A Jedi's Fight - A Star Wars Fan Fiction Story

Chapter 25

either Luke nor Liane were aware of the outcome of Luke's request to keep the twelve men in village for some time.
Back in the center the twelve men were still waiting.
"What takes him so long?" One asked the leader.
He shrugged his shoulder.
"All that matters is that we get the girl and that Jedi and take them both to Wegoyy."
"Why did you tell the guy, he has to escort the girl to Dalmaran, commander?"
"That's all nonsense, someone else desperately wants these two. I have my orders from Rand Phylotar personally. We will bring them to Palomintar Four."
The commander laughed unpleasantly. Then he rose and stretched. Almost immediately fifteen sturdy looking Ewoks dropped down from the canopy with their spears in front of them. The commander started to laugh and drew his blaster.
"Hey, little furry ones, get your leader or we might start making havoc in this place."
Almost immediately Chirpa and Logray both turned up.
"Haddo kano wita soni deny tanda," Logray said angrily and made a gesture to the armed Ewoks.
['These men are our enemies.']
"Hana kano wita tanda mokka," One of them answered.
['We capture our enemies.']
The twelve men looked stunned when all of a sudden a heavy net fell from the trees covering them completely and making it impossible for them to move or use their weapons.
"Hey, we mean no harm, we only want the girl and her guard," The leader yelled, but one of the armed Ewoks clubbed him on the head.
That was the start for the other Ewoks to attack. Furiously they beat the men and knocked them unconscious. Chirpa ordered to disarm them. Blasters, durasteel manacles, ropes and blindfolds were put in front of him.
"Hano mikko nato mido koode." He said and raised his large spear.
['Take them far into the forest apart.']
The Ewoks tied the arms and legs of the men. They used leather caps to blindfold them. Long stack poles were brought up and the twelve men were carried outside the Ewok village into the forest. If one of them seemed to wake up he was clubbed on the head before he could realize what was happening to him. Heavily armed Ewoks were escorting their fellow tribe's men while they carried their prisoners in different directions. Long after nightfall the men were left somewhere in the Endor jungle, unarmed and with no possibility to find a quick way back to the space port.
As the alarm signal of the navi-computer of the Astræga sounded Luke woke up. He warned Liane and got over to the cockpit to bring his shuttle out of hyperspace. The Astræga drifted some fifty planet diameters from Tatooine in the void of space. The planet itself was a big yellow glowing sphere, like a tiny sun, that dominated this part of the galaxy.
Liane who had followed Luke to the cockpit, looked out of the front screen.
"The planets always look so wonderful and full of mysteries from a distance, don't you think, Luke. As I was traveling with Yarnick and his brothers, I've enjoyed every time the moments, when we arrived near our next destination planet."
Luke rose from the pilot's seat.
"The Astræga has a special space were we can have an even much better view. Come, I'll show you."
Luke grabbed her hand and took her midships to a shallow alcove. He put his hand on a panel at the wall, and a door slid aside. Behind the door four stair steps led down to a circular room with dim lit walls near the floor. Downstairs Luke adjusted several switches on a control panel, before he took Liane to the middle of a circular floor. The soft glowing light dimmed and Liane saw how some eight panels of the ceiling opened up. The floor of the room slowly started to rise. As it stopped they were standing in a large bulb of transparisteel, looking out on the vastness of the galaxy. Liane pivoted several times, trying to absorb the overwhelming view. She walked around the space near the transparisteel wall to look at the yellow glowing sphere right in front of her: the planet of Tatooine, drifting like a golden ball in the infinite black void. Around the planet the galaxy was with covered with tiny glowing dots.
"Unbelievable! Absolutely awesome!" She whispered, "What a splendid view. There seems to be no end to the galaxy. This ship is only a tiny dot in space. No one will be noticing it among these millions of stars, yet this ship and we are part of all this."
Astonished Luke felt how Liane reached out to the galaxy using the invisible powers of the Unifying Force. While she threw him a look over her shoulders, her eyes reflected her strong bond with the Force.
"You're a part of this, like I am, Liane," Luke answered. He thought about Anakin's revelation's about Liane's possible ancestry and decided to reveal part of the truth to her.
"Like your mother once was," He said hesitantly.
Liane whirled around and looked at him. Luke walked over to her and placed his hands on her shoulders.
"Yes, Liane, that's why the Force is influencing you so strongly. You've inherited your Force powers from your mother."
"I have... from my mother! You mean ... she could ... use the Force too. Like I do! How do you know? Who told you that?"
"Anakin. Liane, when I realized how much I had hurt you, I asked Anakin how I could make it up with you again. He told me that you've inherited your Force power from your mother and Ben confirmed his words."
"Ben and Anakin has known my mother? What did they tell you about her? I can't believe it... my real mother is a Force user," She whispered.
Luke looked at Liane and saw how her blue eyes sparkled.
"She was a Force user, Liane. Like so many others, she died during the Civil War. You were a toddler when she died; at least that's what Anakin told me."
"Then she has lived on Morantan?"
"That's likely. I've told you, that Anakin has found you on Morantan."
"Has Anakin told you more about her? Has he met her before she died? Was she ill, or wounded? Is that why she has died? Has she asked Anakin to take care of me?"
"Anakin and Ben are very reluctant when I ask details about you. We have to be patient, but in time we find out." Luke said softly.
"Of course. Didn't I promise you to help you. That promise includes, that I will help you to find out who your real parents have been."
He looked into her eyes, but suddenly her face seemed to fade and instead of Liane's face Luke saw the face of his old master, Obi-Wan 'Ben' Kenobi.
'Ben? What... Ben, I had to tell her! She has the right to know a small part of the truth ... It makes her happy. ... She was ready to know that her mother has been a Force user,' He apologized through the Jedi way of communication.
But Ben's face disappeared and Luke looked again into Liane's eyes. Her whole face radiated the glowing power of the Force.
Once again her face faded and Luke saw the beautiful, but a defiant, young woman he had seen in his Force vision on Endor. This time she was wielding a lightsaber as her defence. A group of imperial stormtroopers was surrounding her. Rebelliously and defiantly she was fighting the figure of a familiar dark enemy, his father Anakin as Darth Vader. The images caused him pain, because Luke realized, that he saw Severini Solichor's final battle.
Suddenly he became aware of the soft hand which was touching his face.
"Luke, stop looking back to the past. Don't hurt yourself," A soft voice said.
The image of Severini vanished. Liane had put her hand against his cheek, and Luke felt a warm caressing Force flow emanated from her fingers. This young woman certainly was the daughter of the woman the Force had shown him. If she was as powerful as her mother, she must have the powers of a Jedi healer too. How could he convince her to follow in the footsteps of her mother and extend her Force powers as a Jedi Knight?
"I'm alright, Liane, don't worry." He said, as he saw how her eyes expressed her concern.
"You shouldn't use your Jedi skills this way so much," Liane said, "Those images hurt you. I feel they do."
"They do, especially when I see what happened to many of my old friends and my old masters. I owe them very much. Ben was a great Jedi and when I see him or master Yoda, I always feel some remorse, because I've only known them for a very short time. Thank you, for your concern, my ... friend."
He didn't reveal to her, that he had seen images of her mother, but turned his head and looked through the bulb to Tatooine.
"Shall we start our landing? We're nearing the Dune Sea?"
Luke walked to the control panel and adjusted the switches. After the wall panels were covering the transparisteel bulb again, Luke ascended the stairs and took Liane with him to the cockpit. Liane sat down in the co-pilots seat and watched Luke as he started preparing their landing. The glowing sphere slowly started to fill the whole windscreen and Liane watched it growing faster and faster, showing more and more details.
"Isn't there any vegetation, trees, ferns, flowers, forests, other plants on Tatooine?" She asked surprised.
"None. There's no surface water. But the planet's soil has an abundance of rich minerals. Tatooine is a very fertile planet. The first pioneers brought water to some places. Those outcrops flourished and they built moisture farms with numerous plants and vegetation. Now fasten your safety belts. Can you give me hand, when I start the landing cycle?"
Liane threw a inquisitive look at the console in front of her. Rapidly Luke explained her the working of the most important switches. Liane nodded and repeated his instructions.
"I'm sure that one day you'll be a good pilot yourself," Luke smiled.
Liane shrugged her shoulders.
"You're overestimating my talents, master Luke!" She said dismissively
"I don't think so; most Force users are good pilots."
He softly grinned, when he saw Liane frown, but then he focussed his attention on the landing of the shuttle.
"Wow, beautiful! What a wonderful colors!" Liane exclaimed, looking through the windscreen of the Astræa.
The former Imperial space ship was hovering over the mesas. Deep dark brown trenches lay beneath the ship. The two suns of Tatooine cast long shadows which deepened the colors of the stone walls and the wind beaten lonely rock pillars.
"There it is," Luke said and pointed to a large block of yellow sandstone.
At first Liane didn't see any difference. The sandstone block seemed part of a high wall, but then she saw the yellow rectangular form. This form was definitely not formed by wind and sand. Carefully Luke lowered the space ship and flipped a switch above his head. The wings of the ship slowly rose into vertical position. Luke extended the landing claws, made a slight correction and put his vessel next to the large block. Now Liane noticed the heavy durasteel door that fitted into the rectangular form.
"I don't see any windows. Must be very dark and gloomy inside."
"Again you base your judgment on appearance, Liane. It is important not to judge too swiftly. I've learned to suspend my judgments, until I learn more about a situation or the motives of a person," Luke commented on her observation.
"You're a Jedi Knight. You can use the Force to tell you more. I'm only commenting on what I see," She said snappy.
Luke laughed, "Yes, I'm a Jedi Knight, Liane, and you're a Force user. So what I say could may also apply to you. You haven't yet any knowledge about the way Ben has lived here. Living in the Jundland Wastes is the same as living in Anakin's stronghold on Morantan, or in a tree-house on Endor. Here you always have to be careful not to show your presence too openly. Strange life forms with a very aggressive character are roaming these parts of Tatooine; we called them the Sand people, or Tusken Raiders. They ride on Banthas that's why they called themselves Raiders. They are fierce fighters and they hate intruders."
For a moment Liane wanted to react irritably on Luke's explanation, but after she had given his words a thought, she decided not to.
"How could Ben live among these creatures? Did he scare them off with his use of the Force? He was a Jedi Master."
"A Jedi can live anywhere. No life form, friendly or dangerous, will harm him, for it feels his alliance with the Force. Probably the Tusken Raiders are more sensitive to the Force than scholars believe, but unfortunately no scholar has gone among them to study their behavior and survived his stay to report about them, for they hate intruders. They are a mysterious tribe, fierce and dangerous."
"Nevertheless you also come here often, don't you?"
"Regularly. I love Ben's old home, but I always have to be cautious and on my guard. The sand people feel I'm a Jedi Knight, like the former owner of this place, but they will never accept me as a friend. Come on, Liane. We have to make arrangements in Ben's house for our stay, while it's still daylight. Take a few sets of Leia's clothes with you, that will be enough for the time we will be here."
"How long are we going to stay on Tatooine?"
"A couple of weeks, a month, maybe longer," Luke said with a kind of mysterious smile, before he continued, "I have a number of things in mind, which I want to do. First of all I want you to take a few days of rest. You still need to recover from those exhausting efforts as a Force healer of those injured Ewoks."
Again Liane felt irritated and she wanted to protest, but Luke raise his hand and shook his head.
"Don't object this time, Liane, you know I'm right."
Liane noticed the determination in his voice and she felt, that she shouldn't object against his decision. He was right, she still felt tired and had to admit that she would love it to take a long rest.
"What are we going to do after I have followed your strict command?" She asked, laughing, but still on a slightly provoking tone.
"I want to visit Anchorhead, for we need fresh vegetables and fruits, as a supplement to the condensed food supply of the Astræga. Most moisture farmers sell their products at the local market."
"I would love to visit that place, Luke. You grew up near Anchorhead, didn't you?" She asked curiously, "Is it far from Ben's home? "
"It's about a two hour's drive from the Jundland Waste. That ride will give you an impression of Tatooine's landscapes, as we will pass through the Jundland Wastes first, cross the edge of the Dune Sea, before we arrive at the plains where the moisture farmers have their homesteads. Anchorhead is a local community of settlers, where gossip and all kind of news flourishes. It's near the moisture farm where I grew up," Luke said with a grin.
"That's two; but you want to do more, isn't it, Luke?"
For a moment Luke felt some hesitation, before he answered her question.
"I want to assemble a couple of training lightsabers and I want you to give me a hand with it. You've told me about your technical skills on Wegoyy."
"You are constructing the Jedi weapon. Why do you do that?"
"After master Yoda's decease I was the only Jedi in the galaxy. Yoda's last lesson was to pass on what he had taught me and train a new generation of Jedi Knight which means I also have to teach them how to use a lightsaber. A lightsaber is the Jedi's weapon, but it can dangerous in the hands of padawan if he hasn't learned how to wield it properly."
"Did Master Yoda teach you how to make a lightsaber and how to use it. You have actually been his padawan."
Luke laughed again, "That so true and he taught me how to I had to use the Force to wield my lightsaber the right way, but due to the strain of my training and my impatient behavior he didn't have time to tell me how to assemble one. I'll tell you more later. Let's get inside. It's getting dark already. Tatooine's suns are setting quickly and in these canyons it's dark, before you are aware of it. I don't want the Astræga visible for all kind of scavengers. Use your backpack to collect some of Leia's clothes."
He saw her hesitation.
"Don't worry about taking my sister's clothes. Now hurry, Liane. I'm waiting for you outside."
Liane went to Leia's cabin and choose three combinations from the closet. Within a couple of minutes she followed Luke. As she stepped on the ramp, she saw Luke's silhouette against the glow of the setting suns. An overwhelming sense of compassion for him began to enfold her as a soft cocoon. She allowed herself to cherished these strong emotions, for there never had been some one she had felt more connected with. She felt surrounded with a tremendous joyfulness because he had become such a close friend. She was truly fond of him. On Endor she had enjoyed every moment they had been together with him; she loves to listen to his voice, looking at his face, his smile, and feeling his compassion and care for her. He had given her a lot to think about with his many explanations of the use the Force as a Jedi Knight. His kind teachings had given her a very strong desire to stay with him forever.
"I care for him too, I care so much for him," She thought, "I would love it if we really could stay together."
Suddenly she seemed to hear a soft melodious female voice reverberating in her mind, 'If you care that much for him, my girl, if you really want to stay together with him, why haven't you recognized him yet?'
Surprised, Liane stopped her paces. Hadn't Luke once asked her a similar kind of question? Again she heard the soft voice, as it continued, 'You care for him, because you have seen him so often in those Force visions you had. You always seen as your companion, your partner, your comrade and your eternal friend. You already know for a long time, who he is and that you indeed belong to him, like he belongs to you. Search your feelings, my girl; you know I'm telling you the truth."
A tremendous wave of deep-felt happiness now overwhelmed Liane, as she looked again at Luke's silhouette. A feeling of great joy, comfort and reassurance seemed to engulf her. What had he engraved on the Jedi-pendant, "May the Force always be with the ones, she has united forever". Could those words really mean that nothing could separated them, that he would stay with her, that he too wanted she would stay with him? Could it be, that those strange visions she had seen as she had been using his gift, also had something to do with this strange message? Was there a secret meaning behind those visions? Her fingers felt the contours of the Jedi pendant under her tunic. Almost immediately Luke turned around and walked up the ramp with smile.
"Oh, there you are," He said and took over the bag.
Pondering about the mysterious voice and its even more mysterious message Liane slowly followed and stepped down the ramp. The words the mysterious voice had spoken still reverberated in her mind. The blinding light outside the ship dispelled her from her reflections. She looked around and saw the door of durasteel clearly visible in the yellow sandstone building. Although the building looked as if it was a part of the rock and the mountain side it was clearly a manmade construction of large sandstone blocks.
Luke walked to the door and Liane heard the noise of shifting metal. As he gave the door a slight push, it opened to the inside. This door could only be opened using the Force to shift and unlock some heavy bolts on the inside. Luke stepped aside and let her pass.
A few sandstone steps led to a lower space. Suddenly a soft light started to glow at the walls and now she could see the whole interior.
Ben's former home was a large cave-like space with a cosy living room at the bottom of the steps. Left and right there were a number of separated alcoves. The whole place was lit with light tubes. The furniture was sober and simple: a large couch with cushions against the wall, some shelves with bottles, glasses and a lot of ancient books above it, a small rectangular table and some large wooden blocks with cushions as chairs. In a separate alcove to her right Liane saw a faucet and a sink with some shelves above it. The alcoves to the left were dimly lit, but she could distinguish the shapes of strange looking equipment and in a corner a few roughly carved steps lead downwards. In the alcove between what was a kind of a place to prepare food and drinks and the central living room she saw a sleeping couch with neatly folded blankets.
"Like it?" Luke's voice sounded behind her.
Liane turned, but her eyes were drawn to the place were the Astræga had been.
"Where the ship?" she asked startled.
Luke laughed at her astonished face.
"It's still there, but I've switched on its cloaking device. Now it's invisible for unfriendly eyes. Don't worry, it's still there. You have to help me, Liane. There's a lot to do before we can take a rest. I'm glad the power-generator is still working. So we have light, but we have to make some arrangements for the night. Will you please store these food containers over there in the kitchen. I'll check the vaporizer to see if there enough water in the underground cistern."
The next three hours they were busy preparing their stay. Liane organized their food supplies, storing cans, card board boxes and bags with all kinds of concentrated juices and vegetables on the shelves or under the sink. In a small cupboard she found some plates and cups. When she turned the faucet crystal clear started to run down.
"Be careful with our water supply," Luke warned her, "There's more than enough, but we have to drink a lot in this hot climate."
She helped him as he prepared their meal which they ate in the living. Afterwards Liane took a seat on one of the blocks and leaned with her back against a pillar. She had her hands cupped around a bowl of warm herbal infusion.
"I love this place, Luke, and you're also happy to be here again, aren't you?" She said looking around.
"I am. I'm glad you like it too."
Liane's gazed shifted along the interior.
"It's strange, but it feels as if Ben is with us, watching us."
"You feel the power of the Force, Liane."
When he saw her frown, he carefully continued, "Because you're sensitive to the Force, you feel the power the former owner possessed."
Liane said nothing, but was still looking around with a satisfied happy look in her eyes.
"She escaped again! Where has she gone? And that Jedi, her brother, had gone too."
The dark hooded figure slammed his fist on the desk with the holographic console.
"They are the keys to the future of this galaxy and nobody seems to be able to bring them, and especially Darth Vader's daughter, to Palomintar Four. This is outrageous. That Jedi Knight Skywalker has been helping her?"
"My Lord, all the men Rand Phylotar hire have vanished. Nobody knows what has happened to them. Our contact on Endor space port has informed us that Skywalker's ship has gone. He doesn't know the ship's destination, but probably they are heading for Irithim."
"At least that is something. Warn the Irithim contacts. They have to set some bounty hunters on the girl. Tell them I'll pay a substantial award to the one who brings me the daughter of Darth Vader and her brother, Jedi Luke Skywalker, alive and find out where Rand Phylotar is."
"Yes, master," The humanoid assistant bowed and his image vanished.
Several minutes later his image popped up again.
"Master. Rand Phylotar has been spotted in Tropass. Shall I hire a few rogues to captured him and bring him to Palomintar Four. Two bounty hunters are now on the look out for the girl. She and her brother can't hide for ever, master."
"Make sure Rand Phylotar is immediately brought before me as soon as he's captured."
"Yes, Master."
Walking up and down, the mysterious person brooded on the many failed attempts to bring the daughter of Darth Vader to Palomintar Swearing under his breath, and feeling outraged he blamed his spies and other minions.
"They failed, because I had to rely on some incompetent officers and rogues who only were in to this for the money I promised them. I need to find someone who has a real means or a good way to help me find the girl without revealing my real plans, for I trust no one. I have to be very cautious in my choice. I must avoid that they become aware I am still alive."
The dark hooded person raised his fist as he felt enraged again.
"Traitors, they are, betraying the empire to a band of rebels. How will I find some one who is still loyal to the empire and might be willing to help me."
He started pacing up and down the room again, but stopped suddenly and nodded thoughtfully.
"Wait a minute, how about colonel Vestor. He is a trustworthy officer with a long standing record of successfully fighting against the Rebel Alliance. He always opposed any form of contact with the rebels. Just before that disaster near Jakku he had been assigned as commander on one of our last class one star destroyer. What was the name of that space vessel? Basti ... no, Borsil ... Bi ... Basil ... Basilisæa. Yes, the Basilisæa. I have to do some secret investigation to find out, if he is still commanding that last star destroyer, but I have to be very cautious. I have to conceal the truth about why the girl has to be brought to Palominar Four. My grandiose future plans with the galaxy shouldn't be thwarted or jeopardized. So I can't seek contact with any one in person. I have to instruct some droids. They have to find Vestor's whereabouts, establish a secret contact with him, before I can ask him to contact me unnoticed. If I can convince him to take me on board of the Basilisæa I can go searching Liane Vader and her Jedi brother Skywalker myself and bring them to Palomintar Four.
The dark cloaked person left the room he was using as a kind of communication center. He ordered his majordomos droid to activate a quartet of high sophisticated communication droids and bring them to his main audience cave. The droid hurried away and returned to his master with four droids who were particularly well programmed to perform any stealthy and encrypted communication task. The mysterious master of the droids took his time instruct the droids in detail about the task he wished them to perform. The sophisticated droids confirmed the instructions and left the room. More relaxed now the mysterious person sat back in the broad chair on th dais.
"Now I only have to wait, until I hear news about the Basilisæa, and her commander. This delay is annoying, but in the end this might be the right decision."
Are you ready, Liane?" Luke asked.
He stood near the small speeder. Liane nodded with a smile and jumped at the passenger's seat. Luke started the engine and the speeder drove off.
It was the fifth day after their arrival at Ben's desert home. Luke had forced Liane gently to take a lot of rest, and she had to admit that the first three days she had enjoyed some long sleeps during the night and into the day. Luke had used much time to tell her more about the philosophy of the Ways of Force, and in which way the Force could expand the knowledge and insight of the Jedi.
The canyons were coloring in the oncoming sunrise.
Luke drove the speeder at an average speed through the canyons of the Jundland Wastes. Liane enjoyed the ride through the deep dry ravines, where the canyon walls were towering high above them, reflecting the light of Tatooine's twin suns in all kinds of colors, purple, brown-yellow and numerous variations of red. Finally the canyons opened up and revealed a broad spur of the sandy desert, the Dune Sea.
Curious and feeling excited, Liane looked through the windscreen at the horizon, where the already vibrating air seemed to cause the landscape to pass into the brightly blue of the sky. Around them there was nothing but dunes, some last rocky outcrops and sand, sand everywhere. Amazed, Liane cast a quick glance at Luke every now and then. He seemed to know exactly where he was heading.
The drive along the edge of the Dune Sea took some time, but at last they reached the sandy plains, where only a few far-off, half-hidden, domed homesteads hidden in the sand were the sole evidence of human life. Their residents were fighting a difficult battle with the hostile climate.
Liane's thoughts wandered to Morantan, a planet lit by a medium-sized star at a distance that life was possible. There were dense forests and green hills, high bare mountains and deep valleys cut out by rivers. There was plenty of water. She remembered the many expeditions with a raft on the rivers, which, especially in springtime, flowed through their beds with thunderous force. She compared her old memories with the other planets where she had been. Of Dalmaran and Wegoyy she only remembered the spaceport and the prison complex; except for the mountainous range and the deep canyons on Wegoyy where she had lived with the Draga; Bestine on Rasth had been beautiful with many flower beds, the neatly maintained lawns and hanging flower pots; Endor had been a jungle with very tall trees; and now Tatooine a rocky, desert with a hot climate. Once again she glanced sideways to Luke, but he had his attention in the controls of the land racer. The heat of Tatooine made her feel drowsy.
Unexpectedly Luke suddenly braked and the speeder came to a stop. Liane looked up and at once she felt Luke's confusion and discomfort. A few meters away Liane saw the nearly visible ruins of a destroyed, largely under-stewed moisture farm. Luke's artificial hand was clenching the steering of the speeder. The strong emotions on his face, the devastated look in his eyes and the grim line of his lips, told Liane what they were looking at. These were the ruins of Luke's former home. With a gentle gesture she put her hand on his arm, reaching out to the Force to surround him with her feelings of compassion. In her mind some blurred images of the burning, smoking buildings and an devastated farm boy who had lost everything of his youth in one fell swoop, appeared. Luke still stared at the ruins.
"I didn't intend to come across this place. I must have been mistaken in the direction," he murmured.
'Luke, I can feel how much the looks of this place are hurting you. "You can share your painful emotions with me, if you want," Liane said partly using Jedi telepathy to comfort him without spoken words.
Tightly Luke grabbed her hand, which was still laying on his arm, as if he sought some comfort for the deep felt emotions that threatens to overwhelm him. Liane saw him swallow. Gently she put her other hand over his in an attempt to let him know, that she wanted to share his pain and give him comfort. After some moment Luke slowly withdrew his hand and jumped out of the speeder. Liane followed him and slipped her hand into his gloved hand. Hand in hand they watched the ruins of a once flourishing homestead for a long time in silence.
Finally Luke said, his voice full of emotions, "I have been here after those stormtroopers had set fire to it. The corpses of uncle Owen and aunt Beru had been dumped outside. Their remains were disfigured and burned. And now, after all these years this is all, that is left of the place that I once called home. It almost nothing, just ruins! The Jawa's, and Tusken Raider must scavenge the place and have taken everything they could use."
He turned to Liane and pressed her hand before he continued, "My uncle, Owen Lars, was Anakin's step brother. He and his wife Beru adopted me, after Ben had asked them to take care of Anakin's son. For their safety Ben never told them I had a twin sister. I grew up as their nephew. Although uncle Owen gave me a tough upbringing; he and aunt Beru loved me and I loved them too. We cared for each other. I've blamed myself many times that I wasn't at home, when the farm was raided, but Ben was right, when he said that I would have been killed too. Darth Vader's stormtroopers were known to act without mercy."
He spoke more to himself than to Liane. Again he turned to her and grimaced bitterly about his memories.
"My uncle absolutely disagreed with my ideas, for I dreamt of becoming a pilot, just like my friend Biggs, I wanted to live a more adventurous life, fight the Empire, see other planets, a desire that became stronger, especially when I grew older. Uncle Owen wanted me to succeed him as a moisture farmer and I only wanted to find a way to leave Tatooine one way or the other. "
"Did you bury them, Luke? Did you say goodbye to them?" Liane asked in a whisper.
Luke shook his head.
"I couldn't. I felt so devastated and in shock, that I turned around and ran off as quickly as I could. I drove headlong back to the spot where Ben and I had discovered the ruined sandcrawler and the dead Jawas. I don't know if, afterwards, any of the neighbors gave them a decent funeral. I even don't know where they are buried. When I visited Anchorhead during one of my first longer stays at Ben's house, I lacked the courage to asked anyone. It must sound very odd, but nobody recognized me in Anchorhead as I visited the local market. Nobody seemed to remember a farm boy called Luke Skywalker. As a matter of fact this is the first time I've seen this place again, after Ben and I went to Mos Eisley and left Tatooine in a hurry. It isn't easy to face this part of my life, for I still feel guilty about what happened to them. They were the only family I've had. Even after I found out that Leia was my twin sister I've never had a family life again as with my uncle and aunt. I'm glad you're with me, Liane. for I sense you understand what I'm going through right now."
He still held Liane's hand tightly in his. Liane only nodded, surrounding him with her compassion and care. Luke withdrew his hand and put his arm around her shoulder, gently he pulled her to him. He sensed how she sought a way, using the Force, to comfort him and ease his pain.
"I will tell you more about my family later, Liane. I want you to get to know my uncle and my aunt through my stories. Living and working on a moisture farm isn't a very exciting life, but it has been the only life I once knew," Luke said.
He cast a last look at the ruins of the homestead, and nodded thoughtfully.
"Within a couple of years nothing will be left of it, and it will be, as if they never lived here, if they never have existed," He said in husky voice, "We're going back to Ben's house, Liane? I'm no longer in the mood to go to Anchorhead. I need to do some Jedi meditation to restore my emotional balance."
Luke pulled her with him to the speeder. Before Liane sat down at the passenger seat, she looked at the ruins of the underground farm. Luke's old home; ruined because the empire had been looking for some droids his uncle had bought from a bunch of Jawa's. The empire had done so much evil to the galaxy: suppression, betrayal, murder. So many innocent people and other living beings had suffered under yoke of domination. Luke had followed her look and her train of thoughs. He felt how this unexpected encounter with his past, had touched her emotionally too. She turned to him.
"What you said about them, isn't really true, Luke. Maybe there won't be anything left of this house, but your uncle and aunt will be remembered by those who knew them well: you, their fellow farmers, the settlers in Anchorhead. Probably some of them still wonder what has happened to them."
Before he started the engine of the speeder, Luke gave her hand another grateful press. He turned the speeder around and without further comment he drove back to the Jundland Wastes.
"Welcome, captain Phylotar. I want a reliable explanation for the escape of the girl and that Jedi. You promised me, that your special elite forces would bring them to me in no time, "The voice sounded cold and angry.
"I don't know what went wrong," Rand Phylotar said, "It's unlikely, but probably that Jedi Skywalker and his tree bears friends have been able to defeat them. I wonder how that's possible. The men I choose have been former elite guards in the Wegoyy prison."
"PROBABLY! POSSIBLY! YOU FAILED ME, CAPTAIN PHYLOTAR!" The voice rumbled outraged, "The girl and that Jedi have fled the jungle village, Skywalker's space ship has left the planet and nobody knows if he has taken his sister with him."
"I'll find them back for you, sir. I have my informants. I..."
Suddenly Rand Phylotar had the feeling that his body started burning. Electric bolts seemed to surround his body emanating from a point on the dais where the voice had come from.
"S...ir," he moaned, "I..."
"TOO LATE, CAPTAIN. I have set some bounty hunters on her. They will finish this job."
"S...ir, I... " Rand raised his arms, desperately trying to defend himself against the electric charges, that surrounded him and penetrated his body, causing an almost unbearable pain.
"S...ir, I..."
Then everything went black.
"Imprison him, but keep him alive. When the girl and Skywalker are mine, I will deal with him. Maybe the girl should should punish him. She certainly will enjoy his death, for he is her enemy."
Two droids dragged the unconscious captain away.
"Any news of the bounty hunters?"
"No, My Lord. But they will find her," His droid majordomos answered.
"It's time to take my own measures. I have to do some investigations on Endor. If I put pressure on the leaders of that indigenous tribe of simple tree bears, they will reveal the location where I can find Liane Vader and her Jedi friend. That speed up things."
The mysterious person rushed through the corridor to his communication center.
"Have you any news about the Basilisæa?" He asked.
"It's still fully operational and in use at the moment, master," One of the four droids replied.
"Is colonel Vestor still in command?"
"We're working on it, master, but we have to report an oddity," The droid said.
"What do you mean, droid?" The mysterious person asked impatiently.
"We have secretly send some spying reconnaissance signals to find the current location of the Basilisæa."
"Yes, and further,"
"Master, our signals bounced back almost immediately. The analysis of our echoing signals has pinpointed the Basilisæa in the Urervik cluster. It's in range of the Palomintar System."
"That's a very lucky coincidence. Are you able to relay messages to it?"
"Our communication system can reach the Basilisæa, master."
"Excellent, but first you have to make sure that colonel Vestor is the Basilisæa's commander. If he is, you should jam, or bypass their main communication systems and send an encrypted message to the private messaging system of the commander, but be cautious, don't reveal our communication system as the source. Order... no send a flattering greeting to the commander, telling him I want to have private holographic conversation with him as soon as possible."
"We will do as you wish, master," the droid answered humbly.
The dark figure returned to his main cave, sat down in his chair and activated the pedestal. With a soft hum the holographic image of Darth Vader appeared.
"Greetings, Lord Vader. Your son and daughter seem to have escaped me once again, but not for long. I will go after them myself very soon. And then, Lord Vader, together with your offspring I will annihilate the New Republic and rebuild the Empire, a second Empire, greater and more powerful than the first one. Palpatine made a big mistake to oversee the final construction of the Second Death Star personally. He should have left that to you, Lord Vader, and stayed on Coruscant in seclusion, like he had done for so many years. He should have known that those rebels would take every chance to destroy him. It's a pity he refused an audience with me. I wanted to offer him my expertise in this matter, but I was denied access to his audience chamber, but I won't make the same mistake. As soon as your son and daughter have been brought to Palomintar Four I will keep them with me in this underground cave network and after I have them seduced to Dark Side, they will be my eyes and ears. I will rule this galaxy through them, but no one, except your offspring, will enter this hidden fortress. "
He laughed menacingly.
"I have learned from your mistakes, Lord Vader. They won't overthrow me as they did you and Palpatine."
'Your overconfidence will be your undoing, admiral Matrik.' A rumbling voice sounded.
The dark figure looked at the statue of the former Sith Lord.
"That rank and name don't mean anything to me, Lord Vader. I told you before that everyone's darker emotions can seduce him to the Dark Side, even a Jedi Knight, and so can your son and daughter. I have witnessed your daughter's emotional outbursts more than once. No, Lord Vader, everything is going according to my plans. The net is closing around your son and daughter and there's no one to help them. "
Jerno looked at his co-leader with a big grin.
"Excellent work of our intelligence force on Endor and on Wegoyy and of our contact on the Basilisæa. They all report the failure of Rand Phylotar's men on Endor. It seems that Phylotar's second attempt to capture Darth Vader's daughter has failed again. Our agents haven't described the details of the failed attempt, but our contact on Endor's space port has confirmed that Jedi Luke Skywalker and his 'sister' Liane Solichor have left the planet. The destination of his ship is unknown. Probably he will go with her to Irithim, so she can tell the Supreme Chancellor and the members of the High Council what Olon Dendicott has done to her in the Wegoyy prison. It's reassuring that Jedi Skywalker is still accompanying her."
"What will the New Republic leader do afterwards? I mean, Liane Solichor has been convicted for her part at the Ortel-coup." Valan asked.
"I expect that the leaders will show her mercy and will let her stay in the prison in Irithim," Jerno said.
"Have you thought about it, Jerno, that the Supreme Chancellor can pardon her. I have heard that several political opponents have gotten amnesty recently."
"They know what knowledge she possesses. Her Sith knowledge is dangerous to this galaxy, so I expect the New Republic to stay alert and keep her under surveillance. As for our share, there's still the threat our 'Palomintar Four' man implies. I expect that the New Republic will ask us if we agree with a coordinated action against our former admiral."

To be continued...