R-U-2 D-2? (Story)

 

                         Artoo trundled out behind See-Threepio. They had been sent out by the Princess to find the Jedi, the only one as of yet. Leia still didn’t have enough confidence to claim her heritage; in her mind the Force was still linked with her father. And still Leia believed she lacked the necessary power to guarantee she could resist her hereditary lusts. It wasn’t the first time Luke had gone off for a while to think, Artoo knew this, but then Artoo was more of a brother to him than Leia had been a sister. He had the time, working together so often with him, at this point nearly reaching counterpoint level. But then Artoo had been around before either of the twins, even before Anakin and the entire episode. His personality, so to speak, had always been to be there for those he cared for and in particular the Skywalkers.


                         He saw Luke at the rim of the Megablock looking down upon the Coruscant nightscape. Or maybe it should have been called a lightscape. See-Threepio immediately bustled over. Artoo ingested the beauty deep within him.

“I wonder what is the matter with Master Luke? Do you think he is ok? He seemed to me to be running a slight temperature earlier today and now my sensors tell me he’s chilled! And then there was the matter that he was most strenuous on – the moving of the New Republic’s centre of government to Impe… Coruscant, that is. He seemed to be over stringent on the issue for no apparent reason. He mentioned something about the dark auras of the Emperor Palpantine remaining present in the area. Artoo don’t tell me, could that be the reason?”, the prissy tin voice returned.


                         If Artoo had eyes he would have rolled them. He completely ignored C3PO’s rationale of the Force – what would he know? – and then he replied; after the merest fraction of a pause, in his electronic beeps, but did so softly.


{Threepio! Chilled! He’s crytpomorphacyrometically chilled, you factory reject! That’s the reason… You did know that we are out on top of a mega-block in the middle of the night with gusts blowing upon us constantly? Are your logic circuits that lacking that they can’t factor even a simple calculation like that into their equations?}


“Now just you listen here, you little rolling pedal-bin. Why if it wasn’t for the fact that master Luke insists upon keeping that X-Wing of his, he would have had you traded in years ago for a newer more functional model; the new R5s are much more predictable and dependable then the R2 series; which, to be perfectly honest, has malfunctioned as soon as they were even commissioned. I on the other hand have the utmost use to the Princess, what with my supreme grasp of dialects and communications that you could merely dream of – why you still need binary beeps to communicate? Of what possible further use could you be to the Skywalkers? So don’t speak to me about being outmoded! Why–”


                         See-Threepio continued with his rant as they fast approached Luke; he knew they were there by now. Well, Artoo corrected himself, Luke probably knew they were there before they had even exited the turbolift.


{Well mister golden-communication if you’re so good at your job how come nobody ever listens to you?}


“What do you mean nobody ever listens to me? I will have you know you miserable–”


                         Artoo continued to ignore the moaning droid that now followed him and halted behind master Luke. Without turning Luke raised his arm and placed it upon the carapace of Artoo’s blue head. Threepio was still ranting on as he stopped walking, just behind the pair.


“Good evening to you too Threepio!”


                         The protocol droid seemed shocked for a moment and then regained his balance and continued. Minus the rant!


“Indeed master Luke. I do notice however that the humidity level is extremely high tonight!”


                         Artoo warbled an electronic fart in his direction. Threepio was disgruntled but made no move to discipline him – he had already been discourteous to master Luke and decided that silence was the most prudent course; for the expected nuance of protocol. Luke merely chuckled at Artoo; while empathizing with him.


“Master Luke, Mistress Leia was conc….”, and so he began again.


                         Artoo continued with his own thoughts. He was close to Luke, both emotionally and mentally, and over their years of working side by side he had grown accustomed and aware of his moods and thoughts. Much in the same way that Luke was, by now, use to his chirps and burbles. Then again… a lot of that may simply have been his Force-assisted reading of Artoo’s consciousness. After all as a Jedi-master; as well as falling in the footprints of his mother, he would be aware of the shifts in the White Current tide; and the eddies in the flow of the Force.

                         It was hard to see what they would have been like, the twins, if life hadn’t shipped Luke to Tatooine; he probably would have ended up like Han in his early days. Hell any day – it was still hard to drag Han away from his gallivanting or impishness. But you only had to look at Luke’s youth and his fascination with tinkering or his speeder-bike to see that. Perhaps it was why Leia had chosen Han – after all the missing half to her soul was the tinkerer and rogue; that Han mirrored Luke in. Leia was more… sensitive to others. But then perhaps that came from her time away from Luke; just as his melancholia may have. It was odd therefore that Leia was the one with the protocol droid; although she did a much better job than Threepio ever would; and Luke got Artoo; the general purpose… pedal bin.


                         Luke was Artoo’s to mind. Throughout the years responsibility had been forced upon Luke and each time he had buckled… but only for a while. In the end he always managed it. Had things been different for Artoo, even with all of his potential, he never could have achieved what Luke had. All Artoo could do was come along for the ride and help in whatever way he could. Both through his empathy with Luke, his own understanding of life – and the power-Force of that life – and how Luke connected with that power.

 

———–

 

                         It had happened years ago. Before Luke was ever born. Many years. Sometimes we start off love in faith and somewhere in between the chaos of life twists and corrupts it into a cacophony of lust and need; the lover becomes someone to offer shelter and protection from the world and reality. Amidala was that to Anakin. The love had died and only the affair died. But what would she have known, adept in the powers of the Fallanasi current or no, she faced the terrible and as yet untried Vader that resided within the spirit of Anakin. He loved her no longer, just what she was to him. She was his eye in the storm, his clinging to the world that had been and his idea of it. Not his idea or love or of her. His subconscious knew of the monster that he was becoming but it was submerged in chains, bonded in tides of hate and evil. Never to admit what he was doing to his Queen.


                         Amidala was to lie by him night after night; blinded to her reality; by her own unwillingness to face the idea of the monster that she had loved, she had chosen. All of her choice and all of her fault! While the love had existed it had been precious but now… It was fast-becoming as evil and dark as Anakin himself. The sand-clock had been turned and she didn’t even know it yet – she needed to escape him before she was killed herself and her legacy with her. The power of freedom and life was to die and be quenched on a continual basis by Darth Vader over the coming future, though they were yet to see the shadows of what was to become his dreadful and feared prestige.


                         The truth? She had clung to him, in part by her own mind… but also by sheer compulsion, the power that exuded from Anakin and his obsession with her. His unwillingness to let her go and to awaken and open his eyes to his new life and world; the world of his creation. Part of this, no doubt, the equally malign influence and compulsions of certain well-placed members of the political world; on what was to become the throne-world of galaxy wide suppression, terror and domination. The world was based on lies and deception. Hate and fear.


                         And it was spreading. The civil war that was starting to appear would rip the lovers apart as it revealed their true new natures; as well as the nature of the Republic’s power. The start of it had already happened, all that was left was the spiral to chaos and than, later, absolution.


                         Amidala had slept with Anakin. She had on more than one occasion. They had made love always, never simply had a physical union or one of lust. At those first times they had loved, truly; Amidala hurting for his pain, not fearing his anger. But at a later stage she had became pregnant. Not with the twins but with him. The twins’ elder sibling. She had known but had never said anything. She had been about to. But she hadn’t known for long. He had been around for three months prior. And had been very slow to develop. It was at this time that Amidala had noticed… no honestly, she never saw that Anakin had changed until it was too late; rather she saw the pain that had been rooted into him as maturing into the hurt of an adult. She never believed or connected to the fact that Anakin was becoming a dark specter of his original self. But she saw that they had changed as a couple, their rapport souring somewhat. The only redeeming time between them in bed, where they slept comforted each by the other, never hating or hurting.


                         Her son grew slowly, he spent his time enveloped in the Force. He grew up as a part of it; taking from it its warmth and giving to it his own power; truly sharing. As his own life-Force had grown strong he had acted as a conduit for the larger shaping Force and spirit of the galaxy, that which tied all living things, and which had became concentrated in his small form. But he had never been born, never had that chance… The will of the Force is strange at times, those steeped in it hear its subtle calls; but it is those same creatures who are whirled down the path of its choosing more so than those that stand in its opposition. So to this child who never saw born-life, well he had his place in the Force’s visions of the future. He had his part to play, a life yet for him and a role to shape the stories yet to come…


                         Anakin had lain by her one night. It had been here on Coruscant. He had been… strange here. There wasn’t quite a definite way to explain it. He acted in ways that… were inexplicable and contrary to his own nature, his emotions were funneled and purified, like the legendary transmutation sciences. But here the valuable turned to duracrete. He had synchronized oddly with his darker emotions. He had been more likely to hate and prone to lust or anger. Not violence. No, because oddly for some reason he was more in control, calmer here. He had been tasting of the darker side of life but it had been… forever forming and maturing under the surface on Coruscant, like the darker sides to the cities own underbelly.


                         To see Anakin here was like to see the city itself – viewed from above it was a jaw-dropping wonder with all of its bustle and business of metropolis scrapers and air-taxis, for Anakin a non-stop mental rush of intelligence and brilliance that pervaded most of his life; for longer periods in greater depth the beauty of the nightscape could be appreciated quietly by the observer, similar to Anakin’s control and ever growing inner-mastery of the Force and it’s subtle streams; but deep below it all existed the lowest of the low – beneath the thugs and the scum existed the eco-systems that pervade all corners of habitation, where all forms of creature were transformed into mutants of their own species, Anakin… beneath the surface metamorphed his deep and true loyalties into dark roiling tensions. Bitter tensions. His love for Amidala, his mentorship to Chancellor Palpantine and his fatherly feelings to Obi-Wan were all stretched so far that they transformed into completely differing rapports. Not that Amidala noticed any of this. She merely saw the couple as dysfunctional as is the way of humans, and blamed herself and Anakin. Not looking elsewhere, avoiding the more painful recriminations.


                         That night he had been up late; probably had alcohol consumed, maybe even some glitterstim. He had nightmared. With Force powers as deeply rooted to his person as Vader – as he was fast becoming – Anakin was unable to merely dream. Under normal circumstances he wouldn’t have slept as others did – it was overly dangerous for powerful Jedi; instead their subconscious lay entwined with their conscious, like a union of two oh so similar lovers. It was a form of meditative trance, similar to the famed Jedi-hibernation. But this was not most nights! His powers acted in a gentle manner, seductively, for beneath the apparent quiet they hid their most lethal and deadly nature. They lapped outwards in waves; or more accurately spiraled forth, like a mist or a fog. The dark miasma concealing the light and the life that it enveloped; and then suffocated it. Amidala wasn’t effected much more than waking badly and feeling drained. Even in his darkening form Anakin was overly fond of her to hurt her as such, even subconsciously.


                         Her son was never to be however. His life had been crushed, forced out of his body and when left wandering he found the form of the droid that had been endangered during the preceding day. Artoo Detoo had been below the couple by a few levels in a repair bay; and yet the connection his mother had had with the mechanical had drawn the child to him. Once the child’s consciousness was there he combined with Artoo; their lives, their Forces twinning and blending, growing and evolving with each other; a hybrid of mechanical personality and a potential Skywalker. In the state that the droid had been – his systems damaged and his personality failing; with the child’s body destroyed and his life-spirit evaporating – he had joined with Artoo; the two becoming one and after a while his own personality grew and shaped within Artoo. He became a form of life and a consciousness of his own, small but real and quite existent.

 

                         From then on Artoo had made it his specific duty to watch over Amidala – his semi-mother – and afterwards his own younger brother. He had had potential as a force-user but after his metempsychosis he had lost most of that to merely being potential himself, a personality rather than a creature. And so he watched over Luke and influenced the events around him with his logic-driven brain to help the Republic and the Knights it now planned to foster. Artoo had never known where this fondness; or indeed his deep emotions; or his devotion to and bond with Luke came from. He had never considered it. It was now part of his programmed logic-brain-quasi-personality. The side to him that made this possible… had never had the chance to grow up enough to know. Instead it had made its own life. And found its own place within first a rebellion, then a New Republic and finally with a family of Skywalkers and Solos; his family…


                         He tuned into the conversation again as Luke drummed on his steel casing.


“Comin’ Artoo?”

 

Caoimhín

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