whom did escape the Resolute are now likely prisoners of the Separatists. So, there is hope.”

Yoda commented, “Spoken like a Jedi.”

Padme took Yoda's comment as a compliment. Padme inquired, “Thank you. Though, I do wonder. Besides having a chance to talk with me in private, are there any other reasons you wish for me to come on this mission?”

Yoda answered, “Yes. To remind you that not all strength is found through violence. Over these past few years, you have spent more time as a soldier than as a negotiator. I wish to see if your negotiating skills are still as sharp as before you received Mjolnir.”

Padme responded, “I hope you will not be disappointed with my skills.”

Yoda replied, “I doubt that I will.”

Padme thought, 'I might as well ask him.'

Padme stated, “There is another ability I did not mention.”

Yoda requested, with interest in his tone of voice, “Do tell.”

Padme said, “When I fought the bounty hunter Durge. The Gen'Dai. I was able to suck the energy from his powerarmor, thought my body, and out into the air, with no injury to myself. Though, I felt I could also have sucked Durge's lifeforce, as well. As much as I wanted to take him down, and maybe kill him, I felt that doing so in that way might taint me. It felt wrong to do so.”

Yoda commented, “It is good that you did not. Such abilities lead down dark paths.”

Padme stated, “I agree. But, I also feel that a variation of this ability might be able to used to heal people.”

Yoda responded, “The hammer clearly prefers battle. But, given its defensive nature, it is possible it may also give the ability to heal. Though, as of right now none of us have the time to look into this matter, and train you in possible ways to do so.”

Padme said, “After this war is over, I plan to look into if the hammer could let me heal and save lives.” She mentally reflected, 'Maybe even bring back the recently deceased.'

Yoda stated, “For support in doing so, I would give.”

Padme responded, “Thank you. Also, during that battle I found out that Mjolnir will let me sense energy from other people and machines.”

Yoda commented, “Clearly the hammers full abilities have not even been close to tapped.”

Padme replied, “I agree. Though, the ability is not automatic. I have to request Mjolnir to use it. And it wears off over time.”

Yoda stated, “Good. This allows a measure of control. And such abilities could lead to training more closely related to sensing with the force.”

Padme commented, “That is possible. Still, I feel I am already very powerful. During a war is not the time to learn such abilities. I would be to tempted to use such abilities... In as you say, darker paths. Darker ways. During battle.”

Yoda complimented, “Very wise of you to realize this. Further proves your worthiness to be allowed to have such power. This is the same type of dangers the Jedi are taught to avoid. Dangers that lead to the dark side of the force.”

Padme said, “I realize that. Though, thank you for confirming this for me.”

Yoda responded, “You are welcome. Now, about our upcoming mission.”

Padme commented, “Yes. There are a few matters we need to discuss about this mission. Such as who we will meet? How far do we want to take the discussion of a possible future treaty between the Republic and the Separatists?”

Yoda replied, “Both are good questions. And questions I am sure you already know.”

Padme stated, “Yes. I read the mission report.” She thought, 'Including the place we are going to, the time of the meeting, and whom we are meeting.' Padme continued, “We are to headed to the capital city, Rwookrrorro. Where we are to meet with Separatist Representative Mina Bonteri. With the Kashyyyk government agreeing to allow their world to be the location of these secret meetings.”

“Due to Kashyyyk being in the eastern Mid-Rim, there have been a few skirmishes in orbit above their planet. And one attempted planetary invasion which was stopped.”

Yoda commented, “The wookiees are not to be underestimated. Even the Jedi tread lightly in dealing with the wookiees.”

Padme said, “I can sympathize with them wanting the war to end. Considering the death we have seen.” She sadly thought, 'And caused.' She continued, “And that Naboo in on the southeastern Mid-Rim, as well.”

Yoda inquired, “Do you believe your concern for your homeworld will cloud your judgment during this meetings?”

Padme responded, “War hasn't come to my home planet since the Trade Federation invasion over a decade and a half ago. And I hope that Naboo remains out of the war. Still, I represent the Republic and the policies of the Republic.” She thought, 'As much as I can, given I dislike some of those policies.' She continued, “To do anything less than to fully represent the ideals of the Galactic Republic would be a disservice to these meetings. As such, I will negotiate from that standpoint.”

Yoda commented, “It is clear that attachments to your homeworld are not affecting your judgment.”

Padme thought, 'You sensed my emotions. And I am not shielding my emotions because to do so would breed distrust between us. Though, I am shielding my thoughts. Still...'

Padme stated, “I have come believe that ignoring one's attachments is ignoring the world around oneself.”

Yoda responded, “Hmm... A point you make there.”

Padme held back a smile, as she thought, 'To get you to admit that is progress. Now, I do have a few other questions concerning our mission.'

Padme inquired, “From what I have heard, you have been to Kashyyyk before?”

Yoda answered, “Yes. A number of times.”

Padme said, “I have heard that a number of their cities are built high in the trees.”

Yoda mentioned, “Yes. The trees they use are called wroshyr trees. Such trees can grow as high as the Jedi Temple, with the trucks of such trees being thicker than High Council Tower. These trees can live for tens of thousands of years. Rwookrrorro is one of the oldest and largest of the wookiee tree cities.”

Padme thought, with a mild sense of wonder, 'That means a number of those trees even predate the Galactic Republic by tens of thousands of years. Though, there is one matter concerning this tree city I want answered.'

Padme questioned, “Are even there spaceport set high among the trees?”

Yoda found Padme's question amusing. Yoda said, “Yes. Not to worry. Their city is built in and around strong, ancient trees.”

Padme asked, “I will keep that in mind. Though, since we will be in the capital city, will we be meeting with the local government?” She thought, 'You are handling much of the set up for this mission. And the report did not state this. So, I am not sure.'

Yoda answered, “No. The wookiee government wants to take as little as role as possible. They only agreed host the meeting to stay in the good graces of both the Republic and Separatists. To help prevent war from coming to their planet. But, they do not wish to take a direct hand in talks should negotiations break down.'

Padme complimented, “That is a very insightful and politically astute move on their part.” She thought, 'That way, hosting the meeting keeps both the Republic and Separatists happy. But, by not being part of the talks, if this meeting does not work out the wookiee government would not be held responsible.'

Yoda stated, “Yes. Foolish, the wookiees are not.”

Padme agreed, “That is evident.”

Yoda mentioned, “Though, we will be met by a government official to lead us to the meeting. And the outside of the meeting location will be guarded.”

Padme replied, “Of course.” Padme thought, 'It would be embarrassing if we get lost.'

Yoda admitted, “While you may not be informed of Kashyyyk, woefully ignorant I am of Representative Bonteri. The Separatists representative. Do you know of her?”

Padme stated, “She was member of the Galactic Senate. She represented Onderon. Though, I have known her for a long time. She mentored me on Naboo. She is a good person, whom holds strong convictions.”

Yoda commented, “Your connection with each other will only help with negotiations.”

Padme responded, “I hope so. I have been keeping up with Separatist politics, as much as I can. From what I have learned, while Representative Bonteri is not a member of the leadership staff of the Parliament, she was one of the primary individuals which negotiated an agreement within the Separatists which lead to Separatist representatives being allowed to have these meetings in the first place. The intention of these meetings are to be the first steps towards ending this war and bringing a lasting peace.”

Yoda commented, “Then, we will at least be meeting with their leaders. If not in name. Than in spirit.”

Padme pointed out, “The main problem is the Separatists demand their sovereignty and independence. While the Republic refuses to even acknowledge the reasons for the Separatists existence in the first place.”

Yoda responded, “True. Seemly diametric positions.”

Padme asked, “While it is no secret the Jedi Order are against the Separatists. You never gave your reasons for your position. Since Dooku was deposed years ago, and the Jedi have maintained their stance, it is clear that there is more to this than Dooku leading the Separatist. Why are the Jedi against such a movement?”

Yoda answered, “The Jedi are against the Separatists movement because this would allow large sections of civilized space to go unattended by the Jedi. The Ruusan Reformation cost the Jedi much power. And for well justified reasons. Though, the Jedi retain all jurisdiction and regulatory authority pertaining to use of the force.”

Padme responded, “But, the Jedi do not oversee Hutt Space. And there are vast sections of the galaxy that are outside of the Republic.”

Yoda responded, “The other parts of the Galaxy are too disorganization to pose an immediate threat to the Republic. We keep an eye out in those areas in case trouble does start there. But, the Jedi are considered guardians of the Republic. If the Separatists were allowed to continued to exist, they would never allow us to police them. This would allow the possibility of sects of force users to rise within the Separatist controlled space.”

“And almost all such sects eventually turn to the dark side of the force. Thought ignorance, arrogance, or both.

“Dooku has not been seen for years. Even if Sidious has lost control of the Separatists, with the force another Sith could easily take control of the Separatists.”

Yoda voice became more grave as he continued, “Or worse. Instead of an apprentice and a master, we would face an army of dark siders, whom would seize control of the Separatists. And we would confront a far greater darkness than we face now.”

Padme shielded her thoughts, as she mentally directed, 'Loki likely plans for the children of Dathomir to be raised and be train to be the beginnings of her own Jedi Order. But, given what she knows, she will likely be very careful about doing so.'

Padme commented, “I believe that will not be a concern as long as Loki holds sway over the Separatists.”

Yoda calmly said, “But, Loki is only one person.”

Padme pointed out, “And Sidious is only one person. I have fought both Loki and Dooku. I found Loki far more harder to handle than Dooku.”

Yoda admitted, “Point conceded.”

Padme sighed. She commented, “At least we know that no one will try anything on Kashyyyk. No one wants to see an angry wookiee.”

Yoda said, “While savage, the wookiees have a sense of honor which is without peer.”

Padme responded, “I agree. Any group that believes in life debts and sticks to their promises until death is a group that holds honor in high regard. Still, I wish they would take a bath from time to time.”

Padme thought, 'I am so happy I am not doing this as Thor. With my enhanced senses in that form, a wookiee's stench might be overpowering.'

Yoda agreed, “We all wish for that.”

Padme commented, “Though, I will have to leave Mjolnir on the ship. And thus I will not able about to understand any of the wookiee languages.”

Yoda said, “Not to worry. I know these languages. I will translate for you.”

Padme commented, “Thank you. Though, it is unfortunate the Chancellor does not consider this an official negotiation.”

Yoda inquired, “True. It is unfortunate. But, this is a step in the right direction. How long until we reach Kashyyyk?”

Padme looked over at the instruments. She turned to look at Yoda. She answered, “Around five hours. We should arrive a little early, or on time for the meeting. Which is at twelve hundred sharp.”

Yoda stated, “The daily rotation of Kashyyyk is twenty six hours. So, it should be late morning when we arrive at Rwookrrorro. Until then, we have five hours to figure out the proper approach we should take in negotiations.”

Padme agreed, “Yes. This will be time well spent.”

In response, Yoda smiled towards Padme.

Padme and Yoda began to lay out their plans for the negotiations they would be undertaking later that day.

(_)

Elsewhere in the galaxy, there was farming world on the eastern Mid-Rim. The planet was southeast of the planet Kashyyyk.

On the part of farming world where it was early at night, at a spaceport, Jango Fett has landed his ship, the Slave I on the part of the tarmac the local spacep authority had assigned for him.

The weather in the area calm, with a partly cloud sky, slightly warm temperature, and slight breeze.

Jango set his ship to have engines remain turned on.

A minute after the ship landed, on the back of the ship the ramp lowered to the ground, and the outer door slip open.

The first person whom walked down the ramp was Jango Fett. Jango wore his blue and chrome mandalorian armor and helmet. The chrome armor pieces were set over blue long sleeve shirt, blue gloves, blue pants, and blue boots with chrome armor over the boots. Over the blue gloves was chrome colored power gauntlets. The chrome armor also cover his chest, back, shoulders, legs, crotch.

Jango had a brown leather utility belt around his waist which had pouches for various equipment and items.

Jango had one his rocket pack on his back armor.

Jango had his two blaster pistols holstered in brown leather holsters. One holster on each side, below his waist. Each holster was was attached by buckled straps to the bottom of his utility belt, and there a buckled strap around his thigh armor on that side. The straps were brown leather.

Behind him was Boba Fett, Jango's teenage son. Boba was sixteen years old and he was now almost as tall as Jango was. Boba's body was just as fit as his father. Boba wore a teal, yellow, and white mandalorian armor and helmet. which was very similar to his father's armor. Under his armor, he wore gray long sleeve shirt, gray gloves, gray pants, and teal colored armored boots.

Over his gray gloves was teal colored power gauntlets.

He has on teal color chest and back armor. Teal helmet. Teal crotch plate. Teal armor on his left. He has yellow armor covering his shoulders and knees.

Boba had on a brown leather utility belt around his waist which was almost identical to Jango's utility belt. Boba's utility belt has pouches with items and different types of equipment in the pouches.

Also, Boba had on a rocket pack on his back armor.

Though, unlike Jango, Boba carried a blaster rifle in his hands, with the barrel pointing to his left, away from Jango. Though, due to Jango's insistence, Boba had a blaster pistol holster in a brown leader holster. Like the holstered Jango used, Boba's holster was attached to the right bottom side of his utility belt by buckled straps, with a buckled strap going around his right armor. The straps were brown leather.

While they continued walking down the ramp, Boba used their internal comlink system in his helmet to asked, with his voice sounding very similar to Jango's voice, but not exactly. “So, Father. Why was not I told of this job, sooner?”

Jango looked in front, as he answered, over his helmet's comlink communication system, “I only accepted the job a few hours ago, while you were asleep.”

Boba commented, “I can guess this job must have been from a premium client.”

Jango replied, “One of our better paying clients.”

By then, Jango and Boba made it to the tarmac. Jango came to a stop, with Boba stopped to Jango's left, right behind him.

Towards their right side, both of them saw whom was coming towards them on the tarmac, from the direct of the control tower and passenger building of the spaceport.

Both men recognized whom the person was.

Boba commented, “Ah no. Not her.”

Jango replied, “Yes. Her.”

Fifty meters in front of them was a woman walking towards them at a brisk pace. The woman was Loki. Loki wore her green traveling clothing. Among other items, this included a green shirt under an open green jacket. She had green pants, with a brown leather belts. And she wore brown leather boots.

While Loki approached the Fetts, father and son team continued their conversation by internal comlinks.

Boba commented, “I do not trust her.”

Jango responded, “Well son, neither does anyone else in the galaxy. But, her credits are good, and the jobs she have offered for us have been interesting and lucrative.”

Jango thought, 'I owe her for more than I wish to tell you. Boba. Thanks to her, you are going to live a lot longer than you otherwise would have. Also, I made sure you did not have any control chips installed in your brain like the other clones. If the Kaminoans had installed such a chip in your head, I would insure they would not live long enough to regret doing so.'

Boba conceded, “True. So, what is the job?”

Boba's question brought Jango's mind back to the present.

Jango answered, “Bodyguard work. Loki is planning to go on a secret mission. She needs someone to take her to a location. To guard her doing the meeting. And to escort her off of the planet.”

Boba commented, “Given her abilities, that is saying something. Where are we going?”

Jango answered, “Dirha.”

Boba responded, “She wants to negotiate with the Hutts? Getting something from a Hutt is never easy.”

Jango stated, “Of course. But, if anyone could get a good deal out of them, it would be her.”

Boba responded, “That is true. Also, Dirha is only a few hours from here.”

Jango commented, “That is correct. On this mission, if nothing happens we can watch and listen. This would allow you to learn some negotiating skills from one of the best.”

Boba said, “I can see your point. At least if there is no action, the trip will not be a waste.”

Jango replied, “My thoughts. Exactly.”

By then, Loki reached the took men. She stop a meter in front of the Fetts. She look at them, as she said, “Gentlemen.”

Jango and Boba were not known to mince words.

Boba remained silent, as Jango was brief and to the point.

Jango used the speakers of his helmet, as he stated, “Right this way.”

Jango turned and he walked around Boba to Boba's right side, and he walked up the ramp into his starship.

Loki followed Jango, with Boba bringing up the rear.

As soon as all three adults were inside the ship, the outer door slid closed, and the ramp retracted.

A minute later, the Slave I ship took off into the sky.

Once the Slave I was in orbit, Jango set the navigation computer of his ship to plot a course for Dirha in the northern part of Hutt Space.

A minute later, the navigation computer had plotted the course and angled the ship. After which, Jango jumped the ship to hyperspace, towards Dirha.

(_)

Roughly five hours later, Padme and Yoda's Jedi Diplomatic ship came out of hyperspace in orbit above Kashyyyk.

Kashyyyk orbited one star and had three moons orbiting the planet.

Both Padme and Yoda were in the same clothing they had on earlier that day.

Once they were in orbit of Kashyyyk, they used their ship's communication system to contacted the Kashyyyk space control authority for landing instructions.

The Kashyyyk space control authority was located in a tree building in the main spaceport for Rwookrrorro, on Kashyyyk. The Kashyyyk space control authority were responsible for directing the spaceships coming to and leaving the planet. The space control authority was manned by wookiees. Also, they had a wonderful safety track record for doing their job.

Given the conversation was in a wookiee language, Yoda handed the discussion, with Yoda replying galactic basic.

The wookiees of the space control authority directed them to take the proper flight path which that lead them to them to Rwookrrorro and a landing pad which had been assigned to them.”

Soon after, Padme and Yoda had plotted in the proper trajectory, and they began their decent towards the surface of Kashyyyk.

Most of the wookiees on the planet of Kashyyyk had made their homes in the large wroshyr trees which grow on the surface of the planet.

Rwookrrorro was one of the oldest and largest of these tree cities.

These were not simple huts built into the trees. The cities hollowed out the trees to create large building, and the trees were tying together with large platforms to create large, multilevel cities in the trees.

These wookiee cities were very simplistic in most forms. Though, they did have hot and cold running water, modern plumbing, food refrigeration systems, communication systems, and various transportation systems. But, they preferred using torches to light their way.

Presently, on the side of the planet Rwookrrorro was on, it was late morning on a sunny day.

The forest canopy that covered much of the city of Rwookrrorro blocked out most of the direct sunlight, leaving only ambient light from the sun coming between the branches and leaves of the canopy. Still, there was plenty of light to see with under the canopy during the day.

Half an hour after entering the atmosphere of Kashyyyk, Padme and Yoda flew over the forest canopy of the tree tops of Rwookrrorro. From the vantage point looking down, there was not much to see but a lot of tree branches and leafs. Most of the city was hidden from view. Though, Padme and Yoda could make out some breaks on the canopy which showed large buildings built around and into the trees.

In addition, it was a sunny day above the canopy.

Padme continued the course they had been given. She piloted their ship to a gentle stop to hover over a gap in the trees that was above their assigned landing platform.

Padme had the ship extend its landing gear and for the ship to hover down to land on a huge landing platform which was located high up in the large trees of the forest.

There were other gaps nearby, with other landing platforms for ships. Though, the navigational instruments and monitors of dashboard controls of the ship's cockpit had informed Padme this was the gap she needed to lower the ship through.

Once the ship had touched down with a slight thud, Padme turned off the engines.

Padme and Yoda noticed that it was ten hundred and thirty-one local time.

The meeting was at eleven hundred thirty local time, which was twenty-nine minutes from when the meeting was suppose to officially begin.

Then, Padme and Yoda got out of their seats in the cockpit and they headed for the main exit to the ship. Though, Yoda retrieved his hover chair, which was located in the back left side of the cockpit.

Once Yoda had reached his hover chair and turned it on, Yoda and Padme continued towards the main exit of the ship.

Yoda used the controls on the right arm of his chair to pilot his hover chair.

Yoda hovered a meter above the floor as they made their way through the ship.

For security reasons, Padme and Yoda decided to leave the lights on the ship on.

The main exit of the ship was located on the back left side of the ship.

A minute later, on the landing pad, outside of the Jedi Diplomatic ship, the ramp to the ship extended to the floor of the landing pad. Once the ramp was extended, the outer doors at the top of the ramp slid open.

Yoda was the first to exit the ship. Yoda did so by using his hover chair. The chair hovered around a meter in the air.

Next, Padme walked onto the ramp. After Padme cleared the doorway to the outside, she came to a stop. She turned to a panel by the doors and she pressed a few buttons on the panel.

The doors to the ship slid closed, with the ship requiring a numerical passcode to open by using the same panel Padme had used.

Only Padme and Yoda knew the current passcode to enter the ship.

Padme turned back towards Yoda, and she followed Yoda down the ramp.

A meter after Yoda left the ramp and was on the landing platform, he had his hover chair come to a stop. His hover chair continued to hover a meter in the air.

Padme came to a stop to stand to Yoda's right side on the landing platform.

Padme noticed that the landing platform was made of metal and attached three nearby large, brown wroshyr trees which were around the platform.

Padme thought, 'I am not sure how this platform is anchored to the nearby trees, but the anchoring has to be strong to support a ship long ours.'

Padme looked around, she could see some of the city of Rwookrrorro in the distance, under the forest canopy.

Padme noticed that much of the city was made from the brown wood of the wroshyr trees, with many buildings built into the trees. There were window holes and balconies set out around the various levels of many of the wroshyr trees that were being used as buildings.

Padme thought, 'While I know better, this city seems so... primitive.'

Padme looked around, as she said, “So, this is Kashyyyk?...”

Yoda replied, “Yes.”

Padme continued to look around, as she commented, “You know. For a species of technological experts, they seem to prefer to rough it.”

Yoda stated, “One's skills do not always run parallel with one's traditions.”

Padme agreed, “That can be true.” A thought occurred to Padme. She asked, “Are the trees being used as buildings still alive?”

Yoda answered, “Yes. The trees are hollowed, but the wookiees are careful to allow the trees to retain enough structure so the trees can remain healthy. An ill or dead tree would soon start to collapse.”

Padme commented, “I can see how that could be a problem that the wookiees would do best to avoid.” She thought, “With so much of this city tied together, one large dead tree collapsing could pulled down the surrounding parts of the city.'

Padme went onto say, “Though, one could view their tree cities as a work of art.”

Yoda responded, “Yes. One of the many reasons I enjoy visiting this planet and its people.”

Padme smiled as Yoda's comment.

Then, Padme and Yoda noticed an adult, male, brown haired wookiee walking towards them.

Padme inquired, “Is this our guide?”

Yoda answered, “Yes. And I sense that he has no hostility towards us.”

Padme replied, “Good.” She thought, 'Especially since Mjolnir is still on board the ship.'

The wookiee came to a stop a few meters from Padme and Yoda. Padme and Yoda faced the wookiee, as the wookiee looked at them.

Padme could see the wookiee was fair taller and larger than she was.

The wookiee growled and grunted the wookiee language for a few seconds.

Yoda translated, “He says his name is Chewbacca. He welcomes us to Rwookrrorro. That this is landing platform fifty-four. That he has been honored by his leaders in being offered the service of escorting us to the meeting location. Also, he has been informed that the Separatist Representative is already at the meeting location.”

Padme thought, 'So, Mina Bonteri is already here. Still, we are on time. As such, everything is fine.' Padme looked at Chewbacca. Padme stated, “Thank you, Chewbacca for informing us of this matter.”

Chewbacca growled and grunted

Yoda translated, “He says. You are welcome. And if we have any questions, we only need to ask. That the wookiees assigned to us all understand galactic basic.”

Padme replied, “We will keep this in mind.”

Chewbacca growled and grunted.

Yoda translated, “He says. Follow. This way to the meeting location.”

Chewbacca turned and he started walking at a calm pace towards the shadows, into the city, away from the landing platform.

Padme and Yoda followed Chewbacca.

As they walking through the village, they saw that while there was plenty of light during the day. Both the interior and exterior sides of the trees which were hollowed out into homes and businesses had placeholders for torches.

In addition, they pass by wookiees of various ages and genders, whom were going about their day.

Most of the wookiees ignored them. Though, a few looked at them for a few seconds, before going about their business.

Chewbacca soon lead them to an open doorway on the side of the tree, with an adult, male, black haired wookiee whom was standing guard by the right side of the door. Chewbacca stopped a meter from the guard. Padme and Yoda stopped two meters behind Chewbacca.

Besides the four individuals, there was no one else nearby the door.

Chewbacca turned to face the wookiee guard. Both of them growled and grunted a little between each other.

Then, Chewbacca turned back to look at Yoda and Padme. Chewbacca growled and grunted.

Yoda translated, “He says the meeting room is inside. That if there are any problems the guard here will handle our requests.”

Padme looked at Chewbacca. She said, “Thank you, Chewbacca.”

Chewbacca smiled towards Padme. Then, he turned and walked away, to go about his duties.

Yoda turned to Padme. Yoda said, “You may go first.”

Padme looked over at Yoda. Then, she turned and walked passed the wookiee guard as she ended the tree building.

After Padme walked inside, Yoda hovering into the room.

After Padme and Yoda made their way inside, they saw the room was moderately sized room. Besides one open doorway, there were a holes along the sides of the door which function as windows. There were doorways that lead deeper into the building.

The sunlight coming in their the window holds and the doorway provided enough illumination to see inside the room. Though, there were holders for torches set on the walls around the room.

The room had a rectangular table with chairs on the two long sides. One chair on the back end facing Padme and Yoda, and two chairs on their side of the table. The chairs did not have armrests. Each chair did have a back to it.

Both the table and the chairs were made of brown pressure treated wood. The table and chairs were smooth.

Sitting in the chair across from them was a middle-aged, fair skin, human woman. The woman had been styles and dyed to have short hair that went down to her neckline, and her hair was brown, with the tips of her hair being gray. The woman was wearing a formal purple and dark pink dress, with dark purple slippers.

As Padme and Yoda approached the table, the woman sat up from her seat.

By then, Padme and Yoda came to a stop in front of the chairs on their side of the room.

Padme and Yoda faced the woman.

The woman stated, “Hello Padme. You are still as punctual as ever.”

Padme thought, 'We are a few minutes early, which is good for everyone.'

Padme replied, “Thank you.”

The woman commented, “You're welcome. It has been a long time since we have talked in person.”

Padme stated, “Yes. It has, Mina. I wish this was under better circumstances.”

Mina said, “I wish that was the case, as well.” She turned to look at Yoda. She stated, “It is nice to meet you, Jedi Grandmaster Yoda.”

Yoda commented, “As it is with you, Representative Bonteri?”

Mina suggested, “Now please, let us sit down and begin negotiations.”

Yoda complimented, “An excellent idea.”

Mina sat back down in her chair. Padme sat in the chair to Padme's left.

Padme and Mina watched as Yoda use the force to pull the chair to Padme's right side out a little. Next, Yoda steered his hover chair around the empty chair to his right. Yoda has his hover chair land in the seat of the empty chair, with Yoda facing Mina. This allowed Yoda's head and upper body to be above the top of the table as he sat in his hover chair.

Mina did not show any outward reaction to Yoda's use of the force. Instead, Mina maintained a calm outer facade.

Mina faced Padme and Yoda, as Padme and Yoda looked at Mina.

Mina stated, “First. This is all off the record and political back channel talk. This is meant to test the political waters, with the hope this leads to more official negotiations, later on.”

Padme thought, 'It would be best to keep how Sheev feels about these talks to myself.'

Yoda commented, “All negotiations have to start somewhere.”

Mina said, “The Confederacy wants an end to this war. But, there are several issues that need to be discussed before any a ceasefire can take place.”

Yoda asked, “Such as.”

Mina answered, “Calling us, Separatists. The proper term is Confederacy. How can we work towards peace, when we cannot even communicate on such basic terms?”

Padme thought, 'She has a good point.' Padme looked at Mina, as she requested, “For the sake of diplomacy, we will refer to your group as the Confederacy.” She turned to Yoda. She inquired, “Is that alright with you, Master Yoda?”

Yoda turned to Padme. He looked at Mina. Yoda said, “I will acquiesce to your request.”

Padme turned back to look at Mina.

Mina said, “Thank you.”

Padme requested, “Now, let us please continue.”

Mina stated, “Certainly. Our requests are very simple to end this war. We desire the Galactic Republic to acknowledge our right to exist as a sovereign, independent entity, outside of the influence and control of the Galactic Republic.” She focused on Yoda, as she continued, “And those organizations within the Galactic Republic.”

Yoda look at Mina, as he calmly said, “The Jedi will not support the... Confederacy as an independent entity.”

Mina responded, “Still, the Jedi will do as the Senate requests. At least, that is how it has been for the last thousand years.” She looked over at Padme, as she continued, “Should the Senate agrees to a peace treaty, the Jedi will adhere to the terms of any such agreement.” She turned to Yoda, as she asked, “Is that not the case?”

Mina watched as Yoda remained silent. Padme also remained quiet.

Mina saw for a second, as Yoda gained a dumbfounded look on his face. Then, Mina watched as Yoda took on a concerned look towards her. Then, Yoda showed a brief moment of surprise, as he realized he has fallen into Mina's verbal trap.

In response, Mina gave Yoda a simple, knowing smile.

Yoda complimented, “Well played.”

Mina replied, “Thank you.”

Padme looked between them. She thought, 'I believe that Mina has just been able to pry some information from Yoda through Yoda's reaction. I am not sure what Mina received from Yoda's reaction, but I can guess it is not good for us. Still, we need to continue these negotiations.'

Padme stated, “As a Senator. I can say the Galactic Senate cannot agree to these terms, as well. Given you were once a Senator of the Galactic Senate, you realize this.”

Mina look at Padme, as Mina responded, in a firm, concerned tone of voice, “Yes. We both know the Galactic Senate very well. Which is why we of the Confederacy cannot surrender to the Galactic Senate. Do you sincerely believe if we surrendered and rejoined the Galactic Republic that all this would be forgiven? Let along forgotten? We left because the policies of the Galactic Senate were crushing our worlds... Our lives. With ever increasing taxation and regulation which only benefited the Galactic Senator and their allies. While the most Senators also ignored our pleas to stop.”

“I know this because as you pointed out, I was there. My pleas to stop these taxation and regulations mostly fell on deaf ears.”

“That being said. If we lose this war, such taxation and regulations will be the least of our worries. For daring to go against the Galactic Senate, many of those within the Senate and those that pull the strings of the Senate, will demand retribution against us Confederates. This retribution will likely include denying us representation within the Galactic Senate, while seizing all property from the people of the Confederacy, and denying us any of our lawful rights.”

“The Galactic Senate will make an examples out of us and grind us into the ground. This will only fuel our own hatred for the Republic for generations to come, with us neither forgetting, nor forgiving Republic's crimes against us. The next time we pull together to fight Republic, we will be ten times as vicious as we presently, because we be not only fighting our our freedom, but also seeking vengeance for what was wrongly done to us.”

Padme conceded, in a sober tone of voice, “You may have a point there.”

Yoda commented, “Vengeance offers no reward to anyone. But, to knowingly create a situation which will lead to the act of vengeance is unwise and arrogant.”

Mina said, “At least we agree on this.”

Padme stated, “Still, there are many in the Senate whom would be against taking such action. And a surrender treaty could be worked out to protect those within the Confederacy.”

Mina pointed out, “The first demand of surrender would be disarmament. A treaty has no teeth if one side is disarmed and left to the mercy of the other side. The Senate has shown they cannot be trusted.”

Mina focused on Padme, as she went onto say, “It is no secret that over a decade and a half ago, when your homeworld was invaded, the Senate...”

Mina turned to Yoda, as she continued, “And the Jedi did nothing to help you and your homeworld of Naboo.”

Mina look back toward Padme, as she said, “Even when you were pleading for help, as the elected Queen of Naboo, your pleas fell on deaf ears. You even knew Chancellor Palpatine, when he was the Senator representing the sector your planet resides in. You even helped him gain the Chancellorship. And in return, he did nothing for you. Now you wish for us to put ourselves at his mercy, and those whom stand with him.”

In response, Padme looked away, as she unable to meet Mina's gaze.

Padme sadly thought, 'She is right. How can I ask people of countless worlds to put their lives in the hands of a man whom even I do not trust?'

Yoda responded, “That was not the Jedi's finest hour. And we of the Jedi Order did not realize such matters were so dire. What if the current Chancellor was no longer with in power?”

Mina looked at both Padme and Yoda, as she stated, “Then, it would depend on who is in charge.”

Padme looked back towards Mina. Padme admitted, “You are not the only one that disagrees with many of the Chancellors policies. But, laws have to be respected and followed.”

Mina responded, “There seems to be one set of laws for the Galactic Senate and one set of laws for everyone else.”

Padme began, “That is not fair...”

Mina cut Padme off by saying, “Exactly. It isn't fair. It isn't just. And that is why we have broken away from the Galactic Republic.”

Yoda said, “Much suffering has been endured on both sides. And peace will be difficult. But, not impossible.”

Mina stated, “I know much about suffering. This war has cost me my husband. My son, his father. And I was left to raise my son by myself.”

Mina thought, 'I left Lux in the care of people that will see he is fine. In case I do not come back from this mission, they will raise and protect him until he reaches adulthood. Though, with luck I will be reunited with him in a few days in Raxus Central.'

Mina continued, “Even then, I refuse to allow this war to deny my son and myself from living our lives. No matter how this meeting with go, I will work within the Confederacy to achieve a lasting peace that will allow us the sovereign right to exist.”

Padme remained silent, with Mina's words deeply affecting her. Padme thought, 'She is so correct in not letting the war rule her life and the lives of her loved ones. While I have allowed this war to cost myself and my friends years of possibly good experiences.' Her emotions took a harder edge, as she continued her thoughts, 'Well, I am going to correct this mistake when I get back to Coruscant.'

Yoda apologized, “Did not mean anything personal by my comment.”

Mina said, “Apology accepted.”

Padme stated, “While your requests are a tall order, I believe we might be able to eventually broker an armistice.”

Mina commented, “The Confederacy would be open to an armistice. Though, demilitarized borders would have to be agreed to.”

Padme thought, 'Sheev would never agree to that. Still...' Padme said, “I believe that is possibility. Though, not in the immediate future.”

Mina pointed out, “The longer we wait, the more people will suffer and die.”

Yoda commented, “Not to worry. We both have made progress just from learning your position. So, the possibility of peace is more likely than it was before.”

Mina agreed, “I feel the same way.”

They continued their negotiations into the afternoon.

(_)

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the galaxy, the Slave I starship made it to the industrial planet of Dirha, in Hutt Space.

Dirha was located in northern Hutt Space, where Hutt Space met the northeastern Mid-Rim and northeastern Outer Rim.

Dirha was close to southeastern border of the Confederate held space in the northeastern corner of the galaxy.

Once in the Slave I was in orbit of Dirha, Loki directed the Fetts to where they need to go on the planet, with Jango gaining clearance for a flight path from those operating the spaceport located near the meeting location.

It was day time on the side of the planet they were landing on.

The planet was much like a city planet. Through, there were still some undeveloped sections of the planet.

The part of the planet they were going to, it was a large city, with mostly skyscraper buildings raising to the dirty, polluted clouds.

The landing point for the Slave I was on an elevated landing platform, which stuck out of a high-rise building that served as a spaceport. There were several other landing platforms sticking off of the building on various sides at several levels. Each of the platforms had a path leading to a door that lead into the building at the level the specific platform was located by.

After landing the Slave I, Jango turned off the engines.

A minute later, Jango, Loki, and Jango exited the Slave One, out the back of the ship, down the ramp.

Boba was last to exit the ship. Boba used a hidden numerical pad near the exit of the ship to close and lock the door to the ship.

Jango and Boba were in their mandalorian armor, while Loki was in the clothing she had on when she had met with the father and son team on the Mid-Rim farming world they had left hours ago.

Jango had his two blaster pistols holstered on leather holsters on the sides of his armor. Jango had on his rocket pack.

Boba had his blaster rifle slung over his right shoulder with a brown leather strap. His blaster pistol holstered on a leather holster on his right thigh armor. Boba had on his rocket pack.

Loki appeared to be unarmed.

They saw that while it was day time, it was mostly cloudy. The as a light breeze, but this did little to deal with the slight warm temperature and humid air.

Though, Jango was a professional and he had trained Boba to deal with such weather while inside their mandalorian armor.

On the other hand, such weather did not bother Loki.

The three individuals headed towards the unlocked door which would lead into the spaceport.

As they left the platform to enter the building, they saw the designation sign for the platform and level they were on. They were on level fifty, at platform twenty-seven.

Jango, Boba, and Loki, all made a note of the floor level and landing platform number the Slave I starship was located on.

They soon made it passed customs and they were able to rent an enclosed passenger speeder. The speeder was big enough inside that Jango and Boba could sit in the seats with their rocket packs on. The reason for the large seating in these speeders was due to Hutts hiring Gamorreans as guards and enforcers. The local businesses accommodated to the Gamorrean's larger physical forms.

When compared to Humans, Gamorrean were physically taller and bigger.

Jango flew the speeder in the front left pilots seat. Loki sat in the front right passenger seat. Boba sat in the back seat, behind Loki.

Jango had the windows of the speeder rolled down.

While Jango flew the speeder through the skylanes, Boba kept an eye out for trouble.

Boba has his rifle in his hands, but he did not have his trigger finger on the trigger of the rifle. He kept the end of the barrel of the rifle pointed upwards, towards the roof of the speeder.

Fortunately, traffic was light during that time of the day, and they was no trouble using the skylanes.

Loki was able to guide Jango to where the meeting was taking place.

Jango and Boba both paid attention to the directions Loki gave, so they knew where the spaceport was in relational to where they were.

Roughly twenty minutes after taking off with the speeder, Jango landed the speeder passenger on large balcony, midway up a skyscraper building. The balcony had no roof, with the building becoming smaller at that level, in relation to the levels below the balcony they landed on.

The floor of the balcony was white concrete which had been covered with brown dirt and dust due to not being washed for several years.

Jango had the passenger side of the speeder facing the building.

Jango, Loki, and Boba got out of the speeder, and they closed the speeder doors behind them. Jango kept his door unlocked, as a fall back plan of escape if this was a trap and either his rocket pack or Boba's rocket pack was damaged.

Jango walked around the front of the speeder to stand next to Loki and Boba.

All three of them stood facing the large entrance to the building. Jango was to Loki's left and Boba was to Loki's right.

The entranced was ten meters in front of them. The entrance was a large, curved, open archway leading into the building on the level they were standing on.

The archway and walls were made of metal with a brown stone facade. There were large dirty windows lining the upper wall of that level, above the archway.

Boba held his blaster rifle grip in his right hand and the rifle fore-end in his left hand. He had his right trigger finger resting against the trigger guard, and he was careful not to point his weapon at Jango, nor Loki.

Jango decided to leave his blaster pistols in their holsters.

Boba look around. Boba commented, as he used his helmet's speakers, so Loki could hear him, “This place reeks of a trap.”

Jango looked around, as he spoke, while using his helmet's speakers, “I agree.”

Loki looked over at Boba. Then, she looked over towards Jango. Loki commented, “There is some truth to your concerns. But, this is the location they desire for the meeting.” Her lips curled into a wicked grin, as she continued, “If this is a trap, they are in for a nasty surprise.”

Jango shrugged, as he agreed, “This is true.”

Loki looked in front of herself, towards the entrance to the building. Loki stated, “Fortunately, we are on time. So, let us not be late.”

Loki began walking towards the archway entrance leading into the building.

Boba and Jango turned to look at each other.

Over the Fetts internal comlink channel, with his outer speakers turned off, Boba stated, “Father. Nothing about this feels right.”

Jango stated, on their internal comlink, with the outer speakers turned off, “I know.” He drew his pistols. He continued, “But, she is paying the bill for this mission.”

Jango turned to face Loki. He began following Loki.

Boba looked over at Loki, and he too began to follow Loki.

A few seconds later, Loki walked under the archway. Jango and Boba walked side by side, five meters behind Loki. Jango was to Loki's left and Boba was to Loki's right.

Jango kept his blaster pistols pointed at the ground, while Boba pointed his blaster rifle slightly uppers, in a diagonal angle to his left, away from Jango and Loki.

While the three individuals entered the building, they saw they were inside a very large, cube shaped room, with high ceilings. The large, dirty windows provided plenty of sunlight to see into the room.

The room had brown walls and a brown ceiling, with a white concrete floor.

There were open doorways on other sides of the room which lead deeper into the building.

They saw in the center of the room a three meter wide, black, metal, circular table. The table top was a meter high.

One the other side of the table, was a purple skinned Twi'lek man wearing a brown short sleeve shirt and brown pants. The brown shirt was not tucked into the pants.

Over the shirt and pants was a dark gray robe which was left open.

The Twi'lek also wore brown shoes.

The Twi'lek's two lekku head-tails which draped down his back.

The Twi'lek was flanked by a Weequay man to his right and a Human man to his left. Both of the Twi'lek bodyguards were in casual clothing.

Each bodyguard had a blaster pistol in their right hand. Though, both bodyguards pointed their weapons downwardly towards the ground.

Loki came to a stop by the table, opposite to the Twi'lek. The Fetts came to a stop three meters behind Loki. Jango and Boba stood two meters apart.

The two mandalorian bounty hunters remaining silent, as they stood in place.

Loki and the Twi'lek calmly looked at each other.

Loki commented, “I was expecting to meet with a Hutt today.”

The Twi'lek said, “The Hutts only communicate directly after official channels have been established.”

Loki responded, “Then, I will talk to you. What is your name?”

The Twi'lek Hutt representative inquired, “I would prefer to remain anonymous. What it is that you wish to discuss?”

Loki thought, 'So, if this goes well. You report the good news back to the Hutt you serve. And if this goes badly. Without a name given it will be less likely for this meeting to get traced back to you. Not bad. Now to start this meeting.'

Loki answered, “Trade agreements, with the possibility of future negotiations leading to a treaty between the Confederacy and the Hutts.” She thought, 'I may not like those you serve. But, with this war dragging on, I would prefer to have a treaty with you to prevent you from having a treaty with the Republic. While I have plans to end this war. If those plans fall through, I like to have back up plans.'

The Twi'lek responded, “What would we gain from the treaty? And what would we have to pay in exchange for your services?”

Loki stated, “Protection. Should the Republic defeat us, they will eventually turn towards you. Once a nation turns imperialistic, they constantly seek new shores to conqueror. I know for a fact they have a low opinion of your naval forces. As for payments. I am sure we can work something out. Both our groups have resources the other would like to have. If your masters do not feel comfortable trading with credits, we can directly barter. It is all the same to us.”

From the look on the Twi'lek's face, Loki, Jango, and Boba, could see that the Twi'lek was thinking about Loki's comment.

A few seconds later, the Twi'lek asked, “Will we be expected to fight for you?”

Loki replied, “Not necessarily.”

Twi'lek commented, “Still, much of this is beyond my station to negotiate.”

Loki suggested, “Then, we can arrange for a later meeting with one of your superiors. It need not be a Hutt. And the meeting can be done by holo-comm.” Loki thought, 'I will not be caught by surprise like this again.'

Twi'lek stated, “That might be possible. Still, even if we make any such agreements. Any commerce between the Hutts and the Confederacy will not be easy, given you and the Republic are fighting a war against each other.”

Loki said, “This war will soon be over.” She thought, 'If my current plans work.'

Then, they all heard a familiar male voice state, to Loki and the Fetts' left side, “Yes. It will be. Much sooner once you are all arrested.”

Everyone turns to see Obiwan in his robe and armor. He his holding the hilt of his ignited, blue blade lightsaber in both his hands, in front of him, in a defensive stance.

Obiwan is flanked on both his sides by a squad of eight clone troopers in white armor, with orange stripes on the white armor. The Republic troopers were pointed their blaster rifles, as the six individuals standing close to the center of the room.

The Republic forces stood five meters in front of a open doorway which lead further into the building.

None of those present pointed their weapons towards the Republic soldiers. Because they did not want to immediately start a fight.

The Twi'lek turned to Loki. He accused, “Your side has an information leak.” Then, he turned back to look at Republic forces.

Loki kept her eyes on Obiwan and the troopers, as shes commented, “The leak must have been on your side, because I personally set up the meeting on my end.”

Jango kept his eyes on Obiwan and the troopers, as he overheard Loki. Jango made a mental note of what Loki said. Over the internal comlink, with the outer helmet speakers turned off, Jango ordered, “Son. Be ready for a fight.”

Boba kept his eyes on the Republic forces, as he responded, through the internal comlink, with his helmet's outer speakers turned off, “Yes father.”

Boba thought, 'While father does not consider the clones to be family. I do. And I have always been uneasy about killing my brothers. But, I have a job to do.'

Obiwan turned to Jango. Obiwan commented, “Jango Fett. It has been a long time.”

Jango replied, over his external speakers, “It has not been long enough.”

Obiwan focused on Boba. He asked, “And who is this?”

Jango answered, “My son.”

Obiwan responded, “Ah yes.” He focused on the six individuals. He continued, “Now, you can all make this easy and just surrender. So, we can arrest you.”

Loki pointed out, “This is Hutt Space. The Jedi, nor the Republic, have any jurisdiction here.”

Obiwan commented, “A Jedi has jurisdiction where a Jedi goes.”

Loki inquired, “As circular as that logic is, how much did you have to bribe the local government to receive permission to attempt this overreach?”

Obiwan's lips curled into a grin, as he answered, “Almost as much as you are worth.”

Loki replied, “I will take that as a compliment.”

Obiwan said, “Good. Now, surrender.”

The Weequay bodyguard shouted, in galactic basic, “We will do no such thing! Die Republic scum!” Then, he and the Human bodyguard for the Twi'kel pointed their blaster pistols at the Republic soldiers and fired.

Obiwan immediately readied himself to use the his lightsaber and his connection to the force to deflect those blaster bolts that came near him.

Fortunately for Obiwan and the troopers, the shots by the Hutt bodyguards went wide.

Unfortunately, for the Hutt bodyguards, the troopers returning fire were right on target, killing both men.

As this happened, Loki charged towards the Republic forces, while the Fetts used their rocket packs to go airborne, as they use their weapons to fire on the Republic troopers.

As this went on, the Twi'lek dropped to the ground. The Twi'lek slowly crawled away towards the doorway on the opposite side of the room from the fighting.

When Loki neared Obiwan, she summon her bastard sword, Cassius, into her right hand. Cassius was a bastard sword with a shiny steel blade, golden colored guard, a black leather straps around the hilt, and a small circular golden pommel at the end of the hilt.

Obiwan saw Loki approaching him. He took on a offensive stance. Obiwan ordered, “Loki is mine!”

Over the blaster fire, the troopers heard the order and they complied.

A second later, Loki reached Obiwan and they began their duel, as the Fetts and the clone troops fired at each other.

(_)

Due to speed and agility the Fetts were showing in the air, with their rocket packs, the troops could not hit the bounty hunters with their blaster rifles.

But, the speed and movements made it hard for Jango and Boba to accurately return fire.

While flying around, and dodging blaster fire, Jango took a quick glance at the fight between Loki and Obiwan.

Jango swiftly turned his attention back to the Republic soldiers firing on him and his son. He thought, 'Loki seems to be holding her own against Kenobi. But, Loki is too close to Obiwan and the troopers, for me to risk getting closer and using my flamethrower, or other tricks. Also, there is no cover here. Even the table would not provide much cover.'

While Jango continued to move around, from the corner of his eye left, Jango saw Boba was still doing fine. He thought, 'Boba doing fine. I am happy I taught Boba how to fly with his rocket pack.'

Jango used his blaster pistols to fire on the troopers.

A few seconds later, one troopers got a lucky shot and hit Boba's blaster rifle from his hands. Boba was unharmed. Boba was trained by Jango to not allow such actions become a distraction, which could prove fatal.

Without missing a beat, Boba used his right hand to draw his blaster pistol, which he used returned fire. Boba thought, 'I am grateful that I took dad's advice to keep this blaster pistol. We have more blaster rifles on board our ship.'

(_)

On the ground, Loki and Obiwan's duel was not much better. Obiwan quickly realized that Loki was more than a match for his lightsaber skills. And when Obiwan tried to use the force to push Loki back, nothing happened to Loki.

While they continued to trading strikes, parries, blocks, and dodges, Loki commented, “I always wanted to see how good you were with a lightsaber.”

Obiwan responded, “Well, I am glad you are having the opportunity to find out. By the way, are you immune to the force?”

Loki coyly said, “I have my own defenses. And this situation will not do either of us any good.”

Loki kept fighting, as she yelled, with her voice seemingly carrying throughout the large room, “Jango! Boba! Time to leave!”

(_)

In another part room, both Jango and Boba heard Loki order.

Jango immediately ordered, by the internal comlink, “Blast out the windows, get out, and head for the spaceport. Loki can take care of herself.”

Boba replied, through the internal comlink, “Roger.”

Jango and Boba immediately turned towards the large windows above the archway leading outside.

The Fetts dodged blaster fire, as they headed for the windows.

As the father and son approached the large, dirty windows, they fired their blaster pistols at the windows they were heading for. The windows shattered and the window pieces dropped before the two bounty hunters reached the now large holes in the window seals.

A few seconds later, they both flow out of the holes they made int the windows to reach the outside.

Jango and Boba passed over the speeder they rented, as they turned and headed directly for the spaceport, where there ship was located.

Jango and Boba kept their blaster pistols in hand, as they continued flying.

(_)

Meanwhile, inside the large room the Fetts had just left, Loki heard the windows being shattered.

A few seconds later, the troopers had stopped firing their blaster rifles.

Loki immediately jumped back in a spinning flip, that lead to her facing the archway. But, instead of landing on her feet, she used her magic to swiftly fly towards the archway.

Since the clone troopers were under orders not to attack Loki, they did not fire on her.

Obiwan and the troopers watched Loki swiftly fly away towards archway leading outside.

Obiwan thought, in mild amusement, 'You do not see that every day.'

A second later, Loki cleared the archway and disappeared outside. Once outside, Loki continued to fly, as she swiftly spotted the Fetts. She turned and she followed the two bounty hunters she has hired.

As Loki flew, she mentally dismissed Cassius. The mystical bastard sword disappearing from her right hand.

(_)

While Jango and Boba flew in the air, Jango was to Boba's left side. There was ten meters between the father and son team. They avoided the skylanes, as they headed back towards the nearby spaceport.

Over their comlink, Boba asked, “Are you okay?”

Jango used their comlink, as he answered, “Yes. How about yourself?”

Boba replied, “I am fine.”

Jango looked at his fuel gauge on his helmet's readout, which was connected to his rocket pack. The fuel gauge stated that ninety percent of his fuel was still left. He inquired, “How is the fuel amount of your rocket pack?”

Boba looked at his readout on his helmet, to his rocket pack. He answered, “Good. I have just under ninety percent. Plenty of fuel to get back to the spaceport.'

Jango stated, “That is nice. Still, we will not waste our fuel looking for our ship. Instead, we will just walk into the main entrance of the spaceport and make our way to the spaceport from there.'

Jango thought, 'That way. If there is a problem. we will still have fuel in our rocket packs to make another escape. I am glad I made it a policy to have both of us refuel out rocket packs every time we use them. That measure has saved our lives several times. Now, is anyone behind us.'

Jango the looked behind. Jango noticed that Loki was flying roughly a hundred meters behind them.

Jango saw that Loki was clearly following them, with her slowly closing in on them. Though, there was no discernible way that showed in how Loki was flying.

Jango looked in front, as he thought, 'That is interesting to see. Though, I am not paid to know how she does what she does. I am only paid to do a job.'

Jango stated, “Loki is some how flying behind us.”

Boba looked behind himself to see Loki flying behind them and she was catching up to them.

Boba looked in front. He commented, “Nice trick. Considering she is paying us, I guess we cannot leave her behind.”

Jango agreed, “True. Leaving her behind would harm our reputation.”

Boba looked around. A second later, he turned back to look in front. Boba commented, “I do not see any Republic forces following us.”

Jango stated, “I doubt they will. Kenobi knows how good we are in aerial combat. And Loki is with us, which would greatly tilt the scales in favor for us.”

Boba inquired, “Good. But, the meeting did fall apart. Did we fail this mission?”

Jango responded, “No. With Loki alive, we accomplished our mission. The meeting was Loki's problem. Now, allow Loki to catch us with us.”

Jango and Boba slightly slowed down, to allow Loki to more quickly catch up with them. But, they did not slow down any where close too stall out and allow gravity to pull them down to the ground far below them.

Several seconds later, Loki came to fly between the two bounty hunters.

Jango turned to Loki. He used his external speakers, as he stated, “Lady Laufeyson. Follow us back to the spaceport. We will be leaving this planet as soon as we reach our ship.”

Loki turned to Jango. Loki responded, “Sure. I can go faster. You lead. I will follow.” She thought, 'In this one case.'

Jango smiled in his helmet, as he turned to face the front. He turned off his external speakers. He ordered into his comlink, “Go faster, son. Loki will keep up.”

Jango thought, 'And once we reach some place quiet, I have some questions for you, Loki.'

Boba answered, by comlink, “Yes father.”

Jango and Boba the flew faster, passed Loki. In response, Loki sped up, as she followed the two bounty hunters.

(_)

Meanwhile, in the large meeting room, the commander of the troopers turned to Obiwan. The speakers of the commander's helmet were on, as he asked, “General. Should we go after them?”

Obiwan turned to the commander. Obiwan answered, “No, Commander Cody. Stopping this meeting was the primary goal. This has been accomplished. The capture of Loki was a secondary mission. Besides, Loki can fly. And the Fetts are clearly skilled at aerial combat. If we gave chase, we would be at a disadvantage in our speeders.”

Cody said, “I see, sir.” He thought, 'Though, if I knew we were going to face the Fetts, I would have brought my jetpack and had my squad bring their jetpacks, as well.'

Obiwan inquired, “Were there casualties?”

Cody responded, “For us, only a few minor scraps. But nothing serious. The two bodyguards with the Twi'lek went down quickly. As Jango and his son. They were too busy moving around to avoid us hitting them to hit on us.”

Obiwan replied, “Good.” Obiwan looked around, as he asked, “Now, what of the Twi'lek representative?”

Cody answered, “I believe he escaped at the beginning of the fight.”

Obiwan turned off his lightsaber and holstered his weapon on the holster on the left side of his belt, under his robe. Obiwan turned to Cody. Obiwan stated, “The Twi'lek is small matter. Let us get leave this planet, and return to Coruscant before that sycophant can report back what happened here to his Hutt masters.”

Cody replied, “Yes sir.” Cody turned to his subordinates. Cody ordered, with the speakers of his helmet on, and through the internal comlink system he had with his squad, “Alright men. We are leaving.”

Obiwan, Cody, and the troopers turned and headed out of the room the way they came in.

They walked deeper into the building, as they headed for the balcony to the left of where Loki, Jango, and Boba entered the building.

A minute later, they reached another large balcony on the building, at the same level as the large meeting room they left.

Parked on the large balcony was the Low Altitude Assault Transport Republic attack gunship, they used to land on the planet. The gunship was outfitted with better engines to head back into orbit.

The pilot and co-pilot had the engines of the ship idling, so they were ready to take off at a moments notice.

After the Obiwan and the Republic soldiers were on board, the pilot and co-pilot flew the ship into space.

Once they were in orbit over Dirha, they headed for the Star Destroyer Negotiator, which was in orbit around the Dirha.

As soon as the gunship was aboard the Negotiator, Obiwan gave the order for the Negotiator to jump to hyperspace, with the Negotiator heading through hyperspace on a path which would take the ship to the planet, Coruscant.

(_)

Around twenty minutes after escaping Obiwan and the Republic forces, Loki, Jango, and Boba reached the spaceport where the Slave I was docked. Given the number of levels and space platforms on the building, they decided to walk into the building from main entrance. From there, they made it up to the level their ship was docked on, and they down the interior hallway to their platform.

The lighting in the hallway provided plenty of illumination.

The only people in the hallway were Loki, Jango, and Boba.

Both Jango and Boba had holstered blaster pistols.

When they reached the door to the platform, Jango, Loki, and Boba, came to a stop in the hallway.

Jango stood in the middle, with Loki to his right and Boba to his left.

Jango turned to Boba. Jango stated, over the internal comlink, with his helmet speakers off, “Boba. Head to the ship and prep it for launch. I need a minute alone with Loki.”

Boba turned to Jango. Boba used internal comlink, as he answered, “Yes, father.”

Boba turned towards the outer door. Boba walked over to the panel by interior left side of the wall by the outer door. He pressed a button and the door slid open.

Jango looked over at Loki. Jango said, “Loki. We will stay here while Boba opens the ship.”

Loki turned to Jango. Loki replied, “Okay.” Loki thought, 'I guess this is to help protect against snipers. The less time I am out in the open the less chance of being attacked. If there is an ambush, Jango would prefer to be here, while Boba is in their ship.

Loki and Jango watched Boba walked towards the Slave I.

A few seconds later, Boba reached the starship. He would use a secret numerical panel to unlock the main outer door of the ship. Once the door to the Slave I unlocked and opened, Boba walked up the ramp and enter the ship.

Boba headed to the cockpit to begin the the preflight check for the ship.

A second after Boba entered the ship, Loki thought, 'Now that he is inside, we can enter the ship.

Just as Loki was about walk towards the exit, Jango turned to Loki. He had turned off his internal comlink, and Boba was out of earshot. Jango turned to Loki. Jango calmly requested, with his external helmet speakers, “Loki. A moment of your time.”

Loki stopped in her tracks. She turned to Jango. Loki replied, “Yes, Jango.”

Jango walked a few steps close to Loki. Loki faced Jango, as she stood between Jango and a wall in the hallway to the right of the outer wall.

Without warning, Jango swiftly used his right gauntlet to gripped hold of Loki's throat, lifted her thirty centimeters in the air. Jango quickly carried Loki by her thought have a meter to hold her against the wall. While Jango held Loki, he was careful to allow his grip to be loose enough for Loki to breath.

Jango used his external speakers in his helmet. Jango stated, in a cold tone of voice, “Whatever games you are playing, it is clear you knew someone from the Republic would come. It was you whom leaked the information to the Republic. I do not like being used. Let along putting my son in unnecessary danger.”

Loki thought, 'I need to tell him the truth.'

Loki admitted, “That is the case. I anonymously leaked the information. While having the meeting go well would have been fine, this was all a test for you and your son, to see if you would follow my orders. To see if orders were more important to you than glory in battle. You both passed the test. I am glad, because I have big plans for both of you.”

Jango coldly asked, “What plans?”

Loki answered, “I am putting together a team.”

The coldness in Jango lessened, and was replaced by mild curiosity, as he inquired, “What type of team?”

Loki stated, “Where I come from, there are teams of skilled and powerful individuals whom were able to handle in battle almost opponent imaginable. Including handling people as powerful as the Jedi Order, and even Thor. These types of teams were called, superhero teams. I am putting such a team together.”

Jango inquired, “Who do have in mind for your team?”

Loki said, “Along with a squad of mandalorians soldiers for support, I already have three primary members for this time. Asajj Ventress, Aurra Sing, and Grievous.”

Jango flatly stated, “None of them are heroes.”

Loki responded, “They can be. Besides, the superheroes I know of were not much in the way of heroes outside of their day jobs. Anyway, those three have already shown they can work together. Even get along together. But, I need a level headed leader they will respect. I want that person to be you. And given your son has shown to be as skilled as I expected him to be. I want him to be a part of that team, as well. I know some future events that could have happened, if the hammer did not land that day on Geonosis.”

Jango asked, “Like my death in that arena?”

Loki raised an eyebrow in interest. She inquired, “Yes. How did you know?”

Jango admitted, “I had dreams about that event.” He thought, 'Though, it has been a while since I have had such dreams.'

Loki responded, “Interesting. I will keep that in mind. Anyway, I know that you son would have been a great bounty hunter even without your personal guidance.”

Jango questioned, “How great?”

Loki answered, “Better than you. One of the best ever. I can only imagine how much better he is and will be with you continuing to train him.”

Jango set Loki down on her feet, and he let go of her throat.

Jango stated, “I will take your request under consideration.”

Loki replied, “Thank you.”

Jango warned, “And if you had lied to me, I would have crushed your throat.”

Loki stated, “I realize that. And there will be no reprisals over this incident. You are too skilled to kill over a meaningless misunderstanding.” She thought, 'And it is also good that I do not need to breathe. I doubt you could break my neck with your power gauntlet. Though, you might have been able to mildly bruise my throat. And it is not worth the injury to fight you.'

Jango responded, “I feel the same way about you. Is there anything I need to know about the future? Specifically my future? Or, my son's future?”

Loki answered, “I already informed you of the genetic lifespan issue with your son and the possible control chip issue.”

Jango commented, “Yes. That genetic issue since been corrected.”

Loki inquired, “Good. My knowledge of the future is how I knew all this. Also, were you able to confirm you son has no control chips implanted in him?”

Jange answered, “Yes. He has no such control chips in his brain, nor the rest of his body.”

Loki responded, “That is great to hear. Also, there are matters in the distant future we need to go over. But, later. In private.”

Jango guessed, “It is not good news?”

Loki responded, “No. There is an army of far outsiders whom are heading to this galaxy. They are known as the Yuuzhan Vong. They are not due to arrive in this galaxy for a few decades. I hope. When they get here, they are going to make this Clone War look like a child's scuffle.”

Jango stated, “And you are quietly preparing to confront them for when they arrive.”

Loki realized that Jango was making a statement. Jango was not asking a question.

Loki said, “Yes. And I am not the only one whom knows the Yuuzhan Vong are coming. But, I am likely the most well informed.”

Jango held up his right gauntlet in a fist, with his right index finger extended in front, a few centimeters from Loki's face Jango commented, in a firm tone of voice, “Later, we will have a detailed discussion concerning this matter.”

Loki offered, “Whenever you are ready. You are one of the few people I trust on such matters.”

Jango dropped his right hand back to his side. Jango inquired, “I will let you know when. So, what is the pay for being leader of this team? And how much is my son going to be paid?”

Loki stated, “Double the top rate I have been paying you. Same with the other team members. Including your son.” Loki thought, 'Which is the same amount for everyone. I do not play favorites when it comes to my agents. Because they already are some of my favorites.'

Jango said, “This sounds about right. But, understand this. If you ever try to pull what you did on me, my son, or any team we are on, again. I will kill you.”

Loki responded, “I would expect nothing less from a professional such as yourself.”

Jango stated, “Good. Now, let us go join my son. By now, he should have the ship ready for launch.” Jango thought, 'Fortunately, we have enough fuel to reach a planet outside of the Hutt Space. So, if you wherever you want to go, we can at least reach a neutral port where we can refuel and head to the destination.'

Loki said, “With pleasure.” She thought, 'I will tell them where to head to drop me off, after we reach orbit. I will ask them to head to a nearby Separatist planet. From there, I will teleport to my next destination.'

Loki turned and she walked in front of Jango, pass the doorway, and onto the platform, towards the ramp of the Slave I.

This sign of trust by Loki turning her back on Jango was not lost on the bounty hunter, as he followed behind Loki, towards the Slave I spaceship.

Soon they were both aboard the ship. Jango had closed the outer door, and retracted the ramp.

Jango did not bother to contact the local spaceport authority to ask permission to leave the planet.

A minute later, the Slave I starship took off into the sky, with Jango piloting the ship them towards space.

Half an hour later, the Slave I reached orbit. Loki told Jango where she desired to go, which was a nearby Separatist that Loki knew of. Jango used his ship's navigation system to plot the course.

Fortunately, the Separatist planet Loki requested was within the range of the Slave I's fuel reserves.

Jango planned to refuel at the spaceport he was be taking Loki to.

When the navigation system was ready, Jango had the Slave I jump to hyperspace towards the nearby Separatist planet Loki had told Jango about.

(_)

Meanwhile, in the Mid-Rim, on Kashyyyk, in the tree city of Rwookrrorro, in the designated meeting room, Padme, Yoda, and Mina were having their negotiations.

It was early evening in Rwookrrorro, near sunset.

During their meeting, they had taken a few breaks for various reasons, including a mid-afternoon lunch.

All parties found the meals the wookiees provided to be edible and tasty.

Presently, Mina and Padme sat in chairs across the table from each other. Mina facing the door. Padme sat in the chair across the table from Mina to Mina's right side. Yoda sat in his hover chair, which was on top of the seat of the chair to Padme's right side. The allowed Yoda's head and upper body to be above the top of the table while he was sitting in his hover chair.

For the most part, Yoda remained silent, as he listened to Padme and Mina talk.

Negotiations had been going on last several hours. While progress had been made on a few issues, several other issues remained unresolved.

Mina stated, “But, we still cannot even agree specific borders concerning several locations in the galaxy.”

Padme agreed, “True. Things we can agree on is that the Republic would retain the Core and Deep Core worlds. While the Confederacy would control much of the northeastern and southeastern Outer Rim, with parts of the Expansion Region and Mid-Rim, with Hutt space dividing much the north and south parts of your nation.”

Mina responded, “At least we agree on that. We have even hold some territory in the Inner Rim, and event a few places in the Colonies.”

Padme stated, “That is another issue. The problem is the war has left both sides holding territory in the Colonies, Inner Rim, Expansion Region, and Mid-Rim, in a haphazard way.”

Yoda commented, “Support for Republic, Confederate, or neutral, is not uniform in those areas.”

Padme said, “Exactly. Though, when it comes to the areas you control in the Outer Rim. Those areas are a few large blocks of territory.”

Mina responded, “True. Should there be a treaty. Some planets will be annexed from side they supported. These planets will be transferred to be ruled by the government they want no part of.”

Padme stated, “Protections would still have to be agreed to and put in place for the populations on both sides of the war.”

Mina agreed, “Yes. Though, with the Confederacy still existing, there would be teeth in these agreements.”

Padme conceded, “I will give you that.”

Mina mentioned, “Though, I will say this. I know for a fact the Confederacy is not very interested in much of the southeastern Mid-Rim. We do not want to stretch ourselves too far. Though, we are interested in the Arkanis sector and the the sectors we have taken control of in the Southeastern Galaxy, much of this in the southeastern Mid-Rim.”

Padme thought, 'Yes. The Separatists control much of the southeastern Mid-Rim. You western front in the southeastern Mid-Rim is not that far from Naboo.'

Mina went onto say, “If we were in control the eastern half of the galaxy, we would encircle Hutt space. That is asking for trouble. And that is not counting the section of Wild Space on the southeastern edge of the galaxy. And the various Hutt territories that go from Hutt Space to Bespin.”

Padme realized, as she thought, 'Wait a minute. Geonosis is south of Hutt Space.”

Padme inquired, “I thought you would request that Geonosis become part of the Confederacy?”

Mina explained, “While that would be nice. Geonosis has been in control of the Republic during the entire war. As you both know, the Republic has control of several key points in southern Outer Rim. And the Republic controls much of the eastern Mid-Rim, all the way to Christophsis, Savareen sector, right outside of the Mid-Rim.”

“While you stopped us from moving up Corellian Run towards the Core, we went around and further south and west to take control of parts of the southern Mid-Rim.”

“That being said, with us fighting you, we left the Hutt held territories of the Outer Rim alone. We did not want to fight two nations at once.”

“As such we are being realistic on this matter.”

“The main reason the Geonosians planned to join the Confederacy was that the Geonosis was located one star system away from the Tatooine system is which control by the Hutts. The Geonosians were concerned the Hutts might annex their planet and enslave them. This is why they wanted to have the Confederacy cruisers be built on their planet. As a form of protection. Their plan badly backfired on them.”

“The only silver lining of the Republic military occupation of Geonosis is that the Hutts will not dare try to cross the Republic to get to the Geonosians.”

Padme commented, “I have been to Tatooine. There is no military to speak of on that planet. It is just a desert with a sparse population. The only reason the Hutts are in control of that planet is no one else is interested in controlling that desert planet. Still, I can understand their concerns.”

Mina responded, “So do we. Though, should the opportunity for Geonosis to join the Confederacy come about. We would welcome them. Though, we have no interest in Naboo. We acquire our fuel from other locations.”

Padme thought, 'So you do realize how close Naboo is from the southeastern front of this war.'

Padme replied, “Thank you. That puts my mind at ease.”

Mina responded, “You're welcome. Besides. If we do agree to a treaty and borders. There would have to be a grace period for those whom wish to leave those worlds for the nations they wish to be a part of.”

Padme said, “Like the Neutrality Alliance did with those populations on the worlds whom joined the Confederacy.”

Mina asked, “Yes. And that is another thought. What about the Neutrality Alliance?”

Padme stated, “Except those worlds which joined the Confederacy. The other worlds in the alliance never really wanted to leave the Republic. They only desired not to be a part of the war.”

Mina commented, “I can understand their sentiments. Still, some of those worlds are closer to our borders in the Mid-Rim. For logistical and security reasons, we may end up having to annex a few of those worlds, even if doing so upsets the Hutt Cartels.”

Padme said, “We will see what we can do. I believe we might be able make various arrangements.”

Yoda turned around in his chair, to his right, to look at the windows. He noticed it was starting to get dark outside. And with that, they were losing the light in the room.

Yoda looked back over at Padme and Mina.

Yoda commented, “Ladies. It is beginning to become dark. Too much is at risk not to err on the side of caution. We can continue this in the morning.”

Both women noticed that Yoda was correct, and that the light in the room was slowly growing dim.

Mina and Padme turned to look at Yoda.

Mina said, “You have a point, Jedi master.”

Padme agreed, “We can continue this in the morning.”

Padme and Mina looked at each other.

Padme asked, “Is nine hundred, local time, okay for you?”

Mina replied, “Yes. That would be fine.”

Padme invited, “Mina. I would love for you to have dinner with us, on our ship. Or, in a restaurant near the spaceport.”

Mina sadly said, “I am sorry, Padme. But, I have to give my report to my superiors. Though, I am more than open to having a dinner with you future date, so we can catch up. Though, such an event would have to be under better circumstances, when we are not representing our respective nations.”

Padme replied, “I understand.” She thought, 'Now that I think about my offer. You are correct. This is not the best time and place for such pleasantries.'

Mina stated, “We need to inform the guard outside of our plans. So, he can inform his superiors.”

Padme said, “I agree.”

Mina and Padme stood up from their chairs.

Mina walked around the table her right. Mina came to a stop to stand next to Padme, with Yoda on the other side of Padme.

Yoda turned on his hover chair and float out of the chair was landed on. Yoda had his hover chair float to his right, away from Padme and Mina. Yoda had his hover chair circle around the chair was on to turn to face Padme and Mina, with the back of the chair Yoda had been using being to his right side.

Padme turned to Yoda. Padme requested, “Master Yoda. Could you go first. In case there is trouble.”

Yoda replied, “Of course.”

Yoda used the controls on the right arm of his hover chair to turn and float towards the exit to the outside.

Padme follow Yoda, with Mina being right behind Padme.

When they exited the building. They came to a stop, and they turned to face the black hair wookiee guard.

The wookiee guard looked at them. The wookiee growled and grunts for a few seconds.

Yoda answered, “We are finished with deliberations for the night. We plan to restart negotiations at nine in the morning, local time.”

The wookiee growled and grunted again.

Yoda turned to Padme and Mina. Yoda stated, “The guard is requesting if either of you wish for a security escort back to your ship.”

Padme turned the wookiee. Padme stated, “I will be fine.” She turned to Yoda, as she continued, “As long as Master Yoda is with me.” Padme thought, 'Though, I could summon Mjolnir at a moments notices, doing so would damage the ship, and blow my cover.'

Yoda could not help but smile turned Padme, for the complimented Padme had given him.

Mina turned to the wookiee guard. Mina requested, “I would prefer an escort to my ship.”

The wookiee growled and grunted.

Yoda explained, “He stated he will escort you, himself.”

Mina continued to face the wookiee. Mina said, “That will be fine.”

Mina and the black hair wookiee then departed for Mina's ship.

Meanwhile, Padme and Yoda turned and took the path back to the Jedi Diplomatic ship. As they walked on the large platforms connecting the tree buildings together, towards their ship at the nearby spaceport, they saw various wookiees placing unlit torches in the holders around the outside of the trees. The wookiees then lit the torches.

Within minutes, the path to Padme and Yoda's ship being brightened with the added illuminations from the lit torches.

Padme and Yoda were side by side, as they made their way to the Jedi Diplomatic ship. Padme was to Yoda's left side.

Yoda moved his hover chair at the same comfortable pace which Padme was walking.

As Padme walked, she suggested, “I believe it might best if I made my report to the Chancellor once we reach the ship.”

Yoda replied, “I agree.”

Padme requested, “Also, I would like for you to be present while I give my report.” She thought, 'To help prevent any possible problems from happening due to this meeting.'

Yoda said, “That will not be a problem.”

Padme inquired, “Thank you. Are you planning to report to the Jedi High Council?”

Yoda answered, “No. I will give my report to the council when I return to Coruscant.”

Padme commented, “I guess that is one of benefits of being the boss.”

Yoda cracked a grin, as he said, “Yes. It is.”

(_)

Ten minutes later, Padme and Yoda reached the Jedi Diplomatic ship, and up the ramp to the outer doors.

Padme typed in the passcode to open the ship on the exterior panel with a numerical pad by the outer doors. The passcode was accepted by the ship's computer. The outer doors unlocked and slid open.

After the doors fully slid open, they boarded the ship.

Once Padme and Yoda were inside the ship, Padme used an interior panel by the outer door to close the door and lock the door behind them. She had the ramp stop remain lowered to the landing platform.

Padme and Yoda had left the lights inside the ship turned on.

Padme and Yoda headed to the living area of the ship.

As they walked into the living area, Padme headed over to sat on a white cushioned couch. In front of the couch was a dull chrome metal, low set, coffee table with a holo-monitor on top center of the table.

Yoda floated his hover chair over a white cushioned armchair by the side of the table to Padme's left. The chair faced at a perpendicular angle to the couch she was sitting on.

Yoda landed his hover chair to the right side of the armchair.

Padme watched Yoda got of out of the hover chair. He stretched his legs. Then, Yoda pulled out his small walking cane from a side of the hover chair.

After which, Yoda used his walking cane to aid him as he walked in front of the chair. Yoda climbed onto the cushion of the chair. Yoda faced the table, with his cane set to his right side.

Padme asked, “Are you ready?”

Yoda looked over at Padme. Yoda answered, “Yes.”

Padme turned to the holo-monitor. She leaned towards the table. As Padme put in the personal holo-comm number for Chancellor Palpatine's office, she commented, “At the moment it should be mid-day on Coruscant, in the Senate District. This number bypasses his secretary and goes straight to his office. He usually answers me calls on the first try.”

Yoda said, “If we are fortunate we will not disturb him in the middle of a meeting.”

Padme finished inputting the number. She leaned up. Padme looked over at Yoda, as she stated, “The Chancellor usually handles his important, face to face meetings in the morning. Any meetings he may be having right now will likely be by holo-comm. He can easily table those meetings with a few comments and the pressing of a few buttons.”

Yoda asked, “How many times have you had him end your holo-comm early?”

Padme responded, “Several times over the years. How about his calls to the Jedi High Council?”

Yoda commented, “More than I would care to admit.”

As the holo-comm began to ring, Padme and Yoda turned their attention to the holo-comm on the nearby table.

The holo-comm rang a few times. Then, Palpatine's small holographic image showed just above the holo-monitor. The hologram show Palpatine sitting at his desk. Palpatine was wearing formal black clothing over his open dark red Chancellor's robe.

Palpatine's hologram faced Padme and Yoda.

Palpatine happily inquired, “Hello Senate Amidala and Master Yoda. I have been expecting your call. How has the deliberations been progressing?”

Padme answered, “Better than we anticipated, Chancellor.”

Palpatine halfheartedly joked, “So, can we hope for their surrender?”

Padme coyly said, “Not that well. But, we did see eye to eye on a number of important issues.”

Palpatine responded, “That is good. Am I correct that Mina Bonteri is representing the Separatists in this unofficial negotiation?”

Padme answered, “Yes.”

Palpatine asked, “And you brought your hammer, Mjolnir, with you?”

Padme did not like where the conversation was heading. Padme carefully answered, “Yes. Chancellor. Though, I am conducting negotiations as Senator Amidala.”

Palpatine casually said, “I am aware of that. Still, I could order you to go back as Thor and arrest Mina Bonteri for treason.”

Yoda's face grimaced.

Padme forcefully replied, “Chancellor.”

Palpatine calmly said, “Before she defected to the Separatists, Mina Bonteri was a member of the Galactic Senate. By leaving her station as a government official and joining an enemy force against the Republic, she has committed the legal definition of treason.”

Padme quickly stated, “Chancellor. To do so would be a terrible mistake.”

Yoda maintained his grimace, as he stated, in a firm tone of voice, “We are under a flag of truce, not only by the Republic, but by the Jedi. If we took this action the political ramifications would be dire.”

Palpatine casually responded, “Well, it is just a thought. I said I could. But, I am not going to.”

Both Padme and Yoda each let out a breath of relief.

Palpatine's lips curled into the most faintest of grins.

Palpatine requested, “Keep me appraised on the situation.” He focused on Padme, as he continued, “And Senator Amidala. I will expect you to personally give me your full report when you return to Coruscant.”

Padme said, “Yes, Chancellor.”

Palpatine replied, “Good.”

Palpatine ended the holo-comm, with his hologram disappearing.

Yoda fully dropped his grimace. Yoda turned to Padme. Yoda asked, “You desired my presence for this meeting in case the Chancellor made the request to arrest Representative Bonteri?”

Padme turned to Yoda. Padme soberly admitted, “Yes. To prevent a diplomatic incident, while maintaining my political hide.”

Yoda stated, “This is understandable. I might have done the same in your place.”

Padme replied, “Thank you for not being upset.”

Yoda said, “Nothing to be upset about. It is wise ask for the aid of friends, when one needs help.”

Padme smiled, as she said, “I appreciate the help. And the friendship.”

Yoda returned Padme's smile. Yoda asked, “So, what do you suggest we do for dinner?”

Padme responded, “I do not have a clue. We could retrieve something from the ship's kitchen. Though, how good is wookiee cuisine in general? The lunch they provided for us was quite tasty.”

Yoda answered, “Not bad. They have a spicy roast which is quite delicious.”

Padme said, “Then, we will have to try some of that roast.”

Yoda responded, “Arrangements I will make by holo-comm. They do have restaurants on in the city whom deliver.”

Padme said, “Well, that is nice. I look forward to trying that roast.”

Yoda stated, “Disappointment you will not have.”

Yoda stood up and he picked up his cane. He hopped onto the table and over the holo-monitor. He used the holo-comm to find a decent nearby wookiee restaurant that would suit their needs.

Soon after, Yoda was able to get into contact with such a wookiee restaurant. Where he placed their order, how much the order was in credits, and where to find them, which was landing platform fifty-four.

Half an hour later, a wookie delivered their meals at the main entrance to the ship. Padme answered the door, and she paid for the meals with some credits.

A few minutes later, both Yoda and Padme were eating dinner in the living area of the ship. They found their meals to their liking.

(_)

As Padme and Yoda boarded the Jedi Diplomatic ship, the wookiee guard has escorted Mina to the Confederate diplomatic ship she has been assign at the landing pad it was landed on, which was landing platform thirty-eight.

The Confederate diplomatic ship was around the same size as Jedi diplomatic ship Padme and Yoda were using. The ship was very large and comfortable to travel in, with all the amenities and size of a nice hotel suite.

The ship had two droid pilots.

The wookiee guard watched Mina walked up the ramp.

After Mina reach the ramp that lead to the main entrance to her ship, she type in a passcode on the panel by the entrance. The passcode was accepted and the doors to the entrance slid open.

Mina walked inside the ship. A few seconds later, the outer doors automatically slid closed and locked on the outside.

As soon as the wookiee guard watched Mina enter her ship, with the doors closing behind her, wookiee guard turned and he left to report to his superiors on what had happened that day at the meeting, and that the meeting would resume in the morning at nine hundred local time.

Wookiees had good hearing, and the guard has been assigned to stand outside the meeting because he had some of the best hearing for a wookiee soldier. The guard had heard the entire conversation of the meeting without those involved realizing he had eavesdropping on their meeting.

Meanwhile, Mina headed to the living area of the ship, where she would make her own encrypted holo-comm call with Parliament Leader Voe Atell, using a holo-monitor on a small table in the living area, as she sat in a nearby comfortable cushioned couch.

Once the holo-comm call was concluded, Mina went to get something to eat in the kitchen area of the ship, get ready for bed, set her alarm clock to wake her in the morning, and go sleep in her personal quarters of the ship.

(_)

The next morning, at nine hundred sharp local time, Padme and Yoda met back up with Mina at the meeting location, to continue their negotiations.

There was a tan female guard stationed outside the meeting location to act as their guard.

Though, by the middle of the day, they realized they were not going to agree on anything more concerning negotiations for peace between the Republic and the Confederacy.

Still, both parties were satisfied that at least thy had a discussion in which they agreed on a number of topics concerning the ending of the war, and they ended their talks on peaceful terms.

Padme, Yoda, and Mina agreed that this was a good start for more official channels to take up peace negotiations.

At the conclusion of negotiations, Yoda contacted the wookiee government officials to inform them they had concluded their negotiations and they were leaving. And that the negotiations ended on good terms. The wookiee government officials were happy to hear this.

Padme and Mina said their goodbyes. Then, they parted ways.

Padme accompanied Yoda onto the Jedi diplomatic ship back to Coruscant, while Mina left on her Confederate ship, with both parties leaving the city of Rwookrrorro, and the planet of Kashyyyk.

When the Jedi Diplomatic ship reached orbit above Kashyyyk, Padme had contacted Chancellor Palpatine by holo-comm.

Padme informed Palpatine that negotiations had concluded and that she would give her full report to him when she and Yoda reached Coruscant.

Palpatine was satisfied with Padme's comments. And he wished them a safe journey back to Coruscant. Soon after, the Padme joined Yoda in the cockpit.

When the ship's astromech droid has the navigation coordinates set for Coruscant, they had their ship jump to hyperspace, as they headed towards Coruscant.

(_)

Meanwhile, Mina was inside her Confederate Diplomatic ship. Two droid pilots piloted the ship towards orbit over Kashyyyk.

Mina sat in a comfortable cushioned couch in the living area of the ship. Mina was wearing a formal red dress, with red slippers.

In front of Mina was a small table with a holo-monitor on it. Mina had just called the personal holo-comm number to Parliament Leader Voe Atell's office in the Parliament Building, in the city of Raxus Central, on the planet of Raxus Secundus.

Mina leaned back in her cushioned couch, as she thought, 'It should be late afternoon in Raxus Central. Right now, Voe should be in her office, overseeing documents as part of her job as the Parliament Leader. After I finish talking to her, I will call Lux to let him know I am heading home. I look forward to seeing Lux again, in person.'

After a few rings, Voe small holographic image showed on above the holo-monitor. She was shown standing in her Parliament uniform.

Voe's hologram looked at Mina. Voe requested, “Representative Bonteri, please give me your report?”

Mina answered, “Parliament Leader Atell, not much has changed since I talked with you last night. Unfortunately, this morning I was unable to get any further in my endeavors for peace. Though, we did call the negotiations on a good note. With the Senator, Jedi Master, and myself, agreeing on a number of topics. All of which I will list in my report.”

Voe responded, “Good. Do you feel that it was worth meeting them and having this discussion?”

Mina replied, “Yes.”

Voe asked, “Do you believe this meeting will lead to further negotiations?”

Mina answered, “Yes. I do.

Voe inquired, “Good. Was there anything of note during the mission?”

Mina said, “I believe so. After much thinking, I believe that I am correct in what I hinted out, in our discussion last night. While the Jedi are against us, from what I could gather from the Jedi Master, the Jedi are not happy with the current leadership of the Republic. Nor, are they happy with the internal direction the Senate is taking. It is no secret that the Chancellor is pulling power towards himself, much to the dislike of the Jedi. I would not be surprised if the Jedi High Council was already drawing up plans to depose the good Chancellor.”

Voe replied, “That is possible. Later on, this could be useful.”

Mina stated, “I agree. But, I believe we should allow our superiors a chance to put forward their plans on these matters. Before we attempt to take action on our own.”

Mina thought, 'I trust that Loki likely has factored in all this within her plans. And Loki has a way of keeping the casualties light on both sides. I have a number of friends in the Senate and other places in the Republic, whom I do not want to see harmed. This includes Padme. She has grown to become a very skilled diplomat. I am quite proud of her.'

'Also, she seems to have learned a lesson a few years ago that I was unable to teach her in her youth. That on does not need high class dresses, exotic hairstyles, and lots of make-up to be a skilled diplomat and politician.'

'Especially, changing to a different dress, hairstyle, and make-up every single day.'

'Pageantry has its place, but it can be overused. Sometimes less is more. And less may gain more respect than more within some social circles.'

'I only dyed my hair because I became tired of having random gray hairs among my brown hair. But, I had the tips of my hair dyed gray to acknowledge that I do have gray hairs.'

Voe responded, “Yes. That would be wise. This sounds like you are on the path of getting your wish. This is a good start to peace and independence we desire. I will see you in a few days. Once you have return to Raxus Central, you can give me your full report in person.” Voe lips curled into a warm grin, as she continued, “After you spend some time with your son.”

Mina thought, 'This is nice of her.' Mina returned Voe's smile. Mina replied, “Thank you, Parliament Leader Atell.”

Voe said, “No problem. Since this meeting turned out well, I will arrange for your mission to be recorded as an official negotiation in the parliament records.”

Mina thought, 'This will help me politically, and this will help with the peace movement.'

Mina stated, “I appreciate such steps being taken. I will have a typed report on this mission for you on datapad by the time I return to Raxus Central. I look forward to our discussion in person.”

Voe said, “So do I. See you then.” Voe ended the holo-communication.

Several minutes later, Mina ship reached orbit above Kashyyyk, the droids pilots set the navigation coordinates in the ship's navigation computer for Raxus Secundus, and the droid pilots jumped the ship to hyperspace.

Mina had a safe trip. A few days later, she reach Raxus Central on Raxus Secundus, where she was reunited with her son, Lux Bonteri. After her meeting with her son, she went to meet Voe, where she gave a satisfying report to Parliament Leader Voe Atell.

(_)

A few days later, Padme and Yoda returned to Coruscant.

It was a sunny mid-morning when Padme and Yoda's ship finally reached planetside of the Temple District of Coruscant. The standard day-night rotation was twenty-four standard hours.

In the Jedi Temple, inside one of the many the hangar bays in the ziggurat, Anakin and Ahsoka stood, as they watched the Jedi Diplomatic ship slowed down and hovered into the open bay doors.

Except for Anakin and Ahsoka, there was no else in the large hangar bay.

Once the ship was inside the hangar bay, the ship came to a hovering stop and extended its landing gear. Next, she ship slowly lowered to land in the bay, with main exit door, in the back left side of the ship, faced Anakin and Ahsoka.

Anakin and Ahsoka were about twenty meters from the ship.

Anakin and Ahsoka were dressed in their usual clothing. Ahsoka stood to Anakin's right side.

A minute later, the engines shut down. A minute afterward, the ramp to the main exit lowered to the floor of the hangar bay.

Anakin and Ahsoka watched door open. Yoda was first watch come out, as he floated in his hover chair a meters from the floor.

Padme was next to walk down the ramp. She was wearing a light green shirt, blue pants, black belt, and black boots. In her right hand she held Mjolnir, in her left hand she held a suitcase by its handle. While she felt the weight of Mjolnir, the hammer was still light enough to carry in with on hand, in her normal form.

Anakin and Ahsoka walked over to Yoda and Padme.

Padme and Yoda saw them, as they came to a stop on the hangar bay floor, just below the end of the ramp. Padme was to Yoda's right side.

A few seconds later, Anakin and Ahsoka came to a stop a few meters in front of Padme and Yoda.

Anakin said, “It is good to see you.”

Ahsoka asked, “How was your trip?”

Yoda answered, “The trip was fine.”

Padme commented, “We accomplished a lot. But, given the sensitive nature of what was discussed, we cannot talk about it right now.”

Anakin said, “We understand.”

Ahsoka mentioned, “Master Kenobi should be returning anytime now.”

Padme turned to Ahsoka. Padme thought, 'So, Obiwan was on his own mission. That is interesting.'

Padme said, “That's good.” Padme turned to Anakin. Padme requested, “Anakin. I would like you to come by. Alone. Around fifteen hundred. To my apartment. I need to talk to you about a few matters.”

Anakin stated, “Sure. I will be there.”

Padme commented, “Thanks. And guys, I would love to stay and chat. But, I need to head to my apartment to drop off my luggage. Then, I need to go see the Chancellor. To give him my report in person.”

Ahsoka said, “You have our sympathies.”

Yoda mentioned, “I also must reflect on the report I will be giving the Jedi High Council in over an hour.”

Anakin turned to Padme. Anakin inquired, “Do you need help with your luggage?”

Padme answered, “Sure.” She set down her suitcase on the floor.” She commented, “I have a speeder parked outside on the western plaza, in the visitor's section.”

Padme thought, 'Since I was on a mission with Yoda, I did not have to worry about the Jedi having my vehicle towed.'

Padme went onto say, “I would appreciate it if you could help me bring my luggage to the speed.”

Anakin said, “No problem.” He walked over and picked up the suitcase by the handle with his right hand.

Yoda used his hover chair to leave the Padme, Ahsoka, and Anakin. Yoda headed to a nearby door that lead him to another part of the building.

Meanwhile, Padme, Anakin, and Ahsoka turned and they started walking towards a doorway in a different direction than where Yoda went. The doorway they were heading for would lead to hallway where a nearby elevator was located.

As they walked, Ahsoka asked, “Where is Yoda's luggage?”

Padme answered, “I do not know.” She thought, 'Though, given how often Yoda uses that hover chair, he likely keeps his clothing in there.'

They soon made into the hallway, and to the elevator. They took the elevator down to the ground floor.

After they made it to the ground floor, Anakin and Ahsoka escorted Padme outside, onto the western plaza, and to her passenger speeder vehicle parked in the visitor's parking area of the Jedi Temple plaza.

Due to Padme leaving the speeder out in the open, Padme used a speeder vehicle with an enclosed top.

Once they reached the speeder vehicle, Padme used a key to unlock and open the front left drivers door to reach the button to open the trunk. Anakin put the suitcase into the trunk of the speeder vehicle, and Anakin closed the hood of the trunk.

Padme opened the right side passenger door and she placed Mjolnir on its side in the floor of the front right passenger seat. Padme closed the passenger door. She got into the driver's seat.

Padme said her goodbyes to her friends. Padme closed the front left drivers door, she started the speeder, and she flew the speeder to her apartment.

(_)

An hour later, after Padme reached the parking level of the apartment building she lived in. She parked her speeder vehicle and retrieved Mjolnir and her suitcase. She headed to the elevator. When she reached the elevator, she set down her suitcase and put in the passcode on a numerical pad by the elevators doors which would summon the elevator and take her to her home.

The passcode was accepted by the security computer. The elevator came to the parking level and the elevator doors slid open.

Padme picked up her suitcase and she walked into the elevator.

The elevator doors closed and the elevator took to Padme to her home at the top penthouse level of the building.

Soon, Padme dropped off her luggage and Mjolnir in her apartment. Among other items, Padme changed into a sleeveless red dress, with red slippers. Also, Padme hid her small blaster pistol in her in an inner thigh holster under her clothing, in the interior of her right thigh.

Once Padme was ready, she headed over to the Senate Building, to meet with Chancellor Palpatine, in the Chancellor office, on one of the highest floors of the dome shaped Senate building.

Padme parked her speeders in a parking area on an upper level which was reserved for Senators and their staff.

When Padme reached the secretary droid in front of the closed entrance to the Palpatine office, Padme asked the droid if the Chancellor was busy and that Senator Amidala had arrived.

The droid contacted Palpatine through the intercom system.

From overhearing the conversation, Padme found out that Palpatine was busy with reviewing documents, and he could immediately meet with Palpatine.

The droid opened the doors to Chancellor's office and Padme headed passed the droid's desk, down the small hallway to Chancellor's office.

Less than a minute later, Padme made into Palpatine office. A few seconds later, the doors to the Chancellor's officer slid closed behind her.

The only people were Padme, Palpatine, and two Red Guards.

The two Red Guards were standing at opposite sides of the interior of the room, where the room narrowed. Each Republic guard wore a domed red helmet, which covered their face. Each guard had on a red robe, which enveloped their body, down to their shoes. Each guard also had a stun-staff in their right hand, which rested against their right shoulder.

Both guards faced Palpatine, whom was sitting at his desk near the windows.

Padme made her way to Palpatine. She made her way up the right steps of the interior set of staircases which left to the second upper level of the office where Palpatine was.

Padme came to a stop to stand on the upper platform of the room, where Palpatine's desk was located. Padme stood between the desk and the four chairs placed in a semicircle facing the desk, as she faced Palpatine.

Across the desk, Padme sat Palpatine was sitting in his cushioned armchair.

Palpatine was in his usual formal clothing and in his red Chancellor's robe.

In addition, Padme could not help but noticed the backdrop behind Palpatine was the large windows with wrapped around the back side of the room. The windows showed the cityscape of Coruscant in the sunny morning sky.

As Padme's attention came back to Palpatine, she noticed there was a datapad on top of the desk, by Palpatine.

Padme looked across the desk, towards Palpatine, whom was looking back at her with calm facade.

Palpatine said, “Senator Amidala.”

Padme replied, “Chancellor Palpatine.”

Palpatine requested, “Please state your report.”

Padme said, “Yes sir.”

Padme gave her report on the peace negotiations on Kashyyyk.

Padme concluded her statements, by saying, “Before we landed on Coruscant, I send a copy of this report to your secure Senate datanet account over the proper encrypted communication channels.”

Palpatine responded, “Thank you. I will check my account for the message. Do you have anything else you wish to add.”

Padme answered, “Yes. During these talks, much was said. Much was agree upon. Though, there were still many disagreements. But, we did part on peaceful terms.”

Padme thought, 'It is best to leave out that you. Chancellor. Are one of the points of concern for the Separatists. And I have to agree that their worries have some grounding in reality. I left that out in the copy of the report I sent you.'

Palpatine had an amused, interested look on his face, as he commented, “That is good. It is nice to keep lines of communication open. So, do you believe we can make peace with the Separatists?”

Padme chose her words carefully, as she answered, “As of right now. No. They want independence. But, I believe they are more concerned with reprisal, should they decide to surrender.”

Palpatine casually said, “And that they should. They are traitors.”

Padme carefully stated, “Should we defeat them, it would cause us less trouble in the long run to stay our hand, rather than to punish them. Many populations did not have a choice in how their governments sided in this war.”

Palpatine conceded, “That is true. You have given me much to think about. Though, unfortunately this was an unofficial meeting. So, this meeting cannot go on the public record. But, I will keep the copy of the report you send me in the Chancellor's archives.”

Padme hid her disappointment, as she thought, 'Meaning, within the Republic, no one outside of you, myself, and the Jedi High Council will know of this meeting.'

Padme replied, “I understand.”

Palpatine commented, “Still, this is a nice first step toward official negotiations. You and Master Yoda, did a good job. Should you, or someone else figure out a way to end the war and peaceful integrate the Separatists became into the Republic, I am more than willing to listen to any such suggestions.”

Padme said, “Thank you, Chancellor.”

Palpatine suggested, “Now, you have been on a long journey. How about you head home and get some rest for the day.”

Padme replied, “I appreciate that.”

Palpatine said, “You are dismissed.”

Padme turned around. She walked between the middle guest chairs and down the left set of steps in the middle of the room to the lower level of the office. She passed by the two guards. When she reached the doors, she used a button on panel by the side of the doors to open the doors.

The doors slid open. As Padme walked into the hallway, she happily thought, 'Now, to head to my apartment and await for Anakin arrive there. We have so much to talk about.'

Padme soon reached her speeder in the parking level she had left it is. Once she was inside her speeder, she headed back to her home to wait for Anakin to arrive at her apartment.

In the Chancellor's office, Palpatine watched the doors close behind Padme.

Palpatine smiled, as he thought, 'Sometimes it is all too easy.'

Palpatine picked up the datapad on his desk. He began to review the government documents, where he left off, with him deciding to approve, or deny, each request.

(_)

Meanwhile, in the Jedi Temple, the Jedi High Council chamber, in the High Council Tower, the Jedi Council were holding meeting over the Yoda planned to give about the peace negotiations between the Republic and the Confederacy.

Inside the Jedi High Council chamber, there were a number of Jedi Council members sitting in their seats, which lined the curved walls. Those present included, Yoda, Mace, and Obiwan.

Obiwan had just returned to the Jedi Temple from off world half an hour after Yoda had landed on Coruscant. Obiwan was in his usual Jedi clothing and robe.

Other Jedi Council members were using holo-monitors to project holograms of themselves into their seats, allowing them communicating with the rest of the Council.

Presently, it was agreed by all council members that Yoda's mission report would be the first item to be discussed in the meeting. Then, they would talk about other matters.

Greetings had among the various members had just concluded. Now, it was time for them to talk about Yoda's report.

While Yoda had already sent them a basic summary of his report, the other high council members wanted to hear Yoda's personal opinions concerning the mission.

Mace turned Yoda. Mace asked, “So, what did Separatist Representative Bonteri say?”

Yoda answered, “Matters went much better than expected. While Representative Bonteri wished for the Separatists to remain independent. The core of their beliefs are that their needs have fallen on deaf ears within the Senate.”

Obiwan stated, “That is no surprise.”

Ki-Adi-Mundi inquired, “Are they open to negotiations for surrender?”

Yoda commented, “Possibly. Though, worry about their welfare after surrendering. Main point of contention is fear of reprisal from the Senate. Specifically, the Chancellor. They do not trust the current Chancellor.”

Shaak Ti said, “Then, we all have something in common.”

Plo Koon asked, “Should the current Chancellor no longer hold office, would the Separatists be more inclined to surrender?”

Yoda answered, “I believe so. As long as the new Chancellor was respected by the Separatists. And assurances were proven that there would be no reprisals. With protections and rights maintained toward the populations whom were part of the Separatists.”

Depa Billaba stated, “That would not be too difficult. If we have a Chancellor whom agrees with us, we Jedi can move forward to lead point in pushing for peace.”

Yoda said, “I agree.”

Kit Fisto commented, “Still, the matter at hand is the question of how do we legally depose the current Chancellor?”

Mace said, “We wait until we have reason to do so.”

Obiwan pointed, “He is cagey. This could be a long wait.”

Mace commented, “Then, let us hope it is not a long wait.”

Saesee Tiin pointed out, “Still, there is the matter of Loki. She will pose a problem.” Saesee turned to Obiwan. He said, “It is unfortunate you were not able to capture, or kill Loki on Dirha.”

Obiwan turned to Saesee. He stated, “The main part of the mission was to prevent a treaty between the Hutts and the Separatists. This was accomplished. Loki was a secondary priority.” He looked around the council chambers, as he commented, “I disagree that Loki would be a problem. I believe if the Chancellor were removed from his position, and someone Loki admired was appointed as Chancellor, Loki will be the first one to come to the bargaining table.”

Depa stated, “We are not putting Senator Amidala in Palpatine's place as Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic.”

Obiwan shrugged, as he conceded, “Well, it is a thought. And I can think of worse people for the job.”

Mace stated, “While we all trust Senator Amidala on several matters. Even though she has distanced herself from the Chancellor, she is still too close to him.”

Obiwan said, “I believe she is not as close to the Chancellor as some of you would believe.”

Mace commented, “Be that as it may, even if we do find a replacement for the Chancellor, that is amendable to all parties, there is the matter of Loki. If Loki is doing the bargaining, this could prove dangerous for our side. She has proven she could talk a Jedi out of their lightsaber.”

Obiwan said, “Possibly. But, Loki is not malicious. And she holds sway with the Separatists. If she agrees to terms of surrender, most of the Separatists will follow her. Having her agree would be the path to peace for everyone involved”

Mace conceded, “Perhaps.”

Yoda stated, “A possible path we now see before us. But, one blocked until the current Chancellor no longer holds power.”

Mace commented, “I believe he will make his move sooner, rather than later. All we have to do is wait, and be ready to act when the time is right.”

None of the council members disagreed with Mace.

Then, the Jedi High Council moved onto more mundane matters concerning the Jedi Order and the galaxy at large.

(_)

Later that afternoon, a little after fifteen hundred, Anakin's landed his passenger speeder vehicle in the parking level of Padme's apartment.

After parking his speeder, Anakin got out of his vehicle and he walked over to the elevator that would take him to Padme's apartment.

Anakin was in the clothing he wore earlier that day, and he had his deactivated lightsaber holstered on the left side of his belt.

When Anakin reached the elevator he used the intercom system to contact Padme.

After a few rings, he heard Padme's voice over the intercom say, “Hello.”

Anakin responded, “Padme. It is me, Anakin. I am coming up.”

Padme asked, “Do you need me to let you in?”

Anakin answered, “No. I remember the code.”

Padme said, “I will see you by the door.”

Anakin typed in a passcode into the panel by the elevator, which would take him to Padme's apartment level.

Once Anakin finished typing in the code, the elevator came to the parking level and the elevator doors slid opened. Anakin walked inside the elevator.

A few seconds later, the doors slid closed and the elevator began to go up towards Padme's apartment.

(_)

In Padme's apartment, inside the hallway intersection by the doors to the elevator, Padme stood a meter from the elevator entrance.

Padme had not changed from her red dress and red slippers she had on earlier that day. Padme even had on her hidden right thigh holster which held her small blaster pistol.

Padme stood facing the elevator doors, as she patiently waited for Anakin to arrive.

While Padme waited, she thought, 'Now. How am I going to broach this subject. I will just work my way towards it. It is not unheard of for the woman to ask this. But, it is a rare. Still, I need to seize the day. And if I am right. I already know what his answer will be. If I am wrong, this will be very awkward for both of us for a very long time.'

Less than a minute later, the elevator arrived, and the elevator doors slid open.

Anakin walked out of the elevator to stop just inside the hallway.

As the doors to the elevator closed, and the elevator headed to another level, Anakin looked at Padme. Up and down.

Then, Anakin focused on Padme's face. Anakin complimented, “Padme. You look stunning.”

Padme smiled, as she suggested, “Thank you. Let us head back to the living room, as we talk.”

Anakin replied, “Sure.”

Padme turned and she began walking down the hallway that would take her to the living room of her home.

Anakin took a step forward to walk beside Padme, to Padme's right side.

As they walked, Anakin asked, “So, how was your trip?” He thought, 'I know you would not want to talk about your trip with Yoda present. But, with just me. I am sure you are more than will to share a few details in private.'

Padme answered, “It was fine. I met some nice people during that time.”

Anakin commented, “Good. So, you wanted to talk to me.”

Padme responded, “Yes. During this last mission, I talked with someone whom in some ways is in a similar situation as I am. Though, she refuses to let the war stop her from living her life.”

Anakin said, “I am not sure where you are going with this. But, okay.”

By then, they reach the open doorway to the living room, to their right.

They turned to their right, as they continued walking a few meters into the living room.

Then, Padme came to a stop.

In response, Anakin stopped as well.

Padme turned to look at Anakin. Anakin turned to face Padme.

They looked each other in their eyes.

Padme warmly smiled towards Anakin. Padme suggested, “Let us get married.”

Anakin returned Padme's warm smile. Anakin stated, “Sure. I have been trying to figure out how to ask you that question since before the war started.”

Padme smile brightened, as she replied, “I know.” She stepped closer to Anakin. She hugged Anakin.

Anakin embraced the hug and they began kissing.

Soon after, Padme and Anakin began making their plans to secretly get married, without them letting anyone else learn of their plans. Though, their honeymoon would likely be far shorter than they had wished.

(_)

“Alas. How terrible is wisdom when it brings no profit to the man that's wise.” A translated quote from Oedipus Rex, an Athenian tragedy written by Sophocles.

(_)

Author's Notes:

With this chapter, I was able to show how Loki's gentle handling of the problems on Raxus Secundus, concerning Mina Bonteri's request for negotiations with the Republic, may have boomeranged on Loki by Mina's words convincing Padme to secretly elope with Anakin, thus throwing a possible monkey wrench in Loki's long term plans.

The conversation at the beginning of this chapter between Padme and Yoda was to show how two very intelligent, and informed individuals could have a meaningful, civilized discussion about various issues.

The conversation between Padme and Yoda allowed me to state some possible reasons for some of the views held by the Jedi Order.

It would make sense that one of the main reasons the Jedi oppose the formation of the Separatists is that they fear the rise of a possible rival sect of force users.

The Jedi are very paranoid any force users whom are not under their control. There is some justification in this. But, not as much as the Jedi would prefer to believe.

Also, Padme has not forgotten where Naboo is in the scheme of things. Padme worries about her homeworld and her family. But, she also takes her various jobs as a senator and soldier of the Galactic Republic very seriously. She would represent the Republic in a manner befitting what she believes the ideals of the Republic are.

The negotiations would be a nice place for someone on the Separatists/Confederacy side calling the Republic officials only referring to the Confederacy as Separatists.

In addition, this chapter allowed me to show the seeds of a possible future rebellion by the Jedi against Chancellor Palpatine. This is what Mina got from her question with Yoda, in which Yoda responded, 'Well played.'

Mina noticed this and she informed Voe. Both of these women agreed this could prove useful in the future.

Also, when Padme and Yoda were talking to Palpatine by holo-comm, Palpatine intentionally trolled them on considering ordering Padme, as Thor, to arrest Mina for treason. Though, Palpatine withdrew the suggestion.

Concerning the other story arc in this chapter, I had the chance to show more of Jango and Boba's storyline. On how Boba had grown to become a worthy bounty hunter in his own right, with Jango trusting Boba to have his back.

From what the official guides, Boba was 'born' around ten years before the Clone Wars began. In the original timeline, Boba was around ten when his father died.

Six years later, Boba would be sixteen years old. Though, Boba is loyal to his father and this is not a story of a hot-blooded teenager. Boba is not going to go behind his father's back on a foolish adventure. Not when his father takes Boba on their own profitable missions.

Also, Loki manipulative nature finally came back to bite her. Given some of the more squirrelly people Jango likely has had to deal with. It makes sense that it would be him whom called Loki on her manipulation.

Still, when Jango called Loki on her actions, Loki came clean to Jango on the reasons when she lead Jango and Boba into that trap she created herself. Loki stated this was a stepping stone to one of the long term projects Loki is working on.

When is came to the offer Loki had for Jango and his son. Once Jango realized the importance, and the pay, that continuing to work for Loki would bring. Jango said he would think about Loki's offer.

Jango is no fool. He is not going to jump into a situation with being prepared and having a plan. He will think over Loki's offer.

Now, I have reached the finally arc of my story. The story arc spans over several chapters. I hope everyone will enjoy reading this final story arc.

The title for the story arc is: “The Coming Of The Storms”.

Until next time. Have fun.



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