Ganumedis felt as if he ran into a wall – if that wall would be moving at high speed towards him and, worse, would be invisible. As he struggled to get some air into his lungs and get up from the stain-ridden pavement, a figure emerged from the shadows and loomed over him.
A shock went through him, followed by a desperate fear, as Ganumedis recognized the man.
“So that’s what the infamous Ganumedis Moonshade looks like when he’s slammed to the floor by the Force,” Dooku spoke, his dark timbre filling the narrow, deserted street. “Do you realize who you’ve just killed?”
Ganumedis had trouble formulating his reply. “What – I never – killed?!”
“I know you’re supposed to pretend you have no idea what I’m talking about, that you don’t know anyone had been killed, and that you’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Dooku said impatiently, “but really. Did you think you could deceive me?”
Managing to stand up, ready to make a run for it if an opportunity presented itself, Ganumedis slowly recovered his wits. “Certainly I did not wish to deceive the esteemed lord Dooku. I had no idea my target would be of any importance to such a great man as yourself.”
“She was not,” Dooku said offhandedly, “but our scheduled meeting was supposed to get me close to that annoying Skywalker kid.”
“I humbly apologize, my lord,” Ganumedis said with a bow. He hated the next part. “If there is some way I can recompensate you for this...”
Dooku frowned and narrowed his eyes. “What do you suggest?”
“Well... A man of my profession may be able to attend to certain matters that the leader of the Seperatists is too busy to deal with. Cleaning up the trash, so to speak.” He looked up expectantly. Ganumedis had tried to avoid getting caught up with politics, but this might just work out better than he had expected. Perhaps he could become the Dark Lord’s personal assassin.
Count Dooku paused for a moment, and said, “I accept your offer. This is what I want you to do...”
Killing Jedi is not hard, Ganumedis thought while searching for his target. It’s just a matter of disrupting their tranquility by randomly killing their companions. And of course, staying very, very far away from their cursed lightsabers.
Using the enhanced telescopic sight on his sniper rifle, the assassin quickly found his target. General Skywalker and his Togruta apprentice appeared to be discussing their assault strategies with the commanders of their clone troops.
Ganumedis was impressed by the qualities of his newly acquired rifle. Count Dooku must have realized his skills and had gladly donated the sophisticated weapon to the assassin, after an easy job to assess his abilities and trustworthiness. It was the weapon Ganumedis Moonshade had been working for these last years – and now it was his as a gift.
No more struggling for credits, he thought joyfully. This job is so much better than being a hitman for lowly thugs. This will be the day that my career finally takes off. I just might become more infamous than creepy Aurra Sing.
Don’t get ahead of yourself, thought Ganumedis. First I have to complete my current assignment. To kill Commander Skywalker – the Hero With No Fear.
Remembering his own advice, he pointed the crosshair of his sniper telescope at the clone commander that stood next to Skywalker and Tano. Like some of the other troopers, the commander had his helm under his arm and appeared to be joking with the two Jedi.
The crosshair closed over the forehead of the clone soldier. Ganumedis’ finger trembled only slightly as he held it against the trigger.
In his head, he replayed his plan; first the clone, then the apprentice, and when the emotions explode within him, the assassin would kill Skywalker.
Steadying his breathing and his trembling finger, Ganumedis relaxed and enjoyed the quiet moments before the slaughter.
Now, he thought.
A boot kicked Ganumedis’ face hard before he could pull the trigger. The assassin fell sidewards, reeling with the impact, and the telescope buried itself in his eye. Pain shot through him and he screamed.
“That was not necessary, soldier,” a stern male voice said with a hint of amusement. Opening his eyes – one of them seeing only flashes of white – Ganumedis instantly recognized the man as General Kenobi. He was surrounded by a squad of clone troopers, weapons pointed at the terrified would-be killer.
“Sorry, General,” said the clone soldier next to the overwhelmed Ganumedis. “I figured that blasting the cursed bastard through the head would have been worse.”
“True,” replied the famous Jedi.
“I’m so glad you’ve stopped me,” Ganumedis lied, trembling. “Count Dooku forced me to try and kill General Skywalker. I swear I tried to resist, but what can a man of my limited skills do when confronted by a Jedi? Particularly when he threatened to kill my family...” He didn’t know if it would work, but he was willing to go far to save his own skin.
And besides, the Republic would at least keep him alive. He wasn’t so sure about Dooku.
“What family?” another voice came from the other side. “You mean the poor parents you killed barehandedly?” Ganumedis was surprised to see General Skywalker himself walk into the circle of soldiers. How could he have gotten here this quickly?
A coldness filled his heart. Dooku set me up, he realized. But why –
All other thoughts left him, for the explosives hidden in the advanced sniper rifle that Dooku had given him, detonated at that instant. Ganumedis Moonshade, the assassin with more skill in reputation than in actual killing, was disintegrated on the spot.
Some distance away, Asajj Ventress grimaced. She let the remote control fall to the floor. It was hard to see through the smoke, but it appeared the explosion had killed only the annoying killer and one or two clones. Skywalker and Kenobi appeared unharmed.
Next time, she promised.
With a sigh, the bald Dark Jedi fired up the engines of her starfighter and flew away.