In the First Order, dreams were a liability. A stormtrooper was not meant to stand by the wayside, wasting time with idle dreams. There was work to be done, planets to be conquered, galaxies to be charted. Dreams were for the weak, or so Finn had been taught.
But after leaving the First Order, and finding a place of his own amongst the Resistance, Finn had learned the value of dreaming. With the Resistance, the stars above him did not seem so out of reach. What once was a far off contemplation, was now as close to him as a heartbeat. When Finn slept, he dreamed.
But his dreams were not of Rey's raven hair, or Poe's warm jokes. These dreams were something different. Finn dreamed of warm hands, a tight chin, and a military uniform of a corps Finn had never known. He dreamed of brown eyes, and stern discipline that made him want to stand proud, but slink away. A strange contradiction Finn never knew could exist. And in Finn's dreams, he spoke with the words of a frightened son.
"Dad, I don't want you to go. The Kaiju are too strong."
But whose words were those? And why was Finn so terrified? It was as if his whole world was being taken from him, had the First Order found him here as well? Was not even safe in his dreams? But...was this a dream?
"Jake...I need you to be strong, alright?" And whose hand rested heavily on Finn's shoulder? Whose eyes pierced through Finn's own worry, replacing it with a fragile pride? Finn could not tell. "Remember Jake, you're a Pentecost. That means we don't back down. Not from a fight. Not from a challenge, and certainly not from giant monsters from other dimensions."
"Can you do that for me, Jake?" the man asked, his face obscured by an ever present darkness. But Finn could only smile, even if he wanted to scream.
"Yes father, I can."
And then, the dreamed ended and Finn awoke. His legs tangled in a mess of sheets, and blankets, the dreamed had faded, and all Finn had left was a dark confusion in the pit of his chest.
"Finn, you're not eating," Poe said. Poe Dameron, the greatest fighter pilot in the Resistance, had an eye sharper than anyone else's. When it came to spotting weaknesses, blindspots, and weak points in a strategy, or aerial vessel, Poe always got to it first. For the Resistance, that was an asset, but for anyone who wanted to try and keep something secret, it was a hindrance.
"I'm not real hungry today Poe," Finn said.
Chow time was probably the only time when Finn and Poe could catch up. Poe was always busy commanding the next aerial assaults on the First Order, and Finn was always off with target practice, and scouting for more potential First Order bases. It was like they never had a chance to enjoy each other's company, so both men always looked forward to meal time.
But today, Finn was too shaken to eat. Where Finn would tend to pile his plate with something different each day, a bowl of chilli, or a few slices of french toast, today his plate was barren. And, needless to say, Poe was pretty concerned.
"What's up buddy?" Poe asked. "I can't exactly help if you don't tell me the problem. Is it Rey again?" Poe gently patted Finn on his shoulder and grinned, "I know you miss her, but she'll be back as soon as she locates Luke Skywalker. There's no need to tie yourself up in knots over that."
It was true, Finn missed Rey terribly, but she was not what weighed on his mind. That morning, Finn's head drifted between last night's dream and the ever present discontent that came with it.
That man...whoever he was...called me Jake.
Back in the First Order, Stormtroopers were prohibited from discussing their own natures. No one was allowed to dream about what their family might have been like, or who they might have been. Most Troopers didn't even concern themselves with it. If it wasn't for the greater glory of the First Order, it wasn't important. But Finn did not agree. He may not have voiced his concerns, but that never stopped him for dreaming. His dreamed of what his mother might have been. A kind woman who held him in his arms when the rains became loud. And his father...his father must have been strong, right? A leader. A protector. A man who did not know fear.
And in his dreams, Finn had a father. Finn had a name.
But, it wasn't his name. It was as if he were trying on someone else's clothes. It may have been nice to hold onto, but it didn't quite fit right. Something was off.
"Finn?" Poe asked.
"W-what?" Finn tried to look nonchalant, a practice he was still mastering, but no matter how good he became at it, Poe could still see right through him.
"You feelin' alright, man?" Poe asked as he placed the back of his hand against Finn's forehead. "You sure you ain't getting sick?"
Finn only smiled, and scooted out of his seat, "Yeah, I'm fine Poe. I guess I'm just not that hungry."
Poe placed his hand down, and skimmed it along the table top. "Well, alright. If you say so, but if you wanna talk about whatever it is that's on your mind, you know where my room is, bud."
Finn smiled, nodded, and gently walked off into the corridors of the Resistance halls. Perhaps a little work would take his mind off of his dreams. He may have been free of the First Order, but that did not mean he could allow himself to be complacent. There was a war going on, and the Resistance needed every man and woman it could get. No matter what those dreams were, memories of a forgotten life, or premonitions of something greater, Finn needed to keep his head in this reality, not thinking of dreams.
Whether a Stormtrooper of the First Order, or a soldier of the Resistance, one thing always remained the same, Finn always felt better after target practice. There was something about feeling a blaster trigger between his fingers that made Finn concentrate. Stormtroopers are conditioned to ignore the world around them in the heat of combat, and while Finn had always hated that rule, for once, he found it useful. He couldn't think about his dreams, and the strange world his dreams sent him to, if he was bust firing, right?
But, like all things do, target practice ended and Finn found himself alone in his quarters, the threat of sleep breathing heavy against his neck.
Come on Finn, it's just sleep! You've weathered worse.
Since moving into the Resistance base, Finn did not have the chance to fill his living space with anything personal. There really wasn't anything of his to fill the space with. Aside from the jacket that Poe gave him, Finn's room was a blank as the future Finn had created for himself. He was glad he did not have to live under the threat of the First Order any longer, but now he wasn't sure where to go, or how to proceed forward. Life was as unwritten for him as it was before, and sometimes, he felt like he was as trapped in this new freedom. Hell, maybe that was Finn's destiny. To always be trapped.
Finn stripped his shirt off, and tucked it beneath his bed. He gathered his shoes and placed them in the far corner. "Just get some rest Finn." And Finn inched the covers to his chin and drifted to another world…
"Do you know what that constellation is?"
...and this world was warm. This world was beautiful. And in this world, Finn looked to the stars and marveled at the beauty of the night sky. The moon, one single moon, hung overhead. The midnight air sung with music of cicadas, and the night did not reach into the soul and hollow out the chest. Everything was peaceful.
"Of course I do!" Finn's voice (but...was it really Finn's voice?) was bright and unburdened, a feat that Finn had never accomplished, even in his youth. Finn had never known a life without constant paranoia, but here, he felt like ease was all his life had ever held for him. "That constellation is Sagittarius, the horse." The words came so easily, as if Finn had always known them, but knowledge of star formations was never a part of Finn, or rather FN-2187's, regiment. Only navigators needed to know that information. A Troopers job was to shoot. And why did the stars overhead feel so far away? Anyone, even a Stormtrooper, knew about space travel. Stars were as common as sand from Tatooine. But here, now, in this world Finn could only dream of, the stars seemed as out of reach as a peaceful night's sleep.
"Jake, are you afraid?" a voice asked. Its tone was deep and husky, it was the voice of a man, the voice of someone who loved him infinitely. The voice of someone who held his hand during the darkest hours, prayed by his bedside, and looked towards the skyline in a pained wonder.
"Understand what, Dad?" Finn asked. Finn whose name was Jake. Finn who held his father's hand beneath a sky whose stars were forever out of his grasp. But that did not bother him. Who needed the stars? Who needed to reach out into that unknown galaxy?
All anyone ever needed was right here. Here, there was warmth, there was ease, and there was family.
Finn had a family.
Morning came with the sound of Poe's voice. "Hey, come on Trooper, we've gotta a lot to do today. Up and at 'em."
Finn rubbed the last bit of dream from his eyes, and gawked at the ceiling. It was morning? How? So soon? When Finn stared out his window, he saw the sun rising over the horizon. Had he overslept? Finn had never done that before. Why, if he were still with the Order-he shuddered at the thought of Captain Phasma's punishment. He jumped from his bed, grabbed his shoes and shirt and jacket and rushed out into the hallway. He couldn't afford to get sloppy. General Organa was organizing a grand mission for the end of the week. Finn was crucial to its success and he couldn't run the risk of jeopardizing the Resistance's safety. Dreams or no dreams.
Finn tugged at his jacket, and marched down the hallway. Even against his best efforts, he still marched in perfect cadence with the First Order's teachings. Keep your chins up. Keep your back straight. Disloyalty will not be tolerated.
Jake, can you come here for a minute?
And there was that voice again. There was that name. Finn's name...but, not Finn's name. The name of someone Finn could only dream of.
Jake, I want you to meet someone.
The Resistance base, with its cramped walls and hidden corners, began to shift and change. What was once solid and dependable, became loose and otherworldly. Finn's eyes blurred, and his ears heard voices he could only recognize in his dreams. The world was stained in a black shadow, as if the dream (or was it a memory) was only partially formed. And before Finn, stood a man with great stature. His skin was as dark as Finn's own, and his chin was held higher than any soldier's Finn had ever seen. This man was a leader, and Finn recognized him instantly. This was the man from Finn's dreams.
"Dad?" Finn asked.
"Jake," his father said again, "I want you to meet someone very important." He stood aside, and revealed a small girl clutched to his pant leg. Her hair was dark and fell into her eyes...but Finn did not need to see them to know she had been crying. "This is your new sister, Mako Mori."
And in an instant the dream faded away.
"W-what?" Finn asked. Finn stood in the center of the Resistance bay hangar. Pilots of Poe's Black Squadron hustled from base to ship, and back again. Poe stood by Finn's side, helmet tucked under arm, with a concerned look that Finn both appreciated and shrunk away from.
"You feelin' alright, buddy?" Poe asked. "I mean, first you don't eat anything at chow time, and now you're wandering around in a haze." Poe was always good at removing the levity from a situation with a stark grin and gentle shoulder clap, but today Poe offered nothing but a furrowed brow. "You alright?"
Finn did not realize he had traveled so far from the hall ways. He had meant to move towards the targeting ranges to better prepare for his mission, but instead he found himself here. Finn shook his head, "Yeah, sorry Poe...I just got a little sidetracked."
Finn had no idea where his head was at, but it certainly wasn't here on D'Qar.
"Buddy, are you-"
Finn just smiled, "Don't worry man. Everything's fine." Finn fixed his jacket collar, and smoothed the gooseflesh on his neck. He had to keep it together. "I'm gonna head to the target ranges. I'll see ya' at the meeting." Before Poe could offer to go with him, Finn had already turned around and raced to the other side of the base. He had to get his head cleared. Instead of heading straight for target practice, Finn walked into the refresher. One of the perks of not being in the First Order any longer was that people weren't constantly monitoring your every move. Troopers weren't allowed the kind of privacy that so many others across the galaxy take for granted.
Finn found some solace in the cleaned tiled walls, and the echo of an empty bathroom. The faucet dripped water into the sink and Finn found comfort in its easy rhythm.
Back in the days of the First Order, dreams were just a nuisance. To Phasma, a soldier who dreamed was a soldier with a weak mind. Some part of Finn agreed with her. Whatever was going on with Finn, it was jeopardizing himself, and the Resistance's mission, and that couldn't be allowed.
Finn remembered, back when his name was still a number, that the FR corps, one of the firing units for the First Order, had a soldier who had had his first taste of combat outside of the simulations. The FN corps, Finn's corps, was still learning about basic combat back then. To Finn, Nines, Slip, and Zeroes, combat was just a fantasy young men indulged in after their practice was complete.
It was during meal time, and FN-2187 and the rest sat dumbfounded around their table, their mouths too busy chewing to strike any kind of a conversation. Besides, time was always limited during meals. It was either eat and get fueled for the next simulated mission, or talk and go hungry. The FN corps always chose the former.
And out of nowhere, a man decked in broken Trooper armor came screaming through the doors into the mess hall. His face was as pale as the Corusant skyline, and his nails dug into his face.
"They're everywhere," he screamed, "Everywhere!" His voice was shrill and unreasonable. His eyes darted from one corner of the mess hall to the other. His back hunched over, as if he were trying to keep his stomach from falling onto the floor. "Get them away," he fell to his knees, "Get them off of me!"
And FN-2187 stole a glance to the man on the floor, and fast than 87 could breath, the trooper was dragged off into the distance, screaming.
Nines only scoffed, "Weak minded fool," he said.
"What do you mean?" FN-2187 asked. It was rare for Nines to speak during chow time, but 87 wanted to know more.
"I've heard of guys like him," Zeroes said as he swallowed his meal. "They see one piece of combat on the field, and they fall apart. They start seeing visions, and they lose their minds. The First Order doesn't need soldiers who can't keep their shit together."
"I hear the condition is called PTSD," Slip chimed in.
"Who cares what it's called?" Zeroes was always the type to voice his concerns when it came to other Troopers. He was a gossip, but never liked to admit it. "Get him out of here if he can't hack it. More food for the people who're competent, I say."
Nines nodded, "Yeah, he'll probably be recommissioned or some shit. I say good riddance."
It wasn't that Finn agreed with the First Order's tactics. Far from it. You don't run away from a lifetime of conditioning just for the fun of it. But maybe, to some degree at least, they had a point. Soldiers couldn't function properly if they were too busy seeing visions. And whatever good the Resistance wanted to ensue wouldn't happen if Finn couldn't get himself together.
Finn had always wanted a family. He dreamed of it. Wasn't it possible that in Finn's own mind, he had concocted a family for himself? A father who embraced him when the cold became unbearable, and a sister who hid her face behind matted hair.
This is your new sister, her name is Mako.
But that didn't make any sense. These dreams, these visions , felt far too real to just be some part of Finn's mind trying to piece together a family for himself. What kind of hallucinations provided the warm tone in his "father's" voice? What kind of dreams could reach into Finn's very stomach and make him feel as if he had always belonged with this family? What kind of visions compelled Finn to look at the name "Jake Pentecost" and smile? The dreams felt real, but at the same time, false. They felt as if he were looking trying on the skin of another person.
What the hell kind of dreams were these?
A knock came at the refresher door, "Finn? You in there?"
It was Poe.
Finn washed his face with cold water. He couldn't look like he had been worrying. There was a meeting today with General Organa. Finn was the only thing that could make the mission a success. He had to pull it together. Whether his mind was just messing with him or not, he couldn't afford any mishaps.
"I'm coming Poe, be out in a sec."
No more dreams. No more visions. No more Jake.
General Organa was one of the most brilliant tacticians that Finn had ever seen. Better than Captain Phasma. Better than General Hux and Admiral Tarkin. Organa had this incredible ability to look at a situation, and find at least three different ways to dismantle it. She could assess any situation, move her soldiers into the best tactical position, and take a victory without ever having to take a breath. There was something otherworldly about her abilities. But of course, seeing as she was the twin sister of Luke Skywalker, that should come as no surprise.
Organa stood in front of Poe Dameron, and the rest of his strike team as she addressed the strategy for the coming mission. Finn stood at Poe's side. Every time the Resistance has a mission, they'd have their strategy meeting in Organa's personal office. Her room was stuffed with every piece of espionage equipment that the Resistance might need. She had satellite uplinks, the comms of every fighter pilot and ground soldier written on her desk, and other tools that Finn hadn't even heard about.
"I'm glad to see everyone here," General Organa said. "Now pay attention. Our intelligence has discovered a potential First Order base on the south side of Tatooine, and we to infiltrate it, plant explosives in positions, and take it down." She spoke with authority. Not a word wavered from her mouth, and each piece of information was seared into Finn's mind. This was too important to half ass.
Finn had known about this plan for some time. In fact, it was General Organa who insisted he take it on. Being a former soldier for the First Order, Finn knew the layout of pretty much every FO base. They never changed them, and as an added benefit, Finn still had the time tables and schedules memorized. They could be in an out before anyone even knew what happened.
"Poe," General Organa said, "I need your men to run interference in the air and on the ground while Finn infiltrates and finishes the mission.
"W-what?" Finn whispered. His eyes began to blend General Organa's face into a mush of green and red and blue and black.
Jake...we have to go.
"No," Finn said, "Not again."
We have to run. The Kaiju are attacking the city.
It was happening again. Not here. Not now. Not when there was a mission to brief. Not when the Resistance was counting on him. Please...not now.
"Stop." Finn hunched over into his stomach, and the hard floors of General Organa's war room, were replaced with the unyielding will of concrete sidewalks. People were screaming in every direction. Bits of rubble and brick and fell from the sky like rain, and Finn was afraid.
We have to get to the shatterdome.
Everything was on fire.
There was a city. London. London, with tall buildings, monuments that reached to the clouds, and bridges that seemed to go on into the distance. But it was burning. People were screaming. Women yanked children by their arms in a panic. Men streaked down the streets barefoot. And Finn...no...Jake gazed at the sky in disbelief. There was a monster stepping, crashing, and rampaging through the city. A monster larger than any Starship Poe could have piloted. Larger than the entire Resistance base. Larger than the entire First Order's FN squadron. It had claws that ripped into stone like cotton. It had a tail that dragged buses and phone lines in its wake.
It was Kaiju.
And Finn turned to see Mako's face, her hair tied behind her ears, and her face angry and concerned. Her cheeks were red, and her mouth gulped at the air, as if it were trying to suck all the oxygen in the world.
"Mako!" he said. "I-I don't...where's Dad?"
Without a second word, Mako grabbed his hand and yanked him out of the London streets, and into the crowd. She did not let go. He felt like his wrist was on fire. He looked back, and the destruction continued.
"Mako," he called again, "Where's dad?"
"Later," Mako screamed "We need to get to the Shatterdome. Just like Dad taught us, alright?"
There was so much confusion. So many screaming people. So many dead bodies laid across the streets, the same streets he had walked when he was younger. The same city where his father had taught him the constellations. The same skyline that he wished to gaze at, was now torn asunder. All that was left was a broken fantasy, and a fire that could never be undone.
And once again the dream was no more. Finn stood in the center of a tight circle, comprised of a range of concerned looks. Poe's hand was clenched onto Finn's shoulder, and General Organa looked as if she had just watched her brother get shot. The silence was disturbing. One moment Finn was listening to Organa's plan, and the next, he was transported to a world ravaged by a-
Kaiju. It's coming
"W-what happened?" Finn asked once he found the strength to break the silence.
"You tell us," General Organa said. "Out of nowhere you started screaming about-"
"A Kaiju?" someone asked.
"A-and, you kept asking about your…" Poe tightened his grip on Finn's shoulder, perhaps he was too afraid his friend might run off again, "...your father."
"W-what?" This wasn't possible. It wasn't real. It was just a dream. Finn knew that. "I-I...I just had...I'm sorry," Finn fumbled over his words, trying to keep his balance, trying to catch his breath. But the visions of a fallen city, and a rampaged world would not leave his mind.
It's just a dream!
"Finn," Poe asked, his face creased with a heavy concern, "Are you sure you're alright? I mean-"
"It's fine Poe. I'm fine."
It's just a dream.
"I just haven't been getting enough sleep."
Finn had seen strange things in his lifetime. If Han Solo were still around, he'd probably say it was the work of The Force. Poe and General Organa say the same things. The Force binds us together. The Force is an energy that penetrates all things, and unites what can't be united.
But Jake Pentecost wasn't real. He was just a dream. Poe had even told him that it wasn't unusual for a person's mind to play tricks on him in times of high stress. But it was just a dream.
But why did it feel so real?
Why would Finn dream of a giant beast destroying a city?
Why would Finn dream of a family he could never hold in his arms?
"Mako isn't real," Finn told himself. "Kaiju aren't real. Jake Pentecost isn't real."
Was the Force trying to tell him something? No. No, it was just a dream. Nothing more.
It was the day of the mission and Finn felt like he was going to puke all over his room. Sleep now brought him the promise of strange creatures and screwed visions. He was beginning to fear the very sight of his pillow. But he had to sleep. He had to make sure he was ready for the mission. Countless lives depended on him.
When Finn awoke, he stood in front of his dresser mirror and dressed himself in his lucky jacket. The one Poe had given him after their reunion. The one that suited him. The one Poe said made him look like a hero. It's felt lining encased his cold body. He slowly buttoned up one sleeve, and then the other.
"Concentrate," Finn whispered. If he kept all of his attention on other things, then perhaps he wouldn't be swept away by his own fantasy. Today was too important. "Just concentrate." Finn said aloud. "There's no Kaiju." He smoothed out the collar of his jacket. "There's no Mako." He tucked his shirt deep into his belt. "There's no-"
Jake...I need you to listen to me, alright?
And it was his voice again. Strong and matchless, with the ability to move an entire army to defend their world against an unstoppable foe. Finn's father. Jake's father.
But he wasn't real. He can't be real.
Yet his father...Stacker...Stacker Pentecost was still here. In Finn's room. His hand placed on Finn's shoulder, and Finn felt as if his whole world was being torn from under him.
"Jake, I need you to be strong, alright?"
And Finn spoke with all the vulnerability of a boy who had grown to adulthood too soon. He spoke with the fragility of a man whose whole world was ravaged by a monster that most didn't even know could exist. He felt like a child. He felt foolish. But most of all he felt despair.
"Dad," Finn said, "I don't want you to go."
But whose words were those? They couldn't have been Finn's. They seemed too distant, and too cold to be from Finn's tongue.
"I know Jake," Stacker said, "But I need you to stay here, at this academy. We'll need your strength in order to defeat the Kaiju. This planet'll need every Jaeger pilot it can get its hands on, and you're gonna be one of the best."
And Finn hated his father for saying that. He hated his father for dressing him as a soldier, and pushing him off into some academy that he never wanted to be a part of. But most of all, he hated his father for teaching him how to dream. What good were dreams to either of them now?
And Stacker smiled. "Make me proud son."
A bang intruded upon Finn's solitude, and the voices disappeared into the cold air. Finn was alone once more with only his lamplight to keep the darkness at bay.
"Hey Finn," it was Poe calling from the other side of the door, "Can I come it?"
Finn breathed. Deep intake. Slow outtake. He had to calm down, after what happened with him at the meeting yesterday, he didn't want to give Poe anymore reason to worry. They had enough on their hands with the day's mission.
"Yeah, come on in Poe."
The door to Finn's quarters slid open, and Poe stood with his boots shined, and his hair a mess. Even Poe didn't comb it, it still looked to be perfect. It was always something Finn marveled at.
"Hey buddy, how ya' holdin' up?" Poe asked. Poe Dameron was probably the smoothest person Finn had ever met. He could swallow his own concerns as easily as a swig of beer. If Poe ever had a worry, Finn could never tell. But this morning, there was something wrong with Poe's movements, as if he had a gripe in his throat he just couldn't cough out. His voice was husky, and deep down, Finn knew something was wrong.
"Poe, are you alright?"
"Me?" Poe asked, "You're asking me? Finn, just about everyone on base heard about your…" Poe stopped, and then pushed himself to continue, "...episode the other day. Organa, and Jess, and hell, even the droids are worried about you."
Damn, this was what Finn was afraid of.
"Poe, look I'm not gonna let anything get in the way of the mission."
"Finn," Poe placed his hands on Finn's shoulders. Poe's arms quivered. "Look, you know we all love you right? And...well, none of us have any clue what it is you went through with the First Order." Poe kept his words evened and spaced, "Running away from the only life you knew, breaking orders, and all the shit that happened in between. And then Rey, and you're fight with Kylo Ren-"
"Poe, it's fi-"
"And you didn't even have time to recoup from all of that. I-I mean, you woke up from the med bay and went right to work fighting the First Order."
"No, Finn." Poe squeezed his hands, the silence between them was so dense it would take an X-Wing just to get through it all. "Finn, I need you to rest, alright? We're not like the First Order, no one's going to drag you away just because you're dealing with a little PTSD."
"Poe, it's not PTSD." But...wasn't it? That would make sense, right? And the doctors over at the med bay even said he might have lingering mental trauma from his injury. Sometimes, he could still feel the sting of Kylo Ren's saber. "Poe look, you and I both know that this mission, and the Resistance's entire reason for existing is bigger and more important than any individual person. We both joined because we wanted to make the galaxy safe again, right?"
He couldn't let Poe down. Or the Resistance down...but there was something deeper than that as well. Stronger even. He didn't want to let his father down. For some strange reason, the name Pentecost had become a grand title to him now and an even grander burden.
Remember Jake, you're a Pentecost.
"Poe, we have to do this. And if I've gotta do it alone, then fine."
Poe might have been stubborn, but he knew that when had made up his mind, there wasn't anything that could stop him. What the hell kind of guy could stand up to the mental fortitude of a Stormtrooper who had defected?
"Alright," Poe said, "We'll do it."
Poe and his team made it to the far side of Tatooine, a desert region that made Jakku look like a day spa. Poe had left Finn at the drop off point, and already, the ex-Stormtrooper had infiltrated the base and was making his way through the halls.
Poe and the X-Wing Squadron were running so much interference in the skies, that this base's defenses were too busy with the squadron to worry about one man making his way down the halls.
"Alright Finn. Just keep it together." The explosive was tucked beneath Finn's jacket, and the planting point was just due south of Finn's current position. Within the halls of this First Order base, Finn felt as if he were moving in reverse. The walls were a dull chrome that seemed to make the air stale and mussed. There wasn't anything here but conformity. It was terrifying, and for an instant, Finn could feel the Order's influence seep back into his mind.
"No. No. No," Finn said. He pulled his jacket tighter around him, he couldn't allow his mind to wander anymore than it already had. "Get to the planting position. Finish the mission."
Make me proud son...
Why? Why were the words still in Finn's head? Why did the chrome walls seep and break and bend and betray? Why did his visions become clearer under the light of the Tatooine sun, rather than the brittle glow of the starlight?
Why did the stars seem so far away?
Jake, I've got something to tell you.
And why did those words fill him with such rage? Such disappointment? Such sadness?
Your father was a brave man. Just like his sister, Luna Pentecost.
Whose words were those? They couldn't be Finn's. They couldn't be Mako's. They couldn't even be real. This was all just a nightmare.
General Pentecost piloted Jaeger Striker Eureka in order to defend the coastline of the Shatterdome.
"W-what do you mean?" Finn asked. He tightened his jacket closer to him. He had to remember, his name was Finn. He was a soldier of the Resistance. He had friends who loved him, and a mission he had to complete. But none of that could stop him from asking: "Where's my father?"
Jake, your father was a brave man. And through his efforts, he and the rest of the Defense Squad have...cancelled the Apocalypse.
"Where is my father?" Finn's voice echoed through the empty halls of the First Order base. Who was he shouting to? Who was even listening.
But that deed did not come without a great sacrifice. He...I'm sorry, but your father is-
"Finn?" Poe's voice came screeching into Finn's ear through their comm link. "Finn are you in position? I don't think we can hold them any longer."
"He's dead...my father is dead." The voices faded, the memories flooding to fast to comprehend. Images of stars in the sky, warm hands on his shoulders, tears that could only be seen through one's heart. A crumbled building, and a giant droid that flew to the skyline. A Jaeger that Finn could only dream of.
And the death of a man Finn had never known. And still he mourned.
"Finn! Can you hear me?" Poe screamed through the comm, "You need to move. Plant the device and get the Kriff out of there."
But Poe's voice was too far away. Finn was too far away.
Jake...do you remember what I said? You're a Pentecost. That means something.
The warmth of a father's voice. A treasure that was never Finn's to hold onto. A gift that Finn could never receive. Who were those words meant for? Finn, the man who had defied his destiny? Or Jake, the man who could not carry the weight of his own namesake?
Just remember , Stacker Pentecost's voice was so warm, you can always find me in the drift.
"...in the drift."
The rest was a blur. Finn had navigated through the base, and planted the device. He was extracted from the hot point seconds before the base was destroyed. Poe always did like to cut it close. The mission was a success. So then, why did Finn feel like he had lost something important?
Finn sat in the back seat of Poe's X-Wing. Neither of them said a word all the way through Outer Rim space. The stars flew past Finn's gaze faster than the ending of a dream. Lights flickered in an endless darkness, and before Finn could even understand them fully, they disappeared. Never to be within his view again.
To Finn the stars were always so close. Close enough to reach out and grab onto. Close enough to feel them heat his palms. But in his dreams, when his name was Jake and his father's eyes were upon him, the stars seemed like they could never be reached. They were distant and cold.
Maybe Jake was just a Force vision. Or maybe Stacker Pentecost was simply Finn's own PTSD trying to cover a deeper truth. Or maybe it was something else all together. The Force connects all things together, wasn't that General Organa always said? What if, dreams and memories and all the existed in between were connected right now? Or what if they were only beginning to connect right now? At this very moment? A connection that stretched far beyond what anyone could imagine?
"Finn?" Poe asked, breaking Finn from his thoughts.
"You did good today," Poe said with a smile. "When we get back to base, I'm buyin' you a pint. 'Kay?"
And Finn smiled back, "Only if you let me buy the second round."
And the X-Wing blazed off into space, passing star after star. Finn did not know what to believe. Call it a Force vision. Call it a dream. Call it a Drift. Maybe there were connections that people weren't meant to comprehend. Maybe somethings could only be understood with the fullness of dreams.
"It's just a dream, right?"
And perhaps somewhere, beyond the dimensional rift. Beyond the pride of a Jaeger pilot, beyond the haze of a Kaiju's terror, Jake was dreaming as well.