Category: (Crossover Fic) Star Wars: The Force Awakens x Pacific Rim
Focused Ship: Finn x Rey in a Pacific Rim universe
Summary: Finn and Rey prepare for their final test in the Shatterdome to see if they are truly drift compatible.
Rey was not prepared.
If there was one thing about training to become a co-pilot of a monstrous Jaegar, it was to be ready for the compatibility test, to ‘enter the drift’ as they said. It was the last and probably the hardest stage to determine if the two pilots who would risk each other’s life in battle were fit to overcome a kaiju’s wrath.
More than that, it was to determine if they were capable of being in complete sync to handle the burdens of a massive war machine. After all, any hindrance of thought or decision, or worse, a sudden urge to fall into the deepest crevices of someone’s memories, were said to lead to a deadly catastrophe.
Rey knew any disarray in the Jaegar’s synchronized functions only meant one of two things—either the machine was going to go on a chaotic rampage and destroy anything but the target, or lose its motor skills entirely and get its head chomped off by an unsuspecting kaiju.
Rey flexed her fingers nervously. She could only imagine being the one messing things up big time. But why was she worried? It was not like her partner was some ex-stormtrooper who had recollections of carrying out horrifying deeds for the First Order.
She knew exactly what she feared—reaping his mind and tumbling through his past traumas, deep enough to off-sync their system and cause a hell load of problems.
But it’s Finn. She tried to convince herself yet another time. Yes, her co-pilot was Finn. The one and only Finn. The boy she would trust completely with her life, because she knew he trusted her with his. How else did they end up being drift compatible? General Organa was confident with her choice. So was Pentecost, whose approval of the pair earned the ex-stormtrooper’s complete admiration.
But she also knew that Finn had a life before joining the Resistance. A life of no mercy, no free will, and endless hell. Maybe he was strong enough to resist the rabbit hole, but what about her? What happened if something pulled her into the ominous void? It was not the first time, and being already susceptible to the Force, she anticipated the worse.
“Rey, we’re about to start the mind link,” the voice of Tendo Choi, head technician of the program, suddenly cracked through the intercom. “Where’s Finn?”
That’s right. Where was he? Unlike her, Rey knew her partner was more than excited to pilot a Mark-5 Jaegar. He had been talking about it all day, from the beginning of their physical training all the way to their simulator score. His natural gung-ho fling with all the odds was intoxicating; everyone in the shatter dome loved his determination and the way he cheered them on even when chances were slim. Rey had to wonder what that meant. But more importantly, she had to wonder if she was capable of living up to that energy.
“I don’t know. But he’ll be here soon.” She answered back. Her eyes trailed up to the juggernaut of all battle machines in front of her. Their Jaegar, the Jedi Storm, was being prepared for its first practice run. A menacing creature, she noted, even compared to the kaiju, yet strapped to the docking port it looked lifeless.
That is, of course, until they brought it to life.
“It won’t be bad, it won’t be bad…” Rey found herself whispering her hopes out loud. “Just let go. Just let go.”
“Let what go?” Rey flinched as she heard a familiar voice approach her on the ramp. There he was, covered from neck to toe in their signature drive suit, sporting that toothy grin she knew so well.
“Finn, where were you? We were called on deck half an hour ago.” She greeted with a scold.
“Oh, sorry. I was just, uh, preparing myself,” he looked at her apologetically. “Our last test, you know? Can’t disappoint ‘em one bit.”
She watched as he let out a soft ‘wow’. The blaring work lights in the Shatterdome glinted in his pupils, fixating his attention on the great vessel alone. He was silent for a moment, but that was no surprise. A typical routine, Rey knew well. There was never a moment in their time as a young pilot and soldier when Finn had not gawked at the machinery and resources belonging to the Resistance. Their first time fighting together on the Millenium Falcon had done the trick—anything that could stand up to the enemy was a thing worth admiring. But most importantly, anything they could operate together was bound to be respected.
“You think you’re ready?” Rey finally spoke. Surprisingly enough, she saw that clear sweep of hesitance, but he hid it quickly.
“Of course. I have to be,” he looked at her determinedly. “This is our chance, Rey. This is our chance to get back at them with everything we’ve got.” He paused. “Are you ready?”
“Yeah, of course.” She nodded, waving her hand dismissively. “Don’t worry about me. Piloting is what I’m good at, remember?”
There was a pause as Finn kept his gaze on her. Rey suddenly felt vulnerable, her face becoming oddly warm at the sight of his curious stare. But whether it was because she feared him seeing through her lie or for something else, she did not know. Within seconds, he responded with an impressed chuckle.
“Of course. How can I forget?”
“Well for one thing, you guys are forgetting that we’re here to test-drive a Jaegar,” Tendo Choi’s voice blurted out dryly from the intercom. “So if you can kindly delay your flirting and board the machine, we can get this show on the road.”
Rey and Finn exchanged quick snickers before making their way down the ramp, their boots clanging against the metal with each step. The entrance stood on the lower spine of the Jaegar like a black gaping hole on its glistening armor. Rey looked down only once, noting how far up they were from the ground floor, supported only by the walkway with nothing underneath but a hollow drop. Her suit clung tight to her form, keeping her poised and focused for the final test.
She felt more confident with him at her side. She always had. There was something about Finn that shed her doubts, as if they were the silliest things to delve on. She could never forget the day when they had piloted the Millenium Falcon together, a Mark-1 ship, out-of-date and decrepit from years of transport and battle, and yet with a bit of skill and cooperation, they had commanded that vessel beautifully.
That incident was one of the reasons why General Organa decided to pair them up. It was miraculous, she had said, how two people who barely knew each other or anything about flying had communicated so well. Rey had to agree. She didn’t know Finn back then—where he came from, who he was—so their plans to escape the tie fighters were simple haphazard efforts to stay alive. Their victory was pure chance.
Yet, ever since he grabbed her hand for the first time, ever since he expressed a drastic impulse to whisk her away from danger, she knew she had found the right person—a comrade, a partner. Not just a partner, but a friend. Her first friend. Someone wholly special. Someone more than she could ever ask for.
The scent of new metal hit her nose as they boarded the vessel. It carried her up to the main cockpit where the familiar machinery of the mind-link system hung in the center, just like in the practice rooms. Rey took her place on the right, knowing the Jaegar’s dominant arm needed to be equipped with the Force whenever she needed it. Finn was already oozing with excitement, but a glance at his direction made her aware that he was not going to take this lightly. His face eased into a stern position just when the spinal processors steadily attached themselves on their backs and Rey felt a pull like no other. She had memorized the process by heart, setting the neural links to task mode, but this was different—this was the real thing. Like an umbilical cord attached to a great support, this was their lifeline that connected them to their war machine and to each other. The sensation was thrilling, and within seconds, their Jaegar sprung to life.
Rey held in her excitement to quickly activate the holographic command board. The blue screens levitated like specters in front of them, displaying everything they needed to know and use including the physical conditions of the giant carrier. Rey digested everything, as if leaving even one small detail out was a gateway to an easy death. It was not long until, just as expected, the voice of their head technician appeared from an unknown source.
“Welcome to your first taste of Jedi Storm, our new and improved Mark-5 hunk of metal beauty,” He slurred jokingly. “We’re about to test-run this big girl with her pilots for the first time. Now, you two have prepared for this for the past few months, but I need to know one last time before we start this up…do any of you have any objections getting into each other’s minds?”
“Hell no,” Finn reacted first. “I-I mean, we already discussed this, and Rey knows I have her full confidence.”
Rey smiled inwardly, noting the way he tried to not make it sound awkward. “Same here. I trust Finn.”
It was an automatic response, as if she was waiting for someone to question her choice. But it was the truth, rather, her brain had come to agree with what she’d believed all along—drifting with him was not something to worry about. She was not going to be frightened by his memories nor fall into some terrifying hellhole that could render her incapable of getting out. Sure the so-named ‘calling towards the light’ had pulled her into some state of hypnosis few times before, but she had trained to be resistant. She had become alert and aware of her past, present, and future. She had let the Force in and let it envelop her whole. There was nothing in her mind to hold on to, and from the couple of years they had spent together, Rey knew that her friend had nothing from the First Order to hold on to either. It was as if those lonely years in Jakku and Finn’s hopeless existence as a stormtrooper had never happened.
He said it himself once, how he chose to forget his dealings with the dark side so much that if she had looked into his brain right then, she would have found nothing. If there was something traumatic lodged in there, he would turn it into a joke. If it was something he feared would affect her, he made sure to remind her to let it go. To let everything drift by as if they were events from someone else’s life, scenes from someone else’s story. This form of disconnect was how he managed to be the person he was, and Rey admired that. She admired his strength and versatility, and as a Jedi herself, she had to of all people know when to let go.
Her previous hesitance slowly subsided, and she felt her muscles loosen in response.
The weight of the Jaegar’s parts hinged to her back only made her eager to drift. She wanted to get it over with so they could start commandeering as one force rather than two. Nothing, not even some memory bank stored within those synaptic wires was going to distract her from her mission. Like Finn, she was ready to fight. She was ready to fight the enemy and their giant beasts, to bring peace to the Resistance and the Republic. Rey hoped that that thought alone would help the drift compatibility test go smoothly.
“Alright, then we’ll start with the neural alignment and the handshake,” Tendo continued, “Remember not to latch onto anything swarming in your heads, just let ‘em—” Suddenly, a crackle in the transmitter broke him off, replaced by a voice both Rey and Finn recognized so well.
“They know that already, Choi, do you want to make it better or worse?” Leia Organa pitched in with her usual tone reminiscent of a proud general. “Your commander speaking. Just keep it together, kids, and don’t think too hard. Remember what you’re doing this for.”
“Roger that,” Finn and Rey answered simultaneously. It was not a surprise that General Organa was going to be there to oversee their simulation. She had suggested the pair to Stacker Pentecost, and she had to make sure her efforts came through. Their life was in her hands, and this was the last test to make sure they were both fit to pilot a Jaegar and prove her right.
“Yeah and if anything goes wrong…” Tendo jumped in again. “Just use the Force.”
Finn was the first one to respond with a chuckle, his fingers tapping away on the control board just like his co-pilot to make sure everything was clear on their end.
“Nah, that’s not how the Force works, Choi,” he answered. “You of all people should know that.”
“Yeah…bless his soul,” Choi’s voice went down to a husky whisper, inaudible to General Organa. Maybe.
Rey didn’t think twice to push that memory aside, the death of one of their rebel leaders, Han Solo, through the hands of his own son. Instead, she kept a firm grasp on the control ring around her wrist, ready whenever they were to let herself soar into the drift and linger in complete silence as they synced. It was all she needed to do. If they completed their alignment without problems, then the rest was going to be easy. Rey had no fear being in control of a massive ship, she had no problem using Jedi Storm’s signature weapon—the giant blue lightsaber named Arachi—on the relentless kaijus. She just wanted to make sure that she and Finn were truly drift compatible, as Leia had said. She wanted to make sure that it was not just their actions playing off each other, but their thoughts and emotions as well.
Tendo said that they were ready to commence countdown. The machinery behind them began to activate, letting out a distinct hum that reached their ears. Rey bit her lower lip. The Force was what she needed now more than ever. It was the only entity that kept them connected and aware of each other’s presence through all things. Now it was just a matter of going to the next level, to let their minds finally become one.
“Psst, Finn,” Rey called out to him as the technicians in the control room began the count.
“What?” He looked stiff.
“Have fun in there,” she gestured to her head and threw him a wink.
Her words relaxed his posture instantly. “Same in mine,” he smiled back. “We got this, Rey.”
“I know.” She said it with conviction, and she felt confident she could. This was Finn, her comrade, her friend, and her closest confidante to anything that brought back nightmares from days long past. Right at that very instant, she felt comfort in his presence, and her mind began to clear, giving way for a new guest to dwell in its hollow space.
“Just let go…just let go…”
The count hailed down to 3, then 2, then 1, and as if something wrenched her into the depths of a bottomless ocean, Rey felt herself disappear into a hurling chasm. Her present escaping, her awareness becoming mute, the palpating surroundings engulfed her whole.
And she became lost in the drift.