Title: New Resolve Author: Tarsier Timeframe: AU, about 3 years after Children of the Jedi Characters: Callista Notes: Written for the Callista one-shot competition in the Callista Fan Club. “It was Anakin,” she murmured. She stared hard into the blue-grey eyes of a man she once greatly admired. “Anakin killed the younglings.” His jaw tightened and he stared back at her with distrust. “No,” he replied, defensive. Obi-Wan refused to believe her not because he knew she was wrong, but because he was unwilling to accept the truth. “You must be mistaken. It can’t be—” Beep. Beep. The soft trilling of the navicomputer awakened Callista. For a moment she was disoriented as she tried to remember where she was. Or, more importantly, when she was. The events of her dream had occurred decades ago. Why did they haunt her now? She shook her head, wishing she could shake the past away like a pitten shaking water from its coat after a bath. She took the controls and focused on landing the ship. She settled the ship in a relatively flat stretch of sand near the tiny town of Anchorhead. It was strange to be visiting her ex’s hometown alone. Stranger still to think of Luke Skywalker as her ex. But she was not here for Luke. Much had happened since Callista left Luke. First was the desperate search for her lost powers. Then the eventual acceptance that her powers were not to be found. Somewhere along the way, she began to remember. Not the quaint little story she told Luke about the glorious Jedi Order and the position of respect she and her revered master held within it. Rather, she remembered violence and bloodshed. Fear and uncertainty. Betrayal and death. At first the returning memories trickled in: a brief glimpse of an image, or the feeling behind a voice but not the words. But the more Callista remembered, the more intense each memory became. Before long the memories consumed her, she could not escape them. The past did not matter; nothing could be done about the past. What mattered was moving forward, leaving the past behind. But she couldn’t do that with the memories disturbing her sleep, and increasingly her waking hours. Which is why she came here today. If the memories were fueled by her unconscious guilt, maybe the only way to silence them was to find forgiveness for the role she played. She did not want forgiveness from Anakin—towards him she felt no regret. And she could not seek forgiveness from Anakin’s living children, because then she would have to explain what happened. They would demand to know everything, and she simply couldn’t tell them everything. That left only one other Skywalker that Callista knew of: Anakin’s mother. Shmi was long dead and not even a Jedi, so unlikely to be contacted through the Force, even if Callista could touch the Force. But Shmi was Callista’s only option and she had to do something. * * * “I’m worried about Anakin. When we were on Tatooine he . . . he lost it, Callista. Completely. The people who took his mother—he slaughtered their whole village.” Padmé grasped Callista’s hands as she spoke, her eyes pleading for reassurance that her husband was not a monster. But Callista had no reassurance to offer. Callista blinked her eyes several times in an attempt to erase the image of Padmé’s anxious gaze. Refocusing on the seemingly endless expanse of sand before her, she ground her teeth in frustration. Initially she’d hoped to find a grave. However, after asking a few questions around town, it soon became clear that would be impossible. The moisture farm had been burnt to the ground and swallowed by the shifting dunes; any gravemarkers would have been buried years ago. Callista had set off in a borrowed landspeeder in what she hoped was the general direction of the Lars homestead. She stopped after a few miles deciding that wherever she was, it was going to have to be close enough. Callista stepped off the speeder. A hot wind blew and she thought she could feel the searing suns bleaching the color from her hair. She sat down in the sand in a meditation position, closed her eyes, and tried to clear her mind. “Shmi?” she whispered to the shifting sands. She waited for a response. But she heard nothing and felt nothing. “Shmi Skywalker?” Silence. Callista pressed on, feeling a little ridiculous talking to the barren dunes. “My name is Callista. I am—I was—a Jedi. Like your son, Anakin. There’s something I need to tell you. . . .” The words tumbled out of Callista’s mouth. She didn’t even know what she was saying, she just knew it felt good to say it, to finally say out loud the secrets she had kept so long. When she was out of breath she paused, waiting for a response, some indication that her message had been received, that things would be different now that she had unburdened herself. There was, of course, no response. Shmi was not here. Shmi could not hear her. The suns were starting to lower over the horizon and Callista decided she ought to head back to civilization. Even if she could have found Shmi’s grave it would not have helped. Shmi was dead. Gone. Shmi could not forgive her any more than the unceasing dunes of sand surrounding her. As Callista settled back into the landspeeder, the sincere voice of an earnest young boy flitted through her mind: “Someday I’m going to go back. I’m going to find my mother and free the slaves of Tatooine.” Another memory from her past. But this one was different from all the others. It did not carry with it feelings of horror or devastation. It made her feel hopeful, like she could once again feel the optimism radiating from the newly freed slave. Is that what I’m supposed to do? she wondered. Free the slaves of Tatooine? If she could complete this forgotten vow, would the flashbacks stop? Would Anakin, or the Force, or whatever it was, stop haunting her? Callista was nearing Anchorhead and the suns were beginning to set. She took one last look in the direction of the demolished moisture farm. She would not find forgiveness here. But at least there was something she could do to try to quiet the voices in her head.