"No Way Out"
The Chancellor saw an opportunity. He called Kelko to his office to send him on a very important mission. Kelko had never met the Chancellor before. Because of his reputation, he did not have any reason to distrust him.
"You are the best man for the job," the Chancellor told Kelko.
He did not know what to say. Then he spoke, "But I have never done this before. I only joined up last week."
"Don't worry about that," the Chancellor replied. "I have full confidence in your abilities. Your ship is waiting."
Later on, Kelko was on the landing pad of a very large ship. It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. The captain of the ship was standing next to him as it was coming in for a landing. She was new to the job.
Kelko asked her, "It's a Republic cruiser?"
"Yes," she replied brushing her hands through her dark hair. "The only problem with the thing is that it doesn't have any weapons."
The journey began. On the bridge, Kelko was explaining the mission to the entire crew, "Our mission is simple – to have this treaty signed by a ruler and return it to the Chancellor. Then we will have a new ally in this war."
Laser fire disrupted the ship while it was in hyperspace, "What was that?"
"We are under attack!" the copilot cried. "Man your battle stations!"
"Kelko," the captain ordered, "they are going to board. Hide in the cargo hold, so they won't be able to find the treaty."
Separatist terrorists boarded the Republic cruiser. There were only three of them, but their battle droids were enough to take the whole ship quickly. The terrorists wore face masks, and each of them had two blasters in holsters.
"Nobody move!" the lead terrorist yelled. "You, get away from there!"
Then one demanded, "You, you are the captain? Call Kelko to us."
She stood up and bravely said, "No."
The terrorists turned on the intercom. Kelko was in the cargo hold eating a ration pack to build his strength. Then the Rodian heard something over the intercom, "Kelko! Surrender the treaty, or the captain gets it!"
The captain, with a blaster to her head, gave her last order, "Kelko, run—"
The large terrorist shot her. Kelko heard this and knew what to do. Time was running short. All he had at his disposal was a frag grenade and a battle droid blaster with no power packs. He had an idea.
Kelko would distract the battle droids in engineering by throwing the frag grenade and snatch the controls for them from the terrorist there.
"An explosion," a battle droid said.
"It came from over there."
Kelko jumped on the terrorist from higher ground. The controls fell out of the terrorist's hand. Kelko was prone on the deck. The terrorist stood over him with his blasters drawn from their holsters, "You're dead, Kelko."
Kelko told him, "That's not what your mother said last night."
The controls were in Kelko's hand. He pressed a button on it, and the battle droids fired on the terrorist controlling them. He turned around to be filled with blaster bolts.
This time, Kelko was on the intercom, "Hey, bad guys. I've got the controls for your battle droids. Come and get it. I'll be waiting with bells on."
The lead terrorist was getting desperate. He ran to engineering. Then he shouted, "Kelko! I want those controls!"
Kelko was hiding in the shadows. He obliged, "Okay."
He threw the controls across the room, breaking them. The terrorist fell to his knees in defeat, "No! They're broken!"
Kelko stood over him and took out his personal binder cuffs, "Like you?"
On the bridge, the crew was still being held hostage. They were trying to negotiate with the large terrorist, "You see. You're losing. You're the last one left."
He cried, "Shut up and let me think!"
The doors whooshed open. Kelko was there.
"Kelko!" the copilot shouted.
With lightning speed, the terrorist drew a blaster, "Don't move."
Acting fast, the copilot took the blaster from the terrorist's other holster and pointed it to his head, "This is how you catch a murderer."
The captain's body was going to be committed to space. It was her wish. Before it was done, Kelko had some words to say, "The captain was a brave one. It is all too clear to me that space is this dangerous. She will be remembered."
They opened the airlock. The next thing they had to do was complete their mission. The treaty was signed and returned to the Chancellor.
"You survived," the Chancellor said with surprise. "I commend you."
"It was for the Republic, sir," Kelko felt to say.
"Yes, of course," the Chancellor stated. "You are quite the hero."
After the mission was completed, Kelko was a messenger for the Republic. The mission taught him everything he needed to know. After that, he was ready for just about anything the job could throw at him. He was strong in the Force.
"Conquer the Day"
He was quite possibly the only being in the universe that did not sense the destruction of Alderaan through the Force. He was an Imperial stormtrooper. It was early morning on the Death Star. In his white armored spacesuit, he was just getting out of bed to get to his duty post.
"What do you think will be the business of the day?" he asked his bunkmate below him as he put on his helmet.
There was no response. Stormtroopers were trained not to use the words 'I don't know.' The question did make his bunkmate think, though. Then the bunkmate said, "It's time for us to eat. Let's go."
The reason he knew it was time to eat was because every morning they got up they headed to the mess hall. It was the day's only meal. They were reminded of it through the comlinks in their helmets. They were, in fact, ordered to eat. Everything in a stormtrooper's day was strictly regimented.
He arrived at the mess hall just like the day before. The rest of his unit was already sitting at their tables eating. There was about a hundred stormtroopers there. An officer was also there to remind them to put up their blasters before eating. That was his job, and he hated every minute of it.
"Why do these stormtroopers have to be reminded to put up their blasters every single day?" he would ask himself.
The Imperial chef had the easiest job in the world. He would serve the men standard rations, and they were lucky to get that. The stormtroopers sat at a table and took off their helmets. They would eat in silence.
After he was finished with his meal, he left the mess hall the same way he came in. It did not matter which blaster he took – they were all alike. The day was disturbed by reports that rebels were on the station. With blasters in hand, the stormtroopers headed to their posts in the hopes they might die in the service of the Empire.
"I hope we get that rebel scum," one said. "My head is due to be shaved."
"I'm lucky," another replied. "I had that done yesterday. As the commander always says, 'be prepared.'"
"Let's just get to our posts, so we can get this day over with."
The only thing they did at their posts was wait. Then they were ordered from one place in the station to another. By the end of the day, they had found no rebels. In their minds, they dismissed it as a drill and returned to their bunks for the night.
"Empire's Most Wanted"
He was feeling lucky. He won a stock light freighter in a game of chance. He was a Zabrak with big arms named Ivan Da. The ship still needed a lot of work. The engines needed to be repaired. Its new owner was in awe of its colossal size.
"Wow," he said to himself, "this thing is big."
The ship's computer sensed an intruder. Its alarms went off, and the computer's feminine voice was calling for its captain. The Zabrak slowly made his way to the cockpit and put the computer headset over his ears to speak.
"This is not funny," he said. "I already told you. I'm the new captain."
"I'm not stupid, Captain," the computer replied. "The intruder is outside in the sandstorm. It is a TIE fighter pilot. He is carrying a blaster."
He slowly got out of his seat and moved to pick up a lead pipe. The computer was right. He had to defend his ship. The Zabrak had no wish to kill anyone. He had never killed before. But there was too much at stake. He hid near the entrance.
The TIE fighter pilot took one last look through the sandstorm at his fighter and moved towards the entrance to the stock light freighter. Before he went in, he read the markings on the side of the ship. It spelled the name Lone Star. He drew his blaster. Once he was inside, he started to get the feeling that he was in danger.
"Hello," he called.
The captain put his big arms to use. He beat the TIE pilot repeatedly over the head with the lead pipe. He did this until the pilot stopped moving. The body of the pilot was passed out on the deck. He fought well for a clone.
"Captain?" the computer insisted.
"Not now," the Zabrak replied. "I think I just killed someone."
The wingman for the downed TIE fighter pilot was in a strafing run towards the stock light freighter. It was going to fire on it. Ivan Da quickly jumped to the controls for the ship's laser cannon. It was the only thing on the ship that was fully functional. He started firing. He shot down the TIE fighter.
The Imperial Star Destroyer Maxim was in orbit of Tatooine. In the sick bay, the two TIE fighter pilots were being treated for their injuries. The pilot that was beaten was in a bacta tank and was not expected to survive. The other could talk.
"I want revenge," he said to a medical droid.
The Star Destroyer captain overheard this walking through the door. He had a small pet in his arms. He announced his presence by saying, "You shall have it."
He wanted to jump to attention. It was not every day that a TIE fighter pilot met his captain. The captain waved his hand saying, "Don't stand up."
He continued, "We deal with scum like the one you speak of all the time. We are the Empire. You will be given a state-of-the-art TIE interceptor. It has hyperdrive and advanced scanners. Your friend will die, but you have a mission to begin."
Back on the stock light freighter, the sandstorm had ended. The ship's computer had taught the Zabrak a new trick. He was going to fake a message to the TIE interceptor pilot awaiting the location of the stock light freighter. He put his headset on.
"TH-413," he began, "over."
"I read you," the unwitting pilot said. "TH-413, ready to receive coordinates for the location of fugitive in question."
He had to smile as he said, "Your target is in the Hoth system. We are sending the exact location to your nav computer. Be warned. An asteroid field is there."
"Roger that," he replied. "Launching."
The Lone Star computer began to giggle. This was unusual since the captain was unaware computers could do so. Then it asked, "Where did you send him?"
"To an asteroid field," he said. "He won't find me there."
The captain sat back in his chair and decided he hadn't eaten for a while. The food on board the Lone Star was not very good. He needed some real food. He was going into town to get a fine meal. He had a few credits to his name.
The TIE interceptor was slightly damaged but eventually found the stock light freighter. It landed right next to it. After searching the ship, the TIE pilot decided he would find his target in the nearby town of Mos Espa. He walked there. He found his target and drew his blaster. The Zabrak was haggling with a vender.
"Citizen!" he shouted. "Drop your weapon!"
He knew he had to do something. He took an unwilling hostage. It was a Twi'lek from the streets. She tried to struggle, but it was no use. A crowd developed to see the action. This was followed by a long and fateful silence.
The pilot had his blaster pistol on stun. It was the only way he could attack with an innocent in the mix. The two fired and fired. Neither of them was a very good shot. In the end, the TIE fighter pilot was hit.
"Who are you to do this to me?!" the hostage demanded.
"I have my reasons," he replied. "It's the reason I do anything. I'm an outlaw."
They kissed. Then the crowd cheered.
She never gave her name, but the captain was trying to get it out of her the whole walk back to his ship. Her name was a secret. The TIE interceptor was right next to the stock light freighter. He developed a plan and put it into action.
"If you give me your name," he said, "I'll give you my ship."
"No," she replied, "it is not in the custom of my people."
"Take it anyway," he said.
He climbed into the TIE interceptor and launched towards space. It did not take the Twi'lek very long to realize she had been stuck with a lemon. Imperial troops came to arrest someone for the deaths of the two TIE fighter pilots and found her. The Zabrak was headed to a planet not under Imperial occupation. He named his new ship Flyer. It was tough for him to leave the planet of his birth, but he had little choice.
"The Cynical Scout"
The Ithorian herd ships were over Ithor again. One of those Ithorians was born on the herd ships. He had never seen his home planet before. He came out of the ship with his family. His father was filled with pride to show his world to him.
"This is your home," he said.
"It's beautiful," the young Ithorian said. "I want to stay here. I've always been a bit of an explorer. Maybe I should start here."
"Is that really what you want?" the father asked.
"Then you will be Owi Ben, the explorer," he said extending his arm. Owi Ben locked arms with him then, with his belongings, went along his way.
The herd ship returned to the stars.
At first, Owi Ben did not know what to do with himself at the port. Then he spotted a dive for spacers. It was called the Night Bar. He became very thirsty. He didn't have any credits, so he decided to merely get some water.
In the establishment, he only intended to wet his whistle, but he overheard a conversation between the Sullustan bartender and a spacer.
"So you want me to buy your ship?"
"Yes," the spacer said. "It is in good working order, except for the fact it's in the Mother Jungle."
"I thought that was holy land," the bartender said. "Why is it there?"
"Do you want to buy it or not?" the spacer insisted. The Sullustan bartender nodded. The papers for the ship were passed.
"How much are you asking for?" the bartender asked him.
"Ten thousand," he said.
"Ten thousand?" the Sullustan whispered. "What's wrong with it?"
The spacer quickly said, "Nothing. It's just hard to get to."
Owi Ben said nothing and left the establishment. He had a plan, though. He was going to wait until the bar closed and break in.
Hours later, the Sullustan bartender closed down. Owi Ben was loitering at a distance. Once the coast was clear, Owi Ben picked the lock. After he entered, he was headed to the papers for the ship when he fell over a chair in the dark, "Ouch."
He felt his way through the dark until he stumbled onto the papers. He didn't just steal the papers for the ship – he also stole the bartender's blaster rifle.
He headed to his family's home. It was empty and larger than he expected. He sat at a computer and forged the papers making him the new owner.
After he was done, he leaned back in his chair and said, "Great, now I'm the proud owner of a scout ship. I think I'll call it Cessation."
He fell asleep. He was dreaming about his ship. Then he fell backwards in his chair turning the dream into a nightmare.
It was morning anyway. He began his trek through the Mother Jungle using a vibroblade he found in his home. He hacked and hacked away at the trees.
He said to himself, "I just knew this would be the hardest part about all this, finding the damn thing."
Then he hit it with his weapon. Inside, he found a blaster pistol and happiness within himself. He immediately launched the ship to see how high it could go.
He blasted out of the Mother Jungle, "Yahoo!"
The ship screamed higher and higher into the sky. Then the Ithorian realized and remembered he didn't know how to fly. The ship plummeted back towards the ground. It made a hard landing in the Mother Jungle.
"Oh!" the Ithorian spoke with purple cuts and bruises everywhere. "Okay, I'm not going to try that again for a while."
The experience caused him to pass out from the pain.
Owi Ben became an explorer, but he decided he should explore his home planet before any other. The ship still worked. He would use it as an atmospheric craft until he acquired enough skill to fly away from Ithor with the Force on his side.
It was the golden days of the Empire. A young Mon Calamari named Dax had already felt the full extent of its wrath. His only love was murdered before him. He moved to Coruscant out of anger but fell into a rut. In the night, you could find him leaving a bar, cloaked. As he walked passed someone, he spoke.
"Hey, watch where you're going!" a man told him.
Drunk, the alien had to reply, "Sorry, sir."
The alien voice of the Mon Calamari alerted the man, "What did you say?"
He stopped in his tracks momentarily, then he began to run. An onlooker was already on the comlink to the authorities. Rounding a corner, the alien realized running was futile. He saw a manhole and dove in.
When the authorities got to that corner, there was no way they were going to follow him. One looked to the other and said, "He got away."
The other responded, "But not for long. We are the Empire."
Dax had become a fugitive.
It was the next day, and Dax still did not feel safe leaving the sewer. Above, children were at play. He could see them. One of them seemed to be called Ziggy. He had a small, flying pet with him.
"Hey!" Ziggy told his friend. "Watch what I can do!"
He picked up a rock and threw it to prove his pet, a Gungan mothbat, would follow it. It fell into the sewer. That's when the boy saw the Mon Calamari. At first, he was scared. The Mon Calamari started to move away.
"Come on, Ziggy," the boy's friend said.
The fearless child journeyed into the sewer to retrieve the small stone and his pet. That pet was attracted to the rock. The Mon Calamari only stopped to hand the boy his stone. Curious, the boy returned to the surface to play. This made the alien smile. Later that night, he would sleep with one eye open, blaster in hand. He would go to sleep hungry.
The next morning, the boy, Ziggy, was staring him in the face as he woke up. This startled the Mon Calamari. Dax inquired, "Ziggy, is it?"
The boy responded, "Yeah. You're a Mon Calamari. I looked it up on my datapad. What is your name?"
Dax had to make a choice – either be rude and slowly go mad or use his peaceful ways to make a friend in a hopeless situation. He chose the latter, "You honor me with your knowledge. And my name is Dax."
There was a brief pause, then the boy said something no one could expect, "Okay, let's go fight the Empire."
What? the Mon Calamari was thinking. Then he stated, "I don't understand."
The boy realized his confusion and replied, "Oh, you want me to explain. Everyone knows the Empire is evil. The problem is, nobody cares."
The Mon Calamari got even more confused. He looked at him funny.
"Look," the child replied, "if anyone asks, you're my slave."
Ziggy took him by the alien hand and led him out of the sewer. Dax would look at the sun in a new light. The Gungan mothbat sat on his shoulder. It made him smile. If he could inspire a child, maybe the Empire was not beyond salvation.