A new snippet of Shadow of the Sith is coming
Shadow of the Sith is just over a month away and the snippets continue, this time bringing us Dathan and Miramir as they escape Jakku with their daughter Rey.
In the beginning, there was only emptiness. And then the ship appeared, mass, form and structure. From here to there, traversing endless chasms of space, as easy as pulling a lever. It was almost magical in its simplicity.
At that moment, however, the ship’s overheating navigation computer begged not to agree.
For a moment, the battered old freighter floated, suspended in space, like a were bear emerging from a long hibernation, taking stock of its surroundings.
And then the ship shuddered and began to list to port, carving out a long, slow spiral that suddenly accelerated as an aft impulse stabilizer failed in a shower of white sparks. The ship’s nose dipped even further, the starboard engine sputtering now, a loose cover plate revealing a dangerous red glow below.
For the pilot and her two passengers, the situation had just gone from bad to worse.
Two days. That was all they had achieved. Two days out of Jakku, limping aboard a ship that shouldn’t fly at all, but was the only jumbo they’d managed to pull from Unkar Plutt’s scrapyard outside the Forward – Niima post. And it didn’t look like they were going to go much further.
A few hours earlier, they dared to think that maybe. . . they had done it? They had come out of their farm, their versatile household droid, handcrafted from more scrap and salvage, sacrificing themselves by misleading the hunters. Then they found the ship (indeed, they had long since reserved it for such a day – a day they hoped would never come). Throwing it, just themselves, a bag of toys and books and a handful of credits, the clothes on their backs. Pointed the navigation computer along a vector that would put them out of range (which they hoped). And buckled up for the ride.
But now? The ship had barely survived the initial voyage. Escaping to Wild Space had been a desperate decision, but was far from the end game. a road.
Those options now seemed noticeably more limited as they floated adrift. They had escaped Jakku, only to . . . what? Dying in the cold expanses of space, the old freighter is nothing more than a tomb for the three of them, lost forever on the outskirts of the galaxy, their deaths without mourning, their names forgotten.
The freighter’s interior was as old and battered as the exterior – the flight deck was cramped and functional, the old-fashioned design requiring not only the pilot and co-pilot but the navigator, the third seat in the rear of the cabin, opposite the forward portholes. For this trip, they had to content themselves with a crew of only two people.
The pilot’s seat was occupied by a young woman, her long blonde hair tied loosely with a blue tie to match the color of her cape, the sleeves of her cream tunic rolled up as she leaned over the control console in front of her, one hand clutching the uncooperative yoke, the other flying above knobs and switches as she struggled to control the shaking ship. The forward view, seen through the slanted, heavily scratched transparsteel porthole, showed the starscape ahead of it sliding diagonally as the freighter’s rotation accelerated.
Behind her, a young man, his black hair cropped, the beginnings of a beard on his jaw, was kneeling on the deck behind the navigator’s seat. His arms were wrapped around him and his little occupant, the child, cradled in a padded nest formed of a bright multicolored blanket, a stark contrast to the drab, greasy bronze of the cockpit.
The man craned his neck as he watched his wife struggle with the controls, then he stood up and leaned over to kiss the six-year-old’s head strapped securely to the seat, a large pair of noise-cancelling navigator headphones over her ears . In front of the girl, the old navigation panel – a square matrix of hundreds of individual little square lights – flashed in multicolored patterns of moving shapes, a simple game that the girl’s mother had loaded into the auxiliary computer to occupy her daughter on the long term. journey.
The man looked up at the game board, but the girl had stopped playing. He moved to the front of the chair and saw that her eyes were tightly closed. He leaned over, hugging his daughter.
“I’ve got you,” Dathan whispered to Rey. ” We are well. I got you.”
There was a bang; Dathan felt it as much as he heard it when another part of the strained engines gave out, the small explosion reverberating through the ship. A tear fell from Rey’s closed eyes. Dathan wiped it away and closed his eyes, wishing that, for once, some luck would come their way.
“Okay, let’s go!” cried Miramir, following his declaration with a cry of triumph. The ship shook once, then the steady shaking stopped. Through the forward portholes, the stars were now completely still.
Despite himself, despite their situation, Dathan found himself smiling. He couldn’t help it. His wife was a genius and he loved her. He didn’t know where she got that from, but she was natural, like it was genetic. She could fly anything, had been – and still was – a self-taught engineer and inventor. Tinkering, Miramir called her, as if it was nothing, as if she didn’t realize how special her talents were. In the years he had known her, Dathan had often asked where that gift came from, but Miramir only shrugged and said that his grandmother was a wonderful woman. Dathan knew it was true – he had met her many times before Miramir abandoned his life in the Twilight Forest of Hyperkarn to travel with Dathan. But then . . . where had her grandmother learned everything?
Datan wanted to know, but over time he had learned not to ask more. Miramir missed his grandmother. She missed her home.
It was something else Datan had been trying to figure out. To be homesick, to miss something you could never get back to, that was something he didn’t know. Oh sure, he could understand that. And yes, he felt something about his days on Hyperkarn, even the years on Jakku, but he wasn’t sure if it was the same. None of these places had really been his home.
He had a home, a place he could rightfully say he came from. It was a place he revisited a lot, in his dreams.
Dreams. . . and nightmares.
“It will hold for a while,” Miramir said, releasing the yoke and raising his hand to flip a series of heavy switches in the angled panel above the pilot’s position. “I redirected reserve power to the starboard impulse stabilizer and then pushed the angle of the field well past point seven, but that’s fine because…”
She stopped when Dathan dropped into the co-pilot’s seat and looked at her, one eyebrow raised.
“I don’t know what any of this means,” he said, “except we’re safe, aren’t we?”
Miramir sat back, her slender figure dwarfed by the pilot’s seat. She smiled and nodded.
Dathan felt his own smile grow. Miramir’s happiness – his relief – was contagious. Maybe they’ll get over it eventually.
“The stabilizers will hold until the hyperdrive resets,” Miramir said. “The motivator overheats every time we take a jump, but it’s still working for now. We should be good for a few more jumps. She paused, then wrinkled her nose. “But we have to find another ship. Which means . . .” She gestured toward the portholes, toward the endless void that was Wild Space.
Dathan nodded. “Which means returning to the Outer Rim.”
At that, Miramir unbuckled the restraints of his seat and walked over to Rey. Kneeling by the navigator’s seat, she gently lifted the headphones from her daughter’s head, then undid the clips from the seat. As soon as she was freed, Rey jumped off the seat and tackled her mother, her arms and legs wrapped around her, her head buried in her chest. Rey may have been small for a six-year-old, but Miramir didn’t care about his daughter’s desire for closeness, knowing the girl would soon grow out of it. Miramir turned and dropped gently into the navigator’s seat, still cradling Rey, and kicked the seat so she was facing Dathan.
“I know it’s dangerous,” Miramir said, “but that ship was in Plutt’s scrap heap for a reason. We did a long jump, and look what happened. It will be worse each time.
Dathan sighed and nodded to his wife. “We have no choice,” he said. “I know.”
Miramir lowered her face to Rey’s hair, burying her nose in the brown braid, her eyes fixed somewhere on the floor.
Dathan knew that look. He had seen her plenty of times in the past two days. It hurt him to see Miramir like this. His wife, his love, the smartest, prettiest, best person he had ever met. Definitely the most capable, much better at most things he was, no matter how hard he tried.
And he knew something else too.
It was all his fault.
But there would be time for that later. Right now, they had no more options and only one path was available to them.
“Hey,” Dathan said. He forced the smile back on his face.
Miramir looked up but said nothing.
“Hey, come on now,” Dathan said.
Miramir looked at him, her large eyes beginning to water.
“Mom I’m hungry.”
Miramir looked at Rey and…
She laughed. Dathan smiled, then found himself unable to resist participating.
Rey freed herself from her mother’s arms and turned to look at her father.
“You are idiots,” she said. And then she pointed to the front window. “Who is it?”
No sooner had the child spoken than an alarm sounded. Dathan flicked a switch to free him, then turned to look at what Rey had spotted. The alarm started ringing again.
“What is that?” Miramir asked.
“We have company,” Dathan said, watching in the distance three stars move and begin to grow.
Three ships, flying in formation.
Come right for them.
If you’re attending Celebration Anaheim, be sure to drop by Room 208AB on Saturday, May 28 from 2-3 p.m., where author Adam Christopher will be our guest, and tune in to Canon Fodder next week for our conversation. with Fellowship author Mike Chen and Tuesday, June 28 an in-depth conversation with Adam Christopher on Shadow of the Sith.