"You're doing what?" Leia Organa Solo exclaimed as she got up and began to pace the floor of her Coruscant apartment. She looked to her husband for support. "Han?"
At the sound of his name, Han knew he wasn't going to be allowed to sit this one out. He ran his hand over his eyes and took a long drink of his Corellian brandy before speaking. "Anakin, don't you think it would be a good idea to finish your training at the academy before you start to pursue, uh, other interests?
Anakin rolled his eyes and sighed with the contempt only a seventeen year old can muster. "You just don't get it. This isn't another 'interest'. My music is the only thing that matters," he said with such conviction that his parents almost took pity on him. But not quite.
"I don't know if it qualifies as music," Han began.
"If you're really interested in music," Leia cut in, "maybe we can get you an apprenticeship with the New Alderaanian Symphony--"
Anakin stood up abruptly, knocking over his chair. "You just don't get it," he repeated. Leia took in his tattered and filthy oversized black flight suit adorned with chains and spikes and his erratically shorn and cheaply dyed bright purple hair and had to agree. She felt a stabbing pain in her heart as she looked closely at the metal clip clamped savagely through his left nostril and shut her eyes to the sight.
"Don't you ever interrupt your mother like that again, young man," Han was saying when she found the courage to open her eyes again. "Do you know what you're mother was doing when she was your age?" his voice taking on the biting tone he reserved for moments of real anger.
Anakin sighed and kicked his overturned chair. "Yeah, dad, saving the *bleeping* universe. Space, as if I haven't been hearing about that my whole *bleeping* life. You, mom, Uncle Luke, Uncle Chewie, all *bleeping* heroes. Big *bleeping* deal."
Han made a move toward his son and Anakin stood ready for the challenge, but Leia was faster, positioning herself between the two. "Wait, both of you. Stop," she commanded. To her surprise they both listened. "We'll discuss this like adults or not at all. Now sit down." The men resisted a moment, their eyes locked. "Now," Leia repeated.
Slowly everyone sat down. Leia took a deep breath before starting again. "Tell us about your band, Anakin."
"Mom, I told you I'm going by the name 'Darth' now," Anakin sighed.
Leia closed her eyes and thought of peace. She wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of a reaction. "You do realize how inappropriate that is?" Leia asked and was answered with a short nod and a seriously studied and perfected expression of complete boredom.
"Your mother asked you to tell us about the band, Anakin," Han said, emphasizing the boy's name.
For a moment, the glaze left his eyes and he almost looked like the little boy they'd loved and had now apparently lost. "The Dead Daalas. There are five of us."
"Five of you?" Han repeated, surprised that there could be five such creatures in the universe, let alone on the planet.
Anakin nodded. "We've just completed our first holoaud disk. And Extreme Galactic Entertainment is sending us on our first tour next week. Coruscant. Corellia. Tatooine. Mon Calamari. Just to start." Anakin ran his hand through his already mused hair and Leia was forced to wonder when he'd last showered.
"Do you have a copy of your holoaud?" Leia asked, not entirely convincedthat she wanted to hear it.
Anakin smiled for the first time in ages and Leia feared his face would crack. "Yeah," he said as he popped a disk out of his pocket and went to the player. Moments later the room was filled with the sound of raging guitars and pounding drums "I am an anarchist..." the alleged singer was screaming. "Anarchy for the New Republic..." Han and Leia listened in stunned silence through a litany of songs with such titles as "Should I Stay or Should I Go," "Gimme Gimme Bacta Treatment," "The Empire Took My Baby Away," "Holovid Party," "Institutionalized," and "Holiday on Corellia." When the holoaud came to an end they looked at each other, neither one having the words to express what they were feeling. Bringing an intelligence into the universe was a perilous act indeed.
"So, can I go?" Anakin asked. Han and Leia could do nothing except
"... Ladies and Gentlemen... the Dead Daalas," came the voice of the announcer followed by five of the grungiest youths on any planet in any universe taking to the stage in a haze of smoke and the roar of an adoring audience. "I was feeling sick, losing my mind, heard about this treatment from an uncle of mine...," Anakin screamed into the microphone.
To the side of the stage Leia and Han stood with Luke, who's mouth hung open in shock. "What in space..." he managed lamely. Leia had to laugh as Anakin continued, "Gimme Gimme Bacta Treatment..." The three turned their attention back to the stage.
R2 D2 whistled softly to his companion from where they watched on the other side of the stage. "You did what to Master Anakin's guitar?" Threepio asked. R2 answered with a series of short beeps. "Well, that was nice of you, but you probably should have asked. They're very technical pieces of equipment, you know" Threepio scolded. R2 let out a long whistle.
As if on cue there was a loud zap from the stage and Anakin "Darth" Solo went down in a blaze of glory, his body flying through the air then landing and convulsing on the stage before lying still. His band mates played on bravely until it became apparent that their lead singer wouldn't be getting up anytime soon, or anytime at all for that matter.
R2 released a low mournful whistle. "No, I suppose you're right. We're best not to mention your adjustment to Captain Solo or Mistress Leia. Come on, R2, we better get out of here..." he said, leading the smaller droid away.