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Saga - ST What You Have Learned - Rey, Finn rescue a new Force user [Last Jedi SPOILERS!]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by madman007, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Well here I am again. At the precipice of a new epic story. This one is a continuation of Doomed To Repeat, yet it is not required to read that first (though you're always welcome to do so!). This is only a taste of what's to come. There may be a few surprises as well as cameos from characters who, unblieveably, I have never written. So, once again, enjoy and review as you see fit.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    What You Have Learned

    Summary - Rey and Finn are on a mission to find a Force user in a mining labor camp owned by a ruthless magistrate for the First Order. During their mission, Rey questions her new role as teacher of the new Jedi as Finn tries to support her. Is Rey ready to begin to teach the lessons of the old Jedi to the new Jedi or will she try something new?



    Prologue

    The hyperspace starlines quickly faded back into the darkness of space. Ahead of them in full view was the dark green planet of Vapos. Also in front of them was a First Order battle cruiser. Normally, alerts would be blaring by now. They stayed silent. In this case, they knew they would be encountering the enemy. They were in an enemy ship, after all.

    Despite knowing the cruiser would be here, Rey still gasped at the sight. It was her first live sighting of a First Order ship since she escaped off of the Supreme Leader’s grand ship almost a standard year and a half ago. Much had happened to her since that time. She looked at the viewscreen past the ship to the planet below. Vapos was mostly rocky forests with wild life as its primary inhabitants. Its contribution to the galaxy was the mining of the mineral zinite, which was the metallic component used in the construction of most blasters and weapons. There were human and alien beings living there. Most now were in various labor camps owned by the First Order for the profits of mining.

    During the journey, Rey read about the labor camp run by a Magistrate named Biran Holst. He was not technically part of the First Order. He was more of a legal council member who had been trusted to run the compound on Vapos. It didn’t hurt matters that Holst would share in the credits of profitability. It did seem to Rey that Holst ran the compound as if he owned it himself. He treated the laborers and villagers who mined the zinite as second-class slaves. Instances of torture and death surrounded Holst’s manner of discipline..

    Rey wanted nothing to do with this man who considered himself human. Yet, dealing with him may be inevitable. A few standard weeks ago, the Resistance received an anonymous encrypted message from Vapos informing them of a human Force user hidden in the caves. That perked Rey’s interest and it was the reason she and Finn were there now. For the past several months, Rey and the Resistance had been tracking down those in the galaxy with hidden Force potential. It had been a task that she and General Leia Organa Solo began. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long after they began the search that Leia succumbed to a respiratory illness. It was an illness related to her Force induced glide through open space that was necessary for her to survive the destruction of the bridge during the Resistance’s escape from the First Order. After Leia passed away, Rey couldn’t bring herself to continue searching for those with Force ability. She temporarily went on a quest to find more information about her parents. Very little new information was revealed about them in her search. She would have continued that quest if it wasn’t for a former stormtrooper turned Resistance fighter.

    She glanced over at her friend, Finn. He was busy instructing the captain and pilot on how to mask their ident codes to that of a stolen First Order craft. The captain and pilot was Adan Krun, who had also been a soldier for the Resistance for several years. Rey was positive that Adan knew how to fake a ship’s identification. She sighed because she knew about Finn’s constant need to help others.

    She got up from her passenger seat and went over to them.

    Finn was still instructing. “Now, if you bounce that code through the transponder they can’t scan it to authorize.”

    “Right,” said the blonde-headed Adan, “they’ll only see a First Order code anyway and assume it’s good to go. Won’t they see that it’s outdated?”

    Finn pointed at the ship ahead of them. “That’s a Dissident Class light battle cruiser. Smaller than your average Destroyer so their computers don’t have the full memory banks for all the past codes.”

    “Exactly,” said a bored Adan.

    Rey cut in, “Don’t worry about Finn, Captain. He just likes to hear himself talk.”

    “Yeah, I can tell. I also know that the codes are not changed as often as they once were. You can thank their new Supreme Leader for that.”

    Finn replied, “And you can thank this lady here for that change in leaders.”

    Rey shook her head in modesty. “Kylo Ren appointed himself to that position after he killed Snoke. I had nothing to do with it.”

    Adan uttered, “That’s not what the grapevine says.”

    Rey snapped, “Then find another grapevine.”

    Finn looked almost guilty. “Yeah, I even heard that rumor that you killed Snoke.”

    “And guess who would be in a perfect position to make that up?” She shrugged. “Still, it could be an advantage when the time comes.”

    Finn looked her straight in the eye. “Who are you and what did you do to Rey?”

    She gave him a soft punch in the arm. “Come on, Finn. You know we both have changed over the years.”

    “Not as much as you. You’re a Jedi and you built your own lightsaber.”

    “You’re half right. I’m no Jedi.”

    “Not yet.”

    Captain Adan interrupted. “I punched in the verification code and it’s ready to send. Unless you two want to be alone for a while.”

    “No!” they both snapped in unison.

    Finn added awkwardly, “I mean...proceed.”

    Adan switched on the comm and announced, “Battle cruiser, Fortune’s Glory, this is shuttle Hope’s Doom requesting passage to the mining compound.”

    A voice on the comm responded, “Shuttle Hope’s Doom, what is your purpose and cargo?”

    Adan replied, “Technical parts for your computer upgrade.”

    The voice returned. “Those weren’t scheduled until next month.”

    Adan sighed in fake frustration. “Someone in admin decided to push it up. Hey, they only tell me when and where, what can I say? You know how they are.”

    “Understood. Proceed to transmit authorization code.” After Adan punched the code in, the voice came back with, “Stand by, Hope’s Doom, for verification.”

    The comm clicked off but both Rey and Adan looked at Finn on hearing about verification. Finn assured them. “That only means they have to get verbal authorization from the Magistrate.”

    “Holst,” Rey said with contempt. Finn nodded.

    “But Holst isn’t an official for the First Order. He’s only a legal figure,” said Adan.

    Finn explained, “The compound itself is First Order owned. You’re right that Holst is only there as a legality. The First Order can no longer afford officers to act as babysitters for slaves mining zinite. Technically, Holst can’t use stormtroopers as guards, either. He hires mercenaries to do the dirty work for them.”

    Rey said, “Including extreme torture or death for the villagers if they’re not up to par.”

    Finn nodded. “On Holst’s orders.”

    “Finn, this man is the real scum in the galaxy.”

    “I agree, but there may be someone with the Force down there wanting to escape.”

    “I know,” she said.

    The voice returned on comm to say, “Shuttle Hope’s Doom, you are authorized passage to the main compound. Sending beacon coordinates now. Proceed to land on Platform A6.”

    “A6, got it. Hope’s Doom out.” Adan shut off the com. “No sweat.”

    Rey had to remind the Captain, “That was only Phase one.”

    Finn added, “One of twenty phases.”

    Rey continued. “We have to find our Force potential. The message said the person was somewhere inside those caves nearby.”

    “Too bad they couldn’t be more specific,” said Finn as he gathered his own gear.

    Rey shook her head. “The message ended abruptly. It may have been done in a hurry.”

    “Or the messenger was shot before they could end the transmission,” suggested Adan.

    “Also a possibility. All the more reason to find this person.”

    Finn asked her, “How can you find this person in acres of caves?”

    She smiled at him as she picked up her gear. “How else would you find someone who uses the Force?”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Vapos main mining compound - detention area

    The guard opened the cell door for the man as ordered. A human male of medium height with balding brown-white hair nodded to the guard as a signal to leave them alone. Magistrate Biran Holst entered the cell further in. He straightened his beige tunic made of the finest fabric. It was too good to be worn here, but he had no choice. He looked down at her.

    She was a frail human female in her late teens wearing a tattered tunic full of dark cave dust. Her long blonde hair strayed in every direction and looked darker than it really was from the dirt embedded in the hairs. She was curled into a fetal position in the far corner of the cell. She ignored the flat metal bed that the cell provided. Proof of recent torture had shown on her arms and legs.

    Holst smiled. “Good morning. I trust you had a good night’s sleep. On the floor.” No reply. “You’re not very talkative. You haven’t been for the past few weeks. No matter. I will still get my answers. One way or another.” He started to pace back and forth in front of her. “You haven’t said a word since you were caught. That will change. As will your diet here. You really don’t need all that food. And if you continue your silence, you won’t need food at all. Of course, if you do cooperate and give me answers, then you’ll have a four-course meal.”

    He stopped pacing and bent down to speak to her. “You see, my dear, cooperation is a two-way street. You give me something I need and I give you something back. So! Let’s begin again, shall we? What do we know about you so far? Your name? No. We know you were caught sending a sub-space message, so you are tech savvy. What else do we know? Are you part of the laborers who escaped deep into the caves a few months ago? Perhaps.

    “Now, I will divulge into what we found out just from the message you sent. It was too late to stop the transmission, so it went through. To the Resistance. The receiving codes of where it was sent were encrypted, of course. We can’t know where the Resistance is, can we? What about the subject of the message, you ask? I shall tell you. It was to let them know that there is one among you that is Force sensitive. I mean, that would be sweet. The new Supreme Leader, Kylo Ren, happens to be hunting that same type. I’m sure he would be very interested in meeting this person.”

    The girl finally moved her position. Holst brightened his expression until she backed up to sit against the wall. She then grinned at him defiantly. She stayed silent.

    Holst stood straight and said, “Very well. Your actions here are clear. We’ll see how much smiling you do after your food is cut off. Water will eventually be the next essential item to go. Just know this. I will find your hidden traitors in those caves if I have to blast out every corner. And your Resistance pals? If they try to pay us a visit, I will be ready for them.” He edged even closer to her face. “And I will eliminate every one of them. Because nobody can outthink me. Your silence will be their doom. And I surely hope for your sake-”

    He was interrupted by his comlink that chirped. He gave a frustrated sigh and answered it. “What? I’m kind of busy here!”

    “Sir, a First Order shuttle just came out of hyperspace and they requested to land at the compound.”

    “What do they want?”

    “It’s a tech crew for the computer upgrades you asked for.”

    “Those were not scheduled until next month.”

    “I know, sir. I told them but someone higher up seems to have pushed up the timeline.”

    Holst growled. “Typical! First Order is always changing their plans. Especially when they don’t have a plan.” He gasped after realizing he said it on comm. He told the officer, “That was off the record, Commander.”

    “Yes, sir.”

    “I’m serious. If any of what I just said gets back to me, I’ll know who leaked it. And I can make your life a living Hell if you do.”

    “Understood, sir.”

    “Now, does this shuttle have a proper authorization code?”

    “They do, sir.”

    “Very well. Authorization accepted. I may meet with them for an update later.”

    “Very good, sir.”

    “Dismissed.” He clicked the comm off without hearing the Commander's reply.

    Holst put the comlink away. He brushed through his balding hair with his hand. He readdressed the girl, who was still smiling. “Sorry for the interruption, my dear. Where were we? Oh, yes, your Resistance friends. I will know when they arrive. And they will pay for your mistake. Because nothing gets past Biran Holst.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Chapter One coming sooner than you realize.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  2. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 22, 2007
    And I have Chapter One ready below.

    What You Have Learned - Chapter One

    On board the stolen First Order shuttle, Hope’s Doom

    “Anything yet?” asked the impatient Finn.

    Rey sat cross-legged on the metal grated floor of the shuttle’s bay. She had been concentrating deep in the Force. She opened one eye at him and sighed. “Of course not. I keep getting interrupted by a former stormtrooper. In answer to your question, though, I can feel...someone. It’s faint, but they’re somewhere in the caves.”

    “You can’t pinpoint an exact location?”

    She opened both her eyes to look at him with unbelief. “You still don’t know how the Force works, do you?”

    “Well, I...uh...not really. Hey, you could teach me in one of your future classes.”

    “Oh, sure. What’s the prerequisite to attend those classes? That’s right, the ability to actually use the Force.”

    “I’ve fought with a lightsaber. You’ve seen me.”

    “Yes, and you almost had your spine severed by one in the process. So, not the same.” She stood up and glanced towards the entrance to the main area of the shuttle. “Is Adan ready?”

    Almost as if on cue, Captain Adan Krun entered the area. He had ditched his usual vest and shirt of a pilot and now wore the gray uniform of a First Order Systems Technician. He gave a sigh. “Please tell me I don’t have to be in this for too long.”

    “Hopefully not,” replied Rey.

    “Really? I just overheard you tell Finn that you can’t get a location of the Force user we’re looking for.”

    “Don’t worry. Once I’m closer I can lock in a more definite location. Who knows, maybe whomever it is may detect me first and try to contact me.”

    “They can do that?” asked Adan.

    “In the Force, yes. We can feel each other. And once we do make contact, we’ll contact you.”

    “Meanwhile, I have to act as a Tech Officer.”

    Finn said, “I’ve already set up the data discs over there that will act as an upgrade. They use a redundant system that uses binary codes and all those discs will do is rearrange the codes around. It will look like it’s upgrading but it’s only for show.”

    “As long as another tech doesn’t come by and asks questions.”

    “Shouldn’t be. Small operation like this one, the management turns a blind eye to technical upgrades. Some don’t even check on the tech when they’re working. But in the case that they do, you were a soldier. I’m sure you can improvise,” Finn said.

    “Great. I can just see a HoloNet Drama Award for Best Actor in my future.”

    Finn chuckled, but his expression turned to concern. He noticed something on Adan’s uniform. He reached for the ranking pin on Adan’s right chest and took it off.

    “Ow. What are you doing?”

    Finn explained as he reattached the pin on the left side, “First Order ranking pins are always on the left side. Details.”

    Rey appeared with her pack and asked, “Are we ready? A landing party will be coming soon.”

    Finn grabbed his gear and replied, “Yeah, let’s do this.” He turned to Adan and asked, “You gonna be all right?”

    “Sure. If anything goes wrong I can always blast my out of anything.”

    Rey smiled and gave Finn a knowing look. “Who does that sound like?”

    Finn nodded and asked Adan, “You sure you aren’t part Solo?”

    The Captain scoffed. “I wish. Now get out of here before they see you.”

    Rey and Finn grabbed their bags and went down the ramp of the shuttle. The landing platform was void of guards, which was strange to Rey. “Where is everyone?”

    “Oh, so you want to have guards recognize the two of us? Two faces that are on alerts of every HoloNet security faction in the galaxy?”

    “Let’s not exaggerate.”

    “I’m not. And neither are they.” Finn nodded towards something ahead of them. Two compound guards were headed straight for the shuttle. Rey saw them and quickly acted. She grabbed Finn by the arm and pulled him away out of sight of the guards. She hid the both of them behind a large storage bin. They could see the guards approaching but it looked like something alerted them.

    Finn cursed. “Guess I’ll have to get used to you grabbing me in a chase now.” He nodded to the guards. “Maybe they didn’t see us.” The guards stopped and started looking around. “Ah, too late. We were too close. They heard us.”

    “Maybe they can hear something else.” Rey concentrated in the Force. The guards were close enough to them to hear one of them say, “What was that?”

    The other guard looked around but eventually said, “Ah, it’s nothing. Come on, we have to see this tech. We have a schedule to keep.” The other guard nodded and they both proceeded to the shuttle. Neither guard saw them behind the bin.

    “All right, we’re clear,” said Rey. “Let’s get to those caves. I can feel that potential in the Force stronger out here.”

    They started to hike south of the landing platform as the sky was starting to get darker from dusk approaching. Rey turned on her light bar that was attached to the collar of her vest. Finn did the same for his. They cleared further away from the platform and were on a medium grade slope. They walked several meters until they came to an open area in the large darkened rock formation. The opening was small and low so they had to crouch under the rock to enter the cave. Once they were in, the ceiling of the cave was much higher so they could stand. Rey turned her body around in order to light the way around the cave. She found a worn path in one direction.

    “Look, Finn, the trail starts here.”

    “Yeah. Well, ladies first.”

    She scoffed and said dripping with sarcasm, “You’re such a gentleman.”

    They eased their way through the cave via the trail. Along the way, the trail started to thin and their lights could tell them why. They were on a narrow ridge where the right side dipped downward at a very steep angle. It was very nearly a cliff. They slowed their pace as they walked the edge.

    “Wonder how deep that goes,” said Finn, his voice echoing through the vast walls of the cave.

    “Let’s not find out,” she replied.

    The trail widened and the abyss was gone. They could walk normally now. After several minutes, Finn stopped to sit on a rock outcropping. He was breathless. “Rey...I have to stop...for a moment.”

    Rey came back to stand in front of him since she was so far ahead. She smirked and said, “What happened to that stormtrooper stamina?”

    Former stormtrooper. And our training never included cave diving.”

    “You do know we’re not technically cave diving.”

    “Not yet. Who knows how steep this place goes down.” He reached into his bag and found a ration bar that he tore into and started eating.

    In turn, Rey took out her thermos and took quick sips of water. It was something she learned to do on the hot sandy surface of Jakku. Which reminded her of something. “Wait. Didn’t you once walk across the Jakku desert for miles?”

    “Yes, but that was flat sand not rocky up and down terrain. At least it’s cool in here.” He paused before he asked, “What’s the latest update on our Force user location?”

    She closed her eyes to feel the same presence in the Force. She opened them and replied, “They’re definitely closer in here. Stronger feel in the Force. We’re heading in the correct direction.”

    “Good to hear. Say, since we finally have a quiet moment alone, I wanted to ask you something.”

    “Finn, you had the whole trip on the shuttle to ask.”

    “I do believe I said alone. We didn’t have that with Captain Adan there. Not that I don’t trust him. Being a soldier he may not understand.”

    “What’s your question, Finn?”

    “We’ve spent the last standard year looking for and then meeting with those who have Force potential in the galaxy. General Solo and you started it before that and you’re just now restarting it.”

    Her voice had an edge. “You were fully aware that I had been searching for the truth about my parents.”

    “And how did that turn out for you? Anything really that different from what you already knew?”

    She hesitated but said, “Somewhat. Look, Finn, I had to stop our search, especially after Leia died. I couldn’t bring myself to continue it. But my search for my parents ended almost as soon as it began. That search is over, as you know.”

    “I know. But that wasn’t part of my question. You’ve found, what, some forty people and aliens who have Force potential?”

    “Forty-one. And a possible forty-two soon. And those are all the ones who have accepted our offer. Mostly they’re young teens and adults. The older ones we found already had families. They couldn’t leave them for a life of adventure that late in their lives.”

    “That’s understandable. So, are you shooting for a specific number before you start teaching Jedi 101?”

    She frowned. “It’s not that simple, Finn. There’s tons of preparation before I even begin lessons.”

    “I think you just said the one word that’s really holding you back. I. Rey, now that Leia is gone, you are trying to do this Jedi thing all by yourself.”

    Rey shot back. “You don’t understand, Finn. I have to teach them what it means to be a Jedi. Why? Because I’m the only one left. Me. Alone. After Leia passed, I’m the only Jedi.” She paused as she squinted her eyes. “Sort of.”

    Finn replied, “And you can never understand that you are not alone. Not anymore.”

    She finally sat down next to him on the outcropping. She uttered, “I know that. It’s just that the pressure of teaching them in the ways of the Force is scaring me.”

    “As it would most people in your position.”

    “And that’s the problem, Finn. I am the first one in Jedi history to be in this position.”

    “Rey, I’ve seen you reading those Jedi books you got from Luke Skywalker. Surely, those can help you.”

    “They are a great help. They’re about the only thing that is. I’ve learned so much about the Force in such a short time. I’m still learning and I have to teach a group on how to use their powers in a certain manner. I don’t know where to start.”

    “Rey, I’ve seen you fix a hyperdrive by taking out the compression coils. Something no one else thought of. Not even an experienced pilot like Han Solo thought of that. I know you, Rey. You won’t stop until you find a solution, even if it’s unconventional. These Jedi lessons shouldn’t be any different. You’ll find a way. You always do.”

    As Rey was about to express her gratitude, they both heard a peculiar sound. A clicking sound.

    “What is that?” Finn asked.

    Rey moved her shoulder to shine her light on the ground. Crawling on the rock trail were several black insects that were coming straight for them. They were a few inches long each with pinchers in front. Rey answered him casually, “Oh, those are cave beetles. They’re harmless.”

    “Harmless? Are those pinchers supposed to be harmless? Wait.” Finn began to notice something. “They’re only coming to me. And ignoring you.”

    “Huh. You’re right.”

    “Why are they coming to me?”

    “Maybe they like you.”

    “Seriously?”

    “And you are the one holding actual food.” She stood up and said, “I do feel their presence in the Force. They seem to be afraid of me.”

    “Yeah? Well, I have a blaster.” He shouted down at the insects. “And I will use it with no regrets!”

    “Or you could get up and start walking. They don’t move too fast so they may have trouble catching up to you.”

    Finn did get up and grab his pack in one quick motion. He started backing up and distancing himself from the beetles. “Let’s go.”

    Rey grabbed her pack and followed Finn back on the trail.

    After a few minutes of walking, Finn stopped and asked, “Wait. You said you can feel those insects in the Force? What if those are the things you’re tracking?”

    She looked at him and shook her head. “Maybe you should take my Force 101 class when I have it. The presence I felt is very much human. And why would the laborers risk sending that message to the Resistance for Force potential beetles?”

    “I guess you have a point. How is that Force tracking going?”

    “Straight ahead. It’s getting stronger.”

    They continued to walk the trail. After several minutes, the ground started to level and the rocky terrain turned to soil. They came across a wide clearing that was lined with a rock wall. In one spot on the ground there was what once looked like a former campfire and shelter.

    Rey shone her light on the area. “Someone was camping here.” She felt the air above it with the palm of her hand and noted, “Not long ago.”

    “Only one?”

    Rey looked around at the soil surrounding the area. “There’s two sets of footprints.”

    They suddenly heard a creaking noise from beyond the opposite wall. Finn held a hand on his blaster. Rey brought up a hand to signal that she would investigate alone. As she reached closer to the wall, she noticed there was an open passage that led to the trail they were on. She grabbed her lightsaber and continued with caution. She entered the opening.

    A flash of blue-white light came down upon her, slashing the air with a familiar sound. She quickly backed away and ignited her own amber-colored lightsaber. Out of the opening came a male figure. He had dark scruffy hair and a medium build. His loose shirt and pants were covered in cave dust. He looked to be in his mid-twenties. He wore a look of scorn that matched the manner in which he was holding his lightsaber.

    He finally spoke in a guttural, deep voice. “Excellent reflexes. For a Jedi.” He spat the title.

    “Technically, I’m not a Jedi. Yet. Who are you?”

    Instead of answering, he instead cried, “You’re not taking her.”

    “Who?”

    “I’ve heard you both here in the caves. You’re looking for Force users to take them away!”

    Rey explained, “We are doing nothing of the sort. Now, please, tell me about her.”

    As a reply, he greeted her with a hard swinging strike from above. She parried easily. He then attempted a medium arc aimed at her waist. She simply side-stepped away as he swung at air. She tried a backhanded swipe at his back. He turned just in time to block it. He made several quick jabs that she met with blocks of her own. His expression showed obvious confusion.

    “Who are you?” he asked.

    “My name is Rey. And I’m not your enemy.”

    “Jedi or not, you are not taking her away from me.”

    “I’m not taking–” He tried another high swipe but she blocked it in mid arc. “–anyone!” Her initial thought while dueling this man was that she could read him in the Force to anticipate his next move. But it felt that her instinct was too easily achieved. Was she only reading his feelings in the Force? She concentrated on him in the Force. Other than his presence, there was nothing else. Add in his pleas of not taking her away, and she understood.

    She immediately shut down her lightsaber and merely stood before him calmly.

    Finn cried out first. “Rey, what are you doing?”

    “Trust me.”

    “I’ve heard that before.”

    “I’m not talking to you, Finn. I’m telling our new guest to trust me. I am not here to fight you.”

    “That will lead to your defeat.” He lunged at her with a jab that she simply side-stepped without the blade hitting her. He turned to swing at mid-level again and she ducked down to avoid it.

    Finn called out to the man, “You sure it will be her defeat?”

    “Finn, not now.” She backed up until she hit the rock wall. The man mistakenly believed she was trapped with nowhere to escape. He grinned wide as he lunged again toward her. At the last moment, she jumped quickly into a summersault over the blade and him to land on his opposite side. His momentum took him into the rock wall and his lightsaber dug deep into it. The sudden stop of the blade made him fall to the ground. He was breathless from the fight but Rey was calm.

    She then used the Force to call his lightsaber out of the rock and into her hand. She extinguished it. She looked it over. “Impressive design. I knew of one similar to this one. And it used the same color crystal. But you didn’t make it, did you?”

    “It was my grandfather’s,” he snapped. “Now give it back!”

    She handed him back the weapon and asked him, “How did I defeat you?”

    “You lied. You are a Jedi.”

    She shook her head. “No. I didn’t lie. There are no more Jedi. Yet, how did I defeat you? Simple. I used the Force. Your technique is good. But that’s all you could use.” She tilted her head and stated, “You have no Force ability. Otherwise, you would have anticipated my moves even without my weapon by sensing them.”

    “Wait,” added Finn, “he’s not the Force user we’ve been looking for?”

    “No.”

    “But you said the Force was stronger here.”

    “It was.” She motioned to the lightsaber. “It’s in there. The Kaiburr crystal inside of it gives off immense Force energy. I have the same crystal in mine but a different color.” She edged closer to the man. She smiled and stated softly, “You’re afraid. Don’t be.”

    “Get out of my head!” the man cried.

    “See, that’s a misconception with people who can use the Force. I can’t read your mind. I read your emotions. And I can tell there’s something you’re not telling us.”

    Finn remarked, “He hasn’t told us anything yet.”

    She ignored him and asked the man, “Did you send the message about the Force user to the Resistance?”

    The man’s eyes went wide. “How did you know about that?”

    “Well, I didn’t. Until you just proved it. We are from the Resistance. And as I said, I am not taking anyone away against their will. I allow them to choose. You understand?”

    He nodded.

    Rey perked up and said cheerfully, “Excellent. Now, you know our names. What’s yours?”

    The man was hesitant but stated, “Jerrex Kestal.”

    “Jerrex,” began Rey, “glad to make your acquaintance. So, who is this her you kept referring to? I assume she is the Force user. I can still sense a human presence close by and the Force is strong with it.”

    Jerrex nodded and answered, “She’s my sister.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


     
  3. NobodyIX

    NobodyIX Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Feb 19, 2018
    Great start! Enjoying Finn and Rey's banter. They are so sweet together.
    Also in the cave as Finn is eating his rations. The bugs made me smile.
    Ha ha!
    I have a feeling they are going to give Biran Holst a run for his money.
     
    madman007 likes this.
  4. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Hey, NobodyIX, thanks for reading. I try to have a playful friendship feeling between Rey and Finn. Always keeping that "will they or won't they get together" vibe at bay.

    The bugs were included just because it's a cave and there will be other creatures inside a cave or elsewhere besides human. People tend to forget that when writing.

    Oh, there will be others besides Rey and Finn who will disturb Holst's compound!

    I'm writing the next chapter now, so....soon-ish!
     
  5. NobodyIX

    NobodyIX Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Feb 19, 2018
    Looking forward to it! :D
     
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  6. NobodyIX

    NobodyIX Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Feb 19, 2018
    Looking forward to it! :D
     
    madman007 likes this.
  7. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 22, 2007
    So here's Chapter Two!

    Chapter Two


    Vapos Mining Compound - Computer room

    Shavit! thought Captain Adan Kurn as he typed in the incorrect command for the third time. He tried entering the codes in as Finn had instructed him to do but couldn’t get the hang of typing them. He wasn’t built for this work, he admitted to himself. He kept calm and retyped the command in slowly. Add to the fact that one of the guards who fetched him at the shuttle was literally over his shoulder watching him and brought more tension to Adan’s nerves. He had to make his mistakes look as if it were a technical problem.

    Soon after Rey and Finn left the shuttle, two guards showed at the shuttle’s ramp to say they had to escort him to the computer room for security reasons. Adan wasn’t surprised. Apparently, even a high First Order officer was subject to an escort. Adan grabbed the case that held the fake upgrade disc and he followed the men into the compound facility.

    Once he was inside, Adan noted the building being aged to rust colored walls and cracking foundations. Perhaps this was a facility that had been built during the days of the Emperor. The lighting was dim at best, which wasn’t comparative to most other First Order facilities he had been in. Then again, he had to remind himself that the First Order only owned the facility, not established it first hand.

    They reached the computer room through the simple series of hallways. One of the guards excused himself to his other duties while the remaining guard stayed. And watched his every move. Adan then began his feigning of work. It took him several minutes to get started. That wasn’t fake. He knew only a portion of tech from his experiences as a soldier. Not nearly enough for slicer level. He eventually reached the point to where he had to enter the command but failed. He finally typed them in correctly and the disc started. It looked like they were working to an untrained eye. All they were doing was exchanging codes into alternate positions. The guard didn’t seem to question it.

    Adan thought, I’m going to finish early and Rey will still be looking for her Force potential.

    Little did he know then that his quick timeframe was about to change.

    At some point after he entered the code, in walked a male in a similar uniform as his own. He spoke to the guard whim he dismissed. He was shorter but clean cut with slicked back dark hair. He addressed Adan after the guard left.

    “Greetings. I am Head Technician, Zoler Gren. Also an experienced slicer. Magistrate Holst wanted un update on our computer upgrade. I’m here to oversee your progress.”

    Adan’s nerves hit him as if he fell from a thousand meters onto a durasteel floor. Wonderful. So they don’t even check on the tech when they’re working, eh Finn? I’m going to strangle him later. Adan spoke quickly as to not raise suspicion. He reached out his hand to Gren, who shook it. “Glad to meet you. I’m First Order Technician, Commander Solari. As to your update, I just entered in the codes for your upgrade, so it will be several minutes to finish”

    “How long do you figure? A standard hour or so?”

    Adan scoffed. “With this system, probably be more like two hours. I tried entering the codes before and they kept freezing.”

    Gren laughed. “I’m not surprised. The nanos on this system are a joke. They hardly work past three terabytes.”

    “Three? There’s systems on Tatooine that are faster.”

    They both laughed. “You got that right,” Gren said. He then asked, “Are you using the 2.5 system on the upgrade?”

    “Yes, it’s the same redundant binary system they use on the Fortune’s Glory.”

    “Oh, what I wouldn’t give to work on the 2.5. I worked on the 2.2 at the Mrlsst Academy. It was sweet. What tech school did you go to?”

    Adan smiled. Not because he knew what to say, but because Finn told him this might come up. “Rigovian.”

    “Ah, so you’re a Rigo. Wanted to go there but couldn’t get in. What system did you work on there?”

    Adan frowned. That question was not anticipated by Finn. Adan remembered what Gren said and followed it forward. “Uh, the 2.3 system. Not as sleek as the 2.5, of course.”

    This time, Gren frowned. “I don’t think so, Commander. They never made the 2.3. They could never get it to work.”

    Adan’s nerves returned. He could always control them during a mission. He had previously conned Gren by letting him supply the information. Adan’s mistake was offering assumed information that was wrong. He tried to cover. He laughed. “Oh, I know. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention.”

    “Of course.” Gren’s expression didn’t change. It also said he wasn’t buying Adan’s excuse. Further evidence of Gren’s growing mistrust showed when he asked Adan, “May I see the progress of your upgrade, Commander?”

    Adan got out of his seat and said, “Be my guest.”

    Gren now watched Adan more closely as he sat down and looked at the screen. He examined the screen for several minutes before asking, “What is this?”

    “The upgrade is still loading.”

    “This isn’t like any upgrade I know of. The primary and secondary binaries are switched” He glanced up at Adan. “Can you explain that?”

    Adan shrugged. “Effects of the download?”

    “Uh huh. You’re using the latest Fireball download?”

    “Of course.”

    Gren smiled. “There’s no such download. I made it up.”

    Shavit! Adan thought again. Time for Plan B.

    Gren demanded, “I want to see your identification, Commander.”

    “Oh, sure.” Adan reached around to the back of his waist to grab the hold out blaster he hid for instances like this. He pointed it at Gren. “Here’s my identification.”

    Gren’s satisfaction quickly turned to panic. “You’re not a First Order Commander, are you?”

    “What gave it away? Oh, yes, the blaster that’s pointed at you now. I’m no Commander, but I am a Captain.”

    “The First Order doesn’t have Captains. You must be from the Resistance.”

    “What, I can’t be working alone?”

    “No. Someone gave you the fake downloads. All so you could infiltrate the compound from inside. Problem was, you over improvised.”

    “Yeah, always been my problem. Now, hush before I hush you permanently.”

    “I’ll take my chances. If you were going to kill me you would have done it already.”

    Adan pointed the blaster closer to Gren. “You seem a bit confident. I could just be biding my time. Oh, and did I ever say kill? I’d just shoot where it won’t kill you. It may hurt a lot, though.”

    “Why are you here? Why go through this whole act with the fake uniform and downloads?”

    “It’s a project for my acting class. I have a fan club.”

    “Ah, so you aren’t alone. Where are your other actors? What’s their plan?”

    Adan squinted at him. Too many questions. Questions that may have others waiting for the answers. He said, “I’m not saying another word until you destroy that audio bug hidden on you.”

    Gren grinned wide. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

    “All right,” replied Adan. “That’s way too much confidence.” Adan fired the blaster at Gren’s upper shoulder. Gren started to yell out in pain but Adan quickly placed his hand over Gren’s mouth. “Now, now, can’t have you screaming to attract attention. That was the lowest setting and the wound is a mere first degree burn.” Gren kept on with a muffled scream. “I’m guessing you’ve never been shot before. Well, welcome to the club. Not so confident now, are you?” Gren frantically shook his head. “Yeah, well, that’s the problem with confidence. Always gets confused with cockiness.”

    He got into Gren’s face. He said softly, “Now, that bug? You remember where it is now?”

    Gren nodded his head and spoke in a muffled voice that Adan couldn’t understand. Gren moved his eyes down toward his right shoulder. Adan followed where Gren was looking. Adan used his hand to flip over the collar on Gren’s uniform. Underneath was a small mechanical device. Adan yanked it off and dropped it to the ground. He stepped on it. “All right. Now that we’re officially alone. Were you recording us the whole time?”

    Gren shook his head and tried to speak.

    “Oh, of course. Now, I’m going to remove my hand. If I hear anything resembling a scream, I’ll shoot you in the knee.” While Gren panicked, Adan took his hand away. Other than Gren’s heavy breathing, he was silent.

    “There,” Adan said, “nice and quiet. Good thing my blaster has a husher so no one could hear it. In case you were wondering. Now, did you set off any other alarms that I don’t know of?”

    “No,” Gren answered nervously.

    “Very good. Now, you seem to think I’m from the Resistance. Any particular reason why?”

    “Because...he knows they will be coming.”

    “He? Magistrate Holst?” Gren nodded. “Why does he think the Resistance will be coming here?”

    “The message about the Force user to the Resistance was intercepted. They caught the girl who sent it.”

    Adan knew about the message, of course, but he didn’t know who sent it. He feigned ignorance. “Is that so? Where is she now?”

    Gren shook his head in defiance. “No. He’ll kill me. You don’t know what he’s like.”

    Adan edged closer and placed the blaster on Gren’s knee. “You don’t know what I’m like. He may kill you and it’s over. I can shoot you and make the pain last.”

    “So will he,” replied Gren while whimpering.

    Adan pressed the muzzle of the blaster harder into the knee. “Where is the girl?”

    Now fully crying, Gren hesitated before he said, “Detention block.”

    “Who is she?”

    “We’re not certain. Young girl. Maybe 16 or 17 years old. She may be part of a group of workers who escaped into the caves a month ago. They still haven’t been found. She snuck inside the compound and sent the message herself. The message was sent before she was caught. She protected it with a powerful encrypt. Smart girl for her age. I retrieved the subject of the message. If I had more time I could have sliced it to stop it, but it was too late. I was too late. I tried to impress Magistrate Holst but I failed.”

    Adan took the blaster away from Gren’s knee. “All right, we’re getting too personal here. This Holst seems like a piece of work. Let me guess. He’s interrogating her now.”

    Gren nodded. “Whatever he calls interrogating, others call torture.”

    Adan scoffed. “Holst would have fit nicely with the Imperials during the Empire.” Adan stood up but stayed in front of Gren. “So, I thank you for your cooperation, Zoler Gren. You’ve been a great help.” He pointed the blaster back on him. “Guess you know what has to happen now.”

    Gren’s whimpering returned. “What? No!”

    “Can’t have you blabbing my secret all over.”

    “No! I won’t tell!”

    “And we both know what the only way is to guarantee that.”

    Amidst his babbling, Gren snapped, “You’re just like him! Just another monster!”

    The silent shot from the blaster hit him in the chest. Gren instantly slumped over in the chair. Adan turned the chair around so Gren would look like he was working at the computer. Or at least asleep at the computer. Poor guy. All tuckered out from all his work.

    Adan reached for his comlink and switched the contact method to encrypt. It wasn’t safe to verbally sent a message in the compound. He started the encoded message to Rey. Situation changed. Compromised by experienced slicer. Will yell at Finn later. Tech has been dealt with. Tech gave data on girl who sent message. She has been detained and interrogated. Will proceed to contact and attempt to rescue or obtain more data on Force user. Update when possible. Adan out.

    He shut off the comlink. He had to move. He couldn’t wait around for her to reply. She will once she could. Before he was about to leave the room, he took his hold out blaster and switched the mode off of stun. He placed it back to his hiding place behind his waist.

    He turned a glance toward the unconscious Gren. “See, not much of a monster, am I Gren?” He opened the door and left the computer room.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Magistrate Holst’s private quarters

    The alert that told him that there was someone at his door came just as he was about to put a morsel of delicious grilled ronto into his mouth. Instead, Holst was forced to yell out, “Yes? Come in!” He shoved the piece of meat in his mouth and chewed it vigorously.

    The door slid open and in marched the Director of Operations, Isan Feskin. He gave Holst a blank expression. Holst loved Feskin’s manner being a former officer in the First Order. His personality was a bit bland for Holst’s tastes. Only Feskin would have the nerve to interrupt him during his dinner.

    Feskin spoke quick and to the point. “Sir, we have a situation. The head tech and slicer you sent to check up on the upgrade was found unconscious in the computer room. The upgrade discs were still in the system but they are allegedly fakes.”

    “Allegedly?” Holst whined.

    “We are in the process of conducting research into the validity of the discs.”

    After Holst shoved a fork full of new potatoes in his mouth, he asked while chewing, “Where is the First Order officer who was allegedly in charge of the upgrade?”

    “He is unaccounted for, sir. I have men in pursuit of the Officer’s whereabouts.”

    Holst took a napkin to his lips and then said, “I think we can dispense with calling him an officer.”

    Director Feskin replied sharply, “I will do so when that information is verified.”

    “Verified? Verified? What is your purpose here, Director?”

    Feskin was confused but answered, “I merely needed to inform you of our situation.”

    Holst abruptly stood up, almost knocking over his plate and wine. “No! You interrupted my dinner to give me information of events that I knew would happen anyway!”

    “Sir?”

    “I knew this would happen. The so-called Officer is from the Resistance. And he’s here to find that Force user.”

    “Sir, we cannot confirm-”

    “We don’t need to confirm anything. Nothing gets past me.”

    “Sir, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but you did allow him to land.”

    Holst sat back down. “Yes, with a proper First Order identification code. I’ll give him that. Which also means there is a traitor somewhere in the high ranks. But we have other matters to deal with here.” He popped a piece of rubi fruit into his mouth and chewed. He asked Feskin, “How many stormtroopers will assist us in this situation?”

    “If the situation is urgent enough, we can request a squadron. Perhaps even a platoon.”

    “Very well. Proceed with the request. It’s high time we used professional soldiers to locate our Force using friend and our fake officer.”

    “Sir, I believe we have the task in hand.”

    “Do you, now? Did we find the missing workers from last month?”

    “Sir, we have searched deep in those caves, and-”

    “Not deep enough!” Holst shouted. “The mercenaries I paid for as guards are using a damn water stick and aged blasters to find a group of workers. Like I said, it’s time we get stormtroopers down there with scanners to find them. I think this Force user and this girl we caught sending a message about him are connected.”

    “What about the missing Officer?”

    “Continue your search. Post guards at his shuttle in case he decides to leave.”

    “Sir, if I may, perhaps he is not alone.”

    Holst thought a moment and shook his head. “No, he’s alone. He wouldn’t risk bringing others on this. Besides, the guards who fetched him didn’t see anyone else in the shuttle.”

    “Well, sir, I have heard over the years that some Jedi can manipulate others into seeing things that aren’t there.”

    Holst laughed. “You don’t seriously believe in that? The Jedi magic? More like fairy tales. Trumped up to scare us, like the traitors they were in the Old Republic. Besides, both Skywalkers are dead. There are no more Jedi.”

    Feskin looked as though he wanted to add something but could not.

    “Are you disagreeing with me, Director?”

    “No, sir. It’s just that there are rumors that a possible Jedi is working with the Resistance. Our new Supreme Leader also has Force powers.”

    “Probably. I never believed in the Jedi religion. Or the Sith, for that matter.”

    “Was not the Emperor Palpatine part of the Sith? As was his right hand man, Darth Vader.”

    “Pure propaganda, Director. Don’t believe everything you read in the history books. History is written by the winners. The losers are the ones who can only read about their failures. By the way, what are you suggesting with all this Jedi and Sith gibberish?”

    “I’m suggesting that perhaps the First Order tech brought this new Jedi along with him. It would make finding the Force user here easier.”

    Holst slammed down his fork with a loud clang and leaned on the table. He shouted, “Now, you listen to me, Director Feskin! I am not going to have people I oversee to defy me. I already told you the alleged Tech Officer is alone. I am the magistrate here. My word is final. Don’t ever contradict me again. If you do, you will find yourself as Director of Sanitation . We’ve already lost a whole group of workers that delayed our production of zinite. We have this crazy girl notifying the Resistance of a mysterious Force user here. I am not going to have the morons around me to fail more than twice in a month! So...you will do as I say and do not go against me again. Now get that kriffing request to get stormtroopers here to fix your problems. Have them search every inch of those caves and bring me the fake Officer to me! That is an order, Director. And you don’t have to wait for that to be verified first. Do you understand?”

    “Yes, sir. We will find them both.”

    “Director, you forgot to add ‘if it’s the last thing I do’. Say it!”

    “We will find them if it’s the last thing I do.”

    Holst sat back down and was more calm. Yet he stated coldly, “Good. Because if you fail, it may very well be the last thing you do.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Chapter 3 will be on its way soon!
     
  8. NobodyIX

    NobodyIX Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Feb 19, 2018
    Well done, that was a nail biter with Adan getting caught by an experienced slicer.

    Haha! I enjoyed the banter between the two and glad Adan has more information about the girl who sent the intel.

    Holst's overconfidence is going to get him in trouble. Great set up and excellent writing!
     
    madman007 likes this.
  9. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 22, 2007
    And behold it is Chapter 3. It is a bit long, but excellent. If I do say so myself. And I do! Rey is slowly getting the hang of realizing how she can teach the new Jedi and what she can teach them. So, enjoy and review as you see fit.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Chapter Three


    Rey knew from her life on Jakku that trust goes both ways. Especially with a stranger who had just attacked with a weapon that happens to be a lightsaber. Yet, there was no Force power behind the attack. Jerrex Kestal knew lightsaber dueling techniques. But a Jedi used the Force in conjunction with the lightsaber. He could not use the Force. His claim of being a Jedi was only on the surface.

    Rey had told Jerrex that she couldn’t read minds. That wasn’t exactly true. She could extract his mind of memories. Her first experience in doing so was when Kylo Ren saw into her mind and pulled her memories out as if he were pulling teeth. She saw into his in return. She has pried memories from people since then. She wanted more detailed information about her parents - at any cost. She had since learned that the power itself was dark. A Sith power. She had also learned that she already had a new family who cared about her and watched after her. She could understand the mistrust that Jerrex was feeling now, despite his casual facade he was showing on the surface.

    She watched while Finn questioned Jerrex. He retrieved the basic data. Age: 22. Born on Vapos. Mother and father dead. Forced to work in the zinite mines with his sister in their early ages. But when Finn asked Jerrex why he had attacked them, Jerrex stayed silent.

    Finn asked again. When he received the same silence, Finn became frustrated. “Oh, so that’s how you’re playing this? The silent act? And it’s only on the one question. Why did you attack us?”

    “I don’t have to answer that,” replied Jerrex.

    Finn got close to his face. “Oh, yes you will. You know why? I won’t be responsible for what I do to you if you don’t.”

    “Well, that’s comforting,” Jerrex said casually. “Good way to motivate someone.”

    Rey walked up to Finn and asked, “Can I talk to you a moment in private?”

    “Uh, sure.”

    Jerrex said, “She’s probably going to critique you on your extraction techniques. May need some work.”

    Finn ignored his remark and followed Rey to the opposite end of the cave clearing. He whispered to her. “What are you doing? I’m getting information from him.”

    “Really?” Her voice equaled his volume. “Looked more like an interrogation. You’re acting like a stormtrooper.”

    “Hey, I never interrogated anyone as a stormtrooper.”

    “And it shows. You’re not good at it. He obviously doesn’t want to answer the question. He’s scared and he doesn’t trust us. And you’re making it worse, Finn.” Ignoring his look of disdain, she said, “This isn’t the way. You can’t force answers out of someone who’s afraid.”

    Finn gave her a smug look. “You’ve done it before.”

    She shut her eyes for a few seconds and then said, “That was different.”

    “How?”

    “I admitted it was wrong. It was done out of desperation. We’re not at that level.”

    “Yet.”

    “Never. Look, Finn, he is fearful of the Jedi. He’s afraid we will take his sister away. In the Old Republic, the Jedi Council would take younglings who displayed Force potential and train them to be Jedi Knights. They took them away from their families without question.”

    “That’s kind of cruel.”

    “I agree. But someone has told Jerrex that it could still happen.”

    Finn nodded as he repeated Jerrex’s words. “‘You’re not taking her’. We wouldn’t do that.”

    “He doesn’t know that. We have to gain his trust enough so that he does. And here you are treating him like a criminal.”

    “I was not.” After a pause, Finn admitted, “Ok, a little. I didn’t mean to.”

    “I know. You just have to use a more delicate manner.”

    “Delicate is your area.”

    She nodded toward Jerrex and smiled. “Then let me try.”

    “Be my guest.”

    She went over to Jerrex and sat down beside him on the rock outcropping. She chose a soft tone to speak to him. “I apologize for Finn.”

    “You don’t have to apologize for a stormtrooper.”

    Finn cried, “Former stormtrooper. How did-”

    “I can hear well.” He looked at Rey. “And I’m not afraid.”

    “You may not be afraid for yourself. But you’re afraid for your sister.” When he didn’t reply, she asked, “What is her name?”

    Jerrex hesitated and replied, “Tya.”

    “How old is she?”

    “She just turned fourteen.”

    “And she can use the Force?”

    He hesitated again before saying, “Yes, but she doesn’t like using her powers if she can help it.”

    “”Why not?”

    He snapped, “Because it makes her look like a freak. All right?” He stood up abruptly and stormed off.

    Rey cried, “Jerrex, wait.” She stood and came up behind him. “Wait.” Rey suddenly thought to herself, This is it - my first lesson alone. Leia would be the one to express assurance in their past missions. She was no longer there. It was all Rey, now. She gulped before saying to Jerrex, “Look, I know this may sound like a cliché, but I really do know how you feel. With or without using the Force. About two years ago, I never knew I had any Force ability. If I had known, I would have escaped Jakku long ago.”

    Jerrex turned to face her. “Jakku? As in the Battle Of Jakku? The last battle before the Empire surrendered.”

    “You know your history.”

    “I’ve been told a thing or two. And you lived and survived in the deserts of Jakku?”

    “All my life. I scavenged the old Star Destroyers and AT-ATs that crashed there long ago. And I survived without using the Force.” She stepped toward him closer. “When I suddenly found these powers I had the whole time, I was afraid and confused. I thought I was a freak, too. But I’ve grown to accept my abilities. I’ve learned from them. I’ve even met Luke Skywalker.”

    His head perked up. “You met the Master Luke Skywalker? What was he like?”

    Rey squinted. “Not what I expected, exactly. But no less inspiring. I was able to obtain the ancient Jedi texts and journals written thousands of years ago. I’ve learned so much about the Force and the Jedi from reading them. There is so much more. Over the past standard year, I have gone across the galaxy to find those who possess the power to use the Force. I invite them to share in the knowledge of the Force. And I intend to do the same with your sister.”

    “How can I trust you?”

    “Jerrex, as we stated before, we will not force your sister to join us. That will be her choice. My only job here is to give her that choice. I’m sure it’s one that she has never been offered before.”

    After a long moment, Jerrex finally said, “All right. I’ll take you to her. But where I’m taking you has to be a secret. We’re well hidden.”

    “We?” asked Finn.

    Jerrex nodded. “A group of about twenty miners, me and my sister included, escaped from the guards several weeks ago. We’ve set up camp deep in the caves here ever since. The guards have never found us. It can’t get out or we’re done. Understand?”

    “Agreed,” said Rey.

    “Yeah, we’ve been known to keep a secret or two,” said Finn before getting a raised eyebrow from Rey.

    “Fine.” Jerrex nodded in the direction behind him. “This way.”

    Jerrex began in that direction as Finn noted to Rey, “Good speech.”

    “Thanks. My first.”

    “Uh, huh. It’s the same as Leia’s from all those missions with her, right?”

    “Pretty much. Let’s go.”


    Along the way as they followed Jerrex, Rey started to ask him questions about his background. His grandfather was a Jedi Knight in the Old Republic. He fled once the Emperor and Darth Vader started hunting down Jedi. He ended up there on Vapos years before the First Order was even a thought. He lived in seclusion until love intervened and he met and married the woman who would become Jerrex and Tya’s grandmother. She died when Tya was a toddler. By the time their parents were married in the caves, the First Order came to power and owned the zinite mining facility. They treated their workers like slaves.

    Rey noted, “Your grandfather taught you lightsaber technique.”

    “Yes. Wish you could have met him. He told us stories about the Jedi of the Old Republic and the Force.”

    “But you never displayed any Force ability?”

    “None. Grandpa tried to give me tests the way they used to check but I failed every one.”

    “Jerrex, you didn’t fail them. You were trying to be something you weren’t destined to be. It wasn’t in your nature.”

    “I guess. Neither my mother or father could use the Force that way either. My father was more of an activist than a man of action. He refused to be taught lightsaber dueling. When I was of age, my grandfather handed his knowledge to me. Along with his lightsaber.”

    “What happened to him?” asked Finn.

    “He rocked too many starships while he was here. Same as my father and mother. The Magistrate’s minions took him away in the middle of the night. We never heard from him again.”

    “Dead?” Rey hesitated to ask.

    “Well, since he was in his nineties five years ago when they took him, I’d say that would be likely.”

    “What happened to your own parents?”

    Jerrex didn’t answer.

    “Jerrex,” Rey prodded.

    He sighed and replied, “A few years ago, a senior worker collapsed from exhaustion. Mom and dad tried to help him but the guards demanded they let him go. My parents refused and tried to fight back. The guard shot the man...and our parents...dead. And me and my sister watched.”

    A strange silence followed his words as if they were honoring his parents’ memory. Rey finally said, “Jerrex, that is horrible. I’m so sorry.”

    “Not your fault. You weren’t there.” He stopped on the trail and they heard a strange rumbling. “We’re here.”

    The trail veered hard to the left against a rock wall. It wrapped around a large pool of water. The rumbling was the result of a waterfall depositing its falling water from a ridge high above. As far as it could be seen, the trail led straight into the waterfall. A seemingly dead end.

    “Great,” cried Finn, “now what?”

    Jerrex stated, “We go through the waterfall.”

    Through the waterfall? And what if we fall into the pond?” Finn turned to Rey. “Do you even know how to swim?”

    “Actually, yes. I did on Ach-To and on Jakku. Sort of.”

    Finn crinkled his brow. “Uh...how did you swim on Jakku?”

    She shrugged. “I fell into the Sinking Fields once. Sand is not much different than water. Just a bit dryer.”

    Jerrex said, “You won’t have to swim. That pond is less than two meters deep.”

    “Again, there’s a waterfall in the way,” noted Finn.

    Jerrex smiled. “Our camp is on the other side.”

    Rey smiled at Finn. “You will get wet.”

    He ignored her and asked Jerrex, “How did you find it?”

    “Tya did. She kept telling us there was a wide area behind it.”

    Rey nodded in agreement. “Through the Force. I can feel a vast area of air behind it. I assume many didn’t believe her.”

    “You wouldn’t be wrong. The group that came with us trusted her but they still were skeptical about this.”

    “Not the first time adults underestimated children.”

    Finn said, “Well, no time like the present. Let’s go.”

    They each took their turn to follow the trail around the pond in single file. The trail was not wide enough for more than one at a time. They reached to the other side and proceeded to go under the waterfall. Water cascaded over them making them totally soaked on the opposite side. They took a moment to wipe off excess water. Rey squeezed her long hair in the back to wring out the water.

    He led them through a narrow passage that opened up to a vast area inside the cave. The rock cavern had to be a hundred meters high. Surrounding the area on the surface were various camps set up with tents and some had fires blazing for food, hot water, and illumination. People were scattering about performing different tasks. Some slowed their pace once they spotted Rey and Finn with Jerrex.

    He announced, “Welcome to our new home.”

    Rey cried, “Jerrex, this is amazing. You created all of this in a few weeks?”

    “It’s really not much. We control our own work here. Live our own lives together and not under magistrate rule. And as you’ve seen, we’re well hidden. Every week we venture out to hunt for food at night. Meat and vegetation. Some prefer food portions, which we took several bins of from the compound storage. Quicker for some, I guess.”

    Rey groaned. “Insta-bread food portions?”

    “Yes, are you familiar with them?”

    “Only all my life.”

    Jerrex cracked a smile. “This way.”

    They followed him until he stopped at specific tent that gave off a dull yellow glow from a lamp inside. Jerrex pulled open one end of the tent flap and allowed Rey and Finn to enter first. Inside was a basic set up of living quarters. Two mattresses were laid at opposite ends of the tent. A small table was set in the center where the glow lamp was placed. Standing at the table was a girl of average height, slender body, and long straight blonde hair. She was in the process of fixing a meal out of one of the insta-bread food portions. She froze as she saw Rey and Fin enter with her brother in tow.

    Immediately, Rey could feel the Force within the girl and it was strong. She could also feel her anxiety about the new guests. Rey considered that if she could sense the girl’s feelings in the Force, then the opposite was also true. Rey projected a feeling of assurance and ease within herself. She started to speak, but the girl was quicker.

    “You are a Jedi.” It was a statement, not a question.

    “Not exactly,” answered Rey.

    “But you do use the Force.”

    “Yes,” Rey said, almost too proudly.

    Instead of speaking again, the girl threw down the unused food portion and stormed past them. She eyed her brother before she left the tent.

    Rey raised an eyebrow, half believing the girl’s actions. “So, that happened.”

    Jerrex stated, “You’re not going to get to Tya that easily.”

    “What’s wrong with her?” Finn asked.

    Jerrex gave him a glance. “You mean other than the fact that she’s a teenager?”

    Finn nodded. “Good point.”

    “I’ll go after her,” Rey said.

    Jerrex tried to discourage her. “You don’t know this area. She has secret places she hides in here that I don’t even know where they are.”

    Rey smiled. “I can find her.”

    “How?”

    “Through the Force.”



    Rey did detect Tya’s presence in the Force immediately. She just had to pinpoint her exact location. She remembered a training technique that Leia used on her during many missions. While they were in transit through hyperspace, Leia would be in an undisclosed area of the cruiser. Leia would call Rey through the Force and test her to find out where she was. Rey never knew when these exercises would be. Sometimes they would be early in the morning while Rey was still asleep. It was frustrating then, but now it was endearing. Rey just missed her temporary teacher in the Force.

    Rey now applied that training in reverse as she scanned the camp both visibly and in the Force for Tya. She found an area on the opposite side of the cavern where the concentration of the Force was the strongest. She focused in and sure enough she found Tya beyond the rock wall. There weren’t many villagers out since most had gone to bed. Rey ventured over to the area. Once she reached the wall, she saw a narrow open wedge at the base of the wall. She had to crawl on the ground in order to enter. She reached to the other side in an alcove where she could stand up in. The warm light from a fire torch gave the small area a yellowish glow against the black stone. In the far corner was Tya crouched in a ball.

    Before Rey could address her, Tya sat up and snapped, “Thanks a lot! This used to be my private area. Not anymore. Guess I have to go with you now and say goodbye to my life.”

    “Stop!” Rey cried. “Really? Wow, you are a teenager.” She sat on the ground with her legs crossed and continued. “Now, if you’ll permit me, I can explain what I’m doing here. And what I’m not doing here. Hmm? What do you say? Can I have the floor?” Rey looked down and corrected, “Or the dirt in this case?”

    Tya cracked a smile but said nothing.

    “Perfect. First of all, my name is Rey. I followed your brother here to your camp. He told me your name is Tya.”

    “Yes. How did you and my brother meet?”

    “He sort of attacked me with his lightsaber.”

    Tya raised her eyebrows. “And you survived?”

    Rey lifted her tunic up at her waist to reveal her lightsaber. “I am also well armed. But I had something that your brother doesn’t. The Force.”

    “But I do. And you’re taking me away from him.”

    “No, Tya. I’m really not. Let me start by saying that I’m not a Jedi. At least, not yet. Up until two years ago I lived my life on Jakku. I was a scavenger there to survive. An incident made me leave Jakku and not long after that, I discovered that I had this power inside of me which had been awakened somehow. I was told it was the Force within me. I was scared. Same as you are now.”

    “I’m not scared,” Tya snapped.

    “Yes, you are. I can feel it. And I know why. It’s the reason why you stormed off before. You don’t have to be ashamed or embarrassed.” Rey leaned closer and whispered, “You don’t know how to make insta-bread properly.”

    Tya chuckled and Rey smiled and they both broke into short laughter. Rey said, “Let me give you some advice. The trick is to use hot water. It makes the bread rise quicker and the bread softer.”

    “I can put the water in a pot over a fire. How did you get hot water on Jakku?”

    “Are you kidding? I just left a pail of water in the hot sand under the even hotter sun. It would be boiling by the end of the day.”

    They laughed again until Tya blurted, “Are you really not taking me away?”

    “No, I’m not.”

    “That’s not all true, is it? I can feel you masking something.”

    Rey nodded. “Very good. I’m not taking you with me if you decide not to.”

    “What makes you think I will?”

    Rey let out a breath before answering. “Jerrex said your grandfather told you about the Jedi of the Old Republic. He was a Jedi Knight himself. He sounds like a great man.”

    “He was.”

    “He showed you the ways of the Force.”

    “He showed me what he could. Before he was gone.”

    “What exactly did he tell you what the Force is?”

    “It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us-”

    “-and penetrates us to bind the galaxy together. That’s the textbook version. Did he ever tell you what the Force actually is beyond an energy field?”

    “Uh...no. He said the Force is what the Jedi use for defense, never for attack.”

    “That still only explains what the Force does, not what it is. Think about it, Tya. Isn’t that rather vague?”

    “I...I’m not sure.”

    That’s why I’m here. To fill in the blanks of what the Force really is.” Rey paused. “And how the Jedi have been abusing it.”

    “Abusing?”

    Rey considered. “Maybe that’s too strong of a word. Look, Tya, I’m new at this. You’ve known you’ve had the ability to use the Force for much longer than I have. You must use them everyday.”

    “Not exactly,” Tya muttered. When Rey gave her a confusing expression, Tya said, “You were right before when you said I was scared. After grandpa died, there was no one else to teach me anymore. So I stopped using the Force if I could help it.”

    “Tya, there’s nothing wrong with that.”

    Tya started to become emotional. “It is when you’re forced to work in a mining compound.” She sniffed. “The Magistrate here is a monster.”

    “Is that why you and your group here escaped?”

    Tya looked down. “Partially. There was a rumor that got to us a while ago that the First Order has a new Supreme Leader. Kylo Ren.”

    “Yes, I know.”

    “It was said that he was searching the galaxy for those who can use the Force.”

    “Funny, that is our mission, too. What does that have to do with your escape?”

    “Other miners here knew I could use the Force. Not all of them wanted to keep it a secret. Some of them threatened to report me to the First Order. So my brother gathered those who supported me and wouldn’t turn me in. We escaped. I used the Force to distract the guards. I knew of this place for a long time. Many wouldn’t believe me.”

    “The ones who escaped with you did. The ones who are here now.”

    “Yes. After we disappeared, someone went into the compound to send a message to the Resistance. The fact that you’re here tells me that it worked.”

    Rey nodded. “Tya, I can teach you. But you can teach me, too. Each of us can be both student and teacher.”

    “What can you teach me?”

    And there it was. The question Rey had asked herself since she became the lone figure of future Jedi. What could she teach? She only had been using the Force for two years. Where would she begin? She found the words to say to Tya. She wasn’t sure if they were the correct ones for future Jedi. They were the correct ones for Tya Kestal at that moment.

    “I can teach you to use the Force and not be embarrassed about it. You’ve been shamed into not using it but you still have so much potential. Think about how you got here, Tya. It was you who led these people here to safety. They are here because of you and because they believe in you.”

    “I’m only one girl. What can I do against the whole Magistrate?”

    Rey remembered something she read in one of the Jedi journals. “There is a Jedi saying. Anyone who can create a spark can ignite a fire.”

    “What does that mean?”

    “How about I show you?” Rey smiled.

    Tya smiled back and said, “Agreed.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Chapter Four will be coming soon!
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018