Title: Breaking the Rules
Main Characters: Luke, Obi-Wan, Vader
Teaser: An AU spin on "A New Hope".
Disclaimer: The characters are not mine. They belong to George Lucas, Lucasfilm Ltd and Fox. I'm only borrowing them for fun.
Luke Skywalker looked around nervously as he shut the door behind them. "Between his howling and your blasting everything in sight, it's a wonder the entire station doesn't know we're here."
Han glanced at Luke, a sour expression on his face. "Bring 'em on! I prefer a straight fight to all this sneaking around."
"You'll get us all killed!" Luke accused angrily as glanced back at the door again. It had all started innocently enough with the purchase of two droids for his uncle's farm. But after that, things had started to go wrong. His aunt and uncle had been killed and their farmhouse destroyed by Imperial Stormtroopers. The only one he had left was old Ben, the hermit that had saved him from the Tuskan Raiders. He had never understood why his Uncle Owen had hated Ben so much, but that was before he had learned the truth of his parentage. His father had been a Jedi and Ben had been his teacher! Right then and there Luke had decided to go with Obi-Wan 'Ben' Kenobi into space on a mission to Alderaan. And that's how Luke found himself trapped on the Death Star with a smuggler named Solo, a Wookie that enjoyed tearing arms from their sockets, Ben and two droids. "I don't know about you, but I want to live a bit longer!"
"Tough luck, Kid. If you wanted that, you should have stayed at home on the farm." Han replied as he casually strolled around the room. The Corellian had removed the stormtrooper helmet and he set it down on a console. "Space is dangerous. Better get used to the idea."
Obi-Wan wasted no time but went straight to one of the consoles, his fingers flying over the controls with ease. Within moments, he had the information they desired. A map of the battle station appeared and he leaned forward to study it. He ran his finger over a few areas and nodded his head. Straightening, he motioned to the astromech droid. "Plug him in and see if he can find out where the tractor beam power unit is located."
"Why not just turn it off in here?" Luke asked. "Wouldn't that be easier than sneaking around the whole station?"
Han shook his head. "What? And have them turn it right back on before we even manage to get out the doors? I don't think so, Kid."
"Oh, I didn't think of that." Luke admitted. He thumbed his father's old lightsaber that hung on his belt and realized he was out of his league here. Sure, he was good at mechanics but these machines; they were like comparing a bone knife to a fine steal one. He was beginning to feel useless and out of place, an extra wheel. If only there was something he could do to prove his worth! But what could an ex-farm boy do on a high-tech battle station?
"We need to break the tractor beam at its power source." Obi-Wan explained, the smile on his face aimed at the boy. He watched as Artoo plugged himself into the machinery with a long arm and started humming. Lights flashed around them as the droid sucked all the information into his cylindrical body. "If we do that, Luke, we can make a clean escape. Otherwise the tractor beam will just catch us again."
Artoo beeped excitedly.
"He has the information." 3PO informed them.
Obi-Wan studied the information as it appeared on his console. He pointed to several locations and explained it to the others. "There are several locations where the tractor beam is tied to the main reactors. I believe I can handle this problem by myself."
The older Jedi headed towards the door.
"Let me go with you!" Luke jumped at the chance, enthusiasm in his young voice.
"It will be dangerous, Luke. I could never forgive myself if something were to happen to you." Obi-Wan stared into the younger man's eyes.
"Please, Ben! I can handle the danger, I know I can!" Luke pleaded as he moved to the Jedi's side. "I can help you! I don't just want to sit here like a whomp rat in a trap!"
Han frowned as he settled into a chair. "You're crazy for wanting to go out there, Kid. The stormtroopers will get you for sure. Me, I'm staying right here where it's nice and safe."
"I'm not a coward!" Luke retorted, glaring at the smuggler.
"Very well." Obi-Wan decided as he turned to his younger charge. "You may come with me, Luke, providing you promise to do everything I tell you. Do you promise? An apprentice must obey his Master in all things."
Excitement bubbled up in Luke's body. Ben was letting him go with him! "I promise!"
"You're a fool, Kid." Han stated as he leaned back in a chair and rested his crossed feet on a console. "That old man is going to get you into lots of trouble. Mark my word. You should stay here."
"I'm going! And I'm going to be a Jedi someday! Just you wait and see!" Luke pledged seriously as he stared at Han with his blue eyes. What did a smuggler know anyway compared to a Jedi? Why, the guy couldn't even take care of his own ship!
"Fine." Han crossed his arms behind his head, relaxing. "Just don't come crying to me when the troopers catch you."
"I won't." Luke promised as he followed Obi-Wan out the door. They slunk along the wall in the hangar bay, keeping to the deep shadows. The Millennium Falcon was just there, in front of them with several stormtroopers idly standing about. He was sure that at any minute they would be spotted and a shout would ring out, yet it never came. Either Ben was doing some of his Jedi magic or the guards were blind. Either way, the two snuck out of the hangar bay through a pair of blast doors and entered the Death Star. His heart thudding loudly in his chest from a combination of fear and excitement, Luke placed a hand on Ben's arm. "I can't believe we made it out of there! The guards didn't even see us!"
"The Force makes incredible things possible, Luke. You will learn." Ben whispered back and darted quickly down a deserted corridor. "Come along and don't dawdle."
Luke increased his pace as he hurried after Ben. It astonished him how fast the old man could move, how well he blended into the shadows. If he didn't know any better, he'd swear that Ben was much younger than he looked. But then, he was a Jedi and not one of the worn-out moisture farmers that he was more familiar with. After following the Jedi through several twists and turns, Luke admitted he was completely lost and couldn't even be completely sure which way they were headed anymore. All the hallways looked identical, the same drab white and pale gray. "Are we going to be there soon?"
Obi-Wan paused for a moment and glanced back at Luke, a strange glint in his eyes. "Yes, soon. It's just ahead."
They had stopped within a small alcove. Luke took a chance and stuck his head out, peering at what lay ahead. What he saw left him breathless. It was a deep chasm, as dark as night and just as mysterious. It was the last thing he had expected to encounter on a space station, yet there it was. The incredible waste of space was shocking, but then, what did he know of such things? Yet he was sure such a feature would be more at home in the canyons of Tatooine than out here on a space station, even if that station were the size of a small moon. A narrow catwalk stretched across to the other side. "There's a big hole ahead!"
"Yes, I know." Obi-Wan replied calmly. "It's the service shaft and we must cross it. What we want is just on the other side."
Luke was about to step out when Obi-Wan suddenly jerked him back into the darkness of the alcove, one hand firmly clamped over his mouth. Fear shot through him as he was unexpectedly grabbed and his heart rate climbed, but the reason for it became obvious as three stormtroopers appeared. He could see them so clearly before him, their white-and-black armor glistening in the overhead lights. He forced himself to calm down and tried to slow his breathing, but Ben had scared him badly and it wasn't working. To his own ears, it sounded like loud gasping and he was sure the troopers would hear him and then it would all be over. But to his surprise, they continued on past their hiding place without even a glance in their direction. Ben clung to him for a few moments longer, and then finally released him.
"I thought we were goners!" Luke gasped as he leaned back against the cool wall of the alcove, one hand over his beating heart.
Obi-Wan smiled at him. "Rest assured, Luke, you are bound for greater things then being caught by these troopers."
"Really?" Luke gazed at Ben, hoping it was true. Yet it was hard for him to believe it; his uncle had put him down so many times for being a dreamer. "Do you really think so? I mean, you're not just saying that, are you?"
"Absolutely not! I meant every word." Obi-Wan inched out of the alcove and motioned with his arm for Luke to follow him. Pulling the boy in front of him, he gently nudged him towards the foot of the narrow catwalk. Moving so he stood right behind him, Obi-Wan pointed at the distant steel door on the other side. "Do you see that door, Luke? You're destiny awaits on the other side."
Luke balanced on the edge of the catwalk, a cool draft playing with his golden hair. He wanted to look only at the far door yet some morbid curiosity pulled his eyes downward. Before he knew he was doing it, Luke stepped boldly onto the catwalk itself until he was several feet out. The narrow walkway was just as wide as his body and oddly enough didn't have any railings at all. Peering down into the dark depths, he felt like he was staring into forever. There were a few blinking lights on the shaft's walls near the level he was on, but farther down all was pitch black. Raising his blue eyes, he locked his gaze onto the remote door. It seemed impossibly far away and just as impossible to reach without falling off the too-narrow bridge. "My destiny?"
"Yes, Luke." Ben replied, his voice a warm timber. "All you have to do is cross the catwalk."
"But I'll fall…" Luke worried. At the thought, his position on the skinny strip of metal seemed precarious. Suddenly coming with Ben didn't seem like such a hot idea. Stormtroopers he could face, but this…! There didn't seem enough room for both of his boots and yet, at the same time, he was frightened to pick a boot up less he loose his balance.
"I have confidence in you, Luke." Obi-Wan assured him. "We must hurry and cross before another unit of stormtroopers come through here on patrol. You don't want to get caught, do you?"
Luke was quite for a moment. "Is this a test?"
"Well, surely you didn't think being a Jedi would be easy now, did you?" Obi-Wan smirked, the humor clear in his voice.
The farm boy grinned. Now he understood what Ben had meant about his destiny awaiting on the other side of that door. If he could pass this challenge, then Ben would train him as a Jedi. He would grow to become a hero and the two would travel across the galaxy together righting wrongs wherever they went. But it wouldn't be easy. Sure, he had enjoyed reading or hearing exciting adventure stories growing up in Anchorhead, but actually doing them was a different matter! Now was the time to discover what he was really made of, if he had the hero stuff inside. He thought of the arrogant smuggler hiding back in that room and Luke grew confident. He wanted to show Han that he wasn't a coward. That he, Luke Skywalker, could be a hero! Why, he could do anything he put his mind to!
Luke picked a boot up and stepped forward, his arms outstretched for balance. It was scary, yes, but it was also exhilarating. With each step he grew more confident and sure of himself. Within moments, he was in the middle of the catwalk. An incredible feeling swept through his body as he stood balanced in the middle of nothingness. He was actually doing it! Luke hurried the rest of the way across, surprised to find Ben right behind him.
"I knew you could do it!" Obi-Wan hit the door release and shoved Luke inside the waiting room.
The room was dark and Luke stumbled, unsure where he was. He heard the door shut behind him as Ben joined him in the dark room. He had expected some machinery to be in here, the power unit for the tractor beam. Holding his hands out before him so he wouldn't bump into things, he peered through the darkness. There, across the room, several blinking lights! He unsteadily headed in that direction, a part of his mind wondering why all the lights were out. Even though he couldn't see, he could hear the rasping sound the power unit made.
"I'll get the lights." Obi-Wan's voice told him.
The lights flickered on and Luke was momentarily blinded by the brightness. He squinted for a few seconds, and then stumbled backward in fright. A screech escaped from his throat, very un-hero like.
A huge hulking figure stood before him dressed all in black. The blinking lights he had seen were on the evil creature's chest and the rasping he had mistaken for the power unit was the creature's breathing. It was Darth Vader, the Dark Lord of the Sith!
"Ben! Run!" Luke scrambled back towards his mentor, colliding into him when his teacher didn't make any move to escape. "It's Darth Vader! He'll catch us and do who knows what!"
Obi-Wan laughed, a sparkle in his azure eyes. "Yes, I know its Darth Vader. I assure you, my very young apprentice, I know him very well."
"What?" Luke took an uncertain step away from Ben, shock dawning in his eyes. "But you said we were going for the power unit, for the tractor beam!"
"I never said it was in here, Luke." Obi-Wan stepped closer to Luke and gripped his shoulders tightly. "I only said your destiny was in here and it is. You should pay closer attention to what people are actually saying and not what you think they're saying. Did you really think intruders could sneak around the Death Star without getting caught? The stormtroopers, of course, were ordered to ignore us and let us pass."
"You lied to me!" Luke shouted as he tried to pull away from Ben, but the Jedi's grip was like a vice. "Was that story about my father a lie, too?"
"I'm a Sith. I'm entitled to lie." Obi-Wan spun Luke around and forced him to face Darth Vader. "But that story about your father was no lie. He was a Jedi, until he fell to the Dark Side and pulled me with him. He's right before you."
Luke stared at the Sith Lord, shocked. Darth Vader was his father? How could that be possible? He pulled out of Ben's grasp and stepped uncertainly closer to the masked man. The black mask told him nothing of what Vader was feeling, if he felt anything at all. Even living out on distant Tatooine he had heard stories of Vader and his mystical powers and now to be in his presence! A dark and cold sensation seemed to radiate out of his body and it made Luke shiver. "W…What's going to happen to me?"
"Luke, my Son." Vader spoke, his voice low and full of power. "You will be trained, of course. Obi-Wan did well bringing you to me."
"Trained?" Luke's mind whirled in confusion. Did he mean as a Jedi?
"As a Sith." Vader answered his son's mental question, a weak bond already forming. "Together the three of us will be stronger than the Emperor. I have never been one for obeying the rules, Son, so why should I listen to the 'two only' rule that Palpatine's values so highly? Yes, your training will begin, immediately."
Luke gulped, frightened. He had found his destiny and it was to be a Sith.