Tatooine was a stubborn planet. Its stretches of sand and stone,
studded with settlements, seemed to go on forever, unchanging. The sand and
stone, at least, resisted every effort of man and beast to subdue them. The
settlements were more mutable. The people put up walls and paved streets and
birthed children in defiance of the planet's smoldering suns and scouring
sands; in the eternal eye of time, though, they were no more permanent than the
sand flies that lived and breathed and died roaming the desert.
The sleepy settlement of Anchorhead had little to
offer that was out of the ordinary, much less entertaining. Yet the general
store on its main street, with its windowless walls and shelf on shelf of
pungent spices, vivid cloths, shiny spare parts, and all manner of power
sources, held entertainment enough for a four-year-old farmboy
on an errand with his aunt.
It was especially exciting on this day, as a scruffy-looking Rodian strode confidently to the counter, drew a blaster,
Luke couldn't move. Aunt Beru was holding him so
tightly he could hardly breathe either. She spun away from the Rodian and put Luke between herself and the wall so he
could not even see what was going on. He struggled in her grasp and managed to
poke his head around her leg.
"All the cash you've got in the store goes in this bag, now," said the Rodian, producing a burlap sack and thrusting it across the
"P-p-please, I haven't got much," stuttered the clerk, a short, nervous Weequay.
"Now! Or I shoot everyone in this store," said the Rodian. He fired two shots in the air, knocking out a pair
of fluorescent lights in a clatter of glass. All the shadows in the shop
suddenly shifted. The Rodian's skin took on an eerie
Luke felt Beru stiffen and draw him even closer. He
squirmed indignantly. He wanted nothing more than to break loose and bite the Rodian on the ankle, but he was pinioned to his aunt.
Searching for an escape, he spotted the room's only
other occupant, a bearded man dressed head to toe in dark brown robes. Luke
wondered that he had not noticed him before. The man stood in the opposite
corner of the room and blended into the shadows. Luke's eyes met his, and
Do something, he pleaded silently.
To his surprise, the man nodded, slowly and deliberately. Then he turned and
fixed his gaze on the robber. At first, nothing seemed to happen. Then Luke saw
that the robber was having trouble controlling his weapon. No sooner had he
realized this than the blaster flew out of the Rodian's
hand and skittered across the counter.
The clerk snatched it up and leveled it at the now-defenseless Rodian.
"G-get out of my store," he said.
The would-be robber held his hands in the air and backed slowly towards the
door, footsteps creaking.
"Now," said the clerk, building confidence.
The Rodian turned and ran.
The bearded man was not far behind him.
The clerk let out a deep breath and set the blaster down.
"You all right, ma'am?" he asked, turning to Beru.
"Yes," she said, nodding swiftly. Luke found himself scooped up off the floor
and hugged tight. "Good day to you, sir."
They left the store quickly and were soon in their speeder, heading home. Luke
craned his neck in every direction, hoping all the way home for a glimpse of
the bearded man, but he did not see him again.