05.06.2005 19:41 - A Little Job on the Side.
I first saw the kid in this dirty little bar on the edge of town, near the docks. It wasn't a nice place to hang out, and he stuck out like a sore thumb in his farmboy gear. Normally I'd have given him a miss, but times were hard, business was bad, we had upset several people that you don't want to upset, and my partner figured he'd landed us a prime job. Besides, the kid turned out to be more than I bargained for. He was in tow with some old guy. I figured him for the sort of desert rat who's gone a little sun-crazy and started believing in magic - that was, until the fight. Farm-boy, it seems, had caught the eye of two of the nastier inhabitants of the bar, who thought he'd be an easy target. They hadn't reckoned with the crazy old man. One of them put his hand on the old guy a little too roughly - and the old guy sliced his whole arm off with one of those lightsabre things the old Jedi used to use.
That was when I started to wonder what I'd gotten myself into.
The old guy offered me a fortune to fly him, the kid, and his two droids to Alderaan. Of course, they didn't want any entanglements with the local law-enforcement, but then, if you ask a guy like me to fly you for five times the going commercial lines charges, then you obviously don't want to tangle with the local law-enforcement. I made a mistake in bullshitting about parsecs. By the look on the old guy's face, he'd flown a lot, and he wasn't about to fall for anything. Personally, I just wanted to take them into low orbit and flush them out the airlock, but my partner has a big regard for anyone with a lightsabre. Besides, he'd heard that the old guy had faced down a whole troup of Stormtroopers, grinned and waved his hand, and they'd left him alone.
I had a sneaking feeling that if we had tried to flush them out of the airlock, we'd have been the ones who ended up sucking space. What really did it for me was the hired goon who tried to collect on me just before we took off. Every body says I did it in self-defence but the truth is, he was an amateur. It was him or me. I drew first. I don't regret it. I made a habit of shooting first and asking questions afterward in those days.
Of course, you've heard the story a thousand times, although these days every time it gets retold they seem to change a lot of the little details. The old coot turns out to be the last surviving Jedi, and the kid turns out to be the son of another Jedi who'd flipped out, had a go at the old coot and ended up falling in a volcano. Next thing I know, we're sucked into this huge battlestation, and end up rescuing some senator who's been held on suspicion of terrorism. The old guy gets cut down by the bad guy, who's been turned into a walking iron lung and is a bit pissed off, to say the least. Next thing I know, the kid's volunteered for a suicide mission against this planet-cracking space station, because he thinks he's some sort of ace flyboy, and I only just managed to save his neck.... Well, I was really saving my own. My partner has a big thing about the Jedi and what they did for his people, and you don't want to get my partner upset.
Anyway, that's how we ended up being stuck with the Rebellion. Things went a little funny between me and the Senator, and I found myself between a rock and a hard place - quite literally - with her on one side, and a whole fleet of imperial cruisers on the other. I try and get us all out of a fix by calling in an old debt, only to find I'd been bought and sold, and Luke's Dear Old Dad turned out to be still pissed off about the volcano thing.
Next thing I know, I'm stuck in a carbonite block being used as a combined coffee table and conversation-piece back on Tatooine for the next few years. If you think That was bad, things had gone completely pear-shaped by the time they unfroze me. It turns out that miss High-and-Mighty is actually the Kid's twin sister, the kid's been trained by some green midget and lost a hand, and that it's all my fault, and Dad's off building a bigger, better Mk2 battlestation, although the fact that I'd been caught putting the moves on his daughter tends to explain the coffee-table thing.
Anyway, it all turned out for the best. I think. Ok, so the kids are taking after their uncle a bit too much, and these days it's General Solo this and General Solo that, and I somehow seem to have ended up married to the Government, and the whole Galaxy wants me to do something about the taxes, and what about the drains on Dantooine, and we're having to live on Coruscant in an apartment where the landlord is a bigger criminal than I ever was.
I wonder, sometimes, what would have happened if we'd told the old guy to get lost.