Chapter Fourteen --Sith

"Do not overestimate your usefulness, even a Lord of the Sith can be replaced, should he cease to be needed." -- Darth Sidious

Darth Sidious and Darth Tyrannus stalked a high balcony far above the surface of Coruscant. In the days since the Accords of Peace had been signed, the announcements had come that Dooku had been given the title of Palpatineís Emissary of Reparations. Palpatine announced that Dooku would travel to the most war-torn planets to make his peace, whether it be with apologies, financial compensation or whatever rituals a particular planetís culture called for.

"I have inserted a data disc of Jedi in your transportís computer, Lord Tyrannus." Sidious intoned solemnly. "With the passing of each remaining Knight, we shall be one step closer to complete control."

"I have noticed the names of a few Jedi missing, Master... do you doubt my abilities still?" Tyrannus challenged.

"Masters Windu and Yoda have imposed exiles upon themselves for their lack of vision, Lord Tyrannus. Their devotion to the Force will keep them from interfering." Sidious kept his voice even, despite Tyrannusí challenging tone.

"And what of Kenobi? He has seldom allowed the way of the Jedi to intervene with his true feelings."

Sidious was quiet for a moment, staring out over the sprawling reaches of the city.

"Kenobi has twice robbed me of great allies. Leaving him alive could be troublesome. Have your spies keep their eyes out for him, and bring his head to me when you have dispatched of him.. Keep tabs on Bail Organa and Padme Amidala as well, he may be in contact with them."

Tyrannus smiled in return.

"Senator Amidala will have no secrets from us. One of her handmaidens is not who she seems. Before the cloning facilities were destroyed, I created a special one to replace one of the senatorís assistants, in hopes she could give us insight on Kenobi and Skywalker."

"Well done, Lord Tyrannus, keep me informed of her progress," Sidiousí voice continued on neutrally. "And from now on, no decisions of this kind shall be made without my expressed approval, is that clear?"

Tyrannus bowed deeply, "Quite clear, my Master."

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Less than an hour later, Tyrannus, again transformed into the garb of the elegant, stately Count Dooku, blasted off in his private shuttle. Sidious watched him go, then left his royal guards behind and descended down a hidden stairway into the deepest recesses of the Imperial Palace.

Behind yet another false wall, Sidious entered what appeared to a dimly-lit scientistís lab, filled with monitors, blinking banks of machinery and a jet-black medical droid standing silent vigil over a long metal tube.

It was cold here in Sidiousí private lair, it had to be to kill off any germ strains that might accidently seep in. The Sith Lord moved noiselessly to the suspended tube and wiped frost from its faceplate, gazing down at the body encased there.

"Ambition is a quality I admire, Darth Tyrannus," Sidious whispered aloud to himself. ďBut too much of it can upset the balance of power. His eyes gazed up to the ceiling, as if he was penetrating the walls and layers of city above and gazing directly into space itself, fixing his gaze on Tyrannus as he flew away.

"Your ambition is your weakness, my apprentice. Do not overestimate your usefulness, even a Lord of the Sith can be replaced, should he cease to be needed."

He gazed down into the metallic tube again. The eyes were closed, the face scarred and eaten away, along with most of the right arm and both legs below the knees. .Despite all that, the body was breathing, albeit with the help of a sinister looking apparatus attached to the mouth and nose.

"Rest well, young Skywalker," Sidious hissed. "I may call on your services soon.".