And so, let us now step back in time.
When I began my political career so many years ago, I kept a small checklist of key accomplishments I wished to achieve. Darth Plagueis assisted me with the necessary maneuvers that allowed me to achieve greater notoriety and power according to the Grand Plan. At this point though, Plagueis was years-deep in research that he believed would save himself (and me) from death. I focused on the political machinations that the next several stages of the Grand Plan would require.
Darth Bane, founder of the Order of the Sith Lords, devised and initiated the Grand Plan (also known as the Sith Imperative). Centuries in the making, the Grand Plan contained a precise formula for eradicating the Jedi Order, tearing down the Galactic Republic, and replacing both with a Sith-ruled galaxy through the long-term manipulation of the political and criminal underworld. This is the goal that Darth Plagueis and I relentlessly worked toward in order to achieve peace and security through the galaxy. This, dear citizen, is the ultimate end of everything that I have done. I have done it for you so that you will enjoy galactic peace.
I’m sure you know that anything that is worth doing must start with a plan. My plan began with a checklist that went something like this: (non-sequential)
- Fulfill the Rule of Two: Slay and replace my Master, Darth Plagueis
- Reclaim the Galaxy for the Sith
- Destroy the Jedi
- Hire the Kaminoans to grow a clone army subject to blind obedience and violent hatred for the Jedi
- Start a civil war with the Republic by manipulating the Trade Federation
- Build the Death Star, and shortly before its completion, start building a second, more lethal Death Star with a refactored power core
- Take control of the Senate
- Eliminate the Senate
- Incite Rebellion
- Destroy the rebel insurgents
- Corral the Jedi and catch them unawares; did I mention destroy the Jedi?
(I’m sure there are a few things missing but, you get the point.) I designed my goals to facilitate the greatest political achievement I ever beheld (and find worth repeating): To ensure safety, security, and peace throughout the galaxy. Today, however, I add one more task:
- Patiently manipulate young Skywalker and make him my new Apprentice.
To begin executing the Grand Plan, Darth Plagueis helped me devise economic tactics that would over-tax the trade routes to the outlying star systems. With little Republic oversight there, it was rather easy to create a conflict that would captivate the fickle attention of the Galactic Senate.
At the time, the aggressive Trade Federation embodied a powerful mega-corporation of Republic commerce guilds and trade cartels. As they grew, they lobbied with businesses and established trade groups with a private commercial trade fleet. Eventually, the Trade Federation grew to dominate entire star systems and jockeyed for control of all the major trade routes. To ensure dominance, they secured a formidable private military of droid warriors. The Trade Federation soon found itself under the profitable control of the commerce-savvy Neimoidians (from Cato Nemoidia) and Plagueis and I saw our opportunity to begin the Grand Plan.
Under my true nature of Darth Sidious, I seduced Viceroy Nute Gunray (I know, what a name, right?) to our cause and encouraged him to lead the Trade Federation in a blockade of my home planet of Naboo, effectively halting all shipping to and from the insignificant planet. (I might argue in hindsight I chose Naboo out of spite for the small-minded conservative leaders who desperately sought to avoid galactic conflict.)
Fully aware that the citizens of Naboo would not tolerate this, the overly opinionated Queen Padmé Amidala Naberrie quickly contacted me and didn’t need much encouragement to open her big mouth and, with prodding from my public façade, Senator Palpatine, I bogged down the Galactic Senate in proceedings about the crisis. You see, distraction and deception are my two key tools. If they can’t see what’s coming, they won’t know what hit them.
THEY LOST THE QUEEN
I am pleased to say that the peaceful blockade of Naboo proceeded as planned until they lost the queen. In my anger, I accidentally killed one of my guards. He was getting on my nerves anyway.
Stupidly, the idiot Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum secretly sent Jedi-Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his padawan Obi Wan Kenobi to settle the conflict with the slippery Viceroy Nute Gunray. Gunray contacted me and told me, clearly in fear, that Jedi had arrived and wished to negotiate on behalf of the Republic. Gunray’s counterpart, Daultay Dofine, blathered on and practically wet himself with fear. After dismissing the cowardly and stunted slime from my sight, I realized I didn’t have time to consult my Master. The presence of the Jedi onboard the Trade Federation’s command ship was unfortunate and it forced me to accelerate my plans. Thus, I instructed Gunray to begin landing his droid armies on the planet’s surface…and to immediately kill the Jedi.
Lord Maul (remember that Zabrak I mentioned earlier?) sat nearby and smiled with delight at my instructions. I told him to wipe the smirk off his face. I sensed he would have to reveal himself to the Jedi—and in doing so, reveal the presence of the Sith to them. It would not matter much because I had been using the Force to cast a cloud of obfuscation upon the Jedi. Darth Plagueis and I knew that in order to succeed, the Jedi could not sense the return of the Sith—not one bit—or the Grand Plan would be undermined and defeated.
And so, we manipulated the Force with skill and precision. Countless times, I stood in the presence of some of the most intelligent and powerful Jedi and not one of them ever gave me a second glance. Masters Minch Yoda, Plo Koon, Mace Windu—not a one recognized the powerful Dark nature within me. So many times I could have rid the galaxy of the Jedi blight but you must understand, timing is everything. Revealing my hand too soon would have been self-destructive for the Sith. Instead, I will let Maul do what the risk of discovery does not allow me to do so I may execute the rest of the Grand Plan.
On a side note, Plagueis contacted me and told me about a young boy from Tatooine. I sensed him as well, but Plagueis had become obsessed with a silly theory that the Force, by its very nature, would repel all efforts by the Sith to control it. Thus, he now believed the boy was the undoing of the Sith. And this is because—sometimes this is so confusing—during a meditation with the Dark Side he and I saturated the galaxy with darkness in order to overcome it. He believed this was the Force’s natural response against the Sith: to generate a being who stood at a convergence of the Force. Needless to say, Plagueis deemed it a priority that the boy refrain from becoming a Jedi. With Tatooine located far from the interior of the galaxy, the Jedi had little to no chance of discovering him.
Later, in my office on Coruscant, I explored a number of key strategies and prepared possible plans for dealing with the Senate that would take us to the next step. That’s when Queen Amidala was brazen enough to contact me for help…but I played the fool and claimed surprise and ignorance. Then the communications channel cut out…which means Gunray did something right. Now the planet was isolated from the rest of the galaxy.
You might think me heartless for turning my back on my own people, but you must always think of the greater good. Bear that in mind, and you will have no trouble understanding the choices I made.
During a call with my Master, Plagueis, I shared with him the turn of events and the impending invasion on Naboo. He was pleased with the situation and celebrated my decision. He agreed the attack would be exactly what we needed. It was neither a distraction nor a set back. I remember smiling and feeling a great sense of accomplishment. It was so easy to manipulate my master. His knowledge of the Dark Side was great, but his distractions allowed me to shape the future. I still needed him, though. It wasn’t time to betray him and ascend to Sith Master.
The evening news proved to be most entertaining as the media elevated, to epic levels, the confusion and paranoia surrounding the events on Naboo. They skillfully sprinkled a healthy dose of speculation and melodrama into the questionable facts. The nasty Trade Federation this and that, the impotent Senate this and that…I loved every minute of it. In truth, I had the Galactic Senate bogged down in procedures around how to deal with the Trade Federation diplomatically. You must understand, Nute Gunray had an army, the Republic had a measly horde of Jedi Knights.
But in this matter, not even the Jedi would be able to stop the military might of the Trade Federation. In fact, it had now become clear that two Jedi had gone missing in an attempt to negotiate with the Trade Federation’s leadership in orbit around Naboo. This meant that the Senate would have no choice but to accept Viceroy Gunray’s control of the system, even if the Senate would eventually side with Amidala. But I am not worried; she is young, naive, and merely a pawn in the greater machinations of the Grand Plan.
Later on that day, when I checked in with Gunray and his assistant Rune Haako, they told me that the Queen had disappeared. Which means they lost her…again. So her unescorted and mostly unarmed cruiser managed to get past their mighty blockade. If he were in front of me I would have blasted him with the Dark Side of the Force. Those incompetent fools claimed Amidala’s cruiser was impossible to locate because it had long left tracking range.
Forcing me to change plans again. No matter. I decided it was time to introduce them to my Apprentice, Darth Maul. I glanced over at Darth Maul and he stepped into the holocomm’s range. I told the quivering Nemoidians that he would find their lost ship, as nothing is impossible for the Sith. I did notice that they failed to report a status on the missing Jedi.
The Jedi, I sense, are not dead. They are alive and well on the planet’s surface. Gunray will need to double his efforts with them when his droid armies are deployed.
For an aggressive and hostile Zabrak, Maul was giddy in his own quiet way. He couldn’t wait to get out and destroy some Jedi. Honestly, I can’t blame him. His years of training and focusing on the Dark Side have made him ready to unleash discreet Sith vengeance on the galaxy.
COME OUT, COME OUT, WHEREVER YOU ARE
I am thoroughly pleased with Maul’s performance thus far. Maul forced Naboo’s governor, Sio Bibble, to broadcast a whiny message about the catastrophic death toll on Naboo, suggesting that the droid armies were slaughtering the planet’s populace. He begged Amidala to contact him. All they had to do was listen to the message and the connection would be traced. Maul’s patience paid off.
He reported that the signal trace put Amidala’s cruiser on Tatooine. What a dry, disgusting planet. I cannot fathom why she would go there instead of coming directly to Coruscant. I instructed him to move against the Jedi first. Once their threat was eliminated, he could then capture Amidala and bring her back to Naboo to sign the treaty with Nute Gunray. I have full confidence in Maul’s abilities to destroy the Jedi. After all, he is a well trained Sith assassin.
I asked him how he would locate them on the planet. He stated that it would be difficult to hide a large shiny silver ship on a desert planet. People would surely see it flying in. He suspected that, given the limited population of Tatooine, there would only be a few places they would go, whatever their reasons, and they would most likely remain hidden and on the outskirts of any city. I agreed and bid him make haste to Tatooine.
I AM THE FORCE
If you’re not with me, then you’re my enemy.
It’s that simple.
Though I could not say that publicly to the Senators, the subtext of my message became clear as I spoke with the various representatives about the Crisis on Naboo. I quickly discerned which Senators would be loyal to the Republic and which would be trouble. And of course, there are those in between who pander to whichever side they believe will keep their bellies full and their pockets filled.
Lord Maul just checked in. Once he landed on Tatooine, he deployed his custom-made Dark Eye probe droids and sent them off to search the sparse populous until they located the Jedi. The element of surprise was on Maul’s side when he engaged the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn outside of Mos Espa. Through Lord Maul’s proximity to the Jedi, I maintained a dark cloud of obfuscation over the Jedi so they would not sense his identity as Sith. The introduction of an unknown hostile enemy would distract and confuse them momentarily. Unfortunately, the Jedi escaped with Amidala. After discussing her next move, I believe Amidala is on her way to Coruscant. I will greet her here, as Senator Palpatine, of course.
I admit, I enjoy the theatrics of this elaborate plan against the Jedi. The Jedi will no doubt rush off to their sacred temple and discuss this troubling matter. But it is I who manipulate and control the force. I AM the living force, and such control have I over the Force that the Jedi can’t even see me even when I’m in their presence. Deception is so effortless these days because the Jedi are blinded so easily.
Time to put on my happy face. If I can’t destroy the Jedi immediately, I’ll deceive them all until the next steps of the Grand Plan can be executed.
I called Plagueis and spoke with him about these developments. He shared the progress he had made as well. As Hego Damask, he had just met with Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas for a second or third time, I forget exactly. Apparently, Master Sifo-Dyas whined the entire time because no one is listening to his warnings. He’s the only Jedi with the Force sense to realize the galaxy is on the brink of war, and not one Jedi will give him credence. This confirms that Plagueis and I are successfully clouding the vision of the Jedi.
Plagueis told me how he preyed on the Jedi’s fears and convinced him that an army capable of defending the Republic needed to be secured immediately while there was still time. Plagueis told Sifo-Dyas that a darkness was fast encroaching on the galaxy. Sifo-Dyas, recalling some conversation they had years before, agreed to Plagueis’ urgent warnings of darkness.
Plagueis discussed the cloners on Kamino with Sifo-Dyas and told him they would be willing to grow and hold on reserve (until the time was right) a massive army to defend the Republic. Plagueis smiled as he watched the seeds take root in Sifo-Dyas’ mind.
THE FORCE IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE
Amidala arrived today and I greeted her on the landing pad. Traffic whizzed by overhead as the Queen debarked her royal starship. By the Force, I can’t stand her ridiculous outfits and…what word to use…over-the-top hair styles. I will admit a certain penchant for fine tunics and robes, as it is commonly known and accepted that the nobility of Naboo—and of the galaxy for that matter–take to wearing loose-fitting robes of luxurious fabrics, bold color, and flamboyant hats, but honestly, she looked like a dead bird. Perhaps the black was to show that she mourns senseless suffering, imprisonment, and murder of her people resulting from the blockade of her planet.
At least when we met in my office later she put on something more…colorful and cheery. Except for the pale face.
But it was on the landing pad, dear citizen, that I met him…when the Force sang out to me with such power about the amazing boy who would one day become my loyal Apprentice. Anakin Skywalker, at about 10 years old, radically (and subconsciously) interacted with the living Force around him in ways he could not yet understand. But I sensed it dancing and swirling around him in a spectacular display of untapped power. I had never seen anything like it before—in either Jedi or Sith—and though I sensed Master Qui-Gon was keenly aware of the boy’s potential, he didn’t perceive what I did. How could he? He was only a Jedi.
I foresaw within him the prophecy that would bring balance to the force and give the Sith a new hope. The fulfillment of this culminates when Anakin Skywalker will serve at my side. Mark my words, one day that boy will be my Apprentice. In case the Jedi suspected something—Maul reported that he saw him with Qui-Gon—I cast a cloud of obfuscation over the boy.
Oh. I almost forgot. If there’s any proof that the Jedi don’t know what they doing, let’s simply state one name…Jar Jar Binks. Why or how he came along is still a mystery to me. Perhaps though, he has a usefulness I cannot yet see.
Today Amidala, her handmaidens, and other royal escorts met with me to discuss the catastrophe on Naboo. I admired her determined spirit, absolute trust, and naive hope in the political proceedings of the Senate.
What a fool she is!
She needs to understand how the stratagems of the Trade Federation will eventually lead to greater security for the galaxy. But even I understand her dilemma: no one in their right mind willingly gives their freedoms in the name of security and peace. But faced with terrorism and war, democracy will yield to the immense pressure of ensuring peace at any cost. This was critical to the Grand Plan that Plagueis set forth. It was my job in the role of humble Senator to see it through politically.
So, I gently but firmly dashed her hopes by painting a realistic (and dismal) picture of the Senate. I shared with her that over the years, squabbling delegates with no interest in the common good had taken over the Galactic Senate (that part isn’t really a lie). I even insinuated the corrupted nature of Supreme Chancellor Valorum stripped him of true power and made him a pawn of the bureaucrats who ran the Galactic Senate these days. This revelation easily dashed her faith in bureaucratic procedure. (Incidentally, and indirectly, the corrupted delegates were my biggest allies because they were the easiest to distract and confound.)
I decided to put a bug in her ear—that the best option for our poor home planet of Naboo would be to push for the election of a stronger supreme chancellor, one who could control the bureaucrats and give us justice. And then, my greatest indirect triumph to date voiced itself. I suggested she call for a vote of no confidence. When she balked at this, I gently reminded her that she could take her case to the courts. She became exasperated because she knew the court proceedings would take an exorbitant amount of time that Naboo’s population did not have. I admire her tenacity. If I wasn’t a Sith Lord, I would not want to meet her in a shady back alley of Nar Shaddaa.
Believing that her people on Naboo were dying, she knew she had to act quickly to save lives. I had her eating out of my hand. All I had to do was suggest the unfortunate acceptance of Trade Federation control over Naboo and hopelessly sigh. I know that she would never sit back and let that happen. Sometimes this is just too easy. (Later that evening, my Master, Plagueis and I reveled in this story later that night with some delicious vintage Sullustan wine.)
After she left my office I rehearsed various forms of addressing the Senate. I needed to frustrate them somehow and bait Queen Amidala. If I succeeded, her overzealous desire to save her dying people would overcome her and I would rise victorious. Settling on a course of action, I made my way to the Senate Building.
On a side note, I spoke with Viceroy Gunray today. He reported that Naboo had been secured by his droid army. I instructed Darth Maul to follow the Jedi back to Naboo and eliminate them there. I didn’t need the Sith resurfacing on Coruscant just yet.
To deal with the tragedy and crisis dramatically effectively, I chastised the Senate on behalf of the terrorized citizens of my beloved Naboo for failing them and the people of the galaxy because it was the Senate, after all, through inaction and corruption, that had allowed the taxation of the trade routes. The slimy Cato Nemoidian Senators (on the payroll of the Trade Federation leaders) attempted to object but Valorum shut them down. At least he can do some things right. Sensing the drama that was unfolding around me, I seized the opportunity and presented Queen Amidala to the Senate. The Senate Hall grew quiet as she exhorted the Senate to action. But as expected, the brash Senators began to yell at her, drowning out her pleas for help.
My servants (whose allegiance to me was unknown to all in the Senate), including Mas Amedda, began whispering with Valorum. On cue, I whispered encouragement to Amidala. I told her that the men speaking to Valorum were bureaucrats on the payroll of the Trade Federation. Nothing would be done, I feared, and I shared this sad sentiment with her as well. Oh, the confusion and heartbreak in her painted and weary face brought me such joy sadness. Valorum asked if she would defer the case to a committee that would explore the situation on Naboo and bring back a recommendation. Incensed, yet calm, Amidala refused to defer to the authority of a commission to explore whether or not Naboo was really under attack.
I held my breath…and she did it! She called for a vote of no confidence! The Senators went crazy and I swear Valorum soiled himself as he sat down in complete disbelief. Well, Valorum, you reap what you sow.
Elated, I promised the Queen that with Valorum out of the way, the Senators would elect a stronger chancellor who would see to Naboo’s tragedy immediately. Of course, I meant myself. But she didn’t know that. She didn’t know what was happening, anyway. Silly girl.
Later that evening I stopped by Amidala’s penthouse to share some wonderful news with her. I had just sat down to eat my dinner, I told her, when I received word that the Senate had nominated me as a contender for Supreme Chancellor. And so, I wished to celebrate with my fellow Nabooian. She didn’t react one way or the other, to my surprise, but I refused to let her somber mood stunt my victory. I eagerly promised to put an end to corruption in the Senate once and for all. (I just didn’t say when or how.) I joyously told her that I expected a swayed election through a sympathy vote. This would allow me to act swiftly and decisively against the Trade Federation and rescue our poor Naboo. My enthusiasm was met with awkwardness.
That’s when she surprised me with a pronouncement. She had decided to go back to Naboo to fight for her people. She’s crazy, that one. I implored her to stay where it was safe, but she wouldn’t hear it.
Like I said earlier…silly girl.
THEY LOST HER AGAIN
By the Force, this brash girl is going to be the complete unraveling of the Grand Plan. Plagueis merely chuckles when I discuss her inability to do the right thing. On the one hand, she did call for that vote of no confidence…but that transpired according to my design. That evening I alerted Gunray to the Queen’s plans and instructed him to set a trap for her when she returned to Theed. I also sent Darth Maul to Naboo to deal with the Jedi if they interfered.
Surprise Number One
When he called back, I learned that Queen Amidala had outwitted us not once, but twice. Viceroy Gunray informed me that Amidala didn’t return to the palace to square off with him as we expected. In fact, he has no idea where she went. I instructed Darth Maul to be patient and let the Jedi make the first move. I sense the exercise of patience is straining him inside…I know there’s nothing he’d rather do than slaughter Jedi and I can’t blame him. Through the Force, I could sense death at his hands, so I know his cravings will be satiated. I have a hunch that she may try to sneak in through some secret tunnel. Palaces are always full of secret tunnels.
Surprise Number Two
So she didn’t try to sneak into the palace, as I suspected. When she arrived on Naboo, that rather clumsy Gungan named Jar Jar Binks accompanied her. I believe you already know how I feel about him and his buffoonery. While he was here, I probed his mind and found nothing of consequence…yet this Gungan has proven to be an incredible source of annoyance.
Somehow Amidala, through the help of Jar Jar Binks and the Jedi, solicited the help of the Gungan water-dwellers and now the Gungans and humans of Naboo have banded together to oust the Trade Federation from their home. I don’t know how she did it, but Viceroy Gunray informed me that an army of Gungans decided to take on the Trade Federation’s droid army. Didn’t see that one coming. I grow of this silliness. I instructed Gunray to wipe them out…all of them.
Arrrrgh. Or however you write extreme frustration without words.
I nearly choked on my dinner tonight. A powerful disturbance in the Force sent ripples through the galaxy that offended my very being. I paused to focus as I sensed several sharp, piercing pains, and then a moment of realized vengeance and victory. Qui-Gon Jinn had been slain at the hands of Darth Maul. Since no Jedi has died at the hands of a Sith Lord in a long while, I was not prepared for the Force’s reaction to the Jedi’s violent death.
But then things went sour, and I’m not talking about my meal. Maul is also dead, slain at the blade of Jedi Apprentice Obi Wan Kenobi. Apparently Maul wasn’t ready to take on two Jedi at once. He was weaker than I realized. Perhaps I became too lenient in his training and ultimately failed him. I will not make that mistake again.
I am not in the mood to write tonight. Maul’s unexpected death has altered everything. I mean, seriously, two encounters with the Jedi, and he’s dead. I was not prepared to lose my Apprentice. This changes everything.
AMIDALA THE DECOY
Children will surprise you every time. Sometimes it’s the things they say, sometimes it’s the things they do, or in his case, the things he will do. I knew I was right about young Anakin Skywalker. After landing on Naboo and rejoining the royal court, I learned that young Anakin had single-handedly—and accidentally—destroyed the orbiting droid control ship. That’s why the droids on the planet shut down and handed victory to the Gungans.
It turns out, however, that this entire battle plan was a diversion to distract Gunray. I often struggle to understand how someone who is so savvy at business strategy can’t wrap his mind around simple military strategy and tactics of distraction.
So while Gunray was watching the Gungans and droids fight on the battlefield in what would later become known as the Battle of Theed, Amidala snuck into the palace and captured the Viceroy through means of her personal decoy.
I must say, I like her style.
I enjoyed a fit of celebratory laughter over the clever deception of Queen Amidala. She is excellent at the art of deception. But I am losing respect for Viceroy Gunray. His failures have cost me too much. Now that I know she uses personal decoys, I will be sure to account for that in our plans. Little Naboo is not off the radar of the Grand Plan, yet.
Side note: I can’t believe they promoted Jar Jar Binks to military General. The things people do in times of desperation are quite insane.
A day or so later, after the regaling of victory over the Trade Federation had settled down, a more solemn moment demanded our attention. Ships and shuttles with various dignitaries and representatives from the Jedi Council—including Master Yoda—arrived for the funeral rites of the fallen Jedi Master, Qui-Gon Jinn.
Thankfully, I am one with the Force and my command of the Dark Side is sufficient to keep myself (and others if need be) hidden from the Jedi. (The only place I can never enter is the Jedi Temple itself.) It is also not difficult for me to keep my rage in check—a gift of the Force, you can be sure. In that moment, I wanted to rip Kenobi apart in retribution for destroying my Assassin. After all, years of training died with Maul. Instead, I remained a perfect gentleman and briefly complimented him. I have come to accept, through the Force, that if a Jedi learner bested Maul, then perhaps his death has made way for a stronger Apprentice.
The boy, Anakin, is a different matter altogether. I so look forward to watching him grow, to befriending him, and judiciously seeding a distrust of the Jedi in his mind as he trains to become a Jedi Knight. I can already sense that it won’t be hard to do. The Jedi are fools to admit him to the Order and begin training him at his age. Apparently, they are only doing this because they mistakenly believe that the ancient prophecy of the Chosen One who would bring balance to the Force by destroying the Sith Order…and they believe him to be the Chosen One.
Fortunately, there is no amount of Jedi training that can undo all the hurt and pain he’s already experienced. I plan to use this to my advantage. Obi Wan’s stubborn insistence to take him as his padawan in honor of his former master will be his undoing.
I focused on the flames of the burning Jedi and felt the Force flow around me as the flames consumed Qui-Gon. All Jedi will burn one day. I should note that it was here, at the funeral, that I first saw a powerful vision of Anakin standing victoriously under the banner of galactic peace in a place of fire and flame.
Mark my words, Anakin will become a powerful Sith Lord. I have foreseen it.
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