"Thank the Maker!" the golden protocol droid exclaimed with what Luke could only describe as delight as it was lowered into a large tub brimming with warm oil. "This oil bath is going to feel so good! I've got such a bad case of dust contamination, I can hardly move!"
It was odd, Luke mused, the array of emotions the droid could convey with only a mechanized vocabulator and a faceplate fixed in one perpetually bleak expression. The same could be said for the little astromech droid for that matter, which trough its range of beeps and chirps seemed to relay its own distinct, almost human-like personality.
Luke didn't know what it was, but he had a funny feeling about these new droids his uncle purchased today, as if they would somehow come to play larger roles in his life than he would ever have imagined.
What the frak am I thinking? Luke said to himself, dismissing such a baseless notion and concentrating his attention back to his chores. This desert heat must be getting to me. Remembering he was supposed to be repairing the little R2 unit, he peered around the cluttered garage in search of a hydrospanner, lost somewhere amid the jumble of rusted tools and speeder components.
The astromech droid whistled cheerfully.
Luke heaved a deep sigh, his eyes catching sight of his model T-16 Skyhopper as they scanned the disorganized workbench for the hydrospanner. The miniature vehicle stimulated a resurgence of bittersweet memories, whisking Luke back to Beggar's Canyon where he and Biggs, deftly piloting their own T-16s, would bull's-eye womp rats as the critters scampered away.
Biggs, Luke thought dejectedly. His friend was probably gallivanting around the galaxy on some remarkable escapade, carrying through with his exciting plan to defect from the Imperial Academy and join the growing rebellion.
"It just isn't fair," Luke groaned aloud, unable to contain his frustration any longer. "Biggs is right. I'm never going to get out of here!"
The golden protocol droid suddenly spoke up. "Is there something I might do to help?" it immediately offered, almost empathetically.
Luke took a calming breath and then chuckled amiably. "Not unless you can alter time, speed up the harvest, or teleport me off this rock."
The droid's photoreceptors dimmed ever so slightly. "I don't think so, sir. I'm only a droid, and not very knowledgeable about such things," it said apologetically. "Not on this planet anyway. As a matter of fact, I'm not even sure which planet I'm on."
Luke arched an eyebrow. That's odd, he thought. A fairly large portion of the droid's memory would've had to have been wiped for it to be missing a detail as significant as that.
"Well, if there's a bright center to the universe," Luke began, "then you're on the planet that it's farthest from." He knew as well as anyone that Tatooine's barren landscape was marked by little more than bounding seas of endless sand and mountainous dunes, heated by two blazing suns and devoid of precious water that didn't require a moisture vaporator to collect.
Of all planets, why do I have to be stuck here?
Suddenly, Luke heard a soft thud, just barely audible outside the garage door, like something dropping into the sand and landing with a plunk. Probably just a womp rat.
"I see, sir," the droid said evenly, snapping Luke out of his thoughts.
"You can call me Luke," Luke replied, discomforted and slightly embarrassed, for he was unaccustomed to being held in such high regard, or being addressed in so formal a manner. As a boy living an uneventful, and admittedly insignificant, life on his aunt and uncle's moisture farm, Luke did not feel he warranted the title of sir.
"I see, Sir Luke," the droid attempted to correct itself.
His discontent beginning to efface, Luke allowed himself to laugh once again. "No, just Luke."
This droid's a curious thing, Luke marveled to himself. Never having owned one before, he wondered if this was normal behavior for a protocol droid. Regardless, he decided that it was even a bit amusing, or would at the very least relieve a portion of his boredom and serve as a distraction from the life he knew he would never be living.
Of all planets…
"And I am See-Threepio, human-cyborg relations," the protocol droid said as he emerged from the oil bath, dark liquid dripping from his joints and servomotors and streaking down his gold plating. "And this is my counterpart, Artoo-Detoo." He gestured toward the jittery astro droid.
"Hello," Luke said as he kneeled down before the astromech having finally found the hydrospanner and began scraping the connectors on its silver and blue dome.
Artoo-Detoo beeped blissfully.
"You got a lot of carbon scoring on here," Luke noted as he fiddled with the droid's sensors and used a cloth to wipe its durasteel surface, which had become worn from the desert.
"Luke!" a woman's voice beckoned from the other room. "Come to dinner!"
Slowly getting to his feet, Luke tossed down the hydrospanner and stretched his arms. "I'll be right there Aunt Beru!" he called back. "I'll be right back," he groaned to the droids before trudging to the garage door.
As Luke dragged his feet to the kitchen, he noticed the sky was beginning to darken and paused for a moment, considering stepping outside to catch the sunset. Perhaps the one beautiful thing this wasteland had to offer was its remarkable sunset, a time during which Tatooine's open firmament glowed violet, soft and serene, and the blaze of the twin suns faded as they crossed over the horizon.
It was a sight worth seeing, Luke decided. In fact, it was perhaps the only solace that life on this bleak and uneventful planet permitted him, the only interesting part of his day in a routine lifestyle of work and chores. And he knew his blue milk wasn't going anywhere.
After all, it's what his aunt served every single night.
Heaving a great sigh, Luke rested his foot on a mound of sand as he amorously watched the distant suns creep ever so slowly closer to the horizon, a subtle evening breeze gently wafting against his hair and splashing against his face.
Anything. Anything at all, Luke wished dismally as he gazed into the twilight, envious of the setting suns and the way they shined brightly and freely while he was confined to laboring on the farm, repairing droids and tending to moisture vaporators. I just want something interesting to happen to me. I just want some excitement.
That's when he noticed it. Lying at his feet, half-buried by desert, was a small dark object, its corner protruding from the sand. Raising an eyebrow, he curiously bent down to pick it up. After shaking the sand from it, Luke was shocked to discover what it was.
It was a tome. No, a book.
How is that possible? Luke thought, bewildered. Everyone knew that even before the days of the Old Republic, books had become obsolete centuries ago with the advent of datapads, which were commonplace in the galaxy. Books, however, were exceedingly rare.
Luke slowly ran his hand over the cover and felt an inexplicable apprehension that he told him to put it back. What this ominous sensation was, he couldn't explain. However he couldn't help but let his curiosity get the better of him. He studied the text inscribed on the cover and, noting the series of bizarre symbols, immediately ascertained that it was definitely not Galactic Basic.
Then what is this? he wondered. An alien language?
He flipped it open and turned to the first page, feeling the thin paper slide between his fingers.
Luke's eyes instantly widened when he read the line of text scrawled onto the page.
"The human whose name is written in this notebook… shall die?"