Chapter 2: Saber Making

        C-3PO fretted in a shaft of hot Tatooine sunlight that filtered into Ben Kenobi’s old hut.  “Master Luke, are you sure this is a good idea?  What if we’re disintegrated on sight?”

        Concentrating on what he was doing rather than what the droid was saying, Luke gave only half his attention to his answer.  “Stop worrying, Threepio.  Jabba never disintegrates droids.”

        Artoo whistled what sounded like his agreement with Luke.

        Threepio scathingly replied to Artoo, “That says how much you know, you bolt factory!  Why, just yesterday, one of the pilots was telling me that--”

        “That’s got it!”  Luke slipped the last piece into place and held out his first handmade lightsaber for inspection.  “What do you think?”  The shaft winked in the sunlight.

        Artoo whistled enthusiastically.

        Threepio automatically translated for his astromech friend.  “He says that it looks pretty.”  Then he turned on his stubby companion.  “Honestly Artoo, is that the only thing you can say?”

        Luke pushed the power button on the saber as Threepio chattered, and its green blade snapped to life.  Luke swished it first one way, then the other, delighted at how seamlessly it responded to his every whim.  It was almost like the weapon was reading his thoughts.  The saber hummed innocently with deadly energy the entire time.

        Threepio paused in his tirade to watch Luke put the saber through its paces.   “Artoo’s right.  It is pretty.”

        “Pretty, but deadly,” Luke added, thinking of all that he could do with a weapon such as this.  Then he immediately corrected himself: all the things that he was going to do with it.

        As if to prove to himself that it was truly a lightsaber, Luke thrust the glowing blade at the nearby wall.  The green blade instantly ate a hole through the sandblasted stone, emerging unscathed on the other side.

        Luke critically gazed at his work, happy to note that, yes, it did work just like a lightsaber should.  “Good thing I did that to an inside wall.  Who knows what I could have hurt on the outside of this hut.”  He pulled the blade back to his side and stared at the hole he’d just made.  The perfect representation of a round lightsaber blade met his eye.  The hole smoked slightly, filling the hut with an acrid smell.

        The possibility that there could be something outside the hut was not news that Threepio wanted to hear.  “Master Luke, you’d tell us if something was out there, wouldn’t you?”

        Chuckling, Luke replied, “Relax, Threepio.  There’s nothing outside the hut.”  Nothing he could sense, at any rate.

        Soothed by Luke’s words if not the odor now encompassing the hut, the golden droid went back to fretting.  “I do hope that if Mistress Leia goes into that awful Palace, Chewbacca is able to protect her, and that together they are able to free Captain Solo from the carbonite.”  He gestured at himself and Artoo.  “I doubt that we will be able to assist much in this situation.”

        It was all Luke could do at that moment not to give the entire plan away to the talkative droid.  “Give yourself some credit, Threepio.  You and Artoo are more important than you realize.”  Luke busied himself with cleaning up the tools he had used to make his lightsaber.  “Besides, she has to do more than just free Han from the carbonite,” he reminded as he worked.  “If Jabba won’t agree with my request to negotiate, then it’s up to her to get Han out of the Palace.”

        “Captain Calrissian will assist her.”

        “Maybe,” Luke conceded.  “Hopefully, Jabba will see reason, and he won’t have to.”

        “‘Hopefully?’” Threepio repeated in horror.  “Oh dear!”

        Luke allowed himself a smile at the droid’s dramatics.  “Stop worrying, Threepio!  Everything is right on schedule.  With any luck, my message inside Artoo will convince him, but I bet that Leia and Chewie are ready in case there’s trouble.”

        Like it was listening in on Luke’s conversation with the droids, a beep abruptly sounded from Artoo.

        “Oh my!” Threepio said, his golden arms in the air.  “That’s the signal that Mistress Leia is in place and ready to infiltrate the Palace if  necessary.”

        “Well, looks like you’re up,” Luke said, his tone now full of optimism for Threepio’s sake.  If Jabba refused to negotiate, and if Leia and Chewie also failed, it was up to him.  In spite of the odds against rescuing Han from Jabba, Luke felt confident that he and his friends would once again achieve the impossible.  “Artoo, come here.”

        R2D2 rolled to stand patiently beside the young Jedi, beeping questioningly.

        There was no need for Threepio to interpret that sound.  “Open your dome for me,” Luke commanded, and as soon as Artoo’s metal casing slid aside, nestled the now deactivated lightsaber into the space among the wires and cables that made up Artoo’s inner workings.   Being circumspect, considering who was listening to their conversation, Luke asked, “Now, are you sure about everything?”  

        Artoo beeped, and Threepio anxiously translated, “He says that he is.”  Artoo slid his dome’s metal casing back into place as Threepio talked.  No one would ever suspect that there was a lightsaber inside the little droid.

        Luke patted Artoo’s domed head in satisfaction.  “Good.”  He sat back to study the two droids one last time.  “I wish that I could think of a better way to send that message to Jabba than to use Artoo’s video link.  Thanks for taking it to him, you two.  Better get started walking to Jabba’s Palace now.”

        “Ooooh!”  Threepio shuddered, then seemed to gather his metallic wits together.  “If we must, we must.  Come along, Artoo.  We can’t leave Captain Solo in that awful place for a moment longer than necessary.

        Artoo rolled up beside his friend, whistling that he was ready for anything.  At the last minute, he swivelled his head dome back towards Luke, back to the door of the hut, back to Luke, then resolutely followed his friend through the door.

        Luke sighed once more, squaring his shoulders.  This was it.  No turning back now.  He grimmly peered out the hut’s front door.  Threepio and Artoo were already a good distance away.  With any luck, they would be inside Jabba’s Palace in an hour.  In two, Jabba would have heard his message, underestimated both the message and him, and the mission would begin.

        And then…

        Jabba wouldn’t know what hit him.

The End