Chapter 1

        As Tank continued to stare at the uncaring walls, his horror only grew.  What am I going to do now?  Since I just had to meet my new captain, why didn’t I lie, or not bring up Skywalker at all?  I know how low Imperial opinion is concerning him.  I should have been more careful.  Now, here I am, inhabiting this empty cell.  So think, moron!  How do I get out of this?  The situation couldn’t be as hopeless as it appeared.  There must be something he could do.

        If there was something he could do, however, he sure couldn’t think of it.  The walls were smoother than the bottom of a newborn Dewback.  The floor was as clean and unscuffed as a brand new pair of boots.  There wasn’t even a random screw or nail left hidden in any of the floor cracks that he could use as a very crude weapon.  Not that he could really accomplish anything with a random nail, but at least he could claim to have found something!  There wasn’t even an air vent in the ceiling, just waiting to be used in a desperate escape attempt.  Let’s face it; this cell has a whole lot of nothing!

        Tank slowly sank down to the cell’s single sleeping platform.   You did it this time, Tank ol’ buddy.  There was no real reason for you to come back to the Imperial Fleet like you did.  You should have run when you had the chance.  Since you didn’t, you should have just kept your mouth shut.  You’re nothing but a trusting, gullible…  Suns, at this rate you’ll end up being more naive than Luke.

        Tank gave a sudden start.  Of course.  I can contact Luke, just like he told me to do if I got into trouble.  Why didn’t I think of that before?  I’m such an idiot!

        Yet, contacting Luke required Tank to be calm, to be focused, to use the Force.  Tank wasn’t sure he believed in the Force, let alone wanted to use it.  Could he use it?  Did it matter if he couldn’t as long as Luke could?

Luke was one of those people who were strong Force users, right?  Like Darth Vader had been before he mysteriously died.  There was that time on the shuttle when Luke had cut his weapon into three parts using nothing but a lightsaber.  Wasn’t a lightsaber the chosen weapon of someone who used the Force?  Since Luke had used a lightsaber, he was probably one of those Force users.  He certainly believed in this Force stuff, and Tank had no reason not to believe in his friend.  So, this Force stuff was real… right?

Tank grimaced; Luke’s apparent beliefs were hardly proof that this weird energy field existed.  Sure, he had done some astonishing things with that saber of his, all in amazingly awkward positions, and looking like a monk while he did it, but anybody could be taught to do tricks like that.  This proved nothing.

Tank continued to contemplate the blank cell wall in front of him.  He felt like ten kinds of stupid for considering using something he couldn’t see, but if he had to use the Force in order to get out of here, then he would just have to get over his doubts and do it.  ‘Cause he sure didn’t see any other way of escaping from his new home.

Before he could talk himself out of it, Tank did what Luke had told him to do while they’d built a funeral pyre together on Endor; he tentatively thought his call.  Hey Luke, I could really use some help getting out of this cell.  Then he held his breath and waited.

He wasn’t sure what was supposed to happen, but he was fairly sure that something was.   But unless that something had been really subtle, he’d received a great big nothing.

So he thought his plea for help again, and held his breath again.

And again, he got nothing.

The flush of embarrassment crept over him.  Leaping Jawas, I feel like an idiot.

But he thought his plea into the void once more, just in case he was actually doing something productive.  Some help with this prison thing would be good about now.

More held breath.  More nothing.

Man, this cell is quiet.  I could hear anything.  But I hear one big nothing.  A person can go crazy in all this silence… which is probably the idea.  You know… prisoner… going crazy… isn’t that the idea of prison?

Tank didn’t want to go crazy.

Okay, if it means getting out of this cell, then the Force is what I’ll use.  Luke obviously thinks it has some merit.

Since when did I ever care what Luke thought about anything?

But the confident young man Tank had encountered on the shuttle barely resembled the Luke Skywalker he’d known on Tatooine.  Oh, he looked like Luke, sure enough.  But it seemed as if the boy had finally grown up, yet looked like that growing up hadn’t been the fun he’d always anticipated it would be.  He behaved as if he had the weight of the whole galaxy on his shoulders, though he seemed to welcome that responsibility.  If even Luke could develop such a powerful sense of obligation, then…

Times sure have changed.

At least, Luke seemed less whiny.  Tank remembered how the younger Luke had always been going on about something, usually how he wanted to shake the dust of Tatooine of his boots, but his uncle wouldn’t let him.  Tank had always secretly wondered why he listened to his uncle, anyway.  So the old man wanted his help for another season.  That didn’t mean Luke had to stay.  For suns’ sake, was the boy over the legal age limit or not?  If he wanted to go, then he should just go!

But he didn’t.  Like the good nephew he said he didn’t care about being, but clearly did, he stayed on for one more season… and one more after that… and the one after that.  Tank had just figured that Luke was in fact soft, always complaining about not leaving, but never doing anything about it.  Yet, he was always good for a laugh, could fly better than anybody, and was certainly nicer than most of the Tatooine rats, but…

Tank shook his head as he settled into the self inflicted argument.  This is getting me nowhere.  I’m stalling, and I can’t stall forever.

Then again, what else have I got to do?

I could sleep on it… see if I feel less stupid tomorrow.

No!  Don’t you go pulling a Luke.  Stop dreaming and just do it.

So Tank took a deep breath, and tried thinking his plea for assistance one more time.  Hey Luke, some help here, please.

Nothing again.

Stop being a sandcrawler, Luke, and help me outta this mess.

More nothing.

Okay, Sky-dude, use the Force, or whatever.


You told me to call, so I’m calling. I could really use some of that stuff you do right about now… or now… or even now would be a good time.

Total silence.  This was fast becoming annoying.  He’d try one last time.  Maybe shouting his mental call would help.

        YO LUKE, HELP!

And suddenly there was a response in his mind.  Don’t go all Bantha on me.  I heard you the first time.

Tank was so surprised that he fell off the sleeping platform.