Wild Space, Part V: With a Little Help From My Friends

 

 

 

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The Clone Wars, Book 2: Wild Space [Legends] by Karen Miller, Chapters 9 and 10

Let’s all be honest: recapping this book is maybe going to cause my untimely demise. But here we are anyways — such is my love for you people. I know, I know: I’m a saint. I’ll make sure to let you know where you can send your gifts of appreciation to.

Last time we visited the wild place known as Wild Space, Obi-Wan had survived yet another near-death experience, only for Anakin to almost cause Obi-Wan to have a stroke while in his hospital bed by being his usual human trainwreck self. Sheev, meanwhile, had taken Padme and Bail on a tour of a bunch of flaming wreckage (and he drove! Because he apparently used to be like, a hot rod champion? THE EMPEROR. WAS A HOT ROD CHAMP. Never ever forget this. Let it be in the back of your mind EVERY TIME YOU WATCH RETURN OF THE JEDI.) (You might think I’m here to ruin Star Wars for you all. I assure you: I exist only to make it so much better.) Sheev also took the time to wheedle his way into Padme’s heart a bit more by being like OH ANAKIN IS SO VERY SENSITIVE THE POOR THING AND HE LOVES OBI-WAN SO MUCH TOO BAD OBI-WAN IS A JEDI AND THEREFORE FEELS NOTHING FOR HIM BY THE WAY DON’T LOOK AT THIS GIGANTIC PILE OF EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY. Naturally Padme used her good common sense and always-rational decision making skills (see also: “I’ll place my trust in this group I just met which includes both Qui-Gon and Jar Jar Binks” and “marrying a guy I have only really known for like 10 total days sounds like a solid plan if you ignore the part where he told me he mowed down an entire village and that we pledged ourselves to each other before almost being murdered”) and saw right through him. Juuuuust kidding: she fell for it hook, line, and sinker, because she and Anakin were made for each other.

Also featured in our last outing here was Anakin learning that he was getting primary custody of Rex, and that he and his newly-formed team of 501st-ers were going to be in charge of the mission focused on keeping Grievous the hell away from Bothawui. At the end of the last chapter, literally the only person in the entire galaxy who felt good about this plan was Yoda. Oh, and Mace Windu had a mild nervous breakdown, which Yoda had to talk him off the ledge from. And also Obi-Wan was like “nooooo Anakin my poor baby bird he’s not ready to leave the nest” and Yoda had to calm HIM down, too. Fully 80% of Yoda’s job was just soothing the latest meltdowns of his many dramatic children. No wonder the guy kinda chose to die rather than deal with Luke’s “OH MY GOD MY DAD IS DARTH VADER” freakout.  He’d already put in a lot of time doing this crap.

With that, we rejoin this drama already in progress, as Anakin meets up with Ahsoka again after his visit to Obi-Wan’s bedside. (It wasn’t that kind of visit, people, God.) (Probably not, anyways.)

Recurring Theme: Anakin Loves Ahsoka

Ahsoka is like WHAT NOW SKYGUY TELL ME TELL ME TELL ME, following him out of the Halls of Medicine or whatever the fuck it’s called. Anakin is like “weeeeellll…we’re gonna go kick Grievous’ ass, I guess, but of course I won’t actually ever get to face off with him because otherwise this book will break continuity with Episode 3, in which I have clearly never seen Grievous in person before. Oh and BTW, we’re going alone.”

Ahsoka is like WHHUUUUUUT?! Oh my God!
1Awww. He’s like “AHEM I’ve got a battle group, but I guess I’ll let you tag along kiddo” and MAN these two kill me.

Recurring Theme: Anakin Loves Obi-Wan

Ahsoka then asks if her other dad is going with them, and Anakin has a momentary flashback to 3 minutes previous:
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GOOD LORD. Why. Yes, Skywalker, Obes is pretty indestructible, as you will personally find out.

Ahsoka, wise beyond her years, interjects: are you sure you’re not just saying that because you’re scared because you looooooooove Obi-Wan and EVERYONE KNOWS IT?

Anakin bristles:
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Ha! She’s got your number, Skyguy. Also no one believes you here, by the way. Just FYI.

Recurring Theme: Anakin Plays Hooky

Anakin sits Ahsoka down at a computer and tells her to Google “Bothawui” for a few hours and maybe print out the Wikipedia article for him while he goes to make out with Padme some more instead of doing his job AGAIN. Like, this is actually pretty much what happens, and I am dying. ANAKIN FOR CHRIST’S SAKE YOU HAVE A REALLY IMPORTANT ASSIGNMENT HERE.
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Um…maybe don’t invite them to come SEE you hanging with your secret spouse, but OK.

Padme Amidala, Just As Bad As Everybody Else

Anakin arrives at Padme’s place and immediately after 4 seconds of talking to Threepio is like WHAT’S WRONG? and that’s Padme’s cue to rush into his arms, sobbing, all OH ANAKIN IT’S JUST AWFUL. Padme is no less of a drama llama than anyone else here, really.
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Anakin takes a moment to internally chastise himself for being too worried about Obi-Wan to focus on Padme’s emotional distress. A) Padme is a grown-ass woman who can handle being sad in her palatial apartment for a few hours alone, Skywalker, and B) Obi-Wan did pretty much almost die AND you needed to talk to him as part of your ACTUAL JOB, so, you know, maybe don’t feel TOO bad about it.

They do this idiotic thing for a few moments where Padme just bawls and tells Anakin she loves him and then this happens:
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I’m sorry: “making me cross”? Is Anakin an 1800s schoolmarm now? Keep in mind that I am willing to buy people in Star Wars saying PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING, OK? If Star Wars gave out an award for Fan Least Likely To Complain About Corny Star Wars Dialogue, I would have been the sole recipient for at least the last 15 years. I have gone to bat for THE FUCKING SAND SOLILOQUY, for every Anakin and Padme scene ever, for that time Luke says “Blast!” like he’s a stuffy old Englishman and not a 19-year-old dweeb from the armpit of the galaxy, for every last one of Sheev’s deliciously over-the-top statements. Nevertheless, for whatever reason I am having a really hard time picturing “you’re making me cross” coming out of Anakin’s mouth and it’s cracking me up.

Recurring Theme: Anakin Loves Padme

Padme spits it out: Palpatine took her on a depressing joyride around the bombing site! It was horrible! The war is horrible! It feels like it won’t end until they’re all drowned in blood! (Which, wow: perceptive, AND dramatic.)
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Anakin is like WAIT WHAT: why did Palpatine take you there?! It’s not safe OMG YOU COULD HAVE DIED AND THEN I WOULD HAVE HAD TO KILL EVERYONE. You know, it’s kind of a bummer, really, Skywalker, that you didn’t think this through a bit more, because you were actually on to something here: why WOULD he take her to see something like this? Maybe she could share some of the things he told her, and then you two could put what little deductive reasoning skills you have together and ask yourselves: what WOULD he have to gain from making Padme sympathetic to going after the Separatists? Or playing up Anakin’s Very Emotional Needs? Or driving a wedge between him and Obi-Wan? HMM. Just some things to ponder, you know.

Padme, of course, hates this reaction of Anakin’s, and is like LOOK HERE PAL, I AM A BADASS AND I CAN HANDLE THIS. Just because I am rattled right now doesn’t mean I’m some fragile little girl! You tell ‘im, Padme!

Anakin sighs: sorry, geez, I just have this sort of…thing about you getting hurt that won’t be back to haunt us:
8LOL. Well it’s not risen to the criminal level YET, I suppose.

Recurring Theme: I Am Maybe Going To Kill These Two Before This Book Is Done

OH MY GOD. All right, look: I know I’ve yelled about Anakin and Padme a lot already in these recaps of this book. But they are seriously going to be MY UNDOING THEY ARE SO HILARIOUSLY AND STUPIDLY DRAMATIC IN THIS THING.

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OK, so after Anakin semi-apologizes for getting mad that Padme was Adjacent To Danger Briefly, he’s like YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND I WANT YOU I NEED YOU I LOVE YOU. SKYWALKER: SHE GETS IT. WE ALL GET IT. INANIMATE OBJECTS UNDERSTAND THIS.

He throws out this somewhat unsettling declaration:
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Padme blanches and tears up: don’t say that! And Anakin is like BUT IT’S TRUE and instead of maybe talking about this startling admission a little bit more, Padme is instead like OH ANAKIN TAKE ME NOW AND STAY WITH ME ALL NIGHT AND “WE’LL EXIST IN EACH OTHER” AND THAT IS A REAL THING THAT THIS BOOK MADE ME READ. You know what? I literally cannot believe Luke and Leia ended up as CHILL AS THEY WERE with these two for parents, and please recall that neither of them are exactly stellar examples of emotional composure or reasonable fashion choices.

Anakin (“hating himself”, according to the book,) tells her that he can’t stay to ravish her or write her shitty poems (THAT YOU KNOW SHE TOTALLY IS INTO) or whatever: he’s been given his own command and he must away! Right now! To the Temple! Padme is all cool about this and like FOR THE LAST FUCKING TIME AMIDALA WERE YOU UNCLEAR ON THIS MAN’S JOB WHEN YOU MARRIED HIM OR…? This is not the first nor last time she’s been like “Oh. I see. You’re leaving. For work. Mmhmm. OK. It’s fine.” PLEASE, GIRL. Eventually she tells him to be careful and blahblahblah love stuff, and he promises he’ll be fine.
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Anakin is really just making all KINDS of promises he can’t keep today, huh? (Sorry.)

They share a “desperate” kiss, I take a shot, and this scene ends.

Recurring Theme: Master Yoda, Begrudgingly Fond Grandpa

Oh, I loved this next part. OK, so Ahsoka and Rex and Yoda are hanging out outside the Resolute. Ahsoka is reflecting on what’s all happening — she’s nervous about going into battle, but proud to serve a just cause. She’s worried about herself, though, and also for Anakin — she doesn’t want to be the Padawan who got the Chosen One killed! (Don’t worry, Ahsoka, Obi-Wan’s already laid claim to Person Who Will Feel The Most Guilty When Anakin Dies, so, at least there’s that.)

Anakin, meanwhile, is like…whispering sweet nothings to the ship itself. Seriously, he’s standing there running his hands all over it and purring at it and Ahsoka is just like “…what the hell is wrong with him?” and YODA. YO-DA. Yoda is standing there next to Ahsoka and just watching this all happen before this finally happens.
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I love that he calls him “Anakin” here! It’s so casual and so, so parent-like. “ANAKIN. ARE YOU DONE NOW HONEY?”

Anakin brightens: the ship is beautiful, Master, I love it! Yoda, not unhappily, is like “Oh, good. Then that means it’s time for you guys to hit the road.” He says goodbye to all of them, including Admiral Yularen, who is joining them on this journey. Yoda asks Anakin if he has any other questions:
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LOL. Yes, Yoda, please tell Obi-Wan that Anakin loves him, OK? Because it’s not at all obvious and it’s been 5 whole minutes so he might have forgotten. I am dying that Yoda seems happy about this AND that Yoda is already like “YES ANAKIN OBI-WAN KNOWS YOU LOVE HIM NOW GET A MOVE ON”. GOD, THIS SERIES.

Recurring Theme: Rex Loves Anakin

Ahsoka takes a moment to reflect on how Anakin and the Council don’t seem to always get along, and that there’d been all kinds of rumors about how he’d told the Council to stick it all the way back when he was NINE! OK, I feel like I should take a moment here, because this seems to be like a Thing with this fandom? That Baby Anakin was somehow Unacceptably Sharp with the Council in Episode 1 and that they were all Truly Scandalized? I…never really got that vibe. Yoda pushes back on him, yes, and asks him how he’s feeling and what he’s worried about, and Anakin’s kind of like “what does any of this have to do with anything?” but…Anakin was just Some Kid who just showed up 6 minutes ago? I think they kind of expected him to have questions about what the fuck was going on? I never got the impression that the Council was like HOW DARE THIS NINE YEAR OLD ASK A QUESTION THAT’S IT HE’S GOING TO THE DARK SIDE OBVS SO LET’S ALL EXCLUDE HIM FROM GROUP LUNCHES AND FORGET HIS BIRTHDAY ON PURPOSE AND DENY HIM HAPPINESS ALWAYS. They were just kinda…feeling each other out, you know? But what do I know — I don’t really get all the Jedi Animosity, period, nor do I especially care, so whatever.

Ahsoka does ask herself a reasonable question here, though:
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LOL. I think we all know that at the very least, Obi-Wan’s opinion trumps most others.

Aaaaaanyways, so Rex and Anakin and Ahsoka are on board the Resolute now and Anakin’s giving Rex some orders and then after some back and forth, dismisses him to go back to his men, and Ahsoka and Rex share this “HA HA THEY ACTUALLY PUT THIS GUY IN CHARGE OF SOMETHING LOL” moment that I love:
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Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Kind of a Dick Sometimes

Anakin settles into his new role easily, of course, handing out orders and confidently assuring people that he’s making the right moves. He tells the crew to focus on monitoring all the chatter they can, and Yularen is like uhhhh, that might be a bad idea, but relents:
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Ahsoka interjects: do you know something we don’t, Skyguy?
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What a jacakass! Jesus Anakin, two minutes into this gig and it’s gone to your head. Sheesh.

He notes that people might have gotten to talking:
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…as opposed to you, Skywalker, since we all know that when YOU drink too much you and Obi-Wan end up sleeping on each other in a pirate jail cell. (Oh, right, how silly of me: I forgot you guys TOTALLY were drugged. Riiiiiight.)

Ahsoka suddenly gets nervous all over again as they prepare to make the leap out into space — and she sneaks a sideways glance at Anakin, hoping to see something in his Brave and Strong Demeanor that will reassure her, but instead? Anakin is having himself a mini-breakdown:
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Ahsoka is brought to tears by this feeling emanating from Anakin, and Anakin PLACES HIS HAND ON THE WINDOW OF THE SHIP, LIKE WAY TO BE SUBTLE ABOUT FEELING WAYS ABOUT THINGS, as they take off to meet their fate.

Recurring Theme: Bail Organa, Undercompensated

Back on Coruscant, Bail is walking back into his room, exhausted. He plays a holo-voicemail from Breha:
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She’s just checking in on him: he looked tired when she saw him on Galactic C-SPAN or whatever. Awwww. The Organas. I know Bail ends up getting a statue of himself later, but he’s still underpaid for his efforts in counteracting all the bullshit (also now that I think about it, isn’t his statue on Hosnian Prime? You know, the PLANET THAT THE FIRST ORDER EVENTUALLY BLOWS UP? NICE GOING, KYLO. Goddamnit, the Skywalkers: why does anybody in the galaxy A) associate with these people, and B) keep telling them about the Force?!)

I digress. Bail’s worn out and decides the best cure is gonna be hanging out in the peace of his room with some booze. Hey: he and Obi-Wan ARE gonna hit it off, aren’t they?
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I raise my brandy snifter to you, Bail. He sits there, drinking and thinking about how it feels like Padme is one of the only people who can get anything DONE in this galaxy, and how grateful he is that Breha is back on Alderaan keeping things sane over there AND of course, because Star Wars hates me, thinking about how lucky they all are to have Uncle Palpatine looking out for them. He pours himself another glass, and as he starts to drift off in his chair, something happens — he hears a sound!

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DUN DUN DUUUUUN! Uh oh, that does not sound good…

Recurring Theme: Bail Organa, Secret Agent Man

As Chapter 10 opens, we learn that our friend Bail, long before he was the de facto boss of Ahsoka Tano and the many other Fulcrums to come, was already a conduit of underground intelligence in the galaxy. The commlink’s chiming causes him to drop his brandy right on the floor, and scramble to start decoding a Super Top Secret Message coming in and scribble it down on flimsiplast, Star Wars’ wonderfully goofball word for Space Paper.
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He orders his droid to clean up the mess, and places a call to Padme, where he gets the pleasure of arguing with Threepio:
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I am completely willing to buy that Anakin programmed him to look offended somehow.

He finally gets Padme on the horn and is like “I need to talk to you. About things. Casual things.” and she’s like “Oh of course. Things. How pleasant. See you soon.”

He commits his Secret Message to memory, then SETS THE FLIMSIPLAST ON FIRE AND WASHES THE ASHES DOWN THE SINK. Holy crap, that is…one way to do it.

Padme Amidala, One-Track Minded

Padme scrambles to get ready for a visitor at what I guess is supposed to be like 4AM:
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Ha! How do you rush through PADME’S morning routine? Was she reduced to a single tiara and one of those drab gowns she has that doesn’t even have rhinestones on it? What a shame!

She frets to herself: Bail definitely seemed freaked out, which is bad because he’s kind of chill usually. She knows this could be very serious. Well, good to know that Padme is kicking ass and taking names and getting her work done without stopping to constantly worry about…
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…ah, right. She reasons with herself that if anything HAD happened to Anakin, surely OBI-WAN would have told her. Hmmph, right, because you were so nice to him all those other times:
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I never, ever say this about Star Wars content ever, but I do not especially LIKE that this book made her lowkey hate him, if only because disliking Obi-Wan makes anybody look like an idiot, and while Padme does not always exercise the BEST judgement, an idiot she is not.

Recurring Theme: Revenge of the Sith

Bail tells Padme he has…information. For the Jedi. From a secret source. Padme asks why he didn’t just take this info to Jedi, then, and he’s like BUT YOU KNOW THEM SO WELL (LOL, no argument here amirite?) and also he’s not sure — they might already know about this or whatever but…has Padme ever heard of the Sith?

Oh, Padme’s heard of them all right, and her feelings on the subject are not nuanced:
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Recurring Theme: Padme Amidala, Secret-Keeper

Padme, however, had apparently promised the Jedi she wouldn’t tell anybody about the Sith, which…hahaha, OK guys. I love that the book then notes that like, Padme had heard rumblings about things like Sith lightning and just kept on pretending she knew nothing. I guess when your husband is able to physically levitate food over to you with his mind, someone being able to launch lightning attacks from their hands doesn’t seem quite as far-fetched, but I admire Padme’s ability to not laugh hysterically at all of this sometimes.

So anyways, she is all like “WHY NO BAIL I HAVE NO IDEA WHO THE SITH ARE”. Bail eventually spills that his secret source says the Sith are planning a devastating attack on the Jedi (true, always, pretty much,) and that he needs her to relay the message on to them because, well, the Jedi like Padme.

Padme agrees to intervene on his behalf, and Skypes over to the Temple, demanding a moment to chat with Obes Kenobes. Man, I wish I had Padme’s speed-dial.

Obi-Wan is kind of confused and wary at first, but ultimately says he’ll be right over to talk about whatever the hell this is, which you 10000% know he assumed was Anakin-related. (Spoiler: I am not wrong.)
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…Bail, my dude, you have NO IDEA what kind of stuff Padme’s probably gotten a Jedi to do for her.

Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Loves Anakin

Obi-Wan arrives and tries to look like he’s not having a panic attack even though he totally is, and OH GUESS WHO OBI-WAN IS MOST CONCERNED ABOUT IN THIS MOMENT:
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Ah yes, so now not only is Obi-Wan worried about Anakin, but he’s made Padme worry about him now too. MY GOD.

Padme, even though she’s fearing for Anakin’s life, takes a moment to be like oooooooooh Obi-Wan you’re worried for Aaaaaaaanakin you loooooooove him and you’re scaaaaaaared for him aren’t you?
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Awww, he’s so embarrassed! Obi-Wan and Anakin, sittin’ in a tree! 

I No Longer Even Know What I’m Dealing With Here

Padme’s all like “PFFT, you can tell me you’re worried, I’m not one of those ASSHOLE JEDI FRIENDS OF YOURS, GAAAAHD” and instead Obi-Wan just looks tired and scared and she’s like OH GEEZ:
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Um, pardon me, Senator, but what the hell? DO YOU OR DO YOU NOT WANT THIS GUY TO BE COMPOSED? If he maintains his togetherness, you’re all OH WOE IS ANAKIN FOR OBI-WAN IS MADE OF STONE, but if he starts to lose it you’re like I PITY THIS PATHETIC CREATURE?

Then she does this dramatic Thing:

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Yes, Amidala, you and Obi-Wan are so different. Sigh. PLUSALSO, I thought you AND Anakin both thought Obi-Wan Could Never Ever Understand Love, but now you know Obi-Wan will Love Anakin Until His Dying Day? AND ONE MORE THING, are you checking Obi-Wan out now? I mean, no judgement, but PLEASE PICK AN ANGLE AND GO WITH IT, FRIEND.

Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Not Brave Enough for Politics

Eventually she gets to the actual point and gives him the summarized version of what Bail wants to talk to him about, and Obi-Wan is like GASP! He asks her if she trusts Bail, and she’s like OH YES he loves the Republic he loves Democracy and he wants to bring peace and freedom to it! Obi-Wan is like weeeeeellll, you know he IS a politician:
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Right, like the Flirtmaster of the Republic has never complimented Padme. ‘K. (Also I’m maybe dying a little that Obi-Wan is thinking to himself that his biggest problem with Padme is that she’s getting more time in Anakin’s pants than he is. Would someone please just get all of these people some counseling or a romantic weekend away?)

FINALLY Bail and Obi-Wan have a sit-down and Bail tells Obi-Wan he got this top secret info from a group that calls themselves the Friends of the Republic.

Family Meeting

Bail and Obi-Wan then proceed to have a rather testy discussion about who these people are and whether or not they can be trusted as a source. Bail regales Obi-Wan with a story about how they helped avert a mining disaster (and if you think I did not heartily guffaw at the idea of them bring MINING BACK INTO THINGS AS USUAL, you are wrong.)

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Bail says they never heard about this because Alderaan did such a great job keeping it all under wraps. Obi-Wan is extremely skeptical about all of this, and Bail is mildly to moderately annoyed that Obi-Wan seems so unsure, and LOL that these two are gonna end up tied together forever through PADME’S SECRET CHILDREN. This series is SUCH A SOAP OPERA, I can’t believe that some people think Star Wars is cool.

Finally Bail is like COME ON, KENOBI: you gonna take my word for this or what? and Padme, who’s finally had enough of Obi-Wan grumping all over this conversation, is like YEP HE SURE IS:
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Allegations of child-theft? What?! Man, you take custody of a few peoples’ kids a few thousand times and suddenly it’s kidnapping this and Weird, Possibly Criminal Space Monks that.

Obi-Wan is like WHATEVER: what does that have to do with THIS, and Padme’s like OBI-WAN COME ON PLEASE, and finally he’s like OK BAIL, sorry: yes, you seem like an upstanding guy. What is this information these Mysterious Friends have for us?

Recurring Theme: Bail Organa, In On Way More Than He Let On

Bail sighs: you guys aren’t gonna like this, but my Secret Friends have already told me, uh, like a lot?

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Ha! Obi-Wan has been through enough of his own life story to assume it’s going to be bad, Organa. Bail spills: he knows that a Jedi secretly ordered the Clone Army, and that Anakin’s hand got chopped off by Count Dooku? And that Ventress totally almost killed some Jedi?

Padme is like WUT BAIL OMG. Why did you never mention that you knew all this? Palpatine needs to know that someone is leaking alllllll the Republic’s dirty laundry!

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Obi-Wan is like “OK OK: how does this whole thing with these mystery people even work? Do you go see them, or…?” and Bail reveals that he doesn’t know ANYTHING about them: he has the secure channel they contact him through, which they gave him at the time of the Narrowly Averted Mining Situation, and that’s…it. They contact him, not the other way around.

Obes is like “wow, OK, you are putting…a shitton of faith in these guys, Organa” and Bail is like “No kidding! But they haven’t steered me wrong yet!” At this, Obi-Wan is certain Bail believes them, and what’s more, Padme believes Bail: and we all know she’s never been wrong about reading people ever!

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OK then, he reasons, looks like we’re doing this. He asks Bail what all this about the Sith was that Padme mentioned to him earlier. Bail tenses up: so…the Sith aren’t just some bullshit Star Wars story? They’re real? GUYS: weren’t the Sith supposed to have RULED THE GALAXY like within the last few thousand years? WHY DOES NO HISTORICAL RECORD EXIST OF THIS? This is a Galaxy with hyperspace travel and zombies and MAGIC WIZARDS but no one’s thought to start an actual Wikipedia or SOMETHING? There’s no Regular Civilian Version of the Jedi Archives? FFS.

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ANYWAYS: Obi-Wan takes a deep breath, and figures there’s no turning back now. He hopes the Council will agree with him, and he prepares to answer Bail’s question.

…and that’s a wrap for this chapter, and therefore that’s all the time we have for today! Where will Obi-Wan’s revelation lead him and Bail? Will Padme’s disdain for Obi-Wan wrap around into being Into It by the time Anakin gets back from Bothawui? How many times has Anakin cried on his mission already? These are questions for another time, my friends. Thanks for reading; see you next time!