Thundering Force: Chapter 10: “Dancing with Madness.”

“Thundering Force”

Chapter Ten: “Dancing with Madness.”

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.

(_)

Dooku's gold painted Horizon class space yacht traveled though hyperspace towards Dooku's next destination.

Two droid pilots in the cockpit oversaw the ship, while the black painted R2 astromech droid dealing with navigation.

Meanwhile, in the living area of the ship, Dooku sat in a black leather, four leg, high back. cushioned armchair.

Dooku was wearing his usual style of black long sleeve shirt, black pants, large brown belt, and black boots. Though, Dooku had removed his brown cape and he set it out of the way in the bedroom of his ship.

Dooku had his curved lightsaber hilt holster on the left side of his belt.

Dooku was looking at a small table in front of him. There was a small holo-monitor on the top of the small table.

Dooku was patiently waiting for an expected scheduled a call any second.

Dooku thought, 'I wonder what you are going to ask me to do next. I am starting to wonder what your long term plans are. All I am sure of is that such plans are not in my best interests.'

A few seconds the holo-monitor began to beep.

Dooku leaned over and he used his right hand to press the button on the holo-monitor to answer the call.

Dooku leaned up straight in his chair, as he saw the small hologram of Sidious's head and shoulders. Sidious shoulders covered by his cloak, and his head and face were covered in a hood, save for the bottom of his chin.

The hologram of Sidious looked up at Dooku. Sidious said, “Lord Tyranus.”

Dooku looked at the hologram. Dooku replied, “Lord Sidious.”

Sidious said, “I wish to speak to you about your protegee, Loki Laufeyson.”

Dooku thought, 'You are likely going ask about what I could find on her. Unfortunately, I could find no records on her before she appeared on Coruscant, when she battle Thor at in front of a bank. I might as well admit to the truth. At this point in our game, directly lying to you could prove disastrous for myself.”

Dooku stated, “As you have requested, I have been looking into Agent Laufeyson's history. And unfortunately, I still have found none. She is a ghost. I have been unable to find any records on her before she appeared on Coruscant.”

Sidious commented, “Do not trouble yourself. This merely confirms that she is a far outsider from the same or connected world that the hamer, Mjolnir, is from.”

Dooku stated, “That is likely. She and the hammer have been shown to have similar powers.”

Sidious responded, “Exactly. One of fire. The other of storm.”

Dooku commented, “An interesting combination.”

Sidious replied, “Without a doubt.”

Dooku questioned, “Since Agent Laufeyson's origin is not what you wish to speak about. What is it that you wish to discuss about her?”

Sidious lips curled into a wicked grin, as he stated, with a hint of glee in his tone of voice, “I wish for you to arrange her death.”

Dooku calmly responded, “While I am not opposed to doing so. Such an action against her could prove problematic. Given how successful she has been, I would like to do know why you desire her death. Usually we reward success and punish failure. Not the other way around.”

Sidious dropped his grin, as he flatly said, “Loki is too successful. Too ambitious. And too cunning. At the rate she is convincing worlds to join the Confederacy, within a standard year she will have won the war for the Confederacy by default.”

Dooku thought, 'I will admit that Loki's tongue is sharper than I expected. Though...' He pointed out, “If that should happen you would simply take your place here a leader of the Confederacy.”

Sidious stated, “My plans are calculated to the smallest detail. There are reasons I have the war continuing down the path it is taking which are outside of mere desires for galactic conquest.”

Dooku eyebrows narrowed, as he thought, 'It is disturbing how you mention galactic conquest in such a casual manner. And let me guess, you are planning on settling old feuds.'

Dooku questioned, “The destruction of the Jedi Order?”

Sidious responded, “Yes. Do not tell me you still have sympathies for your former allies of the Order?

Dooku answered, with a slight chill in his tone of voice, “No. I just feel there is a difference between burning dead brush and burning a healthy forest.”

Sidious said, “The Jedi Order are all dead brush.”

Dooku thought, 'I disagree.' He said, “But not dead enough to ignore as a threat.”

Sidious conceded, “Point taken.”

Dooku said, “Now is not the proper time to have Agent Laufeyson eliminated. She is too successful to have killed. If I kill her while she is being so successful, doing so may cause a breech in the loyalty the rest of my agents have for my command. While none of them are a threat to me, all of them working together could proof to be a challenge even for myself.”

Dooku thought, 'While I have kept Loki separated from my other agents. My other agents are very much aware of her existence and her successes. Given how high profile Loki's achievements have been, there was no way I could hide her existence from my other agents.'

'Some of my other agents have expressed an interest to meet with Loki. So far I have been able to convince them that it was for the best that they left Loki to do her job.'

'If Loki suddenly disappeared my other agents will realize something has happened to her. And they will likely hold me responsible. Not that they care about Loki's life. It is what her death means for them that concerns them.'

'While fear has its uses in control. To maintain their loyalty I must reward them for their successes. If my other agents feel I may kill them even when they are successful, they will rightly feel that I have become an unreliable employer and they will turn on me.'

Dooku continued, “Though, eventually Agent Laufeyson will fail in one of her missions. Then, I can dispose of her without concern from my other agents.”

Sidious responded, “I can see where you are coming from. Though, what if she continues to be successful?”

Dooku said, “Then, I will give her a task that will be impossible to accomplish.”

Sidious responded, “Interesting. That will be fine. I may have a few ideas on such a mission.”

Dooku thought, 'Now to make sure this meeting ends on a proper note.' He complimented, “From a master strategist such as yourself. Any ideas from you are more than welcome.”

Sidious cracked a grin, as he calmly replied, “Flattery is for the young.”

Sidious cut the transmission on his end, with the small hologram disappearing from above Dooku's holo-monitor.

Dooku learned back in chair. He rested his head against the cushioned back of the chair, as he thought, 'Sidious. You truly are a fool. You call me to have me kill my best agent. Yes. She is a threat. But she is still useful. Very useful. Though, this confirms that it is the Republic that you wish to achieve victory in this war.'

'The mass off switch for the battle droids that Loki pointed out lends credence that it is the Separatists you want to lose. When the time is right, you will just have all the battle droids turned off.'

'While I am not adverse to sacrificing what I have created. I am against having everything I worked towards destroyed. Such losses are so wasteful.'

'This is why I am entertaining Loki's idea of supplementing our droid forces with mandalorian troopers. Though, if the droids are turned off, any such mandalorian forces would not last long. They would be overwhelmed by the Republic's numerical numbers.'

'But, Sidious does bring up a some good points.'

'Perhaps I need to be more on my toes with not only Loki but my other subordinates. Truth be told, I have allowed my subordinates to have an independence streak a kilometer wide. While they are disciplined they are not blindly obedient, like in the Jedi Order. They will not knowingly go on suicide missions. And any one of them will turn on me if I try to force to go on such a mission.'

'I believe my time with the Jedi Order spoiled me when is comes to subordinates.'

'Also, for some time, Jango has been avoiding the war for the most part. I had to quadruple my fee to convince him to work for me again. And even then he does not always accept the missions I offer him.'

'Though, from what I have learned from various sources. A while ago, Padme caught up with Jango on Balmorra. For some reason she let him go. But, he no longer accepts assassination missions. Though, he will accept bodyguard, escort, acquisition, and capture missions.'

'I have no doubt Padme's meeting with Jango on Balmorra had a lot to do with Jango no longer taking assassination missions.'

'Though, Jango's son is getting older. Jango is starting to more actively train his son. I fully support him doing so. If something happened to Jango, his son eventually take his place.'

'As for, Grievous. Grievous is skilled fighter and leader, when he does not let his anger cloud his judgment. But considering his also is a decent student, I let such matters slide.'

'Asajj Ventress is both successful and powerful in her own right. I have had to stop teaching her in the force and lightsaber combat. Any more training and I would tread closely to violating the rule of two.'

'Still, even with stopping her training, from the experience she is gaining from her missions she is slowly become more powerful in the force and with her lightsabers. There may come a time that Sidious may take notice of her and order me to kill her. But by then I hope to have a plan to deal with Sidious by then. And perhaps will make her my Sith apprentice. Or, one of my primary Sith apprentices. Though, that is a matter for another time.'

'This leaves Loki.'

'I still have no fully learned what Loki is capable of. She is cagey. She knows that I realize this. She refuses to spare with me because she does not want to reveal what she can do.'

'If I force Loki to duel with me, she might surprise me and turn the duel into a battle I may lose in a fatal manner.'

'As such I cannot confront Loki if I do not know what she can do. And she uses that fact against me.'

'While I have considered adding more force users as my agents. I will not do so until I am sure I can handle those on my staff. And until I am sure I can handle Loki in a fight.'

'Even discounting Loki, any one of my other subordinates would present a challenge for me in a fight. All of them offer surprises. And even with the force, if I do not watch myself, they could defeat me in a fight. Or, they could escape to haunt me in the future.'

'Yes. When is comes to my working relationship with my agents, I will have to adjust my tactics. But, I will do so slowly, so they do not notice. There is no rush. I have time. And I will wisely use my time.'

'To this end, I believe I will continue to give Loki missions that she finds easy, so when I give her an impossible mission, she will not see it coming.'

'Speaking of Loki. Agent Laufeyson should be completing her current mission right now. She is schedule to report back to me, by holo-comm, within a day's time. So the question becomes, what should I have her do next?...'

Dooku mused about what he would have Loki do next, as his ship traveled through hyperspace towards his next destination.

(_)

Meanwhile, across the galaxy, in his office, Sidious sat in a cushioned armchair, behind his desk.

Sidious had just concluded his meeting with Dooku.

Sidious leaned back in his chair, as he thought, 'That compliment at the end was hollow and we both know it. Still, you have your uses. And you are correct. Now is not the proper time to have Loki killed. That will come in the future. Though, sooner rather than later.'

'I have some ideas on what missions might be best that could offer Loki an impossible challenge, while also likely clear some dead wood closer to home.'

'But it is clear that Dooku has his hands full.'

'Even so, I cannot ignore that Loki is causing this war to move faster than had I planned. She needs to be dealt with before the annoyance she is creating becomes an actual problem. Though, for now I can adjust my plans with little difficulty.'

'I will just have to speed up a number of promotions that I had planned to work later on. I was planning to promote those I have an eye on after they had a little more experience in command and combat. But, most of them already have enough command and combat experience for the promotions. I will just have to be wary not to give them too much, too fast.'

'I have other concerns. Anakin is currently outside my reach. But, he can wait. At least until Padme had outlived her usefulness. Then, I will have Anakin as my apprentice...'

'Hmm... Still, perhaps I am being hasty in plans on killing Padme... While she does not use the force, with that hammer, she has acquitted herself to the point she has the makings of a fine apprentice.'

'If my plans fall through with Anakin, Padme may make an even better option that Anakin. Both of them have shown they are capable of such dark acts. It would take much effort to turn both of them.'

'Though, as tempting it would be to try to turn both of them. The bond between the two of them is strong. I cannot make them both my apprentices.'

'They would simply join forces and attempt to destroy me. As I have seen them do in several holovids of them working together, as they battled legions of droids.'

'And I will admit they do make an impressive team. But this also means that together they are all the more dangerous...'

'Still, I will need a strong apprentice for the coming storm. And those two are the best candidates I can find whom I can manipulate and mold into my servant.'

'My new apprentice, the death star project, and my other forces will be good start in preparing for the coming threat. A threat even the ancient Sith did not imagine could exist...'

'I have much to think on these possibilities. Though, I have other matters to focus on. And there is no rush. I have time. All the time I need.'

Sidious went back to his machinations and efforts in conquering the galaxy.

(_)

A few hours later. Elsewhere in the galaxy, on the northeastern Mid-Rim was the world of Gavryn. The planet of Gavryn had grassing plains, forest covered mountains, clean oceans, with lush planet and animal life through the surface of the planet.

Gavryn orbited one sun that was a few days more than a standard calendar year. The planet's seasons gently rotated from summer to winter and back to summer. Summers were moderately and winters were cold to the point that in the middle of winter it could snow and the snow could stick to the ground for a few weeks at a time.

Depending on the season and location the planet, weather on Gavryn ranged from rainy storms to cold blizzards.

Gavryn has a powerful magnetic field. While this messed with sensors in orbit, this does not cause much problems electronics. A spaceship could still easily land and take off from the planet.

In addition, Gavryn's powerful magnetic field also protected the planet from solar winds and other energy dangers coming from space.

Gavryn was mostly populated by humans.

The planet was known for its factories and mining resources. Though, the population had enough farming and livestock resources on the planet to survive on their own.

At the start of the Clone Wars, much of the population was leaning towards Separatists at the time due to regulations and taxes imposed by the Senate stifling businesses on Gavryn from competing on the Galactic stage.

Though, Gavryn's government was an unelected monarchy whom were loyal to the Galactic Senate and whom appointed the Senator whom represented them in the Galactic Senate. Members of Gavryn's monarchy owned much of the industry and mining rights on Gavryn. Because the people were part of the government they were given wavers which exempted them from much of the Republic regulations and taxes.

Meanwhile, the privately own businesses on Gavryn were choked to the point of bankruptcy by the Republic regulations and taxation.

The Confederacy leadership realized the situation. When the Confederacy invaded the planet, the security forces for the planet were woefully under equipped and manned to handle protecting the planet from invasion.

Once the Confederacy had conquered Gavryn, they overthrew the government, imprisoned the members of the monarchy and seized the properties of the monarchy.

The Confederacy felt that executing the monarch would likely martyr them in the eyes of some of the loyalist.

Instead, the members of the Gavryn monarchy were imprisoned on Gavryn as examples. The local population loved that their oppressors were now oppressed by being imprisoned. The members of the monarchy were treated like prisoners, but they were not abused, nor put in harsh conditions.

Though, the Separatists allowed the local population of Gavryn decide how to deal with the security personnel on the planet whom had been enforcing the monarchy tyrannical will on the people.

While the families of the security personnel were left unharmed, the population of Gavryn arranged trials for the security personnel.

Most of the members of the security cancel were found guilty. Gavryn requested the Confederacy to have the security personnel that were found guilty to be shipped to a prison's off world.

These prisoners were sentenced between ten to twenty years in prisons.

The Confederacy did at request and sent those people to off-world prisons for the balance of their sentences. Though, these convicted individuals would be treated as prisoners and not slaves.

Those security personnel whom were found innocent were let go to live on Gavryn. Though, the individuals and the families of the security personnel were treated as outcasts.

The Confederacy installed a planetary governor's name was Pell Chetan.

Governor Chetan was very much aware of the situation and he used this to his advantage.

Because Confederacy were welcome by the local population as liberators, the Confederacy allowed the local population to remain free.

Also, Governor Chetan saw opportunity. He convince his superiors to allow him to lease the mining rights and factories whom were previously own by the Gavryn monarchy to local businesses.

Due to this leasing of seized property, along with the freedom from Galactic Republic governmental regulations and taxation the population and private businesses on Gavryn economically thrived. The member worlds of Confederacy and the Confederate government becoming major customers to their export businesses.

Those overseeing the leasing within the Confederate government, including Governor Chetan, saw a nice profit from the money they receiving from leasing the mining rights and use of factories.

To help insure the continued loyalty of the people of Gavryn, Governor Chetan used most of the money he made from the leases to invest in private businesses on Gavryn and maintaining the infrastructure for the cities of Gavryn.

Governor Chetan allowed members of the local population to train to become security forces on the planet. Some of those security members eventual were appointed as palace guards for Governor Chetan and his family.

Governor Chetan even moved his wife, their three children, and himself to the palace of Gunara, in the northern part of the capital city of Gavryn. The palace has previously been used as the seat of power by the monarchy the Confederacy had deposed.

Unfortunately, the Republic military had finally taken an interest in Gavryn. And while the population of Gavryn had been loyal to the Confederacy, the Confederacy had only left a modern amount of ground forces to defense the planet, with no real air defenses planetside. The only space defense were to Separatist Cruisers with starfighter and bomber squadrons

Though, the powerful magnetic field had the Republic prefer a ground invasion over a planetary bombardment.

The invasion by the Republic has begun an hour ago, with the Republic forces already starting to enter the southern part of the city of Gunara

(_)

It was mid-morning, on a cloudy day, in the capital city, Gunara, in the northern hemisphere. The capital city was located where some grassy plains to the south met a mountain range to the north. Rivers flowed down the mountains and to through out the plains.

Once river flowed from the mountains, through the city, and to the plains. Parts of the plains, away from the city, were used for farming. This river was known as the Kasha river.

It was nearly winter in that hemisphere of the planet. Due to Gunara being located next to the mountains it was slightly cold. Though, it was a partly cloudy day over Gunara, with a slight breeze running down the mountain and into the city.

On the north side of Gunara, there was a large palace located on the gentle slope of a mountain side.

Much like the Solleu River was to the city of Theed on the planet Naboo, the Kasha river was to the city of Gunara. Though, there was no plateau near Gunara, unlike Theed. And unlike Theed, Gunara was set by a mountain range.

Much like the palace on city of Theed on the planet Naboo, the palace on the side of the mountain in Gunara had been build the tributaries of the Kasha rivers to run under the palace. Like the city of Theed, the tributaries in the city of Gunara until the Kasha river formed into a single river on the south side of Gunara. The Kasha then continued through the plains to the south of Gunara, with some of the water from the river used to irrigate farmland in the locations south of Gunara.

Though, the city of Gunara and the Gunara palace looked nothing like the city of Theed and the palace on Theed. The interiors and exteriors were different between Gunara and Theed.

While Theed architecture preferred small, light brown bricks and green tiled roofs, with the buildings next to each other, the Gunara architecture preferred gray and black granite stones for the walls and white metal roofs, with the buildings of Gunara more spread out from each other.

The roads of Theed preferred light brown and white tiles for their roads, while the Gunara roads were made of black asphalt.

Many roads in Theed were narrow two lane roads, while Gunara roads were preferred to be made wider with three or more lanes to each road.

Most of the sidewalks on Theed where made by using red or light brown bricks in patterns with white concrete as the mortar.

Gunara sidewalks where made of white concrete.

Though, the sidewalks in both cities were around the same width.

While Three architecture preferred open spaces and verandas both inside and outside their public buildings, with curved ceilings and large columns lining outer sides of the awnings of the buildings.

The people of Gunara preferred more practical building designs, such has their buildings having lower flat ceilings and smaller columns that were more spread out on the outer sides of the awnings. Depending on the build, the columns solely there to deal with the weight load from the awnings and upper floors.

The Gunara palace and other government buildings were similar to their privately building buildings in being stand rectangular buildings, with floors stated on top of each other.

The population of Gunara also liked to have gardens and small parks placed between many of their buildings. Both government and residential buildings.

While some of Theed's private residents has nice yards and Theed had lovely parks. For the most part Theed had a limited amount of space. And due to buildings in Theed placed so closely together, the residents of Theed could not place gardens everywhere.

In the open spaces of the government buildings on Theed, the preference was outer door large floors made of stone and brick with a sections where large plants placed around the area in a pattern.

Though, many buildings in Theed had green vines growing on the walls and roofs, giving the city a green look when viewing the area from the sky. The parks in Theed had lush greenery. In addition, the edges of the plateau on Theed were allowed to have plants grow wild.

The Republic military had set down part of its invasion force on the plains just south of Gunara. To be exact the Republic military had landed one of their Star Destroyers in the Gunara spaceport just south of Gunara, west of the Kasha River.

Once the alert of the Republic invasion was sent by the droid forces in space to Governor Chetan, Pell activated the battle droid forces on the planet to defense the Gavryn people from the Republic forces and he sent orders to the droid forces in orbit.

The people of Gavryn, including those people in Gunara, were informed of the incoming invasions and they had time to flee to the bomb shelters, or escape the areas that were under attack.

The battle droids stationed in the city was sent to fight the Republic. As was other droid forces around the planet. The battle droids were putting up a valiant fight, but they were clearly on the losing end of the battle.

Fortunately, the droid forces in space were fairing a little better, and they had kept the Republic fleet from having yet form a blockage around the planet. But, the battle were to Separatist cruisers with full complement of starfighters and bombers versus four Republic Star Destroyers with full complement of starfighters and bombers. As such, this was also a losing battle.

The droid forces in space were unable to stop four other Star Destroyers from invade different parts of the planet of Gavryn, this including the star destroyer which landed outside of Gunara.

The droids forces were automated and commanded by Governor Chetan. Pell Chetan had ordered the droids forces both in space and on the planet until the bitter end.

The star destroyer which landed outside of Gunara was named the Resolute.

(_)

Inside the Palace of Gunara, the outside sunlight came through the windows illuminate the interior rooms and hallways of the palace.

President, the Confederacy appointed governor, Pell Chetan briskly walked through a hallway as he made his way into his office.

Pell Chetan had tan skin and short black hair. He was an older middle-aged man with a husky physical build. Pell wore a dark blue long sleeve button up shirt, dark blue pants, a brown leather belt, brown leather boots, and he wore a purple fur cape around his, with a silver chain hanging loosely around the front of his neck being used holding the top ends his cape on his shoulders.

While the temperature systems in the palace kept the interior of the palace warm, in his office Pell did not make it so warm this he became hot in his own office.

When the governor reached his office, he opened the doors, and he saw Loki in her usual green casual clothing and boots. There was no one else in the office.

Among other items, Loki was wearing a green love sleeve button up shirt, green pant, a brown leather belt around her waist, and brown leather boots.

Loki was facing Pell.

Loki was standing at the front of Pell's desk, in behind the two guest armchair by the desk. There was also an armchair behind the desk. In addition, the rest of the office was well furnished. The floor even had a large circular oval red rug which covered much of the office. The floor was white marble. The walls and ceiling were painted eggshell white.

The room was rectangular shaped, and was fifteen meters from the hallway entrance to the desk, and eight meters at the maximum wide in the middle of the sides walls of the room.

The flat ceiling was five meters high. The ceiling lights which were currently turned of due to the sunlight coming into the room from the windows.

Given the office was on one of the higher floors of the palace, the windows in the room were located behind the desk and to the right of the office when looking into the room from the hallway.

The windows behind the desk was a small meter long by meter wide paneled window.

There were three large rectangular shaped windows on the right side of the room. The large rectangular windows had curved arches with small windows in each arch. The large rectangular windows were set side by side long ways on the right side of the room. The middle window was set in the center of the right wall with the two other windows set at equal distance between the center window and the corners of the right side wall.

The sunlight coming into their the large windows provided plenty of light to with inside the room.

Pell left the doors open, as walked up toward Loki. While walking, Pell looked at Loki, as he stated, “All is lost. I learned of the latest reports from the communication droids of our forces on the ground. Our armies have being decimated. And to add to my problems, I just heard the outer defenses of the palace has been breached. And my security forces here have fled.”

By the time Pell finished his statement, he came to a stop a meter from Loki.

Loki stood in a relaxed pose, as she calmly looked at the government. Loki thought, 'It is no surprise his security force would abandon him. They are from Gavryn. They know a losing battle when they see one. And if they are caught as security officers for Separatist forces, they may be executed, or worse. Tortured for information and then executed.'

'Now I need to calm down the governor here if I am to accomplish my immediate plans. Though, I need to be careful how I word what I am able to inform him. I do not want him to become hysterical.'

Loki said, in a calm tone of voice, “Governor Chetan. I realize this. Also, I know that there were only two Republic soldiers whom have breached the palace. They are Thor and Skywalker.”

Loki saw fear begin to show on Pell's face.

Pell questioned, “The storm bringer and the hero without fear?”

Loki replied, “Yes.”

Pell almost became hysterical, as he demanded, “I must see to my family. Maybe if I can surrender, I can at least protect my family.”

Loki firmly said, in an even tone of voice, “Calm yourself. There is no need for theatrics.” She thought, with hidden amusement, 'At least from you. And at least not yet.'

Loki stated, “They are only two people. They are on the far south side of the palace, away from us and your family. And you need not worry about your family. I have already taken care of your family. Your wife and your three children are all doing well. They are on my ship, on a landing pad by west side the palace. All they are waiting for is you to join them.”

Pell asked, “But even if we escape, what we will do? All our wealth is tied to the industries on this planet. We will be nomadic paupers with no future.”

Loki stated, “You will be considered a government in exile. The Confederacy recognizes your service. And we will aid you in both good times and bad. You and your family will be given a monthly stipend, a home on a nice planet with populated cities, and the resources to maintain your comfortable lifestyle. Within reason. You and your family will be fine. And in exchange, you will offer your political support toward the Confederacy.”

Loki thought, 'Propaganda from disposed leaders do have their places in war.'

Pell was in a near panic, as he questioned, “Yes. I can do that. Still, how are we going to get to your ship in time? We are in the east side of the palace. The landing pads are on the west side of the palace? And what if artillery hits your ship in the meantime? Also, what about the Republic Fleet in space? They could shot us down while we are trying to escape.”

Loki calmly said, “Not to worry. It will not take us as long as you believe to reach my ship. The energy shields over the palace are holding. And I have my pilots on my ship monitoring the situation. Human pilots. Not droids.”

Loki thought, 'Though, while the droid pilot and shuttle was nice, when I finally had the money I bought a larger, nicer ship, with a good navigation computer. And I replaced my droid pilot with a couple of pilots I found I could trust. I had to return Dooku's shuttle and the droid pilot. And inform him that I was buying a new ship out of my own money. But, he was understanding myself buying a nicer ship.'

'While my new pilots are not very well known, but I have found they good at their job. They are loyal to the Separatists, they respect me, and I am paying them very well for their services. Their names are John and Michael.'

Loki continued, “They are good pilots. Should the palace shields fail, they will turn on the ship's shields and attempt to come to us. Also, the Confederacy forces in space are holding their own. I have already plotted a course that will take you away from the battle on the surface and in space. The path take you into orbit away from the space battle, where you will jump to hyperspace. From there, it will take a you a day to reach your destination.”

Loki held out her right hand towards Pell. Loki calmly requested, “Take my hand and close your eyes.”

Pell took Loki's hand with his own two hands, as he closed his eyes.

A few seconds later, Governor Chetan felt the wind blow against him. Which was odd, considering he was inside.

Pell let go of Loki's right hand, as he opened his eyes. He looked around and he saw that he was outside, standing on a landing pad west, by Loki's Confederacy ship.

Pell and Loki stood about five meters from the back of the ship, where there was open door, with the door lowed to the landing pad. There were steps on the door that lead into the ship itself.

Loki's ship was the size of a Republic diplomatic ship, with the basic amenities needed to live in space. It was large enough for a small group of people to live in.

Pell dropped his hands to his sides, as he looked around.

Meanwhile, Loki calmly looked at Pell, as she lowered her right hand to her right side.

A few seconds later, Pell turned to Loki, with a confused and surprised expression on his face. All he could ask was, “How?”

Loki looked at Governor Chetan with a calm expression on her face. Loki cryptically answered, “I have my ways.”

Pell stated, “The rumors are true. You really are a goddess.”

Loki calmly said, “I am me.”

Pell responded, “While the Confederacy leadership has only offered mild support for this member world, I have heard reports from my allies within the Confederacy that you have been pulling up the slack for the leadership. That you have personally been helping many people on our side.”

Loki warmly commented, “I find your appreciation of my efforts deeply touching.”

Pell stated, “Now let us enter your your ship, with my family, and get off the planet.”

Loki gave Pell a sad smile, as Loki said, in a sober tone of voice, “I apologize. But, I will not be able to come with you. I will have to find my own way off.”

Pell asked, “Why?”

Loki answered, “Someone has to delay Thor and Skywalker.” She turned to look back to the entrance to the palace, which was in the opposite direction from the ship.

The landing pad was located on top of part of the western side of the palace. The landing pad was circular, with a diameter of fifteen meters.

The entrance was twenty meters away, across a walking path on top of the palace that was three meters wide. There was no railings on the sides of the walking path.

The double-doors of the entrance had been left open.

A second later, Loki turned to look at Pell. Loki continued, “Both of them have the power to stop my ship. And either capture, or kill you all. So someone has to stay behind to delay them.”

Pell had pity in his eyes, as he realized the risk and possible sacrifice that Loki was doing for him and his family. Pell inquired, in a comforting tone of voice, “I understand. Is there anything I can offer you for doing all this?”

Loki stated, “Service is its own reward.”

Pell sincerely said, “Thank you. I will not forget this. My family will not forget this.”

Loki responded, “You are welcome. I will meet you at your destination. Now you must rejoin your family and escape.”

Pell stated, “Yes. You are correct.”

Pell turned and ran towards the ship. When he reached the ship, he quickly made his way up the steps, and into the ship.

A few seconds later, the door that doubled for the steps into the ship, began to raise and close.

Less than half a minute later, the ship began to raise into the air, as it retracted its landing gear.

The ship then flew straight for a hundred meters until it clear the bottom of the energy shields over the palace. After which, the ship began to fly up into the sky.

As Loki watched her ship fly away, to the west, away from the planetary fighting, she thought, 'My magic cloaks my ship from any person, nor machine, that intends to do harm to my ship, or those inside my ship. I will make sure they are alright. Governor Chetan and his family will be set up as I promised they would be. I have plenty of credits to do so. Dooku does actually pay quite well for successful missions. And while in his service, I have accomplished quite a few successful missions.'

'Though, I did change how the money is transferred. After Dooku transfers my payment to a bank account he helped me set up, I have that money then divided transferred to various banks around the galaxy. These transfers are automatically done a few times through blind accounts to the final accounts I use. This way if one of the accounts are seized, it is less likely all of my bank accounts are seized.'

'I also used some of my credits to by some precious metals and crystals which I have hidden in a few locations.'

'And money and materials are not the only wealth I value.'

'In return for my help, I am sure the Governor Chetan and his family will be more than happy to tell their friends in power about my heroic acts.'

Loki smiled, as she continued her thoughts, 'Just as so many others I have helped, whom are in the mid-level leaderships of the Separatist government. To think this is not even my mission. I completed my mission for Dooku yesterday. Several worlds away. I got finished early. I heard about this invasion happening here and whom would be here. So I decided to take action. Even of they were not coming, I would have still helped Governor Chetan and his family escape. Though, I would be on my ship, as well.'

'While I have wanted to keep my abilities hidden, especially that I can teleport, the trade off is worth it for the support I am getting from these acts of kindness. Given how cunning Dooku can be, I am sure he has already figured I can teleport. So there is no danger in revealing this ability to others.'

Loki frowned, as she soberly thought, 'It is unfortunate that the Separatist leadership, including Dooku, could careless about Governor Chetan and his family. Let alone their world. But I care. I care a lot.'

Loki frowned turned into a grimace, as she thought, in anger, 'No matter what people say. I may love power. But, I can also care about those around me. I can have friends and loved ones whom I still deeply care about.'

Loki's looked down at her feet, as he emotions turned to sadness. She sorrowfully thought, 'I miss my family and my friends, on that island paradise we all lived on. It wasn't perfect, but it was nice... Maybe someday I will find a way to return to them... If they will have me...'

Loki forced herself to calm down. She thought, 'But that is for tomorrow. Not today. And I need to focus on being the trickster of today. Between doing these acts of kindness and setting up my own spy networks I am laying the foundations for the next stage of my plans.'

Loki lips curled into a slight grin as she looked up back at the western sky, in the direction her ship went. She happily thought, 'Still, Dooku has no clue I am here. It is so nice when a plan comes together. I even checked my ship for tracking devices. And my pilots are loyal to be.'

'When I heard this planet would be invaded. And who was coming. I arranged this little rescue, along with arranging for both Padme and Anakin to be the ones that make it to the palace. It was on short notice. But having the battle droids Padme and Anakin were facing draw them closer to the palace than the other Republic forces were located had worked like I had hoped it would.'

'This plan seems to be working smoothly.'

'I have read up on the recent events of this planet and its population. What is about to happen will be a tragedy, but I cannot stop it. The Separatists were foolish not to execute the monarchy, or move them to a prison off planet. But that was their choice. They preferred to make living examples out of the monarchy and the locals are soon going to suffer for that.'

'The only reason the Republic has not bombed this castle with their bomber squadrons is because the planet has a powerful magnetic field. Most electronics are still find, including droids, but the magnetic field messes with sensor readings and long range target locks. In addition, the planet is so lightly defended by our side the Republic decided on a ground invasion. Which is better for everyone. Unless directly ordered to do so, a trooper is less likely to kill civilians than a bomb that misses its target.'

Loki turned around and she started walking towards the entrance to the palace, as wind whipped at her long black hair. Her small grin turned into a smile. As she walked, she happily thought, 'I can sense where they are at. But, they cannot sense me unless I want them too. And it is just the two of them. Together. A perfect opportunity for us to have a little chat...'

Loki's smile turned into a wicked grin, as she thought, 'And maybe more.'

Loki maintained her smile. She giggled, as she thought, 'Though, I harbor no illusions how powerful and dangerous both Padme and Anakin are. Either one could take me in a fight. I am tempted to bring a force bubble creating ysalamir with me. That would definitely leave Anakin flatfooted. The expression on his face, at learning the force is not all powerful, might be worth it. Though, I do not want anyone to know that I know about the ysalamir, and the ysalamir homeworld of Myrkr... Besides, I have my own ways to defend against the force. And I plan to have some fun of my own.'

Less than a minute later, Loki quietly made her back inside the palace, as she silently began hunting her prey.

(_)

A few minutes later, at south entrance double-doors to the palace came off their hinges, as they were blown inward. Though, the small tables by the walls, and the paintings on the walls, were left undisturbed.

The doors slid a few meters into the large entryway room.

Thor and Anakin stood beside each other just outside of the entrance, as they watched the doors come to a stop on the white marble floor.

Thor was in her armor, helmet, equipment, and weapons.

Anakin wore a black long sleeve shirt, black pants, a brown belt, brown boots, brown gauntlets over his hands, and brown upper chest, shoulder, and back armor.

Over the white marble floor there was a red rug that extended from to the back of the room. The doors had been blown onto the floor to opposite sides of the red rug.

Thor stood to Anakin's left side. Thor held Mjolnir in both her hands. While Anakin held his ignited green blade lightsaber in both his hands.

Thor commented, “Not bad.”

Anakin replied, “Thank you. As you can see. The way I used the force left the items inside unaffected. While a gust of wind would have knocked the items down made a mess.”

Thor responded, “Thy does not disagree. Now let us find the governor.”

Anakin use the force to sense within the castle. He stated, “I do not sense anyone within the castle.”

Thor thought, 'The force is not foolproof. We still need to search the palace to make sure.'

Thor commented, “Then we start looking with our eyes.”

Anakin asked, “Do we split up?”

Thor answered, “No. If there is a trap, thou would prefer we face it together.”

Anakin smiled, as he replied, “And that is why admire you so much.”

Anakin thought, 'Given that earpiece that you have Padme. And my communication device in my left gauntlet, we have to be careful what we say to each other. You mentioned to me about how you into a lot of trouble over Jango Fett on Balmorra a while ago. It is nice that you settled your issues with Jango. We cannot risk someone tapping into our communications and learning we are in a relationship with each other. You realize this and so do I.'

Thor stated, “This way. Thou looked up the palace blueprints before we came out of hyperspace. The governor's office should be a few floors up, on the eastern side of the building. We will check the rooms we pass by.”

Thor walked into the building first, with Anakin following behind her. As the two of made their way down the red rug to the back of the entryway where there were to grand staircases leading up to the second floor.

The staircases rose parallel with each other, from the center to curve by the sides of the walls. There was brass railing on the staircases and on the edge of the second floor overlooking the first floor entry way.

The steps were covered in red carpet. The rug on the bottom floor met the rug on the steps, with the staircases at the bottom facing each other, with the red rug between them. The staircases at the top faced the back wall, with a red rug running down the second floor.

When Thor reached the staircases, she walked up the staircases to her right. Anakin followed behind. When they reached the second floor, Thor turned to her right and she walked down a hallway to the east, with Anakin following a few meters behind Thor.

For the next ten minutes, Thor and Anakin walked down the hallways, and up a staircase. They went their way up a few more floors, as they made their way deeper into the palace.

While there were elevators in the palace, Thor and Anakin did not use the elevators could be boobytrapped.

They checked each room they passed by, as they made their way to the governor's office.

They knew the search would be tedious. Though, both of them were professional enough not to complain about the matter.

At the moment, they walked down a hallway with windows to the right of them that over looked a courtyard. There was a solid wall to the left of them. The hallway was a thirty meters long, ten meter wide, and ten meters high.

They walked as a casual pace, with Thor being to Anakin's left side.

Both of them continued to have their weapons at the ready. Though, they talked as they walked beside each other.

Thor stated, “A few more turns down the hallways and we will reach the governor's office.”

Anakin commented, “Good. I wonder how Obiwan and Ahsoka are doing?” He thought, 'While I am not worried about R2 and C3-PO, whom we left at the staging area of the invasion. Obiwan and Ahsoka are on an active mission to take control of the spaceport of Gunara. That concerns me.'

Thor commented, “They will be fine. They are working together while leading clone troopers in taking over the spaceport. Knowing them, they will do so with minimum civilian lose of life.”

Anakin said, “I hope so.”

Thor inquired, “So how close is thee in allowing Ahsoka to start training with two lightsabers?”

Anakin responded, “She has been talking about that with you?”

Thor stated, “It has reached the point that during our lessons it is almost the only thing she talks about. It is becoming disconcerting.”

Anakin commented, “She is being impatient about it. I could make this a lesson on patience for her.”

Thor countered, “Thy would disagree. It might cause trouble between her and thee.”

Anakin conceded, “You might have a point there.”

Thor pointed out, “You are sounding a bit like Obiwan concerning him agreeing in giving thee permission to take your trials. Thee complained for years about that. And when he finally let thee take your trials, thee passed them with flying color.”

Anakin responded, in a slightly unconformable tone of voice, “Okay. You have made your point.” He continued, in a more calmer tone of voice, “And to answer your question. She is close. At this point, I believe she could handle two lightsabers without harming herself. But, I want to work on her lightsaber forms a little bit more.”

Thor inquired, “That is fair enough request. Though, has thee told her this?”

Anakin answered, “Yes.”

Thor replied, “Good.” Thor thought, 'She might have no told me because you told her in confidence. Though, I may request she stop talk about using to lightsabers to help focus on her studies. She will likely respect my request with minor difficulties.'

Anakin admitted, “Concerning this matter. My main worry that my student might be idolizing you a bit much.”

Thor said, “Thy admits she is a bit reckless in battle.”

Anakin pointed out, “We are ones to talk.”

Thor agreed, “True.”

Anakin said, “This is what worries me. She needs to realize that you are nearly invulnerable. While she is not. And she needs to be more careful in battle.”

Thor responded, “Thy agrees. And thou tries to remind Ahsoka of this as often as is proper.”

Anakin stated, “I know. So do I. We just need to continue to do so.”

Thor complimented, “Exactly. And this shows that are thee is becoming more mature.”

Anakin cracked a grin, as he commented, “You have been a good influence in me.”

Thor replied, “Thou is glad thee feels that way.”

Anakin commented, “Perhaps we shouldn't have made it a race following those battle droids to the palace, which we destroyed right outside. We are really far from the front lines.”

Thor stated, “If what we have already seen and fought is what our enemies here mainly have at their disposal, then thou doubts they have something we cannot handle.”

Anakin said, “I believe you are right.”

Suddenly, Anakin stopped six meters from end of the hallway, which forked to both the right and the left. The right turn curved with the corner of the courtyard outside. The left hallway went further into another wing of the palace.

A split second later, Thor noticed Anakin stopping. In response, Thor immediately stopped a thirty centimeters in front of Anakin. Thor took a step back to stand beside Anakin. As she did so, noticed something about her earpiece communicator.

Thor thought, 'Anakin stopped for no reason. And the slight static on the line of my earpiece just cut out. This is not good.'

Anakin held up his ignited green blade lightsaber with both hands, in a defensive position towards his front. Anakin stated, “I sense someone coming around the corner to our left. And that person is very powerful.”

Thor held up Mjolnir with both hands, in a defensive position to her front. Thor said, “Thank you for the warning.”

Anakin replied, “You're welcome.”

A few seconds later, they watched as a person calmly turned the corner and came to a stop five meters in front of them.

The person was an unarmed, black haired woman, in green and brown clothing, whom looked familiar to them.

Thor stated, “Loki.”

Loki cracked a grin, as she said, “Thor. It is nice to see you, again.”

Thor calmly replied, “Likewise.” She thought, 'Given how powerful and cagey you are, Loki. We might as well keep this polite. There is no need to start a fight unless doing so is unavoidable.'

Loki turned to Anakin. Loki said, “And you must be Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. By the way, congratulations on your knighthood. And your green blade lightsaber goes well with you.”

Anakin replied, “Thank you.”

Loki stated, “Well since this is a form introduction.”

Loki gave them a half bow with her chest. While she did so, she kept her head tilting in a manner that allowed her to watch them, as she bowed. A second later, she leaned up, as she looked at the Republic soldiers.

Loki continued, “I am Loki Laufeyson. Agent of the Confederacy of Independent Systems.” She mentally added, 'And agent of the Sith. But I best not mention that because the Sith is a trigger word for the Jedi.'

Anakin admitted, “This is not how I expected to meet with you.”

Loki questioned, “You expected me to attack you?”

Thor replied, “The thought accord to us.”

Loki commented, “I would think given my wonderful public debate with Master Kenobi. And the other diplomatic missions I have been on. That it is apparent I prefer to talk through a various issues than have to directly deal with violence.”

Thor said, “We will consider that a good thing.”

Anakin kept his lightsaber at in the same defensive position, as he commented, “We could use a change of pace.”

Loki happily said, “Wonderful.”

Anakin said “But we are not letting our guard down.”

Thor also maintained her defensive stance with Mjolnir. Though, under her helmet, Thor cracked a grin at Anakin's comment. Though, she kept her eyes on Loki.

Loki shrugged, as she responded, “Oh well. By the way, have you considered the actions of what you are doing to the people of this planet?”

Thor answered, “We are liberating this planet?”

Loki stated, “Quite the contrary. I read up on the recent history of this planet. The Confederacy liberated this planet from a brutal monarchy which had controlled the population by twisting the enforcement of the Republic laws to benefit themselves and punish the local population with burdensome regulations and heavy taxation.”

“Now you will likely free the surviving members of the monarchy. Seize the property previously held by the monarchy, which had been nationalized by the Confederacy for use by the local populations. Give that property to the monarchy and install the monarchy back in power. All this in exchange for monarch to oppress the local population as a way to insure the continued support the Republic like a proxy planet should.”

Thor commented, “Thy has also read the recent history of Gavryn. The local populations broke the law when they profited from stolen property held by the lawful government of this planet. By doing so they have proven themselves to be rebels.”

Thor thought, 'And we know the monarchs are alive and we know which prison they are being held in. The monarchs have likely already been rescued by the troopers squads Obiwan assigned to retrieve them.'

Loki pointed out, “They did not rebel against the monarchy. It was us Confederates whom overthrew the monarchy and whom seized the property. The local populations only took advantage of the wonderful leasing opportunities the we provided them.”

Thor said, “Excuses do not matter. The law must be equally applied. Justice must be done.”

Loki countered, “A law where some are more equal than others is not a just law.”

Thor stated, “The law is the law.”

Loki responded, “But the law that presented is usually not the law that is meant to be the law.”

Thor pointed out, “But it is still the law. And they even tried some of the security personnel for the lawful government of this world and had the members sent to off-world prisons.”

Loki countered, “One off-world prison. For ten to twenty years. They will be treated well and released sometime in that time frame. Though, other members were found innocent and let go.”

Thor commented, “But the people of Gavryn never had the authority to try them and determine their fates.”

Loki rhetorically questioned, “Who better to offer a fair trial than the people whom a directly involved with the situation?”

Thor stated, “The Republic. Individualism which is not tempered with government leads to anarchy. Thee cannot claim that was a impartial trial given they were trying those whom had previously enforced the law on them.”

Loki retorted, “And you claim that a trial is only impartial if held by those whom profited from such actions?”

Thor stated, “That is not what thou meant and thee knows is.”

Loki commented, “The victims deserved a voice for their grievances.”

Thor said, “But the victims do not deserve to control of the situation due solely to being victims.”

Anakin thought, 'They are going to start an argument that could lead to a massive fight. And with their power they could end up leveling the city, killing many people on both sides of this war.'

Anakin changed the subject, as he asked, “Loki. Why are you here?”

Loki focus on Anakin. Though, she did not take her eyes fully off of Thor, as she said, “I wanted to chat. I learned that you two were planning on being the vanguard of your little invasion for this planet. So, I planned to use the opportunity to meet you, Anakin.” Loki focused on Thor, as she continued, “And talk to you, again. Thor.”

Thor responded, “Since thee knows this much. Thy should know where the governor of the planet is?”

Loki admitted, “The governor is on my ship, with his family. My ship has already taken off. By now my ship has likely reached orbit and jumped to hyperspace. But do not be upset. It is clear you have this invasion in the bag. The planet is yours. I have no interest in stopping you from taking this planet. Though, I as I pointed out. I do hope you do not enslave the population of this planet like the Republic has done to so many other planets.”

Thor commented, in a sober tone of voice, “The situation is decided by our superiors. We have no control over such decisions.”

Loki understood the subtext of Thor's comments. Loki said, “Oh well. I can only save so many people.”

Anakin said, “Though, given you work for the Confederacy, you are one to talk about enslaving whole populations. At least we save people, unlike you and your allies.”

Loki pointed out, “In war the first casualty is the truth. And wars are rarely fought for the reasons which are openly given. It is one's actions that individuals are judged for. Not their words. Noble actions. Not noble words.”

Anakin conceded, “You may have a point there.”

Thor stated, “Thy agrees. Still, if thee does not have a ship, this means thee is trapped here with us. And thee will make far better prisoner than the governor.”

Loki quickly said, “Let us hold up on the violence for a little bit. There is much to discuss and little time to do so.”

Anakin inquired, “What do you want to talk about?”

Loki casually stated, “This and that. By the way, I know the Brian blessed speak is completely the hammer's doing. And that is what the term is it called. Brian blessed. After an actor. Long story. Please, do not ask for details. But, let us just say he was a large ham of an actor, and leave the matter be. Though, I can guess that you still think normally, as Thor. And you can speak normally as Thor, if you focus on doing so.”

Thor thought, 'Being honest about this matter might help with the situation. That expect for my odd speech, I am very sane.'

Thor answered, “Thee is correct on both points.”

Loki said, “Good. That means the hammer has not made you into a musclebound fool.”

Anakin could not help but crack a grin as Loki's humorous joke at Thor's expense.

Fortunately, Thor did not notice Anakin's slight smile, as she continued to look at Loki.

Thor said, “Thy believes intelligence and wisdom is more important that brute force.”

Loki stated, “Good. Then you are one of the few Thors I can agree with on this matter.” She thought, 'Now let us see how un-Thor like you can be.'

In the blink of an eye, Loki rushed up to be stand beside Anakin, to Anakin's right side, opposite to Thor.

Loki had the front of her body facing Anakin's right side.

As Anakin still had both his hands holding the lightsaber in front of him. Loki had her left hand reached across Anakin's back to touch the back side of Anakin's right shoulder. At the same time, Loki had the open palm of her right hand gently against the top middle part of Anakin's upper brown chest armor, right below his collar bone, against his sternum, and above Anakin's hands.

Loki used her right hand to gently pat Anakin's chest armor a couple of times. Loki's lips curled into a mischievous grin, as she purred into Anakin's right ear, “I can really see the attraction she has for you... How about we blow this place and find somewhere private to have some more intimate fun.”

Thor's enhanced hearing allowed her to clearly hear Loki's soft words of temptation.

Anakin turned to look at Loki with an expression that a deer gave when caught in the headlights of an oncoming vehicle.

Meanwhile, Thor her head turned to Loki. The angle at which Loki and Anakin were standing allowed Thor to see the right side of Loki's face, passed the front of Anakin's head.

Under Thor's helmet, her face and eyes barely contained her rage.

Loki, the master trickster, saw both of these expressions. Loki's eyes were sharp enough to clear see Thor's face from the front slits of Thor's helmet. Loki's smile turned into a smirk, as she did everything in her power not to burst out laughing at the situation she had just created.

Loki lowered her mental defenses enough for Anakin to sense her emotions, without putting herself at risk of a mental attack.

Though the force, Anakin could since the emotions of both women. Loki was being playful mischievous, while Thor was seething in rage.

In addition, Anakin realized that the two women likely being two of the most power people in the galaxy. And Anakin was literally caught between them, with him paralyzed in fear and confusion at what to do next.

Thor looked pass Anakin, and towards Loki. Thor warned, with voice like ice, “Take your hands off of MY Jedi.”

Loki and Anakin both noticed the emphasis on, 'my'. And they realized Thor was serious.

Loki let go of Anakin, and slowly circled around to her right side. Each step was a step away from Anakin and Thor and closer to stand on front of the two Republic soldiers.

Anakin and Thor only moved their heads and eyes to followed Loki backing away from them. Both of them maintained defensive stances, with their weapons in hand.

Loki came to a stop to stand to three meters in front of Anakin and Thor.

Loki looked at Anakin and Thor. Loki said, in a casual tone of voice, “Ah. The jealous girlfriend.”

Both Thor and Anakin became visibly uncomfortable.

Thor flatly said, “Thee does not know what she is talking about.”

Loki's voice dipped with sarcasm, as she deadpanned, “Sure.” Her smile turned more warm, as she shrugged her shoulders. She casually said, “Relax. I am being not serious here. I am just playing my Veronica to your Betty.”

Loki noticed the confused looks on Thor and Anakin's faces.

Loki sighed. Then, she focus on Thor, as she said, “Look. In all honestly, while I like both, my tastes lean more for the feminine than the masculine. But, I am not about to try with you what I just did with Anakin and risk a hammer to my face.”

Thor and Anakin were a little surprised about how forward Loki was with her sexual preferences.

Thor was the first to composed herself. She said, in a stern tone of voice, “That is wise of thee.”

Loki calmly said, “I will take that as a compliment. By the way, I was wondering.” She focused on Anakin, as she continued, “What is is with your new lightsaber? I find it interesting that it is green, instead of blue.”

Loki thought, 'While I have read reports about both of you. Lightsabers are so common among Jedi that the reports by the Separatists on Jedi usual omit what color lightsaber blade each Jedi uses. Anakin, I just assumed you were using a blue lightsaber blade. While this is incorrect, it is a harmless assumption.'

By then, Anakin had forced himself into a more constructive state of mind. Though, he had been paying attention to the conversation. Anakin heard Loki's question. Anakin responded, “I felt like something different. Do you have problem with that?”

Loki quickly backtracked, as she said, “No. No. No. Quite the contrary. I like it. The change suits you. This shows people can change in the most curious of ways.” She smiled mischievously, as she continued, “Besides green is one of my favorite colors.”

Anakin inquired, “Okay. Still, we have some questions for you. While you have done a lot for the Separatists, we cannot figure out your motives. Why are you doing this?”

Loki maintained her smile, as she happily stated, “The fun, my dear. What is acquiring power without the fun? That would be dry and boring. I have a deep aversion to boredom. And the best way to avoid boredom is to be unpredictable and playful in living one's life.”

Anakin flatly accused, “You're insane.”

Loki smiled became wider, as she stated, with eagerness in her tone of voice, “And loving every minute of it.” Then, Loki began to lightly laugh for a few seconds.

Thor thought, 'I wonder.' She asked, “How much do you know about us?”

Loki heard Thor's question. She quickly forced herself to calm down. Then, she answered, in a calm tone of voice, “While I have no intention of blackmailing you. Nor letting the galaxy know who you are. I even cast a spell to keep your communications from being tapped into while we talk.”

Thor thought, 'That explains why my communication earpiece went silent. Which is good. Considering what I suspect we are about to learn.'

Loki turned to Anakin. Loki went onto say, “I do know that you, Anakin Skywalker, are not just a Jedi Knight, but, the Jedi Order considers you to be their savor. Their chosen one.”

Anakin commented, “Given you serve Dooku. It is no surprise that you would know such things about me.”

Loki conceded “Fair enough.” She turned to Thor. Loki said, “Given the process of elimination of whom was in the arena on Geonosis, when the hammer fell. You are Senator Padme Amidala.”

Thor replied, “Thy will admit to the obvious. Though, thou will appreciate thee's discretion on such matters.”

Loki replied, “But of course.”

Anakin thought, 'I wonder...' He inquired, “What is your opinion of the Separatist leadership?”

Loki thought, 'I might well tell them.' She stated, “I do not know enough about the members of the Separatist Parliament to draw a informed conclusion on them.” She turned to Thor. Loki continued, “Though, given a number of them were once senators of the Galactic Republic, you probably know more about them than myself.”

Thor commented, “They are not evil. Just misguided. As you are.”

Loki responded, “Not a misguided as you may believe. As for the Separatist Council. I have no use for sycophants. Especially short-sighted, cowardly sycophants.”

Thor shrugged in response.

Meanwhile, Anakin held back a smile at Loki's casual insult some of the people he had a deep dislike for due to the problems they had created for him and his friends, especially Padme.

Loki went onto say, “As for Dooku. I work for the man because I respect his style. He maybe evil as they come, but he really knows how to do his job.”

Anakin thought, 'That is interesting comment.'

Anakin said, “Are you sure you are not our our side?”

Loki turned to Anakin. She lips curled into a smile, as she stated, “I am on my side.” Then, she looked between Anakin and Thor.

Thor thought, 'Curious. You respect Dooku, but not the others. I might someday be able to use this information. But not today.'

Thor commented, “Politics and morality rarely go hand in hand.”

Loki agreed, “That is very true.”

Thor thought, 'I might as well ask. I might get lucky.' She stated, “Given thy successes and allegiances. And what thee knows of us. Does thee know who Sidious is?”

Loki smile slightly widened. She said, “Yes.”

Under Thor's helmet, Thor returned Loki's smile. Thor thought, 'Pay dirt.' She inquired, “Who is Sidious?”

Loki saw Thor's smile through the slits of Thor's helmet.

Loki responded, “And where is the fun in me telling you? Besides, I do not want to ruin the surprise.”

Thor immediately dropped her grin. Loki noticed this.

Meanwhile, Anakin demanded, “Tell us.” Anakin thought, 'This information is too important not to learn.'

Loki dropped her smiled. Loki said, in a firm tone of voice, “Look. If I told either of you. Your next actions would confront him. Neither of you are ready to face him in battle. Such a confrontation would end in either you being killed, or worse.”

Thor thought, 'Taking into account your reaction, I believe you are telling the truth, Loki. You do know who Sidious is. Though, given how powerful Dooku was. And the other Sith whom killed Qui-Gon, was no slouch. Along with the seriousness that Yoda shown towards the Sith. It stands to reason that Sidious is likely very powerful. Maybe even more powerful and more skilled in combat than I am.'

'In my battles with Dooku he almost had me a few times. Sidious may be able to take me in a fight.'

'You are likely correct. If we learned who Sidious was, we would confront him. Even if we were not ready to do so.'

Thor continued to focus on looking at Loki, as she mentally reflected, 'And I would bet every credit I have that neither Dooku, nor Sidious himself knows that you know who Sidious is. Because both of them would immediately kill you if they learned what you knew. Still...'

Thor turned to Anakin. She said, “Thee may have a point.”

Anakin turned to Thor. Anakin realized he would not win this debate. Anakin replied, in a slightly disappointed tone of voice, “Fine.”

Both Thor and Anakin turned to look at Loki.

Anakin thought, 'I guess we will have to wait on this information. But, at least we have a lead on who Sidious is.'

Loki said, “Thank you.” Loki thought, 'I would despise having to fight you to keep this information from you as a way to protect you.'

Thor thought, 'We still maybe able to learn other things about Sidious which could help use prepare for when we do finally face him.'

Thor asked, “Though, while not telling us of his identity. May we ask what you know of Sidious?”

Loki thought, 'I might as well. I know what to tell you without giving everything away.'

Loki stated, “You may. I will not give you clues to his identity. But, I will tell you how powerful he is. Sidious is not just a Dark Lord of the Sith like Dooku, or Maul. Those two are but weak pawns in comparison to Sidious. Sidious is considered by many to be one of the most powerful extensions of the dark side of the force in known history. He is a literal force of nature when it comes to the dark side.”

Loki looked down at Padme's hammer, then back up to Thor and Anakin's faces. Loki continued, “The hammer you have and the power Mjolnir gives you is nothing but a toy when compared to Sidious' power. In addition, he is an expert in the use of a lightsaber in combat. He strikes fast and hard like a snake. With his skills being such that when he is faced with a group of skilled Jedi. Each strike, from first to last, is a death blow to one of his opponents.”

Thor thought, 'I guess I was right. I am glad I did not force the matter on Sidious' identity. It is clear that should I wish to face Sidious, I will need to work on becoming more powerful and betters skilled in the arts of combat. So when I do face him, I can either defeat and arrest him. Or, destroy him once and for all.'

Anakin realized something, as he thought, 'Wait a minute. The was she spoke... Could she be from the future... And it sounds like even with all his powers, Sidious may have been defeated in the future... Weirder things have happened.'

Anakin guessed, “It sounds like even with all his power, you are from future where he was beaten. At least in your timeline.”

Loki turned to Anakin. Loki's lips curled into a slight grin. Loki happily complimented, “You are sharper than I expected.”

Anakin replied, “Thank you.”

Loki looked at both Anakin and Thor. Loki said, “And yes. Sidious was beaten because he did not watch his back. Still, he was able to come back from the dead through use of possessing adult clone bodies of himself. And he even tried to possess a baby before he was killed again. Even all that effort, it is a literal war in the underworld to keep him dead.”

Thor questioned, “Thee is not sure if you are embellishing?”

Loki stated, in a serious tone of voice, “I am not. If we were outside, I could show you how powerful I truly am. I believe both of you, at your best, are either at my level of power. Or, slightly more powerful than I am. Even then, Sidious is vastly more powerful than all three of us combined.”

Anakin said, “We shall inform the Jedi Council of what you have told us.” Anakin thought, 'They need to know.'

Loki turned to Anakin. She scoffed, as she stated, “Do not bother. They will not listen. And do not let this Chosen One bullshit fool you. You cannot take Sidious in a fight. I know how powerful you are. He is more powerful than you.”

Anakin thought, 'You may have a point there. I may not tell the Jedi Council. The council has been know to ignore warnings outside of the council. When Master Qui-Gon Jinn tried to convince the Jedi council of offering aid for retaking Naboo from the Trade Federation. That refusal to help ultimately cost Master Jinn his life. I am not sure it would be wise to tell Obiwan, or Aksoka. I do not want to put them into a bind over this matter.'

Loki looked at both Anakin and Thor. Loki stated, “With both of you at your best. Working together. You might able to hold your own against Sidious. Might. But, I highly doubt you could kill him. The way he was killed was a lucky shot. Both times. Quite literally the only reason he died was that he did not see it coming. That is a very rare situation for a force user to be in.”

Anakin said, “You are correct about this. It is rare for a force user to be caught off guard. But, it is not impossible. I will keep was you said in mind.”

Thor said, “We will consider what you have said.”

Loki responded, “Good. Please do. You both still might survive. Also, I will tell you this. Even without his powers, Sidious is extremely dangerous. As you likely suspect, Sidious is playing both sides from the shadows. Next to me, he is likely the most cunning, clever, and intelligent person currently living in this galaxy. This is the main reason even I fear him. He is usually several steps ahead of everyone, except myself. And that is only because he does know fully realize who and what I am.”

Thor thought, 'That confirms that.' Thor commented, “Thank you for confirming our suspicions concerning Sidious.”

Anakin said, “We suspected much of what you told us.”

Loki inquired, with concern in her tone of voice, “You are welcome. Since it is clear you both are caught in the middle of this madness. If I asked you both to just run away together, to the Unknown Regions of the western side of galaxy, and leave this insanity behind, would you?”

Anakin stated, “No. That is not the way of the Jedi.”

Thor said, “Thou has too many commitments to leave.”

Loki gave them a sorrowful smile. She said, in a calm, though sad tone of voice, “And that is the tragedy of this whole situation...” She sighed. She continued, in the same sorrowful tone of voice, “Keep in mind that emotional attachments are not inherently wrong. Even the Jedi form attachments, whether they want to admit it or not. Such as if something were happen to the Order. Especially the younglings. Those surviving Jedi would become very vengeful and bitter towards those responsible for such actions. They would do things which would be questionable at best. Despicably evil at worst.”

“What is important about attachments is to not let those attachments be used to manipulate you. From either within yourself, or from without by others.”

Thor complimented, “Those are wise words.”

Anakin replied, “I feel the same way.”

Loki responded, “Good. Also, I know that emotional attachments can be used to enhanced one's force abilities. And not just from the standpoint of using anger and the dark side to empower oneself in the force. But for directly enhancing one's strength of will in the force.”

Anakin commented, “We will keep that in mind.”

Loki said, “Please do. Now back to Sidious. I will not face Sidious. And with my skills and abilities, I can make it very difficult for him to confront me.”

Thor said, “That being said, thou is going to have to place thee under arrest.”

Loki whined, “Oh really. And we were having such a wonderful conversation.”

Loki held out her right hand, and her bastard sword formed in the palm of her right hand. As the sword appeared, Loki closed her right hand to grip the hilt of her sword.

Loki gave Thor and Anakin a warm smile. Loki casually said, with a hint of excitement in her tone of voice, “Though, I am not going to make this easy on you. Now shall we dance? On guard!”

Loki charged at Anakin and Thor. Due to Anakin have the most dangerous weapon in close quarters combat, his lightsaber, Loki went after Anakin first. Loki intentionally rushing to Anakin's right side, to put Anakin's body between Thor and Loki.

Anakin swung his lightsaber at Loki, but Loki was able to use the blade of her sword to parry the green energy blade with no sign of damage on Loki's sword.

While Anakin parried Loki's attacked, and countered with his own attacks which Loki parried, Anakin immediately realized a few important matters at once.

Anakin thought, 'Loki's blade is mystical like Mjolnir. And we are to close for Padme to cut loose with her abilities. Let us solve that little problem. Then, a few lightning bolts from Padme will make quick work of Loki. While we want her alive, having her a little singed will keep her from doing thing else foolish. Let us see how you like being pushed back with the force.'

Anakin tried to force push Loki away from them and down the hallway in the direction had Loki come from. But as Anakin tried to do so he found that the force did not effect Loki.

Anakin thought, with concern, 'Or not. Thor is too close for me to really cut loose with my lightsaber. Padme is trying to get around, and I do not want to accidentally harm her. And I am sure that Padme feels the same way. Loki likely realizes all of this and she is using the situation to her advantage.'

Loki struck out with her sword towards Anakin, as she stated, “Nice try with the force attack.”

Anakin blocked the blow with his lightsaber, as he asked, “So you felt that?” Anakin struck at Loki, while trying to move to his right.

Loki parried Anakin's attack with her sword, as moved with Aankin to her left, to keep Anakin between Thor and herself. Loki admitted, “Yes. It can be tricky to counter such attacks.” Loki struck towards Anakin.

Anakin parried the attack with his lightsaber blade, as he thought, 'I might as well ask.'

Anakin responded, “That is nice to know. Also, I noticed your weapon can handle an attack by a lightsaber. Like Mjolnir. Does your sword have a name?”

Anakin attacked Loki with his lightsaber.

Loki parried the attack. She answered, “Of course. The name of my sword is Cassius.”

As Anakin and Loki kept attacking and defending against each other, Anakin kept trying to move away to his right, so Thor could come up and help with the battle.

As Anakin did this, Thor kept trying to get around Anakin. But, Loki kept moving around to keep Anakin between her and Thor.

This whole situation looked like an impromptu dance routine.

Suddenly, Thor remembered, as she stated, with concern in her tone of voice, “Watch out. Loki has fire abilities.”

Loki parried an attack by Anakin. The blade of Loki's sword and the green energy blade of Anakin's lightsaber clashed against each other.

Anakin noticed, as he thought, 'Loki was able to hold me back with only her right arm. She is strong. She maybe is as strong as Padme is as Thor.'

Loki kept her eyes on Anakin and his lightsaber, as she stated, in a slightly annoyed tone of voice, “Oh please. Like I am going to burn down this wonderful palace.”

Loki pulled her weapon away from the green lightsaber blade. Loki lips curled into a mischievous grin. Loki said, in a devious tone of voice, “Though, we can make things interesting.”

Suddenly, green flames erupted around the polished chrome color metal blade of Loki's sword.

Anakin could feel the heat from the green flames, even more so than the heat from his lightsaber.

Loki maintained her mischievous grin, as she happily said, “Flaming sword versus lightsaber. I believe this is a new one. Hehehe...” Loki giggled a little, as she struck out with her green flaming sword.

Anakin blocked the blow with his green blade lightsaber. Anakin asked, “Do you take anything seriously?”

As Loki and Anakin pressed their weapons against each other, Anakin's two arms against Loki's right arm, with both of them found the other presenting enough strength keep the other one from gaining an advantage, Loki replied, “No.”

Though, Loki was just using her right arm, while Anakin was using both his arms, and the force to enhanced his abilities.

Anakin thought, 'She is not only she stronger than she looks, she can maintain that strength. She is using one arm. While I am using both arms, and the force. She might really be as strong as Thor. And given how quick she was earlier, she is clearly just playing with us. I am not sure I would be able to stop her if she took this fight more seriously.'

Loki's back was currently facing the hallway intersection she had entered from. The windows were to her left.

Loki pulled back her weapon, as she stopped giggling. She stated, in a calm tone of voice, “Neither of us is going to try to kill the other. I like you guys too much. And I know too much for you to kill, until you have your answers.”

Anakin did not press his attack. He replied, “Point taken.”

Meanwhile, due to Anakin and Loki not longer moving, Thor was able to come up to stand by Anakin, to Anakin's right side. Though, Thor did not attack.

Loki commented, “But your right. This battle is pointless. And this battle can go very bad, very quickly. So let us end this on a more entertaining note.”

Loki immediately jumped back, a few meters, down the hallway.

While in the air, the green flames around the sword disappeared. Then, the sword in Loki's right hand disappeared. And just after Loki's boot's touched the ground, Loki disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Anakin and Thor watch this magical feat unfold.

Anakin commented, “You know. I remember when we only had to worry about force users. This Loki is full surprises.”

Thor let go of Mjolnir with her left hand. She lowered the hammer to her right side. She said, “Thou knows. And this was an interesting waste of time.”

Thor noticed the static on her earpiece come back. Thor turned to Anakin. She commented, “And we have our communications back.”

Anakin said, “Good.” He deactivated his lightsaber, and holstered his weapon on the left side of his belt. Anakin turned to Thor. He commented, “It is clear she knows a lot about us. She used our abilities against us in close quarters.”

Thor stated, “Thy could not use thy lightning abilities with you near. And she used thee to keep thou from facing her.”

Anakin said, “I know. And I could not fully use my lightsaber abilities with you so close to Loki. And the force did not work on her.”

Thor thought, 'This is not good. Still, such a defense will catch Dooku off guard if he tries anything against her. Which is nice.'

Thor said, “This is interesting. Next time, we will face her on open terrain.”

Anakin responded, “Agreed. She is clearly powerful. The way she escaped proves that. That was no illusion. As we watched, I sensed her literally disappear in the force. She has somehow found the way to teleport. Also, she is in a good mood. If she was not happy, she would likely be more dangerous.”

Thor said, “Thy agrees. Thee could teleport others away if she wanted.”

Anakin asked, “That is a scary possibility. Should we tell Jedi Council what she told us? About Sidious? And that she is from a future? Well, at least a future. After this discussion I believe she is not from our future.”

Thor thought, 'I believe she is from an alternate future, as well. I find that both comforting and disturbing. On one hand she talked of a future where Sidious clearly won. And on the other hand, it is comforting that may not be our future. We might be able to find a way to defeat Sidious. Still...'

Thor answered, “No. We have no proof. And as thee pointed out, which she confirms, she is insane. Though, thy believes she believes what she said. Thou feels she is telling the truth. At least in part. Thy shares her opinion that thee should not believe so heavily in the Chosen One belief.”

Anakin said, in a tired tone of voice, “Tell that to the Jedi Order. One reason I am so arrogant is that I have been hearing how I am suppose to be the Chosen One to defeat the Sith and bring balance to the force for over half my life. I am not sure what they mean by balance. I sometimes become so frustrated due the expectations I am put under to live up due this belief.”

Thor said, “At least thee is willing to admit that. This is progress.”

Anakin stated, “True. And as before. I sense no one in this palace but us. Let us contact Obiwan and Ahsoka. Then, we will arrange to meet them back the staging area.”

Thor said, “Agreed. Thy believes this battle is already over. Thy can no longer hear the shelling.”

Anakin commented, “That just means we will can get back that much quicker. Now to see how they are doing.”

Anakin held up his left arm gauntlet. He used his right hand to activate the comlink in his left gauntlet.

Anakin spoke into his communicator, “Obiwan? Ahsoka? Are you there?”

Thor remained silent, as she listened.

A few seconds later, they heard Obiwan's voice say, over both Anakin's comlink and Thor's earpiece, “Yes, Anakin. Ahsoka is with me.”

Anakin inquired, “How are you two doing?”

Over the line, Ahsoka answered, “We are fine.”

Obiwan questioned, “Any problems?”

Anakin coyly said, “We have some trouble. But, the situation is fine now.”

Obiwan replied, “Good.”

Thor thought, 'I need to make sure of something.'

Thor commented, “Though, there is one concern thou has. During this mission, thy has learned that the previous leaders we will be putting back into power were very oppressive to the local population. To the point the locals welcomed the Separatists taking control of their planet.”

Obiwan stated, “I read that as well. Though, the monarchy of this planet are lawful rulers under Republic law. But, while they will be returned to power, they will be under Republic military jurisdiction.”

Thor suggested, “It might be best to prevent any unneeded bloodshed after the invasion is complete. We do not want a scandal caused by the monarchy having much of the population massacred after we leave.”

Obiwan said, “That is a good point. We will talk about it after we meet.”

Thor asked, “Thank you. So, how were things on your end?”

Obiwan stated, “The spaceport fell fairly quickly, with only a few causalities on either side.”

Thor smiled at hearing the good news.

Ahsoka asked, “So how were things on your end? Did you capture the Separatist Governor?”

Thor dropped her smile.

Anakin coyly answered, “Though we are both fine, there was some minor complications.”

Thor nodded once in approval of Anakin's comment.

Anakin went onto say, “The governor escaped.”

Obiwan said, “You can tell us about what happened later.”

Anakin stated, “We will meet you at the staging point.”

Obiwan commented, “We will be there in a few hours. See you then.”

Anakin replied, “Anakin, out.” Anakin used his right hand to turn off the communicator on his left gauntlet. Then, he dropped his hands to his sides.

Anakin looked at Thor, as Thor look at him.

Anakin inquired, “Do you want to tell them how the governor escaped?”

Thor responded, “We will keep our explanations simple. And not give too many details.”

Anakin agreed, “That will work.”

Thor commented, “You know. If we walk, is over an hour to the front. And other half an hour to the staging area on the other side of the spaceport.”

Anakin replied, “Yes. I know”

Thor suggested, “As we raced, while thou was in the air, thou saw this nice small park on our way here. It was unguarded. Thou believes the park has been untouched by the battle.”

Anakin understood what Thor was hinting at. He smiled. He stated, “I would love to take a walk in the park, as we make are way back to the front.”

Thor returned Anakin's smile. She said, “My thoughts exactly.”

Thor and Anakin turned and headed back the way they came.

Due to them not having to check every room they passed by, it only took Thor and Anakin five minutes to reach the front ground entrance of the palace.

The two lovers soon took a minor detour through a park. They took their time as they strolled through the park. It was a pleasant experience for them and their relationship. With no signs of battle droids, nor clone troopers, anywhere in sight.

A few hours later, they reached the front, where they met up with their friends.

An hour later, they were back in the Star Destroyer, Resolute, which had landed outside of the capital city. The Resolute was being used as the base of operations of the staging area.

When Thor and Anakin were debriefed by Obiwan, they each mentioned Loki's in their debriefings. Though, they did not mention what Loki said to them. And given Obiwan was doing the debriefings of both Thor and Anakin, he trusted his students enough to know if they needed to mention anything.

Later, Thor and Obiwan talked in private about a few measures they could put in place to reign in the monarchs whom had been found alive, in fairly good healthy, and whom the Republic military was going to return to power over the planet Gavryn.

A day later, the invading Republic clone forces were relieved on the planet by a Republic occupation force.

Obiwan, Anakin, Thor, Ahsoka, and the Republic forces under their command left the planet, in the Resolute. The Negotiator, which had been stationed in orbit during the invasions, met the Resolute in orbit over Gavryn.

An hour after the Resolute and Negotiator met in orbit, the two star destroyers jumped to hyperspace for their next destination.

Meanwhile, the other Republic ships that had helped with the invasion stayed with the occupation for, as things were set up for a few long term Republic garrisons which would be installed on Gavryn.

Meanwhile, a few Star Destroyers would be station in orbit over Gavryn to help defend the planet from the Separatists.

(_)

A day later the planet of Gavryn was under complete control of the Republic military. The Republic forces had destroyed the battle droids forces both in space and on the planet.

The Republic military seized all the property of the Gavryn population. Also, the Republic military found and liberated the imprisoned members of the members of the monarchy. The Republic forces were mildly surprised to find that most of the monarchy were still in good to moderate health.

A week later, Thor, Anakin, Obiwan, Ahsoka, the crews of the Resolute and Negotiator were relieved by other Republic military forces.

Soon after the Resolute and Negotiator departed Gavryn and jumped to hyperspace for their next mission in another part of the galaxy, the Republic relief forces put the monarchy back in power over Gavryn, with their properties returned to them.

The monarchy returned to their seat of power in the palace of Gunara. As the monarchy had their palace refurnish and their capital city repaired, they began to have the Republic forces purge those the monarchy viewed as traitors to their formerly deposed government.

Those accused of treason included those that were found to have profited by the stolen properties were imprison, along with the families of those that profited.

Though, due to the request of General Thor and the orders of General Kenobi, the Republic forces on Gavryn were orders not to execute any of the locals unless it was to counter direct violence committed by the local population.

As such, the Republic forces would not execute anyone on Gavryn, even if those individuals were found guilty treason.

Since the monarchy could not execute those they had arrested. And a trial would be under Republic military tribunal, which meant some of those arrested would be free, especially the families of those primarily accused. The monarchy chose to just force everyone arrested to remain imprisoned without trial as prisoners of war. The designation of prisoners of war allowed those arrested to be indefinitely detained with trial until the Clone Wars were over.

As far as the monarchy as concerned the prisoners were already guilty.

Though, the prisoners were housed and maintained by the Republic military and they were treated as prisoners of war. They were clothed, regular fed, and housed in cells in the prisons on Gavryn. The prisoners were not starved, nor tortured. But, the children were separated from their parents. The children were placed in youth detention centers.

As for the foreign security personnel of the monarchy, whom were still on Gavryn, the monarchy did nothing for them. The monarchy felt the security personnel failed in their mission to protect the planet and the monarchy itself, with these individuals being lucky the monarchy did not have them and their families arrested for treason for their failures.

And so the local population of Gavryn was oppressed by the Republic military at the behest of the monarchy that has been deposed.

(_)

Right after Loki had teleported from Gavryn, which the Republic had just conquered, Loki appeared on an industrial planet, inside the living room of one of her many hideouts. Which she had secretly set up for herself. Loki's hideouts were located across the galaxy.

All the hideouts were well furnished and ready to live in. Save for food, which she could have anonymously delivered by local suppliers.

Presently, it was daytime on the side of the planet which Loki was on.

The current hideout Loki was inside of was located on a mid-level of a skyscraper, in a heavily populated city. The hideout encompassed the entire floor Loki was on. There was a locked door between the hallway that lead to the stairs and elevator systems.

Though, the heavy curtains in the room blocked out any outside light, to keep anyone from seeing inside the home. There were heavy curtains on all the windows of the apartment.

The only illumination came from the ceiling lights of the living room, which Loki had turned on when she had first arrived by teleporting into the room.

Currently, it was been about fifteen minutes since Loki had arrived in the apartment. Loki used that time to calm down and reach the proper, calm, thought guarded frame of mind one should have when talking to a Sith Lord.

Loki stood in her living room, she was in front of a small table that had a holo-monitor on it. The table was located near a couch in the middle of the room.

As Loki stood in place, she thought, 'While my meeting with Padme and Anakin was fun, I do have a job to do. And I need to check in with Dooku before he grows suspicious of my whereabouts.'

'Though, I need to remember that force users can use real time communications to reach across the galaxy and attack someone. I could likely do that with my magic. Though, I realize if I did so that no one would answer my calls. Along those lines, I am surprised that anyone personally answers a force user's call. It just does not make sense. I only personally talk to Dooku because I have too.'

'Maybe that is one of the reasons both the Sith and Jedi are so secretive with their abilities, because they fear people figuring out simple and practical ways to defend against force attacks.'

'You cannot force choke someone over a communication line, if force user always either gets a secretary, or the answering machine to act as a go-between.'

'I mean. The force can be powerful. But, it is not the end all and be all of power.'

Loki's lips curled into a wicked grin, as she mentally reflected, 'No. That claim is reserved for true magic. Like the magic I use. Not the parlor tricks that Jedi and Sith use.'

'Now to talk to this fool before he becomes impatience makes him more suspicious of my own agenda, which I am sure by now he realizes I have my plans and designs for the future of this galaxy.'

Loki dropped her grin, as she took on a more neutral expression.

Loki leaned down and she used her hands to dial Dooku's personal, encrypted, holo-comm number.

Loki leaned up. She heard the ringing, as she waited for Dooku to answer her call.

After a few rings, Dooku answered the call, and a small hologram of Dooku appeared above the holo-monitor.

Loki could tell by the hologram that Dooku was in his formal clothing. He was sitting in a chair that he only had on his space yacht.

Loki thought, 'Dooku is heading somewhere. That is interesting, but not unusual. I am glad I one time snuck into Dooku's space yacht. I can now tell during our holo-communications when Dooku is in his space yacht.'

'Though, I do not remember him having a space yacht. Practicality would dictate he would eventually purchase a ship to subtly travel across the galaxy that would be better than that small shuttle. He has better class than to do to continue to travel in such a small vehicle. And a battle cruiser is not subtle. So he had to have had some sort of medium sized ship, such as his space yacht.'

'Though, maybe this means this reality's timeline is further altered than I first believed. But that is a matter to think about later. Now I have to deal with Dooku and work on the next stages of my plans.'

Dooku's hologram looked up at Loki's face. He flatly requested, “Report.”

Loki maintained her calm, guarded demeanor, as she stated, “I have concluded by negotiations with the mining companies that control the operations on Nkllon, Burnin Konn, Mimban, and... Mustafar.”

Loki thought, 'Fortunately, the companies headquarters were not that far apart from each other. They were located in the mid-rim. The leaders of these companies agreed to meet me on a neutral world which I picked out. We met one a nice Separatist controlled farming world that had no financial ties to any of the mining companies in question. It was a pleasant meeting that was very productive for everyone involved.'

Loki continued, “We now have control of over ninety percent of the known Dolovite and Kammris ore reserves in the known galaxy.”

Loki thought, 'I looked up what these two ores are used in. The information was interesting. Dolovite is a ceramic type rare earth ore that is used as a bonding agent in the creation of alloys to make stronger materials. Such as the materials used for creating the hulls of starships.'

'Kammris is a key ingredient in the liquid formula used to coat on starship hulls, to protect against heat and damage from colliding with minor asteroids which make it passed a ship's deflector shields. Such as those asteroids the size of small baseballs to pebbles.'

'It is not surprising spaceship would be designed to counter such dangers. Hitting such small items is a real danger for ships. A handful of such debris hitting a ship could, within minutes, depressurize and destroy a starship.'

Dooku inquired, “What was their price?”

Loki answered, “In exchange for them making the Confederacy their sole customer base and them cutting out the Republic, the Hutts, and others, they requested a five year contract, with the price being fixed at ten percent rate above galaxy market value. In addition, they want the payment for the first three months up front.”

Loki thought, with pride, 'The leaders of these companies first wanted a ten year contract at twenty percent of the price, with the first six months up front. But, I convinced them to alter their offer. Though...'

Loki continued, “Also, they also ask for our military aid to protect them, should the Republic, the Hutts, or some of their other former clients, may try to use force to make them to go back to supplying them.”

Dooku's lips curled into a grin. Dooku happily said, “Excellent. Those are small prices to pay for what we have gained. Soon The Republic will find it difficult to build new starships.”

Loki thought, 'I am sure they will find a way around this problem. They seem pretty resourceful. Not that I am going to say that to your face.'

Dooku inquired, “I will make the arrangements for our end of the bargain to be fulfilled. Were there any difficulties during your mission?”

Loki responded, “No sir. I actually had a pleasant time during this mission.”

Dooku commented, “Good. Though, I notice that are not reporting from your new ship.”

Loki hid a smile, as she thought with amusement, 'Touche... It looks like you have been using the same tricks as I have to figure out my location... Well, you did not become leader of the Separatist by being foolish... At least not intentionally.'

Loki casually lied, “I set my starship down for some basic maintenance. I decided to rent a nice hotel suite in the local city. It does get a bit cramped in such a starship.”

Dooku responded, “That is... Understandable. I will transfer the usual payment to your private account we agreed on. I will contact you from your ship when I need you.”

Dooku ended the transmission.

Loki turned and looked around the room, as she let out a breath she did not realize she was holding.

Loki mentally reflected, 'That went well... It will be at least a day until my ship arrives here, with the disposed governor and his family. I will set them up, check my ship out for any problems, and wait on my ship for Dooku to contact me.'

'Still, has no clue how far reaching her plotting and machinations were.'

Loki yawned. She thought, 'Still, it has been a long day. I believe I will rest and relax until the governor and his family arrive on this planet in a few days. Once they arrive, I will make everything is set up for them. Including there new home, across the city from where this hideout is. Afterward, I will leave the planet for my next mission.'

Loki got rest to get some sleep. Soon, she turned off the lights in her hideout. Then, she headed to her nicely bed, with pillows and silk sheets, to get some well earned sleep.

(_)

Days later, in the lower underground levels of Coruscant, around fifty levels beneath the surface of the Senate District. Those living in such areas of disrepair had been circulating rumors of a giant creature whom had been attacking and murdering those within the surrounding underground level.

No one knew when exactly when the attacks had started. Only that the attacks had recently started over the course of the last month.

Only a few days ago Coruscant Security had finally started looking into the matter. The press had not yet picked up on the murders.

Those few survivors whom had escaped the creature had not gotten a good look at the beast.

The beast had always stayed to the shadows and darkness to prevent anyone from getting a look at the creature.

The survivors could only say the creature was very large and tall, to the point of filling out the height and width of a small hallway.

The viciousness and brutality of what was left of the victims remains showed that creature had enjoyed his work. From the remains, there was also bite marks, which was evidence that the victims has been partly eaten by the beast.

Though, the locals had already given this creature a name. The locals dubbed the creature to be the Coruscant Beast.

Presently, within the lower levels of Coruscant, forty levels beneath the surface of the Senate District, gang of a dozen thieves and murders made their way down the hallway.

As they turned a corner, they were confronting with a hulking beast. Without warning, the beast swiftly toward into them, with massive hands.

The gang members quickly realized this was the Coruscant Beast. A few of the gang members were able to reach their blaster pistols. One gang member actually got off a blaster shot at the beast. But, the blast bolt had no effect Coruscant Beast.

The gang members' screams lasted for more briefly than expected for a group consisting of their numbers.

A day later, those living in the area had found the gang members corpses. The locals realized that the Coruscant Beast was slowly heading closer to the surface of the Senate District.

The Coruscant Beast was making its way closer to more populated areas.

(_)

“There but for the grace of God, go I.” Edward Bickersteth paraphrasing John Bradford.

To be continued.

(_)

Author's Notes:

I really enjoyed writing the scenes between Loki, Anakin, and Padme.

Sure. In the main timeline, Anakin becomes the evil stick in the mud, Vader. But, before then, half the fun with Anakin was the comedy.

And I loved writing it so Loki literally put the moves on Anakin, right in front of Padme, as Thor.

Yes. Loki has to be insane to do so, given she knows how powerful Padme is as Thor.

Though, Loki made it very clear that she was only playing, and she was not serious.

Gavryn is an actual populated planet in the Star Wars franchise. It is not mention in detail except for having a powerful magnet field, especially at the magnetic poles, which can mess with sensors and the population is mostly humans.

I just added some details to the planet of Gavryn.

The governor's name “Pell Chetan” comes from two sources.

Pell after Gilad Pellaeon, whom is best known as Grand Admiral Thrawn's second in command in Star Wars. When Gilad was younger Ensign in the Imperial navy, he was on a ship protecting a convoy from pirates. Gilad used Gavryn's strong magnetic pole to mess with the pirate's sensors to defeat the pirates. That victory began Gilad rise in rank within the Imperial nave

Chetan is named after Leland Chee, the man whom created “Gavryn”.

“Pell” and “Chetan” are real names. Pell in english can mean “dealer in furs”. Chetan means in Hindi “Full of Consciousness”.

Kasha is another name for the buckwheat grains. A fitting name for a river feeding into plains where farms are located.

Kasha in Star Wars is also a crystal that is used by a meditation tool by the Cereans. The crystal could also be used as a crystal for a lightsaber. So, there is the double meaning of Kasha can mean 'serene', as in a 'serene' river.

“Gunara” is the name of the Sumerian God of uncertain status. A fitting name for a capital city which an uncertain future.

And I am not embellishing on how powerful Sidious is. From the Clone Wars series. To Episode Three. To Episode Six. The Dark Empire and Empire's End comics. Sidious is very powerful in the dark side of the force. And he is one of the best lightsaber swordsman of his time.

When Sidious cuts loose in battle, is literally is a force of nature in the dark side of the force. (No pun intended.)

At this point in the story. Even if Loki teamed up with Thor/Padme and Anakin against Sidious, there would be a real chance they would lose to Sidious. That is how powerful Sidious is as an opponent.

As to how Loki knows all this. That is a mystery for another time.

Cassius is a latin name. It means empty or hollow. A fitting name for a mystically summoned sword.

On Loki's opinion of magic and the force.

The force always seemed like that gray area between magical powers and psychic abilities. Given Loki is a magic user, she would believe that magic is more powerful than the force.

And concerning this matter, I am not saying that Loki is either right or wrong. One can make cases in both directions. Only that Loki's opinion is that her magical abilities beats out force powers. That is only her opinion.

Until next time. Have fun.



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