by Aundrea Ascencio
Because my life no longer had any meaning, saving Padme became my obsession. My new sense of purpose.
Something personal, and I was driven to find some cure, though she gave me no clues on where to start.
We tried everything--every antidote, every test, and every procedure that science would suggest.
But Padme's suffering appeared beyond the reach of medicine. As far as science was concerned, she was completely medically sound, but yet her condition never improved.
I failed to understand the reason why, and it frustrated me to point of insomnia.
And her condition only got worse, as if she were deliberately fighting against every attempt we made to save her life.
As if she had a death wish.
At some point, I began to suspect that Padme was working against me. That we had opposite goals in mind about the life I wanted to give back to her.
As a patient, it was completely in her right to choose. But as her physician, it was also in my power to save her, and I would not let her give up on me...Not like this.
I spent hours with her at night, struggling to stay awake, and working outside of my regular duty hours to find some answers.
I was scared that I'd miss something if I fell asleep, so I took melatonin suppressant tabs to keep me awake. It wasn't a permanent solution.
Without a good night's rest, my own body would soon start to break down. Yet I had this gnawing, dark feeling that despite my best efforts, Padme wouldn't make me wait much longer anyway.
"I don't know your story," I told her one night, though I wasn't sure she could hear me. She made no signs of wakefulness. "Up to this point, I've only known Senator Padme Amidala by name.
But I always imagined you to be strong. A fighter. Another example I could look up to. You still have a part to play, Amidala. You are stronger than this.
Whatever it is that's put you here, fight it. Take your life back for the sake of those who still have faith in you. People who are determined to fight with you.
Who would carry the burden of your absence long after you're gone, every day for the rest of their lives.
I know it because I've done it, and every minute of absence is more painful than the last...Fight, Padme. Fight."
But her condition continued to deteriorate; whatever that condition was. I couldn't fix it.
Of the hundreds of antidotes I could mix, and the millions of procedures I could apply, none of them would cure a broken heart.
With all its grand advancements, science still had no authority in the realm of metaphysics.
I didn't know it back then, but I would come to realize that I was never meant to save Padme's life. She was meant to save mine.
If not for her being admitted into my care at Polis Massa, my life would be drastically different. Everything changed for me the minute they carried her in.
When I thought I'd lost everything in my life, and that my existence would be flushed out in a vacuum on some deserted astroid base, Padme brought me hope. She brought me Obi-Wan.
But, of all people, I should've known that everything comes with its price. Though Padme allowed this Jedi to walk into my life, her own tragic story would become my story.
Like passing an infection from one patient to the other. And as mentioned before, there's no cure for that disease.
Had I learned the lesson she was trying to teach me through her example, I might've been spared the plan that fate had in store for me.
But I was so distracted by saving this woman, that I had no consideration for the future. Only the present.
Sometimes the things we aspire for are not meant to be, but open our eyes to the path that was destined for us. A certain Jedi once shared this wisdom with me...
However, at the the time that I could've used such wisdom, that certain Jedi stood at a carefully calculated distance away from me on the opposite side of the glass wall,
making no sound to disturb me as he watched me work.
Kenobi wasn't the only Jedi to make contact with Polis Massa. Within hours of Padme's arrival, others soon joined him, including the Jedi Grand Master Yoda, and Bail Ograna of Alderaan.
I knew him as Prince Bail Organa of Alderaan, but on the base he was addressed as Senator and Advisor of Militaristic Operations. Of what army, I didn't know yet.
But I soon witnessed the beginnings of an Allied Resistance against the rising threat from Coruscant.
They were always watching Senator Amidala, deeply engaged in conversation about what was to be done with her,
as if she had inspired a severe political crisis which changed the lives of millions. More and more, I began to wonder who this woman was and what she had done to find herself in this situation.
Like the others, Obi-Wan was ever vigilant.
Occasionally, I would look up from my work at Padme's side and meet his meditative gaze through the transparent walls between us.
Sometimes, Kenobi would make a comment to Master Yoda, who would then turn his goblin-like green head toward me in deep consideration.
Soon, I got the chilling impression that their conversation was no longer about my patient.
It put me on edge. I could never guess what a Jedi was thinking, but I had this aggravating feeling that they were looking right through me.
Like they had the power to read minds and uncover all of my darkest secrets. The ones that they least of all should know about.
Finally, unable to stand it any longer, I decided to approach the Jedi directly and demand to know what he was plotting behind my back.
I walked out from the sterile brightly lit hospital room, until I reached the dark hallway that Obi-Wan Kenobi occupied.
"Is there something you wish to tell me, Master Jedi?" I asked him, once I met him face to face.
He didn't answer me immediately, taking a moment to gaze into my face, as if he hadn't expected me to confront him. But of course he had, because Jedi are rarely caught off guard.
He had to have sensed me somehow through the Force...or however that thing works with them.
Then again, maybe it was just the first time he'd been close enough to really see me. The first opportunity that we both had to take in faces.
On any other day at the base, we were usually running around carrying out our own duties and absorbed in our own thoughts.
Faces went by like a blur as we passed them between corridors, and we hardly had any time to focus on one single person.
Yet by some miracle, the base was stable and quiet that night, giving us a moment of pause in our rapidly changing universe.
"How can I be of assistance to you, lieutenant?" he asked finally. "It's been 16 hours and you haven't stopped working. Even your droids have powered down for the night."
"I'm fine," I answered. "I've dealt with much worse before."
"I wouldn't doubt it," he said with a soft grin. "But since I can't sleep either, I felt obligated to do something productive."
"You've done enough for me, Master Jedi," I said. "Really. Get some rest."
"Please. Call me Obi-Wan," he reminded me again. Then went on more quietly, "I'm not a master here. Not anymore."
There was a little hint of something in his voice, and it sounded so familiar to me, but I couldn't immediately decide what it was. Guilt? Regret? Sadness?
And here I was thinking Jedi weren't human enough to be affected by their pasts.
I couldn't tell you what was haunting Master Kenobi. He never told me.
And I'll never know why, in that brief moment of vulnerability between us, he opened up to me. Why had he felt the inclination to help me at all?
"I know this must be difficult for you. It would be difficult for anyone to endure, including a Jedi," I told him, in another effort to convince him to take my advice.
"It's alright to step away a moment and let someone else relieve you."
"I made a promise," Obi-Wan replied, the fatigue hanging on his voice as he glanced back at Padme through the glass walls. "I will not abandon her."
"That wasn't a suggestion, Master Kenobi. As your medical officer, I insist you get some rest," I said more firmly. "I don't need any more of you Jedi in my hospital unit.
You're human like the rest of us, and you won't be of any use to Senator Amidala or us if you don't look after yourself."
He smiled again. "Well those are my orders," he said. "And does my chief commanding medical officer have a name?"
I hesitated, unsure of what name I could give to satisfy him, and yet not betray myself.
Obi-Wan waited for my reply, and I knew the longer I took to answer him, the more suspicion I'd draw to myself. I had to say something.
"My name is..."
"Master Obi-Wan," Yoda's voice came from down the hall as he approached us with Bail Organa, and their attending droids, C3PO and R2D2. "Searching for you, we have been."
I finally remembered to breathe, realizing that I'd been saved from Obi-Wan's questioning just at the very last minute. I quickly made a run for it.
"Excuse me. I should get back to work," I bid Obi-Wan farewell with a parting smile. "It was a pleasure meeting you again, Master Kenobi."
I marched back for my hospital unit, but I felt his eyes follow me down the hall.
I didn't need a Jedi's instinct to know that this wasn't over for me. Why couldn't I have given him a name? Any name. After I had evaded his question, things would only get things worse for me.
I would soon find that out the hard way.
I could not avoid him.
Once I was cleared from the corridor, Bail Organa, Obi-Wan, and Yoda stood attentively as the GH-7 medical droid supervising my unit hovered before them to give his report on Padme's status.
He could only tell them what he knew at this point the reality that I had come to accept. "Medically, she is completely healthy. For reasons we can't explain, we're losing her."
Master Kenobi appeared surprised when he replied, "She's dying?"
"We don't know why. She has lost the will to live. We'll need to operate quickly if we are to save the babies."
"Babies?" Senator Bail Organa repeated in astonishment.
"Yes," replied GH-7. "She's carrying twins."