I have become rather addicted to "Ghost Hunters" on the SciFi channel, even if I qualify as a huge skeptic! So, please put aside all pro vs. con Ghostly inclinations as you read this silly story. Thanks again to my beta, Jedi-2B. All characters belong to LFL, blah, blah...
Blue-Ghost Hunters, Intergalactic
Yavin, eight years after ROTJ - AU, of course.
Luke Skywalker was incredibly bored. He heaved a big sigh, then, using the Force, tossed a mirkle-berry from the bowl on the counter into his mouth. Bored, bored, bo-
The buzzer on his holo-cam sounded, snapping Luke out of his stupor. Reaching over, he pressed the button. "Yeah?"
Leia's face wavered into focus. "What kind of greeting is that for your only sister?"
"Oh, hi," Luke said, trying to force cheerfulness into his tone. "Sorry about that."
"What's the matter?" Leia asked, her eyes narrowing as she took in Luke's ratty gray tunic and his baggy shorts. She checked her chrono. "Is it the middle of the night on Yavin?"
"No. It's noon."
The Princess frowned. "Then why – "
"Leia," Luke interrupted, "have you ever wondered why your life turned out like it has? I mean, you're a politician, but is it because you want to be a politician, or are you doing what you're doing just because everyone expects you to?"
"I don't understand," Leia said carefully. "I enjoy what I do."
"I know," Luke replied. "But if you hadn't been born into this, maybe you could have done something else."
"Oh, I don't know. Cablana singer? Dress designer?"
"Are you telling me you suddenly want to be a dress designer?"
"A cablana singer?"
"NO!" Luke shouted in frustration. "I'm just bored being a Jedi teacher. I know a Jedi doesn't crave adventure, but guess what? I crave adventure! Excitement! Something besides spouting dry philosophies about the Force, and meditating on my head while balancing a rock on my boot soles!"
"Oh. Well, maybe you need a vacation?"
"I guess," Luke said with a sigh. "A long, long vacation."
"So does Han," Leia said. "Which is why I'm calling you."
"Iella called me yesterday."
Leia continued. "She told me that Wedge told her that Wes needed a favor from you. Wes Janson?"
"I know which Wes. That doesn't sound like good news."
Leia grimaced. "Wes told Wedge that he got a call from his great-aunt and uncle, Prissy and Fritz Janson." When Luke didn't say anything, Leia plowed on, "And they seem to be having a bit of trouble that might require the help of a Jedi."
"What kind of trouble?" Luke asked suspiciously. "Anything involving Wes, or relatives of Wes, has to be handled with extreme caution."
"Apparently they have some type of spirit issues, and they want you to come and resolve them."
"Spirit issues? As in, consuming too many? No wonder I need Han's assistance. He's the expert in drinking too much."
"I heard that!" Han bellowed from across the room. "I'm not laughing, either."
"Not those kinds of spirits," Leia clarified. "Spirits, as in disembodied dead people. Maybe even Jedi or Sith spirits. Prissy and Fritz have this old inn, you see, and they can't get guests to stay the night, because these ghosts keep scaring them off. So they asked Wes to ask you if you'd come get rid of the ghosts."
Han stepped into the viewer range. "And since Leia wants me," Han wiggled his fingers in a quote-sign, "'to find something to do, or get a real, paying job', I've been pressed into helping you." Han rolled his eyes, and muttered, "Like ghosts are even real."
"They are real," Luke protested. "I've seen them, and talked to them!'
"Sure, kid. Whatever." Han waved toward the wall. "I commed Wes a little bit ago, and he wants me to help him load up some stuff on the Falcon we'll need, so I'll be there to get you in two days, okay?"
"Stuff?" Luke asked, confused. "What sort of stuff?"
"Miles and miles of cables, and more techno-electronic gadgets than you can shake a gimer stick at."
Luke looked flummoxed. "What are we supposed to do with that?"
"I dunno," Han said, shrugging his shoulders. "Wes says he wants to record this whole ghost shindig-thing for posterity. So he's coming along, too."
"Are you sure this isn't some elaborate joke by Wes?"
"It probably is, but your sister tells me I gotta do this, so I'm doing it. And if you know what's good for you, so will you."
Leia pushed Han aside. "Don't pay attention to him. Wes is completely serious, and you're the only one that can help poor Prissy and Fritz. You don't want them to lose their business, do you?"
"I'm not sure I care, actually…"
"LUKE!" Leia yelled, aghast. "That's not very Jedi-ish."
"Fine," Luke grumbled. "I'll go help Wes's family. But, just for the record, I have a bad feeling about this."
"So do I, but what do I know?" Han said, wincing as Leia pinched his bicep. "OW!"
Leia smiled sweetly at Luke. "Both of you will do this, and you'll be happy about it, too."
"Yes, Leia," both men said unhappily.
The Millennium Falcon was right on time, and Luke watched as the landing gear extended as it touched down on the huge stone slabs outside the Jedi Temple. Wes was the first one off the ship, grinning broadly as he slapped Luke heartily on the back.
"You already for the trip to Taanab?" Wes asked his friend.
"I can't wait," Luke said, not trying very hard to hide his sarcasm. "I'm sure you'll have lots of ghost friends waiting for our arrival."
Wes frowned. "Ghost friends? It's just one ghost, and I can't say we've been introduced."
"Hey, Luke," Wes protested. "This is legitimate, I swear on my mother's grave."
"Your mother is alive and well," Luke pointed out.
"So she is," Wes said with a laugh. He looked around at the old buildings. "Kinda quiet around here."
"I have a feeling I'm going to miss the peace and quiet."
"Okay, then," Wes said. "Han is waiting, and we have to make a quick stop at Talus before heading to Taanab."
"What's on Talus?" Luke questioned as he bent over to retrieve his satchel and follow Wes up the ramp.
"Just a friend," Wes explained quickly. "He's agreed to help finance us."
Luke felt his suspicions crank up several notches. "Finance? What are we doing that requires a lot of credits? And speaking of things we don't need, Han mentioned you have lots of equipment onboard. What's that for?"
Wes smiled. "You answered your own questions. That equipment is what's costing credits, and yes, we're going to need all of it. Trust me."
At this point, trusting Wes Janson was low on Luke's list of items he intended to do. The men headed into the cockpit, where Han was sitting, and looking none too happy, either.
"Hey, Kid. Have a seat."
"Where's Chewie?" Luke had assumed the Wookiee would be coming along, and it was surprising to see him nowhere in sight.
"Chewie refused to come," Han explained. "He doesn't like ghosts. I told him over and over there's no such thing as ghosts, but does he believe me? Heck, no. Big, hairy coward."
Luke glanced over his shoulder at Wes. "Has our friend here told you who we're going to meet on Talus?"
"Nope. I even threatened to blast him and shove him out of the airlock. He won't talk."
Janson plopped down in the navigator's seat, the excitement bubbling out of his senses. "And your Jedi mind tricks won't pull it out of me, either. Both of you just have to wait until we get there." Wes leaned toward the cockpit viewport, and waved at the students that had gathered to watch their Master leave. "Say goodbye to the boring life of a teacher, Luke. Things will be much more exciting from now on."
Han tugged at his vest, and gazed nervously around the spaceport. "I don't see anyone. Maybe we should leave."
"You are way too paranoid," Wes griped. "They'll be here."
"It's 'they', now? Before it was just one guy," Han protested.
Luke felt a spike through the Force of a couple of very familiar people. This was followed by a rush of jealousy, that he immediately pushed back as a dark-skinned male and a red-headed woman turned the corner and approached them. "Mara? Lando?"
"That's right," Wes crowed out. "Our investor!"
Mara Jade walked up to Luke, shaking her head in dismay. "I can't believe you're going along with them, Skywalker."
"I can't either." Luke's eyes narrowed. "And I'm not even sure anymore what I'm going along with."
"Calrissian," Han groused at the older man. "Why are you here?"
Lando gave his best salesman grin, and held out his hand for Han to shake. "Wes didn't fill you in on the details, I take it?"
"All that equipment you helped load is stuff I bought and paid for," Lando explained as he took out a small electronic screen. "All you and Luke have to do is sign the accident waiver and contract, and you'll be on your way to becoming the next big holo-net stars of the galaxy."
"Wait a minute," Luke objected. "I never agreed to this!"
"Sure you did," Wes said. "I told you I was going to record this adventure, right?" He looked accusingly at Han. "Didn't you tell him that?"
"Yes, I did," Han said. "But you never said anything about showing it to the pubic! Or that Lando was involved!"
Lando gave a dramatic sigh, and folded his arms across his chest. "I'm the Executive Producer, Mara is going to be the producer, and Wes is the director. This is a holo-show, for Sith's sake. What did you think?"
"I thought we were going to help Wes's aunt and uncle, that's what I thought."
Lando waved his hand dismissively. "If that happens, great. But it's not our main objective."
"Entertainment!" Lando declared dramatically. "Our new show is going to be the hit of the decade, 'Blue-Ghost Hunters, Intergalactic!'. You and Han, and probably a few others later on, will be the big holo-stars of a group we'll call…" Lando hesitated. "Um. Let's see. You're all good pilots. How about 'Space Aces Pursuing Specters'?"
"SAPS?" Han yelled, resisting the urge to throttle his friend. "You want to call us SAPS?"
"It would be appropriate," Mara muttered.
"I think Mara should be a part of the group, too," Wes put in.
"Are you calling me a sap?" Mara said, putting her hand on her lightsaber.
"No!" Wes quickly said, holding up his hands. "We just need a good-looking woman, so men will watch."
"Janson, I should – "
"Wes is right," Lando said quickly. "We need a female as a part of the group, to balance things out a bit. You can still be the producer, too." He smiled coyly at the fuming Jade. "What do you say? Will you do it for me?"
"I'm not doing this, either," Luke said firmly. "This is just wrong. I want to help people, not take advantage of them."
"But we'll be doing both!" Wes pleaded. "That way you can be happy, and so can I."
"If Mara agrees, will you?" Lando asked Luke. "Please? Please, please, please? You'll make lots of money."
"I don't care about money."
"But I do," Han said. "Leia said I needed to get a paying job, and this seems to be as good as another. It might be better, even, since it doesn't involve actual labor. So I'm in. Come on, Luke. It's not like it's a life-time commitment, like marriage."
"What about the fact you don't believe in ghosts?" Luke shot back.
"What's that got to do with anything?"
"True," Lando said. "The Jedi and the Skeptic will make a great team. Along with Mara, of course."
Mara sighed. "Fine. If the Farmboy agrees, I will, too."
Luke felt his heart flutter at the idea of spending time with Mara Jade, in any capacity. "Okay. Where does this sap sign?"