Vision From the Past
DieFliedermaus & Runt
Luke Skywalker was filled with indecision about his role in the galaxy. He was the last remaining Jedi Knight, trained by the aging remnants of the old order. He was charged to create a new order, with new traditions and new ideas. His mentors had not detailed what had gone right or wrong before the New Republic fell. Luke was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and was frozen with indecision.
His sister, Leia, suggested that he try to go somewhere comforting. Maybe a trip home to Tatooine? Luke was too polite to snort with derision at her. There was nothing left for him there. But Leia insisted, knowing that he simply could not function in the political and jumbled atmosphere of Coruscant. Besides, shouldn't he settle some things about his uncle's farm, pick up some papers, that sort of thing? She seemed to think he needed to go "home" to get his bearings.
He tried to explain how he felt about that dry, hot, Outer Rim dustball. She interrupted him with a withering glare and quietly told him he should be grateful that he even had a planet to not want to return to -- Some of us are not lucky enough to have a home planet left to hate. He got her meaning and immediately shut up. Her homeworld, Alderaan, had been destroyed by the Death Star, and Leia could never go home. Ever. Significantly shamed, Luke left for Tatooine.
As he approached the old homestead, Luke couldn't deny the dark presence. He had always felt something uncomfortable at his Uncle Owen's farm. He didn't know what it was, Let's face it -- I had enough social troubles that it could have just been hormones and turmoil in my own head. He had buried his aunt and uncle so many years ago, before he left Tatooine. He thought then that he had left for good.
He returned to the underground structure that had been his home till he was in his majority. Luke had been forced to leave upon the destruction of the house and the murder of his guardians by Imperial troops. The story was famous now -- there had even been holos made about it, how in their search for the Princess Organa's 'droids, the stormtroopers tortured and killed his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, leaving their smoldering bodies at the entrance of their home.
He'd been trained briefly by the late Ben Kenobi; it had been a quick introduction to the Jedi arts. Obiwan, as he'd been called as a Jedi Knight, had also been Luke's father's master. After Obiwan was cut down by Darth Vader, a man Ben had said was his pupil, Luke was basically forced to continue learning on his own. He did have the good fortune to be trained for a short time by the aged and dying Yoda, the master of all the Jedi. Through their efforts and his own continued work, Luke understood so much more about the Force now, about his feelings and visions from his youth.
While with Yoda, he had been told to enter a cave, where the dark side was concentrated. As he stepped in, he remembered being terrified at his burgeoning emotions. But he also felt something familiar, which he couldn't identify or place at the time.
Now he understood that he felt the same sense of terror on his Uncle Owen's moisture farm. It was diffuse and undefined, nothing like the intensity of the feelings he had in the cave on Dagobah. It could only be described as a sort of weak flavor, like a hint of a taint in the water.
He'd only felt that exact feeling before when he came face to face with Darth Vader.
Luke tried to separate Vader from the man he once was. For his father, Anakin Skywalker, had become Darth Vader. He had left the Jedi Order to become a Sith Lord under the former Emperor Palpatine. As a Sith, he hunted down and executed Jedi Knights. But the good man who was Anakin triumphed over Vader at the end, with Luke's help.
Luke remembered one time in his childhood, a vision had burst before him at the very spot he was now standing. He had been scolded by his uncle for taking apart an old 'droid in his room and then not putting it back together, leaving the cluttered mess. It wasn't that Luke had been lazy or intended to be sloppy. He needed to rifle around to find a replacement part, but he had gotten distracted. He'd been yelled at and spanked, and Luke had run outside, trying not to cry, throwing himself into the sand, hiding his sobbing. He always chose this spot for sulking. For some reason, it made him feel even worse to be here than anywhere else on the farm. And he wanted to feel miserable about his plight.
He started digging as he muttered to himself about how his real parents would understand him. He really wasn't digging for any reason, just for something to do while he seethed with anger and resentment. It focused his bad feelings. He threw handfuls of sand left and right, attacking it, wondering why he wasn't like other children, with his own real parents.
Luke remembered the pain in his back and in his fingers, digging with such force. They hurt even more when he struck a flat rock as he ploughed deeper into the searing sands. It happened sometimes when they were digging wells. But this time, it wasn't a rock ledge, but a squarish slab, cut out of white rock. As he pulled the heavy stone from the ground, he was surprised by the sudden arrival of a bunch of people. At first, he thought the Tusken Raiders had snuck up on him, even though it was unusual for them to approach so close to the settlement during the daylight hours. He knew he wasn't dreaming, because he saw the twin suns clearly.
A man in a long, dark cape kneeled before a grave marker, buried in the sand, right in front of Luke. He could see directly into the man's face, he was so close. The young man was weeping, grabbing fistfuls of sand in his distress. Someone had just died. He remembered that there were others around him, but Luke hadn't really noticed them. He had never seen a man cry openly before, and it fascinated him.
His punishment now forgotten, he ran back to the house, dragging the slab of rock behind him. He tried to tell his Uncle about the man and how they should dig up the spot. There seemed to be someone dead in there, and look, here was the grave marker! Owen yelled at Luke to stop daydreaming, to keep his mind in the here and now. Then he forbade him from going out into the yard again, effectively grounding him indoors. His uncle shattered the rock to pieces and carried them away in the speeder. As the pieces flew up into the air, Luke noticed there were letters in Aurebesh scratched onto some of the pieces. Luke never saw the rock pieces ever again, so he could never be sure.
Those distant memories welled up fresh and painful, years later, as he sped through the Dune Sea.
Today, Luke stood at that spot in the sand, behind where the house once existed, not far from the graves of his aunt and uncle, looking into the setting suns. He breathed deeply, remembering his Uncle Owen's wrath, remembering the feel of the sand as he dug into it, letting it flow out of his fingers as he entered into a meditative trance.
He opened his eyes and saw a gravestone in front of him, whole and new, erected in the sand. He knelt before it. He tried to peer through the tears, seeing letters scratched roughly into the stone face.
A voice echoed in his head, "I wasn't strong enough to save you, Mom."
Mom? The young man's mother was dead, buried beneath where Luke was prostrating himself.
The man started to weep, gritting his teeth to try and control the tears dripping down his lean cheeks. "... But I promise, I won't fail again." Luke stood up, his eyes never leaving the grave marker, "I miss you so much!" Though Luke could feel himself speaking, it wasn't his voice which he heard in his own ears.
Luke needed to understand who these people were, and why there were here. Were they in the future? Or in the past?
He stepped out of the young man's body. While in it, he felt the darkness surround and penetrate him. Now that he was out of the be-caped man, the contrast chilled Luke.
His meditative trance allowed him to look more closely at the people gathered around the dark-clad young man. There was an old man sitting on a repulsorlift chair. Half of one leg was missing, and he looked rather familiar. In fact, he strongly resembled his Uncle Owen -- the same weatherbeaten visage, the shock of thin hair, the same air of bitter reserve. There were differences, to be sure, and this man was deeply saddened, in mourning as much as the young man who had knelt at the grave. Goodbye, my dearest wife, the sentiment echoed in the man's head. Was he the father of the young man? It was certainly his wife in the ground, but something felt wrong about supposing he and the young man were related. Luke wished he knew whether it was because they weren't actually related, or because he, himself, had never had a father, and simply didn't understand something about fathers and sons.
There was another young man, with a round face, wearing the clothes of the desert. Poor Dad ... what would I ever do if I lost Beru? Beru? Was the woman with him his Aunt Beru? That meant this man was his Uncle Owen! Luke felt comforted, knowing he was seeing a vision from the past, rather than something yet to be. Luke was interested to see his Uncle Owen was once a cheerful looking man, with laughter in his blue eyes.
He felt the once-young couple resolving to marry immediately. They had waited long enough, and with the man's mother's now dead, they felt an urge to not delay any longer. Luke was startled to see that the two young people were standing over the graves Luke had dug for the Owen and Beru of the future. It was as if they had ironically chosen their burial sites. Luke wondered if he had realized this before, on some subconscious level.
He recognized the 'droid standing with another woman. It's C3PO! Luke was sure of it, despite his battered appearance. The 'droid seemed to belong to the dead woman. Luke realized that C3PO's memories could have been wiped many times before he had met him, so the 'droid would have no recollection of having been on Tatooine before, but it startled Luke to see the 'droid here, in the past. The 'droid was attentive, as usual, and he was chattering to himself about all the things he would need to do.
The woman was a curiosity. She was dressed simply in a full-length white form-fitting jumpsuit and poncho, but she was impeccably groomed and full of grace. She reminded Luke of his sister. No matter what was going wrong, or where they were, Leia exuded confidence and style, knowing appearance is first and foremost in diplomatic situations. There was always something rather senatorial and formal about Leia. This woman had the same aura.
Luke probed her feelings and found that she cared deeply for the young man kneeling at the grave. She was in love with him, and felt for his loss. She also knew the woman who had died, but not as well as the others did. Luke got the feeling that she had met this woman, but did not come from Tatooine, so had not done more than become acquainted with her. Nevertheless, there was love and sorrow, but it was more focused toward the young man. Luke wondered who she was and where she had come from.
The vision dissipated and Luke felt himself coming out of his trance. Exhausted, he tried to piece together what he saw. The woman in the grave was the mother of the kneeling man, and the wife of the man with one leg. Luke knew that his Uncle Owen was his father's brother. That must then mean that the kneeling man ...
The man crying at the grave, promising not to fail again ... he was Luke's father!
He had seen his father!
Luke had seen his father in the flesh just once before, old and battered, as he lay dying on the Death Star. This vision showed him what Anakin Skywalker looked like long before all of that had happened.
The woman wearing the white jumpsuit -- she loved Luke's father. She reminded Luke of Leia. Did that make her ... Mom?
Luke suddenly cried out, as if struck, then was sobbing from deep within his soul. He wept for a long time. There was no one left around to ask. Leia had no concrete memories of her mother, Ben had been killed by Vader. And Anakin was dead. All of Alderaan, where this woman had taken Leia, was now gone. Perhaps the Emperor had known about this woman, but Vader had killed him, too. He mourned for all of these people, good and bad.
He wished he could know more. Why did he always choose this spot when he was angry or depressed? Because his grandmother was buried here? Or because of the dark energy exuded by his father as he grabbed handfuls of sand in his fists, apologizing to his dead mother?
Luke watched the sand grains drain through his hands. He understood that this was why Ben had chosen this planet to hide Luke. Anakin didn't -- no, he couldn't -- come back. Everything he had was dead and buried. Luke had always wondered why his father and his uncle had different surnames. He tried to ask, but his foster parents had refused to even acknowledge or understand the question. He still wasn't completely clear on the answer, but it would seem that Anakin and Uncle Owen might not have the same parents. Was Luke's father adopted, too? He understood Anakin's desire to never come back to this place again.
It was all very confusing, and Luke knew he would never know the answers for certain. But he had seen his parents before they were married, when the galaxy was not at war with itself. They were young and in love. They were normal. His vision showed what they could have been, that it had only been Anakin's choices that had caused the problems he'd suffered. If he had made other choices, the galaxy would have been quite different.
Luke was relieved to have finally met his parents, and to see they were not monstrous people. They were capable of great love and compassion. It was all a matter of choice.
Luke felt a confidence he'd never felt before. Good people making bad choices could result in genocide and terror. But with the will of the Force, better choices would do otherwise. He was the accumulation of many people's decisions, including his own.
This vision was a gift from the Force, and Luke embraced it, determined to show his gratitude by helping it grow. At last, he knew he was on the right path.
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