I was offered the chance to join the rebel alliance for the price of a pint of cheap ale. Of course, there would be a test to see if I was worthy of joining, but the invitation cost me just that. When someone offers you a chance to begin a whole new life, to be a part of something bigger, to help make a difference to the lives of billions of people, how are you supposed to walk away? If you’ve seen near enough every scam in the book, and been a party to half of them, it’s easy. I heard him out then stood up, thanked him for the story, and left.
My heart was pounding against my ribs as I left the cantina. This could be it, my ticket off this tired husk of a world, maybe even a way to find out more about the Jedi and my father. The grizzled old veteran must have been insane, telling glorious stories of the rebellion to anyone who’d listen, all while sat in a bar on an imperial mining world.
The empire didn’t exactly rule x with an iron fist. We hadn’t seen a stormtrooper since the sad little attempt at an uprising eight years back, and even then they were gone in a month. The planetary arbitrators were corrupt and lazy and criminal activity of all kinds was rife, but as long as the mines met quota we were left pretty much alone. The only thing they seemed to care about was keeping the status quo- the first sign of someone upsetting the well ordered system was crushed swiftly and mercilessly. Agents were everywhere, or so we told each other. Tales were shared in every mine and drinking hole of friends of acquaintances of distant relatives who had vanished after a drunken rant against the injustice of our indentured lives, and the evil of the distant, unseen power that held us so. We all knew the stories and the truth of them was undisputed, so we never questioned the sources. I myself once told a wonderfully embellished tale of my uncle’s old drinking buddy whose house was burned down after one such tirade. Never mind that I didn’t have an uncle, it was a great story.
So we all went about our lives, complained about the hours, the pay and our shift managers, and never dared whisper our grievances against the system that kept us trapped this way. But here sat a man who had seen a different life. A man who would, seemingly without fear, tell anyone about the rebel fight for freedom and honour. He was there again a week later, and a few weeks after that, and each time I simply watched him. Never openly acknowledging him, I just watched and studied, trying to make up my mind about the enigmatic figure. My suspicions ran deep: his continued reappearance seemed to defy everything I knew, something had to be going on, but I just couldn’t figure out what. I’ve always had an excellent instinct for detecting trouble, but nothing about the man set it off. He radiated an aura of calm unlike anything I’d ever experienced, none of my freakish senses seemed to be able to pick him up and just being in the same room seemed to dull the constant background clamour of thoughts and emotions. Eventually I made up my mind. This could well be my only chance to start a new life, and I would regret it forever if I turned it down.
He smiled warmly as I sat down opposite him, his gaze steady, self assured and about six inches to my left. He’d clearly been at the ale for several hours before I got there.
“I had a good feeling about you, kid. Knew as soon as I looked at you there was something special about you. You’ve reconsidered, haven’t you?” I kept it brief.
“If you are who you say you are then you’re a dangerous person to be seen with. Just tell me what I need to do.”
“Hah! A man of action eh? You’ll go a long way kid. So what made you change your mind?”
It was tempting, I have to admit, to spend the rest of the evening there, finding out more about the noble cause i was being recruited into. But my sense of self preservation begged me to part ways with the charismatic drunk. As much as I trusted him his presence was still a source of potential trouble.
I glanced furtively around the cantina. The loud music was drowning out any chance of people overhearing us but I was uneasy about being seen sat here for too long.