Behind Green Eyes

Kylo Ren stood alone in his quarters onboard the Finalizer and took off his helmet. He moved to set it down in its bed of ashes but paused for a moment, slowly turning it around in his hands, examining the myriad of dents and cuts, recalling each battle that had made its mark in the dark metal. Three such scars were reminders of blows that would have claimed his life – a matching pair in the left and right parietal plates, landed by a Dark Side adept, and another massive gouge in the right frontal plate over the eye from one of Snoke’s lessons.

Kylo Ren by Sotkija

As he turned the helmet back to the front, the light flared off the chrome grill-work that reinforced the lens slit. He blinked. He blinked again, but his sight did not clear. Instead of the gun-metal grey room with the alcove where Darth Vader’s melted helmet waited, Ren saw the brilliant flash of lightning and the image of a girl – the scavenger – soaking wet in the pouring rain.

She lay on the rocky ground – bodies strewn around her – frightened and helpless before the dark warrior who advanced on her, weapon drawn.  A searing thrust through the back from a red-bladed lightsaber brought the scum down before Ren’s feet. She quickly scrambled to hers. As his men closed in behind him, he took a step towards her. He had known her then. He was certain of it, but she had recoiled, fear overwhelming her features.

His grip on the helmet intensified as he struggled to push the memory further. He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly as his headgear came back into focus in his gloved hands. Such a small thing, really, in the galactic scheme of things – this metal that encased and protected his identity, encased and shielded his soul. It would take so little to crush it like an empty husk. But he remembered all too well the day he donned a helmet and took to wearing it in public whenever he could without drawing more attention to himself. It wasn’t long before he wore it alone in the darkness of his room. His mother had been the first to question him. He could still remember her words when she’d returned late one night from a meeting with the Senate.

“Oh, you are in here.” She’d opened the door to his dark room in their current apartment on Corellia and started to close it again. Then the light from the hallway glinted off his bike helmet from where he sat, framed in the window. “I just came to say goodnight.” When he didn’t move, she came to stand by his side. “What are you doing?”

He said nothing and didn’t move when she laid a hand on his shoulder. He was sixteen then and rode his speeder bike everywhere. She was glad for the freedom it gave him, but she was worried too. He had that reckless streak Han had, but unlike his father, Ben spent far too much time alone. She sighed. They’d moved around too much when he was young. He hadn’t made any real friendships that lasted beyond a move and she felt badly for it. She wished he’d gotten along better with Han so that he could enjoy some quality father-son time while Han was flying about the galaxy on racing and shipping business. As it was, she barely saw her son and only relished a month or so out of the year when her path might cross with his and he could join her for a while. At least he had Luke and Amanda Snoke for company. She was certain his uncle and guardian continued to be good role models for him.

She laid a hand on his young helmeted head. “Can I give you a goodnight kiss?”

Still, he didn’t move, said nothing.

A slight shiver went through her. She’d seen him in the helmet a lot lately. She knew he wore it about in public instead of hanging it up on the bike because it hid his identity. There’d been no bounty hunters after Ben for many years – ever since Han had given up the smuggling business.

She hesitated then said in a soothing tone, “Will you take off the helmet, sweetie?”

Leia thought he might refuse with a flat “no,” but she wasn’t prepared for the words he actually said.

“The Light,” he said in a monotone, his voice muffled beneath the visor plate. “It hurts.”

 

@MyKyloRen     22 May 2016

Use the Force, Rey

Rey sat with her new friend Dodi Maxen in a quiet corner of the cantina. It wasn’t exactly quiet in any corner on the Resistance base after the destruction of Starkiller Base and the celebration started, but the alcove with its gouged and sticky table was cozy. Rey found the constant roar of fighters’ reunions with their families overwhelming at first, but the ghostly silence of the Millennium Falcon’s sleeping berths was maddening. Still, she preferred sleeping there to barrack quarters.

Dodi’s cheerful babble was what Rey needed tonight to get her mind off the devastating loss of Han Solo and her worry over Finn. At the moment, Dodi was swiping through celebrity gossip on her datapad while the girls waited for their food. Sometimes Dodi actually read a posting aloud to Rey, but mostly she just liked to look at holo images of attractive human males.

“Ooh,” she cooed, “here’s a pretty one.” She tapped the pad to enlarge the image. “I never knew Jedi could be so sexy.”

“What?” Rey laughed and bent over the pad. “What are you looking at? The Jedi are all but dead.”

Dodi gave her a sly grin. “Well, this one wasn’t when the image was taken.” She slid the pad closer to Rey with a smirk. “He’s shredded.”

Rey glanced at the image of a tall young man with dark wavy hair. She took a sip of her kasa fruit smoothie. She had to admit he was handsome but didn’t really see the point of goggling over images from the holonets. She nodded absently.

Something her friend had said triggered an image in Rey’s mind.

Shredded.

She had a vision of a dimly lit apartment, of a woman crying, running a Resistance data card through a shredder. The woman turned and looked down at her quickly wiping the tears from her cheeks. She dropped into a crouch and held out her arms.

“Your father won’t be coming home for a while. He’s been hurt. He’s staying at a medical base where people are caring for him.”

“Let’s go see him,” Rey heard herself plead in a tiny babydoll voice.

“He’s on a starbase far, far away.” The woman managed a small smile. “But if…when,” she corrected herself, “he wakes up, he may send us a holo vid.” She pulled the little girl into a hug. “He misses you very much.”

“Hey! Give that back!”

Rey blinked and looked about to see Dodi reaching toward a blue-skinned alien with four hands. In one of them was Dodi’s datapad. The alien was clearly interested in the device and had no intention of handing it over. Dodi got up from the booth and made a grab for it again. “Give it here!”

In a calmly detached voice, Rey said to the alien, “You will return the datapad to her.”

Without missing a beat, the thief parroted, “I will return the datapad to her.” He thrust the device back into Dodi’s grasp, then stood there blinking at the two young women.

“You will turn around and leave this place,” Rey directed.

“I will turn around and leave this place.”

Dodi’s mouth fell open as she watched the blue thug do just that. She slid back into the booth beside Rey and said giddily, “You have to teach me how you do that!” She gripped her friend’s arm. “That was amazing!”

Rey looked back at her in confusion for a moment, failing to see Dodi’s excitement. Then she recalled the alien thief. “Him?” she scoffed. “Weak-minded. Just open to suggestion, really.” She stood up, suddenly feeling like she wanted to be alone. “I gotta go.”

“But we haven’t eaten yet,” Dodi protested, still holding onto Rey’s arm.

“I’m not hungry just now,” Rey said without much conviction. “I’m going to turn in early.”

Dodi frowned. “Are you feeling ok?”

Rey gave her a smile that was a little too bright. “Fine. Really.”

Dodi studied her a moment, then let her go. “Ok, but I’ll see you at breakfast, right?”

Rey nodded then quickly slipped out of the boisterous cantina. She was shaking from her encounter with the alien. She’d wanted to slam him against the wall – that was the first image that had come into her mind and it had taken a great effort to push it aside. She’d thought too of her quarterstaff and using it to trip and knock the wind out of the thief, but she’d left it behind.  She’d even left the blaster in a secure compartment on the Falcon. But instead of any of these remedies, she’d accessed the Force…again.

Would she be able to do it every time she had need? She wasn’t a Jedi.

She found herself heading to the hangar where the Falcon was stowed when a gentle but authoritative voice echoed though her head.patience___obi_wan_by_sw__obi_wan_kenobi-d2xgqyx

“This is a dangerous time for you, when you will be tempted by the Dark Side of the Force.”

 

 

 

 

@MyKyloRen       19 May 2016

Owner of a Lonely Heart

Kylo Ren stood alone in the snow, fingers clenched around the hilt of his lightsaber. In a fit of rage, he ignited it and slashed at the rocky outcrop near the cliff’s edge on Starkiller Base. Chunks of rock splintered and split, spewing up hot embers and tumbling with hissing slabs of ice into the deep ravine.

Kylo Ren by Koni-art
Kylo Ren by Koni-art

When he had exhausted his strength, he allowed his knees to buckle under him and he sank into the melted mess at his feet, deactivating his saber. His head drooped and his shoulders slumped under the weight of Snoke’s latest lesson. Ren hadn’t been quick enough to do his master’s biding and had paid the price. The pain had seared like lava through his veins. After a long moment, his breathing slowed and he lifted his head to gaze out over the ravine and thought how easy it would be to step over the edge. It would be over in seconds and then the velvet blackness would surround him. He would feel nothing. Snoke would never let him do it, of course. Even now Snoke knew where Ren was. The Supreme Leader allowed his apprentice his Sithy fits so long as he didn’t harm himself. But whenever Ren thought of destroying himself, Snoke made certain the pain stopped his protégée in his tracks.

Instead, Ren did the only thing he could. He began to draw within himself again, to pull his senses and emotions beneath the shroud he wore. But the cold wet seeping through his robes distracted him and a distant voice began to tug at his mind. It was the blond woman’s voice, calling to him in a motherly tone – authoritative yet soothing.

“Ben! Stop!”

He’d heard her but ignored her plea. The anger raged within him until it had to come out. It had nowhere else to go.

Dr. Amanda Snoke poked her head in the open door of the hangar shed, knowing all too well the sight she’d see. Her teenage charge was in the midst of a full-blown meltdown. The neat racks of tools were hanging askew, every wall was gouged and dented, wrenches and drill bills littered the duracrete floor. A handful of droid parts few past her as she instinctively ducked back out again. She decided to wait until the roars turned to wails. They always did.

She found him on his knees, face buried in his hands. A trickle of blood dribbled down the back of his hand from a cut on his knuckles. She bent over him and put a hand on his head. “Do you want to talk about it?”

His whole body shook as he choked on silent sobs. He felt as if he would never breathe again. He didn’t want to ever breathe again. “She betrayed me!” he blubbered through his fingers.

“Ah.” She tucked a loose strand of his hair behind his ear. “The girl you’ve been so smitten with.” She waited, but when he said nothing, she gripped him by the arm. “Come on. Sit with me. Tell me about it.” She looked about for the med kit among the rubble, and when she’d gotten him over to a bench, she took his hand and began to clean his cut.

Ben Solo let out a long breath. “She dumped me for a guy in her class,” he said, keeping his eyes on the floor. “She just told me he raped her.” He bit his lip and lifted his chin. “Suddenly I don’t look so bad to her.”

The woman nodded. “Well, I honestly don’t know why the New Jedi Order has allowed their padawans to form attachments. I think it’s a mistake.” She finished bandaging the wound but held onto his hand. “There are enough distractions for a young mind without romantic attachments weaving a web of lies and deceit.”

Ben wasn’t listening. He looked up, his eyes pleading for understanding. “How could she do that to me?”

“Sometimes girls can be mean in order to get what they want.” She gave him a stern look. “I hope you rejected her. She’s unworthy of you.”

He looked away. After a moment, he nodded.

She gave his hand a gentle squeeze. “You’re strong, just like your grandfather. You’ll get through this.”

“You knew my grandfather?” His eyes immediately brightened. “Which one?”

“Your mother’s father, Anakin Skywalker,” she told him with a smile, “but it was my father who knew him. He told me many stories about your grandfather.”

Ben pulled his hand away and turned to face his guardian. “All my parents have told me is that he was a Jedi Knight who died during the execution of Order 66.”

She gave him a sideways look. “That might be true from a certain point of view, but your grandfather actually died during the Battle of Endor.” Amanda Snoke held his gaze, making sure her charge was following her.

“Your grandfather was Darth Vader.”

Learning to Fly

Unable to sleep in the deep of the desert night, Rey got out of her hammock and made her way to the computer she’d jury-rigged from wrecked freighters. The flight simulator program – old as it was – was the only thing that saved her from boredom on days when the scavenging was plentiful and she earned a bit of a break. She pulled the thread-bare blanket along with her and wrapped it about her shoulders as she powered up the old Imperial equipment.

With a sigh, she sat down on an upturned rusted out drum and blinked her eyes against the bright glare of the screen and into focus. She selected her favorite – a standard A-wing fighter – from the array of ships when the program booted up and donned the old Rebel helmet. She couldn’t see the readouts as well through the scratched visor, but the helmet made everything more real, made it easy to get caught up in a world that streaked by at incredible speeds. A world far away from Jakku.

It wasn’t long before she was lost in the pitch and roll of the program, zooming after a TIE fighter around the far side of a small moon and through an asteroid belt. Sometimes she was the hunter. Other times the TIES chased her into caverns and pushed her alarmingly close to the event horizons of black holes. The cat and mouse game sent a rippling thrill through her and honed her reflexes until her world narrowed to the fine exquisite flow of an adrenaline rush.

Suddenly, the simulated TIE vanished. “Woah!” she pulled back on the thruster controls, blinking. In its place a twin-engined repulsorcraft streaked ahead. “Where’d that come from?” she muttered as her ship hugged the cliff of a low mesa.

She’d been chasing a lone TIE through the canyon of a desert world much like Jakku, although she’d never seen red sandstone arches like those onscreen. But it wasn’t the scenery that had caught her attention. It was the ship ahead.  She blinked again. The TIE tore across the flats, speeding for the cover of an outcropping. Rey fired her thrusters to the max, took a shot at the Imperial craft and missed.

The repulsorcraft reappeared. “What in the….” She punched a few controls, putting the simulation on hold and pulled up another screen to check the old Republic manifest of ships. “How can that be?”pod-racers

She knew the specs of every ship in the simulation by heart and this odd beast was not on the list. A subroutine she’d never accessed before? That could be interesting.

“Well, all right then!”

She resumed the simulation and sped after the repulsor pod down the shadowy crease of the canyon, grateful to be out of the glare of the sun. Out of nowhere, a second pod roared overhead, clipping her cockpit as it yawed and blew past. Two more screamed by on either side, engines shrieking off the canyon walls, pods whipping through the tight ravine in jagged line.

A quick look behind told her there were a dozen more on her tail, but no one was firing. None of these pilots were interested in making scrap metal out of her. She frowned. “I don’t get it.” A glance at the control display told her that her craft no longer had laser cannons – only three circular readouts and a confusing bank of switches.

In an instant, the whole line shot out of the canyon and under a series of arches. Alarms beeped and blared. One of her engines was on fire. She deftly worked the switches to snuff it out, but the engine wouldn’t restart. The fuel supply was exhausted. Frantically flipping more controls, she finally managed to transfer reserve fuel from the other engine as her pod slowed and drifted on single engine power. She watched, fingers itching over the controls, as the transfer completed. She punched the ignition switch. The engine fired up and her pod shot ahead.

And the desert was gone.

She stared at a screen of empty black space and stars. A lone TIE fighter disappeared from view.

“Simulation over,” a computer voice said.

Rey removed the helmet and sat there a moment, breathing hard. “What was that?”