The Balance

“What are you doing, Ben?”

Luke Skywalker’s tone was one of exhaustion. He was too tired to feel the intense frustration he had a right to feel. He stared at his lanky sixteen-year-old nephew and padawan, who merely mirrored his tired expression, but a fire smoldered behind the coal of the boy’s dark eyes.

“And don’t think I don’t know you’ve been hacking into classified files,” Luke continued in a low but firm tone.

Ben lifted his chin. “Knowledge shouldn’t be locked away in a vault. It should be available to everyone.”

Luke closed his eyes and slowly shook his head. Not this argument again. “There’s a reason why these files are classified. This knowledge is dangerous to those who aren’t ready to understand it.”

“These files are all marked for deletion!” This last work was punctuated by a finger aimed at the Jedi Master’s face. “Every last one!”

“Ben,” Luke admonished quietly, trying to exert a calming presence over his excitable padawan through the Force, but Ben immediately threw up a defensive wall in his mind. Luke hoped their words wouldn’t carry beyond the confines of the softly lit study. He tried again, but his nephew cut him off.

“You’re purging any datafile or holovid you don’t agree with! Anything classified as Dark side knowledge. Anything written by Gray Jedi! You have no right to destroy what you don’t understand!”

The boy was more than precocious, Luke thought. He was arrogant, argumentative, and self-righteous, but he was still a boy, the Master reminded himself. But so was Darth Vader…at some point. “What I do understand is this,” he said calmly but grimly. “The Dark side won’t be eradicated until it has been discarded as an option for acquiring power.”¹

“So, you’re just going to attempt,” the youth spat back, throwing up his hands in a gesture of futility, “to eradicate all knowledge of it?” Ben began to pace. ”What about the Jedi power of affect mind — the ability to bend the will of the weak-minded?” He stopped in front of his uncle and stared him down, hands on hips. “What would you classify that as?” The padawan didn’t wait for an answer. “Isn’t domination a Dark side power — something the Jedi have no business wielding?”

Luke let out a long breath. “The Jedi use their abilities for good.”

Ben folded his arms. “How convenient. Who gets to say what’s good?”

“Society, Ben.” It was Luke’s turn to pace. He found himself walking around the big greel wood desk, running a finger along the carved edge, putting distance between them. “And that’s why I’ve come to the conclusion I have.” The Jedi Master stopped on the other side, resting his knuckles on  the desktop, waiting for his padawan to meet his gaze.

Ben tossed his hair out of his eyes and gave his master a petulant stare.

Luke came right to the point. “You can’t stay here, Ben.”

Silence slowly grew to a planet-sized bubble…and then popped.

“I can’t have you leaking this information to the other students.”

“It’s too late,” Ben bit off with a sneer.

Luke dropped his gaze, deeply saddened. “It’s never too late, Ben. I hope someday you see that.”

“You can’t dismiss the Dark side and you can’t destroy it. It’s not possible because you can’t separate it from the Light. If you do, the universe will be destroyed!”

“If you believe that, Ben,” Luke returned simply, “then I have failed you.”

Ben stared, dumbfounded. “The two need each other! They’re born out of chaos.” His voice took on an urgent, pleading tone. “All life is created from chaos by the interaction of the Dark and the Light. One cannot overcome the other and they can never be in balance! If that happens, the engine that creates life and keeps the cosmos going comes to stop!” He swallowed hard, desperation in his eyes. It was an ancient belief of the Gray Jedi, who’d been purged long ago from the Jedi Order. Their doctrine was not welcome.

Luke came around the desk to grip his nephew by the shoulders. “Ben, you have many talents and an intelligence beyond your years. Someday the Jedi path may be for you, but not now. You have a strong passion for justice. I suggest you go to university and explore a career in Galactic law.” He managed an encouraging smile. “You’ve got the head for it.”

Ben said nothing.

“And I have you to thank for setting me on a new path.” Luke gave the teenager’s arm a final pat before moving off, his heart lightening now with hope. “I’m taking a sabbatical to look for the first Jedi temple. You’ve convinced me I’ve got to bring the Order back to its original teachings.”

Ben looked at his boots a long moment in a stance of shame…or so the Jedi Master thought, until the young man raised his head, anger blazing so intently in the dark eyes that Luke thought for a split second they were red.

“You’d better hope you find it before I do, Uncle,” Ben Solo told him in a voice low and dangerous, “because when I find it, I will destroy it.”

 

@MyKyloRen     12 July 2017

¹Luke Skywalker in Windham, Ryder. (2007). Star Wars: Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force. New York: Ballantine Books, p. 64.
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