|Jedi Tales: Change In Balance
Author: padawanjinx PM
An old friend asks for help and Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are sent to an unusual planet past the Outer Rim...please reviewRated: Fiction K - English - Words: 13,866 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 2 - Published: 05-04-00 - id: 23815
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
101 Jedi Tales: Change In Balance
This is only one story in a series I'm writing. There will be more stories along this series in the near future. They are the early adventures of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan(modeled after the JA series).
Disclaimer: I don't own anything in the Star Wars universe(damn it). Mr. George Lucas does(what a genius). I am only borrowing some characters and places, only the plot and character (Ja-De Ali) are mine. Please don't sue and take my talking Obi-Wan stand-up.
Takes place before Phantom Menance.
It was a beautiful day on Coruscant, then again, it always is. The evening sun set the sky aflame with vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. The dull colors of the transports littered the sky, slowly passing by on invisible trade routes. The sun cast an angelic rose hue on the Jedi Gardens, where two Jedi's were in the middle of a heated workout.
One of the battling Jedi's was a tall lean elderly man, and was clearly out doing his counterpart. The victum was a younger man, shorter than the older fighter, and with short hair and a thin braid behind his right ear. Each were skilled warriors and their lightsabers flashed blue and green, electric sizzling between clashes. Defence stratigies were heard, yelled by the older Jedi to the younger one. Each recalling different solutions to the predictiment and then flashes of sabers demonstrating the different techniques.
A shadowy figure watched, leaning against a nearby pillar. A long black robe covered the indiviual from head to toe. No part of their body was exposed to the light. The dueling Jedi's didn't even notice the figure watching them, until one of the Jedi's was knocked off his feet. The younger Jedi retaliated the assult and manuevered the older Jedi into a vulnerable postion, landing him into a heap on the cool ground. The younger Jedi walked over and offered his hand to the fallen elder. The elder Jedi glanced up to see the dark hooded figure, then turned to accept the hand of his charge. He rose and turned to see the figure again, but when he looked back to the spot, the figure was gone. A light sweet floral fragrance floated in the midst, and eventually evaporating into nothing.
The council had recieved a special request of their audience from an unknown source. They agreed to see the indivual who put in the request and remained wary. Their senses jumped to awareness when a hooded figure entered the chambers and searched the room. The long robe swirled around the person's body, every bit hidden amoung the concealing fabric. The hood was removed to expose long dark hair, pulled up tightly in a clip, and the face of a young woman. Her green eyes twinkled as the light shown off her deep navy blue hair, contrasting her soft ivory skin. She scanned over the council members and spotted the object of her quest.
She walked over to Yaddle and smiled, "Don't you remember me old friend? Have I changed that much?"
Yaddle gasped, "Can it be? Changed you have not, in 300 years. Impossible it is"
The doors opened and two Jedi's entered, eyeing the stranger. The older Jedi recogonized the robe around the figure as the spectator from earlier. Both bowed to the council members and watched the stranger as she pulled her robe off and and folded it to use it as a cushion. She sat down on the makeshift pillow and faced Yaddle. Everyone listened in to their conversation.
"Three hundred years? How's it been that long?" the stranger asked, shaking her head.
"More, yes, much more. How can this be?" Yaddle asked, her ears perking up questionally.
"Excuse me, but who are you and what are you doing here?" Mace Windu interrupted, looking at the stranger.
She hurriedly rose to her knees and bowed to the Masters in the room. She shakenly exclaimed, "It's been so long since I was with the Jedi's, I forgot how to properly behave. Please excuse my manners."
Yaddle broke out in giggles, "Never thought to see you calm. Always wild and free-spirited you were."
"As I recall, there was a time or two that I remember a certain person sneaking into the dorms at night after a hot date. Then keeping me up all hours of the night being enlightened on the details." the stranger quipped.
Depa Billaba asked, "What is your name and why did you request to see us?"
"My name is Ja-De Ali, but my friends call me Ali." the stranger identified herself then recalled her sorted past. "Yaddle and I were in training together all those many years ago. I was found by Master Ostra Kampar when I was 2 years old. When he discovered I was force sensitive, he brought me to the temple. I was put in the dorm with some of the younger kids, but unusual circumstances presented themselves and I was placed with the older children. That's where I met Yaddle. We were best friends and room mates. But, she was choosen to be a padawan, I was not. I wanted to be a knight, but when my time had passed to be picked, I decided on persuing another endeavor."
"Find your family you did?" Yaddle asked.
"Sort of," Ali said with a slight smile. "I found out who I am and where I came from, but I never really feel like I'm home. The Temple will always be my home, my sanctuary for when I need guidance. And I think the force brought me back here to the place I feel I most belong."
Mace Windu spoke up, "You want to resume your training?"
Ali shook her head, "Yes I do. I know it seems odd, but I want to resume my training. I've only had about 300 years hiatus."
Yoda confired with the others telepathically and nodded, "No, you will not resume training. Too old you are."
"Master, I have learned that my species lives for several thousand years. I'm still really young, and I have had training before, so I know what to expect." Ali pleaded.
"Too old you are," Yoda said sternly.
Ali sat stunned and motionless, eventually breaking into tears. The council members sensed her distress and pain, causing them to erect barriers to protect themselves.
"My people are dying, I need to be a knight to protect them. PLEASE, help me," Ali's voice quivered.
Yaddle spoke up, " Dying? What is happening to your people?"
Ali cleared her throat and wiped away tears and explained, "Because my people live so long, there isn't a population growth like other civilizations. Children take hundreds of years to mature into adults. A couple can have one child, sometimes two, but it's rare. The first few years of life have to be spent in a safe place. There has to be a peaceful enviroment with plenty of stimulation, physical and mental. My people traveled for centuries searching for the perfect enviroment, and finally settling on a planet that naturally sustained them. When I was found by Master Osrta, I was being transported to a safe haven. They noticed I had developed differently than the other children. There has never been a person of my race that is force sensitive, so they were putting me in hiding. Our ship was attacked, everyone was killed and I was left adrift in space to die."
"You said your people are dying, what can you tell us?" Mace Windu asked.
"Our planet is rich in nutrients, due to our unusual sun, and extremely strong with the force. There is a race that have been coming to harvest what they need, and leaving our world raped and ravaged. We are a peaceful race and we tried to reason with the intruders, but there are many of them, and so few of us. My people can't survive without the planet. They are dying." Ali looked at each member while she explained.
"Then how are you able to survive?" Qui-Gon jumped into the conversation. His interrest was now peaked and he sensed her motives were sincere.
Ali turned and faced Qui-Gon. She sighed, "I guess the midi-chlorians aid in my survival away from home. I don't rely on the planet, so I'm not in danger."
"Where is your planet?" Depa Billaba asked in a soft voice.
"It's several parsects from the the Outer Rim. It took me over two months to travel from there to here."Ali explained.
Obi-Wan looked shocked. He studdered out, "Past the Outer Rim? But there isn't anything out there but cold space. There has been probes sent out for years and none has ever returned, or sent any messages back."
"My people have been afraid of interference from other races. The probes were probably destroyed before they could relay what they found. My people are very secretive." Ali said.
"Help we will, but resume your training, you will not." Yoda said firmly.
Ali bowed her head, "Thank you for your help. My people will owe you a debt of gratitude."
Ali pulled her robe back over her shoulders and a cylinder shaped object rolled out. Everyone knew immediatly what it was and exchanged glances.
"You have a lightsaber? Why?" Mace Windu raised his voice.
"I know I'm not supposed to have one and I relinquished mine to the council when I left, but I had to make one. I had to protect myself and my people. I swear to you that I have never taken a life with it."Ali defended herself though she was vastly outclassed.
Yoda shook his head in dismay,"Swore you did, not to construct another one. No Jedi training you to use at all, decieved us you did."
"Never! Master, when I relinquished my commision, I never said the oath. The council member that took my lightsaber never made me swear it. I broke no promise." Ali explained.
The council members looked at each other and quietly confired. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan watched as Ali stood. Her long robe once again concealing her form. She waited in silence with her head bowed to hear what the council had decided. She could hear the arguments ranging back and forth, but made to inclination that she was recieving their thoughts.
"Decided we did, you shall keep your weapon until mission is over," Yoda said after a long pause.
Ali bowed and nodded her understanding to the small Jedi master. Her face showed no emotion, but everyone could sense her heart breaking. She never smiled, but glanced over each members face. As she turned to leave, Yaddle interrupted her departure.
"Wondering I am, what happened to you, Ali?" Yaddle asked.
"When I left the temple, I roamed the galaxy for a long time, searching any and all leads I could find. I decided I couldn't live my entire life on that path, so I let the force guide me to the Outer Rim. I knew that no one has ever returned from past the Outer Rim, but something was drawing me there. I traveled for days until I found the most beautiful planet you could imagine." Ali's face lit up while she talked about her new home.
Yaddle smiled and said, "Your race was mystery. Your genetic make-up confused doctors it did. Jedi Masters sought the truth, none coming close."
"I have learned so much about my people and our ways of life." Ali lowered her head in retrospect. "They believe I am a "Emmasary", sent at the time when they needed me most. I was a lost child to an uncaring galaxy, and somehow survived. My people have come to rely on me to help them. But my real motive was to return to ask if I can resume training."
Yaddle crossed her arms and sighed heavily,"Grown you have. No longer a playful child. Mature and cryptic you have become. What hide you, dear friend?"
Ali looded at Yaddle and with a slight smirk on her face, "You always could read me like a book. My people don't want anyone to know who or what they are, but I know I can trust you and the rest of the Jedi council, of course. We are unique..."
Ali stood and the council members watched her. Her body became transparent and she began to shift around, watery pools began to swirl and make intricate patterns across the surface. Iridescent hues of pastel pink, blue, green, yellow, and violet contorted and reformed into shape. When she was finished, her body was changed into an exact copy of Yaddle. She quickly changed back into her orginal form and stood facing the stunned Jedi's, inwardly smiling.
Yoda spoke up, his voice sounding suprised, "Shapeshifter you are?"
"Yes." Ali confirmed.
"And your people are all shapeshifters, but non are force sensitive?" Qui-Gon asked.
"I am the only one that has ever been born with the abilties. That's why the doctors and masters couldn't figure me out. My people are seclusive, there was no record of our exitance...therefore, no reference for them to compare." Ali explained. "My people helped me understand so much, but I still feel as if I belong with the Jedi's."
For a long time silence befell the council chambers. Each person with their owns thoughts, but no one projecting to let the others know. Ali stood motionless in the center of the room, just a few feet away from Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon. They watched her closely, trying to assess her.
Qui-Gon spoke up after a long silence, "Masters, I feel we should help. After all, she is one of us."
"Volunteering are you?" Yoda asked.
Qui-Gon nodded afirmative and Obi-Wan glanced at his master with shock. Ali looked at Qui-Gon and smiled slightly, apprecitive of his efforts. Obi-Wan soon nodded his agreement and she returned his gesture. When she looked at him, he felt alittle flutter in his chest, causing him to shift around and feel uncomfortable.
Ali bowed to the Jedi council, her long hair falling freely from its tight captor. The long waves landing delicately in a pool around her feet. The light shining off the deep blue hues, sent out a shimming blue arua around her. She rose and gathered her hair and tucked it back into it's clip. The council members tilted their heads and she made for the door. She walked by Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, eyeing Qui-Gon suspiciously. They bowed to the council and followed Ali out the door.
Obi-Wan asked her, "So when do we leave?"
"We will leave as soon as I refuel the ship, we have a long journey ahead of us." Ali answered, not quite making eye contact with Obi-Wan.
"How long will we en route?" Qui-Gon asked while he made mental preparations.
Ali turned her head, her bright green eyes stared at Qui-Gon before answering, "It will take about two and a half months to reach my planet. Are you trying to back out of it?" Qui-Gon raised his hands defensivly, "NO.....I was just wondering how long are we to travel. Trust me, young lady, you have nothing to worry about. We will not desert you."
"Young?" Ali raised her eyebrows in surprise. "I'm older than you Master Jedi."
"Please, call me Qui-Gon. And this is my padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi." Qui-Gon said blushing. "And forgive me, I assumed by your youthful appearance that you were quite young. I forgot you and Master Yaddle were trainees at the same time."
"Oh that makes me feel better. Now I'm "old".....the younger generation...go figure." Ali smirked.
"No I didn't mean it that way" Qui-Gon started.
"Master, better be careful. You'll swallow your entire foot." Obi-Wan said amused. He never seen Qui-Gon at a loss of words.
"Be ready in the launch bay within the next two hours." Ali said dryly as she spun and headed down an adjacent corrider in search of supplies. Her long robe flowed behind and soon disappeared around a corner, leaving a perfumed trail in her wake.
Obi-Wan sighed heavily after she disappeared, his heart rate returning to normal. He had inadverntaly slowed down to watch her leave, and had to quicken his pace to match Qui-Gon's. They made for their quarters to retrieve the supplies they would need, each were preoccupied and lost in their thoughts. They walked right by their quarters and were on their way to the oblivian, until Qui-Gon noticed and turned around to head back, Obi-Wan was quietly on his heels.
Packing took a less than an hour and they decided a early arrival would be a good opportunity to familiarize with the ship and its peculiar captian. Ali was making the final preparations for the ship when they entered the hanger bay. She was perched on top of one of engines, cleaning out a vent with much hassle and verbal abuse in an assortment of languages. When she looked up and her pale face was covered with grease and cosmic dust, giving her an appearance of a ghostly spector.
"Mistress Ali, permission to come aboard?"Qui-Gon asked. She motioned for them to board and returned her attention to the vent, and more profanities followed. She was interrupted by Obi-Wan peeking up over the edge of the engine, his blue eyes filled with mischeif. She looked up momentarily at him and then finished the vent and moved on to a damaged panel on the ship. She quickly removed the panel and worked on rewiring the mechanisms inside. She was reaching around for the replacment panel when her hand brushed against Obi-Wan's. She glanced over to see him holding the panel, and a cute boyish smile across his face.
"I think you need this" Obi-Wan said, he could feel his heart starting to beat erratic again.
"Thank you, Obi-Wan. This is the last thing to be repaired, and then we can take off. That is, if you and Qui-Gon are ready." Ali said, sealing the panel onto its new home. Obi-Wan nodded then jumped off the wing of the aircraft. He extended his hand to aid Ali and she graciously took it, with a mock smile.
They entered the craft and Ali went to the cockpit to start the launch sequence. She got her clearance and set their course, allowing the autopilot to engage. She took a deep breath and made her way to the back of the ship and to the two Jedi's that would sharing this little ship for the next two months.
"There aren't enough beds for everyone." Obi-Wan said as soon as Ali was in view.
"This ship was built with one or two people in mind. I thought we could take shifts at the helm and with the sleeping arrangements." Ali said as she motioned for Obi-Wan to clean up a mess he made.
"Sounds good to me!" Obi-Wan's face brightened up.
"My species have a different sleep pattern than what you may be used to, but I can adapt to what kind of waking schedule you want to keep." Ali watched as Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon stowed their gear. She continued, " I'm usually awake about 75 hours, then I sleep for about 6 hours. If this is inconveinant, tell me now and I'll start to adapt my sleeping habits."
Qui-Gon shook his head, "That won't be necessary. As far as I'm concerned, it's your ship, you run it anyway you see fit. Obi-Wan and I can adapt, we'll get along just fine."
Ali inclined her head slightly at Qui-Gon, "As you wish, Qui-Gon. But if it gets to be a problem, don't you hesitate to inform me."
"So, do we get a tour of the ship or not?"Obi-Wan asked.
"What's there to see? There's the cockpit, sleeping quarters, refresher, and the cargo bay. The cargo bay is fairly spacious, but right now it's loaded with extra supplies. " Ali pointed to different directions on the ship.
"I think we are ready." Qui-Gon asked. He noticed Obi-Wan was staring at Ali, his breathing was shallow and Qui-Gon could hear his thoughts, causing him to blush. Ali looked suspiciuosly at Qui-Gon.
Ali went to the cockpit to check on their systems, and make any necessary adjustments to the controls. She was followed by Obi-Wan, who sat down in the co-pilots seat and watched her hands glide over the controls. She focused on the co-ordinates and leaned back in her chair to watch to stars zip by. Her and Obi-Wan spent an hour in silence, each one focused on something other than what was in front of them. Qui-Gon interrupted their solitude when he entered and glanced over the controls.
"Ok, Who has the first shift?" Qui-Gon asked.
"I'm already in the pilots chair, so I'll take the first shift. One of you can relieve me in a few hours."Ali said, concentrating on her readouts and adjusting their course again.
"Sounds great to me!" Obi-Wan exclaimed, hoping to stay in the cockpit with Ali, but a glare from Qui-Gon made him rethink. He followed Qui-Gon to the back of the ship to do a little meditating, though that was the last thing on his mind.
"Master, I don't feel like meditating right now. May I rest for alittle while?" Obi-Wan's voiced was low as he addressed Qui-Gon.
"Are you ill?" Qui-Gon rested his hand on Obi-Wan's shoulder. "I think you have other intenstions instead of resting. I think this is the perfect time to meditate. Off to the cargo bay with you, I will join you shortly."
Obi-Wan protested, "But Master, I was going to check on Ali, before we resume our schedule. Maybe talk alittle to her. She always seems so quiet and doesn't seem to be social. I thought maybe she could use a friend right now."
Qui-Gon questioned his padawan's actions, "Are you so sure? I don't think so. I have sensed what goes on in your mind and how your body reacts when she is near. No. I want you to meditate for awhile, then we will see if we can make some room for alittle sparring. Now, go and begin rearranging the supplies in the cargo bay to provide us some room."
Obi-Wan turned and started off down to the cargo bay, nothing short of stomping off. He entered the cargo bay and started to rearrange the supplies and mumble under his breath. He was so preoccupied, that he didn't notice a shadowed figure slip into the room and watch him. He tried to move a crate, but strained under the weight. He rose his hand and allowed the force to move it for him. The figure lurched out of the shadows, lightsaber activated.
Obi-Wan was caught off guard and did a spinning backflip to evade the weapon. He grabbed for his lightsaber and retaliated against the antagonist. A stray blade found it's way into the side of a crate and the sound of pops and shrill whistles filled the cargo bay. The noise was soon followed by a hiss and a pale orange gas escaped from the damaged merchandise. Obi-Wan looked at the "attacker" and made a 'we're in trouble' face. Qui-Gon deactivated his blade and gulped hard, hearing a sound coming from down the hall.
Ali ran in screaming, "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?"
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were too busy choking on the fumes to answer her. She thrust her hand into the crate and turned off the valves, the metal from the crate cutting her arm. The gas disappeared with the noise as she sealed off the damaged container. She shot a nasty glance over to the two guilty parties. She was cluching her arm, opaque blood poured freely and pooled on the floor.
She turned and made her way to the refresher to attend her wound, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon close on her heels. She slammed the door in their faces and ignored their questions and comments. She filled the sink with cool water and allowed her arm to liquidify to merge with the water. She sighed at the situation, and revelled in the feeling the water gave her liquid form.
Obi-Wan leaned against the door with his ear and hand pressed to the metal. Qui-Gon smacked Obi-Wan's arm and grabbed a hold of him to pull him away, until he felt a jolt. Obi-Wan looked at him and motioned for him to copy his stance. Both leaned against the wall, sensing the feeling's Ali was projecting. Her anger and discomfort were being displaced with peace and her emotions were calming. A strange feeling filled their senses. It made both feel as if they were flying through a soft cloud, with little tickles of billowing fluff caresseing their cheeks and lite moisture playing on their skin.
Qui-Gon pulled himself out of it and noticed Obi-Wan was still deeply imensed in the sensations. Qui-Gon's finger poked Obi-Wan between the eyes to get his attention. He opened his eyes and Qui-Gon motioned for them to return to the cargo bay. They retuned to do an assessment of the damage and to see if they can repair the damage their little "exercise" had caused.
Obi-Wan examined the floor and asked, "Master, wasn't she bleeding?"
Qui-Gon said regrettingly, " Yes. She cut her arm on the edge of the metal shipping crate."
"Then, where's the blood?" Obi-Wan's eyebrow raised, noticing the floor was devoid of blood.
Ali let the water help ease her wounds and when she resolidified, she just had a slight mark on her arm. The skin was raised and inflamed, but sealed off from and other possible contaminants. She felt bad at her behavior towards the Jedi's, but if they had punctured one of the other crates with the fuel or chemical supplies in them, the result could be catastrophic.
Ali made her way back to the cargo bay where the Jedi's were busy trying to rearrange the supplies. She smiled slightly as they bickered back and forth where to put some of the supplies. Qui-Gon would move a container to one place and Obi-Wan would move it to where he wanted it to be. Qui-Gon would use the force to replace it and lecture Obi-Wan about the arrangement of supplies.
Ali cleared her throat to let the Jedi's know she was there, both stopped and looked over to her. Obi-Wan noticed her arm was healed, except for a red welt, and slight discolorazation in her skin. She walked in and started to stack containers, securing them to their new postions.
"If you two are going to continue at this rate, we will lose most of our supplies within three weeks. So, to prevent another accident, I'm placing the more dangerous cargo out of your reach." Ali said while levitating a crate to a corner and securing it in place.
Qui-Gon blushed, "We are sorry. Sometimes we get alittle carried away. We won't be using the lightsabers on the highest setting. We will use the training mode. Are you ok?"
Ali shook her head, "Yeah, I'm fine. Just be happy it wasn't a dangerous chemical or the reserve fuel."
Obi-Wan moved the last one in place and said giggling, "That should do it. Now there is plenty of room for Qui-Gon's over-emotional blade to swing around."
"Oh dear, I don't know if I'll be able to handle you two for two months! It's only been an half a day and you already managed to damage some supplies and drive me nuts!" Ali exclaimed.
Qui-Gon laughed and placed a hand on her shoulder, "If you want, I can help you with your meditation. Quiet your mind and subdue your emotions."
Ali studied his face for a moment before answering, "That would be nice. It's been awhile since I used the meditation techniques, hope I remember how to." She knew she would be cooped up with these two and she needed to learn to overlook their faults and maybe they might get through the mission.
"Qui-Gon is an excellent teacher. You'll see." Obi-Wan told her, noticing she looked skeptical.
"Remember, I've been doing this since before you two were born." Ali said. She laughed inwardly at the thought of these two "kids" teaching her something. Her face remained unemotional, but she was curious.
Qui-Gon looked over at Obi-Wan with a smirk and looked back to Ali saying, "It doesn't matter how much older you are. One can always learn something, no matter the age or situation. And while on this mission, I will help you with your training."
"Master, I don't .... " Obi-Wan started.
Qui-Gon cut him off, "The council doesn't have to know. We are going to be gone for a long time. She came all this way to resume her training, the least I could do is to give her a little guidence. This also gives you the oppertunity to test your teaching capibilities. We both can take her as a padawan."
Ali listened and raised her eyebrows at the thought of having two masters. Here she was upset about not completing her training and never having a master to teach her, and now she has two. She couldn't believe it!
"So, how to I address you two then? I can't you both master." Ali questioned.
Obi-Wan answered her, "Qui-Gon is the master, I'm still a padawan. So just call me Obi-Wan."
Qui-Gon nodded his agreement and added, "You can address me as Master Qui-Gon. And don't even start about how the council will react, Obi-Wan."
"They already know you are a rogue. This won't surpise them any" Obi-Wan said with a smile.
"A rogue?" Ali asked.
"Qui-Gon seems to test the council's temper and questions their judgements with regularity." Obi-Wan quipped and darted a stray hand from Qui-Gon.
Qui-Gon gave Obi-Wan a 'your going to get it'' look and Obi-Wan resumed his quiet manner, tucking his hands into his sleeves. Qui-Gon turned to Ali and winked, making her giggle at the two. She was kind of envious of their unconventional relationship.
"Ok, enough of this. Who has the next shift?" Qui-Gon asked.
"I don't think it's safe to have you two on the same schedule. I don't think we have enough supplies to survive the trip." Ali said, dropping her tough exterior and laughing at the two.
"I never thought I'd see you laugh." Obi-Wan said, stunned.
"I usually don't. This is a rare occurance. But I have a feeling that I'll get plenty of opportunities with you two around." Ali said, wiping away tears.
"Obi-Wan, you take the next watch. I want to start on Ali's training as soon as possible." Qui-Gon said, motioning towards the cockpit. Obi-Wan nodded affirmatively and left the cargo hold.
Ali turned to Qui-Gon and said, "It seems to me that you and Obi-Wan share a unique bond."
Qui-Gon raised an eyebrow at her observation, "We do. Don't let him know, but I see him as the son I never had. I think that's why we get along so well, and the reason I push him to succeed."
" I sense he has great respect for you, though you two argue." Ali noted.
"Ok, it's time to start. We are limited with time and your training. There will be a criteria you must follow everyday, reguardless." Qui-Gon said.
"Yes Master,"Ali said. She smiled a wide grin at the phrase she has wanted to say for as long as she can remember. Now she will have her chance to be trained, even if it's a brief arrangment.
"Let's see what you can do with a weapon, is your lightsaber with you?" Qui-Gon asked.
Ali nodded and the cylander object fell out from her sleeve from it's hiding place in her robe. With one quick motion her robe was shed and her lightsaber hummed to life. A long black blade hissed in the air as she twirled it about. Qui-Gon was stunned to see the color of her weapon, he stood astonished. He held his hand to examine the weapon. She gladly handed it over for his inspection.
"How can you get a blade this color?" He asked, impressed at the quality of the weapon she had constructed.
"The crystals that produce the black hue grow in abundance on my planet. They are the most resilant that I've found. They can take quite a punishment, maybe you and Obi-Wan can find a few to stand up to the torture you would put it through." Ali said with a little giggle.
Qui-Gon laughed at her and handed back her weapon, retrieving his from his belt. He ignited the weapon, setting it on low, the green blade wirled about. He tested her slowly, remembering it's been awhile since she had the proper instructions. He soon found out that she had an excellent memory and their blades repelled each other, sizzling energy filled the cargo bay as they clashed back and forth.
His attacks gradually became faster and more intense, and she would retaliate with her own attack, sending him on defense. Their swords collided angerly and echoed to the cockpit where Obi-Wan winced, hearing the familiar clashes and bodies fall to the floor. He wondered how much abuse Ali was willing to take, and how long she would withstand Qui-Gon's lessons. He painfully recalled each lesson ending with a trip to the healer, and then return to a lecture on posture and attack options. He shook his head realizing there was no healer here for Ali, she will have to fend for herself.
After several hours of dueling, Qui-Gon was soaked, with perspiration clouding his eyes, and panting heavily. Ali stared him down, breathing shallow and her appearance, fresh and dry. Qui-Gon deactivated his lightsaber and motioned for her to sit with him on the floor. He nearly collasped on the floor, but slowly descended down to the cool surface of the ship's floor. Ali followed suit, plopping herself down across from him. He focused on the force to aid on restoring his energy, breathing deeply and exhaling slowly.
Ali copied him perfectly, feeling the force flow through her. She closed her eyes and focused on the man across from her. She could sense him testing her abilities, gradually letting her mind transfix to follow Qui-Gon on the journey. She concentrated on a cool stream, and could feel herself floating away from the ordinary confines of the ship. The hum of the engines disappated, replaces with a soft murmer of water. She could hear birds cooing and feel a cool breeze litely tickle her face. She sensed Qui-Gon with her on this journey, somehow applifing the sensations.
Qui-Gon could feel the force tendrils as she reached out. He was shocked at the intensity she asserted when she started to control the force to focus on something completly different. He wanted her to follow him into a serene place, but soon she overpowered him and began to lead the meditation in the direction she wanted it to go.
Qui-Gon opened his eyes to find that Ali was standing in the middle of meadow, surrounded by tall trees that seemed to careess the wind. The fields that surounded them were covered in flowers, every shade imaginable graced the countryside. A small lake was nestled in amounst the trees, its waters calm and filled little shiney stones that shimmered an icy glare across the surface. Qui-Gon was surprised Ali could project at this intensity, and felt as if his body was floating along the lite breeze that filled his senses with an overdose of fragrances and feelings.
Ali walked to the lake, touching the water and sending little ripples along on a exodus of their own. She was suprised to sense the water this clearly, and allowed her entire hand to submerge. The water invigorated her, pushing her to the point of lowering more of her body into the sensations accompanying the freeing water. Qui-Gon stood by her side, watching her reactions and wondering how she was able to project with this much clarity. He heard a rumble and looked up to see a large thundercloud above them. Lighning streaked across the sky and energized the air. He looked back down to see Ali was totally imersed in the lake, her liquid form shifting to interact with the water.
She heard Qui-Gon in her mind, telling her of danger and coaxing her back to the shore. She swam back and walked onto the shore, water evaporating instantly and the beads left over, becoming one with her liquid form. She solidified and smiled at Qui-Gon, taking his hand in hers. Her smiled doubled when they could feel tiny droplets hitting their faces, sending chills down their spines. She placed her fingertip on his chin and tilted his head up towards the sky. He gasped out at the site. The tiny droplets made him squint to avoid the contact with his eyes, but high above their heads, was a beautiful rainbow. The hues of pink, yellow, green,blue, and purple spread wide on a pale grey velveteen sky. He closed his eyes to feel the rain on his face, inhaling deeply and sensing Ali doing the same.
Suddenly he could no longer feel the rain and looked up to see Obi-Wan watching him with a weird look on his face. Qui-Gon felt his clothes weighing heavily against his body and his hair plastered to his face in a wild spray. He lowered his head to see Ali's big eyes staring back. She mirrored his expression and appearance, her wet hair now down, shaply curving around her body, her big green eyes wide with wonder.
Qui-Gon shook himself out of it and asked, "It's my shift, I take it. Right?"
"No Master. It was just quiet back here for a long time, I thought maybe you two killed each other." Obi-Wan said, smiling and unsure what went on while they were in deep meditaion.
Ali looked at Qui-Gon," Did you do that?"
Qui-Gon shook his head negativly and replied, "No. You did it all your own. I opened up your mind and tried to lead you down the path, but you took over and lead ME to where you wanted to go. I didn't know you were that strong and could focus like that."
Ali blushed, "I told you it's been awhile. But I have to admit, I've never meditated and experience that level before."
"Don't be afraid of it. It was a wonderful experience, and I enjoyed it emensly. Now if you don't mind, I would like to freshen up before my shift." Qui-Gon said, getting to his feet.
Ali bowed her head, "Thank you, Master. I really learned alot."
Qui-Gon placed his hand on top her head and gave her a few pats of reassurance and walked off to the refresher. Obi-Wan followed, heading back to the cockpit to finish his shift. Ali sat for a minute, drawing her legs up and resting her chin on her knees. She could still feel the lake, rain, the peace of the place. She sat for a long time, trying to reestablish a connection to the meadow, never quite going to that level as she was before.
Obi-Wan was surprised to see Ali still in the same place as before, and nudged her with his foot. She opened one eye and looked at him questionaly. He grined and asked, "Ready for your next lesson?"
She sighed and stood up, gathering her hair back up and securing it in a tight bun. She found her lightsaber and Obi-Wan had the same reaction to its black blade than Qui-Gon. She explained once again the origins of the crystal, and their resilant properties. He joked he and Qui-Gon could find use for them, she laughed along, remembering she made the same coment earlier.
Her training regiment consisted of lightsaber practice, force manipulation, meditation, and stories on the uses of each technique. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan rotated the responsibilites of Ali's training. She learned quickly and absorbed the information like a sponge, soaking up as much knowledge as possible. Time passed quickly and they found themselves passing the last planet in the Outer Rim, heading into deep space.
"OK, we are now in deep space. As long as the autopilot is engaged, we shouldn't have any trouble. So the controls don't need to be manned constantly." Ali said, rechecking their course and looking over to the two Jedi's.
"Great. How long until we reach your home world?" Qui-Gon asked.
"Approximatly one month. Don't worry, the trip is half over and we can get off this stuffy ship and onto real ground." Ali joked.
"Good, now let's expand on your training. Let's see how you can defend against two opponents." Qui-Gon said smiling.
"Oh great, looking forward to getting my butt whooped." Ali said sarcastically.
"I promise we'll go easy," Obi-Wan giggled.
Ali rolled her eyes and sighed, "Why do I not believe you?"
Qui-Gon motioned for everyone to head to the now more spacious cargo hold. Ali lead the way, dreading the ensuing lessons. Obi-Wan walked beside Qui-Gon with a big grin on his face. Qui-Gon nodded his head and Obi-Wan lunged forward, knocking Ali to the ground with a loud thud. Obi-Wan pinned her to the ground, his blade just a few inches away from her face. She glared at him maliciously and struggled to get up.
"You never lower your defences, even around people you feel safe around." Obi-Wan snapped. "You leave yourself open to attack, now you are vunerable."
"We'll see whose vunerable. You want to cheat, I'll play along with your game."Ali said. Her body started to contort and began wrapping around Obi-Wan's body. Her entire body was liquified as her form incased him, sqeezing him like a steele trap. He gasped and started to turn a odd shade of blue as she constricted on him. Her body slowly started to pool behind him and lower him to the ground.
She resolidified smirking, "I guess you could say in one fluid motion, I taught you the lesson. Lead by example, right Obi-Wan?"
Obi-Wan was on his knees after regaining his breath, "You cheated!"
"I cheated?! You attacked ME! I was just defending myself. What's this galaxy coming to when you can't even trust a Jedi?!" Ali fumed.
Qui-Gon stepped between the two with a stern look on his face. The combatants quieted down and bowed their heads, waited for their repermand. Qui-Gon just sighed and started to laugh, surprising the two learners. He offered his hand to Obi-Wan and both turned to face her, eyes focused, lightsabers drawn, and blank expressions on their faces. Ali gulped and ignited her lightsaber, praying for a swift entrance into unconsciousness.
She parried their attack, unsure how to survive this ordeal. With either Jedi on her side, she deflected blow after blow, ducking to avoid the occsional blade searching for her head. She was pinned between Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, not allowing her any escape or rest. Her mind was frantic with possible escapes, each one coming to the conclusion of her being stung by one of the weapons. Then something just occured to her and she set her plan in motion. She turned aside each attempt, and lulled the two attackers into a false sense of her fatigue. They slowed their pace and placed her once again between them, unaware of her clever plan.
The timing had to be perfect. She clashed weapons and looped their sabers over her head, causing them to lose their rythmn. With a thrust and a drop to the floor, she had manuvered their weapons against each other, mildly impaling the two with each others sabers. They looked down at her, her form holding her saber to the middle, anticipating an evasive reply.
Qui-Gon deactivated his lightsaber in defeat, "You win. I must addmit, I didn't foresee that tactic."
Obi-Wan was holding his stomach and sighed, "Yeah, you win. I can't believe we were beaten by a person who hasn't been training long, and was outnumbered. I can't believe you pulled a stunt like that. You think you could teach me that move?"
Ali slowly rose off the floor and deactivated her weapon, "I can't believe it either. You two are much better swordsmans, I'm not sure how I did it, but I will show you the moves."
Qui-Gon rubbed his neck and dismissed the lessons for today. He told the two they could have some time off from their training, and spend it the way they see fit. Obi-Wan went to the cockpit to check on the systems and make sure they were on course. Qui-Gon went to the sleeping quarters and laid down, favoring his neck and shoulders. Ali went to the refresher, her form liquifing and pooling in a sink of cold water. She must have fallen asleep, because she woke to the sound of the sonic shower. She remained quiet, not wanting to alert the other person in the room. She sensed the person stand by the sink, and felt a hand plunge into the water. She lunged out to escape the vacuum of the drain, solidifing in front of Obi-Wan. He was so shocked at the site before him, he inadvertly lost a grip on his towel. It fell silently to the floor.
"I'm sorry. I didn't know you were in here." Obi-Wan felt flustered as her addressed her.
Ali's eyes snapped shut, and she said while waving her hand about, "I think you should pick your towel up. Though I love the new look, I doubt the council would approve of such drastic changes."
Obi-Wan quickly replaced the towel and started to laugh. He blushed, "Sorry. I don't think the council or Qui-Gon would approve of the new look, let's not spring the new fashoin wave on them just yet."
Ali's eyes remained closed as she spoke, "Yeah, good idea. Don't want to scare them, and besides, where would you hang your lightsaber?"
She burst out laughing but was soon silenced by Obi-Wan's mouth pressing against hers. She felt his hand caress the side of her cheek, a warm sensation overpowering her body. She pulled away, staring at him, unsure how to react. She pushed him away and spun around to leave. But her escape was hindered by a tall man standing in the doorway. His hands on his hips and a solumn expression on his face.
Obi-Wan bowed his head, "I'm sorry Ali. I did not behave properly. Please accept my apoligies and my word that it won't happen again."
Ali looked up at Qui-Gon, "I'm the one who should be sorry. I should have told you were I was gong to be. You didn't know I was in here."
Qui-Gon stepped aside to allow Ali passage and waited until she was out of earshot before he started lecturing Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan promised never to do it again, Qui-Gon would make sure he would keep his promise. Obi-Wan dressed and met Qui-Gon for a few hours meditation. Ali went to the sleeping quarters, and soon fell fast asleep.
The incident was soon forgotten and the rest of the trip went by smoothly. The ship was becoming a tomb to the travelers, making them feel isolated and cooped up. They could feel a surgence in the force as they neared Ali's planet. From a distance the planet looked dry and barren. The surface reflecting back a dirty terra cotta, with massive sand storms sweeping the surface. The ship went into a lower orbit, just above the storms. Debris pounded against the craft, rocking it slighly and causing it to shudder. Chunks of bronze colored earth floated by, Ali did her best to avoid a collision.
The ship endured the storms and slowly made a descent towards the surface. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon watched as the storms passed by, lowering the vessel passed through one of the most dangerous forces of nature. They were surprised to see a lush forest, filled with every possible shade of green imaginable. Obi-Wan glanced up to the storm, only to see that it was the soft underside of fluffy scarlet clouds. The sky was a rustic color, with puffy lite blue clouds dotting the skyline far in the distance.
Ali piloted the ship to a small field within the forest, carefully setting the vessel down. Qui-Gon opened the hatch to a lite breeze and inhaled deeply. The rich floral scents filled his senses, reminding him of the place Ali had shared with him. Off in the distance he recognized a small lake, surrounded by weeping willows. Vines of wisteria looped through the willows, and giant lilac trees tickled each other with the wind. Ancient evergreens rose above the canopy, seemingly holding up the sky.
Qui-Gon was followed by Obi-Wan, each filled with wonder and sensing the force extremely strong. Ali exited the ship, allowing herself to become once again reaquanted with her surroundings. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan searched around for signs of cilivilaztion, only to find a peaceful masterpiece of nature and the force. They could feel a disturbance and turned to Ali, looking for an explaination.
She smiled and yelled, "It's ok. They are friends. They are Jedi, they can be trusted."
Obi-Wan jumped as blades of grass, trees, flowers, even a small puddle, started to shift about, reforming into humanoid figures. As they solidified, Qui-Gon noted their excellent camoflague and stealth capibilities. He done a head count and realized there were less than fifty "people" around him.
"This is Qui-Gon Jinn, this is Obi-Wan Kenobi. They are Jedi Knights. They are peaceful and offer us their assisstance." Ali introduced the strangers to the inhabitants. Each Jedi bowing his head slightly and watching as more forms solidified and surrounded them.
"We are honored by your presence," One of the people said, returning their gesture.
"What is your name?" Qui-Gon asked.
"Name? We don't have names. They are not needed. We know each other already, and live as one." The being explained.
"Then how can we address you? If you don't have a name, how can I call for you?" Qui-Gon was wondering how these people could exist in a society and not have names to identify themselves.
"I can hear you speak to me. Names are not needed." The being smiled.
Obi-Wan was watching a few late comers emerge and walk to the clutter of people. "How can you tell when we're speaking to you?"
The being pointed to his head, "In here, you voice is clear and you address me. No name is exchanged."
Obi-Wan's eyes lit up in facination, "You can hear our minds?"
The being nodded yes, looking over the sea of its kinsmen. They each nodded and the leader turned to the Jedi's. "You may call me, Kesh. I am the elder of this colony. We remain behind to defend our world ."
"How many are left?" Qui-Gon asked.
"There are one hundred and fifteen adults, and forty seven children. We hid many away for fear of extermination." Kesh said.
"Master, do you feel what I feel?" Obi-Wan's voice tremored slightly.
Qui-Gon glanced over to see Obi-Wan holding his head and slight swaying. He grabbed a hold of Obi-Wan's arm to help steady him. "What's wrong with him?" Qui-Gon felt a jolt go through him and gasped out. Ali was at their sides, her hand automatically caressing their temples. The Jedi's jerked, and began to hear voices inside their heads.
Ali's people surrounded them and began to sing a soft harmonic, the heavenly sound echoed in their ears. The ethereal harmony relaxed and eased the Jedi's minds. The Jedi's senses returned to normal and they looked over to Ali for an explaination. Her people began to leave, one at a time, and return to their hiding places. Their shapes molding and contorting, imatating the beauty around them.
"I told you my planet was strong with the force. Everyone here is connected to each other. We can hear each other's thoughts, and sense each others moods. Your bodies are now starting to adapt to the planet, we can hear your thoughts and sense your emotion. If you don't want to share anything with us, we do know how to block your thoughts out." Ali helped the fallen Jedi's to their feet.
Qui-Gon shook his head, "That's quite all right. You are right, this planet is strong with the force. A Jedi acadamy would flourish here."
"I never sensed the force with such great clarity and power. Too bad every Jedi can't sense this place and learn from it." Obi-Wan stood and placed his hands back into his sleeves.
"Now you know why I told the council I want to resume my training. This place, and my people have taught me much. I'm more in tune with the force than they realize. I just wish the council would see and experience this place like we have." Ali sighed.
"Maybe they will, someday."Qui-Gon mused.
"NO!" Kesh said sternly. "Two outsiders is enough. NO more. We will not have them come here and use this place for their benifit."
"Kesh, sir. We mean no disrespect and don't wish to harm your world. It is like Ali said, very strong with the force and to be treasured." Qui-Gon told the elder.
Kesh eyed the newcomers like a plague, and shook his head in dismay. The Jedi's were the only ones who could help. Ali trusted them, so should everyone else. Though he didn't like it, the strangers have offered their help, and can sense the power in the planet. He sighed and looked over to Ali. She sensed his distress and telepathically reassured him, allowing him to enter her mind and know what has transpired with the Jedi's. He nodded his head approvingly.
Obi-Wan watched as the last remaining people disapated and formed the common objects of nature. Some even pooled to together, creating a shimmering of pastels under the light from the sun. Obi-Wan didn't notice the lack of sunlight and looked up to see a indigo sun, peeking out from behind velvet crimson clouds. It cast an eerie glow on liquid forms as they swirled around and merged with one another. Nature was in full harmony and perfect balance.
Obi-Wan thought aloud, "I wonder if these people feed off the force."
Qui-Gon looked at him amused, Ali was stunned. She blinked a few times, unsure how to take the remark. Qui-Gon looked over to a nervous Kesh and smiled reassuringly, allowing his mind to open and Kesh to read his thoughts. Kesh was surprised the stranger allowed such an intrusion, but cautiously entered into the Jedi's pysche.
Ali gasped out, "How could you tell? We do feed off the force. It sustains our lives, we are in perfect harmony and balance with nature. That's why there are no buildings or streets. And besides, we can change into whatever we want, they seemed useless and irrelavant."
Qui-Gon was awed, "How do you feed off the force, and have no midi-chlorians?"
"Not sure how it works, but it somehow sustains us, nourishes us. I guess we feed off nature, maybe because we incorporate it so much into our lives?" Ali never really thought about how they survive. It just always was.
"There will be plenty of time to exchange ideas, now we rest." Kesh said, walking back to a rock, his body pooling and encasing the stone.
"WOW!" Obi-Wan said. "I don't think I'll get used to seeing that."
"He's right. We do need rest. I guess we can sleep on the ship." Qui-Gon said, heading back to the vessel.
"There is camping equiptment in the cargo hold. It's in a large grey container. If you want to sleep out under the stars, that is." Ali said smiling.
As soon as Ali mentioned camping equiptment, Obi-Wan was running towards the ship. Qui-Gon giggled as Obi-Wan shot past him. He shared the sentiment as his padawan. Any excuse to get off the ship and get rid of the sense of cabin fever. Obi-Wan had found the camping gear and was unpacking the supplies they would need when Qui-Gon had entered.
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan found some firewood and started a fire for some heat and light. Ali helped the two prepare for the evening. They seemed invigorated by their new surroundings, talking freely with whoever wanted to question them , and openly discussed their adventures. Obi-Wan was a bit more descriptive and animated in his stories. Most of Ali's people stayed to themselves, every once in awhile changing form and repositioning themselves, nonetheless listening with fascination.
After several hours, Qui-Gon nudged Obi-Wan to shut him up. Everyone was asleep in whatever state or form they replicated. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan settled back on their pillows and watched the night sky. A beautiful amber sky was painted with little yellow lights, each twinkling like magic dust. A pale pink moon rose and gave everything an overcast of playful shadows. A dew glistened on the surrounding trees and flowers.
"You know Master, I could get used to staying here." Obi-Wan said with a yawn.
Qui-Gon turned on his side, "I think I could too young one." Soon both were sound asleep.
Qui-Gon awoke to a foreign feeling. When he opened his eyes, all he could see was a silver haze, and he coudn't breathe. He struggled, the silvery liquid parting and allowing him oxygen into his strained lungs. He glanced over to Obi-Wan, who was still emersed in the liquid. He wanted to reach for him and shake him awake, but something held him back. He looked to the parted liquid as it formed humaniod features, his jaw dropping open.
"What is the meaning of this!?" Qui-Gon demanded an explaination.
Kesh formed in front of him, his face humble with a smile. "We did not hurt you. We sensed the reaction to the chill in the air when it started to rain. We only blanketed you and protected you. You need not be alarmed, we will not hurt you."
"I thank you for your kindness. I was just startled to wake to such a sight. I do ask however, that you don't wake Obi-Wan to this. He will not react like I have." Qui-Gon said. He had barely thought it, let alone say it, as everyone was vacating Obi-Wan's side.
Ali walked over as Obi-Wan was waking up. She said, "My people said you bathe in the lake over there. They will give you all the privacy you require."
Qui-Gon waved his hand, "Not to worry. We have clothes to swim in, the sentiment was thoughtful though, and we thank you."
"You sure?" Ali asked.
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan nodded, grabbed their things and made for the lake. They stood at the edge and were astonded at the site. Qui-Gon didn't notice any of this in Ali's memory. The water was a baby blue, and large crystals of sapphire, ivory ,salmon, and aquamarine lined the banks. They shone with a light of their own, illuminating the water. It's glow highlighted the rocks, and cast a strange shadow on the giant stones. Nature seemed to have painted a scene just for them, parading the vast assortment of shades and colors.
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan changed into proper attire behind the weeping willows and thick ferns that lined the lake. Obi-Wan dipped a toe in the water and was surprised to find it exceptionally warm. He put his foot in the water and splashed it about playfully. Qui-Gon snuck up behind Obi-Wan and pushed him head first into the water. Obi-Wan squealed as he toppled into the water. He resurfaced sputtering and gasping for breath, looking like a drowned rat. Qui-Gon was on shore laughing hystercially at the site of his padawan in such a condition. Obi-Wan focused on the force and levatated a giant bubble from the water. It floated silently towards an unexpecting Qui-Gon. He opened his eyes just in time to see the bubble burst and water throughly drenching him. He smirked and dove into the water.
Their fun was soon interrupted by Ali running towards them. They could sense fear swelling up around them and mass panic. They quickly swam to shore and wrapped their robes around themselves. Ali held her lightsaber in her hand, warning the two Jedi's that they need to be on guard. A loud clap of thunder was heard, and the sky fell dark. Ships started to litter the sky and landing at different intervals. Long tubes and machinical devicese erupted from the ships, firmly implanting themselves into the soil.
"Is that the mauraders you were telling the council about?" Obi-Wan asked.
"Yes. They come every 15 cycles of the sun."Ali briefed the Jedi's. "They stay for hours. When they leave, the force will be in turmoil, so we have to restore balance. The land will mourn what was taken from it."
"The land mourns?" Qui-Gon asked, his piercing blue eyes followed the movement in the distance.
"Yes, the land mourns. It can tell when someone takes away a piece of it. It cries out, echoing in every cell. You feel the emptyness, the coldness, the abandonment. When the planet suffers, my people suffer. We can only heal the wounds caused by the marauders, and return the balance back to nature." Ali's face contorted at the thought of the suffering the land endures.
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan quickly dressed and rejoined Ali. They started towards the largest ship, deducing it was the mother ship with the leader of the attack on board. They walked by machinery and droids,hurridly stripping the land in the surrounding area. Ali cringed at the treatment, while the Jedi's sensed the pain from her and nature.
The ship was unguarded, which made boarding the vessel very easy. The ship was of an unknown design, with several cables and piping running the length of it cold grey corridors. Qui-Gon lead the way, with Obi-Wan taking up the rear. They followed the hall into a large chamber, filled with electrical conduits and panels. There were several chairs at the blinking consols, most occupied by a operator. In the middle of the room, there was a raised chair, high above the others, that was occupied by a burly man. He looked over at the Jedi's and alerted the other people in the room of intruders. Guards came rushing about, pointing weapons at the trio.
Qui-Gon stepped forward, "We come in peace. There is no need to be alarmed."
The man stared down at them, his eyes studing the three before him. "What are you doing here? What do you want?"
"We are here on behalf of the people of this world. They request that you vacant this planet and leave them in peace." Qui-Gon said. His voice echoed in the large room. The marauders where suprised by his commanding demeanor.
"This planet is in our sector. We can do whatever we wish with it. We do not detect any cilivization on this planet." The man bellowed, not to be outspoken by Qui-Gon.
"There is a civilization here, and your destroying it with your harvesting. They request that you stop immediatly." Qui-Gon stared the man down, focusing on the force to get into the man's mind.
The man twitched caught in Qui-Gon's stare, his mind easy to access. Obi-Wan and Ali stared at him as well, reading his thoughts and searching for anything useful. The marauders officers and guards looked at him perculiar and waited for his next orders. Ali stumbled across something in the man's mind. She grabbed Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan and let them sense what she discovered.
The man's mind filled with images that the Jedi's were projecting. He called out, "This place has become contaminated. It is hazardous to remain here. Alert all personel to return to the ship and leave the equiptment behind, it's unsafe to take it with us."
The officers looked at him dumbfounded and glanced back and forth amoung themselves. He repeated himself and they flew into action, recalling troops and barking commands to take off. The guards rushed off and the Jedi's made a descret exit, but not before Qui-Gon slipped him a subliminal message.
The Jedi's barely made it off the ship as it took off in haste. It was soon followed by the smaller crafts, leaving behind all equiptment. As soon as their feet hit ground, they sensed terrible pain and surffering. The Jedi's dropped to their knees and cried out in pain, the mental and physical anguish racing through their veins. Ali's people began to surround the ailing Jedi's, focusing all their energies towards them, allowing them to draw upon the strong force imprint all around them. They wrapped themselves around the fallen trio, allowing their minds and bodies to become focused and atuned to each other. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan rebelled at first, but the sensations were so calming and peaceful, that they allowed themselves to be engulfed by the watery forms. Ali liquefied and merged with her people to give Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan a sense of reassurance. They relaxed and felt utterly at peace, feeling the force flow all around them and coursing through their bodies.
Qui-Gon was the first to regain his faculties and stood to assist his padawan. He shakingly made it to his feet, watching as the people formed around them from the opalescant glaze. Their shimmering bodies formed familiar faces, each with a smile on their lips. Qui-Gon smiled back, slightly bowing his head.
"I thank you for your assistance. What happened to us?" Qui-Gon asked to know one in particular.
Ali formed in front of him, "I told you the land mourns its loss. You are force sensitive, so you felt it more strongly than everyone else. The first time I felt it, it took a long time to recover. My people have a way of channeling the energy and restoring the balance that was interupted by the scavangers. When you made contact with the earth, you felt the full intensity."
"I never thought that nature suffers when people harvest to resources. I could feel and hear everything. The lake cried, the earth mourned, the trees screamed out. I have a new respect for nature and the torture it endures." Obi-Wan said, shaking his head. A sadness of evident on his face and he held back the willingness to cry.
Ali wrapped her arms around the two Jedi's, her eyes filled with tears. "We thank you for your help. You are always welcome here. My people will take over the restoration and healing of the land. I only hope that the marauders will never return."
Qui-Gon smiled at her, "They won't. I put a mental imagine in the leaders mind that the world was contaminated. He is going to dispatch warning beacons to ward off any vessel from coming near. No one will bother you again, your people are now safe."
Obi-Wan piped up, "That didn't take long. Do we have to return back to Coruscant so soon? We need a vacation."
Qui-Gon raised his eyebrow in Obi-Wan's direction. "YOU don't want to go back to Coruscant so soon? Now that's a surprise! But I agree, we do need a vacation. I don't see the harm in staying for another week."
"Week? I was thinking about a year!" Obi-Wan said.
"Not a chance. A month at best. We will help these people clean up the mess left behind and see if we can't aid in the restoration of the balance." Qui-Gon pointed to the abandoned equiptment.
"A month!? Oh no. I can see maybe six months, but not one." Obi-Wan was shaking his head and grinning ear to ear.
Qui-Gon walked over to Obi-Wan and placed an arm around the padawan's shoulders. "Ok. I can see it's going to take some time to return this planet to its previous state, but I don't think it will take six months to do that. I can see maybe four, but that's pushing it."
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan began to walk back towards the lake, haggling over the length of their stay. Ali joined her people in healing the surrounding area. She inwardly laughed at the two Jedi's bickering back and forth.
Within the month, most of Ali's people had returned and the land was restored back to its former beauty. The harmony of nature was back intuned, and the world was peaceful once again. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan continued to train Ali while helping with the cleanup of the land. Many of her people would gather around to watch the lightsaber duels. Ali taught the Jedi's the trick she used against the two of them, and added a few more twists to her lessons.
The abandonded equiptment was used to help replenish the resources that were stripped. New waterways were built, deep craters were filled, new trees were planted. Ali's people would pool around and encase the damaged earth. When they would move on, the ground beneath would be fresh and renewed. After the equiptment outlived it's purpose, it was turned into monuments, a reminder of sorts.
After a three month stay Qui-Gon informed his two padawans that they will need to depart. Ali filled the ship with plenty of food and water for the trip, and refueled with the containers left in the cargo hold. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan hated to leave this wonderful paradise, but they knew they couldn't just leave the Jedi order. There was still a galaxy to defend and wrongs to right.
Ali's people wished them well and all joined for a group celebration. Beautiful flowers of soft lavendar, turquoise, and gold adorned to fields and valleys. The trees swayed lazily, as if to join in the festivities, their long whisps of branches caressing those essembled for the gala. Nature provided the most elaboarate decorations and music, harmonizing with the voice of Ali's people. The soft music echoed way into the night under the bright light of the moon mirroring off the fluffy clouds stretching the heavens.
Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Ali departed with heavy hearts. The sadness of leaving was overwelming the joy of life that everyone seemed atune to. Kesh seen them off, his cool exterior dropping and allowing his emotion to take over. He embraced the trio several times, and reminded the Jedi's that they were always welcome back for as long as they want.
Ali started the launching cycle and the ship began it's ascent through the rich coppery veil of turbulent clouds. The world below seemed saddened at their departure. As the planet grew more distant, the strong feeling of the force lessened. Though it wasn't as strong at it once was, the Jedi's felt the force flowing all around them, actually feeling more natural.
Ali noted that every persect there was a warning beacon of a contamination of a nearby planet. Qui-Gon nodded his head with satisfaction and continued to train the two padawans. He often told Obi-Wan how impressed he was with his composure and training ablility. He had no doubts that Obi-Wan would make a great Jedi Knight. They resumed the training schedule for the trip, though the cargo hold was once again filled with containers of supplies. But with a few little things rearranged here and there, there was plenty of room to wield a lightsaber effectivly. Most of the food and water supplies Ali packed on the ship in several different places.
When they were with in communication distance of Coruscant, Qui-Gon sent a message to the council. They in turned replied it was important for him to give his report personally, in detail. Obi-Wan and Ali waited outside the council doors to be summonded by a council member or Qui-Gon. Obi-Wan's ear was pressed to the door, with Ali close at his side trying her best to pick up anything from the secret conversation.
Qui-Gon was giving his report, when he interrupted himself and excused himself for a moment. He placed his hand on the door and sent Obi-Wan a message, then returned to his debriefing. Obi-Wan's face went pale and he backed away from the door. Ali didn't understand what he could have picked up on, but when Obi-Wan's face started to turn bright red, she realized Qui-Gon must have warned him and threatened to expose a secret for his actions.
Obi-Wan was standing next to Ali, each had their arms tucked into their robes and solemn expressions on their faces. Qui-Gon opened the door and motioned for them to come in. Each bowed to the council members and standing beside of Qui-Gon. Ali took a deep breath and walked over to Yaddle. She flicked her arm and in an instant her lightsaber was in her hand. She knelt down and placed the weapon towards herself, surrendering her commision. She was surprised when Yaddle wouldn't take it and just crossed her arms in front of herself.
She sat crossed legged in front of Yaddle with a dumbfounded expression. "I don't understand. You said after I returned that I would have to relinquish my lightsaber. Why won't you take it?"
Yaddle looked over to Yoda with a slight hint of mischief, "Yoda knows. Ask him you should."
Ali turned to Yoda questionaly, "Master?"
"Decided we did, your weapon you shall keep." Yoda said, a slight smile curling at his lips.
"I get to keep it?" Ali's eyes filled with tears.
"Yes you do. What else would a knight carry, humm?" Yoda asked.
"A knight? Me? How could this be?"Ali whispered, not really believing what she heard or was saying. The idea suddenly hit her and she looked over to Qui-Gon, who was standing with a huge grin on his face. "Your responsible for this. I don't know how to ever repay you. Thank you" Ali jumped up and threw her arms around Qui-Gon.
She composed herself and bowed to the members, her eagerness showing. "How is this possible? I haven't had that much training and I didn't take the trails."
Yoda spoke up, pointing at Qui-Gon,"Briefed us on your progress Qui-Gon did. Though we do not agree with his methods, his intentions were honorable."
Everyone glanced over to Qui-Gon, his face slightly changing color. He rolled his eyes skyward and assumed an innocent expression. He pretended to whistle and glance around at nothing in particluar.
Mace Windu rose in his chair, "Qui-Gon tells us of your world and the delicate balance your people help maintain. Would you be willing to take a couple of masters and padawans to your world? Do you think you are ready to take a padawan yourself?"
Ali stood for a moment debating the pros and cons before answering. "I think my people would allow a few Jedi's to stay for an extended period. Afterall, a Jedi is what saved our world in the first place. As for taking my own padawan, I don't know if I should. I have alot to learn, what could I teach?"
"Remember Ali, your planet has a natural ability to focus the force. You are insync with that ability. There is alot you could teach an apprentice." Qui-Gon said.
"Then I will take a padawan. And I'll assist any Jedi's who wish to come to my world." Ali said smiling a brillant smile.
"Then you may choose whenever your ready. We have a few canidates for the Jedi's to train there as well. We will let you know and may the force be with you." Mace Windu gestured towards the door.
Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Ali bowed to the members and started for the door. Ali turned, frowning at the members. Several asked what was wrong. She walked to the middle of the room and motioned for everyone to gather around her. The members looked at each other funny, but rose from their chairs. When everyone was surrounding her she liquified her form and began to wrap herself around the council members. Qui-Gon assured everyone that everything was ok and they should trust her. They relaxed and Ali embraced them within her. She opened her mind and feelings for them to sense what she had. The council members felt the power and energy of her planet, and relived the sensations through her experiences.
When she was done she resolidified and stood staring at the council members. They returned to their seats, peace and serenity flooding into and out of them. They inclined their heads and thanked Ali for sharing her mind and allowing them to sense her planet and her people. She smiled and left the council chambers in search of her own padawan.
After a week Ali got news that the Jedi council picked two masters and their apprentices to accompany her back home. She glanced around her room one last time and sighed. She was going to miss it here, though she'd only been there for a short time.
"Let's go Master." came a tiny voice.
Ali turned to see her padwan, Reiv-Arn, staring up at her. She smiled and ushered the little one to the launching bay. The rest of her party was already there to meet her. She was given a much larger ship and accomidations. She was happy to see Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan waiting for her too. They bowed their heads slightly and smiled as the little one beside her mimiced their movements.
Ali shooed her apprentice onto the vessel while she said good-bye to her friends. She embraced each of them in a big hug and kissed their cheeks.
"Ohhh, kissies, kissies. Which one is the babe?" Reiv asked, her childish giggles filling the air.
"I"m going to kill her yet!"Ali grinned while blushing.
Qui-Gon put his hand on her shoulders, "It doesn't get any easier as they grow up. I think we should be allowed to lock them up until they're thirty!"
"HEY!" Obi-Wan crossed his arms and started to point at Qui-Gon. "And it's hard to deal with a strict, over-bearing, ancient bantha like this one."
"Who you calling ancient boy?" Qui-Gon perked up. He eyed Obi-Wan menancingly and grinned, "Boy, are you going to get a big surprise during todays lessons."
Obi-Wan gulped and made a fake whimpering as Qui-Gon grabbed him by his shirt collar and started to drag him to the training room. Ali laughed and blew them a kiss good-bye, then boarded the ship heading for home. She chased Reiv back up the ramp, the little girl squealing in delight and mock horror.
She meet the rest of the group for the voyage and settled down into the pilots seat. Her reminicing was interrupted by one of the other knights accompaning her back. She set the co-oridinates and turned to face him.
"Those two are too unconventional. I sense only turmoil with them. They don't act like a master/padawan." He said gruffly.
Ali smiled and looked out the window at the two still on the platform, obviously in another debate. "Your right. They don't have a normal master/padawan realionship. They are more like father and son. They are each others strength and weakness."
"Yeah, too bad not all Jedi's are like that!" his voice was dripping with sarcasm.
Ali let out a little giggle, "They are unique and very unconventional, but bonded closer than we will ever know. We all should be so lucky."
The ship disappeared into the night sky, leaving behind the two bickering, unknownly fighting with their own selves.