Sins of the Father:
Despite Padmé's worry that she was trapped in some interminable
the formal dinner did finally draw to a close. At his father's
Luke escorted Padmé back to her apartment. Luke was
curious about the scene into which he stumbled, but he thankfully did
ask any questions. Far above Coruscant, the Star Home
the Queen Mother and her children home – and with any luck, they are
on their way back to Hapes Cluster.
Padmé's night was short and mostly sleepless, providing plenty
opportunity for her to pore over every event. The evening was
a success and a failure. She's not particularly surprised.
is definitely a theme when dealing with Anakin.
She knows that she did reach him on some level. Though, that
of openness was more than sufficient to trigger his defensive anger and
comments. He hadn't wanted to admit that he was attracted to her,
just physically, but emotionally. He wanted even less to admit
she reminded him of his homeworld. And so he went on the attack,
her firmly in her place.
In retrospect, she realizes she could have handled certain aspects with
grace. The dress, in particular, wrought as much havoc as
She meant to remind him of a time when he loved her beyond
She succeeded in reminding him he wanted to see what was under the
She also reminded him of a time when he felt powerless and
She sympathizes. Those are not comfortable emotions – she should
Padmé greets the sunrise with a frown, but forces herself out of
She goes about her morning ablutions, all the while dissecting last
She realizes now the grave error she made in assuming that Lord Vader
react in the same manner as Anakin. As much as she knows they are
same man, she also now knows beyond a doubt that they are fundamentally
Lord Vader is much more controlled than Anakin, much clearer in his
Anakin was always guided by his instincts and emotions. Lord
is far more calculating and mercenary.
He is not her Anakin, but he's also not quite a stranger. It's
horrible mixture that confuses and wounds her heart. But she also
stop the hope that Anakin – her Anakin – is in there somewhere.
blushes as she thinks about the kiss they shared. She is
by how desperately she wanted him – and by how much he must have known
He is no longer a young man choosing a path to a life without
During their courtship she was the more experienced partner – though
by much. Now, the tables have most definitely been turned.
is the most powerful man in the galaxy, physically in his prime.
knows he has not lived a chaste life in her absence.
Now dressed, Padmé pushes the thoughts away. She doesn't
to think about Anakin and his conquests. She walks through the
making her way to the veranda. She stands in the doorway watching
and Mehht argue. Padmé marvels at how diabolical it is
evil doesn't visibly tarnish a person's physical body. Assassin
not, Lorian is a handsome man. Taller than Anakin, but more
built, he has blond hair and eyes a brown so deep that they often
black. Lorian is older than Mehht, probably in his early thirties
he has enough self-possession to stand his ground with her.
“Good morning,” Padmé says with a smile that does not reach her
Mehht huffs in Lorian’s direction and then turns her back on him to
Padmé. “Morning,” she replies.
“So,” Padmé says, “do you mind telling me what exactly it was I
arguing about last night with Korto and Orn Free Taa.”
“Did it matter?” Mehht asks wryly.
“Not particularly,” Padmé admits, “but I am curious. For
who claims to feel useless here, you’re doing a very good job of
Mehht snorts derisively. “Trouble,” she says. “I’d like to
them some real trouble. How dare they call Tatooine uncivilized.”
"Mehht," Padmé prompts.
"Okay," Mehht relents. "Her name is Eja Volt and she's a …
Mehht searches for the word. "Courtesan." Mehht
and pointedly avoids looking at Lorian.
Obviously having no problem discussing prostitutes in mixed company, a
smirk curls his lips.
Padmé ignores the subtext between Lorian and Mehht. She
want to know. Shaking her head in confusion, Padmé asks,
did you find her?”
“You were busy with those … Hapans,” Mehht says, her disdain
“So I … poked around.”
“You poked around the Imperial palace during a state dinner?”
asks, more to emphasize the point than for clarification. She is
shocked that Mehht had her own agenda for the evening.
Mehht nods, trying not to look sheepish.
Padmé looks past Mehht to Lorian. “Were you watching her?”
demands. Padmé has made it perfectly clear to Lorian that
expects him to protect Mehht with the same dedication he extends to the
“Always,” he says blandly.
Padmé narrows her gaze. She’d bet money that Lorian is the
son of some snooty aristocratic family from a Core world.
educated, over-indulged, eloquent – when he speaks - and not in line to
a damn thing. Spoiled brat. At least he claims to have been
“And you found Eja Volt hiding behind a potted plant?” Padmé
Mehht won’t meet her gaze. “Not exactly,” she says.
Padmé gives Mehht what Luke and Leia term the look. It’s
known to stop fully trained Jedi dead in their tracks and give a Sith
“They were going to hurt her,” Mehht says vehemently. “I found
in Korto’s office. They used a pair of binders to tie her to a
I had to get her out of there before they came back for her. Orn
Taa claims she owes him money, but he’s been exploiting her for
She’s been a prisoner.”
“And where is she now?” Padmé asks.
“On her way home to Farrfin,” Mehht says. “I arranged for her to
a ride on the medical transports headed for the Abhean refugee crisis.”
Padmé stares at Mehht blankly for a moment. “You arranged
this last night?”
Padmé looks at her friend. “I doubt you’ll take this as a
she says, “but your talents are wasted on Tatooine.”
Mehht crosses her arms over her chest frowning – obviously not taking
statement as a complement.
Padmé sighs. “Now we just have to hope that Orn Free Taa
find her again.”
“He won’t,” Lorian says.
Mehht and Padmé both turn to look at him. “How can you be
sure?” Padmé asks.
“Because he’s dead,” Lorian says flatly, like he’s reading the weather
“Dead?” Padmé asks. She doesn’t grieve for Orn Free Taa,
his death is a shock. He was drunk last night, and reckless, but
certainly didn’t appear to be at death’s door.
Lorian nods. “He was executed.”
Padmé stands in stunned silence. “Anakin,” she says softly.
Lorian meets her gaze and gives her a small nod. There is a
an intensity that is usually lacking in his demeanor. His
easily conveys his approval of Anakin’s actions. “Slavery is
forbidden in the Empire,” Lorian says. “Any sentient species –
Farghul like Eja Volt – are protected. It was an egregious
of Imperial mandate and for someone of Orn Free Taa's political
there was no way the Emperor could allow it to stand.”
“Mistress Padmé, Mistress Padmé,” Threepio says, hurrying
“Yes, Threepio,” Padmé says, glad for the distraction.
“Mistress Padmé, this was just delivered by Imperial
He hands Padmé a small white box about the size of a holocron.
Padmé studies the box for a moment, but does not open it.
you, Threepio,” she says. “That will be all.” She has
over the years that subtlety does not work on the well-meaning protocol
and right now, she does not want him to linger.
Padmé thinks the galaxy is undoubtedly a better place without
Free Taa, but she is not pleased that his blood is on Anakin’s
She’s not shocked. She had wondered last night how much of her
with Taa Anakin had heard. Obviously, he heard enough to know
Taa was demanding they return a woman he viewed as a possession.
Slavery is the one human rights abuse that Anakin will not abide.
suffered the absolute indignity of being owned by another person – of
his mother owned by another person – Anakin has zero tolerance.
always, his retribution is swift and brutal.
One look at Bail's face and Padmé knows that he's already heard
Taa's execution. Padmé gives him a wry look. "I
it's all over HoloNet," she says.
Bail nods grimly. "Your confrontation isn't," he says. "Not
there isn't talk."
Padmé shrugs out of her cloak and takes a seat at the ODP
room table. Bail was at the dinner last night. She doesn't
if he actually heard any of her argument with Taa, but there were more
enough witnesses. She wonders just how badly the real story has
twisted. "Taa had a Farghul consort he was keeping prisoner," she
"Mehht liberated her. Taa wasn't happy."
"I heard Taa insulted you and the Emperor choked him," Bail says flatly.
Padmé winces. "That's the correct sequence of events," she
"But I'm not sure it was necessarily cause and effect."
Bail looks unconvinced, but he has never had much interest in gossip
he generally respects Padmé's privacy. The rest of the day
spent enmeshed in the work that the former ODP office should have been
but obviously wasn't. Padmé is grateful for the
and throws herself wholeheartedly into the cause. As tedious as
is sorting through the paperwork, Padmé is fairly certain that
former ODP administrator – and companion of Orn Free Taa – Korsa Dae,
diverting Imperial funds. Padmé just needs to figure out
Bail leaves shortly before lunch. There's a vote on the Senate
that he cannot miss. Mehht is pacing around the room, itching to
down some information broker by the name of Karrde. Apparently
Volt gave Mehht the names of other people in situations similar to hers
Mehht is determined to help them. For reasons on which
is not entirely clear, Mehht believes that Karrde is the key.
"Come on," Mehht cajoles. "We can find him."
Padmé sighs. She can think of at least a hundred tortures
would rather endure than bouncing from low-rent tapcaf to low-rent
in pursuit of a shadow. Truth be told, it isn't so much the
of the exercise that she dreads as it is potentially being recognized
public. She hates to admit that. It feels so petty.
are in distress and need help, but she cannot bear the thought of
herself up to public ridicule. Last night's wounds are too fresh
she doesn't wish to give the HoloNet reporters fresh fodder for the
"I'll com Luke," Padmé says, more to Lorian than to Mehht.
if he comes to babysit me you can escort Mehht."
Mehht looks pleased, positively giddy at the idea of saving more
souls. Lorian seems significantly less enthused.
Padmé contacts Luke via comlink. He sounds distracted and
far more terse than usual, but he agrees to come to the ODP offices as
as possible. It's more than an hour before he arrives, dressed in
flight suit, a bag thrown over his shoulder.
"I didn't know you were going somewhere," Padmé says.
"I'm not," Luke replies brusquely. At Padmé's wounded
he relents. "I'm sorry," he says. "Just let me
Apparently satisfied by Luke's arrival, Lorian has to hurry to keep up
Mehht as she charges out the door and toward the turbolift.
envies Mehht her enthusiasm. She clearly remembers feeling so driven to
Padmé sits at the conference room table, waiting on Luke.
been through Korsa Dae’s computer terminal and found little of
It’s neat, too neat. Padmé is certain there is something
She makes a mental note to ask Anakin about slicers. Surely a
slicer could find whatever it was Korsa Dae was hiding.
Luke steps out of the ‘fresher dressed in a simple white shirt and
pants. He wears a utility belt to which his lightsaber is clipped
carries the bag in his left hand.
Padmé doesn’t waste any time. “Where were you heading?”
Luke sighs, running his empty hand through his hair. “I need to
with Father,” he says. “You should be there.”
Padmé stands, her expression serious. “Luke, is everything
He nods, but the nervous energy doesn’t dissipate. “I’ve been
to find the right time to … “ He trails off. “There is no
time,” he says firmly. “Are you free now?”
“Of course,” she replies, following him as he heads for the door.
With a wave of his hand, Luke sends away the porter that meets them at
Imperial palace’s grand entrance. Luke is obviously more familiar
the sprawling complex than Padmé and does not need a
The short trip to the palace was made in silence. Luke’s features
set, his jaw muscles clenched tightly. The last time she saw him
such turmoil, he asked her to return to Coruscant.
Given that Luke doesn’t ask anyone about his father’s whereabouts,
assumes he must be able to locate him through the Force. In short
Luke and Padmé enter a cavernous room in the palace’s upper
The room is all gleaming black surfaces and holoprojectors. No
this is the room from which Lord Vader directs the Empire’s war machine.
Anakin looks up at their entrance. He’s speaking with two of his
There are three other military personnel in the room. Leia leans
the far wall, a booted foot braced against the wall, arms crossed over
chest. She gives Luke a smile that borders on cruel and makes a
noise. “Little brother,” she says, shaking her head.
Luke ignores her, stopping in the center of the room. He clasps
hands behind his back, head held high as he waits for his father to
Padmé, too, ignores her daughter’s behavior despite how much it
her. As small children, Luke and Leia were always rivals, though
some point Luke ceased his end of the rivalry. Padmé
understand it. She doesn’t know if it’s part and parcel of being
twin. As the elder child and her father’s favorite, Leia has
been heir apparent. But there’s no denying that Leia obviously
threatened by Luke, Anakin’s only son. Despite the fact that Luke
never shown any interest in following in his father’s footsteps.
Padmé wishes that the twins were closer, that Leia could
her bond with her brother. Whether Leia realizes it or not it’s a
that she can be so distant, so competitive. Luke and Leia have
loving – if not united – parents to hold them together. If
ever happened to Padmé and Anakin, they would be all each other
in the galaxy.
Anakin finishes with his generals and sends them and the rest of the
personnel from the room with a gesture. He looks at Luke, his
“You impounded my ship,” Luke says evenly.
“Yes,” Anakin replies, “and I made it clear that anyone helping you
Coruscant without my express permission would pay dearly.”
Anakin crosses the room to where Padmé and Luke stand.
pushes off the wall and comes closer, but still maintains a good deal
distance. Anakin makes a slow circuit around his son. Luke
his eyes straight ahead. When he is once again directly in front
Luke, Anakin says, “You’re going to tell me where it is you’ve been
Luke swallows thickly. “I didn’t realize I was grounded,” he
his tone more flip than is probably prudent.
“You weren’t,” Anakin replies. “Until you made it evident that
were hiding something.”
“You will tell me,” Anakin vows quietly.
“Luke,” Padmé pleads softly.
Luke’s eyes focus on her and he sighs deeply. He looks back to
father, his features resigned. “Oovo IV,” he says.
Anakin’s features instantly harden.
Padmé’s brow creases. “What is Oovo IV?” she asks.
“An asteroid in the Outer Rim,” Anakin answers before Luke has the
He looks at Padmé, trying to determine if she is involved in
“It houses a detention center, Desolation Alley. It’s where
are sent to be forgotten.”
Padmé steps closer to Luke, her expression beseeching.
were you doing there?” she asks in bewilderment.
“Yes, my son,” Anakin says darkly. “What were you doing
His look gives the impression that he already has a very good idea of
Luke was doing there.
Luke takes a deep breath. “I went there to speak with Master
The name has barely cleared Luke’s lips before he’s sprawled backwards
the gleaming black floor, mouth bloody. Padmé’s attention
snaps to Anakin. He stands there, breathing hard, body shaking
rage, his right hand still extended from backhanding Luke as hard as he
Padmé starts to take the few steps to her son, but Luke holds up
hand, stopping her. Slowly, he pushes himself to his feet.
wipes the blood from his mouth with the back of his hand and regards
father with sadness – but not shock.
“Get out of my sight,” Anakin seethes.
Luke’s only response is to bow to his father. He shoots
one last look before he turns to leave. There is something in his
something that keeps her from going to him. She understands that
this moment, he needs to be a man, not his mother’s son. As much
it wounds her, she stands her ground. She watches him go, her
and mind in turmoil.
Padmé turns back to Anakin. In light of what just
it’s difficult to focus, but she forces herself to bury the tumultuous
if only for a moment. This is – if not all, then at least a large
of – why Luke asked her to return to Coruscant and why he asked her to
him this afternoon. She knows he does not wish her to intervene
Anakin on his own behalf, but the same cannot be said for Obi-Wan.
“Obi-Wan is still alive?” she demands.
Anakin doesn’t bother responding, his only answer an ugly sneer.
“Anakin, he was your mentor, your friend –“
“Your lover?” he accuses, his features a twisted mask of
She stops, looking at him. “You know that isn’t true,” she says
She hopes, she prays that some part of him does actually know
true. She wonders what stories he’s told himself over the
She knows him. She knows he’s twisted the events in his own mind,
the truth so that he is the righteous man, not the villain.
Anakin doesn’t bother responding. He paces around the room, hands
behind his back. His vision lands on Leia. “Out,” he snaps.
Leia wastes no time heading for the door.
When they are finally alone, Padmé says, “I thought Obi-Wan was
For a moment, she doesn’t think Anakin is going to reply, but he
says, “Death would have been too good for him. I wanted him to
Alone. I wanted to take everything from him the way he took
Padmé shakes her head wondering if he truly has gone
“What did he take from you, Anakin?” she asks softly. “Obi-Wan
Anakin spins to face her, his features contorted with rage. “He
took you!” he roars.
The words echo in the enormous space. Anakin is almost shaking
fury, his jaw muscles clenched tightly, nostrils flared.
Padmé doesn’t try to stop the tears that course down her
Slowly, she steps closer, like Anakin is some barely domesticated beast
will lash out at any moment. Deliberately, she raises her hand
presses it to his cheek. He flinches, but does not pull away.
“I have always been yours, Anakin,” she says softly. “Even when I
myself for it.”
She turns to go, leaving him standing in the middle of his war room.
Feedback to indie
On to next
Back to previous
Back to Story
Back to Ouroboros main page
Back to indiefic.com main page