Via thelionmachine on Twitter: I’m just cool with the happy AU where everyone DOESN’T die (handwavium, not explanation required) where Bodhi teaches flying stuff.
Bodhi Rook looked out at the assembled pilots in training and tried to hide his dismay. It wasn’t that he doubted their competence–most of them were already pilots: smugglers, contractors, ore haulers, and others familiar with larger transports. But now that he was pushing thirty standard years, the young ones were beginning to look disturbingly young. Too young to be preparing for a mission against another–
That line of thought had to stop, or else he would never get through this talk. He couldn’t break down in front of a dozen of his students. He closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths. The ship, he told himself. He pictured the shuttle’s controls in his mind, running quickly through the controls from left to right and back again. His hands had stopped shaking, or near enough, so he figured he was okay to start.
“The Imperial Lambda-class T-4a shuttle,” he said, cutting through the pilots’ low chatter. “Built by Seinar Fleet Systems. Immediate successor to Seinar’s Sentinel-class shuttles. Anyone ever flown either?”
Two hands went up. Bodhi noted their faces, both human: one male with dark skin and one female with short red-brown hair. Both wore nondescript gray flight suits and had the defensive posture of Imperial defectors. Bodhi’s old Imperial flight suit was stained and patched in places, but he still wore it as a reminder, though with a few new patches. Few people gave him a second look these days.
But in this group, the other pilots looked at the two with their hands raised suspiciously. Bodhi cleared his threat. “Good. That’s good. We’re all gonna need to be as familiar as possible with this shuttle by the end of the day. I need all the help I can get.” He waved for the pilots to follow him into the stolen shuttle.
The next several hours passed in a blur of schematics, questions, answers, and three test flights assessing the most promising of the recruits. His assessment of the three–the male and female defectors and a pale blue Twi’lek with bright red tattoos on their mangled lekku–would be passed along to General Madine, taking this phase of the mission out of Bodhi’s hands. And with that, the worry was back.
He paced the shuttle’s cockpit, drumming his fingers on his datapad. Now that he wasn’t busy, he was thinking, and thinking meant worry. He hadn’t seen Cassian and Jyn for months, though he’d been assured that they were safe. Chirrut and Baze were likewise busy. Bodhi even missed Kaytoo, though the cantankerous droid was away on the same mission as Jyn and Cassian.
And then there was Luke. Luke Skywalker, last of the Jedi and hero of the Rebellion, the best pilot Bodhi had ever seen, and… what? What were they, even? Bodhi knew what he felt–that Luke was a bright star in the void of space, a navigation point he’d be happy to pilot by for as long as he could. But they had barely spoken since Hoth, and with this second Death Star looming over the Rebellion’s heads–
He stopped the thought harshly, slamming a fist against the Tydirium’s pilot seat. He couldn’t think of this now. He had his own mission, and when Madine gave the go-ahead, he would pilot his own ship and lose himself in that. If he was flying, he was in control. He would be fine.
From the open entry ramp, he heard footsteps. “Shuttle’s off-limits,” Bodhi called without looking, ignoring conveniently that he had been ordered to seal the shuttle and leave as well.
It had to be a trick of his still occasionally malfunctioning mind, Bodhi thought. But he turned anyway, and there Luke was, lingering uncertainly in the entrance. He looked pale and worried, washed out by a black jumpsuit and boots and the docking bay’s harsh lighting. Bodhi took a step toward him, but paused.
“It’s–are you–” He stammered over a few abortive greetings before shaking his head. “Welcome back. Are you back?”
Luke nodded. “Yeah. I’m back.”
Bodhi hesitated. “Are you flying out with…?”
Luke shook his head. “Wedge is leading the Rogues just fine. I’ll be with the strike crew on the ground.” He gave Bodhi a crooked smile. “I wanted to check out the shuttle first. And see if I could find you.” He reached out a hand tentatively.
Just as tentatively, Bodhi took it, feeling the faint clicking of the prosthetic joints beneath Luke’s black glove. He exhaled in relief. “I sent General Madine my pilot recommendations. You’ll be in good hands.”
Luke winced. “About that… we rescued Han. And he wants to pilot.”
Bodhi choked back a strangled curse, then laughed. Luke was back. He’d rescued his friend. Maybe it was a sign that they were going to come out of this alive once more, that he was right to navigate by this particular star. He could believe it for now.