Chapter Five—Part 1

After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now

History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors

And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,

Guides us by vanities. Think now

She gives when our attention is distracted

And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions

That the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late

What's not believed in, or if still believed,

In memory only, reconsidered passion. Gives too soon

Into weak hands, what's thought can be dispensed with

Till the refusal propagates a fear. Think

Neither fear nor courage saves us. Unnatural vices

Are fathered by our heroism. Virtues Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes.

These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree

Gerontion by T. S. Eliot

Sweat drips into Obi-Wan's eyes as he strips the wiring from behind a control panel in the humid air of the second hydroponic station on the Lars farm. The refurbishment he had done nearly two years ago now has vastly improved the stations output. However, last week one of the ceiling pipes sprung a leak and damaged some of the wiring that Obi-Wan is now repairing. He works slowly because he knows Mrs. Marstrap will be picking both Windy and Luke up from school and dropping them off at here soon.

Four months ago, when Obi-Wan had him help repair the training droid, Luke discovered that he enjoys fixing electronic and mechanical things. Considering who the boy's father is this is not surprising. Lately Obi-Wan has been making an effort to let the boy help him fix things around the farm. He will finish striping the wiring behind the control panel and let Luke solder everything back together when he gets here.

He senses someone descending the ramp into the station. Thinking Mrs. Marstrap must be coming to talk to him about tea tomorrow, he stands up, wiping his grease stained hands on a rag. He is halfway to the entrance when he sees a woman standing in the center of his hydroponic station that he does not recognize.

She has dust brown hair, weary blue eyes and the desert-scrubbed completion common to moisture farmers. She is small but in the Force her presence is large, vibrating with anger, pain and determination. Obi-Wan approaches her cautiously, his hand reaching behind to the small of his back where he keeps his blaster hidden. The woman looks up and her eyes are hard. She keeps looking, not speaking, one hand on her hip the other in the pocket of her gray-brown dress, appearing to be searching his face.

"Can I help you?" Obi-Wan asks, when the silence has dragged on for several long moments.

"Eight years ago today, you killed my sister and her husband." The woman says quietly.

Obi-Wan blinks. "Forgive me, but who are you?"

"I am Coolie Whitesun. Eight years ago today, you killed my sister Beru and her husband Owen and stole their farm." She repeats, her voice low and steady.

"I'm Ben Lars. Owen was my cousin," he has been telling this lie for so long it has become second nature. "He was killed by Sand People."

"Liar! Owen had no cousin," the woman hisses and there is an intensity in her eyes that Obi-Wan does not like. He grips the handle of his blaster but he does not draw it just yet, not wanting to alarm or provoke the woman unnecessarily.

"Why don't we go up to the house and talk about this?"

He says this in his most reasonably voice and laces it with a subtle Force suggestion. It almost works. He can sense her determination wavering before it resolves sharply, like the point of a knife and her Force presence burns as she withdraws her hand from her pocket.

In it is a thermal detonator.

Obi-Wan draws his blaster but is not fast enough to stop her activating it. The world goes white. He can hear the woman screaming, his own voice yelling and the tortured shrieking of metal. Then there is silence. As his vision fades, he is dimly aware of Luke shouting at him through their bond but he has not the strength to reply.