The Rescue

By Mandi Hall

Jaina blinked and sat up as she realized she had dozed off. She glanced around in hopes to have awakened from a bad dream. Then she pinched herself.

With a sigh, she wiped off the smudge her forehead had made on the even smudgier side of the X-wing. She'd never fallen asleep while working on a ship before. Fixing hyperdrives had always filled her with a fantastic sense of excitement. But now she felt listless.

"At least the weather's nice," Jaina murmured.

The R2 unit started to beep a reply, informing Jaina of its unfortunate weather forecast.

"Shu^×" Jaina stopped herself, reminding herself of the LoSD. Then she reconsidered her reconsideration. "You know what? Screw the League of Sentient Droids. *You're* the one that got me into this mess. Droids aren't human and won't be, no matter how many people sign their stupid petitions. I work with droids. I take them apart, fix them, and put them back together. You know what I find? It's not sentience^×It's wires. It's not feelings^×It's bolts. Next thing you know they'll be giving you silly names like 'Mike' or 'James'^×Or even something as ridiculous as Ken! You'll run around shooting eachother with toy blasters, but you'll never be real. You'll never be human." Jaina turned and stalked off into the forest.

Behind her, the R2 gave a soft electronic whimper.


Jaina knelt down next to the stream and leaned over to look at her reflection in the water. She felt ugly and sick to her stomach. Force or no Force she shouldn't have lost her temper.

She dipped her hands into the stream and spramped water on her face. Ripples spread quickly over her reflection. Suddenly, Jaina closed her eyes and submerged her head under the surface. The cold water made her cheeks tingle. When she couldn't hold her breath any longer, she lifted herself out of the water and laid down on her back. Eyes still tightly closed, she tried to self-reflect through meditation. Her deep breaths soon slowed and softened. She was hoping to feel renewal^×Instead she mostly felt hungry.

She let out a small sigh and opened her eyes. About six metres directly above her was a bright pink fruit. She sat up and examined the tree the fruit was growing on. It appeared similar to tropical fruit trees back on Yavin. The bark was about the same texture.

She stood up and started climbing the tree. Hand over hand, she used smaller branches to pull herself up. She was still sore from the lightsabre accident, so she used the strength in her arms as much as she could, saving her legs to balance with.

Hanging on to a thick branch, she stretched out to grab one of the fruits. As she wrapped her fingers around the fruit, she expected the leaves that sprouted out the top to bend under her touch. Instead, they were rigid and sharp, and cut into her palm. Startled, she let the fruit slip from her hands and fall on the ground. She pulled a handkerchief from her pocket and tied it around her bleeding hand. She climbed down the tree and found the fruit. This time, she made herself more aware of the sharp leaves, and she carefully peeled the citrus-like rind from the fruit. She was surprised to find the fruit was fleshy, rather than segmented, despite the rind.

In an attempt to exercise caution, she sniffed at the fruit for a bitter scent that might indicate poison. It was, however, very sweet and tempting enough to make Jaina forget all other precautions. She dug into the fruit hungrily, sinking her teeth into it and letting the juice spread over her lips. When she finished the fruit, she wrapped the sharp leaves in the rind and slipped them into her pocket. They might be useful later on.

A drop of water slid down Jaina's nose. She blinked and glanced up. It was starting to rain. Breathing a small sigh, Jaina headed back to her X-wing. The R2 was gone.

Jaina took shelter in the small tent she'd set up beside the ship. Watching the rain, she smiled for the first time in weeks. The rain was heavy and tropical, and it reminded her of Yavin. The thick green vegetation seemed similar to Yavin's too. Jaina's brow furrowed slightly.

What if this WAS Yavin? A thousand conspiracy theories started to flood Jaina's mind. What if Jox was playing a trick on her? No, the Force damp is too serious^×Jox isn't smart enough to think of that, or stupid enough to try it. What if her mother had arranged to have her hidden here and used the Force damp so no one could find her till it was safe? Leia never wanted her to go on this suicide mission. Or maybe the mission was a farce too! Maybe Han had been working with Luke to have her sent back to Yavin for her Jedi trials! Maybe her uncle was observing her right now. Maybe he'd slipped a Force damping device into her uniform.

This seemed to be the most probable scheme to Jaina, and she quickly jumped out of her tent and stripped off the outer layer of her uniform. She then attempted to lift a small rock, a task which would normally be very easy. When she couldn't lift it, she pulled off her undershirt. She continued undressing until she was standing naked with rain pouring down her body.

She sunk to her knees, shivering. If Uncle Luke WAS watching, she certainly didn't pass her trials. She crawled back into her tent and wrapped the thermalblanket around herself. Again, her eyes wandered out to the sky.

A flash in the distance drew her attention. A ship was landing. Dad! She crawled out of the tent to get a closer look. She couldn't be sure it was the Falcon, but she was willing to take the chance. She certainly wasn't going to wait around for the droids to vote her off the planet.

With the thermal blanket still wrapped around her, Jaina started towards the ship. She was in pretty good shape, and the ground wasn't hard to run on, so Jaina covered a good bit of distance before her sides began to ache.

She paused, leaning over to catch her breath. When she straightened up, she saw her lover, Nik-Vie Windu, standing not more than twenty metres infront of her. Jaina's eyes widened and she sprinted to him. "Nik-Vie!" she cried, wrapping her arms around the Padawan, eyes closed tightly. Her brows furrowed slightly as she felt something rough against her smooth cheek. Her shoulders dropped.

"Either you forgot to shave this morning or.." she opened her eyes slowly to discover the creature she was hugging so passionately was the trunk of a tree. She murmured a few course words under her breath.

Suddenly, something fell on her head and bounced onto the ground. Rubbing the tender spot, she bent over and picked up the object. It was a fruit exactly like the one she'd eaten earlier. Her eyes narrowed as she realized what had happened.

"I bet the spice dealers at Mos Eisely would've loved to find you," she muttered, tossing the fruit back onto the ground. She pulled the blanket around her tightly and started walking back to her tent to sleep it off.

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