That night, in his slave quarters, Anakin formulated a plan. It was a dangerous plan, to be sure; if it didn't work, Anakin's cover would be blown. But when Tela Allish came in to check on the slaves, Anakin was already concentrating intently on the Force.
Gathering up all his Force powers, Anakin waved a hand in the overseer's direction. "You will unlock my chains and leave these quarters without your keys."
Tela Allish paused and began walking toward Anakin. The padawan cringed, feeling certain that his plan had not worked.
"I will unlock your chains and leave these quarters without my keys," Allish said, bending down to undo Anakin's chains.
Anakin blew out a sigh of relief when Allish left, dropping his ring of keys behind him. Now he could put his plan into action.
Cautiously, he crept out the door, making sure not to forget the keys. During his week as a slave, Anakin knew the place pretty well. His first stop was the room where the slaves' belongings were kept.
Once at the door, Anakin tried the first key. It didn't work. He tried the second key, and again the door remained obstinately shut. When he had tried all of the keys, the door was still not open.
Anakin was puzzled. He knew that the ring of keys contained all of the keys to the house. How could there not be a key to this particular room?
There was a small transparisteel window near the top of the door, and Anakin was just tall enough to peer inside. He saw nothing at first. Then, he thought he saw something move.
It must be my imagination, Anakin thought. There can't be anyone in there!
The shadow moved again, and this time Anakin could make out a pair of eyes turning towards him. The eyes widened when they caught sight of him.
Then they disappeared, and a moment later the door slowly swung open.
Anakin cautiously stepped inside, hoping this was not a trap.
A light flickered on, revealing the young Twi'lek slave from earlier. She held a halo lamp in one hand, and she jumped back when she saw Anakin.
"It's okay," Anakin soothed. "I'm not going to hurt you."
The girl nodded. "My name is Mand'ii," she whispered.
"What do you need?" Mand'ii asked him.
"I need the slave collar that used to be around my neck."
The Twi'lek looked puzzled. "Why would you need that?"
"Can I trust you?" Anakin whispered. Mand'ii nodded.
"I'm on a secret mission, to break up this ring of slaves," the padawan explained. "My slave collar contains a tiny camera, with footage showing evidence of this illegal operation. If I were to bring it back to the Galactic Senate, we might be able to break up the Nikstara gang."
Mand'ii's eyes widened. "I might be able to help you," she said. "I know where your slave collar is."