by Autumn P. Torkorgana
It was almost dark when Stucki returned Andriya, throwing her through the invisible boundaries that defined their cell. She fell and didn't get up.
She lifted her head, then made her way to her knees.
"I got your lightsaber," she said, handing it to him. "And this." She produced a small glow unit.
"That won't last long."
"What do you mean?"
"Stucki gave this to me. He said we wouldn't be safe without it. So when it gets dark, we get him out here."
"How is your hand?"
"Feeling better and hurting worse, thank you."
Obi-Wan reached out and took her chin in his hand. He turned her face so that he could see her right cheek in the fading light.
"What happened?" he asked in a grim tone.
Andriya pulled away and covered the gash on her cheek with her hand. "Nothing. I just got hurt. Do you think it's dark enough?"
Obi-Wan looked around, unwilling to forget about the cut, but assessing the other situation at hand anyway. She could probably wait until they were safe on the ship. "It's dark enough," he concluded.
"Stucki!" Andriya shouted as loudly as possible. After a few more shouts, they could hear their captor lumbering through the underbrush. It had become dark enough that Stucki would not be able to see them at all without a glow rod. And even if he had a glow rod, they were far enough away from the walls that he'd have to enter the cell to find them.
"What?" Stucki demanded.
"The glow unit ran out."
"I gave you a fuel extender pack."
"I think I dropped it."
Sighing and grumbling to himself, Stucki entered the cell. Within seconds, Obi-Wan and Andriya had "persuaded" him to free them.
All night long, they hiked through the forest. Finally, they arrived at the docking bay--and stopped short. Inside the bay, they could sense a familiar, dark presence--Darth Vader.
The two Jedi looked at one another. "What do you want to do now?" Obi-Wan asked.
"We have to get out of here, and this is the only way I know out."
Stealth was no longer an issue--if they could sense Vader, he could sense them. To enter the docking bay, the pair walked through the main door.
"I've been waiting for you," Vader boomed. The Jedi were surprised at his appearance--they hadn't seen him since he'd fallen into a pit of lava three years previously. Now, he was more of 'droid than a man, relying on the black suit of armor he wore to sustain his life. Obi-Wan drew his lightsaber and ignited it, readying for battle as Andriya sized up the situation. She noted that behind Vader stood, at most, two dozen stormtroopers, their transport, and Andriya's ship.
Just before Vader drew his lightsaber, the stormtroopers simultaneously toppled to the ground and Vader froze. Confused, Obi-Wan turned to Andriya, but didn't have to ask what had happened. It was obvious that she was using the Force to ensure their escape.
"Hurry, Obi-Wan, I can't do this forever."
Obi-Wan put his lightsaber away and ran past the storm troopers. Just as he reached the ship, he remembered something. "Andriya!" he called. "Your lightsaber!" He threw the handle to her.
She watched it grow closer, calculating exactly when she should release her "prisoners." Before the lightsaber reached her, Andriya relinquished control over them, and ran toward the lightsaber, snatching it out of the air as she passed. But she was not quick enough. Vader, finally freed from her grasp, sprang into action as quickly as he could, which wasn't very quickly at all. Nevertheless, he was able to engage Andriya in battle before she could escape. Obi-Wan rushed to her aid, but Vader seemed to ignore him at present.
No one saw what happened to Andriya. Vader had turned away to glance over his shoulder and was blocking Obi-Wan's view. Of course, at the moment, Obi-Wan was not most concerned about Andriya--until he took a few steps to his right and could see her.
Andriya was laying on the floor, knees drawn up to her chest, over her arms, which were folded across her stomach. Her face was contorted into a grimace of pain.
Vader, seeing his opportunity, approached the fallen Jedi. Obi-Wan moved to defend her, but was suddenly seized upon by the Force, rendering him unable to do anything but watch as Vader loomed over Andriya.
Because she offered no resistance, and Obi-Wan posed no threat, Vader felt free to take as much time as he wanted. He would relish every last second of the two Jedi's lives. Slowly, Vader turned his lightsaber around so that the blade pointed down from his clenched fists. Next, he came to stand at Andriya's raised feet. He leaned over her and raised his arms above his head. As he stood there, poised to strike, Andriya seemed to brace herself--taking her arms from her stomach to hug her knees as close to herself as she could.
Just as Vader was about to deal her the fatal blow, Andriya's feet caught Vader squarely in the stomach. The blow destroyed Vader's carefully-established balance, shifting his weight onto her legs. One hard kick sent Vader sailing over Andriya and sprawling on his back.
Andriya scrambled to her feet as Obi-Wan was released from the invisible trap. They could both sense the approaching second squadron of stormtroopers. The ones already in the bay were dazed, but held their weapons at the ready, blocking their way to Andriya's ship. The Jedi silently agreed to separate.
Within minutes, Obi-Wan and Andriya found themselves in the eerily silent corridors of the docking bay. Vader, by that time, had recovered and was pursuing one of the Jedi. Which one, he wasn't quite sure--he hadn't been able to see which direction Obi-Wan went.
Andriya, on the other hand, knew she was the one being followed. She knew she had to shut off her Force-sense, but she also knew that would make Obi-Wan an easy target for Vader.
Obi-Wan was alone, and he didn't like the ominous feeling he was detecting in the Force. It wasn't a dark presence like the Emperor or Vader, more of a foreboding premonition. Though he could sense no one approaching, Obi-Wan regularly peered around the wall that was providing him with cover.
Obi-Wan was easing back toward the protective wall after one such quick glimpse around when someone ambushed him from behind. Who ever it was, struck in an unconventional manner--waiting for Obi-Wan to back into them, then slapping one hand on his forehead, snapping his head back. He almost cried out from surprise, but his captor had their other hand under his chin, clamping his mouth shut.
Obi-Wan had never suffered from claustrophobia--no Jedi was supposed to suffer from any phobia--but as he stood there, trapped by some unseen power, he could feel the limits of his Force-sense creeping inward until he was the only thing left that he could sense. Then, even that disappeared. Confused and blinded, Obi-Wan collapsed.
When he regained consciousness, Obi-Wan found himself lying in a heap. He sat up quickly and felt dizzy--but that was all he felt. He was alarmed by a tap on the shoulder and whirled around. At first, he didn't see anyone. Then he heard a noise on the floor and looked down.
"Andriya? What's going on?"
"Get off!" she grunted, pushing at his back. Obi-Wan realized he was sitting on her and quickly moved to free her.
Then the pieces fell into place. "You turned off my Force-sense, didn't you?" he accused.
Andriya hoped she didn't look as guilty as she felt. "It's to protect you--Vader can't possibly find us now."
Obi-Wan searched for a camera or other monitoring device to refute Andriya's logic, but he found none. "Let's get out of here."
Steathily, the two Jedi made their way back to the bay, where they found dozens of stormtroopers waiting for them.
"Ignore them. Don't stop or react until they open fire," Andriya instructed softly. Obi-Wan nodded, and they headed for their ship.
They were only a couple meters away from their destination when the troops opened fire. Obi-Wan's first reaction was more reflexive than he realized--he drew his lightsaber even though the Force wasn't with him.
Andriya was behind him and saw him draw. In response, she roughly pushed him forward, urging him to run for the ship instead. He caught on, and the two made their escape from the planet relatively easily.