« on: March 5, 2007, 02:51 AM »
Back on Coruscant late in the evening, Hanuck reported his findings to the Chancellor.
"So, the terrorist was killed before you could bring him into custody?" Valorum asked.
"I am afraid so Chancellor." Hanuck said, "The wound appeared at first to have been a lightsabre wound, but then it could have been a force blade, used by miners in the area. So identifying the weapon will be difficult. Especially as Geonosian’s always seal after any wound, thus, I can’t tell if the wound sealed due to heat or nature"
"However, for now the immediate threat is over." Hanuck went on to say, "Although I will have to look into whoever killed Griger."
"But, the Aluga Front has been neutralised." Master Windu said in the dimly lit light, "And from that we can conclude that we have more time to deal with the legislation at hand."
"At least now we have time to open an sub-committee to assess the advantages and disadvantages of allowing the corporations to arm themselves." Valorum said.
"Chancellor, this is incredible!" Lott Dod shouted, "Just because one terrorist is killed, doesn't mean the urgency of this legislation is diluted. We need that army, for our survival."
"I fear that the Senator is right Chancellor, we must not get complacent that the situation will ease." Senator Palpatine said, "We must stay committed, and the urgency now is more than it was before."
Later that evening, Viceroy Gunray spoke once again with the dark Lord, Darth Sidious.
"My Lord, it has come to my attention that Chancellor Valorum wishes to revise the proposal to allow us to arm ourselves, before it goes to the Senate?"
"Is this true?" Gunray asked, knowing that Sidious had an ear in the Senate. "If so, my lord, what would we do, we would loose any protection that we might gain out of this piece of legislation? Besides, the terrorists will not stop just because the Aluga Front has been destroyed?!"
"Viceroy, you will attend a special meeting with Chancellor Valorum later this week." Sidious rasped, "And when you do, I shall arrange for a little demonstration, to scare the Chancellor into passing the full piece of legislation...watch and learn Viceroy..."
Darth Sidious spoke to another of his agents, a freedom fighter known only as Darl.
"I know your family suffered as a result of the slave labour employed by the Federation." Sidious rasped.
"Quite, my entire family were exploited as was my home world by the powers of commerce." Darl spat.
"But, my ideology against the Federation?" Darl quizzed, "What does this have to do with the Chancellor?" Why must he be threatened?"
"Chancellor Valorum only serves to uphold the commercial corporations." Sidious rasped, "I'm sure that a stab at him would be what your movement craves...but remember we serve not to kill the Chancellor, but to frighten him..."
As usual, the Senate district was bustling with activity, especially in the plaza below the Senate Hall.
Today, the Viceroy of the Trade Federation was in attendance, to have an important and pivotal meeting with the Supreme Chancellor.
"Viceory." Chancellor Valorum greeted, "Was your trip pleasant enough?"
"Eh, yes of course." Nute Gunray said in his usual Neimoidian tone, "Now, what about this little agreement we are meant to come to?"
"Well Viceroy." Valorum said, "Perhaps we could talk about it on our way to my State offices. Once we get there, my staff have laid on a treat of a lunch for you."
Standing in the crowded plaza, Jedi Master Hanuck stood, he knew as well as the Jedi council that if the terrorist organisation consisted of more than just the Aluga Front, they would present themselves today. It would be a wasted opportunity not to. Hanuck was accompanied by Master Adi Gallia, a personnal friend of the Chancellor.
"I presume that a committee has resolved the issue as sound that the Trade Federation requires the legal use of a defence force?" Nute Gunray said to the Chancellor.
"My assessment of the situation has told me that the terrorist threat may have ceased." Valorum said, "However, this does not mean that a force is in order, but now that the Aluga Front have been taken care of, maybe a considerably smaller force."
"Chancellor, this is outrageous!" Lott Dod snapped, "You of all people now the risk presented by this scum that call themselves freedom fighters."
"Senator, with respect, I am trying to talk to your good Viceroy." Valorum said with calm confidence, "We shall take into account every aspect of the debate before passing final judgement to allow the Senate to vote on the issue, and that means including taxation as a viable option."
Standing in the group of senators behind the Chancellor, Senator Palpatine listened intently to the conversation between the Trade Viceroy and the Chancellor.
But, after a while, the usually committed patient Senator decided it was time to leave...turning, Palpatine moved through the crowd back towards the apartment block, 500 Galactica.
Standing in the crowds of public, Darl the assassin, recruited by Darth Sidious moved silently, he nodded to a comrade across the plaza.
The comrade, a Devonian nodded back in return.
Master Hanuck twitched, a tremour in the force, a sudden darkness. He turned around, just as Senator Palpatine walked past the Jedi pair and towards the Senate building.
Hanuck turned back to the crowds and muttered, "I sense something, something's not right here."
"And can the Trade Federation count on your support Chancellor?" Nute Gunray asked, "I gather that this taxation rubbish was your idea though?"
"Viceroy, an that taxation motion was put forward by a Senator, and of course, I am sure that on the day of the congress vote, you shall have all the information you should need." Valorum said with tiring patience.
Darl moved closer to the Chancellor, who was just up ahead, flanked by Senate guards as they moved down the main streetway.
"I don't understand Chancellor." Gunray said, "Never, Never has a Chancellor of the Republic failed to act immediately upon acts of terrorism. You have the judicial department to hand."
"There are many Senators in my inner circle that do not believe in treating violence with violent, namely my good friend, Senator Palpatine." Valorum said with a sigh.
Darl un-holstered his blaster pistol, as he moved ever closer.
He was in spitting distance of the Chancellor. Remembering what Sidious had instructed, fire a shot, not to hit the Chancellor, but to scare him.
A blaster shot, fired by Darl skimmed past the panic striken Chancellor's head. The Senate Guards burst into action, flanking their Chancellor.
Hanuck spun to look in the direction of the shot.
Darl fled the scene, his hired comrade would now take the punishment. Darl had hired the mercenary to act as a diversion, knowing that the Devonian would get caught. Darl hadn't even revealed his name to the Devonian, so all was safe.
Nute Gunray and Rune Haako exchanged worried glances. They knew exactly who was behind this. Lord Sidious, who had told them to expect a demonstration at their meeting with Chancellor Valorum.
The second assassin leapt forward, gun ready to fire, but the Senate guards had already provided the Chancellor with a protective ring.
Jedi Master Hanuck ran towards the Second gunman, who had stepped out into the open, making himself visible.
Adi Gallia stood beside the shaken Chancellor.
"Are you hurt in any way?" Master Gallia spoke slowly.
"No...no." Valorum took a deep breath, "Merely shaken."
Hanuck ran between the crowds of frightened on-lookers.
The gunman ran, sprinted towards the speeder port just beyond the Senate district market square.
Understanding the situation, a would be hero slammed his body in the way of the gunman.
"Stop there mate." Said the heroic citizen.
Before he could flee, the Jedi was upon him, Hanuck raised his lightsabre high, as the gunman raised his blaster pistol.
But Hanuck slashed down on the gunman's wrist, stopping him from firing the pistol.
Hanuck wrestled the Devonian before locking him between the blade of the lightsabre and the Jedi's chest.
"You are under arrest." Hanuck snarled at the would be assassin.
END OF CHAPTER 3