This is what is hoped to be an attempt at a time-travel fic without breaking

1. the space-time continuum
2. your brain
3 my brain

or

4. my laptop (again).

Genre-wise, we're looking at angst, action, adventure -- plus a lot of explosions, space battles and a splash of murder mystery and traitor-hunting ... so, what are you waiting for? Get reading!

Betaed by the brilliant frodogenic :)


Chapter One
In which the scene is set, the laws of physics are utterly disregarded and the space-time continuum is wholly and irrevocably shattered.


The Spirit of the Republic, 22 BBY.



"We have tracked Dooku to Felucia."

Obi-Wan Kenobi gave a mental sigh, bracing himself for the worst. This latest assignment couldn't have come at a more inopportune time -- the Spirit had only just finished a major weapons raid on Sullust, and both the ship and its crew were drained of both energy and supplies. "It seems unlikely." He countered, running a callused hand through his beard. "That's too near Republic outposts in the next system."

"And we haven't got sufficient supplies." Anakin admitted. "Not since the the Divinity was gunned down."

"You will rendezvous with the Freedom en route." Windu said. "Master Secura has also moved her troops to the system. She will await you there."

"Understood." The Jedi bowed as the image flickered out, leaving only static in its wake. Then, Anakin's previously calm expression dissolved into one of utmost irritation and he punched the console in frustration.

"Felucia? That's at the other kriffing end of the galaxy!" He snapped, turning smartly on one heel and stalking off in the direction of the bridge. Obi-Wan followed, hurrying slightly in order to match Anakin's longer strides. "Why can't Master Secura take him by herself? We completely slaughtered their forces over Coruscant, he can't have anything left to fight with --"

"Droids, Anakin, are more easily replaced than people. And in any case," Obi-Wan added with an involuntary glance at Anakin's right arm, "you of all people should know that Count Dooku is not to be underestimated."

"I know." To his credit, Anakin barely flinched. "But I don't understand why he can't send someone closer. There must be other Masters who're nearer to Felucia than we are."

"The Spirit is the largest ship in the fleet."

"The Freedom has got ion cannons. As does the Valiant."

"And they are even further away." Obi-Wan pointed out.

"Yes, but that's not the point!" Anakin snapped, his scowl growing even darker.

"Then what is, Padawan?"

"It's just -- I -- I don't know!" A few seconds passed before he took a deep breath, hands gripping the railing as he looked out over the bridge. "It's nothing."

"Anakin --"

"Nothing."

Obi-Wan let it go. In front of him, Anakin exhaled loudly, smacking the railing with a steel fist. Obi-Wan climbed the stairs to join him, looking out over the bridge. The men manning the communications consoles were busy at their posts, apparently having been instructed by Admiral Yularen to alter their course for Felucia. This, presumably, was the cause of his Padawan's irritation.

"It'll only take a few weeks out of your leave, Anakin," he consoled him, gingerly putting a hand on his shoulder. "After the siege on Felucia, I'm sure the Council will --"

"Send us off on another assignment? Again? I was meant to be home three months ago, Master!" He spat. "It's been too long, and -- and I miss --" He stopped abruptly, biting his lip. "I miss … it." He finished lamely.

Obi-Wan sighed again. "With any luck, we'll be given leave once this whole affair has ended. I must admit," he added ruefully, "that I do miss the Temple far more than I should. All of it."

"Even the food?"

"Well, I wouldn't go that far." A pause. "Was it really shurra fruit in the soup that one time?"

Anakin cracked a reluctant smile. "Well, that's what you'd like to think. But I have it on good authority that the cook had actually gone and --"

"Never mind, I don't want to know." They both laughed, the sound going some way towards dissipating the tension between them.

"Don't worry, when I'm a Knight, we can pool our allowances together. That'll allow for what, one meal at Dex's?"

"I … I suppose." Obi-Wan replied halfheartedly, his earlier mood evaporating faster than rain on Tatooine. Though only in passing, Anakin had mentioned the one thing that he did not want to discuss: his knighting.

Obi-Wan was well aware that Anakin was ready for the trials. He knew that Anakin was mature enough -- he was intelligent, capable and a brilliant military strategist in his own right. His piloting skills were unsurpassed. He was, for the most part, confident, self assured and charismatic. He could beat any of his age mates into next week in a sparring session. On paper, it seemed, Anakin Skywalker was ready for knighthood -- but Obi-Wan knew that that was not the case in reality. What worried him was Anakin's inability to control his emotions, his habit of taking revenge for any petty act that offended him. And revenge, he knew, was not the way of the Jedi.

He knew that it was possible to refuse to recommend a Padawan for the trials, and he'd seen it done when he was a Padawan himself. But -- and this was the most pressing problem -- he knew that it would destroy Anakin were such a thing to happen. He felt himself to be overdue for Knighthood already; Obi-Wan knew that he would view any such refusal as a betrayal, and react accordingly. Furthermore, the Council believed that refusing a Padawan the trials was tantamount to casting them out of the Order, an action that Obi-Wan could not and would not take. Like it or not, the Jedi needed Anakin. The Republic needed Anakin. He needed --

But that was irrelevant.

"… and so if we move our troops across the border, we would -- are you even listening to me?"

"Of course! I was merely …" Obi-Wan hurriedly searched for a suitable word. "Preoccupied."

Anakin's eyes flashed. Wrong word. "I see," he said curtly. "Well, we'll be making the first jump into hyperspace in less than a minute. I'm going to debrief Yularen about the situation on Felucia. I'm sure that you can keep yourself preoccupied until then." He walked across the bridge to where the Admiral was standing without even a nod in his Master's direction.

Obi-Wan let the blatant lack of courtesy go. He had stopped upbraiding Anakin for it years ago.

Sighing, he leaned over the railing in much the same way that his Padawan had a few minutes ago, idly surveying the bridge and mentally counting down until the jump. The deckplates soon shuddered under his feet, the stars blurring into the telltale blue streaks of hyperspace. He was so absorbed in his thoughts that he failed to notice the whine of the engines or the static interference on the screens.

He supposed that that was his first mistake.


Bridge of the Spirit of the Republic, 22 BBY.



"Felucia will be heavily defended." Yularen warned him.

Anakin pinched the bridge of his nose in irritation. "I know that!"

"So you see why we must proceed from th south."

"It can't be done."

"Sending a battalion from the north would be suicide!" The Admiral protested.

"And sending one from the south would be anticipated!" Anakin snapped. "We'd lose the element of surprise. Dooku isn't stupid. If he realises that we're coming from the south, he'll situate his men near the river, here." He gestured to a point on the map, the display flashing blue. "By sending our troops from the north, we may suffer many casualties, but we'll stand a better chance of engaging the Separatist forces in a ground assault --"

"And of losing more men!" Yularen cried. "Think, man! These aren't droids you're talking about—they're men, people!"

"They're soldiers." Anakin said, looking towards the viewport.

"That doesn't make them expendable!"

"The ends justify the means."

"Skywalker --"

"This is war, Admiral."

"That doesn't make it right!" Yularen said. He stepped closer to Anakin, until they were almost nose to nose. "I'm a military man, General." He whispered quietly, so close that the words only carried to Anakin himself. "I've been fighting in battles longer than I wager you've been alive. And I'm telling you now that I will never allow anybody under my command to be needlessly sacrificed just for the capture of one man."

"Capturing this man," Anakin said icily, "would end the war completely."

"Now that's where you're wrong." Yularen said. "I've had word from the Valiant that there's a new Separatist commander rising through the ranks, some sort of super droid that can even, so I've been told" -- here, he lowered his voice --"kill Jedi."

Anakin frowned, twisting his Padawan braid around his finger. "Impossible. The Council would have heard of it."

"Don't place all your faith in that Council of yours," the Admiral cautioned. "They might be Jedi, but they're not military men."

"Neither am I, Admiral. And yet" -- he gestured to the bridge -- "I'm supposed to command this."

Yularen paused for a moment, wondering how best to respond. "You'll learn," he decided on at last. "You're only what, twenty two?"

"Nineteen."

"And they drafted you to command here?" Yularen blustered. He had worked with Skywalker for all of three months, and yet still knew nothing about him, other than that his piloting skills, reckless nature and bad temper were unrivalled throughout the fleet. "At nineteen?"

"I am a Jedi, Admiral." He gave a bitter smile. "We are expendable."

For a moment there was silence, broken only by the clattering of keys at the communications desks. Finally, Yularen spoke. "Skywalker --"

"The troops go north, Admiral." He said tonelessly. "That is all."

A few seconds later, the hyperdrive deactivated.


Bridge of the Spirit of the Republic, 22 BBY.


Obi-Wan was jerked rather unpleasantly out of his meditation by the quivering of the deckplates as the ship reverted to realspace. He was momentarily confused -- the hyperspace jump was supposed to last at least nine hours, and he was almost positive that he hadn't been meditating for that long. Something was wrong. He rose and headed for the bridge, instantly spotting Anakin.

"Padawan, what's going on?"

"I don't know!" Anakin replied, vaulting over the railing and landing lightly on the main deck below. Some of the newer cadets looked on with awe, but the older hands remained impassive; they had seen Jedi before. "I think the hyperdrive's gone!"

"It could be an attack," Yularen surmised, marching to the navicomputer. "Fire up all full deflector shields! Now!"

"No, I don't think it was an attack," Anakin argued, leaning over a console. "The scanners don't read any other ships in a million-klick radius, and that rules out the possibility of a tractor beam, or of any other interference."

"Then what is it?" Obi-Wan asked. "A technical fault?"

"I'm not sure." Anakin began to type rapidly into the console, bringing up a series of the ship's blueprints. "System output is fine, the generators --"

"Power's failing!" An ensign shouted, pointing at his screen. "Shields are down two thirds and falling!"

"Lock in auxiliary power!" Yularen commanded. "Cut all systems to life support!"

"Hyperdrive has just failed." Obi-Wan said, leaning over Anakin's shoulder. "Shields are down. Generators stalling."

Yularen swore. "What in the name of the gods is going on here?"

Anakin didn't reply, staring intently at the screen.

"Padawan, what's happened?" Obi-Wan scanned the data for clues, but couldn't find any. "The computer reads that the systems are normal, but the ship --"

"Someone's cut the lines," Anakin said suddenly. "The main feed to the computer … somebody must have disconnected it."

"It might have been an accident."

"Impossible, the ship is Kuati."

"A traitor?" Yularen said, incredulous. "On my ship?"

"It's the only possible explanation. If somebody has cut the lines, it'll be a matter of reconnecting the wires. If not …" Anakin paused, his face dark. "I don't know." He rose abruptly. "I'd better check it out."

"You can't go down there!" Obi-Wan protested. "It's dangerous!"

"So is hanging around here like a sitting bantha and waiting to suffocate to death!" He snapped, sprinting towards the lower deck.

Obi-Wan turned to Yularen. "Where's he going? We have to follow him!"

The Admiral ignored him. "You!" He shouted, pointing at two clone troopers lounging near the door. "After him!"

"We're losing the auxiliary power, sir!" Someone shouted. The lights flickered ominously on the bridge.

"A traitor, on my ship," Yularen whispered. He seemed to have aged ten years in as many seconds. "Do you think it could be a spy? A Separatist? Or --"

"I've got to go after him," Obi-Wan decided, heading for the door. "I have to find him."

"Kenobi, what --"

"Anakin is my apprentice, and he's in terrible danger. I have to find him!"

"The chances are minute, you can't possibly say --"

"I can sense it!"

"The one thing Skywalker isn't is stupid." Yularen said. "He wouldn't endanger himself just so he could find this traitor."

"Oh, he would." Obi-Wan muttered. "He would."

Yularen caught his shoulder as he made to leave, his grip vice-like. "Kenobi, wait! We need to give him some time!"

"I have to find Anakin, you don't understand, he's my --"

"We can't just go blustering in --"

Barely a second later, the Force screamed a warning. "Admiral, duck!" Obi-Wan shouted.

"Kenobi, what the --"

A lightpen rolled off the centre of the console, and slammed against the floor.

A second later, everything exploded.


Engine room of the Spirit of the Republic, 22 BBY.



The engine room was sweltering, the heat rolling around the huge compartment in waves, hotter than anything he had ever experienced on Tatooine. Anakin was drenched in sweat before he had even taken a few steps into the room, his breath coming in short gasps, his tunic sticking to his chest like a bandage. It was dark as well, the lights having long since burned out, and he was glad of his lightsabre as he made his way along the rows, searching for the missing cables. Behind him, he could hear the hiss of compressed air slowly escaping from the doors, despite the grinding of the engines.

He became more and more desperate as his search yielded nothing and the heat increased, choking him as he inhaled. It was possible that the traitor was still hiding in the room somewhere, making sure that nobody came to undo his work. He viciously slashed at a series of fallen power couplings as he turned a corner in the room. He despised traitors with every fibre of his being, and he so hoped to find this one alive.

He wouldn't be responsible for his actions if he did.

The darkness was absolute, and even with his lightsabre ignited, he could only see a few metres in each direction. Suddenly, a creak from behind one of the supports caused him to whirl around in fear, clutching the blade and completely forgetting what the extreme heat of the room had undoubtedly done to the metal hilt. Touching the burning grip of the lightsabre with his artificial hand was no problem, but grasping it with his left was agony, and Anakin hissed as he felt his flesh burn from the contact. His robes felt like they were on fire now, so dense with sweat that they weighed three times as much as they normally did, dragging him down with their weight. He didn't dare remove them though; he feared what would happen if he took another fall. The engines were roaring despite the power cuts, the sound almost deafening him.

Over the noise, however, he heard footsteps.

Trying to ignore the pain in his palm, he hauled himself up and braced himself against a nearby column, fighting to even his breathing and to centre himself. This, he reflected grimly, was probably the traitor. Who was probably armed. Who was probably planning to finish him off.

He smirked. He'd like to see him try.

The footsteps were coming from two rows away, towards the east end of the gallery. Using the Force to muffle his own approach, Anakin hurried down a first row, and cut across a second. The footsteps were getting closer now, and he turned a corner onto a main platform, only to see the light from his weapon reflect the dull glint of a blaster, the orange flare of a bolt --

Anakin reflexively moved to parry the shots, slicing his blade downwards as the blaster bolts reflected off it, careening back towards their origin. The first missed the assailant's head by mere centimetres, but the second met its mark, the body falling with a soft groan. Grinning triumphantly, the pain of his burns all but forgotten, he stalked towards the body and raised his blade in a sweeping arc, ready to --

"Sir, stop!"

Anakin suddenly paused mid-swing, recognising the voice. Stepping closer in order to be able to see in the gloom, he raised his weapon. "Eight? Is that you?"

THX-1138 didn't answer, his white armour glinting oddly in the half light as he bent down to check his comrade's pulse. "Trapper's dead, sir." He said.

Anakin swallowed. "I -- I thought you were -- someone else."

"Admiral Yularen sent us to fetch you."

"I see." The heat and the pain from his injuries suddenly struck him again, and he staggered slightly, panting. Damned Yularen. "Let's try to find these wires, before we both get fried here."

"Yes, sir."

They kept on moving down the lines, leaving Trapper's body where it lay. The light on Eight's helmet was adequate enough to light the way, allowing Anakin to power down his lightsabre. The blade was becoming uncomfortable to hold, even with his right hand, and he gladly holstered it back on his belt.

"What exactly are we looking for, sir?"

"Main power cables to the ship's computers," Anakin said shortly; talking required precious air. "Large, possibly disconnected. Somewhere in the main generator room."

"Like that one, sir?" Eight asked, pointing.

Anakin followed the clone's finger, scrutinising the wires. "Yes, but that one's intact."

"I see, sir."

"It would have to be cut, or frayed -- like that one there!"

Eight knelt beside him. "That's pretty much unsalvageable, sir."

"Not if I have anything to say about it. Light."

The clone obliged, allowing the lamps on his helmet to illuminate the scene. Grasping the two ends of the cable together, Anakin sank into a light meditation, drawing on the Force until he could feel every individual fibre in the cable, see how they connected together. Allowing the Force to guide his fingers, he slowly repaired the wires, drawing each one together, until the final one had been connected --

The resultant power surge tore through the wire with all the force of an ion cannon, as well over three million kilojoules of energy passed though it, every one needed to power the ship. The blast knocked the clone back against a pillar. Anakin felt the heat from the surge burning him as his left hand was in agony from the pain and he was thrown back against the wall and something was thwacking his head, hard.

Then everything went black.


The Spirit of the Republic, 22 BBY.



Obi-Wan was momentarily unbalanced as a huge ripple tore through the entire ship, the boards shaking as the wires all fizzed with the sensory overload. Yularen stared as the lighting came on, the computers blinking once more.

"Admiral, what's going on?"

"He's fixed the power!" Yularen exclaimed. "Skywalker did it!"

Obi-Wan smiled. "I told you he would --"

Pain. Obi-Wan could only gasp in shock as he felt his bond with Anakin abruptly sever, as though he had cut him off, as though he were --

"Admiral, we have to find Anakin!" He roared. "Now!"

Yularen must have seen the look on his face or heard the desperation in his voice, because this time he gave no argument. "Hurry, men!" he shouted to the clones, racing off after Obi-Wan. "On the double! Move!"

Obi-Wan raced through the corridors of the Spirit as fast as he could, Yularen and three troopers hot on his heels, through the levels of the ship and down into its lowest level, making for the engine room.

"This way!" Yularen shouted, and Obi-Wan let him take the lead.

"Where to now?"

"Left!" Yularen yelled, bearing towards two double doors that stood wide open at the end of the passage. He paused a good three metres from the entrance however, gasping for breath.

"The nine hells, Kenobi, it shouldn't be that hot in there!"

The heat was like an animal, viciously devouring the air, leaching the moisture from Obi-Wan's skin. "What's going on?"

"I don't know!" The Admiral shouted over the roaring of the engines. "Do you think he went in there?"

"Yes!" Obi-Wan shouted back. "I'm certain."

Yularen took a deep breath, steeling himself. "Right, troops, on the double! We have to find Skywalker, at once!"

"Yes, sir!"

"After me!" He shouted.

It was, Obi-Wan surmised, like his childhood imaginings of hell. The heat was so strong that he was almost close to fainting, the lights barely illuminating the gloom, the engines roaring like the hungry beasts in the Geonosian arena, deafening him.

"Where do you think he could be, sir?" One trooper shouted over the noise.

"The main energy terminal is this way!" Yularen hollered back. "He must have reconnected that in order to have restored power."

Obi-Wan swallowed as they made their way down the endless columns, all identical, the scene reminiscent of a nightmare. Anakin wouldn't have known where the terminal was. He would have had to wander for ages, alone in the dark, suffocating in the heat as --

"Admiral! We've found something!"

His heart in his throat, Obi-Wan all but flew over to where the two troopers were standing, searching for a glimpse of black robes, of sandy hair. "Is it --?"

"It's Trapper, General," one trooper said, indicating the identification number on the helmet of the clone. "He's dead."

"Killed by a blaster bolt, too," Yularen added, pointing at the charred hole in the clone's armour. "It might be our mystery traitor, eh, Kenobi?"

"I wouldn't know." Obi-Wan replied. "It seems so."

"We won't know for sure until we find the other trooper and Skywalker," the Admiral stated, turning towards the terminal. "The heat's lessening, that's a good sign."

Obi-Wan didn't reply. Following a sudden impulse, he turned away from the group, rounding one corner and running down the colonnade until he caught sight of --

"Admiral! I found him! He's here!" Obi-Wan instantly knelt by Anakin, his worst fears realised. His Padawan was unmoving, and didn't seem to be breathing, his sweat-soaked robes plastered against his chest. Obi-Wan instantly grabbed his left wrist, searching for a pulse. The hand was limp in his grasp. Swallowing, Obi-Wan turned him over. What had once been pale, unblemished skin on his right cheekbone now had a nasty streak across it where the flesh had been burned by contact with the hot metal of the floor, the ruined skin curving across the line of his face until it reached his eye. Although the scarring would fade until it became no more than a white blemish, Obi-Wan instantly worried about his Padawan's sight. It was quite probable that he would lose the use of his eye.

That is, if he were still alive to open it --

Behind him, Yularen spat out a long string of obscenities, coming to kneel by Obi-Wan.

"Is he…?"

"I think so," Obi-Wan whispered, adjusting his fingers on Anakin's limp wrist.

He would lose his Padawan as well. First Qui-Gon, then Siri, now Anakin. And it was all his fault. All his. If he had raised Anakin better, then he wouldn't have been foolish enough to try to save the ship. If Anakin hadn't been so damned impulsive, he would still be alive and well. If Anakin hadn't been his Padawan, then he wouldn't be --

Wait. There was something there. Obi-Wan pressed his fingers more tightly against the burning skin, concentrating hard.

"He's alive!" He shouted, startling Yularen. "He's alive!"

Yularen spun to the nearest trooper. "Get a stretcher. Immediately." The clone complied.

"Eight's dead, sir," one of the troopers called, kneeling by the fallen clone. "Broken neck, sir."

"He couldn't have done that just by hitting the wall!" Yularen exclaimed, rushing towards the clone.

"It seems," Obi-Wan replied bitterly, "that our mystery assassin has struck again here as well."

"But who is it?" The Admiral asked, punching a fist into his palm. "Who could it be?"

"I don't know." Obi-Wan whispered. "I just don't know."


Dune Sea, 3 ABY.



Hot. He groaned. It was so hot here. Krething engine room. Krething ship. Krething war. Krething life.

Wait. Footsteps. Sounds. Voices --

"Hey, Luke! I think we got something here!"

Luke? Who was Luke? None of his troops were nicknamed Luke, and that certainly didn't sound like a clone.

"The nine hells Wedge!" A different voice. "What the hell happened to him?"

"Shut up Wes, and get our esteemed Commander."

"Wh -- holy stars, you don't think that's --"

"Uh huh."

"But that's a Jedi --"

"Get Luke!" The first voice -- Wedge -- snapped. "Now!"

"Okay, okay, I'm on it, I'm on it."

The footfalls sounded oddly muffled, like these strange, not-his-battalion clones were walking on sand.

Sand?

"Wes, what the -- oh, gods!"

The third voice was higher, more controlled. This, he assumed, must be Luke.

"Told Hobbie to get an anti-grav, we might need it."

An anti-grav? What the --?

"Wait, is that a --"

"Uh huh."

With a supreme effort, he managed to crack open one eye. All he could see, however, were blurred shapes, black against the yellow sand and blue sky.

Sand? Sky?

"Hey Wedge, I think we've got --"

"Shut up, Wes." Luke -- at least he thought it was Luke -- knelt down beside him, his face a blur. "What happened?"

"Where --" His throat was dry, caked with sand. "Where -- kriff -- am -- I?"

"Tatooine. You're on Tatooine."

It was a dream. There was no other explanation. It was a dream, and he would wake up now. Now. Now.

"Echuta -- not this -- fracking excuse for -- planet --"

Then, everything was black once more.


Medical wing of the Spirit of the Republic, 22 BBY.



"From what I can deduce," the medical droid announced, "it looks to be a coma brought on by a severe trauma to the brain."

"And what does that mean?" Yularen snapped. His patience had worn thin over the two hours since Anakin had been admitted to the medical ward, and it was telling on his manners. "Is he, or isn't he?"

"If you are asking me whether the patient is alive or dead, then I can answer affirmatively. He is alive, but requires full life support."

"And what caused it?"

"The coma was caused by a blow to the head, resulting in severe trauma to the brain." The droid explained. "This means that while he is unable to function normally, he may be able to respond to external stimuli, to hear you speak, for example."

"And how …" Yularen swallowed, wondering how best to phrase the question. "What are his chances of recovery?"

"It is difficult to say. It varies."

"Give me a ballpark."

"About one chance in ten, possibly higher."

"It's my fault," Obi-Wan whispered quietly, his head in his hands. He had taken a seat at Anakin's bedside, and had remained silent until now. "All of it."

"Come, man!" Yularen exclaimed. "The boy was reckless, you warned him against it, he --"

"He should have listened." A pause. "I should have made him."

The Admiral didn't know how to reply.


Medical Frigate, 3 ABY



"It seems to be a concussion brought on by a blow to the head."

"A blow to the head?" Luke asked. "In the middle of the Dune Sea?"

"It's not impossible." The young doctor responded quietly, eyes fixed on her patient. "But he should wake up soon, and there should be no lasting effects."

"Mm."

The doctor -- Roenai, her nametag read -- smiled, cheeks dimpling. "Don't worry, I can promise you that it isn't fatal. He'll be fine." She paused in the doorway, taking one last look at Luke and the stranger. "He's a good looking guy, though. Shame about the scar. Give him my number, will you?"

With that, she disappeared through the doorway and Luke was left alone.

The mystery man was, he supposed, not bad. Tall, at least a head taller than Luke himself, blonde hair cropped short -- except there seemed to be some sort of nerf-tail at the back and a braid, like the guy belonged to some religious cult or something -- and pale skin, with the exception of a burn running along the right side of his face. Athletic. Good looking if one liked that sort of thing.

Abandoning his seat, Luke crossed the room to his bag, and picked up the man's lightsabre. It looked, he realised with a sickening jolt, identical to the one that he had inherited from his father -- but he had lost that one on Cloud City, and Ben had told him that no two weapons were identical. Every Jedi's weapon was unique.

This stranger, it seemed, would have quite a bit of explaining to do.

But how? How did this stranger have his father's lightsabre? And why was he wearing five layers of black robes in the middle of the kriffing desert?

Before Luke could replace the weapon, he heard a soft groan coming from the bed. Whirling around, he found himself staring into a pair of brilliant blue eyes, almost identical to his own.

Well, one eye. The other was only half opened, unfocusing.

"Why have you got that?" The man rasped, his throat dry. "Who are you?" A pause. "Fierfek … you're not a Separatist, are you?"

Luke could only stare at him, stunned. "A what?"

"You know, those filthy sons of a -- oh gods, never mind." He slumped back against his pillows. "Lightsabre gone, face gone, sight gone, captured by Separatists. Obi-Wan is going to kill me."

to be continued