Star Wars: Episode I – Chapter V

by E.V. Jacob on August 2, 2012

Qui-Gon knocked lightly on the door. “Anakin, it’s Qui-Gon, can I come in?”


Qui-Gon stepped in and found Anakin sitting on his bed, still and silent. Qui-Gon knew he was upset about leaving Lakshmi behind, and was unsure of how to comfort the boy. The circumstances of their departure had been different from planned, to say the least.

“How do you feel?”

The child fiddled with the communicator they’d given him. “Fine,” he said quietly.

“I’ve sent another message to Watto. Whatever it takes, I promise you I will get your mother back.”

But Anakin could feel the void, and despite the fact that Qui-Gon’s words were genuine, Anakin knew he wouldn’t see his mother again soon. Perhaps ever.

“You should eat something, Anakin,” Qui-Gon urged gently.

Anakin nodded and followed Qui-Gon to the small kitchen on the ship. Qui-Gon put something together for them, a bowl of some porridge-like pre-made space meals, and two mugs of tea. He sat down with Anakin and ate slowly while the child picked at his meal.

“We’ll be on Coruscant within a day. The Council is eagerly waiting for you,” Qui-Gon said after a moment.

Anakin studied his food for a moment. “Why do they want to see me so much?”

Qui-Gon had never had the chance to explain to Anakin why he was so important – why so much hope rested on his shoulders. The Jedi master opened his mouth to speak, but found he couldn’t think how to explain the magnitude of the situation to a child, even an exceptionally brilliant one.

Anakin watched Qui-Gon, his seriousness and his troubled expression, and remembered when they had first come to Tatooine. He hadn’t forgotten the feeling that they were following him, and the sense that they were lying to get close to him.

“You are…a very special child, Anakin. Has your mother ever told you about your birth?”

“…She said I didn’t have a father,” he said slowly.

“That’s right. Well, you’ve heard of the Force, haven’t you?”

Anakin nodded.

“We believe that the Force created you, and that you are the child of a prophecy foretold centuries ago. We…have been searching for you, Anakin. All your life.”

He kept his gaze locked on Qui-Gon’s . “You came to Tatooine to find me.”

“Yes, we did. I am sorry we didn’t speak with you sooner about this, Anakin – I had intended to talk with you and your mother before leaving but things became –”

There was a soft beeping sound issuing from the communicator Qui-Gon carried on him at all times. He checked the it and sighed. He rose to his feet, still eyeing the screen.

“Excuse me, Anakin, I’ll be just a moment.”

Qui-Gon left and Anakin waited until the door shut to follow. He had a bad feeling about this call.

Their voices were inaudible through the thick, sealed door, but Anakin focused his mind and was able to hear the conversation well enough.

“Why you keep calling me?” Watto demanded.

“You have not returned my calls. I need to know how Lakshmi is doing – I’m sure you noticed that she was injured, and I want to make sure she’s alright.” Qui-Gon was cordial, but there was an edge to his words.

“You’re worried about a slave? Don’t waste your time – and don’t bother coming back for her, she died.”

“Died? What? No, that can’t…what happened to her?” Qui-Gon demanded.

“She got caught in a sand storm, the wound got infected, and she died. Now I’m out two slaves because of you!”

More was said after that, but Anakin’s focus was completely shattered.

The void – the emptiness he’d felt when he’d left. He felt his head spinning. His breath was rapid, he wasn’t getting enough oxygen, his knees were weak…

Anakin stumbled back, falling to the ground but barely noticing.

He had left her, and she had died. That was all that mattered now. That was all that would ever matter for as long as he lived – she was gone.

* * *
Lakshmi worked slowly, her injured shoulder slowing her down. Her recovery wasn’t going particularly well, especially since Watto refused to get her professional care. She feared she might permanently lose some of the function of her arm if she kept relying solely on other slaves’ wisdom and old wives’ tales.

No word had reached her of Anakin so far, which surprised her – she thought that Qui-Gon would call, that he might be compelled to keep her updated. It was a lot to hope for, she knew, but he had seemed kind. Not for the first time, she wondered if she’d done the right thing.

Watto came in and scoffed at her slow progress at cleaning the shop floor. Her workload had increased since Anakin left, and she was behind on her chores.

She knew he was angry with her, and that she was probably best off keeping her mouth shut, but Lakshmi couldn’t stand to wait any longer.

“Watto? I was wondering…if…if you’d heard from Qui-Gon? The man who bought Anakin? I thought he might have called…to let me know how Anakin is doing…”

He regarded her for a moment, then made a derisive sound. “Won’t be hearing from them again.”

“What? Why not?” she called after him as he drifted out of the room.

“Their ship crashed. Everyone on board dead,” he answered.

Lakshmi dropped her cleaning rag. She shouted at Watto for more information, but he ignored the slave woman as she collapsed in a heap on the floor, sobbing and wailing for her lost little boy.

* * *
“Are you ready to step onto your first new planet?”

Anakin didn’t answer. Cordelia was being very kind, but he couldn’t even bear to look at her, let alone speak.

The ship touched down, and as the doors opened, Anakin was hit by a blast of cool, thin air, so unlike the air of Tatooine. It carried with it a flurry of smells – oils and smoke and strange, unfamiliar scents he had no name for.

He peered out of the hatch and out into the most massive city he’d ever seen. Huge towers stretched up toward the sky, surrounding them on all sides. As they stepped down onto the landing platform, he could see that they were hundreds and hundreds of feet in the air.

Small, personal craft zipped around above and below them in neat lines that crossed here and there. He looked around bewildered, unable to understand how they could keep such an enormous system in order. He realized that, from where he was standing, he could see neither the ground below, nor the tops of the buildings above. It was overwhelming, but fascinating. Everywhere he looked, he saw machines and spacecraft, some old, some sparkling and new, from all corners of the galaxy.

On any other day, it would have been heaven.

The Queen of Naboo stepped forward from her chambers and was met by a collection of guards and very official looking individuals. Among them was a tall, aged man with a regal air. He greeted the Queen graciously, but as he did so, his eyes fell on Anakin. The boy locked eyes with the man, confused by what he sensed. They held one another’s gaze until the older man broke it, having been interrupted by one of the guards.

Anakin looked away, not caring what the strange old man might have thought to see a child accompanying the Jedi.

Placing a hand on Anakin’s shoulder, Qui-Gon smiled down at the boy and said, “Are you ready to go to the Jedi temple?”

He nodded and they started off.

The Jedi temple was not far from where they had landed. It took them only a short cruiser ride to reach the ornate structure. Qui-Gon ushered Anakin into the Jedi Temple while Obi-Wan followed behind, soaking in the simple joy of being home. A Jedi Knight was supposed to make his home wherever he was, and was to have no attachments to any one particular location, but having been raised there for as long as he could remember, Obi-Wan couldn’t deny that he felt at peace in the temple.

They took the boy to have him cleaned up and dressed properly so that he would be ready to stand before the council. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan left to do the same, their trip to Tatooine having left them looking rather scruffy.

Qui-Gon would present Anakin while Obi-Wan filed a report on their mission. He was not, in the strictest sense, permitted to stand before the Jedi Council just yet, unless specifically called upon.

“Good luck in there, Anakin. Not that you need it,” Obi-Wan said as he broke off from the other two.

Anakin gave a little nod, but nothing more.

Before reaching the meeting room, Qui-Gon pulled Anakin aside and knelt down so that he could face the boy more directly.

“Anakin…I feel we brought this on so quickly. And considering everything that’s happened these past few days…I know I spoke with you about this meeting, but I feel I must ask you once more – are you prepared to stand before the Jedi Council and face their tests? I can reschedule, it would be no trouble at all.”

The boy’s eyes were downcast. Qui-Gon had explained everything as clearly as he knew how while on the ship, but still he felt that this had been approached all wrong – they should have had more time. More time to give details on the situation to Anakin, more time to prepare him for this moment.

And certainly more time for Anakin to grieve.

“Do you want me to reschedule?”

Anakin gave the tiniest shake of his head.

“Will you be able to respond to the council’s questions?” Qui-Gon asked.

Anakin took in a deep breath, squared off his shoulders, and held his head high. “Yes,” he said softly.

Anakin’s pain was difficult to witness, but his strength was a sight to behold.

Qui-Gon smiled and nodded. “Very well, then – let us introduce you.”

The large doors swung open at his touch and Qui-Gon led Anakin into the vast room.

* * *
The twelve Jedi Masters sat in a large circle, leaving a wide, open space in the center. The room was bordered by windows that gazed out over the endless, towering city.

Qui-Gon and Anakin stepped into the center of the room and bowed to the Council. The seated Jedi nodded back in recognition.

Anakin had always been rather guarded, but Qui-Gon was surprised to feel Anakin’s mind seal off almost completely upon walking into the room. It was like a wall going up around the boy – his very presence was barely detectable.

It would not go unnoticed by the Council.

“Greetings, Masters. I have come before you to present Anakin Skywalker. He was found on Tatooine, born to a slave woman who claimed that he had no father. The boy has displayed a multitude of Jedi-traits in the few days I have known him and the Force is unusually strong in him. He is also a prodigy in the field of mechanics – I believe he is the Chosen One.”

“Hello, Anakin. Master Yoda I am. To join the Jedi you wish?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Participate in a small test, you will?” Yoda asked.

“Yes, sir,” Anakin said.

One of the Jedi, introduced as Mace Windu, took out a small viewing screen.

“You will identify the objects that appear on this screen,” he explained. “Are you ready?”

“Yes, sir,” Anakin said in an emotionless voice.

Anakin rattled off the names of the items that appeared on the screen without difficulty. He wasn’t even focusing greatly on the task. Most of his energy was going into blocking out all thoughts of his mother, for if he remembered her face, or the sound of her voice, or her soft scent…he would fall apart if he allowed himself to focus on her.

So he pushed thoughts of her away, not so much because he wanted to impress these Jedi, but because he would not look weak before the council of powerful Jedi that sat before him. And he would not lose this opportunity.

All the Jedi wore equally awed expressions by the time he was through. He had not made a single mistake. Qui-Gon was the most impressed, for he knew just how little Anakin must have been able to concentrate on the task.

Mace Windu set the viewing screen down and folded his hands together.

The rest of the Jedi council murmured.

Yoda held up his hand to silence the others. He turned to Anakin and nodded. “Impressive you are, young Anakin. Very gifted with the Force you appear to be. Confer on the matter we shall. Grateful for your time, we are.”

Qui-Gon and Anakin left the council room to allow the members to discuss his fate. They sat idly outside the council room, awaiting the decision.

“You did exceptionally well, Anakin, I’m very impressed,” Qui-Gon said after a moment.

Anakin nodded.

“They will accept you. You are the Chosen One.”

Anakin studied Qui-Gon, curious at his faith. Anakin had always known he was different, but found Qui-Gon’s confidence fascinating.

Once more, he found himself pondering over Qui-Gon. Rarely had he found people that were worth the time and effort to become close to. The hurt of losing his mother gnawed endlessly at him, crushing any hope of forming any sort of true attachment at this point, but still a sort of bond was forming between himself and the Jedi Master.

Perhaps, in time, it would grow.

* * *
“Explain again how the boy escaped your grasp,” the cold voice of his master demanded.

Darth Maul forced himself to remain calm – the last thing he wanted to do now was show any sign of weakness. His only chance was to remain emotionless and make up for his carelessness.

“I misjudged the situation, Master. The two Jedi were more skilled than I’d anticipated, even though one was only a Padawan. The women, too, were more formidable than I’d expected. They somehow knew I was coming before I arrived, and the boy was moved to the ship before I had the chance to reach him.”

“Yes, well, now that the Jedi have him, he will be almost impossible to touch.”

There was a terrible silence as Darth Maul waited for his punishment.
“Though, perhaps…” to Darth Maul’s surprise, his Master chuckled. “Your failure may prove useful to me. There is a chance that, despite your grievous error, I can make this situation work to my advantage. I will not punish you for this failing – not yet. I will be merciful, and provide you a chance to redeem yourself.”

Darth Maul shifted his weight slightly, trying to read the veiled face in the hologram. “Thank you, Master.”

“But of course. I have a new assignment for you. I have sent the details along – report back when you have completed the first step. For now, I have other business to attend to.”

And with that, he cut the transmission, leaving Darth Maul feeling more uneasy than before placing the call.

* * *
Queen Adriane sat in her congressional box within the massive Senate chambers. The faces of the queen and her handmaidens were veiled, and the outfits they wore were nearly identical – it was almost impossible to tell them apart without close inspection.

Palpatine sat with the Queen, speaking to her in hushed tones. When it was her turn to speak, she rose and unveiled herself to face the Senate.

“Members of the Senate, Naboo is in a state of unrest, as you well know. The Trade Federation has invaded and overtaken my planet, and is making demands of myself and my Parliament while holding the people hostage.”

“These claims are untrue and insulting!” the Trade Federation’s representative cried. “I will not allow for such slander to be aimed at the Trade Federation, which has always functioned under the protocols of the law!”

The Queen continued to make her case against the Trade Federation, but the Senate was reluctant to act, and suggested further delays until they could investigate more.

Frustrated with how things were unfolding, Queen Adriane moved for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum, just as Senator Palpatine had suggested. She felt this was the best – possibly the only – course of action, seeing as the Chancellor had failed to take any action, or even to stand in Naboo’s defense.

Bail Organa of Alderaan seconded the motion. As more and more support was garnered, the Supreme Chancellor was forced to call a recess. They would vote on the matter the following day.

* * *
Qui-Gon and Anakin were asked to return. There was an excited energy to the room as they stood before the Jedi for the second time.

“We have reviewed the situation,” Master Micah Giiett said when they entered.

“It has been decided that Anakin Skywalker will begin his Jedi training immediately. We will start him at a standard level for his age and watch how he performs – if he is not adequately challenged, he will be moved up,” Mace Windu explained.

Qui-Gon nodded, grateful and excited.

“Qui-Gon, we’ll need you and Obi-Wan to accompany Queen Adriane back to Naboo. We have all tried to talk her out of returning, but after the Senate meeting today, she is bent on going back to her home world and we haven’t the power to stop her. You’ll have to leave tomorrow morning. Anakin will stay with us and begin training tomorrow,” Mace Windu informed them.

“Very well, I’d be happy to,” Qui-Gon said.

Anakin’s brow furrowed. “But…I’d like to go with you, Qui-Gon…”

Yoda shook his head, “Go with Qui-Gon, you must not. Just a child you are.”

“It’s alright, Anakin, I’ll be back very soon. I’d feel better if you were safe here, anyways,” Qui-Gon said soothingly.

Anakin looked around the room again, to all the Jedi Masters. They watched him with…was it hope? His stomach churned a little at the possibility.

“OK…” he said after a moment.

Qui-Gon nodded and smiled.

“Tired you must be. Show you to your room we will,” Yoda said kindly.

* * *
Anakin lay in his bed, restless and unable to sleep. It was a very small and bare room, but he was accustomed to such conditions.

He was frustrated by thoughts of his mother. He hated the images that haunted him at all times, visions of her on the night they left – wounded, terrified, alone. Anakin squeezed his eyes shut and drew in a few shaky breaths, wishing he could do something, anything to improve his situation.

There were some tools in his bag, he remembered. He grabbed them, as well as a few pieces of scrap metal and other small oddities he’d brought along. Sitting on his bed, Anakin worked absently with the minimal supplies at his disposal while his mind wandered, more capable of focusing now that his hands were busy.

He had made up his mind only the night before that he would enter into the Jedi training program, seeing as he had little choice now, and reach the highest attainable ranks. He would rise through the Jedi Order. Using their training, he would hone this power. He had always known he was capable of more than others, but now things were clearer. He would learn to control his unique abilities so finely that he could do anything. Anything.

The small child sat on his bed, sad and dejected and feeling quite alone in the universe. He thought of his mother – of her final words and how he had been unable to bring her with him, or even stop Obi-Wan from carrying him off.

It would not do.

For so long, he had been powerless. Anakin had lived his entire life up to this point as a helpless spectator to the many tragic events that slave children witness. It was common, it was to be expected, but it was unacceptable to him. Soon, he would be the victim no more.

* * *
Anakin rose early the next morning and went straight to the hangar, where he found Qui-Gon preparing to accompany Queen Adriane back to Naboo.

“We’ll be back very soon, Anakin,” Qui-Gon said, “It will be a short trip. In the meantime, you will begin your training. You’ll do well, I’m sure. I’m eager to see what kind of progress you’ll make.”

Anakin nodded, having absolutely no intention of staying at the Temple.

“Where’s Obi-Wan?” he asked after a moment, noticing that the padawan was not around.

“Obi-Wan is on an errand for me – the Queen wishes to contact the Gungans for help, but they are in hiding. An old friend lives not far from here and is…experienced…in such matters. He has retired since, but still offers us help.”

“Qui-Gon, may I speak with you?” Queen Adriane called.

“Ah, excuse me, Anakin.”

“I have to go, anyways,” Anakin supplied, “I have a class beginning in a moment. Tell Obi-Wan I said goodbye.”

Qui-Gon smiled, “Very good! Take care and I’ll be back before long.”

“OK, have a safe trip.”

“I’m sure I will. May the Force be with you.”

“May the Force be with you,” Anakin echoed, savoring the feel of the words as he turned away. This new life would take some getting used to, but Anakin was determined to adjust as quickly as possible.

Qui-Gon went to the Queen and Captain Panaka. A few droids puttered about, doing menial tasks, and Anakin seemed to disappear into the fray.

Obi-Wan returned just before take off with a small map of the unpopulated regions of Naboo. Marked on the map were a few places where they might find the Gungans.

The last of the crew boarded and the ship took off into the early morning fog.

* * *
“The Queen is on her way,” Darth Sidious informed Nute of the Trade Federation. “She is no longer useful to us – when she arrives, kill her.”

Nute bowed to the holograph before him. “Yes, my lord. The planet is secure, we will have no trouble eliminating her.”

“Very good. Darth Maul will rendezvous with you soon to proceed with the next phase of the plan.”

Nute and Rune exchanged a nervous glance.

“O-of course, my lord,” Rune said obediently.

The transmission ended and the Neimodians shivered nervously.

* * *
Captain Panaka, the Jedi Knights, the Queen, and her handmaidens stood in the conference room as the ship rocketed towards Naboo.

Obi-Wan placed a disk into the display unit and pulled up a detailed map of Naboo. Three red spots throbbed softly on the map.

“Dex said that the Gungans are known to hide in various locations. We might find encampments here, here, or here,” he said, indicating the three red dots. “I suggest doing an aerial sweep of these areas to assess the lay of the land, then proceeding to land and search for signs of Gungan inhabitation.”

Qui-Gon nodded approvingly. “Excellent. We will go straight to these locations and see if we can’t rally some help from the Gungans.”

Captain Panaka analyzed the map. “Do you think they will attack us? See us as hostile enemies?”

“It is possible,” Qui-Gon admitted. “Obi-Wan and I can go first, then contact you if we find anything.”

“I must be the one to negotiate with the Gungan leader,” Queen Adriane said.

“Of course, Majesty. We will simply carry a message of your desire to confer with the leader – hopefully he will agree to an audience with you.”

They set a course for the swamplands of Naboo, all eager and nervous to arrive.

* * *
“Anakin?” the Padawan said as he knocked on the door. Master Yoda had sent him from his lessons to go retrieve Anakin, the newest recruit. The boy had missed his first class, and no one seemed to have seen him all day.

“Anakin!” he said again, knocking harder.

There was a soft coughing from inside the room.


“I don’t…feel very well…” a groggy and muffled voice called from within the room.

“What do you mean?” the Padawan asked.

There was a bit of a pause, filled occasionally with more coughing.

The Padawan started to speak, but was interrupted by Anakin’s hoarse voice. “I think…I might have caught something,” more coughing – it sounded really bad.

The Padawan tried the door.

“Anakin, this door is locked,” he said.

More coughing.

“I might be…contagious…” the boy said, his voice becoming weaker with every word.

“Should I get a medic?” the Padawan asked. He was getting nervous.

There was no more answer – simply a long string of violent coughs.

“I’ll…I’ll get the medic. Hold on,” the Padawan said as he hurried away.

When he returned, an occasional cough could still be heard from the locked room. The medic took out her entry card and swiped it over the screen.

They waited for a moment, but nothing happened.

“Has someone reprogrammed this door?” the medic asked, jabbing at the keypad and swiping her card again. It was supposed to unlock any door, in case of a medical emergency.

“I didn’t touch it. Anakin?” the Padawan called through the door again.

There was no answer. The Padawan and medic looked at one another, more than a little unnerved.

A technician was called in. He had to completely reboot the system before he could even think of undoing the new coding that had locked the door shut in the first place. It took hours.

The whole time, Anakin gave no reply, save for the occasional cough.

Upon opening the door, the worried medic hurried to Anakin’s bedside, only to find…

A heap of pillows, covered by a blanket. And a recorder, made of parts removed from the room’s interface and a few other scraps. The recorder reacted to sound and played back messages in a selected order.

For a moment, they all stared at one another, dumbfounded.

They had lost the Chosen One.

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***DISCLAIMER: Obviously, these characters aren’t ours, because none of us are named George Lucas, and none of us are crazy-rich off the Star Wars franchise. We have omitted some characters, added some people, and altered a few basic plot points, but the Star Wars stories still don’t belong to us. Everything belongs to George Lucas – we’re doing this purely for the fun of it.***

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