Ideally, there’d have been a pilot.
FN-2187 is not trained in flying a TIE fighter, though he’s had the basic sim training that every trooper gets. He knows as he climbs into the cockpit that he’s as likely to die as escape – more likely, in fact. There’s a decent chance he’s going to be shot down before he’s even managed to get out of the hangar, and once he’s out of the Finalizer it only gets more dangerous. But he’s going to die anyway, now that Captain Phasma knows his weakness, and he’d rather die quick from a cannon blast than slow in the reconditioning chair.
He runs through the takeoff checklist carefully, much more slowly than a trained pilot would, but no one notices him: he is only one more white-armored figure, and even the one trooper who glances in at him keeps walking without a pause. If FN-2187 is running a preflight checklist, that must be what he is supposed to be doing, after all. Anything else is unthinkable.
FN-2187 is thinking it, but no one else knows that.
He lifts off slowly and cautiously, and here is the first danger: even if everyone ignored him doing the preflight checks, this is clearly not within his orders. So FN-2187 shrugs to himself, points the TIE fighter at the exit bay, and slams the throttle forward. If he crashes, well, it’ll be a quick way to go, and if he doesn’t, his former comrades will have less time to aim.
He screams as the TIE fighter lunges forward – fuck fuck fuck he’s gonna die – but then he’s out, staring up at endless black and stars, and behind him the Finalizer looming like death, and he sets a course away from everything, the planet, the Finalizer, the moons – knowing that he’ll be harder to spot in the depths of space. He’s a good light-minute away, the TIE fighter answering easily to his hands, by the time the targeting alarm goes off, and yep, there’s the fire from the Finalizer on his tail. FN-2187 grimaces. He’s not actually sure where to go from here. He’s out, he’s not dead, and now that he’s so close to escaping he’d really like to finish the job, just to prove that he can.
Well, the worst that can happen is that he’ll die horribly. FN-2187 wheels the TIE fighter out of the way of the first volley of cannon blasts and hits the hyperspace button. Who knows where he’ll end up?
He doesn’t recognize the stars when he emerges from hyperspace, but that doesn’t particularly surprise him. He’s not trained in astrogation, after all. He doesn’t recognize the planet, either, but it’s green and blue and there’s a small selection of satellites orbiting it, so it’s probably inhabited. He flips on the all-bands radio to see if there’s anything useful.
:Welcome to Maz’s Cantina: the radio burbles. :House rules are: no weapons out of holsters, no outside food or drinks, no excrement on the floor. Help wanted; inquire within.:
Well, if that’s not a sign from the universe, FN-2187 doesn’t know what is.
He lands the TIE fighter, badly, some distance from the cantina’s coordinates, under the cover of a large stand of trees. Well, he crashes the TIE fighter into a tree, which counts as landing it, right? Sim training didn’t really cover landing as extensively as it did preflight checklists. And he does manage to slow down enough that the crash is more a sort of slow-motion pratfall than a true disaster. And he’s not dead, which is something of a miracle.
He strips out of his armor, leaving it buried under the ruined TIE fighter. He’s not a Stormtrooper anymore. He doesn’t know what he is – it’s not as though there’s any precedent for this, anything he can point to and say, ‘I was a Stormtrooper but now I’m this,’ but he’s quite clear on not being a Stormtrooper anymore. Stormtroopers do not fail to shoot when given the order to fire. They do not defect from the First Order. They don’t steal TIE fighters and flee to unknown planets. He has disobeyed orders and betrayed his duty. He is not a Stormtrooper anymore.
He’s never actually walked bare-headed on a planet before. It’s surprisingly pretty. There’re plants everywhere, and the trees make little whispering noises in the wind, which his helmet would have filtered out as irrelevant. Something smells...green, which FN-2187 didn’t know was actually a smell.
The door into the cantina is open, and FN-2187 enters cautiously, keeping his ears open. He doesn’t actually expect anyone to yell, “Look! A defecting Stormtrooper!” but you never know, right?
But no one yells. No one even looks twice at him, really. He tries hard not to gape. There’s an incredible variety of people here, of races he can’t even recognize. The First Order recruits mostly from human or humanoid races, and FN-2187 is used to seeing people who look a lot like himself during meal hour and just before bedtime when they take their helmets off, but there are very few humans here.
“Excuse me,” he says to a being carrying a tray of drinks, “who do I speak to about the job?”
“Maz,” the being says, pointing behind itself to a tiny orange person at the bar. FN-2187 nods.
“Thank you,” he says, as politely as he can, and makes his way over.
Maz looks him up and down when he explains why he’s there. “What can you do?” she asks.
“I can clean anything,” FN-2187 says, because it’s true and because his only other real skills are battle skills, and he does not want to shoot anyone.
“You’re hired,” Maz says.
FN-2187 spends the next few weeks cleaning. He doesn’t mind, honestly; he can clean anything, and he’s used to doing it. It’s almost soothing to have something he knows how to do, because everything else about his new job is utterly baffling.
To start with, there’s the co-workers. Maz herself is, of course, tiny and orange. The cook is enormous and blue. The servers range from the trilaterally symmetrical being he spoke to the first day to a seven-foot-tall gangly creature to a humanoid with tentacles for hair. They don’t all speak Standard, but FN-2187 is a fast learner, and within a few days he’s picked up at least a few phrases in the gargling language the cook uses and the warbling trills of the trilaterally symmetrical server Cliaai. They ask him his name, the first night over a meal after the cantina closes, and FN-2187 tells them he doesn’t have one. Muffin – FN-2187 is not asking how a seven-foot-tall being got the name ‘Muffin’ – pats him on the shoulder and says, “You’ll earn one someday,” and after that they all call him Pot-boy, which is accurate enough. FN-2187 thinks it’s a little like the nicknames the Stormtroopers would give each other, like the one he never got, and answers to it gladly enough.
Then there’s the food. FN-2187 is used to protein shakes and simufood patties and fifteen minutes to bolt his bland meal and get his helmet back on and report for duty again. But Cook – FN-2187 never hears any other name for the enormous blue being – makes stews so savory that the first time FN-2187 tastes one he has to turn his face away and wipe the tears from his cheeks, breads fluffy as air and drenched in butter, something called a fruit cobbler which might actually be the most wonderful food in the universe. FN-2187 and the other workers are allowed to eat their fill at any time of day or night of the stew kept in the pot on the back of the enormous stove, and every night after the cantina closes they have a meal together, Maz grinning at them over a mug of hot tea, Cook presenting them with some new creation to test before he sells it to the paying customers, Cliaai warbling the stories xe’s heard from the patrons that day.
And the customers! FN-2187 thinks he may have seen representatives of every sapient race in the galaxy by now. Tall and short, large and small, every color of the rainbow and a few extras besides, they come to Maz’s Cantina and she serves them cold drinks and hot food and gossip in equal measure. She knows everyone, it sometimes seems, and she knows everything, too, because everyone comes to Maz’s and tells her what’s going on.
FN-2187, eavesdropping, hears that the Resistance is holding out pretty well against the First Order, that they’ve clashed a few times – notably off of Jakku – but neither has taken a clear lead. The Resistance is said to be looking for a map to some ancient mythical person; FN-2187 assumes that must be code for something. One ancient mystical person isn’t going to win a war. FN-2187 is reasonably sure nothing is going to stop the First Order from winning the war. But maybe he’ll be far enough away by then that they won’t find him. Or he’ll be dead. If he ever actually thinks that they’re going to take him back, he’ll find some way to kill himself. Now that he knows what life can be outside of the Stormtrooper barracks, he cannot bear to go back.
He’s clearing a table one day when he hears Maz squeal delightedly, and turns to see her hugging the legs of a human about as tall as FN-2187 is, one wearing a battered leather jacket and a huge grin. A little orange and white droid is rolling in circles around them, beeping excitedly. “Poe Dameron, you rascal,” Maz crows, “come tell me everything you’ve been up to!” She pats the droid as it whirls around her. “Yes, and you, BB-8,” she adds. “You can tell me when he lies.”
FN-2187 files the man and droid away in his mind as favored customers and goes back to clearing the tables, humming quietly to himself, until he reaches the back of the cantina and hears one of the patrons outside, murmuring into a comm. “…Dameron,” he hears, and, “…just tell General Hux…”
That’s enough to make FN-2187’s blood run cold. He backs away from the door very slowly, and then turns and threads his way through the tables until he reaches Maz and her companions. “Boss,” he says quietly, “someone out back just called in the First Order on your guest.”
Poe Dameron stiffens in his seat. “Shit,” he says, just as quietly.
“Take him out the back way,” Maz orders FN-2187. “Quick and quiet. Get him to his ship.”
“Yes, Boss,” FN-2187 says instantly, and Poe Dameron grabs something off the table between them and stuffs it into his pocket, then rises and follows FN-2187 into the kitchen and down the back stairs, pausing briefly to scoop his droid into his arms. FN-2178 presumes a round droid doesn’t do stairs too well.
“I owe you one, buddy,” Poe Dameron says as they reach the entrance back escape passage, which looks overgrown and impassible and is actually anything but. “Thanks.”
FN-2187 glances back at him. “I wouldn’t leave a womp-rat to the First Order,” he says grimly. “You should be more careful if they’re looking for you.”
Poe Dameron laughs. “I’m real bad at ‘careful,’ buddy,” he says cheerfully, and the droid in his arms beeps something which sounds a lot like rueful agreement. “Hey,” he adds after a moment, “you sound kind of like you’ve got a personal reason to hate their guts.”
“Yeah,” FN-2187 says shortly.
“Wanna come join the Resistance?” Poe Dameron asks.
FN-2187 looks over his shoulder to give Poe Dameron a frankly incredulous stare. “That is the worst recruitment pitch I have ever heard,” he observes.
“Yes, well, I’m a fighter pilot, not a recruiter,” Poe Dameron replies easily. “Good food, awful pay, saving the free galaxy from the forces of evil?”
“Very appealing, but I have a job,” FN-2187 says, and then they get to the end of the tunnel ad he looks out to see half a dozen TIE fighters streaking down to fire devastating bolts into the ancient walls of Maz’s Cantina.
FN-2187 and Poe Dameron stand there staring through the screen of plants for a long moment, and then Poe Dameron says, softly, “Buddy, I think your job may just have fallen through.” He sounds sympathetic, for all the flippant words.
FN-2187, staring up at the TIE fighters wreaking havoc, is suddenly overcome by a moment of sheer unadulterated rage. How dare they? How dare they bring the war here, to this place of safety? How dare they shoot at Maz, and Cliaai, at Muffin and Cook and Spindle who have been kind to him? How dare they?
He turns to Poe Dameron and holds out a hand. “You still want me in the Resistance?”
“Yeah, buddy,” Poe Dameron says, freeing one hand from under the droid and clasping FN-2187’s. “You want in?”
“I want in,” FN-2187 confirms.
“That’s my ship,” Poe Dameron – ‘Just call me Poe’ – says a few minutes later, pointing at a beat-up looking two-seater on the edge of the landing field. “Well, my ship for this run. My actual ship is much nicer.”
“We’ve got cover most of the way there,” FN-2187 observes.
“Can you shoot?” Poe asks. “A ship’s blaster, I mean.”
“I can learn,” FN-2187 says. “Fast.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Poe says, and FN-2187 follows him at a run to the next bit of cover, despairing a little if this is the level of planning the Resistance feels adequate.
By some miracle, they reach the ship undetected, and FN-2187 scrambles inside, scans the controls for the gunner’s position quickly. “Point and shoot,” Poe says, hauling himself into the pilot’s seat. “You got this?”
“I will,” FN-2187 says grimly, and then they are in the air. FN-2187 looks down at the Cantina, sees half the walls caved in and the remaining customers taking cover and shooting back, sees Maz – thank fuck – coordinating the defense. Then he sees a TIE fighter in the sights of his blaster, tracks, aims, fires. It’s much like a sim, honestly, and though FN-2187 couldn’t shoot at unarmed villagers, he was always good at sims.
“Whooo!” whoops Poe from the pilot’s seat. “Nice shooting – what was your name again?”
“FN-2187,” says FN-2187 absently, tracking the next TIE fighter as Poe puts their ship into a tight loop to avoid return fire.
“That’s not a name,” Poe objects. FN-2187 blows another TIE fighter out of the sky.
“It’s what I’ve got,” he says, not really paying much attention to the conversation when there are still ten TIE fighters doing their best to kill them.
“I’m going to call you Finn,” Poe says decisively.
That startles FN-2187 out of his concentration for a moment. “Finn,” he says, blinking in surprise. “Finn.”
“I mean – if you don’t mind, buddy,” Poe adds, and sends them into a terrifyingly steep dive, pulling up only just in time and leaving a TIE fighter to shatter on the rocks behind them.
“No, I – I like it,” FN-2187 says. Finn says.
“Great!” says Poe. “Alright, Finn, let’s clean these bastards’ clocks!”
Finn blows another TIE fighter out of the air. “Sorry,” he says to Poe, “what does that expression mean?”
There’s a brief silence from the pilot’s seat. “You know,” says Poe eventually, flipping them into a barrel roll and back out again, “I don’t actually know.”
Finn laughs so hard he misses his next shot; but he does not miss any of his others.
“So this is Finn,” Poe tells the terrifying tiny lady with a crown of braided hair. “He saved my ass.”
“Thank you,” the terrifying tiny lady says to Finn. “It’s a nice ass, and we’d hate to lose it.”
Poe turns bright red. “Stars and planets, General,” he says weakly. “Was that really necessary?”
“Shit,” says Finn, staring. “You’re General Leia Organa.”
General Organa raises an eyebrow at him. “Last I checked, yes,” she agrees. “And you’re apparently Finn. Pleased to meet you.”
“Likewise, Ma’am,” Finn says, coming to attention but not saluting, because something tells him that giving a First Order salute in the middle of a Resistance base is a bad idea.
“So before you saved my best pilot’s ass and he talked you into joining the Resistance, where were you from?” General Organa asks.
Finn takes a deep breath. This might well get him killed.
“Well, I was Maz’s pot-boy, ma’am,” he says, “but before that I was a Stormtrooper.”
There’s a long pause. Eventually General Organa says, “I didn’t think Stormtroopers were allowed to quit.”
“They’re not, ma’am,” Finn says evenly. “I deserted.”
“Huh,” says General Organa. “Well. Now I have seen everything. What a wonderful universe this is.” She fixes Finn with a steely glare. “Once you’re settled in I expect you to tell me everything you know about the First Order.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Finn says instantly, because that tone of command is undeniable.
General Organa turns her attention to Poe again, and Finn relaxes a little. “So, you brought me an ex-Stormtrooper,” she says. “Really, Dameron, it isn’t even my birthday.”
“Er,” says Poe, and pulls something out of his picket, holding it out to her – a metal cylinder about as wide as a blaster hilt and three times as long. “I also brought you Skywalker’s lightsaber. Maz said she thought it was time for it to go out into the universe again.”
General Organa takes the lightsaber hilt carefully and looks it over. Finn thinks he might actually see tears starting in her eyes, but they do not fall. “Overachiever,” she says, voice a little thick. “You’re going to make the rest of us look bad, Dameron.” She looks up, and her smile is watery but clear. “Well done,” she says quietly. “Very well done.”
“Thank you, General,” Poe replies, just as softly.
“Go and get your new friend settled in,” General Organa says. “Then bring him back here for a working dinner. I want details, Dameron.”
“Yes, General,” Poe says easily, and ushers Finn away. Finn glances back just before the door closes, and sees the General cradling the lightsaber hilt in her hands, head bowed. He looks away quickly. That is not for him to see.
“So,” the General says once they’ve all got full plates, “details, Dameron.”
Poe runs through the first few legs of what was apparently an extended scouting run in a few brief words – nothing happened, he saw nothing, no sign of any First Order activity – and then slows down once he gets to the scene at Maz’s. “She was…she’d been waiting for me, or someone like me,” he says. “She told me the lightsaber had been getting restless, wanted to be used. And she told me who to look for.”
“By name?” the General asks, surprised.
Poe laughs. “No. She said, ‘Look for the desert girl, the deserted girl. The saber will call to her when you are near enough.’”
The General sighs and rubs a hand over her face. “The desert girl. Oh, Force, not Tatooine again. Please not Tatooine again.”
“It could be Jakku,” Finn offers, remembering sand and more sand around a village which is no longer there. Ooh, he hopes the girl they’re looking for wasn’t in that village…
“Good point,” General Organa says, nodding approvingly to Finn. “There are more desert planets than Tatooine. Right, Dameron, your next mission is finding her.”
“Me?” says Poe, looking surprised.
“Maz gave the lightsaber to you,” General Organa says.
“I am not Force-sensitive,” Poe points out. “I don’t know that I’d feel the saber ‘call’ – whatever that means.”
“Hmmmm,” says General Organa. Then she reaches over to grab the lightsaber hilt off of a nearby shelf and tosses it underhand to Finn.
Finn catches it easily despite his surprise. It is warm and almost friendly in his hand, and it’s…not his, he knows that immediately, but it likes him, nestles into his hand comfortably, and tugs gently, as though trying to lead him towards its true owner. Finn stares down at it in shock. “I’m not…I…what?”
General Organa chuckles a little. “When you’ve seen as much as I have, you stop believing in coincidences,” she says, and Finn looks up to find her smiling at him almost sadly. “The first Stormtrooper to successfully desert shows up in my Resistance base with my best pilot? It would have been more of a surprise if you weren’t Force-sensitive.”
“Oh,” says Finn.
“Right, so you and Dameron go find me a Force-sensitive desert girl,” General Organa says briskly. “And, Dameron – evidently the First Order is looking for you. Keep a low profile.”
“When do I ever do anything else?” Poe asks, grinning.
The General sighs and looks at Finn. “So for some reason I am actually fond of this cocky idiot,” she informs him. “Bring him back to me in one piece.”
“Yes, ma’am,” says Finn.
Finn takes the spare bunk in Poe’s room that night, because on such short notice there’s nowhere else available. He’s honestly a little surprised by how much space Poe has, though Poe apologizes as soon as the door opens for how small the room is. In the First Order, Finn shared a barracks with nineteen other troopers, and there was enough room for a bunk and a locker apiece and a walkway between each stack of bunks, and nothing more. At Maz’s, he had his own little bed-cubby, which was large enough for a mattress and a locker and nothing more. Poe’s room has two bunks, one on each side, with a large locker at the foot of each and enough room for two people to pass each other easily between, and a tiny refresher room at the back. It’s frankly decadent for two, and Finn is blankly astonished at the idea that Poe has been staying in here alone.
“This is…wonderful,” he assures Poe, who grins and claps him on the shoulder.
“Great, buddy,” he says. “You can have first go at the ‘fresher, if you like.”
“Thanks,” Finn says, realizing that he’s itchy with dried fear-sweat.
The refresher is tiny, which is also odd. The ones in the First Order were big enough for five squads at a time, with a timer on the water so they’d finish quickly; the communal refresher at Maz’s was large enough for any of them to fit in it, which meant it was tall and broad enough for Cook and Finn always felt a little small when he stepped into the tiled room. This refresher is just about big enough for one person, if the person isn’t too big. Cozy.
…And Poe thinks his room is small, thinks there’s only barely enough space for two in a compartment which would have housed at least six Stormtroopers. Is this how real people live? Are they so wealthy, so blessed?
Finn showers in the regulation three minutes and tucks himself into the spare bunk while Poe spends rather longer in the shower, and is asleep, far from such unpleasant questions, by the time Poe emerges and turns out the light.
The girl is not on Tatooine. Finn knows it as soon as they step out of the ship. The lightsaber hilt is cold and unhappy in his hand, and the sunlight makes him squint and wish, for the first time, for his helmet. “Not here,” he tells Poe.
“Thank goodness,” Poe says. “The General would have been so snarky.”
There are three more desert planets between Tatooine and Jakku, and Poe and Finn visit them all. The lightsaber is cold and unresponsive in Finn’s hand, and so they spend only a few minutes on each one – they pause for lunch on the second, and Finn discovers that cactus water is actually kind of tasty – and are off again into the black sky.
And then they land on Jakku, and as Finn steps foot on the sand the lightsaber hilt grows warm and eager, tugging at his hand. “Here,” Finn says. “She’s here, somewhere.”
“Well, good,” says Poe cheerfully. “You’ve got the magic girl-finding lightsaber; lead on!”
Finn laughs at him. “I’m pretty sure the lightsaber does more than find girls.”
“Aww, but think how useful!” Poe says, slinging an arm over Fin’s shoulders. BB-8, behind them, chirps what sounds like a laugh. “Anytime you wanted to have a drink and flirt with a pretty girl, you just tell the lightsaber to lead on, and poof! There you are!” He considers a moment. “I wonder if you’d need a second one for pretty boys, or if you could just change the settings…”
Finn shakes his head. “Somehow I don’t think you have any trouble finding pretty people,” he points out, following the gentle tug of the lightsaber hilt towards the outpost, a ramshackle affair of tents around a large well-fortified building.
They get all the way through the outpost without the lightsaber indicating any particular person, and stand looking out at the sand for a while. “We could…get back in the ship and fly low, keep an eye out for other people?” Poe suggests.
“There’s someone coming,” Finn says, pointing. Sure enough, there’s a streak of dust approaching, which resolves itself into a battered, plug-ugly speeder with a veiled figure atop it. The rider pulls the speeder to a neat halt only a few yards from Poe and Finn, and swings down – and the lightsaber hilt jumps in Fin’s hand.
“That’s her,” he says, and starts across the sand.
The girl pulls her goggles off and eyes them warily as they approach. “Who’re you?”
“I’m Finn,” Finn says. “This is Poe Dameron, and the little droid is BB-8.” He takes a deep breath. “We’ve come to give you this, and ask you to come with us.” And he holds out the lightsaber hilt.
The girl studies him minutely for a long moment, turns that searching gaze on Poe, looks BB-8 over with an assessing eye, and then reaches out and takes the lightsaber, and goes stiff and still, staring into nothingness with wide and horrified eyes. Long moments later, she goes limp; Finn catches her before she can fall. Her eyes are closed, and she’s clinging to the lightsaber as though it’s the only real thing in the universe. Finn gives Poe a panicky look.
“What do I do?” he hisses.
“I don’t know,” Poe whispers back, eyeing the girl worriedly. “Leia didn’t say anything about it hurting her.”
“I’m not hurt,” the girl says, getting her feet back under her and standing, shaking herself off as if to get rid of cobwebs. “It just…showed me things.” She eyes them both. “What is it?”
“It’s a lightsaber,” Poe says. “And as far as we can tell, it’s yours.”
The girl stares down at the saber hilt. “You said…you said you wanted me to come with you,” she says at last.
“Yes,” Finn confirms. “Though the lightsaber’s yours regardless.”
“I…I want to,” she admits, "but…”
Whatever she is going to say next is cut off by a shout from the outpost. “That’s Dameron! Get them!” Poe and Finn whirl to see half a dozen large people of various species charging across the sand at them.
“Why exactly does the First Order want your head on a platter, Poe?” Finn asks, reaching over to grab Poe’s hand and glancing from one side to the other in search of a way out.
“Run now, talk later,” Poe replies. “We’re cut off from the ship.”
“There’s one over there,” Finn points out. They start backing towards it, Finn keeping a close eye on the enemy, who slow down substantially when Finn draws his blaster. The girl paces them, long staff in one hand and lightsaber hilt clutched firmly in the other. Finn glances at her. “You could get on your speeder and go,” he observes. “You’d be out of range fast.”
“This is the only outpost close enough to my den,” the girl says. “They’ll be waiting next time I come in.” She looks furious. Finn winces.
“That ship’s a piece of garbage,” she says, glancing over her shoulder at the one they’re approaching. One of the enemy gets brave, trots out in front of the pack; Finn fires a warning shot into the sand at its feet, sending the enemy leaping backwards in alarm. “Huh. Nice shooting.”
“There isn’t another one closer,” Poe says. “And I can fly anything.”
“I can copilot,” the girl says.
“And Finn’s a marvelous gunner,” Poe finishes, grinning. “We got this.”
They are almost at the ship’s ramp. Fin drops Poe’s hand, sets himself firmly with both hands on the blaster. “Get the ship started,” he says. “I can hold them off.”
“Aye aye,” Poe says, and runs for the ramp, the girl half a step behind him and BB-8 trundling behind. Finn fires two more warning shots as the enemy close in, then wings the first enemy to draw a blaster. Then the ship thrums to life behind him, and Poe’s amplified voice yells, “Get in!”
Finn sprints up the ramp and it slams shut behind him, and the ship rumbles itself into the air.
“So,” says the girl once they’re safely in hyperspace. “I guess I’m going with you. Where are we going?”
“To the Resistance,” Poe tells her. “General Leia Organa wants to meet you.”
“Me?” the girl asks, astonished. “I’m nobody.”
“That lightsaber thinks otherwise,” Finn points out, leaning against the doorway to the cockpit.
“You’re one of the best pilots I’ve ever had the honor of flying with,” Poe adds. “And you clearly know this ship inside and out. What’s her name, anyway?”
“The Millennium Falcon,” says the girl, and Poe’s eyes go huge and awestruck.
“I’m flying the Millennium Falcon?” he gasps, and appears to go into quiet raptures.
“While we’re on the subject, what’s your name?” Finn inquires.
“Rey,” she says, and takes his hand when he holds it out.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Finn says, quite honestly. Her hand is very strong and warm in his.
“Likewise,” she says.
“The actual Millennium Falcon,” Poe murmurs. Rey and Finn glance at him, then back at each other, and their laughter echoes through the old ship as she soars towards their destiny.