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B-A-N-A-N-A

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one. k-n-o-c-k k-n-o-c-k.

<Poe.>

He was cold.

<Poe, respond. Poe, respond. Poe. Poe. Poe.>

His leg was—his leg—he blinked and saw blackness. Blinked again and saw specks of light. Passed out thinking they were stars.

<Poe! Alert! Poe!>

Woke up and realized they were actually stars. He was in the cockpit. His leg—oh, gods.

<Poe. Pilot. Pilot. Poepilotpoepilotpoepoepoepoepoe—>

“BB-8?”

The beeping sound he’d been hearing increased in a flurry. “Too loud,” he whispered. His throat was dry and his mouth tasted like blood. “What happened?”

<Collision. Enemy ships destroyed. X-Wing sustained damage. Poe sustained damage. BB-8 is perfect in every way.>

Poe laughed, then gasped when the movement shifted his leg. He didn’t want to look directly at it, but he knew better than to ignore it.

He could see clearly enough what had happened. There was piece of metal--a strip they’d welded on to patch up the ship’s interior after the last retrofit--that had twisted. The patch job wasn’t designed for the possibility that the entire side of the cockpit would be bowed inwards. Poe was grateful that the hull hadn’t been punctured, but. But the end of the piece of metal had pierced his flight suit and was embedded in his thigh, its other end still welded to the cockpit.

It was less than ideal.

Through the right viewport he could see the foils of his X-Wing, still extended for the fight, crumpled and folding back in towards the ship. Apparently, ramming into a TIE fighter to knock it off course wasn’t an approved battle maneuver. 

“It worked, right?” Poe asked. He didn’t want to die for nothing.

<Poe saved the day!> BB-8 said, ending with a trumpet-like fanfare.

“Thanks, buddy. Are you really okay?”

<Affirmative.>

Worse, though, even worse than the interior of the ship intersecting with the interior of his body, was the fact that the dashboard was completely dark. Some systems had to still be functioning, because he was still breathing, he was cold but not frozen, and his eyeballs hadn’t popped out of his head into the vacuum of space. He could hear BB-8, although that might be an auditory hallucination.

“Are you broadcasting an SOS signal?” he whispered. His throat hurt, as if he’d been screaming. “Is anyone nearby?”

BB-8 warbled, sad and low.

“Oh. Well—hey. This isn’t so bad, is it? Me, you, the stars.” He tried to turn, to see BB-8 and so that BB-8 could see him and be less lonely. He moved, but the metal in his thigh didn’t. He passed out screaming.

<Please? Poe. Please?>

He blinked and realized the constellations had changed. He felt cold, except for his right calf and ankle, where he could feel the hot trickle of blood.

<I need you.>

“BB-8?”

An excited burble, whistles, and then a string of phrases too fast for him to track. His mind wasn’t working right. Blood loss, low oxygen levels, possible concussion—he had a lot of excuses to choose from. “BB-8, slow down. I can’t understand you.” Another soft, apologetic warble.

The communication lines between pilot and droid were the most insulated part of the starfighter. Not every pilot had the same kind of relationship with their droid that Poe had (okay, no other pilot; he and BB-8 were maybe a little co-dependent), but all of them knew that, when their ship took off, it was just them, their astromech, and space. Being with BB-8 was worlds better than being alone.

BB-8 hummed to itself for a while, then, slowly, began spelling out strings of letters in basic binary. <K-N-O-C-K  K-N-O-C-K.> Poe tried to get his mind to work. BB-8 wasn’t making sense. <Poe. Poe, respond. POE!> A piercing whine split through the cockpit, shocking him into wakefulness.

“Sorry. Sorry, what--what did you say?”

<K-N-O-C-K  K-N-O-C-K. Poe, respond.>

Poe smiled. “Who’s there?”

<B-A-N-A-N-A.>

He felt himself relax, listening to BB-8’s careful letters and self-satisfied chortles. “Banana who?”

<K-N-O-C-K  K-N-O-C-K. Poe, respond.>

“I thought I already—did I pass out?”

<No. K-N-O-C-K  K-N-O-C-K. Poe, respond.>

He sighed, which shifted his weight on the seat. He clenched his fists against the pain. He wished he could move. He wished he could get that metal   out   of him, wished that someone could would carry him out of this cockpit and let him lie down. Maybe that’s what heaven would be like.

“Who’s there, BB-8?”

<B-A-N-A-N-A.>

“Banana who?” The droid burbled happily. At least, if Poe was going to die out here, he’d die with a smile on his face, having made someone else happy.

<K-N-O-C-K  K-N-O-C-K. Poe, respond.>

“I have a feeling I already know the answer, but, okay: BB-8, who’s there?”

<O-R-A-N-G-E.> He was going to die, in an X-Wing that had turned into more of a B-Wing, all the ends turned back in on itself, laughing at the stupidest joke ever told.

“Orange who?”

<O-R-A-N-G-E   Y-O-U   G-L-A-D   I   D-I-D-N-T   S-P-E-L-L   B-A-N-A-N-A?>

“Yes, B,” he agreed, trying not to move when he laughed. “I’m very glad you didn’t spell banana. But I think that—that joke—” A wash of pain. Numbness spreading up from his hip. He couldn’t feel the blood spilling down his leg anymore. “It loses something,” he gasped, “in translation.”

BB-8 hummed thoughtfully. Then, <A   L-O-N-G   T-I-M-E   A-G-O   I-N   A   G-A-L-A-X-Y   F-A-R   F-A-R   A-W-A-Y   T-H-E-R-E   W-A-S   A   M-A-N   F-R-O-M   N-A-N-T-U-C-K-E-T>

His radio crackled.

<H-E   H-A-D   A   H-O-L-E   I-N   H-I-S   B-U-C-K-E-T>

Jessica Pava’s voice, more static than words, came in through his helmet’s comm. "I was going to rescue you, but now I want to know more about this man from planet Nantucket.”

“It’s a long story,” Poe gasped. “But I’m pretty sure it ends with ‘Fuck it.’”

BB-8 laughed as Pava’s X-Wing came into view in front of them. She waggled her X-Wing’s foils, then flashed him a thumbs-up when she got closer. “We’ve got another ship on the way, Dameron,” she said. “You’re going to be just fine.”

After that, instead of S-O-S, Black Squadron sent out B-A-N-A-N-A-N-A-N-A signals, and refused to explain why.