Disclaimer - Some numbers of the Star Wars universe: the Death Star Trash Compactor # is 3263827, Princess Leia’s Death Star cell block # is AA23, Princess Leia’s Death Star cell # is  twenty-one87, Finn’s Stormtrooper # is FN2187, Luke’s Stormtrooper # is TK421, Luke’s X-wing call # is Red 5, Han’s Echo Base call # is Echo 7, The Millennium Falcon is berthed at Mos Eisley docking bay 94, Rogue One is allowed to land on Scarif landing pad # 9, the number of these great characters that Linda owns is ZERO, the number of dollars Linda made for writing this story is ZERO.  So, Linda gets nothing while the Star Wars universe goes on to infinity… as it should be.

Confessions of the Unexpected Kind

By Linda Bindner

        Trembling with rage, Leia regarded Luke out of narrowed eyes.  “What were you thinking?”

Resigned to defending his actions to the fiery princess once again, Luke heaved a sigh, “Honestly, Leia, there was never any danger.  I just didn’t want to give anyone a chance to get hurt in some freak accident, so I decided to go out alone and--”

“And what if something had happened to you?”  Leia’s rage had morphed into despair, as so easily happened these days.  “You’re our best chance at getting Han back alive; who can we rely on if something were to happen to you?”  Leia sighed tiredly, frustrated, but trying hard not to let that feeling rule her head.  “I know you think I shouldn’t pin so much hope on just one person, but for someone with your abilities to voluntarily put yourself in harm’s way time and time again for nothing more than a battle plan is like--”

“Nothing more than a battle plan?” Luke echoed, aghast.  “Leia, I don’t think you understand what’s at stake here.”

“What I understand is that this is the third time you’ve taken your X-wing to fight off an entire battalion of TIE fighters completely by yourself.  This last time, you didn’t even take any back-up.  The chance of your death is--”
        “The chance of my death is so minimal that… you have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Then enlighten me,” Leia growled a challenge.

Luke took a step back, as if to put some distance between himself and Leia’s challenge.  “I don’t know what more I can do except to say once again that you have nothing to worry about.”

  This statement didn’t remotely appease Leia.  “Han is a decoration hanging on Jabba the Hutt’s Palace wall while his best hope for a rescue seems bent on destroying himself.  The Rebel Council is starting to notice that you obviously have a death wish.  I’ve stalled them as long as I can, but--”

“I don’t have a death wish,” Luke negated with a tolerant smile.  “I’m merely trying to get information for a database containing Imperial battle strategies that might mean the difference between life and death for every member of Rogue Squadron.”  He squeezed Leia’s shoulders in comfort.  “I haven’t forgotten about rescuing Han.”

Leia was mollified for a second, but the sense that Luke was patronizing her made the Princess angry again.  “Stop humoring me, Luke.  If you have something to tell me, then say it.  Leave this database to Wedge.  He’s more than capable of--”

“But the Force can’t help Wedge like it helps me,” Luke argued.

“What does this have to do with the Force?” Leia suspiciously asked.

Luke sighed again, and ran his prosthetic hand through his hair, equally as frustrated as the Princess.  “You know that I spent some time in Jedi training right after I left Hoth.  I learned many things about the Force during that time, not the least of which is how to channel it into helping me pilot my X-wing.  Wedge doesn’t have that.  He can’t--”

“Why is it so important for you to assure the future of Rogue Squadron?”  Leia crossed her arms, tapped her toes, and eyed Luke in irritation.  “Why do I get the idea you’re not telling me something?”

His tone gentled as if he were speaking to a child.  “Because I won’t be it’s leader forever.”

Terror at the idea of losing Luke as well as Han shot through Leia’s eyes.  “Why?  Are you going somewhere?”

“Well, no, I don’t plan to, but I’m also not going to live forever.  Not even the Force will help me do that.”

But his arguments fell on deaf ears.  “Wedge Antilles is a capable fighter pilot, and will make a very suitable leader.  What is it that you have that he doesn’t?”

Luke ran both hands over his face this time, growling his frustration.  “We’ve already been over this, Leia.  I can sense the Force, Wedge can’t.  That’s not his fault, but I have a much better chance of surviving an encounter with a TIE squadron than he does, and he knows better than anybody else what to record for the database I’m making.  Just the training simulations that we can create from our observations is staggering.  It’ll give each pilot in Rogue Squadron the best chance to survive future encounters with the Empire, with or without the Force.  Surely you can understand the benefits of that.”

Leia looked down at the floor, aggravated anew by his belief that she wouldn’t understand his feelings towards his squadron, and irritated once again by the way he continued to treat her like a child when referring to the Force.  “I realize the responsibility you feel for the pilots under your command, and you should be commended for that.  However, I resent the way you insist that I can’t understand about the Force.  Who was it who heard your call at Cloud City?  What you don’t seem to understand is that we need you.  Han needs you.  I need you.  It’s not your fault that you’re the only Jedi the Rebellion has in its ranks, but--”

“I’m not a Jedi yet,” Luke bitterly reminded.  “The last thing Ben’s Force ghost told me is that I can feel the Force, but I can’t control it.  Vader made that abundantly clear when he cut off my hand.”

“But if you can’t control the Force, isn’t there a chance that you might not live through one of these TIE fighter battles that you keep seeking out?  Who will rescue Han if you don’t?”

Luke’s face contorted in irritation.  “Why do I sense that the only reason you care about what happens to me is somehow related to what I can do for Han?”

Stunned, Leia gaped at Luke.  “You know that’s not true.”

Luke already looked like he wished he could take back his rash comment.  “I’m sorry, Leia, I shouldn’t have said that.  Of course it’s not true.”

Furious now in spite of her personal vow not to lose her temper, Leia ground out, “It might interest you to know, Mr. Skywalker, that yes, I am worried you might be stupid enough to get yourself blown up and leave Han’s rescue to the likes of me, who can hear Force pleas, but not do much else.  You’re not any good to Han if you’re dead, and I’m not any good to Han even if I’m alive.  So where does that leave us?”  A new insight suddenly struck Leia.  “You’re not jealous of Han, are you?”

Luke grimaced.  “Why would I be jealous of Han?  He’s my best friend.”

They were back to square one.  “Then why--?”

“Leia, I already told you.  For the--”

“... database.  But there has to be another reason.  I’ve never known you to be this reckless.”

“I’m not being reckless.”

“Ridiculous is what you’re being!”

“I’m not being ridiculous, either.”

“Is it because you think something is going to happen to you?”

“No, nothing is going to happen to me that I know of.”

“Is it because you want to leave a legacy of some kind?”

“A legacy would be nice, but it’s not necessary.”

“Is it because of your Jedi rank, then?  Because of your pilots?”

“Because of--”

“It’s not because of anything.”

“But you just said--”

“Leia!  Please don’t.”

“It is because you’re jealous, isn’t it?  I knew it!”

‘It has nothing to do with--”

“Because of the Rebellion?  The Force?”

“Leia, stop!”
        “Because of me?  Because of--”

Because it drowns out his voice!

Taken aback by the violence of that unexpected confession, Leia suspiciously appraised him.  “Who’s voice?”
        Luke gave his head a vigorous shake.  “It doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I keep doing what I can for my pilots.”

It was the strength of his denial that convinced Leia she had hit upon something important.  Taking a chance, she guessed, “Does the voice belong to… Vader?”

Luke’s dumbfounded reaction told her all she needed to know.

“‘Join me,’” Leia quoted, her tone deep, her speech slow.  “That’s what he says, isn’t it?”

Luke was so stunned that he couldn’t reply for a second.  “Yes,” he finally got out.  “He’s been saying that ever since Cloud City.  But how could--?”

“I dreamed it,” Leia explained.  “Last night.  And the night before that.  And the night before that.”  She shook as a shiver crawled up her spine.  “It’s awful.  He’s holding his hand out to me like…”  Her voice trailed off as she remembered.  “Like…”

“Like he’s desperate for you to take it,” Luke finished for her.

“Yes.”  Leia stared at him, uncomprehending.  “I understand why he would want you.  Your abilities alone are astonishing.  But why would I dream of such a thing?  I’m not Force sensitive.”

Luke looked just as helpless.  “You must be.”

But Leia was adamant.  “No I’m not.”

Luke’s eyes had glazed over in deep thought by this point.  “You said it yourself, Leia: you heard through the Force when I called at Cloud City.  How else could you have known where to find me?”

“I know what I said earlier, but hearing that call at Cloud City was really due to you, not me… wasn’t it?”

Baffled, Luke dropped to the one chair the room had to offer.  “Maybe.”

“But how could what you’re hearing now show up in my dreams?”

Luke shrugged.  “I don’t know.  It doesn’t make any sense.”

“The way he’s taking the time to entreat you to join him is what doesn’t make any sense.  Why doesn’t he just kill you?  Does he want you that badly?”

Luke barked a mirthless laugh.  “You have no idea.”

The lack of humor in his tone pierced her heart like a lightsaber.  Sure now that he was as desperate as the voice plaguing him, Leia sank to the bed across from him.  “Can you… I don’t know... block him out somehow?”

Exasperated, Luke growled, “Don’t you think I’ve already tried that?”

Leia squeezed his hand.  “I’m sorry; I guess I don’t know how the Force works.”

Again came that mirthless laugh.  “Neither do I, apparently.”

“Maybe you should return to your Jedi teacher,” Leia next suggested.  “I know you’ve never actually said that it’s General Kenobi, but whoever it is might know what you should do.”

Luke shook his head.  “Ben told me he can’t interfere.”

Pausing for another thoughtful moment, Leia cocked her head as if she was listening to something that she alone could hear.  “You’re lying,” she said at first, then pensively added, “No, you’re not lying, but you’re not being completely honest with me, either.”

Once more, Luke gaped at her.  “How could you know that?”

Leia shot him a confused look.  “I don’t know.  But at the same time, I know you’re not telling me the whole story.”

Luke let his head fall into his hands.  “I saw in a vision what would happen to you at Bespin.  My master wanted me to sacrifice you to Vader so that I could complete my training.  I tried to forget what I had seen, but I couldn’t.”  Luke gave a tremendous shudder and clutched his head.  “I could hear him screaming!”


Luke could only nod.

“He was… tortured.  Vader…”  Leia’s voice trailed off again as she got lost in memories.

“I can’t get it out of my head!” Luke said, trembling.  “All I wanted to do was save you and Han, but Vader--”

“He’d set a trap.  For you,” Leia reminded him.  “There was nothing you could have done.”

Luke snorted in derision.  “It’s not like my being there changed anything.  Listening to my master is what I should have done.”

“You wouldn’t be the Luke Skywalker I know if you hadn’t done what you did,” Leia argued.  “Wouldn’t your Jedi Master have known that?”

Luke’s painful self condemnation paused for a moment.  “Yes, he would have.”  He was momentarily lost in hurried thought.  “Maybe… it was a test.”

Doubtful, Leia questioned, “A test?”

Still sounding lost, Luke slowly explained, “To see what I would do, how I would react.”

Leia wasn’t convinced.  “What Jedi Master would sacrifice someone’s friends just so he could continue his training?  From what I’ve gathered, the Force doesn’t require a sacrifice in order to work right.  It just works… doesn’t it?”

Luke spent another baffled moment wrapped up in thought.  “I’ve never thought of it that way before.” he said at last, as if still stuck in a dream.  “Maybe this is like the cave.”

“The cave?  What’s that?”

Again Luke shook his head.  “Long story.  I’ll tell you someday.”

“But why do you keep hearing Vader’s voice in your head?” Leia persisted.  “And why is it part of my dreams?”

Luke’s answering shrug was hopeless yet again.  “All I know is that combat is the only thing that will drown out his voice.  If I can’t hear it, I can’t accidentally answer it.”

The revulsion in Leia’s eyes was unmistakable.  “But what does he want?”

“You heard him; he wants me to join him so we can rule the galaxy.”

Leia reared back at that suggestion.  “If he’s so strong with the Force, he must know that you don’t want to rule the galaxy.  Besides, the Emperor would never let him.”

Luke gave a grim smile.  “What the Emperor wants won’t matter if we kill him.”

Again Leia reared back.  “Can you kill The Emperor?”

Luke considered, nodding at last.  “Together, we probably could.  But I’m not sure a galaxy with Vader at the helm would be much of an improvement over the one we already have.”

Leia stared at him in hesitant assessment.  “Is it possible for you to keep him under control while you rule together?”

Now it was Luke’s face that showed revulsion.  “I can’t believe you just said that.  There is no ruling with a Sith Lord.  I’d have to kill him, and I can’t do that.”

Leia’s forehead wrinkled.  “Why?”

Luke gave another frustrated sigh.  “You know how strong Darth Vader is.  The only way I can be strong enough to kill him is if I channel the Dark Side of the Force.  Vader would be ecstatic, but from what I’ve heard, that’s a one-way ticket to Sithdom.  What would that mean for you?  For me?  For everyone in the galaxy?  I’d become another Vader.  I’d rather be dead than do that.”

“What if Vader tries to kill you first?”

“I can kill in defense as long as I don’t do it in anger, but I’m not even sure I want to do that.”

That surprised Leia.  “You wouldn’t even kill Vader?”

Despair clouded Luke’s eyes.  “I don’t want to kill anyone!”

“You’ve killed dozens of times before in battle.  What’s so different about it now?”

“Killing in battle isn’t so… premeditated.”

“Yes it is,” Leia insisted.  “It’s a matter of kill or be killed.”

“I don’t have to kill to incapacitate.”

Leia huffed an aggravated sigh, once again sensing that Luke was being less than forthcoming.  But since she couldn’t fathom a reason for him to prevaricate, she decided to humor him.  “I’m not so noble as you.  I would have no problem with killing Vader if I ever get the chance.”

His expression grew regretful.  “You’ll never get that chance.  He won’t let you.”  Luke gave another mournful shake of his head.  “It’s not up to you, anyway.  Vader is my burden.”

“Where did you get that idea?  Vader is the Rebellion’s burden.  Han is yours… ours.”

“I wish it were that simple.”

Leia suddenly grabbed at Luke’s hand, pulling him up and toward the room’s single door.  “It is that simple if we want it to be.  The next time Vader calls to you, tell him to shut up and jump into that canyon on Tatooine you’re always talking about.”

That suggestion made a ghost of a smile flit across Luke’s face.  “He won’t like that.”

Leia nodded in agreement.  “I bet some Imperial Officer will die a sad and painful death because of it.  You can tell him that it’s a present to the Empire straight from the Rebel Alliance.”

Luke laughed out loud.  “That will really make him angry!”

Leia smiled impishly as she pulled him into the bustling corridor.  “Infuriating Sith Lords is my speciality.”

“And rescuing people in distress is mine,” Luke decisively said.  “Let’s find Chewie and Lando, and plan to rescue our favorite gambler.”

Finally.  Jabba doesn’t stand a chance.”

The End