Onboard the Finalizer, Kylo Ren came to in a fog, surfacing somewhere between oblivion and consciousness, and flailed against the pain. He knew from the sterile smell and the electronic voices of the medi-droids that he must be in some medevac unit and that he’d probably undergone surgery, but his drugged mind couldn’t work out why. Had there been an explosion? He struggled to reach a hand to his bandaged face, but the restraining bed held him fast. He’d been given just enough anesthesia to get him through the worst of the pain but no more. He tried to use the Force to free himself, but the drugs blocked the connection. He sank back, defeated and confused.
What had happened?
He drifted for a while on the inadequate narcotics until he heard a familiar female voice somewhere in the back of his mind.
“Oh, sweetie! I’m so sorry!”
Another voice – masculine and impatient – followed. “Leia, let the kid breathe. He’ll be fine. Let’s just get out of here.”
“Han, those bounty hunters had him in shackles for three days! I need to look at his wrists.”
“Threepio can look after him. We’ve got to get clear of this system before any other thugs take an interest in him.”
Ren began to remember that day, and in his confused state, he wondered if he were ten-year-old Ben Solo again. Although his father had left the smuggling business behind, Han was never able to clear his debts, and the risk that some bounty hunter would come looking to collect – one way or another – was always a real possibility. On more than one occasion, Ben had been targeted for ransom, but until that fateful day, he’d outmaneuvered his assailants with his budding Force abilities. But that day they’d used a device that interfered with his ability to tap into the Force and shot him with a stun bolt.
It was Chewbacca and a few of his Wookiee friends who had finally tracked down Ben’s captors and set the boy free. Save for the lesion where the irons had cut into this wrists and ankles, he was unharmed and was quickly bundled aboard the Millennium Falcon. Dr. Amanda Snoke, his counselor and guardian in the absence of his parents, had come with the Solos to offer her professional assistance to cope with trauma of the kidnapping.
“You know,” she told them once they were safely cruising through hyperspace, “it might not be a bad idea to install a tracker in him.”
It was a moment before Leia answered. “You mean a surgical implant?”
Han broke in. “I’m not going to have my son treated like some Yapi.”
Dr. Snoke held up a hand. “There’s no pain.” She took Ben’s hand and gave him a reassuring smile. “If he’d had the device in him before this, we could have immediately zeroed in on his location, but as it was, he suffered for three days until your friends were able to find him by more conventional means.”
“We’re listening.” Leia shot Han a look that told him to be quiet.
Dr. Snoke lifted a hand to stroke the back of Ben’s head. “The tracker is tiny – almost microscopic – and is installed under the skin at the nape of the neck.” She lifted his hair and pointed to the precise location with a slender finger. Then she reached into her satchel and pulled out a hypo-syringe. “I happen to have a tracker here and can install it in a second with everyone’s permission.” When no one said anything, she went on, “We use these things all the time for high-risk children.”
Without further debate, the three Solos gave their consent and Ben bent his head to the administrations of Dr. Snoke.
“There,” she said, packing away the hypo and giving Ben’s dark hair a tousle. “Now we’ll be able to track you anywhere in the galaxy.”
Kylo Ren’s eyes fluttered as the voice morphed into one he recognized as Captain Phasma’s. “Looks like you retrieved him just in time.”
“Yes,” General Hux sneered. There was no mistaking the disgust in his voice. “Aren’t we lucky Ren had that tracker installed, since the transmitter on his belt failed?”
Kylo Ren’s eyes opened and narrowed.
@MyKyloRen 20 July 2016