The entire room was packed to the brim with people, Resistance members with nothing better to do. In the midst of a brief period of respite with the First Order, everyone had been forced to find a temporary pastime. The most recent obsession being Rey’s training on the flight simulator.
Luke’s newest exercise with Rey was having her attempt the flight simulator blind, forcing her to extend her senses out without her vision. This of course created an attraction that if Luke had charged for people to come watch, he would be making a fortune.
The room swelled with the noise of loud cheers as yet another fleet of simulated tie fighters were taken down. Rey’s helmet kept her from hearing the ongoing ruckus, but the grin teasing the corner of her lips made it known that she could sense the excitement around her. The simulator chair jerked and swiveled with each shot she made as she extended her senses to feel with the Force.
The entire simulation only lasted the span of a minute before Rey was shot down, but the entertainment in the room remained at a high. The screen blacked out as Rey’s simulated X-Wing was shot down, the words, “High Score! 59.3 seconds”. Rey tugged off her helmet, and her frustrated scowl gave quickly when she was greeted with enthusiastic cheers.
“That was awesome Rey!,” Finn, who stood alongside Poe as the three of them were never far apart for too long, exclaimed, “Your best score yet!”.
Snaps clapped his hand down on Rey’s shoulder, glancing towards the two, “Watch out Poe, we may have a new champion pilot in the Resistance”. Poe shook his head and laughed, curls tossing over his brow,
“Does this mean I might actually get a break every once in a while?” He danced away as Finn made to jab him in the ribs, “I’m joking, have a sense of humor!”. Finn responded with the fond eye roll that had a constant place on his face whenever he was around the pilot.
It was weird remembering the little boy Luke had known long ago when faced with the man in front of him. Poe Dameron had grown into a confident, charismatic man with no small amount of charm. He loved to joke and tease but it was clear he was intelligent and an excellent strategist when he focused, and his piloting skills were legendary. Luke could see why Leia had developed such a fondness for the kid. He had all of the makings of a great leader, and Leia was doing a fantastic job of moulding him, or as he had joked to her the other day, virtually adopted him.
He chuckled to himself thinking of the bond between the pilot and his sister, something that surprised him upon his reluctant return (read: dragged by Rey) back to the Resistance. Poe respected Leia and trusted and looked up to her like she was his guiding star. In return, Leia trusted him and clearly cared immensely for the pilot. He could tell she also felt a bit of nostalgia when she looked at him. Poe was clearly Shara Bey’s son, from the dark curls to the cocoa eyes and teasing smile there was no doubt who his mother was.
Luke turned his attention back to the three friends in front of him who appeared to have fallen back into their familiar pattern of teasing one another. Finn had his head tossed back in laughter and Rey looked as if she was in the beginnings of an evil plot.
“I don’t know,” she was saying, a smirk growing on her face as she looked at Poe “I think Poe ought to try the simulator before we go replacing our best pilot”.
Poe started to argue, but his attempts were drowned out by the overwhelming cheers of approval from the surrounding pilots. “What? That’s not even fair, I can’t sense anything if I can’t see!”, but Rey was already pulling him over to the simulator, clearly using a little help from the Force to battle his protests.
“This’ll be something to see!”, someone in the audience crowed, and Poe made one last ditch effort to argue before Rey shoved the helmet onto his head, blinding him.
Luke squinted in suspicion. He had spent enough time with Rey at this point to understand most of her behaviors, and he suspected now that his padawan was up to something. This hunch was confirmed when she glanced in his direction, eyes mischievous and grin firmly in place. She whispered a few words to Poe, which he reacted to by making as much of a face as possible with only the lower half visible, and practically bounded over to Luke’s side.
He moved to ask her the meaning of all of this when the simulator burst to life. Immediately, the first tie fighter came into Poe’s range, and he understood what this was all about.
The Force was connected to all living things. When Luke had tested Poe as a little boy he had shown no more sensitivity to it than the average sentient being, and he had informed Shara of as much. When Luke stared into Poe, the Force existed inside him as a candle light, burning steady but low in his chest.
When Poe began to fire in the simulator, the little flame burst into a shining star. He was reminded of the first time he had sensed Rey, and even when he had first held Ben after his birth. The way the Force swirled and emulated from powerful Force users, seeping in and out of their souls. If he had seen anything like this in Poe when he had tested him as a child he would have begged his parents to train him.
The shouts and hollers began to die down as they were overtaken by surprise. The minutes ticked by and Poe continued to shoot down tie fighter after tie fighter with a steady hand. His concentration did not falter, and the corner of his lips ticked up in the beginnings of a smile. The tally of fighters grew, and Luke saw Rey’s grin widen.
The maximum five minutes on the simulator were up and the clock halted, the screen proclaiming, “PERFECT SCORE!”. Rey was the first to cheer, closely followed by the other occupants of the room. Poe sheepishly removed his helmet, smile tight as if he was embarrassed by his success.
“Guess you get to keep your top spot after all” Rey proclaimed, turning towards her Master, obviously pleased at her success.
“What the-”, Luke stared at the pilot, watching the bright star of the Force wrapping around him ebb back into the normal candle light of before.
It took him until most of the people had cleared out of the room to search for new entertainment to recover from his shock. In a daze, he turned toward the pilot who was now giving him a curious look.
“We need to talk” he stated firmly.