Onboard the Finalizer, Kylo Ren stood in his quarters before the holo image of Supreme Leader Snoke, listening to his master’s instructions. He already knew what heinous task lay before him, now that he was healed of his wounds and restored to strength.
“Find Skywalker,” Snoke intoned in a throaty voice. “He is of no use to me. Kill him. But the girl…bring her to me…broken but biddable.”
Ren inclined his helmeted head. “As you wish.”
“Go now.” Snoke waved him off.
The transmission faded and Ren raised his head. He didn’t move for a long moment, curling his gloved fingers into fists at his side. Then casting a long last look at the melted helmet upon the altar, he fled the room, hurried to the launch bay, and entered a series of commands into a hangar control console. Without a backward glance, he began to make his way to the bank of TIE fighters.
“Where do you think you’re going, Ren? You filed a flight plan to Jakku. The last I knew the girl was on Ahch-To.”
The snide challenge in General Hux’s voice brought Ren up cold. He turned halfway, knowing how easy it would be for the psychotic co-commander to make trouble for him. “I do not have to explain myself to you, General,” Ren bit out and started off again, thinking that would be the end of it.
Hux smirked and called after him, “No, but you’ll have to explain yourself to the Supreme Leader when you fail to return with her.”
Ren halted again, balling his fists, but he did not turn around. For a split second, he fought to breathe. How did Hux know what he planned to do – plans he’d spoken of to no one nor logged anywhere.
“I may not be able to read you mind, Ren,” Hux told the dark warrior’s back, “but you failed to find the last surveillance device in your quarters – the place where you confess all your pathetic secrets.”
Hux knew Ren couldn’t kill him because the command of the First Order rested solely now with him. He had Snoke’s protection. If Ren Force-choked him – as he knew Solo’s son so desperately wanted to do – Hux’s troops would open fire. There was a limit to the number of blaster bolts a dark lord could fend off.
He watched with great satisfaction as Ren stormed off in a swirl of robes and launched the TIE without another word.
Ren worked the nav controls and set the computer on autopilot before unlocking and tearing off his helmet. His expression was one of complete shock. The helmet. His grandfather’s precious helmet – all that was left of Darth Vader’s power. And that slimy sycophant Hux had bugged it. With no one to talk to, Ren had poured out his most private thoughts in that alcove – his sanctuary. How had he been so stupid?
With a primal scream, he launched himself out of his set, but in the TIE there was nowhere to pace out his frustration. There was barely any room to move, so he just stood there and buried his face in his hands. He wanted so badly to sob like a child, but he knew even now Hux was probably watching…and laughing. Ren sat back down again and reclaimed control of the ship.
It wasn’t long before Jakku loomed big and dusty in his viewscreen, and he brought the TIE down with precision in the Goazon Badlands next to a fallen and partially buried AT-AT walker. He wasted no time exploring the wreck, donning his concealing helmet again, and entered in through the auxiliary hatch in the vehicle’s underbelly.
He stood transfixed. This had been her world – the home she’d known for so long. Inside the lower troop deck, where she lived and slept, her presence was strong. He could feel her, smell her. He removed his helmet, so that he could sense her more clearly through the Force, and laid it on a table near a vase of spinebarrel blooms and nightblossoms. He touched the fragile dry stems and felt the ghost of her fingers. Picking up the doll she’d make from an orange Rebel flight uniform, he saw the little girl – not much older than when he’d left her – curled in sleep with it. He touched the hammock and brought the think blanket to his face. After a long agonizing moment, he let it go. He ran a finger along the wall where she had made over a thousand scratches, each one ticking off another day she’d survived the harsh existence of Jakku.
Outside he found the helmet belonging to Captain Dosmit Raeh she’d worn on endless evenings pretending she was a pilot of the Tierfon Yellow Aces. He felt the residue of her imagination and her young resilience and determination.
He sat down. There was no use holding back the tears now.
He let them come.
@MyKyloRen 4 July 2016