This is an offshoot of the article The Horrifying Truth about Poe Dameron Nobody Seems to Notice. A Reddit user wondered, “What if Finn got hit instead?” The result is this story.
In an alternate universe….
The sublight engines cease their gentle hum, to be replaced by the steady throb of the repulsors. Onboard the squat transport, white-armored figures prepare for combat. The sound of activating HUDs and slap-locking cartridges fill the cramped cabin, while the gunner on top starts blasting away at unseen targets.
The ramp drops. Thick smoke. Fire. The chaotic din of combat. Brilliant beams of energy crisscross the night, some narrowly missing and showering sparks on the dropship’s durasteel. The stormtroopers of FN squadron rush down the ramp and into the fray.
A hundred meters from the drop zone, a lone Resistance pilot abandons his damaged fighter. Grabbing a worn blaster from a survival pack, he takes aim on the nearest trooper and starts shooting back.
He fires two bolts in quick succession. Both shots find their marks, downing two stormtroopers attempting to outflank the villagers in their makeshift barricades.
His crippled fighter burning in the background, the pilot shifts his aim and searches for new targets.
He finds one: a stormtrooper standing aimlessly in the middle of the battle and gawking all around. In any firefight, being stationary is suicide, and this one just signed his death warrant.
The pilot fires his third shot.
The reckless trooper is hit dead center on the chestplate. While stormtrooper armor can withstand glancing shots, it isn’t designed to absorb direct hits. The bolt’s lethal energy is only marginally dissipated by the ferroplast. Most of it finds its way to soft living tissue, cooking the wearer, FN-2187.
The stormtrooper slumps to the ground. Behind him, his squadmate FN-2003 sees him fall and doesn’t hesitate. With reflexes born from a lifetime of training, he fires back at the source of the muzzle flash.
The return fire strikes the pilot in the head. Poe Dameron, Resistance ace, is dead before his body even hits the ground.
Stormtroopers are not used to hitting their targets with the first shot. A barrage of blaster bolts rain down on Poe’s prostrate body before FN-2003 realizes his opponent was killed by his first lucky shot.
Beneath the helmet, FN-2003 whoops. He has just scored his first kill of the night. Relentlessly bullied and derided as the weakest link during training, “Slip” has finally proven himself in combat. He calls for a gunner to cover the spot and moves on to other targets. His second kill is a bearded old man running away from a hut.
As the triumphant trooper blasts away, his fallen comrade FN-2187 takes his last labored breath. The captain once reprimanded him for his “dangerous levels of empathy”. Only know does he realize the fatal consequence of his flaw. As he lies motionless on his back, the last thing he sees is a massive bat-like shape that blots out the stars.
Minutes into his first combat deployment, FN-2187, the stormtrooper with a conscience, dies. He never received a name.
Overhead, the sinister craft folds its massive wings and comes in for a landing. A black-clad figure strides down the ramp, ignoring the villagers being herded in the village square.
“Who killed the Resistance pilot?”
FN-2003 steps confidently forward. This is it. In front of his entire platoon, this will be his moment of vindication.
“I did, sir!”
“And the old man in the village?”
“It was also me, sir!”
The tall figure looks down on him, somehow managing to radiate a sense of contempt despite the mask.
“What is your serial number?”
The stormtrooper proudly squares his shoulders. “FN-2003, SIR!”
A gloved hand reaches out. Slip suddenly finds himself catapulted toward the hooded figure, floating in mid-air inches away from the unflinching mask.
“I can do many things, FN-2003. But I cannot interrogate dead bodies.”
The hand lashes out. Slip is hurled back, as if rammed by a runaway speeder truck. He hits a nearby hut with enough force to crack the ferrocrete. As his helmet readout flares with alerts of multiple fractures and a broken neck, FN-2003’s last thought was wondering where he went wrong.
A pauldroned officer comes up to the hooded figure.
“We found no signs of the map on either body or on the fighter sir. And our sensors detected no holonet transmissions of any kind. They didn’t have time to send it off-world.”
“They must have hidden it. Form a search perimeter 100 klicks around the village.” The figure paused. “If you do not find any trace, burn the planet from orbit. I will not risk Skywalker being found.”
The man in the black mask stalks back to his ship. Shouting officers begin forming the search party as more transports arrive. In the background, flametroopers move in to erase every trace of the village, a harbinger of Jakku’s fate.
A lone stormtrooper in gleaming chrome looks at Slip’s broken body, then walks away.
“FN-2003: always the weakest link.”