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Installment 3 of
What If Gandalf Fought Luke?
READ PART ONE here.
Read PART TWO here.
And they do not like threats. A fist pulls back, an arm rears up over the beings' collective head, and then the fist, cocked, thrusts forward.
"This one," the beings whisper in a million voices and Luke knows they mean the man he came here to talk to, the wizard, "never understood the full range of his powers." And as the sentence is complete, the thrusting-forward fist opens wide, the hand splayed seemingly in surprise, but the surprise is only on the face of the recipients of the blast, who cannot see how it is the beam is formed -- the molecules around them giving energy up and it is channeled to a point just in front of the palm, where it coalesces into a tiny dot, a fusioned furnace of power that takes the energy and pushes it together to make more energy, the spot growing hotter than white hot to transcend color before the energy is pushed back out again in a widening fan of heat and light and radiation, powering into Luke and his friends behind their tenuous shield, a shield the beings understand before they even begin their attack and which they pull enough energy from this world to ensure the decimation of.
But Luke, again, is one beat ahead. He saw the fist cocking before it did, and saw the palm opening before the beings knew they would do so and he has been taking energy, too. He must draw it from them, from his very enemy, and they are now using some of their power and sentience to keep him from doing that but he is patient, and he is strong, and he layers and layers his shield and wraps them around them.
He remembers his friend, the man who crouches by his leg now, out of his league, saying Here's where the fun begins and he grimaces with the strain of adding more and more layers to his thin barrier as the energy does not just blast past them but instead loops back around them to surround the bubble of force that keeps them alive.
All around them is swirling energy, plasma roiling and striking and being forced over and over to attack attack attack and Luke knows that if Han or Sam looks up at him, they will see him sweating not with the heat of the assault (which is considerable) but with the strain of keeping them from succumbing to it.
They do not look up.
He hears in his mind Han say "Enough with defense" and then he hears Han say it in real life, Luke is still slightly in the future, and he hears the blaster unclick and he cannot tell Han that a blaster is useless in this situation, but he does not have to. Han has nothing to shoot at; they cannot see outside the tiny bubble that they now stand in, a carefully-controlled spiraling sun of energy twisting around and around them.
How far out does it go? Sam wonders.
Han stands with his blaster pointing at nothing in particular.
Luke has his head bowed, his eyes closed to keep the sweat out of them. He holds his sword before him, the light feeble in the glow of the forces the beings are still directing at them. He is concentrating.
"We need to attack" and Luke hears Han say that twice, too, his attention on what the beings will do next, a trick even his master didn't know. But he is having trouble reaching through the energy and changes his focus to attempting to fathom that.
His mind still working at a speed Han or Sam could not comprehend, most of his attention on the shield, Luke begins to parse the energy around them the way he saw the beings do with the air.
If they can do it, so can I, he thought.
There were stories, after all, of other beings who had been able to do the things he and his young students could do, who could master the arts only he right now was a living master of.
We work through THEM, Luke thought, in the part of his mind that could focus on this, the shield stabilizing. But what do THEY work through?
He sent his mind among the fiery death the beings were trying to smother him with and felt it touch his consciousness. He could almost sense its structure, could almost feel his way into picking it apart... he is almost there when Han says, twice, once in the future and once a second later
"I see 'em!" and Han shoots as Sam yells no and Luke must abandon the searching and instead find the bolt from Han's blaster as it leaps out of the muzzle towards the beings, only to strike the wall of the force field and begin ricocheting around it.
Luke cannot touch light, not yet, he was so close but he can channel it and he begins to build, furiously, new walls and tunnels and channels in the shield, forming a maze in which he can guide the bolts that Han is squeezing off with each pulse of his trigger finger. The shots careen around in a pattern that only seems random, guided by Luke's mind now forming their road, and they begin to coalesce into their own globe of blue energy.
Luke feels his control on the shield that protects them from the beings begin to falter as he must divert more and more attention to the lasers that are stored behind him now. Even though Han has stopped his attack, the energy requires a great deal of attention.
He drops his glimpse into the future, and feels blind. He must focus on now to keep them alive.
And he knows that will not last more than a second or two more.
Hey, that was kind of fun. FOR ME, anyway. And I'll get around to finishing it no matter how sarcastically PT Dilloway, with his "organization" and "ability to do things when he says he's going to do them" and all those other high-falutin' habits, gets.
Here's question 93:
What did Luke look strong enough to do after Han rescued him on Hoth?
1. The question is worth 1,000 points if you answer it in the first comment spot, but doubles thereafter up to the fifth comment spot: So answer it in the second spot, it's 2000. Third spot, 4000. Fourth spot, 8000. Fifth or later, 16,000.
2.Mention Andrew Leon's class' book on your blog, get 10,000 points (leave me a link.)
3. Recast a "Man Walks Into A Bar" joke as a Star Wars joke in your comment, and get 5,000 points per such joke.
Andrew Leon: 100,411 1/4. (Andrew's the author of the great YA book, The House On The Corner. Click here to go to his blog.)
P.T. Dilloway: 57,121. Author Patrick Dilloway blogs here, and wrote the excellent book Where You Belong, available here.)
Michael Offutt, 16,3021/2, author of the great sci-fi book Slipstream, which you can read about on Goodreads)
Rusty Webb: 4,022, Blogger at The Blutonian Death Egg, author of the great novella A Dead God's Wrath.