Lowle Ch’red, nicknamed ‘shredder’, was known for wearing elaborate head pieces, and today was no different. Today she displayed a black spider web like veil. In her capacity as a member of Republic Intelligence, she was following someone known only as ‘The One’, a fugitive wanted for fixing the election of the Supreme Chancelor when Valorum was kicked out of office during the Naboo blockade. She had been following the case ever since and had gotten only a few clues. She knew he was a male human and lived on Coruscant and now she was looking for Dexter Jettster who might be able to give her some information - if he had any.
“Would you like a cup of ardees ma’am?” said WA-7.
“No, I’ll take some strong caf,” Lowle replied.
From across the diner she could hear Dex and Kenobi speaking about Kamino, and after Kenobi left, Dex came over. “Well what is it this time Shredder?” he said in his deep voice.
“Oh, you know, the usual. You get a lead and you follow it only to get nowhere,” she answered in her thick coruscanti accent.
“Who is it this time?”
“Hmm, I may have something on him. I hear he had some part in the election of the new Queen of Naboo.”
“I’m afraid so, and here’s that caf you ordered. I’ll let you sit and think about it for a while. Have you tried the Jedi yet?”
“No, I’m afraid they’ll take over the whole investigation.”
She thought long and hard while Dexter went back to the kitchen from whence he came.
The caf was the strongest she had ever tasted and was perfect.
Later that day she stopped by the Jedi Temple archives, only to see Kenobi again. Jocasta Nu was just finishing helping him, and she walked away leaving him looking very confused, which was strange for a jedi.
As Lowle caught up with the elderly Jedi Knight she was shocked that the older jedi had noticed her without turning around. Shredder hadn’t had much experience with the jedi yet.
“Can I help you?” Jocasta said in a curt but still polite way.
“Yes, I was wondering if the jedi order is able to help me with an investigation. I need to find out if there have been any notorious hackers on Naboo in the last few years,” she said
“My, that’s going to be quite a lot of names but I’ll see what I can do,” Nu replied obviously a little surprised, “and I’ll need to see your identification.”
As Lowle handed over her identification chip the jedi slid it into a slot on a nearby empty terminal and quickly summoned her with a hand motion.
“It appears that the list is rather short, and seeing as Naboo is one of the more wealthy worlds, that is strange.”
“Can you make it go back to a few months before the election of their new queen?
“Why of course.”
The list showed one coded name. It was displayed in a deep red that signified that they were off limits until she had a warrant or went back to intelligence to get permission in person. It was so classified she couldn’t even ask by comlink, or see their name, just their number.
“May I ask why you are using the jedi database instead of the Republic’s, Miss Ch’red?”
“Just between you and me, the Republic’s database is a little out dated, and has been known to be missing a few important entries”
“Well we do have the finest of all libraries and I have heard that a lot lately from other detectives.”
“I’ll just take this code and see if our database has him on file, and then get permission. I’m sure I’ll be back.” Lowle said, rather flustered
Back at HQ she went directly to the director’s office. She didn’t even knock on the door into the inner office and walked right past the secretary who did her best to tell her the director was in an important meeting with the Chancellor.
‘Well this should be interesting’ she thought, ‘since the Chancellor is from Naboo he might actually find this interesting’. As she reached to punch the button to open the sealed door it rapidly opened to reveal the Supreme Chancellor and the director with several of his guards.
“Why, we were just coming to see you, Lowle,” said the director as he ushered her quickly into the room.
The curtains were drawn and a large map of the republic slowly revolved on the table in front of her. It was the most detailed map she had ever seen. It had the different sectors shaded and Hutt space clearly marked, with another she had never seen in the Unknown Regions
“Miss Ch’red it’s so nice to see you again.” said the Supreme Chancellor.
“I’m sorry we can’t be louder but we are worried that someone may have infiltrated HQ,” whispered the director.
“But shouldn’t our sweeps or security droids have found them, or the bugs?”
“I’m afraid that there has been a large abundance of biological devices found around HQ and they don’t register on our scanners. They are being entered into them as we speak.”
“I heard from the jedi council that you stumbled across some evidence that says some major hackers were on Naboo in the months before the election of the Queen,” whispered the Chancellor, “I was convinced that the other candidate had gained a majority of votes from people I spoke to when I was visiting.”
“But the name on the list is of the highest security. Even the jedi don’t have access.”
“Only the Chancellor and I have clearance.” whispered the director
“What could they have done, or be doing, to have that kind of influence?”
“I’m afraid I can’t tell you just yet. You have to promise us this information never leaves this room.”
“We all know of the person known as The One. But what you don’t know is that he isn’t one person anymore. Intelligence just came in that he has been cloned using spaarti cloning cylinders.”
“I think we have him now!” said the chancellor in a loud voice.
Seconds later there was the sound of an explosion and several blaster shots. The room was already filling with smoke.
“We need to keep the chancellor safe,” said the director, “Take this spare blaster rifle,” he gestured to the Chancellor, “Chancellor Palpatine, here is a pistol just in case. Quick, into the closet, just keep going. Lowle, keep the Chancellor safe, here is the data card.”
Lowle took it wearily, thinking something was very wrong. “But where will you be?”
“Buying you some time, and be sure not to let the chancellor out of your sight.”
She turned around to see the Chancellor pushing some random spots on the back of the closet. As she entered the closet he quickly shut the door and pulled out one of the shelves. She watched the back wall open and they stepped inside the small cavity. There was a blaster shot and a thud as the director’s body hit the ground just as the door sealed itself.
“Where does this go to, Chancellor?”
“To the closet in my office.”
“But that’s impossible, your office is in a different building.”
“You may want to hold on to something my dear.”
Just then the room suddenly dropped and the lights started to come on.
“Do you have your data pad with you?” he said as he turned around, only to see that the card was already in the slot.
“It says I need the password…” as she quickly handed it to him
“Yes of course do you know what time it is?”
“5:13.” She replied, looking confused”
Just then the closet stopped and a panel on the other side opened revealing the chancellors dark red office. She had never been in the chancellor’s inner office before. It was very ornate with expensive statues scattered around and a large stone carving in the hallway. All of them had something to do with the jedi.
“Let’s call some extra guards to protect us. They seemed very serious back there.”
“I completely agree with you” he said as he was pressing the com button to call the guards, “I need 10 of the finest guards outside my office door immediately.”
“We heard that the intelligence office has been attacked, My Lord, are you all right, do you need a medic?” asked the commander at the other end.
“No, commander, I am fine but you must get here as fast as possible. I think they are out for me personally. Do not release this to the public under any circumstances except in the event of my death.”
Lowle hurried over to Palpatine's holocomputer and uploaded the information. The Chancellor moved quickly to his desk and activated lockdown. It sealed the door and several blast doors came down from the ceiling for more protection. Suddenly ray and particle shields covered the windows and the lights changed to a dim red. Nothing was getting in or out of the office anytime soon.
She read the information on the holoscreen. It said that the villain was right in the room with her. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine was the person known as The One.
“But that’s impossible!” she stammered as she pulled out her blaster.
“You are not really going to shoot me now are you Miss Ch’red. You would be arrested and surely executed.”
“If I have to, but is it really true?”
“Why wouldn’t it be? Why can’t I be a notorious criminal? No one would suspect me. I have fame, power, and enough money to live in luxury forever.”
“First tell me who you really are.”
“I am Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, Dark Lord of the Sith, and the soon to be ruler of the galaxy.” he said in a changing voice.
He moved so fast that she couldn’t even get a shot at him. He seemed to just teleport to a statue on the other side of the room flip the statue over and grab an electrum plated lightsaber.
As he activated it with a snap hiss and a crimson blade extended she stammered “Sith Lord? That’s impossible the jedi would have sensed it.”
“No, they should have, but I have hidden my presence well. They are not as powerful as they believe. All this time I have been manipulating everything and they haven’t even taken notice.”
She shot at him with perfect accuracy straight at his heart, except that the lightsaber intercepted it and the beam bounced right back into her abdomen.
She had only minutes to live, she thought, as she fell to the ground.
The pain was worse than she could have ever imagined. She saw her childhood flash before her eyes. The death of her family while she was forced to watch when she was eight, her graduation from Republic Investigator College, the day she got her dream job at Republic Intelligence, her first arrest and subsequent career.
“How did you do it underneath all of our noses?” she whispered
“Lots of planning and a supreme grasp of the Dark Side. If you vow to become my apprentice I can save your life and you will be more powerful than you could ever imagine.”
“But I’m not force sensitive. The jedi checked.”
"But the jedi didn’t know I was interfering. I have foreseen this moment for a long time.”
“I will never join the sith, and will never help a criminal!”
“Then die!” He said as bolts of blue lightning shot out of his fingertips.
The pain was even worse than the blaster shot. She could feel her bones becoming calcified the longer it went on, and could see smoke coming off her body.
All of a sudden the lighting stopped and she heard him say, “Would you like to change your decision now? Join me and you can wield this power at my side.”
She looked over and saw her blaster lying on the floor next to her. Her vision was getting blurry, and fast. She reached for it, only to see it fly into the Sith Lord’s hand.
“Did you think you could shoot ‘me’?” he said as he loomed over her.
“Yes!” she said as she brought out her spare blaster from her skirt and aimed, only to feel his red blade connect with her neck.
©2007 zach starwalker