Sunday, October 19, 2014

101 Star Wars Variations 86: Luke's Friend

Owen Lars might have had an awkward way of proving it, but he was only looking after the boy's best interests.  That was why he was so reluctant for Luke to hang out with Biggs Darklighter.

Darklighter was the son of a native tribesman, by birth destined to inherit his father's role as the spirit guide of his people.  In other words, he was a Sand Person.

For years, for many years, the Sand People had fought to reclaim territory stolen from opportunistic immigrants to Tatooine, travelers so desperate they took on the task of finding a living on a harsh world, fleeing from troubles elsewhere.  But Tatooine was not an easy world.  And it already belonged to someone.

On more than one occasion, Owen had heard the war cries of Shaman Darklighter.  His was a local tribe, one of the smaller ones, but he was eager for his presence to be known.  Like others of his kind, the shaman had aligned himself loosely with the Hutts, whose naked greed made them obvious parasites and therefore unsympathetic.  The more isolated Tatooine remained, the better the chances for the Sand People to reclaim their world.

Darklighter was never dangerous.  That much Owen had to admit.  He never raised a violent hand against Luke.  Their friendship was baffling.  Never before had anyone seen such easy camaraderie between a Sand Person and a migrant.

When they were much younger, it was easier to dismiss the relationship as harmless.  As he grew older, however, Darklighter spoke openly about applying to the Imperial Academy.  This was a different level entirely.  The Empire had no real interests on Tatooine, but Owen knew as well as anyone that the Sand People regarded them as another layer of protection against free society, in other words the ability to live where one chose to, the very thing that had led to the colonization of the world by outsiders.

It was a direct sign of corruption.

But what to do about it?  Was Darklighter simply joining an increasing trend among all youths, troubling as that was, or had he come upon this decision as a devoted member of his own kind?  He was one of the few who didn't wear the traditional robes and masking of the Sand People.  That was the only way he'd been able to win even a modicum of trust from Owen.  This was the first time he'd made any move that betrayed anything but innocent behavior.

Perhaps he was his father's son after all.  Owen didn't trust the kind.  He knew Luke's father.

Within a short time, sure enough Luke was asking for permission to attend the Imperial Academy, too.  Owen put his foot down.  He knew how the boy viewed him.  Most of the time, it didn't bother him.

Luke's attitude began to change.  He grew more sullen.  Darklighter was accepted and departed, but he never really left.  Owen was left in a quandary.  He was almost desperate enough to consult the shaman, who lived near the old hermit who was the other thorn in Owen's side, the other unfortunate friend of the boy's.  He always assumed they were in collusion.  Maybe they were.

Maybe things would turn out differently than he thought.  Anyway, damn that friend of Luke's...

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