Sunday, September 28, 2014

101 Star Wars Variations 65: False Hope

A long time ago, Luke Skywalker was visited by an old man who wore a hood over his whole head.  This was not the hermit, Luke's friend, the one his uncle was constantly warning him to stay away from.  The old man was the Emperor, also known as Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious, Sith lord.

The old man came with a proposition.  Luke listened.  His uncle's words echoed through his head all day long, and it was all he could do to at least entertain someone else's.  What the old man had to say was shocking.  Luke had heard about his father many times, from his uncle, from the hermit, but never had he seemed real, just a story with vague edges.  The old man told him much more than he'd ever dared imaginable.  Such as:

His father had been a great warrior.  His father had been a Jedi.  His father had made certain decisions in his life.  His father had been killed by the hermit.  His father would have wanted Luke to follow in his footsteps, complete what he had begun.

And what was that, exactly, Luke wanted to know.  It was the first time he spoke after listening to all that the old man had to say.

The old man obliged.  Luke's father was to have been the old man's successor.  The old man had, in fact, invested a lifetime into grooming him in that regard.  All that lost in an instant.  A pity, the old man said.

Luke asked another question.  What could he do?

The old man smiled.  He suggested that Luke seriously consider picking up where his father had left off.  How?  That was now Luke's third question.  The old man said it would be easy.

Luke began to wonder.  Should he, after all, trust this man?  Tatooine was a planet of broken dreams and unfulfilled promise, after all.  This could easily be more of everything he had ever known.  The known haunted Luke.

He said he'd only agree to it if the old man could convince his uncle that it was a good idea.  Not a problem, the old man said.  He said that he could be very persuasive.

Luke wanted to see what that looked like.  Anyone who could convince his uncle to do something he hadn't thought of doing himself would have managed enough magic to convince him to do anything.  He followed the old man home.  He didn't notice that the old man knew exactly where to go without being told.

Luke could sense the hermit in his head, begging him to reconsider.

His uncle relented without any fight at all.  He seemed to think it was a very good idea.  Next year, after the harvest.  Luke had heard that many times before.  It was his uncle's standard response to everything.  But this time it was different.

The old man went away.  Luke forgot the whole thing ever happened.

Time went on.  One day, he was haggling over the price of droids with some of the local Jawa merchants, and this began a chain of events.  Before he knew it, after a series of adventures that until that point would have been represented only in his wildest dreams, he unexpectedly came face-to-face with his father, and then the old man again.  The old man explained to him again that he wanted Luke to succeed him.  Luke had struggled with the revelation that his father had been alive all along.  There was a voice in his head, which sounded like the old man's, that explained that Luke's father had proven to be a disappointment.  Luke found him to be powerful indeed, and this was disappointment?

His father was a desperate man.  He forced the situation to escalate.  Luke struck his father down, but before he died, he murdered the old man, leaving Luke all alone.

Alone with a new calling.  He would succeed the old man after all.  He would become what he had promised him all those years ago, an agent of the Empire.  The last best hope of the Sith.

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