Disclaimer: I don't own any part of the Star Wars universe.
A/N: My GM Series readers are probably going to be a little surprised to see this. Well, I write all kinds of other fanfic, it's just that besides GM, I haven't posted any of them. That might change. This story is obviously way behind GM on the priority list, so don't expect very frequent updates, although I'll try to keep the story moving. We'll see where this goes. Enjoy.
Star Wars: Altered Destinies
Summary: What if the Tantive IV wasn't intercepted by the Devastator over Tatooine, and Princess Leia reached Obi-Wan Kenobi without incident? What if a young Imperial officer named Han Solo had never witnessed the mistreatment of a certain Wookie, and graduated from the Academy to become an officer in the Imperial Navy? In a universe of altered allegiances and paths, the battle between Light and Dark can never be the same...
Chapter 1: Making Contact
Princess Leia Organa, daughter of Queen Breha and former Galactic Republic Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan, now one of youngest to ever serve in that Imperial Senate, gazed out the viewports of the Corellian Corvette Tantive IV at the sun-scorched desert world beneath them. It was so different from Alderaan, a world where the three dominant colors were the green of vegetation, the deep blue of the oceans, and the snowy white of the Polar Regions. Her home, the capital city of Aldera, was located on a picturesque island in the middle of long-dormant volcanic caldera. The beautiful and aesthetically-pleasing architecture of her home contrasted violently with the rugged and harsh environs of Tatooine.
However, Leia was not merely a nineteen-year old member of the Imperial Senate. She was also a leading member of the fledgling Alliance to Restore the Republic, better known as the Rebel Alliance. And now, under the auspices of a diplomatic mission, she had just escaped the closing Imperial net at Toprawa, receiving a coded transmission of crucial data from Commander Bria Tharen's Red Hand Squadron, a group of special commandos and intelligence personnel that had likely been completely wiped out or committed suicide to avoid Imperial Interrogation.
And so the Tantive IV had now come to this desolate planet on the outer rim. Leia had been given instructions by her father to locate a former Jedi General named Obi-Wan Kenobi, a hero of the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars. She was to return with the plans and the Jedi to Alderaan, where her father would discuss future action with the leader of the Rebel Alliance, former Chandrilan Senator Mon Mothma.
Leia knew that her adoptive father (she had learned at the age of nine that she had been adopted) had been planning for a long time his public announcement of his opposition to the Empire. Bail Organa had passed that mission onto his adopted daughter, and Leia had appeared as fervent a loyalist to Palpatine's Empire as Bail had ever been. Now, both of them would soon publicly join the Rebel Alliance, hopefully bringing their admirers and colleagues with them. It would also sow seeds of deep doubt in the Imperial Senate that such a "loyal" former senator would be so disgusted with the Empire that he threw in his lot with the Rebel Alliance.
She stood on the bridge of the Corvette, and felt more than saw Captain Raymus Antillies move to stand beside her. "Princess, what are your orders?" he queried.
Leia turned slowly to face the man. He was in his early forties, and his helmet covered a head of rich brown hair. The son of Bail Antillies, Queen Breha's father and her adopted grandfather, Raymus was technically her adopted uncle. Both of them knew the truth, however. Raymus was one of Bail Organa's most trusted friends. "We will have to locate General Kenobi," she replied in a crisp tone of authority. She stared down at the endless desert wastes of the planet rotating below them. "The only information I have is that he has taken up residence in a hovel near the edge of the Jundland Wastes."
Antilles frowned. "Sorry, my lady, the what?"
"The Jundland Wastes," Leia repeated. "I believe we will have to get to the surface and orient ourselves first. General Kenobi does not know that we are coming, and thus we will need to seek outside help. Mos Eisley, Mos Espa, and Anchorhead are the major population centers. "
Antilles frowned again. "Surely you aren't intending to go into such a rough city yourself, albeit with guards."
Leia nodded, meeting his eyes. "I intend to take you and perhaps three or four guards in civilian dress. We'll go into one of the major cities and search for clues as to the location of General Kenobi. I am going to meet him in person, Captain Antilles," she said, making it clear that she would not be dissuaded from her plan.
Another man walked up to stand beside them, the actual pilot of the Tantive IV, Captain Colton. "Princess? The Empire undoubtedly made notice of our presence at Toprawa. It is also inevitable that even if they didn't pick up the transmission from Red Hand Squadron, they will come looking for us. If we could find a relatively flat region in the desert, we could go to ground and use speeders to reach the cities."
Leia considered his suggestion for a moment. She would prefer to have the Corvette in space, ready for an immediate departure. But if an Imperial patrol showed up in the system, they would immediately recognize the Tantive IV; the courier ship was clearly marked and broadcasted a standard IFF beacon. But though equipped with a pair of turbolaser batteries amidships, the Corvette had below-standard weaponry and was not intended for combat. Even something as small as an ex-Old Republic Carrack Cruiser would easily outgun the Alderaanean vessel. Finally, she turned to Colton and nodded. "That sounds like the best course of action. Do we have any additional topographical information about the planet? We are looking for a specific part of the desert."
Colton shook his head. "Tatooine isn't represented in the Imperial Senate, so the reports we're using are both lacking in detail and at least fifty years old. Our best chance of finding a place to put down is simply choosing an area of desert well away from the major population centers and searching for an area of flat ground. However, one thing the reports on Tatooine do include is that in addition to the colonists, there is a pair of indigenous sentient species. Jawas, small creatures that are mostly scavengers, and Tusken Raiders or "Sand People," who are a violent, primitive people that often ambush intruders into the desert, as well as raiding the moisture farms that are common on Tatooine. We've got a full complement of soldiers, but I'd rather avoid getting into a firefight with the locals."
Leia nodded. "So what is our best course of action?" she asked Antilles. The man frowned.
"I agree with Captain Colton's plan to put the ship down. As for the location, it needs to be remote. If we need to put a large security detail around the ship, we'll do that. We have two groundspeeders, so you'll bring some of the men with you," the man replied.
Leia turned back to the sun-baked desert planet. "Very well. Let's begin our descent."
They eventually put the Tantive IV down about forty kilometers from the small city of Mos Eisley, closer than they had hoped, but the farthest place from the city where they could find a flat, solid surface where they could put down the Corvette. Leia, Antilles, and ten troopers from the ship set off towards the small city, crossing kilometers of endless desert. Mos Eisley was also apparently the major spaceport of the planet, and functioned as the capital city. Leia, now dressed in a loosely-fitting jumpsuit, light vest, and combat boots, her hair in a ponytail rather than an elaborate braid, had spent most of the journey trying to figure out what questions to ask the locals to give them clues as the location of the Jedi they sought. Her father (even since learning she had been adopted, she still thought of him that way) had told her than Kenobi was a hermit living in a small hovel under the name of "Ben." Hopefully, the former Clone Wars General was a frequent visitor to the local bars, hoping to keep up with the happenings of the galaxy…at least, as much as was possible relying solely on Imperial Holofeeds.
The first thing that became apparent as they reached the outskirts was that most of the buildings were quite old, some very possibly relics of the original mining operation established over 4,000 years ago. The tan-colored stone buildings were occupied by a myriad of species, but most of them appeared to be lower class. Sand was piled up in drifts against almost all of the buildings. As they approached the city center, the conditions remained mostly unchanged. The inhabitants were a rugged people that survived on the desert planet through sheer perseverance and stubbornness. At the center of the city appeared to be the wreck of an ancient crashed starship.
They found what seemed to be the popular watering hole, a seedy-looking cantina with a flickering holo-sign reading "Chalmun's Cantina," hanging above the entrance. Leia and Antilles entered with two guards in civilian dress, the rest remaining outside so as not to draw attention. Leia knew she didn't exactly resemble a low-life spacer, but Antilles looked the part, wearing a beat-up flightsuit and worn boots, his face dirty and gritty from the blowing sands. Holding Leia's hand in an almost possessive manner, they hoped it appeared that they were a couple coming for a few drinks with a pair of friends. She felt the cool air of the place wash over her, bringing relief from the searing heat outside. They sat down at the bar, and a grizzled bartender served them drinks. The cantina was loud, both from the dozens of conversations, raucous laughter, and the music of an all-Bith band that seemed to be pretty popular. It was also smoky, a potpourri of intoxicants from dozens of different worlds.
Antilles leaned forward, pushing his empty glass towards the bartender. "Friend, another one please," he asked. As he did so, he slipped a twenty-credit chip underneath the glass. The man stared at it suspiciously.
"I'm guessing that's not a tip," he said in a low, gruff voice. "What d'ya want to know?"
Antilles looked at Leia for a moment, then back to the bartender. "We're looking for someone."
The man's expression didn't change. "Somehow I'm not surprised. Name's Wuher, and I'll tell you what you need to know if it's within reason. Another piece of advice: missy, you don't much resemble a spacer. Might want to try something else next time."
Leia didn't reply, knowing that he was right. "We're looking for a man known as Ben Kenobi. He's a hermit who lives near the Jundland Wastes."
Wuher regarded her for a moment, then shook his head. "Never heard of him. Maybe you should try Anchorhead or Mos Espa."
As poor a spacer as Leia might have made, one thing she was an expert at was reading body language, tone of voice, and expression. Wuher knew exactly what they were talking about, and was obviously protecting Kenobi.
She leaned forward in what might have appeared to an outsider in a suggestive fashion, and whispered. "My father is an old friend of his. We need to know where to find him."
Wuher blinked. "You knew I was lying," he said, sounding a bit surprised. "Alright, I can tell you where to find him. It's a bit of a trek, mind. Hope you have a speeder."
Antilles shook his head. "Don't worry about transportation. We need directions…and, of course, for you to forget this conversation ever happened."
Wuher gave them a toothy smile. "No problem. I get that all the time."
Leia smiled. Finally, they were getting somewhere.
The grizzled bartender's directions were quite accurate, and an hour into the trip, Leia leaned forward to see a sand-blasted white dome sticking up from the flat sandstone of the area. Beyond it, she noticed how the terrain became rockier and rougher, changing colors from tan to dark brown. It was obviously the Jundland Wastes.
They approached the hovel, but Leia saw no sign of Obi-Wan. The place appeared deserted, and she briefly wondered if Wuher had tricked them, protecting the privacy and safety of his friend. Still, they had to investigate. Leia hopped out of the speeder as soon as it stopped, and walked towards the door. She took a deep breath and knocked twice, then stood back to await a response. A bead of sweat ran from her forehead down to her chin as she waited. The twin suns beat down on her.
Finally, she heard a rumble of hydraulics, and the stone door began to slide aside, disappearing into a crevice in the stone hovel. She peered inside, and felt a rush of cool air escaping from the building. Then she saw him. He moved to stand in the doorway, though he was certainly not what she had been expecting. A man of medium-height, he wore simple brown robes. His face was weathered with age, his grey hair worn short and accompanied by a neatly trimmed beard. His tired blue eyes swept over her, and they seemed to widen suddenly, as if in recognition.
"Princess Leia?" he asked, sounding stunned. "I must admit, I didn't expect to see you here."
There she was. And Obi-Wan Kenobi, former darling of the galaxy, existing in self-imposed exile since the end of the Clone Wars, could swear that Padmé Amidala Skywalker had returned from the grave to stand before him at that very moment. Though as he looked her up and down, he realized that he was only slightly incorrect. Based on their similar appearances, as well as the presence of Bail Organa's personal pilot slightly over her shoulder, this could only be one person: Anakin and Padmé's daughter, Leia Skywalker. Better known as Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, the youngest-ever member of the Imperial Senate at fourteen, ironically the same age that her mother had become the queen of her home planet, Naboo. And Obi-Wan could see so much of that young woman in her daughter right now. It didn't matter that she wore practical clothing instead of an elaborate gown, wore her rich brown hair in a ponytail instead of a complicated braid…her poise, her body language, her unshakable confidence radiated the essence of her mother, just as Luke's cocksure attitude and desire for better and greater things than the life of a simply moisture farmer so reminded Obi-Wan of the man who had once been Anakin Skywalker.
"Princess Leia?" he asked, the words sounding strange on his tongue. "I must admit, I didn't expect to see you here." He met her eyes, Padmé's eyes, and saw a hint of confusion in them. "I doubt you expected me to recognize you either, it appears," he remarked, a hint of his well-known dry humor shining through his weathered features.
Anakin's daughter shook her head, "General Kenobi, I-"
Obi-Wan shook his head. "Please, just call me Obi-Wan. I haven't been a general in many years, and would prefer not to remember when I was." He waved them inside. "Please, come in."
They two people in the doorway entered, and Obi-Wan shut the door with a touch of the Force. Apparently, the guards he sensed would remain outside.
"Obi-Wan," she addressed him, sounding a bit uncertain, "you no doubt remember my father, Bail Organa?"
Obi-Wan nodded. If only you knew, Leia. If only you knew. "How is Bail?" he asked conversationally. He knew that Leia could only be here for one reason, and his mind was spinning. Bail knows why I must remain here, and that I had given up that life. He can't really expect me to jump up and join this Rebel Alliance, can he?
He knew that if he left, he would have to bring Luke with him. And if the situation was right, with the twins reunited, he would need to locate Master Yoda. They had agreed, after all, that they would go into hiding specifically to protect Anakin's children. Now that both had come of age, perhaps it was time to begin training them in the ways of the Jedi. Perhaps together, they would be able to do what Yoda, the greatest master in recent history, was unable to do on his own: defeat Darth Sidious, better known as Emperor Palpatine.
"My father is well," Leia replied, interrupting Obi-Wan's thoughts. "He has a request of you, as I'm sure you have guessed. My father would like you to accompany me to Alderaan. A grave new threat has arisen, an Imperial superweapon of unprecedented destructive power. My father wishes to use your expertise and experience to help ensure the survival of the Rebel Alliance. He knows that you consider that part of your life behind you, but he begs you to reconsider." She stopped speaking, apparently finished.
Obi-Wan shook his head. "I'm afraid your father is looking for the wrong man. I suffered greatly during the Clone Wars, nearly losing my life on many occasions. I'm not sure how much luck I've got left."
Leia frowned. "You'd be a tremendous asset to the Alliance. Many still know your name, and the men and women under your command do not believe the Imperial propaganda about the evils of the Jedi."
Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow. "I hope you haven't come here trying to coax me out of retirement with a promise of military command. I commanded tens of thousands of men during the Clone Wars, but only out of necessity. I was a General only because I was a full Jedi Knight, not because I possessed outstanding leadership abilities. I'm sorry Princess, but I cannot help you."
Leia gestured towards a chair and Obi-Wan nodded. "Would you like some refreshments?" he asked. Leia nodded and Obi-Wan brought the two some of the water he'd purchased only days ago. Antilles remained standing near the door, while Leia sat on the wooden chair, one leg crossed over the other, her hands in her lap. Again, Obi-Wan was struck by the similarities between mother and daughter. He offered them the water, which they accepted with thanks. Once they had parched their thirst, he retrieved another chair and sat wearily across from the young woman. "I suppose this is where you'll keep trying to convince me to join the Rebellion. I have time."
Leia nodded. "The other thing my father told me was that he has heard many rumors of Jedi that survived, and Jedi that we might be able to locate. He hinted that one was already on Alderaan, though he didn't tell me who."
Obi-Wan considered this. "A few Jedi are hardly going to make a difference, Princess. There were once thousands of us, and they failed to protect the Order. The Jedi are no more, Princess. All that remains are their pale shadows, such as myself."
The look on Leia's face was pleading. "We could use Alderaan as a staging point; gather as many Jedi as we can. We'll need them-"
Obi-Wan cut her off with a sharp shake of his head. "Absolutely not. In the aftermath of the attacks on the Jedi, many survivors tried to band together. They accomplished nothing but to make it far easier to be tracked down and eliminated by the Empire."
Leia nodded in understanding, though she didn't appear ready to relent. "Obi-Wan, we need you. The Rebel Alliance is in great danger; the Empire may be on the verge of solidifying its grip on the galaxy," she said, her tone soft and somber, very persuading. She allowed enough desperation though as to arouse sympathy in Obi-Wan, and instill doubt in his decision. He nearly smiled. She was as good as her mother.
"Princess," he said, softening his tone. "Perhaps if you told me more about this superweapon, I might be able to help."
Leia looked up at him, but frowned. "I'm not sure I can do that unless you decide to help us."
Obi-Wan shrugged. "Then we have little left to discuss. I know you have risked much in coming here, but I don't know if I can help you."
Leia looked defeated, slumping in her chair. Obi-Wan suddenly felt even guiltier. He wonder for a moment if this might be a ploy, but as he reached out through the Force and touched Leia's mind, he felt the genuine feelings of despair and disappointment, mixed with a bit of frustration. Obi-Wan also felt the latent Force ability he knew she possessed, ability that she wasn't even aware of. He pushed gently, trying to measure how much potential she possessed. He was pleasantly surprised to see that she possessed as much as Luke did. Anakin's children would never match him in raw power, but they were still among the strongest potential Jedi ever encountered. His doubt grew.
Obi-Wan closed his eyes. He needed Yoda; he needed to know what he should do. Whatever this weapon was, it had apparently scared Bail so much that he took this tremendous risk with the girl he thought of his daughter, and risked severe repercussions for supporting the Rebellion. His planet was ostensibly neutral, yet he had obviously chosen another path.
He nodded. It was time for him to leave this place, for Luke to live this place. It was time for the Jedi Knights to return to the galaxy, to defeat the evil that had nearly driven them into extinction. "Very well, I will come."
Leia's eyes lit with sudden excitement, her face shining with hope. "Excellent. My ship is hidden-"
Obi-Wan held up a hand, cutting her off. "If I am coming with you, then there is someone that must accompany me. He lives in a moisture farm some distance from here, with his aunt and uncle. I will first retrieve him, then we will depart."
Leia frowned. "Who is this man?"
"His name is Luke Skywalker, and he is a boy of about your age. I will explain all to you in time, but for now, please understand that he is tremendously important." He noticed, with a slight amusement, Raymus Antilles's eyes widening at the mentioning of the boy. Obviously, Raymus knew more than Obi-Wan had guessed. He suppose he should have suspected it: Raymus was Bail's most trusted confidant.
Leia nodded slowly. "Very well. Is there anything you need?" she asked, indicating the interior of the hovel."
Obi-Wan shook his head. "No, I have very few possessions." Then he paused. "On second thought, there is once piece of luggage I would like to bring."
The "luggage" he was referring to was a small wooden crate containing not only his Jedi robes, but Anakin's lightsaber, holodisks relating to Jedi training, and a recently completed manuscript of Jedi teachings he intended to leave to Luke. He disappeared into his bedchamber, found the item, and placed it under his arm. He would leave the rest here, in case he should one day return to his isolated existence.
As he exited the bedchamber, he took one last look around the place he had inhabited for almost twenty years. "I'm ready when you are, Princess," he told her. She nodded, and they exited. It occurred to Obi-Wan that it might be the last time he ever stepped foot in the small structure.
Luke Skywalker was downcast as he parked his speeder in the garage, hopping out of the vehicle. He sighed as he stood there, hands on his hips. Ever since Biggs had left for the Imperial Academy, he hadn't been getting along well with the local kids his age. Deak and Windy were still friendly to him; Windy seemed to be the only one willing to defend him, but Fixer seemed to absolutely hate him, and Camie mocked him any chance she got.
He scowled angrily. He knew he'd seen a large ship come through the atmosphere and land on the surface. He didn't know if it was a warship or not, but it was something unusual. Of course, Fixer had refused to even use the macrobinoculars, and by the time he gave them to Windy the ship was out of sight. Frustrated, he'd picked up the parts for the broken moisture vaporator his uncle had sent him out for and gone home.
Because, of course, that was what his excitement each day consisted of: chores. Ever since he'd crashed his skyhopper, he'd been grounded and the fastest thing he could drive was the old speeder. He still dreamed of the day that Owen would give in and let him attend the academy, let him learn to fly around the galaxy and prove to everyone that Luke Skywalker was one of the best pilots the galaxy had ever seen. Maybe he'd even get to fly with Biggs, although his best friend currently captained a medium-sized freighter, the Rand Ecliptic.
He shook his head, shattering his brief daydream. Owen insisted that he needed Luke around for this season, and it seemed unlikely anything would change next season. As much as he loathed the way that his stubborn, sometimes-harsh Uncle seemed intent on keeping him on this rock forever, he couldn't hate the man. Owen had lived a difficult, simple life, yet he had cared for Luke and provided a father figure he might not have otherwise had. And it seemed that he wasn't just thinking of his own interests; he seemed to be protecting his adopted nephew, though from what, Luke wasn't sure. The galaxy was a dangerous place; there was no denying it. But Owen's own father had lost both his leg and his wife to a Tusken raid. Tatooine wasn't exactly the safest place in the world.
He heard Beru calling his name, and headed for the kitchen, where he was sure to find her. She was leaning over the counter, preparing tonight's meal. She looked up at him as he approached, and a warm smile came to her weathered face. "Luke, Owen went out to check some of the East vaporators. Could you go down to the cellar and get some yulak berries?"
Luke tried to peer over his Aunt's shoulder to see what she was cooking, but she turned her back and blocked his view. She chuckled. "Boys. Always thinking with their stomachs. Don't worry Luke, you'll find out in a few hours."
Luke scowled at her and went down into the (relatively) frigid cellar. He quickly found the bushel of berries and quickly climbed up the stairs. As he approached, Beru continued to foil his attempts to find out what she was cooking, holding out her hand for the berries. He gave them to her and headed out of the homestead. He noticed that the rifle, an old slug-thrower that was the only weapon Owen owned, was missing. Obviously, his Uncle had taken it in case there was trouble. He'd always forbidden Luke from having a blaster, though he had borrowed Biggs's weapon frequently and become an adequate marksman.
He stared longingly at the darkening skies, averting his eyes from the fiery twin suns, Tatoo I and Tatoo II, as they slipped beneath the horizon. All he could see for miles and miles was sand. It was this sight that depressed Luke the most; he was so isolated, so far from any kind of excitement. He needed to be out there, to travel to distant worlds and make a life for himself in the vastness of space. He knew he would be the best pilot they'd ever seen…if he ever got a chance to prove it.
With darkness falling, Obi-Wan had managed to convince Leia to return to her ship for the night. Though he'd explained just how dangerous the native Sand People could be, she was still reluctant. The longer the Tantive IV remained exposed on the desert surface, even covered by camouflage netting, the greater the risk of discovery. It would be quite difficult for Leia to explain to Imperial authorities what she was doing on this backwards desert world.
Leia had again asked why Obi-Wan insisted on delaying their departure so that he could retrieve this…boy, who he said was her own age. That meant nothing, of course. Leia was far more mature than her years; she imagined this Luke Skywalker was just some innocent, naïve farmboy. How could he possibly be this important to the old Jedi?
Leia wondered if he might be some illegitimate child of the man or something like that, but dismissed the notion. Jedi were forbidden to love, she had learned, and even if he had violated his oaths, why would he allow some moisture farmer to raise his son? Obviously, there was something else at work here.
She retired for the night, and awoke early the next morning. There had been no need to rouse Kenobi, as the elderly Jedi had apparently slept little that night. They departed in the speeder at mid-morning, with Leia and Obi-Wan accompanied by Captain Antilles and a pair of guards. They sped across the desert, their vehicle and its occupants shielded from the elements by a transparisteel canopy. Leia couldn't tell how far they had traveled by the time the speeder slowed, and she glanced out the canopy at the sunken homestead that had risen from the sands in front of them. She glanced at Obi-Wan, and saw his eyes focused on the structure, his face taut and worried.
Antilles, who was flying the craft, opened the canopy, and one of the guards helped Leia out. Obi-Wan followed, needing no assistance despite his advanced years. He muttered something under his breath that Leia couldn't make out. A sudden movement from one of the windows caught her eye, but when she looked closer, it was gone. Suddenly, a gruff voice boomed angrily, "I thought I told you to stay away from here."
Leia heard the click of blaster rifles being brought into a firing position and spun to see a man standing in front of the group. His face was as worn and weathered as his clothing, and he was currently aiming a rifle at Obi-Wan's chest. One of the guards moved protectively in front of her, but she saw Kenobi raise his hands in surrender. "Put away the weapon, Owen," he said slowly. "I'm only here to talk."
"About what?" Owen demanded. "About how you plan to take Luke away from us? I told you to stay away from him, Kenobi. The boy isn't going to the Academy or anywhere else. He's staying here, where he belongs." The man lowered his rifle slightly, but continued to glare at the old Jedi."
Obi-Wan was silent, and then he spoke. "Luke's future, his destiny, doesn't take place on Tatooine, Owen. I know how protective of him you are, but it is time for him to leave this place and explore the galaxy. It's what he was born to do."
Two voices came from inside the homestead, one female and one male. "Owen?" the female voice called. "What's going on?"
"Nothing," the man said loudly, keeping his gaze on Obi-Wan. "Go back inside."
"Who's there?" the male voice, much younger, asked. "Aunt Beru, get out of the way," he ordered the woman. Owen turned just as a sandy-haired youth emerged from the roof of the main building, eyeing the newcomers curiously. His blue eyes lingered for a moment on Leia, and then stopped on Obi-Wan.
"Ben?" he asked. "What are you doing here? Tell me what's going on!" he demanded of his uncle.
"Hello Luke," Obi-Wan said. "It's time for you to-"
"It's time for him to go back inside," Owen interrupted sharply. "Luke, go back inside with your Aunt."
"I'm already outside, Owen," the woman said. Leia watched a short, kind-looking middle-aged female emerge from the same opening in the roof. Her eyes went to Owen first, but abruptly flew back to stare at Leia. She shook her head suddenly. She looked at Obi-Wan, and Leia saw her shoulders sag. "It's time, isn't it?" she asked sadly. "It's time for him to go with you."
Obi-Wan nodded. Owen scowled angrily. "He's not going anywhere. I won't let him die like his father! I won't allow it!" he bellowed.
Luke spun around, eyes blazing with accusations. "You told me my father was a navigator on a space freighter, that he died in an accident!"
"He did," Owen insisted. "Go back inside," he ordered.
Luke crossed his arms over his chest. "I'm going with him, Uncle Owen."
"Beru!" he hissed at his wife, hoping for aid. She shook her head.
"It's time to let him go, Owen. We both knew this day would come. His destiny isn't to be a moisture farmer, you know that. Let him go," she urged. Leia could see the tears shining in her eyes. She obviously loved her nephew very much, but could see that he would only be happy when he flew among the stars. The woman appeared very motherly, and Leia was for an instant lost in the thoughts of her own adopted mother. Queen Breha cared for her, she knew that, but she had precious little time to spend with her 'daughter.' She spent much more time with her adopted father, Bail.
Owen opened his mouth to argue, and then closed it again, grimacing. He looked at the boy, Luke. Leia could see tears in his eyes. "She's right," he said softly. "She's right," he repeated. "Go, Luke."
Luke's expression softened. "Uncle Owen-"
The man shook his head. "Don't, Luke. I should have let you go before this. You don't belong here. You aren't a moisture farmer, and you'll never be one. You're destined for greater things."
Leia watched the family as they stared at each other in poignant silence. She hated to be the one to interrupt, but Colton had reported an Imperial Patrol over Tatooine that, while it hadn't detected the presence of the ship, was still worrisome. The Imperials were aware of the presence of the Tantive IV at Toprawa, and the Star Destroyer Immortal had been moving into an intercept course when they had made the jump to hyperspace. "We need to get going," she said, softly. She winced when Luke, Owen, and Beru spun around, glaring at her accusingly.
Obi-Wan saved her. "Unfortunately, Princess Leia is correct." Leia watched Luke mouth 'princess?' "Imperial forces are attempting to track us, and we don't want to put you in danger. Do you need to get anything, Luke?" he asked.
Luke shrugged. "I suppose I should bring some extra clothing."
"You won't need it," Leia said. "Alderaan has a much different climate. We'll get you whatever you need. But we need to leave.Now."
Leia stood back as Luke said his goodbyes, warmly embracing his aunt and uncle. Obi-Wan stood to the side, but as he did so, he withdrew a gleaming metal cylinder. Leia recognized it as a lightsaber, but was confused. It was different from the one she'd seen hanging from his belt. Another lightsaber? Why would he need that? She wondered. He's the only Jedi I know of that survived. I suppose he might not be the only one, but why would he be examining it now?
Leia considered for a moment the possibility that the wide-eyed farmboy that was continuing to say his goodbyes was a Jedi, or even a Force-strong individual, but dismissed the notion. That's ridiculous, she thought. I am more likely to be a Jedi that he is.
She became aware that Luke's eyes were on her, and she turned to face him. "Are you ready to go?"
Luke shrugged. "I suppose I am. Where are we going?"
"Her ship is hidden near the edge of the Jundland Wastes," Obi-Wan answered. "We'll need to leave immediately."
A/N: And here's the beginning. You ought to see the immediate possibilities. Next chapter introduces the other wrinkle in this series, that of the ultimate "respectable" Han. As in, an Imperial officer.
Luke's considerably less mature than Leia, and the reasons for that ought to be obvious. One's a farmboy, one's a senator and a key figure in the rebellion. Luke is going to have to grow up fast, though.
I'm hoping for lots of space battles, and a good number of firefights and lightsaber duels. But at this point, who knows when that will happen.
Anyway, this is just the start. Tell me what you think.