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Saga - ST The Force Awakens (a fan-edit - AU?)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Kurisan, Mar 16, 2020.

  1. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 26, 2016



    The galaxy is in turmoil. The peaceful NEW REPUBLIC struggles to maintain security. The shadows of war gather again, and Senator Leia Organa is desperate to find her brother…

    Luke Skywalker has vanished. The Jedi Academy has collapsed. In the security vacuum, slavers and pirates plunder the vulnerable.

    Yearning for stability, richer systems support a new military power, built in secret in the unknown regions. Now the sinister FIRST ORDER challenges the elected Republic on Hosnian Prime…

    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020
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  2. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 26, 2016
    Chapter 1

    The misty orb of Hosnian Prime revolved peacefully in space like a suspended pearl. The metropolitan planet proudly hosted the governmental buildings of the New Galactic Republic.

    Three dagger-like silhouettes darkened the skies above the Republic chambers. Gigantic Resurgent-class Star Destroyers – larger, more powerful than their defunct Imperial counterparts from many years before – they disgorged their swarms of TIE-fighters into the atmosphere.

    Racing to intercept, the sleek T-70 X-wings of Blue Squadron launched from below. A dogfight erupted amongst the clouds and hovering skyplatforms.

    “Blue Two to Blue One, they are heading for the defences,” said the gruff voice of Ello Asty, a salmon-skinned Abednedo pilot.

    “This is Blue One to all wings: Split up and defend the ion-cannons, or the planet will be wide open!” said Snap Wexley, an experienced and bearded human pilot.

    “There are too many, we can’t hold them all off,” said Jess Testor – Blue Three.

    The X-wings jousted with the TIEs, and explosions rocked the skies. Terror gripped the stampeding citizens in the wide avenues and statue-lined promenades below.

    * * *​

    Inside the Republic chambers’ elegant arched corridors, panic reigned as civilians and aides rushed about to the screech of klaxons. In the main senate theatre itself, a beautiful white space composed of marble and alabaster in the Neo-Alderaanian style, an emergency session took place to the background rhythm of explosions above.

    “The First Order is attempting a military coup! We have no hope of defending ourselves, we simply do not have the resources!” said Lanever Villecham, a white-whiskered Tarsunt.

    “We must flee to our homeworlds,” said Gadde Neshurrion, a tall human of noble countenance.

    “Wait. We should try to negotiate. The First Order can bring security to our systems – security that has sadly been lacking,” said Erudo Ro-Kiintor, the dark-robed human senator from Hevurion.

    Several others around him nodded agreement with faces composed in displays of studied concern.

    “The First Order will not negotiate!” a commanding voice rose above them all. All eyes turned to witness Leia Organa enter the hall, greying but still regal in her sombre robes of office. “They will not share power. I have seen this before…”

    After a silent pause, Erudo said, “What can we do? We have no army, and your brother and his Jedi guardians are no more!”

    Leia opened her mouth but could not answer, and the pain creased her face.

    Erudo turned to the others, “We will have to deal with the First Order. Someone tell our forces to stand down…”

    Leia exchanged looks with several other senators who shared her views. Ackbar of Mon Calamari, Nien Nunb of Sullust, Amalyn Holdo of Gatalenta. A silent nod passed between them and they quietly slipped from the chamber.

    * * *​

    In the battle above, the outnumbered X-wings bravely gave account of themselves. Calls transmitted back and forth between Blue Squadron as they did their best to defend the ion-cannons that kept the Star Destroyers at bay. One of the defence turrets was destroyed by marauding TIEs. The X-wings chased down the interlopers and scattered them with streams of laser blasts.

    Then a new TIE fighter entered the battle. Split-forked wings accented the sleek lines of the TIE-Silencer, and the manner in which it zoomed into combat betrayed that an elite pilot handled its controls. The Silencer destroyed several X-wings before targeting another of the ion cannons.

    “He’s too fast, I can’t get a lock,” said Jess Testor.

    “Watch your back, Blue Three, he has wingmen covering!” shouted Asty.

    Blue Squadron exchanged calls of alarm at this dangerous enemy, and the TIEs gathered around their leader. Then the Silencer finished the job on the last ion cannon, which bloomed into a flower of fire.

    In the cockpit of the enhanced starfighter, a figure in polished chrome armour and a more ornate helmet than standard TIE pilots signalled to the Star Destroyers far above in orbit. It was a hard, emotionless voice of a woman.

    “Shadow Leader to Interdictor; the defences are neutralised. You are clear to land.”

    “Well done, Captain Phasma. The invasion will commence. Shoot down those Republic dogs as they flee!” said General Hux from aboard the Destroyer.

    The X-wings scattered and regrouped. “Blue One to Command, you are exposed,” Snap’s voice was desperate. “We cannot repel the firepower of those Destroyers.”

    There was commotion at the other end of the comlink.

    “Stand down! Stand down! All pilots land…” said a panicked voice, before it was cut off.

    “What’s going on? Do we surrender?” said Blue Three, straining to see what damage had been done to the city below.

    “No!” shouted Asty. “We are sworn to protect the Republic!”

    Then a new voice spoke on the Command channel. “This is Leia Organa to all wings: Break off – you cannot do any more good up there.”

    “What’s happening… umm… Commander?” said Blue One.

    “We have lost this battle to the First Order, but we do not surrender. Initiate the Alderaan Emergency Protocol – you all know the rendezvous point. Protect the fleeing transports then get to hyperspace. We will retreat and we will survive. We will regroup, and we will fight back!

    A shocked silence greeted this pronouncement for several moments as the pilots of Blue Squadron considered its import.

    Then Snap Wexley said, “Confirmed: Alderaan Emergency Protocol, Commander Organa. Blue Squadron, you heard her; let’s get the transports out of here.”

    * * *

    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020
  3. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 26, 2016
    Chapter 2

    Leia hurried towards her designated transport, aides and security personnel trailing in her wake, loaded with equipment and files and other essentials deemed in need of rescue. A golden protocol droid flanked the lowered gantry into the shuttle.

    “Senator Organa, Artoo is already on board, but I am afraid I have not yet been unable to pack your official wardrobes or the jewellery collections…”

    “Can it, Threepio, we’re leaving now!” Leia rushed past him.

    She was joined in the crowded passenger section by concerned allies.

    “How many more?” she enquired of her aide, Kor Sella.

    “All that are leaving have already gone,” she replied sadly. “The other senators have instructed their staffs to surrender and await the First Order.”

    Leia shook her head and signalled for the take off. The stubby-nosed shuttle rose on a rush of screaming engines and headed for the pale skies.

    A co-pilot in the cockpit turned round, “Senator Organa; Senator Ackbar on the comlink for you.”

    “Patch him through.”

    The familiar gurgling voice of the old Mon Cal campaigner came through on the comlink mounted in the arm of Leia’s seat. “General Organa, the cadet base on Dantooine signals they are shutting down operations and meeting us at the rendezvous point.”

    Admiral,” Leia replied with Ackbar’s old rank title, “I am not in charge here.”

    “I beg to differ, Leia,” Ackbar’s voice was firm but filled with respect. “The people need a leader now.”

    Kor Sella also spoke up, consulting a datapad transmission, “Senator, Captain Antilles says he is mobilising the old Veterans Association!”

    Leia murmured to herself. “Cadets and veterans are hardly going to stand a chance against the military might of the First Order.”

    “Oh dear, oh dear, not again” muttered Threepio. R2-D2 remained inactive in a corner of the section.

    The passengers on board the shuttle all fell silent and watched Leia as she fell into contemplation.

    Kor Sella knelt before Leia and took her hand, “Senator, General, you foresaw this moment. Only you had the wisdom to plan for it. The Alderaan Protocol is your order. They are waiting for you.”

    Leia nodded with deep regret and called to the co-pilot. “Send this out to all transports and X-wings, then re-transmit to the open holo-net before they shut it down.”

    The pilot gestured when the transmitter was ready. Leia stood and grabbed a remote com-transmitter.

    “Now hear this; the First Order has invaded Hosnian Prime in an attempt to unseat the peaceful and elected Galactic Republic. This cannot be tolerated. I call to all who hear this to rise up and resist! Some of your leaders are already organised. Know that on this darkest of days, when the First Order blackens history with its despicable military coup, that there is a Resistance and we will stand up for you!”

    She sat again and replaced the comlink transmitter. The people in the shuttle all clapped her, but she waved them to silence. Outside, X-wings flocked to her shuttle’s flanks and accompanied her as they fled for orbit, then hyperspace beyond. Leia slumped again.

    “Are you alright, Senator Organa?” Threepio’s tone was filled with his customary nervous concern.

    Kor Sella retook her hand, “My Lady?”

    “I cannot do this alone,” Leia said. “We must find Luke!”

    Kor Sella nodded, “We have our best pilot on it right now – he is tracking down the firmest lead we’ve had so far, in the Jakku system…”

    * * *​

    In the main avenue of the Hosnian Prime political quarter, First Order hover-tanks rumbled towards the senate chambers. Legions of stormtroopers marched alongside in disciplined ranks. Terrified civilians watched, dumbstruck at the procession, afraid to run, afraid to speak, afraid to move.

    General Hux was joined at the head of the convoy by Captain Phasma as they started up the wide marbled steps to the chambers. The silver-armoured elite pilot carried a custom pistol on her thigh.

    “Well done, Captain. The operation has gone smoothly,” said Hux.

    Phasma saluted. “A number of transports escaped. You were perhaps too quick to land and take the chamber before securing the planet, General.”

    “What can they do?” sneered Hux. “They have nothing, no-one to protect them. We will hunt them down for sport in due course. This…” he gestured at the chambers he was personally about to claim, “This is the moment in history we have been waiting for. This is the glory we seek!”

    Flanked by stormtroopers, Hux and Phasma advanced up the stairs. At the summit they threw open the ornate doors. Several senators met the military party inside the entrance atrium. They opened their mouths to protest, while stormtroopers aimed weapons threateningly.

    “This is an outrage! We are the rightfully elected representatives of our worlds!” said one senator.

    Hux turned and sneered in his face. “You are weak and ineffective fools!”

    A brave – or crazy – lone security guard ran at the general with a ceremonial staff swinging. He shouted a battle cry and attacked. Phasma coolly stepped forward and caught the weapon. She upended the attacker and rammed the tip of the electro-spear into his stomach until his body stopped twitching. Cowed, the other senators stepped aside and allowed themselves to be taken prisoner by the stormtroopers.

    Inside the senate meeting theatre itself, Erudo confronted Hux. He said under his breath, “General Hux, this is an unexpected move for the First Order. I thought we had an understanding?”

    “You are all under arrest!” Hux shouted to the remaining senators. A subdued protest was murmured in response.

    “Hux!” hissed Erudo. “We financed you, supported you, we made you!”

    The general regarded the senator and his lip curled in contempt.

    “Now you will obey us!” he turned as Erudo was led away. He raised his voice toward holo-net recorders broadcasting the scene inside the Republic chambers to audiences across countless worlds. Stormtroopers rushed to the upper gantries and unfurled red flags with the black jagged symbol of the First Order down each facing. Hux roared, “Now the entire galaxy will obey the First Order!”

    Aboard Leia’s shuttle, now streaking through hyperspace, the watchers of the broadcast stared in silence.

    Back in the senate theatre, now alone again, Hux activated the large portable holo-projecter that had been installed at its centre. This time it was a private channel. In the crimson-tainted semi darkness cast by the flags, the towering figure of a grey-skinned being with enlarged disfigured cranium and grimacing features filled the hall. Hux bowed theatrically.

    “Supreme Leader Zarakken, it is done.” He swept his hand about the empty hall. “There was minimal resistance. Sorn was correct; there is no sign of the Jedi. Luke Skywalker is long gone.”

    Zarakken frowned. Hux, disappointed at the lack of enthusiasm at his crushing victory, continued. “You are now officially the supreme power in the galaxy…”

    “We must find Skywalker!” Zarakken barked. “This was but a symbolic event. A formality. Kylo Sorn even now closes on our true target…”

    the-505th likes this.
  4. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    This is a cool re-imagining of the story! I like how you start by demonstrating the ruthlessness and duplicity of the First Order. Very intense.

    Interesting! I assume the "best pilot" is Poe, and they are looking for ...Luke?.. on Jakku. Is it a mistake and they are actually on the path to discovering not Luke but Rey? Or is Luke really on Jakku- and if so, is he with Rey already?

    I like this story! Great action and nice interweaving of story lines. =D==D==D=
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  5. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 26, 2016
    Hi, dear @divapilot and I hope you are well and safe in these incredible times.

    Thank you so much as always for your kind attention and encouraging remarks.

    I am wondering what reactions the slightly different imagining of Phasma will produce...
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  6. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 26, 2016
    Chapter 3

    The Star Destroyer Finalizer prowled like a summa-verminoth through space above the remote world of Jakku. Four troop transports dropped from its hold and dived towards the scorched dirt-brown planet below. Each brutally angular craft carried the deadly cargo of a platoon of elite stormtroopers.

    On board one transport, trooper FN-2187 prepared along with his squad. Each soldier checked his neighbour’s armour seals and panels. The ship jolted as it entered Jakku’s atmosphere and a rising roar drowned out the rumble of engines as it bucked through the thick air. Striding along the aisle between seated lines of troopers, a crimson shoulder pad marking his superior rank, Lieutenant FN-2199 harangued his soldiers. The huge Gigoran of a man was nicknamed “Nines” by the troopers.

    “Get your loads ready, double check your blaster charges. We will have no mistakes on this mission – or you will answer to me!”

    “Yessir!” a chorus of voices answered.

    “No-one must stand before the First Order. Show no mercy! I have prepared you all for this moment!”


    An alert klaxon buzzed and an electronic voice barked; “Prepare for landing!”

    FN-2187 clutched his blaster and tried to stop his hands trembling. This was his first combat mission.

    * * *​

    Poe Dameron sat in the cockpit of his landed T-70 X-wing. The pilot ace sported several days of stubble and the hint of shadows beneath his eyes, betraying a long journey. He brushed back curls of thick dark hair and his face fell at the information coming out of the data report. Behind him in the starship’s astromech socket, an advanced BB droid warbled an enquiry in electronic robot language.

    “It’s finally happened, Beebee-ate,” said Poe with a sigh. “The First Order have made the move threatened for so long. Now we are become the Resistance.”

    BB8 beeped with sorrow. “I know,” said Poe. “Now what we are looking for has become that much more urgent. You keep a good eye out, okay buddy?”

    BB8 tweeted affirmation and disengaged from his socket to roll across the desert terrain. The separate head section of the spherical droid was connected by a complex maglock to allow gyroscopic flexibility across many types of terrain. His body rolled while his head remained above.

    Poe donned his trademark flyer’s beige jacket and swung down to the sand. He surveyed the destination to which the clue had lead him. No passers by would have suspected Tuanul village held so important a secret. Located deep in the arid desert of Jakku, it was just another desperate settlement, its inhabitants clinging to a harsh life in desolate conditions. The darkness of night gave respite from the blazing sun, and the desert was alive with the chirps and hisses of indigenous lifeforms.

    The buildings were a typical mixture of reclaimed, battered ship parts thrown together with dubious local materials. Yet the gallery of twinkling lights and whirring motors declared that life was well and surviving here – just as it was in the desert.

    Poe passed through the village to the main tent-shack in the centre. A tall, grey-haired man with gentle features appeared in the entrance and gestured him to enter behind the curtain.

    “Lor San Tekka, Sir,” Poe began. “Thank you for agreeing to meet me. I have come a long way, and I bring dire news.”

    “We have heard it already,” Lor nodded to an aging but well-maintained holo-net monitor device in one corner of his cluttered abode. He folded his arms and looked at Poe, wisdom in his eyes. “And so the best pilot in the Resistance now comes to me for help.”

    “Sir, I come on behalf of General Organa…”

    “General?” said Lor, smiling at an old memory. “She will always be royalty to me.”

    Poe allowed a lopsided grin to crease his dark features. “Yeah, well, don’t call her princess. Not to her face…”

    They both shared a grin at that thought. Then Poe pressed on, “Sir, you were a Guardian of the Whills at the new Jedi Academy – a collector and keeper of the Lore.”

    “Yes, yes,” Lor turned and busied himself looking for something amongst overflowing plasteel crates. “That was before.”

    “Well, you are a senior Jedi Knight then…”

    Lor turned abruptly. “No, no, I am no Jedi. My humble abilities are in but the keeping of wisdom,”

    “You misunderstand me, Sir. I do not ask you to fight. You were the last to be seen with…” said Poe.

    “I know what you want,” said Lor, returning to his rummaging. He evidently found it and turned back again. “Luke Skywalker went to a place where he did not want to be found. I was bound to keep that confidence.”

    Poe waited, the question hanging in the air between them.

    “Yes, the rumour is correct. I know where he went,” said Lor. “But I cannot tell you how to get there.”

    Poe slumped with disappointment.

    “But this can.” Lor held up a small artefact – a mechanical crystal-recording device. Poe peered at it.

    Lor explained, “The ancient Jedi temple of Ahch-To is legend. There are no coordinates I can give you, as it is beyond known space, beyond all plotted routes. This is a map – it shows the points along the way that have been found and marked by those who have reached it. Only with this will you find Master Skywalker.”

    Lor placed it in a simple leather bag and handed it to Poe, who reverently received and pocketed the tiny but precious artefact.

    Poe said, “It is an honour to meet you, Sir. We are grateful.”

    “The shadows gather, Poe Dameron. The First Order has arisen and times are desperate. There is only so much I can do, but something must be done, whatever the cost. Without the Jedi, there can be no balance to the Force, and all will be given over to the Dark Side.”

    At that moment, a frantic spherical droid barrelled into the room, spewing a stream of electronic chatter. Poe and Lor exchanged a glance before rushing outside.

    Poe took up his quadnocs and gazed through them at the area of night sky indicated by BB8. The tracking function auto-focused on four descending objects.

    Without turning, Poe said, “Not to be presumptuous, Sir, but you need to hide.”

    Lor closed his eyes and seemed to sense the approaching danger without quadnocs. He said, “Not to overstate the obvious, but you need to leave!”

    Poe turned to him, “Sir, if you don’t mind I think you…”

    “I do mind, Poe Dameron. You must complete your mission. Compared to what is stirring in the galaxy, you and I are but motes of dust…”

    “But Sir, some motes are more important than most…”

    “If you wish to flatter something, flatter my memory. Now go! I must see to the defence of my village.”

    Lor whirled and headed off without looking back. The village had erupted into a flurry of activity and the stern-faced local folk appeared armed with a surprising arsenal of blaster weapons. Poe hesitated a moment longer before hurrying back to his X-wing.

    The starfighter was parked some distance away but Poe knew its hiding place under the high outcropping would not shield it from the First Order scanners. He needed to leave, as Lor had suggested, fast. BB8 rolled under the ship and entered the co-pilot droid position. Poe flicked switches and hurried through the start-up sequence.

    In the distance, white-armoured stormtroopers advanced on the village. The villagers counter-attacked from hidden positions and a ferocious firefight erupted. Though the locals were hardy and brave, they were no match for the disciplined ruthlessness of First Order firepower. It was over almost as soon as it began, and those villagers not cut down in the fusillade were forced to pull back.

    Surrounded groups of defenders gave up with hands raised. Animals in pens broke free and ran wild. First Order flame-troopers began torching the structures. BB8 warbled urgently to Poe.

    “We’re going, Beebee-ate! We’re going! Almost there…”

    A team of stormtroopers swept wide around the village. They came suddenly upon the X-wing as its running lights flashed on. They blasted into the glare and Poe ducked. Instinctively he activated the under-nose defence blaster and it flipped open. Poe swivelled the weapon and spray out a burst of return fire, cutting down the assailants.

    Poe started the manoeuvring jets and pushed the starship out from the overhang of the hillside. An uncharacteristic whine shuddered through the craft and the pilot cursed, shutting down in a hurry. He leapt from the cockpit and checked the engines. The next curse would have made a Corellian blush.

    “Of all the darned lucky…” Poe stared at the damage, knowing this ship would be flying nowhere anytime soon. “OK, Beebee-ate, come down. I need you to do something.”

    The droid dutifully dismounted and rolled to his master. Poe retrieved the artefact given to him by Lor. He fumbled with the droid’s external access plates then inserted it into a safe slot within BB8. He crouched down beside BB8 and said, “Now take this.”

    BB8 began recording and Poe looked into the holo-disc. “General Organa, if you’re hearing this, I probably didn’t make it yet. But there is hope in the darkness. This droid has a map to your brother. The Resistance can prevail! We can beat the First Order! Okay you got that, Buddy? Good. Now get as far away from here as you can – and stay alive. Any direction as long as it’s away from here.”

    BB8 squawked with reluctance.

    “I need to help those people – someone’s gotta help. I’ll come back for you, wherever you end up. And don’t show that message to anyone unless you really, really trust them!”

    BB8 trilled an enquiry.

    “I don’t know… just not the kind of thug that will sell you to the First Order. There are still good people out there, trust me. Now go!”

    * * *​
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2020
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  7. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 26, 2016
    Chapter 4

    The battle in the village entered its final stage as the stubborn defenders made their last stand. Despite their advantage, the First Order soldiers found the villagers to be tenacious. One stormtrooper fell to a blaster bolt, his chest a mess of ruined armour and blood.

    FN-2187 instinctively rushed to his comrade and knelt to give first aid. But a blood-soaked hand reached up and quivered as his life quickly drained away into the hungry sands. FN-2187 stared down. He had trained and lived alongside this man, shared meals and bunkrooms. And now he was dying. The flailing hand painted a crimson streak of gore across FN-2187’s helmet and chest, before it finally fell limp and still.

    “Get up, trooper!” yelled a voice behind FN-2187, startling him. He turned and stared up at Lieutenant Nines. The towering officer wielded his trademark electro-bludgeon, eager to smash into close combat.

    “He’s dead…” FN-2187 tried to explain.

    “He can be replaced!” yelled Nines. “And so can you if you’re too slow! Now get moving and finish the job!”

    “Yessir,” FN-2187 nodded dumbly, gathering up his weapon and stumbling towards the firefight. He witnessed the red haze of dust and smoke rising from half-destroyed buildings, the screams of villagers, the roars of stormtroopers, the whine of blaster bolts. Nines shoved him again, almost toppling him into the dirt.

    “Move it, trooper!” he yelled again. FN-2187 advanced into the hell in which he found himself trapped. He cornered one of the homesteads and found a terrified woman facing him, frozen like a prey animal facing its hunter. FN-2187 raised his rifle. His finger tightened on the trigger, but he could not do it. He prayed Nines was not within sight as fear gripped him. Then a new sound caught both his attention and that of the woman. It broke the moment of paralysis and she scrambled away into the desert.

    FN-2187 turned to the rising whine of starship engines cycling for landing. An imposing shuttle with massive raptor-like wings descended upon the village. The great wings folded upwards as the vehicle landed and crouched. A bay door opened beneath its chin and a single figure marched down its ramp. The tall stranger was clad in black robes and a metal mask covered his face. Uncaring of the dying and burning battle, he marched straight for Lor San Tekka’s home.

    “Back to your unit, trooper,” came a voice. Nines was behind FN-2187 yet again, but the usual blasting volume of the officer’s commands was subdued this time. He added, “This isn’t over yet.”

    FN-2187 did not hesitate this time, unsure of how much Nines had witnessed, and rushed off to obey.

    The dark figure advanced on Lor San Tekka’s home at the centre of the burning village. Stormtroopers and their captives stared and gaped. The old man himself spied the oncoming figure and with a sigh of resignation emerged from his cover. He faced the stranger and they regarded each other.

    “The great wise one, captured at last,” said the dark figure in a deep voice distorted by the electronic hiss of the mask.

    “Whereas something far worse has happened to you,” said Lor.

    The dark figure did not react. He held out a black gauntlet. “You know what I have come for.”

    “I know where you came from,” said Lor, maintaining calm as stormtroopers gathered. “From a time before you called yourself Kylo Sorn.”

    Sorn growled behind the mask. “The map to Skywalker. You will give it to me.”

    From his hidden position, Poe observed the confrontation, trying to catch the words. He did not know the black-clad man facing Lor, but a feeling at the pit of his stomach told him he was bad news.

    “You don’t belong with them,” Lor spoke to Kylo Sorn as if he was instructing a wayward adolescent. “The First Order rose from the Dark Side. You did not.”

    “How is it a conversation can become so tedious, so quickly?” sighed Sorn. He gestured to the village around them. “Do not make this a tragedy for these people. Haven’t you done enough to them already?”

    “I am at peace with these people. The real tragedy is for you to turn from your heritage.”

    Sorn rounded on Lor, losing patience. “Give it to me, old man!”

    Lor smiled back. Watching from nearby, Poe knew what was going to happen next. “No, no, no!” he mouthed. He bounded from his cover towards the pair.

    Sorn paced in front of Lor like a caged animal until he turned and paused. “You do not have it, do you?"

    “You may try,” Lor persisted, ignoring the question. “But you cannot deny the truth that is your family.”

    “So true,” said Sorn, reaching for something at his belt. The black-cloaked man seemed to momentarily grow with rage, then a blade of crimson light appeared from the hilt clutched in Sorn’s gauntlet. The jagged blade oscillated, barely stable, and lashed at Lor San Tekka, cutting him in two.

    “No!” Poe yelled, running and raising his blaster pistol and firing. He knew a fraction after he had acted that it was too late, but instinct had catapulted him.

    Sorn reacted and his hand snapped up. A power unseen was unleashed by the gesture and intercepted the discharge from Poe’s gun, freezing it mid-air. Sorn turned and stared at Poe.

    Poe suddenly halted, finding his limbs also frozen by Sorn’s fearsome powers. His heart pounded but he could not break free of the invisible bonds. Two stormtroopers rushed to the pilot and grabbed his arms. Sorn relaxed the invisible barrier and Poe sagged into their grip. The soldiers dragged him before the black-clad leader.

    Poe gasped for breath but composed himself before the gaze of the impassive Sorn. “Okay, so who talks first? Do I talk first?”

    Lor San Tekka’s murderer returned the deactivated lightsaber to his belt then looked over Poe. “A Resistance pilot?” he said, emphasising the new faction’s name with distaste. “Search him.”

    The troopers roughly obeyed and also ran an energy scanner up and down Poe.

    “Nothing,” one of them reported.

    Poe gave a theatrical shrug and smiled. “My mistake – wrong party. So, I was just leaving…”

    A trooper kicked Poe and he landed on his knees. The soldier said to Sorn, “Do we terminate him?”

    A hurt look crossed Poe’s face as he looked up at the trooper. “Hey!”

    Sorn considered for a moment then said, “No. Keep him, intact and functioning.”

    The troopers dragged Poe away, who wailed, “He said intact and functioning! Okay?”

    Sorn stared at the half-destroyed village, hiding disappointment. Lieutenant Nines appeared at his side.

    “Your orders, Sir?”

    “Search every last corner – scanners, perceptors – burn it all down and search everything, and then the ashes below it. You know what to look for.”

    “Yes, Sir,” said Nines. “And the villagers?”

    “Kill them all.”

    Nines turned to his soldiers and shouted with obvious glee. “On my command!”

    The stormtroopers raised their rifles at the defenceless villagers who had surrendered. The captives fell to their knees and pleaded. Nines yelled the command and the blasters spat death.

    Amongst the line of stormtroopers, FN-2187 stood with his own rifle also pointing. Something inside snapped. Despite all the conditioning, the lectures, the endless rallies and justifications, FN-2187 knew deep down with an unwavering faith that broke through all his training; this was wrong. He could take no part in it.

    The massacre ended and silence fell, punctured by the crackling of flames. The trooper next to FN-2187 turned.

    “You okay? Noticed you didn’t fire.”

    FN-2187 looked down at his rifle. “I… err…”

    “Blaster jam?” said his neighbour. “Better get it replaced, quick, before the Lieutenant catches up with you.”

    FN-2187 nodded dumbly, accepting the offered excuse. “Yes, I will.”

    The stormtroopers marched back towards the transporters but FN-2187 halted as the black-clad leader strode nearby. The trooper gaped at the strange warrior with the fearsome powers. Sorn turned and regarded FN-2187 and for a moment the soldier felt like someone was looking inside his very soul.

    The moment passed and Sorn walked on. The blaster bolt that had been suspended, crackling, in the air by his Force powers suddenly released and smashed into a pillar next to the startled trooper. FN-2187 scrambled to catch up with his unit, his mind working furiously.

    In the desert, rolling as fast he could away from the village, BB8 paused as an explosion echoed across the dunes. The droid turned and analysed the plume of flame reaching for the night sky. There was a high probability that was a starfighter fuel tank being destroyed by heavy weapons: the probability it was therefore Poe’s X-wing was also extremely likely. BB8 turned and hurried away, beeping sadly.

    * * *​

    Back on board the Finalizer, FN-2187 broke from his unit and fled into a repair bay for a moment alone. He ripped off his helmet and gulped breaths of air to try and calm himself. His dark skin was coated with sweat and his eyes darted with fear.

    “FN-2187!” said a familiar voice. The trooper turned. There stood Lieutenant Nines, wiping a fleck of gore from his scarlet shoulder pad. FN-2187 snapped to attention.

    Nines said, “You had a blaster jam? Give it to me.”

    FN-2187 obeyed. Nines said, “Report to psych-conditioning. This is NOT over between us, Trooper!”

    “Yessir,” said FN-2187, retreating. Nines shouted after him, “And put your helmet back on!”

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  8. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 26, 2016
    @divapilot and @the-505th thank you for your interest!
    Chapter 5

    The Graveyard of Starships: Twisted mountains of permasteel and plascrete surrounded jagged plains of ceramics and synthplate. The legacy of an old battle in an old war had left the desert a hazardous industrial wasteland. None dared venture here except the very daring, and the very desperate.

    A figure clung to a dark cliff of decayed mechanisms, high within the interior of a cavernous wreck. Wrapped and masked in light grey desert fabrics, the slender interloper appraised through protective goggles various devices embedded into the metal cliffside. Expert hands extracted the small technological treasures and squirreled them into a bulging satchel.

    When the excisions were complete and the satchel full, the scavenger returned tools to its bulky backpack, then leapt into a dizzying descent sliding down a cable. It landed lightly amidst the metal stalagmites of defunct sensor arrays and hefted its burden through an opening in the side of the gigantic artificial cave.

    Her name was Rey. She stepped from the dangerous shadows of the wrecked capital ship into the scorching blaze of Jakku’s desert. She removed her goggles and wiped sweat from her forehead, then reached for her water canteen at her belt. Shaking it hard only produced a few last droplets, which she gulped down.

    Rey checked the contents of her bag again; a few good nuggets here, she reckoned. She placed a battered sheet of metal – a salvaged starfighter wing perhaps – and secured her belongings. Then she used the sheet as a makeshift sled and rode it down the shifting sands of the dune.

    At the foot of the dune, Rey busied herself with attaching her recovered cache of treasures to a battered old speeder bike, then started up its surprisingly substantial engines. They growled into life. Rey had tampered and tinkered with these engines herself, and the boxy vehicle zoomed into the desert at her touch. Rey’s speeder roared through the abandoned canyons of the Starship Graveyard, through the reddening haze of the desert, and eventually brought her to Niima Outpost.

    Niima Outpost was the centre of Rey’s galaxy. It was also a depressing dump of a town. Battered shacks and high fences ringed landing pads for visiting traders. Market places staffed by grim faced beings offered reclaimed mechanical devices and reconditioned fuel cells. Rey passed them on her way to the central salvage post, a large tented structure. Residents of the village ignored her and hurried on their way. A number of heavy-set creatures of various species lounged at the perimeter of the communal salvage preparation area. They offered threat, rather than security, to the subjugated scavengers that came here to eke out their survival.

    Rey sat at a workbench and began on her spoils. She cleaned with harsh wire brushes and checked circuits and components. A hairy Bothan sat opposite her. He also had a bag of devices for sale. They surreptitiously inspected each other’s haul as they buffed and polished.

    “Hey Rey,” grunted the Bothan. “Heard the news? Irving Boys are landed, looking for reconditioned capacitors. If I can get close to them, maybe I can get a ride outta here? Bay fifteen.” He nodded significantly.

    Rey nodded back. “I hope you can, Maryk, but Plutt controls all trade with outsiders.”

    Maryk leaned closer. “Did you see the holo-net? First Order has taken the Republic capital. It’s over – nothing will ever get better now.”

    Rey stopped scrubbing and looked at the furry alien. A thug wandered over, then thudded a baton onto the workbench. He growled something in his own language that meant, “Get back to work!”

    There was a commotion outside the tent and Rey turned. Old Lady Chola was dragging a net of scavenged pieces toward the salvage area. A reptilian Teedo menaced her with a shock-spear and she shrieked back. No-one moved to help.

    Rey grabbed her trusty quarterstaff – a salvaged rod of solid metal that had proved indispensable in a variety of situations. She ran at the Teedo and smashed away the spear. The alien barked a tirade of rude syllables at Rey, to which she shouted back equally forcefully. The Teedo considered the value of its intended thievery against the odds of personal injury and withdrew.

    Rey helped Chola to her feet and they entered the tent area. Rey checked her own items were still on the bench and glared at Maryk. She realised he was far too frightened to try and take something from her. Chola eased herself into the seat beside Rey.

    “Thank you, child. Thank you. That fiend has been after my lot since I came back from the sinking fields.”

    “I don’t know why no-one helps you!” Rey deliberately raised her voice and glared round at the impassive guards.

    “You have a good soul, Rey,” said Chola. “Despite everything this place does to you. You will be blessed child! Blessed!”

    “Shut up and work!” shouted a guard, right behind Chola, silencing the old woman. Rey scowled at him and returned her attention to her own endeavours.

    When she was as satisfied as she could be, Rey brought her wares to the central exchange booth – fashioned from a former sandcrawler. A large, lumpen being glared out from within his reinforced bunker.

    “Rey, my favourite!” chuckled Unkar Plutt. The imposing Crolute towered over Rey. He looked down a massive flat nose at her offering and scratched at the rolls of leathery skin that formed a second neck above broad shoulders. Rey shuddered. He was as revolting as a Hutt. He always took his time with her, as if goading her into losing patience. She fought the urge.

    “Not a bad offering, if not remarkable. Today you get a quarter portion.”

    Rey’s nostrils flared. “You said you wanted pulse-dampeners! These were half a portion each last time!”

    Plutt leered, clearly amused at her indignation. “Conditions have changed. Take it or leave it.”

    Without reply, she took the two packets that he shoved through the transfer drawer; one a transparent packet of beige powder, the other containing a more solid slab of green.

    “That’s my girl. See you tomorrow,” Plutt said, his foetid breath washing over her.

    Rey turned and exited without hesitation. Plutt watched her all the way.

    * * *

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  9. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Beautiful details here! I see how you have altered the event on Jakku - Kylo Sorn instead of Kylo Ren, and Nines taking the place of Phasma. Are you planning to introduce her at some point, I wonder?

    This stood out to me:
    Finn has a heart, a moral center. His programming gets broken right there; he can't go through with the attack on civilians that Nines so gleefully indulges himself in.

    And we get to meet Rey! She has the same feistiness and good heart that we see in the movie.
    She does indeed have a good soul. Nice parallels with Finn and Rey; they both follow their own morals and their hearts, even when it puts them in danger.

    Good updates!
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  10. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Winner VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    @Kurisan =D= =D= You have all the fast paced riveting action of TFA and every one in character. But woot! Sorn instead of Kylo ... oh that changes things on a personal level for the Solos. For which I thank you!!! @};- [:D]
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  11. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 26, 2016
    @divapilot thank you for your time and kind words. I re-imagined Phasma as the elite pilot in chapter 1, for a couple of reasons. Her character comes out more in Ep.VIII. The idea was to set up a nemesis for Poe, while Nines is Finn's personal enemy.

    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha thank you too, Ny. This name change came about from the group that approached me to do this re-write. We felt "Ren" was... inadequate for the character. Change a letter and it's Ben. Change a different one and it's Rey. Ren Rey Ben. Maybe that was deliberate but there did not seem to be much variety in Disney's names. And, I dunno, if you're going to reinvent yourself and have the rare opportunity to create your own name, would you really choose such a simple label as Ren?

    I landed upon "Sorn" by considering the stretched vowel sounds of words like Darth, Maul, Sidious that are associated with the Dark Side. The hissing of the "S" was a good start... and Sorn sounded to me like a past participle of saw or sunder, which evoked in me ideas of violence, cutting, spitting apart. Plus it rhymes with "thorn" as in he's a thorn in Luke's side.

    (Yes, I tend to spend a lot of time on names. :D)
  12. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 26, 2016
    @divapilot @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha forgive my double-tagging you but just realised the next chapter is perhaps one of the most important changes I felt needed from the original, and would be interested in your feedback...

    Chapter 6

    Rey’s speeder halted outside an ancient wreck of a vehicle, just at the edge of the Starship Graveyard. She scampered up the dune to the place she called home, built within the carcass of a toppled and derelict all-terrain walker. The cramped interior section offered little except shelter from the sandstorms and the blazing sun. The illusion of security came from its remoteness – and that there was nothing worth stealing inside.

    Rey activated a heating device and prepared the food ration packages. She remembered to add a vertical scratch to one of the dark grey metal walls. Hundreds of such streaks marked the passing of days she had not counted for a very long time. A small doll fashioned from some waste orange fabric was Rey’s only companion as she wolfed down the half-meal of reconstituted bread and meat-substitute that popped up from the ration packs.

    Hardly satisfied, Rey took up a battered old helmet she had once found and wandered outside, playing at spying the landscape through its lenses, to try and take her mind off the constant gnawing hunger in her stomach.

    A sound seized her attention. An electronic warbling, it echoed in the silence of the desert sunset. Rey rose and tried to pinpoint its direction and nature. The sound persisted; its tone conveyed distress. Rey decided it was coming from the sinkpits beyond the eastern side of the dunes and set off, pausing to grab her quarterstaff.

    As she had guessed, the owner of the voice was a droid, and it was indeed in distress. The spherical astromech had wandered into a sinking pit and despite the mad spinning of its body unit, using extended flaps as makeshift spades to try and drag itself out, it was gradually sinking.

    Rey appraised the situation, checking the surroundings. A large boulder nearby offered some solid anchor, but she had no wire. She turned to the squealing droid.

    “Hey, quick, do you have a cable or power line?”

    The droid warbled back and another flap opened. A device popped out attached to a wire cable. Unfortunately the angle made it drop into the quicksand way before the edge of the pit. Rey harrumphed but edged closer, testing the ground with her quarterstaff. The droid sank lower, and squealed again.

    “Alright, I’m coming!” said Rey. She drove the staff into the sand as far as she could, as close as she dared, then shuffled out, spreading her body flat to slow the sinking. She reached hard, one hand on her planted staff, the other towards the extended probe-line from the droid. Sweat drenched her face. She could not reach. The droid became frantic.

    Rey maintained focus. She had to make a decision, take a chance. She considered it for a long moment, then let go the security of her quarterstaff to allow her other hand to grab the line. Once it was firmly in her grasp, she scrabbled back towards solid ground. She felt her legs going beneath her.

    “Come on, come on!” she willed herself.

    Finally she caught hold once more of her anchored staff and dragged herself out of the quicksand. The droid beeped frantically. Rey rushed to the boulder, drawing out the unspooling cable from the droid and securing it around the rock.

    Then together, by means of the droid’s small motor rewinding and pure hand-over-hand physical exertion from Rey, they pulled the astromech out of the quicksand and onto firm ground. When the little round robot was safe Rey collapsed onto her back, gasping for breath. The droid tweeted a beep of relief.

    Rey recovered and sat up and the droid rolled into her, bumping up like an affectionate pet animal.

    Rey nodded, “You’re welcome…” she peered at its identifying mark, “Beebee-ate? That’s your name? I’m Rey.”

    BB8 beeped a greeting. Rey examined him and fixed his bent aerial.

    “You seem to be in good condition, despite these scorch marks – blaster fire? You can’t have been too long in the desert. Where did you come from?”

    BB8 beeped again. Rey shrugged.

    “Not sure what that means, but you must be my best ever find.”

    BB8 cocked his head-section to one side and trilled an enquiry.

    “Sorry, Beebee, but you mean one thing to me; food. A lot of food.”

    The droid burped a low note of disapproval at that, but they were both distracted by a distant hoot of what sounded like a large animal.

    “Come on, let’s get back inside,” said Rey. BB8 seemed reluctant. Rey turned and said, “Believe me, it’s safer for you.”

    The droid beeped in alarm and rolled after his rescuer.

    No sooner than they had left the sinking pits and were crossing a valley between dunes, Rey and BB8 were confronted by two diminutive reptilian beings wrapped in desert robes and wearing wide-brimmed helmets. They snarled at Rey and menaced her with electro-spears. She scowled. Teedos.

    “Get behind me,” said Rey, clutching her quarterstaff. BB8 trilled and Rey turned. Another of the Teedos was behind her, riding a cybernetically altered luggabeast. She thought she recognised him as the one that had attacked Chola before.

    “He’s mine! I found him first!” Rey shouted at the Teedos.

    They cackled back in their own language. Rey stood her ground, “It’s the rule of the scavengers!”

    Still they did not leave. She shouted at them in their own harsh language, and then they attacked.

    What followed was a brief but brutal melee. The Teedos advanced as a pack with their long weapons. Rey whirled and bashed away their thrusts with feral ferocity. She counter-attacked with wild swings and kicks. She smacked one of them across the helmet, and he fell to the sand.

    The luggabeast rider urged his bulky mount into a charge. Rey shoved BB8 one way and dived the other, then rose quickly and attacked its flank, using her quarterstaff to unseat the Teedo.

    She screamed at the last Teedo that remained standing, and together with the recently unseated one, they fled into the desert.

    BB8 refocused his optic lens on Rey, hooting in admiration. She looked down at the droid.

    “Yeah, I learned to fight rough out here. If you don’t fight, you don’t eat. Come on.”

    They made it back to Rey’s home at sunset and BB8 scanned the tiny abode, emitting a sad warble. Rey seemed to understand the droid’s sentiments.

    “Don’t worry,” she said. “You won’t be staying here long. Sorry, Beebee, but I need to take you into Niima Outpost tomorrow. Maybe we’ll find you a good master.”

    BB8 tweeted protest. Rey shrugged. “Look, I’m sorry… but I have to eat…”

    BB8 suddenly projected a holo-image into the now darkened chamber. The figure of a crouching man with handsome features wearing a pilot’s jacket appeared.

    “General Organa, if you’re hearing this, I probably didn’t make it yet. But there is hope in the darkness…”

    Rey turned and stared at the image. The man continued.

    “This droid has a map to your brother. The Resistance can prevail! We can beat the First Order! Okay you got that, buddy? Good. Now get as far away from here as you can – and stay alive. Any direction as long as it’s away from here.”

    “Is that your master?” Rey said, looking at BB8, eyes widening. “You’re with the Resistance?”

    The man continued speaking, “I need to help those people – someone’s gotta help. I’ll come back for you, wherever you end up. And don’t show that message to anyone unless you really, really trust them!”

    BB8 trilled at Rey. She frowned back at the droid, then returned her attention to the image.

    “I don’t know…” said the man, “just not the kind of thug that will sell you to the First Order. There are still good people out there, trust me. Now go!”

    The message ended and froze upon the face of the pilot. Rey stared at the droid.

    “Who is he?” she said. “He’s… sort of cute, I suppose.”

    BB8 made a hopeful beep. Rey again caught the droid’s intention. She rose and sighed.

    “Look, Beebee, I’m sorry. I can’t get involved in any of this.”

    BB8 expelled a disapproving low note, and re-ran two cut sections of the message.

    Don’t show that message to anyone unless you really, really trust them!” then, “There are still good people out there, trust me.

    BB8 repeated the same edited parts again. Rey crouched down before the droid, her expression wrought with regret.

    “I won’t sell you to the First Order, I can promise you that much. But you have to understand, I have my own problems. I’m sorry about your master. He seems like… a good man.”

    BB8 shut down the holo-recording as Rey prepared her sleeping area and turned her back on the droid.

    * * *

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  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Winner VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    =d= Wonderful! BB8's "personality" comes through clearly and Rey's initial disinclination to get involved. [face_thinking] Understandable she would feel that way. Something apparently will draw her in though. [face_thinking]
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  14. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 26, 2016
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha many thanks for your continued insight - that was a tricky chapter to come up with. We move on - and the next one was even tougher!

    Chapter 7

    Poe Dameron strained against the bonds of the restraint rack and winced at the pain this caused. He sported a number of bruises across his brow, and many more on his abdomen and limbs: the result of the tender attentions of his captors. The catalyst for Poe’s current efforts, the other being that also occupied his cell deep within the Star Destroyer Finalizer, stood and watched.

    Poe looked up at the black-clad and masked figure. Kylo Sorn, Lor San Tekka had called him. Poe had already witnessed Sorn’s chilling powers once, and he tried not to imagine what might be coming next. With the final effort leaving him breathless, Poe realised he could not break free of his shackles, and instead focused on resistance.

    “The first act of the best pilot of the newly formed Resistance,” said Sorn, amusement in his tone. “Revealing yourself through your futile attempt on my life was foolish. Revenge is little more than an adolescent concession to personal vanity. Even had you not been slow and ill prepared, the old man was already dead. Comfortable?”

    Poe had only one weapon left in the face of such helpless adversity. He smiled, though it was more of a grimace.

    “Not really. The accommodation here leaves a lot to be desired.”

    Sorn did not react to Poe’s nonchalance. Instead, his reply was business-like, “I regret the necessity. The others only have the most primitive skills, and further defiance on your part would demand unnecessary exertions. None of this is necessary. We both wanted the same thing from the old man.”

    Poe winced, “Might wanna rethink your technique. He won’t be helping you much now he’s dead.”

    Sorn took a step toward the prisoner. “Perhaps you should reflect on that yourself. It is pathetic, is it not? You and I both in pursuit of a ghost. Where did you put it?”

    “Where did I put what?” said Poe, his best impression of innocent confusion writ across his face.

    Sorn’s tone darkened. “Please, all time is transitory, and mine especially so. This will be far better for you if you dispense with this childish nonsense.”

    Poe’s expression turned into a determined scowl. “The Resistance will not be intimidated by you.”

    “As you wish,” said Sorn. “There is no Resistance in this room; only you, and I.”

    Sorn reached out a gauntleted hand and prepared himself, calling upon terrible powers. Poe felt their touch and his brow creased. The invisible fingers clawed into his mind and Poe moaned with agony.

    “Now, tell me,” muttered Sorn. “Tell me…”

    * * *​

    Commander Mitaka was not surprised at how quickly Sorn returned to the bridge of the Finalizer. The black-cloaked warrior’s mysterious powers never seemed to fail. The masked man turned to the officer.

    “The pilot does not have it. The map to Skywalker’s location is in a droid. An ordinary BB unit.”

    “Yes, Sir,” said Mitaka. “The directions are in a droid and the droid is still on the planet. I will attend to this. There can only be so many places a lost droid will go. With the right motivation offered, we may not even have to search for it.”

    * * *​

    Rey unloaded BB8 from her speeder and cajoled him through the streets of Niima Outpost. The droid’s head swivelled left and right, taking in the shabbiness of the place. BB8 beeped insistently at Rey as they travelled. She tried to ignore it.

    She finally turned. “Look, I’m sorry but I have to do this. Plutt won’t dismantle you at least. Maybe your real master will come back and reclaim you…”

    BB8 belched a noise that clearly signalled what he thought of that. They approached the tented salvage reclaim area and Rey crouched in front of BB8. A strained expression crossed her face.

    “I really am sorry, Beebee. I know you’re waiting for your master. I’m waiting, too.”

    BB8 cocked his head to one side and tweeted a question.

    “My family,” Rey said. “They will be back, one day. So, I know how it feels…”

    She stood quickly, turning her face away. Rey blinked and shook herself. What did she care if a droid saw her crying? Time to make the trade of her life. She walked on through the preparation area, ignoring the curious looks of Plutt’s enforcers as the droid rolled reluctantly behind her. She approached the bunker and stood before the obese Crolute. She noticed his eyes widen and her pulse quickened.

    “My, my Rey! What have you got here?” said Plutt.

    Rey struggled to remain cool. “Droid, BB model, fully functional. You want to trade?”

    Plutt also tried to keep his tone neutral. “I might indeed. How about sixty portions?”

    Rey’s heart skipped a beat. Sixty! That would feed her for… long enough for her to focus on many other pursuits. Finally, the crushing exhaustion of daily labour could be paused. Finally, the scourge of near-starvation could be ended! She almost accepted the deal instantly.


    Suffering domination and mistreatment by Plutt for so long had forged her hatred of the being into a hard blade. Now, finally, she had something he clearly wanted, she could not help but take the opportunity to twist the knife. BB8 had been following the conversation intently, and had not taken a liking to Plutt one little bit. He beeped furiously at Rey and bumped into her leg. She reached down and turned off the droid’s master switch, sensing she was on the verge of scoring her greatest ever victory.

    “One hundred portions,” she said, surprised and impressed by her own daring.

    “One hundred…” Plutt blustered. “How dare…!”

    If Plutt was incensed by her audacity, some greater purpose seemed to quell the Crolute’s anger. He paused, then chuckled.

    “How can I refuse my little favourite? One hundred it is then, Rey. Please wait a moment while I assemble your payment.”

    Plutt turned to begin the preparation. Rey grinned. One hundred portions, better than her wildest dreams! She looked down at the little astromech, remembered his lost master, and the message. One part in particular played across her memory.

    “… not the kind of thug that will sell you to the First Order. There are still good people out there, trust me.”

    Rey looked at the back of the big Crolute and said, “So, you’ll keep this unit in one piece, right? It’ll be useful to you?”

    “No, no… Rey,” said Plutt, half his mind elsewhere as he counted out ration packs. “There are certain parties interested in this droid, and they make a very compelling case for cooperation.”

    “…not the kind of thug that will sell you to the First Order. There are still good people out there, trust me,” said the voice again in Rey’s mind.

    She knew Plutt was exactly that kind of thug. But what kind of person was she? He turned and started to push the first batch of ration packs through the exchange drawer. She had been sold into slavery to Plutt. Could she do the same to another, even just a droid?

    She was reaching out for the food packages. Plutt grinned. “That’s my girl.”

    Rey froze mid-action, and decided she could not. With all her force of will, she removed her hand from the ration packs and looked up at the revolting alien.

    “I made a mistake. The droid’s not for sale.”

    Plutt’s face flushed a deeper colour. The nauseating grin vanished. “Sweetheart,” he bellowed, “we had a deal!”

    Rey discovered an inner strength as she smiled and repeated back one of his favourite phrases, “Conditions have changed.”

    She reached down and reactivated BB8, who came back to life with a beep.

    “Conditions have…?” Plutt looked like he might explode with rage. “You think you can be snide with me, girl? You think you can play games here? Who do you think you are?”

    “I am not your girl, and the droid is not for sale.” Rey glowered back at Plutt. BB8, watching the exchange, refocused optical lenses in a droid’s approximation of a double-blink.

    With that Rey turned and marched out of the salvage station, BB8 rolling at her heels. Plutt watched her go, and tempered his rage, his mind working. He reached for a comlink and keyed a signal. A voice barked acknowledgement.

    “I have a job for you,” said Plutt, scowling at Rey’s back as she retreated into Niima Outpost.

    * * *

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  15. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Winner VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    =D= Rey was excellent as she struggled with her decision and finally made the right one. I know Beebee was relived. ;)
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  16. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    But hearing voices in her head? This is either the beginning of a mental illness or a Force connection being established with somebody else.
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  17. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 26, 2016
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha hello again we must stop meeting like this. :p
    @AzureAngel2 Hi Azure! I haven't spoken to you in ages I hope all is well and you are coping with these strange times. It seems the end is in sight. You may have missed an earlier chapter; Rey is flashbacking on a holo message from Poe.

    Chapter 8 is below. I am subtly changing Finn. Don't get me wrong, I liked him in the films, but there was something off about his clowning around at times - to me.

    Chapter 8

    Slumped in the restraint rack, Poe struggled for breath; struggled against the depression of complete despair. He did not know what Sorn had done to him, nor how, but he knew on a deep, instinctive level that he had failed his mission, failed to hide his secrets from the First Order, and that the Resistance was doomed before it had even begun, because of him.

    A stormtrooper guarded him; the helmet with the impassive, almost robotic face watching on. Another trooper entered the chamber. Poe paid little attention.

    “I’m taking the prisoner to Kylo Sorn,” said the newcomer.

    “I was not notified?” said the guard. “Why would Sorn want to question the prisoner outside the cell?”

    The newcomer said, “Do you dare to question Kylo Sorn’s motives?”

    That had an instant effect on the guard. “No, that’s not what I meant!”

    He rushed to Poe’s restraint couch and unlocked the shackles. Poe found himself escorted out of the cell by the new stormtrooper and marched along corridors of the Finalizer with a blaster jammed into his ribs. He was far too weak to attempt a grab at the weapon, far too demoralised to entertain any further ideas of defiance. Part of him hoped dully that he was being lead to his execution.

    Then something strange happened.

    The stormtrooper prodded Poe into a service tunnel and closed the door behind them, then with a hand on the pilot’s shoulder dragged him to a halt. They were alone. Poe checked their surroundings with passing curiosity. Funny place for an execution, he thought.

    “Listen carefully and pay attention,” said the trooper. “You do exactly as I say, I can get you out of here.”

    It took several moments for Poe to process this statement. He blinked at the stormtrooper.

    “What did you say?”

    The trooper removed his helmet. Now in recently cleaned uniform, FN-2187 looked back at Poe.

    “Listen to me! This is a rescue. I am helping you to escape.”

    Poe could still not quite understand what was happening. FN-2187 shook him by the shoulder.

    “Can you fly a TIE fighter?”

    Poe’s dulled brain finally caught up with the conversation, and a glimmer of hope ignited.

    “What’s going on here? Are you with the Resistance?”

    FN-2187 grimaced with frustration. “No! I’m just breaking you out of here. I said, can you fly a…”

    Poe’s mind was now coming back fully online and he interrupted the trooper. “I can fly anything, believe me. But why are you helping me?”

    The trooper paused at that question. He looked Poe in the eye and said, “I need to get out of here.”

    Poe nodded understanding and said, “You need a pilot.”

    FN-2187 nodded back seriously. “Yes, I need a pilot.”

    Poe grinned, “Well, Buddy, you just got me!”

    The trooper’s dark-skinned face gave little away except determined resolve. “Then let’s do this.”

    Despite the serious nature and surprising source of this newfound agent, Poe felt something deep down that he could trust this man, something in his eyes gave Poe the instinct that he was good. And Poe Dameron lived by his instincts.

    “Yeah,” said Poe. “We’re gonna do this! So, take me to something that flies…”

    The stormtrooper replaced his helmet and lead Poe back into the main corridor, through the concourse and around corners. Poe seemed to see everything around him in a new light, illuminated with a new hope of escape.

    “Hey!” hissed FN-2187, sticking the blaster into Poe’s ribs again. “Stop looking so cheerful!”

    Poe instantly understood and changed his face to convey his best impression of a sobbing, depressed soul. They entered a wide tunnel towards the main hangar bays. The spark of hope threatened to turn into a raging fire inside Poe’s soul as, step-by-step, they approached freedom. He also sensed his mysterious rescuer tensing.

    “Stay calm, stay calm,” said the trooper.

    “You, or me?” whispered Poe out of the side of his mouth.

    “Both of us!” hissed FN-2187. Poe had to suppress a grin at that, and also at the sight that had just greeted his tired eyes: a bay full of starships, just waiting to be stolen.

    They approached a TIE-Invader. Poe recognised the bent-winged design from field engagement reports – one of the latest space supremacy fighters deployed by the First Order, based on an old TIE-advanced prototype. An open hatch beckoned them both into the elongated oval cockpit that carried two crew; a pilot and a rear-facing gunner. Poe admired its sleek lines. Beautiful engineering was beautiful engineering, whether it was deployed in the service of good or evil. Poe had to stop himself breaking into a run.

    They stepped closer. A mouse droid trundled alongside them. Poe’s heart pounded in his ribs while it seemed overly interested in them both. Finally the inquisitive little tech robot rolled off on his own mission, and the way was clear to enter the cockpit.

    They clambered in and Poe slid into the pilot’s seat. He took off his bloodstained jacket and studied the controls around him. Most were familiar, others he could guess. Some he would have to figure out as they flew. Behind him, the trooper strapped himself into the gunner’s seat.

    Poe turned and said, “Hey Buddy, can you shoot?”

    A scowl crossed FN-2187’s face. He said, “Yeah, they taught me how to do that all right.”

    The trooper expertly took up the complex controls of the rear-guard blaster cannons.

    “Okay, then,” said Poe, pushing forward a thruster control. “Here we go!”

    The TIE-Invader lifted from its wall-mounted mooring at the side of the hangar, but it was tethered by its support line and this twanged taut as the starfighter tried to move away, holding it hovering in place.

    “Oh…” said Poe, studying error messages flashing up angrily on his console.

    The TIE strained against its leash as alarm klaxons began blaring across the hangar.

    “What’s going on?” shouted FN-2187, “Why aren’t we leaving?”

    “Ah, yes…” said Poe. “Minor problem with flight control clearance…”

    FN-2187 watched through his rear cockpit screen as stormtroopers hurried towards them and began constructing a heavy blaster cannon, with its barrel pointing ominously towards them. The TIE’s engines screamed as it tried to escape. FN-2187 spied the control centre for the hangar at the far end, and officers within pointing and shouting.

    “Good time to start shooting, Buddy!” yelled Poe.

    FN-2187 hesitated, but only for a moment. He thumbed the TIE-Invader’s blaster cannons and unleashed carnage across the hangar bay. The stormtroopers below were thrown aside by the explosions – their half-built heavy weapon disintegrated. The control room detonated in a flower of flames, and as a result of automatic reaction systems rendering the support line passive it spanged away from the TIE, releasing the starship to speed away through the portal and out into space.

    “Flight clearance granted!” shouted Poe triumphantly, “Well done, Buddy!”

    FN-2187 gripped his cannon controls with determination. He said, “Now get us out of here and into light speed.”

    * * *

  18. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 26, 2016
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha thanks for the like, Lynnori - just you & me left? :)

    Chapter 9

    “Whoa! This thing really moves!” Poe shouted to his rescuer, wrestling with the controls of the TIE-Invader. It was wonderfully agile, but also hypersensitive to every touch, and it took Poe some moments to get the feel of the controls and avoid over-correcting every steer.

    “That’s great,” said FN-2187, “Now get us to light speed!”

    “Oh, we will, my friend, but first I owe some payback to those people on that destroyer,” said Poe.

    He turned the starfighter back into an attack vector towards the Finalizer.

    FN-2187 said, “What are you doing?”

    “Just shoot every gun tower and sensor cluster that you see!” said Poe.

    The escape was already diverging from his plan, but FN-2187 had been trained that no plan ever survived first contact with the enemy, and shooting was what he did best, so he obliged. Between Poe’s trigger-happy barrages from the fore cannons and FN-2187’s targeted blasts, the single TIE created explosive havoc along the Finalizer’s starboard bow.

    Return fire spat at them. The destroyer’s turbo-laser crews had scrambled to their posts and answered the orders to fire at the renegade TIE. Poe rolled and banked the fighter, enjoying himself far too much for FN-2187’s liking.

    “Gun emplacement, your-left,” Poe called out, “it’s tracking us…”

    “Got it,” FN-2187 replied curtly and swivelled the TIE’s cannons, reflecting the rapport that had built between the pair in such a short time. With a well-timed barrage, he disintegrated the tower before it could get a lock on them.

    “Yes!” yelled Poe. “You got it!”

    FN-2187 allowed a smile to spread across his face, allowed himself to enjoy the warmth of this small victory, sharing the moment with this enthusiastic rebel.

    “What’s your name, Buddy?” Poe called back to him. The trooper hesitated for a moment.

    “FN-2187,” he said.

    “Eff-enn, what?” said the pilot.

    “It’s the only name they ever gave me…”

    “If that’s the name they gave you, I ain’t using it. You’re not just a number. Eff-enn, huh? Then how about Finn? I’m calling you Finn. That alright with you?”

    The rogue trooper considered this for a long moment. Finn. He rolled the word around his tongue, getting the feel of it. The gregarious pilot was starting to grow on him, and it was the first time someone had treated him like a human being for as long as he could remember.

    “Yeah, okay, Finn. I like that,” said Finn. “How about you? What’s your name?”

    “I’m Poe. Poe Dameron.”

    “Nice to meet you, Poe! Now can we get out of here please?”

    Poe considered the carnage they had wrought along the flank of the destroyer. He also noticed the main ventral cannons were coming online and turning towards them. Poe knew sticking close to the capital ship had confounded their gunners in the first instance, who would have been expecting him to break for open space. But once those mega-lasers started sweeping near-space with their arcs, his luck would run out very soon.

    Just as he predicted, the blasts began pounding around the escaped TIE and Poe knew Finn was right: It was time to get out of there. He dived the TIE back down towards the brown-yellow surface of the planet below.

    “No, wait, this isn’t right!” shouted Finn. “Where are we going?”

    “We’re going back to Jakku, my friend,” said Poe, evading tracer fire from the destroyer looming above. Once they were in the atmosphere, their chances of evasion increased exponentially.

    “Jakku? No, no, no! We’ve gotta get out of this system, Poe!” said Finn.

    “I’m sorry, I’ve got to get my droid first.”

    “Your droid? Are you kidding me? How’s a droid gonna help us escape?”

    “This is not about escaping, Finn. This is a very special droid. BB unit, one of a kind, orange and white.”

    “I don’t care! He can’t be that valuable!”

    “This one is, Pal.”

    “Poe, I saved your life,” Finn became desperate. “At least you owe me mine. We go back to Jakku, we die.”

    “That’s a chance we gotta take…” said Poe, gritting his teeth as the TIE bucked and shuddered with atmosphere entry. “I’m sorry, Finn. There’s more at stake than just my life or yours… the Resistance and the whole galaxy is at stake!”

    “What can possibly be so important?” Finn threw up his hands in exasperation.

    “My droid is carrying an astro-map to locate Luke Skywalker.”

    “A what, to find Sky-who?” said Finn. He glared at Poe’s back. “Never mind. I never should have rescued you…”

    As Finn spoke, a stray blast from the destroyer clipped the TIE-Invader’s wing. Electrical sparks flew in the cockpit. Acrid smoke billowed, alarms screamed. The engines flared and the fighter began spinning out of control.

    “My weapon systems are down!” shouted Finn. “You got control?”

    There was no answer. Finn turned and saw Poe slumped in his chair, blood streaming form his head.

    “Poe? Nooo… Poe!”

    Finn did not know whether the pilot was dead or unconscious. However, witnessing the surface of Jakku screaming up to meet them, he did know he would definitely be dead very soon if he did not eject. He located the trigger mechanism, waited for one more moment to see if Poe would respond, then pulled.

    G-Forces yanked his body away from the TIE’s dive of death, and alternating views of scorched blue sky and baking yellow desert flashed across Finn’s vision as he span out of control. Then he passed out.

    * * *​

    On board the Finalizer’s bridge, alarms screeched and operatives dashed between duty stations. Commander Mitaka, agitated, barked at junior officers for status reports.

    “They are hit!” announced a technician.

    “Destroyed?” said Mitaka.

    “Negative, Sir, but the escaped ship will crash on the planet.”

    Everyone quieted when Kylo Sorn entered. Even the klaxons seemed to fade and grow wary.

    “What is happening?” said the masked man.

    “A TIE-Invader… someone took it on an unauthorised launch, and it has attacked us!” said Mitaka, his voice trembling. “We are checking on all pilots now.”

    Sorn looked away, his mind clearly elsewhere.

    “With me!” he ordered the nearest duty troopers, and stormed off the bridge.

    Not long after, he entered Poe Dameron’s cell, and found it empty. Mitaka trailed, his eyebrows raised. Sorn glowered in mute rage, his gauntleted hands clenching and unclenching.

    “The Resistance pilot escaped?” said Mitaka, then turned and barked at a stormtrooper. “Where is the duty guard… find out how this happened!”

    He eyed Sorn, a sweat breaking out on his forehead, not sure whether to expect some outward expression of his fury.

    “FN-2187,” said Sorn through his mask.

    “S-Sir?” said Mikata, stepping up.

    “You will find one of your stormtroopers is missing. FN-2187. Lieutenant FN-2199 will know whom I mean. Send for him.”

    “Yes, Sir!” said Mitaka, thankful for any excuse to withdraw and allow Sorn’s rage to, hopefully, be projected onto another.

    * * *

    Last edited: May 18, 2020
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  19. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Winner VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    Riveting escape and teamwork and nice formal introduction with the exchange of names. But :eek: Finn was right. [face_worried] =D=
    AzureAngel2 and Kurisan like this.
  20. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 26, 2016
    Thanks again @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha i appreciate that chapter was just a retelling of the movie with subtle changes to Finn (& the TIE!). More obvious changes coming up soon!!
  21. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    But I like your changes in so far.

    I just wonder when we will face the big villain here. Or what happened to Lor San Tekka. [face_thinking]
  22. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 26, 2016
    Thanks again @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha and @AzureAngel2 your comments always so encouraging. Right you will see from now some of the subtle changes - Hux not being on the same destroyer as Sorn - coming together...

    Chapter 10

    Finn scrabbled at his seat harness. The escape device seemed designed to keep him restrained, but finally he discovered the correct sequence of buttons and levers and freed himself from its straps. He stood and surveyed his surroundings; desert dunes spread away in every direction. The sun blazed overhead. Finn spotted high in the sky two silhouettes of avians that looked unsettlingly like carrion. There was also a plume of smoke. Finn rushed in that direction.

    He found the crashed TIE-Invader half buried in the sand and wrapped in flames. He fought the strength-sapping sand and avoided the charred shards of wings to approach the cockpit.

    “Poe?” he called. “Say something if you can hear me! Poe!”

    There was no response but the crackling of flames and popping of damaged systems. Still Finn fought against the heat to find his… friend? Finn was not sure about that. He had only just met the pilot. Yet still he struggled against the fire to find Poe. Finally, he glimpsed something. An arm? He reached and grabbed and pulled, but found it to be only Poe’s distinctive jacket.

    “Poe? Poe!” he yelled, tugging the jacket free. “Can you hear me?”

    Finn felt his legs falling beneath him and looked down. His legs had not faltered, the ground was falling away. Sinkpits! He struggled backwards to avoid the sucking sand and looked on helplessly as the entire fighter was devoured by the hungry desert.

    “Poe!” he gave one final anguished cry as the TIE disappeared altogether, leaving no trace at all. He kicked and dug at the sand, until he was out of breath. Gasping, Finn appealed to the now empty desert.

    “I don’t know what to do!”

    * * *​

    Jakku’s blasting sun and endless desert had killed many, stripped them of all hope, left them decomposing for the carrion to pick over. But Finn was driven by a newfound freedom that instilled in him a singular desire to survive.

    Even when the large speeder had driven on by, its callous occupants amusing themselves by mocking him, he had not given up that desire. He had achieved the impossible – he had escaped the First Order – and he was not about to let that feat go to waste. The unquenchable thirst for freedom had fuelled one step after another until, finally, he came upon the settlement.

    He staggered into the dirty outpost of a town with his mind on one thing only.

    “Water, water…” he mouthed at incurious onlookers, until he found what he was looking for.

    A great tank of the stuff was there and Finn collapsed into it, gulping great drafts of the life-sustaining liquid. He did not notice the smell at first, or the disgusting flavour. Or the happabore.

    When Finn’s dehydrated taste buds finally did begin to function again he spat out a mouthful of the rank water and fought the urge to gag. That was when he turned and realised he was sharing the trough of a massive quadruped creature. The ugly brute snorted and carried on drinking, and Finn’s own need for hydration took precedence over his disgust and he forced down another gulp until the stinking beast knocked him over. Finn was not sure if that was a deliberate hint from the animal to stop his stealing, or an accidental nudge from its massive bulk.

    With his thirst temporarily sated, Finn’s attention switched to the next step, and he studied the desolate settlement. An air of desperation permeated the buildings and few citizens he spotted trudging about their business. He did not feel a welcoming air of potential aid coming from this place, or anyone here, at all. Then he frowned as he saw two heavy-set beings of indistinct species making their way towards a female human that was crouched with her back to them. Finn knew that gait; the thugs were intending to do harm.

    * * *​

    Sorn hurried to the room of communion, his mind a conflict of anger, frustration, and a twinge of concern. Why had he been summoned at this particular moment?

    He knelt at the centre of a holo-projection disc and in the darkened hall a towering flickering image of Supreme Leader Zarakken arose. Sorn stood and faced the giant apparition.

    “You have the map?” said the Supreme Leader without preamble.

    “It still eludes me… but it is close,” said Sorn.

    Another holo-figure lit up across the hall from Sorn, this one in far more usual human proportions for a sentient. Sorn regarded the third party to the hologrammatic conference and his mask did not give away any emotion.

    “You have not yet resolved this small matter?” said General Hux. If he was trying to hide his dislike of Sorn, or his snide triumph at his failure, he was not successful.

    “One of your stormtroopers has decided to turn rogue, decided to free the prisoner, and take him back to the planet in search of a droid that contains the map,” Sorn said. His tone was level and matter-of-fact, but even through the medium of the interstellar holo-projectors, Hux could sense the masked man’s rage.

    Hux was also taken aback. “A First Order stormtrooper, t-turned rogue?” he stammered.

    “FN-2187,” Sorn said. Zarakken had become very quiet, watchful. Both Sorn and Hux had noticed.

    “We shall prepare a full psych-report, such an anomaly cannot be repeated!” said Hux.

    “Finding the flaw in your training methods that allowed one of your men to suddenly commit high treason will not recover the droid,” said Sorn, gaining the upper hand, turning to Zarakken. “I wonder if we should instead deploy an army of clones, Supreme Leader?”

    “My men receive exceptional instruction! They are programmed from birth to obey their officers and the First Order. They are the most ruthless and efficient fighting force the galaxy has ever seen…” said Hux.

    “Good,” said Sorn. “I am sending them now to retrieve the droid, and the map, from the planet surface. I trust they do not disappoint us again.”

    Hux decided to change the direction of this subject. “Supreme Leader, this map… surely you place too much importance on it? We have neutralised the New Republic, this Resistance can quickly be quashed if we unleash the ultimate weapon…”

    “We must not waste the impact of the Starkiller’s introduction to the galaxy, General Hux,” snarled Zarakken. “It will wait.”

    Hux bowed and tried to disguise his disappointment. “As you command, Supreme Leader.”

    The hologram of the general faded out, leaving Sorn facing the Supreme Leader.

    “Your time is running out, Kylo,” said Zarakken. “If you cannot claim the map, ensure it is destroyed. See to it yourself. It is more important that it does not fall into the hands of this Resistance.”

    “I will recover it,” said Sorn.

    “Do not let your emotions for your past cloud your judgement on this,” said Zarakken. “I warn you…”

    “Master, I assure you…”

    “Enough!” barked Zarakken. “I do not need your assurances; just do what must be done.”

  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Winner VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    I know Finn is totally convinced Poe didn't survive. YUCK! That water source is not the one I would choose :p

    Enjoyed the conference between Sorn, Zarakken, and Hux with their common and differing goals/motives.
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  24. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    You indeed write great bickering scenes, where one also is able to understand each party that belongs to that conflict.