Outside, sand and dust are blowing across the streets. I had offered Padme and the others shelter from the raging sandstorm. Yep, I'm that nice. Mom was surprised, but when I told her what was going on she welcomed them to dinner. Apparently they're still looking for the hyperdrive parts they needed.
I introduced her to the others, and in the process I finally learned their names: the older man's name was Qui-Gon Jinn, the frog man's name was Jar Jar Binks, and the astromech droid was R2-D2.
And one amazing thing about Qui-Gon (drum roll) HE'S A JEDI KNIGHT!!! When he bent over I could see his lightsaber under his robe. I knew he wasn't a moisture farmer!
Also, my room is practically a workshop. Isn't that neat? That's where I took Padme as soon as everyone was introduced. I wanted to show her my latest project--a protocol droid to help Mom around the house. I figured she already had plenty of work to do as a slave.
My droid was named C-3PO. He wasn't quite finished, but most of the circuitry and mechanics were done. He had arms, legs, and a head like a Human, but I didn't have the money or the parts for his outer shell. One day I hoped to cover him in gold, chronium plating.
I turned him on, and he introduced himself.
Padme was definitely impressed. "He's perfect."
And the next thing he said?
"I'm not quite sure this floor is completely stable."
I made him and he was completely perfectionist about clean places? The (beep!) Sorry, I caught myself just in time.
Anyway, the little blue dome droid R2-D2 followed us into my room. When he saw C-3PO he began to beep and whistle, and the most memorable quote was said by my protocol droid (drum roll) "I beg your pardon, but what do you mean, naked?"
R2-D2 beeped again. I started to laugh.
"My parts are showing!" C-3PO gasped. "How embarrasing! Am I really naked?"
Padme grinned. I reassured him that he was only "sort of" naked and that I'd fix that soon.
I wanted to show Padme the Podracer I was building, but it was outside in the storm, covered by a tarp. We went back into the main room instead.
We started to eat and talk. Padme asked why, if we were slaves, we didn't go to a planet where we could be free.
This is the third time I've had to answer that.
I told her about the transmitters that were hidden in our bodies and how we could be blown up if we tried to escape.
"How wude!" said Jar Jar, horrified. You are so clueless, frog man.
Padme looked shocked. Obviously she's never been anywhere like here. Where in the galaxy had she come from?
No one spoke. I figured Padme was feeling sorry for Mom and me. And I don't like anyone feeling sorry for me.
So I tried to change the subject.
It worked. I started talking about Podracing and how I was the only human on Tatooine who could do it.
I could tell that Mom thought I was bragging, but I was just stating a well-known fact.
Qui-Gon said that they also had Podraces on Malastare. Now that's a surprise, well maybe not.
And then he said something shocking:
"You must have Jedi reflexes if you can race Pods."
I knew I was fast. But here was a real live Jedi Knight hinting that I might be one of his kind! All the sudden I felt urged to tell him that I knew his secret.
But I hesitated. After all, he was dressed like a farmer. What if he didn't want anyone to know? I took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. I wasn't sure if I should say this, but I had to know.
"Qui-Gon, you must know what you're talking about, because you are a Jedi."
My mother gasped. The others around the table went silent.
Qui-Gon was quiet for a moment. Then he raised an eyebrow and asked why I thought that.
"I saw your laser sword," I answered. "Only Jedi carry that kind of weapon."
"Maybe I killed a Jedi and took it from him," Qui-Gon answered.
I shook my head and said that couldn't be true. Everyone knew that Jedi Knights couldn't be killed.
Qui-Gon sighed. "I wish that were so."
Now I'm eager to tell him about my dream of becoming a Jedi and freeing all the slaves on Tatooine. Surely he, a Jedi Knight, would understand. I asked him if maybe that was why he'd come to our planet. Qui-Gon sadly shook his head. And then he said in fact they hadn't meant to come at all.
For a moment I felt disappointed...until Qui-Gon explained that they were on their way to Coruscant.
Of all the places in the galaxy I wanted to visit, Coruscant was at the top of my list. From what I'd heard from space pirates and deep-space pilots, it sounded like the exact opposite of Tatooine. Tatooine is a forgotten wasteland at the edge of the galaxy; Coruscant was the center of the galaxy. Tatooine is a near-empty desert; Coruscant is covered by an unending multileveled city. It was the capital of the Galactic Republic, and the home of the Jedi.
Qui-Gon explained that they were on a secret mission. But their ship was damaged and they had to land on Tatooine while they searched for the parts. They would stay only as long as it took to repair the ship. But they didn't have the money. They had plenty of Republic credits. But those were useless to Watto.
And suddenly, I got such a great idea, it almost blew my pants off!
It's the Boonta Eve Classic Podrace. It's only two days away, and I knew I could win it this time. If Qui-Gon would enter me in the race, the prize money would pay for the parts they needed--and more!
Mom got upset because she hated it when I raced Pods. And Qui-Gon and Padme both agreed they would find another way to get the money--one where there was no need to risk my life.
But I wouldn't give up that easily. I remembered one of Mom's wisest quotes ever: "The biggest problem in the universe is that no one helps each other." And I pointed that out to her.
Mom started to shake her head, then stopped. Our eyes locked. Without words, just using thoughts, I tried to tell her how important this was to me. That somehow, deep inside, I knew I had to race.
And then the most amazing thing happened.
Mom turned to Padme and Qui-Gon and said (drum roll) "Anakin's right. I may not like it, but it's the only way. He can help you. He was meant to help you."
Have I ever told you how much I like my mom?