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Friday, October 12, 2018

Growing Up Under Twin Suns

Under the twin suns of Tatooine, the boy flourished. By the time he turned 12, he was easily defeating the Wookie who often visited Mos Eisley with his itinerant smuggler sidekick. At 14, he could run faster than the T-16 Skyhopper that often flew between Anchorhead and the Lars farm. Ben Kenobi cautioned the boy to be discreet about displaying his immense physical prowess, and to his credit the boy tried, but he was a curious one, eager to explore beyond the sand and rock that were his adopted home.

Soon I'll lose him, Kenobi thought.

"What troubles you, Master?"

Kenobi turned to face his apprentice, Luke Skywalker, now approaching his 30th year and a Jedi Knight in his own right, though he could never be called by that title in public, lest he be hunted down like the rest of the order. Kenobi and Skywalker were the last, even Master Yoda having faded into the light of the Force a decade past. Now they hid like the fugitives they were, away from the prying eyes of the Empire, on a planet so forsaken the Emperor left it to the Hutts.

"Young Clark is growing too big for this world. Like you," Kenobi said, reaching out to place a gentle hand on Skywalker's shoulder.

"Is it finally time? After all these years in exile?"

"I don't know, Luke," Kenobi said. "The Rebellion's back was nearly broken all those years ago. It's taken this long to recoup even a fraction of our strength, with the threat of the Death Star holding sympathetic worlds hostage. While the Empire's dark tyranny flourishes, we must wait."

Luke sighed. "I'm so sick of waiting. They need us. Two Jedi could make all the difference, Ben."

Kenobi nodded in acknowledgement, then turned away from his protege to watch as a whirlwind of swirling sand approached from beyond the dunes. It was a phenomenon he'd seen before; when Clark ran at his full speed, he kicked up a trail of dust in his wake.

But then something new happened. Kenobi and Skywalker watched in awe as the boy leapt into the air--and did not come down. He swooped through the sky, laughing, his red cape fluttering in the breeze behind him. It was nothing like the levitation the Force allowed, slow and graceful; the boy was a zephyr.

Kenobi pointed skyward. "Two Jedi could make a difference," he agreed. "But he could make the difference."

Kenobi's old brow furrowed as he weighed possibilities. The boy was already impervious to blaster fire. Lightsabers couldn't cut through his impenetrable hide. His alien senses matched and even outmatched many Jedi powers. He could hurl heat beams from his eyes. And now this - flying through the air without antigrav repulsors. What a soldier he'd make.

"Luke, my young, old friend," Kenobi said. "Let's go down to Mos Eisley and see if that rogue Solo is in port this month. It may be time to go after all."

In the Great Temple of Massassi that hid the remnants of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan and General Jan Dodonna leaned over a holographic display tank and watched the latest fleet strength numbers play out.

"Fifty starfighters, twelve capital ships, barely 10,000 troops," Dodonna said. "At this recruitment and resupply rate, we'll be ready for another try at the Death Star by the time you're ready for retirement, Princess."

"I'll retire when the Emperor and his hound Vader are dead, General, and their Empire shattered forever. I know I can find more allies. I just need to look farther afield...beyond the Empire's reach."

"It's too risky. Artoo is a capable droid and Darklighter a formidable pilot, but even those two can't keep you out of trouble forever."

"Then give me an alternative."

"Princess, we have no alternatives left--" Dodonna began. But at that moment, See Threepio, a golden-hued protocol droid, hurried into the room.

"Sir! Princess! There's a message--a message from Obi-Wan Kenobi! He says...they're on their way!"

Leia and Dodonna regarded each other. "They?" Leia said.

Dodonna could only shrug helplessly. And yet somehow...they both knew something had changed. A new hope washed over them.

1 comment:

Jeff Shyluk said...

Oh man, this is so far off the hook I can't even see the hook anymore. Was there ever a hook? We'll never know. But I do know I am loving this! I see a book cover in the future.