So, Friday Chuck Wendig set us a new challenge, choose two pop culture properties — books, movies, comics, from a list of 20, and write a story mashing them up.
I got Star Wars and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Ahh. Well at least I know a bit about them both. Star Wars is hard to avoid, at least if you live in my family, though I have only seen them one or two times. And Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, all I remember is it being funny back when I saw it, about one million years ago.
So, I have written, and written and written and … well you get the idea of course. The story evolved into being much more Star Wars than Ferris Bueller, and it is long, as usual, almost 2000 words, but I had too much fun writing it to change or shorten it. I do apologize. I pledge to learn restraint, and to start planning my story before it gets away with me.
By Trine Toft Schmidt
“God I shouldn’t have let you talk me into this Han.” Leia swatted at a gnat the size of a tennis ball. and Luke rolled his eyes.
“Stop being such a spoilsport, Leia, where’s your sense of adventure?”
Han just pushed aside a curtain of hanging moss.
“Its probably sunk into one of those bogs by now.” She pointed to a spot on the forest floor where a tree had sunk most of the way into a hole.
“Han, can’t we just get back to the base?”
“No.” Han said and stepped aside, a huge grin covering his face. “Look. There she is. I told you. Imagine what the bounty is going to be on this beauty, we are going to be RICH.”
A square bulky mountain rose out of the ground before them, covered in creepers and moss. Here and there dull light gray metal showed through.
“Is that it?” Leia raised her eyebrow and Han and Luke nodded as one. “Doesn’t look like it’s worth many credits, to be honest.” She pointed to the large elephantine legs, sticking out like logs across the swampy forest floor.
Han shrugged and started pulling off the creepers off the neck part of the hull.
“Give me a hand, and we’ll see.”
Ten minutes later they were all covered in burrs and sweat, but the escape hatch to the AT-AT was free of creepers, and Leia was resting against the hull. She felt inexplicably uneasy. Han and Luke were fiddling with multi-tools, trying to figure out what they needed to open the hatch, and did not seem worried at all.
“I don’t like it. Something is watching us.” She scanned the surroundings.
“You’re just a worrywart.” Luke dug an elbow into Han’s side, but Han shook his head. “Besides, just imagine what’s inside. Imperial weapons, artifacts.” Luke’s eyes was alight with excitement. He watched as Han flicked out a screwdriver with a flat head and inserted it in the opening between hull and hatch and wriggled it back and forth.
“No. No give at all. Luke, can’t you do something.”
“What? With the screwdriver?”
Han rolled his eyes.
“With the Force, you dimwit.” Luke looked hesitant, and Leia snickered.
“Blah. Its not like he’s Master Yoda in the Force department you know, Han.”
“Shut up sis.” Luke closed his eyes and his whole face scrounged up in concentration. After a minute something creaked inside the hatch and Han inserted the screwdriver again, wriggled it and with a metallic moan, the hatch sprang open, exuding a gust of stale dead air with a hiss.
“Yes!” Han pumped his fist in the air, and looked inside. “It’s dusty as hell, but it looks OK.”
A howl echoed through the forest, and a flock of birds rose into the air above them.
“What the fuck was that?” Leia moved closer to Han, whipped out her light saber just as both Han and Luke did the same.
A couple of hundred feet to the left of them something moved hidden by the trees and shrubbery. Something big. Heading their way, fast.
They looked at each other, and without a word they scrambled into the hatch opening, right as a large mud covered cat sprang from the bushes, closing the distance to the hull with a frightening speed.
“Fuck. I think it’s a Sludge Panther. Luke, god dammit, close the hatch.” Han’s voice a good octave higher than usual but Luke was already wrestling with the hatch. It swung closed way too slowly, grinding to a halt, a hands breath of green forest and dark brown Sludge Panther still visible. Leia pushed him away, grabbed the hatch, stemmed her feet against the door frame and with a moan heaved at it until it closed. Another howl pierced through the thick layers of metal, and something slammed against the hatch.
“Jeez, that was close.” Han dusted his hands and got up, and set about exploring the AT-AT, his fingers leaving dusty trails on the light gray metal.
“Close? What do you mean it WAS close?” Leia shrieked after him. “We are trapped. Inside an Imperial AT-AT, no one knows anything about, and there’s a huge panther out there waiting to eat us. How can you be so fucking calm about this?” There was another slam against the hatch and Han grinned.
“It won’t make its way through that. Its enforced steel or whatever, it’ll hold him out.” He disappeared around a corner, his footsteps echoing in the hollow hull of the transporter.
Luke sent Leia a mocking grin and went after him. Beside her the panther clawed the hatch, howling. Leia shook her head and ran after the boys.
Everything inside seemed more or less intact, if a little dusty. Even the straps on the seats were still intact, though a couple of the buckles disintegrated with the slightest touch.
Han was sitting in one of the pilot seats in the command section, strapped in like he was going to take them for a ride, his hands hovering over the complicated control panels. Luke was sitting in the second pilot seat, wearing an imperial helmet, his breath wheezing in and out of the mouth guard. He looked ridiculous, Leia thought, but she had bigger concerns. Outside the panther had given up clawing its way inside, instead it was circling the transporter continuously. The third time it went past the view port, Leia sighed.
“We are never going to get out of here alive. Nobody knows where we are, and that thing, it won’t ever give up. It’ll just wait for us to become desperate enough, and then it’ll eat us.” She fiddled with her light saber, flicking it on and off.
“Leia, relax, I’ll get us out of this, I promise. I think I know how to do this.” His hand hovered over a set of three buttons set off to one side. He pressed down on the one in the middle and suddenly the whole hull was shaking, and a sound much like the buzzing of a hive of bees filled the transporter.
“Fuck me. It still works.”
Luke whooped in his seat, grinning his stupid grin.
“Oh my god.” Leia felt sick to her stomach. She decided then and there that if Han ever wanted to go scavenge hunting again, then she would rather spend an hour meditating, contemplating zen, or something.
Han pushed a couple of buttons seemingly at random and something under them started to move. The carriage tilted sharply to the left and Leia almost tumbled to the floor. She fought herself upright, holding on to the periscope handles hanging down from the ceiling.
“Hang on. I don’t think this is going to be pleasant.” Han shouted over the din of creaky old metal moving against itself. And tilting strangely the AT-AT made its way onto its feet pads. Once it seemed the world had righted itself again, Leia stood and looked out of the view port. The forest looked like matchsticks from up here and a tiny flutter of excitement in her stomach made her grin at her dirty reflection in the viewport.
“Now, lets get her back to Dearic, I know just who to impress with this. Luke, you’re second pilot.”Luke saluted him, pushing off the helmet. Han grabbed a set of control sticks and pushed them forward, and Luke copied him. The AT-AT moved forward with a stomach rolling lurch, and the limited view out of the port tilted downward, righted itself and then they were moving through the forest.
They were out of the forest, crossing the plains, when an earsplitting noise made Leia clap her hands to her ears. Several monitors flickered into life in front of Han and Luke.
“What the hell was that?” Luke eyed the gyro balance, but nothing seemed amiss.
“I think it’s the attack alert.” Han shouted above the noise.
“Attack?” Luke shook his head and laughed. “Who would attack us here?”
Luke stretched and looked out.
“Shit. Are those hover tanks?”
“Yes. I count at least three, and there are free runners as well. They must think the Imperial Forces have landed. I told you this was a bad idea, Han.” She was shrieking again.
“Leia shut the fuck up, it’s not exactly helping.” Luke turned and screamed at her, and Leia closed her mouth around her next tirade of insults.
“Can’t you shut it off Han, make it lie down, or something.”
Two free runners broke rank and whizzed by, circled them several times, both equipped with heavy laser canon turrets. Han just stared at the controls and the view port, obviaously at a loss.
“Han, do something” They will start shooting at us soon if we don’t do something.”
Just then, two free runners flew out of the formation ahead of them, whipped past them, shooting something solid out of their front weapon’s array.
The AT-AT’s legs wobbled underneath them and there was a sound like metal being torn apart. Han started to desperately push buttons and moving the stick this way and that. But no matter what he did the world continued to tilt. He looked up and looked at Leia.
“They’ve tripped us up. Leia get yourself strapped in. NOW!” He was deadly pale, and Leia quickly hauled herself into an auxiliary seat, wrapping brittle netting and straps around herself.
Then the AT-AT tilted sharply to the left, and it felt like they were in free fall. Time slowed down, through a sliver of the view port Leia could see the yellow grasses of Talus rush up to meet them. She closed her eyes and twined her hands into the straps. Then everything turned black.
She opened her eyes to a searing white light. God, this is it, she thought. I am dead. Next time I see Han, I am going to kill him. Never again. I will never listen to him again.
“Princess Leia.” A muted voice, pleasantly respectful whispered in her ear. She blinked at the light, struggled to see past its brilliance. “Are you awake Princess?”
“Awake she is.” A high pitched, very familiar voice forced her to abandon the thought of her prematurely death.
“Master Yoda.” Her voice was hoarse, probably from all that shrieking, and it hurt her head talking. “Han… and Luke?”
“Quiet Princess, you must be. Fine, Master Solo and Skywalker is.” There was silence for a few seconds. “Quite a find, the transport is. Find good use for the precious transporter, the Rebel Alliance will.”
“So no bounty for Han then?” A little flicker of glee sparkled in her and a giggle made its way up her sore throat.
“Sadly no, Master Solo rewarded in thanks only will be.” Master Yoda chuckled quietly and the world turned black again.