Star Wars: Heir to the Exile
(The scene opens as Yoda and Obi-Wan are about to leave the Jedi Temple after resetting the call alarm).
“I only hope that no Jedi were fooled by that message into returning, ” Obi-Wan commented.
“Well, at least one did”, came a voice from off to their left, as out of the shadows appeared Corran Strachan, the archivist of the Jedi Order.
“Expect to see you, I did not”, Yoda commented.
“As the Jedi Historian, with the war over it is my obligation to return the Temple to record the insights and events of the war as told by the Jedi who participated, ” Strachan replied.
“How did you avoid falling into the Emperor’s trap, then?” Obi-Wan asked.
“I’m dedicated, but not stupid. I was performing research on Dantooine at the time, but even out there I should have heard more about the war being over if it really was, at least in the manner that would make the Senate happy. So I was cautious.”
“And you could have done nothing to help us retake the Temple?” Obi-Wan demanded.
Strachan shrugged. “What can a mere historian do that two great Jedi Warriors cannot?”
“Diminsh your abilities, do not. Your enemies, we are not. Hide your strengths, you now must not.” Yoda said.
“I really don’t think my abilities are of any use or importance in this situation, ” Strachan replied.
“Vital, they are. Now, more than ever. A task for you I have.”
“I cannot help you in your battle against the Emperor, for all the reasons that the Council has made abundantly clear to me in the past.”
“Battle, your role is not. Historian, your role is. Preserved, the teachings of the Jedi must be, in case fail our battle we do.
“Exile, your ancestor was. Exile, you must become again.”
“Yoda, there’s no point in preserving the Jedi teachings if there are no Jedi to train.”
“There will always be those who are Force Sensitive … ” Obi-Wan began.
“… who will be hunted down and killed the instant they reveal their powers, unless they decide to join the Emperor. A lovely situation that would be, if they had access to the knowledge we have in the archives.” Strachan replied.
“So are you saying that we should just give up?” Obi-Wan demanded.
“What I’m saying is that maybe the archives should be destroyed, instead of saved.” Strachan replied.
“New Jedi, there will be. The children of Jedi, at least.” Yoda said.
“Did that prescription against falling in love EVER work?” Strachan said wryly.
“For you, work it did.” Yoda replied.
“Don’t rub it in, ” Strachan commented. “Okay, you’ve convinced me that the archives need to be preserved in case you fail. Since my abilities make me the best suited to do that, I’ll go ahead and do it. But if you fail, I’ll have to do more than disappear. I’ll have to make them believe that I’m actually dead and that the archives are destroyed or lost. Might be interesting if Anakin is as strong as you thought he was …”
“Play games, do not. If lost you are, the galaxy is doomed.”
“Don’t worry, Yoda. I’ll play it straight, ” Strachan said with a grin, and disappeared back into the shadows.
“Surely, Master Yoda, if he dies or if the archives fall into the Emperor’s hands it isn’t the end of the galaxy?” Obi-Wan asked.
“If dies he does, a tragedy it is not. If lost to the dark side he is, doomed the galaxy is. Ability of the Exile, strong is. All would join him gladly, and convert to the dark side all would. Happen, this must not.”
“But then why do you place him in the position where he might fall?”
“Faith in him, I have. More than the Council had, I have.”
(Fast forward to after Vader’s battle with Obi-Wan, in the Emperor’s office).
“So have you recovered, my young apprentice?” Palpatine asked.
“Yes, my Master, ” Vader replied.
“I sense much anger in you. Good. I have a mission for you that will allow you to put that anger to good use. The Master Historian of the Jedi Order has managed to escape our attacks, and has gone to Dantooine to destroy or hide the Jedi archives. You will find and kill him. Bring whatever of the archives you can find to me, but he must be destroyed.”
“Yes, my Master.”
Corran Strachan sat in the darkened control room of the small research station on Dantooine. At one time, long ago, it had been created by the Jedi to study the various weather patterns and animal migration patterns of the grassland of Dantooine. As such, it was in an isolated backwater of Dantooine, standing at the top of a cliff that fell towards one of the minor rivers of Dantooine. It also, of course, contained a computer system that was capable of storing a large amount of raw data – enough to store the bulk of the extensive Jedi archives.
In Strachan’s mind, it made the perfect decoy.
The sensors Strachan had quickly cobbled together reported that Darth Vader had taken his bait. While it might be wondered why anyone would find Dantooine – long known for its association with Jedi – a good place for a Jedi to hide, it had always had at least a slight masking effect on the Force. Add to that the arrogance of Darth Vader and the Emperor and the fact that they considered him nothing more than a mere librarian and it seemed perfectly reasonable that they would believe that someone like him would choose this decent hiding place to hide the Jedi archives.
And Vader was now coming. It was time to get ready for him.
A live electrical wire was beside him. Strachan sighed, steeled himself, and grabbed the wire with his bare hands. The energy flowed through him for a few minutes, and then with a force of will he forced himself to let go. “That should do it, ” Strachan commented a bit weakly.
He was sitting in the chair at the main terminal when he heard Vader’s footsteps and ominous breath behind him. He spun quickly around and affected an air of panic as he lit his lightsaber.
“Did you really think that you could hide from my power?” Vader said.
“H-h-how did you know I was here?” Strachan replied fearfully.
“It was not difficult. You did not hide well. But that is to be expected from someone like you”.
“W-w-what do you want from me?”
“Nothing, but your death.” Vader intoned, firing off a Force lightning at Strachan.
But Strachan made a seemingly panicked lunge with his lightsaber and deflected the lightning off to one side – directly into the main data coupling between the main terminal and the storage array. The surge of power fried the coupling and then carried into both the main terminal and the storage array, which then also started to surge with power before blowing up in a series of small but reasonably impressive explosions.
Strachan allowed a look of horror and dismay to cross his face. “What have I done? I’ve destroyed the archives! The galaxy is doomed”
“Then all that remains is to destroy you, ” Vader intoned.
But Strachan broke into a panicked run out of the room, barely dodging another Force lightning as he did so. Vader in his armour was not exactly a fast runner, but Strachan’s panic made it easy for Vader to herd him to the edge of the cliff overlooking the rather shallow river far below.
“You are a pathetic Jedi, ” Vader scoffed. “I expected better even of a historian. Why would anyone fear you?”
“Because I’m pretty good with a lightsaber?” Strachan commented, as he blocked Vader’s first attack and deftly struck back, with a speed and skill that Vader barely managed to block in time.
The two combatants parried and thrust in a dance of glowing blades, but no matter how much Vader gave reign to his anger and let the Force power his abilities Strachan seemed to match his abilities stride for stride. Eventually, Strachan pressed him back against a small outcropping, but Vader used a force jump to leap on top of the outcropping. Slightly off-balance, Vader expected Strachan to follow-up with an immediate attack … but he didn’t. He just stood there underneath the outcropping, in a guard position.
“No one can be as powerful as I, ” Vader intoned.
“You don’t get it, Vader. The more powerful you are, the stronger _I_ am. And thus you cannot defeat me based on your supposed strength or power in the Force, because if you have it, so do I. Why do you think that I was never allowed to join in any battles? Why do you think the Emperor is insisting on my death? Why do you think that the Masters are scared of me? I’m the most powerful Jedi there ever could be. If you brought me before the Emperor, I’d kill him. And you, too.”
“How is this possible?” Vader demanded angrily.
“You’ve heard about things like Force bonds, right? Well, I make them with everyone, and I can use them to provide myself with Force abilities and can drain the power across that link to be AS STRONG AS THEY ARE. Did you really think that the Emperor would go through this much trouble to kill a librarian? You never really were all that smart …”
“I am smart enough to have discovered your weakness, Corran Strachan”, Vader replied.
And, at that, he used his telekinetic powers to levitate a rock at Strachan, who blocked it with his lightsaber. But Vader flung more and more objects at Strachan, and he was reduced to desperate blocking with his lightsaber, and was eventually pushed back to the edge of the cliff.
“It seems that you are a clipped mynock, without telekinetic abilities. That has sealed your doom, ” Vader intoned, hurling a few last objects at Strachan, which pushed him off the cliff.
It wasn’t as far a drop as some other places were, but it would be enough to kill someone who didn’t have any way to slow their fall, such as a Jedi without telekinetic abilities. Strachan, however, was not as helpless as he seemed. While it was true that he didn’t possess any innate ability in telekinetics, he had a secret ability to absorb energy and turn it into telekinetic power. So when Strachan had grabbed the wire, he had merely been storing up energy to use for just this occasion. Just before he struck the water, he used his ability to slow his speed so that he impacted the water just slow enough to avoid serious harm, and then used it to stop himself before he hit the shallow bottom of the river, 6 feet below the surface.
And now, the tricky part. He let the river carry him along as he prepared the final trick that would prove to Vader that he was really dead. What his ancestor had done by accident, he now did on purpose. He centered himself, concentrated … and cut himself off from the Force.
Further down the river, a normal human crawled out of the river and disappeared into the woods of Dantooine.
Meanwhile, at the cliff, Vader searched for Strachan’s presence in the Force … and didn’t find it. Satisfied, he returned to his shuttle and prepared for the journey back to Coruscant, to report his success to his master.
Strachan unpacked his meager belongings into his small apartment on a minor agricultural world out on the Outer Rim. Checking a small transmitter that was the last thing in his bag, he noted that the transmissions to the research probe that he had secretly made before his fight with Vader had been successfully received. He then sighed, hid the transmitter, and looked around his apartment.
“I guess I’ll have to find myself a wife,” he sighed.