Saga Pieces of Air -- ESB-era short story, Luke, Leia & Han -- Complete 3 September

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Knight_Aragorn, Aug 10, 2007.

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  1. Knight_Aragorn

    Knight_Aragorn Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 15, 2003
    Title: Pieces of Air
    Author: Knight_Aragorn
    Setting: Hoth, before Empire Strikes Back
    Characters: Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Wedge Antilles, OCs

    Summary: Luke finds that healing isn't always straight-forward.

    A/N: I'm not sure how well this story works, as it's fairly introspective and emotionally quite dark (in an angst sense, not a dark!Luke sense, sorry ;)).

    There will probably be about four parts all up, depending on how I end up doing section breaks.

    As always, feedback is highly appreciated. :D

    [b]PIECES OF AIR[/b]


    Pain was all Luke knew the instant he woke: pain red-hot and blinding, filling the universe, destroying everything in its wake. Or so it felt.

    It took a few minutes for the pain to subside to a level that was, if not exactly manageable, less all-consuming. Luke clenched his teeth, waiting for his vision to clear.

    He wore a helmet. He was in a vehicle. Not an X-Wing. Probably an airspeeder, one of the T-47s. He must have landed badly. The viewscreen was cracked, the controls and the front of the ship buckled. There was snow outside. The face-shield on his helmet was cracked.

    What else? It felt like there was blood on his face. Numbness ? right arm. Burning pain in his stomach. Pain in his legs, unable to move them. The front of the ship had buckled around his legs; he was trapped.

    Luke tried to move the lower half of his body, testing whether he could free his legs. The small cockpit was cramped, even more so than usual, bent and buckled by the force of impact. His body was wedged tight. Pain made him haze out for a moment; movement hurt, a lot. That wasn?t good.

    There was a sound behind him as the pain subsided again. Not the groan of stressed metal; a human sound, harsh breathing. He abruptly remembered: T-47s were routinely manned by a pilot and a gunner.

    He licked his lips, tasted blood. ?Pag?? His voice was a croak, barely audible. Luke focused on making it clearer. ?Pag, you with me??

    There was a faint sound from behind, a catch in that breathing. ?Right? here,? came a slow, slow reply. Luke could hear how much it was costing the other man to speak.

    ?How you doing??

    ?Not? so good.?

    ?Hold on.? Luke blinked, trying to focus on the buckled controls swimming before the cracked visor of his helmet. There was a light blinking on the comm controls. ?Distress signal?s activated? they?ll find us soon.?

    ?? hope you?re right.?

    So did Luke. Given the condition the panel was in, there was no telling whether the signal was actually working. He had to believe it was, though. He tried to find the words to reassure Pag, but couldn?t gather enough strength to speak again.

    ?? mander?? He was suddenly aware of Pag?s voice, barely audible against the sound of wind outside the fuselage of the ship. ??thought? left me ??

    ?Sorry,? Luke muttered. He must have drifted; how long had he been out? Not good. He had to keep track of time.

    He realised he was shivering. Even in bulky cold-weather wear, the temperature was well below freezing. ? ??s cold,? he said. Blinking at the ruined controls, he tried to locate the environmental systems. His fingers, clad in heavy gloves, wouldn?t seem to obey his instructions at first, but he finally managed to hit the button for warmth. Nothing happened. ?? systems?s not working,? he said aloud.

    ? ?m warm,? Pag said, his voice faint.

    ?Pag?? Luke blinked, alarm forcing him to increased awareness. ?Stay with me.?

    There was no reply. Luke said, ?Pag!?

    ??yeah, yeah.? The other man?s voice was hard to hear. ?I?m here.?

    Luke knew he should try to talk, do something to keep them both alert. He tried to think of something to say. His brain didn?t want to cooperate either; his thoughts kept blanking out. He didn?t know Pag all that well. The man had been with the Rogues a few months. Luke couldn?t even remember where he?d come from. Did he have a family somewhere? He tried to focus enough to ask, but he was so tired, and then he forgot>
  2. VaderLVR64

    VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 5, 2004
    I've got to go pick up a birthday cake, or I'd leave a longer review, but I'll just say "Please PM me!" for now! This looks amazing, but that's no surprise at all! :p

  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    You got the characters perfectly, as always. :) I've been dying for Luke fic or fics in this timeframe. He's ... adorable in a fresh kinda way here. [face_love] :D Growing and maturing but not weighed down, though of course Pag's death is gonna have a strong emotional impact. Very vivid images and emotions. =D= PM's, please? SQUEE!!
  4. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Wonderful! As I expected it would be, with you at the pen. This is a sort of coming of age story, isn't it, where Luke starts to question a lot of his choices.

    Your descriptions are first rate, and the details (like Han playing some sort of GFFA solitare) are perfect.

    I'm definitely looking foreward to the next installment!
  5. Golden_Jedi

    Golden_Jedi Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 10, 2005
    Wow! This is just... perfect! I can't say more. =D=

    I love this 'stage' of Luke too and I look forward to read what you have to say about it. PM me when you update, please? :)
  6. dancing_star

    dancing_star Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 24, 2007
    Wow! This is just... perfect! I can't say more.
    I completely agree. Perfection! :)
    Please add me to the pm list... and post more very soon![face_batting]
    =D= =D= =D= =D=
  7. dm1

    dm1 Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 9, 2004
    Please PM me when this updates; you've got a great start here!
  8. RebelMom

    RebelMom Jedi Knight star 6

    Apr 20, 2000
    Wonderful job with the angst, as per your usual. I love Luke at this stage of his life.
  9. StarFighter5

    StarFighter5 Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 25, 2003
    I love this because I can feel Luke's emotion and pain as if it were my own and that is what I enjoy the most about good fanfiction.
  10. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    This was so poignant. I loved how you wrote the first part with very short sentences - like we were right there inside Luke's head. His awareness growing in and out and the loss of Pag that he had to face.

    I loved how he woke up and was still confused, seeing Han there.

    Loved this.

    It seemed so fragile, Luke thought. The games they played, building who they were, what they believed, in the middle of a war where it could all be gone in an instant and all that would be left were memories, so flimsy and forlorn.

    That insight might come back to him again.

    Great job. Please PM me with updates.
  11. alhana_antilles

    alhana_antilles Jedi Youngling star 3

    Aug 16, 2002
    You've got a solid start. I'm looking forward to more.
  12. MotionWright

    MotionWright Jedi Knight star 1

    Mar 15, 2007
    Excellent characterisation of Luke. =D=

    Pag's last moments and Luke's hallucinations felt poignantly real.

    PM me when you update, please.
  13. Tahi

    Tahi Jedi Knight star 5

    Jun 8, 2002
    Yay - you've started posting this. :)

    e was jerked back to awareness suddenly. There was something unfamiliar inside of him, something fragile tearing, a teetering on the edge of something huge and deep.
    Fantastic description of how death feels in the Force - even though it's sad.

    I thought the conversation between Luke and Pag was excellent and very realistic. I also liked the way you showed his delirium with the confusion between Hoth and Tatooine.

    I love you, he added to the thought. But I don?t think I?ll ever tell you that.

    It felt as though he was on the brink of something there, something that could be important, but it was gone before he could catch it.

    Loved that bit - it was very poignant.

    He stared Han for a while, his thoughts oddly sluggish. The other man?s hands moved deftly, his eyes running over the cards, flicking from one to the next. Just like Han: always shifting from one thing to the next, his mind moving all the time, weighing people, judging balances and risk.

    It seemed so fragile, Luke thought. The games they played, building who they were, what they believed, in the middle of a war where it could all be gone in an instant and all that would be left were memories, so flimsy and forlorn.

    Brilliant! :) It catches his mood perfectly in that moment - kind of negative. So his insights are tinged with that same negativity. It makes me realise that Luke must have gone through many periods like this where he kind of lost faith.

    That final bit was very emotionally charged. I think the idea of showing us so much through Luke's pov is an excelllent device.

    This is great - and I am totally hooked. No surprise of course. ;) =D=

  14. strwbrystarshine

    strwbrystarshine Jedi Youngling star 1

    Feb 26, 2005
    beautiful work, as always. please keep me posted! @};-
  15. Knight_Aragorn

    Knight_Aragorn Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 15, 2003
    VaderLVR64: No problem, will PM. :D

    Jade_eyes: Thanks, will do. :)

    divapilot: Thanks for reading! More very soon.

    Golden_Jedi: ESB Luke seems to be quite popular... ;) Thanks, will PM you. :D

    dancing_star: Thank you. Will add you to the list.

    dm1: Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the beginning. :D

    RebelMom: I can never resist the angst for too long. :p Thanks!

    StarFighter5: Thank you - it was a little awkward to write because Luke was hazing in a out, so I'm glad it managed to get that sense of what he was going through across.

    dianethx: Thank you for the feedback. Glad you enjoyed the first part - will certainly PM you with updates.

    alhana_antilles: Thank you. More will be up soon. :D

    MotionWright: Thank you very much! Will send you a PM.

    Tahi: [face_blush] Thank you! Luke's POV was a bit trickier than I thought, so I'm glad to hear that it worked. Glad you enjoyed it so far. Thanks for the feedback.

    strwbrystarshine: Thank you. :D Will do!

  16. Knight_Aragorn

    Knight_Aragorn Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 15, 2003

    ?... grounded all the airspeeders in the fleet for the time being. It?s brought the survey missions to a halt, and Base Command aren?t too happy, but General Rieekan is insisting.?

    Luke shook his head in frustration. ?All I remember is the controls locking up, and even that?s not very clear. It?s all a haze.?

    Wedge, sitting in a chair by Luke?s bed, gave him a sympathetic look. Luke didn?t like the look much. Too many people had been wearing it around him since he woke up; it made him itch in a way he couldn?t define. ?It?ll come back in time.?

    ?That?s not good enough. We don?t have [i]time[/i].? Luke glared at the foot of his bed. His legs were aching again. The med droid said it might be weeks before he would be fully recovered. He hadn?t even been allowed out of bed yet and he?d been awake, on and off, for three days. ?I remember being in the mess hall that morning. After that it?s all a blank, except for ? for random flashes, flashes that don?t tell me anything. I remember walking towards the speeder, thinking about my helmet feeling tight, I remember thinking about those manoeuvres we were doing last week as I went over that ice field we used, I remember?? [i]swearing panicked engines spluttering sick plummeting whirling white pain red hot cold[/i] ?? that?s it. That?s all I remember.?

    His hands, clenched around the white bedsheets, were shaking. He felt cold, even though the med bay was kept at steady room temperature. He hated snow, he?d decided. [i]Really[/i] hated it.

    ?That?s not unexpected, Luke,? Wedge said. The carefulness of his tone told Luke that Wedge had seen the shaking too. ?You sustained pretty severe trauma back there.?

    ?Don?t placate me, Wedge.? Luke recognised the tone of voice. He?d used it himself on occasion, knew the lines. [i]It?s not your fault. Just concentrate on getting well.[/i]

    ?Sorry. You know it?s true, though.?

    Luke shook his head, dismissing the issue. ?When are they retrieving? the speeder?? The body, he thought, but it was too hard to say. Was that callous, or just cowardly?

    ?They got it yesterday morning ? it had been buried in the storm. Techs are going over it as we speak. They?ll find out what went wrong.?

    ?It was supposed to be a routine patrol.?

    ?Yeah. It was.?

    Luke stared at nothing. ?Did Pag have a family??

    Wedge hesitated. ?I don?t know. I didn?t know him very well.?

    Luke closed his eyes, then opened them. ?Find out for me, Wedge??

    ?I?ll do what I can.?

    ?He shouldn?t have died like that.? Luke was shivering again. He clenched his fists to hide the weakness.

    Wedge stood. ?I should go,? he said. He put a hand on Luke?s shoulder briefly, uncertainly. ?Get some rest, Luke. We need our commander back.?

    Luke managed a nod, but didn?t look at Wedge. The other man left, the door hissing closed behind him.


    Leia came to see him with news that they?d discovered what had gone wrong with the speeder. Ice had formed in the drive units and under the controls, causing the malfunction that made the vehicle lose power.

    ?It?s not your fault in any way,? Leia said, a hand on his medtunic-clad arm. Luke wondered if she?d been talking to Wedge. ?You understand that, don?t you? You couldn?t have done anything. It?s a miracle that you managed to land it in more or less one piece. In the hands of a lesser pilot, it would have been destroyed on impact.?

    Luke forced a smile that he didn?t begin to feel. ?Thank you.?

    Leia looked at him with a faint frown. ?That?s not an answer.?

    He was saved from responding by Han?s entrance. The smuggler was dressed in bulky snow gear, as though he?d only just come in from outside. Luke was grateful for once for Han?s characteristic bluster; it deflected Leia?s attention from him for a while.

    ?Hey, kid.? Han greeted him, nodded at Leia. ?Princess. Surprised to find you here.?

    ?What does that mean?? Leia was instantly righteous indignation embodied; Luke would ordinarily have marvelled at the abrupt shift in emotional temperature, but couldn?t bring himself to pay attention to>
  17. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Luke's impatience to be up and doing again, not wanting to be placated or coddled, realizing he's being ungrateful to Han and Leia... [face_thinking] All this feels like Jedi-2B's "Shattered Remembrance." :D =D= Hope things turn around though they seem to be at the end there. :) Love Han and Leia in this. Hopefully, next time, Luke can appreciate their ... bickering [face_laugh] ;)
  18. dancing_star

    dancing_star Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 24, 2007
    Awesome update! [face_dancing] Thanks for the pm!
    Poor Luke though. :(:_| :_| If he keeps blaming himself for Pag's death, it's going to eat him alive.
    And disobeying the med-droid. :rolleyes: [face_shame_on_you] Luke, you'd better listen to your friends if you want to get well. And appreciate when they're trying to help because they love you and only want what's best.
    I liked how Leia and Han came and just sat down beside him, offering their silent comfort.[face_love]
    Great update.:) Can't wait for more!
    =D==D= =D= =D=
  19. PonyTricks

    PonyTricks Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 25, 2003
    *slaps Luke* Hey, Han and Leia are only trying to help! o_O :p
  20. dollfin220

    dollfin220 Jedi Knight

    Jun 26, 2007
    This story is absolutely wonderful. I love your work. Your characterizations are dead on. I love the interactions between the characters. I have to say I think you are my favorite author, great job!!

  21. Golden_Jedi

    Golden_Jedi Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 10, 2005
    Everyone in the Rebellion accepted the risk of their own death. Everyone had lost friends. Some had lost lovers. Everyone dealt with it differently. Luke had had friends die before ? good friends, people he cared about. Biggs. Ben Kenobi. Even his aunt and uncle.

    Those were deaths he hadn?t been able to do anything about. Biggs and Ben had been gone in an instant. His aunt and uncle had died when he wasn?t there.

    He didn?t have to deal with this in any of those cases. He didn?t have to face the knowledge that it could have been him, maybe should have been him, not them, that died.

    No. Not like this. Not like knowing it had been him who crashed the ship, futzed the landing, wasn?t good enough, and someone else was dead because of it while he languished here in a comfortable medbay, healing at his supposed leisure.

    I had to quote all that because... it was so spot on.

    =D= =D= =D=
  22. snowspeeder_gunner

    snowspeeder_gunner Jedi Padawan star 4

    Apr 10, 2007
    Awesome story!:D I love the interactions between Wedge and Luke. Could I be added to the PM list please?
  23. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    I loved his impatience to be moving. I think it's all part of the grief, that he took the blame for Pag's death and he needs to run away from it for a time. I loved that Han and Leia were arguing while Luke was going through such a tough time - makes it seem more real.

    Great job.
  24. VaderLVR64

    VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 5, 2004
    As always, your work moves and awes me. I'm so jealous... Your gift is so very evident in this story, as it is in all of your work.

    It didn?t matter. He still felt completely empty. Pag was still dead.

    Luke slumped back against the wall. His legs gave out, and he slid down, coming down hard on the cold floor. He drew his knees up, ignoring the pain now burning in his muscles, and lowered his head into his arms.

    He felt Leia sit on one side, her hand light and warm on his arm. Han sat on his other side, his shoulder solid against Luke?s.

    They stayed that way, neither Han nor Leia moving or speaking until Luke finally raised his head. Then they helped him up, supporting him either side, back into the bed.

    ?Give me some space,? Luke said, not looking at either of them. ?Please.? He felt bone-weary, knew he was being ungrateful, a bad friend, unable to find it in himself to care.

    Leia and Han left. Luke rolled onto his side and stared at the wall, trying not to think.

  25. strwbrystarshine

    strwbrystarshine Jedi Youngling star 1

    Feb 26, 2005
    I like the way you write Luke's impatience and his emptiness, his need to do something--anything. Your characterizations of Leia and Han are also spot-on.

    Well done, as usual. Looking forward to the next update!=D=
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