I can rationalise, justify, even quantify my actions. I can write it off as a favour done to the galaxy, as something that will greatly benefit all peace and freedom-loving creatures known to the Force. I can say anything that will appease my conscience of what I have to do, yet, when I think long and hard about it, I find myself unable to do it.
Someone has to do it.
Yet, my mind argues back, it does not have to be me. I swore an oath not to bring death or destruction upon any living beings. I was made a protector of the innocent, an upholder of justice. Killing him is justice. You've seen firsthand his work. But I don't have to be the one to kill him - it is not the will of the Force.
On and on the endless internal debate rages. On reflection, it's not very controlled of me, a Jedi Knight, to be taken over by such mental squabbling. I should be self-disciplined; I should keep a tight reign on my emotions.
Perhaps that's why you can't think of killing him -
I punch the rock next to me, causing pain to shoot through my fist, and up my arm. It firmly stops the thought from going any further in its process, effectively eliminating it for the time being. I know it is a childish and unrestrained way to stop my thoughts from tormenting me, but it is the only way that works. Use of the Force is never easy when my mind is running its own course of action, and resorting to physical ways to stop it is often the only effective way to do it. I sigh in disbelief of where I have come, from the days of glory.
I sit back down, huddled into the corner of the cave, awaiting my chance to drastically alter the tally of rights and wrongs in the galaxy, and remember the days long gone.
I was known the entire galaxy over as Jedi Knight Liaat Pleck'se. People on planets I was visiting for the first time would come out into the streets, often dirty and dusty, and greet me by name, so widely known was I. They all knew my background and my face from the holos and newsnets coming out of Coruscant. The great Jedi from the Outer-Rim, who had come to right the wrongs of their planets.
It was for this that my name became so widely spread: I was a special envoy from the Jedi Council, adept at solving diplomatic and judicial disputes, all the galaxy over. I became famous not only within the community of Jedi, but with everyday people, on almost all planets throughout the Republic. If there was an imminent war between two independent planets in a system, I would be the one sent to calm things down.
This was not the work of one man, though. Though all of this, the Force had shown me the way to go, the tact to use, which style of negotiation to use with them. I would spend most of the flight to the planet or system in need in meditation, seeking the will of the Force. And it was a very rare time when the will of the Force was not revealed to me, leading to my success and fame.
This little fact quickly spread throughout all of the Jedi at the temple. They knew that I was one of the rarely gifted ones - the way of the Force was seemingly known to me for everything. For this reason, I soon found that once I had mentioned it, numerous Jedi began to come to me more and more often, seeking the way of the Force on something that had not been revealed to them. While this didn't prevent me from taking on any missions set my by the Council, it did somewhat drastically reduce the amount of time I was able to spend training young Jedi at the temple. This prevented me from taking on a Padawan, along with the nature of the tasks I carried out.
The negotiation room was no place for a child, Jedi Padawan or not.
However, when I found the time, I taught some of the Padawans on how to seek the ways of the Force, and I soon became a hit with them. They loved the way I wove simple truths of life and the Force into my lessons, how I could start on an abstract topic that would keep their attention, and then teach them the ways of the Force from that. They often came to me when they felt strange things through the Force, and I became a fatherly figure to a lot of them - with their Jedi Masters as their big brother or sister.
Through this, the family of the Jedi continued to grow for many years, with new additions to the family each standard year. Never in this time, however, did my diplomatic missions decrease in frequency.
Several times each standard month, I would be called upon by the Council, with another mission for me being presented. These would vary from simple cooling-down meetings between two neighbouring systems that were increasing their aggression towards each other, to cease-fire discussions between warring parties, and the negotiations of truces, and surrenders. There were never any negotiations that went in a different direction to the way the Force had shown me. Never was there a summit between systems that I couldn't conclude with haste, if haste was needed. However, if it was drawn-out discussions, with everything being brought onto the table, then that was the way the negotiations went.
In this sense, I became legendary in the Jedi community, and eventually the Republic as a whole. Everywhere, the name Liaat Pleck'se was spoken in almost a reverent tone by people whose planets I visited, for one mission or another. The fame wasn't why I lived, but more something I had learned to put up with. In the streets, I was never attacked. There were attempts made on my life, by crazed denizens whose system was receiving the heavier end of the negotiations, but the citizens on the street from the host planet always contained these trouble makers, doing away with them in one form or another before they got within several meters of me. There was the occasional attempt using a high-powered sniper rifle, but the Force had alerted me to the danger long before it happened, and I spun and deflected the shot with my lightsaber, a chilling stare directed straight to the assassin's eyes.
Yet such action was a rarity in my life, and my line of work.
As the years drew on and on, The Council began to call on me more frequently. Palpatine was beginning to strengthen his position in the Senate, and as more worlds began to realise just what he was planning, they broke away. I was sent almost constantly to planets to solve diplomatic disputes as the planetary rulers tried to separate themselves from Palpatine's New Order. The squabbling of the Senators became a constant sound in my ears.
Yet during these years, I began to find myself more content to be at the temple, teaching the Padawans the way of the Force. However, as I grew older, their fascination with me and my lessons never diminished, and more and more Padawans began to come to me with their problems and feelings. It was a prospect that gave me great joy, being able to help the little children in their knowledge of the Force, in a class and on a personal level.
It became clear to me then, either through the Force, or it finally making sense in my mind, that helping the little children was one of the best things in the galaxy.
I was thirty-seven standard years old when the revelation came to me, and it was then that I swore an oath to the Council to never kill.
It came as a surprise to the other Jedi, but the twelve that made up the Council had seen it coming. An oath was not something to be taken lightly, and all of them had seen me teaching the young Padawans, and had seen the love that had radiated out from me, through the Force. They would often find young Force probes being sent in their directions by over-zealous Padawans in my class, only then to smile as they felt my presence guide the probe away to a different, less important target.
I knew the twelve on the Council well, as they knew me. I was one of the older 'young' Jedi, and they had been the ones that had overseen my trials to become a Jedi Knight. They had watched me grow as a Jedi, and to them I seemed to be a young nephew who had then grown into one of their equals. They knew me well, and for this reason, they understood my oath.
They also knew that I would never go against it.
He needs to be killed.
There is no doubting it, whatsoever. He is a personification of evil, full of the darkness that came from having been seduced by the Dark Side. He has murdered hundreds of thousands, even millions, and the galaxy is crying out for justice. I can feel it through the Force, billions of beings wanting and willing for him to pay for his crimes.
Yet I swore an oath not to kill.
I shake my head, ready to punch the solid rock wall once more. I can't afford to debate it over in my mind any longer. I have to prepare myself for what is going to happen. I cross my legs, let my body relax, and open myself to the Force.
He is here.
I know it the instant I open myself and am completely aware of my surroundings. I know the truth of the statement, as much as I am aware of my own consciousness. I can sense that he is only a few hundred metres from the cave in which I am waiting...
I stop the thought before it can go any further, and finally stand. My forty-three year old body can no longer move the way it used to in its early youth, but it is still in fine physical shape. I have been preparing for this day for years.
The Force has shown me what I have to do.
I walk out of the cave into the open, with the dying sun, having finally dropped below the horizon, still casting its light on the world. The inhabitants don't know that I am here, for a change, so as not to implicate them; to prevent their murder by the one who is seeking me out. I reach into the cloak, and draw my lightsaber handle, leaving it deactivated. The handcrafted shaft fits in my grip perfectly, the way I created it. When I am holding it, it is no longer a lightsaber being held, but an extension of my arm, an extension of my being. I stand tall, close my eyes, and wait for him.
It takes him no longer than a minute to cross the remaining distance between us. He stands scant meters from me, looming in his darkness. Even with my eyes closed, through the Force I can see his outline, and the way the wind currents flow and eddy around him. Finally, I open my eyes.
"Join me, Liaat Pleck'se."
I am silent for several moments. He may take it as a sign of my consideration of the offer, but I have no intention of siding with him. I will not be seduced to the Dark Side. I am a child of the Light.
"You know that will never happen, Vader," I reply, strongly. Silence ensues between us, the only sounds coming from his artificial breathing. I can feel his Force probe trying to enter my mind, but it is shut out so completely, he gives up almost instantly.
"You swore an oath never to kill," Vader counters, trying to find a weakness. He draws his own lightsaber, engaging the ruby blade. I stare right into the eyepieces of his black helmet.
"That's right," I hear myself saying, and instantly the Force shows me what I have to do.
I leap at Vader, activating the orange blade of my lightsaber as I flip mid-air, covering the remaining distance. He attacks first, aiming a slash at my chest, but I move fast and counter the blow a distance out from my body. In a test of strength, he pushes forward, holding the saber blades together, snapping and hissing at each other. I hold my own for a fraction of a second, then aim an immensely powerful Force push at his chest. It catches him with its full brunt, and picks him, up, sending him back meters. He lands on his back, lightsaber in his left hand.
"Very good," he goads in his deep, artificial voice. "Your anger makes you powerful." I laugh.
"Vader, one day you will learn the difference between attacking in anger, and simply using the Force to grant justice to the galaxy."
He flies into an uncontrollable rage, leaping to his feet and rushing at me, saber swinging in a double-handed grip. His rage makes him powerful, as the Dark Side does, however I have always been fast with my lightsaber, and parry every single attack that he makes. This fuels his anger as he finds himself unable to kill me within seconds. His anger increases the brutality of his thrusts, yet the Force flows through me, and I can pick off every one of his rage-driven blows.
In an instant, I feel at peace, and I know that my mission is complete. Through the Force I can feel that what I have been sent to do has been achieved, and I smile at Vader.
"You believe that anger makes you powerful. I've shown you that peace can overcome anything. You believe that I attack you in anger, yet I remain filled with Light.
"You believe that I was sent here to kill you, yet my work is done."
I can feel the confusion and anger roll off him, as he tries to comprehend what I have said. Another of his Force probes attempt to break into my mind, but it encounters the same strong barrier. I look up and see the shuttle fleeing the atmosphere, watching it as it shrinks until I can see it no longer.
They are safe. My work is done.
I hold my lightsaber before me, pointing straight to the stars, as the Force flows through me even stronger. Vader, seeing his opportunity, yet still not understanding, swings his blade horizontally through my body.
I watch as my body falls, my lightsaber with it. I can feel myself floating higher than I have before, as I look down on Vader, eyeing my fallen body for any signs of life. He will find none.
Through the Force, I see the new Jedi potentials from the planet safely guarded by many Jedi on the shuttle, on their way to a hidden location, where they will be trained in the ways of the Force.
My work is done.
Original cover by Jenos. HTML formatting copyright 2002 TheForce.Net LLC.