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Delusions of Jedi

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The door slams shut behind them. A single light flickers on. Liz dumps her bag on the coffee table as she wobbles towards the centre of the living room. Finn follows at an awkward distance; his throat-clearing finally breaks the lengthiest bout of silence that's ever transpired between them. 

“I've never known a world where Han Solo isn't alive,” Liz says, wiping her face with the back of her sleeve. 

“Neither have I. But popular characters die all the time,” Finn tries.

“They don't get impaled by their sons with a laser sword while trying to redeem them and fall into a pit on a planet that collapses afterwards. Jesus fuck.” Liz glumly kicks the corner of her carpet. Finn kicks it back into place. “And where'd Kylo get Vader's helmet? Endor? What if there's a fucking Ewok mass grave where the village used to be? Or maybe he didn't bother burying them, and he left their bodies out in the forest to rot.”

Finn glares with the intensity of a callously exploded star system. “Don't even joke about that.”

“He killed them all,” she says, laughter bordering on hysterical. “They're dead, every single one of them. And not just the chieftain and the warriors, but the fuzzy baby ones, too!”

The glare evolves into a blank stare.

“Episode II?” Liz prompts.

“I've never seen it.”

“What?” She recoils with a frown, sorrow dissipating in growing confusion. “But...it’s been out for over a decade.”

“I haven’t seen any of the prequel trilogy,” Finn reveals, “besides a few clips and five agonizing minutes of The Phantom Menace.

“How can you be a big Star Wars fan without watching all of the movies?”

“Easily. Easier, I imagine.”

Satisfied, he stomps to what passes as Liz's kitchen, to get a glass of water to replenish the fluid he's lost through sweat and tears. 

“You know,” Liz calls after him, “I kinda like the prequels more than the original trilogy.”

He tries to halt in his tracks and nearly trips over himself.

“You fucking - what?” he sputters, turning back.

“There were more women,” she explains, starting to count the points on her fingers.  

“Which means, what, three women with lines per movie?”

“The lightsaber battles were much cooler.” 

“I have less than zero desire to see an acrobatic Yoda.”

“Plus they get into galactic politics, so it's more realistic.”  

“Right,” Finn scoffs. Liz's middle finger stays up slightly longer than the rest. “Because political complexity is the crux of any sci-fi experience.” He sticks his hands into his pockets and begins flinging loose change onto the kitchen counter, in what may be a subconscious protest of change in general. “I know the dialogue was shit.”

“It is incredibly hard to live up to the lofty standard of ‘I'm Luke Skywalker and I'm here to save you’.”

“They overrelied on CGI.”

Liz nods so rapidly, it's a wonder her head doesn't fall off. “Yeah, I miss the good old days when people would drag the opening crawl up on a bedsheet and give piggyback rides to judgemental fuckmuppets.”

“I thought we actually agreed about something,” Finn gripes. 

You're disappointed?” she snaps. “I'm the only one here who's dedicated enough to sit through every fucking movie at least once.”

“Condoning the prequels is worse than not watching them. Preferring them is unfathomable.”

“So I'm expected to hate almost half of Star Wars to be a real fan of Star Wars.”

“Yes.” 

“Jesus Christ. I always knew your logic circuit was fried, but apparently it's extra-crispy.”

“Even if the prequels were decent - which they are not, remotely - ”

“How can you say that, if you haven't watched them?” Liz challenges, storming up to him.

“Now that's faulty logic. How can you say the Spanish Inquisition was bad if you didn't see it?” Finn preens at her scowling lack of response. “Liz, even if the prequels had been decent, the original trilogy was a masterpiece - ”

Space Odyssey 2001 was a masterpiece. Akira Kurosawa's works were masterpieces. The original trilogy was a mishmash of preexisting masterpieces and cultural appropriation that fell apart after Lucas got divorced. You do realise you could skip the entirety of Jabba's palace, start with Luke talking to his friends while he flies to Dagobah, and nothing important would be lost?”

“Han Solo's rescue was worthwhile!”

“It wasn't worth all the other shit! Especially after today,” she adds, nominally under her breath.

“Explain midi-chlorians.”

Liz yanks her hair with both hands. “If you'd watched the goddamn movies, you'd know that midi-chlorians are a microscopic life form - ”

“Justify them from a technical viewpoint,” Finn clarifies, pulling at his own hair as he strides back and forth in angry paces. “The Force is an energy field.”

“Primitive, pint-sized teddy bears beat trained, armor-wearing human soldiers equipped with advanced weaponry. Can your ambiguous energy field explain that?”

“It's commentary on our dependence on technology in warfare and its role in the eventual downfall of imperialism.”

“Oh, my mistake,” she faux-simpers, “I thought it was a tribe of merchandise fodder gaining special plot powers so they could mow down faceless enemies.”

“Liz, if I wanted to watch an implausibly shiny corporate-minded alien spout gibberish over contrived politics, I’d load your TED Talk.”

“Finn, if I wanted to watch a dated amalgamation of copycat concepts for six hours then finish with a fizzle, I'd go out with you.”

“You just went out with me.”

“And it's been six hours. What's your fucking point?”

He sighs. “Look, let’s not fight. Han Solo is dead.”

“Don't you dare use Han against me!”

With that final outburst of emotion, several realities dawn upon them. It's still dark. Their faces are inches apart. Liz's prone index finger hovers dangerously close to Finn's eye; he gently grabs her wrist to lower her hand. They haven't even processed everything yet, for fuck's sake. There will be stronger emotions tomorrow. Internet arguments to enter. Best to rest up. 

“All right, I'll watch the prequels,” he accedes. His eyes narrow. “But you have to sit next to me while I complain. And not try to defend them until afterwards.”

She nods glumly, and tugs on his sleeve with a soft groan. “Come to bed, you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder.”

“I'm not sure how I feel about you nicknaming me after a gruesomely murdered man when there's a perfectly good stormtrooper with my actual name.”

“Your name should be 'Stormtrooper',” Liz counters. “Maybe with a digit or two at the end.”

Finn looks affronted for a second, then shrugs, mouth twisting into a grim smile. “I'm used to you sticking a digit or two into ends.”

This time, the tug is more insistent.