Padmé gave him a compassionate look as he recognized her, and her pod floated forward. On one side of her she could see Dormé trembling, and Versé was crying silently behind her. Cordé and Captain Typho alone were calm. She took a deep breath, and began.
"Yesterday, as you are aware, there was a planetwide vote held on Naboo, with regards to the issue of secession from the Republic, a joint vote between Gunguns and humans both. I believe we all went to bed last night with the outcome still undecided. The people of my planet have not made this decision lightly, but all votes are now reported in, and while the results are only officially being announced on Naboo at this moment, my colleague, Representative Jar Jar Binks, has already transmitted his resignation, which I believe has made the outcome obvious." Jar Jar wasn't there; he had confessed freely to her that he couldn't face up to it. This had to be far harder on him than on her; she had only been there two years, while he had been there ten, and Coruscant had become a home to him in a way his fellow Gunguns had never allowed his homeworld to be.
"I would like to express my deep and true regret that it has come to this. Nevertheless, I understand my people's position, and whether or not I agree with it is no longer of consequence. I hope all my fellow Senators will understand me completely when I say that I live to serve my planet and its people, and my first loyalty must be to them. Where they go, I will follow."
Not all of them. Behind her, Versé didn't say it, but she didn't need to. But there was nothing that could be done for that. The rule had to be by the majority.
"While I am still a member of this Senate, however, allow me to make two pleas to the Republic. First, those of Naboo who chose to remain in the Republic at the cost of their home, I ask that you take in, and treat kindly. They make their choice no more lightly than those of us who leave you, and their loyalty to you is to be admired greatly. Please, do not hold our choice against them, and more importantly, do not say you do not have room for them. I have always believed, and believe still, that the Republic will offer a place in itself for all those who want it, and I hope I will not be proven wrong." She thought of the stories coming out of the refugees, homeless and impoverished, and it pained her to think of how many of her own people might soon be among them.
"And second, I will offer one last plea against the Military Creation Act. I speak now as a member of the other side, and I will insist on this point: Naboo does not make war. We will defend ourselves to the best of our abilities if we are attacked, but we do not wish to fight. We want only to go our way, and allow all others to go theirs peacefully. You do not need to threaten us; left alone, I promise we will make no trouble for you. Do not sacrifice your own citizens in a pointless war against ours." There were tears on her face now, and she knew she could not go on much further. To leave the Republic was not as wrenching now as it once had been. But the possible consequences, to both those who left Naboo out of loyalty to the Republic and those who stayed and remained in danger of war with the Republic-there was nothing that could calm or comfort her about those.
"Without further ado," she finished, "I hereby submit the Articles of Secession for Naboo, along with my own resignation from the Senate, effective immediately." A few commands issued into her pod's computer terminal, and it was done. The pod retreated to the clamor of voices, many of them outraged. It was an interesting question, why they should be so angry now when Jar Jar's resignation was hours old and they'd known perfectly well what was coming already, but it was not a relevant one. Padmé was amazed by her own level of detachment from them, to the point that she couldn't be bothered to try to figure out what even the loudest were saying. She had other worries now.
Such as Versé, who had collapsed into Dormé's arms, crying her heart out. She hadn't stopped since the middle of the previous night, when the Queen had contacted Padmé and Jar Jar with the news. All five of them had been up most of the night, sleeping in shifts, monitoring the vote. It had been made worse when, one by one, it seemed every last member of Versé's family, including one of Padmé's old handmaidens, had contacted her with their decidedly negative opinion of the vote.
Typho was watching the two of them with distinct disapproval written all over his face, but Padmé ignored him, helping Dormé sit Versé down, and saying gently to her, "Versé, you saw me release Rabé from her oath to me. If you want, I will-"
"No!" cried Versé. "No, milady, I'm not like Rabé. I only wish..."
"As your first loyalty is to Naboo, milady," Cordé added, kneeling next to them, "our first loyalty is to you, and I hardly think you will have no more need of us. Naboo will need someone to speak for them as a member of the Confederacy, and you are the most ideal candidate for it. Very few Senators' services to their planets have ended just because of their planet's secession. Unless we are forbidden to, which I do not think will happen," She let her gaze travel to Typho for a moment, as if daring him to contradict her, "we three will remain by your side."
"Thank you, Cordé," said Padmé, "that means more to me than you know." She even thought she'd feel much better when Jar Jar was back in their company too; leaving familiar surroundings was far, far easier if these people, her touchstones these past two years, remained with her.
The pod had latched onto the wall now, and reporters and Senators were crowded around. The four women rose as Typho began ordering the crowd apart. There were things to do now. She had to collect Jar Jar, arrange for transport away for herself and her retinue, contact the Queen, finish packing, speak with those of her former colleagues that she thought of as friends if possible, certainly ask Palpatine what he intended to do, and she now really wanted to get home as soon as she could, back to where she belonged. And once her current emotional rush faded, she was going to need to get some sleep.
Cordé moved to help Typho but there was no need; the Senate guards had arrived to see the now ex-Senator out. Her retinue with her, Padmé Amidala began her walk out of Coruscant.