Jedi Apprentice #1: The Rising Force (Legends) by Dave Wolverton
Chapters 21 through 24
Whooooooo’s gonna finish recapping a WHOLE ENTIRE STAR WARS BOOK TODAY, READERS? It’s me! Me, me, it’s me!
OK, fine: this is a young reader novel, so it moves a lot faster than some of the other stuff I’ve worked on, but WHATEVER. Let me have this!
Previously, on Baby-Wan’s Non-Canonical Depressing Adventures, 12-year-old Obes Kenobes was hunkered down in a cave with a bunch of Arconan space miners, all of whom were rapidly dying of some kind of nutrient deficiency because dactyl, a substance they need to live, had been hoarded and held hostage by the Hutts, who were trying to get them to join their competing space mining company. Obi-Wan was only here in the midst of this craziness in the first place because here in Ye Olde EU, the story was that if you didn’t get picked up as someone’s Padawan by age 13, the Jedi Order threw you out and made you go be a space farmer. Of course, this makes no actual sense for many reasons, not least of which is that Ahsoka Tano is older than 13 in Actual Canon when she becomes Anakin’s Padawan (and Anakin is like “WTF is this tiny child even old enough to be a Padawan?” when she shows up, which is additionally funny since Mr. Chosen One himself became one at age 9,) but whatever. Long story short: just like that time Luke got cloned from his severed hand, or Obi-Wan took Baby Luke to a bar fight, or Han won Dathomir in a sabacc game, this book doesn’t actually count as an Officially Official Star Wars Story, but it’s entertaining (and upsetting), so here we are.
So while Obes had been on this trip because he was en route to Bandomeer to become a space farmer and cry about his wasted potential and how much of the galaxy was going to miss out on his eventually-handsome face as a result, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn’s been on this depressing mission, too — he’s on his way to look into something Mysterious that we’re not supposed to know involves his now-evil former apprentice. Along the way, he’s also spent his time on this trip getting an enormous axe wound in the back from a pirate attack AND crushing Obi-Wan’s hopes and dreams on every other page AND, when we last left off, riding around on a Space Dragon, which is spelled “draigon” in this book Because Space Nonsense.
OK: let’s finish this! Here we go…
Recurring Theme: Baby-Wan Kenobi, Wee Tiny Badass
Qui-Gon sets down at the mouth of the cave on the dragon he’s been riding (Author’s Note: I refuse to spell this with an i), pursued by just…TONS of other dragons. Obi-Wan comes charging out of the cave himself, and momentarily thinks the sky has clouded over because there are SO many dragons in the sky that they are blotting out the sun. Sheesh!
Obi-Wan asks Qui-Gon if he’s got the dactyl that will help to save the space miners (LOL), and Qui-Gon confirms that he does. Obi-Wan tells him to take it into the cave to the needy miners, while he holds off the dragons, and at first he’s expecting Qui-Gon to try and talk him out of this, because he is an adult and OBI-WAN IS TWELVE AND NOT EVEN A JEDI TRAINEE and therefore should probably not be the one holding off a swarm of dragons but we all know how this universe works.
Qui-Gon nods meaningfully and probably Binary Sunset plays or whatever, and as he runs into the cave, Obi-Wan just TEARS UP THIS SHIT:
In seconds, the draigons were on Obi-Wan. His lightsaber slashed and burned, sizzled and shrieked. Draigons roared in pain and fell before him. He was fighting better and stronger than he ever had, ever thought he could.
Recurring Theme: Someone Wants Obi-Wan Dead Again
Qui-Gon shoves his way past a bunch of baddies on his way into the cave, and informs Jemba the Hutt, who initially tries to start something with him, that he better get his shit together: the cave is under siege!
Grelb misses his chance to take a shot at Qui-Gon, and consoles himself with the fact that he’ll just have to kill Obi-Wan instead.
All I need now, Grelb thought, is one brief moment to pull of my shot. Just one…
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan/The Force
Obi-Wan is still out there, slashing up dragons like they’re sticks of butter, and he is having a Major Force Awakening. He doesn’t fear death; he feels the Force in him and around him and it’s binding him and guiding him and it’s all around him and blahblahblah you guys all know the drill by now.
What’s more, it is molding him into a Tiny Baby Superhero and also he’s maybe getting married to the Force right now:
As he danced, Obi-Wan changed. He felt subtle promptings he’d never felt before. He saw attacks before they came. He sensed the flail of a tail before it happened. The muscles of the draigons seemed incredible defined, so that he could read tiny flickers of movements that revealed which way a draigon would turn. Dead draigons piled on the ground around him. He gave himself entirely to the dance.
He suddenly has a great and very morbid idea: if he can kill enough of the dragons, he can make a stack of bodies so high that the cave entrance will be blocked and they’ll be saved! Uh, I mean, except for the fact that they’ll be trapped inside a cave with a bunch of murderous Hutts and half-dead Arconans and I have to believe that the dragon corpses might become unpleasant after a while, but sure. I guess we’ll assume he thinks the rest of the dragons will get bored quickly enough for them to mount a cleanup effort before this becomes a problem.
Recurring Theme: Don’t Assume You Can Kill Obi-Wan Kenobi
Jemba appears behind him and is like “good job, kid” and Obi-Wan yells out at him to help him shoot down some more of the dragons.
Jemba is…not interested in participating:
“Of course,” Jemba chortled. “I’ll help you – to death!” He raised his blaster rifle and aimed.
Well, I guess he was straightforward about it.
At the same time, Grelb senses his chance and fires at Obi-Wan. But Obi-Wan, with a handy assist from the Force, dodges the shot! And just as Grelb is realizing that he missed, he ALSO realizes that he has neglected to pay attention to the location of the space dragons, and that one of them is now eating him. Whoops.
Jemba the Hutt, the book notes, is the most surprised of all by all of this, because the blaster bolt that was intended for Obi-Wan has instead gone right through his chest, killing him. And here Obi-Wan thought his journey to Farmville was gonna be boring.
Qui-Gon appears now and takes in the situation, snarking:
“That was a little too close, I’d say,” Qui-Gon remarked from behind him. His lightsaber powered up and glowed green. “I think you could use some help.”
I sure hope Obi-Wan enjoys this sort of banter, because he is looking at something like more than 20 years of it from this point on. And I presume it spun up again once he and Anakin and Qui-Gon were all dead together, too.
Recurring Theme: You Know When You’ve Found The One
Just in case we had any lingering doubt about the Will of the Force here, the book spends some time detailing out how in sync Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are and how that choir from Duel of the Fates is probably singing in the background or something equally-dramatic to signal this Very Important Moment:
Together, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn fought side by side. The Force pulsed between them. They knew without speaking where the other would move, when the other would strike. When Qui-Gon moved forward, Obi-Wan sprang back to protect his flank. When Obi-Wan leaped to the right, Qui-Gon made sure he was covered from the left.
Don’t let Anakin read this part. He’ll get really mad at the Force for doing this.
Clat’Ha joins them, and she’s shooting at the dragons with a blaster in each hand. The Arconans, who’ve now had some time to digest that life-saving dactyl Qui-Gon gave them, are strong enough to join in the fight, too. Baby Kenobes’ plan works, and the cave entrance becomes blocked with dragon bodies. I love that that is a sentence I just got to write.
They fight and fight and fight into the night, like HOW MANY FUCKING SPACE DRAGONS WERE THERE HOLY DAMN, and the Arconans prove themselves a force to be reckoned with: they are used to living in caves and in the dark, and so they are well-adept at taking on the dragons as darkness falls. Eventually, the last of the flock say “fuck this” and fly away from the island.
Too Bad This Never Happens in Canon
When the very last of the dragons are gone, a cheer goes up in the cave, even from the bad guys:
When a ragged cheer went up from the surviving Hutts and Whiphids, Obi-Wan thought that it was merely a cheer of relief. But when a huge Whiphid came out of the cave and gave him a rough pat on the back, and when Hutts actually circled him and began to clap, Obi-Wan realized that these were not cheers of relief. Their former enemies cheered for the Jedi.
Well, at least I can tell myself that it happened in the old EU one time. I swear to God, the Jedi Order puts up with SO MUCH UNGRATEFUL BULLSHIT from this trash fire of a galaxy.
The bad guys no longer try to stop them from distributing the rest of the dactyl stash to the Arconans — because of Jemba’s dumb orders, a TON of them AND the Arconans are dead.
Eighty-seven Arconans had lost their lives. The caves filled with the Arconans‘ hum of mourning. Obi-Wan lingered at the cave, watching his friend grieve with his fellow Arconans. It was time for Si Treemba to be with his people. Obi-Wan put a hand on his shoulder and pressed gently, then walked away.
GET USED TO THIS FEELING, OBES. You seriously have no idea. NONE.
Clat’Ha has a trick up her sleeve, now, too, and offers to buy out the remaining Hutts and have them come work for her Non-Evil Space Mining Company once they finally get off of wherever the hell they are now and get to Bandomeer, which I half-forgot they were even trying to get to at this point.
Aggaba, the remaining Hutt Honcho, is like “I dunno…you’d need to give me a LOT of money…”
“So how about I make you a better offer. I’ll give you twenty for each worker, and a personal bonus of twenty thousand just for signing with me.”
Aggaba’s eyes grew wide with delight. Clat’Ha hid her own glee.
Aggaba would accept the deal out of greed. But the rest of the workers would have their freedom.
Nice! Looks like everything’s worked out good for everybody, except for Baby-Wan who still has no one to love or care for him and will probably end up living alone in a hut somewhere OH GOD WHY STAR WARS NO.
Recurring Theme: Delayed Realization Syndrome
As this silliness comes to a close in its final (!!!) chapter, Qui-Gon takes a moment to mentally kick his own ass:
Qui-Gon knew when to admit he had been wrong. He had underestimated Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Yes, Jinn, you were indeed being a wang about all of this. If it makes you feel better, you will be FAR from the last person to make this mistake.
He stands outside of the ship, and I am not making this up, looking wistfully at the horizon and at the sea and thinking about Destiny and the Force and his robe and hair are probably waving around in the breeze, and now I KNOW Binary Sunset is playing.
He thinks about everything that’s happened: could it be? Could the Force really be trying to tell him to take on Obi-Wan as his new student? Yoda had told him earlier that, basically, if he wouldn’t make a decision eventually the Force was just going to get sick of his bullshit and THROW a Padawan at him, so…is this it?
Qui-Gon still wasn’t sure if fate had appointed Obi-Wan as his Padawan, or if it had just thrown them together for one odd adventure.
LOL forever that Qui-Gon thinks this adventure is somehow odder than anything else he’s probably already done or will continue to do for the entire rest of his life. Actually, scratch that: I kind of love the idea that Qui-Gon’s had a very, very banal, chilled-out Jedi existence save for maybe some moderate unpleasantness with his former apprentice up until this point. And now Obi-Wan shows up and suddenly it’s near death experiences and pirate axe attacks and FUCKING SPACE DRAGONS. I’d believe it. I have recapped MORE than enough Obi-Wan Content to know this does not even seem like the tiniest stretch.
Recurring Theme: A Meeting of Minds
He considers that when he’d first started all of this, he’d thought the fact that both of them were headed to Bandomeer to be mere coincidence: he’d been sent on the trip by the Chancellor, who I just remembered isn’t Sheev yet, and Obi-Wan had been sent there by Yoda. But there was more:
And there was a further matter. It was not a simple thing for one Jedi to touch the mind of another. It was an intimate thing, the kind of thing usually only done between the closest friends. Or between a Knight and his Padawan.
So, as far as I am aware, this whole Force Bond thing has never really been present much in Actual Canon until The Last Jedi came out, and now that it is all I can think about it how fucking obnoxious Anakin must have been and how much he must have abused this power. Like, he was absolutely placing constant Shirtless Force Phone Calls to a Long-Suffering Obi-Wan.
Fine: so they got sent to the same planet, and they touched each other’s brains, which…sounds actually kinda gross, sorry about that. Qui-Gon’s not sure what to do about all of this! He knows Yoda would tell him to draw up the apprenticeship papers right damn now, because Yoda loves Obi-Wan and wants Qui-Gon to get off his ass and train this kid, but…he’s just. not. sure. UGH.
He decides that he’ll continue to observe the boy when they get to Bandomeer to see how he does, and see if he’s really Jedi material. Um, I know they sent him away just shy of his 13th birthday, but like…in the rules of this EU AU, he’s got what? A couple months left? Weeks? GET A MOVE ON, JINN, FFS.
Recurring Theme: The Unbearable Sadness of Obi-Wan
OH. So Qui-Gon goes into Obi-Wan’s room on the ship, where he finds him sitting cross-legged on his bed, staring wistfully (of course) out the window.
“I’ll be glad to leave this place,” Obi-Wan said by way of greeting. “I saw too much death here.”
DEAR HEAVENLY FORCE. This poor little boy just…has no idea. NONE. NONE I TELL YOU. He is going to see, just…so much death. SO MUCH. NOT LEAST OF WHICH IS THIS WHOLE SITUATION WHERE HIS BFF/BROTHER/BARNACLE/HUSBAND MURDERS THEIR WHOLE FAMILY:
I’m sorry. That was uncalled for. BUT MY GOD. Why would you even make me consider this, Star Wars? Someone needs to just wrap him in a blanket and give him some hot cocoa and TAKE HIM AWAY FROM ALL OF THIS RIGHT NOW.
Qui-Gon tells him he did a good job today, and Obi-Wan is in absolute awe of the Force: it was amazing! He’d never realized how incredible it could be! He’s not worthy of its beauty! Qui-Gon smiles and is like “I KNOW RIGHT?? THE FORCE IS SO AWESOME.” They both sit quietly, and Qui-Gon notes to himself that Obi-Wan doesn’t seem to be concerned about being passed over anymore: he is at peace, and Qui-Gon is proud of him. With that, he tells Obi-Wan that they should be arriving on Bandomeer tomorrow (was the ship broken and swamped, or did I dream that? Did someone fix it? I guess they fixed it. Maybe I forgot about it.) He also, ominously, says he thinks some bad shit is gonna go down there. Obi-Wan, because his MO is to always be like “oh yeah that Force feeling I totally felt it too”, agrees.
To Be Continued In: My Deadbeat Son
That’s the end of the last chapter — but not quiiiiiite the end of the book, which has an afterword. They arrive on Bandomeer, and Obes has himself a little Gee-Golly-Gosh Rey Moment as he takes in how different it looks from Coruscant, where he was raised:
He’d never imagined that there could be so much wilderness on one planet.
He and Qui-Gon disembark, and Qui-Gon is met by a police officer at the port, who offers Qui-Gon an envelope as explanation for why they’ve requested his help:
He handed an envelope to Qui-Gon, who tore it open and pulled out a folded note.
As he read, Qui-Gon’s face paled, and his breath caught.
Obi-Wan read over Qui-Gon’s shoulder. It said only, I have been looking forward to this day.
The note was signed by someone named Xanatos.
Say it with me, readers: DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN! Shock! Intrigue! Jedi Family Drama! And I won’t spoil too much here, but please let me tell you that Xanatos is ri-dic-u-lous. Hopefully I can regale you guys with more stories from this series someday — and in the meantime, I do hope you’ve enjoyed our journey through The Rising Force. I’m putting this one officially in the “Done” pile — thanks for reading!