Jan 27, 2023 12:51 PM
Kina Skywalker is a strange child. Clever, and much better at machinery and numbers than people. There's also some external agency offering her helpful nudges from time to time, but she really doesn't know why it picked her. She's about to find out.
Next Post »
Permalink

To most of Tatooine, they're only a typical band of travelers. Dusty robes, sand and dirt and grease, particularly on the Gungan; weary under the hot suns; looking down and trying not to be noticed.

If you were a little more observant, you might notice that something is off about this group. That the bearded man carries himself with the stance of a warrior, that when his robes are at just the right angle you can see a silver cylinder hanging from his belt, with the intricate mechanisms of a Jedi lightsaber. That the Gungan, when not tripping over his feet, is staring at the man with a stare of admiration, a look that seems to say the man had done something for him that he was desperate to repay. That the astromech, beneath the sand, is made of the finest metal, fitting the exact design of the Naboo royal droids. And if you were particularly knowledgeable about the workings of the Naboo, aware of things that even the Jedi Master hadn't noticed beyond a vexing sense that something was off, you might notice that the girl in the handmaiden's robes very closely resembled the queen Amidala.

Total: 114
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

In a sense, Watto is observant, but the things he notices are limited to his specific area of expertise. He doesn't see the lightsaber, because the only thing he checks the belt for is money. He doesn't look beyond the handmaiden's robes to the girl's face, because he's already analyzing the robes, calculating how much they cost, how wealthy she must be, how much he can jack up his prices without her noticing. He notices the behaviors of the Gungan, and while he clearly isn't as rich or elegant as the girl - is that poo he stepped in? - he does appear to be idiotic enough to fall easily to a con. And the thoughts of the dealer upon seeing that beautiful droid... well, that should go without question.

Permalink

"Hi chuba da nago?"

Permalink

"I need parts for a J-type 327 Nubian."

Permalink

"Ah, yes, ah, yes," says Watto, trying to remember how much Nubian parts usually sell for, and how much higher his own prices are. "Nubian. We have lots of that. What kinda junk?" Actually, does he have much of that? Where's the kid? "Peedunkey, naba dee unko!" he shouts towards the back of the shop.

Permalink

In a sense, Kina Skywalker is blind to the nuances Watto notices.  In another sense, she is able to pick up on certain things Watto wouldn't even think to check.  And in a third sense, it's not her paying attention that matters, anyway.  The nudge to be seen by Watto's newest customers is what she pays attention to, because so far it hasn't steered her wrong, even if it's only obvious looking back, half the time.  Maybe they're the sort to take pity on a grubby child working machines, and give her a little extra food, because she's a growing boy, she needs her nutrients.  Maybe they'll give her something she can barter with if she's helpful, and maybe Watto won't take it.  She doesn't truly consider the possibility of freedom.  Whoever these customers are, she's ultimately owned by the Hutt, like Watto's shop is, no matter that Watto 'won her in a bet', and the Hutt wields more power than they choose to or can, or they wouldn't be in this shop.  They'd be somewhere else.  Getting things she probably will never have, like fruit, which sucks, but she can't do anything about it.  She just sorts the junk bins, tinkers in the wastes, and dreams of flying away.

The droid, though...Her eyes widen in surprise as she sets eyes on an R2 unit.  Watto doesn't read the trade flimsis very much, but Threepio taught her how to and she does sometimes and that's...What is a droid like that doing here, in Watto's junk shop?  She has to know.  Knowledge is power.  And if she's ever going to break her chains, she's going to need power.  So she's going to seek knowledge.  And incidentally avoid irritating Watto more than being Watto irritates Watto, as her feet patter along the floor and through the door right on cue.

Permalink

Watto's surprised to see Kina there already, but not too surprised - she always seems to know what he's going to say before even he knows it. "Ganda doe wallya, me dwana no bata," he barks, and then turns to the man, who seems to be the leader of the group. "How about you and me take a look out back, yes?"

Permalink

Qui-Gon follows, stopping only to slap Jar Jar's hand away from a device on the wall.

Permalink

Kina nods at Watto's order, and makes thankful eyes at Qui-Gon as he slaps down Jar-Jar.  She'll mind the shop, not like she has any choice.  Maybe the droid will stay here and she can ask it questions!  Maybe...why do you want me to pay attention to the pretty lady, mysterious force, there's a droid!  It's a cool droid!  Is it her droid?  ...It is?  Cooooool.

(No, Jar-Jar, you do not fondle the splindar multiplexer.  If you do that just wrong you'll unleash the charge built up in the plasma capacitors (because the sandstorms are way too literal and Watto's too cheap to get proper doors even when she leaves the flimsis open to pages showing horrible industrial accidents from sandstorm-related ionization, it's a threat to your bottom line, why aren't you listening), and fry everything in four meters.  She's thought about frying her bomb like that.  The mysterious force looking over her shoulder didn't say it was a bad idea so she can at least be confident it's not going to explode if she does, but she doesn't have anywhere to go if she does.)

Watto's gone, with the guy who had the really intricate thingy under his robes.  Looked kinda like a plasma torch but it was all wibbly in a way she hadn't seen before.  Now's her chance.  The lady who's also here is looking at her...oh no she doesn't know how to conversation she's in uncharted waters why is she risking this - her mouth operates on autopilot.  "Hi!  You're really pretty!  And your droid's cool!  An R2 class astromech is kinda fancy though so umm it's good that he's all sandy and hard to tell apart from cheaper models right now, someone might try and take him otherwise, and that would be bad!  You don't want to have to go hunt your astromech droid out here!  You might get hurt or just lose him and be stuck forever and ever and you don't want to be stuck here!  I don't think anyone who's out here really wants to be, actually; they just don't really have better options...The spacers I talk to sometimes have contracts 'enforced by the Blaster Superior Court', I can't leave or I'd blow up and they'd probably kill my mom too and I'd be very sad about that and maybe really mad too.  If I survived.  Which I probably wouldn't.  'cause, uh, bomb.  It goes boom and I'm all chunky goop, probably."  Sadface, go.  Living here sucks.  And...she really wants to know this, so, "...Why are you here, if you've got an R2 and a Nubian?  If you wanna tell me.  You don't go here, you go up to the Hutt places, where people that fancy are supposed to be!  I can understand if it's a secret...there's a lot of people who don't want to talk about stuff like that.  But you're a nice people and most of those people are mean people."

Permalink

"Um..."

Not sure how to respond, Padmé begins to laugh, trying to process everything the girl said. Her expression falters, and Padmé immediately tries to backtrack. "Oh, no, I didn't - sorry, I, uh..." She looks to her side and sees R2. "Oh, this is R2-D2." Artoo lets out a soft warble. "We just arrived on this planet, our ship sustained some damage and - " And then the other thing the girl had said sinks in, and Padmé blurts out, "Wait, blow you up? Are you a slave?"

Permalink

She blinks as R2-D2 is introduced to her.  Like a person.  A free person.  The droids she's seen, every so often...they weren't treated like any more of a people than she is.  "...yeah.  Gardulla used to own me.  She's a Hutt.  Then Watto 'won' me off her in a bet, but it's not like he runs the radio beacon so honestly if Gardulla wanted me back he wouldn't have much of a chance of keeping me.  Maybe Gardulla wouldn't get me either but he'd still...be out.  ...You're nice to the people you own.  I think I'd prefer you owning me over Watto or Gardulla.  Gardulla doesn't like kids."

She whistles quietly as she polishes another part.  <Query: Quality true?  Holo accurate?  Sensor accurate?> is encoded within the sound, in a bastardization of the tongue that hopefully Artoo will pick up on, a secret message to the other being potentially in chains.  Almost no-one bothers learning Binary.  This is not smart of them, because that means that people who do know it can talk without the masters hearing a thing in a way that seems coincidental, but she's going to keep this advantage to herself.

Permalink

That's unusual! A human who speaks binary, especially at that age! R2 replies in the affirmative.

Permalink

"I'm sorry," she says. "Where I'm from, we don't have slavery. I thought that the Republic had abolished it by now." She looks around for something else to change the subject to, and then hears a crash from behind her.

Permalink

"Oh, nooey!" Jar Jar is now hanging onto a pit droid, which had been off two seconds ago, but somehow turned on after he had pressed that button. "Deesa no goin good! Yousa hep meeeee!" The droid stumbles from side to side, slamming Jar Jar into a wall and sending parts clattering across the floor. "Ouch! Ouch! Deesa mackaneek bombad!"

Permalink

Kina gives R2 an appreciative nod, and then, almost as if she saw it coming, catches one of the parts flung about by the pit droid's fumbling execution of programming it shouldn't even have been running but was anyway - probably because of more of Watto's cheapskatery - and wings that part right at the droid's off button.

"Yousa no touch meckaneek, meckaneek no be bombad!"

"Now help by no touch.  Touch makes things be bombad."

Not that she expects the Gungan to actually listen, but she has to try to get them to perhaps not make keeping Watto less mad even harder, as she scurries about to try and put everything back on its shelves.  She will accept the high probability that they mess something else up and move on, then change what she can.  "...This isn't Republic space, miss.  It's Hutt space.  The Hutts rule here.  I wish they didn't, but...wishing alone won't get me anywhere, and I haven't figured out how to get anything else to work without things I don't have.  It sounds like a nice place, this Republic of yours.  Or at least a nicer place than this.  Something drove you to jump here, after all, and that wasn't nice, to drive someone here.  Here is a horrible place."

Permalink

"We were actually traveling towards Coruscant, but we were shot at by..." She can't really say a Trade Federation battleship blockading my planet, can she. "Some nasty people. That's why we're here, to buy a hyperdrive. Hopefully Qui-Gon can work out a deal."

Permalink

Ostensibly, Qui-Gon is looking through Watto's junkyard, and listening to him describe the qualities of his T-14 hyperdrive. In actuality, his attention is still on the girl from inside the shop. Something about her had seemed to pull his attention, a magnet around which the Force seemed to bend. It wasn't just a Force-sensitive kid - he had seen plenty of those over the years, but none, not even Obi-Wan, had exuded quite the same amount of energy. The lines of the old prophecy were running through his head: A Chosen One shall come, born of no fath - oh, the dealer's talking, right.

Permalink

"You awake?!" snaps Watto. "I said, how ya payin' for this?"

Permalink

"I have - " 30,000 "20,000 Republic dataries."

Permalink

Watto gives a fierce chuckle. "Republic credits? Republic credits are no good out here. I need something more real."

Permalink

"If credits don't work," she mentions (to Padme) in a quiet voice, "...try gambling.  You're already stuck here, so you've got quite a lot to bet, what with an entire Nubian J-327 to ante," which she is still shocked about, "plus whatever else you have onboard because you're clearly too rich to know better than to look it, and Watto's always making bets.  He bets against me at the podraces.  Boonta Eve Classic's coming real soon.  ...And I mean, I don't, can't, win, because then he'd be, upset, even if him-upset isn't as bad as Gardulla-upset...but I could.  If my mom and I weren't going to get hurt over it."

Please, please, let this work.

Permalink

Qui-Gon raises his hand, beginning the all too familiar process of entering Watto's mind, and then pauses. The voice inside his head is speaking out again, telling him that... what is it telling him? Is it objecting because of the ethics, as if a slave owner deserved to be fairly dealt with? Or is it something else, something more - "I'm sorry, could you hold on a second?" he says, and he stumbles away, landing against a wrecked vehicle, with his head pounding.

Permalink

"Hey, you get offa that!" Watto snarls. "Podracer's broken enough as it is!"

Permalink

"Oh?" he says on autopilot. "If it's a podracer you want, I have one for sale."

No, he doesn't. Why did he just say he had a podracer when he doesn't have a podracer.

Permalink

"What, and you want to trade it for the hyperdrive?" laughs Watto. "I'm not that desperate. Besides, my pilot's just as broken as the racer - oh, speak of the devil."

Permalink

And lo, a Kina appears, eyeing Qui-Gon with undisguised curiosity and significant concern before schooling her face into the chirpy helpful mask she adopts around Watto.  "I don't think I'm broken, Master Watto!  And I'm pretty sure Sebulba's fine now too, he was all snarly at me like usual instead of just grumbly.  Was there something you wanted, sirs?"

Total: 114
Posts Per Page: