"Anakin, tell me about your master."
"Well . . . he's. . . ."
"I could leave," Obi-Wan offered.
"Would that help you, Ani?"
Anakin nodded and Obi-Wan went to wait in the hall.
"Go ahead. Describe Obi-Wan."
"Well . . . he's a good man, I suppose. He's taught me a lot. But. . . ."
"I don't know. I guess I've always had this ideal for Obi-Wan to live up to. He never could. I see now that it was unreasonable to expect him to be anything like Master Qui-Gon, but I'd just left my mother. Then Master Qui-Gon died, and I didn't have anything left."
"You're surprisingly candid," Andriya informed him.
"I feel like I have to be. Is it acceptable to lie to the Council?" he asked hopefully.
"Of course not. But usually we only sense everything you just told me. This is making my job easy."
"Can I ask you a few questions?"
"Obi-Wan," Andriya suddenly called. "Enter."
"I would like for you to hear this as well. Go ahead," she added, turning to Anakin.
"Why did you call me during my lightsaber duel?"
"It's the war testing standard. You will not be of any use in a war situation if you are easily distracted."
"But I have been in a war situation--I flew with the Naboo Starfighter Squadron during the Trade Federation blockade. I blew up the command ship and saved all the Gungans' lives, you know."
"No, I did not know. But thank you for your humble report."
"He did," Obi-Wan confirmed.
"Of course he did."
"Another question," Anakin cut in. "Why did you ask me about authority?"
"You said that the Council holds authority."
"Of course we do. However, that was the end of your list. Based on your behavior on Mirnka, I knew that you did not regard your Master in a position of authority."
"Yes, I do," he protested.
"I quote: 'Authority is supposed to be respected and obeyed.' Do you respect and obey Obi-Wan?"
"I . . . well, I. . . ."
"And respect, as defined by you, is 'obeying' and 'honoring.' I will save you the embarrassment and simply state that you neither respect nor obey your Master as you define respect and authority."
"I . . . but I. . . . Well, so what if I don't?"
"How dare you ask me 'so what'?" Andriya stated in a strangely flat tone. "If you do not respect his authority, then there is no guarantee that you will respect the authority of the Council--or the Jedi Code."
Anakin fell silent, staring blankly ahead in disbelief. No wonder the Council had been waffling!
"I take it that we'll be headed back to Mirnka," Obi-Wan said.
"Anakin, would you please step out for a moment?"
Still numbed by his realization, Anakin dumbly did as Andriya asked.
"We have come to the conclusion that we simply cannot win the war without you there. It is imperative that Anakin be independent of you. I'll urge whatever alternatives we can find, but he is not ready to be a Jedi, even with the most generous allowances we can make."
"But he is ready," Obi-Wan quietly objected.
"What do you know about ready?" she paraphrased, little knowing that Yoda had said that very thing (in his special way, of course) years earlier, the first time Obi-Wan stood with Anakin before the Council. "The Council will inform you when we are ready," Andriya continued. "Be prepared to wait a long time."
The next seven hours were truly the longest in Anakin's life--even longer than the ones before the questioning. And so much more torturous. Before, he couldn't understand why the Council wouldn't just decide. Now, he would understand if they decided against knighting him.
Finally, Téan, Andriya's assistant, came to Anakin's door. "Your presence is requested in the Council Chambers immediately," he informed Anakin.
"Thank you!" Anakin exclaimed, using much more force than he'd meant to. As he hurriedly made his way to the Chambers, he felt as though he no longer cared what the decision was--as long as he knew!
The doors to the Chamber stood open, waiting for Anakin. He entered and took his place a step behind Obi-Wan and to his right.
"Anakin Skywalker," Yoda began once the Chambers were sealed off from the rest of the Temple. "Confer on you the title of Jedi-Provisory, the Council does."
"I beg your pardon, Masters," Anakin replied, hastily adding the collective title as a show of respect, "but what is that?"
"The title of Jedi-Provisory," Mace Windu explained, "was created especially for the bracket of Padawans that we feel should be used in the war effort without their masters--or the Padawans of the Jedi that we feel should be in leadership positions in this war. As a Provisory Jedi, you are free of your Master, but your training is incomplete. When you do complete your training, under whatever leadership you can find, you will become a full Jedi Knight."
"In the Starfighter Squadron, the Council places you."
Anakin beamed. "Thank you," he said, bowing.
"Thank me not. Of your role in the Naboo war, we have heard." Anakin glanced at Master Andriya and she nodded shortly, indicating that she was the one who had suggested his placement.
"Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Jedi Council confers upon you the rank of General of the Jedi Resistance, to be stationed on Riliss."
Though his master appeared unruffled, the Padawan's eyes widened and his obvious surprise flooded the minds of the Council.
"Thank you," Obi-Wan said calmly.
"May the Force be with you."
"Did you say goodbye to Malleyra?" Andriya asked.
"Of course I did," Myndex informed his sister, rolling his eyes.
"Did you leave your birds at your home?"
"Did you say goodbye to your sister?" She raised her eyebrows disapprovingly.
"Why would I do something like that?" he replied incredulously. Andriya held out her arms. In return, her brother threw his arms around her neck and hugged her tightly. "Now, don't you go and do anything stupid, Andi."
"Yes, exactly like elope."
"Don't worry, I've learned from your excellent example."
Myndex released her and took his place in the ranks of the Jedi Resistance. Andriya was the only Jedi Council member there to see the transport off.
"General Kenobi, command your troops."
Obi-Wan nodded and turned around to face his troops. "Company, about face! Board the transport--now march!" The troops obeyed his commands as a unified legion, quickly leaving Andriya and Obi-Wan alone in the hangar.
"Good luck, General," she said, offering her hand to him.
"Thank you, Councilor," he replied, shaking her offered hand. They smiled at each other and suddenly realized that the smile they were exchanging could be their last. Both smiles faded and Obi-Wan reluctantly pulled his hand away from Andriya's before turning and following his troops onto the transport.
Depa Billiba entered the hangar just after the transport departed. "It appears that I am too late. The troop transport has left, then?"
"I will never understand why you would recommend Obi-Wan Kenobi for the position of General when he cannot even control his own Padawan."
"I have my reasons," Andriya replied. "And he'll learn leadership skills quickly." I hope.
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