A Whole New Life
Part 3: Doubts
By SJ 12-23-01/6-04-02 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimers: Nothing in the Star Wars Universe belong to me; everything belongs
to George Lucas. I'm only writing stories for fun.
See my homepage for more details.
Special thanks to my shy, secret beta-reader and best friend, Adrianne, for
help with the final editing of my new stories. Thanks for giving
me some of your precious time, my friend :)
Warning: Ani remembers his own, darkest hours in this part. (No spoilers,
my imagination), while Luke deals with Imperial terrorists... You are warned
about their emotional aspect now.
While Luke was facing the first true consequences of their attack on the
Emperor, Anakin dealt with his trouble about forgiving himself for abandoning
his son to the load of work that was undoubtedly already assailing him.
He had had no choice, he reminded himself for the fiftieth time that day. Had
he stayed, his armor would have ruined their best efforts to pacify the galaxy
which had been literally mauled down by the Emperor.
By himself. 'He' had been wreaking havoc in the despot's name for far longer
than Luke had, and unlike his son, who had been mostly restrained to outlaws and
rebels, he himself had hurt innocents ever since the beginning of his slavery.
He had much to atone for, he sighed in sadness, but admitted that he needed to
be alive to do so. However, he conceded, the temptation to take his life was
very strong, even more so now that he was alone and headed for a still unknown
Of course, he knew that he had made a promise to Luke to return if he could,
what if he couldn't, he asked himself seriously. He knew the exact extent of
the damage on his innards; the life-support suite wasn't just for show. He knew
that he was forfeited without it, so how, in good conscience, could he hope to
rid himself of it? Granted, he needed to breathe to live, but he also needed a
beating heart... working kidneys, and such. Despite all the progress that his
own searches had brought about in the medical field, its technology was nowhere
near being able to help him.
He had died that day, he thought, then shut his eyes as memories of that
day assailed him anew.
Almost twenty years ago:
'He knew that Kenobi was close; he had tracked him down to Vjun, a volcanic
world in the core system. He knew that his former master was becoming desperate
to escape him even though Kenobi was aware that there was no eluding him for
'He', Anakin Skywalker, was the most powerful Jedi of all times.
Suddenly feeling a presence, he looked up and spotted the brown robes of his
"You can run all you want, Kenobi," he spat out loud even as he
focus and jumped all the way to a rocky ledge that was a few meters lower than
Kenobi's location. "but you won't escape your fate," he finished,
his electric blue lightsaber.
The blade of purity, he thought in satisfaction, a purity which he was going
spread this very moment. The older Jedi answered his threat by turning on his
own blade. It was also blue, but the blue of white lies, Anakin sternly
reminded himself as he stepped closer to his former friend.
Lies which were about to die with their owner.
"Where is Padme?" he asked vehemently, then took a first slash at
the older man.
"Where she's safe from you," was the other's answer as he parried
Incensed, Anakin assaulted the other's defense with a flurry of strikes which
steadily backed his former friend toward the closest mini volcano. With each
strike, his anger flew pure and strong in his veins, feeding him with a power
which was rightfully his. It was not right to be deprived of his lover!, his
lightsaber seemed to scream with each new impact against Kenobi's. It was not
"Where is she???" Anakin asked desperately, then attacked once
Kenobi's silence only angered him further, almost blinding him while opening
eyes to the truth: Kenobi wanted to keep her for himself. He wanted to steal
his angel from him just as he had tried to steal his powers. Anakin's anger
suddenly turned to fury and allowed him to break through Kenobi's defense--- and
cut his fighting arm off before tossing it and his weapon down the small
"It was useless to resist," the young dark Jedi sneered
victoriously once he had
savored the scream of agony from the injured Jedi. "Now, tell me and I
kill you swiftly," he added as he glanced in the nearby lava pit.
That would be swift indeed, he thought cruelly. He pushed the tip of his
closer to his former friend until it was right underneath Kenobi's chin, forcing
him to look up at him.
"Where?" he growled threateningly.
The Jedi, who was still catching his breath from his duel and injury, panted:
"If... you're as strong as you... think you are, Anakin... Why can't you
That did it! He roared incoherently, then moved to cut off another limb---
he belatedly realized that he had lowered his guard. Kenobi's Force-shove
appeared in the middle of his chest and pushed him backward--- straight into the
Back to the present:
The last thing he remembered was Obi-Wan's regretful gaze as he had watched him
plummet to his 'death', then excruciating burning which had barely been dampened
by his weakening shield, and then... crawling out on a ledge to wait for death
and instead receiving instant assistance from the Emperor.
Back then, he hadn't questioned his master being there. Instead, he had
believed his having a bad feeling and coming to his help, but now... He knew.
The Emperor had planned all this.
He had planned to bereft him of his love... of his life. He had known,
that this would make him take the final step toward the Dark Side... And
indeed, he admitted shamefully, he had fallen head first into it... barely
retaining a last scrap of love in what would soon become a bloated dark heart...
responsible for the eradication of the Jedi Order and the new Galactic-wide
Night which had ensued that fall.
As more unwanted images of that fateful day returned to him, he suddenly
understood 'what' exactly had happened... Why Obi-Wan had been able to give his
old lightsaber to his son... Obi-Wan hadn't pushed him in the pit--- it had been
the Emperor's doing. His old mentor had, in fact, tried to save him, but had
only managed to save his lightsaber due to the Emperor's block on his falling
And only now, could he see clearly through those awful events. What a fool!,
spat at himself even as he stood to his feet. What a pathetic fool, trusting
the one man who had in fact engineered the destruction of his life and everyone
he cared for, then blindly serving him for nearly twenty years...
He would never forgive himself, he decided as he paced the small deck behind
piloting station. He would never be able to atone for what he had done... He
deserved his fate away from his son, from his life... and his freedom. But he
didn't deserve death. Not yet at any rate. First, he had to suffer of
loneliness to make it up to all the Jedi warriors who had perished---
The Jedi Knights..., he stopped on that thought. They were not all dead, he
slowly remembered. He stopped his pacing, then closed his eyes and focused his
mind on his memory. One of them remained, he knew it, but had somehow forgotten
'Did you find Yoda?' his son had asked him after his 'escape' from the Death
Star, and he himself had answered yes, but where..? A name seemed to float up
from the deep recesses of his mind, a name barely whispered as if in fright.
Anakin opened his eyes and frowned. Dagobah? Where was that? He sat back in
the pilot seat and began to call up maps of the galaxy's territories; the less
fruitful his search was, the more he remembered that this was why he had
forgotten this information. It had been a lie from Obi-Wan.
Except that at the moment, he rebuked himself, he could feel that it wasn't a
lie... Dagobah existed. He simply had to find it.
On Coruscant, a shrill whistling tore Luke out of his uneasy sleep. Groggily,
he searched himself for his comlink, then he dimly remembered leaving it in his
jacket... which was on the back of his couch. Not feeling up to using the Force
yet, he instead groaned as he forced his head off the surface of his desk, then
slowly stood up to his feet.
Meanwhile, the offending device called louder.
"Coming, coming," he told it in slight annoyance, then finally
found it and
thumbed it on as he sat heavily in the couch of his office.
answered, then stifled a yawn.
"Sir, this is General Dimil," the man identified himself. "We
several reports of riots in imperial-pro cities and even whole worlds."
"Protect the citizens, General," he ordered as he snapped awake
thanks to his
rushing adrenaline. "Stun the troublemakers and take them off-planet. I'll
right with you," he finished even as he retrieved both his and his father s
lightsabers from his desk.
"Transmitting your orders now, Sir," his trustee first officer on
answered, then cut off the transmission.
By then, Luke had already jumped to his feet and was getting ready to leave
office... where he had spent the past week in brainstorming sessions, but to no
avail. He still hadn't figured out a corruption-proof plan to bring back the
old system of democracy. For the moment though, it was not very important; what
he had feared would happen had begun.
Freedom was already becoming a burden for some elements. He ran out of the
office and into the closest turbolift.
When he reached the command center of the ex-imperial Palace, his far-away
troops had already begun to deploy themselves according to his orders.
"We are facing different types of troublemakers, Sir," a lieutenant
informed him as he gave him a report, then saluted and rushed back to his
Luke took a moment to read it, then gazed back up at the tactical displays.
This wasn't a coincidence, he realized. They were not dealing with spontaneous
rioters but with organized groups. They were armed with imperial issue blasters
and grenades, and they seemed to have only one goal: destroy.
"Status, General?" he inquired as he stepped up in the commanding
"We are still deploying, Sir, and we have new reports of aerial attacks
Calamari and Bestine."
For a moment, Luke closed his eyes in sadness as he saw in his mind what was
going on all over the galaxy, then he reached a decision.
"All right, they have asked for it," he commented coldly.
The men around him noticed his change of composure and braced themselves.
"Launch our Tie Fighters on Bestine and Calamari. They have
fire at will on the enemy. Quarantine the areas in the besieged cities and warn
the regular citizens to stay at home... then do what you must to control the
"Yes, Sir," General Dimil bowed his head, then turned toward the
and told them to transmit the orders; meanwhile the local commanders snapped
their orders in their mikes.
Luke turned toward the nearby lieutenant.
"I want a report every three minutes," he told him grimly.
On the main wall in front of them, several screens became alive with images
the ongoing operation that were taking place all over the galaxy. More than a
thousand attacks, Luke sighed in wariness. He could only hope that they would
be efficient enough to control the extent of the damage. In front of him, the
images continued to flash with colors of destruction... and death.
At first, the peace volunteers seemed to gain the upper hand in the 'battle',
but it was only an illusion. Just when they began to get a few groups under
control, imperial reinforcement showed up, coming out of nowhere and challenging
the strength of the battle-weary volunteers.
Fortunately, it was not like that everywhere and some cities were quickly
pacified, but in too many cases, the face-off lasted and expanded itself to
other areas of the towns or cities.
And especially so on Coruscant.
After an hour an a half of listening to reports, Luke decided that he could
more useful on the field and left for one of the besieged area of the planet-
wide city. If the troops were surprised to see him on the front, they didn't
tell him so. Instead, they instantly snapped to attention and awaited his
"How is the cordon holding?" he asked the man in charge of the
"Tell them to close in on us. We're going to take this group out of the
"Yes, Sir," the other answered while Luke shed his jacket and
blaster charge, setting it on stun.
Then, he and his troops watched the advancing mob as it broke windows and
anything that could be easily wrecked. Luke's gaze traveled from one angry face
to another--- when he saw one of them prepare a grenade. Even as he deactivated
it with the Force, an idea came to him.
"Do we have smoke screens?" he asked the men nearby.
One of them produced one of the nifty gadget.
"On my mark then," he informed them as he prepared the weapon; he
threw it in
the middle of the advancing crowd.
White, thick smoke instantly spread all over the street, effectively blinding
"Now!" the young Jedi ordered as he himself jumped out of cover and
ran as fast
as he could toward the slowly dissipating cloud of smoke.
He was less than two meters away from the people who were surrounded by the
disappearing cloud when a warning came to him; he turned on his lightsaber just
long enough to deflect a blaster shot, then closed it again to avoid taking off
someone's head. He clunked the closest man on the forehead with the hilt of his
lightsaber, then pivoted on his left heel and knocked him out with a powerful
Seventy-five to go.
Aware that his troops would stun as many of the rioters as they could, he
continued his swift progress in the still slightly blinded crowd, taking out a
few others with powerful punches or kicks, or a mere stun blast, then he reached
his destination: the middle of the crowd where he would dispatch as many as he
could while his closing in troops would take care of the edges.
He reflexively ducked a powerful swing which would have dazed him for good,
again, then blocked the third such attempt, kicked backward to shove away the
approaching rioter, then head-butted his first assailant. Before the other
could crumple though, the young Jedi jumped away from him--- barely avoiding a
laser shot which dispatched his latest attacker. Slightly upset by this new
loss of life, Luke directed his landing and forced the happy-trigger man down on
the ground, then knocked him out with a hit to the head. He then jumped away
from him again to avoid more blaster shots.
"It's Skywalker! Get him!!" an angry shout came over the crowd, and
nearby blasters turned toward him.
Aware that he couldn't block shots from behind and the front at the same
Luke swiftly jumped behind that group, dispatched two nearby enemies, then
activated his two lightsabers and deflected two shots at the same time. As if
to challenge him, the blaster wielders shot faster and faster, but Luke immersed
himself in the Force, allowing it to guide him into a blur of blocks and
parries. The enemies were so focused on him that they failed to see the closing
peace volunteers... until they were either down, face first on the ground, or
Luke for his part relaxed slightly and shut down his weapons. While he had
fighting, he had seen himself in his mind, had seen how his brash tactic had
destabilized the enemy here. They wouldn't fall for it again, but... Reaching
a decision, he pulled his comlink and called the command center.
"Report General," he said quickly.
"Sir, we have regained control of ten other locations; the other battles
still going on."
"Provide as many groups as you can with shields," he ordered
send those shielded individuals in the center of the crowd. We'll take them
from both the inside and the outside."
"Yes, Sir," the other accepted "We should be able to equip at
least half of the
groups with shields."
"Excellent, get to it," he nodded, then shut his comlink and took a
It wasn't over yet.
While Luke spent the best part of the following two days overseeing troops
taking parts to operations on besieged Coruscant, Mara reached Ord Mantell.
She frowned slightly as she flew above the city of Inkeny. It was in turmoil,
she noted. The landscape was peppered with columns of smoke that betrayed
ongoing fires, and some streets were eerily desert... or filled with what looks
like street fights.
"What is going on down there?" she wondered out loud, then debated
should land or not.
Checking on the state of her fuel cells though, she 'knew' that she didn't
any other choice. She had to replenish her holds and refuel the ship. She
still hadn't decided where she was headed, nor what she would do for a living,
but she knew that she wouldn't find her answers on Ord Mantell; she would be
gone in a few hours at most.
With a gentle burst of the repulsors, her ship, which used to belong to
Vader, settled on the rough ground.
"How long will you stay, Jade's Fire?" the voice of the traffic
her as was custom in this part of the universe.
"A few hours at most," she answered shortly, then meant to turn off
communicator when she changed her mind. "What is going on here
"Riots," the man informed her. "They've been going on for a
few days now. If I
were you, I'd stay away from the center of town."
Where she needed to go to purchase new fuel cells, great, she thought
She turned off the communicator, then finished the shut down of her new ship but
left it on standby mode. If things went wrong, she reflected seriously as she
stood to her feet, she wanted to be able to make a fast get-away. She checked
her blaster, knives, then spied her lightsaber's presence on the copilot seat.
Should she wear it, she wondered.
If she did, she would openly identify herself as a Jedi, but would she been
as an Imperial?.. Or a pro-rebel? Either way, it meant trouble, she decided,
but pulled it to her hand all the same and fastened it to her belt. Jedi or
not, she reasoned, she was going into a dangerous zone; she needed all the
resources that she had at her disposal and her lightsaber was her most efficient
weapon when it came to close-quarters combats.
However, she reflected more seriously, no need to go 'looking' for trouble.
She turned toward the nearby closet and pulled out a dark hooded cloak to cover
herself. Hopefully, she thought as she pulled the hood over her brilliant red-
gold hair, this would do.
Two minutes later, she exited her landing pad--- and stepped into chaos.
While she had been debating her actions, the riots had moved closer to her
location and people were fleeing toward their homes or safety.
"Well, there's your peace, Skywalker," she snarled lowly as she set
the closest tavern.
She would have to wait it out now. She walked fast, attentive to the sounds
approaching troops and trouble; she reached her destination a few minutes later,
barely ahead of the closing riots. Fortunately for her, she wasn't the only
'stranger' in the regular array of patrons so her entrance wasn't noticed.
Like the other unusual 'visitors', she stayed in the entrance for a while,
watching with an expert eye as a face-off took place just in front of them.
While she recognized the stormtroopers who were now the 'good' guys, she noticed
that the other group wasn't as defined. She saw pro-imperials proudly bearing
the Empire's seal, but also other individuals who looked more like outlaws than
ex-imperials. She attentively watched the white-clad 'volunteer' troopers
charge the approaching group, studied their tactics... then she stifled a gasp
of shock when men equipped with body-shields forced their way toward the middle
of the crowd and continued to assail it, but from the inside.
Luke, she recognized in surprise. Only Luke thought of such brash tactics and
took the enemy straight-on. The more she thought about similar tactics that he
had used before, the less she saw the ongoing battle, and the more she traveled
back in time...
When they had been together. They had truly shared a mind back then, she
remembered wistfully while images tumbled freely in her mind.
She and Luke planning an attack.
She and Luke training and pushing each other to their physical limits while
challenging their fighting creativity since they could predict each other's
She and Luke flying in tandem and taking out all their nemesis.
She and Luke drawn toward one another like two magnets----
No, she suddenly pulled herself away from the past. She wouldn't go down that
path, she resolved as she turned away from the ongoing battle and entered the
cantina itself. Luke had made his choice; she had made hers... and they were
incompatible. Sighing heavily in unwilling regret, she drew her hood off her
head, then walked up to the bar and ordered herself a hot chocolate---
Yet again a habit which she had picked up from Luke, she admonished herself,
hunching her shoulders while she fought again against the memories of the past.
When she became aware of her new failure to keep her mind blank, her eyes flew
open and she sought a subject, anything to take her lost boyfriend off her mind.
That's when her eyes rested on the holo station at the end of the room. It
showing reports about the ongoing riots. While she studied the images,
identifying some locations where they were coming from, her drink finally
"What is going on exactly?" she asked the bartender, indicating the
with her head.
"Some people are not happy with the Empire's demise," he answered
neutrally, then returned to his business.
So she had been right and the gangs out there were pro-imperials...
Interesting, she reflected with a small, cold smile as she sipped her hot
beverage. Perhaps, she should stay around a little while longer... Then, her
eyes returned to the images which were coming from several places around the
galaxy, and she winced.
Innocents. The imperials were hurting innocents, children most of all. She
literally glared at the offending images, her anger swelling in her until she
felt ready to burst. Even during the darkest hours of the Empire, they had
never targeted children of any kind. They had always been collateral damage at
worst. These 'pro-imperials' though were.... And all that because of her
boyfriend's 'big plans', she raged inwardly.
It was sickening, she thought in disgust and slapped her cup on the bar,
shattering it under the impact. The loud noise attracted the attention of a
nearby patron... who smiled at her and came closer.
"Hey, Sweetheart, what the matter?"
Mara barely threw him an askance glare before refocusing on the far away vid.
"Maybe I can help," the other offered suavely, ignoring her warning
"Back off," she warned lowly, moving to stand up.
Unwisely, the other reached out a hand and made to circle her shoulders with
arm. He didn't touch her for long; she brought her fist up and sideways and hit
him straight on the nose, then, before he had recovered, looped her arm around
his and rammed him face-first onto the bar; she then turned away and left
without a word. As a path seemed to clear itself in front of her, she heard
snickers directed at the foolish man behind her.
Good, she thought to herself. They knew that she was angry enough to kill
without her weapons. And talking of anger, she was going to do something about
at least one group of rioters. Ignoring the gasps of the men and women
assembled in the entrance of the cantina as she exited it, she triggered her
pocket blaster and boldly walked toward the ongoing fight.
Suddenly aware of the presence of a new ally-enemy, both groups focused on
dark silhouette, just in time to see her draw her lightsaber, then they could
only witness her deadly skills as she proceeded to beat the crap out of anybody
who stood in front of her, be them allies or enemies. Both side were
responsible for the chaos in the galaxy, she thought angrily; they were both the
reason for the useless suffering. The traitors deserved to die for their
betrayal, the others, for their disregard of the imperial values which had kept
the galaxy in order up to now.
While her blaster slowly drew all the energy that was available to it, her
lightsaber both deflected shots and kept enemies at bay. As the fight went on,
she slowly became aware of what she was doing. Whether she was dealing with
incompetents, or because her anger was making her more powerful, she couldn't
say, but she quickly realized that for one of the first time in her life, she
could access the Force without any restraint. She used it to avenge all the
suffering that she had seen via the holovid.
Ten minutes later, the street were quiet once again; she herself was already
walking away, a shadowy figure in the orange lights of twilight.
It would be a long night.
Four days after the beginning of the riots, Luke had briefly retired to his
quarters in the main palace to rest, but he had left strict orders to inform him
if the situation became worse once again.
The vid was turned on, but he wasn't watching it. Instead, he was in the
'fresher, gently dabbing at his freshest injury and cleaning it. He knew that
he could have gone to the medcenter for this, or that he could use the Force to
clean it and heal it fast, but he didn't want to. It was only fitting for him
to feel pain when he was responsible for what was happening to too many souls to
count. He had been outside in the thick of the fight for almost forty-eight
hours in a row, fighting battle after battle and doing his best to restrain the
damage inflicted on the citizens whom he had promised to protect.
Throughout the last seventy-two hours, they had managed to regain the control
another fifteen percent of the besieged areas, which meant that over thirty
planets had recovered their rightful peace. It only left nearly a hundred
planets to help now, and some seven-hundred fights to control.
As he pulled on a new shard, he reflected again about the strange report
he had received from Inkeny on Ord Mantell. The riots had dramatically quieted
down in that city, but according to his troops, they hadn't done much. Instead,
a stranger was said to have taken care of them in one night.
Some had seen the human and had reported the presence of a Jedi, apparently
female, but others had said that it was only a very proficient fighter. Whoever
it was, he himself didn't know what to think. The riots 'had' died out in that
city, but he had also lost several volunteers to that stranger who had
apparently been fighting both sides at the same time.
Who could it be?, he wondered while he cleaned blood that had spilled free
the removal of his last splinter. His father? No, he shook his head. His
father wouldn't attack the men that they had freed together. Mara was out of
question since she didn't have the skills required for that kind of attack.
So who was it? Was he facing a new dark Jedi? But who could it be? No one had
survived his father way back when, and no one had been trained except those he
"On Ord Mantell," the news person continued in the background,
has continued to improve throughout the night. More rioters have been
controlled in the city of Telchiu, but we also report the loss of two patrol
units not far from the area where the rioters had gathered."
Drawn by his curiosity, Luke walked into the living room and watched the
Why did it look so familiar, he wondered as he tried to identify clues that
would tell him who was responsible for those actions. There was something
there, something that he couldn't see, yet he knew that it was there all the
same. He sat down on the couch, his bandage still loosened around his biceps,
studied the images for as long as they lasted, then reached out and shut the
transmitting device as he laid back on the couch.
Why couldn't he regain control over those riots, he asked himself even as he
rubbed tiredness out of his eyes, then aware that he would need more than that
to shoo away his tiredness, closed his eyes and sighed in sadness. 'The plan'
had seemed so perfect when they had prepared it, so... impervious to anything
that could go wrong.
Normally, the others should have been content to be free from overtaxing,
conscription and general slavery, but instead, they were now almost supporting
the enemy's actions; they sure weren't even answering the rallying call, and
gods knew that they needed reinforcement in some areas, he thought wearily.
Their meager patrolling units and surveillance corvettes weren't near enough to
provide most of his groups with the resources that they needed to stop the
And now, besides the riots, they also had to deal with terrorists. The
volunteers had of course reinforced the security parameters for what seemed to
be the 'terrorists' favorite targets: wherever they could hurt the most. But
now what could he do, he wondered in despair.
What could they do?.. Another galaxy-wide call would only weaken them in the
public's opinion, and abandoning some embattled zones would sacrifice too many
lives he wasn't willing to risk. If only his father were here, he thought as he
felt a tear worm its way out of his tired eyes.
He would tell him what they hadn't tried... He would tell him that they were
indeed right to kill the Emperor, that the resulting chaos was his fault, not
theirs... That it wasn't his fault... because he couldn't come up with clever
enough ideas to insure safety for everyone.
He wasn't naive anymore, he rebuked himself; he knew that much guilt rested
Suddenly feeling unable to retain his self-control, he slipped sideways on
leather couch and wept for a situation which was now out of hand.
Because of him.
TBC in part 4: More Trouble
SJ: Skyjade@globetrotter.net (any positive stuff is welcome, but negative or
mean comments will be thrown down the Sarlacc s throat without being read.)
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