Solo On

Inside the massive assembly chamber of Starkiller Base, the giant holo of Supreme Leader Snoke flickered to life and peered down at the tiny figure shrouded in black before him.

“Kylo Ren,” he said in a voice smoldering with dark authority, “another act of terrorism has been committed in First Order space. Have you seen the holovids?”

Ren lifted his helmeted head to meet his master’s gaze. “Yes.”

“The New Republic supports the supplier of these crime lords who unleash their monsters on our citizens. More than 500 have perished in the massacre on Trillia. It is time we cut off the hand of the wrangler who holds the leash on these monsters. You know of whom I speak,” Snoke added in a voice low and dangerous.

“Han Solo,” Ren dutifully answered, his tone betraying no emotion through the voice-changer.

The Supreme Leader regarded his protégée through narrowed eyes. “Never before have we needed such an operative to infiltrate the network of traitors, murderers, and spies that is the New Republic.” Snoke leaned forward in his great chair. “Only you have the knowledge of Solo’s suppliers and the technical specifications of the Millennium Falcon. It will be a simple matter for you to take out that ship and its pilot, but” – Snoke held up one long, bony finger – “not before you destroy the terrorist cells.”

Ren inclined his head. “It shall be done, my master.”

Snoke inhaled a raspy breath, drawing himself up straight. “Kylo Ren, you must not fail in this mission,” he warned, sensing hesitancy in the dark warrior before him. “Han Solo may have sired you, but it is I who nurtured you and brought you to your full potential.”

“By the grace of your training, I shall not fail.”

“See that you do not. The order of the galaxy depends upon you.” Snoke sat back in his chair. “Man is but a rope stretched over an abyss. Some men sag in their resolve and fall in, but you, my student, I have made you taught, and if need be, I shall stretch you tighter.”

Inwardly, Ren flinched, feeling the hair stand up on the back of his neck. He bowed again. “Understood, my master.”

“Go. Make your preparations and leave at once.”

Ren remained rooted in place as the holo faded and went out. Then after a moment, he turned on his heel and made his way to his private quarters. When the door had hissed shut behind him, he sat down before a low table that served as an altar in a dimly lit alcove. He removed his smothering helmet and set it aside, shaking out his hair, glad to be rid of the confining instrument of intimidation. He turned his focus on the object of reverence before him and addressed it.

“Show me, Grandfather, the power of the Darkness.” At his side his fingers curled into a fist of frustration. “Give me its strength to do what I must do.”

He sat staring at the artifact of his devotion, praying for an answer, praying for the courage he needed to track down and kill his own father, praying for the possibility of deliverance from the snare that had entrapped him.

When Darth Vader’s deformed helmet offered no encouragement or sympathy, Ren’s lip began to tremble. “Why?” he choked, swallowing hard before he could go on. “Why me? Why has this atrocity that is my life befallen me? I have done nothing to deserve this!” A tear trickled down his cheek as he lifted the helmet and pressed it to his forehead. “All I ever wanted was to be able to defend myself and to control this” – he held out his hands in front of him and looked at his gloved fingers in disgust – “this power I have. I didn’t’ ask for it!” he wailed.

“That is the Skywalker legacy, my grandson,” a deep voice intoned from the helmet.

Ren lifted his head and drew breath, wide-eyed and silent. It wasn’t often that the helmet spoke to him, and when it did, he listened, enraptured.

“Your only choice is to bare it well and to bring balance to the Force by bringing order to the galaxy,” the voice went on. “I need you to be strong, Grandson, so that you can finish what I started. The New Republic in its divisive and corrupt ways cannot continue. It divides the Dark from the Light and tears the galaxy apart. Only one as strong as I was can pull the galaxy together.”

Ren wiped his face. “Yes, Grandfather.”

“The Supreme Leader is wise. Go, Lord Ren. Do what must be done and end the ties that bind you to your past and to chaos.”

From somewhere else in the galaxy, Snoke watched his pathetic apprentice through the interactive surveillance device installed within the artifact. He smiled to himself, gratified that the years of studying the mannerisms of Darth Vader were starting to pay off.


@MyKyloRen   2 August 2016


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