First published in Sarlaac #1, 1996


by MJ Mink


Obi-Wan looked over at the young man who had screamed his name. Then he turned his head and stared into Anakin's eyes. With a small smile, he lifted his saber to salute the future. Anakin's stroke was so swift and sure that he felt virtually no pain. In fact, he felt little more than a disconcerting sensation of falling. He blinked a few times and looked down at himself. He was evidently both nude and invisible, because Anakin was stomping on his empty robe and using language that no self-respecting Jedi should even know.

Ben chuckled. He would have lingered to watch the continuing festivities, but the Force pulled him on. He drifted in Its stream, yawning with pleasure. It felt so good to relax without that decaying old body and those creaking old bones slowing him down. This was like bobbing through space without a ship or resting his head on that marvelous old osprat-feather pillow that he used to have.

The delightful journey ended with a sudden jolt, and he found himself spiraling down to Dagobah. Miserable place. Much pleasanter, though, when his physical body wasn't along. Now he could control the ambient temperature, and those annoying pests had no desire to nibble on his incorporeal self.

A little green figure stared vaguely at the sky.

"Yoda!" he exclaimed, half with pleasure and half with vexation. The old Master would, as usual, talk a lot, and would, as usual, be right--whether he was or not.

"Welcome, Obi-Wan. The transition have you made, see I."

"Yes." The convoluted speech, which deteriorated as the Master became crankier, was an affectation Yoda had picked up five hundred years earlier on Byss. Hanging around mad young princes and celibate-crazed priests had taken its toll on his linguistic proficiency. "I was chopped like a sapling," he boasted, full of pride for his former student's swordsmanship.


"Of course." Who else could have struck him down? Even in the old days before the Emperor's Purge, there had been no one with Anakin's strength and determination, or with his mean right saber hook.

"Cease so mysterious being," Yoda said crossly. "Appear!"

Appear, just like that, as if it should be simple. Ben concentrated. He'd seen it done, but, formerly being alive, had never attempted it himself. Shimmer, he instructed himself, just shimmer, damn it.

It worked. He could see himself sparkle. He cut quite an attractive figure. What a pity it wasn't a more youthful reflection, though. Did the Force have to project a current image? Ben Kenobi at twenty-five would have been--

"Vanity your problem always was. Grown out of it you haven't."

Lectures, endless lectures. No wonder the Grand Master had exiled Yoda to this Force-forsaken planet so long ago. And no wonder Yoda had remained, sulking in self-exile from the peers who had lost patience with his harangues.

"You called me here," Ben pointed out with exaggerated politeness. "Is there something you wish, Master?"

"An update want I, as well know you!" Yoda stamped his cane on the ground. It sunk in a half a meter, and the little fellow tipped over.

Ben covered his mouth, choking back laughter. "Everything is proceeding as planned. The lad is on the path to his Destiny. It's only a matter of time now."

Yoda pushed himself up rump first, then tugged irritably on his cane, finally succeeding in freeing it. He rested the tip carefully on a small rock. "Work will it you think this plan?"

"Work will I think this plan yes." Only years of discipline enabled him to keep a straight face.

Yoda frowned suspiciously, ears folding in half. "Hrmph. Very well."

Well very. "Soon Anakin will become aware of young Skywalker's Force presence and begin to search for him."

"So certain are you?"

"Of course," he replied simply. "It is inevitable. You know how predictable human males are."

Yoda snorted and crawled onto a boulder, shifting around until he was comfortable. "True. The magic word you say--son!--and they a mass of jelly quivering become. Foolish, foolish humans." He shook his head.

"But useful in this case," he pointed out. "Only Anakin is strong enough to defeat the Emperor. If sacrificing the boy's life will enrage him enough to destroy Palpatine, then all our planning and work will not have been in vain."

"Our work, say you?" Yoda snapped. "Since the Force to you gone have, to teach him I am the one who has! Be he a handful will! My butt, Hope Only!"

Sith save us, why didn't the Force stop him from talking! If Jedi Academy was still in business, the remedial speech course would have been ordered by the counselor. "Would you rather teach the girl? She's our other only hope." he answered mildly.

From the disproportionately wide mouth came a muted roar. "Never! Handful one, no--handfuls six be she! Other hope?--last hope call her I--hope never that desperate do we get!"

"I think Luke will do just fine."

"Weak thing," Yoda sniffed.

"Not weak," he defended. "Unformed, perhaps. Provincial."

"Weak. Dreamer."

"You are still harboring that unnatural prejudice against blonds."

"Throw up you that not in my face, Wan-Obi!"

"It's Obi-Wan," he corrected tiredly, for what was probably the millionth time. Still, better that Yoda called him Wan-Obi than Neb, which he'd been known to do out of sheer perversity. "Anyway, Luke is pure of heart and the legend says--"

"Piffle, legend!" Yoda banged his cane on the rock. It split in half--the cane, not the rock. "Say legend the son the father saves, the father the son saves, and only live will one. Anakin it had be better," he warned darkly. "Need not another blond we! Enough one was!"

Ben stifled a sigh. Six hundred years and Yoda still hadn't gotten over the rejection by the lady Cochonne. Some creatures never learned. Ben shifted uncomfortably in the Force. Something was beginning to itch--correction, everything was beginning to itch. "I think I have to go now," he said hastily. It was the sparkles--every one of those damn sparkles itched! "May the Force be with you." Because without real hands to scratch with, he didn't need It..

"Over things watch will I. Luck good, friend old. With you the Force may be!"

He groaned as he shimmered into invisibility again. With a loud sucking sound, he was pulled into the Force and swept away. Wherever he was going this time, he hoped he wouldn't have to sparkle.