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Beyond - Legends Stars (Luke, Artoo) (Character death)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by divapilot, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Title: Stars
    Author: Divapilot
    Characters: Luke Skywalker, Artoo
    Time frame: NJO
    Summary: All things must end.
    Genre: introspection
    Notes: Written for the Death of a Major Character Challenge in the Over 30 Writers Club.

    The small craft drifted through a sea of stars. Luke ran though the damage reports methodically, identifying the numerous damages to his vessel and categorizing them into those that must be repaired immediately, those that can wait, and those that are beyond his control. Navigation was minimally operational; he could point the ship in the right direction but fine-tuned course adjustments were off the table for now. Propulsion seemed spotty. An overheat somewhere in the system must have burned through the wiring, and now the best he could get was short bursts of power. As a result, jumping to lightspeed was out of the question. After the explosion, Luke sent out a distress call and pointed the ship toward the nearest port, but with such limited power, it would take days before anyone would find him.

    Artoo’s message warbled in his earpiece. “Yeah, it’s a mess in here, too,” Luke replied. Luke had long since learned to interpret the droid’s vocalizations directly, which was a good thing in this case since the droid’s interface screen was off-line. A quick glance around indicated that two or three other screens, including the fuel level indicator, were also dark.

    A second message trilled. Luke reached below the panel in front of him as he answered. “I wish I knew. I don’t think it was an attack. It was almost like--” He depressed the access door and it clattered to the floor. Immediately, a tangled clump of half-melted wiring dangled from the opening. Luke frowned, discouraged. “Almost like some kind of random energy wave.”

    Some of the wires were fused together in a clump, others ended abruptly. Luke summoned a microscanner to his hand and quickly set to work to fix what he could. “Artoo, environmental controls are a pretty messed up in here. What’s it look like for the external coverings on the air supply units?”

    After a few moments, a somber whistle replied. Luke paused as the information sank in. He sat back on his haunches, momentarily abandoning his task at hand. “All of them? Are you sure?”

    Artoo’s voice repeated the same whistle. Luke stood up and began to examine the information from the panel he was working on. “That’s a five percent loss every ten minutes,” he noted aloud. “And you’re sure the backup system is gone?”

    Artoo trilled again in the affirmative. “Then I guess I know what I have to fix first,” Luke muttered.

    This should have been a routine trip. All Luke had to do was to make it to Ryloth for a meeting with the Twi’lek high council, then swing back to Ossus. He had even told Mara that they would take a short vacation after this. This was the least dangerous assignment he had made in months. How did it go so wrong?

    He teased the wiring apart and soldered damaged and frayed ends, making a temporary connection for the power supply to the air controllers. If there isn’t any air on board, then there really isn’t much of a point in repairing anything else, he mused dryly. The readout above him indicated about 30 minutes remaining before the air became too thin to breathe.

    Then what?

    Artoo’s report was devastating. Whatever had slammed into them tore the outer covering off the oxygen supply, exposing the remaining air to high levels of radiation. Luke knew that his friend was frantically trying to repair the gap, but with so much of the skin of the ship already blasted away, the best the droid could do would be patchwork. Thirty minutes of breathable air left.

    Thirty minutes.

    Restoring the damage to the control panel itself would take half a day.

    Luke paused to go over his options. He could put himself into a Force trance. That would slow his breathing and his heart rate so that he could use less air. But breathing less air than normal was useless if there was no air to breathe. He could suit up. The tanks on the suits held about three hours each. There were enough tanks for four humans. That would gain him another 12 hours of air. Which would run out at least a day before he could be picked up on Port Dormain’s scanners.

    Twenty-eight minutes.

    Spidery fingers of panic crawled up his spine, but he pushed them down. There had to be another way. He had gotten himself out of worse.

    Think. Let the Force in. See what the bigger picture is.

    Luke sat back down in the captain’s seat and surveyed the controls. Another three screens had gone dark. It was as if the ship was slowly shutting down – No, he realized coldly. Not shutting down. The ship was dying.

    He looked up at the viewscreen. Before him, the stars splayed out like a carpet of diamonds. His mind went back to a memory from childhood, when he had been outside at night with his uncle. While Owen had kept an eye for danger, Luke had lay on his back and gazed at the vast, magnificent field of stars, so bright and clear, so full of promise and adventure. How he had ached to voyage among them.

    Now he was trapped amid them.

    He shook the memory loose and quickly went into a meditative state. The stars opened up to him like flower petals, time and space tightened around him. He detached from his physical self to see the ship for himself. There was Artoo frantically trying to repair the damaged air supply. Here was the ruptured condenser that prevented him from repairing the power generator.

    Luke snapped back with a jolt. He could not deny what he saw. The ship was dying.

    Twenty-four minutes.

    The stars seemed to stare back at him, as if waiting for his next move. “Artoo, I’m going to reroute all power to life support,” he announced. Within a few moments, the screens on the control panels began to flicker and go black as their power switched off. Artoo warbled another message. “At least we have that,” Luke said. “I’ll take anything at this point.”

    The ship was silent, except for Luke’s breathing and the sizzle of the soldering tool he diligently used to redirect the electricity of the destroyed panel. Eventually, there was nothing left to be done. There were no wires left to fix, no power conduits left to reroute.

    Luke stood up and stretched his cramped back. He glanced at the chrono and its countdown. This had to have gained him more time. All he needed was enough time to get to the next outpost, and everything would be okay. Maybe somebody had already received his distress call. There might be a freighter or a passenger ship already on its way to rescue him. He had to believe in that. The alternative was unthinkable.

    Luke looked at the display that calculated remaining air time. Nineteen minutes.

    That was impossible.

    Luke raced into the back cabin. Behind a partially collapsed bulkhead, he found the box he was looking for. It opened reluctantly. Luke pulled out four air tanks. He sighed with relief. At least the emergency tanks were undamaged. Tucking one tank under his arm, he made his way back toward the front of the ship. He hit an emergency panel and a drawer partially extended outward, but it was obvious that the contents of the drawer were damaged. Luke’s heart pounded.

    He knelt down and slowly, carefully maneuvered the flight suit out of the drawer. The helmet bore a small crack along the bottom edge. Not big, but big enough.

    He threw it down angrily and stormed back into the cockpit. “Why?” he shouted at the stars. “Why are you doing this to me?”

    The stars flickered coldly in response.

    Thirteen minutes.

    Nearly every screen was dark. Only environmental control flickered faintly. Luke suddenly felt lighter, and realized that the artificial gravity had gone off line.

    Why was the Force doing this to him? He had so much left to do. The galaxy needed him!

    Luke pushed away the anger. Blaming the Force – blaming anyone – for this random accident was pointless. A solar flare. An echo of an ancient supernova. The galaxy was riddled with abnormalities like these. Why should he be exempt?

    Was he really that irreplaceable? Mara was quite capable of being the next Grand Master. Or Corran. Or Kyp. The universe would go on without him.

    Maybe they had all become too complacent anyway, too dependent on him. He was, after all, just a man. And men die, eventually.

    There was just so much left to life for. It wasn’t fair.

    He thought of Mara, and felt along his Force bond with her. She was sleeping. To wake her now would be unfair. Give her this last night of peace. Gently, as if brushing aside a stray hair from her face, Luke grazed her spirit. He drew in the essence of her and smiled.

    Ben was somewhere else, he determined, and happy. As he approached his son along their Force bond, Luke sensed the boy’s quick response. Luke hid the severity of the situation from Ben, who replied back to his father in love.

    Eight minutes.

    Nothing was fair in life. No one ever said it would be. But he had been given a great blessing, a family that loved him and experiences beyond his wildest childhood dreams. Wasn’t that enough? Maybe it was.

    The cockpit was dark now, and Luke’s breath came out in clouds. Above him, the stars shone in bright points of light. So many stars. The only sound was Luke’s breathing.

    Artoo’s voice came through the silence. Luke paused before he answered. “No, don’t apologize. You did everything you could. You always did more than I ever asked for.”

    The air was noticeably thinner now, and it was harder to take a deep breath. But Luke spoke anyway. “All things end, Artoo. You were always my friend. My oldest friend. Thank you for that.”

    Luke gazed at the stars, their silver beauty, their brilliance. Each a fiery sun, and yet each looked like cold chips of ice. So like the Force itself, living and yet not alive, burning but insensible. The stars spun out in waves along the galaxy, points of light among the indescribable depth of space.

    There was so much left to explore. Maybe this was the Force’s way of giving him that chance. Maybe it was true, that there is no ending in the Force but only the start of another adventure.

    He closed his eyes and took a labored breath. Then his mind was amid the stars, another luminous point in the darkness.
  2. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost star 4

    Jun 3, 2002
    So sad! Why Luke! :_|

    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    I echo those sentiments. Lord above, but I have missed your particular level of excellence @};- [:D]

  4. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Chosen One star 5

    Nov 1, 2004
    I shouldn't have read that. Now I am depressed. :_| It was wonderfully written, but a tearjerker. Well done.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  5. Demendora

    Demendora Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 9, 2010
    It's too bad that Luke left his family this way..but as you said, he is just a man after all.
  6. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 18, 1999
    Well that was beautiful. Heartbreaking, but beautiful.
  7. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    Beautifully written, but oh so sad! I'm glad at least that Luke was able to make a final contact with Mara and Ben.

    Love these lines: Luke gazed at the stars, their silver beauty, their brilliance. Each a fiery sun, and yet each looked like cold chips of ice. So like the Force itself, living and yet not alive, burning but insensible. The stars spun out in waves along the galaxy, points of light among the indescribable depth of space.

    I wonder what will become of Artoo...
  8. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    I really shouldn't have read this at work!! :_|

    But it was beautiful writing, diva! I loved/it broke my heart when he touch Mara and Ben though the Force (though I bet Mara will be so mad he didn't wake her!!) and him talking to Artoo there at the end just about did me in.
    Beautiful, beautiful imagery!

    Wonderful work!

    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  9. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    A beautiful piece
  10. Jade_Pilot

    Jade_Pilot Jedi Master star 5

    Dec 10, 2005
    Baaaaad Sister-pilot!!!! :mad:But the writing is exquisite. Thanks for always having such courage and integrity.

    Bravo @};-
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  11. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Jedimaster_Jen Thank you! As to why Luke, well, go big or go home.

    Nyota’s Heart aw, thank you! I’ve drifted away for a while, but I’m starting to come back a bit now.

    Jedi_Lover Thank you so much! Although I didn’t mean to make you sad, I’m glad the story worked out.

    demendora Thank you! That’s what I was going for – he is, after all, still human. And sometimes things happen in life that are so unfair.

    taramidala Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked it.

    Tarsier Thank you! I wondered what Luke might do if he realized time was running out too fast and I figured he would want to do what really counted- tell the ones closest to him that he loves them. As for Artoo, well, he can tell what happened. Artoo becomes another witness to history…

    mavjade Thank you so much! Artoo has been with Luke longer than any other character. I like that he was there at the end for Luke, too.

    earlybird-obi-wan Thank you for your remarks. I appreciate it!

    Jade_Pilot Thanks! Your comments mean a lot. I really appreciate it! It’s always so good to hear from you. (Loving your story, btw!)

    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  12. ginchy

    ginchy Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 25, 2005
    Diva why, why, why do you do this to me??? You make me cry with the beauty of your words and you killed my Luke and now I'm all teary eyed at work!! This reminds me of a drabble you did. And I remember that set of drabbles because it was so beautiful. Only the difference there was that Luke was an old man and Mara was there to welcome him to the Force. I'm not sure which of these I like better, because both are beautiful in their own ways. Luke choosing not to wake Mara and his gentle goodbye to Ben were what teared me up the most. I love the weaving of the stars through the story. Wonderful, wonderful. Love ya, gal!! [:D]
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  13. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Hey lady! So glad to see you! And actually, that drabble was the inspiration for this story. You have an excellent memory.:p thank you so much for your reply.
    ginchy likes this.
  14. Juliet316

    Juliet316 Chosen One star 10

    Apr 27, 2005
    *wibble* Should not have read that first thing in the morning. Very good and very Luke, especially the end.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  15. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    Came here from the Prolific Writers' Index Thread and now the usual would happen - a bunch of people will comment on the thread I ressurected after me. :p

    However, my comment is slightly morbid; so I am spoilering it in order not to traumatise those other readers, search engine robots and pretty much everyone.

    Well...that was a hard read. I did not cry, I freaked out.

    Almost five years ago, I held somebody who was dying from suffocation, whom I could no longer help. I never thought that, from the perspective of a brain that has been deprieved of oxygen, necrosis of its cells may start off as some sort of astral travel, an out-of-body experience. That gives us the opportunity to look at the entire story as both what-it-is - suffocation in space and what it could have been - an illusion further in life, creating the whole envirovment with oxygen deprivation from an illness, injury or old age. Instead of the whole life flashing before Luke's eyes or something more typical like that, you gave us this - a wonderful contrast of material and spiritual. The stars, as the motif, are very powerful and so much light at the point of one's death is, err...wonderful.

    And then there is Artoo, who can be located by somebody, somehow, or die together with Luke. The latter would've been a cool nod for stories where heroes die together with their horses, where captains sink with their ships and so on; but the earlier would've given him a chance to beep his own version of the story.

    divapilot and leiamoody like this.
  16. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013


    But seriously, though, not only was this beautiful, it's...some strange place between ironic and comical and profound that Luke Kriffin' Skywalker would die this way, quietly out in the void, all alone except for his faithful brobot, on a ridiculously mundane trip rather than another Big Damn Hero adventure. Life can be funny that way sometimes.

    It's also interesting that Luke doesn't take advantage of the fact that R2 is with him to record some sort of "last message" for his loved ones, since it's quite possible the astromech could be retrieved by someone who would eventually pick up the belated distress signal. Perhaps he made a decision not to, consciously or unconsciously, because what could he possibly say that would really lessen the pain and frustration for his family and friends, or just make them feel even worse? Hence him settling for letting Mara sleep and sending a vague, gentle touch of love to his son. It makes sense. He savors the feel of his family one last time without disturbing them, and, indeed, "there is no death, there is the Force." He and his wife technically have a bond of mind and soul; he may very well return to her and be able to make his goodbyes later in person...well, in Force-ghost.

    Thread necro FTW. :_|=D=
  17. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    There's a great suspension of time sensation that the reader gets to experience while reading this fic. You're in that timeless space of being detached even while you're also aware of the passage of time via Luke's POV. It gives an interesting meditative quality to the reading experience.

    I love the imagery of the stars and how it contrasts two major elements of Luke's existence: his dreams, then his death. It seems harsh to die in the environment that once kept you going as a child on a desert planet...yet it's almost symmetrical in its circularity.
    Nyota's Heart and Ewok Poet like this.