Luke sighed as the meeting continued. Two months had passed since the Emperor was defeated, and still the Empire continued it's death grip on the galaxy. Everyday had been the same. He'd sit and listen as The Rebel leaders would argue over their next move, occasionally asking him for input. "General Skywalker?" Leia asked rousing him from his boredom.
"Are you with us?" she asked with a knowing smile. She knew Luke wasn't made for politics. "Yes, I'm sorry I haven't slept much." He lied. Really he wasn't even paying attention to what was happening. He suddenly got a mental image through the force of the meeting. Apparently they'd been speaking of recruiting other planets to the cause. He was impressed. Leia had excelled at use of the force. "If you require me to leave and find more planets to join the New Alliance I'd be more than happy to." Luke said. God knew he could use a break. "This mission could take months, maybe even years. Are you sure your up to it?" General Nadine asked. He and Luke had become quite close since his defection from the Empire. "Yes I'm sure. It would give me a good opportunity to find other force sensitives. Perhaps we could find planets to join and restart the order all at once." With that the meeting concluded as Luke stood. "You're lucky you've been teaching me to communicate through the force." Leia said as Luke turned to his twin sister. "I owe you one. So any Ideas where to start?"
"Well it depends on how far out you want to go. The outer rim has multiple planets that might join. But if you want to start closer you may want to try Jakku, Hoblim, and Devaron. Seeing as the Empire pulled out recently." Luke nodded he knew Devaron may be asking alot seeing as it was an Imperial military planet up until a year earlier, but it was possible. Jakku only had scavengers but it's possible he could make deals with them for parts. Hoblim he'd not heard of however. "Hoblim.. I've never heard of it what's the dominate species?"
"No one really knows. it's majority is wild animals, however there are stories of sentient life so you could try." Luke considered his options. "What about Kamino? They helped the Jedi before, perhaps they'd be willing to help again."
"You could try. But seeing as you're probably going to want to take your X-Wing I suggest you use this." Leia said holding out an earpiece. "It's a modified form of communicator. It takes any form of language and Translates it to Basic. It's similar to a protocol droid without the annoyance of a protocol droid. It's still in testing but if it works well we may have an advantage over the Empire." Luke chuckled as he took the translator. "I'll test it out. If it works we can make more so our field troops can communicate easier."
"May the Force be with you Luke." Leia said hugging her brother tightly. "and also with you." Luke replied returning the hug. With that Luke made his way to the hanger where R2-D2 was waiting. "You ready R2?" R2 responded with his standard beeps and whistles as Luke smiled. "I know it has been too long. Hopefully we can have a little R&R this time." Luke said climbing into the cockpit. As he settled in the mechanical technition approached. "Sir, we looked over your engines on General Solo's orders. The wiring is damaged but should make it to Kamino. I suggest you take a look at it when you arrive."
"Understood captain." Luke replied as he fired up the engines. As soon as the cockpit hatch snapped shut, he took off towards Kamino. The journey was rather uneventful. He'd arrived at Kamino and had spoke to the head of the planet who was more than willing to help after hearing what the Clones had been forced to do during order 66. "I was sickened when our clones were used to kill the Jedi. Perhaps this way we can make amends. We are not a Military planet, but we can aide as a medical facility for the new republic." Luke bowed and thanked the Kaminan King, before checking his engines. Deciding the wiring wasn't as bad as the technition made it out to be, and left. "Alright R2, let's go check out this Hoblin." As they flew Luke considered what he would say. If this planet was under Empire control, he was taking a huge risk. But there's a good chance that it was neutral. If it was, he'd be safe to talk with the creatures of the planet. As they approached the Planet Luke took in it's sight. It looked almost like a mix of Lothall, Tattoine, and Hoth. The bottom was majority Ice and Snow, 1/3 of the far side of the planet appeared to be mainly desert, and about 3/4 was land every where there wasn't snow. Luke began his approach. "R2 find a good place to -" BOOM a massive explosion from Luke's left wing rocked the ship. "Mayday this is Luke Skywalker I have suffered massive failure in my left engine. I am going down. I repeat I am going down!" Luke cried out as the planet's gravity pulled him to the ground. He saw grass and a massive rock formation before slamming into the ground.
"Woah! Taka did you see that huge bird?"
"It landed over there. Let's go check it out!"
"Mufasa I really don't think..."
"What's wrong, chicken?" The golden cub said as he ran towards the billowing cloud of smoke. Quickly his brother followed, and within minutes they arrived. There they saw a twisted wreck. Both brothers went wide eyed as they looked around. Some of the metal bird was burning. Even more was twisted and mangled. And in the center... "Mufasa look a two leg! We better hide now! " Mufasa didn't argue and the two ran towards the bushes to hide. Luke groaned as he opened his eyes. It hurt to breath, and his back felt like it was on fire. Slowly he stood. "R2? R2! Damn." He said looking around. Behind him the cockpit was a massive wreck. It was clear the ejection seat had been activated by R2. Luke hadn't thought of using it. Slowly he made his way to the mangled cockpit. Reaching inside he grabbed his medkit, lightsaber, and translator. Slowly and gingerly he stripped of the top part of his flight suit, helmet , and shirt before beginning to tend to his wounds. His ribs were definitely broken. The bruise on his side told him that. His back was also burned from the heat of the crash if his shirt was anything to go by. He took a few pain pills, wrapped his torso, and injected himself with a syringe of bacta. Slowly he took baring of his surroundings. He was in what appeared to be a grassland. Very few trees could be seen, but the large rock formation seemed to be able to be seen from anywhere.
He could sense something dangerous nearby. He also sensed two small life forms about the size of children. Within seconds one of the life forms was running toward him. The other remained just by the bushes. They looked like massive house cats. Quickly he put the translator in his ear. "-un Taka the beast is coming!" The golden furred cat said running by him. "What about the two leg?" The brown furred cat asked before letting out a surprised yell as a massive hand lifted him up. Luke looked on in shock as a Bull Rancor picked up the young cub. Taka bit hard on the Rancor's hand before getting one of the rancors claws across his face in response. Luke didn't hesitate to activate his lightsaber and run towards the bull rancor. Using the force to enhance his speed he quickly cut off the arm holding the cub. Now with the rancor's attention on him, he quickly jumped onto the Rancor's back and sliced downwards. The rancor quickly grabbed him and squeezed causing Luke to scream in agony as his broken ribs were agitated. The golden cub rushed to the other's side as the Rancor brought Luke to his mouth. Quickly he slashed at the Rancor's face as it brought him closer and closer to his mouth. As the rancor struggled to recover Luke ran his blade into the Rancor's skull, killing him instantly.
Luke slowly got to his feet holding his ribs. Looking toward the young cub the Rancor had, he saw the other trying to wake him. "Taka get up! Please! " Luke slowly walked to the two and knelt before opening his medkit again. The cub's eye was bleeding and the cub was unconscious as well, his head had hit a rock. "He'll be okay. What's your name?"
"M-Mufasa sir. This is my brother Taka." Luke smiled and began cleaning Taka's eye gently, before wrapping a bandage around it. He then checked the wound on the cub's head. It wasn't fatal. "He'll have a nasty bump, but he should be okay. " Luke said taking another syringe of bacta out. "What is that? Get away!" Mufasa yelled standing over his brother. "It's okay. This is medicine. It'll help him heal up. I've not done anything to hurt him and I don't plan on starting now." Slowly the cub moved and layed down by his brother with tears in his eyes, as Luke injected the bacta intoTaka's forepaw. "He needs rest." Luke said as he picked the injured cub up. "I'll help you get him home. If that rancor could sneak up on us, then who knows what else could." Luke said as Mufasa stared at him. "No I can't let you come. Dad doesn't trust two legs. They killed his mom." Luke knew it was not worth arguing over. He could find somewhere to make camp. "Alright. Well find someone you can trust to get your brother. He can't make it on his own, and you're too small to carry him. I'll keep him safe okay?" Mufasa looked from Taka to the two leg who had helped him. "Where will you go?" Mufasa asked as Luke layed the cub by a small fire from the ship wreckage. "I'll be here. Just go get some help okay?"
Mufasa nodded and ran towards the formation as Luke sat down against the remnants of his X-Wing. He closed his eyes and rested for a short time. He awoke to the sound of groaning. "Easy." Luke said rubbing a hand over the young Cub's back. "I can't see out of my eye." Luke continued to rub the cub's back while sending comfort through the force. "It's okay I had to cover your eye so it didn't get infected. You had a pretty nasty cut."
"Wh-where's Muffy?" Taka asked relaxing into Luke's touch. "He went to find help. Just lay still ok?" Taka nodded as he looked up at the two leg gently caressing him. His father had told him two legs were violent, dangerous creatures. But this one seemed kind, caring, and loving. "What's your name?"
"I'm Prince Taka."
"You're royalty?" Taka nodded. "My dad rules everything around here." Luke considered his options. If the king were these cubs' dad, then it's possible he may be able to make a deal with him. Still, Mufasa said that the king didn't trust two legs. If that was true, the only way he could make a deal was if the king were grateful he'd saved his cubs. Luke continued to think before he realized he was beginning to struggle to do so. It felt as though a fog was running through his mind. Slowly he found himself sliding down the steel wing, and just before his world went dark, he heard a thunderous roar.
When he awoke he realized two things, the 1st was he was in a cave. The second, he was completely naked. He could also feel something small and furry lying on his lap and stomach. Looking around he saw different lions around him, most of which were asleep though some were staring at him. Looking at his lap he realized that the furry thing was Taka. The bandage had been stained red. But the cub was clearly asleep. His clothes were piled beside him, not folded in the way he always did. In fact, they weren't folded at all. Slowly Luke sat up, careful not to wake the sleeping cub in his lap. "How do you feel two leg? " a male voice questioned. "A little tired. Really cold." Luke answered truthfully. The male lion approached, he had golden fur, a black mane, and stunning green eyes. He gently layed against Luke's bare body, and licked the young cub on his lap gently. "My name is Ahadi. I rule these lands. From what my cubs tell me your name is Luke , and you saved them from the beast?"
Luke nodded before asking the question foremost on his mind. "Why am I naked?"
"Naked? I'm afraid I don't understand." Luke picked up one of his boots. "Why aren't these things still on me?"
"Ah yes, that would be Rafiki's doing. He had to remove them to make sure you were healthy everywhere. From his examination you have 3 broken ribs, a concussion, and a cracked arm. Your back seemed to be the worst however. He said it was burned." Luke took all the information in. "May I speak to him?" The king smiled. "He'll return tomorrow morning. You may speak with him then. I must know however, how did you get here?"
"My ship crashed. I'd just woken up when your cubs were attacked."
"Why did you help them?" Luke thought for a moment. Why had he saved two lion cubs he knew nothing about? "I'm a Jedi Knight. I help those who are in danger or need. I keep peace wherever I can. I helped them because they needed it." Ahadi stared at the two leg before him. "I know not of a Jedi. Nor do I know of what a Jedi does. But you saved my cubs. For that, I owe you my life. You also killed the beast that has terrorized this kingdom for generations. For that, my pride and Kingdom owe you our lives. If ever you need anything, ask and it will be given to you. For now however rest. Your body needs it."
"Where am I?" Luke asked as Ahadi began to walk away. "Pride Rock." The king answered without looking at him. Luke could sense the unease of the male before him. "Mufasa told me what happened to your mother. I don't expect you to trust me. But I mean your kind no harm." Ahadi stopped. "I was only a cub when she died. She was killed in front of me. If not for my father, I'd be dead. Only a few times have your kind approached these lands since. Each time I've chased them away. If you hadn't saved my cubs, I'd have left you where you were. Please, do not make me a fool two leg."
"As long as you allow me to stay, I will protect this kingdom. I owe you that much for tending to me." The king turned to face Luke. "You truely don't wish us harm, do you?" Luke smiled before replying. "No I don't I will not harm anyone here unless it's in self defense." Ahadi looked at the human. "Perhaps I was wrong about your kind. Perhaps not. If you do act out of self defense so be it. But know this, If I ever discover you've harmed any member of our pride without reason, I won't hesitate to kill you. Somehow I don't think it will come to that though."
"I promise you I won't." Luke replied meaning every word. Even through the force he could sense the lion calming. "Very well, try and sleep, your still weak, and your body could use it."
The king said as Luke winced as Taka stretched scratching Luke's thigh with his hind claws. "Would you like me to take him? He was worried you would have nightmares. He wanted to be able to comfort you if it happened." Luke smiled and scratched behind Taka's ears earning a soft purr. "No, I like his company. I would like to at least put my pants on. It's pretty cold in here." Ahadi had no idea what the two leg was talking about, but he took Taka long enough for the two leg to put the lower coverings back on himself.
"Thanks for your help. I'd like to see what I can salvage from my ship tomorrow. I had extra clothes and food. Hopefully they survived." Ahadi smiled, "You're welcome. As for your ship, that is for Rafiki to decide. He is the one caring for your wounds. You will have to ask him when he arrives." Luke bowed his head in gratitude and began to lie down. Noticing how uncomfortable the human was Ahadi made an offer. "Lay against me Luke. It would be more comfortable for you." Luke gratefully layed against his side. "Dad? " Luke looked over to see Mufasa approaching cautiously. "It's okay son. The two leg won't hurt us." Mufasa approached slowly and nuzzled his brother. "You didn't happen to get my medkit did you? I'd like to change Taka's bandage."
"Again I'm not sure what you mean. I'm sorry. This Medkit, what is it?" Luke smiled. "It's fine. A medkit holds bandages, medicine, and a number of other things. Most of which are used for survival. It had a red symbol on it. This one. " he said holding up the flight suit. "Oh yes I saw it. We left it there with the silver thing. "
"Can you send someone to get them? It's very important I have them both. " The king seemed hesitant. "It's dangerous to go out at night. I'll see if the morning hunt team can retrieve them. Will Taka be alright until then?"
"When will they go?"
"Around 2 hours from now, at 1st light."
"He should be fine as long as I have it soon. Hopefully the bacta I gave him is helping him to heal."
"Bacta? Is that the stuff Mufasa said you put in his paw? " Luke nodded. "It's a special medicine. It can heal a variety of injuries but works best on cuts and broken bones." Ahadi gently licked Mufasa whom was drifting to sleep. "Thank you for helping Taka. He hasn't been making friends easily. I feel badly, everytime I try to do something with my cubs something happens in the kingdom that needs my attention. Yesterday I overheard Taka asking Uru, my mate, if I still loved him."
"A king's duty is never done." Luke said as Ahadi smiled. "You are wise Luke. Sleep. We've talked long enough." Luke nodded layed back and shut his eyes. Within minutes he was fast asleep.
He awoke a few hours later as the sun peaked through the entrance to the cave, which was now quite empty except for Mufasa, Taka, Ahadi, a lioness he had yet to meet and a monkey. "Ah good finally you wake!" The monkey said checking his ribs. "Da king said you wished to speak with Rafiki, well go on!"
"I wanted to go see what I could salvage from my ship. King Ahadi said it would be up to you." Luke said suddenly aware that this was the healer the king had talked about.
"I see no harm, as long as you have someone with you."
"I'll go with him. I'd like to get to know the human who saved my cubs. " The lioness said looking thoughtfully at Luke. "How bad am I? Anything serious?" Rafiki finished his exam of Luke as Ahadi placed Luke's medkit and Lightsaber down by him. "As I told da king, your back is de worst. Some pretty bad burns. Now turn around! Rafiki needs to rub this on dem!" Luke looked at the dark green paste that Rafiki had as the scent of aloe reached his nose. Slowly he turned around exposing his back to all present. "Great kings!" Uru said as she saw his blistered back. "Well whatever you did is making a difference. Much better than what Rafiki saw yesterday. Only some blisters now!" He said as he rubbed the cool paste on Luke's back. Once Rafiki had finished, he placed a new bandage on to Luke's back. Seemingly made of a large leaf. "Keep dis on. It will heal your back in no time."
Luke nodded before motioning to Taka to approach.
Taka slowly approached and allowed Luke to remove his bandage. Ahadi snarled as he saw the gash on his sons face. It had still been bleeding slightly when the bandage was removed, and Luke had no doubt it would leave a scar. He also mentally cursed himself as he'd forgotten to stitch the young cub up. Gently luke cleaned the wound again, as Taka sniffled in pain. "Still sore?" Luke asked stopping. Taka nodded as he tried not to cry. It felt as though he was getting a sharp stick dug into his eye. Luke smiled and gently washed the wound as Rafiki looked on. "Rafiki has herbs that will help the young prince."
"You'd best get them. I'm going to have to stitch this up." Rafiki nodded and walked out as Luke pulled out a needle and surgical thread. "What are you planning to do with that?" Ahadi asked. "I'm going to stitch this wound shut. It should have been done before I dressed his wound. I'd give him a numbing agent, but I don't have any." Luke said as he picked up the now threaded needle. "Is it necessary?" Uru asked noting the fear in Taka's eyes. Luke nodded. "It will help the wound heal, and will help it stop bleeding." Ahadi seemed apprehensive to allow Luke to do this. "If it will help him, please do it." Uru said as Taka's eyes went wide. Still he didn't struggle as Luke began to bring the needle to his eye. "Wait!" Rafiki said returning with a number of fruits and plants, as well as a large turtle shell. He threw a number in and ground them together with a stone before rubbing the mixture on the cut. "It will numb him." He told Luke who was impressed at the Mandrils' knowledge.
After a few minutes had passed he began to stitch the wound shut as Rafiki watched in interest having never seen the procedure before. He also asked questions as to how long the stitches would remain, if they would have to be changed, and the importance of them. Luke gladly answered all questions as he finished and cut the thread, before tying it off. Taka layed still the entire time feeling only what felt like tapping around his cut. "Am I done?" He asked as Luke placed the needle in a side compartment. "Not yet. I have to dress your wound." Taka nodded and allowed a fresh bandage to be wrapped around his head. "Come see me tomorrow morning. We'll change the bandage again, okay?" Taka nodded as he returned to his mother and father.
"Well, if you're ready Luke, let's go." Uru said. Luke nodded and stood forgoing a shirt because of the intense heat of the day and the fact that he wasn't sure how much it might aggrivate his Burns. "Mom can we come?" Mufasa asked. Uru looked to Ahadi who gave a stiff nod and turned to her son. "You may. But who will stay with Taka? Remember he needs to be here so he can rest." Mufasa cringed. "I didn't think about that." Uru smiled. "We won't be long Mufasa. Besides, your mother is right. Someone needs to stay with Taka." Luke said as Mufasa smiled. "I'll stay with him. Besides if I'm going to be king, I have to protect the pride!" Luke smiled as Mufasa gently nuzzled his brother. Before he and Uru left for the wreckage. "So, where are you from Luke?" Uru asked as they left Pride Rock. "A distant planet called Tatooine originally. Though recently I've taken residence on a different planet, Corresaunt." Uru smiled. "I'd heared stories of there being other worlds as a cub, but I never believed it was true." Uru said as they continued. "It's true, believe me."
"Do you have any cubs of your own?"
"No, I'm not even married yet. though I hope I will be one day."
"I'm certain you'd make a great mate." Uru responded as Luke smiled. "Thank you." As they continued to walk Uru asked questions, how old he was, why he wore the coverings on his body, and how Luke had arrived in the Pridelands. Luke answered each one and also asked a few of his own. Within what seemed like only a few minutes, (Though Luke knew it was closer to a half an hour.) They were approaching the charred remains of his X-Wing.
Luke approached and looked around grimly at the ship. He hadn't realized it before, but he didn't recognise most of the pieces anymore. Some were quite obvious. 2 of his wings were still intact, the cockpit, though a charred and mangled mess, was recognizable. An engine layed about 500 feet away, almost completely intact. A landing gear layed against a rock bent at multiple different angles. slowly he approached the still smoking cockpit and looked inside. His blaster, which he'd forgotten to grab along with his gloves was nearly melted to the seat. his gloves were barely recognizable only a few pieces of leather of what had been a full glove. Walking 20 feet away towards another piece of wreckage he saw a familiar blue dome. "R2." The droid had been badly damaged. The dome had been nearly caved in, the sensor that served as his eyes, shattered. the center leg was broken in two, and the cylinder body was nearly bent at a 20 degree angle. It appeared the droid had tried to bail after ejecting Luke. "What is this thing?" Uru asked as Luke checked some of the vital components of his R2 unit. "My droid. Well more of a freind than a droid. He saved my life when the ship went down. Looks like we may be able to reactivate him. His memory chips are still intact, so are most of his CPU components." Luke looked at the large piece of wreckage his droid had come to rest by. He recognized the paint on the side. "This is it, the fuselage. If anything survived it would be in here." he said activating his lightsaber and cutting through the remnants of the cargo door. He wasn't surprised at what he saw. The two crates of food had burned in the crash. One of his two packs of clothes were destroyed as well. picking up what little was salvagable he layed it out on a flat piece of steel he was sure had once been a piece of wing. Inside the clothing pack he'd found his brown jedi robes, a black pair of pants, and a tank top,
Inside the other damaged containers he found a few cans of food that he was sure were still edible, a half charred shirt which he planned on using for either bandages, or to make new clothing, a tool kit, and a few other pieces of charred clothing that could be useful for various means. he also found his bed roll and blanket, which surprisingly wasn't badly damaged, and an extra blaster. Everything else had been destroyed. He picked up one of the charred containers and dumped the destroyed contents out before filling it with the salvagable items. The only things he kept on him were the blaster, and tank top, which he decided was for the best seeing as he was getting burned from the sun. He picked up the container and with Uru's help they returned to pride rock.
"Mayday! This is Luke Skywalker I've suffered massive failure in my left engine I am going down! Repeat I am going down!" Leia had heared just after feeling a disturbance in the force. That had been nearly 15 hours ago and Luke hadn't been heard from since. Han had been screaming into the radio trying to get Luke to answer, but nothing would be heard other than static. "General Skywalker come in!"
"Luke come in!"
"Damn it Luke answer!"
"HAN! Stop please!" Leia cried as Han continued. He'd been trying for at least 3 hours with no result. "Leia, I.."
"I'm nervous too, Han, but screaming into a radio isn't going to solve anything."
"We need to find him Leia. We'll send Rogue Squadron. They'll find him. If they could find us on Hoth.."
"Han we don't even know where to look! It would be like looking for a needle in a haystack!" Han let his new Wife's words sink in. She was right. Luke could be anywhere from the outer rim to The Jedi Temple on Corresaunt. "We know he was on Kamino, did they reply?"
"Luke didn't tell them. He didn't tell anyone. Listen, I know he's alive I can feel it. We won't give up." Leia replied as Han wrapped his arms around her.
"Your right. Luke is strong. He's always been strong. As long as we don't give up, neither will he."
Leia smiled as she relaxed into Han's arms before sending through the force, 'Stay safe Luke. Be strong.'