Not sure why Snips gets a slot. She turned up in the outer office one day saying that she had the next chapter for me, if I didn’t mind her doing it. So here we go. Apologies for any random characterization/accidental OOCS: we just don’t know each other all that well yet.
My rationale for why a fourteen-year-old Padawan is calling grownup Masters by their first names is that in her eyes, they’re family: formal titles just make it stuffy.
I want to go, Master! Everybody’s going: Obi-Wan and Ben, Qui-Gon and Nasriel, Xanatos, Bruck, even Nasriel’s weird friend is on station helping with intel, and he’s lame for Force sake! Tahl’s gone! I’m the only kid I know not at war. What is with this, Skyguy?
Oh, what, so since you got a metal hand you’re on the cushy Senate protection detail? Bet you’re loving that. But I don’t have to be stiffed with Core duty. I can go with Xanatos – he doesn’t leave until tomorrow, and he’d take me if you asked him to.
I don’t not like your company, I’m just sick of being the only kid over thirteen with no war flash in my beads. I can do this. I know I can. Why won’t you let me? I know this isn’t all about your hand and how you’re not used to it yet. Before I was your Padawan you went on the tough missions. Sometimes alone, sometimes with someone else in the family, but you went. What’s different? I’m a little girl, is that it? I’m not that little. Nasriel goes missions, and she’s three inches shorter than me.
And for all Qui-Gon’s so touchy about her here, at home, seriously, in the last six years she’s been captured and sold and bought back and beat up and in battle and I don’t even know what chizzk. What? No, I don’t want to go through all that; I want to prove myself, and if that’s what it takes, I’ll do it, that’s all. You know, sometimes with you I get the feeling I’m just talking to the wall. Are you even hearing a word I’m saying?
You what? Skyguy, I’ll help ’cause you’re my Master, just tell me why is all. Why you even want to hack the door-code at Qui-Gon and Tahl’s place. Because it’s there. Real profound. Really. Why? They’re… family. You don’t snoop on family.
So Qui-Gon won’t tell you, so maybe he doesn’t want you to know, mm? And anyway, how does ‘something connecting him to Tahl’ have anything to do with whether you accept Senator Amidala’s request for Jedi protection? And what ‘something’ do you want? They live in the same quarters, for crying out loud! How much more connected do Jedi get?
Ew. Okay, thanks, Skyguy, didn’t have to get all explicit on me… you don’t really think…? Nah. Not them. No way.
Skyguy – Master – what are you – you are not meant to be looking in there. That’s Qui-Gon’s private papers. Get out of that. You’re – you’re reading his letters! What is it you’re trying to find? No I won’t shut up! Well yeah, yeah if you want to know I can make out that handwriting, but I’m not going to read it to you. This is dishonest, Master.
Okay, fine then, just remember I didn’t want to. It says: ‘Dear Qui-Gon, I don’t know how to -‘ No. I’m not going on. It’s bad enough that I’ve read it. What are you doing? You can’t… take it.
How would I know if it’s Tahl’s handwriting? As long as I’ve known her she’s dictated everything onto a droid. Master, put it back and let’s get out of here, please. This looks a lot like the beginnings of a blackmail to me, Skyguy. So I’m telling you here and now, to stop me saying what I’ve seen, you will have to kill me. I’m not standing for this. I’m calling Qui-Gon on station.
All right. If you really feel it’s something you have to confess in person, you can have twelve hours from the time any of them gets back, and then I’ll tell. Any of them. Even if it’s only Nasriel on her own.
I’ll hold my peace until then. I know it could be a while. But do you remember the last of the Dooku Missions? When Qui-Gon and Nasriel came home after months of no transmissions, and then when we were all together again in their quarters, he stood up in the middle of the main room, and said very quietly just seven words: Octavius Yan Dooku numbers among the Lost. And he said he was sorry to have been away so much, and worry us so much, but he couldn’t have given up, not while there was still some hope.
I wondered then – last year, when I’d just been assigned – and I still wonder now: what if there is still hope? What if… even whatever Master Dooku has done… is reversible? ‘Cause nobody could ever do anything bad enough that Qui-Gon Jinn despaired of their ever being redeemed – could they?
Why are you crying, Master? Is it something I said?