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Rise of Nobility
by LLL

This is the script for a radio play which is ready for download at www.riseofnobility.com.
Thanks to Keith Abbott for story ideas, and Nathan Dahlin' of
TheForce.net for Gungan dialect coaching.

NARRATOR: The Moisture Farm Co-op presents an original Star Wars story: "Rise of Nobility." Join us before the birth of the Empire ...

SOUND: OPENING STAR WARS THEME MUSIC. AFTER THE FIRST FEW BARS IT FADES DOWN. OPENING "CRAWL" TEXT ... (read by Narrator over Star Wars theme music played quietly in background) It is a dark time for Naboo.

Fleeing the invading forces of the Trade Federation, the embattled queen and her retinue have been forced to land on the desert planet of Tattooine.

The pod race upon which their fate rests is still a day hence, and there is nothing to do but wait.

As young Anakin Skywalker test drives the pod, Padme Naberrie looks back to an earlier time, to the crisis that forged her into the queen she has become ...

SOUND: FADE THEME OUT.

SOUND: ANAKIN'S POD RACER, DRIVEN AT SPEED IN THE DISTANCE.

JAR JAR: (with speech impediment) Datsa pod goin' bombad fast!

PADME: How is your tongue, Jar Jar?

JAR JAR: Meesa got pins and needles in meesa tongue. Dosa binders bombad!

SOUND: ENGINE GETS VERY CLOSE AND DIES. ANAKIN: (from a short distance) WOO-HOO! We're gonna win tomorrow! Yeah!

SHMI: (calling to him) Anakin, don't say that, it will make you careless.

ANAKIN: But it's true, Mom. I really will win.

QUI-GON: And why do you think so, Anakin?

ANAKIN: I don't know. I just ... know.

SHMI: The suns are setting. We should take the pod back before it gets too cold.

QUI-GON: I'll tow it back. Shmi, would you like to ride the pod the short distance back to your quarters?

SHMI: No thank you Qui-Gon, I'll walk with Padme.

JAR JAR: Meesa help pullen da pod!

ANAKIN: Me too!

(CHARACTERS ARE TOWING THE POD HOME)

(LINES IN BRACKETS ARE FADED DOWN IN THE BACKGROUND WITH RESPECT TO OTHER LINES)

SOUND: MANY FOOTSTEPS SWISHING THROUGH SAND. [JAR JAR: Yousa did it, Annie!]

[ANAKIN: I knew it was gonna work!]

[ANAKIN: I helped Watto take apart an I-10 once and I just knew it'd be way faster if I could add two more injectors without making the chamber any bigger. It took a long time for me to figure out how to do it. Then I had to um, borrow the converter when Watto wouldn't be using it ...]

[JAR JAR: Annie, meesa got no idea what yousa sayin'.]
 
 

(THE FOLLOWING IS HEARD OVER THE LINES IN BRACKETS.)
 
 

SHMI: (sighs.)

PADME: You're worried, aren't you? I'm sorry.

SHMI: We're both worried.

PADME: I just wish there were some other way.

SHMI: Nonsense. Where do you live on this planet that my son will be helping?

PADME: I live in Theed. It's the capital city.

ANAKIN: Tell me about Naboo, Padme. What is it like?

SOUND: FADE IN MUSIC PADME: (dreamily, and sad) Naboo ....

PADME: Well ... the air is so cool there, and so clean, that you can smell the river and the waterfalls all of the time.

ANAKIN: River? Waterfalls? But water doesn't smell like anything.

PADME: On Naboo it does. You can smell the water in the air, and the forest, too.

SHMI: (wonderingly) How does it smell?

JAR JAR: Like-a plants, and like-a da wet dirt, like-a growin' things!

PADME: Alive. And the air tastes like salt.

JAR JAR: Thatsa right!

AMAKIN: Really? What else?

PADME: If you stand on the walls of the city, and look out at the forest ... the land is all different colors. There's all different shades of green, for the grass, the moss, and all kinds of trees ... and the flowers are every color ... like light through a prism. And everywhere you go ... you can hear the sound of the river ... whispering, whispering in your ear.

SHMI: You must miss your home, Padme.

PADME: Oh, I do. (A little catch enters her voice) I hope everything's all right there.

QUI-GON: (quickly) You haven't told Shmi and Anakin about Theed.

PADME: In the city, there are hundreds of pretty buildings, all rose and gold ... the streets are cobblestones, and the people wear beautiful clothes. On every corner, children gather, laughing and singing as they play.

JAR JAR: Oh ... so deysa not like yousa queen, den.

PADME: (trying to be polite) Ahh ... What about the queen, Jar Jar?

JAR JAR: Creepy-scary! So cold! None of da Gungan children actin' like dat. Shesa scary!

PADME: Jar Jar! The queen is not scary!

JAR JAR: Shesa lookin' like shesa seen una ghost.

PADME: (thoughtfully) Actually, she did, once.

ANAKIN: No way! How?

PADME: It was in the western woods. She was in a transport crash there once.

QUI-GON: I've heard something about that. She was very brave -- she saved the lives of ten people.

ANAKIN: Did she really?

QUI-GON: Padme, can you tell us about it?

PADME: (frowns) I guess I can. When the queen was eleven, she went to live with her grandmother, so she could go to school in Theed.

QUI-GON: She attended the Royal School there, didn't she?

PADME: Yes, the Veruna Royal Academy for Gifted Children. When she was there, she joined the debate team. Every other week they would fly around the world for a competition. Sometimes they even went offworld. But this time, something went wrong ...
 
 
 
 

SOUND: FADE UP ENGINE NOISE RANEELY: Ugh! Trade tariffs! Who had to pick that topic? I got so bored I almost fell asleep researching that this week.

ANOLO: Ha, ha! I drew Gungan swamp land rights instead! Ha, ha!

RANEELY: You did not, Anolo. You get to pick your topics because you're the captain. It's not fair.

AMIDALA: I'm glad we got trade tariffs this time. It's so much more challenging to take an important topic most people don't understand and make it interesting. And if you do that, you're sure to win.

RANEELY: Little Miss Studious, here ...

(TEACHER): Raneely, Amidala. The first requisite of a good speaker is good manners. Especially when you aren't enjoying your topic.

SOUND: LOUD BANG!

SOUND: WHINING OF A SICK ENGINE.
 
 

ANOLO: What was that?

STUDENT 1: What happened?

SOUND: BOOKS, DISHES, AND A COMPUTER TERMINAL HITTING THE FLOOR AS THE TRANSPORT BANKS SHARPLY. ANOLO, RANEELY, AMIDALA, SEVERAL OTHER STUDENTS: Scream.
 
 

STUDENT 2: What's happening??

PILOT (FILTER): We're experiencing engine trouble, and we're going to have to make an emergency landing! Everyone sit in your seats and put your safety belts on! We're going to land in a clearing in the Western woods in five minutes!

(TEACHER): Children! In your seats and put your safety belts on! Dene`, do you need help?

DENE`: (CRYING)

(TEACHER): It's okay, Dene`. Everything's going to be all right. Let me help --

SOUND: EVEN LOUDER JOLT.

SOUND: ENGINE, WHINING CHANGES PITCH TO SOUND EVEN WORSE.

EVERYONE: Screams.

(TEACHER): Hold on! Hold on!

SOUND: CRASH SOUNDS (to be determined)

SOUND: COMPLETE SILENCE (length to be determined)

SOUND: FOREST SOUNDS (to continue until direction to end)

AMIDALA: (groans) Hello? Teacher? Where is everyone? SOUND: A GRUNT.

SOUND: SCUFFLING.

SOUND: RUBBLE BEING PUSHED AROUND.

AMIDALA: Teacher? Teacher? SOUND: RUSTLING AS AMIDALA TURNS TEACHER'S BODY OVER. AMIDALA: (Gasps)

ANOLO: (from a distance) Amidala! Is that you?

AMIDALA: Anolo?

ANOLO: (scuffling and bumping through debris, his voice getting closer) You're alive!

AMIDALA: Yes, I'm okay. My head hurts, but I'm okay. Anolo, Teacher is dead.

ANOLO: I know. Both our pilots are dead, too. I don't know what we're going to do. I can see transports flying overhead, but I don't think they can see us through the trees.

AMIDALA: Where are the other ejection pods? Is everyone else okay?

ANOLO: Denay and Reve are dead, Amidala. Everyone else is hurt, except for me and Raneely. I've been carrying everyone behind that big section of hull over there. It'll make a good shelter. Raneely's trying to build a fire. Maybe they'll see us then.

SOUND: END FOREST NOISES.
 
 

PADME: But they never did see them, Anakin. It was cold out that night. Anolo and the queen built the fire higher and higher, but the cambylictus trees were just too tall and thick there.

SHMI: Here we are. Come in and sit down, it's getting chilly out here. I'll make us all some tea while we hear the rest of Padme's story.

QUI-GON: Thank you, Shmi.

ANAKIN: What happened, Padme? What did they do?

PADME: It was so cold that night that they were afraid all the injured students might not make it through another night. The sun came up, and the queen, Anolo, and Raneely tried to figure out what to do...

SOUND: DOOR OPENING.

SOUND: FIVE SETS OF FOOTSTEPS ON FLOOR. FADES INTO ...


 
  SOUND: FOREST NOISES.

SOUND: CRACKLING FIRE.

RANEELY: I don't know what's going wrong here. They should be able to scan us. Why aren't they scanning us?

AMIDALA: I don't know. Anolo, are you sure our comm unit won't work somehow?

ANOLO: I'm positive. It's a wreck, a total loss.

RANEELY: Like our ship.

ANOLO: Look. I think it's time for two of us to go for help. There's got to be someone close by, out here searching for us, and they have to have a comm unit. I think we need to go looking for them.

AMIDALA: I think so, too.

ANOLO: I'm going to go. One of you will come with me, and the other will stay here.

RANEELY: (ugly tone of voice) I'm going to go. Leave her here.

SOUND: A MOMENT OF STUNNED SILENCE. AMIDALA: Umm ...

ANOLO: Raneely, we need to consider this logically.

RANEELY: I am considering it logically. I'm older, and bigger, and stronger, and I can walk longer. There was hardly any water to begin with, and we're almost out of that. We could be gone a long time.

ANOLO: But you were raised in Theed. You've never been out in the woods before. Amidala was raised on a farm.

RANEELY: How much could she have done on a farm? She only lived there til she was nine, and she probably studied the whole time. Everybody knows she's a brain, but look at her, Anolo. I'm bigger. I'm stronger. I'm going. She may have beaten us all out of the Rayna scholarship, but we're not at school now.

SOUND: STUNNED SILENCE. AMIDALA: It's okay, Anolo. I can stay here. In fact, I'd rather --

RANEELY: If she really knows anything about living off the land, then she should stay here. What if the others run out of food?

ANOLO: (pauses) Then that'll be your problem. Amidala, there's still some meat, cheese, and bread on the rock next to the fire. Get enough to make us a small lunch, and we'll get going.

RANEELY: What? Are you crazy?

ANOLO: That's enough, Raneely. It's not your problem.

RANEELY: It is too my problem! If you get lost or hurt or killed or you starve to death, we'll never get rescued, and that's my problem!

ANOLO: Shut up, Raneely! Come on, Amidala, I'll help you get the food.
 
 
 
 

SOUND: TEA POURING INTO CUPS. JAR JAR: Tank you! Meesa liken yousa tea.

SHMI: There's some sweetspread for it as well.

QUI-GON: Thank you.

ANAKIN: What happened? Did they leave her there?

PADME: Anolo and the queen left the others, and started walking through the forest. There were still search vessels flying overhead, and they tried to go in the direction it looked like they were coming from. They walked all day. When they stopped, the sun was going down.

SHMI: How did they keep from getting lost? Here, if a person becomes lost in the desert, they travel in circles if there are no landmarks.

PADME: That was the strange thing. Somehow the queen knew which way the ship was and where they'd already been. And she knew when they were in danger ...
 
 
 
 

SOUND: TREES AND BRUSH RUSTLING.

SOUND: DRY LEAVES CRUNCHING.
 
 

SOUND: GRAVEL ROLLING AND TUMBLING ON HARD DIRT.

SOUND: STICKS BREAKING.

SOUND: A SMALL LOG ROLLING DOWNHILL

SOUND: THE THUMP OF A PERSON FALLING ON THE GROUND

ANOLO: Ow! Be careful over here. These rocks and leaves are just sliding away under my feet!

AMIDALA: (whispers) Shh, Anolo. Wait, don't get up yet!

ANOLO: What?

AMIDALA: Stop making so much noise. There's something here ...

ANOLO: What are you talking about? I don't see anything.

AMIDALA: (whispering) Shh! Not so loud! Keep your eyes open ...

ANOLO: (whispering) Why? Did you hear something?

AMIDALA: (whispering) I didn't ... but it feels like I did.

ANOLO: I don't know what you're talking about ...

AMIDALA: Look, Anolo. In those trees.

ANOLO: I still don't see anything.

AMIDALA: See where it looks like a log next to those shrubs?

ANOLO: Ohhh ... that's not a log.

SOUND: RUSTLING A LITTLE WAY OFF. AMIDALA: That is a huge animal! What is it?

ANOLO: It's a vornskr!

SOUND: RUSTLINGS AS AMIDALA STARTS TO RUN. ANOLO: Amidala, where are you going? If we don't move, it won't know we're here --

AMIDALA: It already knows we're here! Come on!

VORNSKYR: (Terrible roar!)

SOUND: CRY FROM ONE OF THE CHILDREN

SOUND: SMALL TWIGS AND BRANCHES BREAKING UNDER THE CHILDREN'S FEET AS THEY TURN AND RUN

SOUND: LARGER BRANCHES BREAKING AS THE VORNSKYR FOLLOWS

SOUND: SOFT GROWLS FROM THE VORNSKYR

SOUND: ANOLO AND AMIDALA PANTING

AMIDALA: It's too fast! We'll never outrun it!

ANOLO: Here! Up this tree!

SOUND: FURIOUS RUSTLING AND SCRAPING AS THE CHILDREN SCALE A CAMBYLICTUS TREE VORNSKYR: (grunting, snarling) SOUND: TWIGS BREAKING MORE LOUDLY AS VORNSKYR GETS CLOSER ANOLO: Hurry! It's gaining on us! SOUND: LARGE BRANCH BREAKING AMIDALA: (piercing scream) SOUND: GIANT SCRAPING AS AMIDALA'S FOOT SLIPS AND SHE SLIDES ALL THE WAY DOWN THE TRUNK

SOUND: SOME MUSICAL NOTES PLAYING DOWN THE SCALE TO INDICATE THAT SHE HAS FALLEN

SOUND: LOUD CRASH OF SNAPPING TWIGS AS SHE HITS THE GROUND

AMIDALA: (faint coughing)

ANOLO: Amidala!

ANOLO: Amidala?

ANOLO: Where are you?

VORNSKYR: (snarls at bottom of tree)

AMIDALA: (faintly) Over here ...

ANOLO: What happened? All I can see is your hand!

AMIDALA: I think it's a vole hole or something. I just slid right down in ...

ANOLO: Get your hand in!!

SOUND: TWIGS BREAKING AS THE VORNSKYR DASHES TO THE HOLE

SOUND: BIG TEETH SNAPPING ON AIR AS THE VORNSKYR GOES FOR AMIDALA'S HAND

ANOLO: Are you hurt?

AMIDALA: No, I'm fine. I think I'll be OK in here. The hole is too small for it to get in. But what are we going to do?

ANOLO: I have a knife in my pack ... but I left it at the foot of the tree. Maybe we can injure it somehow ...

AMIDALA: Don't try that! This ... this ...

ANOLO: Vornskr.

AMIDALA: it'll kill you!

AMIDALA: I've never heard of such an animal.

ANOLO: I can't imagine what this one is doing here. They live on Myrkyr. Hey ... stick your hand out again. If you can distract it, I can reach my pack.

AMIDALA: I don't think that's a good idea. This beast is huge, Anolo! You and I couldn't kill it together, especially with only a knife!

ANOLO: Have you got a better idea? Hey -- maybe I can whittle off a stick up here or something. If I can poke it in the eye, or lodge it in its ear or something, it will give us a chance to run. Can you climb out of there?

AMIDALA: I can climb out easy. I just don't dare, right yet ... It's staring right at me, Anolo! I can't believe the size of these teeth!

ANOLO: Stick your hand up and distract it! I'm ready to climb down!

VORNSKYR: (growls and snaps as Amidala waves her hand just beyond its reach)

SOUND: RUSTLES AND SCRAPINGS AS ANOLO HURRIES TO THE GROUND ANOLO: OK! I've got my pack!

VORNSKYR: (quiets down as Amidala stops teasing it)

VORNSKYR: (shuffling, rustling noises ... a pattering as dirt clods fall down)

AMIDALA: Anolo, help! It's trying to dig its way in here!!

ANOLO: Hold on! I'm almost done!

AMIDALA: Get it away from me!

ANOLO: Calm down! I'm going to lead it back over those loose leaves and gravel. If it falls down, you can run!

AMIDALA: Hurry!

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS RUNNING

SOUND: LEAVES RUSTLING

SOUND: SMALL TWIGS BREAKING

ANOLO: Come here, you ugly thing! Leave her alone! SOUND: DULL THUMPS AS ANOLO JUMPS UP AND DOWN

SOUND: SCRAPING OF DIRT AS THE BEAST DIGS

SOUND: DIRT CLODS HITTING THE GROUND

AMIDALA: It doesn't even notice you!

ANOLO: Hey! Hey!!

SOUND: CRASHING OF LEAVES AND TWIGS AS ANOLO RUNS FORWARD

SOUND: SLAPPING OF HIS STICK ON VORNSKYR'S RUMP

VORNSKYR: (ferocious growl as it turns and attacks Anolo)

ANOLO: Come on!!

SOUND: CRASHING SOUNDS RECEDING AS IT CHASES ANOLO AWAY AMIDALA: Run, Anolo, run!! SOUND: PAUSE AS VORNSKYR STOPS

SOUND: CRASHING SOUNDS GETTING LOUDER AS VORNSKYR CHASES AMIDALA AGAIN

AMIDALA: (screams)

ANOLO: No! No! Hey, I'm over here! Come get me, you demon! Get me! Amidala, get in the hole!!

AMIDALA: It's really small! I don't even know how I fell in ... ! I - I can't get back in!!

ANOLO: (slaps vornskr on back with branch)

VORNSKYR: ROARS!!

ANOLO: (hoarse screams)
 
 

SOUND: SILENCE.
 
 
 
 

ANAKIN: What happened?

PADME: There was nothing the queen could do. She yelled and screamed. She grabbed branches and logs and hit the vornskr, but it didn't even turn around. It pinned Anolo to the forest floor and killed him. When she saw that it was hopeless, the queen turned around and ran.

SOUND: FAINT RUSTLES IN THE DISTANCE AS AMIDALA RUNS THROUGH THE WOODS SHMI: Oh, no!

JAR JAR: Oh, meesa!

PADME: After a while she had left Anolo and the vornskr far behind. The queen stopped running and sat down to rest. She was almost about to cry. (Faint ship sound, growing louder). And then a transport passed overhead, so low it sounded as if it were about to land. It was dark now, too dark for anyone to see her from the air, even without the trees. The queen jumped up and ran again, trying to follow the ship.

SOUND: APPROPRIATE MUSIC

SOUND: RUSTLES AS PADME RUNS THROUGH THE WOODS

SOUND: PADME'S RUNNING FOOTSTEPS

PADME: The queen reached a clearing where the moon shone silver light on a grassy field. Ahead of her a great mountain rose up into the sky, like a dewback's back. There were two great stone statues on either side of it ... and the queen knew where she was. Long, long ago on Naboo, in the time before the Great Peace, there were many wars, and a lot of soldiers were killed. The people would bury them on the battlefield, and erect the statues to watch over them. There are places like this all over Naboo. In some of the old battlefields, the grass grew back, but the trees never did, and no one knows why. There are stories that the burial grounds are full of hants, and that's why the trees never grew.

As the queen stood there a portal opened in the hillside, like a yawning mouth, and the ship flew inside and disappeared.

The hangar stayed open, and in an instant the queen was running across the field. She scrambled up the hillside.She found herself in an alcove with two ships inside and just enough room for a third.

SOUND: FAINT GRINDING OF AN ENGINE POWERING DOWN

SOUND: WHINING OF A RAMP LOWERING

PADME: The ramp was coming down on the transport that had just flown in. The queen hid behind the other ship and waited. A tall Falleen came down the ramp with two other men; three more men approached the ramp. SOUND: FOOTSTEPS ON RAMP

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS ON CONCRETE FLOOR

VERUNA: Prince Xizor. Welcome back to Naboo.

XIZOR: Prince Veruna.

VERUNA: Our titles are not, as you know, hereditary.

XIZOR: True, but there is hope yet that you may succeed your father on the Naboo throne. As long as you continue to enjoy the support of Black Sun, of course.

VERUNA: Of course.

XIZOR: Which would bring me to the reason for my visit.

VERUNA: My Prince, would you not care to retire for now and discuss the issue in private? Surely you are tired from your trip.

XIZOR: It's true that I enjoy the niceties of diplomacy, when appropriate. It's also true that such formalities are often the occasion for ... equivocation, don't you think?

VERUNA: Well, my Prince, I have -- ah --

XIZOR: Equivication, vacillation, and evasion. Three things Prince Lexx has instructed me to avoid on this particular visit to your base.

VERUNA: Sir.

XIZOR: Therefore I shall put the question to you directly. You are aware that Prince Lexx is most eager to continue supplying harium to Sienar System's ion propulsion research venture. It would be a most profitable contract. However, he is unable to do so without the shipment which you promised us three days ago. I want to know where that harium is.

VERUNA: I can't help it! Security has tightened since our last shipment. My father has a new man who's organized a patrol. I've gotten access to the plans for it, but even that hasn't helped us. Panaka's men are good.
 
 
 
 

PADME: (voice over) As the queen listened, it all began to make sense. Harium is a precious metal found only on Naboo, in the planet's core. It's left behind when the plasma flows through the rock. Because it's important to the integrity of the core, only very little of it can be mined. The Gungans control it, because it's under the water, and by treaty we can only have so much of it a year.

JAR JAR: Thatsa right!

PADME: The Naboo use it to make jewelry. At this same time, there had been a lot of jewel robberies in Theed, and the king was under pressure to do something about it. Knowing that Black Sun was involved frightened Queen Amidala very badly.

JAR JAR: Whatsa Black Sun?

SHMI: It's an organization of criminals, Jar Jar. Ruthless, bloodthirsty ... they stop at nothing. They're the people who got Ani and me here in the first place.

QUI-GON: Who'd have thought they'd run a black market for harium? I'd never even heard of the metal before now.

ANAKIN: I bet it's for a solar coil. They've been trying to make a solar-powered ion engine forever. But there hasn't been a really good way to make coils that'll power anything faster than a sandcrawler.

JAR JAR: Yousa gotta tell us what happened to yousa queen!

PADME: (voice over) Amidala stayed hidden, and she listened. It was incredible to her that the king's own son was involved in this. And as the criminals argued, the hangar doors started to close ...
 
 
 
 

SOUND: CREAKING OF TWO HUGE, HEAVY DOORS STARTING TO MOVE. CONTINUES THROUGHOUT ALL OF THE FOLLOWING: XIZOR: I knew Prince Lexx should never have entrusted this to you. I am in charge here now, and I will procure your shipment for you ... "Prince" Veruna.

VERUNA: No, sir, you won't. Not just now.

PADME: (voice over) The queen knew that she needed to leave. Her first thought was to scramble into one of the ships and fly it out of the hangar doors.

XIZOR: (Icily) You are hardly in a position to give orders to me.

PADME: (voice over) But as she sat there in the shadows, she realized that she didn't know how to fly the ships. And if she ran, and she didn't reach the door in time, they'd all see her and she would be caught.

VERUNA: My Prince. We've monitored a transport crash just inside the perimeter of our shield -- the very shield that prevents my father's security from scanning us. The western woods are crawling with security. This is no time to send a crew or shipment in or out.

PADME: (voice over) Common sense told the queen that it didn't matter if she could fly, all she had to do was get the ship forward, through the doors and out into the field where she could run. But then she thought of the awful task of having to accuse the king's own son, and she thought of what would happen to her classmates if she were killed, and she just couldn't move. She was so afraid.

XIZOR: Ridiculous. Use your one functioning brain cell to lower the shield long enough for the searchers to find their lost ship. While they are occupied with that, I shall take your procurement crews into Theed and give them some instruction in the art of breaking and entering.

PADME: (voice over) The doors closed ...

SOUND: TWO HEAVY DOORS MEETING WITH A CLANG. PADME: (voice over) ... and it was too late. The queen had hesitated too long. She was trapped. SOUND: FOOTSTEPS OF XIZOR, VERUNA, AND FOUR GUARDS LEAVING THE HANGAR. XIZOR: Afterward I shall take you back to Prince Lexx with me to be dealt with.

VERUNA: My Prince, you underestimate --

XIZOR: Any further interference from you, and I shall see that this Panaka receives your name myself.

SOUND: A DISTANT DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES.

SOUND: SILENCE.

PADME: (voice over) The queen slowly got up and began to look for a way out. SOUND: RUSTLING OF FABRIC.

SOUND: QUIET, UNCERTAIN FOOTSTEPS.

PADME: (voice over) She was alone. Or so she thought.

AMIDALA: (gasps!)

MECHANIC: Why, it's a little girl. A pretty little girl, too. What are you doing here, little one?

AMIDALA: (terrified) Oh, please don't!

MECHANIC: Don't what? I'm not going to hurt you. How did you get in here?

AMIDALA: I -- I ... I'm from the transport crash, in the woods. Please let me out. Please let me go, I'm only trying to find help.

MECHANIC: I don't think that would be wise.

AMIDALA: I'm a Royal Academy student. My grandmother is a wealthy lady, in Theed. Please, let me go ... you won't be sorry.

MECHANIC: (laughs) I wish! You're going to have to come with me.

AMIDALA: (cries out as he pulls her hair).

SOUND: TWO SETS OF FOOTSTEPS, A HEAVY ONE WITH MEASURED STEPS, AND A LIGHTER ONE SCURRYING TO KEEP UP.

SOUND: A DOOR SLIDES OPEN.

MECHANIC: My Prince!

XIZOR: What is this?

MECHANIC: A refugee from the crash, my lord. I found her just now ... in the hangar.

VERUNA: Unwise, young one. We shall have to eliminate her.

XIZOR: Mmm, not so hasty, Veruna. Such a lovely little thing. I may have to take her back to Coruscant with me. I presume you have a suitable holding area for her?

VERUNA: Of course.

XIZOR: Good. You will detain her there while we conduct our business.

VERUNA: My Prince. (pause) Security!

SOUND: DOOR OPENING. GUARD: Sir, I have something here you must see ... something brought back by one of our patrol animals. I thought it best to show you right away. SOUND: HEAVY CHAIN RATTLING ON CONCRETE FLOOR VORNSKR: (growls)

PADME: (voice over) It was the vornskr. The guard was holding it on a chain. The monster had Anolo's battered body by the arm ... dragging it along the floor.

SOUND: BRIEF SILENCE. PADME: (voice over) They locked the queen away in a cell that looked empty -- SOUND: OLD FASHIONED JAIL DOOR CLANGING. PADME: (voice over) -- but she soon discovered she wasn't alone.
 
 
 
  SOUND: QUIETLY, IN THE BACKGROUND: AMIDALA, WEEPING AS IF HER HEART WILL BREAK.

SOUND: FADE UP AMIDALA'S SOBS.

NORDEY: Ex-squeeze me. Whatta yousa doing?

AMIDALA: (little cry). (tearfully) You scared me! I didn't even see you in here!

NORDEY: Meesa been here. Theysa kept meesa prisoner una long time.

AMIDALA: (sniffling, wiping tears) I could have sworn I was the only person in here.

NORDEY: Meesa called Nordey Weems. Whosa yousa, and why'n yousa crying?

AMIDALA: (crossly) You didn't cry when they stuck you in here? (Pause.) I'm sorry. My name is Amidala.

NORDEY: How'n yousa gettin here?

AMIDALA: I was on a trip with my school, and our transport crashed in the woods. I went with a friend to try to find help. I saw the hangar door open and came in ... (beginning to cry again).

NORDEY: Ooh. Datsen bad bombin'. Whatsa happened to yousa friend?

AMIDALA: (sobbing) We ran into one of their vornskrs in the woods, and it killed him!

NORDEY: (quietly) Meesa bery, bery sorry hearin' dat.

AMIDALA: Oh, I only wish that were the worst! I was stupid enough to get trapped here, and so Anolo will have died for nothing! All my friends on the transport are going to die! No one will find them in time because they're inside this place's shield, and they can't be scanned, and the king's son is a robber and a criminal, and no one will ever find out because of me! It's all my fault!

NORDEY: Meesa tinkin' yousa bein' too hard on yousa self. Yousa not helpin' if some big guy grabbin' and draggin' yousa off!

AMIDALA: No, you don't understand! I had a chance to get out, and I didn't! I could have grabbed a transport and flown out, or I could have run, but I didn't. I just sat there. I just sat there, while everyone was counting on me ...

NORDEY: (pause)

NORDEY: "Ambombin."

AMIDALA: What?

NORDEY: "Ambombin." Itsa una Gungan word meanin' ... meanin' ... "acten as if" is what itsa really meanen in yousa words.

AMIDALA: (silence)

NORDEY: Meesa tryin' to explain. Meesa tinkin' ... How would yousa act iffen yousa knewing what to do? Yousa wouldn't be cryin'. Datsen how yousa oughta be now.

AMIDALA: But I don't know what to do. I don't know how to get out of here. Neither do you.

NORDEY: Meesa sayin' ... Yousa knowin' how an hour ago. Yousa still here.

SOUND: BRIEF SILENCE. NORDEY: Yousa come ober here. Listen. SOUND: INDISTINCT MEN'S LAUGHTER, FILTERED. PADME: (voice over) Nordey motioned toward an air vent in the rear of the cell. It was much too small to crawl through, but it carried the sounds of the guards in a break room somewhere in the building ... and the queen could hear every word. For the next day and a half, she sat or lay under the vent, until she overheard something that gave her an idea ... FADE UP: MEN LAUGHING, FILTERED. GUARD 1: And that Falleen! What's he keeping that young girl for, anyway? Robbing the cradle, isn't he?

GUARD 2: I'll say. I heard he's about a hundred and sixty years old.

RED BEARD: Him? No!

GUARD 1: Yeah! They live forever, those Falleen.

RED BEARD: (laughs) What I want to know is, why's everyone assigned to that block but me? I can think of worse things than looking at her all day.

GUARD 2: Well, you shouldn't be so rough with prisoners, Red Beard. Then when something like this comes along, you can get some of the easy duty and not be stuck out on the perimeter with the vornskyrs.

GUARD 1: Veruna's in enough trouble already. He isn't going to take a chance on having Xizor's prize harmed in any way.

GUARD 2: Yeah, he likes them pretty, from what I've heard.

RED BEARD: Even if he's gotta wait ten years.

ALL: Laugh.

PADME: (voice over) Fortunately for the queen, the cell doors were antiquated bars that slid back and forth manually. Early in the morning, she stood against them in the shadows while she waited for her breakfast ...

SOUND: HEAVY METAL DOORS SLIDING ASIDE SLOWLY. AMIDALA: (Loud grunt or yell!) SOUND: DOORS SLIDE BACK QUICKLY WITH A CLANG! GUARD 1: (screams) Aaaagh! You broke my fingers, you little --

AMIDALA: Yeah, you better look out for me! I'm not as nice as I look!

GUARD 1: Ow! Just for that, you little wench, you don't get any breakfast!

SOUND: TRAY AND PLASTIC DISHES CLATTERING AGAINST STONE WALL AND FLOOR.

SOUND: DOOR LOCKS.

GUARD 1: You better find some manners fast before you starve to death! SOUND: FOOTSTEPS RETREATING ANGRILY DOWN CORRIDOR. PADME: (voice over) The queen was sorry, for she was hungry for that breakfast. And they never brought enough food for more than one person, so Nordey went hungry, too. But she tangled her hair with her fingers and picked up a stone from the floor. She began sharpening it against the bars. SOUND: ROCK BEING RUBBED AGAINST METAL. PADME: (voice over) He came that night, to deliver their supper. There could be no mistaking who he was. He was a huge man, with a red beard curling down his chest. The queen raised her rock, which she had ground to a sharp edge, up to her cheek.

RED BEARD: Hey! What are you doing?!

AMIDALA: Ow!

SOUND: DOOR SLIDING OPEN WITH A CLANG. RED BEARD: Give me that! What do you think you're doing?

AMIDALA: Making a bargain with you!

RED BEARD: Huh?

PADME: (voice over) The queen had never been so frightened in her life. But she pushed the fear aside and tried hard to act as if she wasn't scared.

AMIDALA: My grandmother is a wealthy lady in Theed. You can either get me out of here, and she'll pay you, or --

RED BEARD: (sarcastically) Or what?

AMIDALA: Or I'll tell Prince Xizor that you did this to my face.

RED BEARD: Hah!

AMIDALA: I will. And he'll believe me.

SOUND: PLASTIC TRAY BEING SET DOWN ON STONE FLOOR. RED BEARD: (snickering) Enjoy your dinner. You oughta be real hungry. SOUND: FOOTSTEPS TURNING TO LEAVE. AMIDALA: Maybe some bruises will make this look more incriminating! SOUND: RUNNING FOOTSTEPS.

SOUND: LOUD SMACK AS AMIDALA THROWS HERSELF AGAINST THE WALL.

AMIDALA: (grunts in pain)

RED BEARD: Hey, don't do that!

SOUND: ANOTHER LOUD SMACK.

SOUND: HEAVIER FOOTSTEPS RUNNING CLOSE AS RED BEARD GRABS HER ARM.

RED BEARD: That's enough!

AMIDALA: Ouch! Hey, you'd better be careful. I could scream right now, and they'd all come running around the corner, and there you'd be, grabbing me by the arm.

RED BEARD: You little -- !

AMIDALA: Maybe another deep scratch would make this look more convincing! And the Prince isn't happy with you men to begin with!

RED BEARD: Stop it right --

AMIDALA: (Screams.)

SOUND: SCUFFLING AND SLAPPING AS THE TWO FIGHT. RED BEARD: Can't move, can you? You should know better than to fight somebody four times your size! SOUND: FOOTSTEPS, FAINTLY IN THE DISTANCE. AMIDALA: Do I hear someone? Maybe the Prince will come save me! (screams) Help, help, my Prince! He's got me, help! He hurt my face --

GUARD: (faintly, from far away) Hear that? What's going on in the prison block?

RED BEARD: All right! All right! But you're my prisoner, you, and your family doesn't pay me, you're dead! Shut up and come on!

AMIDALA: Wait! Don't leave Nordey there!

RED BEARD: Huh? Who are you talking about?

AMIDALA: The Gungan, in the cell with me.

RED BEARD: Are you crazy? You musta smacked yourself against the wall too hard!

SOUND: DOOR SLIDES CLOSED AND LOCKS.

SOUND: TWO SETS OF FOOTSTEPS, ONE HEAVY, ONE LIGHT.

RED BEARD: I'm gonna have to deactivate the cameras on the north side so we can slip out. Every entrance is monitored. (pause) If I regret this, so will you.

AMIDALA: You won't. I promise.

RED BEARD: Whoa. What the -- ?

SOUND: FOUR SETS OF FOOTSTEPS CLOSE IN ON ALL SIDES. RED BEARD: (nervous laugh) Guys. What's with the blasters? SOUND: A FIFTH SET OF STEPS. XIZOR: (laughs)

RED BEARD: (quickly) My Prince.

XIZOR: Perhaps you don't know, my dull fellow ... the detention corridor is also monitored.

RED BEARD: My Prince, I --

XIZOR: Little One, you possess a fine intelligence. I see we shall have to watch you more closely.

AMIDALA: Don't touch me!

XIZOR: And so brave. But really, my dear, to mar that beautiful skin --

SOUND: AMIDALA'S TEETH SNAP ON XIZOR'S HAND. XIZOR: You BIT me! (laughs) A girl of rare spirit --

PADME: (voice over) But the guards didn't see that the Prince was only amused. One of them lunged for her, and when he did the queen stepped aside and pushed him from behind, straight into the Prince.

SOUND: TWO LARGE BODIES COLLIDING. XIZOR: Oof! SOUND: A LARGE MAN HITTING A STONE FLOOR. PADME: (voice over) As one guard fell over the fallen Prince, one rushed to help the Prince up, and two moved to grab the queen, Amidala dashed between Red Beard's legs and ran as hard as she could. SOUND: ONE LIGHT SET OF STEPS AND FOUR HEAVY ONES POUNDING ON STONE.

SOUND: AMIDALA BREATHING HARD.

PADME: (voice over) But the men were stronger and had longer legs, and the queen hadn't eaten all day. She knew she couldn't outrun them. SOUND: PAIR OF ELECTRIC DOORS SLIDING OPEN.

SOUND: MEAT FRYING.

SOUND: PAIR OF ELECTRIC DOORS SLIDING CLOSED AGAIN.

SOUND: AMIDALA'S FEET SLIDE TO A HALT ON STONE FLOOR.

GUARD 2: (muffled, on the other side of door) She's in the kitchen! SOUND: SEVERAL ELECTRONIC BEEPS. PADME: The queen used the keypad to lock the door. But she had to make sure it stayed locked. She looked around.

COOK: Where did you come from?

PADME: The queen grabbed a mug of coffee off the counter and threw it on the keypad. Then she used the bottom of the mug to pound the keys.

SOUND: SPLASH.

SOUND: POUNDING.

SOUND: PLASTIC CRACKING.

SOUND: ELECTRIC BUZZING OF SHORTED CIRCUITS.

SOUND: POPPING OF SPARKS.

SOUND: BANGING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF DOOR.

GUARDS: (muffled, on the other side of door) It's locked! Cook, open up!

COOK: Stop it! What the hell are you doing to my door?

AMIDALA: Let go of me, I've gotta get out of here -- !

PADME: (voice over) The queen grabbed the cook's apronstrings and pulled off the apron. She ran to the stove --

COOK: You give me that! No!!

PADME: (voice over) She dangled the apron right onto the heating element.

SOUND: INFLAMMATORY POOF! AS THE APRON CATCHES FIRE. PADME: The cabinets were antiquated, too, and made out of wood. The queen dropped the apron at the foot of the cabinets, and she spied a bottle of cooking oil. SOUND: GREASE POPPING.

SOUND: FLAMES.

COOK: Fire! Fire!! SOUND: DRAWER OPENING.

SOUND: CLANGING OF CUTLERY.

PADME: (voice over) The cook went for the fire containment device on the wall, but the queen threatened her with the biggest knife she could find.

AMIDALA: Don't you touch that! I'll get you!!

SOUND: FLAMES, GROWING LOUDER AS THE CABINETS CATCH AND BURN. COOK: Move! Are you trying to kill us all? Move!!

AMIDALA: You get back! Get back!!

SOUND: ROARING FLAMES. COOK: (coughing) Fire! Fire!! SOUND: METAL SCREECHING APART.

SOUND: SEVERAL SETS HEAVY FOOTSTEPS RUNNING IN.

PADME: (voice over) The guards had forced the door. But now they had plenty to keep them busy. SOUND: A SIREN BLARES.

SOUND: A FIRE EXTINGUISHER BEING SPRAYED.

SOUND: SIREN FADING OUT.

SOUND: LIGHT FOOTSTEPS RUNNING ON STONE.

SOUND: AMIDALA, BREATHING HARD.

PADME: (voice over) In all the confusion, it was easy for the queen to slip away. She ran alone, unnoticed, as all the personnel ran to put out the fire. At last she came to a door ...

AMIDALA: (panting, whispers) Oh, please open! Please let me out!

SOUND: ELECTRIC DOOR OPENING. PADME: (voice over) The door was unlocked, probably because of the fire alarm. It slid open and the queen was free.

AMIDALA: (incoherent sob of joy.)

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS RUNNING THROUGH LONG GRASS.

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS COME TO AN ABRUPT HALT.

SOUND: AMIDALA, PANTING.

PADME: (voice over) But the queen realized she couldn't leave.

AMIDALA: (panting) Nordey! I can't leave her there! I have to go back in! She's locked in the cell and she can't leave. What if the whole building burns?

SOUND: RUSTLING OF GRASS. PADME: (voice over) And the queen turned to go back into the little hillside stronghold, but before she could take a step, she heard a voice.

NORDEY: No! No! Meesa here! Yousa don't gotta rescue meesa. Yousa just run!

AMIDALA: (Gasps.) But how -- ? They locked you in! I saw them! How could you be here?

PADME: (voice over) Nordey looked strange to the queen, like the sun on mist. Slowly she walked forward, and put out her hand ...

SOUND: MAGIC CHIME. AMIDALA: I can't believe it! You're not even real! No wonder Red Beard said I was crazy! No wonder they never brought you any food!

NORDEY: Uh-oh! Yousa founden meesa out!

AMIDALA: Why ... why, you're a hant, aren't you?

NORDEY: Meesa dyin', right ober dere, longen before dissen Great Peacen.

AMIDALA: (sniffling, choked with emotion) I can't believe it. Thank you for helping me. How can I ever thank you?

NORDEY: Yousa letten meesa walken yousa through deesa woods. Yousa gotta help comin', deysa lookin' for yousa. Meesa seein datsen, and lotsen more about yousa.
 
 
 
 

PADME: (voice over) And so Nordey led the queen into the woods, where she soon met a search party that had been organized to find them.

ANAKIN: A real ghost! Wow!! Did you ever see it, Padme?

PADME: Me? Umm, well, no. The queen didn't have handmaidens then.

ANAKIN: Did the queen ever see it again?

PADME: No. But Nordey did tell the queen her fortune, while she guided her through the woods to the search team.

QUI-GON: They hadn't found the crash site yet?

PADME: No. The cambylictus forests are so high, and so thick, and the shield hadn't yet been lowered.

QUI-GON: So that was what was behind the king's sudden abdication. No one on the council has ever heard the full story about that.

PADME: Well, it didn't happen for a couple of years after the transporter crash. The reason it was such a big scandal was that King Veruna had kept it hidden.

SHMI: How did it finally come out, Padme? Didn't the queen tell about it when she got home?

PADME: She did tell, but nothing was ever done about it. It was as if it hadn't even happened. But somehow our Senator, Palpatine, found out. When he did, the king's son was off planet. He had disappeared. At that time the senator hoped the king had put him in prison off-planet, and kept it all hidden out of shame. Senator Palpatine sent someone to investigate, and after some months discovered the king's son at large on Corellia somewhere, in hiding until it could all be forgotten. That was when the senator made all the facts public, and when the king stepped down, Senator Palpatine wrote to Amidala and urged her to run for election as the new queen. Then he supported her campaign, and here we all are.

QUI-GON: An amazing story, Padme.

ANAKIN: But, Padme!! If the ghost told the queen her fortune, then we know how all this ends, don't we? I mean, if it knew the future -- !

PADME: Well, it wasn't quite that simple, Anakin. The future is always changing, depending on what we decide to do today. And it isn't always clear.

ANAKIN: So you know what the Gungan ghost said? Tell us, Padme, tell us!

PADME: Umm ...

SHMI: Anakin, that story is the queen's. It should remain the queen's, to reveal in her own way. It isn't Padme's to tell.

ANAKIN: I guess you're right, Mom. Sorry.

SHMI: Now, who wants to help me get dinner ready? We have a big day ahead. We'll need our energy.

SOUND: SHUFFLING OF BODIES GETTING UP OFF THE FLOOR AND OUR OF CHAIRS. JAR JAR: Meesa helpin' yousa! SOUND: SEVERAL SETS OF FOOTSTEPS RETREATING TO THE NEXT ROOM. PADME: (calls after them) I'll be there in a minute ... SOUND: SILENCE.

SOUND: LONE SET OF FOOTSTEPS MOVING A FEW PACES TO THE WINDOW.

PADME: (softly, with affection) Thank you, Nordey. Though, your prediction ... he's so young ... SOUND: FADE IN MUSIC

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