Lisa had no way of knowing how far they’d journeyed or for how long. Once the suns set and the planet was dark, the only way of judging the passage of time was by the stars but she knew less about astrology – especially this far out – than she did about flying a ship.
They had had been traveling for a while when, suddenly, the control panel let out a spark. The droid squeaked in surprise, pulling its arm out of the socket. Upon losing the contact, the ship shook and bucked, showering the two with more sparks. Lisa yelped and flinched away, afraid the sparks would start a fire.
The ship started to hurtle towards the ground. The droid rushed back to the control panel and plugged back in, trying to get control back or at least soften the landing. Lisa threw herself back into her chair and held on tight, wishing the makers of this ship had thought to include seatbelts.
Up, down, up, down they went as the droid gained and lost control. Lisa was feeling quite queasy when, finally, they made a hard landing somewhere in the dark desert. Shakily, she stood and headed for the door, touching it so it would open. The metal separated from the bulkhead falling down onto the terrain outside and she quickly breathed in fresh air. She sat down on the door with her head on her knees, waiting for her stomach to remove itself from her throat; even her wings had taken on a greenish tinge.
The droid rumbled over, beeping in a kind of forlorn way. Assuming it was apologizing, she patted its base without looking up.
“Not your fault,” she said, gulping air. “I did get it from a junkyard. Thanks for getting us down safely, though.”
The droid chirped at the praise and headed back into the ship while Lisa waited until she felt fit enough to look up. The three moons in the sky cast enough light to let her know that they were basically in the middle of nowhere. Now that the suns were gone, the air was decidedly chillier.
Initially she sensed no signs of life until she felt a prickle of something in the back of her mind. Someone or something was approaching. The intentions were curious and concerned rather than hostile and she felt the need to search for the source. Standing, she looked left and right, flaring her wings out to shine a little more light out onto the dark terrain.
In the distance was a figure. It was humanoid-shaped and holding a lamp, walking right towards them. The moment they came closer to the light, Lisa could see that it was a young man. He had blonde hair and was wearing a dusty sand-colored tunic, boots and a brown cloak, but the feature that struck her the most about him were his eyes. They were warm, caring, kindhearted, and the most amazing shade of blue she’d ever seen. She was so distracted by them that she nearly stumbled out of the ship.
Behind her, the droid beeped its concern while the man rushed forwards. “Are you all right?” he asked. “I saw the crash and I thought I could help. Is anyone hurt?”
Lisa waved him off, shaking her head. “No. No, we’re fine. Thanks.” She looked up at him and their eyes locked. She felt her hearts skip a few beats and his own thoughts were currently too jumbled to read. She cleared her throat. “Hi.”
“Hi,” he replied. “Um…I’m Luke. Luke Skywalker.”
The moment was broken by the droid rumbling over, beeping. Luke looked at the state of it and frowned. “Your Treadwell’s damaged. That wasn’t from the crash?”
“No, I found it like – ” Her brain then registered his words. “Wait, what?”
“Your droid. It’s an old style WED-15 Treadwell.” Luke eyed her. “You didn’t know that?”
“I’m not exactly from around here. I rescued him from a junkyard.” Lisa noted to herself that she’d referred to the droid as a “him” rather than an “it”. Maybe a name was a good idea. “The ship, too.”
He looked the ship over. “I can tell. May I?” At Lisa’s nod, he went in and sat down at the console, hands flying expertly over the controls. She watched admiringly. Beside her, the droid looked up at her and gave a quiet beep.
She smiled and whispered, “He’s cute.”
The droid made a noise that sounded like “…wha’?”, looked to Luke sitting at the controls and back to Lisa, then shook his head with what sounded like an electronic sigh.
She gave another chuckle, looking down at her mechanical companion. “So, you’re a Treadwell droid, huh?” A nod. “Can I call you ‘Treads’?” A considering beep, then another nod. “Well, Treads, what do droids like you do?”
Up front, Luke heard her. “They’re repair droids,” he said as he worked. “My family has a bunch on the farm.”
“Farm? What can you grow in this kind of climate?”
Luke turned the chair to face her. “Actually, we’re moisture farmers. We use vaporators to pull water from the air.” His eyes roved over her wings. “Where are you from?”
“Well, that’s a little complicated…I was born on a planet called Earth but I currently live on Alnilam.” Luke gave her a blank look. “Yeah, I didn’t think anyone around here had heard of them.”
He shrugged. “I wouldn’t have,” he said, emphasizing himself. “I’ve never been off Tatooine so I’m not familiar with the faraway planets. Maybe the some of the deep space pilots would be.” Luke paused. “How did you wind up here if you had to get a ship from a junkyard?”
“I have the ability to teleport to other places. If I don’t have a destination in mind, where I end up is random. This time it was here.” She had no idea why she was being so truthful with this man, but it just felt right.
Luke’s eyes widened. “Can you teleport me away from here?”
She blinked and frowned. “Why?”
He looked down, unsure of how to say what he wanted to say. His thoughts, however, were very clear: I’m lonely. There were images of friends departing the planet and leaving him behind and of an older man discouraging his want to do the same.
Her wings twitched as a wave of sympathy washed over her. “You seem to know your way around a ship,” she said softly, walking closer to him. “What’s keeping you here?”
“My aunt and uncle.” Beat. “Mostly my uncle. I want to go to the Academy like all my friends did, but he keeps saying he needs me here.”
She had no idea what “the Academy” was, but she could tell it was important to him. “I’m sorry,” she said, at a loss for anything else, reaching out to pat his hand.
Luke gave her a small smile and her hearts melted a little. “It’s okay.” He seemed to forget his question and remember where he was. “Oh, uh…your ship. Well, uh…” He appeared to be thinking of how to politely say that he could tell why it was in a junkyard but couldn’t find the words. He settled on a question instead. “Can I ask why you got this thing when it’s not in the best condition?”
She shrugged. “Have you ever looked at something and felt it was important somehow? Like you were meant to find it? I can say that if I hadn’t been checking out the ship I wouldn’t’ve found Treads and he’d still be in the junkyard.”
The droid beeped and nodded its agreement.
Luke raised his eyebrows. “I’ve never seen a Treadwell act like this before. Yours seems more expressive than the normal ones.”
“Maybe he was thrown away for being too emotional.”
Luke chuckled. “Maybe.” He turned back to the controls. “Well, I can get the ship into hover mode without causing more damage and then it can be towed.” Looking at the sky, he said, “Would you mind if I took it to my garage until tomorrow? This isn’t really the place to spend the night. My homestead isn’t that far from here and we have an extra room you can use. We can even clean your droid and give it an oil bath.”
Treads beeped excitedly, nodding, causing Lisa to laugh. “I guess that’s a yes.”
The droid then gestured to its broken arm, beeping a question.
Luke guessed at what he was asking and shook his head. “Sorry, the Treadwell parts I have have to go the ones on the farm. But I have a friend who manages a repair shop in Anchorhead and he should be able to fix you up.” He looked at Lisa. “The ship, too. Tomorrow I’ll help you get them there.”
Things settled, Luke manipulated the controls and the ship slowly lifted off the ground. He hopped down and headed to a vehicle Lisa realized was parked on the other side where it couldn’t be seen. Grabbing a rope, he hooked one side to the belly of the ship and the other side to the vehicle he called a “landspeeder”. He then helped Lisa lift Treads down off the ship and into the landspeeder for transport as they didn’t want him on board in case something went wrong during the tow.
Once they were ready, Luke gently eased the landspeeder forward until the rope was taut, then gave it a tug with his hand. As the ship floated forward, he accelerated the landspeeder and towed the ship to his residence.
End chapter three.
Back *~*~* Chapter Two *~*~* Chapter Four