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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5. Captured (and freed)

I am now aboard the Queen's transport ship. How I got here is still incredible to me.

But let me start from the beginning.

The battle droids escorted us to the throne room, where Viceroy Nute Gunray awaited. With him were Sio Bibble, Captain Panaka, and 4 of my guards. Gunray's sidekick, Rune Haako, stood beside him.

I told Sabe what would come. I could guess everything Nute would say. He was not clever. He went by the book. He would resort to threats.

"I brought you here for a purpose, Queen Amidala," he said.

"I was not brought," Sabe replied coldly. "FYI, this is my throne room. I do not recognize your authority here, Nute Gunray."

Score 1 for Sabe! I ducked my head down so that Nute couldn't see the satisfaction in my eyes.

Nute looked furious. He flourished a paper and told Sabe she had to sign a treaty she had to sign a treaty to justify the Federation's occupation here.

Sabe told him she would not cooperate.

Nute seemed unconcerned. "I think you will when you see what we have in store for your people, your Highness." He drew nearer, to which his dull green face was closer to hers. Sabe didn't flinch. "I hear that the Queen is compassionate as well as wise. She does not like to see suffering."

Groan. It's already awkward enough that he calls her the Queen while talking to who he thinks is the Queen.

"Do what you will. I will never surrender!" Sabe practically spat out the words.

Good. Her tone is just as contemptuous as mine would be.

Nute turned away, faking boredom. He waved a hand at the droids and said, "Take them to Camp 4."

We were forced from the palace into the plaza. Usually, it's bustling at this time of day. People taking in the air, fruit sellers, merchants. They were in camps now, and the stands were replaced by tanks and the pedestrians by battle droids. The fury in my chest multiplied and rose until I could feel a bitter taste in my mouth.

We marched past the tanks, toward the side of the plaza. The silence of the city pressed against my ears. I could hear the humming of tanks, the buzz of STAP fighters overhead. The sounds of an occupied city.

Within me, sorrow and frustration builds, mixed with guilt. Have I been naive?

I tell myself that blame is only holding me back. And in the end, it doesn't matter. It is my fault. I am the Queen.

I make this vow here. We will never be unprepared again.

We turned off the plaza and into the next street. Suddenly, out of nowhere, two Jedi appeared. One of them was powerfully built, with a rugged face and piercing blue eyes. The other man was younger and just as thin. Upon landing, they drew two lightsabers from beneath their robes. They cut down the battle droids as if they were carving dinner.

Five droids left. The powerful man lifted a hand, and two droids stumbled backward as if pulled away by an invisible hand. Obi-Wan beheaded the last two.

This was all done in the space of two heartbeats.

A Gungan was behind them. He looked just as shocked at their feat.

The tall man introduced himself as Qui-Gon Jinn, and the younger one as Obi-Wan Kenobi. I'd already guessed who they were--the Jedi ambassadors.

It was quickly decided that someone must alert the Senate. First, we had to find transport. Battle droids were everywhere, so we took a route of twisting back alleys.

I looked over. There were at least 50 battle droids, but Qui-Gon said it wouldn't be a problem.

Captain Panaka threw him a look, something between respect and disbelief. I had heard of Jedi, of course, but I'd never actually met one. Qui-Gon's calmness in the face of battle sent a tinge of hope through me.

Unless he was crazy, of course.

I had expected the Jedi to leave Naboo alone to contact the Chancellor. But to my surprise, Qui-Gon told the Queen that she should come with him. Of course, Sabe refused.

"They will kill you if you stay," Qui-Gon said. I could see in his eyes that he was not trying to scare the Queen, but merely stating something he knew as a fact.

"They wouldn't dare!" Sio Bibble protested.

"They need her to sign a treaty to make this invasion legal," Captain Panaka added. "They can't afford to kill her."

I heard the opinion of my advisors, but I kept my eyes on Qui-Gon. I registered what they said, but he remained focused on the Queen. "There is something behind all this, your Highness. I am troubled by the illogic of their invasion."

So am I, I thought.

"My feelings tell me that they will destroy you," said Qui-Gon.

I was taken aback. Sabe hesitated.

Sio Bibble told the Queen she must go. Captain Panaka insisted it was too dangerous. Sabe turned to her handmaidens. Her gaze rested on me. Command me, she pleaded.

Captain Panaka was brave and wise. I often depended on his advice. But the Jedi's words rang true.

If I left, it would look like I was running away. The Federation could use that. They'd say that I was a coward who abandoned my people for the sake of my own safety.

But if I stayed, what could I do? Fight a hopeless battle against great odds?

No. I will have to leave behind everyone I love. I will have to travel far, even as they are herded into camps like animals. My friends, my parents...

I will have to find a way to bear that pain.

I met Sabe's gaze. "We are brave, your Highness," I said calmly, which meant, Go!

***

Ahead, battle droids guarded the Naboo pilots. We would need one of them to fly the transports. Without concern, Obi-Wan said he would free them.

I signaled Sabe with my eyes, and she chose Eirtae, Rabe, and me to leave with her. Yane and Sache, the youngest in my group, are to stay on Naboo. I pray they'll be safe with Governor Bibble.

Qui-Gon told us to keep on walking, no matter what. We strode deliberately toward the Queen's transport. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan headed to free the pilots and crew.

I couldn't imagine how we would be able to escape this number of battle droids, but I kept on walking. Heart pounding, eyes front.

Then we were challenged by a battle droid. Qui-Gon politely told the droid he was taking us to Coruscant. The droid refused, saying we were all under arrest. 

didn't get a chance to take a breath. The battle droid was suddenly a heap of metal and parts on the floor. Qui-Gon never broke his stride.

But the other droids were alerted now, and they rushed at him. Qui-Gon's lightsaber was a blur of light and motion. One after another, the droids were dismembered and dismantled. We ran toward the transport as Qui-Gon deflected blaster fire.

Meanwhile, Obi-Wan cleared the droids from the pilots, his saber cutting through them, slashing, attacking. The pilots ran for the ship.

The battle was over before it had begun. Two Jedi against that many droids! I couldn't believe it. And yet I was standing right there.

Alarms began to sound. We managed to board before more droids came pouring into the hangar. We took off amid heavy fire. I just had time to see Sio Bibble being captured by the reinforcements as the transport rose and fired out of the hangar, Rick Olie at the controls.

But we weren't safe yet. There was still the blockade to deal with. We had a spinning, dodging, whirling ride through heavy fire. Stuck in the Queen's quarters, I couldn't monitor what was going on in the cockpit. It was maddening. Once, the power flickered, and I thought we were lost. But apparently one of the droids saved us by reactivating the defense shields.

The ship is on a steady course now. We're outside the Naboo system. I have to stop myself from running to the cockpit and ordering them to take me back. When I close my eyes, I see battle droids bursting into my parents' house. I see tanks in the city of Theed and corpses littering the ground.

But there's no going back. I have to live with this decision. The consequences are mine.

I've recieved intensive training of multiple subjects. And I thought with all that, I was ready to become Queen.

But nothing has prepared me for this.

So I open my eyes. I swallow against the sickness inside. I take that helpless, blinding fury and turn it into resolve. I will defeat them. I will see my enemies surrender.

Next stop: Corsucant. I have to make plans and strategies now, because--

***

I spoke too soon. Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and everyone else up front informed me that our ship has been damaged. We don't have enough fuel to reach Coruscant. We would have to land on a planet called Tatooine for emergency repairs.

Sabe nodded in agreement. I wanted to scream. A delay could cost many lives!

We don't have a choice, they say. Tatooine is apparently our best bet. It is remote, beyond the control of the Trade Federation. But it is instead ruled by the Hutts.

Naturally, Captain Panaka is worried. He thinks that we should find another planet to land on.

Nothing against Qui-Gon. But from now on, I won't trust a Jedi. If a landing party leaves this ship on Tatooine, I'm going with them.

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