Added on May 08, 1999
Category: Science Fiction/Star Wars
Author: R. John Burke

The Son Of Vader

STAR WARS: By FREEDOM'S Light Episode Thirteen

DESRIPTION: As the title implies, gang, Luke is in this one.

NOTICE: George Lucas owns Star Wars, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and all other characters and situations therein. I own basically nothing. This story is not for sale, and much of the info about Kashyyyk comes from the book "Rebel Dawn" by AC Crispin (Highly recommended).


"Vader?"

Garreth balled his hands into fists. "So it seems. He has my son and my daughter, and he's going to kill them."

"He's doesn't intend to kill them," said Kerri Lynden, his first officer, with a shake of her long, dark hair. "His only purpose is to lure you in."

"Tell me something I don't know, Commander. Nevertheless, I've little choice but to go."

Kerri frowned. "I think you should make every effort not to comply with Vader's wishes."

"I've been a bad enough father as it is. I'm not about to get my own children killed."

Kerri's hand rested uneasily on her lightsaber. She was a Jedi Knight, shielded in the Force by the strange, alien powers of the crystal she wore. "But perhaps you should not go alone."

Garreth shook his head, his own graying hair tickling his neck. "The Empire thinks you're dead. If Vader sees you..."

"He still won't be able to find me, not with the crystal."

He stared into her brown eyes. "I can't let you take that risk for my sake."

"Mykel, I tell you now you cannot defeat Vader." Kerri smiled sadly. "It will take a fully trained Jedi Knight to do that."

"Are you such a Knight?"

The younger human shifted uncomfortably. "I am a Knight. Vader is a Skywalker. He has killed more powerful Jedi than me."

"Then that settles it," said Garreth, "Obviously you're not..."

"I want this chance," she said, "Vader did kill my mother."

"Revenge?" Garreth smiled, just a bit. "Isn't that what you're always cautioning Jev about?"

"Not so much revenge," Kerri told him, "I feel... like I'm unworthy of my abilities. Other Jedi died facing Vader. Still more will killed by the Emperor. Obi-Wan Kenobi was lost protecting the Death Star plans. So many noble sacrifices, and what have I done? I've hidden like a coward."

"You're no coward," said Garreth. In the two years he'd known this woman, that fact had become very clear. She had willingly marched into he Emperor's Palace for a confrontation with one of his best Dark Apprentices... and come out of it alive. "If there is to be a new generation of Jedi, someone will have to teach it. Something of the old ways has to survive."

"It will survive in another, then," said Kerri, "If you go alone, Vader will give you to his Emperor, and you will die. I can't allow that. It is, after all, a Jedi's calling to protect the innocent."

Garreth chuckled. "I'm hardly innocent."

"Would you prefer the term 'helpless?'"

"You're digging yourself into a hole, Commander," he said.

She smiled. "Take me with you."

Jev Parrak felt the change in the Force, rode it, stayed with it until he could make sense of it. He had grown much stronger in this past month, and could now use Force powers other than his natural ability with Alter Mind. He could see the past, the present, and even a bit of the future. And he knew what to do.

They'd be diverting to Sesswanna Sector. Balmorra, he thought, or somewhere in the area. So close to Imperial space would be a perfect opportunity to meet Vader.

But not alone.

He approached the relief navigator/comm officer, a pasty-faced Twi'lek named Korb Weeilka. "Has Garreth ordered a course change yet?"

Weeilka frowned, head-tails twitched. "Not that I know of."

"He will. When he does, will you do me a favor?"

The Twi'lek shrugged. "What is it?"

"Transmit a message to the MILLENIUM FALCON at New Alderaan: Tell Skywalker that the ship has been diverted, and he's to meet the FREEDOM at our new location."

"The captain will probably have me do that anyway," said Weeilka.

"I'm sure he'll have you send a message," said Jev, summoning all his fledgling Force skills, "But no matter what message he tells you to send, you will tell Skywalker to meet us on the third moon of the planet To'koor. That's near the Balmorran system; I'll give you co-ordinates."

Weeilka was understandably puzzled. "Is that where we're going?"

"It's where Skywalker is to go," said Jev.

"All right," said Korb, "Of course, you realize I'll have to confirm these orders with the captain."

"No, you won't," Jev told him, staring into those beady, Twi'lek eyes. "The captain will know nothing about it."

"But I need authorization for something so..."

Jev cut him off. "You don't need authorization."

Slowly, Korb repeated, "I... don't need... authorization."

"This task is no big deal."

The Twi'lek hesitated. "It's... no big deal..."

"In fact, when its done, you'll forget all about it."

"I will forget..." Korb stared ahead rather blankly.

Jev waved a hand in front of the other's face, and the alien snapped out of it. "Korb, what's the matter? You went blank on me there."

The alien pressed a hand to the back of his head, massaging one head-tail as though it ached. "Um... I'm sorry, Jev. I don't know what happened."

"Maybe you should see Onebee later," Jev suggested.

"I'll do that."

Jev smiled and turned to leave. "But you will do that one little favor for me?"

The Twi'lek made a dismissive gesture. "That? Sure. No big deal..."

"So, really, why did you save us?"

After leaving Kessel, they had agreed to meet up at a random collection of realspace coordinates not too far distant, so they wouldn't have to hang around the Imperial-dominated system for longer than necessary. Once there, Talon Karrde's ship, a small smuggling vessel with the apparently-meant-to-be-funny name of UWANA BUYER, had docked with their stolen shuttle.

Taryn Clancee had introduced this man to Evverd as Talon Karrde - smuggler, information broker, and all-around scoundrel. He certainly looked the part, with his brightly-colored tunic, thin goatee, and a blaster strapped to his hip. The image of a space pirate.

Except maybe his eyes, which were an icy blue. They served notice of a keen intellect, and about as much emotion as the vacuum of space.

They'd met him on his own ship - which Evverd had not liked but Clancee insisted was safe enough. In fact, she said, there was nothing safer in the galaxy than being Karrde's guest. He was scrupulously honorable about such things. She and Evverd had gone over, leaving their two colleagues - former Rebel agents turned unwilling Kessel spice miners - to handle the shuttle.

At the moment, he idly popped a nut of some kind into his mouth. "Several reasons, actually. As a general rule, I don't like to see good people get set up. Secondly, of course, this is mine." He picked up the case of credits they had been about to transfer to Moruth Doole in exchange for the prisoners.

Taryn nodded. She'd expected that, which was why she'd brought the money. "Fair payment, I'd say."

"And finally, I understand you've been looking for information on a certain Imperial conscript."

Out of the corner of his eye, Evverd saw Clancee freeze. The conscript Karrde referred to was a young man named Kristoff Narr, taken along with Taryn during an Imperial raid on Pollis some months ago.

Narr was the son of a deceased friend, and she had been beating herself up about escaping without him ever since.

"That's right," she said slowly, "I tried Jabba, but he didn't know anything."

"Taryn, my old friend, you wound me. If you need information, why would you waste time with the Hutt? Why not go to the best?"

The ex-smuggler chuckled. "I didn't know where you were at the time. You have a group now?"

"Extremely fledgling," said Karrde, "I took over from Jorge Car'das, as a matter of fact."

"Ugh," said Taryn, "That rock-bottom operation? Why would you soil yourself?"

"I grant you, it's rough. Aves and Torve are the only operatives worth keeping around. I'll assemble my own team, given time." Karrde grinned sardonically. "A man has to start somewhere..."

Evverd cleared his throat. "What about Clancee's friend? Where is he?"

"I don't really know," Karrde admitted with a shrug. "But I'd be willing to find out..."

"For a price, of course."

The smuggler nodded. "Goes without saying."

"Sounds good," said Taryn. "I'll pay you what I would have paid Jabba: Fifteen thousand."

"Wait until we find something," said Karrde, "Then discuss payment."

"A smuggler who actually wants to provide services before getting paid?" Evverd chuckled. "You ARE honorable."

Karrde flicked a glance at him, then addressed Taryn. "He's not coming, is he?"

Taryn looked at Evverd, and shrugged. "I doubt it. When you get back, tell Garreth I'm taking a small leave of absence. Consider it the vacation that got ruined on Pollis."

Evverd was halfway to the hatch. As Karrde cranked it open, he stepped into the shuttle, gave Greth and Dorian instructions on getting it home, and stepped back inside.

Karrde was mildly impatient. "You should get moving, yourself."

"Somebody's gotta keep an eye on you," said Evverd, and he settled back with his feet up on the holo-chess board.

Taryn turned back from the copilot's station. "Rik, you really don't have to come. I don't even know where we're going..."

He chuckled. "I figure it'll take at least another week for Kerri to cool down, and until then, I am in no hurry to return to the FREEDOM. Let's get moving."

"Wonderful," said Karrde as he laid in a hyperspace course, "Another mouth to feed..."

"Captain, this course of action is so reckless..."

"I appreciate your concern, Chief." Mykel Garreth smiled at Okel, his Mon Calamari Senior Chief. "What would you do if it were your children?"

"I have no children," Okel complained, "I don't even like children, and for precisely this reason. If you start worrying about someone else's welfare instead of your own, before you know it you're doing something ridiculous. Like this."

Garreth grunted as he tried desperately to arrange his unfamiliar commando gear into something resembling a comfortable position. "I'll try to take that in the spirit it was intended..."

"Do you even know that Vader has them?" asked the Calamarian, bulbous eyes swiveling. "It could have been a recording, or a projection. He may already have..."

The alien trailed off. Garreth said, "Go ahead. Finish."

"It's not important."

"You were going to say, he may already have killed them." Garreth fixed those alien eyes with a stare. "That's very true. I have to find out."

The Calamarian put a flipper-hand on his arm. "If you face Vader, you will not survive."

"That may also be true," Garreth said with a long, nervous exhalation of breath. "We'll see."

The hangar doors snapped open. Kerri Lynden entered, wearing the same black commando gear that he did. She wore it better, of course, but then, she was twenty years younger. At her age, Garreth wouldn't have felt nearly so ridiculous in this getup.

"We've come out of lightspeed just off Sesswanna Sector. From here it's a hyperspace hop to Balmorra. Weeilka's called off Skywalker, and I've canceled Jev's detached assignment."

"Very good," said Garreth, "We just don't need to get Skywalker this close to Vader."

Kerri hesitated. "There is the matter of transportation. Our last shuttle was used by Rik and Clancee, and it reported in a few hours ago, to our last co-ordinates a sector away. We could take Y-Wings, but we'd need two of them to be able to rescue both..."

Garreth spared her the need to find a delicate way to refer to his son and daughter. "And I'd have to fly one, at least once."

Kerri stiffened, knowing his dislike of space travel in general. "Yes, sir."

"Well, I'm quite capable of plotting a hyperspace course, Commander. I did attend the Academy." His stomach churned at the very thought...

"We could wait for the shuttle to arrive."

Garreth's lip twisted. "Vader's waiting for us. Besides, having separate ships is advantage. You can slip in while Vader is busy with me."

"That was my thought, sir," said Kerri, still fidgeting, "But sir, how long has it been since you piloted a fighter of any sort?"

The captain grunted. "Like I said, I went to the Academy."

"But that's..." Kerri frowned, once again confronted with a delicate situation.

"A lot of years ago," he agreed. "Have they made significant advances on the Z-95 Headhunter design?"

"Um, sort of..."

"Sort of" hardly covered it. There were, in fact, so many fancy gears and gizmos on the modern fighter control model that Garreth felt like he was in the guts of some sort of ultra-sophisticated droid.

"I have a whole new appreciation for Rik Evverd," he muttered. To himself, he said, I might as well be an Ewok for all the hope I have of understanding this. And this is a Y-Wing! The oldest fighter we use!

"What's the A-Wing like?" he asked out of curiosity.

"Actually, the newer fighters are moving towards a standardized design," Kerri said, "But the Y-Wing is our only two-seater."

"What about those Skipray blastboats you brought back from Coruscant?"

Kerri sighed. "Transferred to the Chandrila base."

"We're doomed."

"All right," said the Jedi, "I'm sure you'll get the hang of it once you've actually tried it. I can feed you the hyperspace telemetry. Let's just try a test run."

"Yes, of course. Test run." Garreth struggled to get a flight helmet past his longish hair. "Is this thing insured?"

The stars snapped back from starlines, and Talon Karrde guided their ship into the atmosphere of a beautifully green forest world.

Beautiful from orbit, Evverd thought. Up close the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk could be downright scary, and not just because of its formidable sentient inhabitants. Kashyyyk's wildlife was designed to protect itself from Wookiee hunters, and about two levels down from its treetop cities, the place got deadly real fast.

Karrde led them on a scary course that took them past the main, forested continents, and towards a large island he identified as Wartaki. The island was also covered by trees, but towards the coastlines there were mountains and caves. The smuggler led them past the mountaintops, then straight into a deep valley covered by wrorshyr trees. There, he flipped the UWANA BUYER ninety degrees down, straight into a series of interconnected seacaves. The caves were nearly pitch-dark, and filled with obstacles. Many times, Evverd felt sure they would crash, only to have Karrde swerve at the last second.

At length, he put down in the largest of a series of caves, one the size of an Imperial docking bay.

"Some flight," said Evverd, "You gonna let me try that on the way out?"

Karrde made a face. "I know you by reputation, Commander. Enough money does not exist."

"Why Kashyyyk?" asked Taryn, "This is pretty much the hindquarters of nowhere, isn't it?"

"It is, indeed, but there is an Imperial garrison here." Karrde locked down the ship, keeping the engine ready for immediate launch, and strolled to the airlock. "The Wookiees are far more clever than the Empire realizes, and this particular sect of resistance keeps tabs on Imperial movements."

"You think they'll know where Kris is?"

"No," said Karrde, "But they'll have a way to slice into the Imperial database and find him." The airlock hissed open. "Follow."

"Sure," said Evverd, "Think we'll run into Solo?"

"Of course not," said Karrde, "Solo frequents the city of Rrwookrorro, the home of many of the large, brown-furred 'rwook' like his copilot. They're the majority on Kashyyyk. The Wookiees here are island dwellers from a minority sub-species called 'kzik.' They speak a tribal language known as xaczik, which is also the code of the Wookiee underground."

"Which is more than I ever wanted to know."

Karrde grunted. "Sorry."

They met a group of Wookiees at the ramp, and Evverd quickly picked out the difference between these Wookiees and the more common ones like the infamous Chewbacca. The Wookiees here were lighter in color, from blond to tan to (according to Karrde) the occasional albino. They also tended to be a bit shorter, though they still towered over humans. Evverd realized that his friend Gaar, the FREEDOM's sandy-furred engineer, was a kzik Wookiee.

The lead Wookiee was a tall female with fur a bit closer to standard Wookiee (Karrde explained that she was actually half-rwook, if that meant anything). Karrde introduced her as Ssonntaarka, and she spoke in the more common Wookiee tongue that Gaar generally used, probably for the benefit of Evverd and Taryn, who would have had difficulty with the code-language.

Greetings, honorable Karrde. We did not expect you back so soon.

"I hadn't really planned on it, either," said Karrde.

The Wookiee growled, and Evverd translated it as,

And what sort of SOMETHING SOMETHING do you bring?

Damn, Evverd thought. Gaar's translator device has spoiled me. My Wookiee is rusty.

"General supplies," said Karrde, "For the standard price. But I also have a special request."

The SOMETHING of Wartaki are in your debt, Honored Captain. How may we SOMETHING SOMETHING your SOMETHING generosity?

"Generosity? Have you confused me with someone else? I'm gouging you."

The Wookiee laughed heartily, thumping Karrde on the back hard enough to cost him his balance. But you deliver on time, and the price, though high, is fair.

"As you say. At any rate, I was hoping we could speak to Kuuvmyyn. I need to use his slicing equipment."

SOMETHING can perhaps be made, Honored Karrde. First you will dine with us. Come.

Karrde led the way through the dripping corridors that all reeked of wet Wookiee fur. Evverd wrinkled his nose. "Great. Wookiee cuisine and this smell - sounds delicious."

"Wookiee food isn't bad," Taryn said, "Just stay away from the raw meat and anything alcoholic. Wookiees have very strong constitutions."

"They must have," Evverd said, face contorting into a grimace. "They live in THIS place..."

Starfighter travel really wasn't so bad, Garreth decided. Once you get past the nausea, the dizziness, the lack of an absolute up and down, the smelly cockpit, the controls that seemed designed by and for cyborg-enhanced Ughnauts...

"Good!" said Kerri through his comm unit, sounding as though she was praising a very small child, "You've completed a basic maneuver!"

"Badly," Garreth agreed. "Look, if we're waiting for me to be good, it's never going to happen." Just looking at the stars gave him a severe case of vertigo. "Let's just go. I believe I can manage without killing myself..."

"All right. I'm ready when you are."

Garreth nodded to himself. Of course I'm ready, he thought. It's not like I have time to be anything else. He touched the comm switch - the one control in the fighter he recognized automatically - and said, "Garreth to FREEDOM. We're set out here."

"I saw." Lieutenant Commander Sedra Covell's voice was laced with humor. "Maybe you should try out for Mav Squadron when Rik gets back."

"Funny," said Garreth, "I read... clear for lightspeed. Either that, or the fuel tank is empty. Or I just ran over a mynock."

Kerri cut in with, "We could wait for the shuttle."

"Lightspeed in ten," said Garreth, hoping it wasn't his last mistake. "Good luck with my ship, Commander."

Covell said, "I'll worry about this ship. You worry about THAT one."

Sound advice, Garreth decided, watching his lightspeed counter tick down near zero.

"Good luck," said Covell.

Garreth pulled the lever, and his Y-Wing shot into the dizzying blur of hyperspace. Most of the inertia was automatically compensated for, but the captain still felt pushed back into his seat.

He thought, I'm going to regret this...

Jev Parrak used the Force to blind the few techs still in the docking bay to his presence. Funny thing about the Force, he'd realized. The more you used, the easier it was. His power had increased exponentially in the six months since he'd first discovered it.

Only when the X-Wing's repulsors kicked in, and it floated towards the bay doors, did anyone notice what was going on. Jev kept a tight Force lock on the controller, to keep her from closing the doors.

He guided the X-Wing out of the bay, and engaged ion engines.

Mav Eleven, a young woman scarcely older than Jev with short, red hair, was on sentry. "Mav Eleven to Mav Three... Jev, I have no clearance for your flight plan."

Jev didn't even bother controlling her mind. His hyperdrive was already powering up. "There is no flight plan."

Mav Eleven was on intercept. "Then return to the hangar!"

"Or what? You'd shoot me?" said Jev.

The other fighter locked its S-foils into attack position. "You are stealing property of the Rebel Alliance.Technically, I could shoot you."

"Aw, you're not going to do that." His hyperdrive counter pinged. "'Bye, now..."

"Jev, wait a minute!"

The brilliant tunnel of hyperspace opened before him, and Jev was gone.

"No, it's okay, Artoo. I'll have a look. You stay where you are."

Luke Skywalker had arrived at the third moon of To'koor to find the FREEDOM nowhere around, and he was puzzled. When Leia had asked him to take over as relief navigator on that ship for a few days, Luke had been more than willing. He'd served next to the FREEDOM's crew, on and off, for months. He'd spent time in an Imperial prison with Sedra Covell, the ship's weapons officer. He'd flown alongside Maverick Squadron. He counted more than a few of the frigate's compliment among his friends.

So where were they? This could not be some elaborate practical joke - nobody would go to this much trouble. Leia wouldn't have sent him away from New Alderaan without a good reason.

Unless Captain Garreth isn't really behind the order, he thought. Upon arriving in the To'koor system, he'd had the strangest feeling that he'd find the answers he sought on this moon, at these co-ordinates. Almost like the area was calling to him.

As Luke saw it, there were two possibilities. Either the Force had led him here, or Vader had drawn him to this location for a trap. Either way, he'd planned on an interesting experience.

But when he'd arrived to find nothing more than an idyllic field, with birds chirping next to a flowing river, he'd begun to feel a little silly.

He decided to at least have a look around before deciding he was crazy. He climbed off the X-Wing's nose, pulled off his flight helmet, and stood for a moment in the brightness of To'koor's yellow sun.

"Well, Artoo... I might be having a psychotic episode, but at least I'm having it someplace nice..."

"You're not crazy, Luke."

Luke cried out and toppled right off the X-Wing. Artoo warbled in surprise.

A familiar young man, tall and gangly with pale blue eyes, stepped out from behind a tree. "You should watch your step."

"Jev!" Luke scrambled to his feet, dusting himself off. "Jev, where is everybody? Were they captured? How'd you get away?" Maybe that's why I was drawn here, he thought, because the FREEDOM's crew is in danger...

"There's no danger," said Jev, "Not to the Alliance. I called you here, Luke."

"You..." Luke frowned, and the funny feeling he'd had about Jev fell into place. "You're a Jedi!"

"Not yet," the man from Alderaan said, "I'm like you. Trying to learn what I can about the Force without a good teacher."

"So what do you want from me?"

Jev laughed, and stepped forward into the sun. "I have a deal to offer you, Luke."

Luke's eyes narrowed. Artoo bleeped suspiciously. "What kind of deal?"

"Darth Vader is in the Balmorra system. Not far from here. I know how to find him, and I have something that will keep him from sensing us on the way in. Together, we can beat him."

"I don't know about that," said Luke, "I saw Vader defeat Ben Kenobi..."

"Who was an old man at the time." Jev grinned. "We're young, Luke, and strong. We have the power.We can kill him. Isn't that what you want?"

"Vader killed my father," Luke said, "And I want revenge. But I'm not ready to face him. I know next to nothing about the Force."

"You know more than you think," said Jev, "Look at me - I barely knew what the Force was six months ago, and I've grown strong! If you'd open yourself to the Force, you'd be stronger than me!"

"I am open to the Force," Luke argued.

"No, you're not. You're still glued to that light side/dark side stuff that Obi-Wan Kenobi taught you."

"Ben was a great man!" Luke protested, hand falling to his lightsaber. He had a really bad feeling about this...

"I'm sure he was," said Jev, "But he bought into the Jedi line, the superstition that a bunch of old wizards thought up because they didn't want anyone to get more powerful than them!"

"You're talking about the dark side," Luke said, his grip on the saber growing tighter.

"It doesn't have to be used for evil! Vader and the Emperor destroyed my whole world. They killed your father, and your aunt and uncle, and Ben Kenobi! Is there any doubt in your mind that the galaxy would be a better place if they were dead?"

When Luke shook his head, Jev went on, "So anything that helps us BEAT them has to be a good thing, right? Even if we have to stoop to their methods!"

"Wrong," said Luke, "I trust what Ben told me. And I'm not ready to face Vader. I'm not a Jedi yet."

"You're afraid of him!" said Jev with contempt.

"No," said Luke, "But I've seen what he can do. He won't be defeated that easily."

"It's just the Force. It's just a bunch of tricks. Anyone can do it. Watch!"

Jev held out his hand and closed his eyes, and by the bank of the river a small tree was uprooted and tossed into the water, where it was quickly swallowed by the current.

Luke looked from the river to Jev and back. Slowly, he drew and lit his lightsaber. "No."

Jev frowned. "You're making a mistake. I need your help."

"Get someone else," said Luke, "I'll never turn to the Dark Side."

"You just don't get it, do you, Luke?" Jev turned and started to withdraw into the woods. "There's one other thing, though..."

"What?"

"I can't seem to manage to build myself a lightsaber. I can't beat Vader without one." He swiveled, hand held towards Luke. "Mind if I borrow yours?"

Luke started to object, but the blade was ripped from his hand. It flew through the air to Jev, who inspected it for a moment.

"Nice. Better than the others I've seen, I think..."

"That belonged to my father!" Luke felt anger bubbling inside him, and tried to push it away. "Give it back!"

"I will. When I've killed Vader with it."

"Give it back!" Luke pulled his blaster, pointed at the other youth's back. When Jev kept walking, he fired a warning shot off to the left.

The other man spun and deflected his shot with a twist of the lightsaber. Anger shone in Jev's eyes. "That was really stupid."

"Give me my lightsaber."

Jev turned away. "I'll give it back when I'm done."

Luke rushed up behind him and reached at the lightsaber. Jev turned on him and came within a centimeter of slicing his arm off. Luke backed off quickly, deciding that perhaps he'd formed a bad strategy.

"Here," said Jev, "Why don't you cool off?"

Luke cried out as an invisible hand picked him up and threw him bodily into the river. Luke gasped and choked, feeling water rush into his lungs. It's not really my fault, he decided. I'm from a desert world! Where would I learn to swim?

By some combination of desperation and nerf-paddling and maybe the Force, he stayed afloat, but the current was carrying him rapidly downstream. He tried several times to grab onto passing rocks, but could find nothing.

A chirping filled Luke's ears. At first he thought it was a bird, but a moment later he realized it was the sound of an Artoo unit. Artoo hovered just above him, the X-Wing's landing gear extended.

Luke gratefully reached out and allowed Artoo to pull his soaking wet form from the water. In a moment, the droid released him onto the clearing again.

Luke lay there in the sun for a minute, coughing and spitting out water. In the distance, he saw an X-Wing fighter shoot off into the sky.

Heading for Balmorra, thought Luke, and Vader. With MY lightsaber.

He choked again, and pulled to hands and knees. "Artoo," he said, "I definitely have a bad feeling about this..."

Continued in Episode 14

R. John Burke



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