This story takes place shortly after the events of
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
“Ahem! Miss Skywalker?” The Rodian rapped his knuckles on the doorframe to the small kitchen.
Rey looked up with a start, dropping her utensil. Right. He means me. She shut off the holoprojector that had been absorbing her attention. “Yes?”
“My name is Anoddo Rogass. I’m with the district office. Are you related to the Lars family?”
“The Lars family. The last occupants of this property. Are you a relation? We were told you were doing some work here last night, and behaving suspiciously. Burying something, as I understand it? I have been asked to investigate.”
Rey missed most of that over the din of blood pounding in her ears. Was she in the wrong place? No, this had to be right — there weren’t that many farms out here, and the odds of her having entered the wrong coordinates to some other abandoned farm were remote. But…Lars? She tried stalling. “I’m sorry, who are you again?”
The Rodian’s eyes narrowed. He growled, “Anoddo Rogass. Don’t make me ask again, Miss Skywalker. Are you related to the Lars family? ”
With the shift from “officious” to “threatening,” Rey tried to gauge how much danger she might be in, but she didn’t have much experience with Rodians and couldn’t quite read him. He wasn’t carrying a blaster that she could see, but his loose tunic could easily have a small holdout pistol tucked away. And in the Outer Rim the line between “bureaucrat” and “thug” could be…thin. Having a sudden urge to leave, Rey reached out with the Force. “It doesn’t matter if I’m–“
Anoddo’s eyes turned glassy. He repeated, “It doesn’t matter if you’re…” He froze for a moment, then shook off the spell. “Miss, I don’t have time to deal with your petty insecurities. I’m just trying to discern whether you have any rights– are you listening?”
She was not. As Rey had started to nudge the Rodian’s mind, she felt a sharp intrusion into her own and had the distinct sense that Luke was hovering just beyond the arch of the doorway, disapproving. Was this going to be a thing now? Luke just popping into her head now and again like an unwanted supervisor?
“Oh, you have no idea,” said Leia, behind her.
Rey whirled around and hissed, “Stop it.”
Anoddo asked, “Who are you talking to?”
“No one, sorry.”
“Tell him about Shmi,” offered Luke, now on her left.
“Are you on something?” challenged Anoddo.
“Shmi,” declared Rey.
Anoddo squinted at Rey, struggling or suspicious. “Shmi? What is that? I don’t understand.”
“Shmi is…” Rey waited for Luke to give her more information, but he was gone. Of course. “Shmi is…”
Anoddo scowled, reached into his tunic and pulled out a data pad. He squinted in concentration, ignoring the flustered human in front of him as his fingers flew across the surface.
Rey breathed a silent sigh of relief. Definitely a bureaucrat. She relaxed and waited for him to finish whatever it was he was doing.
“Wait. I think I see.” Anoddo set the data pad down and a series of holograms obscured Rey’s face like a veil. “Shmi Skywalker. She was Owen Lars’s mother. His father purchased her, freed her, then married and impregnated her. Or maybe it was the other way around? Either way, she wasn’t free for very long, was she?” He laughed heartily. When Rey didn’t join him, he coughed and said, “Anyway, there’s no shame in there being slavery in your lineage, but I understand your reluctance to share that information. We all have our family secrets, after all.”
“You have no idea,” Rey replied, quietly.
But Anoddo was no longer paying attention to her. He pulled up a seat across from Rey and spun the data pad around. “So what is your relation to Shmi?” The holograms vanished, giving her an unimpeded view as documents flew across the screen, albeit upside down.
Rey tried to think, but all her brain could offer was, What is he doing? Also, why had she told that woman her last name was Skywalker? She wished she had gotten more from Artoo on Luke’s family history. “I don’t–”
Mistaking her stammering for embarrassment, Anoddo continued, “Well, no matter. Under normal circumstances, we would need to verify your chain code, and require direct parent-child lineage for a transfer of this kind, but given the situation…” He waved his hand around vaguely. “As I’m sure you know, Tatooine is in desperate need of moisture farmers. ‘Closest living relative’ will do. There is also the issue of back taxes, but we’ll deal with that another day. The main thing is to give you possession of the property right away. In fact, you can consider it yours…” He tapped a final key in bureaucratic triumph. “Now. Congratulations!”
Wait, what? “But–“
“Yes, yes, no need to thank me. I take pride in cutting through red tape like a vibroknife through Bantha butter.” He pantomimed slicing with his data pad, making a horrible vibroknife sound but an eerily accurate imitation of a lightsaber.
“But I’m not a moisture farmer! I mean, I’m not even really– I have to–” Rey froze, unsure how to finish either protest without being accused of fraud or appearing deranged. And did she sense…giggling?
Anoddo watched her silently as he slid the data pad back in his tunic. When she didn’t continue, he said, “If I may, moisture farming isn’t that difficult. It’s hard work, but not difficult. I’m sure you’ll manage. Get some droids if you can.” He turned to go, but paused at the door. “Actually, that reminds me. I spotted some Jawas leaving the property when I arrived. You might want to check on whatever it was you buried…”