Saga - ST Star Wars Episode IX: The First Sky Walker [Contains SPOILERS for The Last Jedi!]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by CairnsTony, Aug 5, 2017.

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  1. CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2014
    star 4
    WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS SPOILERS AND POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR THE LAST JEDI AND STAR WARS EPISODE IX.

    Title: Star Wars Episode IX, The First Sky Walker.
    Author: Cairns Tony.
    Characters: Surviving and deceased characters of the ST; fanfic versions of the Kellie Marie Tran, Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern and Veronica Ngo characters; Lando Calrissian, Zeb Orrelios; characters of my own creation.
    Genre: Drama, Action, some humour.
    Timeline: starts several hours/a few days (according to characters) after the events of TLJ.
    Summary: I have provided an opening crawl by way of introduction. The story picks up from where TLJ left off. There are also several flashbacks.
    Notes: A special thank you once more to @Claire1976 for helping me to shape this story and provide generous assistance in tweaking the bits that didn't quite work.

    The story is written more in a 'book' style than my TLJ story (which was more like a film adaptation in its pacing) so as to expand the narrative and give me greater creative freedom in how I tell the story. It is therefore much longer than the previous story.

    In this I aim to try and tie up all loose ends; well nearly all of them... ;)

    Disclaimers: I wrote this story from start to finish in the month of June of this year. Some of the rumours that had emerged since the trailer for TLJ were used in my previous story. Others have been used here. I left the story unchanged after the emergence of the Behind-the-scenes Sizzle Reel.

    And finally: As before, I welcome feedback including constructive criticism. Further, if anyone wants me to explain something about the plot (in a non-spoilery way) then I will endeavour to do so.

    I hope those who have followed my story for TLJ up until now will join me on the journey to the story's ultimate conclusion. :)

    If you have discovered this thread and don't know which story I mean, please follow the link below if you wish to read the one that precedes this one:

    http://boards.theforce.net/threads/...last-jedi-contains-spoilers-for-tlj.50045624/



    Episode IX

    Star Wars: The First Sky Walker.



    The forces of the FIRST ORDER continue to sweep across the galaxy. The RESISTANCE and their allies have banded together in a desperate attempt to prevent total defeat.

    Jedi Master Luke Skywalker searches in vain through the Force for his lost apprentice Breha. But the galaxy’s last best hope is now in the hands of the enemy.

    And now Supreme Leader Snoke lays plans for his final victory with an ancient threat that has lain dormant for millennia. If successful, it will see the entire galaxy plunge into an eternal darkness.





    Prologue.


    Duality. To most of the galaxies inhabitants it is a universal principle by which they make sense of their environment: light and dark; hot and cold; male and female; revealed and hidden; good and evil… these opposites are taken for granted.

    The Jedi of old believed there were light and dark sides to the Force. They strived to maintain a balance between the two by denying one of them. This cosmic struggle went on for millennia. They believed it led them to a deeper understanding of the Force.


    How wrong they were.

    _____________________


    ONE.

    From space, Arco glittered in the darkness. Numerous cities dotted the night side of the planet with light, like so many precious jewels. Billions of citizens would normally be asleep on the side facing away from the system’s sun, but not tonight… Tonight most of them looked to the heavens in terror. The light show they were watching was not there for entertainment; it could spell the end of everything they knew. Already citizens of the planet were making preparations to flee and many had already done so.

    The forces of the First Order were fully engaged in battle with those of the Resistance and their allies. The Populist remnants of the Republic, local militias and numerous private vessels had joined forces with the Resistance and were throwing everything they had at the First Order to try and turn the advancing tide sweeping across the galaxy. Hundreds of ships of all sizes were involved in fierce combat. Salvos between capital ships and fighter squadrons filled space with a lattice of deadly laser fire. Explosions went off all over the field of combat as ships were damaged or destroyed.

    “Black Two, you’ve got one on your tail!” Poe yelled.
    He watched as Paige rolled her X-Wing hard to starboard as green laser fire narrowly missed her port engine nacelle. She then pulled her ship up hard as the Tie fighter overshot her. Poe shot past her in pursuit of the tie and nailed it with a single shot. The ship blew apart. No sooner had this happened, then BB-8 squealed over his intercom. Poe went into a sharp dive at the droid’s warning of the tie fighter that had latched onto him. The tie matched his manoeuvre. Poe threaded the Black One through laser fire between two capital ships and still the tie fighter kept pace.
    They’re good… thought Poe as he continued to duck and weave to throw off the tie’s targeting computer. Suddenly the pursuing ship exploded and Black Two flew through the resulting cloud of debris.
    “Thought I’d return the favour Black leader,” said Paige.
    No sooner had she done so, then she rolled hard to port in pursuit of another tie.
    Poe looked up and could see members of Red Squadron engaged in dogfights with the enemy. He saw three ties explode in quick succession. He latched onto a fourth and dispatched it quickly. They were gradually turning the tide. Finally something was going their way he thought.
    His intercom came to life, “Black leader, this is Lando Calrissian. I’m getting energy readings that are off the scale about twenty klicks ahead. Something is coming out of hyperspace. Something big”.
    Poe saw the Falcon shoot past him going in the opposite direction. He pulled his ship around in a tight turn to face whatever it was that had just joined them. His eyes widened in shock. A gargantuan ship hung in space. Its hull was black but gave off an eerie orange glow. It appeared to be carved out of partly cooled molten lava and looked like no other vessel Poe had seen before. However the most startling thing about the ship apart from its size was its main weapon. Poe recognised the enormous red circle on the prow as a scaled down version of the weapon used by Starkiller Base.
    “I have a bad feeling about this,” he said. BB-8 whistled in agreement.

    “The main weapon is powering up!” said Lando.
    Poe could hear Chewie roar something over the intercom. He didn’t speak the Wookiee’s language but the meaning was clear…
    They watched helplessly as a massive beam of energy poured out of the ship’s red eye. Several ships, both friend and foe were caught between it and the planet and were vapourised. It struck Arco on its dark side, turning night into day. As it did so, it spread out through the planet’s atmosphere superheating everything, incinerating all organic matter; causing oceans to boil, and rock to melt. The ship may not have had the power to blow the planet apart, but the effect of the weapon was equally as devastating as Starkiller Base.

    In short order the Resistance and their allies found they had no planet to defend. In the ensuing confusion the First Order fleet began to turn the tide back in their favour. The allies began a disordered retreat as Admiral Statura tried his best to cut his mounting losses.
    “Everybody get to safety! Make the jump to hyperspace as soon as you can! We need to regroup and…” the Admiral was cut short as the bridge of the Starlight took a direct hit from a turbolaser on a First Order Star Destroyer. The ship started to roll slowly to port. As it did so it was repeatedly pounded by enemy weapons.
    Most of the Resistance fleet had managed to jump to hyperspace. The last thing Poe saw as he pulled the lever was a massive ball of light as the Starlight’s reactor exploded.

    General Hux surveyed the now dead planet from the bridge of the Death Knell. He felt an enormous sense of satisfaction at how the weapon had performed. The Supreme Leader would be pleased; this he knew. The First Order command ship would deal with stubborn resistance once and for all.
    He turned towards Admiral Mollen, “Give the order to deal with any remaining Resistance activity in the system. We must delay their retreat as much as possible. Pursue enemy ships along their last known trajectories.”
    They had successfully drawn out the Resistance and their allies and Hux knew that if Snoke’s plan worked, they would soon have the location of the Resistance base as well.
    He spoke again to the Admiral, “I will be in my ready room. I do not wish to be disturbed unless there is an emergency.”
    “Sir,” said Admiral Mollen.

    Hux strode off the bridge. In less than a minute he had locked the door and stood in front of his com. He activated a secure channel. A thirty centimetre tall holographic representation of Captain Phasma appeared on his desk. As she appeared she removed her helmet so as to dispel any doubt of who she was.
    “Is it done?” he asked.
    “Yes sir. No-one suspects,” Phasma said.
    “Good. We cannot afford for anything to go wrong. Now we wait…” said Hux.
    “Now we wait,” agreed Phasma.
    Last edited by CairnsTony, Aug 6, 2017
  2. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    Good start that, with the duality of things and the Force itself, too.

    And then a space battle, setting the tune for exciting times in this episode of yours straight away.
    Claire1976 and CairnsTony like this.
  3. CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2014
    star 4
    Duality is a central theme in this story but perhaps in a way that subverts the usual narrative, without giving too much away... ;)
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  4. Claire1976 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 20, 2013
    star 4
    Thanks for your kind words @CairnsTony. It's been a pleasure to join you on this writing journey. I continue to be amazed at how much you upped your game with this one. With TLJ you had some pointers and clues from trailers etc, but with this one you were totally on your own and you've done such a tremendous job. And dare I say, the quality of writing is even better this time round. You are showing a talent for writing I didn't know you had :)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  5. Chyntuck Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2014
    star 5
    Oh this is such a great beginning! Fantastic space battle and it was particularly nice to see Lando back in action. The Republic and Resistance are in deep trouble now that the FO has deployed its new weapon.

    I'm curious to know what Hux and Phasma are conspiring about. It could just be about how they'll find the Resistance base of course, but my instincts tell me that they're up to something within the First Order and that this will ultimately be their undoing.

    I'm looking forward to seeing where you'll be taking this!
  6. CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2014
    star 4
    Thank you so much! You have been tireless in your efforts to check my text, and it has been an invaluable help. =D=

    Thank you! I'm glad you've enjoyed the opening.

    Yes Hux and Phasma are up to something...

    I think I can get away with answering now because the thread is at the top of the page as I write this. :)
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  7. CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2014
    star 4
    OK next bit! Two chapters this time. :)

    TWO.


    The room was simply furnished, consisting of little more than a sleeping pad, a small closet and a locked chest containing several items of value. Despite this, the room was still better appointed than anything Luke had known for many years. He had become used to a spartan existence and had no desire to surround himself with the trappings of a more comfortable life. Even most of the items in the locked chest did not belong to him. He had gathered Breha’s most valued possessions and locked them away. Until she returned…

    Luke sat crossed legged on the floor in the middle of the room. His eyes had been closed for several minutes as he delved into the Force. He opened them slowly and looked at the chest as the thought of Breha entered his head. The lightsabre that had chosen her lay within; the one he thought he had lost for good in Cloud City. Where she had gone, she clearly didn’t feel that she needed it, and yet Luke knew that she was in the jaws of the enemy. He hadn’t even been aware that she had left the base until she was gone. Breha had become adept at cloaking herself in the Force; she was able to hide her presence even from her master it would seem… He would have tried to stop her of course had he known.
    Some time after her departure she had touched his mind. The sensation was brief and unmistakeable in the message it contained.

    Don’t worry…

    In that brief moment he knew that she had a plan.

    The door chime sounded and already Luke knew who waited outside. He got up and opened the door.
    “Master Skywalker,” Maz Kanata sounded terse.
    “Come in please,” said Luke, and Maz entered, “I’m sorry I have no refreshments to offer you,” he added.
    “I’m not here on a courtesy visit,” she said, fixing him with her goggles which she currently wore.
    Maz looked around.
    “You’re welcome to sit on the bed,” Luke said with a gesture.
    “I’d rather stand, this won’t take long,” she said.
    Luke nodded and waited for the lecture he knew Maz was about to give him.
    “Why did you let her go?!” Maz said loudly, “You know how special she is!” It was a statement, not a question, “How unique, how valuable and how vital to all our futures!” she continued, “She is our best hope against the First Order!”
    “Maz…”
    “You could have stopped her!” Maz was turning a darker shade of orange in her anger.
    “I didn’t know she had gone…” Luke said calmly.
    “You didn’t know? You… oh what’s the point!” Maz threw her arms up in frustration and turned to face the other way.
    Luke could sense that Maz knew already that Breha had slipped away without his knowledge, and that she was simply venting her frustration and sense of helplessness at him. They both knew what was at stake, and Luke understood the source of her anger.
    Maz shifted from one foot to the other and hugged herself before slowly turning back around. Her normal colour was returning.
    “I’m sorry…” she said in a quiet voice, “It’s just… I had such high hopes for her…”
    Luke arched his eyebrows as she looked up at him.
    “Why the look?” she said accusingly, “You may be her Master, but we both know you didn’t do this alone.”
    Maz had a habit for being a straight talker, Luke knew all too well.
    “I know Maz, and I’m grateful,” Luke said humbly, “I was simply wondering when we’d get to this. I don’t know how you came to be in possession of my old lightsabre, but I know that you foresaw that a day would come that the right person would claim it.”
    “Yes…” she said nodding.
    She went and sat on the end of Luke’s bed. Luke came and sat down beside her.
    “Shall I tell you how I came to have it?” Maz was decidedly calmer now and in a more reasonable mood. Luke could sense embarrassment from her for her earlier outburst.
    “No time like the present,” Luke said, and he smiled gently.
    She nodded, “Very well… I stole it…”
    This didn’t come as a surprise to Luke.
    “…From Kylo Ren.”
    That did.
    Maz regarded the look on Luke’s face with satisfaction.
    “Go on…” Luke said, fully aware of Maz’s inward amusement.
    “I knew that your lightsabre had passed through many hands since someone had collected it from the bottom of Cloud City,” she continued, “I’m a collector of valuable artefacts, or at least I was…” she sighed, “And I was determined to possess this one. I learned that a clan elder on Ko’hun had acquired it. Apparently the clan were having a bit of local trouble and he fancied himself as some sort of a warrior of justice or something… I flew there in the Tua-Lu.
    Maz could see the look of puzzlement on Luke’s face.
    “That was my ship,” she said, “Anyway, it turned out I wasn’t the only one who came to collect. Whilst I was perfectly happy to pay handsomely for it, Kylo Ren was perfectly happy to kill for it, and so he did. I sensed that something was wrong and parked my ship some distance from the village. I then used my speeder bike to travel there. The weather was terrible and I could barely see through my goggles because of the heavy rain. As I approached the village, I could make out several dark figures in the distance standing in a group. One of them was Kylo; I could see his lightsabre as he stabbed someone through the back. There were bodies…” her voice trailed off.
    Luke suddenly felt cold. He knew what Kylo was capable of. He gathered warmth around him using the Force and waited expectantly for Maz to continue.
    “Despite the weather, I could see the lightsabre. He had it in his hand! Then he looked up as he heard me approach and took a step towards me. I gunned the accelerator and called the lightsabre to me. He wasn’t expecting that!”
    She took some measure of satisfaction in recalling that, Luke could see.
    “I took off as fast as I could,” she said, “Lucky for me I had a fast speeder and a faster ship…”
    Luke was, as ever, impressed with the resourceful, adventurous Maz.
    “It was only once I had it in my hand that I felt something…” she said. Her eyes were distant and almost trance-like.
    “I saw possible futures… conflict; resolution. And I saw a face…”

    Luke’s door chimed. He got up to open it. A young officer looked back at him.
    “Master Skywalker,” she said, “I’m here to inform you that the modified X-wing your student took is back.”





    THREE.



    The room was perfectly circular. Its dark walls were devoid of any discernible features. There didn’t even appear to be anything by way of a door. In the centre of the room were two circular emitters, one in the floor and one in the ceiling generating a containment field that resembled a column of golden light. A solitary figure was suspended in mid air between the emitters.

    Breha couldn’t move her arms or legs and could barely move her head. Her chest was tight and she found it difficult to breathe. Only her facial muscles seemed to be unaffected by the containment field she found herself suspended in.

    She imagined she had been here for days. In all that time she had had no food or fluids and she felt weak and dizzy and found it difficult to concentrate. She had seen no-one since being put here. Worse than any of this however was the fact that she could not feel the Force; the containment field saw to that. She felt completely exposed and helpless. As a result, one emotion had come to dominate the others: fear. Not fear of dying- she would do that for the ones she cared about in a heartbeat- but fear of permanently losing her connection to the Force.

    Her plan had been simple: Kill Kylo Ren. The plan had almost succeeded as well. She remembered following him unarmed into Snoke’s audience chamber with a sense of total calm and composure. She knew she would not succeed if he sensed any hostility from her and Breha had become much more adept at controlling her emotions since she became whole again. He was only a couple of metres away when she’d Force grabbed the stormtrooper’s rifle and was within a split second of getting a shot away. Then the rifle had detonated in her hand, neatly severing the top two centimetres of her trigger finger. A second later and her head had exploded in pain and she had passed out. She woke up to find herself in this room.

    Her skull still throbbed and she was unable to mitigate the stabbing pain coming from her finger. Physically weakened by her predicament and devoid of external distractions, she had disappeared inside her own head.

    Breha’s earliest memories had continued to return to her ever since her time on Naboo. The human brain typically recalled little from these years, but Breha’s Force abilities gave her clarity of recall far superior to ordinary humans. She knew that Force sensitives were far more vulnerable to mental instability due to their enhanced senses and that the Force had effectively magnified her trauma many times over. At one time her memory prior to her arrival on Jakku had been a blank slate. Now if anything, the opposite was the case as more and more of her past was brought back into sharp focus. At first it came as a jumbled series of images but now Breha found herself remembering entire conversations even from her earliest childhood. However, her emotional memories were the strongest… especially her parents’ unconditional love for their little girl.

    Breha loved them more than she could say. She remembered how her father used to spin her around in the air as she squealed with joy. The rough and tumble games were always her favourites. She enjoyed getting her hands dirty and had an aptitude for all things mechanical which Han encouraged. She would often join him when he worked on the Falcon and there were times when she was able to spot a mechanical fault before he did! The thought brought a smile to her face… She often wondered if her father saw something familiar in the woman that came back into his life so suddenly many years later. Even though Luke had told her he knew nothing, she suspected otherwise. The last thing he expected was for her to come back from the dead, but then he did find her in exactly the same place he had last seen her: in his smuggling compartments. She was increasingly convinced that he knew who she was, even if only on a subconscious level. The human brain had a remarkable capacity for denial she mused sadly…
    But her mother knew… even if she had not had the gift of the Force, a mother always knows… and no sooner had they been reunited then she had sent her away… Breha understood why; the very fate of the Galaxy now rested on her shoulders, but at least she could still remember fondly their time together…

    Breha remembered when her mother had presented a doll to her as a gift. Up until then, she had shown little interest in playing with dolls and her toys were not what one would consider ‘girly’; except for music boxes... she loved music. The effect was remarkable… Breha remembered being drawn to that doll like no other and the two became inseparable. Even when she helped her father on the Falcon, the doll was always with her. Her mother had once said that it ‘felt right’ to give it to her, but that she didn’t know why.
    Breha didn’t know why either… but she knew one thing: that doll was her only comfort in those early lonely days on Jakku. At the time she had no memory of how she acquired it, but she knew deep down that she would never be separated from it; at least until she left Jakku once more and embarked on a journey of rediscovery.
    Last edited by CairnsTony, Aug 11, 2017
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  8. CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2014
    star 4
    OK next bit! Three chapters this time as the first one is short. :)



    FOUR.


    Luke and Maz entered the map room. A group of personnel were gathered around a communications console. General Holdo was with them. She turned to face Luke as he approached.
    “The ship entered the system a short while ago. We’re trying to make contact with it Master Skywalker, to determine whether it’s friendly. We’re still not sure if Breha is the pilot. We can’t raise it for some reason.”
    “We can’t even scramble fighters to meet it if it’s hostile,” said Major Brance, “The entire fleet is away engaging the enemy.” He shook his head in irritation.
    Luke stretched out his senses; searching for Breha… and found not one but two presences on the ship. Judging by their quiescence both appeared to be unconscious, and… something else brought him up short: one of them was strong with the Force!
    The General saw his sudden change of facial expression and looked at him quizzically.
    “I don’t think they’re hostile general, but I think I know why you can’t raise them… they’re both asleep.”
    “There’s two of them?” she said.
    “That’s correct general,” said Luke, “and neither of them is Breha.”







    FIVE.


    The room was devoid of furniture except for a large chair in the middle of the room facing a plinth upon which rested what some might describe in a fit of generosity as a curio.
    Kylo Ren sat in his meditation chamber in Snoke’s fortress regarding the twisted remains of the helmet of his grandfather Darth Vader. He had moved it here from the Finaliser after the destruction of Starkiller Base. His most precious artefact… at times like this, he would use it for focus; for inspiration; for planning. He needed all three right now…

    He hadn’t sensed it coming… he sensed no anger, no intent; just calm and poise. In those few seconds in which he dropped his guard she had nearly killed him.
    It had happened in the presence of the Supreme Leader as well! What was she thinking? He had simply raised a hand and detonated the power charge in the rifle she had grabbed before filling her head with pain. She had screamed and collapsed to the floor.
    He had underestimated her… how far she had come. She had learned the truth of her past, this he knew. He wondered how much of the past she now remembered… his sister… someone he had assumed was long dead. He would never forget that day… he was overwhelmed with anger towards his father. He had never felt true hatred before then; and then the notion that she had died…
    Their mother used to call her ‘My little ray of light’. Kylo remembered teasing her over it, “Hey! Ray of light! Mum wants you in the kitchen!”
    He once called her ‘Little Ray’, more affectionately this time. He had forgotten that… until she came back from the dead… then the memory slowly resurfaced, and he knew. His sister was alive, fully grown and strong in the Force!
    Kylo remembered how fiercely protective he was of her. She was so much younger than him, so much more vulnerable, but she was not under ‘his’ influence yet…

    The Supreme Leader. Kylo was about eight years old and attending a function with his parents. The room was crowded with fundraising patrons of some charity or other. He remembered his father’s boredom; mother had dragged him along, and he remembered wandering through the crowd himself feeling completely out of place. His mind began to go out of focus. Then he was standing right in front of him, as if he had appeared out of thin air. A tall pale-skinned alien in a golden cloak focussing all his attention on him.
    “Ben Solo…” the alien said in a deep rumbling voice, “We meet at last.”
    “Um… hello,” he said awkwardly, “how do you know my name?”
    Ben was puzzling at who this strange creature was. He was gaunt, but handsome with large blue eyes and wore a benevolent smile on his face. He didn’t appear hostile, but his mother had warned him about talking to strangers.
    “I am Snoke,” said the alien, as if anticipating his next question, and in answer to the first, “I know your family well. You and I have much to talk about.”
    “You know Mum and Dad?” Ben felt reassured by this.
    “You have a glorious future Ben Solo…” Snoke dragged out his words, “We will meet again.”
    “Who are you talking to honey?”
    Ben looked up to see his mother standing beside him looking around.
    “Snoke!” said Ben and he looked back at where the alien had been standing.
    There was no-one there.
    Leia looked down at him with concern.
    She doesn’t believe me… he remembered thinking at the time.

    That was the first of many meetings. Snoke would appear from thin air and chat to him; each time revealing more of Ben’s ‘glorious future’. He felt a reassuring calm around him and he had a way with words that Ben found entrancing.
    He would be a great leader and great warrior! Ben was excited at the prospect.
    This however was a secret he kept from his parents. He knew they wouldn’t understand and anyway… Snoke always appeared to him when they weren’t around.

    Then his sister was born.

    His parents doted on her. Suddenly Ben was no longer the centre of their world. He was jealous at first, but his parents were quick to reassure him that they loved him just as much as they loved her. Ben accepted this but found himself easily irritated when she began to squall and he would leave the room.
    One day, several months after her birth everything changed. Ben remembered looking down at the baby, sleeping peacefully in her crib. She suddenly woke, gave a sighing yawn and opened her eyes. She looked up at him and smiled. Her tiny hand was raised jerkily in the air as she tried to touch him. He leaned forward and allowed her to grab the end of his nose. She pinched and pulled and Ben laughed. This made her laugh too!
    They had bonded. From that day onwards, Ben had assigned himself her protector. No-one would harm Breha!

    Then one night when she was four, he was woken by a scream. He rushed out of his bedroom and into hers. Snoke was standing over her bed and looked up when he saw him. He dissolved into smoke right in front of his eyes!
    Breha was sobbing. Ben instinctively knelt down and pulled her into a hug.
    “It’s alright…” he said, “He’s gone. You’re safe now.”
    His parents had slept through it. His father would sleep like the dead, but his mother would wake at the slightest noise. It was as if they had been drugged…
    Kylo knew now that Snoke had done something that night; to make sure they didn’t wake.
    The next morning, Breha had no memory of the experience.

    Snoke didn’t reappear for nearly a year. Then Breha was taken from their lives and Snoke was back.
    He told Ben he had failed to protect her as promised. Failed in his duty.
    “I know!” Ben said with tears in his eyes, “I miss her every day…”
    “They loved her…” Snoke began, “… more than you. She was special to them; they could see her potential.”
    Ben couldn’t look Snoke in the eye. He felt the power of those words. Maybe they didn’t love him as they claimed… he felt confused and lost…

    Without Breha to focus his attention on, Snoke had returned it to Ben.
    “They want to send you away,” Snoke said, “they cannot now train your sister, and so they will train you instead… in the ways of the Force.”
    All of this was new to Ben at the time. His Force sensitive mother had been rather coy about the details for years. She didn’t want him or his sister training with his uncle at first; she wanted them to be a normal family. But they weren’t normal, Ben told himself, not with this power inside… and then it occurred to him: This is what Snoke meant when he said he would be a great leader and warrior! He would become the most powerful Jedi ever!

    He believed it for years.
    “More powerful than you…” he said out loud to Vader’s mask. He chuckled mirthlessly at the notion.
    He had a plan. He would talk her around. It wouldn’t be easy. After all… she had tried to kill him once already.





    SIX.



    The modified two-seater X-Wing sat on the landing pad at the Resistance base.
    Rose remembered waking from a deep sleep to see the com flashing insistently on her cockpit display. She fumbled with the control and spoke thickly into it; she was still waking up.

    Days of interrogation at the hands of the First Order and almost no sleep had left her feeling exhausted. Once Finn had given her the coordinates for the Resistance base, she had put the ship on autopilot, pre-programmed to fly to the system unaided and drop out of hyperspace at the right moment. The latter normally required someone to do it manually, but a skilled navigator could do it. Rose was a lousy pilot she knew, even with a more familiar ship such as an X-Wing, but she was adept at programming the ship to do everything for her. No sooner had the ship jumped to hyperspace then she had sunk into a deep sleep. Exhaustion had claimed her.

    She remembered climbing out of the X-Wing to find herself facing the point of several blasters. They demanded to know who she was and clearly weren’t taking any chances. It was only when Finn called from the back seat for them to lower their blasters that they began to relax.
    Finn was helped out of the ship and taken to the medical bay. Once it was established that Rose was unharmed and unarmed, she was led away for debriefing.

    The room was small and windowless. Rose sat the far side of a large desk. Behind the desk sat two people facing her with expressions that showed concern mixed with anxiety. An armed guard stood by the door.
    She had told them how they had been captured by the First Order and what happened in their captivity. With further questioning, she then worked backwards, telling them how she met Finn and who she was.
    General Holdo spoke, “Finn tells us that you’re a friend. He appears to trust you.”
    “How is he?” Rose asked. A plea in her voice.
    “Preliminary investigations show that he has concussion and several broken bones it would seem. Other tests are being conducted as we speak. Don’t worry, we’ll ensure he gets the best care.”
    Rose exhaled with relief.
    “Now please explain to us how you found us.” Holdo said in a calm, measured voice.
    “Finn gave me the coordinates,” Rose said.
    She frowned at the question. Wasn’t it obvious?
    “And why would he do that?” Brance said, his voice rising in pitch. His worry lines appeared to be increasing, “Was he delirious? Did he just let the information slip?”
    “No!” Rose insisted, “I asked him for them, and he gave them to me, just like that!”
    Rose was about to object to this line of questioning, when Holdo spoke again.
    “Finn knows what’s at stake. The least he would ask you to do would be to check for tracers before giving you any information. Why do you think they let you go?”
    “I.. I don’t understand,” Rose stammered, “Oh…” her hand went to her mouth.
    “We conducted a full scan of the ship as soon as you and Finn left,” said Holdo, “We found a First Order tracer on the hull.”
    Rose was in shock. Her eyes widened in horror at what she’d done. The First Order had seen an opportunity and taken it. That still left the question of why Finn gave her the information so readily…
    “We’ve already started evacuating all non-essential personnel,” Holdo said, her voice strained, “I wish we could conduct a fuller debrief but as you can see we’ve got a bigger problem on our hands right now.”
    Holdo and Brance started to get up from their chairs.
    Rose stood up, “Is my sister here?” she asked hopefully.
    “You have a sister in the Resistance?” Brance asked.
    “Her name is Paige Tico. She’s a pilot.”
    “The entire fleet including your sister are off fighting the First Order,” Brance said, “They’re due back soon. Let’s hope they get back before the First Order pay us a visit.”
    The danger that Paige put herself in by joining the Resistance suddenly came home to Rose. Her anxiety increased.
    “Now if you’ll excuse us, we have work to do,” Holdo said, “This guard will escort you to see Finn if you like.”

    They had just left the room when a security officer hurried up to General Holdo.
    “Sir,” he said, “We’ve found something, and think you should take a look.”
    Holdo glanced at Rose who stood sheepishly in the doorway.
    “Take her to the medical bay,” she instructed the guard, “I’m sure Finn will be pleased to see her.”
    Rose was led away.

    After her departure, the security officer spoke up, “Once you take a look at what we have, I think we’ll all need to go and see Finn,” he said, “We’ve found something in his head.”
    Last edited by CairnsTony, Aug 12, 2017
  9. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    Simply loved the past updates.

    What a resourceful little minx Maz can be! She really stole that sabre from a surprised Kylo Ren. I fear that she is on his long death list for that trick.

    As for Breha´s/ Rey´s memories of her childhood: sniff! Those are bitter-sweet.

    Kylo Ren is too much a darksider to realize his wrong doing(s) here. "To talk" his sister around the way that he wants to is inexcusable.

    It reminds me of something that I did with two characters of mine in a fanfic series. (Something I restarted due to lost data when the boards moved.)

    Writing about the painful subject of "brain wash" brought me some trouble in form of ranting by my editor. Her harsh view on the male character never changed to something more positive again. But I know that I am right, because I am still reading the Ventress & Vos novel very sloooooowly these days. And Dooku is not soft with his Jedi prisoner either, when he wants to turn him to the dark side.

    Anyway, your take on the Reylo relationship is refreshing! No cousins who fall in love, but siblings set against one another.
  10. CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2014
    star 4
    Thank you!

    I remembered the vision that Rey/Breha had and figured that it needed some context. In the original script, this was the moment Maz stole the lightsabre from Kylo. We almost saw this on film but they cut it from the script... I hope we get an 'in canon' explanation eventually, and perhaps it will still feature Maz!

    Yes... and as she heals mentally she will remember more...

    Interestingly there was an interview with Daisy published only a few days ago that effectively killed all the 'Reylo' romance theories stone dead. She pointed out that Rey's position in the upcoming film is that she feels incredible anger towards Kylo for murdering Han. She simply cannot fathom why anyone would do this. It's now personal. That's precisely how I felt about the character and the approach I took. She wanted to rescue Finn absolutely, but deal out some 'pay back' as well, even if it cost her her life.

    Interesting!

    Yes, Breha is in this predicament because keeping her alive is important (as you will see), and Snoke is trying to break her.

    And of course Snoke perceives that she is far too dangerous to them now to be given access to the Force. At least not yet... ;)

    I'd bet my house that if in the unlikely event they are not related that romance is the furthest thing from Rey's mind right now...

    I honestly don't think some are prepared to explore the way someone in Rey's position would feel deep down. Her desire to kill Kylo was completely premeditated.

    But then of course they are siblings and they once had a very different type of relationship...
    Last edited by CairnsTony, Aug 13, 2017
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  11. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    In the EU, now legends, Jaina and Jacen were siblings, too. Twins even. Did not stop them to be at each others throats at a certain point.

    Anyway, well meet your update.
    CairnsTony likes this.
  12. CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2014
    star 4
    Indeed! And I explore Breha and Ben's dynamic quite a bit in this story.


    OK next bit! :)


    SEVEN.


    Kylo had been summoned to Snoke’s throne room. Even as he made his way to see Breha. He was irritated at the distraction and wondered what Snoke wanted.

    Kylo entered. As usual two Praetorian Guards flanked the door. Snoke sat atop his throne on a raised dais at one end of the chamber. It was gold like his cloak, and encrusted with ruby-coloured kyber crystals which glittered in the dimly lit room; a monument to his vanity Kylo thought…
    “Our plan bears fruit,” Snoke rumbled, “The Resistance Base has been located. She has performed her part perfectly it would seem.”
    “As I knew she would Supreme Leader,” said Kylo, in response to this news, “She had no idea that I had planted the suggestion in her head. She was clearly able to get the coordinates out of FN-2187.”

    Kylo knew that Finn would never talk; his First Order programming saw to that, and he was prepared to die sooner than betray the Resistance. Once Phasma had finished with him, he had planned to interrogate him himself, but he knew that First Order cascade programming would shut down Finn’s brain under a heavy Force mind probe. Then the idea came to him… he reached out to Breha with the Force. He knew she would come; FN-2187 was her first real friend she’d had in many years. He could no longer exploit her trauma, but he knew of her other weakness. She cared about others, especially the one who now called himself Finn. Once they had her, the others could leave, and lead them straight to the Resistance base.

    “The Resistance fleet and their allies were scattered at Arco. They are still trying to regroup. They will return to their base soon,” Snoke stated, “We must act quickly.”
    Kylo took this information on board; his mind was working but he did not wish to betray to Snoke his intentions.
    “Supreme Leader, my place is here,” he stated boldly, “My sister… I believe she can be turned. She is already weak and afraid. She has made an attempt on my life once already.”
    Snoke leaned forward; his eyes glittering with interest…
    “Yes… she is indeed powerful. The Skywalkers are susceptible to the Dark Side,” he said, his face twisted into a sneer.
    “She is consumed with hatred!” Kylo added, “She would be a powerful ally!”
    “Indeed…” Snoke looked thoughtful and remained silent for several seconds. Eventually he spoke.
    “Very well… you will use whatever means necessary. Exploit those weaknesses of hers, and should you fail…” he emphasised the last word, “I will complete the job upon my return.”
    “I will not fail you Supreme Leader!” he said emphatically.
    “Good,” Snoke said with satisfaction, “I will leave for the command ship at once.”


    Kylo left the chamber. As he walked down the corridor he silently rejoiced. Snoke had taken the bait, and now he was about to pay a little visit to his sister.



    EIGHT.

    Rose was distraught. She felt bad enough for Finn’s predicament without worsening the situation by leading the First Order to the Resistance base! What was she thinking? She remembered leaving Snoke’s planet with the desire to get to safety by getting as far away from the First Order as soon as possible. Something in the back of her mind had given her the overwhelming desire to extract the information from Finn, and he had given it to her without hesitation before lapsing into unconsciousness.
    She had been sitting by Finn’s bed holding his hand now for about twenty minutes, willing for all the world that he made a quick recovery. She thought back to the last time she’d done this…

    Zeb had turned up at her apartment late one night and collapsed in her doorway. It took all her strength to get him onto her lounger in the main room. He’d been shot by someone with a blaster in his shoulder and the wound was deep. He’d managed to stagger all the way to her place before his strength gave out.

    “How did this happen?” she’d asked.
    “Got into a fight, didn’ I…” he said, his voice heavy.
    “Here… hold this,” she said, handing him an improvised compress made from a towel, “Keep it pressed against the wound, you’re still losing blood,” she said urgently.
    She ran to a cabinet in her kitchen and fetched a subcut spray, loaded a painkilling cartridge and pressed it into Zeb’s shoulder, giving instant pain relief. She bandaged the wound all the while cursing his stubbornness that he hadn’t gone to the nearest medical centre. Of course she didn’t know then that as a Resistance operative he didn’t want anyone asking too many questions. Unfortunately for him, he had a habit of getting into scrapes with the wrong sorts on a fairly regular basis, so he didn’t do himself any favours.
    She had done what she could without calling for further help. He was insistent that he just needed to rest. She felt helpless as she sat on the floor beside the lounger holding his hand. That at least seemed to soothe him, but she feared the worst and wondered if he’d make it through the night. He was tough, but he wasn’t indestructable. She remembered falling asleep in situ and being woken in the morning by Zeb tapping her firmly on the shoulder.

    Zeb survived. He was her only real friend apart from Seera, and at the time she knew she’d be completely lost without him.
    “You’ve got ‘ealing ‘ands,” he’d said to her with a broad toothy grin.

    Rose was keen to see Zeb again; she knew that he was in the base somewhere; Holdo had told her when she had mentioned his name in the story of how she’d met Finn. Finn…
    Rose had had her eyes closed in thought. She opened them and looked him in the face. She couldn’t explain what was happening to him… she wondered if others would understand…




    NINE.


    Holdo, Brance and several others were studying scans of Finn’s brain on a 3D holoprojector in the map room. The image was zoomed in on the base of his skull.
    “We performed a full body scan on Finn to ascertain the nature of his injuries,” said the chief medical consultant, Jan Gattiss, “When we examined the images of his head we found this.”
    The consultant was pointing at a tiny dark circular object located at the base of Finn’s skull.
    “What is it exactly?” Holdo asked.
    “It isn’t organic, we can be sure of that,” he said, “And as it’s outside my field of expertise, I called in your technicians. What I can tell you however is that it is plugged directly into Finn’s neurones,” he gestured towards someone to Holdo’s left,
    “Chief Technician Sonak can explain far better than me.”
    Sonak, a diminutive woman with a bob of grey hair and a dark complexion took a step forward.
    Holdo and the others looked on expectantly.
    “It’s a device, slightly less than half a millimetre in diameter,” she began, “First Order design we believe.”
    A few people exchanged looks of concern.
    “What’s it doing there?” Holdo said, her jaw tight.
    “Transmitting,” said Sonak, “Directly into Finn’s brain.”
    Major Brance was the first to react, “Is this something the First Order routinely implant into the heads of their stormtroopers? Has it always been there?”
    “We don’t think so,” Sonak replied, “There is nothing from Finn’s previous medical records to suggest that this thing was put there before he joined the Resistance. This is new.”
    “What is it transmitting?” Holdo asked.
    “Three numbers,” said Sonak, “Or at least we think so…” she added, looking at Gattiss.
    “He was saying them over and over as we brought him to the medical facility,” said Gattiss, “He only stopped when we gave him a mild sedative,” he added, “At the time I put it down to delirium.”
    “I requested that we convene in the map room for a reason,” Sonak said, “We believe the numbers are coordinates.”
    “Are you able to recount those numbers?” said Holdo hopefully.
    “No problem,” Gattiss said, “negative 328, 021, negative 392.”
    Monal Dex, the Chief Communications Officer fed the numbers into the console.
    Immediately a tiny red flashing dot appeared in the galactic map. Dex toggled another switch and zoomed into that sector of the galaxy. Much of the sector was uncharted and there were blank areas. In the centre of one of those areas was the red dot.
    “It would appear your hunch is right Sonak,” said Holdo, “But they don’t match any known location. They lead us directly into the unknown regions.”
    “Another Starkiller base…” said Brance, his brow furrowed with concern.
    “Perhaps…” said Holdo, “There’s something out there and someone wants us to know about it.”

    “Well at least I now know what the inside of my head looks like,” said Finn as he walked into the map room.
    Everybody turned at the sound of Finn’s voice… and stared.
    “Erm… why are you all looking at me like that?” he said with mild annoyance.
    Rose had come in with him, “Take a look in a mirror Finn,” she said.
    Finn looked at her uneasily, “What’s wrong?” he said, “has my nose fallen off?”
    “Your face…” said Gattiss as his voice had trailed off, “I don’t understand… we haven’t even started the bacta treatment.”
    “Anybody care to explain what’s wrong?” said Finn, his voice developing an edge of concern.
    “I’m sorry Finn,” Gattiss said, “Nothing’s wrong with your face,” said the medic, “That’s why we’re all staring. It wasn’t that long ago that we wheeled you into the medical centre with a face like a slab of meat. Even the best bacta treatment wouldn’t have fixed it this quickly.”
    “It’s like I said Finn!” Rose explained, “Even your ribs!”
    Gattiss rushed over and palpated Finn’s chest. Finn only winced slightly. He then pulled a scanner out of his pocket and ran it over Finn’s ribs.
    “Impossible…” he said, shaking his head, “They’ve already started knitting together!”
    “I think I may have an explanation,” Luke was standing in the doorway to the map room.
    Everybody turned at the sound of the new voice. He walked over to Finn.
    “Hello Finn, my name is Luke Skywalker,” he said and extended a hand.
    Finn took his hand and shook it. His face was a picture of surprise.
    You’re Luke Skywalker?” he said as his face extended into a grin, “I’ve always wanted to meet you!”
    Luke smiled, “I’ve heard much about your bravery Finn, the feeling is mutual. How do you feel?”
    “A lot better than I did a short while ago…” Finn said.
    “Master Skywalker,” Gattiss was speaking, “May I ask what the explanation is you were referring to?”
    “Of course,” Luke said, “It is the Force that is healing you Finn.”
    Finn’s face was once again a picture.
    “You mean… I have the Force?!” he said exultantly.
    Luke smiled, “Sadly no,” he said, and gestured towards Rose, “But she does.”
    Last edited by CairnsTony, Aug 16, 2017
  13. Chyntuck Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2014
    star 5
    Sorry for falling off the radar, I've been extra busy at work this month...

    But I'm still loving this!

    So many different story threads to connect here. I'm not entirely sure what's going on but my sense is that everyone in the First Order is manipulating and/or betraying everyone else, and that this will ultimately be the Resistance's salvation. With a little help from Maz of course, because Maz.

    Can I say how excited I am that you made Rose Force-sensitive? (Finn is probably a bit disappointed that it's not him, okay. But I'm sure he has an important role to play nevertheless.)
    CairnsTony likes this.
  14. CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2014
    star 4
    No need to apologise! We all live busy lives. :)

    Thank you for the compliment once more!

    I'm setting up a big mystery here and the pieces will gradually be revealed. The different threads are all connected to some degree.

    Thank you! I have a sneaky hunch one of our heroes (other than Rey/Breha, Luke and Leia) is Force sensitive in the films. I could be wrong but I could see them doing that. I have a very specific reason for doing this with Rose. ;)

    Finn is vital to the story too. As I see it FS or otherwise they are all heroes. :)
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  15. CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2014
    star 4
    OK next bit! :)



    TEN.

    Breha thought of Finn…

    She wondered in hope if he was safe. He looked in bad shape when she last set eyes on him… She had given up her freedom for him and she would do it again, no matter what the circumstances; Finn meant the world to her she knew… she remembered seeing his broken body on Starkiller base, when it seemed like they were both about to die. He had nearly laid down his life to try and save her. He was the bravest person she had ever met. She wept as the planet around them started to break up. It seemed miraculous now that they were both rescued in time.
    She remembered seeing him at the Resistance base. He was unconscious but at least the medical team had stabilised him. She remembered reaching into him and touching his mind, the gesture was instinctual and born out of love. And again… on the platform of the fortress… she’d seen him suffer enough.
    If she had been able to heal him with the Force on either occasion she would have done, but she knew from her training with Luke that such a gift was very rare. Her talents were more ‘elemental’ she knew: exceptional abilities to manipulate matter; solid, liquid and even gas. She could manipulate energy too, and had once impressed Luke when they were sitting either side of a campfire one evening on Ahch-to as she formed different shapes with the flames using the Force. Luke had told her after her mother’s death that this was a talent she shared with Ben.
    Her brother… he intruded on her thoughts like an unwelcome guest.
    Breha couldn’t define how she felt about him. Was it hate? No… she had learned to steer away from such negative emotions. The last time she had truly hated someone, the Dark Side had nearly claimed her. In the brief time she had with Luke at the Resistance base she had worked hard on her mental defences. She had resolved to rescue Finn in the knowledge that neither Kylo nor Snoke would break her down again so easily. She had faced her trauma and won, she told herself.
    When she saw Ben once more, she felt nothing. Only the singularity of her task occupied her mind at that point.
    But she had failed… and fear had claimed her in her imprisonment. Clearly her training was incomplete. She wondered if Master Skywalker would chastise her for her impatience if they ever met again…

    Breha was snapped out of her own mind by a sound. She looked up and saw that the wall of the room was starting to shimmer. Then it dissolved into smoke.
    It was an illusion… she thought. I would have known had I been able to use the Force. She wondered what was happening.
    Kylo stepped forward out of the shadows. As he did so, other lights came on around him, and Breha discovered that she was confined in a much larger square chamber. For once the whole place was brightly lit.
    “It makes a change from groping around in the dark, wouldn’t you agree?” he said as he walked up to where she remained suspended in mid air.
    “The Supreme Leader is rather sensitive to bright lights…” he continued.
    Breha watched him as he came within a couple of metres. She almost welcomed his presence; it made for a change from the tedium of her solitude. She waited… there wasn’t much else she could do.
    “I expect you’re wondering why I am here?” he said.
    Breha remained silent. She was happy for him to talk; she had nothing to say to him.
    “I need your help,” he said; his face solemn.
    She looked down to avoid his eyes. She couldn’t believe that he would still be trying mind games on her.
    “I know you don’t believe me,” he said, “I don’t need to read your mind to see that.”
    Breha remained impassive.
    “Snoke is a threat to us both,” he said, “he wants to use us for his own ends.”
    The room, despite its size, had no echo. Breha thought that Kylo sounded less imposing as a result. The effect pleased her, because it made him seem smaller.
    “Breha?” he said inquiringly.
    It was the first time he had used her name. Her real name. She looked up.
    He continued to study her for a few seconds, then he took out his lightsabre.
    A cold trickle of sweat started to run down Breha’s back. The last time he had asked a family member for help he had impaled them on his lightsabre. She closed her eyes and prepared for the end.

    Without warning the containment field deactivated. Breha tumbled to the ground. She made contact with her right hand and yelped in pain at her severed finger.
    She had landed in an awkward heap as the Force rushed back into her. She drew on it for strength and tried to stand, but her legs gave way; she still felt very weak. Frustration crept into her as she tried to prop herself up on her left hand, all the time waiting for the final blow.
    Kylo’s lightsabre clattered to a halt on the floor beside her. She tried to steady her breathing as she saw it. Then without further hesitation she Force grabbed it in her left hand and activated it in one swift motion as she looked up at him. Holding it out in front of her she slowly hoisted herself up. More of her strength returned and eventually she found herself standing unsteadily facing Kylo with his lightsabre pointed at his chest.
    He had taken a step back when she’d activated it, but remained facing her just out of its reach.
    “I am unarmed Breha,” he reminded her.
    “Stop… playing games,” she said in a low voice, emphasising every syllable.
    He gestured with open palms, “Why would I give you my lightsabre if I intended to harm you?”
    “You killed our father… you killed our mother,” her voice remained low and even, but anger was creeping into it.
    “I didn’t kill mother!” he objected, “She was an unfortunate casualty…”
    Breha shook her head and laughed mirthlessly.
    “Is that all she was to you? I loved her…” her voice was strained.
    “I loved her too…” Kylo said.
    No… he’s lying… she thought, and reached out with the Force. She touched his mind; he made no effort to stop her. She could sense some anger, but also fear… she’d expected that, and… sincerity.
    He was telling the truth!
    She felt confused and words wouldn’t come. She shook her head slowly at the revelation.
    “I never would have harmed her,” he said, “She did everything to protect us. We were once such a happy family…”
    Were those tears? Breha felt revulsion at what her brother had become. How could it have come to this? And yet… she felt good in him. Despite all the terrible things he had done… She considered for a moment and then made a decision.
    Breha deactivated the lightsabre and held it by her side. She steadied her breathing and pushed the anger she had felt out of her until she stood facing him with a look of calm. She knew she couldn’t kill him now even if he offered her his head. Instinct told her she needed to take a leap of faith. Once again she felt a clarity of vision when calm. This felt right somehow…
    “I will hear you out,” she said at last, “But I am immune to the dark. I will never become an agent of the Dark Side,” she added for emphasis.

    “I know,” he said.

    ELEVEN.

    Finn, Rose and Luke followed Holdo and Brance out of the map room. Finn and Rose were still adjusting to the revelation that not only was Rose strong in the Force, but that she had just greatly accelerated Finn’s healing. He felt some soreness whilst walking, he told her, but otherwise, he felt fine!
    “Transmit the coordinates to the fleet as soon as they get back,” Holdo said turning to Brance as they walked, “We don’t know what we’re facing, but we can’t take any chances. There’s no time to plan any coordinated response until we regroup.”
    “Sir,” said Brance and he hurried off.
    Base personnel moved past them in a steady procession. The evacuation was continuing apace.
    “The medic said you need more rest,” proffered Rose as they walked down the corridor.
    Finn smiled back, “No time…” and steered the conversation back to the latest revelation.
    “For a few seconds there I thought it was me!” He said, “How does it feel, knowing what you now know?” Finn asked.
    “It does explain why I found it so easy to extract information from people,” she said, “Including you it would seem…” she said reddening.
    “That wasn’t your fault,” Finn said, “Luke said that someone had planted a Force suggestion in your head. You did it, because they wanted you to.”
    Rose cringed, but she felt less guilty about the whole thing at least. Had her mind been entirely her own on the journey back then she would have had the sense not to come here, or at least check for tracers… Kylo had entered her mind all too easily. He knew that she wanted to join the Resistance badly and that she missed her sister. She had proven easy to manipulate.
    “At least you allowed Luke to check you over; no more hidden suggestions!” Finn said.
    Rose was reticent at allowing Luke to do that, but base security now left her alone at least.

    They arrived at Holdo’s ready room and guided Finn into a chair.
    “It seems like we have a lot to catch up on,” said Holdo, trying to process everything that had happened in the last few minutes, “But we have to keep this brief.”
    She summarised for Finn what they’d discovered.
    “Wait… why would the First Order be giving us this information?” said Finn, “And why stick it in my head?”
    “Microdots are used to conceal something,” Holdo said to Finn, “Whoever put this in you, didn’t want others to know.”
    “Finn, do you have any idea who might have done this to you?” Holdo asked.
    Finn looked thoughtful and then a sudden realisation spread across his face.
    “No… can’t be…” he said, as he looked back at Holdo and Brance.
    The others looked at him expectantly.
    “I remember some sort of needle being pushed into the back of my skull. The pain was almost unbearable. I just assumed it was part of the torture!”
    “Who was it that did this?” Holdo asked insistently.
    Finn looked at her, “Phasma.”

    Before anyone could react, the com on Holdo’s desk buzzed loudly. She answered it. It was Dex.
    “Sir,” he said, “It’s the fleet… they’re back.”
    Last edited by CairnsTony, Aug 19, 2017
  16. Chyntuck Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2014
    star 5
    It's a trap!

    Or at least, it has to be one. I can buy that Kylo wants, in his own way, to restore some sort of family bond with Breha, but I'm pretty sure that whatever Hux and Phasma are up to has to do at best with saving their own sorry arses.

    Not that I completely buy Kylo's kindness either :p My guess is that they all want to be caliph instead of the caliph and at some point it will come and bite them in the butt.

    I wonder if Breha's and Ben's ability to manipulate flames will come in useful later in the story.
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  17. CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2014
    star 4
    Seeing as we're at the top of the page I think I can get away with addressing your points.

    Phasma's motives will become clearer pretty soon. ;)

    Phasma and Hux: In a way yes... but there's more to it, which I hope will become clear quite soon.

    Kylo: Their dynamic is complicated because they were very close as children; though of course his motives aren't exactly beneficient.

    Perhaps... though I also wanted to draw the distinction between the sort of Force users Breha and Rose are. They have different strengths. I also wanted to emphasise the similarities between Breha and Kylo. He was able to freeze a blaster bolt on Jakku. This suggests to me a strong ability to manipulate energy. :)
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  18. CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2014
    star 4
    Let's see what the baddies are up to... ;)


    TWELVE.



    Phasma had donned her armour. Only her helmet remained to be put on. She would lead the stormtrooper attack on the Resistance base and was expected shortly in the main hangar. She was standing in her quarters looking out of the viewport. The starfield outside was suffused with crimson from a nearby nebula, but she was oblivious to this. She was deep in thought…

    Madness… she thought. Madness had compelled her to do it; and yet… what choice was there? This couldn’t be allowed to happen…

    She had an unexpected moment of recollecting her past; how she had come to this point in her life…
    She remembered as a young child the chaos following the Battle of Endor and how the Empire had retreated in disarray from her home world. Her parents had rejoiced. They were supporters of the Rebellion. She will always remember how they had told her of the wonderful future they would all have. At the time, she actually believed them…
    The planet rapidly descended into anarchy as different factions vied for power. The certainties she had known before were gone and their lives were thrown into disorder. Siona hated disorder… and so at the age of seven she ran away.
    She wandered from world to world surviving on her wits as she searched for the old certainties she had once known, without success. She knew that loyal Imperial factions were out there somewhere… It took years to find them, but eventually she hijacked a supply ship from someone making secret runs into the Unknown Regions. That was how she first came into contact with the First Order. By now she was a tall, gangly teenager and good in a fight. She had learned how to be a survivor over the last several years. As soon as the pilot landed at his destination, she killed him with his own blaster. She then declared her intention to join up to a young First Order officer. Even though she was much older than most of their new recruits, they took her in, though they initially took some convincing. Her ruthlessness impressed them the most and they soon formed a new impression of her… She had discarded her old life and even her old name. She rose through the ranks…

    The First Order she joined would restore sanity to the galaxy she believed. She had followed orders without question for years, even from Kylo Ren who often made her feel uneasy. He was a Force user… something which Phasma felt was somehow ‘wrong’. He operated outside the main chain of command and this privilege was something she quietly resented, though never outwardly expressed.

    When FN-2187 was captured she was ecstatic. She exacted revenge on him as she saw fit. She would have killed him once she’d finished torturing him but then the order came through to transfer him to the Supreme Leader’s personal fortress. Phasma made the journey with her prisoner and that other one; that girl… she had no idea at the time why they wanted her. Only an insistence that she not be harmed.

    She will always remember it…
    She stood by the entrance of the cell block waiting for TK 920 to come on duty. He was nearly a minute late and Phasma was growing impatient. She ordered the on-duty guard to wait and headed down the corridor towards the barracks. She encountered him nearly a minute later hurrying towards her and admonished him for wasting her time. He knew in no uncertain terms not to be late a second time.
    She wanted to discuss the recently transferred prisoners with the Supreme Leader and headed towards his throne room. As she approached she could see two Praetorian Guards either side of the entrance. They remained as immovable as stone. Phasma had to admire their professionalism. Praetorian Guards were never late for anything she thought…
    She spoke to the nearest with her usual authority, “I wish to speak with the Supreme Commander.”
    His faceless helmet turned slowly towards her, “The Supreme Commander is not to be disturbed,” he said in a low grating voice.
    “Very well…” she replied, “I’ll wait,” and stood across from them feeling somewhat vexed. She expected them to object but they remained silent and as motionless as always. She knew better than to inquire how long she would have to stand there but she derived some satisfaction from showing them that she was not so easily sent on her way.
    She wondered to herself what was happening in the throne room. Normally she didn’t question her superior’s motives, least of all their private affairs, but she was in an unusually bad mood after the earlier incident and felt a certain inward defiance at that moment for being kept waiting.
    She didn’t know what made her do it… as she stood there, she popped open a panel on her waist and made a pretence of adjusting the environmental settings on her armour which were cybernetically linked to her helmet. She discreetly dialled up the sonic range, which for her extended far beyond even that available to her foot soldiers. She then narrowed its focus to what lay directly ahead… in the throne room.
    Two voices suddenly came into audible range; predictably they were those of the Supreme Commander and Kylo Ren. She steadied her breathing and listened.

    “The artefact is ancient…” rumbled Snoke, “It has been waiting all these years for us to find it.”
    “Once activated, the Emperor’s final plan will be put into operation,” said Kylo, “And now the opportunity finally presents itself! The power of the First Order will be nothing compared to this.”
    “All will bow down to us…” said Snoke.
    Phasma could hear the swishing of Snoke’s cloak as he walked. There was a pause in the conversation. She could feel beads of sweat developing on her face despite her helmet’s atmosphere controls. She battled with herself over what she was doing…

    “What of the others Supreme Leader?” asked Kylo.
    “The General and the Captain do not know the Force; they are not… worthy…” said Snoke, emphasising the last word, “They will become mindless puppets like the rest of them.”
    They’re talking about me… thought Phasma. She tried to steady her breathing.
    “They will try and stop us if this should get out…” Kylo said.
    “If that should ever happen…” Snoke paused, “Kill them.”
    “As you wish Supreme Leader,” said Kylo.

    Phasma had heard enough. Her mind was whirling… she made a point of checking her chrono in front of the guards and started to walk away from the entrance, struggling to maintain her composure. She was glad that her face was hidden by the helmet she wore as it would have betrayed the huge internal struggle going on. Her entire world… every certainty she believed in was starting to collapse around her.
    She knew then that she needed to do something. There was no choice.

    Phasma continued to stare blankly out of the viewport before glancing down at her chrono. She was late, and for the first time in her life, she didn’t care.







    THIRTEEN.



    General Hux sat in his ready room on the Death Knell. He steepled his gloved fingers as he contemplated recent events.
    He had to hand it to Phasma, she was resourceful… had she not eavesdropped on the Supreme Leader then none of this would have come to light. As soon as she had contacted him about it, he needed to determine the veracity of her claims. He wasn’t at all convinced at first and wondered if Phasma had lost her mind… or worse… was plotting to take over the First Order by pitting everyone against each other.
    It wasn’t easy… even determining the nature of this… ‘artefact’, whatever it was… was it the size of a datapad? Or Starkiller Base…
    Hux knew he was taking a risk even investigating Phasma’s claims… the answers likely lay in the Supreme Leader’s fortress, and so Phasma was tasked to find out more. She had to exercise extreme care. Even one slip up…
    She dispatched a tiny remote to explore the fortress and discovered a hidden room. It contained a starmap and in that starmap…

    He dispatched a single probe droid to investigage the location. The telemetry it sent back confirmed everything Phasma had claimed. What it was, Hux could not even begin to imagine… Even the appearance of the device matched nothing he had seen before. He knew it had something to do with the Force, and that it likely posed a threat to every non-Force user in the galaxy. It was very old; it may have even predated the Old Republic.
    It was at times like this that Hux fell back on his instincts when there were too many unknowns. It had served him well in the past.

    And so they had put their plan into action; and their enemies in the Resistance were the unwitting pawns.







    FOURTEEN.



    It had been a long, difficult mission and Poe felt fatigue all over his body. He climbed stiffly out of the cockpit of the Black One as he silently debated with himself over whether they had employed the right tactics at Arco. They were winning, but then… everything changed when the First Order flagship appeared. Should they have thrown everything at it? Most of the fleet would have likely been destroyed in the attempt. It was clear from the readouts he was getting that the armour on that ship was like nothing they had dealt with before. It didn’t even appear to be metal! What could they have hoped to achieve against such a decisive weapon as the First Order flagship? Poe struggled for answers…

    He could see Holdo poring over a data readout. She didn’t know that he was there until she looked up at his approach. Her furrowed brow immediately softened and her face expressed relief. Poe didn’t care if others were watching… he wrapped her in an embrace and they kissed warmly.
    “Amilyn…” he said softly.
    “When I heard that the Starlight was lost….” he kissed her again, “…I feared the worst…” she breathed, “Half the fleet missing!”
    Poe remembered himself, as Holdo flicked a glance at a nearby technician who was gawping at them and gently pushed him away.
    “The fleet was scattered after their flagship appeared,” he said, “Some ships didn’t have time to set coordinates; some made blind jumps… I need to prepare a report…”
    “There’s no time,” she said, “We’re already virtually down to skeleton staff already. The First Order could be here any minute! Ships are already heading to the rendezvous point.”
    Poe examined her taut expression and held her by the shoulders.
    “Hey… how are you holding up?” he said softly.
    “I… I didn’t think it would be like this…” she said shaking her head.
    “You’re the best person for the job now,” he said.
    “I wanted to lead the Resistance…” she admitted, “but Leia… I didn’t want her to die to make it happen!”
    He looked into her face, “Leia’s gone… nothing can change that. We go on. That’s what she would have wanted,” he pulled her into a hug.
    They separated after several seconds. Poe changed the subject.
    “Remind me again why we’re evacuating?” Poe asked.
    “Someone led them to us… there was a tracer on the ship,” she said, “Finn’s back…”
    Poe’s eyes widened, “Is he OK? Where the hell has he been?”
    Holdo was trying to get the words out and shushed Poe so she could continue, “He was captured by the First Order, but he’s fine!”
    Poe whistled and said… “You’d think at least Phasma would have roughed him up a little… Where is he?”
    “Right here.”
    Poe turned around and beamed at the sight of his friend. They embraced and patted each other on the back. Rose appeared alongside Finn smiling awkwardly. Poe looked at her and back at Finn.
    “Is she the one…?”
    “I’m the reason we’re all leaving, if that’s what you’re asking,” she said emphatically.
    “Don’t be hard on her….” Finn said, “She’s the reason I’m talking to you now rather than lying in a hospital bed.”
    Poe looked back at Finn with bemusement and again at Rose.
    He said, “Looks like you and I have a lot of news to catch up on…”
    Rose spoke up, “Have you seen my sister? Is she alive? Her name’s Paige!”
    “Paige is your sister? She’s just fine,” Poe said reassuringly, “More than fine actually… she’s one of our best pilots.”
    Rose’s face warmed with that news and she exhaled in relief.
    “She’s still in the main hangar I believe,” said Poe.
    Rose beamed at this news and hurried off.

    “I hate to break up this happy reunion, but we all need to reconvene in the main hangar ASAP,” said Holdo, “We’re moving out.”
    She turned to speak to a communications officer when an alarm started sounding. She whirled around to face the others.
    “They’re here!” she yelled.


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  19. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    You latest plot developments leave me breathless.

    I am willing to believe Kylo one more time. And he´d better be good.

    As for Phasma and Hux, they only care about their own lives.
    CairnsTony likes this.
  20. CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2014
    star 4
    Not in a bad way I hope! ;)

    I think the sequels are trying to give us a villain who is a bit more complex than the average villain. That doesn't stop him being a baddie of course, but then his mother unexpectedly got killed and his 'dead' sister suddenly came back to life. These are slaps in the face for all his bluster that he is 'immune to the light'. And that's something I wish to explore. Don't expect Breha to give him an easy ride however... ;)

    Yes they are innately selfish people. They are working together primarily for their own individual ends.
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  21. Chyntuck Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2014
    star 5
    Ooh, a lot happening here again... but what I liked best of all was this glimpse into Phasma's thoughts. Great background you made up for her here! The idea that her survivor's instinct would trump her loyalty to Snoke becomes perfectly in-character in this context, and it's also very Phasma that she would try to do things in such a way that it's not the First Order turning against itself, but that she'd try to get the Resistance to do the dirty work for her.

    Meanwhile, Kylo must be thinking that he can double-cross Rey... or Snoke... or both. This isn't going to end well.

    And of course you had to leave us on a mean cliffhanger, now that the FO fleet has reached the Resistance base... Argh! Well, I'll be here on Monday...
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  22. CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2014
    star 4
    Thank you! I'm a fan of back story when it provides context for a character's motives. She was so sure the FO represented everything she stood for... and now it seems something very different is being planned right under her nose and she's in the line of fire.

    She and Hux have devised a plan that, if it works, will deal with what they perceive as a major threat to themselves without falling foul of Snoke or Kylo. Of course plans rarely go that smoothly....

    Kylo needs Breha right now for reasons I've yet to reveal. As with Phasma and Hux, he sees an opportunity and is taking it.

    And yes... there's an awful lot going on that I haven't revealed in general, including what Snoke is planning...

    What can I say.... I like cliffhangers! :D

    More Sunday. ;)
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  23. Eeyore freak Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2016
    star 2
    I've been busy the last couple weeks and so I just caught up today. But let me just say I agree with Claire that this one is even better than your last one! So much has happened already and I have a feeling it's only going to get crazier from here. I can't wait!
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  24. CairnsTony Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2014
    star 4
    Thank you and welcome back!

    @Claire1976 has seen nearly the whole story now. She only has a handful of chapters and an epilogue to beta read and we're done. At the moment she's the only other person who knows pretty much where this is going, although I still have several big reveals right at the end that, if they work, will turn several assumptions about The Force, The Jedi and what certain characters know on their heads.

    This story is much longer and more involved. I do foreshadow but I try not to cynically misdirect, so I hope the little hints I drop are being picked up. ;)
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  25. Darth_Drachonus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2005
    star 3
    Interesting. I'd like to be kept up to date on this please
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
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