main
side
curve
  1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

  2. Hey Fanficers! In fixing the prefixes something happened and now you can't edit titles. Don't panic! We're looking into what happened and trying to fix it.

Saga - OT "Eidolon", Han & Hera, post-ANH Vignette

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mira_Jade , Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Title: "Eidolon"
    Author: Mira_Jade

    Genre: Drama, Humor
    Rating: G
    Time Frame: O ABY, immediately post-ANH
    Characters: Han Solo, Hera Syndulla, Jacen Syndulla, Chewbacca

    Summary: Eidolon: (def) an unsubstantial image; apparition; phantom. Also, an ideal or idealized figure.

    Or: Captain Solo and General Syndulla, on the subject of shipcraft, idealism, and love. In no particular order.


    Author's Notes: This started as a drabble for my "She Says in Parenthesis" thread, but then grew past even my ficlets that I've since included there. So, I let my muse run wild and now here we are. :p

    That said, I have yet to see the new Solo movie, so this still incorporates Han's Legends backstory rather than the new canon. (Sorry, you can take Dewlanna and much of A. C. Crispin's trilogy from my cold dead hands.) I am also still making my way through the Rebels series (I'm finally on S3, yay!) and I have not yet seen the finale - though I know what it entails thanks to spoilers and a couple of fantastic authors on the boards. So, for any glaring mistakes, I apologize in advance. But, all that said, I do hope that you guys enjoy this hodge-podge of Nu!Canon and Legends as you will. The Forces of Destiny snippet was not enough for me, and I needed to know what got Han and Hera started with their contest between their ships! Thus, this fic was born! ;) [face_love]

    As always, I thank you guys for reading and I hope that you enjoy! [:D]



    OoOoO


    "Eidolon"
    by Mira_Jade

    One of the last things Han Solo expected to hear at the Rebel’s Yavin base was the sound of a baby’s cries.

    So it followed that one of the last things he expected to see, upon further investigation, was a Twi’lek woman in an orange flightsuit cradling the aforementioned baby in a sling against her chest. Up until that moment, she’d been making a slow trek across the hangar, rocking her child in her arms, but she paused by the Falcon to point out what were - in Han’s very biased opinion, at least - some of the ship’s finest features. Ah, the woman clearly had taste; her eye wasn’t fooled by sleek lines and a flashy chrome finish - she knew a good ship when she saw one.

    From where he was standing behind an open panel of one of the Falcon’s aft maintenance hatches, Han watched the baby happily coo in response to its mother’s voice and wave its hands in the air to mimic her gestures. Han absently wiped the ignition switch he was tinkering with free of carbon scoring, and propped an elbow up on the service door as he stared at the picture they presented. There was something familiar about the woman, he couldn't help but think – it was right there, just on the tip of his tongue, but he couldn’t put his finger on where he knew her from. She was clearly a pilot from her getup, and the rank-bars she wore over her chest were similar enough to the princess’ that Han assumed she was some sort of commanding officer. Yet, he hadn’t seen her around before - even when they were planning their strike against the Death Star. Although, he figured, maybe that wasn’t entirely surprising judging by the age of the infant she held. The child couldn’t have been more than a week old – and that was being generous.

    Maybe that little bit made sense . . . in a way. For all the worlds, she looked absolutely unconcerned for the thinly leased tension that had overtaken the base like a muffled roar; she was a storm’s eye of peace and contentment in the bustling hangar around her. The thrill of victory hadn’t been savored by this rag-tag group for long, and they were already sobering to ready themselves for their next offensive. The Empire wasn’t going to just tolerate their superweapon being blown to pieces, and the Imperial Fleet was already setting up shop to blockade the system. There was even a whisper that Darth Vader himself was returning at the helm of a newly minted Super Star Destroyer – as soon as the ship was released from its cradle in the Kauti building yards, that was. There was a fine frenzy gripping the moon as they did their level best to get away from Yavin IV before they couldn’t get out – it was a near animalistic panic that a part of Han imagined he could taste on the air. Yet, this mother was rocking her child against her chest to introduce him to something that she clearly loved, wholly immersed in the little world between that existed between them. Looking at the picture they presented, Han could almost fool himself into thinking that there wasn’t a wolf about to claw at the door - almost.

    [The cub is young – very young,] Chewie chuffed out softly next to him, bringing him back from his thoughts. [He smells like new life, yet only the scent of his mother is upon him. Many have held him, but only she has cradled him.]

    Han scrubbed a hand over his face as something old and tired twisted within his chest. “Gotcha, buddy,” he acknowledged with a sigh. The Empire made orphans every day – that was nothing new. But this child had one parent to look after it, at least – and a clearly devoted one, at that. Han plugged the switch back in, and wiped his grease stained hands on the rag he still held. Then, he sauntered out from behind the maintenance panel to greet his guests.

    “It’s always great to see a woman with an eye for shipcraft,” he let himself drawl in greeting. Reflexively, he flashed his most charming grin. “You clearly have excellent taste, ma’am.”

    For just a moment, the Twi-lek glanced up from her child – her son, Han confirmed from where he was now close enough to look, though it was hard to be sure for just how young the infant was. But her startlingly green eyes – a cool jewel tone to compliment the sun-apple shade of her skin – flickered over him and away after just a moment. It was hard for him to be distracted by a pretty face, however, when there were such dark half-circles blooming underneath her eyes, spanning like bruises. Her lekku, even Han understood, hung straight and heavy down her back in a clear sign of despondency – she was in mourning, he thought from Chewie’s insight, no matter that her expression was soft and bright for the gift of her child.

    “I’ve heard about the Millennium Falcon,” wryly, she returned. In her voice, at least, there wasn’t a trace of grief to be found. “It’s a treat to see her in person - for both of us.” Absently, she gave into her son’s reaching, and allowed him to clumsily grasp her first two fingers in both of his tiny hands.

    A woman with an eye for shipcraft, and a fan? Han fought the urge he had to puff his chest like a Kuati peacock.

    “Well, here we are in the flesh,” his grin turned rakish as he stretched his arms to encompass the whole of the ship behind him. “Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon, at your service.” By his side, Chewie huffed out a pointed growl, and somewhat abashedly he added, “And this here’s my first mate, Chewbacca.” The Wookiee, at least, gave a long-suffering grumble for his lapse in manners.

    “So I see,” she raised a brow for his showboating, clearly unimpressed. Usually, the casual rejection would’ve had him inwardly protesting – and inspired him to earn her attention, at that, but a certain royal someone was currently building up his calluses to a woman’s disinterest. Lately, he was used to striking out.

    . . . not that he was thinking about her just then, of course. He’d be leaving before the day was out, if the Falcon cooperated with him, and the Princess of Alderaan would then be nothing but another distant memory in a long line of such memories.

    By his side, Chewie made a soft grumbling sound for their exchange – his friend saw too much, as always. Han had little patience for his insights just then.

    Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, Han followed the Twi-lek as she continued to circle his ship. Her gaze carefully traced every line, taking in every rivet and panel, until: “Ah, there you go - see, Ace? That’s why we always outfit our ships with shuttles over escape pods. You never know when you may need the extra firepower to stand and fight - not just stage a desperate getaway. The 1300fs really were built with only one thing in mind; it really wasn't the best year for the YTs.”

    It took Han a moment to realize that she was talking to her son, and not to him. And, for what she did say -

    - his mouth fell open to gape for the unexpected critique. Had she really just said as much about his ship, in his portion of the hangar, where he could hear? He couldn’t let her opinion stand - not if he had anything to say about it.

    Han took a bold step forward, ready to defend his lady. “Now, that’s where you’ve got it wrong, miss - ”

    “ - it’s general, Captain Solo,” she interrupted him, her voice gentle, but firm. “General Hera Syndulla.”

    Her soft introduction drew him up short, and a part of Han’s brain short-circuited. General Hera Syndulla? he felt his eyes widen. The Hera Syndulla? Every pilot worth their salts knew of Hera and her Ghost – she’d been flying circles around the Empire for years now, and her legend spanned from the Core worlds to the Outer Rim. Even cadets at the Imperial Academy had whispered her name as if she was some ancient goddess of flight made flesh and bone. Once, Han and a few of his buddies had hung her wanted poster in Soontir Fel’s locker to bust him when the instructors made their inspections, and even the straight-laced baron had later kept the piece of flimsi folded by his bunk like a religious totem – much to the teasing of his dorm-mates. Han himself had whistled for more than one of her accomplishments, and now to see her here, in person -

    - and criticizing his ship!

    Right, back to the matter at hand.

    “I’m not gonna lie, General Syndulla, your Ghost is a mighty fine thorn in the Empire’s side – she’s a boon to Corellian engineering,” Han sniffed to say, “but she ain’t no Falcon, and I’d put creds on that any day.”

    “Huh . . . would you now?” Hera mused aloud, not even looking up from her son. “What do we like, Ace?” she cooed. Her fingers danced to tap the boy’s cheeks. “Say it with me: baffled engines and energy dampeners and static jammers; stealth is what we like.” Finally, she darted a glance his way, and the corners of her mouth stretched to add, for his benefit, “We’ve got about eighty-seven separate different upgrades total, most of which would have been illegal in the Core systems even in the Republic days; she’s called the Ghost for a reason.”

    “Well,” Han crossed his arms over his chest to accept the challenge, “why would I need to hide when I can just outrun them?”

    “We've got a class two hyperdrive,” her words all but winked at him. “I can do that too – and I can trust my hyperdrive not to pick and choose when she wants to work, like the 1300f series. As I said: it was a rough year for Corellia, even if you’ve clearly made something from what they’ve given you to work with.”

    “Class two? Not even close, sister – try class point five,” Han jabbed a finger to point up and over his shoulder at his ship. It didn’t matter that what she said about the hyperdrive was . . . unerringly close to the mark. He was good at ignoring what he didn’t want to hear. “You're not the only one who can make upgrades. She is the fastest ship in the galaxy - how did you think we pulled off the Kessel Run in the first place?”

    “Hmm, you can run, sure – but can you stand and fight?” Hera sounded unimpressed. “Your Falcon is a smuggling vessel - pure and simple.”

    “With AG-2G quad laser canons, I wouldn’t exactly call myself a sitting quadduck,” Han scoffed. Those had been a part of his own upgrades; the Falcon hadn’t even had its upper turret when he freed her from Calrissian, and he was proud of the armament he’d amassed since then. “She packs two concussive missile tubes, to boot – I can leave quite the dent when I want to.”

    “AG-2G?” Hera repeated thoughtfully. “Not bad. But try Taim & Bak MS-2B twin laser canons and two proton torpedo launchers - not counting the extra support I get from the Phantom, who’s also outfitted with Taim & Bak guns – I’ll always have someone to watch my six.”

    Taim & Bak was a company that produced ship-guns worthy of Star Destroyers – not Corellian light freighters and their ilk. Han’s eyes widened, and he let out a low whistle, despite himself. “That’s quite the punch you’re packing,” he grudgingly acknowledged. “You’re all but looking for a fight, with that kind of weaponry.”

    He was just plain smarter than that – he’d never put himself in a position where he’d need those kind of guns. (Like when he was swooping in after Luke and blasting Darth Vader’s TIE fighter into deep space – yeah, he felt an uncomfortable twinge in his chest. He didn’t care for that rise of emotion – of conscience, in the slightest.)

    She gave him a significant look – one that, for a moment, lightened the dark shadows spanning underneath her eyes. “I don’t show the Imperials my tail if I can help it,” the timbre of her voice dropped to lowly state. He could see the sharp tips of her teeth as her lips pulled back. “I was raised to stand my ground.”

    Han made a scoffing sound, and folded his arms to dart a significant glance down at the child she held. “Clearly, that’s something that works for you.”

    For that, Hera swallowed back her next retort and leveled him with a long, unflinching stare. Her mouth pursed into a thin line, but that was the only sign she gave to acknowledge that his low blow found its mark. He watched as she swallowed; she had to draw in a shaky breath to keep herself steady.

    Han felt like there was a fist pressing against his already bruised conscience – not even a second passed before he regretted his words. The last thing he needed just then was for Chewie to shake his head and give a disappointed growl – but that didn’t hold his friend back in the slightest.

    [That was unworthy of you, Honor-brother,] the Wookiee grumbled. [Her grief is fresh, and her cub is not letting her forget it.]

    Yeah, well – she wasn’t the only one carrying ghosts in her shadow, Han sullenly thought to himself. It was an ugly galaxy out there, and, in the end, the only constant between governments was that life was cruel no matter who was in charge. It was every sentient for themselves – anyone who thought that they could make it any other way was just fooling themselves. There was only heartache – or worse – to be found in trying to think any differently. And that, Han squared his jaw to think, was why he couldn’t stay. This whole rebellion was doomed from the start – they’d gotten in their one lucky shot, but for him, it was time to fold before he didn’t have a hand left to throw in.

    Even so, he couldn’t help but think of Luke’s hopeful gaze and Leia daring him to be better than he was – and now her, one of the best pilots in the galaxy with such a loss in her eyes still standing up to challenge him -

    But he clenched his jaw, and held Hera’s gaze for whatever she saw fit to fire back at him. He’d bear it with grace.

    “The Ghost is bigger than the Falcon,” but she surprised him by continuing their contest. It was a relatively adolescent argument for her to make – a little boy’s schoolyard boast, but it allowed Han to release a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding. She understood his low blow for what it was, it seemed – and, for some reason he couldn’t immediately understand, she was letting it go.

    “In interior space thanks to height and depth, maybe – but you’ve got, what? Maybe ten meters on me in length?” Han snorted. “Is that all you’ve got left up your sleeve?”

    “So says the man with the smaller ship,” her eyes glittered dangerously – perhaps, a little warning bell went off in the back of his mind, she wasn’t going to let him off the hook that easily after all. “But my ship is made for a crew of six to live comfortably in – not just catch a few hours of sleep between runs. I have ship’s berths; I was designed with a community in mind. But you? You’re designed for you, and yourself alone. I could never live that way.”

    Startled, Chewie let out a clearly amused noise, and that gave way to a robust roar of laughter. [Mothers, Honor-brother – mothers and mates,] he unrepentant chided, [have claws unlike any other. You walked right into her paws.]

    Yeah . . . he got it, really he did. Chewie didn’t need to rub his face in it.

    Even so, Han scowled. “Did Leia send you – is that the reason you’re here?” he challenged without a smile. “Because you can tell Her Worship that it’s not going to work – this whole shebang is about to go up in flames, and the moral high-ground isn’t going to mean a thing to any of you when you’re all dead.”

    “General Organa? What would she have to do with this?” Hera’s brow, at least, furrowed for a moment in honest confusion. And wasn’t that just swell? He was playing with his cards backwards now, all thanks to his big mouth; that was great – wonderful, even.

    Han let out a deep breath, and reached up to pinch his nose. “I’m sorry,” he nevertheless knew he had to apologize – Dewlanna would have boxed his ears for his rudeness and had him scrubbing pots for his foreseeable future, and she would have been right. “I didn’t mean to snap at you,” he tried to infuse his words with as much honesty as he could. “I know I was disrespectful, and I regret that. It’s just . . .”

    But what, exactly, could he say to her when he couldn’t wholly put his thoughts into words for himself? It tugged on him at both ends – this mother who was clearly doing her best to stand up tall, no matter what she had lost, in order to ensure that her idea of a better galaxy would be there for her son in the years to come. But, at the same time, this mother had clearly already lost so much – and who was to say that either she or her son would be standing there in a year’s time? Even surviving a month, or a five-day was dubious with the Empire closing in on the system.

    . . . so why was he still there? Why was he dragging his feet for this lot? He could have been back on Tatooine to pay his debt days ago, when the Death Star’s embers were still red-hot in space – just why was he sticking around?

    Han clenched his jaw, and felt something inside of him churn; it wasn’t a feeling he cared for in the slightest.

    All the while, Hera furrowed her brow to consider him. Her expression was carefully neutral to hear his apology, before her eyes softened. Yet, she didn’t comment on what he was unable to say – for which he was grateful.

    “This is Jacen,” she tilted her child towards him to introduce instead. The baby had such large blue eyes to blink up at him, and a shock of loud green hair. “He was born just after the Battle of Scarif . . . and yes, his father did pass away in the line of duty, just a few months ago now. I’m going to raise him on my own, because his father died believing in something more. But I’m also going to raise him to stand up against injustices and fight for those who cannot help themselves – just as I was raised. It’s a legacy I’d rather give to him than playing it safe and alone without ever really picking a side – then, who knows? Maybe I’m fighting a doomed fight – but, what if I am actually ensuring that he has a peaceful galaxy to grow up in? Maybe, at the very least, he won’t have to know the wars I’ve fought to help give him his best possible chance for a future. I can’t give up that hope – not yet.”

    Scarif – that had been Bria’s last stand as her squadron fought to protect the Death Star’s plans from getting out on the world below, he’d since learned. Han felt his jaw tighten, and perhaps somewhat cynically, he wanted to scoff for her impassioned words – they were so painfully naïve and idealistic. She was fighting a fool’s fight, with a fool’s gambit. Yet . . .

    . . . maybe, there was a small part of him that wanted her hopes to come to fruition. The part of him that Dewlanna had raised, who wanted respectability and liked the idea of ideology, wanted the Rebellion to succeed . . . no matter that he doubted they ever would.

    “Jacen,” Han repeated softly, instead of answering her speech outright, “that’s Corellian, too.” The healer, in their mythology – the cure after hardship. Once, if everything had gone differently . . . but he ignored the pang he felt in his chest, and pushed on. “You know – I’ve always liked that name.”

    “It’s a name his father almost picked for himself, years ago – he liked the sound of it, but he didn’t think he deserved it at the time. So he called himself Kanan instead,” Hera whispered, more to herself than to him. Gently, she traced her son’s cheek with the backs of her fingers – with how human the kid looked, Han wondered how much of her dead loved one she saw in her child just then.

    But Han knew that those words were not for him. Instead, he let her have her memories in peace, and did not interrupt. When she looked up again her eyes were clear. She gave a half-smile to glance up at the Falcon, and the moment passed.

    “She is a beautiful ship, Captain – she deserves all of her accolades and more,” she did admit. “I’d never want to imply otherwise . . . she’s just no Ghost, in my book.”

    She was offering a hand in truce – he could respect that. In answer, Han gave his most disarming grin. “Maybe we should just agree to disagree then, General. We’re going to have to start comparing our co-pilots next, and I don’t think that Chewie is going to win any beauty contests anytime soon.”

    Chewie huffed at that - insulted. [So says the pasty furless one,] he did not agree in the slightest.

    Hera cocked her head to the side. “Did he not agree with you?” her smile was sharp to flash.

    “We all look like we have mange to him,” Han shrugged. “But for some reason, he sticks around anyway.”

    [The Great Hunters wonder at me, but I do,] Chewie’s eye-roll was almost lost beneath his fur, but Han was quick enough by then to catch it. He let his own grin stretch in reply.

    “Eh, taste is subjective,” Hera’s eyes twinkled. “Which is why I’ll forgive you for your inability to admit the superior ship, Captain.”

    Han snorted. “Maybe, when all of this is over, you’ll humor me and put your money where your mouth is.”

    “I don’t know,” Hera shrugged to challenge. “If you were to stay on with us, we could settle that a lot sooner.”

    “Yeah, thanks but no thanks,” by then, Han was adapt at dodging such blows – between the princess using his conscience as her personal punching bag and the kid’s big blue eyes, good ol’ General Syndulla had nothing. “Empire or no Empire, a man who owes money to a Hutt is a dead man. I need to take care of my own skin, first and foremost.”

    “Well, I suppose that I can understand that, at the very least,” after a moment, Hera reluctantly acknowledged. “Maybe we’ll meet again someday, when all of this is over.”

    “Yeah,” Han agreed without really believing it. “You never know.”

    “Until then,” Hera gave a half salute, and then turned, her lekku flicking over her shoulders as she walked away. There were fighters in the hangar that he imagined would have her attention next, and they had said all there was to say. At the very least, he approved, she was clearly raising her son right – for however long the Empire would allow her the gift of doing so, that was.

    Han let himself look around, taking in the pilots and the mechanics, swarming like hish-bees disturbed from their nest, but yet all still determined in their common goal and a few even smiling in a comradery built from trying to achieve that selfsame goal. They were, each and every one of them, clearly determined to fight for what they believed in - to the death or worse, while he . . .

    Chewie let out a quiet growl, a question more than clear in the tone of his voice, even without his ability to understand him. In answer, Han closed his eyes. For a long moment, he didn’t open them. “Yeah,” his voice was surprisingly tight to say. “It’s time for us to go.”

    He was through making excuses to stay. They’d been ground-side long enough; now, it was time to fly again.



    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
    brodiew and Findswoman like this.
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I adore Han's voice in this, as you know I would! [face_laugh] Of course he's not thinking about Leia, nawwwwww! Sure. [face_mischief] [face_love]

    Hera is wonderful: on the cusp still of new grief and loss but still impassioned and basking in her child. It would be too easy for her to hold back even involuntarily because of the loss but [face_love] she doesn't. She never could. @};-

    Thank you @Mira_Jade -- your insightfulness is pitch-perfect ... the fanfiction variant of the saxophone effect [face_laugh]

    ^:)^
     
    brodiew and Findswoman like this.
  3. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Oh, my, wow! What a wonderful piece of writing, Mira. I, too love Han's voice in this. He starts curious, gets snarky, even hurtful, and ends in his default stoicism.

    I loved their back and forth about the ships, but it's only the surface area for a soul searching expedition for Han Solo. It is one chink in his armor of apathy that will ultimately crumble.

    I really enjoyed Han's thought process here, from deciding not to pursue Hera's attentions, near the beginning, to his apology for his disrespect to the overall brief positivity that is slowly devoured by routine cynicism. I could see him pulling the blanket of comfortable misery gradually over his head.

    I also enjoyed his recognition of the name Hera Syndulla and the memory of his Imperial shenanigans. However, I was surprised at his ignorance of the name Kanan.

    This was a real treat, Mira. Thank you for sharing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
  4. Findswoman

    Findswoman Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Here you go again, with your wonderful talent for bringing together disparate characters, exploring their commonalities in meaningful and nuanced ways, and convincing your readers of those commonalities. :D I didn't realize how much Hera and Han really had in common till I read this: they're both accomplished pilots who are closely bonded with their respective ships, knowing every nook and cranny and capability and idiosyncrasy like the back of their hands. And both of them will stake their ship against any other, any day! I really like the progression of their conversation, the way the competition ramps up, the uncomfortable moments, the "low blows" that come from both sides, the way it's Hera rather than Han who continues things (ah ha! I bet Mr. Flyboy didn't quite see that coming!). I have to admire the way you set up the transition from the ship-talk to topics of the heart, family, and connections, by way of another of your trademark incredible insights: the Falcon is built for a lone, independent operator, but the Ghost is built for a team—a family. And the fact that all this takes place within the context of Han's indecision about whether to stay with the Rebellion or leave it is the icing on the cake. Of course the thought of that Royal Someone is going to add a dimension of complication here, and I love that Hera picks up on that.

    Some other things I adore about this: first, Chewbacca's snarky-but-levelheaded commentary along the way, keeping that pesky "honor-brother" of his in line! [face_laugh] The Great Hunters may indeed wonder at him for all he puts up with, but I'm sure they're smiling on him, too. Second, Jacen's role: I love that he's there, being "worn" by his mother as she walks about the base, I love that Hera is out and about with him even while he's at this very young age, showing him the ship and the sights of the base (though those dark circles are familiar, for sure!); he definitely makes for a striking contrast to the atmosphere of the military base and the preparations for war. Third, I love too seeing a new mom engaged in a conversation about her own interests and not just about her baby (though he does naturally come up too, and in a way that makes sense); after all, we don't lose our previous interests and personality just because a small being comes out of us. :p Kudos to you for all of that, too—wonderful work here, in true Mira style! =D=

    Finally, a question, just out of curiosity: you mentioned that this began as a "She Says in Parenthesis" drabble, but grew. Which prompt word would it have been it for? Should I try to guess? [face_mischief]
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.