The secret missionEdit
- "Your Higness, a droid? You can't be serious—to entrust a maintenance machine with the future of the Rebellion?"
- ―Captain Antilles, to Princess Leia
By 0 BBY, the Rebel Alliance's insurrection against the Empire had escalated into a full-scale Galactic Civil War. R2-D2 and C-3PO's service aboard the Tantive IV continued; as units of the droid pool, they were paired together, with the latter acting as the interpreter counterpart of the former. The corvette journeyed to the planet Ralltiir in that year, as Princess and Senator Leia Organa delivered military-grade equipment to Alliance operatives under the guise of being on a diplomatic mission to deliver supplies to the Ralltiiri High Council. The Empire was subjugating the planet, but contact from the Alliance operatives on-world, paired together with information leaked by the Empire's Lord Tion during a dinner with Organa and her father Bail back on Alderaan, alerted the Royal House of Alderaan to the existence of a secret Imperial construction project: The Death Star, an immense battlestation with enough power to destroy an entire planet. A horrified Bail tipped off Alliance agents on Toprawa, who were then able to intercept the plans to the Death Star. Leia Organa prepared to take the Tantive IV there to retrieve them, and as the corvette was readied to depart Alderaan, R2-D2 and C-3PO boarded while father and daughter hugged farewell.
En route to Toprawa, R2-D2 and C-3PO were pressed into service by the labor pool overseer, who needed an astromech droid and an interpreter for special work detail. The two reported to Captain Antilles and Princess Organa, who gave them a voice override ordering them to protect all references to the Princess being aboard the vessel and to unquestionably follow her orders. When the Tantive IV reverted to realspace in the Toprawa system, Organa ordered R2-D2 to exit through an airlock and pretend to make repairs on the navigation computer sensor suite, all the while making periodic reports to C-3PO via comlink. She hoped the deception would excuse their presence in restricted space, but the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Devastator did not buy the ruse. A transmission containing the Death Star plans was beamed to the Tantive IV, and R2-D2 returned to the ship's interior just in time to make the jump to lightspeed and away from the pursuing Devastator.
Organa's destination was Tatooine—her father believed that the Rebellion would need the assistance of Obi-Wan Kenobi in such a desperate hour. However, the Devastator followed them to the Tatoo system and attacked, as the Imperials were aware of the transmission that had been made. Antilles suspected a homing beacon had been smuggled aboard and realized that he could not trust any of the ship's crew; in a desperate bid to get the stolen plans to safety, Organa recalled that she still had restrictive access to R2-D2. Meanwhile, the astromech droid and his counterpart navigated their way through the Tantive IV's corridors as explosions rocked the ship. When the corvette was brought aboard the Devastator via tractor beam, Imperial stormtroopers boarded and engaged the stationed Rebel troopers in a firefight, and the two droids weaved their way through the laser blasts. When a hit was scored on the wall behind C-3PO, the exposed circuitry shot an electric current through the protocol droid, and R2-D2 helped free his counterpart from the tangled wires. They escaped the notice of Darth Vader, the Imperial Dark Lord of the Sith, as he passed by with a stormtrooper escort that had conquered the Rebel defenders.
R2-D2 and C-3PO got separated in the melee, and the astromech made his way to the labor pool, where Organa was searching for him. She used her voice override and bid R2-D2 to holographically record a personal message to Kenobi, then gave the droid the coordinates of the old Jedi Master's location on-world. Her final gift was the stolen data tapes themselves and an order to deliver them at any cost. Organa snuck away when C-3PO caught up with his counterpart, and R2-D2 immediately made his way to an escape pod. C-3PO only joined him in the restricted area when a laser blast struck a nearby bulkhead, and the two launched for the surface of Tatooine. Captain Antilles had already jettisoned a number of decoy escape pods, and the Devastator's gunners neglected to shoot down the droids due to a lack of detected life forms aboard.
R2-D2 steered the pod toward Kenobi's location, but they nevertheless landed in the middle of a desert. R2-D2 had to be helped out of the crashed pod by his counterpart. The astromech began to make his way in the Jedi's direction, but a skeptical C-3PO dismissed his claims of a secret mission and refused to follow him toward rocky terrain. The two set off in different directions, but C-3PO turned around to give his counterpart one last warning. A steadfast R2-D2 continued on his way until he suddenly fell through the sand and into a system of subterranean tunnels. C-3PO landed next to him after falling through himself, and the two were quickly surrounded by a group of mole creatures. C-3PO was able to communicate with them, and he told R2-D2 that the moles wished to serve the droids, their new Masters. R2-D2 was not so quick to trust them, but the underground dwellers carried the new arrivals through the tunnels, all the while chanting the word "Gotar." Gotar turned out to be the name of a giant hungry acid lizard—C-3PO has misinterpreted the moles' declaration of "serving them." The lizard gobbled the droids up but kept them in his mouth in order to allow the acid there to dissolve them, but R2-D2 shorted out his electrical system, which caused Gotar to spit them out so hard that they landed back on the sand above. Unfazed, R2-D2 continued on his way, but C-3PO refused to follow him, and the two finally parted ways.
R2-D2's journey took him through the rocky mesas of Tatooine's Jundland Wastes, where he was ambushed by a group of native Jawas. A shot from an ion blaster shut the astromech droid down, and when he awoke, he was inside their Sandcrawler with a restraining bolt attached to his torso. Also aboard were an assortment of other captured droids, including C-3PO, and the two counterparts had a joyful reunion. The Sandcrawler plowed through the desert, and R2-D2 shut himself down both to conserve energy and to tune out the protocol droid's complaints. Guided by a signal flare that was launched by the homestead's occupants, the Jawas made their way to a dwelling: The Lars homestead, which R2-D2 had once visited long ago. The astromech was woken up by his companion, and the two joined the line of droids who were marched outside to be displayed in front of a potential buyer. While they waited, R2-D2 covertly slipped out of line and made some modifications to fellow astromech droid R5-D4. After he finished, Owen Lars, now a much older man, approached the Sandcrawler along with his nephew: a nineteen-year-old Luke Skywalker.
Lars dismissed R2-D2 as a potential purchase due to his beat-up look and talkative nature. R5-D4 was instead chosen, as was C-3PO, who sold himself as a droid who could understand both the binary language of moisture vaporators and the Bocce trade language. As C-3PO and R5-D4 followed Skywalker to the homestead, R5-D4's motivator blew, and the protocol droid convinced his new owners to purchase R2-D2 instead. The young Skywalker brought the droids into the homestead's tech dome, where R2-D2 recharged and C-3PO received an oil bath. Skywalker, meanwhile, passed the time by working on a T-16 skyhopper and complaining about his life on a dull planet. As he manually cleaned R2-D2, he grew excited when the talkative C-3PO revealed that the droids had been involved in the Rebellion. When Skywalker came across the datacard that the Princess had inserted into R2-D2, the astromech droid—hoping to trick the youngster into removing his restraining bolt—played an excerpt from Organa's holographic recording. In it, she spoke a single line: "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope." Skywalker was mesmerized by the image of the Princess, and R2-D2 suggested that he might be able to play the entire message if his bolt were removed. Skywalker obliged, at which point the astromech ceased playing the message entirely. A frustrated Skywalker left to eat dinner with his aunt and uncle, and R2-D2 promptly left a stammering C-3PO behind in order to cross the desert and find Obi-Wan Kenobi.
After Tatooine's twin suns fell below the horizon, R2-D2 came across a camp of Tusken Raiders blocking a mountain pass. After sneaking up on a sentry and using his claw arm to twirl the raider into dizziness, the droid slipped underneath a bantha beast and travelled through the camp while hidden by the creature's hair. A raider eventually noticed the marks left in the sand by his treads, and R2-D2, now at the other side of the camp, fled. The Tuskens pursued him but were scared off when he projected a giant holographic image of C-3PO. R2-D2 continued across the Jundland Wastes, but Skywalker and C-3PO caught up to him in a landspeeder the next morning. They were intent on bringing him back to the homestead, and C-3PO suggested deactivating him, but the astromech detected some approaching lifeforms, and the group was soon attacked by the Tusken Raider URoRRuR'R'R. As Skywalker fainted and C-3PO tumbled backward over a sand dune, R2-D2 hid inside a nearby cave and shut down all but his most vital functions. He watched a group of Tuskens inspect the speeder, but they quickly ran off when they heard the call of a local Krayt dragon.
As it turned out, the call had been imitated by an elderly Human man, who checked on the unconscious Skywalker and spied the astromech in his hiding place. He called on the droid to come out, and R2-D2, finding his voice reassuring, obliged. When Skywalker woke up, he recognized the old man as the local hermit Ben Kenobi; when he mentioned R2-D2's insistence on locating an "Obi-Wan Kenobi," Ben revealed that he Obi-Wan and he were one and the same. The sounds of more Tuskens reached their ears, and the group retrieved C-3PO before traveling to the safety of Kenobi's desert hut.
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ Star Wars Galaxy 6
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope novel
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Star Wars Droids 6: Star Wars According to the Droids, Book I
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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