The Strength of the Jedi

Author: Laura Kenobi

Disclaimer: Unfortunately for me, I don't own Star Wars. I do, however, own any original characters, planets, etcetera that I created for this story.

Archive: Please contact me first!

Comments/Reviews: You can email me through my profile, and you can always leave a review!

Author's Notes: ((italics)) represents thoughts and / italics / represents communication through the Force.

This story was first published in its original version beginning on September 3, 2001. In July 2005, I decided that since four years had passed and my skills as a writer had undoubtedly improved since this story was first written and posted, it might be refreshing to return to this story and give it a fresh look and an update. For the most part the overall story remains the same - my goal has been to improve on and expand on the original, so I hope the result will prove enjoyable to all of you who are wonderful enough to read and review. The version of this story below is the updated version. Call it the "Special Edition" version of this story.

I have to say, the feedback that I got for The Heart of Destiny and With Love Comes Pain was far better than I had hoped! I'm very grateful! Thank you all so much!

Summary: A mission to Alderaan takes a wrong turn, and Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn must rely on their inner strength and determination to survive.

Dedication: To Colette. Thank you, my friend, for all the positive reviews and emails! I hope our friendship continues to grow! You're so wonderful; thanks for all you do!

Chapter One

"What is it?"

"How did it get here?"

"What should we do?"

"What if it's dangerous?"

"Should we kill it?"

"How do we even know it's alive?"

"What's all that red stuff?"

"Nobody touch it!"

"What if it's a weapon?"

"It must be that thing we're expecting..."

The noise was overwhelming. Why was everyone panicking? And who was speaking? From what he could tell, here seemed to be at least ten life forms gathered around him. They were speaking in a strangely accented basic, but were they really speaking? What were they talking about? Why was everything so dark? Was he lying down or standing? Obi-Wan Kenobi was confused and disorientated. Very slowly, he opened eyes that he hadn't even noticed were closed.

There was a sudden silence. Tension pulsed through the Force like the energy from a lightsaber beam. Obi-Wan couldn't see. The light was blinding. Why had his eyes been closed? As his eyes adjusted slowly to the light, they widened slightly.

He was lying on the ground, although he wasn't sure why, and at least fifteen creatures were gathered around him. His vision wasn't clear enough to make out what type of beings they were. They were in a forest of some kind – Obi-Wan could see tall trees surrounding him. Blood pooled around him... his own blood. ((I'm injured? But I don't feel any pain...))

His thought was suddenly reversed as he shifted slightly and red-hot pain seared through him. Gasping for breath that was being terribly elusive and trying to clear his blurred vision, Obi-Wan struggled into a sitting position. As the world around him came into focus, he inhaled sharply, causing an intense pain in his chest.

He could now clearly make out his surroundings. The creatures standing around him were more exotic than anything the sixteen-year-old Padawan had ever seen before.

All of them were at least seven or eight feet tall; they seemed enormous to the small Jedi. Giant feathers covered their entire slim bodies, except for their faces, which protruded from a neck that was about a foot long, covered in a strange glossy material. The faces were flat with glittering eyes and nothing else. Each being seemed to have its own color. Glittering ruby, sapphire, emerald, and colors never even named. They had long tails of beautiful colored hair, and they stood on six massive legs, which were all flat at the bottom. They were, Obi-Wan approximated, about as long as they were tall, which made them look all the more imposing. Obi-Wan could do nothing but gape at them. They were the most beautiful, and yet the most terrifying beings he had ever seen.

Shaking off his initial shock, the Padawan decided he should attempt to communicate with the strange creatures before they decided to kill him.

"Hello there."

Their reaction was tremendous. With a boisterous thundering, they disappeared, leaving Obi-Wan momentarily deaf and surrounded by the strange red dust which had been disturbed by their flight.

Coughing, he fell back to the ground, and pain knifed through him. He was again gasping for breath, and he reached into the Force to dull the pain. As it flowed away, he probed his body with the Force. Two broken ribs, a twisted right ankle, a broken left wrist, a great many gashes and bruises, and a huge lump on his forehead.

((Well, I suppose I've been worse.)) He tried to find humor in the situation.

Obi-Wan thought back to the events that had placed him in his current condition. They had been on the way to Alderaan to negotiate a trade agreement, and their ship had been attacked... Obi-Wan suddenly thought of his Master, Qui-Gon Jinn. Through the bond that connected Master and Apprentice, he called to Qui-Gon.

/ Master? /

The response was quick and retaliatory, and was not what Obi-Wan expected from his kind and supportive Master. He felt a sudden burst of anger, and Qui-Gon's voice, livid, boomed through their bond.

/ Will you shut up! Stars, I've already told you a million times to be quiet, and instead you continue speaking! Don't you know anything, boy? Keep your mouth shut! You're so dense... /

Obi-Wan was speechless. To the best of his recollection Qui-Gon had not told him to be quiet, and even if he had he would never be so cruel and... angry. What was going on? He decided to reach out to his Master again.

/ Master? Please... I need... /

A huge burst of pain exploded in his head. Qui-Gon's voice was so angry Obi-Wan could barely breathe.

/ If you do not shut your sassy mouth this very moment I will make you wish you had never been born, do you understand me? /

/ But Master... I – I need your... help... /

/ Well, you should have thought of that before you got yourself into a mess you cannot handle. Now be quiet or you will regret it. /

Qui-Gon's mental shields slammed closed, shutting his apprentice out. Obi-Wan was shocked. Qui-Gon had never acted in such a way before. He had never spoken so harshly when Obi-Wan needed him. Something must be terribly wrong...

((How am I supposed to figure out what is wrong with my Master if I cannot even figure out how to communicate with those creatures? Think, Kenobi, think!))

He rose to his feet as best as he could, trying to ignore the roaring in his head and the intense pain that rippled through him as he moved. His injured right ankle protested as he tried his weight on it, but I would hold him. Leaning heavily against a tree, Obi-Wan took deep, even breaths to calm his racing heart. ((Steady... steady...))

The soft cracking of a stick caused the young Jedi to slowly raise his pounding head.

Giant golden eyes stared into his own, curious and terrified. Obi-Wan didn't move, didn't blink. The huge eyes were surreal; they were slightly smaller than the young man's entire head, and were unblinking. Obi-Wan decided he needed to make some sort of contact with this... animal if he wanted to survive. He gave the giant creature a small smile.

The mammoth creature blinked and drew away slightly. Obi-Wan held the smile, more out of fear of moving and further frightening the creature than anything else, and made no attempt to move. The creature cocked its head slightly, and leaned in to get a closer look. Obi-Wan barely dared to breathe. The giant animal looked slightly more relaxed, and Obi-Wan hoped beyond hope that it wouldn't run away.

"Hello." Obi-Wan kept his voice at a whisper, and kept the smile on his face. Just the simple word caused his head to throb horribly, but he reached into the Force and waited.

The creature turned and began to hurry away, but suddenly stopped and looked intently at Obi-Wan.

/ Hello. /

Obi-Wan's legs buckled beneath him and he nearly fell over. The voice had come out of nowhere, as if it were spoken...

Obi-Wan reached into the Force and sent the creature a message.

/ I need your help. /

For one terrible moment, Obi-Wan was sure the giant beast was going to run away again, but his worry turned to relief as the creature replied through the Force.

/ Why? /

Obi-Wan had never heard of any creatures that could use the Force. He was not sure if he should be comforted or worried, but he kept his relief at bay. He was far from safe.

/ I am... hurting. /

/ Are you wounded? / The response was immediate.

Obi-Wan wasn't sure he trusted this massive being, but what choice did he have?

/ Yes. /

/ Then I will help you. /

Obi-Wan's relief flooded through him. ((Thank the Force.)) He did not sense any warning from the Force, so he decided he could trust the large creature for the moment.

The creature – Obi-Wan wasn't sure what to call it – walked over to stand right in front of him. It towered above him, and he could feel it tapping into the Force. Obi-Wan looked into its giant eyes...

...and something seemed to explode within his head as the world went dark around him.

...beep... beep... beep... beep...

Qui-Gon Jinn was angry. Obi-Wan needed him! Struggling against the bonds that held him securely to the wall, he cursed himself mentally for allowing this to happen. That hideous woman...

"Upset, Master Jinn?"

It was all the Jedi Master could do to keep from scowling at the voice. As its owner stepped casually into the light, Qui-Gon could barely contain himself.

The woman who inspired such distain from the Jedi Master was a small, plump woman. Her icy blue eyes and short ebony hair were her two most distinct features, followed closely by her plump lips, which were an unnatural shade of red.

Qui-Gon did not give her the satisfaction of an answer. Instead, he met her icy stare with a cool one of his own.

Inside, however, he felt everything but calm. This woman had managed to captured him and was using him for something she lovingly called her "research project" about the Force. While being a test subject was not something Qui-Gon enjoyed, what outraged him the most was that she was somehow controlling the bond he shared with Obi-Wan. His apprentice needed help, but when he had tried to respond to the younger man through their bond, the woman had somehow been able to force back his words and replace them with some of her own. Effectively, she had forced Qui-Gon to scold the young man and then cut him off.

He wasn't sure how she was doing it. She had been forcing chemicals into the tall man since he had awoken, so he suspected they were somehow to blame.

Now the Jedi Master had no idea where his Padawan was, or how seriously he needed help. Obi-Wan's voice echoed through his head.

(("But Master... I – I need your... help..." ))

The plump woman, who had yet to tell him her name or any other information about herself, smiled threateningly and walked out of the room.

((Damned drugs. Obi-Wan needs me!)) Nothing else mattered.

Qui-Gon continued to try and free himself for hours, stopping only when his body could take no more, and he fell into blissful unconsciousness.

End Chapter 1.

This is the first of 10 chapters. I would really appreciate a review! Thanks so much for reading! - Laura