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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6. Everything New And Strange

Now that I am Padme, the Queen can command me to complete tasks. I told Sabe she must do this, or it would look suspicious. But does Sabe get just a little pleasure from telling me to clean an astromech droid?

Maybe. She's only human. Actually, once I began, I didn't mind the task. I like working with my hands. It takes my mind off the impatience. And after all, this droid just saved my life.

Its number is R2-D2. According to Captain Panaka, it stayed outside on the ship's hull, working to fix the deflector shield under heavy fire. I cleaned off the soot and residue, then went to work with a polisher. The R2 unit hummed under my hands.

"You deserve a good buffing," I told him. "Good work."

He beeped happily at me.

Suddenly, we both heard a loud "Hidoe!" The noise scared us, and we both jumped.

It was the Gungan that accompanied the Jedi. He's the first Gungan I've seen up close. It is so strange that we share a world. I suppse since the Gungans are swamp dwellers they need amphibian features to survive. The Gungan has a billed mouth like a duck and long, drooping ears. He also has a long tongue, like a chameleon.

"Whosen are yousen?" he asked.

I looked up. "I'm Padme."

"Mesa Jar Jar Binks," he replied.

"You're a Gungan, aren't you?" I inquired.

Jar Jar nodded and handed me the oilcan. "Wesa almost to Tatooine planet." He leaned closer. His hooded eyes were sympathetic and sorrowful. "Mesa berry skeered."

I was taken aback. We were taught to think of Gungans as barbarians. But this one was as gentle as a child. I patted his cool, rubbery hand. "I'm sure everything will be all right."

"Mesa notso," he said with a sigh.

I hid my smile. Although we share a world, the Naboo and Gungans do not mix. Most Naboo think the Gungan race is beneath them. So it interested me to be face-to-face with one.

If I met a Gungan as Queen, I may have drawn my most imposing manner around me. But as Padme, I was charmed.

I can't help it. I like him.

***

They left without me! I should have foreseen this. Why should they alert a handmaiden when they were about to leave? I had to run to fetch Captain Panaka and have him take me to them.

We caught up to them a short distance from the ship. Panaka told them the Queen personally wished that I could come along. I could see that Qui-Gon was annoyed, but he nodded. I can be good cover for him. With Jar Jar, Artoo, and me, he won't look threatening.

Score! Now let's go holler our yap over the...never mind.

The planet of Tatooine is totally unlike Naboo. My planet is full of green vegetation and flowers; Tatooine had none to speak of. Our rivers and streams run clear and sweet, tumbling into waterfalls as delicate as lace. Tatooine has no rivers, only rocks.

Tatooine is dust. Dust, and blinding heat from the twin suns overhead. The rocks form deep canyons, which rise around you and sometimes block the sky.

Who would choose such a planet to live on?

I got my answer when we passed into Mos Espa. Criminals and renegades. Strange creatures from all over the galaxy sat in cafes lining the streets, gambling and shouting. The noise, combined with the heat, made me feel dazed. The streets were narrow and crammed with braying banthas and other various life-forms. None of which, by extension, I should wish to get to know any better.

Jar Jar was terrified. He stuck close to Qui-Gon, practically walking on his heels. I was nervous myself, but I was also interested. I haven't seen many worlds besides me own. This one is so different from Naboo. Noisy, dusty, dangerous--it is all of those things. But it is also crammed with life.

Qui-Gon told me the planet is controlled by Jabba the Hutt, probably one of the nastiest creatures in the galaxy. The deserts are notorious for scavengers, mostly Jawas. The permnanent dwellers are mostly moisture farmers. They are the ones with a hard life, because they are honest.

"The few spaceports like this one are full of people who don't want to be found," he observed.

"Like us," I pointed out.

Qui-Gon gave me a fleeting look of respect. "I suppose." Then his eyes returned to sweeping the street. He's a man who gives off an aura of deep calm. Yet he is the most alert presence I've ever experienced. I feel safe with him.

Qui-Gon pointed to a smaller, more disreputable shop.

I bit my lip to stop myself from rapping out, "No." Amidala would have argued with him. But Padme lets the small things go.

This isn't the first time it's occurred to me that Padme is sometimes smarter than the Queen.

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