Characters: Poe Dameron, BB-8, General Leia, C-3PO
Warnings/Triggers: illness and a brief swear word
Spoilers: Some of Poe's backstory
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, I just like to take them out to play.
Word Count: 1988
Summary: When his master falls ill, BB-8 proves himself to be an excellent alarm clock in more than one sense of the term.
Author's notes: It's December 1st, so I'm posting! Hope that's okay. I blame this on too much playing of Lego Star Wars lately...
My knowledge of the EU aspects of the new trilogy is limited, and I went mostly by the Wookiepedia entries on Poe and BB-8 to get some extra details about them.
When his master slept, so did BB-8. Not completely, though. He left a few sensors on for security purposes so he could alert Poe to any dangers. He could still sense sound and motion and temperature changes, the data flowing in the background while the rest of him powered down to save energy until his internal clock told him it was time to wake Poe for the day. ‘The best alarm clock in the galaxy’ was one of the epithets Poe had bestowed on him. BB-8 was the best in the galaxy at a lot of things, according to his master. Another droid had told BB-8 he was conceited about it, but if Poe said it, it must be the truth.
His internal clock told him it wasn’t time to wake Poe yet, but BB-8’s processors had still activated, rousing him to the dark of Poe’s room, so that he had to use his night vision lenses to see where he was going as he rolled around the bottom of the bed and up the ramp at the side. His thermal readings were what had activated him. Poe’s body temperature was very high.
He rolled along the mattress to Poe’s head. He still slept but was moving in his sleep, all his blankets thrown off and his clothes damp from his sweat glands secreting amounts of fluid inconsistent with the temperature in the room.
BB-8 pipped to his master to ask if he was all right, but Poe didn’t respond. He bent over, knocking his head on his chest. Poe’s eyes opened, wide in the dark that he couldn’t see through because humans didn’t have night vision sensors installed. After a moment, they closed again.
“Black Leader…” Poe mumbled. “...heavy fire…”
BB-8 looked around the room. There was no heavy fire. They weren’t in Poe’s fighter, they were in his bedroom and his bedroom was on the ground.
BB-8 pipped again to tell Poe this and correct his mistake. Once more, Poe’s eyes opened, this time his hands moved, grabbing BB-8 by the head.
“I need reinforcements,” he said. “BB, help me.”
BB-8 wanted to help, he just didn’t know what the problem was. But, if his master needed reinforcements, he’d better find him some. He wriggled out of his master’s grip and rolled down the ramp, through the sliding door of the bedroom and down the hallway of the base in search of help.
It was still the time most lifeforms slept, so he had to roll for quite a while before he found people who were awake to talk to. Then he had trouble because, unlike Poe, most lifeforms didn’t understand Binary without a translator. No one paid attention to what he was saying, so he had to go further. He rolled around toward the center of the base, coming into the administrative area, beeping out a call for someone to help. He caught sight of an open door with a light on inside and rolled in.
The General was at her desk inside. Poe admired the General. She was another ‘best in the galaxy’ like BB-8 was. She could send the reinforcements his master wanted.
BB-8 pipped respectfully to her to get her attention. She was looking at a projection of a map in front of her.
“Excuse me, young man, but you can’t simply come in here and address Her Highness-General in that fashion,” someone said, in snooty Basic. BB-8 turned his head. Another droid was in the room, a Protocol droid with gold casings and a red arm. C-3PO, the General’s droid.
“It’s alright, Threepio,” the General said, raising a hand. She smiled down at BB-8. “What can I do for you?”
BB-8 explained the situation, that his master was in his room and requested help. The General’s brow furrowed. “My 27th Generation Binary is a little rusty. Threepio, can you translate?”
“The BB unit is speaking nonsense, ma’am, you should ignore him,” the Protocol droid said. “Perhaps he needs an upgrade."
BB-8 took offense to that and told him so, ramming him in the legs.
“Back, back,” the droid said, waving his arms in the air. “Oh, dear!”
BB-8 heard a chuckle from behind him, the General laughing into her hand. “That’s enough, boys,” she said. “You’re Dameron’s droid, aren’t you?”
BB-8 spun his head around and chirped in the affirmative.
“What trouble is he in now?”
BB-8 explained once more, this time the protocol droid translating properly for him.
“He needs reinforcements?” the General said. “Dameron isn’t out on a mission, is he?”
BB-8 pipped in the negative.
“The droid says he’s in his bedroom and has asked for assistance,” the protocol droid said. “I do think the poor thing has taken a bump to his processors.”
BB-8 beeped threateningly and the protocol droid took a step back.
“Dameron’s very fond of you,” the General said. “And I think you’re fond of him, aren’t you?” BB-8 whirred his enthusiasm. “Well, we better check on him to be on the safe side. I could use a walk, anyway.”
“Really, Your Highness-General, you shouldn’t listen to--back! Back!”
Poe was on fire, burning from the inside out, his whole body in flames that wouldn’t extinguish. His fighter burned around him in blackened pieces, sparks licking him up and down, dancing and taunting. He could hear BB-8’s worried questions, then he fell silent--consumed by the flames, Poe feared. The idea of his little friend melting away was horrifying. and Poe reached out to help him, but he couldn’t find him. He thought he had him for a moment, then he was gone.
Blackness fell, but the fire didn’t leave. It kept burning like an oven, baking him dry, sucking all the moisture away so his throat burned with thirst. Poe thought he was back on Yavin 4 with his mother, sitting in her lap as she took him flying and letting him press the buttons. Then he thought he was in the air, being shot at by TIE fighters, their elegant forms looping and swirling around him. Then he thought he heard voices; BB-8’s voice calling out to him to wake up, but he couldn’t tell if he was asleep or not. A cool hand touched his forehead, and he opened his eyes.
“Mom,” he murmured, but that wasn’t right. That wasn’t the name of the person who was there. His mother had never reached this age, she’d died much younger. Too young. Poe had been just a boy then.
He was moved somewhere and couldn’t fight against it even though he tried. Tried a little too hard; someone stuck something in his arm while they scolded him, and he felt even more surreal, then fell into blackness.
When he woke up again, the fire was out. In fact, he was cold in a pleasant way, some sort of cooling device blowing at him. He opened his eyes, which felt heavy and crusty. This wasn’t his bedroom, but it was familiar. Yeah, this was the infirmary on the base. He raised his hand up, half-expecting to see third-degree burns there.
What he saw instead was purple spots.
No sooner had the word left his mouth than an RN unit rolled up, a soothing smile on her shiny, humanoid face. “Hello, Commander, I am RN-3113. How are you feeling?”
Poe assessed the situation. He was cool, but he itched like hell and his muscles ached all over as though he’d done forty laps of the base in one go. “Like crap. Please tell me I don’t have Corellian Pox.”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that,” the RN said, in her pleasant, hushed voice. “The opposite is true.”
Cor-Pox was a childhood illness. First came the dangerously high fever, then the annoying-but-harmless itchy rash. Five waves had gone through Yavin 4 when Poe was a kid, but he’d never caught it, and now he was thirty-two; a grown-ass man with a disease that toddlers got. His squadron was going to love that.
He sat up, but that was a bad idea. The room spun and spun, end over end. He quickly put his head between his knees, feeling RN-3113’s hand patting his shoulder in rhythmic bursts of five taps.
“You lost a lot of fluid and were given sedatives due to your combative disposition while experiencing febrile hallucinations. Please do not make sudden movements in future.”
Poe wasn’t a person who got dizzy. Having been practically raised in a starfighter, things like high-Gs and motion sickness never affected him. He knew which way was up, even when he was going backward, upside down, hovering inches above the ground. This sensation of fighting with his proprioception was new and not pleasant. The world blacked in at the edges, and he let RN-3113 soothe him back to lying down.
“Am I in quarantine?”
Her sensors blinked placidly. “Yes, you are. For at least one week.”
“No way!” Poe objected. “That’s ridiculous. I can’t lie here for a week!”
She patted his shoulder five times. “It’s the best for your health, Commander. The General left strict orders. She found you after your droid went in search of help and was firm that you should be cared for, even and especially against your wishes.”
Poe sighed. He couldn’t argue with the General. No, he could, and he would, but...later, when he wasn’t so tired and dizzy. Yeah, he’d do it then. A sudden, terrible memory hit him, making him tense in horror. “Did I call her Mom?!”
“Four times in my presence,” RN-3113 said.
Poe groaned, covering his eyes with his hand. “Just kill me now.”
Pat-pat-pat-pat-pat. “That would be counterproductive to my treatment plan for you.”
Poe couldn’t help but chuckle. “Fair enough.”
“I’ll go and have my care plan updated now that you’re awake. Please excuse me for a moment.”
She wheeled toward the door, entering a code to open the airlock into the isolation chamber. Poe heard a faint scuffle going on, then 3113 turned her head back toward him.
“You have a visitor if you’d like. I can tell him to go if you don’t feel up to--”
BB-8 came barrelling into the room, swooping over to Poe’s bed, tilting his head up to look at him and spin in place in anxiety, totally beside himself.
“No, no, I’m fine,” Poe assured him. BB-8 focussed his sensor on Poe’s hand and made an inquiring purr. “It’s just a rash. I have Cor-Pox.” A sad whoop came from the droid, whose head wilted in sympathy. “Yeah, yeah, I’m sure you’re real worried. Where have you been, huh?”
BB-8 protested his innocence, explaining he’d been held in quarantine due to his exposure and had had to be disinfected.
“I’m not feeling sorry for you for getting a bath,” Poe told him. “You could use a scrub, you always look like you’ve been through a mud puddle.” BB-8 objected. “No, it doesn’t count with me. Being scruffy is attractive.” BB-8 pipped in skepticism. “Did you just come in here to insult me? I’m sick, you know. I should be resting, not being insulted by my own droid. Maybe I should ask 3113 to take you out of here again.”
BB-8 responded by rolling under Poe’s bed, hiding with his sensor peeping out and making stalwart beeps about providing security. Poe smiled to himself.
“Fine, you can stay, but you have to behave yourself.”
Poe fluffed his pillow and lay back to rest. For a week. Damnit. “It’s good to see you, too. Did you really go and get help for me?”
“Well, thanks. I appreciate it.”
“The best droid in the galaxy, huh? Who told you that?”
“Oh. Well, I guess he is a smart guy.”