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Marie Wadsworth

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SWFF: Last of the Jedi Episode VII
By Marie Wadsworth
Saturday, April 21, 2012

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Luke runs into some Imperial trouble when he departs from Tatooine; Han and Wedge come to his aide.

Episode VII

Tatooine loomed before Luke ominously.
Artoo beeped at him. The message about their present location scrolled in front of him.
"Yeah, I know," he murmured.
He felt slightly odd about it too. Here he was in Tatooine's orbit. A planet he'd swore never to return.
He cut his light speed engines, letting his X-Wing coast into the atmosphere of the planet that looked like a pillar of sand.
His fingers clutched reflectively, making a fist with his mechanical hand. Why am I here? Is it the Force? Or something else?
He didn't really come up with the answer.
Artoo beeped, shaking him out of his introspective thoughts. The droid's question blicked on the screen before him.
"We're here now," he replied. "Let's take a run through Beggar's Canyon, shall we?"
Switching the controls to manual, Luke leveled out his X-Wing. He began in the same spot where Biggs, himself and other farmer's sons raced as youths. He pushed his X-Wing forward full throttle.
The canyon was full of hazards. Sand people would stake out the canyon and take shots at anything that moved.
He haphazardly spun his X-Wing past rock formations. Artoo squealed in protest when the X-Wing barely missed getting grazed by several mountain peaks.
A group of sand people was watching the canyon. They raised their long rifles with every intention of blowing the X-Wing out of the skies.
Artoo beeped in warning. He ignored the droid. Instead, he closed his eyes, trusting in his natural piloting instincts and the Force flowing through him.
Shots rickashayed off the rock formations in the canyon as he guided his X-Wing over mountainous ridges.
According to his calculations, R2 didn't know how Luke had managed to escape from the canyon unscathed. He emitted a small beep of relief as X-Wing flew clear of the canyon and Luke began making the calculations to make the jump to light speed. Just as his right gloved hand drifted toward the button that would send them into light speed, a flicker in the Force jolted through him.
He sensed danger. He briefly closed his eyes deepening his concentration to pinpoint where the danger was.
He got his answer a split second later. Six Imperial T-Fighters dropped in overhead. Obviously the Imperials recognized the Alliance symbols and markings on the back side of his cockpit. They began to chase after him with their guns blazing.
Taking evasive action, he prepared for a fight.
Wedge Antilles was flying a reconnaissance mission. As he came around the curve of Tatooine, he saw six Imperial ships engaging a sole X-Wing.
He quickly punched in a drastic change of course, turning his ship toward the battle. As he came within range, four more Tie-Fighters dropped in. He gritted his teeth. He let his fingers instinctly move to the buttons in front of him.
Repetitively raining at his enemies, he knew he and the mystery X-Wing were seriously outnumbered.
Han cut into the sub light engines dropping the Falcon out of light speed.
He scanned the space lying before him. He didn't need any nav computer to tell him where he was.
The crusty surface of Tatooine glowed at him. Tatooine, a bad penny that keeps turning up on me.
He shook his head in disgust. He couldn't think of a planet he hated more than Tatooine.
"Chewie, why in Hell did you set the ships' coordinates for Tatooine?"
Chewie barked at him argumentatively. Apparently Tatooine was the last programmed destination that had been programmed into the computer.
Han rolled his eyes. "Get us the Hell out of here."
Chewie let him have it. Screaming, the Wookie gestured expansively at the devices before him.
"What are you blabbering about you, crazy fur ball?" He said, his voice heavily laced with sarcasm.
Chewie roared angrily at him, pointing to the blips on the monitoring device before them.
He glanced over at the blips on the screen before him. He slid back into his pilot's chair. "Those are bad odds," he said with a mixture of sarcasm and seriousness. "And you know how I feel about odds."
Han maneuvered the Falcon toward the battle between the 10 Imperial ships and two X-Wings.
Haphazardly he flew his ship into the battle. He immediately opened fire on the Tie-Fighters, taking them by surprise.
He flipped a switch on the console in front of him. As two T-Fighters turned to space dust, a loud, roguish Corellian bellow echoed over open comm channels.
His fellow Correllian's hoot of deviance made Wedge laugh, thinking how the arrival of the Falcon couldn't have been better timed. With the odds in the Imperials' favor, he knew he could use all the help he could get.
Although a talented pilot himself, he just couldn't ignore the constant, insistent blips on his scopes. He had one Imperial ship hot on his tail. He tried everything and still couldn't shake him.
"Chewie," Han snapped at his co-pilot.
The Wookie took over the controls as his partner headed for the cockpit door.
Han barreled through the ship in a run. He slid down the ladder into the Falcon's gun pod. Settling himself into the seat inside the ship's gun pod, he grabbed the headsets dangling above him. Putting the headsets over his ears, he flipped a switch. "Chewie?"
An affirming grumble greeted him. He gripped the trigger mechanism in front of him. The computer monitor showed a grid, divided into squares, showing him where the Imperials were.
His fingers brushed the trigger, a fond memory flooded him.
He recalled a time when the Falcon made its escape from the first Death Star. The Empire had sent Tie Fighters after them. He and Luke, who was much younger and not even a Jedi then, manned the Falcon's guns.
He repetitively fired at the enemy ships. He wished the Kid was there. He could sure use him. Actually, now that he thought about it he wouldn't be in this mess if it hadn't been for the Kid.
Luke's a Jedi Knight. He shouldn't be causing as much trouble as he does. Luke was supposed to be the hero, not him.
He sighed. The mystery X-Wing swung around behind the Imperial craft hot in pursuit of Wedge. It skimmed past the shots and then blew away the pesky Tie-Fighter in one shot.
Wedge breathed a sigh of relieve. He turned his head just in time to see the mystery X-Wing blow away two other Tie Fighters.
Wedge opened his comm channels. "Can you read me, Falcon?"
Han's staticiky yet familiar voice replied. "Is that you, Antilles?"
"Yep," Wedge said. "Were you expecting someone else?"
"Sort of," Han said illusively.
"It's a long story," Han said dryly. "I rather not go into it right now."
"I see," Wedge mused. "Actually I'm surprised you’re out this way, Han, but then again I expected to find you where the trouble is."
Han muttered curses under his breath as the Tie-Fighters flew around them like locusts. The mystery X-Wing shot showed off some impressive piloting maneuvers by blasting two more Tie-Fighters.
Wedge muttered. "Nice."
"Yeah," Han said. "But don't you think we should help him out?"
"Roger," Wedge remarked firing at two Ties flittering like fireflies.
He made the kills on his third and fourth shots. A confident burst of mirth escaped from Wedge's lips as he vaped two enemy ships.
"Don't get cocky," Han reminded him.
The words were only too familiar. He'd said them to Luke as they escaped from the first Death Star.
Han destroyed one of the four remaining Ties. The mystery X-Wing twisted flying between two enemy ships, zapping them into bursts of flame, leaving one remaining.
"Hot damn!" Han muttered impressed.
Now outnumbered, the sole Tie quickly jumped to light speed.
Wedge left his comm connection to Falcon open so Han could hear him hail the other X-Wing. "Alliance X-Wing, thanks for your sharp shooting."
There was no response; and that puzzled Wedge.
He tried again. "Alliance X-Wing, do you read me?"
A staticiky voice filtered across the comm channel. "I read you. I'm fine."
"Glad to hear it. I'd hate to see Imperials take out good Alliance pilots," Han remarked flippantly.
"Where do pilots like you hide out anyway?" Wedge said echoing Han's sentiments. "I need good pilots for Rogue Squadron."
The X-Wing's pilot laughed softly over the open comm channel.
There's something awfully familiar about that laugh, Han thought.
Suddenly it became clear who the mystery X-Wing pilot was. It was Luke.
Wedge figured out the same thing a split second later when he recognized the familiar symbols and markings on the back of the X-Wing's cockpit.
Without saying a word, Luke throttled the converters of his X-Wing, jumping into light speed.
Han watched Luke's ship streak brilliantly into the heavens.
Wedge said. "What was Luke doing here?"
"I have no idea," Han said. "But I'm heading back."
After he switched off his communication channels, he rose, climbed out of the gun pod and drifted back to the cockpit.

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