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Local wizard reports disturbance
Dune Sea resident detects disruption in invisible 'Force'

by Alan Benson

TOSHI STATION, Tatooine (Imperial Press) — Local wizard Ben Kenobi yesterday announced he had detected a "great disturbance" that could possibly affect the entire universe.

Kenobi, a strange old hermit who lives beyond the dune sea, reported the disturbance around 5 p.m. Anchorhead Standard Time. The wizened desert dweller was on a freighter bound for Alderaan when he detected the disturbance.

"It was as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced," Kenobi said. "I fear something terrible has happened."

Imperial police said there was no evidence of such an event yesterday. There were scattered reports of heavy asteroid activity in the vicinity of Alderaan, but no confirmation was available at press time.

Some scientists postulated that the disturbance could have been simply an echo of a previous disaster in a faraway section of space. Others, including local moisture farmer "Uncle" Owen Lars dismissed Kenobi's claims.

"That old man's just a crazy old wizard," he said. "This is just his attempt to lead the world on some damned-fool idealistic crusade."

The disturbance primarily affected the Force, Kenobi said, describing the Force as "an energy field created by all living things."

"It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together," he said.

Scientists at the Mos Eisley Institute of Technology disputed Kenobi's description of the Force. Admiral Kirk Motti, leader of the Empire's planet-smashing division and an amateur cosmologist, said gravity was actually responsible for holding the galaxy together.

However, no less a personage than Darth Vader, the Dark Lord of the Sith and former President pro tem of the Imperial Senate, supported Kenobi's description. Vader said during an interview last night that Kenobi had understated the strength of the Force.

"The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force," Vader averred.

Interestingly enough, Ben Kenobi said he was, at one time, Vader's instructor.

"Vader was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil and helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights," he told reporters.

The Jedi Knights were a now-extinct fraternal organization similar to the Elks. The Jedi were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic, but the Empire largely supplanted them with Imperial stormtroopers and occasional volunteers from the Rotary and bounty-hunter organizations.

Motti dismissed Vader's statement as "just more evidence of [his] sad devotion to an ancient religion."

"This is simply an attempt to frighten us with sorcerer's ways," he said.

(Motti had prepared a longer statement, but a choking fit abruptly interrupted the interview. Motti was rushed to Dantooine Medical Center and was listed in stable condition last night.)

Local freighter pilot Han Solo, owner of the Corellian ship the "Millennium Falcon," agreed with Motti's assessment.

"I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe there's one all-powerful force controlling everything," he said. "There's no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense."

The Imperial press office did not have an official statement as of 10 p.m. AST last night. According to Imperial sources who wished to remain anonymous, they have heard similar disturbance reports before.

One Imperial officer said an "Obi-Wan" Kenobi was known for crank Force-related reports during the years following the Clone Wars.

"It seemed like every week we'd get a call that there was a disturbance in the Force," Commander Phil Tagge said. "Either that, or he'd call saying he found some guy in whom the Force was strong.

"The calls were always the same," Tagge added. "This guy would call up, identify himself as 'Obi-Wan,' ask us to patch him through to somebody or something named 'Yoda,' start giggling, and hang up. Man, that's a presence I haven't felt since...."

Kenobi was unavailable for comment on Tagge's statement. Shortly after reporting the disturbance, he, Solo, two droids, and an unidentified Tatooine youth departed for a small moon orbiting near the Alderaan system.

However, Lars maintains that Obi-Wan Kenobi died about the same time as noted star pilot and cunning warrior Anakin Skywalker. Published reports show that Vader killed Skywalker during the early years of the Empire, but there is no evidence of a trial or punishment.

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