Chapter 4: Walker of the Skies
Harry walked behind Lucius and Narcissa as they moved through the palace of the local Hutt, young Jabba Desilijic Tiure, or better known as Jabba the Hutt, or even as what Harry and many of the younger Jedi liked to remark of the Hutt as the "Bloated One", though never to the face of any of the other Jedi.
Harry admitted freely that he did not like the Hutts. It was not against the Jedi Way to dislike someone, Harry noted, but a Jedi was to respect all life as it was. He respected the Hutts, begrudgingly so, but he did not like them. They were crime lords, thugs, and ruthless cut-throat business beings. Harry disliked the Hutts with a passive passion, only being reminded of his dislike for them while in the presence of one.
However, he amended that not all the Hutts were so bad. There had even been a Hutt Jedi at one point. If Harry remembered correctly, which he almost always did, then the Jedi Hutt's name had been Beldorion, and had been a Jedi Knight of the Order some four hundred years ago.
In fact, after that entry, no one had anymore information on the lone Hutt Jedi… strange, Harry thought…
Though, Harry still stood firm in his dislike for the nasty crime lord, thuggish, egotistic, and greedy Hutts. Especially Gardulla Besadii, or just Gardulla the Hutt, who was slinging just to the side of Lucius while conversing about some business the two could collaborate on. Yet Harry did here the word "legally" brought up many times while the three adults glanced back at him and Draco.
"So what happened next?" Draco asked as Harry looked over to the blond, having elapsed on his telling Draco about one of the many misadventures he got up to while in the confides of the Jedi Temple.
"Oh… Well, then after they picked me up from having tackled me to the floor, we all went on the hunt to track the mysterious intruder. It turned out to be a droid which had been disguising itself as a cleaner, and was in fact copying information from the Jedi Archives and bringing it back to it's master." Harry said as Draco looked a bit shocked.
"But who would try to steal from the Jedi, much less copy information from a library?" Draco asked as Harry's face grew grim.
"Information holds a lot of power, Draco. With some of the files that had been copied, if we hadn't stopped the droid and had it bring the copied files back, the future of the Jedi could have been ruined." Harry said while Draco looked away. They both knew that Harry was deeply fond of his quiet and somewhat peaceful life as a Jedi, having never given too much thought to any other path in life.
However, Harry was also not telling Draco the whole truth in his tale, as he found himself omitting things whenever he regaled the Malfoy heir with yarns of his days as a Jedi. That droid had tried to self-destruct, and it was only due to a bit of fast-thinking between Master Giiett and Harry himself that the information wasn't lost. All the copied files had been destroyed from the droid's memory banks, and then the Jedi Council had seen to it personally that the information was tracked down to the droid's master, and destroyed. Though what a mere merchant on Columbus could have wanted with sensitive information on the Jedi Order was marginally beyond Harry's understanding. Thankfully, the Masters were the ones to worry for such things.
"Whatever happened to those two Jedi friends of yours?" Draco asked as Harry glanced at him while they still walked.
"Obi-Wan Kenobi and Master Qui-Gon Jinn?" Harry asked for clarification as Draco nodded, "They're now on a mission to the planet Vorzyd 4."
"Why?" Draco asked as Harry shrugged.
"It is not my business to know nor is it my place to tell you if I do." Harry said. But he did know.
"But you do know." Draco said with a smirk, "You're a terrible liar."
"Perhaps, but I have yet to lie to you, Draco. It truly isn't my business to know, even though I do. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon chose to tell me." Harry said as Draco smirked wider. The blond simply loved how Harry was able to twist words and say exact what he needed to be still be in the right, "And it still is not my business to tell, even though I do know. It could be something very important to the Order."
"My lips are sealed." Draco said with a giggle as Harry raised a brow.
"Have you been reading those holo-mags again?" Harry asked as found the phrase very strange while Draco quickly shook his head.
"No. I've been watching the newest show on the holo-net." Draco said, "It's about this robot boy who was created to protect the galaxy from the evils of a mad scientist."
"That sounds strange." Harry remarked, "How would an android protect the entire galaxy? There are hundreds upon thousands of planets."
"Yeah, but he's only protecting the galaxy from this one mad scientist, and stopping any crime that's along his way." Draco said with a shrug while Harry pondered it.
"Okay, that makes a bit more realistic sense." Harry admitted as Narcissa turned back to them.
"Draco, are you telling Harry about your latest obsession in that Astro Boy show?" Narcissa inquired as Draco whispered into Harry's ear.
"Don't believe a word she says. She's delusional." Draco whispered while Harry laughed, "I am not obsessed!"
"He's missed you the past year, Harry." Narcissa said as she and Lucius shared a brief look, "He's wanted nothing more than for you to visit so he could complain about how unfair his schooling has been. Unfortunately, all he's had was the 37 televisions we've gone through to throw things at."
Harry turned a mirthful look to the now pink-faced Draco who was sputtering nonsense in his defense, "Thirty-seven televisions, Draco? That is incredibly wasteful. You could have called, you know. I've tried getting in contact with you this year, since now as a Knight I have access to, and own, my own personal inter-galactic comlink. Though when I called, the servant told me that the Malfoy family would never associate with the lowly Jedi Order."
"And that servant is being fired now." Narcissa said with an irritated sigh, as though it weren't the first one today.
"I don't wish to cause any trouble, Lady Narcissa." Harry said as Narcissa merely waved him off.
"You're not, but that servant girl is if she answers our calls like that." Lucius broke in with his usual drawling tone, stopping with Gardulla while Harry resisted the temptation to glare at the Hutt, "The transport shuttle is coming to bring us to this famous Boonta Eve Classic, which we have heard so much about. I must admit, I am rather… excited to see this event."
"The Boonta Eve Classic, huh?" Harry said, rubbing his chin, "I have read of it before. It's supposed to be the largest annual pod-race in the entire galaxy."
"Yes, and it's held here on Tatooine, Jedi." Gardulla said in Huttese while looking Harry up and down with both interest and disgust. Harry only gazed back at Gardulla with an impassive expression, reigning in his emotions and actions less he do something to disturb any business between Lucius and the Hutt, "We of the Hutts host the Boonta Eve Classic on our holiday to commemorate our glory."
Harry said nothing to Gardulla, instead turning to Lucius, "I'm not sure how safe it'll be at the pod-race. There are pirates around the planet, and refugees are flooding this world in escape of them."
"Not to worry." Lucius assured, his hand gripping his elegant serpent cane as he always did when he wasn't fazed by a report, "If we should meet up with any of these refugees, then they will acquire safe passage back to Malfoy Manor until we can… set something up for them."
"And the pirates, Lord Lucius?" Harry asked with his arms now in the sleeves of his Jedi robes.
"Let them come." Lucius said sharply, "Let them come, and fall."
"As you wish." Harry said, turning back to Draco as the shuttle arrived. He couldn't very well argue with Lucius, knowing how stubborn the man could be, but he also knew that if push came to shove, he would protect the Malfoys and any other innocents while bringing the pirates to justice.
For that was what it meant to be a Jedi.
The Boonta Eve Classic hadn't even started yet, and Harry had to begrudgingly admit that the Hutts threw one marvelous event within the many crimes and smugglings they organized.
The event was located just outside Mos Espa, the only spaceport on Tatooine. The Boonta race course started in the Mos Espa Grand Arena, which there, thousands of spectators (Harry and the Malfoys currently among them) congregated in the hopes to see their favored racer win. Harry also noted that some had come to catch a glimpse of a spectacular collision, or to win a fortune gambling on the race's outcome.
Harry and the Malfoys sat with the Hutts in the Hutt Box. Harry was forced to focus internally on keeping his calm while some of the more arrogant Hutts around them openly discussed their less savory "business" in Huttese while believing he couldn't understand, even though he had been introduced formally to each of them as a Jedi Knight. Harry was mentally keeping track of most of the key points of those conversations and which Hutts were dealing in them.
"I just received word from the pirates in orbit around your planet that some of there slave cargo have escaped surface-side, young Jabba." one of the Hutts said smugly, "They are requesting permission to land, and have already sent advance scouts to reclaim their cargo."
"Let them do as they wish." Jabba the Hutt said, waving a stubby arm dismissively, "I have more important matters to attend to than pirates and their problems. We offer no assistance nor interference."
"Good, young Jabba. You're learning." the other Hutt commented smugly as he sent a puff of smoke from his pipe to Jabba's face. Jabba eyed his relative with disgust and admiration before turning back to his view-port.
Harry turned his ear from the Hutts as he quickly formulated a plan. He couldn't very well allow forced slavery to go on while he could do something about it. However, Harry thought as he turned to see Draco excitedly leaning over their view-port, he also couldn't leave the Malfoys unprotected while he went saving others.
"You may go, Harry." Lucius said as Harry nearly jumped in surprise, having been so focused on planning that he had allowed the Malfoy family Lord to sneak up on him, "Take Draco with you if you'd like. His extra lessons in our art have gone well enough. He'll help you more so than hinder."
"Lord Lucius, I could never endanger Draco in such-"
"Do not worry." Lucius drawled, "Draco can very well protect himself. Though do try and keep him alive. He must inherit my title and all that comes with it after all." and with that, Lucius Malfoy walked away as though they had been discussing the dry weather of Tatooine instead of the possible danger of facing pirates.
"As you wish, Lord Lucius." Harry said, bowing as he knew he couldn't argue with the Lord, "Come Draco, we're going for a walk."
"Okay." Draco drawled as he reluctantly tore himself from the view-port and followed Harry away from the Hutt Box.
"So, where are we going?" Draco asked, "To get some actual food, or on an adventure like we used to?"
"Adventure." Harry said, fighting down the grin that threatened to break out onto his face. "Some slaves have escaped the pirates in orbit, and I'm going to help them."
"We're going to help them." Draco corrected as Harry smiled.
"Yes, yes we are." Harry said as they made their way out of the Grand Arena in the spaceport of Mos Espa.
Soon, Harry and Draco were in the midst of the spaceport, Harry breathing calmly as he extended his senses to find the slaves. If he were a slave on the run, then he'd feel intense panic, confusion as to where he was, and a desperate drive to escape with his life. Those were the emotions he was searching for, and amongst all the happy people who were enjoying the holiday, it wasn't hard to find them at all.
"I have found them." Harry said, his eyes snapping open as Draco quirked a brow, "Most have formed a group and stayed together for the better chance of survival, but a few have run feverishly into the desert. We'll help the large group first."
"And the ones in the desert?" Draco asked as Harry moved swiftly, walking with purpose as his cloak billowed behind him with Draco at his side.
"There are hundreds upon thousands of miles of desert on this planet. It's like a giant dust bowl." Harry spoke grimly, "The pirates would have to search very carefully to spot a few people in the desert that aren't native."
"Okay…" Draco said as Harry moved through the crowds of people before ducking into an alleyway.
"They have hidden themselves back here." Harry said with a finger pointed, "I will approach them, and while projecting calming emotions, I want you to stay at my side."
"Yes Master." Draco joked as Harry sighed.
"You would have made a great Jedi alongside me. Even as my Padawan." Harry said quietly, revealing something that he had only ever thought to himself over the years as a sad secret pleasure or a solemn fantasy.
"Maybe," Draco shrugged, "But as soon as my parents found out the Jedi lifestyle; all that poverty and selflessness, they wouldn't have me in the Jedi Order even if it was to save my life."
"That is too bad, Draco…" Harry muttered, looking isolated and tearful.
"But don't worry." Draco said, nudging Harry gently with his elbow to reassure his friend, "Just remember; if you can't get it done as a Jedi, I can as a noble. You've got friends on the other side, yeah?"
"Yeah," Harry breathed, feeling better as he knew Draco and he would stick together through any trial the galaxy could throw at them, "Now then, let's help these people."
The two young boys crept through the alleyway while Harry focused on projecting his emotions through the Force. It was easy to send ripples of calm and quiet through the Force as Jedi did it every time they meditated. Though he had to admit that projecting the emotions consciously through moving meditation was a much more daunting task.
"Shh. Stay quiet. They'll hear us." a voice said softly as Draco and Harry glanced at each other.
"But they could help us, momma." a small boy's voice replied as Harry saw a shadow move in the back corner of the alley behind a dumpster.
"They might be in league with the pirates, Shmi." a gruff male voice contested quietly, "Stay quiet and hidden. I'll cover you if we get caught."
"I can assure you," Harry began, raising his voice from it's normally quiet and reserved tone, "we are only here to help. I am Jedi Knight Harry Potter and this is young Lord Draco Malfoy. We've come to help you in your journey to freedom."
A shadow in the back shifted, a young blonde head poked out from behind one of the dumpsters before it was quickly jerked back into it's hiding place.
"This is getting ridiculous." Draco muttered, "We're trying to help you people!"
"Yeah? Well we've heard that stuff before!" the male voice from before shouted as he came from his hiding place. He was fit, though looked to not have seen a proper meal in many months. He stood at his full height, trying to seem more imposing as his muscles flexed. "The pirates said the same thing before they invaded our planet."
"I can assure you, I am a Jedi Knight." Harry said, revealing his lightsaber which hung from his utility belt, "We mean you no harm."
"The leader of the pirates had one just like that." the man said, moving into a defensive position, "Got any other proof?"
Harry sighed before he closed his eyes and dropped into the basic lotus position of meditation. Draco moved back a bit as Harry began to float along with several other things within the alley. The large dumpsters began to rise, revealing at least ten other people hidden behind them before two dumpsters sailed in opposite directions to block off the alley in both ways. Draco almost gaped in the way Harry had not only displayed his Force abilities, but also trapped the escapees so they could talk.
Harry's lightsaber came unclipped from his belt and floated it's way over to Draco, who snatched it out of the air while Harry slowly opened his eyes while still hovering in the air. Harry unfolded his legs and dropped his feet gently to the ground as he stood with his hands held up to show that he had nothing left to harm them with.
"We come in peace, and we wish to help." Harry said gently, "I am without weapon, and my friend does not know how to even activate my lightsaber. I am a Jedi, and I wish to see you safely to freedom."
"Momma, he's a Jedi." a small blond boy said as he tried to move closer to the Jedi, but his mother held him back close to herself.
"The pirates are looking for us." the gruff man said, "About twenty of us escaped, but a few… a few were killed getting here."
"I understand." Harry said, lowering his hands to his sides, "These pirates, however, will have a time of finding you among the citizens of this planet. There is a holiday here which has attracted many and still more to come. Have these pirates anyway of tracking you?"
"There were these trackers." the man said, gesturing to the mother's ankle wear, "But we destroyed their computers when we were escaping."
"So that is why the pirates were simply orbiting the planet…" Harry muttered, "They're in need of repairs…"
"Yes," the mother of the blond boy began, hugging her son to her as he tried to wriggle free, "but it's only a matter of time before they find us."
"Not necessarily." Draco said, "Harry's lightsaber could probably cut through those devices."
"But the pirates said they'd blow up if we messed with 'em!" the small boy exclaimed in fright as the people behind him nodded in fear.
"Understandable." Harry said patiently as he raised his hand, his lightsaber leaping from Draco's hand to his own, "But it was most likely a ploy to keep you from escaping like you've just done now. If they could harm you with these devices, they most likely would have instead of wasting their time searching for you. Besides, you've destroyed their computers, correct?" at the nods he went on, "Then it will be safe to break those while their computers are offline."
"Are you sure?" an elderly woman asked as Harry gave a small smile.
"Only one way to find out." Harry said softly as the muscular man stepped forth, presenting the thick metal on his wrist.
Harry activated his saber, the hissing of the blade accompanied by the brilliant and vibrant orange color it produced as when it reached its full length, it hummed gently. Harry wasted no time, his orange blade flashing as it sliced quickly through the brace without injury to the man wearing it. The device thudded to the ground heavily, the spot cut smoking slightly as Harry and the others looked up from it to meet eyes.
"Alright then," Harry said, a small smile on his face at the success of his theory, "Who would like to be next?"
"Now that we've got them, where do we take them?" Draco asked as Harry deactivated his lightsaber.
"Is your family's ship nearby?" Harry asked as he clipped his saber back to his belt, "They could hide there for a time until I could contact the Order."
"No, our ship is being watched by our guards." Draco said, "If they see us with this many people, those idiots might tip off the pirates just to make a quick credit."
"I see…" Harry said, "Then they'll simply have to come and enjoy the Boonta Eve Classic with us."
"In the Hutt Box?" Draco asked as Harry shook his head.
"No, but somewhere within easy line of sight of it." Harry said as he waved a hand at the two dumpsters which blocked the back ways off. The two heavy dumpster leapt to their original placements as Harry turned back to Draco, "I'll just have to persuade the guards at the entrance that these good people are your servants."
"How?" Draco asked as Harry began to lead the way, weaving through alleys until they arrived clear of the crowds.
"I have my ways…" Harry said, though didn't look pleased to have to use them.
Peeking out from the alleyway, Harry motioned the escaped slaves forward as Draco led them in the front with Harry bringing up the rear. Harry didn't want to admit it, but he secretly wished there were two of him so Draco wasn't up at the front by himself. As much as he humored Draco when they used to wrestle or try and train the blond's muscles, Draco was not a physical-endowed person. He was scrawny, pale, and a bit short. Even though he normally made up for his physical weaknesses with his sharp tongue and wit, Harry feared that would not stop a pirate from taking Draco ransom or even just outright killing him if they wanted.
Rushing through the busy streets at a discrete speed, Harry tried hard to keep the large group together as best as he could while searching around for suspicious characters. It was harder than Harry expected, but he kept as calm as he could when he grouped them all together on the path to the grand arena.
"This is where we need to stay together the most." Harry said to the group, "I will guide the way. Move leisurely. If you have any identifying marks, please try to hide them as best you can."
The group gave nods and murmurs of agreement as the large muscular man volunteered to bring up the rear while he lead the way with Draco and the mother-son pair.
"I'm Shmi." the mother said, looking on the verge of tears, "Shmi Skywalker, and this is my son Anakin."
"A pleasure to meet you." Harry said, shaking her and her young son's hands, choosing to ignore the way fear and relief seemed to steam from the woman and flow into the Force around them.
"Thank you for helping us." Shmi went on as they started their slow pace toward the large stadium looming in the distance, "I was… I was so afraid that we'd never make to freedom."
Harry wanted to reassure her that everything would be okay, but he was trying to concentrate instead on the sense of warning the Force was alerting him to. Something dangerous was nearby. Something that was making the Force whisper words of urgency into his mind like a blaring alarm.
"I've been a slave of the pirates for years now." Shmi said, sniffling, "My son was born into slavery. Please, if there is anything you can do. Please, I beg of you to protect my Annie and see to it that he doesn't go back to that life."
"I will…" Harry said, his focus elsewhere as Draco caught sight of the distant look in his green eyes.
"Harry, what is it?" Draco asked quietly, seeing the tears streaming down the woman's face as she tightly clutched her child's hand.
"I'm not sure." Harry breathed, his eyes darting around as he tried to pin-point the disturbance, "But we may want to move a bit faster."
"What? Why?" Draco asked as Harry stepped up their pace, "Harry, what is going on?"
"I can sense something distressing." Harry said, a hand to his temple as it pulsed minutely. "I just can't pinpoint it."
"Harry, you're gonna have to be more- oh, Protego!" Draco said, reaching into his robes and pulling out a small pointed wooden stick. Pointing the object, a red beam of laser fire was neutralized as a shimmer rippled on side of them.
"What was that?" Harry asked as he stopped the group.
"Them!" the muscular man answered as he pointed toward a group of shabby looking individuals who were running their way. "It's the pirates."
"Draco, take them and go. Just flash the guards your family seal and yell at them a bit. You'll get through no problem." Harry said as he shrugged off his cloak and folded it while the others around him watched the pirates hurriedly make their way toward the group in the crowd. Harry gave Draco his folded cloak, finally turning toward the rag-tag pirates as they were still a ways off.
"I am not leaving you alone to deal with that." Draco said firmly as he pointed a finely manicured finger at where the pirates were knocking people out of their way. "They look like they haven't seen a sonic shower in years."
"Draco this is not a matter of discussion." Harry said sternly, gripping his friend's shoulder and looking the boy deep within the depths of his grey orbs. "You will go, and I will handle this. Trust in me."
"I do…" Draco admitted quietly, looking away from Harry's overpowering gaze as he let his eyes drop to the ground. "Fine. But don't get killed. I don't have many other friends who can take the place of a Jedi Knight, you know."
"I know." Harry said, the placed a hand on his still clipped saber. "Now go. I'll take care of these brutes."
"Be safe, Master Jedi." Shmi said as she pushed her son along with Draco guiding them all now.
"I'll stay and help ya." the brutish man said as he flexed his muscles. Harry could feel the man's weary exhaustion in their close proximity, but said nothing of it as he rest a hand on the man's arm.
"The others will need you." Harry said softly, not looking up at the man as he unclipped his saber from his utility belt. "There may be more pirates lurking about, and I'd feel safer if they had you with them."
"I'll never forget this, Harry Potter." the man said as he jogged to catch up to where the others had disappeared to in the crowds.
Watching dispassionately as the pirates came toward him, Harry's focus was more so on the safety of the escaped slave and Draco rather than on his own present situation. Closing his eyes briefly, Harry used the Force through a secret bond he shared with Draco, one he could only access when they were so close together. While on the same planet, Harry was able to find Draco anywhere, and so he was able to momentarily see through Draco's eyes as the blond ran into the Grand Arena. Good, they had gotten away safely.
Snapping his eyes open, Harry's saber came to life as he yanked it from his belt and deflected the first shot fired at him while spinning the blade and deflecting the next. The crowds around him quickly dispersed into chaos as he continued to redirect blast fire away from the people and into the air and ground before him as he backed away. If he could draw the pirates into the arena, then Jabba the Hutt would stop them, and most likely banish both parties from his planet on pain of death.
Blocking laser bolts as he stride backwards, Harry found it difficult not to reflect the shots at their senders as he looked around for something to hasten his plan. Using a moment's lapse in the firing, Harry outstretched a hand, and with it, thrust his palm out at the ground in front of his attackers. The dirt and dust kicked up, obscuring their vision and making them stay their shooting as he turned, and with an unnatural burst of speed, Harry hastened toward the Grand Arena where the pirates would no doubt pursue.
However, halfway into the entrance, Harry's speedy run was cut short as he was hit with a blunt object in his path where there had been none before he glanced back to see his attackers giving chase.
"I told those fools," a gruff inhuman voice sneered with deep contempt. "I told them that we take prisoners with overwhelming numbers and dirty tactics, but they don't listen…"
Harry felt pain in the right side of his face while heat seemed to pour into his cheek. Opening his eyes with a groan, Harry found that the right lens of his spectacles was badly cracked and would need replacing. Looking out the broken glasses anyway, Harry saw that a short brown blur was standing over his, shaking its blurred head in what appeared to be disapproval.
"Humans… how disgusting." the brown thing clicked its teeth, "The only thing your species is good for is bowing and following orders… though the latter seems to be-"
"Captain, we're so sor-" whoever had interrupted the little man was immediately shot as a bang rang out and Harry saw a red light shoot from the brown alien. Harry heard a thud and assumed that the person was dead. There was a gasp, and Harry felt waves of fear and anxiety through the Force around him as the little alien snarled.
"And even now the pitiful species shows incompetence." the alien sneered while making more clicking sounds, "I don't want apologies! I want my hard earned property back! NOW!"
"But sir, Jabba the Hutt is in there watching the races." another said with the short sentient-being making sounds of thought.
"Hmm… yes, we can't walk over that disgusting Hutt boy." then the alien sighed as he turned his head toward Harry, who tried to sit up. Harry then found an immediate pain in his abdomen as something blunt was thrust sharply into it. "You're still awake, are you? Foolish Jedi, coming into the Outer Rim. You appear rather young for a Knight. You must be a Padawan leaner. Hmm… yes, you'll do."
Then Harry's world went dark as he was hit in the head, pain almost instantly springing forth as his last conscious sight was the little alien moving into the line of his good lens. The little man had a stern expression, glaring down at Harry as though he were a piece of meat to be tenderized through beatings. Harry saw the man's long snout flare with barely suppressed rage, and his spindly limbs shake in anger. The set of fleshy, beard-like tendrils growing around the little pirate's mouth quivered as he took deep breaths. The object that must have struck Harry was the man's commanding staff, which looked dingy and made of hard, carved, bone.
As Harry faded, he took with him the memory of this man's image. Because he promised himself that the next time he opened his eyes and met with this speciesist pirate, they would not be having a friendly chat.