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The Last of the Jedi

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A long time ago in galaxy far, far away:

The FIRST ORDER reigns having decimated the peaceful Republic, Supreme Leader Snoke now deploys his merciless legions to seize military control of the galaxy.

Only General Leia Organa’s band of RESISTANCE fighters stand against the rising tyranny, certain that Jedi Master Luke Skywalker will return and restore a spark of hope to the fight.

But the Resistance has been exposed. As the First Order speeds toward the rebel base, the brave heroes mount a desperate escape . . .

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The First Order’s Dreadnought loomed ominously in the space above D’Qar as a single X-wing approached. Poe Dameron brought his ship to a stop just inside the radius of the First Order’s detector’s. In his compartment in the back of the ship, BB8 beeped anxiously.

“Happy beeps only here buddy, come on. We’ve pulled crazier stuff than this.”

“Just for the record Commander Dameron,” General Leia’s voice filtered in through their com link as Poe started flicking switches on his dashboard, “I’m with the droid on this one.”

“Thank you for your support General.”

Closing his eyes, Poe heaved a sigh before lowering his voice and muttering, “Happy beeps.”

This, after all, was surely a suicide mission. One X-Wing against one of the biggest Imperial ships, the odds had never been less in his favor. Yet, Poe could not simply let the opportunity to send a devastating blow to the First Order go.

Never tell me the odds.

He had heard those words out of the General’s mouth on several occasions when she shared stories of her late husband, Han Solo. Poe would carry those words with him today. Heaving out a final sigh, Poe flicked the switch that would connect his com to the First Order’s ship.

“Attention! This is Commander Poe Dameron of the Republic Fleet, I have an urgent communicate for General Hux.”

“This is General Hux of the First Order. The Republic is no more. Your fleet are rebel scum and war criminals. Tell your precious Princess there will be no terms. There will be no surrender.”

Poe held his breath, the engines were only charged at 25% power.

“Hi, I’m holding for General Hux.”

“This is Hux. You and your friends are doomed. We will wipe your filth from the galaxy.”

A slight smirk began to flicker across his lips at General Hux’s irritated tone. He could do banter and snark if it gave him time. Engines were at 50%.

“. . . Okay, I’ll hold.”

“Hello?”

“Hello? Yeah, still here.”

“Can you- Can he hear me?”

“Hux?”

“He can.”

The indignant sound of Hux’s voice filtered through the cockpit of the X-wing, making Poe’s next words fall out of his mouth without thought.

“With an H. Skinny guy, kind of pasty.”

“I can hear you. Can you hear me?”

“Look, I can’t hold forever. If you reach him, tell him Leia has an urgent message for him.”

Engines were at 80%. Poe began flicking switches, preparing for take off as another voice filtered through the com.

“I believe he’s tooling with you, sir.”

Engines were at 90%.

“Open fire,” the order came through the com before their transmission was cut.

Engines at 100%.

“BB8, Punch it!”

The engine on the X-wing flared to life, the ship began to hurtle towards the Imperials’ Dreadnought. Poe and BB8 were forced back in their seats, as Poe steered the ship unwavering towards the top of the Dreadnought.

Releasing a laugh of relief, Poe allowed himself a grin before beginning to take out the cannons that were on top of the Imperial ship. He weaved a precarious course, leading his ship directly towards blasters and then swerving out of the way when one was about to hit his ship - allowing the First Order’s blasts to take themselves out while he fired blasts of his own.

“Alright, taking out the cannons now. Bombers, start your approach.”

“Copy that.”

Poe’s heart was pounding so loud he could feel the thud of it throughout his body, his blood singing in excitement as he approached the next cannon. He had never felt more alive than when he was able to fly. Taking aim, he fired away at the nearest cannon. It bursts into flames of orange and red, that he raced through while swerving to miss the debris.

“One cannon left.” At last, a group of TIE fighters filtered out through the Imperial’s ship behind him. “Here comes the parade.”

They raced after the X-wing with precision, firing off blasts that Poe was left veering to miss. BB8 beeped a warning of the three TIE fighters gaining on them.

“Yeah! Yeah, I see them!” Poe yelled back, stuck between going for the last cannon and escaping the incoming TIE fighters.

A green blast ripped into the X-wing, an electrical current surged through the ship leaving the screen and half the controls on the inside frazzled.

“No, no! Damn it! BB8, my weapon systems are down. We gotta take out that last cannon or our bombers are toast. Work your magic, buddy!”

BB8 beeped an affirmation, before sliding down into the ship and searching through the interior for the problem. One of the panels in the wall began to spark, one of BB8’s panels opened an arm extending out towards the ship’s panel only for another spark to start upon contact with the first one, and when BB8 extended their reach another spark began.

“Need some help?” a woman’s voice filtered through the cockpit, as ten resistance bombers flew into the space in front of the Dreadnought.

“Turn around!” Poe ordered frantically, as he maneuvered his ship attempting to keep the TIE fighters focused on him and not the newly arrived bombers. “There’s still one cannon left. We’ll be slaughtered if you go in now. My weapon systems are down.”

There was a commotion through the line as the message was passed around. TIE fighters had already began to break off and target the bombers close enough, the remaining cannon fired away taking down one, two, three bombers in the span of seconds. Still, some of the bombers preceded forwards, while others turned tail to report back to the rebel’s ship.

“Bomber’s disengage,” the General’s voice echoed through the com.

In the chaos, the Dreadnought fired the cannons on the underbelly of the ship at D’Qar, destroying the rebel base as the last rebel ship evacuated the area.

“The last transport is in the air. The evacuation is complete,” Lieutenant Kaydel Ko Connix’s voice came through the com link, followed by General Leia’s.

“You did it, Poe. Now get your squad back here soon, so we can get out of this place.”

“No! General, we can do this! We have the chance to take out a Dreadnought.”

Poe maneuvered his X-Wing through four vertical panels, causing two of the X-Wings behind him to crash and sending a third ramming into the Dreadnought, where it collided and promptly burst into flames. He veered the ship left towards the last cannon, determined to wipe it out.

“These things are freak killers. We can’t let it get away. My weapons systems are almost back on.”

“Disengage now, Commander. That is an order.”

Poe eyed the last cannon, his hand wavering before he veered the ship in the opposite direction.

“Understood, General. We’re headed back now.”

The TIE fighters remained in pursuit behind him, firing relentless at his retreat. The majority of the bombers had turned tail and managed to get away, but one remained flying closer and closer to the Dreadnought, barely managing to evade the TIE fighters fire.

“Bomber, the General has ordered us to disengage. Turn around.”

“No! I have the shot, I can do this.”

“Paige, that’s an -”
Poe didn’t have time to finish his sentence as a blast from one of the TIE fighters rammed into the bomber, destroying the top portion of the ship.

“Paige! Paige, can you hear me?”

Silence reigned. There was a horrible moment of nothing but static, until an anguished moan filtered through the speakers.

“I’m . . . here.”

A sigh of relief fell from Poe’s lips.

“BB8 and I are coming to get you. We’ll stop just below your ship, I’ll open the cockpit and you can fall in.”

“No, no. I can - I can still drop the bombs. I have the shot.”

“If you drop those bombs, you’ll die too, Paige.” Poe flicked through the switches on his dashboard, swerving out of one of the TIE fighters way. “We’re on our way. BB8, you know what to do.”

The ship hurtled through the air, as Poe jerked on a facial mask preparing to open the cockpit of the ship. As suddenly as they started, the X-wing jerked to a stop beneath the bomber. Poe flicked the cockpit open, as Paige’s body fell out from her ship and slammed into the X-wing below. Her face contorted in agony, Poe gripped onto her hand and pulled her body in to the ship.

The cockpit slammed shut and Poe jerked to start the ship back up as a TIE fighter fired, hitting the back end of the ship. Paige groaned, as she and Poe squeezed together to fit into the cockpit as they hurtled off once more. Gripped in her hand was the remote that would release the bombs. Paige grimaced up at Poe, who was he steering the X-wing with one hand and pulling the facial mask off with the other.

“Paige and I are back in the ship and headed your way, General.”

“Glad to hear it, Commander. We’ll take off once you’ve landed.”

Paige lifted the remote so that Poe could see and pushed down on the release button.

The bombs rained down on the Dreadnought behind them, exploding on impact and turning the threatening hulk of metal into a shower of red, yellow, and oranges. The blast sent their ship flying forward, BB8 screaming an array of miffed beeps as they continued to fix the interior of the ship.

“Holy shit,” Poe breathed out, at the sight of the Dreadnought exploding behind them. “Paige, you did it.”

His awed exclamation was met with silence.

“Paige?” he turned, to see her passed out in the seat. It was only now that he noticed the twist to her ankle and the blood that was seeping through her clothing. “Shit. General, I need medic on standby in the hanger. Paige’s foot is twisted and she seems to bleeding somewhere in the abdominal area.”

General Leia’s voice was tense and weighted, “Copy that. Medic will be waiting.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Medic droids and nurses were on standby as soon as Poe landed, Paige was whisked out of the ship and carted off before Poe had even gotten out. For a moment, he seemed to be unable to remove his hands from the helm of the ship - they had lost several bombers out there, because of him. If only he had been able to take out that last cannon, or if he hadn’t gotten hit by that TIE fighter his weapons systems wouldn’t have failed.

There was more he could have done. He knew there was.

BB8’s sympathetic beeps pulled him out from his mind.

“Yeah, buddy, we did good.” Despite his efforts, the words fell flat. “We’ll still need to give the General a report on the mission.”

Straightening up in his seat, Poe ran his hand along his face. What happened was over, if he ever wanted to defeat the First Order he’d have to keep moving forward. He couldn’t change the past. Still, the gleam of Paige’s fresh blood on the seat and on part of his suit seemed to say otherwise.

Would Paige even make it? Had Poe been too late to rescue her?

Poe shook his head, grabbing onto a stray towel on the floor of the cockpit he haphazardly wiped up the blood before getting down off the ship and joining BB8 who was waiting for him below. Together they navigated to the bridge, the sooner he gave his mission report the sooner he could check in on Paige - and Finn. It had almost been a month since Rey had left to find Luke Skywalker, and Finn hadn’t shown any signs of waking, no matter how long Poe waited by his bedside.

General Leia stood and approached him the second he step foot onto the bridge, leading him off to a corner of the room where they could speak privately.

“Commander Dameron.”

“General,” he nodded his head in respect. “How many did we lose?”

“More than we had to spare.” She eyed the blood on his uniform and the way his eyes remained downcast. “But that wasn’t your fault.”

“Paige -”

“Defied a direct order. She knew what she was doing. There was nothing you could have done to stop what happened out there. Sometimes, you have to accept the fact that you can’t win everything. We lost good men and women out there today, but we also destroyed that Dreadnought and we were able to evacuate D’Qar without leaving anyone behind. Lives were saved today, even if it is not apparent in this moment.”

“I understand, General.”

For a moment, he seemed at a loss of what else to say. Logically, he knew he couldn’t have prevented those people from dying, still his brain fought to say otherwise. In an effort to keep his thoughts controlled, he began to detail a brief of the mission, including a report of the damage to his ship as the General listened on.

“Poe,” General Leia interrupted, “are you all right?”

“I - I’m fine. Only my ship was damaged.”

“That wasn’t what I was asking.” A sad smile rose to her lips. “Poe, after my planet was destroyed by the Death Star, I felt as if I had to pretend to be okay. I thought it was necessary that the rebellion see me as someone strong in the face of something that greatly affected me personally. But I didn’t have to, there were people I could have talked to and I should have. You don’t have to pretend to be strong for the rebellion and if you need to talk, I am here.”

She was right, of course. General Leia Organa always was. He had been blaming himself for every horrible thing that happened to the rebellion when he was around, even when he knew it wasn’t his fault. The betrayal of Oddy Muva and the resulting death of L’ulo L’ampar had been weighing on his shoulders for some time now and everything that followed left a heavier feeling behind. Maybe it was time he let some of these things go, maybe it was time to admit he wasn’t as fine as he pretended to be.

“Thank you for the offer. I appreciate it, but I think I’m going to go and check in on Paige, see how she’s doing, and see if there’s any changes with Finn. Just take a minute to remember what we’re fighting for.”

“Then consider yourself dismissed.”

Poe nodded and began to head towards the door, only to be stopped by the General’s next words.

“And Poe? You did good out there today.”

Poe couldn’t help the smile that rose from his lips at the compliment.

“Duty to others before duty to one’s self, right? I learned that from you.”

Leia Organa could only smile in return as Poe left, remembering how her father had taught her those words long ago and how they had carried her to where she was today.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The med bay was silent, save for the sound of intermittent beeping from medical droids, when Poe arrived still in uniform with BB8 rolling in behind him. For a moment, he eyed the door to Finn’s room, but he knew it was unlikely there’d be a change. Turning he moved to walk over to the only other occupied room.

The sound of sniffling and choked back crying filtered out into the hall as he walked closer. Inside the room, Paige was submerged in a bacta tank, a young woman in a maintenance outfit sat in a chair next to her, quietly sobbing into her hands. Poe knocked against the doorframe, causing the woman to look up. At the sight of another human being the woman began to frantically wipe her eyes, in an attempt to rid the evidence of her tears.

“You’re Rose, right?” Poe asked, stepping into the room. “Paige’s sister?”

“Yes. I - I am. I’m Rose.” She stood and took a step towards him. “You’re Poe. You’re the one who brought Paige back.”

“I am.” Poe offered her a reassuring smile. “How is she? Do we know anything yet?”

“She - um - She’s going to be okay. At least that’s what they said. Her ankle was broken and they say she must have fallen at some point. Her back is heavily bruised, four of her ribs broke, and there was internal bleeding. But they say she’s going to make it. She’s going to make it.”

Poe felt as if he had been punched in the stomach. Yes, he had rescued her and brought her here, but he also hadn’t even initially noticed she was injured. He had had her fall straight onto his X-wing, the impact of which must have left her in even more excruciating pain than she was already in.

“I’m so sorry, Rose. For everything that’s happened. Your sister was incredibly brave out there today, and she saved a lot of lives.”

“Thank you for bringing her back. I heard what she was going to do, that she was going to sacrifice herself, but you stopped her.”

“I,” Poe felt lost for words. He had brought her sister back severely injured, and here she was thanking him anyways. “It was the right thing to do. The resistance is nothing if we don’t look out for one another. Your sister is strong, she’ll be back on her feet in no time.”

“Yeah,” Rose’s face seemed to brighten at that, a smile twitching at her lips. “She never could stay down for long.”

“I’ll get out of your hair.” He gripped her on the shoulder, hoping she could feel his support. “But, if you need anything, anything at all, let me know. Paige wasn’t alone in all of this, and neither are you.”

A blinding smile pulled over her lips, perhaps the first true smile she had given since he stepped into the room, and she nodded.

“I will. And thank you again, for everything.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Finn’s room was cold. It was always cold, to Poe’s displeasure. He had once tried to turn up the temperature, only to be kicked out and banned from the med bay for two whole days by the medical droids. It had been torture, he was certain that Finn would wake up. Fate would spite him but not allowing him to be there. But Finn hadn’t woken. That was three weeks earlier and still Finn remained in his medical cot covered in bacta patches, unchanged.

“Hey, buddy. Sorry it’s so late today. BB8 and I have had quite the day.”

BB8 beeped loudly in affirmation, rolling around the room as Poe slid down into his chair at Finn’s bedside.

“On the upside, we managed to destroy a Dreadnought - something I think you’d be pleased by. We had some close calls, but most of us managed to make it out alright. Paige, the one who dropped the bombs, got injured. It’s pretty bad, but she’s going to pull through. She’s strong like you. We haven’t heard back from Rey yet, but we assume that -”

Finn’s entire body suddenly jerked in the cot, his head slamming into the glass that covered the top portion of the bed.

“Rey!” he called out

“Finn!” Poe shot up, his hands moving on instinct to lift the glass panel up so Finn could move.

“Poe?” Finn moved to stand up, his movements jerky.

“Slow down, Finn.” Poe grabbed ahold of Finn’s arms as he moved to stand, helping balance him. “You’ve been out of it for a while. It’s unbelievably good to see you. You must have a thousand questions.”

Finn’s expression darkened, a crease forming in his brow.

“Where’s Rey?”

BB8 chimed up then, a series of quick excited beeps that left Finn frowning.

“She’s okay. She went to find Luke Skywalker, almost a month ago. She wanted to wait until you woke, but it was urgent.”

BB8 rolled forward then, ramming into Finn’s leg before opening one of the panels on their side, a holographic projection of Rey at Finn’s bedside filled the room.

“We’ll see each other again. I believe that,” holographic Rey said, before she leaned over and kissed Finn’s forehead.

The holograph showed Rey leave a lingering gaze on Finn before it faded to black.

“How - How did she get away from Kylo Ren? He was trying to kill us.”

“I have no idea, but Chewbacca and Rey brought you back on the millenium falcon. You’ve been stuck in medical ever since.” Poe glanced at Finn’s bacta patch covered body. “Maybe we should get you some clothes.”

Finn blinked, finally noticing that he was missing the majority of his clothes.

“Oh, yeah. Is there somewhere . . . ?”

“My rooms not far, you can take some of mine.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Finn emerged from Poe’s bathroom, in fresh clothes and looking more alive than Poe had seen him in the past month. Poe couldn’t stop the smile that rose to his lips at the sight of Finn.

“Here, I’ve got one more thing for you.”

Reaching into his closet, Poe pulled out the jacket he had given to Finn so long ago.

“Your jacket,” Finn breathed out, taking the article from Poe. “I thought it would have been destroyed after . . ..”

“It was a bit mangled,” Poe admitted. “But I patched it up while you were out. It’s a bit rough but - Oh!”

Poe couldn’t finish the rest of his sentence, as Finn had stepped forward and embraced him. Arms wrapping tightly around Poe, warmth seeping out of Finn and bleeding into Poe who hadn’t realized how much he had needed that until Finn had given it to him. Poe hugged him back equally as fierce.

“Thank you,” Finn said as he pulled away. “No one’s ever done anything like that for me before.”

“It was no problem. It would have been a shame if you had lost my jacket right after I gave it to you.”

Finn startled suddenly, back straightening as his eyes cleared up.

“Wait, starkiller base did you -”

“Starkiller base is gone. The mission was a success.”

“You did it? You really blew it up?”

“No, Finn. We did it. We were only able to get in because you lowered the shields. You’re one of us, you’re part of the resistance now. If you want to be that is.”

Finn was quiet for a moment, his gaze on the jacket he still held in his hands, before he nodded resolutely.

“I do. I do want to be. Do you think they’ll accept me? I was a stormtrooper, that can’t look good.”

“Of course they’ll accept you. You defected and gave us the information to destroy Starkiller base, funny how history repeats itself like this. But even if you hadn’t done those things, you left the First Order. You chose to fight for the light and if anyone has a problem with that you can send them my way.”

“Thank you, Poe.” Finn couldn’t think of anything else to say. In the span of a few days, he had gone from being a number that meant almost nothing to the people around him to having two close friends who truly cared about him. “Wait, what do you mean history repeats itself?”

Poe’s head tilted in confusion.

“Well, that’s how the first Death Star was defeated. An imperial pilot, Bodhi Rook, defected against the Empire. He brought a message that there was a flaw in the Death Star and he was apart of the Rogue One crew, the group that landed on Scarif to steal the plans and transmit them to the resistance.”

“He was like me, then?”

Finn couldn’t help but smile. He hadn’t ever heard of the Rogue One group or Bodhi Rook. Defectors were only used to make examples of, but if Bodhi Rook had been successful in bringing about the downfall of the Empire it made sense that Finn wouldn’t have ever heard of him. Others would have rose up against the First Order if they knew they had a shot at being successful. Finn might have chanced it sooner if he had known.

“Exactly! Without him the resistance would have crumbled, the Empire would have won. Just like with you. Our system was targeted next, if you hadn’t been able to switch off the shields who knows what would remain of the rebellion.”

“Who else was part of Rogue One?”

“Fifteen others outside of Bodhi. Jyn Erso, she was the daughter of Galen Erso who designed the Death Star with the flaw on the inside, there were two Guardians of the Whills - Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus -, Cassian Andor, he was a spy and a pilot for the rebellion. He reprogrammed an Imperial KX-series security droid when he was only fourteen years old. K2SO the droid was called, he was there on Scarif too. My mother says that Cassian used to tell people that, ‘rebellions are built on hope’ and he was right. His hope defeated the Empire and - I’m talking too much, aren’t I?

“No! It was good. I’ve never heard any of this before. We were never allowed to hear events that put the First Order in a bad light. I want to hear more.”

Poe grinned at him.

“Well I have tons of stories. My family has been apart of the rebellion for a long time and I’d be happy to tell them to you, but I think we have to let the General know you’re up first.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“We’re really nowhere,” Finn said, taking his eyes away from the map that was projected across the console in the center of the bridge as he turned towards General Leia. “How’s Rey going to find us now?”

The General lifted the sleeve of her dress to reveal a small circular device, with a bright blue glowing center that was attached to a bracelet wrapped around her wrist.

“A cloaked firing beacon,” Finn identified, stepping closer to her.

She nodded, before pulling her sleeve back over the device.

“To light her way home.”

Finn suppressed a smile. Rey would soon come back and be home with him. They had started this journey together, neither interested in going up against the First Order, and yet here they both were leading at the front lines of the rebellion. She was his friend, one of two that he had, and his heart warmed at the thought of seeing her again.

“All right,” Finn approached the General’s side, “until she gets back, what’s the plan?”

“We need to find a new base.”

“One with enough power to get a distressed signal to our allies, scattered in the outer rim,” Poe chimed in. “We need resources; we’ve been running out of fuel for months now and this far out, if we can’t find a way to contact someone we’ll be stranded.”

A loud insistent beeping began, causing every person’s head to snap up.

“Proximity alert!” Admiral Gial Ackbar announced

“They’ve found us,” one of the rebels said.

“But that’s impossible,” Poe said, moving so that he was closer to the windows along the bridge, “We just dropped out of lightspeed, how could they have . . .?”

A fleet of imperial ships suddenly appeared on the map in the center console. The bridge rumbled with activity, every person aboard going into high alert and preparing for battle.

“That’s Snoke’s ship.” Poe’s head shook in disbelief. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” He moved back to the center console, next to Finn. “Can we jump to lightspeed?”

“We only have enough fuel resources for just one jump,” a lieutenant reported.

“Well then do it, we gotta get out of here.”

“Would that even work?” Finn cut in. “They tracked us through lightspeed and that’s impossible.”

“And they’ve done it,” the General reported gravely.

BB8’s head rolled forward in bleak resignation.

“So if we jump to lightspeed they’ll just find us again and we’ll be out of fuel. They’ve got us.”

The admission felt like Finn was being blasted in the gut. He had just escaped the First Order and even though it had been a month for everyone else, it hadn’t been for him. How long could he keep up this race against the First Order? Every time he thought he was truly free they would appear, even more ruthless than before.

Still he couldn’t just give up. If he had done that before Starkiller Base would still be standing. If Bodhi Rook hadn’t risked his life to bring a message the Death Star never would have fallen, the Empire would have won and reigned till this day - the galaxy would have lost hope for good. Finn could be as strong as Bodhi Rook. They were both defectors, they both played a role in the downfall of planet killers.

Finn would fight until his final breath if that’s what it took.

“Not yet, they don’t,” Poe said, before striding to General Leia, “Permission to jump in an X-wing and blow something up?”

“Permission granted.” The General indulged him with a smile. “Admiral, swing us around!”

Poe sprinted off, BB8 rolling after him. The ship rumbled and shook beneath them as it took hits from the First Order’s Fleet.

“Don’t wait for me, jump in and fire her up!” Poe ordered as BB8 zoomed head.

Beeping out in compliance, BB8 quickened rolling into the hanger towards the X-wing. Poe ran at his heels, entirely focused on reaching his ship and joining the fight. With the ship in sight his running grew faster until there was only three meters between them, then two, then one. Before he could take another step forward, the hanger exploded.

A fiery blast rammed into Poe and BB8, slamming them up into the air and carrying them back into the main ship’s corridor as it engulfed the entirety of the hanger. On protocol, the door separating the two slammed shut.

Stunned, Poe remained on the ground, trying to force air back into his lungs. All of their ships would be destroyed now, leaving them with only the escape pods. How many people had been in there? It had been bustling with activity when Poe had just entered. Had his squadron been there? Were they even alive now?

BB8 was shrieking, decapitated head rolling and joining back with the rest of the body.

“Poe,” Finn arrived out of nowhere, leaning over, his hands on Poe’s chest as he helped him sit up. “Are you all right?”

Poe didn’t have time to feel anything, the horror fleeing from his veins as he struggled to find a plan. If they didn’t act soon the entire ship would be blown apart.

“We need to get out of range of those star destroyers.”

His breath was coming in short gasps, as he stifled the panic that was threatening to set in. He shoved it aside, taking hold of Finn’s hand and standing before they raced off towards the bridge.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Full engines ahead!” Leia Organa ordered, as the bridge exploded once more in panic, the ship rattling from their most recent hit. “Get out of range of the star destroyers and the fires will fall back.”

“Full engines,” repeated Admiral Ackbar into his com link, every lieutenant bustling to do as instructed.

His words fell into the background for Leia. For the first time in nine years, she could feel her son nearby. The force was heavy around Ben Solo, raw and pulsing, swirling darkly across his being. She had thought there was good in him still, she still believed it now - even after she had felt him kill her husband, his father - Han Solo.

It was Snoke, he had had Ben in his clutches for years now. Even now, his presence was entwined with Ben’s, black and thick - poisoning every thought in her son’s head. If she could just pull him away, Ben would return to the light. She knew he would.

Luke had brought their father back after years under Darth Sidious’ reign. Surely, Leia could do the same with her son, who she had raised and loved him with every molecule of her being. She had taught him the side of the light, she had shown him how to do good, how to be a diplomat and how to stand up for what was right, the way her mother and father had taught her. She had taught him the ways of Alderaan - to answer rage with wisdom, fear with imagination, and war with hope.

They were of the same blood. He could return to her side, redeem himself; he had spent his life learning how.

The force surged around her, dark tendrils weaving out and corrupting the light around it. Something was coming. Something . . .

Her eyes flew open, even though she couldn’t recall shutting them, as three TIE fighters flew past the windows.

“Evacuate the bridge.” Her voice was hoarse and too quiet. She cleared her throat. “Evacuate the bridge.”

Every head in the room swiveled to look at her, perhaps they had misheard.

“But General we’re -” one of the lieutenants started.

“That was an order. All of you. Now.”

She did not need to raise her voice, she never had. A few of the younger rebels shared askance glances, nevertheless they did as they were told. Leia went to work as the others in the room bustled out of the exits. Diverting the shields to elsewhere on the ship and removing the data chip from the center console, she turned to leave only to stop a foot away from the door when she spotted Admiral Ackbar still maintaining his position at the helm. Six other admirals on the other side of the room were gathering up data and their belongings, before heading towards the door on the other side of the bridge.

“Admiral, I believe -”

There wasn’t time for her to finish her sentence as the three TIE fighters from before zoomed by, two bright blue blasts surged into the bridge, shattering the windows and engulfing the room in a fiery explosion. The force of the blast sent Leia stumbling back into the corridor just as the door slammed shut. The others did not have the same luck.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“We’ve had numerous casualties today. At least half of our pilots are gone, four bombers, countless others throughout the ship, and now almost half of our leaders. I ask you to save your sorrows for after the fight. There is an old rebel alliance base on Crait, it’s less than a day’s ride away at this speed. Once there we’ll be able to transmit a message strong enough to reach our allies and call for backup. If your leader is now gone, you may report directly to me or to Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo.”

Finn seemed to be only able to concentrate on half of what General Organa was saying. The plan was decent, but if the First Order continued to track them they’d still end up trapped. Was there anyone who could really escape the First Order? And what about Rey? If she came for them now, she’d be walking into a death trap. The death trap they had just escaped from.

But he couldn’t run. Not anymore. He was done running from the First Order. He was a rebel now, the only thing that was holding the dark back from encapsulating the light.

If he was going to survive this, if the resistance was going to survive, they’d need to think of a better plan. Finn stood as the rest of the rebels were dismissed, telling Poe that he’d be fine on his own after the General had called after the Commander.

Perhaps he should have waited or at the least asked for directions, but everyone around him had a job to attend to and he didn’t want to bother them now, when the slightest misstep could send them all to their deaths. He wandered aimless, his mind fixed on solving how the First Order had been able to track them through lightspeed.

It was only the sound of muffled sniffling that brought him back to reality. He was back in the medical bay where he had woken up, only a few hours ago. The crying continued in the background and Finn halted, deciding that whoever was crying would probably wish to be left alone. He twisted to turn back around and head the other direction, but his arm rammed against one of the shelves against the wall, sending a metal canister slamming into the floor.

Cringing at his own misfortune, Finn bent - doing his best to ignore the way his back erupted in pain at the move - and picked the object back up. The room was silent now and when Finn stood back up it was to see a young dark haired woman staring at him, cheeks swollen and red from tears. She held a gold half moon necklace between her fingers.

“Sorry,” he said. “I was just - I didn’t mean to.”

He held the cannister up and tilted it from side to side before placing it back on the shelf.

“You’re Finn.” The woman stared at him awe. “The Finn.”

“The Finn?”

“Poe’s Finn,” she clarified, taking a step closer to him. “Sorry, I work behind pipes all day. Doing talking with resistance heroes isn’t really my forte. I’m Rose.”

Her breathing was still coming in short irregular gasps despite the fact that she had stopped crying.

“Just breathe,” Finn cautioned. “Look, I’m not a resistance hero, but um it was nice talking to you Rose.”

Feeling awkward as she continued to stare at him, he added, “May the Force be with you.”

“Wow,” she breathed out, before she rushed to move closer to him stopping half a foot away. “But you are a resistance hero. Poe’s told everyone about how you rescued him. You - you were a stormtrooper and you turned against the First Order. What you did on the Starkiller Base, when we heard about it my sister Paige turned to me and said, ‘Rose, that’s a real hero’.”

“No,” Finn denied.

Sure, he had done those things, but that didn’t mean he was a hero. He had turned against the First Order because he couldn’t kill for them and he only infiltrated Starkiller Base to save Rey. He wasn’t a hero, not yet at least.

Or was he?

“You are,” she reaffirmed, then paused as if only just now fulling noticing where they were. “What were you doing down here?”

“I’m a bit lost, actually. Didn’t want to bother anyone.”

“Well, you can stay here. If you want to. There’s room.”

Finn hesitated, the med bay wasn’t ideal but he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to find his way back to anywhere else if he continued moving around.

“Okay, yeah I’ll stay.”

Rose smiled, then.

“And if there’s anything I can do for you, let me know. If you need directions or anything.”

“No, I’m - actually, do you know anything about tracking? Like through lightspeed.”

“Tracking through lightspeed is impossible.”

“That’s what I thought too.”

“Are you saying the First Order . . .?”

“Can track us through lightspeed.”

“They can track us through lightspeed,” she repeated, voice quieter this time. “Active tracking.”

“What now?”

“Hyperspeed tracking is new tech, but the principle must be the same as any active tracker,” Rose explained, eyes brightening.

“So they’re only tracking us from the lead ship,” the two finished together.

“But we can’t get to the tracker. It’s an A-class process, they control it from the main bridge.”

“I mean, yes, but every A-class processor has,” Finn began

“A dedicated power breaker,” the two chorused, matching grins beginning to form on both of their faces.

“But, who knows where the breaker is on a star destroyer?”

Finn had hated his job when he was a stormtrooper. Sanitation was deemed the worst of the worst, and yet it seemed that his position as someone unimportant gave him all the knowledge he needed to bring the First Order to their knees.

“Someone who used to mop their floors.”

Finn couldn’t help but beam now, they had a plan. He could see that Rose was already thinking the same thing and if they executed it perfectly, it could save the resistance.

“We’ll need a pilot,” Rose said.

“It’s lucky I know the best pilot in the galaxy then, isn’t it?”