The hatch of the wrecked ship creaks open, and the crew make their way tentatively into the morning fog. They can make out the silhouettes of giant tufts of grass reaching up to twice human height before bending back to the ground.
"Issa so good beein home!" says Jar-Jar, running ahead of them. He opens his arms as if to give a big hug to everything he can see.
"We should get as far away from the ship as we can, as fast as we can," says Obi-Wan. "The Federation was surely able to track our entry."
"I wouldn't be so sure," says Captain Panaka. "They call this the Gungan Triangle. Something about this part of the world wreaks havoc on electronics. Landscaper droids get lost out here all the time."
Artoo bleeps, and Anakin translates. "Artoo says all but his most basic visual and auditory sensors are offline."
"Still, the Federation was expecting us," says Obi-Wan. "I don't like it."
"Gungan territory..." the Queen says to herself. Then she turns to the others, and speaks with her voice of authority. "We're still on track. We must find the Gungans."
"I don't think that will be a problem, Your Highness," says Qui-Gon. "I think the Gungans have found us."
The Gungan warriors step through the haze, spears pointing menacingly. They are larger than Jar-Jar, and they wear clanking armor trimmed with rust.
"Halten!" commands what appears to be their leader. He sits astride a kaadu, a hairless beast of burden that could easily be his close evolutionary cousin. "Whoo goesen dere?"
"Heyo, Capn Tarpals!" Jar-Jar responds. "Meesa back!"
Upon seeing Jar-Jar Binks, the Gungan Warriors gasp and mutter.
Tarpals furrows his brow. "Noah gain, Jar-Jar. Yousa goen tada Bosses. Yousa in big dudu dis time!"
"Jar-Jar, what's going on here?" asks Qui-Gon.
"Iss embarrissing, boot...meesa bean banished. Me forgoten."
"You FORGOT you were BANISHED?" Obi-Wan asks, agog.
The Queen steps forward. "Captain Tarpals, we mean you no harm. We are ambassadors of the Naboo people." Tarpals frowns. "We come seeking the aid of the mighty Gungan army. Please...take us to your leader."
Tarpals examines her warily, then commands his fighters, "Boind da hands."
They advance, and Panaka reaches for his blaster. "Hold, Captain," says the Queen, offering out her wrists to be tied. "Show them our trust."
The guards bind them. Artoo and Threepio are strapped to a crude cart pulled by a second kaadu. "How embarrassing!" exclaims Threepio.
Tarpals swings his spear above them and declares broadly, "Yousa awr nah prisnahs odda Gungans!"
They march in a loose clump surrounded by their guards. Day breaks clear and blue above, but the tall grasses form a thickening forest around them. Captain Tarpals leads the way confidently. As they walk, Anakin winds among them, making conversation.
"Why'd you get banished, Jar-Jar?" he asks.
"Tis a long otello, buta small part wawdabe mesaaaah...clumsy."
"They banished you because you're clumsy?"
"Meesa causey mabee one or duey lettal bitty axadentes...yousa say boom da gasser, un crash der Bosses heygibber...den banished."
"Well, things are looking up," snickers Obi-Wan, overhearing. "I was starting to worry that Jar-Jar might represent the smarter end of the Gungan bell curve." Jar-Jar makes a pathetic moan. "Oh, chin up, I'm just kidding around with you. Think of how happy everyone will be to see you when you return with the Chosen One!"
Anakin falls back a few paces, not wanting to get into that conversation again.
He wiggles his bound wrists, which are starting to itch. Turning to one of the guards, he says, "You know, you don't have to have me tied up like this." The Gungan ignores him. Giving it another go, Anakin raises his hands and attempts to focus the Force. "Untie me!" The Gungan looks at him and snorts, and Anakin frowns. "I said untie me!"
"Anakin, come over by me," Qui-Gon says, turning to his padawan. Anakin sighs and jogs to catch up.
"I don't get it, Master Qui-Gon," he says. "Why are we going through all this? You're a Jedi. You could just tell these Gungans to fight for you, and they'd have no choice, right?"
"That's exactly the point, Anakin," Qui-Gon explains. "When you use the Force on others, you take away their ability to choose, and that ability is what defines each of us as self-aware beings. In ancient times, the powerful Sith Lords would amass for themselves armies of mindless loyal slaves who had no choice but to murder their loved ones if the Dark Lords commanded it. Life was torture for the slaves, who longed for freedom. And this is why the Sith ultimately fell; the slaves took every opportunity they had to subvert their masters. The more the Sith tried to control the galaxy, the more the galaxy resisted. When the Jedi finally appeared and gave the galaxy a choice, the galaxy chose the Jedi."
"Yeah, but it's not like you'd be telling people to murder their family," Anakin says, swallowing back the thought of his mother. "You'd just be making them untie us!"
"But we don't have to; we are in no danger. We can walk with our hands bound, and the Gungans can have their free will, and when the time comes, they will freely give us their aid. Even the smallest action can have a mighty consequence; be mindful of your small actions, and you will be prepared to be mighty."
Anakin thinks about it. "So...not having to use the Force is even better than being able to use the Force."
Qui-Gon smiles. "You take quickly to wisdom, Anakin Skywalker. I foresee you will become a great Jedi Knight."
Anakin grins, puffing up a bit at the compliment. The Queen, who has been listening in, smiles as well.
"We're all really proud of you, Ani," she says.
"Thank you, Padme. I mean, Your Highness."
She blushes. "I'm glad you met me as Padme. You don't need to bow in reverence to me. I know the hearts of all my people, and they love me for it, but even the Eternal Queen needs a friend."
Now it's Anakin's turn to blush. "Oh, wow. Um...so, you even know what I'm thinking right now?"
"Not here. My powers are even weaker here than they were on Coruscant; the field affecting the droids is also affecting me."
"It's affecting all of us," says Obi-Wan, eager for Anakin to believe as much, and the glare Anakin gives in return unnerves him. "Well, relatively, at least," he adds with a wink, and Anakin feels his bonds loosen. The boy scratches as discreetly as he can, which isn't very. Padme giggles.
"Her Highness the Queen must be restored to her throne in the palace," says Panaka sternly, breaking the stoic silence of his march. "Only there will she have the power to unite our people against the invaders."
"Thank you, Captain," she says, her voice cooling. "We have not forgotten the peril of our position."
No more is said, and they walk on. Anakin, with wrists no longer burning, loses himself in thought. He has plenty to think about.
After hiking much of the day, they arrive at the edge of a lake.
"Step onnada bongo," commands Captain Tarpals, gesturing to the large purplish green platform floating on the water. The Jedi are the first to be prodded forward by the Gungan spears.
"And what's a bongo, I wonder?" Obi-Wan mutters under his breath.
"A transport, I hope," Qui-Gon replies.
They step on and it wobbles slightly. Obi-Wan lifts a sticky boot. "Ew. I think it might be alive."
Anakin and Panaka join them, and each turns to offer his hand to the Queen. She accepts both their hands and steps aboard. "Trust," she reminds them all.
Jar-Jar tries to stop them, but spears block his way.
"Nosa Jar-Jar," says Captain Tarpals. "Da Naboo be goin ta Boss Nass."
Jar-Jar calls after them, "Deysa setten yous up! Goen truda bongo is bad bombin!" But before they can respond, the bongo snaps shut around them like a giant flytrap and slinks away beneath the surface the lake. The other Gungans give a loud cheer, but Jar-Jar just gulps.