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Mission to Typha-Dor

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The Mission to Typha-Dor took place in 25 BBY.

Soon after their mission to Mawan, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and his sixteen-year-old Padawan Anakin Skywalker were assigned a new mission by Jedi High Council member Master Mace Windu to the planet Typha-Dor, whose rulers had pleaded for the Galactic Senate's help.

Prelude to peaceEdit

Vanqor—the largest planet in the Uziel system—was, in 25 BBY, aggressively pursuing an expansionist policy of invasion. Vanqor was poised to attack and invade Uziel's last free planet, Typha-Dor. The system's resistance fighters, having pooled together a coalition from the ranks of its worlds, were able to find refuge on Typha-Dor and were staunchly determined to 'hold out' against Vanqor's colonization efforts—its imminent, though unwarranted, invasion.

To assist in reconnoitering the enemy fleet's secret movements, Typha-Dor had set up a surveillance outpost at an obscure location, upon a remote and nameless moon—known only by its coordinates, TY44. The satellite's packed snow and ice made it almost impossible, however, to get crews in and out. The resistance fighters knew that the Vanqors were close to discovering the crew's hidden post. It was therefore critical that news of the enemy's plans and the orders to abandon the post reach the crew, which had not been heard from in weeks. Their comm units were perhaps down—or worse, they'd already been attacked.

It thus became the Jedi team's mission to ascertain the situation as well as the threat and, if possible, to rescue the ten-member TY44 outpost crew, and return them safely back home.

Kenobi and Skywalker had been dispatched by the Jedi Council alone in this endeavor, as the Order's ranks were being stretched ever thinner by the mounting crises and threats to peace that were developing throughout the galaxy. Anakin, moreover, was still trying to recover emotionally and spiritually from the death of Master Yaddle on Mawan. He had last seen her held tightly by the Force, suspended above him in a night crowded with stars. Having absorbed the power of a bomb with her body, she'd saved an entire population—and was now one with the Force.[1]

Skywalker had attended Yaddle's memorial service in the Great Hall of the Jedi Temple, and at that time the enormity of her absence threatened to swallow him whole. He had blamed himself for Yaddle's death, and he could not reveal to those present the emotion of his grief, which seemed to coil about his chest like a great serpent, squeezing the air from his lungs. Neither could Anakin forgive himself for the mistakes he'd made. Indeed, he didn't know how he ever might get to a place where he could forgive himself. Unlike his Master, Anakin had not been able to find a way to live comfortably with grief. Somehow after Qui-Gon's death, Obi-Wan had been able to continue steadily on. Anakin felt that, because of this, perhaps his Master didn't feel things as deeply as he did; that he perhaps felt far too much to ever be a Jedi. For he hadn't yet been able to achieve the distance from the Living Force that other Jedi were able to maintain. Anakin felt therefore that he needed to find a way to shut out his feelings, to seal off or close a door on them, and then possibly be able to press forward.

The missionEdit

Arrival on TY44Edit

"We are coming up on the Uziel system. We might run into Vanqor patrols when we come out of hyperspace."
"You look worried, Master."
"Not worried. Cautious. ...Well, maybe worried, too. I think the Council should have sent more than one Jedi team on this mission. It's a sign of how thin we are stretched ... Our best chance for success is slipping through undetected. We'll have to rely on your talent for evasive flying."
"I'll do my best."
"You always do.
"
―Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and his 16-year-old Padawan Anakin Skywalker.[src]

Throughout their hyperspace journey, ever since they'd left the Core in a Galan starfighter, the Master-Padawan team were silent. They hadn't spoken, as they flew on navcomputer, headed for the Outer Rim sector of Sertar. Their muted companionship and thoughtful reflection emanated, in part, from Yaddle's deeply felt passing; in part, from the widening expanse of a relationship marred by loss of trust. Though Obi-Wan, through gentle humor and small gestures of encouragement, sought to help Anakin, his Padawan spurned that help. And Anakin himself did not know why. Now, as they approached the gray, clouded satellite-moon above Typha-Dor, Anakin looked forward to what promised to be a difficult mission—one he could "lose himself in."[2]

Easing out of hyperspace, the small starfighter was almost immediately detected by the radar of a large gunship fitted with quad-laser cannons and concussion missiles. Evading the turbolaser cannonfire and tracking missiles, the Jedi dropped through heavy cloud cover to the moon. Landing among its snowy glaciers, they fitted themselves with survival gear, stepped out into the silent cold and wrapped their ship in a camouflage of white tarp.

They started out over the frozen landscape covered in thin ice. Obi-Wan's mind wandered to brood on the tall, silent boy at his side: when he was Anakin's age, the death of a Jedi Master had seemed to him inconceivable. One so strong in the Force as Qui-Gon Jinn he believed could cheat death. He knew better now, of course, having seen Jedi Masters fall. Yarael Poof had recently been lost to the Jedi Council, and now Yaddle (who, Kenobi was convinced, had foreseen her own death). Growing lawlessness in the galaxy had made it a rougher and harder place. Obi-Wan's own growing caution, he could sense, would one day conflict with the desires of his headstrong apprentice, but he could not stop what he saw would be inevitable. Yaddle's death had increased the distance between him and his Padawan, had changed them both. At the same time, Anakin's pure connection to the Force meant that Obi-Wan, in some ways, had little that he could teach him.

In other ways, there was still so much that he could offer his young, powerful apprentice. For being a Jedi was far more than commanding the Force—it demanded the inner serenity needed to access it in the best way. Yaddle's death had shaken Kenobi to the core: was it possible that Anakin had too much power? But Obi-Wan could not give up on his Padawan, nor on trying to find a moment to address the tension between them; he would not allow this concern to get lost in the galaxy's teeming troubles or the chaos that surrounded them.

Outpost saboteurEdit

"We are Jedi, sent by Typha-Dor ... You must be Shalini."
"So our leaders have remembered we exist..."
"But where are the rest? There are supposed to be ten of you."
"Not anymore ... We had a saboteur in our midst.
"
―Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and Shalini, crew leader of the TY44 outpost.[src]

Having walked silently through kilometers of icy snow, Anakin and Obi-Wan felt like frozen jujasickles. But through the wind-ruffled snowflakes their electrobinoculars could at last make out the mountain-range outpost rising from the moon's glaciers. And while they took great care to avoid detection by the Vanqors, so that the outpost's location remain hidden from enemy eyes, they suddenly heard a distant explosion behind them: the enemy had blown up their starship. Now the Jedi's stay on the moon might be much longer than they'd hoped. Through blizzard and deepening shadows, Kenobi and Skywalker made the punishing trek up the glaciers toward the outpost as temperatures began to fall with the coming night. Cable launchers, thermal gloves and gear were indispensable, but their limbs still felt frozen by the time they reached what should have been the holdout's coordinates. Anakin was the first to perceive the location of the hidden station. Covered in ice, its outer fasçade made of thick white material that could withstand extreme cold without cracking, the TY44 surveillance outpost appeared at first as nothing more than a massive ice wall. But then the ice groaned, and there appeared out of the glacier-face opening a slender human female with silvery eyes holding a well-aimed blasterShalini, the crew leader.

As the Jedi were led by Shalini into the holdout, Kenobi advised her that the leaders of Typha-Dor had tried to reach them but that the surveillance group's comm unit was down. It had been down for over a month, Shalini confirmed, because of a saboteur among them. With lights illuminating at half-power, the Jedi soon beheld a room of weapons racks, surveillance and data equipment, a blaster-fire damaged communications console—and four other blaster-wielding crew members aiming their weapons their way. Setting them at ease, Shalini introduced her crew to the Jedi: Mezdec, husband of Shalini and first officer, but now also comm officer (after Samdew, the alleged saboteur, had been shot and killed when Mezdec discovered him attempting to transmit intelligence to the Vanqor fleet); Thik, a weak-looking man; Rajana, a muscular woman; and Olanz, a tall, balding man. Kenobi and Skywalker shared with the crew, who were almost out of provisions, the extra protein pack rations they'd brought with them as they listened to the rest of Mezdec and Shalini's story.

Mezdec explained that Samdew—their crucial, but now traitorous, senior information systems analyst—had destroyed their comm system right after the crew had discovered the Vanqor invasion plans. He'd also sabotaged their transport. It was in the middle of the night that Mezdec caught the saboteur, who was at the comm console, attempting to send his first treacherous communication to the Vanqor fleet (before then, he'd strictly been in "deep cover," just until the crew had learned something vital by cracking Vanqor's code). Realizing he was a spy, Mezdec said he blasted the console, not wanting to kill the man, but when Samdew turned toward him, he blasted him in the chest. Rajana and Thik, hearing the shots, next rushed in, whereupon Samdew, who'd fallen, shot Thik in the knee. Rajana then entered and fired the fatal shot, killing Samdew. What none of them knew was that, before he died, the saboteur activated the fire system, which put it into lockdown and sucked all the oxygen out of the sleeping quarters. He'd disabled the warning siren but not the procedure, which killed the other sleeping members of the crew, who all suffocated (for, with Samdew's undercover mission ended, it was easiest for him just to eliminate the crew). They were dead before anyone knew what had happened; all the crew members, of course, were meant to have been targeted—all originally were meant to die in their beds.

Shalini handed Kenobi a small disk to momentarily look at: it contained the details of the enemy's plans—troop movements, coordinates, invasion sites. Getting the information to Typha-Dor was now critical. Having destroyed the Jedi starship, it was only a matter of time before the Vanqors found the surveillance outpost. Mezdec, a good mechanic, had yet been unable to fix their sabotaged transport. "Let me try," offered Anakin—a genius at fixing the unfixable.

Precarious partingsEdit

"We don't have much [fuel]. I ran our options through the computer. The only way to get to Typha-Dor is by the shortest route. That's going to bring us right into Vanqor airspace."
"This just keeps getting better ... We'll have to risk it.
"
―Jedi Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi at the TY44 satellite surveillance outpost.[src]
Despite the crew's lack of confidence in Kenobi's Padawan to fix a ship that the very competent Mezdec could not fix in the more than six weeks he worked on it, Obi-Wan would not lose faith. They ignored his attempts to instill hope and make more positive the outpost ambient as they argued among themselves about what (with the probable failure of the transport repair) should be their next best step. They suggested arming themselves and returning to the site of the Jedi transport explosion to check for salvageable parts or supplies; they briefly considered splitting up, with half going to the transport and the rest staying behind. But the risks of ambush and capture, or starvation and death, were too great. With the crew's long duration of more than a year spent cooped up together—with the Vanqors hunting them, a saboteur in their midst, and the fear of not making it off-moon—Obi-Wan could understand the tension and the testiness of 'short fuses' among them, but he wasn't too keen on having to listen to it.

He excused himself to check on Anakin's repair progress in the back hangar. His Padawan had pinpointed the transport's problem in a failed power generator: transfer wires from the sublight engine had fused together, completely blowing the fusion system. While he could replace the transfer wires, doing so would trigger a response—the ship would explode. But Anakin was stumped: after all, why would Samdew disable the ship completely, not allowing himself an 'escape hatch,' as it were? If he killed all the crew, how would he get off-moon? A competent spy would never just assume rescue by those whom he worked for, that everything would go as planned. The Jedi deduced, therefore, that he had to have rigged a repair solution for the ship—they just didn't know yet what it was. But Kenobi admired Anakin's prodigious skills and focus as they worked together to find it: it was as if the engine were an ailing organism that Anakin was coaxing back to life.

Medzec had come in to converse with Anakin briefly about the repairs before the young Jedi tested the outcome of his labors: the transport roared to life again. But starting it was just the beginning—he couldn't restore full power. Skywalker had to juice up the generator by bypassing the deflector shields and weapons delivery system. Their defenses, including turbolasers, were incapacitated. Their journey would be slow, rough, and exposed. And they were low on fuel, too, which would force them to take the shortest route to Typha-Dor through Vanqor airspace, unfortunately.

Even with the odds stacked against them, Obi-Wan marveled at his Padwan's good humor and smile, at being challenged: joking together, the mischief seen in the young man's eyes lightened Obi-Wan's heart. It was a glimpse of the boy he once knew—who could fix things, who had yet to understand and was untroubled by his great personal gifts, who believed in a galaxy of dreams that could come true. "I can't let him lose that spirit. I can't let him lose the boy he was." Their tension eased just a bit in that light moment, but when he saw sadness again in Anakin's eyes, Kenobi realized that the 'fix' had only been momentary. Things ran too deep now to hope for a more permanent fix between them; such was no longer possible, it seemed.

The shelter now empty, its comm and surveillance suites destroyed, along with their files, to deny any use they might be to the Vanqors, the crew was ready for takeoff. But it was one that would not be smooth. The ship shook as it rose through the hangar's retractable roof, then it shuddered over the icy wasteland before shooting into the upper atmosphere.

Crash by treacheryEdit

"If [Mezdec] was close enough to blast the panel to leave scorch marks, wouldn't you think he'd be close enough to stop Samdew without shooting? Why did he have a blaster, anyway? He said he'd been sleeping, and it was the middle of the night ... Anyway, the point is that he lied..."
"So Samdew could have been shooting at Mezdec because
Mezdec was the spy. But what about Samdew activating the fire system?"
"We only have Mezdec's word for that, too ... We only have Mezdec's word for everything, including the disabled transport.
"
―Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker discuss treachery while flying in Uziel airspace in the TY44 outpost crew's repaired transport.[src]

Looking at the ship's radar, they were safe so far. But Anakin wanted a closer look at the instruments, and so left Rajana at the controls. Mezdec, at the navigation console, sat next to her. Anakin wanted to run a full status check, including a manual one, as takeoff had pulled power from key systems and he wanted to avoid malfunctions. Oddly enough, in running the manual check, he found an indicator green on three power feeds on the escape pod, which showed, moreover, as having two anti-grav generators. In asking Mezdec about it, he said that the pod was upgraded with an extra anti-grav to serve, should the need arise, as a primary transport back to Typha-Dor, and that Samdew had sabotaged it as well. But his 'explanation' still didn't explain the extra generator and three power feeds, or why there was no console indicator of these things on the auto-check. Mezdec's response was that the feed indicators were in the pod itself. Nodding, and promising to check it out, then, Anakin retired to the rear of the ship, to discuss the matter with his Master.

Easing into the seat next to Obi-Wan, he told him he'd found Samdew's back door: the pod was double-boosted, something very unusual for this model of ship, and the indicators didn't run through the main cabin's sensor array. Anakin told Kenobi, too, that there wouldn't have been any takeoff problem to begin with if he had checked the pod, for he could have rewired the ship by sucking power from the pod to the transport, then lifted off with full power. Nothing could be done now that they were in flight, but why hadn't Mezdec caught this? He was a skilled mechanic with more than a month to fix it. Obi-Wan responded that something else had bothered him as well: Mezdec's blast at the comm console was from such a distance that it couldn't have left scorch marks on the panel. When Anakin countered with the spoken testimony of the other crew members and pointed out that Samdew shot Thik, his Master reminded Anakin that he was giving his impression of events, not what was actually said. Anakin, in reviewing the precise conversation of the sequence of events with his Jedi-mind, realized then that a dying Samdew was actually shooting at Mezdec when he shot Thik, who had merely gotten in the way. What's more, they really only had Mezdec's word, Kenobi told him, about virtually everything connected with the story. None of the crew witnessed anything beyond Thik's wounding.

Suddenly Shalini had joined them, asking if all was well. She became defensive, however, when Obi-Wan suggested that there was no real evidence that Samdew was the saboteur or that he'd killed the other crew members, and—rather inefficient for a spy—apparently left no means for his own escape. And when Kenobi suggested to her that there could be another spy, that Samdew might have been innocent for he didn't have the chance to defend himself, Shalini's incredulity was tinged with hostility. But Thik and Olanz, who'd now joined them, having caught the gist of the conversation, agreed with the Jedi: that they were all relying solely on Mezdec for their proof.

After Obi-Wan requested to see Shalini's information disk again, she complied, but it was found to be blank when Kenobi accessed it on his datapad. A shocked Shalini was then urgently asked by Kenobi if the disk had ever been out of her sight. She recalled that Mezdec had wanted, for her safety, to pre-flight check her blaster, emergency supplies, and utility belt (in which she kept the disk). But Shalini told the Jedi of a second disk she'd not mentioned to Mezdec and that the invasion plans were yet safe. At that moment, Rajana's voice announced radar activity of an approaching enemy destroyer. Mezdec, however, had disappeared from the cockpit. Kenobi and Skywalker raced to the emergency pod at the rear of the ship as laser cannonfire erupted—the ship was under attack by a monster assault vessel clad in black and silver. By the time the Jedi lightsabers had peeled the emergency-door metal back, Mezdec had already blasted out into space. Even so, Anakin had disabled half of the pod's power and cut its comm unit, so that the traitor wouldn't get very far very fast. The Jedi charged back to the cockpit to steer clear of the Vanqor bombardment.

Dodging torpedos, Skywalker put the transport into a dive. It trembled horribly under its weakened power, and Kenobi, glancing at the starmaps, realized that the closest planet on which to land was Vanqor itself. Suddenly, they were hit by an ion blast, which caused them to lose most of their computer systems. Resolutely the crew opted to risk capture by crash-landing on Vanqor. Obi-Wan suggested they attempt to land on the outskirts of the Tomo Craters, rugged terrain in which they might lose the pursuing enemy. As cockpit alarms sounded and red warning lights flashed, indicating the ship's failure, the crew strapped themselves in. Anakin accelerated to get to the planet's surface as quickly as possible, but the ship's frame shook violently. Red dust was kicked up by the turbulence and the ship slammed into the unforgiving ground, skidding across its surface toward the edge of a high plateau. Barely escaping its careening off into a deep canyon, the embattled ship finally crashed against a giant boulder which brought it to a jolting stop.

The crew, though shaken, had sustained only a few cuts, and no major injuries. With the landing ramp damaged, the Jedi used their lightsabers to extricate the crew. Anakin complied with his Master's request to turn on his tracking device in case they were separated. All then donned air masks and threw out smoke grenades to give themselves cover as they attempted to race toward the plateau's edge, to launch down the canyon on cables. But they realized, too late, that they wouldn't make it before the enemy destroyers appeared and began shooting through the smoke. They were forced to turn about when explosions erupted in front of them, racing back towards the ship to secure a measure of cover. Obi-Wan, in rescuing the slow-moving Thik and getting him under cover of a small protective cubbyhole, was separated from the others and forced to take cover in a cavelike opening hidden just under the closed-in wedge-space between two huge boulders. He watched helplessly through a slit in the rock as the others, including his Padawan, were captured by a squad of Vanqor troops and herded onto their starships. As the enemy vessels blasted away, Kenobi calmed his thoughts in the Force, turning them soon towards rescue.

Into the Tomo CratersEdit

"Do not fear. You will not be harmed. On the contrary, you are about to enjoy the experience for which we have chosen you. Welcome to the Zone of Self-Containment. A doctor will be with you shortly to explain. In the meantime, relax..."
"The room is filled with some kind of gas. They've drugged us.
"
―Anakin Skywalker responds to the Tomo Camp "sweep" holo-image introduction.[src]
When the enemy starships had landed, Obi-Wan had seen Shalini move close to Anakin and hand him something, appearing also to whisper something in his ear—he realized she'd handed Anakin the second disk she'd spoken of. With his and his captured comrades' hands now bound behind them as they traveled to some unknown destination, the inaccessible disk seeming to burn against his skin, Anakin thought on those whispered words: "Take this. It will be safest in the hands of the Jedi. For the safety of my people, please get it back to Typha-Dor." Anakin thought then on the words he'd said to Shalini in reply: "I pledge my life on it."[2]

The unknown destination turned out to be a small compound of gray buildings, energy fences and security towers nestled within the rugged-terrain area of deep fissures called the "Tomo Craters." The compound itself was called "The Tomo Camp," or in the vernacular of its admitting guard, "paradise." Anakin was grateful for his garb—he was dressed like the other surveillance crew members in a survival suit, which hid both his lightsaber and his identity as a Jedi. None offered their names to the soldiers as they were searched. And Anakin was able to use the Force to confuse his captors, to avoid confiscation of his cable launcher, his lightsaber, and the secret Vanqor-invasion disk. Even so, they were all stripped of their survival gear and given rough brown tunics to wear before being herded out again with other Uziel-system prisoners into a cold, windy yard bound by fences—extended energy gates.

The craters' sheer walls—hundreds of meters tall—meant that the only way into the camp was by air. With no ship, Anakin wondered how his Master would rescue him; Anakin decided he himself would probably have to rely on his own wits and skill, which of course he was fully prepared to do. His time constraint, however, was only three standard days—for at the end of that time the invasion's due date would hit, according to Shalini—and Anakin suddenly realized that the key to the survival of the entire planet of Typha-Dor lay hidden within his tunic pocket. But he would not make the mistake of his last mission in assuming he was more powerful than he was: Anakin harbored no delusions that he'd be able by the Force alone to evade the camp's heavy security measures, and this time he would not make a move until he was absolutely sure. The prisoners themselves were somehow aware of Typha-Dor's precarious situation, for a prisoner from Zilior asked Shalini if the Vanqors had invaded her planet yet. One prisoner had attempted escape and was now dead, but Anakin settled in and began to observe, to discover a way to make that attempt successful.

The sole solution Anakin could see depended on reaching the transport pool. But it was a question of timing—slipping somehow through the guards' overlapping shifts, not to mention the constantly buzzing sentry droids. Anakin's plan, which he would carry out that night, was to use his cable launcher to clear the energy fence, sprint thirty meters of open space to the transport pool, slip into one of the lightly guarded ships in need of repair at the pool repair facility, hopefully fix the transport, and finally take off before his absence was noted, to return later to rescue the others. But Anakin himself knew that things rarely went as planned.

Meanwhile, Obi-Wan Kenobi, once he'd seen the starships disappear from view, risked a coded distress call to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. If they locked on his position, they could send help within a few days. Obi-Wan hoped the brief, scrambled message would reach its destination. Already a risk, a longer transmission was certainly out of the question. Anakin's tracking device had beeped steadily, and so Kenobi returned to the crew ship to retrieve from its rear cargo-hold the single, banged-up swoop they'd been able to allow for weight on board. With transportation now secured, Kenobi only hoped his Padawan was close enough to get to on just a swoop-bike, for it held little fuel.

Anakin's tracking device led Kenobi over the high plateaus and desert lands surrounding the Tomo Craters. The same distance and rugged terrain by foot would have taken Obi-Wan days to traverse. As the sun slid to the horizon, he hugged the ground to evade scanners and sky surveillance, led on by the tracking device. But then the swoop's fuel suddenly read EMPTY and its engine sputtered, forcing Kenobi to land. Still, by his reckoning, at least twenty kilometers from his Padawan, he hid the swoop in a cave and entered the coordinates in his datapad (for access later, should he find some fuel). He then began the long hike over steep slopes of thin-rock shale.

Finally Obi-Wan rested when he came within sight of the tracking device's transmission. He studied the relatively light security of the camp through his electrobinoculars: he'd reached the heart of the Tomo Craters. Camp security was correct, as evidenced by its small numbers, not to worry about escaping prisoners, for the steep brutal terrain—if Kenobi managed to get past the cliffs, canyons, and nests of gundarks—only promised a possibility of making it to the outskirts of the camp, set on the lip of a sheer-faced crater, its rock wall two hundred meters high, and himself left vulnerable with every centimeter won. So much better to go in by air. But now, sans-transport, he sat on a high peak below an outcropping of stone to observe the camp for the rest of the waning evening.

The curious doctorEdit

Jenna Zan Arbor

Evil scientist Jenna Zan Arbor

"I am the doctor who invented the Zone of Self-Containment ... Now. The reason I asked for you is that the technicians tell me that you were able to fight the paralyzing agent we used when you first arrived ... It is impossible to resist that paralyzing gas, yet you assaulted a technician."
"I grabbed his collar."
"And you spoke to him."
"It seemed appropriate under the circumstances."
"I see that though you are in the zone, you still have your wits about you."
"I don't like to abandon them completely, no."
"I feel something in you ... There is a mastery of your body, of your mind. I've seen it before. Have you ever heard of the Force?
"
―Jedi Anakin Skywalker and the mad scientist Jenna Zan Arbor.[src]
An officer, surrounded by guards and droids, suddenly entered through a gate and picked, from the rows of shrinking prisoners, first one, then another. This was one of the prison's infamous periodic "sweeps," from which it was rumored "no one" ever returned (something about "medical experiments" in "an unmarked building"). The guards herded the selected ones together. The officer then picked Anakin, who knew that if a battle ensued upon resisting, others might die. Beyond this, security might be more lax at the facility where they were taking him. But, indeed, they were led to a building that had no sign. Upon entering, a chemical odor filled the air and the prisoners exchanged uneasy glances. Prodded further along a hallway, they finally entered a bare white room where a holoscreen took up an entire wall. Suddenly, the image flashed up of a med coat-clad human male with a gentle smile and voice, who delivered a brief comforting message about enjoying the "Zone of Self-Containment" into which they had all come, which "zone" would be further explained by "a doctor." Almost immediately, all within the room began to feel "strange" or light-headed—hence the holo image, Anakin guessed, instead of a real person. His vision blurring, Anakin realized they'd all been drugged, and, with the rest, he began to slump to the floor, but he caught himself and forced his body to maintain both consciousness and readiness, although his legs felt entirely immobile.

Only able to see, not move, Anakin was the sole conscious victim when the masked technicians entered the room and began loading the prisoners onto repulsorlift stretchers. The med workers were shocked when they saw Skywalker still conscious—having never seen such an impervious response to the paralyzing gas before. Noting Anakin's stoic face and expression, they tried to placate, telling him that he was sure to enjoy his stay there if he simply didn't fight the effects of the substance that had invaded his body. To which Skywalker, grabbing one of them by the collar and bringing his face in close while summoning every ounce of his strength and will, replied: "Don't...bet...on it." Calling out for help, the technician was joined by two others, who were able to strap Anakin to a stretcher—he was weakened enough, slipping in and out of consciousness now, that he couldn't fight three med workers. They took Anakin to another room, where they stripped him of his clothes. Unable to summon the Force, he no longer could distract the technicians from finding his lightsaber and utility belt with the hidden disk. When his tunic fell, and everything slipped and hit with a soft thud, it was mere chance that caused a technician to scoop up the entire bundle and toss it in a storage box with the other prisoners' clothes.

Anakin next felt his body lifted and lowered into warm water; he was told it was simply a bath, and to relax, but he soon fell unconscious. When Skywalker finally awoke, he found himself dry and lying on a sleep couch, dressed in a fresh, dark blue tunic and feeling refreshingly relaxed and energized. The med technician at his side assured Anakin that the evening meal coming up next was not drugged, so not to worry. Everyone, workers and patients, ate together. Oddly, Anakin didn't seem to care about anything the technician was telling him: every desire seemed calm. He went to meal, wondering simply what would come next, guessing that something surely would, but content to wait until it did. His need to help a nearby planet in peril seemed very distant now: he was sure, however, that someone else would help Typha-Dor. He would just pass the time there and see what the Vanqors were up to.

After retiring in the comfortable evening air to a flower-filled courtyard, set with large leafy plants and warming lights, Anakin, sitting himself on a bench there, felt something he hadn't felt in a great long while, not since he'd found himself in his mother's embrace: peace. The feeling recalled to Anakin's memory the time he and his Master spent on Belazura. He told himself he'd fight the feeling soon, when it was urgent and time to escape, but right now ... would it be so wrong to enjoy it? Only a day or so had passed, Anakin realized, since he was drugged. He'd undergone no other treatments and, to his surprise, was not drugged again nor treated like a prisoner. With only a sleep couch and table, his room was spare, but he had full access to both the sunny area indoors and the outside courtyard. He desired nothing more than to sit there with his face to the warming lights, watching the shadow patterns of leaves on the walls. When he considered escaping, the thought was fleeting.

When two med technicians appeared in the garden at Anakin's side, they addressed him as "Prisoner 42601" and told him that someone wished to see him. They led him to a richly adorned office—colorful and luxurious, with septsilk curtains, in stark contrast to the rest of the compound—and left him there, shutting the door quietly behind them. Soon, a young-looking human woman with blond hair stepped into the slightly perfumed air of the office and sat at the corner of what proved to be her own desk; Anakin had settled himself in a soft chair in front of her. He sensed despite her youthful appearance that she was older, but her face was unlined and smooth; her eyes were penetrating yet warm, like her smile. She thanked Anakin for coming and introduced herself as the doctor who invented the pleasurable drug he was then experiencing. When she asked Anakin if he was happy there, she suddenly realized, upon seeing the confusion register in his face, that she'd asked the wrong question—"Are you content?" she rephrased. When he'd answered "yes," she told him the reason she'd asked for him was that she'd learned of his resistance to the "paralyzing agent" when he first arrived there. Even now, "in the zone," the principal drug had not erased Anakin's memory of being a Jedi; as such, he didn't necessarily trust what this "doctor" had to say. She told Anakin that she appreciated his intelligence, awareness, but that she felt in him a mastery of mind and body she'd seen before in users of the Force. And had he heard of it? When Anakin answered "no," she suggested notwithstanding that he might be "Force-sensitive" at least, possessing special abilities.

Anakin, now wary, simply wanted to go back to the garden and sit in the sunshine. Acting bored would accomplish this most quickly, he knew. The doctor asked him about precognition—seeing or sensing something before it happened. Anakin forced a blank expression. She asked him if, before he came there, his reaction times were unusually fast and if he possessed an unusually strong focus. Anakin answered that he was always first to the dinner table. Impatient, disappointed, altogether frustrated with Anakin's maddening responses, Jenna Zan Arbor was now bored herself and dismissed the young man. Retiring to the courtyard, Anakin knew the doctor was not a native Vanqor, nor was she working for them—without question, she was an outlander. But did Anakin really care? The sun was shining, it was warm in the courtyard and almost time for the midday meal.

Stealing into Tomo CampEdit

"If Mezdec had gone straight to Vanqor, he would be there by now. He would have told them we were traveling in Vanqor airspace and they would have figured out who we are. Which tells me that Mezdec didn't go to Vanqor ... I think he went to Typha-Dor..."
"But why would he go to Typha-Dor?"
"To deliver the invasion plans. But not the real ones."
"Of course. They would accept whatever he would bring as real.
"
―TY44 surveillance crew leader Shalini and Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, on the movements of a renegade traitor.[src]

Obi-Wan observed a clear pattern to the operations being carried out below him: transports flew in and out regularly, ferrying supplies and troops back and forth. As such, Tomo Camp was probably also a kind of base. He wondered if his message had reached the Temple. But what would his next step be if it hadn't? He knew that rescue was paramount, the first order of business: he had to get Shalini's disk to Typha-Dor.

The transports dipped low on approach, landing just at the edge of the plateau where a short landing pad was surrounded by energy fencing. He now faced getting pummeled by boulders, crashing into a crater hundreds of meters below, being spotted and blasted into thin air—each scenario a likely one. His plan was risky, bordering on foolish. He thought back to the mission's start, on how he brooded over being overly cautious and careful in his assignments, weighing each risk, but he'd come now to the conclusion, after formulating the crazy plan he was about to execute, that perhaps he wasn't so careful after all.

It took Kenobi hours, even with the help of the cable launcher, to scale the peak. When he reached the top to finally rest, the sun was setting. He had to gather his strength for the task ahead. Across the wide chasm below he saw, without the aid of electrobinoculars, beings moving about in the camp. His plan was to hook his cable launcher onto the underside of a low-flying transport, hitching a ride down to the camp, then dropping to the ground as it landed—if the timing was exactly right. Otherwise, he'd get bug-squashed against the side of a crater. Under the star-spangled night he at last willed himself to sleep after wrapping himself in his thermal cape; his worryings about Anakin could not now bar the physical rest he needed, once sleep overtook him.

The freshness of the morning air interrupted Obi-Wan's dreams: before he woke he could already smell the dawn. Hope glinted in his waking eyes. He made last preparations as he downed a protein cube and tested his cable launcher, for his life depended on its strength. The varying speeds of the first incoming transports were unusable: too fast and too slow. The speed of the third was just right. As the shadow of the mid-size cruiser appeared at the peak, Kenobi let his cable fly to its mark: the transport was large enough that it wouldn't feel the jolt of the launcher or the drag of his body. The actual tow down, however, was worse than he'd expected, the turbulence wrenching his body like a rag doll. In dodging boulders that came up to meet him in the air, he had to activate his launcher to draw himself up closer to the ship, but he couldn't be too near its exhausts as it started to land or he'd be burned to a cinder. Calling on the Force for aid, he became one with the ship, air, and cable, allowing his movement to flow with the ship's own grace to bring him in safely: he disengaged the cable and dropped quickly but hard to the perimeter wall, rolling and ducking behind a parked ship. Darting into a nearby utility shed, he donned a pair of greasy coveralls, tossed a servodriver into his pocket, and walked out into a yard full of prisoners.

Obi-Wan pretended to inspect the energy fence as he moved down, searching the crowd for Anakin. But he ran into Shalini instead; he admired her discipline upon noticing him—she gave nothing away. Moving casually over to him, Shalini reported that everyone was okay, but that Anakin had been taken in the recent "sweep" to the unmarked gray building across the compound. Because the camp officials hadn't figured out that Anakin was a Jedi yet, Shalini didn't think Mezdec had gone to Vanqor. Otherwise, they would have discovered them all by now, if he had. She believed he'd gone instead to Typha-Dor to deliver fake invasion plans to the rulers there, knowing they'd believe him. Addressing her worry that Mezdec would destroy them all single-handedly, Obi-Wan assured her that wouldn't happen if they could make it to Typha-Dor on time with the second disk she'd given to Anakin. When a guard suddenly interrupted their conversation with a call for an "attendance check," they quickly parted ways, and Kenobi went off to search for the unmarked building they'd carried Anakin off to. Upon finding the building, he called on the Force to guide him. Feigning a maintenance check, Kenobi persuaded the officer on guard to deactivate the security shield and let him in. He quickly traversed the corridors, looking in open doors and windows, until he came to an open courtyard in which he spotted a familiar young man on a bench: Obi-Wan had found his Padawan. But though Anakin appeared to be healthy and okay, something was wrong. Something was off. But he hadn't the time to analyze it: he had to get Anakin out of there fast.

Anakin knew he felt detached, that his brain chemistry had been altered, that he'd been drugged—though he wasn't sure how it had been done. He wondered if this was how it felt to be "one with the Force." It was certainly a peaceful place to be, so very unlike the battles he often fought within his own mind and heart. And he wondered if it was so terrible to reach this place through a simple procedure, as opposed to years of study and trial. Anakin had long admired and envied his Master's serenity—now he had it, too. But, looking up to see Obi-Wan enter the garden, these thoughts were now interrupted by his Master's rescue. Finding a utility closet, Anakin put on a pale blue medic's coat. When Obi-Wan asked where his lightsaber and the disk were, Anakin replied that they were among storage bins where they bathed. Locating the room with the large tubs, they found the bins and retrieved the disk and Skywalker's lightsaber. Stealing past the security guard, they headed straight for the landing pad to steal a transport.

Picking out a fast-looking starship that could get them to Typha-Dor, Kenobi accessed the cockpit and they both jumped in. Anakin would have to hot-wire it, and even though he was yet in the bubble of his calm, he was able to do so, switching the wires and juicing the engine. They shot out of the hangar and away from the camp. Kenobi was right to assume that their escape had been too easy, for a red console light began blinking—Anakin guessed that they'd failed to enter a security code on the ground. To prevent escapes, the ship was programmed to self-destruct. Estimating they only had about 4 seconds, Anakin increased the speed and headed for the surface. He then quickly cut back on it, leveling out the ship, allowing them to raise the cockpit dome and jump to ground-safety, with the Force pulsing around them. The ship exploded above as they rolled out of the impact, but they continued rolling down a slope to the natural shelter of boulder outcroppings, where they were safely sheltered from exploding metal debris.

But they now had a real problem, Kenobi pointed out, for they were in the middle of a Vanqor desert infested with gundarks. But first, Anakin cautioned, they had to deal with a fleet of STAPs and two security transports mounted with laser cannons coming their way. As the only good cover lay in the deep craters, Obi-Wan asked his young Padawan if he'd rather take his chances with a fleet of STAPs or a nest of gundarks. When the laser cannonfire thundered behind and the two had exchanged a glance, they broke into a run. The answer was clear: they would choose the craters and hope that gundarks weren't in them.

As they ran and veered from one cave to the next, trying to decide which one they stood to survive best, Obi-Wan felt absolutely no communion with his Padawan, no connection in the Force, as if he were running alongside a total stranger. He knew something had happened to Anakin in the medical building, but that Anakin had denied it, evading further discussion. Which had nearly stripped the last vestiges of trust Kenobi had in him. Suddenly an explosion sent Kenobi flying, and he was blasted headlong into a crater's abyss ... into a gundark nest.

Gundark nestEdit

Gundark NEGAS

A gundark of Vanqor

"They haven't given up ... They're waiting ... There are gundarks nesting in the cave walls."
"I saw them on my way down."
"You planned the journey back as you came down."
"Yes.
"
―Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and his 16-year-old Padawan Anakin Skywalker in the midst of a Tomo Craters gundark nest.[src]
Landing hard a hundred meters down into the asteroid pit, Obi-Wan both smelled and heard the gundarks. Kenobi knew well the saying that a gundark's cry could freeze a being's blood, which he hadn't been too sure of, but hearing the cry now was surely not a pleasant sensation. The gundarks' eyesight and hearing were keen, their sense of smell excellent. They captured and killed their prey with four powerful arms: a massive upper shouldered pair for capture, and a muscled lower pair rising from their chest for crushing and death. But vicious teeth jutting from a lower jaw were equally effective at tearing the head or limbs off their prey. Shredding a victim to pieces of flesh and bone was practically a sure thing if ever a gundark's bloodlust was awakened.

Kenobi knew that using his cable launcher was a risk, as the crater sides were hundreds of meters high, and the long process of climbing out would bring him in close proximity to the savage beasts. Deep caves peered back at him through the gloom. Had Anakin found shelter from the security droids above? Suddenly, the roar of gundarks arose from their nesting place, and Obi-Wan moved stealthily away: there was no way, even with the Force, that he could confront their numbers. He needed his Padawan. Glowrods and a launcher he couldn't risk. He would have to climb using the crater's pockmarked holes as footholds.

Kenobi had climbed only a few meters when he felt it: a soft breath brushed his ear—and he knew now the feeling of frozen blood. A worse prospect he couldn't have imagined: disaster he'd met falling into a gundark nest, but now he'd blundered into one of their young ones: a catastrophe. The baby gundark was nestled asleep in a deep wall cavity. Easing his way past, a deafening roar suddenly split the air and the cave began to tremble with the impact of running footsteps. Both mother and baby were now alert. Fully exposed, Obi-Wan lit his lightsaber and backed away to disarm the mother-beast. But her attack was ferocious. Arms reached and clawed, teeth snapped, saliva poured. Heated stench and howling anger filled the cavity. Others came running, and a desperate Kenobi resorted to his launcher. But just as it went flying above to connect, a claw grabbed him and slammed his body to the ground. Obi-Wan rolled away to miss the gundark's scoring claws. He summoned the Force to send up a shout: "Anakin! I need you!"[2]

Anakin was at last feeling fissures in the drug's numbing shroud—moments of clarity, brief flashes of reality—but then he felt a hook lodged deep within his heart, and he was glad to again slip behind the veil. But he had somehow also regained "battle-mind," and the young Jedi was fighting as well as he ever had. He took down many of the droid-mounted STAPs and Vanqor-mounted swoops.

The veil continued to slip more frequently now, but he missed the calm and the garden, the secure haven; he loathed to feel again the fear and apprehension, or the pain. Suddenly, Anakin heard the gundarks roar from deep within the crater ... then also, he thought, his Master's call—but it arose from within his heart. There, too, was the hook, tugging dully. His Master needed him now, but so had Anakin his Master when he appeared solely, it seemed, to retrieve the disk—not him. That pain made him want to grab the shreds of the veil and wrap himself in its unique unconsciousness. Feeling was too painful, and he leaped up impulsively to strike down another droid. A Jedi followed his feelings, but therein was his conflict: for his feelings tortured him—grief, guilt, resentment, shame. These were all his ... because of leaving his mother, because of Yaddle, because of Obi-Wan. Feeling he didn't want: Anakin's heart-hook was love, and it seared him. It complicated things. Why feel again? ... Because, Anakin knew, it was right.

And so he ripped the veil, even as the "zone" drew back, and the Force flooded in, and began to grow. A tide of suppressed emotion he'd not wanted to feel again washed over him, just as cruelly as the bombardment of laser cannons above. "Anakin!"—his Master's cry filled him, and he ran. Accessing the Force, he allowed the power of a final blast to catapult him in the direction of his Master's voice—but that was straight into the darkened void of a gundark's nest . . .

The Moment of Truth JQ7

Kenobi and Skywalker battle gundarks, in the beasts' Tomo Craters nest on Vanqor, during their Mission to Typha-Dor

Obi-Wan, raked and battered now, had killed one gundark and mortally wounded another. His weakened limbs were numb, and he felt himself losing the battle. The ravenous beasts were circling, moving in for the kill, and Obi-Wan had no doubt that he would be torn limb from limb. He preferred a less gruesome end for that meditated moment when he would become "one with the Force." Then, suddenly, he felt the Force fill the cavern. A flash of light appeared from above as Anakin shot into the circle of gundarks, his lightsaber at the ready. He plunged his weapon into the soft tissue of a gundark's neck, then leaped to sever off a pair of another gundark's arms. The beast's red eyes blazed as it screamed in agony and retreated. Together, Obi-Wan and Anakin forced the gundarks back to their cave, only to be outflanked by several more coming from another opening. As Kenobi drew the attention of the first group, Skywalker arose amid the second to have one gundark lose a leg, another an eye, and a third to recoil at the slash of its chest. The gundarks retreated, a howling mass. And Anakin, Obi-Wan realized, was back. The familiar flash of his eyes was bright again.

Though both knew the beasts had not given up, Anakin seized his launcher and, grabbing Kenobi as if he weighed nothing, activated the cable. Landing on a free ledge, he activated it again ... and again. Obi-Wan marveled that Anakin had planned the journey back on his way down: it's what made his Padawan a great Jedi. Reaching the surface at last, they climbed over the lip of the crater, relieved to have escaped the horrifying nest. Though Anakin had not fully dispatched the droid and Vanqor enemy, he was sure he'd made them think that his blast into the crater had relegated the Jedi to the status of gundark-goners. For "no one ever survives a gundark nest."[2]

Treachery exposedEdit

"Have you moved your ships?" [Obi-Wan] asked the generals.
"We are moving them now ... The Vanqors will attack our factories in the south."
"Is it too late to recall them?"
"Why should we? ... We can handle this. We are going to surprise the Vanqors when they invade our airspace."
"You, generals, will be the ones who will be surprised."
"That is not the true invasion plan," Anakin said. "This is the real invasion plan ...
"
―Typha-Dor's High Council of rulers and generals are advised by the Jedi of Vanqor's true invasion plans.[src]

Discussing the options of finding some fuel to return to Kenobi's swoop hidden about twenty-five kilometers away or heading back to steal another transport from the Tomo Camp, the Jedi duo reluctantly opted for the camp option knowing they wouldn't get too far with the swoop. But then Obi-Wan's comlink signaled and, surprised, he picked up to hear a familiar voice: "Well, I'm here to rescue your sorry self once again. Honestly, I don't know what you'd do without me." It was Siri Tachi, Kenobi's longtime friend for whom he held, beneath the joking banter, a deep and abiding respect. And within a few minutes two red-and-white Jedi cruisers had landed to rescue them. Happy to see Siri also, Anakin was less enthusiastic about seeing her Padawan, Ferus Olin, to whom he'd have preferred practically anyone else in the galaxy to turn up as his rescuer. Since their mission to Andara,[3] things were even worse than normal in their stormy relationship.

In the midst of another mission to the Xanlanner system, they'd received Obi-Wan's distress signal and message about the urgent need to reach Typha-Dor. Ferrying the other Jedi team were Jedi Master Ry-Gaul and his Padawan Tru Veld, Anakin's best friend. That alone would, for Skywalker, lighten the burden of seeing Ferus again. And Anakin suddenly realized that while in the Zone of Self-Containment his feelings of intense happiness had been blocked out as well, because of the great pleasure he felt now of seeing his friend Tru—a price had been paid for the Zone's artificial serenity.

Also there was Obi-Wan's old Temple-training comrade, Garen Muln, former Padawan of Clee Rhara, the legendary Jedi pilot program leader who had studied at the Temple with Qui-Gon Jinn.[4] Grabbing a medpac, he administered bacta to the gundark wounds Kenobi had sustained while fighting alone. Anakin meanwhile was, to his delight, introduced to Rhara.

Soon, all the Jedi teams had boarded their ships. Kenobi and Skywalker boarded Muln's ship with Tachi and Olin (to Anakin's dismay). But Skywalker was thrilled to be riding with Muln who was, next to Rhara, possibly the best Jedi pilot in the Order. Not only that, Muln invited Anakin to sit in the copilot's seat next to him. Rising, the two cruisers shot into the upper atmosphere toward Typha-Dor; Vanqor ships were everywhere, and they were forced now to evade them in their own airspace. When several enemy starfighters approached, Muln called the challenge a "piece of quinberry cake" and climbed at top speed toward Vanqor's two small red moons that were orbiting the planet in tandem. Diving for the space between the moons, Garen and Clee played hide-and-seek with the starfighters, none of which could get a fix on their position. As the enemy prepared to call for backup, the Jedi cruisers appeared suddenly from the moons' orbital protection and outran them as the enemy gave chase. When a Vanqor military ship with ten escort starfighters next appeared, Muln called this new challenge "a piece of juja-cake," and, with young Skywalker in rapt awe, was somehow able to evade their huge weapons and cannonfire, without sustaining even a scratch or firing his own weapons. Shooting into hyperspace, the Jedi cruisers, after two hours' travel, arrived at Typha-Dor. And for Garen, that was pure "sweet cake."

Landing at the planet's space center, which lay between the two capital cities, Sarus-Dor and Ith-Dor, the Jedi informed the security officer who met them that they were special envoys on a diplomatic mission from the Galactic Senate with vital information for Typha-Dor's "twin rulers": their planet was on the brink of invasion by a neighboring predatory world. The combined pressure of eight Jedi, after the officer said the invasion had already begun and yet had refused to yield, was ultimately too much for him and his staff: the Jedi were straightaway ushered into the strategic planning meeting of the planet's High Council at the space center. Surrounding a circular holomap were the two rulers of Typha-Dor and their aides, along with the planetary generals.

Obi-Wan knew the rulers as Talus, a young man, and Binalu, an older woman who had ruled Typha-Dor for many years. They were responsible for the original petition that the Jedi rush to their planet's aid, and they greeted the Jedi graciously. As Binalu stepped aside, in the midst of those in attendance Obi-Wan caught sight of Mezdec, who paled when he saw Kenobi. He tried to dismiss the Jedi by telling them that they had no clearance to be attending the Council's high-security meeting. Binalu was quick to clarify for Mezdec, however, that the Jedi had been specially summoned to aid in the current crisis. Ignoring Mezdec with a cool glance, Obi-Wan turned to the strategy map and noted that the Typha-Dor had massed all their weaponry and their fleet to the south, not at all what the real invasion plans indicated should be the location for their gathering forces—for Mezdec had, indeed, given the generals false plans, just as Shalini had said. And it was all for the purpose of facing an invasion that would not come that their forces were now massing troops and ships in the south, while the Vanqors poised themselves to take over Typha-Dor's capital cities in one swift stroke, fully unopposed.

Kenobi prefaced his remarks to the High Council by stating that he'd met Mezdec earlier at the TY44 outpost; the Typha-Dor native was, in fact, a member of the crew that the Jedi were sent there to rescue. He then asked the generals present if it was too late to recall their ships from the south. Surprised at such a question, in light of the Vanqor invasion plans that Mezdec had delivered to them, they all but dismissed the Jedi, stating that they were grateful for the Jedi Order's timely response to their petition for aid, but that they themselves could handle the planned invasion attempt by taking the enemy by surprise. The Jedi, of course, begged to differ, revealing to them all that there were, in fact, two versions of the "invasion plan" in existence and that the Typha-Dor generals were in possession of the wrong one. Anakin set Shalini's holofile spinning, unfolding in pulses of light detail after detail of the enemy's true invasion scheme. If it were allowed to play itself out, the generals themselves would be the ones who would, in the end, be surprised—not the Vanqor warriors, who would waste no time in sweeping in literally unopposed to take over their capital cities.

The High General of Typha-Dor, General Bycha, tall and imposing, rose to her informant's defense, stating that Mezdec had intercepted the invasion plans and delivered them to her personally. When Mezdec quickly affirmed the General's words and, moreover, claimed that he was the only one to escape the outpost alive, Kenobi broke the news to the traitor that, in fact, he was not the only one to surface from the ordeal alive: the others had made it out, too. Skywalker stepped forward to deliver the official Jedi accusation of there being a spy in their midst, with his additional strong recommendation that the General issue an order for the scoundrel's immediate arrest. Typha-Dor rulers and generals alike were stunned. Such grave assertions could not go unanswered. Obi-Wan pressed, "You must trust us ... The fate of your world lies in your hands."[2] Mezdec, of course, who pled complete innocence, accused the Jedi of lying—to which Bycha herself, holding Mezdec's gaze, queried what reason the Jedi would ever have of lying, and ordered his immediate arrest. Mezdec, accordingly, was taken away.

Snares for peaceEdit

"Did you ever see the doctor in charge?"
"Yes. I was brought to her because in the beginning I was able to resist the paralyzing drug somewhat, with the help of the Force."
"Do you know her name?"
"She never told me."
"Do you remember what she looked like?"
"A woman in late mid-life ... Light-colored hair. Distinctive green eyes. She had a strong face ... The strange thing was that she guessed that I was Force-sensitive. She seemed to know a great deal about the Force."
Obi-Wan closed his eyes. "Jenna Zan Arbor.
"
―Jedi Kenobi and Skywalker ferret out the identity of Tomo Camp's mysterious doctor—mad scientist Jenna Zan Arbor.[src]

Taking a laser pointer and indicating the map, Obi-Wan had earlier explained in the security council meeting that the Vanqors, in order to give themselves cover, planned to invade through the satellite corridor when the Typha-Dor moons aligned. But that same corridor would also create a window through which the Typha-Dor generals could attack, effectively giving them free reign to trap a majority of the enemy fleet between two of the moons in question. The Typha-Dor stood to be successful, Kenobi maintained, even with a smaller force. With Mezdec gone, the space center security room had exploded in a flurry of activity. The speed with which the generals grasped the situation and moved to formulate a response impressed even Obi-Wan.

The Typha-Dor fleet sped to the planet's opposite side, there to lie in wait behind its "string of moons," effectively concealing themselves and ready to strike. While General Bycha worried about Typha-Dor's ill-prepared defenses, with no planetary shield and only one planetary turbolaser, Siri Tachi assured her that they yet had the strategic advantage. Firmly holding in their grasp also the element of surprise, Obi-Wan pointed out yet another option: they'd be able to quickly surround the Vanqors moments after the enemy had invaded their airspace, forcing the enemy's realization that they could easily be destroyed—the perfect opportunity to force a surrender without any loss of life, to win the war without a battle. A truce, after all, only made sense for both worlds: Typha-Dor's vast resources allied with Vanqor's factories and technical innovations, as these combined with the unique contributions of other planets in the Uziel system, could only make for a powerful interdependency. All would learn and profit from one another, collectively making them one of the strongest systems in the galaxy and "a boon to the Republic." And though the two planets mistrusted one another on a cultural level, General Bycha was told by Clee Rhara—one who knew by experience[4]—that "alliances are rarely built on trust," but rather on "mutual advantage."[2] Garen Muln added, too, that rather than face complete annihilation, the Vanqors would probably choose complete disarmament—which, he said, Typha-Dor needed to make one of its conditions of surrender. Binalu and Talus were fully in accord with the new plan. They commanded their High General to get the fleet into position, but it was not to fire a shot unless ordered. The rulers would then speak to Van-Ith, the ruler of Vanqor.

Observing battle movements from the space center operations room, the generals, the Jedi, and the Typha-Dor rulers watched tensely as the Vanqor fleet approached. The coalition forces, at the last possible moment, were ordered by General Bycha to surround the Vanqor fleet. Carrying out a perfect execution of snaring the enemy, comm transmissions were then made to the Vanqor captains and their ruler to stand down, or face consequences. The long negotiations that followed resulted in the enemy's agreement to surrender and enter peace talks, with Jedi mediation.

In the midst of the peace talks, General Bycha was briefed on the Jedi discovery of the prisoner-of-war camp in the Tomo Craters region, where their TY44 crew comrades were still interred. When Kenobi mentioned that his Padawan, too, had been a prisoner there, the General's intense gaze rested on Anakin, for she'd heard rumors of medical experiments being performed on the camp's prisoners. She asked Anakin if he had personally witnessed anything of the sort. The young Jedi hesitated, and Obi-Wan knew that Anakin had yet again withheld vital information from him. Anakin admitted that he had, in fact, undergone the procedure, called the Zone of Self-Containment by the mysterious doctor who'd invented and administered it. Seven surprised Jedi faces then turned to Anakin—especially sharp was the gaze of Ferus, who immediately noted that Skywalker's Master had not been aware of this occurrence. When asked by Bycha about the drug's effects, Anakin said that one felt completely "content" while still fully alert, as though one were not drugged, and that a being's personal demons or torments didn't bother at all. It was then that the General immediately recognized the drug for what it was: "Crowd control ... a way to subdue populations." She found it difficult to grasp that the Typha-Dor were about to form a partnership with anyone who could, and would, do such a thing; but Rhara was quick to remind her that it was that very partnership that would ensure that they didn't.

Kenobi asked his Padawan how the doctor had administered the drug. Anakin wasn't sure, as he knew that they certainly weren't injected with it, and that, after experiencing the initial but completely different paralyzing drug (which he'd remained comparatively unaffected by), all beings fed and drank from the same "communal pot"—prisoners and med care personnel alike. All couldn't have been drugged, as the med care workers had, in fact, seemed envious of the prisoners. When Obi-Wan asked him when he had first noticed the drug's effects, Anakin recalled that it was right after he'd been given a bath. Kenobi then guessed correctly that the drug had been transmitted through water. General Bycha seemed to know of drug transmission via water—that it was a difficult and unperfected method—but conceded that all were living in "dark days" wherein unscrupulous scientists poisoned bodies and minds with abandon. This particular scientist had obviously, and alarmingly, perfected the process.

Suddenly intrigued, Kenobi asked if his Padawan had actually seen the mysterious doctor in charge. Anakin replied that she'd called for him when she discovered he'd somehow been able to resist her initial paralyzing agent. The boy suddenly realized she'd not told him her name. Did he remember what she looked like, Obi-Wan asked. Anakin recalled that, though she appeared to him as a young-looking blonde, he sensed she was in truth a woman in her late mid-life. The odd thing, Anakin remembered, was that she'd guessed that he was Force-sensitive and seemed to know of herself a great deal about the Force. Closing his eyes in startled realization, Obi-Wan uttered: "Jenna Zan Arbor." The Jedi Master's past intercourse with that name had been significant, and the other seasoned Jedi looked at him also in surprise, for they had understood Zan Arbor to have been serving time on a prison planet—at least, so they'd thought (Kenobi included). Himself surprised at their surprise, Anakin asked who this person was.

Zan Arbor, of course, was an infamous scientist who had hurt the Jedi and the Republic in the past—indeed, she had kept Qui-Gon Jinn as a prisoner in order to study the Force.[5] She'd led a brilliant career of finding cures to several plagues and saving entire planets—until she herself was infested by both corruption and insanity. Intent on making a galactic fortune, she began introducing plagues or viruses so that she would be hired to cure vast populations. She was particularly adept at delivering death through water or air systems. And while she'd indeed made an astonishing fortune, the Jedi had been able to snare her in the end.[6]

Using Bycha's database, Kenobi quickly checked the prison-world Zan Arbor had been exiled to. A moment later, he whirled around in his chair: she'd escaped, just as he suspected, and was now, once again, a wanted criminal. They had to get to Tomo Camp right away. Turning to the seasoned Jedi Masters, Obi-Wan saw that their mere expressions spoke of their support and the services they'd already pledged to him.

Chasing old fearsEdit

"What's the matter with Ferus? ... Tell me. He's barely said a word to me. Not that I mind."
"He wondered why you didn't tell your Master that you'd undergone that treatment. It was clear that you hadn't. We all wondered. After all, it is strange ... I bet Obi-Wan is [wondering] too."
"I'm not sure why I didn't tell him ... I was going to tell him. Did something ever happen to you that you wanted to think about it first, before you told anyone?"
"No ... I guess I like to talk."
... "I will miss you, friend.
"
―Jedi Padawan-friends Anakin Skywalker and Tru Veld.[src]
Once the Galactic Senate had cleared the Tomo Camp operation, the Jedi flew in their cruiser to Vanqor. After they'd traveled over the rugged landscape and reached the Tomo Craters region, though they'd not met resistance thus far, laser-cannonfire suddenly exploded around them. But as ever, Garen Muln expertly piloted through wild, erupting explosions. Landing, they charged out through the heavy fire, lightsabers blazing. The camp's security droids were handily dispatched, while the guards—armed with blaster rifles, wrist rockets, and stun batons—were met by a solid flank of advancing Jedi; any delusions of glory or grandeur they may have harbored that day quickly vanished, giving way to throbbing skulls and limbs.

In moments like these Anakin felt something akin to what he'd felt in the Zone of Self-Containment. Not that he enjoyed battle, for it was a necessity to an end. But battle filled his mind in a way that other things could not. In battle, he was in the midst of the Force, which, with other Jedi around him, was especially powerful: focus was absolute, making decisions was easy, all movement was fluid. In battle, he even felt a kinship with Ferus, glad to have him at his side (though, still, never as a friend); Olin's strength and agility were well known, his moves flawless, and he fought for both himself and others, if they needed him, casting his battle-mind like a net, ever ready to respond. He, in fact, saved Anakin's life now, by smashing to the ground in one swift stroke two of four droids that simultaneously bore down on Obi-Wan's Padawan.

Now, with the droids reduced to scrap and the guards throwing down their weapons, to mass-surrender, Siri Tachi turned her energies to freeing the prisoners as she sent Ferus with Kenobi and Skywalker to pursue Zan Arbor. The three Jedi raced to the medical building where Anakin had been held, but its halls were empty, and the whole operation appeared to have been quickly abandoned. Zan Arbor's office door was wide open, her desk was cleared, her septsilk curtains were gone. Anakin was unsure exactly why he felt relief; he only knew he didn't want to face Zan Arbor again, especially not in front of his Master—as if this strange woman held a secret to a part of him he didn't want to share. But Ferus, too, Anakin noted, had seen the expression of Anakin's relief—just as he always seemed to be there, eager to see what Anakin wanted to conceal. Ferus' tuning in to his fellow Jedi in battle was helpful, but deeply annoying at other times.

Realizing they were too late, that Zan Arbor doubtless had heard about the foiled invasion and fled, Kenobi advised his Padawan that they'd just discovered their next mission: to track down Jenna Zan Arbor. Collectively, the Jedi were chasing an old peril—Zan Arbor; but Skywalker felt he was also chasing, contrary to his desire, a peril that would lead him inexorably to confront again his deepest, most personal fears.

Anakin soon found himself standing on the landing platform in the capital city of Sarus-Dor, admiring a gleaming Gen-6 starship that the Typha-Dors had loaned them to follow Zan Arbor's trail. He felt weary, but, for the moment, comforted by the companionship of his friend Tru. If only he could leave this last mission behind as a mere memory, if only he was not now heading out to find Zan Arbor—not that he feared the scientist herself, but he had no wish to tangle with someone who could put him in the Zone of Self-Containment again. In pondering the idea of detachment, the hardest of the Jedi lessons to learn (attachment that was allowed to dictate behavior could lead a Jedi astray), Anakin confessed to Tru that he had not yet learned to free himself of it. Tru confessed that neither had he, and maybe that's why they were still Padawans ... But not to worry, with time.

When Anakin noticed Ferus staring at them, he asked Tru what Ferus' issue was, for Ferus had scarcely said hello to him since he and Siri had come to help them. Tru said that Ferus had simply wondered why Anakin hadn't told his Master that he'd undergone drug treatment at the camp, for it was clear that Anakin hadn't told him, and, frankly, they'd all wondered the same thing, for it was indeed strange. For Skywalker, it seemed that Ferus was always meddling in Anakin's business, but Tru said that Ferus was only saying out loud what they all thought, including probably also Obi-Wan. But even Anakin himself was unsure, he confessed, of why he didn't immediately tell his Master; it was certainly Anakin's intent to tell him eventually.

When Ferus came over to advise Tru that it was time to board, Anakin challenged Ferus about why he had always concerned himself so much about Anakin's relationship with his Master. In truth, Ferus had for some time doubted Skywalker's loyalty to Kenobi, stating, moreover, that he felt Anakin was afraid to tell Obi-Wan about what happened at the camp because Anakin had actually enjoyed the Zone experience, had enjoyed feeling nothing, but, more alarmingly, that the Zone's pleasurable feeling had overcome the Padawan's loyalty. Offended on Anakin's behalf, Tru asserted that nothing ever overcame Anakin's loyalty to his Master, that none of it was, in fact, Ferus' business anyway—for Ferus hadn't been there, nor did he know of his own knowledge what had happened, nor did he have any right to judge. Seeming to momentarily struggle against Tru's words, Ferus submitted that Tru was right, apologized to Anakin, and admitted that he should not have said what he did. Anakin noted, however, that Ferus hadn't said he had been wrong, only that he shouldn't have uttered what he said and thought. As Ferus boarded the cruiser, Tru lingered, in order to help Anakin feel better about the situation: "Ferus is the perfect Padawan, remember? He feels like he has to correct all of us." Anakin was genuinely appreciative of Tru's efforts and thanked his friend for defending him.

AftermathEdit

"You said torment ... You said, 'The things that normally torment you don't bother you at all.' Not the things that trouble you, but torment you ... It was a strong word. What torments you, Anakin?"
"Sometimes I don't want to be the Chosen One."
"That's not surprising. Many gifts can be burdens."
"The Force is so strong. I can feel it so much. I
feel so much. I don't want to feel so much! ... Why am I chosen? Why is it me? Can't I refuse it? Can't you let me refuse it? Can't you take it away? ... Take it from me. Please, Master."
"My Padawan. I would do anything for you. I would bear your burdens for you if I could. But I cannot ... But I will help you. I will always help you. I will not leave you ... Things between us have not run smoothly lately. But you must never doubt my commitment to you."
"And mine to you.
"
―Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.[src]

Obi-Wan had bid farewell to Clee, Garen, Ry-Gaul and Siri, and seen them off on their cruisers to continue with their original mission that had been interrupted by coming to his and his Padawan's aid. He walked slowly to Anakin's side to watch the ships jump to maximum speed in the far distance. After a moment he inquired of his Padawan why he'd used, in the planet's security meeting, the word 'torment' instead of 'trouble' in his description of, conversely, feeling content while in the Zone. Anakin, who felt the need to be transparent with his Master, could not hold back any longer his true feelings: so truthful, in fact, that the words he spoke to express them came out in such a manner—choked and aching—that he hardly recognized his own voice. Obi-Wan himself was taken back at Anakin's vehemence. The young man said he sometimes wished he was not the 'Chosen One' because the Force manifested itself so strongly within him and caused him to feel "so much." Why did the 'Chosen One' have to be him, and could he refuse the calling, or could Obi-Wan take it away? Anakin pled earnestly with his Master to remove his appointed destiny from him, for a deep feeling of dread had risen suddenly within him, and the panic he felt shocked him, causing him, even now, to utter things he had not meant to say.

Anakin hadn't even realized that he had harbored such intensely felt emotion, but now the words flowing out of his mouth collectively felt like the truest thing he had ever said, though he knew that at some level the dread had always been there. It's just that he wanted the fear and the foreboding to go away, weary of living with it while failing, at the same time, to understand it. The depth of Obi-Wan's shock and compassion showed in his Master's eyes and in the way he gently placed his hands on his Padawan's shoulders. He expressed to Anakin that, if it were ever possible, he would bear all of his Padawan's burdens for him, but that he could not. He would, notwithstanding, ever continue to help Anakin, and would never leave him. Kenobi's words were like a tolling bell in Anakin's soul, and his touch brought the boy back to himself. Even though their relationship had weathered some rough winds of late, Anakin must never doubt Obi-Wan's commitment to him. A grateful Anakin looked up and pledged also his renewed commitment to his Master. Together they walked to their ship in the fresh morning breeze, but as Anakin set his sights to their new mission, the fear returned—freshened and sharpened. For they were tracking the creator of the process that had caused him so much doubt, panic, and reawakened dread. Their current pursuit would bring Skywalker too close to a truth that he did not want to face.

AppearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

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