Title: Cold Harvest Author: devilinthedetails Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi; Qui-Gon Jinn; Yoda; Original Characters. Genre: Adventure, General, and Friendship. Timeline: Set before TPM when Obi-Wan is Qui-Gon's Padawan. Summary: A routine mission becomes not so routine when Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon are sent to a cold world to determine a baby's suitability to train as a Jedi. Routine Assignment “I won’t be sad to see this world turn to stardust behind us,” Obi-Wan observed as he helped his Master finish the pre-flight checks in the cockpit of the starship they’d been assigned when they departed on this thankless mission to Anobis weeks ago. They were finally preparing to fly out of the ramshackle settlement that masqueraded as a capital city on Anobis by virtue of being the largest of its sparsely populated villages. It was an all-together depressing Mid-Rim planet devoted to agricultural and mining interest that Obi-Wan would not regret leaving for the much brighter lights of Coruscant. “You didn’t find it educational, Padawan?” Qui-Gon’s eyes twinkled at him. “Oh, very educational,” answered Obi-Wan wryly. “I learned more than I ever wanted to know about mining and mining disputes.” That was what had dragged them to this galactic hinterland: the resolution of a dispute over miners’ rights between a large corporation and its union workers that had threatened to become the latest in a long line of civil wars on Anobis. Civil war on this occasion had been averted through deft Jedi diplomacy. It would be mining rather than warfare that left scars and craters pockmarking the landscape for at least the next few years, which meant the mission could be classified as a successful if not inspiring one. “Good to hear you got something out of it.” Qui-Gon sounded unperturbed by Obi-Wan’s sarcasm, which Obi-Wan took as a license to push the bounds of humor still further on this score. “I always get something out of all my adventures with you, Master.” Obi-Wan fixed his mentor with his cheekiest grin before shifting his attention to the navicomputer. His fingers were poised over it—about to input the triple zero coordinates that would transport them to the beating heart of Republic civilization and space—when the console lit with an incoming transmission. When he accepted it with a flick of his finger, Yoda, Grand Master of the Jedi Order, winked into wavering blue hologram form. “Master Qui-Gon, finished your mission on Anobis is but entered hyerspace you have not.” How Master Yoda managed to sense across half a galaxy that they had concluded their most recent assignment when they hadn’t yet had a chance to submit their final report was unfathomable to Obi-Wan, a mystery that could only have been explained and understood by Master Yoda, who would likely prove cryptic and evasive if asked. “Yes, Master.” Qui-Gon inclined his head. “We were about to return to the Temple.” “Return to the Temple you should but take a detour for me first you might.” The cane of the miniature Master Yoda waved. “You know me, Master Yoda. I never refuse an opportunity for a detour.” Qui-Gon’s words were ones with which Obi-Wan fervently agreed. Not only was Qui-Gon determined to take every detour he encountered on a mission, he seemed to have made it his goal in life to meet and embrace as many morally dubious characters and pathetic lifeforms as possible. In fact, the more pointless the detour and hopeless the lifeform, the more inexplicably and more enthusiastically Qui-Gon appeared to be drawn to the detour or lifeform in question. It was enough to drive any erstwhile young Padawan mad as a territorial hawk-bat defending its nests from all challengers. “A mission I have for you and your Padawan.” The orbs of Yoda’s eyes flickered from Qui-Gon to Obi-Wan and back again. “Heard of Ruusha, have you?” “No, Master.” Obi-Wan shook his head, interpreting his ignorance of the planet as an ominous omen that they were about to be sent to the hind end of nowhere again. “Should we have?” Qui-Gon’s question cut to the core of the issue rather neatly, Obi-Wan thought. He would have to remember to use such phrasing himself in the future… “Only because going there now you are.” Yoda’s hands folded atop his cane. “A large but thinly populated Mid Rim planet in the next sector from Anobis Ruusha is.” As Obi-Wan noted inwardly that sparsely populated planets were becoming something of a speciality for him and his Master, Yoda continued, “Sparsely populated it is because bitterly cold it is. Dominated by tundra and taiga the landscape is. Mined for space fuel is the tundra. Logged for lumber are the coniferous forests. The windswept steppes a short, cold growing season have. A harsh world with harder people it is.” Obi-Wan was hoping that the Force hadn’t willed for him and Qui-Gon to resolve another mining dispute so it was a relief when Yoda concluded, “A farming family contacted the Temple has. Believe their daughter is Force-sensitive they do. Evaluate her suitability to become a Jedi you must.” “A routine mission.” Qui-Gon stroked his beard. “So sure, are you?” Yoda’s ears twitched in a sign the he was either amused or regarded Qui-Gon’s comment as immensely foolhardy. “With you, routine nothing is. Have Master Jocasta Nu send you holofiles on Ruusha and the family who contacted the Temple, I will.” As Yoda’s holographic body vanished from the console, Obi-Wan searched the navicomputer for Ruusha’s location and then ordered it to plot a route there. While the computer calculated, he couldn’t resist remarking as he recalled their mission to investigate a Force-sensitive baby girl on the remote world of Kegan, “For the record, I agree with Master Yoda. Last time we went on a mission like this, I ended up imprisoned in a creepy school built for brainwashing.” “What are the odds of that misfortune befalling you again?” Qui-Gon smiled as the navicomputer flashed an alert that it had finished mapping the requested route to Ruusha. “With my luck, distressingly high,” Obi-Wan, who on bad days regarded himself as the least fortunate person in the galaxy, grumbled. “You don’t mean half the things you say, my young apprentice.” Qui-Gon’s smile warmed into a chuckle. “No, I don’t.” Obi-Wan stared out the viewport, bracing himself for another jump to lightspeed that would take him to another strange, lonely planet to complete another difficult mission on his lifelong Jedi journey, as Qui-Gon steered the ship into atmosphere. Soon Obi-Wan would blink and Anobis would truly be stardust behind him. The thought did make him sad, after all, despite what he had said to Qui-Gon earlier. His Master was right. He didn’t mean half the things he said. “The beauty of being always sarcastic is people don’t know what half I mean.” “I think I know what half you mean.” Qui-Gon’s gaze shone with affection, the light in them reflected in the golden streaks of a thousand stars as their ship leapt to lightspeed, bound for Ruusha. “You do, but that’s only because you’re my Master.” Obi-Wan was reassured, not irked, by the fact that his Master knew him so well. It felt comfortable to have a Master who understood him so deeply, who could read his thoughts and feelings like a holobook. It made being around Qui-Gon feel easy and uncomplicated—like slipping into a worn-in pair of boots that fit his soles just right, never constricting and never blistering.