I open my mouth to speak but, suddenly tongue-tied, I close it again. I look to Harris for help.
‘So you didn’t beam us on to your ship, Mr Solo?’ Harris says calmly.
‘Why would I want to do that?’ He glares back. ‘And less of the Mr Solo, kid. You can call me Han.’ He lowers his gun.
I find my voice. ‘We’re sorry for the intrusion, Mr So.., er Han, ‘but your ship has just saved us from the Death Star. We’re very grateful.’
Han raises a quizzical eyebrow.
A low-pitched roar comes from beyond the rear hatch. ‘It’s all right, Chewy,’ Han shouts over his shoulder. It’s just a bunch of kids.’
A huge furry head appears.
‘Chewbacca! Way to go!’ Harris says delightedly. He nudges me with his elbow. ‘We’re actually on the Millennium Falcon!’
‘Can I see round your ship, Han?’ Harris almost begs. ‘The Millennium Falcon’s my favourite ever starship and that flight in hyper-drive was awesome!’
Han gives Harris one of his lopsided grins, while Chewbacca tosses his head and roars gently in what I assume is agreement.
‘Okay kid, I’ll show you around this bucket of bolts, but then we’re going to have to find somewhere to drop you and your ship off. I’ve cargo to pick up in the Kessel sector and I don’t need any extra passengers.’
Harris and Stevens bound towards the exit hatch. I follow more slowly, wondering whether we’ll actually be able to leave the ship. We’ve never managed to do so before. But I’m curious. Not so much about the famous Millennium Falcon, although I am rather keen on its present owner, but it occurs to me that we’ve never actually seen our ship from the outside.
But what might happen if we do leave the ship? I stop in my tracks at the entrance to the hatch.
‘What’s that, kid?’ Han turns to me.
I hadn’t realised I’d spoken out loud. ‘Our ship is powered by our minds and guided by our imaginations.’ I say by way of explanation.
Harris and Stevens have already joined Chewbacca outside the ship. ‘Never mind all that now, Jem,’ says Harris impatiently.
‘Sounds kinda weird,’ says Han.
‘We’ll tell you about it later.’ Harris is almost jumping up and down with excitement. ‘C’mon, Han, let’s go.’
As I step onto the ramp my stomach lurches and my knees start to buckle. I sit down abruptly.
‘Hey, are you all right, kid?’ Han crouches next to me.
‘I just feel a bit light-headed,’ I reply, trying to put on a brave face. ‘Our ship suddenly feels… less substantial…’
‘Low sugar. It’s the after effect of being in hyper-drive.’ Han looks up. ‘Chuck her one of those Banquet Bars, Chewy.’
Chewbacca rummages in a nearby cardboard box and throws me a crumpled package. The wrapper reminds me of a Snickers. I know the Earth-based confectionery company has been a multi-global for centuries; maybe they’ve changed the name in this galaxy.
Chewbacca nods encouragingly as I tear open the wrapper and take a bite, while Han pulls a communicator from his jacket and holds it out to me. ‘Go back inside and rest. Call me on this if… if anything should happen.’ He looks at the ship, frowning slightly.
As Harris and Stevens disappear through the hatch into the corridor beyond, the walls of our ship start to shimmer around me.
I have a bad feeling about this.
Will Jemma be all right alone on the ship? Will it still be there when Harris and Stevens return? Tune in next week for episode 6…
And if you we’re wondering what on earth (or off-earth) is going on,
you can catch up with the entire first series of Space Cadets here
Written in response to a prompt from Susan T. Braithwaite
Genre Scribes Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #50
The challenge this week was banquet.
Photo credit: Md Mahdi on Unsplash