The bad news was that Mom couldn't come with us. Qui-Gon had tried to free her too, but Watto refused. Even the money from selling my Pod wasn't enough.
Leave Mom on Tatooine? I just couldn't do it. Even if it meant not becoming a Jedi. I didn't want to go without her. Coruscant was halfway across the galaxy--light-years away. It was too far. If I went there, then there was a good chance I'd never see her again.
I tried to tell her, but she told me to listen to my feelings. I tried to pretend that my "feelings" wanted me to stay on Tatooine, but we both knew that wasn't true. In my heart, I wanted to be a Jedi more than anything in the universe. Finally, I went to my room and quickly packed.
It was hard to leave. Kitster and some of my other friends were playing outside, and when they saw me come with Qui-Gon, and my bag, they knew something funny was going on.
I told Kitster I was free and going off-planet. Of course, I couldn't tell him why. He told me everyone wanted me to stay because I was a hero. That made me feel bad.
Then he told me I was the best friend he ever had, and that made me feel good.
A little way down the street, Qui-Gon was waiting for me. I started toward him, but when I looked back I saw Mom standing in the doorway of our hovel. That was the only place I remembered living. And she was the only person in my family. I felt a lump in my throat and a big sadness inside me. I went--no, ran--back toward her and told her I couldn't do it. I just couldn't go off and leave her behind.
Mom reminded me of the time I climbed the Great Dune to chase the banthas away before the hunters could shoot them. It was a broiling hot day and I never thought I'd make it to the top, but I knew I had to try. I even collapsed a few times. But somehow, just somehow I'd made it.
And because of that, a small herd of banthas had lived.
Mom said it was one of those times when I had to surprise myself. I had to do something I didn't think I could do. Because, like saving those banthas, something good would become of it.
I had to let go. But here was my big question: "Will I ever see you again?"
She gazed back at me and nodded. I'll never forget what she said next: "What does your heart tell you?"
It was strange, but right then and there did my dream come back to me. I could see now how it might all indeed come true. I would come back. I would become a Jedi, then someday free all those poor slaves.
"Yes, I think so," I said.
Mom smiled and nodded. "Then we'll see each other again."
And that's what it took. Knowing that gave me the strength to go forward.
I joined Qui-Gon. We had to go to Watto's shop first. I would have preferred to never see my former master again, but there were still things to be done: 1) there were forms to fill out that guaranteed my freedom 2) the transmitter in my body had to be deactivated.
Watto grumbled once or twice about how unfairly he'd been treated, but when Qui-Gon gave him a stern look he got quiet--fast.
I turned and started away with Qui-Gon. We hurried through the hot, sun-blasted streets of Mos Espa. I was surprised at the homesickness growing inside me. Miss this hot, barren place? I can't believe it. And yet I knew I would.
Suddenly Qui-Gon swung around. The green, glowing blade of his lightsaber sliced through something hovering in the air near us. I was amazed by his grace. I thought my fakes were good, but they were nothing compared to the way Qui-Gon reacted. What a man.
The thing he cut out of the air was about the size of a loaf of bread. Now sliced in two, its parts lay sparking and fizzing on the ground. Qui-Gon kneeled down and studied it carefully. I asked him what it was
"A probe droid," he said. "Very unusual. Not like any I've ever seen before."
He looked around quickly. The droid was a bad sign. A moment later we were running as fast as we could toward the ship.
We ran across the hot sands on the outskirts of Mos Espa. I wanted to ask Qui-Gon why we were running, but I was too busy trying to keep up with him and keep my lungs intact. What would they do without me? Without them I would die the day--no, the hour--I was born, and Mom would burst out in tears. What commensalism.
OK, whatever. Soon I could see the Nubian spacecraft up ahead, standing on its landing struts. She was a beauty. Sleek and shiny, with swept-back wings, she was as fine a spacecraft as I've ever seen.
Without warning Qui-Gon wheeled around and yelled, "Anakin, drop!" I did as I was told, and not a second too soon. A dark-cloaked figure (DUN DUN DUN) on a speeder bike shot over me. If I'd been standing, the mystery man (DUN DUN DUN) would have sent me on a little trip which could have skewered me. In a flash the dark figure (DUN DUN DUN) jumped to the ground and ignited a red-bladed lightsaber. A split-second later he and Qui-Gon were trading earthshaking lightsaber blows.
Even the worst Podrace was less scary than this. I didn't know who that dark warrior (DUN DUN DUN) was, but he attacked Qui-Gon so viciously that the Jedi could hardly fend off the blows.
This warrior (DUN DUN DUN) was strange and evil-looking. Shaped like a Human, his face was red with black scars everywhere around it. Short, pointed horns had grown out of his head.
Qui-Gon looked as if he was in trouble, but I was sad to realize that there was no way I could help.
But wait! Qui-Gon yelled, "Go! Tell the others to take off!" That I could do.
I rose from the sand and started to run. Right up the boarding ramp and into the Nubian's hatch, which was just as sleek as ever. Padme and a man in a captain's uniform were inside. I blurted out what was going on and what Qui-Gon had said.
The man scowled at me. "Who are you?"
"He's a friend," Padme said quickly.
They hurried toward the flight deck. I stayed near the hatch and watched the battle outside. Not that I could see much. Just the cloud of dust and the brilliant flashes of the lightsabers.
As terrifying as it was, it also gave me a moment to wonder. I'd heard from the spacers who passed through Mos Espa that the Jedi were the most powerful warriors in the galaxy. But that thing in the dark cloak (DUN DUN DUN) seemed at least as strong as Qui-Gon. What could it possibly be?
With a slight jolt, the Naboo starship lifted off the ground. For a second I thought they were going to take off without Qui-Gon!
However, the ship only rose a few meters and then started to move...straight toward the battle.
The ship turned and the ramp remained open. Just then I understood the plan--they were going to pick him up! I thought something like that would happen. Such a nice person didn't deserve to be damned, and they knew it. I could only hope they could do it without picking up the dark warrior (DUN DUN DUN), too.
We were higher now. Maybe a half-dozen meters from the ground. Suddenly, Qui-Gon appeared out of the cloud of chaos below us! He'd jumped onto the ramp!
But an instant later, the dark warrior (DUN DUN DUN) appeared on the ramp, too!
Qui-Gon swung his lightsaber as hard as he could at his attacker.
CRACK! The whole ship shook from the impact.
I watched in amazement as the dark warrior (DUN DUN DUN) fell to the ground. He landed on his feet and glared up at us with the most evil yellow eyes I've ever seen. Just the sight of them made me shiver.
The hatch snapped shut. I barely had time to grab a handhold before the ship rocketed upward.
I caught my breath and watched the sky change. Below us, Mos Espa was no larger than a sandbox and getting smaller all the time.
Then the sky turned from blue to black and I was staring down at a bare, sand-colored planet. Beyond it glowed Tatooine's familiar twin suns. Everywhere else, the sky was awash with sparkling stars.
For the first time in my life, I was in space.
I could have stayed at this window writing more about our trip, but I'm worried about Qui-Gon. I've gotta go.
And I'll get to meet that Obi-Wan person very soon...