It is a dark time for the galaxy. Palpatine has declared himself Emperor and Jedi Knights across the stars have fallen under the merciless fire of Order 66. The two great heroes of the Clone Wars, Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, ended their long partnership on the beaches of volcanic Mustafar. There, Kenobi left his once best friend to die, and with him died not only the galaxy's best hope, but also its worst nightmare . . .
Or so he thought.
Now, the only hope lies in Skywalker's wife, Senator Padme Amidala and the lives she carries inside of her. Reeling from injuries sustained on Mustafar, Amidala lies in the medical ward of the remote asteroid mining colony of Polis Massa, as the last of the Jedi Knights desperately attempt to preserve the only hope for restoring freedom to the galaxy . . .
Floating on invisible repulsorlifts, the medical droid addresses its solemn audience, waving its mechanical appendages in gestures designed to mimic those of its makers. Its soft voice and human-like manner are designed to be reassuring. Unfortunately, there is little comfort in this for its present audience: two human males and a squat, green alien; one in elaborate finery, the other two in simple robes.
"Medically, she's completely healthy," the droid said in its soothing voice. "For reasons we can't explain, we're losing her."
"She's dying," Obi-Wan Kenobi repeated in shock. Kenobi's voice was softer than usual, missing its trademark confidence, the confidence of a man who knew that everything was going to work out all right in the end.
Kenobi had once believed that. Now, after what had happened in the past few days, he wasn't so sure.
In the blink of an eye, the galaxy had changed. Obi-Wan was used to this. But this time, his closest friend, his comrade, his brother . . . had changed with it. He had pronounced Obi-Wan his enemy. Had told him that he hated him. Had promised to kill him.
And come within a hair's breadth of carrying out that promise.
For the briefest of moments, balanced precariously on the walkways above the lava rivers, Obi-Wan had considered simply giving in and letting Anakin strike him down. Over the past few years, Anakin had been everything to him: a student, a son, then a brother. A friend he could always count on. One that was always at his side; when Anakin stumbled, Obi-Wan would steady him. When Obi-Wan stumbled, Anakin would throw him over his shoulder and get them both to safety, and may the Force be with anyone or anything that stood in his way.
Jedi had no possessions, and in his life, Obi-Wan had always believed himself prepared to sacrifice anything if the Force willed it. But he had never expected to have to give up Anakin.
This is the end for you, my master.
If it had been up to Obi-Wan Kenobi, it would have been.
But in the end, Obi-Wan knew, like any Jedi, that it was the will of the Force, not his own, that mattered.
That knowledge, though, didn't take away that hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach.
"We'll need to operate quickly if we're to save the babies," the med-droid, a GH-7 continued.
"Babies?" Obi-Wan repeated, noting the plural.
"She's carrying twins," the droid said.
The three biologicals nodded gravely and the GH-7, determining there was nothing more to say, hovered off.
"Delicate, her condition is," Master Yoda said, leaning on his gimer stick. "Careful we must be. These children, we cannot afford to lose."
"I agree," said Senator Bail Organa. "The medical staff here might suffice for the Polis Massans, but they are not near skilled enough for us to rely on completely."
Obi-Wan nodded, but remained silent.
"An idea, you have, Senator?"
"Yes, Master Yoda. I know of a doctor at the Aldera University Teaching Hospital. He's unconventional, but he's known as the best doctor on the planet. Possibly the whole sector."
"Unconventional, you say," Yoda repeated.
"Yes, Master. He's extremely eccentric. Some on Alderaan have even called him crazy. But he's the best. And I happen to know we can really on him for utmost secrecy."
"Mmmm," Yoda mused, his eyes half-closed. "A strange feeling, I have." He opened his eyes and regarded the younger Jedi. "What do you think, Obi-Wan? Call him, should we?"
Obi-Wan's gaze, which had been lost in infinity, turned to the transparisteel through which they could see Padme lying.
"Yes. Call him."
With a throaty whine, the Theta-class shuttle slowly descended to the surface of one of Polis Massa's asteroids. Bail Organa watched it with a slight sense of foreboding, though he couldn't be sure why.
The docking platform dropped to the ground and smoke hissed out of the bay. As the smoke cleared, the image of the visitor became clearly visible. A middle-aged humanoid male hobbled down the ramp, leaning on a cane. His brown hair was greying in spots, and his face was lined with stubble. Bail mentally calculated what time it was on Alderaan as he swiftly crossed the space to the bottom of the ramp.
"Doctor House," Bail said, shaking the man's hands vigorously. "I'm very honored that you came."
"Don't be too honored," the bass voice answered. "The HoloNet's been showing nothing but replays of the Declaration of a New Order. On every frequency. There was really nothing else to do."