Palo’s Fury

Acknowledgments


Palo’s Fury
Additional Darth Jar Jar Tales

by Brennan McMahon

© Copyright 2017 by Brennan McMahon

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Corellian Spiced Moff

Nine, or Ni-nee, as Palo called him in that odd Gungan dialect, examined the pair of BlasTech DT-29s in his hands as he waited on the roof directly across from the balcony of Freton Kallius’ private suite on the crystalline planet of Christophsis. Senatorial lackey Freton Kallius was hastily awarded the outer rim planet and promoted to Moff of the sector soon after Palpatine seized control and turned a fledgling Republic into an iron-fisted Empire. Rumor has it that the Emperor knew Kallius wasn’t fit for the role, but the planet was of little importance to his grand plans so all it needed was Imperial babysitting.

As he waited for nightfall, Nine began to reflect on how he arrived on the roof. Into that life. He thought about how he can’t remember his real name. How he got this one because he killed, rather skillfully, nine other men in order to become the so-called “Palo’s Fury” for the Dark Lord once known as Jar Jar Binks. Although he wasn’t fighting for the title at the time so much as he was for his own life.

Ten men comprised of a couple Gungans, a Rodian, a Bith, a Sullustan, four humans including Nine and a large, crooked-horned Zabrak where hand-picked by Palo from across the planet of Naboo. Each of them was rather indelicately dragged to the Naboo fortress by the cold, forceful hand of Palo’s second-in-command, the HK-47 droid known as Meatbag. If they wouldn’t go peacefully, they went unconsciously.

Nine searched his memory and received only pieces of a ravaged, inhospitable planet with domed cities and constant fighting. They are only flashes, but once, when Palo was doing a little mind probing, he mentioned a name: Mandalore. It didn’t ring any bells, but one planet is as good as the next he figured. All he knew was that he somehow washed up on Theed and into a bar where he bumped into a drunk, crazed man named Hunter who went on and on about some dark sorcerer and his droid.

The man claimed he was an ex-Republic soldier, a hold-over from the clone army, but Nine didn’t care. He just wanted another drink. That was when something like a vice grip clamped down on his shoulder so hard his knees buckled. He swatted at the metal hand and tried to squirm away, but the sound of a blaster is the last thing he heard before his vision blurred and the light faded. Next thing he knew, he was face down in the dirt of Palo’s arena.

Suddenly Kallius stepped out on the balcony and Nine snapped out of his walk down memory lane. He checked the safety latch that attached his harness to the cable stretching across the chasm between the roof and the apartment building. It would be nothing to peer through the scope of a A295 and put the Moff out of his misery from this distance, but Nine preferred to kill his prey up close, hence the blaster pistols in his hand.

Night was creeping up and if that wasn’t enough to help secure his approach, Kallius appeared to be drunk as he sloshed around the balcony carrying a bottle of some sort of dark liquid. An illegal shipment of Corellian spiced rum, and the crew who carried it planet-side, had a recent run-in with the local Imperials and the drink was likely that. Good thing, too, since the potent brew was once rumored to have knocked a Rancor for a three-day stupor. Kallius would be easy pickings very soon indeed.

Palo ordered Freton Kallius to be “dealt with” partly because he was an Imperial Moff and all Imperial Moffs were marked to die, and partly because the fat, overgrown Corellian-born nerfherder once mocked him in the Senate shortly after he led the charge to grant emergency powers to Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. Kallius, who was the Senator of Corellia at the time, joked that Representative Binks was a fool and should “go back to the swamp where he belongs.” The Dark Lord had been carrying that mental note as he directed the course of galactic affairs from the shadows. After careful and patient planning, the time enact revenge was at hand as Nine holstered one of the DT-29s and grabbed a hold of the cord above his head. Time to do his job. Time to kill the Moff.

Real Life Dejarik

The Sienar Fleet Systems Lone Scout A-2, a personal craft typically used for space exploration by the Empire, suddenly came out of hyperspace near the jungle planet of Selvaris. The Needlepoint, a modified A-2 painted in an iridescent black to reflect the stars and almost become invisible in space despite the craft not having a cloaking device, effortlessly slid by an Imperial scout ship, an MRX-BR Pacifier called Brutus, as it made its way towards the green marble ahead.

Nine had cut the power and let the momentum gained from just exiting hyperspace push him along towards the planet because almost becoming invisible isn’t being invisible. Any heat or electronic impulse cranking from his ship would surely set off alarms inside the Imperial assault vessel. That was trouble he didn’t need and might not be able to outrun.

As soon as he began to enter the turbulent atmosphere and gravitational pull of Selvaris, Nine fired up The Needlepoint and hit the thrusters before the less agile Pacifier could make a move even if it wanted to.

Thick forests and lush greens greeted Nine through the windshield as he flew towards the surface. A vast blue ocean stretched out towards the horizon and he began to wonder if a place like Coruscant ever used to look like this before it was turned into metallic planet-wide metropolis. The raw, untamed nature was a welcomed respite from the cold halls of Palo’s palace on the outskirts of Galactic City. Suddenly the dual shine of the twin suns shook Nine from his daydream and he released the landing gear, heading for a clear patch of ground near the base of a large pyramid.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

General Fol Yerring stood among the holograms of the small group of Imperial gophers afforded him when he was given charge of this planet and watched a large screen affixed to the mossy stone wall of the makeshift briefing room as The Needlepoint landed.

When word reached him that he would be placed in charge of the wild planet of Selvaris, he told his superiors that he would need many men and resources to properly “place the backwater planet under the Imperial boot” but all he was given was four subordinate officers and five hundred Stormtroopers. No engineers. No builders. They did, however, commission a patrolling MRX-BR Pacifier to hover in front of the lone hyperspace route between the Core Worlds and Selvaris in order to help secure the planet.

For a second he thought to complain upon hearing this, but he suddenly remembered what happens to those who complain about the Emperor’s wishes. They get a visit from the mysterious dark enforcer with the red blade. Yerring did not want that so he simply said “thank you” like a good little soldier and made his way to his new assignment.

To his credit, Yerring had done well with what he was given, albeit only a portion of the planet was secured since he had to split his five hundred troopers into five units across the region. Four groups were stationed at each of the cardinal ends of the large continent they inhabited and the remaining one was stationed alongside him at the crumbling pyramid that was used as a central base of operations. His four subordinate officers each managed a section of the continent and commanded a troop of one hundred Stormtroopers. To keep order and the appearance that he was in full control, Yerring demanded that they meet every day via hologram so that they can report their previous day’s affairs to him.

“How did this ship make it passed Brutus,” Yerring asked the holograms of his officers who all watched The Needlepoint on the main screen. “Are we expecting an Imperial visitor? Surely the Inquisitors have no business here.”

“That’s not a ship designated for the Inquisitorius, General,” a low-voiced, high-browed officer named Gerrick Henson replied. “If my time serving aboard the Carrion Spike serves me well, I’d say that’s a scout ship. Version A-2 I believe. We had a few in the hangar bay that we sent on local explorations.”

Yerring scoffed. “A scout ship? Here? There’s nothing to see here, I can assure whoever’s inside of that.”

“Maybe they’re lost,” a tall, thin officer named Voss Palloy posited.

“Or maybe they’re looking for trouble,” Henson added.

“Perhaps trouble has found them instead,” Yerring said as he motioned to three Stormtroopers standing near him to follow. “We will reconvene after I greet our unwanted guest.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Nine checked his twin DT-29s and holstered them as he pressed the release button for the docking ramp. This time his mission didn’t so much call for the element of surprise as it did shock and awe. General Fol Yerring was going to be a calling card for Palo. To date, Nine had only taken out political obstacles and opposition to the Gungan’s grand plan. He excelled in eliminating the M’onnoks all across the Dejarik board, but always left the Mantellian Savrips and Kintan Striders to fight. Now Palo also wanted dread to run up the spine of the Imperial military complex as they fought an invisible war against an unseen foe.

Before the assassin could step foot off the ramp, he was greeted by Stormtroopers flashing their blasters.

“Weapons on the dirt,” the lead Stormtrooper demanded, motioning to Nine’s guns. “Nice and slow.”

“Where’s General Yerring,” Nine asked, not touching his blasters. “I have a scheduled meeting with him.”

The Stormtrooper started to say, “TK-2278, do you…” to the trooper next to him who immediately shrugged.

“Well… the General is en route with his escort,” the Stormtrooper replied, “So if you have a meeting with him it looks like it’s happening right here.”

Nine checked his surroundings and nodded his head. “Fine by me…”

Out of nowhere and quick as lightning, Nine pulled his twin DT-29s and put a bolt through both Stormtroopers before they could react. Then he immediately ran over to the first trooper and dragged him into a clump of overgrown plants near the ramp. He then took hold of the other trooper and pulled him up the ramp.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

General Yerring and his three Stormtrooper entourage walked into the clearing to see the sleek, black scout ship. As they approached, a Stormtrooper exited down the ramp and saluted with one hand, dragging what appeared to be Nine by the collar in the other.

“An assassin, sir,” the Stormtrooper said. “I managed to take him out, but not before he got TK-2278.”

The Stormtrooper flung the lifeless body of the man dressed in black garb onto the ramp and it rolled to a stop at General Yerring’s feet. The face had been shot and was unrecognizable. Yerring winced.

“Right, where’s the other trooper,” asked Yerring. “The one who was… got?”

The Stormtrooper motioned towards the clump of overgrown plants near the ramp.

“We tried to outflank him, sir,” the Stormtrooper continued, “But TK-2278 took a slug to the chest and fell over there.”

General Yerring motioned for the troopers to retrieve their fallen comrade as he looked down at the assassin’s body.

“Job well done, trooper,” Yerring said. “However, I would’ve liked to know who sent this man to kill us before we killed him.”

“Apologies, sir,” the Stormtrooper replied.

“Well, that was anticlimactic,” General Yerring said as he began to wag his finger in the air for his troopers to get the body and wrap it up when… BOOM! The ground shook and pieces of earth, metal, blood, and Stormtrooper armor rained down upon Yerring who stumbled to the dirt. His ears rang as he tried to make sense of what just happened.

As his eyes regained focus, Yerring could see a smoking crater in the ground where the thermal grenade was triggered. He started to get up when a Stormtrooper helmet crashed into his ribs and he dropped back to the dirt.

“So, you want to know who sent me,” Nine asked as he walked over in the Stormtrooper armor minus the helmet.

General Yerring glared over at Nine who knelt down to pick up the DT-29s still holstered in the belt he strapped to the body of the trooper he shot earlier. “The Empire does not take kindly to attacks on its officers. I demand to know who sent you!”

“I won’t tell you who,” Nine said as he stood up and walked over to Yerring. “But I will tell you why you’re marked to die.”

“Marked you say? As if an assassin’s target,” Yerring swallowed hard and nodded, steeling his nerves. “Perhaps I’ve underestimated my station here. Am I not simply a forgotten soldier on an inconsequential world?”

“A precedent is being set,” Nine told him as he pointed one of the blasters towards Yerring. “You’ll be the first military cog to fail inside the machine. Minute. Small. A seemingly unnecessary cog, yes, but a very important step towards a greater goal. If the Empire loses this world, so what? If the Empire loses them all, then…”

“Are you some Republic sympathizer,” Yerring asked with a bark. “Some terrorist scum bent on turning back time to an inefficient democracy?”

“Honestly,” Nine replied. “I don’t know who or what I am, but I do have a job to complete so-“

Suddenly blaster fire peppered the air around Nine and he ducked out of the way to avoid being hit. Yerring frantically began to crawl on his belly as he used the moment to escape certain death. Dozens of Stormtroopers soon emerged out of the trees into the clearing with blasters firing towards Nine as he fled into The Needlepoint and slammed the button to close the ramp as he went.

Blaster fire continued to ping off the hull of the craft as Nine raced over to the cockpit and jumped behind the controls.

“Plan B,” Nine said to himself. “Aerial bombardment.”

A moment later he was hovering above the ground and spinning the ship around to face the Stormtroopers who began to back up, likely sensing what was coming next as… Nine lit up the area with the laser cannons mounted on The Needlepoint’s bow. The ground exploded with earth, debris and Stormtrooper parts as those who weren’t caught in the blasts fled back into the jungle while the world fell apart behind them.

Nine scanned the area for General Yerring, but he was gone. He slammed his hand on the control panel in anger and flipped up a covering to reveal a set of buttons. He bit his lip a moment in thought before punching each of them. He watched two proton torpedoes fly from underneath right where he was sitting, sail just over the tips of the trees and collide into the base of the pyramid with a blinding explosion. The concussive blast rocked The Needlepoint, forcing Nine to clamp down on the controls to steady the craft.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

General Yerring’s eyes stung as he awoke to fires all around him. Bodies of Stormtroopers were all about. Some dead. Some moaning in pain. Others walked around as if lost. A second wave of fifty troopers was poised and ready to take down the assassin should the initial group fail. They were waiting at the base of the pyramid, ready to strike at a moment’s notice, but they didn’t see the attack coming. No one did. The torpedoes ripped into the stones near the base of the pyramid and that was that.

Yerring managed to get to his knees to see that the entire front face of the pyramid had crumbled to the ground, crushing several troopers in the process. The computers and equipment inside the makeshift Imperial base that he and the others had pieced together sparked and hissed inside the ancient ruins. The technology infused inside the mossy stone was a sharp contrast that Yerring seemed to fixate on until a wounded Stormtrooper walked over and shook his shoulder.

“Sir… sir,” the Stormtrooper said. “Just got word from Officers Leary and Henson. They are sending in reinforcements. Both are inbound aboard transport shuttles now.”

“Right. Thank you, trooper,” Yerring said with a wince as the shock wore off and the pain set in. “What about the others? Palloy and Brighton’s companies?”

The Stormtrooper shook his head. “No word yet, sir.”

The general nodded and the trooper limped away to help the others. Yerring suddenly noticed that his sleeves were charred and still smoking a bit. He quickly tore off his outer shirt and noticed that his arms were scraped and bloodied. What the hell was going on?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Nine knew that time was no longer on his side. Surely local reinforcements were coming soon and he wouldn’t be too surprised if the MRX-BR Pacifier orbiting overhead had already been alerted to the attack. It wouldn’t be a stretch from there to suppose the news had then been reported to Coruscant who may dispatch a Star Destroyer or two just to make a show of force.

He had to act fast. His target was General Fol Yerring, anything else he took out was icing on the cake. Getting the job done of the ground now was not going to happen. He was good, but not good enough to take on a company or two of the Empire’s goons. He thought about calling it and retreating into space back to the palace, but disappointing Palo seemed more dangerous than taking on a thousand Stormtroopers barehanded. He was going to see this one through. Yerring was going to die.

Through the windshield and the now-cleared area of charred jungle, Nine could see the remaining Stormtroopers starting to regroup as The Needlepoint hovered in position. He needed to move. Somewhere down there, among the smoke and debris, was General Yerring. Nine reengaged the laser cannons and unloaded a second time, lighting up the area and sending bodies flying and troopers scrambling for cover.

As the smoke began to clear, Nine moved his ship closer towards the smoldering pyramid, now more closely resembling a pile of rumble than the magnificent wonder it was hundreds of years before the Empire came. The scanners searched for Yerring as he peered out the windshield, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Imperial. Hoping to see him sprawled out across the dirt, either dying or already dead somewhere.

No life signs pinged back to his console as he hovered through the area. He briefly thought about a quick landing to scout the area for Yerring, but an alarm sounded in the cockpit, alerting Nine that a transport ship had entered the area.

“Reinforcements,” Nine said to himself followed by an audible exhale.

With no time to lose, he made the snap decision to land The Needlepoint and ever-so-briefly scour the bodies and debris for General Yerring. He maybe had a few minutes at best before the familiar clatter of hundreds of Stormtrooper boots would tremble the ground.

He grabbed a satchel hanging off the back of his pilot’s chair and lowered the ramp.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Officer Gerrick Henson, the low-voiced Imperial who once served aboard Wilhuff Tarkin’s specialized Sienar Fleet Systems starship, the Carrion Spike, stepped out of the Delta-class DX-9 transport ship with purpose. He brought over three-quarters of his company of 100 troopers to help belay the apparent assassination attempt and onslaught of the Imperial base.

Flanked by four Stormtroopers, Henson made his way across the clearing towards the crumbling pyramid. In the distance through the smoke, he could make out the scout ship that he saw in the monitors earlier that day.

“The terrorists are still here,” Henson said to his men. “Have the men find them and locate General Yerring. Now!”

Three troopers all complied with “yes sir” and ran ahead while one remained, tightening his grip on his blaster rifle.

“Sir,” the remaining trooper said. “Officer Leary’s transport has just landed on the opposite side of the base. His men are closing in as we-“

The sounds and low rumblings from a series of nearby explosions stopped the trooper in mid-sentence.

“What was that,” Henson asked.

“Landmines… we’re still under attack, sir,” the trooper replied with slow realization. “We need to-“

Just ahead, a squad of Stormtroopers suddenly flew into the air, arms and legs flailing, with chunks of earth and dirt raining down around them.

Henson and the trooper stumbled to the ground and looked back up to see fresh, smoking craters in the ground where the other men were moments ago.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A series of explosions nearby didn’t bother Nine as he searched the area, twin blasters in his hands. The Stormtrooper wave would be held back for a little while thanks to his positioning of several landmines around the perimeter, but they’d push through before too long. He had to find General Yerring quickly.

Through the sound of men yelling and bombs detonating, Nine heard the faint cough of a man, and as he neared the source, came face to face with his quarry. Before him stood General Fol Yerring, bloody and bruised, clutching a Stormtrooper’s blaster rifle in his hand.

“This is… fortunate,” Yerring said as he aimed his blaster, surprised to see that Nine was still planet-side. “You should be half a system away from here at this point. I know I would’ve been.”

Nine kept his two DT-29s on target. “Got a job to finish first.”

“Oh right. Killing me,” Yerring scoffed, shaking the blaster rifle in his hand, “Well, that may not be as easy as-“

Just like that, a blaster bolt sailed into Yerring’s chest and out his back, sparking into the burning trunk of a partially fallen tree. It happened so fast that General Yerring barely realized what had happened before he collapsed to one knee and saw that Nine was already turned around headed back to The Needlepoint.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Treading carefully, Officer Gerrick Henson scouted the area, blaster in hand, alongside his Stormtrooper guard when he saw General Yerring’s body, slumped over, with a smoking blaster hole in his back.

“Should we get the medic, sir,” the trooper asked looking down at Yerring.

Henson shook his head. “He’s gone…”

He gazed up at the sky in time to see The Needlepoint slip away into the atmosphere.

“And so’s the killer,” Henson continued. “The Imperial Council needs to be made aware. The Emperor won’t be pleased.”

GNK-17

GNK-17 slowly stepped through the corridors of the space station as lights flickered and sparks flew from different electrical panels. Alarms rang out and countless Imperials, from maintenance workers to captains, ran in every which direction in a state of sheer panic as the attack ensued. The power droid had just successfully completed its primary directive, one several years in the making, and was now following the final bit of programming to board an escape pod and return to Coruscant with its newfound priceless bit of data before the window of opportunity closed and it, too, was reduced to particle matter above the forest moon of Endor.

Through a mix of Dark Side manipulation and astute strategy, Palo had been able to have the droid placed in the personal throne room of Emperor Palpatine aboard the newly constructed Death Star II many years ago. Like most GNK droids, it was primarily there to serve as a power outlet and data storage unit while construction was being completed, and to continue to serve in such a capacity afterwards should the need arise. However, GNK-17 had additional functions as well. This droid was outfitted with undetectable surveillance devices that allowed the Dark Gungan Lord to monitor Palpatine’s throne room goings-on. Since the Emperor rarely left the confines of the throne room and his personal quarters in the waning years of the Empire, GNK-17 was able to relay a wealth of information to Palo over a stretch of time.

However, most notable of all the information ever obtained from GNK-17 was the precious cargo it now carried as it settled into the escape pod. As the door closed and the hatch was sealed, the GNK droid secured itself to the floor with magnetic clamps. The pod was released from its bay and in no time, the thrusters had launched the droid into space, narrowly missing an oncoming Corellian YT-1300 freighter hurrying away from the battle station.

As the droid prepared to power down for its trip to rendezvous with its master, a blinding flash crept into the viewport of the pod and a concussive blast crashed into the hull, sending the pod end over end into the black void of space.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

An unmarked Naboo freighter exited hyperspace as the escape pod, damaged and dark, floated into view. As the ship moved into position directly over the pod, a large hatch opened up on the belly and a telescoping magnetic arm slowly extended down.

As the pod was pulled up into a hangar bay and secured, Nine stepped through a nearby doorway and made his way over. The escape pod was scored with what looked like glancing marks from flaming debris. The viewport was cracked, but not compromised. He punched a button on an outer hatch console and bursts of air momentarily screamed out as the pressure seal was released and the locks unbolted.

“Da machineek…,” a cold, heavy voice questioned from behind him. “Hesa unharmed?”

Nine turned to see Palo walking towards him wearing a dark cloak with his yellow eyes glowing underneath a shadowy hood.

Not too long ago, the Dark Lord had fallen victim to his young apprentice, Kal Orn, who incited an ambush upon him and managed to trap him in a carbonite block. Although his physical body was trapped, his prowess in the Dark Side arts allowed him to reach out with his mind to contact Nine, who was able to rescue him. However, as the Gungan and Nine were about to board The Needlepoint, Kal Orn confronted them and a grievous fight ensued, leaving the Cypharian clinging to life after Palo, filled with unrelenting rage, unleashed a barrage of Dark Side attacks down upon his former apprentice.
Instead of finishing Orn and being done with it, Palo felt the shame of losing would be enough to damage the prideful ego of his former apprentice and force him into a self-imposed exile. He cast the Cypharian’s damaged, broken body one last look as he boarded the ship and disappeared from view.

The Gungan brought himself back into the present and watched as Nine opened the escape pod hatch to reveal that GNK-17 was powered down, but completely intact.

With a simple motion of his hand, Palo activated the power droid.

“Secure da machineek,” Palo said. “And… besa careful.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hours passed as a data cable plugged into GNK-17 transferred lines of data into the computer while Nine watched the monitors. The assassin felt more at home chasing down enemies of his master on remote worlds rather than behind a series of screens and flashing data receptacles. The time ticked by slowly until the power droid suddenly began to shake and let out a series of “gonks” as if in a state of panic.

“Hesa here,” Palo said with an eerie smile as he silently entered the room.

“Who’s here,” Nine asked as he spun around in his chair.

“Mesa old palo,” the Gungan replied. “Palpatine.”

Nine immediately sat up and scanned the room. “Where?”

Palo didn’t respond for a few tense beats, but then pointed his long, skinny finger towards a row of data coming across the monitor. “Dalee.”

Nine turned to the screen with a quizzical look. Palo smiled. The assassin was not privy to the information the Gungan had concerning Palpatine’s fallback plans. Gifted with Force foresight, albeit in a limited capacity, Emperor Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious, had contingency plans in place should the unthinkable happen and his vast Empire be reduced to rubble. One such plan was to preserve his mind forever in a twist on what his former master, Darth Plagueis, intended by keeping his total self immortal through the manipulation of midichlorians. In Palpatine’s plan, there were ready-made clones courtesy of the facility on Kamino, where his mind would be transferred into one of a dozen awaiting host bodies so to continue his reign anew.

Unlike Palo, Palpatine was not a firm believer in the Force power of Essence Transfer due to its short time frame in which one’s unincorporated self can be without a host body. With a more scientific approach, the mind, which is nothing but a series of electronic impulses anyway, may be preserved indefinitely in a storage device not unlike GNK-17. When the time was right and a host was ready, the mind could be infused into the flesh.

Palpatine’s storage device, though not by his own making, was Palo’s power droid, GNK-17. After his apprentice, Darth Vader, attacked him in one last show that Anakin Skywalker was, in fact, not dead, Palpatine’s body was broken in the fall as it hit the side of the reactor shaft. He released his essence in a powerful blue-hazed Force blast and escaped through the top of the reactor shaft. With no clone body nearby, he had no choice but to hide in a nearby GNK droid to await one of his minions to retrieve him and place him inside a new clone.

Palo, also a powerful wielder of Force foresight, knew this day was coming and exacted a patient game to bait his former Senatorial ally in a trap of his own making. Also knowing the end of the Empire’s grand battle station was on the horizon, the Gungan wanted to secure Palpatine in a prison that even he could not escape from. In addition to the surveillance devices added to GNK-17’s programming, a Faraday cage was installed where all new data that entered into the droid could never be lost or, in Palpatine’s case, flee from the power droid’s grasp.

It was this special cage that currently bound Palpatine’s mind as Palo looked on. The computer screen listed all the contents inside GNK-17’s memory core, but the Gungan’s yellow eyes only focused on a section of data that represented the once powerful and mighty Sith Lord Sidious, ruler of the now defunct Empire. Locked inside a GNK power droid where he would remain indefinitely.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Palo had not been to Naboo in quite a while, not since Palpatine’s rogue crew of misfit clone troopers attacked his temple and he was forced to return to his palatial estate on Coruscant.

Now that the Empire’s end was all but a foregone conclusion, Palo set his course for Theed. Most of the obstacles were out of his way and it was time to begin rebuilding his own empire. But first, he would need an apprentice.

It didn’t take long for Palo to recreate and fall back into the jovial persona of Jar Jar Binks, hapless Gungan and current scapegoat of the Republic’s fall. His desire to find a new, powerful student led him to an orphanage where he pretended to be a clown to amuse, and spy on, the youths that came and went. He was constantly looking to see if one of them was angry enough to have allowed the Dark Side to creep into their minds. The Force, light and dark, flows through everyone, but not everyone has the innate ability to control it. If such a dark-willed prospect could be found that was also a Force sensitive, Palo would take that as a sign from the Force.

One day, while standing near a large fountain by the orphanage, Palo spotted a young, misshapen boy who was clearly an outcast from the group. He had seen this boy before, but now the time was right to make an introduction. He could feel the boy’s connection to the Force. This would be his new apprentice.

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