by Autumn P. Torkorgana
"General Kenobi!" The young assistant jumped to his feet and saluted Obi-Wan Kenobi as he entered the office.
"I need to see Andri--Councilor Delvee."
"You'd better hurry then."
Obi-Wan waited for the assistant to open the door to the inner office, but the assistant made no move to do such.
"May I go in to see her?"
"No, she's about to leave."
"And I can't see her?"
"Sure you can, if you hurry."
"You said that. Where would I hurry to?"
"The docking bay--she's about to take the 'Nursery' to Dantooine."
"Thank you," Obi-Wan tossed over his shoulder as he rushed out of the room.
He arrived without a second to spare.
Andriya had already herded the children aboard their ship and was about to board herself when she saw him. "Obi-Wan?"
"Andriya," he replied with a smile.
"Have you returned to help again?"
"Wonderful." She gestured for him to board and she followed him.
"Where is Councilor Delvee?"
"That's privileged information."
The visitor scowled.
"Patience, Jedi. Why do you need to see her?"
"I have an important message from her brother--he has guard duty today and asked me to deliver it for him--in person."
"I'm sorry, but Myndex Delvee is the only person authorized to be given Councilor Delvee's whereabouts."
"But it's for Myndex."
"No one other than Myndex will be told."
The visitor scowled again, turned on his heel and stalked out of the room. A short while later, Myndex Delvee reluctantly entered the office.
"Uh . . . hi," he said.
"Hello, Myndex. May I help you?
"Um . . . yeah. Is my sister here?"
"No, she's off-world."
"Where is she exactly?"
"Right now, she's probably at dinner."
"On Dantooine, of course."
"Thank you." Myndex exited as hesitantly as he'd entered.
The stranger grinned evilly at him. "Where is she?"
Dinner was over, but neither the children nor their chaperones made any move to get up from the table. The children were debating whether Wherkane could defeat Tigo in a lightsaber battle when Andriya gasped loudly. Wherkane was the only one to notice the gasp, but they all saw her get up from the table and run from the room.
The children were silent for a moment, all staring after their teacher. They collectively shrugged and turned back to their argument--debate. Sensing Andriya had not gone far and figuring the children would be fine for a few minutes, Obi-Wan Kenobi rose from the table and followed Andriya.
Andriya was only a meter away from the door, huddled on the floor with her back against the wall. She was staring straight up at the ceiling and held a lightsaber in each hand. Before Obi-Wan could ask her what was wrong, she addressed him. "What's been bothering you all day?"
"Nothing," he denied.
"I said, 'Failure.' It's what you've been trying to hide all day. And it has something to do with Anakin Skywalker. If you don't tell me now, I'll figure it out by the time we get home tomorrow."
Obi-Wan didn't want to tell her.
"And if you're planning on getting any sleep tonight, I'll know before morning."
"Don't you consider privacy?"
"I make exceptions."
That's an understatement, Obi-Wan thought sarcastically.
"Are you going to tell me or not?"
Obi-Wan shook his head.
"Shall I ask Anakin?"
"No. Stay away from him."
Andriya's eyes widened. "You . . . lost Anakin?"
Obi-Wan hung his head.
"I'm sorry. . . . But you know it's not entirely your fault."
"How could it not be?"
"The Dark Side can be very attractive to someone just learning. At first, it's faster and easier. They all get angry or scared."
"But they don't all turn to the Dark Side."
"He was scared and angry when you started."
Obi-Wan changed the subject. "What's wrong with you?"
Andriya held up the two lightsabers. "I've carried around two for a long time now."
"Yours and Roc Klephra's," Obi-Wan recalled.
Andriya nodded. "I should get another one when I get back."
"Whose? How do you know?"
Obi-Wan almost dropped to his knees to comfort her, but Andriya stood up.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
"Yeah. It's a Jedi's life--grit your teeth and get on with it. We need to get the kids to bed."
The small group reached the hallway with the quarters they were using before they were intercepted. Andriya and Obi-Wan sensed the dark presence behind them and slowed down.
"Kenobi!" called the person following them. The children, Andriya and Obi-Wan all turned to look. Andriya took two steps to the nearest door and punched in an access code.
"Get in, children," she murmured. They made no move. "In, now!" she shouted. Surprised, the six kids scurried into the room. The door slid shut behind them, and Andriya shorted all the circuitry with the Force. Not that it would really stop him if he really wanted to get the children--shorted circuitry always gives way to a lightsaber.
"Oh, don't worry, Councilor," Anakin Skywalker said, spitting out the last word laden with derision. "I'm not after the precious 'Jedi Nursery.' Not yet, anyway."
"And they'd have nothing to give you if you were," she told Anakin defiantly. "Run," she hissed to Obi-Wan. He did as she said and Anakin took up chase.
"Why are we running?"
"We have to get him away from those kids."
At least she has her priorities straight. "Where are we going?"
"The nearest planet."
"What? You expect to survive a dogfight with Anakin?"
"No, just a very short flight," Andriya panted, beginning to lose her breath. "Are you a better pilot or gunner?"
"I couldn't shoot Anakin."
"I've never fired a blaster in my life. If anyone will gun for us, I'd trust you first." They reached the ship bay.
"I don't want to hurt him."
"Thanks for your vote of confidence."