Qui-Gon stood, his arms behind his back staring blindly at the thick Coruscant traffic that always traveled in perfect lines. Any deviation from those lines would bring disaster.
Disaster. If he was correct (and he knew he was), and his attacker on Tatooine was Sith, then a disaster was inevitable--yet the council sat in their tower denying the truth. Couldn't they see the Republic was in turmoil? Or were they deliberately ignoring it? He didn't know anymore.
It sometimes seemed he didn't know anything. There were always more questions without answers these days. Could the Jedi continue to defend the ideals of the Republic when the Republic senators ignored them? Over the years, he'd watched the senate grow more quagmired in bureaucracy and self interest. The better good of the Republic was a distant second place--if it was even in the running anymore.
He sighed as he remembered the brief, but intense fight with the fiery warrior. It had been close--closer than he cared to think about. The warrior was well trained and strong in the Darkside.
There was no question in Qui-Gon's mind, the warrior was Sith. There had been vague rumors and whispers of a growing interest in the Sith over the years, but nothing had been done to really investigate if there was more to that interest than a few misguided individuals. It was as if the council somehow believed that by ignoring the problem it would go away.
"It won't go away," a deep voice said from behind him. "Hello, my young Padawan. Once again your thoughts are so deep that anyone can sneak up on you."
"Master," Qui-Gon said with a smile as he turned. "It is good to see you again."
Dooku bowed his head. "It has been too long my friend. Much too long. But I see that nothing here has changed. Once again you have stirred up the council."
"And once again they ignore me," Qui-Gon retorted. "How can they be so naive?"
Dooku shrugged. "The ways of the council are deep and mysterious, even to me." He motioned toward the Coruscant sky traffic. "They like everything in neat, orderly patterns. It is one reason I chose to live elsewhere. The council was pleased with my decision, I am now only a minor annoyance."
"They can't continue to ignore me..."
"My friend, realize you are not alone. Since you left me, I have been researching these rumors of the Sith. There is much the council has ignored." Dooku smiled sadly. "The Sith never left us. They just hid well. There are always just two--a master and an apprentice. The way of the Sith is a way of secrecy, betrayal and mistrust. The only way for the apprentice to become a master..." He shrugged. Qui-Gon understood the unfinished sentence--the master had to die, probably at the hands of the apprentice.
"That's why you are here? To offer more evidence the Sith have returned?"
Dooku shook his head sadly. "That was not why I was summoned, but I shall bring the subject up. The Darkside grows stronger. You have sensed its growing chaos. I trained you too well for you not to have felt the lurking darkness."
"My apprentice has sensed it too," Qui-Gon admitted. "But it's vague, unformed."
"It will form. Unfortunately the council will not act until it does. They are old..." Dooku raised his hand slightly. "Old in thought and belief. For a thousand years the Sith have hidden from us--and in that time, the council and the Jedi have become complacent, and I fear they will not acknowledge the danger until it is too late. The Sith have not been idle. They have developed an understanding of the use of power far beyond our own." Dooku shook his head. "The kind of power that we have never dreamt of..."
Qui-Gon closed his eyes. "So, we do nothing but wait?"
Dooku laughed sadly. "No, of course not. I will continue to gather evidence, you will continue to warn the council. Only the future can tell us."
"Always in motion..." Qui-Gon's thoughts returned to Tatooine.
"Do not dwell on the might-have-beens, my Padawan," Dooku said. "We will talk again when you complete your mission, but right now the council is expecting me."
Qui-Gon returned to staring at the orderly lines, this time noticing the flaws. It wasn't perfect. He turned his attention to the Senate Hall. Queen Amidala would be presenting her plea for help soon. He hoped for the best...
But knew the Republic and the council would not act until it was too late.
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