Obi-Wan awoke as the shorter of the two men, transporting him, roughly
kicked his shoulder, "We're here kid; it's time to go see Rodnee."
Xanatos hadn't put a Force collar on Obi-Wan, which permitted him continued
access to the force. He guessed that Xanatos had assumed that he was too
weak to try to escape. Obi-Wan was not about to resign himself to a life
of slavery. He would rather die trying to escape than to willingly allow
Xanatos to sell him as a slave.
The man roughly jerked Obi-Wan to his feet and yanked him toward the open
hatch. He had no time to come up with a plan; he would just have to
improvise. Calling on the Force, Obi-Wan let it's waves surround and
strengthen his weakened body to take advantage of any mistakes that would
allow him to escape. With a little luck, he might manage to get away from
the two men and try to contact the Jedi Temple.
"Come on kid, we have to drop you off, and get back to our job," the man
told him. Only a few inches taller than Obi-Wan, the man forcefully led
the teenager down the ramp.
Obi-Wan had gathered the Force the entire time, as he reached the foot of
the ramp he commented, "I can walk, you don't have to drag me like a baby."
"Shut up kid," the man answered, pushing Obi-Wan forward, causing him to
fall to the ground. He landed hard on his hands and knees, groaning as his
knee exploded with excruciating pain. Turning to face the short man, Obi-
Wan force pushed him, sending the man backward into the side of the
freighter. As quick as his injured body would tolerate, Obi-Wan got up and
ran. He couldn't run very fast, but he was putting some distance between
himself and the short man.
He saw a closet door near by and quickly slipped inside the small dark
area, hoping that no one had seen him hide. He reached out to the Force to
scan the area for the shorter man, and allowed relief to flow through his
entire body like a raging flood, when he did not sense him. Obi-Wan sat
down on a box in the storage closet and tried to send healing waves through
the Force to his battered body. He was not yet trained in healing
techniques and was only able to lessen his pain a small amount. He was
however, able to use the Force to restore the energy that he had used to
get away from the short man. He would need all the strength he could
gather to make it, either to the security office or to try to find a
security officer, before Xanatos' men could find him.
Finally, after waiting in the closet for twenty minutes, Obi-Wan slowly
stood up. Trying to keep most of his weight on his left leg, he limped to
the closed door and used the Force to determine if either of the two men
was near by. He could sense no immediate danger outside of the door. He
slowly stepped out of the storage closet relying on the Force to warn him
of danger. As he walked out of the closet, he heard someone yell at him
and turned to see a janitor at the far end of the hangar.
"What do you think you're doing? You can't use the closet," the old man
yelled running toward Obi-Wan. Taking advantage of the man's slow pace, the
teenager ran away from the custodian, as fast as he could. He called on
the Force to decrease the pain that seared through his knee as he ran.
Qui-Gon hurried through the hangar looking for any sign of his Padawan. He
had decided to take Siri with him to the planet I Balliap. The young
telepath had informed him that the old freighter belonging to the men who
took Obi-Wan, was not as fast as his transport, and if he hurried, he could
get there in time. So he brought the Padawan with him, not wanting any
"Hey, you looking for Rodnee?" a brusque voice asked from the behind them.
Qui-Gon turned around and looked at the Rodian who leaned against a wall.
He wore brown clothing that seemed in desperate need of a cleaning droid.
He had two blasters hanging from either side of his utility belt. "Yes, I
am," Qui-Gon replied. While on the way to the planet, he had changed into
civilian type clothing, to avoid recognition as a Jedi. Siri, however,
still wore her Jedi tunics.
"You're late," The Rodian told him, taking a step closer to Siri. "So your
boss really did find a Jedi for me," Rodnee said looking the young girl up
and down. "I thought the kid was a boy."
"They haven't brought Obi-Wan to the hangar yet," Qui-Gon thought,
realizing that his chances of saving his Padawan had just improved.
"Female or male, does it really matter?" Qui-Gon asked, glancing over his
shoulder, trying to appear nervous about the situation. The young telepath
had told him the two men Xanatos had spoken with had put Obi-Wan in the
freighter, but they didn't seem convinced that taking the boy with them was
a good idea. Qui-Gon had assumed they would act nervous while dropping off
Obi-Wan, so he tried to simulate an outward show of apprehension.
"No," the man agreed and started walking around Siri like a wild animal
studying its prey. "She's in good shape, pretty; she'll fetch a good
price." The man grabbed hold of her blonde hair and pulled her closer to
him. While the young Padawan held the man's attention, Qui-Gon reached out
and touched Rodnee's shoulder, giving him a sleep suggestion. The man
slumped backward into Qui-Gon's arms. The Jedi Master then, dragged the
man's unconscious body to a dark corner and left him lying on the floor
behind a parked speeder.
Siri smiled, "You're going to pretend you're Rodnee aren't you?"
Qui-Gon nodded, looking back and forth through the hangar. He wondered
what could have happened to cause the tardiness of the two men with Obi-
Wan. He hoped that his Padawan had not tried anything foolish.
Obi-Wan hurried toward where he thought the security section was located.
The hangar was crowded with beings from just about every species that he
had ever seen, or heard of. He saw Wookiees, Whiphids, an Aqualish,
Ithorians, Twi'leks, Gamorreans, and even some that he didn't recognize.
He had to admit that some of them, like the Shivestian that had just walked
past him and growled, were scary looking. He desperately needed to find a
security officer or someone who could help him.
The hangar where he was currently located was nothing like the one on
Coruscant. The aliens here all looked as if they were scoundrels and
criminals. He wondered if he could find anyone willing to help him.
As he slowed to a walk, Obi-Wan realized that the hangar was larger than he
had originally thought. He was unsure where he was, but he thought that he
would find the security section of the hangar somewhere in the middle of
the building. He was certain, however, that he must have made it to the
center of the building by now.
Suddenly Obi-Wan felt very tired and slowed down even more. He had quickly
depleted the energy that he had received through the Force. The pain in
his knee had returned, making it difficult for him to concentrate on
anything else. He realized that he was also limping more now than before.
"Young man," a female Talz from beside him spoke, at least he thought it
was a female. "Are you ok? You don't look too good?"
"I'm ok," Obi-Wan nodded, trying to catch his breath. He had heard that
despite the Talz' fierce appearance, they were gentle. He was unsure if he
wanted to find out whether or not that was true. "Do you know where the
security station is located?"
"Security? What happened to you?" the tall white furred being inquired,
looking curiously down at the boy.
"Can you please just tell me where it's located?" Obi-Wan implored.
"Kid, you're not in the republic," The Talz told him, "There are no
security stations. The local authorities are about fifteen blocks to the
East, but this is no place for you to travel by yourself. Where are your
"I am a Je-" before he could finish his sentence, Obi-Wan felt a sudden
warning of danger through the Force. Seconds later, he felt the hard
barrel of a blaster as it was jabbed painfully into his back.
"I'm in charge of the boy's care," a curt and familiar sounding voice said
from behind. "Don't worry; I'll take him to the local authorities after I
take him to the healers. Thank you for your kindness, but the boy, will be
fine." Obi-Wan looked into the Talz' eyes, wishing that there was some way
to let her know that the man was lying, and he did need help.
The female looked at him, then up at the man behind him, and nodded before
she walked away. Obi-Wan felt as if someone had ripped his last shred of
hope out of his chest and tossed it away, like an unwanted toy. "You're a
very stupid kid," the man growled, jabbing the barrel of the gun violently
into the boy's back, knowing that he was causing a bruise to form on Obi-
When the woman was far enough away that they couldn't see her any longer,
the man spun Obi-Wan around, and threw him against the nearby wall. He put
his large hands around the boy's throat and began to squeeze. A bruise was
already forming on the right side of the man's face, from when Obi-Wan
Force pushed him into the side of the freighter. The man tightened his
hold on the boy's throat and began to apply pressure, cutting off the boy's
oxygen. Obi-Wan struggled to get away from the man, but he was just too
weak. His throat felt like it was on fire and he knew that there was no
way that he could get out of this mess without help.
"Tell me Jedi, why I shouldn't finish you off right now?" the man demanded,
lifting the boy off the ground making it more difficult for him to breathe.
Obi-Wan was unable to think clearly enough to come up with an answer, even
if he could have spoke, taking into consideration that his feet dangled
centimeters above the ground. His vision blurred and white dots began to
dance around the man's face.
"Let him go," shouted the stout man with the scar. "I don't want to be
involved in the murder of a Jedi. Let's go find this Rodnee person and get
out of here. The sooner we get this over with, the sooner we can make our
other delivery and collect our credits."
The shorter man released his hold on Obi-Wan. The teenager dropped to his
knees gasping for breath. He thought he was definitely going to become one
with the Force. He was not sure if he should be glad or disappointed his
death was prevented. How could he let them take him to sell him as a
, Cruelly pinning the boy's arms behind his back, the shorter of the two
men pulled Obi-Wan to his feet, as he continued to struggle to breathe.
His throat hurt, his chest felt as if it was on fire, and he had to blink
his eyes a few times to diminish the white specks that dotted his vision.
He wondered if all these failed attempts on his life were some type of
punishment for leaving the Jedi order to help the Young of Melida/Dann. He
was certain that if it was some kind of punishment, that it was successful.
He would never leave the order again, no matter what the circumstances
"Master Windu," Adi Gallia called, walking toward the Jedi Master
purposefully. "Where's my Padawan? You said that Qui-Gon would bring her
back after his meeting with the witness on the other side of the planet.
It should have taken two hours at the most and its now seven hours later."
"Calm down Adi," Mace began. It seemed he had to calm down several
distraught Masters lately. "Qui-Gon contacted me a couple of hours ago
while you were meditating and told me that he was on his way to I'Balliap.
He said he didn't have time to bring your Padawan back first. Qui-Gon said
that there was a chance that he could get to the planet in time to rescue
Obi-Wan before the men handed him over to the slavers, but he had to hurry.
Qui-Gon will take good care of your Padawan, Adi."
"I know. It's just that Siri is impulsive, and eager to show off her
lightsaber skills in a fight rather than to try to negotiate first. Master
Jinn is not aware of that, and I'm concerned she might get them into
trouble. Qui-Gon can't speak with her through a training bond to tell her
to not to fight. I think that perhaps you should send Siri and me on some
missions together with other Master/Padawan teams so she can see how other
teams work together. If Qui-Gon does get Obi-Wan back, they would make a
perfect example," Adi noted.
"Yes," Mace agreed with a nod of his head. "They were only together for a
short time, but they made a good team. I'm sure that your Padawan would
benefit from their example," Mace agreed. He did not tell her that he
thought it was unlikely that Qui-Gon would get to the planet in time to
save Obi-Wan. It could take years to find one young boy amongst the
hundreds of planets filled with slaves in the galaxy.
Yoda had told Mace that Kenobi's future was clouded. He had come to know
that when Master Yoda described someone's future as clouded; the odds were
that the person's future was either short or plagued by turbulence.
"You don't think he'll find Obi-Wan do you?" Adi stared into the Council
member's dark eyes.
"I hope he does, but I'm not very confident. Even Master Yoda is unsure of
the boy's future," Mace said.
"Master Windu," Adi remarked, "I'm surprised that you would think that.
You must not give up hope. Master Yoda has made mistakes on occasion. Obi-
Wan is a fighter, we must give him some credit."
Mace nodded. His baldhead catching the light from above, making his
forehead, appear to glow. He didn't feel any better about the situation,
as he and Adi walked down the long corridor toward the Council Chambers.
Qui-Gon paced nervously back and forth wondering what could have happened
to them. Various scenarios as to why they were delayed ran through his
mind. Qui-Gon could not find his calm center, as words of the young
telepath echoed through his mind. ".The man with the dark hair said if he
gives you any trouble, kill him," she had told them.
What if Obi-Wan had tried something? He had not fully recovered from his
injuries, and he couldn't handle two armed men. He would be foolish to try
to escape, but Qui-Gon also knew that the boy might feel desperate enough
to try it. That thought was the reason Qui-Gon could not calm down.
Padawan Tachi crouched just behind him, hidden at the back of some large
storage canisters. Qui-Gon knew that he was not setting a good example for
the girl. But he couldn't stop thinking that Obi-Wan could become one with
the Force without realizing that Qui-Gon really did want him as his Padawan
Qui-Gon had had the strangest feeling since he had first taken Obi-Wan as
his apprentice, that he would not see the boy Knighted. He had assumed
that it was because he would die, not Obi-Wan.
If Qui-Gon had not been focusing on his anxieties, he might have sensed
Rodnee beginning to stir across the hall where he lay behind the parked
"Master Qui-Gon," Siri whispered from behind him, "It's Obi-Wan."
Qui-Gon turned around and saw two men practically dragging Obi-Wan toward
him. He could see the pain in the boy's face even though he kept his head
down looking at the floor. As he studied his Padawan, he noticed the boy
seemed to have trouble breathing. He could sense the waves of desperation
and the radiating pain that the boy felt.
Qui-Gon wished he would look up so he could reassure him that everything
was all right, but Obi-Wan continued to stare at the floor even as the men
stopped in front of Qui-Gon and asked, "Are you Rodnee?"
"Yes," Qui-Gon told them, looking at the boy. "You're late." If Obi-Wan
had recognized his voice, the boy gave no indication.
"The brat here decided to give us some trouble," the man with a large scar
on his face said.
"He doesn't look too good. What did you do to him?" Qui-Gon asked trying
not to appear too concerned for the boy.
"Nothing he didn't have coming," the other man sneered.
"I want to see his face; Xanatos said he would have a cut on his face.
I've learned you can't be too careful who you trust."
The shorter man forcefully pulled Obi-Wan's head back by his hair until the
boy looked into Qui-Gon's eyes.
Qui-Gon watched Obi-Wan's eyes widen with recognition, before the boy
quickly hid it. "Very good," he nodded. The man released Obi-Wan's hair,
and the boy's head again slumped toward the floor. He could tell that the
boy no longer felt the same overwhelming desperation that he had before
seeing Qui-Gon. He wished that the training bond that they had shared was
still intact, so he could reassure his Padawan that everything was all
Qui-Gon felt a sudden warning through the Force. Another voice spoke from
behind him, "Yes, it's very good." Glancing over his shoulder to where the
voice came from, Qui-Gon saw Rodnee walking toward him, a blaster aimed
unswervingly at his chest.
"Who are you?" the chubby man with the scar questioned.
"I'm Rodnee, and I'm not leaving here without the slave that I was
promised," The Rodian assured them, "Perhaps I'll take the female also,
where did you hide her?" Rodnee snickered at Qui-Gon while he looked
around for any sign of Siri.
"He says he's Rodnee," the short man snarled, waving his arm at Qui-Gon,
"How do we know you're really him?"
"He's a Jedi. He had a female Jedi kid with him earlier. Xanatos
contacted me and told me that two of his men were going to deliver a Jedi
Padawan to me that I could sell, kill, or do whatever else that I wanted
"That doesn't prove anything," the man with the scar informed him.
"It proves that you would rather anger your employer by handing the boy
over to the Jedi, than to give him to the person that will do what Xanatos
wants done with the boy," Rodnee commented.
"And how do we know you're not the Jedi?" the short man asked.
"Why not ask the Jedi brat which one of us is the Jedi, and which isn't?"
"That's a good idea," the short man agreed and violently jerked the boy's
head up by his hair again. "Is this human a Jedi Knight, kid?" Obi-Wan's
eyes locked onto Qui-Gon's for a moment before he shook his head no, as Qui-
Gon looked back at the boy. "So then the Rodian is a Jedi?" Again, Obi-
Wan shook his head no. Qui-Gon knew that the boy would not tell a lie. He
also knew that the men who still held onto him would not realize that Qui-
Gon was not a Jedi Knight, but was in fact, a Jedi Master.
"You know I'm very sick of you kid," the short man growled pulling Obi-
Wan's hair even tighter; tell me right now who the Jedi is? Or whoever he
is, he will watch you die."
"I'm the Jedi," Siri said coming out of her hiding place behind the
canisters and igniting her purple lightsaber.
Obi-Wan used the distraction to his advantage and elbowed the short man in
the stomach with all the strength he could muster. The man doubled over
and let go of Obi-Wan. As the other man pulled out a blaster and fired at
Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon leaped forward to block the laser bolt from hitting him.
Siri stepped forward and easily deflected the fire that the Rodian sent at
"Obi-Wan are you all right?" Qui-Gon asked, as he blocked two more bolts
that were directed at the boy, and himself.
"Yeah," Obi-Wan replied his voice coming out in a barely audible whisper,
after almost being choked to death by the short man. Qui-Gon glanced
quickly at the boy wondering what had happened to his throat and for the
first time noticed the ugly bruises on his Padawan's neck.
Blaster bolts were deflected back at the two men who had brought Obi-Wan to
the hangar. The two men quickly ran off before the laser fire could hit
them. Rodnee, however, was not easily chased away and continued to fire
relentlessly at the Jedi, taking cover behind the speeder where he hid
Siri and Qui-Gon easily deflected his blaster fire, until the local
authorities began to arrive, and Rodnee finally fled the scene, realizing
that he was terribly out numbered. Qui-Gon disengaged his lightsaber and
hurried to Obi-Wan's side using the Force to determine the extent of the
"You came for me," Obi-Wan whispered.
"Of course, I came for you," Qui-Gon said sending waves of healing force to
the teenager's throat, trying to repair the damage as much as his limited
healing abilities would allow.
"You are my Padawan, are you not?"
The boy's eyes widened in surprise, and Qui-Gon could sense that he wanted
to believe it but he was afraid he would be hurt again. Obi-Wan again
shook his head no, and lowered his head to stare at his feet.
Qui-Gon put a figure underneath his chin and lifted his head up, so that
the boy looked him in the eye. "Obi-Wan, the only reason I told Xanatos
that I didn't want you as my Padawan, was because I knew that he would have
killed you right there on the balcony. I told him that I didn't want you,
only to save your life. I never planned to not take you back as my
apprentice. You are stuck with me, Padawan, as long as you will have me as
your Master," Qui-Gon told him.
Obi-Wan's expressive blue/green eyes once again grew wide at Qui-Gon's
revelation. Obi-Wan instinctively threw his arms around the larger man, who
returned his embrace without hesitation. "Thank you Master," Obi-Wan said
with a soft voice. He was unable to prevent a single tear from streaming
down his dirty cheek.
Qui-Gon smiled slightly at the boy, feeling as if a weight was lifted off
him, after telling the boy that he really did want him. He did not think
that he would get the chance to speak with the boy again, let alone hold
him securely in his arms.
Qui-Gon reluctantly released his apprentice, so that he could explain to
the authorities what had happened before taking Obi-Wan and Siri back to