Anidala: The Asylum (A Halloween Tale)
There was an explosion, from out of nowhere. Padme was stunned. gasping for breath, she blinked to get her surroundings, but all she could feel was air blowing all around, like she was falling. Wind whipped around her. Where was she? What was happening. An alarm was going off around her as she felt her body falling.
"EMERGENCY!!!" a voice called out "Your ship has disintegrated!"
"WHERE AM I?" Padme shouted above the whipping wind
"You're falling, Senator!! We are trying to get to you! I need to call in the Rescue ship but you have to tell me the coordinates of their base!"
"Coordinates...What?" Padme looked around in a panic.
"The Troops, Senator! WHERE ARE THOSE TROOPS!?" The voice demanded "I cannot call in a ship to rescue you until you give me their coordinates!!"
Padme was spinning, spinning with air whipping around her. There was light and darkness as she fell. Was it day? Night? How much time did she have before she crashed into the ground? The wind was so intense, she could not turn to see the ground coming up to her. Falling for long seconds, she screamed helplessly.
"We can save you, Senator Amidala!" The voice reiterated "But I need to call in a rescue ship! Give me the coordinates of where your troops are hiding!"
"I can't!!" she yelled above the wind, terrified
"WHERE ARE THOSE TROOPS!? WHERE ARE THEY POSITIONED!?"
"I CAAAAAN'T!!!" She screamed. Padme fainted as the spinning and falling shocked her into unconsciousness.
The spinning stopped, and room lights came up. Padme had been strapped into a large chair under a spinning hypnotic device that tried to open her mind to devious suggestions and scenarios. The droid guards shook their heads as the humans in lab coats observed and studied. The leader of the scientists, whose booming voice tried to break the young Senator, was an older man with a charismatic, maddening face.
"Dr. Heinfroth" an assistant sighed "She has resisted the chair for the third time. Count Dooku will want to know these results!"
Heinfroth, the mad scientist shrugged in his bright smock "We still have three days before the big offensive. She will rest for now. Take her to her cell for a 6 hour break. We will try again. 4th time might crack her brave little mind!"
Dr. Heinfroth leaned close to Padme as she murmured from the nightmare "All things in good time!"
Padme had been a prisoner now for several days, though she had lost all track of time and her senses. Kidnapped while on a mission ahead of Anakin's attack force, she lay dormant in a top secret facility housing the criminally insane and the deranged, the war weary and those who had simply been disposed of by societies from across the galaxy. Dooku's influence on the Asylum made it quite useful as a place of interrogation, psychological war, and torture.
Dooku was utterly pleased when he learned of Padme's capture, and needed to extract the vital intel on Anakin's invasion force. Where were they hiding, and when would they strike? He had to break the Senator's will to find and destroy the impetuous Jedi and his clone abominations.
But Padme's love and loyalties were strong, for the moment. She slowly woke up, but then stared at the white walls around her. "Where am I?" she whispered. She had been kept delirious for several days to disorient her. She lay in a plain white bed. A white table was next to it with a white mask. She stared at the mask curiously. It was a plain expression, and she wondered what its purpose could be. She got out of bed, holding the mask. She saw that the door was left ajar to the room, which put her on alert. Her heart raced a little at all the unknown factors.
Padme withheld the urge to run, but crept to the door and peaked out into the white padded hallway. There were four or five other individuals out in the hall. They were dressed in white with masks on, aimlessly staring at walls or down the hall at nothing. Padme exited the room and looked at them. Two of the masked figures simply stared in her direction without moving.
"Hello?" she called out weakly. It was a disturbing sight to see the plain faced masks staring at her, unmoving and silent. "Where am I?" Their silence unnerved her, but also frustrated her. Through all her fatigue, she remembered she was a Senator and a former Queen. Without hesitating, she marched up to one of the figures and pulled the mask away.
The sight of the man's face startled her, revealing a creepy stare that did not react. He was a clone trooper, but he stared ahead, drool from his mouth his only response to anything. She dropped the mask and stepped back, a little horrified. "Soldier? Can you hear me, soldier?"
She surmised that the Clone trooper was perhaps a wandering medical patient. She noticed a dark purple surgical mark next to one of his eyes. She waved her hand in front of his face, but he remained blank. "What is this place!?"
"He's been lobotomized" a voice crept up behind her. It was a clone voice, but it startled her. She almost gasped loudly as she quickly turned to face the voice. "It's all right. I'm not going to hurt you" he reassured. The figure was in a white gown and mask like the others "I'm sorry if I didn't speak up right away. I wasn't sure if you were....dangerous"
"Where am I?" she demanded "What unit are you with?"
The figure lifted his mask. The clone tried to calm her down, and his clean shaven face did help her relax a little. "It's okay, but you need to stay calm. If you get hysterical, the staff will be alerted, and they will subdue you." He waited until her breathing slowed down, but he saw that she had tired circles around her eyes, and a panic just below the surface. "Come on, we need to go back into your room." He motioned for her to go back inside her room. He checked the hall in both directions before closing the door.
"I'm Senator Amidala, I have to get out of here! I need to rejoin my unit-"
"Slow down. We can talk easy for now. The Orderlies won't come around for another 4 hours. My name is CT-0660."
She sighed with some relief "Soldier, what is this place?"
"You're in a medical facility, the Heinfroth Consortium."
"We have to get out of here and get to Coruscant!" Padme regained some of her senses to have her commanding personality take charge.
Ct-0660 blinked "Well, that's easy enough. We're already ON Coruscant! The facility is designed to house GAR troops and other Republic forces who need....well, rest and time to heal."
Padme almost smiled with greater relief "Then let's go! We need to leave now!"
"I have to contact my unit and the troops led by Ana-....General Skywalker!"
"Well, you don't need to. You should slow down" he tried to calm her "Your ship was blasted out of the sky over Umbara, and you were falling. General Skywalker already rescued you and brought you here." Padme blinked again, confused. 0660 smiled and relaxed as he sat at the foot of her bed "You've been healing from your injuries for three weeks now. However, since you seem to be bouncing up and ready to jump back into the fight, maybe I can go get Dr. Heinfroth. He'll be relieved to know you are feeling better."
"Where is he? Let's go!"
CT-0660 gently pressed her shoulders to sit on the bed as he got up. "We can contact General Skywalker to let him know of your full recovery."
"Of Course!" Padme's heart leaped for joy.
"I'll just need the coordinates to locate his fleet. You know where he is, I assume?" CT-0660 offered
"Well he's-" Padme stopped, her instincts kicked in "Well, if it's been three weeks, the he's won the assault already! He should be right here on Coruscant."
The Clone grew a little frustrated "Well, he's not here, right now. He stayed with his fleet in their original location. Tell me where they are, and I can find them for you."
Padme looked at him quizzically "What are you talking about? How do you know he's not here?"
He realized she was coming to her senses too well, and he hesitated. Padme stared at him, realizing that all was suddenly not as it seemed "What's going on? WHERE ARE WE!? What IS this place??"
He smiled and giggled. She felt a chill as he stared at her in madness before putting his mask on and running out the door. He cackled down the hall way. "Wait!" She ran to the door, jumping into the hall. She caught a glimpse of him ducking around a corner. She ran down the hall and turned the corner, but he was now immersed in a crowd of masked figures swaying and moving about with no direction or purpose. The sight horrified her as the blank masked people all made gibbering noises and woeful cries. She suddenly felt vulnerable without the mask that she had left in her room, so she grabbed one off a random man. It was another clone, only he shrieked as she stole the mask from his face.
The man shrieked but stood still. Padme placed the mask over her face to blend in as she tried to catch up with CT-0660 as he taunted her from within the crowded hallway. His cackling and taunts almost echoed through the hallway "I'll be waiting in HELL for you! Count Dooku, I'm Coming!!! This whole karking clone army is going to DIE!!!" he laughed as he voice trailed further away. Padme felt despair at his madness.
"I am a secret droid the Separatist army!! I tricked you! We're all coming to get you, Senator Amidala!!" he started to sing from afar "Sarge and my unit went away, Count Dooku made you paaaaaayyyy....."
Padme stopped followed as she heard another commotion behind her. Two large burly figures with the plain masks, began beating up the Clone that was demasked. They barked about the rules, about how everyone at Heinfroth Asylum was to have their masks on at all times. The inmate screamed as they beat him up with stun clubs and dragged him away. Padme stifled her scream at the horror, realizing not only that she was trapped in an asylum, but that there was no way to know who was friend or foe. No one could be trusted. She panicked for a few seconds, running down the opposite way. She shoved patients away to clear a path, the screams and cries of the inmates from all over the facility.
She made her way down winding paths and maze like corridors to find an exit. Most doors she came across were locked cell doors, and there were more patients in masks, but she began to see females, aliens and people of all shapes and sizes, though she avoided the large ones that watched her briefly as she moved by.
She saw a set of double doors that would swing open, and she barged through. The screams and cries began to riddle her already fatigued mind with anxiety. She entered an open courtyard that seemed to be in the center of the facility. It was night, at least from what she could tell as she looked up at the starry sky above. It was foggy and she could not decipher any particular constellation that might confirm or deny she was on Coruscant as the crazy soldier had said.
The garden was twisted, with haunted shapes, trees and bushes that suggested almost humanoid likeness. She spied two females inmates. They stood together, holding hands, also wearing the creepy masks. Padme walked a couple steps towards them, in the vain hope that they could be sane, or perhaps fellow prisoners of this madhouse.
"Can you help me?" she whispered. "I need to get out of here!" One of the females turned to her slowly, but stayed silent. Padme took her mask off and approached "I am Senator Padme Amidala, and I need to find a way out of here to...."
The female took off her mask. Padme's face went pale with horror. The inmate wore a face that looked like hers. "Maybe I can help you" the young woman smiled "I am Senator Amidala also!"
Padme almost wanted to curl her face into disgust. She turned to the other young female and ripped the masked off. The 2nd inmate had the dark circles under her eyes, and the surgical marks of having been lobotomized. She stared ahead. The first girl gave a smile, dainty laugh "I'll call the Senate and we shall WIN the war!"
"You're not SEnator Amidala" Padme curled her face in anger, twisting her tired eyes and mouth "I AM SENATOR AMIDALA!!!! I AM PADME AMIDALA!!!"
The girl laughed. Padme rushed away to deeper parts of the garden. More females were seen standing around. This time, without masks. Some were even dressed in regal robes and pretty dresses. All of them had been surgically altered to look like Padme Amidala. Twisted charicatures of her likeness and beauty. They were pretty, but pale and demented, in thick makeup and dresses. They saw her, and those that were not lobotomized Amidala dolls started to squeak, sing, or make proclamations.
"I AM SENATOR AMIDALA!" one shouted
"No, I am Senator Amidala!" a second one insisted.
"I Demand we form a committee to solve this!" one tried to sound civilized.
"Democracy is our only hope!" a third one giggled
"SHUT UP!!!! SHUT UP!!!" Padme screamed "WHO ARE YOU!!?? WHOOOOO ARE YOU!!??"
As she felt she was on the verge of a psychotic break down, a calm male voice interjected. "They are all a part of you, Senator. Oh, you are the real Senator Amidala, but they came from you!" Padme turned and faced Dr. Heinfroth, a man of some handsome qualities, but a demented man nevertheless. "They suffer from an Amidalan complex, thanks to you. You have been a forceful personality, and many women wanted to be you. So much so that their fragile minds finally killed what little personality they ever had.....just so they could become the great Senator Padme Amidala!"
"What is this madness!? Why am I here!!??" Padme demanded.
Heinfroth sniffed with arrogance at her attempt to question him "You are here because YOU are the true horror that plagues this war! Your hubris to think you have the right to dictate to the Republic how it should be run has brought this Republic to ruin! Look at these women. LOOK AT THEM!!!"
Padme took a step back from his rant. His face contorted for a second, but hid behind his civilized face "You made these women. Hundreds of them caved to the madness you induced, burned their own faces and minds with the fire of your poisonous personality! You've destroyed them until they became what they wanted the most!! They are monsters imitating a monster! Well now I will avenge them all! I will destroy YOUR mind, Senator!" he stepped forward with a crazed smile.
"You're INSANE!!" she backed away, bumping into several more imitation Amidalas. "I'll find a way to escape! I can crawl up outside from here!"
Heinfroth smiled and snapped his fingers. The darkness from the 'sky' above suddenly became a brightness of bulb fueled lights. She squinted from the heat and brightness of lights from a very high ceiling. The sky and stars, she realized, were a clever trick. She was still inside the asylum. "We control the day and night here. We control the seasons! We control you. And I will break you, putting an end your madness. But not before I can serve Count Dooku in one final way.....TAKE HER!"
The inmates grabbed her. Padme shrieked at seeing the demented faces, all like hers and yet not like her at all. Their glaring faces became painted blurs, copycats that were in melted makeup and ragged outfits. She fainted as the Charadical army clutched her, trying to usurp her, each hoping to claim to be the true Senator in their own hollow minds. Everything went black.
Padme felt the explosion again, the bright lights, the burst of air. She was paralyzed, falling again.
"HELP ME!!!" she cried out in terror, spinning in bright and dark blindness, unable to regain her senses.
"I can save you, Senator" Heinfroth called out as she was spun in the hypnotic chair "You're falling! 5,000 feet until you hit the ground, but I can call out to General Skywalker's forces to rescue you!"
"ANAKIN!!!!" she called out.
"Give me the coordinates of the Republic fleet!"
"NO! This isn't real!"
"I cannot save you until you give me the coordinates to the fleet!!"
"THIS ISN'T REAL!!!" She was on the verge of cracking, but she held on, trying to remember the asylum, the garden, the inmates, the blurring masks that laughed and cried around her.
"3,000 feet! YOU'RE GOING TO DIE!!! Tell me the location of the Republic fleet and I will save your mind from the horror! I can save you from the crushing death!!"
"NO!!! NONE OF THIS IS REAL!!!" She screamed in terror. Her mind was spinning, the lights and shadows terrorizing her senses. She was strapped in the chair, but the paralysis of being held down was disorienting, and she almost could not tell if she were falling or if she were being tormented.
Another explosion suddenly rocked the asylum, shaking her up, but also Heinfroth and his staff. "We're under attack!!" an orderly screamed. Clone troops made their way down the halls, going room to room. Rex blasted the thuggish masked guards as he led troops through the demented halls.
CT-0660 confronted him with a snarl and foaming mouth. "Stand down, soldier! We're here to rescue you!" Rex tried to order him.
But the mad clone was too far gone into dark fantasy. "I am a droid!! I was remade by Dooku! ROGER ROGER!!" He lunged at Rex, who ended him the way any merciful person would to a maddened animal. CT-0660 did not die right away after being blasted, but laughed at the clone troopers as if he were ultimately victorious against them. Some of the troops cringed a little at his laugh.
"Poor guy" Rex sighed "The war must have snapped his mind, or maybe some torture by these Separatist scum!"
Anakin stepped into view "We will have to kill anyone that attacks us. They're too far gone! But I can sense the Senator in the next room!" Anakin tried to hide his anger and revulsion at the conditions of the Asylum. It was the torment felt by Padme that drove him to obsession to find her. He even disobeyed direct orders by the Chancellor and Master Kenobi to get here. But the dreams of Padme's torment were vivid, driving him to a kind of madness that she experienced as Heinfroth's prisoner.
Anakin's face darkened with anger and joy as he found Padme and Heinfroth in the hypno room. He waved his hand and freed her from the restraints. He glared at the madman with his own dark gaze "You're going to pay for this!" He walked up to Padme and carried her in his arms. She was unconscious, but he could sense that her mind was finally at peace being close to him. She moved an arm to hold him as she slept.
"Get in the chair" he commanded. Heinfroth's mind glazed over and he obeyed. But the mad doctor played one final card "No doubt you want to interrogate me. I am a valuable prisoner of war. I can give you all our troop strength on every planet in the system! Command me on the chair..." Heinfroth lay in the chair as the machine continued to spin and disorient him "I need to be commanded, Jedi....otherwise the machine will empty my mind without the suggestions!"
"I need you to give a message to Count Dooku....." Anakin waved his hand to make the chair spin faster. The machine began to twist Heinfroth's mind, warping his senses until he felt himself falling, falling into a maw of endless night.
"What message....WHAT MESSAGE SHALL I GIVE TO DOOKU???" Heinfroth waited, but there was no command from Anakin "WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO TELL DOOKU!!!??" he begged as the machine warped faster and faster, spinning his mind into emptiness, the horrible black void of a living death without purpose.
Anakin smiled darkly "I have nothing for you to say. You will be the message." Anakin walked away as the machine spun Heinfroth into a shrieking oblivion, his hideous laughter echoing into the farthest reaches of the asylum, and the innermost despair of his dead mind.