The suns are high in the sky and he’s all hot and dusty, but he doesn’t care about any of that because they are on the speeder bike again and Dad is going fast, fast, fast!
Faster, Dad! he cheers as they go. Dad tilts the speeder as they turn and he gets that funny-but-in-a-good-way feeling in his tummy. Wheee! Again, Dad, again!
It’s so fast and it’s so fun and then suddenly his sense with no name screams a warning. Dad! he shouts, but then the speeder bike stops and they fly through the air!
He slams into the ground, rolling and rolling. Dad! Dad! he cries. The things on the bike hit him and the ground scrapes his skin as he rolls far away. What happened? Dad!
He can hear Dad shouting and the speeder bike going boom, but he only sees them when he finally stops rolling. Dad is standing up, but now people run out from behind the rocks and try to hurt him. They are shooting him! “Get the child!” one yells.
Him? They’re hurting Dad because of him?
Dad! Help! he wails as the shortest person starts walking over to him. Dad pulls out his blaster and shoots the Short Person, but he doesn’t fall down and then a very big person jumps out and hits Dad with a big sword. Dad punches him again and again and finally kills him, but two more come, and one is a Nikto. They are bad, Dad! Don’t let them get you! They are both attacking Dad. They are trying to kill him. And now the Short Person comes out with a very big gun.
Dad, watch out! he screams. Dad is fighting the other people. They won’t leave him alone and stop hitting him! Dad!
Dad shoots the rope out of his hand just in time, grabbing the big gun and making it slam into the people who are hurting him. He’s so busy watching Dad he doesn’t even see when suddenly hands snatch him up. The Short Person has got him, and holds a sharp knife right to his neck.
Dad, he squeaks. Dad looks up and sees him. Dad will fix it. Dad will make this person let him go.
“Wait!” says Dad. “Don’t hurt the child.”
Dad, just shoot him! Why aren’t you shooting him?!
“If you put one mark on him, there’s no place you will be able to hide from me,” Dad tells the Short Person. “We can strike a bargain. There’s a lot of value in this wreckage. Take your pick.” Dad motions to the wrecked speeder.
He doesn’t care. He wants Dad to hold him. He wants to be safe and warm and happy again. He looks down at the knife. It’s bright and scary and sharp, and it’s so close to his skin. Dad, help, he whines again. Dad, help me!
“But leave the child,” Dad says in his definitely-firm voice.
The knife moves and he flinches but the Short Person points it at Dad and talks in words he doesn’t know. Dad looks over his shoulder at his jetpack, and the Short Person talks again, pointing to it and then the ground. No! You can’t have that, that’s Dad’s! Gold Helmet gave it to him!
But Dad just says “Okay” and takes the jetpack off. “Here, it’s yours. Take it,” he says, taking it and setting it on the ground. It’s beautiful shiny silver, just like Dad’s armor; he has tried to fly it but Dad won’t let him, and now he’ll never get to. Why is Dad giving it up instead of just shooting the Short Person? Dad even feels scared. Why is Dad scared of the Short Person when he could just shoot him? It makes no sense.
The Short Person points his knife at Dad again and Dad steps back. Dad, he whines. That little knife is scary and sharp to him but not to Dad. He wants Dad to hurry up and grab him and hold him safe while Dad shoots Short Person right in the face!
“It’s okay,” Dad says.
It is not okay! he whines, but then Short Person steps up to the jetpack and finally starts to put him down. He stays very still so the knife doesn’t poke him. Dad is watching him. Dad will make sure he is safe. Dad nods; Dad is happy he is being still, so he stays still.
Short Person yells and starts to run and then he can’t stand it anymore. Dad! he wails, running up to the arms that open and wait for him until he runs into them, safe and warm again. Dad, Dad, Dad, he cries, Dad, that was scary!
“You okay?” Dad asks.
He is okay now that Dad is holding him again. Dad holds him close in his arms and turns to watch Short Person running away. Get him, Dad!
Dad doesn’t shoot him but presses a button on his gauntlet, and the jetpack lights up and flies into the air with Short Person still holding it. He watches Short Person go up high, high, high until Dad presses a button again and the jetpacks zooms back and forth until Short Person lets go and falls down, down, down. He lands hard and doesn’t move. He is Gone.
But why didn’t you just shoot him? he asks. Wouldn’t that be easier?
Dad just shrugs and presses his buttons again. The jetpack comes back, landing on the ground where it turns off and falls over. That must be why he can’t fly it by himself yet; it's too heavy, and he isn’t allowed to push the buttons to fly it either. Only Dad is. Maybe when he is bigger, if he is very good, Dad will let him have a turn.
Dad still holds him close as he walks over to the speeder bike. It is in pieces now, all over, and so are all their things like the yummy meat and Cobb’s armor. Dad sighs a big sigh. “Guess we’re walking the rest of the way.”
But you’ll carry me, right, Dad? Dad has bigger legs than him. Anywhere Dad walks takes him a long time.
Dad doesn’t put him down and holds him close as he picks up all the things that fell off the speeder bike. It’s hard to pack them all up with one hand, but Dad doesn’t want to put him down. He doesn’t mind. He doesn’t want Dad to put him down either.
He tries to help. He reaches out and even though he doesn’t touch it, the silver-green helmet rises up in the air. Dad catches it, looking around quickly. “Thanks, kid. But only on the ship, remember?”
Aww. Dad doesn’t let him lift things outside. Dad says he doesn’t want people to see. There are no people to see here, but he follows the rules.
Dad packs it all up and ties it to a broken piece of the speeder bike and finally finds the bag. That’s when Dad tries to put him inside. But Dad! I want you to carry me!
“You have to go in the bag. I need both my hands.” Dad pats his head and brushes sand off his robe and takes a long time before he finally tries again. This time, he lets Dad put him in the bag. At least he’s still close by, and Dad is very careful not to accidentally hit him as he picks up all the things he has to carry.
The suns are hot and the bag is itchy and he’s going bump bump again and he doesn’t like it. Dad doesn’t like it either, but he keeps walking. It’s like that time the brown robe people took Dad’s ship apart and they had to walk all the way to Kuiil’s house. Maybe it isn’t so bad, he decides. After all, at least he and Dad are together, and Dad won’t ever give him away again like he did to White Hair and Glasses.