The Jedi Code
The Jedi Code: Ara Halos
Written By: Katerinaki
Published: January 3rd, 2013
Summary: The Jedi Code has been something Ara has always known, since she was a youngling in the Temple creche, but it is not something she's always understood. The story of a padawan who was part of the 212 Jedi who come to the aid of Kenobi, Skywalker, and Amidala on Geonosis.
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no death, there is the Force.
When I was an initiate in the Jedi Temple, the Jedi Code was one of the first things I learned. When I was little, just beginning to learn the ways of the Jedi, it didn't have much meaning to me. It was just something that I always had to remember, that Master Yoda always liked to bring up. My fellow initiates and I made a rhyme out of it, singing it sometimes when we played games. Our Crèche master heard us one day and we were worried that she would reprimand us and make us do meditation exercises. But she didn't. She liked it, and asked us to sing it again so that she could remember it and tell other initiates about it when they too were our age.
When I was older, a padawan candidate, the Jedi Code began to take on newer meanings. Words like ignorance, knowledge, passion, serenity, I knew their meanings. I began to meditate on the Code without being prompted to. It passed beyond a song that we sang when we played during our free times and became a way of life, a guide for how to become a true Jedi Master.
When I was selected as a Jedi padawan learner by Master Willa Leeray, the Code supplemented my Master's teachings. She began to explain parts of it. It wasn't that a Jedi never felt emotion. Emotion was a part of life. But a Jedi did not allow their emotions to rule them. They accepted their emotions, and then released them into the Force. Only when a Jedi felt peace, when they quieted their minds and released their emotions, could they hear the Force's guidance and work for the good of the galaxy.
But now, I am not so certain. There is no emotion, and yet, I can feel the tension in the ship as I sat between my Master and the Jedi Councilmember Plo Koon, enroute to Geonosis. There is no ignorance, and yet, we do not know much about the situation we find ourselves in. This is a desperate rescue mission. Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi is captured by the Separatists on a droid foundry world, guarded by the droid armies of the Trade Federation. There were two-hundred Jedi coming, every one that was in the Temple they could spare. My master and I had been on a short leave after a successful mission. Master Willa was still recuperating, having received an injury from a bounty hunter's vibroblade. She claimed to be fine, but I could still see her subtly favoring her injured leg in our sparring sessions.
There is no death, there is the Force. I think that that must be the hardest tenant for every Jedi, hence the reason it was the last of them. I didn't want Master Willa to die. I had only been her padawan for about two years, but we had become very close in that time. Master Willa was the closest thing I had to a parent. She guided me, taught me not only saber skills, but diplomacy, flying, Force skills, everything I would need to be the best Jedi Knight that I could. I can't deny, I am scared. I am scared that I will lose my master. The Jedi haven't been assembled for a mission on this scale in many years. Master Yoda is perhaps the only one who might be able to remember the last time. If Master Windu and the High Council believe that this many Jedi are necessary to the success of this mission, then it must be very dangerous. More so than any Master Willa or I have ever been on.
"Relax, Ara," Master Willa's calm voice didn't have its normal soothing quality on my nerves this time. I could feel her tension, just with the rest. She didn't look it. Master Willa was always good at extruding the famous Jedi calm.
"Yes, Master," I replied automatically. I tried to release my anxieties into the Force. I truly did. But it was difficult.
"You will be fine, Padawan," Master Willa said, obviously catching onto my concerns through our training bond. "I will make sure of it."
But I shook my head. "I'm not worried about myself, Master," I murmured. "I'm worried about you. Your leg—"
"Is fine, my young Padawan. And your worry would not do anything to fix it between now and when we land on Geonosis anyways. Focus."
There is no emotion, there is peace. I needed to focus on the moment. Master Willa always had to remind me of that. She always told me, "Focus on the now. You will have time to worry after." It always seemed like such a silly thing to say. Worry about something that might've happened, after the events have already passed? But I suppose it was just a way to make me concentrate. I was a worrier. I needed to worry, but I guess I could always worry later.
"Your Master is right, Padawan," Master Plo Koon spoke beside me. "We all must focus on the task at hand, if we are to rescue Master Kenobi."
"Yes, Master Koon."
Upon landing on the red, rocky world, I stayed close to my master, assembling with her in Master Koon's group. Master Windu was organizing all the Jedi into squads, led by one of the Jedi masters Ki-Adi-Mundi, Luminara Unduli, Shaak Ti, Plo Koo, Kit Fisto, Saesee Tiin, and Coleman Trebor. We'd be taking transports to the arena and infiltrating the Geonosians' defenses while the Geonosians were distracted. My master and I joined Agen Kolar and his padawan Tan Yuster in Master Koon's transport. I remembered Tan from initiate training. He'd been one of the originators of the Jedi Code rhyme. We didn't speak, though, only acknowledging our previous acquaintance with a small nod and brief smile. He looked just as uncertain as I felt. It was some relief, to know that I wasn't the only one who felt uneasy.
The ride to the arena was slow inside the troop transport and we could hear the sounds of blaster fire outside. Master Windu and Master Unduli were in two tanks and were clearing the way for our transports. It was all I could do to sit there silently and still. I leaned forward, elbows resting on my knees, hands clasped to keep them from shaking with the anticipation. I couldn't let myself get jittery. I had to focus. But it was so difficult, going into the unknown. There was no precedence for this Jedi strike team.
After what seemed like a lifetime, the transport lurched to a stop and the door opened. We were against a rock wall, near a rather large tunnel that led into the rock face. Teams of Jedi were already moving into the tunnel, hoods up, moving quickly and silently. I followed my master's lead, pulling up my own hood and taking my lightsaber from my belt to hold. The feel of the cool metal against my palm was a bit reassuring. At least I knew that now, I could defend myself if I was attacked. Fighting was simple.
"Follow me, stay silent, when we approach the arena, fan out and wait for Master Windu's signal," Master Koon instructed.
"Yes, Master," I murmured with the rest of the Jedi in the group.
"Padawans, stay close to your Masters. Our primary objective is to rescue Master Kenobi, Padawan Skywalker, and Senator Amidala. When they are safe, we will retreat. May the Force be with you all."
"May the Force be with you," we echoed.
Master Koon led the way into the tunnel. I stayed close to Master Willa's left as we slipped through the tunnels. The whole place reminded me of one big insect hive. More tunnels branched off in various directions, but we followed Master Koon, who seemed to know exactly where he was going as he turned down numerous hallways without hesitation. The tunnels were barely lit as we penetrated further into "the hive". Ahead, we could hear the sounds of alien cheering, fluctuating with whatever was going on down on the arena floor. It soon became very obvious as we came closer to the arena and could now see the Geonosians filling the stands that the "executions" had already begun. They were indeed insect-like too, only further lending to the feeling that this structure was more of a hive than a city.
"Focus, Padawan," Master Willa murmured. We split off from half of the group down a secondary hallway, moving around the perimeter of the arena without actually stepping into the arena itself and drawing attention to ourselves. Among the Geonosians, we would without a doubt stand out.
Master Willa and I further peeled off from the group until it was only the two of us, standing in the shadow of a tunnel that led out into the arena. Down below, we could see that indeed the executions had begun, but they did not seem to be going according to plan at all. Three beasts had been brought forward, but the cat-like creature was trampled by the beast I recognized from my temple training. It was a reek, and currently Skywalker and a white figure I could assume was Senator Amidala were riding it. The third beast was green and had many legs and seemed to be doing its best to stab Master Kenobi with one of its many sharp claws. But the Jedi master was nimbly dodging the creature's attacks.
"Master," I whispered, but Master Willa cut me off as we stayed back in the shadows, watching Master Kenobi, Padawan Skywalker, and Senator Amidala having to fight off their respective beasts unarmed. It was difficult at first, but then as they began to win, it turned riveting. They were amazing, all of them. I was sure that I couldn't have done it.
But the chase was over all too soon as Destroyer droids rolled out into the arena, surrounding the three, seated on the back of the massive reek bull. I caught a small glint of light out of the corner of my eye; Master Willa had removed her own lightsaber from her belt, preparing for the signal. Surely it would come soon.
Suddenly hundreds of battle droids rolled into the stadium, surrounding the three prisoners. They are forced to a halt with nowhere to go and Count Dooku's deep voice echoed around the arena.
"Master Windu, how pleasant of you to join us."
Up in the main box I can see the purple blade of Master Windu's lightsaber.
"Prepare yourself," Master Willa whispered. She slipped out into the crowd and I followed right behind her. The Geonosians didn't notice us at first, their attention on the executions that had taken an interesting turn. Just as they began to become curious of the two cloaked figures in their midst, I felt Master Windu's signal through the Force. Master Willa threw off her robe and activated her blue lightsaber and I was only a second behind her.
The Geonosians screeched and scattered, flying off like the insects they were. Master Koon had said that the Geonosians had warriors, but they were not used to fighting. They were weapons builders. Still, I had been expecting some fighting. This was too simple. I almost had to duck out of the way as one Geonosian nearly crashed into me in its effort to flee my master. As the stadium clears I can't help but feel relieved. We've done it and without shedding a drop of blood. The show of force was enough.
I was about to deactivate my saber when there is a warning in the Force. A moment later I can hear rhythmic clanking from the tunnel we'd just come through.
"Ara," Master Willa called, ordering me to her side. I've only been her padawan for two years, but I knew enough by then to recognize her tone. She was worried. I closed the gap and took up position on her left side, the side with her bad leg. In the dark of the tunnel light glints off of moving metal and the source of the clanking becomes obvious. Thousands of battle droids are entering the stadium. Their heavy steps echo like ominous drums.
"Master?" The row is too narrow. The droids could easily push us off the edge of the stands and pick us off as we fell.
"Ara, get to the stadium floor." The droids stopped and extended their arms, taking aim.
"Now!" The instant they fired Master Willa slammed me in the chest with a Force push. I was flung over the edge and only years of falling in my initiate training let me call on the Force to slow my momentum enough. I hit the sandy floor of the stadium and rolled with the impact, springing to my feet with my green saber in hand.
It was chaos. The blaster fire from the droids was thick as the Jedi on the stadium floor regrouped and charged. There was little I could do but join them. We charged head-on at the ranks of battle droids, deflecting bolts back at them along the way. I had never fought so hard in all of my training. Everywhere I turned there were more droids and, as the fighting went on, bodies of fallen Jedi. One of the destroyer droids rolled up behind me as I sliced through two of the grey battle droids. I didn't hear it. My hearing had long since been almost entirely destroyed by the screaming bolts of energy that flew past my head. More than a few had come too close and singed my tunics. The only warning I had of the destroyer at my back was from the Force. I was fighting purely on instinct by this point. I dove away just before the destroyer blasted me to pieces but it swiveled, following me.
"Take this!" A Jedi leaped over my head, landing right on top of the destroyer and burying his lightsaber into its control panel. He turned as I rolled to my feet. It was Tan! He grinned at me but I didn't get the chance to thank him before we were swarmed by more droids. Following the teachings of our Temple instructors, we put our backs to each other and engaged once more.
It was reassuring to feel Tan behind me. I knew that he'd keep anything from taking me by surprise and I was to keep anything from taking him by surprise. It was a common tactic for fighting in overwhelming situations.
"Having fun, Ara?" Tan called.
"You could say that," I replied through gritted teeth as I chopped what seemed to be my hundredth droid in half.
"Aw, c'mon! Isn't this f—"
The reassuring presence behind me was gone. I turned and there was Tan, lying motionless on the ground, his lightsaber fallen at his side.
"Die Jedi scum!" said the droid who'd shot him. It tried to shoot me too but I deflected the bolt and destroyed its control panel. Another droid pushed its still crumbling body aside to get at me. Automatically I sliced through its body. Still more droids pressed in and I should have searched for a better place to fight, a more protective place. But I stood my ground over the body of the boy who I'd known since the Temple crèche, protecting it. I don't know why I did it. I didn't know Tan all that well. We'd parted ways after I was chosen by Master Willa and he was chosen by Master Kolar. Maybe it was because I still thought I needed to guard his back. Maybe it was because in the sea of battle droids, he was a familiar face. I couldn't find Master Willa. I hadn't seen her since the fighting began. She could still be up in the stands or perhaps she had come down to the stadium floor as well. I didn't want to think that maybe she was like Tan, lying somewhere on the sand with her lightsaber just out of reach.
I was so tired. The sun beat down on my back. My arms were practically limp and my muscles screamed in protest with each movement. The red dust of Geonosis was thick over the battlefield and choked my lungs as I panted. More air in my lungs meant more oxygen to vital places like my brain and my muscles. Master Willa always scolded me when I was in saber practice. Remember to breathe. I could barely do it now. I was more tired than I'd ever felt and I couldn't stop fighting because stopping meant dying. But weary people made mistakes. My reactions were slowed and I didn't sense the threat until it was too late. Luckily I was turning, otherwise I would've been lying in the sand with Tan and countless other Jedi. I heard the discharge a second before it slammed into my chest. The sheer force knocked me back and suddenly the sand of the arena didn't feel so soft. My lightsaber fell out of my hand and I couldn't find it again. The pain of the fall and the searing in my chest overwhelmed any other instincts I might've had. The yellow sky of Geonosis rolled overhead as my chest burned and red sand choked my lungs. I could barely breathe. I didn't even notice the cease-fire until a gentle hand fell on my forehead.
"Peace, Padawan," said a soft voice. "There is no death, there is the Force."