Chapter 2: (Super)Luminous Beings, We Are

Aboard the Millenium Falcon

4 hours after the events of The Last Jedi

Poe Dameron was loathe to admit it, but he was feeling claustrophobic in the crowded interior of the Falcon. As a fighter pilot, Poe was used to being in a cramped cockpit, but that was with no one else in it with him. Even BB-8, his loyal partner in combat, was in a socket behind him on the outside of the fighter. Having more than 20 survivors from Crait stuffed into the Falcon was making him nervous. Finn was asleep on the floor next to Rose, who was still unconcious after the disasterous attempt to destroy the battering ram cannon. The General was in the only private space aboard the Falcon, her and Han's quarters in the aft port quarter of the ship, hopefully sleeping. BB-8 was in power-saving mode and hooked up the ship's power grid for a much needed charging. Even the little birds that had taken up residence in the wiring trunks of the forward cargo hold were sleeping. Okay, fine, I admit it... I'm bored, too. Poe sighed and began to wander around the Falcon's compact interior. As he walked, he ran his hand along the walls of the corridor, awed by the fact that he was aboard one of the most famous starships in the galaxy. Eventually, he came across the turret access ladders. Having nothing better to do at the moment, he clambered up to the dorsal turret and settled into the gunner's seat, watching the surreal lighting of hyperspace stream past the viewport. Soothed by the eerie blue swirl of the twisted space just beyond the transparisteel before him, Poe began to drift off to sleep.

-.-.-

Poe jolted awake as someone tapped him on the shoulder. "GYAH! Whaa?"

"Sorry, didn't mean to scare you."

Poe relaxed as Rey settled down next to the tunnel exit, watching the swirl of hyperspace outside. "What are you doing up? Pretty much everyone else is sleeping right now."

"When was the last time they got sleep, though? Or you, for that matter?"

Poe sagged in the gunner's seat. "It's... been a while. The last few days have been... hectic."

"So I heard." Rey's face was devoid of readable emotion.

"Y'know... there's got to be more comfortable spots than that spot, Rey. I mean, doesn't the gravity plating shift right about there?"

Rey shrugged. "I've felt worse. The wrecks on Jakku could have some extremely strange gravitational anomalies in them. Broken repulsor generators, acceleration compensators firing on static discharges, rogue gravity plating..."

Poe shook his head in amazement. "I can't imagine living in that."

"Oh, no, no one lived in the wrecks of the Graveyard. Too dangerous."

"So, you lived in Neema Outpost?"

Rey snorted in dismay. "Please. Like I'd willingly spend any more time around Unkar Plott than I had to."

"So... where did you live?"

Rey smiled slightly as she remembered. "A toppled AT-AT. It wasn't much... but it was mine. Protected me from the storms and raiders, allowed me to secure some personal stuff..."

"Would you ever go back there? Y'know, to get some of your stuff?"

"No... It's probably all gone now. There's no space for kindness out there, Poe. No mercy, no pity... Just survival."

Poe nodded slowly. "Well, you don't have to worry about that now, do you?"

"Not as much, no. Be-" Rey was cut short as a quiet two-tone alarm started to sound in the turret.

"What's that?"

"A timer. Come on, I'd like a hand in the cockpit." Rey nimbly rolled into the tunnel and scampered down the ladder with a grace Poe knew he could never match.

"Showoff."

Rey laughed as she waited for Poe. "No, that would be me leaping with the Force to help me."

"Okay, point." Poe followed Rey into the cockpit of the Falcon. "So, what'd you need my help with?"

Rey settled into the pilot's seat. "We're going to perform a blind reversion to realspace in the void between star systems. It should throw the First Order off our trail."

Poe sat in the copilot's seat before giving Rey a skeptical look. "You sure? They tracked us through hyperspace once before."

"Yes, but it's not active tracking. Finn said it was more of a brute-force calculated prediction, so if we do something unexpected..."

"Like a blind reversion well before our destination?"

"Yes. It'll leave them with no idea where we are."

"Sounds good. What do you need me to do right now?"

"Hang on... I'm going to pull us out of hyperspace. Once we do, start the navicomouter on getting a location fix."

"Got it."

Rey closed her eyes and reached over to the hyperdive motivator levers. She waited for several seconds before slamming them forward, abruptly yanking the Falcon back to realspace. "Okay, now we need to find out where we are."

Poe input a few commands into the navicomputer, which began looking for several well-known pulsars and variable stars nearby. "Working on that. I guess now we need to figure out where to go next?"

"Another short jump to nowhere. Then we go somewhere that we can get some help."

The navicomputer chimed, indicating it had a location fix. Poe pulled up the list of nearby star systems with habitable planets. "Okay, so... where to point the ship next?"

Rey leaned over and looked through the list. "Thyferra? What's there?"

"Bacta production. That'd be a good decoy destination, actually. Shall we?"

"I don't see why not." Rey throttled up the Falcon's engines and began to swing the ship to roughly the correct direction.

Poe input the destination, and the navicomputer ran for a few seconds before balking at the information. "Oh, come on! It doesn't like working on outdated information."

"Override it. We're not actually going to Thyferra, so it shouldn't matter."

"Override the navicomputer?"

"This is a smuggler's ship. I'm sure there's an override on such safeties. After all, this ship did make the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs."

Poe input the override, and to his amazement, it actually worked. "Wait... 12 parsecs? That can't be right. I've done that run in simulators and the shortest I ever pulled was-"

"14?"

"Yes. So, either Solo was lying, or he was suicidally stupid and ducked through the Maw."

"I asked Chewbacca about it... Han was crazy and ducked through a gap in the Maw that's only passable at speeds above 0.6 past lightspeed."

"Sithspit, that is crazy." Poe turned back to the navicomputer as it chimed to announce a solution. "Okay, hyperdrive is spooling, navicomp is loaded... Ready?"

"Ready." Rey reached for the hyperdrive motivator controls and smoothly slid them aft, and the Falcon once again disappeared into hyperspace.

-.-.-

Safely back in hyperspace, Rey and Poe had left the cockpit of the Falcon and headed back to the common area. Sprawled out on any flat surface, cushioned or otherwise, were the remains of the Resistance: A few Lieutenants, a smattering of enlisted techs and troopers, three droids, and one thoroughly exhausted former stormtrooper. Rey smiled at the sight of Finn sound asleep, jacket rolled up beneath his head as a pillow. "Well, some Resistance we are."

Poe shrugged. "Eh. There's more of us scattered about. Side missions, additional evac points, stuff like that. Besides, once word gets out that Starkiller Base was destroyed, I think more systems will flock to the cause." He grabbed a pair of ration packs from a nearby storage crate and tossed one to Rey. "But, we need to link up with the comm nets first. Can't do that in hyperspace." He started down the corridor towards the turret access shaft. "Besides, we've got a Jedi on our side. Hard to go wrong with that."

Rey followed Poe up the ladder and returned to her perch at the mouth of the shaft. "I'm hardly a Jedi, Poe."

"The hell you aren't. I saw you move that rubble pile aside like it was nothing." Poe tore the ration pack open and sighed. "Ugh. Buckwheat noodles and nerf nuggets. I've had that three times in the last two weeks."

Rey reached over and gleefully snagged Poe's ration pack. "Trade ya."

Poe eyed the contents of his new package of rations. "Self-hydrating Nuna Gumbo? Huh. Never had this one before. You?"

"Yes, but that one probably tastes better than the one I had." Rey scooped out a serving of noodles and gleefully consumed them. "Mmmm. Much better than anything I ever had on Jakku."

Poe stared at Rey for a moment, completely ignoring his own meal. "Good grief, Rey. What did you eat on Jakku that makes survival rations from ten years ago taste so good?"

"How do Rebellion-era rations sound?"

"Nasty."

Rey laughed. "You're not too far off, but they were all we had."

"So, these rations must seem like fine cuisine to you?"

"I wouldn't go that far... but yes, they're fantastic."

Poe chuckled. "Wait until you get fresh food from a major planet. It'll probably make you pass out."

Rey paused, mouth open. "Why? You think I couldn't handle it?"

"No, it's just... It'd probably be an enlightening experience."

"I'm sure it would be... but that's something we'll have to deal with later."

Poe shrugged and yawned. "Gah. No time to be tired right now."

"Poe... we're still several hours from even considering planetfall. Get some sleep."

"Nah, I'm fine."

"When was the last time you slept? And don't count the fifteen minutes or so you spent stunned."

Poe's extended silence was answer enough for Rey. "Right, I have a hammock in the engineering spaces you can use. Go get some rack time, Poe... you're no help to anyone when you're tired."

"I'm not tired. Gimme a 15 minute nap and I'll be good for a while."

Rey smiled and nodded. "Sure. Go take a nap. I'll wake you if I need you."

"Or in 15 minutes. Whichever comes-"

"Last. Poe, I think you'll be surprised at just how tired you are. You look like you haven't slept in two days, to be completely honest."

Poe set aside the ration pack and rubbed his face . "I've done worse."

"So have I. But, given the circumstances, you should get some sleep now, while we're not busy."

"But-"

"Hush. We're safely in hyperspace, and if I need extra help, I can always rouse BB-8 or Artoo."

"Rey-"

"Go. I'll take care of things for a bit. You take care of yourself."

Poe sighed and relented. "Fine. Engineering, you said?"

Rey again smoothly rolled into the ladder shaft. "Yes. It's not right next to the hyperdrive motivator... but it's close. Chewie and I don't particularly trust it right now, so I wanted to be close by if I was asleep and it failed."

Poe clambered down the ladder after Rey. "Wait… we're riding in a ship with a possibly faulty hyperdrive?"

"Only if we push it past 1.5 past lightspeed. We're tooling along at about 2.3 right now."

"Isn't this ship capable of more than that?"

"When properly maintained, yes, the Falcon can make it to 0.5. Right now, if we were to try that, we'd smear ourselves into a plasma streak across several lightyears." Rey slapped the door release to the engineering bay and walked in.

Poe followed her, spotting the hammock near a large mass of machinery that he now realized was the Falcon's oversized hyperdrive motivator. "Well, good thing we're not in a hurry, then?"

"Yes. I am rather fond of remaining alive, thank you very much." Rey chuckled as she eyed the hyperdrive. "Don't worry, it'll be fine. Chewie and I will be working on it next time we make planetfall."

"Any ideas where we'll be doing that?" Poe eased into the hammock, rolled his jacket up, and tucked it under his head as a crude pillow. "Or when?"

"We'll find someplace, Poe. Don't worry." Rey patted Poe on the shoulder and made an odd gesture.

Moments later, the lights in the bay dimmed, and Poe realized that Rey had just used the Force to reach across the compartment and toggle the controls. "Okay, now you're being a showoff."

Rey smiled, winked at Poe, and walked out of the bay. "Get some rest, Poe. I'll wake you if I need you."

Poe watched the doors close, then lay in the hammock, listening to the now-familiar purr of the hyperdrive pushing the Falcon along at superluminal speeds.

Within seconds, he was soundly asleep.

-.-.-

Finn woke slowly, almost luxuriously, for the first time in weeks. I'm not waking up in a place I don't recognize, or in imminent danger. I could get used to this. He glanced up at the biomonitor watching Rose's vitals and saw that they were active, even if he wasn't quite sure what they all meant. Another glance around showed the remains of the Resistance dozing wherever there was space. Slowly and quietly, he eased himself upright, then snuck out of the common area and headed to the cockpit. As he had expected, Rey was there, sitting in the pilot's seat, eyes closed and meditating. He settled into one of the jump seats and waited for Rey to come out of her meditation.

To his surprise, Rey responded almost immediately. "Hello, Finn."

"Sorry, didn't mean to disturb you." Finn started to get out of his seat.

Rey opened her eyes and reached out a hand to halt Finn. "No, stay. You didn't disturb me."

"You sure?"

"Yes. I was just about done anyways." Rey turned her seat to face Finn. "You look much better now that you've rested."

"Part of that is just waking up in a safe place for the first time in weeks."

"I suppose that would be helpful."

"Yeah. So, what were you meditating over?"

"Nothing in particular... just feeling out the differences in the Force. It feels... different... here in hyperspace than it does in realspace."

"How so?"

"I... don't know if I can explain it. It's just... different"

"Is it a subtle difference, or kind of a 'black and white' difference?"

"Oh, subtle, to be sure. But... the Force isn't black and white, either. Just like anything in life."

Finn frowned. "I always thought that there was two sides to the Force."

Rey leaned back in her chair. "That's something I thought, too... Master Skywalker showed me differently. It's not what powers you use or which side of the Force you draw on... it's why you use them that matters."

Finn nodded slowly. "Yeah. I guess so."

"Something's bothering you, Finn. I don't need the Force to tell me that."

Fin looked at the floor of the cockpit. "I dunno. I just... I guess I was used to seeing the universe in black and white, good and evil. Turns out that, as you said, life isn't that way. There's shades of gray... and I'm not sure where I fall in that." He looked up at Rey. "Am I a good person, Rey?"

"I don't think I can answer that, Finn. Not honestly."

"Why not?"

"In my, admittedly limited, experience, that's a question that only you can answer."

Finn's frowned at Rey's response. "I... I don't know. I've thought I was a good person before. Then I had my eyes opened and I changed sides, thinking that was the right thing. Now? I'm not sure what I am."

Rey sat quietly for several moments before replying. "You're not alone in that, Finn." She paused again before continuing with a faint smile. "But, for what it's worth... I think you're a good person."

Finn smiled back at Rey. "Thanks." He gestured out the window. "So, where are we going?"

"At present? Nowhere. We're on a blind jump to make pursuit as difficult as possible." Rey pondered for a moment, then reached forward to the controls and dropped the Falcon out of hyperspace. "We should be good to pick a proper destination now, though."

"Any ideas as to where to go?"

Leia's voice came from the hatch into the cockpit. "Naboo."

Rey immediately began to plot the course, and Finn turned to face Leia. "Naboo? What's there?"

Leia smiled. "I have a long history with the people of Naboo. Longer than most people realize. I have allies there who can help us get back on our feet, even if they won't take part in the fight against the First Order themselves."

"Oh. What about your other allies, who weren't willing to respond to your call for assistance on Crait?"

Leia frowned. "I'm not sure. Part of what I want to do on Naboo is find out what happened."

The hatch slid open again, and a groggy Poe stumbled in. "Why are we out of hyperspace?" He noticed Leia and straightened up. "General."

"Captain. We're about to head out to Naboo."

"Right. Rey, need a copilot?"

Rey simply gave a knowing smile and gestured to the copilot's seat. Poe sat down and rubbed his hands together. "Okay, what can I do?"

"Same deal as earlier... but without the override."

"Got it. Course... set, drives spooling."

Rey followed the cue on the displays and lined the Falcon up on the proper vector to Naboo. "Punch it."

Poe slid the motivator handles aft, and they disappeared back into hyperspace again.