Rey Buys the Farm

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?”

“I’m sorry?”

“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…”



Whoa. Where’d that come from?


You know that feeling when your nose tickles like you’re going to sneeze and you wait and wait but the sensation just fades with no real release?

Yeah, I heard about the impending indictment, too.


A handful of things I’ve been sitting on but not in a literal way that would be weird

How the ring got good: Turns out The Lord of the Rings didn’t spring forth from Tolkien’s head fully formed. Which honestly shouldn’t surprise any of us, especially anyone who’s tried to create something of any substance. I have no real interest in The History of the Lord of the Rings, but I’m glad it exists. I wish there was more of it for books. With movies, and to some extent music, I think we all know the iterations and edits that happen, but for novels it’s unfortunately only Major Works like LoTR that get this kind of treatment.

Jason Kottke links to a recent Jon Stewart video (Jon Stewart Calmly Dismantles Gun Zealot), with a weary sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with.

The new Black film canon: Also courtesy Kottke — another list of movies we’ll be working through. The list is mostly American, but not entirely. There are some African movies as well, which in this house means they count double!

The Deep Archeology of Fox News

Full headline here: CPAC Speaker Calls for Eradication of ‘Transgenderism” — and Somehow Claims He’s not Calling for Elimination of Transgender People I know about CPAC, and am well aware that right-wingers (cough) Nazis (cough) have been attacking LGBTQ+ people all over the place, but hadn’t heard about this particular guy until this article. Fun fact — note the mug in front of him in the photo at the top of the article. My sister’s a fan of hers. Weird, huh.

I actually just found out about this — they’ve remastered the old Fleischer Superman shorts! Gonna need to get my hands on those.


And now, for an only slightly misrepresented, wholly taken out of context quote of the day

“Please don’t die, I have a bowel movement to make.”


Perfect score!


How to stay humble in three easy steps

  1. Start playing guitar. Acoustic, electric, it doesn’t matter.
  2. Keep playing for (checks calendar) thirty years (Jeebus, really?). Get comfortable at whatever level of skill you manage to achieve.
  3. Acquire a 12-string.

An annotated render no one asked for or needs to see if we’re being honest here

As always, click to embiggen. If you’re thinking, “That looks familiar,” that’s because like the last rendered image I posted, this one is taken from “I See The Earth!” This one’s embellished little more than the last one, in that I added a road and a couple vehicles. Taking each element in turn:

  • The ground is taken from NASA’s CGI moon kit, so is in theory accurate, but the scale I’m sure is all wrong. It acts weird when the camera pans, which I assume has something to do with the displacement.
  • I was too lazy to properly texture the road, but decided this was retro-futuristic so could get away with it just being made of Space Metal™. Never mind the lack of off-ramps.
  • The stars aren’t right, but unless your name is Neil I doubt you care.
  • Roads need cars, so I created the green one. I didn’t like how it came out, so I went looking for other inspiration and found an old Tonka Toys Mini Futuristic Turbo Rocket Space Car. It’s being driven by a Red Sox fan at much higher than the speed limit.
  • I got frustrated with texturing the front-most structure, so decided to try an experiment, printing out the UV map and using a lightbox to do hand coloring on a separate sheet of paper, which I then scanned back in. That’s what the more organic texture is made from. The boxes are vector, because fountain pen lines weren’t cutting it.
  • There’s an animated version of this I’m not posting. The still below is from a frame or two after the image above, except closer and with the camera following the red car. The lunar landscape looks much better all blurred out.

So that’s how I spent a good number of my January off hours.


A pair of books

Chuck Wendig is forever exhorting people to talk up the books they read to help get the word out. I’m not convinced anything I do here will move the needle for anyone, but I guess it can’t hurt. So, in addition to the recaps I’ve been doing the last few years, I’m going to try and surface books every once in a while as I go. So, let’s talk about The Spare Man (Mary Robinette Kowal) and Station Eternity (Mur Lafferty).

If you know your classic Hollywood, one look at The Spare Man’s cover will tell you what to expect — it screams “The Thin Man in Space,” and that’s very much what it is, with a handful of twists to the formula. I think my favorite of these was Gimlet being a service dog instead of just a pet, which adds an interesting layer. It’s a small thing, but I also appreciated the extra bits at the end touching on the science behind some bits in the story. This was the first novel by Mary Robinette I’ve read, but I’ll definitely be checkout out more of her work.

Mur Lafferty, on the other hand, I’ve been following since I first got wind of The Shambling Guide to New York City. Like The Spare Man, Station Eternity is also a murder mystery set in space, though the inspirations there are “Murder She Wrote” and “Babylon 5.” Pretty sure you’re not going to hear a character in either of those shows declare, “FUCKING METAL PRINCESS!” though… They’re calling the book “The Midsolar Murders #1,” so hopefully there will be more coming. Anyway, there are no dogs in it, but there are symbiotes, a sentient space station, rock aliens, a hive mind, and aliens who think humans and their leaky fluids are utterly disgusting. What’s not to like?

Buncha random stuff

If we don’t see indictments of Trump or someone in his orbit in 2023, another coup attempt is inevitable. The next one may succeed, and will be cheered on by people you may have holiday meals with.

I’ve mostly stopped using Twitter, though I do wish Hive activity would pick up. I’ve begun subscribing to newsletters various authors I follow are putting out, but frankly wish they would just set up old-fashioned blogs instead.

Just read this: Stop Talking to Each Other and Start Buying Things: Three Decades of Survival in the Desert of Social Media

Kraken?” Really? That’s what they’re going with?

I thought my 30 year old MIDI controller had started flaking out on me, but it turns out to be okay. <whew> Now if I could just play with a little more precision…

Never forget, Republicans and the people who vote for them are assholes.

Trying to start a new habit where I have at least one novel I’m reading on my iOS devices, to have something other than mindless scrolling or casual games to look at. So far the effort is going…okay. Turns out the interest level in the book has to be higher than the bar for a physical copy, because it’s so easy to just pop over to some other activity. Story Genius worked because I needed the nudge, and Sin du Jour worked because holy shit. Slow Horses isn’t quite doing it, though. Turns out I might like the streaming series better in that case. YMMV, as they say, and Brits/Anglophiles may feel differently.