Padme Amidala And The I-Saved-A-Planet

Because it was so fun making Anakin's, I decided to do this all over again. It's Padme Amidala's perspective of "The Phantom Menace." Enjoy!

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3. Blockade Of Naboo

My first real crisis is here. And it is only here I can admit this: I don't know what to do.

The situation is clear: the people of Naboo are in mortal peril. The leaders of the Trade Federation (Nute Gunray, cough, cough) have surrounded us with oribiting ships, preventing any supplies from going in or out. Our thriving trade business has been cut off.

Food is scarce. Underneath the eerie quiet in the streets, I sense panic.

I believe they are making an example of us. They pay no attention to the law. And while the Senate talks and talks, we are caught helpless.

And while the situation is clear, the reasons for it are not. Why Naboo? That's what I don't understand. Why was the Trade Federation so confident that the Senate would not stop them?

Can it be because a young, recently-elected Queen would not have the strength or cunning to resist them?

Even though I listen to advice, I listen to my instincts most of all. The best way to figure things out are to puzzle them with myself. So my closest advisor is this journal. It fits in a pouch under my clothes. I don't go anywhere without it.

I've been patient during the blockade. I've listened to my counsel of governors, who all advise me to wait. Palpatine, my--no, our Senator is pleading our case with the Senate. He told me the same.

But I've run out of patience. For close to a month I've waited while the Senate has debated. I am no longer willing to wait.

Just a few days ago, I contacted Valorum, Supreme Chancellor of the Senate. I told him that I am holding him perfectly responsible for the sufferings of my people. Every day he delays, he takes bread from the mouths of the starving children on Naboo.

I must say, Valorum turned pale. I could tell from his hologram that I'd shocked him. Fine by me. I'd meant to.

At least he did something. At this very moment, Jedi ambassadors are meeting with the Federation's viceroy, Nute Gunray. That foul Neimodian deserves to be taught a lesson. When the Chancellor calls on the Jedi, he means business. The Federation should crumple like dry leaves.

But I should have heard by now. It's time to learn what progress has been made.

***

For official communications, I always put on my ceremonial robes and powder my face dead while I paint my lips red and add the red scar of remembrance that splits my lip. It is a Naboo tradition that marks a time of suffering before the Great Time of Peace.

The official trappings are not just a mark of respect to my predecessors. They're a shortcut to instant authorities. When you're as young as I am, you use everything you've got.

Here on Naboo, we elect our rulers democratically. At first, when I announced my intentions to run, people scoffed at me. Who is this girl, they said, the daughter of humble farmers? Why should we put our fate in her hands? Even if King Veruna is corrupt, should we really trust a child to rule?

They ignored the fact that from an early age, I had been trained by the best teachers on Naboo. And that I served on a lower political position for 2 years prior. And that I loved Naboo with every cell in my body.

Soon, they could not ignore these facts anymore. As I traveled the cities and towns of Naboo, speaking and listening, the people gave me something extraordinary: they trusted me. They began to brag about my age instead of mocking it. King Veruna was ousted after his first term, and I was elected by an overwhelming majority of the people.

I asked for their faith, and I have it. I can't let my people down.

I decided to conduct the communication to Nute Gunray from my throne room.

It was the first time I'd directly contacted Nute Gunray since the start of the blockade. My strategy was to infuriate him by treating him as though he wasn't important.

Nute appeared on the view screen. I can't say I find the Neimodians a handsome race. Their skin is a dull greenish color that absorbs no light. Their eyes are an alarming red, but even a Neimodian wouldn't call Nute handsome.

"Again you come before us, your Highness?" he asked. "The Federation is pleased."

Pleased? What did he take me for? A fool? It wasn't hard to sense his contempt. It made me furious.

Wait, I told myself. One thing I've learned is not to let my anger bother me. I firmly told him his trade boycott had come to an end.

His smug smile didn't falter. He said he was unaware of such failure.

I shot back that I was perfectly aware that the Chancellor's ambassadors were there. Nute had been commanded to reach a settlement.

To my surprise, Nute didn't budge. "We know nothing of any ambassadors."

I took a beat to study him. Of course he was lying. He must be. Jedi do not fail.

I told him to beware. The Federation had gone too far this time.

He replied that he would never do anything without the approval of the Senate, and that I assumed too often. But something rang false in his words. I felt as though I were in a mist, and couldn't see ahead. But one thing I was sure of: the Senate would never approve the actions of the Trade Federation. I had to depend on that.

There was nothing to be gained by listening to Gunray's lies, so I cut the communications short and turned to my advisors.

Govenor Sio Bibble, who had been there with me, looked nervous. He thought Nute seemed unconcerned about the ambassadors...which must mean Nute had something dirty up his sleeve.

I half-listened to Bibble. I was already one step ahead of him. I am usually a step ahead of Bibble, but I still value his opinion. He's someone I can trust.

It wasn't always that way. Bibble had been one of my rivals before I ran for ruler of Naboo. He dismissed me, at first. He was one of the people who said he thought I was too young.

But Bibble's opinion has transformed from casual dismissal to cautious respect to genuine loyalty. I feel the same for him. Like me, he would risk anything for Naboo.

I didn't want Bibble to know I was just as worried as he was. When the Queen worries, rumors get started, and people's faith is shaken. I gave an order to reach Senator Palpatine.

I was relieved when Senator Palpatine's kindly face appeared on the view screen. Quickly, I told him there was no sign of the ambassadors.

Palpatine's welcome changed to a frown. He was mystified. "How is that possible? I have received word from the Chancellor that the Jedi had already arrived."

Then suddenly, the hologram began to waver. I could only catch: "Must...get...negotiate...immediately."

"What's happened?" I asked.

Bibble said our communications were jammed. "That could only mean one thing--invasion!"

I could hardly keep my frustration in check. He was overreacting. He had to be.

Captain Panaka agreed with me. "The Senate would revoke their trade franchise, and it would be finished." Neimodians are more interested in trade than war. So why are they risking so much?

I made a decision. The only thing we could do was delay. We had to wait for the Senate to act. We must continue to negotiate.

Panaka was grave. Bibble was nervous. He pointed out that without communications or ambassadors, communications would be difficult. That's why I like him. I can count on him to state the obvious, the moment I don't want to hear it.

I knew Bibble had a point. Why should we negotiate, when the Federation showed only comtempt for the law? And Panaka was right when he said an invasion could be disastrous for Naboo. We were a peaceful people, and our precautions for any attacks would be fruitless against the Federation's droid armies.

"I will not condone a course of action that will lead us to war," I said finally. What does condone mean, anyway? Oh well. Naboo has thrived and prospered during the Great Time of Peace. Maintaining that peace is an obligation that has been passed down from ruler to ruler for generations. I will never let anything screw that. The consequences for my people would be unspeakable.

I left my throne room and went to my private chambers. I stood looking over the city of Theed. My city.

I have a reputation for wisdom, and it's been hardened. My secret is simple. You learn the most by silence. If you stay silent, if you watch instead of act, others will reveal the truth. Even liars end up revealing more than they want to.

I leaned my forehead to the cool window. Below, the great waterfalls of Theed sparkled. Trees and plants surrounded the square in a thousand shades of living green. My planet is a jewel. From space, it looks like an oversized emerald. It is a world I love. I would die before seeing the people I love hurt and my world destroyed.

But am I choosing the right way to protect it?

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