by Avery Tibbets
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away...
The rising sun beamed through the windows of the skyscrapers of Coruscant. Well, most of it. The wretched hive at the darkest pits of the metropolis never saw the true light of day. It was a horrible place for those fancy rich people who lived in the highest floors of the towers, but the perfect place for a thief like Onoma.
Onoma was an orphan, she always had been, she always will be. It was not the life she had dreamed of, with Imperial stormtroopers everywhere looking for people like her, but she always felt like there was something more she could be. Her home planet, Shili had been invaded during the clone wars and her people had been enslaved and sold like a crate of jogun fruit. She had not really been from Shili, but she liked to imagine that her parents were leading happy lives there, and they had to give her up because they had known that they were going to be taken. But that was just what she told herself when she was younger. Now she was old enough that her face had been featured in the wanted section of the hollo news. Yes, she was wanted, but not well known for it. She had never been recognized by the Imperial authorities, yet.
Now, she had been perched atop a ledge on one of the buildings that was relatively short. She wore a dark black cloak that engulfed her tight fitting ashy colored pants and mossy green shirt with short sleeves and a high collar. A merchant sat below her opening his stand for fresh imported fruit that made her mouth water without even having to look down. The smell was really all she needed to make her stomach growl like a loth-cat. She hadn't eaten in days. If she messed this one up and got caught, she would have to wait until tomorrow or worse, get turned over to the authorities. The street lamps had started to shut off and the light from the buildings become more radiant. Onoma had to make her move soon before she was spotted by a by passer. She clung to the pipe mounted on the side of the building with her dry hands that had not been washed in weeks. Finally, the merchant left his stand for the time being and Onoma swung down from her perched and landed in the dark alleyway that clung to the side of the stand. Her dark cloak hid her well in the little light that slipped through the cracks of the massive towers or glowed off hollo signs advertising the Empire and what a huge impact and peace that was brought to the galaxy. Yeah right. All the Empire induced was fear and “all the wrong kind of” order, but sadly, Onoma was the only person smart enough to see that. She peeked around the corner to make sure the merchant was still gone. Thankfully he was so she slithered to the back of the stand and started grabbing as many fruits as she could carry until:
“Hey! Stop! Come back here!” the angry merchant hollered at her. Onoma turned and as fast as she could and ran through the crowd of people beginning to gather on the street.
“Stop her!” The merchant signaled to two nearby stormtroopers to go after her. She did not turn around to look where she had gone or if she was being followed but somehow, she knew she was going to get caught this time. Unaware of the troopers that followed her, Onoma slowed to a walk and peered all around her, except behind her. A tall stormtrooper with shiny white armor grabbed her collar and stopped her in her tracks.
“Where do you think you are going?” he asked in a mechanical voice through his helmet. “Away from here,” She replied scornfully. She knew it was not a good idea to mess with an agent of the Empire, but she couldn’t help but to mock him.
“Well I can clearly see that. You are a wanted criminal to the Empire Onoma Teeo and you are under arrest.”
“You can't take me away!” She barked.
“It’s pointless to resist. You are to be interrogated tomorrow for any information you might have stolen from the Empire. With that, he handcuffed her and escorted Onoma to her home for the next twenty-four hours. Onoma had never once come close to being caught, let alone actually being arrested. She knew that her life was about to change, forever.
The prison cell was almost bare. The darkest black blanketed the floors, ceiling and four perfectly square walls. Two stone cold metal beds stuck to the walls faced each other and there was a single empty shelf on the back wall of the cell. The air was cold and drafty on Onoma’s orange skin. She had been knocked unconscious after she was loaded into a hovercraft of some classification. She sat up on her bed and looked around hazily. There was not much to the room that she hadn’t noticed while she was starting to regain consciousness other than a figure that lay asleep on the other bed snoring very violently. Onoma tried to stand but her legs quickly gave out and she tumbled back down on to the metal bench. She tried again had had slightly better luck, managing to make it over to the other bed to examine her roommate. She was a human girl about her age, nineteen, with dark brown hair and tinted skin. She wore a black uniform with padded sleeves and shiny black boots. She looked the opposite of her, clean, well fed. She couldn't think of a possible reason why she of all people would be in an imperial prison. She quickly dismissed the thought and sat back down on her bed. She slammed her face into the palms of her hands and though long and hard about a way to escape. She thought for so long the girl had woken up and had been walking around the room for the past twenty minutes.
“I see you have been thinking hard,” she said mockingly as she finally snapped out of her trance.
“Who are you?” She asked very curiously. “My name is Lacoy,” she replied. “What are you in for?” “Theft. I’ve been accused of stealing Imperial files. Not that I have or anything.” “That’s what they all say.” “That’s what who says?” “You ask too many questions.” She paused. “I have been here for a very long time. Don’t be thinking that you are my first roomie.” “I'm scheduled to be interrogated tomorrow morning.” Onoma stuttered. “How unfortunate. I’ve had a roommate that suffered the same fate, but never came back.” “Onoma.”
“What?” “Onoma. That’s my name.” “Well, Onoma welcome aboard the Executioner.” This was not going to end well for the Togruta. She had heard stories about the Executioner on the streets. It was said to be well known for the number of people that died while on board. Onoma’s stomach tightened into knots to the point where she felt sick. Her head started to ache again, and her vision became blurry. Then everything went black. She awoke to find an empty cell. Lacoy was gone. How long had she been out? Had troopers came and interrogated Lacoy instead because she was asleep? She stood up and did her best to make her way to the door of the cell with what little balance she had left. She clenched her hands into fists and started pounding on the door. A trooper in white armor opened the door, blaster pointed at Onoma’s head, probably set to stun.
“What’s going on in here!” He croaked. “I need to know what happened to the other girl in this cell,” She ordered. “Lacoy Melkat has been taken to trial and found guilty. She is to be executed in two hours.” “What was she accused of?”
“That’s classified imperial information.” With that he stepped back from his position in the doorway and it slammed shut behind him with a loud clunk. Onoma sat down on her bed and stuffed her face in the little pillow she was given. Lacoy was the only thing close to a friend she had ever had. Yes, they had only just met, but she had felt a connection between them. She laid down and began to cry.
“Hey!” a voice whispered a few hours later. “Hey over here!” Onoma got up and walked in the direction the voice had come from. At that moment she noticed a small vent on the side of one of the walls. She squinted to look through the tiny cracks. A boy stared back at her with the same blue eyes as hers.
“My name is Wiqueth, but you can call me Wi. I heard what really happened to your friend,” he said. “The trooper said...”
“Never mind what the trooper said. Just believe me. I’ve been here longer than she was, so I know a lot about what happens around here.”
“How much do you know exactly?” “Too much. I can identify ten stormtroopers by their numbers.” “Yikes. That is not something easy to do in a short period of time.” They stopped talking for a moment for an unexplained reason but started again as suddenly as they had stopped. “What happen to her?” Onoma asked breaking the silence. “She was really a rogue Imperial who got caught in the act of escaping. She managed to
blow up three AT-ST walkers before she was arrested for treason.” “Why did that trooper lie to me?” She questioned. “The Empire is embarrassed at the fact that another cadet had turned their back on them.
They don’t like to talk about the truth because they claim it’s a sign of weakness.” “Understandable. If I was part of the most powerful military force in the galaxy I would want to keep all my flaws a secret.” That ended the conversation for the night and Onoma was faced with the challenge of sleep knowing that she could die tomorrow. She tossed and turned and readjusted for hours. It was miserable. She heard Wi doing the same thing in the other cell. At least she was not alone in her struggles. Finally, her eyelids could not hold themselves up and the bags under her eyes were unnaturally dark. She fell asleep after a very long night and dreamt about the interrogating skills of the Empire.
The next morning, she awoke to a rapid banging on the door. “Prepare for interrogation prisoner 35205,” a voice slipped through the sliver of light radiating from under the door. Three men came through the doorway. Two were stormtroopers and the other was an Imperial commander dressed in similar clothes to Lacoy, shiny boots, dark grey shirt and matching pants. Onoma didn't like the order of it all. The three colors that themed the Empire: white, grey and dark black. The commander stepped to the side to reveal the interrogator droid behind him. It was a fairly large black ball with all kinds of things poking out of it, a needle with who knows what loaded inside, different sized metal claws, a single big red eye in the middle, an armed taser crackled with electricity. It was terrifying to Onoma. She had never seen something so horrific in her entire nineteen years of life. Sweat drizzled down her forehead. Her legs shook in fear and anxiety so badly she could not bring herself to stand. The orb floated closer and closer to her face until the needle was inches away from breaking her skin and drawing blood.
“What do you know about the Empire?” The commander demanded.
“The Empire is cruel and unjust to the people of Shili, my people, and to the rest of the galaxy.” She regretted offending the Empire like that, but really dishonored her decision when she felt a horribly sharp pain in her neck. She screamed in pain as the unknown liquid poured into her bloodstream causing her body to start to go limp. The droid retracted the needle as the man continued to speak.
“It is unwise to dishonor the Empire to their face. You are now unable to move, but you can still hold yourself up. This will insure that you will not try to physically resist us. Now tell us all the information that you gathered while on the streets of Coruscant.” He growled back at her.
“I did not find any information regarding the Empire. All I found was seen with my own two eyes.” The commander just stood there with his arms behind his back and hands folded together in an orderly manner. He signaled to the droid that had been hovering next to him and it chittered in obedient response. The ball reactivated it’s taser that sent a chill through Onoma’s spine and made her quake in her dusty old brown boots. The interrogator crept closer like a nexu stalking its prey. It made tight circles around her head threatening to strike at any moment.
“What did you see on the streets?” the commander leaned in close to her face and stared into her icy blue eyes.
“I saw horrible things that the Empire had done to the people suffering from poverty and hunger.”
“Tell me more,” he croaked.
“I saw you stormtroopers take food and money from the suffering. I saw them kill those who had nothing to give them. I saw countless numbers of people like myself, thieves trying to stay alive arrested and dragged away like I was.” Onoma started to raise her voice to the point where she was yelling at their expressionless faces. “The Empire has no right to take what belongs to another! This is not right!” she exclaimed with great force and passion.
“I see.” was all the commander said to her before the probe struck again. A shock of electricity shot through her body like a bolt of lightning generated by a storm on Kamino. She howled to the point where it woke up a very tired and annoyed Wi. He watched through the air vent in horror as his new-found friend got consciousness shocked out of her. He watched as her body went limp and pale, for an orange skinned togruta, and the stormtroopers flung her onto her bed like a bag of wheat. The next morning Onoma awoke to the comforting sound of Wi’s voice. Except it was not the tone she had expected.
“Onoma!” he cried. She ran over to the vent in the wall and stared at Wi’s face as he was dragged out of his cell through the door and down the hall. She had to do something. She not going to lose the second likeable person she had spoken to in years. She was not going to lose the first friend she had ever had.
Onoma pounded on the cell door and quickly hid herself under the stairs to the door of the cell and waited for her prey to take the bait. The two stormtroopers that had been guarding the door of her cell entered and, using her thievery skills, grabbed both blasters off the belts of the idiotic soldiers and stood in the doorway, blaster in hand. She had never actually used a blaster before, but the troopers didn’t know that. She but on the most confident face she could, set the blaster to stun, and shot both the men square in the chest. Hopping back into the cell, she stole a set of armor from the shorter of the troopers, except the helmet due to her head montrails, and hoped she could find Wi in time.
The star destroyer was much like the streets of Coruscant in the fact that it was very easy to get lost. She weaved through the black hallways running as fast as she could. Her heart raced. She panted in time to the beat of her footsteps. Hopefully no one would identify her as a prisoner as she raced to find Wi helmetless and exposed. Not knowing where her chosen paths would lead her, she stumbled into the bridge. Too many Imperial eyes turned to look at her. She was petrified. She was for sure going to get caught.
“Good day to you trooper. Are you in need of anything?” a man in an agent’s uniform asked. She realized this was the perfect moment to find where Wi was.
“I am being sent to escort prisoner AQ 597 and I was not informed his location.” She stood as straight as she could without overdoing it.
“Prisoner AQ 597, Wiqueth, is being taken to the execution center. You’d better hurry to catch him.”
“Yes sir. Thank you, sir,” she replied. All that order and grimness put a twisted feeling in her stomach and the pain in her neck from the previous day’s interrogation returned.
She started to run again, this time she somewhat knew the direction to go. She had seen a hollo map of a star-destroyer on Coruscant once before, and the execution center was on the sixteenth floor. She hopped on the nearest elevator and punched in her desired location on the keypad as the doors whizzed shut. The elevator dropped down to floor sixteen where she stepped off and swiftly and wandered around for a while looking as to where her friend had been taken. When she heard the terrible sounds of screaming through a door to her left, she knew she had reached the right place. Before opening the door, she fidgeted with the blaster and this time, set for kill. Whoever was hurting Wi was going to pay for their cruel actions, if she could shoot well enough to hit anything. Onoma almost broke the button on the side of the wall she slammed her fist against it so hard. But she just had to rescue Wi from those Imperial scum.
The door whooshed open to reveal about a dozen troops holding extended taser of some kind each taking turns jabbing the electric end into his stomach. She showed no hesitation shooting as may troopers down as she could before slinging him over her free shoulder and running towards the nearest escape pod bay. They hadn’t noticed until the pod blasted out of the destroyer that they had been taken to the outer rim planet of Lothal. The pod thankfully was not fired upon and their escape was almost too easy. Wi and Onoma landed in the middle of a grassy field, away from Imperial presence. Onoma made note of her surroundings. They sky was as blue as the lightsabers of the Jedi she had heard stories about. The grass was as golden as Tatooine’s two suns. Rocky pillars jetted upward into the sky. A breeze shook the grass that was up to their knees and the soil was rich and good for farming. Two loth-cats wrestled in the distance without a care in the world. Onoma had never seen so much open land in her entire life. She gazed at the sun descending beyond the horizon. A warm feeling trickled through her body.
“Thanks, Onoma,” Wi said; snapping Onoma out of her trance.
“Hey, that’s what friends are for right?” Wi chuckled. “What? No really I don't know what having a friend is like.”
“Well, then we’ll have to figure it out together,” He said. They began to shuffle through the grass. For miles it seemed like they were on the very edge of the planet and they were not going to find another form of intelligent life in the next three rotations.
The day dragged on into dusk. The clouds changed magnificent colors, rose blended with the colors of a fire, violet lined the edges of golden clouds and formed halos around the dark blue sky. Night began to blanket the blue sky with a sheet of stars. There was nothing on Coruscant you could compare to this painted map of the heavens.
Wi had started to gather materials for a fire and make sparks with two small rocks. It seemed to Onoma like he knew everything. Once he had successfully managed to get a fire started, Onoma stared into the fiery orange flame. The sparks reflected in her eyes that perfectly matched the night sky. To Wi, she was beautiful. He gazed at her face. The fire cast brilliant shadows all around her. She continued to glare at the fire until she stumbled over to Wi, laid her head down on his lap, and drifted off to sleep.
The next morning, Onoma awoke to a wet feeling on her nose. She opened her eyes to find a light-cat licking her face. Wi was still asleep next to her. She watched as his chest rose and fell as he inhaled and exhaled. She’d better not wake him just yet. All that was left of the fire was hot coals and ashes.
The sun was already awake and cast a warm glow in Onoma’s face. She stood up, walked around their makeshift camp and waited for Wi to wake up. And boy did Wi sleep. She decided to salvage through the emergency pack they had got out of the escape pod. It was a relatively small pack, that contained three bandages, a one-way comm that went to the Empire most likely, a small yellow heater, a canteen, and a stick of some kind of food. Onoma had never possessed such luxury before, even though it was just an emergency pack. She plucked the comm out of the bag and studied it closely. The highest form of technology she had ever held was a piece of armor broken off of a speeder, and that was just broken metal.
Wi had finally woke up. “Morning,” he said yawning. “Morning.” “What do we do now?” He asked. “The Empire knows our faces and knows we are here so now what?” “I've been working on figuring that out. You know a lot, what was our launch projectile on the way down here?” “I was unconscious; remember?” “Right. What we need to do is find sustainable shelter. And maybe some more water. We’ll probably last about three or four days before the wildlife finds us. Or worse.”
“You sure know a lot too. Don't go thinking I know everything about this stuff, because I certainly don’t.”
They commenced their long journey through the grass to find what they needed. The minutes turned to hours. The sun danced across the sky throughout the day. The long trek through the plains was finally finished when Wi and Onoma stumbled across an old storage tower. The elevator was down so they were forced to use the ladder coiling up the side. Onoma punched the panel on the side of the door and it flew open with a loud whoosh.
Old Imperial helmets of all kinds lined the shelves. Grey crates stacked on top of one another scattered the single room. There was one desk in the back corner that held things like a few tools, a comm set, and an old hollo.
They studied the room for a long while until the silence was interrupted by a small beeping noise coming from the table. The comm set whirred to life and a boy’s voice filled the room.
“We have been called criminals, but we are not. We are rebels fighting for the people. Fighting for you. I’m not that old but I remember a time when things were better on Lothal. Maybe not great, but never like this. See what the Empire has done to your lives? To families and your freedom? It’s only gonna get worse unless we stand up and fight back. It won’t be easy, there will be loss and sacrifice, but we can’t back down just because we’re afraid. That’s when we need to stand the tallest. That’s what my parents taught me. That’s what my new family helped me remember. Stand up together, because that’s when we’re strongest. As one.” This speech was just what Onoma needed. Hope. A chance to know there are others out there who were like her, lost and alone. But she knew now that she had a change to change all the things she had witnessed. Pain. Suffering. Poverty. She could be a part of something that could demolish those things. She needed to find the boy who had broadcasted the message. She needed someone she knew had the most valuable thing in the galaxy, hope.
“I need to find this boy,” she explained to Wi. “We have no idea where he is.” “But we have a comm his message was transmitted to. I can trace where the last signal
came from, not to a precise location, but a general area. I can also make a makeshift GPS out of the old handheld comm in the emergency pack, but that will take me an extra-long time.”
“See, you are smart. I had no idea that you could trace a comm signal back to its origin point.”
Onoma began to fiddle with the two comms, the desk set, and the handheld model. She entered a code into the larger box and a map flickered into view radiating a blue glow. She entered in more numbers and letters until the map showed a single point emitting a pulsing beacon.
“The beacon shows the general location area of the signal. The dot pinpoints the center of the area and the strongest radiation point,” she explained to Wi. She plugged a short black cord into the wrist comm. A yellow light emitted from the small circle on the top begging her to tap it. But if she did, the Empire would receive their location and come arrest them. The keypad on the bigger box clicked rapidly as she typed. Wi stood with a watchful eye, studying the movements of her fingers. His eidetic memory went to work taking a visual picture and sending it to his brain. “There. Now all we have to do is go in the direction this digital compass points to lead us to the location,” Onoma said, breaking the concentrated silence. “Now all we have to do is follow the signal, right?” Wi asked with a spark of curiosity and understanding of something far more complicated than his own understanding. “Right.”
They climbed down the tower and started in the direction the compass pointed. “Hey Onoma?” Wi asked after they had walked a good two or three miles. “Yah.” “Can I ask you something?”
“You can ask me anything. I trust you.” “When we find these rebels, what are you planning on doing?” “I am planning on joining them. I need my chance to fight back against the Empire and all the cruel things they stand for. I want to engage in the fight and even die if it comes to that. And before you try to talk me out of it, I am ready to sacrifice myself for the good of the galaxy.”
“I'm not going to try to talk you out of it Onoma you know that. I was going to ask if I could go with you.”
“Wi, I...” “We can form our own group. We can get others to help us, we can free the galaxy from evil. Together.” “Don’t you have a family?” “I used to know what family meant, but not anymore. My father and brother abandoned me when I needed them most. On my home planet, Batuu, if the first-born son does not agree to fight in the civil war, the second oldest will be sent in his place, by force. My father was ashamed when my brother ran away with a girl, so he sent me instead. I didn’t get an opinion. I was sent away with the rest of the boys to a training camp for the next five years. I almost died several times. We were given the harshest treatments to prepare us for battle. After the fourth year going into the fifth, I was done. I couldn’t do it anymore. So, I ran. I managed to escape and find a ship to get me to another planet in the outer rim, but I was caught by the Empire along the way. That’s where I stayed, in the prison cell for almost three years. Until I met you and you managed to save my life.”
“Wi, I’m so sorry,” she felt awful for asking about his family.
“It’s alright, I usually don’t get asked about my past, but I’m ok talking about it with you.”
They finally stumbled upon a small town after walking for days. It was a grey walled town with a couple archways to enter through. Speeders sat parked on the outside of the wall in a perfectly symmetrical line. The sun loomed over the golden plain that surrounded the town. A yellow beam of light caught Onoma’s face. While Wi only saw a small outpost, Onoma saw something completely different. She saw her new beginning. She saw hope. She started to run towards the village, excitement and anticipation boiling inside her. She needed to find the boy she had heard on the transmission, she needed to find her second chance, just as he had.
Wi chased after her as fast as his legs could go. Apparently, togrutas are very fast runners. Onoma kept running until she reached the nearest archway entry when she was stopped by two stormtroopers. “Stop right there!” The first one said. “Identification please,” added the second. They sounded so alike through their helmets
Onoma couldn’t tell which one of them had been talking. “Onoma...um.... Cortain,” she stuttered due to not wanting to tell the Empire her real last name. “Onoma Cortain, never heard that name before, are you from a different system?” “Yes.” “You may proceed.” They stepped aside to let her in. Thankfully, Wi had caught up to her, but he was more recognizable than she was. “Identification please...wait, you are the escaped prisoner from the Executioner! The girl must be the other one!” “Get them!” the other trooper shouted in real anger. Onoma turned to see Wi in the grasp
of the first trooper. He struggled to break free of his grip. “Run Onoma!”
“No, I won't leave you! Not after everything we’ve been through!” She darted toward him faster than she had to the village. The second trooper tried to grab her, but she grabbed an overhead bar and with a loud clunk, kicked him square in the face and had even managed to knock his helmet clean off. She continued on to the one holding Wi and hurdled over him. She landed on the other side giving him a nice knock in the helmet with a bottle that shattered to pieces. The glass flew everywhere cutting the side of her face. She winced in pain but continued to fight for her friend’s life, again. To her dismay the stormtrooper pulled out his blaster, squeezed the trigger, and shot her in the shoulder. She fell back into a pile of nicely stacked crates. Now it was Wi’s turn. He barreled at the white man and hit him to the ground with a heavy blow to the rib cage. He ran over to Onoma and tried to get her to stand but could not. He them decided the best way to get her out of there was to carry her on his back.
He hoisted her up and ran out of the town walls to the shelter of a large rock stalagmite. Carefully, he set her down in the dirt while he did his best to make her a place to sleep while he tended to her wounds. He laid out the small blanket that was included in the emergency pack and set her down on it.
Onoma slept for a few hours while Wi built a shelter out of grass and a lot of frustration. When she finally awoke, Wi helped her sit up and rest her back against the gigantic rock. He soaked a cloth with water and pressed it against her shoulder.
“Ahh!” she exclaimed in pain she turned her head away from her bloody shoulder.
“Sorry, I’m knew to the whole medical thing,” He apologized, wiping the dried blood from her skin. He finished cleaning and bandaging her shoulder and moved onto the cut across her cheek. He had been cleaning her face with a clean rag when his eyes met hers. The blue rings in her eyes seemed bluer than ever before. It was clear she was agitated about their most recent encounter with the stormtroopers.
“Thank you,” she said struggling to fight the pain. “It was the least I could do after what you did for me,” he replied. The sun was starting to fall beyond the horizon. Night could arrive soon, so Wi helped
Onoma under the shelter. It was likely she broke her leg on the fall as well, but they would find out tomorrow. Wi laid down next to her and found himself lying awake for hours thinking. Thinking about what was going to happen to them when the sun came back over the grass. Would we find the so desired rebels? Would we ever make it off this desolate farmland to find my dream land? Dreamland? Wi had always wanted to make it to some magical outer rim planet that fit all his likings. The perfect home where he could make himself a perfect life. Improbable however, but maybe possible. One day he would make it to the perfect planet. One day. One...day. He finally drifted off to sleep after hours of open eyelids and a busy mind that would not shut off.
The next morning, Onoma awoke with a screaming pain in her ankle. Turns out it was broken. Wi salvaged around for something to brace her foot with. He wrapped a bandage around her foot after bracing it with two sticks he had found. When she tried to stand, she found she could not and tumbled down to the ground, landing on her back.
“Come on,” Wi said gesturing for her to use him for a crutch. He hoisted her up and tucked his arm under her shoulder and around her back. She tried again to stand and found that Wi was a very useful support. They staggered along in the opposite direction of the town in which in incident occurred. Onoma’s face wore an expression that was noticeably disappointed.
“Hey, we’ll find them, I promise. We did not crash on this rock for nothing right?” “Thanks, I’m just sorry that I got us into that mess. It was my idea to even go into that town to look for the rebels. “You’re not the one who should be apologizing. You’re injured and tired. We shouldn’t be going anywhere. Let’s stop here. Your ankle needs to be rested. It may be broken even more now.” “Ok,” She responded willingly as he lowered her towards the ground and rested her back against a towering rock. She closed her eyes in pain and tried to think about something that has always made her happy; her vision of her parents. She imagined her family in a traditional Shili home, with broad smiles on their faces. They were happy. Peace reigned across the galaxy. All was in a silent slumber of joy and good relationships. This was the place she ventured off to whenever she needed comfort. This was her own personal happy place. She felt better now that she had seen her parents’ faces. She had always pictured that they had been proud of her for all they amazing things she would have accomplished if the war 66 had not torn the only thing Onoma had ever loved from her. The only thing that had ever made her happy. She opened her eyes to find that she had fallen asleep and the stars had awoke and taken their places in the sky. It really was beautiful. The night cast the darkest of shadows over Lothal and the only light was cast down from the two moons that danced together across the star speckled sky. She turned her head to find Wi asleep in the dirt. She realized then she had a new happy memory to go back to when things got rough with the empire, or anyone else considering her past encounters. She now could go back to this very moment when she was satisfied with her condition, minus the broken ankle and bleeding shoulder.
The next morning the air filled with the smell of rotten fruit. Their only food supply was spoiled. They would need to keep going to the next market or town. Maybe even a city where they could rent a place to stay.
“We need to go,” Onoma said.
“I know but it will not be an easy trip with your condition,” he replied still struggling to fully wake.
“I know. But we need to get more food before we starve,” She protested. “Ok, let’s go,” he said, hoisting her onto her back. They trudged through the grassland for hours. The hours had eventually morphed into days until they finally came across the capital city of Lothal. Finally, they made it to a place to where they could get food after six days of wandering with no sense of direction. They found themselves walking through the walls of the city.
“If those rebels are anywhere on Lothal, I'm sure they will be here,” Wi said quite confidently.
“I hope you're right,” she responded, still leaning against him for support. The walked for about an hour before the reached a docking bay that seemed to be exactly the place they were looking for. It held no ship, but the data logs said that one had just left at about the time when the entered the city and that the ship was named unknown. Crates, most likely empty, lined the walls stacking higher than the door they had just entered through. Scorch marks dotted the floors and walls on the opposite side of the entryway.
“The rebels were definitely here,” Wi said suddenly, still sounding confident in his inferences.
“Let’s not be so sure.” Onoma responded weakly. Suddenly, a loud banging came from the closed door to the left of where they were standing.
“Stormtroopers! Hide!” Wi exclaimed, trying to go unheard by lowering his voice.
A while squad entered through the big garage-like door, each one armed with a blaster. It was at that moment in time that Wi realized he may end up having to expose his deepest, darkest secret for the sake of Onoma’s life.
The troopers started towards them, not knowing that this moment would be their last. Without warning, Wu struck. He reached for his hip and grabbed the hilt of a blade. He flipped over the crates he and Onoma were using for cover and landed on the opposite side of the very confused and startled troopers. He held the hilt tightly and a bright golden beam of light blasted out of the top. He defected every shot the storm troopers fired at him with such grace and agility, he and the saber were almost one.
“Run!” He yelled looking back at Onoma whose eyes were the size of a stormtrooper’s helmet. “Onoma run!” He repeated, desperate to get her to safety. She snapped out of her trance and ran towards the door. But she fell to the ground with a loud thud. One of the troopers shot her square in the broken ankle. She yelped in pain like a dog who had just been thrown out an unopened window. Wi ran to her side, acting as a human shield.
“Come on!” He yelled, extending his hand out to her. She grabbed it with quite a strong grip, but soon found she was unable to stand.
Wi hoisted her onto his back one more and ran for the nearest exit, clipping his lightsaber to his belt. He continued down a long road that lead to the market. He darted through an alleyway and set Onoma down on a bag of clothes that had long been neglected. He rolled up her tight fitting pants to find her foot was now covered in bright red blood. She winced at the sight of it, closed her eyes, and leaned her back against the wall of one of the buildings that formed the stingy alley.
“Hold still,” Wi said. “This is gonna hurt.” She screamed in pain as he pressed a damp cloth coated in some type medicine against her bleeding foot. “Shhh!” Wi hissed. “Keep it down or your foot will not be the only thing that bleeds.”
“Sorry. It stings,” she protested weakly. “I know.” “Why didn't you tell me?” “Tell you what?” “That you're a Jedi. You lied to me! You told me you ran away from war after your brother ran away!” “I’m sorry. I was the one who ran away chasing the thing I wanted most. I have no older
brother. It hurts to talk about it. It's also the reason I was arrested the first time and sentenced to execution. I watched in mortal terror as my master was slaughtered by his one good friends. My first instinct was to run, so I did. I ran as far away from the Jedi temple as I could and hid until I was found by the Empire five years later.” Tears started to roll down his cheeks. This made Onoma feel guilty for feeling like she had lost everything.
“Wi, I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have pushed you I tell me,” she said has he hung his head low to hide his sorrow and pain. He had been through a lot, and that was not going to change now. Wi wiped the tears from his face and went back to work on Onoma’s foot, being more careful this time. She smiled at him while he worked, and she could almost feel something she had never felt in her life, love. She felt loved.
“There. Finished, but don’t try to walk again. It’s still badly broken,” he explained.
“Thank you,” Onoma whispered. The stench of the alley was starting to get to them both, so Wi once again hoisted Onoma onto his back like a little child and started for the nearest non-Imperial medical station.
Wi walked for hours with no luck of finding anything that the Empire didn’t control. He finally decided to find a hotel and hope to not get caught by the Empire for being a fugitive. They came across a shabby little place, with a single window and a single board partially covering it. The door’s paint was worn, and cracking and the walls were chipped in the corners. But the sign still indicated it was open and it was a hotel. This was probably the reason the Empire hadn’t taken this one over completely. He walked through the door, with Onoma asleep on his back. She had been for an hour or so. The inside of the building was just as bad as the outside. The desk in the center of the first room was unnaturally covered in dust and the walls had holes in places that looked as though they housed tiny bugs of some kind.
“Hello?” Wi called swearing he heard his voice echo. There was no answer. He called again, louder this time. “Hello?” still no answer until a slim, pale girl shuffled into the room. She looked about thirteen years old and very sick. Not only was her skin pale, it possessed a yellow tint that would give people the impression she was deathly ill and on top of being extremely pale, her skin cast a yellow tint, giving people the impression that her last voyage outside of the building had been years ago. She was not very tall, but indeed very skinny like her last meal was two weeks ago, and it had not satisfied her stomach. She stared at the pair for a long while until Wi finally spoke up.
“We are looking for a place to rest, away from the Empire,” He said trying to sound as friendly as he could, hoping she would let them stay there. Onoma groaned faintly. Wi’s arms had grown very tired from carrying her for hours on end. After another very long, dead silent pause, the girl spoke in a very scratchy voice.
“You can stay here for three days for free, but only because your friend here is injured,” she said briskly .
“Thank you,” Wi said, but his tone of voice did not merely express his gratitude for the little girl. He staggered into the hallway and into one of the guest rooms. He opened a door leading to the first room of the hall. He walked inside to find first impressions are not judgeable. The inside of the hotel room was nothing like the rest of the building, it was clean and neat, with a glistening coat of white paint lining the walls. The table in the middle of the room was a clean silver with a fresh bowl of fruit sitting in the center. Two modest beds sat next to each other under the single window looking out into the city. The floors were a shiny black the reflected the little chandelier that dangled from the ceiling. Wi had never possessed, nor stayed in, such a luxury. He walked over to one of the twin beds and laid Onoma down on it, so she could sleep somewhere other than his back. He stretched, groaning because of the soreness of his spine. He sat down at the table and took a fruit from the bowl. It was juicy and fresh as he bit into it and the juice squirted onto the sides of her face. He was thankful for that little girl and was determined to find a way to repay her.
Night fell and blanketed the city in a black shadow of evening mist. The city lights almost perfectly reflected the stars. Onoma was still asleep, while Wi had eaten more fruit and replaced her bandages. It had been a restful night for the both of them.
In the morning, they left their room almost at the same time the sun rose over the wall of the city. Onoma was semi-able to walk now, but she still needed a little assistance. They headed back to the docking bay where the rebel ship was last seen. They figured it would be a good place to start looking for them again. When they arrived there, to their surprise, a ship was docked. Crates sat next to the ramp lowered into the concrete floor of the hanger. A droid skittered across the room and disappeared into the ship. It was a freighter, one that Onoma could not completely identify, but she could tell that it was equipped with a 360- degree dorsal rotating turret, two rear laser cannons, and two forward laser cannons. It was not the fanciest ship they had ever seen, but she did look very fast, and stealthy, the perfect ship for sneaking past an Imperial blockade for example.
In idea crept into Onoma’s mind like she figured the ship could to the surface of a planet. This ship may even belong to the rebel gang she came all this way to find. That would make it an added bonus to that day. She limped away from Wi’s support and over to the base of the ramp.
“Hello?” she called into the first room of the ship. “Hello?” Still no answer. There was a long pause as her call echoed through the walls of the ship. Until she heard a clanking sound against the metal floor of the vessel. A boy appeared at the base of the ramp. His hair was the color of the night sky, his face bore two parallel scars, he was a bit younger than Wi and Onoma, but he looked just as mature. Another figure walked up behind him. She wore the armor of a Mandalorian that looked to be made her own. She was not much taller than the boy but was definitely more intimidating considering her helmet wore only one expression.
“Can we help you?” the boy asked in curiosity.
“Yah, we are looking for a ride out of the system,” Onoma replied. There was something seemed oddly familiar about the boy’s voice, like she had heard somewhere. ‘
“Sorry, but we are not looking for work,” he said, but there was something in the woman that had come that sparked something in him, deep inside, like he had been in her position.
“Are you aware of any rebel activity in this area, like the broadcast a few days ago? I'm looking to join their group”
“Well, then you’ve come to the right place. I'm Ezra Bridger, and this is Sabine,” He said gesturing to the Mandalorian who was still standing next to him. “I’m Onoma, and this is Wi. We heard your message and have been looking for you ever
since. I'm looking for a fresh start.” “I’m sure we can give you one,” Sabine answered. “Thank you,” Onoma said. “Come on Hera will wanna meet you,” Ezra said turning towards the entrance of the ship, motioning for them to follow. They walked through the first room of the ship. The walls and floors were an old grey
color with occasional yellow stripes along the base of the wall. They followed their new friends up a ladder and down another corridor into the cockpit. A green-skinned twi’lek sat in the pilot's seat. She was so focused on her console, she didn’t even notice their arrival.
“Hera?” Ezra got her attention after tapping her shoulder. She turned her chair around to greet them.
“This is Wi and Onoma. They are looking to join the rebellion,” Sabine explained. “Nice to meet you both. I’m Hera Syndulla. Welcome to the Ghost.” Sabine showed them to where they would be staying until they got to a more sustainable environment. Onoma would stay with Sabine in her room in the unoccupied top bunk of the room. Wi would bunk with Zeb and Ezra, not his first choice, but he was grateful to be out of reach of the Empire. Until they weren't.
A star destroyer came out of hyperspace all too suddenly. Dozens of TIEs came out of the underside docking bay of the massive flying city.
“Get ready boys!” Hera called. Kanan, Ezra and Zeb all climbed into their battle stations of the ship’s cannons. Hera maneuvered through the swarm of enemy ships, trying to break free of the blockade in her path. Kanan and Ezra blasted the TIEs one by one, but it was not enough. Onoma felt like she needed to help somehow. She was a part of this rebellion now, so she just had to do something. But what could a thief do against the Empire?
Then it hit her. When she was first arrested, she was accused of stealing valuable information of the Empire. They were not happy with her accused actions, so maybe this ship also had information. Information the Rebellion could use. This was her chance to do what she had signed up for in this crazy fight. She needed to do something to help the cause of one day destroying the Empire.
“Hera!” Onoma called as she ran through the system of hallways that filled the interior of the Ghost. “Hera! I... have a... plan,” she announced, sputtering with exhaustion from running and calling for Hera at the same time.
“Well tell us! We're running out of time!” The pilot yelled. “Turn me in.” “What?” “Turn me in. I'm a wanted criminal, accused of theft and murder, not that I’ve killed anyone, but that’s beside the point. Turn me in and I’ll escape the Empire, just like I did the first time. Then, you can make your escape, and I can retrieve information the Empire probably doesn't want the Rebellion to know, making it valuable to us.”
“We are not going to put your life in danger for information!” Hera cried, clearly not wanting to be the cause of another life lost.
“Hera please!” Onoma begged. “I joined this rebellion for a reason! Now I have a chance to make that commitment worth something to me. I got my second chance when you welcomed Wi and I on board and showed your hospitality. Now I’m going to give you your first chance to escape this mess before reinforcements arrive and everyone is captured. Please Hera, let me do this.”
“Alright. But I’m coming back for you in two days. If you don’t have the information, you're still coming home.”
“Thank you, Hera.” She ran down the hallway once more and found Sabine. She too thought Onoma was out of her mind, but she liked crazy.
“Take the Phantom. I’ll fly you down there after Hera makes the transmission to the bridge. And don’t get yourself killed, alright?”
“I’ll be fine. I need to go through with this and get you whatever information the Empire has. You all gave me a new life, a new beginning, and I’m ready to put it to good use.”
The cell she was locked in was almost identical to the first. Sleek black walls and floors, stairs to the one door, a black metal bench along the back wall. The rooms did not just feel like a prison to Onoma however. Now that she had tasted the light, the darkness engulfed not only her body, but her mind. She could only hope the Empire followed through with the negotiation conditions. She thought about her new friends who had given her the comforting sensation of what it feels like to be accepted and cared for. Now she felt alone and cold inside. This feeling darkened when a trooper brought her dinner by flailing it across the floor of the cell and spilling whatever slop he had brought her. She had nothing to do but think.
Escaping was the part of her master plan that she could not have thought of up front. This cell was just different enough from the other that her escape plan would have to be modified to meet this situation. She examined her cell closely, checking for any accessible vents or spaces she could crawl through. She found nothing, however. Ezra had told her his stories about how he had escaped the Empire many times, but the best way, was his mind tricks. There was one problem with that plan though, she did not possess the Force.
She thought back to her days as a thief. Which of her various adaptations could get her out of this one? Her life flashed before her eyes. Her past was scared and painful. Her parents had always been a comfort to her in those hard times, but now, she knew she could no longer rely on her fantasy. This was the real world and it was a harrowing wake up call that brought her back into reality. Images continued to swirl in the maze that was her mind, it never stopped changing directions and going down a new path. It didn’t always feel like this, however. When she was a thief, her maze was a straight line that kept leading her down the same paths into the same dead end. Until she was arrested. Her mind had them taken a sharp turn down a new corridor consisting of a mixture of disappointment and a new joy she could turn to instead of the image of her parents. Then she finally realized what the cell had been designed for. There was nothing to look at but the darkness, forcing you to think of your scarred past and slowly give in to the fact that your mind is eating away at your soul. That was the trick of the Empire. They knew Onoma would be vulnerable to her past. They know everything about everyone.
Thinking about her past was clearly getting her nowhere. She started to walk in figure-eights around the cell until she got dizzy. That just killed time. She decided to just lay down on the cold metal bench and wait until a stormtrooper came to give her the Empire’s excuse for a meal. She figured she could just use brute strength to fight her way out of this mess, make her way into the ventilation system, and find the control center where she could retrieve the information and make it back to the Ghost in less than two days. A stormtrooper did not come for what seemed like days to Onoma. It was really four hours, but when nothing is happening around you, besides your own breathing, you get extremely bored.
So, she darted up off the floor when a pound on the door awoke her. He opened the door and entered. Onoma didn’t know why he bothered to knock if he was just going to barge in. He kicked her in the stomach and blood was coughed up from somewhere inside her. Then she punched back.
The trooper was not only knocked back by the blow, but he had no idea what had just happened. She kept on hitting him until he was finally unconscious and bloody.
It took a lot of looking back on those painful memories of thieving experience she possessed to sneak around an Imperial star destroyer, again. This time it was harder, however, due to the lack of blending in like last time. But she was pleasantly surprised to find out how stupid Imperial stormtroopers really were, easily distracted and unaware of pretty much anything what was happening around them. It took her awhile to find her way to the data vault. Every hallway looked the same, black, but so clean she could see her reflection in the floor. It was easy to get lost in the massiveness of the floating prison. She kept going, deeper and deeper into the maze of darkness.
But then something full of light appeared. She ran into an imperial officer. She jumped back at first but steadied herself after she caught the eyes of a face she had never seen but knew all too well. It was the face of her father. Onoma started into his eyes for what seemed like hours. She scanned him briefly. He wore a grey Imperial Officer’s uniform with a ranking badge on the right side of his chest. HUs sleek black shoes blended in with the floor. She had no idea what her emotions were trying to tell her. Images of her fantasy returned to her mind like they did back on Coruscant. So many questions raced circles through her mind that she could not process more than one at a time. The togruta stared back down at Onoma, with a mirroring expression of hers.
After such a long time of just standing there in silence, she collapsed into her father’s arms. She had decided that it really was her father, and not just what she wanted him to be. There was no doubt they were related really. The unmistakable blue and white head tails almost matched patterns exactly, there skin was the same sunrise shade of orange and they both had eyes the color of the purest crystal blue river in the entire galaxy.
The two continued to stand there, embracing each other tightly until finally, Onoma’s long lost father spoke.
“Onoma, my sweet diamond. How did you find me?” His voice was sweet, but anyone could tell there was much pain hidden behind it.
“I didn’t,” She replied. A single tear of pure joy ran down her cheek, glittering. “I thought I was never going to really know you. I... I...thought.”
“I knew you would find me,” He interrupted. Onoma was glad he did though. “I knew you were clever, smart, and full of hope on the first day you smiled. I’m so sorry, you mother and I needed to find a way to protect you from the Empire. There was no better way to do that than to join them, in hopes of keeping Imperial forces away from a home world of one of their officers. I didn’t want to leave you behind, but it was best you didn’t know about this.” “I... I just wish thing could have been different and we could have been together all these years. I wish the Empire would never have come to Shili.”
“Me too.” He paused to think for a moment. “Why are you here? Not that I don’t love to see you again.”
“That’s the thing. I’m here to steal data for the Rebellion. I joined them not two rotations ago, but I felt like I needed to do something to help my new family.”
“I’ll show you to the data room, then we can find a way to contact your rebel friends, so we can get a ride out of here.”
“You’re coming with me?”
“I would do anything to help you. And if it means possibly getting arrested, or even killed, I’ll still do it for my beloved daughter.”
“Thank you, Papa.” That's what she felt was the right name to call him. She had heard her mother’s voice in her head once, saying that name to her.
“I can climb into the vents and follow you to the data vault, then we can make it to the communications room and get the heck out of here.”
“Just like me, a great strategist. Let’s go.” He helped her into the ventilation shaft and started down the hall towards the vault, making sure his daughter was above him every step of the way. He was not going to lose her again.
They finally reached the data room after walking for what seemed longer than it really was. Everything felt longer to Onoma on a ship like this. The identical black walls and floors matched almost every other.
When they reached the entrance to the data vault, Onoma jumped down from the vent and stood as her father entered the code on the small key pad mounted to the wall on the right side of the door. It flew open with a faint whoosh and they stepped inside.
Surprisingly, no troopers guarded anything in the room, which was lined with control panels. A single window displayed not even half of the data the ship contained. There was two joystick like mechanical arms to grab at the data tapes from the massive column.
“Stand over there and when I say go, flip this red switch,” Onoma’s father instructed, pointing to a little switch on the wall that was most likely the on switch. Onoma did as she was told and waited for her father’s signal. When her father said “Go” she flipped the switch, and lights lit up in the room and the vault. On the small data screen below her waist, names of all the information the vault contained. She scrolled through the alphabetical list of files until she came across one that stood out to her.
It did not have a long or complicated name, but it seemed like it wanted to be chosen. She pressed about a dozen different buttons on the panel in front of her until there was a small beeping sound. The data tape appeared in front of her, two claw like arms reached out, grabbed it, and slid it through the small slot underneath the control panel. It was cold to the touch when Onoma reached out to grab it. She guessed it was because of the vault and how heating never reached that part of the ship. She tucked it away in the pocket of her green leather jacket and hurried back to her father. She grabbed his arm and pulled him away from the shiny black entrance to the data vault.
“We need to contact Hera now . She and the rest of the Ghost crew are the only ones who know I’m here making them the only way home. Where is the communications room?” Onoma asked her father while very alertly down yet another pristine black hallway. He showed her though the ship, making three left turns and one right. Onoma figured she might need to remember that, just in case something went horribly wrong like she figured it would. When they reached the door to the communications room, Onoma listen to her father’s instruction so they would not be found out before reaching Hera.
“I need you to wait here until I come back to get you. Stay hidden so the Empire doesn't find out you’re here. I'll get the guards to leave so they don’t see you,” he instructed.
“Alright, don't be long. I need to know you’re okay,” she replied. She did had her father instructed until he did not do as she told him. It had been a very long time since she saw her father disappear through the door of the communications room. Worry began to occupy almost all of the emotion she could stand before completely losing her mind, not that she ever had. She debated with herself whether to see if her father was alright and maybe get killed, or not check on him and maybe be the cause of his death. Her mind slowly eroded away at her feelings until she blasted the door control panel sliding the door open, burst into the communications room, and found herself at a wrong decision when her father was standing among men in grey suits, supervising them to the slightest movement. She could not tell what it was she was feeling, but she knew it was bad. Her own father who was so happy to be reunited with her, betrayed her, within an hour of seeing his daughter for the first time in years. She didn’t make a sound out of fear and sorrow, something that ended up saving her from arrest. He father turned and met eyes with her. A look of shock came upon his face to see her standing there, unnoticed by the rest of the men and women in the room. He steadily walked towards her, trying hard to keep her presence as quiet as it already was. He walked towards her, escorted her out of the room and hit the control panel on the side of the wall, sliding the door shut. “What were you thinking?” He exclaimed. “I told you to wait here for me!”
“You told me to wait here unless you took too long,” she explained. “You took way too long!”
“It was part of my plan, well the improvised part. There has never been that many people in the comm room before, so I played along with it and got a message to your rebel friends.” “Thank you,” she replied, hugging him tight. “I’m sorry I doubted you, I should have known you were ok.” “It’s alright. I can be hard to tell if someone is ok after not ever knowing them.” They started down the hallway one again and headed towards the hanger bay. The light started to flicker then, and the ship’s engine rumbled slightly. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Onoma said under her breath. The intercom chimed and let everyone know that they were in fact under attack, by rebels. “Time to go!” Onoma shouted over all the commotion, sprinting down the hallway.
Thankfully, no one bothered to notice Onoma; they were too busy running to their battle stations to care. Over all the commotion, Onoma and her father managed to make to the hangar bay Hera told them she would be. Sure enough, she was there, loading ramp of the Ghost ready for boarding. Onoma felt a wash of comfort rain down on her to see Wi standing at the bottom of the ramp, guarding it from any unwelcome Imperial trespassers wanting to board the Ghost. She ran across the hangar bay, dragging her father behind her. Wi embarrassed her and escorted them onto the ship. Hera was waiting in the cockpit, ordering Chopper to enter hyperspace coordinates. He beeped in response, the loading ramp slid up, and everyone managed to make it out alive, for now. “This is my father, Benarr,” Onoma explained to the rest of the crew after the ship had taken off and jumped into hyperspace.
“Pleasure,” Hera said. “I’m Hera, captain of the Ghost . Welcome aboard.”
“Thank you,” Benarr replied. He was proud of his daughter for choosing such a responsible and honorable group to fight with.
“Do you have the data you promised Onoma?” Hera asked.
“Yes,” she replied, handing her the data tape. “This is the one that will help us the most. It felt like the right one to take.”
Hera took the tape from her and looked it over. It was clean, as black as the walls of a star destroyer.
Hera read the name printed on the side of the box: “Hope.”
The lights flickered as Onoma walked down the dusty corridors of the Ghost. She felt a sense of relief and gratitude wash over her when she met Wi and the end of the main hallway. It seemed like months since she last saw his face. It was at this moment that Onoma knew in her heart that Wi was the only person she knew she could fully trust. Her body went limp and collapsed into his arms. She had been so stressed on her recent adventure, trying to get her father back to the Ghost without getting either of them killed. She needed a minute where she knew she was safe, in the comfort of a friend she knew she could count on.
“Hey,” he said in a calming voice. “It’s alright your safe.” A single tear rolled its way down her face, one of both joy and sadness.
“Is it always going to be like this?” she asked him. “Like what?” “Always running. I'm tired of always being chased down no matter who I’m with or why I’m there. I'm always running.”
“No, it will get better, I promise.”
That was the last thing he said to her before he left. He was called to a mission by Mon Mothma herself to look for a new location for a potential base. He had left right away, reported back two days later, but hadn’t been heard from since.
Sweat drizzled down Onoma’s face as she ran through the jungle under the early morning light of a Yavin sun. It had been almost two years since Wi had gone missing in the endless jungle of Yavin IV, one of Yavin’s moons, but Onoma never stopped her search for him. The rebel command had made the moon their base, hoping not to be found by the Empire and their new weapon, the Death Star. The crew of the Ghost had not been stationed at the base in a long time, but they gave their regards to Onoma and Wi, hoping she could find him, and call them when she did.
The sun was rapidly getting higher in the sky when Onoma finished her daily scouting run. She had told Mon Mothma it was to locate any potential threats to the base, but everyone knew she was lying. Even rebels she had just met saw she had feelings for Wi, and nothing would stop her from finding him.
Benarr, Onoma’s father, made his peace with rebel command, proved his loyalty to the Rebellion, and was being trained as a pilot. He enjoyed flying, but not as much as being with his daughter. To Onoma, it felt like she had known him all her life, almost completely forgetting her past on Coruscant. The sky was now a pale blue color, and the scouts took their first rotations, switching out every six hours. Onoma took her position in one of the towers. She found that this was the perfect place to see over the greenery of the moon, making sure, she saw every little movement within the trees and bushes. She had become more alert since Wi’s disappearance, a good thing perhaps, but she did not like constantly looking over her shoulder at even the slightest breeze the rustled a nearby tree branch.
Night fell after a long day of watching, just like every other day. And just like every other day, she talked to Wi before she let herself sleep. But tonight, was different for some reason, Onoma felt like she needed to tell Wi something she had thought long and hard about.
“Wi, I still haven’t stopped looking for you. Every action I have made since I got here was to find you. I... I will find you, I promise.”
This was a shorter statement then what she usually said to him, but she knew what it meant to both of them.
The sun rose again, just like it always did, and Onoma was already out in the forest, looking again for Wi. This time was different however. Instead of running like she usually did, she took a landspeeder, for faster and longer searching. She also took a different route today and was not going to get off her speeder until she had found Wi and brought him back to base.
She raced through the forest, her head montrails swishing the wind. It was a small, two person speeder painted green to match the forest surroundings and featured a small cargo hold for food and medical supplies. She wore a grey mechanic’s jumpsuit with a brown leather belt and a pair of dusty goggles around her neck. Her black boots pressed into the speeder, accelerating her faster. Today is different, she said to herself. Today I find him. Onoma had searched the vast jungle for almost six hours, only stopping to eat a light snack. It was at this time that she found something, or rather someone. She was so focused and determined that she almost drove herself off a cliff. The canyon wasn’t as big as it could be, but it was still a big drop. Vines grew along the sides of the canyon walls, a stream trickled through the heart. This was a peaceful place for Onoma, and she would have to remember it for the near future. Then she saw that she wouldn't have to. In the bottom of the gorge was a small figure, a man’s figure. He was lying there, most likely unconscious and bloody. Onoma didn’t need to know all the details. She knew in her heart that could only be one person: Wiqueth.
Onoma searched frantically for a way to get down to her friend. Her head montrails swung around as she repeatedly turned her head in all directions. She finally spotted a ledge just big enough for her speeder and slammed on the gas.
She was in the bottom of the canyon within seconds. Her breathing slowly morphed into hyperventilating. Adrenaline filled her every bone when she was within a few hundred feet of Wi. The speeder came to a screeching halt when she was at his side. She almost collapsed to see him, both with joy and sadness. She was right about him being unconscious and bloody, like he had been attacked by something. She darted to his side and franticly shook him, gently, trying to get him to wake up.
After a long while of trying, Onoma decided to just take him back to base. There were enough medical droids who knew what they were doing, they would wake him up.
By the time they did get back, Wi was already starting to wake up. Onoma had rapped his major cuts with cloth she brought with her and tried her best to get him to drink something so at least he would not die of dehydration. She drove the speeder into the hangar and immediately got her father and a team of medical droids. Benarr gave instruction to the droids, and they carried him away to the medical center.
“Stay here,” Onoma’s father instructed her when they reached the door.
Onoma paced by the door. She could not stand being kept out of the medical bay. She was the one who broke him out of Imperial prison, she was the one who found Wi, she was the one who had spent every day looking for him for almost two years, so she was the one who should be with him now, not her father. Her grey jacket grew so sweaty with anxiety, she had to take it off and toss it to the side of the room. This went on for what felt like hours, longer than waiting for nothing in the darkness of prison. This is what would break her, not any interrogations or mind games. Waiting to find out whether her best friend would live, or die would.
Finally, her father emerged through the door with the straightest expression on his face.
“Onoma,” he said with little expression in the tone of his voice. “Wi, he a....” he paused, trying to figure out a way to give his daughter the news. “Just come see for yourself.”
He lead her through the door and down a short hallways before the room they had been keeping Wi. Onoma did not know every emotion she was feeling when she saw him. He was half awake, clearly on some medication to keep him that way, and not much of his skin was showing under the layers of bandage wrapping his major, deeper wounds. His skin bore a yellow tint from so long without food or water. Onoma could not stand to see him like this, but seeing him alive after two years, she felt a sense of joy rising to the surface of the ocean that was her emotions. Wi was alive, but in so much pain. He managed to curl his lips upward into a smile. Benarr spoke, breaking the almost perfect silence. “I’ll go contact Hera and the rest of the Ghost crew,” he said, turning to go. “Thanks,” Onoma responded as he disappeared through the door. “O... Ono...Onoma,” Wi struggled to speak, but managed to get a few words out. “I...
I...” “Shhh, it’s ok I’m here now,” Her voice was soothing to his ears. They stared into each
other’s eyes before Onoma did something she should have done sooner. She sat down next to him, grabbed his hand, leaned towards him, and pressed her lips against his. Wi rapped his arm around the back of her neck and did his best to lean back towards her. A single tear of pure joy tricked its way down Onoma’s cheek as they slightly pulled away.
“I love you, Wi,” she said as she started to cry.
“I’ve always loved you, Onoma,” He replied, leaning his forehead against hers. “And I always will.”