We were on the junk moon. We had dropped off the salvage and left to go check out the new droid, which the smugglers rescued from the pirate ship. It had already powered up and Naz turned it on.
The droid sputtered into life instantly. “These surroundings are unfamiliar. You have stolen me. I will tell you now, there will be consequences.” Naz coughed. “Hello Mr. Droid, I uh-” “I appear to be in a dump. What is this place called?” Naz coughed again. “We rescued you from a pirate ship.” “Negative. I powered down in my masters base. I repeat, where am I.”
I asked “Who is your master?” “Not a Separatist.” “So you’re a Separatist bot.” “No. Most definitely not. The opposite in fact.” “Wasn’t the separatist group a branch of the Republic?” “Let’s go with that, yes.”
Naz interrupted, “Your master is dead.” “Negative-” “No… No! You’re master IS dead! Read my Captain’s Log you idiotic robot!” The robot took it and downloaded it. “Oh dear.” “Darn right.” grumbled Naz. The droid was still calculating, “This time is a negative. This- This whole log is a negative.” Naz turned around exasperated, “What do you mean it’s a negative?!” “No one would ever do these things. They are too extremely unintelligent. It is not feasible that someone could have this much stupidity.”
Naz took back the log and threw it as far as he could out the makeshift door of his little secret shelter, and I heard it clank against the side of an old pice of machinery a distance away. Naz turned back, the smoke from his pipe coming out in angry wisps.
Naz, fuming, pointed at the pile of junk. “All I need you to do, is fix that!” “Negative. You can not fix a pile of scrap.” “No, the ship!” I looked myself and I could say with absolute certainty that there actually was no ship there. The droid twisted his head, looking at it from different angles. “Negative. There is no ship.” I could see parts from a ship, but there was definitely no ship.
Naz walked to various pieces. “This is the haul, this is the cockpit…” I put my face into my hands. “Why is there half a droid in the area you call a, “Sh-ip,” asked the droid. “Every ship needs a power source right?” I looked up. Yeah, there were other piles of junk that looked more like a ship than this.
The droid surveyed the area. “With a great amount of effort, and years of planning, building, and all with another twenty robots like me also helping, this could eventually pass for a… an animal containment facility.” Naz gritted his teeth, “No. I want a ship. A space ship! That flies in space!” “I can do that, with time.” “Great!” “However, it is quite a bit of time. You will not be alive when the build is completed.”
Naz angrily sat down on a, (because there was no rocks,) perfectly normal hazardous machine part… We needed to clean up this place. Suddenly, Stumpel came into the little shelter. “Oh! So the droid works then.” Naz grumbled under his breath, “No.” The droid stepped in. “I am in almost perfect working condition. This human, however, is not.” “Have you seen his “Ship”?” I asked Stumpel. “The ship… you mean Nazs bundle of failings? Yeah, I know that ship.”
The droid jumped in again, “That is not a ship, sir.” The droid looked over Stumpel. “Are you the leader of this… group?” “Nope. He is.” Stumpel pointed over at Naz, who was admiring his “Ship.” “Thats wonderful…” The droid said, “I wish my programming allowed me to jump off a cliff.” Stumpel grinned, “Don’t we all.”
Naz stood up and walked over. “We’re wasting daylight. I need to check on my family.” “There’s more of him? That is a terrible prospect.” “Someone kill that droid please!” yelled Naz as he stumbled down the other side of a pile of mashed machinery and out of sight.
Some time passed.
We were walking along a ridge of dangerous looking parts when we saw some swoops coming towards us off in the distance. Naz yelled, “Hide!” So I dove into a fridge. Not unlike the one, in fact, that Naz claimed was his ship’s “haul”. I could see through a little hole in the box, and what I saw didn’t look good.
The droid hadn’t found a hiding spot yet, which was stupid, because he should have blended into the junk just fine, but he decided it would be better to pretend he was a radio tower. Seven swoops came around the corner, and our droid was instantly spotted.
There was some yelling and pointing, and the swoops, one by one, stopped. They were poorly built, almost as bad as our ship. Not Naz’s “ship”, our real ship, (which, by the way, apparently does not actually belong to the smugglers, it belongs to Anatta, who is supposedly unaware of Naz’s smuggler escapades.)
One guy took out binoculars, but the leader waved his hand and the swoops started back up again. Then they drove off in the direction we were headed in, and out of sight. I came out of the fridge to find another argument between Naz and the droid.
“Binoculars, droid! He pulled out binoculars! If he had seen Stumpel we would have all been dead!” Stumpel cut in. “You should really call him wood. That’s his real name.” “Wood” popped up “Actually my name is WD-89-” “Thankyoudroid! Come on! Let’s move!” yelled Naz he beckoned us to the precipice of the junk pile. “We’re here!” There was a pause, “Oh no…”
There were a dozen swoops already sitting in the valley. “The Ratapa… they weren’t just coming through…” Stumpel mumbled. Naz slid down the side of the rusty cliff and into the valley. I looked around. This town was as much a town as Naz’s ship is a ship! Ok, actually I take that back, Naz’s “ship” doesn’t even come close to scraping the surface of what one might call a vehicle in any form, so yeah.
Still! That does not change the fact that this place was just as much a dump as everything else I’ve seen on this god forsaken junkpile we call a moon, or, actually, how much lower I thought of Naz after his arguements with the droid. Honestly, I really thought he was better than that. What should I expect from a bunch of dirty smugglers. Stumpel’s actually the nice one. Compared to the others.
We walked through the Tuputa Colony, not getting too close to the parked swoops, and I realised the other guys were looking quite worried. That was quite uncharacteristic of them, but I guess they were worried about Naz’s siblings. I guess I would be worried too, if I knew what was going on.
I cleared my throat. “Who is this Rapata?” Stumpel looked over at me. “The Rapata gang hates me, probably would shoot me with a chance.” Naz scoffed, “You mean definitely. They most likely would shoot me too, but Stumpel’s caused them a great many problems in the past. They’ve caused us too many problems to count. My family better be OK.”
We went to Naz’s house. Naz’s sister opened the door, they hugged, they talked. His family was fine. I was disinterested in their conversation, so I went to talk with uh… wood. If that can be considered his name. I don’t like it.
He was fixing Naz’s family’s refrigerator though, so I decided to let him be.
I came back into the room. Naz was pacing, “So it’s true then, people are getting kidnapped?” I spouted out, surprised, “What?!” Naz looked up at me. He looked grim, didn’t speak, and he just walked past me and out of the room. I followed him.
Naz walked back into the Kitchen, where Wood was installing a defensive measure on their door. Naz sighed and took his pipe out of his mouth. “Guys, It’s time we caught ourselves a swoop gang.”
We got out of the shack, and Naz was discussing his plan. “Is this plan anything like the hospital plan?” Stumpel asked. Naz turned, already angry, “Hey! That plan worked didn’t it?” “Let’s put an asterisk over the word “worked”, shall we?” Stumpel grinned. Naz glared at him. Stumpel continued, “Where’s Gav? He should be done unloading the salvage by now.”
“That’s not important. What’s important is to talk about the plan!” Naz’s plan was to distract the guards out front of the tavern, where the gang members were, and Wood was to disable their brakes. Seemed like a halfway decent plan to me.
Wood… You know what? That’s just a dumb name. I’m not not going to call him that anymore. I’ll call him droid. The droid got in position, and Stumpel and Naz flanked this unfortunate guy, (who honestly didn’t deserve everything they did to him, so I apologise on the behalf of my companions,) and knocked him out, leaving the droid time to sabotage the brake systems on all the swoops.
“Hold on!” said Naz. “ Don’t cut the brakes on that last swoop! I have a better idea…”
So there I was, on the back of a swoop, shooting for my life, smoke puffing in my face, while Naz actively tried to get as close to crashing as possible. On purpose. “HOW’D YOU CONVINCE ME TO DO THIS!?!” I yelled over the loudness of the swoop. “The Swoops are crashing aren’t they? It’s working!” Naz yelled back, grinning like a wild loonatik.
I winced as Naz skimmed the side of a wall. Then a piece of machinery clipped my shoulder! It hurt. Several pieces started falling, creating a rock fall, and crushed several chasing swoops. I shot at the few that were left, but I couldn’t hit a single swoop for the life of me. I noticed they were both looking very confused. They started yelling at each other. They finally realised something was terribly wrong. A bit too late for that, huh?
See, since the gang didn’t have brakes, Naz’s idea was to go around tight corners hoping thy’d crash. Problem with that? Going around tight corners with brakes isn’t any more of a holiday. I grazed my other arm on a sharp blade even before the collapse.
Naz headed for a narrow chasm in between two piles. “We’re going to crash into the side of the wall!” I cried. Naz just gave me a grin and a thumbs up. Somehow we managed to not crash going in. We slid around a corner and Naz parked. “Get your gun ready.”
So, I readied my gun. So did Naz. We heard them getting closer. Closer, closer… Suddenly they veered around the corner, and we both took a shot. Naz’s shot slammed a guy into the side of the narrow passage, but mine hit a wall.
Naz turned to me. “You need to work on your shooting skills, kid.” I’m actually not classified as a kid anymore, but I didn’t feel like that was important.
Naz revved the engines and we took off, and this time, we were behind them. That meant Naz could shoot them as well as driving. And Naz actually can shoot. Our odds were improving.
We opened into a flat area, although it was rising up. We were surrounded by water, although it wasn’t water it was… it was acid. Toxic acid! There was a little outcropping over the lake of death, like a ramp.
The last two gang members went up the ramp- Plop! Into the lake. Blub blub blub.
On the way back, I was feeling some remorse, so I tried to talk to Naz about how these guys weren’t actual bad guys, they were just following orders. Naz just revved his engine louder and tuned me out. I don’t know why I thought these guys would be any better than the Collars.
I really don’t.
I believe killing people is wrong. Normally. If their trying to kill you, by all means, use self defence. If you know they’re going to either murder or harm someone who doesn’t deserve it, you should try and stop them, even if that means killing.
I find killing mindless underlings borderline on that. They don’t know what they’re doing, they’re just following orders.
The worst thing though, is when they’re just innocent citizens. Let’s say you have a prison break. Oh! That prison guard that’s just doing his job, who doesn’t have enough money to buy the cure for his fatally sick daughter? Dead. That really nice woman that loves everyone who just so happened to have a boring job typing prisoner files out? Caught in the crossfire. That innocent man that in a mix up, got put in prison and it took six years to sort it out? Seconds after finally being freed, you murdered him when you were heroically collapsing the front door down on his face.
Do I sound bitter? I think at this point, I have that right!! There’s so much evil in this universe, it’s just…I… I’m getting distracted. I haven’t even got to the part where the smugglers torture someone.
I sat there, watching as they torture some guy into giving us the information. He was the only one left that we hadn’t killed yet. So they’re slavers. That makes me feel slightly better. I go outside.
The sand I stand in is ground nuts and bolts. The mountains are made of junk. The water is acid. The air is… air actually, but some places it’s poisoned. I look up at our planet. It should be blue, judging that our planet is covered in water, but all I see is black. Black clouds. I’ve seen pictures of what our planet was like before but… it’ll never be the same again. Too much pollution.
If I squinted, I could see the spire. A glowing, white, pillar of hatred and evil. They built it in my lifetime actually. I didn’t realise how tall it was. The dictators live there. The ones that decide our fate.
Let them try and decide mine. “Bandar!” Stumpel called to me. It was time to go.
By the way! They duct taped that unfortunate man to a piece of machinery outside the colony so we could come back for him later. If they remembered. I was disgusted with them. Fortunately, I came out of it soon afterwards.
They fixed some more swoops and we went off to the gang’s base. We met some uncooperative jawas that eventually gave us some information about the slavers and we were off again. Gav, who was with us now, (he joined us when we got back from the speed chase,) saw a landing area up on a hill of rusty things and we decided to check it out.
Actually, there’s some important information you probably need to know about this. The guys found out that the leader of this whole operation is Togar, and he brings in slaves that the gang goes out and captures and brings them to a landing site. Then a ship comes down, picks them up, and sends them to who knows where.
I didn’t get a chance to ask if they thought this was the right landing site, because lo and behold, there were swoops on the horizon. I guess this was the right landing site. Go figure. Stumpel immediately pointed us where we should go for a good ambush.
I went to my spot and got my blaster ready. Probably wasn’t going to shoot anyone, but might as well try. The droid and Gav went in the opposite direction and went around the corner. What were they doing? I had no idea.
We waited for about another twenty minutes. Turns out the “horizon” is actually really really far away, especially when the swoops had to maneuver the maze of garbage. Finally the swoops started up the road up to the landing site. We were up higher on the hill, looking down on them.
Suddenly, the droid came back from around the corner and started moving junk around and then went back around the corner. All the gang members got off their swoops, and I could see now that there was a speeder with a cage behind them… with people in it! I wanted to go down and rescue them right then, but they’d shoot me before I put a foot out of my hiding spot.
They didn’t know I was there… yet. One of the guys down there turned the corner, evidently checking to see if he could figure out why there was a droid so far out here in the wasteland, and why it was so close to their secret operation.
There was a buzz and a cry, and then a head rolled out from behind the pile of junk. THat’s when all hell broke loose.
We were all shooting down at once, and they quickly realised where we were, then we got shot out too. I barely dodged a few lasers to the head. Once again, I couldn’t hit anything. Togar, the leader, was killed first. An old enemy of Stumpel’s, the notorious Jeff, also got killed. The speeder almost escaped, but Stumpel took it down, but managed to not kill the people inside as well.
One by one, we picked down the bad guys. Or at least, the others were. I still was completely useless as usual. Gav and the droid we’re down on the pad, doing what we were doing melee style, and Gav was using his new vibrosword to slice through people like cheese.
One guy managed to press a button on the control panel of a giant radio tower looking thing. Naz shot him down.
Suddenly, a blaster shot hit my shoulder! I had gotten hit before, but it didn’t change how much it hurt! I got hit again, and I started to see red. I wiped it away. I could handle it. I saw Gav was fighting three at once, and he was starting to break down. One burly man raised his weapon over Gavs head, so I took a deep breath, and I fired, hitting the guy full in the chest. I shot him again, and he fell over, dead.
Not my first kill, but my first that didn’t involve indirect traps and trickery. I’d never even hit anyone with a blaster before. Then Naz shot the last man.
And we stood, victorious, all injured but all alive, triumphant. And as we did, the sky arose with sounds of a landing ship, coming down to kill our hope…