Outtake: Invisible Echoes.

A Star Wars / The Shadow crossover.

By Count Mallet.

Time Frame: Earth Year 2028 AD (2 BBY in the GFFA).

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows! (sinister laughing).

The Shadow, mysterious character who aids the forces of law and order, is in reality, Lamont Cranston, wealthy young man about town. Years ago in the Orient, Lamont learned the strange and hypnotic power that allowed him to cloud men's minds so that they can not see him. Lamont's companion, the lovely Margo Lane, is the only one that knows to whom the voice of the invisible Shadow belongs.

Tonight's drama: The Invisible Echoes!

"Lamont, are you sure this is safe?" A worried Margo asked her colleague.

"Margo, if what my associate told me is accurate, we are truly in danger," Lamont replied. "The idea of villains who can attack, dismember, or even kill others with sticks of light is very unnerving," he added.

"You can say that, again!"

"Margo, if these people are evil, they need to be stopped. Otherwise, the balance of power will be tipped in their favor. Not even the worst crime boss could withstand such a powerful foe."

"I just wish you didn't have to investigate this yourself."

"I won't. The Shadow will be checking this out."

Elsewhere, Ahsoka and her daughter's best friend arrived at an abandoned building. With rumors that the site was a center of Sith activity, the Jedi Council decided to investigate. Ahsoka took her husband's padawan with her as he was sick and unavailable to go himself. Friday night missions were unusual, but in this case, the Jedi Council didn't want to take any chances.

"Are you sure this place is safe?" Molly asked Ahsoka.

"I don't think we will explore it too in-depth," Ahsoka told the teen. "Besides, I can sense anything up to 20 feet away with my montrals. I see why the Council gave us this mission," she added.

"I hope my master is better by Monday."

"Me, too. But for now, let's focus on the mission and get out of here. This place is enough to creep anyone out."

"Yes, Knight Ahsoka," Molly replied politely. "Still, it is cool how we got paired for this mission. I miss spending time with you."

Ahsoka nodded. She focused on exploring their surroundings for anything suspicious. The pair then scaled a flight of stairs. Near the top, Ahsoka suddenly stopped.

"Knight Ahsoka, what's wrong?" Molly asked.

"I swear I felt another person's footsteps in my montrals, but I'm not sure. The pulsations blended in with the other ripples I'm feeling. Let's go, but keep your guard up, padawan," Ahsoka told her.

"You bet!" Molly replied. She then tried to attune herself to the Force to see what she could sense. She also looked down at the lightsaber attached to her belt. Finally, she looked at the blue wrist band that covered the junction between her prosthetic right hand and her freckled wrist.

As Ahsoka and Molly reached the top of the stairs, an open room caught their attention. Molly noticed the tips of Ahsoka's front head-tails curl and twitch slightly.

"What now?" Molly asked curiously.

"Padawan, I think this room is important. We better check it out more thoroughly," Ahsoka replied in a low voice.

The two of them entered the room and slowly scaled its perimeter. As the pair reached the opposite end of the room, they could only look in horror at what happened next. The door appeared to close and lock itself.

"Master, how did that door close and get barred?" Molly asked nervously. She referred to Ahsoka as a master strictly out of habit.

"I don't know, but we will get to the bottom of this," Ahsoka replied calmly.

The conversation was then followed by a sinister laughing.

"Who... who's there?" Molly asked in the slightly darkened room.

"Shh. I'm trying to do something here," Ahsoka whispered to Molly.

The pair heard the laugh again and a voice that seemed engulfed in the darkness.

"I am called The Shadow," the voice stated.

"Never heard of you. Are you related to the dust witch?" Molly retorted.

"I know not of any witches, but I am here for the same purpose as you are: to investigate," the disembodied voice responded.

"Molly, keep him talking. I think I've figured something out," Ahsoka whispered.

Molly gave a very slight nod. "What are you investigating?" she asked The Shadow.

"I've been told there are foes who wield unusual weapons. I'm here to investigate and to decide what action to take," he replied.

Molly was about to ask another question, but Ahsoka interrupted her.

"Molly, he's in the opposite corner," Ahsoka said.

"Impossible," The Shadow's voice responded. Suddenly, he gasped in surprise. "What are you doing to me?" he asked nervously.

Ahsoka slowly levitated Lamont's invisible body with the Force.

"I said you were in the corner," Ahsoka told him. "Still don't believe me?" she asked.

"But how could you possibly know?" The Shadow asked with disbelief. Now, he was afraid that his identity might be revealed to the same dangerous people he was seeking out?

Ahsoka pondered the question and the situation. Clearly she had the upper hand.

"Tell me what exactly you're here for, and I'll tell you how I know where you are," Ahsoka stated firmly.

The Shadow, knowing he had no other choice, agreed.

"You're looking for people with sticks of light?" Ahsoka asked in half disbelief.

"Yes," the Shadow replied. He kept his invisible self a safe distance between himself and the strange, odd-looking being. "Do you know them?" he asked.

Ahsoka unhooked the lightsaber off of her belt and ignited it. "Is this what you meant?" she asked in reply.

"Yes. Are you the evil ones I'm searching for?"

Ahsoka looked a bit surprised and was slightly upset at the stranger's question.

"We're not the evil ones! They did this to me," Molly quickly retorted. She held up her right hand. For emphasis, she pulled down her wrist band to show the metal junction between her hand and wrist. She also ignited her own lightsaber.

"We fight the Sith – the evil ones," Ahsoka added.

"Could you take me to them?" The Shadow asked.

"I suppose so."

"Now it's my turn. How can you tell where I am standing? I have the ability to cloak myself in the shadows."

"Do you see the horns on top of my head?"

"I do."

"Anything that moves in a given radius will echo. They help me detect those echoes."

"If you truly are good, I trust you won't give away my secret."

Molly looked at Ahsoka and nodded.

"And if you are on the side of good, you'd know we're not the enemy," Ahsoka answered.

"I see you have the situation in hand – for now. However, I will stay informed should that ever change," The Shadow said.

At the sound of an object striking a broken window, Ahsoka and Molly quickly looked that way. It wasn't until Ahsoka felt footsteps in her montrals that she realized The Shadow had opened the door again and left.

"Should we chase him?" Molly asked eagerly. Her hand continued to grip her ignited lightsaber.

"No," Ahsoka replied. She extinguished her own lightsaber and reattached it to her belt. "I sensed no deception. Let's leave, padawan. We have reports to make. And I know the council will have a hard time believing us," she added.

"Yes, Knight Ahsoka. You're probably right. My master wouldn't believe my report without you to vouch for it," Molly replied.

With that, the pair departed.

Margo was overjoyed to see Lamont home safely the next day.

"Lamont! I'm glad you made it back. I was worried what they might do to you," she exclaimed.

"Now Margo, surely you thought I could take care of myself," Lamont replied with slight sarcasm.

"It's not that, but the thought of those weapons you described scared me so much."

Lamont chuckled. "It was true, Margo. I even saw them up close. But, you'll be pleased to know I encountered friends in our fight against evil. And since they have the power to stop their evil counterparts, we shall leave well enough alone. However, there is one thing that concerns me," he told her.

"What's that?" Margo asked anxiously.

"One of them wasn't human and could sense my movements – the same way a bat does through echoes. I can only hope there aren't more like her around, or it could send The Shadow into an early retirement."

"I wouldn't know how to react. You wouldn't either," Margo replied mockingly at the thought of Lamont's alter ego no longer fighting crime.

At that, both chuckled. ▄

Acknowledgments: Very special thanks to:

» Lucasfilm Limited for Star Wars characters & concepts.

» Condé Nast Publications for The Shadow, related concepts, and the introductory text of this story.

Note that Molly is an OC. Her younger self can be seen in the story, Both Worlds.

Commentary: Since my high school years, I have been a fan of Old Time Radio, and The Shadow is one of my favorite series. I've recently considered what might happen if The Shadow encountered Jedi, especially one who had abilities that could counteract The Shadow's own. I used the radio (1930's-1950's) version of The Shadow characters.

I've been deliberately vague with some details. If I revealed them now, they would be spoilers for possible future writing.