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
The undertaker looked warily between the armed trooper and his charge. He had sources throughout Anchorhead and he ran the only morgue in town. He had known this was coming... but that didn’t make it any easier. He took them inside and began carefully wrapping the bodies in burial shrouds, taking special care with the tiny one. This part of his job was the most difficult. He saw enough death; he hated to see senseless and violent death.
“There’s no need to stand guard,” he grated in the trooper’s direction. There was only one entrance into the underground room and the armored man stood at the foot of the stairs, blocking it. “They won’t escape from you again,” he finished pointedly.
“I have orders. I’m to detain and question anyone who comes for them,” he answered, motioning toward the bodies.
The undertaker nodded, then a second later the trooper was knocked out cold by the butt of a blast rifle to the back of his armored head.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” Luke told the undertaker, but I’m taking them.”
The undertaker studied the young man whose face and figure were shrouded by a heavy, oversized cloak, the type of garment that served no logical purpose during the heat of day but did a good job at keeping a person hidden from sight. For a moment he readied himself to fight. Even the dead deserved better than the indignity of having a common criminal dispose of them however he saw fit in exchange for what valuables they might be carrying. Then the man got a glimpse of the face hidden under that dark cloak, and it was a face he’d seen many times in his line of work. The eyes were red-rimmed and hollow in grief, the face was pale, and his breathing was strained – trying very hard to control his emotions.
He nodded and without a word helped the man transfer the bodies into a speeder outside. By the time it was done fresh tears streaked the face that he tried to keep hidden from sight. The undertaker was curious, but he was no longer tempted to ask questions. The stranger’s actions told him everything he needed to know. Whoever those people were that the troopers had killed in Anchorhead today, they were this man’s family, and he wouldn’t rest until he had taken them home and given them a proper burial.
The stranger climbed into his speeder and started it, then he hesitated. “They’ll come looking for you.”
“I’ll tell the Imperials that unfortunately body snatching is all too common an affair for criminals like you, desperate men looking for credits. And, by the way, I was too afraid of you to get a good look at your face.”
Luke nodded. “Thank you,” he whispered.
The undertaker nodded in return and stood back. “My sympathies are with you, friend, but I’ll rest easier tonight knowing they’re where they belong.”
Those words rang in Luke’s head as he gunned the speeder for home. He still couldn’t wrap his mind around the fact that Breanna and Anna were dead, and yet he knew it was true. It had happened. He hadn’t been able to stop it. Now he had to do the last thing for them that he could. It was nearly dark when he reached the farm’s perimeter and passed through the shields, but Luke deliberately bypassed the lights of the homestead and headed instead for the small plot of land that he and Brea had chosen for themselves.
Once there he picked up a set of tools and began digging. He fought for hours with the dry, packed ground and with his own tortured thoughts, until he had carved out a single burial site. Then, gently, he took Brea’s still form into his arms and lowered her into the ground. Somehow he managed to fight back the tears for a few more moments. Next he climbed from the tomb and gingerly cradled Anna’s small form in his arms. The tears ran down his nose and dropped against the dry ground as he leaned down and gently placed Anna against her mother’s chest. But he didn’t permit himself to fall apart yet. He took several deep breaths, looking upon them for the last time, then he slowly and reverently covered the shrouded bodies until the desert had completely reclaimed them.
The task accomplished, Luke sat at the edge of the grave and wept until he felt raw with grief and able to weep no more.
It was after midnight when Owen and Beru found him there. They had gotten word of what had happened in Anchorhead and had been waiting anxiously for Luke to come home, hoping that all three of them would return safely and this would be a horrible mistake. When he hadn’t showed up even after his speeder had passed the perimeter fence they had gone looking for him. Owen and Beru had searched for hours before finding Luke at the building site.
He was sitting there, shivering violently in the cold, deeply in shock, staring at what was obviously a new grave. It gave them chills. Beru wrapped a blanket around his shoulders and Owen helped him to his feet. Luke allowed himself to be steered into a land speeder and then ushered back to the house, but something stopped him in his tracks once he reached the threshold at the bottom of the kitchen steps. Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru went inside, waiting worriedly for him to follow.
“Luke, dear,” Aunt Beru whispered. “Please, come sit down, let me get you something to warm you up.”
Luke’s eyes lifted and some of the fog in his mind lifted. He had stood in this very spot and hugged Brea after they had warded off the Tuscan attack. It was only one of a thousand memories that were all he had of her now. He had to remind himself that she was gone, he had just buried her. He had buried them at site of what should have been a new home... and he had buried their dreams and his future with them.
“Tell me why,” he breathed.
Both Owen and Beru jumped at the raw and unfamiliar sound of his voice.
“Those troops came here looking for me, and Brea died rather than let them kill us all.” His voice shook uncontrollably; he shook uncontrollably. “Tell me why!” Luke demanded. “Why me?” his voice broke.
Beru barely held back a sob. Owen cautiously came closer to his nephew.
“I wish it wasn’t so, but they’re gone, Luke, and no words can bring them back.”
Luke felt his hands clinch into fists. “I need to know what those troops wanted, why Brea and our children had to be killed – so that those troops wouldn’t get me!” Luke’s voice again rose to an unconscious yell, feeling for all the world like his rage and grief would consume him at any moment.
Still Owen stood there, stone-set, refusing to answer him.
“I don’t know, Luke,” he said finally, “and if I did I wouldn’t tell you. They wanted you enough to kill for you, and if they found you they’d probably kill you too.”
Luke stood there, breathing hard, emotions raging at his inability to find the only thing that was still in his power to possess: answers.
“You know.” His anger was seething. “You just won’t tell me.” Luke and Owen stood eye-to-eye staring at each other for a long time. “I guess that’s nothing new,” Luke finished bitterly.
The following morning Luke was gone before his aunt or uncle woke. Every day he threw himself into the work, leaving well before light and returning well after dark, but there was no joy and no pride in it. He kept himself busy, trying to forget the pain, but everything reminded him of his loss. He barely spoke to his aunt, deliberately avoided his uncle, slept little, hardly ate.
They learned that stormtroopers had remained on the ground in Anchorhead for several days. But once word spread that the troops had shot and killed an unarmed woman and her child the citizens of Anchorhead had immediately clammed up. Not only was nothing said, no Skywalker name appeared anywhere, in any planetary records. As a matter of fact, Breanna Starkiller was listed as being the widow of a Shade Starkiller, and their only child was said to have died shortly after its birth.
A memorial service had been held at the Starkiller home in Anchorhead. The gathering had been watched closely by the Imperials, who were still wary of the way the bodies had disappeared from their guard. Afterward, a local magistrate and cleric who had attended the ceremony were taken into custody. And never released. The rumor spread that they had died in interrogation after publicly refusing to give testimony on the matter of Breanna Starkiller and what had become of the missing bodies... and the town’s silence deepened.
Finally, after remaining on the ground for about a week, the Imperials apparently conceded that their investigation had come to a dead end. The troops pulled out of Anchorhead and lifted off Tatooine. None of it mattered to Luke other than the fact that the troopers’ absence meant he would likely never find answers. Uncle Owen had made no concessions since that first night when they had nearly come to blows. Luke didn’t expect that to ever change. Whatever Owen Lars knew, he would take that knowledge with him to his grave. Luke knew he couldn’t change that, however, he had no intention of either forgetting or forgiving it. There was a chance, however slim, that if Luke had known the truth he could have prevented this.
Restlessly, Luke threw back the bed sheets and padded through the dark toward the kitchen. He still felt raw to the bone. But the simple truth was that it was easier to dwell on blame and guilt than on the pain. The pain, when he allowed himself to feel it, was crushing. And it was always worse at night. During the day at least he could keep busy. Lying still, alone in the dark with nothing but his thoughts, was suddenly a torture like nothing he had ever imagined. Just getting to sleep was a near impossible task. But then, in that fuzzy space between sleep and waking, he still sometimes forgot. He would wake up as he had a million times before, feeling at peace, knowing that his wife was at his side and his daughter was nearby... and then, in a fraction of a second, they were gone all over again.
In the early hours of the morning Beru Lars was also walking the house. She had seen Luke’s bedroom door ajar, and she found him sitting in the darkened kitchen. She walked in behind him and gently smoothed his hair at the nape of his neck, the same way she used to do when he was a little boy. Her unexpected presence caused Luke to jump in start and quickly wipe his eyes with the back of his hand.
Beru looked away. Truly he was a man with all of a man’s dignity and pride. She had to respect that, but she also knew that the pain he carried would not stay contained, and the emotions could not stay controlled... like sand that would slip through your fingers, it would come out eventually no matter how tight a grip you tried to keep it under.
She sat beside him. “You’ve had a great loss, Luke. Never think that it lessens your strength to grieve it.” She reached for his hand and squeezed it in her own. “I don’t pretend to know your pain, but I’m familiar enough with loss. You and your uncle are all that I have. I’ve buried my parents, my siblings, even my babies. The loss makes you want to give up, stop hurting, stop living. But living through it has taught me two things. You’re not alone. And pain won’t be the end of you.”
He leaned his head back against the chair, struggling for composure. “Sometimes I wish for it,” he whispered through a roughened voice, “rather than going another day, another night like this.”
Tears leaked from Beru’s watery eyes. “I know you do.” She held his hand in both of hers. “I promise you, even though you can’t imagine it now, there will be a day when you don’t wish it. You just have to keep holding on until then.”
Tortured and glazed blue eyes met hers, breaking her heart. Beru hugged her nephew tightly, cradling his head and rubbing his back the way she had when he had been a little boy and would run to her with all his hurts. The tears came without shame and seemingly without end against her shoulder. They both wept, unable to stop the hurt from spilling out.
It was near dawn when Beru tucked the bed sheets around him, kissed his forehead, and returned to her own bed. Owen looked at the time. He had been lying awake, feeling as helpless as he had ever felt in his life. It wasn’t a feeling he enjoyed.
“How is he, Beru?” She jumped at the sound of his voice, and Owen sat up. “How are you?” he asked more softly.
She wiped her eyes and sat on the edge of the bed, shaking her head. She wanted to tell him but didn’t want to break Luke’s confidence.
Owen’s hand found her shoulder. “I know,” he said softly. “I got up when I found you out of bed.”
Beru took a shaky breath. “The pain is so much on him, Owen.”
“It’ll do him good to let some of it out.”
“Are you sure you couldn’t...?” she tried, the thought trailing off.
“What good would the truth do him now?”
Beru turned to her husband, her hand on his. “It would keep him from pushing you away.”
Owen shook his head. “I would gladly give up every right to him if I could spare him his father’s fate. And now... the less he knows the safer he’ll be.”
Beru fell silent, knowing the argument was lost. Owen’s reasoning was sound. The danger they had always feared was very real, and closer than ever.
A month passed as Obi-Wan watched from afar. Luke had made it through the worst: the shock, the denial, the anger of having his world fall apart in front of him for reasons he didn’t understand. He continued to grieve as any healthy person might after enduring such a monumental loss, but the boy was far from whole; he was still tormented by guilt in addition to the pain of grief. His relationship with his uncle had been the first casualty of his new existence. Any warm feelings between them had deteriorated with alarming swiftness. They were two strong, stubborn men: Luke wanting answers, Owen determinedly keeping his silence.
More times than he could count Obi-Wan had wanted to go to Luke, wanted to try to offer him some of the answers that might ease his confusion and lessen, if not the pain then at least the heavy burden of guilt. But as much as Obi-Wan wanted to help, he knew he could not. Even the rumor of Luke’s existence – the possible existence of another Skywalker, heir to the legacy of the great Jedi Anakin Skywalker, killed long ago in the Clone Wars – had been enough to set this horrible turn of events into motion.
Obi-Wan had made certain that no threat more specific had existed in the minds of the Imperials. When he had first sensed the troops’ presence he had gone to Anchorhead to see for himself. And he had been there when Breanna had been taken. It was all he could do (and it broke his heart) not to interfere. Long ago when he had been a Jedi Knight – strong, brave, and far too rash – rescuing an innocent girl from a battalion of stormtroopers would have been exactly the sort of thing Obi-Wan Kenobi would have done without a second’s pause.... But as an old hermit with but one responsibility – to protect Luke by keeping his presence here secret – Ben Kenobi stood aside. And he waited.
It was one of the hardest things he’d ever had to do – to stand aside and do nothing while he knew he had the ability to save lives and avert suffering.
Trust the living Force, Obi-Wan.
That was still difficult for Obi-Wan to do... but he found that once he could quiet his own mind, reach beyond his own point of view.... The tragedy of those cut down, of life unfairly cut short before its time, that loss was but a ripple in the mighty pool of the living Force, which reached easily to absorb that life back into itself... so that nothing was ever truly lost.
There were, however, other events which called for action. Obi-Wan did interfere to touch the Imperial officer’s mind so that he would not follow procedure and check Breanna’s identity following her death. And Obi-Wan made sure that Kyle Starkiller’s orders to wipe Luke’s family name from the records were heeded. Luke Skywalker would remain hidden on Tatooine.
After that there was nothing to do but wait and watch anxiously as Luke grieved. As much as he hurt for the boy, Obi-Wan was also proud of him. Qui-Gon often reminded him that he had been right about Luke; Luke was of the light, and extraordinarily so. Even as his soul was ravaged by pain he did not lash out, nor did he shut down. He simply tried to survive one day at a time... very much like the moisture farmer he had been raised to be. A curious side effect to Luke’s grief was that the part of his mind which had reached out to touch the Force from time to time (but most powerfully and most deliberately when Breanna had died) – that part of him had withdrawn. Luke associated those feelings that had allowed him to touch her mind with the pain of feeling her death, and his mind unconsciously recoiled against them. That was another painful reality that was good in its own way; it would protect him for a while longer. There would be a time for him to learn the truth about his parentage and his capabilities... but that time was not now, not yet.
Nothing Obi-Wan could tell him at this point could help Luke. Learning about his father and the legacy of the Jedi, why the stormtroopers had come for him, and why Owen had kept truth from him... it might ease Luke’s conscience. He would know for once and for all that the blame properly belonged with the Empire – for so much more than the injustice that had been perpetrated here... but Obi-Wan knew he had to be careful with such powerful information. The boy was still raw from this loss. Too much information and he could spiral out of control. But not enough direction and his own despair could swallow him whole. So Obi-Wan chose to remain in the shadows, nearby but just out of reach, as he had been nearby throughout Luke’s life, and he remained especially vigilant throughout this difficult time.
Then, one morning in the early dimness, Obi-Wan felt the insistent nudge that he had been waiting for from the Force. It accompanied a change in Luke’s emotions, to which Kenobi had become finely attuned; the change was one Obi-Wan had been expecting. Depression had struck hard, the feeling of emptiness driving Luke aimlessly out into the desert until he came upon a familiar secluded spot. Luke had had several hours to enjoy the dark solitude of his favorite escape by the time Obi-Wan found him there.
“It’s been a long time since we last crossed paths, young Luke.”
Luke turned to see old man Kenobi emerge from the shadows. How he had known Luke was here or how he had gotten here himself, Luke did not know, and strangely Luke didn’t mind. Kenobi walked in and sat down next to Luke as though they were old friends ready to catch up on the events that had taken place in their absence from one another. Then, once seated, Kenobi said nothing for a long while, but his silence was not an uncomfortable one.
Kenobi studied the cavern walls which surrounded them with great interest. “Reminds me of one of the mining colonies on Subterrel,” he finally decided. “A friend of mine once made quite an interesting find there.”
Luke squinted at the old man as though he was seeing him for the first time. “Subterrel? But that’s beyond the outer rim, even the Empire won’t touch those old mining colonies.”
Kenobi smiled delightedly. “I’m surprised you’ve heard of it.”
“I’ve read about lots of places,” Luke answered with a thread of defiance in his voice. Subterrel’s a haven for outlaws and desperate prospectors. Which was your friend?”
Kenobi took no offense at the question. To the contrary, he launched into a story about how his friend had come to Subterrel after being forced off another mining planet called Ord Sigatt. That one Luke had not heard of, and by the way Kenobi avoided the details Luke guessed that his friend’s occupation there had been less than honest. Luke was also beginning to wonder if this friend even existed, or if he was simply an alias for Kenobi himself, until Kenobi came to the part of the story where he was involved in gaining his friend passage to Coruscant....
Luke listened to old Ben’s stories for what seemed like hours, amazed that the crazy old hermit had ever been a part of the outside galaxy, part of such adventures. They were the types of adventures Luke had once dreamed of having....
Obi-Wan could see Luke’s curiosity and he gently nudged Luke in the new direction, helping him to remember old dreams of far off adventures where the pain of a lost family didn’t have to exist. Giving him new perspective. New hope. Then the old hermit faded out into the desert as easily as he had faded in.
Luke turned to ask another question, and Kenobi was gone, so suddenly Luke was tempted to wonder if he had imagined his presence. But regardless, Luke felt better than he had in a long time. He had come here longing for quiet and peace. The quiet had come unexpectedly when he had let himself forget the pain he’d held close in favor of the dreams and adventures that were still far away. And peace finally came in another memory, the last time he had been in this cave.
“You’re right, you know,” he could almost hear her soft voice in the darkness. “You can do more. Windy, Deak, Fixer, and the others, they’ll never leave here, never do anything special, but you will. I believe that.”
Luke sighed. She had always believed in him.... Maybe Luke could be a pilot, like his father. He remembered the wild adventures he and Brea had once dreamed up as kids, adventures Luke had thought he and Biggs would someday live out... after the Academy.
“Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru need me here,” another voice from his past argued. “They might always need me here.” A sobering truth occurred to him, one Luke didn’t begin to know how to reconcile. When Brea had been alive it had felt as though his future was here, but that was no longer true. Luke was still bound to this place, but no longer of his own choosing; it was an obligation, an attachment that he could not ignore even though he wished he could.
Luke wished he could be like Biggs, just drop everything and go... but he could not. No matter how hard he fought with his uncle, despite Luke’s anger and resentment or the bad feelings between them, Luke could not abandon his aunt and uncle. If anything his family meant even more to him now. Aunt Beru had told Luke that he and Owen were all she had; what she hadn’t said to him was that the reverse was also true. She and Owen were all Luke had. He couldn’t turn his back on that.
There was nothing keeping him here now, nothing but a commitment he could not break. But he was certain that someday the voice inside of him, always whispering that he was meant to do more, that he didn’t really belong here... someday that voice would become too loud to ignore. And Brea would be proven right about him.
Luke stood, brushed the dust from his clothing, and climbed onto the speederbike. Once the desert opened up around him he gunned it for home, running as fast as he could. The sensation of speed numbed the pain, allowing him to push it into the back of his mind. Later that night, when the sleeplessness settled in, Luke pushed back the bed sheets and walked to the garage. After only a few moment’s hesitation he pulled out his uncle’s tools and started working on his skyhopper.
So Let it Be Written Publishing © 2004