When Obi-Wan enters the inner sanctuary of the Jedi Council, he is taken aback by how large it has become. This is usually a small and simple whitewashed room, conceived for peaceful meditation, containing no more than the few dozen members of the Jedi Council available to meet at any given time, and often empty and shuttered. It is easy to forget that this special place will expand to accomodate all who gather, and now it has become a great court, with high arching windows that pour down light from a featureless sky. Obi-Wan looks around at the hundreds of creatures sitting in a widening spiral of cushions, and it seems to him that every member of the Council is here except for Head Master Yoda. Obi-Wan finds Yoda's absence reassuring, for only the presence of the reclusive Head Master could make straits seem more dire.
Master Windu sits in the centermost ring, and motions for Obi-Wan to take a seat beside him, at a pallet that has been left empty for him. As Obi-Wan sits, he realizes he is already too late. Sensing the thoughts of his peers, he knows that the army has been approved, and this once-in-a-lifetime gathering of the Council can now only react. Every mind there waits with eager attention for him to report his experiences on Kamino. He does not feel nervous, but he does feel slightly overwhelmed.
He delivers his report as only a Jedi Knight can, not through words but through projected emotions and experiences. The entire Council sees what he saw, hears what he heard and even feels what he felt--his surprise, his concern, his suspicion...
Obi-Wan suspects that the clone army was commissioned by a Sith, and the Council concurs. If Viceroy Gunray's story is to be believed, it could very well be the same Sith that trained Darth Maul, the one that is secretly controlling the Senate. Yet they all know that this Sidious or Sifodyas character is possibly no more than a ruse planted by the true Dark Lord of the Sith, meant to foster mistrust between the Jedi Council and the Republic.
Master Rancisis inquires as to whether or not Sifodyas was bearing a lightsaber, and Obi-Wan does not know. In his hurry to report to the Council, he has not yet had time to fully interrogate the Prime Minister.
Rancisis reminds them that only those trained at the Academy have the knowledge needed to build a lightsaber. This has been the mark of the students of Yoda since the birth of the Jedi. And then there's the matter of the deleted records in the archives.
The others readily see his point. One by one, the Jedi begin to accept that there is a traitor within their ranks. There is little doubt as to who that traitor might be.
The Council does not jump to any hard conclusions, for this is not their way, but they can no longer deny the possibility that Master Dooku has turned to the Dark Side. Though he is one of their own, their hearts begin to harden against him like frost spreading across a window pane.
Obi-Wan begins to resist this thought. He is sympathetic toward Jedi Knights who are not on the Council, and he has additional suspicions of his own. It is still possibile that the Separatists have seen what they have not, that the Republic is under the control of the Sith, and that Dooku is misguided in his means but not his ends.
Yet all of these thoughts are overpowered by Mace Windu. Much is clouded by the Dark Side, Master Windu reminds them. If the Jedi Knights turn against their own, the Sith will destroy them without lifting a saber. They must remain calm and at peace, if they are to see their way through this long night. Chastened, the rippling concerns of the Council settle back into the polished glass of wisdom.
"Let me travel to Geonosis," says Obi-Wan, "to learn more about what's happening there."
Shaking his head, Windu reveals the transmission intercepted at the Academy hours before. The holographic image of Count Dooku appears in the center of the room.
"Reverend Padme," says Dooku's image. "I apologize for contacting you while you are in hiding, but I hope you will recognize that I have kept your secret safe and done you no harm, though I have known your location this whole time. Please believe me when I say that I do not hold you accountable for the creation of this clone army, and I send you this plea with the hope that you are as appalled by this turn of events as I am. Many are now saying that this will goad the Separatists into a preemptive strike, but I assure you, I am more committed now than ever to a diplomatic solution. I implore you, come to Geonosis. Meet with the other leaders of our alliance, beings I know you respect and trust. Hear our side of the story. With your help, we may yet be able to avert bloodshed. Even if you will not join us, I promise you safe passage from our system. I await your decision."
The transmission ends, and Obi-Wan knows from the various memories shared by the Council that Anakin and Padme left the Academy shortly thereafter, unquestionably headed for Geonosis.
"It's a trap," sighs Obi-Wan. "I want to give Master Dooku the benefit of the doubt, but c'mon, they gotta know it's a trap."
Master Windu begins to caution Obi-Wan not to act in haste, and the rest of the Council echos this concern. Obi-Wan looks around at them; they know him so well.
He begins to dematerialize.
"Master Kenobi!" Mace shouts.
"What's that?" Obi-Wan says, briefly solidifying. "Something's interfering with my connection. You're breaking up." He shimmers and becomes translucent.
"Master Kenobi, enough of this foolishness," Windu frowns.
"Don't worry, I don't think it's anything malicious," says Obi-Wan, ignoring him, "Probably just space gas. I'll investigate Geonosis, and report back when I know more."
"Obi-Wan," Mace says, "We will not restrain you from pursuing your padawan, just hear us out. This display is uncalled for. You could at least use--"
Obi-Wan vanishes, and Mace Windu cringes.
"You know this is a trap, right?" Anakin mutters for the umpteenth time from the pilot seat of the Jedi ship speeding him and Padme to Geonosis.
"I don't trust Count Dooku any more than you do," says Padme, "but if there's any hope for a diplomatic solution, we must see it through. I should have done more sooner."
"Well, we'll know for sure soon enough," says Anakin. "If Dooku is the bad guy here, we won't be leaving without a fight."
"Ani, please at least try to let me negotiate."
Anakin shrugs. "Just call it aggressive negotiation."
Padme sighs and looks at him warily. "Just follow my lead."
Artoo rattles through a series of warning beeps, and Anakin translates.
"We're about to leave hyperspace. Hang on, I'm switching to manual control."
The funnel of hyperspace resolves into distinct stars, and the dirty brown rings of Geonosis loom in front of them.
"Count Dooku won't be able to detect the Jedi ship through our cloak," Anakin says, "Give me a moment to encode our signal, and then I'll hail him." Dooku's holographic image appears on the dashboard right then, and Anakin mumbles, "Nevermind, I guess."
"Reverend Padme, I'm so glad to see you've accepted my invitation," says Dooku, "And you've brought Anakin Skywalker along! Good, good. We can use power such as his."
"Master Dooku," Anakin growls. "I'm here to protect Padme. That is all."
"Of course," says the Count, "Though neither of you have anything to fear, you have my word. I'm transmitting landing coordinates now. I will see you soon."