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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7. Meeting Anakin

We ducked through the doorway and found ourselves in a dusty, crowded shop. Scrap metal, circuits, speeder parts, droid parts, control panels, compressors, and tools crammed every shelf and spilled onto the floor.

Suddenly, a fat little creature with buzzing wings flew at us. He demanded something in a grating language I didn't understand.

Qui-Gon told him that he needed parts for a J-type 327 Nubian. At the prospect of a sale, the blue creature became polite and offered any assistance he could.

He called out harshly in his strange language, and a boy appeared. The boy was slight and dressed in rough garments. He also looked like he could use a bath. But his piercing dark eyes beamed a fierce curiosity, giving him a look of intelligence.

Qui-Gon and the shop owner talked for a moment. Then the blue creature took Qui-Gon and Artoo out back to look at parts. I was left in the store with the boy and Jar Jar.

I wandered around, looking at the goods. I couldn't imagine what anyone would want with such junk. The boy sat on the counter. He took out a rag and began to clean a metal object. I saw that he was sneaking glances at me every opportunity. Perhaps the blue creature had told him to watch out for shoplifting. His stare was unnerving, more like a man's than a boy's.

"Are you an angel?" he asked suddenly.

I turned, surprised, and asked him what he meant.

"An angel," he repeated. "Deep-space pilots talk about them. They live on the moons of Iago, I think. They're the most beautiful creatures in the universe."

Beautiful? I spend so much time trying to look dignified. I don't think too much about beauty. To tell you the truth, people usually refer to me as beautiful when I am dressed as Queen Amidala. And you can never take a compliment seriously if you're a queen. Everyone flatters you. Everyone wants something. Only a fool would listen.

But I have to admit that I was pleased by the compliment of this funny boy.

He told me he listened to the talk around him. He said that space pilots, merchants, and traders always came by the shop. He always kept his ears open.

"And someday," he said with great conviction, "I'm going to fly out of this place."

He seemed very young to fly. I asked him if he was a pilot.

He told me he had been a pilot his whole life. I tried to hide my smile. I wanted to tease him, to ask if he piloted a speeder when he was a baby, but he was serious. I would hurt his feelings, I thought. So I asked him how long he'd lived on Tatooine.

He had lived here since he was three years old. He and his mother had been sold to Watto, the blue creature.

I was so surprised that I almost blurted out the question. "You're a slave?"

And I hurt his feelings, after all.

"I'm a person," he snarled, "and my name is Anakin."

What a strange place Tatooine is. Farmers that cultivate water. Pirates and thieves. And boys who are slaves.

Behind me, Jar Jar accidentally activated a droid. It lurched about, knocking items off shelves. Then it slammed straight into a pile of parts, which clattered to the floor. Anakin called out to Jar Jar to hit the droid's nose.

Jar Jar did, but looked so scared and comical that Anakin and I burst out laughing. The sound of it was strange to me. It has been so long since I'd laughed.

Qui-Gon strode back into the shop and beckoned to me. I hurried after him.

"Did he have the parts we need?" I asked anxiously.

Qui-Gon nodded as he withdrew his comlink. "And the Toydarian is charging a fortune for it."

He raised Obi-Wan on the comlink. Was there anything on board we could sell or trade? I could have told him the answer. Only my wardrobe, which would be useless. I never kept anything of real value on the transport. We would load what we needed for travel and nothing more. But of course we didn't have time to think of such things when we left Naboo.

Another thing I should have seen coming. Another preparation I didn't make.

Qui-Gon slipped the comlink back in his pocket. He must have seen the worry in my eyes.

"I'm sure another solution will present itself," he replied matter-of-factly. "We will see."

I wish I had his patience. Now we're stuck on Tatooine. No doubt the Trade Federation has sent troops to track me down. Every second we are here puts us in danger, and Naboo remains in chains.

We've got to find a way. I must get to Coruscant, and soon.

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