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Prepare My Ship

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Rey's nightly routine is in full swing. She had sparred with Finn, then had a shower in the 'fresher, and had met the gang for dinner (minus Poe, whose new responsibilities as Leia’s second in command apparently don’t include ‘eating’ or ‘sleeping'). Now, she is settling in with her datapad for what she's grumblingly come to refer to as her "nightly rounds": Rey checks the hits against her name in the HoloNet, to see what's out there. It had started out as a normal, routine maintenance sort of thing, a "once every few months" kind of idea. Almost immediately, though, it had gotten more...complicated...and as a result, it's turned into a total timesuck. What Poe had pitched to Rey as a “quarterly chore at most” is now a daily grind.

“Poe Dameron, you are such a liar!” Rey sighs, and presses Enter. Her eyebrows shoot up at the notifications.

414 new hits?! What the kriff is going on? Yesterday, it had been 35, and the day before that, 19. Rey groans, and gets up to make herself a cup of cream-disguised-as-kaf. Apparently, it's going to be a long night.

When she first set out to find herself, so to speak, it had been out of a need to distract herself from grief--mainly, from Kylo Ren. Crait, Ben--no, Kylo!--'s words battering her spirit in the Throne Room of the Supremacy ("you come from nothing...you're nothing..."); the brutal rape of her mind and sense of self that she had suffered from Snoke; Finn's incapacitation and near death; Han's terrible murder...it had all been too much.

One afternoon, in the mess hall, she had heard someone mentioning being assigned by Poe to do some kind of HoloNet watch for the Resistance. It was basically image control, they had complained. When Rey had asked Finn about it that night, he had gotten that quiet, thoughtful look that he wore when he was "putting his Stormtrooper helmet on", thinking like the enemy in order to anticipate how the First Order would behave. He had pulled Rey and Poe aside.

"Have you ever used the Holonet before?" Finn had asked Rey. Rey didn't take offense at the question; not only was it valid, given her childhood, but Finn was pretty sure that most of his own childhood was nowhere near normal. (She still got a giggle every time she thought about the fact that Finn's first birthday party was set for next week; that giggle turned to a sigh when she remembered she hadn't yet chosen a birthday for herself.)

She had shaken her head. "Other than watching the occasional Coruscanti holodrama, no. Why?"

Poe had caught the drift of where Finn was going almost immediately, and switched on his 'animated and intense' setting.

"Rey, pretty soon everyone's going to know who you are. There are plenty of people out there who would pretend to be you in order to harm you, damage your reputation, get to the Resistance, or just swindle loads of innocent people out of their money."

Rey was completely taken aback at the idea. "Why would anyone pretend to be a nobody from Jakku? How would that hurt the Resistance? Why the kriff would anyone give anyone else money over the HoloNet?" Poe had stared for a moment, trying to figure out where to begin explaining things to an evidently very naive Rey.

"BB-8?" Poe called. The spherical droid rolled up, chirping inquisitively.

//How can I help?//

"Search the Holonet for 'Rey' and 'Jakku'."

//Searching...no results found.//

Finn breathed a sigh of relief, and Poe nodded once, sharply. "Now, search for 'Luke Skywalker'."

//Over 19.3 million results found. Subcategories: Force Users; Jedi Order; Sith Order; Darth Vader; terrorist; sexual preference--//

Rey spluttered, turning crimson. "WHAT?!"

//--favorite food; disappearance, approx. 28 BBY...do you need more?//

"How many of those results are people claiming to be Luke Skywalker?"

//Approximately 8,592. Setting aside obvious false entries, 2,277.//

Rey had been utterly shocked. "Master Skywalker is d--one with the Force now! How can anyone pretend to be him? Has he ever even been on the HoloNet? I can't imagine!"

"Rey." Poe had looked sad and serious. "People who would pretend to be Luke don't really care. It's why we need you to set yourself up on the HoloNet before people do that to you."

"What are the top 5 Holonet sites, that don't belong to the First Order, for exchanging gossip, news, and personal information?" Finn asked, looking thoughtful again.

//FriendFinder, ChirpBeep, HoloNetHangouts, CrashPad, and NowUCMe.//

"Let's start there." Finn had suggested.

Rey had been, to put it mildly, utterly lost. Thankfully, Rose had been there to help her; the other woman's technical knowledge and insight had been irreplaceable.

"Okay, well, first, we need to requisition a HoloDark encryptor for your datapad," Rose had begun. "Otherwise, anyone--including the First Order--might be able to track our location based on your datapad use."

"Rose, I speak at least 4 languages fluently and can haggle in about 7 more, and I have no idea what you just said to me!" Rey was grumpy and frustrated by this entire idea.

Ignoring the sulky Jedi, Rose had fished a datapad out of one of the communication stations, then commed Connix.

"Kaydel, how long will it take us to get a HoloDark encryptor for Rey?"

"Hey Rose. We're sending a req run to Naboo the day after tomorrow."

"Understood. Let us know when it comes in, please?"

"Roger that."

Rose terminated the comm and turned back to Rey. "For right now, we'll use this one. The anti-slicing tech here on the Falcon is pretty good, so as long as we're careful, we shouldn't have any issues."

It had taken about an hour to set up. Jedi Rey of Jakku, with all the appropriate little symbols in the front depending on which 'Net site it was for, had become her alias on all of the sites BB-8 had suggested. That was when she had willingly, albeit naively, walked into the gates of Hell.

414 new hits. "I can do this," she tells herself. She clicks the first one, from ChirpBeep.

"@JediReyofJakku Females are too emotional to follow the Jedi Code. Sorry sweetheart, go back to building sandcastles and leave the heavy lifting to the real men. #FakeJedi"

Rey rolls her eyes. It's not the first time someone has said something like that, and to be honest, she doesn't particularly feel like a 'real Jedi'...but whoever this asshole is, he knows even less about being a Jedi than she does! While she's debating whether or how to answer, a series of replies to the chirp catches her eye. They are pictures of various females, dressed in Jedi garb.

@MATT4ORDER replied:

@MATT4ORDER replied:

@MATT4ORDER replied:

@MATT4ORDER replied:

@MATT4ORDER replied:

@MATT4ORDER replied: Open your stupid slurring mouth again about Lady Rey, and I'll put my fist through it.

Rey's mouth is hanging open. She's...flattered?...embarrassed?...curious, definitely. Who is this HoloNet Knight in Shining Armor? (And, more embarrassingly, why does he know more about the Jedi order than she does?) She's quick to show her gratitude, feeling like she needs all the allies she can get.

@JediReyofJakku replied: Thanks for the assist AND the history lesson, @MATT4ORDER! Some people can make the 'Net feel more desolate than the Sinking Fields. Glad to know I'm not alone! May the Force be with you.

Rey is uploading a new holovid of porglets to her NowUCMe account ("PORGLETS! I hope you weren't expecting me to be Serious Jedi Rey all the time... :-/ ") when her ChirpBeep notifications ding.

@MATT4ORDER replied: You're not alone.

Rey feels every hair on her body standing on end, and she can't get her lungs to breathe. Who ARE you? It has to be a coincidence. It has to be. Kylo Ren hates her, and, were it not for the fact that Jedi are forbidden from hate, she can ALMOST admit that the feeling is mutual. She stares at the chirp for a good 5 minutes, weighing the pros and cons of her reply, considers debating switching the pad off completely and just going to bed RIGHT NOW, and finally posts a reply.

-----

Aboard The Finalizer, Supreme Leader Kylo Ren is nearly halfway into his morning shave when his datapad's ChirpBeep app whistles. He tells himself he's going to finish his shave before doing anything else, but the message apparently doesn't reach his feet, which are all but running to his desk. His razor clatters onto the floor.

@JediReyofJakku replied: Neither are you.

Kylo's fingers fly over the keys, this banter the most exquisite torture because this isn't her, couldn't be her...but he can pretend. It can divert him for a little while and maybe stopper up the hole he feels in his chest, the one where all the Light and hope leak out. A reply, two invitations, and it's all he can bear. He kills the program, goes back to the ensuite, and fishes out a new razor to finish his shave.