Chapter 1: CW: Awakening Son
“General Skywalker? Sir?”
Luke jerked awake, the surface under him jerking, and then tipping over, dumping him onto a hard, uneven floor. He leaned forward, rubbing his forehead as it started to throb. Had Wedge taken him drinking last night?
“General, are you okay?”
“What?” Luke turned, frowning, he was about to say that he wasn’t a General, but his actual surroundings came into focus and he couldn’t find the words. He was in a tent, and there was a man standing just inside the front entrance, with short, light colored hair. He also wore stormtrooper armor. Luke went very still, not willing to let on that his heart rate had sky-rocketed and what sleep had been fogging his brain was now barely a memory.
“General Skywalker? Sir?” The man said, “Are you okay?”
“I-,” Luke shook his head slightly, trying not to react to the armor and noticing that the man was not hostile, only concerned. He also took in that the man had blue stripes on his armor, as well as something he thought was called a kama. In the Force, he realized that the man was concerned about him, but he was also familiar with him. This man that Luke could have sworn he’d never seen before knew who he was, a kind of recognition that Luke was used to seeing in Wedge and the Rogues, or even Han sometimes.
“I don’t know. What happened?” Luke made himself ask.
“Besides you falling out of bed, sir? You said you were fine yesterday, you weren’t even bleeding.” Now the man looked almost terrified.
Luke untangled himself from the bed, then froze, staring at his hands. One of them was metal, a black and gold design that was aesthetically pleasing, but it was still a metal hand.
“Sir,” the stormtrooper said, bringing Luke back to the present.
“Sorry, I, sorry,” Luke said, finishing his fight with the covers and standing up. “I need a few minutes, please.”
“Are you sure, sir? I can get Kix.”
Luke hesitated, wanting to ask who, or what, ‘Kix’ was. “Just, give me a moment, please.”
The stormtrooper hesitated, suddenly suspicious, but he nodded and stepped out of the tent a moment later. Luke watched the flap slid shut, certain that he’d be meeting ‘Kix’ soon, whether he wanted to or not.
Glancing around, Luke saw a sink with a mirror over it. He hurried over intending to splash water on his face, only to stop as he caught a glimpse in the mirror. Dark blond hair with a lot more curl to it than Luke had ever had, blue eyes that were at least a little familiar, and a scar that ran from mid-forehead over his eye to his cheek.
It was not a face he knew, definitely not his own, but the stormtrooper had called him Skywalker. General Skywalker, but still Skywalker. Glancing at his body, noting the scars that littered his bare torso, he quickly turned, looking for clothes.
All he found were dark clothes that vaguely looked like what Ben had worn on Tatooine. He’d never worn anything like them, but he recognized the shirt and pants, and hoped he could wing it about the rest of what looked like a uniform until he figured out what was going on. He did find a lightsaber though. It was in the mess of blankets he’d picked up after straightening up the cot. Holding it in his flesh-hand, Luke couldn’t help but wonder what sort of person slept with a lightsaber. It seemed a lot more dangerous than the vibroblades the commandos slept with, or the blasters that Wedge and Hobbie kept under their pillows.
“General, are you feeling any better?”
The storm trooper was back, but standing outside the tent this time. Luke put the lightsaber on the cot, and moved away from it. Whatever was going on, he thought he should at least tell this person who knew his face.
“Not exactly, would you come in please?” Luke called.
For a moment, he thought it was the same man, but then he realized that this man had darker hair, still short cut, with lightning bolts shaved into it, and a tattoo above his ear that read ‘The only good droid is a dead droid.’ His uniform also had blue, but he lacked the kama and shoulder armor the other man had worn.
“General Skywalker?” The man said.
Luke closed his eyes and took a steadying breath. “So, there’s something wrong, and I don’t know how to explain it.”
“What do you mean, sir?” The man said.
“Just, bear with me a moment. When you say General Skywalker, who are you speaking of? What is his first name?”
“General Anakin Skywalker,” the man said, “sir, are you having trouble remembering something?”
Luke held his hands out to the side, “I remember everything about my life in near perfect clarity. There is only one problem here.”
“Sir?” The man said.
“My name is Luke Skywalker. This is not my face, and this is most definitely not where I fell asleep last night. I don’t know who Anakin Skywalker is, although we might be related through my grandmother, Shmi Skywalker. I swear, I don’t know what happened, and I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
The man frowned, but before he could say anything, the tent’s flap was yanked open and the man with the lighter hair and kama from earlier stormed inside, looking pissed but felt terrified. Luke wondered if his name was so well known now that the stormtrooper had recognized it and was going to kill him or arrest him for it. He didn’t want to hurt anyone, but he’d left the lightsaber there for a reason.
“Rex,” the second storm trooper said, both concerned and irritated.
“I was listening outside,” ‘Rex’ said eyes, and blaster now trained on Luke.
“So, does medical privacy not mean anything to you?” The man snapped, irritated.
“It’s the General, or not as the case may be,” Rex replied, “Of course I was going to keep an eye on things, Kix.”
They didn’t recognize his name, Luke realized. Whoever they were, wherever he was, they hadn’t heard of Luke Skywalker, the Rebel pilot who had killed Governor Tarkin, and whatever else had shown up on the wanted notice after that.
“Hey,” Luke said, catching their attention, “I’m sorry, I don’t, I don’t know what’s going on, or how this happened, or who you are. I just want to solve this without causing any trouble for your General Skywalker. Is there anyone you can think of who might be able to help?”
The two exchanged glances, and Rex sighed, “General Kenobi’s on the Negotiator, we can get him down here to figure this out.”
“Kenobi, do you mean Ben, no, Obi-Wan Kenobi?” Luke asked, frowning.
“You know General Kenobi?” Rex demanded.
Luke stepped back a bit at the intensity of the storm trooper’s demand, “I- kind of? Not really, but, I knew of him.” Rex looked at him and Luke felt very much like he did when one of the other Commanders caught him floundering over something they considered basic. “When I was growing up on Tatooine, they called him Ben Kenobi, he was a wizard and a hermit who lived in the Jundland Wastes. But, I don’t think we know the same Kenobi, because Ben died on the Death Star.”
“What Death Star?” Rex asked.
Luke blinked, “The Empire’s big super weapon, it destroyed Alderaan? Even stormtroopers should have…”
“What are stormtroopers?” Kix asked, then waved his hand, “Never mind. Let’s get General Kenobi down here to speak with you. Whatever’s going on, the General’s a Jedi, he can figure it out better than us.”
“We need to keep this quiet,” Rex said, “the men will panic if they think something’s really wrong with the General.”
“Medical emergency,” Kix said, “that hit yesterday was worse than we thought. We’re getting the General in because it’s General Skywalker, if you want to keep him in Medical OR take it easy, you get Kenobi to sit on him.”
Luke scratched his jaw a moment, “So, am I just going to stay in the tent?”
“That might be best,” Rex said, “although you might want to finish getting dressed.”
Luke ducked his head, rubbing the back of his neck, “I don’t, I’ve never seen, uh, how? There’s a lot of layers.”
“You’ve never seen a Jedi’s uniform?” Kix said after a moment.
“The only Jedi I ever met was Ben,” Luke said quietly. “The Empire… most of them died a long time ago, like my father.”
“I know we both have questions,” Kix said, “but we need General Kenobi fast. Captain, would you be so kind?”
“Right,” Rex said, “I’ll be back with the General.” He hesitated a moment, then left.
“So,” Luke said after a moment.
Kix smiled, “I’m the Chief Medical Officer, in a medical emergency I outrank everybody and our General suddenly claiming he’s a completely different person counts. I don’t know if you’re our General and that hit to the head messed up something I couldn’t detect yesterday, or if what you’re saying is true.”
Luke nodded as he crossed his arms, then uncrossed them, “Are you, is there somewhere you need to be?”
“No,” Kix shook his head, “I’ve already seen to the evac of our worst wounded, and those that are left have orderlies to keep an eye on things. Do you need anything, are you hungry?”
Luke considered, then shook his head, “Not at the moment, I, uh, I hit my head yesterday too. I was, well, I was trying to follow a lightsaber exercise Ben taught me before-,” he paused, swallowed, “before he died. I kind of fell down half a flight of stairs. I wasn’t feeling well, so they were keeping me in medical overnight.”
Kix nodded, “Would you consider trying to eat? General Skywalker has a habit of not eating when he should, and I know those bugs he eats can supplement what our food, but he’s lost some weight he shouldn’t have.”
“Bugs?” Luke said, “I thought, they said, weren’t Jedi raised at the Temple?”
“Not the General, he grew up on Tatooine,” Kix said.
“Oh,” Luke said, he shrugged, “we didn’t have to resort to bugs often, not after I was old enough to pull in my share, but that’s not unusual.”
“How about we just try for some bread, and maybe soup,” Kix said after a moment. “I’ll be back in a moment.”
Chapter 2: RA: Medical awakening
Anakin had not fallen asleep in the medical tent. He knew he hadn’t. He’d gone back to his tent after letting Kix make sure he wasn’t bleeding from getting hit in the head. There had been a message from Padmé about the latest bill on clone rights that he’d seen before going to bed.
Also, there were too many echoes for this to be the medical tent.
“Commander Skywalker should be waking up soon, Captain Antilles,” someone, a woman, said, sounding slightly exasperated. “I know you have a mission this afternoon, but we won’t know until he wakes up if he’ll be able to participate.”
“I understand that, Doc,” a man said, sounding like he was trying to sound patient, but not quite managing it. “I’m just checking up on my friend, okay? He fell down a flight of stairs with a lit lightsaber.”
“He’s not permanently injured, Captain,” the Doctor said. “He may need a day or two to deal with the concussion, but that’s all.”
“I’ll come back later then,” the Captain said.
“We’ll call you if there’s any problems,” the Doctor replied.
Anakin listened as one of them, probably the Captain, left. He wondered who that was, it didn’t sound like anyone he knew, and whoever Commander Skywalker was, well he had a lot of questions. His mom had told him once that they were the only Skywalkers left.
“Alright Luke Skywalker, I already know you’re awake.” A hand fell on his ankle and Anakin jumped, almost levitating himself straight off the bed as the woman laughed.
Anakin opened his eyes and looked around. While he didn’t actually recognize the room. He’d seen enough ship side medical bays to recognize yet another one. The woman with her hand on his ankle was wearing light colored clothes under a dark vest with symbols he didn’t recognize. While there were other beds in the room, it didn’t seem like many of them were occupied.
“Commander Skywalker?” The woman said.
Anakin turned to look at her, “Me?”
That was definitely not the right response from the way the woman’s open expression closed and something akin to fear flickered in her eyes. Anakin considered his options, because he really didn’t want to go the Kenobi route of mind tricking her.
Instead, he started to stand up, and instead fell as his knees gave out, and a harsh, throbbing pain announced itself in his leg and his hand. Anakin glanced down and nearly froze, because he had two hands. Hands that were a little lighter than his usual skin tone.
He was jolted out of his surprise when the woman, a medical person of some sort, grabbed him. “Dammit Luke, do not reinjure yourself. You fell down a kriffing staircase yesterday, remember?”
“Sorry,” Anakin murmured, closing his eyes and letting a wince show, “Sorry, my head.”
The woman relaxed a little, “You did get knocked about. I need to check you over and then we’ll get you some painkillers.”
“Not…” Anakin began, hesitating because he didn’t know if he was still allergic to anything.
“Don’t worry, Luke,” the woman said, “I wrote your allergy charts, remember?”
“Not really,” Anakin muttered.
“Well that’s worrying,” the woman said, “do you, do you remember anything?”
Anakin blinked, and remembered, head injuries could cause memory loss. “I don’t, I don’t know you, and I think I should.”
The woman looked briefly devastated, “My name is Ryoo Naberrie, I’ve been your medic of choice for five months, Luke, ever since you joined the Alliance.”
“I’m sorry,” Anakin said, “I don’t, what else don’t I remember, Ryoo?” He kept his eyes on the ground, hoping it would help hide his expression. He knew a little girl named Ryoo Naberrie, and he desperately wanted to ask if they were related. Whatever had happened, whatever was going on, if he could just contact Obi-Wan, or any of the Jedi, he knew this could be taken care of.
“Don’t worry Luke,” Ryoo said, putting her hand on Anakin’s knee. “We’ll get this sorted out, I promise.”
Anakin nodded, then winced again.
“Let’s get that painkiller,” Ryoo said and walked away.
Anakin leaned over a little and stared at his hands, marveling again at the sight of two flesh hands. He’d adjusted well enough to his own loss, had learned so much about micro-mechanics in redesigning it to fit his ideas, but he’d always quietly mourned his loss.
“All right Luke,” Ryoo said, “here’s the painkiller.” Anakin glanced up, surprised, and managed not to flinch when she jabbed the hypospray into his arm. “Now, I want to do a quick series of tests to see what’s going on in that brain of yours, especially since you’re experiencing memory loss.”
Anakin hesitated, he wasn’t sure what kind of tests this woman had planned, given that she wasn’t a Force sensitive, and what her scans would tell her.
“Luke, if I can’t find out what’s wrong, I can’t clear you for missions. As it is, I’m already grounding you from the today’s mission.”
Anakin made himself nod, “All right, let’s do this.” He really didn’t want to be tested. It recalled memories of his first years at the Temple, when he’d been in medical every month, it felt like, either for more blood tests about his midichlorian counts, or to treat whatever illness he’d contracted because they’d thought he’d already been inoculated for it.
“I’m going to get a chair,” Ryoo said, “I don’t want you to fall and hurt yourself. And don’t worry, this won’t take long.”
Anakin nodded slightly. “Actually, could we stop by the refresher?” He tried not to blush at the implication as he shifted slightly.
“Of course,” Ryoo said, “no worries.”
Getting into the chair, and getting to the refresher wasn’t that bad. Anakin hadn’t been forced in a chair like this before, but he was grateful that she let him go in the ‘fresher on his own. He was shaking when he approached the mirror over the sink, staring with wide eyes at the face that looked back.
Luke Skywalker might have been close to his own age, but he looked younger, somehow. He had blond hair that was worn long and was the same light blond his own had once been. What did surprise him was the similarities, in particular, they both had rich blue eyes. A quick check, and Anakin determined that the only scar he had was on the right front of his torso, down where it might be for a burst appendix or some such medical purpose.
“Luke, are you ready?” Ryoo called.
“Coming,” Anakin replied. He tugged his clothes straight and took one last look at himself before he turned and opened the door.
An older gentleman with a bear stood there, blaster pointed at him. Anakin put his hands up freezing. Behind the gentleman was Ryoo, looking nervous but resolute. He glanced back at the man. The man was wearing a black shirt with a camo vest over it that had several pockets, and a pair of pants that carried over the darker brown from the vest. He had a second blaster at his right hip. The bear was black, with a tan face and with tan and light brown stripes that ran from her spine down to her stomach. It stood about even with the man’s waist on all fours, and looked to be just as ornery as the man.
“I don’t know who you are,” Ryoo said, “but you are not Luke Skywalker.”
“What, what do you mean?” Anakin asked, trying to determine the best path out of this situation. If he stayed and confessed, what would happen, versus him running. For a moment, he thought about how staying would mean that he would have to convince them that he wasn’t lying or crazy.
“Don’t play games with us,” the gentleman said, and the bear growled, as she dropped her head slightly and hunched her shoulders, as if making herself appear bigger.
He could run, Anakin thought, if he got far enough to lose them, he could find his way to somewhere he could hide.
“You don’t want to run either,” the gentleman said, one hand dropping down to rest on the bear’s shoulder. “You won’t be able to lose Division or me.”
“I wouldn’t be too sure about that,” Anakin said and leaped. He went over the bear’s head and landed lightly. The room before him was his starting point, a dozen beds, less than a quarter with patients. Anakin sprinted between beds, heading for the door. It opened just as he reached it, and a woman in a white gown stepped through. Anakin didn’t quite manage to avoid her, but he did keep from knocking either of them over.
“Luke, what are you doing?” The woman said. How many people around here actually knew Luke Skywalker? This kid seemed to be crazy popular, or something.
“Escaping medical,” Anakin hesitated, then kissed her cheek, “I’ll see you later.” He spun around the woman and raced down the corridor. Now he just had to find a good place to hide.
Chapter 3: Mysteries (CW)
Obi-Wan was tired. He sometimes thought he was always tired, only less tired when he’d had some caffeine based intervention. But Rex had been very calmly not panicking when he’d requested Obi-Wan to come planetside to assist Anakin, and Obi-Wan had seen Rex after everything from being thrown off a wall, to thinking Anakin was dead, not to mention Ahsoka’s various over-eager exploits, and never had he seen a man working so hard not to panic.
“Sir, we’re here,” Cody said.
Obi-Wan glanced over at his Commander and mustered a smile, “Thank you, Cody.”
The door opened on the gunship and Rex stepped on, blocking them. He saluted, “General, Commander, we need to talk, privately, before you see General Skywalker.”
Obi-Wan nodded, and Cody turned, “Oddball, get out. You can finish post-flight after we speak to the Captain.”
Once Oddball was off the ship, for once not complaining about procedure as he took in their serious expressions, and the door was firmly shut again, Rex pulled his helmet off. He looked deeply unsettled, almost terrified.
“Captain,” Obi-Wan said hesitantly.
“Something has happened to General Skywalker,” Rex said quietly. “We’re not sure if it’s because of the head injury yesterday, which Kix said wasn’t serious, or what.”
“Define something,” Cody said.
“He says his name is Luke Skywalker, and that he’s not in the right body,” Rex replied.
“What!” Obi-Wan said.
Rex ducked his head, “He said his name was Luke Skywalker, and he’s not in the right body. He thought we were something called stormtroopers, he was terrified of me. I think he thought I was going to kill him. It’s not a prank, sir, I swear, unless it’s General Skywalker pranking everybody.”
“Is he alone?” Obi-Wan asked, regretting the closed door now, but exceptionally grateful that Ahsoka had gone to lay down before Rex’s call had come in. Something about the planet had given Ahsoka a migraine bad enough to have Kix order her to be evacuated before the fighting even started. While she’d recovered enough to be an asset in the space battle that followed, the last thing they needed was a panicking, blinded by migraines Padawan trying to be helpful. It would be better to figure out what the problem was before they added Ahsoka into the mix.
“Kix is with him,” Rex said, “to make sure it isn’t some head trauma induced problem.”
“I need to speak with him,” Obi-Wan said. “Now. Whatever’s going on, I’m sure we can solve it.”
“Of course,” Rex said and pulled his helmet back on.
They opened the door and headed through the camp to Anakin’s tent. There was a neat replica of the Jedi’s symbol by the door, but that was all that caused it to stand out from the other tents around it. Rex pulled his helmet off and pushed open the door, gesturing for Cody and Obi-Wan to enter.
Anakin was sitting on his cot with Kix beside him. His mechanical hand was held out before him, palm up, and he was listening to Kix murmur something as he touched one of the joints. In that moment, Obi-Wan knew this wasn’t Anakin. Anakin didn’t get that look of surprised fascination on his face, not that openly. Anakin was more about knowing things, not about learning them.
Rex cleared his throat, and Anakin looked up, eyes going wide with a brief flash of fear before Rex took his helmet off. Cody followed suit and Anakin looked between the three clones, as if he were seeing their similarities, and differences for the first time.
Then Anakin looked at Obi-Wan, and for a moment, Obi-Wan saw the same confusion and non-recognition Cody had received. Then Anakin’s eyes widened, a kind of shocked recognition that came and went and sent him surging to his feet.
“Gentlemen,” Obi-Wan said finally, “would you mind waiting for us outside? I think this is something best discussed in private.”
“Sir,” Cody protested.
“Here,” Anakin said, picking up his lightsaber from the bed and offering it to Rex. “Take it with you. I- I don’t want people thinking I’m going to hurt anyone. I mean, I’ll defend myself, but I- I’m not going to attack.”
“Keep it,” Rex said, “we may still see some action today. You’ll need it.”
“I’m not…” Anakin trailed off, seeing the stubbornness in Rex’s expression. “Okay.”
Rex half pushed Cody back out of the tent, “Come on brother, you can help me with these damned requisitions. It’ll be relaxing.”
“I’ll have migraine medicine ready when you need it,” Kix offered as he followed them.
Obi-Wan regarded Anakin, who looked both nervous and reassured once they were alone. “They’re good men,” Obi-Wan said. “Maybe even some of the best I’ve ever known.”
“What?” Anakin asked.
“You don’t have to be afraid of them,” Obi-Wan said.
“I’m not- not afraid,” Anakin protested, hands coming up as if to push the idea away from him. “It’s just, their armor. It looks a lot like the armor of people who have, um, tried to kill me? A lot.”
“And was there a reason?” Obi-Wan asked.
Anakin looked down, cheeks flushing, “I might have been helping to rescue a prisoner from them.” He looked up, eyes wide, “They were going to kill her! I couldn’t let that happen.”
“I think this is a story that will take some time to tell,” Obi-Wan said, he pulled the stool from under the small desk and unfolded it, “Why don’t you sit down and let us figure out what is going on here.”
“Okay,” Anakin said.
Obi-Wan studied Anakin, physically, it was the same face he’d watch grow from child to adult, the same body that had once been small enough for him to lift easily before he’d turned around and in the space of six months had become far taller than him. The mind behind the face was different. There was little arrogance, a humility that Anakin never quite mastered. Behind familiar blue eyes was a stranger, but not, Obi-Wan thought, a dangerous one.
“Rex said you called yourself Luke Skywalker,” Obi-Wan finally said.
“Well, yes,” Anakin said, “it’s my name after all. Twenty years and counting.”
“You know me?”
Anakin tilted his head, “Sort of?” He tapped his fingers against his knee and looked down, seemingly startled to realize it was his metal hand. “When I was growing up, there was an old hermit who lived nearby, my uncle called him a wizard. I never really spent time around him, but the few times I needed help, he always showed up. He called himself Ben Kenobi. I didn’t hear the name Obi-Wan until a few months ago.”
Obi-Wan nodded, trying not to let his surprise show. He hadn’t used Ben Kenobi for years. He wondered for a moment if the old identity was still any good. “Luke, you know that I am a Jedi?”
“Yes,” Anakin said hesitantly. “I mean, you wear a lightsaber, and Ben was a Jedi.”
“I would like to use the Force on you,” Obi-Wan said, “I want to understand what is going on.”
“So, do I,” Anakin said, “I mean, if I’m here, where’s, uh, where’s Anakin? Is he in my body now?”
“I don’t know,” Obi-Wan said after a moment, “Let’s see what I can find out.” He held out his hand, and after a moment, Anakin placed his flesh hand on top. Obi-Wan reached for the Force and opened himself up to it.
A hologram of a woman in a white gown; “General Kenobi, years ago you fought with my father in the Clone Wars.”
“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”
An old man, stiff with age and the pains of a lifetime, struggling to hold a red lightsaber at bay, smirking in a way that Obi-Wan had never seen in person, but was intimately familiar with.
“A weapon from a more civilized age.” A lightsaber, as familiar to him as his own.
“Trust your feelings, Luke.”
“We don’t want you here, Kenobi.” A man, growing older under the double suns of Tatooine. “Luke’s not going to be a Jedi, it’s a death sentence.”
“Why was I born on Empire Day? It’s not fair! Biggs got special treats on his birthday, I have to watch this stupid parade.”
Scenes of a life Obi-Wan had never experienced, a life so different from any he’d expected for a young, powerful Force sensitive. When he opened his eyes, Obi-Wan looked at Anakin, and saw Luke staring back at him.
“Sometimes,” Obi-Wan began, then cleared his throat, “sometimes, the Force can do strange things, but it always has a reason, Luke.”
“You believe me?” Luke asked, surprised, but pleased.
“I do,” Obi-Wan said. “I don’t know how this happened, or how to fix it, but it did happen. Now, I do have one question for you, what do you know about your family?”
Luke tilted his head, “My grandmother was named Shmi Skywalker, and she was a slave. My grandfather was Cliegg Lars, he freed Shmi and married her. They both had children from previous… relationships, Cliegg’s son was Owen, and Shmi had my father. I don’t know his name, although Aunt Beru referred to him as Ani a few times. She said that when I was ready to go to the Academy, she’d tell me more, but she died before that happened.”
“I see,” Obi-Wan said, “and what year were you born?”
“981 Ruusan,” Luke replied.
“This is the year 979, and Anakin Skywalker is your father,” Obi-Wan said firmly. “I believe there is much you can tell us, Luke Skywalker, of what has become of our Republic in your lifetime.”
Han was not the sort of person who believed in the Force, he’d spent too much of his time on his own to believe that something else was telling him how to live. Chewie had never really weighed in on the subject when it came up, but Han figured the older Wookie thought he was an idiot on the matter. Especially when one of Han’s gut instincts proved correct.
Right now, his gut was telling him that Luke was causing unusual trouble. The kid usually specialized in either lightsaber mishaps or pilot mishaps, and frankly, Han was amazed he’d never been more injured than a concussion. Leaving Chewie to finish working on the power relays for the crew quarters, Han headed towards sick bay to see if he could figure out what was going on.
He found Leia standing outside the door to sickbay with one of the medics, Ryoo or something like that, the old Clone Captain and his partner, Division. They were talking softly, exchanging concerned looks before looking around for observers. Clearly whatever happened, they didn’t want word getting around. Then Leia saw him, and Han thought for a moment she actually looked relieved to see him. Her ‘royal mask’ was in place in moments, however and Han was left to doubt he’d actually seen it.
“What’s going on?” Han asked.
“Have you seen Luke?” Leia asked.
“No, why?” Han said.
“He’s not acting like himself,” Ryoo said. “He had a screaming nightmare earlier, about a place called Jabiim.”
“It sounded like some of the nightmares the General used to have,” the Captain said, his hand tangled in the fur on Division’s shoulder. The Bearen looked just as worried as her partner, even leaning into his hip and thigh to return the comfort. “We thought we’d lost Kenobi on Jabiim, it was one of the General’s biggest nightmares before the Commander joined us, and a top ten after that.”
“Could it be some Jedi stuff?” Han asked reluctantly. While he was openly skeptical about some of what people said of the Force, he did acknowledge that Luke had something going for him.
“Not that kind of detail,” the Captain replied.
“It was as if Anakin Skywalker was speaking,” Division offered. The Bearen stood up so that she could look directly into Han’s eyes. “I have never heard of a Force sensitive dreaming of another’s memories, Han Solo. What visions they are given are their own.”
“So, Luke had a weird dream and now we’re worried about him?” Han said even as he gave the bear a nod of respect. If anyone knew the Jedi, it would be a former AgriCorps worker.
“He didn’t know us,” Ryoo said quietly.
“Any of us,” Leia said, her hand touching her cheek absently.
“I was worried enough to ask Captain Rex and Division to come down here to speak with Luke when he woke up,” Ryoo said.
“I’m still not an Alliance Captain, Ryoo,” Rex muttered, “and I’m the one who decided to have my blaster out.”
“He took one look and bolted,” Division said, “and he did so using the Force at a level far in advance with his previous displays, even instinctively.”
Han rubbed his temple a moment, “So, Luke had a weird dream, which worried Ryoo enough to; were you calling Security, or were you asking Captain Rex to come down in his capacity of expert Skywalker handler?” He paused, “Either way, Captain Rex decided the best way to respond to the concern was a pulled blaster. Luke, finding himself surrounded by strangers, with a gun pointed at him, decided to bolt. Am I the only one who isn’t surprised by this?”
Apparently, he was.
“So, we need to, what? Find Luke?” Han said, trying at least get himself on track with their endgame plan.
“I want to run some tests on him,” Ryoo said, “to make sure his brain isn’t swelling from the concussion yesterday.”
“Then we should get Wedge and Artoo out looking for him,” Leia said, “if anyone can find Luke when he’s in the mood to hide, it’s those two.” She stepped back, “I’ll go get Wedge, he should have a few hours before his mission starts to at least try to find Luke, and I can get 3PO to get Artoo headed out looking.”
Han pointed at Rex and Division, “I suggest you two let base security know that we’re not looking for Luke again. Make sure they understand this time not to tree the poor kid.”
“On it,” Rex said. He paused, “The Ghost’s going to be landing in half an hour, just so you know.”
Han raised his eyebrows as he turned to Ryoo, “I’m going to go get Chewie. I suggest you stay here.”
He left Ryoo sputtering, more interested on getting Chewie to help find Luke than whatever issue Ryoo had with a sensible suggestion this time. Sometimes, Ryoo was the most sensible person he knew, well grounded, competent and confident in her abilities. Other times, a reasonable suggestion turned her into a Krayt dragon in human form, and Han never could figure out why.
Chewie was still working on the power when Han got to the Falcon. “Luke’s gone walkabout and Medical’s screaming about it,” Han announced.
||“Somehow, I’m not surprised,”|| Chewie replied, ||“I think the only people who want to stay in Medical either hurt that badly or are pretending.”||
“Agreed,” Han said. He knelt to look at some of the relays that had already been replaced, “Leia’s gone to get Wedge and Artoo on the hunt. Apparently, that concussion Luke gotten has knocked his memory loose.”
||“Are we joining them?”|| Chewie asked.
“We can,” Han said, “I implied we would, but if you want to keep working on this power issue, I’m not going to blame you. I hate getting dressed in the dark.”
||“Help me with this relay,”|| Chewie said after a minute, ||“Your tiny hands must be good for something.”||
Han bit back an indignant response, if only because the last time they’d had a tiny hands argument, Chewie had rather emphatically won. It wasn’t the type of loss that you could object to, the best thing to do was to bow out gracefully and accept that sometimes your partner was a shithead who enjoyed reminding you that you weren’t his equal in those sorts of matters. Instead, he slid his hands around the obstruction that had hampered his friend and held on as Chewie worked on pulling out the connectors.
As they worked, Han felt a sense of peace that was often missing with the Alliance. Usually he was off chasing down Luke or trying to work with the Alliance’s fleet without letting them completely overhaul the Falcon into a war machine. He’d done the military thing, had served in the Imperial Navy long enough to know that he wasn’t enamored of military life, if he ever had been. The Falcon was a freighter, intended to haul cargo and occasionally shoot pirates. It didn’t need upgrades to its turbo lasers to be able to take on a star destroyer.
Suddenly, Han’s comm went off, startling him into jerking back into Chewie. He grabbed the comm, “Yeah?”
“Captain Solo,” C-3PO said, “Princess Leia says that they have found Master Luke and you can come out of hiding now.”
Han glanced at the comm, just as Leia’s voice, further away, yelled out, “Threepio! That’s not what I said to tell him!”
“Oh dear,” C-3PO said.
Han clenched his teeth a moment, “Tell her worship that I’ll be there as soon as I can.” He cut the line before C-3PO could try to say anything else and leaned forward, “Last one, Chewie. Let’s get this done.”
||“You aren’t going?”|| Chewie asked.
“When we’re done,” Han replied. “I am, after all, hiding.”
Chewie chuckled and reached over Han with the new connectors and quickly, they finished the work. After cleaning up their tools, Han and Chewie returned to medical to find the same quartet still standing just outside the door where he’d left them.
“Didn’t I just leave this party?” Han muttered and Chewie chuckled.
“Han,” Leia said.
“I thought you had some tests to run,” Han said, looking at Ryoo.
“They’re being handled,” Ryoo said.
“Where were you?” Leia asked.
“Chewie needed some help with the Falcon,” Han replied, taking advantage of making a truthful comment that would only fuel Leia’s generally negative opinion of him. It was fun when she got going, her cheeks flushed, her eyes narrow and sharp and her body poised, to slap him, to get away, to throw her all into screaming at him. Han wasn’t afraid to admit that Leia was beautiful, and would probably grow more so as she aged, but in those moments when she was angry and alive, she was perfect.
Sure enough, there was that slight increase in height that meant Leia was coming up on her toes, the flush in her cheeks that was the best indicator of her temper.
“That’s not the problem,” Division said, distracting Leia.
“What is the problem,” Han asked cautiously.
“It’s not that Luke doesn’t remember us,” Ryoo said, “Luke doesn’t think he’s Luke.”
This may be weird to watch for Han, but I promise, this is one part establishing his bond with Chewie, and one part establishing a few things for future chapters.
On the other hand, I told my friend, it feels like one of the cameramen got distracted by a couple of set guys doing repair work while the main cast was off doing something.
In my defense, I was also helping my dad out, we replaced the shelf in my closet, dug a bed frame out of some ivy, cut boards to fit the bed frame, put the toe kick down in my bedroom, and generally knocked off three-quarters of the honey-do list for the week, so my writing was very sporadic.
Chapter 5: A Matter of Politics (CW)
Rex carefully ran the cloth over his blaster, not looking at Cody, who also had a disassembled blaster and a cleaning kit. Paperwork had been set aside as not distracting enough, and their mutual, childhood induced habit of weapon cleaning had taken over. Whatever Kenobi and Skywalker were doing, they’d been talking for at least an hour, and Rex was expecting the Commander to comm them, demanding to know where the Generals were.
“Something on your mind?” Cody asked.
“Just, wondering when the Commander’s going to get involved,” Rex replied.
Cody muttered something Rex pretended he couldn’t here. “That’s probably the last thing the Generals need. Do you think we can divert her?”
Rex raised his eyes to meet Cody’s, “The only reason she isn’t here already is this place gave her a migraine. About the only way we could divert her would be to toss her on an outbound shuttle and pretend we didn’t know about it.”
Cody tilted his head a little. “Maybe.”
“No,” Rex shook his head, “that’s the worst idea ever. Commander, I really do not recommend this.”
“But you said it,” Cody pointed out.
“I was just, grasping for possibilities,” Rex muttered.
“Well, let’s just call it a possibility and leave it at that,” Cody said, just as Cody’s comm beeped. “Commander Cody,” Cody said.
“Commander, is Captain Rex with you?” General Kenobi asked.
“Yes sir,” Cody said as Rex reassembled his blaster.
“Would you both please return to Anakin’s tent?” General Kenobi said.
“On our way sir,” Cody replied.
Cody had his blaster back together by the time Rex had cleaned up the supplies, and the two of them tucked their helmets under their left arms and headed back to the General’s tent. As they walked, Rex became aware of a sense of being watched. He wouldn’t be surprised if they were, for all the fighting they’d done, he was fairly sure there were still pockets of separatists on the planet. Especially seeing as they hadn’t seen the Sep General who had supposedly led the droids.
Still, he spotted one of his scouts, Slim, and ordered increased patrols out to ensure that any observation would be difficult to perform. They didn’t need to the Seps getting any ideas about the General now.
That being done, Rex joined Cody in entering the General’s tent when General Kenobi called them in. General Skywalker was sitting on the cot again, now fully dressed and toying with the edge of his tunic. His lightsaber was now sitting on the sink in the back of the tent, but he had a blaster on his hip.
General Kenobi had Skywalker’s portable chair and was settled on it, looking oddly calm and amused. Kix, standing just behind Kenobi, looked frustrated.
“You wanted to see us?” Cody asked, saluting.
“Yes,” Kenobi said, glancing at Skywalker, who nodded hesitantly. “For all intents and purposes, this is Luke Skywalker, Anakin’s son. We believe that Anakin is currently inhabiting his son’s body.”
“He’ll be okay,” Luke said quickly. “I was on one of the cruisers when this happened, we were heading to Saleucami, our next short-term base. Besides, not only are my friends Han, Chewie, and Leia there, but Captain Rex is too.”
“I am?” Rex asked, startled.
Luke nodded, his expression earnest and his smile engaging in a way that Anakin Skywalker rarely attempted. “When Command realized they had another Skywalker on hand, they, uh, begged, bribed, and blackmailed you to come babysit me. You’d just gotten there a few days ago, it’s why I didn’t recognize your name at first.”
There was something there, something in the thought that Rex wouldn’t have known Luke from the beginning, that made his gut clench. He didn’t really know what to say either way, so he glanced carefully at Kenobi.
“For now,” Kenobi said, “Kix has helped us come up with a suitable explanation for what’s happened.”
“Retrograde amnesia,” Kix said promptly, “brought about by the head trauma. The injury is well placed for it, and it means it’s reasonable that he doesn’t remember past, say, the Jedi mission he was on before Geonosis. It would account for him not knowing us, but knowing General Kenobi.”
“It helps that Anakin and I share some specific opinions,” Luke offered.
“Like what, sir?” Cody asked after a moment.
“Sand,” Luke said.
For a brief moment, that was General Skywalker all over, disdain and contempt for the idea of dealing with sand. Rex could see now why they’d thought this would work, considering that Rex had noticed from the moment Luke had fallen off the cot that there was something wrong. Luke had been terrified in a way Rex had never seen from General Skywalker, tense and uneasy, but almost resigned. He’d been surprised a few times, but it hadn’t been until now that Luke seemed able to look at any of Rex’s brothers without hesitating a moment.
“Not to mention bugs,” Kix said.
“Please tell me you’re joking,” Rex said, staring at Kix. He did not need a reminder that his General was willing to indulge in alternate proteins when necessary.
“What is so wrong with it?” Luke demanded, scowling at them, “When your choices are starve or bugs, you eat the fucking bugs, okay? That’s how life works.”
“Just giving you a hard time, General,” Rex said reflexively.
Luke winced, glancing at Kenobi, “Do I have to be called General? I’m not even used to being Commander Skywalker yet?”
“For now, it will be a necessary deception,” Kenobi said.
“Speaking of Commanders,” Cody said, “what about Tano? She’s not going to be happy being stuck on the Negotiator.”
“Who?” Luke asked.
“Anakin’s Padawan,” Kenobi replied distractedly.
“What’s a Padawan?” Luke asked.
“They are Jedi students,” Kenobi said, attention now back on Luke, “another term for them is apprentice.”
Rex really wanted to ask why Luke didn’t already know this. The bugs comment, and the sand, had Luke not been raised to the Order? What had happened to Anakin that his son wasn’t a Jedi?
“Oh,” Luke said.
“Ahsoka Tano,” Rex began, then paused as Luke looked at him, recognition showing in his eyes. “You know her?”
“I’ve heard her name,” Luke said. “Captain Rex, he wanted me to meet her, but he didn’t think it was possible. She’s been away on a mission for the Alliance.”
“What alliance?” Rex asked.
Luke glanced at Kenobi, hesitant, but Kenobi only nodded slightly, looking tired and sad in a way Rex had never seen before. Cody made a soft noise in his throat as he shifted, clearly wanting to reassure his general, but held in place by duty and training.
“About twenty years ago, around the time I was born, the Clone Wars ended,” Luke said finally. He looked at the floor a moment, “I don’t know all the details. Tatooine isn’t exactly galactic center, and everybody said they purged the histories along with everything else. Captain Rex, and the others, are working to educate me, but we haven’t exactly had time for it. What I know is that something happened, something that the Emperor used to stop the war, tear apart the Republic, and make it into the Empire. He also,” Luke stopped for a moment, distressed.
Rex couldn’t keep himself from reaching to Cody for comfort, unsurprised to find Cody reaching right back. Kix stayed where he was for a moment before moving over to stand at Rex’s shoulder, not touching him, but close enough that Rex only needed to move slightly to be in contact with him.
“The Emperor purged the Jedi,” Luke finally said, carefully not looking at any of them, “The Order, their history, all of it. There are rumors of different Force users in the Empire, but, the only one I can confirm is Darth Vader.”
“Another Sith,” Cody growled.
“I don’t know what that is,” Luke said, “but Vader is horrible.”
“I don’t understand,” Cody said hoarsely, “what happened to us? We’d fight.”
Luke shook his head slightly, “I don’t know. Captain Rex said there weren’t many left. He wanted to wait until I had time to process whatever it was before he told me. Command’s been trying to recover from the evacuation, finding a new permanent base, so we haven’t had time.”
“I think I’m more confused than when we started,” Rex finally managed, noting that Kenobi was staring at Luke, barely blinking. “What exactly are you a part of, in the future?”
Luke shrugged a little, “Depends on who you ask. Officially, Command says we’re the Alliance to Restore the Republic. The politicians call us the Alliance, the cells just tend to go with Rebels or Rebellion. Technically, I’m supposed to call it the Alliance, but I always heard of it as the Rebellion against the Empire.”
“Your rebellion has politicians?” Kix blurted out, then stepped back slightly, as if startled he’d even said anything.
“That’s what you noticed?” Rex asked him, Kix shrugged.
“Well, the politicians started the Alliance,” Luke said with a shrug. “Leia told me once that the Alliance had been a political movement during the war. Her father, Senator Bail Organa, and some other senators, Mon Mothma, for one, and, uh, Padme, something, they started it. But we had an emergency mission and she never finished explaining.”
“Padmé Amidala?” Kenobi asked, draw out of his thoughts.
Rex started, flashing back to his first meeting with the crazy Senator. She’d been in that kill box of an arena, handling a blaster almost as good as a brother. He’d thought she was another General, the way she’d assumed command when they’d gotten tossed from the gunship, and he’d been horrified when General Koon had called her a Senator. Bad enough he’d followed her orders to fall back, bad enough he’d left two Generals chasing a fucking Sith, but Wolffe had been steps behind Koon. Commander Wolffe’s glares had never been diminished by a helmet.
Skywalker had found him weeks after Geonosis, took one look at him and his company and refused to surrender command to anyone. Something had happened, someone had stepped in when even General Kenobi had started warning the then Commander that he might not have a choice. Whatever had happened, Skywalker and Kenobi had barely been able to be on the same ship together for nearly a week, before Jabiim.
“I think that’s her name,” Luke said, pulling Rex out of his memories. “Leia only mentioned her that one time. We’ve been busy. Why?”
Kenobi began to answer, but then he jerked back, before standing up. “Trouble,” he announced.
Rex and Kix’s wrist comms went off. “Captain, go,” Rex bit out.
“Damn Sep clankers,” Jesse said, “they’re hitting the west and south perimeter, sir. Sneak attack.”
The alarms finally started going off and Jesse lit up the air with a number of foul curses.
“We’re coming,” Rex said.
“Wait,” Luke said began.
“General Skywalker can’t,” Kix said at the same time.
“Captain,” General Kenobi said, in that way he had of expecting no less than total obedience. “Get out there, get your men in position. I’ll be right behind you. Major Kix, the infirmary. Commander Cody, communications, help coordinate the men and get air support ready.” He turned to Luke, “Go with Commander Cody to the communications tent. If anyone asks, you’re technically grounded from an injury, but what Kix doesn’t know won’t hurt you. Do what Cody tells you.”
From the way Luke’s lips pressed together, he wanted to say something to that. Instead, he saluted, and Rex found himself following with Cody and Kix.
It didn’t take long for them to deal with the southern perimeter. Rex had been quick to forget about General Skywalker’s predicament when confronted with clankers seemingly determined to get shot. Instead, he’d focused on managing his people, keeping them from rushing into the kill zones the hilly nature of the area created until Cody’s air strikes arrived. Those strikes were the incentive they needed to break the Sep lines and get them on the run. He didn’t even noticed when Cody’s orders vanished, replaced moments later, first by Jesse, then by Kenobi. Not until it was over and Kenobi ordered Rex back to the communications center.
Rex didn’t think much of it until he saw the path of destruction from the north, a path that led to the communications center. He barely remembered to shut down his bike, whispering a soft no as he threw himself into the building. Bantha, one of the field medics, was hovering over Cody, performing some sort of visual test with a pen light. Seeing Cody, even with blood streaming from a set of cuts that looked to match the scars already present, relaxed him a little, as did seeing General Kenobi with a few scorch marks on his shoulder.
“Where’s General Skywalker?” Rex heard himself ask, voice high pitched and breathy.
“Captured,” General Kenobi said quietly, “he’s been captured.”
Rex still wasn’t sure how Artoo managed to track down Luke, nor why the droid’s first call out was to Captain Antilles, not when Antilles’s first move was a not-quite panicked call to Rex. Nearly four years after Wren had dragged Antilles and his friend Klivian out of the Imperial Academy in a TIE bomber, and Wedge still looked like he’d wandered onto the ship by accident and hadn’t quite figured out how to leave.
“All right Antilles,” Rex said when he found his way back to one of the engine rooms, “Why do you need me here?”
Antilles swallowed and gestured up, “Artoo’s not letting him down without you here, Captain.”
Rex glanced up. Artoo was on a catwalk, with Skywalker standing on a support strut just out of reach of the astromech’s electric prod. For a moment, as Rex fought the urge to laugh, he regretted that Organa had for some reason removed Artoo’s jets. It was all the scene needed, was for Artoo to be air born.
“Come on, Artoo,” Luke said, “just calm down.” Rex’s mirth faded into confusion. Something about his stance, some assurance even being several feet above the ground, was familiar, but not something he’d ever seen in this Skywalker.
“Artoo,” Rex called, wondering if he’d have to climb up there. He could feel his left knee ache at the thought.
Artoo beeped almost hysterically, too fast and complex for Rex to follow beyond something being very, very wrong.
“I know, I know,” Luke said, probably not as soothing as he wanted to be, “I’m not okay with this either, but I can’t fix it up here.”
In another time, Rex had learned to understand Artoo’s general meaning, and several binary swears that had earned him two allies and a life time enemy, but this mix of terror and contempt, with something even Rex couldn’t figure out was very new.
“Artoo, please,” Luke said. “I’ll tell him, okay? I’ll explain everything. I’m not going to hurt anyone, I promise. I’m not even armed!”
Artoo’s newest set of beeps contained a sequence Rex definitely hadn’t heard in decades, a trill that had once been used as the droid’s version of General Kenobi’s exasperated Anakin.
“How?” Luke said, “That’s not what the Force is for! I have never…”
Artoo wailed, and Rex understood something about babies and Senator and that was the sound for General Kenobi.
“Yeah, and I know that too. If that is Rex, he can fix that. Then I can fix this whole mess! Whatever happened, whatever it is you can’t tell me, I can fix it!” Luke sounded almost desperate, and Rex wondered what was going on. His first response was to demand what had been broken now, a refrain from the days when he’d been surrounded by brothers, and that had been his General declaring that some critically needed equipment needed fixing, but he could do it, no worries.
It was too much for Rex. He smacked his hand on the ladder, making Antilles jump, but catching Artoo and Luke’s attention.
“Commander Skywalker, are you two all right up there?”
Luke muttered something, and Artoo beeped back of course it was.
“Um, Artoo’s mostly okay,” Luke said, “but I think I’m in a lot of trouble.”
It was the sort of tone that made Rex want to pull a blaster, that made him wish Wolffe wasn’t still pretending he was retired and untouchable, so there’d be a least one sane person in arms’ reach.
“What did you break now, sir,” Rex asked instead. Command had definitely cheated him out of proper compensation when they’d called him to join Skywalker’s group.
“Captain Rex?” Luke called.
“One and only,” Rex said bitterly.
“Can I go down?” Luke asked Artoo, who finally gave a short, sharp yes, even as his prod sparked electricity.
Luke sighed and jumped off the strut.
Artoo wailed, Antilles cursed, and Rex grabbed on to the ladder to keep from lunging forward. The casual way Luke landed, the way he looked at Rex himself, but not at Antilles, it was the ghost of another man.
“So, Captain,” Luke said, “we have a problem.”
“So I figured,” Rex said, ignoring Antilles’s soft question. “What happened?”
“If I knew that, I’d have a solution,” Luke said. He glanced up at Artoo, and then back at Rex. “See, I’m Anakin Skywalker, and I have no clue what’s going on, except that I’m not in my body.”
Rex blinked a few times, he’d heard of and been involved in a number of Force related Jedi schemes, but this one was very new. He ignored Antilles’s shocked outburst and Artoo’s wailing cry of secrets and made himself breathe.
First things first, he told himself, “Commander, I’ll be honest, that’s a bit farfetched, even with all the Force things I’ve seen, but at the same time, I can’t discount the possibility.”
“But…” Antilles tried.
“However, there are two things I know for sure. The first is that you need to complete those brain scans in Medical.” Rex held up his hand, “If you are Anakin, then consider it this way. It isn’t your body, it’s Luke’s body. He deserves to get it back in one piece, doesn’t he? What’s that General Kenobi used to say? Borrowed isn’t yours?”
Luke’s shoulders slumped slightly, but his eyes narrowed at Rex. If it was Anakin, he’d probably have to keep an eye on his things for a week or so. The General had been notorious for making things difficult for others when he was out of sorts.
“Second,” Rex said, “The Ghost just jumped in-system.” He glanced over to see Antilles’s eyes widen in understanding. “There people on board who will have a better chance of understanding what’s happened and figuring it out.”
“Who,” Luke demanded.
Rex couldn’t help the fond smile, “According to the Captain, they’ve brought back Fulcrum. If you are Anakin, then you’ll know her when you see her.”
Luke nodded warily, and it was hard to stick to the name when behind the face was a man who acted so much like Rex’s General that his heart ached.
Then Rex remember who else was on the Ghost, and he side-eyed Antilles for a moment, but decided to keep his mouth shut about the stories. He’d glossed over a lot about both Anakin and Kenobi in his stories to Ezra. When Kanan had so frequently gotten near-hysterical over the things Ezra gotten up to, Rex remembered a thousand battles where his Generals, his Commander, and the wildly improbably stunts they’d pursued in the name of victory. Ahsoka had only given him a Look when she’d caught him at it, but had never contradicted him.
“All right,” Luke said shortly, “let’s get this over with.”
Artoo whistled as he bustled out of a nearby lift, demonstrating how he’d gotten onto the catwalk in the first place.
“And when you know that I am who and what I say,” Luke continued, “I need your help to unlock Artoo’s memories, Captain. I can’t do it, I know them, but Luke’s voice isn’t programmed into the security protocols. You can do it, you’re programmed in, I just need to give you the key.”
“All right,” Rex nodded. “Let’s go.”
It was nearly an hour later that Han returned, trailed by Chewie. Rex noted that while Han had cleaned up, he also had several scrapes on his hand that were no doubt remains of his work on the Falcon. Rex wasn’t sure he liked Han, most of the time. The guy spent a lot of time figuring out the Princess’s buttons and hitting them as a distraction. Of course, sometimes, it was just to distract everyone from the way his eyes zeroed in on the Princess, drinking in her every gesture and word as if it were holy writ from an ascended being.
“The Ghost’s preparing to dock,” Rex said while Han tried to absorb Ryoo’s rather blunt summation of events. “Fulcrum’s on board, as well as the other two. If that’s the General, she’ll know better than anyone.”
“Not you?” Han asked.
Rex eyed him for a moment, “I’m not a Jedi and she is.”
“So, what are you thinking here, Captain?” Princess Leia asked, in that way that suggested he’d overstepped somewhere.
“Let Fulcrum have final say on what’s going on with Skywalker. Make it OpSec for us, the Specters, and Antilles not to mention it, and get him off the ship asap to keep anyone else from figuring out what’s wrong.” Rex crossed his arms and tilted his head slightly, “Whichever way this goes, getting him away from Command might be a better idea.”
“The Falcon’s repairs aren’t done,” Han cut in.
“But the Ghost isn’t,” Rex said.
“That may not be the worst idea,” Princess Leia cut in glancing between the two of them. “If the… boys are going to be with Fulcrum, that might be the best place for Luke.”
“How do you know we can trust them?” Han demanded, “All the Jedi were killed in the Purge. The only survivor I ever knew of was that fossil Ben Kenobi.”
“Oh good, an idiot, just who I wanted to meet today.”
Rex couldn’t keep the grin off his face at the two men coming down the hall, “Wolffe, Gregor, what the hell? Thought you were dead by now!”
“Not for lack of trying,” Wolffe said, cutting through the gathering to yank Rex into a quick hug, followed by Gregor.
“More clones?” Han muttered.
“Shut it you,” Princess Leia snapped. “Heroes of the Republic are always welcome in the Alliance.”
“Wolffe, Gregor, the idiot, as you so charmingly put it, is Captain Han Solo, an independent freighter, and his co-pilot, Chewbacca.”
“I remember you,” Wolffe said, “strange path you’ve ended up on, Chewbacca.”
The Wookie tilted his head slight, but all Rex understood was his sorrow in the statement. Then he put his hand on Han’s head, and this one Rex understood better.
“Chewie,” Han protested, trying to escape the Wookie’s grip. “Am I wearing a target I didn’t know about?”
“This is Ryoo Naberrie and Princess Leia Organa,” Rex continued, and saw the little nod from Wolffe that he, at least, knew what he wasn’t saying. “Everyone, this is Wolffe and Gregor, my brothers.”
“Wolffe, as in 104th Wolfpack Commander?” Han asked suddenly.
“I am,” Wolffe agreed.
Rex fought to keep a smile off his lips, clearly Wolffe had a fan.
“Fulcrum sent us up to check on things,” Gregor said as Wolffe and Han spoke for a moment, “she’s checking on some things that couldn’t wait apparently and given that Wolffe recognized his favorite communications officer, we thought it was best to get out of sight.”
“Which officer?” Rex asked with a slight frown.
“Bart Mejia,” Gregor said, “something about him being suicidal.”
Rex’s eyes widened, “The idiot who kept trying to get into General Koon’s office?”
“That’s the one,” Gregor said.
“Damn, how’d he manage to survive this long,” Rex asked.
“No clue,” Gregor said. “Is this Skywalker kid legit?”
“Very much so,” Rex muttered, “I’ve known him a week and he’s so much like his father, and now this little bit of idiocy.”
“What happened now?” Gregor asked.
“I think I it might be best for her to consider it first,” Rex said, “it could be something other than what we think it is.”
“Do you really think that?” Wolffe asked, turning to look at him.
“I’m trying my best,” Rex replied.
I backtracked a bit for this one, because the whole idea of it was so funny to me. Also, I randomly decided that part at the end, and I couldn't help it!
Bart the Suicidal Comm Officer is a character from my General Buir and Commander Ad series. His whole schtick is trying to get past Wolffe to put daily, top secret messages on Plo Koon's desk while ignoring the need for safety precautions because Koon's office is filled with Dorin Gas.
Chapter 7: Captured (CW)
Ventress despised many of the Separatist generals, between their tendency towards naming, renaming, themselves to sound horrifying and their habit of dismissing her because of her appearance, only Grievous was remotely tolerable.
Still, when one of the gibbering fools managed to code an emergency assistance request, it was her duty to find out why. This one was one of the least loathsome of the group, a human man called Skav, who had refused the option to take on a more menacing pseudonym. His biggest flaw, in Ventress’s opinion, was his ongoing love affair with formality.
“Lady Ventress,” he said when Ventress left her ship, “we are honored by your august presence.”
“You requested assistance,” Ventress said, not quite snapping at the man. “What do you need?”
Skav swallowed and bowed, “We have taken a prisoner, my Lady. I believe he is best suited in the hands of Count Dooku rather than my own.”
“A prisoner?” Ventress said, “Who?”
“Jedi Knight and General Anakin Skywalker,” Skav said, with the expression on his face that Ventress read as the conflict between a lifetime of honoring the Jedi and his new position as their enemy.
“Skywalker?” Ventress repeated, “Take me to him.”
“At once, my Lady.”
At first glance, it was Skywalker. Ventress was as familiar with his face as she was her own, right down to the scar she’d gifted him with long before. But the second glance had her hesitating.
Suspended in the field that dampened his connection to the Force, the Jedi spun slowly in a circle. His eyes were closed, his features relaxed, and his mouth closed tightly. There was no anger, no shouted denunciations, no frantic jerks as he attempted to free himself.
That was not the actions of Anakin Skywalker.
Ventress turned, “You have his lightsaber?”
“No, my Lady,” Skav said, bowing. “He did not carry a lightsaber.”
Ventress frowned, looking back at the monitor again. Skywalker remained the same. “I will speak with him,” she announced, “alone.”
Skav hesitated a moment, then bowed, “At once, my lady.”
The door opened and Ventress entered, watching as Skywalker opened his eyes to take her in. There was no recognition in his eyes as he studied her, blue eyes considering as they took her in. When the door slid shut, Skywalker stayed calm and impassive instead spitting out invectives or raging at her.
“Who are you?” Ventress said once the rotation had brought Skywalker back to face her.
Skywalker blinked, “Skywalker,” he said finally.
Ventress studied him, “The resemblance is near perfect, but the portrayal is dismal. I know you are not Anakin Skywalker.”
Skywalker tilted his head as he was rotated out of view. When he came back, there was a quiet amusement in his expression, “I assure you, the blood of Shmi Skywalker flows through my veins.”
Ventress wondered who ‘Shmi Skywalker’ was, but dismissed it. “That still does not make you Anakin Skywalker.”
“Doesn’t it?” Skywalker mused, then gave her a sly half-smile before he’d rotated again.
Ventress fingered her lightsaber, debating if stabbing the thing to make it stop rotating would be worth the risk of freeing Skywalker entirely.
“You know it won’t take long for Obi-Wan to find me, right?” Skywalker said.
“Only if he can sense you,” Ventress said, noting that Skywalker displayed neither the slavish devotion or the disparagement that he normally wavered between. This calm confidence, almost an acceptance of the forth coming rescue, was more a trait of Kenobi than Skywalker. It was the sort of thing that had pushed her tolerance when she’d held Obi-Wan captive on Rattatak.
“Are you sure about that?” Skywalker asked, jolting her out of her memories.
“Sure enough,” Ventress retorted. She turned and gestured for the door to open, then strode through. “Prepare Skywalker for travel on my ship. I will bring him to those who would appreciate his knowledge.”
“At once,” Skav said with a deep bow. Ventress glanced at the monitor, and then stalked away. Whatever was wrong with Skywalker, she’d let her Master deal with it.
Ahsoka wanted to mutter some of those Mando’a words Master Anakin had asked the boys not to say around her. The planet on the viewscreen had been loud, something down there had set her montrals ringing like a bad concussion and nearly sent her unconscious before her Master had sent her back to Master Kenobi. Now that her head was clear, Ahsoka could admit she hadn’t been very nice about being sent away, but there were times when Ahsoka wondered if Anakin wasn’t looking for an excuse to send her all the way back to the Temple.
Ahsoka turned and nodded slightly, “Admiral Yularen. Any word?”
“General Kenobi and the 501st are preparing to come shipside,” the Admiral said, “we’re to prepare to follow the ship that just jumped to hyperspace.”
“That shuttle? But the Seps,” Ahsoka blurted out, then flinched back. She’d promised Anakin she’d work on thinking before she said things. She could hear him telling her about how there was a time and a place.
Admiral Yularen simply gave her a look, before turning away, “General Kenobi will be back on board in ten minutes. I’m sure he’ll have better answers for you than I do.”
Ahsoka nodded, “I’ll just, wait for him in the hanger.” She turned and hurried out. It was so hard, trying to be older than she was. Anakin never really asked it of her, but everyone just expected her to magically be a grown up just because she had Padawan beads. Even Master Kenobi sometimes looked at her for a long moment like he’d forgotten she had just celebrated her fourteenth year. Anakin’s expectations were different, more about learning when to toe the line and when to go after the prize, or how to recognize the difference between survivable bad situations and suicide missions.
Hopefully, Anakin would explain what was going on.
By the time Ahsoka got to the hanger, the gunships from the planet were entering the hanger and the men were disembarking. As she walked, Ahsoka looked at their faces, seeking out the missing and hiding her relief that there were so few. Still, there were none of the usual post-battle hijinks, no laughter. Not even Jesse was teasing Kix. They all looked tense and worried, and Ahsoka forced herself to keep walking, even though part of her wanted to run away and the other part wanted to run forward.
Finally, she found the shuttle that Master Kenobi had taken down to the planet. Master Kenobi was standing on the ramp in a quiet discussion with Commander Cody and Rex. Reminding herself that if Anakin had been hurt, Kix would have been with him and not with Jesse, Ahsoka forced herself to approach the shuttle. She noticed as she approached that Cody had a bandage that partially covered one eye, and Rex had that tired-but-vibrating quality that suggested that they’d seen fighting recently, and not just yesterday. Master Kenobi’s armor even had some new scorch marks, although he didn’t seem to be injured, given a lack of bandages or stiffness to his movements.
“Master Obi-Wan?” Ahsoka said carefully when she came in hearing distance.
Master Kenobi turned and smiled tiredly, “Ahsoka, feeling all right?”
“Yes Master,” Ahsoka said. She hesitated, “Where’s Master Anakin?”
The three exchanged looks and Ahsoka tried not to panic. “Anakin has been captured by the Separatist forces,” Master Kenobi said finally. “The ship we are tracking is his last known location.”
Ahsoka fought with her physical reaction, but she couldn’t help the way her voice broke, “Captured?”
Master Kenobi nodded slightly to Commander Cody and Rex, and they left, then he came down the ramp and put a hand on her shoulder, “Walk with me, Padawan.”
Ahsoka obediently fell in step with him.
“Anakin sustained a head injury in the fighting yesterday,” Master Kenobi said, “Kix evaluated it as not critical and Anakin stayed on planet to finish the campaign. There were some, side effects, of the injury that came to light today, which is why I went planet-side. When the camp was attacked, Anakin was ordered to stay in the command tent and coordinate efforts from there, with Cody to keep him from engaging. While we were engaged on two fronts, our enemy sent a heavy force from behind us to specifically take down Anakin. Cody, as you might have noticed, was injured in the fight, and Anakin captured.”
Ahsoka bowed her head a moment, wrestling with her rising panic.
“It’s all right,” Master Kenobi said quietly. “Anakin’s been a captive before. He knows we’re coming for him. In fact, there’s every chance that he’ll have already freed himself by the time that we catch up to him. I know you’ve heard enough rumors about him to know that much.”
“But he’s always had you,” Ahsoka whispered.
“You both do,” Master Kenobi said firmly. “We’ll get Anakin back, Ahsoka. Trust me, and trust the Force, it will happen.”
Ahsoka took a shuddering breath, and then another, forcing a calm that she wasn’t quite ready to feel. Master Kenobi was right. They’d get Anakin back.
“Now, let’s go see what Admiral Yularen has for us,” Master Kenobi said.
Anakin stared at Artoo, who had refused to leave him alone once the medical tests were done. Rex had asked him to stay here until this ‘Fulcrum’ showed up, whoever that was, and Anakin had agreed. Considering that Artoo had pulled out both his electric prod and his saw when Anakin hesitated, it was probably a very good thing.
The doors to the medical bay opened and Anakin looked around, only to freeze. A tall Togrutan stepped into the room, at her belt were two lightsabers. She was dressed almost like a smuggler but when Anakin looked in her face, he knew.
“How did you know?” The Togrutan said, sounding puzzled, but detached.
“Didn’t- didn’t Rex explain?” Anakin asked, turning on the bed to face her fully.
“Assume he did not,” Ahsoka said, “and explain it to me.”
Anakin rubbed the back of his neck, then flinched and let the hand, flesh and not metal, drop into his lap. “Well, I don’t know how to explain this, because when I went to sleep last night, I was on that planet who’s name I couldn’t pronounce because it lacked vowels and any reasonable order of consonants. You were on the Negotiator because something about that place set your montrals ringing and gave you a migraine. We’d just driven off a bunch of Seps, but I’d knocked myself in the head. Then I woke up here in this medical bay, and Artoo’s mad at me, and Rex got old, and this is not my face although it apparently belongs to somebody named Luke and I think Artoo said he was my son, but I’m so confused and I don’t know what happened.”
Ahsoka blinked, then tilted her head slightly, “So you think you’re Anakin Skywalker.”
Anakin snorted, “I know who I am, ‘Soka. I’m a person and my name is Anakin.” He knew Ahsoka wouldn’t get the reference, but from the short beeps from Artoo, he thought the Astromech did know.
“All right, so say you are Skyguy,” Ahsoka said. “And you’re right about the timeline, tell me something that only you and I would know.”
Anakin considered for a moment, closing his eyes to sift through months of conversations. “How about when I said, ‘You’re reckless, little one. You’d have never made it as Obi-Wan’s Padawan, but you might just make it as mine.’”
“Too easy,” Ahsoka said, “try again.”
Anakin tilted his head slightly, then he grinned, “Obi-Wan’s ship, the Negotiator, was originally Independence, and you and I got the IFF changed and the registry updated as a prank and nobody ever fixed it. And the real reason it was called the Negotiator was because the IFF wouldn’t accept The Walking Disaster.”
Ahsoka grinned, “Now that, I can believe Anakin would never tell anyone. After how upset Master Obi-Wan got and all. So, what the kriffing hell, Skyguy.”
“No clue, Snips,” Anakin said. He gestured, “I mean, I can use the Force, and… if I didn’t know this wasn’t my face, and well, my arm, I would have accepted this was my body.”
“Your arm,” Ahsoka frowned, then her eyes widened, “That’s right, Luke has both of his.” She half-reached, “May I look? Maybe there’s something,” she hesitated.
Anakin grinned, “Sure, you’re a Knight, right? Or are you a Master already.”
Ahsoka stepped back slightly, her eyes suddenly sad, “Not, not exactly, Master. But, I can explain after I look at you.”
“Okay,” Anakin said. He reached out to take Ahsoka’s hand and carefully relaxed his shields. It took a moment, but then Ahsoka was there, her presence was as bright and as strong she had ever been. The Force flowed over him at her direction and Anakin suddenly realized that she did remind him of someone else. It had been so long since he’d even considered it, but Ahsoka’s touch was not all that different than the ones that Qui-Gon Jinn had used during that long-ago sandstorm and dinner.
After a moment, Ahsoka’s presence faded back and Anakin opened his eyes.
“Qui-Gon Jinn, Skyguy?” Ahsoka asked with a shyly pleased smile.
Anakin shrugged, “That’s just who you reminded me of. What’s the verdict?”
“Well, there is definitely a secondary Force presence, but it is very weak. It’s almost unnoticeable. Other than that, you feel very much like Anakin Skywalker.” Ahsoka said as she released Anakin’s hand. “And if that means you’re here, where is Luke?”
“On planet, with Obi-Wan and Rex and Cody, and, well, you to look after him,” Anakin said. “You know Obi-Wan, he’ll pull us out as soon as he realizes there’s something wrong and keep me safe until he figures it out.”
Ahsoka nodded, “I can see that.”
Anakin tilted his head slightly, “Ahsoka, can you explain what Artoo’s been trying to tell me?”
“Like what?” Ahsoka asked.
“Secrets,” Anakin said, “babies, and Padmé. And something about dying.”
Ahsoka glanced at Artoo, “Does he really remember that? I would have thought…”
“After the first time Artoo got kidnapped, we wrote some new protocols. Artoo and I, that is,” Anakin said, “I mean, we’re not quite done, back home. I haven’t gotten everyone I wanted keyed in. And after that fiasco, I didn’t want Artoo to be wiped or his memories copied. I was planning to do the same for C-3PO.”
Ahsoka’s smile was sad, “I don’t think you got a chance, not for Threepio. And I would guess that baby means Luke.”
“Okay,” Anakin said slowly.
“Come on, I should let Rex know that you’re, well, you, and then we should have a long talk about what’s happened in the past twenty-odd years,” Ahsoka said. “It’s not good.”
“Maybe not,” Anakin said, “but when I get back, maybe I can fix it.”
Ahsoka turned to look at him, and for the first time Anakin really saw his Padawan in this mature and powerful Jedi Knight. “Maybe you can at that.”
Anakin eased off the bed and glanced at Artoo, “Are you going to let me leave this time?”
Artoo whistled cheerfully, proclaiming his innocence.
“Then it was some other maladapted glitch that was threating me with a saw and an electric prod?” Anakin asked.
Artoo’s response, while still cheerful, made Ahsoka gasp in outrage and Anakin laugh.
“So, does Luke speak binary?” Anakin asked, glancing Ahsoka.
“I-I don’t know,” Ahsoka said, “I haven’t actually met him yet, I’ve been… away. Rex might know, or Princess Leia.”
“Who?” Anakin asked.
“Leia?” Ahsoka said, “The tiny girl with the braids? She reminds me of Sabé.”
“Oh,” Anakin said, “I didn’t exactly speak with her for long. She’s a Princess?”
“Princess Leia Organa, of Alderaan,” Ahsoka said.
“Bail and Breha had a daughter?” Anakin asked, “I remember, Obi-Wan mentioned that there had been a miscarriage.”
“She’s Luke’s age,” Ahsoka said.
Artoo whistled cheerfully.
“Babies? Again?” Anakin shook his head, “Look, let’s get Rex to unlock your memories and then you three can get me up to date.”
The medbay doors opened as Ahsoka approached, and a young man stumbled through, barely managing to catch himself. He pivoted and shouted through the doors, “Chopper! I’m going to dismantle you!”
“Ezra,” Ahsoka said.
The young man turned, and grinned, “Hey Ahsoka. Sorry, Chopper’s being a pain.”
“It’s all right,” Ahsoka said, “did Rex get everyone caught up on events?”
“I think so,” Ezra said, “I mean, if by events, you mean that someone’s taken over Skywalker’s body, and really, that sounds more like a joke.”
“No,” Anakin said, “very much not a joke. At least, it’s not a joke on you.” When Ezra’s gaze turned on him, Anakin realized the kid was Force Sensitive, trained, and an Empath.
“Ezra Bridger, Padawan to Kanan Jarrus, this is Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight. Yes, he’s currently inhabiting Luke Skywalker’s body.” Ahsoka said.
“Anakin Skywalker?” Ezra asked, “Rex’s General? Hero With No Fear Skywalker?”
“Hero with no fear?” Anakin asked Ahsoka.
“You’re not there yet,” Ahsoka said with a smirk, “but it was fairly accurate.”
Anakin shook his head slightly, because there were a great many things he was afraid of.
“Ezra, what,” an older man stuck his head in, and hesitated, taking in the three of them. “I’m sorry,” he began to pull back.
“Nonsense, Kanan,” Ahsoka said fondly, “We’re just on our way out. Anakin, this is Kanan Jarrus, Ezra’s Master.”
Anakin tilted his head slightly, frowning. Kanan looked like he was a couple of years younger than Ahsoka, which meant that Anakin should have recognized him. He’d pulled a few rotations of creche assistant before the war.
“You probably would know me as Caleb,” Kanan said awkwardly. “Caleb Dume.”
“Oh,” Anakin said, now recognizing the boy inside the man, “I’m sorry. I remember you now. You were in the Healer’s Hall when I stopped by for my immune boosters a few weeks ago, trying to visit Master Bilaba.”
Kanan blushed, “I, uh, I did, yes. She… she was my Master, after she woke up.”
Anakin leaned against his bed at relief shot through him, “She- she did wake up then? That’s good. I know everyone was worried about her.”
“She did,” Kanan said, although he looked sad as he said it.
“Kanan,” Ahsoka said, her voice brighter than it had been, “Anakin’s going to go back.”
“Back?” Kanan repeated.
“Back, to before, before all of it. We can, he can fix this,” Ahsoka said. “We can fix it all.”
“As much as possible,” Anakin swore, “everything you can tell me.”
The hope in the air made Anakin feel dizzy, as it came not just from Kanan and Ahsoka, but the people now crowding behind Kanan in the doorway. A Twi’lek in goggles and a jumpsuit that screamed PILOT to Anakin, a Lasat who was clearly trying to remain cynical, a girl in brightly colored beskar’gam, and behind them Rex, with two clones flanking him, and the girl Ahsoka said was Leia Organa, as well as a man Anakin hadn’t met yet who was flanked by a Wookie.
For the first time in a long time, Anakin remembered his mother with immediately fighting the tears. He could hear her voice, not torn with pain, but younger, warmer, filled with love. “Once you choose hope, anything's possible.”
I recently posted a story called "Beg, Bribe, and Blackmail" about how Rex came to join Luke and Leia. It's mostly intended for Reflection Unknown, but I felt it would serve as a useful reference/Noodle Incident for other 'verses so I didn't specifically link it.
Once you choose hope, anything's possible. ~Christopher Reeve
Yes, I totally plotted for Shmi to quote Superman. (Okay, I confess, I went looking for an interesting hope quote for Shmi to share and when I realized that it was Superman, I stole it and utilized it for my own ends without (a lot of) shame.
Chapter 9: Important Meetings (CW)
Dooku looked away from the small stack of datapads on his desk with a sigh. While he’d agreed with Sidious’s plan for the Galaxy, and he’d especially enjoyed his part in events for the most part, the one thing he had not considered was the sheer amount of paperwork that would be generated between running a nation and running a war, and he was heartily sick of both. Turning, he realized there was an incoming transmission from Asajj and he stood, relieved and privately resolving to have a rather pointed discussion with his so-called assistant about some of the things that had crossed his desk lately.
Opening the comm line, he regarded his apprentice for a long moment.
“Greetings, my master,” Asajj said, bowing her head.
“Apprentice,” Dooku said flatly.
“General Skav has captured Anakin Skywalker,” Asajj said, “I have him on my shuttle and we are heading your way.” She hesitated.
“Is there a problem?” Dooku asked.
Asajj looked troubled, “Our genetics testing says it is him, but he is, he does not act like Anakin Skywalker.”
Dooku inclined his head, “I await your arrival then. We shall get to the bottom of this… interesting problem.”
“Yes, my Master,” Asajj said, bowing her head, “we will be there in less than an hour.”
Dooku turned and left his office, whatever messages were left could wait. He had a special guest coming to Serenno, and it would never do to be seen in his work clothes. Not that Ventress would care, but Anakin Skywalker, that was an entirely different matter.
An hour later saw him dressed in a uniform not much different from the one he’d worn on Geonosis, lightsaber on his belt. He stood just inside a windbreaker that would keep his clothes clean, watching as a sleek shuttle landed on the platform. Dooku lifted his chin slightly as the engines shut down and prepared himself for what was about to happen.
The ramp opened and Ventress stepped onto the ramp, nodding slightly as she saw him, then she came down the ramp, turning to watch as two guards stepped out, a tall, blond haired man between them. For a moment, Dooku was convinced that this couldn’t possibly be Skywalker. There was just something, some innate dignity that he’d never seen in Skywalker. Then he blinked as the man came fully onto the ramp, and that was Skywalker all right. That little set to his chin of arrogance, the walk that screamed pride, the power that rolled off him in waves, setting the Force ablaze just by his existence.
Dooku stepped out, tucking his hands behind his back as he walked over, “Apprentice,” he nodded to Asajj.
“Master,” Asajj replied, bowing her head.
“Any troubles?” Dooku asked.
“None,” Asajj said, she glanced at Skywalker, “he’s been quiet.”
“I see,” Dooku said. He turned and walked over to where Skywalker waited between his guards. “Skywalker.”
“Count Dooku,” Skywalker replied. Their eyes met, and Dooku was surprised to realize that there was no recognition in the boy’s eyes.
“Welcome to Serenno,” Dooku said.
Skywalker didn’t look away, “It’s an interesting place. Too bad Obi-Wan’s going to wreck so much of it when he comes for me.”
“You think he will?” Dooku asked.
“Of course,” Skywalker said.
Dooku stared at Skywalker a long moment, then he turned to the guard, “Take him to the third level, put him in room seven.”
Dooku turned and walked over to Asajj, “You did a genetics test?” He asked as the guards took Skywalker away.
“Yes,” Asajj said, “He was too, quiet. Passive. But, the test says that that is Anakin Skywalker.”
Dooku nodded. “We’ll see about that, my dear. You’re welcome to stay, of course, but I will handle this personally.”
“I think I might, for now,” Asajj said, her eyes flickering in the direction Skywalker had been taken in.
Dooku inclined his head, “Then why don’t you come with me and be debriefed and then we’ll discuss what will happen with young Skywalker.”
Obi-Wan closed his eyes and took a deep breath before stepping into the private comm room. Ahsoka was waiting, along with Cody and Rex. And the holograms of Mace Windu and Master Yoda.
“Master Kenobi,” Mace said, “thank you for joining us.”
“My apologies,” Obi-Wan said, he shifted his arm slightly, “I had to stop by medical.”
“Are you all right?” Ahsoka asked.
“Just a graze, I hadn’t realized it got past my armor,” Obi-Wan replied with a reassuring smile. “Nothing a bacta bandage won’t see right in a day or too.”
“Good to hear, now, why was this meeting called? It was at your request,” Mace Windu said.
“Anakin has been captured by Separatist forces,” Obi-Wan said, “we’re chasing them now.”
“And you left your mission.”
“The Separatists retreated as soon as the ship with Anakin went to hyperspace. There are no Separatists there, and Aayla Secura arrived within the hour to secure the planet for us.” Obi-Wan said. He glanced at Ahsoka, and sighed, “Ahsoka, I need you to step outside please.”
“What?” Ahsoka said, “But Master!”
“Outside, please,” Obi-Wan said firmly. “This is Council business.”
Rex moved, putting his arm around Ahsoka, “Come on, Commander. Let’s go. If we need to know, General Kenobi will tell us later.” He gently steered the spluttering Ahsoka out of the room and Cody sealed the door.
“Obi-Wan?” Mace asked.
“Anakin sustained a head injury yesterday,” Obi-Wan said. “Kix examined him and judged it as a minor injury, not even concussion grade. This morning, when Anakin woke up, he was different.”
“Different,” Yoda said.
“He wasn’t Anakin,” Obi-Wan said, he closed his eyes, “He said his name was Luke Skywalker, and given what little he knew, he was almost assuredly Anakin’s son.”
“Anakin’s son,” Windu said.
“I examined him in the force, and Kix did genetic tests. It was Anakin’s body, but the being inside was not Anakin, and it wasn’t malevolent.” Obi-Wan glanced at the holograms, “Cody, Rex, Kix, and I are the only ones who knows. To everyone else, we’re saying that Anakin has retrograde amnesia, that his memories put him before the Battle of Geonosis.”
“And now he is in Dooku’s hands,” Windu said.
“That’s why we’re going after him,” Obi-Wan said. “We were going to come back to Coruscant before the attack happened.”
Windu looked at Yoda, who bowed his head and closed his eyes. “Troubling, this is. Go after him, you must.”
“Yes Master,” Obi-Wan said.
“Then, we shall see,” Yoda said, and then cut his hologram.
Windu looked at Obi-Wan, “Are you sure you want to bring Tano with you? If Skywalker doesn’t know her.”
“Ahsoka Tano will be an asset to this mission,” Obi-Wan said firmly.
“Very well then,” Windu said, “May the Force be with you, Master Kenobi.”
“And with you, Master Windu,” Obi-Wan said.
When the hologram shut down, Obi-Wan looked at Cody, who shook his head slightly, “Commander Tano isn’t going to take being shut out of this lightly, sir.”
“I know,” Obi-Wan said. He sighed, “I’ll take care of it, Cody.”
Cody eyed him a moment and then said, “We could shove her onto the medical transport when we drop out of hyperspace.”
“No, Cody,” Obi-Wan said, though he smiled. He unsealed the door and stepped out, glancing over the bridge as he did so.”
“General,” Admiral Block said, offering him a datapad. “We’ve estimated locations along the hyperspace path chosen by the shuttle.”
Obi-Wan nodded, taking the datapad and skimming over the options. Towards the end of the list, he paused and shook his head, “These, if we knew who had Anakin,” he trailed off. There was one option he very much hoped wasn’t their target. “What do you suggest, Admiral Block?”
“I would suggest we run some algorithms,” Block replied, “and see if there are any that stand out as particular targets.”
Obi-Wan nodded, realizing that Block had realized the specifics of one of those systems. “Put together that list, and coordinate with Admiral Yularen about who’s visiting what system. We’re scouting right now, Admiral. When the time comes to attack, then we’ll do it together.”
“Understood,” Block said with a salute.
Obi-Wan returned the datapad and headed off the bridge. In truth, he’d rather find himself back on Rattatak than go explain to Ahsoka why he’d ordered her out of that meeting.