For those that have continued reading this series, thanks for your support... here is Chapter 23, Revelations.
Despite the growing fears of a Separatist invasion of Naboo, the Republic is able to spare the small planet only one cruiser for protection, the Tempest
On the surface, the entire capital of Theed has been put on lockdown as the commander of the Naboo garrison, Brennan Kiltu, has focused his resources to arresting Rykrof Enloe.
"It's unthinkable," Governor Sio Bibble argues with the commander.
"Rykrof Enloe is one this planet's greatest sons. I fear we are making a terrible mistake," he laments.
"We have every reason to believe that Enloe is in league with the Badoo Corba," Kiltu says snidley.
"He was seen meeting with Badoo Corba infiltrators at Otoh Osakaar. Once he is in custody, he is to be transferred to Tempest
for immediate interrogation."
Meanwhile, a pair of clone troopers guard the quarantined Enloe homestead.
"Do you know what Commander Enloe did?" JT-46 asks his counterpart.
"Negative," the other trooper replies.
"But we have our orders. If he shows up here take him into custody."
Meanwhille, Rykrof and his friend, Freelo, observe the homestead from a safe distance.
"I'm not seeing any troops," Rykrof says.
"But they might be waiting inside for us."
"Wait a second," he continues.
"I can see two of them now."
"Caldin and Alyssa better be alright," Rykrof says bitterly.
"Ralbarr won't let anything happen to them," Freelo says helpfully as he receives the macro binoculars.
"I'm more worried about those Badoo Corba terrorists we ran into!"
"I'm worried about those rats too," Rykrof admits.
"But first I have to get back to the house to make sure they're safe."
"This whole thing's a trap," Rykrof then points after considering his options.
"...getting in there's not going to be easy. And we don't have time. We really need to take down Kiltu and stop the Badoo Corba."
! Look who it is!" Freelo says as a military speeder approaches their location.
"Palom and Sergeant Kraist!"
"Be ready for anything," Rykrof says as he cautiously watches the clone sergeant exit the speeder with Palom.
"Rykrof, I explained to Sergeant Kraist the situation," Palom says.
"I wasn't aware that he served with you on Spahl VII..."
"Commander Enloe, as always I am at your service," the loyal trooper reports.
"It's been a while, my friend," Rykrof says thankfully.
"What can you tell me about my family? Are they safe?"
"You're family is under quarantine by two squads of Kiltu's troops," Kraist informs him.
"But I can assure you that they are in no danger."
"Rykrof," Palom interrupts, "What are we going to do?"
"Kiltu is behind all of this
," Rykrof says.
"He must have worked out a deal with the Badoo Corba... someone or something on Naboo is their target... we need to get to Kiltu as quickly as possible. It's the only way we can stop their plan."
Soon after, Commander Kiltu informs the governor he has received word that Rykrof has been taken into custody.
"This is a sad day for all of Naboo," Bibble says stoically.
"And for the Republic."
"Rykrof," Kiltu then says snidely as he greets his visitor.
"Good afternoon, Commander," Rykrof replies darkly, concealing a drakken crafted daggar.
Before Kiltu can respond, Rykrof suddenly lunges towards him, revealing the weapon!
"Trooper!" Bibble exclaims, "Stop him! Do your job
"Sir, I am," Sergeant Kraist stiffly responds; allowing Rykrof to continue the attack on Commander Kiltu!
"Who are you working for?" Rykrof growls.
"WHY ARE THE BADOO CORBA HERE?
"I don't know what you're talking about," Kiltu insists as Rykrof slams him into the far wall.
are going to tell me right here and right now, WHY THE BADOO CORBA ARE HERE, AND WHY YOU'RE HELPING THEM
!" Rykrof demands.
"He already said he doesn't know what you're talking about!" Sio Bibble urges; begging Rykrof to stop.
"Even if you're right, you can't carry out an interrogation without due process!"
"There isn't time for due process," Sergeant Kraist retorts.
"Every second the Badoo Corba are out there, more people are in danger!" Rykrof yells, ignoring the governor.
"You know what they did to me Kiltu, and what I'm capable of doing to YOU
to get the information I need."
To Kiltu's horror, Rykrof begins to drive the dagger into his eye socket!
"NO! NO! STOP!!! It's SENATOR AMIDALA they're after
"You got in the way," he cries. "I had to try and stop you... it's Senator Amidala they want..."
"It was the only way I could prevent the Separatists from attacking the planet... she has to be sacrificed..."
Shocked, Rykrof drops Kiltu to the floor with a thud.
? I thought Senator Amidala was on Coruscant?"
"Commander Kiltu... what have you done
?" Sio Bibble asks in disbelief.
"She's at her lake retreat," Kiltu says as Sergeant Kraist takes him away.
"Her comm link is off... she's most likely already dead."
"Governor, put out a red alert that the quarantine is to stay in effect until this situation is resolved," Rykrof says.
"I'll take a squad to Senator Amidala's retreat and get her out of there."
Minutes later, Freelo and Palom find Rykrof assembling a team of troops.
"They're after Senator Amidala?" Freelo asks upon learning of Rykrof's plan.
"That's what Kiltu claims," Rykrof explains.
"He may be lying," he continues. "But we can't take any chances. Get back to the homestead and inform Alyssa. And make sure everyone's safe!"
Back at Rykrof's home, the clone troopers have been informed of the turn of events.
"Freelo!" Alyssa exclaims. "Where's my husband? What's going on?"
"One minute we're told that Rykrof's wanted for treason, the next he's leading the garrison on some rescue mission?"
"It's Commander Kiltu," Freelo says. "He's a traitor! He set Rykrof up!"
"Don't blame me
," Freelo argues.
"I'm merely explaining that..."
"Quit arguing!" Alyssa yells sharply, cutting him off.
"Where's Rykrof going?"
"It appears the Badoo Corba have targeted Senator Amidala," Palom interjects.
"Rykrof's leading a team to escort her to safety."
"Sir, my men are ready to assemble and assist Commander Enloe," Captain Bune says.
"No, keep your troops here. The Badoo Corba have a history with Rykrof and may be targeting his family too," Palom insists.
"We need you to stay here."
"So he's up to his neck in another mess with those terrorists," Alyssa sighs.
"There's really nothing to worry about," Freelo says as he picks up Caldin.
"Nothing to worry about?
" Alyysa asks sarcastically.
"He's quite resourceful," Freelo explains.
"For a human being."
Meanwhile, Rykrof's team searches Padme Amidala's retreat for the senator.
"There's no one inside sir," one trooper reports.
"She's got to be here somewhere," Rykrof says.
"Not if the Badoo Corba got to her first," Sergeant Kraist points out.
"Thank the Maker," a golden protocol droid suddenly exclaims as it emerges from an apparent hiding place.
"I'm saved from those filthy creatures! Nasty Rodians!"
"Oh my, where are my manners?" the droid asks itself aloud.
"I am See-Threepio, human-cyborg relations," the droid proudly announces.
"And this is my counterpart, Artoo-Detoo."
"The Rodians were here
? Do you know where Senator Amidala is?" Rykrof asks urgently.
"Yes, they were just here searching for her. But they were too late. Miss Padme had already left for the Secluded Gardens with..."
"How do we get to the gardens from here?" Rykrof asks, cutting him off.
"The Secluded Gardens are approximately one point two kilometers northeast of the estate," See-Threepio informs him. "I'm afraid she's turned off her commlink. She asked to not be disturbed."
"Alright, let's go!" Rykrof orders his troops.
"Well, they're on their way," the protocol droid says.
"Between the two of us, I believe Miss Padme is in considerable danger!"
Nearby, Senator Padme Amidala enjoys the peaceful, quite environment of the Secluded Gardens.
"Away from Coruscant; away from the war," she thinks to herself with a smile.
Suddenly, a clone trooper interrupts the peaceful scene!
"What is the meaning of this?" she demands as she finds herself face to face with Rykrof.
"You shouldn't keep your whereabouts so secretive from security, Senator," Rykrof scolds.
"We need to get you to back to the palace where it's safe," he continues.
"Safe? What's going on? I'm..."
A laser blast then rips through the chest of one of Rykrof's troopers!
Rykrof immediately spots the source of the blast - the warrior he had encountered at Otoh Osakaar!
"Son of a bitch!" Rykrof yells as he attempts to shield Padme from the attack.
"They're here! Protect the Senator!"
The clone troopers attempt to quickly regroup...
...but flanked by the Rodian thugs, the warrior presses on the attack!
A second trooper then falls to enemy fire!
"Behind you!" Padme screams, just as Rykrof quickly spins around and blasts an approaching Rodian terrorist through the skull!
"Commander, look!" Sergeant Kraist yells above the blaster fire.
Rykrof can barely believe his eyes as he watches Anakin Skywalker emerge from the forest, slicing a limb from one of the terrorists!
The warrior quickly turns his attention to the young Jedi...
...but Anakin is too skilled for the warrior, and evades his attack!
The young Jedi then calls upon the Force, slamming a pulse of energy into him!
The warrior collapses to the ground; instantly knocked unconscious.
"That's all of them Sir," Sergeat Kraist reports.
"I didn't expect to see you
here," Rykrof then says to Anakin.
"But now I can see why you kept your visit back home under the radar," Rykrof says as he turns to the young woman; realizing she and Anakin have a secret relationship.
"But it's foolish to keep security in the dark of your whereabouts. Everyone thought you were still on Coruscant."
"Everyone but Commander Kiltu," Anakin replies.
"Kiltu made a deal with the Trade Federation Viceroy..." Rykrof informs him.
"...allow for a terrorist strike team to assassinate the Senator, or Naboo will face a full scale attack by the droid armies of the Trade Federation."
"I can't believe Kiltu..." Padme begins to say.
"Come on," Anakin says as he comforts his love. "None of this is your doing."
Rykrof then approaches the warrior; who has begun to stir.
"I'm sorry it came to this, my friend," the warrior tells him.
" Rykrof snaps.
"What gives you reason to refer to me as a friend
"It's me," the warrior says.
He removes his helmet, revealing the face of Rykrof's old friend, Traedon Cusiro.
Later that evening, the sun begins to set as the Badoo Corba have been rounded up and defeated.
"You're going to have a lot of explaining to do," Rykrof tells Traedon before he is sent to Coruscant for trial.
"For what it's worth, I never intended for you to get involved in this," Traedon replies.
"If I wanted, you would have been dead yesterday at Otoh Osakaar. But the target was Senator Amidala."
"How could you do this?" Rykrof asks.
"You were working for the Badoo Corba when I met you on Dathomir, weren't you?"
"I was trying to get off planet when the Separatists arrived, who were looking for you," Traedon admits.
"But I'm no terrorist. I work for the highest bidder," Traedon boldy says.
"I should have shot you when I had the chance!" Rykrof says sharply.
"Rykrof, do yourself a favor," Traedon replies, changing the subject.
"Get Alyssa and Caldin off Naboo. When the Badoo Corba find out what happened here, they'll go after your family. And it won't be to take prisoners."
"Get him out of my sight," Rykrof then orders the troopers in disgust.
The troopers then escort Rykrof's former friend to his awaiting transport.
In disbelief of the betrayal of Traedon, Rykrof heads back to the palace, only to be greeted by Anakin.
"Commander Enloe," Anakin says kindly.
"I didn't thank you properly for your actions today."
"Don't mention it," Rykrof says.
"And don't worry; your secret is safe with me."
"Thank you. I was careless to leave her alone, even for a moment," Anakin continues.
"Commander, I will always be in debt to you," the young Jedi says.
"I meant to ask you earlier," Rykrof says as he changes the subject.
"Have you heard the where abouts of Master Kala Mly Shundi?"
"Last I heard, he was in the Outer Rim," he tells Rykrof.
"He hasn't reported back in quite some time," he admits.
"The Jedi Council is very concerned."
"I'm worried about him too," Rykrof says.
"And after what happened today, I'm worried more than ever for the future of the Republic."