Natural Progression

Twenty-one-year old Luke Skywalker has never seen a Jedi Knight. He has heard of them, of course. Everyone has, just like everyone has heard of buried treasures and hobgoblins and Anzati. But Jedi are far away from his calloused hands, and specific enough to be far from his thoughts, as he crouches under a speeder in the cool dark of the repair bay. The craft is held up by flowstone blocks, not by its own repulsors, which is why it is in his shop. His hands tweak and shift the warped components as his mind wonders. He trusts his hands, and the part of himself which pays attention to his work, enough to allow some of his thoughts to meander on other paths. It is this trust--although no one knows of it but him—which made it almost easy for him to become co-owner of Tosche station when he came of age.

He is happy on most levels, because he is not working the farm. He makes enough money to keep the Lars' droids running as well as his own, and so a sense of freedom intoxicates him in unexpected moments of quietude. The argument about his enrolling in the Imperial Academy is moot now, but the last time it cropped up in dinnertime conversation still lingers vivid in his mind. That day was the first of the second half of his life, because it was the day on which Owen purchased R2-D2 from the Jawas.

Luke does not bother to watch HoloNetNews to see the latest atrocity which the Empire has committed any more now than he did in his teenage years. He saw Imperials once, when they came to find the R2 unit which Luke had just recaptured in time. Who knew what might have happened if the crazy droid had kept wheeling out into the desert, babbling, that night after the argument, and if Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru had been accused of hiding something about which they had no knowledge?

After turning the droid over, Luke had realized that R2, like Luke himself, had missed the HoloNetNews that day. Reports of Ben Kenobi dying quietly of natural causes, being found in his hut by krayt-pearl seekers, were all over. The hermit was, they say, surrounded by priceless artifacts he had never been sane enough to sell, among them, two lightsabers.

There are things more important to Luke than memories and news: keeping the speeders and pods he services running, daydreaming about space travel and firefights, saving up credits, and reporting to his therapist about whether the medicines designed to stop the hallucinations are working. In the latest fit of madness, he saw Darth Vader battling a human woman, both wielding lightsabers like Kenobi's.

Dreams, Luke supposes, are only nets, which pull in the flotsam and jetsam of waking hours and jumble them together.