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Star Wars - Darth Plagueis

Star Wars - Darth Plagueis

Titel: Star Wars - Darth Plagueis
Autoren: James Luceno
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    A tremor took hold of the planet.
    Sprung from death, it unleashed itself in a powerful wave, at once burrowing deep into the world’s core and radiating through its saccharine atmosphere to shake the stars themselves. At the quake’s epicenter stood Sidious, one elegant hand vised on the burnished sill of an expansive translucency, a vessel filled suddenly to bursting, the Force so strong within him that he feared he might disappear into it, never to return. But the moment didn’t constitute an ending so much as a true beginning, long overdue; it was less a transformation than an intensification—a gravitic shift.
    A welter of voices, near and far, present and from eons past, drowned his thoughts. Raised in praise, the voices proclaimed his reign and cheered the inauguration of a new order. Yellow eyes lifted to the night sky, he saw the trembling stars flare, and in the depth of his being he felt the power of the dark side anoint him.
    Slowly, almost reluctantly, he came back to himself, his gaze settling on his manicured hands. Returned to the present, he took note of his rapid breathing, while behind him the room labored to restore order. Air scrubbers hummed—costly wall tapestries undulating in the summoned breeze. Prized carpets sealed their fibers against the spread of spilled fluids. The droid shuffled in obvious confliction. Sidious pivoted to take in the disarray: antique furniture overturned; framed artwork askew. As if a whirlwind had swept through. And facedown on the floor lay a statue of Yanjon, one of four law-giving sages of Dwartii.
    A piece Sidious had secretly coveted.
    Also sprawled there, Plagueis: his slender limbs splayed and elongated head turned to one side. Dressed in finery, as for a night on the town.
    And now dead.
    Or was he?
    Uncertainty rippled through Sidious, rage returning to his eyes. A tremor of his own making, or one of forewarning?
    Was it possible that the wily Muun had deceived him? Had Plagueis unlocked the key to immortality, and survived after all? Never mind that it would constitute a petty move for one so wise—for one who had professed to place the Grand Plan above all else. Had Plagueis become ensnared in a self-spun web of jealousy and possessiveness, victim of his own engineering, his own foibles?
    If he hadn’t been concerned for his own safety, Sidious might have pitied him.
    Wary of approaching the corpse of his former Master, he called on the Force to roll the aged Muun over onto his back. From that angle Plagueis looked almost as he had when Sidious first met him, decades earlier: smooth, hairless cranium; humped nose, with its bridge flattened as if from a shock-ball blow and its sharp tip pressed almost to his upper lip; jutting lower jaw; sunken eyes still brimming with menace—a physical characteristic rarely encountered in a Muun. But then Plagueis had never been an ordinary Muun, nor an ordinary being of any sort.
    Sidious took care, still reaching out with the Force. On closer inspection, he saw that Plagueis’s already cyanotic flesh was smoothing out, his features relaxing.
    Faintly aware of the whir of air scrubbers and sounds of the outside world infiltrating the luxurious suite, he continued the vigil; then, in relief, he pulled himself up to his full height and let out his breath. This was no Sith trick. Not an instance of feigning death, but one of succumbing to its cold embrace. The being who had guided him to power was gone.
    Wry amusement narrowed his eyes.
    The Muun might have lived another hundred years unchanged. He might have lived forever had he succeeded fully in his quest. But in theend—though he could save others from death—he had failed to save himself.
    A sense of supreme accomplishment puffed Sidious’s chest, and his thoughts unreeled.
    Well, then, that wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought it might be …
    Rarely did events play out as imagined, in any case. The order of future events was transient. In the same way that the past was reconfigured by selective memory, future events, too, were moving targets. One could only act on instinct, grab hold of an intuited perfect moment, and spring into action. One heartbeat late and the universe would have recomposed itself, no imposition of will sufficient to forestall the currents. One could only observe and react. Surprise was the element absent from any periodic table. A keystone element; a missing ingredient. The means by which the Force amused itself. A reminder
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