‘Star Wars: Outbound Flight’ – Chapter 14 (Part 8)


There is one word that can explain the day today.  DRIVING!!!  We were in a car for over fourteen hours today and somehow managed to relatively keep our sanity.  Relatively.  I got up around six o’clock this morning and took a shower and got the last little bit of things together to take along to Dragon Con.  After I got a shower, I went downstairs to wake up Karen and Charles to find out that Charles was already awake and Karen was already woken up by Charles.  We got the last bit of things together for the trip and headed upstairs.  We waited for the babysitter for the kids to show up, since Heather was already at work.  Our next door neighbor showed up around seven o’clock and we loaded up and were on the road by seven-thirty.  On the way, we stopped at the Dunkin Donuts on Front Street and freaked the morning crew out by driving up to the drive thru window with our buckets on.  Nothing like a bunch of Mando’s ordering coffee in the morning!  When we got done freaking out the people at Dunkin Donuts, we headed over to Wendy’s where Heather let us take some ice for cold water and coolers from the store.  We then got ourselves onto 81 and started heading south.

We were wild and pretty out of control this morning.  I could not believe how insane we were acting and I got it all on video which I’m sure will wind up on the web and then at the Mando Mercs website somewhere.  Anyway, at about ten o’clock this morning, I decided to break out the cigars I had bought for us to have as a celebratory thing on the trip.   We were having a great old time, till Karen suddenly asked us to stop the truck as she was feeling sick.  Needless to say, I think we gave Karen tobacco poisoning by smoking a cigar at ten in the morning.  Whoops!!!  We had a great time in the truck talking about all sorts of philosophical things such as the Civil War and Abortion.  For a while there, we sounded mildly intelligent.  That’s the part that Charles wanted me to record for the next podcast.  We got down past PA and into Maryland and we took a break and stopped for a brief break.  We then got back on the road.

We drove and drove and drove some more and while we did this, Karen continued to sew the vest of her jacket in the back of the truck.  The trip ended up going by quicker than any of us had ever anticipated.  We stopped at a gas station in Virginia and ate lunch using the cooler and the food we brought along.  The back of the truck became our “meat wagon” for our food.  Amazingly, Jeff never relinquished control of the truck to any other driver on the way up.  He drove the whole way from Binghamton to Atlanta, Georgia.  We also had some pretty gross discussions about things that were completely wrong.  For all you Star Wars fans, we totally destroyed my viewpoint on Yaddle, the female Yoda.  All I can say is that it has to do with the fact that she’s green and female!  Anywho, we really had a great time and were running so well, we decided to stop at a store that was advertised for miles in every direction.  When we got into this store, it’s not exactly all we expected it to be.  We then looked for a place to stop for dinner and found a Lowe’s nearby.  Of course, me and my big mouth, I was talking with them about the Falco Clan as we were heading into this store saying, “our clan is the greatest!!”  To which Charles said, “dude, shut up about the clan!!”  Oh yeah, I forgot we were in the South.  Whoops!!  Clans in the Star Wars universe are very different than clans in the South, heh.

We then tried to stop and get some gas, at which point I thought I would use my debit card to pay for gas.  Well, the card got rejected both inside and outside.  Luckily, everyone else was nice and paid for the gas, but I was now pissed.  As I had initially told my wife, the money in the account was now unavailable to me!  This is what I was afraid of before I left and this is what we got into a fight two days ago about.  Needless to say, I called her from the road and we got into another fight.  We continued driving and when we got into South Carolina, “Novall Talon” from the Mandalorian Mercs gave me a buzz and we let him know where we were.  He said it wouldn’t take us long to get to Atlanta from where we were, so the excitement became even more intense.  As we passed over into the Georgia border, Karen complained that she really had to go to the bathroom.  We managed to just miss a rest stop, so Jeff said we would stop at the next exit.  Well, luck would have it that the only thing at the next exit was a fireworks store.  So, we stopped at the Fireworks Warehouse.  Well, for those of you that know anything about Charles, you know this is a bad idea.  Not only did we all buy fireworks, but they were giving us fireworks for free to go with the fireworks we had already purchased.  For Charles, this was dangerous!  We finally dragged Charles out of the store and got on the road.  Once we got on the road, we no more than got a few miles up the road till we ran acrossed a van that was parked in the break down lane.  Needless to say, there was some obvious activity going on in this van as the bumper sticker should have read “if this van’s arocking, don’t come aknocking”.  Of course, we couldn’t let that one go and it became a joke for the next half hour.

The drive into Atlanta seemed to take forever from the Georgia border, but I think it’s because we were anxious and we just wanted to get there already.  Jeff was worried because as we were coming into Atlanta, the exit numbers were going down, but the exit we were supposed to get off of was higher than any of the numbers we were seeing.  I eased his mind by saying, “Rabbit is good, rabbit is wise” (from the movie “Twister”).  I would like to say that I was right in the long run.  Atlanta is a beautiful city and I can see why millions flock to this city every year.  I was amazed at how clean the city was compared to any Northern cities I’ve ever seen.  We got into the hotel just before ten o’clock and we were exhausted and excited all at once.

The Mariott we were staying in was HUGE!!  It had forty-three floors that you could see from the bottom floor and it was just an impressive sight.  As we walked in the doors, the Con was obviously already starting.  We saw people milling about and many were already in costumes.  As we checked in, I got excited because behind us, checking in, was Nichele Nichols.  I turned around and said “hi” and she said “hi” back and I asked how she was doing, and she said, “feeling a little jet lagged”.  And that was the end of our conversation.  That’s when I realized that this Con was going to be unlike any other I attended.  We got things unloaded from the truck and got it up to the room.  We immediately started to unpack, when Charles suggested we get over to Pre-Registration.  Well, we headed to Pre-Registration and Charles and Jeff decided we better do it in a hurry.  Next thing I knew, these guys were literally running around.  Well, let’s just say that my “third tire” held me back from keeping up with these guys.  In our running around, we ran into our good friend, Ryan Glitch, and Ryan told us where the door to Pre-Register was.  We finally found the door and a bouncer at the door informed us that they closed Pre-Registration at ten-thirty even though the tickets said they would be open till eleven p.m.  He explained that they closed it early because there were workers there until three in the morning the previous year.  We argued with the guy and walked away pretty pissed about the whole scenario.  What did this mean for us?  Well, it meant we were going to get to bed late, exhausted, and then have to get up early tomorrow to wait in line for the Con.  Shortly after we got back to the hotel room, Novall Talon invited us up to his room with him and his girlfriend “Xian”.  We got up there and hung out with them for about an hour or two and then came back downstairs and headed right to bed.  We were tired and tomorrow was garaunteed to be a long day!
Okay, so let’s talk about Part 8 of Chapter 14 of “Star Wars:  Outbound Flight” by Timothy Zahn…..

Chapter 14 (Part 8):  They were only six days out of Yaga Minor and they ran into a problem during the routine navagational check in Lonnaw.  In the aft of Dreadnaught 2, Obi-Wan pushed through as the crowd screamed about the arrival of another Jedi.  Obi-Wan asked what the problem was and a Rodian said they had thieves in the night with robes and lightsabers.  The Rodian introduced himself as Feeven and said ti was outrageous.  Obi-Wan wondered if he should contact C’Baoth when he noticed him standing in the middle of the room.  On the other end of the room, a rather large gaurd held the door as a woman crowded in front of them with a young boy crouched closely to her chest.  As Obi-Wan greeted C’Baoth, the latter told the former he should not be here, but be in bed,  the mother and the father of the boy told C’Baoth that he was not taking their boy.  C’Baoth explained that the boy was selected to undergo Jedi training and therefore didn’t hava a choice.  C’Baoth explained that their son has potential to be a Jedi, and he won’t be denied that right, as Jedi Master Evrios had told them a week ago.  The father argued that ship’s law says that parents make those decisions, but C’Baoth said that ship’s law doesn’t apply here.  C’Baoth then argued with the father that they weren’t throwing out laws, but rewriting them.  Obi-Wan interjects saying that Pakmillu is the authority on ship’s law.  C’Baoth told Obi-Wan that this remaisn to be seen as Outbound Flight is mainly a Jedi project.  Obi-Wan askes to see C’Baoth in private and he syas not now as Captain Pakmillu has just arrived.  Pakmillu asked the two Jedi Masters what the problem was as he approached.  The father of the son burst in syaing they were trying to steal his son.  The boys father and C’Baoth then proceed to argue in front of Pakmillu about C’Baoth’s right to take the child and train him as a Jedi.  Obi-Wan then suggested they wait till morning to discuss this all as everyone would be in a better mood then.  Pakmillu agreed.  He said they would meet tomorrow after morning meal in Dreadnaught Two’s forward command center.  C’Baoth angrily agreed and stormed off with a confused Obi-Wan just behind…..


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