A Whole New Life
Part 5: Encounters
By SJ 12-23-01/ (email@example.com)
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: This part also deals with terrorism...
On Dagobah, a snapping sound suddenly tore Anakin from his barely aware
He tiredly gazed around himself, searching for what had broken his growing
He thus missed the heavy animal which leapt on his back. However, the moment
that its weight settled on his shoulders, he pulled it away from himself with
the Force and turned on his lightsaber. The predator didn't understand its
threat and leaped again at him.
Anakin reflexively meant to slice him in two--- then swiftly changed his
he turned off his weapon and hit the animal hard under the neck with it. It
knocked it out for the time being.
With the threat out of the way, the ex dark lord took a moment to scan around
himself; no other animal had followed this lone hunter. Hooking his saber back
to his belt, he left his would-be attacker alone and headed straight forward...
And wherever that direction would lead him.
He walked fast, focusing his mind on where he set foot and how much ground
long, strong legs allowed him to cover.
Those were his legs, his muscles, he finally thought after a while. After his
betrayal, he had refused the muscular enhancing devices which had been proposed
to him, instead relying on his own strength and pride to restore his legs as
well as his back and arms. Today, he was truly glad of his choice; it meant
less damage to bear and heal. Now, he thought glumly, slowly stopping to a
halt, if only he could conceive exercises to restore his heart and lungs.
As he continued to slow his pace, he gazed around himself once again;
he reflected, he had the feeling that he had been in this location before. He
couldn't see any difference in his surrounding landscape and the one he had left
a while ago, except perhaps for the fallen animal which might have recovered
from his attack, he conceded. But even if he weren't in the same place, he
thought more glumgly, he was still...
What was he doing?, he asked himself as he stopped completely and just stood
there, lost once again. He had nowhere to go, didn't have much to eat except a
few nutrient pills, and he didn't have any survival kit with himself.
He was as good as condemned to die from starvation and thirst. Upon that
thought, he considered not waiting this long and do the job by himself--- but
before he had even taken hold of his weapon, a sudden memory of his son's
features surged forth in his mind. Luke had been extremely sad when he had left
him, he reminded himself, so he himself had promised him that he would someday
return to him to give him hope; his son had taken this promise to heart,
trusting him to be true to his word.
He couldn't do this to his son, he thought glumly. He couldn't destroy his
hopes just because he himself thought that he deserved death for his past. As
long as he would live, he decided seriously, almost earnestly, there would be
hope that he might return to Luke someday. Hence, he had to fight on, for his
son this time.
Thus, forcing down his regret, shame and rising fear about what the Force
have in store for him, he sat down on the mossy ground, closed his eyes, then
tried to meditate his options. Seconds turned into minutes, which then turned
into hours as his lack of equipment kept challenging his creativity to the
Sometime later, while he was taking a break from debating with himself, he
reflected that he would welcome his daughter's company... if she could find him.
In deep space, Luke's flagship finally reached its destination. In its hold,
the volunteers were ready to go down to the surface, and the specially equipped
TIE fighters were primed for action.
Aboard the drop ship, Luke requested an update on the situation; commander
informed him that new enemy reinforcement had come out of nowhere and that the
now bigger group was getting out of her control. The troops were undoubtedly
exhausted, Luke reflected while he listened to the rest of her report; he
decided to to pull them back as soon as possible.
Once she was finished with her report, he informed her of their new strategy,
then told her to withdraw her troop when they themselves would take over. Then,
he gave orders to launch the operation... and was on his way toward yet another
The new government, he reflected sadly, hadn't been a positive change so
Luke's first target proved to be much tougher than he had first estimated,
coming up with surprises such as choking gas bombs and paralyzing shocks before
slithering out from the security perimeter and wreak more havoc in the already
besieged city of Oase.
Luke and his group chased them wherever they went, intent on finding a
to control them; his men followed, galvanized by his determination to put the
riots to an end and more than eager to share their ideas when he asked for
In short, the young Jedi was totally focused on his chosen duty... so much so
that he failed to notice the presence of an observer nearby.
Not too far from the now quiet zone of 'battle', brilliant green eyes peered
around the corner of a wall and gazed at the unfolding events from the depth of
her camouflage cloak and cowl. The fight was moving north once again, Mara
estimated; she discreetly followed the men's tracks, careful to not be seen by
anyone, nor felt by her lover. She tried to catch up with his group as fast as
When had landed on Devarona, she hadn't known what she was looking for there
except for one thing: whatever the Force had been guiding her to. Thus, she had
walked down the very deserted streets, her hands near her weapons in case she
needed them. Unlike usually though, she hadn't hunted down any targets;
instead, she had walked further inside the city, trusting her feelings to guide
her toward something that would help her in her quest...
She had stumbled on yet another battle, this time led by ex-Luke Vader.
At first, she had reflexively moved to go to his help, then had as quickly
entertained the thought to run away and pretend that she hadn't seen him, but
neither options had won. Instead, she had remained hidden in the shadows of the
nearby alley and had watched him as he had striven to control the now gathered
groups of rioters.
She hadn't expected to see him here, she thought as she watched him fight
against a strong, burly man. She had thought that he would stay on Coruscant,
keeping an eye on everything instead of focusing on one planet at the time.
She had obviously been wrong, she admitted as he managed to dispatch his
attacker and stunned a few men near him--- then a signal came from somewhere and
the rioters broke away from the Peace volunteers. Luke didn't let them get away
that easily; he went right after them, dragging his troops after him.
Once he was out of her sight, 'she' too ran after 'him' and tried to
her more than strange behavior; she had never, ever done anything as foolish as
to watch a battle, she conceded.
Well perhaps that was what she needed to do, a little voice then commented
inside herself. She then admitted that she had asked for help to put things in
correct perspective this time; this 'had' to be an answer, she thought uneasily.
However, she couldn't deny what her first observations had done to her. For the
first time since she had become an assassin, she had watched the resulting chaos
of battle from the outside; she had even begun to understand for real the
implications of what her life had been up to now. It hadn't been a good life,
she admitted, then conceded that it was particularly peculiar to 'watch' her
lover doing those things. Somehow, she reflected, it really didn't seem
right... yet he had the right attitude to not be more violent than he needed to,
she admitted with respect. She ducked in an alley and jumped on an overhead
staircase to gain a better point of view on what she could now feel ahead of
Perhaps, she also conceded to herself, she needed to study Luke to know if
really loved him or if her love for him had also been a lie. After all, he too
was not as she used to know him.
With that thought, she ran as fast as she could to the edge of the roof, and
gazed down at the ongoing turmoil in the street. She thus witnessed Luke's
actions as his group pressed their advantage and went for the in-depth move that
she had seen on Ord Mantell. Her eyes instinctively searched her friend's
form... and found him; he was smack-dab in the middle of the charging group.
While she saw the beginning of an ally's victory which once again turned into
stinging defeat, she reflected that it both surprised her yet didn't really
surprise her to find him in that critical position. It was both Luke-the-
determinate-man, and Luke-the-caring-man who were fighting against the imps as
they produced weapons that neutralized the close-quarters attacks. Between the
paralyzing shocks of the imps and her lover's no-killing strategies, fierce
hand-to-hand duels quickly followed... several of which her dear friend put to
an end despite the fact that he himself was being assailed.
He didn't take too much of a punishment, she estimated as she followed him
one fight to another; despite the distance, she saw the fire of his
determination in his eyes, his dedication to his goal and what he needed to do
to reach it. He wasn't doing this because he wanted to be hurt, nor because he
needed to vent, like she herself had done until lately; he was down in the
streets because he couldn't think of another way to reach his goal.
While she considered what she had just understood about her 'new' boyfriend,
observed the switch in his strategy when he decided to use stun blasts against
the imps who were protected by personal shields, but as if aware of the same
weakness that Luke had meant to exploit, namely the short life of such shields,
the remaining troublemakers produced gas bombs which effectively hid them from
Luke's group--- and allowed them to run away from the allies once again.
She sighed at this, just as Luke seemed to sigh in disappointment, but unlike
her lover, who kept hope of vanquishing his current opposition, she herself
didn't feel the 'need' to go after the trouble makers and seek more violence.
In fact, she conceded with herself, the more she watched the ongoing battle, and
the more she became aware that the mere thought of shooting someone ever again
was sickening her to the heart.
She had killed so much already... She would never be able to forgive herself
those, she thought glumly, then refocused on her boyfriend's location as his
group once again ran after the other group.
Thanks to Luke's sensing skills, she suspected that they would catch up with
troublemakers before they ever realized that they had been tracked down once
again; she abandoned her chosen rooftop and headed for the location of the
upcoming new round between her boyfriend and the rioters of Oase.
Unlike her previous perch though, she had to remain on street level this
few seconds later, she thanked the Force for this new set-up. TIE fighters came
screaming from the higher atmosphere and opened fire on everyone who was now
facing off in the square of a main plaza. At first deeply worried about Luke's
safety, she almost broke out of her hiding place and went to him to cover him or
take him out of range--- then her brain registered the fact that the fighters
were shooting stun bolts, not regular bolts.
Everyone fell under the assault... even Luke, who couldn't resist all the
that hit him at the same time. When the TIEs flew away from the area, no one was
moving anymore in the nearby streets.
At first, she pondered how to interpret what she had just seen: weakness for
having no choice but to rely on such a tactic? Or...
Or strength!!, she realized. The New Republic and its Peace Volunteers were
stronger than even the Empire had ever been because they could blindly trust
their allies. She conceded that it was a most awesome strength, much like what
had made herself and Luke so efficient as agents; they had known that they could
rely on each other no matter what...
From the depth of her chosen alley, she refocused on the present and the
street beyond the narrow walls. For long, too long minutes, her boyfriend, who
had collapsed in her field of vision, remained still, as did everyone in the
Would anyone come for them? she wondered worriedly, or were they left to
on their own, hopefully faster than the rioters. As if to answer her question,
new shuttles appeared in the sky as they began their landing procedures: they
set down nearby and begun to pick allies from enemies.
Mara didn't pay them any attention, her eyes riveted on her lover while her
sifted through everything she had seen and felt while watching the battles;
unbeknown to her, she had just made an important decision concerning her future.
Meanwhile, Luke, who had resisted the effects of the TIE's stun blasts, still
needed a little time to completely shake off the effects of the repeated hits.
He wasn't unconscious, yet he wasn't conscious either.
When he recovered his senses, the now rested volunteers of Mabar's team were
already sifting the troublemakers from the regular troops, locking the rioters
in a transport.
Barely suppressing a groan of complaint at the effects of the stun blasts, he
pushed himself from the concrete-covered street, then slowly sat up to study the
results of Piett's intervention. No one was hurt, and they had plenty of time
to clean up the streets.
"Are you all right, Sir?" a nearby trooper asked him as he and his
walked closer to his location to take custody of a ruffian who was still
slumbering just beside him.
"Yes, not a scratch," he reassured them, then winced as his injured
reminded him that he 'did' have scratches to take care of.
Still, he reflected with a sigh of relief, they were not that serious and
easily be tended. It was nothing compared to what the city had to rebuild after
the thirteen-day-long siege, he then thought seriously.
While he stood to his feet, he made a note to himself to check up with the
organizations as soon as they would recover from their panicky state; he knew
that they had been worried when the Freedom had come out of hyperspace. It was
normal, he conceded, especially considering that its size was much more imposing
than that of the Liberator.
However, he decided as he gazed around himself once more, he was proud of how
the operation had proceeded. They hadn't added to the already present damage,
and no one had gotten hurt. As he looked around himself to survey the clean-up
procedures, he nodded in new relief. Their strategy should convince the local
administrations to rally themselves to them, but most important for the moment,
to allow them to help them for the reconstruction.
First however, he reflected more glumly as he searched himself for his
they had to intervene in the three other cities. He finally located his comlink
somewhere near the small of his back. Dimly wondering how it had gotten there,
he pulled it free and activated it.
"Admiral Piett," he inquired, then cleared his throat to rid it of
remnants of dryness. "What's the status of the three other targets."
"They are also under control, Sir," came the surprising answer.
"Why so?" he frowned even as he reached out to sense the current of
Dark feelings of fear and violence weren't stirring it anymore.
"When the all-out attack of the TIEs worked with your group, Sir, I
to do the same thing with the other cities. I wasn't expecting as good results
as with your group, but the rioters were caught off guard and fell."
Luke remained silent; it was his turn to be speechless in surprise.
"The whole siege is over then?" he asked despite his gaping mouth.
"All four targets are free, Sir, and a few others around the galaxy have
When Piett had forwarded the information to the units who could hastily fit
with stun blasts weapons instead of regular ones, he understood. His chosen
right arm truly was full of potential, he smiled to himself as he finished to
surmise what had happened while he had been napping.
"How many more targets did we recover?" he inquired hopefully.
Piett seemed to turn away from his comlink, probably to read data, then came
back to him.
"A total of twenty five sieges are lifted, Sir."
Not bad, he nodded to himself, but no where near enough to scream 'victory'.
"Excellent work, Admiral. Forward the schematics of the modified TIEs to
"Yes, Sir," the other clipped respectfully, then Luke cut off the
So the fights were over for this world and it was time to reconstruct. He
surveyed his surroundings one last time, then headed for the closest medical
shuttle. A quick patch, he reflected, then he would pay a visit to the local
He was so absorbed in his thoughts of how he would begin his true work that
missed the familiar presence who watched him from a closer point of view from
Mara followed his receding figure, fighting hard against herself to not go
him and signal her presence to him. Yes, he was a different man from the one
she had grown up with, she conceded to her wary self--- but he was also the very
same man she had fallen in love with!!, her heart screamed desperately; she
couldn't let him go away once again---
But she had to, her inner voice stopped her from stepping out of the shadows.
She would eventually return to him, it told her soothingly, but that moment
hadn't come yet. She hadn't dealt yet with the most serious issues that
remained between her new and her old life, and for the moment Luke's life was
too much like their old ones to help her continue her emotional healing.
While she pondered that instinctive thought, she also reflected that she had
never seen Luke quite like what she had seen today, yet, she conceded, she had.
He had had exactly the same commanding presence than when he had been a Dark
Jedi, but at the same time, his care and love weren't restrained to herself only
Now, she understood, it was who he was, what drove him onward, guided him in
plans... It was both a weakness and a strength. He had failed to contain the
outlaws in a more expedite manner because he had obviously been willing to
sacrifice his troops anymore than what he had already done, but, she thought
more gently, he had also been successful without shedding anymore blood.
Impressive, she nodded as he disappeared up the lowered ramp.
However, she admitted more seriously once he was out of her sight, his
strategy truly didn't sit well with her, either as her old self or her new,
unknown self. Oh, she conceded, she wasn't angry at him about the Emperor, not
anymore, she thought as she forced her anger out of her mind at the memories of
what the fiend had done to them. On the other hand though, she still didn't
agree with a coup, and even less with the swift revelation to the whole galaxy.
'That', not her lover, not his father, but that little flaw in their daring
was responsible for the pain and suffering that was suffocating the current of
the Force lately. If only for that, she slowly realized, she truly couldn't
return to him yet; she would probably constantly scold him every time needless
violence would come up in their world.
Slowly, although still reluctantly, she turned away and disappeared in the
night. The revelation, she nodded her head in conviction, had been a less than
wise tactic to use; it had brought nothing but chaos and more suffering.
Instead of doing this, she thought seriously, Luke and his father should have
exterminate the 'vermin' from the new Empire before bringing about serious
changes. Still, she sighed, it was too late to change this, and Luke... was too
good a man to resume his dark behavior, she conceded, even to cover up the
That thought instantly made her yearn for him, but she pushed the ensuing
out of her mind. Even if he would always love her, she tried to reason herself,
it could not be for the moment; the outside violence was quickly becoming a
serious deterrent in their interrupted relationship. In fact, she admitted, the
only thought that truly allowed her to stay away from him was that she knew that
she would return to a temporary violent life if she went back to him, and, to
her greatest surprise and utter confusion, she didn't want to live like that
After watching with her 'new' eyes for nearly eight hours what her life could
once again, she now 'knew' that she wouldn't be able to bear it and would leave
him once again... Better wait and use the time alone to figure who she wanted
to be from now on, she reflected sadly. Her old life truly was over now, she
thought glumly yet not regretfully.
However, she admitted sadly as she disappeared in the night, she truly missed
her lover and knowing what she had to do for herself didn't make it any easier
for her to leave him once again.
In time, she promised herself before she refocused on the Force and on what
wanted to guide her toward. In time they would be together.
The Force brought her back to her ship, then guided her fingers into the
programming of a new destination.
On Dabogah, Ani slowly set up some kind of shelter for himself. First, he
a dry, rocky cave where he tried to light a fire, then, hours later when he
finally managed to dry his first twig with the Force and ignited it, he gathered
more wood to make it dry thanks to the warmth of his growing firewood.
Once this was settled, he began to carve rough tools which then turned useful
transform wooden logs into a few bowls. That would do for food or water, he
thought to himself, then another idea came to him. If he could find a piece of
leather, he reflected, he would be able to make himself a water skin which would
His eyes rested on his leather trousers, gloves and sleeves. He had all the
leather he needed to make himself even more than one water skin, he realized,
the problem being that he would be exposed to the humidity if he touched that...
Unless, he thought seriously, an idea slowly taking shape in his mind, unless
could retrieve some articles from his recently sunken ship. Gathering his
resolve, he covered the entrance of his chosen cave with his cloak, protecting
the fire within from any water or humidity, then walked back toward his crashing
He now knew that he wasn't that far from it.
An hour and a half later, Anakin finally reached his destination. He surveyed
his surroundings, then switched his focus and searched under the misleading
It took him a while, but he finally found the remnants of his presence, some
seventy meters under the ground. Since he wasn't searching for living things
though, he knew that he couldn't rely on his senses alone. Hence, he called up
an image of what the ship had looked like inside, then he imagined himself
taking hold of the repair kit and pulled it out of the ship. Slowly, he saw it
as it rose up, never taking his mind off this image--- then the kit literally
popped out of the ground.
He pulled it toward himself, allowed himself a smirk of satisfaction, then
settled himself on the ground. It would be a long meditation process before he
had everything he could recover from the ship.
Slowly but surely, he pulled out everything he remembered from the inside of
ship, not caring at all if it would be useful to him or not. For the moment,
the only thing that mattered was that he would have more than just what he was
wearing as resources to set up his shelter. Hopefully, he thought as he opened
his eyes to see the result of his 'fishing', it would be enough to allow him to
survive until he could see his son again.
Armor or not, he thought, closing his eyes again to resume his meditation, he
would know not to waste the time that they were given together.
And so it went for hours.
When he reopened his eyes, night had fallen, leaving him in total darkness.
Slowly, he stood to his feet, stretched his cramped muscles, then turned on his
lightsaber and used it to survey his handiwork.
Well, he smirked to himself, now, there only was the problem of bringing
everything back to his refuge.
The morning didn't come fast enough for Luke Skywalker.
After healing himself and spending most of the night reading reports about
actual state of the city of Oase, he brought his shuttle on the landing platform
of the city hall, then waited for its occupants to show up for work. Instead of
calling them for an emergency meeting, he had decided to work on his patience.
Thus, he sat cross-legged on the roof-like structure and locked his gaze on
far away cities, then the even further away stars which were disappearing in the
All those lives, he reflected with a sigh, those numerous souls who had
him when he had told them that they would never know fear ever again. He dimly
wondered who had been more naive. Them? Or him?
He had known that ex-imperials would try to wreak havoc, his father had
he thought, feeling a tightening in his chest at the thought of his father.
Where was he now? How was he?, he wondered glumly. Had he found a safe heaven
from which he would eventually contact him to at least allow them to be together
again, if only secretly?.. Or had he come back on his promise and done
something he himself could understand but would blame himself for forever?
*Father,* he sadly called through the Force, feeling an even worse emptiness
him than his previous one as he allowed himself to miss his father.
He had thought that he had accepted it, that he was strong now... but he
discovered that he had been wrong. Just like when he had been a child, he
sorely missed the reassuring presence of his father, his experience and wisdom
in the matters of life. He himself was only trained in the matters of the army-
He didn't know how to rule well, and he was alone with that burden, he
in despair, allowing his tears to come forth. He couldn't talk about this with
anyone, not even Piett although he had identified the man as his new private
advisor, even surrogate father, he conceded although the other would have a
heart attack if he knew, he admitted with a sad smile.
*Father, I need your help, please?* he called out, and met with the same
emptiness which he always met whenever he and his father were parsecs away.
He couldn't go on alone, he thought glumly, lowering his chin to his chest.
was going to make a mess more than he would fix it... Even now, he admitted to
himself, he had abandoned the Senate project to focus on the riots and their
Sure, he wanted to protect the innocents, but, he admitted shamefully, it was
also because they represented a territory he was much more familiar with than
politics. And worse than worst, he sighed in frustration, he couldn't trust any
politician with the Senate because he wasn't sure that he would be able to trust
them, even with his Force sensing abilities.
"the Rebel Alliance weren't destroyed," Luke admitted glumly, then
gazed up at
his right arm.
If Piett was surprised by his latest admission of vulnerability, he didn't
comment on it. Instead, he turned back toward the bay window as they surveyed
the deployment of the few drop ships which carried supplies to help the besieged
"The local law enforcers gave you their allegiance, Sir, didn't
Luke smirked slightly at his attempt to reassure him by changing the subject.
"They did," he answered with a sigh, then turned away from the
window bay and
walked toward the nearby desk. "However, without a Senate in function, I
know how long they will remain with us before they choose their
he explained seriously.
That drew a slight reaction from the older man. He turned toward him,
skillfully covering his gape of surprise.
"We will bring back the Senate, won't we, Sir?" he inquired with
just a touch of
doubt in his voice.
"Yes," Luke nodded, then allowed his shoulders to stoop and he hid
his hands in
his pockets. "I just don't know when," he informed the older man.
For a moment, the other gazed at him; Luke barely met his gaze, aware that
young age was more than obvious at the moment, but he didn't care.
He was truly lost, and had no one to turn to.
"Sir," Piett finally said, taking a step closer to him, "if I
may, we 'must' be
faithful to this promise and restore it as soon as possible," he continued
"I know," he nodded in answer, "but I don't have the slightest
idea how to avoid
the mistakes of the past."
Piett remained silent, slightly tilting his head in interest.
Luke continued: "We're talking about more than a thousand individuals
decide the future of every citizen in the galaxy," he reminded the other.
can I be sure that they won't be corrupted? That they will serve the citizens,
not their own goals?"
"Well, how about using your powers, Sir?" Piett suggested easily,
then seemed to
realize what he had done.
He was finally growing more comfortable with him, Luke sighed in slight
It was very small though compared to his big worry.
"I don't want to read minds," he told the other seriously, then
"besides, can we truly find uncorrupted politicians?"
Like Leia or Mother? he added to himself, wishing for the hundredth time that
day that his sister would still be with him.
"I... see your point, Sir," the older man answered at last, then
"However, Sir, if you'll pardon my saying so, you can't stay alone at the
of the galaxy."
"I know," the youth nodded, locking his gaze with the older man's,
"and I don't
want to either," he added earnestly.
For a long moment, both remained solemnly silent, then his admiral shyly
"Do you expect anything from me, Sir?" he asked bravely.
"No," Luke shook his head, "but I wanted you to know the exact
status of our
"I understand Sir," Piett nodded, then saluted. "I'm sure you
will find a
solution, Sir. After all, you managed to kill the Emperor and to destroy the
Always with help, Luke reflected to himself as he slightly nodded in
then silently dismissed the older man. Talking had helped him slightly, he
conceded, but he was still faced with the same problem.
He was still lost.
More days passed by.
For Anakin, they were spent building up a shelter which would be more than a
temporary refuge. He didn't know how long he would be stranded on Dagobah.
It took him two days to bring back to his cave what he had retrieved from the
fallen ship. Then, from preparing his water skins to adapting his salvaged
goods to what he would need on this planet, he slowly arranged the inside of the
cave so that he would be sheltered from the elements, would be able to
adequately cook his food, and would even have a more or less comfortable corner
to sleep or meditate.
He also made himself a few storage bins where his other salvaged clothes and
other damageable goods would be safe from unfortunate accidents. While he was
so engaged, he didn't think much, instead focusing on what he had to do with
what he had at his disposal.
However, once he was done with even his first hunt for something edible, he
nothing else to do but think.
His first thought went to his son, whom he missed sorely.
What was going on with him?, he wondered, gazing up at the patch of sky which
was seeable through a corner of his makeshift door. Was he all right, wherever
he was? Had he felt what had happened to him? Would he ever forgive him for
not listening to him and facing the future as he did instead of running away
like a coward?
But he was a coward, wasn't he? he berated himself, turning his
head back toward his slowly cooking, plucked bird. Oh yes, he sneered at
himself, he had once again chosen the easiest solution: run away instead of
facing the problem. Sure, he told himself mercilessly, he had been angry enough
to face off with countless Jedi warriors, but when he had had to face 'the'
enemy... When he had had to choose between his love for his wife and his fear of
"Ah," he spat in disgust, "the greatest Jedi indeed."
Had he not been such a fool, he practically mentally whipped himself with his
self-resent, he would have seen Palpatine's lies for what they had been, would
have stood up to him with the rest of the Jedi order, and he and Padme would
have been happy ever after.
Instead, he continued to mentally torture himself, his hands were covered
so much blood that he couldn't wash them clean anymore; he was even afraid to
atone for his wrongs.
'Afraid that the others will do to you what you did to them?,' his vicious
consciousness pried on.
Frozen with guilt and fear, his more vulnerable self, the one he had salvaged
from the Dark Side, silently nodded, speechless as the images of what he had
made others suffer came back to him.
'Well it would only be your due,' his dark-side remnants continued to torment
him, adding to his distress.
Anakin couldn't resist the onslaught, not when he knew how true everything he
had just thought was. Slowly, completely forgetting is now slowly charcoal-
baked diner, he buried his masked face into his whitish, exposed hands, then
allowed himself to gnaw on his self-recriminations and self-disgust.
Why was he still alive?, he asked the unseen Force. He should be dead,
shouldn't be free... He deserved the torment of his mask and medical
apparatuses... and more.
No answer came to him except the soft crackling of the fire as it continued
cook his meal until it was rock-hard and uneatable.
Two weeks after the beginning of the operations with the TIE fighters
Luke's teams had managed to appease almost fifteen other planets when new
The enemy found a way to resist the TIE fighters by lessening the importance
the riots and increasing the damage of the terrorist attacks.
What had begun as mostly uncoordinated demonstrations had definitely become
well-organized, Luke reflected sadly as he picked his way inside what remained
of an art museum on Tandroshan. While his teams were busy in other, more
damaged rooms, he had been drawn to this room, perhaps to think more clearly...
or perhaps to admit failure, he conceded.
The bombs had detonated early in the morning, when visitors hadn't begun yet
invade the place, but still... If only he could prevent those, the young Jedi
wished as he bent down and pulled the remnants of a painting from under a mound
of reinforced glass and horribly bent steel.
Everyone outside was expecting him to come up with a solution to stop the
carnage. He couldn't disappoint them again... yet, he admitted once again to
himself, he was at a lost for ideas.
He gazed around himself once again, then back at the piece of canvas in his
hand. Like the rest of the museum, nothing much was left of the artwork. Only
a section of the canvas remained, allowing him to suspect that this painting had
been part of a pre-space travel era collection.
The fighters on the painting were armed with what looked like power-plugged
blasters, and the nearby vehicles seemed to sit directly on the ground. Pre-
space flight era, he thought dimly, yet they were already fighting and killing
Would it always be like this?, he wondered sadly, suddenly feeling as if he
fighting against something impossible to defeat. Would living beings always
feel an urge to take lives? Would anything he do change anything? At the
moment, he knew that the answer was no.
Even if he managed to save some lives, several more were wasted on other
planets, and no matter how his troops were dedicated to peace, they could only
do so much against a galaxy-wide coordinated attack. Perhaps he should just
withdraw and let the galaxy decide for itself, he thought seriously, but not for
The moment that such thoughts entered his mind, images of bloody carnage,
chaos and misery assailed his soul. If he withdrew, a never-ending Night would
fall on the galaxy, a dim voice told him before it too disappeared.
Shocked by this experience, the youth remained still, gazing absently at the
painting in his hands.
How could he be this important?, he asked the now silent voice. How could he
this essential to ever-lasting serenity? He was just a man, and a very ordinary
man at that, as Mara would tell him were she here... For once though, he
thought sadly, she would be proud of him; he wasn't having any delusions of
However, what was he supposed to do? he wondered, briefly looking in his back
he had sometimes done when seeking his father's advice... Naturally, his father
Sighing heavily, he refocused on the painting, then shifted his eyes--- and
another remnant of a painting. Walking over it, he saw that it was about
another battle, but this time there were ships in the sky. The fighting tactics
had also changed, he noted, studying the entrenched men and the advancing
He gaped as he understood what he was suddenly going on; it was a message
Another remnant of colored canvas caught his attention. Pulling it out, he
that it was about yet another battle, but definitely in space this time---
Then it definitely clicked.
He wasn't completely alone; others had fought battles before and their
experience was his to use.
Time to go back to school, he thought to himself, leaving the room to rejoin
troops. He and his teams had some serious reading to do and several lives to
TBC in part 6: understandings
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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