Monday, June 17, 2019

A Vision of Future Past

Previously on Jedi/Superman...
Last Son of the Republic
Growing Up Under Twin Suns
Chariot of the Gods
The Emperor's New Genocide
The Quality of Mercy
A Job for Supermen
The Green, Green Glow of Homicide
A Dream of Droids

From the cockpit of his fighter, Luke Skywalker sensed, of course, that Leia planned to surrender; he knew it before the transmission even reached his headset. Therefore, his only course of action was to disobey that final order to rendezvous with the fleet. He would save the Princess and the others from themselves somehow. . .

No. That was the voice of his younger, undisciplined self. He couldn’t just charge off like some gladiator from the old stories. Retreat was the order, and it was a sensible one. The remnants of the fleet could regroup—he and Wedge and Biggs would come up with a rescue plan—they could save Ben and the princess and the others before—

Obey this order you must not. Trust your feelings, seize this act of Defiance. 

Luke’s eyes went wide.

Master Yoda..? 

Luke wept. It was impossible; Yoda had been gone for years. But he felt the Master’s presence like a warm essence all around him.

Time for questions I have not. Is difficult to reach across so much time and space. Stand with your father. Stand with your brother. Stand with the princess. And beware the dark heart of Krypton—beware…! 

The voice faded as if exhausted. “Master Yoda?” Luke called into his cockpit. “Master, come back! The dark heart of Krypton…what is the dark heart of Krypton?”

But there was nothing more. Luke knew what he must do next.

He deactivated his communications systems and used the Force to mask his X-Wing’s emissions. Poor R9-D8 couldn’t even protest; he’d been fried by a TIE blaster bolt early in the losing battle for Yavin. But in some ways that made his next task easier.

As luck—or the Force—would have it, the Defiance wasn’t far away in astronomical terms. Luke set a course for the frigate and flew it into the open hangar bay well before the frigate entered visual range of the nearest Imperial ship’s sensors. And just in time, too; the hangar doors immediately slid closed just as a large escort of TIE fighters formed up to lead the frigate into the Empire’s clutches.

Luke hurried to the bridge, much to the consternation of Princess Leia and General Dodonna. Ben Kenobi only sighed in resignation.

“I gave all pilots a direct order to retreat and rendezvous,” Leia fumed, poking Luke in the chest with one regal finger.

“I couldn’t abandon you,” Luke replied, his eyes soft and infuriatingly sincere. Leia threw up her hands and turned away to stare out the window, watching the Death Star and its squadron of Star Destroyers loom steadily larger. General Dodonna joined her, and the two talked in muted voices about next steps.

“Well, we’re in the lion’s den now, my boy,” Kenobi said. “What possessed you to return?”

Even in these circumstances, Luke couldn’t stop himself from smiling.

“Ben…Master Yoda spoke to me. Just now. He spoke to me.”

Kenobi was stunned. He’d heard legends of Jedi Knights past transcending the barrier between life and the dark eternity, but he’d never taken the old tales seriously. The Force was powerful indeed, but powerful enough to reach from beyond the grave..?

But he could sense the truth radiating from Luke. “What did he say?”

“He told me I had to come here, to stand with you. With all of you,” he gestured. “But…is Clark all right? The Death Star had a bead on him…”

“He’s fine,” Kenobi said. “I hid him below to recover. The radiation did terrible damage to him, but just a short time in bacta revived him. Miraculous. But I felt you reach out to pull him from the beam’s path, Luke. He would not have survived if you hadn’t intervened.”

Luke sighed, relieved. But then he remembered the last thing Yoda had said.

“Ben…what is the dark heart of Krypton?”

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