Emergency landings were not Rey’s favourite thing to do.
Crash landings ranked even lower down on the scale.
When the first became the second in a matter of minutes, there wasn’t much time to contemplate how annoying they were. Instead, she had been running around headlessly trying to restore power, trying to do anything to slow the descent at that point.
The annoyance came later. Alongside a heap of pain, fear, frustration and loneliness.
It should have been routine. It had been routine. Rey had taken the lonely old shuttle from Luke’s refuge, travelled to the resistance outpost to collect the supplies and communicate with General Organa. She had followed all procedures, the shuttle had even been checked before being released, and it was as she returned to the desolate planet of islands that was Ahch-To that an engine went out and as she made her way towards the planet, the second engine blew out.
Rey wasn’t sure how long ago that was. Had no way to know for sure how long she had been unconscious. When she woke, it was to agony gutting her from the core as she let out a shrill cry, trying and failing to find a release from the overwhelming pain.
Panting, she opened her eyes, blinking back the blood from a wound on her head. Shifting, her focus was drawn to the mind-whitening sensation as she tried to lift her arm and was hit by nausea rolling through her. A glance made it worse. There was a bend in the forearm where there shouldn’t have been. Pulling in air roughly through gritted teeth she – guarding protectively her left arm – tried to move, gripping to the arm rest and gathering her strength to get her legs underneath her.
Another mistake, she learnt the hard way as her legs buckled. Rey barely managed to roll so that she didn’t land on her broken arm, pain blossoming through her chest as she gasped. A cursory glance revealed the piece of shrapnel that had cut through the muscle of her calf. Her heart pounded and her breathing became distorted as she tried to calm her mind.
There had to be a medical kit somewhere on the shuttle but Rey didn’t know where, never having needed it before. The prospect of searching for it made her wince but she was bleeding and she needed to staunch the wound. Then she’d wrap her arm and try to get communications back online. She wasn’t that far from Ahch-To when the engines blew out, someone would come for her. Watching the blood trickle from her leg stopped those thoughts being calming.
She tried to focus and to think. Blood was pooling around her. Her hands went to the piece of metal currently wedged deep through her calf, the smallest touch and she cried out. There were plenty of materials around her – the natural light streaming in from where parts of the shuttle had disintegrated upon landing – but not what she needed and she grabbed leather from the passenger’s seat, yanked it back. Sliding it between her lips, with her good hand she braced herself around the metal and pulled. The world tilted, threatened to black out but she managed to get it all out without losing consciousness.
The wraps around her forearms weren’t clean but she could worry about infection after she’d ensured she hadn’t died from blood loss.
Removing them was difficult - why hadn’t she done this first? She couldn’t stand to remove the wrappings around her left arm and had to grit her teeth as she undid the fastening with her injured hand, spinning her right hand to get it off.
The next ordeal was fastening the bandage and when it was done, she was light-headed. She couldn’t afford to lose consciousness. Not yet. Not when no one knew where she was.
With the last of her energy, she leant up to the panel and typed in the distress sequence. Not even having the energy to check if it had sent, she dropped to the ground and blackness encased her.
The smell of the room was cold. Clinical. Sterile.
She recognised it from visiting Finn before she left to train with Luke. Only, it didn’t feel right. The noises were all there; beeps from the droid, the bubbling of a bacta tank, the hum of machinery. It was inside her that she felt it. A pull within her chest.
Her heart began to race. She knew it. Knew that feeling. It had been a year but she would recognise is anywhere.
“And finally she wakes,” cold mechanical words cut through her mind and ears as her eyes flew open. He stepped into her field of vision and she tried to move but she was tied down; wrists and ankles. “Please. Continue to struggle. Reopen the wounds that have only just healed.”
“Where am I?” she demanded but her voice was foreign. Hoarse. Terrified.
“You know the answer to that.”
She did. The ship thrummed beneath them. If he were there she was with the First Order, and if she was with the First Order, the specific ship mattered little. “Why?”
A droid came forwards. Her heart was hammering and despite what he said she was still struggling. How could she not? How could she sit there and do nothing? “The patient’s blood pressure and heart rate are rising dangerously,” the droid’s words were warmer than his but the sight of the needle it carried spurred her to lash out.
A sudden force pressed her into the bed, heavy and demanding and her eyes widened at him. He hadn’t even moved and she was trapped. The prick of the metal made her hiss but then everything swam. Her eyes teared, the room faded and she mumbled, “Why?”
Consciousness returned to her and disorientation followed. This was no medical bay. This was a cell.
It was truly basic. A simple cot with a toilet and sink hidden behind a small partition. She wasn’t sure what she expected but it was better than the metal chair her mind helpfully reminded her. There were a million questions in her mind. Why was she here? How did they find her? Did the Resistance know?
The middle question she had an idea about; the distress signal. In her hurry to send for help, she hadn’t set it for secured channels. Heck, she hadn’t even added a message save the default one sent out. Where had she landed? Had the planet been populated? It was entirely possible that the vessel that responded had been First Order but how that had led her here, to him, she had no idea.
Regaining her strength after who knew how long in that medical bay, she took the time to survey her wounds. Her head was fine, as was her arm but when she pulled up the gown she had been left in, the pale white line from the shrapnel was obvious, jagged as it snuck around her calf.
Rey took stock of it all. She was alive and that was something to work with. It would have been easier to let her die. That meant her life had value. Information, perhaps? The only bit of knowledge she held was Luke’s location and she hoped that if she didn’t return he would make contact with the Resistance and look for her but she wasn’t entirely sure.
The past year he had been difficult. Not because what he taught her was hard – he certainly pushed her but she could handle that – because he so rarely taught her something new. Everything was slow and Luke seemed to focus on meditation over anything else. The difficulty came with her relationship with Luke. Always distant. Always cautious. Always glad to send her back to civilisation for whatever small reason; she sincerely doubted that he missed Corellian soup as much as she was sent for it. She didn’t ask why he treated her at an arms length. For all he was calm and meditative, she felt the turmoil within him. The slightest reminders of what happened with his other apprentices could derail a session. It wasn’t easy for either of them. She still hoped he’d come for her. Or that someone would. Finn or Leia.
For that first day, Rey kept a cautious eye to the door of her cell, expecting it to open, expecting Kylo Ren to descend and unveil why she was here. The door didn’t open. A slot did. Once a day. A meagre ration that made what she had on Jakku feel like the finest cuisine would be deposited through the slot designed solely for such a purpose.
It could be poison but Rey didn’t have a choice and always ate every scrap. Food didn’t have to taste like anything. It simply had to be there. It carried on like that for a week, as best Rey could fathom. Not that it was easy to tell the passage of time with nothing to do and no light to follow.
She did the only thing she could. She tried to meditate. She failed. Whenever steps moved passed her door she would falter. Whenever the metal of her door would slide open and the packet shoved through, she would dive at it.
Rey never stopped trying to focus. Trying to feel outside her four walls. Tried to get a sense of the troops, thinking of how she might use them to her advantage. It felt like something was blocking her whenever she tried to extend herself. The sensation left her frustrated.
That frustration drained her and so she slept.
She was asleep, shivering in the cold room when the door finally opened. Her eyes snapped open in a second, shuffling to sit as the masked and caped figure entered the room.
“Why am I here?” she asked not sure if she expected an answer. Part of her was just clinging to seeing another. This close she could feel him with the Force, feel the power working through him, unlike the others around her.
“You are an asset to the Resistance.”
“What, so I’m here so they can’t have me?”
“Not solely,” he told her, crossing his arms across his body. The movement highlighted a flash of silver, the metal of his blade. She swallowed trying not to focus on it. “Try it,” he encouraged, taking it off his belt and holding it out in his hand. It was too far to reach.
It was a test. She knew it was a test but she had to do something. Rey wasn’t designed to sit in silence with nothing to do. She reached out with her mind, trying to focus on the object, feeling it slip through her fingers. Her face furrowed in concentration. It wouldn’t hold still. The Force felt slippery, out of her reach. There but not responding to her.
When he made no move as she tried and tried, no sound either, she felt something awful chill her blood. “What have you done to me?”
At last, he shifted, moving his sabre back to his belt. It was impossible to know where his gaze was under the mask but she felt it burn her all the same. “An implant.”
She swallowed and felt violated, wanting to curl up on herself. Instead she stood. “What have you done?” she demanded, clenching her hands into two fists.
“Old technology,” he told her simply. “A force inhibitor. Traditionally they needed to be worn over the skin. I had it modified and slimmed down. As long as it’s there, your powers are useless to you.”
It was like the air was pushed from her lungs as she trembled, stepping backwards and hitting the wall. In all her time on Jakku, she had never used the force, never even knew it was there but since it had been awakened within her it had become a part of her. For that to be stripped away – he may as well as taken a part of her.
“I sense your anger,” he told her and she turned her head away from him. The fight left her. “Your fear.”
“Leave me alone,” she murmured sinking down against the wall.
“As you wish,” he replied and then he was gone, leaving her to her thoughts. When the door slammed shut into place, she wept.