As the sun sets on the misty Coruscant horizon, five sleek yellow starfighters of the Chancellor's Guard rocket to the sky, entering hyperspace in formation. The Jedi ship flies among them, silver and subtle, seen only by those with Force powers.
On that ship stands a figure in the emerald green uniform of the other fighter pilots, but this is only a disguise. She might actually be the immortal ruler of a planet, or she might just be a young girl played as a pawn in a game of ancient forces, but here on the ship, it falls to her to lead this mission. Is it wrong, then, that she has asked her droid to do most of the talking?
She stands at the head of the conference table surrounded by the very same crew that escaped Naboo with her--her Captain, the Jedi, the Gungan and the boy. Beside her, C-3PO delivers his report.
"From what we know of recorded history," says Threepio, "the Gungans first appeared on Naboo shortly after the foundation of the Galactic Republic, a century into the rule of Her Royal Highness Queen Amidala. They appear to have evolved from the native amphibian life, and this is corroborated by the oral tradition I have begun to record, in which the Gungans refer to themselves as the Kiddos Udda Wibbits."
Jar-Jar nods enthusiastically at the only phrase he recognizes, and begins to recite the same prayer he shared with Threepio earlier. "Uh-huh! Da Kiddos Udda Wibbits, da Meexa Uddo Holos, furda protata da ollodo papa, inda undatings lolo..."
"Jar-Jar, please let the translation droid do its job," groans Obi-Wan. Jar-Jar slinks back into his chair.
"Interesting," says Qui-Gon. "I know of no other instances of a species evolving into a sentient race since the birth of the Republic. The intelligent races are thought to have been set unchanging aeons ago."
"Sir, my databanks include all that is known about the biological origins of the Gungans. My information distillation subroutine has concluded that further details are not pertinent to the immediate task, but I am, after all, just a droid, and I defer to your mindful assessment."
"Please, continue with your original report," says Qui-Gon.
"The Gungans appear to have several prayers and songs that are passed from one generation to the next, and this is their only source of knowledge of their own history. Master Binks shared with me those passages he could remember. Of these, the most relevant is as follows:
Da Gungans guard, to time da ripe, Dee Choosin One, fur time to fight When Naboo in de holo come, When Naboo peeps to time is done, Den is born de Choosin One Und Gungan army simpy cold Be bombad army standin bold Unda Genral Choosin One"
Threepio stops there, and they all sit in contemplation for a moment.
"Hunh, that was nearly intelligible," says Obi-Wan.
"Thank you, Threepio," says the Queen. "Gentlemen, I believe this army of the Gungans is the key to retaking our world. The Naboo have never had a standing army of their own. Our security forces contain themselves to matters of domestic law, and are not trained for war. We have always relied on the droid armies of the Republic to come to our defense against external threat, and they have never failed us--until now. Now, then, is the time to fight spoken of in the Gungan prophecy. We shall travel to the Gungan territory on the continent of Meadowbrook, and summon their army to come to our aid."
"But why do you think they'll help us?" asks Anakin, who has been sitting quietly by Qui-Gon's side until now. "It sounds like we won't get their army until we figure out which one of them is the Chosen One."
Obi-Wan chuckles. "But that's the easiest part, Ani, you'll see! Any Jedi walking among a primitive people is as good as a god on earth. We'll have them believing that one of us is the Chosen One in no time. Why, we could even pretend it's you!"
Anakin flushes, and Jar-Jar scowls. "You no be lyin to da Boss Nass," Jar-Jar says. "Boss Nass know da Choosin One anda faker!"
"Yeah," Anakin says, glowering at Obi-Wan. "And it's wrong to lie!"
"Calm down, my young padawan," says Qui-Gon. "Trust in the Light of the Force and no lie will prevail. Many prophets foretell the coming of a savior to a world in need. When we do bring salvation to a people, are we not the fulfillment of their prophecies?"
"It is only a lie if we fail," says Obi-Wan, "And we won't fail!"
"Nevertheless," consoles Qui-Gon, "Your instincts are wise, young one. Master Obi-Wan is correct that any one of us may be the Chosen One, but we must not presume to know the will of the Force before it has been revealed. Your humility commends you. Do you understand?"
"Yes, Master Qui-Gon."
"Very good. Now, I want you to meditate as I taught you earlier." Anakin sits upright in his chair and shuts his eyes.
The Queen turns to Panaka. "Captain?"
Captain Panaka rises, turning on a holographic projection of Naboo above the table. "If we use all of the information available to us, which includes tidbits gleaned from Jar-Jar, then the Gungan capital is most likely located somewhere here, in the marshes to the west of Meadowbrook. The Federation blockade is concentrated here, around Theed, leaving Meadowbrook relatively unguarded. We should be able to slip in undetected..."
It doesn't take long for their strategy to fall apart.
They are approaching Naboo. Each passenger grips to keep from losing their balance as the ship rocks from a nearby explosion.
"What wuh DAT!"
Panaka checks the console. "Federation starfighters, a dozen of them. They came out of nowhere!"
"What happened to slipping in undetected?" yells Obi-Wan.
"They must have known we were coming," says Qui-Gon.
"We're outnumbered!" cries the Queen.
Anakin looks around frantically. "What kind of guns does this thing have?"
"We don't need guns," replies Obi-Wan, running for the airlock.
"Captain, take the helm! Anakin, you stay here!" orders Qui-Gon, joining his partner. The inner door of the airlock shuts behind them as they strap breathing units to their faces, and before Panaka can tell them exactly how crazy they are, Obi-Wan presses the button that ejects them into space.
The air around Obi-Wan disappears and the vacuum stretches at his skin, but he uses the Force to hold himself together as inertia carries him toward an enemy fighter. The Federation ship cuts through the sky like a metal bird of prey, blasting one of the Chancellor's Guard before Obi-Wan can get there. The Republic ship trails smoke as it spins up toward the planet above him. With a flash of blue, Obi-Wan slices the Federation ship clean down the middle, bouncing off half of it to change his trajectory.
Qui-Gon points his palm at one approaching enemy ship and redirects its course into another; they explode in a large fireball.
The Jedi cannot exactly fly, but using the power of the Force they pull themselves from one enemy to the next, swinging their way through the space battle.
None of the Federation ships have noticed the cloaked Jedi ship, but debris from another exploding Republic ship smashes into it, piercing shields designed to protect against energy weapons. The ship quakes. Panaka curses. Above a wailing alarm, Anakin shouts, "Artoo!" The little droid zips over to a control panel and inserts a slender probe.
Flying past each other, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon raise their palms to one another as if in greeting, using the Force to push away from each other toward their next targets. A Federation ship swoops in at Obi-Wan, blasting lasers rapid-fire; Obi-Wan uses his saber to deflect a laserbolt right back at it, and it bursts into flame around him.
Soon the Federation ships are all destroyed, but alas, so are the Chancellor's Guard. Two faint lights, green and blue, drift through a field of rubble. On the Jedi ship, R2-D2 restores power to the atmospheric thrusters, and Captain Panaka flies around to retrieve Qui-Gon.
Obi-Wan waves his arms wildly, his saber flashing like a beacon. The planet above him increasingly feels like it's rather the planet below him, and his clothes begin to smoulder as he falls toward it.
"I see him, I see him!" Panaka says in response to Ani's furious pointing. The ship flies gently sideways and catches Obi-Wan's floating body in the airlock.
"Don't get to do that everyday!" exclaims Obi-Wan as he stumbles back aboard, smoking slightly.
"It's not over yet!" shouts Panaka from the cockpit. "Fuel lines were hit! Tanks are bone dry! Strap yourselves in and cross your fingers, we're landing wherever we can!"
The passengers comply and, the Force being with them, they roll and tumble towards a survivable landing on the western edge of the continent of Meadowbrook.