Star Wars
According To Jack

Episode I
The Phantom Menace

Scene 12: Anakin's Fall

Anakin clings for dear life to the small ball of a droid. The droid flaps its wings furiously, but they are still losing altitude. Gripping the droid tightly in one hand, he uses the other to flip open its control panel hatch. Underneath, a display panel flashes the red droid symbol for self-destruct mode.

"That's not good!" Anakin lets go and the droid zips away just in time before disintegrating into a puff of smoke.

Now Anakin is in free fall. Once again, it takes him a moment to adjust to the scale of his surroundings; his progress relative to the mountain of buildings is so slow that it doesn't seem like he's falling at all. Despite his dire circumstances, he cracks a wide grin and lets forth a whoop of joy, spreading his arms as he faces the clouds beneath him. He's going to be a Jedi. He can handle this.

Yet Ben's voice nags from the back of his mind. "Too high for me to jump..."

"Well," Anakin says to himself, "Guess I'll just have to make sure I don't go all the way down."

It's taking him long enough to fall that he doesn't feel rushed, so he decides to experiment. His heart is racing but he's bursting with self-confidence, so it doesn't take him long to center his attention on his powers. With every fiber of his being, he commands the Force, "FLY!"

He thinks that perhaps he feels the wind whip strangely for a moment, but there is no discernable change in his course. He decides to be a bit less ambitious.


It seems to work, as the rushing air feels less powerful and more like a cushion, but as far as he can tell, he's still descending. It's a start. Next he tries, "LEFT!"

He begins to drift toward one of the taller peaks in the clouds; as he draws nearer, their edges lose all distinct shape and the sky begins to fog around him. He could get lost quickly in here.

"Right! RIGHT!"

Now he's getting worried. The floor of clouds is accelerating towards him, and he fears that once he reaches them, he'll be done for. He sees the sparkling line of skyway aircars within range, and he steers himself toward it.

THWUMP! He lands on a vehicle and sends it veering down with him; he leaps from it as it spins out with a trail of smoke.

He lands on the hood of a second car, looks back at the first and shouts, "Sorry!"

He looks through the windshield of his new hitched ride, and nearly jumps out of his skin when he sees the driver. A large spherical white head rests on a neck that disappears below the steering wheel; big round saucers of eyes stare into his own. The driver opens a tiny slit of a mouth to bare two rows of pin sharp teeth. The steering wheel turns, the car flips upside down, and Anakin is falling again.

He lands in the passenger seat of a convertible with its top down. Its driver is even stranger than the previous; a hunched up creature with a horselike head, gripping the steering wheel with both hands and prehensile feet.

"Pudu!" the driver spits a curse at him, and pulls back one of those large paws.

THUNK! Anakin recoils from the blow. Blinded by pain, he doesn't even realize he's returned the punch until after he's done so. They scuffle, weaving in and out of traffic, Anakin dodging a frenzy of flying extremities until he's able to firmly clock the creature in the head and it passes out.

The convertible tips into a nosedive.

Anakin shoves the comatose creature aside and wedges himself into the driver's seat. He knows how an aircar is supposed to work, and he's repaired them plenty of times, but he's only been allowed to drive one once or twice, and he doesn't recognize the dashboard configuration at all.

"Let's see what this button does!"

The ship begins to spin.

"Wrong button!"

He punches a few more buttons, but only manages to extend the roof. Finally he pulls a lever that seems to need pulling, and the vehicle tilts back up.

"That was close. UH-OH!" The skyway above him disappears into a tunnel in the side of a massive cliff of buildings that he's about to hit. He yanks at the steering wheel, dinging the back end of the car on the corner of the tunnel, just barely making it through.

"Whoo-boy! This is tense!"

He bobs between cars and cuts some very close turns. The neon-trimmed walls of the tunnel race past him, and his entire attention focuses on not hitting them. Other cars swerve to avoid him.

He misses a turn by a smidge, and the front power coupling gets knocked off, dangling by a wire as it thumps against the side of the speeding aircar. He rolls down the window and stretches his arm out to try and fix it without letting go of the steering wheel, but he can't reach. He stretches some more, and the power coupling appears to jump back into place of its own accord.

"Hey!" he says, looking at his hand. "Check that out!"

He pops out of the tunnel and into a wide valley between buildings. Getting the hang of the controls, he slows and drops below the traffic line to get his bearings.

"Now to land this thing!"

He descends, and begins to make out the shapes of individual aliens mingling on the street below. Not wanting to hurt any of them, he spots a mostly empty alley and turns into it. Only after he turns does he see the dead end.

He covers his face with his arms and wills himself to live.

There's spinning and crashing and darkness.

Anakin feels pressed in on all sides, but unhurt. He shifts and feels an unexpected rustle all around him. He closes his hand around several small foam balls; he's surrounded by them. He finds the door latch and opens it. He and the driver and hundreds of foam balls spill out into the street.

He scrambles to his feet. The car is totaled; its hood crumpled into a wall. As he backs away from the steaming wreck, increasingly strange creatures gather in a circle around the scene, with bug eyes and lizard skin and too many heads, each one different. At his heel, the car's former driver stirs and begins to groan.

Anakin stumbles for a moment, disoriented and confused, and finally has a chance to be afraid. Backing away from the crowd, he turns and runs.

Next Scene: Use of Force