Title: Our Trust. Our Faith. Our Friendships. Author(s): CakeR Timeframe: 16 ABY / 7993 CRC Characters: Luke Skywalker, Ben Solo Summary: While searching for information on a long dead Jedi General, Luke and Ben encounter a Neo-Imperial starfighter gang. “What do you know about the planet Arkenton?” Luke said as he flew into the atmosphere of said planet. “It was…” Ben said as he searched his memory for studies on this sector of space. “I know! It was the homeplanet of Senator Jar Jar Binks!” Luke let out a chuckle. “… Wait that wasn’t a joke?” Luke said. “Senator Binks was from Naboo. That’s not even in this part of the galaxy! Come on Ben you know this. What do you remember- No. What do you know about Arkenton.” Ben closed his eyes in contemplation. He struggled, and struggled, and… let go. Luke could feel it too. The boy got his ego out of his own way and let his subconscious do the work for him. “I think it… I know it was a battleground in the ancient Ionic Wars.” Ben calmly said as he opened his eyes. “Good, very good. And more recently it was a battleground in the Clone Wars. This is supposedly the planet where Jedi General Sobo Boyon died during the purge.” Luke said. “What do you think we’ll find, Master?” Ben said. “Connections. Either to the Jedi of the past, or the galaxy itself.” Luke said as he began to land the ship on a grassy plain. ----- They had barely begun to exit their ship before a couple of Sector Authority soldiers ran towards them. “This is a restricted area.” “May I ask why?” Luke inquired. “We got gang activity in that Old Republic base. A bunch of druggie Neo-Imperials that call themselves the 66th Legion. Gave ‘em an ultimatum. We’ll be bombing the place in about 30 minutes if they don’t leave the premises.” a soldier said. “Hold on, you’re said going to bomb the area?” Luke said. “Yeah, it’s just an old base. Nobody will miss it.” a soldier said. “It’s not the base I’m worried about.” Luke said. “You said you’ll let them leave in peace correct? If that’s the choice they make for themselves?” “Sure, we don’t care where they go, so long as it’s far away from here.” one soldier said. Luke eyed Ben. “Please allow me and my padawan to go inside. Maybe we can convince them to leave without bloodshed.” The Sector Authority soldiers looked at one another and shrugged. “I guess if you want. But we’ll be bombing that base in half an hour so you better be quick.” ----- As Luke and Ben ran towards a door on the side of the base a gang member in an old weathered Imperial officer’s cap took a couple of steps outside. “Boss! We got a couple of idiots coming right towards us.” It was then that the two Jedi stopped in their tracks. Before them stepped out an elderly man with an oddly familiar face and a body that was nearly all cybernetics. “No way.” Luke said. “A clone?” The cybernetic monstrosity then sternly said “You will go no further. I am CT-1682, Denak. And these are my men. My 66th Legion is prepared to cut down anyone who stands in our way, especially a pair of Jedi scum like you two.” “Who are you calling scum? You literally look like you’re made of garbage cans.” Ben said. “If you’ll forgive my extremely rude student here…” Luke said as Ben regretfully looked up at his master. “We mean you no harm. But them?” Luke pointed towards the Sector Authority soldiers “They do.” “Yeah, in about 30 minutes they’re going to destroy this base with all of you in it. We’re here to prevent that by negotiating your peaceful exit from this world… Also I guess I’m sorry for calling you a garbage can.” Ben said, mumbling the last part. Luke smiled at his student. He had a ways to go but he had potential. “We can handle ourselves. Leave.” Denak said before turning away. “I mean no offense when I say this sir, but you absolutely cannot handle yourselves. What are you going to do against a squadron of bombers?” Luke said. “We said we don’t want no Force-worshipin’ Jedi in our damn base boy.” said an imposing man wearing half a suit of Deathtrooper armor. “Ok, no problem.” Ben said before casually turning around. “Ben what are you-” Luke asked. “Hey! Sector Authority! These guys said they don’t want to negotiate so I guess you can go ahead and blow them up!” Ben said as he waved to the confused guards standing across the plain. “Kriffin little… Just shut up and get in here. We’ll figure something out.” Danek said before ushering the Jedi inside the door. “Hold on! I think they changed their minds!” Ben shouted before being yanked inside by a Danek’s mechanical arm. ----- As they walked down a hallway Danek hurriedly ran inside a room and put a lid on a crate. Ben looked inside the room at a pile of small sticks. Denak realized what he was looking at and quickly covered them with a nearby jacket. “You guys selling nervesticks?” Ben asked. “How do you even know about that type of stuff boy?” Denak asked back. “My dad used to smuggle them back in the day.” Ben said with a very un-Jedi like grin. “Ben…” Luke said. The boy apologetically looked towards his master before giving the cyborg another cheeky grin. Denak stopped at a door and said “Let me handle this.” The door hissed open. “Ok now everyone stay calm and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. I don’t like this situation either but it’s this or getting blasted into stardust.” Denak said to his men as he entered the mess hall. “As you’ll surely notice…” Denak said before everyone in the room stood up and grabbed every blaster, pike, club, and food tray in sight. “Why don’t you tell us why we shouldn’t blast these two shinies into stardust ourselves?” a man said as he shoved a blaster into Ben’s face. “I would be very careful if I were you mister. You guys need us if you don’t want to get wiped out by those soldiers out there.” Ben said. “We don’t need them. We got our brothers!” another man said. Judging by the nods everyone else agreed. “Hey… Hey! I said, as you’ll notice I have two…” Denak sighed “Two Jedi with me. These two… Jedi have… graciously agreed to help us negotiate with Sector Authority which, as I might remind you, would very much like to blast us into stardust.” “He’s right, I could tell they were just itching to turn this place into a crater.” Ben said much to Luke’s disappointment. One day the boy will learn subtlety. “Exactly! Exactly. So if you would prefer to be alive, and I very much think you all would, we regretfully have to work with these… shinies.” Denak said. “Look at it like this, before we found each other again there was no way in hell we would have trusted one another. Right? I remember what it was like busting you boys out of some New Republic prison transport. Or a cantina in the middle of nowhere. Half of you would stick your blaster in my face because you couldn’t begin to believe there were people in the galaxy worth trusting anymore, right?” Denak said. The men cautiously nodded in agreement. “But how did that turn out? We trusted each other and now look at us. We have…” Denak looked over at some nearby astromechs who were missing various pieces ranging from front panels to their entire domed heads. “Great droids. We have…” Denak looked at a nearby tray of… mud? Wet dust and leaves? Something that may be edible to at least some creature in the galaxy? “Warm meals in our bellies. And…” He then scanned the room and looked out the window to see their starship ‘uglies’ that they had named various things like the SAFBVD-Wing and the LKJSADLKASJD-Wing. “The fastest ships this side of the galaxy.” Denak said hoping to dear Xim the room wasn’t about to turn into a bloodbath. The men eyed each other, then Denak, then the Jedi, then each other… Then they sighed and lowered their weapons. “See! That’s what I’m talking about boys! Negotiation. Let’s hurry up so we can put this all behind us.” Denak said. “I understand your frustration. We promise that as soon as this is over with we’ll be out of your hair.” Luke said before noticing that nobody in the room, aside from himself and Ben, had any hair in the first place. “I thought we didn’t negotiate with criminals.” a man in half a set of Shoretrooper armor said. “Oh yeah I guess you’re right. We don’t negotiate with criminals, do we Tegan? Hey what’s that over there? Is that an illegal cache of nervesticks? Oh is that an ounce of glitterstim? Gee is that spice I smell on your breath?” Denak said. ----- After about 10 minutes of negotiation they had finally decided that the 66th Legion would transport the various… products they intended on selling to make a living. Meanwhile Luke and Ben would transport everything else ranging from their droids to their holoball table. The gang members stared in awe as Luke lifted 4 crates of spice with the Force. “I told you they could really do that stuff. I wasn’t lying.” Denak said to his bewildered men. “If my masters knew I was using the Force to help a bunch of Stormtroopers transport spice they would be rolling in the netherworld.” Luke said. “Ok, maybe we was wrong about callin’ you a shiny. Honestly we could use a wizard like you in our gang.” one man said. The others looked offended. “What? What’s the difference between what he’s doin’ and what ol’ Vader used to do? Didn’t he have magic powers too? I’m just sayin’ nobody would mess with us, that’s all.” “Nah I don’t think we need no wizard. We got each other, that’s enough.” one man said. “Yeah we got through all of this by sticking together, we don’t need anything else, only one another.” someone else said. The men all nodded in agreement and patted each other on the shoulders. ----- As Denak was making sure all their product was accounted for, he saw the little Jedi boy wandering out of his quarters. Ben was holding a braid of hair. Not just any braid, the braid Denak had hid for all these years. The braid that he should have gotten rid of the day that he got that fateful holotransmission from Chancellor Palpatine announcing that the Jedi had betrayed the galaxy. “YOU PUT THAT DOWN RIGHT NOW BOY!” Denak said. “Master, do you think this is General Boyon’s padawan braid?” Ben excitedly announced before quickly realizing his mistake. As 20 sets of angry eyes locked onto Denak, Luke dropped a crate of spice. He then ran over to Ben to protect his apprentice. “What are you? Some sort of Jedi worshipper?” Tegan said. “You led a Jedi and his little scumrat into our base!” Mubo said. “You almost had us fooled!” another shouted. “Men, please. We don’t have time for any of this.” Luke said. “Oh shut up you wizard!” a gang member said. “How do we know they didn’t trick our brains? Can’t they do that? A Jedi brain cheat or something?” another man said. Ben felt something familiar in the quarters behind him. Like an old possession that had been with him for years. “-kriffin traitor!” one man said. “I ought to kick your-” said one as he rolled up his sleeves. Luke tried to nudge himself into the middle of the commotion. Ben began to help his master before again sensing something. “Everyone quiet down. I feel…” Ben said before closing his eyes and holding out his hand. “No you guys got it all wrong. I kept it because I had to know the enemy! You think I really care about some little Jedi trinkets?” Denak said, even if deep inside he knew it was a lie. “Shut up.” Ben said as he reached out into the Force. “They’re going to be bombing this place into oblivion any minute now!” Luke said. “I knew you were nothing but a-” a small man said. “Farken degenerate, I swear.” a fat man said. “Why don’t you say that to my face you little...” a small fat man said. Solo finally put his arm down, turned towards the overgrown children, and at the top of his lungs shouted “SHUT UP!” A moment of silence filled the room, and then a bright blue light flickered on behind the boy. “Th- is Mast- Kenobi.” said the holographic image of a bearded human. “I regret to report that both our-” the Jedi hologram said before emitting loud static. “-der and the Repu- have fallen.” said the Jedi. After a couple seconds of static interlaced with bits of silence the voice continued. “This message is a warning and a reminder for any surviv-” the Jedi said. Ben tapped the holocron a couple of times. A few specks of dust fell out and the message became clearer. “Do not return to the Temple…that time has passed, and our future is uncertain. We will each be challenged. Our trust. Our faith. Our friendships. But we must persevere. And in time, a new hope will emerge. May the Force be with you, always.” said Master Kenobi. Luke grabbed the holocron from the air. “See that Ben? Obi-Wan was wise. He knew that the Jedi couldn’t hold onto the past without destroying their future. It’s not the structures and rule books that are important.” said Master Luke as he spoke to Ben but looked into the eyes of all the men surrounding him as if to teach them a lesson as well. “It’s the heart of a Jedi that’s most important. That’s how the Jedi lived on. Through allies that kept their memory alive in their hearts.” Danek looked down at the little padawan braid as the shadow of a memory surfaced in his mind. A young man excitedly running up to him holding the braid. A drink with that young man later that night. Jedi Padawan Sobo Boyon, now a Jedi Knight, spitting out his first sips of whatever disgusting, cheap ale the clones could muster up on the battlefield. The other men somehow felt it too. Not necessarily the memories, for those were Danek’s to treasure, but the feeling of friendship. They understood what Danek was feeling because it was the same thing they felt for each other, and for Danek himself. This bickering wasn’t who they were; they were the races around Arkenton’s asteroid belt. The long nights reminiscing about the pranks they pulled on each other in the academy. They weren’t this festering hatred, they were the drinks they had together as friends. Their time at the academy or on the battlefield may be over, but their camaraderie never ended. A tear rolled down Danek’s cheek. Another fell down one of the trooper’s cheeks as well. And then the whole room was startled by the sounds of heavy blubbering sobs. “OH GOSH. IT’S SO TOUCHING.” Tegan said in between sniffles. ----- A couple of hours later, everyone had settled into the hangar of a nearby space station. As the ships refueled they shared food, drinks (though the Jedi abstained), and stories in their rekindled and newfound friendship. As Luke and Ben were preparing to leave, Tegan ran towards their ship. “Hold up! Come, we have something to show you guys.” The Jedi walked across the hangar to find that the uglies which formerly had ‘66th Legion’ painted on their sides now proudly read ‘Sobo’s Legion’. “Are you sure you’re not going to regret that?” Luke said. “Nod really, I sorta doubt I’ll ‘member havin’ painted it in the morn.” A drunken Denak said as he stumbled towards the Jedi. “Ehh by the way, before you guys get outta ‘ere I want you to have this.” Denak held out the holocron. “You sure about that?” Ben said. “Absolutely kid. It’s what Sobo would have wanted. I take care of his legion an’ you take carra his holothingamajiggy. Sound like a deal?” Denak said. “Sure thing.” Luke said, accepting the holocron. “Oh an’ one last thing.” Denak said. “May thaforsse bewith yuuuu.” and with that he nearly fell over before his men held him back up. “Come on boss, how does a good nap sound eh?” a gang member said. “Ahh nabbb I couldreelly go forronathose nowww. Byeee Jedi frensss.” Denak said as his men carried him away. “What did you learn about the planet Arkenton, Ben?” Luke said as they walked towards their ship. “I learned that the people on Arkenton stick together no matter what.” Ben said. “And they also like to drink!” “Wait, no, that’s not what I-” Luke said. “And they have a ton of drugs. Ooh and weapons! Lots of blasters! I can’t wait to tell mom all about this mission!” Ben said as he ran towards the ship. “Please don’t.” Luke said clearly not anticipating the earful he was going to get from his sister.