By : Valeda Kor
At first reading, "Autopilot" is a very simple story. Anakin Skywalker is on a very steep learning curve, working with a master that he has slowly come to trust. Doubts there have been -- a snippet of dialog from The Phantom Menace underscores that -- but readers learn that Anakin has gotten past his feelings of unworthiness. As an additional test, Obi-Wan Kenobi sends his Padawan on a space flight, telling him that he is not allowed to influence the ship's course. Can Anakin do this? Let go, and let the Force?
The building analogy is brilliant! I have never thought of the Obi-Wan/Anakin connection in that regard. I can almost see the "under construction" sign, as the author, FernWithy documents the learning process for a Padawan that is older than he should be. The slave imagery is also telling -- readers may take the meaning to be as the young Anakin was a slave to Watto, so the adult Vader is the Emperor's slave. In the author's capable hands this makes perfect sense.
The story relates that things happen, Anakin reacts (or doesn't react, as the case may be), the craft returns. The End. Read the story, again, though, and you begin to understand what the author is trying to tell readers. The outcome of this test foreshadows an integral part of the destruction of the relationship between these two -- that Obi-Wan does not (cannot?) see that something has happened to Anakin. That Something Is Not Quite Right. It's an intriguing proposition, and FernWithy relates a small incident in the life of these two Jedi that whispers, rather than shouts, "Dark Side."