(Author's Note: This story, which takes place in the course of the original KOTOR, is based upon "The Mouse and his Child," a children's book by Russell Hoban. It was subsequently made into an animated film released in 1977. The film made me bawl my eyes out, but I loved it--and the tale itself. I hope you enjoy this Star Wars twist upon one of my dear memories! To see the original film, please visit this YouTube site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OWdw1IwdYY)
Revan was furious. Beyond furious--incensed. He'd been made to look like a fool, and by none other than a little girl! She couldn't have been more than six years old, and instead of scrambling to apologize for all the food she'd eaten and the messes she'd made, the girl sat playing with a pair of toy mice! The toys were droids, two of them, a father mouse and his child. When the whelp turned a key in the father mouse's back, he walked around in circles, making his little son do backflips in his tiny mechanical arms. What kind of droids were these, that were not automated? Pathetic,
Revan thought. If the brat wants toy mice, she could have at least whined until her parents bought her some decent ones. Droids without a key in back!
"Query: Papa?" asked the Mouse Child. "Is this the world? Are we in it?"
"I don't know, son," replied the Father Mouse, and then, "Statement: Maybe."
Well. They can talk, at least,
mused Revan. They're not junk.
The little girl, delighted with her tin toys, clapped her hands and cried out in some very garbled Mandalorian. "Yooba na abds?" she asked Revan after a pause. Her blue eyes were filled with a mixture of fear and hope. "Na abds?"
Revan had no real idea what she was saying, although he had more than a passing knowledge of the Mando tongue. His impatience gnawed at him. Who was this girl? Where did she come from, and what was she doing on his ship? Whatever this stowaway wanted, he couldn't provide it, nor should he. He wasn't the girl's father. As for the toy mice, they continued speaking and circling, their voices incredibly soft against the hum of the ship's hyperdrive.
"Musing: I'm scared, Papa!" cried the droid Mouse Child. "Stay with me."
"I will," answered the Father Mouse, the key in his back grinding to a halt.
The girl pouted after a moment, seeing that the tin mice weren't moving after a few seconds. Tenderly, she picked the pair up and wound the key that activated the Father Mouse's motor. Primitive droids, they were, but more than sufficient for their purpose. When the Father Mouse stirred again, the young stowaway smiled and put them back on the floor of the cargo hold.
"Hopeful Query: Will we ever be self-winding droids, Papa? That way, Sasha won't always need to reactivate us when your metal key stops turning."
"I hope so, son," said the Father Mouse. "Conjecture: Maybe he will help..."
Revan gave a start. The tin toy was talking about him,
of all people! Who did these little rodent droids think they were, and who did this little female urchin think she was, hiding aboard the Ebon Hawk
and stealing valuable supplies from its rightful crew? Did any of them have an inkling of an idea what a critical mission they were stalling with their foolishness? They all needed to be taught a lesson, even the non-organic beings in the cargo hold.
"Yooba na abds?" asked the girl, standing up and glancing at Revan again.
Revan pointed at the girl and then to the exit ramp of the Ebon Hawk.
"Out," he snapped. "You. Girl. Droid mouse toys. Out, out, out, out!"
The wheat-haired whelp, presumably named Sasha because of what the tiny Father Mouse had called her, mumbled something else in her laughable form of Mando. This pushed Revan, normally the pinnacle of calm under duress (how could one be Dark Lord of the Sith without any sense of this kind) to the brink of his anger's abyss. Without another word, he stepped forward and smashed the droid Mouse and His Child into dozens of pieces, grinding them.
The little girl began to cry, and Revan left her in the cargo hold. He had to think. They had just landed on Kashyyyk, he and his crew, having come from the Jedi refuge on Dantooine. Dumping this snivelling stowaway on a planet full of Wookiees would be the perfect solution to his dilemma, although he had to find some way to lure the girl off the ship without her suspecting it...
Meanwhile, T3-M4 was in the process of completing a routine inspection of the ship and all its systems. He heard the sound of weeping coming from the cargo hold, and he found a young organic sentient there, her head bowed over some smashed droids in the shape of two little mice--one larger, one much smaller. Intuiting (through his logic circuits, of course) what the girl might be wanting, T3 set to work repairing the two toys, who were both very badly damaged. Luckily, they were more than salvageable, and the clever T3 was even able to make a few improvements upon them. Using some spare parts from his own inventory, the plucky utility droid fixed it so that both Father Mouse and his son would be fully automated through tweaking the springs in their heads. Perfect! Once T3 showed off his work, Sasha smiled.
"Exclamation: We work again, Papa! I think we're self-winding droids, too!"
"I think so too, son--oh, who's that droid? We'd better thank him right away!"
The two mice made fast friends with their metallic mechanic, and it wasn't long before they were joining T3 in his inspection sweep along with Sasha. Suddenly, the Mouse Child noticed something shiny in the corner of the ship. It was a medal of some sort, an award which read: YOU WILL SUCCEED.
The Mouse Child, being of good heart (even for a droid), turned towards his father, who nodded. Perhaps the Big Ratlike Human who'd broken them both had only been angry and frustrated, like an overwhelmed parent or careless child. People were like that with toys sometimes, especially droid toys.
Very slowly and carefully, the tiny droid mouse took the award in his metal hands and skittered up to Revan, presenting it. Revan took it, quite puzzled. It was some sort of cheap lucky charm, one he carried with him to every pazaak game to try and ensure victory. It worked, too, nine times out of ten. He'd been looking for it all over the ship, and this little toy, this droid in the form of a mouse child, had found it for him. Revan felt his heart constrict.
He fed the girl, Sasha, some tasty morsels from his best rations and put her to bed in one of the bunks. After all that crying, she was feeling tired. Soon Revan learned bits and pieces of her broken Mando. She was originally from Dantooine, and even though it would be a wasted trip to try and return her to her parents, the Mouse Child and his Father had proven something to him that even the crew had not. They had taken away his fear and replaced it with forgiveness. Revan set a course for Dantooine as soon as Sasha awoke.
No matter what the cost, to himself or to the mission, he'd take them home.