Alright, I’ll tell you a story. Hurry up and get ready for bed. Brush your teeth, wash your face and get comfy while I pull this dusty old book out to read from. Are you all tucked in now? Good..
A long time ago, in the mid 1990s, there once lived a young boy named Ranger1138. Ranger was a happy-go-lucky lad who worked very hard to fit in amongst the others in the court of the Tandy kingdom. Ranger had entered a big tournament in his village and he won the right to serve in the Empire’s fleet. The construction of a new shiny retail battleship was known around the world to be a fool’s errand as it was way too big to take on the lighter ships of the other countries. Many said that a ship that was more than 212,000 square feet, with a crew of 450 carying a cargo of 12 million dollars in technology was a crazy venture indeed. But none of this mattered to the little Ranger as he was happy enough to have won the tournament and earn the right to see the world aboard an amazing vessel.
Ranger knew he wasn’t the fastest or strongest amongst the crew. He also knew that if he worked very hard he would be noticed by the ships officers, which in turn, would give him the opportunities to meet many of the Empire’s trading partners. Ranger took on extra duties, he filled in when others in the crew were sick and he stayed ashore to help the citizens of the village find cables and high priced accessories for the goods that they were sold from the battleship’s vast array of stores. Ranger worked nights, weekends and holidays. Some thought him to be crazy for doing this. But many didn’t realize that the Ranger was thrilled to be working on the ship and he honestly didn’t want to go back to the quiet and unexciting prospects that awaited him in his old village. so he pressed onwards with a smile and several songs in his heart [that he was able to purchase with his crew discount I might add].
The Ranger started his new life aboard his beloved ship below decks at first. He served with his friends in Home Audio but he soon was moved to a higher deck with the crew of Music and Movies because Ranger was the only one who spoke the rare dialect of the sales language known as “Laser Disc”. Ranger had learned this odd form of speech amongst his local travels with smaller ships. He never dreamed he would ever be able to use this knowledge again. And use it he did for this got him into more quarterly strategy sessions with higher ranking officers.
Ranger found that many of the skills he had learned came into play beyond his “Laser Disc” translation abilities. Ranger’s mother had once told him that his year’s of playing videogames with the village’s children was a waste of time. His mother was shocked one day to find this not to be true as Ranger was asked to serve with the Videogames crew of the battleship specifically because the Ranger had so much experience with them. This knowledge began to attract the attention of others in the merchant fleet at large. One day the Ranger was approached to open negotiations with the strange land of Nintendo. Ranger was more familiar with their long time rivals SEGA, however, he soon learned that the little fellow with the hat named Mario was just as nice to work with as his rival the Hedgehog named Sonic.
Ranger’s mother was suitably impressed and it was nice that the Ranger didn’t gloat over the fact that the time spent with the games ended up paying off after all. . . Okay, he gloated one holiday season for about two hours. He didn’t do it again out of respect for his parents. Who could blame him, right? Strange journeys open the door for exciting opportunities. But not even the Ranger was prepared for what happened next.
One day a major trading partner asked the battleship to send over some of her crew to see many fine jewels, speaker systems and a few movies as a means to an end to sell these things to the people of the Empire. Ranger was asked to go along with a few of the ships officers to translate the words of Laser Disc. But! What the officers didn’t know was that Laser Disc wasn’t the only obscure language the Ranger spoke. Sadly, Ranger knew that Laser Disc was a dying language and he knew, to remain helpful to his crew, he would need to know more. new terms like Dolby Digital, known as AC3, and DTS were starting to be spoken amongst the villagers. New things cost money and the Empire loved money. So the little Ranger read many texts and worked hard to speak these languages as well.
But these languages were technical, dry and boring. The Ranger craved excitement. So, he decided to read some other books beyond that of the 5.1 speaker variety. What really interested the Ranger was the mysterious words of one storyteller. You see, words hold power and some would even tell you if used just right.. words hold the power of magic. And this one storyteller was known for passing down stories of a Doctor Jones and tales of a farm boy from a little desert planet. The Ranger read everything he could about this storyteller and his caves at Skywalker Sound. And, like videogames, he did it just for fun. Or, for the thrill of knowledge. Or, better yet, for the ability to get paid to learn this knowledge was a fantastic bonus for the little Ranger.
The officers of the battleship were asked to meet in a neutral spot. Which meant that the Ranger got to put on his best uniform and polish his one lone medal he had earned for saving his fellow villagers from the monsters of high prices. He stood tall behind his fellow officers. He only spoke when he had to and he was polite to the trading partners. Until, and he really couldn’t help this at all, he saw three little letters. He read them in awe. He stared at them intently for they were not just meer letters. No, they were signs, glyphs and beacons from the mysterious storyteller himself. Burning bright, the three individual letters formed a logo that served to guide the way for those to follow in a way that no lighthouse could. The proud letters called to him and they could be read as T H X.
Ranger was elated. He was drawn to the power of these three letters like a moth to a flame. He could not pull his one good eye away from the logo with T H X. Further still, he was given a personal demonstration of those letters by a beautiful girl from the land of JBL on just how powerful those little letters could be. She reached over and pulled out a Laser Disc, which was also emblazoned with those letters, and she played [or rather let the storyteller tell] part of a story. What the Ranger heard was almost as inspiring as the beauty of the woman who played it for him. The Ranger was moved by the crisp, clear sound of the story and was enthralled by its charms.
The staff amongst the JBL was also thrilled that someone aboard the battleship knew so much about their obscure languages, and more higher priced products, of Laser and THX. The Ranger was asked, by the JBL, to represent them at more trade meetings in other ports where the battleship would travel in the future. The Ranger’s fellow officers were also impressed. Except the Ranger didn’t know that just yet. He soon would though as the officers came back to the ship waving their flags high with triumph from the success of the boarding party talks with the land of JBL.
One day the Ranger sat quietly surfing the channels of the DSS systems. It was a Tuesday and nothing tended to happen at 11 in the morning on Tuesdays. The Ranger was thrilled to work on these days at these times as he got paid to essentially sit around and watch television from the wide selection of channels open to his battleship as a dealer of DSS. Needless to say, the Ranger was shocked to get a call from his Captain from out of the clear blue sky on just such a quiet Tuesday morning. Even more shocking was that the Captain wanted him to come to the bridge of the battleship. “Why me?” the little Ranger thought. “Why me out of a crew of 450?”. Still, the Ranger knew his duty well and he gathered up his strength to approach the Captain . He didn’t think he had anything to fear from him, however, stories of those who were called to the bridge rarely ended happily.
What happened next would change the Ranger’s life forever. But, that story is best told on another night. For now you must dream of X Wings and the Holy Grail. And we will pick up the story again soon.