"Shards of Freedom"
It was the first Death Star battle. It was alive with soldiers and oath takers running to their stations. Gyle Lar was an engineer of fifteen years old that had the fortune of working in human-cyborg relations. On this day, he toiled in a hanger.
In the hanger, he was cleaning a droid. In a treacherous act, someone lowered the hanger's force field. It was a complete surprise. Many fell into the void of space. No one thought the mighty Death Star would see battle. Gyle lost his hat.
"Oh!" the young man shouted as he held on for dear life. The hanger started to lose life support. He could not hold on for much longer. When he finally slipped, a number of droids went into rescue mode.
He then saw something so terrifying it caused a blackout – Darth Vader. He was known to kill crewmen for having the slightest blemish in uniform. And Gyle lost a hat. He had to steal someone else's hat to stay alive.
"Deck officer," Darth Vader ordered him, "stop your operations in the main hanger on this level. We will take the fight to the rebels, even if we have to land the entire Death Star."
The rightful owner of the hat reported it missing. He felt fear. Engineer Gyle Lar had a choice to make – either tell the truth and face certain death – or lie and live longer. He made his choice. Darth Vader hurled the deck officer into space.
"Yes, sir," the 'deck officer' replied as Darth Vader flipped into his TIE fighter for battle.
The engineer would follow no orders. He chose to desert and defect to the Rebellion. He needed an escape pod. One of the droids that saved his life confronted him, "Why did you let the deck officer die?"
"Well, on a normal day, I'd be in the brig for a week," he replied. "This day is not normal. I might have been killed on the spot. I've been known to lose hats before."
The droid inquired, "Was it Vader that lowered the force field to the hanger?"
"Yes," Gyle Lar mournfully stated. To earn the loyalty of the rebels, he uploaded all the data he could from the main computer onto the droid. He and the droid then left in an escape pod.
In mere minutes, the Death Star would explode. In his greyish uniform, the engineer did not know how the rebels were able to master such a destructive feat. It was difficult to take in – but he was free.
"There are few survivors out here," the droid noticed. "By the way, my name is C3-R2."
Gyle smiled, "Oh, I'm not good at names."
He then continued, "I've not had many friends. I lost half of them in this battle alone. But I'm still alive."
Removing the stolen hat, he started to weep for those who died. C3 replied, "As long as you don't strike me, I'll be your friend. What is your name?"
"Gyle Lar," said the engineer.
As soon as the battle was over, C3 piloted the escape pod at top speed. It was the fastest landing possible – in water. Once they found dry land, rebel soldiers came to arrest them.
In an interrogation room, bloodied and hurt, Gyle explained, "I am a victim of mind control and forced labor. I am a defector. I am only fifteen."
"Let me tell you what we are fighting for," one interrogator began. He took Gyle Lar in binder cuffs to the celebration of their victory over the Empire.
The engineer gazed upon the princess, "She is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."
From a distance, he hurled himself from off of a ledge in the back of a hall. His pain and sorrow spared him from death to survive with only broken bones.
"C3 here," the droid stated. "It is illogical, but you are still alive. Even if I was made out of solid rock, I could not have survived a fall like that. How do you feel, master?"
"Fine," he said as he came to.
He was still in binder cuffs, but he proved his loyalty to the Force. For the record, the doctor asked, "Why did you do it?"
"To clear my conscience," he responded. In time, the princess was told of the fall. She did not wish to meet him. She had her reasons. C3-R2 had a data download. It proved valuable to the rebel cause.
The Star Destroyer Devastator had arrived for revenge and returned with Darth Vader to avenge the loss of the Death Star. An evacuation started. Gyle Lar was ordered, "Go to the armory to get a blaster."
"Yes, sir," he said with a salute.
He was unarmed his entire life – not even so much as a knife. But, even though he was a slow learner, he had no fear for anything or anyone. He needed others. In a hanger, he saw a rebel boarding a starfighter.
"Hey, do you need some help?" Gyle spoke with his goal to make a team. He had forgotten that the uniform he wore represented the enemy. He was knocked out.
"Oh!" the young man started. Returning to his feet, he suddenly had a plan and would put it into action. He got the attention of the ones around him by firing a blaster into the air.
"I have an Imperial ID!" the engineer cried. "I can take us safely through any blockade!"
Gyle then looked skyward to see that his blaster shot down the rebel pilot he had spoken to. It was the first time he ever used a weapon. He saved many in transport but could never forget the act that forever stained his soul in battle.