The Life of Rey (Part 1) - SW: The Force Awakens Lore
Born eleven years after the Battle of Endor, Rey was left on the desert planet of Jakku by her family, for reasons unknown. She always believed it was a mistake, going as far as counting the days until their return in her makeshift home. Rey grew up slowly coming to the realisation that her family would never return. However, she always held hope, watching every ship come in and out of Niima Outpost. To survive on Jakku, Rey became a scavenger under the employment of Unkar Plutt. After scavenging the Starship Graveyard, which was littered with downed ships from the Battle of Jakku, she would trade any redeemable bits of technology for food rations. Over the years, Rey heard stories about the battle, which only grew her fascination with the Rebellion, especially their pilots. Only a few of the other scavengers were ever nice to her, the rest were not very kind and even viewed her as their property. But as Rey’s scavenging skills grew, she realised the others needed her more than she needed them, leading her to survive and thrive on her own. Against Rey’s wishes, Plutt often helped her, setting thugs on those who never left her alone. He never done so out of his own generosity, however, knowing Rey was his greatest scavenger. But Rey learned how to handle herself, gaining her a reputation in Niima Outpost for using her quarterstaff.
During her youth, Rey made her home in a downed Imperial AT-AT, Hellhound Two, which lay dormant following the Battle of Jakku. Initially, she was sceptical if she could live there since nothing seemed to grow in the surrounding area. However, upon inspecting the walker, Rey noticed a small green spinebarrel growing out of a few millimetres of sand that seeped into the vehicle. Realising that if a tiny flower could survive there, so could she. From that day onwards, she collected flowers like the green spinebarrel as a reminder that beauty could be found anywhere, even on Jakku. After salvaging working parts of the AT-AT for trade, Rey used only one room of the walker. By the time she was ten years old, the scavenger had found a Rebel Alliance pilot’s helmet, which once belonged to Captain Dosmit Ræh of the Starfighter squadron Tierfon Yellow Aces. She enjoyed making up stories of Ræh’s adventures during the war, even making a doll out of a flight uniform she found in a cargo container. Rey enjoyed wearing the helmet and playing with the doll, pretending to help Ræh explore the AT-AT and the sands outside. Though Rey discontinued playing with the doll when she was older, she always held onto it and the helmet, both reminding her of how far she had come on Jakku.
Rey was not only an incredibly skilled scavenger and fighter, she learned how to understand alien and droid binary languages over the years, allowing her to communicate with most visitors to Niima Outpost. Some off-worlders were Wookiees, who told Rey of the legendary stories of famed smuggler-turned-Rebel fighter Chewbacca. Not only did she learn of his legendary exploits, but she discovered those of fellow smuggler Han Solo also. From studying schematics and climbing through the Starship Graveyard, Rey knew of every ship that laid dormant there, as well the roles each played in combat, the weapons they were armed with, their models and classes, and how many crew each had. Growing up on Jakku not only educated her about different starships, but out of necessity, she learned of all the dangers lurking on the planet. When a rumour of an Imperial base being stationed on Carbon Ridge surfaced, Plutt, knowing Rey was an exceptional mechanic, enlisted her help in fixing up some speeders for the expedition, which included building an entire new one from scrap. Unfortunately, nothing was found there, other than a collection of stormtrooper armour. Because Plutt lost two men in the search, Rey knew to avoid Carbon Ridge. She witnessed first-hand the dangers Jakku’s creatures posed, as she helplessly watched a fellow scavenger be viscously torn apart by a colony of steelpeckers. However, the sense of death surrounded Rey always due to the Starship Graveyard, with skeletons often appearing through the sands. One time Rey discovered a deceased TIE fighter pilot still in the cockpit of his TIE fighter ejector seat. After scavenging his helmet, sidearm and comlink, she gave the pilot a proper burial.
Though Rey had never flown a starship before, she was an exceptional pilot, as in her home she built a computer from several crashed fighters over the years. The piece of technology was unable to transmit of receive communications of any kind. However, she once found a stash of data chips from a Zephra-series hauler, one of which was a flight simulator. When she wasn’t busy with her other duties, or held prisoner by frequent storms like the X’us’Riia, Rey flew. The program allowed her to fly ships ranging from small crafts to a wide variety of fighters and even freighters. She was able to explore worlds she had never imagined before and experience a wide range of scenarios, from speed runs to obstacle courses to system failures. Initially, she was terrible, crashing only seconds after takeoff. However, her persistence and determination paid off. To not be beaten by a machine she built herself, Rey quickly became an expert, and even tried to find ways of handicapping herself for more of a challenge.
After the X’us’Riia, much of the graveyard’s hidden treasures became trapped on the surface. Noticing she was too late to uncover most of the new finds nearby, Rey travelled on her speeder to harder to reach areas. Unfortunately, Rey never found anything noteworthy as nightfall edged closer, which was when Jakku’s deadly predators emerged. However, she attempted to make a head start over the others for the next day. Her plan was to climb a huge structure known as the Spike, which was the only thing left standing off a massive capital ship, to spot any treasures nearby and beyond. After climbing at least one hundred meters, Rey scanned the desert floor with her macrobinoculars. Before giving up, she noticed the sunlight reflect of a piece of metal or glass. After a closer inspection, she noticed it was a ship. Though nightfall tickled her, Rey didn’t want to lose the ship’s location or the vessel to fellow scavengers. Because of this, she rushed towards it. Rey immediately recognised it was an old Ghtroc Industries 690, a small freighter, from her simulator. Even though it was greatly damaged, it remained in one piece, and Rey believed she could fix it.
Though Rey could make an immense fortune from selling the wreckage to Plutt, she couldn’t fathom the fortunes she would attain from trading in a working ship. Rey spent the night on the freighter after assessing the damage and making sure nothing dangerous or dead was on-board. In the morning, she needed to conceal the ship, which she did using sheets she found in the ship. However, the sheets were unique, they acted as a cloaking device. Leaving the ship with no idea how long it would stay invisible for, Rey knew time was of the essence. The scavenger struggled to fulfil two jobs. Furthermore, she struggled to keep salvaged items for the ship knowing she also had to eat. As the long days passed, Rey felt like she was slowly getting closer to her goal. Although she was incredibly careful, one day whilst scrubbing clean some salvaged parts, fellow scavengers Devi and Strunk questioned what she was up to. Not believing her dismissive attitude, the two later tracked Rey to her prized find. Backed into a corner, knowing if Rey refused their help they could just steal her project anyway, she accepted their offer for aid.
Although Rey had always preferred working alone, and knowing that Plutt’s payment would have to be split into three, she grew to like the partnership. Not only were they exceptional scavengers, but Strunk could lift heavy objects. With the extra help, the project’s completion rapidly escalated. Eventually, the ship was capable of taking flight once more. Sat in the pilot seat, Rey couldn’t believe all the hard work was actually paying off. It felt even better than the simulator. After a short travel, all three rejoiced. However, as Rey slept that night, she began to feel paranoid. Unable to trust the other two from returning during the night to steal the ship, Rey rushed back across the desert floor. She thought about how she would deal with her “enemies”, running through the strengths and weaknesses of each. But the ship was as she left it, with no sign of Devi or Strunk. Exhausted, she fell asleep.
Rey was woken during the night by the sound of footsteps outside the ship. Maybe it was her two companions after all. However, she encountered four Teedos, who were definitely not leaving without the ship. Though she was a great fighter, she was outmanned and outgunned. However, before a fight even commenced, Devi and Strunk appeared from almost out of nowhere to scare off the Teedos with blaster shots. As it turned out, the two had spent every night not far from the ship to ensure its safety. Rey’s paranoia turned back into trust following the incident. Continuing with their project, the three concluded that if they could repair the hyperdrive system then Unkar would pay out even more. Eventually they managed to do just that, and so the ship that she spent the better part of a year reassembling was finished.
Rey never cared for the computer notification that the Ghtroc was overdue for its scheduled twenty thousand light-year maintenance. All she focussed on was taking the satisfyingly working ship to Plutt. Rey made sure to approach Niima Outpost from south, knowing every other ship came in from the east, meaning their approach was special. In addition, she piloted slowly so everyone could take a close look. After playing with the onlookers, Rey gently sat the ship back down. Devi and Strunk insisted on staying aboard the ship whilst she negotiated with Plutt, agreeing to let no one else on. Before Rey left the ramp on her speeder, Devi told her to get at least ten thousand food portions. Rey smiled all the way to Plutt. She happily told Unkar of the make and model, and everything she restored, including a fully operational hyperdrive. However, before he could make an offer, the loud roar of an engine filled the sky nearby. As Rey turned around, she witnessed the Ghtroc rise in the air. Before she knew it, the ship had accelerated into a tiny dot in the sky. The onlookers disappointedly got back to work whilst Plutt grinned and walked away. Rey stood for a while in disbelief before heading homewards once more. Surprisingly, she wasn’t angry with her two “friends”. It had always been an issue of trust, but not with Devi and Strunk. It had been about trusting herself. Devi and Strunk wanted the one thing that Rey absolutely didn’t. They even told her from the start, but she never listened. They wanted to leave but Rey couldn’t since she’d miss the return of her family. In her home, Rey loaded up her flight simulator and chose a Ghtroc. Sadly, it never felt the same…
Stay tuned for part two where we will look at more of Rey’s adventures.