I’m not sure how this will work out – I’m not overly familiar with the idea of going first-person from a villain. Bear with me, and I will do my best. Qui-Gon, Nasriel, my sincere apologies. I know this scene was hellish to work on.
Ten years, Qui-Gon? It took you ten years to come looking for me? I’m insulted. What do you want now, anyway? Sifo-Dyas. I see. Already the Council’s taken you off real missions onto the diplomatic circuit. I imagine your Padawan finds that irksome – a high-spirited, energetic teenaged girl tied down to an old man…
She’s a nice child. Small, pretty… probably a little tired of the energy-field restrainer by now. Oh, don’t be so hasty. She’s not hurt – yet. Come along, say what you came here to say.
Oh, the clone army wasn’t my idea, and Sifo-Dyas is dead now. What a waste of your time. You told Yoda about the clone army when you got back from Kamino, of course. But I want to talk about the girl. She’s the one you were all arguing about just before I left, I suppose. Who did train the boy in the end? Obi-Wan. Good choice. Of course you’ll want little Miss Nexu-got-her-tongue. She’s said nothing all the last week. Nasriel Kaliu Threeb – am I right? Did you know what it means? No – you wouldn’t. You never did pay enough attention to other languages.
Take this in plain Basic, then: while we are here talking past history, the war the Galaxy has been dreading is starting at Geonosis. I’m told Obi-Wan is there. Investigating a droid factory the Trade Federation gets its troops from. I’m told the Geonosians found him snooping around – no mention of Anakin, so I suppose he’s safe for now. I’m told they mean to have Obi-Wan killed. But Yoda won’t allow one of the brightest stars of the Order to fall, not when he can have a whole army of fully-trained clone soldiers for the asking. Sifo-Dyas ordered the army in the name of the Jedi Council. Fool.
The first battle of the war starts today. This is the beginning, Qui-Gon. Only the beginning. The sides are evenly matched enough that this could easily go on for years. Which gives us plenty of time to decide whether your Padawan survives to see any of it. Odd for you: a girl and a non-Human. Well, half-Human, then, if you prefer. What did Xanatos think of that? Furious, I imagine. He always did have a promising twist of anger to him.
I asked him to go with me when I left. He refused on the grounds that Bruck wasn’t ready for the Trials. I didn’t try convincing you; I’ve taught you enough dirty tricks that you could counter any reasoning I presented. Now, however, I’ve found an argument even you can’t defeat.
The Council is hopelessly corrupt, letting the Senate order them around, in hope of political favors. Years ago, I warned them about that: it’s a dangerous state to be in. With over ten thousand of the most powerful beings in the Galaxy as members of the Order, we should rule the Senate, not vice versa. But that wasn’t my persuasive argument, so you needn’t look so skeptical.
No, it’s this: come with me, now, and nobody will ever question or second-guess your decisions again. You’ll be a free agent. Isn’t that what you always wanted? And, I have some influential friends now: I can guarantee you the survival of Obi-Wan and Xanatos, Bruck and the little slave. Nasriel can stay with you or return to the Temple, as you prefer.
The Sith Rule of Two is very wise. Wise but shortsighted: it relies on the apprentice having no history or friends of his own. Al these years, the blind fools on the Council thought I was Lost. Nonsense. Although I’ve had to work alone, which I don’t deny has been hard, I’ve lied and dissembled and learned dark secrets enough that the Sith Lord believes me totally loyal to him. Think. It’s something Obi-Wan used to say – he was wise, for a child – When someone thinks they have you all figured out, that’s when they’re vulnerable. Together, we can destroy the Sith, crush him and put his power to serve a nobler cause. How do you know I’m not lying now? You can’t.
But just to show I mean you no harm, I’ll even let you have Nasriel back now. Here, you – go bring the girl here.
You see she’s not hurt – speak, girl; that is true, is it not? You need not swear at me, I am releasing you back to your Master. You were wanted only as an extra inducement for him to come. Qui-Gon, look. The door is open: you may leave this instant if you wish. But if you do, know that you will be responsible for my death. The Sith is suspicious, and jealous, and thinks nothing of killing. Either we three kill him together, or he will kill me presently, and you two by remote, in the course of the war. You’ve played dejarik with me before. This is no different. Rook to katarn four.
Your choice. Your move.