I have never been considered pretty. I was born with blonde hair, but my mother says it had turned brown by the time I was two. My freckled nose is too small for my face, and I have an overly large forehead. My eyes, I suppose, are my only remotely attractive feature—clear, almost incandescent blue stones set into a totally ordinary face, but they are nearly blind without my contacts. I am tall, with a large frame, but I am scrawny.

I would have been much happier with myself if I had some talent, something, to set me apart from the others in the village. Perhaps if I'd been born Force-sensitive.

The sky is clear today, as usual, and of Dantooine's two large moons, only a slim crescent of one is visible. The fair weather mocks me as I walk along through the long grasses towards my home.

I shift the handle of the bucket in my hand, which aches under the concentrated weight of the water. We are farmers, my family and I, but though the soil here is fertile, the lack of rain makes growing crops difficult. Irrigation systems are expensive, and we are poor, so until we can save enough for one, my young sister and I make many trips each day to the nearby stream. She trots along beside me, her small bucket nearly weightless, and she is as energetic as ever, golden curls bouncing as she skips. She sings a simple rhyme as she goes.

"Emelle," I say, and she turns at the sound of her name, "slow down. You'll spill the water."

She giggles, showing a half a mouthful of tiny teeth, and swings her bucket around, forcing me to duck out of the way. My own pail flies from my hand, dumping all its contents onto a small shrub. I groan and pull at my hair in anger.

"Em!" I shout, reaching out to maul her, but she hops nimbly out of the way, laughing giddily. When I make another grab at her, she turns and runs as fast as her four-year-old feet will carry her over the remaining distance to the house. I turn, still seething, and head back to the stream to refill my bucket.

Hoisting the dripping metal container off the ground, I start on my way back home. In the distance, I can hear the whine of a landspeeder. Listening—for lack of anything else to do—I am able to discern that it is coming toward me. If it is someone I know, they might be willing to give me a ride. I slow my pace hopefully as it draws nearer.

It shoots out around a corner of a bluff not far from where I'm walking, and I see the driver is a young, teenaged boy. I don't recognize him, so I hurry my steps a bit to get out of his way, but I stop when I hear him yelling something at me. I turn to see what he's saying; I can't make it out over the noise of the engine.

"What?" I call to him, but he doesn't seem to be paying anymore attention to me. His eyes are squeezed closed, as if in concentration on something, and the speeder is heading straight at me. Something invisible pushes me slightly to the side, and I stumble, but it's not enough to clear the vehicle's path. It slams into me with a crunch and an explosion of pain, and then my world goes dark.