“Sir, the droid was spotted heading west with a girl.”
Kylo Ren whipped around and marched towards the forest. Under the dark leafy canopy, he paused for a moment. It had been a long time since he’d been among trees, and he found himself longing to strip of his helmet so he could smell the green, hear the rustle, feel the cool upon his skin. But now was not the time for foolish indulgence. He had a job to do. Yet, the last time he was in a forest, it was because of…a girl.
The Little One.
His fifteen-year-old self had taken her hand and led her into the cottage perched on a wooded slope overlooking a clearing. Inside the Jedi retreat, he’d taken her to a play area for younglings and settled her amongst an array of toys and entertaining holo games.
“No levitation,” Ben Solo told the five-year-old, holding up a finger, “without supervision.”
He made sure she gave him her promise before joining his uncle and the other occupant of the house in the great room.
“Well, here we are,” Dr. Amanda Snoke said, flashing them a bright smile as she set a tray of drinks and small refreshments on a low table before them. “Now that she’s comfortable, tell me how I can help you with this little one.”
Luke Skywalker absently reached for a glass and let out a heavy sigh. “I don’t know how much Ben has told you about Rey, but we need to find a secure home for her.”
“You do not wish to train this Force-sensitive? As I understand it, she’s advanced for her age and has some remarkable abilities.” She took a bite of the honeyed seedcake and chewed thoughtfully, watching the Jedi master’s expression with great interest.
“She can already levitate objects five times her weight and she’s Force-shoved me flat on my ass,” Ben enthusiastically put in after a swallow of tart berry juice.
The woman gave him a good-natured smirk. “Really? What’s become of her parents?” She turned back to Luke.
“Dead,” Ben blurted before his uncle could get a more guarded word in edgewise.
Luke sighed again, giving his padawan a stern look. “Thank you, Ben. I’ll take it from here.” It was a moment before he went on. “Yes, they were both killed in a skirmish, and we….”
“By you?” Dr. Snoke guessed.
Luke looked up sharply. His eyes flicked briefly to his nephew.
“I didn’t say anything, I swear,” the teen protested.
Skywalker’s eyes narrowed at the woman. “What have you heard?”
She raised an eyebrow and met his gaze. “Nothing, but since you don’t want the girl to reside or train at the academy, I assume she comes from undesirable circumstances.” She shrugged. “Perhaps her parents are criminals – members of an organized crime syndicate or enemies of the New Republic? So, the Jedi took them out?”
Luke set down his mug. “I’m not sure I care for your directness, but yes, it was under such circumstances that she lost her parents.”
Ben could hardly contain himself. “They were….”
The Jedi master held up a black robotic hand. The gesture swiftly silenced his padawan. “They were Sith,” he revealed in an undertone.
Almost as one, the three turned to look in the direction of the playroom.
“She’s not listening,” Ben quietly assured them. “She’s playing dejarik. I can feel her thoughts through the Force.”
“But surely with the death of Palpatine – Darth Sidious – the Sith are no more,” Amanda Snoke ventured.
Skywalker kept his voice low. “As long as Sith knowledge exists, there will always be Sith lords. Her father was one and her mother was his apprentice. We’re on a mission to track down and destroy any remaining Sith holocrons.”
The woman gave a small gasp. “Then this little one was truly born of the Dark side.”
Luke reached for a decanter and poured himself something a little stronger. “You understand our dilemma.”
“But why come to me?” Dr. Snoke held out her hands. “I counsel at-risk and abused children. Surely as a Jedi, you’re better equipped to counsel her and see to her special needs.”
“You were able to help Ben when nobody else could.” He gave his nephew a sad smile. “It was his idea to come to you. He’s established a special bond with Rey and has been able to comfort and control her, but we don’t know for how long. She’s growing so fast.”
Ben looked at Amanda hopefully. “You said you had friends in a remote corner of the galaxy who take in orphans with special abilities.”
“Yes, that’s true. She’d be quite safe there – safe from herself and her past.” She hesitated. “But are you sure that’s what you want? You’d have to wipe her memories.”
“No!” Ben looked horrified.
Luke shot him a fierce look then quickly turned back to Dr. Snoke. “Yes.” The look on his face was frozen with determination…and something else.
Just as the girl’s was now….The girl he’d heard so much about.
“Sir, Resistance fighters,” said one of the stormtroopers who’d located the Co-Commander in the forest. “We need more troops.”
Ren turned away from his victim. “Pull the division out. Forget the droid. We have what we need.”
@MyKyloRen 15 August 2016