The Rising Force, Part II: Little Orphan Obi and the Shocking Space Mining Mystery!

rfc
Jedi Apprentice #1: The Rising Force (Legends) by Dave Wolverton
Chapters 6 through 10

Oh good! It’s time for more of this unreasonable pain. Hooray.

Last time we stopped by this book for a visit, we were introduced to the Emotional Disaster Area known as 12-year-old Obi-Wan Kenobi, Aspiring Jedi Trainee. Unfortunately for Obes Kenobes, he’s become somewhat notorious during his youth as a rage-filled hothead (…) and as a result, he’s hurtling towards his 13th birthday with no mentor in sight. In this flavor of the Star Wars universe (which, I should reiterate, is now considered non-canonical,) the big 1-3 is the last stop for Jedi newbies to get adopted by a Space Mom or Space Dad. Those who don’t get picked by their 13th birthday get sent off to do random stuff like use the Force to grow sorghum on a farming planet (no, they don’t just get sent back to the families the Jedi, er, “collected” them from in the first place. That would make actual sense and might result in someone experiencing love, so clearly that idea has no place in Star Wars.)

Anyhow, Obi-Wan had been clinging to one lingering scrap of hope (ha! That’s the last time he’ll make THAT mistake!) in the form of Qui-Gon Jinn, a “rebel” Jedi who has no padawan and whom Yoda has been trying to coax into adopting Obi-Wan. Yoda, you see, has this obvious soft spot for Obi-Wan and while a lot of this book is just ceaseless Sads for Obi-Wan, I actually really like this (which is somewhat of a recurring theme in both canon and non-canon material alike: Yoda totally has a favorite grandkid, and it is absolutely not Anakin. LOL)

Qui-Gon, unfortunately and not at all surprisingly, is being difficult about all of this, and to my ENDLESS amusement it’s because Qui-Gon’s LAST apprentice Turned Away From The Order. Yes, my friends, at least at one point the canon story was that Qui-Gon ALSO had a Disappointing Space Son and that it had broken his heart and turned him into a quiet weirdo who keeps to himself. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon’s Force Ghost must have had a lot to talk about! Ha! Ha! *sobs*

So, at the conclusion of the last installment, Yoda had tried to gently steer Qui-Gon towards his future ginger space son, but Qui-Gon was having none of it. But…hold up! He learned that now, having been rejected One Last Time At Least In This Part of His Life, Obi-Wan was getting sent to go farm on Bandomeer, an apparently quite dangerous planet that Qui-Gon just HAPPENS to be getting sent to on a mission as well! Huh! How about that?! And with that, we’re ready for the next five chapters — or as ready as we’ll ever be. Let’s go!

Recurring Theme: This Is No Way To Treat a Child

UGH. Chapter 6 pretty much starts with more misery for Little Orphan Obi, who is boarding The Monument, the ship that will be taking him to Bandomeer. This book goes well out of its way to push the fact that the ship is ugly, and it’s disgusting and smelly inside. Nice.

Bonus: Obi-Wan has been left completely to his own devices here, and no one even bothered to see him off. WHAT THE FUCK.

Obi-Wan wandered in a daze, his bags in hand. No one had been at the entry port to guide him. No one even seemed to notice him. He realized gloomily that he had left behind the data pad Docent Vant had given him. On it was his room number.

So, here we have a twelve-year-old boy who is miserably alone, who has literally never been on his own ever in his life, left with nothing and no one and boarding a ship that, we will discover shortly, is also crawling with unsavory characters. I REPEAT: WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE. In this context, Rey’s being left behind by Adults of Unknown Origin on a desert planet and left to sell scrap for food seems almost like par for the course. Luke’s moisture-farming childhood on a planet full of pirates and slavers seems downright idyllic, given that at least he had an aunt and uncle who loved him and a weird wizard bodyguard on hand to beat thugs with a stick for him when needed. (Until the wizard recruited him to save the universe and his aunt and uncle were murdered, at least. God, everyone’s life is the fucking worst.)

Don’t worry, guys: Obi-Wan is totally handling it OK! He’s just sadly walking around the ship, looking for someone to help him, while reflecting on how much he misses the Temple already and wondering if his friends are thinking about him or not. Oh.

A Hutt approaches Obi-Wan now and starts grilling him about who he is and what outfit he’s with:

Obi-Wan looked down at his clothes. He wore a loose gray tunic. He suddenly realized that the Hutt in front of him wore a black triangular patch that showed a bright red planet, like an eye. A silver spaceship circling the planet became the iris of the eye. Beneath the logo were the words Offworld Mining. The Whiphids wore the same symbol.

I mention this now because obviously this is coming back to haunt us later. For now, however, Obi-Wan sasses at the Hutt to leave him alone, and the last thing he remembers before losing consciousness is the Hutt coming at him with a punch to the face. I repeat: Star Wars just punched twelve-year-old Obi-Wan Kenobi, who has been left alone, unloved and rejected, IN THE FACE. Even Star Wars isn’t usually quite this direct about it.

Recurring Theme: Your Author Hates The Hutts

As Chapter 7 opens, Obi-Wan awakens in a medical exam room, where a red-haired woman asks him if he hasn’t been warned not to mess with the Hutts. He can barely answer because HE IS A CHILD WHO JUST GOT PUNCHED IN THE FACE BY A GIGANTIC SPACE SLUG, but he tries: he says he wasn’t given much of a choice.

Allow me to take a moment to point out that the Hutts have:

  • Punched 12-year-old unloved orphan Obi-Wan in the face;
  • Enslaved Sweet Baby Anakin and his kind, loving mother;
  • Enslaved Leia and made her wear that fucking bikini that every fanboy in existence Of a Certain Age keeps bringing up LIKE WE GET IT OK;
  • Tried to feed Luke and Han to the sarlaac pit;
  • MAYBE KILLED OBI-WAN’S BANTHA FAMILY.

Oh and the Hutts are also the reason I had to live through that time that Quinlan Vos and Obi-Wan went to look for Ziro the Hutt, which in fairness was so funny that it actually is a fractional point in the Hutts’ favor.

Nevertheless: the Hutts can kiss my ass. They suck.

Recurring Theme: Star Wars REALLY Likes Talking About Space Mining

ANYWAYS: so the woman in this room introduces herself as Clat’Ha, and asks why the Hutt punched Obi-Wan if he’s not with her competing mining organization, the Arcona Mineral Harvest. OH MY GOD, what is WITH Star Wars and mining? It’s always either mining or trade routes with these nerds, which I know both are not infrequent players in geopolitical intrigue in real life, BUT STILL.

Obi-Wan tells her he’s with the Agricultural Corps, and she’s like wait WHOA: you’re the young Jedi they’re looking for? OMG!

He laid back and Clat’Ha withdrew. “Good luck to you, Obi-Wan Kenobi,” she said. “Watch yourself. You’ve stepped into the middle of a war. You’re lucky to be alive. You may not be so lucky next time.” She turned to leave, but Obi-Wan touched her hand.

Hahahahahahahahahaha, oh, that’s rich. Obi-Wan having good luck. At any time. Ever.

Ahem. So Clat’Ha is like “you’ve stepped into the middle of a war here, my friend,” which surprises Obi-Wan but surprises exactly none of us who have been following any part of his life story. It turns out that Offworld — the other a mining company — has been practicing some decidedly non-competitive tactics.

“Offworld is one of the oldest and richest mining companies in the galaxy,” Clat‘Ha told him. “And they didn’t get that way by letting others compete with them. Miners who get in their way tend to die.”

Gee, I sure hope no one with Tragic Backstory related to our main characters is involved in any of this shady business!

Clat’Ha continues that no one knows who owns Offworld — it’s a shadowy and probably Dramatically-Caped Conspiracy — but that as far as onboard the Monument goes, Offworld is run by Jemba the Hutt. She then tells a Sad Story about how Jemba probably suffocated A QUARTER OF A MILLION PEOPLE AT ONCE on some planet to make money for Offworld and Obi-Wan, because HE IS JUST LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME, is like “…well then we must STAND UP FOR JUSTICE!”

He locked eyes with her. “Clat’Ha, we can’t let this continue. The Monument isn’t Offworld’s ship! They can’t just go around beating people up.”

Ohhh my God, Kenobi. YOU ARE TWELVE AND YOU ARE AN ABANDONED CHILD AND YOU JUST GOT YOUR LIGHTS PUNCHED OUT. You can take five whole minutes to rest before being like STAND BACK I’LL SAVE EVERYONE. God, he is the best human person. I’m so proud of my little peanut. And also SO SAD FOR HIM. What else is new.

Clat’Ha pretty much tells him to just mind his own beeswax and stay away from the Hutts as she leaves the room. As soon as she does, Obi-Wan suddenly feels like he’s on fire and passes out again. Oh my God, this book.

Recurring Theme: Baby Obi-Wan Just Wants Love

Chapter 8 finds Obi-Wan regaining consciousness AGAIN, this time with a bunch of tubes in his arms and an oxygen mask over his face. Is anyone surprised that this is the same guy who once basically died on Geonosis and then lied about how hurt he was even as his entire abdominal cavity filled with blood? By his 30s this was all just standard operating procedure for him.

As he opens his eyes, he sees Qui-Gon standing over him, and he’s SO confused but also SUPER hopeful. Please sit and cry with me about this:

“Did you come to look for me?” Obi-Wan asked hopefully. He would not have asked such a blunt question, but he was too weak to puzzle out why the Jedi was here.

HE JUST WANTS SOMEONE TO LOVE HIM YOU GUYS. Baby Obi-Wan might be the saddest Obi-Wan ever and PLEASE RECALL THAT THE REST OF HIS LIFE SUCKS:

I DID NOT ENJOY MAKING THIS PHOTO SET.

And Qui-Gon, in the grand tradition of the entire Jedi Order (motto: “Feelings Are For Losers“) pretty much just reaches over with a pin and pops Obi-Wan’s balloon by being like “Nope I’m not here for you. I’m on a totally different mission and it’s just a coincidence that we’re both here right now. I have no interest in you as a human being, please just forget about me even though I’m standing here acting as though I am invested in your well-being.” LIKE, WAY TO SEND MIXED SIGNALS YOU COMPLETE ASS. If you don’t want Baby-Wan getting his hopes up, MAYBE DON’T SHOW UP AT HIS BEDSIDE.

Recurring Theme: My Apprentice Ruined My Life

Obi-Wan is like “oh right of course my bad I totally get why no one wants to parent me it’s fine I’m fine everything’s fine”:

It was clear to Obi-Wan that even though chance had placed them on the same ship, Qui-Gon wanted nothing to do with him. If the rumors were true, then Obi-Wan, or any initiate Obi-Wan’s age, would only be a painful reminder of the Padawan that Qui-Gon had lost. Obi-Wan could not fight Qui-Gon’s past.

LOL. OK, honestly: why the hell is Qui-Gon getting away with this mopey self-indulgent bullshit from the Order that prides itself on LETTING GO OF THINGS? Yoda is the ONLY Jedi willing to call him out on this crap? Jesus.

Then as these two are avoiding the Will of the Force or whatever, Obi-Wan notices that someone’s trying to peer through the door. He very sweetly encourages the mystery guest to enter. An Arconan (a species you will likely recognize if you look at the Wookieepedia entry for them,) pops his head in the door and says that he’s (well, he refers to himself in the plural, “we”, which is evidently an Arconan quirk,) just here to see the great hero who faced down a Hutt!

Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Can’t Take a Compliment

Obi-Wan is like no no no, I’m not a hero, I’m…just Obi-Wan Kenobi! I’ve never accepted a compliment ever in my life and I never will, so help me Force! All I did was not die! The Arconan is insistent: hey, the Hutts are serious business! Qui-Gon can’t help but agree:

“That you survived at all is a credit,” Qui-Gon observed.

Obi-Wan relents, unable to talk this guy out of thinking him a hero. He tells the Arconan to come in and sit down because “he needs all the friends he can get around here” and OH MY GOD OBI-WAN IS JUST SUCH A LITTLE SWEETHEART HE DESERVES ALL THE FRIENDS.

The Arconan introduces himself:

“Our name is Si Treemba,” the Arconan said, perching on a chair. “We know yours is Obi-Wan Kenobi. We would be honored to be your friend.”

I like you, Si Treemba. Thank you for being nice to Baby-Wan, since God knows the fucking Jedi aren’t going to be.

Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Will Cut You In Half

So Clat’Ha returns to the room, and there’s this Whole Big Thing about how she’s discovered that a bunch of their equipment’s been sabotaged — someone’s removed these things called thermocoms out of these drill things they use for space mining, whatever it doesn’t matter — bottom line is that if they used this equipment, everyone involved would die, and she Just Knows The Hutts Were Behind This! As if on cue, Jemba the Hutt — a Hutt described as being so large he cannot fit through the door — arrives in the hallway to be like WHAT SURELY YOU DON’T MEAN TO SUGGEST I COULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING LIKE THIS?!

He and Clat’Ha yell at each other with Qui-Gon trying to mediate and prevent them from killing each other and the scene ends with an icy exchange where Jemba is basically like “I’m gonna go to war with ALL Y’ALL thanks bye.” As all of this happens, Obi-Wan just sort of sits there taking it all in and wondering why Qui-Gon doesn’t just kill the Hutt BY CUTTING HIM IN HALF. LOL. OBI-WAN PLEASE:

It would be so easy to solve the situation, Obi-Wan thought. The Hutt was vulnerable, trapped in the small hallway outside the sickbay. Qui-Gon could draw his lightsaber, lunge forward, and slice the Hutt in half.

You cannot solve every problem by slicing someone in half, Kenobes. (And, as Obi-Wan will later learn, even when you THINK that’s solved your problem, sometimes it comes back ON ROBOTIC SPIDER LEGS and kills your girlfriend anyways. Oh my God, Star Wars is hilarious.)

Clat’Ha leaves and Obi-Wan is like OH MY GOD I HAVE IDEAS ON HOW TO SAVE THE DAY! Qui-Gon pointedly notes that this is all none of Baby-Wan’s concern. He’s not a Jedi, he’s not here to deal with this, and in any case he’s almost died like four times on this journey already so…just hang back, Obi-Wan. You’re not part of this. Obi-Wan pretends to agree but let’s just say we will learn in about 45 seconds here that Anakin and Ahsoka did not come by their rule-breaking/day-saving inclinations out of the clear blue sky, and this makes Obi-Wan’s near-constant bitching about how reckless Anakin is about 500 times funnier than it already was.

Recurring Theme: No One In Star Wars Listens to Their Dad

Qui-Gon leaves, and IMMEDIATELY Obi-Wan sits up and is like “…welp, I’m gonna go look for these missing thermocons and solve this mystery even though I just sustained a traumatic brain injury and was maybe on life support just now and also I am TWELVE and have never been away from home in my entire life.” Si Treemba is like “wait what? Didn’t that guy just tell you not to…?”

Obi-Wan, probably to the accompaniment of the Heroic Force Theme, is like “Don’t care! He’s not my dad; I don’t have to listen to him! This isn’t about me — this is about JUSTICE FOR SOME PEOPLE I JUST MET A FEW MINUTES AGO!”

No doubt Qui-Gon thought him unworthy of the task ahead. But Qui-Gon’s hesitation paled next to the Jedi principles. Justice must be sought out.

LOL, ahh, yes: the old “I must do the opposite of what the Jedi said in order to Uphold The Jedi Way.” That’s one of Obi-Wan’s favorites. He tells Si Treemba that he’s going to search the ship — even the Offworld side —  for the missing pieces. Ha! I love how much of Obi-Wan’s life can be boiled down to “Obi-Wan goes off on a Wacky Adventure to Solve a Mystery about Something Totally Dorky/Ridiculous.” He tells him that it’s OK if he doesn’t want to go along with him — they’ll still be friends! (AWWWW.) Si Treemba agrees to join him.

Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi Will Just Go Ahead and Suppress This Crippling Emotional and/or Physical Pain

Chapter 9 kicks off with a montage of sorts where Obi-Wan and Si Treemba search a whole bunch of places on the ship: common areas, the garbage chute (…of course,) tons of rooms belonging to the various beings associated with the Arcona Mineral Harvest collective. As they do this, Obi-Wan periodically has to Mind Trick people into letting him rifle through their stuff. Big surprise there.

All the while, he’s still in agony because, as you will recall, he is a CHILD and he nearly died like an hour ago. But that’s no problem! He Is a Jedi, damn it! Even though the Jedi don’t want him and he’s only on this godforsaken stupid mining ship because they rejected him and left him to his own devices. Oh my God.

It was exhausting work for someone who was still recovering, but Obi-Wan ignored his own pain and weariness. A Jedi did not give into such feelings.

Well, I’ll give this book one thing: it has Obi-Wan’s number in this regard.

So their search comes up empty on the Arcona Mineral Harvest side of things, which means that now they’re gonna have to sneak around the Offworld side of the ship. They discuss this over dinner (where Si Treemba is chowing down on something called dactyl, a foul-smelling substance that the Arcona need to live which I am mentioning now because it comes up again later.)

They discuss the Hutts, and Obi-Wan learns that Offworld’s employees are slaves: and that the Offworld Powers That Be are worried about the Arcona Mineral Harvest people because Arcona keeps buying their slaves out from under them, freeing them, and giving them better pay with their organization. Obi-Wan feels some Ways about how awful it is that slavery is still a thing anywhere and AHHHH. Thank God Anakin Skywalker hasn’t been born yet so I don’t have to think about how as this is happening, Baby Anakin is enslaved somewhere. BUT STILL. FEELINGS.

Si Treemba expresses relief at knowing that it was Offworld who must be behind the tampering after all, and agrees to stick with Obi-Wan into this next, more dangerous phase of their plan — something Obi-Wan says he might regret. Ha. Oh, Obi-Wan.

Recurring Theme: Someone Almost Dies and Obi-Wan Blames Himself

In Chapter 10, the two of them end up sneaking around in the vents (OF COURSE,) and a bunch of bad guys who are hanging out in one of the rooms overhear them and poor Si Treemba ends up getting apprehended. Obi-Wan ducks into a corner of the ventilation system and avoids capture, but he’s not exactly walking away from this easily:

Obi-Wan bit his lip. He wanted to block out the sounds of Si Treemba’s screams, but he deserved to hear them. He had gotten the Arconan into this mess.

Do you ever think about stuff like this, and then think about what must have been rattling around in this guy’s head on Tatooine? Yeah, me either.

So: Obi-Wan takes a moment to beat himself up a little bit more about how This is All His Fault, and that Qui-Gon must have been right about him — he’s got no business being a Jedi and is a failure and OH WHY STAR WARS. Nevertheless, Obi-Wan is determined to save his friend. And with that, he turns back around to go save Si Treemba.

…that’s a wrap for this five-chapter recap! Don’t be too worried about our little ginger space peanut, my friends: I’m sure everything is going to work out JUST FINE for Obi-Wan.

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LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR OR SEE YOU, KENOBES. EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE FINE AND YOU WILL LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. See you next time, dear readers!