Title: A Pointless Rock Author: Starith* Timeframe: OT (Takes place right before the comic 'Vader Down') Characters: Luke, Artoo Genre: Oneshot, introspection Summary: Luke briefly contemplates as he searches for a lost Jedi temple. *This was originally posted under my previous account/ username 'Togruta'. I thought I'd repost it under my new username. So here it is. — Vrogas Vas, it seemed, was as inconsequential as an asteroid. It was everything it had seemed to be when Luke had first set his eyes on the planet. Readings had picked up no civilizations, no technology, no resources of any kind. It seemed it had nothing of interest to offer the rest of the galaxy… unless one was awed by endless rock and volatile gases. Now Luke was traveling on the surface by foot, his astromech droid trailing his heels and his ship not far behind. Once again, Luke considered his surroundings and peered through his binoculars to see what, perhaps, could not be seen while flying through the atmosphere. Emptiness ahead. Dust. Some mountains in the distance below a grey sky. Altogether it was the same forgettable environment made of yellow rock... It did remind him too much of Tatooine – albeit a cooler, quieter Tatooine. But far fewer beings would know of this planet than of his homeworld, which made it the perfect place for a Rebel base… And the perfect place for a Jedi temple. That was what Luke had been thinking when he found this planet. And he had to keep thinking it. He had been exploring for over a week now, trying to find anything that resembled what he could only imagine was an ancient structure. Signs of life, artifacts, traces... anything. But there was nothing. Nothing so far, he reminded himself. It didn’t help that he was alone in this search. The Rebel crew that now occupied the refueling base could only assist with so much – not that Luke blamed them. They had a whole operation to run, their own duties to worry about... and he still had his duties, which he was presently neglecting, as he’d received word that the rest of his squadron were readying for takeoff to perform drill maneuvers at this very moment… And yet… The galaxy needs the Jedi. “...I don’t see anything,” Luke muttered, removing the binoculars, feeling the imprints of its rims around his eyes. It was no use. Luke held back a sigh. “You can put your radar away, Artoo. We’re done for now.” With a hum, the droid obeyed, the device softly buzzing back into his dome. Artoo wheeled his way over to Luke, and made an electric sound that implied an inquiry. For a long moment, Luke’s attention seemed locked on the sand at his feet. The little droid was familiar with this behavior from him, how Luke would go into a faraway silence after a long, futile search. Artoo waited. Then the sea-blue eyes snapped back into focus, and Luke lifted his chin. “No, Artoo... just for now. I’m not giving up.” He rubbed the sweat from the back of his neck, then absent-mindedly scratched an itching burn on his right arm. Blasted wasp-worms... “There’s... supposed to be a Jedi temple here,” he said, his voice more faint than he meant it to be. “And... I can feel it’s here. I can feel it with the Force.” A Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him. Luke stared back at the dry ground, the powdery surface he had become far too familiar with. Right now, the Force seemed... like a memory almost, a reality he was losing touch of. He had experienced it in times of need – didn’t he need it now? Was Han right to dismiss the ways of the Force as a nonsensical waste of time? Was it stupid to continue chasing after this dream? No. Cut that out, he thought, ironically reminding himself of his uncle. The Force was all about belief. The Force was with him, would always be with him. He hadn’t understood it, he still didn’t – yet he had taken it to heart and wouldn’t let it go. His wish to become a Jedi made him different, he knew. Luke Skywalker -- “the kid who blew up the Death Star” – was also the kid who believed in a cryptic energy-field, who constantly investigated to learn more about an outlawed religion... and who, occasionally, heard the voice of a dead man in his head. Luke Skywalker: war hero, savior of the Rebel princess, marvel of a pilot… Unapologetic oddball. “I’m going to find it,” Luke declared more loudly, resisting the urge to kick at the dirt. Artoo’s orb-like receptor shifted to look around. He beeped, whooped, and whistled, not quite in disagreement, but not quite affirming his master either. Luke rubbed over his forehead, his bangs whisking away at his face. “I know, I know.” He waved an arm out, as if trying to show the little droid something in the distance, something that was clearly there. “But it’s supposed to be hard to find, Artoo. That’s why the Empire hasn’t been here. Hasn’t... destroyed...” He looked down at the binoculars in his hands. “At least I... hope they...” Artoo let out a low sound. Luke rest his palm on top of the droid, as if to quiet it, to prevent it from acknowledging his own frustration. He made a weak gesture towards his X-Wing. “Okay, fine. Fine... for now. Come on." He hurried back the way to his ship, and wore a thin smile. "Let’s go join the others. I bet they're all airborne by now.” Vrogas Vas. It was as bleak and barren as it seemed from above. But that didn’t mean it didn’t hold any secrets – and there was one still buried. However deeply, it was there. Just waiting for him. Luke Skywalker.