Chapter Eight -- Revelations

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"Why would he lie to me, Obi-Wan?" -- Padme Amidala

Anakin encountered no guards as he hurried through the Chancellorís outer offices to where he had left Palpatine earlier that evening.

Under normal circumstances he would have found that peculiar, but his senses were reeling at having been thrawted by Obi-Wan in his attempt to assassinate Bail Organa. Was his Master a traitor as well? Could the Chancellor have been mistaken? Either choice led Anankin down a road he did not want to go, either his Master or his mentor was lying.

He burst through the sliding door to find Palpatine staring harshly at him from the chair that the Chancellor was most fond of sitting in during long debates.

'You have failed me, young Skywalker..." Palpatine intoned in an eerily-calm voice. "Why is this so?"

"Master Kenobi was there in disguise!" Anakin, suddenly feeling as guilty as a small child, retorted. "He sensed the shot through the Force and blocked it! He almost caught me, but I got away!"

"Almost?" Palpatine demurred. "Are you really so naive as to believe Kenobi doesnít know it was you there? The little stunt you pulled on your swoop bike, he knows no one else on this planet can do that."

So stunned by this revelation was Anakin that his mind never got around to questioning how Palpatine could have known he used the drop manuever to elude capture.

"Iíve got to get home! Iíve got to tell Padme what Iíve done and let her know sheís in danger!"

"Itís too late, my friend, Iím afraid. Kenobi has beaten you there. Even now he is whispering in her ear, telling of your treachery. Making you the villain and he the hero. He is full of pride, your Master, and it is wounded. He is jealous of you, of your power in the Force, of your fame, of the love Senator Amidala feels for you. He would take all those from you if he can."

Anakin was taken aback as Palpatine spoke louder and louder with words that threatened to tear his heart from his chest.

"That canít be true .... thatís impossible!" Skywalker cried, but Palpatine turned his desktop video monitor around and nearly whispered, "See for yourself, young one."

Anakinís legs threatened to give out as he looked. There on the screen in her apartment stood his wife, crying, with her arms around Obi-Wan Kenobi, who held her close to him.

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"NOOOOO!!!!!!"

The force of his yell took even Palpatine by surprise, and the older man jumped back a bit in his chair. Anakin wheeled and raced toward the officeís exit. Palpatineís doors opened slowly, a quirk thrown in by the buildingís architect to give first-time visitors a true sense of the roomís grandeur when they entered. This time, however, the visitor was infuriated by the slowness. Seizing ahold of the Force, Anakin ripped the doors from their tracks and rushed past them, faster than any mortal could run.

For a long moment, the Chancellor sat quietly in his chair, surveying the damaged doors. A smile possessed his face thereafter, not the one he gave the public when making his speeches, no, had any citizen of Coruscant seen this smile they would have recoiled in terror.

Slowly, Palpatine laughed, it had been a long time since a plan had gone this well without far more time and effort on his part. Eventually his malicious laughter filled the entire room.

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It took a subtle suggestion in the mind of the Nubian man at the door to gain Obi-Wan Kenobi access to Padme Amidalaís apartment, but Obi-Wan found the action to be justified by what he had just seen.

Padme met him in the living room of her domicile, wrapped in a long robe, her face worried. When Obi-Wan asked her of Anakinís whereabouts, she only knew he had been called away hours before by Palpatine and had not returned nor sent word.

These facts only worsened Obi-Wanís fear, and he could keep his inner struggles personal no longer. Sitting quickly, he relayed all of the morningís drama to the young senator, who kept a stoic face about her until the Jedi described how the assassin had escaped him. That detail widedend Padmeís eyes and dropped her jaw down a fraction.

"No one else can make a manuever like that, can they, Obi-Wan?"

"No. At least no one known to me. The best riders in the world canít slow gravity like a Jedi, and Anakin is the only one of us who even rides a swoop. The only time Iíve seen another Force wielder on one was the Sith who attacked us on Tatooine when we had all first met."

The thought of the demonic Sith Lord chilled Padme, but she shook off the old memory.

"But why would Anakin try to kill Bail? It makes no sense to me."

Obi-Wan sighed. "My only explanation is that Palpatine is behind it all and somehow coerced Anakin to believe it was something that had to be done for the good of the Republic. He is so true to cause, your husband, it sometimes blinds him."

"You think Chancellor Palpatine arranged to have Bail murdered? I know you disagree with his plans for the Jedi, Obi-Wan, but that sort of talk can get you in trouble with the Jedi Council. Iím sure Master Yoda wouldnít approve of you talking that way."

Obi-Wan stared at her for a long time in confusion, and suddenly realized the truth.

"He didnít tell you, did he?"

Padmeís eyes became quizzical.

"Tell me what?"

Obi-Wan found himself sighing again, things he took for granted were becoming more and more unraveled.

"Master Yoda and Master Windu resigned from the Council at our last war meeting with Palpatine. Bail and I joined them in their protest. Iím not a general anymore. Palpatine chose Anakin to lead the task force against Tyrannus."

By the end of his revelation, Padme had gone deathly pale.

"He told me Master Yoda insisted on him being the leader of the mission," she whispered. "He said you were taking time off to recover from the effects of the war. Itís all heís talked about for days, how proud heís making his Masters. Why would he lie to me, Obi-Wan?"

The Jedi Master spread his hands, feeling as powerless as he ever had.

"I donít know, Senator, I wish I did. But I grow fearful even more of what manipulations our Chancellor is making behind the scenes. I must speak to Yoda and Master Windu as soon as possible."

He rose to leave, but Padme grabbed his arm before he could.

"Wait, Obi-Wan, thereís ... thereís something else you must know."

Her brown eyes grew even wider as she looked closely at him.

"Iím with child."

Obi-Wan sucked his breath in rapidly, so many changes all at once, his world was spinning off-course rapidly it seemed.

"Who else knows?"

"No one, save my medical droid, he mentioned it two days ago. I had meant to tell Anakin sooner, but heís been gone so much."

Obi-Wan closed his eyes for a moment, trying to organize his thoughts.

"Tell no one of this. NO ONE. Have the droidís memory erased as well. I will contact you as soon as I can. I believe youíll be safe here, Anakin loves you more than anything, perhaps even more than his own life. I doubt he would even consider hurting you."

The senatorís eyes welled up as she nodded. Obi-Wan had little experience with females, unless they were Jedi, but he sensed her pain now. He drew Padme to him and held her close, trying to calm her emotions with the Force, but finding little real comfort in it himself.