49 5 0


by GlennKoerner

Harold sat on the cold stone in a cross-legged position, his eyes closed, his mind focused. Breathing slowly, he thought about many things, inspecting each event in turn as if appraising a jewel for purchase.

Plants as tall as trees were everywhere outside the pyramid temple, their transparent leaves having the appearance of delicate ice crystals as if each branch was the arm of a snowflake. The plants offered an abundance of fruit, but only some of it proved edible. His right hand had suffered a severe burn when he'd discovered the juice inside one fruit was extremely acidic.

He couldn't tell the color of the plants as a blue giant star filled the sky, illuminating everything in shades of electric blue. He'd been forced to rely on the computer in his crashed ship to monitor the passage of time as the sun took an entire standard year to go from sunrise to sunset. During his four years on the planet, he'd experienced two of the year long nights. Most of the creatures hibernated during the long days, coming out during the great darkness. The wreckage of his ship had been both prison and sanctuary during those lightless years.

His thoughts moved on to consider the reason for his isolation here. The hyperdrive had malfunctioned and thrown him out of light speed too near the planet to stop in time, forcing a crash landing. Although serviceable, the hyperdrive wasn't his main problem. The thruster assembly had sheared away when he'd grazed a mountaintop, so even if he could fix the hyperdrive, he didn't have a way to get the ship back into orbit.

Waiting for a rescue was out of the question as his sensors had managed to get a reading of nearby stars. None were in the databanks. The planet and its star system were uncharted, so he couldn't expect help from a passing ship.

Desperation had driven him into the jungle, searching for an excuse to keep living, and he'd found the pyramid. Built by the ancient Jedi in a time long before the Galactic Republic ever came into being, the structure didn't have the parts to repair his ship, but it did contain the teachings of the Jedi.

Lacking anything better to do, he'd begun to study. Harold had immersed himself in the ancient writings and had been very surprised when he'd reached out with his mind for the first time and felt the Force. After years of discipline and experimentation, he'd managed to use the Force to touch the mind of a friend on the other side of the galaxy, calling for help.

Harold opened his eyes when the sound of an engine reached his ears. He smiled. His friend had heard his call and come for him. Standing up, he stretched out a hand, and a lightsaber he'd built flew into his waiting grip. It was time to return to the galaxy, not as a merchant but as a Jedi. His long exile was over.

Tall Tales From the Cantina: An AnthologyWhere stories live. Discover now