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"You want to take over running my intelligence networks," Bail said.

"Who runs them now?" Ahsoka asked.

"No one, really," he told her. "That's most of the problem. Ben has been telling me-"


There was a brief, tense pause.

"Ah, yes, that's the other thing I needed to talk to you about. I wanted to tell you sooner, but he was insistent on talking to you face-to-face."

The other door in Bail's office swished open, and there stood Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Ahsoka rubbed at her eyes, certain her mind was playing tricks on her. Master Obi-Wan couldn't be here, he was dead. It had been broadcasted on the Holonet, the death of the legendary General, the traitor to the Empire who had escaped the Jedi Purge.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, a traitor. The galaxy had gone mad.

"Hello, little one."

Ahsoka practically threw herself at her Grandmaster, blinking back tears. She hugged him, and he hugged back just as fiercely. One of them was shaking, or maybe both of them were.

"I thought you were dead." Her voice remained impressively steady.

"I know."

Ahsoka took a step back. A flash of hurt burned through the Force.

"That was faked." She shook her head, mouth twisting into the beginnings of a snarl. "I can't believe you!"

Obi-Wan's eyes gleamed with something like remorse.

"I wouldn't have done it if it weren't absolutely necessary."

"Necessary? What made that necessary? They showed the discovery of your mutilated corpse on the Holonet for days!"

"Satine," Bail spoke up, and both Jedi turned to face him, "he was worried about what they might do to her."

Ahsoka looked back at Obi-Wan sympathetically. She knew how deeply he cared for the Duchess, no matter how reluctant he was to admit it.

"Why didn't you two just go into hiding?"

Obi-Wan shook his head sadly.

"Satine can't leave her people, anymore than I can abandon the galaxy to the rule of the Sith."

"Does she know?" The words "that you're alive" didn't need to be spoken. They were understood.

"Yes, she knows."

"The two have been meeting in secret as often as possible. I've tried to tell them it's a bad idea, but they don't listen to me." Bail sighed, his words clearly directed at Ahsoka.

Obi-Wan completely disregarded his friend's reprimand.

"I haven't seen her since Palpatine's last speech. How is she?"

"She's fine." Bail looked at Ahsoka again. "The Duchess may have publicly pledged her allegiance to the Empire, but she's taken up Padmè's torch in the Senate and has begun helping me with the Rebellion."

Padmè. She really was dead, that much was certain, Ahsoka thought, but what about-

"Master Obi-Wan? Is Anakin..." She trailed off when she saw the look on Obi-Wan's face.

He buried his head in his hands, and Ahsoka had the sneaking suspicion that he was holding back tears.

"Anakin's gone."

Ahsoka's heart sank. Of course, she had been foolish to think otherwise.

"I've been searching for other survivors," Obi-Wan said, looking up, "you're the only one I've found so far. I think there are a few Sentinels or apprentices who escaped, but they're hiding themselves well."

"With your help we might be able to find and relocate Force sensitive children before the Empire can find them, but if we can't call you Ahsoka, you'll need a code name, so you can deal with other operatives."

All three of them looked out the viewport as Alderaan got bigger and bigger. It really was a beautiful planet. Alderaan was blue and green, and a good staging point for a galactic uprising. The center, where the thread of all their hopes connected.

"Fulcrum," she said, "you can call me Fulcrum."

Obi-Wan smiled softly at her as Bail spoke.

"Then welcome to the Rebellion."