Starter 3: Traitor (Clone Wars AU)
An uncommon storm raged outside the windows of the Coruscant Jedi Temple. Rain pelted the glass like blaster fire against the armor of a Separatist tank. Streaks of the liquid water painted the clear panes with intricate patterns like the web of a spider against the dark charcoal clouds. Lightnight cast eery reflections and shadows upon the walls and floor, illuminating the dimly lit room in bursts of brilliant clarity. Thunder roared angrily and shook the very foundations of the Temple as if threatening to shake it apart stone by stone.
Such termoil was reflected in the hearts of the Jedi High Council as they listened silently to the reports of Admiral Tarkin regarding the recent escape of Padawan Ahasoka Tano.
It had come as a great surprise that the Youngling Torgruta had been accused of murdering a suspected anti-Jedi terrorist when the Padawan had gone into the correctional faciltiy to interview her per the prisoner's request. As upset as the Youngling could get, and the ferosity of her passion when under emotional distress, she had never killed in cold blood before. It did not seem in her nature and she had thus far proven to take her oath as a Jedi Learner seriously. The sudden change in her behavior was suspiciously out of place.
However, evidence was suddenly mounting against her and it was hard to argue that it was beginning to look like she had indeed been guilty for the recent bombing of the Temple hanger as well.
Yet, the Force was disturbed beyond the ability for the Council to ignore. Many did not show their displeasure, but it was not hard to feel the tention mounting within the Council Chamber. One in particular was having an impossible time coming to terms with the recent events. He suspected that a sinister plot was at work, and the Youngling was an unfortunate innocent being framed for such heinous crimes.
Without alerting his fellows, Master Plo Koon lent forward upon his elbows with his clawed digits interlaced before his masked face. An aura of great concentration and interest disguisted the conflicting unrest within his heart.
Emotions had never been a source of thought or action for him, and now was no different. However, he coudl not deny that a part of him was bonded to Padawan Tano. Logically speaking, he knew her better than many others, sometimes that included her Master, Anakin Skywalker. He had found her as a Force Sensitive on her home planet and had brought her to the Order for training, as was protocol. During her growth to Padawan Learner, he had observed and watched her progress closely with great interest. They had continued something of a platonic, paternal relationship through the years, and had continued to do so even after she had been assigned to Skywalker.
There had never been a single inplication that Ahsoka could ever raise a hand in violence towards a civilian, except for the reasons of self-defense or the defense of other innocents.
The more information that became aware to Koon on the subject, the greater his suspicions that something was amiss.
"After further investigation, there can be little doubt that the Clone Officers murdered in the escape were killed by none other than Ahsoka Tano herself. She used a Jedi Mind-Trick to convince the Clone to open the door, and then proceeded to cut him down along with five other Clones along the way." Tarkin finally finsiehd, a cold and ruthless firmness upon his expression and in his voice.
He was definative in his words, suggesting there was no margin for argument.
The Council was silent for several moments, gazes swiftly peering towards one another.
The Kel Dor male slowly straightened himself up, hands easing down to rest upon his lap and still interlaced at the fingers.
"I... do not believe that Ahsoka could've fallen so far..." he uttered thoughtfully, equally steadfast in his resolve.
The other Masters turned to him, gazing over his figure to observe him. Several were surprised to hear his opinion, as he typically never made it known unless urged to share it. Others shared a bit of suspicion, as they were well aware of his bond to her and were concerned that for the very first time in his long years of service, he was emotionally compromised.
"The beliefs of the Jedi Council are irrelovant." Tarkin sharply interrupted. "We deal strictly in facts and evidence, and the evidence points to Padawan Tano being guilty of the attack on the Temple and the murder of the Republic Officers. This is sadition!"
To further drive his point, the transmission with the Admiral was terminated. The hologram of his figure and the figures of two Clones flanking him vanished into nothing, casting the Chamber into an even darker space for several seconds before the lights automatically lifted.
Master Plo dipped his head slightly, though not in defeat. It was a gesture of determination and thought. He was rather insulted that an outsider had scolded him and attempted to correct him. The opinions of the Council did matter in situations such as this, for it was an internal affair to some extent. Their opinions were what made decisions regarding their actions and guided their influence upon Chancellor Palpatine.
The Kel Dor was not one to become cross, but the circumstances were spiralling out of control quickly and he was not going to allow it to reach the depths that it could possibly reach.
During his contemplation, the room became a restless but quiet blur of sweeping gazes, shifting heads and unsteady expressions of worry, concern and distress.
A conversation began with questions towards Skywalker, who had been silently standing near the doorway and patiently waiting for someone to address him. Discussion of what to do and a declaration of the majority vote was also added to the chatter. Skywalker loyally defended his Padawan's reasoning and justified her actions with logical explanations.
"Now she's in the lower depths... With her skills, she will be hard to find." Master Windu suggested.
His words ripped Koon from his thoughts and returned him to the moment.
"Two teams we will send. Master Skywalker... and Master Plo Koon with Clones you will go." Master Yoda replied, a deeply exasperated and regretful expression underlaying the determined and firm eyes.
Tactically, that was the best course of action. Skywalker and Koon knew Tano the best, thus would be the only ones with the best chances of finding the wayward Padawan. However, there was now going to be doubt cast upon both named Jedi because of their connections to the fugitive. However, the only one they would worry about was Anakin because of his impulsive and often rebellious nature. Sending the steadfast and unshakable Kel Dor alongside him would keep Skywalker on the right path.
More importantly, it was a relief to be made charge of the search. Master Koon would not have to worry about someone else harming the Youngling. He would be there to protect her and could conduct an interview of her himself to either confirm or deny his suspcions. He would know if she was lying to him...
"I think it would be best if both Masters stayed here." Windu countered doubtfully, turning to Yoda with apprehention and distrust in his eyes. "Their involvement may actually make things worse."
The Chamber became filled with soft utterings.
Skywalker made to respond, but Plo Koon settled a hand upon the younger's shoulder and eased him.
"Respectuflly, I must disagree, Master Windu." the Kel Dor replied calmly. "Master Skywalker and I know Padawan Tano best. She will respond to our negotiations if needed, and I have little doubt that she will refuse to return with us once we convince her to do so. You know as well as any that I will be able to do what is necessary despite my opinions upon the matter and can ensure that Master Skywalker will do the same."
The assembled settled. All eyes turned to the small green creature at the head of their Order and waited with baited breath as to the final judgement. The air was still thick with tension and conflicting emotions, but an overall agreement seemed to have befallen them. They knew their fellow Councilman was correct and trusted him to do as he promised.
Yoda closed his eyes briefly and released a slow sigh. When the large brown hues reopened, he smoothly waved his hand towards the door.
"Go swiftly then, Masters, and bring back this lost Youngling before it is too late."
Relief flooded not only Skywalker's aura, but the same could be said for Koon's. The entire Chamber relaxed just enough to verify the vote of confidence.
Both Masters bowed briefly.
"Yes, Master." they affirmed in unison.
Together and in a rare moment of syncronization, the pair straightened, turned and strode out of the Chamber towards their common goal.
'Be strong, Little Soka. We are coming to aid you.' the elder of the two males mentally assured.