They walk for what seems like a day, though that has little meaning here in the darkness. Captain Panaka gripes occasionally about Master Obi-Wan's sense of direction, and Master Obi-Wan attempts to regale the party with a few stories of past adventures before reluctantly admitting to himself that they show no interest. The clip-clop of Threepio's metal boots on the slick rocks is a constant, interrupted by quiet and polite complaints regarding his inability to pass through certain terrain for which his model is not warrantied. Other than that, they travel in silence.
"What was that, Panaka?" Obi-Wan calls out over his shoulder.
"I didn't say anything."
Clip-clop. Clip-clop. Clip-clop.
"Perhaps it was something you ate," Obi-Wan continues his slow pace forward, smiling to himself.
"Perhaps your famed Jedi hearing is on the fritz."
"Perhaps we would all be cheered by some music? My databanks include all of the finest symphon--"
"Quiet! All of you!" Master Qui-Gon raises his hand. They freeze, not by Force but by sudden fear. Their breath sounds like a whirlwind, the only sound echoing through the passageway. Then...
"What was that?" whispers Padme.
"Sounds like a giant frog to me," says Obi-Wan.
"Everyone, get behind me and Obi-Wan," says Qui-Gon. Panaka draws his blaster, and they readily comply. The Jedi stand with their sabers on guard before them, staring down the void.
"Oh goodie," says Obi-Wan. "I've never fought a giant frog."
The sound then comes steadily, first quiet, then louder in approach. It is a siren--no, a wail of fear, inhuman, unlike any they have heard before, standing their hairs on end. And it's approaching fast.
Obi-Wan adjusts his grip on his lightsaber.
The creature stops dead in his tracks, facing the Jedi, his long webbed hands flung in the air. He has big floppy ears, eyes on stalks, the strangest sort of snout--like a duck with lips--and two rows of comically large flat herbivore teeth, all of which sits perched on a neck that is perhaps two sizes too long for comfort. He looks at the Jedi for a moment, takes a very deep breath, and runs screaming back the way he came.
"Giant frog is that way!" Obi-Wan shouts, pursuing the creature, with Qui-Gon not far behind. Captain Panaka looks desperately from Padme to the Jedi, then follows the Jedi.
"Captain Panaka, wait!" Padme calls, then whines to the darkness, "Your flashlight..."
The fleeing creature is the first to burst into the cave, illuminated by phosphorescent moss. He falls to the ground, barely missed by the enormous sticky tongue lashing out in his direction.
Obi-Wan is next, a mad grin spreading across his face as he sees the beast filling the cave. He raises his lightsaber to attack, charges forward, and trips over his predecessor.
The tongue lashes out a second time, catching the frightened creature squarely in the chest just as he stands.
"Oh nooooooooo!" he squeals as he gets dragged towards the gaping maw of his attacker. "Helb me! Hey! Helb me!"
Qui-Gon's sword slashes through the tongue; the monster recoils, and the whole cave shakes with its roar. Obi-Wan pounces again, and this time saber meets slimey monster flesh. Panaka sprints through the cave entrance to join him, blaster firing at top speed.
The creature squawks a few times as he pulls the sticky end of the tongue from his body, then he turns to Qui-Gon. "Oy! Mooie-mooie! I wuv you!" he exclaims.
The monster backs into a corner, attempting to escape, but Obi-Wan's slashes and Panaka's shots make quick work of it, and soon it is slumped over on its side, exhaling one last pathetic (if loud) ribbit.
"What did I tell you?" Obi-Wan smiles, sheathing his saber and walking towards his partner. "I killed a giant frog!"
"You were just hacking at its limbs," says Panaka. "I'm sure I delivered the killing blow."
"HA!" Their new friend runs towards the dead monster, points at it and laughs. "Ha HA! Issa not so scaredy! Issa no ting at ollo!" He does an entirely unwarranted jig.
"Look out!" Qui-Gon shouts, pushing him out of the way just before the giant frog's body comes crashing down on top of them both, gravity making its final reconciling adjustments with such monstrous girth. The creature leaps back to his feet before Qui-Gon does.
"You saved my again!" the creature proclaims. "Meesa your humble servunt!"
"Are you brainless?" shouts Obi-Wan. "You could have been killed!"
"I spake!" protests the creature.
"The ability to speak does not make you intelligent," grumbles Obi-Wan. "Ask any droid. Now get outta here!"
"No! No! Meesa stay wit doo! Tis demunded byda Crater, tit is!"
From a distance comes the low pulsating rumble of some other yet unidentified monster.
"Do you here that?" Qui-Gon asks the creature. "That's the sound of a thousand terrible things. When they find us, they will crush us, grind us into little pieces, then blast us into oblivion. And we're heading towards them."
"Oh! Yousa point is well seen. Otay! Goodie day!" The creature offers a braod-fingered childlike wave, and turns to leave the way it came.
"Reverend Padme!" Panaka runs to her as she steps carefully into the cave, with Threepio just behind. "Are you hurt?"
"No, Captain, though I'll ask that next time you do not so quickly abandon your charge for the small promise of adventure." She walks over to the creature. "You're a Gungan, aren't you?"
The creature gives a low bow. "Meesa Jar-Jar Binks. Meesa proud Gungan warrier."
Padme eyes him cautiously. "I'm Padme. I attend Her Highness, Queen Amidala."
"The Queen did you spake?" Jar-Jar makes a face as if he's eaten something rotten. "Wellen, dat smellsa stinkowiff. Gungan no be takin nordo Queen Naboo."
"I'm not here to give orders, I just want to talk," she says. "How did you end up here?"
The Gungan shrugs. "Me no know. Meesa day starten pitty okeyday witda brisky morning munchen, den boom! Getten berry skeered, un grabbed dat bobots, un jumpin de hole, den fightin deesa wibbit, den pow! Meesa here." He looks back at the giant frog, then adds with a shiver, "Getten berry berry skeered me is. Berry BERRY skeered!"
"Masters Jedi," Padme says, turning to her companions. "I would like for this Gungan to accompany us."
"You've got to be kidding!" moans Obi-Wan. "First a handmaiden and a droid, now an overgrown tadpole? We don't need to drag this pathetic lifeform along with us."
Padme is stern as she addresses Obi-Wan. "For centuries, the Gungans have lived beneath the feet of my people, yet contact between our species is rare at best, for the distrust between us runs deep. Perhaps it is by virtue of some higher power that we should meet one now, in this time of such need."
"I hate to say it, but she does have a point," admits Qui-Gon. "We could use a navigator to get out of these caverns. And who knows to what other use this local may be put? We need all the help we can get."
"Meesa berry helbful!" says Jar-Jar. "Meesa show you lotso tello, okeyday!"
Obi-Wan sighs. "Very well." He walks to the back of the cave, where two passages large enough to fit a giant frog lead down in opposite directions. "So tell me, Jar-Jar Binks. Which way should we go next?"
Jar-Jar steps forward and examines each passage closely. He hems and haws to himself, making a face of exceptional concentration. "Otay, lessee...meesa say...Idunno."
"That's what I thought," Obi-Wan says, forging on ahead. "Left it is then."
Captain Panaka calls out after him. "What, did the Force tell you to take a left?"
"No," says Obi-Wan, "It's just that the air doesn't smell as foul down here. C'mon!"