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Star Wars: Episode I (rewrite)

Klannad's Avatar

09.06.2012 , 07:58 AM | #21
Jarjar waited with his army in the scorched ruins of a once thriving capital. Burnt corpses of its inhabitants seemed to be everywhere- No matter where Jarjar was, he always saw a reminder of a past life- clothing, a black hand, crisp and hard, separated from its corpse. Darkness crept over the city like a blanket, not from night or a lack of sun, but from the black smoke that rose from the still burning fires.

The Empire had ravaged Iridonia.

And they were returning.

After their minor victory at the low-valley, which the locals called Hash Aban, The Jedi, led by their commander Sifo Dyas, returned to their former camp site beside the valley. After an hour of bombing runs, the Imperial forces discovered that the Mandalorian horde had moved. The Mandalorian forces had spies of their own, inside Imperial ranks, but as in most wars, intelligence and counter-intelligence go hand in hand. As they had learnt of their bombing attack, The Imperials learned of the new location of the Mandalorian army.

So Jarjar waited, led by Jango Fett, with his company for the oncoming battle. Jarjar was young, only eighteen years old, but Jarjar was confident.

And he was ready.

He sat with Jango and fifteen others, each one wearing their full battle armor. Jango sat with a holo-map before him, and Jarjar and the rest of the Mandalorians in the room leaned over to see his directions.

Jango's light brown eyes were visible behind his visor, His voice crisp yet distorted as he described the oncoming battle.

"-BlackSun air support should keep the Imps busy enough. They won't be able to land anymore Walkers. The smoke helps too. Fighting here eliminates the risk of coming under air fire. Which means-" Jango circled the blue perimeter of the ruined city.

"We only have to worry about a ground assault." He finished.

"How many clones does the Empire have?" Jarjar asked, his voice stern yet young.

"Thirty thousand." Jango said without looking up at him.

The room was silent.

Jango rose to his feet, his shadow causing the hologram to glow.

"There is another reason why I gathered you all. Without the rest of our squad." He looked at them all and shook his head and laughed.

"You all look like real Mandalorians. But you're young. Children."

Jarjar opened his mouth to protest, but no sound came out.

"When the battle goes badly, I've made arrangements for each of you. You all need to survive. And keep the Mandalorian spirit alive. This planet will not be our people's grave." Jango said with determination.

Jarjar remembered those words as they were routed by the Empire. He remembered them as he saw Sifo Dyas behead his comrades, loose Jango of his arm and take him prisoner. He remembered When Sifo looked at him with those slanted, yellow eyes, his blue lightsaber shimmering, his long, dark hair waving in his face, partially obscuring his tanned profile.

He locked eyes with the Jedi, and Dyas smiled almost warmly when Jarjar turned to run. And Dyas didn't pursue him, just watched as his clones rounded up the surviving mandalorians.

And murdered them all.


Klannad's Avatar

09.06.2012 , 05:47 PM | #22

Jarjar had led Anakin deep into the Naboo forest. Anakin watched, with wide eyes, as the environment around them slowly seemed to talk over. Massive dropping trees literally blocked out the sky, allowing only bars of light to slIp through their natural shield. The sounds of animals were like a chaotic orchestra- numerous bird calls and growls and chirps scattered throughout the jungle. Anakin saw dozens of insects, all of them of which he had never seen, some of them as massive as his hand.

Throughout the entire journey Jarjar kept silent, save when he directed Anakin to their destination. Anakin had entertained the idea of escaping, but there was no way. Without his force powers, Jarjar outclassed him in strength and in cunning.

He could only wait and see what Jarjar had in store for him. And so they walked, deeper into the darker portions of the jungle-like forest, where the trees grew even bigger and more menacing. As they walked, Anakin spotted something, humanoid in appearance, squatting over a fallen horse-like animal.

"What is that?" He asked quietly, stopping. Jarjar's eyes found Anakin's target, and the young Jedi heard him click his teeth in disgust.

"Gungans. Skark it. I thought we cleared them all out." He said with a grimace.

"We?" Anakin inquired.

Jarjar laughed, roughly prodding Anakin in the back with his pistol as he did so.

Anakin frowned, and began walking. They past the Gungan, who didn't even acknowledge them for a moment.

"You think I would be here all alone?" Jarjar asked. Before Anakin could answer, Jarjar did for him.

"No, I would be far dead. I am here with the Binks. My clan." Jarjar finished, a tint of pride in his voice.

"The Binks?" Anakin asked, genuinely curious.

"Foolish Jedi! The Binks! one of the oldest Mandalorian clan and preserver of Mandalore's honor!" Jarjar hissed.

I knew he was a Mandalorian.. Anakin thought to himself as he walked.

But an entire tribe? here, on Naboo?

Anakin picked up his head and looked at the towering trees. They seemed to go on forever.

"I thought all the Mandalorians were killed." He said simply. Anakin heard Jarjar draw in a sharp breath.

"Most were. The Binks were smart. They had abandoned Stark's War. Other Clans did not. The Fett, the Ordo, The Cosa.." Jarjar trailed off.

"They were all killed." Anakin finished. Jarjar didn't respond.

"So your clan left your fellow Mandalorians to die." Anakin spat.

In no less than three seconds, he was on the ground.

A sharp dagger pointed at his throat. Tugging at his skin.

Begging for blood.

"Watch your mouth, Jedi. We had no choice. It was either that or die. Your Empire gave us no honor. No mercy. The great Jedi Sifo Dyas was no hero, he was a butcher." Jarjar growled. It was silent, and after a few moments, Jarjar released him, and helped Anakin up. Anakin felt a trickle of blood fall from where Jarjar's blade nicked him.

"Sifo Dyas?" Anakin said after they had begun walking again. Jarjar didn't answer him, but whacked him on the side of the head with his pistol.

Anakin got the message.

Sifo Dyas.. Anakin knew Dyas had fought in the war. But he had been a hero in the Empire's eye. He and Yoda had led the Imperial forces to victory. But Anakin knew that after the war, Yoda and Sifo had taken a select few Jedi with them and ventured into the Dark space. No one knew why, Not even Obi-wan. They had been gone for over a decade. Some thought they had died. Anakin had no real love for the two Jedi, but their names seemed to hold power within themselves. Whenever one brought up Sifo Dyas or Yoda, a sense of unspoken awe was suddenly felt.

Will my name ever cause those to feel awe? Anakin wondered.

"We are here." Jarjar said. Anakin had been so absorbed in his thoughts that he hadn't noticed his surroundings. The way the Jungle gradually turned into a misty, sparse bog, with the trees shrinking from massive to barely his height. He looked ahead of himself and saw a wide lake, a thick white smoke covering it.

"Where?" Anakin inquired. Jarjar suddenly violently pushed him into the lake, and before Anakin could recover, jumped in after him, and dragged him deeper and deeper underwater. Anakin inhaled water instead of air as he struggled to get free. Jarjar forced him deeper into the water, pulling him along with strong swimmer's legs. Anakin felt himself attempt one more time to breathe, and his lungs expanded, filled with water that burned.

It was then he lost consciousness.

Klannad's Avatar

09.08.2012 , 10:42 AM | #23
Sorry to have another break on writing... but i have a busy weekend ahead of me. So I won't be able to post until Wednesday...or maybe earlier. Just don't expect anything tomorrow or early monday

Klannad's Avatar

09.10.2012 , 06:21 PM | #24

EMPEROR Finis Valorum woke up with a start, his face beaded with sweat.

Another nightmare. He looked over his shoulder, strands of his long silver hair sliding across his field of vision, and looked at his wife. She was still sound asleep, stirring, but sleeping. He released a silent sigh as he quietly moved from his bed, making sure not to wake her. She needed her sleep now more than ever. The windows of their apartment were darkened, but even then Finis could tell the from the slightly slowed traffic that it was either late night or early morning. He walked into his long-hallway closet, which instantly began generating a light that allowed him to see, but not bright enough to disturb his sleeping spouse. Finis slid his hands across his numerous tunics and robes, before finally settling on a thick, dark brown robe with a heavy hood and a furred collar. He slowly and methodically wrapped the robe around his naked body- which was old, but still toned and strong.

He tip-toed from his dresser and to the door of his room- Lifting up his hand, and calling the gold-plated lightsaber to his open palm. The blade was lifted from his silver stand and floated slowly, and Finis couldn't help but feel a rush of chill as his fingers closed around the ancient hilt. He then commanded the lightsaber to travel up his sleeve, where it was hidden from view, and walked out of his apartment, the heavy durasteel doors moving apart for him.

He was greeted by a low-light hallway, and almost instantly, two red-robed guards stepped into place behind him.

Jedi Lords.

He ignored them, as they were accustomed, and he continued walking to the end of the hall, its walls adorned by stone reliefs of the seven battles of Ruusan. He came to an elevator, and he creeped inside, his two silent guards taking place at both of his sides, their saberstaffs dark among the vermilion robes. Finis clicked his desired destination, and the melancholy company descended in absolute silence. After a few moments, Finis walked from the elevator doors, the heavy boots of his guards plodding like Naboo purebred race beasts. His eyes shifted and narrowed at the sight of the Jedi Temple, which lay directly ahead of his Imperial building.

He had a transport already waiting for him. He walked stiffly, the true cold of Coruscant biting into his skin; they turned off the weather emulation during the night cycles to save credits- Causing Finis to walk briskly as he pulled his robes closer together. As he leaned into his taxi, he noticed his guards also making their way into the transportation vehicle.

"No," Finis rasped, his voice sounded like an animal's claws being dragged over a spiked comb.

"No, tell Alara and the children I went to the temple to speak with Grand Master Windu." He said.

"I won't be needing your protection."

One of the guards piped up, his voice surprisingly young.

"What shall we tell the press and the politicians when morning comes?" He asked as he stepped away from the taxi.

Finis settled in his seat and answered as the doors began to close.

"Have Palpatine deal with them. I shouldn't be long." He said. The Jedi Lord bowed, and said something, but his words were lost in the roar of the taxi as it lifted off. Finis looked down at the fastly shrinking guards, looking like red ants, as the made their way back to his imperial palace. His eyes settled on the Temple, then, and sighed.

He was ready for some good news in these dark times. But, seeing as his jedi delegation had not responded in nearly three days, he knew that bad news lay on his horizon.

Anything but war. He begged as his blue eyes burned.

Anything but war.



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09.11.2012 , 07:55 AM | #25

DARK LORD SIDIOUS Sat atop an abandoned windy weather control tower, his leg lazily dangling off the side of the building, occasionally hitting the smooth fiberglass paneling that walled the tower. Despite the rushing air, his hood remained attached to his head, hiding his features in a veil of darkness. Not even his eyes could be seen, when you looked at Dark Sidious, you never saw his face. You just saw emptiness.

The Sith Lord watched the early morning commuters of Corsucant speed by, from his high position he could see far, for miles and miles, until his vision was obscured by the piling smog and mist. Sidious enjoyed mornings like this, where he could sit in solitude.

And think.

The wheels were turning. All of his expertly placed pawns would soon spring into action, and he would have his prize. He was anxious, however, as all master planners were, that his plan, so close to completion, would be compromised. Count Dooku's report of Maul's attack on the Jedi still troubled him. He never thought Maul a liability, but what was he, truly?

And then there was Tarkin. Sidious swung his leg from over the edge of the tower, and slowly stood, his robes wrapping around his body like a second skin.

Tarkin was too ambitious. He was useful, but the fact he didn't tell Dooku about the Jedi stabbed at Sidious' thoughts even deeper than Maul's actions. He had been too careful, and had been waiting for far too long to be undermined by Tarkin's foolishness. Tarkin would be dead soon enough, however, his existence already wearing out its usefulness. Sidious allowed himself a feeling of relief, then, as he pulled his holo-device from folds between dark robe. He brought the device to the blackness of his hood, and spoke, his voice distorted by dark powers.

"Dooku." Sidious spoke.

Sidious waited a few moments, turning his attention back to the lower portions of Coruscant, until he heard a high-pitched beep, that signaled Dooku's response.

"Yes, Lord?" Dooku inquired, his voice scratched by digital interference.

"It is time we made our first real move in this game. Has the Federation begun landing troops in the designated areas?" Sidious whispered.

"Yes, Lord. Communications have been blocked from Naboo since the blockade began. Their last message was to the Empire, which in turn resulted in the Jedi.." Dooku trailed off.

"The Jedi delegation was a move I should have predicted. You handled the situation well- The Jedi could not have returned to the Empire with the knowledge that the blockade was not breaking. Their silence will no doubt alert the Empire, but at that point, the invasion will already have started. We have cast the first stone." Sidious said.

"Maul is getting anxious. He has not calmed since the Jedi appeared." Dooku reported. Sidious couldn't help but laugh.

"I am not surprised. Have Maul return to Naboo. He will lead the invasion."

Dooku was silent.

"Is there a problem, Count?" Sidious asked.

"No, Lord." The holo-device fizzled out as Sidious cut the communication. The Sith Lord took one more look at the cityscape, and then placed his hands to his head.

It will all come into place.

The Dark Lord vanished.

Klannad's Avatar

09.12.2012 , 04:07 PM | #26
Sorry- wont be able to post today. Tomorrow morning.

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09.14.2012 , 04:27 PM | #27
FINIS VALORUM sat in the high Jedi Council chambers, surrounded by his loyal masters, his emotions blunted and shocked. He looked around the room, First at high master Mace Windu, then to Master Ploo Koon, the two who had delivered the shattering message.

The Jedi delegation has not sent any word of the status of the Federation blockade. It was silent in the Council Room, has it had been for nearly four hours. Finis refused to dismiss them; not until he had a proper bearing on the course that he should do next.

"What does this mean, Master Jedi?" Finis asked, his voice shaken. Ploo and Windu looked at each other, and Windu nodded slightly. Ploo turned his attention to the silver-haired Emperor.

"Emperor Valorum, As I had predicted, I believe the Jedi delegation has been killed. Imperial intelligence has not responded to our inquiries. Either they have been rooted out and killed, which is likely, or the Federation has blocked off all transmissions from the planet."

Finis remained stone-faced, his eyes red and blurred. Mace Windu grimaced as he spoke, "Emperor. Now is the time for strength. You cannot lose your disposition at the knowledge of these events. As we speak, more and more systems leave the Empire. The Trade Federation has even been mounting support in the galactic senate-"

Ploo interjected, his robotic voice matching the deep tone of Mace's. "We lost Hoth and Jabiim this morning."

"After we liberated them from Stark?!" Finis raised his voice, and then put his hands to his head.

"How did it get like this.." He whispered. "What are we...what am I going to do.."

"The tax laws you forced on the Empire have backfired. The Army is dissolved. Even know I sense dissent among the outer-rim planets. And what's more- I am beginning to lose my abilities of foresight. The powers of the Dark Side grow." Ploo said grimly.

"Sith? You believed they have returned?" Finis inquired, his voice seeming to be on the edge of total collapse.

Mace nodded. "It would explain many things. The multiple Systems, mostly in the outer-rim...leaving the Empire. I believe, as does Ploo, that a Master of the dark side is navigating under the shroud of anonymity. The outer-rim is strained to us, Emperor, especially after the Hyperspace War. Many planets still pray for your death while swearing allegiance to the Empire."

Finis removed his hands from his face. His eyes were red and tired, his hair unkempt and haggard. Lines crossed his face, and his shoulders sagged weakly.

"War is inevitable." He said silently. Mace and Ploo nodded in unison. It was silent. The slight noise of traffic was overheard. Mace broke the silence, his voice commanding.

"I believe that Obi-wan and his apprentice are alive. While the shroud of the Dark Side has begun to blind us, I would have felt their deaths-"

"Old War comradeship does not mean you would feel his passing-" Ploo snapped. Mace shook his head.

Mace Windu put his hands on his temples. Obviously Ploo and he had argued about this earlier.

"They are not dead. I am sure of it. Emperor, I implore you to wait until we have received some type of word from Obi-wan, or a confirmation of his death." Ploo shook his head violently, but otherwise remained silent.

"I will talk to Palpatine about this. Master Windu, in absence of Ploo's council, I will have to agree with your opinion." Finis said, some strength returning to his voice.

"Palpatine has been hard at work, defending your honor in the Senate Chambers." Ploo hissed. Finis looked down again.

"He is a strong man." Finis said. Stronger than me.

"Masters, I value your input. I must return to my duties." Finis said brusquely, raising himself from his seat and allowing Ploo and Mace to get up themselves, and bow to him. After the pleasantries, Finis left the Council Room. Ploo's covered eyes narrowed as he saw Finis walk away, flanked by his Jedi Lords, watching until the automatic doors closed with a hiss.

"If he really wants to save the Empire, he needs to step down." Ploo said matter of factually. Mace rested his head on the knuckles of his hands.

"I agree. If only Yoda was here. It seemed he took the best of us when he left." He said.

"You speak of Qui-Gon?"

"No, I speak of Sifo Dyas."

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09.14.2012 , 06:23 PM | #28
PALPATINE sighed as he looked at the floating senators before him. They circled him, like predators, looking for weakness, but to their chagrin, they found none.

Palpatine was older in years, but his resolve and appearance were still strong- Tall, well built, with bright orange hair that was swept to the side of his head. He wore his lightsaber proudly on his belt, showing his opponents that he was not only a political leader, but also a Jedi warrior- a veteran of the Hyperspace War. But even all of this seemed not to calm down the politicians, who were growing more rabid each and every day.

The galaxy was a mess. Palpatine had seen first hand nearly twenty years ago, in the midst of battle- But after victory was reached; the relative peace the Empire had enjoyed seemed more like a death sentence. Systems were leaving the Empire. That much was sure. But it wouldn't take long for one ambitious house or leader to unite these planets under one banner, and wage war with the dying giant.

His bright blue eyes scanned the writhing mass before him- He was silent as they hurled insults and accusations. Some Senators simply begged for a break on Imperial taxes; while others demanded it. He remained still throughout all of this, until he slowly raised up a pale hand, almost glowing in its whiteness.

The senate chambers grew silent. Even his enemies had fallen quiet- They sneered and smiled at each other, waiting for his response to their claims.

Palpatine drew his voice in, and then began to speak, his tongue and mind still quick, his utterances deep and commanding.

"For a thousand years this Empire has stood. From Hoth Valorum, to his descendant, pure in blood, Finis, our Emperor. For a Thousand years the Empire and her Jedi defenders have been a guiding light towards the galaxy- and restorers of peace and justice." Palpatine fell silent, allowing the empty air to be filled with more shouts and abuses.

"For a thousand years your forefathers stood with the Empire, for better or for worse. Their loyalty has not been forgotten. The statues of past leaders of all the Imperial core are found here, on this jewel of the Empire. Coruscant. But you seem to have forgotten Imperial ideals, justice, and comradeship. You come here, threatening to cede from the Empire; asking for reprieve when the Empire has held you for so long- protecting you, feeding you." Palpatine added, his voice silencing scattered remarks.

"And now, in this dire hour, with the Trade Federation making movements that our forefathers would see as only a declaration of war-" Palpatine was broken off by a Trade Federation senator, Lot Dodd, who hovered before the chancellor.

"You dare bring assumptions to this chamber?" Lott Dodd screamed, his bug-eyes bulging.

Palpatine shook his head. "The last transmission we received from Naboo was sent by the Queen herself- asking for Imperial aid. There is proof in this blockade." Palpatine affirmed.

Lott Dodd laughed contemptuously. "Proof? All the proof is found in Imperial greed- This is a halfhearted attempt to claim Trade Federation assets! Can any other system, other than Naboo, claim proof of this blockade?"

Lott Dodd smiled at Palpatine while senators from hundreds of systems claimed they could not. It wasn't until Bail Organa, senator to Alderaan, raised his floating podium that the systems fell silent once more.

"Then answer this, Lott Dodd- why have communications to Naboo fell silent? Naboo is a sister planet to Alderaan, and our ships sent to Naboo have not returned. What is the reason for this, if not a blockade?" Bail spat.

There were murmurs among the senators, and Lott Dodd looked around anxiously. He then found his bearings and fired back.

"Are we really going to take the word from an Imperial lapdog? Is it not true that Alderaan was spared the massive trading tax that crippled almost every outer and mid rim world, while the Empire and its valued planets thrived?!" Lott Dodd smiled again as his supporters chanted his name.

Palpatine frowned deeply. "Enough of this! this has solved nothing but more grief among the systems." He declared.

"Now the great chancellor, forced into a corner, calls an end to this hearing! well, I call an end to the Empire!" He screamed. Thousands of voices screamed in unison then, and a chant began: Down with the Emperor! Down with the Emperor!

Palpatine grimaced and lowered his head. He would not debate this hard-headed fool, where the truth was turned against him and lies were seen as true words.

"End this." He said to his assistant, Mas Amedda. The towering horned alien, with his booming voice, called an end to Senate meeting. As Palpatine floated from circular room, he could still hear the chanting of that name. Lott Dodd.

"Fools. All of them." Palpatine cursed as he stepped out of his hovercraft, which all senators rode while discussing matters in the chambers- Discussing being a loose term in this case.

Mas Amedda nodded. "But It shouldn't be you facing them. It should be the Emperor. Does he know what this sort of thing does to his public image?" The alien's voice was deep and powerful.

"The Emperor is a good man. But he hasn't been the same since the War." Palpatine said sadly.

Mas Amedda grinned, baring his sharp teeth. "Maybe it is time for a New Emperor." He hinted. Palpatine was about to brush him off when a bright light flashed before his eyes- He had a second, only one second, before the bolt hit him, but he was fast, and trained. His lightsaber ignited before him and deflected the laser beam, The old man almost falling over from its force.

"Palpatine!" Amedda screamed. But Palpatine ignored him. He scanned the hallway they were in, ignoring the screaming people and aliens that surrounded them, looking for the shooter. Whoever it was, they had escaped.

"Have the entire sector locked down. This action will not go unpunished." Palpatine said, decommissioning his lightsaber and placing it back on his belt.

Mas Amedda nodded. "And what will you do, sir?"

"I need to talk to the Emperor." Palpatine said darkly.

This has gone far enough.

Klannad's Avatar

09.15.2012 , 04:45 PM | #29
ANAKIN SKYWALKER opened his eyes slowly, a strained effort, his eyelids themselves feeling like one hundred pound weights. As he accepted vision into his life, he was blinded momentarily, until his eyesight leveled-out to a general low light blur. He was cold, and even worse, he was hungry. He tried moving his hands.

They were bound.

He looked around himself, his eyes still blurred, and all he could see were floating orange orbs, each one seemingly different in distance from his position.

"Anakin! you're awake. Try not to move around much."

"Obi-wan?" Anakin asked, his voice uneasy. He felt like he was going to vomit.

"Yes, it's me. We're in somewhat of a situation." Obi-wan said, his voice reassuring as always.

"The Mandalorian..." Anakin began.

"Mandalorians," Obi-wan corrected.

"There's more of them. And they seem to have taken to the idea of selling us." Obi-wan said.

Anakin followed the direction of his master's voice, and strained to look at him, but all he saw was Obi-wan's shifting silhouette.

"My eyes.." Anakin said hopelessly.

"Your eyesight should return to you soon enough. It did for me." Obi-wan affirmed.

"They live underwater." He added.

"Oh, is that why I almost drowned getting here?" Anakin joked. Obi-wan laughed, and that made Anakin feel better.

But only a little.

"Master.. my force.. it's gone." Anakin croaked.

"Anakin.. It's not gone. What you did was amazing. You saved us. You and I. You saved us from the crash." Obi-wan indicated.

"But how?" Anakin asked.

"Somehow.. You must have subconsciously learned the skill that Maul employed to escape danger...except on a much larger scale."

"How is that even possible?" Anakin inquired, his voice now curious.

Before Obi-wan could answer, a brutal voice shattered their conversation.

"Ah. I see you are both awake. Let me explain your situation."

Anakin's eyesight was beginning to clear, and when he looked up to the source of the voice, he saw the face of a dark-skinned man grinning at them through what used to be a clear-bubble like wall.

"You two are going to make me a very rich man." The newcomer chuckled, and then they- Anakin and Obi-wan, suddenly felt the sensation of moving- It was then Anakin realized he was inside one of the orange orbs that he had seen earlier- And he was speeding towards a gigantic cluster of similar orbs, each one different in size.

"They called it Oto Binka." Obi-wan said gruffly.

"I skarking hate Naboo." Anakin cursed bitterly, fighting the urge to void his empty stomach as their orb sped to their shared fate.


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09.16.2012 , 08:02 PM | #30

Wilhuff Tarkin rubbed the temples of his head, looking down at the datapad that was laid before him. With strained eyes he looked over the reports of troops, data, and several other menial statistics that flowed across the well-oiled machine, the Trade Federation. He tried to zone out the voice of Nute Gunray's thick-accented protests. In terms of rank, Wilhuff was directly under Nute Gunray, the Viceroy of the former merchant organization.

"Tarkin! Tarkin!" Nute Gunray roared, his red eyes bulging.

"I've delayed as long as I could. Military action must begin. Maul will be arriving shortly. Maul.. I've been told.. will be leading the invasion forces." Tarkin said, his voice betokening his irritation with the Viceroy.

Nute Gunray fell silent. Green and stubby fingers gripped at his tight collar, and attempted to loosen the expensive cloth from the folds of his flabby neck.
"Then we have no choice.. This is not what I agreed to...But if we refuse..Maul will kill us all..." Gunray whispered.

Tarkin nodded. While he hated the neimoidian, he understood his position almost too well. They had all been played. But Tarkin had another plan up his sleeve. He would act the role of servant.. but only until his chance arose. He would not be made a fool in this period of galactic change.

"Our forces have already landed on the planet in secret locations unknown to the Queen and her forces. They have been unable to send any sort of message to the Empire. The Empire, furthermore, has no substantial military force to send to put pressure on our blockade. It will be a short time until this planet is ours. Then, once we have Naboo, we will be free to consolidate our power while the Empire scrambles and begs for us to end our war." Tarkin told Gunray. The Neimoidian nodded, his attitude different from before, more calm, more at peace.

"But the Jedi.." He began. Tarkin chortled softly.

"The Jedi will not be a problem. We killed the delegation. And if they are foolish enough to send a handful of Jedi to meet our thousands of troops on the battlefield... well, then I welcome the attack."

"But we must still contend with Maul, Dooku, and their master." Gunray knitted his brows together.

"We are both tools, aren't we?" Nute asked, his voice sounding almost like a young child. Tarkin raised his steel eyes and leveled them at Gunray's.

"Yes. Yes we are." He answered.

Nute Gunray laughed softly. "Tarkin... we have been used. But there is a way. I have something. Something that caused the Hyperspace war. The thing that has caused so much death and destruction."

Tarkin eyed Gunray suspiciously.

"What? what do you speak of?" He asked.

Gunray produced a small metallic holo-projector. With the click of a button, the hologram came sputtering to life, casting an ominous red glow on Nute's face.

Tarkin then understood, his shock causing him to laugh nervously.

"Is this your offer of an alliance?" Tarkin asked.

"We are already allied." Nute said.

"No. Against Maul. Dooku."

"You could say that, Tarkin."

Tarkin smiled across the table where he was sitting, his facial expression grotesquely mirrored on Gunray's squished face.