The summit ends with little fanfare, when one day the Separatist leaders simply do not show up to the meeting. The remaining Loyalists briefly discuss taking sanctions against the Separatists for abandoning negotiations, but this is opposed by moderates and those who fear it would only hasten war. No accords are made, no pacts or treaties are signed. Everyone leaves.
Obi-Wan finds himself back at the Jedi Academy for the first time since his acceptance to the Council. It is a strange sensation, for during his own training, the Academy and its planet constituted his home and the sum total of his galaxy; he never expected his life to become so detached from this place. Yet it is only a school, and except for those who become instructors, the mission of a Jedi Knight lies elsewhere. Little has changed, yet he now feels like a stranger here. Or maybe it's just that walking the empty halls without a pass while classes are in session feels like breaking the rules.
It's nearly lunchtime, so he heads directly for the cafeteria.
"Go easy on the mung beans," he says to the food services droid dishing items onto his levitating tray.
"Mung beans is good for ya," she responds with her usual programatically stylized voice. Obi-Wan smirks as she doles out a double portion.
"Hey, does Dexter still work here?" he asks.
"HEY DEX!" she shouts back into the kitchen, "SOMEONE TO SEE YA, HONEY!"
An extremely fat Besalisk with a gaping maw and cranial ridge sticks his head out through the service portal.
"Take a seat! I'll be right wit ya!"
Obi-Wan takes his tray and finds a table.
"Hey, old buddy!" Dex hollers as he waddles out of the kitchen. Three of his burley arms encompass Obi-Wan in a bear hug, while the fourth idly scratches his own rear end.
They sit, Dex squeezing into his chair with a groan. Few would think that this roughshod creature in a stained apron is one of the oldest sentients in the galaxy, but only Hutts live longer than Besalisks, and for Dex, the past few decades as Academy chef have been a pleasant retirement after one thousand years of checkered dealings as a smuggler and mercenary.
"Pardon me," Obi-Wan says, shoveling a large scoop from his tray into his mouth, "Ah've mished yur cookin'!"
Dex lets out a deep belly laugh. "Please, don't let me stop ya! It's good to be feedin' you again, Ben. When you get a chance to take a breath, lemme know what brings you to these parts."
Obi-Wan swallows and says, "Checking in on my student, Padawan Skywalker..."
"Yeah, I seen him!" Dex says, "Seems like a good kid. Doesn't mix much with the other students, but always orders double meatloaf, and I consider that a sign of good character."
Obi-Wan continues his sentence, "...and visiting the Jedi archives."
"So, you thought you'd visit me first, eh?"
"Ten thousand years of Jedi experience don't hold a candle to what you've seen, old friend."
Dex chuckles. "Whatcha got for me?"
"Well, I was hoping you could tell me what this is," Obi-Wan says, carefully passing Dex the poison dart that killed the changeling. Obi-Wan takes another large bite of his meal while Dex closely examines the tiny thing in his massive hands.
"Well, whaddya know! I ain't seen one of these since I was prospectin' on Subterrel, beyond the Outer Rim! What you got here is a Kamino saberdart."
Obi-Wan gulps, and does not take another bite. "Kamino? The Republic analysis droid I showed it to said its origin was unidentifiable."
"Those analysis droids only focus on symbols, you know. I should think you Jedi would have more respect for the difference between knowledge and wisdom."
"Well, Dex, if droids could think, we wouldn't be here, would we?" Obi-Wan scoffs. "But what makes you think it's from Kamino?"
"It ain't what's there that gives it away, it's what ain't there--a logo. Any maker of toxic weapons is required to put their seal on it, and bad guys will just use a fake one. But these Kaminoans, they like to keep to themselves. They're geneticists--damned good ones, too, so folks let 'em slide. Their logo is no logo."
"Kamino...doesn't sound familiar," says Obi-Wan, lying a little, "Is it part of the Republic?"
"Naw, it's beyond the Outer Rim. I'd say about twelve parsecs outside the Rishi Maze, toward the south. It should be easy enough to find, even for those droids in your archive."
"Are they friendly?"
"Well, it depends..."
"On what, Dex?"
Dex grins. "On how good your manners are...and how big your pocketbook is..."
Obi-Wan gives him a knowing smile.
"Say," says Dex, looking over Obi-Wan's shoulder, "Ain't that yer kid over there?" Obi-Wan turns to see Anakin taking a seat alone in a corner.
"Yeah. I hate to cut things short with you, Dex, but I should probably go say hi."
"Not a problem, I gotta go get ready for the lunch rush anyway," says Dex, wrenching himself out of his chair. "You stay out of trouble now, you hear?"
"You know me, Dex."
Dex returns to the kitchen, and Obi-Wan takes his tray over to Anakin's table. Anakin looks up at him wearily as he sits.
"So, the summit's over I take it?"
"Good to see you, too," says Obi-Wan, "And yes, with nothing accomplished. No surprise there. How's your training with Master Yoda going? Learning anything?"
"Hardly," snorts Anakin, "Master Yoda seems to be going out of his way to avoid teaching me anything. Today the younglings were paired up to practice duels and we had an odd number, so he told me just to stand to the side and wait. Just 'wait' and no other instruction. Never mind that I don't know why I'm stuck in a class with younglings in the first place. This is a total waste of time."
"Well, just think of it as a break from years of hard work," says Obi-Wan, furrowing his brow. "It can't be all that bad, and it's a great honor to train with Master Yoda."
"I don't want a break," says Anakin, "I want to be ordained a Knight."
"You will be," says Obi-Wan, "Patience."
"I know, I know," Anakin sighs, poking at his food with his fork, "Patience. I'm learning that lesson well enough. Am I going to be allowed to learn anything else while I'm here?"
"Whatever lesson Master Yoda is teaching you," says Obi-Wan, "You'll know when you've learned it, I promise you that much."
"I'd better," grumbles Anakin.
"So, tell me," says Obi-Wan, helping himself to a bite off Anakin's tray, "have you b'n shpending any thime wi' Padme?"
And just when Obi-Wan thought Anakin couldn't look more forlorn...