|Star Wars Droids: The Kalarba Adventures 1|
Star Wars Droids: The Kalarba Adventures 1 is the first issue of Star Wars Droids: The Kalarba Adventures, a Dark Horse comic book series starring R2-D2 and C-3PO. It was published in April 1994 by Dark Horse Comics. Details on the cover of the issue—the title, the droids, and the piping in the background—were embossed.
In the Star Wars galaxy, automatons are so much necessary property, but even first-degree droids are considered expendable! Set before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and the formation of the Empire, Droids features the adventures of protocol droid See-Threepio and astromech droid Artoo-Detoo in the Kalarba system (as seen in DHC #17, 18, and 19). Despite their differences, See-Threepio and Artoo-Detoo know that the best way to survive is to stick together. Thank the maker!
The protocol droid C-3PO is hanging by a rope from a tree on the planet of Kalarba, caught in a trap by the child his counterpart, R2-D2, and he have been tasked with governing while his parents are away on business. R2-D2 uses his arc welder to sever the rope before turning it on the child, Nak Pitareeze, whom he shoots in the rear. Nak is incensed by this and he uses R2-D2's restraining bolt to punish the astromech while calling him a mean name. At this point, Nak's grandfather, the Baron Pitareeze, arrives and scolds his mischievous descendant over his repeated teasing of his guardians.
The group moves on to a stately dinner held in the Baron's factory that adjoins their home, where they are briefly greeted by a worker named Balto. A Pitareeze Cruiser, a starship of the Baron's design, is hanging decoratively overhead. Nak asks his grandfather why he no longer creates these. The Baron says it is a long story, but the arrival of Jace Forno prompts him to tell his grandson about it. Forno is a representative of Olag Greck, an old business associate of the Baron's, and she proposes that the Baron provide Greck with the MT-5 hyperdrive units created by the Baron's company, Pitareeze Inc., that far surpass its contemporary components. Greck wants to use in ships he is selling to politically prominent buyers. The Baron refuses, saying that he would never deal with Greck, who had swindled him when they worked together. When she suggested that she talk to him about it another time, the Baron commanded her to leave and she complied.
Forno's mentioning that giving the components to Greck would make Nak's family—though he is self-interested—very wealthy interests him greatly. He asks his grandfather if it is true, and the Baron explains that he had once hired Olag Greck to manage the construction of the Pitareeze Cruiser. Greck abused the baron's trust by stealing the designs to the ship and creating a mediocre model himself before the Baron had even made a prototype. Greck rushed these defective ships to market as "Greck Cruisers." When the buyers encountered numerous design defects, Greck pleaded to the Baron for assistance in correcting the Greck Cruiser's faulty design and when the Baron declined Greck blamed the Baron publicly as the one who had designed the craft. The Pitareeze family name was tarnished by this, but the Baron was proud to have retained his honor even if he would not be able to sell the Pitareeze Cruiser himself. Nak has an impish look on his face after the Baron's tale concludes.
The next day, Greck is orbiting Kalarba in a space station called Hosk Station, welcoming Torba, a Councilman of the Galactic Empire's Commerce Commission. They are in Greck's starship lot and the salesman is trying to persuade Torba to purchase a Greck Cruiser. Torba is uninterested in his stock as whole starships, but he knows that the ships are based on Pitareeze Inc. designs. He wants to acquire the MT-5 units, and the Baron will not sell them to him because Torba plans to use them for military purposes. The Greck Cruisers do not have the specific part, so Torba tasks Greck with acquiring them. He threatens to begin cracking down on illegal activities Greck is involved in on Hosk Station if he does not and leaves him.
Greck then finds himself in the presence of Nak Pitareeze, who flew there with C-3PO's help to sell the MT-5 to Greck. They move into his office and Nak provides Greck with the component he stole from his grandfather after the party. C-3PO chimes in that it would upset the Baron if he found out about this sale and Nak shuts him off. Greck explodes and crushes the component in his hand—Nak had taken a hydrocompressor, not the hyperdrive component.
The Baron receives a message from Greck in his home, and is informed that he has Nak in his custody. Claiming that the boy had tried stealing a Greck Cruiser, Greck demands the MT-5 in exchange for his return. Otherwise, he will inter Nak on the next prison barge that docks with Hosk Station. Greck leaves Nak tied up in his office to meet with councilman Torba again, whom he is going to tell that he had gotten the component from the Baron prematurely. The remote Nak had used to deactivate C-3PO, now confiscated by Greck, is left lying on his desk. Nak squirms over to it, presses the button with his chin, and commands the wakened droid to untie him. They run out and try to get the ship they arrived in so they can get home to tell the Baron not to meet Greck, but find the door to the hangar barred by Greck's henchman, Xob. They go to a different hangar and crib a Greck Cruiser instead, pursued by Xob, and take off, only to be chased by probes. C-3PO, whose piloting abilities are already meager, finds the defective ship difficult to control and it begins to break down almost immediately: a control stick breaks off in the droid's hand. The droids fire on the ship as it enters Kalarba's atmosphere, in which they burn up almost immediately. The ship is protected from the head of entry by a shield and C-3PO programs a landing sequence that will take them to the Baron. However, the ship's primary systems fail, the shields fall, and the ship's hull heats up dangerously.
The pair crash land on the surface of Kalarba near the house, alive, though Nak's leg is injured. C-3PO says that he will carry the boy there. At this, Nak apologizes profusely for the way he had treated C-3PO and R2-D2. His parents are always away on business and his grandfather's time is consumed by managing the Pitareeze Inc. factory, and the lack of attention makes him angry. C-3PO reassures him that he is not such a bad person compared to others out there. Once Nak's leg has been splinted, C-3PO creates a sled out of nearby wood and ferries his master back to the house. They talk on the way there about C-3PO's loyalty to R2-D2 and to Nak, but C-3PO reminds Nak that he can do nothing else in the boy's case—he has been fitted with a restraining bolt by the Pitareeze family.
They find Balto at the factory, noticing that all the workers have deserted it. Baron Pitareeze closed it down and sent them all home before he set out with R2-D2 in tow on the last scheduled shuttle to Hosk Station. Nak suggests that they take the Pitareeze Cruiser above them. Though it has been idling for years, Balto believes that it will work if he charges the fuel cells.
Meanwhile, Greck is informing Torba that the MT-5 has been installed in one of the Greck Cruisers since their last meeting. Torba demands proof, so Greck encourages him to test it himself by hyperspace jumping to the Alderaan system. Greck assures him that he will arrive there in half the time it usually requires. His plan is to react to the news that there is no MT-5 in the ship by accusing the Baron of sabotaging their transaction. Greck and Xob move to Bay 18, where the Baron is waiting for them per their arrangement. Greck no longer has the child, but he relies on the fact that the Baron does not know that to demand the part from him anyway. The Baron says that it is nearby and demands that Greck show him his grandson before he gives him the MT-5. Greck draws a blaster pistol and insists that the Baron provide the part. He complies and R2-D2 takes the part out from his internal storage compartment. Their parlay is interrupted by a holographic transmission from a cloaked man who reports that his subordinate, Torba, had died when the Greck Cruiser malfunctioned in hyperspace, destroying the ship. When Greck tries to obfuscate ignorance, the man Force chokes him and announces that his personal assistants would arrive the next day and take the MT-5 by force. As the transmission ends, Balto disables Xob and opens fire into the room.
Since Greck is still recovering, he is able to take the Baron and R2-D2 with him to another hangar. Nonetheless, Greck and Xob catch up to them and Greck uses his blaster to shoot Balto's out of his grasp. He demands once more that the droid give him the component and the droid complies before the Pitareeze Cruiser arrives in the hangar. Greck and Xob, satisfied, allow them to escape. The Baron and Nak are reunited and Nak apologizes for all the trouble he caused. The Baron smiles joyously, responding knowingly that the Baron would be sorry as well, and they go home in a hurry. Greck examines the unit in his office. While he contemplates how many credits he would receive for selling it to the Empire, his face was squirted by a green fluid. The unit is a food hydrator the Baron had been able to disguise because Greck had never seen the real MT-5 himself. Greck thought aloud that he was a dead man.
Safely at home, the Baron tells Nak's parents, Jarth and Meg, of their adventure when they return from their trip. Nak's parents take the news happily because they came out of it relatively unscathed, but Nak is not excused simply because the situation was righted. Meg notices that he has been quite reserved since his parents' return. He tells her that he has been thinking quite a bit, acknowledging that what he did was wrong. He said that he had hoped Greck's money would give him security, but he realizes now that what he needs for that are friends—and not ones that stay with him because they are compelled to. He releases R2-D2 and C-3PO from their restraining bolts. The droids contemplate what they should do now that they have been released. R2-D2 suggests that they explore the galaxy and have more adventures. C-3PO says that he is insane: in his view, droids are not supposed to have stirring existences.
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