Date: Friday, October 12, 2001 12:10 AM Here is the next installment of Put the Past Behind.. Octavia was grateful when the time came to turn in. The sun and heat of Tatooine was more than she was prepared for. She sat down on the side of the bed and cleared her mind before she laid down to sleep. *** Dark hunters came out of the alley, blasters drawn. Octavia reached for her saber only to discover it was no longer there. Palpatine exited the alley and smiled at her. "Nothing you experience is real unless I state it is." "No, we escaped." Octavia stated firmly. "We're free of you." "Are you?" Raven Palpatine's image joined her father's. "Are you so sure? How many different realities have you experienced? Do you really think we would let Jedi gain their freedom?" *** Octavia woke wiping the sweat from her face. Glancing around the room, she grabbed her robe and walked out into the night air. The cold dryness hit her like a wall. First it was visions of her grandfather's past that haunted her, made it impossible for her to remain on the Electra . Was she destined to be haunted by the memories of her time on Zoron? "Your grandfather was a strong man, but you are weak, passive and indecisive." The phrase rang in Octavia's memory as she stared at the night sky. It seemed like everyone knew what her destiny was to be. If it wasn't her grandfather, it was the Emperor, and now it seemed even Psylocke's mother knew what she would do; what she would become. Octavia lowered her head trying to clear her thoughts. The only person who seemed to leave her future in her hands was Master Skywalker, yet he chose to bring her back to this planet. His home yes, but it was also the scene of death her first kill…her first murder... "I assure you, the nightmare will end, Jedi Jinn." Palpatine sauntered over toward the bench and sat down next to her. "You need to know -- I *want* you alive, and well-trained - be it Jedi or Sith. We will meet again, but not in a dream....no....the next time I see you, you will be a fully trained Jedi Knight, Octavia Syn Jinn...and of course, I will turn you to the *Dark Side*...or you will die dueling my apprentice in the throne room. It is unavoidable, my dear--and it will be my finest hour." Emperor Palpatine's words rang in Octavia's ears. She refused to believe that his words were true, yet there was truth in his words. She only had to figure out which part. Octavia glanced back at the house and the surrounding area. Even though it was open area she felt caged…penned in. 'Get control,' she told herself. 'It was a dream…a nightmare.' Octavia found herself in front of the garage area where they had parked the speeder for the night. Entering the dark area, she stared at the speeder. She could go for open area… the controls were not that difficult to handle or to program. Giving in to the need to get away, to move, Octavia piloted the speeder away from the homestead and away from Luke Skywalker. She should have never come here. Once freed she should have run as far as she could. Should have left the Force behind; the thoughts of the Emperor and his desires..should have left everything behind. As quickly as the thoughts came Octavia pushed them aside. That was the way they wanted her to think. The Emperor would be happy if she gave up, if she ran away. No, she wouldn't do that. She would stand her ground. But she needed time to think, time to realize her own personal goals. Stopping the speeder out in the open desert, Octavia studied the dark sky and the sand that seemed to stretch out forever. Because the temperature was dropping, Octavia pulled her robe around her. Enjoying the lack of buildings and of people, she pushed back memories of moments in a Force damped cell before the rescue. Opening her eyes, she watched as the sand began to pick up with the wind, blurring the landscape. A sandstorm. She had read about them on the way here. But it did nothing to prepare her for the strength of one beginning to form. Pulling the bubble over the speeder Octavia calmed herself as she looked at the instruments: they weren't responding properly. It had to be interference from the storm. Sitting back in pilot's seat Octavia ran the course through her mind. She couldn't be more than a couple of miles out from the old burned out homestead; reaching out with the Force, Octavia felt the rage of the storm. The strength in the winds awed and frightened her at the same time. What was she thinking of when she left? How could she have acted so impulsively? 'Fear cripples you,' she repeated to herself. Reaching over, she grabbed the goggles that Luke had made sure she'd brought. Octavia put them on and pulled her robe tighter around her. She knew she would have to remain calm and control her breathing; she knew she should be safe here for a while as long as not too much sand drifted through the cracks. A Jedi was supposed to act responsibly and watch out for those they were with, and what she had done was reckless and might have put Luke in possible danger. Sitting there, Octavia allowed her mind to wander, tried to come to terms with the hidden anger that was there. She knew she needed to move forward to get over the bitterness, and over the fear that threatened to take control of her. What would her father or her grandfather have done? 'They wouldn't have run away, that is for sure,' she admonished herself. 'When will you learn to take responsibility for yourself?' Reaching out Octavia found comfort in the Force, using it to slow her breathing down. The sand blowing into the speeder forced Octavia to cover her mouth with her robes. The winds from the storm raged around her. The grains pelting the speeder sounded like they would break the bubble. Octavia forced herself to think of her father and the happier times she had with him. Force, how she missed him. The lessons he had taught her came to the surface: the way she needed to rely on the Force, to let it guide her. Soon it would be dawn, she realized, and then she could see what the damage to the speeder was, and then face Luke and take responsibility for her actions. Octavia sat there listening to the storm finally begin to calm down. She had listened to it rage during the night, feeling its different pitches. She found herself jumping when the bubble suddenly popped open. "Master Skywalker!" Luke was kneeling on the sand that was piled up around the bottom half of the speeder. "I forgot to warn you about the sand storms we have around here can get kind of...severe," he stated wanly. "I seemed to have forgotten what I studied," Octavia answered slowly. "I've caused quite a bit of trouble." "The speeder engines are buried and we'll need to clear them before we continue on our journey." Luke moved his hand, using the Force, to start clearing the sand from the speeder. Octavia climbed out of the speeder and joined him. It still took quite a while for the two of them to free the speeder. Once that was done Octavia checked out the mechanics, making sure that the speeder would operate and that the sand didn't do any permanent damage. Octavia watched Luke once the speeder was operational once again; she waited for the lecture and the disappointment. It made her nervous that Luke had remained quiet so far. "I shouldn't have left without letting you know," she blurted suddenly. "You could have used the Force to lead you back to the farm." Luke stated calmly, giving her a quizzical look out of the sides of his eyes. It was hard to tell if he was angry. He did seem to be very calm and relaxed. "I didn't…I didn't trust my ability to use the Force," Octavia answered. "I allowed my fear and uncertainty to freeze my actions." She leaned against the speeder. "Perhaps Raven Palpatine was right, I'm too passive." "Why did she say that?" "Because we allowed…I allowed myself to be led blindly through the VR dreams. I never fought back, never resisted." "How were you to know they were only dreams? And a Jedi doesn't attack just to attack. Raven Palpatine may never learn what a Jedi is really all about." Luke shook his head. "At times, I wonder if I understand." Octavia looked at Luke. "If it wasn't for Master D'med and Medenna I don't know if I would have resisted." "The Light is strong in you, Octavia; you would have resisted else they wouldn't have pushed so hard to have you turn." Octavia let out a breath and lowered her head. "I know, somewhere deep inside I know. Now, what do we do?" "We continue forward," Luke answered. "But to do so, we need to leave the past behind." He smiled kindly at her. Octavia fell silent thinking on Luke's words. "And to be honest about what we feel," she replied. "I don't want to fail."
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