Dec 04, 2022 8:09 AM
Kina Skywalker, just freed from Tatooine, must now struggle to survive Coruscanti politics.
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Between the silver towers of Coruscant, a simple yellow speeder races towards the Jedi Temple. For Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, it's a simple journey that they've taken time and time again, and neither are paying attention, Obi-Wan looking down at a device in his hand and Qui-Gon trying to meditate.

For Kina Skywalker, it's a little more intriguing.

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There's so much of it.  And so many things she thought she'd only see in magazines!  And - oh, that temple is beautiful.  Out of place, in the hustle and bustle, but perhaps that's the point.

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After the speeder comes to a stop, Qui-Gon steps from the vehicle, beckoning Obi-Wan and Kina to his sides as they walk forward. "We'll make a report to the Jedi Council. Kina, prepare yourself, as they'll be testing you in your knowledge of the Force. Although I doubt it'll be much trouble for you."

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"Master, I am concerned about her age," says Obi-Wan. "The Jedi don't typically take on anyone as old as her, even with her level of talent."

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"...Do I actually need to be a member of the Order to learn about the Force from a Jedi I might happen to associate with?"

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"The Order has much to teach you, some of which I might be unable to," says Qui-Gon. "But that won't be relevant, Kina, you're more than ready to join. I promise you, you will become a Jedi."

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"I - do want to point out that there are possible circumstances where I might not want to, but thank you; that's...your confidence is touching."

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"Why wouldn't you want to join the Jedi?" asks Obi-Wan.

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"Well, I don't know yet!  Though the sort of problems I think are most likely to come up are generally to do with the restrictions placed on your actions by virtue of being agents of the Republic, if there are not problems with Jedi culture and I not getting along.  I know the Republic is better than Hutt space, but...I don't think it's all that good, with the way Naboo's been left to suffer for monetary gain.  And Sith."

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"Naboo wasn't the Jedi's fault!" Obi-Wan says. "The Trade Federation invaded them, not the Republic! We're trying to help!"

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"It's not the Jedi's fault, no.  It's the Republic's fault, for being so blatantly, blindly corrupt that it's tearing itself into power blocs in real time, for hamstringing the Jedi Order to the point that even attacks upon its diplomats by Trade Federation forces will not be permitted any response if it's not unambiguously Sith.  And it's probably the Sith's fault too, though that is as far as I know just my pessimism flaring up."

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Qui-Gon winces; she's starting to sound like Dooku at this point, and that isn't a direction he wants her to go. "Kina, I don't deny that the Republic isn't as virtuous as it once was. But the Jedi are trying as hard as possible to improve the galaxy from inside the law, and I wouldn't want you to be too disappointed in us based on what you see in the Senate."

By now, they've entered the Jedi Temple, walking down an enormous stone corridor, adorned by towering metal pillars and illuminated by a soft orange glow. The halls are filled with Jedi, one reading, one meditating surrounded by hovering stones, one teaching a group of younglings... and there, on the platform at the end of the hall, stands Master Windu.

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"Master Jinn," says Windu, looking them over. "I'm told the negotiations failed."

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"Yes, it seems the Trade Federation's idea of a negotiation is poison gas and destroyer droids. We've had quite an eventful journey. This here," he gestures to Kina, "is Kina Skywalker, and I'm hoping to bring her into the Order. She's the Chosen One, she learned to use the Force at a standard level in about a week, and she helped us defeat one of the other interesting people we met, a Sith Lord."

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"If that wasn't enough, we also stowed away on a Trade Federation ship, met the leader of the Gungans, entered Kina into a Podrace, and we brought the Queen of Naboo with us," says Qui-Gon, a wry smile on his face.

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"And we found some former slaves hiding in our ship, we looked into the past through a lightsaber, and we were attacked by an Opee sea killer, but it was eaten by the bigger fish - "

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"That's enough, Master Jinn," says Windu, starting to recover. "I think the Council will want to hear of this."

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Kina shakes her head, because Qui-Gon has her angle wrong.  "...You are doing virtuous things, Qui-Gon.  I want to enable the Jedi to be able to do more virtuous things; that need not necessarily be something that touches on the Senate at all - I just think that most of the things I think the Jedi could do more of, are likely being blocked by the Senate.  Like slave rescues."

Then, they arrive.

"...oh.  Oh, wow."  Her eyes are wide as she just basks in the sheer wonder of it all, though, in due time, the lightsaber on her hip reminds her of material concerns.

"...Master Windu."  She gives a polite little bow.  "It's a pleasure to meet you.  I've heard your name before, and attached to good things.

Qui-Gon has been very insistent that I'd want to join the Order; now that I'm here, I can see why.  I'm also...told you likely have objections to me joining, but all I've heard for why was that I'm too old - and that sounds like it's a rule that's really far away from what caused it, so if I may ask a question before meeting the Jedi Council...why do Jedi need to join the Order young?"

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"Sometimes it's harder for older kids to accept certain things that the Jedi teach," says Windu, most of his attention on other matters. "Master Jinn, what is this about a Sith Lord?"

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"He showed up after the podrace, blew into the Queen's vessel on a speeder bike, and tried to kill Obi-Wan and Master Jinn especially; he failed, but by bare margins and with a fair bit of luck.  He felt awful.  And someone had...broken him."

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"Zabrak, probably a Nightbrother, not very old, in frequent communications with Coruscant and Naboo, and my guess is his master's still out there. He had severe psychological damage, which seemed to be a part of how he drew from the Force. We got this from his lightsaber," and he gestures to Kina.

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Windu stops, looking at the saber on Kina's belt. "You gave her the lightsaber? You gave a kid a f...amously dangerous weapon, that you say belonged to a Sith?!"

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"It adopted me, it wasn't my idea.  Admittedly poking it with the Force was, but...we needed to do something."

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They've reached the Council by now. When they open the door, they see Yoda near the right of the group, next to Windu's open chair. "Master Windu!" says Yoda, smiling. "Guests, it appears we now have. Qui-Gon, an interesting journey you seem to have had, hmm?

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