Ten Tomix sat alone, naked and raw, in the Mos Eisley cantina, out of place, a kid in a poison store, minding his cold beverage, waiting for the meeting, hoping this next chance might be his good one.

Dann Mahal slithered into the booth, a pilot, slimy man with a bi-sci droid by his side. Tybee the robot was all neck and purpose, a Treadwell repair droid modified for action. Ten took a look at the bot- this Type-E had seen his fair share of farm labor. The unit reminded him of the robots at home, set to suck on moisture vaporators and never fully quenched. Ten guessed, took a look at the modified circuitry running up Tybee's neck. Someone had re-wired this robot good and plenty.

Someone who had needed a friend.

Dann Mahal sat himself at the table, make time to the music, the light bar from inside the booth wide, glowing him from below. And in that moment Ten Tomix- eternal child- suddenly felt like a father. It was time to grow up, to accept and assume the damage he had done.

He looked across at Dann, the man in his care-less clothes, every element meant to deflect, to beam to the farm boy in the plain clothes and beyond: "I'm good."

He saw through it. He did not care.

“So, how’s it hanging, boy? Scolly tells me you need a ship...?”

Ten, tasting adulthood, learning it was just child's play with your cards kept close, dizzy on the absolute blank of it, look up and down at this older man who considered himself rogue, untethered, free.

What is this free?

Ten Tomix, farmboy, fallen idol, sinner, looked across this table at the pilot, the freight navigator, and he watched Dann eating grain seed out the bowl on the table, working hard at looking casual. He could taste the man's desperation for employment, he could feel this fellow soul's scarcely-hidden greed.... but he forgave the sake of forgiving.. he ignored because he chose to be bigger.

“Yes, I need a pilot," spoke Ten Tomix. "Yes I do.”

Dann smiled. He knew he had a customer in the cockpit, and though he should have known enough by now to play it earnest, he could not help himself to steal a look at Tybee, who unfurled a sequence of notes syncopated and flavorful. Dann Mahal laughed aloud, rapturous in joy.

The pilot and the droid laughed in their individual styles. Ten waited.

Dann smiled and made snack. “Wonderful, wonderful... I happen to be a pilot. And who is it you want to find?”

Ten summoned. He felt something in his blood he had never known before. He looked at Dann and his robot. He spoke the truth.

“A droid. I’m looking for a droid.”

Dann threw his head back and laughed, truly amused.. Tybee made electric-symphonic howl.

The chords were scratched in permanence in Ten Tomix' brain.

“Droids don’t take off. This is not like your pet turtle, my friend. They don’t hijack ships and they don’t run counter to program...”

Ten nodded, slow and sure, let Dann's smirk settle slowly to ground.

“This one did.”

Dann Mahal laughed again, less sure this time, looking over to his droid, “You hear this, Tybee? Boy has a magic machine...”

The droid clicked and whirred in calculation, spitting a binary line of beeps and squeals back at Dann. The two of them were genuinely entertained, pleased.

They were also curious.

A Jawa approached the table, drunk, spitting up words as he rubbed Dann's arm up and down, a handful of necklaces draped across his shoulders, trying to make a sand.

Dann was annoyed, "I don't want to buy a necklace.... you got the wrong guy..."

The Jawa continued to plead his case, high-speed babble in his sales pitch, pointing to the necklaces and remarking on their craftmanship.

"I don't want one. I don't-"

The sound of a laser blast echoed through the bar and the Jawa fell down hard and permanent, a faint wisp of smoke unfurling from his belly.

Dann looked across the table at Ten, who sat for a moment with his blaster raised before carefully slipping it beneath his poncho.

Tybee emitted a low melodic gurgle.

Dann look at Ten Tomix, this boy he did not know, this man who might be his brother, and he was suddenly serious, the respect in his voice audible.

"You don't fool around do you?"

Ten shook his head. "I don't have time. I have to find this droid."

Dann cocked his head. “This droid owe you money?”

Ten Tomix took a sip as the Modal Nodes peeled hot squeals from their instruments, Bith music swell and fill up the hall depraved and rancid.

“No, he doesn't owe me money...”

Dann roll his eyes at Tybee.

“This droid... this droid I'm looking for... this droid killed my Mother and Father. In front of my eyes. This droid killed the Mother and Father who made me.” Ten testified in a voice slow and low.

Dann and Tybee waited for the punchline.

“And I'm the one who built the droid.” Ten looked up at them, guilt in his face, fear, and an anger barely contained.

Dann downed his drink. Tybee’s head unit pivot on its swivel, trying to assimilate the data, long neck up and down in confusion, in fascination, processing, binary circuitry almost bust, as he tried to install the information.

Dann looked in Ten’s eyes. Ten looked back.

Dann bristled, tired of these outer territories, ready for something more. He looked back at Ten Tomix with sights suddenly aligned.

“Well then...”

Tybee honk out a harmonious chord. Sweet above the din.

Dann: “I guess we better get after that bastard...”

Outside a female dune Bantha lashed a gashi shrub from a sand mound with her tongue, chew slow, while an old man and young boy arrived at the cantina in a speeder carrying their droids. They didn't look left or right.

They were on a mission.

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