The jedi were at a loss. Sure they had many allies on the outer rim, but not many of them had connections to those who could give them an edge in the war. After the whole issue on Christophosis, they needed all the help they could muster.
The Jedi masters were in the briefing room – Ahsoka included. Powers new to the recently sparked Clone Wars were rallying to either Separatist or Neutral sides. Word spread like a wildfire of the heavy losses the Jedi and Republic suffered on Geonosis. Faith in their strength was waning, causing a fear that would ultimately divert possible allies from their grasp. The phrase stuck between a rock and a hard place did not begin to describ their predicament.
On a note that has yet to be determined fortuitous or unfortunate, the Republic had recently gained the aide of Jabba the Hutt, but even his help wasn't enough. They were stuck, and the options being presented weren't helping. Jabba said, thanks to their new found alliance, that he was willing to lend one of his Bounty Hunters to The Jedi. As expected, the Jedi declined his offer. Bounty Hunters have been hired in the past by the Republic to aid in sensitive relief efforts, and would later force the Republic into a regretful bind due to their wavering allegiances. With due respect to Jabba, the Jedi swiftly declined. That is when Jabba tickled their ear with a bit of information.
A Bounty Hunter that - once upon a time - used to work for him. Or rather, she worked for him through her father. Claimed to have her arm twisted for the sake of needing credits. To digress on topic, if the Jedi were so desperate to increase their ranks, this Bounty Hunter was the one to look for. The catch was she was currently incarcerated in one of the high security jailing facilities, marked as a threat to Republic Security. The highest threat. So they would need to pull strings to get her out. Knowing they doubted the veracity of his words, Jabba taunted them with a new bit of information. He said it was someone Master Windu would be familiar. That he killed her father during the Geonosis Incident, and she tired to return the favor on Naboo.
Master Windu...was hurtled into a shellshock.
"Master Windu..." Ahsoka nervously spoke up. Windu's distant horror worried her. "Are you...alright?" A standard question to ask when someone loses three shades of color. Windu hadn't the slightests inkling how to reply to her question. Therefore, Ahsoka swallowed a lump in her throat, and pressed on. "May I...that is...is it possible to know..." She was unsure how to ask without sounding too bold.
"You would like to know whose father I killed." He assumed gruffly. Ahsoka shied back and nodded her head. The same curiosity was shared by his fellow Masters. Master Yoda, on the other hand, dreaded this topic. But her permitted it nonetheless. After all, it was already out of the barn house. "The man that I killed was a bounty hunter," he explained in rough tone, "But little did I know, his daughter was watching." Windu seemed to be on edge with Jabba's inquiry. One might even say that he wasn't all too comfortable with it. But it seemed even harder for him to talk about it more than anything. "And since that day, she has sworn to kill me."
"Master Windu," Luminara spoke up. The incredulity was thick in her voice, "There are many hunters out there that wish to see us dead! What is it about this one girl that has you so uneasy?"
"Because..." He drew in a breath, mustering nerves of steel in the face of the encroaching danger, "The young woman in question...is a Force Sensitive Child."
Luminara, Anakin, The Master's, and Ahsoka dropped their jaws to the floor. In the back of their minds, they were screaming for Windu to be joking. In spite of his humor being relatively dry. As their unfortunate circumstance would have it, he was not.
"A bounty hunter who is force sensitive?" Anakin questioned skeptically. Anyone can be a Jedi. Their occupation isn't a deciding factor. "Once more, she was never picked up? Seems a bit farfetched, don't you think?" He tried to laugh off.
"Rare it may be, impossible it is not." Yoda said, "Many younglings we do not see. Those that escape us, are found later. This girl despises Windu. Join the jedi, she may not."
"Who is this girl?" Secura asked. "Surely she can be persuaded to join."
"Persuasion doesn't always reach her." Windu informed. "In fact, she has threatened to shoot any Jedi that comes near her." By the sounds of it, he's attempted to reason with her in the past. All failures.
Windu took out a small chip and placed it into the Holoprojector. On the grid appeared a girl. She had sky blue skin. Darkened shades highlighted the long feline tail. A pair of cat ears sporuted from her long flowing black hair. Madness beamed in her purple eyes. She was wearing a brown V-neck, sleeveless belly top. She wore a brown skirt with a gold ring. Grey tights under the skirt. She also had fingerless long brown gloves and brown boots.
"Who is that?" Ahsoka asked.
"Tanya Fett, that is." Yoda answered. The master's jaws dropped. Ahsoka and Anakin were confused.
"Tanya Fett! As in Jango Fett?" Obi-wan gasped. He shook his head. She wasn't what he was expecting. "But she looks nothing like him. In fact, if I had to venture a guess," He stroked his beard, "I'd say she is an Aquatisan."
"What's an Aquatisan?" Anakin asked, still wondering who Jango Fett was.
"They are a water planet species." Fisto began. "An Aquatisan has three different categories of its race." Nekaltisans are feline serpents. When in water they become half Cobra, able to swim around at high speeds. When they emerge from the water, they return to their normal cat/human state. Like how Tanya is now. When in the water Nekaltisans have poisonous fangs. The poison can paralyze a person's body and then they drown. "They are basically the pure bloods of their planet."
Mantisans are half Aquatisan and half something else. Mantisans, like Nekaltisans, can transform in the water. The only thing is, Mantisans transformation are slow to occur. Most Mantisans don't get their fins or gills until their teens. But unlike Nekaltisans, Mantisans can survive on hot planets. It all depends on the Mantisan. Also, while in the water, they have an insane strength. It is best not to be on the receiving end of that punch.
Eeltisans are basically talking eels. They are the oldest living Aquatisan ever. They're the ancestors of the planet. They're wise, and loyal. Some Aquatisans have Eeltisans as guardians. The eels have an electrical shock that can disorient the body. They can go in and out of water. But it is better if they stay in. Most dry up too quickly.
"You seem to know a lot about these people, Master Fisto." Luminara commented accusingly.
"Those of us from water planets often do. It's common knowledge." e winked charmingly.
"So how is this girl related to Jango Fett?" Secura asked the million credit question.
"Adopted by Jango, she was." Yoda informed. Eyes widened across the briefing room. "Been with him for many years, she has. Considered him her father, she has." Yoda closed his eyes, sensing the strong bond between the adoptive daughter and father. "Clung to him, for safety and security, this girl has. Losing him sent her into a spiral."
"Watch someone you love die often does." Anakin murmuer, stroking his prosthetic arm. "Being helpless to to save them makes it worse." Obi-Wan took Anakin's words to heart. The Boy was speaking from experience.
"Um… forgive my ignorance," Ahsoka apologized, stepping closer to the gathering of masters, "But, who's Jango?" Anakin snorted at her asking his deep rooted question. It was no surprise Ahsoka was not familiar with Jango Fett. The Masters themselves only recently learned of him on accident.
"Jango Fett was a bounty hunter." Mace Windu replied. He released a despondent sigh, "He's the one I killed on Geonosis." Anakin and Ahsoka listened anxiously. "Without my knowledge, this girl – Tanya – watched as I struck her father down." The two widened their eyes with shock. Watching someone you love get killed is bound to do something to one's mental state.
"It created problems for the Jedi." Fisto explained, sensing Windu's turmoil with the topic. "She would stalk Windu; watching his every move and action." Fisto peered to the windows, imagining that very girl sitting atop a spire, burning holes in the Temple as she pondered how best to strike Windu. "Often times she would appear from nowhere, or we would catch glimpses of her in crowds." He shuddered at the image of her gorgon glare. "She always got closer. Too close."
"One day, I was on Naboo with senator Amidala, providing security during national talks. Tanya had tracked me down." Windu reminisced lividly. "Using a light saber she had acquired from a dead Jedi, she tried to kill me." He lifted his sleeve, showing healing scar. "This is the result of that fight."
"A GIRL MY AGE DID THAT TO YOU?" Ahsoka shouted.
"She's actually two years older than you," Windu corrected the young Togrutan, "She's 16 years old."
"Despite that - in her defense – I would never join the organization whose member killed my father." Ahsoka said bluntly. Anakin would normally scold her speaking out of turn. In this instance, her words held powerful merit. "I'd be out for blood too."
"She has a point." Obi-wan grimly agreed. "If Tanya is in any relation with Jango, and she is likely to decline at the possibility of losing her pride."
"Wait!" Luminara interrupted abruptly. "Why do we even a bounty hunter to join our Jedi order?"
"She's force sensitive." Obi-wan said simply. Luminara resisted rolling her eyes. A typical reason. "We have to acquire her before the separatists do. Before Count Dooku learns of her." The dangers of her being spirited away by him have increased tenfold. "And besides that, with her being an old ally of Jabba's, she may be able to provide intel we have not yet acquired oursleves."
"Well if she's as stubborn as you say, she will never join us without ulterior motives." Luminara pointed out.
"Which is why, have a deal for her we do." Yoda smiled. He looked up to Master Windu. "And once done, a master will be chosen." The jedi were beginning to question the stakes of this deal. Once more, who would become her master?
There was an uproar going throughout the senate. Somehow word has spread that the daughter of Jango Fett was being brought there. Every one of the senators had gathered. Even Palpatine bothered to show. The prison transport arrived, and Cody, Rex, Chopper, and Slick were ready to fire.
The doors opened, and there she was: Tanya Fett. Fully armor platted cuffs covering her hands entirely. With her being force sensitive, there was a possibility she would use some sort of mind trick to escape. With two guards keeping a sturdy grip on her, Tanya was lead down the isle of glaring and curious eyes. She glanced at the eyes, committing the faces to memory. One face caught her eye. She and that face had sparks surging between them. She had seen the firm, scowling face of Mace Windu. MACE! She jumped slightly, darting over to Windu. She got in his face. Windu didn't move. Tanya smiled malevolently and licked her lips. "Hiya~ Mace~!" She crooned almost psychotically. She cackled for effect. She wanted Windu to believe that prison had made her go insane. She might believe so herself. "Did you miss me, Mace~? I sure missed you~."
"If I say yes, will that change your mind about me?" He asked humorlessly.
"It'll grant you swift death instead of a slow and agonizing one." She snuck a lick to his cheek. Windu grimaced at the touch. His reflexes shoved her viciously into the arms of her escorts. A low, menacing chuckle reverberated her throat. Her wiry hair drapped to her eyes, illuminating her swelling craze. "This is going to be a fun visit." The guards tightened their grip on her arms and continued to drag her away. She smiled to the bald master, letting him get a glimpse at the hell she was going to make him experience.
Windu watched as she left and sighed. "I feel sorry for her."
Tanya was escorted to the Chancellors office. Anakin, Obi-wan, Windu, Yoda and Padme were present. Tanya rolled her eyes at the security. "You even invited the Gremlin. Guess I should be honored." She snickered at Yoda. He was unaffected by her taunts. "If I didn't know any better," She quivered her lower lip, "I get the feeling you guys didn't trust me."
"You guessed that all on your own?" Anakin retorted derisively.
"I just wanted to make sure." she smiled evilly to the young master. "Because," She ghosted from the clones grip. She stomped to Anakin's foot, yanking him to her eye level by the collar. Her swift movements caught him and Obi-Wan off guard, "I don't want it to be too easy when I decide to kill you all!" Anakin's eyes flared. He could see the hatred in her eyes. Never mind seeing it, he could sense it seeping out of every pore in her skin. He hadn' noticed when she released him. Tanya sat in a chair, surrounded by troopers who were armed and ready to shoot. Anakin could have sworn Ventress or some kind of Sith was sitting in that chair. Obi-wan put a hand on his shoulder, calming his nerves.
"Palpatine. Padme." The two grunted at her lack of formality. "Shall we get this farce underway?" She crossed her legs. "I do have a 3,000 year sentence waiting for me."
"As you wish." Palpatine cleared his throat. "Cody, please remove the cuffs and you troopers are free to leave." Cody did as the chancellor said. Tanya rubbed her chaffing wrists and stretched her arms out. It was soothing relief to finally have those off of her hands. She wiggled her fingers, getting the circulation following. She curled her finger in and out, creating a tight fist. What I wouldn't give to hold a weapon. She grumbled mentally, my hands need it. "Now then, my dear," Palpatine began with a gentle smile, "No doubt you've already guessed as to why you are here?" The blank expression gave him grounds to assume the answer was yes. "Very well. Ms. Fett-"
"You told me you would not bother me again!" She spat at Palpatine, interrupting him. The pleasantires lost him all favor with her patience. "It would seem that even the Chancellor lies." She glared down to Yoda. "And it would appear the ancient Gremlin does as well!"
"We called you here on behalf of the republic!" Palpatine explained adamantly. "And because Jabba said that we could have you."
"I never truly worked for that fat, cowardly, pig. I only put up with Jabba because my dad asked me to!" She leaned back, "As for the republic," She folded her arms "The Republics fate lies with yours. You've already proven that you do not trust me."
"How so?" Palpatine enquired. She looked back to the jedi. Palpatine nodded. "Master Kenobi, Master Skywalker, would you both excuse us?" The two bowed and exited the room. Anakin glanced back. Tanya was watching as they left. One would think that she was planning to strike once they left. The door closed. "Is that better?"
"It will be once I get to leave." She analyzed the room. She knew that even the greatest of bounty hunters could not escape this situation. So she crossed her arms and kicked back, "So why did you call me here?"
"Because the jedi wish to have you among their ranks." Palpatine explained. Tanya's face went blank. Was this a joke? Have they lost their minds? It better be some sort of mental affliction. Because there is no possible way they can be serious. "And, with the questionable character of Jabba, we were also hoping you could keep an eye out for any foul tricks he may use. Provide information" Tanya cocked an eyebrow. "We know you are not as evil as you pretend to be," he continued, "We happen to know that you can be a kind hearted person."
"So, what?" She chuckled. She can hardly believe this. "You called me here to give me the, I sense the good in you speech?" She mocked. "Because if you are, I'd like to go back to my cell now."
"We have knowledge that you have befriended many allies of Jango." Tanya's ears twitched at the mention of Jango. "You have even gone so far as to protect them. Thrown your own self in harm's way to save them." Tanya's glare darkened the more he spoke. "As I said," Palpatine grinned vicitoriously, "You are not evil."
"It's not because I'm not evil." She sighed, her expression softening, "It's because I don't turn my back on my own." Her scowl returned. "Now you either tell me the real reason why I am here, or send me back to jail."
"Very well..." Palpatine exhaled. "Senator Amidala, will you do the honors?"
The Naboo senator stepped forward, a forced smile on her face, "It is good to see you again Tanya."
"Like wise Padme," Tanya smiled, "Now why don't you drop the fake smile and tell me why I'm here." Padme sneered at the cat eared girl, "I'm a bounty hunter, Princess, I know a fake face."
Padme angrily pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to Tanya. Tanya immediately looked it over. It was a letter of Marque, saying that Tanya was acquitted of all charges against her. "The republic is prepared to pardon you of all charges against you," Padme explained, "Provided you become the Padawan of one of the Jedi Masters." Tanya cocked an eye. "As a force sensitive child, you must feel some sense of obligation to join?"
"So in order to gain my freedom," Tanya reiterated hostilely, "I have to become the Padawan of one of these fossils." She spat. Her eyes went to Windu and narrowed. "I sooner shoot off my own tail!" To somewhat prove her point, she held up her tail. She tossed the papers aside, "The jedi order can go die in a black hole for all I care. Keepers of the peace? DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH!"
"We know the reason why you refuse to join the republic." Padme admitted. "We also know what happened to you at Geonosis."
"If you know, then why do you continue to ask me to join you?" She spat to Palpatine, "You should know by now that I don't give a rat's ass who pulls out in this war."
"Because we need your help," Windu said flatly, "Your knowledge of Jabba, your skills as a bounty, and your force skills could help us."
Tanya's eyes flared with a fiery rage. How dare you! She snarled in her mind. She stood from the chair. She strutted over to Windu, not taking notice to him putting his hand over his saber. She gripped his tunic by the collar and pulled him down to her eye level. "Why the hell should I help?" She asked in a low growl, resisting the urge to punch him. "You took everything from me. Why shouldn't I allow you to lose everything? Why shouldn't I watch from my cell as you gaze upon the deaths of your Jedi brethren?"
"Because – although I did not know him for very long – I'm sure Jango taught you better." Tanya furrowed her brow. She felt that Windu was mocking her about her father. "He must have taught you, despite being a Bounty Hunter it is good to give help where it's needed."
With a roar, Tanya force pushed him into the wall. She jumped onto him, placing her hands to his neck. "DON'T YOU EVER LET MY FATHERS NAME ESCAPE THOSE MURDEROUS LIPS OF YOURS! I'll cut them off myself!"
"TANYA!" Yoda interfered. She looked to him, not taking her hands off of Windu, "Kill an unarmed man, you will not," she blinked at him, "A chance though, you will have." Tanya let go of Windu, listening intently, "A dual you will have with one of the Jedi masters. Should you win, release you we will. But should you lose, become an apprentice you will."
"And who do I get to kill?" she asked with confidence as to who it will be.
"Mace Windu." Yoda answered.
Tanya smiled evilly. Her dark gaze went to the coughing jedi, "Deal," she licked her teeth, hungry for blood. She lowered her face to his and whispered, "I'm going to enjoy killing you."
The dual took place on the landing platform. It was for all eyes to see, as a large crowd had gathered. Tanya and Windu were prepared and ready to fight. They stood ten paces away, facing each other. Windu was as calm as his mind would allow, while Tanya overcome with hatred. Windu gazed in Tanya's eyes. He could sense it. Her sadness is welling up within her. This battle may make the tears of her pain flow out at last. Rex stood in the middle, "Now before we begin, do you two have anything to say?"
"After two long years," she said in monotone, "I will finally exact my vengeance upon you." She raised the saber, "I will finish what I started and this time I will kill you."
Windu shook his head, "I am sorry it had to come to this. And I am sorry that I have pained you this badly."
"SAVE YOUR APOLOGIES!" She took a stance, keeping the saber blade extinguished, "They won't keep you from burning in hell!"
A hover craft picked up Rex taking him into the stands. He aimed his rifle. Windu took his stance. The two waited for the signal to begin. Their anxiety crept upon on them. Both felt their muscles twitch and contract. It was as if the fates had brought them together for this moment. Rex fired the rifle. Tanya charged, not drawing her light saber. "WHAT!" before Windu could retaliate, he was kicked in the stomach. Tanya punched him in the chest and punched him once again in the gut. The blow knocked the wind out of him, the shock of it temporarily disabling him. He fell to one knee, holding his stomach. She's a lot stronger than she appears. He marveled. I must remember that. Tanya wanted to ensure that he would not get up. She brought up her leg and brought her foot down hard. Windu rolled out of the way at the last second. He jumped to his feet, unsheathing his saber, "Though I admire you for it, it'll take more than hand to hand tactics to defeat me." He assured her.
"Well I at least managed to bruise you with those hand to hand tactics," Tanya laughed, bringing forth her saber, "Now I will kill you with this sword."
"We shall see!" Windu and Tanya both charged, their sabers bouncing of one another. One defends and attacks. The other attacks the defense, neither one injuring the other. Windu began to notice, Tanya wasn't fighting with her sanity. When she attacked, it was as if she was swinging a club. Yet when she would protect herself, it was a well-executed defense. The rage in her eyes bore into Windu's soul. So much that it distracted him. Tanya did a side sweep with her foot, knocking Windu off his feet and his saber from his hand. Tanya stabbed at him. Windu dodged to the side and force pulled his saber back to his hands, just in time to catch Tanya's attack. He took his other hand and force lifted her. He pushed her into a railing. Tanya held herself up on it. "To fight out of anger," Windu sighed with dissatisfaction, "You will not win any battles this way." He approached her, "You must curb your anger if you wish to defeat me."
"That will happen…" she moaned struggling to stay on her feet, "Once I have your blood on my hands!" She returned to her stance, "I will make you pay! Even if I die, I will never rest until your life leaves your body!" She charged again. She swung at his side. Windu brought his saber up. Tanya raised a hand. With a roar, she began to force choke him. Windu was able to use his force powers to repel it. She is strong. But it's her anger that's giving it power. Huh? Tanya's power began to wane. He saw why. Tanya body was shaking violently. Her head was dropped, but he could see the tears streaming down her face. And there they are. "Why," she said, her voice wavering, "Tell me why?" she demanded
"Why what?" He asked, feeling her force power dissipating.
"With every bounty hunter you've caught, why did mine have to die?" She tried to keep up the choke. Her sadness made it difficult. "You could have used the force to subdue him. But no, you killed him." She dropped the choke. He shoulders vibrated. Her hands released the saber. Windu remained silent. He held his saber up. "Just kill me already," she begged, "That way I'll be with my father."
Windu raised his saber. Tanya closed her eyes, making peace with the spirits. She then heard Windu extinguish his saber. "No." Tanya looked up at him. "I will not take another life from this world –Especially one so young." He pulled out a Holoprojector. Tanya cocked an eye. Pushing a button, a holographic Jango appeared. Tanya's eyes widened.
"Daddy?" She gasped
"If you are listening to this, it means I am no longer with you." Tanya's heart tore down the middle. It was him. That was his voice. His body. Everything. That was her father. "The ten years I raised you as my own are memories I cherish, and will carry with me for eternity." He placed hands to his heart. His cheeks flushing with the love her professed. "As such, I must ask that you do the same of me. And never forget me."
"How...how could I ever forget you?" She choked to reply.
"A deep seeded desire for vengeance is engraved on your heart. I have seen it arise, and strike without warning many times." Tanya sank miserably. "Do not allow that to consume you. If you have taken vengeance over rational thought, you have forgotten my teachings. In turn...you will have forgetten me." Tanya's eyes widened. She touched her tearing heart. I've...forgotten you...? "Look deep inside yourself, Tanya. You are not a vengeful soul. You are still that loving girl I found all those years ago. You must displace these hateful thoughts. Move forward in your life."
"How can you expect me to do that?" She cried. "After everything that's happened, you expect me to forget about what happened to you?!" She shouted to the recording. "I 'm…" She dropped her head, "I'm not who I used to be. I'm not that same girl."
"Vengeance is for those who have yet to accept the truth. You are stronger than that." He's giving her far too much credit. "You knew that one day I would meet my end. You must accept that I am no longer here." As if he were standing right there in fornt of her, Tanya felt the distinct touch of his palm to her cheek. "But I shall always be with you in spirit. And remember, I will always love you."
The transmission ended. Tanya held it in her hand, tears streaming down her face. She held it to her chest, crying. She fell to her knees. "Daddy."
Windu allowed the silence to sink in. Permitting her grief that has been withheld for too long to flow. "This...was found on his person the day he passed." He softly explained. "There was another. But we did not access it due to there being no need to." Windu knelt down to her, putting his hands on her shoulders, "You're father wanted the best for you. And by seeking vengeance, you are letting him down."
"How can I ever make it up to him?" She sobbed. "I've been trying to get vengeance for two years. How can I make up for what I've done?"
Windu showed her the letters of pardon, and there was a little letter from Jango. When did he find time to send this? "He asked us, should he ever die, that we would take care of you." Tanya couldn't believe what she was looking at. Jango always spoke of his desire for her to join the Jedi. To learn how to better control her powers. She couldn't bring herself to leave him. "You are a Bounty Hunter, but you are also a natural born Jedi." He helped her to her feet. "I cannot tell you to give up you Hunter instincts, but I do ask you to join the jedi. Help us prevent those from suffering the way you have suffered." He extended a hand, "Will you accept?"
Tanya considered his words. Somewhere in the universe, there are those losing their families to this war. Kids, mothers, ETC. She glanced down to the hand. She frowned at him and threw the papers in his face. Windu was surprised by the action. "I lost the fight anyway," she shrugged, "So there's no point in me saying no." she spat. She dusted herself off.
Windu found her stubbornness amusing. "And I know you've had a rough day," he said, a hint of happiness in his voice, "But I'm afraid you and I will be spending a great deal of time together."
"What do you mean?" she asked fretfully.
"I've been appointed as your master."
"WHAT? YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS!" She roared. "THAT TEARS IT! I'M GOING BACK TO JAIL!"
Windu grabbed her by the tail and yanked her back. "I'm afraid that is no longer possible. You belong to me now." He held out his hand again, expecting her to shake it, "Welcome to the republic Padawan Fett."
Tanya slapped his hand away, "FIRST OF ALL, don't expect me to call you master, BALDU!" she snapped, "And second," she smiled, "Call me Tanya."