Disclaimer: All rights of Star Wars belong to Lucas Film Ltd.
The quote belongs to Francis Bacon (English philosopher and lawyer, who lived from 1561 until 1626).
I wrote this piece in a very thoughtful moment... I mean, every day, you can see in the daily news that many people died. No day passes, where no people die in war or because of assaults. I thought about that so much so many deaths and so much sorrow could be avoided if the humans wouldn't start new wars all the time. But I guess, that's one of the things, which will never happen.
Also in the holidays one of my teachers passed away- she had cancer.
I mean, I have never known her that much, but when death comes so sudden and abrupt- just half a year before,
she still taught us-it makes you think a lot.
Ok, I'll just stop my ramblings now.
Thank you very much SW Banshee, ApprenticeEternal and TriGemini for your reviews
"Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand-and melting like a snowflake..."
The man groaned and tried to sit up. But when he tried to do so, he felt a great weight on his chest, which pinned him down.
Deeper, deeper down- and now, when he opened his eyes, there was nothing but white.
He went rigid with sudden fear and panic.
No! He felt, as if he couldn't breathe anymore and he kicked wildly around.
Finally he recognized his surroundings. Hoth…the ice planet.
The man looked up, expecting to see the sky. Nothing. It was still white.
He would soon run out of air, his life suit hadn't been made to preserve air for a very long time. But who was he? And, more important, where was he?
He found himself to be laying on top of a broken snow speeder- how had he gotten there?
A piece of paper on the broken instrument panel caught his eye:
"Good luck, buddy. See you back at base. - Wes"
Wes….The man groaned and took his head in his hands.
He felt cold and his whole body hurt like hell….tired…so tired.
Maybe he should just lie down and sleep for just…a little bit.
Not long…just a nap.
His eyelids fluttered and his whole body felt indescribably heavy, but suddenly he heard another voice in his mind.
"Don't nod off, Klivian. Focus better on your flying. This TIE could have vaped you easily with a bit more effort on his part."
Wedge, Wedge Antilles's voice. He remembered now.
Derek Klivian….Hobbie Klivian. His name.
Wes...a laughing face, his own voice shouting: "Get back here, you nerf!"
There had been a battle against the Empire…He had flown this very snow speeder.
"C'mon, Hobbs. Just come back in one piece. Promise me, will you?"
He had looked up seriously, blue eyes meeting green ones.
"I will, Wes. Just pay attention yourself, buddy."
Wes…he had promised him to come back.
"Always keep your promises, Derek."
His mother- his sweet, caring mother had told him that once.
Weakly, he grasped at the remains of what seemed to have been the ejection seat of the snow speeder under him and stemmed himself against it, trying to get away from the deadly white mass and back to the light.
Blurred memories of screaming: "I'm hit! Red four is hit!"
"Eject, four ! Eject!"
Memories of not hitting the eject button in time, memories of crashing in one of the Imperials' war machines, then falling- falling- black.
He was close to panic again. Where was the surface?
No! He had to get out of here, had to tell…had to tell Wes.. that he was a man who stood to his promises and he didn't want to die.
Something over twenty years was much too young to die.
He spit out and felt more than saw the saliva drip in the the snow.
Satisfied, when he finally had the right direction, because the saliva would always drip in the direction of the planet's gravitation he shifted his body slightly and began to crawl upwards.
His left leg wouldn't obey him and he felt as if whole body would burn.
Sithspit! Hobbie coughed and winced.
Stay calm. Stay calm.
The stern voice cut into his thoughts quite abruptly.
"Behave like the soldiers that you are, men. Like steel and iron."
Soontir Fel , his former Imperial flying instructor at the academy had always told that the soon-to be TIE pilots…
Hobbie gasped strangely and black spots danced in front of his weary eyes.
He was flying, tumbling, crashing down.
Snow. Fire. Black. Grey.
Then a searing pain…black….no, a voice!
A voice he hadn't heard for so long…
"Rek! Rek! Save me, Derek! Rek! Please!"
A voice, once so happy, now distorted with pain and sorrow.
"Reeek!" Then- silence.
Lieutenant Derek "Hobbie" Klivian awoke with a start in sweat-drenched clothes.
He looked cautiously over to his long-time friend and room-mate Wes Janson.
The merry-faced pilote and self-appointed prankster king slept on, snoring softly.
Hobbie smiled relieved and chuckled a bit upon hearing Wes mumble in his sleep.
"Don' t wanna have kitchen duty again, Wedge!"
"Well" Hobbie told him softly, amused, "don't drive Wedge mad anymore then."
Wes blearily opened one eye and squinted. "Hob?"'
"Shush, Wes. Go back to sleep."
"Hm…" The other pilot closed his eyes again and snored on.
Slowly, Hobbie dressed himself and finally slipped in his boots.
He trembled and his whole body shook.
Talking about being like steel and iron, Hobbs. Really, get a grip on yourself!
It wasn't as if it hadn't happened before.
He was accustomed to recurring nightmares, but it had been such a long, long time since he had last heard her voice.
Wearily he shook his head and made his way to the door, his boots making soft padding sounds on the cold metallic ground of the base.
Tycho Celchu sat on the wing of his X-Wing, enjoying the night's light breeze.
Soft footsteps on the ground made him turn around.
When the person came closer, Tycho could make out a sandy mop of hair.
Only one man at the base had such hair.
"Hobbs, over here!" he called his friend quietly, wondering what on earth the other man was doing up that late.
Hobbie wandered closer. Tycho noticed the dark shadows under the other man's eyes and his pale appearance.
"Hobbie, are you alright?" he asked worriedly.
"Of course. Never been better."
Hobbie smiled and leaned casually against the X-Wing, but that effect was somewhat diminished by his erratic movements and the shaking hand he brought up to comb through his short hair.
Tycho saw right through him. "Come on, Hobbie and sit a little with me."
Hobbie hesitated, but then climbed next to him on the wing.
The Alderaanian looked firmly at his frantic friend.
Finally, when the other man remained silent, he sighed tiredly:
" I know, you're not alright Hobbie, so stop giving me these elusions you always come up with."
"Everything is alright."
The hard Ralltiirian accent in Hobbie's words was more audible than normally and Tycho regarded the friend with even more worry, when the other buried his head in his hands.
Hobbie stared at the ground for a long while after his words, trying to collect his thoughts. It had not just been a nightmare- he felt as if everything he had tried to forget over the years was catching up with him.
He glanced over to Tycho. The man had had it so much worse than him, there was no reason for him to be that miserable, really.
After a good ten minutes he lifted his head abruptly from his hands.
"Do you still remember the day we got Biggs back for that sand incident?"
If Tycho was surprised by this sudden change of topic, he hid it well.
His eyes twinkled happily when he laughed genuinely.
"Oh, yeah. It was fun, was it not?"
The tall Alderaanian continued, trying to lighten the strained mood, that hung over both pilots.
"I will always remember his expression, when he discovered his hair's lovely shade of blue in the next morning…"
Their flight instructor, Soontir Fel hadn't been so amused though.
It had earned both of them some lectures about discipline in the Imperial Academy and some months of kitchen duty.
Biggs was dead now though and it still left a sore taste in Tycho's mouth to think about how he wasn't even able to tell him how much he appreciated his friendship…
"One of the days we still could have fun."
Hobbie said morosely, startling the other out of his thoughts. He didn't look at Tycho yet he was aware of the frequent worried glances sent his way.
The ground had an unique design- from up here it was far more interesting.
Spirals and circles, competing with large scratches and quadratic forms left from the ships landing and starting.
A forgotten oil can stood on the ground just under his dangling boots.
Drip-drip. Oil seeped on the ground. Drip-drip.
Drip-drip. Ironic, wasn't it? If the can would be able to feel, would it feel the oil seep out of it?
Like energy and life leaving battle-weary bones, scattering all remains of what was a human before to the wind, leaving an empty shell, with no life of its own…
This time he wasn't able to suppress the shudder.
"Do you" he asked, swallowing before composing himself again "do you still remember their laughter, their voice?"
Tycho, who had caught the meaning of Hobbie's words quickly, since he had had similar thoughts no two minutes ago, stood up and looked for a long, long time to the entrance of the hangar and the dark midnight sky.
Hobbie almost thought he wasn't going to get an answer.
Tycho finally turned around again and looked at him, with eyes that had seen too much death.
"Yes, I do. My sister laughed a lot. I was always surprised how much she could laugh and how quickly she found something to be happy about. Sometimes I tried to shush her, for I felt embarrassed by her spontaneous outbursts. Now I only wish I could hear her laugh again and I regret all harsh words ever said in arguments."
"My sister used to laugh a lot as well" Hobbie whispered and Tycho had to strain his ears to understand his next words.
"She never took things seriously. Never. I was serious, whereas she was cheerful and out-going. …" Hobbie's eyes lost their focus.
"She had this kriffed heroic streak…wanted to support the local resistance movement…she knew she could confide in me…even if I was still supportive of the Empire and had not seen its true intentions then, I would have never said anything of it to anyone….yet I told her…told her that it was too dangerous… she wouldn't listen. She never listened to me. You see, she was still so young, not even sixteen…I was on leave…a proud and self-confident hotshot Academy pilot…she was so angry and she told me that she was able to take care of herself…"
"Leave me alone, you idiot!"
Trudie's brown eyes blazed with anger. "I am capable of looking after myself quite well, thank you." He was quite shocked at her outburst.
"Tru, I am only trying to be a good brother."
"So? And do you think I need a brother? One day, we'll get a note, stating We regret to inform you that Flight officer Derek Klivian was missed in action on our last assignment. He died as a loyal son of the empire'."
She continued, her voice shrill. " Then you'll be somewhere in the universe, your remains scattered everywhere in little atoms . We'll have no body to bury, no sorrow words to give.
Mother will cry. I will too, and you, you'll be no more, all because of your blasted heroic streak, fighting for a government, which is not even noble !"
He stared at her. "No, Trudie…"
She turned abruptly on her heel, using her small frame as an advantage to push herself through the crowd.
Her brother soon lost sight of her. "Trudie! Trudie! Come back!"
"The next morning I had to depart early, since my leave was over…"
Hobbie paused and added softly: "I never got to tell her that I was sorry and that I loved her…she never got the chance to join the resistance however as well, since some weeks later Imperial intelligence agents disguised as merchants killed Mum… She had connections to the local rebel cell. Her being as a mother didn't allow her to do as much as she would have liked….but her position of an important local Imperial commander's wife….allowed her to know…certain things."
Hobbie continued, seemingly oblivious to his companion.
"Mom…was dead immediately. Trudie …Trudie happened to be at the wrong place to the wrong time that day…"
Hobbie recalled his father's expression when he had informed his son of the tragedy.
His cold blue eyes had been neutral, of course, over the HoloNet it wasn't that easy to read a person's emotions, yet….
Whilst his son had had a hard time maintaining his composure during their talk, his father had seemed nearly unfazed by it all.
Joshua Klivian was a strict man, always sticking to discipline and rules, no matter how questionable those orders were.
He believed in the government, even if it was as visibly corrupt and repressive as the Empire.
He had never been very close to his children, for he was rather detached and only strict when one of them didn't follow the rules in his house.
Hobbie's belief in the Empire had been shattered after that episode…he wasn't such a naïve fool to believe the children's tale of merchants, who had been frustrated because his mother didn't want to buy their goods and had followed her home…no, Hobbie had suddenly understood the little incidents over the years, when his mother was out and he had to look after his little sister, her secretive, yet fierce smile when she returned, with the knowledge of having done something for the Galaxy's freedom, her tears when he told her he wanted to sign up at the Imperial Academy and become a TIE pilot…
Tycho looked at him in gentle understanding and Hobbie realized for the first time, that he had said everything out loud.
He fought the blush that was rising to his cheeks to no avail.
"I am sorry". He studied his boots, then looked finally up right in the other man's crystal blue eyes.
"I shouldn't have bothered you with these boring old family tales."
Tycho smiled at him friendly. "You didn't bother me, Hobbie. Believe me, it's good to have it off your chest…" His eyes darkened and Hobbie knew that he remembered Alderaan, his beautiful home planet, which had been destroyed by the Empire.
"When I comprehended who had destroyed Alderaan, loyal son of the Empire that I was, my whole world shattered in little pieces. As if…" his eyes closed momentarily " as if the light had suddenly been turned on, as if a veil was lifted from before my eyes…it felt as if my heart had suddenly stopped beating. I had never felt so clear before, when the initial shock wore off.
It felt as if someone had dragged me by the collar to the water of some icy lake and dunked me in head-first." He frowned thoughtfully.
Both men were silent for a while, lost in their own little world.
"Back on Ralltiir" Hobbie said, reminiscing those quiet evenings
"we had a custom called Starry night- Sternennacht. We remembered our loved ones in that night and planted little candles outside in the garden amidst the flowers. I vowed to do it some when now as well, since it's the week when it is celebrated on Ralltiir."
He glanced hesitantly at his Alderaanian friend.
"Would you like to come with me?"
"I would like that very much."
Hobbie smiled at him, glad to have some company.
They went out of the base without getting questioned by anyone as to where they were going.
After some time of walking in the lush, green meadows, they reached a small hill.
The planet where they were stationed temporarily was beautiful, its climate mild; the days warm and the nights cool.
Fireflies were in the air around them, some local animals somewhere made guttural sounds and the soft moonlight illuminated the pilots' faces.
Frankly, it was a peaceful atmosphere, one seldom found in their daily fight to stay alive.
Hobbie took the candles out of his bag and planted them on the ground.
He lit a match and soon all candles burned with a fierce flame.
After a little while, the flames got higher and Tycho watched intrigued, never having seen such candles before.
They sparkled and danced, some of them emitted coloured sparks: red, green, yellow and blue.
Their glow had a calming effect and Tycho found himself almost nodding off when suddenly a shape appeared in the flames.
Tycho gasped softly, seeing the face of his long-dead mother looking back at him, her image dancing in the soft light of the candle.
Nyiestra joined her, looking sadly at her former betrothed.
"Are they real, Hobbie?" Tycho's voice wavered, but he managed to maintain his composure.
"Yes and no, Tycho. Nobody has ever been able to understand the complexity of the Sternennacht candles. Some say, the candles show those, who you desire to see in the depths of your heart…"
He trailed off and his gaze wandered to the stars above.
"A wise woman told me once, everything is connected with the stars. She told me, that it was a miracle and she always laughed.
The stars, she said to me, the stars have been there, when I wasn't even born, the stars will be there,when you, my boy, will be a grown man and the stars will be there when your children are old and you have long died...No matter what, you can rely on the stars.
People die, speeders crash, buildings collapse…but the stars are there. Forever."
Tycho sat next to Hobbie in silence, remembering his father's words.
"If we are not there anymore for you one day, just remember to go on.
Remember us and honour your memories, but do not dwell on times past.
Do not spend your whole life thinking about those who you left behind, son."
Sometimes Derek Klivian, Rebel Alliance pilot, liked to remember a single frost flower that had been on the window pane of his speeder on that fateful day on Hoth.
And if he happened to get a glimpse of the starry sky afterwards, he always smiled.