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
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
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
© Claudia Riedel 1999