Much to his surprise, Owen Lars had actually found himself liking Dagobah.
Uprooting himself, Beru, and Luke on the word of Ben Kenobi and a hologram of some sort of green frog had been a pain, sure, but the planet itself- well, it wasn't actually that bad.
It was warm- almost as warm as Tatooine- and when he'd been a boy, he'd always imagined Paradise as being green and water-covered, two things that definitely described the swamp planet. Plants- few and far between on his home planet- grew everywhere, and while the local wildlife was dangerous, it was nothing compared to Krayt dragons or the Sarlaac.
And though the frog-being talked strangely, he was a nice enough fellow and got along quite well with Luke.
And, well, the most important thing of all was that he knew this place would keep his nephew safe, and he would've lived somewhere where it was constantly winter to do that.
Luke himself was not as big a fan of the planet ("What do you mean, no throwing mud at people?"), but it was an adventure, and the eight year old boy did love adventures, even if all his previous ones had only been imaginary. Besides, he got to meet the cool green guy, Yoda, and hang out with Ben, who said he knew his father and that his father had been a Jedi, which was way cooler than navigating something.
Beru had been a bit more predisposed to like the new planet than her husband (she was, overall, a happier person than he), so it surprised everyone that she had the first complaint.
She wanted a holocom.
Yoda was averse to the idea. "In exile, am I. Conveniences, I need not."
"But what about Luke?" inquired Owen, behind his wife from the start.
"He could need medcenter treatment at some point," added Beru. "We're the only people on this planet."
"Lived here for eight years without medcenter treatment, I have!"
"You," said Obi-Wan, ducking through the low doorway in Owen and Beru's new hut, "aren't a small boy surnamed Skywalker." The man shook his rapidly graying head.
Yoda scowled. "Attract undue attention, it will. Come from Tatooine to avoid bounty hunters, hmm, and then just call them here? Foolish."
"They found me," said Obi-Wan. "But as far as they know, the Lars' are just two moisture farmers with a son. And they certainly would have nothing to do with a new holocom connection on a swamp planet no one's ever heard of."
Yoda scowled at Obi-Wan. "Fine. But paying for it, I will not be."
Paying for the holocom line, as it turned out, was surprisingly easy even without Yoda.
"Just sign here, Mister…"
"I don't need to sign there," said Obi-Wan, waving his hand. "And the 'com line is free. You remember nothing."
From his hiding place inside the hut (Yoda maintained a proud Empire's Most Wanted status, and was quite recognizable even under the best of circumstances anyway), the green Jedi snorted scornfully.
"Intended for use in cheating salespeople, the Force is not!"
Luke, however, stared up at Obi-Wan with wide, admiring eyes. "How'd you do that, Ben, sir? Is it another Force thing? Can I learn?"
"No," said Owen before Luke could continue further in this vein. "It's past your bedtime."
Luke grumbled to himself. "But I wanna call Biggs, Uncle Owen! We didn't even tell my friends where we were going! They might think I got eaten by Rancors or something!"
"The holocom is for emergencies only, Luke." Owen sighed. Part of him wanted to tell the boy just how much danger they all could be in if the bounty hunters who'd found Kenobi found and reported the name Skywalker to the Empire. But more of him wanted his nephew to be happy. He didn't need to know who his father was. Hopefully he never would.
"Besides," added Beru, "it's not connected yet. Ben sent the salesperson away, so we need to connect it ourselves."
Luke's next question, of course, was an enthusiastic inquiry into whether or not he could help, and he stayed up quite awhile past his bedtime that night.
Connecting a holocom with the assistance of an eight-year-old and the significant hindrance of the most powerful Jedi alive making disapproving noises whenever one's back was turned was not an easy job.
Still, it might have been an easier job than that of the frustrated Coruscanti underling now having to register an entire new planetary code.
"Have you ever even heard of this place?" he asked the man in the cubicle beside him.
His coworker shrugged. "Dah-go-bah. Day-go-bah? Nope, never heard of it."
It took the unfortunate underling the better part of the day, in fact, to set the entire thing up (although a large percentage of that time was spent complaining about how they had droids for everything else, so why couldn't any of the ones in the office help out for once?), and once he was done he was practically asleep on his feet.
It was a curious flaw of the galactic holocom system that occasionally, and particularly when dialing a high-security frequency, instead of the frequency you dialed, you instead connected with whatever frequency was at the top of the priority list.
Dagobah had spent a large amount of time on top of the priority list already, and the near-asleep underling unfortunately failed to remove it from said list as he stumbled to his speeder and home to his family and now-cold dinner.
It also happed that within the span of a few hours before someone could remove the Dagobah frequency and banish it to safe obscurity, that the Rebel Alliance launched a major strike on an outlying Imperial shipyard, sending the echelons of Imperial power into a scurrying frenzy as everyone attempted to blame each other for the debacle before someone more important got involved.
Someone more important got involved.
A few people were strangled, a few more were terrified out of their wits, and at least two bureaucrats quit their jobs and moved to the Outer Rim.
But, and perhaps more significantly, a highly exasperated Darth Vader placed a holocom call.
The author is sure everyone can guess where this is going.
"I thought you said this was just a precaution, Kenobi." Owen Lars was both confused and irritated.
"It was," said the Jedi, "it was. They have no idea Luke exists, I'm sure of it. I just wish there was some way I could've warned Bail Organa before I left."
"Luke," said Owen, "the grown-ups are talking. Go study."
The boy retreated sullenly.
"So transparent, Obi-Wan," sighed Yoda. "Not using holocom, you are."
Unable to win the battle against obtaining the device, the Jedi Master had instead appointed himself its guardian.
"Are you done talking?"
This time it was Beru who sighed. "No, Luke. Don't you still have a few more spelling words?"
A loud and exaggerated yawn emanated from the other room of the hut.
"We could always talk at Yoda's," whispered Obi-Wan.
"No! Fill up my house completely, you do when you visit! Stay in your own!" Yoda's voice rather defeated Obi-Wan's goal of preventing eavesdropping.
"We're completely isolated, though," said Obi-Wan in continued concern. "We just have no way of knowing what got found out or reported." The Jedi shook his head, dropping it into his hands.
"Luke," said Owen. "Spelling."
"Listen to your elders, you will, young one!" snapped Yoda, who had been losing his patience for the last month and was showing no sign of regaining any of it.
"But Uncle Owen-"
"Luke," repeated the man, "I'm not going to tell you again-"
"But there's someone on the holocom!"
This base was going to feel his intense displeasure, thought Darth Vader to himself. It had been almost half a minute by this point, and still no hologram had appeared on his receiver.
Finally, finally, just before he reached a stage in which a large number of new furnishings would be required (and the Emperor would be annoyed, which would just bring down the mood of the entire palace complex for weeks), a voice answered.
Clearly the sound receptors in his helmet were malfunctioning, because the voice sounded like a child.
"Hello? Biggs? Did you finally call back? 'Cause I told you to wait 'till my uncle left to get firewood, and he's still talking." The voice now sounded muted and conspiratorial.
Perhaps some imbecile had allowed his child to come to work with him. Vader resolved to get an underling to go through all the base's records until they found someone named "Biggs".
Vader finally decided that nothing was going to get done right now, however, unless he did it himself. "Kindly fetch whoever is supposed to be in charge of the base, and I may be inclined to be merciful."
If that did nothing else, it would at least terrify the child.
And most certainly, the voice that now came from the speaker trembled slightly. "Do you mean my aunt? Or Ben? Because they're all talking, and I don't know what you're talking about and this isn't a base and I think you've got the wrong frequency-thing and-"
"Enough!" He had not turned to the Dark Side and helped found an Empire so he could argue with the degenerate offspring of bureaucrats.
"Hey guys!" At least apparently said bureaucrats would arrive now, though Vader would definitely have something unpleasant to say to any Imperial authorities who allowed themselves to be referred to as "Hey, guys!"
The child's voice had now returned. "I think they're coming."
Vader might as well get a few things straightened out before the imbeciles arrived. "Very well. Now, what is your name?" It might've been more practical to ask for the names of the child's parents, but the current focus of his anger was the child itself, and he might as well have a name to refer to it by, if such a thing became necessary when reporting the demise of it's parents.
"Luke! Get away from there!"
Obi-Wan knew without a doubt that something Very Bad Had Happened. He was not sure of what, but something had. His immediate thought, of course, was that the bounty hunters from Tatooine had managed somehow to track him down. A secondary worry was that it was a message from Bail.
But the reality apparently was much, much, worse.
"Very well. Now, what is your name?"
In fact, Obi-Wan wasn't completely sure that, in his worst nightmares, he could think of a significantly worse situation than hearing Anakin's voice. Or not Anakin, anymore.
Thank everything, he was able to stop Luke before the boy answered, but reflexively he'd used the child's first name, and he could only pray that Padmé had come up with "Luke" on the spur of the moment rather than discussing it with the child's father beforehand.
There was a rasping, horrible intake of breath from the holocom.
"Get out of the room," hissed Obi-Wan to Luke. "Take-" he gestured towards Owen and Beru, now peering through the doorway with expressions of shock. Owen reached out and grabbed his nephew's arm.
Satisfied that they were out of viewsight, Obi-Wan, now resigned, cleared his throat and leaned over towards the 'com.
If there was anything more annoying than contacting an ignorant child when attempting to discipline a base, it was an adult on the other end finally answering but, first, still not turning on the actual hologram feature, and, two, attempting fruitlessly to disguise their voice with a heavy yet unidentifiable accent, or possibly multiple accents.
"Ve ahr sorry, but you appeaw to haff vreached the vrong number. Eef you will pleafs-"
In fact, the accent was so annoying that it took Vader at least three sentences to realize that the reason the Force was continuously jabbing him in the head was because he recognized the underlying voice.
"Obi-Wan." He knew he should've paid more attention to the report from that Mandalorian about the hermit on Tatooine.
There was a very heavy sigh. "That accent thing always did annoy you." Now the hologram finally flickered on, revealing his former master, who did not appear to have aged well. No one ever really did on Tatooine.
"Who was the child?" He supposed it would be mildly amusing if after all that haranguing on the Jedi Code, Kenobi had reproduced. The hypocrisy of it all would be more infuriating than amusing, but the amusement would be there.
"What child?" Kenobi now wore the careful, diplomatic expression that he'd always shown the Council. Vader took it as a carefully crafted insult.
"Who's that, Ben? He's scary."
The look of pure and utter terror on Kenobi's face was also vindictively amusing, come to think of it.
"Luke!" hissed Obi-Wan. "Get out of here!" This was bad, bad, incredibly not good. He should've known better. He should never have allowed the holocom, let alone lobbied for it. He should've told the Council to have someone else guard Padmé Amidala, someone whose padawan didn't daydream of her. He should've let the Organas adopt twins.
"But I want to know who he is," said Luke stubbornly. "Someone called us."
Obi-Wan glanced frantically from hologram to child. "Where are your aunt and uncle?"
"Told me to go on ahead," said Luke innocently. "Uncle Owen's getting a blaster. Can I use a blaster too?"
"That child," said Vader. "Who is he? Your son?"
Obi-Wan was usually amused by irony. Right now he wanted to disembowel the entire concept.
"No," said Luke unhelpfully. "My dad was, um, a navigator."
Thank everything. The boy had a grain of sense after all. (Though the very obvious conspiratorial "did I do that right?" grin did not help matters).
"I was not talking to you," said Vader.
Enough was enough. Obi-Wan flicked the holocom off desperately. A third planet in two months. This was going to be just lovely.
His first mistake was racing to get Yoda, who was already planning the escape and was not happy at being distracted from attempting to unfold a flimsiplast map bigger than he was.
Obi-Wan's second mistake, however, was considerably more dire and much less excusable by any normal reasoning.
He left Luke alone with the holocom.
Luke had reached the distinct conclusion that whoever was on the other end of the holocom line, he was clearly a Bad Guy. And there was no doubt in his mind that there was only one thing to do with Bad Guys.
"Time to investigate," he said in his most serious voice. On Tatooine, there was a cool story about how one of their neighbors (no one ever said just who, it was always a friend of someone's cousin) had uncovered a bunch of droid thieves by investigating and listening in at their hideout and then running in disguised as a Tuskan Raider with a thermal detonator that was actually a desert plum.
Luke wanted to be a hero just like that, and the only thing to do was investigate, seeing as he didn't really have any idea how a desert plum resembled a detonator, or even where he could find either item.
He drummed his fingers on a few of the buttons. There it was. "Call Last Frequency." That would work, right?
Yes. It seemed to be calling something, anyway.
Luke Skywalker, super investigator. Just wait until he told Biggs!
The thirty seconds or so Vader spent staring in shock at the holocom, trying to determine the odds of a random missed frequency contacting Obi-Wan Kenobi, probably could've been spent doing something a bit more useful.
Indeed, he was just about to order in an assistant to either trace the call or die when another message appeared to be incoming.
If it was Palpatine, there were going to be problems. He hadn't contacted the base yet, and even if he had possibly found Obi-Wan, his old master was yesterday's news anyway.
It wasn't. In a clear sign that he was having the first good luck he'd had since at least the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan had apparently decided to call back. Perhaps the old man had finally thought of some decent taunts.
It was the child again. A boy, light hair, and some sort of highly exaggerated "spy" expression on his face.
"What's your name?" said the boy, possibly trying to imitate a stormtrooper.
A Sith had no time for this. "What is yours?"
The boy paused, scowling. He actually muttered something under his breath about investigations, but thankfully Vader was spared the bulk of the delusional spy-ramblings he was catching bits of. If this didn't lead him to Kenobi, heads were going to roll.
The boy sighed. "I'm Luke. And I'm asking the questions."
Darth Vader had faced very few people over the past eight years who he did not terrify on sight. This amount of insolence on the part of someone less than half his size was not something he was going to stand for.
"My name is Darth Vader." There. That, at least, should scare the piece of sithspawn.
The boy's eyes widened fractionally. "That sounds familiar. Um…"
This was really intolerable.
"You were on the news once!"
This was completely intolerable.
"What is your name?!"
The boy- Luke- stepped back slightly, but it appeared to be more from annoyance then fear. Why did his one link to Obi-Wan's whereabouts have to be the one person in the galaxy who'd apparently never heard of him?
The boy muttered something again. This time it was a word he was almost certainly not supposed to know. "Fine. But I'm still asking the questions." The child threw back his head in a proud manner.
This continued to be intolerable, but somehow Vader continued to tolerate it.
"I'm Luke Skywalker."
Yoda's hut was not so far away from the Lars' that Obi-Wan could not hear the yell.
"You are what?"
He even managed to think of several incoherent statements involving distant cousins adopted in memory of Shmi, or perhaps overzealous fans of the Hero With No Fear who borrowed his last name, or perhaps even a long coincidence in which Luke had merely pitched his voice to sound exactly like that of his father and was yelling for no reason, or at least hadn't said anything having to do with his name.
Obi-Wan, however, had had all of his naive idealism rather painfully squelched out of him years ago, and knew full well that none of his plans would work and that none of his theories were true.
He could merely bang his head on the ceiling of Yoda's hut, then race across the muddy ground of Dagobah in attempt at damage control.
"I said," repeated Luke, "that I'm Luke Skywalker. With an L." He couldn't think of anything too confusing about that, and definitely nothing that made him deserve to be yelled at. "My aunt and uncle are Lars 'cause I think Grandma was actually-"
"You are how old?"
What did that have to do with anything? "I'm eight and a quarter. Sort of. The days here are funny, and a year's-"
"Where are you, and who stole you?"
That was completely uncalled for. "No one stole me, bantha-head, and I'm not supposed to tell people on the holocom our address 'cause they'll try to sell us stuff, and-"
"What did you do, Luke?"
Somehow Luke had the feeling that Ben didn't really need an answer, but he didn't want everybody mad at him, so he answered anyway. "… I investigated. I'm sorry, Ben! I just wanted-"
"You will die," said Darth-whoever. The air- or something in the air, maybe- got the way it did whenever Ben made people do things by waving his hand, except that now Ben was sort of gasping.
Luke screamed. In a reflexive motion, he slammed down the frequency switch on the holocom to the emergency frequency.
"Are you alright, Ben?" The poor boy's voice was trembling.
"I'm fine, young one."
"I hit the emergency switch."
It would send out a signal, which would have a med center tracking them, and probably within a few minutes the Empire tracking them down too.
They'd have to move quickly, but they'd be able to get out.
Owen Lars had liked Dagobah.
He was not as fond of Hoth.
"I want another holocom," said Luke.