Saga Fortune's Gate ... Brand new chapter posted 2/19/13!!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by geo3, Jan 6, 2009.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    Title: Fortune's Gate
    Author: geo3
    Timeframe: Same as AOTC
    Characters: Anakin Skywalker and pretty much all the usual suspects from that era, plus OC?s and even the occasional droid.
    Genre: AU with a little bit of everything, I hope: drama, angst, romance, adventure, familiar bits, new bits, and of course, lightsabers ... and yeah, it?s probably another long one.
    Rating: PG, mature themes
    Summary: Suppose that Anakin doesn't get trained as a Jedi after all, but rather returns to Tatooine and gets a life. And suppose that meanwhile, everything else in the Galaxy continues pretty much the same. Now suppose that when Anakin and Count Dooku meet, it is not as enemies...
    Author's Note: This story is not meant to link up in any way with my previous Saga-era series, "Anakin's Saga." It's a different re-imagining, just for fun.
    Disclaimer: This is merely a tribute to George Lucas, whose characters will live forever. I own nothing. I'm just playing in his sandbox.


    Here's the preamble. The first post will be up on Friday.



    Fortune's Gate


    Watch your thoughts, they become words.
    Watch your words, they become actions.
    Watch your actions, they become habits.
    Watch your habits, they become your character.
    Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
    ---Unknown


    Preamble


    "I wouldn't do that if I were you."

    Damned if it wasn't the first thing that the Thirlian passenger said in the two standard weeks he'd been aboard Honat's little cargo ship. Two weeks of bumping into one another in the narrow passageways, of sharing meals and water and enduring each other's farts and snores, and the stuck-up stranger hadn't seen fit to utter one single word. Not so much as a "hello" or a "pass the beaker." Now that they were near landing, suddenly he felt the need to tell him what to do and how to do it?

    Honat briefly weighed the indignity of the Thirlian's remark against the fat fee the man had paid for passage, and decided that it wasn't worth getting riled up over.

    "Huh," he snorted neutrally, and kept his eyes on the nav. computer. In a few minutes they'd have set down and the man would go his own way, leaving behind only the bars of iridium Honat had hidden away in his favorite secret compartment.

    It was a lot of iridium. A huge overpayment for the passage. He could afford to keep the peace.

    "I mean it," the Thirlian said more sharply. "If you try to land without clearance, you're going to regret it."

    "S'hispit," Honat muttered foully. He knew what he was doing. He was doing the same thing that he did all over the Galaxy: coming and going as he pleased, avoiding landing taxes and cargo inspections. He was a pirate, for flip's sake. He knew his business. Especially on back-end-of nowhere, thinly populated, low-tech dust ball planets like this one. He'd never been to Tatooine before, but he knew the type. Pirate's heaven, these places were. All he needed to do was to slip under whatever tracking system the ports used, set down in the outskirts, and dampen down all of his feeds. Nobody'd know they were there but the local wildlife.

    Especially the bugs. There were always bugs in places like this. He scratched his stubbly neck just thinking about it.

    A high reedy tone signaled that the computer had located all the comms. nets. He studied the display to see where and how densely the signals overlapped, and sure enough, found holes between them big enough to land a fleet in. Nobody'd notice one little ship. He picked a blackspace that was about equidistant between a spaceport called Mos Eisley and a town of some kind, and entered the coordinates for landing.

    "Are you out of your mind?" the Thirlian yelled, and reached for the comm. without asking permission.

    "Leave off!" Honat growled, batting the man's arm away so hard it smashed against the wall that curved around the console. "And shuddup, willya? I know what I'm doing."

    "You stupid, crazy pirate," the Thirlian hissed, cradling his wrist. "You're going to get us both killed!"
    Honat ignored him.

    The console blared an alarm.

    Honat stared at the normal readouts uncomprehendingly, and then instinctively looked out the viewscreen for confirmation. It was pitch dark, of course. They were too far down into the atmosphere already to see the stars and too far up to see the ground. Nothin' out there but a faint streak of…
    Wait.

    In the time it took him to look back down at his console the faint streak appeared on the readout. He stared, not fully understanding what he was seeing. It was coming awfully fast…

    About the last thing Honat remembered was a screaming sound. It might have been the ship. It might have been whatever hit it. It might have been his own voice screeching in fury and terror. Anyway, it was the last thing he heard for a very, very long time, until he woke up in the desert alone in bright daylight, parched nearly to death, wearing only the scraps that remained of what had once been his clothes, and itching like crazy.
    Sand fleas, he thought groggily. There's always bugs in these places.

    The first thing he saw, when he could see again, was the flask of water that had been left by his elbow. Not far away, his ship lay half buried in the sand, her cargo bay doors wide open, and her compartments visibly empty. The Thirlian was gone. There weren't even any tracks – the desert had long since swept them over.

    Honat drank the water thirstily, even though it was hot near to boiling. He didn't hurry to get up and check his ship. He was pretty sure without looking that his stash of auridium was gone too, along with every last useful component from his ship's pathetic looking carcass.

    The pirate had been pirated, pure and simple. And whoever had done it was a lot better at it that he was.
    Last edited by geo3, Feb 22, 2013
  2. JediMasterRev Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2004
    star 4
    And away we go!

    I'm so glad that you decided to post this. Can't wait for the next installment. You have definitely set a very interesting tone.
  3. Mysfyt Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2005
  4. Jinngerbread Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2007
    star 4
    What an interesting opening, so the pirate got pirated did he? Maybe next time he'll listen to warnings. :p

    If this is the beginning, can't wait to see where you're taking this! And am most intrigued by your summary as to see where this will go.

    Looking forward to more. :)
  5. Geezerette50 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 28, 2003
    star 1
    A new story!! *claps* And AU, to boot. EXXXXXcellent.
  6. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    I saw your catchy title and had to check it out :D This is really interesting!! If you've got a PM list, I'd like to be added :)
  7. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    Of course I loved the start, and can't wait for more but this line - priceless!!!

    More of course!
  8. Ocelotl_Nesto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2004
    star 4
    OK... you got me interested. add me to the PM list please
  9. ratna Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2007
    star 4
    Hmmmmm I wonder who the pilot was that intercepted the pirate....?

    After worshipping geo3 fics ex post facto for two years, finally finally I get a chance to join the party right from the start. Gentlemen, start your engines!
  10. MoAngel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2005
    star 2
    YYES!! When I saw the author was Geo3, how could I resist? So I'm ready, let me at it.

    So is this a new type of Anakin's saga-with-a-twist?

    Edited to add, if there's a pm list, put me down right now!
  11. GunraysLawyer Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2003
    star 4
    So, I come wandering around the boards and what should before my wondering eyes appear...

    A new geo3 story...

    Hip...Hip...Hurrah!!!


    ...or something like that ;)

    Interesting beginning. If you're having a PM list, please put me on it.

    oh, and Welcome back. :)
  12. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    How lovely to have old friends and new stop by to comment on a mere preamble! I?m so happy to see you all.

    JediMasterRev And away we go!

    Yes, we do!

    I'm so glad that you decided to post this. Can't wait for the next installment. You have definitely set a very interesting tone.

    Thanks! I hope it continues to be interesting.

    Mysfyt I'm glad too

    And I?m glad that you're here. [face_smiling]

    Jinngerbread What an interesting opening, so the pirate got pirated did he? Maybe next time he'll listen to warnings.

    :D Hopefully, he will...

    If this is the beginning, can't wait to see where you're taking this! And am most intrigued by your summary as to see where this will go.

    Thanks so much!

    Geezerette50 A new story!! *claps* And AU, to boot. EXXXXXcellent

    Yes. I don?t know what got into me. But here we are. Anyway, thanks for dropping by!

    NYCitygurl I saw your catchy title and had to check it out This is really interesting!! If you've got a PM list, I'd like to be added.

    I?m so glad you did! Consider yourself added to the PM list that I ...erm... just this minute started....

    Darth Breezy Of course I loved the start, and can't wait for more but this line - priceless!!!

    :D

    Ocelotl_Nesto OK... you got me interested. add me to the PM list please

    Terrific! Will do.

    ratna Hmmmmm I wonder who the pilot was that intercepted the pirate....?

    ;)

    After worshipping geo3 fics ex post facto for two years, finally finally I get a chance to join the party right from the start. Gentlemen, start your engines!

    Oh, my! [face_blush] Well, I?m delighted that you?re here!

    MoAngel YYES!! When I saw the author was Geo3, how could I resist? So I'm ready, let me at it.

    Mo!!!!! *waves happily*

    So is this a new type of Anakin's saga-with-a-twist?

    I suppose it is!

    Edited to add, if there's a pm list, put me down right now!

    Done!

    GunraysLawyer So, I come wandering around the boards and what should before my wondering eyes appear... A new geo3 story... Hip...Hip...Hurrah!!!
    ...or something like that


    :D

    Interesting beginning. If you're having a PM list, please put me on it.

    With pleasure.

    oh, and Welcome back.

    Thanks!

    ~~~

    Chapter 1 begins tomorrow. I hope to see you then!




  13. ViariSkywalker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 4
    I'm another reader who came upon your stories late. I'm not sure if I ever posted a response to any of them, (lurking gets so much easier as you progress from high school to college :p ) but your fics have always been in my top tier of fanfic that rocks. I'm excited that I found this as it's beginning, and I hope to actually leave real comments this time around. Just know that I'm a fan and have been for several years. ;)

    I remember back in the day I used to be able to keep track of all the fics I was following. I'll admit, at first the concept of a PM list seemed foreign to me. But now I'm going to have to ask to be put on yours, simply because I spend much less time on the boards these days, and I'm afraid I'll lose this story if I don't get PM updates. :oops:

    Looking forward to the next post! :D

    ~Vi~
  14. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    Viari_Skywalker I'm another reader who came upon your stories late. I'm not sure if I ever posted a response to any of them... I'm excited that I found this as it's beginning, and I hope to actually leave real comments this time around. Just know that I'm a fan and have been for several years...

    Oh, I do remember you! Thanks so much. I?m delighted that you?re here.

    I'm afraid I'll lose this story if I don't get PM updates....

    You?re on the list!

    Looking forward to the next post!

    It?s just below.

  15. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    Chapter 1. Desert Man

    If wealth consists in the abundance of that which is scarce, the deep cave somewhere underneath Sinon's Ridge was Tatooine's equivalent of a palace fit for Kings, of greater worth even than the excesses of the old Hutt fortress, because the cave was sodden with the desert planet's most precious substance: pure, drinkable water. There was so much water that it sluiced down the cave's walls, saturating the air with moisture and soothing the ear with the faint, eternal sound that calms the souls of those who have one and the nerves of those who don't. Half-round catchment pipes dug into the cave's rocky floor funneled every drop of the precious substance into something never before seen on Tatooine: a pool big enough to drown a bantha in. Even the Hutt hadn't possessed such a thing. There was more water in that cave than all of the planet's hardscrabble moisture farmers together saw in a year. It was priceless. It was more than priceless – it was impossible. But there it was.




    The cave was the domain of the men Honat thought of as pirates.

    Its existence was a secret that so far, however improbably, had been kept within their number.

    And it was all the work of one single human man – a young man – a very young man, in the eyes of some who had seen far more of the world's turnings than he. Even so, they respected him in their rough way. By the hells, it was more than respect. He was the antithesis of everything they knew to be true, the exception to every otherwise immutable rule. He had knocked down ancient laws of existence and made things happen that had never happened before. Slavery was a thing of the past. So was the heavy hand of the Hutt. People lived free on Tatooine.

    "Free to starve and die," some muttered, and not without reason. Slavery and the gangster's money had been central to the planet's economy, such as it was. Without them, life had been harder than ever, and even the burgeoning profession of piracy didn't supply enough wealth to go around.

    Still, exposure to new truths and new perspectives about existence is a powerful transformative experience, and the people who knew about the cave were not immune to wonder and awe. So the young man, the very young man whose design had transformed the cave into the miracle it was, received a measure of respect from the ones who followed him that was similar to the Hutt of old. In fact, they had made him their leader because he was a local hero, because he always seemed to come up with new solutions for old problems, and, quite frankly, because there wasn't anyone who didn't think his out-of-the-ordinaryness was just a little bit magical.

    The Thirlian, by contrast, was a sophisticate, an experienced traveler, a man knowledgeable about the Galaxy's wonders and entirely lacking his captor's rough simplicity. He looked around him and saw only a dank, wet hole in the ground, poorly lit and smelling like ancient graves. The fabled pool might as well have led to a sewer as far as he knew or cared. Of course, he could only see so far because the chains that held him in place were short and tight.

    The people who had found him – the same ones, he was sure, who had knocked the dimwitted pirate's little vessel out of the sky – had been quite immune to his insistence on being conducted immediately to the nearest town. They had searched him for weapons and then ignored him while they systematically stripped the downed ship of anything that might have value. It was a tedious job that took fifteen or twenty of them the rest of the night and half the next day using hand labor to load the spoils onto some huge, smelly pack beasts. There were no droids in sight and very few speeders, none of them loaders. The rising day had changed freezing cold to infernal heat, and the Thirlian had tried many times to get his captors' attention, but they had treated him as if he was still out cold like that idiot Honat. That showed him pretty clearly just how far he was from civilization, and how likely they thought it was that he would escape alone and on foot and live to tell about it. In fact, he suspected that they hoped he would try, so they wouldn't have to deal with him.

    Finally, he had tried to steal one of their speeders when no one was looking.

    Apparently, someone had been.

    When he came to, he was inside this dim, wet cave, chained to the only dry wall in a large chamber distinguished only by a black pool of water at the center. The back of his head still throbbed. No one had come in or out since he'd regained consciousness, and that was a long time ago. He was tired, uncomfortable, thirstier than ever in the midst of an excess of water, and deeply annoyed.

    He was wiggling his toes inside of his miserably wet boots when at last he heard echoey voices in a chamber somewhere beyond the one in which he was moldering. They seemed to be arguing in a language he didn't recognize.

    At the moment, he couldn't even remember what language they spoke in this forsaken place. The Outer Rim planets were barely civilized, and only nominally part of the Galactic Federation. Of course, that was why the Count of Serenno had dispatched him to Tatooine. Unloved planets were ripe for picking by a charismatic, caring leader. The Separatist cause was scooping them up by the droves. It only required a little careful advance preparation by skilled agitators …

    Two men came into the chamber, so heavily cloaked and hooded that the Thirlian wondered whether it was already cold night again up above. He'd lost all sense of time. The men stopped talking before they entered, so their footsteps echoed loudly on the wet floor. When they stopped in front of him, the Thirlian looked boldly into what little he could see of the taller man's face inside the shadows of his deep cowl.

    "I demand to know why you are holding me."

    "I'd rather we weren't." The tall man spoke perfect Basic in a voice that was unexpectedly soft.

    "Then let me go!"

    "I wish I could."

    "It's easy." The Thirlian rattled a short chain. "You get the key, open these, and point me to the door, or opening, or however you get in and out of this place."

    The shorter man snorted something the Thirlian didn't understand. It didn't sound nice.

    "You would regret it," the tall man said mildly. "The sand would cover your bones in a day or two, if the Tuskens didn't get you first."

    "Well, then," the Thirlian said irritably, "you'd better give me some food and something to drink and a bed for the night. And a ride to the nearest town tomorrow."

    The shorter man made a sudden movement that was instantly containedwhen the taller man touched his arm.

    "All right," the taller man said. "About the food and drink and bed, anyway."

    The Thirlian and the shorter man both stared at him.

    "Let him go," the taller man said.

    Reluctantly the other complied. He had to lower his cowl to better see the locks in the dim light, revealing a light-eyed man with shaggy medium-brown hair who looked a bit weathered around the edges, but still young. His hands were strong and work worn. The expression on his broad face was sullen. The Thirlian remained quite still and resisted the urge to comment. When the manacles fell away from his wrists he rubbed them vigorously.

    When the Thrilian's feet had been freed, the taller man said, "Follow me."

    With the shorter man walking right behind him, the Thirlian didn't feel he had much choice. He walked. Anything had to be better than that damp cave, anyway.

    Beyond the chamber containing the pool was a twisting passage through the rock, lit by glowlamps like the pool chamber, but brighter. Beyond that in a wide-open chamber was something more architectural – a series of levels built into the rock, with clearly man-made floors, walls and stairs. Underground dwellings made sense, the Thirlian reasoned, on a planet that was covered in sand.

    There were a few people scattered around the multi-level structure. All of them stopped whatever they were doing or saying to stare at the little procession as it passed. Briefly he wondered what he must look like after his ordeal, but really, he was a lot more interested in when they would give him a drink and a meal.

    The tall man led him up two long flights of stairs to a high, round room that seemed to be nestled against a solid wall of rock. On the side that faced the cavern, a wide opening was secured only by a single railing. Otherwise the room was open to a whole series of stairs and mezzanines above and below, and just as its occupants could oversee the whole dwelling structure, everyone who passed by could see inside. At the center of the room was a roughly made round table surrounded by a dozen or so primitive chairs. No repulsor lifts here. The place was practically prehistoric. The Thirlian wondered what kind of comms. facilities they had.

    The tall man gestured graciously enough for the Thirlian to take a seat. He did, and watched with interest when his host finally reached up to remove his cloak. It surprised him – and he prided himself on being a man who was not easily surprised – to see that the tall man who seemed to be the decision-maker was even younger than the stocky one who had unshackled him. The Thirlian wondered whether he had so much as three hairs of a beard yet, and was uncertain whether to think of him as a boy or a man. He was lean and angular, and held his shoulders very straight. His skin, his shaggy hair, which curled down his neck, and his simple clothes were all variations of a sand color that probably blended perfectly with the wasteland above them. In contrast to the rough, peasant look of his gray-eyed companion, the planes of the tall one's faces were well defined, and his eyes were a marked blue. He had a way of looking at things that didn't seem to miss much.

    He was looking at the Thirlian now. The Thirlian looked back.

    "Who are you?" The blue-eyed one asked.

    "I could ask you the same thing."

    Blue-eyes didn't blink. "You first. That is, if you're hungry and thirsty."

    "I am thirsty in the extreme," The Thirlian said truthfully. "And I would very much appreciate some food."

    The blue-eyed one studied him for an uncomfortably long time before finally waving a hand in his companion's direction. The shorter man stood and left the open room by a back stairway.
    "Who are you?" the blue-eyed one asked again, finally taking a seat.

    There was something in the evenness of his tone, in the hints of flexibility he had shown, and above all in the attention in his gaze that warned the Thirlian not to take this one lightly, no matter how young he looked. As a professional in the business of persuading people, he was keenly attuned to subtle clues as to their nature. And all signs seemed to indicate that it would be politic to take his host seriously.

    "My name is Dorn Wieeder, originally from Thirlia, but for a long time I have traveled throughout the Galaxy on … business."

    "What business?"

    Dorn hesitated, feeling sure that exactly how he answered the question was crucial.
    "I am in the business of bringing hope to those who have none."

    The blue eyes of the man opposite narrowed suddenly, but the man said nothing.
    Dorn persevered. "I am an associate of a man called Count Dooku of Serenno. Have you heard of him?"

    The desert man shook his head.

    "You will. And not only you. The whole Galaxy will soon have heard not only his name, but of his cause." Dorn leaned forward into the steady blue gaze. "When I say that I am an associate of this great man – and he is a great man, of that I can assure you – that is only partially true. I am a follower of this man, who believes that the Galaxy should be a place where all beings have the opportunity to share equally in its vast wealth of opportunity. I am a believer in the cause he brings to the downtrodden, the forgotten, the suffering people of the Galaxy – the cause that tells us the time has come to rise up against the greed and corruption of the wealthy, and to tear ourselves out of the grip of the lawmakers who are in their thrall."

    "An aristocrat is the champion of the poor and forgotten?" the desert man asked dryly.

    "He is a Count by birth, but for most of his life he was a Jedi. He left the Jedi Order because he disagreed with their unwillingness to champion the cause of the suffering."

    Dorn had more to say, a great deal more, but stopped there because of the distinct sense that something in the atmosphere had changed. The desert man still sat quietly, watching him attentively, but it was as if the temperature in the room had suddenly dropped a few degrees. It made Dorn want to shiver.

    Fortunately, the other man chose that moment to return with a laden tray. With visibly ill humor he set down on the table a large metal pitcher full of water and three metal cups. The gray-eyed man shoved a plate piled high with some kind of meat directly in front of Dorn, pushed the empty tray to the far side of the table, and sat down and with his arms crossed.

    The blue-eyed young man pushed a cup toward Dorn and filled it with water before serving the other man and finally himself.

    "Drink," he said.

    Dorn didn't have to be asked twice. Three glasses of remarkably cool and fresh tasting water later, he wiped his chin on his sleeve, realizing too late how filthy it was. "Thank you. And I do like to know my host's name. It makes conversation so much easier, don't you think?"
    The young man nodded thoughtfully, ignoring his companion's warning scowl. "I'm Anakin Skywalker," he said. "This is my brother, Owen Lars. Now tell me more about this former…" and here his tone changed, in a way Dorn couldn't quite pinpoint … "Jedi."

    ~

    It was nearly sunset by the time the exhausted Thirlian was finally allowed to collapse on a pallet in a secure corner of the underground complex. Despite the uncertainty of his circumstances, he sank into a deep, snoring sleep, oblivious to the tension his presence had caused between the two young men of the desert who had fed him and listened to his pitch.
    While he slept, a small bubble-topped speeder emerged from a shadowed rock face of Tarpin's Ridge and headed north by northwest at a roaring pace. There was good reason for speed. The Tusken raiders would soon be out in force, and ridges and buttes were their favorite vantage points. As usual, Anakin was gunning the speeder as if it was a starfighter, but for once Owen didn't insist that he slow down. It was best to be far away from the shadows of the rocks by dark. Besides, he had more pressing worries on his mind.

    "What do you think you're doing with that Thirlian, Anakin? Bringing him into the cave in the first place is dangerous for us. He's an outsider, for flak's sake!"

    "I know, I know." Anakin hung low in the seat, his face a mask of concentration as the horizon hurtled toward them "I just had a feeling about him. Like there's something coming toward me… toward us … and he's the messenger. I had to talk to him."

    "Something … coming … toward you." Owen repeated, with exaggerated patience.

    "Yes. Something big."

    "Like what?"

    "I don't know. But Owen, can't you feel it? And all those things he was saying about the Separatists… something is happening. The Galaxy is pulling apart."

    "The Galaxy isn't our problem. Surviving is."

    Anakin didn't answer

    "Are you just going to let him go now? Set him free, to tell everyone about …" The speeder swerved violently around an outcropping, cutting off Owen's breath for speech. "… about the cave? About the water?" he continued doggedly when he got it back.

    "We're about ready to start distributing the water anyway," Anakin said. "And Wieeder has no idea about the technology behind it. Nor does he care."

    "And you know this because…"

    "I just do."

    Owen leaned his head back against the seat and closed his eyes for a moment, trying to master the wave of exasperation that these discussions with his brother invariably produced in him.

    "This is about the Jedi again, isn't it?"

    Anakin flew on silently, his eyes like slits against the expanse of orange-tinged sand.

    "The man mentions one former Jedi who's stirring up trouble and you're all over him for … what ... three hours? Four?"

    Silence.

    "Anakin, are you ever going to give up this obsession of yours?"

    "It's not an obsession."

    "Like hell it isn't."

    The speeder leaped into high gear, mashing Owen's guts against his spine. He hated it when Anakin did that. Sometimes the kid had no regard for anyone but himself. An incredible number of people looked up to him, they even worshiped him, but Owen often wondered whether Anakin cared half as much about them. He was always somewhere else in his head, always wishing to be somewhere else. Or so it seemed, anyway. He never really said.
    Whatever happened to him back then when he was a little kid, when the Jedi took him offworld for a while, sure hadn't done him any favors. When Cliegg married Shmi and Owen suddenly found himself with a weird genius little brother, the kid already had a huge chip on his shoulder and a kind of dark private place inside of him where only Shmi could go. Sometimes. When he let her. Shmi said he wasn't like that before he went away, but Owen found that hard to imagine.

    Then, as if he wasn't already different enough, there was the way the kid acted. Really serious all the time. Hard on himself about what he did and the way he did it. Not like a kid at all, even though he wasn't a slave any longer. When Owen would try to get him to loosen up, to fool around, have some fun, Anakin would talk about focus and mindfulness. He'd spend all of his free time, when he wasn't doing chores around the farm, working on projects in the garage, and begging Cliegg for money for materials. When Cliegg said no, he'd borrow the speeder without asking and go into town to do odd jobs to raise some cash. Then Cliegg would blow up at him and Shmi would try to protect Anakin, and Owen would get caught in the middle…

    Somehow the kid had gotten together enough money to enter another pod race. He'd won it. And the next one. And the next one. In fact, between the ages of ten and fourteen he'd won every Boonta Eve pod race. He'd given all the money to Cliegg, minus what he needed for his projects, and the family had settled into an uneasy peace, which was hard enough to maintain with a local celebrity in their midst.

    The speeder lurched to a halt so hard that Owen' restraining strap nearly burst across his chest. "Anakin! What in the seven hells…"

    But Anakin had already raised the protective bubble, leaped out, and was running across the sand.

    The first of the suns already had set. Hanging low in the sky, the remaining fireball contrasted vividly with the purple and orange streaks of the rising darkness. A short distance away, Anakin knelt down by what looked like a tattered mound. Coming closer, Owen saw that a human man lay crumpled in the cooling sand.

    "Is he alive?"

    "Just."

    Anakin gathered the unconscious form up and over his shoulder, and then struggled back to his feet.

    "What are you doing with him?"

    "We can't leave him here."

    "It's a two-man speeder! There's no room for him."

    "Take off the bubble top. We'll lay him over the back."

    "What's going to keep him there, the way you pilot?"

    "You are," Anakin said shortly.

    "Anakin, it's getting too late for this…

    "Just do it, Owen!"

    Sullenly, but wise enough not to argue, Owen removed the bubble top and tossed it aside. Odds were, they'd never see it again. The Tuskens were the ultimate scavengers, second only to Jawas. Cliegg would be annoyed, but he wouldn't say anything either. Not to Anakin, anyway. Not the way things were now.

    Anakin laid the unconscious man across the back of the speeder, and between them, he and Owen fashioned a kind of sling from their belts to hold him there. When they took off again, Anakin kept his speed more reasonable, but instead of keeping on course toward the north, he turned the speeder due west into the setting sun.

    "Now what're you doing?"

    "Taking him into town."

    "You're not bringing him to the farm with us?"

    "No."

    "It's too late for this. Shmi's waiting for you. You promised her…" Owen had to yell as Anakin speeded up and the wind tried to tear the words out of his mouth.

    "Mom will understand," Anakin yelled back.

    "Great. Just great." Without the bubble top, and traveling slowly enough not to loosen the body, they were completely vulnerable to whatever potshots a passing Tusken wanted to take at them. Owen searched around under the seat for a blaster rifle, which he propped prominently on his thigh.

    "Better get the scope out, too," Anakin shouted. Without the windbreak, it was hard to talk.
    "This is very noble of you, brother," Owen shouted back, his sarcasm ripped away by the wind. "I hope this guy is worth our getting killed."

    "He's our responsibility," Anakin yelled. "This is the man whose ship we just took down. Somebody was supposed to drop him off in town before he woke up, but they just left him. Looks like he tried to walk out, but didn't make it far. If we don't take him there, he'll die."
    Owen stopped arguing. The wind from the west was growing stiffer, and it just wasn't worth the effort. Besides, he knew he wouldn't win.

    At the age of fourteen Anakin finally had figured out how to safely dismantle the transponder bombs that were implanted in slaves. Within a few short months, the world as they knew it had changed, and Anakin had gone from local celebrity to national hero. People went out of their way to do anything he asked – except for the local slavers, of course. They'd spent a lot of time trying to kill him, until the people, especially the freed ones, rose up and finally drove them offworld.

    Then, as if that wasn't enough, the people's hero had asked them to stand up to the Hutt.
    The gangster wars had lasted nearly two years and had brought Tatooine to its knees in the loss of lives and property. By the time the last of the Hutt and their minions fled, they had smuggled half the planet's wealth offworld with them. At the age of seventeen, Anakin stood at the center of a broken and bitterly impoverished society, besieged from within by the ever-bolder Tusken raiders, and overrun by untrammeled illegal trade from offworld, which quickly had arrived to fill the void left by the Hutt.

    In desperation, the unemployed of Tatooine had turned to a little illegal trading of their own, aided and abetted by their hero and his endlessly inventive mind. Gradually, it was becoming known throughout the Galaxy's underworld that the planet of Tatooine was no longer ripe for picking, and needed to be approached with caution … and cash. Only a few, like the one who was now strung across the back of Cliegg Lars' second-best speeder, were foolish enough to think they could get completely free access.

    Now, at nineteen, Anakin was about to change the world again with his hyper-efficient water condenser technology.

    The second moon was halfway down the horizon and slipping fast. Diligently, Owen raked the darkening landscape through the scope, near and far, ahead and behind. So far, so good, but if they didn't get to town soon, Anakin's remarkable career might end here and now, and with it, Owen's distinctly less illustrious life.

    "Can't you hurry it up a bit?" he shouted, trying to make himself heard in the wind.

    He felt the speeder kick up. The body behind him swayed, but held. Owen had serious doubts that the man was still alive – he hadn't shown the slightest sign of consciousness despite all the manhandling – but he deferred to Anakin's judgment on that one. Anakin knew about things like that. He could find life in a squashed womp rat if there was so much as a single breath left.

    "Owen, behind us!" Anakin's yell coincided with the speeder's sudden high-g turn. Owen clung to the blaster rifle for dear life. By the time he got the use of his arms back, they were facing the eastern night sky, which made a perfect backdrop for the red tracers that originated from a butte high up and to their right. Thanks to Anakin's quick turn, they were perfectly placed to return fire. Owen stood up in the speeder, bracing his strong legs against the seat and the side, and with the skill and instincts of a survival hunter blasted way a good chunk of the top of the ridge where the shots had come from. In the deep silence that followed, the man behind him on the speeder groaned and uttered something unhealthy-sounding.

    "I think you got them," Anakin said.

    "I think I did."

    "Let's go."

    Owen slid back down into his seat and Anakin swung the speeder around again, extracting another, louder groan from the hapless pirate. The western sky was nearly dark. Against its velvety softness, a hard white glow on the horizon indicated that Mos Eisley wasn't far away. Anakin pushed the speeder hard.

    Before the wind completely shredded their last ability to speak, Owen heard him say, "You were right about one thing, brother."

    "What's that?"

    "I really, really should have gone straight to the farm."
    Last edited by geo3, Feb 22, 2013
  16. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    Looks like a rare event has occurred where I get to be First!!!

    I adore your OC (of course) and am so pleased that you have built on the initial ending premise of RoF!

    Anakin working with Owen here?? Obviously Anakin is not part of the Order, and I do believe that if Dooku is the one who leads him, this could be a very interesting (if twisted Tale!)


    =D=
  17. amidalachick Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2003
    star 5
    Oh, this looks fascinating! I started reading your Anakin's Saga series a while back, and I was really impressed by it. So I'm excited to get the chance to read one of your stories from the beginning! Could you add me to your PM list, please?
  18. Jinngerbread Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2007
    star 4
    Ah hah! I had been suspecting that it was Anakin Skywalker, either Anakin or Qui-Gon, but Qui-Gon wasn't listed in the title bar. ;) And he's working with Owen?

    And interesting reason that Dooku left, [face_thinking] one must wonder what cause Dooku has planned up sleeve.

    Such a treat to see a new post on this story! Makes my bad day a little brighter. :)
  19. ratna Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2007
    star 4
    If wealth consists in the abundance of that which is scarce, the deep cave somewhere underneath Sinon?s Ridge was Tatooine?s equivalent of a palace fit for Kings ...
    ...
    The cave was the domain of the men Honat thought of as pirates.


    What an awesome first sentence, and what a telling juxtaposition. Perhaps your whole story is contained in this.

    "Better to be a Prince in the rags of a beggar, than a Pauper in the robes of a Prince."


    The people who had found him ? the same ones, he was sure, who had knocked the dimwitted pirate?s little vessel out of the sky ? had been quite immune to his insistence on being conducted immediately to the nearest town. They had searched him for weapons and then ignored him while they systematically stripped the downed ship of anything that might have value. It was a tedious job that took fifteen or twenty of them the rest of the night and half the next day using hand labor to load the spoils onto some huge, smelly pack beasts. There were no droids in sight and very few speeders, none of them loaders. The rising day had changed freezing cold to infernal heat, and the Thirlian had tried many times to get his captors? attention, but except for providing him with the occasional drink of water, they had treated him as if he was still out cold like that idiot Honat. That showed him pretty clearly just how far he was from civilization, and how likely they thought it was that he would escape alone and on foot and live to tell about it.

    Heh heh!

    Actually I just love all the little ways that you show this person's state of mind, and how he so doesn't get where he is. He's 'deeply annoyed' by his predicament -- so entitled and disbelieving that any real harm can come to him. And everything about the water: that the cave might just as well be a sewer, his damp feet are a misery instead of a miracle, and he totally misses what a sacrament of hospitality it is to have a cup of water poured for him -- even as thirsty as he is!


    The seat of Anakin's government:

    a high, round room ... a wide opening was secured only by a single railing ... open to a whole series of stairs and mezzanines above and below, and just as its occupants could oversee the whole dwelling structure, everyone who passed by could see inside.

    says it all, doesn't it. Impromptu, functional, transparent.


    Dorn's (and our) first sight of Anakin:

    wondered whether he had so much as three hairs of a beard yet, and was uncertain whether to think of him as a boy or a man. He was lean and angular, and held his shoulders very straight. His skin, his shaggy hair, which curled down his neck, and his simple clothes were all variations of a sand color that probably blended perfectly with the wasteland above them. In contrast to the rough, peasant look of his gray-eyed companion, the planes of the tall one?s faces were well defined, and his eyes were a marked blue. He had a way of looking at things that didn?t seem to miss much.

    Pardon me while I indulge in a little fangirl *swoon* here ....


    There was something in the evenness of his tone, in the hints of flexibility he had shown, and above all in the attention in his gaze that warned the Thirlian not to take this one lightly, no matter how young he looked.

    I think we are going to see a much more mature Anakin than Lucas envisioned.




    The young man nodded thoughtfully, ignoring his companion?s warning scowl. ?I?m Anakin Skywalker,? he said. ?This is my brother, Owen Lars. Now tell me more about this former?? and here his tone changed, in a way Dorn couldn?t quite pinpoint ? ?Jedi.?

    Let the games begin!
  20. GunraysLawyer Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2003
    star 4
    Hmm....Very interesting.

    We have echoes of Dune (Anakin=Paul Atreides and Owen=Stilgar), a lingering resentment centered on Jedi inaction vis a vis slavery and injustice, coupled with a certain sense of exploitable political naiviete.

    One wonders how Dooku will use this more successful and mature Anakin, and how Anakin will use Dooku.

    All in all an absolutely wonderful beginning.
  21. MoAngel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2005
    star 2
    Whoa! (fans self!). I love hearing of the obviously more mature and seemingly powerful Anakin Skywalker. An interesting start to a welcome tale.
  22. JediMasterRev Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2004
    star 4
    Sorry for the tardiness of this response, but I've been scampering all along the eastern seaboard with my bride.

    Taking this update along with the previous update, I found that you started off with a great amount of tension, but also curiosity as the reader tries to figure out familiar characters in this universe of events. I think the resultant crescendo was masterful when it was revealed that Anakin was the key figure along with the fact that Owen was present and helping him. Certainly caught me off guard the first time I read it. ;) Definitely the joys of being a beta reader.

    Anyhow, exceptional work. Looking forward to the next installment.
  23. Souderwan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    Watch your thoughts, they become words.
    Watch your words, they become actions.
    Watch your actions, they become habits.
    Watch your habits, they become your character.
    Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

    ---Unknown


    A telling proverb that provokes so many questions!

    It's so wonderful to see you writing again! It always amazes me how deftly you pull us readers in. I can't wait to follow this story!

    A force of nature. That's how you've written Anakin without mentioning his name until the very end! An end to slavery and literally carving out a palace of water (a beautiful image) into the face of the desert. I can't wait to see how Anakin has grown and changed in this life that was so different from what we're familiar with! Clearly he will have no love for the Jedi, having obviously been rejected by them as a child--having to free the slaves himself as opposed to doing so with the help of the Jedi as he had thought possible when he was taken away from his mother.

    It is the last line of your proverb above that is most telling. At his core, is Anakin the same, regardless of the circumstances of his upbringing? If so, his destiny may well be written...

  24. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    DarthBreezy I adore your OC (of course) and am so pleased that you have built on the initial ending premise of RoF!

    Hmm... not quite sure which premise you mean????

    Anakin working with Owen here?? Obviously Anakin is not part of the Order, and I do believe that if Dooku is the one who leads him, this could be a very interesting (if twisted Tale!)

    Heh heh heh * rubs hands together evilly *

    amidalachick Oh, this looks fascinating! I started reading your Anakin's Saga series a while back, and I was really impressed by it. So I'm excited to get the chance to read one of your stories from the beginning! Could you add me to your PM list, please?

    Welcome! I?m thrilled you?ve joined us. You?re on the list.

    Jingerbread Ah hah! I had been suspecting that it was Anakin Skywalker, either Anakin or Qui-Gon, but Qui-Gon wasn't listed in the title bar. And he's working with Owen?

    He is!

    And interesting reason that Dooku left, one must wonder what cause Dooku has planned up sleeve.

    Well, this part is based pretty much on canon ? Dooku left the Jedi Order and began organizing rebel star systems to secede from the Republic. The ?cause? that Wieeder describes is the Separatist Movement, which I?m positing as a philosophical as well as a political movement. It would have had to be, for so many to rally behind it.

    Such a treat to see a new post on this story! Makes my bad day a little brighter.

    Thanks!

    ratna What an awesome first sentence, and what a telling juxtaposition. Perhaps your whole story is contained in this. "Better to be a Prince in the rags of a beggar, than a Pauper in the robes of a Prince."

    Um... yes. Yes, it is. You are a canny one! The ?Beggar Prince? is definitely a motif.

    Actually I just love all the little ways that you show this person's state of mind, and how he so doesn't get where he is. He's 'deeply annoyed' by his predicament -- so entitled and disbelieving that any real harm can come to him. And everything about the water: that the cave might just as well be a sewer, his damp feet are a misery instead of a miracle, and he totally misses what a sacrament of hospitality it is to have a cup of water poured for him -- even as thirsty as he is!

    Yes, indeed. A true denizen of a sophisticated society is our Dorn Wieeder ? insensitive and entitled... :p

    The seat of Anakin's government: ... Impromptu, functional, transparent.

    Wow! Way to summarize what I only dimly perceived when I wrote it! You're GOOD!

    Dorn's (and our) first sight of Anakin: Pardon me while I indulge in a little fangirl *swoon* here ....

    Heh heh. You know, that happens to authors as well...

    I think we are going to see a much more mature Anakin than Lucas envisioned.

    You may be right.

    Let the games begin!

    Indeed! Thanks so much for your comments!

    GunraysLawyer Hmm....Very interesting. We have echoes of Dune (Anakin=Paul Atreides and Owen=Stilgar), a lingering resentment centered on Jedi inaction vis a vis slavery and injustice, coupled with a certain sense of exploitable political naiviete.

    *sigh * Right you are. People are constantly pointing out to me how they are reminded of Dune in my stories. I can?t help it. I read/loved/absorbed it at the most impressionable age! It?s one of those books I?d take to a desert island with me, along with Tolkien.

    Having said that, most of the ?Dune? comments pop up when we?re dealing with Tatooine. Desert is desert, and the challenges are similar in any universe.

    One wonders how Dooku will use this more successful and mature Anakin, and how Anakin will use Dooku.

    Sometimes one wonders about this so much that one actually sits down to write a story about it... ;)

    All in all an absolutely wonderful beginning.

    Thank you so much! I?m honored.

    MoAngel Whoa! (fans self!). I love hearing of the obviously more mature and seemingly powerful Anakin Skywalker. An interesting start to a welcome tale.

    Thank you
  25. ratna Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2007
    star 4
    small addendum; i love the chapter title ~ Desert Man. Very evocative.
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