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The last time Luke saw Ben was when he fell to Darth Vader. The masked, armored Imperial that killed his father. That’s as much as Kenobi told him before he died. Now there was nothing left of him but his memory—and the force. Even with his mentor gone Luke still took something away from his time with the old Jedi. He did believe in the force; and he did feel connected to Ben in a way he couldn’t explain. In the assault on the Death Star, Luke had guidance from him. Somehow—he was still helping him. The only thing that explained it was the force. Left with his father’s lightsaber and what little teachings Ben shared with him; he was meant to learn how to become a Jedi.
Within the ranks of the Rebellion, Luke climbed the ranks at an unnatural rate. His part in destroying the Death Star hadn’t gone unnoticed, and it didn’t help that many were already calling him the ‘last Jedi’ just be the hilt that often hung at his belt. Luke remained humble—and while he was a Commander in the Rebellion, still took every opportunity to learn something new.
That was why he immediately volunteered to scout out an interesting anomaly that appeared on Rebellion radars. While there was a planet that potentially housed resources from an anti-Imperial society; the planet also offered something else. In its depths was an unknown temple, rumored to be Jedi related. In Luke’s research on the Jedi he knew that there were many old temples scattered across the Galaxy. Ben hadn’t had the time to mention them, but Luke had learned through his own research and Ben’s journal that he’d left in his hut.
If Luke was ever going to get answers, he’d have to set out on his own to find them. He was cleared for the scouting mission almost immediately by superiors. To most of the Rebellion leadership, it would look like a simple scout and supply mission. To him, it meant maybe finding answers.
He wore the normal orange pilot jumpsuit over civilian clothing as he marched through the Rebellion hanger; helmet at his side as he started towards his X-Wing. His step slowed, and blue hues tilted in confusion as they settled upon a very familiar face who was waiting for him by his ship.
Leia... knew Luke was up to something.
It didn't take a skilled political mind to notice when someone was being pointedly obtuse. Indeed, she could see that some mission to a faraway planet, although exciting, still shouldn't have been enough to make the eager ex-farmboy jump up and into action. Sure, there was much needed intel to gather, people to re-supply... but she had a feeling that it wasn't just the need to help others that made him want to ship off so fast.
He'd destroyed the Death Star... she was more than aware of that, of course... but it wasn't enough of a thrill, she thought, to scout out some enemy base. Not when he'd been flying such dangerous missions... unless there was something else in play. Good thing... she never trusted people's motivations... not right off.
It was the downfall of being a spy for so long.
So, she'd done what any good friend and leader might have: she'd intercepted his plans, courtesy of Artoo. Seeing the path he planned to take, nothing immediately struck her as odd... until she noticed spots on the map that he'd highlighted... something that made her think that the military outpost wasn't his primary objective. Oh no, there was something else hidden on that planet... and he was going looking for it.
She had a feeling it had something to do with Obi-Wan... and that was exactly why she was standing beside his ship as he came over, dressed for his mission. If he'd turned and ran? She would not have been any more proud of herself.
Hands on her hips, she just smirked a little as he came to a stop, her eyes looking him up and down a moment before offering him a smile that was far more cunning than it should have been normally. He looked confused... which was enough to make Leia feel so very proud.
"Oh, heading out?" she asked him and waved over his head at the woman she'd called to assist her that morning. Sabine... of course, was a friend, and one of the very few she'd trust to watch Luke's back. "I hope you didn't think you were going alone..."
”Leia, what are you doing here?” his bright blue hues widened as the pilot’s step slowed until he was only a few feet in front of the Princess. He look at her, slightly confused with a nervous grin tugging at his lips. To say he was confused was an understatement. The confident smirk that he had no way of matching was clear, and Luke was a fool for attempting to match it. She oozed confidence in a way that Luke hadn’t seen before. It was with her expression alone that he knew she was onto him. As she waved her hand to motion someone over, his heart sank. Leia wasn’t going to let him off by himself on this one. Despite everything he’d done, she still didn’t see him capable of handling a mission alone; at least, that was how he saw it.
”What do you mean, I can handle this by myself--” he was cut off by himself, as he was unsure of how to react. He didn’t need a partner; he had the force! That was what ran through his mind, anyway. Luke was confident didn’t he didn’t need protection, or anyone to join him but every ounce of protest left him. It wasn’t worth an attempt at pleading or reasoning with Leia under the cover of it being a normal mission. She had done her research and knew him well enough to know that Luke wasn’t a normal pilot. Not after everything they’d experienced on the Death Star together. With a sigh, his attention turned towards whoever Leia had designated to join him on the mission; helmet still tucked underneath his arm, and at his hip.
Who could she have gotten to accompany him?
The Last Jedi.
Sabine had heard of him, of course. She probably would have been hard pressed to find anyone in the Rebellion who hadn’t heard of the kid. Destroying the Death Star? Not bad for his first day on the job.
When Leia had come to her and asked her to help out the Rebellion’s golden boy, Sabine’s cynicism had slammed into her curiosity. She would have said yes either way, of course. She had enough respect and regard for Leia that she had little hesitation in helping her out.
Patiently, she waited with Leia, saying little as she sat on a crate, giving her weapons and gear an entirely superfluous check over. Everything was checked and ready, of course. When Leia spoke, she looked up and frowned slightly. Skywalker didn’t look that special: every bit the farm boy that she’d heard he was. Then again, you never could tell with Jedi, could you? Ezra hadn’t looked too special when she’d first met him and now there were few people who she’d trust to have her back more.
She waved back to Leia, a small, subtle tilt of the hand. It didn’t seem like he was too happy to have company. Oh well. That was his problem. She smiled as she climbed down from her crate and picked up her helmet. She laid a hand on Luke’s arm. “Take it from someone who’s been here a little bit longer than you have, kid, it’s usually best just to go along with what she says.”
To say this was a setup... was the understatement of the year. That's what happened when you tried to get one over Leia Organa... and Luke Skywalker would get it, soon enough.
Smirking as she caught sight of the fact that Luke wasn't surprised to see her, but likely didn't have a clue what was really going on. Yes, she would always see him as a Farm Boy... and less like the Jedi he likely saw himself as. Yet, sure, she knew he was a good one to have by her side in a fight... so she wasn't going to allow him to do anything stupid. Going alone to some planet, to search for something foolish? That... was stupid.
Thus, stepping in... and getting him a little company.
"I'm here to see you off... it's not that unusual," she told him with a little cocky tilt of the head, her eyes crinkling slightly in the corners for the look of confusion on his face. Oh yes, this was something she'd likely be laughing to herself about, at least for a while... considering he'd tried to out-sneak a spy. Did he really think he could really keep it a secret, even from his Astromech? Silly farm boy...
But glancing over his head, she caught sight of Sabine as she approached, glad that she'd briefed her friend on what she'd need to do... at least when it came to Skywalker. Yep, she might not have an easy job of it... since he was a Force-wielder... but she had a feeling that her Mandalorian friend wouldn't leet him walk all over her, either... which was exactly what Leia wanted. She needed someone to make sure he didn't do anything stupid.
Meeting Luke's eye, she just leaned in a little, intensity of her gaze all but pinning him in place. "You can handle what, exactly?" she asked him, arching a brow at him. "The mission, or your plan of going off to explore some hidden temple all on your own? Even Han brings someone else when he's out there, so whatever you're going to use as an argument? Not gonna work..." she said and wrinkled her nose at the thought of that smuggler. Yep, she wasn't going to think too much about him.
Especially as Sabine stepped up, which was the perfect distraction.
Pushing away from the side of the ship, she came to stand next to Sabine, smiling conspiratorially at her friend. "I'm sure he'll try to shake your watch over him, but keep a close eye on him. That's from experience," she teased them both, before meeting Luke's eye. "Really, don't do anything stupid, Luke, and if she doesn't think something is smart... listen to her. Sabine is usually right," she began, then sighed. "You're needed here... with the Rebellion. You're invaluable... you both are," she added, eyes going between them.
Leia sketched a nod at Sabine before meeting Luke's eyes. "May the Force be with you... both of you," she said and then tossed a cocky grin at Sabine before turning to slowly walk away. "You're gonna need it."
”Yeah trust me, I know all about her,” he-half muttered towards Sabine, before his blue hues turned to find Leia’s gaze. He was met with that confident, stern stare that the Princess often gave when she knew there was no other way but her way. Leia spoke again, explaining that she knew of his plan to explore an abandoned temple. Luke imagined that he’d been more careful than that; but obviously he’d been sloppy, or Leia was just that good at finding out the truth. What made Luke tense was the comparison to Han, and the fact that the smuggler often brought someone else with him.
In his mind that was because someone needed to watch him. Han had a bounty on his head—one that any bounty hunter in the Galaxy could try and claim at a moments notice. Luke looked at him as the closest thing to an older brother he’d ever had; not to mention he was tied to the hip with a Wookie. That wasn’t exactly the worst back-up in the Galaxy. Still, the young-Jedi wasn’t left with much to say before Leia wished them well in her sarcastic, confident way. He couldn’t help but soften his face as she voiced her concern, and his value to the Rebellion. It was hard to argue with her further, and Luke offered a small nod of thanks as she parted from the two young soldiers.
”Sabine, was it?” the name sounded familiar, as Luke turned his attention to her. If he was bringing someone else along, it didn’t look like he’d be able to fly solo. ”Well if you’re coming with me, we’ll need a bigger ship. One that can seat two.” There was a half-annoyed, half-acceptance to his tone as Luke turned away from her, and set his helmet reluctantly on a nearby cargo box. ”Did she even assign you a new ship to escort me in? Everything is either being worked on, or being deployed.” It was a question asked with his back turned; a small pout to his tone. He didn’t like being forced to have company, but he’d do his best to make it work. For Leia.
Yet the thought still lingered; where had he heard her name before? His hues scanned the hanger for a larger ship, or maybe even a small freighter they’d be able to use for transport.
“No other ship, we all just thought that I was going to slot into the astromech port.” Sabine rolled her eyes and tilted her head towards the back of the hangar. “Follow me.” She headed past the ships being serviced and refuelled, pausing with a frown at the sight of a VCX-100 light freighter. For a moment, she thought that it was The Ghost and she’d somehow been left out of the loop that she and her crew were here, but it passed. It was a different ship and so she kept moving until she found what she was looking for.
Nearly thirty metres in length, the ship looked like an oversized fighter, although the standard model was unarmed. The angular front of the ship resembled the head of a large bird of prey. She rapped her knuckles against the hull of the ship. “HWK-290 light courier. Know an operative called Jan uses one of these. If it’s good enough for her, I’m pretty sure it’s good enough for us, kid.”
Sabine started up the ramp into the ship. It was cleaner than some loan ships she’d had the pleasure of in the past. She glanced over her shoulder at Luke with a slight grin. “HWK-290 has a pilot and co-pilot position. I’m more experience so I assume I’ll be taking the pilot’s chair?” There were plenty of reasons for him to challenge her, of course. He was probably a better pilot: if she was entirely honest, she wasn’t sure she could have made that shot and he did know more about where they were actually going. Mostly, she was just curious how he’d react.
”Yeah, you’re no R2 that’s for sure,” the mutter escaped his breath as he trailed a couple of feet behind her. It was an attempt at matching her tone, and Luke didn’t mean much by it. His blue hues scanned the hanger—noting the larger freighters being worked on. The Rebellion had grown after their victory. Luke still had a hard time understanding it; but he felt the force. It had been there and helped him destroy the Death Star. Now it was giving them the numbers. Somehow, Luke felt like Ben was still guiding him. Luke came to a stop as Sabine came to a stop as she called out a light-freighter; clearly indicating that it was the one they were using.
Without a second thought she began to climb the ramp, and Luke followed behind. She challenged him the second they stepped foot on the ship, and his hues narrowed onto Sabine.
”You’re the better pilot?” it fell from his lips in disbelief. It wouldn’t have been a stretch for Luke to admit that his part in the Rebellion’s victory had given him a boost of confidence. Still, he didn’t assume things. He hadn’t exactly piloted many freighters in his time. If Luke gave Sabine her way now, maybe she’d cut him some slack once they got to their destination. ”Sure you are. She’s no Falcon, but she’s all yours,” he stood down; electing to pick his battles. ”I assume Leia filled you in on our destination?” it was a casual toss; to see just how much Sabine knew.
She gave an exaggerated sigh when Skywalker surrendered the pilot’s position to her. “Are you always this much of a pushover?” So far, she was a little bit disappointed. “This is your mission and I don’t know that I could have made the shot that you made.” She ticked the points off on her fingers. “Plus I wanna see what you got. Get in that pilot’s seat.” She patted the head rest.”
Sabine climbed into the co-pilot’s seat and began running some standard pre-flight operations. “Location? Sure. I hear we’re messing around in the Empire’s back yard. Beyond that? I don’t know much. I understand this is probably Jedi related? Which I have some experience of.” She shrugged her shoulders. Maybe that wasn’t entirely accurate. “Actually, mostly I have experience of staying behind somewhere while two of the crew went off to deal with Jedi stuff. Temples, scenes of ancient battles, Sith super weapons. Ha. You wouldn’t believe the things I’ve missed seeing.” She wasn’t bitter. She knew full well that there was good reason that Ezra and Kanaan had dealt with those things without her. All the same, she was keen to get a chance to see something for herself.
”A pushover?” it fell from his lips with an obvious whine. Who was she to insult him like that? Luke was nice enough to halt any counter, but let the comment linger before Sabine continued. He listened, and half-reluctantly took the pilots seat. No time was wasted, and the young Jedi showed his natural pilot mastery as he began to flip pre-flight switches. It was mostly the same, outside of having a co-pilot to split the duties. ”Yeah, well I didn’t make that shot alone. I wouldn’t have made it without help.” His focus briefly lingered on Ben’s voice—how it had reminded him to use the force and guided him in making the shot.
Sabine mentioning that this was Jedi business brought his attention back to her. Luke continued, flipping another switch or two before nodding his head. He was surprised to hear that this wasn’t her first time working with a Jedi. It actually sounded like she was quite familiar with them, which came as a small surprise. Maybe those rumors about the Rebellion having other Jedi weren’t as fake as he’d once thought.
”You’ve worked with other Jedi?” it would mean that Sabine was valuable. He hadn’t met anyone else who nearly matched him in age that had worked with other Jedi. ”I found something in scans. A temple. I’m looking for answers. If I’m going to be the Jedi that Ben wanted me to be, I need to learn everything I can about the force. That’s what this is about,” it was better to be straightforward; offering the details as he made the last preparations. ”You’ll want to set the hyper drive coordinates for the Devaron system. It’s Empire controlled, all right.”
Unless Sabine had misread the situation, Luke seemed surprised that she’d worked with other Jedi. It made sense when a large proportion of the galaxy didn’t believe in Jedi anymore. “Two or three?” She replied casually. For all of her time around Kanan and Ezra, there was a lot about Jedi that she didn’t really understand. As far as she understood it, Ahsoka hadn’t actually been a Jedi, not anymore. She wasn’t entirely sure what that meant Ahsoka was, though.
Devaron? The name was not familiar. Still, it was but a matter of but a moment’s work to find the system in the ship’s databanks. ”Calculating the jump, now,” she said as the computer began to make the hyperspace calculations.
As the computer ran its calculations, Sabine sat back in her seat and clasped her hands between her knees. “Okay, two questions. We looking for anything in particular in this temple?” Temples were exactly the sort of thing that Ezra and Kanan went to explore on their own. “Something like a holocron?” She hesitated slightly over the word. “And what sort of Imperial presence we looking at?”
”We’re looking for—“ Luke paused, clearly not having a proper answer. He’d only picked up scans and reports. He wasn’t exactly an expert on Jedi Temples and what to expect. The thought of going on a mission like this without knowing what to look for was embarrassing, but Luke made an attempt to run with it. ”Anything. Anything in that temple that can help me with the answers I need,” it was his honest, best guess. Ben hadn’t exactly left him with instructions or a direction for him to go on the path of becoming a Jedi. ”Since you’ve done this before, I think we know why Leia picked you to go with me,” he casually tossed the fact as his attention turned to the main throttle.
The second question was much easier for him to answer. While the planet was in an Imperial heavy sector, there was plenty of unoccupied space for them to enter. The temple was also in an unpopulated part of the planet, meaning they didn’t have to get dirty with the Imperials as long as they were discreet in their operation.
”If we play our cards right, we shouldn’t have to deal with any. The temple is located on a remote part of the planet. It wouldn’t be a problem going in undetected in smaller, one seated craft," Luke paused, catching a tint of compliant in his tone. He looked towards Sabine, before elaborating. ”But we’ll manage. We’ll fly in low, and on the most unpopulated part of the planet. It’s got a lot of forest and jungles, that’ll help.” Hopefully the answer was satisfactory for his new ally, and they could take off.
Of course, if the place was empty and what they found was nothing, it wouldn’t be a great surprise.
She offered a small smile in response to the suggestion that they knew why Leia had picked her. She did have somewhat uncommon experience. Still, even if there hadn’t been any Jedi in the cell, her time with the Lothal Rebels would have made her a solid pick for a mission like this.
Easier in a one-seated craft. “Uh-huh,” Sabine murmured, poking her tongue into her cheek, thoughtfully. Funnily enough, he was really starting to remind her of someone. “Sounds like a straight forward enough plan.” All plans went wrong, it was just the way of life: what was the saying? No plan survives contact with the enemy. Of course, when your plans were simple, it meant there were fewer pieces to pick up when things went wrong.
The computer in front of her beeped. “So are all you Jedi related or something? You kind of remind me of Ezra.” Not literally related, obviously. That would just be weird. “Navigation’s calculated.”
”Related? I—no,” the words were difficult to get out after the initial comment. ”The only Jedi I’ve ever known was Ben Kenobi. He’s the one who got me into all of this..” the name alone sent a tinge of sadness through him. Ben had taught him so much in so little time—but Luke still felt behind. Lost, without his teachings. It was his voice that had guided him during the Battle of Yavin, and what had helped him make that shot. Her comment about someone named Ezra confused him further. ”I wouldn’t call myself a Jedi. Not like Ben. I’m just doing my best here,” with the coordinates calculated, Luke finished the pre-flight checks and lowered his hands to grab the throttle.
He hadn’t flown anything this big before—but it couldn’t be that much different than his T-16 or X-Wing. With confidence, Luke initiated the navigation sequence. Under his breath, he alerted Rebellion control that they were taking off before turning to Sabine.
”If we’re in the business of making comparisons, you remind me of a certain Princess,” the larger ship hovered above the floor, as the hanger began to open for it upon clearance. ”What do you do for the Rebellion?” it was an honest inquiry; he wanted to learn as much about his newest ally as possible before setting foot on an unknown planet with her.
Sabine allowed herself a slight smile. She could live with being compared to Leia. “I work as part of a small Rebel cell. We do whatever’s needed.” It was kind of hard to pin down a specific role for the Spectres. “Sabotage, infiltration, you name it. About half of Gold Squadron are ships we stole from an Imperial depot. I was mostly explosives. Also unofficially propaganda, I guess.” Mostly, it had just started as graffiti, thumbing her nose at the Empire, but over the years, it had progressed from that.
“After Scariff, we were looking for Leia, went to Tattooine, looking for Kenobi and then you show up. How did you get involved in all of this?”
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