Chapter Five

It turned out that Lisa needn’t worry, for Luke accepted her abilities and found them interesting. He did, however, warn her to try not to use them much around his uncle. After sensing the older man’s distrust of the outer galaxy, she was inclined to agree.

Conversely Luke’s aunt, Beru, was a very warm woman. She had blue eyes, brown hair worn in a simple style, and wore a rough, simple tunic and boots suitable for desert life. She had come down to the garage after hearing her husband complain about Luke’s nighttime antics and had wanted to meet the girl he’d rescued. Lisa could sense that she was far more trusting than Owen was and she took an almost immediate liking to her.

“You’ve traveled so far out,” she was saying to Lisa, “won’t your family miss you?”

“Ah…I, uh…I don’t have a family anymore.” It had been more centuries than she cared to count since the incident but it never got any easier to talk about, especially in her condition. “There was a…a war. They were killed and I suffered amnesia so everything before the explosion is a blank to me.”

Both Luke and Beru looked shocked and sympathetic; even Treads beeped forlornly. “You don’t remember your family?” Luke asked.

“I remember I had one – a mother and father. But I don’t remember anything about them.”

“That’s awful,” said Beru. “I’m so sorry for you.”

She smiled. “Thank you, but really it doesn’t bother me. It leaves me free to travel and Alnilam always has a place for me whenever I wind up going back.”

“Are you going to leave once your ship is repaired?” Luke asked, silently hoping the answer was no.

Of course Lisa heard him, and he knew that she heard him. She shrugged. “Nothing’s set in stone. I don’t have plans or anything, so who knows? And we don’t know how long it’d take your friend to fix both Treads and the ship, anyway, so I may wind up being here a while as it is.”

“You could stay here,” he offered. “Right, Aunt Beru? She can’t stay in any of those shady hotels in Mos Eisley. She can’t read Aurebesh and she only understands Basic; something could happen to her.”

Well, his concern for her was certainly touching.

Beru thought a moment, weighing the options in her mind. “Uncle warned you about neglecting your chores,” she said. “We are a working farm.”

“Well, maybe I could help?” suggested Lisa. “I’ll need something to do while waiting for the repairs, so…” She let her voice trail off, letting the idea hang.

“If that’s the case, then you both better get some sleep so you can take the ship and droid in for repairs first thing tomorrow and then come back here and get to work. I’ll leave bedding in the extra room for you.” And with that, Beru left.

“Well, that’s as good as a ‘yes’ as ever,” said Luke.

“Mm,” she murmured, then turned to him and smiled. “You want me to stick around, eh?”

Luke blushed and cleared his throat, fiddling with the translator module in his hands. He happened to press the activation button and the gadget lit up, humming with power. Grateful for the distraction, he over-exulted, “Look! It’s working!”

She tried to turn her snicker into a cough and walked over to the workbench to look at the gadget. The screen stated that the device was waiting for input, needing to be set for a particular droid in order to translate its speech correctly. With Lisa’s knowledge of the language and Luke’s knowledge of droids, together they set it up successfully.

“Okay, Treads,” Lisa said, “say something and let’s see if this works.”

The little droid looked up at her and beeped. The module cycled through letters until readable words appeared: “Thank you for rescuing me.”

She smiled and attached the module to the droid’s neck stalk. “You’re welcome. So why were you in the junkyard in the first place?”

“I was disposed of when my previous Master acquired an upgraded unit. It was done without a memory wipe or power down.”

Lisa reiterated this to Luke, who commented, “With all that rust you’ve been there a long time…and you’ve been running since? No wonder you act the way you do!” At the confused look on Lisa’s face, he explained, “Well, I’ve never seen it personally but I heard of a case where a droid developed a personality beyond its original programming because it was abandoned and someone forgot to shut it off.”

“You’re not going to throw me away, too, are you?” Treads beeped worriedly.

“Absolutely not!” Lisa insisted. “You’re mine now. I told you I’d get you cleaned and fixed and I will.” She turned to Luke. “Your friend will be able to preserve his personality, right?”

He nodded. “Nothing will happen to that unless there’s a total memory wipe and system reset.”

“Good.” She tried and failed to hide a yawn.

“I think if we’re going to get anything accomplished tomorrow we’d better listen to Aunt Beru and get some sleep,” said Luke. “I’ll show you to your room.”

She nodded. “Treads, do you sleep?”

“Affirmative. I can place myself into standby mode.”

“Okay, then. Goodnight, Treads.” She patted the droid on the head and followed Luke out of the garage and into the main part of the homestead.

The place was very comfortable-looking for an underground home. There was a kitchen, an eating area and a living area and stairs that led to various other rooms. Luke brought her to a set of stairs outside of what looked like a storage room with a small bed in it.

“It’s basically a junk room,” said Luke a little apologetically, “but it’s better than nothing.”

“It’s great.” She turned to him. “Thanks.”

Luke smiled, blushing. “I’ll, uh…I’ll see you in the morning. Is it okay if I get you up when I do? That way we can get started?”

“Sure. Goodnight, Luke.”

“Goodnight, Lisa.”

She started to make her way into the room, but paused halfway in, turning around. He was still standing in the doorframe, many thoughts and feelings churning through his mind. Lisa thought a moment, then nodded to herself and went up and hugged him around his neck. He started at first, then there was a brief awkward moment of figuring out how to maneuver his arms around her wings, and finally he returned the embrace. Grinning into his shoulder, she said, “I mean it. Thank you for everything.”

“You’re welcome,” he replied, letting her go and crossing the hall to his own room.

Lisa watched him go, then went into the room. She could see why Luke had called it a junk room; there were storage containers and all manners of odd things and knickknacks piled up and lining shelves. In one corner of the room was a bed with a blanket and pillow lying on the edge. The mattress was only slightly thicker than the ones in the sleeping quarters of her ship, but at least it was clean.

She set up the bedclothes and folded her wings so she could comfortably lie on her back. Now that she was settled, she could hear a very many things in the surrounding homestead and outside in the desert: Luke’s uncle snoring, the farm’s droids whirring, the family’s breathing and heartbeats, nocturnal animals calling. Lisa closed her eyes and let the sounds lull her to sleep.

End chapter five.

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