The air taxi came down to the landing pad and the driver parked it in front of the two of them. Patches deployed his leg hover pads that he still had not tested out since his accident. Patches slowly lifted himself off the ground and hovered until he felt they would not give out on him then floated over to the taxi and planted himself in the middle of the back seat. Patches chirped happily to himself on a job well done while Esoom hoisted himself over the side and got into the seat next to him. Without so much as a word the driver took off heading to the Jedi temple in the distance. The temple glimmered in the sun as they approached. The driver dropped them off at one of the main entrances at the top of a long flight of stairs. They were greeted by a human Jedi male with short blond hair who said he would show the way to meet with one of the Jedi Masters. They walked down a grand hallway with grand marble pillars and vaulted ceilings, aliens from many different worlds roamed the halls each giving a slight bow in respect as they past them and each other.
“Are all Jedi this polite?” Esoom asked their Jedi guide.
“Most are yes.” The human said and then cracked a smile; “Some are more aggressive than others though but in a good way.” They came to a door and it slid open. It was dimly lit with horizontal blinds on the window to let the sunlight in but not overpower the room. In the center were two cylindrical padded raised platforms with which to sit on. Other than that, the room was empty and quiet.
The Jedi’s communication device beeped and he went off to the side to have a short conversation with whoever was calling, after a moment he came back, “Master Yoda will be here within the hour, he is tending to other matters and has asked me to ask you to wait in this room but that your astromech would have to wait outside.”
Patches whistled softly in disappointment and looked to the floor.
“Patches, maybe this is for the best,” Esoom said gently, “This might take a while anyway so why don’t you call for an air taxi to take you back to our ship. You can help keep Lihp out of trouble.”
“I am sorry for the inconvenience, I will send a message to have another taxi come back and pick up your droid.” The blond haired Jedi said. “I will take him back to the entrance you two came in at.”
“Are you sure you will be ok by yourself?” Patches asked Esoom.
“Yes I will be fine, I am in good hands. Just make sure Lihp stays in the ship till I get back.”
The Jedi asked Patches to follow him and he grudgingly obeyed all the while turning his dome around every few feet to see if Esoom was still watching from the doorway. After the two of them rounded the corner Esoom went and sat on one of the raised cushions in the room and the door slid shut. With the door now closed the room was even darker and deafly quite to the point that Esoom could hear his own breathing plain as day. He had not been this alone scene he had left Ithor and felt a little uneasy. He decided he would take this chance to meditate until the Jedi master came to see him.
The Jedi radioed Patches a taxi then called The Tree Hugger to let them know he would be returning. Once they got back to the entrance at the top of the stairs the Jedi said goodbye and went off to do other things. Patches waited there and grew frustrated as time went on and no taxi showed up. Just as the droid was about to go back inside and check on the status of the taxi he seen a vehicle approach in the distance. The craft jerked and switched as one of the side engines was smoking from not being tuned right. Patches groaned to himself when he realized it was Lihp in the beat up Landspeeder he brought aboard the ship. The green speeder came to a halt in front of the astromech, as the smoke from the engine became a small cloud around them.
“Lihp cancel taxi, come get you myself!” the Jawa said eagerly.
“You are supposed to stay on the ship!” Patches blatted back.
“Lihp no get in trouble, Lihp fix speeder, need to take on test run anyway, not good to do that on ship yes?”
“Let’s get back to the ship before you get a ticket for toxic emitions.” Patches scorned.
Patched hovered himself into the passenger seat and the pair of them took off. Even though the speeder was not pieced back together properly it did soar higher than it was originally designed for due to some modifications Lihp must have done to the repulsors. They flew with ease over the tops of buildings as the engines made weird sounding noises every once in a while. When they were but three buildings away from the C-9979 Lihp took a sharp right and headed downward.
Patches screamed in terror as he had a flash back of his fears of flying. He screamed at Lihp to stop the craft and head back to the ship.
“Lihp hungry, want real food for a change, we go eat at diner I hear of in local directory.”
“You have no credits Jawa! How are you going to pay?” Patches yelled.
“Lihp sell my scrap metal while you were gone, got plenty credits!”
“Esoom put me second in command, you follow my orders! We can call for something to be delivered to the ship!”
“Lihp in driving seat, astro droid has to come with!” Lihp said as he laughed.
Patches shot out a gripper arm and tried to grab the steering wheel to turn them around with no avail; every time he would grab a hold of the wheel Lihp would bat the gripper away.
Still heading in a down direction the ground rushed towards them. Patches let go of the wheel at the last second and Lihp turned the speeder to a hard left and drifted sideways to a stop just centimeters from the front wall of a small retro looking building.
The repulsors smoked from the extra strain that had been put on them and they clunked to a stop dropping the speeder the last foot directly onto the ground with a thunk. The people inside the building looked as if they just had a heart attack as they looked threw the window at the speeder right next to them.
“Engines overheat! Need to let cool now anyway! I hungry go eat!” Lihp said jumping out of the craft standing taller than normal. The Jawa had strapped long metal blocks to his feet so he could reach the foot controls of the speeder. Lihp tried to cover them with his robes as he waited for Patches to get over being droid napped and join him by the entrance.
“Once you have eaten we are going back to the ship even if I have to zap you and drive the speeder myself!” Patches whistled warningly.
“You have Jawa’s word”
The sign on the door of the small eating establishment said Didi’s Diner; Lihp balanced himself on his stilts and opened the door.
A female came up to them and said, “Greetings traveler, my name is Astri Oddo and I will be your waitress tonight. Follow me and I will show you to a booth.”
Esoom chanted softly in stereo to himself as he meditated. He pictured himself flying over Ithor looking down at the Bafforr trees of Cathor Hills. Then he was flying over Naboo watching his Ithorian brothers finishing their work on the forests below. Suddenly a dark robed humanoid appeared in front of him, his face obscured with a cowl. The figure oozed of darkness as he cackled viciously growing bigger and bigger.
The beautiful images that had just had played in Esoom’s mind replayed again, this time the dark man shot blue lightning from his fingertips setting everything and everyone ablaze. Esoom tried to stop him but he could not move, reaching out he felt something in his hand; it was a Lightsaber. Esoom flicked it on and a red beam of light shot out. The light sword moved Esoom’s arm all by itself and it struck down his family and friends. Esoom tried to drop the Lightsaber but it would not let go, he wrestled with it and fought hard as tears ran down his eyes. After everyone was dead, the Lightsaber flew out of the Ithorians grasp and plunged itself deep into Esoom’s heart. Esoom screamed in pain as a reflection of himself appeared before him. The reflection was different, the Lightsaber blade color was green and he was now wearing the dark mans robes.
“Fear is the path to the dark side.” Came a voice that shook Esoom from his nightmare.
The Ithorian confused about what was happening lost his balance and fell over backwards off the cushion and onto the floor flailing his arms as he went. A happy and childlike laugh came from someone else in the room and Esoom peered over the top of the platform he was sitting on expecting to see a young child. To his surprise an old wrinkled green alien sat on the other raised cushion wearing the robes of a Jedi master.
“For an Ithorian not graceful in movement are you.” The pointed eared creature said. “Troubling visions have you?”
“Yes master Jedi, as of late they have been getting darker and more disturbing.” Esoom said as he tried to regain his composure and sit back on his cushion.
“Much fear and anger I sense in you.” Said the unknown alien as he poked Esoom with a short stick. “Great care you must take when sensing the future.”
“The Future!” Esoom exclaimed, “How can I see the future!”
“Threw your connection to the force.” The green Jedi said while opening up his arms as to point to some invisible entity. “Though your connection to the force is unlike any I have seen in hundreds of years.”
Esoom now more inquisitive than disoriented asked, “What connection do I have? How come it has never been noticed before?”
“Strange that your connection was not noticed when younger you were, there seems to be a dark force trying to suppress my awareness it is.”
The creature’s face went from playful to serious so fast that Esoom flinched.
“I am Master Yoda; very disturbing is the dark side’s interest in clouding your powers. If we had known of your connection to the force when younger you were a Jedi now you might be.”
“Ever cense I left Ithor my anger has slowly got out of my control, the closer I got to this planet the stronger I feel a dark presence watching me.” Esoom said feeling ashamed and lowering his head as not to look into Yoda’s eyes. “So far I have kept it relatively under control but I am afraid that one day I might not be able to. Am I becoming evil?”
“Hard to see your future is Esoom, but evil in you I do not cense. Knowing you are having trouble and admitting it, first steep to staying on the light path it is.”
Esoom looked back up into Yoda’s eyes as streams of tears began to fall. “Can you help me?”
“To old you are to become a Jedi, but help to teach you to control your anger we can. Come tell me of your visions….”
Lihp shoved his food under his black facemask with his hands with no concern of where the scraps landed.
The other patrons looked on in disgust as the Jawa signaled their waitress Astri to bring more.
Patched moaned as he stood next to the booth watching along with everyone else.
“No more food! Let’s go!" Patches blurted out.
“Lihp not full! Lihp can eat more!” The Jawa said as he started to eat and drink his third helping. Halfway threw the course Lihp started to swoon back and forth.
“I not feel so good. Feel like I filled with sand.”
“Ok that is it! Let’s go! I command you to take us back to the ship! This is an order now not a request!” Patches whistled for all in the dinner to hear.
“Me thinks astro droid is right, We should get back before giant friend finds out we gone.” Lihp said as he stumbled out of the booth and held on to Patches for support. Once outside Lihp leaned against the speeder until he was not so woozy.
“Lihp no want trouble!” The Jawa said raising his hand in surrender.
“Watching you eat ruined my appetite and I think you should pay for my meal! All the credits you have and that junk speeder of yours will do nicely!” The Gotal said with a sneer as he pulled out a hidden holdout blaster from inside his boot.
Patches let out a wooing sound as he could not believe their luck at having another blaster pointed at them on a daily basis.
“Extra credits in speeder! Take all no shoot!” Lihp said and ran around to the other side of the building clunking on his stilts as he went leaving Patches by himself.
The Gotal laughed to himself as he pointed the gun at the droid, “You’re lucky I do not have the luxury of stealing an R2 unit like yourself. I must hurry and make my escape.” The gruff Gotal hopped into the speeder and fired it up; the repulsors slowly lifted the speeder up off the ground as they slowly powered back up.
Suddenly Lihp came from around the building shouting, “Utinni!” The Jawa pulled out a small black box and pushed one of the buttons on it. The seat in the speeder lift straight up with such a great force it propelled the Gotal up into the air that he landed on his back in the middle of the street several yards away.
“Astro droid think Lihp leaves him by himself” the Jawa said laughingly as he reset the seat and climbed in.
“Very funny, now let’s go!” Patches screeched.
The two of them argued for several minutes until Lihp felt the barrel of a blaster rest on the back of his head.
“You think your pretty funny do ya you womp rat scum!” The same Gotal said as he wiped blood from his mouth with his free hand. “Your dead now and no amount of creds will stop me from doing it!”
The Gotal slowly started to squeeze the trigger trying to savor the moment when suddenly a loud thud came from behind him and everything went black. Standing behind the Gotal was Astri the waitress with a cooking pan and a smile.
“You two should really learn to be more low key. Lucky for you you were a good tipper.” She said kneeling down to grab the Gotal’s blaster and chucked it to Lihp.
“You two should as least look like you can defend yourselves. Take his blaster and get out of here before he wakes up. I got to get back to work.” Astri then turned around as if nothing had happened and went back inside.
“Now can we go?” Patches beeped sarcastically.
“Yes we go now.” Lihp said in as low a voice as possible for a Jawa, as they headed back towards The Tree hugger.
After Esoom finished telling Yoda about his visions and anger in great detail. The Jedi master ran a hand over his brow while thinking to himself. “Confer with the council I must, tomorrow a decision we will make. For now we ask for you to be our guest. Contact your crew you can.”
“I understand.” Esoom said felling lighter already now that he had gotten his thoughts off his chest.
“Hungry you must be, eat you must. Dose your crew need anything to eat?” Yoda asked already knowing the answer.
“Yes I am hungry master Jedi, I do have a Jawa member on my crew right now, he could probably use something to eat.”
“A Jawa you say? How strange to have one as a crewmate. It will be done, now come let me walk you to the door. I will have another jedi come take you to get something to eat."
Next: Patches goes commando!