Chapter 2
Life Debt

“Intruder alert!  Intruder alert!  Security to engineering.” 

I awoke to blaring klaxons.  A few explosions could be heard in the distance.  The sounds pierced my skull, and I let out a howl.

“It’s all right, Kurrelgyrre.  It’s all right.”

Forgetting that Gareb couldn’t speak Shyriiwook, I began to ask what was happening.

“Settle down, ‘fore they decide to put you out of their misery.  Now, all I’ve been able to figure out is that someone is in the complex causing a very big commotion.  Seems no one can find the guy.  I think that some of the prisoners have escaped too.  Hoo!  Wouldn’t it be funny if alla this was goin’ on whilst Moff Crin was here on inspection?”

A smile almost crossed my face.  I still felt the pain of the other day, but I forced myself up anyway. 

There were no guards posted here at the time, probably since they were all looking for the intruder.  The klaxons kept booming, and I thought the pain would never stop. 

The research facility had been built out of an old castle.  Parts of the castle had been modernized, and parts were left as they had been for centuries.  The detention area that Gareb and I were in was one example.

I reached for the old-fashioned bars on the cell door, intending on breaking them and escaping.  I was in for a shock, quite literally, when I was hit by a jolt of electricity and knocked down to the floor.

“Yeah, I guess they thought you might try that.  Nice try, though.”

As I sat on the floor with my fur going in every direction, I noticed a sound in the distance.  It was the sound of blaster fire, and it was coming closer! 

A voice could be heard in the distance.  “He’s going towards detention block AA-39.  Get him!” 

Whoever this intruder was, he was bringing trouble for Gareb and me.  I knew that we were not in a good position here and were highly vulnerable.  I looked for some sort of cover, but there was none. 

The sounds of the blasters got louder and louder, and I thought that I heard a humming noise as well.  Familiar footsteps came rushing towards our area, and I knew that stormtroopers were approaching, hot on the tail of the intruder.

It was then that I met the man who would change my life forever.

A man dressed in brown and white robes came into the prison area.  In his hands was a magnificent sword of light, the likes of which I had never seen before.  The blue blade was moving furiously to deflect the blaster bolts being shot in our direction.  I didn’t know how any one man could survive the barrage.

I let out a howl at that point, which distracted the man that I then knew could only be one of the legendary Jedi Knights.  A blaster bolt got past him and hit Gareb square in the chest.  The Jedi turned back towards the guards, determined to make up for his distraction. 

Meanwhile, I was checking over Gareb.  Miraculously, he was alive.  Still, his wound was bad, and I knew he wouldn’t live long without medical treatment.  There was an infirmary here, but I seriously doubted they would allow a Jedi and two escaping slaves to use it.

“Will he make it?” the man asked.

“I don’t know.  He needs a hospital, and I doubt we can use the infirmary.”  Of course, I figured that the Jedi probably didn’t understand me, but I hope he got my meaning.

“Stand back, and I will cut the door open.”  The Jedi turned his blade towards the door.

“Be careful.  They have electrocuted the bars.”

“No problem.”  The Jedi swung his blade at the locking mechanism, unleashing a shower of sparks.  The door swung open.

I picked up Gareb, and carried him in a fireman’s carry.  Gareb rambled on about stuff, none of which was making sense. 

I bowed my head to the Jedi, who stood about a foot-and-a-half shorter than me.  “My name is Kurrelgyrre.  You have saved my life and hopefully that of my friend, Gareb, as well.  I am in your debt, eternally, and pledge my life to you.”

The Jedi looked perplexed.  “I don’t know about that, but we don’t have much time.  I’m Xai-Dun Kimm.  Now, let’s get your friend out of here and to a hospital as quickly as possible.  Stay behind me, and do exactly as I tell you.”

It just occurred to me that he could understand my language.  I was quite surprised, but the tales of the Jedi Knights said that they had amazing powers.  Perhaps he was using one of those powers to understand me now.

Kimm and I worked our way through the corridors.  I was surprised that more stormtroopers had not taken a notice to us.  Kimm had to fight out of a few situations, but we were making good time.  Never before had I seen a man of honor like this fighting to protect the lives of two slaves. 

At the time, I wondered how he could have known that we weren’t dangerous criminals, but that was before I truly knew what a Jedi could do.

Finally, we exited the door.  I was able to see why our escape was as easy as it was.  Kimm had released the other slaves before he came to our cell area.  A riot was occurring in the courtyard.

We moved our way through the riot towards the landing pad.  None of the combatants seemed interested in tackling a Jedi Knight and his enraged wookiee companion.  We got close to a ship, an Alderaanian make I believe, when Kimm turned around. 

I looked to see what he was looking at, and I noticed a large shadow on the other side of the courtyard.  The shadow was evil personified, and I had never been so scared in all of my life.  As the shadow looked our way, he ignited his own laser-sword.  An eerie red light shone off of the blade, revealing the non-human mask the shadow wore.

“Kurrelgyrre, I want you to take the Knight Errant, my ship over there,” he said as he pointed to the Alderaanian vessel.  “You must take Gareb to a hospital on Trevelas, two systems over.  The navicomp is already programmed.  You’re his only hope.”

“I cannot leave you.  I owe you my life.  Why can’t you come with us?” 

“Because I have something to take care of.”  Kimm reached into his pouch and handed me a book.  “Take this as well.  It is the knowledge of the Jedi.  You will need this.  If I die today, then you must carry this knowledge with you so that the Jedi may survive.  This is how you can repay your debt to me.  The survival of the Jedi is more important than mine.  You and I have different destinies, Kurrelgyrre.  It won’t be an easy life for you, but never falter.  The Force will be with you.  Now go.  We must each meet our destiny.”

Every ounce of me wanted to stay with this man and protect him from the Shadow Man, but somehow I knew that he was right.  This went against everything that a wookiee was taught, but I was bound by my life debt and by honor to obey the greatest Jedi I have ever known.  Saving Gareb was more important to me now than anything.

I ran as fast as I could to the ship.  The stormtroopers were in such chaos that they didn’t notice me. 

I finally made it to the Knight Errant.  I set Gareb down in a life station and strapped him in, giving him what medical attention I could.  I went to the cockpit, preparing the ship for take-off.

As I looked out the window, I saw two lightsaber blades locked in combat.  Time seemed to freeze, not only for myself, but for all of the combatants on the field.  Only the Jedi and the Shadow Man moved.

I was so hypnotized by the site, that I almost forgot what I was doing.  A groan from Gareb startled me back to reality.  Somehow, I knew that my only chance was to get the ship going now. 

I thought that Master Kimm might have a chance if I could only get my ship to his position.  As I started to take off, I looked out of the window.  Only one blade was remaining at that time.  It was red. 

Infuriated, I brought the ship up, and took her out of the atmosphere.  I let out a howl, realizing that I had failed.  I had not only failed Master Kimm, but my heritage as well.  I owed a life debt, and I failed to protect the one I owed it to.

Only one thought was clear in the haze of my mind.  There was only way to repay the life debt that I owed Master Kimm.  I would become a Jedi.