“Look, Ben,” Luke Skywalker sighed, “I understand how you feel, but this is how it’s got to be.” When the sullen teenage padawan looked away, the Jedi master went on, choosing his words with care. “She’ll feel no pain, I promise, and she won’t have any knowledge that her memories have been altered. If we leave the memory of her parents intact, she’ll find the dark path they started her down.”
Ben Solo wrapped his long arms around his equally long legs and rested his chin on his knees. Luke watched his nephew for a moment. The boy had sprawled one step below him on the stairs of the academy, leaning back on his elbows while they talked of the coming trip to Jakku and some amusements they might show Rey along the way. He knew Ben was dreading the separation from his little friend – the bright, seemingly normal, six-year-old who followed him everywhere – but he seemed to have finally shaken off the attachment and accepted the alternative future the Force had in store for her. That is, until Luke had mentioned that it was time for her to undergo a memory rub. The padawan had physically and emotionally drawn into himself again.
“Even if that didn’t happen,” Luke tried gently, “she’s been traumatized by witnessing the death of her parents. Instead of simply erasing that memory, I want to give her a brighter one.”
Ben lifted his chin. “But she still won’t understand why we’re leaving her there.” He gave his uncle a sideways glare. “You haven’t told her that yet.”
Luke shook his head and looked out across the busy square. “It’ll require another memory rub when we part ways with her. She,” he hesitated, “won’t remember us. She’ll think she’s the descendants of Rebel fighters who were stranded after the Battle of Jakku. I want to work Lor San Tekka into her family memory some way, but I haven’t had a chance to talk to him yet.” When Ben turned away again, Luke sought to reassure him. “Look, I know this Force technique works. I used it successfully on Brenger Par – the boy who survived the terrorist attack on the capital last season. He hasn’t had any nightmares since.”
“Neither has Padawan Devlan,” Ben muttered, his chin settled again on his elbows.
“Yes, that’s wonderful,” Luke exclaimed. “I’ve noticed the change in him. He’s turned a corner.”
“Because of me.”
Ben turned to gaze up at his master, a gleam of defiance in his eyes. “I pulled the memory of the fire out of his mind.”
Luke stared, dumbfounded. “You did what?” It wasn’t a question but a panicked request for confirmation. “How did you do this, Ben?” Luke laid a hand on his nephew’s shoulder.
Han Solo’s son shrugged him off. “I learned the way you did. From the Sith Book of Alteration.”
“What?” Luke got to his feet and came around to face his padawan. “That text was sealed! How did you….”
“It obviously wasn’t sealed very well,” Ben countered, rising to stand, arms folded, looking down on his uncle from the step above.
Luke gaped up at the insolent teenager. “Why would you attempt such a dangerous procedure without any guidance?” His jaw dropped again. “You could have seriously harmed or killed Devlan.”
Ben stared down his long nose. “But I didn’t and I could give the same peace to Rey.”
Luke suppressed an explosive laugh. “No, Ben. That’s totally out of the question.”
“So, it’s ok for you to have the power, but not me?” Ben shot back.
The Jedi master lifted his gaze to the cloudless sky before fixing it again on his padawan. “I didn’t say that, Ben. But you’re not ready for this kind of knowledge. There’s a lot I need to teach you about power. A lot more you need to….” His voice trailed off as the comm device in his pocket signaled an incoming message. He fished it out of his robes, activated the display, and pressed the decryption button. “It’s your mother,” he groaned. “Her ship is down with a malfunctioning hyperdrive. The delegation can’t send another for three weeks. I’m going to have to pick her up.” He shoved the device back into his robes with a sigh. “One can’t deny family.”
# # #
Kylo Ren stared down at the lifeless form of Lor San Tekka. He tried to blink back the memory of when he last saw the man – a leader in the Church of the Force – but the images came on strong, unbidden.
San Tekka had hovered in the doorway of the hovel he called home, watching with fatherly concern as Ben Solo crouched before little Rey.
The girl looked stunned as the young Jedi held his hand near her face. While he concentrated on altering her memories, behind him, unbeknownst to him, Dr. Amanda Snoke spoke directly into the girl’s mind.
“Rey, I want you to search the ruins and caves of this place for me. I want you to look for a large and powerful red crystal. If you find it and bring it to me, you shall be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.” She stepped back, certain the girl had understood her directive, as Ben broke his trance.
He had planted a vague impression of a family in Rey’s head, but he did not trust San Tekka. Ben had not done as Luke, his master and uncle, had bidden. He’d left Rey’s memories of himself intact but locked up in a dream state – water-colored and scattered.
Kylo Ren gazed past the frightened villagers into the darkness beyond, wondering why he saw himself crouching before the little girl in his mind.
@MyKyloRen 8 September 2016