Havoc still in the making – except this time it’s a real politician. This looks like high screaming chizzk gone mad, only I promise it’s not. Mostly not. Partly not.
Master Kenobi – Obi-Wan. It’s good of you to come on such short notice. Please, sit down. How is everybody back at the Temple? Your Padawan? I’m glad to hear it. Now, I hope I have been misinformed, but I had heard that Master Jinn was… unwell. Oh. Oh, my. That… makes my own problems seem far less significant by comparison.
Very well, we will not talk of it. What can you tell me about the war? I am kept mostly in the dark at the moment, and Anakin tries to ‘protect’ me from any bad news.
Three? The course of the war turns on three individuals? General Grievous, Count Dooku, and the Sith Lord that Dooku told Master Jinn about. I’m sorry, I know it must be painful for you to think it of one of your own, but is Dooku truly a Sith, like – like Darth Maul? I see. And… he is the only one who knows the identity of the Sith Lord. That makes it difficult, does it not?
Can you not appeal to his former life as a member of the Order, to a friendship forged there, perhaps? Send someone he knew to reason with him?
I am not a child, Obi-Wan. If you think it is none of my business, by all means tell me so, rather than murmuring politely that the Council decides such matters. You are on the Council: if it was possible for you to believe that a mere politician’s idea had some little merit, it would be possible for you to advance the idea for discussion.
Problems. Yes, that was why I asked you to come, wasn’t it? Of course I have problems: nowadays, who doesn’t? First, I’m worried about Ani. He’s troubled by something, having nightmares like just before his mother was killed, and he won’t talk to me about it. From what I can untangle alone, I think it might be the Chancellor. They spend a lot of time together, closeted in Palpatine’s office in the Senate, and Ani’s always upset when he comes back to me afterwards. He talks about never letting anything happen to me, about being able to protect me, like he thinks I’m under threat again.
Can’t you talk to him? Tell him people have tried to assassinate me before, and I’m still here, alive and well. I won. I’m not that easy to kill, any more than a Jedi is. I’m touched that he worries about me, but there is nothing to worry about, and I’m afraid of the effect it’s having on him.
Come to that, I’m a little worried about Palpatine as well. The last few years – more so the last few weeks – he’s been so different to the kindly, optimistic man I knew back home at Naboo. I know it could be just the pressures of the office, but… he’s changed so I hardly know him anymore.
No, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you, and I don’t think you’d let me find out if there was. I’m not paranoid, Obi-Wan. I’m as sane as I’ve ever been.
I do have one more worry. Although Anakin was bursting to tell the whole family – who is in this Jedi family, by the way? – I insisted that I tell you myself. We’ve been friends for over ten years; it’s only right.
Obi-Wan, I’m pregnant. What am I going to do? The Queen has – very kindly – excused me from all my duties for the moment, and I suspect she thinks it’s the result of some casual affair. I’m happy to let her go on thinking that, since it means nobody in the embassy will try to find out the truth. Anakin? Ani’s beyond thrilled. So am I, at heart, but I can’t help counting up obstacles.
What if the child is Force-sensitive? I know there were problems enough with the paperwork for Anakin thirteen years ago, that both parents of a Youngling have to be listed wherever possible, but surely it’s not possible to send another child to the Temple with no documented father?
What if it’s a boy and he grows up to resemble Anakin? The secret would be out. So far Ani says only ‘the family’ and Master Yoda know about his marriage, and Master Yoda only agreed to it as a fait accompli, that Anakin swore would not affect his commitment to the Order.
I already love this child. Why am I expecting you to understand this? You are a man and a Jedi. You will never know what it is to hold your own child. A separate, unique being who is compounded part of yourself, and part of the person you love most in the whole Galaxy. Never. I can’t ask you to understand, but I can ask you to accept my feelings.
I know – I know – thousands of parents across the worlds have Force-sensitive offspring. Thousands of women have had their little ones taken away because they are needed more elsewhere, called to something higher. Thousands of mothers will never watch their children grow up. Shmi Skywalker, for one. Your mother, I suppose, though I have trouble imagining that. I always thought I understood the Jedi. Now that I find myself contemplating losing my child to the Order, I no longer think so.
If this baby is Force-sensitive… I will die. I will lose it, and that will kill me. Anakin doesn’t know I feel this way. Tell him at your peril.
Just – go away, Obi-Wan. I know I asked you to come, but… leave. Please. Leave me alone. And if you see Anakin, tell him I’d rather he came tomorrow. I need time to think, and the Force knows I have enough to think about.