Chapter 8

The Road to Doom

(16 years before Star Wars:  A New Hope)

 

 

The next few months, we got busy on the project.  I would start handling more of the day-to-day mechanics, while Cade worked on the racing speeder. 

 

Cade started to get into a fevered state of mind.  He was so excited about the project, that very little else mattered.  He didn’t eat until late, he was out at all hours of the night, and he practically gave up on the shop.

 

The shop’s profits were starting to slump.  While I was a good mechanic, I was no salesman.

 

There was one other casualty as well.  That was little Cassie.  She wept from time to time because her father was ignoring her.  I tried to comfort her, but I wasn’t doing too good of a job.

 

Finally, I had had it.  I was going to confront Cade. 

 

I found him in the garage, in the area he had cornered off to work on the racing speeder.  It was looking good, I had to admit.  I couldn’t allow my love of mechanics distract me, though.

 

“Cade, we need to talk.”  I said.

 

Cade didn’t acknowledge my presence at all.  He kept on working on the speeder, as if in a hypnotic trance.

 

“Cade,” I said again, this time more forcefully.  “ We need to talk.”

 

Still no response.  I put my hand on his shoulder.

 

Cade jerked back.  He looked up at me, and his eyes were a craze.  He had totally given himself over to the speeder project.  It was his friend, his lover.  The speeder contained a portion of his soul, and would not let go.

 

He just looked up at me with those fevered eyes, panting all the while and sweating.

 

I could not bear to see him in this state.  I could not imagine how one’s goal would totally blind him to everything around him.

 

“Cade!”  I yelled.  “Snap out of it, man!”

 

Cade started looking around and gathering his bearings.  I could tell that he had not shaved in many days.  I never did understand that human custom. 

 

“What?  Oh, Kurrelgyrre, it’s you.  About ready to leave the shop for the evening?” Cade asked.

 

“Cade, it’s morning, not evening.  Don’t tell me you’ve been working on that thing all night!”

 

“I guess I have.”  Cade just sat down, and started to stare at the racing speeder.  He was doing good, all right.  It was one of the best speeders I had ever seen.

 

“What’s going on with you, Cade?  I’ve never seen you like this.”

 

“I don’t know, KG.  It’s…it’s just that this consumes me.  I finally have my chance to fulfill an old dream.”

 

His voice trailed off, as he was caught up in another moment, another time.

 

“What about Cassie’s dreams?”

 

“Huh?  What do you mean?  Cassie’s fine.

 

I stared Cade directly in the eyes.  “She is NOT fine, Cade.  Not by any means.  She’s already lost her mother.  She’s afraid her father is next!”

 

At this, Cade started getting mad.  “Who do you think you are?  You’re a hired hand, nothing more.  If I wanted your advice, I’d ask for it!”

 

“Well, I’m going to give my advice to you anyway.  You’re walking towards a dark precipice, Cade, and you’re about ready to fall into the Abyss.  Look around you!  You’re shop is falling apart, you’re losing customers, and you’re daughter is all alone.  She needs a father, Cade, and you and I both know it can’t be me!”

 

At that moment, we heard a blood curdling scream.  It was Cassie!  Someone was in the front of the shop, and they had Cassie!

 

Cade quickly jarred back to the conscious world, and bolted towards the front.  I went after him.

 

As we got to the front, we saw several Gamorreans, a human in a business suit, and a black-skinned Trandoshan. 

 

The Trandoshan and I stared at each other for what seemed to be an eternity.  He was a youth amongst his race, yet he still harbored the same prejudices against wookiees that the rest of his race had.  I had a feeling that this would not be the last time I saw him.

 

One of the Gamorreans was holding Cassie, who skirmed in his arms.  The other two had fuel containers in their hands, and were spreading fuel over the speeder bikes. 

 

“Mr. Frevlin, I’m assuming?” the human said. 

 

Cade nodded, not fully comprehending what was happening.

 

“My associates and I are here to ensure that you don’t complete that Alexander’s racing speeder is never completed.  Tear it down, never speak to Alexander again, and we’ll just forget about everything.”

 

“Bu-but I’ve got to build it.  I’m mostly done!  I…” 

 

The Trandoshan just slapped Cade across his face, sending him flying.

 

“Oh, sorry, wrong answer.  Krussk,” the human said, motioning towards the Trandoshan, “Torch the place.”

 

The Trandoshan teen just smiled, then pulled out a flame-thrower.  He torched a bit, and the shop was ablaze. 

 

“Let this be a warning, Mr. Frevlin,” the man said.  He and his goons left, as they dropped Cassie to the floor.  The Trandoshan left last, giving me a wink on the way out.  I knew I would see him again.

 

“Let’s get out of here!”  I yelled.  Cade was still out of it, so I grabbed up Cassie and proceeded to head out the back.  The shop was going to blow any second now. 

 

I nudged Cade forward, and he started to go with me.  As we went through the garage, though, Cade spotted the racing speeder, and started to head towards it.

 

“Cade, leave it!”  I yelled, but it was no use.  The thugs had torched the outside of the building as well, and everything was going up.  Cade just couldn’t leave it alone.

 

“I’ve got to save it, KG.  My future depends on it!”

 

It was no use.  I took Cassie, and headed out the back door.  We got a safe distance away.

 

Fire and smoke raged into the sky, as if daring the world to defy its existence.  It raged on, but no sign of Cade.

 

Cassie was crying her head off.  “Where’s my daddy?  I want my daddy?”

 

I tried my best to shush her, but it didn’t do much good. 

 

The shop started to explode.  First one explosion, then another, then another.  Cade was nowhere to be seen.

 

Suddenly, I saw movement.  It was the racing speeder!  It shot forth, as the greatest of all the explosions took the place.  Cade was alive!

 

Pretty soon, he landed beside us, as the fire crews arrived and began to put out the fire.  I held on to Cassie tightly.  I just stared at him.

 

How could he have been so stupid?  Didn’t he think that he could die?  What about Cassie?

 

Cade just looked up at the shop.  “Ah, man.” 

 

He paused for a long while, watching his life’s work go up in smoke.

 

Then he patted the side of the speeder.  “Well, at least we know she works!”

 

Cade’s sense of reason and morality went the way of his shop that night.  He was never the same again.