THE LAST PADAWAN: A Star Wars Tale Twilight falls on the Old Republic. The Clone Wars rage across the galaxy, as the droid armies of the Confederacy of Independent Systems brings dissent to peace and order throughout the once mighty Republic. Only the grand army of the Republic, led by the Jedi, stands in their path. Clone soldiers, led by Jedi Knights, together with their padawan apprentices, fight to restore the Republic. But the war does not go well. On board the cruiser Wyvern, Jedi padawan Aedan Avicii speeds from Bespin to Coruscant in a race to get the Jedi Council information that could turn the whole war on its head... BB-4001A, #0080ff The boy's hand massaged the back of his neck, fingers gingerly exploring the spot where a round impression remained from the restraining bolt that had been attached there at the base of the skull, as though questioning the reality of that having been removed. It was more than disconcerting that, at any time, the young human was susceptible to having all autonomy stripped away with such a device, or even all sense of identity stolen with a memory wipe. In his lifetime, both had happened, leaving him in what seemed a perpetual race to try and catch up to where he'd been or reconciling the gaps between who he was and who he was intended to be. That was due, of course, to the fact that the boy wasn't human at all. Neither was he alive, in the sense that most sapient beings in the galaxy defined the term. He was a droid, but there was nothing outwardly mechanical about him. Indeed, he looked like a child. Small in stature, dark skin, brown eyes flecked with gold, and a mass of wiry hair that flared out from his head. He wore simple trousers and a shirt that was cinched at the waist by an electrician's tool-belt that included an ionizing hold-out blaster, hinting at the life in which he had found himself forever scrambling to survive. Whether human or droid, survival was always a paramount concern. But the unique reality of a droid's programming, or the fragility of it, caused the boy to question whether or not there were levels of survival that one was willing to accept. To survive as a droid was something that he had succeeded at. To survive as himself? That was the task with which the droid seemed in a losing fight. "Please observe the 'no brooding' sign. Heh heh heh." The boy's dark eyes snapped open, as the afro-headed child pivoted in the cockpit chair to peer over at the goose-like mechanical contraption standing with it's telescoping eye-stalk staring up at him. The G2 maintenance droid was something that he'd found on a scrap pile on Nar Shadda. An introduction to how the galaxy at large viewed them as a people, something to be used and then discarded. Disposable slaves. The eye-stalk moved up and down, as though sizing the boy up. "You should power down, boss," G2-M9 offered sagely. And he was that, a sage, when it came to droid maintenance. For the price of a bad motivator, he'd been sentenced to rust for all eternity under the sun. Refurbishing parts, it had taken the boy less than a cycle to get the G2 model back into factory condition. But perhaps that was more effort than people were willing to put into something so easily replaced. After all, newer models were rolling off the shelves every day. Which made the boy wonder, had nothing changed... would his parents have eventually replaced him as well? "...cycle your power cells and clear your J-7 cache. The reboot ought to clear any lingering effects of the restraining bolt," the maintenance droid was saying, as the boy caught himself again drifting off into his own lingering doubts. "Yeah," the boy agreed quietly, almost startled at hearing his own voice. Subconsciously, he massaged his throat and then leaned forward in the chair as he adjusted the flight controls. "First, let's get rid of the meatbag," the droid added, as he looked over the hyperdrive controls and navi-computer. He had never dealt with the Jedi before, and hadn't had any intention of starting now. Whatever they were about, even other meatbags didn't understand Jedi. They weren't really the Republic police, and they weren't really Republic diplomats, but they seemed involved in just about everything that had to do with this war. So if the war was bad, then the Jedi had to be worse. Just as the boy was beginning to rise from out of the seat, something flashed on the communications terminal. It was a channel that the Jedi had asked him to monitor. So now he supposed he was a messenger in addition to ferrying the Jedi kid from the Outer Rim to the Core Worlds. On the one hand, it was more than he'd bargained for when he'd stopped off at Cloud City. On the other hand, he'd made a different bargain with the Jedi. And, unlike meatbags, droids didn't lie about their intentions. "Take over for me," the boy instructed simply, sliding out of the seat and making his way to the door at the back of the cockpit. Walking through the cabins toward the area where the ship would ordinarily retain it's autochef, the boy stepped out into a lounge where the Jedi was waiting. "We've just made the jump into hyperspace," the boy announced for the sake of his passenger. The boy could have advised on how long the trip was going to take, but the answer was that they were going to get there when they got there. And the autochef wasn't working -- it hadn't even been stocked in more than a hundred years -- so the Jedi had best be prepared for a long night with no supper. There were also guest quarters, but the Jedi was no 'guest' of his. Merely cargo. As such, the sofa in the lounge would have to do. "There's a transmission on that channel you mentioned," the boy noted in a matter-of-fact tone, taking his eyes off the Jedi just long enough to give a nod of his head in the direction of a small terminal on the far wall. "You can listen over there if you like." It wasn't personal. This was just business, and BB preferred to keep things that way. The Jedi meant nothing to him and he imagined he meant even less to the Jedi. The sooner they got to Coruscant, the better. Then they could each just go their separate ways. After all, that was the only part of his life that BB ever got right.