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The Exile's Order: The Phantom Menace

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     Amara followed closely behind her Jedi counterparts, glad that Master Jinn appeared to know where he was going. The city was like a maze to her, a puzzle made of buildings that threatened to bear down upon her. How could the people of Naboo stand living in such closeness, so near to one another? She focused back in as Master Jinn halted, peering cautiously down from walkway they had taken. He dropped to a crouch, padding as quietly as possible along the path as he tracked whatever had caught his attention. His Padawan followed not a heartbeat later, and she too peered over the edge as she started out. The Queen! Amara's heart leapt at the welcome sight, and she fought back a sigh of relief. The group took a sharp right, stopping just before the small retinue passed beneath them. Master Jinn gave her blaster a significant look, his gaze pointedly going to the droids below. She gave a nod of understanding, unhooking her blaster and opening fire as the two Jedi leapt down. She shot once, twice- careful to aim for the droids' heads. The ambassadors made quick work of the meager droids, easy movements that severed arms and heads with ease. She fought back a flash of jealousy at their work, glowering at her right arm as she carefully dropped down to join them.

     "We should leave the street, Your Highness," Master Jinn said, gesturing down the street to his right. Holstering her blaster, Amara fell in line with the Queen's guards, feeling relief at their presence. She would be a blind fool to dismiss the power of the Jedi, but she couldn't lie to herself- she felt more at ease amongst the guards than with the Jedi. They had given her no reason to doubt them, but old fears took time to fade. She ignored the hushed conversation around her, the accusing tones and steady responses. The Queen was safe- that was all that mattered.

 

     Attaining entrance to the main hanger had been near laughably easy, a simple quick stroll and their group was safely inside.

     "There are too many of them," Captain Panaka whispered to them, worried over the number of droids he had seen in the hanger.

     "That won't be a problem," Master Jinn reassured him, turning to the Queen. "Your Highness, under the circumstances, I suggest you come to Coruscant with us."

     "Thank you, Ambassador," she replied, "but my place is with my people."

     "They will kill you if you stay," the Jedi responded.

     "They wouldn't dare," the Governor cut in, and Amara wondered at the certainty in his tone.

     "They need her to sign a treaty to make this invasion legal," Captain Panaka explained, catching their confusion at the Governor's statement. "They can't afford to kill her." Couldn't afford to? Amara felt herself relax, however minutely, at their words. Protecting a person from capture was, in her experience, far easier than protecting them from murder. It would make the Trade Federation's mission that much harder, and at least now she need not fear of a sniper simply shooting the Queen where she stood.

     "There is something else behind all this, Your Highness," Master Jinn insisted. "There's no logic in the Federation's move here. My feelings tell me they will destroy you." And there went all her relaxation, banished at his words.

     "Our only hope is for the senate to side with you," the Governor spoke once more. "Senator Palpatine will need your help."

     "Either choice presents great danger," the Queen declared, looking to the handmaiden who stood closest, "to us all."

     "We are brave, Your Highness," the handmaiden responded, her determination clear. The Queen lowered her gaze, considering the options she had been presented.

     "If you are to leave, Your Highness, it must be now," Master Jinn told her, and Amara caught the sympathy in his gaze.

     "Then I will plead our case to the senate," the Queen of Naboo decided, even as worry and determination warred for dominance in her eyes.

     "No matter what," Amara spoke quickly, "Dantooine supports Naboo, Your Majesty. The Exile's Order will stand by your side." It was a weak promise, she knew. The planets that dared to allow their Enclaves' existences had been politically neutered centuries ago. Yet having weakened support was better than the alternative- nothing. The Queen, too, knew their support would be near useless, but she still gave the woman a small smile. Amara's heart warmed at the simple gesture, and as she once again unhooked her blaster, she felt a hardened resolve to see the Queen through their situation alive. Her Majesty's decision made, the Jedi started into the hanger. Amara quickened her pace, tightening her grip on her weapon as she looked between the two clusters of droids. She sized both groups up, trying to best determine her point of attack. She need not have. Both Jedi moved before Amara could even lift her blaster, cutting through their droid opponents with efficient ease.  The closest droids fell to strokes of blue or green, deflected blaster fire by the more distant survivors rebounding fatally back at them. She slowly tucked her blaster away, cursing her useless arm as they made for the ship. She was a Teacher of the way of the Fourth, yet she had trained for combat under the Exile's Path. It rankled, then, to be confined to ranged weaponry. Amara touched the hilt of her lightsaber, its presence reassuring as she boarded the slender vessel.