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Saga - ST Black Rapier (Poe, Rey, Luke, Leia, Han, OT&ST cast. Pre-TFA to Post-TFA. Chapter 9 up 20/Oct)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Aiel, Feb 20, 2016.

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  1. Aiel

    Aiel Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Black Rapier
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    Summary:
    A Poe Dameron centric story. Taking place before, during, and after the events of The Force Awakens. (Poe, Rey, Finn, Luke, Han, Leia, Kes, BB-8) ST

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    Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars.
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    Hello all, it's been a while since I've posted any of my fanfiction here, but I received a request to do so from a reader on ff-net, so I'm posting the first chapter to see how it's received and I'll continue to post the chapters if requested. (This is an ongoing story, you can find it here also here at Ao3. This might, well, inevitably, turn AU at some point, given the subject matter.
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    [ABE= After the Battle of Endor]
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    [15 ABE]
    Location: Great Massassi Temple, Yavin 4
    Fifteen Years Before The Force Awakens...
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    Pulling uncomfortably at the high collar of his brand new, formal, New Republic Starfleet cadet uniform, seventeen-year-old Poe Dameron let out a sigh of temporary relief, as he peered around from the sandstone pillar he was hiding behind.

    Looking out into the crowded Grand Hall, amongst the chattering, eating and some dancing beings, Poe could no longer see the brightly dressed, cooing group of several senators daughters, who had targeted the good-looking, dark haired, dark-eyed young cadet pilot, en masse, as their potential prey this evening.

    Not naturally shy by nature, Poe, nevertheless, was firmly against the idea of four women, between the ages of late-teens to early thirties, encircling him and making awkward suggestions, that would make the most hardened of outer-rim space-pilots blush.

    Poe ducked his head back behind the pillar and gently thumped his head back against it, a temporary smile of relief on his lips. He was just thankful his grandfather hadn't been around, or his escape from the encircling senators daughters might not have been so clean.

    The old man was notoriously protective of his only grandchild, and had, on past occasions, reached out with his wooden walking-cane, and whacked the back of the ankles of young women, and some men, who made any insinuations and unwarranted suggestions about Poe's appearance, within his earshot.

    Rubbing the back of his neck, Poe knew that, in repose, his grandfather had been nothing but charming to the high school academy girlfriends his grandson had formally introduced him to, and always said that he trusted him to make the right decisions.

    But, Poe was still thankful that the old man had watched out for him as a young teenager, and wouldn't let him down by being a notorious playboy, now he was reaching manhood.
    It's my own fault, I suppose, Cadet Dameron mused, as he looked around for an exit from the Grand Hall of the Yavin 4 temple.

    I mean, I was flirting with Senator Glarison's daughter, I just didn't know she was in on the 'game' with the other senators daughters who had singled me out...blast it! I'm only seventeen, how am I supposed to know it was all a set-up?

    Poe's grandfather had not given his grandson much in the way of advice when it came to sex, only that, as Grandfather Bey would often say, he trusted his grandson to make the right decisions.

    And as for his father, General Kes Dameron, Poe had seen him so rarely since Kes had returned to military service after the death of Poe's mother, and he'd absolutely, not once, branched the subject to his only child. Kes was here at this tightly guarded, invitation only celebration event, the nineteenth anniversary of the First Death Star Battle, (it was a very intimate affair, with only the well known ex-members of the Rebellion, adding up to about a hundred and forty people or so. And, of course, Poe's squadron of Starfleet cadets as honorary guards, symbolising the still young New Republic.) but Poe had only seen him briefly across the room, and his father hadn't acknowledged him.

    It's been almost two years, Poe mildly reasoned, as his dark gaze still darting around, looking for an exit, he might not have recognised me. But surely Grandfather told him I'd started at the Academy? Shouldn't he have been looking for me amongst the other cadets...? Poe's thoughts trailed off, and he shook the sad thought from his head, that maybe his father really didn't care.

    Finally, Poe noticed a side exit and, looking around again, slipped into the shadows and leaned his back against the ancient, sandstone wall, shuffling along against it, keeping his gaze on look out, before slipping through the stone doorway, and stepping into the durasteel floored hallway.

    The long hallway had been lit up with real flaming torches, adding to the grandeur of the occasion. Poe had attended the majority of these anniversaries, living on Yavin 4 as he did during his childhood, and always enjoyed the sight of the flames casting shadows across the ancient stone walls and lofting ceilings.

    Poe stretched his arms up above his head and reached up to undo the top button of his formal uniform, sighing in relief from the pressure released from around his neck.

    The lanky teenager was still skinny, and just starting to broaden out, the fitted, Starfleet cadet uniform displayed that fact. Poe had also started to gain promises of his full grown height, after a growth spurt the past year, standing at about five foot five, he was easily of average height amongst his peers, so the perfect height for an X-wing fighter pilot.

    This had pleased the young Dameron. Wedge Antilles is five-foot-six and Luke Skywalker is five-foot-seven, Poe thought gleefully of his idols as he walked down the vacant hallway.

    My Mom always said that being more than six-feet in an X-wing's pilot's seat didn't quite give you the flexibility and dexterity being under six-foot did in such a cramped space, so hopefully I don't grow that much more. Dad's five-foot-seven and Mom was five-foot-four, so my odds are pretty...

    "...oh no! We're surrounded!"

    A child's voice interrupted Poe's train of thought and the cadet pilot stopped by a door-frame that lead to a side balcony. Peering around the side of the sandstone carved exit, the teenager's dark eyes locked on the source of the childish prattling.

    In the centre of the balcony, sitting outside in the warm night, was a small, dark haired girl, dressed in a dark green formal dress.

    The small side balcony, was brightly lit up with dozens of small lights, strung along the stone balustrade, and light also shone down on the balcony from the Rebel era floodlights.

    The girl was sitting tailor style on the balcony floor, with an audience of several dolls in front of her, one of whom was in her tiny grasp, and she was rocking him back and fourth, like he was talking to his fellow doll populace.

    "...how are we going to save everybody now? I know! We'll use my lightsaber!" The girl pressed the side of the orange jumpsuit wearing doll, and the lightsaber in his grasp lit up a bright green colour, and she proceeded to attack the two white stormtrooper dolls with the lightsaber wielding doll.

    "Vwwoom, vwwoom!" The girl, much to Poe's mirth, imitated the sound the lightsaber was making, as she knocked down the plastic armour clad stormtroopers.

    The girl then grabbed another doll, "And I'll use my blaster!" She used the female doll to shoot at the knocked down stormtroopers. "Peew, peew!" The girl then reached out for two of her other dolls, a human and a wookiee. "Us too! Peew peew! Boom!"

    The child threw all her dolls into the air for dramatic effect and let them all crash to the ground.
    At the sight, Poe couldn't help but burst into laughter at the girl's antics, clapping his hands in applause as the little girl spun around to look over at the dark haired teenage boy watching her, looking him over with a wary glance.

    Poe cleared his throat, "I'm sorry I interrupted you, but you're very talented at playing battles," he walked over to squat down next to the little girl, her dark brown hair was done up in two small, braided buns atop her head. "I don't think I was ever that good at playing battles, when I was your age."

    The girl grinned, her hazel eyes sparkling, "Thank you!" She picked up the Wookiee doll and brushed down his fur. "I know you, don't I?" She questioned, cocking her head to the side as she looked over at the boy.

    Shaking his head, Poe sat down tailor style like the girl in front of him, "I don't think so, unless you went to my school academy... or you're the youngest cadet the New Republic Starfleet has ever had." he teased, and the girl shrugged with another grin in response, before Poe offered out his hand.

    "I'm Poe Dameron, first class cadet of the New Republic Starfleet."

    The little girl shook the offered hand as firmly as her tiny grip could muster, "I like your name. Poe is a good name." She affirmed, her hazel eyes studied the teenager. "You know who I am?"

    Poe rubbed the back of his neck, "I don't think so, should I?" He was genuinely confused as the girl laughed, before reaching out with her hand, the young cadet pilot watched on as the fallen dolls suddenly lifted up into the air, and glided right back over into the girl's waiting embrace.

    Looking over at the girl with amusement, Poe put his hands behind his neck, "Ah, a young Jedi," he mentioned, as the girl nodded enthusiastically, very pleased that the teenage boy called her that.

    "Yes!" She offered out the blond haired doll in her grasp, dressed in an X-wing pilot's uniform. "And you're going to be a pilot, like my dolly."

    Poe took the offered doll in his tanned grasp, and smiled down at the doll. "Yes, just like Luke Skywalker. He's my favourite. Is he yours?" He questioned, the girl nodded and Poe chuckled. "Of course he is, he's the head of the Jedi. Are you going to be a Jedi and a pilot, too?"

    The girl smiled, showing off a perfect set of white baby teeth, "I would like to. My Uncle says I'm already a much better pilot than my grumpy-lumpy cousin." She pouted.

    "My cousin was supposed to stay here, and play with me while my Daddy was busy, but he left earlier, saying I was a stupid baby. I think maybe it's 'cause I wouldn't let him play with my favourite dolly."

    The girl's bright gaze looked back up at Poe, "If I let you play with my Luke Skywalker dolly, will you stay with me?" She questioned with such a downtrodden, little voice, that Dameron couldn't help but completely melt under the gaze of those earnest, plump features turned towards him.

    "Absolutely," Poe agreed and the girl clapped her hands, before turning serious again.

    "Okay. Now," the little posed the dolls in her grasp, "the stormtroopers are trying to capture Han, Luke, Leia and Chewbacca, and R2-D2. They already captured C-3PO, 'cause he's silly and was talking too much..."

    Poe obligingly played 'battle' with the young girl under the starry Yavin 4 sky, making sure to make the appropriate lightsaber noises and, to the girl's approval and delight, even made Shyriiwook sounding growls for Chewbacca, and exploding noises for the thermal detonators.

    After concluding that the Empire was defeated and the Rebels won, the girl flopped down next to Poe and looked up at him, as Poe adjusted the control panel on the front of the Luke Skywalker doll's uniform.

    "Do you have any brothers or sisters?" The girl questioned.

    Shaking his head, Poe pushed back his longish bangs from his eyes, "No, I would have liked to, though. But my Mom and Dad never had any more children, then my Mom died when I was nine. I've lived alone with my Grandfather, and sometimes my Dad, ever since. How about you?" He reversed the question to the little girl, who also shook her head.

    "No. I wish I had a brother or sister. All I've got is my big cousin who is supposed to like me, but I know he doesn't. He always acts like I'm in his way." The little girl looked cross for a moment, then looked back up at Poe and motioned to him.

    "Can I tell you a secret?"

    Puzzled, Poe, nevertheless, bent down so the little girl could whisper in his ear.

    "I'm scared of my cousin. He's supposed to be a good Jedi like me, but he says and does really scary things sometimes."

    Pulling back, the youngest Dameron didn't quite know what to say to the dark haired, green dress clad girl...a Jedi child...who looked at him with genuine worry for her predicament.

    "I—" Poe began.

    But the young cadet pilot was cut off mid-sentence, when the girl looked past him, back over at the doorway that lead to the balcony, and let out a delighted cry.

    "Hi, hi, hi!" The girl was suddenly changed from a serious Jedi child, to a normal little girl, as she got to her tiny, white slippered feet and went running over to the dark clad, masculine figure waiting in the doorway, who bent down and scooped the girl up into his arms.

    Poe immediately got to his booted feet, and stared in surprise as the recently arrived, slender, fair-haired man lowered his head to the girl's level, as she whispered something to him, and then deep-set, very blue eyes turned upon Cadet Dameron, who immediately straightened his shoulders.

    The man in the brown and black Jedi robes walked the short distance between himself and the dark haired teen, smiling down at Poe in virtually the same way as the little girl in his arms was also looking down at the surprised young man.

    "You're..." Poe cleared his throat and began again. "Jedi Master Skywalker." He bowed his head respectfully and lifted back up his gaze, when the slightly taller human male put his left hand on the teen's shoulder.

    Luke Skywalker's clean-shaven, handsome features were friendly and kind, immediately Poe felt at ease, even before the Jedi Master spoke, "The little one here tells me that you stayed with her all this time, young man." He squeezed Poe's shoulder gratefully. "Thank you."

    Closing his slightly agape mouth, Poe glanced between Luke and the little girl, suddenly seeing something he'd missed before. His grandfather knew, somehow, and had mentioned the girl in passing, once. Poe thought the girl's mother might be someone who had visited them in the past, since there was also a resemblance to her...maybe...

    "She's—oh. I'm Poe...Cadet Poe Dameron, sir." Poe saluted, making the girl giggle a little at his sudden seriousness.

    Flashing another smile, the Jedi Master adjusted his grip on the girl in his arms. "Please, don't call me sir. You can call me Luke." He tilted his head slightly. "You've certainly grown since I last saw you. I used to come by and see you and your parents when I could, do you remember? "

    Poe flushed slightly at the compliment, "I...I remember sir—Luke," he corrected, folding his arms to stop them from shaking slightly, in awe of being in the presence of one of the greatest heroes of the Rebellion, if not the absolute greatest.

    Luke looked down at the dark-haired girl on his hip, "Now, sweetheart, why don't you go put all your dolls back in their satchel and I'll take you back inside," he suggested, putting the girl down on the ground and she nodded.

    "Yep, yep!" The child chirped back enthusiastically, Poe watching on as the girl reached out with her hand and lifted up the discarded, cloth satchel bag and flipped it open, then proceeded to lift up and place her dolls into the grey coloured satchel using the Force.

    Luke moved to stand beside the teenager, as they watched the girl gather up her toys, humming a playful tune as she did so.

    "She's really talented," Poe mentioned with slight awe, and Jedi Master Skywalker glanced aside at Poe, the younger human male catching the Jedi's gaze and blinking his dark eyes cautiously.

    "Yes, she is." Luke looked Poe over again, raising an eyebrow with a curious expression. "Is the Jedi Temple tree I left with your parents flourishing, Poe?"

    Looking askance, Poe nodded, "Yes, Luke. My Grandfather always tends to the tree, and I also used to take care of it as a child," he admitted, watching the strange expression on the Jedi Master's tanned features.

    "Did you now?" Luke mused distantly.

    Poe rubbed the back of his neck, "Yeah...why?"


    Smiling slightly, Luke rested his hand again on the teenager's shoulder, "Ask me again, sometime," he replied cryptically. "I was thinking I might drop by, and see you at the Starfleet Academy, since I visit from time-to-time. Is that all right with you?"

    Poe knew he was gaping, but he didn't care at that moment. "I—sure," he stammered out his agreement, and the little girl went rushing up to them, wrapping her arms around Poe's arm.

    "Me too! I like you! And I wanna see more pilots, and lots of ships!" The child enthused, rushing from Poe back to Luke, grabbing the Jedi Master's hand. "Da—I mean, Master Skywalker, me too?"

    Luke laughed and patted the girl's head, "Only if you're good, and it's all right with Cadet Dameron."

    The girl looked pleading up at Poe, who nodded, and she grinned from ear-to-ear. "Yay! Come on, Poe!" She grabbed the teenager's hand and pulled him along. Luke observed the teenager and the girl with careful consideration, as he followed them out of the balcony and into the hallway.

    When they arrived back in the Grand Hall, Poe halted at the same time as the girl, as she looked through the crowd, and then let out an enthusiastic cry when she found who she was looking for.

    "Hey!" The girl let go of Poe's hand and went rushing into the gathering, letting out another happy yell as Poe saw a pair of strong hands lifting the girl up into the air. "Fly me! Fly me—yay! Chewie!" The girl was lifted from the pair of male human hands, into the embrace of a tall, furry Wookiee.

    Attempting to slip away through the crowds, Poe felt a hand on his shoulder and turned around to see the famed ex-General Han Solo, in relaxed formal clothing not so different from his everyday wear, (a white shirt and black pants, with brown boots,) grinning down at him.

    "It's Poe Dameron, isn't it?"

    Nodding up at the greying-haired Han, Poe saluted and stood a little straighter, despite the fact that Solo had been close friends with Kes and he'd seen him a lot during his childhood. It had been a while, almost as long as not seeing Luke.

    Han laughed, "At ease, kid. I thought it might be you, you're almost a dead-ringer for your dad," he looked Poe up and down. "Stang, when did you get so grown-up? And what's this?" Han brushed off the shoulder of the teenager's uniform.

    "A Starfleet cadet? Well, what do you know? Your mom would be real proud, kid."

    Smiling and relaxing his stance, Poe shuffled his feet a little, "I hope she is, I mean, it's what I've always wanted," he admitted, glancing over at where Luke was now standing next to him, feeling a little overwhelmed at his company.

    Han ran a hand through his hair, "You're a good kid. Speaking of kids," he looked over at his brother-in-law, "where's Ben? I thought he was watching the little darlin', like he promised you."

    Luke let out a sigh, Poe suspecting this wasn't the first time Ben Solo had broken a promise to his uncle, "I don't know, Ben—"

    "He ran off and left me all alone, and he ordered Artoo to go with him, too" the little girl in Chewbacca's arms interrupted, "Poe found me and stayed with me. Ben said I was a stupid baby, and he said he didn't care what happened to me."

    Folding his arms over his chest, Han looked up at the little girl with a raised eyebrow, "Oh he did now, did he, darlin'?" He questioned in a low voice.

    "Han, maybe I should go talk—" Luke began, but Han held up his right hand to silence his brother-in-law.

    "No, Luke. This isn't your problem. I'm sick of his jealous attitude, especially towards the kiddo." Han lifted up his head and scanned the crowd, cupping his hands over his mouth. "Leia!" He called out.

    After a brief moment, some of the crowd murmuring in response to the yell from Han, the lovely, middle-aged, former Princess of Alderaan, and current senator, dressed a fitted, sparkling blue dress, and her long, brown hair braided atop her head, glided over to her family, looking disgruntled.

    "Yes, love of my life, who always happens to find just the right time to interrupt me, usually in the middle of an important conversation?" Leia Organa blithely questioned Han in her famous low, smoky-honey voice, looking aside at Poe with a raised brow. "Who is this young man?"

    Poe saluted the senator, "Cadet Poe Dameron, ma'am."

    Leia smiled, "Of course you are. Look how handsome you've gotten," she placed a kiss on Poe's cheek, making him blush. "Are you going to be an starfighter pilot like—"

    Han placed his hand on his wife's shoulder, "Leia, I'm sorry to interrupt, but we have a problem, well...it's the usual problem," he raised an eyebrow and Senator Organa let out a sigh, glancing away as she clasped her pale hands in front of her.

    "What did Ben do now?" Leia questioned softly, with a tired expression, almost perfectly mimicking her husband's equally tired expression.

    "He ran away and the little darlin' all alone. Luckily Poe here was passing by and stayed with her, thanks, kid." Han added.

    Poe nodded again, glancing aside, he saw Leia looking around the room, the cadet pilot knowing enough about Force powerful people, to know that she was trying to get a location of her son.

    Luke cleared his throat, "I was saying to Han, Leia, that maybe I should—"

    "No," Leia interrupted calmly, reaching over to grasp her twin's arm. "He's my son, Luke. Han and I need to handle this." She reached up towards her niece and Chewbacca lowered the girl in his grasp, so that her aunt could kiss her forehead, whispering to her so quietly, Poe could barely hear her. "...you look very pretty in the new dress we bought you."

    Leia pulled back and nodded at Poe with a smile, before turning on her high, dark blue shoe clad heel and making her way through the crowd.

    Han patted Poe's shoulder as he departed, a look on his face of regret and wistfulness, before it disappeared as quickly as it had arrived, and turned back into tiredness, as Solo followed his wife through the crowd in search of their only child.

    Poe glanced over at Luke, who smiled apathetically and the cadet pilot knew that it really wasn't his place to ask any more questions about the difficult teenage son of Han Solo and Leia Organa. Poe had only met Ben Solo a few times, and the younger teen had either ignored him, or kept away from him, looking down his rather long nose with a snobby expression, whenever forced to interact with Poe.

    Although there was that time on Endor, four years ago, when we got into a fight...

    "Ah, there you are, lad," an aged voice called out, and Poe turned to see his grandfather, accompanied by his father, Kes, standing behind him and he smiled in greeting.

    "Hello, Grandfather," Poe looked over at his dark-haired father, roguish streaks of grey hair running through his short-cut tresses. "Hello, Dad." He added quietly.

    Kes reached out to grasp his son's shoulders, "Hello, Poe. Well, look at you," he greeted, looking his son up and down. "I almost didn't recognise you." He turned to smile over at Luke. "Can you believe a kid this good-looking is my son, Skywalker?"

    Luke chuckled, "I'd believe it. Poe could almost be your twin, Kes."

    Grandfather Bey scoffed as he rested his hands atop his cane, "Nonsense, Jedi Master Skywalker, Poe gets his good looks from my lovely late daughter, Shara, and you know it." He beamed up at the girl in Chewbacca's grasp, who was staring down at him.

    "Is that who I think it is, up there?"

    Inclining his head, Luke smiled proudly, "She is." He replied softly, and Grandfather Bey nodded his greying-haired head.

    Kes also grinned up at the girl, who smiled back down at him, "I thought so. She looks her father, but she's half her pretty mother, too." He nudged Luke's arm, whispering to him. "Aren't you grateful she didn't get those baby-blues of yours, though? Especially as she gets older."

    Raising an eyebrow, Luke shook his head and Kes laughed at his former military comrade's expression. Poe rolled his eyes, thankful that his father's sense of humour was not hereditary.

    Grandfather Bey looked concerned at Luke, "I never thought you'd bring her to a gathering, even if this one is quite intimate." He pointed out in a low voice.

    Jedi Master Skywalker folded his hands in front of him. "People have been assuming she's one of my students. I don't correct them, because she is, in fact." Luke explained softly, with a reluctance in his voice, and a sadness. "She understands, don't you, sweetheart?"

    The little girl pointed to her self, "I'm a Jedi student. Master Skywalker is my teacher." She explained with a bright smile, that instantly brought comfort to Luke's previous sad expression.

    Kes rested his arm on his teenage son's shoulder, "I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to steal my son away from the party for a moment," he placed his hand on Poe's shoulder, about to steer his son through the crowd, when the dark haired girl in the gentle Wookiee's grasp, let out a cry.

    "Wait! Please, put me down, Chewie." The girl asked Chewbacca, who placed the small girl down, and she went trotting over to Poe, reaching over and opening up her satchel, the girl pulled out her Luke Skywalker doll, dressed in his X-wing pilot's uniform.

    Looking down at the doll fondly, the girl looked up and held him out to Poe, "Here. I want you to take him with you, when you go to the Academy," she said solemnly.

    Poe got down on one knee to the girl's level and shook his head. "I can't take your doll, he's your favourite."


    The girl frowned, "He's an X-wing pilot, and you're going to be an X-wing pilot." She explained, looking like she was trying to find the right words in her very young vocabulary. "My Uncle says pilots need a lot of good luck. So I'm going to give you my dolly, for luck."

    Poe took the doll from the little girl's hands, and then placed his free hand on the girl's shoulder, "Okay, but it's only a loan, all right? After I'm done with the Academy, I'll give him back to you, okay?" He gave the girl a comforting smile.

    "He'll be a well travelled doll by then, and he and I will have lots of stories to tell you."

    The girl nodded her head, excitement all over her slightly freckled features. "Yay!" She furrowed her brow suddenly. "You promise?"

    As the teenager nodded, the girl threw her arms around Poe's neck, and shyly gave him a kiss on the cheek, before rushing back to Jedi Master Skywalker. Luke picked up the precocious child and gave a smile and nod over at Poe, who waved to Luke, the girl, Chewbacca, and his grandfather, before getting to his feet, and following Kes through the formally dressed throng of beings.

    "I think you've got yourself a little fan there," Kes commented, as Poe tucked the Luke Skywalker doll into his empty blaster holster, (all weapons having been checked at the Massassi Temple door, prior to entry into the celebration.) and shrugged.

    "She's a cute kid. She makes me wish I'd had a little sister or brother." Poe revealed quietly, and he heard Kes exhale. "I know Mom couldn't have any more kids, but still, it was a bit lonely growing up alone."

    Father and son walked in relative silence through the crowd, Kes smiling over at one or two beings known to him, but neither himself nor Poe said anything more until they reached one of the exits of the Grand Hall, heading down a set of ancient stone stairs, that lead to the old Rebel docking bay beneath the temple.

    Kes cleared his throat as they walked down the stairs, "Those early years, re-establishing the Republic, kept us busy. We already regretted having to leave you behind with your grandfather all the time, and thought we didn't want to put another kid through not having us around." He explained, looking over at his son with a sad smile.

    "And when things had some what settled back down, we really didn't get a chance to get around to adopting another kid, before your mother passed away."

    Poe nodded, "I understand." He assured Kes, who placed a hand on his son's shoulder as they reached the landing bay, filled with dozens of fancy yachts and other ships, belonging to the guests above.

    "I've got a gift for you, Poe. A congratulation present for getting into the Academy." Kes revealed, and Poe blinked his dark gaze.

    "Dad, you really didn't—"

    Kes inclined his head with a smile, "Yeah...yeah, I did, son." He put his right hand index finger and thumb in his mouth and whistled.

    There was a shrill, bleating whistle in response, and Poe looked over in the direction the responding noise had come from, and his eyes lit up when he saw the round, humming shape, barrelling towards the Damerons across the durasteel floor of the old docking bay.

    The BB astromech droid unit, was decorated with orange circles around it's spherical build, with grey designs within the orange circles. Its tiny dome top rocked back and fourth on its body, as it warbled up at first Kes, then looked up at Poe, its little red glowing ocular receptor flickered on and off as it beeped up at the teenager, whistling in greeting.

    Poe dropped down on one knee to the BB droid's level and put his right hand on the little dome, "Hey there, little guy," he greeted, and the droid leaned back, chirping a greeting merrily, as he rolled back and fourth.
    "His designation is BB-8, he's fresh off the manufacturing line." Kes mentioned, squatting down and placing an arm around Poe's shoulders. "He's yours."

    Looking up at his father with happy surprise, Poe blinked his dark gaze, "I—really?" He questioned, and Kes shrugged his shoulders with a grin, reaching over to pat Beebee-Ate affectionately, as he got to his feet.

    "My boy's going to be an Starfleet pilot, so he has to have a top of the range astromech droid to keep him safe out there," the elder Dameron affixed his gaze on his teenage son, who was looking over his new droid with glee.

    "I am proud of you, Poe."

    Poe glanced back up at his father, who smiled down at him as the young cadet got to his feet. "Thank you, Dad." He answered back with an equally bright smile, as Kes pulled his slightly shorter son into a tight hug, before pulling the boy back.

    Kes folded his arms, "I know I haven't been around enough, especially as you entered your teenage years. But I want you to know that I'm here now," he smirked. "Anything you want to talk to me about? Girls, maybe? Or guys, or whatever..." Kes trailed off when he heard Poe let out a snort of laughter.

    "Oh, come on now, kid, give your old man a break. C'mon," Kes put his arm around Poe and lead him towards an old, faded yellow Rebellion era transport, Beebee-Ate rolling behind the Damerons, merrily humming.

    "Talk to me, son."

    Poe relaxed under his father's one-armed embrace, as they sat down on the worn seat of the old transport vehicle, "I do have a few questions," he admitted, pushing back his lanky fringe from his forehead, as Kes waved his hands encouragingly.

    "Fire away, kid."

    Father and son talked way into the night, Poe thankful that all his fears of his father not caring about him laid to rest, firmly and forever. The future Resistance pilot grateful for many years to come, that Kes Dameron was the father he'd always hoped for, perhaps not always around, but one who made time for his son whenever he could, and let him know that he loved him.

    That anniversary of the First Death Star Battle, had exposed the teenage Poe to three fathers who cared so much about their children.

    Poe's own father who was free to express his love for his child, and did so openly.

    Another father who's love seemed often rejected, but he still tried.

    And, finally, another father who had to hide his love away, but expressed it much as he could in other ways.

    It was the first time Poe thought of one day being a father himself. Wondering if it would be possible to have a large family like he'd always wanted, with many children, who would never have to question their father's love.

    Smiling broadly, as Kes dove into yet another anecdote about his mischievous, youthful past working for the Rebellion, Poe decided he couldn't wait to accumulate stories of his own, to tell to the next generations of Damerons.

    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    Thank you for reading and, if you'd like to see more of this story posted here, let me know.
     
    AzureAngel2, Chyntuck and Kahara like this.
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh Aiel - yes, yes, yes. I would! [face_batting] The characterizations and the insights are brill! Just. Oh could we talk about H/L -- just shoot me a PM please and you can rant away :p :rolleyes: Rey is a darling and Poe - oh yum! Him and BB8 are the stars of the TFA show. ;) =D=

    And if you wanna write a TFA meets Legends thingy, I'll be onboard for that too! [:D]
     
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  3. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Heck, yes, I am onboard for reading more.

    I enjoyed TFA, but this was better than that, a totally warm, comfortable read that I don't know where to start.

    Characterisations for the little girl, Poe, pretty much everyone, were spot on.

    I heard Harrison Ford's voice when I read, "At ease, kid. I thought it might be you, you're almost a dead-ringer for your dad," and it was a welcome "ah" moment when the present that Kes got his son, turned out to be BB-8.
    I don't know if you intended the reader to start worrying, but taking Poe to the depths of the temple under the party, did start to worry me.

    Great stuff. Thank you for using such a big font. The piece was longer than I can comfortably read on a screen, but the large font definitely helped.

    Some good writing. Comfortable, warm and amiable atmosphere. Like events that I have been to, and wanted to sneak off once the attention was not on me.

    Some great touches, like the girl, who I don't think was identified apart from "the kiddo" and "little darling", wanting to give Poe her dolly. I'm glad Kes didn't give his teen son a hard time for taking a dolly back to the Academy.
     
  4. Aiel

    Aiel Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Thank you for the very kind reviews. I hope you enjoy the second chapter.
    :)
    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    [2]
    [16 ABE]
    Location: New Republic Starfleet Academy
    Fourteen Years Before The Force Awakens
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________

    The young man moaned as he slammed his back against the wall in the small, cramped, cadet pilot's quarters, the aurbany haired, pale skinned young woman in his bare-armed embrace, continuing her slow kisses down his neck with breathy abandon.

    “You keep making noises like that, you're going to wake up the rest of Starfleet bunked on this level,” the young woman cheekily murmured in the dark haired young man's ear, making him laugh and the young man leaned his face against his lover's bare shoulder, making her laugh as well.

    Cadet Poe Dameron pulled back and lifted up Cadet Alytheis Thedra's chin, looking deeply into her green eyes, before capturing her warm, slightly swollen lips in another deep kiss, the intertwined couple continued their passionate embrace as they fell backwards onto the single bunk.

    Alytheis straddled Poe's middle as she bent down to kiss him, her unbound, shoulder-length hair falling forward, making a curtain of scented tresses, that filtered out the dim light of his shared quarters.

    In the same year as Poe at the New Republic Starfleet Academy, and a few months older than the just turned eighteen-year-old Dameron, Alytheis and Poe had been flirting both on the ground and in the air for the past few months.

    A stolen moment, or two, sneaking away and finding a vacant utility closet to make-out in over the last week, had lead to finally finding the right opportunity to consummate their heated passion, when Poe's room-mate, Iolo Arana, was bunked down in sick bay. (The Keshian losing an artificial nerf chunk stew eating contest against one of their teachers, Lieutenant Colonel Wes Janson.)

    Poe and Alytheis had eagerly taken the opportunity to be alone, and revelled in their love making. The young couple exploring every inch of their forms with the glee and urgency of their youthful desire, learning joint rhythms and movements, as they tangled their bodies together in new found pleasures.

    As they lay intertwined in blissful revere after their lovemaking, Poe slowly stroked the already dozing Alytheis' bare shoulder gently. The steady movement was soothing, as the young man timed his touch with the rise and fall of Alytheis' chest as she breathed in and out in her slumber.

    Smiling as he pulled the pale skinned, Corellian native Cadet Thedra closer to him, Poe rested his head against the top of Alytheis', and closed his dark eyes as he fell back against the pillow, sighing in contentment as he let sleep overtake him.

    (…)

    The smell of burning. The sound of voices screaming for, some stopped mid-sentence and becoming silenced pleas for mercy.

    Poe couldn't see through the thick smoke, only flashes of red-orange light he could presume as fire, as he desperately called out, stumbling along the charred, smoking ground beneath his booted feet. “Hello?! Does anyone need help?!”

    Suddenly the scene changed, the young cadet was standing in the middle of a sandy desert apparently alone, looking desperately around, Poe's eyes widened when saw a little girl just a few feet front of him, whereas there had been no-one but himself in the barren location.

    Blinking his eyes against flurry of sand grains from the rising winds, Poe walked a few steps towards the child, who was dressed in a formal, dark green dress, whipping around in the wind, that he immediately recognised.

    It was the little girl, under Jedi Master Luke Skywalker's care, that he had met six months previously at the gathering in the Massassi temple. She was clutching her favoured doll, that Poe knew was in his possession, (safely stored in a case in his locker,) and staring up at him.

    Hey, darlin',” Poe got down on one knee. “What are you doing out here?”

    The girl blinked up at him, shaking her head. “Quiet now.” She placed a finger against her lips, making a shushing noise. “It's sleeping.”

    Blinking his eyes, the young man shook his own head, “I don't understand, what is sleeping?” Poe questioned, but the little girl just smiled sadly, turning away and running across the sand-dunes. “Hey! Wait up!” He called after her.

    Trying to run, Poe was blinded mid-stride by a blast of sand, and he fell backwards.

    Poe was startled when he landed, not on a harsh bed of sand, but on soft undergrowth of a tropical rainforest, green, lush, and slightly damp.

    Sitting up, Dameron looked around, rubbing the back of his neck. “It looks like home,” he murmured, then took in a deep breath. “Wait. It is home.” Poe realised, looking around and seeing the familiar, cleared path that lead to his Grandfather Bey's house.

    About to get to his feet, Poe saw an offered, tanned, slender hand in front of him, and he looked upwards, suddenly gazing at a painfully familiar face, and he let out a hesitant cry.

    Mom?” Poe blinked his dark gaze, then jumped to his feet. “Mom!” He moved forward in disbelief and fell into the petite, dark haired woman's arms.

    The young Starfleet cadet felt the warm embrace of Shara Bey-Dameron wrap around him, and let out a choking sob, as he rested his face against her shoulder.

    Poe. My little one,” Shara pulled her son back, gazing up at him with a docile smile. “Not so little any more. Almost all grown up, and without my permission, I might add.” She reached up to stroke his face, and Poe took her hand, kissing Shara's palm lovingly.

    Sorry. I couldn't help it.” Poe smiled painfully, holding his mother's hand against his face as he lowered his head, so he could look his long departed mother in the eyes. “You know how much I want to grow-up and be a fighter pilot, like you.”

    Shara leaned forward and rested her forehead against Poe's, “Listen to me, Poe. Something has gone wrong,” she took in a deep breath. “There is an imbalance in the galaxy now. You're about to hear news that will change everything.”

    Poe pulled back and saw his mother's brown eyes were narrowed and serious, “What is it? What has happened?” He asked. “Does it have to do with the burning and the screaming I saw? And the girl...what is it?”

    Shara pulled away from her son, slowly stepping away from him. “It's asleep now. It won't wake up for many years. But you need to wake up now, Poe. Wake up. Wake up, Wake—”

    (…)

    Poe woke up with a gasp, feeling breathless and shaken as he sat straight up in the single bunk. Alytheis was instantly woken up by her lover's sudden movement, and moved into a seated position, resting her hands on his heaving shoulders.

    “What is it, Poe?” Alytheis questioned worriedly. “What's wrong?”

    Looking across at the young woman's intent green eyes, Poe swallowed and cleared his throat, as he pushed back his hair from his sweating forehead with his right hand.

    “I—”

    Poe was cut off mid sentence by the sound of a blasting, emergency alarm that rang out throughout the entire Starfleet headquarters.

    Both cadets tumbled out of bed and went reaching for their clothing scattered around the small room, pulling on the cadet Starfleet issue, dark blue under jumpsuits and jamming on the knee-high, flat heeled, flight issue black boots on.

    “What do you thinks going on?” Alytheis called over, as she knotted her hair up into a messy bun at the nape of her neck. Poe shook his head in response, wondering over to the closet and opening it up, his astromech droid, BB-8, currently powered down in charging mode, immediately sensed his young master and beeped.

    “C'mon on, Beebee-Ate.” Poe ordered the spherical droid, who trilled in response and unplugged himself from the charger. Beebee-Ate rolling out of the closet, onto the carpeted floor, and halted at the door for Poe, rocking back and forth.

    “It can't be another drill, could it?” Alytheis voiced again.

    Dameron shook his head head again as they both rushed for the exit, pressing the door panel and stepping out into the chaos of a dozen other Starfleet students scrambling down the hallway.

    “I've got a gut feeling it isn't.” Poe admitted to Alytheis, as they joined in the rest of their running students, Beebee-Ate rolling behind them at his fastest speed.

    An announcement coming over the loudspeakers as all the Academy students on their level left the sleeping quarters.

    “All able first year cadet students are to proceed immediately to their assigned locker-rooms and dress in full pilot gear. Then go directly to Hanger Bay 32 to receive further information. This is not a drill, repeat, this is not a drill. All first year cadet student are to proceed immediately to...”

    After visiting the locker-rooms and dressing in full, orange jumpsuit pilot gear as requested, both Poe and Alytheis carried their plain white, cadet issue pilot helmets under their arms as they jogged into Hanger Bay 32, Beebee-Ate rolling behind at Poe's heels.

    The little BB unit droid rolled to a halt second after his master, as Poe and Alytheis found a place in the standing circle of nineteen able Starfleet students. All eyes in the circle were turned on a harried, worried Lieutenant Colonel Wes Janson, (former pilot for the Rebellion and current First Year Starfleet Cadet teacher,) dressed in full pilot gear.

    And standing beside their teacher, hands clasped behind his back, was an equally grim, greying-haired figure also in pilot fatigues, that Poe immediately identified as General Wedge Antillies, the famed X-wing pilot hero of the Rebellion.

    Lieutenant Colonel Janson cleared his throat and glanced around at the group of cadets. “We've got a problem, cadets. All qualified personnel are currently out on duties, that will not afford them time to reach our required mission. You are our last resort.

    “Twenty-one pilots, including General Antilles and myself, assigned eleven A-wings, eight B-wings, two X-wings. You are ranked, with ship assignment, as follows...”

    Poe looked around at the confused, some worried, faces of the students, and tried to calm the rapid beating of his heart as the rankings were announced.

    “Dameron, Poe.”

    Startled immediately out of his semi-concious state, Poe turned immediately to his fair-haired, battle-hardened teacher, “Yes, sir?” He responded immediately.

    “You're Red Two, X-wing, assigned under General Antillies.” Janson revealed firmly. “Pava, Jessika.”

    “Yes, sir?” The dark haired, Asiatic young cadet, a close friend of Poe's, immediately answered.

    “You're Red Three, B-wing, assigned under General Antillies. Thendra, Alythesis.”

    Alythesis stood to attention, “Yes, sir?”

    “Blue Two, A-Wing, assigned under me. Bresna, Jospeth. B-Wing, Red Four, assigned to General Antilles..” Wes continued to call out names of the cadet pilots, until all assignments were given.

    Janson cleared his throat when he was done, “Our mission is top priority. The Jedi training facility has come under attack, in what we believe to be an inside instigation. At this moment, we are part of a rescue mission, but it may turn into something far more dangerous.” He paced across the floor.

    “Ground crew has already been deployed, but you are needed to keep watch overhead and defend the ground personnel. We don't know all the details as of this moment, but we are are of a substantial loss of life, and potential enemies still possibly within the surrounding star system.”

    Lt. Colonel Janson looked over the young cadets with a serious expression. “This is your first mission, and I know you will not let me down.” He clapped his hand together.

    “Blue squadron with me. Red Squadron, with General Antilles.”

    The cadet pilots scrambled to their assigned leaders, Poe exchanging a quick glance of farewell with Alytheis, as they departed to their respective assigned squadrons, Beebee-Ate humming as he rolled after his master.

    General Antilles looked over his young squadron with a serious expression, “Red Squadron has a proud history, and held prime position in the Starfleet during the Rebellion years. You have been assigned to Red for this exact reason. You are the top of your class.” He stopped at Poe, looking at him solemnly, before looking away and staring out at the rest of squadron.

    “But that doesn't afford to be lax about it. We are the prime squadron for a reason, we are trusted to be first on the scene and to lead the charge. Now get to your ships.” General Antilles ordered, the cadets scrambling for their respective ships in the hanger, but Poe was stopped by a hand on his shoulder.

    Looking across, Poe met the gaze of General Antilles, “Sir?”

    Wedge gave the younger man a small smile, “Dameron, you're my number two out there. All us oldies have had you pegged to be a future leader in the Starfleet, for a while now.” He raised a greying eyebrow.

    “I'm putting my trust in you to have my back out there. If anything happens, you complete the mission and get your fellow cadets home, understood?”

    Poe saluted, “Yes, sir.” He affirmed, Wedge inclining his head, glancing briefly down at Beebee-Ate with a small expression of amusement, before thumbing over at a plain, silver T-67B X-Wing, with blue markings, on the hanger floor, currently being serviced by two flight crew personnel.

    “That's your ship, Red Two, hop to it.”

    “Yes, Red Leader.” Dameron saluted again, and went running over to the starfighter, he pointed down at Beebee-Ate, as he approached the flight crew, who were setting up an R10 unit to place in the X-wing. “I have my own droid.”

    The male human and female Bothan flight crew personnel, nodded and switched out the hoister to place atop of the tweeting Beebee-Ate unit, who whistled over at Poe, as the young man started climbing up the ladder, and the droid was hoisted up into the air by the hoister device.

    “Yes, Beebee, same functions as the training simulator,” Poe assured his droid, as Beebee-Ate was placed in the navigator hold, designed specifically for astromech droids.

    Beeping the equivalent of 'roger that' as the hold adjusted for the different shape of the BB-unit, and secured him in place, Beebee-Ate settled into his position and rolled his dome back and fourth.

    Sitting down in the pilot's chair, Poe looked around the cockpit as he placed his white helmet on the X-wing dashboard, he reached around clipped on his restraints, leaning forward and flicking on his flight computer, the required information and mission destination already programmed into the system.

    Scanning over the details quickly on the computer screen with dark gaze, Poe then looked over his controls carefully. Memories came back to Dameron of memorising every inch of the X-wing T-65 style of cockpit when he was six years old, and little had changed in the design with the two models since.

    Poe's eidetic memory currently had over a dozen styles of Rebellion and New Republic era pilot controls memorised since childhood, including the T-67B he currently occupied, the preferred layout for his training exercises involved this exact model.

    The cadet pilot reached over and grabbed his white painted helmet, placing it on his head and adjusting the yellow visor, before clipping together the strap under under his chin. Poe then reached over and flicked a switch on the side of his dashboard, and the X-wing canopy lowered and locked into place.

    Taking in a deep breath, Poe reached under his helmet and switched on his com-unit headset, moving the mic piece into place near the corner of his mouth. He glanced out of the corner of his eye at the personnel disengaging the boarding ladder and moving behind the X-wing to store the ladder in the cargo hold.

    A small crackling came from the com-unit and General Antilles voice came over the speaker.

    Red Squadron, prepare to launch on my mark.”

    Poe flicked on the start-up controls and the dashboard lit up, resting his booted feet on the pitch and roll pedals respectively, the young pilot grasped the primary controls in his gloved hands as he heard the hum of the starfighter's engine and felt its vibrations.

    Launch!” General Antilles crisp command rang out.

    Poe moved the primary controls forward, his X-wing rising up into the air and the front and back hydraulic landing gear automatically rising up, locking into place inside the ship's belly.

    Gliding the hovering ship towards the exit, Poe manoeuvred his X-wing across the hanger bay and towards the upwards facing exit, leaving the hanger bay behind as he and the rest of Red squadron shot out from the Starfleet base and flew up and out of the stratosphere of Centax-1.

    (One of Coruscant's moons. The former Clone War era garrison had been refurbished into the New Republic Starfleet's main base of operations, and the location of the Starfleet Academy, soon after the formation of the New Republic.)

    Poe pulled back on the controls, straightening his flight path as Red Squadron assembled above Centax-1.

    This is Red Leader. All wings report in.” General Antilles directed.

    “Red Two, standing by.” Poe signed in.

    “Red Three, standing by.”

    “Red Four, standing by.”

    The remaining six Red squadron pilots all chimed in their confirmation.

    All right. Jump to hyperspace on my mark.” General Antilles ordered.

    Poe rested his hand on the hyperdrive control and awaited General Antilles order.

    Punch it.” The command came through.

    Pressing the hyperdrive control, Poe leaned back as his sleek starfighter leapt into hyperspace, the ship steadying itself under his steady control and the cadet let out a sigh.

    This is what I was born to do. Dameron thought as the empty swirl of hyperspace passed him by.

    I belong out here. At the controls of an X-wing. I can't imagine ever doing anything else with my life.

    After a few hours of travel, there was a beeping from the dashboard, the mission destination laid ahead and Poe flicked a couple of switches, shooting out of hyperspace. Glancing out of the cockpit window, Poe saw General Antillies X-wing, and the rest of the Red Squadron's B-wings, all having arrived at the small planet.

    All wings report in.” General Antillies directed.

    All ten members of Red Squadron reported in, and awaited further commands.

    All right, Red Squadron. Make your way down to the planet. Blue Squadron will be here soon to back us up, they will be searching the other side of the planet. In the meantime, Red Seven to Ten will follow me to the main location, where the Jedi Training Facility is located.

    Red Two, you will lead Red Three to Red Six to the other side of the mountains and scan over the areas for any hostiles or fleeing victims of the attacks.”

    Poe cleared his throat, “Copy that, Red Leader.” He responded, inwardly he was caught between a three way emotion of glee, shock, and amazement. My first assignment as a squadron leader!

    If I don't contact you sooner, Red Two, you will rendezvous back at the Jedi Temple in three hours.” Wedge's calm voice expressed. “Good luck, and do your best.”

    “Roger that, Red Leader.” Poe took in a deep breath. “Red Three, Red Four, Red Five, Red Six, follow my lead.” He called out.

    Copy that, Red Two.” Pava responded, the other four Red Squadron pilots assigned to Poe's division also chimed in their confirmations.

    Poe swung his X-wing around 180 degrees and headed downwards towards the small, forest covered planet.

    -:-:-:-:-

    Cruising over the temperate forest, the young cadet pilots were flying low, the belly of their Red Two leader's X-wing so close to the treetops, Poe was certain he could reach out and touch them as he glided past, if he was so inclined.

    The four B-wings tailing after the X-wing made a pleasing formation behind the small starfighter, Poe knew he and his fellow cadets were being praised as possibly being the most tightly knit, well trained class the Academy had yet produced.

    It was true, though, all twenty pilots in the first year class under Wes Janson worked as a well oil machine. In fact, Lt. Colonel Janson's first words to the class had been: “Team first, flying second.”

    As such, the entire class had been paired off with every single member of the class on a rotating basis, learning to fly an old, dual Snowhopper from the Battle of Hoth together. A failed flight, or an argument, resulted in the pair of pilots bunking together in the isolation quarters, then repeating the Snowhopper fight until they succeeded.

    (In one case, Pava and Bresna had to repeat the flight four times, after Lt. Colonel Janson caught them arguing post-flight every time. The two of them finally admitting their argument was a rouse, they actually enjoyed their time together, telling bad jokes and stories, and Bresna was teaching Pava his secret groat chops recipe.)

    After almost two hours of scouting the area, scanning the planet and turning up nothing but movements of native wildlife, the team was getting a little antsy at the tedium. Conversational banter now coming back and forth across the com system.

    “...forget what was up with that. I've got better gossip,” Red Five, Jowent Malik, spoke up in a gleeful tone. “Guess who I saw sneaking into someone quarters last night, hands all over the place?”

    Red Two and Blue Two.” Red Three, Red Four, and Red Six said collectively.

    Poe repressed a laugh, as Malik let out a dismayed noise.

    Oh man. How did you all know that?” Red Five questioned.

    There was a chuckle from Pava. “We all heard them in the hallway. Blue Two kept telling Red Two to keep it quiet, but he obviously lost his volume control.” She teased. “It must have been impressive.”

    For a change, Poe actually had the good graces to actually blush a little, but he wasn't going to let Pava have the last word. “Well, you know Blue Two got the second-highest score on the A-wing test. And we all know who got number one position, don't we?” He responded, making the entire team laugh.

    Yeah, yeah, we know. The one who always gets top score in every cockpit he parks his hot-shot behind in—” Pava's teasing tone was cut off by an echoing beep, the sound of the on-board computer scanner.

    Looking down at his computer screen, Poe saw the details come up of the unidentified ship, and looked over towards the west, where, not to far away from the squadron, a YT-1300 freighter-class was skimming over the treetops in the direction of the Jedi Training facility.

    Seeing their intended destination, Cadet Dameron had a very good idea of the name and owner of the freighter ship, but cleared the airways and sent out a signal to the freighter, the signal connected via the Republic code almost automatically, and Poe spoke over the com.

    “Unidentified freighter, this is Red Two of the New Republic Starfleet,” Poe flipped his X-wing around so he was travelling in the same direction as the YT-1300 freighter, the rest of his squadron following suit and turning their B-wing's direction around as well.

    “This planet is now a restricted area. Please state your name and intentions.”

    There was a crackle of static on the end of the much older ship's com-link, and a familiar, low voice replied.

    Red Two, this is Captain Han Solo of the Millennium Falcon. I have Senator Organa on board. We've got clearance to be here. Forwarding the details to you as we speak.”

    Poe would have let them pass, even without proper clearance, but he did a courtesy glance down at his computer screen to view the document, before replying.

    “Clearance received and it all checks out. My squad and I will run escort for you, Captain Solo.” Poe flicked a couple of switches. “I'm patching through to General Antilles now. I'll let him know you and the Senator are on planet.”

    Thanks, Red Two.”

    Poe switched channels, “Red Leader.” He called in.

    Red Leader, here.” General Antilles voice quickly responded.

    “I've got the Millennium Falcon here, with clearance to land in the Jedi Training facility.” Poe explained, looking aside at the famous freighter. “My team is running escort.”

    Good job, Red Two.” Wedge complimented. “We've set up a makeshift landing area. I sent out the details, you should already have them in your on-board system.”

    Poe nodded, scanning through his on-board computer, “Yes, sir. We'll be there in about half-an-hour.” He pushed forwards the controls and looked ahead, already seeing from this distance on the horizon, a series of ancient stone buildings, their once white exterior charred and damaged.

    -:-:-:-:-

    Beebee-Ate let out a low whistle, as Poe guided his X-wing down to the makeshift landing area, his dark-eyes widening in horror at the sight that greeted them.

    The entire area, once an ancient courtyard and gardens, was practically raised to the ground. There was nothing but burnt remnants of trees, charred grass and scorched stone. The main, once grand stone building was almost completely gutted, the large, marble floored pavilion off to the side of the main building complex seemed to be the only architectural construction left relatively untouched.

    Blackened ash and soot covered all of the area, looking through the canopy of his starfighter as he landed on a clear area, Poe saw that the Republic ground crew were likewise covered in ash and soot as they hurried from one place to another, carrying fire prevention devices and dressed in protective overalls.

    Poe removed his helmet and tossed his flying gloves into them. Unlatching his restraints, Dameron pushed up the canopy and stood up in the cockpit, climbing out onto the wing, he hopped down on the cleared area, his boots sinking slightly into the damp ground and he looked around in shock and disbelief.

    Beebee-Ate whistled down at Poe, his master looking up and shaking his head, “You stay up there, Beebee.” Poe ordered, tucking his helmet under his arm, as he looked over at where he could see General Antilles, dressed still in full pilot fatigues, but minus his gloves, waiting a few metres away from where the Millennium Falcon had landed.

    Running a hand through his hair and away from his sweating forehead, Poe jogged over towards the freighter, watching as the ramp lowered and Captain Solo, (dressed in his usual vest, shirt, black pants and boots.) and Senator Organa, (clad in a white jacket, simple grey jumpsuit and brown ankle boots, her hair braided around her head.) tailed by the towering Wookiee Chewbacca and C-3PO, slowly walked down the ramp and over towards General Antilles.

    Standing a few feet away, Poe came to halt beside the group of Rebellion era heroes, who were looking grimly back at one another, Cadet Dameron catching the tail end of Senator Leia Organa's questioning.

    “...were they,” Leia swallowed hard, her brown eyes narrowed in worry. “amongst the dead?” She questioned Wedge. “Have you found them?”

    General Antilles looked troubled, “I'm yet to hear back from General Dameron or any of the other search crew for absolute confirmation, but, as far as I know, neither Luke, nor your son, were amongst the dead. As for the others...” he shook his head. “Like I said, Leia, everything is a mess here right now.”

    Han leaned forward, his lined features marked with the same concern as his wife, “Where's Dameron and his team? Could we get some more info from them directly?”

    General Antilles rubbed the back of his neck, “He's a little way away from here, along with the medic crew, over at the makeshift morgue and medic facility, where the bodies have been removed to. I can spare a multi-passenger skyhopper right now.” He looked over at where he'd spied Poe standing by. “Red Two, could you take Captain Solo and Senator Organa to General Dameron's location?” He ordered.

    Poe gave a quick salute, as Leia and Han turned to regard the young cadet pilot with surprise, “Yes, sir.” He responded, nodding in greeting as the middle-aged couple turned back to Wedge, who had called over a ground crew member.

    “A T-25 skyhopper, cleared for take-off,” General Antilles ordered, motioning over to Poe, the young cadet jogging over to join the small group.

    Han pointed at Poe, “You're Red Two?” He smirked. “I thought the Republic was against eighteen-year-olds in the cockpit without at least two years experience...unlike during the Rebellion, when someone I know was barely eighteen years old,” he looked wryly over at Wedge, who cleared his throat.

    “Yes, well, that is current policy. The first year cadets were the only pilots we had on hand,” General Antilles placed a hand on Poe's shoulder. “I'm giving you my ace student as an escort. Cadet Dameron's already better than some graduate pilots, be assured of that.”

    Han rolled his eyes, “I don't doubt that.” He snipped. “Pilots nowadays often lack the natural ability I saw the kid exhibit out there. Not to mention most of the time those Starfleet pilots look like droids at the controls—”

    Leia rested a pale hand on her husband's arm, “Hush,” she silenced him, glancing over at the uncertain Poe. “Well, let's go.” She motioned ahead, grasping onto Han's hand and pulling him ahead, following the ground crew member towards where several ships were docked.

    “It's true, Leia. The best thing Wedge has done in years, was finally putting Wes as a teacher at the Academy...”

    General Antilles glanced aside at Poe with a sigh, “Make sure Captain Solo and Senator Organa make it there and back safely. It's not a welcome sight out there, they might need all the support they can, in case...” he trailed off, and cleared his throat.

    “...well. That's why I'm sending you, I think having you and your father for support will help.”

    Poe inclined his head, “I understand,” he gave Wedge a quick salute, before running over towards the T-25 Skyhopper, joining the Solos, who were waiting beside the ladder. Poe gave them a nod, as he hopped up on the boarding ladder and jumped into the cockpit.

    Settling down into the pilot's chair, Poe popped his helmet down beside him and pulled on his black gloves, glancing back over his shoulder as Han and Leia boarded the skyhopper, sitting down on the two chairs behind him, and pulling on their restraints.

    Poe pulled on his own restraints, and pulled down the canopy, “All set?” He called out.

    “Yeah, kid.” Han answered briefly.

    “All right.” Poe flicked a couple of switches and pulled back on the controls. “Just a short flight. Not even ten minutes away from here.” He revealed as the skyhopper rose up into the air and headed off west of the burnt-out Jedi Training facility.

    As the skyhopper cruised through the air, Leia leaned over the pilot's seat.

    “How has your training been, Poe?” Senator Organa questioned softly.

    Poe glanced back over his shoulder, “Good. My classmates all get along. My teachers are the best, especially Lieutenant Colonel Janson,” he commented, especially for Han's benefit, who nodded in response. “It's been a good experience, so far.”

    Leia placed a hand on Poe's shoulder, “This is your first official mission, isn't it?” She observed and Poe shrugged as he nodded, glancing down at the computer screen as he checked the directions, pulling the skyhopper around to the right.

    “Yes.” Poe looked out over the forest. “We're almost there.” He commented, spying the makeshift set up of buildings and medi-ships, with various army ground-crew moving around. Locating a cleared area, Poe brought the skyhopper in a for a landing.

    As the skyhopper power down, Poe unlatched his restraints and pushed up the canopy. Han and Leia also unlatched their restraints, and Han lent over to pat Poe's shoulder.

    “Good job, kid. Nice landing.” Solo complimented, hopping out of the skyhopper and holding out his hand to help Leia down, the two of them walking over to where General Kes Dameron, flanked by two medics, (a young, fair-haired human woman and an aged Quarren,) was waiting for them.

    Poe jumped out of the skyhopper and observed from this distance his grim faced father, dressed in the green, camouflage fatigues of the New Republic. As Poe approached the assembled group, Kes naturally tanned features were much paler than usual, and there was a deep sadness in his voice.

    “...Han, Leia, I'll let Dr. Alkali and Medic Cadet Antilles explain everything to you,” Kes motioned to his medic companions, looking over at the approaching Poe with an expression caught between relief and concern.

    Leia saw the look on Kes' face and motioned aside to Cadet Dameron, allowing the General Dameron to step forward and pull his son into a furious hug, as Dr. Alkali waved Senator Organa and Captain Solo towards one of the makeshift buildings nearby.

    “Poe. My boy.” Kes pulled back his son and looked him up and down, looking startled when he found Poe and himself standing eye-to-eye. “Hey! Who gave you permission to grow while you were away?” He teased, looking over his son again. “You look so grown-up in that uniform.”

    Hugging his father again, Poe pulled back, “Dad, what's going on around here?” He questioned. “I know the Jedi were attacked and there are casualties, but...”

    Kes put an arm around his son's shoulders, guiding him over to a nearby pile of supply containers, “Sit down, Poe.” He encouraged. Cadet Dameron slowly sat down and looked up at his father, who was wringing his hands, obviously having trouble dealing with what he'd seen.

    “There was an attack on the Jedi. A brutal one. Dozen of teenagers, adults...” Kes swallowed hard and began pacing. “...even the staff that worked here. They're all dead.”

    Poe paled, “All...how?” He whispered, the face of both the little girl in the green dress who had lifted her dolls up into the air with a wave of her tiny hand, and the serene face of Luke Skywalker came to his troubled thoughts. “They were Jedi. Who would...?”

    Kes turned and placed his hands on Poe's shoulders, “The marks on the bodies. They're not blaster shots. They're not detonator caused, and they do not match to any known weapon known in the galaxy...bar one.” He pulled back his hands.

    “A lightsaber.”

    Poe's mouth dropped open, the same time he heard a mortified cry from the makeshift medic building.

    Both Kes and Poe ran over to find the source of the cry in the medic building, and, amongst the empty medic bunks, saw Leia wrapped in the embrace of her solemn husband. Han rocking his wife, as Dr. Alkali and Medic Cadet Antilles looked on solemnly, glancing over at the Damerons briefly, the Medic Cadet's gaze lingering on Poe a second longer, before she turned back to the distraught Solos.

    “But another Jedi wouldn't...unless he was a Sith,” Leia voiced, looking back over at Dr. Alkali, who nodded his squid-like head slowly.

    “It is highly possible. Would you like to see the bodies, Senator?” Dr. Alkali questioned in his watery voice, his pupil-less gaze blinking in sympathy.

    Leia hesitated a moment, before inclining her head, grasping onto Han's tightly.

    “Very well.” Dr. Alkali motioned to the left of the building. “Follow me, please. The morgue is this way.”

    The Solos tailed after Dr. Alkali, and the Damerons moved to catch up to the group, Medic Cadet Antillies tailing behind the group. Poe glanced over his shoulder at the younger teenager following them, who raised an eyebrow with a small smile.

    “Syal Antilles?” Poe questioned in a whisper, and the fair-haired, sixteen-year-old daughter of Wedge Antilles inclined her head as she sided up beside the young man.

    “Yes. Poe Dameron?” Syal softly questioned herself, and Poe inclined his head. “It's been a while. Father said you were at the Academy.”

    Poe inclined his head as they entered the morgue, “You're got an early admission into medic training,” he commented, surprised to see the formerly gawky, eldest daughter of General Antilles, showing signs of being a lovely young woman, and already a Medic Cadet.

    “Yes. It's a pathway to eventually studying to be a medical doctor.” Syal said simply, as the gravitas of the sight of dozen of bodies, encased in protective, clear cases, covered with white coverings from the exposed neck downwards.

    Mortified, Poe slowly follow the rest of the group, swallowing hard as he saw the burned, damaged faces of children. Dr. Alkali stopped at one of the cases, a young adult male, pulling back the sheet and showing the group the damaged cadaver.

    “You can see the precision marks cut into the torso to the navel, and then back again across the chest,” Dr. Alkali explained, and Leia nodded gravely, Han turning his head to the side, clearly recognising the victim as he shook his head in dismay.

    “Yes, those are lightsaber marks. Nothing else...” Leia turned away herself, lowering her gaze. “You said there's no sign of Master Skywalker...or any of my relatives?” She added quickly, clearly trying to hold her emotions in check.

    “If I might be so bold, Leia,” Kes spoke up in a low voice, everyone's gaze turning to him. “Luke and the rest of your family are highly desirable hostages and prisoners. It's highly likely that could be where they are now, if they didn't find a way to escape before, during, or after the attack, of course.”

    Leia closed her eyes, “You may be right, Kes. I keep trying to get any contact with my brother, but our connection is shut off,” she opened her deep brown gaze. “Luke must be unconscious, because he's never purposely blocked off communication with me...at least not before...”

    Han looked down at Leia, “I suppose there's no point in me asking if you can reach Ben,” he mentioned gruffly. “Force knows where he is.”

    Senator Organa folded her arms over her chest and shook her head, “I...I can't talk about him, right now, Han. I'm so worried, about the emotions I felt when he—” She turned on her heel, rushing towards the exit of the morgue. “No. I can't...”

    “Leia!” Han called out, running after his wife, leaving the Damerons and the medic crew to stare sadly after them.

    Kes leaned in towards his son, “Ben Solo ran away from the Jedi Training Facility a few months ago, before coming back a little while ago.” He revealed, Poe raised an eyebrow. “I know. That didn't surprise me either. There's always been something very off about that boy. I'm still shocked that Han and Leia's kid turned out like that.”

    Poe breathed out in concern, then turned to Dr. Alkali, “Doctor, amongst the victims,” he took in a deep breath. “Was there a human girl? About five or six years old, dark brown hair, hazel eyes.”

    Dr. Alkali shook his head, his large eyes narrowed, “No, Cadet. No female child victim matches that description. They're all much older than that.” He cocked his head to the side. “I didn't think there were any Jedi students that young.”

    Kes rested a hand on his son's shoulder, “She was under Master Skywalker's guardianship.” He commented, and Dr. Alkali nodded his head, Syal shooting Poe a curious look, but the X-wing pilot didn't notice the gaze of the fair-haired Medic Cadet.

    Poe was too much in temporary relief that the little girl Jedi he'd met was not amongst the victims...at least not confirmed.

    I saw her, though, in that dream...does that mean she is still alive?
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________

    Thank you for reading.
     
    AzureAngel2, Chyntuck, Kahara and 2 others like this.
  5. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    A beautiful and shocking story, Aiel.

    I appreciated the additions to my lexicon of "her unbound, shoulder-length hair falling forward, making a curtain of scented tresses, that filtered out the dim light of his shared quarters."
    Request permission to use some of that.

    Lovely romantic beginning, flirtations, the life at Starfleet Academy, then an abrupt shift not only in tone with the alert, but a situation of high import to the new Saga, and knowing that every young person being described, are being thrust into an unwelcome situation.

    Flawless characterisations.

    You have one or two sentences accidentally on two separate lines, and the Health and Safety part of me would have preferred Poe to note that the guys putting his X-Wing ladder in the back, had closed it up and gotten clear before he took off, even though I realise General Antilles was in a hurry.
    Maybe a green LED on the dash or something.

    Great note that Poe has an eidetic memory and has memorised different versions of the cockpit.

    Leia's cry of distress from the morgue just cuts through the heart. Great seeing Kes Dameron give his son such a hug. Obvious that the kid would not be caught up in the massacre, but just being around it, triggered the need for reassurance.

    And finally I understand what wringing of hands actually means!

    I can say it here, because it won't count as advertising, or breach forum rules - THIS is what I soooo viscerally wanted to nominate for the Awards, whilst reading and reviewing everything else, but I can't until next year. :(
     
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Your attention to the details of regular and customary moments of pilot training and the sweetness of Poe with Alytheis - you know I loved that! :D Then the urgency and uncertainty of new responsibilities and a dire mission with implications and unanswered questions and so many unknowns. [face_thinking] Your H/L is wonderfully in character, as well. They feel the loss of their son as viscerally as if he were one of the victims. :eek:
     
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  7. Aiel

    Aiel Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 14, 2004
     
    AzureAngel2 and Sith-I-5 like this.
  8. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Thank you for the permission, and the responses. :)

    I certainly aim to follow this story.
     
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  9. Aiel

    Aiel Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 14, 2004
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    [3]
    [16 ABE]
    Location: Jedi Training Facility
    Fourteen Years Before The Force Awakens
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    The Damerons had taken up the offer of an evening meal from Dr. Alkali and his team, and sat next to one another at a durasteel table and bench in the designated mess area, Poe polishing off the, mostly tasteless and only nutritious, food tray filled with field rations, with the gusto of the still growing young man he was.

    Kes had allowed himself to relax a little with a mug of caf, and enjoyed watching his son not only polish off his rations, but also pick at his father's half-eaten tray, while telling his father stories from his training.

    “...so it turns out Jess and Jos were joke-fighting the whole time,” Poe stabbed a nutra-protein cube from Kes' food tray and popped it in his mouth. “They were using it as an excuse so Jos could teach Jess his recipe for groat chops.”

    There was a small chuckle from Kes, “What I'd like to know it how they were smuggling groat chops and spices up to the isolation quarters? And how they were cooking them in the first place?” He mused, taking a sip from his caf mug.

    Poe nodded, motioning with his fork-full of moisture vegetable-compound. “I asked Jess about that one, she said—”

    There was the sound of a clearing throat, and the Damerons both turned to see Han Solo, his arms folded across his chest as he stared over at them from the other side of the table, his expression apologetic.

    “Sorry to interrupt, but,” Han took in a deep breath, thumbing behind him. “Leia's sitting in the skyhopper, and she wants to go back to the Jedi Training Facility, as soon as possible.”

    Poe nodded, tossing his fork back down on the tray and got to his booted feet, followed by Kes, who pulled his son into a quick hug, before pulling him back, and resting his strong hands on the young pilot cadet's just broadening shoulders.

    “All right, my boy.” Kes gave Poe's shoulders a gentle squeeze as he looked at him solemnly. “You take care of yourself out there, and hopefully I'll be seeing you soon. I love you.”

    Cadet Dameron pulled his father into another hug, “Love you too, Dad.” Poe rested his face against his father's shoulder, before pulling away from their embrace and smiling, stepping around the bench and heading over to join Han.

    As Poe followed the former smuggler out of the makeshift medic crew mess hall, he turned back around and gave his father a wave of farewell, before joining Han out in the cool forest in the semi-darkness of twilight. The medic camp was already lit up with flood-lights, and both medic and army personnel were either sitting around camp-fires exchanging stories, or heading into the mess hall for a meal.

    Moving towards the docking area, Han cleared his throat as he addressed the young cadet pilot walking alongside him. “I'm sorry I interrupted you and Kes. I could have flown Leia back myself, and you could have stayed here overnight, and gone back in the morning—”

    “It's okay, Captain Solo,” Poe interrupted with a shrug as they reached the lit-up skyhopper, where a subdued Leia was already seated in one of the back seats, her head lowered and her hands clenched on her lap.

    “I've got to check in with General Antilles anyway, he asked me to escort you and Senator Organa. It's my job.” Cadet Dameron assured Han. “I'll see my father tomorrow, maybe, if General Antilles gives me leave.”

    Nodding his head, the former-General Solo put a hand on Poe's shoulder, halting the younger man. “Thanks,” he took in a deep breath. “Listen, Poe. Just call me Han, would ya? At least when we're not up in the air.”

    Poe smiled and inclined his head, “Sure.” He agreed, Han gave him a crooked grin in response, and the two of them moved the short distance over to the skyhopper. Poe nodding over at Leia as he climbed aboard.

    “Good evening, Senator Organa.”

    Leia flashed a small smile, “Hello, Poe.” She glanced over at Han, as he settled down in the seat beside her and pulled on his restraints. “I thought you were just going to tell Poe that we were leaving, so he could stay with Kes if he wanted to.”

    Raising an eyebrow as he pulled on his gloves, Poe then busied himself with preparing the skyhopper for take-off, as Han cleared his throat, addressing his wife's curious question.

    “Well, I—I did. But Poe insisted on escorting us back,” Solo folded his arms, tearing his gaze away from Leia's narrowed brown eyes, to look at the back of the pilot's chair. “He's a good kid.”

    That's not how it went down, Poe thought, pulling down the canopy of the skyhopper. Han asked me to return with them...I wonder what's going on?

    “Han,” Leia suddenly turned in her seat to regard her husband, as the skyhopper began to rise up in the air. “Tell me you did not just walk into that mess hall and order Poe to escort us back to the facility...did you?”

    Sucking breath in between his teeth, Han continued to stare ahead, ignoring Leia's glaring. “Not exactly. I mean...” he trailed off, looking aside at his wife. “...well, I did say to the kid afterwards that he could stay with Kes. But at the time, I—”

    “I can't believe you would....” Leia interrupted, but then trailed off herself, as she glanced over at where the young cadet pilot was breezily at the controls of the skyhopper, guiding the ship with the natural-born skill many pilots would have given their right arm for.

    “Oh.” Leia furrowed her brow, and looked down at her hands. “I see.”

    Han frowned, turning to look over at Leia, who was shaking her head, “See what?”

    Senator Organa closed her eyes, “When you walked into the mess hall, Poe and Kes were talking alone, weren't they?” She opened her eyes and lifted her head to look over at Han, who turned his head away, looking out of the window.

    “Yes.” Han replied simply.

    Leia looked deeply saddened, “I...” she clenched her hands together. “I'm so sorry, Han.”

    Han inclined his head, “Yeah...so am I.”

    “No,” Leia lent her head on her husband's shoulder. “That darkness...it doesn't come from you, it never would. It's my fault—”

    “No.” Han interrupted, turning around and grasping Leia's upper arms. “Don't you ever think that way.”

    Leia's large brown eyes were brimming with tears, “But it is. It's my family legacy, it's my burden, and I fear I've passed it on.”

    Han embraced his wife as closely as the restraints would allow, and lent his chin atop her head, “You didn't do this on purpose, Leia. It's not your fault.” He sighed. “We tried, sweetheart. Force knows how we tried.”

    Poe heard the senator let out a small, sad noise of dismay, and his heart nearly broke at the sound.

    “I know that you look at a young man like Poe, and you wonder why our son couldn't be like him,” Leia voiced, pulling away from Han and shaking her head. “And it's my family's fault you have to feel that way. Ben...Ben isn't a pilot like you, or Luke, or even...” Leia took in a deep breath. “...even like my father.”

    Han scowled, “Can we not bring him up,” he turned back around. “Yes, Leia. If you do want to know, apart from you and Luke, I resent your family.”

    Leia let out a shaky sigh, “Does that resentment include our son?”

    Han turned away to look out of the window at the evening sky, just beginning to dot with stars. “I don't know. He ran away from his training and his responsibilities—”

    “And you never have?” Senator Organa retorted, folding her arms over her chest.

    With a huff, Han folded his own arms over his chest, “I always came back, your highness-ness.”

    “Maybe Ben always will, too.” Leia suggested softly, and Han just mumbled something unintelligible in response.

    Poe felt something ominous in that simple sentence from Senator Organa, something that creped at the back of his neck, and he clenched the controls in his black leather gloved fingers.

    There was a clearing of the throat from Han, “Sorry for the arguing, Poe.” He mentioned to the young pilot cadet, who shrugged his shoulders.

    “It's all right.” Poe looked up ahead and saw the lit up, heavily damaged Jedi Training Facility. “We're almost back at base.” He forced a smile as he glanced behind him.

    Leia flashed a thin lipped smile, before clenching her hands together again and placing them on her lap. “Thank you, Poe. And thank you for escorting us,” she inclined her head. “It's been wonderful to see the young man and pilot you're turning out to be.”

    Poe nodded his head shyly, “Thank you.” He turned back to his controls, ignoring the still ominous feelings of hearing the Solos arguing, and voicing their problems with their only child.

    But those two feelings paled in comparison to the mere thought of Ben Solo's name.

    Why am I feeling this way? I've barely even met the sullen kid before...

    -:-:-:-:-


    Arriving back at the base, Han and Leia had offered Poe a hot drink and a bunk on the Falcon, but Poe tactfully declined, not wanting to possibly be the cause of any more arguments, nor to be privy to the sad situation building up between the Solos.

    It was something Poe knew husband and wife had to have time to figure out, and his presence would only be a hindrance, and possible excuse for them to hide behind. However much he would always be of assistance to his family's long-time friends, the young man knew Han and Leia needed this time alone.

    Both Red and Blue Starfleet teams had set up sleeping quarters in the large, ancient, marble pillared, covered pavilion. And, after delivering his report to General Antilles, and being reunited with Beebee-Ate, Poe happily set up his cot and bunkered down in the assigned sleeping quarters.

    The cadet pilot stripped down to his under jumpsuit, before hopping onto his cot and pulling the grey thermal blanket to his chin. Beebee-Ate rolled over to the side of Poe's bunk, and let out an affectionate warble of goodnight, before powering down.

    A little later that evening, Poe felt a warm hand on his arm, and he woke up and turned his head to see Alytheis.

    “Hey.” Poe whispered, pulling back his blanket and the aurbany haired young woman climbed into the cot with him, snuggling up against the dark haired young man and resting her head on his chest. Poe pulled the blanket back over them and wrapped his arms around his lover, the two of them quickly drifting back off to sleep.


    -:-:-:-:-


    Poe never knew quite what woke him up before the dawn that early morning.

    He had been fast asleep, in dreamless slumber, when all of a sudden he was sitting up in his bunk, dark eyes snapped open.

    Gently laying Alytheis back on the cot pillow, Poe reached for his blaster holster and got to his bare feet, pulling on his nearby boots, before stepping around his fellow pilots, he clipped his belt around his waist and slowly walked towards the burnt-out main building of the Jedi Facility. His blaster was drawn, as a sense of apprehension in the air washed over him, as he walked along the marble floor.

    Stepping down the stairs that lead up into the pavilion, Poe passed by the guards, and jogged along the path and towards the semi-collapsed main building, climbing up the few stairs that lead to the main entrance. The elegant, carved doors knocked off their hinges, left scorched and splintered across the rubble strewn entrance.

    Straining his eyes, Poe located a glowrod hooked to his belt and turned it on, the white glow illuminating the destruction in the once grand building, he stepped into entranceway and saw a wide staircase, (made of the same white marble as the majority of the building.) leading up to the second level of the building.

    Quickly ascending the staircase, Poe stopped on the landing and looked between the left and right, his first inclination was to go to the right, and so he turned on his heel and strode down the polished, white marble floor.

    Halting after a few metres to stop at an open doorway to the left of the hallway, the doors kicked in and splintered, Poe stepped inside and looked around the grand, former ballroom, that had obviously been turned into a teaching area. Tables, chairs and training mats were scattered and broken across the floor.

    The cadet pilot carefully stepping around the wreckage, lifting up his glowrod to peer up at the vaulted celling, the beautiful, priceless mural of the starscapes above the small planet, had been damaged by ricocheting blaster fire.

    As he looked around in the semi-darkness, Poe suddenly spied a dark, hooded figure through the doors that lead outdoors to a balconied area. The hooded figure was leaning against the white, alabaster balcony, that looked out over the lake, gazing out over the flood-light lit area, and standing perfectly still.

    A few steps from the figure, Poe saw it suddenly raise it's head, but it didn't shift from it's position.

    “Your blaster,” the figure whispered in a low, eerily familiar voice. “You don't need it, Poe.”

    Hesitating, Cadet Dameron watched the hooded figure turn around, and slowly push back the dark hood, revealing familiar features, that looked drawn and hollow in the pre-dawn light.

    “Master Skywalker?” Poe greeted in surprise, holstering his blaster as he inclined his head.

    Luke Skywalker reached out and put his hands on Poe's shoulders. “Don't...I've told you not to call me that,” he dropped his hands, “It's Luke. Don't...don't call me Master Skywalker, please.”

    Confused, Poe inclined his head again, “Yes, Luke.”

    Looking around at the vacant building, Luke then curiously glanced back over at Poe, “Did you see me come in here?”

    “I—” Poe rubbed the back of his neck. “—I don't know. I don't even remember waking up, just that I was already awake. And then I had a feeling I had to go to the main building, so I did, and then I saw you.” He explained quickly.

    Luke rested his hand on Poe's arm with a sad expression, “I see. I thought I could sense...no. I wish I could explain more to you, but,” he looked away. “I worry that time has all ready past, before it could even begin.”

    “Senator Organa feared something bad had happened to you,” Poe brought up quietly, folding his arms across his chest. “She said something about not being able to sense you—”

    “I was blocking her.” Luke interrupted plainly, looking away from Poe. “She can probably sense me now, though.” He glanced back at the cadet pilot, furrowing his brow.

    Cautiously, Poe followed the quick stepping Jedi Master, “Luke, about your daughter—”

    Luke halted and stared at Dameron with a solemn expression, “I can't tell you, Poe.” He replied simply, marching on ahead. “At least, not now.”

    Poe jogged to catch up with Luke, “I...I saw her,” he knew he could admit such things to a Jedi, who were famed for their visions. “In a dream...she was in a desert...she said something was sleeping...”

    Startled, Luke looked aside at the younger man, blinking his large blue eyes slowly as he halted, “I see.” He responded with the overtly calm tone, that he'd been using the entire time during the conversation with with Poe, who knew that the Jedi Master must be suffering, and didn't feel offended by Luke's bluntness.

    “Do you often dream, Poe?”

    The cadet pilot shrugged his shoulders, “Everybody has dreams.” He reasoned, not really knowing what the Jedi Master was talking about.

    Luke rubbed his mouth, “I mean...” he folded his arms across his chest. “...well. Was there any more to your dream?” He questioned, as the two of them continued walking across the wreckage strewn ballroom floor.

    Poe nodded his head, “Yes. I also saw my mother,” he admitted, slowly getting an idea about why Luke was questioning him. Jedi had visions frequently, he might understand. “She told me something had gone wrong. That there was now an imbalance in the galaxy.

    “And she also said something was asleep, and wouldn't wake up again for many years.”

    There was silence for a moment, as they stepped out into the hallway, and Luke inclined his head wisely, looking down at his booted feet as he contemplated Poe's words..

    “I understand.” Master Skywalker cocked his head to the side. “Yes...that makes sense.”

    Looking startled, Poe's dark eyes widened, “But what—I mean, what part?” He questioned rapidly.

    Shrugging his shoulders, Luke began to descend down the wide, marble staircase that lead to the entrance area, the cadet pilot following just behind the forty-year-old Jedi Master. “The Force, Poe Dameron. It's unbalanced.” Luke replied simply.

    “So it's response is to lay dormant, until the time it can awaken...if ever it can.”

    Poe stood in shock on the second-to-last stair, looking at the fair-haired Jedi Master, who had halted at the base of the stairs.

    “Go on,” Luke encouraged bluntly, his back turned to the younger man. “Ask me how it's possible. How it can be awakened? What's going to happen in the galaxy?”

    Bewildered, the cadet pilot stammered, “Can't you—” Poe began, then cleared his throat. “—I mean, you're Luke Skywalker.” He mentioned honestly.

    There was a shake of the head, and Luke looked over his shoulder, his blue eyes looking even more haunted in the light from Poe's glowrod.

    “Listen to me, Poe. I know you're going to be a kind and wise man someday, I've seen it. But, right now, you are still a foolish boy, especially if you go on thinking I'm some sort of mythical hero, who will always save the day.” The Jedi Master turned his solemn gaze away.

    “My failing is in letting the myth of the Jedi surround me, poison our humanity and place us above the rest of the galaxy, as it did so in the past. We are not infallible...the Jedi have never been infallible...and we're not invincible. We have so many faults,” Luke turned around fully to regard Poe, his arms folded over his chest.

    “None the least being that we often deny the feelings the Force gives us, in favour of our own personal feelings, especially regarding those we have emotional and familial attachments towards.” Master Skywalker's expression fell from calmness, suddenly filled with pain...then it was gone, just as quickly as it had come, and his features were once again plain.

    Poe was completely at loss, especially at why someone like the Jedi Master before him, would express such disparage towards a society the young man had always been raised to believe were the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy...with the legendary Luke Skywalker as the semi-mythical, powerful and good head of this still re-establishing organisation.

    Before the young pilot could question further, there was a cry of relief from across the entrance to the main Jedi Training Facility building, making both men turn to see the source of the cry.

    Luke!”

    Leia Organa-Solo, holding her own glowrod, came running across the marble floor in the semi-darkness, her boot-heels clacking loudly as she rushed towards her twin. Flinging her arms around her stoic, twin brother, Senator Organa sobbed as she pressed her face against his shoulder.

    “Oh Luke! I was so worried!” Leia pulled back and cupped her brother's face in her pale hands, her hair was unbound and floated past her shoulders, almost giving her an angelic appearance in the white illumination of the glowrods.

    Looking past her solemn twin, Leia saw Poe standing nearby and furrowed her brow. “What is—”

    “Poe found me here.” Luke interrupted mildly, his sister turning her gaze back to him with a curious expression, but he didn't give her a reply, because they were interrupted by another happy exclamation.

    “Luke!” Han Solo came jogging over, his lined features, illuminated by the glowrod in his right hand, parting in a relieved expression as he looked over at his brother-in-law. “Kid, boy am I glad to see you.”

    The calm expression on Luke's face fell as soon as he saw the smile on Han's face, “I fear you won't be so glad after I tell you what I came back to say,” he revealed in a low murmur.

    Leia placed a hand on her twin brother's shoulder, “Luke, tell us. What happened here?”

    Luke removed Leia's hand from his shoulder and stepped back, “Snoke happened.” He responded simply.

    “What?” Han breathed, his eyes widening.

    Taking in a shaky breath, Luke ran his hands through his shaggy hair, “The pain...the cries of horror...oh Leia, Han...what happened...we all felt it...my daughter saw...” he turned to Leia. “...my child bore witness to what happened!”

    Leia took a step back, “Luke...no...don't...”

    Luke turned away, closing his eyes. “You know he's after Ben. He was at the head of a group...they called themselves the Knights of Ren. They're of the darkside, but I don't know if you classify them Sith, I will need to research anything I can find about them...but they control and feel the same as the Sith.” He folded his arms into the wide-sleeves of his cloak.

    “I have to keep Ben safe, so I've placed him somewhere safe. I will continue to train him, and keep the truth from him. But I'm fearful from what I've seen in visions, that Ben is vulnerable to Snoke and could fall.”

    Letting out a wail of pain, Leia fell to the ground, her face in her hands. Han stood nearby, frozen in horror at Luke's words. Poe wanted to move over to comfort the collapsed Senator Organa, but he was likewise mortified, and didn't know if it was his place to offer any condolences.

    “No,” Leia wept into her hands, her pained voice muffled. “No...no...the visions I saw...they came from my own son...I...I saw them too, Luke. I should have been here, I should have trained alongside you and been here to help protect my son...!”

    Han finally knelt down beside his wife, putting his hands on Leia's shoulders. “Don't...don't blame yourself, Leia, just...” there was a tear rolling down his face, as Han pulled his wife into his embrace, his face twisted in pain as he looked up at Luke. “Kid...are you...?”

    Reaching into the pock of his robe, Luke threw down a data-chip towards his sister and brother-in-law, “It's all there.” He murmured distantly, looking away. “I made more copies. No doubt several organisations will need them for analysis.”

    Han reached over and picked up the data-chip, looking up at Luke, “I...Luke, I'm sorry—”

    “It's not your fault,” Luke interrupted, pulling up his hood and masking his features. “You trusted me with Ben. I failed you. I need to find the solution to this.” He shook his hooded head. “I will have to go searching for the answers, alone, with Ben.”

    Leia lifted up her head, “Luke, don't do this. Don't separate my son from me, please,” she pleaded brokenly. “Don't leave me...don't leave us. Please don't...I'm sorry, Ben...he won't be corrupted, I know that he's not—”

    “No!” Luke suddenly yelled, rubble scattered around them suddenly rising up into the air, before making a thunderous noise as it tumbled back to the ground. “No, Leia. Not now. I can't...I've almost lost everything because of him. My daughter, my—” He shook his head and sighed angrily.

    “—I can't do this right now. And I won't stay with you and Han, and I won't be a part of whatever damn foolish, idealistic crusade you want to lead to redeem your son if I can't keep him from the path of the darkside, which staying within this corrupt galaxy could doom him too,” Luke shook his head.

    Leia got to her feet, “What about sixteen years ago, Luke? What did you do to redeem our father?” She accused. “Obi-Wan, Yoda, you told me they both tried to convince you that Vader had to be killed, and you couldn't do it, you said you couldn't kill your own father...could you kill your own nephew?”

    Poe's mouth dropped open in surprise at the revelation, the fears Leia spoke of earlier in the skyhopper suddenly making sense, Anakin Skywalker was Darth Vader? Then Ben turning to the darkside...oh Force...

    Luke held up his hands, “No. I can't do this right now, Leia. I refuse to let my emotions get in the way of trying to figure out how Snoke could turn Ben.” He looked between his sister and brother-in-law. “I will not rest until I get to the bottom of this.”

    Leia began walking towards her hooded twin brother, “Luke, take off that damn hood and look at me in the eye,” she demanded. “I want you to tell me that you don't really think that way, please.”

    “I do.” Luke responded stoically. “I'm sorry, Leia. Ben has been troubled for a very long time, and, unlike our Father, I don't know how to pull him away from the darkness if he falls. He's confused and very, very dangerous.” He shook his head.

    “Supreme Leader Snoke is someone I don't understand, and I don't know how he could corrupt Ben. We need...I need to find out more about all of this.”

    Han stepped forward, “How long, Luke? How long will this take you to find this information?”

    Shaking his head, Luke peered out of his hood over at Han, “I don't know. All I know is I can't preform miracles, Han, and I can't accomplish anything overnight. And I can't keep Ben safe, without knowing how Snoke could turn him.” He sounded troubled. “You two have to promise me that you won't follow us.”

    Leia folded her arms over her chest, “I can't promise you that, Luke.” She responded firmly. “He's my son. If I see him...I will try to reach him. You're his uncle, I'm his mother, and Han is his father. He might be more inclined to listen to all of us, together, like Vader listened to you all those years ago.”

    Luke sighed heavily, “Anakin. Anakin listened to me sixteen years ago, Leia.” He turned away from his frowning sister. “You need to make the distinction between the two. If Ben calls himself by a Sith name, will you call him by that?”

    Lowering her arms to her side, Leia shook her head, “No.”

    Inclining his head, Luke's shoulders drooped in resignation, “I didn't think so,” he looked suddenly over at where Poe had been silently observing the whole conversation. “Poe, will you take me to General Antilles? I would prefer to plan out my next move from the Starfleet base.”

    Nodding quickly, Poe walked down the few stairs and over to join the solemn Jedi Master, “Yes, Luke,” he affirmed.

    “No.” Leia suddenly said, halting the cadet pilot with a raise of her hand. “Cadet Dameron, you are under the jurisdiction of the New Republic, of which I am a current Senator and former commander, and I order you to cease and desist.” She stared over at Poe seriously.

    “And you will also tell your general, not to assist Jedi Master Luke Skywalker.”

    Han put his hand on Leia's shoulder, “Leia. Don't,” he said softly. “Let them go, please.”

    Leia looked up at Han with grief, “Don't ask me this, please, Han. Don't let me just let Luke walk away from me...from us,” she begged, looking over at Luke. “Please, you're my brother, my twin, you can't leave me like this. You can't give up on our family.”

    There was no reply from the stoic, hooded Jedi Master, and Leia shook her head.

    “Luke, where's my niece and her mother? Where are they? We can all live together somewhere safe, like Naboo, in the Lake House near where our Mother was laid to rest. And we can find someway of figuring all of this out,” Senator Organa tried to reason with her brother.

    There was no reply again from Master Skywalker, who stepped forward and placed a soft kiss on Leia's forehead, before he looked his sister's head at his brother-in-law, “Han. You and Leia mustn’t come looking for Ben.” Luke said to him calmly, before motioning to Poe.

    Leia reached out for Luke, but he pulled away and shook his head, before turning on his black booted heel and marching away.

    Poe looked over at the distraught Solos with sympathy, “I'm so sorry. But he's asked me and I couldn't...” he trailed off and bowed his head. “I'm sorry.” Cadet Dameron turned and rushed out after the Jedi Master, unable to bring himself to say more.

    Their son...for Captain Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa's this Snoke killed nearly all of the Jedi...how did this happen? Maybe they're not the people I thought they were, Poe glanced aside at the great Jedi Master, Luke Skywalker, one of his childhood heroes.

    And Luke...the Luke Skywalker...he couldn't prevent this? How did this happen?

    Halting at the base of the pavilion, Poe left the hooded Luke Skywalker with the waiting guards, as he walked over to where General Antilles and Lt. Colonel Janson were bunked, he lent down and shook Red Leader awake.

    “Sir,” Poe whispered, the dark haired general opened up one eye to regard him. “Sir, Luke Skywalker is here to see you.”

    Instantly awake, General Antilles swung his legs over the side of his cot, and pointed over at Lt. Colonel Janson, “Wake up the Lt. Colonel as well, Cadet Dameron.” He ordered, as Poe leaned over and also shook his teacher awake, Lt. Colonel Janson's eyes snapping open. “Wes, Luke's here.”

    Both Starfleet leaders pulled on their boots, and marched out of the pavilion, to where their old comrade and leader was waiting in the early dawn light, the base still lit up with flood lights.

    Luke pulled back his hood as he greeted both General Antilles and Lt. Colonel Janson, “Wedge, Wes,” he greeted, accepting a handshake from each of the Starfleet leaders, before folding his arms across his chest.

    Poe turned to General Antilles, “Sir, may I be excused?” He questioned, there was a slight throbbing in his temple, and he didn't feel at all well, or comfortable, hearing Master Skywalker repeat what he'd said back in the main building.

    General Antilles side-eyed the cadet, “If you wish. You don't require Cadet Dameron for anything further, Luke?” He questioned.

    Catching the raised brow of the fair-haired Jedi Master, Poe tried to calm his expression of dismay, and Luke paused a moment, before shaking his head.

    “No. I don't.” Luke responded.

    Poe let out a small sigh of relief, hoping none of the Rebellion heroes caught his sigh, and his inclined his head as he moved to make his escape.

    “However,” the dulcet voice of Master Skywalker halted the pilot cadet, who turned back around to see the blue-eyed Jedi Master regarding him calmly. “I would like to request to talk to privately with Cadet Dameron, once we're back at the Starfleet base.”

    General Antilles motioned towards Lt. Colonel Janson, “Wes is his teacher, you'll have to clear it with him.”

    Janson cocked his head to the side as he looked over at his student, who was obviously trying his best to look nonchalant, “Sure, Luke.” Wes glanced over at the Jedi Master, before looking back at Poe. “Cadet Dameron?”



    Poe inclined his head quickly, “Yes, of course, that's fine.” He said hurriedly, avoiding Luke's gaze as he hurried back into the pavilion and headed for his cot, concerned as to what exactly the Jedi Master wished to discuss with him.


    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    The next chapter will be up soon. Thank you for reading.
     
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  10. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    So much going on! the undercurrents of family tragedy underlying and coinciding with things of worlds-spanning significance. The themes of culpability and legacy/burdens are strongly present and each character is certainly responding in authentic fashion. [face_thinking] There are no easy or quick solutions, but I agree with Leia-fragmenting the family is not the answer. And Jedi infallibility - :p that was never even remotely a possibility. @};-
     
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  11. Aiel

    Aiel Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 14, 2004
     
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  12. Aiel

    Aiel Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 14, 2004
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    [4]
    [16 ABE]
    Location: Jedi Training Facility
    Fourteen Years Before The Force Awakens
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________


    ...but none of this makes any sense,” Alytheis commented, looking down at Poe, who had his dark haired head resting on her lap.

    The two cadet pilots taking a break from helping pack up the makeshift base, as the warm, late-afternoon sun shone down on the military camp. Alytheis was perched up on a pile of packing containers, while Poe reclined horizontally, resting his head on his lover's lap, his dark gaze solemn, as Alytheis stroked back his hair from his forehead.

    “I think it's starting to,” Poe replied quietly, as he looked up at the young woman's puzzled expression. “I mean, I've met Ben Solo several times, Aly. His parents and mine were friends, and fought in the Rebellion together. I saw he was strange, aloof, nothing like Captain Solo and Senator Organa.”

    Alytheis raised an eyebrow, “I'm nothing like my father, or mother, either. Not all children turn out reflections of their parents,” she pointed out mildly. “Sometimes they don't even turn out a reflection of other relatives, teachers, friends...people are not droids or computers. We are infinitely more complex.”

    Poe closed his eyes, “I know. But...” he opened up his eyes as he trailed off. Poe was hesitant to bring up what he knew about Darth Vader, that he had once been Anakin Skywalker, both Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa's father, and thus Ben Solo's grandfather...and also the grandfather of the incredible little Jedi girl he'd met.

    “But what?” Alytheis questioned curiously, her green eyes searching her lover's solemn features.

    Shaking his head, Poe sighed as he reached up to place a hand on the side of Alytheis face, “Nothing. I was just thinking how painful this all this for the Solos. And worse, what Master Skywalker must be going through,” he stroked Alytheis lips absently with his thumb, and the young woman kissed his digit playfully.

    The two pilots leaned in for a kiss, when there was a clearing of the throat and they looked over to see Kes standing a foot away, looking over at them in amusement, a light brown backpack slung over his shoulders and his eyebrows raised.

    “Hey Dad,” Poe greeted with a wave, getting up into a seated position and walking over to his father, who rested an arm on his son's shoulder.

    “Afternoon, son.” Kes smiled over at Alytheis, who walked over to join them. “And you must be the second-best pilot in the Starfleet Academy Poe's been telling me about.”

    Raising an eyebrow over at her guilty looking lover, Alytheis folded her arms over her chest, “Really? That's how he talks about me?” She questioned.

    Kes laughed and held out his hand, and Alytheis grasped it in her own. “I can't keep this up. Alytheis, it's nice to meet you, I'm Poe's father, Kes Dameron,” he put an arm around his son's shoulders.

    “As you might have guessed, considering how Poe and I look practically like twins.”

    Rolling his eyes, Poe playfully nudged his father away, “Maybe thirty years ago—”

    “Twenty.” Kes corrected with a grin, nudging Poe's chin with his fist. “Anyway, it's nice to have met you, Alytheis,” he kissed the back of the young woman's hand. “But the rest of the army is moving out now, and I've got be with them, or they'd just fall apart without a former Rebellion leader, you know how it is.”

    Alytheis laughed and nodded her head, “I do.” She thumbed behind her. “I'll get back to packing, and give you two a moment alone.” The Corellian native left the father and son to say their farewells privately.

    Kes pulled Poe into a hug, “Good-bye, only son and light of my life,” he adjusted the backpack on his shoulders, and then rested his hands on Poe's shoulders. “I'm very proud of you, keep breaking those Academy records, without breaking your neck. Got it?”

    Poe laughed and pulled his father into another hug, “I got it, I got it.” He affirmed, and Kes grasped his son's face in his hands.

    “Good,” Kes dropped his hands and grasped the straps of his backpack. “I'll come around and see you in a few months at the Academy.” He raised an eyebrow. “Just one more thing. Do you want to tell me why I heard from Wes Janson, that Luke Skywalker has requested a private conversation with you?”

    Poe cleared his throat and folded his arms over his orange jumpsuit clad chest. “I—I'm not really sure. I talked to Luke earlier today, and then there might have been something I overheard...and maybe something he said to me,” Poe grimaced.

    “I don't know, Dad, after all that's happened here, I'm not sure.”

    Kes frowned, “All right. If there is anything wrong, you get in contact with me right away,” he furrowed his brow. “After what I've seen here, I don't know if I'm so keen on the idea of having the head of the Jedi, wanting to speak alone with my son.”

    Poe blinked, “Dad...you're not suggesting that I'm going to go running off to be a Jedi Knight?” He looked incredulously at his father, and shook his head. “C'mon, after all this time? Wouldn't Luke have sourced me out as Force powerful, and asked to train me when I was a kid?”

    “You are still a kid,” Kes murmured, catching his son's look of dismay, the elder Dameron cleared his throat and looked aside. “Okay, I can't say the thought hasn't crossed my mind before. You've always been preceptive, quicker than other kids in your class, and the way you pilot any aircraft with ease.”

    Looking aside, Poe shook his head, “It's just natural ability and skill. I've spent most of my life training in a simulator, and studying the in and out of ships night and day,” he murmured, looking back at Kes. “Besides, like I said, Luke would visit when I was a kid, surely he would have noticed if...” Poe trailed off when he saw the conflicted expression on Kes' face.

    “What?”

    Kes shook his head, “Nothing. You're right, of course,” he waved his hand. “You're just your mother's son, natural-born pilots.” He patted Poe's shoulder. “I'm off, take care.”

    Waving as his father departed, Poe folded his arms over his chest and made his way over to where his X-wing was berthed. Beebee-Ate was beside the X-wing, facing another astromech droid, and having a binary conversation with the older model, both droids whistling and beeping back and fourth merrily.

    Poe recognised the blue domed, R2 model of the droid, and strolled over to the droids. Beebee-Ate rocked backwards and beeped up at his owner in greeting, as Poe squatted down beside him.

    “Hey, Beebee. Did you find yourself a friend?” Cadet Dameron looked over at the R2 unit, who spun his dome and rocked back and forth as he also greeted Poe with a series of beeps. “R2-D2? Hello there.” He greeted the famous droid, who whistled and hummed.

    “Yes it's nice to see you again, too. Luke still has you as his X-wing droid, huh?”

    Artoo whistled and beeped in affirmation, nodding down towards Beebee-Ate, who let out his own trilling beep in response.

    Poe laughed, “Yes, Beebee-Ate is going to be my starfighter droid as well. He likes the X-wings the best though, don't you?” He patted Beebee-Ate's dome, and the round astromech droid hummed affectionately, and made his owner laugh again. “Yes, I like the X-wings best, too.”

    The passing by defence personnel, couldn't help but smile at the young man conversing merrily with the astromech droids, and Poe looked up as a golden, shining protocol droid waddled over to join them, from the direction of where the Millennium Falcon was still berthed.

    “Artoo! There you are at last, my counterpart.” C-3PO greeted his long-time droid companion, looking down at him with a tilt of his head. “We haven't even had a chance to confer about all of this mess!”

    Beeping, Artoo rocked from side-to-side, and Threepio looked over at Poe and Beebee-Ate, “Well, yes, I can see you're having a conversation,” Threepio pointed out, before Artoo whistled. “Oh?” He tilted his head over at Poe, who gave him a small wave.

    “Oh yes, I do remember young Master Poe, although he's quite grown up since—”

    Beebee-Ate beeped out a correction.

    “I'm sorry, Cadet Dameron.” Threepio corrected himself. “It is good to see you again, sir.”

    “It's nice seeing you too, Threepio,” Poe replied, watching as a strong hand clamped down on the protocol droid's shoulder, and they all looked over at Han Solo, who addressed his wife's long-serving droid.

    “C'mon, Goldenrod, back on board the Falcon. We're taking off soon.”

    Threepio turned his head back around, “But Master Han, I haven't had the chance to converse with Artoo yet.”

    Han raised an eyebrow, “Did you say hello and did he say hello back?”

    The droid tilted his head to the side, “Well, not hello, but I did greet him, yes, and Artoo did respond—”

    “Well, that's a conversation, then” Captain Solo interrupted mildly. “Say good-bye now, and get on board.”

    Threepio made a huffing noise, and looked down at Artoo, “Oh well then. Good-bye Artoo. Good-bye Beebee-Ate, it was nice meeting you.” He looked over at Poe. “And Cadet Dameron, you are a very nice young man. I only wish Captain Solo would let me stay, and talk further with you and my counterparts—”

    Han gave the droid a slight push, “Some other time, Threepio,” he encouraged.

    The protocol droid let out a sigh, “Humph. Impossible man, like always,” Threepio looked over at Artoo. “Take care of Master Luke, Artoo.” He requested, turning around and waddling off back to the Falcon. “Oh dear, oh dear. How do we always end up in these situations....?”

    Poe got to his feet and gave Han a small smile, “Listen, tell Senator Organa I'm sorry I left with Luke, but—”

    “No need to apologise, kid,” Solo held up a worn hand, as he interrupted. “Leia and I understand,” Han rubbed the back of his neck. “You haven't seen Luke around, have you?”

    Cadet Dameron shook his head, “No. Lt. Colonel Janson said that General Antilles took him over to the medic camp to view the bodies and make arrangements,” Poe revealed. “If you and Senator Organa want to see him before you go, it's probably your best bet.”

    Han nodded, “Yeah. Thanks, kid,” he held out his hand and Poe grasped it firmly. “You look after yourself,” he gave the younger man a lob-sided smile. “You're becoming one Hell of a good pilot, and I want to start hearing stories about your escapades...good stories, though...and the occasional crazy ones.”

    Poe laughed and withdrew his hand, “My father just wants me to get through the Academy breaking all the records I can, without breaking my neck,” he disclosed wryly, making Han chuckle, before the young cadet pilot took in a deep breath.

    “Listen, Han. If you ever want to talk, or if you or Senator Organa ever need anything,” Cadet Dameron folded his arms over his chest. “I know I'm still just a kid, but I like to think I'm a pretty capable one, and, well, I—”

    Han rested his hand on Poe's shoulder, “I get what you're saying, Poe, and thanks.” He sighed. “You won't always be a kid. Just enjoy it now. Believe me, you'll have plenty of time to be old and authoritative in the future.”

    Poe nodded with a small smile, “Thanks. Tell Senator Organa I'm sorry, though, please.” He added, as Han inclined his head. “I can't imagine what you're going through, right now.”

    Captain Solo sighed, “Yeah. And it's probably going to get a whole lot more difficult,” he admitted, patting Poe's shoulder as he stepped back from the young cadet pilot. “Thanks again, kid. I'll be sure to let Leia know.” He gave Cadet Dameron one last wave of farewell, before heading across the cleared landing area towards his YT-1300 freighter.

    Exhaling hard, Poe heard Artoo warble sadly, and Beebee-Ate sweetly rolled over and gently bumped his older model friend in a comforting manner, and Cadet Dameron couldn't help but smile at his kind little droid.

    Looking around at the busy defence personnel and the utter, burnt out devastation that could take years to fully grow back, Poe wondered idly if the Jedi Training Facility would be completely abandoned here. The once Imperial built residence allowed to be consumed back fully into the forest, taking its ghosts with it.


    -:-:-:-:-

    [19 ABY]
    Location: New Republic Starfleet Academy
    --

    Ducking out of the Starfleet Cadet locker-room, Poe pushed his damp, dark hair back from his forehead and let out a small sigh. The shower he'd just taken in the 'fresher facilities, hadn't had the calming effect he'd hoped to gain.

    The dirt and grime had been shed from his skin, and he was dressed in a clean, dark blue cadet under-jumpsuit, but Poe still felt tense and unnerved by all he'd seen in the past few days. When he'd imagined his first official mission, he'd imagined perhaps a skirmish somewhere out in space, against the few remnants of the Empire that still lurked in the outskirts of the galaxy.

    Farthest from Poe's mind was destruction and carnage on a ground level, a slaughter of innocents and a complete shake up of his perceived beliefs.

    But Cadet Dameron knew, that even though he'd gone through a tough situation, this was only the first step now, in a galaxy that suddenly seemed less secure than it had some eighty hours earlier.

    Poe hadn't even acknowledged his dedicated astromech droid, who had waited for his young master outside of the cadet locker-room, Beebee-Ate rolling close at Poe's heels, finally letting out a soft warble of concern.

    “Hmm?” Poe looked down at where his spherical droid was looking up at him. “No...I'm okay, Beebee. I'm just thinking,” he turned around the corner and entered the hallway containing his assigned sleeping quarters.

    Looking up ahead, the cadet pilot was startled when he saw a familiar man standing just outside his shared sleeping quarters. Leaning against the wall, his arms folded and left, booted foot resting against the wall, was Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, his eyes closed and head lowered.

    Poe was surprised to see the Jedi Master in a simple, light-tan pilot's under suit, and knee-high, brown boots. Despite the scattered strands of grey in his dark blond hair, Luke was looking very much like the Rebellion archival footage of his much younger self, not long before the Battle of Hoth.

    Cadet Dameron couldn't recall, though, personally seeing Luke in anything other than dark Jedi robes, and, in his early childhood, black jumpsuits and shining black boots.

    Maybe he's stopped wearing dark colours because Vader and Palpatine always wore black, and maybe the Knights Of Ren were in black too...or maybe you're being presumptuous, Dameron, and Luke doesn't want to stand out amongst the Starfleet pilots. Poe reasoned, slowly walking up to the silent Jedi Master.

    “Luke?”

    The head slowly lifted up, and the wise, sad blue eyes locked with Poe's uncertain dark gaze, and Luke slowly smiled. “Hello Poe.” He looked down at the astromech, leaning against the younger man's leg and beeping curiously up at the famous Rebellion hero.

    “This is Beebee-Ate,” Poe introduced, Luke nodded and squatted down to look over the BB unit, with the keen eye of a skilled mechanic, he reached out with his right hand, Dameron noting the black glove covering the mechanical limb, which pulled forward slightly, exposing wires and metallic parts at the wrist.

    “They've certainly come a long way with astromech droids,” Luke noted mildly, resting the gloved hand on Beebee-Ate's side, rocking him to the side slightly. “Gyroscope system?”

    Poe nodded, tearing his eyes away from the damaged mechanical hand to look into Luke's questioning gaze, “Yeah. My Dad says he got Beebee-Ate straight from the factory,” he revealed, watching the Jedi Master stand up straight and he cleared his throat. “I guess you're here to have that talk with me.”

    Luke motioned ahead, “Walk with me, Poe.” He invited. The cadet pilot followed the Jedi Master's slow, steady strides along the dark, polished hallway floor, Beebee-Ate rolling behind the two men, humming to himself as he kept a short distance between him and his master.

    Looking over at the dark haired pilot, Luke cleared his throat as he folded his arms across his chest, “Do you remember the last time we talked alone, Poe?” He questioned openly.

    Cadet Dameron folded his own arms across his chest, “About a day ago.” He replied blithely, and there was a sigh from Luke.

    “I meant, a proper talk,” Luke corrected, as they passed by several curious mechanic onlookers, who stopped their work on a broken turbo-lift panel, to watch the famous Jedi and young cadet walk past.

    Shrugging, Poe tilted his head to the side. “I think I was still calling you 'Uncle Luke', so...when I was about eight?” He recalled softly, memories starting to creep back into current recollection.

    The Jedi Master nodded, “Yes. Do you remember what we talked about?”

    Poe nodded solemnly, “I think I do, yes.” He replied, as the memory of the event started to play out in his mind...

    --

    10 ABY
    Location: Yavin 4, The Dameron Residence
    --


    Peering out through the leaves of the five-foot high tree, the small, dark haired boy, maintained a precarious perch on the tree, looking over at the several figures he could see assembled in the courtyard of his family's residence.

    “...he's up in the tree you gave us.” Shara Bey-Dameron was explaining to the taller, masculine figure on her right, looking up at her husband, Kes Dameron, who was looking over in the direction of his son's favoured hiding place.

    “I see.” The calm, patient voice replied. “And why doesn't Poe want to come and see me?”

    Shara folded her arms across her chest, “Poe's been learning all about you in class, Luke.” She looked aside at where a skinny, dark-brown pant covered leg could be seen dangling from the Jedi Temple tree. “I think he's gone a bit shy.”

    Luke Skywalker, dressed in dark brown Jedi robes, placed a hand on Shara's shoulder, and moved past Poe's parents, to stand at the base of the tree, looking up, the blue eyes crinkled in the corner when they met a concerned pair of dark eyes, belonging to the plump, tanned features of his friends only child.

    “Hello there.”

    Poe pulled his knees up to his chin, “Hi, Uncle Luke.” He responded quietly.

    Luke motioned with his hand, “Mind if I join you?”

    Poe looked around the still small tree, “I don't think the tree is big enough for the two of us, yet,” he pointed out, and Master Skywalker nodded in agreement.

    “You're right. But that's okay,” Luke assured Poe, the little boy watching with wide eyes as the Jedi began to levitate up into the air, so that he was eye-level with the surprised child, and then crossed his legs tailor style, folding his arms as he hovered in mid-air, smiling at Poe's open-mouthed expression.

    “Did you...” Poe trailed off, but then steadied his pre-pubescent voice. “...I mean, you're using the Force to do that, right?”

    Luke raised his brow with a knowing expression, and inclined his head. “I am.” He looked around the young tree, before looking back down at Poe. “Do you spend a lot of time up here, Poe?”

    Shrugging, Poe lent his chin on his knees. “I do. It feels safe in here.” He revealed. “Lately, whenever I'm sad, or my parents are away, or Grandpa Bey leaves me here alone, I like sitting in this tree.”

    Tapping his upper arms with his fingers, Luke's steady gaze stayed on the tanned, dark-haired boy, dressed in a simple white shirt and dark brown pants, with bare, grubby feet. “I see.” The Jedi Master smiled.

    “You've been hearing stories about me at your school?”

    Poe nodded quickly, “Yes. I've been begging my Mom to tell me more stories about Rogue Squadron, and especially about how you flew,” he admitted, shyness turning into wide-eyed curiosity.

    Nodding, Luke smiled sagely, “Really? Are you still keen on being a fighter pilot, like your Mom?” He questioned, and the boy nodded eagerly. “How would you like to hear some more stories about the Rebellion space-battles, directly from me?”

    Dark eyes nearly bulging out of his head, Poe nimbly jumped up from his seated position, standing with gymnast grace on the thin branch, the Jedi Master noting how effortless that seemed to be for the boy.

    “Really? You promise? Real stories about space-battles?” Poe demanded with awe.

    “Absolutely. Your Uncle Han and Aunt Leia are here, too, so they'll have some more stories. They've also brought someone along that I'd like you to meet,” Luke revealed, before cocking his head to the side.

    “Tell me something Poe, is it ever difficult for you to understand the controls of a spaceship? Or any sort of mechanics?”

    Poe rubbed his tiny chin as he looked thoughtful, before shaking his head, “Nope, not really. My Dad's always really surprised, when I sometimes figure out the problem with the food dispensers in the kitchen, before he even has a chance to crack them open.” He admitted with a tilt of his head.

    “Grandpa Bey thinks it's clever. But Mom doesn't like me doing things like that.”

    Luke looked consideringly at Poe, before smiling. “I see. Well, c'mon then, lets go inside now,” he encouraged.

    The boy obligingly climbed down the tree, as the Jedi Master floated back down to ground and waited for Poe to join him. The boy trotted quickly alongside of Luke to keep up with the graceful, long strides of the Jedi Master across the courtyard, covered everywhere, but the winding stone path, with Grandfather Bey's beloved cultivated plant life.

    “Did you bring your X-wing with you, Uncle Luke?” Poe asked hopefully, Luke laughed and shook his head, pushing back his shaggy, dark-blond hair with his right hand as he regarded the boy beside him.

    “Not this time. I came on the Falcon though—”

    “Really?!” Poe looked thrilled. “Do you think Uncle Han will let me sit in the cockpit again? He let me last time!” He explained, as they joined the boy's parents, waiting outside of the modest residence with almost matching smiles at their son's exuberance.

    “Did I just hear my favourite demi-nephew, ask for flying lessons in the best ship in the galaxy?” There was a deep, pleasant voice from just inside the house, and Poe laughed as Han Solo strode out of the open back doors, and reached over to lift up the boy in his sure grip.

    Pretending to stagger under Poe's wait, Han looked surprised at the laughing boy, “Whoa! When did you get so big?” He questioned, placing the dark haired boy back on the ground and thumbing behind him. “How about we go straight to the Falcon, and Chewie and I will let you—”

    Luke interceded, “Han,” he interrupted. “Didn't Leia want you to introduce someone to Poe?”

    Raising his brow, the taller man cleared his throat and looked over at Shara and Kes, “Is it okay?” Han questioned, “I mean, Ben is shy, and really doesn't get along with any other children, so Leia and I thought maybe Poe might be a good influence on him.” He explained, much to Poe's confusion.

    Kes rubbed the back of his neck, “Sure. Poe gets along with all the kids in his class, he has a lot of friends. I'm sure he and Ben will get along.” He put a hand on Poe's shoulder.

    Han nodded and motioned ahead, “Great. C'mon then, Poe,” he encouraged, the dark haired boy looking in confusion up at his parents, before following the former-smuggler into his house.

    Over at the small, durasteel dining table, Poe spotted Senator Leia Organa, dressed in a dark red, fitted jumpsuit, seated opposite his grandfather on the white, carved dining chairs, and, seated beside the brown-haired woman, was a slump-shouldered, skinny boy.

    Poe's first impression of the younger boy was a pale, high-cheekboned figure with a shock of dark hair. The boy was dressed neatly in a dark blue shirt, black vest, black pants, and brown ankle-boots, encasing small feet that didn't quite reach the ground yet.

    Leia looked up from her stim-tea cup, to smile over at Poe, “Hello there.” She nudged the boy next to her, and Poe realised the scowling, six-year-old beside her was Ben Solo, Han and Leia's only child.

    “Look, Ben, it's the boy we were telling you about, Poe Dameron.”

    Dark brown eyes instantly side-eyed the hesitant Poe, and the boy cleared his throat and smile friendlily, waving his hand over at the stoic boy, who really didn't look much like either of his parents, apart from Leia Organa's eyes and complexion, and maybe some of Han's broad features.

    “Hi.” Poe greeted brightly.

    Ben jumped to his feet and strode over to the slightly taller, older boy, and stood toe-to-toe to look consideringly up into Poe's tanned, healthy features.

    Laughing, a little bit uncomfortably, at the younger boy staring up at him, Poe waved his hand, “So, do you talk first, or do I?”

    “Hello.” Ben responded simply. “My Dad tells me you're going to be a great star-pilot one day.”

    Taken aback, Poe shifted uncomfortably, “Well, yeah, I hope to be.” He tried to smile, but the scrutinising gaze of the younger boy made it fade from his features.

    Ben sniffed, “I don't like flying.” He looked Poe over again. “You don't like me, do you?”

    Poe blinked his dark gaze, “I...I don't really know you, Ben,” he stammered, looking around at the adults in disbelief, before watching as Ben scoffed.

    “But I just said I don't like flying,” Ben mentioned with a shrug. “Doesn't that make you mad at me, because I said I hate something you really like?” He leaned forward. “I don't like you.”

    Han moved around and rested his hand on Ben's shoulder, “Ben! You've just met Poe, how can you—”

    Pointing over at the older boy, Ben stomped his foot. “You wish he was your son, don't you?” He pulled away from his father and went running back to Leia. “Mom! I want to go home! That boy is hiding something, and he doesn't like me!”

    Looking up at Luke, who was looking sympathetically down at him, Poe shrugged his shoulders, “But I didn't say anything, Uncle Luke—”

    “No!” Ben's voice yelled, and the skinny boy turned away from his mother and glared over at the shocked Poe. “He's not your Uncle Luke! He's my Uncle Luke, and only mine. You're not my brother, or my cousin!”

    Han pointed a finger over at Ben, “That's enough, young man. Ben, Poe's parents and grandfather are like family to us, and that's why Poe calls your Uncle Luke, and me, uncle.” He scolded, turning to look at the upset looking Poe. “It's okay, kid, you haven't done anything wrong.”

    Shaking his head, Poe stepped away from Han and leaned against his father, Kes putting a protective hand on his son's left shoulder, and Shara putting her hand on Poe's other shoulder.

    Leia got to her feet and took Ben's hand, pulling him along behind her, “That's right, Ben. Poe hasn't done anything wrong, and you will apologise for being so rude,” she semi-dragged her scowling boy over to the group, smiling apologetically at the upset looking Poe, before looking down at Ben. “Go on.”

    Ben looked sourly up at Poe, “I could say I'm sorry, but I'm not.” He sniffed and pulled away from his mother's grasp. “You're not being truthful, you are hiding something. But I apologise for being rude, you're not a bad person, and I apologise for some of what I said.”

    Han sighed heavily, “Okay, short-sour-stuff, I think I'll take you back on the Falcon, to help Chewie clean out the hold,” he walked over and put his hand on Ben's shoulder, directing him towards the front entrance of the house. Leia looked disappointed as she followed her husband and son out of the room.

    Poe watched them depart with a small frown of dismay, at the fact someone as serious and bratty as Ben Solo was the son of his funny and nice Uncle Han. In fact, he was quite angry, because it seemed like he couldn't be friends with a child of his family's close friends.

    Immediately, Luke turned and kneeled down on one knee in front of Poe, resting his hand on the boy's shoulder, Poe turning his dark gaze to stare into the Jedi Master's solemn blue one.

    “I know you're angry, Poe, but I want you to close your eyes, take in a deep breath, and focus on my voice,” Luke directed softly.

    Obligingly, Poe closed his eyes with a sigh and listened to the soothing, gentle voice of Luke.

    “I want you to relax, search deep inside your mind. Do you feel that peace? Tranquillity?”

    Letting out a slow breath, Poe nodded his head, “I do...I can feel it...” his eyes snapped open. “What is it?”

    Luke rested his hand on the boy's head, “Whenever you are upset, or confused, or don't know what to do, I want you to close your eyes, just like you just did before, and search for that feeling,” he smiled. “I promise you, it will always help.”

    Shara stepped forward, “Luke...you know what I've said to you before,” she began, and Poe watched as the Jedi Master got to his feet, and looked over at the dark haired woman.

    “I wish you would reconsider,” Luke responded. “I'm not entirely sure how, but I think Poe has the ability, I have a feeling about that. And I wonder if that tree is inhibiting it, or if he has a natural ability to conceal, that I've never seen before.”

    Looking between his solemn parents and the Jedi Master, Poe wondered what the adults were talking about, “What are you—” he began to ask, but was interrupted by Kes.

    “The thing is, Luke, if you're not certain, we can't allow you to take Poe. If he can't keep up with the others, we're worried this could damage him in the long run, by thinking he's not good enough.” Kes explained.

    Shara nodded, resting her hand on her husband's arm, “Poe has the chance to be a highly skilled pilot, and he has the proven ability, not just suspected ability that could be proved wrong,” she furrowed her brow. “If Poe does have any skill, then it must only be enough to make him additionally skilled in piloting.”

    Luke spread his hands out, “Shara, I was a skilled pilot at his age, unknowingly using my abilities, and that didn't change even after I could use them,” he pointed out.

    Shaking her head, Shara looked firmly at the Jedi Master. “I'm sorry, Luke. Poe will stay here with us and continue with his studies.” She put her hands on her son's shoulders, and Poe looked up at Luke, watching as he looked at the boy contemplatively.

    “I accept your decision,” Luke said, slowly looking back up at Shara. “But you should remember what I've said, I do feel that Poe has the ability, and that he should know how to control it. Not to mention, maybe one day, it may start to be obvious to others, not just to myself.”

    Kes sighed and nodded. “Okay, Luke. If we ever suspect anything, we will contact you.”

    Poe looked between the adults again, and then looked down at the polished wooden floors when he saw that they were looking silently at one another with concern. He didn't like that they were talking about him, like he wasn't there...


    --
    [19 ABY]
    Location: New Republic Starfleet Academy
    --

    Frowning, Poe leaned back on the moulded, black garden bench in the Academy memorial gardens, where Luke was seated beside him, hands clasped on his lap, as he stared out over the various flora from around the galaxy, sourced from planets that had been the locations of many famed Rebellion battles.

    “That ability you and my parents were talking about,” Cadet Dameron began slowly. “It was the Force, wasn't it?”

    Luke inclined his head, taking in a deep breath, “Yes,” he admitted. “Your parents were concerned for you, and that's why I stopped pressing the suggestion of taking you for training.” Skywalker sighed.

    “They've likely just saved your life.”

    Poe looked askance at the Jedi Master's morbid comment, and propped his elbows on his knees, resting his face in his hands. “I don't know if I can believe it.” He changed the subject softly.

    “I mean...I know the other trainees point out my scores all the time, and my teachers tell stories about only seeing pilots like you, and sometimes Corran Horn, preform the same manoeuvres, but I never really thought it might be the Force.”

    Luke leaned back against the garden bench, “I suspected it when I started to hear stories about your entrance scores into the Academy. Wedge was a little gobsmacked, and asked me if I'd sent him one of my trainees,” he shook his head. “I feel like I pretty much may have.”

    Poe lifted his head and looked aside at Luke, who was still staring out over the cultured, landscaped gardens, “You didn't ask to speak to me privately, to ask to train me, did you? I think I'm a little too old for that.”

    Shaking his head, Luke turned his gaze on the younger man, “You're not. I was a year older than you when Obi-Wan Kenobi started training me,” he pointed out softly. “I've had older students than you. And your abilities are just starting to reveal themselves, like I always thought they could, given time.

    “You have the ability to conceal your connection to the Force from other Force users, it's unlike anything I've ever seen before.”

    Pulling himself back into an upright position, Poe folded his arms across his chest, taking in all of these revelations as calmly as he could manage. “I remember you mentioning the Force tree I helped my Grandfather look after, that I used to sit in as a child...is it exposure to the tree that's affected me?”

    Luke rubbed his chin, “I wouldn't say so much 'affected' you as protecting you,” he reasoned thoughtfully.

    Poe looked surprised as he saw the Jedi Master was quite serious, “Protecting me?”

    Nodding, Luke closed his eyes, “It sensed what a lot of beings see in you right away, Poe. Pure goodness, kindness, a natural affinity for all forms of life. My old Master, Yoda, would have thought very highly of you,” he opened up his eyes to look aside at the younger man.

    “There were Jedi in the Old Republic, who had similar abilities to yours, but you're the first potential Jedi I've yet encountered with this ability. Not to mention a bond within the Force, connected to that Jedi Temple tree in your Grandfather's care, that I've also never seen between Force strong entities before.”

    Clearing his throat, Poe looked away from Luke and stared off across the gardens in thought. “I suppose you're not going to stay around and train me, though, huh?” He mentioned. “You need to go out searching for answers.”

    Luke folded his arms across his chest, “You could come with me.” He offered simply, and Poe was taken aback by the offer, but then a soft smile crossed Luke's face. “But you won't. I know that. Your place is here, and I can tell you that you're right. You need to be here, it's important for the future.”

    Poe looked ruefully down at his folded arms, “So when I dream, though, because of my connection to the Force, sometimes I'm seeing the future, and sometimes it's symbolic,” he glanced aside at the Jedi Master. “How do I tell the difference between the two?”

    Inclining his head, Skywalker looked pleased, “That's a wise question, Poe. You will know, when you are calm, and at peace.” He took in a deep breath. “I can't stay here long, but, while I'm here planning my journey, I would like to teach you a few things.”

    The younger man tilted his head to the side, “Like what?”

    Luke spread out his hands, “As I said, a few things. You're already using your connection to the Force to fly, I'm going to show you how progress leaps and bounds ahead, of what you can already accomplish behind the controls.” He looked serious.

    “I'm going to teach you to run faster, jump higher, and tap into skills, that will hopefully serve you, and the galaxy with your service, for many years to come. And, if one day there is peace again, I hope you might be able to take your training further, perhaps even to the standard of a Jedi Knight.”

    Poe blinked in shock, but realised that he would regret everything if he didn't give Luke his answer right now. Not to mention, the young man was quick to also comprehend that the Jedi Master must be suffering from his loses, and offering to teach him was a way of channelling his worries into something productive, which, as it had been for fifteen years, had been teaching the ways of the Force.

    “I would be honoured.”



    ___________________________________________________________________________________________

    A/N: I though I might just state the case behind my reasoning, of Poe possibly having some Force ability he's aware of. Even if it may not be some sort of Jedi standard level, I believe the idea that he does have at least a small amount of Force ability, is two fold:

    One: The Force strong ziggurat tree in the Dameron's backyard on Yavin 4...that's not meant to be a clue of some sort? The tree was from the Jedi Temple, given that it used to be located where younglings were trained, I wouldn't be surprised if the tree was sentient enough to be protective over a young, Force powerful child, especially after what happened in the temple. So it could be shielding Poe, in a way it's only been suggested plants, and other living non-beings, could possible do. (i.e. the cave on Dagobah.)

    It's possible it's just a McGuffin, but still.

    Two: How did Poe get out of that TIE fighter, and not have landed anywhere near Finn, not to mention not stick around to help Finn after the crash? Poe doesn't seem like the type of guy to dump and run away from anyone to save himself, at least not on purpose.

    If Poe only had a split second, he would have had to jump, but when and how far did he jump to land so far away from Finn, that he was nowhere near the crashed TIE?
    We know Poe was meant to have perished, but, now he survived...how did he end up so far away? If he's got some Force ability, he might have leapt up high enough before the crash, to have landed somewhere else, the Force protecting his landing, and possibly guiding him to another settlement, minus one jacket, of course.

    Just look at Poe when he shows up again in the movie, he's bouncing about and flying his X-wing with no problems, not fazed one bit about his escape from the crashed TIE and Jakku, or even mentioning how it happened. This is all a bit suspect.

    (Personally, I wouldn't surprised if we end up with a whole Jedi Knight team against the Knights Of Ren, and maybe Poe is one of them. Hence why Episode VIII's been pushed back, there could be a complete re-shuffling of characters, and, again, I wouldn't be surprised if Poe's character is being greatly expanded upon, even if he isn't a Force user.)

    Also, the fact that it's come out that in one of the original drafts of TFA Poe was revealed to be Force sensitive, a lot of this starts to make sense now. Whether they follow this up or not, I've decided to stick with it.

    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    Thank You For Reading. Please, let me know what you thought if you like.
     
  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful father son time with kes! :D And terrific seeing Han with Poe, it's a heartwarming thing and soothing I'm sure for Han. :( And very much plausible that Poe has some Force affinities. [face_thinking] Fascinating stuff about balance and dormancy :cool:
     
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  14. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    I've had a prepared review for the first post for ages and then I somehow lost it. In the meantime, you posted MUCH more. So, before I get to say anything serious: this is pretty good!
     
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  15. NightWatcher91

    NightWatcher91 Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 7, 2014
    Ok this is amazing! The way you handle the characters is perfect, and I am ready to read more!
     
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  16. Aiel

    Aiel Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Thank You For All The Reviews. I Hope You Enjoy The Following Chapter.
    _____________________________________________
    [5]
    [16 ABE]
    Location: New Republic Starfleet Academy
    Fourteen Years Before The Force Awakens
    _____________________________________________


    Lt. Colonel Janson had given Luke leave to train Poe early in the morning, admitting he didn't like not having his star pupil around to keep the other trainees on their toes, but pointed out that it didn't harm Poe's training any to miss a few early morning exercises.

    He was practically born in a cockpit, as I remember Shara right up until the end of her pregnancy insisting on being in the pilot's seat, until her belly prevented it.” Wes had commented to Luke with a grin. “I remember Wedge was already planning for the New Republic Academy, and promising Shara to put Poe's name at the top of his potential candidates.

    Shara told Poe this when he was nine, and Wedge could expect a holo-com call at least twice a week for three years after that, from Poe asking if he could come in early and take the entrance exams.”

    Poe had long ago given up being embarrassed by all of the Rebellion era pilots, and other defence personnel, fondly reminiscing about his childhood escapades, accepting that most of them treated him like a collective adopted nephew. And even found amusement when the other trainees tried to tease him about it, and got nothing in return for the attempt.

    At the moment, though, the other trainees were a little bit in shock that their class leader, was often seen in the company of the legendary Luke Skywalker.

    Some brushed it off, as Poe being a comfort to the Jedi Master, after losing his students and training academy, since he was the son of two of his close friends.

    While other trainees whispered that it was possible Luke was training Poe to be a Jedi. It would explain his flying abilities, and why Poe's scores seemed even higher than a few weeks ago. Also, that Poe would be leaving the academy in order to be Master Skywalker's apprentice.

    Alytheis, however, had dismissed the last rumour. Poe had told her himself that he wasn't leaving the Academy, but she knew he was training with Luke early in the morning.

    Poe and Alytheis were still semi-serious, but their relationship was not progressing further than the occasional hook-up, both busy with their respective training schedules didn't leave much time to be alone, except for the periodic times they were on survey duty, or managed to slip away unnoticed.

    These moments were becoming few and far between, and, although Poe was enjoying his training from both Luke and the Academy, he thought it would be nice when things slowed down a little, and he and Alytheis could figure out if they were something a little more than simply lovers.

    The 0500 training sessions were exhausting, but worthwhile, as Luke patiently drilled Poe in exercises and theories regarding the Force, and how to learn to channel his unique skill in it. The sweat and strained muscles felt like an accomplishment, though, as Luke patient training was beginning to show quick results, especially in his physical skills.

    The Jedi Master complimented the young pilot, but also insisted that Poe learn to focus and channel his abilities in the mental, as well as physical, aspects of the Force. Mediation was slowly becoming one of Poe's favourite time of the day, allowing his previously latent skills to work with him, and not be a bemusing mess as they had often felt before.

    One morning, two days before Luke was scheduled to depart, Poe was making his way towards the Academy Memorial gardens where the training sessions were held. Clad in simple, grey exercise pants and a dark blue singlet, Poe wore flat-heeled exercise shoes the same colour as his singlet, a single white toweling-cloth was draped around his neck, the cadet pilot discovering quickly it invaluable in the sweat built up during the physical activities.

    Poe also carried various balms, for the inevitable bruise or strained muscle, (his emerging Force skills were nowhere near the healing abilities Jedi Skywalker possessed, yet,) and a canteen of water.

    Winding his way down the path, Poe looked ahead into the clearing, where he could see Luke in his usual meditative pose, sitting tailor style and hovering about two feet above the ground. Wearing black exercise pants, the Jedi Master was bare-chested, revealing the nasty, lightsaber inflicted scar across the lower part of his tanned, toned torso.

    Luke had not yet offered any explanation to Poe, regarding the nature of the lightsaber wound, but it was still fresh and not the white colour of an age-old scar. It was newly inflicted, and, once when the Jedi Master had removed the leather glove on his right hand, Poe had seen the artificial skin had been scraped clean of the mechanical limb.

    From the angling of the scared tissue remaining at Luke's right hand wrist, Cadet Dameron surmised the lightsaber blow had come in at an angle, in an attempt to detach the Jedi Master's artificial limb, as well as the ignited lightsaber it would have been wielding. But the opposing lightsaber blow had been clumsy, and slipped from the right wrist, dually inflicting the wound from Luke's hip to navel.

    As he jogged forward, approaching the meditating Jedi Master, Poe could hear Luke talking...and he wasn't addressing his approaching student.

    “...I can't let this interfere with what must be done.” Luke shook his head, his eyes opened up suddenly and he stared ahead. “I can't think about my personal feelings. Look at what the threat of Ben possibly turning has already wrought, what it has cost me. What his turning is doing to you, when you should be at rest.”

    Poe cocked his head to the side, as he halted in his step, observing patiently, as, to his surprise, heard a deep, calm, disembodied voice respond to Luke.

    I can't rest now, Luke. Any more than you can.” The voice was slow, almost husky and breathy, with an affection and sadness in it's tone. “He's my grandson, and he is dangerously close to the darkside, I—Luke.” The voice changed subject. “Your young student is here.”

    Luke glanced aside and inclined his head, “Hello Poe. Don't mind us, sit,” he invited the wary, dark haired younger man, who slowly approached, and sat tailor style on the lawn covered ground beside the hovering Jedi Master. Poe looked up at Luke for an explanation, but instead heard a soft, disembodied sigh.

    Young Poe Dameron, of course it is. He's grown, hasn't he?” The voice that had been in deep discussion with Luke, mentioned offhandedly.

    Poe turned his gaze towards where Luke had been staring across the clearing, “Thank you?” He questioned cautiously.

    Waving his leather gloved right hand, Luke motioned between Poe and seemingly vacant air, “Poe, this my father, Anakin Skywalker.” He introduced. “Focus with the Force and you'll see him.”

    Closing his dark eyes and taking in a deep breath, Poe then opened up his gaze to see a hazy, blue-glowing outline, that slowly became more defined, as a tall, semi-transparent, masculine figure, a hood was pulled up over the ghost's head, obscuring his features.

    A little more than a taken back, Poe cleared his head, “Hello, it's nice to meet you.” He greeted the Force ghost quickly, there was a small chuckle from Anakin and Poe folded his arms.

    Luke has talked about you before. I've also seen you a few times as a child, Poe, although I'm certain you never realised I was there.” Anakin voiced, his hands clasped in front of him, the pleasant voice was not what Poe had expected from the man who used to be the looming, dark, raspy monster that was Darth Vader.

    Poe tilted his head to the side, “You have?” He rubbed the back of his neck, the nature of the Force was only slowly being revealed to him, and Luke had certainly not brought up the concept of Force ghosts.

    Anakin inclined his head, “I've kept watch over my grandson as much as possible. I believe the last time I saw you was on Endor, after you and he had had a little tiff,” he mentioned, Poe nodded in remembrance.

    “Oh yes, the eleventh anniversary of the Battle of Endor...I swore I heard someone laughing, when we were locked up in that Ewok hut as punishment, was that you?”

    Nodding his hooded head, Anakin folded his arms across his chest, “You were a funny child,” he admitted. “My own grandson was...is...far too serious for his own good. I think you taught him a valuable lesson, one I wish he'd pay closer attention to.”

    Luke raised his eyebrows in surprise, “I don't believe Leia and Han told me this story. I wasn't able to attend the eleventh anniversary, my...” he trailed off. “...my daughter was about to be born. What happened?”

    Poe cleared his throat, it was the first time he'd heard Luke make mention of his missing daughter, but, deciding it wasn't the right time to bring up the missing child, he resigned to telling the story.

    “My Dad had showed up to accompany him to the celebration. Wedge and Iella were bringing Syal and Myri, so he thought we could all keep each other company...”

    _____________________________________________
    [11 ABE]
    Location: Endor's Forest Moon, Main Ewok Village
    _____________________________________________
    Hanging upside down from a low-hanging branch, thirteen-year-old Poe Dameron laughed as he looked aside at the girl beside him, also hanging upside down. The eleven-year-old girl's long, blonde braid pointing downwards, and she was also laughing.

    The girl's little, black haired six-year-old sister, was trying to jump up to join the two older children, but couldn't quite reach, “Syal! Me too!” She called up to the mischievous duo, hanging by their bended knees from the low hanging, redwood tree branch, a pout on her plump face.

    Syal Antilles shrugged her skinny shoulders, “If you can't climb up here by yourself, I'm not helping you, Myri,” she replied, her freckled features parting in a smirk as Myri, clad in the same dark green, short-sleeved jumpsuit as her older sister, whined.

    “You're mean, Syal! I'm going to go tell Mama!” Myri went running back towards the celebration going on in the middle of the Ewok Village, where various participants of the Battle Of Endor, were catching up and celebrating the eleventh anniversary of the Battle of Endor.

    It was still late afternoon, but the evening would see roaring bonfires and lit torches lining the treetop village, and, Poe's particular favourite Battle of Endor anniversary tradition, the T-65 X-wings would be brought out of retirement, to set off the yearly firework display high above the forest moon of Endor.

    “Hey, Poe?” Syal questioned, glancing aside at the older boy, who met her blue eyed stare with his dark one curiously.

    “What?”

    Syal thumbed over towards the centre of the Ewok village, “You ran into Ben Solo yet, today?” She questioned, Poe shook his head and she pulled a face. “I did. He called me an ugly Gundark, and said I wasn't worth talking to.”

    Snorting, Poe flipped off of the branch and stretched his tanned, skinny limbs above his head, he was dressed in a simple, tan coloured jumpsuit and brown ankle boots, the teenager shook his head. “Don't take it personally, Syal, he doesn't talk to anyone, aside from his family. Everyone else is mere peasants to 'his royal highness'.”

    Syal flipped off the redwood branch and joined Poe, “I know. Have you gotten the 'visit' yet, from Han and Leia, bringing Ben around to try and normalise him by trying to make him befriend us?” She questioned with a wry raise of her fair eyebrows.

    Poe nodded as they began to walk along the wooden walkways, back to the main celebration, passing Ewoks busily preparing for the further evening celebrations.

    “About four years ago, Ben absolutely refused to talk to me. Ever since then, I've been hiding during celebrations, to avoid him as best I can,” Poe commented, his breaking voice lowering to a whisper, as Syal nodded her head vigorously in agreement.

    “I'm not trying to be mean, but I do the same thing,” Syal whispered back, glancing over her shoulder. “I don't like to upset Uncle Han and Aunt Leia, but I just don't understand Ben. He scares me.”

    The two of them were so engrossed in their conversation, they almost didn't notice the scowling, slightly smaller figure sitting on a tree-stump next to a hut, arms folded and glaring over at them.

    “Well, well,” the pre-pubescent voice addressed the other two children, making Poe and Syal almost jump out of their skins, and stare across at the dark haired boy observing them.

    Dressed in a cream coloured shirt, grey pants and black ankle boots, Ben Solo's brown eyes stared morosely at the older children, “It seems I've run into the annual 'Avoid Ben Solo' convention. Lucky me.” Ben commented dryly.

    Poe folded his arms, “It's not so much 'avoid', as 'try not to taint the same air as his royal highness'.” He responded sarcastically to Ben's glare. “As you frequently let us know, you don't desire our company, because we're not good enough for you.”

    Ben shrugged, “Like I care, Dameron.” He pulled at face over at Syal. “If you and your little girlfriend want to think of me as some sort of snob, I'm not going to go out of my way to convince you otherwise.”

    Syal pulled on Poe's arm, “Come on, Poe, just leave him here,” she poked her tongue out at Ben. “That's what I think of your airs and graces, Ben Solo.”

    Shrugging again, Ben hopped off of the tree-stump, “I don't give two pallies what you think, Antilles. And Dameron's just a jungle creature who somehow can fly a ship,” he snorted. “Flight brats.”

    Poe growled low in his throat, “Call us that again,” he challenged, raising up his fists and moving towards the smirking, pale featured boy. “I double dare you, Prince Solo.”

    “Whoa there!” A deep voice interceded, and all three children looked up to see former-General Lando Calrissian walking towards them, and placing a hand on Ben and Poe's shoulders, pushing them further away from one another.

    “Hold it there, boys. This is a celebration, no fisticuffs.” Lando's dark eyes looked between the boys, and over at Syal. “What's going on here?”

    Ben shrugged, “Poe Dameron was being uncouth,” he responded mildly to the dark skinned former-General, who raised an eyebrow in response.

    “And I suppose your usual veiled insulting way of talking, didn't drive Poe to being 'uncouth' at all, did it?” Lando called out his friend's scowling only offspring, before looking over at Poe. “And you, Poe, you're a teenager now, you shouldn't let a ten-year-old's snide remarks get to you.”

    “I'm almost eleven,” Ben unhelpfully muttered under his breath.

    Poe nodded, ignoring the younger boy's muttering, “You're right, Lando. I'm sorry.” He murmured an apology.

    Lando patted both boys shoulders, “Good,” he looked at all three children.

    “Now, go find your parents, and remember, this is a celebration. Go find some Ewoks to dance and sing 'Yub-Nub' with—”

    “I'm sure Poe knows all the words,” Ben interrupted with a smirk. “Being a short, dirty forest creature, himself.”

    Poe shrugged off Lando's hand, “That's it,” he lunged for the younger boy, before the surprised Lando could stop the usually gentle teen, and lunged forward, tackling Ben to the wooden walkway floor.

    Rolling around as they scuffled, Lando rushed forward to try and pull them apart, Poe pinned the younger boy down and lifted up a fist, only to have his wrist grabbed, looking up into the solemn blue-green eyes of General Wedge Antilles. He found himself being pulled away from Ben Solo by the famous pilot, while Ben was pulled to his feet by Lando.

    “All right, you two, enough of this.” Wedge declared, keeping a tight grip on Poe's arm and nudging him forward. “We're going straight to your parents, and you can explain your behaviour to them.”

    Both Lando and Wedge quick marched the scowling boys to the centre of the Ewok village, tailed by Syal, who had rushed to go get her father when Poe and Ben had started scuffling. Most eyes turning to observe the two boys, being unceremoniously escorted to their relative parents.

    Ben had a spilt lip and a bruised nose, while Poe had a small bruise developing on his left cheek bone, and a large scratch on the right side of his face.

    Both boy's dark hair was tussled and, while Poe looked almost contrite, Ben was looking outraged and had his bruised nose in the air, occasionally glaring slightly up at the older boy he'd been scuffling with.

    Senator Leia Organa, sitting on a log talking to Mon Mothma, was the first parent to catch sight of the two scruffy boys, being escorted by Wedge and Lando, “Oh no.” She put down her wine goblet, and went rushing over.

    Lando and Wedge halted their respective fighting culprits, as Leia walked up to them, looking down at both boys with dismay. Kes and Han, who had been nearby in a group comprising of the Rebellion era ground-troops, who'd lead the ground assault during the Endor Battle, were not far behind Leia, equally looking dismayed down at the sulking boys.

    “All right,” Kes began, folding his arms. “What's all this about?”

    Ben pointed over at Poe, “He started it! He lunged at me like some sort of wild animal!” He complained, sounding decidedly more nasal than usual, on account of his bruise nose.

    Lando sighed, “Ben deliberately provoked Poe,” he explained, ignoring the outraged glare from Ben he received. “I think we all know that Poe is a reasonable kid, and that Ben would have really had to push him to get such a reaction.”

    Han folded his own arms and shook his head, “I don't doubt that,” he responded simply, receiving the same glare from his son that Lando had received, but this one was decidedly more hurt.

    “You're my Father!” Ben yelped. “You're meant to take my side, not his! Mom!” He turned to Leia, who was looking sadly down at her only offspring. “Mom, you believe me, don't you?”

    Leia clasped her hands together, “I wish I could, Ben. But, this is certainly not the first time you've been caught up in an incident like this, and claimed to be innocent,” she lowered her gaze. “And I can sense you lying again.”

    Sulking, Ben folded his arms and stared aside, “You only choose to use the Force, to sense if I'm lying or not,” he huffed. “You never do anything else with it.”

    “All right, that's enough.” Han spoke up. “How about we get some bacta patches on you kids, and then perhaps a time-out in one of the huts?”

    Ben looked aghast up at his father, “You're not going to shove me into a hut with Dameron, are you?” He spluttered. “What if he attacks me again?”

    Poe pointed over at Ben, “I am not being locked up with him,” he refused with a shake of his head.

    Kes scowled, “You're not completely innocent in all of this, Poe. I'm ashamed that you thought you had to resort to using your fists,” he scolded, his young son bowing his head in response.

    “You both need to cool off, and I think being confined to the same place will teach you both to use words to sort things out, instead of fists.”

    “What if Dameron fights me again?” Ben spoke up stubbornly.

    Han pointed at the two boys, “If I see one more physical mark on either of your two bodies, just one, then I'm gong to make you both clean out the Falcon's hold, and clean out the 'fresher systems,” he narrowed his hazel eyes and the boys both grimaced.

    “Understood.” Poe replied, still embarrassed that one of his heroes, Wedge Antilles, standing nearby, had been the one to see him lose his temper.

    Ben grumbled, “Understood.” He muttered.

    After bacta patches were placed over their respective wounds, both Ben and Poe were marched to an empty Ewok hut by their parents, and Kes gave Poe a raised eyebrow of warning as he held open the door, which his teenaged son frowned in response to as he stepped inside.

    Leia reached over to adjust the patch over her son's nose and sighed as she rested her hands on her tall son's shoulders, at almost eleven, Ben was already at her shoulder level, showing signs of reaching his father's six-foot-one height, and might even be taller. “Be good, please?” She requested.

    Ben sulked and lowered his head, “Yes.” He mumbled, Leia leaned forward and kissed his forehead, pulling back reluctantly, sparing a side glance at Poe with a sigh.

    “Both of you behave.” Leia ordered softly, stepping outside of the hut and standing next to Kes, as Han raised his brow as he looked sternly at down at both boys, resting his hands on his hips.

    “All right. We'll be back for you two, in two hours time,” Han stepped out of the hut and pointed sternly at his only son. “Just one cut, or bruise, and I swear, Ben Solo, you'll be grounded until you're thirty. Understood?”

    Kes stepped forward and rested his hand on Poe's shoulder, “No flight simulator for a year, if you break your promise.” He squeezed his son's shoulder. “Behave.”

    Poe nodded, as Kes stepped back and the boys watched as the wooden door was closed, Leia's anxious face peering around the side of the door, until it was fully closed, leaving Poe and Ben in the semi-darkness of the primitive wooden hut.

    Sitting down tailor style on the floor, Poe glanced aside at where Ben hopped up on a small carved table, his long legs swinging back and forth as he folded his arms across his chest.

    “So,” Poe spoke up. “Am I supposed to talk first, or do you want to talk first?”

    Ben side-eyed his fellow time-out captive, and sniffed, “If you don't mind, I'd rather neither of us talked.”

    Poe shrugged his shoulders, “Fair enough,” he rocked back and forth for a moment, looking ahead at the closed door, then turned his gaze back to Ben. “Can I ask just one question?”

    Sighing in annoyance, Ben closed his brown eyes, “If you must.” He allowed.

    Turning aside, the teenager stared solemnly at the younger boy, “Why do you always try to antagonise me, and all the other kids?” Poe questioned curiously.

    Ben opened up his eyes and tilted his head to the side, “Because I can tell you don't want to be friends with me. You only feel like you'd be obligated because of my parents.” He replied simply.

    Poe widened his eyes, “You're kidding me, right?” He laughed. “Seriously? We're all in the same boat, Ben. You, me, Syal, all the other kids of Rebellion era heroes, we all feel that obligation to live up to our parents accomplishments. How are you any different from us?”

    Shaking his head, Ben hopped down from his table perch and sat down opposite Poe, mimicking his tailor style. “You don't get it, none of you get it.” He shook his head, for a change Poe suddenly saw Ben Solo acting like a normal kid, and he would have been lying if he'd said he wasn't startled.

    “You're already a great pilot, like your mother was. I bet you didn't even have to try hard, you just always felt like that was what you were meant to do.” Ben observed with a heavy frown. “I'm not living up to either of my parents. More importantly, I'm not living up to my Uncle.”

    Poe blinked, “Luke?”

    Ben folded his long arms across his skinny chest, “Uncle Luke keeps refusing to even consider me as a student, and my Mom won't ask him to change his mind.” He frowned. “I can use the Force. I'm certainly better at using the Force than being a pilot, much to my Dad's disappointment.”

    Shrugging his shoulders, Poe tilted his head to the side, “I don't believe that. I would have thought Han would support you in anything you wanted to do—”

    “Well, you thought wrong,” Ben interrupted with a snap. “My Dad hates that I don't like to fly, he's always trying to encourage me to try flying, and doesn't take no for an answer.”

    Poe blinked, “It sounds more like he's trying to include you in his life, Ben.” He pointed out. “You don't know how lucky you are. I barely see my Dad any more and...and you still have your mom.”

    Ben frowned, “I care about my Mom, but...but she won't listen to me when I say I want to be a Jedi, or ask Uncle Luke to train me,” he looked aside. “And I think you would find my Dad disappointing, if you knew him better, Dameron.”

    Sighing, Poe rested his hands on his knees, “I think you're selling Han short, Ben. He loves you. I think rather than trying to change him, maybe you could try to get along with him better.” He suggested.

    Ben looked back at Poe, an expression of consideration on his pale features, “You're pretty smart.” He admitted, the teenager shrugged in response, and Ben furrowed his brow. “But you're still wrong. I'll never be who my Dad wants me to be.”

    Poe rolled his eyes, putting his hands behind his head as he laid down on the wooden floor, “Maybe that's your answer, Ben. Maybe you just need to be yourself.” He commented.

    “Ha,” Ben got to his feet, walking over and kicking the small table. “Easy for you to say, Dameron. Everyone likes you. I don't know how many people would really like the real me.”

    Closing his eyes, Poe sighed again, “How do you know unless you try?” He muttered with mild annoyance, opening up one eye to stare over at the younger boy, “The real you couldn't be any worse, than the you of right now.”

    Ben scoffed and walked over to the other side of the room, “What would you know, Dameron?” He flopped down on the floor, facing the wall and letting out a heavy sigh. “I'm done talking to you.”

    Chuckling, Poe turned his gaze up on the ceiling of the hut and adjusted his lying position, “What do you know? Little miracles happen every day, my Grandfather Bey was right.” He yawned, his stomach grumbling a little.

    I should have shoved some cambylictus berries in my pockets, before I was locked in here with Prince Grump...

    There was a soft, chuckle, as if responding to Poe's grumpy thoughts, and the young teenager looked around the hut, before settling his gaze on Ben, who still had his back turned. “Did you just laugh?”

    Ben huffed, “What do I have to laugh about, Dameron? Don't be ridiculous.” He snipped in repose.

    Poe shrugged, “Sorry I even asked.” He glanced around the hut again, before closing his eyes.

    Young Dameron had been tempted to add his own, far more sarcastic response, but decided that satisfaction might only end up with Ben throwing an object at him, and a potential resulting injury, leaving Poe being stuck cleaning out the Millennium Falcon, with the sourpuss son of her captain.

    The last thing I want to do is spend any more time alone with Ben Solo...

    _____________________________________________
    [16 ABE]
    Location: New Republic Starfleet Academy
    _____________________________________________


    Luke shook his head, as Poe finished his tale, “I never thought anyone could drive you to a fist-fight, even as a teenager,” he mentioned conversely, before turning back to his father's ghost.

    Poe shrugged, “I sometimes wonder if it's the last time Ben and I will confront one another,” he brought up dryly, looking between the two Jedi as he stretched out his arms above his head. “Something tells me you two aren't going to disagree about that.”

    Anakin's ghost shrugged lightly, “The future is always in motion, Poe. Nothing is set in stone,” he locked his semi-transparent hands together. “Not your destiny, not my son's destiny, not even my grandson's destiny.”

    Luke furrowed his brow, “I shall do my best to avoid you ever having to confront, Ben, Poe. Or at least give you the skills, should this come to pass, of avoiding Ben discovering that you have some skill with the Force.” He smiled thinly. “Your ability to hide your skill all together should make this easier.”

    Nodding, Poe looked down at the grass, picking a long blade and staring at it idly. “Is Ben a target for the darkside?” He brought up suddenly, staring poignantly over at Anakin. “Given how you were turned?”

    The elder Skywalker turned his hooded gaze to Poe and sighed heavily, “Yes.” He replied simply. “It's my curse—”

    “Father!” Luke objected strongly, straightening from his seated position and slowly lowering himself to the ground. “Don't say that.”

    Anakin shook his head, “Oh Luke,” he walked forward, standing only a few feet away from Poe, the cadet pilot looking up at him. “My son is the personification of his mother's kindness, Poe. He knows the touch of the darkside, and he can resist it like I never could. I'm fearful that Ben does not have this ability.

    He was afraid. So very afraid. Of not living up to his parents. Of not living up to his uncle. So Snoke might turn his head with stories about my darkside self, about Vader.” Anakin's voice became raspier, and Poe got to his feet in surprise. “And Ben could grow darker, and that has pained me. Broke me away from my lightside rest.”

    Poe looked up as the ghost stood toe-to-toe with him, and Anakin's lifted up his semi-transparent hands and pulled back his hood, causing the cadet to reel back in horror and raise the back of his hand to his mouth.

    The face beneath the hood, flickered and changed, grotesque black mask from the earliest horrifying visions a child Poe had seen of Darth Vader, to a scared and damaged pale visage, then to handsome young features so close to the earliest memories Poe had of Luke Skywalker. And, finally a solemn, blue eyed middle-aged man, who looked at Poe with a resigned sadness, before half his face flickered back to that black mask.

    “By the Force!” Poe exclaimed, he looked over at where Luke was approaching him, resting a hand on the younger man's shoulder, Anakin's ghostly features were like watching a broken holo-com transmission, “I'm...I'm so sorry.” He murmured.

    Luke looked up at Anakin, “Please, Father,” his blue eyes were pained as the Force ghost turned mournfully to him. “I understand what you are trying to explain to Poe, but—”

    Anakin frowned, “He should know the truth. As a potential Jedi, Poe should know the price of the darkside will follow you beyond this life,” he looked down at Poe. “I am sorry if I scared you, young Jedi. But my path is not a path you should ever want to follow.” Anakin sighed heavily, as he raised back up his hood.

    If I had warned Ben, as I have warned you, perhaps he would not fall.”

    Luke shook his head, “Ben...Ben can never know you were Darth Vader, Father. I won't allow it, I can't allow the chance that he's not strong enough to handle the knowledge and it could play a part in his possible falling,” he murmured. “Poe, you understand, don't you?”

    Poe took in a deep breath, settling his nerves. “It's all right. And, Master Anakin Skywalker, I do understand what you were trying to explain,” he replied, relaxing his tense stance. “This is all very new for me, and ghosts, and whoever you were before Luke turned you back to the lightside, is all very confusing.”

    Anakin let out a small chuckle, “If the galaxy is just, Poe Dameron, you will rise to be a great Jedi one day,” he complimented, turning his gaze to Luke. “I will leave you to train him, my son. We will speak again soon.”

    Inclining his head, Luke straightened and looked up at his long departed parent, “Father.” He farewelled, as the ghost began to fade away, and Poe watched on with wide-eyes and cautious awe as Anakin vanished back into the Force.

    Luke squeezed Poe's shoulder, startling the young man out of his thoughts, “Are you all right?”

    Poe pointed with his right hand over at the vacant space, “I just had a conversation with the ghost of Darth Vader—”

    “Anakin Skywalker,” Luke corrected lightly. “My Father.”

    Nodding distantly, Poe sat back down on the ground, “Your father...Anakin Skywalker...no big deal...just a ghost...a Force ghost...used be Darth Vader,” he rested his hands on his knees. “I'm fine.”

    Luke sat down next to Poe, half-smiling. “The Force just got a whole lot scarier, huh?” He questioned. “Does knowing who my father is, change your opinion of me, Poe?”

    Looking aside, Poe blinked his dark eyes, “Hmm? Oh,” he rubbed the back of his neck. “No. Not at all.”

    Jedi Skywalker folded his arms over his chest, “Might I ask why?” Luke questioned.

    Folding his own arms thoughtfully, Poe tilted his head to the side. “I know Han and Senator Organa. I've known them all my life, just like I've known you, Luke. Han has always been open and friendly with me, and Senator Organa has always been kind and giving. My Dad once questioned how they could have had a son like Ben, and I wondered it, too.” He explained.

    “The thing is, I don't think the darkside discriminates, just like being unkind or evil. You could have had the most loving parents, or the best upbringing, and you could still fall prey to darkness, just as easily as having been brought up in violent, or evil, circumstances.” Poe turned his gaze to Luke.

    “Your father himself said you were the personification of kindness, and it's true, Luke. You and Leia are not your father, just like Ben is not Han or Leia. I believe each individual is born with a capacity to choose what path they follow in life, Ben's choice to listen to you or this Snoke person will be his.”

    Luke lowered his gaze, “You are half-right, Poe. The universe is not as clean-cut as that, but it is with a youthful wisdom you see the world, and I wish I had such wisdom at your age. In time, as I have told you before, you will learn to temper that wisdom with age won knowledge.” He looked away.

    “You are right, our life path is of our own making, and I have chosen the harder path, at the loss of so many, but what I feel is ultimately right.”

    Poe frowned, “I hope I can follow through my life with the same conviction, Luke,” he confided.

    Luke patted the younger man's shoulder, “You will, Poe. I have faith in you,” he got to his feet and offered out Poe his gloved hand. “C'mon, we're running late, we're going to have skip the meditation, and go straight to the running track.”

    -:-:-:-:-

    A week after having arrived at the New Republic Starfleet Base and Academy, Luke Skywalker was preparing to depart in his beloved, T-65 X-wing, which had been berthed in one of the larger docking bays, in anticipation of the crowd that would be gathering to see him off.

    True to Wedge's insistence that Luke berth his X-wing in the large docking bay, usually reserved for Corellian battle-class and Mon Calamarian cruiser battle-class starships, the docking bay was already filled with students, military, staff and crew, all turned out to bid farewell to the famous Jedi Master. The students and military clad in dress uniforms, as a salute to the founder of the Rebellion era Rogue Squadron.

    Luke Skywalker himself, was already dressed in an orange flight jumpsuit, his helmet tucked under his left arm, as he strolled across the docking bay, Flight Cadet Poe Dameron, dressed in his dark blue dress uniform, (slightly too tight, and in need of replacing, soon,) strolled along at the Jedi Master's side, talking with the solemn Jedi Skywalker as they moved along.

    “...so where are you headed first, Luke?” Poe brought up curiously, the overall plans of Luke's journey had not been revealed to him during their time together, it had been a closely guarded secret between Luke and the higher ranking starfleet officers, such as General Antillies, Lt. Colonel Janson, and Colonel Celchu.

    “Well,” Luke adjusted his helmet under his arm. “I'm first going to visit an old friend of mine, Lor San Tekka. He's the head of the Church of the Force, and he used to be an adventurer, seeking out Jedi history, during the time of the Empire.” He explained.

    “Lor was invaluable to my quest to re-establish the Jedi order. I'm hoping he will able to help me on my quest now.” Luke put his free hand on Poe's shoulder. “You must remember his name, in case anything should happen.”

    Poe nodded slowly, “Lor San Tekka,” he paused. “Luke, there's something I think you—” the flight cadet was halted mid-sentence and mid-stride, by the Jedi Master walking beside him, who'd removed his hand from Poe's shoulder and held it up.

    “Hold that thought.” Luke interrupted, closing his eyes. “Hello, Leia.”

    Turning around, Poe saw Luke's twin sister, only a few feet behind them, and walking quickly in their direction, Luke also turned around to regard Leia, who looked serious and tired.

    Dressed in a high-necked, sleeveless, maroon ankle-length dress, with a wide leather belt in dark brown, the same colour as the heeled boots she wore. Leia's brown hair was simply braided down her back, and her face had little make-up on, making the dark circles under her eyes more prominent.

    Halting in front of her twin, Leia looked up at him with a frown, “Luke.” She turned her gaze to regard Poe. “Cadet Dameron.”

    Poe inclined his head quickly in greeting, “Ma'am.” He stepped aside. “I'll leave you two—”

    Luke put his hand on Poe's arm quickly, “No, Poe, I'd prefer if you stay.” He looked around. “Is Han with you?”

    Leia thumbed behind her, “I left him with Wedge and the rest of the old flyboys.” She rested her hand on her brother's shoulder. “Please, Luke. Can we talk alone?”

    Glancing aside at his student, Luke furrowed his brow, “Poe, would you go ask Han to join us?” He requested, and the flight cadet nodded quickly, inclining his head again to the pale featured Leia, before walking away from the Skywalker twins.

    Looking back over his shoulder as he departed, Poe saw Leia link her arm through Luke's free arm, and the two walk away, talking in low voices and the young man hoped that they would make peace before the Jedi Master set off on his journey. He knew the hardship of being separated for years from family.

    Walking through the scattered chattering crowd of beings, Poe spotted a group of Starfleet officers in a casual gathering, all with bottles of Elba beer, amongst them was Han Solo. Stepping towards them, Cadet Dameron suddenly found himself engulfed in massive, furry arms, that lifted him almost half-a-foot off the durasteel floor.

    [Young cub!] The Shyriiwook voice growled out, deep and cheerful. [It's good to see you!]

    Poe laughed as he patted the furry limbs, “It's good to see you too, Chewie!” He greeted, turning around with a smile as the wookiee placed him back on the ground, ruffing the young man's dark hair affectionately.

    [You're almost all grown-up. I miss the days when you use to beg to fly with Han and I in the Falcon,] Chewbacca grinned, his blue eyes twinkling. [Now you're going to be a pilot yourself. I'm so proud.]

    Hugging the furry anthropoid, Poe smiled and pulled back. “I owe you and Han a lot for how to you taught me to fly in the Falcon. If I could learn how to pilot her, I'm pretty sure I could pilot anything,” he replied, getting a laugh from Chewbacca, who ruffled Poe's hair again.

    “Hey, kid!”

    Poe turned to look over at the group of older men, where Han was waving him over. “Hey,” he waved back.

    Han motioned him forward, “Get over here,” he encouraged, as Poe walked forward to join the group of officers, Solo pointed at the young man with his semi-transparent, blue beer bottle. “Come and talk to us good ol' boys about life under the age of thirty.”

    Poe shrugged, “Not much to tell,” he admitted, earning a loud laugh from Han, who put his free hand on the flight cadet's shoulder.

    “I don't believe that. Tycho, give the kid a beer, he's eighteen after all,” Han sounded half-drunk already, and Colonel Celchu raised a fair eyebrow in Poe's direction, but Cadet Dameron shrugged and nodded, Tycho picked up a cold bottle from the hovering metal tray, and knocked off the top, handing it to Poe.

    Commander Gavin Darklighter looked over at Poe with a smirk, “I still can't believe it. Do you remember Shara bringing him here, when the base was first being set up?” he chuckled. “I was only a cadet myself, and Poe used to follow me around like a lost puppy, begging me to let him sit in my X-wing cockpit.”

    Wes laughed, “He used to follow every pilot he ever met around like a lost puppy,” he grinned as Poe merely shrugged and took a swig from his beer bottle. “Clever kid he was, too. Poe used those big ol' eyes to coax flying techniques out of everyone, now he's already starting to fly rings around us, and he's only a first year cadet.”

    Tycho hummed, “I suppose Luke's interest in him, explains a lot about that too, huh?” The Alderaani pointed out knowingly. “It's been a while since we've had a Force user pilot, not since Corran.”

    “Hmm,” Wes narrowed his eyes. “Force knows I love Luke like a brother, but I can't say I'm not glad I'm going to have Poe back in my classes full-time. The other cadets have been slacking,” he looked over at Poe. “You're not leaving with Luke, are you?”

    Poe shook his head, “No,” he lifted his beer to his lips and took another swig, lowering the bottle with a thoughtful expression. “Luke and I talked it over. I said I wanted to stay here and finish my training, he agreed to teach me a few things, and made me promise to complete my training, whenever he returns back from his journeying.”

    Han narrowed his eyes, “How long is Luke planning on being gone?” He voiced.

    Shrugging, Poe shook his head, “He didn't say. I don't know exactly what Luke's searching for, just what you know, I guess, information on Snoke and the Knights of Ren,” he explained.

    Han looked pained and lifted his beer bottle to his lips, draining the last of the beer, “I see.” His frown suddenly changed to a lob-sided grin. “So, Poe, any girlfriends?”

    Unsure about the sudden change of subject, Poe laughed uncomfortably, “None of any particular note—”

    Wes interrupted with a laugh, “I'll tell Cadet Thedra you said that.” He mentioned with a mercilessly wide smirk, and Poe's dark eyes widened, as the rest of the commanding officers chuckled. “Oh, and I forgot to tell you, there's a certain young Medic cadet that's asked me about you, too.”

    Wedge's amused expression, suddenly dropped from his features and he turned his glare on Wes, “Medic cadet?” His green eyes turned narrowed on Poe, who instantly chuckled nervously and put his half-empty beer bottle back on the tray, ignoring the laughter from the older men.

    “I don't know who you're talking about, sir,” Poe cleared his throat and looked up at Han. “Luke actually sent me over to find you.” His dark eyes turned pleading, and Han patted his shoulder.

    “All right, kid,” Han placed himself between a scowling Wedge and the nervous young flight cadet. “I'll save you. Back, Wedge, the kid hasn't done anything,” he smirked. “Yet.”

    “Not helping!” Poe yelped, and Han laughed as he put his arm around the young man and steered him away, Poe pulling a face as the older officers continued laughing their heads off, except for Wedge, who had turned on his former Rogue Squadron wing-man.

    “What exactly did my daughter ask you about Cadet Dameron?” General Antilles demanded, Wes laughing his head off to the point he started coughing, and Gavin had to slap him on the back.

    Poe lowered his head with a sigh, as he and Han made their way through the docking bay, tailed by Chewbacca, “Thanks for the rescue, Han.”

    Shrugging, Solo folded his arms over his chest, “Any time, kid,” Han raised an eyebrow. “A word of advice, if you do try chasing after Syal Antilles, the both of you should keep it under the radar, judging by Daddy Antillies reaction.”

    Looking aghast up at Han, Poe shook his head, “I do not think of Syal that way. We were childhood friends, she's still that skinny little freckle-face to me,” he denied, the memory of sixteen-year-old Syal, back at the Jedi Facility planet, didn't quite match up with her eleven-year-old self, but he shook his head.

    Han shook his head, “Sure she is.” He sighed, turning his gaze ahead, his expression full of regret. “You kids grow up so fast.”

    Poe came back to reality from his memories, as he observed Senator Leia Organa walk alongside her twin brother, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, around the docking bay. Leia's expression was one of desperation, and Luke's solemn gaze betrayed one of stoic resolution.

    “...you won't listen to me,” Leia was imploring. “Please, Luke. Don't go off like this, please, let me see my son.”

    Shaking his head, Luke took Leia's hand in his gloved, mechanical one, looking down at her pale hand solemnly, “Leia, I can't do that. If Ben wishes to talk to you, I will let him speak over the comm-link, but he's been so distant lately, I don't know if he—”

    Leia pulled her hand away from her brother's grasp, “All the more reason he should have to see us face-to-face, Luke,” she looked over at her husband, her brown eyes threatening tears. “Han, talk to Luke, please.”

    Looking down at Poe, Han then glanced over and stepped forward towards his brother-in-law, “Luke, what do you think is the right thing to do?” He questioned in a low voice.

    Luke lowered his blue gaze, “I believe I must go on a quest with Ben, to discover the cause and potential prevention, of all that is to come, before I could even consider letting Ben out of my sight, even to visit with you and Leia,” He murmured, looking up at Han.

    Han nodded his head, “Then I trust your judgement, kid.” He almost smiled, but the expression fell from his pained features. “I will always trust your judgement.”

    Leia walked over to her husband, “Han, I know you're thinking with your head, but our son,” she grasped his arm, searching his face with her large brown gaze. “Our son.”

    Looking aside, Han shook his head, “Leia. Ben will be safe with his uncle,” he pulled away from his wife, resting his hand on Luke's shoulder. “Safe journey, and come back to us, kid. May the Force be with you.”

    Resting his leather-gloved hand atop his brother-in-law's, Luke smiled firmly up at Han, “Thank you. I promise, Han, I will do all I can,” he looked over at his sister and held out his hand. “Leia.”

    Shaking her head, Senator Organa turned and walked over to Poe, shaking her head in sadness, Leia put her arms around the young man, turning her face away from her husband and brother, she lent against Poe and began to cry, the flight cadet putting his arms around the sobbing woman.

    Glancing over at Luke, Poe raised an eyebrow in sympathy, and Han walked back over, offering out his arms and the cadet gently eased over Leia into the arms of her husband of fifteen years. Han softly murmuring as he rocked Leia.

    “It's all right, sweetheart. Luke is doing the right thing. We will figure everything out. Ben will come back to us...”

    Poe looked over at where Luke had turned away, and was walking in the direction of his X-wing. Glancing over at Han, the older man caught Poe's gaze and inclined his head, the flight cadet jogging after the Jedi Master and finally catching up with him, the crowd beginning to converge around them.

    “Luke,” Poe sided up to the Jedi Master, Luke turned around to regard his student with solemn blue eyes and the younger man cleared his throat. “I have something for you,” he unlatched the front of his uniform and reached inside, pulling out a small doll, dressed in a flight suit, identical to the one Luke wore.

    Staring down at the doll, Luke took it carefully from Poe offered grasp, and ran his hand over it gently.

    “She gave it to me, remember?” Poe mentioned quietly. “She promised it would bring me luck. But I think you need it, it should be with you.”

    Luke smiled softly, glancing back up at Poe with a sad smile, “No,” he shook his head, before pressed the doll of his likeness into Poe's chest, the cadet catching it with his left hand. “She would be so upset that you didn't keep your promise. You made a promise to my daughter, to return it to her one day after you've both had more adventures.”

    Poe's eyes glinted, “Then she's...she's alive, isn't she?” He looked at the Jedi Master with uncertainty. “Is she? Luke, I dreamt her on a desert planet, is she—?”

    Resting his hand on Poe's shoulder, Luke looked at him mildly. “I can't tell you. But I know that you need to hold onto that doll,” he smiled. “Master Kenobi would call it superstitious nonsense, but I could tell that the Force was guiding the meeting between you two, there is a connection I didn't realise until last year.”

    Looking down at the doll, Poe then turned his dark gaze back to Luke, “I will hold onto it,” the young man promised. “And I won't let you, or your daughter, down, Luke. Thank you for teaching me. I will let the Force guide me.” He vowed.

    Luke squeezed Poe's shoulder, “Good.” He responded simply. “And thank you, for letting me pass on some of my teachings to you. I promise we will meet again, although we might both be a bit older by then.”

    Poe narrowed his eyes, “So you know that you're going to be gone for a long time,” he mentioned worriedly. “I don't know how the galaxy is going to go on, without your presence.”

    The Jedi Master withdrew his hand from Poe's shoulder, “You will all go on, and, if the Force wills it, I will return as soon as I am needed. Good-bye, Poe, thank you for being someone I could lean on during this time.” Luke smiled, then looked over Poe's shoulder. The younger man also turning, to see Leia, Han and Chewbacca had joined them, along with the officers of the Starfleet base.

    Lifting up his free hand to wave over at his family, before turning and waving over at the crowd, who all called out their farewells, Luke hopped up on the boarding ladder. C-3PO was just off to the side of the vintage X-wing, along with BB-8, talking up at where R2-D2 was already placed in the navigation-hold.

    “You take care of Master Luke, Artoo. And, as always,” the protocol droid's prissy, artificial voice softened, “do take care of yourself.”

    Beebee-Ate also whistled up at his new friend, R2-D2 beeping and humming his good-byes, the two astromech droids had become close during Luke's time at the Starfleet Base. Poe had thought it was so cute to see the two droids rolling back and fourth down the halls, whirling and whistling in binary.

    The sudden realisation that Luke was leaving fell onto Poe like a ton of bricks. He'd only seen Luke sparingly growing up, but Poe's awe and admiration for one of his childhood heroes, had made every one of those moments impact greatly on his young life.

    Now, having spent a whole week with the Jedi Master he used to call 'Uncle Luke', despite the private pain Luke had been going through, had fulfilled a childhood dream, one of the greatest pilots the galaxy had ever known and the lone Jedi Master, had offered to be Poe's teacher.

    The experience would stay forever with Poe, long after he was a commander of two squadrons and having flown from one side of the galaxy to the other.

    Poe would always remember the lessons and the moments, when one of the greatest men who ever lived, spent a week with a flight cadet and taught him how much more to the galaxy there was, than just the physical. The mind could be spent in the now, and not always looking to the future.

    This lesson in particular, tumbled through Poe's thoughts as Luke hopped up into the cockpit and the flight cadet was surrounded by officers, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, all waiting for the departure of the Jedi Master.

    The sense of sadness, mixed in with trepidation, hung heavy in the air, Luke pulled on his helmet and flight gloves, glancing back down at the crowd below.

    He didn't wave this time,” Poe would remember years later. “Just nodded his head, in that sage, sad way he always seemed to after the loss of the Jedi Facility. Luke's eyes looked over all of us, like this could be the last time he would see us again.

    As the X-wing canopy was lowered and the crowd stepped back, Poe felt the heavy hand of Han on his right shoulder, and he looked up to see the ex-General staring over at his departing brother-in-law with a heavy expression. Senator Organa was on Han's left side, her husband's arm was around her shoulders and she leaned against him, Leia's large brown-eyed gaze also affixed on her departing brother.

    As Luke's X-wing pulled out of the docking bay, the lone living Jedi Master setting out on his journey of discovery, Poe looked down at the doll of Luke's likeness in his grasp, seeing the hopeful, hazel eyes of the doll's owner, as they shared a quiet moment in a crowded celebration.

    He's an X-wing pilot, and you're going to be an X-wing pilot...”

    Luke's steady blue gaze, unwavering as he studied the younger man, as they stood in the burn-out remains of a place the Jedi Master had devoted his life to rebuilding.

    Listen to me, Poe. I know you're going to be a kind and wise man someday, I've seen it...”

    The ghostly voice of Anakin Skywalker, as a frightened young man and his teacher stood in a grassy clearing.

    If the galaxy is just, Poe Dameron, you will rise to be a great Jedi one day.

    Poe looked around, the crowds starting to disperse, Han giving his shoulder a last pat, as he departed with a solemn Leia, who spared a quick glance over at the young flight cadet, staring thoughtfully out of the docking bay entrance into the night sky, twinkling with a thousand stars.

    Feeling the small, warm hand on his arm, Poe looked down to see Leia looking up at him quietly, a small smile on her face.

    “Hey, shouldn't you be heading out with the rest of your team to the mess hall?” Senator Organa questioned softly, her brown eyes still slightly red from the tears she'd shed.

    Inclining his head, Poe offer Leia a wide smile, “Yeah. I should.” He turned and Leia linked her arm through the young man's, leading him across the durasteel floor of the docking bay, over to where Han was waiting with Chewbacca and Threepio. “Senator Organa—”

    Leia patted the cadet's arm, “You're so formal and grown-up these days, aren't you?” She questioned with a small amount of amusement. “I suppose time passes. But I miss being called Aunt Leia, especially by the most handsome pilot in the galaxy—”

    “Hey!” Han called out with a wide smirk. “That's still my title. Cadet pilot's need to earn their handsome ranking, which,” he spread out his arms. “Lets be honest, it's only going to happen when I take the short walk off a long pier.”

    Poe blinked his dark eyes as Leia chuckled, but the young man suddenly felt a cold feeling in the pit of his stomach, however it passed quickly and he nodded. “The title is still yours, Han.” Poe placed a kiss on Leia's cheek and pulled away. “I've got to go catch up with my team.”

    Leia grasped Poe's hand before he could depart, “Wait,” she implored, looking up at Poe thoughtfully. “Luke, while he was here, he was training you, wasn't he?”

    Looking askance, Poe cleared his throat, “A little. Mostly it was flight manoeuvres, just something to pass the time while he was making plans.” He explained, rubbing the back of his neck, Leia raised a perfectly shaped eyebrow as she regarded him.

    “I see.” Leia narrowed her eyes. “Be careful out there, Poe. The galaxy is changing so rapidly, and I'm afraid something dangerous is coming.”

    Poe lowered his eyes, “I feel it too, Senator Organa. Let's just hope the Force is still with us.” He bowed respectfully, and raised a hand of farewell to Han and Chewie, as he departed the docking bay. Poe spared another glance down at the Luke Skywalker doll, with a furrowed brow of contemplation, as he passed through the docking bay exit doors.

    Leia is right. The galaxy is a whole lot smaller and more dangerous, in the space of less than two weeks. Now with Luke gone, the New Jedi Order lost, the Knights of Ren and the darkside of the Force...who knows what else lies in wait?


    Adjusting the head of the doll, Poe sighed as he walked down the bustling hallway, feeling like the last parts of his dreamy-eyed youthful ideals were now, and forever, laid to rest. The galaxy would always need people to help, and Poe vowed to be one of those people who would always answer that call for help, no matter the cost.
    _____________________________________________
    If you noticed a lack of a "training montage" between Luke and Poe, there's a reason for that. I promise it will all become clearer in the future chapters, stay tuned and thank you for reading.
     
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  17. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Okay, I have read chapter three, and felt ready to tackle chapter four straight away, rather than comment on Three.

    Possible error detected.

    In Chapter Three - Poe thinks about Ben - I have barely met the sullen kid before.

    Chapter Four - first few lines, he is telling the girlfriend that he has met Ben Solo several times before.

    I'll be back with a fuller review, but for now, getting something to eat.

    Edit: So, in terms of what Chapter Three meant to me. I had to re-read the Skyhopper Controversy several times, because it seem to me also that Han had requested Poe to fly him and Leia back to the Academy site, but if you look at Han's actual words, it literally is just, Excuse me, Leia wants to fly back now.

    I don't really understand what Leia's problem with all that was.

    Another problem for me, was the dinner scene between Poe and his Dad. Perfectly written by yourself as always, but if that fare was as bland and tasteless as you describe, I completely don't understand Poe's motivation for grabbing food off his Dad's plate.

    Now me, I have only once experienced not being able to taste my food (due to heavy duty anti-biotics), rather than the food itself having no taste, as is the case here; but for me, my entire desire to eat just shut down. So once Poe had finished his own meal, for him to spear an additional tasteless nutri-cube from Kes' plate - is just an utterly alien concept to this reader.

    Poe waking and going to investigate the second floor all described well. I would have liked to see a little bit of detail about the guards that Poe went past.

    They are not important, but a young man in his underoos (okay, under-jumpsuit), packing a blaster, going past them. No nod of recognition, no mention if they were asleep, nothing.

    The scene moved on, so I did not dwell.

    Perfectly described, but I think I only engaged with Luke wanting to leave, and Leia wanting him to stay and bringing up his redeeming own father sixteen years earlier.

    I was disappointed that the cadet apparently blabbed all that transpired among the senior leadership to his girlfriend. True, no-one swore him to secrecy, but I would have hoped he would have thought to keep their confidences.

    Three was a well written chapter, but I did not engage with it as much as the previous two.
     
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  18. Aiel

    Aiel Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 14, 2004
    No, it's not a mistake. Perhaps it's my British Grammar, (I'm Australian,) but by "barely" I do mean few or several. Poe has known Han and Leia all his life, but has only met Ben a handful of times, and hardly knows him at all. So it's not an error.

    Thank you for the reply, I look forward to the longer review. :)
     
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  19. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Aiel - Longer review edited in.
     
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  20. Aiel

    Aiel Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 14, 2004
     
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  21. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful Aiel - seamlessly bringing in Lor. :cool: And your H/L characterizations continue to be just off the chain! =D= So poignant! @};- And your Poe. Anything I read about him in novels etc. from now on will have to pass your muster and that's a fact. [:D]
     
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  22. Aiel

    Aiel Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 14, 2004
    [6]
    ________________________________________________
    [24 ABE]
    Location: New Republic Starfleet Base, Centax-1
    Six Years Before The Force Awakens
    ________________________________________________



    This has to be wrong, Beebee.”

    The BB astromech droid, rolling along beside his master, lolled back his head to gaze upwards and let out an uncommitted, small beep in response to the young man's serious expression.

    At just having turned twenty-six, Captain Poe Dameron had achieved the ranking of captain four years prior, a rank gained much faster than what was standard in the New Republic Starfleet, but something he'd earned a thousand times over, as far as he'd been told by Brigadier General Tycho Celchu.

    A claim gleefully backed up by Poe's old teacher, Colonel Wes Janson, who, whenever Poe was at the New Republic Starfleet Academy and Base on Centax-1, proudly dragged his former student to show off to his current cadet trainees, and sometimes to his fellow teachers. The rest of the Academy would playfully roll their eyes, whenever Wes would pull a laughing Poe over to see them, pointing up at the young captain and usually starting off with the sentence:

    Did you hear what my former student did...?”

    The past eight years had matured Poe physically, reaching his full adult height of five-foot-nine, the young captain had broadened out and gained the sinewy, muscular build most active male human pilots sported, but the playful twinkle in Captain Dameron's dark gaze remained as bright as his youth. And his team-mates were often quick to maintain a light atmosphere around their young leader, knowing how Poe's humour could be infectious enough to keep the entire squadron hopeful, even in the most trying of circumstances.

    Four years ago, Poe had been given charge of a small group of his peers, named the Dagger Squadron, the small group of twelve A-wings had mostly run escort duty for New Republic Senators, but occasionally they were sent out on reconnaissance missions, or as back-up for the Rogue and Wraith squadrons.

    After graduation, Poe had previously been shuffled as an alternate pilot for Wraith Squadron, along with Lieutenant Jessika Pava and Lieutenant Iolo Arana, the three friends sharing their frustration at the Starfleet's continuous refusal to put them in a permanent squadron. Eventually they took their complaints, along with several other pilots, straight to Vice-Admiral Antilles, who had, after discussions with the other Starfleet officers, including Admiral Ackbar, came up with the idea of several smaller squadrons.

    Dagger Squadron, the first of these, had the position of leader immediately offered to Poe, along with the permission to choose his team-mates. Poe had, naturally, chosen Pava and Arana, along with several other of his former classmates and some newer just graduated pilots, and also, his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Lieutenant Alytheis Thedra.

    Poe closed his eyes briefly at the thought of Alytheis. Thoughts of her rarely left him, even more than three years after she'd passed away. It hadn't even been in a battle, no...it had just been on the streets of Coruscant. A thermal detonator blast, an act of deliberate terrorism from remnants of the Empire, as claimed by some of the Republic Senators, although the majority just dismissed it as a random act of destruction by an unknown fringe group.

    The attack had happened while Poe had been off planet, visiting his father and Grandfather Bey on Yavin 4, a grim Wedge Antilles, Tycho Celchu and Wes Janson delivering the news in person. The officers escorting Poe, Kes and Grandfather Bey to Corellia to grieve with Alytheis heartbroken family, the young pilot was supported by his father and grandfather during the funeral.

    It had been difficult to go on with the fledgling Dagger Squadron, but Poe, supported by his close team-mates, had made it work, the brilliant pilot often finding himself in demand for exhibitions outside of his official work. Not that Poe particularly minded showing off vintage T-65 X-wings, and the occasional Old Republic Fighters collectors requested he flew at celebrations, it was a thrill to get in the cockpit of vintage starfighters and demonstrate his skills to roaring crowds and awed bystanders.

    Dagger Squadron had garnered a reputable reputation under his leadership, which is why Poe was in disbelief, when he'd received the message, (only seconds after landing in the docking bay in the New Republic Starfleet Base and Academy on Centax-1.) that Vice-Admiral Antilles had requested his presence to discuss reassignment.

    Not letting any of his curious squadron know why the Vice-Admiral wanted to see him, Poe had taken the time to have a quick shower and change into a clean, navy pilot's under jumpsuit, before strolling the base's hallways to Vice-Admiral Antilles office.

    Knocking on the dark silver metal door, Poe waited as it slid across, before strolling inside, Beebee-Ate following close behind at his master's heels, as the quick-stepping pilot marched over to where Vice-Admiral Antilles was seated behind a large, black desk.

    The greying haired former leader of Rogue Squadron, dressed in his impeccable navy uniform with white accents, had his head bowed over a data pad, lifting up his green gaze to look over at the stoic young man, standing about a foot away from his desk.

    “Captain Dameron.” Wedge greeted with a small smile.

    Poe inclined his head, “Vice-Admiral.” He responded quickly, trying to keep his tone even.

    Wedge peered down at where Beebee-Ate was pressed against the side of Poe's leg, “Still followed everywhere by your droid?” He questioned with a wider smile of amusement.

    Shrugging, Poe glanced down at Beebee-Ate before looking back over at the Vice-Admiral, “He's been a little clingy ever since that near-miss on Chandrila...” he trailed off when he saw Wedge raise an eyebrow.

    “...is that what this reassignment business is about? I swear, sir, Lord Yenthren's purchase was faulty, whomever sold him that V-wing was a crook.” Poe spread out his arms.

    “That engine was practically patched together with engine tape, and the nav system hadn't been updated since the Clone Wars! Any other pilot would have lost control much quicker than I did. You would have heard that I got her down safely in the lake, far away from the crowds.

    “Lord Yenthren's former ship-advisor was a jerk, sir, who wouldn't know a classic starfighter from a garbage cleaning droid. If I maybe punched him in the face, after I got out of the lake, I assure you it was done with the best intentions, on Lord Yenthren's behalf—”

    Wedge held up a hand, not able to hold back a small snort of laughter, “Trust me Poe, your reassignment has nothing do with what happened on Chandrila,” he chuckled, the Vice-Admiral's laughter relaxing Poe's previously defensive stance.

    “I saw the whole thing on the Galactic Broadcast system. I think watching your father encouraging you to toss the slime-ball into the lake, and the Lord Yenthren actually doing so himself, proved that you were perfectly right to deck the ship-advisor.”

    Poe smirked at the memory, before turning serious again, “Then why are you taking me away from my squadron, sir?” He questioned, folding his arms across his chest.

    Leaning back in his high-backed, black swivel chair, Wedge regarded Poe with a calm expression, “Sit down, Poe,” he motioned to one of the low-backed chairs in front of his desk. Poe complied, pulling back the chair and sitting down, looking patiently over at Wedge. Beebee-Ate rolled over to wait by his master's ankles.

    “Commander Darklighter wants you in his squadron.”

    Dark eyes widened and Poe leaned forward, “Rogue?” He questioned in disbelief, and Wedge inclined his head. “Rogue Squadron?” Captain Dameron queried again and Wedge nodded again. “Why?”

    Wedge folded his arms, “Well—”

    “No, no.” Poe got to his feet and began to pace. “No, sir. Why after all this time?” He spun back around and rested his left hand on his hip, pointing with right hand at the Vice-Admiral. “I'm a good pilot, sir. I know I'm a good pilot. Commander Darklighter should have offered me a position in Rogue at least five years ago, maybe even six.”

    “I know.” Wedge responded simply.

    Poe furrowed his brow, “Then why, after all this time of refusing to consider me, why now?” He demanded, a trace of resentfulness in his voice. “Why does Commander Darklighter want me now?”

    Leaning forward, Wedge clasped his hands together and rested them on his desk. “The difference between Gavin's New Republic generation of pilots, and those of us who came of age during the Rebellion, is that brilliant pilots, like yourself, are often seen as a safety risk to the rest of the squadron—”

    “What?!” Poe interrupted with outrage. “Sir, I might be a hot-shot sometimes, but I've had the least amount of accidents of any member of my class, during and after I graduated. It's common knowledge that I—”

    “I know,” Wedge interceded calmly. “So does Gavin. The thing is, Poe, it's not the fact you're both highly skilled and safe, it's the fact that you have a great influence on the Starfleet pilots, both older and younger than you.” He explained.

    “Both Gavin and Garik have been of the opinion that you are a flight risk, to either Rogue or Wraith, in that you have a reputation of, well, influencing reckless behaviour, even unintentionally.”

    Poe folded his arms across his chest as he sat back down, “And what do you think, sir?”

    Wedge sighed as he leaned back in his chair, “Like I mentioned, Poe, I flew with Luke Skywalker in his younger days, long before he was the calm Jedi Knight,” he mentioned mildly. “I watched him preform half a dozen unbelievable skills. Even then, I don't recall him ever accomplishing some things I've watch you do.”

    “Sir?” Poe looked shocked at the admission.

    Rubbing his eyes, Wedge looked solemnly across at the younger man, “You have to remember, at your age Luke had already retired from military service.” He commented. “I've seriously got little doubt, that if you were alive during the Rebellion era, you could have given him a run for his money as a star-pilot.”

    Poe lowered his gaze, “Thank you, sir.” He murmured.

    Wedge cleared his throat, “Now,” he got to his feet and walked around the side of the desk, leaning against it casually as he looked down at Poe. “You've got to remember that pretty much all of the officers, over the age of forty, have watched you grow-up, and we're all very proud of you, Poe. Some of us are more vocal about it than others.” He winked.

    “And others are perhaps a little harder on you, because of reasons. Some of these being, that it's hard not to be more critical and tougher, because of remembering your mother, and knowing you pretty much all of your life.”

    Poe narrowed his eyes, “So Commander Darklighter and Commander Loren have kept me out of the main squadrons, for fear of nepotism, and also keeping me wrapped up in cotton-wool?” He looked dismayed. “Sir, I've never asked to be gone easier on, and I've worked my way up. I've earned my ranks.”

    Wedge nodded, “I know that. You know that. Every member of Starfleet knows that, Poe. The reason Gavin and Garik have primarily kept you out of the main squadrons, more so than potential influence on other pilots, is because I requested it.” He revealed primly.

    “What?” Poe eyes widened.

    Sighing, Vice-Admiral Antilles folded his arms across his chest, “I've known for years that you are part of the next generation of starfleet pilots. You are going to be running this whole Starfleet one day, Poe.” He tapped his fingers on his upper arms. “It was my decision to make Dagger Squadron and give you the ranking of captain. I wanted to see how you functioned as a leader.”

    Poe rubbed his mouth, his expression still one of surprise, “So the reason you set me up with Dagger Squadron—”

    “Was to train you in leadership, because Gavin is planning to retire as leader of Rogue Squadron and go into teaching at the Academy, so he has more time with his family.” Wedge finished with a small smile.

    “You didn't realise, when I was shuffling you and your close squadron-mates in and out of Wraith and Rogue, that I was testing your abilities in either squadron as potential leader. When Garik stepped in after Tycho retired, I knew that Gavin was also having serious thoughts of early retirement, so I was going to offer the position of Rogue Squadron leader, to you. And Gavin is in full agreement.”

    There was instant glee in Poe's eyes, and Wedge tried not to widen his smile in amusement, at the young pilot's expression, “I—thank you, sir.” Captain Dameron finally breathed.

    Wedge offered out his hand and Poe got to his feet, taking the offered hand in his own and clasping it tightly, “Then may I be the first to congratulate you, Lieutenant Commander Dameron, you are now Rogue Two.” He placed his left hand on Poe's right shoulder and smiled up at him. “When did you get so grown-up?”

    Laughing, Poe shrugged, “Around the same time you started getting those grey streaks in your hair, sir,” he replied with a cheeky grin, making Wedge laugh loudly and pat the younger man's shoulder, before pulling back.

    “That explains it.” Wedge sighed and shook his head. “You have your mother's eyes, you know? Shara used to have that same glint in her eyes when she was in good humour.” He mentioned fondly. “She'd be so proud of you. I can see Shara darting about the base, bragging about you to everyone on this moon.”

    Poe nodded, “Well, I do have Colonel Janson filling in for my Mom,” he pointed out with a chuckle.

    Wedge playfully rolled his eyes, “Oh yes, we know,” he joked. “He's so proud of you, we all are, but I'm pretty sure Wes is the proudest of your adopted uncles.”

    “Well,” Poe shrugged. “He's my teacher, I think he's got a lot to brag about.”

    The vice-admiral nodded, “Yes, well, believe me, we hear about it twice a day sometimes, now this promotion might raise your name-drop to three, maybe four, times a day,” Wedge rubbed his chin. “I think I may take that vacation time Admiral Ackbar suggested I take.”


    -:-:-:-:-
    Beebee-Ate whistled in amusement, as he watched his master bounce around his small, private, quarters, dancing to the progressive glitz-jizz music, coming from the small combination speaker/holo-com on Poe's bedside table.

    “Can you believe it, Beebee?” Poe questioned, as he brushed his hand over the new ranking on his dress-uniform, before hanging it up in his small closet. Admiral Ackbar had attached the new ranking in a private ceremony, only the high-ranking officers and Poe's available close friends had attended.

    Poe was yet to tell his father and grandfather the news. He had stripped down to just a black singlet and grey exercise pants, after coming back from the mess hall, and the newly commissioned Lieutenant Commander was still on a high from the events of the day.

    “Isn't it great? The legendary Rogue Squadron, Beebee-Ate!” Poe reached down and lifted up his surprised, whirling, spherical droid companion, so that they were eye to receptor. “That means an X-wing of our own!”

    Beebee-Ate whistled in approval, and hummed happily as Poe gave him a hug, before setting him back down on the bunk.

    “I'd better call my Dad first, before he hears the news second-hand,” Poe pushed back his dark hair from his forehead as he flopped down on the bed. “I'll never hear the end of it, if Wes has called him up first.”

    Reaching over to the holo-com, Poe dialled in his father's private line and waited for the connection, almost immediately the holographic head and shoulders of Kes Dameron, looking stately with liberal grey streaks in his dark hair, appeared, the fifty-four year old New Republic General smiled widely.

    Poe! Hey—wait, a second Thormin, don't just grab the holo-com like that—!”

    Kes' image disappeared and was replaced by Poe's grinning, octogenarian grandfather, Poe surmising that his father must be spending some leave-time on Yavin 4.

    There's the most handsome captain in the New Republic Starfleet! Hello Grandson!”

    Waving, Poe began to laugh as he heard his father mumble out of sight:

    Thormin! I can adjust the holo-com so we're both visible, give me that back.”

    The image of Poe's grandfather's grinning, lined features disappeared momentarily, and Poe waited patiently, amusing himself by rocking Beebee-Ate back and forth on the bed, before the holo-com restored the picture, this time both Kes and Grandfather Bey visible.

    Now that's settled,” Kes glanced aside at Grandfather Bey, who ignored his son-in-law, before turning his dark gaze back to Poe with a smile. “How is the best captain in the New Republic Starfleet?”

    Poe rubbed his chin playfully, “I wouldn't know, whomever they are, it's not me,” he responded swiftly. “I'm not a captain any more.”

    Kes' eyes widened, “What? What happened? Don't tell me you've be demoted? Dismissed? What's going on?” He questioned rapidly. “It's not because of what happened on Chandrila, is it? Wedge wouldn't punish you over that? Would he? Did he? Do I have to come down there and—”

    Unable to keep a straight face, Poe burst into laughter as he interrupted his rambling father, “No, no, Dad. This isn't High School, and don't worry, I'm not dismissed, or demoted,” he winked. “I've been promoted. You're looking at Lieutenant Commander Poe Dameron of Rogue Squadron, designation Rogue Two, and, if you two can keep a secret, potentially the next Rogue Leader.”

    Ha ha!” Grandfather Bey exclaimed, pulling Kes into an enthusiastic hug, before pulling away from the younger man and clasping his hands together. “I'm so proud! Your mother would be so proud...oh, Force...I'm going to go get that vintage bottle of Whyren's Reserve I've been hoarding, to celebrate! Keep talking to your father, boy.”

    Poe watched his grandfather shuffle out of the hologram's visible sight, and saw Kes pointing a finger after his father-in-law.

    Just a small glass, mind you, Thormin! Remember what the doctor said the last time he was here!” Kes called after Grandfather Bey, before turning back to Poe. “I'm so proud of you, son. This is a promotion, right? It's not just because of the military cut-backs the Galactic Senate has been gunning for, is it?”

    Furrowing his tanned brow, Poe shook his head, “I'm not sure. I know some squadrons have been completely disbanded, and cadet admissions have been cut-back. I don't think the Galactic Senate would be foolish enough to just leave Rogue and Wraith squadrons, would they?” He questioned. “I'd hardly call that enough Starfleet military to defend the whole of the Republic.”

    Kes rubbed his chin, “They've been doing similar things in the Army, Poe. You must have been keeping up with the media broadcasts, right? Those senators calling out to almost completely disband the military, because the Empire is no longer a threat, and would have me on only humanitarian missions, and you out there chasing space-pirates, instead of defending the galaxy against any potential uprising from remnants of the old Empire?”

    Poe nodded, “It sounds so foolish, I can't believe after what happened during the Clone Wars that lead to the rise of the Empire, that they take these twenty-four years since the Battle of Endor so lightly. What is it they say, that those that forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it?” He commented solemnly.

    Sighing, Kes shook his head. “That's what they say, and that's what I'm most afraid of.” He almost smiled. “At least senators like Leia Organa are still openly opposing those old huff-and-puffs. But I'm sincerely worried, that they're slowly being outnumbered by the anti-military brigade.”

    Father and son made much smaller talk afterwards, Grandfather Bey returning and contributing his own anecdotes about the quite life on Yavin 4, and the new species of jungle flora he was cultivating, including his more recent ventures into herbology and medicinal plants.

    Poe was patiently listening to his Grandfather Bey's explanation of his latest experimental concoction, something he was claiming could both heal bruises and mend broken bones faster than any medic-base remedy, when there was a loud beeping from his com-unit.

    “Hold on, Grandfather, I've got a call from Starfleet Command.” Poe pressed down the hold button on the holo-com, and pressed another panel. “Yes?” He answered the incoming call.

    All Rogue Squadron members are to report to Docking Bay 24 for an immediate assignment. Full mission gear required, you will be debriefed prior to departure.”

    “Rodger that,” Poe replied, before switching com-channels back to his father's line. “I've just gotten my first Rogue Squadron marching orders, so I'm going to have to hear the rest of that cure-all balm story later, Grandfather.”

    It's not important. Go get 'em, Nexu!” Grandfather Bey encouraged, using Poe's childhood nickname.

    Kes put his hand on his father-in-law's shoulder, “Be careful out there, Poe. We love you and we're so proud.” He assured his only son, who smiled brightly in response.

    “I love you both too. I'll talk to you soon.” Poe signed off and closed his eyes briefly as the hologram dissolved, before snapping them back open and smiling over at BB-8. “Ready for duty as the droid of Lieutenant Commander Poe Dameron of Rogue Squadron?”

    Beebee-Ate withdrew on of his grasping claws from his spherical body, and made his impression of a salute against his rocking dome, before letting out a squeal as he lost balance and rolled backwards on the carpeted floor.

    Poe glanced down at his droid, who rocked himself back into position and beeped pitifully up at his master.

    “Well, looks like we're both ready to roll out, Beebee.”

    -:-:-:-:-

    Commander Gavin Darklighter looked over at Poe with a calm expression, as the younger man joined the group of fifteen starfighter pilots that made up Rogue Squadron, making him number sixteen. Dressed in the standard, (now traditional,) orange flight-suit, with his usual black and silver helmet tucked under his arm, Poe flashed a small smile, as several Rogue pilots playfully nudged and jostled him.

    “Lieutenant Commander Dameron, Rogue Two, welcome to Rogue squadron,” Gavin greeted, as the Cerean Lieutenant Rhena Keldois, Rogue Five, let her shorter comrade out of a teasing headlock, and Poe straightened, offering a salute to Commander Darklighter quickly.

    “Pleasure to be here at last, Commander.”

    “I'll say,” Captain Snap Wexley, Rogue Three, broke in, joined by several other pilots murmuring their agreement. “It's about ruddy time!”

    Gavin held up his hand, “I know, I know. Believe me, I know,” he ran his hand through his short-cut, dark hair, before smirking over at Poe.

    “Poe's been bugging the Vice-Admiral, pretty much ever since he could talk, about joining Rogue Squadron. And now he's here, and we're all relieved that Colonel Janson will finally get off our case, and just go back to bragging about Poe's achievements. Now.” Commander Darklighter clapped his hands together.

    “It's a humanitarian mission—” Gavin was cut off by several heavy sighs. “—I know, I know. It's not High Commands fault, these are New Republic Senatorial orders. They seem to think we're part of the Galactic United Planets, lately, and it's not necessary for us to be a military squadron, any more.”

    “But sir,” Lieutenant Keldois spoke up. “Those reports of the new society the remnants of the Empire are attempting to construct beyond the Outer Rim, shouldn't we be out there at least on reconnaissance, if not engaging them in battle?”

    Gavin narrowed his brown eyes, “No doubt in my opinion, and in the High Command's opinion too, I might add. However, these orders come directly from the Galactic Senate, of whom, as we all know, possesses some members continue to insist that the remnants of the Empire are not constructing a new society, and don't pose an immediate threat.”

    Rubbing his eyes with his free hand, Gavin surveyed his fifteen fellow pilots with a shake of his head, “Unfortunately, things do not look like they're making progress in the Senate to change their mind, no matter how much we hope they will, so we are still bound by orders to not openly engage the remnants of the Empire.” Commander Darklighter took in a deep breath.

    “We're headed to Antar 4. As you may or may not, be aware, the moon has suffered several environmental related catastrophes, first an earthquake, which caused the seas to rise and create multiple tsunamis that have caused substantial damage, in particular to the smaller agricultural villages outside of the city of Temba Port. Which has left an open invitation to space-pirates to cause several raids”

    Putting his free hand on his hip, Gavin sighed, “We're going to be working the army and medic-teams, bringing in supplies, and defending the rebuilding villages from space-pirates looking to take advantage and make a profit.” He thumbed behind him.

    “We're taking our X-wings, but the Aradonia is joining us with several T-54 Airspeeders in her hold, we'll likely be primarily using them once we reach the base.” Gavin explained. “That's all for now. Poe, come with me. Everyone else, get to your X-wings.” He motioned to the younger pilot, as the rest of Rogue Squadron scrambled to head to their respective starships.

    Poe tailed after the stoic Rogue Squadron Commander, Beebee-Ate rolling close behind his master, as they strode across the docking bay. Gavin finally halted beside a starship and Poe's eyes lit up, a wide grin on his face he wouldn't of hidden, even if he could.

    “Here's your new chariot, kid. You no doubt know that we got them in just last week, but I don't know if you've gotten a chance to fly one, yet.” Gavin remarked, a small smile on his face as Poe eagerly ran a hand over the wing of the vehicle.

    “The T-70 X-wing. No,” Poe couldn't stop grinning from ear-to-ear, his dark eyes darting back up as he shook his head. “I saw the prototype when I was invited to the Incom-FreiTek factory last year, but I thought it would be awhile before I got to fly one.”

    Gavin shrugged as he lent against the dull silver silver wing, with blue accents marking the ship as Rogue Two, “Well, she's yours now, a gift from High Command.” His smiling mouth turned into a serious line.

    “You'd better take good care of her. The Senate is severely cutting back on funding, these may be the last X-wings produced for a very long time.”

    Poe nodded, “I will.” He raised an eyebrow. “It's a pity they don't come in black, huh? I was flying the coolest vintage Clone Wars era fighter a few months ago, black and yellow. What I wouldn't give to be able to customise something like an X-wing, like they could back then.”

    Rolling his eyes playfully, Gavin patted Poe's shoulder, “At the rate we're going, the Senate would probably have us flying about in unpainted aircraft altogether,” he stepped around the younger man, walking across the docking bay, heading towards his own T-70 X-wing.

    “Keep dreaming, Lieutenant Commander, but save it for when you've got two feet firmly in on the ground. When you're up there with me, I need your absolute focus, and so does the team you'll be leading in the near-future.”

    “Yes sir!” Poe called over, before looking down at Beebee-Ate. “Look at this, Beebee. We finally got our own X-wing,” he mentioned in a much quieter whisper, the Astromech droid whistling merrily in response, and flicking out his welding flame in a thumbs-up motion.

    “Well, lets get on board, bud.”

    -:-:-:-:-
    ________________________________________________
    Location: Prindaar system, Planet Antar, Antar 4 (Moon)
    ________________________________________________


    Peering down out of the side-window of his X-wing cockpit, Poe raised a dark eyebrow under his helmet, “Jungle, Jungle, all I see, running through the trees. Gotta get back to Cloud City, gotta be waiting for you-ou-ou...” he sang under his breath, the glitz-jizz tune a favourite since his childhood.

    The moon of Antar 4 reminded the newly commissioned Lt. Commander of Yavin 4, but with far more water covered areas than Poe's home. Absently reaching out with the Force, as Poe would occasionally attempt, the planet was teeming with life, even with the limited range the Force offered nowadays, he could feel the bustling energy of both good, evil, and neutral energies on the jungle moon below.

    Shrugging his shoulders, Poe leaned back in his seat and sighed. This was another mercy mission like most of his military career so far. Very rarely had he ever engaged in real combat, not that the young Lt. Commander wished for dangerous battles, he was grateful for the few serious encounters he'd had.

    Life, as his Grandfather Bey had soothingly instructed him for over two decades now, was far to precious and valuable to waste. The universe was vast and beautiful, and dangerous and frightening, and Poe knew he'd just seen a quarter of what it had to offer, even after eight years of military service.

    Who knows, Poe thought idly, as he prepared to enter the stratosphere, maybe my next great adventure is waiting for me just as soon as I land on this moon's surface...

    ___________________________________________
    Location: Antar 4 (Moon), Remote Fishing Village
    _____________________________________________


    Oomph!” Poe let out a wheeze as the Medic personnel shoved a large storage container into his chest, the dark haired Lieutenant Commander looked sourly up at the Bothan. “But I didn't get you anything.”

    The grey furred, male Bothan snorted, as he bent down and grabbed a data-pad off the nearby desk, “You'll keep, flyboy. Or, rather, you'll earn your keep around here,” he snipped.

    “Luckily there's a lot of humanitarian work out the galaxy, or you would spent all your time lounging around, or doing stunts for snot-nosed children and their easily amused guardians. Seems to be all you Navy types are good for, lately.”

    Poe rolled his eyes, “Oh I'm so glad you appreciate my service,” he responded sarcastically, readjusting the heavy container in his grasp and glancing aside at Snap, who was also laden down with a heavy storage container, and glaring over at the Bothan medic, who ignored the both of them, as he went back to his data-pad. Snap looked over at Poe and the two of them shrugged.

    Marching out of the make-shift storage facility, the two Rogue Squadron pilots looked out over the sleepy, temporary medic facilities with a shared sigh. The humidity of Antar 4, coupled with the endless array of bugs and smells of various decaying sea-life, left much to be desired.

    Both Poe and Snap had stripped down to dark blue singlets and the lower-half of their under-jumpsuits, and, although sweating in their boots, they both agreed it was better than having to tread on the questionable mixture of decay and sludge, that had mixed in with the sand covered ground.

    Some medic personnel were moving around in the mid-afternoon heat, most were strung out in make-shift hammocks, snoring away the few hours or so until dinner time.

    Slapping a large, dark purple bug that had landed on his thick upper arm, Snap readjusted his container and shook his head.

    “I tell you what, Poe. I've been in some dives in my time, but everything about this place, the beings, the smells, the humidity, I think this place just move up into second position on the dive scale, and is gunning for first.” Wexley grumbled.

    Poe nodded, as a bead of sweat ran down from his forehead to the tip of his nose, “I grew up in a jungle, Snap. Humidity I can handle, but the humidity here, I'm starting to question if this is natural, or some idiot scientist is conducting some sort of sick experiment.” He agreed, as they marching through the make-shift medical base.

    Snap and Poe had been teamed up, and shipped out to the remotest of the medic/humanitarian bases on Antar 4, the rest of Rogue Squadron had grumbled that the two of them were getting a mini-vacation on the beach-front.

    They wouldn't be so jealous if they could smell what we're smelling right now, Poe thought grudgingly.

    “Well!” A voice called out from behind the cargo laden pilots, and they both turned around to find the source.

    A human woman, who looked to be in her early-to-mid twenties, was observing them with a smirk. She was dressed in a dark green singlet top and black pants, wearing dark brown ankle-boots, and her shoulder-length hair was pulled back into a wispy, tightly braided style, away from her face.

    “They put you boys to work right away, didn't they?”

    Poe raised an eyebrow and shrugged, “Something about us lazy fly-boys being good for nothing except lugging supplies back and fourth,” he responded, leaning forward slightly to look at the young woman, (standing at about six inches shorter than himself,) who was also looking closer at him.

    “Hang on...Syal? Syal Antilles?”

    The fair-haired woman took a step closer, “Wait...you're not...Poe? Poe Dameron is that you?” Syal went rushing forward and Poe dropped his container to pull the eldest daughter of Vice-Admiral Antilles, into a tight hug with a laugh, spinning his slender, childhood friend around, before placing her back down.

    Syal rested her hands on Poe's bare shoulders, “What are you doing here?” She questioned.

    Poe shrugged, his arms still around Syal's waist, “Well, if you'd call your dad more than once a month, you'd know that I've been promoted to Lieutenant Commander, and I'm also a member of Rogue Squadron now. Rogue Two, at your service.” He pulled back and gave Syal a playful salute.

    “Lieutenant Commander Dameron, Rogue Two,” Syal winked, her green eyes twinkling. “It suits you.” She commented, folding her arms under her breasts with a grin.

    “So,” Poe motioned around. “What drags you to the little paradise here? Still apprenticed to Dr. Alkali?”

    Syal shook her head, “No. Junior Dr. Antilles, at your service,” she mimicked Poe's previous salute. “Medic Field resident doctors don't exactly get first pick of assignments. Although, you'd also think the best squadron in the New Republic Navy would definitely be the exception to that rule.”

    Poe shrugged, “Things change. You, for example,” he smiled. “You look incredible.”

    Syal blushed slightly, but leaned closer to Poe, “You're not looking too bad yourself, Dameron.”

    There was a clearing of the throat, and Poe and Syal both turned, to where Snap was looking slightly uncomfortable, “Um, hello?” He put down his container and offer out his hand to Syal. “Captain Snap Wexley, Rogue Three.” Snap raised his brow cheekily. “Does it suit me as well?”

    Laughing, Syal nodded, “It sure does. How do you do, Snap?” She turned back to Poe as she let go of Snap's hand. “Have you guys had lunch yet?”

    Patting his stomach, Snap chuckled, “Does it look like I've turned down a meal recently? Lead the way, Dr. Antilles.” He motioned ahead and Syal moved ahead of the two men, glancing back over to flash a smile at Poe, before looking back ahead.

    Snap nudged Poe's shoulder, “Uh oh, I know what a look like that from a woman means,” he whispered teasingly, and Poe raised an eyebrow. “And don't you go giving me no lines like: 'We were childhood friends and I would never' blah blah, stuff. This ain't no holo-drama, Dameron.”

    Poe rolled his eyes, “This isn't a romance data-novel either, Wexley. We haven't seen each other since we were teenagers, get your mind out of the gutter.” He hissed back, making Snap laugh. “What are you laughing about—?”

    “Are you two coming?” Syal's voice called over and both pilots turned to see her a few metres ahead, hands on her hips. “I've only got an hour break and all the Bantha steak is going to be gone at this rate.”

    Snap grinned, “Ooh, Bantha steak.” He put his arm around Poe's shoulders and dragged him forward. “Let's hope it's as juicy as the unfolding romance between the Vice-Admiral's daughter and the Lieutenant Commander.”

    Poe groaned and rolled his dark eyes again as he was dragged along by his fellow Rogue Squadron pilot.

    “Real cute, Snap.”


    ________________________________________________
    It's been a while, but I thought I'd throw out another chapter on here. (It's been updated a couple of times on ff.net.) I'll try to get the most updated version posted on here very soon. Thank you for reading.
     
    AzureAngel2, Chyntuck and Ewok Poet like this.
  23. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    I need to write proper comments, but just wanted to tell you that I have been loving it all along!

    That said, you don't have to hurry. ;)
     
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  24. Aiel

    Aiel Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Author Replies:
    Ewok Poet: Thank you. I hope this story continues to please. And trust me, it's no rush, this story is pretty much all done, it's just the uploading and editing that's taking a while. :)
    _____________________________________________
    [7]
    [24 ABE]
    Location: Antar 4 (Moon), Remote Fishing Village
    Six Years Before The Force Awakens
    _____________________________________________

    Snap stabbed a boiled tuber off of his plate and popped it into his mouth with a grin, "Tastes like nothing but starch, but still better than your regular field rations, eh Poe?" He mentioned around a mouthful of the vegetable.

    Poe nodded with his own cheeks swollen with a large fork-full of the plentifully available ghoba rice and Baal fish stew, "Speak for yourself," he retorted, after swallowing. "This stew is one of the best things I've ever eaten. You shouldn't be so picky about not eating seafood in a fishing community."

    Syal grinned, "I admit, I just mentioned bantha steak to see if one of you would fall for the re-hydrated junk they supply us with," she took a bite of her own Baal fish stew from the metal tray in front of her.

    "The locals make the fish stew every day for the camp, in gratitude. If you were further out into the jungle, it would probably be Quivry meat dishes. It's the Gotal way to exchange food in thanks for assistance."

    Snap nodded, "I see," he leaned over to Poe's side of the table and sniffed his tray, pointing his fork towards the stew covered rice. "It does smell pretty good—hey!" He complained, as Poe playfully slapped his hand away.

    "Mine!" Poe retorted as his squadron team-mate pulled a face. "You'll just have to wait until dinner time."

    Syal laughed at the pilot's antics, before putting her fork down on her tray and resting her elbows on the table, resting her chin on her folded hands. "Have you two been to the village yet and met the locals?"

    Both pilots shook their head and Dr. Antilles nodded.

    "You should. I could take you there and then for a walk around the area. I've been here for over a month now, I know my way around," Syal mentioned. "It's really lovely here after twilight. The villagers hang glow-lanterns along the paths, all the way along to the shoreline. They have a bonfire on the beach every night, and tell stories and play music."

    Poe was slightly entranced by the obvious pleasure in Syal's eyes at the local hospitality, but shook his head, "It sounds great. But I'm afraid Snap and I are stuck on duty—"

    "You go ahead, Poe," Snap interrupted, rolling a boiled tuber back and forth on his tray. "I can cover for you, bud."

    Side-eyeing the smirking older pilot, who had his brown gaze down at his plate, avoiding eye-contact with the younger man, Poe cleared his throat. "Are you sure?" He queried.

    Snap waved his hand dismissively, "Sure I can. You two kids go have a good time." He finally made eye-contact with Poe and his smirk grew even wider across his bearded features. "Enjoy the 'lovely twilight'."

    Syal chuckled, "Great. I'll go get us a speeder-bike and you can meet me out front, Poe," she got up from the bench and grabbed her tray off the table, winding her way through the practically empty mess-hall.

    "I'll met you there," Poe called out after the fair-haired woman, who glanced over her shoulder and smiled at him, as she placed her half-eaten tray of food into the grasp of nearby serving-droid, before ducking out of open mess-hall door.

    As he got to his feet and grabbed his backpack, Poe turned his dark eyes down to where Snap was still smirking knowingly at him, "Again with the being real cute, Snap." He hissed, as he hoisted the straps of the tan, canvas backpack, through his arms.

    Wexley shrugged his broad shoulders, "Thank you, Lieutenant Commander, I do try."

    Poe pointed a finger at his fellow pilot, "I don't know if you're pulling this stunt, to try and set up Syal and me, or if you're doing it for my Baal fish stew." He furrowed his brow. "Either way, you've got a lot of nerve."

    Snap shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly, and pulled Poe's half-eaten tray of food towards him, "Little from column A, little from column B." He stabbed a piece of fish on his fork, before pointing the piece of cutlery at Poe. "Go get her, Nexu."

    Looking caught between surprise and dismay, Poe blinked, "How did you know—?"

    "Your dad was calling you that during the Chandrila race-meet broadcast, when he was encouraging you to knock-out Lord Yenthren's ship-advisor," Snap interrupted with a laugh. "The whole galaxy knows, Nexu."

    Poe groaned deeply and placed his face in his hands as he walked away from the mess-hall table, "I really hate you." His muffled whining, made Snap laugh even harder.

    "No you don't. You love me!" Snap popped the piece of fish on his fork into his mouth with a contented grin, as he watched Poe march out of the mess-hall. "I'm the galaxy's greatest wing-man, in and out of the cockpit."

    -:-:-:-:-
    The lush, variety of green plant-life, skimmed past the dark gaze of Poe, from within the fitted, dark grey speeder-bike helmet's tinted visor, as he rode behind Syal on the softly humming New Republic military issue speeder-bike.

    The location reminded the Lieutenant Commander achingly of his childhood home, where he hadn't visited for nearly a year. Poe's grip around Syal's narrow waist tightening slightly as they turned around a corner in the cleared path. His gaze turning to peering over the fair-haired woman's shoulder, over at the approaching Gotal fishing village, the sandstone huts with dry, vine-woven roofs, scattered high up on a cleared cliff over-looking the dense jungle below, flowing down towards the rocky beach cove.

    "I heard what happened to Lieutenant Thendra from my father," Syal suddenly brought up softly, Poe's gaze lowering. "I'm sorry I couldn't attend her funeral. If I had known—"

    "I know you would have," Poe interceded quietly. "You've always been there for me, if I ever asked. I'm just sorry I let so many years past by, without keeping in contact."
    Syal nodded, "I am, too. I guess we just got so busy playing at being grown-ups, we forgot to remember childhood promises," she glanced back over her shoulder. "We're here now, though, we can start making up for lost time. Don't you owe me twenty credits for being wrong about making Rogue Squadron before you turned twenty-one?"

    Poe pulled a face, "Rub that in, why don't you?" He mentioned dryly as Syal chuckled. "I can't reach my wallet at the moment. Rain cheque after we get the village?"

    Shrugging, Syal turned back around, "New Republic Credits aren't really good this far outside of Baal City. I'm just going to have to collect my reward in another way," she drawled, and Poe felt his heart skip a beat at the sound of that insinuation, and cleared his throat.

    "Oh?" Poe questioned in a low voice, matching the flirting from the young woman in front of him. "What did you have in mind, Doctor Antilles?" He questioned, resting his chin against Syal's shoulder with a smirk.

    Syal leaned back against him with a laugh, "Let your imagination run wild on that one, Lieutenant Commander. But, try and keep those hands at the level of my waist, for now," she teased and shrugged off Poe's closer embrace, shuffling forward on the bike as she put more pressure down on the speed pedal.

    Poe mock-sighed dramatically, "My imagination can run wild quite a bit, Doctor Antilles. And, if you keep talking like this, it's going to run completely away from me." He muttered, just loud enough for Syal to laugh again mercilessly at the flirting banter they were maintaining, as the speeder-bike pulled to a halt, just outside of the village entrance.

    Pulling off their helmets, Poe waited for Syal to hop off of the hovering bike as it powered down, before jumping off himself and placing the helmet and his backpack on the speeder-bike seat, stretching out his arms as he surveyed the area.

    The fishing village was small and humble, certainly not the largest Poe had yet spied on Antar 4, but the buildings, though built of rough sandstone, looked well kept, and the view of the coastline from the tiny establishment, was one of the most awe-inspiringly beautiful Poe had yet seen in the galaxy.

    "It's great, isn't it?" Syal commented, siding up beside her childhood friend with a wide, knowing smile, Poe nodded wordlessly and she leaned against him. "It's the simple places like this in the galaxy we need to protect the most. There's so much to lose if we ever have to sacrifice them to preserve our own interests."

    Poe put his arm around her shoulders, "Then we'll just have to keep fighting and hope that the Galactic Senate continues to be on our side," he commented quietly, Syal looked curiously up at him and Poe looked down at her with a sigh. "You've probably heard the reports, but I can tell you myself, those are not just vagrant remnants of the Empire aided by pirates out on the Outer Rim, Syal, I swear they are—"

    There was a scuffling sound from behind the two humans that stopped Poe mid sentence, and the junior doctor and X-wing pilot turned around sharply, observing the group of five Gotal children that were currently climbing all over the speeder-bike and riffling through the contents of Poe's backpack.

    "Hey!" Poe called out sternly, the children glancing over and waving at them.

    "Hello Doctor Antilles!" They chorused collectively, before going back to their previous antics.

    Poe turned his dark eyes to an amused Syal, "Do you know them?" He questioned, glancing back across at the cheeky, rough cloth wearing Gotal children.

    Syal laughed, "I do. The two girls are twins, Kemli and Karti, the elder Gotal boy is their brother, Mekli, and the other two boys are his friends, Famvi and Roli." She revealed. "They're all children from the fishing village."

    One of the twin Gotal girls lifted out Poe's well travelled Luke Skywalker doll from his backpack and exclaimed, "Dolly!"

    Quickly, Poe made his way over and pried it from her tight grasp, the Gotal girl unwilling to relinquish her prize, but Dameron managed to pull it away. "Oh no, not this one. It belongs to another little girl, I'm holding onto it for her." He revealed, when the Gotal girl began to sniffle.

    One of the Gotal boys rolled his black eyes, "You could just say it was yours, you know," he commented. "You don't have to lie. It looks like Luke Skywalker, and I know that he's a big hero, particularly to fighter pilots."

    Poe half-smiled, "That's true, but he does belong to another little girl, who gave it to me for good luck, until we could meet again." He commented, glancing aside at a curious Syal, but turning his gaze back to presumably the eldest of the Gotal children. "How did you know I was a fighter pilot?"

    The Gotal boy flashed a small smile, "You're Captain Poe Dameron. I've seen you on the holo-vision before, and Doctor Antilles said you were friends growing up, so it was easy to put two and two together." He thumbed at his chest. "I'm going to be a fighter pilot one day, too. My name is Mekli."

    The once teary Gotal girl perked up, "I'm Karti and this is my sister Kemli," Karti's eyes were shining. "My brother has a holo-picture of you up on his wall!"

    "Karti!" Mekli exclaimed in embarrassment, as Poe looked surprised and the Karti's brother cleared his throat. "It's not a holo-picture, it's a New Republic Starfleet Academy recruitment poster...that has you on it, Captain Dameron." He muttered.

    Poe raised his eyebrows, "I didn't know about this, when did..." He shrugged. "...it doesn't matter. I'm a Lieutenant Commander now, Melki, but you can all call me Poe, if you like."

    Syal bent down to the children's level, "He's being modest, Poe's just been made a member of Rogue Squadron," she smiled. "He's probably going to be Rogue Leader one of these days."

    Forcing an embarrassed smile in response to the awed reactions from the young Gotals, Poe cleared his throat, "Well...perhaps...one day." He muttered, walking over to the speeder bike and putting the Luke Skywalker back inside the backpack, before hoisting it back over his shoulders.

    Poe was not entirely comfortable with the idea of boasting about something that hadn't yet come to pass, and had taken longer than he expected to happen when he was around Mekli's age.

    The young Gotal in question clapped his paws together, "That's so lightspeed! Come on, lets go down to the village and introduce Poe to everyone," Mekli encouraged, his twin sisters grabbed each of Poe's hands and pulled him along, as the boy Gotals ran ahead of them into the forest.

    Poe glanced over his shoulder as Syal tailed after him, "Did you know anything about my face being on recruitment posters, Syal?" He questioned.

    Syal shrugged as she grinned over at him, "Of course I did," she moved up closer and whispered into his ear. "I have one of them pinned up in my tent."

    His face flushing, Poe cleared his throat in an attempt to be casual, "You do?" He exclaimed, as Syal kissed his cheek and walked up ahead of him with a bold wink back over her shoulder. "Doctor Antilles, do you know who I have to blame for the posters in the first place?"

    Laughing, Syal shrugged again, "My Dad said a face and reputation like yours could sell sand to Sand People, Lieutenant Commander," she teased. "You're just doing your part for your Starfleet, Poe Dameron. Although, if you ask me, if they really wanted recruitment to sky-rocket, they should have made an after-dark holo-poster of your best asset—"

    "Children, Doctor Antilles," Poe interrupted with a loud laugh, his dark eyes twinkling with amusement at the young woman's teasing, as the girl Gotals dropped their grasp of his hands and ran up ahead. "And who's to say that part's my best asset?" He responded, this time getting a slight blush from Syal, who cleared her throat.

    "Well, I'm just going to have to be the judge of that, Dameron," Syal again gained the upper hand of the teasing flirtatious banter between them and Poe sighed mock dramatically, as he put his arm around her shoulders as they followed the Gotal children down the cleared path.

    "I'll make sure to bring my galaxy-class performance, then."

    -:-:-:-
    _____________________________________________
    Location: Antar 4 (Moon), Remote Fishing Village
    _____________________________________________

    Sitting cross-legged on the flat sand around the massive bonfire assembled on the beach-front of the Gotal fishing village, Poe was regaling the enthralled villagers with tales of his exploits by the crackling firelight.

    The Gotal children had long gone to bed and so Poe had turned to unabridged versions of some of his missions, Syal was beside him, shelling kethin-gastropods and putting them on a wooden stick for roasting.

    The whole atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, the elderly Gotals puffing away on their pipes and the middle-aged and younger adult Gotals eagerly asking questions, some huddled in romantic pairs or sharing around camp-fire food and warm, alcoholic beverages.

    "...and Admiral Ackbar walks in just at that moment. Colonel Janson's face is still swelled up with artificial nerf chunk stew, Snap has tipped an entire vat of the stew all over me and the other pilots in the mess hall in celebration, the dancer we hired for the bachelor party slips in the spilled stew and slams right into the Admiral." Poe laughed at the memory.

    "Admiral Ackbar falls backwards and the dancer lands on top of him, covering his impeccable white uniform in a mixture of stew and exotic smelling oils, and the Admiral says to the dancer: 'Madam, a Naval man's reputation is only as clean as his uniform, and, after over fifty years of service, you've now added insult to injury.' "

    Syal and the villagers broke out in laughter and Poe winked as he took a swig from the wooden, carved tumbler in his grasp, "He's a good sort, Admiral Ackbar. I'm proud to serve under him." He assured the villagers, the Village Chief nodding his grey-streaked head.

    "If a man such as yourself, Lieutenant Commander Dameron, believes this to be so, I say we all believe it to be true."

    The Gotals went back to talking amongst themselves, as Syal offered out a roasted kethin-gastropod to Poe and leaned in towards him as the young man took the piece of seafood, "Would you like to go for a walk and see those glow-lantern lit paths I was talking about earlier today?"

    Poe popped the kethin-gastropod into his mouth and chewed the tender flesh quickly, nodding his head, "Absolutely." He got his feet and offered out his arm, Syal getting to her own feet linked her arm through his, and the young human couple began to stroll along the white sandy beach.

    Syal began to chuckle after a few moments of silence, and Poe peered over at the young woman on his right, her form dimly visible in the bright moonlight.

    "What?"

    The junior doctor shook her fair-haired head, "Oh, nothing. I was just thinking of something my Mother said years ago," Syal admitted, leaning her head against Poe's arm. "She said that whenever she pictured the first time I would ever bring a boy home to meet her and my Father, it was going to be you."

    Poe's brow raised in amusement, "Really?" He questioned with a wide smirk, Syal nodded and he cleared his throat.

    "Well...is that still an open-ended invitation?"

    Syal raised an eyebrow as she gazed up at Poe, "Are you teasing me, Poe Dameron?" She demanded with a small mock-frown.

    Tilting his head to the side, Poe grinned, "Nope. I remember Iella's cooking being fantastic, and I can count on one hand the amount of home-cooked meals I've had in the past two years—oof!" He complained, as Syal playfully elbowed his side.

    "You're really willing to risk the scowl of doom from my Father, just for a home-cooked meal?" Syal smiled broadly as Poe nodded with an equally beaming grin and a nod. "You're braver than I though, Lieutenant Commander."

    Patting his stomach, Poe shrugged, "Months of base mess food and field rations might help keep my muscular physique, but that doesn't keep a man's stomach happy." He picked up Syal in his arms and she laughed as he dipped her dramatically. "Are we talking real nerf roast and buttered tubers?"

    Syal rolled her eyes again, "You do say the most romantic things, darling," she heightened her Coruscanti accent dramatically. Poe leaned in and placed a light kiss on the young woman lips, pulling back with a grin. "How chivalrous." Syal fluttered her eyelashes mockingly, laughing as Poe pulled her towards him.

    "Would you prefer something more intense, Milady?" Poe questioned suggestively and Syal pulled his head to her level and pressed her lips against his fervently. The young couple deepening the kiss and tightening their embrace, the heat and the racing pulses increasing with each breath taken between them.

    Their amorous embrace was broken, when Poe heard hurried footsteps heading along the beach towards their location and he pulled back, both he and Syal straightening when they saw Mekli running towards them at full pelt, carrying Poe's backpack.

    The boy Gotal took in several heavy breaths when he finally sided up to the pilot and junior doctor couple, "Poe... backpack ... was," he swallowed. "Making noises. My Mother said it might be urgent."

    Nodding, Poe grabbed his backpack, reaching into the outside pocket, he pulled out a comm-link and checked the side, "It was Commander Darklighter. Thanks, Mekli," he flicked the side of the black com-link and there was a slight beep as the comm-link connected to Commander Darklighter's device. "Commander?"

    "Poe, I've got some bad news." Gavin's grim voice came over the communication device. "The Galactic Senate is in complete uproar. Senator Organa has been forced to resign. They say it's because it's been revealed that Darth Vader is her biological father."

    Syal looked in shock over at Poe, but noticed that while the young pilot looked dismayed, his features remained plain, she made a note of it, and listened in to what more Gavin had to say.

    "Oh no." Poe took in a deep breath. "But what does—?"

    "We're being recalled," Gavin interrupted quickly. "The Gotal Senators want us off planet, all of us. They're saying that they don't want New Republic military on their moon, at the moment, while they decide if they wish to remain a member of the New Republic, as Senator Organa is the one who brought them into the New Republic.
    "I don't know if it's solidarity with Senator Organa, or against her, but we've been given twenty-four hours to leave the moon." Gavin cleared his throat. "Snap told me Doctor Antilles is with you, inform her that this also extends to all military medics as well. I'm sorry."

    Poe glanced aside at Syal, who's eyes had lowered sadly, "Understood. We're on our way back, Snap and I will be back at the main base by early morning. Dameron, out." He switched off the comm-link and sighed heavily, pocketing the device and slinging his backpack back over his shoulders.

    Syal grabbed Poe's hand, "It isn't fair," she reached out with her free hand to rest it on Mekli's shoulder. "There's so much we still need to do here...of all the...so what if Leia's father was Darth Vader? How does that count against all the good she and Master Skywalker have accomplished over thirty years?"

    Rubbing his face with his free hand, Poe sighed, "I don't know, Syal." He glanced over at Mekli, who was looking very confused. "Mekli, go on ahead and tell everyone we're returning to say farewell."

    The boy Gotal nodded and rushed away again, leaving the young human couple to walk slowly behind him, Syal's hand still grasping Poe's hand tightly.

    "You didn't look surprised when Commander Darklighter said Leia Organa was Darth Vader's daughter," Syal paused. "I know you were with her and Han when the Jedi Academy was attacked, have you remained close? Did she—"

    "No," Poe shook his head quickly as he interrupted. "No, I haven't seen Leia or Han in eight years. And I heard it from Lu—Master Skywalker, well, overheard it during a conversation he was having with Leia, when he returned to the Jedi Academy." He revealed.

    Shaking her own head, Syal looked ahead, "I've heard stories, Poe. My Father wouldn't ever tell me, but, did Luke Skywalker spend time training you in the ways of The Force?" She questioned. "It sort of filtered through the military ranks, but I didn't believe it."

    Pursing his lips, Poe glanced away, I can't let her know...not yet... "While he was briefly at the Academy after the attack, Master Skywalker did train me in some piloting skills," he admitted the half-truth, glancing back over at the young woman beside him, Syal's eyes were narrowed. "Syal, I—"

    Resting her head against Poe's arm, Syal sighed deeply, "It doesn't matter. We've hardly seen one another since we were in our early teens. We need time to get to know one another as adults," she murmured. "I've got some leave time accumulated up, I'm going to spend it on the Starfleet Base, with my parents."

    Poe nodded and smiled, "I'll assume that means a dinner invitation at the Vice-Admiral's apartment?" He attempted to lighten the mood, and the soft chuckle from Syal in response showed it was successful.

    "I'll even bake a Trammistan chocolate soufflé."

    "I didn't know you could cook."

    "Now you know. And it's not for you, Dameron, my Father loves desserts, and if I tell him I'm bringing home you, he's going to need some sweetening up." Syal teased and Poe rolled his eyes.

    "I should have taken Han's advice..." the young lieutenant commander muttered under his breath.

    Syal glanced back up at Poe, "What was that?"

    Poe grimaced, "Nothing. But suddenly I'm not so keen on a home-cooked meal at your parents house." He commented.

    Smirking, Syal reached up and playfully tapped the end of Poe's nose, "Don't be such a blubberbird. I promise I'll protect you."

    Groaning, Poe lent his head atop Syal's as they approached the Gotal fishing village, "I was a bachelor four hours ago, Doctor Antilles, now I've got the sneaking suspicion I've just fallen into a relationship."

    "Ah, indeed, you have fallen straight into my devious relationship trap."

    "No need to rub it in."
    _____________________________________________

    Thank you for reading.
     
    AzureAngel2, Chyntuck and Ewok Poet like this.
  25. Aiel

    Aiel Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 14, 2004
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    [8]
    [24 ABE]
    Location: New Republic Starfleet Base, Centax-1
    Six Years Before The Force Awakens
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________

    Poe quickly latched up his New Republic dress-uniform jacket, then frowned at his reflection in the mirror-glass, then unlatched his jacket, then reached to latch it again, before turning around to look down at his astromech droid, who was looking on at his master's antics.

    "What do you think, Beebee? Unlatched, or latched?" Poe invoked quickly.

    Beebee-Ate rocked back and forth, bleating out a series of binary in response.

    Poe rolled his eyes as he began latching his jacket again, "It's not 'just a dinner', Beebee, it's dinner with my girlfriend's parents. One of whom happens to be my superior officer, and also happens to be very overprotective of his daughters." He reminded his droid, who blatted and rolled away to the other side of the sleeping quarters.

    "Oh you are not still upset I left you with the ship while we were on Antar 4, are you?" Poe questioned Beebee-Ate, who merely gave a non-committal beep as he rolled his dome back to regard his master, who shrugged and turned back to the mirror-glass in his open wardrobe door. "Fine, be that way." He sighed and looked himself over again.

    "No, open." Poe finally decided, unlatching his jacket and adjusting his white shirt-collar.

    The navy blue of the ranked uniform jacket, paired nicely with the dark formal pants and Poe's knee-high black boots were buffed to a shine.

    Smoothing back his wavy dark hair, Poe nodded to his reflection, before closing his wardrobe door and walking over to his bedside cabinet to pick up the two types of flowers resting there, Jebwa flowers for Iella Antilles and a single stem, rare Tarisian Rose for Syal.

    Tarisian Roses used to be used as courting gifts, as Grandfather Bey had once informed Poe, so it only seemed appropriate to revise the tradition as a lucky charm, given his family's connection to botany.

    Poe strolled across the carpeted floor towards the door, "All right, Beebee, wish me luck." He called over to his astromech droid as the door swooped across. Beebee-Ate warbled from his sulking position against the far wall of the sleeping quarters and Poe rolled his eyes as he exited.

    "Yeah, I know I'm going to need it. Thanks, bud."

    -:-:-:-
    Poe had barely pressed the buzzer outside of the Antilles apartment, when the door immediately opened up and Syal, (dressed simply in an oversized, cream coloured nerf wool jumper, black tights and peach coloured flat shoes,) grabbed Poe's arms and pulled him inside the apartment quickly.

    "Nice to see you t—" Poe was cut off mid-sentence by a quick, but passionate, kiss on the lips from his girlfriend, luckily the door had closed behind him, or he would have fallen back out into the hallway instead of against the front door.

    Syal pulled back and grinned, "Hi!"

    Poe blinked in confusement, "Hi." He answered back hesitantly, noticing Syal looked agitated. "This is for you," he held out the single stem Tarisian Rose to Syal, who took it in her grasp and smiled.

    "You're so sweet. C'mon!" Syal dropped the Tarisian Rose in a nearby vase on a hallway table, and grabbed Poe's free hand and pulled him along, "Let's go."

    "Where?" Poe questioned curiously as he was dragged along by his girlfriend. "I brought some flowers for your mother, and I thought we were having dinner and—"

    Syal grimaced as she continued to pull along her shocked boyfriend down the apartment hallway, away from the main quarters, "Move it, Dameron! Dinner's cancelled, at least here. We're headed out the back way, and then we can go catch a shuttle down to Coruscant, or anywhere else in the core worlds you'd like." She grumbled.

    Poe blinked his dark eyes, "Why?" He invoked simply.

    Stopping mid-step, Syal dropped Poe's hand and pushed back her loose, straight, shoulder-length hair from her forehead with both hands and a huff, "Myri's home from the Intelligence Academy, with her Starfleet boyfriend." She answered back plainly, her green-eyes narrowed.

    "So?" Poe questioned. "I haven't seen Myri in years, but she wasn't so bad when we were kids. What's the problem?"

    Syal winced, "Myri just showed up out of the blue a few minutes before you arrived, and Mom let it slip that my boyfriend, that's you—"

    "Good to be reminded of my current position in your life." Poe joked to try and set Syal at ease, but she just rolled her eyes and continued.

    "—was coming for dinner. Luckily Mom didn't name drop you and Myri's been going buggy asking me who you are. So Mom's taken her and Rolvan—that's her boyfriend—out to see the new garden installation, so we have enough time to escape." Syal moved behind Poe and put her hands on his shoulders, pushing him forward.

    "So let's move it Dameron, before—"

    "Syaaal." A sing-song, female voice drawled out from further up the hallway, and Poe glanced over his shoulder, to see Syal frozen in mid-step like a womp-rat caught in a landspeeder's headlights. "I heard the front door. Was it your boyfriend?"

    With a noise caught between a groan and a whimper, Syal dropped her grasp of Poe's shoulders and slumped her own shoulders defeatedly, and the couple turned around to see petite Myri Antilles, her dark hair streaked liberally with purple and pink highlights, strolling casually down the hallway towards them.

    Dressed in a fitted, embroidered green shirt and bantha leather pants, paired with chunky-heeled, buckle dotted black boots, Myri was curvier and slightly shorter than her older sister, but her green eyes were exactly the same Antilles green as Syal's.

    The smirk on Myri's heavily make-upped features grew ever wider as she affixed her aforementioned green gaze on the dark haired man standing awkwardly beside her older sibling, holding a bunch of Jebwa flowers loosely in his left hand.

    "Well, well, well. No wonder why my big sis was so cagey about who was coming to dinner. It's the New Republic Starfleet's favourite poster boy," Myri grinned murderously. "Hello Lieutenant Commander Dameron."

    "Myri." Poe answered back with a hesitant, rueful smile. "It's good to see you." He held out his hand and his girlfriend's younger sister took it with a gleeful expression over at Syal, who had her hands covering her features.

    "Not as good as it is for me, Poe," Myri answered back swiftly, dropping Poe's hand to go rest her arm on her sighing older sister's shoulder. "Now, why my big sis wouldn't tell me she was dating the most eligible bachelor this side of the inner core is beyond me. I would be all over the Galactic social media bragging about it, if I landed such a catch."

    Syal pulled her hands from her face and glared over at Myri, "Oh, oh you absolutely would, baby sister, wouldn't you?" She pointed out with a heavy sigh.

    "Bet your bottom credit I would," Myri walked across and pushed herself between Syal and Poe, linking her arms through theirs. "I'm guessing those flowers are for my Mother, so let's go deliver them to her, hmm?" She pulled along her sister and Poe back up the hallway to the main living area.

    "So, how did you two crazy kids hook up at last?"

    Syal rolled her eyes, "On Antar 4. Poe was dispatched there to help with the humanitarian aid, we just happened to run into one another. That's it." She bluntly informed Myri, who shrugged and looked up at Poe.

    "Boring. I think my sister's lying, Poe." Myri smirked lazily. "You took romantic strolls along the beaches, didn't you? Under the moonlight?" She teased, Poe tried not to chuckle at the young woman's words for Syal's sake. "I bet you did."

    "You sure got handsome, Poe, hasn't he just, Syal?" Myri commented glancing over at her older sister. "I remember you had such crush on him when you were a teenager—"

    "Okay, story-time is over," Syal interrupted, as she unlinked her arm from her sister's and reached over to grab Poe's hand to drag him away from Myri's grasp.

    Poe grinned, "What, why? We were just getting to the good part," he teased, causing Myri to laugh as Syal dragged her boyfriend in through the kitchen door, where there was an enticing smell of roasting nerf, mixed in with the slightly sweeter smell of steaming vegetables.

    Glancing over to the centre island in the middle of the expansive kitchen, Poe spotted a slender, still fair-haired as ever, Iella Antilles. Dressed in a flowing, cream coloured jumpsuit, mildly dusting powdered sweet-sugar over a Trammistan chocolate soufflé, Iella glanced over her shoulder at the new entrants into the kitchen.

    "Oh Syal," Iella's eyes turned with amusement over at Poe. "And this handsome figure is most definitely Lieutenant Commander Poe Dameron." She glided over to them and Poe held out the Jebwa flower bunch.

    "Thank you for having me over, Mrs. Antilles," Poe greeted, as Iella took the bunch of flowers with a wide smile.

    "Aren't they lovely! It's no trouble at all, Poe, and please, call me Iella, our families have known each other too long," Iella commented, glancing around the kitchen. "These will just do for the centre of the table, Myri, go fetch Rolvan. Syal," She called over to her eldest daughter as her youngest went out to the apartment garden to get her boyfriend.

    "Go tell your father that dinner is ready and he can finish his conversation later."

    Syal squeezed Poe's arm as she departed, "Remain calm, talk about the weather if all else fails," she whispered to her boyfriend, as she slipped out the kitchen.

    Iella had located a vase and was filling it with water at the sink, "Please sit down, Poe. So," she began, turning off the tap and smiling over at the X-wing pilot, who pulled out a stool from under the island and sat down. "Syal tells me you got together on Antar 4?"

    Poe inclined his head, "Yes Mrs—Iella," he responded swiftly and Iella walked across the kitchen to the open planned dining room area, placing the glass vase full of Jebwa flowers in the centre of the long, white table, which was pre-set with dishes, glassware, and various trays of food, including a large nerf roast.

    Iella nodded, "Lovely beaches, it's no wonder you two finally got romantic," she folded her arms across her chest as she walked back into the kitchen. "You two were so close as children. After you met up again during that awful Jedi massacre situation, Syal always kept track of your achievements, not that her father entirely approved—"

    "What didn't I entirely approve of?" A familiar voice interrupted, and Iella and Poe turned around to look over at where Wedge, still in his uniform, was standing between his eldest daughter and, to Poe's surprise, the greying haired Wes Janson, dressed in casual fatigues, who was just as surprised to see Poe.

    "My former star-pupil!" Wes pushed past the Vice-Admiral and pulled Poe into a quick hug, pulling him back. "What are you doing—" he looked over at Wedge's serious expression, then Syal's slight blush and laughed as he put two-and-two together.

    "Oh ho ho, you're the boyfriend that Wedge has been grumping about having over for dinner!" Wes exclaimed, laughing loudly, before looking indignant. "Wait...you've been bad-mouthing my favourite former-student?" Janson turned to Iella. "Do you mind if I invite myself to stay for dinner?"

    "Wes..." Wedge intoned with a tone suggesting that he need to back off and leave right now, but Iella rested her hand on her husband's long-time comrade's shoulder.

    "Of course not, Wes, you're always welcome," Iella looking warningly over at her husband as Myri entered with a tall, dark skinned young man in a Starfleet Cadet uniform, that Poe could surmise was Rolvan, who smiled and waved friendlily over to the Lieutenant Commander, rushing over to him.

    Rolvan skidded to a halt and held out his hand, "Cadet Rolvan Forjoin, sir. It's an honour to finally meet you in person," he shook Poe's hand enthusiastically. "I saw you at an exhibition show on the Corellian Star-Ship Speedway two years ago! That manoeuvre you preformed through Death Square made me enlist!"

    Poe smiled, "Call me Poe. How are you liking the Academy, Rolvan?" he hopped off the stool, gratefully moving away from being under Wedge's slightly glaring gaze as he walked next to the young pilot, who was a half-a-foot taller than him, towards the dining table.

    "Great! I admit I'm more partial to the A-wings, rather than any other starship build," Rolvan explained to the older pilot. "I find the X-wings a bit trickier. Maybe it's my height, but you really make it look easier than it is. But I believe you could fly anything."

    Poe shrugged as he sat down, Rolvan sitting on his left, "It's experience, trust me. You keep at it long enough and you'll be as good as any starfleet pilot," he assured the cadet, smiling over at Syal as she sat beside him on his right, grabbing her hand under the table and squeezing it gently.

    Wedge sat down at one end of the table, beside Syal and Myri, who sat across from her sister and next to Wes, while Iella sat at the other end of the table. While Wedge pulled the roast nerf towards him and started carving up the meat, everyone passed around the various side-dishes.

    Rolvan shrugged his shoulders as he put some salad greens onto his plate, passing the bowl and tongs to Poe, "I hope so. We've all been hearing how you're going to be Commander of Rogue Squadron one of these days, Poe, most of us are all ready trying to get our stats up on the X-wing simulators so we might get a chance to join Rogue someday—"

    "I'm afraid that won't be possible," Wedge interrupted, placing a piece of nerf roast on Myri's plate, before looking over at the surprised Rolvan, who took a quick glance over at the equally shocked Poe, who side-eyed Wes, who suddenly looked very interested in his bread roll resting on his side-plate.

    "What do you mean, sir?" Rolvan questioned.

    Wedge cleared his throat, "Rogue Squadron is being disbanded," he mentioned bluntly, catching Poe's gaze, he stopped mid-carving the nerf roast and shook his head. "I'm sorry, Poe."

    Shaking his head in disbelief, Poe got to his feet and walked over to his Vice-Admiral, "What do you mean? How could Rogue Squadron ever be disbanded? It's the heart of the New Republic Starfleet! It was the starfleet started by Luke Skywalker during the Rebellion for Force sakes! All that history...why?" Poe was distraught.

    Wedge sat down on his chair and rested his hand over his eyes, "Orders from the Republic senate. They requested we only have one main starfleet and focus our efforts elsewhere in the galaxy, since there's been no major threats for years now. They requested for Wraith Squadron, because the maintenance on the A-wings is less than that of the X-wings in case of an attack on the core worlds."

    Poe clenched his hands together, "All my life all I ever wanted was...was..." he took in a shaky breath. "Then what happens to the Rogue pilots?"

    Wedge took in a deep breath and looked over at Wes, who looked up and tried to smile for the younger pilot.

    "Reassignment." Wes admitted simply.

    Poe bit his lower lip and looked over at Syal, who was looking every bit as upset on her boyfriend's behalf, before looking back over at Wedge, "Have I already be reassigned?" He inquired solemnly.

    Folding his arms, Wedge inclined his head. "Major Lonno Deso has requested you personally, Poe. I heard from him the moment the news broke." He revealed.

    Staring, Poe swallowed hard, "He's in charge of the Mirrin Sector, the Mirrin Prime Base." He recalled, his disappointment still making it hard to comprehend the news.

    Wedge nodded, "Several other bases have asked for you, but this is the best offer," he explained his reasoning. "You'll be able to have your own squadron, plus your choice of wing-mates. You will be given a commander ranking and permission to name the squadron yourself."

    Poe clenched his fingers into his palms, "It's practically in the outer-rim, chasing pirates..." He murmured.

    "So are the other bases who asked for you," Wedge tried to explain, getting to his feet and resting his hand on Poe's arm. "Look, you are too good a pilot for this assignment, I know, Poe. But try and just ride this out for—"

    Shrugging off Wedge's hand, Poe shook his head, "I need some air. Vice-Admiral." He nodded his head, then looked over at Iella. "Excuse me, Iella." He exchanged a quick glance with Syal, before all but running towards the exit of the apartment.

    "Poe!" Syal called after her boyfriend, she got to her feet and glared at her father. "You couldn't have waited...you couldn't have told him later...how could you!" She rushed after Poe.

    Myri threw down her napkin, "That was pretty thoughtless, Dad." She informed him, motioning to Rolvan. "Lets go eat in the mess-hall."

    Wes exhaled as Myri and her boyfriend exited the dining room, "I think I'll join them." He quickly made his escape, leaving Iella and Wedge alone.

    Wedge spread his arms out at his solemn wife, "Iella, really, I didn't know how else to break the news to him and—"

    Iella silently got to her feet, "I know you're upset about Rogue Squadron, but honestly, Wedge Antilles," she folded her arms across her chest. "Make it up to Poe. The X-wings from Rogue will be decommissioned, you could give him his for his personal use."

    Nodding, Wedge slumped down his chair, "I will do everything in my power. Iella, I know how much this meant to Poe...how much Rogue Squadron meant to every young being who walked into the New Republic Starfleet Academy." He rested his hand over his eyes as Iella walked over to his side and put her hand on his shoulder.

    "How much that squadron meant to me."
    -:-:-:-
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    Location: New Republic Starfleet Academy
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________

    Sitting cross-legged upon the grey-stone base of the statue placed in the centre of the Starfleet Academy Memorial Gardens, Poe was staring up at the flood-light lit sculpture, the clear dome of the gardens above twinkled with the dim light of a thousand stars.

    Poe had sensed the presence of his girlfriend moments before through the Force, and didn't shift from his position when he felt her gentle hand on his right shoulder.

    "I thought you might be here." Syal commented as she sat down beside him, pulling her knees up to her chin as she looked aside at her solemn boyfriend, his dark eyes affixed on the statue in front of them.

    "What do you think they hoped for, Syal?" Poe questioned softly. "What do you think they hoped for if they succeeded and toppled the Empire? What did they hope for the future?"

    Syal turned her green gaze upon the famous statue.

    The assembled humanoid figures carved from Selonian marble, of the original Rogue Squadron, in their prime. Helmets tucked under their arms, Luke Skywalker's youthful features stood at the front and centre of the group with a serious expression. Syal's solemn father off to the side along with Wes Janson with a characteristic smirk, Derek Klivian, Dak Ralter and Zev Senesca finishing off the rest of the semi-circle.

    "I don't know. You know my father and you know Wes...you never asked them?" Syal asked, looking back at Poe, who lowered his dark eyes to match with his girlfriend.

    "How would I really know though? That what they say they hoped for is really what they wanted back then." Poe looked back up a the statue. "Look at them, they're barely any older than Rolvan. It was another lifetime." He settled his gaze on Luke Skywalker. "Another life."

    Syal lent her head on Poe's shoulder, "I know this assignment is completely beyond anything you really want, Poe. Wrangling space-pirates is a waste of your talent and it's practically on the outer-rim." She commented. "But what is really troubling you?"

    Poe lent his head atop Syal's, "I feel like I'm always chasing the future, Syal. And getting there late." He closed his eyes. "I finally get into Rogue Squadron, I was about to become leader of the greatest starfleet squadron there ever was, my childhood dream, and it's no longer going to happen. And I feel like it should have happened years ago.

    "Now," Poe exhaled. "Now I feel like I've gone two steps forward and taken three steps back. Back to chasing pirates, and either sneaking away or using my leave time to attend exhibitions just to feel like a real pilot again." He opened his eyes to look up at the stars visible through the clear dome above them.

    Syal wrapped her arms around Poe's upper torso and cuddled closer to him, "I know it's hard, and I think my father is really looking out for you, Poe. Being given a commander rank and your own squadron in these difficult times is no mean feat, I just wish he hadn't been so blunt."

    Poe shook his head, "I know. But Wedge was upset, I know that now. I wish I hadn't stormed out like that, I have to apologise to him." He kissed Syal's forehead and his girlfriend nodded.

    "Tomorrow. Now, I need you to take me somewhere for a late supper since we skipped dinner. Then, we're going back to your quarters, and making love all night to start making up for the time we're going to be apart." Syal kissed Poe's lips firmly.

    Poe lent his forehead against Syal's, "Whatever my lady desires."

    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    Location: New Republic Starfleet Base, Centax-1
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________

    Two weeks after receiving his assignment, eleven days after receiving his new rank of Commander, seven days after contacting, and four days after assembling, his new squadron, Poe Dameron was walking through hanger 16 of the New Republic Starfleet Base.

    Dr. Syal Antilles, arm linked through her boyfriend's, was leaning against his upper arm, the right side of her face resting against the red-orange fabric of Poe's flight-suit as they walked through the bustling hanger, pilots and crew-members preparing the shuttle for departure to Mirrin Prime, BB-8 rolling beside them.

    As a bonus enticement for making sure Poe would chose the Mirrin Prime New Republic Starfleet Base, Major Deso had personally contacted Poe to let him know that Incom-FreiTek had offered to make make four new X-wings, based off a prototype, they would be called T-85s. Provided Poe would do some publicity, they would supply these ships for his squadron. Poe sincerely agreed to the conditions.

    Poe wouldn't be travelling with his three chosen team members, his old academy room-mate, Lieutenant Iolo Arana, Lieutenant Karé Kun and Lieutenant Muran, as Wedge had surprised him with a gift of his T-70 X-wing.

    "She's been decommissioned," Wedge had explained simply. "She's all yours, if you want her."

    Syal was shaking her head, "I can't believe my Father gave you an X-wing," she nudged him playfully. "I think he's coming around to the idea of you as a potential son-in-law."

    Poe chuckled, "Very slowly." He shrugged his shoulders. "I've never been happier. I've got the most beautiful girlfriend in the galaxy, got my droid, a starfighter I can customise, and my own squadron."

    Grinning, Dr. Antilles halted her boyfriend, "Well, this is certainly a turn-around from a couple of weeks ago," she kissed his lips quickly, before they started to walk through the hanger again. "What changed your mind?"

    "Well," Poe began, as he and Syal ducked under the wing of a shuttle and continued towards where his now privately own T-70 X-wing was berthed. "I started thinking that I've got a lot to be grateful for. I have you, my family, friends, a commission." He pulled Syal towards him, putting his arms around her narrow waist.

    "My life is going somewhere. I've got no right to think I'm running behind, or that I'm wasting it." Poe explained, placing a kiss on Syal's forehead. "It may not be exactly where I wanted to be at sixteen, but it's fairly close to being not too shabby."

    Syal pulled him into an embrace, "I'm so proud of you," she pulled him back and kissed him swiftly again, pulling back with a grin. "I have something for you, Commander Dameron."

    Poe matched his girlfriend's grin, "Oh? What is it, Dr. Antilles?" He allowed Syal to pull him over to his X-wing and she motioned to his open cargo hold.

    "Look inside." Syal encouraged with a beaming smile.

    Ducking into the hold, Poe looked around before he spotted an unfamiliar, dark brown cardboard container. He grabbed it and stepped out to show the container to his girlfriend, Syal nodded and Poe opened up the container and gaped when he saw what was inside.

    "Wow!" Poe exclaimed, pulling out the tan coloured bantha leather jacket. It was detailed with divots and deep red detailing above the left pocket, and a larger patch of the deep red leather on the right shoulder.

    Syal leaned forward, "I asked the seller to customise the jacket with a starfighter pilot in mind," she explained and Poe looked up at her. "You're a commander now, you need to look the part, even casually."

    Gathering Syal up in his embrace, Poe kissed her lips happily, "Thank you! I love it." He handed her the jacket and unlatched the top part of his flight suit, stripping the upper part down and off his arms to reveal his plain black under-jumpsuit. Syal handed Poe back the jacket and he pulled it on, it fit perfectly and he posed to his girlfriend's amusement.

    "Gorgeous! Someone call Galactic Style." Syal chuckled.

    Poe stripped off the jacket and climbed up his boarding ladder to place it in the under-chair storage, before climbing back down and walking back to Syal, taking her hands in his own. The young couple were oblivious to the noise and bustling of the hanger as the gravity of the situation settled in.

    "I'll comm with you whenever I can," Poe promised. "Long distance is not a problem. I hate that Rogue had to be disbanded though, it would have been nice to see you in person more often."

    Syal nodded, "Hey, it's just another stage in our lives." She smiled. "I'm headed back to the medic corps in a few weeks anyway. We'll match up our next leave time and spend it on Yavin 4 with your father and grandfather."

    Poe nodded and pulled Syal into an embrace, "That's a perfect plan." He pulled back and cupped the left side of his girlfriend's face in his right hand. "Well, to the next stage of our life, Syal Antilles." Poe captured Syal's willing lips into a passionate kiss and sighed as her arms wrapped around his neck.

    Life keeps moving forward. I wonder what the next few years are going to bring?

    __________________________________________________________________________
    Thank you for reading
     
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