Source of "TFX EPISODE 5" is
title:STAR WARS:THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
by DONALD F.GLUT
The lights of Luke Skywalker's X-wing fighter
pierced the darkness of the bog planet. The ship
had sunk deeper into the scummy waters, but there
was still enough of it above the surface to let Luke
carry needed supplies from the storage compart-
ments. He knew it could not be much longer before
his ship sank deeper-possibly all the way-be-
neath the water. He thought that his chance of
survival might be increased if he gathered as many
supplies as he could.
It was now so dark the Luke could scarcely see
in front of him. Out in the dense jungle he heard a
sharp snapping noise and felt a chill run through
him. Grabbing his pistol, he prepared to blast any-
thing that leaped from the jungle to attack him. But
nothing did, and he clipped his weapon back onto
its holster and continued to unpack his gear.
"You ready for some power?" Luke asked Artoo,
who was patiently waiting for his own form of nour-
ishment. Luke took a small fusion furnace from an
equipment box and ignited it, welcoming even the
tiny glow thrown off by the small heating device,
then took a power cable and attached it to Artoo
through a protuberance that roughly resembled a
nose. As power radiated through Artoo's electronic
innards, the stout robot whistled his appreciation.
Luke sat down and opened a container of proc-
essed food. As he began to eat, he talked to the
robot. "Now all I have to do is find this Yoda, if he
He looked around nervously at the shadows in
the jungle and felt frightened, miserable, and in-
creasingly in doubt about his quest. "This certainly
seems like a strange place to find a Jedi Master,"
he said to the little robot. "Gives me the creeps,"
From the sound of his beep, it was clear Artoo
shared Luke's opinion of the swamp world.
"Although," Luke continued as he reluctantly
tasted more of the food, "There's something familiar
about this place. I feel like-"
"You feel like what?"
That wasn't Artoo's voice! Luke leaped up,
grabbed his pistol, then spun around, peering into
the gloom to try to find the source of those words.
As he turned he saw a tiny creature standing di-
rectly in front of him. Luke immediately stepped
back in surprise; this little being seemed to have
materialized out of nowhere! It stood no more than
half a meter in height, fearlessly holding its ground
in front of the towering youth who wielded an awe-
some laser pistol.
The little wizened thing could have been any
age. Its face was deeply lined, but was framed
with elfin, pointed ears that gave it a look of
eternal youth. Long white hair was parted down
the middle and hung down on either side of the
blue-skinned head. The being was bipedal, and
stood on short legs that terminated in tridactyl,
almost reptilian feet. It wore rags as gray as the
mists of the swamp, and in such tatters that they
must have approximated the creature's very age.
For the moment, Luke could not decide whether
to be frightened or to laugh. But when he gazed in-
to those bulbous eyes and sensed the being's kindly
nature, he relaxed. At last the creature motioned
toward the pistol in Luke's hand.
"Away put your weapon. I mean you no harm,"
After some hesitation, Luke quietly put his pistol
back into his belt. As he did so, he wondered why
he felt impelled to obey this little creature.
"I am wondering," the creature spoke again,
"why are you here?"
"I'm looking for someone," Luke answered.
"Looking? Looking?" the creature repeated curi-
ously with a wide smile beginning to crease his
already lined face. "You've found someone I'd say.
Luke had to force himself not to smile. "Yeah."
"Help you I can...yes...yes."
Inexplicably Luke found himself trusting the odd
creature, but wasn't at all sure that such a tiny in-
dividual could be of help on his important quest. "I
don't think so," he replied gently. "You see, I'm
looking for a great warrior."
"A great warrior?" The creature shook his head,
the whitish hair flopping about his pointed ears.
"Wars don't make one great."
A strange phrase, Luke thought. But before he
could answer, Luke saw the tiny hominid bobble
over to the top of the salvaged supply cases.
Shocked, he watched as the creature began to rum-
mage through the articles Luke had brought with
him from Hoth.
"Get away from there," he said, surprised at this
sudden strange behavior.
Moving across the ground, Artoo waddled to-
ward the pile of cases, standing just about at optical
sensor level with the creature. The droid squealed
his disapproval as he scanned the creature that was
carelessly digging through the supplies.
The strange being grabbed the container holding
the remains of Luke's food and took a bite.
"Hey, that's my dinner!" Luke exclaimed.
But no sooner had the creature taken his first
bite than he spat out what he had tasted, his deeply
lined face wrinkling like a prune. "Peewh!" he said,
spitting. "Thank you, no. How get you so big eating
food of this kind?" He looked Luke up and down.
Before the astounded youth could reply, the crea-
ture flipped the food container in Luke's direction,
then dipped one of his small and delicate hands
into another supply case.
"Listen, friend," Luke said, watching this bizarre
scavenger, "we didn't mean to land here. And if I
could get my fighter out of this puddle I would, but
I can't. So-"
"Can't get your ship out? Have you tried? Have
you tried?" the creature goaded.
Luke had to admit to himself that he had not,
but then the whole idea was patently ludicrous. He
didn't have the proper equipment to-
Something in Luke's case had attracted the crea-
ture's interest. Luke finally reached the end of
his patience when he saw the crazy little being
snatch something out of the supply case. Knowing
that survival depended on those supplies, he
grabbed for the case. But the creature held on to
his prize-a miniature power lamp that he gripped
tightly in his blue-skinned hand. The little light came
alive in the creature's hand, throwing its radiance
up into his delighted face, and he immediately
began to examine his treasure.
"Give me that!" Luke cried.
The creature retreated from the approaching
youth like a petulant child. "Mine! Mine! Or I'll
help you not."
Still clutching the lamp to his breast, the creature
stepped backward, inadvertently bumping into
Artoo-Detoo. Not remembering that the robot was
at all animate, the being stood next to it as Luke
"I don't want your help," Luke said indignantly.
"I want my lamp back. I'll need it in this slimy
Luke instantly realized he had issued an insult.
"Mudhole? Slimy? My home this is!"
As they argued, Artoo slowly reached out a me-
chanical arm. Suddenly his appendage grabbed
the pilfered lamp and immediately the two little
figures were engaged in a tug-of-war over the stolen
prize. As they spun about in battle, Artoo beeped
a few electronic, "give me that's."
"Mine, mine. Give it back," the creature cried.
Abruptly, though, he seemed to give up the bizarre
struggle and lightly posed the droid with one bluish
Artoo emitted a loud, startled squeal and im-
mediately released the power lamp.
The victor grinned at the glowing object in his
tiny hands, gleefully repeating, "Mine, mine."
Luke was about fed up with these antics and
advised the robot that the battle was over. "Okay,
Artoo," he said with a sigh, "let him have it. Now
get out of here, little fellow. We've got things to
"No, no!" the creature pleaded excitedly. "I'll
stay and help you find your friend."
"I'm not looking for a friend," Luke said. "I'm
looking for a Jedi Master."
"Oh," the creature's eyes widened as he spoke,
"a Jedi Master. Different altogether. Yoda, you
Mention of that name surprised Luke, but he
felt skeptical. How could an elf like this know any-
thing about a great teacher of the Jedi Knights?
"You know him?"
"Of course, yes," the creature said proudly. "I'll
take you to him. But first we must eat. Good food.
With that, the creature scurried out of Luke's
camp and into the shadows of the swamp. The tiny
power lamp he carried was gradually dimming in
the distance as Luke stood feeling baffled. At first
he had no intention of pursuing the creature, but
all at once he found himself diving into the fog
As Luke started off into the jungle, he heard
Artoo whistling and beeping as if he would blow
his circuits. Luke turned around to see the little
droid standing forlornly next to the miniature fission
"You'd better stay here and watch over the
camp," Luke instructed the robot.
But Artoo only intensified his noisy output, run-
ning through the entire gamut of his electronic ar-
"Artoo, now settle down," Luke called as he ran
into the jungle. "I can take care of myself. I'll be
Artoo's electronic grumblings grew fainter as
Luke hurried to catch up with the little guide. I
must really be out of my mind, Luke thought,
following this weird being into who-knows-what.
But the creature had mentioned Yoda's name,
and Luke felt compelled to accept any help he
could get to find the Jedi Master. He stumbled in
the dark over thick weeds and twisting roots as
he pursued the flickering light ahead.
The creature was chattering gaily as he led the
way through the swamp. "Heh...safe...heh
...quite safe...yes, of course." Then, in his
odd little way, this mysterious being started to
ONLY one being in the entire universe could
instill fear in the dark spirit of Darth Vader. As
he stood, silent and alone in his dim chamber, the
Dark Lord of the Sith waited for a visit from his
own dreaded master.
As he waited, his Imperial Star Destroyer floated
through a vast ocean of stars. No one on his ship
would have dared disturb Darth Vader in his pri-
vate cubicle. But if they had, they might have de-
tected a slight trembling in that black-cloaked
frame. And there might even have been a hint of
terror to be seen upon his visage, had anyone been
able to see through his concealing black breath
But no one approached, and Vader remained
motionless as he kept his lonely, patient vigil. Soon
a strange electronic whine broke the dead silence
of the room and a flickering light began to glimmer
on the Dark Lord's cloak. Vader immediately
bowed deeply in homage to his royal master.
The visitor arrived in the form of a hologram
that materialized before Vader and towered above
him. The three-dimensional figure was clad in
simple robes and its face was concealed behind an
When the hologram of the Galactic Emperor
finally spoke, it did so with a voice even deeper
than Vader's. The Emperor's presence was awe-
some enough, but the sound of his voice sent a thrill
of terror coursing through Vader's powerful frame.
"You may rise, my servant," the Emperor com-
Immediately Vader straightened up. But he did
not dare gaze into his master's face, and instead
cast his eyes down at his own black boots.
"What is thy bidding, my master?" Vader asked
with all the solemnity of a priest attending his god.
"There is a grave disturbance in the Force,"
the Emperor said.
"I have felt it," the Dark Lord replied solemnly.
The Emperor emphasized the danger as he con-
tinued. "Our situation is most precarious. We have
a new enemy who could bring about our destruc-
"Our destruction? Who?"
"The son of Skywalker. You must destroy him,
or he will be our undoing."
The thought was impossible. How could the Em-
peror be concerned with this insignificant youth?
"He's not a Jedi," Vader reasoned. "He's just a
boy. Obi-Wan could not have taught him so much
The Emperor broke in. "The Force is strong in
him," he insisted. "He must be destroyed."
The Dark Lord reflected for a moment. Perhaps
there was another way to deal with the boy, a way
that might benefit the Imperial cause. "If he could
be turned, he would be a powerful ally," Vader sug-
Silently the Emperor considered the possibility.
After a moment, he spoke again. "Yes...yes,"
he said thoughtfully. "He would be a great asset.
Can it be done?"
For the first time in their meeting, Vader lifted
his head to face his master directly. "He will
join us," he answered firmly, "or die, my master."
With that, the encounter had come to an end.
Vader kneeled before the Galactic Emperor, who
passed his hand over his obedient servant. In the
next moment, the holographic image had completely
disappeared, leaving Darth Vader alone to formu-
late what would be, perhaps, his most subtle plan
Luke was panting, nearly out of breath in this,
the latest of his endurance tests. His Jedi taskmas-
ter had ordered him out on a marathon run through
the dense growth of his planet's jungle. Not only
had Yoda sent Luke on the exhausting run, but he
had invited himself along for the ride. As the Jedi-
in-training puffed and sweated his way on his
rugged race, the little Jedi Master observed his
progress from a pouch strapped to Luke's back.
Yoda shook his head and muttered to himself
disparagingly about the youth's lack of endurance.
By the time they returned to the clearing where
Artoo-Detoo was patiently waiting, Luke's exhaus-
tion had nearly overcome him. As he stumbled into
the clearing, Yoda had yet another text planned for
Before Luke had caught his breath, the little Jedi
on his back tossed a metal bar in front of Luke's
eyes. In an instant Luke ignited his laser sword and
swung frantically at the bar. But he was not fast
enough, and the bar fell-untouched-onto the
ground with a thud. Luke collapsed on the wet
earth in complete exhaustion. "I can't," he moaned,
Yoda, who showed no sign of sympathy, retorted,
"It would be in seven pieces, were you a Jedi."
But Luke knew that he was not a Jedi-not yet,
anyway. And the rigorous training program devised
by Yoda had left him nearly out of breath. "I
thought I was in good shape," he gasped.
"Yes, but by what standard, ask I?" the little in-
structor quizzed. "Forget your old measures. Un-
Luke truly felt ready to unlearn all his old ways
and willing to free himself to learn all this Jedi
Master had to teach. It was rigorous training, but as
time passed, Luke's strength and abilities increased
and even his skeptical little master began to see
hope. But it was not easy.
Yoda spent long hours lecturing his student about
the ways of the Jedi. As they sat under the trees
near Yoda's little house, Luke listened intently to
all the master's tales and lessons. And as Luke lis-
tened, Yoda chewed on his Gimer Stick, a short
twig with three small branches at the far end.
And there were physical tests of all kinds. In
particular, Luke was working hard to perfect his
leap. Once he felt ready to show Yoda his im-
provement. As the master sat on a log next to a
wide pond, he heard the loud rustling of someone
approaching through the vegetation.
Suddenly Luke appeared on the other side of
the pond, coming toward the water at a run. As he
approached the shore, he made a running leap to-
ward Yoda, rising high above the water as he
hurtled himself through the air. But he fell short of
the other side and landed in the water with a loud
splash, completely soaking Yoda.
Yoda's blue lips turned down in disappointment.
But Luke was not about to give up. He was
determined to become a Jedi and, no matter how
foolish he might feel in the attempt, would pass
every test Yoda set for him. So he didn't complain
when Yoda told him to stand on his head. A bit
awkwardly at first, Luke inverted his body and,
after a few wobbly moments, was standing firmly
on his hands. It seemed he had been in this posi-
tion for hours, but it was less difficult than it would
have been before his training. His concentration
had improved so much that he was able to
maintain a perfect balance-even with Yoda
perched on the soles of his feet.
But that was only part of the test. Yoda signaled
Luke by tapping on his leg with his Gimer Stick.
Slowly, carefully, and with full concentration, Luke
raised one hand off the ground. His body wavered
slightly with the weight shift-but Luke kept his
balance, and, concentrating, started to lift a small
rock in front of him. But suddenly a whistling and
beeping R2 unit came rushing up to his youthful
Luke collapsed, and Yoda jumped clear of his
falling body. Annoyed, the young Jedi student
asked, "Oh, Artoo, what is it?"
Artoo-Detoo rolled about in frantic circles as he
tried to communicate his message through a series
of electronic chirps. Luke watched as the droid
scooted to the edge of the swamp. He hurried to
follow and then saw what it was the little robot
was trying to tell him.
Standing at the water's edge, Luke saw that all
but the tip of the X-wing's nose had disappeared
beneath the water's surface.
"Oh, no," moaned Luke. "We'll never get it out
Yoda had joined them, and stamped his foot in
irritation at Luke's remark. "So sure are you?"
Yoda scolded. "Tried have you? Always with you
it can't be done. Hear you nothing that I say?"
His little wrinkled face puckered with a furious
Luke glanced at his master, then looked doubt-
fully toward the sunken ship.
"Master," he said skeptically, "lifting rocks is
one thing, but this is a little different." Yoda was
really angry now. "No! No different!" he shouted.
"The differences are in your mind. Throw them
out! No longer of use are they to you."
Luke trusted his master. If Yoda said this could
be done, then maybe he should try. He looked at
the downed X-wing and readied himself for max-
imum concentration. "Okay," he said at last, "I'll
give it a try."
Again he had spoken the wrong words. "No,"
Yoda said impatiently. "Try not. Do, do. Or do
not. There is no try."
Luke closed his eyes. He tried to envision the
contours, the shape, to feel the weight of his
X-wing fighter. And he concentrated on the move-
ment it would make as it rose from the murky
As he concentrated, he began to hear the waters
churn and gurgle, and then begin to bubble with
the emerging nose of the X-wing. The tip of the
fighter was slowly lifting from the water, and it
hovered there for a moment, then sank back be-
neath the surface with a loud splash.
Luke was drained and had to gasp for breath.
"I can't," he said dejectedly. "It's too big."
"Size has no meaning," Yoda insisted. "It
matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size,
Luke, chastened, just shook his head.
"And well you shouldn't," the Jedi Master ad-
vised. "For my ally is the Force. And a powerful
ally it is. Life creates it and makes it grow. Its
energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings
we are, not this crude matter," he said as he
pinched Luke's skin.
Yoda made a grand sweeping gesture to indicate
the vastness of the universe about him. "Fell it
you must. Feel the flow. Feel the Force around
you. Here," he said, as he pointed, "between you
and me and that tree and that rock."
While Yoda gave his explanation of the Force,
Artoo spun his domed head around, trying without
success to register this "Force" on his scanners. He
whistled and beeped in bafflement.
"Yes, everywhere," Yoda continued, ignoring
the little droid, "waiting to be felt and used. Yes,
even between this land and that ship!"
Then Yoda turned and looked at the swamp,
and as he did the water began to swirl. Slowly,
from the gently bubbling waters, the nose of the
fighter appeared again.
Luke gaped in astonishment as the X-wing
gracefully rose from its watery tomb and moved
majestically toward the shore.
He silently vowed never to use the word "impos-
sible" again. For there, standing on his tree root
pedestal, was tiny Yoda, effortlessly gliding the
ship from the water onto the shore. It was a sight
that Luke could scarcely believe. But he knew that
it was a potent example of Jedi mastery over the Force.
Artoo, equally astounded but not so philosophi-
cal, issued a series of loud whistles, then bolted off
to hide behind some giant roots.
The X-wing seemed to float onto the beach, and
then gently came to a stop.
Luke was humbled by the feat he had witnessed
and approached Yoda in awe. "I..." he began,
dazzled. "I don't believe it."
"That," Yoda stated emphatically, "is why you
Bewildered, Luke shook his head, wondering if
he would ever rise to the station of a Jedi.
The two glowing balls hovered like alien fireflies
above Luke's body lying motionless in the mud.
Standing protectively next to his fallen master, a
little barrel-shaped droid periodically extended a
mechanical appendage to swat at the dancing ob-
jects as if they were mosquitoes. But the hovering
balls of light leaped just out of the robot's reach.
Artoo-Detoo leaned over Luke's inert body and
whistled in an effort to revive him. But Luke,
stunned unconscious by the charges of these en-
ergy balls, did not respond. The robot turned to
Yoda, who was sitting calmly on a tree stump, and
angrily began to beep and scold the little Jedi Mas-
Getting no sympathy from him, Artoo turned
back to Luke. His electronic circuits told him there
was no use trying to wake Luke with his little
noises. An emergency rescue system was activated
within his metal hull and Artoo extended a small
metal electrode and rested it on Luke's chest. Ut-
tering a quiet beep of concern, Artoo generated a
mild electrical charge, just strong enough to jolt
Luke back to consciousness. The youth's chest
heaved, and he awoke with a start.
Looking dazed, the young Jedi student shook
d clear. He looked around him, rubbing his
shoulders to ease the ache from Yoda's seeker
balls' attack. Glimpsing the seekers still suspended
over him, Luke scowled. Then he heard Yoda
chuckling merrily nearby, and turned his glare on
"Concentration, heh?" Yoda laughed, his lined
face creased with enjoyment. "Concentration!"
Luke was in no mood to return his smile. "I
thought those seekers were set for stun!" he ex-
"That they are," the amused Yoda answered.
"They're a lot stronger than I'm used to." Luke's
shoulder ached painfully.
"That would not matter were the Force flowing
through you," Yoda reasoned. "Higher you'd jump!"
Faster you'd move!" he exclaimed. "Open yourself
to the Force you must."
The youth was beginning to feel exasperated with
his arduous training, although he had only been at
it a short time. He had felt very close to knowing
the Force-but so many times he had failed and
had realized how very far away it was from him
still. But now Yoda's goading words made him
spring to his feet. He was tired of waiting so long
for this power, weary at his lack of success, and
increasingly infuriated by Yoda's cryptic teachings.
Luke grabbed his laser sword from the mud and
quickly ignited it.
Terrified, Artoo-Detoo scurried away to safety.
"I'm open to it now!" Luke shouted. "I feel it.
Come on, you little flying blasters!" With fire in
his eyes, Luke poised his weapon and moved to-
ward the seekers. Immediately they zipped away
and retreated to hover over Yoda.
"No, no," the Jedi Master scolded, shaking his
hoary head. "This will not do. Anger is what you
"But I feel the Force!" Luke protested vehe-
"Anger, anger, fear, aggression!" Yoda warned.
"The dark side of the Force are they. Easily they
flow...quick to join in a fight. Beware, beware,
beware of them. A heavy price is paid for the
power they bring."
Luke lowered his sword and stared at Yoda
in confusion. "Price?" he asked. "What do you
"The dark side beckons," Yoda said dramat-
ically. "But if once start you down the dark path,
forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume
you it will...as it did Obi-Wan's apprentice."
Luke nodded. He knew who Yoda meant. "Lord
Vader," he said. After he thought for a moment,
Luke asked, "Is the dark side stronger?"
"No, no. Easier, quicker, more seductive."
"But how am I to know the good side from the
bad?" he asked, puzzled.
"You will know," Yoda answered. "When you
are at peace...calm, passive. A Jedi uses the
Force for knowledge. Never for attack."
"But tell me why-" Luke began.
"No! There is no why. Nothing more will I tell
you. Clear your mind of questions. Quiet now be-
at peace..." Yoda's voice trailed off, but his
words had a hypnotic effect on Luke. The young
student stopped protesting and began to feel peace-
ful, his body and mind relaxing.
"Yes..." Yoda murmured, "calm."
Slowly Luke's eyes closed as he let his mind clear
of distracting thoughts.
Luke heard Yoda's soothing voice as it entered
the receptive darkness of his mind. He willed him-
self to travel along with the master's words to
wherever they might lead.
"Let yourself go..."
When Yoda perceived that Luke was as relaxed
as the young student could be at this stage, he made
the tiniest of gestures. As he did, the two seeker
balls above his head shot toward Luke, firing stun
bolts as they moved.
In that instant Luke sprang to life and ignited
his laser sword. He leaped to his feet and, with pure
concentration, began deflecting the bolts as they
spun toward him. Fearlessly he faced the attack,
and moved and dodged with extreme grace. His
leaps into the air, as he jumped to meet the bolts,
were higher than any he had achieved before. Luke
wasted not a single motion as he concentrated only
on every bolt as it sped his way.
Then, as suddenly as it had begun, the seeker
attack was over. The glowing balls returned to
hover on either side of their master's head.
Artoo-Detoo, the ever-patient observer, let out an
electronic sigh and shook his metal dome-head.
Grinning proudly, Luke looked toward Yoda.
"Much progress do you make, young one," the
Jedi Master confirmed. "Stronger do you grow." But
the little instructor would not compliment him more
Luke was full of pride at his marvelous achieve-
ment. He watched Yoda, expectantly waiting for
further praise from him. But Yoda did not move or
speak. He sat calmly-and then two more seeker
balls floated up behind him and moved into forma-
tion with the first two.
Luke Skywalker's grin began to melt away.
Luke felt that he was definitely progressing.
He ran through the jungle-with Yoda perched
on his neck-and leaped with gazellelike grace over
the profusion of foliage and tree roots growing
throughout the bog.
Luke had at last begun to detach himself from
the emotion of pride. He felt unburdened, and was
finally open to experience fully the flow of the
When his diminutive instructor threw a silver bar
above Luke's head, the young Jedi student reacted
instantly. In a flash he turned to slice the bar into
four shiny segments before it fell to the ground.
Yoda was pleased and smiled at Luke's accom-
plishment. "Four this time! The Force you feel."
But Luke was suddenly distracted. He sensed
something dangerous, something evil. "Something's
not right," he said to Yoda. "I feel danger...
He looked around him, trying to see what it was
that emitted so powerful an aura. As he turned he
saw a huge, tangled tree, its blackened bark dry
and crumbling. The base of the tree was surrounded
by a small pond of water where the gigantic roots
had grown to form the opening to a darkly sinister
Luke gently lifted Yoda from his neck and set
him on the ground. Transfixed, the Jedi student
stared at the dark monstrosity. Breathing hard, he
found himself unable to speak.
"You brought me here purposely," Luke said at
Yoda sat on a tangled root and put his Gimer
Stick in his mouth. Calmly looking at Luke, he said
Luke shivered. "I feel cold," he said, still gazing
at the tree.
"This tree is strong with the dark side of the
Force. A servant of evil it is. Into it you must go."
Luke felt a tremor of apprehension. "What's in
"Only what you take with you," Yoda said cryp-
Luke looked warily at Yoda, and then at the
tree. He silently resolved to take his courage, his
willingness to learn, and step within that darkness
to face whatever it was that awaited him. He would
take nothing more than-
No. He would also bring his lightsaber.
Lighting his weapon, Luke stepped through the
shallow waters of the pond and toward the dark
opening between those great and foreboding roots.
But the Jedi Master's voice stopped him.
"Your weapon," Yoda reproved. "You won't
Luke paused and looked again at the tree. Go
into that evil cave completely unarmed? as skilled
as Luke was becoming, he did not feel quite equal
to that test. He gripped his saber tighter and shook
Yoda shrugged and placidly gnawed his Gimer
Taking a deep breath, Luke cautiously stepped
into the grotesque tree cave.
The dark inside the cave was so thick that Luke
could feel it against his skin, so black that the light
thrown by his laser sword was quickly absorbed
and illuminated scarcely more than a meter in front
of him. As he slowly moved forward, slimy, drip-
ping things brushed against his face and the mois-
ture from the soggy cave floor began to seep into
As he pushed through the blackness, his eyes
began to grow accustomed to the dark. He saw a
corridor before him, but as he moved toward it, he
was surprised by a thick, sticky membrane that
completely enveloped him. Like the web of some
gigantic spider, the mass clung tightly to Luke's
body. Thrashing at it with his lightsaber, Luke fi-
nally managed to disentangle himself and clear a
He held his glowing sword in front of him and
noticed an object on the cave floor. Pointing his
lightsaber downward, Luke illuminated a black
shiny beetle the size of his hand. In an instant, the
thing scurried up the slimy wall to join a cluster of
Luke caught his breath and stepped back. At
that moment he considered hunting for the exit-
but he braced himself and ventured still deeper in-
to the dark chamber.
He felt the space about him widen as he moved
forward, using his lightsaber as a dim beacon. He
strained to see in the darkness, trying his best to
hear. But there was no sound at all. Nothing.
Then, a very loud hiss.
The sound was familiar. He froze where he
stood. He had heard that hiss even in his night-
mares; it was the labored breath of a thing that had
once been a man.
Out of the darkness a light appeared-the blue
flame of a just-ignited laser sword. In its illumina-
tion Luke saw the looming figure of Darth Vader
raise his lighted weapon to attack, and then lunge.
Prepared by his disciplined Jedi training, Luke
was ready. He raised his own lightsaber and per-
fectly side-stepped Vader's attack. In the same
movement, Luke turned to Vader and, with his
mind and body completely focused, the youth sum-
moned the Force. Feeling its power within him,
Luke raised his laser weapon and brought it crash-
ing down on Vader's head.
With one powerful stroke, the Dark Lord's head
was severed from his body. Head and helmet
crashed to the ground and rolled about the cave
floor with a loud metallic bang. As Luke watched
in astonishment, Vader's body was completely
swallowed up by the darkness. Then Luke looked
down at the helmet that had come to rest directly
in front of him. For a moment it was completely
still. Then the helmet cracked in half and split
As Luke watched in shocked disbelief, the
broken helmet fell aside to reveal, not the un-
known, imagined face of Darth Vader, but Luke's
own face, looking up at him.
He gasped, horrified at the sight. And then, as
suddenly as it had appeared, the decapitated head
faded away as if in a ghostly vision.
Luke stared at the dark space where the head
and pieces of helmet had lain. His mind reeled, the
emotions that raged inside of him were almost too
much to bear.
The tree! he told himself. It was all some trick
of this ugly cave, some charade of Yoda's, ar-
ranged because he had come into the tree carrying
He wondered if he were really fighting himself,
or if he had fallen prey to the temptations of the
dark side of the Force. He might himself become a
figure as evil as Darth Vader. And he wondered if
there might be some even darker meaning behind
the unsettling vision.
It was a long while before Luke Skywalker was
able to move from that deep, dark cave.
Meanwhile, sitting on the root, the little Jedi
Master calmly gnawed his Gimer Stick.
Luke was perfectly calm. Even his present
position did not make him feel tense or strained or
unsure, or any of the negative things he used to
feel when he first attempted this feat. He stood,
perfectly balanced on one hand. He knew the
Force was with him.
His patient master, Yoda, sat calmly on the soles
of Luke's upturned feet. Luke concentrated se-
renely on his task and all at once he lifted four
fingers from the ground. His balance undisturbed,
he held his upside-down position-on one thumb.
Luke's determination had made him a quick
study. He was eager to learn and was undaunted
by the tests Yoda had devised for him. And now
he felt confident that when he finally left this
planet, it would be as a full-fledged Jedi Knight
prepared to fight only for the noblest of causes.
Luke was rapidly growing stronger with the
Force and, indeed, was accomplishing miracles.
Yoda grew more pleased with his apprentice's
progress. Once, while Yoda stood watching nearby,
Luke used the Force to lift two large equipment
cases and suspend them in midair. Yoda was
pleased, but noticed Artoo-Detoo observing this ap-
parent impossibility and emitting electronic beeps
of disbelief. The Jedi Master raised his hand and,
with the Force, lifted the little droid off the ground.
Artoo hovered, his baffled internal circuits and
sensors trying to detect the unseen power that held
him suspended in the air. And suddenly the invis-
ible hand played still another joke on him: While
hanging in midair, the little robot was abruptly
turned upside down. His white legs kicked desper-
ately and his dome head spun helplessly around.
When Yoda finally lowered his hand, the droid,
along with two supply cases, began to drop. But
only the boxes smashed against the ground. Artoo
remained suspended in space.
Turning his head, Artoo perceived his young
master, standing with hand extended, preventing
Artoo from a fatal tumble.
Yoda shook his head, impressed by his student's
quick thinking and by his control.
Yoda sprang onto Luke's arm and the two of
them turned back toward the house. But they had
forgotten something: Artoo-Detoo was still hanging
in the air, beeping and whistling frantically, trying
to get their attention. Yoda was merely playing an-
other joke on the fretful droid, and as Yoda and
Luke strolled away, Artoo heard the Jedi Master's
bell-like laugh float in gay peals behind him as the
droid slowly lowered to the ground.
Some time later, as dusk crept through the dense
foliage of the bog, Artoo was cleaning the X-wing's
hull. Through a hose that ran from the pond to an
orifice in his side, the robot sprayed down the ship
with a powerful stream of water. And while he
worked, Luke and Yoda sat in the clearing, Luke's
eyes closed in concentration.
"Be calm," Yoda told him. "Through the Force
things you will see: other places, other thoughts,
the future, the past, old friends long gone."
Luke was losing himself as he concentrated on
Yoda's words. He was becoming unaware of his
body and let his consciousness drift with the words
of his master.
"My mind fills with so many images."
"Control, control you must learn of what you
see," the Jedi Master instructed. "Not easy, not
Luke closed his eyes, relaxed, and began to free
his mind, began to control the images. At last there
was something, not clear at first, but something
white, amorphous. Gradually the image cleared. It
seemed to be that of a city, a city that perhaps
floated in a billowing white sea.
"I see a city in the clouds," he finally said.
"Bespin," Yoda identified it. "I see it, too.
Friends you have there, heh? Concentrate and see
them you will."
Luke's concentration intensified. And the city in
the clouds became clearer. As he concentrated he
was able to see forms, familiar forms of people he
"I see them!" Luke exclaimed, his eyes still shut.
Then a sudden agony, of body and spirit, took hold
of him. "They're in pain. They're suffering."
"It is the future you see," the voice of Yoda ex-
The future, Luke thought. Then the pain he had
felt had not yet been inflicted on his friends. So
perhaps the future was not unchangeable.
"Will they die?" he asked his master.
Yoda shook his head and shrugged gently. "Dif-
ficult to see. Always in motion is the future."
Luke opened his eyes again. He stood up and
quickly began to gather his equipment. "They're my
friends," he said, guessing that the Jedi Master might
try to dissuade him from doing what he knew he
"And therefore," Yoda added, "decide you must
how to serve them best. If you leave now, help
them you could. But you would destroy all for
which they have fought and suffered."
His words stopped Luke cold. The youth sank to
the ground, feeling a shroud of gloom envelop him.
Could he really destroy everything he had worked
for and possibly also destroy his friends? But how
could he not try to save them?
Artoo perceived his master's despair and rolled
over to stand by him and provide what comfort he
Artoo-Detoo felt the rain plunking on top of his
metal dome as he trudged through the muddy pu-
dles of the bog. He was headed for the sanctuary
of Yoda's little hut, and soon his optical sensors
picked up the golden glow shining through its win-
dows. As he neared the inviting house, he felt a
robot's relief that at last he would get out of this
annoying, persistent rain.
But when he tried to pass through the entrance
he discovered that his inflexible droid body just
could not get in; he tried from one angle, then
from another. At last the perception that he was
simply the wrong shape to get in seeped into his
He could scarcely believe his sensors. As he
peered into the house, he scanned a busy figure,
bustling about the kitchen, stirring steaming pots,
chopping this and that, running back and forth.
But the figure in Yoda's tiny kitchen, doing Yoda's
kitchen tasks, was not the Jedi Master-but his
Yoda, it appeared from Artoo's scan, was sim-
ply sitting back observing his young pupil from the
adjacent room, and quietly smiling. Then sud-
denly, in the midst of all his kitchen activity, Luke
paused, as if a painful vision had appeared before
Yoda noticed Luke's troubled look. As he
watched his student, three glow-ball seekers ap-
peared from behind Yoda and noiselessly shot
through the air to attack the young Jedi from be-
hind. Instantly Luke turned to face them, a pot lid
in one hand and a spoon in the other.
The seekers sent one rocketing bolt after an-
other directly at Luke. But, with astounding skill,
he warded off every one. He knocked one of the
seekers toward the open door where Artoo stood
watching his master's performance. But the faithful
droid saw the shining ball too late to avoid the bolt
it shot at him. The impact knocked the shrieking
robot onto the ground with a clunk that nearly
shook loose his electronic insides.
Later that evening, after the student had suc-
cessfully passed a number of his teacher's tests, a
weary Luke Skywalker finally fell asleep on the
ground outside Yoda's house. He slept fitfully,
tossing and softly moaning. His concerned droid
stood by him, reaching out an extension arm and
covering Luke with the blanket that had slipped
halfway off. But when Artoo started to roll away,
Luke began to groan and shudder as if in the grip
of some horrible nightmare.
Inside the house, Yoda heard the groans and
hurried to his doorway.
Luke awoke from his sleep with a start. Dazed,
he looked about him, then saw his teacher wor-
riedly watching him from his house. "I can't keep
the vision out of my head, " Luke told Yoda. "My
friends...they're in trouble...and I feel
"Luke, you must not go," Yoda warned.
"But Han and Leia will die if I don't."
"You don't know that." It was the whispered
voice of Ben, who was beginning to materialize be-
fore them. The dark-robed figure stood, a shim-
mering image, and told Luke, "Even Yoda cannot
see their fate."
But Luke was deeply worried about his friends
and was determined to do something. "I can help
them!" he insisted.
"You're not ready yet," Ben said gently. "You
still have much to learn."
"I feel the Force," Luke said.
"But you cannot control it. This is a dangerous
stage for you, Luke. You are now most susceptible
to the temptations of the dark side."
"Yes, yes," Yoda added. "To Obi-Wan you lis-
ten, young one. The tree. Remember your failure
at the tree! Heh?"
Painfully, Luke remembered, though he felt he
had gained a great deal of strength and under-
standing in that experience. "I've learned much
since then. And I'll return to finish. I promise that,
"You underestimate the Emperor," Ben told
him gravely. "It is you he wants. That is why your
"And that," Luke said, "is why I must go."
Kenobi was firm. "I will not lose you to the
Emperor as I once lost Vader."
"Only a fully trained Jedi Knight, with the
Force as his ally, will conquer Vader and his Em-
peror," Ben emphasized. "If you end your training
now, if you choose the quick and easy path-as
Vader did-you will become an agent of evil, and
the galaxy will be plunged deeper into the abyss
of hate and despair."
"Stopped they must be," Yoda interjected. "Do
you hear? On this all depends."
"You are the last Jedi, Luke. You are our only
hope. Be patient."
"And sacrifice Han and Leia?" the youth asked
"If you honor what they fight for," Yoda said,
pausing for a long moment, "...yes!"
Great anguish overcame Luke. He wasn't cer-
tain that he could reconcile the advice of these two
great mentors with his own feelings. His friends
were in terrible danger, and of course he must
save them. But his teachers thought he was not
ready, that he might be too vulnerable to the pow-
erful Vader and his Emperor, that he might bring
harm to his friends and himself-and possibly be
lost forever on the path of evil.
Yet how could he fear these abstract things
when Han and Leia were real and were suffering?
How could he permit himself to fear possible dan-
ger to himself when his friends were presently in
real danger of death?
There was no longer any question in his mind
as to what he had to do.
It was dusk the next day on the bog planet
when Artoo-Detoo settled himself into his nook
behind the cockpit of Luke's X-wing fighter.
Yoda stood on one of the storage cases, watch-
ing Luke load the cases one by one into the fight-
er's underbelly as he worked in the glow of the
"I cannot protect you, Luke," the voice of Ben
Kenobi came, as his robed figure took solid form.
"If you choose to face Vader, you will do it alone.
Once you've made his decision, I cannot inter-
"I understand," Luke replied calmly. Then, turn-
ing to his droid, he said, "Artoo, fire up the power
Artoo, who had already unfastened the power
couplings on the ship, whistled happily, grateful to
be leaving this dismal bog world, which was cer-
tainly no place for a droid.
"Luke," Ben advised, "use the Force only for
knowledge and for defense, not as a weapon.
Don't give in to hate or anger. They lead the way
to the dark side."
Luke nodded, only half-listening. His mind was
on the long journey and on the difficult tasks
ahead of him. He must save his friends, whose lives
were in danger because of him. He climbed into
the cockpit, then looked at his little Jedi Master.
Yoda was deeply concerned about his appren-
tice. "Strong is Vader," he warned ominously.
"Clouded is your fate. Mind what you have
learned. Notice everything, everything! It can save
"I will, Master Yoda," Luke assured him. "I
will and I'll be back to finish what I have begun. I
give you my word!"
Artoo closed the cockpit and Luke started the
Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi watched the X-wing
gear its engines and begin to move away for take-
"Told you, I did," Yoda said sorrowfully, as
the sleek fighter craft began to lift into the misty
heavens. "Reckless is he. Now things are going to
"That boy is our last hope," Ben Kenobi said,
his voice heavy with emotion.
"No," Kenobi's former teacher corrected with a
knowing gleam in his large eyes, "there is another."
Yoda lifted his head toward the darkening sky
where Luke's ship was already a barely distin-
guishable point of light among the flickering stars.
Luke and Artoo moved cautiously through a
It concerned Luke that thus far they had not
been stopped for questioning. No one had asked
them for landing permits, identification papaers,
purpose of visit. No one in Cloud City seemed at
all curious about who this young man and his little
droid might be-or what they were doing there. It
all seemed rather ominous, and Luke was begin-
ning to feel very uneasy.
Suddenly he heard a sound at the far end of the
corridor. Luke halted, pressing himself close against
the corridor wall. Artoo, thrilled to think that they
might be back among familiar droids and humans,
began to whistle and beep excitedly. Luke glanced
at him to be still, and the little robot emitted one
last, feeble squeak. Luke then peered around a
corner and saw a group approaching from a side
hallway. Leading the group was an imposing figure
in battered armor and helmet. Behind him, two
Cloud city armed guards pushed a transparent
case down the corridor. From where Luke stood it
appeared the case contained a floating, statuelike
human figure. Following the case were two Im-
perial stormtroopers, who spotted Luke.
Instantly, the troopers took aim and began to
But Luke dodged their laser bolts and, before
they could shoot another round, the youth fired his
blaster, ripping two sizzling holes into the storm-
troopers' armored chests.
As the troopers fell, the two guards quickly
whisked the encased figure leveled his laser blaster
at Luke, sending a deadly bolt at him. The beam
just missed the youth, and nicked a large chunk
out of the wall next to him, shattering it into a
shower of dustlike particles. When the particles had
cleared, Luke peeked back around the corner and
saw that the nameless attacker, the guards, and the
case had all disappeared behind a thick metal door.
Hearing sounds behind him, Luke turned to
see Leia, Chewbacca, See-Threepio, and an un-
familiar man in a cloak moving down yet another
hallway, and guarded by a small band of Impe-
He gestured to catch the princess's attention.
"Leia!" he shouted.
"Luke, no!" she exclaimed, her voice charged
with fear. "It's a trap!"
Leaving Artoo trailing behind, Luke ran off to
follow them. But when he reached a small ante-
room, Leia and the others had disappeared. Luke
heard Artoo whistling frantically as he scooted to-
ward the anteroom. Yet, as the youth swiftly
turned, he saw a mammoth metal door crash down
in front of the startled robot with a thundering
With the slamming of that door, Luke was cut
off from the main corridor. And, when he turned
to find another way out, he saw more metal doors
bang shut in the other doorways of the chamber.
Meanwhile, Artoo stood somewhat dazed by the
shock of his close call. If he had rolled just a tiny
bit farther into the anteroom, that door would
have squashed him into scrap metal. He pressed
his metal nose against the door, then gave out a
whistle of relief and wandered off in the opposite
The anteroom was full of hissing pipes and
steam that belched from the floor. Luke began to
explore the room and noticed an opening above
his head, leading to a place he could not even
imagine. He moved forward to get a better look,
and as he did, the section of floor he stood on be-
gan to rise slowly upward. Luke rode up with the
lifting platform, determined to face the foe he had
traveled so far to meet.
Keeping his blaster clutched in his hand, Luke
rose into the carbon-freezing chamber. The room
was deathly quiet, except for the hissing of steam
escaping some of the pipes in the room. It
appeared to Luke that he was the only living
creature in this chamber of strange machinery and
chemical containers, but he sensed that he was not
He spoke the name to himself as he looked
around the chamber.
"Lord Vader. I feel your presence. Show your-
self," Luke taunted his unseen enemy, "or do you
While Luke spoke, the escaping steam began to
billow out in great clouds. Then, unaffected by
the searing heat, Vader appeared and strode
through the hissing vapors, stepping onto the nar-
row walkway above the chamber, his black cloak
trailing behind him.
Luke took a cautious step toward the demonic
figure in black and holstered his blaster. He ex-
perienced a surge of confidence and felt completely
ready to face the Dark Lord as one Jedi against
another. There was no need for his blaster. He
sensed that the Force was with him and that, at last,
he was ready for this inevitable battle. Slowly he
began to mount the stairs toward Vader.
"The Force is with you, young Skywalker,"
Darth Vader said from above, "but you are not a
Vader's words had a chilling effect. Briefly Luke
hesitated, recalling the words of another former
Jedi Knight: "Luke, use the Force only for know-
ledge and for defense, not as a weapon. Don't give
in to hate or anger. They lead the way to the
But throwing aside any fragment of doubt, Luke
gripped the smoothly finished handle of his light-
saber and quickly ignited the laser blade.
At the same instant, Vader ignited his own laser
sword and quietly waited for the young Skywalker
His great hatred for Vader impelled Luke to
lunge at him savagely, bringing his sizzling blade
down upon Vader's. But effortlessly, the Dark
Lord deflected the blow with a defensive turn of
his own weapon.
Again Luke attacked. Once again their energy
And then they stood, staring at one another for
an endless moment through their crossed light-
Lightsabers clashed in Luke Skywalker and
Darth Vader's battle on the platform above the
Luke felt the shaking platform shudder with
every blow and parry and thrust of their weapons.
But he was undaunted, for with every thrust of his
sword he drove the evil Darth Vader back.
Vader, using his lightsaber to ward off Luke's
aggressive lunges, spoke calmly as they fought.
"The fear does not reach you. You have learned
more than I anticipated."
"You'll find I'm full of surprises," the confident
youth retorted, threatening Vader with yet another
"And I, too," was the calm, portentous reply.
With two graceful moves, the Dark Lord hooked
Luke's weapon out of his hands and sent it flying
away. A slash of Vader's energy blade at Luke's
feet made the youth jump back in an effort to pro-
tect himself. But he stumbled backward, and tum-
bled down the stairs.
Sprawled on the platform, Luke gazed up and
saw the ominous dark figure looming above him at
the top of the stairs. Then the figure flew right at
him, its sable cloak billowing out in the air like
the wings of a monstrous bat.
Quickly Luke rolled to one side, not taking his
eyes off Vader, as the vast black figure landed
soundlessly next to him.
"Your future lies with me, Skywalker," Vader
hissed, looming over the crouching youth. "Now
you will embrace the dark side. Obi-Wan knew this
to be true."
"No!" Luke yelled, trying to fight off the evil
"There is much Obi-Wan did not tell you,"
Vader continued. "Come, I will complete your
Vader's influence was incredibly strong; it seemed
to Luke like a thing alive.
Don't listen to him, Luke told himself. He is try-
ing to trick me, to lead me astray, to lead me to the
dark side of the Force, just like Ben warned me!
Luke began to back away from the advancing
Sith Lord. Behind the youth, the hydraulic elevator
cover silently opened, ready to receive him.
"I'll die first," Luke proclaimed.
"That won't be necessary." The Dark Lord sud-
denly lunged at Luke with his lightsaber, so force-
fully that the youth lost his balance and tumbled
into the gaping opening.
Vader turned away from the freezing-pit and
casually deactivated his lightsaber. "All too easy,"
he shrugged. "Perhaps you are not as strong as the
As he spoke, molten metal began to pour into the
opening behind him. And, while his back was still
turned, something rose in a blur upward.
"Time will tell," Luke quietly replied to Vader's
The Dark Lord spun around. At this point in the
freezing process, the subject certainly shouldn't be
able to speak! Vader glanced around the room and
then turned his helmeted head up toward the ceil-
Hanging from some hoses draped across the ceil-
ing, Luke was suspended, having leaped some five
meters into the air to escape the carbonite.
"Impressive," Vader admitted, "your agility is
Luke dropped back to the platform on the other
side of the steaming pit. He reached his hand out
and his sword, lying on another part of the plat-
form, flew back into his grip. Immediately the light-
Vader's sword sprang to life at the very same
moment. "Ben has taught you well. You have con-
trolled your fear. Now release your anger. I de-
stroyed your family. Take your revenge."
But this time Luke was cautious and more con-
trolled. If he could subdue his anger, as he had
finally controlled his fear, he would not be swayed.
Remember the training, Luke cautioned himself.
Remember what Yoda taught! Cast out all hatred
and anger and receive the Force!
Gaining control over his negative feelings, Luke
began to advance, ignoring Vader's goading. He
lunged at Vader and, after a quick exchange, be-
gan to force him back.
"Your hatred can give you the power to destroy
me," Vader tempted. "Use it."
Luke began to realize just how awesomely pow-
erful his dark enemy was, and softly told himself,
"I will not become a slave to the dark side of the
Force," and moved cautiously toward Vader.
As Luke approached, Vader blocked it, he lost his
balance and fell into the outer rim of steaming
Luke's knees nearly buckled with the exhaustion
of battling his fearsome opponent. He gathered his
strength and cautiously moved to the edge and
looked down. But he saw no sign of Vader. Switch-
ing off his lightsaber and hooking it into his belt,
Luke lowered himself into the pit.
He dropped to the floor of the pit and found
himself in a large control and maintenance room
that overlooked the reactor powering the entire city.
Looking around the chamber, he noticed a large
window; standing silhouetted in front of it was the
unmoving figure of Darth Vader.
Luke slowly moved closer to the window and re-
ignited his lightsaber.
But Vader did not light his own sword, nor did
he make any effort to defend himself as Luke drew
nearer. The Dark Lord's only weapon, in fact, was
his tempting voice. "Attack," he goaded the young
Jedi. "Destroy me."
Confused by Vader's ploy, Luke hesitated.
"Only by taking your revenge can you save your-
Luke stood locked in place. Should he act on
Vader's words and thus use the Force as a tool of
revenge? Or should he step away from this battle
now, hoping for another chance to fight Vader
when he had gained better control?
No, how could he delay the opportunity to de-
stroy this evil being? Here was his chance, now,
and he must not delay...
There might never again be such an opportunity!
Luke grasped his deadly lightsaber in both hands,
tightly gripping the smooth handle like an ancient
broadsword and raising the weapon to deliver the
blow that would slay this masked horror.
But before he could swing, a large piece of ma-
chinery detached itself from the wall behind him
and came hurtling at his back. Turning instantly,
Luke flashed his lightsaber and cut the thing in
half, and the two massive pieces crashed to the
A second piece of machinery sped toward the
youth, and he again used the Force to deflect it.
The weighty object bounced away as if it had
struck an unseen shield. Then a large pipe came
tumbling toward him through the air. But even
as Luke repelled that enormous object, tools and
pieces of machinery came flying at him from all
directions. Then wires, that pulled themselves out
of the walls, came twisting and sparking and
whipping at him.
Bombarded on all sides, Luke did what he
could to deflect the assault; but he was beginning
to get bloodied and bruised in the attempt.
Another large piece of machinery glanced off
Luke's body and crashed out the large window,
letting in the screaming wind. Suddenly everything
in the room was blown about, and the fierce wind
lashed Luke's body and filled the room with a
And in the very center of the room, standing still
and triumphant, was Darth Vader.
"You are beaten," the Dark Lord of the Sith
gloated. "It is useless to resist. You will join me
or you will join Obi-Wan in death!"
As Vader spoke those words, a final piece of
heavy machinery soared through the air, striking
the young Jedi and knocking him through the
broken window. Everything became a great blur
as the wind carried him, tossing and rolling, until
he managed to grab hold of a beam with one hand.
When the wind subsided a bit and his vision
cleared, Luke realized that he was hanging from
the gantry of the reactor shaft outside the control
room. When he gazed down he saw what ap-
peared to be an endless abyss. A wave of dizziness
swept over him and he squeezed his eyes closed
in an effort to keep from panicking.
Compared to the podlike reactor from which he
hung, Luke was no more than a speck of squirm-
ing matter, while the pod itself-just one of many
jutting from the circular, light-dotted inner wall-
was no more than a speck itself in comparison with
the rest of the immense chamber.
Grasping the beam firmly with only one hand,
Luke managed to hook his lightsaber on to his belt
and then grab the beam with both hands. Hoisting
himself up, he scrambled onto the gantry and stood
on it, just in time to see Darth Vader walking to-
ward him down the shaft.
As Vader approached Luke, the public address
system began to blare, echoing through the cavern-
ous rooms: "Fugitives heading toward Platform
327. Secure all transports. All security forces on
Walking menacingly toward Luke, Vader pre-
dicted, "Your friends will never escape and neither
Vader took another step, and Luke immediately
raised his sword, ready to renew the battle.
"You are beaten," Vader stated with horrifying
certainty and finality. "It is useless to resist."
But Luke did resist. He lunged at the Dark Lord
with a vicious blow, bringing his sizzling laser blade
to crash onto Vader's armor and sear through to
the flesh. Vader staggered from the blow, and it
seemed to Luke that he was in pain. But only for a
moment. Then, once again, Vader began to move
Taking another step, the Dark Lord warned,
"Don't let yourself be destroyed as Obi-Wan was."
Luke was breathing hard, cold sweat dropping
from his forehead. But the sound of Ben's name
instilled a sudden resolve in him.
"Calm-" he reminded himself. "Be calm."
But the grimly cloaked specter stalked toward
him along the narrow gantry, and it seemed he
wanted the young Jedi's life.
Or worse, his fragile soul.
The wind that shrieked through the reactor shaft
entirely absorbed the sounds of the clashing light-
Luke moved agilely across the gantry and took
refuge beneath a huge instrument panel to evade
his pursuing foe. But Vader was there in an instant,
his lightsaber thrashing down like a pulsating guil-
lotine blade, cutting the instrument complex loose.
The complex began to fall, but was abruptly
caught by the wind and blown upward.
An instant of distraction was all Vader needed.
As the instrument panel floated away, Luke invol-
untarily glanced at it. At that second, the Dark
Lord's laser blade came slashing down across
Luke's hand, cutting it, and sending the youth's
The pain was excruciating. Luke smelled the
terrible odor of his own seared flesh and squeezed
his forearm beneath his armpit to try to stop the
agony. He stepped backward along the gantry until
he reached its extreme end, stalked all the while by
the black-garbed apparition.
Abruptly, ominously, the wind subsided. And
Luke realized he had nowhere else to go.
"There is no escape," the Dark Lord of the Sith
warned, looming over Luke like a black angel of
death. "Don't make me destroy you. You are
strong with the Force. Now you must learn to use
the dark side. Join me and together we will be
more powerful than the Emperor. Come, I will
complete your training and we will rule the galaxy
Luke refused to give in to Vader's taunts. "I will
never join you!"
"If you only knew the power of the dark side,"
Vader continued. "Obi-Wan never told you what
happened to your father, did he?"
Mention of his father aroused Luke's anger. "He
told me enough!" he yelled. "He told me you killed
"No," Vader replied calmly. "I am your father."
Stunned, Luke stared with disbelief at the black-
clad warrior and then pulled away at this revela-
tion. The two warriors stood staring at one another,
father and son.
"No, no! That's not true..." Luke said, refus-
ing to believe what he had just heard. "That's im-
"Search your feelings," Vader said, sounding like
an evil version of Yoda, "you know it to be true."
Then Vader turned off the blade of his lightsaber
and extended a steady and inviting hand.
Bewildered and horror-stricken at Vader's words,
Luke shouted, "No! No!"
Vader continued persuasively. "Luke, you can
destroy the Emperor. He has foreseen this. It is
your destiny. Join me and together we can rule the
galaxy as father and son. Come with me. It is the
Luke's mind whirled with those words. Every-
thing was finally beginning to coalesce in his brain.
Or was it? He wondered if Vader were telling him
the truth-if the training of Yoda, the teaching of
saintly old Ben, his own strivings for good and his
abhorrence of evil, if everything he had fought for
were no more than a lie.
He didn't want to believe Vader, tried convic-
ing himself that it was Vader who lied to him-but
somehow he could feel the truth in the Dark Lord's
words. But, if Darth Vader did speak the truth,
why, he wondered, had Ben Kenobi lied to him?
Why? His mind screamed louder than any wind
the Dark Lord could ever summon against him.
The answers no longer seemed to matter.
With the calmness that Ben himself and Yoda,
the Jedi Master, had taught him, Luke Skywalker
made, perhaps, what might be his final decision of
all. "Never," Luke shouted as he stepped out into
the empty abyss beneath him. For all its unper-
ceived depth, Luke might have been falling to an-
Darth Vader moved to the end of the gantry to
watch as Luke tumbled away. A strong wind began
to blow, billowing Vader's black cloak out behind
him as he stood looking over the edge.
Skywalker's body quickly plunged downward.
Toppling head over foot, the wounded Jedi desper-
ately reached out to grab at something to stop his
The Dark Lord watched until he saw the youth's
body sucked into a large exhaust pipe in the side of
the reactor shaft. When Luke vanished, Vader
quickly turned and hurried off the platform.