Star Wars
According To Jack

Episode I
The Phantom Menace

Scene 14: The Eternal Queen

The Senate Chamber engulfs the same enormous scale as everything else on Coruscant, its amphitheater bowl shingled with platforms for each of the thousands of sovereign planets of the Republic. Each platform is itself the size of a large conference room, comfortably sitting a couple dozen people in plush chairs.

Anakin sits with Palpatine in the front row of the Naboo platform. Craning his neck around, the boy sees that the rest of their platform is packed with the Senator's staff and other prominent Naboo citizens who were on Coruscant at the time of the invasion. Yet he sees no sign of the people who brought him here.

Palpatine pats him reassuringly on the leg. "They will be here when they're needed, don't worry. Honestly, the beginning is really boring."

Sure enough, when the Chancellor's platform rises in the center of the assembly and Velorum's holographic image flickers to life just beyond the ledge of every platform, none of the mumbling chatter subsides. It's as if the Chancellor walks through rote paces, and Anakin wonders to himself what the point of it is.

"Ahh, political tradition!" Palpatine sighs to himself, as if answering Anakin's unspoken question. "Almost makes you comfortable enough to talk face to face with the people trying to murder you, doesn't it?"

Finally, amidst the ritualistic words, Chancellor Velorum says, "The Chair recognizes the Senator from the sovereign system of Naboo."

"That's my cue!" Palpatine says, rising and walking to the edge of the platform. At every other platform, his own holographic image joins the Chancellor's.

"Supreme Chancellor, delegates of the Senate," he begins. "A tragedy has occurred on our peaceful system of Naboo. We have become caught in a dispute you're all well aware of, which began right here with the taxation of trade routes, and has now engulfed our entire planet in the oppression of the Trade Federation. To present our allegations, I..."

He hesitates, turning to look at the rear entrance to the platform, then at Anakin, then back to the Chancellor's hologram. "I present Amidala, the Eternal Queen of Naboo, to speak on our behalf."

The rear entrance opens, and in walks the Eternal Queen of Naboo. She is adorned in a glittering dress as dark as deep space. Her pale face stares out from a mane of black feathers with an expression hard as stone. As she walks forward, Anakin recognizes her immediately by the pendant around her neck.

It's Padme.

Palpatine returns to his seat beside Anakin, and the Queen's hologram replaces his own.

Another hologram appears. It is the serpentine Senator of the Trade Federation, Lott Dodd. "Thisss isss outrageoussss! I object!"

"The Chair does not recognize the Senator from the Trade Federation at this time!" scolds the Chancellor, but the Trade Federation hologram does not fade.

The Queen's voice bellows over the low rumble of questioning murmurs coming from every platform. "Honorable representatives of the Republic, distinguished delegates, and Your Honor Supreme Chancellor Velorum, I know the doubts that must now unsettle your mind. Yet know it is true, I am Queen Amidala."

"A deccception! A lie!"

The Chancellor disregards Senator Dodd. "Your Majesty, we received proof of your death from your own people. These proceedings were meant to initiate an inquiry into that event. do you explain yourself?"

"Since the birth of the Republic I have ruled Naboo as the Eternal Queen, always through the consent of my people. None have known the secret of my undying rule. Today, in order to secure our future, that must change." An abrupt silence falls across the entire assembly.

"Chancellor Velorum, earlier today you met me as a Handmaiden of Amidala. Now I must tell you that I am Amidala. My Handmaiden sisters are Amidala. We have been cloned throughout the centuries, always remembering who we are, forever reborn into a consciousness that spans a planet and never ends. We have been twelve by the side of the one in the light, and one hope hidden in shadow and secrecy.

"For all these years the people of Naboo have been peaceful, a shining gem on the crown of the Republic, offering our abundance without fear. All of this changed recently when Naboo was invaded--against all laws of the Republic--by the droid armies of the Trade Federation, and my thirteen sisters were slaughtered by the Viceroy himself."

"I object! There isss no proof!" Lott Dodd shouts above resumed murmuring.

"Overruled!" shouts Velorum, but they ignore him.

The Queen says, "Today we bring you proof of this invasion in abundance."

"Our occupatttion of your planet isss well known and perfectly legal. But thisss claim that you are Queen Amidala isss incredible. Queen Amidala isss dead. We demand a commissssion be formed to either confirm the exissstance of thisss cloning technology, or--more likely--demonssstrate that thisss woman isss an impossster!"

In his mind, Anakin hears Padme's whisper. "I need your help now, Ani." He isn't even surprised. It's as if she has always been in there listening, and as if he's long been waiting to hear her.

"THE TRUTH OF OUR CLAIM MAY BE VERIFIED BY ANYONE BORN OF NABOO." The unison chanting of every being born of Naboo startles the chamber into renewed silence. Delegates with Naboo-born aides stare at them in wonder as they stand up and say, "FOR SHE IS NABOO AND NABOO IS SHE."

The magic of the Queen's power hangs in the air, and for a moment nobody does anything. Then another hologram appears, a creature with three eyes on a red cowlike head. "The Congress of Malastare concurs with the honorable delegate from the Trade Federation. A commission must be appointed...that is the law."

The Chancellor begins to respond, but a blue figure with two long horns leans into the range of his holographic projection and whispers in his ear.

Palpatine leans over to Anakin and says, "Enter the bureaucrats, the true rulers of the Republic, and on the payroll of the Trade Federation, I might add. This is where Chancellor Velorum's strength will disappear."

The Chancellor sighs. "The point is conceded...Section 134A takes precedence here. Queen Amidala of the Naboo, will you defer your motion to allow a commission to be sent to explore the validity of your claims?"

The Queen speaks for herself now, but all those born of Naboo remain standing. "We will not defer! We have come before you to resolve this attack on our sovereignty NOW. We will not suffer and die while you discuss this invasion in a committee! When the bureaucracy of government allows such atrocity, it is incumbent upon the leadership to set aside formality and guide us towards what is right. If this body is not capable of action, we suggest new leadership is needed. In accordance with the rules governing this session, we move for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Velorum's leadership."

The Senate Chamber explodes with the shouts of thousands of delegates. The Vice Chancellor takes control of the proceedings and calls for order, but the shouting continues. Somewhere in there, Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan seconds the motion, and soon, through no magic of Amidala, most of the chamber is chanting, "Vote now! Vote now!"

Palpatine smiles and says to Anakin, "Now we will elect a new Chancellor--a strong Chancellor. One who will not let our tragedy continue."

Anakin is speechless and happy. He doesn't know exactly what the Queen has done here, but the wave of excitement passing through the Naboo platform and across the chamber makes it seem like they've just saved the galaxy.

"Well what's all this fuss about?"

Obi-Wan appears at Anakin's side. "Ben!" Anakin gives him a big hug. "The Queen just stood up to the Chancellor and the bureaucrats! The Senate is gonna stop the invasion!"

"Oh, yeah, I'm sure that will help!" Obi-Wan laughs. "Anakin, I hate to drag you away from all this fun, but the Jedi are ready for you now. Do you think--"

Before Obi-Wan can finish, Anakin turns to Palpatine and says, "I gotta go now!"

The Senator pauses in his applause to nod and wave goodbye, smiling with tenderness and joy.

In the hall beyond the Senate chamber, Obi-Wan leads Anakin up to a tall man with a conical forehead and a long white moustache. "Anakin Skywalker, I'd like you to meet Jedi Master Ki-Adi-Mundi. He'll be spending some time with you to evaluate your powers."

Anakin shakes the Jedi Master's hand and says, "I know your species. You're Cerean, right?"

"Well," Ki-Adi says in a soft and soothing voice, "I started that way." Across the great cone of his forehead open five more sets of eyes. Anakin gasps.

"I'll leave you two kids alone," says Obi-Wan, walking away. "See you in a few hours, Ani!"

Next Scene: The Vision of Ki-Adi-Mundi