From THE PRIVATE JOURNALS of Mace Windu
In my dreams, I always do it right.
In my dreams, I ’m on the arena balcony. Geonosis. Orange glare slices shadow from my eyes. Below on the sand: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Senator Padmé Amidala. On the rough-shaped stone within reach of my arm: Nute Gunray.Within reach of my blade:Jango Fett.
And Master Dooku.
No. Master no more. Count
I may never get used to calling him that. Even in dreams.
Jango Fett bristles with weapons.An instinctive killer: the deadliest man in the galaxy. Jango can kill me in less than a second. I know it. Even if I had never seen Kenobi ’s report from Kamino, I can feel the violence Jango radiates: in the Force, a pulsar of death.
But I do it right
My blade doesn’t light the underside of Fett ’s square jaw .I don ’t waste time with words. I don ’t hesitate.
In my dreams, the purple •are of my blade sizzles the gray hairs of
Dooku ’s beard, and in the critical semisecond it takes Jango Fett to aim
and fire, I twitch that blade and take Dooku with me into death.
And save the galaxy from civil war.
I could have done it.
I could have done it
Because I knew .I could feel
In the swirl of the Force around me, I could feel the connections Dooku had forged among Jango and the Trade Federation, the Geonosians, the hole Separatist movement: connections of greed and fear, of deception and bald intimidation. I did not know what they were —I did not know how Dooku had forged them, or why —but I felt their power: the power of what I now know is a web of treason he had woven to catch the galaxy.
I could feel that without him to maintain its eave, to repair its flaws and double its thinning strands, the web would rot, would shrivel and decay until a mere breath would shred it and scatter its strings into the infinite stellar winds.
Dooku as the shatterpoint.
I knew it.
That is my gift.
Imagine a Corusca gem: a mineral hose interlocking crystalline structure makes it harder than durasteel. You can strike one with a five-kilo hammer and do no more than dent the hammer ’s face. Yet the same cystalline structure that gives the Corusca strength also gives it shatterpoints: spots here a precise application of carefully measured force —no more than a gentle tap —will break it into pieces. But to find these shatterpoints, to use them to shape the Corusca gem into beauty and utility, requires years of study, an intimate understanding of crystal structure, and rigorous practice to train the hand in the perfect
combination of strength and precision to produce the desired cut.
Unless you have a talent like mine.
I can see shatterpoints.
The sense is not sight, but see is the closest word Basic has for it: it is a perception, a feel
of how hat I look upon fits into the Force, and how the Force binds it to itself and to everything else. I as six or seven standard years old —well into my training in the Jedi Temple—before I realized that other students, full-grown Jedi Knights, even wise
Masters, could sense such connections only with difficulty, and only with concentration and practice. The Force shows me strengths and weaknesses, hidden flaws and unexpected uses. It shows me vectors of stress that squeeze or stretch, torque or shear; it shows me how patterns of these vectors intersect to form the matrix of reality.
Put simply: when I look at you through the Force, I can see where you break.
I looked at Jango Fett on the sand in the Geonosian arena. A perfect combination of weapons, skills, and the will to use them: an interlocking crystal of killer. The Force hinted a shatterpoint, and I left a headless corpse on the sand. The deadliest man in the galaxy.
Now: just dead.
Situations have shatterpoints, like gems. But those of situations are fluid, ephemeral, appearing for a bare instant, vanishing again to leave no trace of their existence. They are always a function of timing.
There is no such thing as a second chance.
—I next encounter Dooku, he will be the war ’s shatterpoint no longer. I can ’t stop this war with a single death.
But on that day in the Geonosian arena, I could have.
Some days after the battle, Master Yoda had found me in a meditation chamber at the Temple.” Your friend he was,” the ancient Master had said, even as he limped through the door. It is a peculiar gift of Yoda ’s that he always seems to know hat I’m thinking. “Respect you owed him. Even affection. Cut him down you could not —not for
merely a feeling
But I could have.
I should have.
Our Order prohibits personal attachments for precisely this reason.
Had I not honored him so —even loved him —the galaxy might be at
peace right no .Merely a feeling
, Yoda said.
I am a Jedi.
I have been trained since birth to trust my feelings.
But which feelings should I trust?
When I faced the choice to kill a former Jedi Master, or to save Kenobi and young Skywalker and the Senator ...I let the Force choose for me. I followed my instincts.
I made the Jedi choice.
And so: Dooku escaped. And so: the galaxy is at war. And so: many of my friends have been slaughtered.
There is no such thing as a second chance.
Strange: Jedi I am, yet I drown in regret for having spared a life.
Many survivors of Geonosis suffer from nightmares. I have heard tale after tale from the Jedi healers ho have counseled them. Nightmares are inevitable; there has not been such a slaughter of Jedi since the Seth War, four thousand years ago. None of them could have imagined how it would feel to stand in that arena, surrounded by the corpses of their
friends, in the blazing orange noon and the stench and the blood-soaked sand. I may be the only veteran of Geonosis who doesn’t have nightmares of that place.
Because in my dreams, I always do it right
My nightmare is hat I find hen I wake up.
Jedi have shatterpoints,too.
Copyright © 2003 by Matthew Stover. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.