Friday, November 30, 2012

New Orleans Comic Con

Con Quest comes to an end where it all begin, at the New Orleans Comic Con!

This weekend will be our "swan song" for cons and Megan couldn't imagine a better place to end it. All her Walking Dead friends will be there.

As for me...maybe I'll find something around the dealer tables.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Star Wars movie ideas!

 Jungle Wars
 I'd see this one in a heartbeat.
 Lion King Episode 7: Lord of the Hakuna Matata
 Peter Padawan
 As long as Mark Hamill uses his voice talent in the film that's all that matters to me.
 The Lightsaber and the Stone
 Up in Hyperspace
Wookie and the Belle

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Willy Wonka pics

Holy crow! I forgot to post these Willy Wonka pics of the show I did this past summer! Here I am with my lovely daughter Veruca Salt and then later with a squirrel!
Enjoy!








I miss my peacoat

I lost it and it's cold outside.

Look how happy I was when I had it.... (sigh) happy days....

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Me with Adrian Paul

Fanboy Expo (5)








BDE (Best Day Ever) for me at the Fanboy Expo. Here I am... on stage... with the Highlander Adrian Paul!!! We joked on stage together for a few minutes and it was awesome. I loved this TV series and Adrian Paul was great!

Wanna know what was said? I got the video coming up soon...

So long moron!

It's official, Rick McCallum is out of Lucasfilm for good and it's about time. This guy should share 50% of the blame for how bad the prequels were because he never had the go-nads to say "No" to George. I'm glad to see him gone.

Now when are we going to find out who's directing the new film?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fanboy Expo (4.2)

video
Bubber. The Scream Queen. I love how she starts off acting then after a few seconds...she's not. LOL

Fanboy Expo (4.1)

video
Walla! The Scream King!

Fanboy Expo (4)

So on this day Megan and I tried out for their Scream King and Queen competition. Here's a few pics.
 Jason and Jason David Franks

Bub and Jason (the guy that chased us around for the competition. Megan was SO scared doing it.

In fact... I think I have the videos of our performances coming right up.... 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mr Tallis

video
This was taken yesterday at the house. Look how much funnier he is than his daddy...

Gremlin's Cereal!!



Who remembers this theme song?! We watched the movie last week and it just came to me!

Stop the video after the music because the recording goes bad afterwards.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Auburn season recap

Remember 2 years ago when Auburn won the National Championship and everyone was praising Chizik's name?

Remember my post?

I said "Congratulation Auburn...now fire Chizik."

Well looks who's right once again! Going 0-9 in the SEC and 3-9 this season doesn't cut it and come tomorrow I expect to be reading about his dismissal from Auburn with a smile of satisfaction on my face. I'm truly bewildered why everyone thought he was a good fit for our school in the first place.

So now what? It's slim pickings out their for coaches so I'm not really sure who we'll get but they can't get much worse than Gene.

HIT THE ROAD YOU BUM!

Book Review: Growing up in a Galaxy Far Far Away by Eric Walker

So I finished this book last week and now it's time to give it a review.

Before I do I have to admit the only reason I bought this book WAS to do a review. Because checking the internet (and I checked everywhere believe me) I couldn't find a single review for this.

Now I know why.

In the book, Eric Walker talks about his life working on the two Ewok movies back in the 80's. Included is some stories during filming scenes and what his career was like before and after the movies came out.

The Good: Some fun accounts that went on around the set were good. It was also refreshing that he didn't spend too much time on his own personal life growing up or after filming the Ewok movies. It's the best use of time discussing those things in an autobiography that I've ever seen.

I love Lucille Ball. I think she was a comedic genius but has anyone ever read her autobiography? Yuck! She talks about her life growing up for 5 chapters! FIVE. Then another 7 are spent telling us about her experiences in small character roles she played in movies no one's ever heard about. It was a bore. When you get to the "I Love Lucy" era, only 2 chapters then she skips on to how her life is now. Pathetic read and even more pathetic waste of time. Mr Walker doesn't bore you much with his personal life, but rather gets to the meat of the story everyone wants to here.

He also speaks about "deleted scenes" from the movies and even provides a picture of him filming one in the book. I thought this was great, especially when we get to see what he's talking about. Very interesting at times.

The Bad: Unfortunantly you'll get lost within the dialogue and flow of this book. He refers to scenes by number in the book (exa: "That day we filmed scenes 45, 33 and 20a...") He will provide details afterwards but I thought the use of numbers was pointless.

I'm also sad we didn't hear more about funny or interesting things that took place on the set. At times it seems Mr Walker is just talking about a scene just to fill the pages of a book. With some paragraphs just to let you know what day a certain scene was filmed.

There's also an "excerpt" at the end called "Star Walker" a project that he's working on with a few friends. I tried reading it but it was too difficult to follow and not interesting at all. It's more waste in a book that already had plenty to deal with.

The Ugly: Though I appreciate Eric Walker giving us this book he really should have invested some money into an editor. Mis-spelling, incomplete sentences, periods in the middle of phrases broken paragraphs and many other writing errors run rampant in the book. An English teacher would run out of red ink on this one.

This is the reason most celebrities have someone else write their autobiography for them instead. Celebrities can't write (maybe with the exception of Mick Foley) and Mr Walker's book is greatly diminished because of it.

Worth your time and $20?

No. Believe me, it pains me to say this. I like Mr Walker. I think he's a great guy and I believe he does have interesting things to say but the book's so badly written that it just doesn't do his story justice.

But if you LOVE the Ewok movies and wouldn't mind terrible writing go ahead and pick one up. Heck, he'll even autograph it for you so it's gotta be worth a little something right?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday

Welcome to Megan's favorite holiday. This is her "super bowl" for shopping and she'll be at it again all night with the rest of the lunatics, throwing elbows, biting and hair pulling with the best of them.

I don't know why folks do it when it takes me a few clicks and 30 minutes on Amazon.

Either way, hope she gets the deals....knowing her she probably has.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Day!!!

And so my favorite holiday rolls around once again, largely ignored by the media and the public who have had X-mas on their minds since November 1st.

I don't mind because this holiday is special to me. I have so much to be thankful for this year I don't even know where to start.

I'm thankful for my family, my job and my life of course but I'm also thankful for my contentedness.Let me explain;

I'm happy with what I'm doing and where I am in life. I have no complaints and very little "wants". In fact for X-mas I can't think of one thing I'm "dying" to get. I'd rather have folks skip giving me a present this year and apply that money into getting someone else a nicer present.

God's given me plenty this year and I'm so thankful for it all.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving Day folks! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fanboy Expo (3.3)

video
Jason David Frank (The Green Power Ranger) Q&A

Fanyboy Expo (3.2)

video

Fanboy Expo (3.1)

video
Megan vs The Green Power Ranger

(one more vid forthcoming)

Fanboy Expo (3)

 Bub meets the Green Power Ranger, Tommy (played by Jason David Frank) and has a BDE. (Best Day Ever)
DRAGON-ZOID!

I'll post a vid of Meg meeting him at his table in a moment...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Post #3000!!!

Back in 2005 if you were to tell me I'd be making over 3000 posts in this blog and have people STILL reading!? Incredible.

My hits have actually been up a lot thanks to a few Star Wars posts, which I plan to continue making until more solid information about the new movie comes out.

But for now, I'm just happy to be sitting on 3000. If this were baseball, they'd put me in the hall of fame.

Fanboy Expo (2.1)

video
A video of their Q&A session.

Fanboy Expo (2)

What would a con be without Star Wars?
 Here I am with Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar) from Return of the Jedi. On my autograph he wrote "Run Matt, It's a trap!" LOVE it!!
 Here I am with Eric Walker (Mace Totwani) from the Ewoks movies. He's a very nice guy and I even picked up his self published autobiography which I'll review for you later on the blog this weekend.
 Mark Dodson played the voice of Salisious Crumb in Return of the Jedi. (the monkey lizard who laughed at everything Jabba said) He had some great advice when it came to becoming a voice actor.
David Barclay was one of 3 folks who operated Jabba the Hutt from the inside. He told me he worked part time at a toy store before getting the job. He'd had made a puppet vader for Mark Hamill when Hamill had requested it as a gift for someone on the set. Hamill was so impressed with it, he showed the folks on the set and they hired him right away. Amazing!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fanboy Expo (1)

The Fanboy Expo was one of the best cons we've been to this year! Here's a few pics for starters!
 Me thinks there is more than meets the eye here!
 The car used in Transformers. Bumblebee!
 Megan got to meet one of her favorite actors C. Thomas Howell, who played "The Reaper" in Criminal Minds. Don't ask me, I just know him from the original Red Dawn.
 The guy who played the "new" Jason in Friday the 13th. I didn't get his name but he seemed like a fun guy. I was just sitting in waiting for the Star Wars Q&A that was after his.
Megan and Camden Toy, a fantastic guy! HE played creepy villians from Buffy. His most recognizable one being one of the "Gentlemen" in the episode "Hush" which was one or Megan's favorite episodes.

More to come this week!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The BEST Star Wars fan fiction round up

I really hoped you enjoyed all these stories as much as I have over the years. If you've read them all by now then you know what I mean by "They don't make good fan fiction like this anymore."

I plan on writing and searching for more fan fiction next year but I doubt I'll find many more jewels like these. Can you write well? Do you love Star Wars but need some ideas or an outline on what to write about? Well then you and I need to talk sometime!

Have a good evening folks! More Fanboy Expo footage starts tomorrow!

The BEST Star Wars fan fiction! (7)


Never Too Heavy

By: Westel

He came to consciousness slowly, feeling returning to his hands first. They felt heavy, twice their normal size, and the tips of his fingers pounded with each heartbeat. There was a noise in the background, but it was far away, and he heard it as if out of an old memory. Gradually, feeling returned to his upper arms and chest; the breath he drew was cold and shallow. There was sensation in his head, now - something was wrong with the right side of his face.

The noise came again, a sound of rending and slavering, and a roar of recognition that its live, fresh prey was awake.

Luke opened his eyes.

He was hanging upside down, his feet frozen into the ceiling of the creature's lair. Strewn around him was evidence of the beast's ravenous appetite, starkly red against the blue-whiteness of the room. The air reeked of fresh blood; he recoiled at the smell of it.

Sounds from the other part of the cave told Luke the ice creature was coming, its movements ponderous and slow. But Luke knew firsthand its strike was lightning fast - he had never heard nor seen it until it had attacked him. Now, however, his sense of the creature was strong, so strong that his stomach lurched at the mental vision he saw of the creature's blood and saliva-stained mouth and fur.

Desperately, he stretched out his arm in vain for the lightsaber that lay just out of his reach. He tried again with the other hand, but he was simply too far away to get to it. His instincts urged him to panic, to struggle against the ice which held his feet fast, to scream in terror. But he resisted, reaching inside himself and focusing on one thing - the lightsaber. It had quivered in the snow the last time he had reached for it. He let that image take form in his mind again; saw it moving incrementally out of its snowy nest, leaping toward his hand...

Springing lightly from the snow, it slapped into his palm as surely as if he had reached for his blaster in its holster. He ignited the saber and it sprang to life, its blue blade slashing through the ice and freeing him just as the creature moved into the room. Luke tried to stand, but his head swam and his vision darkened, no doubt from the sudden rush of blood into his lower extremities. Somehow he struggled upright, slashed unprettily at the creature. But the blow was true; the animal sprang back, pawing at an arm that was no longer there. In its agony, it momentarily forgot Luke, who clumsily bolted from the cave, seeking only to get as far away from the creature as he could. There was a sentience about the animal; Luke was sure that, had it not been so severely injured, it would have been upon him by now, tearing him limb from limb, and not just because it was hungry.

Struggling on despite the cold, the deep snow which pulled on his legs with every step, Luke thought of nothing but escape. Again and again he forced his leaden limbs to move, having no awareness of the direction he was taking, of how he might try to protect himself against the encroaching storm, the steady drop in temperature. Vaguely he was aware of the strong taste of iron in his mouth, but that sense, along with all the others, was fading. Adrenaline alone kept him going, and his ears rang with the sound of his own hot blood coursing through his veins as he pushed on. The storm was growing now, and he soon was enveloped in a relentless cloud of white.

Han climbed back on his Tauntaun and headed towards the faint life readings his scanner had given him. He squinted against the white nothingness of the storm, watching for any sign of movement, anything against the pale blankness that
might be a human form. Thoughts of his recent argument with Leia swam in his mind as he looked for his friend, but he relentlessly pushed them back, cursing himself for not having been with Luke when he went to look at that meteor. If he didn't find him soon, Luke would surely be dead by morning. Even if the youth could contrive a shelter of some kind, he didn't have the proper equipment to keep himself from freezing in the minus hundred degree weather.

His mount wheezed as it ran, its lungs slowly freezing in the encroaching cold. In nature, Tauntauns spent the night in Hoth's many caves, herding together for warmth until the morning brought a warmer day. In captivity, the Rebels cared for them in stables built in the Command Center; they were useful animals for travel on the frozen planet, and so far more dependable than snowspeeders. Until night came.

Han felt sorry for the animal, though he didn't particularly care for the smelly beasts. But this one was docile and pushed on, despite the fact that it was dying by degrees. Han knew that if he didn't find Luke, he'd lose his mount soon and would have to build a shelter to spend the night alone. He didn't look forward to spending a sleepless night knowing that Luke was freezing somewhere out there in the waste.

The Tauntaun faltered, it's breath coming in audible gasps, now. Han was eyeing his drawn blaster, considering putting the animal out of its misery, when a blurred movement caught his attention directly ahead of him. Something was out there! He urged his mount forward, capping a hand over his eyes to try to see better. Yes, there was someone there - it could only be Luke. The boy was reaching toward him, then collapsed on the snow bank as Han dismounted.

Han struggled toward the young man, floundering in the soft, deep snow. He turned him over; reaching to cradle his head and neck between his hands, he stopped suddenly, appalled by the damage done to the right side of his face.

"C'mon, Luke. Give me a sign, here!" he panted, leaning over and catching the faint warmth of Luke's breath on his cheek. He needed to get Luke to shelter right away - the young man's face was pale with shock and cold.

He glanced up as the Tauntaun breathed its last and fell, and knew what he had to do. Dragging the now delirious Luke to the side of the animal, he took the lightsaber from his belt and depressed the igniter. The intensity of the forming blade pushed the pommel against his hand, like a living thing. It was heavy but wieldy in his grip, and he found it easy to open the belly of the animal, spilling out its intestines in order to make room for Luke and keep him warm while he built the shelter. Force! but it stank, even in the cold that turned the entrails to bricks in seconds. Luke would have to take a hundred showers to get rid of the stench later, but this was the best - the only - alternative he had.

Night began to fall fast as Han built the shelter - half of pre-form which folded out from a compact box to form a shell of sorts, half of packed snow - which proved more difficult than he had anticipated because of the high winds. By the time he had finished, his hands and face were numb; if he didn't get into shelter soon he himself would suffer from severe frostbite.

He plunged through the drifting snow to the body of the animal and pulled Luke from its frozen carcass. Luke wasn't moving now, or talking, and his face was ashen. Blood and other liquids from the animal's body were congealed on Luke's clothing and snapped off with little popping sounds as Han dragged Luke through the snow. Finally, Han was able to maneuver him into the shelter, which was just big enough for the two of them and tall enough for a man to sit up bent over. He lay Luke on a thermal pad placed on the floor of the shelter, then scrambled to push snow into the entrance, leaving one small air-hole on the side out of the wind, and they were shut in.

Luke opened one eye - the other was swollen shut - and watched Han close off the opening to their makeshift shelter. He tried to swallow but his tongue felt like a belsa ball in his mouth. An attempt to sit up was worse; his body not only wouldn't cooperate, but seemed frozen to the floor despite his struggle to rise. He coughed with the effort and saw a spray of blood fan out across his chest and arm. A vision of the slavering ice creature, ribbons of flesh and gore stringing from its jaws, tore through Luke's mind, and his stomach roiled.

Han turned and crawled to Luke's side, holding his head as he retched and vomited up vast quantities of blood. He washed his friend's face with snow, careful of the lacerations which had now begun to ooze bright red, and gave him something to rinse out his mouth. Again Luke spat bright red, though not nearly as much.

"Luke, do you hurt anywhere besides your face?" Han worked to get the strap free on Luke's hat, removing it carefully.

"Face?" Luke's speech was slurred; his eyes wandered, unfocused.

"Do you hurt, buddy? Your ribs, your legs, arms. Anything hurt you?" Han was going over Luke's torso, realizing that he probably wasn't going to get much help from the injured young man.

"Don't feel anything, mostly... head hurts," Luke managed. He thrust his tongue into his right cheek. "Loose tooth."

"Lemme see," demanded Han, gently prying Luke's teeth apart when he didn't respond. Say 'aaahhh' thought Han, crazily. A cursory exam revealed the problem. Luke had a laceration along the inside of his cheek; whatever had grabbed Luke had packed a pretty hard punch and Luke's teeth had done the rest. The bleeding had slowed considerably and now that Luke had emptied his stomach of all the blood he had swallowed, he would probably be all right in that regard.

"What did this, Luke?" Han asked, jamming his hands under his armpits in an attempt to warm them a little.

"Ice creature," murmured the youth, his voice catching at the memory of it.

"A Wampa? Sith, Luke, you're lucky to be alive!"

Luke nodded slowly, closing his eyes. "Know it."

Han was worried about Luke's hazy consciousness, and of course his hypothermia. He had to get him warmed up right away. His own fingers, just getting their feeling back, burned and throbbed with the increased circulation, and he was clumsy with the fastenings of Luke's jacket. Putting Luke into the Tauntaun's carcass had saved his life, but now the liquids that had penetrated Luke's clothing were thawing, wetting Luke afresh and filling the small space with a noxious odour.

Han wrinkled his nose and cursed softly as he removed the jacket and overshirt, leaving the undershirt alone because it was mostly dry. Luke seemed unaware of what his friend was doing, muttering something about Dagobah again, and someone named Yoda. His color was still bad, and Han knew he had to do something to relieve Luke's shock. He pulled a thermal blanket out of his kit and wrapped it around Luke; digging a hole on one side of the shelter, he buried Luke's jacket and shirt. The smell improved a little. Rummaging in his pack again, he brought out a lamp-stove, a crude commodity, but good enough to heat the packet of broth crystals from the survival kit. He lit it, set a cup on it, and added a handful of snow. While he was waiting for it to melt, he put a clean dressing on Luke's face. Luke winced only once, but it was no comfort to Han. As the snow began to melt, he added the crystals, stirring it with a finger until it got hot.

Maneuvering in the small space was difficult, but Han managed to get behind Luke and, leaning back against the shelter wall to provide some head room, he pulled Luke into a half-sitting position between his legs. Holding his friend with his left arm, he tried to get some broth into Luke with the right. A lot of it spilled, but Luke did respond by drinking a little, and he kept it down. Han could feel Luke's shivering beneath the blanket - a good sign, because when he first brought him into the shelter he wasn't shivering at all. He set down the empty cup and used both hands to briskly rub Luke's arms, shoulders, and back. How long he kept this up he didn't know - his cold-abused hands ached and tingled with the effort to warm his friend, and back muscles complained of his awkward, half-sitting position. Finally, when he had to stop long enough to shift his weight a little, Luke brought a hand up and weakly patted Han's arm.

"I'm all right, Han. You rest." Han leaned forward, craning a look at Luke's face. His color was a little better, and Luke was looking directly at him. Han's frown transformed into a grin.

"Hey, Kid! Welcome back! You had me scared for awhile." Han released his hold on Luke, who crawled to the opposite wall,
facing him. Luke's movements were slow and faltering, but at least he was moving. He leaned back wearily, pulling the blanket around him.

"You think you …," Luke began, the movement of his mutilated face sending pain lancing through his head. He couldn't continue.

"We all were. We knew when you didn't come back after spotting that meteor that something had happened to you. We couldn't just leave you out here..."

"You couldn't leave me…," Luke clenched his teeth together as he spoke - it was less painful that way. "Tauntaun?"

"Yeah. I couldn't use the snowspeeder – they're still working on a way to adapt them to the cold..."

"So you..." Luke grimaced. The pain was increasing in his face and head. "…took a chance on a Tauntaun? Han, you could've..." Luke's body shivered convulsively. "…could've died."

Han straightened the thermal pad on the floor, hiding his discomfiture as he worked. Luke had a habit of doing this to him, making him feel like some kind of big brother, like the kid looked up to him, for Force sake! It made him cringe with embarrassment – and it made him want to grin like an idiot. Han didn't know how to cope with such awkward feelings, so he dealt with practical matters instead.

"Not me! I've been a gambler all my life, remember? I figured the odds couldn't stack up against me all the time, and I was right. C'mon, now, we've got to get some sleep, and I only brought enough gear for one. We'll have to share, okay?" He wanted to get Luke under covers again. Luke needed to be kept warm, but because of shock, the one thermal blanket wrapped around his body wasn't enough.

"'Kay." Luke's speech was slurring again. Han helped Luke over to the pad, put him down on his left side and placed his arm under Luke's head for a pillow. He curled up, spoon fashion, behind his friend, pulled the second blanket over them both, and wrapped his other arm over Luke's chest and arm. As they lay there for awhile, the sound of their own breathing drowned out by the storm's winds, Han felt Luke begin to relax. The shivering soon stopped and Luke fell asleep. Not long after that, the exhausted former smuggler followed suit.

"Ben... Ben, don't go... I don't know where it is... Ben, wait..."

Luke stirred in Han's arms, waking him. It was pitch black, the survival lamp having cut itself off while the two men slept. Han listened to him for a moment, wondering if he was dreaming. It was more of the same talk he'd been spouting when he found him. Luke talked about Ben (he assumed Ben Kenobi) as if he were still alive, as if he had just been talking to him.

Luke's restlessness continued. He pushed against his blanket as if he were hot; Han pulled the glove off his right hand with his teeth and touched Luke's forehead. It was burning up, and his hand came away damp. Carefully, so as not to disturb him any more than necessary, he eased his left arm out from under Luke. It was dead weight, having gone to sleep under the pressure of Luke's head. He spent the next minute or so pounding it against his chest to get the circulation back, experiencing the pins and needles that hurt almost as much as the frostbite, before he got enough feeling to light the lamp again.

"Yoda... Jedi Master... I don't know - don't know him... Ben, please! Please don't leave me... "

Luke had turned onto his back, throwing off the blanket completely, digging his fingers into the packed snow in his delirium. Han was shocked to see that the bandage on Luke's face was completely saturated and blood had seeped down under his jaw and across his neck. Looking down at his left arm, Han saw for the first time where Luke's blood had flowed onto the sleeve of his jacket as they had slept. Force! As if he could afford to have anything else go wrong!

He took off the sodden bandage, alarmed at the condition of Luke's face. The creature's claws must have been covered in bacteria; the lacerations were swollen and angry red, and leaked both blood and fluid. Apparently the broad-range antibiotic Han had put on the bandages had been of little avail.

He checked his chronometer. Still four hours before daybreak. All right - he could weather four hours - and so could Luke. He called him 'Kid', but the boy was tough, much tougher than he looked. If he would admit it, that was one of the reasons he liked Luke, because underneath that brash, boyish bravado he'd seen on Tatooine, he saw a strength of character that was only now coming to the forefront. He'd seen that so many times in his life - trials either made or broke a man. In Luke's case, he saw no sign of breaking yet, though the youth had seen and been through a lot in a very short span of his young life. Now Luke was on the edge of life or death, and Han was determined that he would give him every chance for life.

He made a poultice of snow layered between two pieces of cloth and laid it upon Luke's face, tying it with another strip of cloth. Luke cried out at the touch, and Han had to keep him from pulling it off. Shortly, however, Luke quieted and Han could see that the cold compress was slowing the bleeding, at least. Han tried to clean as much of the blood off Luke as he could, realizing they both would be a sight when they returned to the Command Center.

Then he thought of Leia. He tried not to think of her, mostly, though he was rarely successful. She was so far out of his league. For a time he had tried to believe that he could 'love her and leave her,' but she wasn't the type. Then he tried shrugging her off, but that didn't even begin to work. So here he was, stuck with the fact that he cared for this little slip of a woman with a heart and soul the size of Coruscant, and she intrigued and infuriated him, frustrated and enticed him, as no woman had ever done. It was disconcerting, and Han made up his mind there and then that he was going to have it out with her one way or another when he had gotten Luke to safety.

For now, however, keeping Luke alive so as to get him to safety was his only objective.

He covered Luke's trembling body again with both thermal blankets and watched him closely, because he kept wanting to kick them off. Again and again he forced Luke to take a little water or broth, though he coughed and choked on much of it. Most of the time Luke continued in delirium, talking incoherently or calling out to Ben, and occasionally speaking out of childhood memories, talking to his dead Aunt Beru or
puzzling out a problem with some piece of farm equipment. It was entertaining sometimes, despite Luke's desperate condition, and enlightening. The farmboy hadn't led an easy life, it seemed. Funny - Han had thought the opposite, based on the spoiled way Luke had acted when they'd first met. Seems he was finding out a lot of things about the youth - and human nature.

Only an hour to go. Han had wakened abruptly from a short nap he hadn't meant to take, and glanced worriedly over at Luke. He seemed to be sleeping normally, his breathing even, though a little shallow. The bandage still looked good, just stained pink here and there. Only the sheen of sweat on Luke's forehead indicated that he was still feverish.

The blankets had slipped a little. Han reached over to pull them back up; Luke stirred and opened his eyes.

"Good morning," Han said, smiling crookedly.

Not wanting to move his jaw, which felt like a Bantha had stepped on it, Luke nodded, which proved even worse. His face contorted with pain and he bit his lip to keep from crying out. Though his eyelids were squeezed shut, a tear escaped from the left one and rolled down his cheek. Han gripped his arm, waiting for the spasm to pass, offering his silent support. As the pain eased a bit, Luke let out a breath and reached up to wipe the tear away.

"Sorry," he whispered.

"What for?" Han growled. "'Cause it hurts like hell?" He settled next to Luke, cross-legged, leaning forward a little to avoid the low ceiling. "Luke, there's no shame in feeling pain. I've cried like a baby sometimes - ask Chewie."

A ghost of a smile creased what was visible of Luke's face.

"You don't believe me? Okay, Kid, as soon as we get back I'm gonna tell you some stories that will make your hair stand up."

Luke stared at him a moment, then closed his eyes, his mouth shut tight. Han knew that look. When you were in that much pain, you wanted to die. You knew it was a crazy thing to be thinking, but you still wanted to die. You'd pay money for someone just to hit you over the head, cut your throat - anything to stop the agony. But you got through it somehow. The best way was with someone who cared about you.

For so long, Han only had Chewie to care about him. The friendship was mutual, and Han had been there for Chewie many times. But that had been the scope of his understanding, because until he met Chewbacca, Han had never experienced true friendship. There was Lando, of course, but he didn't quite rank as a friend - not in Chewie's class, anyway. At least, his friendship hadn't been proven yet. Luke, now... He watched the youth fight his pain, saw his shame in giving in to it. Was his embarrassment because he was afraid Han would think less of him? Why did that matter so much to the kid? Was it because Han's friendship was that important to him?

Sure, they all referred to each other as friends, even Leia, but what did that mean? They'd been through a lot together since the destruction of the Death Star; there was a certain fellowship that naturally developed between comrades-in-arms. But where did real friendship - that indescribable link between two people - fit in all this? In the cold confines of the haphazard shelter, Han looked at himself and his relationships as he had never done before.

Luke stirred again, a small moan escaping him.

"Luke, you all right?"

"Sure," Luke murmured.

"It won't be long before daybreak. They'll be looking for us as soon as the temperature rises a bit. It's almost over."

Luke opened his eyes, looked at the older man. "Han..." He blanched, drawing a quick breath. Han gripped his arm again and waited. "You're... good friend..." Luke placed his hand over Han's and squeezed. "Thanks."

Han felt his face redden, and he was at a loss as to what to do about it. Finally, realizing there wasn't a damn thing

he could do about it, he put his free hand over Luke's and smiled. "Any time."
The comm crackled and sputtered. There was a human voice in there somewhere, but Han couldn't make it ou. He glanced over at the air hole; sunlight and blue sky were visible through it. The wind had died down; day was fully dawned. Han checked on Luke, who slept fitfully, then dug out the door to the shelter, scrambling to the top of the snow bank where he'd found his friend. The snow was packed down and firm; the Tauntaun was nowhere to be found. Han didn't want to think what might have happened to it in the night.

It wasn't long before the comm came to life again. Han was never so glad to hear another human voice as he was that very minute.

"Good morning!" he called, watching the horizon for movement. "Nice of you to stop by!"

"I've found them!" he heard from the other end, then saw his morning ride appear over a nearby hill. He waved and hurried back into the shelter to get Luke. He glanced around, picking up a few items to put back in his kit, waking up Luke in the process.

"Hey, Kid, I told you we'd get outa here. Our ride's about to land."

"Good." Luke struggled to a sitting position, looking around for the first time for his jacket.

"You don't want it, Luke. We'll get another one for you." At Luke's puzzled look, Han continued, "Trust me!"

Luke was having trouble managing both blankets, so Han took one of them and stowed it, along with the thermal pad, in the emergency kit. He pulled the remaining blanket closer around Luke's shoulders and motioned toward the door. "Can you get out okay?"

"Yeah." Hard not to notice Luke's attempt to limit moving his face. Easy to understand, Han empathized.

There were sounds of the snowspeeder landing outside. As Han emerged into the bright sunshine, he saw Luke move toward the vehicle, then stumble and fall to his knees. He was struggling to get back up when Han reached him, wrapping the blanket around him again. He kept his left hand on Luke's arm and slipped his right arm around Luke's shoulder, supporting him. Han could feel him trembling beneath the blanket.

"In a hurry?" he kidded, hating to see Luke suffering, amazed at himself for caring, for not blocking his emotions as he had learned to do over the years.

"Mm-hmm," said Luke, that little smile appearing at the corner of his mouth again.

"Well, me too. I'm so hungry I could eat a Tauntaun!"

Luke looked at him like he was crazy. Han shrugged.

"Well, maybe not a Tauntaun."

"Captain Solo, there's only room for one in the back of my snowspeeder," said Zev, the pilot, as he climbed out of the vehicle.

Han looked at Luke, who had closed his eyes and leaned heavily on his friend. He shook his head. "That's all right, we'll make room. I know what to do."

Han climbed into the back of the fighter and the pilot helped Luke climb in to sit between Han's legs, toboggan style. As they flew back to the Command Center, Luke kept leaning forward and bumping his head on the canopy. Han reached up and pulled him back.

"Relax, Kid; we'll be back soon."

"Too heavy," Luke mumbled.

"What?"

"I'm... too heavy."

Han couldn't believe his ears. The kid surprised him at every turn. He patted Luke's shoulder awkwardly.

"You let me worry about that. You're not heavy, Luke." His thoughts drifted for a moment, his look far away. "That's what it's like with friends, anyway," he continued. "They're never too heavy."


466

His back to Han, Luke's face lit up in surprise, then he smiled despite himself. But he hardly noticed the pain, because he had just been witness to something that would remain precious to him for the rest of his days - the cementing of a lifelong friendship.

He sighed and leaned back against Han's chest, relaxing. Before he knew what was happening, he was asleep.

Luke stopped on the way to his snowspeeder and spoke to Chewbacca, getting a hug in return. Up on top of the Millennium Falcon, Han fussed at a repair droid, then stopped to talk to Luke. The two men looked at each other for a moment.

"You all right?" Han asked, though it was obvious Luke had fully recovered.

"Yeah."

Kid's still talking in monosyllables, thought Han.

Luke was recalling the long hours they had spent together in the shelter, that first revelation of friendship, and couldn't help but think back to the first time they were separated, when the Rebels were preparing to attack the Death Star and Han was leaving with the reward. They had parted angrily then - at least Luke had - yet Han had called the blessing of the Force upon him. Luke had been too upset then to notice the change in Han. Not until later, after Han had gotten Vader off his tail, did he realize it. He understood now that Han wasn't leaving because he wanted to, but because he had to. The bounty hunters were everywhere, and Han knew that not only was his life in danger, but everyone's around him, as well.

Luke wanted to tell Han how much he meant to him - started to say so - but knew it would embarrass Han no end, maybe even make him angry. Just knowing Han cared was enough. He flashed a grin at his friend, nodding a farewell and good luck.

Han watched the boy turn away, couldn't let him leave without saying something.

"You take care of yourself," he called.

467

Luke turned back, his eyes eager and grateful. "You, too," he said, and walked away.

Han watched him for a moment until he disappeared among the snowspeeders, then looked down at Chewie, who was watching him.

"You got somethin' to say?" he barked.

Chewie shook his head and went back to work, but his shoulders shook with a deep chuckle of understanding - and approval.

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