He was never a master of the Force. But he was also harmless. His only weapon was an old, nicked dueling sword. He would harm no one. His name was Ziggy. Luke Skywalker's precious Galactic Civil War orphaned him. Ziggy didn't have much direction in life. You could find him in the same cantina, every day, drinking the galaxy's most expensive water. Of course, this meant he was on the planet Tatooine.
Walking to the cantina, he was experiencing his very first sandstorm. It was ridiculous. Ziggy decided he would return to the planet of his birth. Just then, miraculously, he looked up to see an Imperial shuttle. He was happy to know that he was closer to the cantina than he thought. He took this as a sign to leave. With his sword flung over his back, he approached the Imperials in an attempt to convince them that stowing away might be a good idea.
The Imperial captain of the orbiting Star Destroyer was right outside of the shuttle, working. He saw Ziggy before Ziggy saw him. He saw Ziggy approaching. He looked harmless, but this captain remembered his training – the Jedi were still around – and sometimes not as they appear. He planned to pretend to be only the captain of the shuttle.
The bearded Ziggy engaged the Imperial with words, "I don't mean to trouble you, but could I stowaway to get off this rock?"
The captain began to brush him off but saw a perfect opportunity. He would still claim to be the shuttle's captain then accept a bribe. If he got caught, someone else would take the blame.
"Law requires me to say that we don't accept stowaways," he began. "But, last time I checked, the Empire is still a capitalist state. So we do accept bribes. How many credits do you have?"
Ziggy smiled as if it was the first time he had ever did something right and said, "I have two hundred credits."
The Star Destroyer captain took the credits and replied, "I will have to make it look like you're under arrest. But, don't worry, you're not."
Moments later, the captain of the shuttle returned from an unexpected rumble in town. The Star Destroyer captain noticed that two of his stormtroopers were dead. He noted, "Aplogan, you told me there would be no resistance in this city."
"Sorry, Captain Lorme," Aplogan replied. "These rebels have always been unpredictable."
Lorme paused then replied, "Well, the good news is, we have a surrender. And he's wearing his Life Day best."
Aplogan laughed at that. They took a moment to collect their equipment and left for the home they called space. After they launched, troop carriers landed to 'liberate' the town they spoke of. All the Empire wondered how long it would take for Tatooine to be taken.
Hours later, Ziggy was still in the brig – very nervous. He was so scared that he dared not to speak. He realized he could be left in custody and no one would care. The only thing that snapped him out of it was that he still had his weapon – the sword – flung over his back. Then the captain appeared, smiling. Actually, before, he was wearing a mask to protect his face. Now Ziggy could see into his eyes.
With a laugh, he let Ziggy out of custody, "I could have come for you earlier, but that wouldn't have been as much fun."
"Is that what they call a joke?" Ziggy replied. "Funny."
The captain rapped his arm around Ziggy's shoulder, and they left confinement. They would have a drink. Captain Lorme asked, "What is your poison?"
"Do you have water?" he asked with the innocents of a child.
With a smile, the captain said, "No, we use water as fuel. Try something with a little more kick."
As they walked, the Imperial captain told him the truth, "You thought I was the captain of a mere shuttle. You see why the Empire exists – its enemies are stupid. I don't even want you're two hundred credits anymore."
"Thanks," Ziggy answered, "I'm not stupid either."
They were going to the ship's lounge. They became fast friends. Even though Ziggy had never gotten drunk before, the captain was quickly under the table. All the crew respected Ziggy for disgracing their hated leader. A woman took him by the side.
She told him, "I can't tell you who I am for security reasons. But, when the captain wakes, he will kill you. He has done it before. Run!"
"Thank you," Ziggy responded running for the door.
It was a race against time. The whole crew was aiding him. He had no flying skills. He quickly found the hanger and saw – the Tantive IV. Ziggy discovered this Star Destroyer was the same Star Destroyer that made first contact with Tatooine all those years ago. The planet was below. He could see it. He chose the superior escape pods of Tantive IV.
He was back where he started. Ziggy did not know in which direction to march, so he used the scanners' limited power to seek out a nearby sandcrawler. After that, he sent out a small distress signal to local sandcrawlers in the area. He dined on escape pod rations. He made a promise to himself that he might thank the rebels for it later.
Then a sandcrawler appeared on his scopes. Ziggy opened a channel, "Sandcrawler, please tell me you speak basic. I am in need of assistance."
"Yeah," they said, "we'll assist you. As long as you don't tell our parents."
It was true that the sandcrawler was driven by children on a joyride. He told them to take him home – their home. Ziggy felt it was best for them to be punished by their parents for stealing a sandcrawler. On the way, he made himself makeshift armor that was as ridiculous as the sword he used to protect himself. He would spend the night there.
The next morning, he woke up late. He felt more rested than any morning he had ever awoke before. The family that took him in did not have much. They were left unemployed by the exploits of the Galactic Empire. It was the Jish family. The younger of the two children that stole the sandcrawler was named Soothe. Ziggy had a great plan.
"If I had known this family was so poor, I wouldn't have ratted you out for having a little fun," Ziggy said honestly.
Soothe smiled at the unwanted guest.
"Soothe," stated his father, "ignore this man."
Ziggy honored a momentary silence. After that moment, he spoke his plan, "I'm headed back to my home outside Anchorhead. I feel bad for your financial state. You could sell the sandcrawler you stole to make lots of money."
"Yeah!" the older son, Tach, cried. "We could make thousands!"
The father smiled for the first time in years. He said, "You, sir, are a hero."
"What's going on in here!" the mother insisted walking into the room.
Jish looked to his wife and said, "Ziggy came here to save us."
After they planned things, they decided to celebrate with a child's drink, fizzyglug. It was the only thing they could afford to drink besides water. The family comlink was used to play old music. Ziggy did not know how to dance. The parents decided the children should do the mission. It would make their driving skills better. They left that afternoon.
As they were on their way, Ziggy decided to search the sandcrawler for valuables. He was hoping to find a droid. One appeared. It was an R2 unit named X4. This made Ziggy happy. He returned to the control room just as they made their arrival. Ziggy gestured to the droid that it must follow. With a chirp, it did.
"A sandstorm hit yesterday?" Soothe asked.
"Yes," Ziggy told him. "You see the people cleaning up? They do this all the time."
Ziggy led the way. He knew a junk dealer that would buy anything. Most of the credits went to the children. Ziggy got a used speeder – mostly for the purpose of taking the children home. Ziggy also bought some lum. It was the drink he had on the Star Destroyer.
Just then, stormtroopers were in his sights. One of them saw his sword and decided he was a rebel, "You! Stop right there! I want to talk to you!"
Quickly, he and the children were arrested.
In horror, Ziggy inquired, "You would arrest children?"
And, as almost an answer to a prayer, a Rebel Alliance resistance team appeared. The ones arrested hit the ground. The Imperials were blasted. Those who remained jumped into the speeder and headed for the Jish family home.
"Aren't you going to take your droid with you?!" the junk dealer cried out.
The droid chirped as to ask for directions. The businessman didn't know what to tell the little guy. He said, "I'm going to leave town for a while. All I can tell you is that he lives somewhere outside of town."
The man took his personal belongings and left Anchorhead. He would return when the heat died down. The droid began its potentially lifelong search for the new master.
In the speeder, going at maximum speed, the leader of the resistance team took command of the vehicle. His name was Kurt. He was a little younger than Ziggy. He looked back at the dusty town to see if they were being followed. There were three in the team.
"You saved us," Ziggy noted. "Are you a Jedi or something?"
"That's a dumb question," Kurt told him as the female in the team laughed. "Are they behind us?"
Gaor, a Wookiee, answered.
"What did he say?" Ziggy asked.
"He is a Wookiee named Gaor," he responded. "And, he said, we are totally clear. What's our direction?"
"My name is Ziggy," he replied. "Thanks for asking."
"Are you getting smart with me?" Kurt asked in response.
He paused then said, "I guess asking if you're a Jedi is a dumb question. The children live just outside of the Dune Sea."
In the Star Destroyer, Captain Lorme was listening to the entire conversation. What the Empire lacked in skill, it made up in technology. At great cost to energy, the Star Destroyer could hone in and listen to anything on the planet surface.
The children, Tach and Soothe, arrived at their home quickly. They ran inside the home crying out to their parents as to tell them of their newfound wealth. Kurt had a big smile on his face. Then something bad happened. Troop carriers came down from the sky.
Kurt was surrounded, "You set me up! You rat! You set me up!"
Ziggy was under arrest. He knew what to do – stay calm and do exactly as he was told. Captain Lorme appeared through the crowd of troops wearing black gloves. He took off his right glove and struck Ziggy with it. He took Ziggy by his long hair and whispered, "You think you can embarrass me before my crew?"
Gaor completely lost his nerve. He broke his binder cuffs and attempted to escape. A blaster bolt struck him in the back. Smiling, Lorme gestured for a medic to check him. The medic responded, "The Wookiee is still alive."
The prisoners were herded onto a troop carrier. Gaor was dragged on board, unconscious. As an act of contempt against the four of them, the only weapon they did not confiscate was the sword flung over Ziggy's back.
Lorme spoke to the Jish family, "You see now the efficiency of the Galactic Empire."
Unarmed, Jish responded, "We've never even left this planet."
The captain walked slowly towards him…and punched him in the gut. The older child, Tach, ran to his aid. The captain then departed for his Star Destroyer. His troops followed the leader. They launched for the sky. Watch, was all Jish could do.
They were in separate cells, and they could not hear each other. It was up to Ziggy to attempt an escape. He was the only one with a weapon – even if it was only a dueling sword. The guard was relaxing. Ziggy thought his escape through.
"Hey! Guard!" he yelled. "Lieutenant!"
Heading his way, the guard stood up and told him, "I'm not a lieutenant. I'm only a sergeant. What do you want?"
"Would you like my sword in exchange for freedom for me and my friends?" Ziggy asked with a smile.
"No," he responded in haste.
Then he turned around to say, "Well, my brother's birthday is coming up soon. And he is a collector. I think you have yourself a deal."
Ziggy and his friends were released. The sergeant told his superiors he was victimized by the Force. Ziggy's status was upgraded to full Jedi. This meant – terminate on sight. It was a good thing Kurt's female team member, Sky, just happened to be wearing an old Imperial uniform. They were headed to sick bay to rescue their friend, Gaor.
The Star Destroyer was huge. They got lost despite the fact that Sky was an expert in communications. Eventually, with the Force on their side, they found sick bay. Gaor had been healed and restrained. Sky knocked out a male nurse. Then Imperial troops seemed to come out of nowhere. They were put into custody…again.
Captain Lorme struck Ziggy with the left glove this time and told him, "I should kill you right now. But…my superiors inform me I can't execute you for drinking me under the table. They did say I could execute you for using the Force, though."
"I'm no master of the Force," Ziggy replied.
Putting his gloves on the sick bay table, he said, "That doesn't matter. We will hold you until we catch you using the Force, then we will kill you."
Ziggy pointed to his friends and asked the captain, "What about them?"
"They may go in peace," Lorme stated.
"Very well," Ziggy agreed as he was being taken out of the sick bay and led into the security room.
The captain paused for the doors to whoosh shut. Then he gave the stormtroopers an order, "Take these three to the airlock and jettison them into space."
Even the Wookiee did not have the strength to stop the entire Star Destroyer crew from murdering them. But they did die believing good might overcome. Ziggy was at peace in the knowledge his friends might live. He prayed. He was thankful in the Force.
The guard, this time, was an ensign named Elom. He felt, after a time, that he had to tell the truth about Ziggy's friends – the truth about their death. Everyone on the Star Destroyer liked him more than the captain. The perfect time to tell him was mealtime.
The force shield was lowered with Ziggy facing in the other direction with his hands on the wall. Then Ensign Elom stated, "Your friends were murdered."
"Are you sure?" Ziggy responded.
"Yes," he replied.
Ziggy paused then dramatically stated, "Why would I trust you? I don't even know you. The captain, on the other hand—"
"We don't like the captain," Elom stated. "We like you."
"Then why is he on the bridge and I in here?" Ziggy demanded.
Elom smiled, "The captain is in the cell down the hall. We want you to be that man on the bridge."
He was returned his sword. He flung it over his back and headed to the bridge. The female quartermaster suggested a sonic shower before taking the captain's chair. Everyone was stunned by how blonde his hair was. Sword in hand, he gracefully sat down.
In the meantime, Captain Lorme used his personal guard to escape through bribery. He had a collection of weapons because he was the brother whose birthday was coming up. He took a lightsaber from it and headed straight for the bridge.
His brother, on the bridge, yelled, "Put down that—"
The lightsaber killed him.
Ziggy then went into attack mode. With a battle cry, he had discovered his old, nicked dueling sword was enough to match a lightsaber as he leaped into combat. The battle continued for a while until the stabilizers were damaged by the lightsaber.
"If I can't have this ship, no one can!" Lorme stated. In the lightsaber battle, Ziggy's sword left a cut on Lorme's cheek.
Ziggy replied, "Your hate has consumed you. Why must you have this ship?"
The battle stopped for a moment.
"This ship was Darth Vader's first command," he reminded Ziggy. "After he died, I knew I must have it. That was when I enlisted into the Imperial Academy."
Bridge officers started to lose their footing. The ship would crash. It could not be stopped. Ziggy knew it. With another jump, he made his way to an access panel. Officers loyal to Ziggy knew where he was headed. They followed him. Perilously, they went to the ship in the hanger – the Tantive IV. They got to its bridge in record time.
They only had moments to escape the pull of gravity produced by Tatooine. But, with force, they did. They cheered as the Star Destroyer crashed and burned.
The small crew of his ship asked, "What is the heading, sir?"
Returning his sword to its sheath, he stated, "Go to Coruscant. I was born there."
The ship entered hyperspace. It was a long day. He needed to sleep. Blocking his way through the door was a beautiful woman – the only woman that survived the battle. She had a beautiful smile. Ziggy was taught to say, "Hello."
"I'm from Coruscant, too," she said. "Rebels are not welcome there."
"But I am not a rebel," Ziggy replied. "My friends were rebels. Me killing your captain was personal."
She slapped him and said, "I was his first officer. Do you even know how many people you have murdered for your retribution? Do you even care? Many of your followers did not even board this ship in time."
He looked her in the eye and honestly said, "I'm sorry."
She gave him a hug.
Ziggy searched for a bed to sleep in. The ship was old. So the journey through hyperspace would take a while. Coruscant was the center of the New Republic. The last time Ziggy was there, his parents died. They were murdered by soldiers. He did not know what kind of soldiers they were. Luke Skywalker prevailed against the Emperor. He thought he was responsible. That was why he went to Tatooine – to wait for him.
After a brief nap, Ziggy headed to the lounge to have a nice drink of water. When he arrived there, he saw his first officer eating breakfast.
"Good morning, Ziggy," she said. "Sit down next to me."
He did and told her, "I went without sleep trying to guess your name."
"It's Lonna," she replied. "What's your story?"
With a sip of water, he began, "When I was five, my mother told me father was murdered. We had to pack fast. Then masked men invaded our home and set it on fire. They brought flamethrowers. I had to jump out of the window. I broke both my legs. In the morning, Imperials found me. They took me to an orphanage. I was there until I was sixteen."
"Why?" Lonna asked.
"I'm sorry?" Ziggy inquired.
"Why sixteen?" Lonna repeated.
"Oh," Ziggy continued. "That was when I legally became an adult. I went straight to Tatooine to kill Luke Skywalker. I always believed the Empire when they said rebels killed my mother. Now I'm not so sure."
"Everybody!" Aplogan cried over the intercom. "Take a look at what I found in the hanger!"
The small crew went into the hanger to find Aplogan admiring a TIE fighter with a smile on his face. Lonna knew why, but the others were confused.
"That's right, a first generation TIE fighter in mint condition," he explained. "Do you have any idea how easy it is to fly one of these things?"
A sound informed them they were almost at their destination. Ziggy chose to talk with Aplogan. He inquired, "May I borrow this fighter to get to the surface? This ship is too famous to be accepted there."
"Okay," he thought. "Only if you bring it back in one piece."
They exited hyperspace. Imperial TIE Interceptors, two of them, made contact while Ziggy was donning a TIE pilot flight suit. The TIE fighter was escorted into orbit. Ziggy chose to land at the largest spaceport on the planet. He would begin his search there.
Ziggy landed. Aplogan was right, the ship flew like a dream. He exited the fighter to see a droid offering him a ladder. Ziggy accepted. He made his way through security checkpoints. All they really asked was if he had any weapons. When he passed through all of them, he realized the top to the fighter was still open.
He ran back through all of the checkpoints, "Excuse me, please."
Thugs were stealing the ship. They had speeder bikes. They were wearing the same silver masks as those who killed his mother. This angered Ziggy. He ran at the largest thug. He ran right into his fist – then he hit the ground. The thug's hand started to bleed.
Then a Rodian said in his native tongue, "He made you bleed your own blood."
"For that, we will take you to our leader," he said. The Rodian jumped into the TIE fighter as the others mounted their speeders. One speeder bike was deserted. Ziggy had been taken by force. They were headed to an ore refining plant. The thugs used it as a fortress. Since it was so hot, only droids worked there.
Ziggy was put on his knees before the gang leader. He was wearing the same silver mask as the others but also had combat gloves and a blast vest. Behind the warlord was a throne. Things were about to get interesting. He gestured that Ziggy remove his helmet.
"Nice, long hair on this young man," the leader joked as the others laughed. Then he took a closer look. He saw his son before him.
"I'm happy for you," the captured man responded.
The room got tense as the gangster stood up and walked towards the prisoner. He removed his mask. A pause then took place.
"Dad?" Ziggy replied in terror.
The scarred man smiled as he said, "Welcome home."
The thugs shaved Ziggy's head and tied him to a chain over a pit of liquid fire. His father, Bindo, told him, "The gang is called Killer. We wish to return Coruscant to its rightful owners, the Empire. If you do not join, you will die."
"I will never surrender, Bindo," Ziggy said feeling the heat.
"Bindo?" the Rodian spoke.
"Shut up, Logar," Bindo replied as he began to lower his own son.
Feeling closer to the heat, he decided to stall for time. He asked, "Wait! How did my mother die?!"
A moment passed, then Bindo stopped the chain to say, "Oh, Kolm? Well, she was the one in the household making an income. And, when she discovered that I started this gang, she turned to the law. So I had her killed and moved here."
He put his mask back on and lowered the chain. Just then, the Tantive IV came out of the sky firing at the gang as they watched the execution. Ziggy began to swing on the chain and was rescued by blaster fire as it broke the chain. Lonna exited the ship, blasting Logar, on top of the TIE fighter, and said, "I felt a voice telling me that you were in danger."
"I'm jealous of your powers," he replied. "Thank you."
"No problem," Lonna told him. "Who was this?"
Looking down, Ziggy said, "This used to be my father."
She thought for a moment, then she said, "Oh, now I get it."
With her arm around his shoulder, they left. Ziggy no longer harbored hatred for Luke Skywalker. They entered orbit. Just as promised, Aplogan was returned his TIE fighter. No one knew what the future held. Ziggy limped to his quarters for relaxation.
The Killer gang must have had some powerful friends because the two TIE Interceptors were back with a vengeance. They fired on the Tantive IV. Luckily, the first shots were only warning shots.
"What battle systems do we have?!" Lonna asked. "Do we have any weapons?!"
Wiping his brow, Aplogan replied, "This ship still has the damage it sustained when it was captured! That's a lot! And TIE Interceptors are fast fighters!"
"What are we supposed to do, contact the Republic?!" she snapped.
For a time, she seriously thought of surrender. Then she had an idea. She opened a channel to them, "I am Commander Lonna of the Imperial Star Destroyer Devastator! Please break-off your attack! We are on a covert mission!"
The blaster fire stopped for a moment. Then the fighters replied, "We apologize for the misunderstanding. You are clear to complete your mission."
They were more than happy that their bluff worked – they were overjoyed. Lonna wondered what the captain would think. She started to run, then walk, towards his quarters. When she got there, she realized he had slept through the whole battle. Slowly turning around, she made her way back to the bridge. The doors whooshed shut behind her.
Ziggy woke up. He noticed a damage control droid failing to repair basic systems. He scratched his head and returned to his quarters to shave his beard. He wanted to start improving his general hygiene. He would ask questions later.
Meanwhile, in the lounge, the crew was wondering where they could get repairs for the ship. They did not know many planetary systems. It turned into a heated debate. After a while, they simply chose to let the captain decide. Ziggy was crying in front of the mirror.
"Captain?" Lonna inquired. "Are you alright?"
"Look away," he demanded. "I'm not at my best right now."
"No, Ziggy," she said to him. "It will grow back, okay. When was the last time you had a haircut?"
"Five years," he explained.
"When you were sixteen?" Lonna guessed.
Wiping his nose, he replied, "I was seventeen."
"So you're twenty-two years old?" she noticed. "That sounds about right."
Ziggy sat on his bed and said, "Yeah."
"Well," Lonna began, "I wanted to tell you, the ship is very damaged. The crew and I don't have enough training to know what system to go to. We thought you could help."
"Okay," Ziggy stated, "I'll be with you in a minute."
She turned around and walked away from the captain's quarters. The bald captain asked, "How long do you think it will take for my hair to grow back?"
She smiled and said, "Three months."
He would wait for the doors to whoosh shut. Then he quickly put his makeshift armor on and flung his dueling sword over his back. He headed to the lounge. Ziggy already knew his destination – they would go to Bespin. The ship entered hyperspace.
He didn't know what to expect. He lied when he told his crew that he had been to Bespin. For the first time in his life, he manipulated someone. Perhaps he could blame it on his dead father. Ziggy decided he was thinking about it too much. He chose Bespin because it was a peaceful world. He then finished sharpening his sword.
"Captain on the bridge," the first officer announced as the crew stood up.
Ziggy said with confidence, "As you were. Does anyone have any questions about our mission here?"
Ensign Elom raised his hand, "Why did you choose this place?"
The captain spoke, "This is the richest system in the galaxy. A certain gas is mined on this world."
"What gas?" Aplogan asked raising his hand. "What can gas do?"
Cloud cars immediately contacted them, "You will halt your approach 'til we verify your ship is clear for landing."
"You are clear for landing," they said. "Welcome to Cloud City, Your Highness."
That was uncomfortable for everyone. Lonna ran off the bridge. Later, they decided the theft of a starship would not be tolerated. They put it to a vote. It was decided on by the majority – they would return the Tantive IV to the New Republic. Ziggy chose to start a new life on Bespin, if possible. He left behind his sword and makeshift armor.
The TIE fighter flew to Cloud City. Ziggy was inside it. He landed alone. He took his helmet off to see the sky. Then he saw X4. It chirped him greetings.
"I thought that I would never see you again," Ziggy smiled.
The droid chirped as to explain something.
Ziggy answered, "Are there blasters allowed on this planet? No, they make blaster gas here. It's the only way they can keep the city safe."
"No way," Ziggy replied in shock. "Are you telling me the Empire rules here? That means the Empire is the side I should have been on this whole time."
"Well, I guess it's just you and me, Bespin," he said knowing it would be his last words.
He flung over the side of the landing pad. It took time for him to die. The droid chose to roll over the side with him. The city was informed of this by cloud cars. His only comfort came from the screams of a distant onlooker. The pressure would kill him.