I enter my ship and walk towards the lounge. Sitting down the couch, I pull of my goggles and the hood and scarf covering my face. I close my eyes and let out a deep sigh.
I rub my eyes, feeling angry, frustrated, and a whole slew of other things besides, none of them pleasant.
Mostly I just feel tired.
Releasing another sigh, I get up and walk towards the hyperdrive. I sit down on top of it, only metal grates separating me from the raw power thrumming beneath. I close my eyes.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Calm and steady. Find your center. Find balance.
Slowly, so very slowly, I let go of my frustration and despair, my anger and disappointment. I release it all, until at last my mind turns clear and the Force comes into focus.
It’s everywhere, in my body, my blood, my very being. It’s in my prosthetic, my clothes, in the air I breathe. It runs through the Falcon, through the circuits and couplings, the systems and wires. It flows through the code controlling the systems, it dances with the energy of the hyperdrive.
And beyond that, the countless grains of sand, the rocks buried beneath, the animals making their home there. Even further away, the settlement of Niima Outpost, all living things a bright spark to my mind’s eye. A vibrant picture of indescribable sensation, entwined in a way impossible to put into words. It’s pure energy, it's pure life, creating and shaping everything that is, yet being created and shaped by everything that is at the same time.
I feel the last of my tension fade away, realizing once again that in the grand scheme of things, I’m no more important than one of the countless grains of sand covering the surface of Jakku. So are my problems.
Mediating is a great way to regain perspective.
I continue to sit there for an eternity that last exactly three hours, thirty-three minutes and thirty-three seconds. Then I release my focus, check that my defenses are still in order, before I stand up and lift my arms in a delicious stretch. I feel loose and limber in a way only mediation can make me.
Walking towards the cockpit, I trail my hand along the walls, savoring every touch. The various dips and valleys, the different textures and small imperfections.
I love my ship.
Entering the cockpit, I sprawl across the pilot chair, taking up as much space as is possible in the narrow confines. I’m not planning to take off. Yet.
Artie rotates its main photoreceptor towards me without halting its delicate repairs of the auto-pilot. Which is glitching. Again. Because this is the Millennium Falcon.
Sometimes I just have to remind myself of that.
[Query – is Annoyance-Rey functional?] The indifferent beeps make me smile. I pat the top of its white and ruby colored dome, amused by the habitual flare of annoyance it inspires as always.
“I’m fine,” I say. “Just disappointed. No news. Again.” Because that’s the root of it all, really.
I tried so hard not to hope, but the Force had been urging me to return to Jakku so strongly that I hadn’t been able to help myself. Part of me had expected to discover news about my family.
The lack is an even more bitter and painful letdown than usual. I close my eyes and briefly allows myself to feel the sharp grief of losing that hope. Again.
Yet even though there was no news, the Force still feels expectant. It’s still waiting for something. It isn’t telling me to stay, not anymore. I could leave right now without a string of improbable events forcing me back. Normally, the choice wouldn’t be difficult, I despise spending any amount of time on Jakku. But if the Force is waiting...
I decide to stay the night. Better to see what has “destiny” this excited of my own free will instead of being dragged into whatever is going to happen kicking and screaming.
It won’t be related to my family. It never is. But it’s going to be something big. The way the Force seems to almost hum with anticipation makes that more clear.
I hope I won’t regret this decision. I already have a feeling I will. And still I choose to stay. My curiosity is going to get me killed one day.
“We’re spending the night. If we land in a situation before leaving, you’re allowed to say I told you so.”
This time Artie doesn’t even bother to turn its photoreceptor towards me.
[Query – is Situation; Damn Force, active?]
“I'm pretty sure it is.” Though there’s still a chance the surprise will be pleasant instead of terrifying. Then again, this feels big, and big things are usually both.
My answer makes Artie’s presence turn deeply annoyed, far beyond its normal state, before the emotion is replaced by worry. It even halts its repairs as it turns its photoreceptor towards me.
[Query – what scale does Annoyance-Rey estimate?]
That’s always a difficult question when it comes to the Force, but my best guess...
“Somewhere between the Canto Bight casino and the swamps of Mardrk,” I estimate, and feel a faint smile grow as Artie’s worry spikes even higher.
[Defensive protocols engaged; Threat Level 7]
My, its second highest defense mode. I pat its dome again, making a flash of annoyance briefly replace its worry. It’s cute how worried it is. Admittedly, it’s not without reason. I get goosebumps just thinking of what happened on Mardrk.
Having gotten all the information it needs, Artie resumes working on the controls of the auto-pilot, it’s worry lowering to the usual baseline for this mode.
I wonder what to do now that I’ve decided to stay the night. Obviously I’m not going back to Niima Outpost, seeing Unkar Plutt once is more than enough for one visit. I’m also not leaving my ship to go anywhere else.
I might’ve decided to stay the night, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
“I'm going to sunbathe,” I decide. Artie gives a disinterested beep in return, never halting its delicate repairs. It isn’t one for idle chatter.
It’s one of the things I like most about it.
I flip off the chair in a maneuver that should be impossible in these narrow confines. The Force is awesome like that.
Passing by my quarters, I grab my datapad, a spare pillow and blanket, and leave the Falcon. Walking out beneath the hull, I jump, the Force boosting me high, and land on top. Laying down my blanket and pillow, I settle down and get comfortable. It’s that small window in time where the sun has started disappearing behind the horizon and it’s actually pleasant to be outside. As soon as the sun is gone completely, the temperature will plummet.
I’m planning to make the most of it before that happens.
Activating my datapad, I continue reading the article discussing the new Hovarian TZ-type modulator and why it’s supposed to be such an improvement to all others. My own modulator is still in perfect order, but it’s always wise to have spare parts on hand.
To an outside point of view, my ship is a pile of garbage. Things are constantly malfunctioning, or just plain breaking down, no matter how many parts I replace or how many repairs I perform.
I have a different view. For one, I adore fixing machines. For another, my ship never breaks down when it truly counts.
Most important of all, this is the Millennium Falcon. I literally have no choice but to love it.
My inner fangirl doesn’t allow for anything else.
I shoot up straight– I yank my ship around me like a cloak, twine my very being with it until we can’t tell where I end and 492727ZED begins. Data scrolls through our mind, constant cycles of diagnostics, updates, notices, an endless stream of information demanding our attention.
The minute part of us still aware that we are also me only has room for a single thought.
What the kriffing hell is Kylo Ren doing here?
We need to perform maintenance on the fuel pumps. There is a 0.063 second delay in the conversion of fuel.
We do not know, and with him so near, we do not dare to find out.
There is an irregularity in the cooling tanks. Efficiency momentarily drops by an average of 1.47% every 2.6 cycles.
Is he here for us? Did he sense us meditating?
The electromagnetic discharge filter has decreased in efficiency by 0.000008% since our last diagnostic.
Has he found out about our past? Is he here for a different reason?
The auto-pilot has been restored to peak efficiency.
What other reason than us could he have to come to Jakku?
The sublight engines are due for a manual inspection. Automated inspection has detected no anomalies.
The Force was waiting for something. And now Kylo Ren is here.
Fuel capacity is at 78.4%.
Which means he probably is not here for us. Probably.
There is a minor power fluctuation in section D-32. Data indicates that the fluctuation is most likely caused by faulty isolation.
If he is not here for us, we cannot stop being we. He will sense us if we do.
Continuing to process data, we leave our bed and get dressed. We grab our toolbox and start making our way towards the fuel pumps to perform maintenance. We stop by R2-T3 to inform it of Kylo Ren’s presence in the system. R2-T3 plays a recording of us saying ‘I told you so’, before it switches to its highest defense mode and rolls towards the cockpit to make us as ready for take-off as is possible without firing our engines.
We cannot leave. Not without Kylo Ren noticing us.
Data indicates that the delay in the fuel pumps is most likely caused by fatigue of the filters.
We can only hope he will not sense us. We will have no warning if he does.
If the delay is not caused by fatigue of the filters, it is most likely caused by a minor blockage in fuel line 4.
When we are like this, we are almost unable to sense anything but ourselves.
We perform maintenance for the next 16:13:43 standard hours. We are repairing the electromagnetic discharge filter when we hear the cries.
We ignore the cries. We need to repair the electromagnetic discharge filter.
We finish stabilizing the polarization and perform a diagnostic. The electromagnetic discharge filter has returned to peak efficiency.
We need to repair the deflector system. There is a 0.0034 second delay between priming and activation.
The cries are louder now.
Data indicates that the delay is most likely caused by a faulty connection in section Y-09.
We close our toolbox and climb down from our top so we can go inspect section Y-09. When we land down the sand, we see a luggabeast with a Teedo on top passing by us. The Teedo is dragging along a droid in a net. Model, BB.
The droid is the reason for the cries. It is cursing out the Teedo. It is trying to escape.
We need to go inspect section Y-09.
We know we will regret it later if we do not help the droid now.
We walk towards the Teedo.
“Greetings, Teedo,” we call out in their native language. Our voice makes both the droid and the Teedo startle. Neither had registered our presence. None do when we are like this.
If the delay is not caused by a faulty connection in section Y-09, it is most likely caused by a faulty connection in section Y-28 instead.
“What do you want, Outsider,” the Teedo says in a male voice. He recognizes us. We do not recognize him. Without the ability to sense his presence, all Teedo seem the same to us.
“Are you interested in trading for the droid?” we ask. One of the Teedo’s eyes goes wide behind his goggles. That is a sign of interest.
If the delay is not caused by a faulty connection in section Y-28 either, the cause is most likely a malfunction in the deflection system itself.
“...What are you offering?”
“A thousand credits.” That is the average cost price for a used BB-model.
We do not like that droids have cost prices.
“A thousand? Just how stupid do you think I am? This is a BB unit with a selenium drive, a thermal hyperscan vindicator, and even an internal self-correcting gyroscopic propulsion system. If I scrap it for parts, I could get a thousand just for those things alone.”
The Teedo is haggling. We do not wish to haggle.
We wish to go inspect section Y-09.
“Three thousand,” we offer. That is the cost price for a new BB-model. The Teedo will not find a better offer.
The Teedo tilts his head. A sign of hesitation.
We hope the delay is not caused by a malfunction in the deflector system itself. A faulty connection is a minor error. A malfunction in the deflector system is a major one.
“...Unkar Plutt has been asking for an astromech droid for a long time. He’d pay more than that.”
Unkar Plutt would not pay more. The Teedo is still haggling.
We turn around and walk away as though we are planning to enter ourselves.
If the delay is caused by a malfunction in the deflector system, it is most likely caused by a flaw in the conversion node.
We halt and turn to face the Teedo again.
“Fine, we have a deal. Three thousand credits for the droid.”
We take out a chit and register three thousand to it. After the validation is complete, we walk towards the Teedo. The Teedo dismounts the luggabeast, grabs the chit we are holding out, and pulls the net off the droid. The droid rolls out of his reach, slides a taser out of one of its compartment and makes it spark. A sign of warning.
“Good doing business with you, Outsider,” the Teedo says as he mounts the luggabeast. “ May your water never run out.”
“May yours always remain pure,” we return the traditional farewell on habit.
The Teedo leaves.
We can go inspect section Y-09 now.
We look towards the droid. It makes its taser spark again. Another warning.
“You’re free,” we inform it, before turning around so we can go inspect section Y-09.
[Query – why did you buy this unit from Organic-Pile-Of-Waste?]
“To free you,” we say without halting our walk. We hear the droid come closer.
[Query – what is your Designation?]
[Greetings, Designation; Savior-Rey.]
We ignore the droid as we enter ourselves.
We stop ignoring it when it enters us as well.
“Why are you following me?” We do not wish for it to follow us. We do not wish to have an unknown presence inside ourselves.
We wish for it to leave.
The droid waggles in place. We suspect that is a sign of uncertainty.
[...This unit does not know Planet; Jakku, well. This unit fears it might get captured again if it leaves. This unit is also waiting for its friend to arrive. Query – may this unit stay with Savior-Rey until its friend arrives?]
We do not wish for it to stay.
We will regret it later if we send it away now.
“I might take off at any moment. If you don’t mind that, you can stay. Though you’re not allowed to wander around unsupervised.”
[Directive accepted. This unit will stay with Savior-Rey, either until its friend returns, or until Savior-Rey leaves Planet; Jakku.]
We frown, our attention drawn away not just from the droid, but from our data as well. We… sense the Force? How? We never sense the Force when we are like this. Not the way we are sensing it now.
The Force is pleased.
We return our attention to the droid. We realize that the droid is what the Force has been waiting for.
We cannot determine why the Force has been waiting for this droid. Not when we are we.
Kylo Ren is still in the system. We cannot stop being we.
We return our attention to our data and resume walking towards section Y-09.
The droid follows us.
[Query – how long has Savior-Rey been on Planet; Jakku?]
We ignore the question, as well as the ones that follow. Arriving at sector Y-09, we lift the grate so we can inspect the relevant connection.
It is faulty. The casing has a significant fracture. Most likely cause, the repeated stress of transitioning between realspace and hyperspace.
We open our toolbox and start our repairs.
We remain aware of what the droid is doing. It is an unknown presence. We must ensure it does not tamper with our systems.
The droid is no longer asking questions. It is inspecting us instead.
It makes no attempt to establish a connection with our systems.
The droid starts talking again when R2-T3 arrives. R2-T3 does not respond to its greeting.
[Query – why is Designation; Small-Annoyance, here?]
The droid lets out a string of intelligible beeps. We suspect that it is insulted by the designation given to it by R2-T3.
“It's waiting for its friend to come,” we answer without halting our repairs.
[Adjustment of Query – why is Small-Annoyance inside Gorgeous-Thing?]
"It's staying here until either its friend returns, or until we take off."
R2-T3 lets out a string of intelligible beeps. This particular string expresses aggravation.
[This unit does not approve of Annoyance-Rey's lax security. Threat Level 8 is active.]
“We’ll keep an eye on it."
R2-T3 lets out another string of intelligible beeps. This is its version of an disgusted sigh.
[This unit often wonders why it allows Annoyance-Rey to stay.]
We are almost finished with our repairs.
[Query – what is this R2-unit's Designation?]
[This unit will be, Designation; Your-Worst-Virus, if it registers any of Small-Annoyance’s equipment near Gorgeous-Thing.]
The droid rolls away from R2-T3. That is a sign of fear. Or caution.
[Query – what is, Designation; Gorgeous-Thing?]
[Gorgeous-Thing is the Designation of, Starship; SERIES YT-1300 – CLASS Light Freighter – ID 492727ZED. This unit warns Small-Annoyance that if it registers any tampering with Gorgeous-Thing’s systems, it will fry Small-Annoyance’s main circuits.]
R2-T3 slides out its taser makes it spark in warning. The droid rolls further away from R2-T3.
[Designation; R2-Violence, assigned. Query – is R2-Violence's personality programming faulty?]
We ignore the question aimed at us. We have finished our repairs.
We need to inspect the hyperdrive motivator. We have registered a minor anomaly. We cannot afford to have any problems with our hyperdrive, no matter how minor.
We must remain ready to depart in an instant.
We place the floor grate back and walk towards the hyperdrive.
Our path is blocked by the droid. We try to move around it. It moves with us.
[Query – is Savior-Rey leaving this unit alone with R2-Violence?]
We are fairly certain the beeps are panicked.
“You’re not allowed to wander around unsupervised,” we remind it. “You have to stay either with me, or with R2-T3.”
R2-T3 makes its taser spark again.
[This unit will stay with Savior-Rey.]
“Then let me pass, and follow.”
The droid moves aside. We resume walking towards the hyperdrive. The droid follows us. R2-T3 does not.
[Query – is Savior-Rey’s programming faulty as well?]
“No.” Our software is performing at peak efficiency.
Our hardware is not.
The droid continues to ask questions. We ignore them. When we are like this, we are only interested in maintenance.
The minute part of us still aware that we are also me really hopes that Kylo Ren will leave soon.