Christmas Story: A New Hope Episode VI 3/4

Star Wars Episode VI ¾

 

There is chaos in the galaxy.  After the fall of the galactic empire freedom rang out.  But, without the strict order of the empire, or the balance of the jedi order, warlords sprung up everywhere.  System after system fell to one tyrant or another and enslaved their population with the popular slogan, Only the Strong will survive.  Powerful leaders oppressed the weak.  Many fled for their lives, including a young slave Eli, who had escaped from his master. Fearing for his life, Eli went searching for the only one who might provide answers.

Luke Skywalker has not been seen for decades.



 

My vision had become hazy.  The endless wind gusts threatened to topple me over at any time.  The skin that was exposed to this horrible planet was dry, and bleeding.  So thirsty.  I can’t believe that I’m stuck out here.  

 

Upon discovering that I was being tracked by scavengers beyond the Outer rim, I decided to seek refuge on a desolate planet.  I did not know that the entry was going to be so rocky, and my relic of a spacecraft, just could not handle the stress.  Blinking red lights, and screeching alarms still ringing in my mind.  The glass of the cockpit shattered, otherwise I would have never left the relative safety of the X-Wing fighter.  Yes, it’s outdated, and barely running, but she has seen more action than anything else I could have ever taken on this quest.

 

The quest, I’ll get to that.  Let’s just say we need answers, and no one has them.  Everyone seeking after their own interpretation of the way the universe functions.  All wrong, and now everything is in chaos.  The gangs take what they want, the helpless have no one to stand up for them.  The strong rule the weak, and claim divine right to do so.  They quote historical science books, so old they are still in print, on paper.  This also helps them sell their religion.  They say that this was established long ago.  Written by an ancient race to explain everything in the galaxy.  Even though those authors still believed that they were alone in the galaxy.  

 

For all these reasons, I asked questions.  Oh, and one more.  I was born a slave.  My father was a farmer, not a very good one, and a coward, my mother was strong and beautiful, but our masters decided they were worth more dead than alive.  So, they threw them into the local games, and at the age of 9, I became an orphan.

 

So my questions.  If divine right gave them permission to kill my parents for sport, and enslave me, who can I complain to?  Who can hear my cry?  So I ran.  With no money, or credit, I simply ran.  I hopped a ship to the farthest place I could get to, and to my surprise found the same circumstances everywhere I went.  Poverty is rampant, murderers, and thieves seem to rule every corner of this universe.  I decided to give up, and give in.

 

Then I came across something.  An abandoned city planet.  Still in ruins from the destruction of the empire, but in the ruins, there was a temple.  It had burn marks everywhere, and seemed ancient.  Though I couldn’t read, I was fascinated by the writing, the statues, the draperies.  I slept many nights there, lived there for a time.  I explored every day deeper and deeper into the temple looking for clues to what this place was.  Until finally found something.  Walking into a chamber that used to overlook a large part of the city, I was surrounded by chairs in a circle.  The glass had been long shattered, and the room in shambles, but it used to be holy.  I could feel it.  I sat in the center chair and a light flickered in front of me.  Blue-green and fading, with faint sound.  

 

    “Greetings.  If you are listening to this, then all has fallen.  The empire has been defeated, and balance has been returned to the force.  Rejoice friend, go and may the force-------”

 

The screen flickered, and the young man that had been proudly standing there was gone.  He looked so noble, so knowing.  Like he held all the answers.  The screen flickers again.

 

    “I don’t know what happened.” said the much older man in the hologram.  Upon looking at this new image, I thought it was someone else.  Much older, with no hope left inside of him.  The man wore the same black tunic, same metal robotic hand, and lightsaber on his belt, but he was so much older.

 

“We thought that if we defeated the Sith, and brought down the evil empire, peace, and truth, and justice would reign throughout the galaxy.  We were wrong.  It’s worse now.  Men have risen up and oppressed the weak, taking slaves, and whole planets.  I cannot fight them anymore.  I don’t know what to do.  If you are watching this, my name is Luke, I am a Jedi like my father before me.  I helped bring down the reign of terror and control of the empire, but we ushered in a time of anarchy.  The old masters are gone, the Jedi order is gone, we have nothing.  I am running now.  Hoping that someone will remember the old ways, and see this.  I am embarking on a new mission now, to find answers.  To find truth.  That has to be the only weapon left.  If there is truth in the force, I will find it, and when I do, i’ll return.”

 

The hologram disappeared.  I  was left alone.  This was the one who brought down the empire.  Who ushered in a new era.  All I could think of was what he spoke of, “truth.”  What is that?  Why did it matter?  I needed to find him.  Maybe he could explain.  Maybe he could tell me of the deeper meaning behind the force.  Maybe he found truth.

 

    That was many years ago.  Since then I have been searching for this Luke, everywhere.  He had simply disappeared.  I had been imprisoned, beaten, escaped, and now broken down.  The only thing I could see was a faint light against a rock cliff.

 

    Slowly, nearly crawling against the sand storm, covering my face against the tearing of the whipping wind, I crept toward the light.  It had been days since I had food, or water.  My vision was becoming hazy.  My legs weak.  I had journeyed so long, without a trace of the man I sought.  Without a home to come back to, without a hope of finding the man.  It seemed so easy to just quit, just lie down and rest, for only a moment, then it all went black…..

 

    I awoke to see a fire.  The howling of the wind was not biting my face.  I was warm.  I decided not to move, but only use my eyes to look around.  I was inside a cave.  Sandy hard walls surrounded me.  As my eyes drifted I stared at the open flames of the fire, seeming to dance in front of me, almost hypnotic.  I was alive.  I moved my head the slightest bit to see the front of the cave.  It was only about twenty feet away and there seemed to be some kind of shield in front of it.  Faintly I could see a pink clear shield.

 

    After several minutes of silently watching my surroundings, I determined I was alone.  Sitting up I now took in the entirety of the shelter.  There was a chair made from clay, a desk that looked like it was salvaged from a ship’s wreck, and books everywhere.  On the floor, on the desk, even shelves had been cut out of the very walls of the caves to make room for them.  Real paper books.  They looked like the books the warlords quoted from on their planets.  Except the writing was different in almost every one.  I didn’t recognize a single written language, and wondered if there were even a protocol droid in existence that could.  

 

    Nothing but the howling of the wind to keep me company I continued to take in the cave.  I decided to take a log out of the fire for light and explore what I could not see.  The cave was rugged.  About ten feet wide and the most narrowing as I traveled back into the dark.  The cave narrowed for another hundred feet or so before I nearly tripped on a low hanging hammock.  Here was the farthest the cave reached.  I held the makeshift torch up, and gazed on the strangest thing I had ever seen.  Chiseled into the walls were notes.  Over the walls, the roof, even carved into the bed.  Strewn all over the floor were pages and pages of old paper.  Some torn from books and written on the margins, and a recorder sitting on the bed.  The language was one of the strange ones that had been in the books by the front.  

 

    I ran my hand over the walls, hoping to gain a clue to the meaning of all of this.  There was one word over and over again.  I did not understand.  I could not read it, I could barely walk, my throat was dry, and my stomach had stopped announcing it was hungry days ago.  I knew my body is now dying.  

 

    “What do you search for?”  a voice sounded raspy behind me.

 

    Startled I spun around.  I grabbed for the blaster on my belt but it was gone.  This must be my rescuer and captor.

 

    It was like looking into the face of a ghost.  Suddenly before me I say the man that I had only seen in a hologram.  He wore a short beard, and dark brown tunic, with a hood.  On his belt I was my blaster, along with some other tools, and weapons, one of which I recognized as a light saber.

 

    “You’re Luke!” I exclaimed as a statement and not a question.  “I have been looking for you for years.  What are you doing out here?”

 

    “Looking for quiet.  For peace.”  Luke said as he turned toward his desk and sat down clearly exhausted.  “There was no peace.  No place to learn, study, and think.  So I left everything and everyone.  I finally found this moon devoid of any civilization, and made myself study.  Devoted my life to it, you could say.”

 

    “I can’t believe it’s you!  You are the person I’ve devoted my life to search for.” I said.

 

    “Yes, you said that.  I’m curious, how did you find me, and who sent you.”

 

    “You did.” I said rather meekly.  “I was on Coruscant hiding.  I lost everything, grew up a slave and could not escape the warlords.  So I left.  Seeking refuge.”  

 

“And how did you find me?”  

 

“You found me.  My ship crashed into this planet.  I was heading for the outer rim when my ship started to malfunction.  I crashed into this planet.  I had to abandon the wreck due to the sand storms when I guess I passed out.”

 

Handing me a crude clay cup he opened a small door in the wall and said, “Drink.”

 

As I could not remember the last time I had a drink I quickly placed the cup in the door and watched as a small tube descended from the cabinet and filled my cup.  “Where did you find water?”

 

“This place used to be a forest.  You are sitting on top of an ancient below ground river.”

 

After chugging the entire cup and then refilling and drinking again, I leaned up against the dirt wall of the cave and watched as Luke reclined in his chair, fingering the light saber on his belt.  He seemed to be contemplating whether or not he believed me.

 

“I am Eli, I have chronicled my search for you.  Inside my ship there are recordings, and records of everywhere I have looked…”

 

He cut me off. “I don’t need that.  I’m know you are telling me the truth.  What I want to know is why you are searching for me?  What do you think I can tell you?”

 

“The truth.  Answers that you were looking for.  You said in the message you left in the Jedi temple that you were leaving to look for answers, and when you found them you would come back.”

 

For an uncomfortable long time we sat in silence.  Luke seemed to be looking into the distance.  I could still hear the sand storm howling outside, and through the force field I could see that it was still raging outside the little cave.  

 

“What is truth?” He stated rather than asked.  “That is a question that has been posed by many over the years.  It’s something that had been debated, fought over, and never settled by our species for thousands of years.”  He slowly and methodically spoke.  Almost as if he were closely guarding his words.  “There is much we don’t know.  Much that we have forgotten.  Much that we take for granted.”

 

“I can assure you that I am genuine in my search.  I believed that you held the answers, that you would find them, and save us all.”

“No.  I can’t save you, or anyone.  I don’t know if I can be saved.  I don’t know if what I have found can really save anyone.  I have more questions than answers.”  He looked tired as he spoke.  Like the weight of a thousand years and a thousand souls weighed on his shoulders.  “I can however, give you a picture.  Fill in some of the gaps, and bring new things to light.”

 

“Please.”  I said quickly.  “I have to know, I want to know.  The ways of the Jedi, the ways of the force.  I saw the temple, read in the archives.  We need this, we need truth.”

 

“The force.”  He chuckled.  “You speak of what you do not know.  And of things you do not understand.”

 

“But you do!”  I cut in.

 

“NO!” He raised his voice and looked sharply in my direction.  “It’s too dangerous.  Too many I have seen turn down the dark path.  Seek to empower themselves, and destroy the truth contained in the force.”

 

“You speak of the dark side.”  I said

 

“Again, you do not understand.”  Luke let out a long sigh.  He rubbed his eyes with his hands, and leaned back in the chair.  “I suppose, you deserve something.  Let me start at the beginning.”

 

The old man rose and walked over to the fire and sat down.  He picked a device out of his pocket and tossed it to me.

 

“My travel recorder!” I exclaimed.  

 

“I went over to your wreck to investigate, just who you were.  I have listened to much of it, since you were out for about a day or so.  I wanted to test you.  I have to make sure you are truly seeking truth.”

 

“I am, I…”  He waved me off.

 

“Come, sit.”  He pointed to a small cushion near the edge of the fire ring.  I quickly sat down.

 

“Please, take out your device and record.”

 

I took out the small metal oval.  There was one button in the center used only to activate and deactivate, since everything else was voice activated.  Pressing the button I opened an open line to record on, then set it down.

 

“What do you know of the force?”  Luke asked picking up a small branch and poking at the fire.

 

“I know it exists all around us, it is in us.  There is a light and dark side, with hate, fear, and anger of the dark path.  I know that the Sith ruled the galaxy, Lord Vader being your father, and the Emperor Sidios, the master.” I tried to conjure up in my memory all that I knew of the force, but that was the most I could say with certainty.

 

Luke sighed. “Yes, the force exists.  There is a light side, and darkness, and all that you said is true of my father and the emperor, but that is only the most basic, and fragmented knowledge of the mysteries of the universe.  The knowledge of the force that we were all taught and have is like saying that all beings in the universe need oxygen for air.  It is true, but what of fish, or other species that derive oxygen from other places.  There is much more.

 

“And you have found more?”

 

“Much more! Yet I do not yet fully understand it all.  Let’s start with what you know.  The force exists all around you, and in you, yes? But you only know the basics of how the force works.  The Jedi order sought to protect peace and justice through the will of the force.  This I never questioned.  Though something always bothered me.  I would have explored it more, but we were at war.  My master Yoda, and master Kenobi, always spoke of the force as an impersonal thing, yet they were very clear that the force has a will.  The dark side also.  It was on that level I began my exploration of the question, what is the force?”

 

“And what did you find?” my full attention was now his.

 

“Not what, but whom!”

 

“An old master? Fallen friends?”

 

“No, no.” Luke said sharply.  “Pay attention. I started looking at the force for what it is, and found that the force is not an it, but a who.”  He paused and looked not at me, but seemingly right through me.  “We do not fully understand the force, because He has His own will.”

 

“You mean to tell me that, the force is a being?”  I asked.

 

“Not just a being, the being! An all powerful being, in control of the entire universe, not just our galaxy.”

 

Skeptical that this might be just be the ramblings of an old man, I asked, “How do you know?”

 

“Great! You do have a mind for questions! You have to have reason, and thought, to understand this.  I searched for knowledge, and wisdom.  Our galaxy was so overrun with corruption and oppression that I needed to find out more of how the force worked.  I searched the Jedi temple archives for years after Coruscant was abandoned.  Most everything was on hologram, except some of the most foreign manuscripts.  These were secured and preserved.  They were strange languages. But, I found some in ancient languages, that looked vaguely familiar.  So I took them to some mystics.  Old hermits living in the outer rim.  They possessed a keystone.”

 

“What is a keystone?”  I asked.

 

“A keystone has different words from different languages that tell us what they mean.  I worked for years on translating scrolls from language, sometime seven translations to get it to something I could read.  The mystics helped.  They were fascinated with finding answers of the unknown.”

 

“As were you.  So why are they so far away from everyone?” I asked.

 

“That is a question of human nature.  I need to speak to what I found. Now after years of research, and endless questions, I finally could read the ancient texts.”

 

Looking back at the endless inscriptions along the cave walls, “Is that what is written here?”

“Some, but some are observations of the text, and of what I learned.”

 

“What did they say?”  

 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

 

“Is that you it speaks of?  Or the prophecy your father was supposed to fulfil?”

 

“Once I thought that my father was the one, even this spoke of.  But I know better now.  This was a prophecy of God.  The God that brings peace, justice, and counsel.  The God of miracles, and of life.  The very God, that is the force.  There is no light side, nor dark side to God, there is another realm.  A realm that we cannot see or hear, only feel and believe.  The force, or what we call the light side is God himself.  Not manipulated through us, but working His will through our choices and actions.  The dark side is made up of three.  Our darkness, the darkness contained in our reality, and a spiritual darkness that causes even death of the soul.”

 

“Wait, I….I have to process this.”

 

“Yes, That was precisely my reaction to all of this.” Luke chuckled.

 

I stood and rubbed my eyes.  This was all too much.  Too much to take in.  I turned to Luke and said, “How do you know?  The warlords use supposed ancient texts to show us that since they are strong, they have the right to take what they desire. If what you say is right, the force, or God, should have wiped them out years ago.  Why has He not spoken, what does He not care?  My parents died for no reason, I was a slave who could have been free.”

    “That, my friend, is what I would like to tell you about.  What you call the “Dark side, God calls sin.  It is what we all do, and have.  Think of it like this.  We all have the dark side seething in our veins.  We all can turn into Lord Vader, and do horrible things.  This is the fundamental problem in the universe.  Because whether we want to admit it or not, we are all dark.”

    “So what is the plan then.” I said is disbelief, and with contempt.

    “Meet Him.”  He simply said with a smile.

    “Who, God?” I snapped

    “Yes.” Luke said

    “How?”  I said sarcastically

    Luke raised himself up to me now.  He looked at me with compassion and said, listen to this. He handed me a small hologram device.  It was small and compact.  

    “Is this the texts you translated?” I asked

    “Yes, that’s what I’ve been doing out here. Recording everything down into my voice and telling the story that God has already been telling for thousands of years.”  Luke said patting me on the shoulder.  “I don’t expect you to believe it all right away, or even speak to Him, but you can.”

    I walked over and stopped the recording on my device.  I placed it in my pocket.

 

    “Now you must go.”  Luke said handing me a coat.  “The storm has ceased, and by now the droids are done with your ship.

“You were planning this from the start” I said.

“Yes.  When I found you, I had hoped that you might be the one to carry this message.  I am getting old now, and my time has come, my race is coming to an end. You must decide if this is truth or not, and carry it to the galaxy.”

I thanked him, and we walked out into the desert.  Like two old friends.  I was still skeptical of the findings Luke presented, but it was hope.  If this was real, there really was a king, God, and being that could put everything right.  I was looking for hope.

As the cockpit closed I waved one last goodbye to the old hero.  As I blasted into space and cruised into the orbit, I realized I had nowhere to go.  I had been searching for so long, I never thought of what would be the end.  So I charted a course home.  My home planet, Tatooine. I charted the course, and sat back reflecting.  I had just completed my quest, and still had questions. Out of my pocket came the hologram recorder.  I pressed the button and played the presentation.

    “In the beginning was the Word.  And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God, and by Him all things were made that was made…..”