There Is No Chance

The next time Obi-Wan saw the deathstick dealer, the Balosar had children. Three younglings followed him, one lavender-haired, but the core lines of his face were the same, unshadowed now by the dark lees of neon glowstrips in the Outlander Club. The Force presence that Obi-Wan had for such a short time been embroiled in had not changed. Perhaps something about Obi-Wan had not either, despite fifteen years and many travels around the galaxy, because the Balosar's hand caught at his arm as they passed on the street.

Obi-Wan was surprised to meet someone whom he had known so long ago and for such a short amount of time, but he also realized that an unspoken tenent of Jedi belief was there is no chance, there is the Force.

The Balosar spoke softly, as any would who spoke such words. "Master Jedi."

Obi-Wan gave him a deep nod.

But the grip did not slacken. The Balosar guided Obi-Wan to the side of the slidewalk, where it slowed and let them step off, and spoke fast. "Thank you. You changed my life."

"You're welcome. Pardon me–"

"No, please. Stay. We'll shelter you if you'd like, Koraty and I. We've got a place on tenth. I want to help you–to at least hear how you are. And how is your apprentice? I didn't go home quick enough not to see him. I remember the commotion at the Outlander like it was yesterday–like it's right now. How are you both?"

"He's dead."

"Oh I'm sorry!" He patted the girl-child on the ears and pulled from the pocket of his brown, knit jacket a fan of sugar-mints. To the child he said, "Here dear, go to your mother." The candies were taken and the children jogged off, aiming like a flight of starfighters at a violet-haired woman of uncertain species who was window-shopping a short distance away.

The Balosar said to Obi-Wan, "I'm sorry. Was it the Empire, if you don't mind my asking?"

"It was."

"Very sorry."

"It was war."

Perhaps the Balosar saw the lie on Obi-Wan's face, but he broke their stare to watch his family. "If I can help you in any way..."

"No. Thank you, but I'll be fine."

This time the lie must have been convincingly covered by his tone, because the Balosar allowed Obi-Wan to give a partial bow again and leave.