Thoughts of a Fallen Hero
Rating: PG

Luke Skywalker stood in the observation blister of Eclipse Station, the asteroid in the deep core that was currently home to the Jedi Order. Hiding place? Home? Rat-Hole? He didn't think there was that much difference anymore. Sighing at the dark turn of his thoughts, he watched the storm of the nebula that the station was hidden in, the occasional flicker of lightning as static energy was released from the clouds, massive blue-white bolts that reached out and caressed the iron-nickel asteroids which floated through them.

Finally, what he was waiting to see appeared. The scene started with the exterior spotlights flicking on. Massive beams glowing bright and strong in the dust of the clouds. More light appeared, as the hangar doors opened a good two dozen meters beneath him. Before long, a shadow appeared in the beam of light.  He watched as the shadow elongated, stretching, resolving itself into the keel of a starship. It moved slowly out of the main hanger and was composed of smooth lines, more pleasure yacht than smuggler's vessel. The ship in question was a starship that he had known for many, many years, belonging to his good friend, Lando Calrissian.

The ship, The Lady Luck, was, to be blunt, pretty. She had the smooth lines and graceful movements of a predator, sleek and sporty. He knew from previous experience that she looked fast, even when she was in dock.

Finally, the ship had cleared far enough from the hangar that Lando could ignite the main thrusters. They flared to life, a blue ionic glow burning brightly at the Lady Luck's aft, and the ship began to move away faster.

He scrubbed his face, wondering for a moment, why he wasn't crying.

Then the blue glow grew infinitely brighter, turning a bright white, as the Lady Luck elongated and seemed to spring into hyperspace. There was a slight distortion of the clouds as the starship passed into that other dimension, a wake of supra-luminal velocities.

In silence, he watched as those tendrils of movement slowly became the natural flows and eddies of the nebula once again, erasing all evidence that the Lady Luck had ever passed through the nebula. Or that it had even been there. In silence, he watched the clouds, frowning at the ghost image of his reflection.

The door behind him opened, and he felt his family enter: Mara, Han and Leia.

Han spoke. "Well Kid, it's done. Hope you're happy with yourself."

Luke felt the bitterness from his oldest friend; along with it was a mixture of anger and disgust, directed at both himself and Luke.

"I'm not," Luke finally replied. "I wished there was some other way. I wished so many things. I wished it was me on that ship."

Han snorted. "Yeah, I've heard such wishes before." He then turned to his wife. "So, your Highnessness, are you ready to leave these Jedi alone, so they can revel in their ability to leave attachments behind?"

Leia chewed on her lips as her eyes flickered between her husband and brother.

Mara spoke up. "Can it, Solo. You know we looked for another way."

"I don't know any such thing, Mara," Han shot back, almost snarling.

"What I know," Leia said, her voice small and weak. "Is that we just sent out the best and brightest of the young Jedi Knights to die. I also know that that distinction includes all three of my children." She turned towards her brother. "Your vision, are you sure none of them return?"

Luke nodded his head slowly. "Yes. Every future I saw, they were all killed, but we won the war."

Han shook his head, disgusted. "I still don't see why you had to send them, especially since you had this vision."

"It's their destiny, Han. The will of the Force."

Han jabbed his thumb into his chest. "I told you before, that I don't believe there's some mystical energy field controlling my life."

Luke looked at him calmly, seeing through the bravado. "Then why did you let your children go?"

"Because," Han said, his eyes narrowing dangerously. "You've gotten them so mind-kriffed that they think they need to rescue the galaxy, and be at Luke Karking Skywalker's beck and call, because they're supposed to be good little Jedi." He all but spat the last word.

"That's enough, Han," Mara warned, her arms crossed over her chest, her green eyes flashing with anger and pain.

Luke held up his hand, trying to dispel the dark feelings that was gathering among them. "I think that's enough for all of us. Why don't we all try to get some rest, we have a busy day tomorrow."

Han reached out and grabbed Leia's hand, and started walking towards the door. "We're going back to Coruscant. Tonight."

Then they were gone.

Luke watched the doorway they had disappeared through, and then glanced at Mara and shook his head. Mara's green eyes seemed to pierce his soul. They rooted around in his heart, digging out the secrets that haunted his dreams.

"What didn't you tell them, Farmboy?"

He closed his eyes and exhaled. He should have known there would be no hiding things from her. "I have seen other futures. I won't lie, in most of them, the kids all die. In none of them do they just go to Myrkr and fire their missiles and then high tail it for home. There's something there that keeps Anakin from doing that ..."

"But these other futures?" his wife prompted.

He sighed again, and opened his eyes. "There are futures where Anakin dies and futures where Jacen dies. It is one or the other or both. I try to follow the paths, and I almost always end up, seeing myself standing before a Sith, and the sense of family and betrayal is overwhelming. So much about that Sith screams my father. I think ... I think that if Anakin survives, something happens that causes him to go dark. Not immediately, but sometime in the future. Something breaks him, something slow and insidious, that we never recognize until it is too late."

He paused for a moment, turning to stare out at the constantly moving clouds. "There were some futures, where you, Ben and I stood together, in a glade somewhere, looking at a plinth with the name 'Solo' written on it. Despite the sadness we felt, I knew that the galaxy was at peace. I found that one while trying to trace a future where Jacen lives."

Mara watched him for what felt like eternity. "So you think that if Anakin survives, he goes dark, and if Jacen survives, then we'll get this peaceful future?"

Luke nodded his head.

She watched him for another eternity, and even though his back was to her, he could feel the penetrating gaze of her green eyes.

Finally, she spoke, "What aren't you telling me still?"

He chuckled. He knew that she would worm her way to this point, and despite that knowledge had hoped that this last secret would never have come to the light of day. He should have known better, especially with Mara around.

"The make-up of the team, seemed to be the deciding factor on who survived or not. If Alema and Zekk went on the strike team, there was more of a possibility that they would all die. If Ganner went as a fake team leader, there was more of a possibility that Anakin would die."

From behind him, he heard the sharp hiss of her drawing a breath. "You stacked the team so that it would be more likely that Anakin would die?"

He lowered his head slightly. "I stacked the team in an effort to give us, me, you, Ben, the entire galaxy, the best possible chance at a peaceful future."

"The good of the many, outweighs the good of the one? Is that what the Jedi believe now?"

He glanced over his shoulder, seeing the tears streak down her cheeks. "It's what the Jedi have always believed. It's part of the Old Order's rules against attachments. It's why they lived ascetic lives as monks."

Mara did not respond, and he turned to look back at the clouds. Searching for patterns in the random movements. After a while, he heard the door open and close, and knew that she had snuck away. For a moment, he thought of chasing after her, trying to explain to her more. But he knew that she would not go alert Lando or Han or Leia. That she wouldn't change the future that he had put into motion.

She was too attached to Ben for that; after all she loved their son more than their nephew.

For another moment, he wondered why tears would not come. Why he could not cry for the nephew he had just sent to die. For all the young Jedi that he had just sent to die.

Even as he wondered, he knew the answer. He couldn't cry because he was happy. Happy at the peace that would come later.

And though he hated himself for the thought, Luke Skywalker knew that Anakin Solo's life was a price worth paying for peace.

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