Joss Whedon owns "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and related characters; George Lucas owns "Star Wars" and related characters; I own nothing.Author's Note:
I'm not really sure if this fits into any of my verses yet, or if it's going to be a part of a new verse I start, or even if it's just going to stay as is. This is my brain on Wookiepedia, Buffy Season 7, and too little sleep.~*~*~
“It’s about power.”
Luke Skywalker started slightly, surprised to hear the woman across from him speak. They had been sitting in the otherwise empty room for the last fifteen minutes, neither of them talking, leaving Luke to wonder why exactly she was here.
She had arrived at their temporary base earlier that day, identifying herself simply as “Summers”. The only thing that had saved her from being riddled with blaster bolts and instead earning a stay in their improvised brig was her announcement that she had been sent by a “crazy old wizard” with a message for Luke Skywalker. Even then, his troops had been hesitant to leave him alone with her, not that he blamed them. This mission was classified, and yet she had found them like it was the most everyday thing in the world. It was only after she had specifically referenced and given details about the time Ben had rescued him and Windy did he start to believe that this might be something other than one of Vader’s elaborate traps for him.
“What?” Luke asked, feeling like he had missed something important. Summers smiled, but it didn’t quite reach her flinty green eyes. Her face was unlined, almost contradicting her heavily streaked blonde hair, giving Luke no idea what her real age could be. When he tried to sense her through the Force to see what it could tell him about her, there was nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing that really set her apart. He couldn’t shake the feeling, however, that if this woman wanted to hurt him, there was little he could do to stop her.
“Power. Who has it, who doesn’t,” she explained in a tone that reminded Luke of a teacher trying to drill him in a lesson she thought he didn’t understand. “Good, evil, right, wrong, none of that maters. Just power and what you’re willing to do in order to gain it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Life. The Force. Everything,” Summers answered, tapping the table to emphasize each item. “That’s what it all comes down to.”
Luke frowned, trying to process what she was saying. How had Ben described the Force? An energy field, binding the universe together. And what was energy but a form of power?
“But what about the light side and the dark side?” he asked, leaning forward a little. “How does that fit in?”
“There’s only one Force, one thing binding this universe together,” Summers said, looking over Luke’s shoulder for a brief second before meeting his eyes. “It doesn’t play favorites, no matter what the Jedi used to think.”
“But-,” Luke started to ask before Summers interrupted him with a shake of her head.
“Sleep on it. We’ll talk again in the morning.” She got to her feet and for the first time, Luke saw a glimmer of amusement on her face. “We’ve only just started.”~*~*~
The next morning, Luke stood in the doorway of Summers’ “cell”. He only had less than a standard hour before he left with the Rogues to carry out their scouting mission on a suspected Imperial base that the Alliance wanted to target. She wasn’t looking at him, though, instead examining the view from the small window.
“You’re not a Jedi, are you?” Luke finally asked. He had thought about his brief encounter with Summers all through the night, trying to sort out what she had and hadn’t told him. The first conclusion--really, the only conclusion--was that from the way she talked, she wasn’t a former Jedi like Ben, or even like Ferrus Olin.
“What makes you think that?”
It wasn’t a denial, but it also wasn’t a confirmation of his theory.
“Just some of the things you said, mainly that the Force doesn’t play favorites like the Jedi thought,” Luke said carefully, trying to recall exactly what she had said the night before. “You also don’t feel like a Jedi.”
“Through the Force, you mean?” Summers replied, not giving anything away.
Luke nodded, and then suddenly, something changed. Summers hadn’t moved, but now he could feel her muted presence in the Force. It was different from both Ben’s and Vader’s: more grey if that made sense, although it was a dark grey. Luke got the distinct impression that even though she was revealing herself, there was an element of control over how much she allowed him to sense.
“Satisfied, Skywalker?” she asked.
He nodded and then, as suddenly as he had felt her, the presence vanished. Seeing his astonished expression, she smiled.
“How else do you think Kenobi hid from the Emperor and his lackies for as long as he did? It wasn’t through an original alias,” she said with a derisive laugh. “He did what I just did. So, other than your brilliant observation that I’m not a Jedi, did you come to any other conclusions during the night?”
Luke frowned, a little put off by the sudden switch in both topics and tone. There was an edge of sarcasm lurking in her voice, along with a hint of derision. He also couldn’t help but notice that she hadn’t actually answered his question about whether or not she was a Jedi. He filed that away for a later time.
“I still don’t understand how there’s not light or dark side of the Force,” Luke answered after a pause. “I’ve met Vader, I’ve felt him use the dark side before, and yet you’re saying that there is
no dark side. That doesn’t make sense.”
“Did you forget about what else I said, or did you just ignore that and focus on the easy part?” Summers demanded. “It’s all about...”
“Power,” Luke interrupted her, starting to become frustrated. “I remember that, but I still don’t understand how it fits in to there not being a light side or a dark side of the Force.”
“What do you think the purpose of the Death Star the Empire built that you so nicely destroyed?” Summers asked, leaning up against the far wall, her body language relaxed. “Other than the obvious of blowing up planets.”
Luke thought about it for a moment. He knew from Leia that the Death Star had been Tarkin’s pet project for years. What was it that Tarkin wanted the most? What did blowing up a planet accomplish?
“Intimidation,” he answered carefully. “They wanted the galaxy to think twice before rebelling against the Empire. They wanted the power the Death Star gave them to keep the galaxy in line. And,” he continued, feeling like he was on to something, “that’s what Vader and the Emperor after, isn’t it? Power.”
“Give the boy a cookie.” Summers pushed herself away from the wall and started circling Luke, stopping when she was less than a meter in front of him. “That’s the Empire in a nice little nutshell.”
“But isn’t there still evil out there?” Luke asked. “Ben said that’s how Vader fell back during the Clone Wars.”
“Vader didn’t fall because he was evil. He wanted power, and was willing to do whatever it took to get it.” She laughed, but there was a hollowness to it that deprived it of any mirth it might have. “It’s how everybody falls in the end. Power corrupts, after all.”
“Did it ever happen to you?” Luke spoke before thinking, his curiosity getting the better of him.
She stilled, and Luke knew that he had crossed some sort of line that he hadn’t even known was there. “My past is my past, Skywalker. The only thing you need to know about me is that owe Kenobi a debt that I’m still paying off,” she answered in a cold voice. “After that, it’s none of your damn business who I used to be.”
Luke flinched at the harsh look in her eyes, but didn’t back away from her. He wanted to know what exactly Ben had done to have Summers in that big of a debt. Who Summers had been before. But he also knew that he was unlikely to get those answers, and he had a feeling that he wouldn’t be able find them even if he looked.
“Our time’s almost up, Skywalker, and I need to leave so you can complete your little mission,” Summers finally said, breaking the tense silence between them. “Just one last thing for you to think about until our next lesson: if there’s only one unifying Force out there, and power is all that matters, what makes a Sith or any other ‘dark side’ user different from a Jedi?”
She brushed past Luke and walked towards the door of the cell. “Oh, Skywalker,” she said, stopping but not turning around. “One last thing: next time you see Vader, tell him that Starkiller says hello.”
With that, she left, leaving a bewildered Luke behind trying to puzzle through her final statement.