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Only the Best!

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Your name is Hondo Ohnaka.

You are a businessman. You are a pirate. You are a survivor.

Which one of those you identify with most depends on the setting, of course. Usually depending on how many blasters are pointed your way at the time. But, as you have just noted, you are a survivor and you know how to turn a bad situation to your advantage.

You survived the Republic. You survived their silly war with the Separatists. You’ll survive the Empire and their silly war with this Rebellion.

Not that you ever really counted yourself a fan of the Republic, but at least they were occupied with so many trivial matters that a sensible person could make a living—in your case, a very good living. The Empire seems to have lost its sense of humor and is so committed to making your life difficult that you almost wonder if it’s personal. The Rebels complain and like to pretend that they are some kind of moral beacon, but at least they’re more entertaining.

Plus, the Rebels have the occasional Jedi. They’re the ones who complain the loudest and act the stuffiest but at least they’re fun to provoke. From what you’ve heard of these Inquisitors, they are no fun at all. True, your opinion of the Jedi has varied greatly over the years, but you do have to admit that you’ve missed them, despite their annoying habit of dying, vanishing, or—worst of all—interfering with your bottom line.

Particularly that young Bridger child. He was so helpful… usually.

Ah, well. Life goes on.

You never liked Tatooine. Too much sun, too many Hutts, not enough water, and not enough excitement. And if those horrible qualities weren’t bad enough, you’re also losing credits with every day you’re stuck here. Time to head to the cantinas and work out a long-overdue exit from this miserable place.

Confidence is key to these sorts of things, but you can’t appear too eager. The best thing to do is to lie in wait for an opportunity, so you make sure to listen in on as many discussions as you can manage.

You catch sight of a Wookiee in conversation with a pair of what are obviously locals. The fourth person with them is a pilot you’ve seen around, but you haven’t been able to figure out a good angle with him. These two dust farmers must be very eager to leave this disappointing planet, and that’s where you spot your opening.

Before you can approach the table, you spot something else there: a familiar face.

Dressed as a farmer? He’s certainly let himself go, but who hasn’t lost a little of their old shine in these trying times?

“Obi-Wan Kenobi! My old friend!” you cry as you make your way over to him. The Jedi Master’s previously dull expression morphs into one of surprise, with a hint of utter horror.

Ah, good. He remembers you.

You pull up a chair at their table before he can work out a way to prevent you from joining them. Kenobi was always one of your favorite Jedi. Well, most of the time; sometimes he could be quite difficult to work with, but he was also very willing to make a deal if the circumstances were right. You can respect that.

You quickly get the lay of the land: Kenobi and this very wide-eyed boy want to leave the planet—you approve—and were in the middle of negotiating passage on this Captain Solo’s ship when you happened by. Of course there is the matter of price, and you admire Solo’s ambitious opening gambit, even though it is more than you can afford. The boy is amusingly offended but then Kenobi does something that you didn’t expect: he offers even more than Solo asked for, to be paid upon arrival.

Risky, but clever, you think—assuming that Solo takes him up on his offer. He doesn’t know Kenobi like you do and doesn’t know that the Jedi can be surprisingly reliable about things like this.

You decide to help him out. Having a Jedi owe you a favor could be very profitable down the line. You offer to put down the credits for a down payment. Provided you can come along, of course.

You can tell from Kenobi’s expression that he doesn’t have much choice but to accept your help. The boy appears quite confused as to what is going on, which obviously means that he is in desperate need of someone to show him how the galaxy works.

Ah, it’s times like these that you miss Ezra Bridger.

The boy introduces himself as Luke Skywalker.

You wonder if today is Life Day because the universe seems to be handing you gifts left and right.

Alderaan wouldn’t be the first planet you’d have chosen to visit, but at least the Imperial presence there is minimal and its people have credits that an ambitious person could do a lot with.

So, Anakin Skywalker had a son. Good for him! You liked Skywalker quite a bit as well, though he was so very meddlesome sometimes. His son seems to be much more agreeable. It’s only right that you take him under your wing and guide him. You don’t have the resources you once did but, even so, a kid like Luke could learn a lot from someone as clever as you. Kenobi might be good for things like laser swords and magic powers, but those things don’t put credits in anyone’s pocket, especially your pocket.

Yes, that is what you will do. In the memory of your tragically deceased friend, Anakin Skywalker, you will do your best for his son as his… mentor? Guardian? No—godparent!

You hope Kenobi realizes how good a deal this is for his friend’s son. Especially when he gets his hands on those credits he claims are waiting for him on Alderaan.

You play the Wookiee at dejarik while Kenobi teaches Luke all of those funny Jedi tricks that he likes so much. You know better than to play against the droids, especially that R2 unit; you’ve never had good luck with droids like that. Of course, being a good guest, you let the Wookiee win.

You should have remembered that the Jedi had a habit of attracting all kinds of trouble.

Imperials, superweapons, and inconvenient rescue missions were just the beginning. On top of that, Kenobi had to go and get himself killed—what is it with Jedi and their annoying habit of dying just when things were going well?

Ah, well. You’ll make sure to raise a glass in honor of your old friend once all of this is over.

For now, you need to make sure that your new godson isn’t going to get himself captured or anything silly like that. Unfortunately, he seems hellbent on sticking with this Rebel princess who is not being agreeable at all. She actually reminds you a little bit of Luke’s father when he was being particularly difficult: all shouting and demanding and far too willing to put herself in danger for no reason at all. Her planet just exploded—surely that’s enough of an excuse to go off somewhere quiet for a bit and clear her head?

But no, she wants to take an R2 unit with what turns out to be some very valuable information in it and just give it to the Rebellion. And, even worse, you have to go with them.

Solo seems to have his priorities in order but Luke still won’t see reason and says that he’s going to stay and fight with the Rebels. What has happened to this galaxy that all of these bright young people are so eager to do so many foolish things?

You aren’t happy about leaving your godson behind to face certain doom, but you are a survivor and sometimes you have to do what is best for you. It isn’t as though you can help anyone else when you’re dead. Yes, you staying alive is a good thing for the galaxy.

Soon, you have to amend your previous statement about Solo: he turns out to be just like all of these other young people, because just when you thought you were going to get out of this alive, he decides at the very last minute that he’s going to help Luke.

You consider finding a heavy object to hit Solo over the head with so you can steal his ship, but then you remember the Wookiee and realize that you will just have to hope for the best.

The universe is obviously still a big fan of Hondo Ohnaka, because Solo’s plan actually works: he takes out a couple of TIE fighters, your godson makes a very impressive shot, and that horrible Death Star is destroyed.

You make sure that Luke and the Rebels know how helpful you were during this ordeal. You also make sure they know that you are more than willing to take your reward in bartered goods if they do not have the credits to spare.

Your name is Hondo Ohnaka and you are back on top!

Being known as a Rebel hero turns out to be a surprisingly lucrative asset: sure, it cuts down on the kinds of deals you can make with the Imperials, but you never really liked them anyway so it’s no great loss. You rebuild your crew and your business, and the credits start to roll in. It will never rival what you had during the glory days of the Clone Wars but, really, what could?

You continue to guide Luke through these treacherous times; he is learning quite a bit and even seems pleased to see you, which is more than you could say for his father. Even the princess is starting to warm up to you, in that she doesn’t glare at you all the time, and you realize that with her planet destroyed she is just as alone in the galaxy as Luke is. Obviously Leia needs a godparent as well, and you are more than happy to fill that role. Business is booming and you can afford to do someone a favor or two. You think that your offers of ships and supplies are at very reasonable prices, considering what you have gone through to acquire some of them.

The first time that Luke and Leia haggle with you over the price is one of the proudest days of your life.

Then that nasty business with Hoth happens. You arrive shortly after the Rebels evacuate and find only the Falcon, which is currently fleeing an Imperial Star Destroyer. Perhaps the Hondo of a few years ago would have just cut his losses and moved on, but you find yourself growing soft in your old age—if being blindingly furious with the Empire for daring to attack your godchildren counts as “soft.”

Especially when you can’t find Luke after the battle. No one seems to know where he has gone, but you have Leia and Solo and the Wookiee with you and your current priority is to get them to safety. Luckily, you have a friend nearby and you set a course for Bespin.

Foolish, foolish Calrissian. He really should have made better decisions about who to trust. He claims that he didn't have any choice but to cooperate with the Imperials; you tell him that he is unlikely to make it very far in this business with that kind of attitude.

Fortunately, the Empire had only been expecting Solo, Leia, and Chewbacca. They definitely had not been expecting Solo, Leia, and Chewbacca to show up with a (mostly) fully-armed Corona-class frigate and nearly a hundred members of your crew.

Their surprise is extremely entertaining.

However, there is still the matter of Darth Vader, who is also here and being extremely uncooperative despite all of the blasters your crew keep firing at him. Much like the Jedi you had to deal with years ago, his Force powers are quite inconvenient.

Luckily for you (and everyone who is not an Imperial at the moment), you've had plenty of experience in capturing both Jedi and Sith.

Vader is rather upset with you for tying him up, but to be fair he would have been upset with you no matter what, and at least this way you get the fun of watching him try and fail to break free.

You aren't foolish enough to actually go into the same room as him, so you keep your interactions confined to the comms. You use the opportunity to remind Vader about all of the detonators you planted around the outside of the room. Leia is still deciding what to do with him, but you are pretty sure that your goddaughter wouldn't be too upset if he were reduced to a pile of ash on the floor.

You remember the time during the Clone Wars when you captured Skywalker, Kenobi, and Count Dooku, tied them together, and then tried to ransom them off to the highest bidder. Sure, they escaped, but it was still a great day.

You tell Vader this story but before you can finish he snarls at you to be quiet. These Imperials have no sense of humor at all, you think with a sigh. Luke thought it was funny when you told him, and if Anakin Skywalker’s own son can find the incident amusing, you say, then surely Vader could see the humor in it as well?

“You know Luke Skywalker?” Vader is suddenly paying attention to you. About time, you think to yourself.

“Know him? He is my godson!” you announce proudly.

“Your… godson?”

“Of course!” you say. “Why wouldn’t I watch over the son of my dear departed friend?”

Then Darth Vader, the Emperor’s pet rancor, does something very surprising: he lets loose with a stream of profanity that would make a Hutt blush.

You have only heard one other person swear that… creatively… before.

It was shortly after you tied him to a Jedi Master and a Separatist leader.

You wonder if you somehow missed Life Day yet again, because the universe just handed you some very valuable information.

“Anakin Skywalker,” you say into the comm as a smile spreads across your face, “my old friend how nice to see you again.”

He smashes the comm unit. Apparently his time with the Empire has not made him any more agreeable.

You think that Luke will get a kick out of this latest development but your goddaughter disagrees with a vehemence that seems to surprise even her. Luke spent all these years believing that his father was a hero, she says, and the revelation that he was instead the galaxy’s greatest villain will break his heart.

You privately think that, since you’ve done more for Luke than his father ever did, he might want to reconsider who his real family is, but you agree to wait. It isn’t as though he’s even here, and in the meantime you have other things to worry about, such as Calrissian’s growing alarm that the Empire will be sending people to retrieve Vader any moment now.

You would love to somehow take Vader with you but you know that he will probably find a way to escape and ruin all of your plans eventually, so you decide to just leave him where he is. Besides, you now have something even more valuable than Vader himself: you have information. Maybe even blackmail, you think.

But in order to exploit that particular asset, you will need to make sure that you get out of here alive.

The Star Destroyer that just arrived is making that outcome a little less likely.

This is when you find yourself arguing with Leia because you have done something quite unexpected: you’re still here.

Typically, you would be telling yourself that your survival is good for the galaxy, which is still true, but you are now realizing that perhaps your goddaughter surviving would also be good for the galaxy. Perhaps even a little better.

Solo and Chewbacca need less convincing: they pull Leia on board the Falcon, along with Calrissian and some of his people, and are soon racing past the Imperial forces before jumping to hyperspace.

Your crew is obviously nervous when you return to your ship, but you have a plan. You always have a plan, because the universe is full of all sorts of opportunities that a clever person can turn to their advantage.

And you are very clever.

Now, you think to yourself, let’s see if the universe is still a big fan of Hondo Ohnaka.

The entire fleet goes into red alert before you even hail them; though, to be fair, they weren’t expecting you.

You just hope that they don’t blast you into slag before you’ve had a chance to say something. It would be such a waste otherwise.

Eventually, the comm projects the images of your godchildren. You look forward to telling them later how comical their facial expressions are right now.

“Ah, good,” you say, “you’re both here. I brought you a present!”

“Wait, that’s your present?” Luke says, eyes somehow widening even further.

“Well, there’s a small finder’s fee, of course,” you say, “but yes.”

“You brought us an Imperial Star Destroyer???" Leia yells.

You don’t understand why they’re so surprised. You certainly went to a lot of trouble to get it—faking a coolant leak, drifting too close to the shield generator dome, cutting your way through the hull and securing the boarding tube, rigging the blast doors to trap the stormtroopers, pumping all of those fumes into the bridge—but it wasn’t that difficult for someone as clever as you.

Ah, well. They still have a lot to learn. Fortunately, they have you there to teach them.

“Only the best for my favorite godchildren!” you proclaim with a grin.