Thundering Force: Chapter 07: “Shadows and Reflections.”

“Thundering Force”

Chapter Seven: “Shadows and Reflections.”

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 three weeks after the force's biggest mistake since instituting the Rule of Two for the Sith.

Over a week ago, Padme, Ahsoka, Anakin, Mjolnir, R2 and C3-PO had returned to Coruscant, in Padme's space yacht, from their wonderful vacation on Naboo.

It was sunset when Padme's ship had landed and docked at Westport Spaceport.

Given Padme, Anakin, and Ahsoka wanted to get some rest, they decided it was just best for them to head back to where they lived.

Padme headed to her apartment with Mjolnir and her luggage in a speeder she rented.

Meanwhile, Anakin, Ahsoka, and the droids headed to the Jedi Temple, with their luggage, on a speeder they rented.

The next day, Padme and Obiwan talked by holo-comm.

Padme took Obiwan's advice to get take some more time off from being Thor to deal with her senatorial duties taken care of in person, while Padme had the chance to do so.

Fortunately, Obiwan extending Padme's leave by a few more weeks did not raise any eyebrows.

During this time, Padme met with Bail and their little Senatorial group. Padme presences helped with morale of their group, along with allowing her to more directly aid the coordination of their quite anti-war efforts, and garnering political support both within the Senate and beyond the Senate.

Since Padme, Anakin, and Ahsoka had returned to Coruscant, while Padme dealt with her senatorial duties Anakin and Ahsoka had been with Obiwan, helping Anakin preparing for his trials to become Jedi Knight.

Obiwan had requested Padme not to contact them, during this time. Though, he said he would keep her updated. Obiwan had called Padme every evening to let her know of Anakin's progress. Obiwan would also let Padme know what was going on with Ahsoka.

Obiwan realized that Padme and Ahsoka were good friends. And Padme's teachings of etiquette and history towards Ahsoka had a good influence on Ahsoka behavior. And Obiwan did inform Padme he wished for her and Ahsoka to continue such lessons as soon as Anakin's trials had concluded.

Padme respected Obiwan's wishes.

In addition, Obiwan promised to inform Padme when Anakin would be taking his trials and if he passed them.

The week since returning to Coruscant passed by shifty for Padme.

It was the mid-morning, on a warm, partly cloudy day.

The previous evening, Obiwan had informed Padme by holo-comm that Anakin would be begin his trials the next day. Which was today.

During their conversation, Obiwan also mentioned in passed to Padme that Obiwan and Anakin would be sending R2 and C3-PO on various errands and odd jobs during the day.

Though, during Padme's stay on Coruscant, Obiwan did assign Padme to some simple missions as Thor.

Also, when Chancellor Palpatine had learned of Padme's extended stay on Coruscant, he had requested Padme to come as Thor to a few political events.

But, Palpatine's current request was for later that day. Presently, Padme was dealing with one of Obiwan's requests of her, as Thor.

(_)

Presently, Thor had been sent on a mission to assist Coruscant Security in a job which took place in a section of the lower levels of the Senate District.

This area was part of what was know as the Coruscant Underworld, or undercity. The levels of Coruscant's underworld went down for several kilometers before hitting Coruscant's natural surface.

While the level Thor was presently located was still high enough to have a law enforcement presence. The deeper parts of the lower levels of Coruscant's underworld were as lawless as some of the worst parts of Nar Shaddaa, the Hutt's Smuggler's Moon.

There there were rumors that monsters and horrors dwelled in the lowest levels of the underworld, near Coruscant's natural surface and even in large, ancient mines that were dig out under Coruscant before Corruscant became an ecumenopolis. A city-planet.

Thor was accompanied by a squad of eight Coruscant Security Force members. The CSF members were part of the Coruscant Underworld Police. These officers were tasked with enforcing the law in the dark places of Coruscant, below the surface of the planet.

Though, in reality the CUP only enforcement extended to about a few hundred levels. Though, there were exceptions for heavily underground populated areas. Such as the populations whom lived near the gigantic ventilation shafts that pumped fresh air into the lower levels of Coruscant.

Thor and the eight security officers were standing on the floor of a very large alcove by one of the deep city canyons.

Due to how deep in the lower levels of Coruscant Thor and the officers were, Thor could barely make out the sunlight from the open canyon above them.

An hour ago, Thor had met with the security officers, including the captain of the squad, on an upper city level nearer to the surface. After which, the captain and the officers lead Thor to a bank of elevators. The groups split up and took two elevators down to level they were at. After which, Thor was lead to the alcove she presently stood inside of.

The alcove was very large, deep and wide. The alcove was able to easily fit a large Republic troop transport.

While it was a warm, partly cloud day on the surface, the alcove was darkened by the lack of direct sunlight. The alcove was also cool from lack of heat.

Still, those people in the alcove at that level could see the surface through the large chasm passed the waist high parapet surrounding the edge of the alcove. Also, there was lighting from the street lights and wall lights of the alcove and nearby hallways.

The city level Thor and the security officers were on was not so deep that it was empty all the time.

There were people wondering by. Some were from the surface while others were from deeper parts of the city. Though, the civilians all kept their distance from Thor and Coruscant Security. The civilians knew when law enforcement was this deep in the city it meant trouble for those Coruscant Security was after.

Though, the level was close enough to the surface that the Coruscant planetary government made sure that utility droids visited the area every so often to clean the floors, walls, and ceilings of dirt, dust, and debris.

Along with the level being clean, the bulbs for the street lights and wall lights were changed out on a regular basis by maintenance droids.

Thor was in her armor, helmet, with the sheathed Black Solace in its scabbard which was strapped to her back. She held Mjolnir in her right hand, at her right side.

The eight Coruscant Security officers were in their body armor. They were blue blaster resistance coats, that was mix of cloth and metal, which covered their chest, arms and when down to their knees. The coat has yellow metal rounded shoulder pads, yellow metal pieces on the chest and on the upper back. They had on dark blue gloves. Under the coats they wore dark blue shirts and pants. They wore white boots. They each had on chrome helmet with a plate over their mouth and nose. They all wore red googles over their eyes with yellow lenses which were designed to switch from normal vision to inferred. On the top front part of the helmet there was a black stripe with yellow writing to show they were with the Coruscant Security Forces.

The helmets had built in, encrypted comlink systems, so the officers could talk to each other.

Six of the officers, blaster rifle. This included the captain.

Two other officers each held a clear, blaster resistant riot shield in their left hand, and a blaster pistol in their right hand.

All of the blaster weapons were set to stun.

The Coruscant Security was composed of various humans and aliens. While six of the officers, including the captain, were men. To of the officers were women. The two women were among the officers each armed with a blaster rifle.

Thor four meters from officers, as she quietly looked at them. She thought, 'I have been informed of this mission plan. Except I have not been my role and where the mission would take place.'

'I met the officers at the appointed time and place this morning. And the lead me down to this location.'

'What I do know is that we are going to raid an illegal spice refinement processing plant. The criminals receive the spice in pure shipments. Then, to stretch their revenue, they use the processing plants to cut their product with other chemicals. Usually, they use chemical fillers. But, they really do not care when cutting their product. Such people have been know to use various dangerous chemicals as fillers.'

'Personally, I never really felt that strongly against the illegal spice trade. But, when these criminals start to outright poison people through their products, I have to put my foot down. And as Thor, I can put my foot down very hard.'

'Still this does not mean I plan to create a mess and take care of the problem by myself. That would defeat the purpose of this mission, which is to aid Coruscant security. Not do their job for them and make them look bad.'

Though, I am glad when the captain informed me the officers weapons are set to stun. We are not a out to kill in this raid. We are trying to arrest people not execute people.'

'All in all. This should be a milk run for me. But, I have had missions go sideways when I thought they were easy. So, I should be wary. Also, I removed that communication earpiece. I am not going to need it while on Coruscant. And that open microphone had gotten me in trouble. I will put it back on my right ear, in my stronger form, when I leave the planet and head back to the war.'

Thor bitterly thought, 'And once I am done with this job, I have another appointment to attend to in around an hour and a half by the watch I keep in one of my pouches. And I am less enthusiastic with that engagement than this one.'

'Still, the one thing I am concerned about is my addition to this operation was done on short notice. I was informed of the mission this morning. And I am sure these officers are not happy with an outsider helping them. Especially when it is clear this it is for my benefit and not theirs.'

'And I need to remember, this is not a battlefield. The Senate District is the heart of the Republic.'

'Also, we seem to be on a timetable. To that end, I wish I could find a wrist watch for my strong form. But, my electrical attacks would eventually destroy any electronics near my hands.'

Then, Thor noticed one of the officers leave the group and walked towards her. From the bars on the officer's uniform, Thor could tell that the officer was the Captain and leader of the group.

While the captain wore the same full body clothing and armor as the other officers, Thor could tell the officer approaching her was the captain from the officer's build and the red markings on his yellow shoulder armor.

The Captain was a middle-aged human man. He soon came to a stop a meter and a half from Thor, while facing the warrior woman.

Thor turned to the Captain. Thor thought, 'The Captain introduced himself to me when I first met him this morning. The Captain's family name is Cooper. I do not know his given name. Now to find out what he wants.'

Thor politely requested, “What can thou do for thee? Sir?”

Captain Cooper stated, in a no nonsense fashion, “General Thor. I want you to keep in mind a few things during this operation. I was not informed you would be joining us, until this morning. I am not complaining. But you have to understand a few things.”

“This is not a war down here. We cannot just barge in and kill those we are after. They have rights. We let the court decide on their the severity of their guilt, and their punishment.”

Thor was pleasantly surprised by what Captain Cooper said. She commented, “Captain Cooper. Thee have no idea how happy thy am for someone in thee's position of authority to say those things.”

Captain Cooper inquired, in a more normal tone of voice, “You believe in constitutional rights?”

Thor answered, “Yes. That is something thy strongly believes in.”

Captain Cooper responded, “Then, I may have misjudged you. I believe we will get along fine.”

Thor replied, “Good.” She thought, 'Now, to find out my role in this operation.' She inquired, “Moving on. What would thou's role be in this operation?”

Captain Cooper stated, “I was hoping you could take point. Do not take this the wrong way, but we know how tough you are. And I would prefer you to get blaster shot that we know you can take, than one of my men being killed.

Thor questioned, “Thy understands, sir. Should we be worried they might know we are coming?”

Captain Cooper answered, “No. The group we are after is very sloppy. They rely on video security to check on possible dangers. We already dataspiked their security feeds showing looped videos with fake timestamps. At this point in time it is a middle of their shift. We do not have to worry about them walking out just as we reach their front door. Also, there are only two ways in an out of their headquarters. We will cover both exits. There are around ten to twenty of them in all. Nothing for someone with your abilities. We are going through the front door. With you being the one to do the knocking. I will have two of my men cover the back door.”

Thor responded, “This sounds fine. Though, thee knows a lot about this their operation than thy suspected.”

Captain Cooper said, “We are Coruscant Security. It is our job to know these things.”

Thor thought, 'You likely have informants and undercover officers that have been giving you this information.'

Captain Cooper mentioned, “Also, be wary with your abilities. A lot of stuff in these processing plants are flammable.”

Thor stated, “If there is a fire, thou can generate a fog on short notice.”

Captain Cooper replied, “Good. We may need it.”

Thor asked, “Now where is this processing plant?”

Captain Cooper stated, “We will be heading out in a minute. It is not far. About a ten minute walk.”

Thor responded, “Then, thy awaits for thee to lead the way.”

Captain Cooper replied, “Good.” He turned to his subordinates. He said, “Okay people. Let's move out.”

Captain Cooper then lead Thor and his subordinates into one of hallways connected to the alcove.

As Thor entered the hallway, she noticed that the hallway was clean and lights in the hallway were mostly illuminated. Though, there were a few of the bulbs were burnt out.

Thor saw the hallway was about three meters wide and three meters high. The hallway extended for fifty meters in a straight direction before it branched to the right and left.

Also,Thor saw there was no one else in the hallway besides the security officers and herself.

Along the hallway there were doorways to other hallways, or to rooms. Some of the doors were slid open. Some of the doors were closed.

Thor was on her guard as she continued to followed Captain Cooper deeper into the level.

(_)

Ten minutes later, in the targeted spice processing plant. The room was a just a moderately sized rectangular room. The main door being a large metal door on one side of the room. The main door was set on hinges. The door swung inward to the left.

There was another sliding door in the back which also served as an exit.

The room had boxes, with a lab. There was also an conveyor belt set up with a system of pressurized tubs to cut the spice with the filler chemicals and place the cut spice in small plastic packets on an assembly line. Most of the assembly line was automate with robotic limbs. There were only a few workers by the assembly line to over see things.

There were a few tables and chairs for the dozen guards. Each guard was carrying some type of blaster pistol.

The people in the room were all adults, and they ranged in ages, species and gender.

Suddenly, everyone in the room heard pounding on the main door.

By the second knock, the guards were standing, with their blaster pistols ready.

There was a third knock that damaged the hinges of the main door.

On the fourth blow the metal door broke off the hinges and collapsed inward onto the floor, to show Thor standing in the doorway, facing them, with Mjolnir in her right hand.

Thor held Mjolnir in her right hand in front of her chest.

Thor was flanked by the two officers using riot shields to guard against being shot. Four more officers, including Captain Cooper, were behind Thor and the officers with the riot shields.

Two other officers had already circled around to the back door to prevent the criminals from escaping.

Events then moved very quickly.

Thor charged through the center of the room.

Given Thor was the first inside, all those in the room that had weapons turned their attention towards attacking her with their blaster weapons, which did not harm her.

Meanwhile, the security officers swiftly picked off the criminals.

Given Captain Coopers request, Thor was careful. Thor used her wind abilities to knock the criminals down, giving the officers behind her time to take care of them.

Then, in the back the room, Thor noticed two assassin droids were coming online.

Thor swiftly took aim with Mjolnir, and fired two shots of lightning from the hammer, destroying both droids.

By then, Thor was near the back of the room. She came to a stop, and she saw to her right side that a criminal was pointing his blaster pistol towards her. But, he had not fired.

Thor turned to look at the thug. She saw he was scared. Thor stated, “Dead or alive. Choose.”

The criminal immediately dropped his blaster pistol.

Thor complimented, “Good choice.”

A few seconds later, an officer came by and cuffed the thug.

Thor turned and looked around the room. All the criminals were on the ground, with the officers cuffing every one of the criminals.

Thor thought, 'This went quicker than I expected.' She turned towards Captain Cooper, whom looked to be fine.

Thor saw Captain Cooper was across the room, overseeing the arrested.

Thor thought, 'Now check on things before I leave.'

Thor walked over to Captain Cooper. Cooper noticed her. He turned to look at her.

Thor came to a stop a meter in front of Captain Cooper.

Thor asked, “Are there any causalities?”

Captain Cooper commented, “Straight to the point. I like that. From the comlink reports I am getting from my officers, the good news is there are no causalities on our side. There are several injuries on the other side. But no fatalities. And no one escaped. The men stationed at their back door caught two of the criminals fleeing the scene and they arrested them.”

Thor responded, “This is good to hear. Thy has other engagements this morning.”

Captain Cooper stated, “Do what you need to do. You have helped us a lot. I will not forget this.”

Thor kindly replied, “Thank you, sir.” Then, Thor walked passed Captain Cooper, the officers and the criminals, towards the door main doorway.

Once Thor passed through the main doorway, with her existing the processing plant, she used Mjolnir to swiftly fly through corridors to the alcove she had come into the area from. After which, she flew from the alcove, and up the chasm into the daylight of the surface area, as she headed to though the air to her apartment, to take a break for about half an hour before she headed for her next appointment.

And appointment she had been dreading.

A press conference with Supreme Chancellor Palpatine.

(_)

An hour and fifteen minutes later, Thor was doing something she had been dreading since Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine had yesterday requested her to do so.

That being paraded about as Thor in a political relations press conference.

Thor had not illusions about the reasons she was there. Her presence was meant to make Palpatine look good.

This especially grated on Padme's nerves that she opposed many of the policies Palpatine champions in such press conferences as this.

Though, as Thor, she had to do as the Chancellor requested. And as Thor, she could not publicly disagree with the policies Palpatine supported.

Many of the press conferences for Chancellor Palpatine were handled by Palpatine's Senior Administrative Aide, an pale skin Umbaran woman, Sly Moore. Sly Moore also handling much of Chancellor Palpatine's scheduling.

Though, Palpatine did enjoy being in the public eye. Especially when he had the chance to show off something, or someone. Such as dedicating a building. Or, being at the opening of new wing of a famous building. Or, showing off one of his more interesting subordinates. Such as Thor.

This was not the first time Thor had done a press conference with Palpatine. Over the course of the war. Almost every time Padme had been able to visit Coruscant, Palpatine had her appear with him, at a political function, or press conference. as Thor, one of the Heroes of the Republic, the Storm Bringer, and the Chancellor's Enforcer of the Republic.

While as Queen and later as Senator Amidala, Padme has been a part of numerious political functions and press conferences. Padme had enjoyed some of those events. And during the events she did not like, she maintained a professional approach and she made it through those events without any serious problems.

But, what Chancellor Palpatine desired was to have Padme as Thor, and for him to parade Thor around to help Palpatine push through the policies she, as Senator Amidala, had opposed.

Though, this was part of the agreement Padme made with Chancellor Palpatine when she agreed to be a soldier for the Galactic Republic.

Fortunately, Palpatine did not ask Padme to do much at such political functions and press conferences. All Thor had to do was stand by behind and to Palpatine's side, with Palpatine doing the talking.

Palpatine did not ask Padme, as Thor, to publicly endorse any of policies, only for her to attend such political functions and press conferences as Thor.

And Padme even admitted to herself that she did enjoy being a part of a few parades which Palpatine had her participate in, as Thor, as one of the guests of honor.

Due to the mystical connection between Padme and Mjolnir. Along with the point of Thor's presence was the way she presented herself to the public as Palpatine's subordinate. Thor was allowed to keep her armor and weapons on her. Thor appeared in her full armor and helmet. She kept Mjolnir in her right hand. The Black Solace was sheathed in its scabbard, with the scabbard strapped to her back.

Palpatine even commented that he wanted Padme, as Thor to have her armor and weapons during such political showings because her appearance gave her a more command presence.

Palpatine even told Thor that he trusted her not to try anything.

Padme had felt conflicted on Palpatine's comment of trust. Though, Padme was not going to further comment on the matter.

In addition to coming to the press conference before it state. The day before, Palpatine had a requested Padme to do something as Thor at the end of the press conference.

Padme agreed to do so.

Along with Chancellor Palpatine and Thor, were the Republic Guards assigned to protect Chancellor Palpatine.

The Republic guards assigned to protect Palpatine were in their red cloaks and red dome helmets. Their cloaks completely covered their bodies and clothing. Each guard wore a long sleeve red shirt, red pants, black belt, red gloves and red boots under their clothing. The red clothing and cloak all matched. During public functions, each Republic guards usually carried blaster pistol which were holstered on their belt, under their robe.

The Republic guards' dome helmet was faceless except for back visor wear the eyes were and the front mask of the helmet contoured down to below the jawline. This visor and the basic outline of the mask face the faceless helmet somewhat of a face.

These Republic guards were known at the Red Guard. They were elite trained clone troopers.

These clones were part of Coruscant Guard, the part of the Republic military station on Coruscant. Palpatine had the best of the Coruscant Guard placed in the Republic Red guard force he had created.

Though, while they were military, the Chancellor had used sometimes used the Coruscant Guard for law enforcement, much to the dislike of the Coruscant Security Force.

Palpatine preferred to use clone troopers because he knew the clone troopers were raised to be completely loyal to him.

As to why Palpatine chose for his bodyguards to wear red was a mystery.

The Republic Red Guards were nicknamed Red Robes for obvious reasons.

The Republic guards assigned to guard Palpatine were not happy with Thor having her weapons near Palpatine.

Palpatine was sharply dressed in his dark red chancellor's robe, with his nice dark charcoal gray suit and pants underneath the robes. In addition, Palpatine wore black dress shoes.

The press conference was in a clearing in a park, in the Senate District.

While the press conference had been planned in advance. For security reasons, the location of the conference was kept until the last minute. As such, the park had been cleared of civilians on short notice.

Though, when Thor first arrived at the park, with her enhanced hearing she heard in passing from to of the Republic guards there were no altercations in clearing the park on such short notice.

The guards has been softly speaking while using their encrypted comlinks. Their voices would not normally have been heard beyond the inside of their helmets. Though, with Thor's enhanced hearing she could hear much if she desired to do so.

Thor, Palpatine's bodyguards, and Palpatine stood on a temporary, rectangular podium, that was three feet higher than the ground. There was a set of stairs leading down to the ground, on the back end of the podium, opposite to the crowd of journalists, whom were present.

It had taken an hour and a half to build the blue painted podium, mounted to the black, metal, cabinet style lectern stand to the podium, and get the microphones placed on the top of the stand to be properly tested. This was done by a technician crew whom worked for the Senate. The crew completed the podium an hour before Chancellor Palpatine would arrive. The crew then left for a nearby area, as they waited word the press conference was over and they could return to take down the podium, metal stand, and microphones for safe keeping until the Chancellor decide to make another public appearance which required such items to be put in place beforehand.

The Republic guards used scanning equipment to scan the podium for bombs before Palpatine had even arrive. Once the Republic guards gave the all clear signal, Palpatine was brought to the park in a flying, armored, enclosed speeder limo.

Meanwhile, the press had been gathered an other part of the park. Coruscant Security Officers checked off the press members and their equipment. Once everyone was cleared and the signal was given that Palpatine was ready, the press members were lead to the podium in the clearing in the park.

Presently, it was been fifteen minutes since the press had finished gathering in front of the podium and the press conference had started.

Coruscant Security Officer's in blue uniforms, with out their weapons, stood between the podium and the group of journalists.

Chancellor Palpatine went on the record of not having droids be present for security given Separatists used droids to fight against the Republic in the Clone Wars. In addition, the security officers were unarmed because the Palpatine preferred it that way.

It was rumored that if something went wrong, with the Coruscant Security Forces there, Palpatine and his Red Guard could shift the blame towards the Coruscant Security Forces.

There were around thirty journalists stood together on the grass in front of the podium. The journalists used small hovering holo-cameras were being used by the press, with the cameras being located right above the journalists reporting on the press conference, with the journalists facing one of the long ends of the podium.

The small hovering holo-cameras ranged in shape. Though, most were either spherical, or disc shaped, with the lens of the camera being on the flat edge side of the disc.

Palpatine stood in the middle of the podium, behind a metal stand, with microphones on top of the stand. Palpatine has been giving a speech for the last ten minutes.

To Palpatine's right side, right behind the Chancellor, Thor stood, with her holding the hammer in her right hand, to her right side. The head of the hammer was facing forward with the axe blade pointed downward.

Four Republic guards were stationed on the platform. One at each corner.

There were other Republic security hidden among among. There were snipers stationed on nearby buildings. Also, there were full squad of fully armed Red Guard members in corridors in the level below the surface of the park, reading to come out at a moments notice to protect the Chancellor.

The Republic Red Guards that were no in the public eye were armor, helmet, and equipment similar to trooper armor, only their armor and helmet were a combination of white and red, like the armor and helmets the Coruscant Guard troopers used.

Palpatine smiled. He talked in a kind, relaxed manner, as he gave his speech. He had authored the speech himself. And he memorized his speeches so he would not need teleprompters.

Most politicians used teleprompters which were clear display panels placed on stands by a podium. The displays slowly scrolled through the text of the speech. The teleprompters were used in pairs, one on each side so the politician could look to either side of the podium and still also be within view of a teleprompter, making for the appearance of a more natural speech.

Palpatine considered the use of teleprompters to be a sign of weakness. He preferred to read speeches from memory. And Palpatine had a very sharp memory which allowed him to say exactly the speech he wrote, word for word, without making a mistake.

Though, Palpatine did allow his Senior Aide Sly Moore to look through his speeches before he held his press conferences to make sure there were no errors. Sly Moore did not find any grammatical errors in Palpatine's current speech.

Palpatine begin his speech with domestic policies, soft subject that would warm up the listeners. Then, he began to talk of the war effort, and his voice took on a strength and passion which belied his age.

Palpatine continued his speech on the war effort, in a strong tone of voice, “We must bring these Separatists back into the fold of the Galactic Republic.”

Palpatine turned back to his right, towards Thor, as he continued his speech, “And with the help of the Heroes of the Republic. Such as Thor, the Storm Bringer, and Enforcer of the Republic. We will do so.”

Thor thought, 'This is not the first time you have called in your enforcer. I guess your public relations department became bordered with the Storm Bringer title for you gave me. But, I dare not space out. Doing so would be an embarrassment for all of us.'

Thor kept her attention on her surroundings and Palpatine's speech.

Palpatine turned back to look at the journalists, as he continued his speech, “Thor. Whom also, just this morning helped Coruscant Security bust up an illegal spice ring. A criminal spice ring which has been selling poison to the people of Coruscant.”

Thor thought, 'I wonder how much of a hand you had in that operations planning? Likely not much. You are using that event to make yourself look better by making me look better. Though, I have found I do not care for the violent notoriety that my actions in this war has garnered. I do not want to be remembered as a warmonger.'

Palpatine turned to his right, to look at Thor.

Thor noticed this, but she did not react.

Palpatine turned back to the microphones on the podium.

Palpatine mentioned, “As you can see. Once this war is over. Thor. And I hope others veterans will have a place in maintaining order within the Galactic Republic.”

Thor thought, 'That is what you think. When this war is over. I am retiring from the soldier business. And I am sure the Jedi would be more than happy to pressure you to allow me to do so.'

Chancellor Palpatine looked out among the crowd of journalists. He asked, “Now. Do any of you have questions?”

Palpatine request for questions from the journalists was like throwing meat to starving animals. All the journalists raised their hands.

Chancellor Palpatine looked among them for a few seconds. Then, he used his right index finger and hand to point at a young, human man, in his twenties, whom wore a nice blue and black suit and nice black dress shoes. Palpatine stated, “Young man. We will start with your question.”

The human man, said, in a slightly startled and intimidated tone of voice, “Chancellor. My question is more directed towards General Thor. If that is fine with you. Your excellency.”

The journalist's comment got Thor's attention. Thor focused on the journalist.

Palpatine continued to look at the reporter in question. He kindly responded, “Go ahead. I do enjoy a fresh perspective on such matters.” Palpatine thought, 'It offers further understanding and control of a situation.'

The journalist said, “Thank you, Chancellor.” He turned to look at Thor. The journalist saw Thor looking back out him. From the journalist's vantage point, he could not see Thor's face under the open slits of Thor's helmet. Still, the journalist mustered as much courage as possible, as he calmly requested, “General Thor. I would like your opinion on the matter of some supply lines being disrupted in the Mid-Rim, by a Republic blockade you were a part of a few months ago. That blockade has now caused a famine on a few worlds in the Mid-Rim. The body count from the starvation beginning to reach into the millions.”

Thor was silent for a few moments. Then, Thor calmly stated, “No comment.”

Thor hid her emotions. Thor grimly thought, as she used her super-speed so she would not look focus of the situation but for a few moments, 'I know what planets you are talking about. And I did not cause that. Nor, was I in control of the situation. I wish I could save those people from starvation, but at the moment I cannot. Three months ago, I was part of a Republic blockade for a week. While Anakin, Obiwan, and Ahsoka, were using the Resolute and Negotiator to do escort mission for some high level military officials.'

'During that blockade mission, there was nothing I could do about the matter. The reason for the blockade was that hidden Separatist bases and weapons depots were found on those planets. But, the governments on the planet were supporting the Republic. The blockade was to make sure the Separatists were caught and did not escape, nor received aid in the form of smugglers landings on those planets.'

'The governments of those planets did not have much choice in this matter.'

'The government are fully cooperating with the Republic military and due to this the Republic military has not put the planets under full marital law. But, the Republic military conducting their search as the expense of tens of millions of people whom require the supplies to those planets to feed their families.'

'The government officials and their families still have food supplies, but the general populations do not.'

'If there have already been that many deaths, I am sure there have been some foot riots that were covered up with the Republic military. And the clone troopers were sent in to execute the rioters whom only wanted food to eat.'

'My job during that blockade was to take out some spaceports on a few of the planets. Once I was finished, I was sent on a shuttle to be transfers back to the Resolute. Due to the nature of the military I could not discuss the mission with my friends.'

'Still, I could use official channels to talk to my superiors on the Jedi High Council and Supreme Chancellor. I even was able to convince both the council and the chancellor to let me do something official about the starvation of the populations of these planets. The catch was I could not discuss anything concerning the blockade mission or the reasons for what are happening on those planets. I could only discuss support on getting relief supplies to the populations of those planets.'

'I agree to their terms. After which, I used my influence in the Senate as Senator Amidala to petition direct aid through the Republic government. By then, the Jedi High Council also informed me they would look into aiding the populations of those planets. But, bureaucracy is a slow process and it will take times. As much as I wish it would not take so much time. Still, the matter is out of my hands.'

'To make matters worse, soon after I returned to the Resolute, we invaded Balmorra, which was a far greater mess in its own right than the blockade I was a part of of. Since then I have been very busy as both Senator Amidala and General Thor.'

'I was planning to check in on the status during my vacation but after Dooku showed up. I decided it was best just to keep my head down. I have already done my part on these matters. I have to let others do their part and hope for the best.'

Palpatine turned to Thor. Palpatine warmly smiled. He looked back at the members of press. He said, “As you can see. Thor is a woman of few words. But, she is a woman of great action. A rare combination among most women.” Palpatine then lightly laughed.

Palpatine's joke brought Thor's focus back to the press conference. While Thor did not like the joke, she did not react to the job.

Meanwhile, Palpatine's joke caused a few of the journalists to laugh a little with him.

Thor thought, 'I have heard worse jokes as my expense. Speaking of action. Chancellor Palpatine wants me to do something at the end of press conference. He wants me to make a big show of the matter. I do not like having an audience when I use my powers. Especially, when said audience is video recording everything.'

'And once I am done here, I am going back to my home and take a quick shower. I will feel cleaner after doing so. Afterwards, I have work I need to do in my office in the Senate Building. But that work I can do while I unwind from this trying experience.'

Meanwhile, Palpatine looked at the crowd of journalists and the few security officers between the press and himself. Palpatine thought, 'I do not mind these questions. Given they do not cannot politically harm me. Especially, since I picked out all giving the questions, and the questions themselves, in this staged event. And even the question I had directed towards you, my dear Padme. I do not want you to forget the actions you take in this war have consequences.'

'And now that matter has become public, I can use that as a reason for more military to save those starving populations. In the meantime, since the question was directed at you, Padme. Not myself. I am not the one politically harmed by this. After all, I cannot be responsible for everything that happens in the galaxy. I do not yet rule the entire galaxy.'

As the journalists calmed down, Palpatine continued the question and answers session. The questions being softball inquires towards Palpatine and his more domestic policies, instead of the war effort.

Palpatine answered the questions in the statesmanlike manner which he used to convince the Senate to appoint him Supreme Chancellor over a decade ago.

(_)

As the press conference continued, several city blocks away, midway up on a skyscraper, on an open air walkway which a ceiling that went to the next floor, a fair skin, human looking woman stood by the parapet overlooking the at the press conference in the park, which was several kilometers away, in the distance, at a downward angle.

The woman was not the only alone. There was a crowd around the woman looking down at the press conference. There were other open air areas on both the skyscraper the fair skin woman was standing in and in nearby skyscrapers, where crowds were looking down on the press conference.

The fair skin woman had long black hair, that was left loose. She wore in green casual clothing. She was wearing a green button up long sleeved shirt, green pants, and brown boots. Around her waist, the woman had brown leather belt, had snap-open fastener pouches attached to it.

The human looking woman looked downward, in the distance, at the gathering, in the clearing in nearby park, as she prepared to implement the first parts of her plans.

The woman ignored the crowd around her, as she focused on Thor and Palpatine. She thought, 'Now this is interesting. I heard that a Thor was working for the Republic. And a female Thor at that. Very progressive of them. Though, given the hammer chooses the wielder and not the other way around, I would guess they did not have much choice concerning the matter.'

'And it is clear that this Thor is working closely with Palpatine. She likely recieves her orders directly from him. Though given how cunning Palpatine is, I doubt Thor is working for him by choice. Still, this works for me in the beginning moves of my plans.'

'I need to remember that it is rumored that this woman was trained in her powers by the Jedi Order. And This would mean she is an ally of the Jedi Order. So she is cannot be very closely allied with Palpatine.'

'From the videos I have seen, she knows how to use her powers. So I need to keep this low key...' The woman remained silent, as she laughed a little in her mind, while she continued her thoughts, 'Hahaha... If I do not want to get my ass kicked.'

'Speaking of plans, and it is best I wait for when my target is not so well guarded. Palpatine likely has a small hidden army around him. He likely has eyes on me. But, I am not doing anything wrong. I am currently just another face in the crowd.'

'As long as I do not try anything, I doubt I have much to worry about. Though, I am sure Palpatine's hidden army is likely well armed and ready to react at the first sign of trouble. If I act now, I am likely going to get shot several times before I even know it.'

I also have accept to weapons. Finding a working blaster rifle was surprisingly easy. I always wondered how those things worked. Now, I know. That blaster is in the apartment I have been secretly living in for the last few weeks.'

'But, I will soon be finding other living accommodations. Because in few hours I will being the first stage of my plans.'

Loki saw the press conference wrap up. Thor used the hammer to fly into the air, and away from the park, over the members of the press. The press members and hover cameras all turned look at Thor flying away, with Thor soon turning to fly behind one of the nearby skyscrapers and out of sight.

Meanwhile, the fair skin woman saw Palpatine and his guards turn around and walked down the stairs on the back of the podium. As they did so, a armored, enclosed speeder limo came out from a hiding place, from a nearby building, to land on the ground in front of Palpatine. The limo's left side faced Palpatine and his guards.

Once Palpatine was on the ground, one of the guards opened the back door left side door. Palpatine got inside the speeder limo. And once Palpatine was fully inside, the guard gently shut the door behind Palpatine.

A few seconds later, the speeder limo took off into the air, as a small hover speed vehicles came to pick up the four Republic guards. With a third speeder vehicle landing, with people getting out to take down the stand, lectern stand, and microphones.

As the fair skin woman watched this, she smiled. She thought, 'I have to admit. When leaving and taking things down. You guys are quick. And that was a nice slide of hand on your part, Palpatine. Keep the simpletons distracted with something shiny, while you leave out the back. Less chance of problems that way. Though, all of you will have problems to deal with soon enough. When you have to account for me. And your Thor and Mjolnir will not be able to help you long against my abilities and cunning.'

Loki began to chuckle a little. As such calmed down, She turned and carefully walked through the crowd and into a nearby entrance into the building she was on. She was not going to work on implementing her plans. For Loki Laufeyson was on the move.

(_)

Thor used Mjolnir to fly through the air over Coruscant, just the tops of the skyscrapers of the cityscape.

While Thor flew, she was careful to avoid any skylanes full of speeder vehicle. And she was on the look out for errant spaceships that might be in her way.

Thor soon reached her apartment. She landed on the balcony that was next to her living room. Thor used a code on the numerical pad by the window door to open the door. The code was accepted and the door slid up.

Once the door slid all the way up, Thor walked into her home. As she walked inside, she left the sliding door open.

As Thor walked further into her living room, Thor changed back to Padme.

Padme was wearing casual clothing, which included a shirt, pants, and slippers.

Padme placed the hammer in her living room, in a corner, on it's head, with the terrace window in the living room being open.

The reason the windowed door was left open was so if she needed to summon the hammer, the weapon would not need to create a hole in Padme's home, as it headed towards Padme.

Fortunately, the terrace of Padme's apartment was slightly slanted, with drains hidden on the floor of the terrace, so rain would drain away from the living room. And there was no furniture, and tiled floor by the entrance to the terrace. So, if there was any rain, there would not be a problem. Also, Padme's apartment was so high up, and high profile that anyone trying to break in knew they were going to be in a lot of trouble.

Then, Padme headed to her bathroom to take a quick showered.

After Padme took a quick shower and dried off with a towel, she change into some fresh clothing. Over her a white bra and white panties she wore a elegant, sleeveless white grown which went down to her her ankles.

The white gown had embroidered gold stitching which looked like vines going up and down the length of the gown. The vine shaped stitching went all around her entire gown. The stitching accented her feminine figure, including loops around her breasts, a stitching going around the neckline like a golden necklace of vines, stitching going around her waist like a golden belt of vines.

Also, Padme wore white slippers which matched the white color of her white gown.

During a previous visit to Coruscant, Padme had Mon Mothma for lunch. Mon mentioned the dress to Padme. Also, Mon sent Padme a picture and information on where to get the gown to Padme on a datapad. Mon had said the white gown would look good on Padme.

Padme looked at the datapad and the picture of the gold embroidered white gown and she agreed with Mon. Padme thanked Mon for the information on the gown. And before Padme was sent back to fight the war as Thor, she went to the shop on Coruscant which sold the gown, get fitted for the gown and she brought two versions of the gown. One with white cloth and gold stitching and the other dark blue cloth and red stitching.

Then, Padme took the gowns to her home and put them in her closet until she could return to Coruscant and she had a chance to wear the gown.

Padme long her long brown hair hang down the back of her gown. With her hair reaching almost to her waist line.

In addition, Padme wore a small holster on the outside of her right thigh. The holster was held in place by a buckled straps around her right thigh. In the holster was a small blaster pistol which was set to kill.

Padme's life has been under threat for so long that went it came to her personal safety as a senator, she did not take any chances.

While the gown Padme worn was white. The white cloth was thick enough that it did not show through on the thigh holster and small blaster she worn on her outer right thigh. And the gown was loose enough to hide Padme's holster and small blaster with ease.

Padme headed out of her home by way of the elevator to her home. She took the elevator to a parking level.

A minute later, Padme reached the parking level. She headed to a speeder vehicle she rented for use.

Padme drove in a speeder vehicle she had in the parking level to to the Senate building.

Once Padme reached the Senate Building and she parked in one of the parking areas set aside for Senators. After which, Padme headed to her office where she intended to do some paperwork on a datapad she kept in a shelve in her office desk.

(_)

An hour later, Padme was in her personal office, sitting in her cushioned armchair behind her desk, as she reviewed a few documents on a datapad. She has been in her office for most of that hour.

Padme faced her desk.

The light from the windows behind her desk allows her to see fine, as she worked.

After reading the datapad for over half an hour, she set the datapad on her desk.

Padme leaned back in her office chair. Padme let her head rest against the headrest of her chair. She placed her arms on top of her armrests. She swiveled her chair to her right. She came to a stop with her back to the desk. She to look through the windows of her office and out at the vast cityscape under the partly cloudy sky.

Padme lamented in thought, 'Arg... I hate to admit this, but I am bored. I have come to look forward to battle.'

'I know this is not a good outlook to have, but there is not much I can do about it. Except to be vigilant, that I do not come to enjoy fighting too much.'

'I am glad I keep Mjolnir in my apartment. While I like using the hammer, the weapon does have an influence on me. Not a bad influence. Besides the power it gives my body, it makes me more feel good. But, the weapon also makes me more aggressive and the hammer alters my speech.'

'Putting a little distance between Mjolnir and myself. From time to time. Is not a bad thing. Besides which. If need be. I can summon Mjolnir from the other side of the planet. And at this distance from my home, the hammer will be in the grip of my hand within less than a minute.'

'The hammer could go faster, but I make sure the hammer avoids all the obstacles it can. There is not point in Mjolnir accidentally hurting someone as the hammer comes to me.'

'Though, what concerns me right now is Sheev. Every time I come back to Coruscant. Even as a day trip. The Chancellor has some public event ready for which he wants me, as Thor, to accompany him too. And all this is done to make himself look good.'

'I will admit that being one of the guests of honor of some of parades Sheev had me attend were fun.'

'And the Chancellor has not try to create any embarrassments for me as Thor.'

'At least the Chancellor has enough respect between us to not try to insinuate that we are romantically involved. Unlike many women, I have never preferred older men. I prefer my men to be a few years younger than me. Such as, Anakin. Though, there is such a thing as being too young.'

'Still, I wonder if the Chancellor had me go to the press events and political functions as Thor, as a way to keep my off balance. To keep my opposition to the war effort, as Senator Amidala, off balance. I am sure the Chancellor suspected I am doing something within the Senate against the war effort.'

'But, I am not sure how much he knows. Fortunately, I have checked into the backgrounds of my inner circle. They are all trust worthy. Even the boisterous Senator Iblis. And Bail has security handled. So if Palpatine knows anything, it is not much.'

'But as Thor, Palpatine continues to call me the Enforcer of the Republic. This troubles me most. I am sure he wants to call me his personal enforcer. And there is some truth to that. Though, at this point the Chancellor has not directly ordered me to do anything too horrible. But, some of the commands coming from his offices have been detestable.'

Padme closed her eyes, as she thought, with bitter regret, 'Like what happened with Balmorra and the blockade I was a part of. There was nothing I could do to stop either of those events. And since as Thor, I am a soldier, I cannot public speak out on the missions that directly involve me. I cannot even speak out as Senator Amidala without risk of blowing my cover.'

Padme let out a deep breath, as she kept her eyes closed. She mentally lamented, 'Right now, all I can do is use back channels to attempt to help those wrongly harmed by this war. Including those harmed directly by my actions, and indirectly by my actions.'

Padme pushed the negative emotions back down into her mind, as she forced herself to think about more positive matters.

Padme opened her eyes, as she continued her thoughts, 'On a more personal note. Concerning my political life as Senator Amidala, I found it mildly surprised that when asked, most people preferred me to keep my hair plain and loose. Rather than constantly changing my hairstyle. Even Bail and the others in our group have commented that my hair looking nicer like this.'

Padme ran her right fingers though her hair, as she thought, 'And I have no problems in doing so.'

Padme set her right hand back her right arm rest. She thought, 'Not constantly redoing my hair will save me a lot of time and trouble. Besides, the simple look works for both Senatorial functions and out in the field, as Thor.'

Padme raised up and stretched her arms over her head, to help her relax, as she mentally reflected, 'At least I got a decent vacation out of this mess on Naboo, before I had to go back to this mess.'

Padme lowered her arms to the armrests. She thought, 'Except of that battle with Dooku at the beginning, I had a wonderful time with my family on Naboo. Ahsoka had a good time meeting with my family. They seem to get along fine. And best of all, it seems my mother and father are okay with me dating Anakin. And after talking with my mother and father in private. Both of them support Anakin and I being together.'

Padme smile, as she happily thought, 'Of everyone in the galaxy, having my mother and father support my relationship with Anakin really helps me feel better. If we are ever discovered and driven from Coruscant. At least I know my family will support my choice. This is something. And I value their opinion more highly than anyone on this planet, save for Anakin.'

Suddenly, the holo-monitor in Padme's desk beeped.

Padme leaned up. She turned her chair to her left to where she was facing her desk.

Padme reached over and she used the controls built into the top of her desk to answer the holo-comm. The controls for the holo-monitor and other computers systems were set below the surface of the top of the desk. The surface of the top of the desk was smooth and appeared black except for the buttons being illuminated in soft green lights through the top of the desk. The buttons were touch sensitive through the top surface.

Above the controls, further away from where Padme, was a flat monitor for text typing and two dimensional videos. There was an audio speakers set on the sides of the desk and a microphone system set near where Padme sat.

Below the controls, closer to Padme, was a keyboard. Below the keyboard including a tracking pad. Below the tracking pad the edge of the desk.

Padme set the holo-monitor in her desk to audio only. Padme said, “Hello.”

Padme recognized the male voice, as her friend, Senator Bail Organa. Bail stated, in a serious tone of voice, “Padme. Turn on the local news right now. You have to see this.”

Padme asked, “What is it?”

Bail answered, “Some nut has taken hostages at a bank in the Senate District.”

Padme flatly said, “Their funeral.”

Bail commented, “Yes. That being said, the situation is still interesting.”

Padme relented, as she replied, “Okay. I will.”

Bail said, “Thanks.”

Padme reached over turned off the communication line. Next, she pressed buttons on top of her desk to set the holo-monitor to display the holo-broadcast which showed a blue skinned Twi'lek woman wearing a nice business dress. The woman was clearly a reporter.

The woman appeared to be in a sitting position with the background showing a news studio with windows looking out at the cityscape.

The Twi'lek woman reporter was in the middle of her report. The Twi'lek spoke in fluent galactic basic, “The customers and staff were taken hostage by a black haired human woman close to half an hour ago. It is reported that the hostages so far remain unharmed...”

Padme thought, with relief, 'That is good. Now where is this happening at?'

The reporter continued, “And while Coruscant Security has cordoned off the area around the First Corellia Bank...”

Padme mentally reflected, 'I know where that bank is. I have done business with that bank. Actually, one of my personal accounts is with that bank. Though, I doubt the hostage taker knows this.'

The Twi'lek reported went onto say, “All communications with the woman seem to be at a stand still. Though, woman has already stated her demands. She wishes speak to Thor, the Storm Bringers, concerning something, or someone named, Mjolnir.”

At the mention of the name, Mjolnir, Padme's eyes went wide for a second. Before, she forced herself to calm down, as she thought, 'Only a handful or people know the hammer's name is Mjolnir. None would be so brazen as to this. Dooku already tried to kill me a few weeks ago. He would not try again so soon.'

'He would especially not a proxy whom he knows I can take in a fight.'

'There is the possibility this woman might be a far outsider. And she knows more about Mjolnir and the Thor I took my codename from than I do. I need to meet with her.'

'If this is the case. She likely took the hostages and she making this public to get word to me. She might have heard about my public event this morning with the Chancellor. And she gambled that I was still on the planet.'

The reporter stated, “As to who or what Mjolnir is exactly is anyone's guess. And while Thor did make a public appearance, representatives for Coruscant Security Forces have commented that they doubt Thor will show up.”

Padme immediately reached over and turned off the holo-transmission.

Padme firmly thought, 'You are wrong about that. I will head over there. Check with Coruscant Security. Then, I will deal with this woman, myself. She will answer my questions. One way, or another.'

Padme immediately stood up from her seat, she circled around her desk, to her right. She soon exited her office. Padme headed for a nearby terrace, on the floor she was on. Which offered some privacy from the security cameras. Where she could summon Mjolnir without anyone noticing.

A few minute later, Padme reached a small outside balcony which was empty and in a blind-spot for the security cameras.

Padme summoned Mjolnir. Within less than a minute Mjolnir reached Padme.

Padme gripped Mjolnir by the shaft with her right hand.

Padme used Mjolnir to change into Thor, with her armor, helmet, equipment, and weapons.

Then, Thor used Mjolnir to fly to the First Corellia Bank in the Senate District.

(_)

Ten minutes later, Thor held Mjolnir in her right hand as she used the hammer to fly across the Senate District.

While Thor flew through the air, she saw she was approaching the front side of the plaza of the Senate District branch of the First Corellia Bank. The bank was a large five story building, built from the surface of the planet, upward. With a flat stone plaza surrounding the bank by around a hundred meters in every direction.

While the building was but a dot when compared to the skyscrapers around it, the fact the bank was able to have a surface building of their own spoke volumes on how much wealth and influence they had just to have a store in such a prestigious area as the Senate District.

Fortunately, Thor knew where the First Corellia Bank was in the Senate District, and it was not far from the Senate Building.

Thor saw Coruscant Security Officers had parked their speeder vehicles on the opposite side of the plaza from the bank entrance. The officers stood behind the vehicles for cover, with their blaster pistols drawn.

Most of the officers present were blue painted droid officers. Though, among those present there were some men and women officers.

Unlike the Coruscant Underworld police, the men and women police officers did not wear armor. They wore a blue long sleeve shirt, blue pants, black boots, white gloves, a blue cap on their head, and a black belt with pouches and items hooked it. Some of the items holsters on each police officer's belt was their a handheld comlink, a set of stun-cuffs, and a blaster pistol set to stun.

The men and women officers each wore an black armband on the upper left arm of the shirt had yellow writing which stated the person was a Coruscant Security Officer and their rank.

There were also a few journalists with hover holo-cameras behind the police. The journalists were using the hovering holo-cameras to give live reports on the matter.

Thor thought, 'I do not like this being so public. But, there is not much I can do about this. Though, at least the officers and reporters know how powerful I am. That I am not to be trifled with.'

A few seconds later, Thor landed by the Coruscant Security officers, behind the line of speeders.

After Thor landed, he lowered Mjolnir to her right side to avoid appearing to be threatening towards those present.

Everyone turned to look at Thor. Those present, including the droids recognized her. Though, both the officers and the journalists knew to leave her alone.

Thor looked around at at the black armbands on uniforms of the men and women officers for the highest ranking officer. She saw that the highest ranking person was a middle-age male, tan skin Zabrak whose armband stated he was a Commander in the Coruscant Security Force.

Thor turned and calmly walked towards the Commander.

As Thor passed by a few officers, she overheard them whispering about her. But, she paid them as little attention as she did the reporters in the distance.

Though, Thor did overheard some of the journalists reporting her presence at the bank to their broadcasting audience.

As Thor came closer to the Coruscant Security Commander, the Commander turned to look at her.

The Commander stated, “I did not expect to see you come here.”

Thor came to a stop a meter from the Commander. She stated, “Thy came as soon as thy heard the hostage takers request. What does thee know of the hostage taker? And what is the situation?”

The Commander firmly said, “Do not get any ideas about getting involved. There are lives on the line.”

Thor took mild offense at the Commander's tone of voice and statement. Thor look at the Commander, in his eyes. With the Commander seeing Thor's eyes from beneath her helmet. Thor responded, with a voice like ice, “Thy understands that lives are on the line. But, the person in question may have vital intelligence. Thou is ordering Coruscant Security to answer thy's questions and not to interfere. Thy will arrest and question this individual. Not thee. If any of thee interferes, thou will hold thee personally responsible. And if thee has a problem with that, than thee can take it up with the one person thy answers to, the Supreme Chancellor, himself.”

Thor saw fear in the Commander's eyes, as she mentioned the Chancellor.

The Commander remained silent, as Thor turned towards the bank. Under her helmet, Thor could not help as her lips curled into a smirk at seeing fear in the Commander's eyes.

Thor thought, with mild amusement, 'Being the Enforcer of the Republic does have its uses. Now to get answers.'

Thor inquired, “Thy will repeat thyself. What does thee know of the hostage taker? And what is the situation?”

From the Commander's expression, Thor could tell the Commander was not happen. Though, the Commander answered, “Half an hour ago, a woman barraged into the bank with a blaster rifle. She destroyed the two droids security guards with ease. She took hostage those that did not immediately escape the lobby. She cut all the camera feeds in the lobby. She used a audio comlink to contact the press with her demands to see you. She appears to be a young looking human woman, whom is wearing green and brown clothing.”

Thor inquired, “How many hostages are there?”

The Commander stated, “There are twelve hostages. The rest fled the lobby when they saw the woman had a blaster rifle. We have contacted a few others in different parts of the building, but since the hostage taker is in the lobby, we just told them to stay put. If they do a they are told they should be fine.”

Thor questioned, “That was wise of thee. Have any of the hostages been harmed?”

Commander said, “Not as far as we know.”

Thor asked, “Okay. Is that is all?”

The Commander replied, “Yes.”

Thor said, “Good.” Thor turned her attention to the bank. Thor thought, 'Now, to save the hostages, and get some answers. And if she knows about Mjolnir, I better use my mental defenses, just in case.'

Thor reigned in her thoughts and emotions behind her mental defenses.

Thor used Mjolnir to fly over the speeder vehicles, and across the plaza, to land by the entrance.

A few seconds later, Thor landed about five meters in front of the front entrance to the bank.

Thor look at the entrance to see that the entrance was recessed two meters into the building. There were two large tinted windows on the sides of the double-sliding doors of the bank. The sliding doors had large tinted windows, as well. The windows were made out of transparent metal doors.

Thor walked towards the doors, as she did so, the motion sensors on the door sensed her presence and slid open for her.

Thor walked into the bank, as she thought, 'Good. The doors are working. That means I will not have to smash my way in and alert the hostage taker that I am coming.'

To Thor's left side, she saw to guard droids laid on the floor.

Thor thought, 'Those must be the droids the women shot.'

While Thor continued walking further into the bank lobby, the doors slid closed behind her.

The lights in the lobby were on. Thor saw that the lobby itself was fairly large. The room was rectangular shaped. About thirty meters wide by fifty meters long. The ceiling was ten meters high. The lighting was provided by the chandelier lights hanging from the ceiling. The bottom of chandeliers hung six meters from the floor.

There were over twenty hanging chandeliers spread out in a grid pattern throughout the room.

Each chandelier were composed of several bronze, curved rods pointed upwards with a electric bulb at the tip of each rod. The electric bulbs each each of the rods were all lit and produced the yellow lighting for the room. The curved rods were group in a circular fashion in three sections which were attached to each other in the center by a small bronze rod. There were twenty-four rods in the lowest section of the chandelier. The next section was twelve rods. The top section was eight rods.

The floor was covered in emerald green tiles broken to give it a rocky jigsaw looking. Though, the surface of the floor was smooth.

To Thor's sides, there were teller windows near the front of the lobby, and desks further back into the lobby. There was a cushioned armchair behind every desk, and two cushioned armchairs in front of every desk in the lobby. There were small tables mixed in with the desks.

The middle section of the lobby was left open.

Thor saw the teller windows and desks were all empty.

Thor walked further into the room, as she focused on far end of the lobby, opposite from the front doors, where she saw everyone was at in the room.

Thor came to a stop twenty meters from the far back wall.

Thor saw the hostages sitting against the far wall. She quickly counted out all twelve of them. All of them were adults, over various ages, genders, and species. Though, they were made to sit on their knees, facing the far back wall. Though, they were not bound in any way. And they appeared to be fine.

Also, near the far back wall, Thor saw the black haired human woman standing a three meters from back far wall where the hostages were sitting next to.

Thor saw the woman calmly looking back at her.

The woman had her blaster rifle in hands. And the woman was calmly looking back at Thor. The woman was holding the grip of the blaster rifle with her right hand, and the underside of the fore-end with her left hand.

Thor noticed that the woman was not pointing her weapon at anyone.

The woman had fair skin and she was beautiful, of average height, with a slender to athletic physical build. She had muscle tone to her body, but not much. She had piecing green eyes. She wore green casual clothing. The clothing was a green button up long sleeved shirt, green pants, and brown boots. The woman's brown leather belt, had snap-open fastener pouches attached to it.

Thor thought, 'She looks kind of beautiful. Nothing compared to me. Especially, when I am Thor. But still she is beautiful. Also, it appears the hostages have not been harmed, and she is not pointing her weapon at me. This earns her to opportunity to explain herself, before I decide whether or not to bash her face in with Mjolnir.'

The black haired woman stated, in galactic basic, “Finally. I was wondering when you were going to show up.”

Thor commented, “If thee wanted to talk, thy would have been willing to do so under more peaceful circumstances.”

The black haired woman casually pointed out, “Your number is not exactly listed in the phone book... I mean holo-comm number database.”

Thor conceded, “Point taken.”

Thor thought, 'And that is because I have enemies. Still, what is a phone book? I have not heard that term before. It is possible she is a far outsiders. Also, she quickly corrected herself. So, I guess it is similar to the holo-comm number database. Now to find out who you are.'

Thor inquired, “Who are thee?”

The women stated, “Loki Laufeyson. At your service.” She let go of the fore-end of her weapon with her left hand. Next, she held up her open left palm, facing upwards, towards Thor. A small ball of green fire formed in her left palm, around her fingers, with not signs of injured coming from Loki, as she held the fire in her hand. She continued, “Goddess of Fire.” The fire vanished from her left hand, she went back to using her left hand to hold the underside of the fore-end of her blaster rifle. Loki went onto say, “And all around fine person.”

Thor thought, 'This Loki might have powers similar to mine. I need to be careful. Though...' Thor pointed out, “Thee took hostages. That does not help thee in thou's book.”

Loki turned her head towards the hostages. She shrugged. She said, “As you can see. No one is harmed. Except for two droids that could barely pass for intelligence. Though, I am sure they can be repaired. The whole plan was to meet you. I have no ill will towards anyone. And I just needed to meet with you.” She turned back to look at Thor.

Thor asked, “Why?”

Loki responded, “The hammer you hold in your right hand, Mjolnir. And the title you go by, Thor. At least in your current form. Do you know who the Thors are? Or, at least were? I admit I am not sure what happened to them.”

Thor questioned, “There is more than one Thor?”

Loki cracked a grin, as she commented, “Yes. And thank you for answering my question.”

Thor thought, “I slipped up. She realizes I am ignorant on this subject. But, I can still get information from her. Though, it seems if there were more Thors. But, she is not sure if those Thors are still around. Wherever they are from. Though, I am more interested in what you know about Mjolnir.”

Thor asked, “What does thee know about Mjolnir?”

Loki casually commented, “I know there is more than one Mjolnir. And they come in various shapes and sizes. Almost all Mjolnirs are hammers and maces. Though, a few like yours, also have an axe blade on one side of the head. And there are a few Mjolnirs which are swords. Also, it seems you got one of the large forms of Mjolnir.”

Thor inquired, “What else can thee tell thou?”

Loki casually said, “Oh. Let us not spoil everything just yet. I mean.” Loki cracked a grin, as she continued, “Our audience would hate that.” She dropped her grin, as she went onto say, “And I am not talking about our hostages here. But I will let you know that most of you Thors speak the way you currently are. With 'thy' and 'thee'. Instead of 'I' and 'you'. And as a sign of good faith. I am letting the hostages go. The only reason I picked this bank is because I like the color of the flooring tiles. Green is my color.”

The hostages heard this. They turned their bodies and heads to look at Loki and Thor.

Loki noticed the hostages looking at her. She turned to them. She stated, “You heard me. Get out of here.”

Thor turned towards the hostages. She said, “Go. Now.”

Thor and Loki then watched as all twelve of the hostages by them, stood up, turned to face them, and ran pass them, towards the front doors. The doors slid open and the hostages escaped outside. The hostages soon reaching Coruscant Security, where the officers swiftly arranged for them be taken to a nearby hospital to be check out.

Once the hostages were outside and the doors had slid closed, Thor and Loki turned to look at each other.

Thor stated, “Now if thee surrenders, this would make thou's life much easier.”

Loki cracked a grin, as she commented, “But what is the fun in that?” She looked down at the blaster rifle in her hands, as she commented, “Though, I do need to replace this bulky weapon, with an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.”

Loki dropped her blaster rifle to the ground. Then, She dropped her left hand to her side, as she held out her right hand.

Thor watched as a bastard sword appeared in a flash of green flame, with Loki gripping the hilt of the sword in her right hand.

The sword had shiny steel blade and golden colored guard, with a black leather straps around the hilt, and a small circular golden pommel at the end of the hilt.

The blade of the sword was a four feet long, straight double-edged blade, long, and ended in a sharp triangle tip. The guard eight inches long, on inch thick and wide, with the middle of the guard attached between the blade and the hilt. The hilt was on twelve inches long, with black leather strips to allow for a better grip.

The reason the sword was knock as a bastard sword was that the blade was to long to be a short sword. And the blade was to short to be a great sword. Also, the hilt could be used for one hand to both hands.

This meant that the weapon could be used in one hand or both hand. Making the sword a bastard to both styles.

Though, given the sword a mystical in nature, it was as light as a small feather in Loki's hands.

Loki looked back towards Thor.

Thor thought, 'Given I can make armor appear and disappear. That is not such a surprising trick to me. Also, it supports that this Loki's powers are similar to the powers that Mjolnir grants me. I need to be watchful around her. That does not mean I need to go easy on her.'

Thor held up the hammer in an offensive stance. She cracked a grin, as she said, “Aggressive negotiations it is.”

Loki held up her sword in her right hand, in an offensive stance. Loki's smile turned into a smirk, as she complimented, in an excited tone of voice, “That's the spirit!”

The two of them charged at each other.

A second later, their battle began, as they clashed their weapons.

Thor's took a two handed approach to Loki's one handed approach with her right hand.

After minute of fighting with their weapons, the both realized the other was holding their in the battle.

As Thor parried a blow with the hammer, from Loki's sword, in Loki's right hand, Thor thought, 'She is good. Though, her one-handed style is different than Dooku's style. I find Loki's style more graceful than Dooku's style.'

'Dooku is more aggressive. Dooku favored using strong powerful attacks with quick defensive parries. Dooku likes to control a battle forcing the opponent on the defensive.'

'Loki seems to prefer to dodge over parrying my strikes, and follow with quick strikes of her own, which I parry. Though, she has parried a few of my strikes. Loki seems to prefer to react and defend, with her being patient and waiting for an openly to quickly end the duel.'

'I noticed that when I made a minor mistake which left a openly. Loki immediately seized on the opening. I was able to counter her strikes. Still, my opening and her reaction offered an insight into her style.'

'Loki has power in her strikes. She is clearly stronger than she looks. I believe she is stronger than a force user using the force to enhance their strength. Though, I doubt she is stronger than me.'

'Also, for her to be able to handle my attacks shows she is fast. I believe she is letting me set the speed. I feel if I increased the speed, she could keep up with ease. I maybe in for a fight in this battle. But, I want answers. So I won't hurt her too bad, until I get the answers I seek.'

Thor swung the hammer, with the flat hammed facing Loki.

Loki sidestepped the attack, as she commented, “You know. I was planning to try to contract you by spotlight, with a silhouette of the basic shape of the Mjolnir weapon you wield. But then I realized in a city this bright at night. A simple spot light would not work.

Loki struck out with her sword at Thor.

Thor knock the blade away from her. She conceded, “Point taken. Now if thee will just surrender, thy will not have to harm thee.”

Thor brought down the flat of her hammer towards Loki right shoulder.

Loki took a few steps back, as she pointed out, “Actually. Except the two droids at the front of this lobby, I have no hurt anyone during my time on this planet. And I only stole that blaster rifle from an idiot that tried to mug me. Do not worry I just made the fool sleep for a few hours, and I took his weapon. What I am saying is that I would prefer to talk.”

Thor bridge the gap, as she thrust the hammer at Loki. She stated, “Thee picked a funny way to have a discussion.”

Loki parried the blow. She shrugged, as she agreed, “True. But this is our contractual fight.” She swung her sword at Thor.

While Loki's comment confused Thor, Thor did not lose focus on the battle. Thor sidestepped the attack, as she replied, “Huh?”

Loki smiled, as she giggled. She happily commented, “Deary. You have a lot to learn about this game. But luckily, I am here to teach you.”

Thor firmly stated, “This is not a game.” Then, she swung the flat side of the hammer at Loki.

Loki used her sword to catch where the head of the hammer met the shaft. Loki used the flat of the blade to hold back the shaft of the hammer. Loki held the block in place, as she stated, “Of course it is. If you knew what I know, you would be laughing right now.” The Loki giggled a little.

By then, Thor had her back the front double-doors, while Loki faced the front doors. The front of Loki's body was facing Thor, as she continued to hold back Thor's weapon, with her weapon, in just her right hand. The bodies of both women were only fifteen centimeters apart, with only their weapons between them.

They began pushing their weapons harder against each other.

Thor added a little more of her strength into the hold, as she stated, in a serious tone of voice, “Thy finds nothing funny about this.”

Loki showed not signs of no sigh of struggling against Thor's increased strengthen, from both of Thor's arms, pressing against her right arm.

As they continued to press their weapons against each other, Loki said, “One can find humor in everything. By the way, I fully understand the whole secret identity angle. If I was caught in the middle of a galactic war, while being a high priority target, I would want to hide my identity, as well.”

The way Loki phrased her comment worried Thor. Though, Thor hid her worry, as she thought, 'Does she know I am Padme Amidala Naberrie? No. There is no way she could. Even if she could read minds I am using my mental defenses. I best reply and keep my reply simple.'

Thor calmly replied, “Precautions are always wise.”

Loki said, “An ounce of prevention is equal to a pound of cure.”

Neither gave a centimeter, as they displayed their physical strength. Thor agreed, “Exactly.”

Thor mentally reflected, 'As I thought. She is clearly stronger than she looks. Just like me in my enhanced form. I am tempted to use my lightning. But she might counter with her fire. I do not want to risk burning this building down. Especially since there are other people still inside this building.'

Loki smirked. She stated, “For the record. I know this is a cheap shot. But we have to keep this play moving.”

Thor asked, “Huh? What?”

Loki used her right foot to swiftly kick Thor in the stomach, sending Thor through the air.

Thor crashing through where the sliding double-doors met, breaking them off their hinges. She soon landed in a tumbled, on the stone plaza floor, just outside the front entrance of the bank.

Thor came to a stop about fifteen meters from the broken front doors of the bank.

As Thor sat up, she was still gripping the hammer with both hands. But she found herself fighting to breathe.

Thor realized, as she thought, 'That woman knocked the wind out of me. Not bad. But I have had worse during my training.'

Thor quickly recovered her breath, as she forced herself to stand up.

The clouds in the sky parted and the sun shown down on the plaza, as Thor turned to look inside the building.

Thor held Mjolnir in a defensive stance with both hands, as she saw Loki calmly walking towards her.

Loki holding her sword in her right hand.

A thought then occurred to Thor. Thor turned to the security officers across plaza from her and Loki.

Storm clouds swiftly formed above them.

Thor continued to look at the officers, as she yelled, “Do not interfere!”

Thor's warning was punctuated by a loud crack of thunder from the clouds above them.

Thor turned back to look at Loki, whom had now passed through the broken doors and into the recess. Thor thought, 'That will make any trigger happy officers think twice about taking a shot at Loki.' Thor smirked, as she continued her thoughts, 'Because she is all mine.'

Loki came to a stop, just outside of the bank, with about ten meters between her and Thor.

Loki held her sword in her right hand, in an offensive manner, as she complimented, “Nice theatrics. You would not believe who I learned that move from.”

Thor thought, 'I could care less who she learned that move from.' Thor got an idea, as she continued her thoughts, 'That might work.' She continued to smirk, under her helmet, as she stated, “Thee wants theatrics. Then, thee shall have theatrics.”

Thor let go of Mjolnir with her right hand. She used her left hand to hold out the hammer to her left sid, with the head of the hammer facing Loki and the axe blade pointed downward.

Thor let go of the hammer, to have Mjolnir hover in place, in the air.

Thor used her right hand to reach across her chest and upper left shoulder to grip the hilt of the Black Solace, and she drew the weapon from its scabbard.

Thor held the Black Solace in front of her, as she used right thumb to flip the switch to the vibration mechanisms of the weapon to make the blade vibrate thousands of times a second.

Thor then held the hilt of her vibro-katana with both her hands, as she took an offensive stance that had the front of her body face Loki.

Loki looked at the weapon in Thor's hands. She complimented, “Nice sword.”

Thor replied, “Thank you.”

Loki commented, “Let me guess. That sword is very unique, and only a handful of such weapons were made?”

Thor complimented, “Good guess.” She smirked, as she continued, “Now let thou show thee how thy can use it and the hammer at once.”

Loki held her sword in her right hand, in an offensive stance, with her body facing Thor.

Loki's lips curled int a wicked grin, as she said, “Bring it.”

Thor let out a battle cry as she charged at Loki. Mjolnir followed her parallel to her left side.

Loki let out her own battle cry as she ran towards Thor and the hammer, with her sword at the ready.

Soon, Thor and Loki renewed their battle.

Like against Dooku, on Naboo, in Theed, Thor used the Black Solace to directly attack Loki, while Thor also had the hovering Mjolnir attack Loki.

While Thor fought Loki, Thor tried to get both herself and Mjolnir on opposite sides of Loki.

To Thor's mild surprise, Loki able to do a series of counters, parries, and sidesteps from attacks by both the Black Solace and Mjolnir.

In addition, Loki giving as good as she received. Though, Thor was able to keep Loki from breaching her defenses. This left the two women in a stalemate, as they continued to fight.

As they clashed swords, Thor noticed that the Black Solace's active vibro-blade was not damaging the blade of Loki's sword.

Thor realized, as she thought, 'Her sword is magical. Maybe even like Mjolnir. This is why the Black Solace's blade has not cut into it. I need to be careful. Her sword might be as sharp as the Black Solace. Meaning it could pierce my armor with ease... Though, if I can just get her between Mjolnir and myself, I will have her. And this battle will be over.'

As the fight continued, Loki showed great skill in protecting herself, as he avoid Thor's trap.

To the onlookers, it appeared as if Loki was dancing around as she fought Thor and Mjolnir, while Thor and Mjolnir were trying to keep up with Loki.

Though, eventually Mjolnir was able to circle around behind Loki, as Thor came at Loki's front side.

Loki realized what had happened. Loki swiftly turned to face her right side towards Mjolnir. And her left side towards Thor.

As Loki turned, she took a few steps back, which allowed her put over a meter between her and Thor. Though, Mjolnir was still close by.

The floating Mjolnir struck first. A moment later, Thor attacked with the Black Solace towards Loki.

Though, while Mjolnir would be close, Thor chose not to fully bridge the gap between Loki and herself, with the end of the blade of the Black Solace going to strike Loki's left shoulder and arm. Though, the end of Thor's blade was too far to hit any vital parts in the head, neck, nor chest.

In response to this two simultaneous attack from opposite sides, Loki swiftly let go of her sword with her right hand. Loki used her right hand block the attack from the Mjolnir by the top part of the hammer's head.

Loki put much of her super-strength into holding back Mjolnir, but she knew it was a losing battle and she would give any second.

Still, she only needed a few more moments, as she divided her attention between Mjolnir and Thor's oncoming attack.

By then, Thor began to bring down down the black blade of her sword onto the left top side of Loki's body.

Loki held Mjolnir back with her right hand, a she took a step to her right, and a step back. This allowed to slightly lean more into the force Mjolnir was exerting on Loki's right hand, while Loki also avoided Thor's attack.

Thor realized too late that her strike would miss Loki.

At the same time at Thor was in mid-swing, Loki reversed the grip of the hilt of her sword in her left hand to have an underhand grip.

Loki brought her sword back around her, in an upper swing, at Thor, just as Thor finished her swing.

The blade of Loki's sword did not do any serious harm, as it cut though the outer, upper part, of Thor's exposed upper right arm.

Thor immediately felt the swing of the cut. She quickly stood up straight, and faced Loki, with the Black Solace in both hands in a defensive stance.

Thor did not need to look at the wound. She knew she was cut and it would bleed. But, it was a minor wound which would quickly heal in her enhanced form.

While Thor came to a stop, Loki let go of Mjolnir, as Loki jumped back away from both Thor and Mjolnir.

Thor did not try to attack Loki in midair with her weapons.

Thor had Mjolnir continue to float in the air, as she turned to look towards Loki, while Loki was still in the air.

A few seconds later, Loki landed five meters from Thor.

While Loki looked at Thor, Loki reversed her grip of the sword in her left hand, to have an upright grip. She held the weapon in a defensive stance.

As the fight had progressed, the two women were over twenty meters from the outer wall of the bank, close to the middle of the plaza. Loki's back facing the bank.

A thought then occurred to Thor. But, before Thor could ask, Loki stated, “You overextended.”

Thor conceded, “Thy admits that. Though, thy wonders if thou has been poison by your blade?”

Loki responded, in an off the cuff manner, “Please... I did not poison you. And if I wanted to really hurt you, that would have been a wonderful opening. I just want to remind you that you do have gaps in your defenses.

Thor thought, 'She is correct. I became arrogant in this fight, and I did leave myself open, because I underestimate due to her not using the force. I should know better because that is how Dooku felt about me. And I do not want to be a hypocrite. To that end, I believe she might be better with a sword than myself.' Thor calmly replied, “Then, thank you for the reminder.”

Loki mentioned, “You are welcome. Besides, the hammer also makes you immune to most poisons.”

Thor thought, 'That is nice.' She responded, “Thou will keep this in mind. Now will thee surrender? Or, does thou have to make this rough?”

Thor let go of the sword with her left hand. Thor summon the hammer into her left hand, and gripped the shaft of Mjolnir.

Thor held ups her weapons, with the head of the hammer facing upwards and the axe blade pointed forward.

Loki commented, “While I have no desire for this experience to be too rough, I am not surrendering. Though, I can guess what you are about to do.”

Thor smirked, as she replied, “Good.”

Thor pointed the top of Mjolnir towards Loki. Thor used Mjolnir to send a bolt of lightning at Loki.

Loki jumped out of the way, in a backwards flip.

The lightning hit the wall of the bank. The energy discharge left a back mark on the wall, but otherwise, there was no damage.

Loki landed on her feet a few meters further back than she had been standing. She held her sword in her left hand, as she extended her right hand towards Thor.

Suddenly, green flames erupted from her right palm towards Thor.

Thor saw the flames coming at her. Thor Immediate used the hammer to fly six meters into the air. She hovered in the air. Thor looked down at the green flames below her, as she thought, 'If her sword can hurt me, then likely her flames can as well.'

Thor looked down at the stream of flames, and Loki. She also noticed that the flames petered out few meters behind her Thor.

Thor noticed, as she thought, “She is likely controlling range or her flames to keep from injuring anyone besides myself. But, giving she is not directly her green flames towards me in the air, I believe this is more of a demonstration of her abilities than an serious attack against myself.'

A second later, Loki stopped with her mystical flamethrower attack.

Loki changed his foots to me more open, with her right foot forward towards Thor, and her left foot set back. Loki cocked back her right arm, as she held her right hand with the palm open, next to the right right side of her stomach.

Loki held her bastard sword in her left hand upwards , with the blade going over her head and pointed towards Thor.

Thor thought, 'She has taken an offensive stance. This could mean she is ready to become more serious.'

Loki looked up at Thor, with Thor looking down at her.

Loki stated, “We could play with fire and lightning all day long.” She used her right hand to gesture towards the crowd of officers and journalists behind the speeder vehicles. All the while Loki never took her eyes off of Thor, as she said, “Though, I doubt our audience would survive the experience. So let us take this fight down a notch.” Loki cocked back her right arm to where it had been, with her right palm being open.

Thor conceded, “Thee makes a good point.”

Thor landed on her feet, four meters from Loki.

Thor faced Loki, as she held the Mjolnir and the Black Solace in an offensive two-handed stance. She smiled, as she asked, “Shall we continue this dance?”

Loki maintained her offensive stance. She returned Thor's smile, as she stated, “I thought you would never ask.”

Both women charged at each other. And soon their weapons clashed.

Across the plaza from the two women, the crowd of people. Officers, reporters, droids, and a few others watched the fight. Both combatants showed such vigor in their fight, with their actions being broadcast live across the galaxy.

(_)

Across the planet, word of the fight had attracted a number of powerful individuals whom all had an interest in Thor.

In the Jedi Council Chambers, the Jedi High Council either sat in their chairs, around the room, or they were broadcasting their holograms from their chairs.

All of the council members sat in silence, as they watched the holo-news broadcast which projected life size holograms of Thor and Loki fight each other in the center of the room.

(_)

At the moment inside Senate Building, in one of the higher levels of the building, in the Chancellor's office, Palpatine sat in his chair, behind his desk.

The other other two individuals in the room were the two Red Guard bodyguards. The two bodyguards stood at attention, with the backs to the wall on opposite sides of the alcove, across they room from Palpatine, as they faced Palpatine.

The two bodyguards each wore a red uniforms, red dome helmet, red boots, and a red robe which concealed their uniform. Each bodyguard also had a stunstaff in their right hand, resting against their right shoulder.

At Palpatine's desk chair, Palpatine quietly watched from a holographic projector build into his desk, as miniature sized holograms of Thor and Loki fought each other.

Palpatine thought, 'So we have a new player on the stage.' His lips cracked a devious grin, as he continued his thoughts, 'Interesting.'

(_)

Meanwhile, in the front plaza of the First Corellia Bank, Thor and Loki continued their fight, with neither opponent giving the advantage to the other.

Then, Thor got an idea. After a few more parries and strikes, Thor was able to use the Black Solace in her right hand, to parry Loki's sword away from Thor, to her right, at a downward diagonal angle.

Thor quickly used Mjolnir in her left hand, to reach between Loki and herself, as she used the bottom of the curved axe head, between the bottom hook end of the shaft, to hook the top Loki's steel blade from the top of the sword blade. The axe slid down to where the blade met the guard of Loki's sword. Then, Thor yanked to her left with the hammer, while using the Black Solace as a fulcrum. This forced the sword out of Loki's left hand, and into the air.

Both Thor and Loki turned to see Loki's sword vanish in green flames before it hit the ground.

Thor and Loki turned towards each other, with Thor holding her weapons at the ready.

Loki complimented, “Nice trick with knocking my sword of my hand like that. I have never seen a Thor do that before. It means you are likely a cut above the rest. No pun intended.”

Thor calmly said, “Thank you. Now surrender. Thee has nowhere to go.”

Loki smirked, as she casually said, “Oh you are silly. I have the air. Flying is an old trick. And you are not the only one that knows how to do it.”

Suddenly, Loki flew off, at high speed, to Thor's right, away from the bank and plaza.

Thor immediately used Mjolnir, in her left hand, to follow Loki, as she mentally berated, 'Damn. I should have known she could also fly.'

But as Thor tried to gain on Loki, Loki just sped up. So Thor stopped trying to catch Loki and instead Thor followed Loki, as Loki did twists and turns around the buildings of Coruscant, at high speed, in the sunny light of day.

Loki was able a kilometer away from Thor. Though, Thor's enhanced eyesight, she to see Loki with ease, as she followed the black haired woman around the skyscraper buildings.

As they flew, Thor noticed a few things about the way Loki was fly.

Thor thought, 'She is staying above the surface level, and near the middle of the skyscrapers. Also, she can clearly go faster. But she only does so when I try to gain on her. So I can am keeping us at this speed. I would guess is three quarters below the sped of sound. I do not have a speedometer, so I cannot tell exactly how fast we are going. But I can tell from the feeling of wind resistance how close to the sound barrier we are at. And while the wind resistance does not harm me, I can still feel it. I doubt the wind resistance harms Loki. Though, she probably feels the wind resistance as well.'

'Loki knows how to fly. Loki is wisely avoiding the skylanes. A crash at this speed could harm even myself. Not to mention the people in the vehicle.'

'Also, I notice she is moving away from the Senate Building, the Jedi Temple, and Westport Spaceport. This is intelligent of her. That shows she planned this route. Though, this concerns me because that means she already planned out her escape route. And while I doubt she has set a trap for me, I need to stop her before she escapes me.'

'I do not dare tried to use lightning to knock Loki down. Because lightning grounds, and if I use it, I run the very real risk of hitting someone. And rain is out of the picture because that will make it dangerous for everyone. Wind might to the trick, but a cyclone is to dangerous. But controlled winds, away from the skylanes, might do the trick.'

Thor tried to use concentrated, small currents of wind, coming from the in front of Loki and herself, to try either knock Loki down, or at least slow Loki.

Unfortunately, the tactic did not work, as Loki clearly ignored the wind attacks. Thor soon quit attempting to use her wind powers to stop Loki.

Thor saw Loki go around a corner of a large building to their right, close to the surface.

Thor thought, 'So here is where you are going to try to lose me. To bad my eyes are sharp enough that will not work.'

A few seconds later, Thor turned the corner, she came to a stop to see she had come to a large open, market area, that was only ten meters below her.

There were crowds with people going back and forth for kilometers in every direction of the surface level. Even the building itself had an open area on the surface level which extended the market into the large skyscraper.

And Thor did not see Loki in the area, nor among the crowds.

The area was to noisy to use her enhanced hearing to listen for Loki.

Thor did not dare try to use her enhanced sense of smell to sniff Loki out.

Thor thought, 'I cannot see Loki. Nor, hear her. And considering the randomness of the crowd, I realize I might smell something I wished I had not. But, I am not giving up just yet.'

Thor hovered in place for another minute, as she attempted to use her enhanced sight to spot Loki. But, to no avail.

Thor soon gave up, as she she thought, 'Damn. I lost her.' She groaned, as she continued her thoughts, 'I might as well head back to my apartment. I need to talk to the Jedi Council about this, Loki. And my home is as good as place as any to make the call to them. I just hope they will allow me to contact them on short notice.'

Thor used her right thumb to flip off the Black Solace's vibration mechanisms. Then, reached over and sheathed the sword in its scabbard.

Thor used Mjolnir in her left hand to fly off to her apartment.

(_)

Meanwhile, among the crowd there was a person whom appeared to be a handsome, fair skinned, human man, with green eyes and a clean shaven face. The man had short black hair, and an athletic physical build. He wore a white long sleeved shirt, white pants, white belt, and white boots.

The man continued calmly walk away from Thor, with his back toward Thor. Though, he walked parallel with the large skyscraper to his right. This allowed him to see Thor reflections from nearby skyscraper windows to his right side.

In the reflections of the windows, the man saw Thor fly off. He smiled at the sight, for the man was the shapeshifted Loki Laufeyson.

As Loki continued to walk, he thought, 'This introduction went as well as I expected. Not one got seriously hurt. Thor will recover from the scrapes and bruises I gave her. I did not harm those I took hostage. And the two droids I shot can be repaired. I know. I checked out the basic designs of those types of droid. I was careful only to hit the internal wires in their chest that allowed the droids to move. The droids should be to repair.'

'Though, the droids could be thrown away. But, there is nothing I can do about that.'

'The Jedi are not the only ones that know how to do mind tricks. To keep the hostages in line and obey my commands I used the combination of a simple spell of suggestion, and the threat of my blaster rifle. That spell will wear off in a few hours.'

'It is a good thing I can use my magic to shapeshift my form and clothing at a moments notice. Or, I might not have been able to lose you, Thor. Still, I can only shapeshift into a form that is an aspect of myself. Including, back and forth, between female and male. While this is a nice trick, and fun at parties, I prefer to be female.'

Loki turned towards the open area of the market. Loki began heading to his intended destination, as he continued his thoughts, 'Now for stage two of my plans.'

(_)

Fifteen minutes later, Thor had returned to her apartment.

The moment Thor entered her living room from the open window door on the balcony, she used a button to shut the window door.

As the door slid down to the floor, Thor changed back to Padme.

Padme now wore what she had on before she summoned Mjolnir and changed into Thor. Among other clothing, Padme wore her white embroidered gown, white slippers, and her hidden holstered blaster, under her gown, on her right thigh.

The sunlight outside coming in through the windows provided plenty of light in the room.

The environmental systems within the apartment kept the temperature in Padme's home at a comfortable constant for herself.

Padme held Mjolnir in her left hand. She swapped hands to hold Mjolnir in her right hand. She walked towards the two light brown, cushioned couches that faced each other near the center of the room. There was a coffee table between the two couches.

When Padme reached the nearest couch, she walked around the couch to her right and passed the table. She turned and walked between the couch facing the balcony and the table.

Padme soon sat down on the left side of the couch. She set Mjolnir on its side to her right, on the couch she sat on.

Padme was careful to have axe head of the weapon face away from the back of the couch, to the side.

Next, Padme leaned over the table and she used the holo-monitor on the table between the two couches in her living room to contact the Jedi High Council.

Fortunately, the Jedi Council had given her an emergency code to use to directly contact them if something important had happened. Padme had only used this number a handful of time, for very important reasons that the Jedi Council agreed with her on the importance on.

Padme leaned back on the couch as the holo-monitor began to ring.

After three rings, the holo-communication was answered.

A moment after the holo-comm was answered, Padme saw the small hologram of Mace Windu sitting in his chair, in the council chamber.

The holo-communication was set to switch between council members as they spoke. If two members spoke at once, the holo-commuincation would create a slip display between to two of them, until one or both members stopped speaking, and the hologram returned to showing just one person.

Mace was the first to speak, “Hello Senator Amidala. We were expecting your call.”

Padme asked, “Hello Master Windu. Honored council members. I can guess you saw what happened?”

Mace stated, “Yes.”

Padme commented, “We all know you will be busy later this afternoon.” She thought, 'With Anakin's trials.' She continued, “And given the importance of these events, I believe it is best I give my report to you now. While these events are fresh on everyone's mind.”

Mace stated, “We agree.”

(_)

At that moment, in the Jedi Council Chamber, in the High Council tower, atop the High Council Tower of the Jedi Temple, the holo-cameras in the room showed the hologram of Padme, in a live size form, being displayed in the center of the round room, with the members of the Jedi Council, sitting in their chairs, around the room, as they looked at Padme sitting on her couch.

Most of the Jedi Council members were communicating from holo-comms that displayed their image in their specific chairs. Though, Mace, Yoda, and a few other council members were present, in person, as they sat in their chairs.

Yoda asked, “What can you tell us of this woman?”

Padme stated, “There is much I can say. She called herself, Loki Laufeyson. She claimed to be a Goddess of Fire. She can summon fire like I can summon lightning. So, there is some truth to her claim. She hinted at knowing about Mjolnir, the hammer. And Thor. Well, she said there were Thors. As well as many different types of Mjolnir hammers, maces, and swords. Though, she hinted those Thors might not be around anymore. She did not sound sure on the subject.”

Yoda could sense concern and worry from some of the council members present.

Mace commented, “I doubt we are lucky enough there are not any more Thors, save for yourself.”

Padme went onto say, “I doubt we are that lucky. Also, she good with her sword. She is strong and fast. I can tell she was greatly holding back.”

Mace asked, “What were her motives?”

Padme said, “I am not sure. Her tactics were unpredictable. Her statements were... Odd... Parts of her statements were as if she was remembering lines from a play. Like there was some private joke that only she understood.”

Yoda commented, “Possibly the words of an unstable mind. This Loki Laufeyson could be mentally unbalanced and unwell.”

Mace commented, “Anyone picking a fight with you, as Thor, is not play with a full sabacc deck.”

Padme stated, “I agree. Also, I want to apologize for losing this person. I literally followed her around a a corner of a building and I lost her in a crowd.”

Yoda said, “Given this Loki abilities are not known. There is not blame on anyone for her escape.”

Mace commented, “It is better that you are alive and unharmed, with this person escaping. Than have you severely injured. Besides, I am sure she will show up some time.”

Padme mentioned, “I believe so. She has a very flamboyant personality. Though, I am not as unharmed as you may think. During our battle, Loki sword cut my right upper arm. I healed, but the wound left as scar.”

Yoda requested, in a concerned his tone of voice, “Please, show us the scar.”

The council members then watched as the hologram of Padme turned to allow the right side of her upper right arm to show more conspicuously on the holo-camera.

Due to Padme's gown being sleeveless, all Padme had to do was turn to her left so the holo-camera could see the side of her right shoulder and upper arm.

The council members saw the small healed scar on her upper right arm, where Loki's sword had cut her while she was in her enhanced from. Thor's healing abilities had already long since healed the wound. But, there was not a small, faded scar which ran across the outer side of her right upper arm.

Padme looked over at the scar. Then, turned her head towards her holo-monitor, while keeping her right side facing the holo-monitor. Padme stated, “While the wound healed. It left a scar. As Thor that had not happened before. Any wounds I received at Thor quickly healed and left no visible marks.”

Padme turned to have her front face the holo-camera. Padme laid her hands in her lap.

Yoda commented, “That this Loki Laufeyson has the power to harm you as Thor, with left a mark behind as a reminder, means her weapon likely uses the same, or similar type of power as Mjolnir. Be wary of Loki Laufeyson and her abilities. This means her blade and her powers might be able to cause you a crippling, or even a mortal injury.”

Padme stated, “I will keep that in mind. This is further proof, along with her knowing the name of the hammer. Mjolnir. That she likely is from the same place as where Mjolnir is from.”

Mace agreed, “That is a possibility.”

Depa Billaba commented, “This is troublesome to hear.”

Saesee Tiin said, “Let us hope this is not the case.”

Mace quickly reigned in the worries from some of the other council members, by stating, “Let us not think about what might happen. Let us focus on what has happened.”

Shaak Ti said, “Be that as it may. This woman's fire was green and unnatural.”

Plo Koon pointed out, “Actually, some chemical based fires give off a green hue. So to say this Loki's fire was unnatural may not be true. She maybe natural powers that we do not understand. Just as, Senator Amidala here uses Mjolnir to summon the elements pertaining to the nature of storms. Wind. Water. Lightning.”

Mace said, “That is a good point.”

Ki-Adi-Mundi commented, “Whether her powers are natural or not. She clearly showed she is a wild card in this situation. And one we do not need during this war.”

Plo Koon stated, “Actually, a wild card might be for the best. It is clear that Dooku is an excellent planner, but he cannot plan for what he does not know. We can use this to our advantage.”

Mace turned to Plo Koon. Mace commented, “We are fortunate that Dooku underestimated the Senator here during their battle on Naboo.”

Padme heard Mace's comment, but she did not reply.

Depa Billaba inquired, “Those are good points. Do you think it is too late to offer Loki an alliance with us?”

Yoda looked around the room. He calmly suggested, “Let us hear what Senate Amidala thinks on this matter.” Yoda turned to the hologram of Padme. He inquired, “What is your opinion of this Loki Laufeyson?”

All eyes in the council chamber turned to look at the hologram of Padme.

Padme calmly stated, “I do not believe Loki is looking for an alliance with anyone. She wanted to see me. And to talk to me. But she was clearly toying with me. Also, none of the hostages were harmed. Except for the doors, a scorch mark on an outer wall, and two droids being shot, there was no real damage. I have the feeling she wanted to talk to me while an audience was present. She even talked about us having an audience. Though, she stated the audience were not the hostages. Though, I do not know why. Perhaps the audience was the views watching what happen by the holo-news feeds.”

Yoda said, “Perhaps. Though, such matters will reveal themselves in the fullness of time.”

Padme responded, “I hope that is the case. Though, I did get the sense that Loki was not being cruel. She was just being playful.”

Yoda stated, “With her power, let us hope she remains playful.”

Mace spoke up, “Sorry to cut this short. But we have other more immediate concerns to deal with.”

Padme requested, “Yes. Please, let me how Anakin's trials go.”

Mace said, “We will.”

Padme replied, “Thank you.”

The council members watched as Padme's hologram reached over and ended the transmission on her ended. Padme's hologram disappeared.

The Jedi Council members then began talking about other matters concerning the Clone Wars and minor disputes within the Galactic Republic.

(_)

At the moment, inside the living room of Padme's apartment, Padme had just turned off her small holo-monitor on the table in front of her.

Padme leaned back in the cushioned couch she was sitting in.

Padme looked to her right side, as Mjolnir sitting on its side, on the couch by her.

Padme looked to her right upper arm, as she wondered about her new scar, and the woman whom that had given her the scar.

Padme looked passed the windows in front of her and out at the cityscape, as she mentally reflected, “I wonder who Loki really is? I sense not hints of malice, nor cruelty in her actions. So, what drives a person like that. Maybe she did so for the thrill. She did find humor and entertainment in what she did.'

Then, Padme remembered something that Yoda told her years ago. Padme continued her thoughts, 'Yoda did warn me that the power I now have would attract the dangerous, the cunning, and the bold. Loki would definitively fit all three of those categories.”

'Loki had me a few times in that fight. If she wanted me dead. I would be dead. Clearly she did not. Actually, she stated she was here to teach me. I admit I did learn a few things from her in our duel.'

'Though, onto other matters. I wonder why the council members believe that Dooku underestimated my powers, during our fight on Naboo. While that is partly true. It was not the determining factor in that battle. So why did they mention that?... It is possible that Obiwan downplayed that battle in his report to them. I know that he had to report that battle to the Council. But why?... Of course. Dooku is one of the best force users the Jedi ever trained. If I easily bested him that would likely create a rift between myself and the Jedi Council. That would cause problems.'

'While it would be unwise to inform Obiwan that I know he is covering for me, I will be nicer to him. Also, I will informed Obiwan, Anakin, and Ahsoka of what happened, in private. Later. After Anakin's trials. Anakin has enough problems to deal with. He does not need this on his mind.'

'I am glad that Anakin and Obiwan shared with me what exactly are involved with these trials for knighthood.'

'Also, I remember a week ago, after our vacation ended. Anakin mentioned the vision Mjolnir gave him. He told Obiwan, Ahsoka, and I, how the vision showed how he could become a monster. While I found what he told me to be a disturbing. I did what I could to comfort him. We all agreed he should incorporate that vision into his Trial of the Spirit. By him having that vision he had been forewarned. And with luck and vigilance, he will not become that monster he saw in his vision.'

Padme turned to Mjolnir, as she thought, 'And we have you to thank for that warning.'

Padme looked upward, towards her ceiling, as she sighed. She thought, 'What am I going to do now. I am to keyed up to head back to the Senate Building to continue such mundane work as looking over documents. And listening to the debate in the Senate Rotunda would be like torture to my ears right now.'

'My friends are busy at the Jedi Temple with Anakin's trials, I cannot go there and visit them. And I have never been that much of a party girl. So hitting the town, especially by myself, is not a wise idea.'

Padme looked around her living room, as she mentally reflected, 'I think I will take a break from everything. I will spend the afternoon lounging around in my apartment, watching holo-soaps... I have not done that in a while.'

'I will wait for Obiwan's call concerning how Anakin handled his trials. It is going to be a while. But, I am patient. I was learned patience when I was younger. And the lessons I learned from Obiwan have only increased the levels of my patience.'

'Besides, I have plenty to think about. And boredom is the least the worries on my mind.'

Then, Padme relaxed, as she enjoyed taking it easy in her apartment for the afternoon.

(_)

A few hours later it was the early afternoon, inside the Jedi High Council Chambers, in the southwestern tower of the Jedi Temple.

Due to the desire by the Jedi High Council for Anakin Skywalker to take his trials for knighthood, the day before, when Obama has request the Council to schedule Anakin's trials, the Council informed him they would schedule Anakin's trials for the early afternoon of the next day. Right after the council had finished conducting an afternoon meeting.

The Jedi Council requested that Anakin and Obiwan were to come at thirteen hundred hours and wait in the anti-chamber until they were called into the council chamber.

Obiwan had always requested that Ahsoka join them for the first trial. That it would be a good learning experience Ahsoka. The council members agreed to Obiwan's request.

Anakin, Obama and Ahsoka came to the anti-chamber at the top of the High Council Tower at ten minutes to thirteen hundred hours.

Anakin was dressed in a white long sleeve shirt, white pants, a black belt and black boots. Anakin had his lightsaber holstered on the left side of his belt. He had on his brown Jedi robe over his clothing.

Obama was dress in a brown short sleeve shirt, brown pants, a dark brown belt, with his brown Jedi robe over his clothing.

Ahsoka wore a red short sleeve shirt, a dark purple short skirt that went to her knees, purple boots, and a dark blue belt around her waist. She had her brown Jedi robe over her clothing.

Anakin and Obiwan each had their lightsaber holstered on their belt. Ahsoka did not bring her lightsaber due to it being formal that Jedi padawans and Jedi knights did not bring their lightsabers into the council unless they were required to do so, or they were accompanied by a Jedi Master whom wished them to have their lightsaber.

Though, Jedi Masters were afforded the courtesy of having their lightsaber holstered while in the Jedi Council chamber, if the Jedi Master desired to do so.

Half an hour later, the doors to the council chamber slid open, with Obiwan, Anakin, and Ahsoka invited into the chamber.

Also, the Jedi High Council invited someone else whom would take part in Anakin's trials.

The daylight coming from the windows offered plenty of illumination in the room to see with.

The final preparations for Anakin trials had been made. And Anakin's trials were about to begin.

The trials were separated into five parts. And each part tested a different part of Anakin's skills. And Anakin had to pass all five test to be granted the title of Jedi Knight.

The first trial, as the Trial of Skill. Which in most cases came down to a test of skill against a Jedi skilled in lightsaber combat.

In this case, the Jedi Battlemaster, Jedi Temple Chief of Security, and Jedi Master Cin Drallig.

Cin Drallig wore a brown long sleeve shirt, dark gray pants, brown boots. He had on a red, sleeveless vest, with a belt around the waist line of his vest where he holstered his lightsaber. Also, he wore his brown Jedi robe.

Jedi Master Drallig used a green lightsaber. Jedi Master Drallig was an older, fair skinned, human man. Though, Cin Drallig was still young enough to have dark blond hair, with some gray hairs showing.

Anakin and Cin stood a little over two meters away from each other in the center of the chamber. Both men faced each other.

The Jedi Council members were in their seats. While some where projecting holograms in their seats, from other locations in the galaxy, most of the council members were present. Including Mace and Yoda being there in person, whom were both sitting in their seats. Though, the chair Yoda sat in was his hover chair.

Yoda's hover chair was dock with a larger base where Yoda sat during the Jedi High Council meetings.

Obiwan and Ahsoka stood besides each other, half a meter behind Yoda's chair, with their backs to the curved wall.

Obiwan was to Ahsoka's right side.

Anakin was careful in what he thought. He realized he could not use his mental defenses without the Council members asking why he was shielding his thoughts and emotions from them.

While Anakin looked at Cin, he took a deep breath. Then, Anakin slowly let out his breath.

Cin noticed this. He looked at Anakin. Cin calmly said, “Relax Skywalker. Even if I defeat you. It is not the end.”

Anakin look at Cin. He responded, “I am not worried. It is just that I have waited for this day for a very long time. And it is finally here.”

Cin stated, in a calm tone of voice, “Yes. This is a turning point in your life. And know this. I have known many people whom failed the trials to go on to lead good lives. So if you do fail, it is not the end.”

Anakin understood the subtext of what Cin said. He thought, 'I have heard that suicides are not uncommon after padawans failed their trials without a second chance given. But, I will not go that way.'

Anakin replied, “I realize that. I see many opportunities in my future.”

Anakin mentally reflect, 'Even if I left the order. Between my notoriety and Padme's connections. I would be fine. And I could look forward to other part of life without worry. But that would be after this war is over.

Cin complimented, “That is a good outlook to have.”

From his seat, by the wall, Mace Windu spoke up.

Mace said, “Gentlemen.”

From Mace's point of view, Anakin stood to his right and Cin stood to his left.

Anakin and Cin turned to face Mace.

Mace stated, “Padawan Skywalker. We have all been looking for to this day. When you take the Trials for Knighthood. Dueling Battlemaster Drallig will be your first test. The Trial of Skill. The first of five trials. A worthy trial for you. I wish you luck. I am not alone in this sentiment.”

“The rules are simple. Fight until one combatant yields. Or, one can no longer fight. Though, this is not a blood sport. The point is to show one's skill by defeating the opponent. Not by maiming, nor killing the opponent. As such, direct use of the force is prohibited. This place is too small for such battles. Though, you may use the force to enhance your physical abilities, and guide your hands in the force. But, we will know if you use anger, or any other negative emotions to aid you during this fight.”

Anakin thought, 'Yes. You are sensing my emotions, to make sure I do not rely on the dark side, as I do this. That is a fair precaution.'

Mace instructive, “Also, since Master Drallig is the Order's current Battlemaster, even if you are defeated Padawan Skywalker. Depending on your performance in this duel, you may still pass the Trial of Skill. Now turn to face each other.”

Anakin and Cin turned to face each other.

Mace ordered, “Now present you weapons. Ignite them. And take your stances.”

Anakin and Cin each pulled out their lightsaber.

They ignited their energy blades to their side. Both Anakin and Cin each used a green blade lightsaber.

Cin took an offensive two-handed stance, while Anakin took on a two-handed defensive stance.

Cin commented, “Interesting. I would have expected The Hero Without Fear to take a more aggressive battle stance.”

Anakin explained, “Between us, you are the more skilled lightsaber duelist. I figure I would let you make the first move. I will plan my battle from there.”

Cin said, “I see how experience in battle has taught you well. Instead of immediately attacking the unknown. You wait for your opponent to offer a clue to their abilities, and then you act on that clue.”

Anakin admitted, “Yes.”

Cin smiled, as he complimented, “I believe you will do well in this trial.”

Anakin returned Cin's smile with his own. Anakin replied, “Thank you.”

Mace asked, “Before we begin. Padawan Skywalker? Is there is anything you would like to add?”

By the wall, behind Yoda, Obiwan and Ahsoka shared a look towards each other. They then looked back over at Anakin and Cin,

Obiwan thought, 'For the Trial of Courage and Trial of the Flesh. We talked. And for those two tests we decided to roll the dice. I just hope we do not get thrown out of the Order over this. Though, we had to tell Ahsoka some things. But, that was necessary. Though, we did not tell her everything. I our plan works, or Anakin and I will be walking out of the Order by nightfall. And we will have to come up with something quick to keep Ahsoka from being sent to the Argocorps.'

Anakin kept his eyes on his opponent, as he stated, “Only that I wish to prove my worthiness to become a Jedi Knight.”

Mace commented, “A good answer.” He thought, 'And you did not even take your eyes off your opponent. Showing you have become a good judge of your priorities. You will need to as as a Jedi Knight. Now let us see how skills you have become.'

Mace stated. “Begin.”

Cin was the first to strike with his green blade. Anakin countered the strike with a parry of his green blade.

Anakin remained on the defensive for two more of Cin's strikes. By then, Anakin realized which styles and techniques Cin was using, from a combination of Cin's lightsaber strikes, body stance and footwork.

Anakin adjusted his fighting stance. Then, Anakin went on the attack, with surprising effectiveness.

As Cin was forced on the defensive, he realized he was in for a decent fight.

A few seconds later, Cin was able to force Anakin on the defensive. But, after a few more attacks, Anakin forced Cin back on the defensive. This went back and forth.

While the fight continued, everyone remained silent, so as to not risk disturbing to the combats as they watched this duel of fates.

The speed of the two combatants was a blur of movements and green lights clashing against each other.

Both combatants used a combination of their skills with a lightsaber and the force to enhance their physical abilities, while having the force guide their attacks.

Even the most skilled of Jedi Masters whom were present were having difficulty keeping track of the movements of the two combatants.

In the span of a few seconds, the two combatants sidestepped each others attacks two six times, they clashed their blades in parries over dozen times, and they struck out as each others defenses countless more times.

But so far, the duel was stalemate.

Neither opponent moved much around the center of the room.

Suddenly, less than minute into the battle, both combatants stopped fighting.

Those present whom knew Cin and his abilities were mildly surprised at what they saw.

Cin had his lightsaber held at the ready in front of him. But, Anakin was standing to Cin's left side. With Anakin's green blade between Cin's green blade and the front of Cin's throat, above Cin's arms.

Neither combatant was harmed. But both knew the battle was over.

Cin turned to face Anakin. He stated, “I yield to you superior fighting skills.”

Anakin replied, “And I accepted your defeat.” Anakin deactivated his lightsaber, and he holstered his weapon on the left side of his belt.

Cin deactivated his lightsaber, and put holstered it on his belt.

Cin turned to face his body towards Anakin.

Cin offered right hand out for Anakin.

Anakin took Cin's right hand with his own. Both both of them having a firm grip, as they shook hands

During the handshake, Cin gave Anakin a smile. He complimented, “A good match.”

Anakin returned Cin's smile. Anakin agreed, “A very good match.”

Then, they broke their handshake.

Cin commented, “I did not expect this battle to be over so quickly.”

Anakin said, “Nether did I.”

Cin stated, “It has been years since I have faced an opponent that was so fast, yet had such powerful, and clearly directed strikes.”

Anakin commented, “I am use to training with a very fast, and very strong opponent.”

The others in the room realized that Anakin was talking about training with Padme, in her stronger form.

Mace thought, 'I see that training Padme has also increased Anakin's skills as well. I nice benefit for everyone involved.'

Mace turned his head to look over at Ahsoka and Obiwan, as he continued his thoughts, 'And from what I have been told by Obiwan, Padme has been practicing with Ahsoka. With her force abilities and lightsaber skills also increasing at a greater rate than expected. Also, Obiwan has nothing but good things to say about Padme teaching Ahsoka lessons on manners and diplomacy. Obiwan. I am sure you dueling with Padme has caused you to brush up on your skills as well, my friend.'

Mace turned back to look at Anakin, as he mentally reflected, 'This is a pleasant surprise. Even better. Anakin defeated Master Drallig in honest combat. Without any harm coming to either of them. This was a display of skill on both their parts. I sense no anger from Anakin as he fought Master Drallig. Which shows he has not only increased in skill, but also maturity. Both of which are needed to make a well rounded Jedi Knight.'

Cin admitted, “After this duel. I would hesitate to want to fight you in actual combat.”

Anakin stated, “I feel the same way. Though, I would like to spar with you again. Sometime.”

Cin said, “Of course. I believe we can learn a lot from each other. I can guess the one you mentioned sparring with is. This Thor, whom we have all heard about.”

Anakin replied, “Yes.”

Cin requested, “Do you think you could convince her to come visit me someday? So I may spar with her as well.”

Anakin said, “She is a very busy woman. But we will see.”

Cin responded, “Of course. We all have our duties.”

Anakin commented, “Though, I will make the offer to her.”

Cin replied, “Thank you.”

Cin turned to looked around the room, at the council members. His gaze stopped at Mace Windu. Cin calmly stated, “I feel Padawan Skywalker has passed the Trial of Skill.”

By then, Anakin had turned to face Mace.

At this point, Anakin was to Mace's left and Cin was to Mace's right.

Mace looked between Cin and Anakin, as he commented, “Yes. I believe we can all agree that Padawan Skywalker his passed his first trial.”

Yoda said, “Yes. The first trial you have completed, young Skywalker. Four more to go.”

Mace stated, “The next two trials. The Trial of Courage, and the Trial of the Flesh are tricky ones.”

Anakin calmly said, “Honored Council members. Should I be allowed to explain. I believe there are extenuating circumstances that would allow me to forgo the Trial of Courage and the Trial of the Flesh.”

There was some muffled laughs, and hidden smiles, from some of the council members.

Mace cracked grin a grin, as he stated, “It has been a while since a Padawan tried to dodge the Trials. But we will hear you out.”

Yoda asked, in an even tone of voice, “What are your reasons? Padawan?”

Everyone noted that Yoda had emphasized the word, Padawan, in his question.

Anakin calmed stated, “In a way, I have already faced these trials. When is comes to the Trial of the Flesh. Well...” Anakin remained composed, as he continued, “My mother is dead. She died in my arms.”

Anakin statement took the Council members, and Cin, by surprise. Through the force they could tell from Anakin's emotional state that he was telling the truth. That his mother, Shmi Skywalker, was dead. All humor from the council members ended. Some looked look saddened and concerned for Anakin.

Meanwhile Obiwan and Ahsoka remained calm with both of them

Yoda inquired, in an even tone of voice, “This happened some time ago? During your assignment to guard Senator Amidala? At one point, I felt that you were in great pain. Was that when this tragedy occurred?”

Anakin looked at Yoda. Anakin soberly answered, “Yes. And there is more. A month before I was assigned to guard... Senator Amidala, I began having visions of my mother suffering.”

Anakin forced himself to not look at Obiwan, as he continued to look at Yoda. He said, in a sober tone of voice, “I was told to ignore my visions and focus on my tasks as a member of the Jedi Order. Eventually, after I was assigned to guard Amidala, I went back to my homeworld of Tatooine. I searched for my mother. I had found that my mother had been kidnapped by Sand People a month beforehand.”

“When I tracked down my mothers, I found her tied up, and held like a piece of meat. She has been tortured. She was still barely alive. I cut her down. We spoke to each other for a few seconds... Very brief seconds... And then she died in my arms. My reaction afterward was... human.”

The council members were not sure how to take last part of Anakin's comment and they were not sure they wanted to know.

Shaak Ti asked, “Why did you not tell us this, sooner?

Anakin turned to Shaak Ti. He calmly said, “Because I felt the Jedi were partly responsible for her death?”

No one challenged Anakin's claim. Because they all realized he was correct.

Mace questioned, “Yet you still remained within the Order? Why?”

Anakin turned to Mace. Anakin reigned in his emotions, as he said, in an even tone of voice, “Yes. I did. I still felt I had a duty to perform. Though, if it comes to pain. I could cut off my arm and it would likely be less painful than having my mother die in pain in front of me.”

“As for courage. I have faced several battles. I have even fought dark force users. Never once did I show fear. You could send me on a very dangerous mission. But all that would do would confirm what you already know.”

“Though, before you send me on such a mission, I would say my greatest act of courage is forcing myself to move beyond this by not allowing my bitterness and anger to drive a wedge between me and the Order. Though, it has not been easy. I am still trying to allow myself to forgive both you and myself.”

Yoda look at Anakin with concern and sorrow in his eyes.

A second later, Anakin noticed this, and he looked back towards Yoda. Anakin saw Yoda's concern and sadness in Yoda's eyes.

Yoda stated, “The Trial of the Flesh is about dealing with pain and loss. Having enough pain to be felt across the galaxy is more than enough suffering to be considered facing the Trial of the Flesh.”

“As for the Trial of Courage. You are fearless in battle. But it is comforting for you to have gained enough wisdom and maturity to realize that courage is also found outside of the battlefield. Even through forgiveness can courage be found. You have already passed both trials. Your request has been granted.”

Anakin, Obiwan, nor Ahsoka, reacted to Yoda's statement.

Obiwan thought, 'We are not out of the woods yet.'

No one was going to disagree with decision by Yoda, the Grandmaster of the Jedi High Council.

Mace looked over at Yoda. Then, he looked at Anakin. Mace complimented, “Well done. It looks like you have successfully convinced the council to forgo two of the Trials. We could also count this as passing the Trial of Insight. No riddle could be equal the intelligence and cunning needed to convince the council to do something like this.”

Anakin turned to Mace. Anakin commented, “I hope to take Trial of Insight. I enjoy solving puzzles. That is why one of my hobbies is being a mechanic.”

Mace said, “That will be fine.”

Yoda commented, “Though, you must still also pass the Trial of the Spirit. You still must face the mirror.”

Anakin turned to Yoda. Anakin said, “I look forward to facing the mirror.”

Yoda stated, “Most people whom face the mirror do not like what they find. Even those that pass the trial are sometimes shaken by the experience.”

Anakin commented, “I believe I know what to expect. And I will face this trial head on.”

Yoda said, “Then let us continue”

Yoda used the controls on his hover chair to gently rose up to a quarter of a meter above the base the hover chair had been docked to.

While Yoda's chair hovered in place, Yoda used the controls on his chair to turn his chair around to face Obiwan and Ahsoka.

Yoda looked at Obiwan and Ahsoka, as the two individuals looked back at Yoda. Obiwan was to Yoda's left. And Ahsoka was to Yoda's right.

Yoda focused on Obiwan, as he stated, “Master Kenobi. Take Padawan Skywalker to the mirror.” Yoda turned to Ahsoka, as he commented, “Though, Padawan Tano. You will not be allowed to attend.”

Ahsoka said, “I understand.”

Obiwan stated, “Yes sir.”

Ahsoka and Obiwan began walking around the outer wall of the chamber, behind the chairs the council members sitting in, as they headed for the exit.

Yoda turned his chair around to watch this.

While Obiwan and Ahsoka made their way to the exit, in the center of the room, Anakin and Cin turned and headed for the exit.

All four individuals reached the double-doors at the same time. With the doors automatically sense their approach and slid open for them.

The four individuals walked out of the room.

A few seconds later, the doors sliding closed behind them

Cin went back to his duties in overseeing the security for the Jedi Temple and overseeing those members studying their lightsaber styles and techniques.

Ahsoka going to the Jedi Archives to continue her studies and to take her mind off of what Anakin was likely about to face.

Meanwhile, Obiwan escorted Anakin to face the mirror.

(_)

A few hours later, it was sunset, just before night outside of the Jedi Temple. But, the Trial of the Spirit was not to be rushed. It sometimes took time to have this vision. And rushing would only prevent the needed vision to take the Trial of the Spirit.

The mirror was not actually a mirror, but an ancient force artifact that allowed force users to gain deep insight into themselves.

The room itself was the artifact.

What was not widely know about the Jedi Temple was that it sat on a nexus point of dark force energy. The mirror being located right on top of the nexus point.

While there were light side nexus points. The ancient Jedi decided to set the Jedi Temple on the dark nexus point because they believed being exposed to the dark side of the force would create a resistant to the dark side if the force.

Though, some ancient Jedi believed that the dark nexus point instead corrupted Jedi and made them more susceptible to the lure of the dark side of the force. But those Jedi were overruled. Still the debate continued on the matter within the upper levels of the Jedi order to the present day.

The room was located below the Jedi Temple, several floors beneath the large ziggurat.

The room itself was square shaped. The room was fifty meters wide, fifty meter long, and fifty meters height. With large, rounded columns going up the four corners of the room.

There were four sets of double-doors leading into the room. One from each wall. The doors were not electrical sliding door. Each door swung on double-hinges. There were no knobs or locks on the doors.

This was because such visions in the mirror has been known to cause the padawan having the vision to involuntarily erupted force lightning with shorted out electrons and harmed those nearby.

In addition, sometimes the padawan having the vision would cause the force to push or pull the surrounding area. So, with each door swinging on double-hinges it was less likely the for the doors to be damages as the doors were pulled forward or pushed back during a padawan having their vision.

The Jedi High Council was not worried about someone accidentally coming down to this level. There were only two ways down to the this level. And elevator that went solely to the level was set near the security area of the Jedi Temple. And the elevator required both a numerical code to enter the elevator by a set of double-doors. There was a numerical pad by the elevator doors at the top of the elevator.

Another numerical code had to be entered in a numerical pad inside the elevator to have the elevator go down to the floor where the mirror was located, with another set of double-doors opening up to the mirror level.

The other way was a spirally stair case that went down in a clockwise fashion, with only a top entrance by the security area of the Jedi Temple and the bottom door to the mirror level. The staircase had interior and outer railings that ran with the steps.

The double-doors to the stairway located across the hall from the elevator and requested a numerical code by the double-doors. Also, there was another numerical code was required to be entered by the double-doors at the bottom to open the double-doors to the mirror level.

All four sets double-doors slid open and slid closed.

The doors to the elevator and the stairway at the level with the mirror opened up to a hallway, with the stairway door and elevator door facing each other.

A numerical code was not required to open the stairway door at the bottom to enter the stairway and not to exit the stairway at the top. The same for the elevator, in that one did not need an numerical code to summon the elevator, take the elevator back up the surface part of the Jedi Temple and exit the elevator.

There was a simple button on a panel by the bottom stairway doors and another button on a panel by the bottom elevator doors. There was simple button on a panel on the interior by the doors at the top of the staircase to open the doors at the top of the staircase. There was a simple button by the numerical pad inside the elevator to open the doors to the top level of the elevator by the security area of the temple, or send the elevator to the top level and open the doors.

This was designed so that if someone did accidentally wonder down into the mirror level they could easily make their way back up to the surface part of the Jedi Temple.

Though, the temple security keep a log of when any of the four doors were opened. In addition, security personnel were immediately informed by their computer systems when any of the four doors the mirror level were open.

Temple security was also informed in advance of anyone schedule to use the mirror for a vision. This did not just include padawans. Some Jedi Knights and Jedi Masters used the mirror to help them have visions in the force. Though, they did not have the visions without someone else present, in case something went wrong.

At the mirror level, the elevator doors and the stairway doors opened up to a hallway.

Ten meters down that hallway to the left the elevator doors and right of the stairway doors left to a intersection. Directly in front of the hallway was a set of double-doors into the mirror room. To the right and left of intersection was a set of hallways that left to ninety degree turns on corners which wrapped around the mirror hallway, with a set of double-doors on each side of encircled hallway.

The hallway was fifty meters high and four meters wide.

This design was so that should someone having a vision unleash power in the force the walls of the mirror room could blow out into the hallway instead of the main support walls on the other sides of the hallway. This was a precaution to prevent a collapse of the sets of room on the mirror level.

Five meters to the right of the bottom elevator doors and left of the bottom staircase doors lead to were a set of unlocked double-hinged push door which lead to a small restroom with working utilities and toiletries. Though, the door could be locked from the inside for privacy.

All the hallways, staircase, and elevators were illuminate with normal lighting bulbs in the ceiling.

Also, ventilation systems which were part of the Jedi Temple's ventilation systems kept fresh air moving through the staircase, elevator and mirror level at a comfortable temperature, like the rest of the Jedi Temple.

Another reason the Jedi High Council was not worried about someone stumbling on the mirror room not was the location was inherently dangerous unless someone tapped into the dark force energy. This required either a force master whom would be able to handle such power. Or, hours of meditation, which anyone foolish to come accidentally down to the room would likely not have the patience for, nor desire to do.

Mace, Yoda, Obiwan, and Anakin had taken the elevator down to the mirror level.

Inside the mirror room there were lights bulbs on the walls. Though, the lights were dimmed where there was just enough light to see around with.

Presently, in the center of the room was dark room, Anakin sat in a crosslegged meditation stance, on a padded mat. He had his eyes closed as he meditated.

In one of the corners of the room, to Anakin's right side, behind him, silently stood Obiwan and Mace. With Yoda sitting in his hover chair by the two Jedi Masters.

Mace and Yoda were there to watch over and judge Anakin's current test of his soul. While Obiwan was there to step in, if his friend and apprentice needed help.

It was not uncommon for a force vision during this the Trial of The Spirit to go wrong. Some of those taking the trial went too deep into their psyche and they could not get out unscathed. Someone needed to be present to make sure that if something did go wrong, the student would not be mentally scarred in a permanent manner.

Also, if a person had a bad experience with a vision it could cause that person to unleash the force. So those present had to be on guard and act quickly to try to bring the person out of their vision if their force powers began to manifest, to prevent harm to the one having the vision, or those present.

If those present sense the padawan go into their vision and then begin to manifest the force during the Trial of Spirit, even if the vision was interrupted, the padawan was deemed to have a vision and passed the Trial of Spirit.

The point of the trial was to have a vision.

In addition, those present were there to confirm with their senses in the force that the padawan did have a vision. And those present were to make sure the padawan did not fake having a vision.

This test was more about sincerity in facing one's self than anything else, with each padawan having to meditate and have a vision that the padawan sought out.

It took time for someone get into the proper meditative state.

For Anakin it took him a few hours to reach the proper state of mind.

Suddenly, Anakin's eyes snapped over, as he realized his vision had began.

Anakin saw the room fill with red smoke. Anakin stood up. He force himself to feel no fear as he allowed vision to play itself out.

Anakin knew he was going to a dark place and he was ready.

The smoke soon cleared, and he found himself on a small black stone island, surrounded by a river of fast moving red lava. Black clouds blocked out the sky, with the light coming from the lava.

The heat was unbearable, but Anakin silently endured.

Anakin heard the snap-hiss of the sound of a lightsaber being ignited behind him, with a constant hum following the snap-hiss.

Anakin turned around and whom he saw caused him to feel a little fear.

Three meters away from him, on the black rock floor of the small island he was on, was a large, tall, man in black. The man wore black armor. From head to toe, the man was completely covered in black. He had on a large helmet, with a faceplate. Between the helmet and faceplate, his head and face were completely covered.

He had a black cape, black gloves, black belt, black leggings and black boots. The bottom of the black leggings were tucked into the top of the black boots.

There was a black metal chain attached the top ends of the black cape around the top front of his lower neck.

The man had a black set of armor had a collar guard that attached to the faceplate and helmet, and covered the entry neck. The collar guard went down below the next to stop at the top of the chest. The collar guard was placed over the black long sleeve shirt, but under the black cape.

The man's black faceplate had a grill for a triangle mouth. There were virtual lines on the grill. One corner of the triangular grill pointed upwards, meeting at the button of the nose of the face plate. The other two points of the triangular grill was the button of the mouth on the faceplate. Above the mouth, between the bridge of the nose, was two bulging black smooth eyes.

On the front of his chest appeared to be a control panel box. From where Anakin stood, Anakin could hear the man breathing heavily.

The man held the hilt of his lightsaber in his right hand. The man pointed the ignited red energy blade in a downward, diagonal angle, away from his right side, towards the ground.

The man in black spoke, with an electronically modulated voice, “I have been expecting you.”

Anakin calmly responded, “And I have been looking for you.”

The man in black held his lightsaber to his right side, as he walked over to Anakin.

The man in black came to a stop to stand less than meter from Anakin. The black armored man was taller than Anakin. Anakin was forced to gaze upward to view the faceplate of the man in black.

Anakin did nothing as he looked at the man in black. Anakin said, “I know you? I just do not know your name?”

The man in black answered, in an electronically modulated voice, “I am Darth Vader. Lord of the Sith. Master of the force. I am what you will be.”

Anakin remained calm, as he firmly said, in an even tone of voice, “No. You are merely a shadow. An illusion of what could be. Created from my fears and anger. Padme's hammer, Mjolnir, showed me what I would do if I became you. I will not commit those acts. I will strive not to be you.”

Vader stated, “Rejecting me is rejecting a part of yourself. Lying to yourself. This will only hasten your fall to the dark side.”

Anakin commented, “I never said that I reject you. You are a part of me. You are the dark reflection of me. All people have a dark side. I have the privilege to meeting my darkness in person.”

“That does not mean I will let you control me. You are a part of me. But a small part. You are a warning of what I should not be. Not what I should be.”

Anakin continued, in a firmer tone of voice, “This is my vision. You cannot harm me. The path of a Jedi is peace. Not violence.”

In response, Vader roared, as he raised his lightsaber over Anakin's head.

Anakin did nothing but stand there. Anakin did not even flinch as Vader swung his lightsaber downward at Anakin.

Then, nothing happened, and Vader disappeared.

Suddenly, Anakin saw her was inside a home, with the light coming from the nearby windows.

Anakin slowly walked through the home. Eventually, he made it to dining room.

What Anakin saw caused him stop in tracks.

Anakin saw Padme, in her normal form. Padme was sitting at a table with two young children. They were across the table from him. And all of them were happy.

Padme turned to Anakin. She asked, “Anakin, come join your family?”

Anakin smiled a bittersweet smile. For he knew this was still a vision. Though, he was deeply touched by what he saw as tears began to run down his cheeks from the happiness he felt.

For Anakin had seen so much darkness in his life. To know that there was the possibility of a good future brought him nothing but joy. That a path of peace and trust could lead to a happiness and a family with Padme.

Anakin said, with joy in his voice, “I'd love too.”

Suddenly, Anakin found himself standing in the center of the dimly lit mirror room.

Obiwan and Mace stood five meters from Anakin, to Anakin's left side. Obiwan was to Mace's left side. Yoda was in his hover chair, hovering a meter off the ground. Yoda was to Mace's right side.

Given Anakin's raw potential in the force, in theory, if Anakin had a bad experience with the force, he could unleash enough force energy to wreck the mirror room and maybe even some of the lower levels of the Jedi Temple above them.

As such, the three Jedi Masters were ready to act at a moments notice to bring Anakin out of his vision.

Fortunately, their concerns were unwarranted.

Obiwan, Mace, and Yoda could sense that Anakin had finished his vision without accidentally unleashing the force on the immediate area.

Obiwan noticed that Anakin had been crying. Obiwan asked, with concern on his tone of voice, “Is something wrong, Anakin?”

Anakin turned to face the three Jedi Masters. Anakin stated, “No. Quite the opposite. I had two visions. One of darkness. One of light. By accepting the darkness as a part of me, I had the vision of the light. And the vision of the light was... Wonderful. Beautiful. Comforting.”

Mace inquired, “What was the vision?”

Anakin cryptically answered, “A good life.”

Yoda commented, “Cryptic. But positive.”

Mace requested, “Care to give us some details?”

Anakin said, “Unfortunately no. It was very personal.”

Yoda stated, “The Trial of the Spirit always is.”

Anakin mentioned, “But I will tell you about the first part of my vision. The dark part. A few weeks ago Mjolnir showed me possible vision of the future.”

Mace asked, “What was the vision?

Anakin answered, “While I do no fully understand what the vision showed me. I believe the vision was a warning concerning my future. Where I was turned to the dark side. I became a monster. I destroyed the Jedi Order. And I ended up crippled to the point of being trapped inside a black suit, with cybernetic limbs. Much like General Grievous is.”

Obiwan thought, with concern, 'Anakin. I remember you talking to Padme, Ahsoka, and myself about this vision. I hoped you did not actually face such a vision again. Though, it seems were able to move passed such dark possibilities.'

Obiwan commented, “It seem you were able to face this vision with strength.”

Mace happily thought, 'I am so happy we decided to embraced Senator Amidala in training her to use that hammer. That mystical weapon saved us from a whole lot of trouble. Every day, Mjolnir and Padme prove how much of a good choice it was in helping them.'

Anakin turned to Obiwan. He said, in a supportive tone of voice, “Yes Master. I faced that possibility in my vision. And I was able move on.” He thought, 'I am glad I told you, Padme, and Ahsoka, about my vision from Mjolnir. Doing so helped me through this trial.'

Yoda questioned, “To be forewarned is to be forearmed. You intended to use your previous vision for this trial?”

Anakin stated, “Yes. I need to face that darkness. And by accepting that darkness as a part of myself. Though, a part that does not control of me. I can now move forward in my future.”

Yoda complimented, “A wise precaution. And a proper one.” Yoda looked around him at the other people present, as he stated, “We must all remember that under the proper chain of circumstances, any one of us could be turned to the dark side and become a dangerous enemy of the Jedi. Such an example would be the fall of Master Dooku.”

Mace commented, “It is a relief that that Mjolnir warned you.”

Anakin responded, “I agree. Will these visions I have shared with you effect the judgment on this test?”

Mace stated, “No. The fact you were willing to share these visions with us will only help you.”

Yoda turned to Anakin. He stated, “Master Windu is correct. From what we have sensed in your emotions. Padawan Skywalker, you passed the Trial of the Spirit.”

Obiwan turned to Anakin. He smiled, as he happily said, “One more to go.”

Mace stated, “Follow Master Yoda and myself to the Trial of Insight. We will take the elevator up to the temple.”

Mace and Yoda turned and headed for the set of double-doors behind them which would lead them directly to the hallway with the elevator and staircase. Anakin and Obiwan turned and followed to the Jedi Council members to Anakin's last trial. The Trial of Insight.

(_)

The Trial of Insight was considered both the deceptively easiest and most difficult trial for a padawan to take in their tests for knighthood. The Trial of Insight could take anywhere between less than a minutes to all day. This was one of the reasons the Trial of Insight was the last for a person to take.

While the other four trials dealt with other areas of a padawan's training and personality, the core concept of the Trial of Insight was solving a type of puzzle.

The Trial of Skill dealt with one's abilities in combat and level of experience in the force.

The Trial of Courage dealt with the willingness to confront and overcome difficult obstacles and dangerous situations.

The Trial of the Flesh dealt with undergoing and dealing with pain and loss.

The Trial of the Spirit dealt with look inward and know what is within one's own soul.

The Trial of Insight was a display of one's cunning and intelligence in finding an answer to a question.

Mace and Yoda lead Anakin and Obiwan to the location of the next, and final trial. The Trial of Insight.

The Trial of Insight varied depending on what type of test the council members overseeing the trials wished for the padawan to take. This test could range from a text based riddle to a physical puzzle which needed to be solves.

To help prevent cheating, both the padawan taking the trials and the Jedi teacher of the padawan taking the trials were not informed of what type of test the padawan would have to solve in their Trial of Insight.

It was considered that if the padawan could not complete and solve the puzzle for their Trial of Insight by the full sunrise of the next morning, then the padawan would be considered to have failed the Trial of Insight.

Mace, Yoda, Anakin, and Obiwan had left the elevator which took them from the mirror level to the level near the security area of the Jedi Temple above the surface of the planet.

Then, Mace and Yoda lead Anakin and Obiwan to another nearby elevator which took them to a higher level in the Jedi Temple. Once they exited the second elevator Mace and Yoda lead Anakin and Obiwan through the hallways of that level in ziggurat of the Jedi Temple.

Yoda used his hover chair, while Mace, Anakin, and Obiwan walked.

They made their way down a hallway until the reached a door on the side wall.

Yoda and Mace came to a stop. Obiwan and Anakin came to a stop behind them. Mace turning around to face Obiwan and Anakin. While Yoda turned around to face them with his hover chair.

Mace turned and press a button on the panel by the door. The door slid open.

Mace turned back to Obiwan and Anakin. He stated, “Padawan Skywalker. This is where you Trial of Insight shall be held.”

Yoda requested, “Padawan Skywalker. Step inside first. And walk to the middle of the room. You have nothing to fear.” He cracked a grin, as he continued, “This is a test of intelligence. Not surprise.”

Anakin could not help but smile in response Yoda's slight attempt at humor. He walked passed his teachers, and into the room.

As Anakin entered the room, he realized the room was a small, square, meditation room. The style of the room an atrium with garden situated around walls of the room.

In front of Anakin was a path of gray flat stones that was wide enough for him to comfortably walk on.

The path lead to the center of the room, where there was a white cloth mat on the floor, which was used for sitting.

In front of the cloth mat was a small area of dirt, encircled with small stones, in the middle of the dirt was a three foot high, one foot wide gray stone pillar, that raised up to end in a lopsided column.

Handing from the top of the stone by a small golden rope, was a foot white tapestry that draped down the stone, in front of the mat, nearly to the floor. On the a white cloth tapestry was alien writing written in black ink.

Around the stone tiles that had the mat and the tiles, was a small pool of water, that surrounded the stone tiles in a, 'U' shape. The water being a few inches below the floor level, with the water being only a few inches deep, with small rocks on the best of the water.

The water was clean by machines moving and replacing the water in a automated circulation system. But this was done slowly and quietly so those meditating in the room would not notice.

Behind the water there was a small area of potted black dirt which wrapped around the walls, except for the break where the door was.

The potted dirt area was one foot deep and at the same level as the stone tiles on the floor.

There were flowers in bloom where were planted all along the potted dirt. The flowers received their water and nutrients from the automated same circulation system that regulated the pool of water below the plants.

There was a skylight located in the center of the ceiling. And while it was dark outside, the artificial light, from interior the sides of the drop down ceiling, provided plenty of light to see with.

Though, for Anakin the most interesting thing about the room was the silence. The room was completely quiet.

Though, with the force, Anakin could sense many people throughout the Jedi Temple. Such as his Obiwan, Mace, and Yoda entering the room behind him.

Also, Anakin could sense Ahsoka in the Jedi Archives. Anakin was proud that his student and friend was using this time in a productive manner. Instead of just being lazy.

Anakin came to a stop in front of the white cloth mat. Anakin looked at the alien writing, on the white tapestry in front of him.

Behind him, Anakin heard Mace's voice stated, “I know this is a bit anticlimactic. But, the final trial also doubles as a cooling exercise from the other trials.”

Anakin turned around to face the door. He saw Mace, and Obiwan standing just inside the door. Mace was to Obiwan's left. Yoda was in his hover chair, hovering over the water to the left of Mace.

A few seconds later, the door slid closed behind the three Jedi Masters.

Anakin said, “Actually I am enjoying the change of pace.” Anakin turned back to look at the white tapestry.

Mace stated, “Good. The writing on the tapestry is the test for your Trial of Insight. This is one of the High Riddles of the Four Sages of Dwartii. You will not find the answer in the Jedi Archives. Considering we removed the answer and a few other answers to such riddles. So there would be no cheating. Though, the council members know the answers to such riddles.”

Anakin thought, 'So this is pass or fail. I see. Even Obiwan was not sure what my Trial of Insight would be. This could be a lot worse. I can think of far more frustrating tests than dealing with a riddle.'

Mace inquired, “Do you know the Dwartii language?”

Anakin continued to look at the writing, as he recalled his lessons on the language, years ago. Anakin stated, “Yes. Though, it has been years since I have used the language.”

Obiwan realized something. Obiwan turned to Mace. Obiwan spoke up, “I instructed him in the language. Though, I likely should have had him brush on this language before the trials. I hope my oversight did not just cost my student his chance at being Jedi Knight.”

While looking at the tapestry, Anakin found he remembered enough of his lessons to able to decipher the ancient, alien language. He looked back towards his teachers. He heard what Obiwan stated. He focused on Obiwan, as he said, “Not to worry. I can read the tapestry.”

Obiwan thought, 'That is good to know. I thought we were going to do the, find the grain of sand among the stones test. Well this one is both easier and harder at the same time. A proper test for the Trial of Insight.'

A thought occurred to Anakin. He inquired, “Though given this is a riddle. I have to ask. Is this riddle a trick question?”

Yoda answered, “A fair question. But, no. There is a clear answer. Though, if one gives an equally compelling answer, one may still pass this trial.”

Mace explained, “The Trial of Insight about showing one's cunning. Not about offering direct solutions. As such, we do give some leeway to more compelling answers to these riddles.”

Obiwan heard what Mace said. Obiwan turned to Mace, as he thought, 'But, not too much leeway. I hope Mace and Yoda are not just going to hand Anakin a passing grade here.' He turned to look at Anakin. He continued his thoughts, 'I will not allow that. For Anakin's sake.'

Anakin requested, “I wish to confirm the question before I began to solve the riddle?”

Yoda said, “You may.”

Anakin turned back to the tapestry, as he read the alien language out loud, in galactic basic, “Assuming I am correct in my translation. This tapestry states. While not intelligence and instruction, what is most gained through the knowledge of life that is equal to both the teacher and the student, when each receive it? And where does this come from?” He turned back to look at his teachers, as he inquired, “Is that correct?”

Yoda answered, “Yes. You are is correct.”

Obiwan felt relief at Yoda's confirmation of Anakin's language skills.

Anakin turned back to look at the tapestry, as he thought about the riddle, 'What is equally valuable to both a teacher and student, that one gains through life? And where does it come from? Knowledge?... No. That was mentioned in the question. What else?...

A minute later, Anakin realized the answer. He thought, 'That has to be the answer. Both parts of it.'

Anakin turned to face his teachers. Anakin stated, “The first part of the answer is wisdom. The second part of the answer is that wisdom comes from experience.”

In response, Anakin saw Mace and Yoda smile towards him.

Mace stated, “Congratulations Padawan Skywalker. You have passed the Trial of Insight.”

Anakin remained calm.

Yoda said, “There is still much to discuss. Come to the anti-chamber outside the high council chamber in twenty minutes time. And come alone.”

Anakin calmly replied, “I will do as you request.”

Mace and Yoda turned and left the room. Mace pressed a button on a panel by the door. The door opened. Mace let Yoda exit the door first. Then, Mace walked out into the hallway.

The door soon slid closed behind Yoda and Mace.

Both Obiwan and Anakin turned to look at each other. Anakin walked over to stand by Obiwan.

Both of them waited a full minute to make sure the two Jedi High Council Members were out of earshot.

Anakin asked, “Did I do it? Did I pass all the trials?”

Obiwan answered, “Yes. I believe you did. But let us not celebrate until it is official.”

Anakin stated, “I am not relaxing until then.”

Obiwan responded, “Good idea. And give Master Windu and Master Yoda the twenty minutes they request. Then, head to the lift for the High Council Tower. You do not want to be late for your promotion.”

Anakin replied, “I fully agree.”

Then, Obiwan and Anakin headed for the door. Obiwan reached the door first. Obiwan pressed the buttoned by the door to open the door. The door slid open. Obiwan was first to walk out into the hallway. Anakin followed Obiwan into the hallway.

The door soon slid closed behind them.

Both Anakin and Obiwan did not see Mace and Yoda in the hallway. Though, this did not surprise them and they both had other matters to deal with.

Anakin and Obiwan went in different directions down the hallway.

Anakin slowly headed towards elevator to the High Council Tower. Where he would wait for twenty minutes, using a clock on a wall by the elevator to tell the time. Also, Anakin would take into account the few minutes it would take to reach the elevator. When the time was right, Anakin would then headed to the Jedi High Council anti-chamber.

Meanwhile, Obiwan calmly headed elsewhere through the hallways of the Jedi Temple, as he thought, 'I have arrangements to make, while Anakin deals with his duties. But the hard part is over.' Obiwan allowed himself a small smile, as he continued his thoughts, 'And soon it will be time to celebrate with Anakin on his efforts and hard work.'

(_)

Twenty minutes later, Anakin made his way to the anti-chamber in the High Council Tower. Anakin stood in front of the double-doors to the Jedi Council Chamber.

Anakin calmly stood there. While Anakin was physically alone, he had never felt truly alone in the Jedi Temple. He could sense the presence of others around him. Anakin sensed the presence of the council members inside the chamber.

Anakin allowed himself a small bit of happiness, as he thought, 'I wonder which Ceremony of Knighthood the Council will use? There were a few. There is the Ceremony of light. The Ceremony of Life. But given it is dark. Likely they will use the Ceremony of Darkness against the flickering candles. Or in this case lightsabers.'

A few seconds later, the doors slide open. Anakin saw darkness within the room.

Anakin thought, 'Just as I thought. I better not keep them waiting.'

Anakin walked inside the room. The light from the hallway was enough to see just inside the room.

Anakin calmly walked to come to a stop standing in the center of the room.

The doors to the room slid shut, and except for the ambient light from the cityscape outside, the room was still very dark.

Anakin heard the snap-hiss and hum of lightsabers. He saw cloaked individuals ignite their lightsabers.

The individuals stood around Anakin, but at a comfortable distance. The individuals had on their cloaks covering their bodies, with their hoods over their heads. Each of them had both their hands on the hilt of their weapon, at waist level, as they pointed the blade of their weapon upward, in front of them.

With so many lightsabers ignited, Anakin could clearly see the room and the people around him.

Though, Anakin had already realized they were the members of the Jedi High Council.

Anakin turned to turned to the small hooded figured, standing on his chair, with his small lightsaber held in front of him.

The small cloaked person let go of his lightsaber with his right hand. He used his right hand to pull down his hood to show that he was Jedi Master Yoda.

Yoda and Anakin look at each other.

Yoda stated, “Kneel before me. Young one.”

Anakin calmly walked over and knelt on his right knee, in front of Yoda, whom was standing on his small chair.

Anakin lowered his head and chest down. He did not move from his position.

Yoda lowered his lightsaber above Anakin. While the other council members lowered their lightsabers down to near the floor in front of them.

Yoda stated, “Anakin Skywalker. You have passed your trials. For showing skill in teaching others. For showing courage in battle. For showing temperance in dealing with pain. For showing serenity in facing oneself. And for showing wisdom seeing through the problems one must face.”

Yoda carefully used his lightsaber to circle around the right side of Anakin's head, right above Anakin's right ear. Yoda used his lightsaber blade to cut the padawan braid, which fell to the floor.

Yoda moved his lightsaber away from Anakin. He said, “I dub thee. Knight of the Jedi Order.”

Anakin used his right hand to palm his cut braid. As he stood up, he pocketed the braid in one of his pants pockets He thought, 'This will make a nice memento. Later I will give it to Padme as a gift. I am sure she will appreciate it.'

A few seconds the lights in the chamber came on. Anakin considered that his cue to stand up.

In response to the lights coming on the council members deactivated their lightsaber, and put away their lightsabers. Then, they pulled down their hoods.

Suddenly, Anakin heard the doors to the room slide open.

Anakin turned to look towards the entrance of the room.

Standing in the anti-chamber, just outside of the doors to the council chamber, while facing him were Padme, Obiwan, and Ahsoka. Obiwan and Ahsoka were still in their formal Jedi robes and clothing.

Padme wore the same sleeveless white gown with gold embroidery and white slippers she had on earlier that day. Though, Padme had left Mjolnir in the living room of her home. In addition, she left her small blaster pistol and the thigh holster for her pistol in a small, hidden safe in the bedroom of her home.

Anakin smile, and they smiled back towards him

Then, Anakin's three friends began to talk towards him.

The doors soon slid closed behind them.

As Anakin watch his friends approach him, he thought, 'After the Trial of Insight, when we split up. Obiwan must have retrieved Ahsoka, and called Padme to come over. I am glad he did. He did mention he would keep Padme updated on my progress during my trials. '

Meanwhile, many of the council members went about talking with each other over various matters.

Though, while standing on his chair, beside Anakin, Yoda said, “Unorthodox to invite guests for such ceremonies. But, we do make exceptions.”

Anakin turned to Yoda. He said, “Thank you.”

In response, Yoda smiled at Anakin.

Anakin turned back to look at his friends.

Obiwan was the first to reach Anakin.

Obiwan came to a stop a meter from Anakin. Obiwan stated, “As of this day, I am no longer your master. We are now brothers.”

Anakin suggested, “How about we agree to using our given names with each other?”

Obiwan chuckled a little. He said, “That can work as well.”

By then, Padme and Ahsoka had reached Anakin. Ahsoka stood to Obiwan's left side. And Padme stood to Obiwan's right side.

Ahsoka smiled, as she happily said, “Congratulations, Anakin...” Ahsoka caught herself. She quickly added, “I mean, Jedi Knight Skywalker.”

Anakin calmly stated, “It is alright, Ahsoka.”

Ahsoka commented, “So I guess this means you are officially my teacher. And I am your student.”

Yoda had been quickly listening to the conversation. He spoke up, “That is quite correct.”

Ahsoka, Anakin, Padme, and Obiwan turned to look at Yoda.

Yoda noticed this, as he continued, “Jedi Knight Skywalker. Padawan Ahsoka Tano. You are now master and apprentice. I have faith that this arrangement will lead to great things for the both of you.”

Ahsoka replied, “Thank you, Master Yoda.”

Anakin stated, “I will not disappoint you.”

Yoda requested, “Try to stay alive. You four. I have find your exploits to be most... Interesting.”

Anakin said, “We will.”

Anakin turned to look at Padme. He saw that Padme was looking at him.

Padme calmly said, “I am glad you passed your trials.”

Anakin commented, “Thank you. It has been a long time coming.”

Anakin saw sadness in Padme's eyes, as she calmly stated “Enjoy the victory. Experience as taught me that it is rare to earn something without a little blowback.”

Anakin realized, in thought, 'That is why you are being so calm. You of all people have such political experience that you realize that events like this can be just as troublesome as rewarding.'

Anakin replied, “I will do my best.” He thought, 'Now to find out what happened to you today. I heard a rumor you were in a fight, but I was too busy with my trials to look into the matter. Now I have the chance to find out directly from you.'

Anakin commented, “I heard you were in a fight today. But, I did not get a chance to find out what happened.”

Padme responded, “Yes. I was in a fight, as Thor.”

This caught Obiwan and Ahsoka's attention. Both of them remained silent, as they listened to Padme and Anakin's conversation.

Anakin asked, “Any trouble?”

Padme answered, “Not really. No one was harmed and only minor damage occurred.”

Anakin responded, “That is good. So who did you fight?”

Padme stated, “Earlier today, as Thor, I fought a fair skinned, black haired near-human woman, whom called herself, Loki Laufeyson. She seems to be connected to Mjolnir. And she knew about the hammer and she claimed to know about Thor, or Thors. The reason I believe she was near-human and not human, was that she was able to hold her own against my abilities. She is a skilled swordsman. And like I can use lightning, she can use fire. Green fire to be exact.”

Meanwhile, along with Obiwan and Ahsoka, Yoda stood by and listened.

Yoda thought, 'Given how close Amidala is with her friends. She needs to tell them what happened. For any one of them may eventually face this person known as Loki Laufeyson.'

Anakin inquired, “How did she convince you to fight her as Thor?”

Padme answered, “She baited me. She took hostages at a bank and she sent public communications that she wanted to talk to Thor about Mjolnir. When I heard her request on a news broadcast I had to answer her request.”

Anakin said, “I agree. In your place I would have done the same thing.”

Padme mentioned, “Thank you for being understanding. Also, she was able to hold her own in a sword fight with me, as Thor. Her sword even cut me on my upper right arm. Do not worry. It is a minor cut. But while the cut healed, it left a small scar. She could have really harmed me. If she wanted too.”

Anakin noticed the small healed scar on Padme's upper right arm. Anakin stated, with concern in his tone of voice, “I see. That is troubling.” Anakin thought, 'As Thor, the injuries Padme suffered have healed without scars. For this Loki to hurt Padme in a way that leaves as scar means Loki has abilities beyond just swordsmanship. That Loki has mystical abilities.'

Anakin looked back at Padme's face. He said, “Though, it is a small scar. It is barely noticeable.”

Padme commented, “Thank you. That is not the half of it. She also called her a Goddess of Fire, and with her ability to create green flames, and her physical abilities nearly on par with Thor, there is some merit to her claim. In addition, the sword she used she summoned with her green flames and later it disappeared in green flames. And the Black Solace could not damage her sword.”

Anakin asked, “I will keep that in mind. So where is this Loki now?”

Padme answered, “Worst of all she was able to escape me.”

Anakin responded, “I see. We will take it as a good sign that no one was seriously harmed. I am sure we will see her again.”

Padme cautioned, “Yes. She is good at fighting. She knows it. Should you face her do not let this promotion to Jedi Knight go to your head.”

Anakin replied, “I won't.” His lips then curled into a mischievous grin, as he teased, “Though, you would know. Queen of a planet.”

Obiwan and Yoda hid their smiles, as Ahsoka could not help but giggle a little at Anakin's humorous comment.

Padme said, “Okay. I admitted. It was hard not to let being a queen of a planet go to my head. But it did not.”

Anakin continued to smile, as he commented, “I know. This is one of the reasons I respect you.” He thought, 'And I like you.' Anakin noticed someone across the room, whom had slipped in during the festivities. The person was speaking to Mace Windu.

Anakin thought, 'Master Drallig must have snuck in to quietly talk to Master Windu on some urgent concern. Given Master Drallig is the Chief of Security for the Temple. The matter could be about anything. Though, I am sure they can handle it. But this presents an opportunity for Padme.'

Anakin looked Padme, as he asked, “Padme? Do you see that older man with dark blond hair speaking to Master Windu?”

Padme turned to look at Mace talking to the other man. She said, “Yes.”

Anakin stated, “That man is Jedi Battlemaster Cin Drallig. After I defeated him in a duel today, for my Trial of Skill, he figured out that my sparring with Thor helped in my fighting style. He requested that he would like to spar with Thor.”

Padme thought, 'Except for this, Battlemaster, everyone here knows I am Thor. So I do not have to worry to much about my secret identity here. Also, Obiwan once mentioned that the Jedi Battlemaster title belonged to one of the most skilled lightsabers experts in the Order. I could learn a lot just by sparring with him. Even if only for a little while. At the very least, I could gauge how far I have come in my own abilities with someone that is considered to be one of the best in the Order... Order. Not Jedi Order. I have spent way too much time at the temple... Well, Jedi Temple.'

Padme watched as Battlemaster Cin Drallig had finished talking to Mace. Cin turned and headed for the doors to the anti-chamber, so he could leave the room and head back to his duties.

Padme turned to Anakin. Anakin looked at her. Padme responded, “I would consider it an honor. I believe I will be able to clear part of my schedule in a few days to have a day off.”

Anakin said, “Good. I am sure you will enjoy the meeting him.”

Yoda overhead Anakin and Padme. Yoda spoke up, “Yes. Such a meeting would be beneficial for both of you. I will help you make the arrangements to spar with Master Drallig.”

Padme turned to Yoda. She said, “Thank you, Master Yoda.”

Yoda said, “It will be a learning experience for both of you.”

Obiwan commented, “Yes. That would be an interesting contest of skill.”

Ahsoka mentioned, “Considering the way his dual with Master Skywalker went this afternoon. It will likely be over very quickly.”

Padme turned to Ahsoka. She stated, “That just means we will have multiple sparring sessions during our meeting.”

Ahsoka complimented, “That is a good point.”

Anakin turned to Padme, as he requested, “Padme? Could I have a moment of your time?”

Padme turned to Anakin, as she replied, “Sure Anakin.”

As Padme and Anakin walked to an empty area of the room, as Ahsoka, Obiwan, and Yoda watched.

Ahsoka asked, “I wonder what they were doing?”

Yoda commented, “I believe we will shortly find out.”

When Anakin and Padme reached the empty area, they came to a stop. They faced each other, as Anakin said, “I have a gift for you. Hold out your right hand.”

Padme held out her right hand, with her right palm facing upwards.

Anakin used his left hand to reach into a pocket and he pulled out something. He gently set that item into Padme's right hand.

When Anakin moved his left hand away from Padme's right hand, Padme saw that the item was the Anakin's cut padawan braid.

Padme looked up at Anakin, as she closed her right hand around the braid. She smiled, as she said, “Thank you, Anakin. I will treasure this.”

In response, Anakin smiled. Anakin replied, “I am glad you will.”

Nearby, Ahsoka, Obiwan, and Yoda saw this.

Ahsoka stated, “That is kind of an odd gift to give.”

Obiwan commented, “Not really. It is not unheard of for a Jedi whom just completed their trials for knighthood, to give their cut braid to a close friend.”

Ahsoka turned to Obiwan. She pointed out, “Well for those of you whom have hair. While I like the jewelry on my head. It is clearly not the same.”

Obiwan turned to Ahsoka. He looked at Ahsoka's bald head, as he replied, “Point taken.”

Yoda turned to Ahsoka, as his lips curled into a mischievous smile. Yoda joked, “I will buy a wig for you. If you want.”

Ahsoka and Obiwan turned to look at Yoda, with shocked expressions on their faces. As they could not believe what the Grandmaster of the Jedi Order had made such a suggestion.

Yoda chuckled a little from the look on Ahsoka and Obiwan's faces.

A second later, Ahsoka and Obiwan began to laugh at Yoda's joke for a few seconds.

Anakin and Padme then rejoined their friends. They had noticed their friends laughing.

By the time Anakin and Padme has come to a stop in front of their friend, Obiwan, Ahsoka, and Yoda, had stopped laughing.

Padme inquired, “What was so funny?”

Obiwan commented, “A private joke. We will tell you later.”

Padme replied, “Okay.”

Anakin and his friends then enjoyed each others company for another hour, as they and the council members celebrated Anakin's knighthood.

Afterward, their meeting broke up. The council members heading to either their quarters, or other duties.

Meanwhile, Anakin, Padme, Obiwan, and Ahsoka took a speeder vehicle to get a late supper and have a pleasant evening.

After dinner, they headed back to the Jedi Temple. Padme said goodnight to her friends.

Obiwan, Anakin, and Ahsoka headed into the Jedi Temple and to their personal quarters to get some rest.

Padme headed back to the speeder she used to head to the Jedi Temple. When she reached her speeder on the parking lot on the west side of the plaza, she got into her speeder and flew the speeder to her home.

When Padme reached her apartment building, she parked the speeder in the parking level.

Padme took the elevator up to her home. Once Padme was home, she headed to her bedroom.

In her bedroom, Padme placed Anakin's brown cut hair braid into one a jewelry box.

After which, Padme got ready for bed. Then, she went to sleep on her bed.

(_)

A few days later, during the morning, Padme, Obiwan, Anakin, and Ahsoka learned they would be leaving the planet within three days to had back to fight in the Clone Wars.

Later that afternoon, with Yoda's help, Padme was able to contact Cin Drallig as Thor and set an appointment that worked for both their schedules. Fortunately, both of them could clear a few hours of their schedule in the afternoon of the next day.

Padme wished to keep her identity secret a Thor from Cin, so she only spoke to Cin by holo-comm as Thor.

Padme used the rest of the day to informed Bail and her senatorial group she would be leaving the planet against on a diplomatic mission. She did not like to lie to Bail and the others, but she realizes to protect her secrets, she had to do so.

After Padme finished making arrangements and contacting everyone she need to, she spent the rest of the rest of the day packing for her departure in a few days.

The next day, Thor used Mjolnir to fly to the Jedi Temple. Once inside the temple, she met Cin Drallig. Cin lead Thor to a training room that Cin preferred to use.

Unfortunately, Padme's friends, Anakin, Obiwan, and Ahsoka were to busy to attend to the sparring sessions, due to them preparing to leave Coruscant.

Padme had already packed and gotten ready to leave off planet.

The sparring matches between Thor and Cin were learning experience for both of them.

Two days later, Padme, Obiwan, Anakin, Ahsoka, R2, and C3-PO left the planet. But unlike before, they headed on separate missions. Anakin and Ahsoka left together, with R2 and C3-PO. While Obiwan and Padme left on their own two separate missions.

They left on different spaceships which were assigned to them. Though, Padme did not use her space yacht because the ship type was well known as being built and used by the government of Naboo and their associates. Padme known if she used her space yacht for missions dealing with Thor, people would figure out the truth, and her identity would eventually be made public.

Padme took Mjolnir with her as she left the planet.

All four individuals were sure they could handle the tasks set out before them.

Obiwan felt that all three of his students would be fine.

Anakin with his new rank of knighthood was now officially Ahsoka's teacher, and Anakin was sure he would do fine.

Padme realized that she would be away from her friends, with Mjolnir at her side she would handle the missions which awaited her.

(_)

As Padme, Anakin, Ahsoka, and Obiwan departed Coruscant to head back to the Clone Wars, in another part of the galaxy, there was a planet of covered in green forests, mountains, lakes, rivers, and oceans.

On the planet, it was night side where a castle built on one of the mountain tops. A few hours after sunset.

The location had a slightly cool climate. Though, at the time there was no rain, nor fog in the area.

This castle was a secret base and private retreat of Count Dooku. This is where he went when the war and life as a Sith Lord became too much for him, and he needed a break from everything.

Within the castle, Dooku walked through the illuminated hallways toward his office.

The hallways were illuminate by lights bulbs placed on electrical candle holders on the walls.

Dooku was the only person in the castle except for a few maintenance droids, whom tend to the castle, cooked Dooku's meals, and did his laundry.

Dooku was dressed in his usual black clothing with brown cape. He had his lightsaber holstered on the left side of his belt.

When Dooku reached the doors to his office. The doors were in hinges swung inward.

Each door had a knob to turn to open. The doors knobs could be locked when the knobs were together.

Dooku opened the doors to his office and he gently pushed the doors inward to reveal the room. The doors stopped swinging when the doors fully opened and ends of the doors faced into the room.

Dooku saw the lights were off. The only illumination came from the window to his left, from the moons in the night sky.

Dooku stood in place, as he looked around. Through the force, Dooku sense a presence in the room. He ordered, “Lights.”

The lights in Dooku's office could be voice activated. Though, nothing happened and the lights to the room did not come on.

Dooku heard a female voice say, across the dark room in front of him, “Illuminate.”

Suddenly, the light bulbs on the electric candle holders on the walls of the room came on.

Dooku saw in front of him, across the room, behind his desk, his office armchair had been turn around, to face its back to him.

The cushioned, swivel, armchair Dooku used to see in his desk had a high back which prevented Dooku from seeing who was sitting in his armchair, behind his desk.

Dooku heard the female voice giggle from behind his office chair. She said, “Much better.”

Dooku began to reach for his lightsaber, which was strapped to a holster on his belt.

He heard the female voice say, “There will be no need for your weapon. I did not come here to fight.”

Dooku allowed his weapon to hang by its holsters, on his belt.

As Dooku began to walk across his office to his desk, he asked, “Who are you?”

The woman answered, “I am your Simon Phoenix. I am your Captain Hook. I am the answer to your hammer time problem.” She turned the desk around counterclockwise to face Dooku. She looked up at him, with a wicked grin on her lips. She stated, “I am Loki Laufeyson. Goddess of Fire.”

Loki was now very much a woman. She was still wearing the same green button up long sleeved shirt, green pants, brown leather belt, with pouches, and brown boots, she had on a few days earlier. Though, she had since had her clothing cleaned.

By then, Dooku had come to a stop less than half a meter in front of his desk. He looked down at the dark haired, fair skin, green eyed woman with a firm expression on his face.

Dooku firmly inquired, “How did you get here?” He thought, 'Whomever you are. I cannot sense your emotions, nor thoughts. Also, you bypassed the castle's security. Which means you are much more dangerous than your seem.'

Loki casually answered, “I cast a spell to lead me to the secret lair of Count Dooku. That is exactly what I said when I made that spell. And arranging secret transportation was not difficult. Do not worry. No one else learned of your location in my journey to this world. And the ship I used to come here I destroyed after I disembarked onto this planet.”

Loki thought, 'Actually, I cast a spell to directly teleport myself here to this office. Then, I cast a few spells to deal with the security and other computer systems of this castle. But I do not want you to know that I can do all this. I only waited a few days to make sure you had time to hear of my fight with Thor. And as for getting around this castle's security systems. When it comes to using magic on computers, technology can be very gullible.'

Loki giggled a little, as she continued, “I cannot believe that spell actually worked. You guys need to stop being so cliche. You make yourselves predictable.” Loki stopped giggling, as her face took a more stern look. She flatly said, “And I loath predictability.”

Dooku thought, 'I believe you are being honest in your abilities. I will hear you at. I have nothing better to do this evening. Now let us continue this conversation and find out why you are here.'

Dooku questioned, “Why are you here?”

Loki stated, “To discuss the politics of galactic domination.” She giggled a little, as she continued, “I have always wanted to say that and mean it.”

Dooku realized something, as he said, “You are unwell.” Dooku mentally lamented, 'If figures someone with her level of power would be mentally unwell.'

Loki's smirked. She stated, “But I am just the right kind of crazy that would prove useful to you.”

Dooku replied, “How so?”

Loki questioned, “Did you see the videos of my fight with Thor, a few days ago, outside the First Corellia Bank, in the Senate District on Coruscant?”

Dooku asked, with mild surprise, “That was you?” Dooku quickly reigned in his emotions.

Loki casually replied, “Yes.”

Dooku thought, with concern, 'Meaning you did not just find me. Bypass my castle security. You also fought Thor and you survived. Which means you are very dangerous. I need to put up my mental defenses just in case you have some abilities which are not immediately apparent.'

Dooku immediately reigned in his thoughts and emotions behind his mental defenses.'

Dooku thought, 'Also, I continue to sense no emotions, nor stray thoughts from you. You likely have mental defenses of your own. Given the abilities you have displayed so far it is best that I not try to test those defenses. But, I can sense your presence. That is something.'

Dooku stated, “I have been busy. I have already read some reports on the matter. I was just about too view the holovids.”

Loki said, “Good. Please do. I made a good showing in that fight. Also, I heard about your fight on Naboo. Do not feel bad. Everyone gets defeated at least once by a Thor. The key is to survive the experience and learn from it.”

Dooku firmly said, “I will keep that in mind. Still, from what I read I can guess you know more about Thor than we do?”

Loki dropped her grin, as she stood up from the chair. She leaned slightly over the desk, as she placed both her hands on the flat surface of the desk. She stared directly into Dooku's eyes.

Dooku saw a firmness in her eyes that was not present before.

Loki stated, in a serious tone of voice, “Yes. Somewhat. Thors are a very tricky group to deal with. Each of them has lot of power. When one has a hammer, some of them only see everything else as nails to be knocked down. Most of them leave their wits behind when they first get their hammers. Mostly. Not all. And even the untrained Thors are dangerous. Such as our dear sweet Padme... Well, I will admit she has some training. At least enough to defeat you... And yes. I did do some research about you, her, everyone and everything else I could find about what is going on.”

Loki lips curled into a wicked grin, as she happily commented, “I always knew that woman had potential. If anyone is worthy of a hammer, it is her. I am glad to be one of those that helps to show her what she is capable of. And bring that potential out of her.”

Dooku asked, “You know who Senator Amidala is Thor?”

Loki casually said, “There is not need for such formality when discussing other people in private. It is not hard to figure out whom Thor really is. It took a little time. And knowing the right questions to ask to the proper people whom could answer such questions.”

Dooku inquired, “I read in a report that you injured her. That you had an opening to kill her. Why did you not finish her off?”

Loki said, “There was nothing to be gained by doing so. If I had committed such an act, I would have made some very powerful enemies.”

Dooku asked, “So what is the meaning of your fight with her?”

Loki responded, “My battle was an audition for you. We both know you are the one in charge of the Confederacy.” She thought, 'It is best I call your organization, Confederacy, instead of Separatists. As a sign of respect toward you and your organization.' She continued, “Not those toads and sycophants on the council whom you humor. Nor the parliament that you have lead to believe have any power at all. Keep in mind. I could have first gone to the Hutts. But, you have style to yourself. A style that I like and respect. While they are giant, greedy, misogynistic slugs. Which is kind of hypocritical, and very twisted of them, considering they are all hermaphrodites that give birth to their young.”

Dooku shrugged, as he casually said, “You are not the only one that feels that way towards the Hutts.” Dooku thought, 'You have a clear understanding of the situation. Both concerning the Hutts. And the power structure of my organization.'

Loki cracked a grin, as she happily stated, “Ah. I am glad I finally broken the ice with you. I was worried I would have use a jackhammer to do so.”

Dooku defended himself, in a casual tone of voice, “I am not so strict.”

Loki shrugged, as she casually said, “No. You are not. When it comes to fairness, you respect and reward those with abilities. And I have abilities.”

Dooku commented, “I see. You are quite the trickster.”

Loki maintained. her grin, as she admitted, “That I am.”

Dooku returned Loki's smile, as he complimented, “Guile. Deceit. And I sense possible underlying treachery.”

Loki leaned up from the desk. She held her hands together in front of her stomach. She stated, “All the makings of a wonderful Sith.”

Dooku thought, 'You know a little about the Sith. This is possible. The Sith and Jedi have been around so long that if one dug deep enough a person could learn a few things. But nothing that would pose a threat to my master and myself. The same was the case when I met Asajj Ventress. She knew the basics of the Sith. I put her in her place and I showed her how she was not a true Sith. Though, Asajj proved useful. And depending on how this meeting goes, you may prove useful to me as well. Still, there is another matter.'

Dooku dropped his grin. Dooku stated, “But I sense you do not use the force.”

Loki shrugged. Loki casually responded, “Ah. The little details. While not of the force, I have power. A type of power that your side desperately needs. We both know that your underlings will eventually grow tired of being pounded by that walking hurricane. Then, they will start using their really powerful weapons. In doing so they will raise the stakes in this galactic war, with the Republic responding in kind.”

Loki dropped her smile. Loki continued, in a serious tone of voice, “Pretty soon there will be no galaxy left to take over. Just ruined ash heaps of where livable planets and moons use to exist.”

Loki smiled. Loki went onto say, “Though with me here, I can keep this game going at this level. A level you can manage.”

Dooku conceded, “You have a point there.”

Loki asked, “So am I hired? Or not?”

Dooku stated, “I will give you a chance. One chance.”

Loki responded, “No problem. But do not expect me to immediately kill Padme. I will have to kill the Chosen One. Anakin Skywalker, first.”

Dooku said, “I wish for the Chosen One to remain relatively unharmed. Along with Jedi Master Obiwan Kenobi.”

Loki said, “It is obvious you want to have options for a future apprentice. With those being your top two selections.”

Dooku thought, 'Given the knowledge you have stated, this is obvious. There is no point in denying this is the case. Though, it seems you do not realize I consider Padme to be a potential apprentice. I will keep that to myself.'

Loki continued, “I hate to tell you this, but that boy is way too emotionally immature and unstable to make a proper apprentice. Besides, this is a bad time for him. Right before the war started, lost his mother in one of the worst ways possible. He likely still has not gotten over her death.”

Dooku inquired, “His mother died?”

Loki answered, “Yes. I know it is not that well known. But like I said. If you ask the right people, you can find out for yourself.”

Dooku said, “Perhaps I will.”

Loki stated, “Please do not kill anyone while you do so. In this situation, it would be best avoid violence where possible.”

Dooku stated, “I find credits loosen lips better than a lightsaber.”

Loki responded, “Exactly. Here I thought you invented concept, aggressive negotiations. Negotiations with a lightsaber.”

Dooku commented, “My student, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn came up with that term. I prefer not to use such approaches.”

Loki said, “Which is why you are where you are. And I mean that in a good way. Now back to the previous topic. Given who Anakin is with, the only two people he will listen to are Padme and Obiwan. You would have to chop off Anakin's limbs. Damage his lungs. And put him in a life support suit to reign him in. I do not believe anyone is intentionally crazy enough to do that.”

Dooku said, “I would have to agree. Doing so would be wasteful, and counterproductive to the Sith.”

Loki responded, “Quite right. As for Obiwan. He is the type of man that if you tried to turn to the dark side with torture, he would come to find the joy in pain and still embrace the light.”

Dooku conceded, “You may have a point there.”

Loki casually mentioned, “Besides. Anakin is Padme's lover.”

Dooku showed slight surprise on his face, as he questioned, “He is?” Dooku quickly composed himself.

Loki giggled, as she answer, “Yes. You can see it, if you gaze closely enough toward them when they look at each other. If I go after Padme, I will face Anakin's full fury. I know what to expect from a Thor. I do not know what to expect from an enraged Chosen One.”

Dooku understood where Loki was going with her logic. Dooku said, “So you intend to first take out the unpredictable factor. Then, deal with the predictable factor.”

Loki stated, “Exactly. Still that does leave Obiwan.” Her voice became more serious, as she continued, “But those three are the top heroes of the Republic. Or, at least that is what the Republic propaganda service would like the galaxy to believe. I kill any of those three I will likely martyr that person. Their mission become the crusade for others. More than likely the apprentice, Ahsoka Tano may take up their charge. Anyone that has trained with those three will likely be a handful. She would only be the first. Should I first harm Ahsoka, all three of those... Heroes will come after me in revenge, with the full might of Republic military and the Jedi Order backing them up.”

Dooku asked, “So how do you plan to deal with them?”

Loki answered, “I will deal with them last. I go from the bottom up. All wars are won or lost by logistics. You do not take control of the top until you have control of the bottom. I learned that lesson the hard way. We convince as many of the worlds to ally with us. Then, we face them while dealing with a Galactic Republic whose number of membership worlds is dwindling.”

Dooku commented, “Here I thought you would only wanted to be a warrior.”

Loki scoffed, “Oh please. I prefer to arrange things so I win without even lifting a finger to fight. You may find my tongue of better service than my blade.” Then, Loki realized what she said, “And I mean my statement in the strictest professional sense possible.”

Dooku deadpanned, “Of course.” Dooku continued, in a firm tone of voice, “And what diplomatic skills do you have?”

Loki said, “I am displaying my diplomatic abilities right now. With you. And it is clearly working. If I can convince you of something, I can convince anyone.”

Dooku responded, “Point taken.” He thought, 'It would be best for my sake that I keep Asajj from meeting you. If you turn on me, you might convince Ventress to join you. Though, I wonder where you come from?'

Dooku asked, “Now, where are you from?”

Loki casually answered, “From a galaxy far, far away.”

Dooku questioned, “You are a far outsider?”

Loki said, “Yes. But one whom is more than willing to serve you.” She mentally added, 'For now.' She asked, “Now where shall we begin?”

Dooku said, “A good question. I have a few ideas.”

Dooku and Loki discussed the finer points of their bargain. Along the payments and benefits Loki would receive for accomplishing her missions. And exactly what responsibilities Loki's new job would entail.

It was a productive night for Loki and Dooku. Though only from a platonic standpoint.

For both Loki and Dooku had far greater aspirations than cardinal desires.

(_)

“You and I are very much alike. Archaeology is our religion. Yet we have both fallen from the pure faith. Our methods have not differed as much as you pretend. I am but a shadowy reflection of you. It would take only a nudge to make you like me. To push you out of the light.” Rene Belloq speaking to Indiana Jones in the film Raiders of the Lost Ark.

To be continued.

(_)

Author's Notes:

The drug bust at the beginning of this chapter was inspired by the “Rock Shop” scene and music track in the original Robocop movie.

It is obvious the reason the Republic Red Guard is red is because most Sith have a preference to for red. Even Palpatine wore red clothing from time to time. And Palpatine wants to have that red represent the Sith without anyone else realizing it. In a way this was a private joke on Palpatine's part.

If you think about it. The Loki from Arcadia and Padme are in someways archetypes to each other. Both sought power. But cared for their loved ones. But in the end they cared for power more. And they did not trust their loved ones with their secrets, and this destroyed them.

For Loki this was the case for her adopted daughters. For Padme, as seem in the deleted scenes of Star War Episode Three, she chose not to trust Anakin. If Padme has trusted Anakin with her concerns about Palpatine's power grab, it might have tilted the balance of Anakin instead deciding to side with Mace and not Palpatine.

Star Wars Episode Three is a good example of the tragedy of miss-communications and distrust.

I am having so much fun showing the similarities to this Loki and Padme. And given Padme is the Thor of this story. That only makes these two counterparts all the more interesting.

Now, as to Loki pop culture. It was shown that this Loki was using portals to visit other places. And maybe even other times. We do not know how much time she spent in those other places. What we do know is that Loki, any Loki, once they get a taste of modern culture, they cannot get enough. They immerse themselves with knowledge in that culture.

That and the food. Loki of the 616 reality commented that Loki found human food to be some of the best he had ever had.

Also, as you can see in this chapter, Loki's powers and abilities allow her to fight Thor. But, I wanted this to be a casual meeting, while still showing what Loki can do.

For example, Loki is a skill swordsman. And she knows how to fight. And she is a Goddess of Fire and she knows it.

But, of all things, Loki. Any Loki. Is a schemer, and a planner. And I have not even scratched the surface of this Loki's long term plans.

Also, I showed how Loki is ambidextrous. While Padme is mostly used her right hand and arm as her sword arm. That is why, when she dual wields Mjolnir and the Black Solace, she prefers to have the Black Solace in her right hand. The sword is a more graceful weapon than the hammer. And Padme can get more out of the sword with her right hand, than her left hand.

Arcadia Loki's comment on technology is very gullible is a nod to the 616 Loki making similar comments on how the 616 Loki can use his/her magical abilities to take control technology and hack into computers. Arcadia Loki of this story can do the same thing.

This Loki like other Loki's can change their gender. As I showed in this chapter. So, there is a little gender bending in this story. But not much.

The catch for Loki's shapeshifting is that Loki can only turn into something that is an aspect of Loki. Swapping genders is included in this limitation.

On Anakin's trials. I thought for once to have Anakin take the formal trials. This I have no read before. And this story offered a good opportunity to do so.

When it comes to Padme's personality. While she clearly could raise a lot of hell, if she wanted to. She always struck me as one of the good girls. She took her position of authority, and she lived by example. She had a sense of responsibility about herself.

In the main Star Wars timeline. Padme had only been in a few relationships. Which for a woman of her age shows much maturity.

Also, given how young she was when she started her political career. I doubt Padme did much partying. She is just was not that time of person.

On Padme's hair style being simple. I got to thinking about it. In the prequel trilogy. Padme had her hair in a different style, almost every time we saw her. Especially, as a Senator.

I believe this was an injoke to Marie Antoinette of the France, right before the French Revolution. With Maria having been known to constantly change her hair into some very outlandish hair styles. And the people of France found her doing so to be tasteless.

Look at modern political leaders. Both men and women. Most of their hairstyles are simple. So, for Padme. Given Padme is now also the soldier, Thor. She keep her hair loose, in a simple fashion.

On the Trial of the Spirit. I got to thinking about it. This Trial was done in the Empire Strikes back. And it was done on Dagobah. Yoda sent Loki into a cave where the Dark Side of the Force was strong, to force Luke to have a vision. In the Star Wars Expanded Universe material, the Jedi Temple is set atop a Dark Side Nexus point.

Also, it could be debated whether it is a good or bad thing for members of the Jedi Order to be exposed to the Dark Force Nexus point that is under the Jedi Temple.

Though, it is likely that Jedi Order used such a room, under the temple in the same way that Yoda used the cave on Dagobah. It makes sense. The Jedi Order likes to do things in-house, when they could. And given Dagobah, and the dark force cave, was a secret from Vader and Palpatine, which was why Yoda hid there. It is likely they did not know about the planet.

Yoda even used the dark force cave to hide his light side signature in the force.

Until next time. Have fun.



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