The fourth day finally arrived, and the Millennium Falcon was coming up on Alderaan. They were all in the front of the ship to see when they dropped out of…hyperspace. Jim had learned some new terms. Things here were not called the same as in their own galaxy. Coffee here was Coffeine or caf. And the shower was a "fresher". He supposed maybe that was a good name for it. Bones had pointed out everything that could possibly be harboring some deadly virus that they had never seen, and they would have absolutely no immunity to it because it was from a totally different galaxy. Jim had thought he was going to have to order Bones to sit and not say a word. He had clashed with the Wookiee more than once. They had finally found out that Chewbacca was a Wookiee, who was from the planet Kashyyk, and they had also found out that Han Solo was from the planet Corellia. Luke had grown up on Tatooine living with his Aunt and Uncle, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, now called Ben, had lived there as well. Jim thought four days gave enough time for people to know a lot of information about each other. There had also been a time during their traveling that Ben had suddenly "felt" something terrible in the Force. That had been that morning.
"We're coming up on Alderaan," Solo said.
Jim watched the counter as it ran down to zero, and then the starlines became stars once again. Suddenly, they were being hit by what looked like asteroids. Jim wondered where the Enterprise was. Did it come out in this asteroid field? He grabbed his communicator as they were being shaken by the asteroids, but then he heard the conversation that was going on between Kenobi and Solo. Blown away?
"You mean that Death Star destroyed this planet?" Jim asked. "You mean…"
"Alderaan has been destroyed," Kenobi said with certainty. He knew what he had felt in the Force.
Spock stood rigid as they looked at what used to be a beautiful planet full of people, and could see the debris, including…bodies. He turned and walked out of the cockpit. Bones and Jim watched Spock but they stayed where they were.
Just then, they were hit by laser fire. "It's a Tie Fighter!" Skywalker said.
Jim looked at the ship which simply looked like a ball with two solar panels on each side of it. He opened his communicator. "Enterprise!" he said. "Do you read me?"
"We read you, Captain," Scotty replied.
"Scotty, where are you?"
"We almost got crushed by an asteroid field. Where's the planet?"
Jim swallowed hard. "It's been destroyed, Scotty. That asteroid field was the planet."
There was a long moment of silence on the communicator. "We're hiding behind a small moon, Captain," Scotty said. "We detected a large…"
"That's a space station!" Kenobi said.
Jim looked out the viewscreen and could see a round object that looked like a moon, but as he kept looking, he could see that there were metal objects on the surface. "How can that be…"
He did not have time to finish his question because the ship suddenly shuddered as it was caught in a powerful tractor beam. "Jim!" Bones exclaimed. "We're being pulled into that thing!"
"Scotty, can you beam us off this ship?" Jim asked.
Scotty replied but there was a lot of interference. "They won't get me without a fight!" Solo was saying.
"You can't win," Kenobi replied. "But there are alternatives to fighting."
"Like what?" Jim asked.
"This is a smuggler's ship. Does it not have spaces to hide contraband?"
"Of course, but…" Solo began. But he realized what the old man was suggesting. "You think that'll work?"
"It has to."
They all hurried to the back of ship, and Solo and Chewie removed panels that seemed to be seamless parts of the floor. "Get in there," Solo said.
They all climbed down into the storage compartments, and the panels were pulled back over them. It was not a large compartment, so there was standing room for them.
Scotty and the others on the Enterprise saw the Falcon as it was pulled into the Death Star. "What can we do?" Sulu asked.
"I don't think we can do anything against a weapon that can destroy a planet," Scotty answered. "All I know to do is wait to hear from the captain."
"That thing sure throws out a lot of interference, but I don't think they've detected us."
"Let's keep minimal systems going so we won't be so detectable, and be ready to throw her into full power when we need her."
Jim and the others in the compartment knew when the Falcon was placed on the deck in the Death Star. They also heard when the boarding ramp was forced down. "What do we do now?" Solo asked. "If they bring scanners onto this ship, they'll detect us."
"Then we shall have to make a plan," Kenobi replied.
They could hear talking above them and footsteps, and then silence. "Let's get out of here and get ready for them," Solo suggested.
They removed the panels and climbed out. "Are we actually going out into this thing?" Bones asked. "That's insane. They'll surely know we're there."
"I have to agree with him," Solo said. "How do you think we can do anything without them detecting it?"
"I will disable the tractor beam, and we will escape in the ship…" Kenobi suddenly stared as though he were listening to something. "We must hurry." He knew he would be detected, but the others would not.
"They're gonna be coming back in here," Solo said. "We have to have a plan."
Jim set his blaster to "kill". "So, let's make one," he replied. "We can jump them when they come in. No one can tell who's in that armor, right?"
"I guess not."
"Then take their armor and use it."
"We jump in feet first and fight our way out," Bones declared. "That's what."
"We'll use the droid to analyze the Death Star so that I can know where the controls for the tractor beam are," Kenobi said. "Once I have that tractor beam down, you'll be able to get the ship out of here."
"What about you?" Luke asked.
"We'll talk about that later. Right now, get ready."
They all hid and soon heard booted feet coming up the boarding ramp. The stormtroopers were carrying heavy scanning equipment in a large box, so when they got into the tight quarters of the Falcon, Solo and the others had no problems incapacitating them.
"We best hurry," Kenobi said.
Han and Luke stripped the armor off the two troopers and got into it themselves. Solo hung his own blaster up at the front of the ship, and then Luke heard someone talking over the intercom in his helmet.
"Pretend you have a bad transmitter!" Han whispered. "Get out there where they can see you and won't be suspicious!"
Luke went out onto the boarding ramp and looked up where the control room was. He pointed to his helmet and shrugged as though he could not speak to them. "I think they fell for it," he said to the others.
"Let's get outa here while they're distracted," Solo said to everyone.
They all hurried off the Falcon and ran into one of the control rooms, taking care of the controller who was on his way to investigate the bad transmitter. Kenobi hurried over to a small round terminal. "Here's the computer terminal," he said, and motioned for the droid to come over.
Artoo Detoo came over and connected to the computer terminal and began beeping as he absorbed information. Kenobi pulled Luke over to him. "Do not wait for me," he said. "Once the tractor beam is down, escape."
"What about you?" Luke asked.
"Your destiny lies along a different path than mine. Get these droids to the rebels. They're our only hope…and trust your new friends. Help them get back to their own galaxy if there is a way."
Luke nodded. He did not argue with Kenobi as he was looking at the layout of the ship. Kenobi looked at him. "The Force will be with you…Always," he said and went out the door.
Jim, Spock, and Bones could see that Luke was troubled about his mentor leaving like that. Then the Wookiee growled something. "You can say that again," Solo blurted. "Where did you dig up that old fossil?"
Bones glared at him. "You know, you could have a little more courtesy and respect!" he said. "You could be lying dead in your ship, or be a prisoner right now if not for his help!"
"Help? You call this help? We're stuck here in this space station."
"Yeah, and he's risking his life to try and help you get out of it!" Jim declared. "You sure have a funny way of showing gratitude!"
"As we have seen, there are those who never realize that they need other people," Spock said. "Until it is too late, and they find themselves alone with no friends."
Just then, the droid who was connected to the terminal began beeping wildly. "What's wrong?" Luke asked.
"He is saying I've found her, and keeps repeating she's here, she's here," Threepio, the golden droid said.
"Who has he found? Who's here?"
"What princess?" Jim asked. "What is he talking about?"
Luke looked at him. "She must be the one in the message that sent the droids," he said. "We have to help her."
"Wait a minute!" Solo interrupted. "What do you mean?"
"Where is she?" Luke asked, turning back to the droid.
"She's in the detention area," Threepio said.
"The detention area!?" Solo exclaimed.
"The Brig," Bones said quietly as he looked at Jim. "Can you imagine how much security is down there? We can't go down there after her."
"Bones, we can't just leave her there," Jim declared. "What we need is a plan. Someone needs to stay with the ship to have it ready to go when we all get back here."
"And just who might that be?" Solo asked. "This is my ship."
"Right. So you should stay here and get it ready to leave when we all get aboard."
"You're saying you're gonna leave me here?"
"I thought you didn't want to go with us. You have a hard time making up your mind, don't you?"
"We do not have time for this argument," Spock said. "Captain, if we are to rescue this princess, we must move now before Kenobi makes his move. Otherwise, they will be aware that someone is trying to get the ship free."
"Right. I want someone to find the controls for those shields too," Jim replied. "Spock, you and Bones need to do that. If something goes wrong, they can always beam us back to the Enterprise if the shields are down."
"Jim, we don't know anything about this…thing!" Bones declared. "You're sending us creeping around this horror?"
"Bones, we have to do something. If they can beam us back to the Enterprise, we'll have a better chance of surviving."
"I hate this."
"I know you do. I'm going with Luke to the detention area while the two of you find those controls for the shields." Jim looked at Solo. "I need your armor."
"Gladly," Solo replied.
Bones and Spock looked at the layout of the space station, and could see where the controls for the shields were. "I suggest we attempt to find a disguise as well," Spock said.
"Where do we get something like that?" Bones asked. "This is just crazy."
"Come along, Doctor."
Spock looked at Jim. "Good luck," Jim said.
"To you as well, Jim," Spock replied.
Spock and Bones left the room they were in and sneaked down the next corridor. "You think they have access tubes?" Bones whispered.
"We do not have time to investigate that possibility," Spock replied.
"Then how do we get down there?"
"We stay out of sight. As you have noticed there is not a great deal of security aboard this space station because of their confidence in its ability to defend against anything that might threaten."
"I'd say they're probably right. I never saw anything like this."
"Nor have I."
Jim and Luke left their hiding place dressed in their armor while Han Solo and the Wookiee watched them. The two droids went back aboard the Falcon along with them. "You think they'll make it back?" Solo asked.
The Wookiee replied, and Threepio knew what he said, and he had no confidence at all that the others would make it back. That meant that Threepio and Artoo would have to depend on them to get to the right place if the others did not make it back. "Might be a big reward for that," Han said. "Not that I care whether they get there or not."
The Wookiee replied something else, which was to remind Han that they had escaped from the Empire in times past, and Chewie would be more than happy to see the Empire go down since they made slaves of Wookiees. "Yeah, I know, Pal," Han said. "But we don't have to risk our lives to help them. We'll deliver these droids if we get out of here, and that's it."
The Wookiee growled something else. "I don't want to go and help them get into the detention area," Han declared. "No matter how much reward there is for rescuing a princess."
Threepio could not understand humans at times, but he thought this one was more confusing than any he had ever seen. He said one thing, but seemed to mean the opposite.
Jim and Luke walked down the corridor as though they were on their way somewhere. "I hope they don't ask us where we're going," Luke said.
"Just act like you belong here," Jim replied. "No idle chatter." Jim could plainly see how the stormtroopers acted. He knew strict military protocol when he saw it. "Just follow my lead."
They came to a turbo lift…or Jim wondered if that was what they called it. He stood at attention on one side and Luke stood on the other side. Luke was definitely not versed in proper protocol for being at attention as he appeared to be impatient while he waited. "Stand still!" Jim whispered. He knew he would draw attention to himself if he kept that up.
Luke stood still then and looked straight ahead. The lift finally opened, and they went inside. "I thought they were going to notice us," Luke said.
"They will if you don't start acting like a stormtrooper," Jim replied. "You can't look impatient or like you don't know where you're going. There seems to be a lot of fear around this place. Now stand at attention. Feet together, shoulders up, looking straight ahead!"
Luke did what he was told. He could definitely see that Jim Kirk was used to being in charge and telling others what to do. "When we get in there, we can expect a lot of questions," Jim said. "We'll just have to make something up."
"Right," Luke agreed. "I'll just let you do that. Then what do we do?"
Luke swallowed hard. He hoped this captain knew what he was doing, but he seemed to be unafraid to go into dangerous situations. The lift doors opened and they walked out right into the detention area. Luke's heart suddenly jumped up into his throat, but he stood at attention.
"What are you doing here?" the one at the control center asked.
"They thought there should be more security down here because of the princess," Jim answered. "The rebels have escaped from their ship, and may try to rescue her."
"I wasn't notified of any extra security."
"There's a lot going on. They don't have time to send a memo about every little thing. We have intruders on the space station, and they're being hunted down even as we speak."
Luke thought Kirk sounded like any other stormtrooper he had met up with and he spoke with confidence. The commander was taken aback by this trooper's confidence. "What's your badge number?" he asked. "You will speak with respect when talking to me."
"I speak with nothing else," Jim replied. He was holding a blaster and he was ready to use it if this one got too curious. He could see the location of the cameras around the area as well.
Luke thought the silence made the situation even more tense, but then, the lift doors opened again, and suddenly, there was a loud Wookiee roar. Jim and Luke dove to the side as Chewie and Han barged out of the lift and began firing. Jim aimed at the cameras so that others could not see what was happening there, and Luke followed suit. Han and Chewie took care of the guards and the overzealous commander.
When all that was over, there was an eerie silence except for a beeping sound that went along with a flashing red light. "Get down there and get that princess out!" Han yelled and told Luke which cell she was in.
Jim took the stormtrooper helmet off. "I thought you were staying with the ship!" he declared.
"Yeah, well I changed my mind!" Han replied. He pressed the red button that was screeching for his attention.
Jim did not like insubordination, but he had to remember that Solo was not part of his crew. He took out his communicator. "Spock," he said. "You read me?"
"Yes, Captain," Spock answered.
"You found those controls yet?"
"We are in the corridor that leads into the control room. However, I believe you have drawn more attention."
"Yeah. Tell me about it. We're about to get this princess out of here."
As Jim was talking, he saw Han Solo fire his blaster at the com system on the control board. "Luke, we're about to have company!" he yelled.
"Gotta go, Spock," Jim said into the communicator. "When you get those shields down, get back to the ship. We'll all meet there!"
"Yes, Captain," Spock replied.
Within moments, a troop of stormtroopers barged into the command area of the detention area. Jim, Han, and the Wookiee barely escaped being shot as they had to flee into the corridor where Luke was now coming that way with the Princess. "Can't get out that way!" Han declared.
"Only because you didn't say the right thing!" Jim said.
"Maybe you could have done better, Mister Captain!"
"Maybe I could have!"
"We don't have time for this egotistical debate!" the princess declared. "You came in here, but you didn't have a plan for getting out?"
"We didn't intend to get into a firefight in the front corridor of this place!" Jim said.
"Give me that," the princess demanded and grabbed Solo's blaster. She fired and blasted a large hold in a panel in the wall of the corridor. "Into the garbage chute, fly boy!"
From the smell that came wafting out of that hole, Jim thought he could tell this was the garbage chute. The princess jumped through the hole and disappeared. He thought she must surely know where she was going, so he jumped in after her. He landed in a pile of garbage which was mostly metal junk, but at the bottom of it was fowl-smelling mucky water that Jim could only wonder where it came from. He got out of the way just in time as Luke came sliding down the chute, and then the Wookiee.
The Wookiee seemed to be afraid and got up to the highest part of it. "Give me that blaster!" the princess demanded.
Jim gave it to her and she shot at the exit of the place, but the shot deflected and bounced around the metal room they were in, barely missing them until it ran out of energy. "Well, so much for that idea," she said.
Jim had never seen a princess quite like this one. She did not seem to care that she was standing in a pile of garbage in her white outfit, which was not all that white anymore, and her elaborate hairstyle was not so perfect anymore either.
They heard a whoop as Han Solo came sliding into the muck. He groaned as he stood up, and the grabbed his nose. "What an incredible smell you've discovered!" he declared. He aimed at the door as he told the Wookiee to move.
"Wait!" the princess yelled.
But it was too late. Another laser blast ricocheted its way around the garbage pile. Jim stood up again after that. "We've already tried that!" the princess yelled.
Jim listened to the banter between them, but he got his communicator. "Spock!"
"Yes, Captain," Spock answered.
"Do you have those shields down yet?"
"We…ran into some problems, Captain. However, we are undamaged. We have managed to get into the control room now."
"We're out of the detention area, but we're in a…garbage disposal unit!"
"Do you need help, Captain?"
Just then, Jim and the others heard a loud squeak of metallic equipment, and then a grinding sound. "Captain?" Spock said.
Luke was talking to the droid trying to find out how they could get out. "All systems have been alerted to your presence, Sir!" Threepio said.
Suddenly, the walls of the trash compactor began to slide inward. Jim's mouth dropped open as he realized what was happening. "Spock!" he yelled. "They're compacting the garbage! With us in it!"
"Threepio!" Luke was yelling. "Threepio!"
Bones and Spock looked at each other. "We must help the captain," Spock said. He deactivated the shields of the space station, and then disabled them so that they could not be easily reactivated.
Once the shields were down, Spock grabbed his communicator. "Mister Scott!" he said.
Scotty was surprised to hear Spock's voice on the intercom. "Yes!" he said.
"Mister Scott, can you get a lock on the captain?"
"Hold on, Sir!"
Scotty ran to the transporter room to look at that himself. "I'm getting a reading, Sir," he said.
"Can you beam him out?" Spock asked. "He is in danger as well as the others who are with him."
"I can get a lock on you and the doctor. There's a lot of interference at the captain's location. I can't get a lock on him."
"Beam us to the Enterprise! We will attempt to rescue the captain and the others from there!"
Spock and Bones were soon on the Enterprise. "The shields are down, so there should be a way to get them off that space station," Spock declared. He hurried to the Bridge.
Jim was starting to think he was going to be compacted into a pancake. "Spock!" he yelled into the communicator.
"We are attempting to beam you to the Enterprise, Captain," Spock replied.
"What about the others?"
Spock could hear that the captain's voice was strained. "Captain, are you alright?"
Jim did not answer as the situation was getting tight and he was concentrating on breathing. Was this how he would die? In a trash compactor on a giant space station in a strange galaxy? He could hear Luke Skywalker still talking into his communicator. "NO! Shut them all down!" he yelled.
Suddenly, the trash compactor came to a screeching halt, and then the walls widened, and the door opened. Jim gasped a moment, but then followed them out of the place. He leaned on his knees a moment getting his breath back. "Captain, we have a lock on you now," Spock said over the communicator.
Jim looked at the others. "They can beam us out of here right now," he said. "Just take my hand."
"No!" Han Solo argued. "I'm not leaving my ship on this thing!"
"You can't risk going back there! They'll be looking for all of us!"
"What do you mean beam us out of here?" the princess asked.
Jim realized they had no idea what a transporter was. "Uh…well, just trust me," he said. "We'll disappear from here and then we'll be on my ship, the Enterprise."
"Wait!" Luke interrupted. "What about Ben and the droids? We can't just leave them here?"
"He's right," the princess agreed.
Jim blew out a breath. "We can't beam out, Spock," he said. "We have to get the droids and Kenobi."
"Let us know when you are ready, Captain."
Jim looked at the others with him. "This way," the princess said. "Will somebody get this big walking carpet out of my way?"
Jim thought she was just as insulting as the cocky captain of the Falcon. He hoped she knew where she was going, but as they went around another corner in the corridor, they met up with a group of storm troopers. "We'll take care of them!" Solo declared. "Get to the ship!" He and the Wookiee ran toward the troopers firing as they went.
"He certainly has courage," the princess said.
"Or stupidity!" Jim replied.
"How did you get into this?"
"It's a long story, but I suggest we don't stand here gabbing about it. You two find a way to the ship. I'm going after them."
Jim went around the way that Solo and the Wookiee had gone, and met them on the way back, and turned down another corridor with them as they were being pursued by a troop.
After winding through corridors for several minutes, Jim, Solo, and Chewie finally came to the dock where the Falcon was sitting, and they could see it through the windows. A few seconds later, the princess and Luke arrived. "What took you so long?" Solo asked.
"We ran into some old friends," she answered as she was looking out at the ship. "You came here in that thing? You're braver than I thought."
Jim rolled his eyes at that comment. "Let's just go!" he said.
They ran around the corridor that led into the docking bay, and suddenly, the troopers that had been guarding the Falcon were moving away as though they were watching something. "I guess that's our cue," Solo said.
They all ran out, heading toward the Falcon that was not being held there anymore…if Ben got the tractor beam out of commission. As they were almost to the ship, they saw what the troopers were so interested in. Jim could see Ben with a lightsaber, and he was having a duel with someone dressed in black, including a helmet almost like that of the storm troopers, but it seemed to be more menacing. How would they get Ben out now?
Ben suddenly looked toward Luke, and then closed his eyes and bowed his head as he stood and let Vader cut him in half…or did he? Jim thought it looked like he only cut a robe, but he heard Luke scream, "NO!"
"Blast the door!" Solo yelled as he saw that the horror dressed in black was coming that way now.
Jim aimed at the door himself, but he also fired at the troopers. "Come on, Luke!" the princess yelled. "It's too late!"
Jim and Luke ran up the boarding ramp, and Solo was already in the pilot's seat. "I sure hope that old man got that tractor beam down!" Solo declared.
Jim just stood there a moment thinking about what he just saw. "Was that Darth Vader?" he asked. "The one he talked about?"
"Yeah!" Solo answered. "You better strap yourself in."
They easily got out of the docking bay and they were on their way. Jim sat down and put on the belt. "Captain!" Spock said over the communicator.
"Yeah," Jim answered.
"Are you alright?"
"Yes, Spock. I'm fine."
Suddenly, the Falcon was hit with fire from a tie fighter. "Get into the gun turret!" Solo said to Jim. "We're not out of this yet!"
Jim ran to the back of the ship. "Where are the gun turrets?" he asked and was almost knocked off his feet.
The Enterprise was moving that way, and took out one of the tie fighters itself. "They have very weak shielding," Sulu declared.
There were three more tie fighters and two of them decided to take on the Enterprise. "They may have weak shielding, but they have powerful weapons," Sulu declared.
"Fire at will!" Spock said.
They soon had taken care of the tie fighters and followed the Falcon away from the Death Star. "I'm transmitting coordinates to you now," Solo said. "We're about to jump to lightspeed."
They were soon on their way to another secret location where the Rebellion was waiting to see what they would do next. Jim breathed a sigh of relief as he sat down in the galley. Luke sat down too, looking very sad. Jim knew how he felt…just as badly as he had felt when Pike died. He was not sure what to say. "He seemed to want you to get out of there," Jim said.
"I don't know what to do next," Luke replied. "I don't have anything now."
"You can use that Force, right?"
"Yeah. He said I would be a Jedi. I don't know what that means. Without him to show me how to be a Jedi, how can I do that?"
"Well, I don't know, but we have to stop that space station somehow."
The princess came in there. Jim thought she looked very young too, probably no older than Luke. She had long, brown hair, and brown eyes that looked wise beyond her years, and she had a determination like Jim had not seen in anyone as young as she.
"Thank you for your help," she said to Jim.
"You're welcome," Jim replied.
"You don't seem to be part of this crew here. Who are you?"
"I'm Jim Kirk. I'm not part of this crew. My ship is the Enterprise, and we've…been thrown into the middle of this just by chance. We were transported to this galaxy through a rift. We came from a galaxy far from here."
Jim nodded. "But we'll do what we can to help you stop that space station."
"And we'll help you get home if we can. I'm Leia Organa."
"They call you princess."
"I was a princess, but my planet has been destroyed."
Jim could see the sadness in her eyes, but then her determination returned. "We have to focus on our mission," she said. "We do not have time for sorrows right now."
"What is your mission?" Jim asked.
"To get those Death Star plans to our scientists so they can find a weakness in that space station."
"You're going to attack it?"
"Yes. If we can find a weakness, we're going to destroy it."
Jim figured they would do just that if everyone in this outfit was as determined as this woman. He could hardly wait to meet them.