20050516

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.

20050507

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.

20050506

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?

20050505

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.

20050502

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.