Endless fields, towering monoliths, streaming starships.
He could see them all. He could feel the wind wash over him, hear the cries of joy through the whispers. It was only a piece, but it was paradise.
It was Zakuul, it was home, how it should be.
And a second later, he saw them as well.
Two young princes, swinging sticks like they were lightsabers, away from their retainers after sneaking out. Neither of them seemed to care, blissfully unaware of the punishment such an act of rebellion would bring.
But it was worth it.
Every time, no matter how hard father would push, the moments here he wouldn't trade, not for a trillion star systems.
Though, with every memory, a lesson.
And what a cruel lesson this one was.
Thexan could see them, hear their joy. See his brother, laugh with him again. He was innocent, young, free of the pain that consumed the two of them. In a blink, they were young men, leading their soldiers against those who would dare stand against them.
He pressed his will, and the images stopped. In the center of a battlefield, Arcann stood. Regal, strong, full of potential, the best brother a man could ask for.
It was nothing but a memory, but still, he reached. The height of vanity his teachers once said, to use the force to change what has already happened. Vain, selfish, whatever they would've called him, it was worth it.
Just this once, let him feel what could've been, if only for a moment.
Impossibly, he got closer. His heart pounded in his chest, he could do it.
A little further and-
The image shattered with the sound of clanking metal. Thexan felt the rage rise within, wrapping it in a leash of barely restrained calm as he looked back at the disturbance. The man, Finn, was standing in the doorway, a spare piece of metal aimlessly rolling along the ground. Thexan barely looked at it, freezing it in place, the action only making Finn go as stiff as a board.
"Is there something you wanted, Finn?" Thexan asked, forcing his voice to be as level as possible.
The kind of voice he used to discipline his men, especially when they knew exactly what they did wrong. From the way Finn shrunk into himself, he knew what he did as well.
"I was just-"
"Trying not to be noticed?" Thexan guessed, cutting it off, "You're not exactly living up to the reputation of a Resistance Spy."
Finn flinched, but he hid it well, putting in even more effort by hiding it behind a shrug and crossing his arms.
"Guess that's why I'm so good." He stated with a wide grin.
"That you're so bad at being a spy that no one suspects you?" Thexan said, rising to his feet, brushing off some lose dust. "Forgive me, but I'm beginning to weep for the Resistance's chances."
"Y-You don't know what you're talking about."
Thexan couldn't help but chuckle, at least the man had some spine.
"Oh?" he asked, his tone dripping with mock surprise.
He sat down on the nearest bed, gesturing with his hands.
"What has Finn done that deserves merit?"
The supposed Resistance Hero flinched back as if surprised he was getting the chance to show his accomplishments.
"W-Well…" he stammers, "I…"
Thexan kept his hands to his side and tried his best to look like he hadn't noticed the bead of sweat run down his neck. Finn claps his hands together, a confident smile adorning his features. This should be good.
"I got into a First Order Star Destroyer, by myself," he quickly clarified, "And got out our best pilot."
"A Star Destroyer?" Thexan drawled in false fascination.
"Yes," Finn said, confidently.
"And where is this pilot now?"
The confidence fell, like a deflated balloon. Finn rubbed his arm, specifically his brown and red jacket sleeve.
"H-He didn't make it out of the crash."
Thexan's eyebrow rose a few notched for effect.
"So you got into a First Order Star Destroyer, got a prisoner, and managed to crash land on Jakku, where you promptly lost said pilot and managed to only escape by enlisting the help of a scavenger girl."
The Prince waited for his summary to be disputed, but when nothing came, he rolled his eyes.
"I'll be sure to keep the Resistance in my meditations," he stopped, sending the first meaningful glare at the man, "That is if they're not interrupted."
Finn swallowed, "I'm sorry."
"Don't be, be better, or else the Resistance has no chance."
"They'll be fine without me."
Thexan rose an eyebrow and Finn glanced around before leaning forward. Guilt evident all over his face.
"Look the truth is-"
For the second time today, something gets between Finn and his explanation. The two of them perk up at the sound of the roar, a wounded Chewbacca motioning for them to follow him.
"We're here," Thexan extrapolated.
He passed Finn, giving him a knowing look but leaving the 'Spy' to his thoughts. He arrived to the Falcon's cockpit as they pulled out of light speed, and ahead, a bright green jewel of a world appeared, riddled with forests and deltas and rivers. Thexan saw Rey's jaw drop as they flew down to the planet's surface, going through the atmosphere and seeing the wide expanses of forests. She almost looked ready to cry.
"I didn't know there was this much green in the whole galaxy…" Han looked up, eyes softening as he turned towards a confused Thexan.
"What do you mean?" Thexan asked as he took a seat in the passenger side behind Han. Rey perked up and turned towards him.
"I lived on Jakku, a desert world." Rey stated, and Thexan nodded.
"I see…" It made sense. Although he had the advantage of a Prince's education to see many worlds and learn about them. He heard Rey was a Scavenger, living on a desert world, and on her own. He looked her over as her eyes were glued to the passing woodlands below. She was muscular, taut like a spring, but slender. Had a heavy tan and he can still notice some sand in her tunic.
As he heard Finn approach, he notice him staring and Thexan looked back, seeing Finn give an almost defensive and accusatory glance.
Did he think of her THAT way?
"Here we are." Han muttered as the Falcon touched down on a landing pad, and Thexan could see a stone structure in the distance that made him wince. So… primitive. And for a castle no less. At least it was on a lake to provide for picturesque view. Rey got up immediately, giddy like a child while BB-8 chirped and rolled behind her. Han followed, going to a storage compartment and rummaging through it as Chewie shut down the ship, Finn and Thexan following behind the old smuggler. Finn was oozing concern and anxiety as he approached Han, Thexan behind him.
"Hey, Solo, I'm not sure what we're walking into here-"
"D'you just call me 'Solo'?" Finn corrected himself before Han's quirked eyebrow as he looked back, and his eyes settled on Thexan. The bald man shrugged.
"Sorry. Han- Mr. Solo. You should know, I'm a big deal in the Resistance." Thexan could see Han resist the urge to roll his eyes and gave him a nod. First he was going to confess his obvious lie, now he's just doubling down? "Which puts a real target on my back. Are there any conspirators here? First Order sympathizers?" He sounded like he was scared of his own shadow. It's as if there was two people speaking from one body.
Han knew it in his eyes, Thexan can tell.
"Listen big deal, you've got another problem." He gave a sway smirk. "Women always figure out the truth." And he handed him a blaster rifle. "Always." And made a gesture to Thexan to follow, and the Zakuulian did so, walking past the petrified man.
Takodana was beautiful in every sense. Blue skies with plenty of cloud cover. Pleasant weather. Serene breeze. And the green forest riddled mountains in every direction as they walked up to Rey, who was still entranced of it all. Han walked to her side, handing her a blaster pistol. "You might need this."
"I think I can handle myself."
Han smirked at her. "I know you do. That's why I'm giving it to you. Take it." The girl took the weapon, aiming it around.
"You know how to fire it?" Thexan asked. His blaster experience was… minimal. He has relied on his lightsaber and the Force for so long he never bothered. But, no lightsaber, and his connection with the Force, while getting stronger, was still weak. From what he saw in the compartment, there was no left over blasters. He will need to improvise if there was trouble.
"Easy. Pull the trigger." Rey answered with her shadow target shooting.
"There's a little bit more to it than that. So," Han looked at the girl and took a deep breath. "Rey. I've been thinkin' about bringing on some more crew. A second mate. Someone to help Thexan." Thexan's eyes rose as he stood from the other side of Han, seeing Rey's eyes light up. This act of kindness was foreign to her. And… Thexan could relate. He was a Prince. He had little if any time to make friends. What few comrades he did make were military officers he commanded. His tutors were all business. Then again, they were sent by order of his Father. "Someone who can keep up with Chewie, Thexan, and me, appreciates the Falcon." The brown haired girl let out a laugh of surprise.
"Are you offering me a job?" Han then scowled.
"I wouldn't be nice to you. Doesn't pay much." Thexan felt a smile tug at his lips. Those were similar words sent his way when Han offered him the job.
"You're offering me a job." She beamed, and Han rolled his eyes.
"I'm thinking about it." Han realized Thexan was behind him, saw his smirk and made a gesture and expression of 'Quit it'. Thexan coughed into his hand, looking stoic. Rey looked overjoyed, and Thexan could sense it within her. The building of hope. Of approval. Yet… Something was tugging at her. And she looked to the ground.
"Well?" Han asked, and Thexan could feel it. She wants to yes. But there was a line she could not cross.
"If you were, I'd be flattered. But I have to get home." Han almost fell over, looking at her as if she had grown an extra head.
"Jakku?" Rey looked off, sighing.
"I've already been away too long." Thexan could sense the apprehension in her voice.
"From what? Why?" He asked, stepping forward. "You have a better knowledge of starships than I do." The bald man asked as Rey turned his way.
"My family. They are going to come back for me. I don't want to keep them waiting." She said with melancholy in her voice, and the man can sense how she was lying to herself. Hanging onto hope that she must have had for some time.
"Your family? Did they leave you on that desert world?" Thexan asked.
"For a reason." Rey said defensively. "They'll come for me. I'm… their daughter after all."
"How long have you been waiting then? For your parents?" The girl looked away, almost in defiance.
"Do you kno-"
"A while!" Rey barked back, torn between anger and sorrow, and Thexan dropped it. But he can feel the pit growing inside her. It was obvious.
Han was quiet, observing the two as he heard Finn coming from the ship to join them. "Come on. Let's get to Maz. She will know how to help you two." He led the way, and the group followed the old man on the path leading towards the outpost.
"Solo, why are we here again?" Finn asked in curiosity.
"To get your droid on a clean ship." Rey perked up in confusion.
"Clean?" Thexan gazed past a droid that waddled past, and he began to take in the many different flags and banners that hung around every possible open space within Maz's residence. Even a statue of some individual with goggles and a cape with arms out stretched loomed over them.
"Do you think it was luck that Chewie and I found the Falcon?" Han growled as they began to walk inside. "If we can find it on our scanners, the First Order's not far behind. Want to get BB-8 to the Resistance? Maz Kanata is our best bet."
"I trust you know her?" Thexan asked.
"She and I are… friends." Chewie gave off an approving bark and Han gave him a curious look. "She's run this watering hole for a thousand years." Han said with certainty. Over a thousand years?! Thexan eyes lit up. If she is this old, she may have answers! More answers on what became of his home. "Maz is a bit of an acquired taste, so let me do the talking. And whatever you do, don't stare…"
"At what..?" Rey and Finn asked in conjunction.
"Any of it." Han stated, ready to open the door before a hand reached to stall him. Han looked back, seeing Thexan.
"Are you sure?" He asked. Han almost looked incredulous.
"Yeah!" The old smuggler saw Thexan look as stoic as can be. "I have this under control."
"You sure we won't get shot? You said similar back above Jakku when we picked these two up."
"Maz… isn't like that." The old man rolled his eyes. "Look, we'll be fine. No one's gonna notice us. We're just gonna go in, talk to her, and be on our way." He opened the door, and the music and hubbub of the outpost. Smugglers, pirates, gamblers all of all species mingles with each other, scheming, and gaming and arguing. Thexan noticed how the entire bar hall was in some organized state of chaos with droids serving drinks and refreshments as the group walked inside.
"Han Solo!" Yelled a voice, and everyone stopped, turning to look. The music stopped, and Thexan could see some individuals put a hand on their hip-holstered blasters. He turned towards Han with a look that contained smugness, concern, and a little anger.
The old man wanted to shrink as he saw Thexan's expression, looking back out towards the approaching orange skinned alien. "Oh boy." He waved, smiling awkwardly. "Hey, Maz!"
"Under control?" He asked with gritted teeth.
"Yeah. Under... control."
And back to hibernation I go. Will continue to work on this bit by bit... and something new maybe on the way too!