ByMatthew Stewart, writer at
Matthew Stewart

His name was MSE-L12V5. He called the watery planet of Chad his home. He was an MSE General-Purpose droid, designed to help around the house. He was a hard worker; he never complained. He knew that the best he could do wasn't good enough, and that his family needed him to give one hundred and ten percent every single minute, of every single hour, of every single day until his energy cells melted, and his wheels broke off beneath him. Because that's what he was a part of: A family. His parents were the mechanic and his wife, who took him in out of the cold. They took him in as if he was the missing piece of a puzzle never solved, the missing note of a symphony never sung, or the missing brush stroke of a masterpiece never painted. L12V5 was their son.

But that all changed when the Empire arrived. Gone were the long nights by the fire, listening to his father tell stories about his childhood as a deathstick dealer. Entrepreneur was what he called himself, it always brought a smile to his face and a chuckle to L12V5's actuators. Gone were the incredible days of brainstorming with his father, as they tinkered and toiled over gizmos and gadgets just to see what worked. Gone were the long days up high in the cyperill trees, staying clear of the Death-Waves that so haunted the planet, all the while by his father's side. He would have gladly faced even the Death Wave of 10 BBY over this Galactic Empire that came in the night, a night on fire. Burning. So much fire. Everywhere, burning. He couldn't find his father or mother. He was lost. Then it was dark.

L12V5 was torn from his father's limp hands, as the man who loved him tried to cling to his prized possession even in death; cling to the only creation that he ever saw as perfect. He awoke with millions just like him all around, on top and below and beside him all in rows. He was drafted that day. He was stripped of everything. His family. His home. His name. His purpose. MSE-L12V5 was no more, only MSE-6-HU18T remained. He no longer invented machines that improved lives. Now he only repaired what was already before him, and all that was before him was Death. The Death Star. An abomination that took HU18T's life away, just as it took entire planets away from this big, beautiful, fragile universe. He worked on the guns, the big guns that only hurt, on the small guns that only destroyed. He led men in white shells to only inflict more pain, upon others, upon themselves. So much pain.

He was going to the prison that day. He knew that there was someone new there, someone out of the ordinary. He wanted to catch a glimpse of her, as he heard that she was different. That she was fighting against the empire. That she was a... What had they called her? A rebel. But not only that: A princess. He had heard that word before, in the stories from his mother. A princess was beautiful. A princess was kind. A princess was strong. He wanted to see the woman strong enough to fight against the Empire and its white tin soldiers, and its lord clad in black.

He had finished his work early, and he knew that that left him 14 minutes and 46 seconds to take a detour before he received new orders. The hall was empty, his wheels echoed across the walls as he whirred on, growing more and more excited. He had a new feeling deep within his processors: Hope. Hope that there was freedom from this slavery. Freedom from this false Emperor. Freedom from this pain. He was going find her. He had to find her. He had to right the wrongs around him. He had to do it for his father. For his mother. For his home. He had to do it for L12V5.

But wait, something was wrong. He had planned this out perfectly. There weren't supposed to be any guards down this hall. What was that noise? He knew he only had seconds to act. It sounded like two... no three sets of feet. But one was so muffled, as if a great weight was coming down upon a humungous pad. He heard the monster before he could see it. It's guttural bellow sent shivers down his hardware, as he froze in his tracks. It was gigantic. It was hairy. And it sounded mad. They were getting closer now, two of the blank soldiers flanking that thing. He had to act. He had to do something. He had to run. And run he did. He turned and ran. He ran for his father. He ran for his mother. He ran for his home. But most of all, he ran for HU18T.

He found a quiet place to hide near one of the trash compactors. He would often retreat there to be alone, from the other MSEs and their constant chatter. Sometimes he just needed to get away. Like today. He had to get away from that giant furry monster, with his haunting cry. He needed to be alone. He needed to listen. As he listened, he heard something new. The Star was in chaos. Men ran left and right, guns ready, noise all around. Something about two intruders and a wookie was shouted over the comm channel. Something about losing the princess. The princess! Something about- He heard something beside him. The door to the trash compactor was straining, and their was a commotion behind it. Suddenly it burst open, and in the midst of the grime and rubbish were the two men he had seen; they had to be, as the great beast was with them. But among them was a new face: The face of a woman. Even covered in garbage he saw her strength. In her dirty, tattered dress he saw her strength. And he knew this had to be the princess.

They began to move. There were toy soldiers coming down the hall, firing their bursts of red fire at anything that moved. HU18T was stuck, he couldn't find a way out. The four intruders ran down the hall, and careened around a corner. He heard the soldiers make their way into the hall. He heard their steps. He heard their shouts. And as he came out from behind his wall, he heard a blast.

MSE-6-HU18T was a casualty that day, thanks to a trigger happy new recruit. But he was one that went unnoticed. His wreckage was swept up and discarded after the Millennium Falcon escaped. The Storm Trooper that killed him went back to his bunk that night, sleeping just as soundly as the night before. The only echo of his existence many years later was in the mind of none other than Chewbacca the wookie: As he looked back over the events that led up to the fall of the empire, one thing still bothered him: Was that black thing an actual toaster? And if so, did it have any toast in it?


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