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Star Wars: The Alternate Prequels

By Thomas Kent

Fantasy / Scifi

Turmoil on Coruscant

Star Wars

Episode I: Turmoil on Coruscant

Vicious, genetically identical creatures have attacked the armies of the Republic for years. The noble Jedi Knights, long-standing guardians of peace and justice, are thinning out as they assist the Republic. Spawning from an unknown location, these creatures act on the orders of the sinister Darth Maul.

A rusty spice freighter follows a preset route into space with an escalating purr. Inside the dimly lit bridge, two smugglers observe data on computers. Behind scarred, interlocking doors, there is a passage with circular walls and a walkway of straight edges, lined with wiring. The piloting smugglers hear something heavy from somewhere inside and turn around in suspicion. What was that? That didn't sound normal.

The doors hiss and slide apart for an ominous figure, hooded and draped in black...Darth Maul. The dim lighting shows a ribbed pattern in his cloak and jag-woven gloves. Threatened, the smugglers aim their blasters at him, but Darth Maul summons an unseen force to bend their weapons and spill sparks. One of them looks at the disjointed metal object in his hand and quietly steps back, but the other is not afraid. "We're on a tight schedule. What do you want from us?"

"Just your ship...no need for either of you." Suddenly, there is a CRACK as the pain-struck smugglers collapse on the floor, eyes wide open in shock. Taking over the spice freighter, their killer drives it to Coruscant.

Cut to the planet's endless cityscape, inside a crowded casino with an angular, interlocking floor pattern. A scaly gambler with glassy bug eyes, wearing an orange padded jacket and ribbed pants, twitches a tiny snout and blinks as though the air seems peculiar. The gambler, a rodian, turns to notice a hooded figure moving through the casino. As the figure steps around a corner, the gambler buzzes a foreign dialect to someone nearby. Someone is on to us.

Removing his hood is Obi-Wan Kenobi, a young man with short hair, wrapped in the folds of a loose-sleeve beige tunic, some loose pants and brown boots. His neck and wrists are wrapped in the folds of an inner tunic. Obi-Wan wears a belt equipped with four small pouches and a polished, ribbed handlebar...his lightsaber.

Obi-Wan quietly follows two shady creatures down an empty hall, watching them closely. Let's see...what are these guys up to? Could it be a drug deal? Could it be a slave auction? Not while I'm around. However, he gets caught by four gangsters behind him. Obi-Wan is brought into the court of Rassth, a trandoshan mobster with the ridged head, marble eyes and manners of a snarling, unfriendly dinosaur.

Rassth wears a gray jacket vest over a crimson shirt with rolled up sleeves, dark green pants, and a bandolier of shiny capsules around one shoulder. As opposed to wearing boots like other smugglers, Rassth instead circles Obi-Wan with his clawed, scaly feet. Wise Jedi should know better than to poke around and look for gangs, but not this one. He's too young to grasp what we do.

Rassth is a conspiring crime lord who plots to con people out of their Republic credits, leaving plenty of gamblers in debt. Obi-Wan orders him to put a stop to it, but Rassth will not take orders from anyone. Obi-Wan boldly ignites a sky-blue lightsaber with a static purr and is threatened by forty thugs with blasters. Well Obi-Wan, you've really done it this time. How are you getting out of this one?

Someone disintegrates Rassth with a blaster, sending his body screeching across the room...Anakin Skywalker, a young man wearing a padded gray pilot uniform and black boots. Anakin helps Obi-Wan escape a resulting shootout and hurries him into a short-winged starship. Four bladed vehicles follow them as they leave, driven by armed gangsters. Anakin takes the ship on risky turns down some tunnels, using a gyroscopic effect in his rotary engines for sharp turns. Soon, they lose the gang. Wow, this guy really knows how to fly this thing...perhaps a little too well. I would call it unlikely that we're still alive. Unless...

When Anakin asks what a Jedi Knight was doing in a casino run by mobsters, he's told that stopping corruption is part of the Jedi way. Obi-Wan has a motive to end threats around the galaxy, regardless of trouble, while Anakin is used to hunting corrupt gangsters. It is evident that both are risk-takers. Anakin may not realize it, but he might have a strong use of our power.

Obi-Wan takes Anakin to the distant Jedi Council, hidden in the cold mountains of Ando Prime. Their ancient, slanted sanctuary and watch towers are etched in sections with a motif of angular symbols. Although obscured by smoky light rays, the typical Jedi would formally wrap in a loose-sleeve tunic and a flowing robe, each wearing their own shades of tan, beige or cocoa. Some wear belts equipped with pouches, energy cells, and edible rations, but some Jedi do not carry lightsabers.

Obi-Wan requests to train Anakin in the ways of the Jedi, but he's a reckless youth in the eyes of the Council, having almost died. Leock, a wolflike bothan Jedi with the muzzle of a lion, can sense much potential in Anakin, who was able to sneak into a gangster court without notice. The Council does allow training for Anakin because every other time Obi-Wan sets out to take a risk, he would always end some threat wherever he goes. Also, Anakin saved him.

For a while, Anakin can't seem to lift a brick with his mind, but one day he discovers that he can. Anakin is struck with inspiration. This thing...it moved. I have power. Why, this is just...I don't believe it. More to the Jedi, perhaps, if I stick around?

Anakin learns to move things from twenty feet away, sense movement behind him, and helps Obi-Wan create a momentary snowstorm to scare off creatures attacking a small village...gorge howlers. Anakin is given advice to keep in mind when he spots trouble, words once told to Obi-Wan by his own mentor. Do, or do not. There is no try.

As months go by, Anakin's hair grows out some. Once he has a grasp on the force and learned of the Jedi tradition, Anakin takes a moment to construct his first lightsaber. With his eyes closed, a pile of tiny pieces begin to take shape. Some crystal lenses, various wiring, and a small magnetic ring come flowing and spiralling together, locking into place inside a curve-tipped chrome handlebar.

As Obi-Wan quotes, this is an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. Anakin ignites it and plays around with it, intrigued by the brilliance and potential of his new toy, ready to save the day. Anakin lightly feels the edge of the intense blade. Then they get a static, blurred hologram from Coruscant, which struggles to adjust focus and send a clear message. "These clones...they've come for our ruin...oh, the travesty! Wait...THE EYES! HE'S FOUND US! NOOOO-"

Creatures are attacking a smoky Coruscant, and arriving Jedi must move quick to fight them off. These dark, scaly species use pointy dreadlocks to sense movement all around, dozens of crustacean-esque antennae. They are seen wearing breathing masks with slit-eyed goggles, wrapped in tattered black, and are pouncing on Republic soldiers with black claws. The clones tear through the soldiers with electrical pincer-blades, barking inhuman orders and garbling threats through angular breathing filters.

Leock, a commanding Jedi, tells two others to assist the outnumbered soldiers. He keeps a third close by, a young, black-haired girl in light beige attire, named Sashi. She holds a ring-indented lightsaber with a frostlike finish, emitting a slender violet energy blade through a small flange. Sashi wants to go help the other Jedi in their struggle against these vicious creatures, but Leock assures her that standing by in the event of a sudden attack IS helping, which is all he asks.

Leock gives her a smug, hearty grin, but Sashi sighs. Coruscant needs our help, and I'm certain that's why we've come. Those awful things have probably seen us by now. We can't just stand here. Sashi notices dust and smoke gradually clouding their sight. I have a bad feeling about this. Suddenly, an ominous figure appears and advances with a red lightsaber...Darth Maul.

Leock ignites his own lightsaber, warning a startled Sashi to stay back as Darth quickly closes in. Darth Maul attacks him fiercely in a smoke cloud without letting up, but each swing misses the bothan, who sprints aside. Leock bats his wavering lightsaber blade to strike the hilt of this newcomer, but Darth Maul is too quick. Darth twirls and slams his red lightsaber at the bothan until they lock blades with a static crackling.

The fierce amber eyes of Leock are met with two devious yellow eyes of this hooded anomaly. This one burns with hatred...he seeks vengeance. Only one such warrior in the history of this galaxy would seek war so passionately...the Sith. Wait...NO.

Now alarmed to see who he might be dealing with, the bothan gets struck off-guard and is slowly killed, collapsing with a painful grit in his teeth and the sizzle of a crimson energy blade through him. Sashi looks on and screams his name, eyes wide in horror, when Anakin brings his gyro-ship by with Obi-Wan to help her escape.

Once the ship leaves the planet with a hydraulic howl, Anakin is glad he could find her when he did...but Sashi is traumatized. There is a distant look of cold loss in her eyes. Leock had always protected her like a surrogate parent, and now he's gone. Sashi cannot go back, for if she did, she would have followed for sure.

Anakin searches the Jedi archives...he knows for a fact that he could hear the thoughts of Leock. I must know what a Sith is. How DID Leock just assume that was a Sith? According to a stack of text lined with old symbols, the dark lords of the Sith were once notorious for their reckless passion, oppression, slavery, starting a number of nasty wars, and killing those foolish enough to cross them. Their malevolent dominion would see no end, and their piercing, skeletal towers would never fall during their time...the Hundred Year Darkness.

However, once a Jedi Knight was discovered among them, the Sith vowed to silence him forever. Instead they would witness the collapse of their cities, and a phenomenal end to their power...in the ruins stood this one Jedi. For thousands of years have the Sith been extinct. Anakin ponders a theory. So...either this cataclysm was so devastating that only one survived, or it took only one Jedi to destroy entire cities of evil. I wonder if the Jedi might fit the latter.

Anakin learns to use his lightsaber in the Jedi dojo, making risky circular swirls. Wow. This weapon feels very...gyroscopic, much like steering my starship. Sashi is impressed to observe what he can do, and challenges him to a practice duel.

The two put their weapons on a low-power setting and then have at it. They swing and bat playfully at one another, each catching the other off-guard at times. Sashi and Anakin initially have a comparable amount of experience, but Anakin's might just surpass hers. Later, Anakin would show her how to drive his gyro-wing ship and spiral through some mountains.

When Anakin is summoned to a starship hangar for two missions with Obi-Wan, Sashi realizes that she fears for him. Sashi had seen the fall of someone far more experienced, but there is a look of longing in her eyes when Anakin leaves. Oh, Anakin. I can only hope for your safe return. A reluctant Sashi quietly turns back, crossing her arms. Leock was a strong, wise Jedi, but even he could not match Darth Maul. If you don't come back, Anakin, who else am I to duel and fly a starship with?

Obi-Wan and Anakin help the Republic form an alliance with the Mandalorians, armored mercenaries recognized for black, joining visors hiding their faces, some of whom remain silent. The Jedi discuss Coruscant during a cultural banquet...the festive, dramatic song they hear would play again in Xizor's Palace.

Aware these mercenaries are distrustful and skeptical towards them, the Jedi swear never to shame their people again if they can assist on Coruscant...the Jedi Knights were once known for letting all their slaves go, dishonoring the culture of Mandalore.

Cut to Tatooine, a familiar barren world with two suns and a sparse population. Here we meet Cyline, a young, sharp-eyed smuggler with shoulder-length, dark red hair. She wears a brown jacket vest, gray pants with four ribbed sections, black boots, padded brown gloves, and a pair of dust goggles around her head. Cyline is a fierce, competitive jockey racing through a desert, riding a beat-up swoop bike with a bladed fork.

Cyline goes up against a savage gang of reptilian, ridged, horned, and slippery species through some rock formations and jagged crevices. The gang follows her swoop bike into the Dune Sea, before turning right back and getting out of there. Cyline turns off her bike to see if they're still coming, but one of them is talking to the others. Cyline picks up on his garble, which is translated to a warning about something alive here. Cyline turns in question to face the desert. Huh. I wonder what this "dune serpent" is.

Cyline hears a pattern of raspy taps, moving in and out of earshot, followed by a groan made by something with strong vocal chords. Cyline pauses as a thought slowly dawns on her. What the hell was that? It sounds like...oh, no.

Right that moment, something huge pops out of the sand and tries to eat her...a ridge-bodied serpent with hooked fangs and eight embedded, olive-black eyes. Cyline frantically fires up her swoop bike and speeds off with a VOOT, swooping clear of this lunging demon giving off a shrill howl.

Cyline turns back with a blaster and shoots it numerous times, ineffectively, when the creature stops moving. Its body collapses atop a dune with a cauterized hole through it. Someone steps through the hole with a sky-blue lightsaber, exhausted, and Cyline pulls up her goggles. It can't be...is that Obi-Wan? IT IS! Oh, it's been too long!

Holstering her weapon, Cyline approaches Obi-Wan and gives him a hug, before he tells her about Coruscant. Cyline talks with Anakin and Obi-Wan in some bar, eyed by shifty thugs and conniving aliens, some with three eyes.

Obi-Wan has credits for Cyline if she can help them, but Cyline already likes him quite a bit for the adventurous Jedi he always has been and will join them anyway. Obi-Wan once offered her a spot on the Jedi Council, but certain they would never welcome a potential risk-taker into their Order, she refused. Obi-Wan looks on, holding his chin in question. Hmm...I'm intrigued, because I'm a Jedi and I've always been a risk-taker.

Karo Fett, a suspicious Mandalorian who's followed the Jedi, walks in on them. Karo wears an angular pattern of armor with a violet shine to it, and a tattered cloak. His trust in the Jedi is now shakier than before, finding two of them talking to a smuggler. Mandalorians hate smugglers, believing they have no honor or respect for any culture.

These noble Jedi are recruiting low-life smugglers to fight a war. Guardians of peace and justice, right. Perhaps if I come with them, I'll get a nice reward out of it and upgrade my ship. However, Fett hasn't quite figured out that every other person in the bar is a smuggler, at which point they turn on him with blasters. Where this armor comes from, you people won't leave a scratch on its iron.

But then a snarling, grunting creature with a ribbed gas mask enters the bar, followed by another identical to it. Karo recognizes a curved weapon in its hand, an electrical claw-blade. I know that weapon...only a fellow soldier of mine would carry it. At that point, Fett whips out a blaster in a swirl of his cloak and shoots one of them with a springy particle bolt.

Another comes after them with a claw blade and a war cry, but Obi-Wan kills it quickly with an upward lightsaber slash. Karo Fett lowers the smoking weapon in his hands. So there ARE worse things than smugglers. I shall inform my comrades. If the Jedi ask us to join in their struggle, then we will. For now.

Anakin and Obi-Wan leave for Coruscant in the gyro-wing ship. Cyline takes the Outrider, a rounded and beat-up but functional cargo freighter lined with a serrated edge. A cockpit is bound to its right by two bracing arms, one of them tangent to its rounded front half. Karo Fett follows in his own ship emitting a high-strung rumble, the rounded, reflective, paddle-steered and fully armed Slave I.

Once they leave, five spiky, rotary ships driven by the clones catch up with them and engage in a space fight. However, these creatures stand no chance against the rapid firepower of a cunning mercenary, the off-setting ramming of a competitive smuggler, and the tricky, orbiting maneuvers of two risk-taking Jedi.

The four arrive on Coruscant, where they are shocked to witness a number of ribbed, curved skyscrapers collapse into an urban undercity miles below. The hooded Darth Maul watches patiently...with each twist of his grasp, a floor collapses. Soon this order will fall, just as ours had. Our time is at hand.

There is, indeed, turmoil on Coruscant. Obi-Wan, Anakin and Sashi use booms of the force and lightsaber movement in a tough struggle against the clones, who savagely pounce and wail on them with vibro-claws. The Outrider and Slave I roam the city, mowing down as many of these things as possible. Darth Maul boards a hovering train platform, telling a pale droid to ferry him into the industrious district of the planet.

Anakin and Obi-Wan sneak onto the train, which descends into an endless and sterile complex for energy production and storage. Once the platform slows into a docking bridge, Darth Maul turns to see them igniting their lightsabers. "Heh. You Jedi amuse me...what good is a lightsaber now?" Darth Maul summons the force to throw a stolen spice freighter at them. To his inner shock, both Jedi bring it to a halt with a heavy, piercing creak, using the vibrant force and their combined strength.

Darth Maul clicks a button on his wrist...several columns of energy begin acting up, reflecting a violet glow off the pattern-lit walls and interlocked floor pieces. Darth Maul throws his cloak aside to reveal a red face with jagged black tattoos, sharp yellow eyes, and protruding thorns. Obi-Wan is disturbed, but Anakin steps closer, not the least bit intimidated. Darth Maul draws a double-ended lightsaber, a worn hilt with dark ribs and light burns.

Darth ignites his weapon with a static BEWSH, and Obi-Wan steps back. This can't be good. Only four Jedi ever known could wield such a weapon. Both Jedi draw a lightsaber and engage in devastating combat, during which they are assaulted by streaks of unstable plasma. However, Anakin is quick to notice that Darth Maul is untouched. Something is keeping those power discharges off him. I wonder if it's that remote on his wrist.

Darth Maul unleashes a swirling combination of clashes on the two Jedi. Their sabers jolt and rattle with a powerful tension. Both Jedi advance on him quickly with their guard up until they are nearly exhausted. Regardless, Anakin boldly defies streaks of plasma with his lightsaber and reaches their enemy. Anakin proves a cunning swordsman against Darth Maul and almost gets the best of him, but loses a hand.

Anakin stumbles back in shock and nearly passes out, but Obi-Wan disarms this dark warrior. "What is this?!" demands Obi-Wan for answers. "Revenge," answers Darth Maul, who now backs up to a guardrail, to the suspicion of both Jedi. "I am the Sith."

He steps off the edge and out of sight. The Jedi hear a rumbling howl akin to a distressed elephant call, as though something is moving past them and away. Obi-Wan and Anakin shut off their weapons. Obi-Wan looks around, confused but left with one possible conclusion. He's gone into the void. We might never see him again. Horrified, Anakin lets out a bleak "NOOOO!"

Obi-Wan helps Anakin walk when his gyro-wing shows up, piloted by Sashi. Their ship navigates the labyrinthine, burning halls of this complex, but they escape moments before the place is completely disintegrated. This results in a blackout across half of Coruscant, prompting a panic-struck Galactic Senate to send their troops after Darth Maul before he commits another atrocity of this magnitude.

Sashi takes a look at Anakin's arm and nearly gets a heart attack. She tells him never to face Darth Maul again, but Anakin knows that they must after the energy cataclysm he caused. Sashi holds his arm, wraps it up for him, and Anakin gets a replacement hand in a medical lab. Before he and Obi-Wan leave to seek out the clones, Sashi runs to them in a starship hangar, insisting that she come along this time for helping them escape certain death.

Elsewhere, a claw-shapen vehicle turns visible in angular patterns. It lands on some dark, desolate planet, where out steps Darth Maul. The Republic can send out as much of their army as they please, but it won't be enough. They won't win. These will. He steps into a high view above thousands of clones.

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