Anakin groaned as he pushed himself up off the floor, blinking away the heavy tiredness that weighed him down. He stared at the room where he was in a confused manner, not recognizing the rather dull gray room he was being kept in.
The only thing he could remember before waking up was Obi-Wan's distinct voice shouting at him to stop as he reached forward to grab something, but he couldn't quite remember what he was reaching for.
He shifted his weight and slowly stood up, holding onto the wall for balance. Whatever had brought him here had drained him of a good amount of energy, he was light-headed just from standing up.
"Obi-Wan?" he called out, his voice horse. When he got no reply, he gently reached out into the force but soon found that he could not locate his master anywhere. He growled in annoyance at the prospect of not being able to find Kenobi, especially while being held prisoner. By whom he had no idea.
He slowly lowered himself onto the makeshift bed, which was pushed up against the far wall, and tried to contact his master once again. And once again he came up completely empty.
He felt a sudden flash of fear as he felt only emptiness where he should've felt his Master. There was nothing but an empty void where the presence of the older Jedi should be and it left Anakin feeling cold. It was almost as if-
Anakin huffed in annoyance as he ran a hand through his short blond hair and fiddled with his Padawan braid, a habit he often did when he was nervous. He didn't know why he was unable to contact his Master and he was starting to get irritated at the prospect of being by himself without any connection to the older man.
"Stay calm," he said under his breath. There must be a logical reason why Kenobi was currently unreachable.
Anakin was about to try again when he sensed a presence coming towards his way. He went to reach for his lightsaber when he discovered that it was no longer there.
Obi-Wan was gonna kill him.
The door to his cell opened and a rather tall man in a light gray uniform stepped into his room with two armored guards. The white armor vaguely reminded him of the armor the Mandalorian's wore, but it was different. The design was all wrong and it made him uncomfortable.
Something was really wrong.
"I see you are awake," said the man stiffly, pulling his hands behind his back and puffing his chest out indignantly.
"Where am I?" demanded Anakin as he inspected the man's uniform.
The uniform of the Republic's military was olive-green in color but this design was different than anything he had ever seen before. It was gray in color and the pants flared out instead of having a straight leg as well as having different lapels.
The man gave Anakin a pointed look as he raised his eyebrow and it was quite obvious that he disliked the younger man.
"I am Commander Alric of the Vigilant, and what I would like to know is how you got here, Jedi."
The man practically spit the word out as if it was acid in his mouth and this caused Anakin to tilt his head ever so slightly as he inspected the uniformed Officer in front of him. He didn't have to be a force sensitive to tell that there was hostility in his voice at the mention of the word Jedi.
"I was hoping you could tell me that," quipped Anakin as he tried his best to be diplomatic, something that did not come naturally to him.
He was curious as to what sort of explanation he would get.
Anakin honestly had no idea what he was doing here or where here even was. The last thing he remembered was being on a mission with Obi-Wan on the outer rim planet of Setauri V. The Jedi Council had sent them to investigate reports of an ancient Sith shrine located in the planet's natural volcanic caves.
He remembered being in the caves and then he had woken up here as a prisoner and without his Master and he would be damned if he didn't get an explanation as to what was going on.
He knew that something was definitely off just by observing that which was around him. The only logical conclusion was that he had somehow been captured, but he had no idea who his captors were and he was certain that they were not a part of the Republic.
Why would they hold a Jedi Padawan against his will? Anakin had Obi-Wan had done nothing to warrant an arrest and even while the Jedi had sworn to protect the Republic they still did retain autonomy and were not under the jurisdiction of the Republic. To arrest a Jedi illegally was political suicide so Anakin highly doubted that the Republic would even attempt such an act.
No, there was no way that the Republic would jeopardize their stable relationship with the Jedi in such a way.
The man ignored Anakin's remark as he pulled out a cylindrical device that was the Padawans lightsaber and started to study it intently. Anakin eyed the weapon that was his life and contemplated just using the force to take it back and escaping.
"Possession of such a weapon is illegal," said Commander Alric as he handed it over to one of the guards, "only those whom the Emperor has designated may use one."
"The Emperor?" asked Anakin slowly, not quite understanding what he was hearing.
"Yes," said Alric stiffly as he squared his shoulders, "the Emperor will be most pleased to discover that another Jedi had been found and apprehended."
Anakin ignored his statement, "you still haven't told me how I got here."
"You appeared on the bridge," said the Commander as he placed his hands behind his back, "from where I do not know but I intend on opening a full investigation on the matter. I have already informed Lord Vader of your mysterious appearance as well as your status as a Jedi. As of right now, he is on his way here to investigate and apprehend you."
"Lord Vader?" asked Anakin slowly.
Alric paused at Anakin's confusion, "you don't know who I'm talking about, do you? Surely someone like you has heard of him before."
Anakin shook his head truthfully. He did not know who Lord Vader was and this seemed to genuinely confuse the Commander.
The Commander quickly hid his confusion behind a stony scowl before squaring his shoulders, "it matters not, boy. You are a Jedi and therefore a criminal and Lord Vader will deal with you accordingly."
"I didn't know being a Jedi was a crime," said Anakin in all seriousness as he did his best to remain calm. According to the Commander, he had just appeared on the bridge of this ship out of nowhere and apparently being a Jedi was enough to have him thrown in the brig without explanation.
What in kriffing hell was going on here?
Anakin had no idea but he figured it was high time he got out of there as soon as possible. They had failed to put a force inhibitor on he wasn't sure he wanted to stick around to see just who this Lord Vader was.
He was done playing this game.
Anakin concentrated on the force and used it to push the guards back and then he quickly delivered a hard kick to the Officers chest before calling his lightsaber to his hands. He ignited the blue blade and used it to block the guard's blaster shots that were being rapidly fired at him.
The Commander looked surprised as he fell back onto his rear and he started yelling at his armed escort to catch the fleeing Jedi.
"Get him!" he yelled as Anakin quickly disappeared down the adjacent corridor, his face flushed with anger and embarrassment as he got to his feet.
Anakin kept running until he found a small alcove in one of the corridors and he quietly pressed himself into it and turned his lightsaber off. By then the alarms were blaring and the distinct sound of boots could be heard hitting the shiny floor as more armed guards rounded the corner, but none of them stopped to look in the tiny compartment where Anakin had decided to hide.
Anakin weighed his options as he reached out with the force and felt the nearby presences, not sure if he could successfully escape without any of them noticing.
That would be the hard part.
He knew that he was on a ship and he knew that he needed to get off said ship before he was caught, or worse. But he was unsure of the layout of the ship and he knew that he would have to go off blind instinct if he was to ever find the hangar. There, he would need to commandeer a ship and somehow find his way back to Setauri V.
Commandeering a ship would be easy, getting to the hangar would not be.
Anakin took a deep breath as he poked his head out from the alcove to check if the coast was clear before making his way down the windy corridors. He stayed alert for any people he might run into and dodged certain hallways were a confrontation would be inevitable. He could've just used it lightsaber to force himself through, but that would alert everyone to where he was.
He needed to be stealthy if he was going to make it off this ship in one piece.
The hangar was a refreshing sight until Anakin actually saw what sort of ships were in it.
Anakin had always prided himself in his piloting abilities as well as his knowledge of all the different ships in the galaxy as well as how to fly them. It was something he had excelled in his classes at the Temple and his talent was widely known amongst other Jedi.
But the ships he saw in the hangar were totally and completely unrecognizable to him and it made his confusion grow even more.
Surely these ships had to be from some backwater planet in the Outer Rim, but even then one would think the design for this ship would be archived in the Temple library.
He would have to ask Obi-Wan if he had ever seen such a design and where it had come from, but for now, he had much bigger problems to worry about.
"Hey, you!" cried an armed guard from the far end of the hangar, bringing Anakin out of his stupor.
The armed guard raised his blaster and Anakin immediately took defense. He ignited his lightsaber and blocked the blaster shots that were headed his way with precision and agility as he ran for the nearest ship.
The ship was nothing more than a circle with two flying panels on both sides of it. It was a strange design and Anakin could only hope that the control was more familiar than the outside of it.
Anakin continued to fend off the shots as he used his other hand to yank the hatch up before hurriedly jumping down into his and turning his lightsaber off. He inspected the controls and was more than thankful to find that the controls were familiar enough for him to navigate.
The joystick was not what he was used too, but he would make due.
Anakin started up the engine and was about to leave the hangar when the ship rocked dangerously to the side. He could see and hear the blaster shots that were being aimed at him and he knew that he had been hit from the group of guards that had amassed in the hangar, but there was nothing he could do about that.
As soon as Anakin had cleared the hangar, the ship had turned its phase cannons on him and had started firing, which forced Anakin to swerve and dodge the oncoming attack. It would've been more difficult if he didn't have the force to rely on and he could sense where the shots were coming from before they hit him, providing him ample time to maneuver the vessel out of the way.
He also noticed that the ship had been orbiting a planet and he knew that he would have to land there. The strange little ship did not have hyperdrive and it had already sustained damage from the blaster shots, which meant he would have to take his chances on the ground.
He did not recognize the planet but he had no other option.
Anakin huffed in annoyance as he dodged yet another shot and got a glimpse of the ship that he had just escaped from and there was nothing that prepared him for the sight. The ship that he had just escaped from was undoubtedly a Star Destroyer.
The design was different but he recognized it nonetheless with its distinct shape and outline and it only added to his confusion even more. He had been so certain that it was not the Republic that had taken him prisoner, but he was starting to have serious doubts as he eyed the ship in front of him and racked his brain for an explanation.
But while Anakin was distracted, a single blast shot hit his starboard and the ship spiraled out of control and plummeted towards the planet in front of him.
He was coming in hot and Anakin could only trust in the force as the planet drew closer and closer.
Luke Skywalker awoke from his deep slumber with a jolt. He sat straight up in bed and looked around his quarters in search of the disturbance that had startled him awake, but found that he was entirely alone.
There had been a disturbance in the Force unlike anything else that he had ever felt before but as soon as Luke reached out to find the source, it had disappeared. It had been there one second and then it was gone, leaving Luke confused as he tried to reach out and find the source of the powerful disturbance but grasped only empty air.
The disturbance had been powerful and Luke was positive that he was not the only one who had felt it. But Luke had no idea from where it had originated and so there was really no way of investigating what sort of thing could cause such a powerful disturbance.
Luke sighed as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes and pulled himself from his bed and stretched his tired and achy joints. He ran a hand through his moppy blond hair and frowned at the strange feeling that coursed through his new prosthetic hand at the sensation. He still was not used to using it and while the hand looked like his own flesh, Luke would always know that it was not.
The wound was still fairly fresh and Luke could still feel the pain that had come with having it cut off. He could still feel the throbbing and burning of sensation even though his hand was no longer there and Luke had been told that it was something called phantom pain, something that amputees often times felt.
But even more painful than having lost his hand on Cloud City was the revelation that came only seconds later from the man whom he had considered his number one enemy. Ben had told him that Darth Vader had killed his father in cold blood and Luke had believed him wholeheartedly.
But Ben had lied to him.
Luke could feel that Vader had been speaking the truth that he was indeed Anakin Skywalker and Luke could not deny it. Luke hadn't believed him at first, but he had searched his feelings and had found that it was true and it had left him devastated.
Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker.
Luke pushed the painful thoughts from his mind as he threw on his clothes. He had more important things to worry about than the identity of his father, like the disturbance that he had just felt. He could sense that something important had just happened and he knew that the Force was calling to him.
"Come on Artoo," he said as he patted the droid's dome, "let's go see if we can find the Princess and get some breakfast."
Darth Vader stood on the bridge of the Executor as he stared out at the blue hyperdrive waves that surrounded the ship, his mind reeling from the disturbance that had resonated through the Force earlier that day. It had brought him out of his meditation and he had desperately tried to reach out to investigate the cause, but as soon as he had refined his senses it had disappeared.
But not before he got a sense of the location where it had originated from. The disturbance had come from somewhere in the Ben'alli system but from which planet he had no idea. The system contained four planets that were capable of sustaining life and the Empire did maintain a presence there, albeit not a large one.
There was a Star Destroyer that was currently stationed in that system, the Vigilant, which had been scouting for any possible Rebel bases. The Alliance was also setting up bases on remote planets and the Ben'alli system was just about as remote as they got.
The Emperor had contacted him immediately after that and had ordered him to the system to investigate and that was exactly what Vader was doing. The Executor had been orbiting Imperial Center when the disturbance had occurred and the Ben'alli system was at least a two-day travel, which gave Darth Vader plenty of time to meditate and think.
"Lord Vader," said Firmus Piett as he made his way over to the towering Sith, "we've just received a transmission from the Vigilant."
"What did it say?" said Vader with a tilt of his helmet.
"Apparently they found an unidentified Jedi stowaway onboard," said Piett.
Vader paused as he contemplated the meaning of what he had just been told. There was no doubt in his mind that this Jedi had been the source of the disturbance, he could feel it through the Force and it would explain what was happening.
But who was this Jedi? And why stowaway on an Imperial ship?
"Tell them to lock him up and to put a force inhibitor on him," said Vader as he uncrossed his arms, "I will deal with this Jedi myself once we arrive in the Ben'alli system."
"Of course, Milord," said Piett with a nod of his head before returning to his duties, leaving Vader to himself once again.
Vader once again returned his gaze to the blue hyperdrive waves as his mind began reeling from this new information. He could feel the force whispering to him as if it was trying to tell him something, something important but what he had no idea.
If this person was really a Jedi, then he would deal with them like he did the others. But what didn't make sense was what a Jedi had been doing on an Imperial ship in the first place.
There was something going on that he didn't know and it irritated him.
But he would soon find out.
Anakin frowned as he stared out at the vast horizon as he assessed the unforgiving terrain of the planet that he had just crash landed on. His strange ship was nothing more than a smoldering heap of scraps half-buried in the deep red sand that stretched endlessly from each side of him until it disappeared into towering rock formations and the green shrubs that littered the ground.
It was just Anakin's luck to crash-land on a desert planet. He still has no idea where he was, but he knew enough to know that he is not on Tatooine. This desert is much more colorful and had a little bit more of a rugged feel to it- so unlike the plain rolling dunes of Tatooine that he was so familiar with.
No, this planet may have been a desert but there is only one sun, unlike Tatooine's twin suns that scorched and devoured anything that its rays touched. Nonetheless, Anakin knows that he must find water and shelter and get out of the heat before his captors caught up with him.
They will undoubtedly send search parties down to the surface to find him and that means that he will have to find some way off of this planet and find his way back to his Master, and if he couldn't find Obi-Wan then he would go back to Coruscant where this whole mess would hopefully be resolved.
Anakin shrugged his cloak off of him and reached out with his senses to see if he could find any sort of civilization where he could get water and food, and hopefully a comlink so that he could contact Obi-Wan or the Jedi Council on Coruscant.
They would not be pleased with this sudden turn of events, but they needed to know that there was some sort of rogue Republic faction kidnapping Jedi and holding them against their will.
It is the only explanation that he can come up with and yet Anakin has a hard time believing that it is the truth. It just doesn't feel right, but it is the only feasible explanation to this strange predicament.
But that idea did not take everything into account. That man, Commander Alric, had made it sound as though he was a part of an independent government system that had apparently been hunting down Jedi as though they were common criminals. He had talked about someone called the Emperor and Anakin did not have any clue as to who that was or Lord Vader.
There were many worlds that were not members of the Republic and there were Empires scattered all across the galaxy, but none of them would dare to violate the Republic or the Jedi in such a way.
Nothing made sense and it irritated Anakin. He knew that he was missing something but what that something was he had no idea.
All he knew was that he needed to get off this planet.
If this Emperor had been hunting down Jedi then this would be a direct violation of the Republic and would undoubtedly be considered hostile and even possibly a declaration of war. The Jedi would take direct offense to this faction illegally detaining one of their own.
Commander Alric had said that this Lord Vader had captured other Jedi and Anakin could sense that the man had been telling the truth, but if that was the case, then wouldn't the Council know if their own were being captured? And what happened to those who were captured?
Anakin had a feeling that he wouldn't like the answer to that question.
He groaned as he took his boot off and turned it upside down so the sand that had accumulated there fell to the ground and he did the same to the other boot. He continued to walk in the direction of where he had felt the unmistakable presence of a settlement, teeming with life and not far from his current location.
His throat was parched and he knew he needed to find water and shelter before the sun went down and he was caught out here with nothing to survive on.
So he walked until his feet hurt and still he continued on. Through the desert with the sun beating unforgivingly down on him and still he pursued.
He was a child of the desert and he was accustomed to the heat and dryness that came from the unforgiving terrain and while he knew how to survive, not even he was immune to the dangers that came with being in the desert.
He was tired and he was thirsty and he didn't know how much more he could take. This whole situation was not expected and the last thing he had expected upon waking up that morning was to be taken prisoner and to crash land on an unfamiliar desert planet with no food or water.
The settlement was so close and yet so far away as Anakin shrugged himself onto the nearest boulder so that he could take a breather. He wiped the sweat from his forehead and opened his Jedi tunics to let the slight breeze tickle his hot skin.
He was wearing his black robes and it was a well-known fact that one should not wear black in the desert, had he known that his day would end up like it had he would've opted for lighter colored clothes.
Anakin calmed his haggard breaths as he gently expanded his sense so that he could see if he could reach his Master but again he could finally emptiness where Kenobi's presence should be. Anakin felt anguish at the void and he could feel that the Master-Padawan bond that they had shared for the past eight years had somehow been severed.
Obi-Wan just simply was not there.
Anakin growled as he decided to see if he could reach any of the other Masters on Coruscant and gasped when he found that their presences, which had once shown bright in the force, were gone just like Obi-Wan's was.
Anakin desperately tried to reach out to each and every one of them and again but only found that he could sense one presence. One presence that was familiar and yet somehow different, as if the passage of time had somehow changed the very nature of the person.
He recognized it as Yoda's presence but he was being blocked and there was no way Anakin would be getting through to the old Master, not with the type of shield the little green Jedi had put in place.
It was obvious that Yoda did not want to be found judging from the way he had barricaded himself in the force, but why?
Why was Yoda hiding himself in such a manner?
His presence was there nonetheless and it brought Anakin comfort to be able to sense something familiar, even if there was no way to contact him.
Anakin took yet another deep breath as he refined his senses and reached out for anything that was remotely familiar and was greeted in the same manner as earlier.
There was nothing that was immediately recognizable but there was something there in the void that was calling out to him. The Force whispered to him as he slowly and gently reached out to prod the bright and shining presence that he was being inexplicably drawn too.
The presence was vaguely familiar but at the same time, Anakin was positive that he had never met the person who he was trying to reach out too. Their presence shown bright and was untainted by the darkness, which reassured Anakin that this person was not a Sith.
The presence drew back in surprise but was not hostile at the sudden connection. Anakin quickly drew back so as to not be intrusive but he maintained his presence as he ever so slightly reached out to assess what sort of person he was contacting.
They were strong in the force but he could sense that they did not have much training in it. Yet this person seemed to be naturally adept at utilizing the force and Anakin suspected that they had received a little bit of training seeing as they were perfectly capable of using mental shields. The Padawan could feel the presence, but he could not sense where they were in the galaxy.
The other presence reached out curiously and they too gently prodded at the unfamiliar and brightly shining presence that had reached out to them in desperation. For some odd reason, Anakin felt as though he could trust the person that he was reaching out too.
The Force reassured him gently as he slowly strengthened the natural bond between the two of them and sent out one clear message.
Elsewhere across the galaxy, Luke Skywalker received two words through the Force from the person who had contacted him.
So I have decided that this story will take place shortly after the end of Empire Strikes back so Luke is still reeling from the revelation on Cloud City and Vader is trying to hunt his Son down. Anakin is very confused, to say the least as to why he can't seem to reach any of the Jedi and it won't be long before he realizes that he's not in the right time. Anakin, in this story, is 17 years old so AOTC has not yet happened so he's going to be extra confused when all is revealed.
So now Vader knows that there is a Jedi in the Ben'alli system and he's on the hunt and he's going to be in for quite the surprise when he finds out who this Jedi is. Anakin has unknowingly reached out to Luke and Luke knows that he must help whoever this person is who has just contacted him.
And now it'll be a race between Luke and Vader to reach Anakin first.
Comment and tell me what you thought!
"Wait, what?" asked Leia as whipped her head around to stare at Luke, her brown eyes wide and questioning as she waited for him to explain himself.
Luke sighed, "I need to borrow the Falcon for a few days."
Her eyes narrowed suspiciously as she set whatever report she had been reading through down and turned around to prove Luke with her undivided attention. It was obvious that she would not like the idea of Luke taking the Millennium Falcon to go gallivanting across the galaxy for some stranger, but he had really no option. The Force was beckoning him to help whoever it was that had contacted him and who was he to disobey the Force?
"Why?" she asked.
"Someone contacted me earlier today," he said, "They need my help."
"Do you know who this person is?" she asked in all seriousness. Leia had always been a suspicious person and she was well within her rights to be so. She was a leader of the Rebellion and she had to be alert at all times for suspicious activity.
"Well no," admitted Luke sheepishly, "but they're confused and scared and they called out to me-"
"And where is this person right now?" said Leia as she crossed her arms.
When Luke had received the message, he had gotten a general sense of where it had come from and although he didn't know exactly where, he was certain that it had come from somewhere in the Outer Rim territories near Dathomir. He had pulled up a Star map and looked at all the neighboring systems before the Force had directed him to two separate star systems not far from Dathomir.
The message had either come from the Ben'alli system or the Mogaru system, each containing a handful of planets that were capable of supporting life.
Luke would simply have to trust in the Force to direct him to the right planet.
"Either the Mogaru system or the Ben'alli system," he said awkwardly as confusion spread over her soft features, "they're near Dathomir."
"Dathomir?" she said with surprise in her brown eyes, "that's about a days travel."
"Yes, and I need to leave as soon as possible," he said with pleading eyes as he stared down at the Princess. This person was scared and confused and they needed his help and Luke could tell that they were in danger, but from what he had no idea.
"Well I guess I can't stop you," she said as she pulled herself up to her feet, "and I suppose that if you're going then so shall I."
"Leia-," he began before she interrupted him.
"No Luke," she said as she placed her hands on her hips adamantly, "either we go together or we don't go at all."
Luke sighed as he shook his head. Leia had a way of getting what she wanted because of her adamancy and determination, and if she wanted to go come along then there was nothing that could stop her from doing so.
Leia was perfectly capable of handling herself and it might be a good thing to have someone else with him in case they ran into danger.
"Fine," he said with a small smile, "be ready in fifteen, I'm going to go get the ship ready."
"I'll go inform Mon Mothma," she said as they both walked out of the room that she had been using as an office for the past few weeks since Bespin. She had practically buried herself in her work ever since the events on Cloud City and losing Han had taken its toll on her.
She was busy trying to find a way to rescue him from Jabba the Hutt and it showed. She had large bags under her eyes and it was obvious that she wasn't sleeping as much as she should be, nor was she eating as much either.
Luke wasn't in a much better state himself and he too was tired and still reeling from the physical and emotional trauma that had been inflicted by his own Father. But at the end of the day, he and Leia had escaped and they would continue to fight, no matter how hard it had gotten.
Luke could always depend on Leia to have his back and vice versa.
Luke made his way into the hangar and walked over to where the Falcon was in all its Correlian glory and he smiled lightly at the memory of Han and how much pride he put into it. This was Han's ship and it just didn't feel right having it here without him or taking it without his permission, but Solo wasn't here and they needed a ship.
"Hey Lando," said Luke as soon as he spotted him and Chewie working on a few minor repairs to the ship.
"Luke," said Lando in greeting as he pulled himself away from his work and smiled up at the blond man, "what can I help you with?"
"I need to borrow the Falcon for a few days," he said, "Leia and I are going on a small mission."
"Where too?" he asked as Chewie roared out.
"Either the Ben'alli system or the Mogaru system depending on where the Force leads us," he said with a small shake of his head, "you ever been to either of those systems?"
"I've been to the Ben'alli system before but there isn't much out there. Just a few settlements and a couple trade routes, nothing big. What are guys hoping to find out there?" he asked with curiosity.
"There's someone there who needs my help," said Luke as he shifted his weight to the other foot, "at least I think there is."
"How do you know they need your help?" asked Lando with raised eyebrows.
"I can sense them," said Luke confidently.
It felt silly trying to explain the mysterious will of the Force to someone who was not sensitive to it or who had never felt its callings. Some people understood, but there were those who did not and believed the Force to be some sort of hokey religion. There was so much that was unknown about the Jedi and their ways and a lot of people across the galaxy had all but forgotten about the mystical religious sect who had once defended the Republic. It was easy to do so after so much knowledge was destroyed by the Empire as well as the fact that there had only been an estimated ten thousand Jedi in the Order when the Republic fell.
Lando nodded in understanding before a large smile appeared on his face and he clasped Luke on the back, "Well you two be careful, ya hear? If Han ever found out that something bad happened to the Princess then he'd have my head for sure."
Chewie roared in agreement and glowered down at Luke as if warning him to protect Leia or else. Luke would never let anything bad happen to the Princess, but at the same time, he knew that Leia could easily handle herself in any situation.
She was a Rebel through and through.
"Don't worry Chewie, I won't let anything happen to her," he said to reassure the Wookiee.
"Watch out for Imperial scout ships," said Lando in warning, "these last few years they've increased their presence in more remote systems, including the Ben'alli and the Mogaru system. They're looking for Rebel bases and if they find you there-"
"We'll be fine, Lando," said Leia as she came to stand next to Luke, her eyes lingering in distrust on Calrissian. It was obvious that she was still bitter about the events on Cloud City, but even she knew that Lando didn't really have much of an option.
"I've just informed Mothma that we're leaving," she said as she diverted her attention to Luke, "we have four days before we are expected back."
"Long enough to get there and find whoever contacted me."
"Do you have any idea who this person is you're going to find?" asked Lando, "I mean you've never met them before, who's to say they don't have bad intentions?"
"They don't," said Luke confidently, "they're scared and confused, but I felt no hostility from them. They didn't even know who I was and the Force is telling me I can trust them."
"Well who am I to question the Force?" said Lando as he picked up Leia's bags and walked up the ramp to the Falcon and placing them down.
Leia rolled her eyes before grabbing the Wookie in a hug and saying her farewell to Chewie and the rest of her friends in the hangar before joining Luke onboard the Falcon, her eyes lingering over Artoo.
"You're taking him?" she said as she motioned towards the R2 Unit
"Where I go Artoo goes," said Luke as he patted his domed friend.
"I still don't understand your attachment to that droid," she said with a playful smile as she took her seat in the co-pilots chair.
Artoo beeped as he bumped into Luke's leg and Luke smiled down at his small friend. He didn't know why he felt such an attachment to Artoo but ever since he had found him on Tatooine they had been inseparable. The Droid was loyal to him but he had no idea why, but he was thankful that he could always depend on him.
"Artoo is more than a droid," said Luke as he revved the engine and made his way out of the hangar, "he's my friend."
Leia said nothing as she leaned back in her seat and stared out at the blue hyperdrive waves that surrounded the ship, her eyes occasionally coming to stare at Luke. She could tell that he was anxious to get to whoever this person was so that he could help them and she couldn't blame him.
Somehow, Leia could sense that Luke was telling the truth when he said that this person was scared and confused, but she was still suspicious. She wasn't like Luke who could just feel and depend on the Force all the time, and she knew that she would never be able to do so like him.
Then again she had heard him on Cloud City. She had felt his pain and his calls to her from where he hung without his hand and in emotional distress.
It had felt so natural and right being able to feel him and it was a feeling that Leia would never forget.
"So where do you think this person is?" asked Leia as she broke the silence between them. She knew that Luke didn't know exactly where the message had come from and that he was blindly trusting in the Force to lead him to the right place.
Luke shook his head, his blue eyes looking far-a-way and Leia could tell that he was reaching out in the Force to find the answer to that question.
"I think they're in the Ben'alli system," he said after a few moments of silence, "but I'm not sure which planet in the system that they're on."
"How many planets are there that are capable of sustaining life?"
"Four," said Luke as he swiveled his chair around, "from what I've been told, it's a remote system with a few settlements and trade routes, but not much else."
"I've never even heard of the system before," said Leia absentmindedly, "I hope this person will be smart enough as to not draw much attention to them, especially if there is an Imperial presence in the system."
Luke nodded in agreement, "it's obvious they have had Force training and I think they may be a Jedi, but I can't be sure."
"If it is we need to bring them to the Alliance," she said as she thought about what it would mean for the Rebellion to have another Jedi in their ranks, "that is if the Empire doesn't capture them first."
"Let's hope that doesn't happen," said Luke as he looked over the navigation panel, "we should be arriving in the system within the next ten hours if all goes well. In the meantime, I think I'm going to go meditate."
"That's fine," said Leia as she began digging around in her bag, "I think I might go read one of my holo-novels."
Luke shook his head playfully as Leia pulled out one of her holo-novels that she passionately loved. The Princess was a bookworm and could always be found with her nose buried in one when she had free time and Luke admired her for that. Luke liked to occasionally read but his passion lied in flying and as of recent he could be found meditating and practicing moves with his saber then he could be found with a book.
Luke made his way into the interior of the ship before settling down on a blanket on the floor and slowly tuning out his physical senses. He opened himself up to the Force and let his mind wander out into the sheer vastness that surrounded the galaxy.
He slowly reached out to the mysterious force user through their bond and waited to see if he would get a response from them. It was strange that they seemed to have a natural bond between them when they had never met each other and Luke wondered why their connection had been so spontaneous.
"Luke," came a familiar voice, forcing Luke to open his eyes and break the connection between him and the mysterious Force user.
"Ben," breathed out Luke as he looked up at the familiar blue figure of his former Master, "what are you doing here?"
"I came because there has been a disturbance in the Force," said Ben as he began to stroke his chin as his face got a far-away look, "a powerful disturbance."
"I know," said Luke, "I felt it."
"I doubt there were any Force users who didn't," chuckled Ben before his face got serious again and he returned his stare down at the blond haired man sitting on the mat.
"Someone contacted you," it was not a question but a statement.
"Yes someone did. I think they're the reason behind the disturbance," said Luke as she uncrossed his legs and leaned back on his hands.
"And now you're going to go and find them," said Ben as he stroked his chin thoughtfully.
"Do you know who it is?" asked Luke hopefully.
Ben paused for a moment before he nodded his head, "yes, I know who he is."
Ben's face twisted in pain and grief for a moment before becoming stoic again and Luke got the sense that this person had once been a close friend with Ben at one point. It was obvious that the thought of this person brought the older man emotional pain to just think about and it made Luke wonder just how Ben knew this person.
"A friend of yours?" asked Luke softly.
Ben nodded, "once upon a time, yes."
"Do you know where he is?" asked Luke.
"He's on Ben'we, the third planet in the system," said Ben, "he's alone and confused. I would go to him but it would only confuse him."
"I could sense that he was," said Luke, "does the Empire know that he's there?"
"Yes," said Ben with a shake of his head, "Darth Vader is searching for him as we speak."
"Vader?!" asked Luke in shock as he scrambled to his feet, "we need to get to him before Father finds him!"
"Indeed," agreed Ben, "you cannot let Vader find him before us, or I'm afraid it will only spell disaster."
"Just who is this person?" asked Luke as he ran an agitated hand through his blond hair, "and what did they do to cause such a disturbance?"
Ben pursed his lips, "I can't tell you who he is, but I can tell you that he is someone who you can trust. He is alone and confused and in need of your help and it is imperative that he is not found by Vader."
"Because Vader will kill him?"
"No, if Vader knew who he was he would not kill him. He would try to corrupt him, but he could not kill him."
"Why not?" asked Luke.
"Because Vader's existence depends on this Jedi. He wouldn't dare kill him."
Luke shook his head, "I don't understand."
Ben shook his head sadly, "the Force works in mysterious ways, Luke. The Force has seen fit the correct the mistakes that were made in the past by showing him the future. But I don't understand why they chose to bring such a young version of him here. He hasn't even completed his trials-" said Ben as his words started to fade away, his mind going deep into thought.
Luke had no idea what Ben was talking about and he could sense that there was more to the story that Ben wasn't telling him and he was slightly angered at the prospect. Ben was known to keep secrets from him and it was something that Luke did not appreciate of the old Master.
"I must go speak with Yoda," said Ben as he finally snapped out his reverie, "he would know why the Force would do such a thing."
"What are talking about? What did the Force do?" pleaded Luke as he tried to make sense of what the old Master was saying.
"I will tell you in time, but for now you need to find this Jedi and protect him. Whatever you do you must not let him fall into Vader's hand or I'm afraid everything will be lost," said Ben as his figure started to fade away.
Luke stared at the spot where his old Master had once stood and exhaled as he got his emotions under control. Whatever it was that Ben was hiding from him he would soon know, but just what was it that he would find out?
He could sense that something big was about to happen and he wished that Ben would stop being so secretive with him. It was annoying and irritating and Luke was still angry with Yoda and Ben for lying to him about his own Father and he would be lying if he said he wasn't feeling betrayed by them.
Luke shook his head as he stared down at the mat. His mind was far too busy to return to its meditative state and he could only roll the mat up as he made his way into the lounge to see if he could find anything to eat.
Whoever this Jedi was, Luke would find him.
But he had a feeling it wasn't going to be easy
AN: There's chapter 3! Luke and Leia are racing to Anakin's rescue but they have no idea what they're in for, and neither does poor Ani. Ben is being really vague about who this mysterious Jedi is and doesn't know why the Force chose to bring such a young Anakin to this time period. So who do you think is going to find Anakin first? Vader or Luke and Leia?
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Chapter 4: Chapter 4
Hi! Sorry, it's a bit short but I didn't have much time to write something big out. I'm in Los Angeles for the rest of the summer doing an internship and I'm also helping my sister move to her new house so I've been pretty busy and I'll probably continue to be till I finish this internship and school starts again. Yay....
But on the upside, I've already started the next chapter so hopefully, I can find the time to finish it and post it soon.
Thank you for understanding :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The sound of mechanical breathing filled the corridor as Vader made his way through the ship and onto the bridge of the Vigilant. Everybody stopped what they were doing to stare at the Dark Lord himself as he paraded menacingly onto the bridge, his black cape billowing behind him ominously.
He had just received word that the Jedi that they had captured had managed to find a way to escape by stealing one of the Tie fighters and he was far from pleased. He had given them explicit orders to put a force inhibitor on the Jedi and if they had done their jobs then the Jedi would never have escaped in the first place.
Someone would pay dearly for this mistake.
"Which one of you is Commander Alric," he said as he addressed the group of Officers.
All of the Officers looked around at each other with composed fear as they heard the foreboding tone of the Sith. It was always hard to tell with his respirator what sort of tone he was emulating, but the anger and fury in his voice was crystal clear as he stared at them through his black lenses.
"That would be I," said a tall human as he stepped forward, the fear in his eyes evident as he tried his best to stay composed. He held his hands behind his back and his posture was rigid as he stared up at the right-hand man of the Emperor.
"You were given explicit orders to secure the Jedi and yet I see that your brig empty," he said as he placed his hands on his hips.
"He escaped," said Commander Alric as a drop of sweat made its way down his temple.
"I can see that," said Vader with a sneer, "and he took one of your Tie fighters with him. But what I am most curious about is why there was no force inhibitor on him. You failed to do as I ordered you to do and if you had done your job accordingly, then we wouldn't be involved in a planet-wide manhunt."
"I'm sorry Lord Vader I-" he began but was cut off as the Dark Lord raised his hand and cut off the oxygen that had been flowing to his head.
He got a surprised look on his face as he started to scratch at his throat, trying to fight off the invisible force that was slowly killing him. The other Officers could only watch as their Commander was being choked to death, unable to do anything in fear of being on the receiving end of Vader's anger.
His face turned blue and it was only a few seconds later that he fell to the floor and his movement ceased.
His mistake had cost him his life.
"Fool," Vader sneered as his black lenses stared down at the corpse at his feet.
He glanced back up at the other crewmen that had stopped their activities to stare at the scene, their faces full of fear and dread. For some of them, this was their first time meeting the Dark Lord and it was quite obvious that he had made an impression on them.
They knew of Vader's reputation of being ruthless but never before had they actually witnessed it.
"Who can tell me where this Jedi has escaped too?" his voice was thunderous and it seemed to bring everybody out of their stupor.
"His Tie fighter was heavily damaged," said a young Lieutenant, "he would've crashed landed somewhere in the Huo'Nabbi desert on the planet below."
"And I assume that you have arranged for search parties to travel down to the surface?"
This Jedi could not have gotten far on his own, especially if he had been injured in the crash. Although Vader was unfamiliar with this remote planet, he knew that being in a desert would be a disadvantage for this Jedi.
It would mean that he would have to find the nearest settlement so that he could get food and water and shelter from the elements. It was this Jedi's only choice and that gave them an advantage.
"Yes Milord," said an another Officer, "we just sent down three separate search parties as well as issuing a reward to anyone who finds this Jedi."
If what he had heard about the locals, they were always desperate for money seeing as the planet was desolate and economically unstable. They would be scrambling to find this Jedi if they knew there would be a substantial reward.
"What can you tell me of this Jedi?" he asked after a few moments of silence.
"Well he just sort of-," began the Lieutenant, "appeared. Out of nowhere."
"Explain," stated Vader with a tilt of his helmet. Judging from the looks of all the crewmen, it was quite apparent that not even they knew where this Jedi had come from.
"Well, one minute we were running scans of the planet below and the next he was just there. We don't know where he came from or how he got onboard but somehow he just- showed up. He was unconscious and we didn't know what to do with him so we locked him up in the brig and that's when we found a lightsaber on him."
"And that's when you contacted me," said Vader as he processed what he had just heard, "most interesting."
The Jedi had somehow found a way onboard, but nobody could seem to figure out how. Had he stowed away onboard or was it something else?
Vader had heard about scientific research that was being conducted that had to do with transporting matter from one location to another, but that was highly theoretical and had yet to be done. It was only in the experimental phase and was wholly impossible to accomplish, let alone with a sentient being.
No. This Jedi had somehow found a way to stow away, but why?
"He was young," said an older Officer with graying hair and a mustache, "couldn't have been older than twenty. He was wearing Jedi robes that I recognized from the Republic era and he had a sort of braid behind his ear-" he said as he motioned to a patch of skin behind his hair.
"A braid?" asked Vader, his curiosity intensifying.
This Jedi wore a traditional Jedi braid that denoted his status to Padawan. It was outdated and not something any sensible Jedi would do if they didn't want to be recognized. Why would any Jedi in hiding wear a braid? Most all of the Padawans who had escaped Order 66 had chopped theirs off to blend in, but this Jedi had kept his?
If what the Officer had said was true, then this young man would not have been old enough to be a member of the Order. Was it possible that he had been found and trained by a rogue Jedi who had him grow out his hair in the traditional braid?
"Yes, I used to see some of the Jedi youth wear them when I lived on Imperial Center during the days of the Republic. That's how I recognized it as being Jedi in nature," said the older Officer.
"Indeed it is," said Vader as his eyes lingered over the planetary map. He momentarily paused his train of thoughts so that he could try and reach out with the force to try and feel the presence of this young Jedi, but found nothing.
The Jedi was masking his presence but Vader knew that he was down there. Somewhere he was there and Vader would find him like he did every other Jedi.
"He crashed landed somewhere in this vicinity," said the Lieutenant as he pointed to a spot on one of the southern most continents, "it's fairly remote compared to the rest of the planet."
"How many settlements are there near this region?" asked Vader.
"About two major ones, but the planet is not unified under one centralized government. This region of the planet is primarily composed of city states and each one has their own set of laws and monarchs."
What a primitive planet to not be centralized. It was no wonder why this planet was not a part of the Republic or the Empire seeing as how the people had not gotten over its differences to unite for the greater good.
"I want Stormtroopers posted in every settlement that's within twenty miles of this vicinity," he said as he motioned towards the map. "I will take a landing party down to the surface to locate the Jedi."
"What if my men find him first?" said the older Officer, whose name was Garreck if he remembered correctly.
"On the off chance that your Stormtroopers find him first, I want them to capture him instead of killing him. I want him alive to that I may interrogate him and see if I can't find anymore rogue Jedi."
"I will inform my men," said Garreck as he nodded at the Dark Lord before making his way over to the communications console.
Vader nodded before he crossed the bridge so that he could stand before the viewport and stared down at the dusky red planet below. He was slightly irritated that he could not feel the pesky Jedi's force presence, but he could feel the way the Force seemed to accumulate on the planet below. It was as if something big had occurred there and there was residual force power still lingering about.
Whatever the disturbance had been, it had been strong enough to temporarily disrupt the natural flow of the Force. It was hard to explain, but Vader could sense it nonetheless. The pulsing and erratic tendrils that mysteriously called out to him, as if to tell him that something amazing had just occurred.
It made Vader uneasy.
He would discover what was happening and he would capture the rogue Jedi. Not necessarily in that order but he would accomplish both in due time.
And he would discover how the two were connected.
It was only a matter of time.
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Are you an angel?
An Angel. I've heard the deep space pilots talk about them. They live on the moons of Iego, I think. They're the most beautiful creatures in the universe.
You're a funny little boy. How do you know so much?
I listen to all the traders and star pilots who come through here. I'm a pilot, you know, and someday I'm going to fly away from this place…
Anakin grimaced as he felt something cool push against his face and a soft feminine voice sooth him out his dreamful sleep. He groaned at the nice feeling of something damp on his face and a small smile graced his lips as the memory of Padme came to his mind. He had been dreaming about when he had first met the Queen of Naboo in Watto's shop all those years ago.
There hadn't been a day since then that he hadn't thought about her.
"Shhhhhh," came the female voice, "you're okay."
Anakin found himself leaning into the soothing hand, the touch reminding him all too much of his mother. How she would run her fingers through his hair and how she would dab a damp cloth over his face when he was sick and talk to him soothingly.
He found himself almost believing that it was his mother, but it couldn't be. His mother was back on Tatooine where he had left her all those years ago with the promise that he would come back and free her, but that promise remained unfulfilled.
His blue eyes snapped open and stared at the dark figure of a woman as she smoothed a hand through his blond hair and continued to dab a cold washcloth over his sunburned face. As soon as she saw that he was awake, she placed her hand on his shoulder in a calming manner.
"W-who are you?" he asked hoarsely as he stared around at his unfamiliar surroundings. He was laying on a hard bed in a small and dimly lit room, but he could tell that it was daytime from the light that streamed out from behind the tapestries that covered the windows.
"Where am I?" he asked the older woman, who had been staring at him with large inquisitive brown eyes that were framed by her long gray hair.
"You are in my home," she said in a thick accent as she motioned around the hovel that was her home, "my son found you passed out along the road last night and he brought you here. Good thing he did, or you would've died."
Anakin did not remember having passed out, but he was glad that someone had found him and was kind enough to help him. The only thing that he had remembered was how he had been trying to make it to the settlement that he had felt through the Force, but apparently, he didn't make it there before his dehydration and exhaustion had caught up with him.
"Here," she said as she pulled out a canteen that was covered in some sort of animal hair and handed it to him, "drink."
Anakin took the canteen and held it up to his parched lips and let the refreshingly cool water run down his throat greedily. He hadn't had anything to drink in almost a day and he was thankful to have finally gotten ahold of water.
"Thank you," he said as he used his sleeve to wipe away the water that was running down his chin before handing the canteen back to her.
"What were you doing in the desert all by yourself? With no food or water?" she asked as she sat the canteen down, her questioning eyes coming to rest over his appearance. As soon as Raji had brought the boy home, she knew from the poor boy's appearance that he had been wandering through the desert and that he did not have food or water, which was a must have in the desert.
The boy had been in such bad shape when Raji had found him and Nayeli had felt responsible for the young man, who could not have been older than eighteen. He was young and also unusually dressed and obviously confused. It was easy to tell that he was not a native to Ben'we.
He was also dressed unusually as well as having a long braid that hung down onto his shoulders and had red and blue beads, not something that Nayeli had ever seen anyone do to their hair.
"I crash landed here," he said as he slowly pulled himself up into a sitting position and placed his feet on the dirt ground, his eyes lingering over his robes which sat in a pile on the mat by the door.
"You crash landed?" asked the woman with wide eyes as she searched his form for any sign of injury. He didn't seem to have any deep lacerations or broken bones, which was surprising if he had managed to survive a crash landing.
The great spirits must have been watching out for him if he had managed to walk away from a crash with no major injury. And then to have walked through the desert unharmed with no food or water was just as miraculous. The Huo'Nabbi desert had many vicious creatures who liked to stalk their prey and attack them before eating them.
But this boy had not been preyed upon and the heat had not killed him.
He must be have been favored by the Letan'ii, the desert spirits who liked to devour the souls of men by sand and the sun. It was rare that they allowed safe passage through their sacred domain unharmed.
"Yes and I have no idea where I am," he said with a hint of agitation.
"You're on Ben'we," she said as she made her way over to where his dark robes had been laid out. Nayeli had taken them off of him and had mended them as well as washing them so that when he woke up he would be able to wear his clothes again.
They were still a little damp but at least they no longer stunk of sweat.
"I don't know what system this is?" he asked as he accepted his robes.
"Most people don't," she said with a sigh as she took her seat, "you're in the Ben'alli system."
"I've never heard of it," he said as he shrugged his robes back over his undershirt but opted not to put the leather vest back on because of the heat it would attract.
Nayeli watched him silently before getting up and making her way over to the table where she had laid out some food for the boy when he awoke from his sleep. She knew that he would be hungry when he woke up and so she made sure to prepare something for him as well as Raji, would be returning from the marketplace soon.
"Where are you from?" she asked curiously as she started to cut into the bread.
"Coruscant," he said absentmindedly as he started to slip his boots on.
Nayeli paused at the name that the boy had given her but shrugged it off. Some people still referred to Imperial Center as Coruscant and Nayeli didn't particularly care what people called that place. She had never been to Coruscant but she had had the pleasure of visiting a few of the other planets in the galaxy, such as Jedha and Stewjon. Her father had been a trader and he would sometimes take Nayeli and her sister along with him, but after her sister had been taken by slavers, Nayeli could not bring herself to leave the safety of her home planet.
Her sister was probably dead by now or a slave on some outer rim planet beyond the reaches of civilization. It pained Nayeli to think of her lost sister and she knew that she would never see her again until they died and reunited in the heavens above, but until then there would always be an ache in her heart.
"What's your name?" she asked over her shoulder as she tried to take her mind off of her sister.
"Anakin, you?" he asked as he stood up and made his way over to the table.
"Nayeli," she said as she noticed him staring down at the food. His stomach gave an audible grumble and she let out a little laugh as his face twisted in slight embarrassment. She had raised a son of her own and she knew how hungry teenage boys could get.
"Here," she said as she handed him the bread along with a bowl of mush that reminded Anakin of the porridge that the Temple cafeteria would serve.
"Thank you," he said as he accepted the food and he started to chew away at the bread. He could tell that Nayeli and her son did not have much food and that them sharing what they had was a big deal.
He knew what it was like to not have much and he was thankful that she was willing to share with him what she had.
Anakin was in the middle of eating when the door opened and slammed and a man walked into the house, his huge frame filling out the entire room and making everything appear a lot smaller than it actually was, including Anakin.
"Raji," said Nayeli as she walked over to greet her son, "how was the market today?"
"Fine," he said gruffly as he dumped his bag on the floor and pulled out a piece of paper before stomping over to where Anakin was.
"Is this you?" he asked as he shoved the piece of paper in the teenagers face, his voice low and menacing.
Anakin took the paper out of the older man's hand and stared down at the grainy picture of him that had probably been taken from one of the security cameras onboard that ship. The picture was grainy and Anakin barely recognized himself, but he knew that it was him.
They had given out his physical description as well as identifying him as a Jedi and offering an award to anyone who could contact the Empire about his whereabouts.
"Raji!" said Nayeli in a chastising tone, "don't speak to Anakin like that!"
Raji ignored his mother as he glared down at the Padawan and crossed his beefy arms across his chest. He wanted to know whether or not he and his mother were harboring a fugitive of the Empire or not and whether this boy posed a danger to him and his family.
Anakin stared down at the poster and looked at the amount that they were offering to pay anyone who found him and cringed when he realized that Nayeli and her son could easily turn him in and receive enough money to buy them a nice house and feed them.
"Answer me, kid!" said Raji harshly, the anger on his face evident.
Anakin didn't know what to say as he stared down at the poster with his information on it, his mind trying to work out what his next course of action.
It wasn't right to lie to people, especially those who had taken him in and cared for him.
They had a right to know if their lives were in danger by his mere presence.
Anakin solemnly nodded, "yes, it's me."
There was a pregnant pause as Anakin and Raji stared at each other from across the room while Nayeli shook her head in confusion.
"What is going on here?" asked Nayeli as she stared at her son and Anakin.
"He's wanted by the Empire," said Raji as he took the piece of paper from Anakin and handed it over to his mother. "There are Stormtroopers all over Yanasia and Ra'lli. They're searching every home and building for a Jedi."
"A Jedi?" asked Nayeli after a few moments of silence, her eyes traveling over to where she had placed Anakin's lightsaber before looking back at the young man. She had not been as old as she was now when the Galactic Republic had fallen and she had clearly remembered the Jedi. They had been guardians of peace and although Nayeli had never had the pleasure of meeting one, she had respected them nonetheless.
But the Jedi Order was no more and those that had survived the Purge had gone deep into hiding and the rest of the galaxy had been told that they were traitors and had tried to overthrow the Chancellor.
And now seeing this boy, this Jedi with his strange clothes and braid who was lost and alone on an unfamiliar planet Nayeli could not simply abandon because of the Empire. But at the same time, she did not want her son or his wife and children to get hurt by his presence.
Nayeli knew what happened to those who had harbored Jedi from the Empire, but at the same time, she knew in her heart what had to be done.
The boy had been lead here for a reason whether it be by the great spirits or by the mystical Force that Nayeli knew so little about.
"What did you do?" asked Nayeli, "did you escape from the Empire? Is that why you crash landed here?"
"They took me against my will!" said Anakin, almost defensively.
"So you ran?" asked Raji in disbelief, "and you brought them here? Do you have any idea what you've done?!"
"Raji," said Nayeli as she placed her hand on her son's bulky bicep, "he's just a boy. You know what the Empire does to Jedi! They would've killed him!"
Raji let out an angry puff of air as his dark eyes came to rest on Anakin, who was standing completely still with a rigid posture. He could sense the hostility coming from Raji and he wasn't about to let himself get into another potentially dangerous situation.
Raji took a few large breaths before he finally seemed to calm down, his eyes softening when he too saw that Anakin was just a boy. This Jedi was just a boy who had barely reached manhood running away from the Empire only because his life depended on it.
Had he not escaped, they would've killed him like they had so many others.
"Who is this Empire you keep mentioning?" asked Anakin after a few moments of tense silence, his curiosity getting the better of him. He wanted to know what the Empire was and why they were capturing and killing Jedi, and why the Council on Coruscant seemed to be oblivious.
Nayeli let out a short laugh, "you must've hit your head in that crash. Everybody knows who the Empire is. Are you not a Jedi?"
Anakin tilted his head to the side in confusion. He knew he had not hit his head in the crash and he most certainly did not know who the Empire was, despite him being a Jedi Padawan.
"I'm a Padawan, I haven't completed my trials to become a Jedi Knight yet but that doesn't change the fact that I have no clue what this Empire is."
Nayeli dipped her head to the side before staring up at her son, who also had a confused and perplexed look on his face. How could a Jedi not know about the Empire?
"You should know," said Raji, "they've been hunting your kind down for the past twenty-two years like animals."
"What?" asked Anakin. He had never heard of an Empire hunting down Jedi and the way these people talked it was if they were from a completely different time period. Or maybe they had been living under a rock for a few thousand years, either way, this did not bode well with Anakin.
Mostly because he could sense the truth behind their words.
"The Jedi Order was destroyed," said Nayeli. "They were purged and those who did survive have been in hiding ever since."
"No," said Anakin as he vehemently shook his head, "no such thing has happened. I was just on Coruscant less than three days ago and the Order was still there. You must be mistaken."
Nayeli shook her head sadly, "no Anakin. We're not. We may live on a remote planet in the Outer Rim, but even we know what happened to the Jedi."
"That's impossible," said Anakin in irritation as he once again reached out in the Force to try and feel the presences of the Jedi, but just like all his previous attempts, he found nothing. He could sense the truth behind their words but refused to believe it.
It was simply impossible.
The only explanation was that he was somehow in a different time period, but that was utterly impossible. Time travel was an absurd concept that had become a popular literary tool in many holo-novels and movies, but outside of fiction it just wasn't possible.
Was the Force even capable of manipulating time? There was no known record in Jedi history or teachings that suggested the possibility, but then again there was still so much they did not know about it.
"W-what year is it, exactly?" said Anakin as he licked his dry lips, dreading the answer even though deep down he already knew the truth.
Raji and Nayeli shared a worried look but Anakin didn't care how crazy he sounded. He just needed to know.
"How many years has it been since the Treaty of Coruscant?" asked Anakin. There were so many calendars in the galaxy and most people within the Republic counted up the years since the Treaty had been signed.
The year it was supposed to be was 3629 ATC and the year that Nayeli had given him was wrong compared to the date that Anakin had been in before this whole mess had started.
If the year really was 3656 ATC, then Anakin was somehow twenty-eight years in the future.
Even the Force was telling him that it was true, that somehow he had been plucked from his own time and flung into the future.
The future for Force sakes!
Anakin's breathing became labored as he let his control on his emotions gradually slip away. He was starting to panic at the notion and he was having a hard time controlling his fear and confusion.
He was in the future, and the Jedi had somehow been destroyed, but how?
Had it been the Sith Lord that the Jedi had been trying to locate for years? Had he been the one to destroy the Jedi? Was that why Anakin had been brought here? To prevent the destruction of the Jedi?
Anakin had never asked to have the prophecy of the Chosen One placed on him. It wasn't something that he wanted but had been given to him regardless of his feelings by the Council.
He had lived years within the Order, under their scrutinizing eyes as they waited to see whether or not he would fulfill the prophecy or screw up and It made Anakin feel uncomfortable. Like he was some sort of science experiment that they were observing, waiting for him to either fail or succeed.
It wasn't fair to be held to such high standards and to have so much expected of him when for years they had looked down upon him as nothing more than just an ex-slave from the uncivilized reaches of the Outer Rim.
He had remembered the way his fellow Jedi would silently mock him when he did or said something that did not align with the ideology of the Order. To them, he had been an outsider who had not been raised in the prestigious Order but had instead grown up a slave.
And to some degree that would always be true.
But was this a part of the Prophecy? For him to come here to this time of all places? To witness the future so that he could return to the past to change it?
Anakin did not know and nor did he want to find out. He just wanted to go back to his own time and find Obi-Wan and forget everything that had transpired over the course of the last twenty-four hours.
And if the Jedi had been destroyed and he could no longer feel his Masters presence, did that mean-?
Anakin shook his head in grief and denial as the Force confirmed the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi. He didn't need to be told by anyone, he could already feel it in his already shaking body.
There were no words to describe the empty cold feeling that seemed to hover over Anakin, only that it brought him physical and emotional pain that seemed endless and eternal. He just wanted something to hold onto, something familiar to anchor him down to the reality that he was faced with.
But there was nothing. Nothing familiar except for that bright and shining presence that Anakin felt connected to, somehow-
And even now, he could feel that presence, shining brightly in the Force and steadily growing closer and closer and brighter with every passing second, but that presence was not the only one. There was something else that was also drawing closer and closer, but unlike the other presence, this one was shrouded in darkness. The presence was tainted and poisonous and it gave Anakin a clear picture of who the presence belonged too.
Someone who reeked of the Dark Side.
It was obvious that the lighter presence could feel his sudden panic through the strange bond that they shared and they tried to calm him down by sending him soothing waves through the Force, but Anakin ignored them.
The Force muttered a warning to Anakin, telling him to control his raging and unrestrained emotions before they got the better of him. He could feel the urgency through the Force and he knew it was because of the dark presence that was heading this way. If he lost control of his emotions and let his shields up, they would be able to feel his presence and know where he was.
So Anakin took a deep breath as he tried his best to calm his emotions and strengthen his shields, which had begun to wane under the pressure of Anakin's emotions.
"It doesn't matter what you believe, it's still true. And now the Empire knows you're here and they're looking for you. We have to get you off this planet before they find you."
Nayeli's voice was soothing as it seemed to ease Anakin out of his Force-related stupor and back into the present situation. They wanted to get him off the planet before the Empire found him, but Anakin was unsure if he should further endanger Nayeli and her family. This Empire did not sound friendly and Anakin feared what their fate would be if they found out they were harboring him.
Anakin nodded solemnly, "I wouldn't want you or your family to be put in danger because of me."
"Nonsense," said Nayeli, "we know someone in Yanasia who can help get you off the planet, but it won't be easy."
"No," said Raji in agreement, "by now the Empire has probably called for reinforcements to set up a blockade around the planet and they have Stormtroopers posted in every major city from here to Tanesh."
"So what do you plan to do?"
"We can get you into Yanasia but we cannot help you anymore at that point," said Raji as he shook his head. "I will not endanger the lives of my family anymore today. I'm sorry but I'm sure you understand that the consequences would be dire."
Nayeli sadly nodded her head in agreement, "Raji is right. The Empire has no mercy."
"I understand," said Anakin truthfully, "I will not ask you to endanger your family any more than you already have today."
Besides, Anakin shouldn't have too much trouble in the settlement. He could always use Force tricks to get out of any potentially dangerous situation, but even then there were no guarantees.
Nothing was certain.
"Once you get into the city, you'll need to find a man by the name of Philio. He owns a cantina in the lower parts of the city. Just tell him that Raji sent you and he should be able to get you off the planet, no questions asked. And if he does give you grief, just tell him that he owes me a favor."
Anakin nodded, "where will he take me too?"
"Just tell him you want to go somewhere with as little Imperial presence as possible. Philio will know where to go."
Anakin was unsure whether or not this was the right decision. Should he stay on the planet or should he take his chances and leave? Could he trust this Philio person to get him off the planet safely? Or should he stick around and see if that presence would come and find him? And what of the dark presence? What if they reached him first?
Anakin did not know what to do, and the Force was being strangely silent on the subject, leaving Anakin at a loss for what he should do.
Should he stay? Or should he go?
Whew that chapter took me a long time to finish! So now Anakin is out of the desert and now he knows that he's not in the right time, which of course he was going to figure out eventually. And now he has to decide whether or not to get off of the planet or wait for Luke and Leia to show up, but he also knows that there is a malevolent person coming his way and he doesn't know if staying is necessarily the best thing to do.
Did you guys like Nayeli and her son? Did you catch my little easter egg about Nayeli?
Comment and tell me what you thought!
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
Just a warning to some of my readers. This story does not have a whole ton of EU in it, maybe little bits and pieces here and there but this is my own AU and I'm being creative. Plus, I am not familiar with EU and I prefer to follow canon. Also, big thanks to amazing Khalthar, who offered to beta my story as well as giving me wonderful advice and suggestions.
“Here,” said Nayeli as she handed Anakin a tan colored tunic, “it might be a little big but it should help you blend in.”
Anakin accepted the light tunic and slipped it on over his undershirt while Nayeli helped wrap a white scarf around his neck and showed him how to use it to cover his head so that it would protect him from the sun and from being easily recognized.
She had told him it was called a Baten’ii, a sort of scarf that was commonly worn by the men on Ben’we while women wore a Naten’ii, which was basically the same except that the women’s were adorned with beads and were worn in different styles to symbolize their marital status or dowry.
“It used to be Raji’s,” she said as she took a step back to observe the teenage boy in the traditional clothing of her home planet and felt a sense of pride at how well she had managed to make the boy look like a native to the planet. But even Nayeli knew that no amount of traditional clothing could hide the fact that his attitude, his accent, and even the way he carried himself was not of Ben’we.
He would have to be extremely careful as to not draw attention to himself seeing the way he naturally stood out.
“Does it fit?” she asked as she observed his tall frame, noting that the clothes appeared to be well formed to his lean and muscular body. He was just a boy and already he towered over her with his height to the point where Nayeli had to sometimes crane her neck just to stare up at him.
Anakin nodded his head as he took his utility belt and wrapped it around his waist before clipping his lightsaber on it and using his tunic to cover up the cylindrical metal before slipping on the jacket that Nayeli had given him to protect his arms from the sun. Nayeli watched him quietly as he slipped his boots on before she turned around to start packing him some food and water for the journey as well as stashing away his dark robes in the animal skin pouch so that he wouldn’t lose them.
As soon as Anakin slipped his boots on, his gaze traveled to the window where he could see Raji preparing their speeder for the journey ahead of them. The older man had agreed to take Anakin into Yanasia but from there he would be on his own as was part of their agreement.
“You ready, kid?” asked Raji as he poked his head through the door, his eyes traveling over the worried ones of his mother.
“He’ll be ready in a moment,” said Nayeli as she stuffed the last of Anakin’s robes into the bag. “Go wait by the speeder, I want to talk to Anakin.”
Raji nodded his head and whispered something under his breath before disappearing down the muddy road to where the speeder was parked.
“Here,” said Nayeli as she handed the younger man the bag, “I packed you some food and water as well as your robes.”
“Thank you,” said Anakin as he took the pouch from her and slung it over his shoulders.
“I’m sorry that we could not help you any more than we already have,” she said with guilt lining her large brown eyes that reminded Anakin of his own mothers. “I feel so bad about leaving you by yourself in an unfamiliar city. Promise me you’ll be careful, okay? If anything were to happen to you I don’t know if I could forgive myself.”
“I’ll try,” said Anakin with a small smile as he tried to lighten up her dark mood, but Nayeli’s eyes only darkened.
“When you go into Yanasia,” she said as she smoothed out the shoulders on the tunic, “you should avoid speaking to anyone unless you have to. The Empire isn’t the only threat you need to worry about, there are countless Bounty Hunters that will gladly capture or kill you for the standing bounty on Jedi. There are also the slavers to worry about. They take anyone they can get their filthy hands on. My sister Shmi was taken by them when she was just a little girl and we never saw her again. Please, Anakin, do not let that happen to you.”
Anakin froze at the mention of his mother's name, his blue eyes narrowing as he took a step back. Her sister had been taken by slavers and Anakin was starting to wonder if this was just a coincidence that her sister’s name had been Shmi or if this was his very own Aunt he was talking to.
The more he looked at Nayeli the more of his own mother he could see and he wondered how he could not have seen it before. Nayeli looked like an older version of his mother and he could feel the truth ringing clear in the Force.
“My mother’s name is Shmi,” he said softly, his voice barely above that of a whisper.
He had never known much about his mothers past, only that she had been captured and sold into slavery at a young age. She had never liked to talk about it much and had once told him that she had a sister, but Anakin had never thought that he would ever get to meet this Aunt.
To Anakin, the notion of his extended family had always been an inanimate concept. It had always just been him and his mother and that was it.
Nayeli’s eyes widened as she clutched her chest, “Is-? Please tell me… Is her last name Skywalker?”
Anakin nodded his head, “yes, and so Is mine.”
Nayeli cried out as tears of joy spilled down her face, “where is she? Is she alive?”
Nayeli looked up at her nephew, silently pleading to know where her long lost sister was and where she had been all these years. She was just so happy and relieved to be finally getting some answers that she didn’t even question how it was possible that her sister’s son would somehow find his way back to them.
Out of all the planets in the galaxy, he had crash landed on this one. His mother's birthplace and the home of all the Skywalker’s to come before them.
Was this the works of the spirits? Or of the mysterious Force?
It had always been said that the deserts of Ben’we beat in all of its children's hearts and that some way or another, they would always find their way home. Had the spirits seen fit to lead Shmi and her son back to them? Had Ben’I, the Great Sky spirit who walked the heavens, chosen this boy to reunite Nayeli and her sister?
Nayeli did not know but her heart was overjoyed nonetheless. She would not question what omnipotent power had brought her nephew to her, or whether or not it was true that he was indeed Shmi’s son because she knew in her heart that he was.
She did not know how, but he spoke the truth.
“The last time I saw her she was on Tatooine,” began Anakin slowly, “but that was eight years ago, I-“
He looked so helpless standing there, with bewilderment in his sky blue eyes as he thought back to the last memory he had of her. He hadn’t realized if before now, but he was not sure what had become of his mother.
A lot could happen in twenty-eight years, a lifetime of sorrow or happiness could have taken place in that amount of time and Anakin was just at a loss. He would like to think that he had made good on his promise and that she was no longer a slave, but nothing was certain.
“Is she- Is she still a slave?” asked Nayeli. If Anakin was not a slave, then hopefully Shmi had gained her freedom, but there were so many extenuating circumstances to consider.
“I-I don’t know-,” said Anakin as he shook his head, “I mean I hope she isn’t but I haven’t been in contact with her for years.”
“Why not?” asked Nayeli in confusion. What son would leave his mother behind to live a life of slavery?
A pained expression came over his face and his eyes fell to the floor in shame and guilt. He had left her there while he had gone away to learn the ways of the Jedi and there was a part of him that would always feel guilty about how he had just walked away from her.
He missed his mother so much and it was moments like this that threatened to break his heart.
“Hey,” said Raji as he stuck his head through the door to stare at his mother and Anakin, “are you ready yet?”
“Yes, he’s ready,” said Nayeli as she straightened up and looked over to Anakin with a longing look in her eyes. She wanted him to stay so that she could get to know him better so that he could tell her of the life her sister had been living. But at the same time, Nayeli knew that he could not stay.
He had to leave for the sake of his life and theirs.
Nayeli quickly wrapped her arms around the boy, who she already felt so protective of and leaned up to whisper in his ear.
“Contact us when you get somewhere safe,” she said before pausing, “I will see if I can hire an investigator or something to see if they can find your mother. I only have a few credits but Raji will be able to get us more if necessary.”
Anakin licked his lips before nodding, “thank you for everything you’ve done for me, Nayeli. I hope I’ll be able to one day repay you for your kindness.”
Anakin bowed his head in respect before he turned and made his way over to the speeder where Raji was seated in the driver's seat. It was strange to think that this older man with his dark curly hair and broad shoulders was his cousin, but Anakin could see that he was every bit Nayeli’s son as he was Shmi’s.
“So, you’re really Aunt Shmi’s son then?” he asked out of the blue as his eyes swept over the teenager with skepticism and disbelief. His Aunt would’ve been seventy-five years old if she was still alive, which was certainly too old to have a child who was Anakin’s age.
His mother may have had a weird way of looking at things, always trusting her heart instead of her brain and this may have been one of those instances.
But Raji was not like his mother. He was always suspicious of people and wary of things he didn’t know or understand, and he didn’t like it when people tried to mess with his family. This boy came into their lives and endangered them with his mere presence and now he was claiming to be the son of his long lost Aunt?
Raji could feel that there was something this Anakin was not telling him and he didn’t like that.
Anakin merely stared at Raji, as if he could sense the hostility behind his cousin's words and decided it would be best at the point to keep his mouth shut. He understood the older man’s confusion and he knew that Raji was not dumb.
Time travel meant that his mother would currently be seventy-five years of age and that just did not coincide with Anakin’s age at all. She would’ve been too old to be his mother when he had been supposedly born, and Anakin wasn’t about to go spewing about time travel and what not.
They would think he was nuts if he did.
“I’m not sure if they’re the same Shmi,” he said simply. It was a statement meant to infer that this could all be coincidence and that somehow there were two Shmi’s in the galaxy who had been sold into slavery. It wasn’t a very good one though and Anakin could still see the suspicion in his cousin's dark eyes, but Raji said nothing as he revved the engine and pulled out onto the road.
Anakin said nothing as the hut where Nayeli stood watching them from the door faded away from view.
He knew that he would be back here one day and that this was not the last he had seen of Nayeli. The Force had brought him here for a reason and he believed that this was a sign that he would free his mother and reunite her with her sister.
Why else would he have fallen into the arms of his long lost family?
They traveled in the speeder for a short amount of time, the both of them remaining completely silent as Raji drove and Anakin stared out at the vast and desolate terrain that he had hiked through only hours ago. He recognized the rock formation with its ancient pictographs where he had stopped for a short while before continuing south where he had been certain the settlement was.
“That’s where I found you,” said Raji as he pointed to an enclave of rocks once they were further down the road. Anakin squinted at the place as he tried to remember passing out there but found nothing in his memory to indicate that he had ever been there. The desert was known to play tricks on those who dared to cross through its domain with mirages and hallucinations that could make a thirsty man or woman do anything just to acquire a little bit of water.
The desert was a cruel place full of restless spirits and tricksters and it seemed that even the people of Ben’we believed it just as the people on Tatooine did.
“You were suffering from heat sickness when I found you. You didn’t even stir when I picked you up and put you in the back on the speeder,” said Raji. “You’re lucky I decided to travel this route last night or you would probably still be there.”
Anakin nodded his head, “I never got the chance to thank you for that.”
Raji let out a rough breath, “don’t thank me, kid. If I had known you were wanted by the Empire, I might’ve just left you there.”
Anakin narrowed his eyes at the older man as he surmised that he was speaking the truth to the younger boy. Anakin quickly looked back out at the horizon, glad that Raji had not known at the time that Anakin had been wanted.
Surely Raji would not have just left him there to die when he could just turn him in and get a reward from the Empire, which would’ve still gotten Anakin killed either way.
It was only a few minutes later they came upon a small valley that had previously been hidden behind a rock formation that Anakin had vaguely remembered seeing while he was hiking, but it had been too far away at that point for him to reach on his own.
Raji took the speeder down a dirt road until they reached the bottom of the hill and the settlement became visible to them. The settlement of Yanasia was surprisingly larger than Anakin imagined with its large wall that surrounded the city and towers that barely peeked out from behind them. It was more of a city than an actual settlement.
“The rest of the city is underground,” said Raji, “it was built that way so that the ancient tribe who built it could easily hide from their enemies as well as find shelter from the heat. When they left, it sat abandoned for years until settlers recolonized it and added more onto the city. They then turned it into a trading post.”
“What happened to the people who built it?” asked Anakin out of slight curiosity.
“They mysteriously disappeared,” said Raji. “No one is sure what happened to them.”
“Oh,” said Anakin as he hopped out of the speeder and followed Raji up the path that led into the city. He knew that Raji had only agreed to take him as far as the city gates before Anakin would be left on his own to find this Philio person to take him off world. But Anakin was not so sure that he would go through with finding this Philio person, not when he could feel that bright and shining presence growing closer and closer by the second.
He still was unsure about what he should do and the Force remained quiet on the subject. He could also feel that dark and foreboding presence growing closer and closer as well and he wasn’t about to take his chances when it came to them.
He didn’t want to cause a scene and he didn’t want to fight them unless it was absolutely necessary, but that didn’t mean Anakin was unequipped to do so if push came to shove.
Raji covered his head with his Baten’ii and motioned for Anakin to do the same when they came upon the crowd of people on the road that were either carrying trading goods or just trying to get past the long caravan lines.
“I guess this is it,” stated Anakin as they both came to a stop in front of the entrance into the city.
“Head down this street until it comes to an end, then turn left and walk until you see a sign for Travelers Cantina. Keep your head down and ask for Philio, tell him that Raji Skywalker sent you and that he owes me a favor. He should be able to get you off the planet no questions asked and if he doesn’t then give him this,” he said as he handed Anakin a small coin.
“It’s an ancient Nirubian coin, a very rare archaeological find here on Ben’we. Philio likes to collect them so he’ll appreciate it.”
Anakin nodded as he stashed the coin into his pocket where he knew it would be safe until he could give it to Philio.
“Be careful out there kid. The people here are dirt poor and probably wouldn’t think twice about turning you in for the reward.”
“I’ll be careful,” said Anakin as he watched two white guards walk by him. Raji had called them Stormtroopers and Anakin knew that they were here because of him. They were scouring the crowds for him, ready to take him into custody if they managed to find him. He could also see the posters that depicted his grainy picture as well as his physical description. The picture somewhat looked like him, but at the same time, Anakin highly doubted that anyone would be able to identify him from it.
But that was no reason to not be cautious.
Raji nodded, “you better be, especially if you really are Aunt Shmi’s son.”
Raji gave Anakin a hard look before he turned around and made his way down the path back towards where the speeder was. Anakin watched him until the older man disappeared into the dense crowd, leaving Anakin completely on his own.
Anakin made his way into the entrance, careful to not make eye contact with anyone as he passed under the arches before he set off in the direction that Raji had pointed him. Anakin was more than capable of finding his own way through foreign and unfamiliar places due to his time with Master Kenobi on missions, but he knew that Raji and Nayeli just wanted to make sure that he would be okay without him.
He walked through dirty streets that were lined with vendors, each one full of exotic foods, jewelry, clothing, and other goods that the native people were trying to sell. It vaguely reminded him of Mos Eisley and how the people would try to sell anything just to make something. There had been an older woman on Tatooine who made her own jewelry and every day she would sit out on her mat and sell it to anyone that was interested. She had always been kind to him, giving him some of her homemade snacks and asking him how he and his mother were doing.
Anakin hadn’t thought of her for years, but he suddenly found himself missing that nice old woman.
Anakin turned left when the road ended and made his way down the cobbled streets, careful to avoid the screaming children as they chased each other through the streets while their mothers sat together chatting as they weaved baskets and clothes. The children waved at him with large toothy smiles and Anakin waved back to them before continuing down the street, his eyes wondering over the various establishments before he finally spotted the Travelers Cantina.
He was about to walk in when he spotted a group of Stormtroopers turn the corner, their blasters drawn and ready. Anakin was not sure whether or not they had recognized him or if they were simply asking anyone if they had seen the rogue Jedi, it was hard to tell considering no one could see their faces behind those strange looking masks.
“Halt!” said one to Anakin and a few other people that had been walking by, all of whom paused at the command.
“Have any of you seen a person matching this description?” he said as he held out the wanted poster for all to see. Anakin made sure to keep his head down and not make contact with any of them for fear that they would somehow recognize him. The people looked at the picture for a few moments as if they were trying to decide if they had seen someone like that in the hundreds of faces they had probably seen today.
“No,” said all of the people as they shook their heads.
Anakin held his breath as he shook his head and was about to turn away from them when one of the Stormtroopers approached him.
“Hey, you there. Have you seen this person?” he said as held out the poster for Anakin, who held his head low and shook his head. He was about to walk away when a huge gust of wind hit him in the face and spread his light jacket wide open so that his lightsaber was visible to everybody who was looking at him.
Anakin realized his mistake almost instantly and quickly tried to button it up not before the Stormtroopers got a clear look at it. It was pretty obvious that these Troopers had been trained to spot Jedi because Anakin would’ve thought most people wouldn’t recognize the hilt of a lightsaber and just assume it was something else.
Anakin was surprised that they could recognize one, and even more so when he found the end of multiple blasters pointed in his direction.
Just kriffing wonderful.
“Jedi!” they yelled as they started firing at Anakin, who at that point already had his lightsaber drawn and ready.
He easily blocked their shots as the people around them started screaming and running away from the blaster shots and the swinging of Anakin’s blue lightsaber. They had already called for backup at that point and Anakin knew that there would be a large number of troopers already closing in on their position.
Anakin did not want to cause a slaughter and already he was making quite the scene. He just wanted to get off the planet, not have to fight off these troopers when he had been so close to escaping. It was infuriating how this had played out when he had been standing in front of the very place that would’ve helped him get off this damned planet. Somehow, Anakin was starting to believe that this may have been the will of the Force, for him to not go with Philio but to instead wait for either of those two presences to catch up with him.
He held back a shudder at the thought of meeting that darker of the two presences and the Force churned violently around him as if to tell him that his intuitions were true. He needed to stay as far away from that presence as possible, no matter what happened.
But he could sense that that would not be an easy task.
He hadn’t realized it till now, his mind having been so occupied with trying to find the Travelers Cantina that he hadn’t realized how extremely close the dark presence had gotten. They were here, on this planet and making their way in his direction and Anakin was worried at how close in the vicinity they were.
He could feel the dark and tainted presence even clearer now and he had to fight back nausea from how sickening their mere presence was. But there was something about the presence, something almost familiar-
Anakin swiftly blocked a blaster bolt as he started to slowly back away from them, hoping that at some point he would be able to turn and flee down one of the alleys so that he could try and throw them off his trail. He knew he needed to get out of there as soon as possible before that presence caught up with him and he would have to act fast if that was to be accomplished.
By then, even more troopers had appeared and Anakin wasn’t completely sure that he would be able to hold them off much longer. He would have to go on the offensive if he was to get out of this alive.
Anakin used the Force to push a few of them away and in their surprise, he sprung forward and started using his lightsaber to incapacitate them one by one. Obi-Wan had always told him that in these certain circumstances that it was either them or Anakin and that sometimes one must take drastic measures to protect themselves.
Force, he could use some help right about now!
“Hey!” yelled a new voice from somewhere behind Anakin, “watch out!”
Anakin whipped his head around to see a Stormtrooper that had been knocked down had raised his blaster and was about to use it on him while Anakin was distracted. The Force blared in alarm as Anakin raised his lightsaber and blocked the blaster bolt before using the Force to throw them back against the wall, effectively knocking them out.
By then, a new person that Anakin did not recognize had run up next to him and had drawn their lightsaber and they too started blocking blaster bolts and using the Force to incapacitate the troopers.
Another Jedi! Anakin could feel that this was the person whom he had reached out to with the Force!
Anakin briefly looked over at the new person and saw a man who didn’t appear to be much older than him with moppy blond hair that reminded Anakin of his own hair when he was younger and living on Tatooine. He too looked over at Anakin with an unreadable expression, both of their blue eyes meeting for a split second before returning to the current situation at hand.
Anakin didn’t know what it was, but something strange had just happened and he knew that they could feel it too. He didn’t even know this person, but he could not deny the familiarity of him and how this person just felt right to Anakin. It was almost as if they had known each other for years with how strong their connection had been and even the Force seemed to agree.
There was something about this person, something strange that Anakin just could not put his finger on.
The blond Jedi was not alone. He had brought a companion with him, a woman with dark hair who was currently using one of the alleys as a cover to protect herself from the blaster shots. From there she would poke her head out and fire back at the troopers with such precision and accuracy that Anakin was impressed.
She reminded him of Padme with her intricately done hair and the blaster in her hands.
“Hey,” said the other Jedi casually, “how are you?”
I’ve been better,” mumbled Anakin. “Thanks for coming by the way.”
“No problem,” he said with a coy smile. “I’m Luke, and you are?”
“Anakin,” he said deciding to leave his last name out. He didn’t know why, but the Force was warning him that it was best to leave the last name out, at least for now.
Luke almost seemed to stiffen next to him before he quickly regained his composure, but not without Anakin noticing.
“Kriff!” yelled the woman as she narrowly dodged a stray bolt. “Luke there’s too many! We need to get out of here!”
Luke nodded, “agreed,” he said as he gave Anakin a hard look, communicating with the younger Padawan what their next move should be.
Anakin nodded his head in understanding as they both reached their hands out and let the Force surge from their fingertips, knocking every single Stormtrooper back with their combined power. As soon as they had done that, they all turned and ran and down the street as fast as they could go.
“Where’s your ship?” said Anakin as they ran down the dirty streets, trying not to knock screaming people or vendors over in the meantime.
“It’s parked at one of the shipping bays,” said Luke over his shoulder as he pointed to the dome like building where people usually paid to keep their ships if they were visiting. “Sorry, we’re a little late! We had a little trouble getting past the Imperial blockade on the planet!”
“A little?” said the brunette woman sardonically.
“Okay, a lot of trouble!” said Luke with an annoyed look on his face.
They were about to run down a side alley when they came across another group of Stormtroopers, all three of them quickly ducking behind the wall as the rain of blaster fire began again. It was beginning to look as if they would never get off the planet with how things were going.
“So this was your rescue plan?” asked Anakin from where he was plastered against the wall. “To just come in with guns a blazing and hope you made it off the planet in one piece?”
Force he was beginning to sound like Obi-Wan! But then again he had been hoping to get out of here without causing too much of a scene but seeing all the destruction that they had caused, he knew that it was already too late.
“We wouldn’t have to if you hadn’t managed to gain the attention of all the Stormtroopers here!” said the woman snidely.
Anakin was about to open his mouth to respond to her little comment but was interrupted by the older blond man, who was trying to deflate the tense situation as much as he could. It was probably a good thing he did too, or Anakin would’ve probably said something he would’ve regretted later on.
Anakin had always had a way of clashing with people, and it seemed as though he and this woman would be doing a lot of that in the future.
She may look like Padme, but that personality was something else entirely.
“Hey!” said Luke, “both of you calm down. We’ll find a way out of this, okay?”
“I hope we do before Vader shows up!” said the woman, her hair swiveling around her head and coming undone out of their intricately done braids, the stray pieces coming down to frame her pale and delicate features.
Anakin shot Luke a look, “is that the Sith presence I’ve been feeling?”
“You bet it is,” said the woman, “and you better hope you aren’t on the receiving end of his red lightsaber when he shows up.”
As much as Anakin was always willing to put his lightsaber skills to use, he wasn’t so keen on doing it with a powerful Sith in a place like this. He had already caused so much damage with his mere presence and he knew that the locals were being put in harm’s way with everything that was going on.
“I agree with her,” said Anakin pointing at the woman, “I don’t want to be here when that Sith shows up.”
“Will both of you shut up?” said Luke tensely. “Vader isn’t going to find us so just calm down.”
“Don’t tell me to calm down!” said Leia as she hit three Stormtroopers with her blaster before ducking behind the wall again.
“Just hear me out,” said Luke as he deflected another shot, “I have an idea that hopefully won’t get us killed.”
“Great, we’re all ears,” said Anakin sarcastically. He didn’t intend to be rude to his rescuers, but his sarcasm always had a way of manifesting itself in situations like these.
The situation was tense and all formalities had gone out the window by that point.
“I’ll hold them off while you two make a run for it,” he said.
Leia shook her head, “No, we’re not leaving you behind.”
“You have too,” said Luke urgently, “I’ll be right behind you.”
Anakin looked over at Leia, “it’s the only chance we have. Either we stay and wait for Vader to show up or we get off this planet in one piece.”
Anakin didn’t like it any more than this woman did, but he was able to recognize that it was their only chance for survival. He could already tell that this older Jedi was more than capable of handling himself with a lightsaber, although he had noted earlier that his technique was a little sloppy around the edges but good enough to hold an army of troopers off.
“Don’t worry,” said Anakin as he drew his lightsaber and looked down into her brown orbs, “I won’t let anything happen to us.”
She seemed unsure but quickly made up her mind as they both ran out from behind their protected spot and into the open where the Stormtroopers were. She led the way as Anakin deflected any blaster shots that came their way while Luke had also come out and was charging into the group of Troopers so as to provide a distraction for the other two to escape.
“Come on!” yelled Leia as soon as they were out of the blaster fire, Anakin followed closely behind but was on high alert for any potential threats they might encounter on the way. By then, Luke was following them as well as keeping the white guards at bay, which was proving to be a tedious task.
Anakin and Leia ducked into the port and ran over to where a Correlian YT-1300 was parked in all of its rustic glory. This ship looked old and a little bit worn out, but it was obvious that whoever its owner was they took good care of it. Anakin could appreciate an owner that took care of their ship, especially one like this.
“Can you pilot?” she asked they both ran up the ramp and into the bowels of the ship.
“Yes, I can pilot,” said Anakin as he ran to the pilot's chair while Leia waited for Luke to appear.
He had always been a natural when it came to piloting so he wasn’t worried about flying this ship, which was way more familiar to him than that little thing he had escaped the Vigilant on.
Anakin revved the engine, “what course should I plot?!”
Leia quickly rattled off coordinates as Anakin set the course and turned back just in time to see the brunette woman and a tired looking Luke run in.
“Go!” said Leia as Anakin shot out of the port and into the sky before going into hyperdrive, the planet of Ben’we disappearing completely from view as the blue waves surrounded the ship.
Anakin swiveled the chair around to face his two rescuers, who were staring at him with unreadable expressions. He knew that they wanted an explanation and Anakin was not sure how he was going to go about doing that. He wasn’t even sure of the whole story himself.
Anakin let out a heavy sigh.
This was not going to be easy.
Chapter 7: Chapter 7
Luke and Anakin have a very interesting discussion...
"I guess I have some explaining to do," said Anakin as he shifted awkwardly in his chair as he stared at his two rescuers. He knew this would not be easy and he wasn't sure if he should tell them everything, or if they would even believe his strange story and that he was from the past.
He knew that Luke would be able to sense the truth, but Anakin wasn't so sure about the woman. He could feel that she was Force-sensitive but that her abilities were severely diminished, probably because she had received no training in it at all. There was no question that she had the Force, but she was not strong in it like those who were trained and Anakin could only guess it was because she was subconsciously shielding herself.
Her presence was subtle and quiet compared to her companion but Anakin could feel it nonetheless, but was she able to utilize it without training? Some people were capable of doing that and others were not. The Force affected every person differently and everyone tended to feel its presence differently.
"Yes, you do," she said as she crossed her arms over her chest, not in anger but in mild curiosity. Her hostility had seemed to dissipate at that point and she was no longer making snide remarks to Anakin or Luke, but she did expect an explanation from the strange boy that they had picked up. Her tone was authoritarian, but calm and patient at the same time.
"What were you doing on Ben'we in the first place?" asked Luke, "and how did you manage to gain the attention of the Empire?"
"I was captured by the Empire, but I'm not sure how," said Anakin as he recalled the events. That Commander had said that he said just appeared on the bridge and it was the only thing that seemed to make sense. He didn't even remember what he had been doing before he woke up in the brig, all he could remember was walking through the caves on Setauri V with his Master but everything else was just blank.
"You're not sure?" asked Leia with skepticism.
"I-...I can't remember," mumbled Anakin, "I was on Setauri V with a companion and then I just woke up in the brig."
"And then you broke out?" asked Luke as he and Leia shared an unreadable look.
Anakin nodded, "they didn't use a Force inhibitor so I escaped and took one of their ships but I crashed it."
Anakin could tell that they were trying to get a sense of what had occurred and he didn't blame them. There were so many details that were missing or that didn't make sense, and he hadn't even told them about the time-traveling part yet, something he wasn't entirely sure that he should share with them.
"So how do you think you ended up on the Vigilant?" asked Luke after a few moments of silence, his piercing blue eyes that mirrored Anakin's stared at the youth with an indecipherable look.
"The Force?" asked Anakin, unsure of even himself.
Luke said nothing as he leaned back in his chair, his blue gaze never once leaving the boy who was seated in front of him. It made Anakin feel uneasy as the silence felt heavy and permeated the air around them as Luke tilted his head in a curious manner, but said nothing as he narrowed his eyes at the strange youth.
"The Force?" asked Leia with a slightly puzzled expression, her perfectly shaped eyebrows scrunching up in confusion as she looked over to Luke for some sort of confirmation, even though she knew that it was the truth.
Luke remained strangely silent as he examined the teenager, who seemed so familiar to him but at the same time he knew that he had never met this boy before in his life. He was familiar but in a strange sort of way. It was almost as if he should already know who this boy was, but Luke had no idea.
Maybe it was because this boy shared the same name as Anakin Skywalker, but Luke knew better than to draw comparisons between two completely different people.
But no matter how mysterious and enigmatic the boy was, he had told them the truth. Luke could sense the truth behind Anakin's words and he wasn't about to question the will of the Force.
"I believe you," he said after a few moments of silence.
"You do?" asked Leia, her question directed to Luke while Anakin suddenly became fascinated with his lap. He was having a hard time reading the woman and her tone gave no hint as to whether or not she believed his story at all.
"I can sense that he's telling the truth," said Luke with no further comment to his female companion.
Leia opened her mouth to say something but decided against it and instead pursed her lips into a tight line, her eyes traveling over to the angst-ridden teenager who was staring between the two of them with suspense.
"Okay," she said after a few moments of silence. There was no question in her voice anymore and she trusted Luke and his mystical Jedi powers, unlike Han who had mocked the Force and still continued to have his doubts. But Leia had seen the extent of the power and she had been on the receiving end of the power when Vader had interrogated her and had tried to force his way into her mind, but Leia had been strong enough to keep him out. It was her conviction to the Rebel cause that had saved her from his probing thoughts and she knew that she would rather die than let the Empire get their hands on those plans.
Not when so many brave Rebels had been slaughtered on the beaches of Scarif.
"So where are you from, Anakin?" asked Luke as he leaned back in his chair, interested in where this peculiar boy was from.
Anakin paused, hesitant as to what he should tell them about his origins. There was so much he didn't know about this specific time period and he didn't know how him being from a planet like Tatooine would be received by his two companions. Anakin had learned to be careful who he told about where he was from because of the scrutiny and judgment he would face from those who held themselves higher than the savages from the Outer Rim, especially when it concerned a planet like Tatooine. It was a lesson he had learned the hard way, that not everyone was as accepting as they claimed to be.
It was ironic how so many who held themselves in high regards when it came to cultural relativism and how accepting they were of all people no matter their background were usually the first ones to judge him based on the fact that he was from Tatooine. Anakin was no stranger to being looked down upon by those who were supposed to be advocates of equality, which was one of the reasons why he valued his friendship with the Chancellor so much. Palpatine had never once judged him and had been nothing but kind the youth ever since he had come to Coruscant all those years ago.
But he knew that this was not the case with his two rescuers. He may not have known them well, but he could sense that they were not judgmental.
Anakin twiddled with his thumbs absentmindedly, "Coruscant, but I grew up on Tatooine."
Both Luke and Leia seemed to recoil in surprise and shock that made Anakin feel foolish. They were obviously surprised from something that he had said, but Anakin didn't know it was that made them so shocked.
"Coruscant? You mean Imperial Center?" asked Leia, "what in sithspit were you doing there?"
"I-...I uh," began Anakin, trying his best to hide his nervousness as he could feel Luke's eerie and questioning gaze on him. Luke remained silent, but Anakin could feel the churning of the Force around the older Jedi and he knew that he was trying to figure him out.
"I mean I haven't lived there recently," began Anakin as he did his best to make his story sound more plausible. "I left when I started my training."
Anakin wasn't usually one to lie but at the same time, he didn't want them to think he was crazy. He could pretend that he belonged in this time and since there were no Jedi left, that he had received his training from a rogue force user instead of the truth. The Force did not agree with his tactic of deception and Anakin wasn't sure if Luke was buying into his story or not. The older Jedi had erected sturdy walls that hid his emotions from Anakin and his eyes narrowed in distrust as soon as the words had been spoken.
Luke could feel that Anakin was not telling him the truth, or at least only partial truths. But Luke decided he would not push the boy any further and respect his privacy, but he could make no guarantees for Leia, who was staring at Anakin with suspicion and distrust.
Luke had a feeling that Leia was not buying into the youth's story, but she remained silent to his surprise and instead focused her attention to the blue hyperdrive waves with a pensive and contemplative look in her eyes.
It seemed as though neither of them would further question Anakin about the legitimacy of his story, but that didn't stop the gears that were beginning to turn in Luke's head and he was starting to get a sense of what was really was going on. He had a suspicion that revolved around what Ben had told him earlier about the boy, but had seemed strange and vague at the time. Ben had mentioned something about time, correcting the mistakes of the past by revealing the future. Luke had simply brushed the comment off as Ben just being eccentric, but even now he could feel the blatant truth behind the man's words.
Anakin said that he lived on Coruscant, or Imperial Center as it was being called these days, but that simply was not possible. There was no way a Jedi could survive going to Imperial Center much less living there, not anymore that was. But he could sense that Anakin did indeed live there, just not in this current time period.
The Force had really outdone itself this time. Time travel had always been nothing more than a fantasy to Luke, but now it was a reality and he now understood. The boy was not from this time but had been sent here from the past so that he could be shown the future.
The Force churned in excitement and anticipation, agreeing with Luke about the nature of Anakin's presence. But there was something else- something more that the Force wanted Luke to know.
This Anakin shared the same name and planet as Anakin Skywalker, the man who was currently running around the galaxy, using fear as a tactic to further the Empire and crush those who would dare to oppose him. Luke didn't want it to be true, tried his hardest to ignore the absurd idea and instead returned his attention the mere child who sat in front of him, twiddling his thumbs and anxiously bobbing his leg to and fro as he stared at him with wide and innocent blue eyes, which made him seem so much younger than he actually was.
It was just a coincidence, mere speculation and maybe just a tad bit of hope. Hope that if it were possible, that Luke could change things for the better. That maybe, just maybe this was the Force's way of apologizing for dealing Luke such a crappy hand, and not in the literal sense. Although Luke had to agree that the Force had screwed him over in both aspects.
But was it possible?
Was it possible that he could save his father from the darkness that had consumed him?
"Tatooine, huh?" asked Luke calmly and nonchalantly, ignoring the flabbergasted stare of his companion. "I grew up there."
"Really?" asked Anakin, surprised to find another individual who was from the same planet as him. He had detected a slight Outer Rim accent from the other Jedi, but it was faded and he hadn't been sure from which planet it had originated.
A lot of accents carried over from planet to planet so pinpointing where someone was from could be difficult at times, unlike the Core Worlds where accents tended to be more pronounced and more posh sounding than what Anakin was used to. It was also common for people in the Core Worlds to use proper basic, which had always seemed to set him apart from most of his fellow Jedi. He had a strange accent that was a combination of inner and outer rim that made him stick out like a sore thumb around his peers and no matter how hard he tried to emulate the smooth and crisp dialect of those around him, it just made him sound stiff.
Luke chuckled, "yes, I lived there with my Aunt and Uncle until I was nineteen."
If Anakin really was from Tatooine, then Luke wouldn't need to explain why he no longer lived there.
"I left when I was nine," said Anakin with a shudder, "and I've never been back since."
Vader kicked at the dirt beneath him as he stared down at the Stormtroopers bodies, some of them having been killed by blaster shots and others cut down with a lightsaber. His ominous black mask hid a particularly nasty snarl as well as his eyes, which were undoubtedly yellow from rage.
He had been so close!
So close to finding the pesky and enigmatic Jedi that had been giving him so much grief as well as his own son, Luke Skywalker, whose presence had shown brightly in the Force, serving as a beacon for him to follow. He had been surprised at first to feel the boy's presence, here on some backwater Outer Rim planet that wasn't even on most planetary maps and barely offered anything of value to the Empire. But there had been no mistaking that presence.
As soon as he had felt Skywalker's presence, Vader had quickened his pace so that he could reach the boy before he did something foolish, but he had missed him by a few minutes and already he could tell that Skywalker, along with his companions was no longer on Ben'we.
His son had managed to escape him yet again.
They had escaped numerous Stormtroopers and had managed to get past the Imperial blockade with little to no trouble, either a testament to their skill or the Empire's weakness.
"Milord," came the soft spoken voice from behind him.
Vader whipped his head around to stare at the Lieutenant from the Vigilant, the sun reflecting off of his lenses as he focused in on the lanky man with fiery red hair that was neatly gelled back and styled in the standard Imperial Officer haircut.
"What is it?" he asked, his mechanical voice low and stoical.
"There are a few witnesses," he said as he motioned over to where a father and daughter were being held by Stormtroopers, the fear on their face evident as they stared at the Dark Lord himself.
"They claimed to have seen the whole thing from their apartment," said the Officer as he pointed up to a room on the second level that had a window that faced down on the street where the altercation had taken place. Vader already had a clear picture of what had taken place, but it would not hurt to see what they had seen.
"Did you question them already?" asked Vader, his patience starting to wane.
"Yes, they said that there were two Jedi who were accompanied by a woman. They identified one of the Jedi as Luke Skywalker and the woman as the former Princess of Alderaan. They do not know who the third Jedi was, but they claimed he matched the description that we issued."
He was not surprised to hear that the incorrigible Princess had been here with his son, it seemed as though the two were inseparable these days. Vader wondered if it was because his son held feelings for the former Senator, which seemed plausible but at the same time, not something Vader would ever approve of. The Princess was nothing more than a royal menace and Vader somewhat regretted not having gotten rid of her when the opportunity had arisen. He had always had disdain for the girl ever since he had met her when she just a child, no older than seven years old when her father had taken her to the Senate so that she could observe the inner workings of politics, something Vader had doubted a child of her age would ever be able to understand. But she did and she had thrived in the political affairs of the Empire, and even having the audacity to later betray the very system that she had learned from.
Eventually, the Princess would be taken care of and she would no longer be there to influence his son with her beliefs in democracy and the Republic, which were nothing more than a fleeting hope for the Rebels. The days of the Republic were gone, but some just refused to accept it.
"Did they see what he looked like?" asked Vader as he refocused his attention on the mysterious Jedi who kept a Padawan braid.
"They said he had his head covered with a scarf but that he was a white human male either in his late teens or early twenties."
There were billions of people who matched that description, which was no help to Vader. Even the grainy picture that they had managed to extract from the holo-security feed was of no help and did nothing to help identify the Jedi.
"Very well," said Vader with a wave of his mechanical hand, "you are dismissed, Lieutenant."
"Yes Sir," said the young man before making his way back over to where the two witnesses stood staring at them with wide, dark eyes.
Vader returned his gaze back to the bodies that were strewn about the dirty street, his breathing slow and methodical as he clenched his fist dangerously as he reigned in his hot anger that was threatening to take control of him. He stood silently to the rest of the world, but the Force flared dangerously around and none could feel the raging tempest that accumulated around him.
It was simply unacceptable that he had once again been outdone by his own son and the Princess, who had managed to escape with the rogue Jedi, who would undoubtedly align himself with their cause now and join them. Two young and powerful Jedi against him and the Emperor made him uncomfortable for some reason, and he did not enjoy the feeling.
The glass window next to Vader started to crack slowly but steadily as the fissures spread up the window before stopping suddenly, but the window did not break from the pressure of Vader's anger. His temper had been reigned in and he instead decided to direct his fury into something more productive. He would find his son and his two companions if it was the last thing he did and they would be sorry that they had run from him in the first place.
"Lieutenant," came Vader's booming voice as he turned to face the young Officer who could not have been older than twenty-five at best. "Clean this up then report back to me. We have work to do."
"What sort of work, Lord Vader?" asked the Lieutenant as he jogged to keep up with the cyborg's fast pace.
"You will see."
Luke stared out the viewport of the ship, his mind completely occupied by the series of strange events that had happened within the last few hours. He was alone and his thoughts were still reeling from the peculiar conversation he had had with Anakin, a boy who was strong in the Force and was undoubtedly from the past.
It was strange to comprehend, but Luke knew that there was something about Anakin. The Force seemed to converge upon the boy as if waiting in anticipation for him to do something. Luke wasn't sure what, but he could sense that Anakin was going to change everything here very soon.
And even while Luke knew that there was something about the boy, there was also something else that he did not want to think about. Something that he wished was not true but deep down he knew that it was.
He tried to convince himself that it was just a coincidence, a mere happenstance with no real connection, but Luke knew not to place his trust blindly in things that he could only hope for.
To encounter a young man who was quite possibly from the past with the same name and home planet as the man who had once been known as Anakin Skywalker seemed too serendipitous to be true.
But Luke could still hope that the connection was not real, that this was all just a figment of his overactive imagination and there was nothing more to this story.
But it was true.
The Force spoke the truth and that truth was that the boy that they had picked up on Ben'we was indeed Anakin Skywalker from the past. Luke had been oblivious at first, but he was not stupid and he could feel the way the way that he and Anakin had connected. They had already formed a bond, something that rarely happened unless there was something more to the relationship, more specifically a relationship between a parent and their child. The bond between father and son was a strong and instantaneous one and Luke thanked the Force that Anakin did not know the true nature it.
The Force hummed sadly around Luke and he could feel that there would be a day when it would all have to be confronted and all the pain that would be brought with that revelation. Luke just wished that he could walk away from it and not have to burden the boy with sins he had not yet committed, and a small part of him told him that it wasn't worth it.
It seemed selfish and a little asinine to want to walk away from it all, to walk away from Anakin, but Luke could not deny that he was scared and that a part of him wanted nothing to do with the man who had taken so much from him. That man who had tortured Leia, cut off his hand, and had taken Han from them as if he had the right to make their lives miserable.
Luke was being given the chance of a life time, but that didn't change the fact that Luke wanted none of it.
For once in his life, he just wanted someone else to take care of the problem that was his father and go back to living a peaceful life while someone else did all the dirty work. He wished that the war that had taken the lives of countless of people would just end and that peace could be restored to the galaxy so he could run off like he had always wanted to do.
He hated to admit it, but after all these years of fighting, Luke was beginning to see the appeal in farming again.
"Hello Luke," came Ben's solemn voice from behind him.
Luke turned around to see the blue hue of his former Master, a heavy look crossing his face that made him seem even older than he actually was.
"Ben," said Luke in acknowledgment.
"I see you found Anakin," said Ben, his eyes lingering over to the corridor that led to the quarters where the teen was currently sleeping away the exhausting day.
"It wasn't easy," commented Luke sullenly.
"No, I imagine it wasn't," said Ben with a heavy sigh. "Especially when it comes to him."
There was a moment of silence before Luke finally pushed his chair away from the console and turned to face the old Jedi, his face pensive and frustrated.
"Why didn't you tell me who he was?" asked Luke with no anger, but sadness that Ben hadn't trusted him yet again.
Luke wasn't a fool. He knew exactly who Anakin was and why he was here, he just didn't appreciate the surprise of being confronted with his teenage father from the past.
Ben sighed, "I wanted you to be able to meet him before I told you so that your first impression of him wasn't tainted so that you could have a glimpse of the person that I once knew and loved."
"A warning would've been nice," said Luke sardonically before he rubbed a hand through his hair and sighed, his frustration and anger slowly fading away.
"I'm sure it came as quite the surprise," remarked Obi-wan. "I thought I was going to have a heart attack when I found out what the Force had done, but now I am able to see the benefit of what this could bring. To think, he is being given a chance to correct his mistakes before he even makes them," said Ben with a faraway look in his eyes. Luke could've sworn there was hope in his eyes and he knew how much Anakin had meant to Obi-wan, how much he still meant to him to this day even though he had fallen from grace.
Luke had never realized it before, but Obi-wan had practically raised Anakin and that he had lost much more than just a friend and a former apprentice that day. Luke couldn't imagine the pain that he had been in all these years, and then to be presented with the opportunity to prevent that tragedy.
It was more than Luke could even imagine.
"What am I supposed to do?" asked Luke, feeling lost and forlorn at the looming situation. How was Luke supposed to handle this? How was Luke supposed to keep his father from falling without giving the poor boy an aneurysm?
How was Luke supposed to tell a boy who hadn't even reached adulthood yet that he would one day fall to the dark side and destroy the Jedi? Much less that Luke was his future son that had yet to be born. He didn't know which would be easier, telling someone they turn into a mechanical monster or that they had met their future child.
Luke dreaded both, but he knew that one day all would be revealed. He just knew that it would happen.
"He needs guidance," began Ben, "he needs someone to help him navigate this new time and I'm afraid that my services will be quite limited."
"What should I tell him about Vader? About me?"
Ben smoothed a hand over his face thoughtfully at the question then frowned before returning his eyes back over to an expectant Luke.
"Do not tell him anything about who Vader is or who you are. He's not ready for that information, at least not yet that is."
"But he's going to find out eventually. I can't keep that a secret forever and you know he'll get suspicious," said Luke.
"Oh I don't doubt he will, but we have some time before he starts putting the pieces together. He needs time to adjust before we burden him with his future, but in the meantime what he really needs is guidance. Your guidance, Luke."
"I'm not sure that I'm ready to do that," said Luke as he shook his head at the notion. "I'm not sure that I can guide him knowing who he is and what he'll do."
"I think you'll find that you're more capable than you think," said Ben pointedly. "I know that this is daunting for you, but you won't be alone. There is another who will need to guide Anakin and show him the consequences of his actions just as much as you will have to."
"Who?" asked Luke in curiosity but forgot about his question when he heard rustling coming from the bunkers where Anakin had been sleeping peacefully. He heard the shuffling of feet on the floor drawing nearer until the groggy eyed boy popped out from behind the wall to stare at Luke with a sleepy smile on his face.
Luke shot his head back over to where Ben had been standing just a moment ago to find that he had disappeared into thin air, leaving Luke's question completely unanswered.
"Who were you talking too?" asked Anakin curiously as he made his way over to the co-pilots chair and plopped himself down.
"What?" asked Luke.
"I heard you talking to someone just now," said Anakin, "or at least I think that's what you were doing."
"I was sending out a holo-message," said Luke.
"Oh," said Anakin with a nod of his head as he looked at the console with curiosity, his eyes zeroing in on the navigation computer.
"Where's Leia?" asked Luke.
"She's in the lounge reading a holo-novel," said Anakin with a shrug of his shoulders. "She looked pretty engrossed in it so I didn't want to interrupt her."
"Probably for the best," chuckled Luke, unsurprised at what she had been doing these last few hours.
"Hey, can I ask you a question?" asked Anakin.
"Sure," said Luke, "fire away."
"That droid you have," he said as he referred to Artoo. "Where did you get it?"
"On Tatooine," said Luke, interested in Anakin's interest in his droid. "My Uncle bought him from some Jawas. You wouldn't believe how much trouble he's given me ever since. Why?"
Anakin shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly, "just wondering. I once knew a similar droid."
But Anakin was positive that the droid he had seen rolling around the ship and beeping was not the same droid that once belonged to Padme. This droid acted strangely as soon as he saw Anakin, squealing loudly and rolling as fast as he could away from the boy as if Anakin had done something to offend or scare the domed astromech.
He had seen the Droid only a few times since then, watching him closely from the shadows and observing his every move. As if he was waiting for him to do something bad.
"Well he's an old droid, so maybe it's the same one," said Luke in all seriousness.
Anakin's head shot up to stare at Luke, his eyes surprised and questioning at the same time. He could feel the underlying statement behind Luke's words and even the Force seemed to churn uneasily around them.
"Now I was wondering if I could ask you a question. What year are you from?" asked Luke as he made it known that he knew Anakin was from the past.
Anakin's mouth opened to form an O before he quickly shut his mouth and replied, "How did you find out?"
"I know a lot," said Luke with a friendly smile to show Anakin that he meant no harm. "You're obviously a well-trained Jedi and you mentioned having lived on Coruscant, all of which is uncharacteristic for this particular time period. Coruscant is now known as Imperial Center, the capital of the Empire. If you had lived there, you would've been found and probably trained to be an Inquisitor or something like that."
Anakin nodded his head in resignation, "I'm from the year 3629 ATC and I'm not a full-fledged Jedi, at least not yet. I'm a Padawan," he said as he pointed to the strange braid that hung down on his shoulder, "an apprentice to Master Obi-wan Kenobi."
So that's what the braid had been for. Luke hadn't been sure if it was something Jedi related or just a horrible fashion statement.
Luke whistled, "twenty-eight years is a pretty big jump. How'd you find out you're in the wrong year?"
Anakin shrugged, "from some people on Ben'we. Thought I had hit my head in the crash because I didn't know what the year was."
"I bet you were really surprised."
"I still am," said Anakin as he shook his head. "It's strange, you know? To find out everything that's happened and to wonder why. I wonder what happened to me in all these years, whether or not I survived the purge or if I'm –... dead."
Anakin had never thought about it till now, instead opting to busy his thoughts with that of the Empire and the fall of the Jedi. It was completely normal to wonder what had happened to him in these last twenty-eight years, but Anakin wasn't sure that he would want to know. He could very well be dead at this point in his life and if that was the case then he wouldn't want to know how or when.
Luke fought back a cringe, "maybe you shouldn't dwell on your own future. You may not like what you find."
Anakin sighed, "I suppose so. It's just that there's so much that has happened and I don't understand. How did this Empire come about? What happened to the Republic?"
"I'm not completely sure," said Luke shaking his head in dismay. "There's so much that I don't know either being from the Outer Rim and considering how much history the Empire destroyed. But what I do know is that there was some sort of attempted coup that ended up failing, which caused the Emperor to seize control of the Senate and declare the Jedi an enemy of the state. From there he formed the Empire and the Jedi were purged," said Luke as he did his best to recall everything that Aunt Beru had taught him during his home lessons. There was probably much more to the story, but the Empire had sanitized a lot of it in their favor.
"So this Emperor was a Sith?" asked Anakin after a few moments of silence. He was confused as to how the Emperor had gotten control of the Senate, or how he would've managed to destroy the Jedi without help. Two Sith against the entire Jedi Order just was not possible, which led Anakin to believe that there was something missing in the story that he didn't know.
"Yes," said Luke as he nodded his head, "he and his apprentice, Darth Vader where the ones to carry this out."
"But how? Two Sith isn't enough to destroy the Jedi!" said Anakin in confusion and anger.
"It wasn't just the Sith," said Luke before pausing, contemplating how he would describe the part that the Clones played in the grand scheme of everything. "They had an army of Clones that helped them."
Anakin shook his head, "but wouldn't the Republic have known about an army of Clones? Why didn't the Republic do anything to stop the creation of this army?"
"Because the Republic created the army," said Luke with an exasperated sigh. The story was complicated and one that he didn't really know, much less Anakin, who looked beyond lost as Luke's explanation.
"The Republic created the army that helped destroy them? What purpose would the Republic have for creating an army in the first place?"
"There was a war going on during that time that required additional man power. There was a group that was trying to separate from the Republic and they had their own army," said Luke, starting to regret not paying attention to his history studies with his Aunt Beru. He wasn't sure, but he remembered droids being mentioned and what not, but then again, history was not his strong suit.
Anakin shook his head, the confusion still present on his face. He didn't understand what the Clone Wars was really about, but Luke knew that there would come a day in his life when he would live through the War.
"When did this take place?" asked Anakin in morbid curiosity.
"From 3631 to 3634 ATC."
Anakin did the math and came to the conclusion that the war would start in two years from his time, which meant that this war was already well on its way to happening. Which meant that the Republic only have five years left in his own time, which was a very short amount of time.
Anakin hadn't realized it yet, but the Republic had already started to fall, even in his own time.
"And the Jedi fought in this war?" asked Anakin in surprise. "The Jedi are defenders of peace, we try to remain neutral in Republic conflicts like these. We would've tried to find a peaceful solution first before we ever took up arms against someone."
"Moral obligation?" asked Luke with a shrug, "The Jedi did swear to protect and serve the Republic. I'm guessing that when the Republic went to war, the Jedi were inevitably dragged into it. Plus, not defending the Republic and saying no to the Senate would've been bad for publicity. Either way, it was a no win situation."
"I guess," said Anakin. He wasn't sure about all the politics that were involved in getting the Jedi to fight in a war for the Republic, but he could sense that there was something fishy about the whole situation.
He wondered briefly if he had fought in the war along with his fellow Jedi and how many of his fellow friends and mentors had perished in the war. Is this how Obi-wan died? Fighting in this so called Clone War or did his Master die in the purge that subsequently followed?
Did he die in the Clone Wars or in the purge as well?
Anakin shuddered at the thought and decided that ignorance was probably best in the case, and that knowing his future was best left to the imagination.
Luke patted Anakin on the back sympathetically, "I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. I mean, isn't that why you are here? To go back and prevent this all from even happening in the first place?"
"I suppose. But it sure is a weird way to fix everything, don't you think?"
Luke smiled brightly at Anakin, "oh you have no idea how weird this situation is."
The poor boy really had no idea.
Now Luke knows who Anakin is! What will happen next and how will he keep everything a secret from Anakin?
Comment and tell me what you thought!
Also, huge thanks to Khalthar who caught all of my mistakes :)
Chapter 8: Chapter 8
Anakin kept his posture steady as he used his left foot to step back and used his lightsaber to strike down, the blue of his saber cutting through the air with precision and accuracy before he did the same thing from his right stance. He was light and graceful as he practiced the lightsaber sequence that he had been practicing for years and had already mastered at this point, but his mind was busy and he needed something to occupy his chaotic mind, so he decided to practice all the saber forms that he knew starting with Shii-Cho.
His thoughts were spread far apart and had little coherency to them. By then, he had already accepted the infallible truth that he was in the future but his time-traveling mishap was not what was currently ruling over his thoughts and emotions.
He had had a dream.
A dream that he did not understand nor could he comprehend it, but he could feel that there was a level of importance to it that was of great importance. It felt as though those hazy collage of images and feelings were more than dreams, that perhaps they were visions that the Force had given him.
It wouldn't be the first time that that had happened.
He had dreamed of another life, one that was fictional but realistic at the same time and that stirred emotions in him that were powerful and misunderstood. It felt as though he had been there, lived through it and experienced the flurry of emotions first hand.
He had dreamed of his Master, the feeling of friendship and brotherly affection that came from the both of them. The feelings were deep and raw and not ones that were easily ignored seeing as it was already branded on Anakin's heart.
But the images had changed so fast that Anakin barely had time to understand what he had just seen before it would ripple and disappear before yet another took its place. It was as though he had been underwater trying to listen and watch all that that was going on around him, but there were instances that he would always remember.
How joy had turned into sorrow, but he did not know why. One moment he had been with his Master and the next he was holding his mother in his arms, her face sad and bloodied as she stared up at him with nothing but love in her eyes.
The image had only been for a second before being replaced by that of a woman in a blue dress, her back turned to him as she stared out the window at the fire that consumed the skyline. Her sobbing was all that Anakin could hear, the heartbroken sound escaping from her mouth was enough to make Anakin's stomach churn uncomfortably.
He wished that he knew why she was so sad but he hadn't the time to stick around before he sucked away and found himself on a fiery planet surrounded by lava and molten rock, his lungs burning with every breath and a searing pain in his limbs before everything the flames had devoured him.
It was then that he had awoken from his sleep, his breathing labored and his body shaking. He had stayed like that for a few minutes before he had gotten up and gone to find Luke, who had been in the cockpit talking to someone. He had put on a brave face and had hidden his discomfort before going in to talk to the older Jedi about what had happened to the Republic and the Jedi Order.
He didn't like what he found out and he was far from satisfied with the answers that he had been given, still not understanding everything and the events that had led to the fall of everything he had sworn to protect and serve.
Nothing made sense and the Force did nothing to help him understand.
Have patience. The Force knows better than you.
Anakin huffed as he swung around and used his left foot the step forward before thrusting his lightsaber forward before swinging it over his head, creating a deadly blue arc in the air before he proceeded to do the same but with his opposite foot.
"Impressive," said Luke as he leaned against the bulkhead, where he had been silently observing the teenager for the last few minutes undetected.
Anakin stopped his lightsaber midair to look over at Luke before he dropped his stance and deactivated his weapon before clipping it to his utility belt. He hadn't realized that Luke had been watching him the entire time. If Obi-wan had been there, he would've scolded Anakin for letting his guard drop enough not to feel when another presence was in the room, but it no longer mattered.
Obi-wan was dead.
"Did you learn that at the Jedi Temple?" asked Luke curiously as he walked into the lounge.
"Yes," said Anakin as he shrugged his leather vest along with his belt off and set it down on the table. "It's called Shii-Cho, or form I. There are seven different forms of lightsaber techniques, each one designed and practiced differently so as to utilize the strengths and weaknesses of those using them."
"I've heard of them, but I only know a few," said Luke with a small laugh. "I never really got that much lightsaber training from any of my Masters. My first Master taught me a little but I ended up learning more from the journals he kept while in exile."
"Masters? You had two Masters?" asked Anakin curiously as he tried to get more a sense of who Luke really was.
"My first Master died," said Luke sadly, "he was cut down by Darth Vader and after that, I went to Yoda to finish my training, which I have yet to do."
"Grand Master Yoda?" asked Anakin as he remembered that the older Jedi's presence still remained but had been hidden from everyone so that no one could find him.
"Yes, he's still alive but I don't think for very much longer."
"Oh," said Anakin as he thought of the very old Jedi. Yoda was almost a thousand years old, but that didn't mean he was immortal.
"Who was your first Master?" asked Anakin as he tried to divert the conversation away from the eerie topic of Yoda's imminent death. "I might know him or at least have heard of him."
It was possible, but there were about ten thousand Jedi in Coruscant and Anakin did not know them all. But names tended to travel through the Temple or it was possible that he knew Luke's first Master as a fellow Padawan. They were talking about time-travel after all.
"I knew him as Ben, but his real name was Obi-wan Kenobi," said Luke carefully, deciding that it would be okay to reveal that information even though he knew that Kenobi had been his father's Master. He saw no point in lying to Anakin about who his first Master was.
Anakin's reaction was sudden, his blue eyes widening in surprise and shock as he restlessly shifted his weight from one foot to the other.
"Obi-wan Kenobi trained you?" he asked, his voice strained and unbelieving.
Luke nodded his head, "yes, he did."
"And he was killed," stated Anakin softly, "by Darth Vader?"
"About three years ago on a space station called the Death Star. He fought with Darth Vader before he was cut down and became one with the Force. He still likes to hang around though, as a Force ghost of course."
"Force ghost?" asked Anakin, unsure of what he had just heard. There were no such things as Force ghosts. Everyone who died lost their individuality to become one with the Force and were unable to communicate with the living, and there was no known way to keep one's identity after death.
Luke nodded his head, "it is possible for a Force user to deny the will of the Force and maintain their individuality and become Force ghosts."
Anakin shook his head, "I've never heard of a Force ghost in all my years with the Order."
"Well, death is sort of tricky thing. How would any of us know what lies beyond the realm of the living? The Jedi don't know everything about the Force."
Luke didn't intend to be rude by questioning the knowledge of the Jedi Order, but even Ben had told him that the Jedi had been flawed. They had misinterpreted the Force in many different ways and there had even been something in Ben's notes that had mentioned the Prophecy of the Chosen One and how the Jedi had been wrong about what they thought would happen.
He just merely wanted to question some of their beliefs that he knew to be wrong.
Anakin thought about it for a few moments, "I guess it could be so, but I've just never heard of such a thing before."
"Neither had I," said Luke as he nodded his head in understanding. "I know it's a strange concept to you, but it's real. His spirit has appeared to me on multiple occasions after his death."
Anakin said nothing as he stared down at the floor and found himself believing what Luke had to say about life beyond death. There had been nothing in the Jedi archives or teachings that mentioned time travel before and yet here he was. So maybe there really were such things as Force Ghosts.
Which meant that maybe Obi-wan was still hanging around even after his death by a Sith Lord.
Darth Vader, the man who had killed his Master in cold blood was the same man who had aided in the destruction of the Jedi and the Republic, everything that Anakin had sworn to protect and serve.
Anakin hoped that he could one day meet this infamous Darth Vader so that he could run his lightsaber through him personally for everything that he had ever done. He didn't know Vader, but he already hated him with a burning passion even though he knew that hate was not the Jedi way.
Hatred led to the Dark Side, but Anakin could not contain his anger and fury at the Sith.
He wanted to see this Darth Vader pay for everything that he had done.
He wanted Darth Vader to die.
"Hey you two," said Leia as she popped her head around the corner to stare at the two blond men. "We'll be rendezvousing with the Rebel fleet in a few minutes."
"Okay, thanks, Leia," said Luke as they both watched her disappear down the corridor before turning to face each other.
"So this Rebel Alliance that you and Leia are a part of-," began Anakin, "when was it founded?"
He was curious to know more about these Rebels, these soldiers who were bringing the fight to the Empire in hopes of restoring democracy to the galaxy. Luke had told him a little about them in the cockpit a few hours after they had talked about the Jedi Order and what growing up on Tatooine was like for the both of them.
Anakin was happy to know that there were people out there who were willing to stand for what was right no matter the consequences and he imagined his future self possibly being in the fight with them. It was the only plausible future he could see for himself if he had not perished in the Purge.
Anakin couldn't imagine what else he would be doing when the galaxy was in such turmoil.
"The same year the Republic fell I believe, but it was only officially reorganized a few years ago. Leia knows more than I do, maybe you should ask her more if you're curious about the Alliance's history."
"Maybe I will," said Anakin as he and Luke began to make their way out to the cockpit, where Leia was seated at the controls along with the blue astromech droid that reminded Anakin of R2-D2. But Anakin was positive that it was not the same droid, or at least the same droid with its memory wiped because of how strangely it acted around him.
The droid beeped shrilly but did not move back as it always did whenever it saw Anakin, instead it just stared up at the teenage boy silently before he rolled over to Luke to nudge his leg. Anakin could understand binary perfectly but the droids refusal to talk to him made it difficult to understand why he seemed to avoid him.
"Stop that Artoo," said Luke as the droid nudged his leg again. "His name is Anakin. He's not going to harm you."
The droid let out a shrill beep that was akin to a scoff before he rolled out of the room, all three of their eyes on him as he disappeared down the corridor.
"What's that droids name?" asked Anakin as he returned his gaze over to Luke and Leia.
"R2-D2," said Leia as she swung her chair around to face Anakin. "He's a funny little droid that Luke has quite the attachment to."
"Artoo is more than just a funny little droid," said Luke defensively.
Anakin's eyes drifted over to the droid, who was peeking out at him from behind the door as if he was trying to spy on the teenager. As soon as the droid saw Anakin looking at him, he let out a small beep before rolling up to him slowly and with such caution that reminded him of a timid animal.
He was certain at that point he was the very same droid that had belonged to the Queen all those years ago. It seemed ludicrous that he would run into the same droid all these years later and for him to be in relatively good condition despite his age.
Anakin tilted his head to the side, "Artoo?"
His voice was barely above that of a whisper as he held his hand out to show the droid that he meant no harm.
Something immediately seemed to change in the droid as he let out a shrill and excited beep, confirming that he was the very same droid from Naboo. Artoo rolled over to where Anakin was and nudged his leg as he bent down on one knee and placed his hand against the dome of the droid as he remembered blowing up the Trade Federation ship at the age of nine. It only felt like yesterday that he was soaring through space with Artoo, jumping up and down in his seat in excitement as he joined in the Battle of Naboo.
It had only been eight years to him, but in reality, it had been thirty-six years since that had happened.
By then, Luke and Leia had stopped arguing and were now staring at Anakin and Artoo with funny looks on their faces. It was quite obvious at that point that Anakin and Artoo knew each other and both were curious as to how.
"Do you know Artoo?" asked Luke.
Anakin nodded his head, "I met him when I was nine when I was living on Tatooine. He belonged to a girl I knew from Naboo."
He had decided to leave his explanation at that. There was no need to mention that Padme had been a Queen or that he had met Artoo during the Crisis of Naboo, which he had helped diffuse when he blew up the Trade Federation ship.
"What a coincidence," said Leia under her breath with confusion disbelief. Artoo had been her father's droid longer than Anakin had even been alive, so there really wasn't any possible way that the boy could know the Droid much less its previous owner.
But there was no denying that Anakin and Artoo knew each other.
There was no denying that Artoo was loyal and that was one of the reasons why her father had sent the droid on many assignments across the galaxy. It was quite possible that Artoo and Anakin had met on Tatooine during one of these assignments, but then who was the girl? One of her father's many agents?
"How did you get Artoo, again?" asked Anakin, failing to notice the strange look Leia was giving him.
"My Uncle Owen bought him from the Jawas to help us out on the farm. That was three years ago," said Luke with bewilderment in his eyes as he stared over at Artoo. "Of course, it was because of Leia that he was on Tatooine to begin with."
He couldn't believe that Artoo had known his father and that he hadn't mentioned it to Luke.
"And she belonged to a girl from Naboo?" asked Leia in curiosity as she tried to delve deeper into the strange tale. "What was she doing all the way out on Tatooine?"
"Her ship needed repairs so they stopped in the shop where I worked," said Anakin casually. "She ended up going back to Naboo and I haven't seen her since."
She hadn't expected him to know much seeing as it was probably an undercover mission, so she decided not to pursue his knowledge of the droid or the girl from Naboo anymore.
Leia nodded her head, "I once accompanied my father on a diplomatic mission to Naboo when I was fourteen. I remember how lovely it was there."
"It really is," said Anakin with a large smile as he remembered the rich culture of Naboo. "I visited there when I was nine during one of the celebrations in Theed."
"Oh really? Is that before you went to Imperial Center?" she asked with a tilt of her head.
"Yes," said Anakin curtly as he dipped his head down as he remembered how careful he needed to be to not give himself away. He didn't want Leia thinking that he was a raging lunatic talking about time travel and what not.
Luke only stared between the two of them with a platonic expression, interested in what they had to say to each other. He was keenly interested in knowing more about his father's past and he was being given a rare opportunity to learn more about Anakin Skywalker.
He had already learned more about his father in the last day than he had in his entire twenty-two years of life. Owen and Beru had been uninformed about much of his father's past, only telling him the basics and nothing more because they simply did not know. They had only met his father once and the circumstances were less than ideal for getting to know one another.
For instance, his Aunt and Uncle had never mentioned that Anakin had left Tatooine when he was nine or that he had ever visited the planet of Naboo before going to train on Coruscant. They had only told him that his father had left and that was that.
But then again there was still so much to learn from this young man. Nothing that Anakin had said or even his behavior had once constituted the reason for his downfall and Luke could only guess that this was because his father was untainted at this point in his life.
The boy was deeply rooted in the light to the point where it seemed almost impossible that he could ever become Darth Vader, but the past in that point in time had already been written.
But then again, Anakin being brought here must mean that the past could be rewritten.
Maybe there didn't have to be a monster at the end of this story.
"So you are a politician?" asked Anakin awkwardly after a few moments of silence, his voice hinting at curiosity and-
Was that a hint of disdain?
"Yes," she said with a smile before her face fell and her eyes became downcast, "or at least I was."
Anakin seemed to feel her sudden change in mood and felt the sudden need to comfort her, his blue eyes catching her brown orbs which had become laden with sadness.
"What planet did you represent?" he asked.
"Alderaan," she said with a far-away look in her eyes. "My mother was the Queen and my father was the Viceroy and Elected Representative before I took up his Senatorial duties when I was sixteen."
"So you're the Princess of Alderaan?" asked Anakin as he remembered how young Padme had been when she had gotten into politics. It seemed as though Leia and Padme were similar in that manner and something told him they probably would've been good friends if they had ever met each other.
"Was," she said curtly. "Apparently you haven't heard. There is no Alderaan to be the Princess of anymore."
Luke turned his head sharply to look at Leia, his blue eyes wandering over to a confused looking Anakin before he took a step forward and placed his hand on Leia's shoulder in a comforting manner.
"No Alderaan? What do you mean?" asked Anakin as he noticed the pain that flashed through the Princess's eyes as well as the stoic expression that Luke was giving him, as if he was trying to warn Anakin.
"Alderaan was destroyed three years ago," said Luke dryly. "The Empire wanted to demonstrate the destructive capabilities of their new Death Star, a space station with the technology to wipe out an entire planet."
"Bastards," sneered Leia with hatred in her eyes as she averted her gaze over to Anakin, who sat silently in shock. "They silenced an entire planet for nothing more than a power demonstration."
"They destroyed Alderaan?" asked Anakin, his voice heavily strained. "An entire planet?"
"Yes," said Luke as he shook his head, "And it wasn't only Alderaan. They destroyed Jedha City and they also targeted Scarif."
"And what of the weapon?" asked Anakin as he ran an agitated hand through his hair. "Please tell me they no longer have that sort of power at their fingertips."
"No," said Luke with a shake of his head. "Some brave Rebels sacrificed their lives to retrieve the plans from an Imperial base on Scarif. We destroyed it during the Battle of Yavin a few years ago."
Anakin shook his head, "I just can't believe that they could have- "
He said, trailing off of his intended sentence to stare over at Luke with a baffled expression that spoke on an entirely different level that Luke did not have to be a Jedi to recognize.
Luke knew exactly what was going on in the youth's troubled mind.
How did it ever come to this?
It was a simple question that had haunted Luke ever since he had buried his Aunt and Uncle and set off for Alderaan with Ben. Before, he had just been a naïve farm boy ready to join the Imperial Navy if it meant getting off of that barren rock they called Tatooine.
But now he was older, hardened by war and tainted by revelations.
Tainted by the truth.
"I know it's a lot to take in," said Luke in a soothing manner, "I'm sure it's quite a surprise for you, considering how you've been away for some time, haven't you?"
News of Alderaan's destruction had spread through the galaxy like wildfire and there were very few people who had not heard of the planet who's royal family had dared to speak out against the Empire. A lot of people on Alderaan had opposed the Empire, but of course there were quite a few there who did support the Imperial cause but in the end suffered the same fate as everyone else that day.
"Yes," said Anakin gravelly. "I am sorry to say that this is the first I have heard of Alderaan's demise. I've been in hiding and I'm not as up to date on current events as I should be."
He said this specifically to Leia before he bowed his head as a sign of respect to the Princess, as was customary for Jedi to do when showing formalities. He wanted to show her that he was truly and deeply sorry for the loss she had suffered at the hand of the Empire and that he had her support.
It was about the only thing that he could for now. But he knew that there would be more for him to do in preventing this tragedy when he went back to his own time.
"I am so sorry for your loss, Milady. Alderaan was a lovely planet and I hope that those who aided in its destruction will be brought to justice."
Alderaan had truly been a lovely planet with its classical beliefs and influences that had helped shape the Republic as well as serve as an important symbol of democracy.
He had only been there once when he was about eleven or twelve with his Master but he remembered the snow-capped mountain ranges and the crystal clear lakes as well as the forests that had littered the terrain of the planet. It held a classical beauty that was, in its own way, unique and inspiring just like Naboo had been to him.
He still couldn't believe that it was gone.
"Thank you, Anakin," she said as she put on a brave smile. "I agree and hope one day that the people of Alderaan may finally rest knowing that they have been avenged."
It was her final duty to her people, to be their voice just once more.
Once the Republic had been restored, she would see to it personally that every person involved in the genocide of Alderaan would be labeled as War Criminals and given their due.
Anakin was about to reply when there was a beeping from the console, warning them that they were approaching their destination and would need to drop out of hyperdrive soon. Luke beat Anakin over to the pilot's chair, much to the dismay of the teenager, but he soon got over it as they dropped out of hyperdrive and the Rebel fleet became visible to them.
Anakin stared out the viewport at the cluster of ships, his blue eyes falling on the command ship as they drew closer and closer to the enormous vessel.
"There they are," said Luke with a smile as he noticed Anakin's stare. "The Alliance fleet in the flesh."
"You guys don't have ground bases?" asked Anakin out of curiosity.
"We did," said Leia from her spot next to Anakin, "but we've had to evacuate them as of recent due to the Empire locating us."
"The last base was on Hoth," said Luke, "but we had to abandon it a few months ago when the Empire found us and attacked."
Anakin simply nodded his head in interest as they drew in closer while Luke got permission to land in one of the shuttle bays on the larger ship.
The next few minutes happened in a blur as Luke flew the Millennium Falcon into the densely crowded shuttle bay as Anakin looked out from where he sat in the co-pilots chair, the uniforms of the some of the Rebels catching his eye, especially the bright orange jumpsuits that he could only guess were their flight suits.
The ships that were lined against the far wall also caught his wandering eye as he stared at the design, his mind racing with thoughts of possibly flying one in the near future. He was an excellent pilot and his skills could be put somewhere useful while he was here instead of just sitting around doing nothing.
The three of them made their way down the ramp, the younger of the two trailing behind as he watched a few people make their way over to Luke and Leia to greet them. He watched a Wookie and a tall dark skinned man start up a conversation with the two, their faces bright and smiling.
Anakin averted his eyes back to the ships, his mind curious at the mechanical layout of such a vessel. He had never before seen a ship of this particular design and of course, he was more than eager to get a look at the inside.
No one seemed to pay him any attention as he made his way over to one and walked around to get a full image before making his way back to the front again, careful to not get in anyone's way.
"You ever flown one?" came a gravelly voice from behind him.
Anakin turned around to see a tall young man who could not have been older than thirty at least who was staring at the boy in front of him with curiosity.
"No," said Anakin as he shook his head. "I've never flown one of these, but I've piloted my fair share."
"Really?" he asked as he surveyed the teenager in front of him. "How old are you, kid?"
"Seventeen," replied Anakin honestly, "but I'll be eighteen soon."
That was an exaggeration of course but Anakin was interested in possibly learning to pilot one of these and joining one of their squadrons, but he had only just turned seventeen a couple of months before he found himself here.
"You new to the Rebellion? I've never seen you here before."
"I'm new here," said Anakin casually, "there's really no other place for me to go so I figured I might as well join the cause."
"Really? Where are you from?" asked the older man as his eyes trailed over the cylindrical weapon that was clipped to Anakin's utility belt before averting his eyes back to the blues of the boy's eyes.
He said nothing, but he recognized the weapon as the same one that the Jedi carried. The same one that Luke Skywalker carried with him and the robes that the youth wore were reminiscent of the ones that the Jedi wore before they were Purged.
Anakin noticed the older man's gaze on his lightsaber and he discreetly used his robes to hide the hilt of the weapon before answering his question: "I'm from an Outer Rim planet called Tatooine."
"Is that so? There's a guy here named Luke who's from there. Have you met him yet?"
Anakin nodded his head, "Luke was the one who brought me here."
The older man nodded his head, "he's a great guy you know. A very talented pilot and we're lucky to have him."
Anakin nodded his head nonchalantly as his eyes traveled back to Luke, who was chatting a few people up, not having noticed what the younger man was up too.
"So you interested in learning to fly one of these? We could always use pilots here you know," he said with genuine interest in the teenager. "Of course you'll have to wait till you're eighteen to fly with a Squadron, but I could go ahead and show you a few tricks beforehand."
Anakin nodded his head, "I'd be interested if you're willing."
Of course, Anakin knew that he would not need much help in learning to fly one considering how fast he picked up how to pilot a new vessel. It was always just something that came naturally to him.
Across the hangar, Luke finally seemed to notice where his young friend had disappeared too and made his way over to where Anakin was chatting up Wedge Antilles. He had wanted to introduce Anakin to Mon Mothma and the others so that he could explain to them who Anakin was and that he was a Jedi before he started mingling with the Rebel personnel, but he had been so caught up with talking to Lando and Chewie that he had momentarily forgotten about the presence of his young father.
"There you are," said Luke as he placed his hand on Anakin's shoulder, who stiffened immediately upon the touch. "I see you've already found the ships."
"I was just talking to him about the possibility of him joining one of our Squadrons," said Wedge as he motioned to Anakin. "He's interested in learning to fly an X-Wing and he says he's a pilot."
Of course, Anakin Skywalker was a pilot and a pretty damn good one from what Ben had told him, and he had heard of Vader's legendary piloting skills in passing so it did not surprise him to find the teenager was interested in joining one of the Squadrons. But Luke wasn't entirely sure if it was something that he should let the boy pursue while he was here.
Being a Rebel pilot was a dangerous job and would undoubtedly put the boy at risk.
The Force scoffed at Luke's reasoning and understandably so.
Who do you think you got your piloting skills from?
But it didn't matter anyway. Anakin was not eighteen yet and that was the minimum age for all combat pilots in the Rebellion, no exceptions what so ever.
The Rebel Alliance did not believe in the use of child soldiers and while there were plenty of young men and women within their ranks that were currently being trained, none of them were to be sent out on the front lines. Seventeen was certainly old enough to go on training missions, but not old enough to fly with the Squadron into aerial battles.
Eighteen was the magic number that didn't require training from the Rebellion. If you were decent and of age, then you could fly into battle, but the Alliance didn't just take anyone.
Of course, there were other Rebel cells that were not a part of the Alliance that enlisted the use of children as well as using extreme military tactics that were a little too out there for the Alliance's taste.
Luke had heard stories of the Partisans, led by the late Saw Gerrera before his death a few years ago during the weapons test on Jedha City. Leia had spoken of their terror tactics as well the tactics of other Rebel Cells such as the Zarraban who were led by Jeyng'Yu, a Rebel fanatic who was not afraid to target civilians instead of military posts.
Many of these cells had been ostracized by the Alliance and fought on their own volition and principles.
Luke tilted his head to stare at Anakin, who was staring at him with hope shining in his blue eyes and it was obvious that this was something that the youth wanted to do.
Which made would make it even harder to say no to him.
"We'll talk about it," said Luke curtly to Wedge, not sure what else to say to either of them as he begun to lead Anakin away from the Corellian.
"See you around Luke! You too kid," said Wedge before he returned to his duties while the two Jedi made their way out of the hangar.
"So that's what you pilot? What's the name of your Squadron?" asked Anakin with great interest as he followed Luke through the corridor, ignoring the wondering glances of all those who passed them by.
"Rogue Squadron," replied Luke as he looked over at Anakin, who was staring at him with eagerness and excitement.
There was no doubt that Anakin was passionate about flying.
"How long have you been a pilot with that Squadron?"
"Since I was nineteen," said Luke as they turned the corner, Anakin trailing closely at his heels. "My first time flying one was during the Battle of Yavin a few years ago."
"And that's when you guys took out the Death Star?" asked Anakin slowly, his eyebrows scrunched up as he stared at the older man with a blank expression.
Luke stopped as he stared at Anakin, absently noting that the boy was only seventeen and already a good two inches taller than him. He wasn't sure what to tell Anakin about his desire to fly with the Squadron and he wasn't even sure if it was a possibility.
Luke tilted his head to the side, "yes, it was. Anakin- do you really want to fly with the Squadron?"
The youth shrugged his shoulders, but Luke could see the burning desire in the boy's eyes that reminded him of Ben's stories of how great a pilot his father had been. Ben had gone on and on about how great Anakin Skywalker had been and how impressed he had been with his piloting skills.
Even the Force seemed to confirm this fact.
"I'm here for a reason, aren't I? I have to help somehow and I know how to pilot," said Anakin pointedly. "And besides, this wouldn't be the first time that I've piloted in an aerial battle."
Luke paused for a moment as he truly thought about his father's time with the Jedi Order. He hadn't thought about it till now, but there was no doubt that his father had been in his fair share of conflicts starting from a young age.
It was so easy to forget what Anakin was when he looked so young and innocent, but at the same time, he carried an air of confidence and the maturity that came with being a Jedi.
How many missions had he been on to help establish peace in dangerous planetary conflicts? The Jedi were peacekeepers, but they were also warriors who knew how to command armies and use force when necessary.
Suddenly Anakin appeared older than he was and it made Luke internally shudder as he felt the power that his father possessed, the Force swirling around him like a large cat that was ready to pounce on its prey. The power clear and present, but tame and patient at the same time.
Something that hid in the shadows, but was always present and ready to attack.
"I-I'll see what I can do," said Luke softly, ignoring the strange look that Anakin was giving him.
Anakin could sense Luke's sudden change in behavior and mood and he wondered briefly what the cause for the older Jedi's turbulent emotions. It seemed as though the older Jedi couldn't keep his emotions in check and it made Anakin wonder why that was.
Usually, Jedi, at least a few of the ones that Anakin knew, could be cold and emotionless, making them resemble machines rather than sentient beings and it had always bothered him how they could forego such things as love but use compassion as a replacement sentiment.
But Luke did not personify that state of emotion, or lack of it if Anakin had any say.
It was unfamiliar to Anakin, but he liked it- how refreshing it was that there was another Jedi out there who was like him in so many ways- but so different at the same time. Luke was not typical and Anakin was certain, after observing him for some time that it was because he had been forced to adapt to being a Jedi in this time.
"Thank you," said Anakin as a large smile overtook his face, a genuine and kind smile that Luke couldn't help but return, albeit not as bright or as merry as the youths. Luke just couldn't bring himself to, not after what he had just felt through the Force, the power and yearning that came from the boy. The potential that Anakin possessed was thick and heavy laden, raw talent and skill at his fingertips and yet here he was, smiling at him brightly with not a clue as to what having that sort of power meant for his future.
Luke shuddered involuntarily but remained composed.
Careful. The Force whispered to him and he knew that Anakin did not need that sort of burden placed on him. He was just a teenager, susceptible to stress and feelings of inadequacy if Luke remembered anything about those hard years.
"No problem," said Luke with a shrug as he motioned for Anakin to follow him. "Come on, I'll show you where your quarters are and then we can go get some grub from the cafeteria."
"Food sounds good," said Anakin, perking up at the mention of food.
"And then after that, I'll have to introduce you to Mon Mothma and the others and we have to give a briefing of what happened on Ben'we."
"We do?" asked Anakin as his expression turned slightly sour, his teenage mind already bored at the notion. However, the name Mon Mothma sounded vaguely familiar to Anakin, possibly the name of one of the many Representatives that served in the Senate during the days of the Republic but he wasn't sure.
He had, of course, studied politics at the Jedi Temple but his attention during the class had been focused elsewhere other than what Master Sjo Kentu had to say and it was a miracle that he had managed to pass the class at all. There were far too many Senators and Diplomats to keep track of all their names and accomplishments, and most of them were not people that Anakin would honestly want to remember anyways. It seemed as though most of them were stuck up aristocrats who got their positions not by their hard work, but by their wealth and privilege.
And many were willing to do whatever it took to remain in power, their corruption subtle and sugarcoated with promises of a more stable economy and equality for all, but in reality, it was all just a rouse to stay in office.
There were only a few Representatives that Anakin had bothered to pay any sort of attention too, a certain newly elected Senator of Naboo being one of them. It was only a month before Anakin had found himself here that Padme Amidala had been elected to Represent Naboo in the Senate, her position as Queen having been handed to a young woman by the name of Jamillia.
"Yes, we do," chuckled Luke. "But don't worry, they'll be most happy to know that they have another Jedi in their ranks."
"Jedi Padawan," murmured Anakin.
"A minor detail," said Luke as he led Anakin through the corridor. "Padawan, Master, Knight it's all the same to them. What matters is that you know how to use a lightsaber in combat, which is always a plus in the eyes of the Rebellion."
"There's a lot more to being a Jedi than just being able to swing a lightsaber," commented Anakin with a grin.
"Yes, but it's what Jedi are known for isn't it?"
Anakin couldn't argue with that logic and had to admit the defining detail of a Jedi was their lightsaber, to most of the galaxy that was. Wherever Anakin had gone in the galaxy, people had always been captivated not by his robes or even his abilities, but by his "laser sword."
It seemed as though this captivation extended to the leaders of the Rebellion as well.
"I can't argue that," said Anakin as he raised his hands in submission, an amused smile pulling across his face as he followed Luke through the hallway.
The Force hummed in content and peace as the laughter of the two men rang through the corridor.
But it would not last.