AOH :: BALANUS.TXT|
Star Wars: The Failure of Balanus - by Bill Menees (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Failure of Balanus
by Bill Menees
Nincohn was long forgotten. A remote planet on the
farthest regions of the Outer Rim, it had been explored by
the Republic at the height of their expansion. Now, as
their influence in the galaxy dwindled, so did their memory
of the small, unresourceful planet.
Only one Republic expedition ever contacted Nincohn.
It carried a single Jedi and four crewmen. The group's only
report back to the Republic's Exploration division discussed
the relative lack of life and resources on the planet.
After this the ship was to leave for another system.
But the ship failed to report in again, and after
several weeks the Republic planned a search for the missing
ship. However, before the mission could commence, the first
stirrings of the Clone Wars began, and the Republic's
attention quickly shifted from a few lost men to protecting
themselves. In the process, Nincohn and it's only link to
the Republic were forgotten as well.
"Well, sir, I've sent our findings to Exploration about
the lovely planet we've found here. They've given us orders
to proceed to a new system about three weeks away. Shall we
The Jedi Balanus opened his eyes slowly as if awakening
from a trance and responded, "No. I have found someone that
I must contact before we leave."
"But how, sir? We haven't seen a soul since we got
here," said the crewman.
"I have just seen a soul, son. One that is strong with
the Force and in desperate need of help. He is being drawn
closer to the Dark Side even as we speak." Balanus paused
momentarily as if shaken and continued, "Wait here until I
return. I must seek him out before it is too late."
"Yes, sir," the crewman half-heartedly called out as
he watched the Jedi leave.
Balanus hurried to the nearby village where he knew he
would find the soul he was seeking. Or rather the soul that
was seeking him. As he approached the village he could hear
shouts and the cry of an angry mob of people. When he
entered he saw not only the mob but that they were
surrounding the man he was looking for. The people were
shouting and circling tighter and tighter around the man.
"Kill the Wizard!"
"The Demon must die," the crowd began to scream. "Get
And as the crowd rushed, the man in the middle went
into action. Huge arcs of electricity erupted from all
around his body like an exploding sphere. Those closest to
him died instantly, and those further back suffered only a
few seconds longer. But like an explosion, the blast only
lasted a few seconds. The man knew danger still existed,
and he mentally screamed for Balanus to help him.
He knew, and Balanus knew, that he couldn't protect himself
The remaining crowd hesitated a moment but then began
to rush the man again. But before they could reach him,
Balanus drew his lightsaber and cut the supports out from
under the hut nearest him. The resulting crash stopped
everyone in their tracks, including the man in the middle.
Balanus spoke to the angry crowd and used all his Jedi
skills to calm them. "Good people! Please do not destroy
this man! I have seen his soul and..."
But before he could finish someone in the crowd cried,
"Then you must be evil as well!"
"No! I seek only to help you," Balanus said.
But the mob was not convinced and more people turned on
Balanus. As he looked into their minds he knew that they
had only hatred and fear for him. As quickly as the attack
on the other man had begun, so did the attack on Balanus.
At first, he tried only to escape, but when it became
clear that he was surrounded and faced certain death, his
composure begin to fail and his Jedi training began to be
forgotten. With each slice of his lightsaber, Balanus'
anger increased, and he journeyed one step closer to the
Dark Side. Balanus eventually managed to cut a hole through
the crowd and run off in a maddened rage towards his ship.
As he ran he could feel that the other man had also escaped
the wrath of the crowd but that he too had killed many of
them to do it.
When Balanus arrived at the ship, he saw that the
townspeople had beaten him there and had already killed its
crew. This was the last mistake they ever made. His rage
now at its limits and all Jedi values abandoned, Balanus
disposed of his attackers in the swift, elegant, and lethal
way that only a Jedi could. Or rather, the way that only a
Dark Jedi could.
When the fight was over and all the townspeople were
destroyed, Balanus fell to his knees and cursed all that he
knew for bringing him to this destiny. And just before he
collapsed from exhaustion, Balanus became aware that the man
who had gotten him into this in the first place was watching
him from a distance. And Balanus cursed him as well.
When he awoke, Balanus was inside his ship. And so was
the other man.
"My name is Palpatine," the other man began. "Welcome
to the 'former' village of Nincohn-Agosha."
"I am the Jedi Balanus. As I slept I saw many things,
many possible futures. I saw that our destinies are
intertwined. You are strong in the Force, and I will train
you to use your power. In time we will achieve the greatest
Palpatine thought for a moment and spoke, "So it is the
Force that I control, is it? I have heard of this Force
from others, and I suspected that it might be the source of
my unusual powers."
"You are referring to your ability to create electric
fields. That is only one power that a Jedi has."
"I am referring to many other abilities I have besides
that," Palpatine said. "At times, I can move objects with a
thought, read other people's minds, or even go for months
without eating or drinking. I am by no means an ordinary
man," he said with a grin.
"You said 'at times'. I will teach you the ways of the
Force, and through discipline and training, you will in time
master those abilities and gain many others. From this time
forth, Palpatine, you will call me Master Balanus."
"And if I choose not to follow you," Palpatine asked,
"Then I will destroy you and fulfill my destiny alone,"
"So be it, Master Balanus. Let us begin."
As the months passed, Palpatine grew stronger and
stronger with the Dark Side of the Force. He quickly
mastered the skills he had previously been able to use only
momentarily, and he learned others with equal speed and
ability. It soon became apparent to both men that the
student would eventually outgrow the master.
"Your training is almost complete, Palpatine," began
Balanus. "You have only one skill left to master."
"And what skill is that, Master Balanus?"
"The lightsaber. I have spent the last few months
constructing you one, and we shall begin your training now."
"Master, I do not wish to use such a clumsy and
inelegant weapon as your lightsaber. It's power is
insignificant to my abilities, and I will not be burdened or
weakened by depending on technology to fight my battles."
"An arrogant opinion, as always, Palpatine. When your
training is complete, you may decide which skills you wish
to use. For now, I will be the judge of what you learn or
do not learn. If we are to be successful in my plans, we
will both need to master all the skills of the Jedi."
"For now then, Master Balanus. But for now only."
One month later, Palpatine's training was complete, and
the two men were ready to leave Nincohn. On the night of
their departure, Balanus finally explained his plans to
"I was a well known Jedi in the Republic. I had many
friends in high-level positions, and more importantly, I
kept many secrets. At one time, I was the personal guardian
to the First Speaker of the Senate, and in that post I saw
much deceit and betrayal. He was a corrupt man, and I
collected the evidence to expose him. Unfortunately, he
found out what I was doing.
"Since I was a Jedi Knight, he couldn't just have me
quietly killed off, so he did the next best thing. He
transferred me to the Exploration division and sent me as
far away from him and the Republic as possible. I have
little doubt that he's the reason no search party was ever
sent to look for our vessel.
"The first thing we'll do when we return is get control
of him. I still have the evidence, and we'll use it to put
him in our pocket. He will help us get you a place in the
Senate. From there you and I will be able to control more
Senators in time. Many are corrupt, but few would suspect
that one of their own ranks would betray them. But you will
betray them. In a short time, I will control the Senate and
you will be placed as its leader under my supervision.
"Are you prepared to leave, Palpatine?"
"Yes, Balanus. Under one condition."
"And that is?"
"I will follow you, but I will no longer call you
Master. We have both foreseen that I can destroy you, but I
do not wish to at this time. As such, I feel it is
inappropriate to call you Master any longer."
"As you wish, Palpatine. But remember, that is only
one possible future. I have seen others where I destroy you
and still others where we are both destroyed. What is
important is that we fulfill our destiny and succeed in
overthrowing the Republic."
"So be it, Balanus."
The voyage back to the Imperial Senate in the heart of
the Republic took almost a month from the remote planet
Nincohn. This time was used to educate Palpatine on some of
the finer points of Imperial Senate politics. Also during
the voyage, the two Dark Jedi perfected mental fronts that
would conceal their true purposes from any Jedi Knights they
might encounter when they reached their destination. But
these fronts also served the dual purpose of allowing them
to keep their thoughts from each other. Thus the two Dark
Jedi were reduced to verbal communication.
One night, after several days without either one saying
a word to the other, they began to discuss some of the
things that had happened to them on Nincohn. Eventually
Palpatine began to retell what had been happening to him
when Balanus had discovered him in the village.
"It was the time for choosing a new leader for the
village. Although I had never been much a part of the
village, I always knew that I would rule someday. So I went
to the festival where the new leader would be chosen.
"When I arrived I told them why I was there, and the
crowd mocked me. They called me 'outcast', 'crazy', all
sorts of things. This, of course, angered me, so I
challenged their newly selected leader to a dual for the
title. He agreed and instantly charged at me. When he hit
me it felt like I exploded, and when I looked at him I
realized that in a way I had.
"I had been so startled that I had instinctively
electrocuted him. For several minutes no one said anything.
In that time I reached out with my feelings for someone to
help me, and I found you. Shortly after, the crowd's anger
began to swell, you arrived, and the rest is history.
"But now I see that I was correct in my knowledge that
I would rule someday. With my seat in the Senate, I will
rule far more than I had ever dreamed of back on Nincohn.
For that chance I am grateful."
Balanus corrected him, "'We will rule far more than
you had ever dreamed of' is what I'm sure you meant to say.
And that much is true. Your gratitude, however, is
unnecessary. I need your loyalty only, just as you need
'But I only need you for a time,' thought Palpatine.
'For a short time.'
After that the two talked even less.
When they arrived at their destination they were
shocked to learn that the Clone Wars were already ravaging
the Republic. They were welcomed home by only a small
greeting party and were almost immediately forgotten by the
bureaucracy. This only made it easier for them to execute
their plans. Within days they had used the evidence of the
First Speaker's corruption to blackmail him, and a few short
weeks later the First Speaker was able to secure a seat in
the Senate for Palpatine. He was at first passed off as a
'temporary' replacement for the missing Senator from the
remote and minor planet Epibionta. When no 'permanent'
replacement showed up for him, he was allowed to take the
By very subtly using his Dark powers, over time
Palpatine was able to not only secure more and more power
for himself in the Senate, he was also able to draw more
attention and control away from the First Speaker.
Eventually, when the First Speaker was at his weakest,
Palpatine stole Balanus' evidence against him and used it to
expose the man and to exalt himself into an even more
powerful position. Palpatine was finally ready to show his
hand and take his place as Master over Balanus.
"Palpatine! I'll have your head!" screamed Balanus as
he stormed into the Senator's office. "After all I've done
for you, you betray me just so you can gain more power for
yourself in the Senate! You are a fool! You could never
rule this Republic without me!"
"My short-sighted old friend, I do not want to rule
this Republic," began Palpatine. "I will build a new empire
with me as its sole ruler. I will not answer to governors
or senators. I am only a few steps away from my goal as it
is. Why do I need you?"
"You are not as powerful as you think. The Clone Wars
are almost over, and you will not have such an easy time
securing power once the strong leaders and the Jedi return
to the Senate. You will need my influence more than you
believe. I have foreseen it!"
Palpatine stared at Balanus with cold eyes for a few
seconds and then responded, "I do need you, but not here.
Not in my way, where you can mettle in my affairs and make
pitiful attempts to gain power from me.
"You know that you would never have been anything
without me," Palpatine continued. "Your destiny is to serve
me. As I see it, you owe me your allegiance. In time you
will call me Master," he finished with a grin.
"Never," said Balanus coldly. "Your destiny ends here.
Now." Then Balanus ignited his lightsaber and stalked
"So be it, my old friend. You will call me Master,
but apparently you will do it the hard way."
In the next moment, Palpatine raised his hands and filled
the room with a ball of electric fire the likes of which
Balanus had never seen nor heard of. For a few seconds,
Balanus was able to channel the electricity away from him
through careful oscillation of his light saber. But when he
looked into the mind of his former student, he knew that his
effort was wasted. Palpatine was only growing stronger, and
he was only getting weaker. Finally, he succumbed to the
inevitable and allowed the electricity to reach him.
Palpatine continued his barrage of electric fire until
Balanus was almost at the point of death. And then he
abruptly stopped. "My old friend, it will take many weeks
for you to heal. In that time I will be in your mind day
and night. I will extract every bit of your knowledge, your
hope, and your independence. When I am finished and I allow
you to heal, you will call me Master and will single-
mindedly dedicate your life to serving only me. You will be
my Guardian and will live out your life protecting that
which is important to me. Do you agree?"
Balanus used all his strength to look up at Palpatine.
In a whisper, he cursed Palpatine and everything that had
brought him to this destiny. But as before, his fear of
death forced him to do anything he could to stay alive. He
finally answered, "Yes..."
"So be it," Palpatine concluded.
Well, that's the way I think it happened anyway. Feel free to e-mail
and comment, flame, critique, or better yet praise. For a few more
weeks I can be reached at email@example.com.
The entire AOH site is optimized to look best in Firefox® 3 on a widescreen monitor (1440x900 or better).
Site design & layout copyright © 1986- AOH
We do not send spam. If you have received spam bearing an artofhacking.com email address, please forward it with full headers to firstname.lastname@example.org.