Jim, Spock, and Bones entered the cantina, and it was definitely where they had been hearing the music. There was a band of beings like none they had ever seen, and the place seemed to be full of all sorts of different species. "Jim, we are in so much trouble," Bones said.
"Let's try to act…confident," Jim replied.
Bones was not sure he could do that. They walked on into the cantina, and they had a lot of eyes of all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors on them. However, they were not the only humans in the place. "Well, who should we talk to?" Bones asked.
"Take your pick," Jim replied.
"I think I want to talk to someone who looks normal."
"What is normal?"
"Well, I don't know, but that guy we met out there on the street sure didn't look normal."
"Doctor, that is a derogatory comment," Spock said. "He is simply what he is, and that is all."
"Sure, but just exactly what is that?"
"Perhaps we will find out soon."
Jim and Bones looked where Spock was looking, and saw that the tall, furry being was seated at a table with a guy who looked like he simply blended into whatever background or situation he was in…but across the table was an old man and a young man who looked like they would belong anywhere but in that bar.
"Should we walk over there and interrupt their conversation?" Bones asked.
"How else can we get anyone to help us?" Jim asked.
"Perhaps we should wait while you go over first," Spock suggested. "Then if there's trouble, we can help." He pointed to another situation going on in the bar, where two beings were being taken out, one with only a stub of an arm left. "It seems that there has already been a fight in this bar, and a particularly bloody one."
"Okay. I'll go over there, but you know how bad I am at negotiating."
Jim walked over to the table where the four beings were seated and cleared his throat. The guy who was sitting beside the furry guy looked at him as though he were interrupting a galactic peace conference. "Get lost," the guy said.
"I was wondering if you guys could help us," Jim said anyway.
The guy at the table stood up. "I said get lost. We don't help pilferers in here."
"I'm not a vagrant, and I'm not asking for that kind of help."
"Then get lost. This is a private conversation."
The furry guy stood up and roared at Jim, who backed up a step. "I didn't mean any harm," he said.
"Please, let's try and stay calm and not draw any attention to ourselves," the old man at the table suggested. He looked at Jim.
Jim felt like the old man's blue eyes could see right through him. "Why don't you join us?" the old man asked.
"Now wait a minute," the other guy said, who seemed to have a chip on his shoulder toward everyone. "How many more are we getting involved in this?"
"Will you accept our offer…or not?"
The old man nodded only slightly. "Alright, you got yourself a ship," the other said. He looked toward the bar. "Looks like someone's beginning to take an interest in your handy work."
Jim looked around and saw three people dressed in white armor, head and all. "Come with us," the old man said to Jim. "And get your friends as well."
Jim just stared at him a moment, but somehow, he knew he could trust this old man. He motioned for Bones and Spock to come with him, and they followed the old man and the young man out of the cantina in a different direction than they came in.
"Where are we going?" Bones asked.
"I don't know," Jim said. "But I don't see that we have any better opportunities."
"Who are they?"
"I don't know."
Bones looked at Spock, who looked rather puzzled himself, if a Vulcan could look puzzled. "We're running out after some beings that we don't even know," Bones said. "How do you know we can trust them?"
"I just know, Bones," Jim replied.
They picked up two droids as they were on their way. One was a golden droid who looked remarkably like a human and looked and talked like the most nervous being in the universe. The other was a squat, round droid that was blue and white, and rolled on three wheels.
They hurried away from the cantina and went out into another part of the spaceport, where the old man was making a deal with someone to sell a speeder. "It'll be enough," he heard the old man say to the younger.
"Where exactly are we going?" Jim asked.
"We have to deliver these droids to Alderaan," the old man said with an English accent. "It's of vital importance."
"Who are you?"
"I am Ben Kenobi, and this is Luke Skywalker."
"I'm Jim Kirk. We're…"
"I know. You're lost. Help us, and we will do our best to help you."
"H-how do you know we're lost?"
"The Force reveals many things."
"There's no time to explain right now. We must move quickly. They're coming."
Jim wondered what they were getting into now. They had joined themselves to this bunch of people, and they might be heading for trouble. He could see the concern on Bones' face. He grabbed his communicator as it whistled. "Kirk here."
"Captain, there are two large ships out here," Sulu said. "I've never seen anything like them. They're shaped like…triangles. They're huge."
Ben Kenobi looked at Jim with a worried look, and realization. "Are they attacking?" Jim asked.
"No," Sulu said.
"Listen, I want you to transport the shuttle back to the ship if the transporter will work, and it should. Follow us."
"We're about to be heading somewhere called Alderaan."
"Alderaan? I thought we were in a different galaxy."
"Yeah, well they have an Alderaan too."
"You're not going in the shuttle?"
"I don't think so."
Jim, Bones, and Spock followed their new companions into a hangar. There was only one ship in there…if one would call it a ship. Jim had never seen anything like it. It was saucer-shaped and looked like it had plenty of work done on it. They met the pilot at the ship.
"What a piece of junk," Luke Skywalker said.
The pilot began bragging on his "piece of junk" as Jim looked at Bones. "Are we really getting into that thing?" Bones asked. "It looks like a reject from a junk yard."
"Bones," Jim said. "You never know. It might be a good ship."
"Are you kidding? Only a guy like you would say that."
"Captain, it is questionable," Spock said. "Do you believe this contraption is capable of space travel?"
"Well, how do you think they got here, Spock?" Jim asked.
"Let's move it!" the pilot said. "All passengers aboard!"
Jim, Bones, and Spock started moving toward the boarding ramp, and suddenly, they heard someone behind them yell, "There he is! Hold it!"
Jim looked around and saw some more of those guys dressed in armor. He hurried toward the boarding ramp and got up into the ship, and the pilot was coming that way too. "Chewie, get us out of here!" he yelled.
Jim felt the engines of the ship starting to fire as the boarding ramp was closing and sealing. They were in the ship now, and they were about to be moving. He was surprised at the power of the ship as it began lifting and then the pilot gunned it. Jim, Bones, and Spock fell backward as they knew they were heading out to space. They got up and headed toward the front of the ship, and could see the ships Sulu had described.
Jim grabbed his communicator. "Sulu, can you see us?"
"Don't tell me you're in that hunk of junk that just left the atmosphere," Scotty said.
"Yes, that would be us, Mister Scott. Follow us."
"Captain, there are two of those…whatever they are, out there."
"They're Star Destroyers!" the pilot of the hunk of junk said. "And we're gonna outrun 'em! Where have you guys been? Living under a rock? How could you not know what Star Destroyers are?"
"How long till you can make the jump to light speed?" Ben Kenobi asked.
Light speed? Jim thought to himself. "We're going to light speed, Scotty," Jim said.
"What?" Scotty asked.
"Just track us, will ya?"
"Plot a course for Alderaan. You should be able to find it."
"Getting on that now, Captain. I guess we'll see you there."
"Strap yourselves in!" the pilot said. "I'm about to make the jump to lightspeed!"
Jim and the others followed Ben and Luke to the other room and they all sat down and strapped in. They knew when the ship blasted off because they were pressed against their seats for a few seconds.
Jim relaxed a moment, and then looked at Ben and Luke. "You mind telling us what's going on?" Jim asked. "How did we get into this?"
"I'm afraid I brought you along in case our other pilot didn't work out," Kenobi said.
"How do you know I'm a pilot?"
"Oh, it's obvious. Captain, I suppose?"
"Yeah. My ship is going to meet us there. How do you know that?"
"The Force can reveal many things."
"What is the Force?" Spock asked.
Just then, the pilot came in. "Well, I told you I'd outrun 'em," he declared with pride. "Anyway, we should be coming up on Alderaan in about four days."
"Four days?" Bones asked. "You mean we've gotta stay in this sardine can for four days?"
The hairy guy growled at that, and the pilot glared at him. "I'll have you know, this is not a sardine can," he said. "And you better lighten up, or Chewie there will be compelled to pull your arm out of the socket."
Bones frowned. "Are you threatening me?"
"Bones, take it easy," Jim said. "We're guests, you know."
"Captain, may I remind you that interfering in this situation will be a violation of the Prime Directive," Spock said.
"Don't bring that up. We're not even in the right galaxy, so let's just drop it. There's no way we can get out of this, so we might as well help if we can."
Jim looked at Ben again. "Tell us what's going on," he said. "Maybe we can help."
"We're on our way to Alderaan to deliver these droids to Bail Organa so that they can be analyzed to find a weakness in a catastrophic weapon owned by the Empire," Ben replied.
"Yes. It is called the Death Star, and for good reason. There are rumors that it can destroy a whole planet."
Jim frowned, and Spock went rigid. "The whole planet?" Spock asked.
"Yes. I have not seen what it can do as of yet."
"Does it create a black hole?"
Jim looked at Spock. He remembered the look on Spock's face when he stood on the transporter pad as his planet was consuming in on itself…and taking his mother with it. He had been reaching for her. That was why it had been so hard for him to follow the orders of the older Spock to emotionally compromise him.
"To my knowledge, it simply causes the planet to explode," Ben said.
"And what is the Empire?" Jim asked.
"It is the governing entity in this galaxy. At one time it was good…until Vader came along. He and the Emperor are the picture of evil. The rebels fight against them, hoping that they can find some way to defeat them, but Vader wields the dark side of the Force."
"What is the Force?"
"It is an energy field that surrounds us all. It is how I knew you were lost. Your aura is different, but you have a strong mind, and a strong will." Ben looked at Spock. "You have a very strong mind. Telepathic even."
"I can communicate telepathically," Spock replied. "So, we're in the middle of a civil war."
"You might call it that, but it extends across this entire galaxy. The Empire has grown too large and is controlled by the dark side."
"The dark side?" Jim asked.
"Yes. As there is good and evil in everything, so it is with the Force. I use the light side of the force, and our young friend here can also use the Force once he learns how. We only use it for knowledge and defense, never to attack. Vader turned to the dark side many years ago, and he has become very powerful. Even the chosen one fell to its seduction."
"How do you use the Force?"
"We're born with the ability, but it has to be taught and nourished."
Ben stood up and took out a small sphere shaped object that looked like a ball, but it was clearly made of metal and had small holes in it. "Luke, I'm going to teach you how to use the Force for defense," he said. "We have time so that you will know how to feel it."
Luke stood up. "Okay, so what do I do?"
Jim thought Luke looked very young, probably no more than eighteen. He had shaggy blond hair and light blue eyes. Of course, he was well tanned after living on Tatooine for…how long? Jim had no idea how long Luke or Ben had been on that planet. They were here with a bunch of strangers, and one of them was a giant, hairy beast…but he was intelligent. They had just fallen in with these beings, and once they got to the ship, they had not had a choice but to go along with them, especially when the shooting started.
Jim, Bones, and Spock watched as Ben told Luke what to do to feel the Force. The small sphere suddenly shot into the air and fired a small electric charge at Luke, hitting him right in the butt.
Bones stood up. "Hey!"
Ben looked at Bones and waved one finger slightly. "Be seated," he said quietly.
"I think I'll be seated."
Bones sat back down, and Spock looked at Ben Kenobi curiously as he continued to instruct his student. Spock took a deep breath and closed his eyes as he listened and reached out with his own feelings. He felt as though he heard a sudden swoosh and then his perception was suddenly much clearer as though there were a bright energy around everyone in the ship…especially…
Spock opened his eyes and saw that Kenobi was looking right at him. "Now you know what I tell you is true," Kenobi said.
Jim scowled at that and looked at Spock, who nodded. "What do you mean?" Jim asked.
Spock looked at him. "It is true, Captain."
They saw Luke Skywalker take another zap, this time to his arm, which brought a laugh from their arrogant pilot. Jim had not even heard the guy's name yet, but he could tell by his demeanor that he was much more than he let on. He pretended not to care, but deep down, he did. He pretended not to believe in anything but himself.
"I suggest you try it again," Kenobi said as he placed a helmet with a blast shield on it onto Luke's head.
"How can I fight with the blast shield down?" Luke asked.
"Your eyes can deceive you, don't trust them. Stretch out with your feelings."
Jim watched as Luke seemed to relax and steady his breathing, and when the remote fired at him, he blocked both shots. "Did you see that?" Bones asked.
"Yeah," Jim replied. "That wasn't just luck."
"Jim, what are we doing in this? What are we gonna do?"
"Until we can get back to our own galaxy, we have to stay here. At least with them, we know what's going on. Wouldn't you rather know what's going on?"
"You are correct, Captain," Spock said. "As long as we are here, we should be with those who know what is happening, and will most likely be the only ones who will help us get back home."
"How did that rift open like that?"
"I am not certain, nor am I certain how it pulled us in."
"It definitely wasn't anything I have ever seen."
"Captain, are we going to get involved in this war?"
"I'd like to know the answer to that," Bones declared. "I know you can't leave anything alone once you know about it though. I just hope they don't have some weird diseases that we've never heard of."
Jim looked at him. "Bones. They all look pretty normal to me."
"Yeah, but Jim. We're in a totally different galaxy. You didn't forget how it affected us when we first got here, I hope."
"No, I haven't. How could I forget that?"
"How do we know how it's going to affect us if we end up on another planet? How do we know how the air is going to be?"
"Bones. We're with human beings. We'll just do what they do."
"That's not even an answer I would expect from Spock."
"You got any ideas on how to get home?"
"The logical thing to do is stay with our new found friends while we try and figure out a way to escape this galaxy," Spock said.
"Other than trying to travel all the way back," Bones added. "Do we even know how far it is?"
"Very far," Jim replied. "We'd never make it. We have to figure out what caused that rift and see if it can be repeated."
The pilot came back into the galley the next morning. Jim was sleeping on a bunk that was attached to the wall. He shifted as he was not used to someone walking through when he was sleeping. He listened as the pilot and the hairy creature talked.
"Chewie, once we get them to Alderaan and get paid, we'll get that stuff to Jabba, and then maybe I can get back to smuggling and making some real cash," the pilot said. The being grunted something at him. "I'm not worried about the others. They can go along with the old man and the boy." More grunting. "It doesn't matter. That's not our problem. I'm only in this for the money."
Jim heard the pilot walk on through the ship. He had heard the uncertainty in his voice. How could someone not care about the galaxy they lived in? Did he think he could escape whatever happened? No. He had to care, but wanted to pretend that he did not. Jim even cared, and he was not from this galaxy. He looked at Spock who was sleeping on another bunk across from him. He supposed he should not be surprised that Spock could feel something out unknown to someone else.
Jim soon got up and walked up to the front of the ship where the pilot sat in his seat. He was rather startled when Jim came in. "Morning," Jim said. "I assume we're still on course." He sat down in the co-pilot's seat, which seemed oversized, but seeing the co-pilot, he knew why.
"Of course we're still on course," the pilot answered in his cocky way. "You got a ship of your own?"
"I do. The Enterprise. It actually belongs to the Federation, but I'm the captain."
"Oh. So you captain it for someone else."
Jim folded his arms. "You might say that, but it's still my ship."
"Not really. You don't have anything of your own that you can play with and make adjustments."
"I'm not a tinker. I do have an engineer who likes to tinker though, and I have several others who keep the ship going."
"You're happy with that?"
"Yeah. Most of the time. So you just don't really care what happens to your galaxy?"
Jim looked at the pilot who sat up now and glared at him. "What I care about is myself and my ship," he said.
"Wouldn't do you much good if there was nowhere to travel to in the galaxy, would it?"
"I don't have to answer to you. The Empire doesn't bother me, I don't bother them. It's that simple."
"Yeah. It's a selfish way to look at it. What about all the people who suffer their planet being destroyed because they won't submit? You ever think of that? What's your name anyway?"
"And you're the captain of a star ship. What's the Federation?"
"It's a peace keeping armada, exploration. We try to bring peace between species sometimes, and some of them want nothing to do with it."
"They'd rather fight, huh?"
"Sometimes fighting is the only course of action."
"I know that, but not always."
"Can't make peace with some people."
"That's true, but we'll be trying."
Jim was silent a moment. "So, what is Alderaan like?" he asked.
"Well, if there's a peaceful center to the galaxy, I'd say Alderaan is it," Han replied. "But they're rather foolish for not having any defenses, if you ask me. Especially with the Empire wielding a weapon like the Death Star."
"They don't have any defenses?"
Han shook his head. "I guess they think they're so close to Coruscant that they don't have to defend themselves."
"The Capitol, for lack of a better term. It's where the government is."
"And we're going that close to it?"
"Yep. That's usually how the Rebellion likes to do things…right under the Emperor's nose. Looks like they'd regroup somewhere on some isolated planet and get ready for a fight, but seeing as how we're on our way to the planet with no defenses, I guess they think hiding in the wide open and acting all peaceful, they can fool the Empire, but I don't agree."
"Is that why you don't join them?"
"I'm no fool. They'll never win."
"I don't know. Determined people sometimes accomplish things that look impossible, even if they're few in number."
"Whatever. I intend to take that reward and get rid of this debt, and be on my way again."
"Do you know anything about spacial rifts?"
"Not a thing."
"That's how we got here. I don't know how we'll ever get back to our galaxy."
"And what galaxy is that?"
"The Milky Way."
"The Milky Way? Why is it called that?"
"I guess because people long ago could stand outside in the dark and it looked like it was flowing through the sky with white stars."
"Things were much simpler long ago."
"I used to think I didn't care about anyone but myself, and then I realized that wasn't the way I wanted to be."
Solo did not say anything. He just made a course adjustment and then stood up. "Well, it's been nice talking to ya."
Jim just sat there watching the swirl of space as they were traveling. He wondered what they were facing when they arrived at Alderaan, but if what Solo said was true, maybe it would be like a little shore leave.