Hello. My name is Shmi. Shmi Skywalker. It is a proud name, passed on through generations of my family. But it will stop here. And yet, it will not stop here.
The proud name of Skywalker will end with me, for I am a woman. Even if I were to marry and have children someday, which is not likely, for I am thirty-one, and no one has ever loved me, they would bear my husband's name and heritage. And yet it will not stop here, for in the memory of this data tablet, I will record for posterity some of my history, and hopefully, some of my future as it slowly orbits to become my present. I must admit, not all of my intentions in this are noble and future-minded. I am sorrowful. I am often confused. And I am always lonely. Let me begin to tell you why, if I can. Thank you for reading this, whoever you are, wherever and whenever you live. I hope you can try to understand this tale and bear with me as I record of the legacy of the Skywalkers.
For a while I will be recalling past events. I can only work on this late at night, after Pi-Lippa and the household are asleep. I am always fearful of being found out, for there are minions everywhere that are quick to catch the flash of any device or the faint high whirr of any automatic system.
I was born in BBY 72, I'm told. I don't know this because I could remember the year then, but because I counted upwards from when I was six years old and my mother told me to remember that year as a year that would change my young life. I did not think much of it then, but those words, and her face have haunted my dreams ever since. My father and mother told me we were going on a long voyage in the Outer Rim Territories. Whether that was our destination, or merely along our route I do not know; I was too young to notice or care, though in the years that followed, I thought back and could recall my parents' faces tight with worry and their low clipped conversations whenever I was near. I wonder what the intent of our journey was. I would never know. They did not live long enough to tell me.
It was a dark day, traveling slower than the previous few, ostensibly because we were nearing a belt peppered with many small planets and their accompanying moons, but I remember talking to one of the co-pilots and having him wink at me and say,
"We're low on power, but the pilot won't let on. Says it makes him look dumb." I remember giggling – "dumb" was not a word I was allowed to use often, and somehow the strangeness of hearing it said so casually always struck me as funny. My parents were very old-fashioned and I was always kept under strict observation for politeness, decent comportment, and good grooming. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. If it had not been for their care and attention to me, I would have been sold as a common slave, and subjected to even worse treatment. As things stand, I have been called "valuable" on account of my gentle manners, cleanliness, and education.
But back to the co pilot, a native of Mortis, I believe, now that I think on it. "But don't worry, little brown-head. We'll be able to repower as soon as we reach that –"
And then he stopped talking. I was so young I did not know what had happened, but suddenly he fell to the floor, and was dead. I was left looking up into the face of the murderer of my new friend, and – I later discovered – my parents. I saw their bodies as the pirates rapidly filled the ship and either dispensed with or tied up the crew. I did not know they were dead when I was brutally hustled along by one of the space pirates across the bridge, around the cockpit, along the corridor, and to the portal where they had docked their ship. They lay so still – my father face down on top of my mother – a last attempt to protect her, no doubt. Then I knew, and I cried as I was loaded aboard the pirate's starship and tossed into an unfinished room near the engines with another captive, tied up, like I was. We did not speak the same language, so I gave up trying after several tearful attempts to ask what was happening. And that is how I came to be a slave.
This next part of my life is the most painful and difficult to recall. I can barely remember being sold to my first master, because I was sold again so soon afterward, and then again. I was gotten rid of each time on the slightest offenses. I believe the first time I was beaten was because I sneezed while I was serving at my master's supper table. I was taken to more systems than I knew existed and have learned the rudiments of nearly all of their languages. Only a few of my owners were kind to me. When I must have been about thirteen, I remember the other slaves laughed at me when I began to bleed regularly. I was frightened, and though I must be dying. My mistress took me before her and explained to me what was happening, and told me what to do. Then she sent me away, and did not give me supper for causing disruption among the other slaves. But I am forever grateful to her. She could have laughed too.
This was Pi-Lippa, who is my current mistress. But before I write about here, I must close and get some sleep for the night. I have no fear that anyone will ever find this data tablet until long after she or anyone else who knew me is is gone. I have become very good at hiding things that need hidden. I hope that whoever reads this is reading this after I am dead. It would be too embarrassing to think that someone else might know all I think and feel and do while I am yet alive. And yet, I don't hope to die. I have been there, and come back, and been there, and come back again. I will die whenever I die. A full measure of happiness in life is not mine to take.