If there was one thing Lisa was not, it was a morning person. The next day, she found herself being dragged out of a deep sleep by someone calling her name. She had to take a moment to orient herself, but soon called out that she was awake.
She found Luke waiting outside. “Morning. How’d you sleep?” he asked.
“Fine,” she said, silently wondering if there was something resembling coffee on this planet. She ran a hand through her hair to try to tame it a little, plaiting it into a crude braid.
“Are you hungry? We should eat before going anywhere.”
Her stomach chose that moment to growl and her wings flushed pink. “Uh…that’s a yes, yeah. I actually didn’t eat at all yesterday.”
“Well, we can’t have that,” said the voice of Luke’s aunt Beru. She was in the kitchen chopping herbs and roots. “Have a seat and help yourself.”
On the small table was what looked like some kind of vegetable dish that reminded Lisa of a casserole or quiche, although she was sure those eggs didn’t exactly come from chickens. Also on the table was a jug of a thick, blue liquid and four glasses. Owen was already sitting, eating his food with a scowl on his face.
“Here, sit,” said Luke, indicating a chair for her and taking a seat beside her. He dished food out for himself and Lisa and poured some of the blue stuff into glasses for the both of them.
Lisa took a bite of the food; it was quite tasty and she felt more awake the more she ate. The blue liquid turned out to be milk and was also surprisingly good, she just wondered what animal it had come from. She made a mental note to ask Luke later.
The suspicion and distrust radiating off of Owen kept her glancing up. The older man wasn’t looking at her, eyes focused on his plate, but it was very clear he wasn’t happy with her being around. Luke wasn’t kidding when he said that his uncle didn’t trust off-worlders.
Beru seemed to sense the discomfort in her husband. “So, Lisa…” she said as she took a seat at the table, “you told me last night you’re from a planet called Alnilam.”
“What do you do when you’re not traveling?”
That was a hard question to answer. She couldn’t very well say that she spent her time saving planets, fighting monsters, solving mysteries. “I like to help people,” she settled on. “However I can, wherever I can. Whatever I can do, I always give it 110%.” That seemed to satisfy Beru but Owen still seemed skeptical. Lisa added, “And I said last night I’d help out here while my ship and droid are being repaired and I will. I don’t shy away from hard work and I’m not afraid of getting my hands dirty. If need be, I can even pay you for letting me stay.”
Owen at last took his gaze off of his plate to regard her. His blue eyes were cold and calculating, as if searching for something hidden deep within her. His mind threw out snippets of information and images that she didn’t understand; faded, blurry images of a person in robes flashed through his memory. They were faceless as if he wanted to forget the individual and anything to do with them. She couldn’t even tell if they were a man or woman or if it was one person or multiple people in identical robes.
“Don’t be silly!” Luke was saying. “It’s enough that you offered to help out, right?” He looked between his aunt and uncle for confirmation.
She could hear it: the little back-of-the-mind niggle about the farm not bringing in much money and every little bit helping. It didn’t bother her to pay for her room and board at all and, in fact, she felt it would be the right thing to do.
“If she’s going to be staying here,” said Owen, “then she needs to pull her own weight. And the moment I don’t think that’s happening, then she’s off to Mos Eisley.”
Luke was annoyed but Lisa put her hand gently on his. He looked at her and she smiled at him. “Don’t worry, Luke. Like I said, I always do what’s required of me and more.”
He nodded and the rest of breakfast consisted of informing the pair of their list of chores that needed to be accomplished before sundown. Lisa could sense that Owen still didn’t completely trust her and she was fine with that; she’d earn it if she had to. She even offered to help clean up the dishes but Beru declined, simply wishing them luck in their tasks today and giving them a container of foodstuffs for later on before ushering them out.
“If you can read minds,” Luke was saying as they headed to the garage, “can you tell why he acts the way he does?”
“It…doesn’t really work that way.” Lisa admitted. “I can tell he’s concerned for your wellbeing…and, of course, he doesn’t trust me because I’m not from around here.” The blurry someone in robes came to mind. “Um…he kept seeing someone in a brown or tan robe but the face was obscured. Ring any bells for you?”
Luke thought a moment. “There’s an old hermit that lives north of the Dune Sea that I know Uncle Owen knows and doesn’t like…Old Ben Kenobi.”
“Is there a reason he’d compare me to him?”
He shook his head. “Not that I know of, but then again I don’t know a lot about him. Uncle Owen never let us talk.”
She murmured to herself, then decided to change the subject. “So what animal does that blue milk come from?”
“A Bantha,” he replied. The creature that popped up in his mind reminded her a little of an elephant or wooly mammoth without the trunk and with large horns instead of large ears.
“Huh…it’s cute.” She saw his raised eyebrows. “You’re picturing one in your mind, right?”
“I’m going to have to be careful what I think around you.” Although he was trying to sound very serious and cross, he couldn’t stop the smile from twitching the corners of his mouth.
They reached the garage and found Treads powered down in a corner. Lisa went up to him and happened to glance at the translator module on his neck and chuckled. Luke wondered what was so funny, so she pointed at the gadget where the screen showed a blinking “ZzZz” with each letter appearing one after the other.
“He’s ‘snoring’,” she explained to his look of confusion. “Hey, Treads, wake up!”
There was a whirring sound as the droid came out of sleep mode. He made a long, warbling beep that the module translated as “Yawn!” and Lisa giggled again. His photoreceptors looked up at her and he beeped happily. “Good morning, Mistress Lisa!”
She coughed. “Can you drop the ‘Mistress’? I’m…not too keen on the term. You can call me ‘Lisa’.”
“Affirmative. I will make the necessary change in my databanks.”
“Good. Do you need anything before we head to the repair shop?”
Lisa grabbed her satchel from where she left it on the seating area and then she and Luke put the cot mattresses back into the ship and lastly hauled Treads onto the landspeeder for transport. Luke pressed a button to activate the fan to blow away the sand that had accumulated over the ceiling cover so that when the elevator rose up and said cover retracted they didn’t get grit dumped onto their heads. As soon as the ascent was finished, he pressed the accelerator and they headed to Anchorhead with Lisa’s ship in tow.
The small cluster of boxy, sand-colored buildings they were approaching was identified by Luke as Tosche Station. He parked the landspeeder in front of what she assumed passed as the garage part of the shop where the ship could be pulled in and worked on.
The two of them helped Treads to the ground and Luke called into the building. “Fixer! Hey, are you here?”
“What’s going on, Wormie?” a female voice responded.
Luke stiffened, annoyance prickling his mind. “Camie,” he said shortly.
A young woman with fair skin, long brown hair, and blue eyes got up from her seat in a corner of the garage. “Laze is in the repair bay.” Her eyes went past Luke to Lisa. “And who’s this?”
“I’m Lisa,” she answered. There was something about this woman she didn’t like. “I need my ship and droid repaired and Luke suggested bringing them here.”
“I see.” Her eyes roved past the pair back towards the droid and ship. With a raised eyebrow, Lisa heard her think, What junk! They shouldn’t’ve even bothered! Why is Wormie wasting Laze’s time?
Lisa cleared her throat and had to position her wings in such a way to hide the red in the tips. This “Camie” woman was definitely rubbing her the wrong way. Behind her, Luke saw the color change and stepped up beside her to help conceal them.
“Can you get Fixer for us?” Luke asked of Camie.
She let out an overly-dramatic, put-upon sigh. “Fine.” She turned on her heel and marched to the back of the shop.
“I don’t like her,” was Lisa’s opinion. “Why does she call you names like that?”
He sighed. “I’m the shortest of my group of friends.” He shrugged. “I’m used to it.” There was a twinge of sadness in his voice that made her hearts break a little. She was about to reach for his hand when she heard footsteps approaching.
“So, small fry, Camie says you have a job for me?” said a man’s voice. He had light skin and brown hair and was walking up hand-in-hand with Camie.
Lisa fumed again and Luke put a hand on her shoulder. “This is Lisa,” he said. “She needs her ship and droid repaired.”
“Hi,” she said curtly.
“Laze Loneozner,” he replied. “ ‘Fixer’ to my friends. I believe you met my girlfriend, Camie. So, let’s see what we got, then.” He pushed passed them to view the ship and Treads close up and his thoughts also relayed the fact that he thought the project was a worthless venture.
Treads himself, stuck outside due to the extent of his damage, looked Fixer up and down and beeped quietly. Lisa could see the translator module. “I don’t know about this guy. Are we sure he’s any good?”
Fixer frowned at the translator, unable to understand the alphabet. “What’s this, now?”
“He’s wondering if you’re as good as Luke says you are.”
Fixer puffed up, choosing to ignore the fact that she could read the words on the translator just fine. “Hey, I’m the best mechanic this side of Beggar’s Canyon!” he replied. “I can fix anything!”
“Well, here you go,” said Lisa, waving her hand to encompass the ship and Treads. “I’ll pay you, of course.”
Fixer may as well have had the Tatooine version of dollar signs in his eyes. “Well, I’ll tell you this: parts aren’t gonna come cheap for that old clunker; I may have to special order them. You know it’s a defunct line, right?”
“I’m aware,” she responded, then said the words every businessman loved. “Money’s no object.”
She could almost hear the cha-ching! cha-ching! sound in his head – or whatever passed as a cash register here. Fixer’s eyes lit up and his face split into a large grin. “Well, then I’d better get started.” He went to a drawer and rummaged around for a minute before pulling out a small chip. “This is a communicator. Keep it on you. If I have any questions or need to talk to you, I’ll give you a buzz.”
She took it and clipped it to her belt, nodding. “Just promise me you won’t erase Treads’ memory. I like him the way he is.”
He nodded. “Sure thing. I’ll send you updates when I have more info on everything.”
Lisa analyzed his thoughts and found him perfectly genuine when it came to his repair work. He did have the idea to overcharge her for parts and labor, but that was the only bit of dishonesty that came from him. That she could definitely handle.
“Thank you,” she said, then went to say goodbye to Treads.
“Thanks, Fixer,” said Luke.
Lisa knelt beside her droid. “I’ll see you later.” She patted him on his head.
“Do you have to leave?”
“Sorry, but I promised Luke’s aunt and uncle I’d earn my keep while I’m staying with them. We have to get back and get to work.”
Treads looked sad, but nodded. She patted his head again and left with Luke.
End chapter six.
Back *~*~* Chapter Five *~*~* Chapter Seven