In deep space, the small Resistance of ragtag ships exits hyperspace after escaping the First Order fleet led by General Hux.
Poe Dameron, roguish, handsome and dashing, strides with a cocky swagger onto the bridge of the Raddus, the Resistance flagship. His vibrant orange flight suit clashes with the cold sterility of the bridge’s clean, pale surfaces and technical displays.
General Leia Organa, leader of the Resistance and all-round stone-cold badass, turns to her arrogant lead pilot as he approaches. “Thank you for listening to me, Commander,” she says. “By abandoning your mission to destroy the Dreadnought, you saved lives and allowed us to escape with our full bomber wing intact.”
“You’re welcome, General,” Poe says. “Even though the Dreadnought was an incredibly powerful mobile weapons platform with which the First Order could wipe out our small fleet, it seems sensible to leave it intact despite the opportunity we had to destroy it.”
Leia nods. “The important thing, the most important thing, is to preserve life, and to save the people we love,” she says. “That’s an important lesson which I now have the chance to teach you verbally.”
Poe seems confused. “Well, I mean, you allowed me to launch our full bomber wing, despite how slowly they move and despite the fact that they lack independent hyperdrives, which is a feature on all of our other attack craft. So it seems contradictory for you to then abort that mission as I was literally dodging enemy fire barely ten metres above the surface of the Dreadnought. Honestly, it’s a miracle I managed to escape at all.”
Leia sits down at the command console. “Poe, I know you’re the leader of the Resistance Fighter Wing, and my direct subordinate, but I prefer to explain my general strategy to you after we engage with the enemy, rather than before. That way, if you defy me, I can demean and demote you in front of your friends and colleagues.”
Poe stares hopelessly at BB-8, but the droid offers no assistance. “So, to be clear, General, we knew the First Order was coming, and that they were bringing a Dreadnought, so we concocted a complex plan involving prank-calling Hux, and fitting a high-speed disposable booster engine to my X-Wing ahead of time, followed by me attacking the Dreadnought single-handed and banking on the fact that they wouldn’t launch fighter cover?”
“Yes, Commander, that’s right.” Leia nods.
“Okay, so you signed off on this attack plan to destroy the Dreadnought ahead of time? And we launched all of our bombers and fighters to carry it out?”
“Yes, Commander. Go on.”
Poe massages the sides of his head with his fingers, ruffling his gorgeous, thick, wavy, dark hair. “But as soon as the planet was evacuated, we were going to call off the attack anyway?”
Leia nods again. “Yes.”
“So,” Poe continues, “if destroying the Dreadnought was never a priority to begin with, why wouldn’t we instead hold all of our fighters and bombers back in defensive positions so that we could escape the very moment we needed to? Because it seems like you committed all of our pilots and attack craft to my plan to destroy a Dreadnought, but then acted like that was not even a secondary or tertiary objective.”
“Poe, get your head out of your penis ditch,” Leia retorts. “You can’t solve every problem by jumping in an X-Wing and blowing something up!”
Poe is shocked. “But that’s how we’ve solved every problem! That’s how you have solved every problem! The first Death Star – X-Wing blew it up. Second Death star – X-Wing blew it up with an assist from the Falcon. STARKILLER BASE, that massive thing which wiped out the New Republic yesterday? I literally just blew it up twelve hours ago! In an X-Wing! TWELVE HOURS AGO. I mean, the AT-ATs on Hoth, sure, your brother was technically in a Snowspeeder, but that’s basically the X-Wing of ground battles. Except on Scarif, where it was literal X-Wings blowing things up during the ground battle and the space battle. Every historic victory won by the Rebels or the Resistance has been down to pilots in X-Wings blowing things up.”
“It’s not about killing the people you hate!” Leia shouts.
“It’s always been about killing the people who hate us!” Poe retorts.
“It’s about saving the people you love!” Leia retorts back.
“By killing the people who are trying to kill the people you love!” Poe retorts thricewise.
An angry silence follows.
Poe eventually relents. “Okay, you were right to call off the attack. The Dreadnought’s still out there, sure, but hey, we hyper-jumped away, and to the best of our knowledge it’s impossible for the First Order to track us through Hyperspace, so we’re probably fine.”
“Agreed,” Leia says. “We’re definitely fine. We have enough fuel for one more Hyperspace jump, so everything is fine.”
Poe pauses in thought, then begins to doubt himself. “…Unless they somehow track us the same way they tracked our scouts in the last film. Remember? How we had scouts reporting on Starkiller base? Who then returned to OUR base, and the First Order tracked them, and then targeted our base with their super weapon? And we know that it was a Hyperspace journey because both my X-Wing squadron and the Falcon had to approach and depart Starkiller Base via Hyperspace?”
Leia doesn’t respond.
“Come to think of it,” Poe continues, “how do we know they don’t have homing beacons on any of our ships? Like how the Empire had one on the Millennium Falcon when you and Luke and Han escaped the first Death Star?”
Leia remains silent.
“Wait, hang on,” Poe says, “didn’t Boba Fett track you, Han and Chewie to Bespin, alerting the Empire and allowing them to arrive there first?”
“I remember that event!” C-3PO calls out. “That was when I was disassembled by Storm Troopers.”
“I can arrange for that to happen again if you don’t shut up, 3PO,” Leia snaps.
Poe’s mind is still racing. “And, hang on, didn’t your Force connection with Luke allow you to pinpoint his exact location when he was hanging from an aerial on the bottom of Bespin? Kind of exactly like the Force connection you have with your son, Kylo Ren?”
“That was different!” Leia shouts. “Luke wanted me to know where he was. I’m intentionally not revealing our position to Kylo Ren. Besides, most of your other examples are from thirty years ago, and take no account of the technological changes made in that time. For all you know, our hyperdrives are better masked, and counter-espionage techniques in general have improved since then.”
“Okay, fine,” Poe answers, “but that doesn’t account for the First Order’s ability to track our scouts back from Starkiller base. So it’s clearly possible to track through Hyperspace, is my point, even just limiting our frame of reference to the last twenty-four hours.”
“That’s… that’s not… What’s your point, Poe?”
“I don’t have a point, really, I just wanted to make sure…” His thoughts overtake him again. “Hang on, General, did you say we only had enough fuel for one more jump to Hyperspace?”
“Yes,” Leia says.
“So, you abandoned our base of operations with exactly enough fuel for two Hyperspace jumps?”
“I did, yes,” Leia says.
“And with the first jump, you took us to the absolute middle of nowhere, into deep space?”
“So?” Leia asks.
“Well,” Poe says, “doesn’t that mean that we would then have to find a fuel source with our next, last, and only jump? This is exactly how the humans lose the Battlestar Galactica board game.”
“There’s a planet nearby.” Leia says.
“A planet?” Poe asks.
“A planet, yeah.”
“About twelve hours away at sublight speed.” Leia explains.
Poe is puzzled. “That doesn’t sound so close. And that sounds like it uses up two thirds of our sublight fuel in the process. Why wouldn’t you just plot our jump to emerge much closer to that planet?”
“Well, we might not have wanted to go there.” Leia says.
“But even if we didn’t, wouldn’t it be better to just be there, rather than half a day away in the middle of empty space?”
“Don’t question my orders, Poe.”
“I’m not questioning your orders, General! But if we only have enough fuel for two Hyperspace jumps and about 18 hours of sublight travel, I don’t understand why you’d put us in the middle of nowhere rather than at a known, previously-abandoned Resistance base. I mean, what if it had been discovered by pirates or smugglers, and they’d taken whatever fuel is there?”
“Then we’d just have to jump somewhere else to get more!” Leia exclaims.
“But,” says Poe, “doesn’t that put an awful lot of pressure on us finding fuel with our very next jump? Given that the one defense you seem to be relying on at the moment is the First Order’s dubious inability to track us through Hyperspace, would you really want to waste one of only two Hyperspace jumps we have left getting us to the middle of nowhere, hours away from a planet which may or may not have fuel reserves? Aren’t you thereby squandering our defensive options against a vastly superior enemy, and in turn hugely endangering the ‘people that we love’ as you put it? The people that we love all being aboard these three ships?”
“Don’t be stupid, Poe,” Leia says. “Get your head out of your dick trench. I obviously know of a location we can go where we can guarantee finding more fuel.”
“Oh,” Poe says, dumbfounded. “So why didn’t we go there to begin with?”
“What?” Leia asks.
“Why, General, didn’t we go to the source of the fuel straightaway, rather than making this pointless stop in empty space first? Because it just seems like if anything about our situation changes that might require us to jump to Hyperspace unexpectedly, well, we’ll be completely screwed, and will have needlessly halved our ability to execute our only safe defense mechanism.”
Leia grinds her teeth in Poe’s general direction.
Poe is unrelenting. “Y’know, it’s just, you were chewing me out before for reckless plans which put our people at risk, and, y’know, I kinda feel like you’re a bit of a hypocrite right now.”
Leia clears her throat and shifts uncomfortably in her seat. “Look, Poe, all of this is academic. We just escaped the First Order. We are safe, we’re in the middle of nowhere with virtually no fuel, but we’re safe. That might not be true if you had carried out your plan, which I authorised, to destroy the Dreadnought.”
“I guess,” Poe admits. “I suppose you were right after all, and I was wrong. I’m sorry for arguing with you. By following your orders, we saved a few pilots who might otherwise have died, and I should be grateful to you for that, and for having the wisdom and foresight to lead this-”
He’s interrupted by alarm klaxons. A bridge officer shouts above the noise “Proximity alert! General, it’s the First Order! They’ve somehow tracked us through Hyperspace! Possibly the same way they did at Starkiller Base, but this is an urgent situation and it would be irresponsible for me to start guessing at the exact methods they used at this point in time!”
Poe strides about the bridge like a true action hero. “We’ve got to get out of here!”
“Wait,” Leia says, holding up her hand, “they’ve tracked us through Hyperspace.”
Finn, who I guess was there the whole time or whatever, he wasn’t particularly relevant to the drama, exclaims “But that’s impossible! It’s impossible to track ships through Hyperspace, except for that one time at Starkiller Base! And several other times before, probably”
Leia gets to her feet. “Yes, impossible, except for that one time and several other times before, probably. But they’ve done it.”
“So if we jump to lightspeed, they’ll just track us again, and we’ll be out of fuel,” Finn explains.
“In fairness,” Poe says, “we were basically sitting ducks to begin with.”
“It’s alright,” Leia says, “we can just run. We can put full power to our sublight engines and outrun them for at least eighteen hours. And, indeed, at most. They don’t have any guns capable of damaging us at this range.”
“Except the Dreadnought,” Poe says, “which you asked me not to blow up, and reprimanded me for trying to blow up in the first place.”
Another alarm sounds. A bridge officer shouts over it, “Another contact, General, it’s… yep, it’s the Dreadnought, General, and it looks like it’s pointing it’s ‘fleet-killing’ cannons as Poe put it… yep, it’s pointing them right at us, General. We’ll be in weapons range in a few moments.”
Silence pervades across the bridge. Various officers wordlessly make peace with their imminent doom.
Poe clears his throat. “I never wanted my last words to be ‘I told you so,’ so instead, Finn: I love you. At least until I meet some cute tomboy with A-game shoulder structure and an affinity with the Force, in which case I may come down with the Not-Gays.”
“I’ve always wanted my last words to be ‘I love you too, Poe,'” Finn says. “At least until some cute tomboy with cute bangs rams her busted speeder sled into mine, risking both our lives in a fiery explosion so that a ground-based super-weapon can annihilate our friends and I don’t have to live with the destruction of First Order property on my conscience. In that case, I, too, will get a solid diagnosis of the Not-Gays.”
Leia rolls her eyes, and commits fully to her own last words. “Oh, get your heads out of your wang holes.”