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Old October 20 2009, 09:39 PM   #31
Location: Lyon, France
Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Chapter 6

Prince Han Solo watched the Jedi pilot walk away across the circular landing pad with the Alliance captain. He appreciated the view for a moment, a smile on his face. The sight of her tight-fitting flight-suit as she sauntered towards the waiting X-wings…

A polite cough brought his attention back to the job at hand. He turned to find Triad Amidala looking at him with a small smile on her face. The other Alliance diplomat, the Alderaani prince, scowled.

"Are you with us, Prince Solo?"

"Yes. Yes of course." He gave her his most winning smile. To his surprise, she winked back.

"Good. I would hate Lance here to have to shoot you for oggling his fiancé."

Han started. He looked at the Alderaani prince again. That explained the frown. He bowed his head. "Of course. No offence, my lord."

"None taken," Lance said. Han didn't need to be a Jedi to know the man was lying.

“And all my congratulations, of course. When is the happy day?”

“We have not chosen a date yet.” The Alderaani prince seemed uncomfortable. “It is… recent.”

It must be if my father’s spies haven’t gotten wind of it yet. He would enjoy telling his father this little piece of information himself. It wasn’t often he could surprise Jonash Solo.

“Still, I hope it will be a spring wedding. Naboo is so beautiful in the spring.”

Han turned back to Amidala, detecting a hint of sadness in her voice. Even in the wan sunlight that filtered through the thick clouds overhead, she was as beautiful if not more so than her daughter. Her white hair and lined face gave her beauty a striking note, like a rose blooming amongst the first fall of snow. Her warm brown eyes seemed to hide a galaxy of sorrow, yet she smiled.

A smile that turned suddenly to a frown. "They’re here."

Solo looked back to find the Imperial delegation, led by Grand Moff Tarkin, almost upon them. They were framed by the ominous bulk of the Imperial Palace, whose spires pierced the storm clouds with claw-like ease. Behind the Moff strode three senators in formal suits, two governors with their military dress uniforms and a couple of members of the Sith Council in their long white robes. The priests sent a shiver down Han's spine every time he encountered them. Still, years of diplomatic service for his father had taught him to hide those kind of feelings. He did so now, turning smartly and inclining his head to the leading Moff.

“Grand Moff Tarkin.”

The Imperial delegation stopped as one a few steps away. Tarkin towered over them all, his skeletal frame seeming to creak as he nodded to them. "Prince Solo. I trust you are well since our last meeting?"

Han forced a smile. Like every other meeting for the past three months, their last had been a neverending battle of wits as both men had tried to get one up on the other. Table seating arrangements, location of living chambers, even the colour of the Alliance delegation’s robes – it had all been discussed, rehashed, discussed some more and finally argued over. The ultimate decision had made no one happy. Politics. Han couldn’t lie to himself – he loved it.

"Very well, thank you. If would allow me to introduce..."

"Queen Amidala. Of course. No introduction is necessary. How lovely to see you again."

Solo clenched his teeth. As usual, Tarkin was trying to push him to one side. Not this time, Wilhulf. If you do that again, I swear I'll shove a blaster barrell up your...

"It's Triad Amidala, actually.” The former queen smiled and allowed him to take her hand in his.

"Of course."

Solo tried to introduce Tarkin to the other members of the Alliance delegation, but Tarkin only seemed interested in Amidala. He moved closer, neatly cutting Solo out of the circle.

“Or should I call you Triad Kenobi?” He smiled. Snake, Han thought. “The Emperor was most pleased to hear that you had remarried. To a Jedi no less. I trust he is well? We hear such reports of Jedi risking their lives in foolhardy missions into the Unclaimed Territories. I would hate to think that he was one of them.” An edge had crept into Tarkin’s words, one that Han didn’t understand.

Amidala, though, seemed to understand perfectly. "My husband can take care of himself. I’m sure he is well, the Force willing."

"Indeed." Tarkin leaned in conspiratorially. "I have to admit I've never understood this continuous obsession with ancient religions. We live in an enlightened age, after all."

"I'm not sure your companions would agree," Padme responded. Nicely played, my lady.

Tarkin looked at the two Sith with obvious distaste. "No, probably not."

“What about you, Prince Solo?” Amidala asked, forcing Tarkin to take a step back so as to include him in the conversation. “Obi-wan tells me there has not been a single Corellian Jedi since the War.”

Solo thanked Amidala silently. “No. We don’t have much time for esoterism and religion. We prefer complicated politics, fast ships and the reassuring sounds of a gambling table.”

Tarkin sniffed. “And Kessel spices.”

“When possible.”

“It has been too long since I’ve played a good game of sabaac,” Amidala said. She smiled at Han. “Perhaps you would indulge me while we are here?”

He nodded. “It would be my pleasure, milady.”

Tarkin interrupted. "I must tell you, my lady, that the Emperor has been looking forward to seeing you again. He speaks of you with only the highest praise, despite your ideological differences. He often tells stories of you when you were Queen – it seems you were quite headstrong. Why, just this morning he was telling me how the two of you fought side by side on Naboo.”

“Actually, I fought on Naboo. Senator Palpatine remained behind on Coruscant.” Well said.

“Fighting on the floor of the Senate, my lady.”

“Unfortunately, the Senate was rather powerless in that situation.”

“A fact that the Emperor moved to amend when he founded the Empire.”

Lance spoke up, his eyes flashing. “At the expense of the freedoms and liberties we had enjoyed for centuries, if not millenia.”

Tarkin turned his icy stare on Lance. “Freedoms and liberties your forefathers fought for in the Clone Wars, Prince Organa, but which you…”

“Have fought to protect against Imperial encroachments into Alliance space.”

“Encroachments? A few ships, no more.”

“I’ll remember to tell that to the thousands who died on Galatia.”

This was getting out of hand. Han stepped between the two men. “Gentlemen, please. This is neither the time, nor the place.” Both men took a step back. “Now, I’m sure that the delegates and their escort are all tired.” He turned to Tarkin. “I believe you have arranged quarters in the Commerce District, so perhaps it would be possible to…”

“Actually no.”

Han frowned. “I’m sorry?”

“I sent a communique to your office an hour ago, Prince Solo. I assumed you had received it. The Emperor insisted that the delegates receive accomodation in the Palace.”

Han stepped forward. “That was not what was discussed.”

Tarkin waved his hand. “A detail. The rest of the conference will occur as planned.”

Fighting his instincts, Han forced his body to relax. He smiled. “Of course. Please. Lead on.”

Tarkin clapped his hands and three servants dressed in white robes scurried forward. They bowed low, their eyes downcast. "They will show you the way."

Han stepped forward, in front of Tarkin, bowing low over Amidala’s hand. “A pleasure, as always, Triad.”

She laughed, the sound almost a giggle. “How galant.”

He grinned at her, wondering whether to risk a wink. He thought better of it, bowing his head again before standing. “I will see you tomorrow.”

She smiled again, then turned to follow the servants’ lead. Before she had taken a few steps, though, a shout rang out across the landing pad.


Amidala spun round, a look of shock on her face. Han followed her gaze to see a young boy – ten or eleven at the most – racing across the landing pad. He seemed to have come from the Tantive IV, whose loading bay was still open. A young woman scurried behind him, her arms flailing. As the boy got closer, Han saw that he had unruly brown hair and the most piercing blue eyes.

The boy threw himself into Amidala’s arms, squeezing her tight. “Mother, you said you’d come and get me.”

Amidala put her arms around her son’s shoulders. Han saw her glance at Tarkin and he would have sworn that he saw fear in her eyes. “Kie-wan, I told you to stay on the ship.”

“But I saw you leaving.”

“Only for a little while. I would have come for you.”

The young woman finally reached the group of delegates, her chest heaving as she tried to catch her breath. “I’m sorry, my lady. I just turned my back for a minute and…”

“That’s alright, Elissa.” Amidala took a deep breath, then forced a smile on her face. “Gentlemen, I would like you to meet my son, Kie-wan Amidala Kenobi.”

As if seeing all of the people around him for the first time, Kie-wan shrank back against his mother, clutching at her diplomatic robes. He looked from one to the other. When his eyes met Han’s, Han winked at him and smiled. Kie-wan smiled back, then buried his face in his mother’s robes. Seems like a nice kid. A bit shy, but nice.

“I am sure we can find accomodation for your son at the Palace as well, Lady Amidala,” Tarkin said. “If we had known he was coming, we would have…”

Amidala shook her head. “It was a last moment decision. He was supposed to remain behind with his father but…”

She trailed off, a hint of disbelief in her eyes, as if she had said something she shouldn’t have. Tarkin smiled. “Off on important Jedi business. Say no more.”

Amidala nodded her head stiffly. “Shall we?” she asked.

Tarkin bowed, indicating with his arm that she should follow the servants who were still waiting. Clutching her son, the Triad allowed the servants to lead her away towards the Palace. Han watched her leave, then nodded to Lance, who smiled stiffly and followed the Nabooan diplomat. Holding back, Han reached out and grabbed Tarkin by the arm. The Grand Moff stared down at his hand as if it were some strange beast from the depths of the Western Sea.

"I don't want to have to remind you that Corellia has worked very hard to organise these talks, Wilhelm."

"And we are most grateful for your assistance, Han. Now if..."

Han tightened his grip. "It would be unfortunate if the Unallied Worlds were forced to take sides in these talks." He knew he was taking a risk using such a hard line now, but he needed to reassert his position before Tarkin tried to cut him out entirely.

Tarkin's eyes hardened. "Are you threatening me, Prince Solo?"

Han let him go, but kept his hand on his sleeve. "Just making an observation. If it hadn’t been for the Solo Line, who knows where the Alliance and the Empire would be today."

"Quite. We owe a lot. To your father.” Both men glared at one another for a moment, then Tarkin smiled. “Still, the Unallied Worlds have maintained their independence by remaining unallied. It would be a shame if you were to lose that independence because you decided to back the wrong side. Just an observation, of course."

Tarkin shrugged Han's hand from his arm and turned smartly. Han watched him go, unease settling like a lead weight in his belly. Tarkin seemed... too arrogant, if that were possible. As if he knew something Han didn't. Something that had convinced him he no longer needed the Unallied Worlds support in these talks. I have a bad feeling about this.

He needed to talk to his father. Jonash Solo, the architect of the Corellia Accords, the man who forged the Unallied Worlds into a force to be reckoned with and gained himself a throne in the bargain. He would know what to do.

He turned to walk over to the landing pad where he had left his speeder. It was a short flight to the Embassy and Han could have used the public transport system, but he took every opportunity he could to get behind the wheel. As he turned, though, he caught sight of the young Jedi pilot – Leia – talking to Captain Antilles, and he stopped. He studied her more closely, admiring her full figure once again. Her brown hair was cut short, framing her drawn, sombre features. Han allowed his eyes to trace the strong line of her jaw, down her neck to the slightest hint of her shoulder blades under the Alliance jumpsuit. If he had had to choose between her and her mother, he would have been hard pressed to say who was the more beautiful.

The conversation seemed to be coming to an end. Antilles said something in parting, then turned and headed after Amidala and the rest of the Alliance delegation. Leia took a few steps towards her waiting flight mates, paused and swung round. Just for a moment, their eyes met. Han felt a jolt of electricity travel down his spine and into his gut. He grinned at her and for a moment he would have sworn she was about to smile back. Then she seemed to realise what she was doing and she stopped herself. Spinning away, she began to fumble with her cloak.

Han headed for his speeder, shaking his head. This was not the time and she certainly wasn't the woman. A Jedi! He had no time for their hokey religion. Give him a bargaining table and a treaty negotiation any day.

And a blaster when things don't go my way, he added to himself.

Arriving at his speeder – a brand new Qatari 359 – he stopped and took a deep breath to clear his head of the tantalising ghost of her face. The familiar smells of the city-planet washed over him. The heady tang of speeder exhaust fumes and power collection overflow mingled with the foul stench of refuse gathering in the lower levels and the more pleasant aroma of spices rising from a nearby processing plant. Coruscant had almost become home over the past five years. Not in the same way that Corellia was home, it would never be that. But it was close.

Han shook his head again. He needed to stay focused. These negotiations might turn out to be even more important than those that led to the Corellia Accords. He had his father’s reputation to live up to. He couldn’t afford complications. Any complications. First, he would talk to his father. Then… Then he would try and find out what Tarkin was planning.

Still, he allowed as he walked away, she seems to have a lot of spirit.
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Old October 20 2009, 11:54 PM   #32
The Badger
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

This is excellent. Well thought out, well written. The only way it could get better is by putting Leia in the infamous metal bikini. Though I don't think, as a Jedi, she'd stand for that!
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Old October 21 2009, 02:56 AM   #33
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Makes perfect sense that the Solos would find a way to rise in an unsure situation. Ditto that the Empire is not accepting the status quo. Palps was probably re-calculating his plans from the moment Mace and Anakin got clear of him.

Kie-wan's existence makes sense to me as well; less so Lance's, since I thought the Organas couldn't have children, but his L-name suggests something. I have all kinds of guesses, but instead I'll just let you keep telling this great story, but with one question : Does this Luke have anything going for him? It seems like Anakin might have kept him down better than Owen could ever hope to.
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Old October 21 2009, 03:49 AM   #34
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Interesting--but Kie-wan's presence definitely seems to have complicated matters. And it's interesting how Tarkin manages to deny the Jedi and the Sith despite their openness...
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Old October 21 2009, 09:32 AM   #35
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Commentary on Chapters 1 & 2

So, the old Republic is still dead, fractured into the Empire and the Alliance. The Jedi still live, or at least some of them do, and that’s a telling difference in and of itself. That as senior a Jedi as Obi Wan is still out performing missions more appropriate for a much younger warrior indicates to me that these are still dark and desperate times.

Good to see Lando at the helm of the Falcon. Apparently, in this reality he’s better at cards.

Luke has had the influence of a father, rather than a distant and contentious relationship with an aunt and uncle who are trying to shield him from his heritage. One wonders how this has effected him, and what differences we might find from the Luke we all know. Anikan is embittered, and rightfully so, as he’s been physically and mentally scarred and his beloved wife is dead (or so it would appear).

You’re laying a terrific foundation for a very different kind of story here. Looking forward to more.
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Old October 21 2009, 11:14 AM   #36
Location: Lyon, France
Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

The Badger

Thanks so much! I'm glad you're enjoying this despite the absence of Leia in a metal bikini!

No, I doubt she would stand for it, would she? However, who knows what might happen down the line...


I'm so glad that this alternate universe makes sense - I spent a long time working out exactly how this galaxy would develop under these circumstances and I'm happy that shows and more importantly that it works.

I'd be interested to know what your guesses are regarding Lance... As to the Organa's not being able to have children, there is an explanation for that.

To answer your question - Luke is much less of a rebel than he was in our timeline, but he does still have the Force within him. How that will develop, though, will not at all be how it did in our timeline.


Thanks, it is cool you find this interesting. Kie-wan will have a much larger role later on, for now he is a complication.


Wow, thanks for this indepth commentary of the first two chapters, can't wait to see what you think of the others.

So, the old Republic is still dead, fractured into the Empire and the Alliance. The Jedi still live, or at least some of them do, and that’s a telling difference in and of itself. That as senior a Jedi as Obi Wan is still out performing missions more appropriate for a much younger warrior indicates to me that these are still dark and desperate times.
In this galaxy, the Sith are openly revealed, meaning that Force-able young men and women are just as likely to be found and trained by the Sith as by the Jedi. That means less people to train, but also means that the Jedi have been forced to relax their strict conditions in order to remain a force in the galaxy.

Good to see Lando at the helm of the Falcon. Apparently, in this reality he’s better at cards.
Or maybe there was no one there to win it from him...

Luke has had the influence of a father, rather than a distant and contentious relationship with an aunt and uncle who are trying to shield him from his heritage. One wonders how this has effected him, and what differences we might find from the Luke we all know. Anikan is embittered, and rightfully so, as he’s been physically and mentally scarred and his beloved wife is dead (or so it would appear).
Luke is still Luke, but yes his upbringing has changed him. He is much more angry and the secrets his father has kept from him aren't going to help things...

You’re laying a terrific foundation for a very different kind of story here. Looking forward to more.
Again, Thanks!!! Can't wait to read your comments for the rest.

Thanks to you all, so glad you're enjoying this little story set A Long Time Ago...
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Old October 22 2009, 09:50 PM   #37
Location: Lyon, France
Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Chapter 7

Darkness found the city of Mos Espa hunkering down amongst the dunes for another night, like a great twisting snake. Tenement buildings gradually vanished into the shadows, lit only by bonfires and flickering make-shift lamps. Swoopbikes raced down the thoroughfare of Mos Espa Way, which had been full of people during the day. Labyrinthine alleys were scoured with blaster bolts or drenched in multi-hued blood. Walls crumbled as the wind blew sand through abandoned courtyards, each decaying, neither with any hope of ever being restored.

Mos Espa was dying.

As the wind swept in from the sands, Obi-wan led Anakin into the heart of darkness. Out on the fringe of the city, on the northern edge of Mos Espa Way, violence spilled out of every doorway. Yet Luke’s trail led here.

Waves of fury, fear and despair washed over Obi-wan, emanating from Anakin. How has he not fallen to the Dark Side? he wondered. Still, he said nothing. Anakin had only reluctantly accepted Obi-wan’s help, the Force’s help, in finding his son. The look he had given his old master as they left the junk shop, though, had made it clear that Obi-wan should stay quiet.

So they wandered the sinuous Mos Espa Way, Obi-wan following the will of the Force, his sense of Luke’s force potential strong. Their path seemed erratic, as erratic as the wanderings of a scared young man looking for answers. Inexorably, though, the path led here, into the dying streets out near the sands.

As they passed what had once been Jabba the Hutt’s city house, a gang appeared out of the shadows of an alleyway up ahead. Obi-wan drew the hood of his cloak close, hoping to get past without any trouble. Two of them stepped out into the street, though, human faces tattooed to ressemble a Zabrak. Obi-wan felt a surge of anger at the sight – even after so many years, after losing so many friends, he still felt Qui-Gonn’s death keenly. He smothered the emotion, allowing the Force to guide his words.

“Hey Grek, look at the old timers.”

“What are you doing out? Isn’t it past your bed time?” They laughed at the feeble joke.

“We don’t want any trouble,” Obi-wan said in a level tone, allowing a hint of the Force to seep into his words.

“This is our street, old man. You want to walk our street, you pay your way.”

Obi-wan sighed. These men were going to take more persuasion than he had thought. And he needed to be fast – he could feel the mounting frustration bubbling up in Anakin behind him. He didn’t want his old padawan to do something rash.

Using an old trick Master Yoda had taught him as a concentration exercice, Obi-wan waved his hand at the same time as he spoke.

“We’re not worth your time.”

The two gang-members’ eyes went blank. Both of them repeated: “You’re not worth our time.”

“You want to let us go, now.”

“We want to let you go, now.”

“Go away.”

They turned to leave. Obi-wan heaved a sigh of relief when a high-pitched rumble echoed in the street.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing? Why you turning away?”

A figure slid away from the shadows. Obi-wan suppressed a groan. A Hutt. It had to be a Hutt.

The newcomer’s words seemed to cut through the suggestions that Obi-wan had placed in the other two men’s minds. They turned back and Obi-wan could feel their anger blaze up, hot like a newborn star. This might get ugly.

Before he could attempt a more diplomatic route, though, Anakin darted forward. He moved much faster than even Obi-wan could have expected, grabbing a hold of the nearest gang member’s shoulder and spinning him around. One arm wrapped around the man’s neck, he ignited his lightsabre in the other, holding it a mere inch from the gang member’s face.

“Jedi!” One or two of the gang-members scampered straight away, but a few more – including the Hutt – stayed where they were, hands reaching for blasters, pipes and vibroblades.

“Don’t move or I’ll cut him a new breathing hole,” Anakin snarled. The gang-members allowed their hands to fall back to their sides.

This is not the Jedi way. Master Windu’s voice echoed in Obi-wan’s head. He grimaced. He had to do something before this got out of hand.

“Anakin, I…”

“Shut up! Now, we don’t want to hurt anyone. We’re looking for someone. A boy, about your age, light hair, dressed in a mechanic’s clothes.”

“We ain’t seen no stinking Jedi boy.”

“You think you can try your old Jedi mind tricks on us?” the Hutt whined. “No Jedi mind tricks work on a Hutt.”

“Anakin, we should go,” Obi-wan said. “This isn’t the way.”

Obi-wan had never known Anakin’s feelings to be straightforward. They had always been complex, as confused as the warren of Mos Espa streets where he had grown up. It had been one of the main problems when Anakin had been his padawan. Now, though, with the loss of his son, that problem seemed to have been increased a hundred-fold. To Obi-wan’s dismay, though, dark emotions seemed to be paramount. What if Anakin has already slipped too far? If only he could sense Anakin’s presence in the Force… How could he hide himself so completely?

“I seen your boy,” one of the gang-members, a three eyed Gran, said out of the blue, returning Obi-wan to the here and now. “He came through here.”

Anakin looked to Obi-wan. Grimacing, the Jedi Master reached out with his senses. The Gran seemed to be telling the truth. He sensed fear and anger, but no deceit. He looked back at Anakin, nodding.

“Where did he go?”

The Gran pointed down a side street. “That way. I saw him head into an alley a little way down. Then he left with a streetwalker.”

A streetwalker? He looked at Anakin whose eyes blazed. “What are you talking about?”

“She was all dressed in leather,” the Gran leered. “With bright red hair.”

Obi-wan felt a lance of hot ice down his spine. No. No, it can’t be. What if they were already too late? He stifled the sudden surge of fear, but he could not keep the urgency from his voice.

“Anakin, we need to go.”

Anakin sensed the urgency in his friend’s voice. He nodded. “Alright, we’re going to leave now. Any of you want to follow us, just remember who you’re facing. We can sense you coming before you even think about it. You got me?”

Those who remained nodded. Obi-wan doubted the threat would stop them for long. They’d fall back, regroup, then come after them. Pride demanded it. If only Anakin had let me handle things… Still, if Obi-wan was right, they wouldn’t need much time. Force, let me be wrong.

Anakin let the gang-member go and he scurried off to join his friends. As Obi-wan had expected, they pulled back into the shadows. He could feel their eyes on them as they passed on down the street. A few minutes, maybe a little more.

“We’d better hurry,” Obi-wan said.

Anakin just nodded.

Quickening their pace, they reached the alleyway that the Gran had indicated. Obi-wan reached out with his senses. As he had feared, he felt the presence of the Dark Side. A Sith had been here. Recently. He reached out and grabbed Anakin’s shoulder.

“The Dark Side.”

Anakin’s eyes widened. He tore himself away from his former master and ran into the alleyway. Pulling back his cloak, Obi-wan followed him, hand hovering near his lightsabre in case he needed it.

When he saw his old friend crouched on the floor, a figure cradled in his arms, Obi-wan feared the worst. Taking a step forward, though, he saw a furry paw in the light from the streetlamps behind him. A Wookie?

“Chewbacca? What happened?” Anakin was asking.

Obi-wan took a few more steps forward. As he drew closer, he saw that there was little blood. The sight of the two cleanly severed stumps at the end of both arms and the cauterised lightsabre wounds that punctured the heart and lungs confirmed his fears. He reached out with his senses nevertheless, allowing the Force to guide him. Years of tracking Sith-trained operatives throughout worlds along the Solo Line had honed his ability to sense the Dark Side into a fine art. Whoever had been here was gone now. So was Luke.

Anakin seemed oblivious to the signs, though. Can’t he sense the presence of the Dark Side? Could he be so far gone? “Anakin,” he whispered.

Anakin looked up at him, then followed his gaze to the Wookie’s chest. When he saw the wounds, his eyes widened.

“Chewbacca. Who did this to you?”

The Wookie groaned. At least so it seemed to Obi-wan until Anakin spoke.

“What did she look like?”

She? Of course, the streetwalker. Red hair. It had to be her. The Red Lady. The Emperor’s favored Hand. He was about to tell Anakin what he suspected when the Wookie spoke again. Anakin stiffened.

“What did she do to Luke?”

Obi-wan felt a surge of anger rise from his friend as the Wookie grunted and growled, struggling to tell Anakin what he had seen. The poor creature’s words trailed off into a wracking cough before he could finish, though. The cough faded into a dull choking sound as the Wookie’s lungs filled with blood. Before either man could do anything, the Wookie took a final, rattling breath and went still.

The two men remained still for a moment, the silence growing between them. Obi-wan couldn’t believe this had happened. This wasn’t what he had planned. He had been sure that he would be able to convince Anakin to come back, to help. Instead, he had allowed his friend’s son to be taken by a Sith. A Sith and the son of Skywalker. The Son of…

Like a bolt of lightning out of a clear blue sky, he had it. Obi-wan’s blood ran cold. Master Yoda. The Prophecy. A Sith and the Son of Skywalker. By the Force, Master Yoda’s prophecy. The prophecy is coming true. Oh Anakin!

Anakin’s voice cut through his reverie. His old friend had stood up, laying Chewbacca’s body on the ground at his feet.

“Where will she take him?” he asked.

“Anakin, I…”

“Where?" Anakin cut him off.

"Coruscant, I would imagine." Obi-wan resigned himself.


Obi-wan could only nod.

Anakin thought about what Obi-wan had said for a few moments, then came to a decision.

"You're coming with me."

He started to push past his old friend. Obi-wan reached out a hand to grab him, to reason with him.

"Anakin, no I..."

Anakin swung round so fast that Obi-wan didn't even have time to react to the oncoming fist. He found himself on the ground all of a sudden, his chin throbbing, blood on his lips.

"You owe me, old man. This is all your fault. Now my boy is gone and..."

Grief flooded Obi-wan's senses, wave after wave. Anakin saw it reflected in his eyes and turned away, as if he could hide his feelings. Obi-wan sensed Anakin’s struggle – guilt and despair warring for control with anger and his need to save his son. Slowly, his love for his son won out, even over his anger at Obi-wan. His shoulders slumped.

"Please help me, Obi-wan. I can't do this without you. You're my only hope of getting to Palpatine before he turns my boy."

Again grief flooded through Obi-wan's mind, but this time it was all his own. I don't have a choice. May the Force forgive me Padme. I don't have a choice.
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Old October 23 2009, 12:53 AM   #38
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Ah, the "help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope" moment! As others have said, a very well thought out AU. I am looking forward to seeing where you take us with this.
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Old October 23 2009, 03:55 PM   #39
Location: Lyon, France
Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

USS Avenger

Thanks so much! Glad you're enjoying this. And I'm so glad you picked up on the 'Help me Obi-wan' reference, when I posted this over at no one did!

More soon
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Old October 23 2009, 05:15 PM   #40
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

You knew Chewie was gone from the Mara Jade sequence, but it still hit home hard. I think perhaps Obi-Wan may misunderstand Anakin's rage; I'm beginning to think he withdrew not merely in a snit or out of jealousy, but because he feared his own rage and becoming a tool of Palpatine again.
I now fear that the ending of this will be

Keep it up!
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Old October 23 2009, 05:31 PM   #41
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Man, that was CREEPY seeing Chewie killed in such an ignominious manner!!!
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Old October 23 2009, 11:13 PM   #42
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

This has been really fascinating. So the divergent point for this timeline was the encounter in the Chancellor's office between Mace and Palpatine. It has been great to see all the different characters so far in their alternate roles, Anakin seems to be able to control his emotions to some degree but has anger issues that are on the verge of pushing himself to the Dark Side. Does Ahoska still exist in this universe or are you not using her? Maybe she was killed in the Clone Wars. Interesting to see that Obi-Wan and Padme have married and had children of their own. Leia is interesting. Looking forward to seeing the conclution to this.
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Old October 24 2009, 11:18 PM   #43
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Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

So against his own wishes Anakin is forced to turn to his old master to save his son. He can't be happy with that situation...

Killing off Chewbacca, especially in such an ignominious manner, really highlights the differences between this version and the other.

And the echo of the 'Help me Obi-Wan' line was cool, but not inappropriate.
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Old October 26 2009, 09:40 AM   #44
Location: Lyon, France
Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope


I'll give you this, you have some insightful comments on this story. Obi-Wan definitely misunderstands what is going on with Anakin, though whether it is because of what you have written here I'll leave you to figure out (hint: it is a bit more complex than that). As for your idea for the ending... Obviously I'm not going to say either way but is sure is interesting!


Glad I creeped you out!

Admiral Young

So glad to see your feedback! For the POD... Yes, the point of divergence was the battle in Palpatine's office. There are a lot of clues to where I'm going with this story in that prologue. A hell of a lot! (hint hint)

Obi-wan and Padme was a tough call but it seemed to fit with where I was going with this and what I wanted for Anakin - it seemed the perfect way to push Anakin out of the fledgling Alliance and to create some great conflict between him and Obi-Wan.

Really glad you're enjoying this and hope to see some more feedback in the later chapters!

The Badger

Killing off Chewbacca, especially in such an ignominious manner, really highlights the differences between this version and the other.

And the echo of the 'Help me Obi-Wan' line was cool, but not inappropriate.
Yeah, I wanted to show that this was not the reality we know and that no one is safe. Killing off Chewie seemed one of the best ways to do that.

And glad you liked the 'Help me Obi-Wan' line.

More coming soon!
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Old October 26 2009, 06:39 PM   #45
Location: Lyon, France
Re: SW AU - A Glimmer of Hope

Chapter 8

Anakin led Obi-wan through the back ways and side alleys with the confidence of a man who has lived most of his life in the same city. Mos Espa was his home. When he had left Naboo, this had been the only place he could imagine living. It was a hard planet, even more so since the Rise. Yet the people here thrived. They took care of one another and they scrounged a life out of the dregs of the galaxy.

Or at least they used to.

Every step seemed to be taking him further and further away from that life. Anakin felt like he was leaving his mother all over again. Almost as if he could twist his head round and see her stood in the doorway of their slave quarters, watching him leave as she held back the tears. Anakin forced himself to keep his eyes forward, taking each step one at a time, concentrating on the sound of the dust and the sand crunching beneath his feet.

The first light of dawn was crowning when they reached the docking bay on the far north-east outskirts of the city. With that gang out for blood, it had seemed safer to take the long way around, through decaying alleyways and abandoned tenements. Anakin could hear Obi-wan’s laboured breathing behind him and he tried hard not to feel a hint of satisfaction that his old master was so out of shape. You’re getting old, Obi-wan.

The docking bay was quiet, bedarkened but for a single series of lights that shone from the remains of an ancient freighter ship. The ship had its nose buried in the sand and its engines exposed to the cool early morning air. Anakin had known that even if the whole city slept, the Tap Caff would be awake. They should be able to find a ship here to get them to Smuggler’s Run.

And how did I let myself get talked into that? Anakin wondered. Obi-wan had insisted. An Alliance ship would be the easiest and fastest way to get to Coruscant, and he just happened to have one waiting for him in the Run. What had he called her? The Falcon? Damn fool name for a ship. And besides, she was still an Alliance ship. It seemed like suicide to try and get into the Empire’s capital aboard one of her enemies’ ships.

Obi-wan hadn’t left him much choice though. The Run it was. And Anakin had a pretty good idea of how to get there. He just hoped she had forgiven him.

As they walked across the tarmac to the Caff, Anakin felt a surge of nostalgia. Second time tonight. Must be Obi-wan. But whether it was the presence of his former master or not, Anakin had a clear vision of himself as a little boy, hiding in the shadows of the cargo containers, staring at the ships as they took off or landed, and dreaming of adventure out in the stars.

Then the memory was overtaken by another, more immediate one. One of him and Luke, walking off the transport ship that brought them here. Luke had been even younger than Anakin had been when he left. Anakin could still feel the warmth of his boy's hand in his, could still see the look on his face as he gazed at all of the aliens walking through the port around them.

Grief surged, tempered only by the anger that followed on its heels. Anakin welcomed the feelings, embraced them. He caught Obi-wan glancing at him, knew that his old master could feel his turmoil. Anakin didn't care. Emotions can't hurt me anymore, Obi-wan.

Before they entered the Caff, Anakin held up a hand to stop his former master.

"This isn't a garden party on Naboo, Obi-wan. You follow my lead and you keep that," - jabbing at the lightsabre hidden beneath his cloak - "out of sight. You got me?"

Obi-wan just smiled. Anakin felt his cheeks burn, reminded of what he had done with those gang-members not even an hour before. He had vowed never to take up a lightsabre again. Yet now, with Luke taken by Palpatine’s Hand, none of that seemed important anymore. Even keeping his secret – that the Force had abandoned him – did not seem as vital as it had only a day before.

"A hive of scum and villainy, hey?” Obi-wan was saying. “Just like the old days."

"Actually, they're just normal people trying to make their way in a galaxy other people tore apart."

Anakin couldn't help feeling a little spiteful kick at the look on Obi-wan's face. He turned away, leading the Jedi master into the Caff.

The air inside was laden with pure clouds of Ylesian and Kessel spices. Anakin couldn’t see more than a few steps in front of him. Without the Force to help direct him, he made do like normal beings, trailing his hand down the wall to guide himself down the few steps, down into a central area where the bar lay surrounded by tables.

The place stank of too many bodies in too small a space. Spicy human odours mingled with the feral stink of furry aliens or the dry smell of reptilians or insectoids. A few of the pilots looked up to see who the newcomers were, but most knew Anakin from the shop. One or two waved, others nodded. The vast majority ignored him. Just the way I like it.

Anakin and Obi-wan shared a glance, then he led the older Jedi over to the bar. The bar tender, a re-conditioned protocol droid, spun round to face them.

"Master Skywalker! How many times do I have to tell you we don't -"

"Serve my kind in here. Yeah C2, I know."

Laughing merrily at his - old - joke, the droid trundled forward. "So what can I get you?"

"Nothing tonight. I'm looking for Ana."

The droid bobbed his head and made a whistling sound. A mechanical approximation of a wink. "You're in luck. She just got here. Look in the back."

Anakin let out a breath. He had been worried she wouldn't be back from the Far Outer Rim yet. He nodded thanks to C2 and began to walk round the bar towards the rear tables. He was almost out of sight when the silver droid called out to him.

"You say hi to Luke for me, ok? It's been an age since I’ve seen him in here oggling the pilots."

Anakin paused, his fists clenching as he imagined Luke in Palpatine's hands. He forced himself to relax.

"I will," he said, so soft he might as well have whispered. I swear I will, he promised himself.

The tables at the back were set aside for the crews of the smuggling ships. Unofficially called Smuggler's Circle , it was almost empty tonight except for one table. The flight crew that sat around it were one of the most eclectic Anakin had ever met, because so many of them were from species he had never seen anywhere else.

The Misbegotten Venture liked to fly under the radar and these days that meant charting courses along the Far Outer Rim. She had picked up quite a few strays on her travels. Though there were a few familiar races represented – a Gran, a Rodian and a Twi’lek – there were also some very strange creatures. Three old and wizened men, looking almost like human-sized versions of Master Yoda, sat together in a tight circle. All three of them were blind, their eyes empty sockets, while one of them grasped a mechanical eye in one claw-like hand. He held it tight to his forehead as Anakin appeared and whistled under his breath.

The sound caught the attention of a bear-like alien who called himself Pathfinder. A member of a species known as Chaol, he had been watching the two men. Now he looked up. When he saw Anakin approaching, he growled deep under his breath like a Wookie. Next to him sat a tiny slip of a girl, who looked almost human except for the droid implants she wore on her face, slashing across her forehead, left eye and cheek, and down under her coarse white shirt.

And at the top of the table, a human woman about Anakin’s age sat with her legs hanging over one of the chair’s arms, her hand playing with a single visible strand of her blond hair. The rest of it was hidden beneath a green leather cap. She wore no jewelry and her jumpsuit was of some kind of nerf leather, beaten and stitched together so many times it looked as if it were about to fall apart. Three knives jutted from scabards on her belt and an old blaster hung from her finger. She looked up when she heard the footsteps and her face lit up in a smile as she got to her feet.

Anakin breathed a sigh of relief as she sauntered over to him. She had forgiven him it seemed.

Ana Detani, Capain of the Misbegotten Venture, wrapped her arms around Anakin and kissed him. For an instant, Anakin felt his worries evaporate as he allowed himself to sink into the kiss, wrapping his own arms around her, letting them drift down her back...

She broke off the kiss and stepped out of his embrace. He was about to ask her what was wrong, when she reared back and slapped him across the cheek. His head snapped back and he caught a glimpse of Obi-wan smiling smugly.

"You've got some nerve."

"Ana, listen..." he said as he turned back to face her.

"Do you know how stupid I looked when that hyperdrive you installed..."

"Ana." He raised his voice, cutting her off.

She stopped, still glaring at him. Once he was sure she wasn't going to slap him again, he went on.

"We need to talk. I need your help."

"Well you can just kiss a Wookie, you s-"

"Ana, it's Luke."

Her angry lover act vanished. She stepped towards him again, worry painted all over her face. She reached a hand up to his cheek. "Oh Ani. What is it?"

He shook his head. "Not here."

"Of course."

All business, she turned and swept past her crew. One of them, the Rodian, went to stand up, but she waved him back down. "Stay here Greedo."

The Rodian did as he was told, but he glared at Anakin and Obi-wan as they passed. That kid never liked me, Anakin thought.

Ana led them to a storage room at the back that C2 allowed her to use for ‘sensitive’ negotiations. She flipped on a light, revealing a bare room with a table and a few chairs. Anakin felt his cheeks burn at the sight, remembering the last ‘negotiation’ he and Ana had carried out in this room, and hoping that Obi-wan wouldn’t be able to sense the reason for his unease.

“So what’s happened?” Ana asked as soon as the door closed behind them. “And who’s your friend?”

“Ana, this is Old Ben, a friend from my spice freighter days.”

Anakin didn’t dare glance at Obi-wan, hoping that his old friend would play along. To his relief, Obi-wan stepped forward, hand outstretched.

“Nice to meet you, Ms?”

“Detani. Ana Detani. And it’s Captain.”

“Of course.”

“So you knew Ani when he was a navigator?”

“We served together on the same ship.” Ana glanced at Anakin and he smiled tightly. Don’t improvise too much, old man.

“And what are you doing here?

“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about, Ana.”

“You said something about Luke.”

“He’s been kidnapped.”

“Kidnapped?” she gasped. “By who?”

“An old enemy of mine.”

“An enemy?” Ana frowned, the drawn lines on her face creasing even more. “I thought you were just a navigator.”

“I was. But…” He struggled to come up with a convincing lie. “I did a little smuggling on the side. I made some enemies here and there. One of them has come back for payback. He’s asking to meet me, to sort out some old differences.”

“Why didn’t he just sort things out here?”

“I don’t know.” Anakin’s anger and frustration boiled over and he slapped the table. “Dammit Ana, I need your help. Luke needs your help.”

She sat back, crossed her legs and raised an eyebrow. “And what does Old Ben have to do with this?”


“I’d like to hear it from him, actually.”

Anakin winced. Ana looked at Obi-wan, waiting.

“I… I used to work for Sidi – that’s the man who has Luke – until Anakin and I decided to start running a little side business on our own. We got caught, Sidi found out and put a bounty on our heads. Anakin came here and I moved to a little swamp world I heard about from an old space pirate. But I kept some contacts in Sidi’s organisation. When I heard what he was planning, I decided to come and warn Anakin. I got here too late. I couldn’t just let an old friend down, you know?”

Obi-wan managed to inject his words with just the right amount of sincerity and wide-eyed innocence to be convincing. And the story sounded plausible, with just enough detail. Where did Obi-wan learn to lie so well? Anakin turned to look at Ana, daring to hope she might buy it. Instead, she snorted.

“I’ve never heard a bigger pile of bantha podoo in my life. You two are good I’ll give you that.” Her face hardened. “But I will not risk my ship, my crew, unless I know the truth. So start talking.”

Anakin opened his mouth to try and talk her round when Obi-wan spoke up again.

“Anakin, I think we need to tell her the truth.”

He swung round, eyes flashing. “No.”

Obi-wan spoke over him. “If you really want to know the truth, Captain Detani, my real name is Obi-wan Kenobi. I am a Jedi Master and a General of the Alliance, here on official business. Anakin used to be my padawan. A Sith-trained operative working on behalf of Emperor Palpatine has kidnapped Luke and is planning on returning him to Coruscant. I will not let that happen. I have reason to believe that Luke may be the focus of a very important prophecy of the Force, a fulcrum on which the hopes of the entire galaxy may rest.”

Anakin stared at Obi-wan. He couldn’t believe that his former master had revealed the whole truth to Ana. And what was all that about a prophecy? He glared at Obi-wan, then turned to face Ana, fearing the worse. She did the last thing he had expected.

She laughed.

“I’ll say this for your friend, Ani, he has one hell of an imagination. I don’t know which part I preferred – Ani as a Jedi or Luke as some kind of a Force prodigee. Hope for the whole galaxy.” She snorted. “One hell of an imagination.”

Her laughter trailed off and her face grew serious. “You’re both a pair of jokers. I guess I’m not going to get a straight answer out of either one of you. Still, I know you wouldn’t lie about Luke being in trouble. So I’ll tell you what we’re going to do.”

She speared Obi-wan with her eagle gaze. “You’re going to be official story-teller on our little trip. Make up more stories like that and I may keep you on board.”

Obi-wan bowed, a sardonic smile playing on his lips. “At your service. Captain.”

“As for you,” Ana went on, turning her eyes on Anakin, “you’re going to repair that blasted hyperdrive you sold me. If you have it working by tomorrow afternoon, I’ll let you ship out with us for the Run. If you don’t…” She shrugged. “Then I guess your boy doesn’t mean that much to you.”

Relief flooded Anakin’s mind. “Ana, I… I don’t know what to say.”

“Then don’t say anything. And don’t get any ideas either. This is business, nothing more.”

He smiled. “I understand.”

“Good. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and cancel the shore leave I just gave my crew. They’re not going to be happy with either of you, I can tell you that.”

She walked past them, but paused in the doorway. She glanced at both of them, then she snorted, shaking her head. “Jedi.”

With another shake of her head, she left.

Anakin let out a breath he didn’t even know he had been holding. He turned to face Obi-wan.

“That was a very dangerous game you just played.”

His former master shrugged. “I knew that she would either believe me or she wouldn’t. Either way, it seemed more likely that she would help us if she knew the truth than if we had continued to lie to her.”

“Still… That was one hell of a lie to slip in there. About Luke and some prophecy. Really pushed her over the edge.”

To Anakin’s surprise, his old friend looked uncomfortable. He seemed to struggle with what to say, then he sighed. “Anakin… I think we need to talk.”
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