On the Knights of Ren

There’s a theory floating around the Star Wars fandom I find fascinating. It delves into the origins of the Knights of Ren, the secret paramilitary order Kylo Ren commands under Supreme Leader Snoke. The theory — and it’s a convincing one — focuses on the name Ren, Ben Solo’s assumed name and it’s ultimate reference to one of the franchise’s most beloved (yet widely unknown) characters. Ren is, as the theory goes, a corruption of Revan (R’en) and the Knights of Ren are a New Republic version of the Old Republic Revanites, or the Order of Revan.

Ok. Even if you grew up with Star Wars like I did and consider yourself a huge fan, it’s safe to say you’ve never heard of Revan if you haven’t played the Star Wars multi-player, choose-your-own-adventure online games Knights of the Old Republic or The Old Republic: The Shadow of Revan. For those who have, Revan is an old favorite and the fandom continues to petition the franchise to make a movie about him. Revan won the 2015 Black Series Fan Choice (for action figure development) at San Diego Comic Con, and his figure was released in late 2016 and widely available in early 2017. Revan’s story is about the tragedy of manipulation, the corruption of ambition, and the ultimate triumph of love (if you chose the Light side conclusion to the game, that is).

So, who was Revan and the cult who followed him? The Order of Revan, “a secret society known as the Revanites hides deep in the jungles of Dromund Kaas. Composed of members throughout Imperial Society — from esteemed Sith to enterprising slaves — the Revanite cult worships the teachings of the legendary Jedi Revan…. Revan wielded the dual philosophies of Sith passion and Jedi tranquility to conquer his enemies: he even nearly assassinated the Sith Emperor. Today, the Revanites secretly follow the path forged by Revan and await his return….”¹

Now, you might be asking yourself, why would a cult of Revan — a Jedi — develop among the Sith? We’re still talking ancient history here — over 3,500 years before Luke and his band of rebels destroyed the first Death Star and Vader went spinning off into space. At that point, there were definitely more than two Sith (a master and an apprentice), as suspected by the Jedi in The Phantom Menace. The Sith Empire controlled a good chunk of the galaxy and was a huge threat to the Old Republic. Revan was captured by the Sith, his mind overcome and controlled by the powerful Emperor until he was turned into the Dark Lord Revan and sent back to the Republic as a weapon. Revan nearly destroyed the Republic until the Jedi captured him again, erased his memories, and turned him back against the Sith.

He was ultimately imprisoned again by the Sith when he went looking for answers after nightmares of his former life started seeping through his broken memory and he followed his nose into Sith space. But this time he wasn’t captured by the Emperor but by a faction that opposed the mighty ruler. You can see where this is going.  Revan, knowing the threat the Emperor still posed to the Republic, led the charge against him and failed when his ally, the Sith Lord Scourge, turned on him (never trust a Sith. Seriously). The Emperor overwhelmed Revan, put the powerful Jedi in stasis, and fed off Revan’s essence for 300 years, probing his mind for the Republic’s weaknesses.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if this legendary Emperor — who had the ability to suck the living Force from a planet — were Snoke? Snoke is, after all, experiencing difficulty with his corporeal form. It seems logical that he would want to find a new body and with it immortality through the manipulation of the Force. But, that’s a theory for another post.

Now, why do I think the Knights are followers of Revan? Knights implies an order and a code of conduct. Based on their attire, they’re clearly a war band — heavy armor, helmets, and a plethora of hand-to-hand combat weapons. They’re also masked — a trademark of Revan. The traditional and rather medieval-looking weapons they yield also implies they aren’t Force-users. Only their leader, Kylo Ren, fights with a lightsaber (at least as far as we’ve seen).

As for Kylo, we can make an educated guess as to why he might be a follower of the ancient Jedi-turned-Sith-turned-Jedi. Kylo’s “ability to use the Force grants him many impressive combat skills, but Kylo Ren is no Jedi, nor is he a Sith. He is the archetype of a new generation of dark side users that have emerged to fill the void left by the Sith’s demise….The Supreme Leader believes Ren to be the ideal embodiment of the Force, a focal point, of both light and dark side ability.”²

Snoke reprimands his apprentice every time Kylo is seduced by the Light. In order for the for the leader of the Knights to remain ruthless in battle and interrogation tactics, Snoke needs to keep Kylo mean through “reminders” (i.e., torture). But in the novelization when Kylo confirms that it is his master’s teachings that keep him strong, Snoke demures. “It is far more than that. It is where you are from. What you are made of. The dark side — and the light.”³ The Supreme Leader needs Kylo’s Light side skills as well as the Dark. Without the two, Snoke’s power is incomplete.

Revan realized the same thing. “Revan devoured knowledge with an insatiable appetite under many Jedi Masters….Revan’s determination and pride sparked concern among the Jedi Council.”4 After he defeated the Mandalorians and chased them from Republic space, he discovered ancient Sith knowledge when he strayed into the Sith Empire. Desire to gain this knowledge was the start of his downfall. I believe it was Kylo’s as well. In my fanfic, young Ben Solo is on a scavenger hunt for Jedi and Sith holocrons and data files. He voraciously reads and practices what he finds.

But this passion for knowledge of both sides of the Force was not fueled by the influence of the Dark side. Both Revan and Ben could be classified as Gray Jedi. They left the Jedi Order to follow their own path and what they believed in — that balance had to be maintained between the two, that neither the Jedi nor Sith understood the Force in its totality. Unfortunately, both were preyed upon powerful Dark side users while they undertook their quests to study the Force.

“While Gray Jedi believed that the Force did indeed have inherently Light and Dark sides, they recognized that these aspects could not be separated without negative consequences. If the Dark Side and the Sith were to gain dominance, life would become self-destructive and be extinguished. However, if the Light Side and the Jedi Order’s quest for peace were allowed to come to pass, the galaxy would fall to lethargy, apathy, and eventually fade and die. Both Light and Dark were part of the Force, and all aspects of the Force had to be studied and respected.”5

So, if the Knights of Ren are followers of Revan, who believed in the balance of the Force, what happened to tip them over the Dark side? Snoke, of course, who needs them as a special ops strike team. And it would make sense that the Knights Kylo commands is only one faction of a much larger order, spread throughout the galaxy. But before Snoke dragged Ben Solo away by the scruff of the neck, it makes sense that Padawan Solo believed in his own code, which set him at odds with his uncle and Master:

Flowing through all, there is balance.

There is no peace without a passion to create.

There is no passion without peace to guide.

Knowledge stagnates without the strength to act.

Power blinds without the serenity to see.

There is freedom in life.

There is purpose in death.

The Force is all things and I am the Force.

(One version of the Gray Jedi Code)6

 

Compare this to the Jedi and Sith Codes:

 

It’s time for the Jedi to end. Time to bring balance to the Force.

@MyKyloRen     14 July 2017

__________________________

1Ryan, I. et al. (2012). Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Epic Conflict. New York: DK Publishing, p. 304.

2Hidalgo, P. (2015). Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary. New York: DK Publishing, p. 24.

3Foster, A. D. (2015). Star Wars: The Force Awakens. New York: Del Rey, p. 139.

4Ryan, I. et al. (2012). Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Epic Conflict. New York: DK Publishing, p. 73.

5http://swfanon.wikia.com/wiki/Gray_Jedi_Code

6ibid.

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.

Beds are Burning

The flames licked Kylo Ren’s lips, lapped at his throat and down his bare chest, awakening waves of sensation he forgot he’d ever felt before. His whole body was ablaze. The fire swooped lower and ignited his core so that he burned bright and hot from the inside out. The white heat was unbearable, yet he longed to be consumed by it, to blaze like a star gone nova, impregnating the galaxy with the seed of life itself.

It was all so big — this thing that was the universe — bigger than the Light and the Dark. Bigger than the Force. It overwhelmed and surrounded him, made him feel small yet limitless at the same time. He surrendered to the sensation of vastness, power, and helplessness, his breath coming in quick gasps.

But the flames had other plans for his bewildered mind. They leapt up in a familiar place, a much smaller place, though he’d only seen it before in holovids. The Jedi temple — one of thousands strung across the galaxy like pearls in a necklace. A figure cloaked in black stood watching the sacred grounds go up in a blaze that sent walls crumbling and the roof caving in in a shower of sparks. It was night and the smoke billowed and smoldered in great clouds of vile consummation.

Ren wanted to laugh. Temples were superficial things made by mortal men. Everything made by sentient beings was destined to revert back into the atoms from whence it came. Time was the master of all things, and yet time couldn’t destroy the Force. It was and ever would be. Whoever the cloaked figure was was an idiot. He thought by destroying the temple, he would destroy a conduit of the Force. Kylo ignored the annoying Force-vision and returned his mind to more pleasurable matters.

Until a shiny robotic hand reached out to rest reassuredly on the domed head of droid.

A blue-and-white astromech droid.

Ren sat bolt upright with a grunt of desperation, tumbling Amanda off of him. He was out of bed and reaching for a robe before she could grab him and pull him back.

She sighed. He was so distracted these days. “What is it? What do you see?” She tucked a strand of long blond hair behind her ear and clutched the black satin sheet to her breasts.

Kylo had begun to pace before the long transparisteel windows of their flat. “He’s burning the archives!” His fingers flexed into fists at his sides.

“Who is? What archives?” she asked in a patient tone.

“My uncle!” he snarled. “The Jedi archives on Ilum!”

Amanda blinked. “Why would he do that?”

It’s so much bigger, Ben, Ren heard Luke say through the Force. All of it — the Light, the Dark. It doesn’t matter. All that was taught was wrong. The two cannot be separated. The Truth lies beyond the edge of Known Space.

“No!” Kylo raised a fist and pounded the window. “You have no right to rob me of that knowledge!”

Amanda Snoke sighed again, grateful for the durability of transparisteel. She slid out of bed, trailing the sheet like a train.

Ren raised a fist again. “You have no right to decide say what the Truth is!” BANG! “I have the right to decide for myself!” BANG!

“Stop,” Amanda said softly, laying a hand on his shoulder.

He wrenched away to scream at the night-lit skyline, “I hate you!”

Amanda watched the grandson of Darth Vader rail and pace like a caged animal, alternately holding his head in disbelief and flailing his fists in rage.

“I never had a chance to go through them!” he wailed. “I never had a chance to look at those files! They date back before the Jedi!”

“I know,” Amanda told him in a understanding tone. She grabbed him, pulled him around, and cupped his face in her hands. “Done is done. You don’t need those files to be who you are. They don’t define you.” She gripped him by the hair, her gaze intensifying. “Come back to me.”

She kissed him hard.

 

@MyKyloRen   15 June 2017

Easy to Be Hard

Senator Leia Organa closed her eyes as the holographic projector shut off. Her head ached and she massged her temples as a sense of foreboding swept over her. The verdict was in the bag now — tied up in a pretty little package and served to the judge on a mythra platter. She was relieved the spice-lord was being brought to justice after getting away with human trafficking for decades. But the way the evidence had been gathered and presented to the courts on Kuat chilled her. She wished now she hadn’t been part of the Senate Intelligence Committee and were back home on Hosnian Prime with Han and Ben. Ben had just completed his exams at Hanna City University and was enjoying some time off relaxing with friends — although she had a bad feeling about the latest group of intelligentsia he’d introduced her to last fall. They were elusive, guarded somehow — more than most young people around their elders. And Han? Who knew what Han was doing between races and overseeing shipments now. Probably tinkering with the Falcon again.

Tinkering, Leia thought acidly, like this new data-gathering procedure is doing with this citizen’s head. Still, no matter how much the invasive technique and its implications rankled her, she wouldn’t have missed sitting in on the trial. This was the first — and possibly the last — case in which a verdict would be rendered solely on the memories of the accused. It was something new the Kuat System was trying. Why waste time gathering physical evidence that could be insubstantial or tampered with when you could go directly to the source — the accused’s head. Assuming the case wasn’t one of insanity, certainly the defendant knew if he was guilty of the offense or not. And his memories would prove it.

But memories, she remembered thinking, weren’t always accurate, like the time when Han swore Ben had been conceived under the trees on Endor. “No, sweetie,” she’d corrected him with a knowing look and a slight wince. “It was the Dejarik table.” She’d patted his cheek then and gone off to wonder just how much action that old table had seen in the Falcon’s sordid past. It didn’t matter. She knew her life with Han and Ben was secure.

If life ever was.

She watched now as the accused — a scrunch-faced Toydarian — rose for the verdict.

“After viewing the memories of Noyduu Voog, how do you find the defendant?” the elderly Korun judge asked the jurors.

The spokeswoman responded with confidence. “We find him guilty, your honor.”

The Toydarian looked as if he would explode. He desperately wanted to fly the scene, or at least flit about in agitation, but his bee-like wings had been pinned. He’d been given a chance to defend himself, but it wasn’t enough. It would never be enough with his species.

“Master Jedi,” the judge intoned, addressing the one overseeing the memory extraction during the trial — one who was seated behind a mirrored glass partition, watching the proceedings. “After examining the defendant’s memories, how do you find him?”

There was a moment’s hesitation then a deep voice said through a distortion device, “Guilty.”

Leia was hardly aware of the Toydarian as he was escorted from the courtroom — defiant and vengeful and screaming that Jedi mind-tricks didn’t work on his species. Instead, she found her mind wandering back to the memory capture process and the day Luke had explained the technique to her.

The Force-sensitives Luke oversaw at his academy weren’t the only survivors of Order 66. There had been others scattered throughout the galaxy, and some who had developed additional survival skills. Reaching farther into the Force, they’d found they could not only read the thoughts of other sentients but also probe into deep memories of the subconscious. Only then could they truly know whom they could trust. One such Jedi had been behind a screen in the courtroom — to protect his identity — extracting Noyduu Voog’s memories of the humans he’d enslaved and abused, and relaying them through his own mind to a device that transcoded the electrical impulses into visual images for all to see. The feat was nothing less than astonishing, but Leia worried about the vulnerability of the data. A mind intent on evil purposes could project what it wanted. She knew that much from reading text preserved in holocrons Luke had shared with her. The people had been brought around to believing that the Jedi were a force for good again, but they, like all sentient beings, could be tempted by the Dark side. And Leia didn’t know this Jedi inquisitor behind the screen. He’d been retained by the Kuat government for this difficult case, which lacked physical evidence. His identity was classified and his voice electronically modified.

Like a hooded executioner of the Old Republic, she thought.

Yet there was something familiar in the Toydarian’s memories — something out of place among the scantily clad and violated slave women. A little girl who’d reached out wailing, “Come back!” Her face was familiar.

Leia took a deep breath to clear her head then stepped through the door to the judge’s antechambers. She had to have a word with him, to voice official concern, for the record. What she heard next made her blood freeze. A voice raised in aggravation and disgust. A young, awkward voice.

“Yeah, well, I can’t do it anymore!”

Ben Solo by Lucrezia Ciaffaglione

Ben Solo burst from the judge’s chamber and came to an abrupt halt. He blinked. “Mom.”

The judge was on the young Jedi’s heels. “Why not? Everything went perfectly. We’re just….Senator Organa,” he breathed, nearly colliding with Ben.

Leia said nothing. No words would come.

Ben broke the stony silence first. “I can’t keep my own memories isolated,” he told the judge without breaking eye contact with Leia. He sensed his mother’s concern, read disapproval in her shock, and quickly brushed past her.

She turned to grab his sleeve. “Ben. Wait!”

But he was gone.

 

@MyKyloRen   17 May 2017

 

Cloudy with a Chance of Snoke

He knew he shouldn’t do it. He was supposed to be calculating the surface escape velocity and time dilation along with the rest of the eighth-year class of the Jedi Academy. With a sigh, Ben scrolled through the long list of problems Master Luke had loaded onto their datapads.What a waste of time, he thought bitterly, despairing at the sets of complex equations and graphs confronting him. We have nav computers and droids for this! But when he’d said as much one time to his uncle, Luke had countered — hands on hips — “One day you’re going to find yourself in hyperspace without a nav computer.”

“Then the astromech will take over.”

“It’s been blasted to a bizillion pieces,” Luke shot back, continuing his grave scenario.

“Then the backup system will kick in.”

Luke had snort-chuckled. “Gone too.” He raised an eyebrow at his teenage nephew and padawan.

Ben threw up his hands. “There’s the Force!”

Luke had shared a knowing smile and a laugh with Han, who’d been in the room at the time. “That’s not how the Force works, kid,” Han had warned, giving Ben a fatherly pat on the shoulder. “You wanna fly, you gotta play the exam game with Republic licensing officials.”

Ben’s nostrils flared with indignation. “You didn’t.”

Han had turned back then and held up an admonishing finger. “I do now.” Then with a bit of chagrin, he’d added with a grumble, “Your mother has made an honest pilot out of me…among other things.”

“But if I didn’t go through official channels,” Ben had challenged, “I could better serve the Republic as an underground operative.”

Han rolled his eyes. “He’s on this spy kick again,” he’d said in response to Luke’s baffled look, then to Ben he’d added, “Even spies start out by going through official channels.”

It was Luke’s turn to sigh. “Just learn what you need to know for your pilot’s license, Ben.”

The words echoed in Ben Solo’s head as he stared at his datapad. Just a thumb-click  away were the fascinating datafiles and holovids that thoroughly engrossed him on breaks, in the evening, and during any time he had to himself. Ancient scrolls and books that survived the destruction of the Great Jedi Library on Ossus. Datatapes recovered from the wreck of the Chu’unthor, a mobile Jedi training academy that crashed on Dathomir. The exploits of Jedi-turned-Sith-turned-Jedi Revan — his journal only recently discovered. The philosophy of the Potentium and the belief that the Force was a benevolent field of life energy and that the Dark side did not exist. Studies in battle meditation and Force-camouflage. Texts on cloning and essence transfer. Manuscripts by prophets of the Dark side and fragments on Sith poison. Reports of esoteric Sith symbols and starship empowered by Sith consciousness.

It all fascinated him. Anything not involving mind-numbing numbers and calculations, that is.

Ben stole a glance at Luke standing at the head of the class. His uncle appeared to be engrossed in something on his own datapad.  Probably the next boring lesson on the Jedi Agricultural Corp, Ben thought dejectedly. The Jedi taught There is no passion. There is peace. But Master Luke was certainly passionate about the two subjects that made Ben want to scream: navigation and moisture farming. Flying, Ben thought, is for droids. And what was the point of moisture farming an arid world when there were arable worlds that could supply the consumption requirements of the galaxy efficiently and abundantly? The problem lay in the distribution system and the greed of the wealthy few.

He sighed again, totally distracted now, and thumbed the link that give him access to the archives. He scrolled through the list of forbidden texts — he’d hacked into them on his twelfth birthday as a little gift to himself — and opened a scrap of text from the Darth Plagueis Collection. He could finish the nav calculation assignment later. Right now he had to know what Plagueis thought on the subject of galactic politics.Plagueis had been a Sith Lord and Master of Emperor Palpatine and a Muun, which meant he had his nose buried in the dealing of the Intergalactic Banking Clan.

Ben wasn’t far into Plagueis’ eerily intelligent plan when he felt a disturbed presence watching him. He knew he should immediately exit the archives and flip back to his lesson, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away from Plagueis’ words to Palpatine. As he read on, Ben could feel the Darkness seeping in from beyond the edges of known space, where no starlight could be detected. A shiver ran through him…and then…it was gone.

His datapad.

His datapad was in the hands of Luke Skywalker.

“Care to share with the rest of the class what you find so interesting, Ben?”

And that was Luke’s mistake. The one he would eternally regret and chew on for years.

Ben hesitated for a second, the color rising to his cheeks as he got to his feet. He was embarrassed, to be sure, but not humiliated. He saw the smirks on the other padawan’s faces, heard the giggles muffled behind hands. He sensed his classmates’ scorn for the padawan who always managed to screw something up, but he was empowered by their curiosity.

And that was their downfall.

He folded his arms, met their gaze, and quoted, “A cunning politician is capable of wreaking more havoc than two Sith Lords armed with vibroblades, lightsabers, or Force pikes.”*

“I see,” Luke said absently, his eyes locked onto the text displayed on the pad. He quickly motioned Ben out into the hall and waited for the door to slide shut behind them. He turned to face his nephew, exasperated. “What are you doing, Ben?”

Ben knew he wasn’t just being chastised for goofing off in class. There was something far greater at stake here. He’d lit a spark among a couple of his fellow padawans. He could feel their eager young minds burning through the Force.

He smirked. “You told me to share what I was reading.”

Luke ignored the 14-year-old’s sass. “You mother is a politician who cares about the Republic and all it stands for.”

Ben folded his arms. “And the Republic cares only about its pockets.”

Luke stared at the head-strong boy, almost as if he were seeing his nephew for the first time. The Jedi Master’s thoughts were interrupted by the approach of a tall, young blonde — a professional human woman who had the air of a CEO.

“Good midday to you, gentlemen,” Amanda Snoke greeted them cheerily. “I got done with my meeting early and I thought maybe you’d like to go for lunch.”

Luke gave her a courteous nod, but his eyes quickly shifted back to his nephew. “You go, Ben. Class is almost over. Your mother’s out of comm range, but we’ll talk about this later with Han.”

Ben beamed up at Amanda as she hooked her arm in his. Over his shoulder, he threw his uncle a murderous glare as he turned the corner with his friend and exited the study hall into the cloudy afternoon.

“Problems?” she asked.

@MyKyloRen  18 April 2017

*Luceno, James. (2012). Star Wars: Darth Plagueis. New York: Del Rey, p. 204.

Redemption Foreshadowing in The Last Jedi

Interesting. The Battlefront II trailer released today places Kylo with the The Last Jedi heroes — not villains. Also, we have the first look at how bad — or, how slight — the scarring on his face is. If he had completely turned to the Dark side at the end of The Force Awakens and truly became “a monster,” the concept artists would have disfigured him into something hideous. His flesh would reflect the corruption and decay of his soul, much like Anakin’s and Palpatine’s did.

And that scar is located in the same spot where Han lovingly last touched his son. The murder of Han will scar Ben Solo for life, but Kylo, it seems, will still have a choice in The Last Jedi. And who better to help Luke bring the Jedi to an end than his former padawan who understands the Darkness now. What the galaxy needs is a new kind of Force-user — someone like Revan of the Old Republic who was neither Jedi nor Sith, who understood the Force in its entirety.

As Luke says of the Light, Darkness, and the Balance in the trailer for The Last Jedi, “It’s so much bigger.”

Alive and Kicking

Leia felt the sharp kick in her swollen belly and gripped the hand-railing in the elevator. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, then let her breath out slowly. The other woman in the lift laid a hand on her arm.

“Are you alright, your Highness?”

Leia opened her eyes and regarded the blonde woman a moment before closing them again in resignation, steadying herself. The girl was taller than Han and athletic — a student at Hanna City University. Probably a grav-ball player.

“It’s Senator now,” Leia told her wearily, managing a small smile of thanks, “and it’s nothing I can’t handle. I’ve been in far worse situations.” But as the door chime announced their arrival on the rotunda level, she gave another gasp and gripped her belly. “Although something tells me, this one’s going to be as restless as his father.”

“Here, let’s get you to a chair, Senator,” the girl offered helpfully, ushering Leia to a seating area and easing her onto a cushioned bench. “When are you due?”

Leia sighed, looking down at her unborn child. “You and I have one more standard month of this,” she told it with a slight laugh. “Do you think you could not drive me crazy for one day?” She leaned her head against the cool stone wall for a moment before turning back to the girl. “I’m here to see Professor Sulmi. This is the right floor, isn’t it?”

“Oh, yes. His office is right down that corridor,” the young woman confirmed, pointing down a hallway past a splashing fountain to the right, “but I’m afraid he’s just been called away on a family emergency. He told me to be on the lookout for you.” She extended a hand. “I’m Amanda Snoke, his research assistant.”

Leia took it and returned a firm shake. “I’m very sorry to hear that. I hope everything’s alright.”

Amanda tucked a stray strand of her long hair behind her ear. “His wife took a nasty fall, but I hear she’s in the bacta tank now and is expected to make a good recovery.”

“Oh, dear,” Leia said, absently rubbing her belly. “Please give her my sympathy.”

“Of course.” Amanda shifted her long legs on the bench, turning to face the renowned rebel leader. “You’re here to discuss what we’ve learned about Project Harvester.” It wasn’t a question but a confirmation regarding Leia’s visit to the university.

“Yes, that’s right. I understand many of the files have been declassified now.”

Amanda nodded. “Although many are corrupted and haven’t yet been repaired by the data recovery droids.” She pulled a datapad out of her messenger bag and tapped a screen. “Here’s a basic overview of the project as we understand it so far, along with a directory of files. I’ve downloaded them all to a datacard for you.” She handed the pad to Leia.

“There’s a lot more here than I thought,” Leia said, skimming through the overview.

By all accounts, Project Harvester originated on the planet Arkanis for the purpose of identifying and enslaving Force-sensitive children. Data contained in reports issued by staff at the elite Imperial academy run by Commandant Brendol Hux indicate that the project was overseen by the academy and that many of the children acquired were orphaned naturally or purposefully prior to their processing.

Leia shuddered. She knew the reports would divulge the elaborate experimentation done on these unfortunates, as she’d always feared. What she and Luke hoped to do was locate any survivors and help them in any way they could to return to normal lives. It made her skin crawl to think what the Empire had done to these innocents.

The baby kicked again — so hard this time that Amanda caught a glimpse of the tiny foot through Leia’s maternity dress. “He is a restless one, isn’t he?”

Leia rolled her eyes. “You’re right — it’s a boy — and if he doesn’t come soon, I’m babybengoing to strangle the nerf herder who left me to deal with him alone.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, Senator, I didn’t mean….”

Leia laughed and held up a hand. “It’s not like that. Han’s looking for family housing — something we both can agree on. We don’t have much time before the baby comes.”

Amanda smiled and reached out a hand towards the princess’s belly. “May I? My mother was a midwife and I helped her from time to time.”

Leia hesitated a moment, then nodded.

“Do you have a name for him?”

“Ben.”

Amanda gently palpitated the baby bump. “Hello, Ben. You may be restless, little one, but I’d say you’re getting a bit too comfortable.” She met the senator’s gaze. “When the time comes, he’s not going to want to leave his cozy place.”

“Oh, great,” Leia said with another roll of the eyes. “Just what I wanted to hear.”

“And he’ll be born during double moon-dark — a time when many creatures hide in the safety of their lairs.”

Leia laughed lightly at the superstition. “Well, I hope to deliver him on Birren where there are no moons. My family has a quiet retreat there. I haven’t even seen it yet.” She laughed again and waved aside the matter as inconsequential. “Moons remind me of an old superstitious song from my childhood. And after the Death Stars, I don’t care if I ever see another moon again.”

Amanda’s eyes grew suddenly bright. “I’m afraid after you arrived, they had to shut down the hyperspace lanes.”

Leia struggled to get to her feet. “What?”

“They’ve destabilized again after the ion storm moved through. It could be a few weeks before it’s safe.” She rose and put a comforting hand on the Leia’s shoulder. “But don’t worry. Chandrila’s med centers are highly rated, and I’m sure we can find you temporary housing that will suit you both.”

Little Ben turned again and began to hiccup.

Leia looked up at Amanda. “Can you find something suitable for this fussbudget?”

@MyKyloRen   1 March 2017