A Star Wars Story

Luke Skywalker sat in the living area of his ship, staring at his lightsabre.

The ship—a small Corellian job he'd named the Father's Heart, circled Courascent in lazy orbits—on a type of autopilot. That is, with part of his attention, Luke used the Force to keep an eye on the orbit, and to adjust the controls. But he didn't feel much like flying at the moment.

Instead, he was staring at the metal cylinder he held in his metal hand. His lightsabre. Really his—the one he'd made from off-the-shelf parts and a crystal he'd found in Obi-Wan's hut, put together with knowledge he'd gotten from the Force.

That, he knew, had been one of the tests of becoming a Jedi Knight. And one of the last simple skills tests he'd faced.

He knew how to use it. And he knew how it worked. But what does it mean? he thought.

He turned it over in his hand. He'd seen some of the Jedi records in the old Temple—his father and the Emperor had at least wanted to preserve the old records—believeing that they belonged to the Sith just as much as the Jedi. And, for most of them, they hadn't bothered moving them. The Temple had always been Force-locked—and they'd simply kept it that way. Only a Jedi—or a Sith, since they believed the Jedi extinct—could get in. Until Luke took down the Force-lock.

He'd seen the records, read the files. But they were… cold. The facts would stream by his eyes, but nothing would resonate—not the way it did when Obi-Wan first told him of the Jedi, or when Yoda would—patiently, and again and again—explain the core tenets of Jedi philosophy.

Luke smiled at that. On Dagobah, he'd been so focused on getting Vader—on winning the war, toppling the Empire—that he hadn't cared much about what Yoda was saying. In the end, Yoda made him care. But Luke hadn't thought to ask more questions. At least, not the questions that were occurring to him now.

Like; what does it mean to be a Jedi? He had students now. And soon, his students would have students. Or should he stay on Yavin 4 and keep training them himself, as Yoda did? Should students stay at the academy, or should they re-create the Padawan/apprentice system Luke had seen in the archive records? Should he move the graduated students back to Courascent? Should he move the contents of the Temple to Yavin? Should the answers to these questions come from concerns higher than just the practical?

The trials of mastery you face now, he thought. In Yoda's voice, in Yoda's odd construction. As he often did when facing the really big questions.

Face this alone, you do not.

Luke looked up. Yoda—translucent and blue, was standing on the table next to him.

The boy needs only time, came another voice, one he didn't recognize.

Time he does not have, Master Qui-Gon, Yoda said.

Luke turned to his right. Standing, translucent, trimmed in green, was a Jedi Master Luke recognized from the records as Qui-Gon Jinn—Obi-Wan's old master.

Boy? You're calling him a "boy"? He beat me, helped destroy the Sith, and you're still all calling him a "boy"? Behind him stood the spectral image of his father—now looking younger than he did.

Anakin is right, Qui-Gon said. Young Luke here is many things. But he is no longer a boy.

You've done very well in difficult situations, Luke, Obi-Wan said, appearing in blue in the seat next to him. You've shown a maturity I didn't have at your age. And nearly as much power as your father. But neither may be enough.

He faces challenges none of us had to face alone.

How mean you, Master Qui-Gon?

We had the Council. Even when we disagreed with its decisions, it was the mark against which we measured our own decisions. Young Luke here has—he has only us.

Correct, Master Qui-Gon is. Ready for the burdens of the council, young Skwalker's students aren't.

"I don't think I'm ready for his burden!" Luke burst out.

Hmm. To determine that, is why we are here.

That you're asking this question. Luke, does you credit, Obi-Wan said.

Luke turned toward the image of Anakin, who was staring at each of them in turn. I'm sorry, son, he said. I don't know what to say. Self doubt was never one of my weaknesses.

Lack of it was, Yoda said. As it was your master's.

Master Yoda, Anakin said, my soul bears the scars of my mistakes as much as my body did in the last life.

Chosen one, you were. To exist on both sides. Come back from the Dark Side, no one did ever. Nor again will they.

Luke sat among the blue and green images, listening to their debate. "But these are the questions I don't even know enough to ask!"

Realizing the limits of your knowledge is the first step on the path to wisdom, Obi-Wan said.

Luke stood up and walked away—into the cockpit. Maybe Leia would understand, he thought. Or even Han. Better than these ghosts, anyway.

What do you want? He heard his father's voice ask. Blue-edged Anakin was sitting in the co-pilot seat.


What do you want? Anakin repeated. Someone asked me that, once. I gave a very poor answer to it. But it is the basic question you're asking now, isn't it?

No, that's not the right question, Qui-Gon interjected. Who are you?

"I'm Luke Skywalker," Luke said. I've come to rescue you… he thought, remembering his first introduction to his sister.

That's a name. It's not enough, Qui-Gon replied, and asked again, Who are you?

"I am a Jedi," Luke replied. Like my father before me… "I am my father's son."

Very well. And what does that mean to you? Qui-Gon said.

Anakin turned away and stared out the porthole.

Qui-Gon saw this, and said, You finally understand, Anakin.

I was Padmé's husband. And a Jedi. And I betrayed them both.

Because they could not be reconciled. You faced a choice, and you chose not to decide—a choice in itself.

And a bad one, Anakin said.

Luke turned to face out the other porthole. Could that be Leia's fate, he asked himself? If I train her, must she leave Han? If she is to stay with Han, does that mean she can't be trained? Do I have to forget I have a sister—and a brother-in-law and nephews and nieces on the way? He looked at the image of Anakin, still staring out the window. I am my father's son—I face the same choice. He turned toward Qui-Gon. "I am the last of the Jedi," he said, sadly.

And? Qui-Gon asked.

"And the first, too, I guess," he replied.

Of the old, the last. Of the new, the first, Yoda said.

Now you can ask what you want. And why you're here, Qui-Gon said.

"Fine, then. I want to know what I'm supposed to be doing next."

Your focus controls your reality, Qui-Gon said. What you want should flow from who you are. Search your feelings. You know what you should be doing. More importantly, how.

He looked down from the window. He stared at the ship's controls, but his eyes were focused elsewhere. "The code. The Jedi code. There has to be a new one."

Found your new mission, you have, Yoda said, nodding, and tapping the image of his gimmer stick on the deck. Challenges you will still face. But passed this trial, you have. Grant you the rank of Master, we do.