Chapter 7: The Past is Revealed
I watched as my padawan stayed floating in one of the many bacta tanks we had here at the Temple, she hadn’t been in there for very long and I couldn’t have been more worried. She had been stripped down to her underwear and now I could see all that she has suffered; her arms and chest had so many bruises and scars that in some places it was difficult to see her beautiful skin. Her legs and stomach were a similar story, however the long gashes across her mid section looked very similar to the wounds inflicted by whipping.
Even with all of this seeing her neck for the first time was by far the scariest part about her. It had two scars that circled the top of her neck and the bottom, the wound seemed fresh though it also seemed to have had some time to heal. They were still jagged as though something had been sharp enough to break the skin, but had been worn down on the skin too. I stood behind the glass viewer and hoped that she would be alright, that seemed to be all I could do. I feel so helpless.
‘She’s strong, Anakin, she will be alright.’ I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard the voice of the man I felt was my older brother.
‘I hope you’re right Obi Wan.’ I sighed.
‘I’m always right and since when have you known our bacta tanks to fail?’ He had a point they had healed thousands of Jedi over the years, yet now I just felt like it isn’t enough. Like there’s something more we should be doing. I don’t even know how long she was like that for. Knowing that she could have been like that for half an hour or more made me feel sick to my stomach.
‘I know. How do you think I felt about you when you got hurt?’
‘Yes, but you knew why I was injured, I didn’t have a complicated past which includes someone who wants to kill me.’
‘We don’t know that this person wants her dead, Anakin.’
‘Look at the facts Obi Wan, this is the second time he has come after her and that’s only that we know about, my guess is that whoever it is has tried this before only she managed to get away.’
‘That maybe so, but the only way for us to help her is if she tells us and you know better than anyone how reluctant she is to do that.’
‘Yes. Maybe this can change her mind and convince her to tell me at least some of her past or why is someone is out to get her.’
Roughly an hour later and I am sitting in a chair by her bedside, waiting for her to wake up. I watched her chest rise and fall steadily, before staring and her beaten face. I just had to know who had done this to her so I could beat them into the ground! Still a small smile cracked on my face as I saw her eyes flutter open and she glanced around for a second as she filled with terror. Within and instant she launched up into a sitting position gasping and looking for her attacker.
‘Hey, it’s ok Alexa. You’re back at the Temple. You’re safe.’ I took her hand in mine and she calmed down.
‘I was hoping you could tell me.’
‘I was the others, we came out the plaza and it started to rain everyone ran for cover. There a lot of us....... People everywhere....... We got separated...... Then I ran into him.........’ She trailed off. That “him” had to be the guy who attacked her, I needed to know who he was.
‘Who is he, Alexa?’
‘N-No one. J-Just a guy.’ She stuttered, avoiding my gaze.
‘Come on Alexa, I need to know who is after you.’
‘I can’t tell you.’
‘Because you’ll tell the Council and....... They’ll give me back.’
‘Give you back? Give your back to who?’ I asked confused.
I sighed. He deserves to know, he’s helped me with my training and tried to make me feel better around other people, so I guess now is the time to tell him.
‘I’m........wanted. There’s a price on my head for around ten thousand credits.’
‘What? Why?’ I held up my hand for him to stay silent and continued. This was going to be hard, I had never told anyone this before. ‘When I was younger, six years old to be exact, both of my parents died from illness. I had no one, so I was forced to live on the street. I took what I could from our hut which was soon destroyed in a fire and set out to live on my own. Other members of the village gave me what little they could spare and soon I learned to steal. Not long after I accidentally ended up on a transport and was taken to Dantooine, however I hadn’t realised until it was to late that the ship I was on was a smugglers ship and I was bought into slavery.’ As I said that I saw something in the man’s eyes, a sadness. Not a “oh you poor little girl” sadness, a knowing sadness. Then I realised why. ‘You were a slave, weren’t you?’
‘Yes, I was born a slave on Tatooine, a Jedi Knight named Qui-Gon Jinn freed me and helped me to become a padawan.’
That made me feel a little better about telling him because he knew what it’s like to have someone else own you. They control you, what you do, what you don’t do, what you eat and wether you live or die.
‘What planet were you on?’
‘Tatooine.’ He replied.
‘That was where I was sent next. Jabba the Hutt bought me for one thousand, five hundred credits. Admittedly my first owner wasn’t so bad, I’d get hit and stuff, but I learned to take it. Jabba......... That slug was the worst. I-I remember when I first arrived; I was in a dog cage which I could barely fit in. His goons brought me into the Throne room and sat me on the floor in front of the slug. He laughed at how pitiful I was, yet he still paid what the other slaver asked he told his goons to let me out so he could examine his merchandise so they opened the cage door and kicked it so I fell out on my face.’ I paused trying to keep in the tears that had sprung to my eyes at the memory. ‘Everyone started laughing again as I picked myself up shook off the dust I had collected on the journey. I heard him speak Huttese and his manservant translated, I was forced to strip in front of all of them. The guards laughed and poked fun at me as I was taken down to the Harem under ground where his other slave girls lived.’
‘Did they ever....... Touch you?’ He asked, his anger and concern rising. I shook my head.
‘No, unlike all of the older girls I was dressed modestly and he ordered the guards not to....... Touch me in that way. I was ordered to help clean out the Rancor pit, bring Jabba food when he wanted it and help the leader of the Harem.’
‘How old were you?’
‘Seven. If I did something wrong, like spill food or drink that was supposed to be served to Jabba or a guest I was punished, wether that was a slap across the face or a whipping depended on people’s mood. As I got older Jabba saw more promise in me and I was made his “favourite” meaning a metal collar was put around my neck and I was chained to his throne, once that happened everything went downhill. I was made to strip dance at his parties for guests and Jabba often took pleasure in pushing me out on to the dance floor then pulling back on my chain, making me choke.’ My hand instinctively made its way to my throat, my fingers tracing over the scars that dog collar had left behind. ‘I-If the crowd didn’t like what I was doing they would have goons standing on the side of the stage with e-electrostaffs to jab you and make you dance faster.’ Tears began pouring down my cheeks. Anakin slowly moved his hands and gently wiped them away only to have them replaced with more.
‘You don’t have to tell me anymore if it’s too painful.’
‘N-No, i-it’s fine.’ I sniffed. ‘I-I remember I made a friend, she was a Twi’Lek and a couple years older than me. Her name was U-Una. One day the leader of the Harem accused her of trying to hit her and Jabba was going to punish her, I told them that Nyahmira, that was her name, was lying and she was. So instead of punishing Una they beat me.’ By now I was a quivering mess and I felt ashamed of myself, but I couldn’t calm down. ‘I-I can’t still feel their punches as they beat me to the ground and knives that they used after I was down. They sliced me open, I felt my blood pouring out of me and onto the floor. I-I thought....... I thought I was going to die.’ I began to wail loudly for the whole world to hear.
I watched as the girl fell apart right before my eyes. Everything that she had kept bottled up inside her just rushed out and now she was sobbing with her head buried in her hands. Gently wrapped my arms around her and held her close to my chest. I began to slowly rock back and forth and I felt her warm tears on my tunic. Up until now I have never been a very good person to seek comfort from, but this was different we had both been slaves and while I hadn’t been through half of what she had I understood what she was feeling and why she hadn’t wanted to tell me. My heart went out to her as I felt the sobs she was emitting wrack her small body and I held her just a little tighter.
That was why she refused to call anyone her master, because of how her previous masters had been when she was a slave, she saw it as a sign of weakness. That someone had control over you and you have to obey their commands. Now I know why she was so angry when I told her that was what she had to call me and now I will never try to enforce it on her again. She is a free girl and I have no control over her.
After a while she calmed down and her sobs faded away even though tears still flowed from her eyes and it was a long time before either of us said anything, but I was the first to break the silence.
‘I’m so sorry.’ I whispered.
‘It’s ok.......... Thank you.’
‘For understanding.’ She looked up at me and awarded me a weak smiled.
‘Thank you, for trusting me and telling me your story.’
At that point we were ready to fall back into a comfortable silence, however it seemed like Obi Wan had other ideas.
‘I’m sorry to interrupt, but how are you feeling Alexa?’ He asked as he sat on the end of her bed.
‘I’m alright Teacher Kenobi.’ She replied as I released her from my tender embrace and she sat back on her over-stuffed pillows.
‘I’m glad to hear it, your Master was-’
‘Obi Wan, don’t-’
‘It’s alright......... Master.’ She gave me another small smile. I smiled back, rather surprised, but happy that she was coming to terms with both the past and the present. ‘Now what were you going to say Master Kenobi?’ Obi Wan shot me a satisfied smile, he knew everything would be alright.
‘It doesn’t matter, what’s important is that you’re alright.’
‘Thank you for your concern........’ Her expression then turned thoughtful as she looked at the two of us. ‘I can sense you both want to know who is after me.’ I smiled; she is getting better. ‘Well I can honestly half of the bounty hunters in the galaxy who want to earn a quick score are, like I said that slug is willing to pay ten thousand credits to whoever can catch me and bring me to him.’
‘Wow.’ Obi Wan and I had no idea what to say.
‘The one who has gotten the closest to getting that is Jango Fett, he’s been on my tail almost since I escaped, but I’ve managed to evade him so far.’
‘With some help.’ I smirked.
‘Yes.’ She blushed. ‘Well I can’t be amazing all the time.’
‘So how old are you?’
‘Twelve.’ My eyes widened, I wouldn’t have guessed that.
‘I believe my respect for you just tripled.’ I replied, she giggled.
That is now my second favourite sound, actually scratch that, that is my favourite sound. A few hours later droid showed up and checked her wounds, replacing her bacta patches and such. Not long after I went to get her some food rather than making her eat what the droids we’re going to prepare for her because no one likes Hosptial food. So I came back with food from the mess hall, just in time for Obi Wan to announce that he needed to tell the Council that Alexa was alright and I watched as she fell asleep.