Hera heard the sound, slamming through her concentration. She knew every noise on her ship. It carried down the hallway, echoing through the vents, and penetrated into her cockpit. It was new and loud.
After checking to make sure the Ghost was on autopilot as they zipped through hyperspace, she followed the clamoring. It came from the galley accompanied with the scent of eggs cooking on the stove. Looking into the room, she grimaced.
Kanan was cooking, which wasn’t out of the ordinary. They split many duties on the ship, and it was his turn to make dinner. But hanging nearby over the table practically touching the metal top were long, cylinder, metal wind chimes. Every move the Ghost made swung them into each other, clanking louder than Chopper falling down stairs. One was wider than her wrist hovering the entire length from the ceiling to the table. This close to it, the noise was deafening as they clattered and echoed through the room.
“What are those?” she hollered over the sound.
“What!” Kanan shouted back. He didn’t turn around, keeping his focus on his eggs, but she had the sneaking suspicion he was smiling.
“What the heck are those!”
“Oh these!” He tilted his head towards the table. “Aren’t they great? I got them real cheap at the market on the last planet!”
Marching in, Hera snagged his arm and whipped him around. She ignored the eggs that flew out of the pan he held as they splattered onto the floor, “Why! We barely have any credits!”
He had to shout over the sound, “The man gave them to me for a steal! I thought they would liven up the place!”
It dawned on her what he was doing, “Is this about me calling you annoying on the last mission?”
Kanan grinned, a twinkle in his eye, “No! Of course not!”
“We were undercover, Kanan! I was acting!”
“Whatever do you mean?” he smirked back at her.
Oh, two could play at this game. Raising her eyebrow, suggesting she would accept this challenge, she turned and sauntered from the room.
Climbing back up into the cockpit and shutting the door, she glanced to her droid, “Chopper, lock that up. Then crank up the intercom system throughout the rest of the ship. High as it can go.”
Chopper understood, waving his little metal arm at her. He popped into the droid port, whirled the gears, and chuckled. His mechanical voice maniacal.
Moments later, she could hear the squeal of the warning sirens projecting through the rest of the ship. It was quiet on her side of the door, but she knew it was on full blast everywhere else.
Moments later as Kanan’s frantic beating on the locked cockpit door rattled behind her, she smiled to herself. She would stop in a couple more minutes.
But it would make him think twice before trying to pull another prank on her ship.
What made her think she could be a spy?
Ahsoka hugged her knees as the tall grass of Alderaan brushed her legs. The last of the night’s stars faded in the early hours of morning. She watched them all night as she pondered over and over her meeting yesterday. Bail Organa found her. He brought her into his rebellion. She met his family, his daughter so familiar to Ahsoka. She couldn’t place why.
He gave her a proposal. After years of running, years of hiding, mourning far too many of her friends, he wanted Ahsoka to come back into the galaxy and act.
She made the choice already. She would use her powers for good. While not a Jedi anymore, she couldn’t turn her back on people in need.
But what did that even mean anymore? What was the Force to her?
She been disconnected for so long, quelling it deep within her.
And to become a spy…
“Sneaking around,” she smirked to herself. “Wearing cloaks, laying low… What is this? A Holonet soap opera?”
Not that she’d watch many shows in her life. That would have never been permitted in the Jedi Temple. She caught the rare episode here and there if it had been playing in a cantina. The bar owners would watch anything, even trash television, to ignore the propaganda of the Empire.
Though, being a spy didn’t sound much different from some of her old Jedi missions with Obi-Wan and Anakin.
Laying back on her elbows, she wasn’t sure if she was choosing the right path.
But she didn’t know if leaving the Jedi Order had been right. It ended up sparring her life.
Her chest tightened. Barriss, in her own demented way, had saved Ahsoka’s life. By framing her for murder, Ahsoka was able to see the corruption within the Jedi Order. But so many had been lost…
That hurt her the most remembering the group she took to Illum. They had been so excited to get their lightsabers, so eager to be Jedi. They never lived to see what their lives would have been.
Ahsoka didn’t know why she had been saved, why the Force guided her on this route. She still had trouble connecting to it. In fact, she spent most of the night trying to meditate. In the old days, it would have come easily to her especially on such a peaceful planet like Alderaan. Now, all she could sense was chaos, fear, pain, and cold.
She squinted and looked up as the sun peaked over the horizon. Its beams touched the tops of the distant snowcapped mountains making them glisten like diamonds. The heat warmed her skin as she watched the world around her awaken for a new day.
A new day…
Sure, she didn’t know what she was doing now. Whatever she would become as this Fulcrum persona was still a jumbled mess in her head. But as long as she trusted in the Force, she would do everything she could as long as she was standing. Ahsoka would figure out the rest later.
She knew she would stumble. She knew she would fail.
But like the morning, she would rise and try again.
“What?” Bodhi couldn’t believe his ears. Even with the pounding rain native to Eadu, Bodhi replayed the words said to him over and over in his mind.
Galen took his shoulder, “You have to do this. I don’t trust anyone else.”
Bodhi shook his head, slinging water off his ponytail, “I-I can’t! I’m—I’m not a hero. I’m just some freighter pilot! I’m not brave-“
“Only if you tell yourself that.” Galen handed him the datachip with the message. “My mother used to say that the most golden heroes are the ones who don’t think they are heroes at all.”
Bodhi clutched the chip to his chest knowing it was probably the most precious thing in the galaxy. He didn’t know why he was being trusted with something so important. But Galen had faith in him, more than Bodhi would ever have in himself. That had to mean something.
He whispered, barely heard over the storm, “Will I ever see you again?”
Galen lied, “I’m sure of it.”
Han lingered in the doorway watching Leia at the table. A single light hung over her as she glanced between four different datapads.
Even now that the damn civil war was over and the Empire was defeated, she never got a moment to rest. There was setting up the senate and distributing political power. She fought hard to make sure what was left of the people of Alderaan had representation and also sought for a new place to call home. There were thousands of refugees across the galaxy who lost their cities that also needed to be placed. Almost as many ex-Imperials needed trials or to be found when they fled.
But most importantly, there was the child that grew inside of her. Their first child…
He still couldn’t believe he was going to be a father.
Whatever the hell that meant. He’d figure out parenthood when it got here.
Setting a cup of tea beside her, he caught her eye as she glanced up to him.
“It’s nothing special,” he rubbed her back gently.
“Thanks,” the tensions in Leia’s shoulders released a bit.
He turned around the chair beside her and straddled it, “Can I help?”
“You can keep me company.”
“I might fall asleep.”
“You’ll still be here.”
That was enough for Han. At least he could help quiet her mind a little.
“He’s going to be a strong fighter like his mom and dad,” Rex gazed down with pride into the cradle.
Sabine leaned on the side watching with love the sleeping little green haired boy, “The moment Hera lets me, I’m going to teach Jacen how to blow some stuff up.”
Rex barked out a gruff laugh, louder than he meant to. With a small start, Jacen squeezed his face tight. A tiny whine came from his lips.
Sabine gasped, “You woke him up!”
“I didn’t mean to! It’s not like they taught us how to take care of babies on Kamino!”
The rest of the Ghost crew was out on a mission. They rotated turns in babysitting their newest member. Drawing straws, it was his and Sabine’s turn today.
She rolled her eyes and reached into the crib. Sliding her finger into his palm, she smiled as he gripped onto her. Quietly, she hummed to him a soft tune.
Rex never heard the song before. In fact, he never heard Sabine come close to singing any song. She was more known for colors and weapons, not tunes and melodies.
But sure enough the longer she sang, Jacen slowly settled back into sleep and his hand slipped off her finger.
Rex glanced at her, “How did you know that would work?”
“Because my dad used to sing it to me when I couldn’t sleep,” Sabine crossed her arms on the side watching the baby.
Rex stopped wondering a long time ago what it would have been like to have parents. In a way, it made him bond with his Jedi generals who also never knew their family. Well, except for Anakin. He had been a special case. When he was a younger man, Rex would often watch families they saved in the Clone Wars. The children and the parents embraced. They would cry in relief. He would muse in his barrack what it would have been like to be loved like that. He had his brothers then, all the same but so very different. They would comfort each other after hard battles.
But they were never hugged as children. They rarely played, every game actually some kind of training exercise. They rarely had free time to explore being themselves, that individuality that Cut Lawquane had pointed out to him years ago, had been looked down upon.
Staring down at the child below him, he didn’t want that for Jacen. He didn’t want this kid to ever know a day where he wasn’t hugged, wasn’t coddled, wasn’t loved for a single second.
Rex glanced at Sabine, “Teach me that song?”
Her eyebrows raised for a few moments in surprise. Then, her face settled into a warm grin, “Sure.”
There was no escape now. Jyn pulled Cassian close to her as the wind picked up into a howling gale. The sand beneath them shook as the world grew brighter. It wasn’t a natural light, the heat growing on her back. The ocean boiled close to them splattering on her legs. Smoke and soil filled her lungs.
Nothing was stronger than Cassian’s scent, his warmth comforting her in the end. At least she wasn’t leaving alone. She never told anyone. No matter how much she tried to act tough, her greatest fear was dying alone. At least she had friends in the end.
They had been a spark.
She knew in her last moments a fire was coming for the Empire.
Their actions would burn bright for the rest of the galaxy.
They had been the first beacon.
She smiled at the sky, tears burning in her eyes.
And then knew nothing else.
Zeb slowly opened his eyes. He immediately shut them again as sunshine filtered through the blinds and streaked across his pillow. Blasted light blinding him this early on!
But a sound caught his attention, making his sharp ears perk up. The familiar tone was one that made this his favorite part of the morning.
Rolling over in bed, he spotted Alexsandr in the bathroom. His husband leaned on the counter to see his work better. Half of his face lathered up, the other half was mostly clean except the thin lines of shaving cream that trailed between strokes as he shaved. He took his time crafting his beard every morning.
And every morning, Alex sang as he did it. It was all sorts of songs. Some from his childhood his own father sang as he got ready. Lullabies his mother taught him. The occasional drinking song he learned in the Empire, but now those always had more of a somber tone. Whatever his current favorite melody he heard on the radio…
Zeb would wake up to it every day and simply listen. He would enjoy the solid and sure tone in each note like his personal alarm clock. Strong and clear, it filled their home.
Today, it was a song about spring. As the days grew longer as they drew closer to summer, it was a good choice.
Smiling, Zeb laid on his side, watching and listening to his love.
Jedi robes soaked through after three hours of marching through the jungle terrain, Obi-Wan and Anakin finally got some good news. They were only about twenty minutes out from their target. With Rex, Cody, and their small squad of clone troopers behind him, they were sneaking up on a Separatist target. It was a quick mission. Destroy the listening post on a back water planet in the middle of the Outer Rim. Just off of a hyperspace route, it would allow their ships to move with more stealth in this sector.
But their reports never told them about the storm that would roll through on their long march. Sure, it gave them some cover when they needed to land well away from the target. It made for terrible traveling weather as they had to leave most of their heavy artillery behind. Now that the rain had passed, a thick mist lingered behind putting everyone in a foul mood.
Water dripping off his robe, Anakin huffed, “This has to be the worst rock in the entire galaxy.”
“Do be quiet, Anakin,” Obi-Wan sighed.
“Mom. Dad. Sabine. Hera. Kanan. Zeb. Chopper. Rex…”
Ezra said the names every morning when he woke up. He said them every night before he went to sleep.
“Ryder. Mart. Hondo. Ahsoka. Kallus. Gregor. Wolffe…”
He lost count of the weeks since he left. Was there a point in tracking the days? Thrawn thought it was important, but he was always precise like that. But to Ezra, it was a sad reminder of how long it had been since he put his crazy plan into action.
“Vizago. Wedge. Mr. and Mrs. Sumar. Old Jho…”
He did it because he didn’t want to forget them. Even the people that had been lost. Whether it would be in the Force or in person, he knew he couldn’t give up if he wanted to see those he loved again.
He smiled and murmured, “You too, Loth Cats… You too…”
It ended like it began.
Luke’s eyes filled with tears knowing what was coming. Every story had an ending, and it was time for his. He didn’t know what the future held for the rest of the galaxy. Leia surely had a fight ahead of her. The Resistance was just beginning, fighting to stay alive at this very moment. So much had been lost. So many lives snuffed out in an instant never to see the next morning.
And neither would he.
He needed to trust the Force. There was always hope. He’d seen it in Rey’s eyes. He knew the Jedi would live on in some way or another. He silently prayed that Ben would come back to the light, just as Luke’s father did years ago.
But it wasn’t his concern anymore. It couldn’t be.
He closed his eyes.
And when they opened again, he saw faces he hadn’t seen in years. Old friends. His family.
Everything and all things in a single instant.
The past. The future. The present.
He heard the voice of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and his Father.
He heard Han.
He felt Leia and Rey.
He could sense those lost on Scarif to give them a chance. Those ten thousand Jedi killed in the days before his birth. The blind Jedi killed on Lothal so his son he would never meet would carry on his own father’s legacy. The padawan who walked away from the Order to brandish blades of white, neither light or dark anymore. The future Jedi yet to come…
Luke Skywalker was home in the Force.