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Goodbye Tatooine

My decision was firm, I would leave Tatooine. Nearly everyone of my friends was away. It held me nothing more on this desert planet. The night was cold and I froze despite the thick hooded cape, which I carried. I had the blasterrifle of my father and my vibroblade with me and was now already several hours in the Jundlandwaste to foot on the way. It would last no longer and the coolness of the night became the heat of the day. I saw on my chrono, still two standard hours till the rise of the twin suns. To Mos Eisley were it still approx. 5 kilometres. It could be done. I knew that it was dangerous, which I did here, but it had to be. Suddenly I heard beside me a loud breath - banthas. And where banthas are, their owners, the sand people, also named Tusken Raiders, are usually not far. There I already heard their calls. Oh sky, their leader pointed to my direction. They must have discovered me. Ten Tusken and for me it was clear that I would not survive a fight with them. Here thus my life should end, before it had begun. I took the rifle of my father off the shoulder and levelled at the first Tusken, which approached me. He was armed with a Gaffii stick, which he had threateningly raised. With a loud combat cry he attacked me so suddenly that I did not have an opportunity to pull the trigger. The Tusken struck me the weapon from the hand; I tumbled backwards and fell hard to the ground. The Tusken was immediately over me and pulled my vibroblade from my belt. I resisted desperately his grasp, when he pressed my head back, in order to cut me through the throat. The other nine sand people had come in the meantime more near and surrounded us. By my violent defence movements the hood of the cape slid off my head and revealed my long copper-red hair, which had been hidden under it. The Tusken, which sat astride on me, was high-torn by his leader. "Let the woman go, Gorr." Gorr contradicted violently. "You will obey my order, Gorr." Grumbling Gorr withdrew himself into the circle of his comrades. The leader of the sand people gave me his hand. "Come, nothing will happen to you." With his assistance I raised and touched myself groaning at the hurting back of my head. Tomorrow there would be a large swelling. If for me it would give a tomorrow. "Thanks." When they heard this word in their own language, a surprised whisper went through the line of the Tusken Raiders. Their leader ordered them with a wave of his hand to be silent. "Come, Nomi." Surprised I looked at him. "Why do you know my name? Who are you?" He examined me and then he laughed. It was strange to hear the laughter of a Tusken. "You do not remember me?" I shook the head. "Well, it is already a very long time ago. Your father saved my life, when I was attacked by a krayt dragon. At that time I swore to protect the family of Jula Darklighter." Now I believed to know, who stood before me. "Worrtan?" He nodded. "You were at that time still very young, Nomi. But I hear, you did not forget, what I taught you." In the meantime he had set on the sandy ground and I set myself beside him. "What you make at night alone in the Jundlandwaste?" "I want to go to Mos Eisley, Worrtan." "And that in the middle of the night?" "I have my reasons." He signed to his people. "We will accompany you, Nomi."
Worrtan rose and helped me on his bantha. Silent we rode up to Mos Eisley. There he lifted me off his bantha and embraced me. "Take care of you, Nomi. May the Gods be with you." I returned his embrace. "No concern, Worrtan." He turned to his bantha, in order to mount. "Hey, Worrtan, may the Force be with you." He looked back again. Then he rose to his bantha and gave the order to depart. Soon Worrtan´s tribe had disappeared in the darkness of the night.
I went slowly, using each covering, to the docking bays of the space port. My figure merged formally with the black shadows of the walls. The imperial governor had imposed a curfew. If I ran a stormtrooper patrol into the arms, I would land instead of in the liberty of space in a detention block. Finally I had achieved my goal - docking bay 84. There a corellian freighter stood for days. I had drawn in inconspicuously inquiries.
The YT-1300 belonged to a winged alien named Tarik, who kept himself with odd jobs and smuggling badly over water. I turned again carefully whether nobody observes me, before I tried to open the docking bay lock. It went more easily, than I had thought. Rapid I slipped in and locked the door behind me. Fascinated I looked at the space freighter standing before me. Soon it would belong to me. I operated the switch that should release the door and was surprised, when the entrance ramp lowered. Carefully I entered the freighter and went into the cockpit.
That could not be true; no safety precautions in order to hold intruders by its owner had been met. My views slid over the buttons and switches of the instrument panel. Slowly I set into the pilot seat and moved my fingers over the automatic controllers. Rapidly I had settled the check and had warmed the engines up. Vibrating went through the spaceship, when it induced itself slowly with half repulsorpower to the opening of the docking bay. Then I had made it. The freighter ascended into the orbit of Tatooine. I knocked internal on my shoulder and congratulated myself to my success. I would call the ship Aquarius. I smiled, that was a
good name. When I considered, where I should fly, I heard a noise behind me. Frightened I looked around and seized to my vibroblade. Behind me stood approx. 1.80 m tall winged alien, who directed his blaster toward me. He sparkled angrily on me with his dark eyes. "It will be better, if you leave your knife, where it is now. Otherwise it could be very easy that your pretty head has an ugly hole." Slowly I raised my hands. "Good. I see you can be reasonable. And now rise and go there." He pointed with the weapon to the co-pilot seat. Slowly I raised and changed the place. The alien took stunnercuffs from his utility belt and bound my hands. That had terrible gone wrong. Who could suspect that the owner of the freighter stays just today overnight, against his other habits, in his ship? He sat down into the pilot seat and took over the controls. "What's your name?" The alien turned his view of the instruments off and to me. "Nomi Darklighter. And you?" He laughed a strange twittering sound. "You can call me Tarik." Suddenly an alarm tone rang out. Tarik cursed. "Sithspawn! Imperial Star Destroyers. If they get me, I am done. Can you fly a freighter, Nomi?" I nodded and Tarik loosened my chains. "Good, then show me, what you can do girl. I go to the cannons." Tarik went into the rear of the freighter to the quad laser cannons. Cold sweat trickled my forehead. I had lain to Tarik and no idea how to fly a space freighter. Everything which I knew about, I had read in books, which I had borrowed from my cousin Biggs. Whether this knowledge would be sufficient, in order to escape Imperial Star Destroyers, was more than questionable. The Aquarius, how I called her for me, was shaken by the first hit. At the same time a call came over the com: "Corellian freighter, you have no starting permission. Stop and prepare you immediately for boarding." Over the intercom I heard Tarik: "Nomi, all energy on the rear deflectors! And full thrust. If we come into range of their tractor beams, is it over." I looked desperately after the controller for the energy input to the shields. It looked everything all the same to me. There, that had to be the correct switch. I was relieved when the reading for the rear deflectors went on 100 %. The Aquarius was shaken by a new hit. And then I saw it. "Tarik! TIEs!" He answered calm: "I saw it, I saw it. Don´t worry. Continue to fly as before." After it I briefly heard again the voice of the Imp over the com: "Corellian freighter. That is your very last chance. Surrender or we will destroy you." I evaded a TIE, which came frontally to me; firing his cannons. By this manoeuvre it came exactly into Tarik´s line of fire. The TIE passed in a fire ball. "Well done, Nomi. You played a good trick. Respect! We must hang on till we reach the point, from which we can jump into hyperspace. Then we are safe." While he spoke, he fired incessantly on the TIEs circling us. "Nomi, more energy to the bow deflector. A front hit would pulverize us otherwise." This time I found the switch immediately. Slowly I was familiar with the instruments. Nearly I felt like I never did something else than to fly a space freighter through hostile fire. Without thinking I evaded the approaching TIEs. Nevertheless the Aquarius was hit. There were too many enemies. Not long and the shields would fail. "Tarik, shields are down by 50 %. They can´t bear no more hit." He laughed his twittering laughter. "No fear, girl, the old hunk of junk bears a lot." I concentrated further to evade the TIEs and to come not into the range of the tractor beams of the Star Destroyers. Tarik fired incessant on the TIEs, which circled us like furious piranha beetles. He had destroyed already so many, but always new came.
A signal indicated to me that we had finally reached the coordinates, in order to make the jump into hyperspace. I pulled the lever and the stars before me became white lines. We had made it.
Tarik came into the cockpit and fell relieved into the copilot-seat. "That was scarce, Nomi. Without you I would not have made it." He stretched his hand against me."You are a good pilot. I could need you. Do you want to come with me?" We shook hands and I said: "But only as equal partners. And we will call the ship Aquarius." He laughed. "O.k., Nomi." I was surprised that he agreed so fast. "Where we fly, Tarik?" He took a star map. "That is our destination - Nar Shaddaa. The smuggler moon. There we will bring the Aquarius to Shug's Space Barn, in order to make a few modifications. Shug Ninx is the best mechanic in the galaxy. He will please you." I laughed. "To Nar Shaddaa." At this night a long and profitable partnership began.

© Claudia Riedel 1999

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