|On top of that, I wrote a short story. Here it is for your perusal:
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)
Qui Gon's Journey
Qui Gon Jinn lowered himself to kneel, exhausted. He reached out with the Force to read his surroundings as he sunk into his meditations - for it wouldn't do lost track of the here and now, that would only lead to certain death - to regenerate his aching body. Sweat sprung on his brow, to sting his eyes, so he closed them to look inwards, to calm his beating heart, to still his thoughts, until there was nothing to cloud his mind. And in that one instant he was gone from the physical world. Gone from the thrums of machines and technology, gone from pain and suffering, gone from emotion and conscious thought. No light existed there. No dark. No sound. Not even a whisper.
'Well, this looks familiar.'
Qui Gon opened his eyes and, in an instant, was on his feet, lightsabre in hand and ignited, sensing danger, he was ready to spring into action, ready to fight off countless hordes of dark beings, to give every fibre of his body and spirit to the fight. But there was no fight. There was no enemy, no countless hordes of dark beings. Everything was still, serene, around him. Yet, at the same time, everything was so very, utterly, wrong. His surroundings were so utterly familiar, yet so alien - because where he was was not where he should be. He was in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, yet he shouldn't be. Specifically, he was in the Library. His eyes darted around him, drinking in his new surroundings as if it were water, and he a man dying of thirst. It truly was peaceful, and he felt his body become enlivened with the utter calm of it, yet it was so empty. That pervading sense of danger that had sprung him to action disappeared, swallowed by this calm. There were no other beings within eyesight. He stretched out with the Force, but he could sense nothing. No, that wasn't true. He could sense something, that of his surroundings and companions of where he was just a few moments ago. So this was either a dream, he mused, or a vision from the Force.
He smiled, feeling a great weight lift from him that he wasn't even aware was there a few minutes ago. He suddenly realised, ironically, that he wasn't aware of a lot of things. He wasn't aware of his own thoughts, for his mind was sluggish, yet the things he could see, the things he knew, were crystal clear. For he could recognise instantly the man - who seemed to spring from nothingness in front of his eyes - who sat idly at a console, watching him with a cheery grin, even though he had been only a youngling of four since he last saw him. The man, whose name was Hayana Nomek, was so very old, older than Qui Gon could guess at. A tall, gangly human, yet he possessed such energy, a sinewy strength and a litheness of body that made him seem far younger. He eschewed traditional Jedi robes for richly adorned beige and orange Kuati robes, yet his wide-brimmed sandy hat was rough hewn and well worn - the only concession to the poor lifestyle to which he ascribed. His visage was clean shaven, yet wrinkled, especially around his eyes from many hours of laughter, and his keen, deep green eyes sparkled intensely with good humour. Even with the lack of his Force sense, he knew the man meant no harm and deactivated his lightsabre, returned it to his belt. He presumed that he was the man that had spoken just a few moments ago, and addressed him as such.
'Why,' Qui Gon said calmly, 'does this look familiar?'
Nomek grinned at him, as if at a joke only he could hear. 'Because I remember you. I remember how you wandered around my Library, how your eyes gazed upon our volumous archives,' he waved a hand languidly above and behind him, indicating the luminous stacks behind him. 'Seeking answers that weren't there.' at those words, his eyes turned cold, no longer friendly.
'What questions?' he asked, non-plussed, yet even as he spoke the words the encounter that Nomek spoke of flashed before his eyes. In his mind's eye he was, once again, the young boy of four.
He had sensed, even as a youngling, that something was wrong. He could sense the pain and suffering all around him, and on his first visit to the Library he had wanted to know, in the fashion that the very young do, how stop it, or at least how to shut himself off from it. He had wandered from console to console, not really sure how to use them, until he walked past a pair of Jedi Knights, who were deep in discussion.
'Did you get the text I asked for?' asked the taller Jedi, whom Qui Gon now knew to be Nomek.
The other, much younger, Knight nodded, producing an old flimsi book from his hip satchel. 'I thought you'd finally lost it, Hayana,' he whispered. 'But, sure enough, I went to the old ruins on Rhen Var and found it, just like the old texts said. I still can't believe it.' at this last utterance, his voice betrayed a note of excitement as his eyes fell to the tome.
'I know, Thame. I know.' greedily Nomek took the book from Thame's grasp. Quickly but carefully he rifled through the pages. 'And to think the answers to eternal consciousness were at our fingertips all this time, but we were too blind, too close-minded, too dependant on technology to see it.' as he spoke his voice became more and more bitter. Thame placed a calming hand on his shoulder.
'It will be all right, Nomek. When the Council sees we've re-learned what they thought impossible, then they will have no choice to believe that the Jedi have lost - Youngling!' Thame called out to young Qui Gon when he noticed the boy standing there. Nomek gave a guilty start and turned to the child, smiling reassuringly.
'Lost, young one? I can take you to your creche, if you like.'
Innocently, Qui Gon shook his head. Back then, he didn't know what had surpassed, but his older self knew all too well. 'No, Master.' he piped up. 'I want to know how to make those consoles go.'
Nomek strode over to him, draped an arm over his shoulders to guide him away - as Thame disappeared into the shadows - towards one such console, at which he sat. 'Usually, younglings aren't allowed to use them, but I guess it's okay. See! It's on. What do you want to know?'
Young Qui Gon thought for a few seconds, tilting his head. 'How can I stop people hurting? All of them.'
Nomek glanced askew at him incredulously, then burst into laughter, so loudly that those close by looked up to give him sharp glances. They expected better of the Jedi Librarian, but Nomek always was given to not following the rules too closely, often going out of his way to break them. 'Youngling, that is the purpose of our entire Order. No one being can stop that.'
'I can.' Qui Gon said stubbornly.
Nomek looked down upon him, almost pityingly. 'No one can.'
Older Qui Gon smiled to himself as he snapped out of his reverie. He check his surroundings again through the Force, to check that things were still as he had left them, before turning his attention on the man who sat, he now realised, in the exact same chair as in his memory. 'You died.' Qui Gon said. 'So I take it you succeeded in your quest for eternal consciousness. You are a Force Ghost, I take it?' He studied him intently.
'Yes.' said Nomek. 'And no.'
Qui Gon nodded, as if in understanding. 'If you are, then why come to me? Surely there are old drinking buddies you could appear to.'
'True,' Nomek conceded. 'I could go to Master Yoda. He was quite wild in his younger days. But he is not you.'
'I'm honoured.' Qui Gon said solemnly. He stood patiently, silently, for the answer. Nomek was all too happy to supply it.
'These are dark times, Qui Gon. I know you have sensed it. Sensed the Dark Side enshrouding the galaxy. Perhaps more than any other in the Order, you have sensed it.'
'This is true,' Qui Gon agreed as he stroked his beard. 'Things are not the way they should be. I feel the Dark Side's hand upon more and more beings.'
'And in you?'
'Me?' repeated Qui Gon, surprised.
Nomek's body seemed to tense where he sat. 'Don't deny it. I know you. I know your thoughts, your feelings, what you've seen, what you've done. Don't lie to me. It would be like lying to yourself.' Nomek snarled.
'How? You have watched me all this time, have you?'
Nomek laughed again, but there was no mirth to it. 'No. I have no need. I am you.'
In front of his eyes, the creature that called himself Nomek twisted into a new form, that of Qui Gon himself.
Qui Gon's eyes widened and he took a half step back in surprise. As his duplicate went to stand right in front of him, Qui Gon's eyes were enraptured on himself. No, not himself. He knew that. He could see it. He was not given to introspection, but he fancied that his own eyes held a calm wisdom - whereas this ... thing was a lot more twisted. They held knowledge, yes, but it was deeper than anything he could fathom. 'His' pupils seemed to be great pools of knowledge, ones with no end to them, and though this being still exuded a strange serenity, he couldn't help but see that same darkness that he felt in the wider galaxy. But there was light, too. A great, glowing light emanated from within him, from every part of him. He was, as Master Yoda was so fond of saying, a luminous being.
The heat from his duplicate self warmed the air around them so much that the objects around him seemed to waver, yet the heat didn't seem to affect either of them. The fog that clouded his mind lifted, and he was able to think like his normal self, once again, and he set his keen mind to determining just what, exactly, stood before him. He'd heard of shape-shifting species before, but he seemed to doubt it, for he was inside his mind, that much he was sure of. What, then, was it? There were telepathic species that messed with their prey's minds before devouring them, but his physical body was nowhere near just such an example - at least, he believed so. He concluded that, simply, he did not know, but he was not the type of person to play games when all he had to do was ask. Instead of breaking down a locked door, he would often say, he would simply knock. 'May I ask, what are you?'
His duplicate smiled, satisfied. 'Qui Gon, I thought you'd never ask. I was Nomek. I am Yoda. I am all those who you know, all those you don't, and all those who will be. I am, even, you.' Qui Gon stood patiently, took in all his words and chewed them over in his mind. He smiled as he realised who his counterpart was. The duplicate continued, 'I am the last survivor of my race, but even then, I am not, for I am more than that. I am, and always will be, the last Whill. I am, also, through a humorous twist of your barbaric, Basic language, the Will,' he paused, 'of the Force.'
It was the real Qui Gon's turn to smile, now. 'It is a pleasure to meet you, at last.'
And you are the Will of the Force? Yet the embodiment of it?'
'Yes.' said the Whill. 'And no. I still retain my own spirit, but the Force speaks through me. I am the riverbed that the river runs through, yet also the water.'
Qui Gon nodded again. 'I understand. Yet,' he paused, 'if you are the Force, then what is the Dark Side?'
The Whill smiled, evidently pleased by the question. 'That,' he said, 'is a question for another time.' The Whill's manner turned brusque, business-like. He clapped his hands together. 'Now. We haven't much time - or, conversely, we've all the time in the world - I have need of you.'
'I was, am, and always will be, your instrument.'
'No.' the Whill protested sharply, suddenly spiteful. 'You are not my instrument. The Jedi have turned from me many years ago.'
Qui Gon saw an idea form in his head, then. Instead of protest at the Whill's show of anger, he decided to play his thought out carefully. 'As have the Sith.'
'Oh, very good!' the Whill said, impressed, jocular and genial again. 'Not many get it that quickly. Even your little Yoda hasn't quite gotten that yet.'
Qui Gon chuckled at the way his duplicate spoke condescendingly of the most powerful Force user he ever knew, even as his thoughts raced. This being was inside him. It was him, truly. It was the Force, he knew, that he communed with daily, had lived side by side with all his life. This place was his construction, in his mind, yet also another plain of existence, and so the things he drew upon, his flash of memory, was all important to the Now of it. For nearly all of his life he had searched for answers, and one in particular, and now, it seemed, his answer was at hand.
'You showed me - or perhaps I showed myself - the memory of my first encounter with eternal consciousness. I presume, if I asked for the key, you would grant it?'
The Whill grinned. 'I would.'
Qui Gon felt his heart beat that much faster. He swallowed to whet his dry mouth, but his demeanour, and his voice, as always, were so very calm. 'Is that what all this is about?'
Again, that infuriating grin. 'No.'
Qui Gon wasn't sure what to make of that. He was so sure that that was the point of it all, that he had no idea what to think. 'Then why would you tell me?'
For the first time, the Whill seemed to take his question seriously. He thought it over for a few minutes - during which time Qui Gon checked with his physical self to make sure nothing had changed - and said, 'because ... I need someone to act for me. I don't control everything,' he said, almost apologetically, 'despite what you Jedi believe.' at this he looked away ruefully. 'But I can't not sit back and do nothing. I must restore balance.' he said resolutely. 'It may be that you will die in forty years, when our work is completed, and thus this knowledge useless to you, or you may die tomorrow, and this information would be everything. so you must learn it.'
Qui Gon bowed his head. 'Then I accept my duties, whatever they may be. I will do what you ask.'
The Whill nodded gratefully. 'It is a simple lesson, but one nearly - nearly - all Force users have forgotten. You must embrace all aspects of the Force. The Light. The Dark. Choose whatever Path you wish, and denounce the other if you wish, but you must embrace it all, for it is all One in the Force.'
Qui Gon nodded. 'You speak of the Unifying Force.'
'No!' the Whill said this with such vehemence that it took them both aback. His voice deepened. 'It is all one! That is a basic concept for your petty minds! Unifying, Living, it all ends the same way - dead! It doesn't matter where or how you focus - the past, the present, or the future - you must embrace it all, or it is nothing!' the Whill's eyes flashed yellow, and he felt that Darkness wash over him like a cold blast of air from a snow storm. Quickly, though, the Whill regained his focus, his calm composure. 'You must embrace it all. Live how you like, but don't put your values on me.'
Qui Gon, cowed, merely nodded.
The Whill took a deep breath and continued. 'You embrace the Light, and that is fine, but in order for there to be balance, you must understand that there is Dark, not just in the Force, but in the galaxy. This, you must understand. In order for you to achieve the state of eternal consciousness, you must achieve balance within yourself. That is all the secret ever was. Of course, cults tried to make fancy rituals of it, but this is meaningless drivel. You, alone, possess this secret. This, I have granted you. Now you will do as I say.'
The Whill didn't give Qui Gon time to digest this new information, and it all buzzed about in his head. He head been a proponent of this Living Force for all his life, only to discover that it was a basic concept for petty minds? The Whill pressed him again for agreement. 'I -' he cleared his throat, 'I will.'
'Good.' The Whill looked on him imperiously. He continued, 'Millennia ago, my race created a journal. In this journal, they laid down thirteen prophecies. Some have come to pass, some haven't, some will, some won't, but I speak of just one that is coming to pass at this very moment. And it is all being brought about,' he paused to smile wickedly, 'by you.'
Qui Gon blanched, but maintained his composure. 'Why me?'
'You know.' he snarled.
Qui Gon bowed his head. 'Anakin.'
The Whill nodded. 'He is the Chosen One. Train him.' he instructed.
'You must make sure he is trained properly. You must see to it that he is, even in the event of your absence. A time of strife is upon your galaxy, and only he can bring balance to it. Do you understand?'
'I do.' inside, Qui Gon felt hollow, light headed, by the confirmation of his thoughts.
'Then leave,' the Whill said. 'Go back to your physical plain. I have no more need of you.' with that, the Whill faded away, a blue aura suffused and surrounded his body before he disappeared completely.
Qui Gon took one last look around him, taking in every last inch of the Library, of the place he had called home, before he sunk down to kneel, and closed his eyes. As soon as he did, he opened them to once again see that he was back on Naboo, back in the Theed Palace reactor rooms, to see the tattooed red and black Zabrak Sith ignite his double bladed lightsabre, as the red laser wall deactivated in front of him. Things seemed to slow down around him. He sensed Obi-Wan, tense and nervous behind him; the lightsabre, cold and hard in his hand; and saw the look of pure hatred on his enemy's face. One thought stayed in his mind. That was to survive this fight, and get on with the real business of saving the galaxy. He set his jaw firmly, tensed his grip on his lightsabre, his finger hovered over the activation stud, and leapt to his feet for that fateful duel.