Title: "The One in the Travella" (1/2)

Author: Melissa Lee

Date: 2-7-00

Rating: PG

Spoilers: "Episode I: The Phantom Menace"

Summary: Sabé tells her story during the events of Episode I, with some surprises that someone had to come up with.


My lips and fingers were trembling. In fact, my entire body was. It wasn't because of the temperature of the Queen's chambers (which would have been comfortable for, say, a wampa), or the emptiness and isolation the Royal Starship was engulfed in, or the thin maroon cerlin sleeves of my gown.

I had never been more terrified in my life.

A warm hand touched my shoulder then, stirring me from my complaints. "Your Majesty?" If it hadn't been for the thinness of my dark purple travelling gown, I would've never felt the gentle touch. Distracted from my quivering, I turned my head and met the open gaze of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

"Yes?" I willed my teeth to be still and my voice not to crack.

"Is there something the matter, Your Highness?" he asked in a low voice.

My Queen, whom I am impersonating, is out there on a planet home to every type of scum imaginable and more. What do you think is the matter, laserbrain!?

Instead of voicing my opinion and blowing my cover, I swept my regal gaze through the room. "Nothing serious," I lied. "Earlier events have left me a little... shaken." I laced my fingers in my lap in the most decisive manner I could muster.

The Jedi Apprentice must have noticed that if there was something wrong, there was no way I was going to tell him. He straightened and I could feel his measuring eye studying me. After a few seconds, I was becoming annoyed with the awkward silence that had fallen. I looked back at him curiuosly. Immediately, his expression morphed into one of nonchalance.

"There is nothing to fear, Your Highness," he promised me, and I wanted more than anything to believe him. "Besides," he added, throwing me a conspiratorial smirk, "fear leads to the Dark side."

He appeared to be incredibly pleased with himself, and while I did not understand the saying, any attempt at humor was greatly appreciated at this point in time.

"Of course." Almost involuntarily, I slipped on Amidala's tiny, mysterious smile, completing the disguise.

"I will be on the bridge, my Queen," Obi-Wan said in conclusion, backing away from me slowly and bowing, "if you should require my assistance in any way."

"Certainly." I bowed my head minimally, reluctant to see the Jedi go, though his odd sayings were confusing me.

Leaning back in the on-board throne at the center of the wide, expansively barren room, I inwardly rewarded myself for another show- stopping performance. Amidala would have been proud. I smirked to myself. I had them all fooled.

I remember when Amidala was the mayor of Theed, I was her personal assistant and only handmaiden. We had very similar physical features and along with my near-perfect impersonation of her, I would leave all her advisors and secretaries dumbfounded and utterly, utterly confused. Of course, we found it to be the most amusing thing on Naboo. And of course, Amidala's employees did not. We had been forced to give up the practical jokes out of respect, but then, I had yet to understand that I was about to become part of the most enormous of practical jokes.

Recently, the only thing that kept me from falling out of the Amidala costume I had constructed was my own humor. I tried to joke with Eirtaé, my closest friend besides Amidala, but her innocent face would bear an expression of disappointment as she said, "Sabé, this is a serious matter! You should not carry on like that." I was left alone with my own feelings and opinions on this entire Trade Federation fiasco. I wish Amidala was here for that very reason. She would listen to me.

Presently, I was beginning to feel as if I could not breathe, and my vision was suddenly blurred by the unwanted, previously unnoticed presence of tears. I sniffed in a loud, rather unqueenly manner, immediately regretting the attention drawn by the handmaidens by my side. At least the Jedi Kenobi had left, I assured myself. He would know in an instant that there was something wrong with the view of Queen Amidala sniffling like a small child. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes at my ignorance.

Instead, my eyelids slipped shut and I exhaled slowly, the adrenaline that had kept me going since the landing on Tatooine draining away and the exhaustion settling snugly in its place. A split-second decision and I had begun to push myself out of the huge throne.

Eirtaé practically leaped to my side immediately, gripping my arm gently. "Your Highness..." she began warily, her young face etched with concern under the elegant spectra-fade dyed hood dropping down near her eyes. The sleeves of her flame-colored travella gown slipped over my hands as her eyes begged for me to reconsider going anywhere but the throne.

"I am going for some fresh air," I stated, straightening and running my hands over the beautifully layered gown.

"It is not safe out there, my Queen," Eirtaé persisted, though she had released my arm.

"I shall accompany her Majesty," came a voice from the doorway. With an impassive expression on his face, Obi-Wan approached the woman he knew as the Queen of Naboo, and carefully took my arm in his.

I accepted my escort wordlessly and glanced briefly at Eirtaé before exiting the room. The Jedi said nothing as we walked through the lighted corridors of the long ship. The only sound, save the Astromechs' occaisonal beeping, was the rustling of my cerlin gown along the floor panels. Wondering at his sudden reticense, I suddenly panicked. Had Obi-Wan been standing in the throne room shadows all along? Had he seen my slip out of my disguise, no matter how brief? And now was he going to confront with the information that he knew the truth?

Terror seized my being and I inadvertently tensed. Another mistake. The young Jedi beside me must have felt the change in sense; he turned his head fractionally in my direction to look at me. Couldn't Jedi read minds? I thought. In that case, I had to change my line of thought.

Obi-Wan had just activated the midship loading ramp when I turned my gaze on him, attempting to make conversation with the handsome Jedi. Although that minor detail was not the reason I strived to talk with him. "Has Master Jinn contacted you recently?" I asked, hoping to hear some good news for once.

"Yes, Your Highness," he replied as the ramp locked in place, exposing us to the dry Tatooine air and the setting suns. "I spoke with him a standard hour ago." He hesitated then. "The sandstorm forced them to stay in the home of a local slave family. My Master believes the boy there is highly-sensitive to the Force."

What did that mean? Were they planning on bringing this boy to Coruscant with them? The brief reference and my lack of knowledge of the subject convinced me to leave the matter alone. Apparently, Obi-Wan had a bad feeling about it. "Intriguing," I murmured in response.

We descended down the ramp together, then I detached myself from him and strolled under the silvery chrome hull of the Royal Starship. It was an elegant ship, and for a few moments I watched the sunset on the mirrored surface of the starship's belly. My reflection accompanied the glowing orbs, creating an ethereal portrait distorted slightly by the sleek curves of the vehicle. Laying a hand gently against the cool, shiny transparisteel, I shifted back to the original topic. "Has he located means to restore my ship's hyperdrive?" I asked, knowing Amidala would love to hear me refer to the Royal Starship as "my ship."

"I am afraid not," Obi-Wan sighed, "but he told me earlier in the day that a situation would present itself." He leaned against the side of the loading ramp, hiding his hands in the folds of his sleeves. His face was turned away from me, away from the ship, as he watched the fiery Tatoo I sluggishly pursue an orangish-bronze Tatoo II into the magenta horizon.

Suddenly, I turned away from the ship as well, regarding the quiet Jedi carefully. The twin suns cast a golden glow around his figure, casting an equally balanced glow and shadow combination on his features as well as on the sandy shades of his robes. I took a step closer to him, pinning with what I hoped was an intense gaze. "Do you believe him?" I inquired of him curiously; I had to know how futile our situation really was.

Frowning, the Jedi inexplicably struggled with the innocent question. "What I believe is inconsequential," he seemed to voice his thoughts, smiling meekly. "My one concern is protecting you from the Trade Federation and escorting you to the Congressional meeting on Coruscant."

Spoken like a true Jedi, I noted. Too bad the kind words were meant for Amidala, who was somewhere in Mos Espa scrounging up a malnutritioned dinner amongst bounty hunters and assassins... I moved away from him and looked back at the sunset, hoping the brightness would somehow dry the liquid in my eyes. Everything was going to be all right, I promised myself. We are going to get home, and everything is going to be fine. I bit down on my lip to prevent my self-control from slipping. No, I insisted inwardly, the Queen would not cry. She would be strong and provide hope. She would not cry.

With that, I pushed the thought out of her mind, reminding myself that the Master Jedi was with Amidala, and that if any trouble would arise, it would be because of that Gungan Jar Jar. Qui-Gon would be sure to extinguish such problems just as soon as Jar Jar could cause them.

Still, I was curious as to why Obi-Wan would not tell me what he thought. He acted as if he were not allowed to have an opinion, but that was blasphemous. He had avoided the question very well; I had to credit him for that.

I had been known around the palace to be notoriously curious, and I couldn't help but wonder then if Obi-Wan had been able to read my thoughts. That would not be good. I could always just ask, "Can you poke around in my head?" inwardly, but the Jedi appeared to be content with watching Tatoo II sink behind the horizon. It would be up to me to start a conversation. Again.

"Can Jedi really see into the future, Obi-Wan?"

The sudden curiousity and informality of the question must have caught him off guard. Although he was a Jedi, he was only a few years older than I, and anyone that close in age to me was addressed by their first name. That detail of my personality really, really bothered Eirtaé, who was the etiquette professional. Presently, Obi-Wan struggled with his answer. "I, umm..." he began, as if he had momentarily forgotten the question in his confusion. "Yes. Many do, er, can."

"Can you see the future?" I inquired, feeling much like a little girl asking the Supreme Chancellor how he ran the Galactic Republic.

"Only highly experienced Jedi can foresee our destinies, Your Highness," replied Obi-Wan with a wry grin. He had recovered well.

"I see," I said, nodding, the hint of a smile tugging at the corner of my mouth. "Can Master Jinn?"

"I do not believe so," he guessed, shaking his head slightly. "His mind is too active to focus on such an elusive object."

Wow. How do they know these kinds of things? I thought. It sounded horribly complicated, not to mention easy at starting an awful headache. "He certainly is active," I agreed, though what I was agreeing to I wasn't entirely sure. Silence ensued and the lights from inside the starship filtered down the loading ramp. "What time is it, Obi-Wan?" I asked yet another question, more for my stomach than out of curiousity.

"Almost seven o'clock," he said after consulting his chrono. "Will you be joining us for dinner?"

"I thought I might check the HoloNet for news of the blockade," I mused aloud.

As if on cue, Rabé appeared at the top of the loading ramp. "My Queen, Jedi Kenobi," she addressed us, "your dinners await you."

I looked to Obi-Wan expectantly, just as a queen would, and once again he took my arm in his as we walked through the ship.


Early the next morning, I was awaken by a terrifyingly vivid nightmare. I sat up in bed, rigid, and shakily swept a hand across my forehead, wiping the damp hair out of my eyes. Pulling a thick maroon robe from a chair beside my bed, I wrapped the soft cloth around my quaking shoulders and tried to focus on my feet at the end of the bed.

If I closed my eyes, I would see the fiendish menace again.

In my nightmare, Master Jinn was returning from Mos Espa. For some reason beyond my comprehension, the others had already gotten to the starship and Qui-Gon was being accompanied by a small, tow-headed boy. Out of nowhere flew a dark-robed being swinging a weapon with a bright red beam of energy at one end. The Jedi Master had not noticed the arrival of this dark warrior at the time, and the creature quickly cut down a surprised Master Jinn. Beside me in the throne room, also watching the holoprojection of the bow's visual sensor, was Obi-Wan, and I heard a strangled scream escape his lips. I remember feeling as if I had collided with a landspeeder as I saw Qui-Gon fall... and the warrior turned to pursue the little boy, now running for the safety of the Royal Starship. Through the holoprojection I could see the warrior sprint towards the struggling boy. I had a clear view of them, and they were quickly approaching the ship.

I ran to the loading ramp to let the boy in; I somehow knew he was of grave importance. I was about to slap the activation switch when Eirtaé, my good friend, locked her hand tightly around my wrist.

"No, Sabé!" she exclaimed angrily, and I was surprised to hear her address me by my true name. "That thing is after the Queen!"

Her grip was twisting the sensitive skin of my wrist, and a strangled sob escaped me. "The boy..." I cried as I fought to lower the ramp, all to no avail. Two more lives gone. Two more lives I could have saved, but hadn't. Two more innocent lives gone so the Queen could be saved. But I wasn't the Queen! "I have to save him," I choked out to Eirtaé, in a low and dangerous voice that I did not recognize, a voice I did not like.

The venom injected into the statement must have shaken Eirtaé from her duty, for she suddenly disappeared, releasing me. I slammed the palm of my hand against the ramp's activation pad and watched it lower slowly. It locked in place just in time for me to see the evil creature murder the little boy. My knees weakened and shock ripped through my being. The dark warrior released his grip on the boy's throat and effortlessly cast his dead, limp body into the soft white sand beside him. He thrust his lightsaber into the air, pointing the humming edge at me, his yellow eyes glittering with cold, red fire.

"You're next," he snarled, ending the nightmare.