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by Matthew Stover
p.4 Many among these beings break into tears; many more reach out to comfort their husbands or wives, their crèche-mates or kin-triads, and their younglings of all descriptions, from children to cubs to spawn-fry.
But here is the strange thing: few of the younglings need comfort. It is instead the younglings who offer comfort to their elders. Across the Republic—in words or pheromones, in magnetic pulses, tentacle-braids, or mental telepathy—the message from the younglings is the same: don't worry. It'll be all right.
Anakin and Obi-Wan will be there any minute.
p.21 He could even put aside, for as long as the battle roared around him, the starfire of his love for the woman who waited for him on the world below. The woman whose breath was his only air, whose heartbeat was his only music, whose face was the only beauty his eyes would ever see.
p.36 Obi-Wan shook his head. This was completely impossible. No other pilot would even attempt it. But for Anakin Skywalker, the completely impossible had an eerie was of being merely difficult.
p.39 Whether Obi-Wan's legendary cleverness might beat Anakin's raw power, straight up, no rules, is the subject of schoolyard fistfights, crèche-pool wriggle-matches, and pod-chamber stinkwars across the Republic. These struggles always end, somehow, with the combatants on both sides admitting that it doesn't matter.
Anakin and Obi-Wan would never fight each other.
They're a team. They're the team.
And both of them are sure they always will be.
p.46-47 The blue-scanned image before him now became the miniature of Kenobi and Skywalker as he had seen them so many times before: shoulder-to-shoulder, lightsabers whirling as they enthusiastically dismantled droid after droid after droid.
p.49-50 Jealousy, he understands, and possessiveness: he is fierce when any being encroaches on what is rightfully his.
Intolerance, at the intractability of of the universe, and at the undisciplined lives of its inhabitants: this is his normal state.
Spite is a recreation: he takes considerable pleasure from the suffering of his enemies.
Pride is a virtue in an aristocrat, and the indignation his inalienable right: when any dare to impugn his integrity, his honor, or his rightful place atop the natural hierarchy of authority.
And moral outrage makes perfect sense to him: when the incorrigibility untidy affairs of ordinary beings refuse to conform to the plainly obvious structure of How Society Ought To Be.
He is entirely incapable of caring what any given creature might feel for him. He cares only what that creature might do for him. Or to him.
Very possibly, he is what he is because other beings just aren't very… interesting.
Or even, in a sense, entirely real.
For Dooku, other beings are mostly abstractions simple schematic sketches who fall into two essential categories. The first category is Assets: beings who can be used to serve his various interests. Such as—for most of his life, and to some extent even now—the Jedi, particularly Mace Windu and Yoda, both of whom had regarded him as their friend for so long that it had effectively blinded them to the truth of his activities. And of course—for now – the Trade Federation, and the InterGalactic Banking Clan, the Techno Union, the Corporate Alliance, and the weapon lords of Geonosis. And even the common rabble of the galaxy, who exist largely to provide an audience of sufficient size to do justice to his grandeur.
The other category is Threats. In this second set, he numbers every sentient being he cannot include in the first.
There is no third category.
Someday there may be not even a second; being considered a Threat by Count Dooku is a death sentence. A death sentence he plans to pronounce, for example, on his current allies: the heads of the aforementioned Trade Federation, InterGalactic Banking Clan, Techno Union, and Corporate Alliance, and Geonosian weaponers.
Treachery is the way of the Sith.
p.67 "Surrender." Kenobi's voice deepened into finality. "You will be given no further chance."
Dooku lifted an eyebrow. "Unless one of you happens to be carrying Yoda in his pocket, I hardly think I shall need one.
p.90-91 "Either get the gravity generators calibrated or disable them altogether," he snarled at a blue-scanned image of a cringing Neimoidian engineer. "If this continues, you won't live long enough to be killed by the Republic."
"But, but, but sir—it's really up to the repair droids—"
"And because they are droids, it's useless to threaten them. So I am threatening you. Understand?"
p.101-102 Obi-Wan Kenobi opened his eyes to find himself staring at what he strongly suspected was Anakin's butt.
It looked like Anakin's butt—well, his pants, anyway—though it was thoroughly impossible for Obi-Wan to be certain, since he had never before had the occasion to examine Anakin's butt upside down, which it currently appeared to be, nor from this rather uncomfortably close range.
And how he might have arrived at this angle and this range was entirely baffling.
He said, "Um, have I missed something?"
p.113 "It's the dark side—the shadow of the Force. Our instincts still can't be trusted. Don't you feel it?"
The dark side was the last thing Anakin wanted to think about right now. "Or, you know, it could be that knock on the head," he offered.
p.116-117 "Where is your lightsaber?"
Anakin couldn't look at him. "It's not lost, if that's what you're thinking." This was the truth: Anakin could feel it in the Force, and he knew exactly where it was.
"Where is it, then?
"Can we talk about this later?"
"Without your lightsaber, you may not have a 'later.' "
"I don't need a lecture, okay? How many times have we had this talk?"
"Apparently, one less time than we needed to."
Anakin sighed. Obi-Wan could still make him feel about nine years old. He gave a sullen nod toward one of the droid bodyguards. "He's got it."
"He does? And how did this happen?"
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Hey, he's got yours, too!"
"This weapon is you life, Obi-Wan!" He did a credible-enough Kenobi impression that Palpatine had to smother a snort. "You must take care of it!"
"Perhaps," Obi-Wan said, as the droids clicked the binders onto their wrists and led them all away, "we should talk about this later."
Anakin intoned severely, "Without your lightsaber, you may not have a—"
"All right, all right." The Jedi Master surrendered with a rueful smile. "You win."
Anakin grinned at him. "I'm sorry? What was that?" He couldn't remember the last time he'd won an argument with Obi-Wan. "Could you speak up a little?"
"It's not very Jedi to gloat, Anakin."
"I'm not gloating, Master," he said with a sidelong glance at Palpatine. "I'm just… savoring the moment."
p.122 He said, "We can resolve this situation without further violence. I am willing to accept your surrender."
"I'm sure you are." The skull-mask tilted inquisitively. "Does this preposterous I-will-accept-your-surrender line of yours ever actually work?"
"Sometimes. When it doesn't, people get hurt. Sometimes they die." Obi-Wan's blue-gray eyes met squarely those of yellow behind the mask. "By people, in this case, you should understand that I mean you."
p.119 The Force flows over him and around him as though he has stepped into a crystal-pure waterfall lost in the green coils of a forgotten rainforest; when he opens himself to that sparkling stream it flows into him and through him and out again without the slightest interference from his conscious will. The part of him that calls itself Obi-Wan Kenobi is no more than a ripple, an eddy in the pool into which he endlessly pours.
p.130 As he entered his customized pod, he reflected that he was, for the first time in his career, violating orders: though he was under strict orders to leave the Chancellor unharmed, Palpatine was about to die alongside his precious Jedi.
The Grievous shrugged and sighed. What more could he have done? There was a war on, after all.
And he was sure Lord Sidious would forgive him.
p.260-261 When constructing an effective Jedi trap—as opposed to the sort that results in nothing more than an embarrassingly brief entry in the Temple archives—there are several design features that one should include for the best results.
The first is an irresistible bait. The commanding general of an outlaw nation, personally responsible for billions of deaths across the galaxy, is ideal.
The second is a remote, nearly inaccessible location, one that is easily taken and easily fortified, with a sharply restricted field of action. It should also, ideally, belong to someone else, preferably an enemy; the locations used for Jedi traps never survive the operation unscathed, and many don't survive at all. An excellent choice would be an impoverished desert planet in the Outer Rim, with unwarlike natives, whose few cities are built in a cluster of sinkholes on a vast arid plateau. A city in a sinkhole is virtually a giant kill-jar; once a Jedi flies in, all one need do is seal the lid.
Third, since it is always a good idea to remain well out of reach when plotting against a Jedi's life—on the far side of the galaxy is considered best—one should have a reliable proxy to do the actual murder. The exemplar of a reliable proxy would be, for example, the most prolific living Jedi killer, backed up by a squad of advanced combat droids designed, built, and armed specifically to fight Jedi. Making one's proxy double as the bait is an impressively elegant stroke, if it can be managed, since it ensures that the Jedi victim will voluntarily place himself in contact with the Jedi killer—and will continue to do so even after he realizes the extent of the trap, out of a combination of devotion to duty and a not-entirely-unjustified arrogance.
The forth element of an effective Jedi trap is a massively overwhelming force of combat troops who are willing to burn the whole planet, including themselves if necessary, to ensure that the Jedi in question does not escape.
A textbook example of the ideal Jedi trap is the one that waited on Utapau for Obi-Wan Kenobi.
p.270 Finally he came to a drgonmount with a clear, steady gleam in its round yellow eyes, and small, close-set scales that felt warm and dry. It neither shied back from his hand nor bent submissively to his touch, but only returned his searching gaze with calm, thoughtful intelligence. Through the Force, he felt in the best an unshakable commitment to obedience and care for its rider: an almost Jedi-like devotion to service as the ultimate duty.
This was why Obi-Wan would always prefer a living mount. A speeder is incapable of caring if it crashes.
p.290 "Come on, then, Kenobi! Come for me!" he said. "I have been trained in your Jedi arts by Lord Tyranus himself!"
"Do you mean Count Dooku? What a curious coincidence," Obi-Wan said with a deceptively pleasant smile. "I trained the man who killed him."
p.310 And because of that love now, here, in this instant, Anakin Skywalker has nine words for him that shred his heart, burn its pieces, and feed him its smoking ashes.
p.357 He breathed into the Force a suggestion that these small bobbing spheroids of circuitry and durasteel were actually, contrary to smell and appearance, some unexpected variety of immortally delicious confection sent down from the heavens by the kindly gods of Huge Slimy Cave-Monsters.
NAMES: Puroth, Nystammall, Touarskl, K'Kruhk, Jmmaar, Vandos