Star Wars: Episode I – Chapter VII

by E.V. Jacob on August 16, 2012

The Jedi and Cordelia hurried away, leaving Anakin alone amidst the carnage.

The boy still held the Captain Panaka’s gun in one hand, but it suddenly felt so heavy. He set it down and moved away – he didn’t want to be near the Captain’s body anymore.

But he couldn’t escape them. The handmaidens, pilots, and other unfortunate staff members who had likely been hiding and trying to escape – all caught in the crossfire, all dead on the floor. Anakin went to one of the fighter ships that had been left behind. Twelve were gone, already off to obey the Queen’s orders. More of them would die.

The droids were even more numerous, though at least Anakin was more accustomed to seeing broken-down droids. Most were the battle droids, but some were for helping with ship repairs. A few, much like R2-D2, littered the floor, no doubt leaving some pilots without their much-needed assistance.

He climbed up inside of one of the ships, which had belonged to another pilot just a few minutes earlier. He wondered which one, and what had made them want to fly.

But mostly, he wondered if he could figure the ship out himself.

A sharp beeping caught his attention from below. Anakin turned and looked.

“R2!” he shouted, shocked by how relieved he was to see the little droid.

R2 gave a series of nervous beeps.

“Come on, come with me. I’m going to see if I can fly this thing.”

R2 clicked and whistled disapprovingly, but the little droid rolled over to the ship and engaged his jets, flying up to dock in his port.

Anakin slid into the cockpit and stared at the many switches, dials, levers, and knobs. He didn’t know what half of them did, but he could guess at which controlled the primary functions. Within seconds, he had the ship powered up and ready to fly.

* * *
Inside the throne room, the panic was catching on.

The doors continued to melt and twist, the metal bubbling and turning a molten red.

“Fire on them! Fire on them!” Rune ordered the droids. They stationed themselves before the door and poised their weapons, ready to shoot.

The lightsaber burned through, and with a few quick slashes, cut a gaping hole in the thick doors.

The droids fired, but Obi-Wan charged into the room, blocking their attacks and slicing through them with ease. He cut down the droids, leapt onto the table, and pointed his lightsaber directly at Nute.

“Call off your guards,” Obi-Wan said.

Nute was too busy trembling to do much, but Rune turned to the remaining droids and said. “Stand down!”

Cordelia and her handmaiden climbed into the room and pointed their guns at the Trade Federation representatives.

“If you don’t mind, I’ll take my throne back now,” Cordelia said.

* * *
Anakin looked down at the planet as it raced away from them. This was only his third time going out into orbit, and the sight of a planet from space still mesmerized him.

He wasn’t too worried about flying the ship – he’d had R2 lock on to the destination of the other fighters and set the ship to auto-pilot.

As Anakin rocketed away from the planet, he drew nearer to the shimmering pinpoints of light up ahead. He could see the large droid control ship looming in the distance, hanging in the blackness of space like some strange ornament.

The moving lights ahead grew larger, and soon Anakin could make out the individual ships as they battled. The Naboo fleet was under attack – he saw several of them shot down or badly damaged. One spun, its shields flickering out. Another shot caught its engines and the fighter exploded, sending debris spiraling out in all directions.

Anakin switched from auto-pilot and took over, veering out of the way.

Behind him, R2 beeped nervously.

“I’ve got it, I’ve got it,” Anakin said through gritted teeth.

Fighters shot towards him. Anakin frantically steered away. He had never been in a battle before. He felt himself seizing up and forced himself to take a few deep breaths – this was not the time to panic.

R2 chirped and clicked.

“Don’t worry, R2 – it’s like a podrace. I just have to avoid their tricks and get to the goal first…”

They were on his tail. He couldn’t shoot from this angle, so he sped ahead, then threw the ship into reverse. The fighters zipped past him, and as they turned, Anakin opened fire.

One ship was hit in the wing, sending it spinning out of control, the pilot too distracted to try a counter-attack. The other ship dodged and opened fire. Anakin turned to avoid getting hit while R2 screeched in panic.

He fired again until he hit the ship. It didn’t go out in a dramatic burst of smoke, but its lights flickered and died, and it floated silently through space, no longer a threat.

Just as he was congratulating himself on such expert flying, a second volley of enemy fighters appeared on his view screen, glowing red to indicate danger.

Anakin was met with another series of frantic beeps and whistles.

“You can too die in podracing! They just don’t have lasers…but we’ll be fine, just trust me and figure out a way to get to the ship – we’re supposed to destroy it.”

Anakin saw the other Naboo fighters firing madly at the control ship. All their shots bounced off harmlessly.

“They’ve got their shields up,” Anakin heard another pilot say.

“R2 – let’s get into that ship somehow.”

In response, R2 gave an exasperated whistle.

* * *
Qui-Gon was frozen, calculating his next move quickly and carefully. The next few seconds were crucial, and any mistake would surely end in death.

In one fluid motion, he activated his lightsaber and turned to meet his attacker.

The Sith was already in the air, flying toward Qui-Gon in a high arc. He slashed down, his red blade crackling through the air.

Qui-Gon blocked the attack and side-stepped, swinging at the Sith’s legs. He missed, and dodged the jab that was aimed for his gut.

With a wave of his hand, Qui-Gon sent the crumpled form of a droid flying up at the Sith’s face. He knocked it aside and blasted Qui-Gon back. The Jedi Master turned and landed hard on the slick hangar floor.

This was the same Sith Lord who had come after Anakin. That he was here now was strange, but Qui-Gon knew that if he saw an opportunity to take the boy, he would.

And if he couldn’t take Anakin, he would kill him.

* * *
With the droids deactivated, the Trade Federation representatives bound in a corner, and the throne room sealed off, Obi-Wan felt confident that the Queen was safe.

So when the stab of fear gripped him, he knew it was from somewhere else.

Obi-Wan turned to the Queen, trying not to appear frantic.

“Majesty, since you’ve secured your throne, do you think I could step out and help Qui-Gon?”

Cordelia was distracted, flipping through a series of holograms to check perimeters, droid forces, and possible holding cells for captives. “Yes. Contact me with any news. I can work from here.”

Obi-Wan nodded and said a hurried thanks. She opened one of the blast doors that kept the room safe and let him out.

He followed the feelings of dread that accompanied battle, and raced off to help his master, praying he would make it in time.

* * *
“Is the hangar still shielded?” Anakin asked.

R2 confirmed that it was.

“Then I’m going to have to time this right. Keep an eye on the fighters for me,” Anakin said.

He steered the fighter towards the control ship’s open hangar. The shields were momentarily down for the deployment of another squad. He had one shot to get inside.

Anakin hit the thrust and shot through the darkness. Two of the fighters were coming right at him. The front ones opened fire and Anakin dodged, shooting back.

A massive tremor shook Anakin’s fighter. He had been hit.

R2 shrieked as their ship spiraled out of control. Anakin grated his teeth as he struggled to right the ship. A second direct shot caught his wing and he spun in the air.

Anakin was suddenly furious. He wasn’t going to die like this – and he certainly wasn’t going to die without a fight.

Another shot lanced toward him, and he turned, catching only a glancing blow against the hull of his fighter.

Anakin maneuvered the ship, plunging down from them and making his stomach do flips.

He rocketed under his attackers, pulled up, and just before the shields reactivated, shot into the hangar, screeching to a violent stop just before slamming against the back wall.

Confused droids marched forward, guns pointed. But Anakin had only one thing in mind.

He checked the map on his view screen. The ship’s core reactor was at the center of the ship. Anakin turned up his cannons to full power – enough to blast through the inner walls of a ship.

Anakin turned his fighter till it was aligned with the core reactor. He squeezed his finger on the trigger.

* * *
Qui-Gon swung his lightsaber down quickly, catching Darth Maul across the chest. It wasn’t a deadly wound, but the Sith lord staggered. He pointed his lightsaber directly at Qui-Gon and charged.

The Jedi Master side-stepped the attack, slashing Darth Maul across the back as he passed.

The Sith turned and snarled, backing into Qui-Gon and hitting him in the gut with the hilt of his lightsaber. As he did this, a second blade came to life, shooting from the other end of the lightsaber and stabbing through the shocked Jedi.

Qui-Gon, swung in one last attempt at an attack, but the Sith withdrew his blade and leapt away, landing on a fallen supply crate, out of Qui-Gon’s reach.

At the doorway to the hangar, Obi-Wan appeared. He was just in time to see his Master fall.

* * *
Anakin prepared to fire, but was seized suddenly by a wave of despair. It was so intense his vision blurred and his entire body ached.

R2 beeped something at Anakin, but he couldn’t make sense of it.

“I…what?” Anakin said, his body shaking violently.

R2 beeped and whistled madly as the enemy droids closed in on them, firing from all sides.

Remembering what he was here to do, Anakin grabbed the controls, his head still spinning, and aimed as best as he could at the crumpled wall ahead.

One more blast and they would be down.

He fired a volley of lasers again, tearing the doors down at last.

Anakin fired his missiles and lasers, blasting and blasting, knowing the odds of hitting the reactor room were not in his favor.

A huge rumble shook the ship, sending a gratifying quake through hangar. He had hit his mark.

Anakin turned the ship around and rushed toward the mouth of the hangar, paying no attention to the hordes of droids who continued to fire upon him. He ignored R2’s screaming and shot out of the dying ship, into the void of space.

Behind him, the droid control ship shuddered and began to break apart, arcs of fire tearing through the outer shell as it exploded from the inside out.

“What’s that?” Anakin heard another pilot ask through the in-ship communicators.

“It’s blowing up from the inside…” another stunned pilot said.

The other pilots whooped and hollered, but Anakin felt sick to his stomach, and was genuinely afraid for a moment that he might pass out.

“R2…take us down…” he said, leaning his head against the cool metal of the control panel.

They turned back toward Naboo, moving as fast as the damaged ship could fly. Anakin was still light-headed and woozy, holding on to the hope that his ship might make it back to the planet before the engines gave out. Or before he did.

* * *
Obi-Wan leapt over the debris of the earlier battle, drawing his lightsaber as he went and charging straight for Darth-Maul.

The Sith turned and slashed at the young Jedi, but he was weakened and tired. Obi-Wan, on the other hand, was fueled by rage and sorrow. He slashed and stabbed at the Sith, but the emotions were distracting him, throwing him off.

The red lightsaber slashed down, and Obi-Wan stumbled away, barely avoiding the attack. The blade burned across his chest, searing his flesh. He cried out and fell back, crashing to the ground.

He had dropped his lightsaber when he fell, and his hand felt around for it madly as he rolled away from attacks. The Sith was slowing, but seemed driven by an insane fury that Obi-Wan could not match.

He concentrated on his lightsaber and drew it to him, activating it as he did so and catching it just as it burst to life, slashing at Darth Maul. He blocked the attack, and Obi-Wan kicked him in the gut, knocking him back.

The Sith was slowing, his movements becoming sluggish and strained. Obi-Wan jumped to his feet, raced forward, and slashed with all his might and all his speed at the Sith. Darth Maul fought, but he was backing away, trying to catch his breath and ready for another attack.

He slashed at the young Jedi, but Obi-Wan leapt high and brought his lightsaber down hard. It sliced cleanly through Darth Maul’s shoulder, cutting down almost to his waist.

Obi-Wan landed and kicked Darth Maul back. The Sith staggered, still struggling to fight, though it was clear that he was dying. Obi-Wan swung his lightsaber again, relieving the Sith of his head.

The decapitated body stumbled blindly for a moment, then toppled back over the edge of the hangar, falling the hundreds of feet toward the twisting river below.

Obi-Wan stood, gasping, staring down at the form of the Sith as he disappeared into the vast canyon. He clutched his burned chest, the pain almost distracting him form how much he hated what he’d just done – it was not the way of the Jedi. He felt sick.

Turning and hurrying as best as he could, Obi-Wan made his way back through the hangar. He fell to his knees beside the fallen Qui-Gon.

“Master?” he asked weakly. There was no blood, the wound was cauterized and clean, but Qui-Gon was pale and cold, his eyes struggling to focus on Obi-Wan’s face.

“Obi-Wan…p-promise…” he reached forward and grasped Obi-Wan’s hand. He squeezed tightly, his fingers cold and clammy. “Promise me…you’ll train Anakin. I…I only trust you…” his breathing came in ragged gasps.

Obi-Wan nodded obligingly, swallowing the lump in his throat. “Of course. I promise, I will.” He tried to keep his voice steady, to stay strong for his Master, but he felt like he was choking.

“He is…the Chosen One…” Qui-Gon said softly.


But there was no answer, and when Obi-Wan tried to sense him with the Force, he could feel that the life had left Qui-Gon.

* * *
All through the palace, and on the fields where the battle still raged, the battle droids twitched and jerked, then froze in place. It was a few tense seconds before the captives and enemy soldiers alike realized that the droids were no longer a threat.

Outside the palace, Cordelia could see the ships landing wherever there was space to accommodate them. She recognized the ship of the newly elected Chancellor Palpatine just outside in the courtyard. She looked down at Nute.

“You will have to stand before the Senate and explain yourself, Viceroy.”

The trembling Viceroy said nothing in response. Cordelia took no pleasure in his trembling – she just wanted this day to be over.

* * *
Obi-Wan didn’t know how long he’d been sitting there, lost in the maze of his mind in the vast, empty room strewn with debris and the bodies of brave men and women. He was pulled from his thoughts as the ships began to return, struggling to land amidst the carnage of the hangar floor. Obi-Wan pulled Qui-Gon’s body aside, securing it against the wall, out of the way, then used the Force to clear an area in the center for the remaining nine fighters to land.

The pilots climbed out, some wounded, some exhilarated. They chattered about the defeat of the Trade Federation in excited tones as they helped their injured along. A few cast victorious smiles in Obi-Wan’s direction as they passed.

He did his best to return the gesture. The war was over, it seemed, though he could not share their joy.

As he stood there, another ship arrived. It came more slowly than the others, sputtering along as though it were barely able to remain in the air. When it landed, it hit rather hard, sliding along the floor until it bumped up against the fighter in front of it.

Obi-Wan made his way slowly to the fighter, drawn to it, sensing that the pilot might need help.

The hatch opened, but no one climbed out. Obi-Wan realized he could sense Anakin, and climbed up to the cockpit as quickly as he could.

“Anakin? Anakin!” he said, lifting the small boy from the ship. He was barely conscious, but when he realized where he was, he tried to sit up.

“Is it over?” Anakin asked.

“Yes, it’s over. What did you do up there?”

“Shot the control ship…blew it up…” he said, pressing his fingers to his temples. “My head aches…”

Obi-Wan nodded and helped the boy down. R2 lowered himself automatically, beeping excitedly. They climbed down together, Anakin with some assistance. Obi-Wan steadied the boy, unsure if he could stand on his own. He didn’t look all that stable.

“Where’s Qui-Gon?” Anakin asked as he regained his balance.

A fresh wave of grief hit Obi-Wan and he found himself unable to speak. He opened his mouth, then closed it again. Anakin’s brow knit as he watched the Jedi expectantly, waiting for an answer.

“Anakin…he…he died…the Sith…”

It was too much. Before Obi-Wan could finish, Anakin’s eyes rolled back in his head and he collapsed, the young Jedi catching him before he hit the cold floor.

* * *
For as hard as they’d fought, and for as long as the day had seemed, it was all suddenly over very quickly.

With the added Jedi forces and Chancellor Palpatine arriving, and with the battle droids out of commission, the Trade Federation’s Viceroy had little choice but to turn himself over. He claimed to be working for a mysterious, dark lord, but it sounded more like the babblings of a terrified war criminal about to face judgment.

“He is dangerous! He will destroy you all! I had no choice!” The Viceroy cried as the shackled him and his assistants.

“Take him away,” Cordelia said with disgust.

The Gungans had rushed into the city, triumphantly dragging strings of broken-down droids behind them as they rode in.

The people of Naboo – many of whom were captive – were released to their families, who hugged and cried in the square outside the palace. Cordelia watched her people as they searched for lost loved ones, tended wounds, and tried to rebuild the damage that had been done to the city during the invasion.

She turned away from the window and faced the cluster of people before her, all eagerly awaiting an explanation. There were guards, advisors, politicians, and an assortment of others all standing before her.

“I suppose you all want to know the details of the war…” she said, her attention drawn again to the window, as the sound of a woman wailing reached her. Someone that woman had loved very dearly had not survived the war. Cordelia felt her stomach knot.

She took a deep breath and released it slowly. “Here’s what really happened,” she began.

* * *
The aftermath of the battle felt unusually calm in contrast to the chaotic energy of war. There was still much to do – setting up makeshift hospitals for the wounded, locating lost and missing individuals, freeing captives, and of course, final rites for those who had died. Naboo hosted funerals for all casualties of war, and the celebration of their lives and contributions went on for days.

Back on Coruscant, at the Jedi temple, one more funeral was being held.

Obi-Wan was one of the Jedi to carry his Master to the center of the room where they’d gathered to pay their respects. He and the other five bearing the load set Qui-Gon’s body down on the carefully constructed pyre. They stepped back, and Master Yoda came forward holding a torch. He spoke of Qui-Gon, and gave the ancient Jedi funeral rites as he lit the pyre.

All through the speech, Obi-Wan watched Anakin. He remembered his promise to Qui-Gon – it troubled him, because he’d always felt a bit uneasy about Anakin, and now he was going to be the one to train him. Obi-Wan closed his eyes against the brilliant flames and tried to calm his troubled mind.

He had been awarded the rank of Jedi Knight for his victory against the Sith lord, something he’d always dreamed of. It was a great honor, and a crowning achievement, but whenever Obi-Wan thought of it, his stomach churned and he felt sick. Was this the price of his dreams? He wasn’t sure it was a price he could pay.

“I felt him die…” Anakin said softly as he watched the flames consume Qui-Gon.

“You did?” Obi-Wan asked in surprise. He knew that Anakin had been in orbit when Qui-Gon was struck down. It seemed too far to establish such a connection.

Anakin nodded. “It made me feel sick. I was almost blown up because…I couldn’t focus.”

Obi-Wan considered this. They watched the body burn in silence.

“Who will train me? Qui-Gon was going to…” Anakin started to say.

Obi-Wan kept his eyes on the blazing pyre before him. “I will.”

They looked at one another – both sad, and afraid, and suddenly facing a world that seemed strange and dangerous.

Anakin pitied Obi-Wan suddenly, realizing that he must feel as terrible as Anakin had felt upon losing his mother.

His mother…Anakin bit his lip hard to keep the tears back and clasped his hands together behind his back to stop them from trembling. He had lost two important people in the space of a few days. Standing there, watching the glow of the flames, he was suddenly so tired that he feared he might collapse again. Anakin took a slow breath and planted his feet more firmly on the ground. It had been embarrassing enough to faint once in front of Obi-Wan – he wouldn’t let it happen again.

Another thought swam up as Anakin stood there silently, trying to keep his breathing even. He was bothered by the fact that he hadn’t felt his mother’s death. He hated that he was so far away that he couldn’t even feel her go – having that with Qui-Gon, but not his mother, seemed wrong.

The fire was starting to die down, and Qui-Gon was only ashes now – ashes that would be scattered to the winds, spread back to nature, and released to rejoin the world around them.

Anakin felt so alone. So tired and so alone, and afraid of so many things that he didn’t know where to begin. He wasn’t afraid of crying, at least – he was beyond tears. His exhaustion and his loneliness, his fear and his sorrow, all seemed to be crashing around him, pressing down on him like a tremendous stone, settling down on his shoulders and crushing him under the burden of its weight.

Without a word, Obi-Wan placed a hand on Anakin’s shoulder and gave a light squeeze.

He was tired, and afraid, and so terribly depressed. But maybe he wasn’t alone. Maybe.

Previous   |   Next


***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.***

Previous post:

Next post: