Life has continued. Life will always continue. Life is always and everywhere, on every land and in every water, on every planet and on every star, in every galaxy and in the beyond of the universe. There is Life. And with this knowledge, they who live bring peace. The peace that has been sought for over a life time. But those who live will kill. So how can they ever understand that the peace they have sought, fought, and died for will never come when they continue to destroy their Life? Will they ever know? Will they ever learn? What will it take for them to finally stop? Who will it be that stops them? And will peace finally reign? Time can only tell…
The air was still and warm. There was no wind this evening. Neither was there a sound. Nothing, it seemed. Nothing but the warm sand clustered like tiny crystal shards blanketing the planet in smooth, round dunes. And a city—or maybe a small town—nearby a towering orange plateau. Cantter, Tatooine’s smallest city, glittered with tiny yellow lights as the planet’s Twin Suns settled for the night. Stars peaked out of the purple sky, seeming to reflect the twinkling sands as the dunes basked in the deep red of the descending suns. There was silence everywhere. Not even the little town emanated the sound of people scurrying to their humble clay homes. And one by one, the tiny yellow lights winked out, sending the town into the now purplish hue.
The last remaining sun lay half way across the horizon now, overpowered by the purplish-black void above where the crystal stars awaited their watch. Small kokter reptiles crawled from their burrows beneath the sand, awakening from their long-days sleep. Dancing across the desert, they readied for the long night ahead of them. Accompanying the kokters were five other small beings. Humans actually. They would call them children. Clothed in a coarse material and wrapped in thick robes, these children scurried across the desert away from the sleeping town. The kokters, normally frightened by anything larger than themselves, scurried alongside the fivesome in an attempt to keep up. This was their normal routine as of late: to follow the small humans on their little journey around the towering plateau. Not a sound did they make, not even the sand was disturbed beneath their light footsteps.
The last sun finally surrendered to the darkness and the dunes glittered a dark grey, the only light emanating from the far away stars above. Rounding the corner of the plateau, the humans and the kokters entered the large canyon, neither aware of the potential danger darkness might behold. Neither would they have cared. Inside the canyon, the caravan was greeted by a small fire. The red and orange firelight danced images across the walls of the canyon. Images of the past? Maybe. Or perhaps images of the future. The children always loved watching the firelight dance across the plateau’s side, setting their imaginations ablaze.
Drawn by the fire, the children continued slowly onward. The kokters paused and left the children on their own now, knowing their own journey lay somewhere else. The five human beings, having made this journey many times before, eagerly made their way to the small fire. And awaiting their return was a tall figure clad in a single black robe, engulfing his body and hiding his face. He was human, like them, but quite different. A hermit of Tatooine—that the children knew—but he was also something else—that they sensed. A hero maybe. A long-ago-hero of the old nations—of the galaxy. Heroes no longer existed now, of course. And there were no more nations, no more governments anymore. They had been long destroyed along with most life across the galaxy. And no one had bothered putting it back together again, for those that would have were also destroyed. The heroes of the galaxy had vanished leaving life as it was alone.
So how could this man, this hermit, be a hero? The children might have believed it and it might have been true, but then again, a child’s imagination can sometimes carry itself too far.
Whether he was what the children believed him to be or not be, he was their storyteller. These small beings had journeyed almost every night to this exact spot to hear the stories of the old galaxy when adventure and excitement reigned. When enormous crafts used to travel through space to reach any star it wanted. When other aliens and humans coincided and androids walked the same plane. When the Jedi had existed. It was so long ago, it seemed to the children’s minds, that it might have been a fantasy world this lonely man had created solely for them.
It didn’t matter whether or not it was real, for they had already accepted it as history. And as if to announce their acceptance, the five young human beings sat in a half circle around the fire, giving plenty of room for their mysterious hermit to begin the next story. As if on cue, the tall man nodded and sat himself on the cooling sands. The roughly shaped mouth, being the only visible feature on the hermit’s face, opened and began his tale.
“We did not learn all we needed to learn. The Yuuzhan Vong war may have ended and peace might have finally reigned, but there were so many other wars upon wars that peace seemed impossible.” The hermit’s voice, though already low with age, grew dark and sad—which was to say the least, how his voice always sounded. “The Galactic Alliance was no different from the New Republic or the Empire or any other government that had been the controlling factor for the galaxy. Peace, we believed, was now a myth. It was silly to think there could ever be such a thing. So we allowed ourselves to control everyone and everything again; it was the only way to sustain order. Or to keep the galaxy a safe place. Different pilot groups, whether government sponsored or independent, set up base on every planet that created the edge of the known galaxy, and guarded. Guarding from what? It was irrelevant. The Galactic Alliance turned paranoid. There were no questions asked when given an order. Everything was surveyed, for the utmost protection of the people. Yes, everything was safe then. Safe without the generosity of privacy.
“What we didn’t know was that another evil awaited its strike. A power we had taken for granted. A power we had no understanding of until it was too late. A nemesis that appeared so small and minuscule that we ignored the true threat it bestowed upon us. It was the demise of the entire galaxy.
“But there was one. A female. Little did she know her future. Little did she know her past. She lived in only the present. And what Life gave her was something she could not refuse. Life gave her the galaxy.”
He paused. Taking in a low, surprisingly clear breath, and he sighed out any emotion that had built up inside him at that moment. The children waited with silent mouths and wide eyes for their storyteller to continue. When he began, he seemed to have found a new strength and his voice rang with clear, bold resonation.
“Coruscant.” He pointed upward towards the night sky. His finger seemed to pick out one of the many twinkling stars, this one being the smallest. Yet, it had a bluish hue to it, unlike the others. “This is where our story begins . . . a long time ago, in the galaxy far . . . ”
He hesitated, as if it frightened him to say it, to bring himself over the edge, to experience the pain of simply remembering, to go back to that place again. Then reminding himself that the past can no longer harm him or these children or anything else in this galaxy, he breathed again, finding an even stronger inner resilience. And, readying for the last epic, the last time he or these children will ever meet, the last time they will journey to the past together, the hermit began. “A long time ago, in a galaxy far . . . far away.”