Star Wars fan fiction
introduction and preview
Only For A Season
Chapter 1: Desert Visitor
Chapter 2: Game of Marbles
Chapter 3: Stargazer
Chapter 4: Dewbacks and Darklighter
Chapter 5: Skyhopper
Chapter 6: Beggar’s Canyon
Chapter 7: Boonta Eve
Chapter 8: Sunstealer
Chapter 9: The Stone Needle
Chapter 10: Shifting Sands
Chapter 11: A New Season
Chapter 12: Japor Strands
Chapter 13: Farmer’s Holiday
Chapter 14: Starkiller
Chapter 15: Setting Suns
Chapter 16: Seeds of Rebellion
Only For A Season
Luke and Breanna headed, hand in hand, for the cave’s entrance. Each expected to be in trouble when they got home but looked forward to returning to their worried families. Luke pulled the tarp off Breanna’s speeder and began clearing away the sand that had surrounded it while Breanna got the repulsor lifts going. But before they were able to get the speeder moving again they were in for another unpleasant surprise.
Luke felt a strange tickle against the back of his neck and he looked up, unconsciously scanning the horizon. Sandpeople.
“Brea, cut the repulsors,” he hissed.
She did what he said without stopping to ask why.
Luke motioned to the horizon and she saw the banthas. As Breanna scrambled out of the speeder Luke threw the tarp back over it, hoping against hope that they hadn’t been spotted yet.
“Do you think they saw us?” Breanna asked once they were back in the cave.
Luke grabbed the blast rifle he’d left propped against the cave wall. “We’ve got to assume they did,” he answered and motioned her into the side tunnel where they’d stowed the speeder bike. Even if they hadn’t seen Luke and Breanna venture outside the cave it wouldn’t take them long to differentiate her speeder from the sand drift it could have been mistaken for a few minutes ago.
“What do we do? Make a break for it?”
Luke shook his head. “Their scouts will have seen the speeder; they’ll expect us to use it and have a perimeter guard set up to capture us. We’ll have to wait until they break formation and send scouts to investigate the speeder, then we sneak past the scouts.” It would be dangerous but it was the only chance they had.
They waited for what seemed like hours until they finally started to hear signs of approaching Sandpeople. Luke craned his neck around the edge of the cavern. He could see two of them outside the cave rummaging through the speeder while a third stood further back, gaffi stick at the ready. They had been prepared to find someone hiding under the tarp. Breanna took hold of his arm and held on tightly. Neither of them had ever seen a Sandperson close up; few people who did lived to tell of it.
Luke turned to her and put a finger to his lips. She nodded. Neither made a sound as they returned to the speeder bike. Breanna got aboard the speeder and put it into standby, only minimal repulsor power (they didn’t want to be heard), enough for Luke to shove it over to the place where they had been standing a few moments ago. He looked out once more, then, satisfied that the Sandpeople were still occupied with the landspeeder, he climbed on behind Breanna, deliberately keeping her in front of him.
“Take the controls. I want to be able to use the rifle.” She nodded tensely. “Don’t worry,” he whispered in her ear. “We’re gonna be all right.”
“I believe you, Luke,” she whispered back. He could hear that in her voice, and Luke’s resolve to get her out of here safe hardened further.
“We’re going keep to one side of the cave and repulse over to the entrance, then you crank it and hit the door full throttle. Clear the entrance and keep going, no matter what, understand?”
“No matter what. Promise me,” he insisted.
She nodded. Luke gave the blast rifle a final check, then leaned down low over her back when Breanna took the controls and eased them out of the cavern. They could see daylight outside. The Sandpeople were still there but hadn’t noticed the entrance to the cave. Luke felt Breanna take a deep breath. Then the bike jumped out toward open air. She cornered the cave entrance as closely as he had ever taken a turn in Beggar’s Canyon and once free of the cave she floored the accelerator.
Luke could feel nothing but the wind racing by and the roar of the engine as they blasted full throttle toward open desert. A few seconds later he heard the ping of sand rifles firing at their backs. Luke shifted in his seat and returned fire with the blast rifle.
Breanna felt a shudder and his one-armed hold on her waist tightened as Luke twisted around to return fire.
“Luke?” she called his name, worried.
“It’s all right! Keep going!” he called back, continuing to fire back at the Sandpeople whose forms were now sinking into the distance. Breanna set course for the Lars farm; it was closest. And she didn’t ease back on the accelerator until long after the firing had stopped and Luke had leaned around her to check their heading for himself.
“One of their shots hit the speeder,” Breanna yelled. “It may be losing coolent.” One of the panels in front of her warned that the engines were running too hot.
“Stop for a second and I’ll take a look,” he yelled back.
They stopped only long enough for Luke to assure himself that the speeder could make it back to the homestead, not that they had much choice; they had to run it as hard as they could toward home until they made it back or the speeder died. He didn’t have the tools necessary even for an emergency repair, and if the Sandpeople thought their prey was wounded they would be tracking them.... Either way they had to keep moving.
“It’ll make it back to the farm,” Luke decided. “Once we get there we can contact your family.” Breanna stood behind him, shivering in the cool dawn air. Luke wrapped his cloak around her shoulders, picked up the blast rifle, and climbed back aboard behind her. “Let’s keep going, full throttle.”
Breanna looked back at him. “You’re sure the speeder can take it?”
Luke nodded, grinning. “I’ve made enough modifications on this thing; I know what it can do.”
Breanna nodded back, reassured, but they both knew they had little choice. They were in danger from the Sandpeople until they reached the safety of the homestead.
Adrenaline was still pumping wildly through Luke’s body when the two of them climbed from the speeder bike. He had transmitted his security code to allow the bike to pass through the farm’s perimeter defenses; his aunt and uncle would know he was coming, but another bike that Luke recognized stood close to the homestead entrance. Breanna’s father was already here; then the Lars and the Stargazers must have realized that both of them were missing. Luke heard a door open down in the courtyard and Uncle Owen called his name. But it was Dyllan Stargazer who climbed up from the courtyard first, followed closely by Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen.
Breanna called to her father and threw herself into his arms. Beru rushed forward to hug Luke.
“You gave us quite a scare, Luke,” Owen admitted just as Breanna’s father released her and sidestepped his daughter. He just seemed to have registered Luke’s presence. Breanna stood next to Breu as the two men approached Luke. “I’m sure there’s a good reason,” Owen said softly. Luke could hear worry and suspicion thick in his voice, but the words stubbornly waited for Luke’s explanation.
“A good reason, Owen! The boy’s kept my daughter out all night, who knows where!”
“I can explain, sir,” Luke offered, just now understanding the full cause for his anger.
“I don’t want your explanations. Lies,” he grated the word. “I would have given you my daughter in marriage. You didn’t have to steal her from us in disrespect to me and dishonor to her!”
Luke shook his head, casting stunned expressions between the two adults. “It didn’t happen like that. I swear to you, Uncle Owen, I would never.”
Owen placed a hand on his nephew’s shoulder. “Okay, Luke. Let’s start at the beginning,” he suggested. Luke nodded and took a deep breath, his adrenaline-spiked nerves steadying a bit. Luke had never fully appreciated before just how calm and steady a figure his uncle could be.
Luke told them about the sandstorm catching him and Breanna at the cave, though he left out a few of the more incriminating facts from earlier in the day so that it sounded more like they had been fortunate to find the cave and take shelter from the storm there.
“We stayed in the cave all night waiting for the storm to pass,” Luke concluded. “Nothing happened. I swear.”
“Luke–” Breanna whispered, tears in her eyes. “That’s not true.”
“Brea–” Luke breathed. Two things had occurred to him simultaneously, the latter being much more important than the former, but first Luke knew that this looked and sounded bad. He also knew that Breanna hadn’t meant it the way it sounded. That was the worst part; her lip was trembling with an effort to hold back hurt tears. Last night had not been nothing to her; everything had changed between them, and for the first time in their lives the bond between them was much more than friendship.
“Brea,” Luke whispered as he took a halting half step toward her. He didn’t know what he wanted to do; he just couldn’t stand the hurt that he saw in her face. Then his mind tingled the way it did when he was running too fast or taking a turn too hard. Before he could figure out why he found himself flat on his backside, his jaw throbbing madly.
Dyllan Stargazer had taken one look between his daughter and the boy and sent Luke sprawling onto the packed sand. Breanna stifled a scream and Beru quickly grabbed her to keep her out of harm’s way.
“Stay with me, Brea,” Beru said firmly as she secured her hold on the girl who was struggling to get to Luke. “Let Owen take care of Luke.”
Owen Lars looked more furious than Luke had ever seen him as he stepped eye to eye with his neighbor. “We’ve been friends a lot of years, Dyllan, and I know you’re worried sick for your girl, but if you lay another hand on my nephew you and I are going to come to blows.”
Either Stargazer was coming to his senses or Owen Lars’s imposing figure and clinched fists had given pause to his anger. The man nodded. Owen stared at him for another moment, mastering his own anger, then he reached down to help Luke up.
“All right, boy?” Owen gruffly asked his nephew.
“We’re gonna ask you two again,” Owen concluded, looking between his nephew and the girl they had chosen for him so many years ago. “And let’s have truth. What happened?”
Luke watched Breanna, both of them seemingly reluctant to speak up this time. She had calmed herself when she had seen Luke get to his feet but Beru still had a firm hold on her arms.
She took a deep breath. “Luke said nothing happened and he meant nothing happened that shouldn’t have happened,” Breanna explained hesitantly; she was working hard to restrain tears and control the shaking in her voice. She was scared. After last night Luke recognized that, but she didn’t let the fear stop her from telling the truth. “But I can’t let him say nothing happened because a lot happened, and I don’t know what I would have done – how I would have made it – if he hadn’t been with me.
“He got the speeders under cover and made sure we had all the emergency packs out before the storm hit. Luke stayed awake all night listening to the wind and keeping the drifts from covering the exit. He made sure I was warm and drinking enough water,” she smiled, “even though he hardly took any for himself.” Then her smile abruptly vanished. “The winds were so loud and it was so dark,” she choked up and Beru Lars rubbed her arm reassuringly. “I thought the cave was going to collapse around our ears any second.” Tears spilled down her cheeks and she fought hard to regain her composure. “But Luke just held on to me and kept telling me we were going to make it through the storm. He– he didn’t take advantage; he just did what he was supposed to do; he took care of me.”
Silence fell when she had finished.
“If that’s true, and I have no reason to believe my daughter would lie,” Dyllan Stargazer amended his statement, “I owe you an apology.” He extended a hand to Luke. “I’m sorry, son.”
Luke nodded, looking down as he released Stargazer’s hand. Owen’s hand had tightened against his shoulder, giving Luke a warm feeling in the pit of his stomach in spite of the brief stab of pain that ran down his back.
“Let’s go inside and get these two some breakfast, Beru,” Owen Lars suggested.
Luke glanced toward his uncle, finding it hard to believe that that was truly the end of it. Owen believed him and was glad to have Luke home safe, but that didn’t excuse any of his other transgressions. Apparently Owen had decided there would time to discuss punishments later, and at the moment that was fine with Luke. The mention of breakfast had immediately reminded his stomach of how long it had been without a meal, but Luke had hardly stepped foot into the courtyard when he came to a halt. Something felt wrong.
“Luke?” Owen asked. His nephew had trotted over toward the energy grid sensor at the edge of the courtyard.
“Uncle Owen– is that section of perimeter fence up on the north ridge still giving you trouble?”
“I was planning to work on it again first thing today.” Owen was watching the grid now too. Lights flashed in synchronous order across the energy grid sensor as each section was activated, one by one.
Dyllan Stargazer walked up behind them and Owen turned in his direction. They both knew there was only one explanation for those readings.
“Tuscans. Testing the fence,” Owen growled.
“How long before they hit the weak link?”
“Three more grids,” Owen answered. “Beru, take Breanna inside and stay there.” Owen followed them down into the house and returned with three blast rifles. Luke took the rifle he was handed without argument. He had the distinct feeling that yesterday he would have been ordered into the kitchen with his aunt... today he was defending the homestead with the men. He checked the weapon and nodded his readiness.
In about five minutes the Sandpeople had breached the perimeter fence and were soon on the home. Luke, Owen, and Dyllan Stargazer each took up defending positions from the cover of the courtyard and fired on any Sandperson or bantha that came within range of their blast rifles.
The stand off ended quickly; it took only a few minutes to convince the Raiders that the homestead was well-secured, its inhabitants ready to defend themselves. After a few minute’s silence Owen glanced up at the suns which had now risen high overhead.
“They won’t be back today. But I want to make sure that fence is at full strength before tonight,” he added warily.
The three of them crossed the courtyard and marched into the kitchen. Aunt Beru had seen them coming from the kitchen window and was already working on breakfast when they came in (a couple more blast rifles sat ready near the window where she had been keeping watch). Owen and Dyllan set their weapons aside and seated themselves at the kitchen table as if nothing was awry. But when Breanna saw them come in she dropped what she was doing, and this time she threw herself at Luke.
Still holding the blast rifle in his left hand he snaked his other arm around her and held her against him, whispering that it was all right. She hugged him tightly for a long moment then pulled back and glanced around nervously, suddenly remembering what had happened earlier when she had spoken out of turn. But Luke only smiled at her nervous stare and worried appraisal of his swollen jaw.
“I’m okay,” he whispered.
She shook her head, looking down. “I’m so sorry, Luke,” she stammered, nervously ringing her hands as she took another step back. Then she froze and her eyes darted from her hands to his face. There was blood on her hands where she had hugged him. “You’re hurt. Aunt Breu!” she called.
Luke shook his head. “It’s nothing.”
“Sit down,” Beru ordered easily. Her medical kit was never far away, and she brought it with her now. Within a few seconds she had cleaned the wound and located the cause.
“It’s not deep.” Luke winced all the same as his aunt succeeded in extracting the pellet.
Owen stifled a curse. “How did that happen? I didn’t think they got that close.”
“They didn’t; that happened earlier,” Breanna said, suddenly remembering Luke’s response after the Sandpeople’s fire had hit the speeder bike.
“A hunting party spotted the landspeeder outside the cave after I uncovered it this morning,” Luke explained. “We had to make a quick break of it on the speeder bike.”
Owen shook his head in amazement. “You must’ve come pretty close to outrunning them.”
Luke grunted in pain as Beru finished cleaning the wound and applied a bandage, but he smiled at his uncle. “You mean for once you’re saying I wasn’t going fast enough?”
Breanna’s laugh became a sob in spite of herself, and she continued watching Luke worriedly until Beru wisely set her back to work on the breakfast.
Once Luke was patched up and all were fed, a quick check of the perimeter showed no sign of Tuscans so Breanna and her father made ready to go home.
“Soon as I get Brea home to her mother I’ll come back to return this,” he motioned to the blast rifle Owen had loaned them, “and I’ll help you and Luke get that fence up.”
Owen nodded. “Much obliged.”
“Luke.” Dyllan shook Luke’s hand and headed topside. Breanna followed a step or two then hesitated. She stood in the doorway for a few seconds. Then she rushed back to Luke and softly kissed him on the cheek before she ran outside after her father.
Luke blinked and forgot to breathe for a moment, causing Owen and Breu to laugh. Luke didn’t notice their amusement. He returned to the table absently rubbing his cheek and suddenly uninterested in his third helping of breakfast. If they had had any doubts about the story the two of them had told those doubts evaporated in one innocent moment. Only a first kiss left a mark like that.
For once Owen insisted that Luke go back to bed before seeing to his chores.
Beru tucked him in and she looked at Owen, mystified, when the door closed behind her. “Yesterday he was just a boy,” she whispered.
Owen patted her shoulder and steered his wife back toward the kitchen. They could both use one more cup of strong tea before the day’s work would finally begin.
So Let it Be Written Publishing © 2004