Alright, I really haven’t been feeling anything for Star Wars in a while, and ever since I decided to give up writing my Star Wars ideas, I’d thought to post them all here (whether they would be previews of chapters, snippits of notes, or both). This can include rewrites, crossovers, time travel stories, etc., etc. Not sure when I’ll actually start posting them but hopefully soon (and after I make them more presentable to post here). Until then, take care.
Welp, looks like I didn’t have to search for long. Here is an old AU of TCW I wrote years ago, called Just a Soldier. I only ever wrote the one bit below, as I thought I’d just retread old ground if I wrote anymore than this. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy it. Thanks.
“You’re nothing, but a slave, boy! You won’t be entering anymore races!”
“Sorry, but I have to pay my debts. Don’t worry, he’s a good man. He’ll take good care of you both.”
“I now name you husband and wife…”
“Join the Republic! Help fight the Separatists!”
“What are you thinking?! You’re going to get yourself killed?!”
“I am… so proud of you… my son…”
He jostled awake and was rewarded with a splitting headache and blurry vision. The respirators in his helmet made his breathing drum loudly into his ears, so much so he ripped it off. He caught a glimpse of the white plasteel before tossing it aside, having the helmet clatter on something.
After regaining some clarity, the young man looked at his surroundings. He was in a cockpit-an ARC starfighter, to be precise. The window was cracked, and something was clearly burning, given the awful smell of lubricant fuel. When he looked back at his controls, his white helmet rested on it, and the orange visor stared back at him in silent contempt.
Breaking off eye contact, he looked forward at the seat in front of him. Slump in the seat was another body, wearing the same gray armor and uniform. “Hey, Dodge?! Dodge!” he shouted, shaking the body in the front seat, but there was no response.
He backed away from his friend’s corpse, a little shocked. He had known his fellow co-pilot a little. Unlike himself, a recruit for the army, Dodge was a clone from Kamino, fresh out of the vat and ready for combat. The two met briefly during their mission debrief and quickly got to know each other. He still remembered the grin on Dodge’s face as the maniac itched for excitement.
Now, Dodge was dead.
He wanted to sit back in his seat. Maybe give a moment of silence for a fellow soldier, even if he only had known Dodge for a short time. However, he had no time to mourn, as a voice cried from the comm, “Lieutenant!”
Leaning more, he struggled to reach the comm in front of Dodge’s body. His finger was a centimeter away from the answer button when he heard, “I repeat, this is… aurek-niner! Is anyone there?!”
At last, he pressed the button. “Aurek-zero-zero here, general,” he answered.
The harsh voice of General Lark barked from the damaged comm. “Where are you?! What happened?!”
Trying to find an answer, he quickly looked around at his surroundings. Dusty sand rocks dotted every corner on his starfighter’s viewport, rays of sunlight shone through the spaces in between, and there was clearly a strange blue tint to what was supposed to be a green sky.
More memories came to the forefront. The mission was simple: get behind enemy lines and disable the shield generator that kept allied forces out. Clearly, he got in, but at a price.
“Somewhere past the barrier,” he reported and quickly glanced at Dodge’s bloodied face. “Fighter’s down, co-pilot is KIA. Exact coordinates, unknown.”
“You made it through?! Did anyone else get in?”
“Negative, sir,” he replied, remembering the other fighters that tried and were shot down. “Orders?”
There was silence for a second, then, “You shouldn’t be too far from the target. Scout the area and locate the shield generator. Destroy it, if you can.”
He bit back his tongue. Was this man seriously going to send him in the middle of enemy territory by himself? Whatever his thoughts were, he humbly agreed, against his own sanity. “Understood, sir. Aurek-zero-zero, out.”
Able to relax his muscles, he leaned back in his seat and met the orange glare of his helmet. He took the blasted thing and fastened it back on his head with a tiny click. “Sorry, Dodge,” he apologized sadly to his co-pilot before he headed out.
As he was ordered, the lone soldier began scouting the area around his crashed starfighter. The desert surrounding it had rocky terrain several meters high. With all the sand, finding the enemy’s generator would was like looking for a need in the middle of a haystack. Of course, there were other ways.
Closing his eyes, he began to concentrate. Back at boot camp, he heard Jedi could sense their target from star systems away. He was no Jedi. He was never discovered by them, and by now, he’d be too old to join, but he managed to catch on a couple of tricks. Like sensing things, for instance.
And sensed his target, he did. Less than a couple of klicks from his position. Hopefully, it would not be too hard to notice.
So he went down the barren landscape. Just as he sensed, the enemy’s shield generator was only a couple clicks away from his crashed fighter. The Separatist base near it was just as close, sticking out like a sore them from the rocks… and the generator was perfectly open for an attack.
The soldier stopped taking a step forward and hide behind a giant boulder. Within seconds, battle droids of the Separatists marched their way near him, their clanking announcing their arrival. He spotted only five of them, no six! However, the sixth was not a droid.
It was man, perhaps in the fortieth year of his life. He stood tall and proud, his beard and hair combed to a fine point. His posh look was completed with a fine gray outfit more befitting of a nobleman than a soldier. “Scout the perimeter,” ordered the man, presumably the leader. “Inform Commander Tambor of the shield generator.”
“Roger, roger,” acknowledged one droid, a yellow-striped commander, and it fanned out with the other droids.
The Republic soldier frowned under his helmet, hearing the clanking of battle droids come closer to hiding spot. He did not want to draw out a firefight, but he guessed there was no other option now. Unholstering his blaster, he prepped himself and focused on his enemies.
Two of the soldier’s red bolts struck one battle droid. “Intruder! Shoot him!” shouted another droid as its comrade fell.
The soldier did not give his enemies anymore time. Behind his rock, he fired a series of consecutive shots, going from one droid to another. The sounds of blaster fire drowned out whatever sound the fancy man was shouting into his commlink. The soldier ducked another an enemy shot and rolled out into the open before shooting down the remaining two droids. He whirled his blaster around to the other man.
Blaster drawn and aimed, the Separatists man declared proudly, “You won’t win, Republic scum! I’ve already informed Commander Tambor! He’ll be sending droids down to stop you!”
The soldier cursed himself, but said nothing to the other man. Fingering his trigger, he fired at his enemy in front of him. The man dodged and fired back, only for the soldier to dodge. The two exchanged in a brief flurry of blue and red. When one bolt struck near his foot, the soldier stepped back behind his rock.
He had no more time to waste. He had to finish this. Taking out three small grenades from his utility belt and cupping them in one hand, the soldier shot back using his other. The Separatist was good dodging the shots, but he could not shoot while being so preoccupied. With that, the soldier tossed the grenades to the shield generator a few meters away and began his countdown.
The grenades rolled near the shield generator, each one beeping away the time.
The Separatist turned to the unprotected shield generator, eyes wide with horror.
The soldier rushed to the safety behind another rockface, right before the grenades went off. Even though his helmet deafened the loud booms, it did not hide the wave of fire and electrical surges that went past him. Even the rocks, for all their sturdiness shook.
He waited another few minutes before he was sure of coming out. The result of his sabotage was devastating, or “effective” in General Lark’s language. Metallic shells and electrical wiring were spread out all over the rocky ground. Flames wreaked the air with their heat, and lying by the ruined generator was the body of the Separatist.
The soldier stood over the scorched body. The fancy clothes had been partially burnt away, all the way down to the skin, so much that the body was almost unrecognizable. Most of all, the man not breathing.
Catching a shining glimpse of metal, the soldier knelt down and took the object. It was the dead man’s metal tag. The first name was melted, but the last was still visible: BONTERI.
The soldier suppressed the ounce of guilt that threaten to swallow him. He turned his attention to his commlink, tuning it into the right frequency. “This is aurek-zero-zero, reporting. Shield generator is down. I repeat, shield generator is down.”
After a few minutes, he saw Republic fighters and frigates emerged overhead, barely visible over the clouds. The enemy seemed to mobilize their forces, but they were too late as blue turret fire rained down on the base. Its shields and anti-fighter guns were useless against the overwhelming onslaught.
He tore his eyes away from the “spectacle” when his commlink chimed again. He answered, and the tiny and bald General Lark popped up. “Sir,” he saluted.
“At ease. The base is ours,” the older man said with a wide grin. “You did commendable work, son. The Republic is forever grateful.”
“I’m sure, sir.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll be rewarded for it. I’ve already put in a recommendation. You’ll be moving to a new fleet. It’s a change, but one I’m sure you’ll like… Also, in light of your actions, you’ve been promoted.”
Promoted? He did not bother to question, but he did not take any pride in it either. “I hope I am suited for the task,” he said.
“Oh, you will be. You can count on that. Congratulations, Captain Skywalker.”
“Thank you, sir,” the new captain said stoically.
As the line was cut, he looked down at the body of Bonteri with pity. The man needed to be sent back to his family and given a decent funeral, at least. He decided that would be his first order of business.
But for now, Anakin Skywalker, Captain in the Grand Army of the Republic, watched Republic warships raze the Separatist base to the ground.
Okay, back with another idea. This was actually inspired by another fanfiction which delved into the original concept where Vader and Anakin were separated and the former murdered the later. I initially planned for this story to delve into that. First, here is the chapter going into Anakin’s death.
“How did my father die?”
“… A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights… He betrayed and murdered your father…”
“… betrayed and murdered your father…”
“… betrayed and murdered…”
“… and murdered…”
The scream and the hum of a lightsaber rang over the erupting lava. Vader raised his own over his head, crossing yellow against blue. He struggled to keep his defense up and drew in more of his inner hatred.
Past the bright intersection, Anakin Skywalker glared with teary eyes. His fair complexion, his very being, screamed of righteous anger. It wasn’t surprising. After all, Vader had betrayed him and everyone in the Jedi Order, the guardians of the Republic. Vader had let the clones, soldiers of the Republic, inside the Temple to slaughter unsuspecting Masters, Knights, Padawans, and even Younglings.
Anakin, one of the few survivors and witnesses to Vader’s betrayal, roared, "They were your friends! Why did you do it?! Why?!”
Vader dug his heels into the ashy ground and pushed. “I don’t need to explain myself to you,” he declared through gritted teeth and threw Anakin back with all he had.
The Jedi staggered only a few steps before he came back at Vader. Brown cloak fluttering behind him, the ex-Jedi in turn stepped backwards to defend himself from Anakin’s blows. He barely kept up with the blue lightsaber hammering at every angle. His yellow blade parried a strike to his head, blocked a slash to his right side, and then caught a stab to the heart and brought it to the side. Every other attack in between and after, Vader dodged, rearing from a swipe at his stomach, bringing up his left leg to avoid a swipe, sidestepping another strike at his side, and tilting his head away from a thrust.
Vader hissed as the last one burned under his left eye. He drew his face away and on the Force, grabbing it in his free hand and throwing it at Anakin. The Jedi was blown off his feet, and his back collided on the bank of the lava river below. Vader frowned when Anakin stood again, not even coming close to touching the lava.
Vader, breathing in the ash, touched his burned cheek. It stung but not too much. Good. It was another reminder, another push to keep on fighting. However, that insipid Jedi part told Vader to wait. He did listen to it, if only to ask the question: “I know you weren’t alone. Where is Kenobi?”
Anakin glared, the same ash covering his once-wet cheeks. “He’s safe. Everyone else is safe from you and Palpatine,” he said with pride and the tiniest of spite.
Vader felt them both through the Force, and he fed on his swelling irritation. “Not forever. The Empire will find them, soon enough,” he said and held his saber as he grinned. “And when they’re discovered, they will be wiped out. Kenobi, that apprentice of yours, and even your wife-”
A blade of blue anger cut Vader off. He swung back, batting the thrown saber into Anakin’s gloved hand. Both hands on his saber, Vader met the Jedi’s charge. He took a pre-emptive strike, fainting right to draw the blue blade from his target’s head. Anakin didn’t fall for it and swept Vader’s blade aside to strike with his own.
Back on the defensive, Vader felt the emotions in Anakin’s strikes. There was no sense of calm or serenity. Only hate. Only rage. And they all came from the supposed epitome of the Jedi Code. Vader would’ve cried hypocrite, but it was nothing new. He had seen it before and he saw it now. He would use it against Anakin, just as he had used the fool’s so-called friendship with Palpatine.
After blocking a flurry of strikes going for his head and upper torso, Vader breathed in and struck back. Switching from the defensive Form III to the Form V, his attacks were fueled by Anakin’s anger and the anger inside of himself. They landed upon the Jedi and struck at every side, as yellow now fell on blue.
Now, Anakin was on the defensive. Now, he was barely beating back the storm of Vader’s slashes and hacks. Vader also felt Skywalker now unbalanced by his own anger turned against him. Such was the way of dun möch, and Vader planned to use that to finish the fight.
Vader’s saber slammed against Anakin’s, knocking it out of the Jedi’s hands. The blow also knocked the Jedi back against the lava stream. Vader stood on the higher ground, looked down with a smug glare. After all this time, he couldn’t hold it back as he pointed his saber at the weaponless Skywalker and spoke.
“When I’m done, I will take your head and display it for the galaxy to see. All will know what happens to the greatest of the Jedi and anyone who stands in the Empire’s way.” Vader grinned. “I look forward to giving it to Padme before I take hers.”
As expected, Vader felt the swell of anger rise in Anakin. For all that foolish Jedi preached on patience and serenity, he could never keep his own temper in check. What Vader didn’t expect was the sudden pressure on his neck.
Vader grasped at his throat, glaring at Anakin who raised a clenched hand. Vader rose with it, and his feet left the ground. Already, black spots clouded his vision, the muscles in his neck began to twist upon Anakin’s command. It wouldn’t be long before Skywalker would put an end to Vader.
Vader would not let that happen. Out of all the Jedi, this one had been on his mind. This one, Vader hunted all over the galaxy to find. This one, he sought to completely and utterly destroy. And he would do so. Here, on this lava world of Mustafar.
With that conviction, Vader threw his saber. The yellow blade soared, following his slight command. Vader didn’t care where it went, as long as it hit his target.
And it did. Right through the heart.
Vader dropped on his hands and knees, taking in as much air as he possibly could. Then, he looked up. His initial surprise turned to satisfaction at the sight of a shocked Anakin falling to his knees and staring helplessly at the yellow saber in his chest. It then slid out and flew back into the hands of a rising Vader.
Anakin looked up, those eyes full of so many emotions. Vader took in the look as the light faded from it and Skywalker plopped onto the ashy ground. Across from the corpse, eyes burned with the same color as the yellow saber.
“And so, the Chosen One falls,” said Darth Vader, the Dark Lord of the Sith, standing victoriously over the dead star of the Jedi Knights.
And that is what would’ve been the prologue or first chapter of the story. Of course, I planned to continue it by immediately placing Vader in his suit, yet wielding Anakin’s blue saber for a time (referencing McQuarrie’s concept art). He would hunt down and kill Padme (who has already given birth to Luke and Leia), using the blue saber as seen below:
Gripping the saber, Vader activated it.
Padme’s eyes widened at the sight of the blue blade. Her shock, her horror, her anger sated Vader’s palette as she said, “Anakin?”
“Yes,” Vader said, stabbing the lie and the saber into Padme’s heart.
He devoured the skyrocketing emotions Padme let out in a gasp. She whispered, “I’m sorry… Luke… L…”
Vader pulled out the blade, and Padme’s sentence died with her.
From thereon, Obi-Wan would gain the saber back, and Vader would eventually make his red one. Of course, I wasn’t sure what else to put in between, so I just wrote tidbits, like this one below which occurs in ESB.
“What is that bidding, my master?”
Though a hologram, the emperor’s presence hung over Vader like a mist in Coruscant’s morning. “There is a great disturbance in the Force.”
“I have felt it.”
“We have a new enemy: Luke Skywalker.”
Luke. Again, that name. “Yes, my master.”
“He could destroy us.”
“He is just a boy. Obi-Wan can no longer help him.”
“The Force is strong with him. The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi.”
It took everything Vader had to suppress the part of him that wanted to puke. The emperor had confirmed his suspicions, the very thing he wanted to prove all those years since he heard that name from the dying fool of a woman’s lips. The boy very much had his father’s look. He even wielded the same blue lightsaber.
But he is not his father, another part of him said.
Vader agreed with slow realization. He had seen holograms of the boy’s actions. Despite acting like his father, the boy showed signs that said otherwise. Humility, instead of arrogance. Uncertainty instead of conviction. Weakness, instead of strength.
Not like his father, at all.
“If he could be turned,” Vader proposed, “he would become a powerful ally.”
“Yes. Yes… he would be a great asset. Can it be done?”
“He will join us or die, my master.”
And that’s that. Sure, there were some more tidbits, integrating Legends and Disney continuities together, i.e. showing Starkiller clones working with the Inquisitors, etc. Of course, I had to put it aside after losing interest with it and dealing with other stories at the same time. Hopefully, someone else can use this in their own story.
Alright, back with another discarded story. This one was called Oddly Familiar, where the shattering of the Skywalker saber in TLJ (not a fan) sends Rey and Kylo Ren to the EU/Legends, where the EU and Disney are compared to one another. It was meant to be a short crossover of the EU and Disney canons, poking fun at both side’s flaws. Of course I didn’t get far, especially when a lot of the stuff I wrote became out of date due to TROS (also not a fan).
Rey: A New Galaxy…
It was only half. Rey thought that as she looked down at the lightsaber hilt in her hand. Her fingers traced around the pommel, careful not to reach the exposed middle. The bits of the outer shell had been removed, revealing the wires and the blue crystal that once powered the weapon. At one time, it belonged to the famed Jedi Luke Skywalker and his father before him.
Now, it was only half.
Rey stared at the saber until someone else spoke. “You probably should relax a little more.”
Rey whirled her gaze to the woman entering the chamber. The newcomer wore a simple outfit, not too similar to Rey’s own Jedi uniform. Not to mention the silver lightsaber hilt jostling on the belt as the stranger strode across a familiar floor to a familiar lounge.
The woman, who looked a lot like a young General Organa up close, held up a steaming cup. “I brought you something.”
“Thank you,” Rey said as she took the cup in her other hand. She glanced down at it, then at the woman. “How did you…?”
“A little secret,” smiled the Organa look-alike, sipping her own cup. “We Jedi have a way of feeling other people’s emotions.”
Taking in the words, Rey put her cup on the table. She had seen it many times aboard the Millennium Falcon. In fact, it was the same table, with its holochess display, but it wasn’t at the same time.
“Sorry,” the woman apologized. “It probably isn’t easy for you.”
“No, it’s okay,” Rey assured. “It just takes some time getting used to…”
That was quite the understatement. If someone was to ask Rey about other universes, she would have scoffed at the mere idea. However, she could not deny it. Here, there was no First Order or Snoke, and the Jedi were thriving as the New Jedi Order. This was certainly not her galaxy. She was not even on her Falcon. This Falcon definitely had some upgrades, unlike the ‘garbage’ she tinkered with on Jakku. She didn’t know the thing could even fly until she and Finn were escaping the First Order days ago.
Rey stopped for another thought. Days. It had been days since she left Jakku. Days since she went to find and learn from Luke Skywalker. Days since she even learned the Force was even real. Days since…
The red flash roared as it pierced through his chest, the blade sparking like a wild flame…
Rey pushed the image away. “Jaina,” she asked, “do you know when they will finish?”
Jaina Solo, daughter of this universe’s Han Solo, put down her mug. “Hard to tell. Uncle Luke and the other masters have been talking for a while now.”
“It’s a bit strange you call him uncle. I’ve only known mine as ‘Master Skywalker.’ No offense.”
“None taken. To be honest, it’s always a bit weird calling him ‘master.’ He’s always Uncle Luke to me, even when he was training me and Jacen.” Jaina took another sip. “From what I heard, you didn’t really receive much training from your Luke.”
Rey hesitated to answer that. “My Master Skywalker was…”
“… not able to fully train me.”
“It couldn’t have been that bad.”
“He only gave me three lessons… I’m not sure if there was a third…”
Jaina blinked. “When you put it like that, it doesn’t sound like Uncle Luke.”
“Maybe not,” Rey admitted, finally taking a sip of her cup. Her eyebrows perked up before her lips parted from the mug. “Hmmm, what is this?”
“Really? Never heard of it.”
“You probably wouldn’t have. Uncle Luke, on the other hand, can’t seem to get enough of it… and it looks like you can’t either,” Jaina said with a wink.
“It certainly beats the portions I had on Jakuu,” Rey murmured.
With both hands, she eagerly downed whatever she could of the beverage and enjoyed its creamy, smooth taste. She only stopped when a new and masculine voice spoke again, “Easy. Drink like that, and you’ll be staying up all night. Trust me, I know from experience.”
That voice. It sounded too familiar, yet too different at the same time.
Rey looked to the new figure entering the hold. His Jedi robe followed behind, and he stood calmly before the Rey with a smile on his face. It was a face Rey had seen a few days ago, when she left the watery world to pursue Kylo Ren.
“Luke?” she repeated, not knowingly she said it aloud.
The man smiled and waved his gloved hand. “Grandmaster Luke Skywalker, at your service, but I guess you’re already familiar with me…”
Rey did not respond. She could not. There was no way this was Luke Skywalker. He should have been gray and old. Instead, he looked blond and young, like she had seen in the old holoimages General Organa had shown her.
Only Jaina’s voice snapped Rey out. “Hey, Uncle Luke. Is the council ready for her?”
“They are. I just came by to personally see Rey,” said ‘Luke’ to Jaina, then to Rey, “I understand if you’re not able to speak. All of this must be a lot for you.”
“Believe me, it’s the same for us,” Jaina playfully interjected, and her uncle smiled at her.
“I…” Rey tried to speak, but the words were jammed in her throat.
“Take your time to think,” Luke-no, Master Skywalker answered after a moment of silence. “You’ll need to save your answers for when you speak to the whole council.”
At last, Rey was able to force her voice out. “How much do they know?”
There was no snappy comeback or comment from him. “Only everything you told my niece. Some are surprised. Others are… bewildered.”
Blinking her eyes, Rey thought back to what she told Jaina beforehand. Not about coming from another universe-their reactions were understandable. She explained about the First Order rising and the Resistance fighting to stop it, about Finn deserting the First Order, about fighting against and later alongside Kylo, and about finding Luke. She did omit certain details-she did not have the heart to tell them-but she explained the general situation of the galaxy. What about any of it did not make sense?
Before Master Skywalker could answer, a small form popped its red head from behind. Jaina had noticed the boy before Rey did and said, “Ben? What are you doing here?”
“Just curious,” answered the redhead boy, no older than seven. “I wanted to see what’s the fuss is about. Everyone’s been talking at the academy.”
Rey again was dumbfounded. Another change that was too different, yet similar, and it took her by surprise. She was not sure if she was broadcasting her thoughts, like she had been earlier, but Master Skywalker gave the introductions with his ever-kind smile. “Meet Ben Skywalker, my son. Say hi Ben.”
“Hi,” waved Ben Skywalker.
“Um, hello,” Rey returned awkwardly before she looked at Master Skywalker. “If he’s here, where is his mother?”
“Aunt Mara is with my brother,” Jaina spoke up. “They’re looking for that guy that came with you, Kylo…”
“Ben,” Rey said before she realized she had not revealed that bit of information. “I mean, Ren. Kylo Ren.”
As she hoped, no one asked or seemed to notice a thing. Master Skywalker, unfazed as ever, looked to Jaina again. “Jaina, you should meet with your father. He’s down by the memorial again.”
“I’ll be there,” and Jaina stood up to leave. She stopped momentarily to look at Rey. “You want to meet him after seeing the Council, Rey? I think he would like to hear about his other self.”
“I…” The image of the red saber burned Rey’s words to ash. Forcing a small smile, she said, “… maybe another time. Sorry.”
Jaina gave a smile and a light shrug before she went off, leaving Rey with the grandmaster and his son. “We probably should get going, too,” said Master Skywalker. “They want to meet you. I think some might take an interest.”
“You probably should watch out for mom, though,” blurted Ben Skywalker, not Solo.
Getting up, Rey glanced down to the little redhead. “I should?”
“A-hem,” the grandmaster coughed awkwardly. “Compared to the others on the council, my wife is… a bit critical of your situation.”
“I’d rather let her say.”
Rey frowned a little. “And… what do you think?” she asked quietly.
Master Skywalker did not reply. He smiled and glanced at the half-empty mug. “You should finish that. It might be strange if you take that into a meeting with the council.”
“You do it every time, dad,” retorted the master’s son. “You know mom says you can’t drink too much.”
“Privileges of being a grandmaster, Ben. Besides, it only happens once in a while. And it’s not that much.”
Rey held in a giggle and downed the drink again, but not so fast. Soon, the empty mug clanked on the tabletop, and Rey followed behind Master Skywalker and his son out of the Falcon.
Mara: The Questioning Hand
Mara Jade-Skywalker worryingly twirled a finger around her long fiery hair. A lot of things had surprised her since she first met her husband: insane Jedi clones, ancient Sith spirits, rogue Imperial warlords… and the Vong from over five years ago. Each of them was stranger than the last, and the less said about the Vong, the better.
This, or rather she, was something else altogether.
“I don’t like it,” Mara told the newly-formed Jedi Council. “This girl is hiding something.”
“You don’t need to tell us,” answered Master Kyle Katarn, his hologram flickering every now and then. “We all know she is. The question is what she’s hiding.”
A few more nods came from the council’s holograms, all projecting from the Ossus Academy. Mara frowned from the comfort of her ship. Everyone had heard the story from Jaina: another universe where the Jedi were dead, the Empire was on the rise again, and the New Republic was destroyed, leaving only a bunch of rebels to stop them. It was basic information with the tiny details missing, and Mara learned at a young age that the tiniest details could be the most important.
“Corran, can you get anything on her?” she asked.
Former Rebel pilot and current Green Jedi of the council, Corran Horn shook his head. “Afraid not,” he said. “To me, it’s like her mind is there but isn’t at the same time. I can get bits and pieces, but not enough to find anymore than what she already told us.”
“We all share the same concerns,” the Mon Calamari Cilghal said, blinking her bulbous eyes. “However, we can’t press her for more information. We can only let her tell us in time.”
“Maybe,” Mara murmured, unfurling her hair, “but there’s something important she’s not telling from us. I wouldn’t be asking this in a normal situation.”
“I don’t think this is normal for anyone, including our visitor,” Corran interjected.
“For once, I agree with Corran,” Kyp Durron, the youngest of the masters, said. He blinked a pair of eyes as dark as his Jedi cloak. “I can’t believe I said that.”
A new voice, one Mara recognized, joined in with a chuckle. “Well, these are strange times,” said her husband as he joined in the council session.
Rey, the subject of the discussion, entered alongside Luke. Her eyes darted around, looking at the other masters. Luke whispered something to her, some words of encouragement, maybe, before he took his seat among the council.
Mara wasted no time. She quickly inspected Rey’s holographic outline, taking note of how tense Rey’s body language was despite the occasional flicker of her blue image. She was obviously overcompensating for her nerves. “Ah, the girl we’ve heard so much about. I’m Mara Jade-Skywalker. How are you, Rey?” Mara said, doing her best to come off as friendly.
“Good I think, all things considered,” Rey replied. “I appreciate the hospitality.”
“Of course,” Mara said. “As Jedi, it is our duty to assist all who are in need.”
Rey sighed a bit and allowed her shoulders to relax. “Thank you for being so understanding. Your son said you probably wouldn’t like me, so I thought you would-” Rey immediately tensed up at the realization of what she was saying.
“What?” Mara snorted, clearly changing her demeanor to that of annoyance. “You thought I would what?”
“I… uhh…” Rey averted eye contact and rubbed her own arm nervously.
“Maybe you should just tell us what you know instead, hmm?” Mara said, her teeth slightly gritted. A few chuckles could be heard among some of the council members, which Mara decided to pay no mind to.
She eyed Rey’s expression carefully. Her mouth was open even before she spoke. “I… yes…”
“Don’t worry, Rey,” Luke assured. “Take your time to answer.”
Rey nodded to Luke. The center of attention, she cleared her throat and began. “I… I was told you were skeptical about my situation. To be honest, I can hardly believe it myself. A whole other galaxy that I was told was like mine in the past yet is so… different. I’ll admit it’s a little nerve-wracking.” Rey chuckled awkwardly. She no doubt hoped the masters around her didn’t think she was too weird, despite current events.
“It is, and we can understand,” Mara nodded, trying to be as gentle as she could, “… However, while we now know it is possible to travel from one galaxy, or rather, universe to another, we are certain that the Force must be responsible. Do you have any ideas on how such a feat was accomplished?”
Rey shook her head. “I’m sorry, I honestly have no idea. The Force, the Jedi, most people back home think it’s all just myth. I’ve only just started learning about myself a few days ago.”
“Only a few days ago?” Mara raised an eyebrow. “The presence I, and all of the other Jedi that have encountered you, don’t sense the Force signature of a mere novice. Have you trained at all in the past or experimented with your powers, even as a child?”
Rey only shook her head again. “Never.”
“Then how long did you train with…” Mara took a quick glance at her husband, whose face straightened as he realized what she was about to mention. “…how long did you train with your Luke Skywalker?”
“For about… three lessons?”
“Three lessons? And what were you able to accomplish as a result of these lessons?”
“I-” Rey began, but quickly halted herself when she realized she couldn’t give a clear answer. Her head lowered with her voice. “… I don’t know…”
Mara gave another glance at Luke, who, while keeping his composure, wore a noticeable expression that blended what looked like sadness, pity, and perhaps a sense of disappointment. Mara decided to continue.
“What about what you’ve been able to accomplish without the ‘training’ you received?”
This time, there was a confident answer. “Right before finding myself here, I defeated several of Supreme Leader Snoke’s bodyguards in combat.”
“Bodyguards? Were they clad in red armor?”
“Yes,” Rey replied, “and they carried weapons that could fight against a lightsaber.”
Mara’s thoughts were correct. To her knowledge, this “Snoke” took the role of emperor in all aspects aside from the title itself. That meant his guards would likely take after Palpatine’s own, and Mara knew how deadly those warriors were. No novice girl could hold their own against a group of fighters like that. “And you have no combat training to speak of?”
“I fought off thugs with a staff a lot back on Jakku.”
There was a snort from Kyle right after Rey had said that. Mara herself would have been impressed if the implications of such swift progress weren’t worrisome. “A staff to a lightsaber and desert thugs to royal guards within days?” she inquired.
“I mean…” Rey paused. “…yes?”
“Tell us, how did you become so capable so quickly?” Mara said, this time more aggressively than before.
“Well, I’ve always been self-sufficient when I lived on Jakku-”
“I’m afraid that answer isn’t going to cut it. What happened that made you achieve a power in the Force in days that many train for years to accomplish?”
Rey was quiet once again. Mara glanced over to Corran peering at the girl and silently asked what he could find. Catching Mara’s look, Corran shook his head a little in both knowledge and confusion. It might have simply been stress, but Rey seemed like she honestly couldn’t think of any answers. Perhaps, nothing had happened to her, and she just did things. However…
“Well… maybe ever since that mind bond…”
Mara sat up straight at Rey’s words. “Mind bond?” She repeated. “You didn’t say that before.”
Rey winced upon realizing what she had let out. “I…” she began before returning to her shy and awkward ways. No one else dared to speak up, and Mara would have continued her questioning if not for her husband.
“Rey,” Luke spoke after breaking his prolonged silence. His voice was calm and warm. “We only mean to help you. We cannot do that if you don’t tell us everything.”
A brief moment, anger flickered across Rey’s eyes. “It doesn’t feel like help.”
Mara frowned. “I might come off as harsh, but I’m like this because of what you told us.”
The anger dissipated as Rey asked, “What do you mean?”
“Should you tell her, or should we?” Kyle told the grandmaster.
Luke sighed, rubbing his forehead. “Rey, the problem isn’t your power. It’s how you mastered it so quickly,” he explained. “We’ve seen it happen many times before, and there was only one way of accomplishing that…”
“The Dark Side,” Kyp said the words in a sad and deep tone, not needing to remind everyone of his own experience with it.
Rey’s eyes widened at the accusation. “But… but I haven’t fallen!”
“No, it doesn’t look like it,” Mara conceded, only a little though. “But there’s an issue with this bond.”
Kyp continued from thereon. “This Kylo Ren you’ve told us is still out there, and he could be benefiting from the bond as much as you might be, if not more. That makes him dangerous, especially if he can do the things you said you could do. The only way we can stop him from hurting anymore people is if we know more about him.”
“Kyp is right, Rey. Please, we need an answer,” Mara pleaded, cracking her hardened mask.
Rey, having cornered herself, glanced down for a second. Then, she took a deep breath and began to explain everything. Well, it was everything the council had heard before. She told them of Kylo Ren, everything she knew that he did, from Ren’s slaughter of his fledgling Jedi and apparent obsession with Darth Vader to how he captured and interrogated her. Her voice stuttered slightly when she mentioned how Ren injured her friend, the Stormtrooper deserter. Even when Mara heard how the First Order’s Dark Side adept had been bested, it was clear for all to see Luke’s expression of shame grow alongside Rey’s own frustration.
After the long-winded story, a silence hung in the air. Luke sat with his hand to his mouth, likely contemplating where his alternate universe self had “gone wrong,” if that was even the question to ask. After some time, one of the masters broke the quiet. “You believed he can be saved. Why do you think so?” Cilghal inquired.
“I…” Rey began, then she hesitated.
Mara glanced at Corran, who opened up with a question of his own. “Did you see good in him?”
“…yes,” Rey replied meekly. “Even after everything I’ve seen, I saw good in him… I can’t say for sure why I did, but… I thought if he returned then… then…”
“You would have saved him… and saved the galaxy,” Luke finished quietly.
With a soft sigh, Mara gave Rey the benefit of the doubt. For all the seeming leaps in logic, she couldn’t blame the girl. “Then, we’ll find him,” Mara assured Rey. “We’ll bring him back and send you both home.”
Rey momentarily met Mara’s gaze with a soft and grateful stare. “Thank you…”
Mara nodded before she cut the connection. The council, her husband, and Rey were all gone from her ship, leaving her all alone. As much as she would have loved to ponder about, she rose from her seat to attend to the more pressing matter. She was about to call Jacen waiting outside the ship, reaching a hand to the comm system…
“You will kill Luke Skywalker!”
Mara’s finger froze a centimeter from the console. She had not heard that in twenty five years. Not since Grand Admiral Thrawn, the greatest threat to the galaxy at the time. Then, she had been a lost woman with a single command from a dead emperor, and that command died with a false face. Mara did not know, nor want to know, why she was hearing it again.
“The sooner we find this guy, the better,” Mara murmured, her hand unconsciously touching the whole and undamaged Skywalker saber on her hip as her eyes peered out to the burning city on a hill.
Leia: A New Face Among Old Ones
The academy on Ossus looked the same as ever. After the destruction of her brother’s old Praxeum on Yavin IV, Leia did her best to help move the New Jedi Order to a world once filled with them in the days of the Old Republic. That was a mere four years ago, and the only new addition was the girl currently walking beside Luke through the academy’s green gardens.
“So, that’s her?” Leia asked, and Jaina nodded. “She’s very strong in the Force. Reminds me of…”
“Yeah, I know… It’s not just with the Force.” Jaina laughed with nostalgia. “You should have seen her on the Falcon, mom. After she calmed down, she, hah, wanted to tinker every little thing she could get her hands on. I had to keep dad back so he wouldn’t go insane!”
Reminded of a younger Jaina and a little boy doing the same, Leia softly giggled. “Is that true? Now, I really should meet her.”
And so, mother and daughter strolled out from behind the tall bush. “Hey!” Jaina called out to the pair. “How did the meeting go?”
“It went as well as it could have,” Luke smiled sheepishly, and Leia could sense something off about her twin. It would be a question for another time, after Luke gave the introductions. “Rey, this is my sister, Leia Organa-Solo. Leia, meet our guest from another universe.”
Rey’s eyes widened. “Leia? You look… young…”
“Why thank you,” Leia smiled at the unintentionally backhanded comment. “You must be Rey. Jaina has told me a lot about you.”
“Uh, thank you general… I mean, princess.”
“Please call me Leia. There’s no need to be finicky about it.” Leia looked to her twin, “I hope you don’t mind if I talk to Rey for a bit…”
“Not at all. Don’t hesitate to call if you need help, Rey,” Luke smiled before he made his way out.
With Luke gone, Leia turned to her guest. “So, why don’t you tell us what’s bothering you?” Rey opened her mouth, but Leia cut in, “I can see it on your face. I don’t need the Force to know that.”
“I…” Rey’s eyes shifted a little, “it’s just… I’ve been thinking about…”
“Aunt Mara said something?” Jaina guessed.
“Yes… she and the others…” Rey nodded, looking at her hands. “Is it true… that the Dark Side is quicker… easier…?”
“Yes,” Leia frowned, having an inkling of the real truth. “Almost everyone you’ve met here probably has brushed with it or had fallen completely at one time.”
“Did you fall?”
“Thank the Force, no,” she replied, and Rey’s eyes went over to Jaina.
“And what about you, Jaina…?” Leia felt her daughter’s regret as the young woman shifted uncomfortably, followed by Rey’s astonishment. “You… did you…?”
Jaina sighed. “Not exactly. I was close… very close… but I came back though…”
Standing by her daughter’s side, Leia told Rey, “Jaina’s one of the many who have come back from the Dark Side. My… father did the same, and even Luke. Our family is proof enough that no one is beyond redemption.”
“… I see… thank you…” Rey said quietly. Hope fluttered in her and spread across her lips in a tiny smile. “I guess it is true about Jedi able to sense things…”
“Oh, Luke has taught me a couple things here or there, but I’m no Jedi.”
“Really? Have you thought about being one?” asked Rey, who received her answer from Jaina.
“Oh, she has. Countless times. It’s kind of hard when you’re juggling so many other jobs at once. Senator, then leader of the New Republic…” Jaina said and listed off those “other jobs” on her fingers.
Leia smirked mirthfully at the surprised Rey. “That and being a mother. It was never a dull moment, I can tell you, but I don’t have to worry about it anymore. Being close with my family is my concern now.”
Rey’s smile faltered. “Family… I’ve never really had anything close to friends or family… At least not until recently, and I…” her voice trailed off.
Sensing it again, Leia turned to Jaina, who silently affirmed that she sensed it too. “Is there something else on your mind, Rey?” Leia inquired.
Rey hesitated for a second. Then, she asked, “Did you ever lose someone close to you?”
Leia frowned and glanced down. “Yes. I thought after the Empire, we had lost enough, but…” she almost whispered, and the memories drowned away her words.
Jaina stepped in. “Maybe we should show her, mom.”
“Show me what?” Rey asked.
Leia and Jaina silently led the way through the garden. Rey trailed behind them, her curiosity easily felt by the two Solos. They also felt her surprise when they came across a small clearing where a number of giant bronzium statues stood. “Is that…?” Rey said, recognizing the Wookie among the statues.
Her eyes on statue, Leia somberly nodded. “Chewbacca. You said he’s alive in your universe… Han would be thrilled to hear that.” She turned to Rey. “After everything I’ve heard from Jaina, I bet your Han needs a good friend at his side.”
Rey visibly gulped with the uncomfortable feeling that Leia had sensed before. “What happened to him? Your Chewbacca, I mean…”
“I’m sure you’ve heard of it by now. The Vong War.”
“I heard a little from Master Skywalker… Invaders from beyond the galaxy?”
Jaina took over for her mom. “Yeah…” she smiled sadly. “Chewie was among the first of us to fall. And dad, he… he didn’t take Chewie’s death well.”
“I… I had no idea…” said a shocked Rey.
“It wasn’t just that…” Leia whispered as her hand rested at the base of another statue, one of a teenager. “We lost more than we could have ever imagined.”
“A lot more…” Jaina too touched the same statue’s base. Her fingers trailed over the words written on it.
A beacon of light for the ones he loved.
Rey let out a tiny gasp. “… I’m so sorry… Was he…?”
“The youngest…” Leia nodded. “Out of us all, he was the strongest in the Force…”
“… And the smartest…” Jaina continued, her smile nostalgic and eyes still on the name. “ He couldn’t stop tinkering with things sometimes…”
Silence fell over the three women. However long it felt, the moment was cut short by a cry that didn’t come from Rey, Jaina, or Leia. “Hey!”
The trio of women turned to the newcomer at the memorial site. Leia recognized him immediately for his white shirt and jacket, even if he had grayed hair and was sagging a little. “I thought you were at the Falcon,” she told her husband.
Han Solo, former general of the Rebel Alliance and New Republic, shrugged in that typical Solo fashion. “I was getting bored, so I was looking around for you. I didn’t think you two would still be here,” he said, briefly eyeing the statues.
“We were just talking with Rey here, dad,” Jaina said.
Leia sensed the spike of anxiety as her husband turned to face Rey. Han, not able to sense the Force, still saw the tension in Rey’s face. He rose a hand towards her direction, saying, “We didn’t get a proper introduction earlier. I’m-”
Rey cut him off. “Han Solo. Captain of the Millennium Falcon. You made the Kessel Run in fourteen parsecs.” She quickly shook her head and corrected herself. “Twelve. Sorry.”
Han lowered his hand. “Alright…" he said aloofly, though Leia knew he was equally perplexed and concerned.
“Han,” Leia told him, “you and Jaina can get the ship ready to leave. I want to talk with Rey for a second…”
“Sure… See you soon,” Han waved at her and Rey, sparing a curious glance at the latter before departing with Jaina.
Leia waited patiently until both her husband and daughter couldn’t be sensed within the confines of the garden. Once sure they were alone, Leia turned to Rey and said, “Well, we’re alone. I suppose you could tell me about the other thing bother you.”
Eyes widened, Rey opened her mouth, then she closed it. “… Right,” Rey murmured then clear her throat, Leia hoping that she would open up. “… I guess there has been something else… I haven’t really told Jaina about this but… do you know anything about minds being bridged with the Force?”
“I do. We call them Force bonds here. Luke and I have one, and so does Jaina and Jacen. They’re really useful, especially in a tight situation.” Leia paused to notice Rey’s glance. “But I think that’s not what you’re asking about.”
Rey rubbed at one arm. “… You see, I have one…”
“And it’s with this Kylo Ren?” Rey’s hesitancy answered the question. Leia recalled about the darkside adept Jaina informed her.
“I told the other masters about this, but I don’t know how to control it…” Rey frowned a little.
Leia took Rey’s hands in hers. Perhaps, this would be a way to strike two birds with one stone. “I think I can help. Why don’t you sit down?” She sat with Rey, their legs crossed on the stone. “This is one of the things Luke taught me. First, close your eyes, Rey, and breath.”
“I think I can do that,” Rey smiled a little, and she did.
Leia mirrored Rey’s movements and continued, her voice low in a soothing tone. “Now, focus on the Force. Feel it…”
“… I think I-”
“And best keep quiet. You might lose concentration,” Leia smiled. She didn’t need to look to see Rey’s embarrassment. “There… Now, focus and listen… When you hear it, start searching…”
Rey, keeping quiet, fell into the Force and fell in deep. Leia could sense it and followed her on the path, making sure had the help she needed. Rey’s self almost departed the academy’s garden. Leia found it impressive for someone like Rey to have such a strong affinity to the Force.
‘Like Anakin, indeed.’
Leia banished the thought of her late son. She concentrated on the now, and the garden was out of sight. She knew it was still there, blurred like an object out of focus in a scope. Rey twitched a little as she searched through the Force.
Suddenly, Rey stood up. Leia wondered why before she saw him in the Force.
There he was, standing across the garden. A figure with hair as dark as his clothes. With that chin and piercing eyes, he almost looked like Han. That frown and those boyish looks were the opposite of what Han even was.
There was also someone else, staring at the dark man. This person looked more like Han, especially with his curling hair and cheekbones that once grinned too often as a child. This one, Leia knew all too well.
Jacen: Son of Solo
Several emotions struck Jacen at once. He and Aunt Mara had followed a faint trail in the Force, leading them to this planet on furthest edges of the galaxy. It was there, they found a burning city filled fear.
There had been living beings, humanoids with red skin, blue skin, and shades in between. The dead among them, the ones the lower class hobbled around, were men and women in fine clothing of the elite… and once armed with red lightsabers.
Sabers of the Sith.
There were too many questions with few clear answers. So, on the edge of that chaotic city, Jedi Knight Jacen Solo, son of Han Solo and Leia Organa-Solo, tried to find solace in the Force. What he found was a man in black standing before him. Everything else blurred around, and even sound was muffled until Jacen only heard the other man.
“Who are you?”
Jacen met the piercing glare with his own. Using the Force, he searched the other mind reaching out to his. “I should be asking you that,” Jacen said to the other man evenly. “but I think I have a pretty good guess. Kylo Ren?”
Kylo frowned. “How much did Rey tell you?”
And that’s all I got. Again, I had a few ideas to go with this, but they all were overturned by TROS (like I said, not a fan).