Jessika Pava jogged up to Finn and Poe as they entered the bustling command center on Ajan Kloss, Bee Bee Ate beeping at the heels of the latter.
“Sirs, we’re receiving a strange transmission.”
In the year since the Battle of Crait and the fall of the First Order, the former resistance’s two newest generals had been hard at work rebuilding the Republic and assisting Rey in scouring the galaxy for force-sensitives like her. The jungle planet had grown to become a formidable home base for the cause, as well as the three friends themselves.
“What is it?” asked Poe.
“A gunship in our orbit. Pre-empire. It’s not in any of our books. We asked them to identify themselves, and, well, whoever they are, they are using Master Skywalker’s call sign, generals,” Rose chimed in.
The generals exchanged a wordless glance, agreeing.
“Send them down,” Finn spoke.
The doors of the towering starship hissed open, revealing a heavily armoured man with a commanding stance. The generals stood on the makeshift hangar, blasters drawn, watching as the foreign man stepped forward onto the ramp with hands up. He then disarmed, unsheathing a large spear and what appeared to Finn and Poe to be the handle of a genuine lightsaber from his hip.
“What is your business here?” Finn questioned the man.
“There is no need to be alarmed. I have a vital message for your Jedi,” a deep voice responded.
“How did you know Skywalker’s code?” Said Finn, ignoring the stranger’s request.
“Lead me to the Jedi and I will explain everything.”
Suddenly realizing, Poe put a hand to his husband’s blaster to lower it and stepped forward.
“The Mand’alor?” Awestruck.
A helmet-clad head nodded. “Generals Finn and Poe Dameron, it is a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance.”
Just then, Rey emerged from the forest path and jogged up to the group, having been informed of the strange visitor while meditating deep in the jungle.
“I heard you were looking for a Jedi?” she glanced back and forth between her friends and the man.
“Rey Skywalker,” said the Mandalorian. “You do not know me, but I know you.”
“My name is Din Djarin.” He paused. “Din Djarin-Skywalker.”
Rey drew in a small gasp.
“The Republic knows me as the King of Mandalore, a silent ally to the rebellion and proponent to repairing Mandalorian-Jedi relations. What you do not know is that your Master Luke was my husband. During the decades he was believed to be in hiding, we were raising a son together and rebuilding my planet. His sister, Leia, was the only one we told.” Rey could sense Din smiling under his helmet at the thought of the princess-general.
Din continued, almost wearily. “When the First Order emerged and Luke left to train you on Ahch-To, he hid us in the outer rim so I could protect our son from the Imperials, though I’m sure he is capable of protecting himself,” he laughed. “My cyar’ika always wanted to keep us away from the war, but Grogu, our son, has always had a target on his back.”
Finn and Poe exchanged surprised looks. Rey moved to the Mandalorian and put a hand on his shoulder.
“I am so sorry for your loss.”
Din just nodded. “We said our goodbyes before the Battle of Crait, Luke and I. He had taken ill during those last months and felt it in the force that projecting his being and sacrificing himself was to be his last act of heroism. I still wouldn’t let him go back to Ahch-To, insisting that I fight alongside him somehow. It’s funny, how I was married to him for so long and never truly understood the force.” He let out a solemn laugh.
“But, then, maybe I did. Maybe I knew he would leave in the night. Maybe I knew it was what he had to do. My Jettii, he was nothing if not stubborn.”
“I’ve come to meet you, Rey, because you are, in a way, my husband’s daughter. This means that we are family, too. You and Grogu are all I have left of him.”
“I have never been a man of many words, but I must say this. I am entrusting the Republic with the care of my son, though I am sure you will benefit most from his presence. As any child of my cyar’ika, he is a powerful Jedi master in his own right.” Rey could sense Din’s Beskar-covered eyes on her. “Luke and I protected him for as long as we could, but he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps, and I know it is his destiny to help rebuild the Jedi order with you, Rey. He will be a tremendous asset to the cause, as long as you feed him.”
“Din Djarin,” Rey looked up at him, kindness in her eyes, still clutching the beskar-clad shoulder. “I am honored to meet the man my master loved. Luke told me of his family, though not specifically, only that they were a Mandalorian and his child.” She laughed. “I thought he was joking at first. But Luke loved you both more than anything. He still does; I see him now.” She looked off to the Mandalorian’s side and smiled at a figure only she could see. “Any Skywalker is welcome here, and I would be honored to accept the help of your son.”
The Mandalorian, an aging father, nodded to someone beyond the visible area of his ship.
“You can come out now, kid.”
A sole green ear peaked out from behind the metal doors.