Author: Findswoman Title: Artoo, Myself, and the Little Shiny Blue Thing Era: Saga–OT, at some point between ANH and ESB Characters: C-3PO (narrator), R2-D2, OCs, mentions or brief appearances of Han, Leia, Chewbacca, and Luke Genre: One-shot, humor Summary: Artoo and Threepio pull off a heist of a Force-sensitive artifact, and everything that possibly can goes awry. Notes: Fic-gift for the wonderful and dear @Kahara, written as part of the always enjoyable Non-Denominational Winter (for Some) Holiday Fic-Gift Exchange. It wasn’t easy to choose which of her requests to write, because all of them were fantastic, but I ended up going with this one: So, that is what this story is! Hope you enjoy, my friend, and I send you all the best greetings of the season! <3 And, once again, I thank @Raissa Baiard for beta reading. Ah, so you would like to know about the incident of the Little Shiny Blue Thing? Why, yes, I shall gladly recount the entire story for you. It is as easily retrievable from my memory banks as if it happened yesterday. (Everything is, of course. That’s the advantage of us droids, as you know. Unless a memory wipe is performed. Which, of course, is the disadvantage of us droids, as you know.) It all began on Ord Mantell, when Captain Solo, Master Chewbacca, and Mistress Leia were arguing with a very tired spaceport bureaucrat about the Falcon’s monthly docking pass or some such silly nonsense. The conversation went something like this: “Whaddaya mean, you can’t upgrade it now?!” (That was Captain Solo.) “I’m sorry, sir, the system won’t allow me to upgrade a Class Dorn pass to Class Aurek without the approval of a manager.” “Well, could you please fetch a manager?” (That was Mistress Leia.) “The manager is vacationing on Vagran for the next two tennights. Until then, the docking pass upgrade system is inaccessible.” “GWRRAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!” (Approximate translation: Oh, for the love of the Great Tree.) “You said it, Chewie!” And on and on, in that general vein. Oh, dear Maker, I thought it would never end. I was, quite honestly, on the point of shutting down then and there to avoid the noise when Artoo rolled up to me and said, in a most urgent and earnest tone, 1001000 01000101— (Ah, my sincerest apologies! I keep forgetting that the majority of organics are not conversant with Binary! In that case, I shall begin again.) He said, in a most urgent and earnest tone, HEY THREEPIO “Yes, what is it?” I replied. COME WITH ME WILL YOU I WANT TO SHOW YOU SOMETHING “If you say so…” AND BE QUIET ABOUT IT I DON’T WANT THEM HEARING US There was no risk of that happening. The argument had reached, if possible, an even more strident and feverish pitch than before, with Captain Solo now using language that I decline to transcribe. Thus I was only too glad to follow Artoo across the street, down said street, and around the corner. I could not stifle a distinct sense of foreboding, because, as you probably know, when Artoo wants to show someone something, it almost always means he is up to no good. My perplexity increased when he led me into one of those Order of the Ka’ra resale shops—you know, the ones run by that Mandalorian charitable order, familiarly known to organics as “the Osk of Krill.” We wound our way somewhat gingerly past the front counter, past dusty, tottering shelves laden with jewelry, dishware, weapons, and starship parts, then past another bank of shelves where two elderly Human females in dark blue beskar’gam gabbed and gossiped as they arranged vintage blasters on racks. Finally, Artoo stopped in front of a forcefield-guarded doorway at the back of the establishment, with a sign beside it reading EMPLOYEES ONLY; yet more stuffed shelves of second-hand merchandise stood beyond. Extending and immediately retracting his macrobinocular attachment, he turned to me and bleeped: THERE DO YOU SEE IT “See what? Artoo, you know my photoreceptors are by no means as acute as—” ACUTE NOTHING DON’T YOU SEE THAT LITTLE SHINY BLUE THING IN THE CASE OVER THERE It took me a moment, but I did. It was, indeed, a “little shiny blue thing,” sitting in a velvoid-lined box in a glass display case—on the other side of the forcefield. “Yes, I do. What of it?” Here Artoo lowered his output volume markedly. THAT’S A KYBER CRYSTAL “Yes, I have heard of them. And…?” WE HAVE TO GET IT Well, naturally, I felt rather uneasy at the prospect of having to get something from a locked case in the forcefield-guarded storeroom of a thrift shop run by Mandalorian grandmothers, and I let him know as much. “What was that you said, Artoo?” WE HAVE TO GET IT SO WE CAN BRING IT TO MASTER LUKE “Master Luke? Where does Master Luke come into this? Why in the Galaxy does he—” BECAUSE BEFORE WE LEFT HE TOOK ME ASIDE AND TOLD ME THAT IF I FOUND ANY KYBER CRYSTALS TO GET THEM AND BRING THEM TO HIM SO THE EMPIRE WON’T GET THEM YOU SEE THEY’RE TRYING TO CONFISCATE FORCE-SENSITIVE ARTIFACTS AND ALL THAT SORT OF THING “But that’s terrible!” EMPIRE DOES SOMETHING TERRIBLE WHAT ELSE IS NEW “I suppose you’re right. But why do we have to do it? Why can’t Captain Solo and Mistress Leia and Master Chewbacca?” WELL MASTER LUKE DOESN’T WANT THEM TO KNOW ABOUT THIS BECAUSE THEY ALREADY HAVE A BOUNTY ON THEIR HEADS FROM JABBA AND MASTER LUKE DOESN’T WANT TO PUT THEM IN ANY MORE TROUBLE THAN THEY’RE ALREADY IN He had a point. “I see,” I replied. “I hope to the Maker that you have some sort of plan for this little… undertaking.” AS A MATTER OF FACT I DO “Oh?” YES DO YOU REMEMBER THAT SIGN ON THE FRONT DOOR If I had been an organic, I would have heaved a sigh at this point. “No, Artoo, I do not remember that sign on the front door.” OH YOU SILLY OLD THING HERE COME HERE I’LL SHOW YOU With that, he led me back through the endless ranks of overflowing shelves and out the front door of the Osk of Krill shop, where he spun his photoreceptor toward a flimsiplast flyer spacer-taped to the transparisteel pane. It read as follows: HELP WANTED Cleaning, Housekeeping, Inventory Flexible Hours Benefits Weekends and Fête Weeks Available INQUIRE WITHIN “All right, Artoo,” I said. “I think I see what you have in mind. You’re going to apply for the job, then come over after hours, go into the storeroom, and—” OH NO MY DEAR FRIEND NO NO NO tweedled the cheeky little greaseball, his lights flashing far too merrily for my tastes. YOU ARE Well, now, this was a little much. “What?! Me?! When this whole thing was your silly idea, you ridiculous, miswired bucket of—” HEY DON’T GET YOUR SERVOS IN A SQUEEZE I’M SURE YOU’LL MANAGE JUST FINE JUST PUT ON A DISGUISE OR SOMETHING “Disguise?!” That was the limit. “What are you talking about?! What disguise?!” I DON’T KNOW WHATEVER YOU WANT I’M SURE YOU CAN THINK OF SOMETHING YOU’RE SMART AT LEAST MOST OF THE TIME He turned and began to roll away, presumably back to the Falcon, then spun his dome and addressed me again in those impertinent little warbles of his: AND OH YEAH SOONER IS DEFINITELY BETTER THAN LATER BECAUSE I HAVE IT FROM THE CITY CENTRAL COMPUTER THAT THE SECTOR MOFF IS SCHEDULED TO VISIT TOMORROW AND HIS FIRST STOP IS YOU GUESSED IT ORD MANTELL And off he toddled, leaving me standing there on the street outside the Osk of Krill resale shop, shaking my head and saying “Oh dear.” * * * So I, too, toddled back to the Falcon. As I went, I racked my processors until I came up with an idea. It was the only idea I could come up with during that walk back, so I was determined to make it work. After all, I didn’t want to disappoint Master Luke, and I definitely didn’t want to be caught pilfering things like kyber crystals from Mandalorian thrift shops when the moff came to town. Once on board, I made for the storage lockers where the cold-weather gear was kept. Master Luke’s and Captain Solo’s anoraks both had detachable fur-lined hoods, which I carefully unzipped or unbuttoned from their respective coats. I was somewhat dismayed to notice that the two hoods did not have quite the same color and texture of fur, but there was little to be done about it. (I supposed I could come up with an explanation if I had to. I am fitted with a fiction module of the highest quality, if I do say so myself.) Next, I braced every circuit in my chassis and made for Master Chewbacca’s quarters. His storage closet was empty except for the very garment I sought: a long red robe of the kind his people were accustomed to wearing on their holiday of Life Day. This I took as well, then made for the door— —which immediately opened to admit Master Chewbacca himself. “GNARRAARRHHH,” he said, rather quizzically. “RRRRWARRHH WRRRAARRHH HRRRWAHH?” (Approximate translation: Hey, what are you doing?) “Ah, well”—time to put that fiction module to the test—“I was just gathering a few things to take to the chem-cleaners along with Mistress Leia’s white evening dress. May I take this, too?” “GNRHHH,” he replied, shrugging his hirsute shoulders as he let me pass. (Approximate translation: Sure, go ahead.) And so, relieved beyond measure that my fiction module was still adequately functional, I made my way as quickly as I could to the engine room to don my disguise in relative privacy. How things would proceed after that, only time would tell, and only the Maker knew. * * * A little later, I was back at the Order of the Ka’ra resale shop. This time, however, my head was sandwiched between two fur-lined detachable hoods pinned together in such a way as to only show my eyes, and the rest of me was draped in a red robe that was still too long despite several strategically deployed safety pins (my impeccably polished golden feet would give the game away, after all!). Walking carefully, so as not to trip, I entered the shop—noting from the placard on the door that it was mere minutes until closing time—and approached the front counter. There, a pale-skinned, white-haired Human lady, clad in the apparently customary dark blue beskar’gam of the order, greeted me with a cheerful “Su cuy’gar! May I help you?” In response, I loaded a program I had not run in a very long time, and said, in the best Shyriiwook accent of which I was capable, “WROOOGHHHHRRRAHH. RRRRRAAAH GRRRH HNAAARRHHH WROOOARGHHH GNNRRHHH.” (Semi-literal translation: Greetings. I see your advertisement, and I come in to ask.) “One moment, please.” The lady picked up a dark blue beskar helmet that sat on a shelf behind the counter and removed something small from it that I could not see. It was likely a translation module, as she then placed it in her ear and said, “May I ask you to repeat that?” I did, and I must say I now have some idea about what Captain Solo meant that time long ago when he described the havoc wrought on his voice box by trying to speak Shyriiwook. It was not particularly easy on my vocoder speakers, either. “Very good,” said the Human lady. “And may I have your name?” Running the fiction module on top of all that turned out to be quite a memory-intensive proposition, but I managed somehow. “GARRHH DARRAHHWARRHHAA W’GHHHRRNNNH.” (Semi-literal translation: My name Darrawarra Wookiee.) “I see. Charmed to meet you, Mistress Darrawarra. I’m Boudikka Rook, and I’m the manager here.” “GRNNNHH.” (How you do.) “I am well, thanks.” Mistress Rook eyed me with a bit of a squint as she said this—an expression which caused me some consternation, as it generally represents incredulousness on the part of organics. “Now, please pardon my ignorance,” she went on, “but I—well, didn’t think your people typically wore, er, well…” “RRRRAHH RRRAAAARGHHH. GHHRAAARRR KRRRMRRR HWRAAAH RRRRAHH.” (This Life Day robe. It Life Day week now.) And that much, I might add, was no fiction—I had checked the Falcon’s computer’s built-in calendar before leaving, and Life Day was exactly one Standard week away. “Ah, so I see!” Mistress Rook’s face brightened again. “All the best greetings of the season to you.” “HHNNNGHHHH.” (I thank much.) “And may I ask what kind of experience you have in housekeeping and cleaning, Mistress Darrawarra?” Once again, I ran that fiction module for all it was worth, though I could fairly feel my circuits frying in the process. “HRWAAAAH RRRARR UURGHHH MWARRROOOOGHHH GHRRARRHH NNNNGHHH. RRHHOOOO WRAAHH GRNNNAARHHH. RRRRHHRH OOORGHHH GRARRGG HRRRNNH.” (I have housecleaning experience of over two hundred and fifty Standard years. Both business and home.) “Very good, very good! And when would you be available to begin?” “NNNNNGGGGGRRRHHHHH RAAARRRRHHHHH.” (I glaaaaad to staaaaart riiiiight awaaaaay.) Yes, that was the sound of my processor lagging sorely under the combined effort of the Shyriiwook and fiction modules. I was thankful Artoo was not nearby, as he would never have let me hear the end of it. “Good! Why don’t you begin by dusting the shelves here on the sales floor. The duster’s in here.” She gestured to one of the cabinets behind her counter. “When you’re done, you can move on to the storeroom. I’ll go put up the ‘closed’ sign and deactivate the forcefield for you.” I grunted a brief assent, then waddled over to the cabinet, from which I retrieved the most luridly colorful rag duster I have ever seen. Then I got to work with the dusting, because there was simply nothing else to do. Venturing into the storeroom was out of the question, as Mistress Rook was still behind the counter, busying herself with things like flimsifiles and accounts. As I worked painstakingly through the endless shelves and cases, taking care neither to upset any breakables or take (too much of) a tumble over the hem of Master Chewbacca’s Life Day robe, I occasionally glanced at the front counter to see whether Mistress Rook had left yet. She hadn’t, of course. I had gotten through approximately half of the sales floor when a moving object outside the shop window caught my photoreceptors. It was Artoo, rolling by on his way to the rear cargo entrance of the storeroom, per our plan. Under other circumstances, I might have been relieved to see him, but not this time, for the following reasons: (aurek) Mistress Boudikka Rook had still not budged from behind the counter, meaning that (besh) I still could not proceed to the storeroom in safety to retrieve the crystal and rendezvous with Artoo as planned. On top of that (cresh) I had, unfortunately, apparently caught the little rustbucket’s photoreceptors as well, as he stopped for a moment and gawked, spinning his dome and flashing his lights in that cheeky way of his. I may have muttered “Oh, shut off, you perambulating scrap heap,” or something of that general import. So I kept dusting and glancing at the counter, dusting and glancing, and so on and so on. Finally, after what felt like an eternity or two, Mistress Rook finally donned her helmet and called out to me, “Good night, Mistress Darrawarra! The door is set to lock behind you when you leave! May the Ka’ra look with favor on your battles!” “Likew—RRRRNNAAAHHH,” I replied, hastening to put the finishing strokes on the BlasTech DLT-19 sniper rifle I had been dusting. Once Mistress Rook had exited the shop, activated her jetpack, and taken off into the evening sky (Mandalorians are such insufferable show-offs), I made straightway for the storeroom. Things proceeded smoothly enough at first. The forcefield had been deactivated, as promised, and the display case with the little shiny blue crystal was near the door and unlocked. As Master Chewbacca’s robe was very conveniently furnished with pockets (who knew?), I placed the crystal in one of them. So, the easy part was done. The trick now was to get to the rear cargo door, which was no easy task in a large, dark, and unpleasantly dusty room crowded with random furniture and bric-a-brac—especially with my photoreceptors partially obscured by twin fur-lined hoods. There probably was a lighting panel somewhere, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to risk being seen by anyone who might be watching from outside. Accordingly, I stumbled around in the dark for some minutes, running into yet more shelves, toppling yet more merchandise, and getting a spectacular amount of dust in my joints. (In addition, I am reasonably certain that something small, organic, and quadrupedal ran over or past my feet at least once.) Finally, I reached (or, rather, collided with) the duracrete wall of the building, and I felt my way along it until I reached a control panel of some sort. I followed the wall a tiny bit further, and when the duracrete broke off, dipped about half a meter, and gave way to metal, I was certain I had reached the cargo door. I activated the door controls, and then— —the door did not, in fact, open. Instead, several emergency searchlights burst through the gloom, a hornlike alarm began blaring, and a synthesized Human voice yelled, “INTRUDER ALERT! INTRUDER ALERT! INTRUDER ALERT!” repeatedly. “Oh dear,” I said, for whatever it was worth. Things were not going at all as planned, and it was clearly time, as some organics say, to high-tail it on out of there before I was caught. I tried every control on the panel, but the door wouldn’t budge, nor would that blasted alarm quiet down. So I picked up my skirts (oh dear, did I really say that?!) and ran for the front door as fast as my servomotors could take me. I am not built for speed or maneuverability even at the best of times, much less when swathed in a garment designed for a being almost twice my size. During my desperate rush through the Osk of Krill shop, my copious hem caused me to take several choice tumbles. At one point, I knocked over a mannequin clad in an exquisite silver-white suit of antique beskar’gam. At another, several porcelain figurines of characters from the Dha Werda Verda fell to a messy demise when I stumbled against the sideboard holding them (things like that really should be put in a proper display case). I finally made it outside but barely cleared the front door when I smacked headlong into Artoo. THERE YOU ARE TOOK YOU LONG ENOUGH he remarked as we disengaged from each other. “Well, as you see,” I shouted over the blare of the alarms, still audible outside, “there were a few unexpected setbacks!” OH THAT He waved a nonchalant grasper in the direction of the shop. NO PROBLEM AT ALL JUST GET ME TO A SCOMP LINK “The door is locked, you bolthead!!” AH WELL NEVER MIND THAT THEN HAVE YOU GOT THE CRYSTAL “Yes, of course! Here!” No sooner had I reached into my pocket than the roar of engines overhead rushed upon my auditory sensors. To my horror, I recognized the distinctive sound of an approaching jetpack. “Oh dear,” I could not help but remark yet again. And indeed, moments later, a figure in dark blue Mandalorian armor alighted before us and removed its helmet to reveal none other than Mistress Boudikka Rook, manager of the Order of the Ka’ra resale shop. Artoo and I stood there, frozen to the spot. All I could do was hope to the Maker that she would make nothing of either (aurek) the fact that my hand was my pocket or (besh) the presence of an astromech beside me. “Oh, Mistress Darrawarra!” she cried. “I’m so, so sorry about that silly intruder alarm! It just does that sometimes—I’ve never understood why! Let me go in and turn it off!” With that she unlocked the door, went in, and did something behind the front counter that did, indeed, turn off the searchlights and the blaring. After that, she came back out, wished us success in our battles, donned her helmet, and took off again. If Artoo and I had been organics, we would have both breathed a long sigh of relief. * * * We made it back to the Falcon without incident. The Humans and Master Chewbacca were still absent, but I didn’t know when they would be back and didn’t want to run the risk of being spotted and questioned. So, moving as quickly as I could with all the dust of the resale shop in my joints, I set about returning the borrowed garments to their proper locations. First I went to the cold-weather gear locker and reattached Master Luke and Captain Solo’s hoods to their coats. Next, I removed the safety pins from Master Chewbacca’s Life Day robe and hung it back in his closet. Finally, I handed the little shiny blue crystal over to Artoo, who stashed it safely away in one of his storage compartments. THANKS OLD PAL he said with a contented bloop and a cheerful flourish of lights. YOU DID GOOD “You are very welcome,” I replied. “So, I suppose you’ll contact Master Luke now?” CONTACT MASTER LUKE WHAT DO YOU MEAN CONTACT MASTER LUKE “Why, to inform him that we’ve recovered a Force-sensitive artifact, of course. You said he told you to—” At this, my incorrigible counterpart erupted in a series of high-pitched chimes that I knew to be equivalent to an organic’s cheeky laugh. OH NO OH NO MY DEAR FELLOW WE AREN’T CONTACTING MASTER LUKE ABOUT ANYTHING THIS IS FOR ME “For you?” Mixed surprise and indignation flooded my circuits. “What do you mean, for you? What does a glorified tin can like you need with a kyber crystal?” YOU SILLY GULLIBLE NERFBRAIN DID YOU REALLY THINK THAT THING WAS A KYBER CRYSTAL “Well, of course I did!” I rejoined, gesticulating rhetorically with my arms. “What was I supposed to think it was? A trilithium actuator diode?!” BINGO YOU GET THE SIXTY-FOUR-THOUSAND-CREDIT PRIZE “What?!” THAT’S WHAT IT WAS A TRILITHIUM ACTUATOR DIODE “What?!” I’VE BEEN NEEDING ONE FOR MY SECONDARY PROCESSOR FOR A WHILE NOW AND WHEN I WAS PASSING THE OSK OF KRILL EARLIER TODAY I JUST HAPPENED TO HAVE MY MACROBINOCULAR ATTACHMENT OUT AND SAW— “WHAT!” This was too much. Absolutely too much. He could have picked one of those up for a few decicreds at any half-decent parts depot, but instead—“You put me through all that for a measly TRILITHIUM ACTUATION DIODE?!” WHY YES I DID—his dome spun and his lights twinkled—AND BOY WAS IT WORTH IT I HAVEN’T LAUGHED SO HARD SINCE THAT TIME YOU WERE MISASSEMBLED IN THE FACTORY ON GEONOSIS And that was the absolute limit. Needless to say, I was furious. Incensed. “Why, you no-good”—here I kicked him—“two-timing”—and again—“rust-caked”—and again—“GLITCHBRAIN!!” WHOA THERE COOL YOUR THRUSTERS he squeaked, backing away gingerly. IT WAS JUST MEANT AS A GOOD-NATURED PRANK HERE I’LL MAKE IT UP TO YOU OKAY I planted my hands vehemently on my hips. “And just how do you think you can possibly do that?!” LOOK I DON’T KNOW ER UM He sputtered and blatted indeterminately for a few moments as if turning the matter over in his central processor, then said, HERE I’LL LET YOU TAKE AN OIL BATH WITH THAT PREMIUM ALL-SYNTHETIC VARIABLE-VISCOSITY LUBRICOMPOUND I’VE BEEN SAVING HOW’S THAT I considered this for a moment. On one hand, Artoo really and truly was a two-timing, rust-caked glitchbrain on whose advice I had spent an afternoon heisting a cheap diode crystal from an Osk of Krill resale shop while wearing a Life Day robe and two fur-lined hoods. On the other, my joints were more than a little gritty and dusty after the day’s adventures. Those shops, after all, are not exactly known for immaculate cleanliness. (Which I suppose is why Mistress Rook hired me in the first place, though what she really needed was an industrial strength R0-0MB-4.) So I said, “Oh, all right.” And only a little while later, I was immersed neck-deep in the lushest, silkiest, smoothest, most luxurious oil bath I have ever had the privilege of experiencing—I’m sure not even HK’s Chalet in beautiful downtown Anchorhead could have offered better. I could feel the cares and troubles of the day melt away into the warm lubricompound along with the grit in my joints and servos. It very nearly made up for all the craziness of the afternoon. WE GOOD NOW Artoo asked as he rolled by. “Yes, Artoo,” replied, leaning my head back to give my neck joint and auditory circuits a rejuvenating dip as well. “We are good now.” And I meant it—at least mostly. So, my dear gentlebeings, you now know all about the incident of the Little Shiny Blue Thing. I’m not certain there is any moral other than to think twice about going along with cockamamie plans proposed by glitchbrained astromechs. But even if you do, it will at least make for a decent story! the end Spoiler: Notes I thank @Raissa Baiard for letting me borrow the Order of the Ka’ra, a fanon Mandalorian charitable organization she devised for her story Strategic Alliances, in which they run a food tent at a Clan Meet. Their resale shop—imagined as being similar to those of organizations like Goodwill, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and the Salvation Army, only Mando—was my invention. (The Ka’ra are an established part of Mandalorian lore, as you can see here.) DLT-19 sniper rifle: https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/DLT-19_heavy_blaster_rifle Dha Werda Verda: https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Dha_Werda_Verda Boudikka Rook is an OC (though Clan Rook is established). She is named after the early Briton warrior queen Boudicca. HK’s Chalet: See this skit from the 2017 JCF Fanfic Awards!