“You needed to see the truth as it happened in order to enact you role in the next part.”
The next part? Luke was intrigued. “What is my role to be?”
“You are to be the will of the Force. You must fulfil the destiny your father abandoned and bring a balance to it,” replied the image of Ben.
“And how am I supposed to do that? I’m a farm-boy with less than a few months training here on this swamp. How am I supposed to do what my father with years of training couldn’t do?”
“As much as your father failed so did the Jedi. I appear to you as a representative of the Living Force. Live is not always logical, chaos is a vital part of living. The Jedi ritualised and programmed their understanding of the Force. This is not how it was supposed to be, and as a result the Jedi lost a vital connection to the Force - to us. While this was happening Palpatine and his forbearers, the ones you call Sith, managed to manipulate what we gifted them and darkness began to snuff out life. As was explained to you by the one you called Yoda, Life is what creates the Force. The Sith evolved into a parasite bent on self-destruction.”
Suddenly Luke was aware of another presence. The ghost of Yoda appeared, sitting on the log opposite him.
“Pooled what power we had left, we did. Through space and time did we search. Manipulate life to create Anakin Skywalker, we managed.”
Luke began a small nodding of his head, and the image of Yoda continued, “To hunt and weaken the Sith was to be this being’s purpose. Making the Jedi aware that its dogma was flawed was also a secondary purpose.”
“The what went wrong, Master?” asked Luke, slipping into assumed habits due to the familiar back-to-front speech of his former teacher.
“Our own lesson we forgot. Chaos entered the plan. Aware of our creation, the Sith became and to stop us they tried,” answered Yoda.
“Palpatine’s teacher had a very strong link to the Unifying Force,” the ghost of Kenobi continued to explain. “He received visions of Anakin being created by the Force and he set plans to corrupt our creation as quickly as he could. His manipulations ensured that Anakin would be born to a life filled with chaos and doubt, using his puppets to ensure whatever stability Anakin found were swiftly taken away.”
Yoda nodded in agreement. “Bound by fear, Anakin was. Weak it made him.”
“So what exactly do you want from me?” asked Luke.
“Balance you must bring, Luke Skywalker. The Sith and the Jedi must be no more. Life creates the Force and the Force strengthens life. A servant of life you must be. End it were you must, direct it when you can. Two sides of the coin, Light and Dark are. Without either side the coin ceases to be.” Now the ghost of the Jedi master shook his head at the thought of it. “To us you must listen. Your father’s mistakes you must not make.”
More visions filled Luke’s battered mind. He saw images of Vader hunting and slaughtering the few Jedi that escaped the mass execution orchestrated against them. He saw a weakened Vader in his meditation chamber plagued by the ghosts of thousands of Jedi, and by the cries of his mother. He felt contempt as Vader became at home and, although not entirely comfortable, he grew to know the intrigues and backstabbing of Imperial Politics.
The last vision he saw was of Vader looming over Leia, as his torture droid tried in vain to extract the location of the Rebellion’s main base from her mind. If he was half the Jedi he had been he would have seen that Leia was his own daughter.
Now with another familiar flash of light, Luke found himself back in his own body in the moment he last left it; his lightsaber still pointed at Vader’s throat.
With a rush of blood Luke reversed grip on his lightsaber and drove it through his father’s heart.
It was done.
Vader was weak. A quick death was really a kindness, compared to the tortures he had forced Han to endure.
“Rise my apprentice,” said Palpatine. “Join me to watch the final stand of the Rebel Alliance.”
“I don’t think so,” snarled Luke igniting his sabre once more, then advancing on the aging Emperor.
In the space above Endor, great battleships poured fire onto weakening shields. Fighters dodged and weaved around huge turbolaser bolts, and on ruined hulks of several capital ships men and women died in great number.
On the Imperial Command Ship, Executor Admiral Piet panicked. He had been assured by the Emperor himself that the Rebels were no threat to his fleet, yet he’d lost two of his finest Star Destroyers and the rest were being severely damaged by Rebel suicide ships - transports filled bow to stern with high energy explosives. His own Star Dreadnaught had its engines and thrusters severely damaged, hampering manoeuvrability and its ability to fight.
Turning to his comm officer he ordered, “Patch me through to the Emperor.”
The lieutenant pressed the necessary buttons but was just answered with static. “The Emperor seems to be unavailable, sir.”
“Blast it! I’ll have to handle this myself. It may cost me my command, but at least there will be a Fleet for me to lose. Comms, patch me through to all ships in the fleet.” Piet waited for the nod before he continued. “All ships, this is Admiral Piet. We are out of contact with the Emperor and the Death Star. We are officially on our own. Reform the fleet into defensive formation Alpha, and protect yourselves. Target the Cruisers as a priority.”
On the Rebel Star Cruiser Home One, Ackbar looked on at the Imperial Fleet. He was confused. Why had it taken so long for them to get into gear? It was unusually sloppy. He knew that if the mass of Star Destroyers reformed they would be able to concentrate their fire and pick off his Cruisers one at a time.
“All ships, harass those Star Destroyers, concentrate fire on the engines and reactors. Wing Commanders organise strafing runs with missiles and torpedoes on the bridges.”
The seven remaining Star Cruisers closed in even nearer to their Imperial adversaries. Turbolaser bolts crashed back and forth piercing shields, blackening and buckling hull armour. The Imperials of the Fleet were used to Rebel ships scattering rather than standing toe to toe with them and engagements at such distances had been unheard of since the end of the Clone War.
Back in the throne room Palpatine hurled a blast of Force Lightning at Luke, but Luke - firmly centred in the Force - absorbed it on the blade of his sabre and kept advancing. Palpatine fired another and another until Luke was almost on him. Seeing that there was no other way, Palpatine then reached out with the Force and called Vader’s lightsaber to his hand. With a sneer of disgust at such a crude form of battle, Palpatine ignited a lightsaber for the first time in over twenty years.
Luke was on him in an instant, all fury and no finesse; not even a recognisable form. So unlike the Jedi Palpatine had fought in the past. Much more like the Inquisitors he empowered, or his various Hands.
Back and forth across the throne room they went, hurling and batting away every object in the room that wasn’t nailed down, and even a few that were.
Palpatine felt his strength start to wane. Skywalker must be very powerful indeed to have killed Vader and to fight me to a standstill. It was the first time he’d felt fear in years. At first he almost didn’t recognise it, but now it was tangible in his throat.
Skywalker, by contrast, seemed to be only getting stronger; pulling tricks that Yoda would never have had the time to teach him. How did he learn it? The veil of Darkness Palpatine habitually surrounded himself with began to unravel and fade, while Luke himself was purely centred in the moment. The Living Force whispered in his ear all the things he could do; things he never imagined a Jedi or a Sith could do. He had full access to a whole range of new abilities. The Force truly was his ally.
Palpatine decided to give it one last try. He fell onto his back, extinguishing his sabre.“Don’t kill me, young Skywalker. You can have anything you want.”