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. dietcokeani Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 1, 2005
    star 1
    I just love the suspense and drama..

    Anakin walking blindly but unerringly...

    Why are the Tuskans energized lately? So much to think about.
  2. dietcokeani Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 1, 2005
    star 1
    OMG! Wow! My mind is filled with pictures of that last scene. How awesome. Putting myself in his shoes, I can't imagine how everything in my life would now be different. It's like a 16 year old getting a driver's license...nothing is ever the same again. The world gets bigger exponentially. Wow. Everything is different now.

    Geo, you are just the best! I love how your stories speak to me and change the way I think. I love to take what you write with me and explore them in my mind. It makes for such a great day, and is so fun. Thanks so much, and please add me to the PM list.

    *Waves to the locals* Hey folks! It's good to see some of the old regulars! I get much more from the stories when I read your insights and opinions, and I'm looking forward to another little "book club".
  3. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    [face_laugh] Perfect analogy!




    Yes, Anakin is decidedly at a crossroads here, but then again, perhaps he already was there...




    But you have to wonder... Who is the 'enemy' in Anakin's heart?


    [face_thinking]
  4. ratna Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2007
    star 4
    OMG this is so GOOD!!! I'm jumping up and down over here!:p

    I love the way you have portrayed this unique family and the devotion that holds them together.

    Cliegg's devotion to Shmi, Shmi's devotion to Cliegg, Cliegg's affection for Anakin in spite of himself. They're testy with each other, no question, and yet, Cliegg still makes the hot sweet tea for Anakin.

    If only Owen hadn?t followed the boy on his damn fool crusades. *Fangirl squee!*

    The mugs remained on the table, making sticky rings. I just really liked that for some reason.

    I love how this story echoes canon -- choices, coming back too late, puttering in the garage! -- yet it is unfolding along a subtly different path. Love that.

    I love how this Part 2 of the chapter makes point and counterpoint with Part 1, especially the desert so poetic through Shmi's eyes, answered by the words and introspections of her men as she lies unconscious in the house with them. Your craft in this story is just so lovely, and so instinctive and so right on.

    Anakin's inner vision of a lightsaber is green, Qui-Gon's color. That is so touching. And then his own true color blazes forth. Blue.

    I've said before that you unfold the origami of canon for us, to reveal all the intricate spiritual structure within.

    From the day the Jedi Council had summarily returned him to Tatooine, he had tried to build a lightsaber. He had never been allowed to hold one, much less see how it was constructed, but he had studied the hilts of Qui-Gon?s and Obi-Wan?s very carefully from a distance. He had watched them take their swords to hand; had seen the blades of pure light rise from the hilts instantly on the activation of a switch. Every fighting move he had seen them make was still emblazoned in his memory.

    Many nights he had lain awake, trying to figure out how the swords of light were made. Somewhere along the way he had reasoned that they had to use crystals for energy, so he had taught himself everything he could about crystal technology. He had built hilt after hilt. Finally, he had constructed this one, which all of his logic and his painstakingly acquired knowledge told him should work. But it didn?t.

    He crouched in a swordsman?s stance, holding the hilt with both hands, imagining its glowing green blade. He lunged. Leaped backward. Feinted. Played out the fight that was so vivid in his mind, the one he had dreamed about forever. His enemy was a Jedi. Any Jedi. All Jedi. A composite of all the ones who had torn away the life he wanted and sent him back to the one he didn?t.

    You made a promise. He swung the sword in a mighty arc.

    Then you took it back. His imaginary enemy took a mighty blow and reeled back. Anakin followed, leaping after him across the garage.

    You sent me away as if I was nothing. In Anakin?s mind, his sword cut a great arc in the air.

    But I?m a person. Another blow to his enemy.

    My name is Anakin Skywalker... Another leap, another great blow? this one he could practically feel ?

    ? and I was born to be a Jedi!


    And so begins the unfolding of the love-hate between Anakin and the Jedi. Fitting indeed that the first engagement should culminate in the blaze of Anakin's true blue light.

    And here is the caution set against the glory:

    He stood for a long moment, looking around at the place he had spent so many years working, searching for solutions, and making things that he?d thought would better everyone?s life. Some of them had, in a way, but they all had come with consequences ? terrible consequences ? that he had never anticipated, not in his wildest dreams.

    And this ~~

    He remembered the feeling of holding the glowing sword ? the feeling that he had experienced throughout his body. He remembered it, and willed it to recur.

    The blade rose and sang to him like something alive.

    That was the night when Anakin learned the difference between wishing and willing.


    *shiver!
  5. laurethiel1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2003
    star 4
    And thus the boy who would be king unsheathed his lightning sword and started on his rocky journey...

    There drew he forth the brand Excalibur,
    And o?er him, drawing it, the winter moon,
    Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran forth
    And sparkled keen with frost against the hilt:
    For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks,
    Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth-work
    Of subtlest jewellery.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    *shivers*

    Cheers,

    Lauré :)
  6. ratna Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2007
    star 4
    Oh, yes!!

    ...and it was forged from his desire, and the Force.
  7. baru-chan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2003
    This looks like a promising start to an epic story! Can't wait until Dooku appears. :D

    Do you send PMs to those who would like to be notified that a new chapter has been posted? If you do -- please put me on the list! I'd like to read new installments as soon as they're up. :)
  8. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    Ocelotl_Nesto He has the good intentions, but what happens if he gets twisted?

    Heh. Good question!

    I am enjoying this story.

    I?m very glad!

    NYCItygurl I love him building the lightsaber and getting it to work. And scary foreshadowing with him thinking about fighting Jedi.

    Clearly, he has a lot of things to work out...

    Great chapter!!

    Thanks!

    amidalachick Awww...I like how you've written Cliegg here. It's easy to see that he really cares about Shmi.

    I?ve enjoyed imagining what their ?blended family? might be like if Anakin hadn?t gone away...

    The scene with Anakin in the garage...wow! I like how he built the lightsaber, learning and figuring it out as he went.

    Well, you know... ?Life?s so much simpler when you?re fixing things...? I suppose that goes for making things as well...

    That was the night when Anakin learned the difference between wishing and willing. Loved this line.

    :D

    Great post!

    Thanks!

    dietcokeani Oh my! *shiver shiver* This is just too much fun! I'm so glad to find you writing another story, and look forward to the new posts.

    Hey! It?s great to see you again!

    I just love the suspense and drama...

    Goody! *rubs hands together... *

    Why are the Tuskans energized lately? So much to think about.

    Everyone?s asking that lately. :p

    OMG! Wow! My mind is filled with pictures of that last scene. How awesome. Putting myself in his shoes, I can't imagine how everything in my life would now be different. It's like a 16 year old getting a driver's license...nothing is ever the same again. The world gets bigger exponentially. Wow. Everything is different now.

    What a great analogy!!!

    Geo, you are just the best! I love how your stories speak to me and change the way I think. I love to take what you write with me and explore them in my mind. It makes for such a great day, and is so fun. Thanks so much, and please add me to the PM list.

    [face_blush] Awww... Thanks so much for reading!

    *Waves to the locals* Hey folks! It's good to see some of the old regulars! I get much more from the stories when I read your insights and opinions, and I'm looking forward to another little "book club".

    You and me both. Personally, I'm hoping for arguments. I love me a good thread with arguments! *wanders off to try to think up something provocative to write..*

    DarthBreezy Perfect analogy!

    Isn?t it? Watch out, the GFFA...

    Yes, Anakin is decidedly at a crossroads here, but then again, perhaps he already was there...

    Absolutely! Wise, you are...

    But you have to wonder... Who is the 'enemy' in Anakin's heart?

    That is a VERY good question!

    ratna Oh, my word, you?ve left me a dissertation!

    OMG this is so GOOD!!! I'm jumping up and down over here!

    [face_blush]

    I love the way you have portrayed this unique family and the devotion that holds them together. Cliegg's devotion to Shmi, Shmi's devotion to Cliegg, Cliegg's affection for Anakin in spite of himself. They're testy with each other, no question, and yet, Cliegg still makes the hot sweet tea for Anakin.

    As I was saying to amidalachick above, it has been really interesting to imagine the dynamics in this family with Anakin as part of the mix. I think the devotion between Cliegg and Shmi is a given, and Owen certainly seemed close to his father. Shmi and Anakin are also a given. The rest is speculation, based on the notion that someone like Anakin had to ruffle the waters one way or another.

    If only Owen hadn?t followed the boy on his damn fool crusades. *Fangirl squee!*

    :D

    The mugs remained on the table, making sticky rings. I just really liked that for some reason.

    Me, too. But then, I live with men... ;)

    I love how this story echoes canon -- choices, coming back too late, puttering in the garage! -- yet it is unfolding along a subtly different path. Love that.

    I?m glad you do! That?s half the f
  9. ratna Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2007
    star 4
    [face_laugh] [face_laugh] [face_laugh]
  10. GunraysLawyer Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2003
    star 4
    Well as with many here, I was grabbed and shaken by the lapels by this:

    The blade rose and sang to him like something alive.

    That was the night when Anakin learned the difference between wishing and willing.

    That was the night when everything began to change.




    It is an immensely important distinction, and the insight contained in it is powerful. It produces a sense of purpose and power. A sense of being beyond the tyranny of the "thou shalts" of the universe. I'll stop here without getting my Nietzsche collection from college philosophy course down from my book shelves, but I wonder if Anakin has thought it all through...after all as the Kalinadians say:

    Thought leads to action;
    Action leads to consequences;
    Consequences lead to reflection;
    Reflection leads to wisdom;
    Wisdom leads to thought, and action.


    I just don't think that any version of Anakin has ever reflected on the consequences of his efforts to change the universe through force of his will.

    More later...
  11. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    Wednesday already! The weeks fly by. :D

    GunraysLawyer Well as with many here, I was grabbed and shaken by the lapels by this ... ?the difference between wishing and willing...? It is an immensely important distinction, and the insight contained in it is powerful. It produces a sense of purpose and power. A sense of being beyond the tyranny of the "thou shalts" of the universe.

    I couldn?t agree with you more. Your Kalindians, with their wonderful Mobius strip of reasoning, clearly understand that such power must be tempered ...

    I just don't think that any version of Anakin has ever reflected on the consequences of his efforts to change the universe through force of his will.

    I have seen such versions in fanfic, but then, they didn?t seem to really capture Anakin?s essence. (IMHO, anyway.) Perhaps he is our ?bete noir,? not in the sense of something to be disliked (as the term is often used nowadays), but in the older sense of something that deserves to be feared... in this case, within ourselves.

    ~

    OK, with many thanks to my intrepid betareader, JediMasterRev, my rock, here is the next installment of "Fortune's Gate"...



    Chapter 3. The Gambit



    Dorn Wieeder slept well and long, despite his semi-captivity in a strange place and on a hard pallet. When he woke, for once he remembered exactly where he was: Skywalker's place. The young man of the desert had made quite an impression.

    He yawned and stretched comfortably. Skywalker's endless questions about the Separatist cause and the political state of the Galaxy made it a near certainty that it wouldn't be too difficult to establish a solid Separatist stronghold on the ratty little planet. These people, it seemed, were wide open to new ideas. Even though Dorn didn't know exactly what Skywalker's role was in this rough little society, he seemed to have some influence. It ought to be easy to recruit him to the cause.

    There was no one around, so Dorn began exploring his surroundings. He found another cave-like chamber beyond the one in which he had slept, and a rather primitive sort of fresher, which he availed himself of with the stoicism of a man who had travelled a great deal, and not always to the finest places. Beyond that was a door, which… Ah.

    The door wouldn't open.

    Dorn frowned. He hadn't expected this after that Skywalker fellow's courtesy the night before. Surely it was a…

    The door unexpectedly swung open, nearly taking Dorn's nose with it. A side-hinged door? How primitive!

    "Awake, then?" A cheerful, unapologetic man, dressed much as Skywalker had been the night before, stood in the opening.

    "Awake, and luckily, unharmed," Dorn said sourly. "In fact, your timing is exceptional. I was just…"

    "I know. Follow me, fella." The man looked to be of middle age, although looks were often deceiving in places where life was hard. His long graying hair was pulled back into a tail behind a thick neck and strong shoulders, and he had a blaster rifle slung across his back.
    The armed man turned and walked quickly away, forcing Dorn to scurry in his wake.
    "I meant to say, I was just wondering whether I could speak to Anakin Skywalker again …"

    "He's gone," the man tossed back over his shoulder without slowing down.

    "Gone? But I was led to believe … I mean, we had quite a long conversation yesterday, and I was sure…"

    The man turned hard right into a long corridor, and kept his rather taxing pace.

    "Perhaps I can wait for him, then?" Dorn suggested, trotting to keep up. "I'm sure he would want to… I mean, we had so many things …"

    Ahead was a pre-fab room of some kind that looked like a small docking bay. When they were both inside, the man stopped and turned to face Dorn.

    "Give me your hands."

    "What?"

    "Hold out your hands. Knuckles up."

    Baffled, Dorn did as he was told. Before he'd figured out what was going on, the man had snapped binders on his wrists.

    "Excuse me! I don't think you have the full picture here. I have an understanding with Anakin Skywalker!"

    "Sure you do," the man said, deftly blindfolding Dorn. "That's why you get to leave."

    "But what are you…"

    "Not what. Where. You're being dropped off in town. Anakin says that you're free to conduct your activities provided that you do him one service."

    "A service?" Without the use of his eyes, Dorn was feeling very disoriented.

    "He wants a meeting with that Dooku guy."

    "What? Look, Anakin… Mr. Skywalker… may have misappreciated my role. I'm part of Count Dooku's organization, certainly. But it's not as though I'm on any kind of personal terms with the noble Count of Serenno. I'm just one of many…"

    "That's the condition." Dorn heard a powered door creak open. The man grasped his arm and guided him, stumbling, into something that had a seat. Transport of some kind, no doubt. "You're free to move around and do your business. But if the meeting hasn't been fixed and confirmed by the end of one standard week, you're off the planet. End of discussion."

    An engine powered up. The seat began to vibrate.

    "But… how will I communicate with Skywalker?" Dorn said desperately. "How will I find him?
    "
    "He'll find you!" the man yelled over the engine's whine. Who-or-whatever was piloting the whatever-it-was hit the throttle, and Dorn was once again mashed against the back of a seat in some miserable transport on yet another miserable planet. Sometimes it made a man wonder about his choice of careers. Here he'd assessed Skywalker as a fine potential worker on behalf of the Cause, someone whom he, Dorn, could enlighten and then guide and direct. Instead, this Skywalker was ordering him about and setting ridiculous conditions.

    He had no idea how he was going to set up the meeting Skywalker wanted, or even whether such a thing would be possible.

    And, to add insult to injury, they hadn't even offered him breakfast.

    Cliegg awoke stiff all over from having slept slumped in the old chair again.

    Shmi! he thought instantly, cursing himself for having fallen asleep at all. The medkit's monitor was still ticking away in a faint monotone. She was alive. But she was as pale as she had been during the night, and the monitor didn't register any change in her condition. He stroked her cool, dry forehead, carefully replenished the fluids she was being given via the medkit, and took himself off to the fresher for a wash and a change of clothes. That done, he padded off to find Anakin, to report on his mother's condition.

    Some time later he was still looking for the boy. None of the beds had been slept in. He wasn't in the kitchen, the atrium, or any of the dwelling's living spaces. The farm's security shield hadn't been deactivated. Even that pesky house droid that Anakin had built for Shmi, from which she would not be parted despite Cliegg's pleading, was nowhere to be seen.

    Where was the damn boy, anyway?

    Oh. Of course. There was only one place he would be. Glancing longingly into the kitchen, where breakfast usually awaited him by the time he was up and washed, Cliegg stoically passed by it and headed through the tunnel into the garage.

    The scene there put him instantly into a bad mood. His pride and joy, the workshop that he had only been able to tidy up and make his own after Anakin had found other places to do whatever it was he did, was in shambles. Cliegg's own special workspace, which he always treated with care, looked like a high wind had blown through it. Hell, even his workbench was in pieces. And for some reason, the protocol droid was right in the middle of the mess, picking through his things – his tools, supplies, and projects…

    "WHAT IS GOING ON IN HERE?" Cliegg bellowed.

    "Oh, Master Cliegg. I do apologize for the mess. Master Anakin had an accident here last night…"

    "An accident ? What kind of an accident?"

    "I'm afraid I don't know, Sir. He has asked me to restore everything to its exact prior place and condition. I am to put the broken objects aside so that he can repair or replace them."
    An accident. What was Anakin doing in here using his tools anyway, and without so much as having asked permission? He had his own. He could have unpacked them and used those …

    "Where is he?" Cliegg snarled. "Where is Anakin?"

    "I don't know, Sir. He was here not long ago." The droid sounded worried. Cliegg took no notice. It always sounded worried.

    "That really tears it," he muttered, and headed straight back through the tunnel to the main dwelling space.

    He was crossing the atrium when the proximity alarm sounded. Because the droid was in the garage, he checked the security screen himself.

    It was Owen. Cliegg's mood immediately brightened as he turned off the perimeter shields to let him in. The storm was already over, and the day promised to be hot and clear.

    "Hello, Dad. Whose starship is that out by the vaporators?"

    Cliegg rolled his eyes in a way that could mean only one thing.

    "Anakin's? So he is here, then. He ditched me at the cantina last night without so much as a word…

    "Owen…"

    " … wait, where did Anakin get a starship?"

    "Son." Cliegg put a restraining hand on the young man's shoulder. "Shmi's been hurt."

    "Oh, no!" Owen sobered instantly. "Is it bad?"

    "I'm afraid so."

    "Can I see her?" Owen had been fond of Shmi from the moment Cliegg had brought her home. Shed always had a tender touch with him, and had spoiled him as she had spoiled Cliegg.

    "She's not conscious."

    "What happened?"

    "Maybe we should get some breakfast while I tell you all about it," Cliegg urged. Still stinging with annoyance about Anakin's destruction of the garage, he yearned for a sensible conversation with a sympathetic ear.

    "But Shmi…"

    "The medkit will signal if there's a change."

    Owen laid his arm over his father's shoulders and gave them a comforting squeeze. "Sure."
    Even that small gesture of sympathy brought a suspicious film of dampness to Cliegg's eyes.

    "It's good to see you, son," he growled, feeling suddenly less alone.

    Between the two of them, father and son managed to put together a meal, which they shared at the large old table next to the previous night's unwashed mugs. Cliegg described the Tusken's attack and Anakin's unexpected arrival. Owen talked about the people from the Core he'd met in the cantina during the storm, and the political news they had brought. Neither one mentioned the plausible link between the appearance of the strangers from the Core and Anakin's sudden acquisition of a starship. Conversations like that just got testy, because to Cliegg's undying disappointment, where Anakin went, Owen invariably followed. Father and son had long since discovered that avoiding detailed conversations about Anakin and his doings made them both much happier.

    "Where is Anakin, anyway?" Owen asked finally.

    "I don't rightly know. He spent the night in the garage, but I haven't seen him this morning."

    Cliegg was about to regale Owen with the tale of the disaster in his workshop when the medkit alarm sounded. Practically tumbling over one another, the men sprinted to Owen and Shmi's bedchamber, only to stop dead at the entrance.

    Anakin was there, kneeling on the floor by the bed, cupping both of Shmi's hands in his. Somehow he must have slipped in while Cliegg was looking for him. Anakin's head was lowered and his eyes were closed. He was so still that he barely seemed to be breathing. He gave no indication of even noticing the persistent alarm from the medkit. Cliegg crept inside the room to turn it off. Coming closer, he saw the change in Shmi that had triggered it.
    There was color in her face. Not a lot, but the frightening pallor was gone. Cliegg checked the readouts. Her vital signs were stronger. He hovered uncertainly, torn between his hesitation to disturb a scene that looked intensely private, and his need to touch Shmi, to confirm what he saw.

    Shmi moved a little and murmured something, breaking the spell. Cliegg's rough fingers flew to stroke her cheek. It was warm.

    Anakin released Shmi's hands and rubbed his eyes with the heels of his palms.

    "She's better," Cliegg whispered.

    Anakin nodded. He looked worn out. Despite everything, Cliegg felt a tug of sympathy for him.

    Shmi took a deep breath and said, waveringly, "Ani?"

    "I'm here, Mom."

    "Oh, Ani."

    The boy took her hand again. "How are you feeling?"

    Shmi's eyelids fluttered open. She blinked several times and looked faintly puzzled. "I can't see. I don't think I can see."

    "It's all right, Mom." Anakin sounded as fragile as Shmi did. "It will be all right."

    "Here," Cliegg took over. "Let me have a look." Anakin finally stood up and moved out of the way.

    Cliegg probed and tested Shmi for a while, ignoring the sporadic murmurs of conversation between the brothers.

    "Well," he said finally, holding his wife's hands as Anakin had done moments before. "It might just be temporary. All we can do is get that wound healed and get you stronger. If it doesn't improve, we'll take you to the med center."
    Shmi nodded faintly.

    Anakin leaned closer. "Mom, I have to go. I have to return the… I have to return something.
    But I'll be back."

    Cliegg and Owen exchanged a knowing glance.

    "I love you, Ani…"

    Anakin leaned down to kiss her tenderly. "It will get better," he murmured. "I promise."
    Like you promised to get here early last night? Cliegg wondered, but as usual, he kept his thoughts to himself.

    "See you," Anakin said to the Lars men, and disappeared out the door.

    What about my workshop? Cliegg wanted to call out after him.

    But he didn't.

    ~

    If it takes audacity to "borrow" someone else's starship at night during a sandstorm, it takes twice as much to return it in broad daylight to a public docking bay in a in a busy town. Sure enough, as soon as the ship was spotted overhead, word began to pass. By the time Anakin had powered down the engines, a crowd had gathered in the bay. Two among them were the outraged owners of the ship. The rest were there for the entertainment.

    "Morning," Anakin said courteously to the group, most of whom he knew. He was wiping his hands on a grungy cloth as he descended the short gangplank.

    "I'm going to have you arrested!" A tall stranger, a human, stepped in front of Anakin. Even though the unfamiliar person was dressed in nondescript clothing, he was instantly recognizable as a well-to-do offworlder. No one on Tatooine had quite such pampered skin, or such clean fingernails, or such unthinking faith in any kind of law.

    "Is she yours?" Anakin asked, indicating the ship with his head.

    "Damn right, she's mine, you thief!"

    "Nice ship. She's in good shape. The retro thruster braking system was a little rough, though." He held out the cloth. "I tuned up the throttle assembly for you. It needed a new motivator."

    The offworlder looked at the cloth, which indeed contained a worn out motivator, with blank incomprehension.

    "No charge," Anakin said agreeably. "It's the least I could do."

    The offworlder recovered enough to snarl, "You can go to prison for theft, that's what you can do!"

    Anakin rocked back on his heels and cocked his head quizzically.

    "Why, are you missing a ship?"

    "No…"

    "Well, then. Here you go." Anakin pressed the grimy cloth, worn part and all, into the astonished man's hand. "Thanks." He nodded to his amused audience, and started to walk past them.

    "You're going to pay!" the outraged offworlder yelled.

    The crowd watched Anakin with interest and anticipation as he stopped and turned to face his accuser.

    "Did I stop you from going anywhere last night?"

    "No…"

    Anakin shrugged. "No harm done, then."

    The offworlder's mouth fell open. The crowd guffawed.

    The other stranger, shorter and stockier than the first, but just as well groomed, stepped up.

    "Not so fast. You don't go joyriding in my ship and get away with it!"

    "I thought it was his ship?" Anakin said peaceably, indicating the first stranger.

    "Same thing." The second man, who seemed to have a nastier temper, pushed his face up close to Anakin's, as if his glare could make up for his lack of height.

    "So what exactly do you want from me?" Anakin asked mildly.

    The stranger hesitated just long enough to cast doubt about his follow-through. Anakin turned away again. The argument probably wouldn't have gone any further if a few troublemakers in the crowd hadn't snorted derisively.

    The second man punched Anakin on the shoulder from behind. Looking more weary than angry, Anakin stopped walking again.

    Discretely, a few individuals from the back of the crowd began to move forward. One of them was the man who, earlier in the day, had sent Dorn on his way from the cave. The hand that hung casually by his side gripped a blaster.

    "Tell me," Anakin asked levelly, without turning around. "Are you just passing through, or looking to buy?"

    The taller man, who had stood by while his companion harassed Anakin, looked up sharply.

    "What do you mean?"

    "The farmer's market," Anakin said cryptically, still not turning around.

    Everyone in the crowd knew what he meant. In fact, a lot of people throughout the Galaxy – the ones whose reputations weren't necessarily official, say, or whose businesses, such as they were, weren't registered in any system, and who absolutely did not pay the Trade Federation for anything – those people knew about the so-called 'Farmer's Markets' on certain Outer Rim planets.

    So, it turned out, did the two strangers from the Core.

    The angrier of the two men scowled. "You're the one?"

    "I am," Anakin sighed, almost sounding as though he wished he weren't.

    The first stranger looked around the crowd furtively, suddenly conscious that his clandestine business was being exposed. His stocky partner also looked a little uncomfortable.

    "Remy ..." Anakin called out to the man in the crowd who was carrying the blaster. "You want to show these people around?"

    By the time Remy stepped forward, his weapon was no longer visible. "Will do, boss."

    "You're the boss?" The stocky man looked like maybe his collar didn't fit so well.

    "Wait outside," Remy ordered the visitors. "Be right with you."

    They went. The show disappointingly over, most of the crowd followed.

    The powerfully built desert man sidled closer to Anakin. "I don't like those two," he murmured. "They look too clean. I'm thinking maybe they're military."

    "Any idea why they're out here?" No one from the wealthy star systems had ever bothered with the Outer Rim's lucrative black market before. Not to Anakin's recollection, anyway.

    "Not yet."

    Anakin grinned lopsidedly. He liked Remy's attitude. "Well, watch your back. Get somebody to backtrack whatever they're using for money. Find out what you can."
    Remy nodded and had turned to leave when Anakin touched his sleeve.

    "What about the Thirlian?"

    "I cut 'im loose, like you said. Last I heard he was at the Cantina, tellin' everybody who would listen about some cause or other. Political stuff." Like most Outer Rimmers, Remy had no interest in Galactic politics.

    "Just make sure he's followed. I want to know everybody he talks to, and every communication he makes off planet."

    "Consider it done."

    Anakin rubbed the back of his neck, trying to work the kinks out of it. "Remy?"

    "Yeah?"

    "Take over for me today, would you? I need to get back to the farm, and Owen's not coming
    back into town today.

    "Sure." The man called Remy paused. "Owen's not going with you?"
    Anakin just shrugged.

    "You're traveling alone?" Remy had been by Anakin's side since the gangster wars. He didn't approve of Anakin going anywhere alone, as a matter of principle."

    "It's daytime. It's fine."

    "Huh."

    Watching Remy's strong back retreating, Anakin thought that maybe it was past time to hand the whole black market business permanently over to someone else. Someone like Remy. He'd do well. There were other things that needed Anakin's attention, bigger things.
    His thoughts turned to the problems awaiting him back at the cave. They'd have to outfit it with a better comm. array, and soon. And shore up its perimeter defenses. The secret wouldn't hold much longer, and the labs had to be protected. And there was still the open question of finding the best way to market the condenser technology. If they were finally going to venture into legitimate business offworld, Tatooine would have to move out of the dark times and join the rest of the Galaxy technologically…

    Sh'spit, he was tired. And he needed to get back to his mother.

    Wondering whose speeder he could legitimately borrow to get back to the farm, he gave the trim starship one last, longing look.

    By the time he had stumbled back out of the hangar into the harsh morning light, an armored transport was waiting outside, its engines rumbling. Remy climbed out.
    Anakin managed a faint grin. "Isn't that overkill for one person?"

    "Not if I can't come with you," Remy said. "Get in. And take the long way. Keep away from the ridges. There's a blaster under the seat."

    "You win." Anakin surrendered without a fight. Remy had been looking out for him and Owen since they were boys. "Thank you."

    Remy nodded and walked away, leaving Anakin confident that he didn't have to waste another thought on the 'Farmer's Market,' which was already filling up the hangar, the narrow streets and the cantinas with shifty-looking offworlders. Remy would take care of everything.
    It felt good to speed off into the wastes by himself. The barren landscape, empty and beautiful, allowed the incessant pounding of his thoughts to dissolve into something quieter; a boundless moment of mere being. It was a feeling he often sought, but rarely achieved:

    open … calm … centered.

    Time seemed to fold into itself, and before he knew it, the farm's domes appeared in the distance and he was home – or what passed for it. Given Cliegg's endless disapproval of him, despite the relative prosperity and comfort Anakin's activities had finally brought to the family, it was really only Shmi who kept him coming back.

    Mom. Long before he brought the heavy transporter to sand-spewing halt by the main dome, Anakin was already with her in his thoughts. Somewhere deep down inside he felt her faint, warm embrace in return.

    ~

    At the end of a single lousy day spent on his own on the backward desert planet, even in what passed for civilization in that place – an execrable town called Mos Eisley – Dorn Wieeder was seriously re-evaluating his reasons for being there.

    No one, but no one he had talked to during that long, hot, dusty day seemed the slightest bit interested in the politics of the Galaxy. In fact, that was the problem – to the people he had tried to engage in discussion, whether in taverns or workshops or on the street, the rest of the Galaxy was a place far, far away that had little to do with them. The scattered Outer Rim planets had no representation in the Senate. Most of the locals didn't even use Galactic Credits, seeming to rely on precious metals and barter for their currency instead. While Dorn had come prepared for that (surprisingly, the pirates had left his modest personal supply of auridium untouched) he had been unprepared for the inherent illogic in trying to persuade people to separate from something they didn't feel a part of in the first place.

    What was he doing here? How had the Count of Serenno, the great voice of the Separatist movement, imagined that his message would be heard, much less, find a response in these remote places? Why did he think it was worth sending operatives like Dorn to ungoverned, and most likely, ungovernable territories like this one, anyway?

    Dorn looked morosely into the unappealing mug of the 'mudbeer' that seemed to be the main alcoholic drink around these parts. Awful stuff. He took another long swig and nearly gagged, but the resulting heat in his veins was welcome. He needed to mellow out. It had been a rotten day all around.

    The cantina doors flew open. Two merchants entered and drifted past Dorn to the bar, nodding to him in passing. They remembered him - he had spoken to them earlier in the day in the market. In fact, it felt as though he had spoken to most of the ragged souls in the crude town, and none of them had wanted to hear his message.

    A lively conversation kicked up at the end of the bar where the merchants had joined a few others. Dorn took another drink, wondering vaguely what it was about. Gossip, probably. The locals certainly did like their scuttlebutt. As far as Dorn could tell, that was all that people ever talked about: each other.

    Dorn stared into his evil-looking brew, straining to listening to the conversation at the bar.
    Predictably enough, it sounded like dull stuff. Something about a farmer's market. Idly, Dorn wondered what farmers on a desert planet could possibly grow that would require a farmer's market for distribution. Surely most foodstuffs had to be imported…

    His thoughts stopped wandering when the bar conversation quieted to a murmur, making it harder to eavesdrop. The only words he could distinguish were …"Anakin" and "offworld scum…"

    Evidently they were gossiping about Skywalker. Convinced that the only worthwhile gossip was the kind that required lowered voices, Dorn stood up and made his way to the bar.

    "Any chance I can buy you gentlemen a round?" he asked genially. "Stranger though I am, I hate to drink alone."

    "Sure," somebody said. "Why not?"

    All together four rough-looking men were huddled together at the end of the bar. At the offer of a free round, a fifth quickly sidled up from somewhere behind them, trying to look as if he'd been there all along. Dorn pretended he hadn't noticed and paid for five drinks.

    "To your good health," Dorn proposed, when all the men had been served, "and to good business all around." They each drank deeply, Dorn trying hard not to splutter. The mud beer quickly did its work, and soon Dorn found himself saying, with little caution and less strategy,

    "So, my new friends, what can you tell me about this Anakin Skywalker fellow?"

    It was amazing how cold the atmosphere suddenly became, mud beer or no.

    "What's it to you?" someone growled. At the periphery of his vision, Dorn saw the bartender draw closer.

    "I had the most fascinating discussion with him yesterday," Dorn said quickly. "Such an interesting fellow. So knowledgeable. Such a deep interest in Galactic politics…" and he was off, delivering his message as if for the first time, full of passion and discovery and philosophical certitude…

    Two rounds later (or was it three? He was a little fuzzy on the details), Dorn could see that his discourse hadn't borne any real fruit. The locals were as stupefied by his arguments as ever. It had, however, served to save his skin, and even to draw him into their circle a little. For when he finally stopped to draw breath, the bartender had backed off and the talk quickly drifted back to Skywalker. Despite, or more likely, because of his growing inebriation, Dorn had the good sense to shut up and listen.

    What he heard were stories of triumph in the midst of unbelievable odds; of sudden shifts in fortune that in hindsight, seemed almost magical. A human podracer. A young boy singlehandedly raising the populace against their oppressors and winning. An entire planet saved from subsequent starvation by sheer nerve and cunning. They were tall tales, these stories, and all of them revolved around that one young man.

    "Such remarkable tales," Dorn murmured. "I had no idea a single human could … accomplish … so much."

    "Yeah, well," one of the farmers said with visible pride, "he's somethin' all right, our Anakin."

    He leaned closer to Dorn, with a light in his eyes as if he was about to deliver the coup de grace. "You know, before he came back and did all those things, he was a Jedi. "

    A Jedi. The revelation had its desired effect, astonishing even Dorn. Ex-Jedi weren't something you saw every day. He had never even heard of one until he had become engrossed with the Separatist movement…

    The mud beer seemed to have lubricated his brain a little. Something was starting to make sense. He hadn't thought anything of it at first, having had no prior experience with mentality of those who inhabited Galactic outposts, but under the circumstances, Skywalker's interest in the Separatist cause seemed quite – Dorn searched for the word that would clarify his impressions – disproportionate. Sure, everything he had learned about the man seemed outsized and far-fetched. Dorn knew enough about the evolution of local legends to take everything he had heard and divide by twelve. But by any standards, young Skywalker's career already had been remarkable. And if he had been a Jedi for some time before returning home to take on the local slaveholders and gangsters…

    Dorn finally connected the dots, seeing not only why Skywalker might have such an intense interest in the Count of Serenno, but also how a lowly operative like himself, one of millions, could just possibly craft a message that might actually come to Dooku's attention. It was a long shot, but still – if he succeeded in setting up the meeting that Skywalker had demanded, he might not only avoid the dishonor of failing in his appointed task on this rotten desert planet, but might even come to the personal attention of the Count himself. Not a bad prospect for a man who was as interested in advancement as in the philosophical underpinnings of the movement he represented.

    Not bad at all for a day's work.

    With his mood brightened considerably, Dorn Wieeder finished his beer (not so bad, actually, once you got used to it) and stumbled out of the cantina to search for a functioning comm. center.
    Last edited by geo3, Feb 22, 2013
  12. MoAngel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2005
    star 2
    So in his epipheny, Anakin learned to channel the force into healing powers to help his mom! Very cool. I think the 'chosen one' has awoken. Your so in tune with the Anakin Skywalker we all wished for. Just a wonderful read, as he is my favorite character.
  13. Ocelotl_Nesto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2004
    star 4
    I laughed when I read the part where he needed to return the ship. Same with the trashed garage. Typical teen.
  14. ratna Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2007
    star 4
    So interesting.

    To me, this chapter is all about characters insulated inside their own little worlds.

    Dorn Weider -- oh so superior and oh so clueless, seeing everyone around him as nothing more than a means to an end. (And not particularly seeing clearly what those ends are. He has no more clue about Dooku than he does about Tatooine and Anakin.)

    Cliegg Lars -- all wrapped up in his homestead, his marriage with Shmi, and the invasion of his sensibilities that Anakin is. His awareness of Anakin is bound up in the ways that Anakin has intruded upon the order and routines of his life (and garage).

    Anakin Skywalker -- following the things that drive him ~ his love of those close to him, his desire to make a difference even in the lives of strangers, and through it all, those strange inchoate urgings of the Force, to become more than the sum of one's parts, to perfect oneself.

    None of these people really knows the people around them (for all of Anakin's devotion to his mother, does he really know her? I wonder about that....)

    What will burst these bubbles?

    (Addendium ~ It occurs to me that in the Skywalker-Lars household, Shmi was the one who actually knew and saw into each of her bubble boys, who touched and wove them all into a family. If she is out of commission ... what now? what now?)
  15. dietcokeani Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 1, 2005
    star 1
    First off, Hey! Gunrayslawyer! It's good to see you again. I liked what you said here...

    I just don't think that any version of Anakin has ever reflected on the consequences of his efforts to change the universe through force of his will.

    It's interesting, isn't it? In canon, I always thought it was odd that the Jedi seemed so intent on containing his will instead of truely guiding it for the good of the universe, and many other stories carry the same tone. It's like no one assumed that he might simply want to explore his light side in a way different from them.

    So now I wonder why in Fortune's Gate was he rejected by the Jedi? Was it the same thing? If so, maybe his anger towards them will be what can change the universe. I don't know....


    I have to laugh at the level of detail! I'm always wondering about things like this in Star Wars, and it seems only the folks from Robot Chicken address it outright! Do they have a special Jedi Mind Trick to deal with untimely calls to the restroom? :eek:

    As a part of a step family, I relate to the Lars men feeling out of the loop between Shmi and Anakin. To be married to a woman who has such an intimate connection with her son must be a challenge, and for Lars...what a shadow to grow up in. It seems they both have come to a place of understanding about it, but I don't think they have a choice. Interesting.

    Thanks for the new post!
  16. Yenneffer Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 6, 2008
    Hello! You just gained yourself a new reader :)

    I love your idea for a story- there is a promise of coming confrontation with Dooku, Jedi... And the Dune references? Pure honey for my thirst for fanfiction.
    *purrs in contentment*

    Overall- very vivid descriptions (there were moments where I was almost feeling as if I was on a desert, too). And Anakin's people- there is something fascinating about them, how strong they need to be in order to live in the harsh world. I'm curious to see how you will mix canon and AU as you write further.

    Yen
  17. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    *

    Seems like Mr. Dorn misunderestimated his host... ;)


    Interesting contrast between his attitude towards Anakin in contrast to this:

    Anakin the Healer - now is this a 'new' talent that has manifested itself since his 'awakening'? It appears to be so...

    Of course it's very enjoyable and I can't wait to see what happens next.
  18. amidalachick Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2003
    star 5
    Another fabulous post! =D= Cliegg and Owen's reunion was really touching.

    So Anakin is able to heal now...very interesting. Definitely looking forward to more!
  19. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    MoAngel So in his epipheny, Anakin learned to channel the force into healing powers to help his mom! Very cool. I think the 'chosen one' has awoken.

    Pretty much... but I?m sure really effective use of the Force ? in all things ? takes a good bit of training.

    Your so in tune with the Anakin Skywalker we all wished for. Just a wonderful read, as he is my favorite character.

    Thank you! I love him dearly as a character. So much potential... so many places to go...

    Ocelotl_Nesto I laughed when I read the part where he needed to return the ship. Same with the trashed garage. Typical teen.

    [face_laugh] Yeah, having raised several of those, my first reaction after seeing ?Clones? was, OMG, George Lucas has teenagers at home...

    ratna To me, this chapter is all about characters insulated inside their own little worlds.

    Ooohh!

    Dorn Weider -- oh so superior and oh so clueless, seeing everyone around him as nothing more than a means to an end. (And not particularly seeing clearly what those ends are. He has no more clue about Dooku than he does about Tatooine and Anakin.)

    Yes!

    Cliegg Lars -- all wrapped up in his homestead, his marriage with Shmi, and the invasion of his sensibilities that Anakin is. His awareness of Anakin is bound up in the ways that Anakin has intruded upon the order and routines of his life (and garage).

    Yes!!

    Anakin Skywalker -- following the things that drive him ~ his love of those close to him, his desire to make a difference even in the lives of strangers, and through it all, those strange inchoate urgings of the Force, to become more than the sum of one's parts, to perfect oneself.

    Yes!!!

    None of these people really knows the people around them (for all of Anakin's devotion to his mother, does he really know her? I wonder about that....)

    Good question. I?ve always suspected that we never really know our parents because we only ever see them through the filter of our own needs. But we shall see...

    What will burst these bubbles?

    What, indeed?

    (Addendium ~ It occurs to me that in the Skywalker-Lars household, Shmi was the one who actually knew and saw into each of her bubble boys, who touched and wove them all into a family. If she is out of commission ... what now? what now?)

    You have a way of asking the most pertinent questions...

    Thanks so much for the insights and the ?things to think about?!

    diietcokeani It's interesting, isn't it? In canon, I always thought it was odd that the Jedi seemed so intent on containing [Anakin?s] will instead of truly guiding it for the good of the universe, and many other stories carry the same tone. It's like no one assumed that he might simply want to explore his light side in a way different from them.

    Yeah, and back in the Dark Ages when there was only one phone company (a monopoly, of course), they used to let you have any color phone you wanted... as long as it was black. (But of course, you?re far to young to have even HEARD about that...:p) I guess when you?re the only game in town, you can make all the rules... [face_whistling]

    So now I wonder why in Fortune's Gate was he rejected by the Jedi? Was it the same thing? If so, maybe his anger towards them will be what can change the universe. I don't know....

    This will be revealed, by and by...

    I have to laugh at the level of detail! I'm always wondering about things like this in Star Wars, and it seems only the folks from Robot Chicken address it outright!

    [face_laugh]

    Do they have a special Jedi Mind Trick to deal with untimely calls to the restroom?

    I wouldn?t be surprised...

    As a part of a step family, I relate to the Lars men feeling out of the loop between Shmi and Anakin. To be married to a woman who has such an intimate connection with her son must be a challenge, and for Lars...what a shadow to grow up in. It seems they both have come to a place of understanding about it, but I don't think they have a choice. Interesting.

    The minut
  20. furrylittlebantha Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2005
    star 3
    Classic stuff--I can tell this will be an epic tale.
  21. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    furrylittlebantha Classic stuff--I can tell this will be an epic tale.

    Wow, thanks! I'm delighted that you're reading.
    Last edited by geo3, Feb 22, 2013
  22. GeneralKenobi7 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 18, 2009
    star 4
    Awesome story! Really I'm hooked :D
    It's quite mysterious, what is the Jedi's role in this Au?[face_thinking]
    Could you please PM me when you update?
  23. MoAngel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2005
    star 2
    Anakin seems to have developed an almost cult like following, with many sworn to his cause and protection. Very interested on just how far this will go...I'm assuming at some point the Jedi will find him interesting as well? Love this!
  24. amidalachick Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2003
    star 5
    I love how Anakin returned the ship. :D

    It felt good to speed off into the wastes by himself. The barren landscape, empty and beautiful, allowed the incessant pounding of his thoughts to dissolve into something quieter; a boundless moment of mere being. It was a feeling he often sought, but rarely achieved: ? open ? calm ? centered.

    Beautiful description!

    Great post once again.
  25. Ocelotl_Nesto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2004
    star 4
    Great twist... the political machinings and the turning the technology into a legitimate business was excellent. I will bet the technology could be used to turn wastewater let alone evaporative water into pure water is very marketable... something the trade federation would gladly protect and distribute.
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