Short Story: And the Meilooruns
This is The Sound of Bespin, coming to you from Cloud City to all the galaxy with the best Daruga music you’ll find from Tattooine to Coruscant. And today in our special of rare recordings we have for you: A live recording of the very first single of the famous Daruga band Duke Lightrazor and the Meilooruns – from the time before Duke joined the band. Former singer Dureena Sunrider only recorded this song and a few more for their first album before leaving the band – some say because of a tragic love affair with Daruga player Ran Webb. Did she even write the song for him? What happened between those two? We might never know. So without further speculation – this is Nautolanication from Dureena Sunrider and the Meilooruns…
5 years earlier
Tablaa Madal stared at the door that had just been shut in her face. She turned around furiously, her lekku trembeling with anger. Ran Webb stood there, grinning.
“By all the stars, Ran”, Tablaa muttered. “I didn’t think this situation could get worse, but you somehow managed…”
“Come on, Tab, what does it matter?” The Nautolan shrugged. “She would have been mad at us no matter how we played this.”
“We were supposed to let her go because of creative differentials. Let her down easy. Not PROPOSE to her to scare her away and TAKE IT BACK when she says yes!”
“Yeah, well, that did not go as planned.” Ran picked up the ring lying on the floor. “At least this is no real diamond ring. Could have left some ugly scar on my face when she slapped me with it.”
“What tragic loss to womankind all through the galaxy this might have been.” Tablaa rolled her eyes. She did so increasingly often ever since she joined up for this mission.
“You don’t have anything to add to this, Tok?” She looked around the room, searching for the Jawa. “Utinni!” The sound came from below the heap of junk in the corner. A hooded head popped up above it, glowing eyes the only visible feature underneath. “I don’t care about your strange courting manners. Jawa do it all very differently. Back on Tatooine. I miss Tatooine, Tab.”
“I know.” She sighed. Today, she missed it, too.
After things went gigantically south on Tatooine, leaving her and Ttok’chisin Thokas – his full name never used by anyone else but himself – no choice but to flee the planet in great haste and probably forever, she had been excited to meet an actual leader of the Rebel Alliance. To be assigned to a task helping the restistance. Propaganda was important, she understood that, and even if she had never imagined herself standing on a stage in front of a crowd – a Daruga band touring the galaxy was a brilliant way to avoid the Empire, get into contact with a lot of local restistance groups and carry the voice of the rebellion to as many systems as possible. The voice of the rebellion was also the very humble title Ran Webb, the Nautolan Daruga player, had given himself. He was charming, Tablaa was giving him that, all smiles and tentacles and pheromones. A little too charming, maybe. Otherwise their lead singer would not have fallen for him. Dureena Sunrider had been the perfect girl for the job. She was human, with big blue eyes and brown curly hair, her body perfectly fitting the carefully picked outfits that revealed a little too much when she moved just the right way of wrong. Dureena had a decent voice and was, more importantly, unaware of the rebel business going on after the shows, and all about focusing on her career and flirting her way through every press conference and every imperial inspection that came up.
Tablaa had never imagined herself in a recording studio on a stage, but after the first weeks it had been fine and sometimes even fun. After coming up with their band name and making some contacts in the music business – with some strings pulled by the rebellion, of course – they had started to record their first songs and perform on festivals in a lot of small worlds. And to her biggest surprise, people seemed to like them. Their biggest hit so far was Nautolanication, a mid-tempo number with some groovy Xylophone parts played by Tok and a Dargua solo by Ran, which could have been shorter for her taste. Ran and Dureena had written the lyrics together, and they were a great mixture of weirdness and subtle hints to the rebellion. Tablaa had no idea, which princess Dureena referred to or what a Taun-Taun was, but the song was getting attention and there was even a live recording of it she had heard on the Holonet.
So all had been going great. Until three days ago Tablaa received an urgent message from her contact, informing her that Sunrider was, in fact, not Dureenas real last name. Off the stage, she went by Dureena Grinos, daughter of the famous Agent Yura Grinos, high-ranking member of the ISB.
Some pretty intense and hasty discussions had followed, leading to Rans blasted plan of fake-proposing their lead singer away.
“So what do we do now? Hope she’s too proud to run to her mother and send the Empire after us just to revenge her broken heart?” Tablaa sat down on her drummer seat and picked up her sticks. She probably was the worst drummer any Daruga band in the history of the galaxy had ever had. Of course she was trained in lying, shooting and managing explosives, but no one had ever told her that playing an instrument would ever become crucial of maintaining her cover. Over the last months she had become good enough to not screw up the songs, and between the charm of Ran Webb, the voice and looks of Dureena and the Jawa playing a disturbingly ever-changing junk xylophone she did not get much attention.
“Ah, come on, not even the ISB can arrest us for not being nice to one of their agent’s daughter.” Ran was packing up his Daruga carefully. “I guess rehearsal is over for today, huh?”
Tablaa stopped herself from rolling her eyes again.
“Okay, guys. We need to figure this out. We need to deal with Dureena so she won’t get us into trouble and we need to find a new lead singer. I already got a few suggestions from my contact.”
“Woah, little blue lady, hold on.” Ran stopped wrapping up is instrument and grinned at her. “Who says we need a new lead singer?”
“But we do”, Tok said, crawling out from under his xylophone after having attached some new parts. “We were Dureena Sunrider and the Meilooruns. We can’t be … just the Meilooruns, can we?”
“No”, Tablaa nodded. “We need a name before the fruit.” Not that she was a big fan of the band name, but why waste all the fans they already made by changing it completely?
“I never doubted that, but” – Rans tentacles were starting to move in excitement – “who says we need someone new? I think we have the perfect candidate right here.” His thumbs moved until he pointed at his own chest, grinning broadly.
“You can NOT be our frontman, Ran. You would get all the interviews. All the questions. All the attention.” Everything he ever wanted, as Tablaa guessed, but she could not let him get it.
“But I would be so – “
“NO, Ran.” She hit the snare drum two times to emphasize her words. “We are not doing this to get you any more groupies and any more fame. We are doing this for the rebellion. To fight the Empire. And we need to stay undercover or Nautolanication will be our first and last single and we all end up dead or in imperial prison.”
She stared into his eyes and he stared back, probably checking out how serious she was with his Nautolean pheromone sense. Finally, he threw up his arms and tentacles in frustration. “Fine. Fine. We’ll do it your way. But just so you know, I would be a GREAT frontman.”
“I know.” She felt very tired. Managing rebel secrets, a homesick Jawa and an overconfident Nautolan was so exhausting. Some days she wished she could just go back to Tatooine. But well, that spaceship had flown and was not coming back.
“Okay, boys.” Tablaa put her drumsticks in her bag. “You pack up the rest of the stuff, and I’ll find Dureena and offer her comfort and the payment of our last gigs and hope she’ll not rat us out to her mother. And then we find a new singer. Yes?” She did not wait for the answer.
On her way to Dureenas quarters she sliced through the suggestions for new singers her contact had send her. The third one seemed fitting – good looks, a smile that looked kind of silly and a known problem of drinking too much. He might just be their guy. She would reach out to him later.
Just what kind of a kriffin’ stage name, she wondered, was Duke Lightrazor?