I run. << faster >> I dodge limbs and vines. << faster >> I leap over rocks and boiling mud pots. I run through swampy shallows and across logs. << faster >> I run.

My legs burn and my arms ache. I scrabble up muddy banks << faster >> and across twisted root tangles. I make way for creatures that slumber or stalk or crouch or lurk They make way for me. And I run.

Soon the ache and the burn turns to numbness and still I run. << faster >> I still feel. I know I am numb, that I once burned and ached, that I am now numb - from the running. And still I am urged on and commanded to go << faster >>.

This is not mere physical conditioning though I am getting stronger. This is not mere transportation, though with my X-wing still half submerged I am certainly traveling afoot these days. This is not even a journey in the sense of a starting point and a destination. For I have no destination, I have only destiny. I have no transportation, I am in transition. I have no conditioning, I have only what I am at this moment. I have no journey, I have only the running.

There comes a point when the knowledge of the numbness from the pain from the running fades. First, into the rhythm - once it finds me - and then into the blank whiteness of letting go. This is my goal, though I do not run towards it. The running is the process through which I am able to release – to release what I know.

As knowledge of the pain and numbness are swallowed, it is as if the magnetic field is suddenly opened on a fully pressurized docking bay. Only instead of everything rushing out, it all rushes in. A wall of white, of the Living Force, floods in and I am lost in it.

It is pure here. Calm. I have strength here - though it is as something I need not ever seek out, for it is always here. While I am here, while I in the whiteness, while I am this place, I can run forever. There are no scattered stones, no gullies or ravines, no tree limbs to dodge or vines to climb. There is only the Living Force. I am in it and it is in me.

It is perplexing, I find (in those times afterwards when I stop to think about it), that I should be so deeply within the Force yet still so in tune with my surroundings, my legs, my lungs, my heart. I do not leave my body, neither do I leave my environment. I become so much closer to them. It is the running that helps me over the obstacle of me. I call a vine to me so I may swing, joyously, over a deep pool teeming with life and potential.

I am guided by the faintest touch of the Master on my shoulder, the hint of a suggestion in my ear. We communicate through the Force, pulling on suggestions of potential and crafting chance from glimmering lines of possibility. And all the while, I am sustained and rejuvenated by the Force. The Master helps me to see beyond the crude detritus of the swamp and to find the wondrous luminescence of the life of this world. The life that swims in and creates the possibilities of over, under, up, through, around, slower and (yes)… << faster >>.

For now, we craft only paths through the woods and lowland swamps. Yet the paths we are creating with the Force, or that the Force is creating with us are real. We are not passing through the unpassable. We are forging through while the unpassable parts for us to reveal it’s own pathways and invites us to walk them – or to run them.

So we run. The Master guides. I learn. And always, << faster >>


I Have Leared So Much, and Yet it is Still Not Enough...

I cannot begin to write how much has happened since my last entry. The days on Dagobah seem to fly now (though at first they didn't). Though I've not made an entry for some time, I have been keeping a mental chronology of what has been happening to me here. The Master's training has been relentless, sometimes harrowing, and always exhausting. But even as I lay here now, muscles throbbing from exertion and my head pounding from the effort of sustained concentration, I realize that the shell of me that first arrived here has become - is still becoming - something more.

I can recall with clarity things that, before, I would not even bother to note the first time around. I can replay entire conversations and even emotions in my head with such acuity that it is as if I were there, again, only this time as a trained observer. I watch myself react with disbelief as Han demands for 10 thousand credits for charter on his ship, I feel the exaltation flow off of Biggs when we met again on the Yavin moon. I am even starting to see traces of the luminous ribbons of the Force bonds connecting or severing destiny from living being to being.

This is Dagobah, this world is life. It teems. The Living Force abounds. It is above in the canopy, it is below in the dark. It manifests in silent creeps, swimming ripples, gliding flight, and motionless patience. I am starting to feel the way it surrounds me, cocooning me with shimmering threads of possibility and power. But even the concept of "me" is changing. I arrived here a shell, as ignorant of the vastly larger universe of the Force as an eopie is of hyperdrive technology. That shell has burst for I had become too full for it, and so I shed that protective scab of presupposition and knowledge.

I have shed my shell several times since that first time as well. Each time, it is painful. The Master drives a claw into the protective skin of my "knowledge" and rips. Underneath I am pink and raw. Each time I resist. Though I am beginning to learn that my resistance increases the pain and difficulty of shedding another presupposition about the way the world is, the way I am, or the way the Force ought to be. I must climb out of that skin and stand naked to bathe in the Living Force.

The burning pain of letting go is severe, it is intense. But it inevitably subsides, and then I find that I am bigger. And so I meditate on the Force, letting the scintillating rainbow of living light guide me and direct my thoughts, my vision, my hand, my lightsaber, my will.

Yet it was not always so. I recall the early lessons. How painful it was to shed those early layers. They were so hard, so thick, so deeply connected to me.

When I had first met the Master I knew not that it was he. So blind was I that I could not see the brilliant arcs and whorls and tendrils of Living Force that he exuded. Still their potential reduced to my destiny and I followed. I followed the Master to a meager hut in the pouring rain. I can recall exactly when my mounting frustration turned to anger, and I produced dark potential that nearly ended my training before it began.

I had been absolutely miserable when I had first arrived. Dagobah was nothing like I had assumed, or hoped. To those eyes, it was a swampy mess, chaotic, primitive, and uncomfortable. I was impatient. I had met a creature who promised to take me to the Master. Yet the creature insisted that first we eat, and then we talk and then we rest and then we set off for the Master. All the while, refusing to answer such simple questions as "How far away is Yoda?" and "Will it take us long to get there?". I can clearly remember how my frustration mounded. The hut, a shelter from the downpour was much too small for me and I had to hunch to even sit. My head already had an egg on it the size of a Jawa’s fist from when I first entered too quickly and didn’t duck low enough. And there was a snake that seemed to continually prefer my lap to a ledge, I don’t particularly mind snakes from a distance, but with everything else, this was too close. Finally, the stew tasted horrible. (The stew really was horrible - no amount of Force perception could change that reality.)

I remember the creature asking me why I wanted to become a Jedi. It never occurred to me that this was an odd question from an odd creature on this intensely odd planet. But, like I mentioned before, I was blind to these perceptions. The scabs were too thick over my eyes. I answered quickly. I did everything quickly then, without calculation, without thought, and most importantly, without feeling. I blurted out an answer that was only as correct as it was shallow. Who was this primitive, this beastial creature that presumed to question my intent? Why were we wasting time with idle chit-chat when I was keen to be moving on, getting to Yoda, getting on with my training, becoming a Jedi, and taking up where my murdered father had left off. And this green wormie creature was asking “why?”

I could not stand it. So I feigned politeness in the hopes that the conversation would stop and the creature would finish his meal and we could move on. I replied, “mostly because of my father, I guess” It was a correct answer. But also one filled with as much cynicism and venom as could be allowed in a polite but conversation ending answer.

My frustration was tripped when the creature answered that my father was a powerful Jedi. There was no way this, this thing could have any inkling of who my father was, much less me. My frustration was tripped and fell headlong over the cliff of my impatience. A black and purple bud of quickly combusting emotion roiled outwards, a bowl went flying and I lashed out. That is when I heard Ben. His voice was clear, in the hut with me and the creature. “He will learn patience” it said. And the creature answered.

The first gash in my protective carapace of self was started and it hurt. The scales on my eyes dropped and I saw the Master for who he was. Not a quirky and annoying creature I had stumbled across but something more. I realized I had been brought to him, I had not stumbled on him. Yet I was still angry and I argued. I argued with Ben and the Master. Things were spiraling out of control. They were making decisions on whether or not I was to become a Jedi, without even asking me. “Ben, tell him I can be a Jedi!” My roiling frustration and budding anger landed at the bottom of the cliff of my impatience. When it landed it bounced and blossomed into a fully blind anger. I bounced with it and cracked my head on the low ceiling. The crack on my head was also a crack in my carapace. The pain focused me. The first chips of what I had known started to fall away and for the first time in my life, I saw.

The Master, too, saw. And he agreed to continue what Ben had started. I sit here now in meditation. I clear my mind and focus on the present, on now. I feel the Force flowing around me. I can see the glimmers of potential and destiny in bits and pieces, as if they are just beyond. I still struggle to see the remote.

I have learned so much, and yet something still seems to be missing. It is still not enough. But I have learned patience (at least somewhat). So for now, I meditate, now, I wait, now I rest, I recover, I remember.


And They Call Me, 'Wormie'

I lost a boot. It’s the small things that really make you miserable. I mean, I could handle crashing my ship onto this forsaken mud hole of a planet. But did it really have to take my boot? You never realize how important sensible footwear is until it’s gone. I was lugging gear between my ship and camp when the mud makes a louder than normal sucking / slurping sound and I can’t move my left foot. I mean, mud up to the shins here and no way of getting my foot out.

So I lift out my foot and instantly lose my balance spilling my clean clothes and power converters into the ooze. Of course I put my foot down to regain my balance, and it goes right back into the mud.

That’s when I lost it. I mean, I wasn’t even sure what I was doing here, I was wasting my time. My ship had crashed and I couldn’t get it out, R2 had been eaten then thrown up, there was no one on the com, my friends were being hunted, Biggs was still dead, and now I lost my boot. It’s really more than any one person should have to deal with.

In an instant I was a whirlwind of burning, blazing fury. I was so desperately angry at my situation, at the mud, I threw my head back and screamed. I raged at the ground that stole my shoe.

The mud started to bubble and pop and splurt as if it were boiling. As I raged at it, burped and boiled, steam hissed and cracks started to appear in its surface as the moisture left it and it hardened around my boot. I was so taken aback that I stopped my exposition of raw fury at my situation and the dirty bank that had stolen my boot. The ground continued to hiss and steam for a moment then stopped. The mud was still surrounding my boot up to the shin but now it was the baked hard-pan of the Tatooine desert.

I think it’s like the thing I did with my light saber in the Wampa’s cave. I have no idea how I did that, I just know that I needed it and then, there it was in my hand. Only that took so much more effort. This time I was so angry and then, whaddya know, baking mud.

If only someone needed hard mud. “Luke’s Insta – Clay” 1001 uses. For mud, just add water. I’ll tell you, I beginning to think that Han had it right. A good blaster, some simple tricks, a fast ship and you’re set.

So I walk back to camp leaving the boot and the clothes and picking up the power converters, my sock getting wetter and nastier the closer to camp I get. My mood getting as black as the bottom of my left foot. So there I am, explaining what happened to R2 when this little green worm thing simply appears in a tree behind me. None of the perimeter beacons sounded, R2 didn’t even so much as give a “woot” in warning. Well I was in no mood to be friendly or understanding and I had my blaster out in an instant. That’s when the thing actually talked to me.

You’ve no idea how good it was to just hear another voice. I couldn’t really understand what it was saying, but it was definitely using words. Things went down hill from there. This thing waddled down from it’s tree perch and started rummaging through my equipment and food, and actually throwing it in the mud. I mean, What kind of intelligent life just goes around making a mess?

I tried engaging it in conversation, it answered with inanity. I told it to go away, it refused. I asked it for help going back to get my stuff; my clothes, my boot. The little beast thought it was funny; started mocking me. “Oooohhhh, cannot get your boot out” Then he laughed at me.

It continued to rummage through my things, tossing them all around until it found a pen light – a stinking pen light. The stink of it is, the little creep tossed out my picture of Biggs and Fixer and Camie and me. It’s ruined – I’ve uploaded a scan.

I could have blasted it then and there but then it drops the bomb. Not only could I understand what he was saying, he said the name: “Yoda, you seek Yoda.”

Then he went back to non-sense jabbering. Something about eating and “good food” though I have no idea how it could be hungry since it just polished off or threw out half my supplies. I decided, anyway to follow the little guy since, as of yet, it was the most advanced communication I’d received from anyone or anything on the planet. I sent R2 back for my things (and to dig out my boot) and keep an eye on things around camp, in case any more of these “little green men” show up.

And they call me “Wormie”, they should get a load of this guy.

Datapad Disruption Due to Excessive Mositure Exposure…

I have a number of updates to write, and I will get them all in soon, now that my datapad is dry. I am not fond of Dagobah. Still…..there is something familiar about this place… I digress.

They say that when disaster strikes you have to strike back. That’s certainly what the Empire did after Yavin. Their hammer fell and fell hard on us at Hoth. Now the Alliance is regrouping at a location I will not name here. They’ve been harried, harassed, and hunted ever since we took out their planet busting space-station.

That was a walk in the park next to what has happened to me lately. Honestly, I don’t know if I have the energy to strike back at my own situation. It’s all so, I don’t know, overwhelming.

So when I last wrote I was looking forward to getting cleaned up and then setting about finding this great warrior so that I can learn the stuff that Ben always wanted to teach me. Kiss that dream goodbye.

So there I am, taking my fighter in for a landing, not having received any coordinates or even a hail from panet-side nav com. As I enter the atmosphere everything gets bantha blasted at once. Extreme white-out conditions overtake my ship and we’re thrown about in the worst atmospheric turbulence I’ve ever felt. I was like I’d picked up a whole blasted herd of Tuskens who decided to jump, jive, and jizz-wail on the s-foils – while they were tearing the ship apart. All my scopes were dead, I couldn’t see a thing. Repeated attempts to raise anyone on the com went unanswered. Even R2 couldn’t pick up anything. Anything! Sure, he was able to pick up plenty of life, the planet positively shivered with writhing ecosystems, but there was no com signal on the tight beam or broad beam or any other channel, even the military ones. I assumed everything on this side of the planet had probably been taken out in the storm I was landing in. The thought never crossed my mind, amidst the frantic, blaring, destabilized, white-out descent, that these hemispheric sized storms were regular on Dagobah.

Well, suffice it to say that I threw training and protocol to the wind (or rather, the storms took it) and I threw down my landing gear and engaged my repulsorlifts if only to slow my descent. It’s a good thing I did too, because no sooner had I done that, that we slowed (a bit) and slammed down through wet trees and viney tangles and crashed right into a swamp. A blasted tusken spitting swamp!. Flipping awesome landing, Skywalker. The old boys of Red Squadron would be whooping it up and cracking jokes about “farm-boys and technology” if they saw this.

The entire front end is submerged. I think the nose gear found the bottom of the mudhole and, after it did some initial settling, is stable. At least the cockpit is dry. As long as the engines stay clean and contaminate free, I should be ok. I would have moved the ship, if there was a place to move it to. There is a clear flight path through the trees diagonally down into where I made “splash down” but the problem is that there is no place to park the ship, much less turn it around. The boys at Incom haven’t deigned to put in a reverse thruster configuration so that one could fly backwards. Thanks for the forethought guys! It would really come in handy right about now.

So once I was down, I was down and I tried to be optimistic. I’ll admit, I’ve failed. This place is the pits. R2 was attacked by something (huge) as we disembarked but he was spit out onto a mud bank. It’s a good thing he doesn’t taste too good.. I was able to set up camp without too much trouble, I got R2 recharging and was able to start unpacking some of my emergency survival gear. I’ve got to give credit where credit is due – the Incom survival stock task force was able to maximize the small storage space in the X-wing and provide nearly everything a stranded pilot could need. Including a manual: “Stranded Pilot Push-Ups and Other Cast-Away Calisthenics” I am soooooo glad they managed to fit that in there. I mean, really, the thing I am thinking most about here is sculpting my physique. Morons.


Thoughts on The Efficacy of Jedi Lessons

R2 whistled me awake just a bit ago. I sat up too quickly and now I've got a drool pool that had collected in my collar seeping down my back. It itches. We're in-system and not a moment too soon.

I was going to have R2 jump us in to a point far enough away that I could fly manual for a while - but now, no way. It's all about getting down as fast as possible and cracking this canopy. I'll put in as few orbits as possible, query planetary nav-com to see if I can find out where this Yoda lives and if there's an open berth nearby, then land this smelly holster and clean up. That bath will feel soooooo good.

If I'm early enough, maybe I can catch a show. I need something to pick me up. I don't know what passes for cultural entertainment on that planet, but most space ports cater to common interests (don't worry, I've no plans to seek out those interests). Maybe they'll have some Jizz-Wailing or something (though, you know, most Jizz-Wailing gets stale after a while - all electro-pop and shiny-happy-people. After this trip I'm going to need something a bit darker, quieter, more depressing - to fit my mood. You ever get into that place where you just want to sit in the dark, listen to depressing music, close your eyes and fade away? That's my mood now)

Well, one more micro-jump to go, pilot on in and then...what then? I'll get "trained" I suppose. I know I told Ben that I wanted to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi but lately I've been having second thoughts. I mean, I'm not such a bad pilot. The Alliance is into me, the Princess is into me, Han and Chewie are cool. I could be happy. I was pretty distraught when I said that to Ben, I wasn't fully aware of my options.

But then "Old Shimmery" (it's what I've taken to calling the ghost of Ben when he appears) pops up when all I need is to be transported back to base, or at least a blanket or something, and commands (commands!) me to come all the way out here. Not even a "please Luke" or a "I've been thinking, it's time you got some education", or a "you ok kid? let me Force warm you, and by the way, there's this Master Jedi on Dagobah..." Nope. He was all somber and self-important "You will go to the Dagobah system...learn from Yoda - the Jedi master" who instructed him (yeah, for all the help that instruction was against that same wheezy, black, droid-wanna-be who offed my dad.) I've got a lesson for this Yoda - Lesson one: armor good, robes not so much.

Jumping now, be back soon.


I Don't Mean to Whine, But...

R2 has stopped responding to me. I was only asking him how much farther it was to Dagobah and trying to get an idea of how much longer this blasted trip would take. I guess I’ve been asking him that a lot lately.

I did my cockpit calisthenics and played Dejarik against myself for a bit (I think I’m getting better). But geez this is far. The cockpit stinks, I smell like a drunk jawa, and I think that the tube that passes for a ‘fresher in this ship has a kink. All right, sorry, you didn’t need to know that.

The fact is that Dagobah is farther out than I had thought and I’m ready to land this thing. This trip had better be worth it. Ben said that this Jedi master lives way out here. What gives? I mean do all Jedi have to be so, so, eccentric? Yeah, I know all the stories about the rise of the Emperor and the battles against the “Jedi council” – that was all part of the AWP (Alliance Welcome Packet) – that and this orange gundark suit. But that was ancient history. Now it’s all about restoring “freedom to the galaxy” and preventing “other star systems from suffering Alderaan’s fate”.

Turn on your tight-beam receptors all you remaining Jedi, it’s not about you anymore. It’s about commerce, trade, and bureaucracy. The Jedi pogrom is over. You don’t have to live out beyond the Dune Sea, or on the remotest of remote planets (and I thought Tatooine was the planet farthest from the bright center of the universe).

I think the Jedi who are left may be a bit full of themselves. I mean, if Ben had had enough common sense to realize that no one was hunting him, he could have contacted me earlier. Maybe then Owen and Beru would still be alive. If this Yoda even exists, he could at least come out and train me with the rest of the Alliance. Instead, I have to sit in this cramped, smelly cockpit and the Alliance has to lose a fighter. Argh. I’m feeling bitter, I know.

I’m going to go.

R2, are we there yet?


Tatooine Friends

This is my gang. I keep the picture with me to remember why I'm doing this at all. My friends are very important to me.

I forget who took the picture but it's me and Biggs in the front, Fixer and Camie in the back. Sometimes I wonder what they're doing- probably still causing trouble and kicking up dust around Tosche. Thought you'd like to see.

Tatooine Friends

Two Kisses I Cannot Forget - The First

I suppose that I might as well write about her. The guys on the flight deck are always asking me about the Princess. "What's she like?" "Did you two really get it on?" "Do you think a princess and a guy like you...?"

So here's my take (and this had better not get back to anyone!). To understand her, you have to understand Camie. She's Fixer's girl but I have to admit to appreciating her, if from a distance. Camie is abrasive, not hard. She's pretty, sure, but she will grind you down. She was able to drive Fixer like a speeder. And boy, when she drops her foot, he would move.

The Princess is hard, unyielding, and anything but subtle. She wears her heart on her sleve. But she is also passionate. That's the biggest contrast betwen her and the girls, like Camie, I knew back home. Camie was cool and apathetic. The galaxy didn't care about her and neither did she for it. The Princess is hot, she has a fire in her belly that moves her and those around her. She sparked and, I have to admit, I am enflamed.

Yes, I've had a crush on her since I saw that first holo. Her eyes were so big and lucid and earnest. She was speaking Ben's Jedi name but I felt - in a real and inexplicable way - that she was talking to me. I connected with her at that point. Sometimes, I don't know how, but I just know that our thoughts are going down parallel pathways. We may not be in the same corridor, but we're going the same direction, separated by the hull of a ship, the ice walls of a base, or the stone sanctuaries of an ancient temple. I have never felt this way about anyone before.

I would be dishonest if I neglected to mention that I was not simply drawn to her eyes. I mean, common, I am a guy, and that slinky white robe clings in all the right spots - if you catch my drift.

What I wasn't prepared for was how short she really is. At first, I never thought that I'd ever really meet her but fate (or, as Ben would have said, the Force) intervened and brought us together. Granted, the situation wasn't the best but still, when I walked into her cell and she was there lying down, all soft curves and defiance, I had to pause just to gaze. She broke the silence in that flirtatious way she has but underneath she was all detonator. It wasn't hard to spot so I came right to the point. I introduced myself. She was confused. I told her that I was there to rescue her (how lame was that - well, as Han is fond of saying, "you can take the boy out of moisture farm but sometimes you just can't take the moisture farm out of the boy"). She sensed a trap. I finally said the magic words, "Ben Kenobi". That was the cue and she responded - and HOW!

Talk about your take-charge kind of girl. To be honest, she intimidates me - stil - but even more so then. There was one specific instance, though, I knew she was more than blaster bolts in a nice package, when I knew that the Princess was special. We were still trying to make our escape from the Empire's battle station ("Death Star" - puh-leez I mean, who comes up with these names?). We came to a service shaft and I blasted the bridge controls. Suffice it to say that we had to swing across.

When we were ready to go, she kissed me. I must have looked at her odd because she thought up a quick explanation. When our eyes met, I am sure she blushed. "for luck" she said. Sure. She's never been good at hiding anything (I'm sure that has something to do with how she got picked up by the Empire in the first place) and I knew there was more than her quick explanation. The reason I know is because of how we swung across that shaft.

It would have been easier if she had climbed on my back or if one of us went across first and then laid down blaster cover for the other. But she grabbed on to me after that kiss. She laid her head against my chest, just like a little girl - a soft woman draped lovingly, not smotheringly, around her man - and for a moment that will last for an eternity in my mind...we flew.

Leia is her name, my princess, though Princess and leader to so many others. That she should respond so, to me - a kid from the Outer Rim....

There were hugs and awards, and another beautiful white dress (with a look-right-here plunging neckline!) and there was another kiss. But not for telling right now.

I know how everyone says that romances that bloom in the midst of turmoil - especially battle - are doomed. And you know, something may come up that will stop the romance. But for now, I know I've got a thing for her and I'm pretty sure she's got it for me.

If this gets back to her, I'll deny everything.


Antique Weapons and Small Spaces

Fricking Bantha Sith Spit and Stang! The whole cockpit stinks like a pod-racer caroomed into a nest of Jawas - all burnt rubber and stink. Aaarrggghhh. I feel like I'm going to retch.

R2 was able to scrub the air and vent most of the particulates that were clouding up the place, but there's still this smelly film of funk all over everything in here. I'm going to need to wash this stuff (and me) when I get to Dagobah. I can tell you, I'm going to take a loooooooooong shower when I get there and maybe see if I can use this full-day at the body spa coupon I got from the Generals as a little thank you for the whole Death Star thing. In fact, the whole interior of the ship could use a good cleaning.

Here's what happened. I had taken off my flight boots to give my feet some "breathing time". I just left the boots down by my feet so the smell wouldn't be too bad (those boots can get ripe I'll tell you). Bored as usual I had taken out my father's light saber - just to look at it. Ben had told me that it shouldn't be turned on in tight spaces (no kidding Ben. He could get overbearing sometimes, stating the obvious).

So I was just looking at it. I like the way the emitter plates come up through the shaft of the pommel. The curves of the lens guard are nice too. The black flanges on the grip serve to provide some badly needed color as well as make a comfortable holding area (though for one hand only, not really for two). Ben was always talking about how a light saber is part of a Jedi, how it is a reminder about the light and dark (“dark grips gripped darkly are the fist step on a path to pain” he would say – whatever that means). Ben said he lost the charger cord so the plug near the “business end” is useless, but oh, well, who else can say they’ve got a real Jedi laser sword? Ben was always telling me bits of stuff about light sabers in general. Occasionally he would mention something about this one (“the crystal came from this place”, or “the power cell is made by …” I can’t remember.)

The knurled knobs on the top and bottom have always been a bit of a mystery to me. They're supposed to dial the actual length of the blade up or down – or so I thought. I dialed them (both) all the way down and pointed the saber down parallel to my leg so that the blade would not hit anything but I could still see it and hear that cool thrum when it ignites. R2 must have known what I was thinking because he started throwing warnings and “No! Don’t!” on the readout screen. I told him not to worry and that I was going to turn it off as soon as I turned it on. I just wanted to hear that cool sound.

Well, it turns out the knobs DON’T do jack to the length. I still don’t know what they do. The reality is, I was never instructed in this thing. Sure it was fun at parties, and the Alliance guys got a kick out of it, but stang, Ben, why didn’t you tell me? Aargh. So the beam snaps on and shoots toward the floor of the cockpit. I can feel the static electricity pulling at the leg of my flight suit and making the hairs on my leg stand up. Naturally I react to get my leg as far away from the shimmering blue blade (and - in space – instant negative pressure blood vessel hemorrhaging death) . Well, that jerky motion makes my hand move, ever so slightly, and the tip of the blade sheers right through the sole on the toe of my flight boot. Instant black smoke and rubber burn smell! Luckily it didn’t compromise the cockpit at all.

Of course I turned it off right away but the damage had been done. The smoke filled the cabin – not so much that I couldn’t see but enough that I was hacking and coughing and my eyes were stinging until R2 modified the scrubbers to clear the air. Well it worked well enough on the air but not the smell – and this film still covers everything.

I lifted my boot up with my toes (Aunt Beru always said that it’s a family thing, all of us have ambidextrous toes) and examined it. The interior is intact (thank goodness) but the sole is all melty and uneven near the toe. I’ll be walking with a bit of an odd gait I suppose. At least until I get some new boots. There’s got to be a swanky market district on Dagobah. I’ll land there and get some boots before I go find this Yoda (if he even exists).

Although, I can tell you, I’ll be thankful just to be walking again, no matter if I look like a drunk nerf.