Thundering Force: Chapter 09: “Battle Among the Clouds.”

“Thundering Force”

Chapter Nine: “Battle Among the Clouds.”

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.

(_)

Three days after Loki left the domed city of Sandari, on the planet Mandalore, in another part of the galaxy, inside a room, Darth Sidious was sitting in a chair, at his desk, in his study. It was nighttime where Sidious was located.

Presently, Sidious was alone, as he was reviewed a datapad in his right hand. On the datapad was everything he could find on this Loki Laufeyson woman. And he had found there was very little information on the black haired, green eyed woman.

Sidious mentally reflected, 'This Loki Laufeyson concerns me. Less than a week after she suddenly appears out of nowhere she successfully fought, while demonstrated abilities I did not know exist. Then, she escape Thor. And a few days later, she convinced Dooku to allow her to become one of his special agents.'

'Any one of those actions would have been enough to concern me. For someone to pull off all of those actions in such a small time frame is unthinkable.'

'Especially since from what Dooku told me, by holo-comm. Loki showed up at his castle hideaway a few days after escaping Thor on Coruscant. Escaping Thor is not easy. And finding Dooku's hidden planet is even more difficult.'

'Dooku stated that Loki told him she used a ship to arrive on the planet. But, Dooku confirmed that no such ship existed.'

'So, it is likely that Loki used some sort of ability to teleport there. Or, she had some sore of advanced technology that could quickly sent her such far distances. But the only technology I know of that could sent someone across the galaxy that fast and so discreetly were created by the Gree, the Kwa and the Rakata.'

'While the Gree are still somewhat able to work some of their ancient technology. They are very secretive. It is hard to find Gree that knows how to work such technology, let alone build such wondrous items. The Kwa and Rakata are now nothing but a shadow of their former selves. To where they now live as small groups of nomadic tribes. When tens of thousands of years ago, they walked across the stars as giants.'

'Even a master of the force, such as myself, would find teleporting to be a very difficult ability to pull off.'

'But, Dooku mentioned that Loki says she did it with a magical spell. So, she teleport with her own abilities, instead of technology. The holovid of her sword disappearing in green flames supports the teleporting theory. If she can have her sword teleport away, she may be able to instantly teleport herself from one location to another location.'

'Also, Dooku commented that did not sense any presence of the force in the use of her abilities. While her nearby presence could be sensed in the force, her abilities did not create ripples in the force. Even Thor's abilities can be felt through the force. And Dooku mentioned that Loki had formidable mental defenses.'

'Yet, Dooku mentioned the way Loki said she found he was in such a casual manner as to mean she found him with little effort.'

'Meaning she is far more powerful than she lets on.'

'Though, she knows to try to hide her abilities. But, she had no fooled either Dooku, nor myself. But, we will not let her know that we know about her teleportation ability. If we did let her know that we knew, she could likely disappear and it would be impossible to find her.'

'To that end, I ordered Dooku not to let her know that we know about her little teleport abilities.'

'To add to my concerns about this Loki, she has recently topped herself.'

'Dooku assigned her to negotiate with the Neutrality Alliance, against Jedi Kenobi. And she not only decimated Kenobi's arguments, within less than a day she has convinced over three hundred worlds to joined the Separatists. The Duchess Satine even aided her by preventing the Republic from stopping these worlds from joining the Separatists.'

'By Loki doing this, she has upset the carefully laid out balancing act I have created in this war.'

'I saw the holovids of her debate with Kenobi. She was well spoken and very well informed. She walked in with the information she needed to accomplish her mission and she succeeded where military force could not.'

'The holovids of her fight with Thor were interesting on a few levels. She was playing with Thor. And both of them knew it. Still, she showed much skill in her abilities. I would not be surprised that she intentionally arranged that fight to help convince Dooku to let her join the Separatists as one of his personal agents.'

'All my sources state Loki is a ghost. She has no records. I am even unable to use the force to sense her. Let alone sense her past.'

'All I am sure about this Loki is that she is a very dangerous and cagey woman, whom is skilled with both her mouth and her sword.'

'Loki clearly has her own agenda. She knows much about what is going on. And she has powers and abilities that are unknown to me. That makes her a threat to me. Still, I cannot have her immediately killed after such a victory. Dooku might decide to turn on me. I still require his services as leader of the Separatists.'

'Though, I do need to speak to Dooku on this matter of Loki's recent victory in diplomacy. But, I also have other matters to attend to. Loki did not wreck my plans. I still adjust my plans to the change in the situation.'

Sidious' lips curled into a wicked grin, as he continued his thoughts, 'Besides. Politics is all about timing. And now is not the time to deal with Loki. But when the time is right, I will have Loki dealt with in a manner that will benefit my agenda.'

Sidious went to work on adjusting his plans of galactic domination to take into account the power shift of the three hundred previously neutral worlds seeking to join the Confederacy of Independent Systems.

(_)

A few hours later, it was late evening, just after dark, on the remote forest planet where Dooku's castle was located on. The castle itself being located on a mountain which was part of a mountain range.

It was a clear cool night outside of the castle.

It had been three days since Loki had accomplish her mission on the planet Mandalore, in the domed honeycomb city of Sandari. Loki had convinced over three hundred world governments to leave the Neutrality Alliance and join the Separatists.

The shuttle which Dooku had given Loki to travel in had just landed a landing pad on part of an outer courtyard of the castle. The droid pilot of the ship had no problems landed in the landing pad.

Normally, Dooku would just talk to his subordinates over holo-comm. But, given how new Loki was to Dooku's organization, and how successful Loki has been in her mission, Dooku wanted to talk to Loki in personal.

Dooku felt that given that Loki had already been to Dooku's castle, there was no harm in having her return to his castle.

Once Loki had exited the shuttle, she headed into the nearest doors leading into the castle. Fortunately, the doors were unlocked.

The castle was unguarded and empty, save for Dooku and a few maintenance and cleaning droids.

As Loki briskly walked through the well furnished hallways, with quality rugs on the floors, paintings on the walls. The lighting for the hallways were provided by candle holder shaped electrical lamps with yellow light bulbs set along the walls.

To reach Dooku's office, Loki had to walk up a few sets of well furnished stairs, with wooden railings and wooden steps covered in fine rugs.

While Loki made her way through the castle, she thought, 'The main defense the castle is its remoteness and that its location is secret. Dooku likely keeps the outer doors unlocked because that means any invaders will be less likely to blow up the doors to get inside. And any fool whom comes to the castle to harm Dooku without a plan is not going to survive the experience.'

'Now to talk to Dooku about my mission. While I completed my mission without any serious problems, that does not mean he is happy with me. He was very blunt in his holo-call to me, while in hyperspace. All he said was that he wanted to talk to me in person. And that was two days ago, while my shuttle was flying through hyperspace.'

By then, Loki turned a corner to her right, at a hallway intersection. After she turned the corner, she saw she was approach the double-doors to the Dooku's office.

Loki thought, 'Though, I am about to find out what he wants to say to me.'

When Loki was about to reach the doors, the doors suddenly opened into the office, by themselves.

As the doors opened, Loki saw across the well lit office to see saw Count Dooku sitting on his chair, behind his desk. Dooku was looking at her.

Loki came to a stop, at the threshold of the doorway to Dooku's office. She thought, 'He likely sensed me with the force. And he used the force to open the doors. Though, whether you know it or not, I am shielding my thoughts and emotions from you.'

Then, Loki noticed that Dooku as giving her a warm smile. Dooku happily said, “Come in, Agent Laufeyson. We have much to discussion.”

Dooku thought, 'I still cannot read you thoughts or emotions. Not that it matters. Though, I will keep my mental defenses up as well. And both Sidious and I agree that you have teleportation abilities. You could have come her more quickly. But, you are pretending you do not have those abilities by using the shuttle and droid pilot I provided you. I agree with Sidious that it is best we play along and not let you know that we know about your teleportation abilities.'

Loki thought, with mild relief, 'At least you are happy to see me.'

Loki walked inside the room, at a more calmer pace.

When she reached halfway into the room, Dooku used the force to shut the doors to the office.

Loki did not flinch as the doors closed behind her.

A few seconds later, Loki came to a stop, right in front of the desk. Loki stood by the desk as she looked at Dooku, with Dooku looking back at her.

Dooku stated, “First, I must commend you for your outstanding success in bringing over three hundred worlds into the fold. That was no easy task.”

Loki calmly said, “Count Dooku. I am just doing my job.”

Dooku commented, “And modest as well.” He thought, 'Well, not really. But, I do enjoy playing this game with you. Now to give you a little test.'

Dooku's voice took a more serious tone to it, as he stated, “Though, I find it odd that soon after you left Sandari, a mandalorian official known as Pre Vizsla was outed and arrested as the leader of Death Watch.”

Loki calmly asked, “Who is that?” Loki inwardly smiled, as she thought, 'Nice try.'

Dooku stated, “A pawn in this game, whom is no longer useful.” Dooku thought, 'So you did not take the bait. That means you were not the one responsible for outing Pre Vizsla. It was a long shot. There is no way you could have known about him. I never mentioned him. And I did not use the data networks here to contact him. The fact you were on the same star system as he was, near the time of his arrest has to be a consequence.'

Loki said, “Speaking of pawns. While the Duchess Satine is neutral, she is a known quantity. She will not interfere with your agenda. This will make her an asset to us in her own way.”

Dooku spent a few seconds thinking over Loki's comment. Then, Dooku agreed, “True. I have not thought about it that way.”

Loki thought, 'Of course not. The Jedi and Sith taught you to either expect attack or defend. Instead of the classic three Eastern Cultural choices of positive, negativity, and neutral. Positive is to attack. Negative to defend. And neutral to do nothing. This is a tactical oversight in your upbringing that may cost you in the future. Now to point out some positives of this situation which you may have overlooked.'

Loki said, “Also, I checked. While we did not have the mandalorian homeworld siding with us, a number of those worlds that have sought to join us have mandalorian populations, whom are just as dangerous as the members of the mandalorian clans. Only these groups have moved beyond petty local politics.” Loki mentally reflected, 'It is always nice to do one's homework before the big meeting.'

Dooku said, “I see where you are going with this. We may not have the Mandalorians, but we can still have Mandalorian troopers.” Dooku thought, 'You are making good points.'

Loki said, “Which can counter the effectiveness of the clone troopers. While the Confederacy can not match the numbers of mandalorian soldiers with clone troopers. We can still rely less on the quantity of droids, and more on quality of soldiers.”

Dooku complimented, “True. This is very shrewd of you.” Then, Dooku asked, in a serious tone of voice, “Now, why do you want to make such changes to our military?”

Loki stated, “During negotiations discussion of the Invasion of Naboo was mentioned. For the negotiation, I did some digging various matter and I ran across what happened on Naboo. This came in various useful when it turned out Jedi master Obiwan Kenobi was the one sent to negotiate on behalf of the Republic. As you know, Jedi Kenobi was involved with the Invasion of Naboo and the subsequent defeat of the Trade Federation on Naboo.”

“There was an interesting fact I found concerning the defeat of the Trade Federation on Naboo. The Trade Federation did not lose because they faced superior forces on the ground. Actually, their droid forces had the advantage on the ground. The Trade Federation lost because they had their droids made so their droids required to be tied to a remote ship which controlled the droids. The moment that ship was destroyed, the droids shut down and the Trade Federation lost.”

Dooku explained, “This is a precaution against a droid rebellion.”

Loki said, “Yea. Just keep the droids dumbed down and remote controlled, with the occasional memory wipe of their data drives.” She thought, 'I find such tactics distasteful. I am sure a number of free droids would actually be civil if giving reason to do so.'

Dooku replied, “Exactly.”

Loki questioned, “You are aware the Great Droid rebellion is literally ancient history? It is practically so old that it is myth in this galaxy?”

Dooku firmly said, “Yes. You're point being?”

Loki pointed out, “That being overly cautious can be as dangerous as being too aggressive.”

Loki continued, in a more serious tone of voice, “The bulk of the this organization's fighting is done by droids whom could literally be all turned off with a flick of a single switch. Along with this. From the rumors I have learned, I do not like who has access to this collective off button. I do not like cowards having access to a system that could shut the enter war effort in one move. At least with the mandalorian soldiers, and a few other allies. If the droids are shut down, we will have enough of a fighting force that we will have the breathing room necessary to figure something else out to save the Confederacy.”

Loki thought, 'The droid shutdown command is literally an expiration date for this war effort. I am not going to allow this opportunity to slip through my grasp. I will not allow what happened to me last time to happen to me again.'

Dooku shrugged. Dooku conceded, “I am beginning to see how you convinced those worlds to join us. You have a point there. I will consider what you have said.” He thought, 'I watched you debate with Kenobi. You made good arguments in yours before the Neutral Council of Neutral Systems.'

Loki replied, “Thank you.” She cheerfully smiled, as she happily asked, “Now what is my next mission?”

Dooku returned Loki's smile. Though, his smile was warmer, as he calmly said, “I believe you are correct. Your tongue is more valuable than your blade. I have some more diplomatic missions for you.”

Loki smiled turned more mischievous. as she said, “Good. I do enjoy the challenges.”

Dooku outline Loki's next mission for her. Within the hour, Loki was on her Separatist shuttle, heading towards her next mission.

Over the course of the next few weeks, Loki was able to accomplish the missions Dooku had assigned for her without any difficulties.

(_)

It has been several weeks after Loki and Obiwan debated in front of the Council of Neutral Systems in the domed city of Sandari.

Padme was on board a small Republic diplomatic ship. The ship was in hyperspace, heading towards the destination of her next mission. She was presently heading down the Corellian Trade Spine hyper-route in a southern direction to the southern part of the Outer Rim.

The ship was on autopilot. Padme had personally set the autopilot after she finished inputing her destination into the on board navigation computer. The ship had a navigation AI that was equal to an astromech droid, so Padme was not worried about becoming lost, or having an accident in hyperspace.

The only other person in the ship was C3-PO, whom was in power down mode, in a hallway of the ship.

Padme was in her personal quarters, sitting in a cushioned armchair with a high back. There was a holo-monitor on a small table in front of her. Mjolnir was placed on its side, on the top of a nearby chest of drawers. Mjolnir was outside of the camera view of the holo-monitor.

Padme was wearing a yellow, sleeveless sundress that went down to her ankles. She was barefoot on the large, fine rug in her quarters. Fortunately, her were outside of the holo-monitor's camera range.

Padme was talking to her friend, Senator Bail Organa by holo-comm.

For Padme, it was night time, with a few hours before she went to sleep. She even had the room dimly lit.

Though, for those in the Senate District on Coruscant, it was mid-afternoon.

Bail did not know about Padme's mission, but Padme had to check on Bail and what was going on in their little group within the Senate of Galactic Republic.

Padme has just called Bail, and Bail had just picked up.

Bail's small hologram showed he was wearing a dark charcoal suit and that he was sitting down in a chair.

Bail stated, “Hello Padme.”

Padme responded, “Hello Bail. So how are things going on your end?”

Bail shrugged, as he said, “The usual. Our little group is making slow progress. But still we are making progress.”

Padme replied, “Good.”

Bail mentioned, “But, we had a scandal from a member in the Senate whom we believed could have help support our anti-war effort.”

Padme inquired, “What happened?”

Bail casually said, “The usual. The Senator was thinking below her waist, instead of above.”

Padme commented, “Yes. We all need to remember that lesson.” Padme maintained her calm facade, as she mentally lamented, 'And due my relationship with Anakin, I am such a hypocrite on this matter.'

Bail asked, “True. So what are you doing right now? I barely see you in the Senate. Even as a hologram in the Senate Rotunda.”

Padme answered, “I have been busy. I am currently on a diplomatic mission.”

Bail questioned, “One of those missions you are doing with the Jedi?”

Padme casually lied, “Yes.” She thought, 'It is so nice of the Jedi Order to continue to help give me these diplomatic alibis while I do my missions as Thor.'

Bail stated, “Well I hope you have a good time. Still with the war going on, I doubt many people are having any fun in the galaxy.”

Padme said, “That is a very good point.”

Bail commented, “With those three hundred worlds joining the Separatists, things are now going to be harder for not only the Republic as a whole, but for us in the Senate. This is just going to be more fuel to the fire in the Chancellor's grab for more power.”

Padme replied, “I know.”

Bail asked, “You are Master Kenobi's friend. What happened at that debate? He was good. But, he was clearly upstaged by this Loki Laufeyson woman.”

Padme answered, “The same as any debate. Someone was more up to speed on events than the other. My friend was sadly caught off guard.”

Bail questioned, “True. That does happen. You know what bothers me most about the Separatists?”

Padme asked, “What?”

Bail stated, “The Separatists Parliament. Many of its members were once Senators of the Republic. People we knew. People that we worked with. Now they are enemies of the Senate.”

Padme said, “I believe the term, enemies, is a little strong a word for them. They did not have much choice in the matter. Their planets governments left the Republic. If they had not left, the Chancellor may have had them arrested on espionage charges.”

Bail commented, “That does not mean they had to join with the enemy Parliament.”

Padme stated, “If they did not go along and join the Parliament, the populations and governments of the worlds they represented may have seen them as sympathetic towards the Republic and they would turn against our former colleagues. Their local governments may have had them arrested on charges of treason. They are in a political rock and a hard place.”

Bail conceded, “You may have a point there. Still what are you views on the members of the Separatist Parliament?”

Padme said, “I believe many of them are misguided. Though, I feel that some of them would likely be willing to negotiate a treaty to stop the war. If they were allowed to do so.”

Bail stated, “Between Chancellor Palpatine leading one side, and Count Dooku leading the other side, that is not going to happen.”

Padme replied, “Sadly, I have to agree with you.”

Bail commented, “Padme. I want to apologize. You were lucky to catch me between meetings. But I am kind of busy at the moment. I have appointments that will start in a few minutes. And I will be busy all afternoon.”

Padme said, “I understand. We all have our duties. I appreciate that you took the time to talk with me.”

Bail stated, “I do not mind doing so. I will talk to you later.” Then, Bail turned off the communication on his end.

Padme reached over and she turned off the holo-monitor. Then, she leaned back in her armchair.

Padme thought, 'I wish I could have told you the whole truth. I am on a diplomatic mission. But not as Senator Amidala, but as Thor the Storm Bringer and Enforcer of the Republic. As Thor, I have been sent to do this mission alone.'

'Anakin and Ahsoka are in the Jedi Temple, on Coruscant. They were allowed leave from their military duties for a few weeks, so Anakin could teach Ahsoka some academic lessons in the Jedi Temple. They are probably in the Jedi archives right now. And R2 is with them.'

'Meanwhile, Obiwan is on his own mission. Though, I am sure he will be fine.'

'I need an assistant on this mission. And while the droid can whine, C3-PO has been a good assistant for me over the years. It would not look good if I introduced myself as the representative of the Galactic Republic while I am carrying my own luggage. I will have C3-PO carry my luggage and handling checking into the hotel I made reservations at. I have already given C3-PO all the information it needs to do its job. Though, I will double check with C3-PO before we leave the ship.'

'And I had to make hotel reservations. It could be considered an insult by the visiting dignitary to stay on their ship to sleep and not sleep somewhere in the visiting cities. Such an insult could harm the standing I have in the coming negotiations.'

'I would bring R2, but Anakin likes to have R2 assist him in his starfighter and I can understand. R2 is more useful aiding Anakin than myself.'

'Still, while I have C3-PO, as much as like to have Anakin, Ahsoka, and Obiwan come with me, I cannot disobey these orders because these orders come directly from Chancellor Palpatine, himself.'

Padme continued to leaned back, with her head resting against the high back of her chair. Padme sighed. She continued her thoughts, 'At least my mission is fairly straightforward. I am heading to the southern part of Outer Rim, on the far side of the Galaxy from Coruscant. I am heading to Cloud City, a giant disc shaped city which floats in the sky of the gas giant planet, Bespin.'

'The city floats in an area of breathable atmosphere over the gas planet.'

'Bespin is a gas planet. There are atmospheric layers below where Cloud City is located that are rich with deposits of tibanna gas. The tibanna gas is collected and refined by companies based on Cloud City and other small floating refinery cities and complexes.'

'Tibanna gas is needed to make weapons and hyperdrive engines. Less refined tibanna gas can even be used for more mundane uses, such as heating oil.'

'Cloud City has been a part of the Republic for a while now. The only reason the Separatists has not shown an interest in that city in that it is so far out from their territories. While Republic outpost worlds are nearby, which allows Cloud City to ship to the Republic with only minor difficulties.'

'The problem is, a few months ago Cloud City had stopped sending tibanna gas shipments to the Republic.'

'My mission is go there and find out why. And them convince them to resume tibanna gas shipments.'

'Given the sensitive nature of these meetings. As Thor, I already removed the comlink on the back of my right ear and I turned it off. It is in my quarters here. After the mission is over, I will change into my stronger form, retrieve it, turn it on, and place it back in my right ear as Thor. At least that ear piece does not exist in my normal form. And it is easy to remove in my Thor form. I just have to take off my helmet to do so.'

'This sounds like a simple negotiation mission. Something I am more than able to handle. Though, my one concern is when I reach Cloud City the Chancellor does not want me to present myself as Senator Amidala the peacemaker and negotiator.'

'Sheev wants me to go as Thor, the Enforcer of the Republic. Palpatine wants me to intimidate those at Cloud City into restarting tibanna gas shipments to the Republic.'

'To that end, Palpatine even offered have a battalion of clone troopers go with me, under my command.'

'It seems that Sheev is now ready to give me a command rank. If I so desire.'

'I politely declined the request of having trooper comes with me. I do not like to intimidate people. Especially outside of the battlefield. I prefer to not make a habit of threatening people I meeting... Unless they are shooting at me...'

'Still I only took this Republic diplomatic ship because my personal ship is too well known. I am no going to ask the Jedi to borrow one of their ships on a mission sent by someone they do not like.'

'So instead of using intimidation. As Thor, I will simply find out the cause of the problem and solve the problem in a peaceful manner. In doing so, in such a manner, I might as actually help my reputation as Thor. Which I admit, is not good. Most people either see Thor as a hero. Or, as a violent brute. And I admit I can see both points of view on the matter.'

'The Chancellor's war propaganda about me, as Thor is not helping matters. I joined the fight in the war against the Separatists to save lives, not to become a walking engine of terror and destruction. Some could make a valid argument that is what I have almost completely become. Save for the fact I still have a fair sense of right and wrong... I think... Well I hope so...'

'I better focus on my mission, before I make myself feel depressed.'

'I have researched Cloud City. Cloud City is an independent city-state whom is unofficially allied with the Republic, given they sell their product to us and not the Separatists.'

'Cloud City has an interesting and colorful history. Completion of the float city was finished a few centuries ago. The design and construction dates back by nearly two millennium. Making it relatively new compared to older spacestations, like the Centerpoint Station in the Corellian system. Though, no one knows whom built the Centerpoint Station. Let alone how old the Centerpoint Station really is.'

'Cloud City looks like an upside down tear drop, with a disc at the top. Though, there are skyscrapers rising up from the very top center of the city.'

'The lower end of the disc is filled with tens of thousands of repulsorlift and tractor beam generators to keep the station afloat in the sky. In the center of the bottom of the disc, there is a shaft that leads down to a unique oval sphere that is used to help keep the station balanced and level in a stable position.'

'The disc is sixteen kilometers in diameter, and is around eight kilometers high in the center, with the stalk shaft below the disc and unipod sphere at the other end of the stalk being another nine kilometers long.'

'It is truly a marvel of engineering. I would bet money that Anakin would love to spend a week on Cloud City just to study the engineering that went into the construction of the station.'

'Not counting droids, the population of Cloud City is almost five and a half million people.'

'Even by Coruscant standards, that is a lot of people in such a small space. Though from what I understand the station has plenty of room for everyone there. And the city receives plenty of regular shipments of food and other necessities for everybody.'

'Since Cloud City is so new, the city uses newer technology. Though, I wonder how many families, whom are descended from the construction crews that built the city, over the course of centuries, live on the station. This was clearly an effort that span several generations.'

'And Ecclessis Figg, the man whom originally dreamed up Cloud City was either a genius or a madman. Maybe both. Ecclessis Figg did marry into the Alderaanian royal family, where he gained the title of the Lord. Though, to be fair some of the sanest people I know in the galaxy belong to the Alderannian royal family, including my friend, Bail Organa.'

'Still, while the station was not completed until long after his death, Lord Ecclessis Figg's wishes were honored in keeping with his station design, how the government on the station would be organized, and how leadership is handed down. Or, in some cases handed away.'

'Cloud City is controlled by a Baron Administrator, with the title being handed down either through sell, or even gambling it away.'

'Surprisingly, this system of power transfer has worked for centuries with only minor problems. I guess you would have to be a gambler to properly run a station like Cloud City.'

'Though, the Baron Administrator is only one of three branches of government that control Cloud City. The Baron Administrator has the final say on a number of issues, including issues related to the representation of the Cloud City government towards foreign businesses and government from outside of Cloud City. The second branch are the Exex. The Exex oversees the day to day administration of bureaucracy. The members of the Exex are comprised of the business leaders of Cloud City. The third branch is the Parliament of Guilds, whom are represented by the common workers of Cloud City. Much of the role of the Parliament of Guilds deals with administration of the law and courts on Cloud City.'

'I have never heard of such an interesting governmental system. While the business leaders control the bureaucracy, the common workers control the courts, and foreign relations are control by which ever gamble was crazy enough to win the title of Baron Administrator.'

'And this governmental system seems to work. I believe Lord Figg was both a genius and a madman to come up with this and for it to work.'

'Now since this is issue from outside of Cloud City, I will be dealing with the Baron Administrator.'

'From the records I found on the Senate datanets, the current Baron Administrator is named Darnell Sapphire. Baron Sapphire is a fair person, and during his administration he has kept things peaceful on Cloud City. After Baron Sapphire took over, he worked with the Parliament of Guilds to reduces criminal activities. Crime rates have since dropped and the crime rates have remained low. Also, Baron Sapphire worked with the Exex members to streamline the bureaucracy to the point where businesses have prospered.'

'This means this mission should not be that difficult. With luck I will be done within a few hours. If I am able to accomplish my task so quickly, I might spend a few days there, as a small vacation. Though, I will have to take my vacation as Thor. But this is only a minor issue.'

'Recognizing the Baron should not be hard. Baron Sapphire is a middle-aged. He appears to be a male lethan twi'lek. Meaning his is a red skin twi'lek. And lethan twi'leks are rare in the galaxy.'

'But, records state he is even rarer. He is a human-twi'lek hybrid. His father is human, while his mother is an lethan twi'lek. Like most hybrids, with a human parent and near-human parent, the child takes on the traits of their non-human parent. Such as Darnell taking on the twi'lek appearance from his mother's side of his family. But, it is clear he is named by his father.'

'Baron Sapphire is a wealthy business man, and the background check I had done on him showed he has no criminal records.'

'By all accounts his family life during his childhood was good. His mother and father are still married and in good health.'

'Darnell later changed his family name to Sapphire, as a nod to his mother's side of the family.'

'Darnell's father is a shrewd businessman And his father taught Darnell everything he knew. When Darnell reached adulthood he made several wise investments that paid off. Eventually, Darnell gained enough wealth to move to Cloud City and buy the city baron administrator title from the previous Baron Administrator.'

'Rumor has it the reason he took control of Cloud City and moved there was that it was so far out that most companies whom did business in the region did not care if a person was a hybrid or not...'

Padme mournfully lamented in thought, 'It is sad we still have bigotry is parts of the galaxy. But one problem at a time.'

'Though, gas mining is not the only revenue Cloud City receives. The city is notoriously known to be a resort location for gambling and other vices.'

'The Hutts allowed this because Nar Shaddaa, the smuggler's moon, is on one side of the galaxy and Cloud City was on another side of the galaxy.'

'The casinos and resorts are privately own. Though, the Cloud City government leases the areas to people and businesses to live and work in.'

'From financial reports about the city, most of the money from the leases go to the up keep of the city and to help keep the city literally afloat in the air.'

'Though, the Baron Administrator, the Exex board members, and the representatives of the Parliament of Guilds take in nice salary for their jobs.'

Padme took a deep breath, and she slowly let it out, as she looked around the room. Then, she stared towards her front across the room, as she thought, 'I cannot really argue about the need for this mission. The Republic needs to find out why the shipments have stopped. If for any other reason than the Chancellor might force the issue and make Cloud City give them the tibanna gas by force, or take the gas from another places, under even worse conditions for the people living in those locations.'

'If I am performing this mission, I do not have to worry about something going seriously wrong due to a mistake on the Republic's part, which will lessen the chance of this mission leading to military action. Which no one wants. We are already at war. We do not need to create a rebellion on top of a civil war.'

'Especially since Loki has been able to personally convince even more worlds to join the Separatists, just by talking to their planetary governments. And this is not counting a few moons and independent spacestaions whom Loki convinced to join the Separatists.'

'The three hundred worlds from the Neutrality Alliance were only the first. In the past few weeks, she has convinced another twenty worlds to join. And these worlds are on the opposite side of the Separatists space from Republic space, in the northeastern part of the Outer Rim. With the Republic military being unable to respond to most of these worlds joining the Separatists.'

'I have used the datanets to listen and view some of the holovids of the speeches and statements Loki has publicly given. This includes the debate she had with Obiwan, and the Neutrality Alliance. I will admit it. Loki can be very persuasive. And that makes her all the more dangerous, because she has a cunning, devious mind behind her abilities and powers. Just like me.'

'What concerns me most is if Loki continues to convince world after world to join the Separatists, we might lose this war by sheer numerical superiority. I can only be in one place at a time. And the Jedi are already thinly spread out across the galaxy. While the clone troopers and other soldiers of the Republic are putting up a good fight. Our chances for victory are slowly slipping away from us.'

'Since we are at war, we can not allow our logistics resources to slip. If Cloud City is allowed to stop tibanna gas shipments to the Republic without response. Other worlds might start to do so. And the Republic will slowly die a death of a thousand cuts from being bled by the Separatists, while being unable to procure fresh supplies.'

'So I am going to find out what is going on Cloud City, and I will solve shipment the problem.'

'Though, I do wonder what I am going to do so when I get there? I am not sure. But I will be there in a day. Also, I need to confirm my hotel reservations before I reach Cloud City. Since this is an official visit, the Senate can pay for my room... I will check with the officials at the hotel I am using in the morning.'

'Also, if ship's navigational calculations are correct, the auto-pilot is set to come out of hyperspace at a hyper-route junction a hour after my alarm clock by my bed wakes me up. That will give me plenty of time to get up and get dressed. Then, I will have my ship come out of hyperspace, I will leave the Corellian Trade Spine and have the ship's navigational system orientate the ship to head on the Ison Corridor hyper-route which will take me directly to Bespin. It is only a few hours on the Ison Corridor until I reach Bespin. So, it will not be a problem.'

Padme yawned, as she stretched out her arms. She lowered her arms, as she continued her thoughts, 'But that is for tomorrow. Right now I am going to get some sleep.'

Padme got out of the chair, got ready for bed. Once she was ready for bed, she turned off her lights, laid down on her bed in her personal quarters, and she went to sleep.

(_)

The next morning, Padme's alarm clock had awoken her. She had gotten up and ready to face the day. After which, she was in the cockpit where she oversaw the her ship coming out of hyperspace into normal space at the junction between the Corellian Trade Spine and the Ison Corridor hyper-routes.

Padme had the ship's navigation computer calculate the coordinates and orientate the ship to the proper angle. When the ship had the calculations and proper angle, Padme set the ship to enter hyperspace on the Ison Corridor.

An hour later, C3-PO internal chronometer alerted the droid to power up and awaken. C3-PO soon joined Padme to assist Padme and follow her orders.

A few hours later, Padme brought her ship out of hyperspace, in orbit of the planet Bespin.

Padme sat in the right cockpit seat. C3-PO saw in the left side cockpit seat.

They were not buckled into their seats. Padme was an experienced pilot and she felt they did not need to be buckled up.

Padme was dressed in casual clothing, which included a white shirt, black pants, and black shoes.

After exiting hyperspace, but before beginning her entry into the Bespin atmosphere, Padme had contacted the officials on Cloud City flight control, for clearance and directions to her ships landing location. Since she was expected, receiving the clearance and directions was not difficult.

Though, Padme used audio only to talk to Cloud City flight control, and she introduced herself as Thor, so those on Cloud City did not know they were talking to Padme and not Thor.

As Padme's ship had entered the upper atmosphere of Bespin, and approached Cloud City, she had the ship set on autopilot, with settings for the ship's autopilot to slave to the Cloud City computers, to take Padme's ship on a safe path to the proper landing platform her ship was assign to land on.

While Padme's ship flew towards in the upper layers of the atmosphere of Bespin, towards Cloud City, Padme contacted the hotel she would be staying at and she confirmed the reservations for Thor. She used the Senate credit line account number she was issued for the mission to pay for the hotel room.

A minute after Padme finish talking to the hotel officials she saw through the cockpit windows as they clear some cloud banks and her ship came in sight of Cloud City.

Given the early time in the morning, the sunrise gave the floating city and surrounding clouds hues of orange, red, and yellow.

As the ship flew, they began to near the Cloud City, as they headed for the top middle of the disc city, where highrise buildings reached upward into the sky.

Padme had a great view of floating station.

Padme thought, 'This truly is a marvel.'

C3-PO commented, “My word. What a wondrous city in the clouds.”

Padme looked out at the windows of the cockpit, as she said, “I have to agree with you, C3-PO. It truly is a wondrous sight.”

Soon they made it to the top middle part of the city and they starting flying between the buildings, in the morning sun.

It was clear day on the top of Cloud City, with only a few clouds above the city itself.

As their ship passed between the building, Padme and C3-PO continued to look around. Though, at the speeder they were going, they missed see a a few things as they passed between the buildings.

Padme thought, 'It is too bad I am only business. I could probably stretch this trip to a few days. But, that is not enough time to fully look around. There are locations I can see in this city which look to be a fun places to visit. I may suggest to Anakin that we take a vacation here. We have been looking for a far away place to have some fun. For just the two of us. Without being noticed. And this is about as far away from Coruscant as one can be, while still being in civilized space.'

Soon, they came to this landing platform, which was located on an outcropping, near the top of one of the skyscrapers, near the very center of the top middle part of the city. The skyscraper the ship was landing on was surrounded by buildings of equal stature. Though, the buildings were all shaped differently from each other.

Padme ship came to a stop to hover ten meters in the air above the landing pad. The ship's autopilot extended the landing gear, and the ship slowly lowered to the landing pad.

Padme felt bumped as the ship finally set down on the landing pad.

From the cockpit window, Padme could tell the officials of Cloud City air control had landed ship, with the main exit, on the left side of the ship, facing the building the platform was attached to.

Padme thought, 'I guess the officials at the air traffic control looked up the model type of this ship and they set the ship to land with the main door to this ship facing the building. That is a nice touch on their part. Now to power down the engines.'

Padme set the ship back to manual and she began to power down the ship's engines.

Once Padme was finish shutting down the engines, she turned to C3-PO. She stated, “C3-PO, meet me at the loading ramp. I will be there shortly. And do not open the door to the ship.”

Padme thought, 'I am glad that earlier this morning I set my luggage by the exit ramp. Also, I already confirmed the reservations for my and C3-PO at the Blue Deckard Hotel. It is a nice hotel, which is highly rated by the Senate Travel Office.'

C3-PO turned to Padme. The droid said, “Yes ma'am.”

Padme and C3-PO got out of their chairs.

C3-PO head for the main exit to the ship.

Meanwhile, Padme, Padme head to her bedroom, to retrieve Mjolnir.

(_)

A few minutes later, Padme had retrieved Mjolnir from her personal quarters. She carried Mjolnir in her right hand, at her right side, as she headed for the main exit to the ship.

As Padme approached C3-PO, in a hallway on the ship, she saw her two suitcases of luggage placed on the left wall of the hallway. C3-PO stood in front of the main exit of the ship, on Padme right, on wall of the hallway, which was on the left side of the ship.

Padme soon came to a stop beside C3-PO.

Padme and the droid looked at each other.

Padme thought, 'Now to get down to business.' Padme ordered, “While here, you are to address me as Thor. Now, General Thor, or any honorifics ties to the title of Thor. You will just address me as Thor. Do you understand?”

C3-PO replied, “Yes. I understand.”

Padme said, “I already reserved a suite for us in the Blue Deckard hotel, under Thor. The number for the reservation is fifty-six, twenty-seven, sixteen. From what I understand, it is a well known hotel that is very reputable. So, you should have no problem finding it. After I leave with the officials whom will likely come out to greet me, I want you to head directly to that hotel and check in with for me, with my luggage. I already packed my suitcases. They are right beside you. Only two suitcases. You can handle it. The ship will automatically close and lock itself two minutes after it senses no one on board. Though, the panel to open the door is on back part of the front landing gear. The passcode is Anakin's birthday. I will see you this evening. Do you understand?”

C3-PO stated, “Yes Thor.”

Padme smiled, as she responded, “Good. Now back away from the door. I do not want our hosts seeing you. I will meet you later at the hotel.”

Padme mentally reflected, 'And I am glad the Senate is paying for this suite and not myself. This was an expensive room to rent. But, it should be worth it. Now, to get to work. Though, there is one other matter.'

Padme stated, “If I am not at the hotel by tomorrow morning, contact Anakin and tell him that I am missing.”

Padme thought, 'If something here can take me down as Thor, it is worth alerting Anakin about. If I need rescuing, I am sure he will handle the matter. It would not be the first time he has saved my life.'

C3-PO replied, “I will do as you request.”

C3-PO backed away from Padme, and down the hallway, away from the outside door.

C3-PO came to a stop a few meters from Padme.

Padme used Mjolnir to turn into Thor.

A second later, Padme was in her enhanced form, in her armor, helmet, equipment, and with the Black Solace sheathed in its scabbard which was strapped to her back.

Thor continued to hold Mjolnir in her right hand.

Thor turned to her right. She used her left hand to push a button on a panel, by the door to the outside.

The ramp in front of the doorway extended down to the floor of the landing platform. Once the ramp was fully extended, the outer door slid open.

Once the door was fully open, Thor began walking down to the ramp to the metal platform that ship rested on.

Thor saw that in front of her, there was a closed set of double-doors where the platform met the building. Also, Thor noticed it was slightly windy outside. But, even with the windchill, the temperature was only a little cool.

As Thor's feet touched the landing pad, she immediately came to a stop.

A few seconds later, she saw the doors to the building in front of her slide open. Three individuals walked out. The sliding doors remaining open behind them.

Thor immediately recognized Baron Darnell Sapphire taking the lead. Baron Sapphire was the only twi'lek present.

Thor guessed, as she though, 'The two people behind him are two of his bodyguards.' standing behind

To the baron's left was a slender female rodian. To the baron's left was a stocky male weequay.

Both bodyguards wore in blue Cloud City officers uniforms. The uniforms included a long sleeve red shirt, blue pants, a black belt around the waist. Over the bottom of the leggings of the pants were black boots which went up to right below the knees. Over the red shirt was a long sleeve light blue cloth coat which matched the blue pants. The coat was closed, with the coat just covering the black belt. The sleeves of the coat stopped just above the wrists to show the red shirt underneath.

Each bodyguard wore a blue cap on their head.

There was a blaster pistol holstered on the right side of their belts.

A few seconds later, the three person group came to a stop four meters in front of Thor.

Thor looked at Darnell Sapphire. Darnell was a middle-aged man of average height. He had a slightly larger stomach than was healthy. He wore a red button up shirt, with black pants, red belt, and black boots. The buckle on his pants had a unique design. Over his clothing was a red cape made of aeien silk.

But, the one thing Thor noticed was when Darnell turned his head to look over the ship, Thor saw that the unlike most twi'lek, which had two lekku tendrils coming down the sides of their head. Darnell only one lekku, going down the back of his head and draping down his back.

Thor thought, 'Having one lekku must be a sign of his human heritage.'

Baron Darnell Sapphire turned to look at Thor. Darnell warmly smiled towards her, as he cheerfully spoke in fluent galactic basic, without a hint of a twi'lek accent, “Hello. I am Baron Darnell Sapphire. Administrator of this city. I was told to expect you.”

Thor answered, “Thy am Thor of the Galactic Republic. Thou was sent here to speak with thee.”

Darnell commented, “Good. I look forward to talking to such a beautiful woman.”

Thor thought, 'I get the sense he is not trying to hit on me. But, he just wants to keep things peaceful.' She said, “We will only be talking.”

Darnell requested, “Of course. Though, I do have to ask that you to leave your weapons on your ship.”

Thor saw the two bodyguards behind Darnell tense up.

Thor thought, 'While those blaster pistols cannot harm me as Thor. Any fight would be disastrous to my mission. And I need to keep Mjolnir nearby to remain in my enhanced form. In this case, I will be honest. Though, not completely honest.'

Thor stated, “Thy weapons are literally a part of thou. But, thy only has melee weapons. No firearms.” Thor thought, 'Though, I can use Mjolnir as a range weapon. But, there is no need to mention that.'

Darnell said, “Since you do not have any blaster weapons, I believe we can bend the rules.”

Thor replied, “Thank you. Thou hopes the rest of our business is this productive.”

Thor noticed the bodyguards relaxing their body postures.

Darnell said, “I hope so as well. I was informed that the Republic representative would be arriving today for discussion concerning our tibanna gas shipments to the Republic. Though, I did not expect you, Thor, to be sent here. Let alone, did I not expect your visit to be so early in the morning. It is fortunate I am an early riser. I had just finished breakfast when I was informed of your early arrive. I barely got hear when your ship landed.”

Thor thought, 'Interesting. So you were informed of my arrival. But not who would be arriving. I wonder, Palpatine. What is the game you are playing at?'

Thor stated, “Thy apologizes for coming at such an early time of day. Thou did not take into account the time different on when exactly thy would arrive. It is just a matter of bad timing.”

Darnell responded, “It is quite alright. Things happen. Still since it is you whom has come. Do you think you could give me a demonstration of your abilities? I do wonder how much of your reputation and abilities are true.”

Thor said, “Thou prefers to not to do so. Though, thy reputation is well earned.” Thor thought, 'I have no interest in demonstrating my abilities and powers to anyone outside of my family and friends.'

Darnell replied, “I understand.”

Thor commented, “Thy would prefer to begin discussions. So, thou can finish thy business here.”

Darnell stated, “As much as I would love to do so. I believe an informed discussion is the better approach to take. As such, I believe it would be best if I took you on a tour of our facilities, before we begin discussions. So you understand what is going on when is comes to our facilities and what efforts go into these tibanna gas shipments.”

Thor thought, 'It would not hurt to take a tour of this city. It is one thing to read about how something is done. But, to see the process first hand could be informative. And after the tour the Baron would likely be in a better frame of mind to negotiate.'

Thor replied, “Thy can see reason in thee's request. Thou will take the tour.”

Darnell asked, “I appreciate your willingness to do so. Though first. Have you had breakfast?”

Thor answered, “Yes. Thou is ready to begin our tour.”

Darnell responded, “Good. Right this way.” Darnell turned and began walking towards the entrance to the building, which was still open. Thor followed behind Darnell, with Darnell's two bodyguards following a few meters behind Thor.

(_)

At that moment, inside the Republic diplomatic ship, C3-PO heard the four adults leave the landing platform, as they made their way into the building.

C3-PO picked up the two suitcases of Padme's luggage by the handles, with one handle in each hand.

Then, the droid exited the ship.

As after exiting the ramp, the droid headed into the building. Fortunately, the door to the building was still open.

After entering the building, the hallway forked to the right and left.

C3-PO could hear Thor talking in the hallway to C3-PO's left. So, the droid turned and its started walking down the hallway to its right. Then, the droid began to find its way the Blue Deckard Hotel. Fortunately, C3-PO was well versed in the experience of asking for directions.

Two minutes after C3-PO left the Republic Diplomatic ship, the sensors on board the ship sensed no one was on board for more than two minutes. The ship's computers ran the security program Padme had set. The ship closed and locked the door. Next, the ship retracted the ramp.

(_)

A minute after entering the building, Thor continued to follow Darnell through the hallway of the building, with the two bodyguards behind her.

Thor noticed something, as she thought, 'I am not seeing anyone else in the hallway. The Baron likely preplanned for my ship to land here, with this area cleared for security reasons. It being so early in the morning helped by not that meaning people being out at this time of the day. He likely do not want to risk an incident with a high level Republic official. Which is what I am. Both as a Senator and as a General. Still, I need to get this mission moving.'

As they walked, Thor stated, “Thy has been sent here because thee's scheduled shipments of tibanna gas to the Galactic Republic have lapsed.”

Darnell slowed down. As he walked, he took a few steps to his right side, to allow Thor to catch up with him. When those was Thor to his left side. As soon as Thor walked to his left side, he brought his walking pace up to a normal speed.

As they walked, Darnell commented, “It is your Galactic Republic whom has altered the deal. We have not received a payment from the Republic in three months. Yet, you still expect shipments. “

Thor admitted, “Hmm. Thy was not informed of this.” Thor thought, 'Okay. It is clear that Palpatine is playing a game with me and Baron Sapphire. But since he is the Chancellor, I am not going to be able to ask why. All I can do is mitigated the situation so I accomplish my mission without anyone getting hurt.'

Darnell said, “That is interesting. At first, we believed the lack of payment was a bureaucratic snafu, and we sent a month's shipment of gas to the Republic. But, after a month without payment, we cut off all gas shipments to the Republic. That was two month ago.”

Thor conceded, “That was a fair response.”

Darnell responded, “Thank you. Still, even if the Republic refuses to pay, we already have many other clients for our gas shipments.”

Thor commented, “It may not be that simple. Thy mission comes from the Supreme Chancellor.”

Darnell turned to Thor. He asked, “Are you going to threaten us to continue with your gas shipments without further payment?”

Thor turned to Darnell. She said, “No. Thou is trying to find a peaceful solution to the situation.”

Darnell remarked, “Have the Republic government pay their bills and the problem will resolve itself.”

Thor said, “Thy will look into the matter on thine end.”

Darnell replied, “Good.”

There was silence between them for several seconds, as they walked to through the hallway.

As they walked they turned a corner to their right, and came to a section of the hallway, which had a meter high parapet wall to their left. This opening allow them to see the cityscape below in the morning light.

While they continued to walk, Thor turned her head to her left, as she looked outside.

It was passed sunrise, and in the light of day the city and clouds now shown their true white colors.

Most of the skyscraper buildings, on the top middle surface level of the city had white exteriors. Along with this, a majority of the buildings had rounded shapes to them, instead of hard edges. Many of the skyscrapers had either domed, or flat disc shaped mushroom roofs.

In the distance, below, on the surface level, Thor saw small parks dotted the surface, with green grass and trees planted in those parks.

Thor's enhanced vision allowed her to see clearly see the grass and trees. Also, Thor clearly saw the people walking about in the parks, sidewalks, other surface areas. In addition, she could see through the windows and in the open spaces behind the parapets walls of other buildings.

Thor thought, 'Under different circumstances, this would be a romantic setting. If this mission goes well, I am seriously considering convincing Anakin to come back here with me. With myself returning as Padme and not Thor.'

Baron Sapphire's voice brought Thor attention back to the situation at hand, as he stated, “Well even if I wanted to send the Republic gas shipments, I am unable to do so. To make matters worse. Some of the workers are now striking. We barely have enough employed workers to provide regular gas shipments for our paying clients.”

While they continued to walk at a casual pace, Thor turned to Darnell. She saw Darnell was still looking at her face. She thought, 'So the situation is worse on your end. Though, I need to know.'

Thor asked, “Are these striking workers being peaceful? Or violent?”

Darnell said, “For right now, they are being peaceful and allowing those that wish to work to continue to work. But, I do not expect that to last. As the strike drags on, their credits will start to run dry,and the strikers will begin to become desperate both for themselves and their families.'

Thor thought, 'That is true.' She inquired, “What is the cause of this strike?”

Darnell flatly answered, “Salary payments. While we have other clients, the money we had been receiving for gas shipments from the Republic made up around forty percent of our revenue. With the Republic government stopping payments to us, I had to make furloughs and salary cuts for the workers. I even took a twenty percent salary cut for myself to balance the accounting books. The Exex board members and the Parliament of Guilds members saw no other solutions to the problem and they had to go along with these furloughs and salary cuts. None of us were happy about the situation.”

Thor thought, 'So the revenue they were receiving from the Republic is a good percentage of their annual gross. That gives me some leverage. And though your personal salary cut was likely symbolic, it was still a good measure on your part for morale of your works. Though, if I push too hard I might drive you into the hands of the Separatists. The Chancellor will not allow you to sell your tibanna gas to the Separatists and if you attempted to do so Cloud City will become another battleground in the Clone Wars. I cannot let that happen.'

Thor stated, “It is noble of thee to take a salary cut as well. Though this strike needs to be end.” She thought, 'If I can end this strike, it will help me convince you to resume the gas shipments.'

Darnell said, “I agree. The question is how? Use of brute force will only make things worse.”

Thor agreed, “Given the workers feel their backs are to the wall, brute force will only make them want to fight.”

Darnell suggested, “Exactly. Our tour might give you a few ideas on how to the strike can be peacefully ended.”

Thor replied, “Thou agrees.”

Thor saw they were coming to a nearby three way intersection. The hallway continued along the edge of the hallway. And to her right was a connecting hallway then went further into the building.

Darnell requested, “I am glad you agree. Now it is this way to our facilities. We will be taking a few lifts down to the lower levels of the city.”

When they reached intersection, Darnell turned to his right.

Thor and the Baron's bodyguards followed. She saw that the hallway lead to a nearby bank of elevators.

Darnell came to a stop near an elevator to his left. Thor to a stop behind Darnell, to Darnell's left side. The two bodyguards came to a stop behind Thor.

Darnell press a code on the numerical pad by the double-doors to the elevator.

As they waited for the elevator to arrive, a thought occurred to Thor. She asked, “Should we be concerned with possible criminal elements, as we venture down into the bowels of the city?”

Darnell turned to face Thor. Darnell answered, “No. This is not Coruscant. The criminal element here have an understanding with the industries and administration here. They make plenty of profit here from the tourists. As long as they do hassle the locals, nor the tourists. And they do not rock the boat when it comes to the more legitimate operations in this city, we leave them alone.”

Thor thought, 'And by doing so, you likely get a few kickbacks from the criminals. That is how you have kept crime levels down. But, I have heard worse about people I know in the Senate.'

Darnell mentioned, “And we have no monsters lurking in the deeper levels of the city.”

Thor thought, 'That is a relief.' She said, “That is a relief.”

Darnell smiled, as he commented, in a casual tone of voice, “Though, a little over a year ago, we did catch some individuals trying to smuggled a small rancor into the city. And by small, I mean the size of a speeder vehicle. Though, no one was harmed. The rancor was in its cage at the time. Anyway, the smugglers were arrested, and the rancor was returned to its native home planet. Still that was the talk of the city for a few months.”

By then, the elevator reached them, the elevator double-doors slid open in unison.

Thor noticed the doors open, as she giggled a little at Darnell's story. She happily responded, “Thou has no doubt that was the case. Now please, let us begin our tour.”

Darnell continued to smile, as he happily replied, “Right this way.” Darnell turned towards the elevator entrance. He walked into the elevator to stand the back.

Then, Thor walked into the elevator to stand right next to Darnell.

Next, the rodian female bodyguard walked into the elevator.

Afterward, the male weequay bodyguards was last enter the elevator.

All of them turned around to face the doors, with the two bodyguards in front.

As the doors closed, Darnell turned to Thor. He stated, “The levels in cloud city are numbered from the top down. With level above the surface level using a different set of number. In this building, we are level one one fifty. Meaning we are fifty floors up from level one. Though, this elevator will take us deep into Cloud City.”

Darnell turned to his bodyguard. He ordered, “Take us to the level one hundred and thirty.”

The rodian bodyguard was by the panel. The rodian pressed a few buttons on the numerical pad on the panel by the doors. The elevator soon began to lower as a comfortable speed, as the elevator took them to the level the baron requested.

(_)

A little while later, Thor walked beside Darnell, to Darnell's left. Darnell's two bodyguards a walked few meters behind them.

Thor gripped Mjolnir in her right hand, which she held to her right side.

The four adults walked through the middle of an underground plaza. The sides of the plaza were lined with shops. There were various people and families walking around them. Though, everyone kept their distance from Darnell, Thor, and Darnell's two bodyguards.

As they walked, Darnell stated, “These levels of Cloud City are called Port Town. These are all private businesses. There is a criminal element here. But, it is also one of the main locations where families on the station buy goods, food, and supplies. While the upper stores on the upper levels cater more to the rich and well off. These levels cater to the rank and file members of Cloud City's population. There are some entertainment centers in Port Town for the working class that live in Cloud City. Now it is right this way to the shipping ports.”

They continued walking, as Thor looked around.

(_)

A while later, they made it to one of the shipping ports on the outer edge of level one hundred and thirty of Port Town.

The four adults were standing behind a railing. They looked out at the docking bays below, in front, and to their sides. They saw ships continue to dock and depart around them.

There were pipes along the walls, floor, and ceiling, with hoses connect to the pipes in the walls. The hoses were near the ships. With a few of the hoses attached to some of the ships.

They saw various people doing various jobs around the loading bays. These people included humans, rodians, weequays, ugnaughts, lutrillians, and other aliens.

Darnell stated, “This port stations designated to transfer tibanna gas to Cloud City. The ships that dock here go deeper into Bespin to collect the gas. The gas is transferred from here and sent by the pipes to factories that process the gas. Other locations along the outside of these levels are where we load the carbonite slabs, with trapped tibanna gas, onto awaiting ships, to be sent to other locations in the galaxy. There are also ports along the sides of the city for freighter ships that come in from other parts of the galaxy, with food, supplies, and various necessities.”

Thor thought, 'I wonder...' Thor turned to Darnell. She asked, “Are the ships which collect the gas collection own by the businesses on Cloud City?”

Darnell turned to Thor. He answered, “Not for the most part. The majority of gas collection ships are privately owned by freelancers. A few are owed by companies. We a good arrangement with the freelances. Besides, you have to be a little crazy to collect gas, because of the constant risk from the flying wildlife and the intense storms that can quickly form without warning.”

Thor commented, “Thou can guess that the wildlife here is dangerous. Though, thou is not stranger to storms.”

Darnell responded, “With your title of Storm Bringer, I am sure that is the case. Now let us continue our tour.”

(_)

Much later, deeper into Cloud City, the four adults were walking a large catwalk, which was over what looked like an underground canyon fill with industrial pipes and foundries.

As they walked, Darnell commented, “This is part of the industrial area of Cloud City. This is where the tibanna gas is refined. Along with production facilities for other products. The process of refining tibanna gas is done by distilling the gas of impurities. Most of the impurities are separated further into their base elements to be stored and sold as well.”

“Also, we have fabrication plants to building and repair various parts for the city itself, the ships which dock here, and for private customers. Some things are more expensive to import than to make here. And those items that are cheaper make here are usually produced on-site.”

“Now if you follow me, we will head further down, so I can show you some of these refineries and factories.”

Then, they headed to a nearby set of stairs, that was along a wall to their left side. The stairs had a railing on the right side of the stairs, opposite to the wall. The stairs would take them into the industrial area below.

(_)

Hours later, they made it to the section of the city with the carbonite freezing chambers.

Inside one of the rooms with the carbonite freezing chamber, Thor, Darnell, and the two bodyguards stood on the platform that overlooked the carbonite freezing chamber. There was a metal railing at the end of the platform overlooking the lower center section of the room.

The room was illuminated with red and blue lighting.

In the center of the room there was a circular hole that was one meter wide and two meters deep. Above the hole, near the ceiling, was a set of metal clamps.

There were tubes running along the ceiling in various directions.

On the platform, Darnell and Thor stood beside each other, behind a control panel, with the bodyguards standing behind them. Darnell stood to Thor's left side. Thor had Mjolnir in her right hand.

There was no one else in the room.

Darnell turned to Thor. He stated, “This is where the tibanna gas is frozen and stored in slabs of carbonite. For safety reasons this chamber will not be used while we are present. Though, it is not necessary to see the process to understand. The process by which this is done is very easy to understand.”

“The cylinder shaped chamber in the center of the room below is around a meter wide and two meters deep. In this cylinder chamber is where the molten carbonite is ejected into the chamber with tibanna gas. Along the carbonite and tibanna gas, coolant gas is injected into the chamber which flash freezes the carbonite and the tibanna gas together into a rectangular cube slab.”

“The freezing process takes several seconds to complete. Before the freezing process fully solidifies, machines in the chamber wrap and install various machines around the sides of the slabs to make transport and release of the tibanna gas easier to achieve.”

“Around the carbonite flux, with tibanna gas trapped in it, the outer casing has electronics, power cells, monitor displays, heating rods and repulsorlifts installed on its sides. To maintain the slab, to easily transport the slab, and release the gas from the slab, when the shipment reaches its destination.”

Darnell turned to look up at the center of the ceiling, as he continued, “Once the process is complete, the to large clamps you see near the ceiling are lowered into the chamber. The clamps pick up the slab by the sides and raise it to the bottom level. Once above the chamber, the clamp set the slab down on its side, before letting go and returning to the ceiling. The slab is then pushed to fall onto its back. Do not worry, the carbonite slab is tough enough that doing so will not damage it. Though, the workers nearby need to be careful not to have the slab fall on them. But, such accidents are very rare.”

“In addition, the carbonite slabs can be stored at room temperature. Also, since tibanna gas is heavier than oxygen and nitrogen, any tibanna gas that escapes the process is vacuumed up by machines installed in the vents of the floor. Though, to maintain the purity of our quality product, the collected gas has to be later refined before it can be put into a slab.”

As Thor listened to Darnell explain the carbonite freezing process, she looked around the room. Though, her attention eventually focused on chamber in bottom center of the room, which was a circular hole on the floor.

Thor mentally reflected, 'I read that historical records of people using this process to be frozen in suspended animation. But doing so is very, very dangerous. And even if everything goes correctly, when the person is awaken, the person can have health problem from hibernation sickness.'

Darnell said, “Now we are going into the core of Cloud City.”

Darnell turned to his left and her began to walk towards a door which would lead him to a hallway. Thor turned and followed him, with Darnell's two bodyguards following behind Thor.

(_)

A while later, they made to the bowels of the Cloud City, in the windy, open hollow section of the city.

It is very windy, with the two bodyguards standing just inside the hallway that lead to the catwalk, while Darnell and Thor stood on the catwalk.

The catwalk had railings on both sides.

Darnell had set the door to the hallway to be left open.

The end of catwalk lead to a weather vane which had large antennas on it.

Darnell had his right hand firmly gripping the railing to his right, while Thor stood near him, further along the catwalk, closer to the weather vane. Thor had her back turned to Darnell.

Thor did not have either of her hands on a railing.

Thor held Mjolnir in her right hand.

Thor saw they were standing on a platform, on the side of a very large cylindrical shaft, going upwards by several kilometers end with several tubes at the top of the shaft. The large shaft also went downwards by several kilometers to exit below into the atmosphere.

Thor looked around in wonder, as she thought, 'You could fly a Jedi Cruiser up this hole, with room to spare.'

Darnell did not know about Thor's enhanced sense. So, Darnell stated, in slightly stronger than normal tone of voice, so Thor could hear him over the wind, “This huge hollow section of the city is part of the Cloud City Core, which is part of the coolant system that regulates the repulsorlifts and tractor beam generators which keep this station afloat. There are a number of these large shafts around the bottom sections of Cloud City.”

“These antennas in front of us, at the end of the platform, are one of the weather vanes placed along this shaft. They measure the temperature, humidity, and wind speed, to make sure the shaft is properly channeling and distributing the cool air into the gas tubes. Though, as a safety precaution, internal sensors are placed within the gas tubes to measure heat build up, with the gas tubes having places that open up to vent heat as needed. The vents are connected to tubes which expel the excess heat below the station.”

“It is quite windy out here. And it is suppose to be windy. Though, I hear you are not stranger to wind. Still I suggest you keep a strong grip on the railing. If you fell, you would either fall straight threw to the bottom, or you would get sucked into one of the gas tubes and then dumped outside in another location.”

Thor tighten her grip of the shaft of the hammer in her right hand, to reassure herself that she was fine. She turned to look at Darnell.

Thor said, “Not to worry. Thy will be fine.” She thought, 'Though, it feels like I am on the south end of a giant north bound animal. I can smell some of the gases coming up from the atmosphere below. Sometimes having enhanced senses is not that great.'

Darnell stated, “Now to the next part of the tour. My office.”

Thor replied, “That sounds nice. Thou is looking forward to seeing your office.”

Darnell turned around and walked down the catwalk, to the entrance of the hallway. Thor followed the Baron Administrator.

The two bodyguards stood out of the way, as Darnell walked into the hallway, and pass them, with Thor right behind Darnell. The two bodyguards followed behind Thor.

(_)

A while later, they made it to the administration building in the center of the top surface level of Cloud City.

The Baron Administrator's office was on the top floor of the one of the central skyscrapers of the surface area.

The route Darnell, Thor, and the two bodyguards took from the core of Cloud City to the Baron Sapphire's office did not have any windows to the outside.

The group had to talk through a number of hallways and take three elevators to the level where the Baron's office was located.

When the elevator reach the level the Baron's office was on, the elevator double-doors slid opened.

The rodian female bodyguard was the first to walk out. Then, the weequay male bodyguard. Next was Darnell. And Thor was the last to exit the elevators.

The weequay took a few brisk steps to catch up to walk beside the rodian bodyguard to the rodian's bodyguard's left side.

The elevator doors soon slid closed behind them.

As they walked down the hallway, Thor saw they were only about twenty meters from the double-doors to the office. There were no windows, nor doors on the sides of the walls, floor, nor ceiling. The lighting was provided by yellow lights in the ceiling.

Thor thought, 'They likely lead me through areas with no windows and minimum number other entryways as an extra layer of security.'

When the bodyguards reached the double-doors to the office, the male weequay bodyguards walked to the right of the doorway. He came to a stop. Then, he turned around to face Darnell and Thor.

Meanwhile, the female rodian walked over to the left side of the doorway. She came to a stop in front of a numerical pad by the doorway. She typed in a code, and the double-doors open. Then, she turned around to face Darnell and Thor.

When Darnell came within a few meters of the door way, he came to a stop. Thor stopped behind him.

Darnell turned his attention to the two bodyguards. He stated, “Thank you. You both did well today. Now go get yourselves some supper and some rest.”

Each bodyguard nodded once. Then, the two of them walked passed Darnell and Thor, toward the elevator. Their intent was to head to a restaurant to get something to eat while they relax as co-workers and friends.

Meanwhile, Darnell began walking into his office.

Thor followed him inside.

A few seconds after Thor entered the office, the double-doors to the hallway slid closed behind them.

As they walked into the office, Thor saw that the office was a little bigger than her office in the Senate, which was around the same size as Bail's senatorial office.

The office was sparely furnished, with a few paintings on the walls. The walls and ceiling were painted a light tan color, with the floor be a tiled. The large tiles on the floor were a dark red color.

The lighting in the room was provided by yellow ceiling lights.

In front of them, Thor saw there was a desk, with a cushioned, high-back, swivel armchair behind the desk. There were three cushioned, four leg, low-back, armchairs in front of the desk. The three chairs were laid out in a row while facing the desk.

To the left side of the room, there was an area with five cushioned armchairs around a small circular table.

Thor noticed on the wall to her right that the Baron's office was connected to an outside balcony, with double-doors to the outside to the interior of the room. The doors had pane windows in them. The windowed doors had been left open, with the doors swinging inward into the office.

The doorway to the balcony was at an angle which allowed someone sitting at a chair by the desk to look outside into the balcony.

The balcony was three meters wide, in a half crescent shape. At the apex of the outer end of the curve, the balcony was two meters in depth from the doors to the office. A meter high parapet wall around around the curved outer edge of the balcony. The balcony floor was the same type of white flooring as used in much of the walking areas on the surface area of Cloud City.

In addition, the balcony was the only way to see outside, from within the room. There were no windows in the office.

Thor thought, 'I doubt the Baron is worried about someone dropping. So he likely leaves the doors to the balcony open to allow some fresh air into his office. Besides, he probably has his security monitor the outside of this building. The lack of windows in the office could also be done as a security precaution. The balcony floor prevents shooting from below. While shooting through a window with a rifle would not be that difficult from the small heights these buildings have when compared to the much taller, much larger skyscrapers on Coruscant.'

Then, Thor came to a stop, as she noticed the color of light outside, it was almost sunset.

Thor thought, 'Time flies. But, in my enhanced form I am not tired, nor hungry. While we took a few breaks today, none were for meals.'

By then, Darnell had reached the desk and chairs. He walked around the desk, to his right, to sit down in the armchair behind the desk. Once Darnell was seated, he turned to face Thor.

Darnell noticed Thor looking at the sunset. Darnell commented, “Actually, the daily rotation of the planet is only just over twelve hours. It took us around six hours to complete our tour. We use a standard twenty-four hour days and twelve minutes to keep sync with the planet's twelve hour six minute rotations. We have eight hour and four minute rotational shifts. See almost a day and a half pass by between sleep periods takes a little getting use. But, it is the same amount of time as one standard day for the body, so it is not that big a problem.”

Thor turned her attention to Darnell.

Thor stated, “Thy did not realize that.”

As Thor began walking towards the desk, as she mentally reflected, 'I missed that in my review of the planet. I got up early this morning, so I could use some rest in a few hours. And even though this has only been six hours. Give the importance of this meeting, the Baron would likely skip a few meals to make sure things go well. And the two bodyguards are too professional to complain. Still it was nice giving subordinates leave after the tour was over.'

At that point, Thor reached the office chairs in front of the desk, she walked between two of the chairs, to stand in front of the desk.

Thor held Mjolnir in her right hand, at her right side, she look down at Darnell.

Darnell sat in his chair, looking across his desk, and up at the front of Thor's helmet.

Thor complimented, “Thy noticed what thee did for your bodyguards. That was a nice thing to do.”

Darnell responded, “I respect competent, hard work. And those two are some of the best bodyguards I know. I pay them well for their time and services. Though, I realize they could not hope to face you. But during our tour I was more concerned about deterring any would be troublemakers from causing problems for us.”

Thor said, “A wise precaution. There is no shame in admitting the truth. Most Jedi could not handle thou.”

Darnell inquired, “True. So how did you enjoy our tour?”

Thor tactfully replied, “It was very informative.”

Darnell stated, “Good. Now let us get down to business. Please have a seat.”

Thor replied, “Thy would prefer to stand.”

Darnell did not miss a beat, as he responded, “That will be fine. Now, the problem is two fold. The strike on my end. And on the other end, the Republic not paying their bills.”

Thor said, “We can agree that those are the two main difficulties in this matter.”

Darnell responded, “Good. I believe if you can find out why the Republic has stopped payments us, and pay what is owed to us for the gas shipments we already sent to the Republic, I believe I can convince the workers to in their strike and begin shipments to the Republic. This would resolve both problems.”

Thor replied, “Thy will look into the matter. Thou wishes all such problems were easily fixed.”

Darnell offered, “I agree. I will make you an offer. After what is owed to us is paid by the Republic, I will allow the first shipment be sent to the Republic for free, with regular payments being reinstated after our first shipment is delivered to the Republic.”

Thor responded, “Thy believe thou can work with that. Thy will find out what is the problem is with payments.”

Darnell asked, “Please do. I guess this is it for our meeting today. And it has been a long day. Would you be willing to resume this meeting at nine tomorrow morning? By that, I mean twenty-one hours from now. It is around twelve noon local time. That will give you time to contact your superiors and get some rest. While I handle some matters concerning my job.”

Thor answered, “That will be fine. And that will give thy time to confer with thou's superiors.”

Darnell requested, “Would it be to much too ask who you will be reporting to, and let me know what their response is to my offer? You said that the mission came from the Chancellor. But, you did not mention how far down the chain of command you are.”

Thor stated, “Unfortunately, thy cannot divulge such information.”

Thor thought, 'If you realize I am reporting directly to the Chancellor, you might begin to worry. And it is difficult to negotiate with someone whom is worried, because such people tend to do unpredictable things.'

Darnell replied, “That is quite alright.”

Thor inquired, “By the way, does thee know how to get to the Blue Deckard Hotel?

Darnell answered, “Of course. As this city's administrator, it is my job to know where everything is.” Darnell used his left hand to point to his left, as he stated, “It is a few kilometers away. The hotel building is shaped like a thick spear. You cannot miss it.”

Thor said, “Thank you.”

Thor turned to her right and walked out onto the open terrace. Once Thor was fully outside, she used Mjolnir to fly into the sky, towards to the Blue Deckard Hotel.

From his desk armchair, Darnell silently watched Thor fly up into the air.

Once Thor was gone, Darnell sadly thought, 'Well I guess the rumors of her powers are true. Not that it matters. At least she was willing to take the tour. Which is a good sign. Though unfortunately, all that was just a stalling tactic on our part... Sometimes being responsible for fates of millions of people is not so great. Like today.'

Darnell leaned back in his armchair, as he thought about the next moves he would enact.

(_)

It was sunset by the time Thor reached the Blue Deckard hotel. Though, Thor had no problems find the Blue Deckard hotel.

Thor found that the directions Darnell gave her to the hotel were correct.

The Blue Deckard hotel even had a sign in Aurebesh, which stated, in blue neon letters, “Blue Deckard Hotel” over the main entrance to the Hotel at the surface level of level one of Cloud City.

Thor landed by the front entrance of the hotel at the surface level of the building.

Under the hotel sign there was an large awning. On the far side of the awning were two sets of double-doors doors to the hotel were left open.

As Thor held Mjolnir in her right hand, she lowered the hammer to her right side. Then, Thor walked into the right side entrance.

When Thor entered the hotel lobby, she saw the no one among the variety of guests the hotel batted an eye to her appearance, nor towards the she had weapons on her.

Thor thought, 'The people here are likely use to all manner of individuals using these hotels. With my armor and helmet, guess they may mistake me for some bounty hunter, or something like that. Now to find out where my run is.'

The lobby had very high ceilings and the room was illuminated by lights from large chandeliers hanging by chains from the ceiling.

As Thor walked though the hotel lobby she looked for the check in desk. She saw the check in desk was ten meters to her right side.

Thor turned to her right and she walked towards the check in desk.

There were three clerks behind the check in desk. Thor walked up to the clerk int eh middle.

The clerks wore blue uniforms. Unlike the Cloud City security uniforms, the uniforms of the hotel employees were a short sleeve blue button up shirt, blue pants, brown belt, and brown dress shoes. The blue part of the clothing the hotel employees was a dark blue than the blue color the Cloud City security officers wore.

Thor came to a stop in front of the desk. Across the desk was a hotel clerk. The clerk was a young, skinny, fair skin, human man, in his early twenties, with black hair which was cut short.

The clerk looked up from his computer monitor and towards Thor.

The clerk asked, in fluent galactic basic, “May I help you, ma'am?”

Thor answered, “Thy is here to confirm that thou's droid used thy's reservations to check in for thy. The reservation number is fifty-six, twenty-seven, sixteen.

The clerk looked down at his monitor and used his keyboard to check the reservation number. His computer pulled up the information. The clerk read the information on the monitor, which he stated, “Yes. A droid with the designation, C3-PO did check in earlier today for a... Thor...”

The clerk look up at Thor with slightly widened eyes,as he realized who he was speaking too.

Thor smiled under her helmet, as she calmly said, “Yes.”

The clerk quickly composed himself. He calmly stated, “Given whom you are. And that you are not carrying blaster weapons. We will forgo requesting you check in your weapons.”

Thor responded, “Thee's understanding is much appreciated. Now how does thou reach thy room?”

The clerk said, “To your left, further down the lobby, is a bank of turbo-lifts. Your room is on floor level one twenty-seven. Near the top level, but not on the top level. Once you reach the floor, take a right. Your room number is ten. You will set the number on the door. We handed a keycard to your droid. And here is your keycard.”

The clerk pulled looked down. He pulled out a keycard from a shelf under his computers. He stuck the keycard into a slot in his computer to code the keycard to Thor's room.

A few seconds later, the keycard popped out of the slot. The clerk picked up the keycard with his right hand.

The clerk looked up at Thor and handed Thor the keycard.

Thor took the keycard in her left hand. The clerk let go of the keycard. She looked at the clerk, as she stated, “Thank you.”

The clerk offered, “And if you wish to gamble. You will find our casino area down the hallway across the lobby from us.

Thor comment, “Thy only gambles with thou's life. Not with thou's money.”

The clerk's expression showed he was not sure how to take Thor's comment.

Thor giggled a little under her helmet, as she turned to her left and walked towards the bank of elevators.

Thor put the keycard into a pouch on the left side of her belt. Once the keycard was in the pouch, she snapped the pouch closed.

When Thor reached the elevators, she was fortunately able to take an elevator alone up to floor to twenty-seventh floor of the building.

When Thor reached the twenty-seventh floor, the doors to the elevator slid open. Thor walked out of the elevator and she turned to her right. She counted the numbers on the doors. She turned a corner on the hallway to her left. The next door had the number ten on it in Aurebesh.

Thor turned to face the door.

While holding the hammer in her right hand, Thor used her left hand to open the pouch on the left side of her belt which had the keycard in it. She used her left hand to pull the keycard.

Thor stuck the keycard in the paneled slot to the right of the door.

Thor heard a click and the door slid open.

Thor used her left hand pulled the keycard out, she placed the keycard in the pouch she had it in on the left side of her belt and she closed the pouch.

Thor turned to look into her hotel suite. Thor saw C3-PO standing to the left side of the hallway of her suite, a few meters from the hallway door. C3-PO was facing Thor.

C3-PO looked at Thor. The droid joyfully said, “Greeting Thor. I am happy to see you.”

Thor thought, 'C3-PO must have been standing here waiting for me.'

Thor walked inside hallway. She came to a stop to stand next to the gold plated droid. She turned to face the droid, as the door to the hallway slid closed.

Thor inquired, “It is good to see thee as well. Was there any trouble getting here?”

C3-PO answered, “Nothing worth mentioning. And I placed your luggage on the floor at the foot of the bed in the bedroom passed the living room.”

Thor replied, “Thank you.”

Thor thought, 'Just because, does not mean I cannot dress well. If I have the chance to rest here for a few days, I brought dresses for both my normal form and my enhanced form. I have my clothing organized that one suitcase has clothing for my normal form and one suitcase has clothing for my enhanced form. While I could not wear dresses and show my face as Thor on Coruscant and on the Resolute, without likely being recognized as Padme. I am so far out from Coruscant, that people will not recognize as Padme. Especially, given my enhanced for has blond hair instead of brown hair.'

Thor turned and walked passed C3-PO to the droid's right side. Thor continued through the hallway, and into the suite's large, open living room area.

C3-PO followed a few meters behind Thor.

As Thor continued walking into the living room, she changed back to Padme, with the clothing she had on that morning, which included a white shirt, black pants, and black shoes.

Padme came to a stop a meter into the living room of her suite.

C3-PO came to a stop a meter and a half behind Padme.

Padme turned to C3-PO. She requested, “C3-PO. Can you please bring me some hot tea.” Padme thought, 'Given this is an upscale hotel, the kitchen area should be fully stocked.'

C3-PO replied, “I will make you some tea.”

The droid turned towards the kitchen area, which was to Padme's left, on the far side of the room.

Meanwhile, Padme turned and she continued walking further into the living room, with Mjolnir in her right hand, to her right side.

Padme soon came to a stop in the middle of the room. She looked around the living room, and she saw that room was illuminated by lamps placed on various tables around the room.

In addition, in front of her, there windows, and set double-doors with paneled windows lead to a small, rectangular balcony that was two meters wide and a meter and a half deep. There was a meter high parapet wall around the edges of the balcony. Even without the lamps in the room, it was still sunset and the windows provided plenty of light into the room. The double-doors open by knobs against each other. The double-doors were closed, but from the hinges, Padme could tell the

Padme noticed that to her right side was a holo-monitor on a rectangular coffee table, with the table surrounded by two cushioned armchairs across on opposite sides of the table, and a cushioned couch on on the opposite side of the table from Padme. The back of the couch rested on the wall to Padme's right side.

The table was metal with a glass top. The metal was painted brown. The covers of the armchairs and couch were a light tan color.

There was a large, oval shaped, light green rug placed under the armchairs, couch, and coffee table.

On the wall to Padme's right, between the seating area and the doors to the balcony, was a door. The sliding door was open and Padme saw that the door left to the bedroom.

Padme saw the walls were painted light blue color. The ceiling was painted white. And the floor was tiles with large, emerald color tiles.

Padme thought, 'This is not a bad set up. Given the small size of this suite, the bathroom is likely in a room connected directly off the bedroom. I need to contact the Chancellor and let him know what is going on. I would be tempted to also contract my friends. But, this is my mission. And I would not do so unless I needed to their help.'

Padme set the hammer down on its side, on the nearby coffee table, by the holo-monitor, to the side opposite from the chair Padme was planing to sit in. Padme did this so the hammer did not block the cameras to the holo-monitor.

Padme walked over to a chair by the coffee table, and she sat down in that chair, with the couch to her right. The chair Padme sat in faced the balcony. Though, the angle the windows were to the horizon did not show the single sun that Bespin orbited around, as the sun set in the horizon.

Padme leaned over, towards the coffee table, as she worked the controls of the holo-monitor, to get ready to contract Palpatine.

A few seconds later, C3-PO walked from the kitchen area towards Padme, with a cup of hot tea, on a saucer plate, in its hands.

As C3-PO walked towards Padme, as it stated, “Mistress Thor. Your tea is ready.”

By then, C3-PO came to a stop by the left side of Padme's chair.

Padme heard C3-PO. She leaned up and turned towards the droid. She accepted the tea from the droid. She took a sip of tea. After which, she said, “Thank you, C3-PO. The tea is good.”

The droid said, “Just like old times.”

Padme turned toward the coffee table. She set the tea and the saucer, together, onto the coffee table, to the left of the holo-monitor. She looked at the droid. She stated, “Only we are now in the middle of war. I am doing this as a soldier of the Republic and not a Senator.”

C3-PO commented, “I have found that when it comes to making demands, there is not much difference between a politician and a soldier. Because when those demands are not met, it always leads to use of force.”

C3-PO insightful comment took Padme by surprise. She complimented, “C3-PO. That is a very astute observation.”

C3-PO inquired, “Thank you, Mistress Thor. Though, I wonder. What is your opinion of this city?”

Padme smiled, as she thought, 'And you remembered to call me Thor during the mission. Even now.'

Padme kindly responded, “I spent the day taking a tour of the city with the Baron. The city and its people seem nice enough. Now let me contract the Chancellor.”

C3-PO commented, “By my internal chronometer, it would be mid-afternoon in the Senate District on Coruscant.”

Padme replied, “Good.” She thought, 'Meaning I have been up around fourteen hours. At least, by being Thor, I am not as tired as I would be if I remained in my normal form for the day. Still, I could use some rest in a few hours.'

'Now would be a good time to contact the Chancellor. I won't risk waking Sheev, if I call him now. The worst case is he is in a meeting and I will leave a message. Besides, he requested I give him an update after my first meeting with the Baron Administrator of Cloud City.'

C3-PO turned and walked away from Padme and towards the kitchen area.

Padme leaned down on the holo-monitor. She typed in a series of numbers on its numerical pad of the machine. As she did so, she thought, 'Palpatine gave me this number to use. This is a personal number that goes directly to the Chancellor's office. Only I and few others that worked for the Chancellor know this number. If I am lucky, the Chancellor will pick up. If not that means he is either in a meeting or giving a speech somewhere. Likely in the Senate Rotunda.'

'While I disagree with Sheev's politics. As a soldier, I do work for him. As such, I have to keep him up to date on what is going on in this mission he sent me on.'

When Padme finished typing the number, she leaned up in her seat, as the connection rang on the other end.

Fortunately, after a few rings, the other end picked up and Padme saw the small hologram of Palpatine sitting in his desk, looking at her. Palpatine was wearing a nice black suit underneath a open dark red robe.

Palpatine said, “Hello...” Then, he saw who it was. He continued, “Ah, Senator Amidala. It is good to see you. Though, I thought I ordered you to be Thor for your mission.”

Padme commented, “I am in the privacy of my hotel suite. The suite is even under the name of Thor.”

Palpatine responded, “Understandable. We all have to remove the masks we wear from time to time. How has negotiations been going?”

Padme answered, “All things considered, I am doing fine with the negotiations.”

Palpatine asked, “And the tibanna gas shipments? When should they begin arriving?”

Padme tactfully said, “We are working on. But, I believe the problem is simple clerical error on our part. Which is, they have not been paid in three months.”

Palpatine commented, “I can see how that could cause problems.”

Padme stated, “Also, the Baron mentioned that he sent a month's worth of gas shipment to the Republic that Cloud City businesses have not been reimbursed for. He stated he wants that month's shipment paid before he makes any further gas shipments to the Republic.”

Palpatine pointed out, “And should we pay him, what is to stop him from refusing any more gas shipments to the Republic military? Outside of use of force, that bill is the only leverage we have. Besides, we are the government. The Baron can take us to court over the outstanding bill.”

Padme thought, 'It is best I not mention the workers strike. But I do have a few comments to make that may help the situation.'

Padme stated, “While that is the case. I spent the day with him, as he gave me a tour of the city. I do not feel he wishes to cheat us. A show of good faith would likely go a long way towards settling this matter. He is willing meet us half way. If we pay what is owed to him, he will send the next month's worth of gas shipments for free, with us paying for future shipments on a regular schedule as before. I believe agreeing to these terms would be a good diplomatic move for both parties. And this will give us month's time to figure out what the issue is with paying them for their shipments.”

Palpatine responded, “While this is a tempting compromise. What concerns me most about this matter is the precedence it could set. While we receive only an insignificant amount of tibanna gas from Cloud City. If we agree to these terms this could cause us problems later on. We have this small, little floating city, on the outreaches of the galaxy demanding terms to the Galactic Senate. We cannot allow this to stand. If we allow them to have their way, every one of our suppliers for the war effort may attempt to do the same. Which would put the entire Republic at risk for the greed of a few individuals.”

Padme thought, 'I am not surprised you would think of the matter from that point of view.'

Chancellor Palpatine ordered, “Senator Amidala. If needed, I implore you to take any means necessary to resume these gas shipments to the Republic.”

Padme thought, with concerned, 'Do you want me to commit violence on this mission? If so, that is not going to happen. Though, I better handle this delicately'

Padme said, “I will do so within my discretion.”

Chancellor Palpatine stated, “I will support any measures you take on this matter.”

Padme replied, “Thank you, sir.”

Palpatine said, “Let me know how this turns out.”

Padme stated, “I will give you a full report after I have completed my mission.”

Palpatine said, “That will be fine.” Palpatine continue, in a more direct tone of voice, “Do not fail me.”

Padme replied, “I won't.”

Palpatine responded, in a more normal tone of voice, “I trust that will be the case. I will look forward to reading your report after you have completed your mission.”

Palpatine ended the communication.

Padme leaned back in her chair, as she thought, 'That went well. It looks like I won't be doing anything until tomorrow morning. Well, the morning after next. Since the days are half as long here as on Coruscant. Meaning, I can just relax for the evening. Maybe I will even have a nice, long, hot bath.'

Padme enjoyed the rest of the evening in her suite, as she relaxed. She ordered in for some supper.

A few hours later, after a hot bath in her large bathroom, Padme got ready for bed and she headed to her bedroom to get some sleep on her bed.

She set the clock on the nightstand by the right side of her bed to go off in sixteen and a half hours, which would be eight hundred in the morning local time. This would be an hour before Padme was to meet with Baron Sapphire as Thor, to continue their negotiations over resuming the tibanna gas shipments to the Galactic Republic.

While Padme planned to sleep in, she wanted to make sure she was not late to the meeting with the baron.

Also, Padme took Mjolnir with her to her bedroom, and she placed Mjolnir on the top of its head on a small table, in the far corner of the room from where the doors to her room were located.

Meanwhile, C3-PO powered down in the living area of the hotel suite.

Padme found that the large window in her bedroom had heavy curtains which would block out the sunlight.

Due to the days were half as long, Padme was thankful she would not be awaken during the next sunrise.

A few minutes after getting in bed, Padme was fast asleep.

(_)

Later that night, in the darkness of her bedroom, Padme was asleep above the covers of her bed.

Like the rest of her suite, the bedroom walls were painted a light blue color. The ceiling was painted white. And the floor was tiles with large, emerald color tiles.

There were a large round, light green rug placed under the bed, with the edges of the rug going out a meter around the bed.

The bedroom was connect to the directly connect to living room by a doorway on the left wall to the bed.

There was another door on the wall to the left of the living room door. The other door was on the same wall the headboard of the bed rested on, with the door to the right of the headboard. That other door left to a bathroom, with a shower, small tub bath, toilet, sink, and a cabinet of towels and toiletries.

Also, there was a small closet on the right wall from the bed, opposite to the door to the living area. The closet was small with the doors to the closet being two folding doors. Each door was pulled out by a small knob near the middle of the closet entrance. The doors pulls back and folds to the sides of the closet on a set of tracks on the top of the closet entrance way. Each door also had a pivot hedge on the bottom corner of the door on the floor, in the specific direction the door folded towards.

The large, curtained window to the bedroom was located across the room from the foot of the bed.

The window was set in the middle of the wall. The window was crescent shaped, with the curve of the window going long the top part of the wall, and the bottom flat end of the window was set a meter above the floor.

When facing the window, to the right of the window, in the corner was a small table where Padme had set Mjolnir on its head.

Padme had been pleasantly sleeping when she was awaken in her bed by the building slightly shaking for a few seconds.

The only dim lighting in her room was from the outline of the curtains around the large window across from the foot of her bed. The light came from the nighttime cityscape on the top of Cloud City twinkling with lights from the buildings.

Padme was in her blue night gown.

Padme swiftly got out of her bed. She headed for the window in the room.

When Padme reached the window, she used a drawstring on the right side of the curtains to open the curtains.

After opening the curtains, Padme stood by the window. She looked out the window at the cityscape. In the distance she saw three skyscrapers standing next to each other were in flames.

Some of the burning skyscrapers were missing pieces of the buildings.

Padme thought, 'I recognize that damage. That is damage from explosives. What is going on? At least I know who to call to find out?'

Suddenly, the door to Padme's bedroom slid open, and C3-PO came into the room. The droid stood just inside the doorway, as it turned towards Padme. The droid asked, “Mistress Thor? Are you alright? My internal sensors awoke me and informed me of shaking.”

Padme turned to doorway, where C3-PO was standing. She stated, “Yes. I am.” She turned to the hammer.

Mjolnir had been set on on its head on a small corner table less than a meter from Padme's left side.

Padme said, “Now let us get some answers.”

Padme reached out towards Mjolnir with her right hand. Then, Padme mentally called the hammer to come to her right hand.

On Padme's command Mjolnir moved into the air, to gently have the shaft land on Padme's hand, with the head of the hammer facing upwards.

Padme had her right hand closed her grip of the shaft of the hammer. Next, she used the hammer to turn into Thor, with her armor, helmet, weapons, and equipment.

Thor walked towards the doorway where C3-PO was. The droid stood out of the way to its right side, as Thor walked by the droid.

The droid turned and followed Thor into the living room of the hotel suite.

With Thor enhanced vision, she had no problems seeing in the darkened rooms.

When Thor reached the living room, she heard a soft ringing noise from the holo-monitor on the coffee table.

Thor walked over holo-monitor, and leaned down. She used her left hand to press the answer button. Thor leaned up.

The cameras on the holo-monitor automatic focused on Thor.

Thor saw the small hologram of Baron Administrator Darnell Sapphire, in a sitting position. Darnell wore the same clothing he had one earlier that day.

Meanwhile, C3-PO stopped two meters behind Thor. The droid stood just outside the camera range of the holo-monitor.

Thor looked at the hologram of Baron Sapphire, as she thought, 'I am not sure where he is at. But, I guess he decided to work late. Still, I need to know how he was able to find me so quickly.'

Thor asked, “While thy was about to call thee. How did thee find thou so quickly?”

Darnell pointed out, “This is my city. It is my job to know things. Besides, you mentioned the Blue Deckard Hotel. And you are the only Thor listed as a visitor.”

Though, Thor did not visibly show reaction from under her helmet, Thor thought, with mild embarrassment, 'Oh. Right. I did mention the hotel. And Thor is a rare name.'

Thor conceded, “Point taken. So what is going on?”

Darnell commented, “What I was worried would happen. Just sooner than I expected. Some of the workers fear that the Galactic Republic would come in and enslave them. In response they are rebelling.”

Thor thought, with bitterness, 'As much as I hate to admit it. That is a valid concern. But right now the workers are not my main concern.'

Thor offered, “At the moment, the rebels do not concern thou, The fire does. I can send a storm to wet the area where the fires are located.”

Darnell quickly said, with worrying expression evident on his face, “Please do not. The city is not equipped to handle large amounts of directed water for drainage at a specific location. We can handle normal rain, but not what you are offering. Also, we did not know if the drainage valves have been damaged. If the valves have been damaged, even a small amount of rain water will not drain properly, and the water could flood the lower levels. Besides we have fire suppression systems already in place. It is the rebels whom need to be dealt with.”

Thor thought, 'If you say so.' She relented, as she asked, “Where are the rebels?”

Darnell answered, “Security reported they were near the fires.”

Thor all but spat out, “Fine. Thy will handle the rebels.”

Darnell stated, “Good. Security will back you up, if you need it.”

Thor responded, “Thou will not need such help. The security personnel would only get in the way.”

Darnell said, “Okay. I will relay your request to my personnel.”

Thor replied, “Thank you.”

Darnell ended the transmission.

Thor thought, 'Something does not feel right about this. It is best I prepare for the worst.'

Thor turned to C3-PO. She ordered, “Do not bother checking out. Pack thy items and clothing thou has out. Then, take thy's luggage to the ship and wait for thy there.”

The droid replied, “Yes ma'am.”

Thor turned and headed for the terrace attached to her suit. When she reached the double-doors to the terrace, she used her left hand to turn the knob and open the left side door. She had to pull the door to her to open the door. Then, she walked out onto the terrace, leaving the door open. After which, she used Mjolnir to fly towards the skyscrapers which were on fire at around half the speed of sound.

Meanwhile, C3-PO heading back into Padme's bedroom, to find and pack Padme's belongings into Padme's suitcases. After which, the droid would take Padme's luggage with itself, as it headed back to the Republic Diplomatic ship they arrived in that morning.

C3-PO remembered the numerical panel to open the door to the ship and extend the ramp was on the front landing gear of the ship and the passcode was Anakin's birthday.

(_)

Thor soon made it to the burning buildings. While flying in the air Thor saw the fire suppression teams were already taking care of the fire.

Then, Thor noticed that it was twilight right before sunrise, with around six hours passing since sunset in the twelve hour rotation of the day on Bespin.

As Thor slowed down, to float over the scene below her, she used her enhanced sight swiftly to spot blue uniformed security officers having a firefight with a group of people.

The attackers were a mix of humans, rodians, weequays, lutrillians, and ugnaughts. The rebels were wearing various types of clothing that showed they were workers within Cloud City.

Both groups were using blaster pistols.

As Thor approached, even before she could cast a lightning strike at them with Mjolnir, she saw the people stop firing, as they turned to look at her.

Thor watched as the attackers quickly ran down into the nearby entrances which would take them into the city's lower levels.

As Thor came to hover by the ground, she looked over at the security personnel.

Thor thought, 'First check to see if there is any wounded. Then, deal with rebels.'

Thor noticed there appeared to be no one injured, nor dead in the firefight.

Thor thought, 'It is good that no one is hurt. Odd, but good. I will chalk this up to luck.'

Thor turned to look at the doorway some of the rebels entered. Thor thought, 'Now, to deal with those that caused this mess.'

Thor flew over to the doorway some the criminals had entered. She landed just outside of the doorway. She then turned back to the security members, whom were across the open area from her.

The security officers were not following her. Thor mentally reflected, 'I am happy that the baron had already contacted them. I do not like to ruffle feathers of those that are just doing their job.'

Thor turned to the doorway, as she thought, 'When I catch these terrorists, I am going to find out why they did this.'

Thor entered the doorway into a hallway. Thor briskly walked, as she used her enhanced hearing to track the criminals. Her hearing lead her a set of stairs. Thor continued to follow the criminals into the city's lower levels.

Though, as time went on, Thor continued walk further into the city and she found the attackers has gone further and deeper into the city.

The attackers seem to continue to fallback away from her.

Eventually, Thor's hearing lead her to a carbonite freezing chamber. The room was dimly lit with blue and red lights.

Thor set the controls on the door way panel to the chamber to remain open.

Thor walked from the hallway entrance which was connected to the top platform of the room.

While Thor stood on the top circular platform of the room, she saw some attackers exit out of a nearby doorway on the part of the platform across the room from her. The doorway the rebels used soon slid closed.

Thor held Mjolnir in her right hand, as her right side. Thor walked to her right, around the platform area overlooking the center of the room.

As Thor approached the closed door the criminals used to exit the chamber, Thor heard the door across the room, which she had set to remain open, suddenly slide shut.

Thor turned to look across the platform at the door which had just closed. Thor thought, with concern, 'Oh this is not good. I believe I just walked into a trap.'

Suddenly the room began to fill with coolant gas from the floor upwards. The coolant gas was designed to flash freeze anything within seconds.

Thor watched as the coolant gas slowly made its way up to the platform.

Thor casually reacted, as she mentally lamented, 'Yes. This is a trap.”

(_)

On the other side of the door Thor was standing by, outside the freezing chamber, in a well lit hallway, three attackers were standing the closed door waiting for the room to clear of gas.

It would take only ten seconds for the room to fill with coolant gas. Afterward, the suppression and ventilation system would take only a few seconds to clear the room of gas. Still, that was all the time that was needed to freeze almost anything solid.

Suddenly, the door to the room burst open. Though, the rebels were standing far enough away from the door. The rebels saw a very upset Thor, whom was holding the hammer in her right hand.

The criminals saw that the coolant gas did not have an effect on her, the hammer, her armor, her equipment and her weapons.

The attackers began to run. Though, Thor quickly use her left hand to grab the nearest attack, a young, human man in a workers uniform.

Thor gripped the attacker by his right shoulder, and held him against the wall. Though, Thor let the other rebels escape.

Thor was careful enough not to seriously injure the man's right shoulder.

As Thor did this, Thor noticed something else. She thought, 'Interesting. While I am not surprised I am not harmed. Along with the hammer, my armor, and the Black Solace. But, I am surprised the leather strap to the Black Solace is holding. I think I will just chalk this up to my powers protecting those items on my person, just like in the cold vacuum of space, and leave it at that.'

Thor turn her attention on the person she was holding, as she thought, with slightly dark intentions, 'Now to get some answers. Because none of this adds up.'

From the look on the man's face, Thor saw the man was afraid of her. Thor thought, 'Good. He understands the seriousness of the situation he is in.'

Thor growled, “What is going on rebel scum?”

The man stated, in galactic basic, “This was suppose to be may it look like an accident. Just in case the first plan did not work.”

Thor realized, as she questioned, “This was all staged?”

The man replied, “Yes.”

Thor questioned, “The workers strike?”

The man answered, “Faked by the baron?”

Thor inquired, “So the baron is involved?”

The man stated, “He planed all of this.”

Thor though, 'After all this I am not surprised. The tour today may have been arrange by the baron so I would know where to go. Though, there is another issue.'

Thor asked, “And the explosions?”

The man said, “Empty buildings that were slated to be demolished anyway. “

Thor questioned, “What was the point to all this?”

The man answered, “If you had disappeared, we could have said you never arrived and it would have bought us more time to figure something out. And if you had confirmed that you were here, by making it look like an accident, we would could have avoided being blamed and still bought ourselves some more time.”

Thor firmly stated, “Either way, thy has already talked to the Chancellor this evening. He knows thou is here. If thee were able to dispose of thou, in response he would laid siege to this city, your home, and enslave you all. This would not be the first time he has done so for lesser reasons.”

Thor sorrowfully thought, 'Balmorra.'

Thor could see even more fear the man's eyes. She thought, 'I need to wrap this up before I do something I will later regret.'

Thor inquired, “It is clear the baron is overseeing this. Where is the baron currently located?”

The man said, “His office. He wanted to oversee things from there.”

Thor let go of the man. She stated, “Go. Thee is not worth the effort.”

The man immediately turned around and he ran down the hallway from Thor, in the same direction his allies headed towards.

Meanwhile, Thor turned in the opposite direction in the hallway, as she started making her way up to the top surface level of Cloud City.

As Thor walked down the hallway, in the opposite direction the attackers went, she grimly thought, 'Now to talk to the man in charge and show him the folly of playing me for a fool.'

(_)

Twenty minutes later, dark storm clouds formed over the city, with lightning and thunder occurring within the storm. Though, none of the lightning had hit the city. And there was no rain. But, there were slightly stronger winds than usual for the surface level of Cloud City.

The storm clouds stretched far enough on the horizon to block out the light from the sunrise.

Inside the baron's office, Baron Administrator Darnell Sapphire sat in his chair, behind his deck, as he turned to his left to look out the terrace, to look out at sky. The doors to the terrace were left open, give it was very rare for it to rain on Cloud City. Especially, at such a high level, as the top of the skyscraper, Darnell's office was located in.

The storm over the city was dark, with the only light from the sky over the cityscape being occasional bluish-white lightning flashes.

This was in contrast to the ceiling lights illuminating his office.

Darnell continued to look at the storm, as he thought, with concern, 'This is an unnatural storm. And given I heard that our trap did not work, it does not take a genius to figure out what is currently happening.'

'I wanted to see a demonstration of Thor's powers. It looks like I am going to be my wish. And I will likely regret my request. If I live that long.'

'I know that if I try to escape, Thor will likely tear this city apart to find me. I just hope when she arrives here she does not kill me and trash my office.'

Several seconds later, there was lightning flash. Right after the bluish-white lightning flash, Baron Sapphire suddenly saw Thor standing on the terrace, with her right hand holding the hammer at her right side, as she stood facing him.

Thor walked into the office and over to the side of desk to the Darnell's left side.

Thor came to a stop two meters from Darnell.

Thor looked down at Darnell. Thor growled, “Thy does not like being tricked. Nor does thy like being played for the fool. Especially when thou is on a mission of peace.”

Darnell said, “We were out of options.”

Thor firmly stated, “Thy understands this. Which is the only reason thee is still breathing. But after this there will be no mercy. Here is the deal. Thee will begin sending the agreed upon allotments of tibanna gas, on schedule, to the Republic forces, for free. In exchange the Republic will continue to keep Cloud City out of the war.”

Darnell asked, “How am I going to afford to do that?”

Thor stated, “Increase the lease payments for the private businesses in the city to make up the difference to pay the workers. And pray thou does not alter the deal any further.”

Darnell commented, “The Exex board and the Parliament of Guilds will never go for such a sudden change and price increase.”

Thor growled. She responded, in threatening tone of voice, “They will comply if thee explains the situation to them. If the shipments are not sent on a timely schedule, thou will return here with the Republic military, and everyone in Cloud City will find out first hand how true thy's reputation is as Enforcer of the Republic.” Thor turned her back on Baron Sapphire. With her back turned to Darnell, Thor warned, “And if thee tries anything during thou's departure, thou will flood the city.”

Behind her, Thor heard the Darnell gulp.

Under her helmet, Thor found that she was unable to stop herself from having her lips curl into a wicked smirk.

Thor walked back out onto the terrace. Then, Thor used Mjolnir to fly to the Republic diplomatic ship in which she and C3-PO had arrived on.

As Thor flew through the air, she bitterly thought, 'After this experience, I am not coming back here.'

(_)

When Thor reached her ship, she landed on top of the ship by a hatch. There was a numerical pad by the top of the hatch. Thor put in the passcode to open the hatch. Instead of using the later, she use Mjolnir to float down to the secondary hatch, with the area of the ship being used as an airlock.

Thor used her left hand to shut the top hatch and open the bottom hatch. Once this was done, Thor floated down to the hallway below the secondary hatch.

Once Thor was inside the ship, Thor quickly found that C3-PO. And Thor confirmed that C3-PO had brought her luggage onto the ship.

Thor set the hammer down in the living area of the ship. But, Thor did not change back to Padme, so she could maintain the storm outside, as a threat for the people of Cloud City. Especially towards Baron Sapphire so as to deter them from trying anything against her, as she and C3-PO left the planet.

Thor then headed for the ship's cockpit. Soon she made sure all the outer doors and hatches were sealed on the ship, and the ramp to the ship was retract. Once this was done, Thor started the engines, as she did a preflight check.

Thor did not bother to check with Cloud City air control.

A few minutes later, after the engines were turned on and the preflight check was complete, Thor took off, and she flew the ship into the air.

Soon, Thor and C3-PO were in space.

As their ship left the atmosphere of Bespin, the storm over Cloud City swiftly dispersed, and the weather became a partly cloudy day on Cloud City.

After reaching orbit, Thor set the ship's coordinates for the Corellian Trade Spine transit point with the Ison Corridor. Once Thor reached the transit point, Thor would take the Corellian Trade Spine to the Corellian Run hyper-route, and from the Corellian Run hyper-route all the way Coruscant.

Once the coordinates in the ship's navigation computer jump was set, and the angle for the ship was properly set, Thor had the ship jump to hyperspace heading through the Ison Corridor hyper-route.

Once in hyperspace, Thor set the ship to autopilot. Then, Thor headed to her personal quarters.

When Thor reached her personal quarters, she changed herself back to her normal form.

Padme headed to sit down in the cushioned armchair at the desk in the room.

Once Padme was in the armchair, she used the desk computer and keyboard to begin typing up her report on her mission. When the report was finished, she would sent her report directly to Chancellor Palpatine.

Though, as Padme typed down her report she left the events of the trap used against her and the aftermath of the trap. Padme only stated in her report her mission was successful and the Republic government would no longer need to pay for tibanna gas from Cloud City.

(_)

A day later, it was morning on Coruscant. In the Senate building, inside the Chancellor office, Palpatine sat in his armchair, at his desk, as he read Padme's report on a datapad in his right hand.

Except for the two Red Guards standing at attention across the room from him, Palpatine was alone as he read the report.

Palpatine lightly chuckled, as he thought, 'Everything went better and more quickly than I had planned. I thought Padme would need a military battalion with her to get this level of intimidation from the people of Cloud City. I see I was wrong. And happily so.'

'Three months ago, when I decided to withhold funds from payments to Cloud City, I did so to create a situation to test Padme intimidation and negotiation skills as Thor. She passed my test with outstanding results.'

'I already read another report this morning, that the first shipment of tibanna gas had already been sent from Cloud City to the Republic. And the Republic will now be receiving tibanna gas from Cloud City for free.'

'While we received only a minor amount of tibanna gas from Cloud City. From a symbolic standpoint this is wonderful development which displays several of Padme's many talents.'

'Reading between the lines, Padme clearly left out how she accomplished this task. Which means she did something she regrets. This intrigues me even more. Not that I really care how she accomplished the mission, only that she successfully carried out the orders I gave her in the manner I hoped she would. Which she did.'

'It is clear that Padme as Thor can act as a skilled enforcer for my will. This is good. Even before the hammer, she has had a brilliant mind and diplomacy skills that allowed her to use only words to convince people to agree with her and for them act in the ways she desired. Now with that hammer she direct power to back up her negotiation skills.'

'Yes. Both as Padme and as Thor, she is still a useful piece on this game board. I will only sacrifice her when I want to. When doing so benefits myself. With the time, place, and means being of my choosing and no one else.'

Palpatine continued reading Padme's report, as he further thought on how he would us Padme, and other people whom he had come to gain an interest in, for his own gain.

(_)

“Do not shoot the messenger.” The quote having its origins on the lessons from Plutarch, of Ancient Rome, concerning the events surrounding Lucullus of Roman and Tigranes of Armenia. In which Tigranes had an envoy, sent by Lucullus, killed, which sparked a war with Rome that Armenia lost.

To be continued.

(_)

Author's Notes:

In this chapter, I wanted to show how in many respects Padme, as Thor, now has the same job as Darth Vader had for the Galactic Republic/Empire, as Palpatine's Primary Enforcer.

And likely no one realizes this situation.

In this chapter, Palpatine even offered to give Padme control of a battalion of Clone Troopers on her mission to Cloud City, Bespin. Padme declined the offer. This means that Palpatine is trying to test Padme's leadership skills.

Also, while Padme did her best to show restraint in her mission to Cloud City. Eventually, when her patience was finally tested, she showed how ruthless she could be. At the end of this chapter, Padme was not bluffing to the Baron Administrator of Cloud City.

As you can tell, Padme is walking a tightrope between the light and the dark. She realizes this. But, let us hope she does not fall to the darkness.

Still, this mission to Cloud City was a test by Palpatine. And as far as Palpatine is concern, Padme passed the test. Which is not a good sign for Padme, her friends, and her future.

To this end, Padme/Thor's personality at this point of the story is partly inspired on the personality of Carol Danvers/Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel during the first Marvel Civil.

During the first Marvel Civil War, Carol Danvers beat and arrested a mother in front of her child. Carol was indirectly responsible for said child being kidnapped, and possibly worse. While the child was rescued, that child may someday seek revenge against Carol. Considering how Carol is publicly hailed as a hero, in contrast to all the cruelty that child suffered, would likely make the child loath Carol even more. And given how powerful that child would have to become to face Carol, that would be one hell of a fight.

Unlike Carol Danvers, Padme understands the complexities of what she is doing, and how said actions are wrong. While Padme knows she does not have much choice in the matter, Padme realizes that if she is not able to fix these problems, her victims may someday have arrange reckoning for her in the future.

Until next time. Have fun.



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