Jar-Jar’s New Speeder
“And that, my young padawan, is how you successfully execute an Akilleses maneuver.”
A Jedi-youngling rushed into the training room where Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and his apprentice Ahsoka Tano were practicing hand-to-hand combat. “Master Skywalker, there is a representative from the senate here to see you.”
Holding his young padawan high by her ankle, Anakin faced the messenger. “What does the representative want, Liam?”
Liam’s wide eyes took in the sight of a humiliated Ahsoka, upside down, struggling against her master’s grip. “Uh, he wants your help with….” He tilted his head sideways. “How did you get into that position, Ahsoka?”
Ahsoka’s head-tails swung about her face as she tried to face the youngling. “You tell anybody you’ve seen me like this, Liam, and I’ll start spreading your bath-time holos across the HoloNet!”
Anakin unceremoniously dropped her on her head. “You were saying something about the representative, Liam?” He scowled at his apprentice as she got to her feet, rubbing a bruised montral and a sore ego.
The youngling swallowed hard. “The representative would like your help with his new speeder.”
Anakin raised an eyebrow. Why would a member of the Senate want a Jedi to work on his vehicle? Anakin did have a reputation for being an amazing mechanic, even for a Jedi, but what Senator would have the gall to ask a Jedi to help with his speeder, especially when they’re in the middle of running a war? “Where is this representative from?”
“Uh, I believe it’s the representative from Naboo,” Liam said.
“Jar-Jar?” Anakin was momentarily surprised, but some how he wasn’t really all that surprise that of anyone, Jar-Jar would be the one being to ask Anakin for help with his speeder. “Well, I guess we could take a break from our training. Perhaps you’ll be able to learn maintenance better than martial arts, Snips,” he said to Ahsoka as they followed Liam out of the room.
Several minutes later, Anakin dismissed Liam when they arrived at the Jedi Temple’s south hangar. Several drop-ships and starfighters filled the hangar, maintenance clones and droids working on several craft. Sitting in a far corner, looking sleek, but out of place compared to the military craft, was a bright-orange airspeeder and its amphibious owner.
“Ani!” Naboo Representative Jar-Jar Binks shouted, rushing across the hangar, nearly colliding with two clone mechanics carrying a new windscreen for one of the drop-ships. “Whoopsa! Sorries!” the gungan said, spinning away from the clones and bumping into an R-5 unit all in the same motion. The droid buzzed at Jar-Jar in annoyance. Jar-Jar replied by sticking his tongue out at the droid and making a similar sound.
“Master,” Ahsoka said, a doubtful look coming across her face. “Master Obi-Wan says that politicians are not to be trusted.”
“In my experience, Ahsoka,” Anakin said, looking down at his apprentice. “The politicians you can trust the most are from Naboo. Chancellor Palpatine, Senator Amidala, and Representative---.” Anakin couldn’t finish his sentence since the wind was knocked out of him by Jar-Jar giving him a rib-crushing hug.
“Is so good seeings yousa, Ani,” Jar-Jar said after releasing the Jedi. “And yousa must be Ani’s little padawan.”
“Jar-Jar, this is Ahsoka Tano,” Anakin said by way of introduction after finding his breath.
“Pleased to’ah meets you, Ahsokie.”
Ahsoka took Jar-Jar’s long-fingered hand with only slight hesitation. “And you, Representative Binks.”
“Is this yours, Jar-Jar?” Anakin asked as he approached the sleek, streamlined speeder. “What is it?”
“It’s a modified M31-Speeder, Master Skywalker.” A young woman in a hooded, purple cloak, Senator Amidala’s seal embroidered in gold up and down the sleeves, approached the Jedi from the other side of the craft. “We just got it from a nearby dealer, and we were hoping you could help us modify it a little more.”
Anakin nodded. “Anything I can do to help serve the representatives of Naboo.”
Ahsoka raised an eyebrow. “And you are?” The padawan was never thrilled with being left out of the conversation, something her master seemed to have the habit of doing.
“My name is Ellé,” the young woman said, bowing toward Ahsoka. “I’m Senator Amidala’s handmaiden, and occasionally Representative Binks’ chaperone. Like today.”
Anakin brought his right hand to his chin as he inspected the speeder. “Very nice. The hull is good quality, looks like the repulsor-engine isn’t original. Kuat Drive, it looks like. The paint-job looks good, but could probably use some improvement. The passenger compartment looks safe. What do you think of the controls, Jar-Jar? Those big enough for your hands?”
Jar-Jar nodded, his haillu flopping against his shoulders. “They’sa fit fine.”
“The controls aren’t so much the problem as programming the transponder,” Ellé said. “Senator Amidala would prefer that any craft of Jar-Jar’s is on automatic pilot as much as possible. No offense intended, Representative,” Ellé added, facing Jar-Jar.
Jar-Jar nodded and turned to Ahsoka. “Mesa, kinda clumsy,” he said by way of explanation.
Anakin’s head popped out of the cockpit and exchanged a look with Ellé. “Kinda?” they mouthed.
“Accidents happen,” Ahsoka shrugged. “Should I get Artoo to help us, Master?” She felt that a run across the Temple would do her some good after the disappointing hand-to-hand session. She also wanted to check on Liam to make sure he was keeping his little trap shut.
”What sort of problems are you having with programming the transponder?” Anakin asked Ellé.
Ellé pulled a thick pamphlet out of one of her pockets. “The instructions are in Huttese.”
Anakin unfolded the packet. He could speak Huttese, but reading it wasn’t one of his strong suits. “This is exactly the sort of thing I made Threepio for.”
“Three-so is with Senator Padmé,” Jar-Jar explained.
“She’s meeting with a Krahoonan delegation in an effort to keep them from defecting from the Republic,” the handmaiden added.
“Hmm.” Anakin trained eye swept over the speeder again. “Well, I guess we’ll need Artoo’s help after all. Artoo?” he said after pulling a comlink from his belt, a look of disappointment crossing over Ahsoka’s face. “We’re in the south hangar and need your help programming an airspeeder’s transponder.” He waited for Artoo’s quick beep of response before returning the comlink to its place. “Find us an available tool box, Ahsoka. We can work on tuning this thing up while Artoo is programming the transponder.”
“Oh, moyo thanks you, Ani!” Jar-Jar said, grabbing Anakin’s hand and shaking it vigorously.
“Any time, Jar-Jar,” Anakin said, a smile coming to his face. “Just keep your tongue away from the energy binders, okay?”