The Greatest Journey of all
The Sophy had been in flight for a few days now. Ahsoka had just rescued Barriss from the clutches of Commander Tarkin. She was about to be frozen in carbonite, a dark trophy to be used in a complicated political game between Palpatine and the Jedi.
Ahsoka had disrupted the scheme. Disguising herself as a clone trooper and infiltrating the group. It wasn't the first time she had slipped past the Republic soldiers.
Why did she do it? After a harsh betrayal....after a humiliation and disgrace put upon her, she had nothing to lose when she walked away from Anakin and the Council.
Why go back to rescue a traitor? A murderer?
Because Love cannot be explained, and should not be explained. The feelings Barriss and Ahsoka had felt were shuffled away in the dark corners of their hearts and minds, but it took a jolt to finally free those emotions, finally move past the denial they had both put in place. Ahsoka returned to free Barriss from a terrible punishment, from falling into darkness.
It was a love that had defied duty, fate, and the very nature of the Force. But it was not without complications of its own.
Today, as Ventress piloted the ship, Barriss and Ahsoka had started off the morning with cranky retorts and silent treatment. Both of them felt awkward and that the situation was unusual and there were still loose ends that neither wanted to face.
Barriss sat at the small dinner table, toying with her food.
Ahsoka sat in her small makeshift bedroom and fidgeted. There were things that needed to be said, because not all romances ended with a fairytale kiss and a walk into the sunset hand in hand.
Ahsoka sighed and went to the kitchen to get some milk. Barriss turned and saw her. They both felt a little awkward.
"We're out of milk. I guess Ventress didn't anticipate carrying us around." Barriss went back to playing with her food.
Ahsoka sensed bad vibes and leaned against the fridge, looking at her. "How much longer are we going to do this to each other?" She asked, a little frustrated.
Barriss didn't turn around. "You know, I actually had to look to see who was in the kitchen. I could not tell....I could not sense...."
"What does that have to do with-" Ahsoka shrugged, but Barriss cut her off.
"-It has everything to do with this! With us!" Barriss threw her spoon away, into a corner of the kitchen. She held out her hand and stretched her fingers towards it.
Ahsoka sighed "What are you doing, Barriss?" she started rolling her eyes, then realized what was going on.
"I've been cut off from the Force." Barriss answered quietly. "I'm done. Finished. I guess the Force will also punish me for my sins. I spent all morning just trying to lift a spoon from the table. I couldn't do it...."
Ahsoka realized the devastating effect this had on Barriss. Her turn to dark acts and betrayal had consequences, not just in society and the Jedi order, but with the nature of the Force itself.
"Maybe it's temporary. Look at Asajj. She was a dark Jedi and she can still use the Force-"
"-Ahsoka, don't you see? It is final judgement. I know I should be grateful to be alive, and forgiven. Forgiven by you. That's more than I could ever hope for. I should have expected this."
Barriss held out a light saber given to her by Ventress and handled it. "In the hands of a Jedi, this is a skill, a discipline and a symbol of the good we could do in the troubled galaxy. For me to handle a light saber again....it's now an empty experience, a glorified welding tool."
"Barriss....I don't know what to say. I don't know how to help you. I was never prepared for something like this..." Ahsoka threw her hands up in resignation.
"I know..." Barriss replied quietly.
Ventress walked out to grab something to eat. She looked at the two of them cautiously, and was not about to get mixed up in the quarrel.
"We are landing for supplies on Byss. I think you two need some fresh air. We are going to be calling this ship home for a while until we find a nice, out of the way place to live."
Ahsoka and Barriss frowned and glanced at Ventress. Neither wanted to draw her into their discussion. But Ventress wasn't oblivious to it.
"If you two don't figure this out, one of you is heading for a disaster. Maybe both of you. You have to come to terms with who you both are now."
"I don't know how." Barriss looks at her, needing advice. "The Jedi way was all I have known."
Ventress pulled no punches. "Barriss, you chose to abandon those values, and now the Force has seen fit to withdraw from you. Ahsoka, you have also made choices to abandon the Jedi, and you made the bold choice to save Barriss from punishment she probably deserved. We are all fugitives, and While I am used to it, I cannot have you two going through this ice cream emotional bantha ride. Your tear soaked girl angst is going to get us all killed if you two don't figure this out!"
Barriss sighed "She's right. I have become a liability."
"Would you stop talking like that! You will be fine. I'm sure many Jedi have had hiccups like this. You can't give up now!" Ahsoka tried to reason with her as Ventress went to land the ship properly.
But Barriss stopped listening and turned to Ahsoka. "You have always been my friend, Ahsoka. My best friend."
"That's it?" Ahsoka looked at her with a despair. She suspected Barriss was calling it quits on everything.
"I must go and meditate on my crimes, and contemplate my place in the galaxy. The Force is no longer here to guide me. I must....go. Please, this is something I have to do."
The ship landed and Barriss exited down the extended gangplank off the ship.
"I will wait." Ahsoka whispered.
Barriss froze at the words, but could not bring herself to face Ahsoka. "I will always remember what we...." She hesitated to finish the thought, then walked away. Ahsoka watched from the ship.
Tarkin was looking over some maps and scheduled Jedi departures from Coruscant, constantly calculating. Baron Papanoida was in the command center with him, looking over intel reports on the Separatist movements and strategies.
A signal interrupted their thoughts. "This is Captain Oil Fin of Byss station. We have reason to believe the rogue Jedi Ahsoka Tano has been seen planetside. We suspect she and Ventress are making a supply run."
Tarkin's eyebrow raised, his curiosity piqued. "What of the Jedi Barriss Offee? Is she with Tano?"
"Negative sir, though she may have slipped by our eyes on the street. We will double our efforts to find her!"
"Hold your positions." Tarkin had an opportunity for revenge. The humiliation he suffered when Ahsoka plunged him into the carbonite freezer has made him hunger for retaliation against all Jedi but against Ahsoka in particular. Why she rescued the traitor was still a mystery, an unexpected move. His cold calculations could not figure in any gain, unless there was a reward and Ahsoka made off with a fortune in credits for Barriss' head.
"This is an opportunity, I think" Papanoida was eager to see justice prevail.
"More than an opportunity, this is a chance to test our best contingency plan...." Tarkin smiled.
"What Contingency plan?" The Baron looked at him, and pessed his hands together in anticipation.
Barriss had found a small shrine at the top of a hill decorated with gorgeous flower beds. It was the perfect spot to meditate. It was, at the very least, a decent place to spend the rest of her life trying to seek the wisdom of the Force even though it had left her. She could not levitate, could not sense anything. The world felt flat and dead around her except for the tranquility of the shrine. She looked at the light saber Ventress had given her. "How can I even think to call myself a Jedi any more. This saber.....I can weld it, but it feels like a dead weight, a formality. Have I sinned so great that all that I was and ever could be is gone forever? Ahsoka.....what could have been....all my decisions have brought me to greater despair and ruin."
She notice a platoon of 30 troops led by a Clone Captain marching past. She kept her hood down and did not move. The clones were so focused, they did not notice her near the shrine entrance.
Oil Fin got another message from Tarkin. Captain Fin, the time has come. Execute Order 66 on the Rogue Ahsoka Tano, and if possible, the traitor Barriss Offee!"
Captain Fin's expression was hidden under his helmet, but the glee in his voice could not be contained. "I've waited a long time to hear those three words, sir!"
"Make sure Tano suffers before you finish the business." Tarkin concludes.
"Yes sir. Hallelujah!" Captain Fin and his troops make their move.
"Hallelujah, indeed." Tarkin says quietly from the command center.
"Hallelujah" : www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSJbYW…
Barriss was frozen, hesitating. what can she do? She had to stop them! But how? She had no powers, and did not know how to commune with the Force to recover her former position as a Jedi. But she felt something deep down, every time she heard Ahsoka's name, every time she thought of the uncertain future that was about to take place. Did Destiny abandon her like the Force? Was she able to make the one choice she could not make when she was a Jedi?
She ran. If there was any chance left to write the future....now was the time.
Barriss reached the square of the quaint little town that they landed at. Captain Fin had captured Ventress and Ahsoka. Ventress had been forcibly pinned on her knees by two troopers. Fin was enjoying making an example of Ahsoka in front of the towns people, slapping her face from side to side while listing her crimes against the Republic.
Ahsoka was bleeding from the mouth, but put up a brave face and resisted calling out in pain. She saw Barriss, and shook her head subtlety. Barriss' face became filled with rage.
"HEY!" Barriss walked straight up to Captain Fin.
The Clone commander smiled "Barriss Offee. You've made me a very happy man today!"
In a blur that surprised everyone. Barriss broke into a quick sprint and a roundhouse kick, connecting with Fin's face. The troops aimed their guns defensively as Fin stumbled a couple steps back in shock.
"Next, I'll make you a dead one!" She activated her saber and charged. Fin dove for cover, but was not her original target. She ran at the guards holding Ahsoka. Even without Jedi powers she was still formidable with her skills and agility. She knocked away the two guards.
Ahsoka quickly reacted and pulled her own saber. Back to back, they started deflecting shots from the rest of the platoon. Having underestimated the two young women, the troops now had a hard fight on their hands as Ahsoka and Barriss deflected shots back at several soldiers.
Ventress, sensing a chance, broke free of her guards as they were hit by deflected shots.
She ran behind several old food carts, deserted by vendors who ran for cover. Some troopers tried to shoot her as she ran, but she was too quick.
"On your left!" Barriss shouted at Ahsoka. A trooper fired from cover, but the Togruta blocked it at the last second. "You did it! I thought you lost your Jedi skills!"
Barriss smiled and was about to answer, when Fin good a lucky shot in behind her. It was a shoulder wound, but the shock on her face, sent Ahsoka into a fearful panic.
"BARRISS!" They looked into each others eyes for a second, in a heartstopping moment where both had contemplated a true death, a separation from each other forever. Barriss recovered quickly. She turned and threw her saber, impaling Captain Oil Fin through the chest.
Fin grimaced, and looked at her with undying hatred as he staggered back. "Run while you can! The Jedi are finished, and my brothers shall avenge me....Hallelujah..."
"It's a cold and broken Hallelujah for you, Captain. You have failed." Barriss stared at him until he completely collapsed and died.
When Barriss was certain all the guards had been eliminated, she finally fell to her knees, weakened by the shot.
"Barriss, NO!!" Ahsoka called to her, and ran up to her and also got on her knees.
Barriss felt a warmth in Ahsoka's expression. Her heart felt like it had the strength of 20 Jedi to carry on as Ahsoka embraced her.
"It's just a minor wound, though I may need some bandages if I cannot use my healing powers....." She looked down.
"I don't care if you have Jedi powers or not. I don't care if the Force ever returns. I am glad to see you. You saved me without Jedi powers...and that shows you are stronger than you realize."
Ventress watched as they embraced closely. She kept an eye out for any danger, but only scared townspeople were left watching the two women.
"I thought I was doing the right thing to leave you" Barriss whispered "Now I know our destinies are in some way intertwined. I could not leave you to such a fate. Tarkin called it Order 66....the end of all things. Why were you out here, anyway!? I thought you were just getting supplies."
Ahsoka blushed and looked down. Barriss started to sense something Ahsoka was not saying.
"I wanted to explore, get my head clear. All I could think of was how helpless I felt when you left. I saw a tattoo shop, and knew what I truly wanted. They specialize in Mirialan artwork, you see.....Barriss, I...."
Ahsoka looked tense and scared and slowly held up her hand for Barriss to see. "I told you I would wait.....for you. I meant it. Not just wait while you meditated."
The pattern Ahsoka had put on her hand. Barriss recognized it, and gasped. Her face contorted with relief, happiness, and some trepidation. It was an engagement tattoo. Barriss used all her remaining discipline to hold back the emotions like a damn against the flood.
"They say this sign means I am with my special someone, no matter where we are, no matter how far apart, no matter what has happened.....I would wait until-"
It did not take long for Barriss to give her silent answer. In her excitement, she now realized they were destined to be together forever. Barriss kissed her with all the energy she could muster, accepting Ahsoka's gift. A door opened to a new journey for both of them, the greatest journey of all. The final journey they would ever want to make.
Barriss and Ahsoka started feeling light headed as the kiss continued. they suddenly realized they were levitating in their embrace.
Ahsoka smiled "You did it. You have your powers!"
Barriss just shook her head and smiled as she caressed Ahsoka's face. the love in her heart almost exploded with realization. "No. It is not just my powers. It's US."