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Saga Dreg Squadron --COMPLETE

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mistress_Renata, Dec 10, 2016.

  1. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Title: Dreg Squadron
    Characters: OCs, Wedge, Wes, Tycho, Leia and a lot of nameless TIE fighters
    Genre: Humor, Action
    Timeline: 4 days before the Battle of Hoth
    Summary: Two new pilots arrive on Hoth to join the rebellion
    Notes: A rewrite of something silly I wrote for a friend a while ago...

    * * *
    By the time she got to the bottom of the ramp, Njasri Mffakka decided she had made a mistake.

    “I quit,” she muttered. “The Empire can have me.”

    The others leaving the transport ignored her, for the most part. She wondered if her translation unit had seized up in the cold. Only one human female glanced at her curiously.

    “I mean it,” continued Jazz. “It’s freezing here.” It was a big difference from Sullust. Her people lived in massive cities underground. They were fairly cool, a constant temperature year round, with the lava mines providing heat and energy as needed. The surface could get cold when the planet moved further from the sun, but never like this place. Here on Hoth, even in the protective walls of the underground base, the cold seemed to penetrate to the core of her bones. She didn’t want to think what it would be like outside on the surface.

    “We may not be here too long,” said the woman. “Not if the Empire finds us.”

    “Is it wrong to hope they do? As long as they imprison me somewhere warm.”

    The woman shook her head. “You never want to be in an Imperial prison. Trust me. And none of them are warm.”

    “Well, if they find us, we have an excuse to bug out, right? Then we could find another base somewhere nice and warm. Tropical. With a pink sandy beach, where they bring you those drinks that have fruit garnishes.”

    The woman grinned. “Keep dreaming,” she said.

    A man waited on the side of the hanger. He had a list in his hand, and read off names. “Pevel? Ka-marn-ti? Kindo? Tyule?”

    Four of the others raised their hands. The man nodded in the direction of a uniformed Bothan standing nearby.

    “You’re joining Master Chief Vexny over there. He’ll get you squared away.” Jazz nodded. They were wearing technicians uniforms, destined to be ground crew or something.

    “Merrin? Tasshin? Rievner? Mff…Maff…”

    Jazz sighed. Humans never got her name right. “Mffakka?” she said.

    “Right. You’re the pilots. You’re with Lieutenant Kiedevar.” He gestured to a sour-looking man who was arguing loudly with some sort of furry person in officers’ uniform.

    “I’m telling you,” he said, “it’s pudu! Skywalker and Antilles are skimming off the best pilots and everyone else gets the dregs!”

    Dregs? He’d better not be talking about us.

    The furry creature shrugged. “If you blew up the Death Star, you’d get first pick, too. Stop complaining.”

    “Lieutenant?” called the man.

    Kiedevar glanced over at them and scowled. He tapped his datapad. “This way,” he said. Jazz hurried after the others, glancing back to the rest of the group from their transport, who were waiting for their names to be read off. New recruits for the Rebellion, most were probably heading to the ground troops.

    Kiedevar brought them to a small room, set up as some sort of briefing room. “Four?” he grumbled. “Just four?” He sighed. “Dare I hope that any of you had flight experience before you went through the combat flight school?”

    They all nodded. “Well, that’s something.”

    He dropped his datapad on a table, leaned back against it, and glared at them. “Here’s the deal. You’re not likely to last long, pilots never do. Two months to train ground troops, nine months to train pilots and the truth is, you probably won’t last longer than a few weeks. Listen to your squadron leader, try to learn something, don’t try to be heroes, maybe you’ll get lucky.”

    Jazz frowned. What a ray of light. She glanced at the others, but they were listening impassively. Kiedevar punched a few commands into his datapad. “You’ll be sharing bunks, get used to it.” A young human male with golden hair and blue eyes stepped into the room, and smiled at them. He shot a questioning looking at Kiedevar, who snapped to attention and saluted. “Commander Skywalker!”

    The new pilots saluted too, and the young man, after a moment returned it awkwardly. “Hi,” he said. “Welcome to Echo Base. You’re the new pilots, right?” They nodded.

    Skywalker? Jazz nudged the human female. “Isn’t he the pilot that blew up that Death Star?” she whispered. The woman shrugged, clueless.

    Commander Skywalker was still talking. “We’re really glad to have you on board. I know it’s cold, believe me, I come from a desert planet. Trying to take your mind off the cold is not all that easy, but I just remind myself that what we’re doing here is important, so maybe that will help a bit. Anyway…” He glanced at Kiedevar. “I have to go on a perimeter patrol, so I can’t stick around, but I did want to welcome you. Lieutenant Kiedevar will show you around, and introduce you to your new officers. Just remember to trust in the Force, reach out to it, and let it flow through you. You’ll be fine.” He gave them another sunny smile, nodded at Kiedevar, and headed back out the door.

    Jazz looked at the other pilots. “What’s the Force?” she asked.

    The woman shook her head. “Not a clue,” she replied.

    The other pilot, a Iridonian male, rolled his eyes. “Jedi stuff,” he said.

    Jazz looked at the woman. “What’s a Jedi?” she whispered.

    “No idea.”

    * * *

    Stay tuned...
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2020
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  2. GigaMach

    GigaMach Jedi Knight

    Registered:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Nice! I love-love the dialogue, and the ignorance of the Force on the part of these young rebels. I always enjoy stories about the periphery - Those who support "The Chosen One" - Which is pretty much all of us! Also, I'm a big fan of names, and these are great. Staying tuned. :)
     
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  3. Venator77

    Venator77 Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    May 2, 2013
    Interesting story. I can't wait to see how the Battle of Hoth will go.
     
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  4. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Great beginning!
    Dreg Squadron... haha, I love it! But I bet these pilots are going to show they aren't the dregs after all!

    I also loved the little cameo of Luke and how nice he was to the noobies! [face_love]


    Will you tag me when you update?
     
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  5. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Well, funny you should ask, mavjade... I can't do this 'post once a week' thing, I just can't. Not in my nature. So I'll do 2x a week, which should be fast enough to keep me motivated and slow enough to give everyone who wants to a chance to comment. Will that work?

    Thank you, Venator88 and GigaMach! I like the periphery folks, too...when I was rewatching this last weekend, I found myself looking at the people in the background and thinking about them.

    So, without further ado, the next episode, featuring... Wes Janson, Lllllladies' Man! (bow-chicka-wow-wow)...

    ---

    Kiedevar finished his orientation, briefing them on procedures, regulations, protocols, schedules, and a lot of other things that Jazz only half-paid attention to. The small Rebel cell she’d been involved with hadn’t been nearly so…military. She hoped that it wasn’t always going to be like this. Finally, he said, “Right, this way.”

    He led the way through the narrow corridors of the base. It seemed to have been hastily carved out from a solid glacier, and it was beyond freezing. Jazz was still in the plain beige uniform they’d been issued at flight school, which was completely insufficient for the weather. She looked at the other three new pilots, wondering if they were as cold as she was. The human had her hands tucked under her arms, so she probably was. The Iridonian didn’t seem to be affected, and the Shistaven seemed almost comfortable. Of course, he had fur under his clothes. It was hard to keep up with Kiedevar, who was walking quickly, but Jazz tried to memorize the route.

    After a few moments, they came to a door. Kiedevar knocked, then hit the entry control. It swooshed open. The new pilots peered in. A tiny room, with 6 metal bunk beds crammed inside it. Each bed had three bunks. Two women blinked up at them in surprise. Kiedevar consulted his list. “Merrin, Maff…Mmff…you’re female, right? You two are bunking in here. Rievner, Tasshin, this way.” Without another word, he led the other pilots away, leaving them there.

    “What a charmer,” said Jazz.

    One of the women stood up. She wasn’t just tall, she was massive, hairless, with grey skin pebbled all over with strange warts. When she spoke, it sounded as if she had a throat full of gravel. Jazz had never seen anyone of that species and wondered where she’d come from.

    “Don’t let him get to you,” said the woman. “He’s an grouchy git.”

    The other female was human, with long orange hair pulled up in a knot on her head. “There are bets on how long it will be before someone shoves him out an airlock. I say 3 weeks. I’m Melara Wade. I’m with Rogue Squadron, in Group Seven. This is Xexxna Grirgnak. She flies Y-wings, with Cutter Squadron, Group Six.” Jazz took another look, wondering how she managed to squeeze into a cockpit. Or maybe they just constructed the ship around her?

    “Njasri Mffakka, but you should just call me Jazz.” She looked down at her datapad. “It just says Gold Squadron, Group Two?”

    Melara nodded. “That means you’re still unassigned,” she said. “They’ll send you where they need you most.”

    The other woman, Merrin, was looking at her datapad. She looked at Jazz. “I’m with you, I guess,” she said. “Ambri Merrin.”

    Jazz wiggled her ears. “Tell me Kiedevar isn’t in Gold Squadron,” she begged. The others laughed.

    “No,” said Xexxna. “He’s on command staff. He just bosses us around.”

    Melara pointed to two empty bunks. “Those aren’t taken, you can claim them. Stash your stuff in here. Did they give you winter gear?” The two newbies shook their heads. Xexxna turned to her bunkmate.

    “I’ll get them squared away,” she said. To the new arrivals, she said “Mel’s just come off patrol, so she’s going to hit the rack for a few hours, but I haven’t eaten yet. So we’ll go to the Quartermaster, get you kitted out, then we’ll grab something to eat, okay?”

    It sounded good to Jazz and Ambri, so they followed her through a maze of narrow, icy corridors to a large storage room, run by a Drall, who was bundled up well, in spite of his gray fur. He took all their information, read it carefully, and smiled at Ambri.

    “You’re from my homeworld!” he said. “Welcome to the Alliance.” After a few moments and quite a bit of data entry, he rummaged through bins and lockers, chattering to himself the whole time. A few minutes searching turned up lined boots, heavier pants, hats, gloves, a thick, insulated jacket, a heavy knit undervest, thick socks, and long undergarments of some thin, silky material, which, they were told, were remarkably warm. There were also long, fleecy thermal sleep sacks, goggles, some glowtorches and a few other useful odds and ends, including a large duffle bag to stash everything in. Xexxna led them back to the bunkroom, where Mel was already asleep. They suited up quickly, trying not to wake her, and stowed their other items.

    “Are you hungry?” asked Xexxna.

    “Famished,” said Jazz. Ambri didn’t answer, but was happy to follow along as they went to the mess area. It was busy and crowded, with Rebel personnel of all ranks and ratings gathered around long tables.

    “This is a temporary base,” said Xexxna. “Normally, there’d be separate areas for officers and enlisted personnel. We do have a small ready room set aside for the pilots, though. It’s meant to be used for briefings, but usually we just hang out there when we’re off duty. It means they can always find us if there’s a scramble.”

    They joined the line of hungry personnel, grabbing trays. The main dish was a bowl of soup. It was grayish-brown and lumpy, very unappetizing, but the steam was coming off of it, so no one cared. There was coarse bread, something that might have been some sort of dried and rehydrated greens, and a small container of preserved fruit. Sullustans like Jazz didn’t have the same type of taste buds as humans and others, so most of this tasted the same to her. It was hot and filling, though, and she was happy to get it. Everyone else was digging in, too.

    “Ladies!” A dark-haired human male dropped down on the bench next to them, with a grin. He glanced at Ambri.

    “So, Angel, did it hurt when you fell out of heaven?”

    “Huh?”

    “Has that line ever worked for you, Janson?” asked Xexxna, licking fruit sauce off her fingers.

    “There’s a first time for everything.” He looked back at Ambri. “Hi, my name is Wes Janson, I like Carassian food, slow dancing, and long walks on the beach.” Jazz was fascinated. She’d never seen actual human courtship rituals in person, only on holovids. She looked at her new squadmate, curious to see her reaction. Ambri seemed to be alarmed, rather than receptive.

    “Lay off, Janson.” Another human male nudged him over to make room. “What is this stuff, exactly?”

    “Do we care? It’s hot,” said Xexxna.

    “Good point.”

    Xexxna nodded. “Jazz Mffakka and Ambri Merrin, new members of our happy little band. They’re currently unassigned."

    “Maybe we’ll get lucky,” said Janson, wiggling his eyebrows up and down. Xexxna rolled her eyes.


    “Obnoxious you’ve met,” she said. Nodding to the other man, she said, “This is Lieutenant Wedge Antilles.”

    The other dark-haired pilot nodded in a friendly way, still eyeing the contents of the bowl and poking at it cautiously with a spoon. Jazz studied him. Antilles was the other person Kiedevar had been complaining about. He seemed inoffensive to her.

    Anyone spot the Galaxy Quest Easter Egg? ;)
     
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  6. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Oh Wes... [face_laugh] He's so obnoxious, but yet so loveable! And yay for Wedge seeming okay so far! :D

    I loved this, the mental image was great!

    I really liked getting to meet the other ladies. I'm happy that they took Jazz under their wing, so to speak. ;)

    If they are about this size updates, that works for me, too long and I just can't keep up. (I'll still probably get behind at some point, I'm terrible about that). But whatever works for you, you do!

    Hmm... It's been so long since I've seen Galaxy Quest, though I'm sure I'll face palm if you point it out.
     
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  7. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    All right! It is Saturday, and time for an update before I go forth to do laundry and chores and all the boring stuff... Times like this I wish for a cleaning droid! It's funny, you see advertisements for robots, cute things you can talk to and play with, but the only actually USEFUL droid is the Roomba! Where are the ones which will put laundry in the machine, fold it, and empty the dishwasher? The automatic catbox scooper is close and tempting, but I don't think it would fly with the actual user of the litterbox, which is why I haven't bothered to investigate it.

    So, thank you for the nice comments, mavjade. We all love Wes, even when he's being annoying. That post worked out to about 2 pp in Word, which seems about right to me. And for the Galaxy Quest Easter Egg...
    Xexxna Grignak is a nod to the Rock monster, who was called Grignak as well
    .

    So...when last we left our heroes...
    --------

    Several other pilots joined them and Jazz strained to get their names. Dak, Hobbie, Kerbis, Tookoo. Rievner, the other new pilot, was with them. Discussion turned general, with rumors and speculation on what the Empire was planning, on what the High Command was planning, on how long they’d be stuck on Hoth, on where they’d rather be, on what exactly was in the soup (consensus on the latter was that they really would rather not know). Janson continued to flirt with Ambri, who looked as if she wished she was somewhere else and didn’t say much.

    Jazz looked at Wedge, and said, “Could I ask you a question?”

    He tensed up, looking a little uncomfortable. “Go ahead,” he said.

    “Commander Skywalker dropped by while Lieutenant Kiedevar was talking to us. He said we should just use the Force, and trust in it. What is the Force, exactly? What does he mean?”

    “Oh.” Wedge relaxed. He and Janson exchanged a look. “To be honest, none of us really knows what he means. I think it’s something like, trust your instincts or go with your gut.”

    Janson nodded. “I think the Force is some sort of mysticism or philosophy, based on the old beliefs of the Jedi Knights, something that supposedly powers the Universe. Luke actually believes in it.”

    “What is a Jedi Knight?” asked Jazz.

    “It was some sort of religious order, warrior-monks,” said Xexxna. “They supposedly had all these incredible abilities, like some sort of magic. They were used by the old Republic as peacekeepers and arbitrators.”

    Ambri frowned. “I was told that they tried to overthrow the Republic and take power,” she said.

    Tookoo nodded. “I heard that, too, but I don’t know if I believe it,” she said. “It’s said that the Emperor came to power to stop them. Given what he’s done, I sometimes wonder if he’s the reason they tried a coup in the first place. Perhaps they had some sort of insight as to what his ambitions were.”

    “Makes you wonder what the galaxy would be like if they’d succeeded,” said Hobbie.

    Xexxna looked thoughtful. “My grandmother said her uncle was a Jedi knight,” she said. The others stared at her.

    “And?” said Wedge.

    “And what?”

    “Did he have these special powers?”

    Xexxna shook her head. “I don’t know. She never actually met him, she just saw pictures. The family were very proud of him, though. It was something to boast about.” She hesitated. “Back then, anyway.”

    A black and blue astromech droid rolled up, chirping indignantly. Ambri turned to it. “Oh, there you are,” she said. “Didn’t you follow me off the transport?” The droid launched into a long monologue, which left the young woman shaking her head. “Well, pay attention next time.”

    “You have an astromech assigned to you already?” asked Jazz with astonishment.

    “Minni came with me when I joined up,” explained Ambri. “Knows my quirks.”

    “Lucky Minni,” said Janson. Ambri sighed. She turned to the small droid.

    “Go find the other astromechs and power up. I won’t need you for the rest of the night, so you can get oriented.”

    “So where did you two come from?” asked Xexxna.

    Jazz was happy to talk about her home planet. She’d learned to fly on Sullust, working for one of the local mining corporations, first as a loading pilot planetside, then doing freight runs back and forth to various Imperial posts. Her father and many of her clansmen had become involved with a local Rebel cell, engaging in small acts of sabotage, and she’d gotten involved in a bit of smuggling, with a few extra containers of materials being loaded to the transports and quietly off-loaded between hyperspace jumps, somehow finding their way to the Rebel Alliance. Of course, it wasn’t long before the Empire got suspicious, and she and some of her siblings had to disappear, for their own safety. They’d found their way to an Alliance recruiter, and she’d ended up in the flight class. Since she’d already had some training, she was able to accelerate to learn to fly the fighters and do the combat maneuvers.

    “My parents and most of my clan are still on the homeworld,” she said. “I’m a little worried for them; the Imperial administrators must suspect that they’re involved with the Rebels there. But I can do more for them here right now.” She hesitated, then added firmly, “One day, I’ll go back. If we can take down the Empire, we can free the entire system,” she said. “I hope it’s sooner rather than later.”

    Janson looked at her friend. “What about you? Where are you from?”

    Ambri squirmed. “Originally or recently?”

    Before he could respond, the lights flashed and there was a soft chime. “Attention, thirty minutes to power down,” said a voice over the intercom. “Thirty minutes to downtime.”

    Xexxna stood, and began to clear away her tray. “They reduce the power after sundown,” she said. “Too cold to run patrols, even in the snowspeeders, so by 1800 hours, everyone needs to be indoors and by 2100 everyone who isn’t on duty pretty much turns in. It’s just too cold to stay up any more.”

    “It does get awfully cold at night,” said Janson. He winked at Ambri. “Of course, I could find you a portable bed warmer.”

    Wedge rolled his eyes and looked over at Ambri. “I can hit him for you,” he offered.

    “Really?”

    “I’m in range, it’s no trouble at all.”

    Janson made a face. “Make a chivalrous gesture and see where it gets you,” he grumbled.

    “You’re scaring the newbies, Janson,” said Xexxna. “Come on, girls, let’s finish getting you squared away.”

    As they walked away, Xexxna turned to her new roommates. “Janson comes on a bit strong, I’m afraid, but he does know how to take no for an answer.”

    Ambri smiled faintly. “Good to know. A lot of guys don’t.”

    Jazz stopped in the middle of the corridor, suddenly realizing. “A portable bed warmer…wait, was that a mating invitation?”

    The other two turned to look at her in amusement. “That’s my assumption,” said Ambri. “Males on your planet don’t try pick up lines?”

    “We only mate once a year. The rest of the time, well, we’re simply not interested, so there’s no point. Humans are much more complicated! That was a…’pick up line’?”

    “A subtle one. He tries a little too hard.”

    Xexxna nodded. “Like a dog chasing a Rathtar…I’m not sure he’d know what to do with a girl if he did catch one!”

    Jazz began to chuckle. “Oh…oh, ho, ho, I just had the best idea!” She grinned up at Ambri. “How good an actress are you?”

    Ambri looked alarmed. “Terrible,” she said.

    “Doesn’t matter…listen to this…”
     
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  8. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Uh oh... But Wes certainly has it coming!

    I loved Jazz's "wait, was that a mating invitation?” It really shows the differences in species, and was quite funny!
    I also really liked the look into Jazz and her family.
     
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  9. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Thank you, mavjade! I figured not every species could be on the same cycle as humans.

    And since it is Tuesday, it is time for the next episode, which might be subtitled "Succumbing to Peer Pressure..." or "Bored pilots get goofy." It's a bit shorter than usual.

    ----

    Ambri hesitated outside the door, and looked behind her. The other female pilots from her barracks were there, with broad grins on their faces, trying to suppress giggles.

    “I don’t know about this,” she whispered. “It seems sort of…juvenile.”

    “It will be classic!” said Jazz. “Go on!”

    “It’s mean,” she protested.

    “No, no,” said Mel. “It will be a great joke, trust me. I fly with him. He’ll be cool with it.”

    Ambri reached towards the door controls, and hesitated. “What if someone’s undressed in there?”

    “This is Hoth. If they’re smart , they’re probably wearing everything they own. Come on!” Jazz poked her in the back.

    Ambri took a deep breath, wondering why she was doing this. She didn’t remember actually agreeing with it. Maybe it was a test? A bonding thing? She took one more glance back at her new friends, and gently touched the door controls, peering inside the men’s bunkroom.

    It was dark. She could hear one or two whispered conversations, but as near as she could tell, their male counterparts were bedded down for the night, bundled in the thermal sacks. Where she wanted to be herself, frankly. She looked nervously backwards again. “Which--?”

    Another woman, also human, answered softly, “Back wall, bottom rack on the left.”

    Ambri took a deep breath, found her courage, and cautiously tiptoed into the room. One or two heads popped up from their pillows. “Lieutenant Janson?” she whispered. She moved closer, peering at the cot. I hope this is the right one. “Lieutenant?”

    A head emerged. “Angel?”

    “Did…did you mean what you said about a…a portable bed warmer?” She could sense the entire room waiting for the response with interest and anticipation.

    “A..uh..well, yeah, sure.” He sat up, and loosened the fastener of the sack. “Come on in!”

    “Oh, thank you so much!” She turned back to the door. “He said it’s all right!”

    Jazz, Xexxna and the others poured into the room. “Thank you so much, Lieutenant,” said Jazz, “it’s just freezing in our room.” They all began to pile on to the bunk with him. All of them.

    “Whoa…wait…hey!” Janson was trying to escape, since he was caught on the bottom of the pile. Ambri hung back, letting the others dive in, while she was ready to flee. The other male pilots in the room gave up pretending to ignore them in favor of laughter and cat calls.

    Wedge Antilles leaned over the side of the bunk above Janson. “Be careful what you wish for, Wes,” he said, laughing.

    Someone else was saying, “Please tell me someone’s recording this.”

    A Rodian raised his head, looking perplexed, and asked a question in his own tongue.

    Ambri backed towards the door.

    “STOP!” Wes fought his way out from under the pile and stood there, wild eyed. Ambri was relieved to see that he was wearing the long underwear and heavy socks. “Okay, I might have offered a portable bed warmer, but I didn’t actually mean it!”

    Jazz extracted herself. “Well! If that’s the way you’re going to be…rescinding that nice invitation, and we were so looking forward to a good night’s sleep! Come on girls, we may as well go back to our own bunks.” Still giggling, the ladies retreated, with Ambri tucking herself into the center of the group, with her cheeks on fire. There was applause from the men as they left.

    “Good one, ladies! Well played.”

    In the women’s bunk room there were high fives and hugs. Ambri was trying to remember if she’d ever felt so embarrassed. Mel’s hug was warm, and she looked into the other woman’s eyes kindly. “It was a good joke, and yes, the joke was on him, but since he’s usually the one pranking everyone else, he really had it coming. No one got hurt, so don’t stress about it.”

    The other human woman patted her shoulder. “A week from now, no one will even remember this,” she said. “And after all the lame pick-up lines he’s tried out on us, it was nice to get a little payback.”

    They got into their own thermal sacks, and lay down in the bed, still giggling about the success of their prank. Ambri stared up at the bottom of the bunk above her, still uneasy. She hated practical jokes, and hated herself for going along with it. The others had enjoyed it, and welcomed her as a part of the group. Still, when she next saw Lieutenant Janson, she knew she was going to apologize.

    She hovered near the entrance to the mess hall the next morning, when the others went in, hoping to spot him. He turned up shortly afterwards, with a group of his squadmates. Ambri took a deep breath.

    “Um, Lieutenant? Could I…could I have a word?

    Janson blinked at her, then grinned. “Sure thing, what’s on your mind?” Ambri looked nervously at the others, who tactfully withdrew to wait in line for their breakfast, although Wedge Antilles stood a little way off, with a watchful eye out. She wasn’t sure which of them he was ready to swoop in and rescue.

    “Well, I just wanted to say…I’m sorry. About last night.”

    Janson looked confused. “Sorry for what?”

    “For the stupid prank. About the bed warmers? It wasn’t really very nice, and I’m…I’m sorry I agreed to go along with it,” she said. Janson stared at her in disbelief, and then began to laugh.

    “Are you kidding? For the rest of my life, I can now honestly claim that on one magical night, an entire squadron full of beautiful women fought to get into my bed because they all wanted my hot body!”

    Wedge snorted. “And the rest of us are going to have to live with him. Thanks a lot.”

    Janson looked at her more seriously. “No, it was a good joke. And we need that around here; heaven knows there’s not much to laugh about right now. No harm, no foul. We’re good, angel.” He patted her on the shoulder. “Hungry? Let’s get something to eat before Hobbie shows up and hogs all the nerf sausage.”

    ---

    Stay tuned... :)
     
  10. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    [face_laugh] Literally laughing out loud here! Be careful what you wish for, indeed. Though I felt bad for Ambri being so guilty about going along with her roommates, maybe now she'll realize she doesn't have to. (And that the likes of Janson and company are not especially fragile when it comes to pranks. :p)
     
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  11. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    [face_laugh] That was great payback!
    I can understand Ambri being uncomfortable with the joke, but going along to try and bond with the other women, but I really loved how Wes handled it when she came to him! And of course he would love it and talk about it forever! He'll probably be insufferable about it! [face_love]
     
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  12. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    I think that's a given, mavjade! So typical of Wes to turn it around to his advantage, silly boy. :p Yes, Kahara, Ambri hasn't quite learned how to loosen up. But the longer she hangs around Jazz, the more likely it will be.

    Sorry to be so late with an update; I've got a wicked headcold (my mother thinks I'm ready to cough up a lung), and it's just sucked all the energy right out of me. So, since I'm actually awake; I'll try to get this next bit in...

    * * *

    They headed into the dining hall when a tall man with an enormous moustache beckoned to them. “Antilles! Janson! Come here.” The two pilots excused themselves, and Ambri went in alone, filling her tray, and looking for Jazz and her roommates.

    Breakfast was some sort of hot cereal, with the promised nerf sausage. They’d barely started on their breakfast when Melara joined them, looking tense. “We need you on deck,” she said.

    “What’s happened?” asked Jazz.

    “Commander Skywalker didn’t come back from patrol last night. Captain Solo went out looking for him, and he didn’t come back either.”

    “Their ships transponders didn’t work?” wondered Ambri.

    “No,” said Melara, “they were riding Tauntauns. Command is worried about Imperial probe droids; you can miss them on an aerial patrol, so we’ve been doubling up with ground patrols as well. We’ve got speeders, but they’re still being adapted for the snow. We’ve been flying steadily during daylight hours to cover as much territory as possible. There are never enough pilots, though. So you two will have to join a patrol, at least until you’re assigned to a regular squadron. Can you ride a Tauntaun?”

    “No,” said Ambri.

    “What’s a Tauntaun?” asked Jazz.

    Melara nodded. “Right, we’ll put you on aerial patrols. When can you be ready?”

    Ambri downed the last of her kaff and brushed crumbs off the front of her flightsuit. “I’m ready,” she said.

    Jazz frowned. “You didn’t eat much,” she said.

    “I try not to, before I’m going to fly. Merrin’s rule number one: no puking in the cockpit.”

    The Sullustan woman looked as if she suddenly regretted the can of gamba fruit clusters. “Good rule,” she said.

    Jazz took the back of a snowspeeder with a pilot from Rogue Squadron, Tycho Celchu. Ambri had the controls of a different speeder with another unassigned pilot, Beephar Mornith.

    “Echo Base to Gold Nine, cleared for takeoff. Do a sweep through Zone Eighteen, keeping an eye out for Commander Skywalker and Captain Solo. Also note any other anomalies or life form readings.”

    “Copy that, Echo Base.”

    It was sunny that morning, with a brilliant blue sky reflecting light off the fields of snow. Ambri touched a control on the side of her helmet to polarize her flight visor and wondered how Jazz was making out. Sullustans, she’d heard, could see into the ultraviolet spectrum, and often had to wear special eye lenses off their homeworld, since the light of other planets was brighter than their own. Ambri wondered what all this snowfield looked like to her new friend.

    She flew low over the sloping hills, but didn’t see anything moving except for gusts of snowplumes.

    “I doubt we’ll find him,” said Mornith. “His Tauntaun wouldn’t be able to make it out this far.”

    “Well, we’ll keep an eye open for ‘anomalies,’ whatever that means.” A few seconds later, she spotted a long flare coming down out of the atmosphere. “Meteor?”

    “This system is known for meteor showers. Let’s check it out.”

    The small ship shuddered a little as Ambri banked it towards the plume of dust that the meteor had kicked up. She flew the speeder in a circle while Mornith adjusted the scanners. He studied them for a minute.

    “Nothing,” he said. “Garden variety meteor.”

    They continued on the sweep, noting a herd of wild Tauntauns making their way across a frozen lake.

    “We’re almost through,” said Ambri. “I guess we should head back.”

    “Hang on…” Ambri glanced back, but couldn’t see Mornith.

    “What is it?”

    “There’s some sort of very faint signal…” The man tried to augment it. “Could it be one of ours?”

    “Got me, I just got here yesterday. Gold Nine to Echo Base.”

    “Go ahead, Gold Nine.”

    “We’ve got some sort of very faint signal out here, can’t identify it.”

    “Patch it through.” Mornith adjusted the communications array. After a few moments, Echo Base responded. “Come back in, Gold Nine.”

    “Copy that, Echo Base. Is there any sign of Commander Skywalker?”

    “Yes, he and Captain Solo are safe.”

    “Good to hear. We are inbound.”

    “They didn’t say anything about the signal,” mused Mornith. “It could be very good or very bad.”

    “I’ll hope for either.”

    “You’d like it to be an Imperial probe?”

    “My bunkmate says that it would be a good reason to relocate to a base that’s somewhere warmer.” Her co-pilot laughed.

    “That is a good point,” he said. “Someplace tropical, with those drinks that have fruit in them.”

    “See, that’s exactly what she said! Are you part Sullustan or something?”

    The rest of the trip back was uneventful. They got out of the speeder, which the ground crew were scrambling to service. Two other pilots were already waiting to take their places.

    “Any issues?” asked one.

    “She’s shimmying a little on the sideslip. Lateral stabilizer, maybe. Not much, though.”

    The other pilot nodded. “Could be the cold is causing them to lock up. Thanks!”

    “Good luck.”

    They checked in with Lieutenant Kiedevar, who was waiting for a debrief, and gave him the few details of the trip. He didn’t comment, and so they went on to the small ready room, where most of the other pilots were lounging around.

    Jazz was already there. “They found Commander Skywalker,” she said. “He’s in the medical bay, but he should be okay. Apparently, he was attacked by some kind of local…creature.”

    “A creature?”

    Xexxna joined them. “I think someone said it was called a Wampa. Big, fur, claws, teeth. Carnivorous.”

    Ambri winced. “Carnivorous?"

    “Lucky for Luke, it went for the Tauntaun first,” said another man, joining them.

    Jazz smiled. “This is Lieutenant Celchu. I was flying with him this morning.”

    “How do you do?” Ambri studied her datapad. “The schedule seems light today,” she noted.

    Tycho nodded. “It’s the cold,” he said. “Too cold for most of the fighters, the wings ice up. Not all of the speeders have been adapted for the cold, either, so there are only so many of them we have access to. It’s a big change; normally, we have more ships than pilots.”

    “There’s always the simulators,” said Jazz.

    “Not like the real thing, though.”

    “Lunch?”

    Ambri nodded. “Let’s go.”
     
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  13. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Happy New Year, people! I'm hoping 2017 turns out to be better than 2016, but looking ahead, I don't see it being likely. Kind of in a Hobbie Klivian mindset.

    Anyway, before I tackle the task of balancing my checkbook before the New Year (always a task guaranteed to instill gloom), I'm putting up the next installment. Life on Hoth has been fairly quiet for our newbies, but things are about to get...interesting. Full disclosure: most of Leia's speech is a quote from the film, I take no credit for it.

    So, along the lines of "Be Careful What you Wish For..." (maybe that would've been a better title for this!)

    * * *

    The next two days were relatively uneventful. They started by daydreaming through the morning briefing from Lieutenant Kiedevar, then on to the day’s assignments. The cold and lack of ships kept most of them on the ground, not an ideal spot for any true pilot. They were still doubling up on patrols, but they were also assigned to help the ground crews, which Jazz and Ambri quickly took to. Commander Skywalker was recuperating in a bacta tank, although his injuries weren’t very severe.

    Jazz could understand a little why Kiedevar had complained about the Rogues skimming the best pilots; they were certainly the tops on Hoth. They were generous about sharing their knowledge, though, and when they weren’t beating the teeth off everyone else in the simulators, they were patiently explaining how they’d done it and coaching their comrades on ways to improve. She was delighted that on her third run through, she was actually able to beat Wes Janson.

    And of course, he’d learned that Jazz was responsible for the bed warmer thing, and had laughingly threatened her with a prank war. Ambri thought he was joking, but Jazz was looking forward to it. Nobody pulled better pranks than Sullustans. Nobody.

    On day four, she went off to lunch with her new friends, leaving Ambri behind in the ready room. The young human woman was deeply absorbed in a history book, and had said she wasn’t hungry. Jazz was munching on a protein cracker and plotting with Xexxna about how they could next bedevil Lieutenant Janson when an urgent tone sounded over the intercom. “All hands to your stations! All hands to your stations!”

    Jazz stuffed the rest of the cracker into her mouth and raced through the corridors, following others on the same path to the hangar. It was easy to spot the other pilots in their bright orange flightwear. She moved to a cluster of the others who were also unassigned. She looked around anxiously. No sign of Ambri. Lieutenant Kiedevar was there, trying to organize them. Ambri jogged up, with wisps of hair escaping from the dark braid at the back of her head.

    “What’s up?” she whispered.


    “Don’t know yet.”

    A young human woman strode into the center of the group, wearing a trim uniform of white, with rich brown hair braided into an elegant coronet on top of her head. The pilots around the room snapped to attention.

    “We’ve been located by an Imperial probe droid,” she said. “An Imperial Star Destroyer is on approach from Sector Six. We need to evacuate the base immediately. The troop carriers are being loaded, and the heavy transports are in low orbit. You will need to escort the carriers to the ships, and help the transports out of orbit. All troop carriers will assemble at the north entrance. The heavy transport ships will leave as soon as they're loaded. Only two fighter escorts per ship. The energy shield can only be opened for a short time, so you'll have to stay very close to your transports.”

    One pilot shook his head doubtfully. “Two fighters against a Star Destroyer?”

    The woman nodded.The ion cannon will fire several shots to make sure that any enemy ships will be out of your flight path. When you've gotten past the energy shield, proceed directly to the rendezvous point. Understood?”

    They all nodded. “Your squad leaders will have your specific assignments of the ships you will have to escort. Good luck, and may the Force be with you.”

    She walked out of the room quickly. Lacking a leader, the unassigned pilots turned to Kiedevar. “Right,” he said, “you’re group Two, you’re escorting the transports, with groups Four, Eight and Three, while groups Seven and Ten provide air support for the ground crew. Get your gear, stow it in the back of your fighters. You’ll all be flying out of Hangar Three, the deck officer will point you to your ships. Follow the carriers to the transports, make sure they make it on board, then get your hyperspace coordinates from the transports. Don’t worry about the Star Destroyers. Don’t try to land on the transports until the rendez-vous point, understand? Two fighters to each lift. Uh, let’s see… Parnell and Skyrrin, Ke-asha and Mornith, Rievner and Flay, M’ballu and Andes, Merrin and Mrrf…Muff…uh, you.”

    Jazz was almost used to Kiedevar’s thoughtlessness, but Ambri muttered under her breath, glaring at him. It seemed strange to Jazz that the newbies were being paired off together, instead of being placed with a more experienced pilot, but this wasn’t the time to complain.

    “You’ve got fifteen minutes to get your gear together and get to your ship. Get moving.”

    They found their way back to the bunk room, quickly cramming their few belongings into the duffle bags. Jazz looked at Ambri. “Did he really just say don’t worry about the Star Destroyers?”

    “Yes, because they won’t be messing with us. They’ll be going after our capital ships. We’ll need to deal with the TIE fighters.”

    “TIE fighters?”

    “They’ll try to take out the troop carriers before they can dock with the heavy transports. We’ll have to make sure that doesn’t happen. They could also try to fly in front of the transports, blocking their hyperspace path, so we’ll have to prevent that, too.”

    “All two of us?”

    “All two of us.”

    Jazz suddenly laughed, and punched her in the arm. Ambri looked at her with surprise. “You jinxed us,” said Jazz. “You keep complaining that the schedule was too light!”

    Ambri had to grin. “You’re right. Next time I’ll keep my mouth shut!”
     
  14. GigaMach

    GigaMach Jedi Knight

    Registered:
    Dec 3, 2016
    I'm anticipating the harrowing escape! And hoping for the best, though - You never know, do you?

    So, here's where I do my best "noob advocate", which is aimed more at writing than story critique - Jazz, whose character I really like, I couldn't picture very well, as I didn't know what a Sollustan was until i looked it up. I recognize this might be a hangup that is mine alone, but I was picturing her quite differently at first, though I was definitely getting the cultural differences, which are solidly written. Maybe it's irrelevant here on the boards, but more description of her specific Sollustan look might be prudent earlier. You did mention her ears wiggling at one point, and she kept calling Ambri human, so I knew there must be something I was missing. :) (By the way, I'm applying this to myself as well. I tend to gloss over those things when writing, and am starting to realize it's more necessary than I'd like. :) ) This isn't a deal breaker, though. Just a friendly note, which probably says more about me. :)

    Looking forward to the next post!
     
  15. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    You know, you're right, GigaMach. I did assume that most people knew what Sullustans looked like, so I didn't go crazy with description. But Jazz did need more. Too late for this story, but if she ever shows up again, I'll make a better effort. She is in many ways inspired by a RL friend of mine, who is smart, competent, and has a mischievous streak.

    So, first post of 2017, but the next post is the last. The Escape from Hoth begins! Though not everyone gets the glory of fighting off AT-ATs...


    * * *

    The X-wings they were assigned to were older, refurbished but serviceable. They settled in, tensely awaiting their turn to take off.

    “Echo Base to Gold Nine and Ten, you’re to escort carriers TC-7901 and TC-621 up to the Meridell, and TC-4604 and 7732 up to the Patchwork Queen. When the carriers are docked, jump to the hyperspace coordinates we are transmitting.

    “Copy that, Echo Base. Gold Nine standing by.”

    Jazz smiled to herself. Ambri sounded very calm, but she was too hyped to respond like that. “Dreg Ten, standing by.”

    There was a pause from the headquarters. “Gold Ten, please use the proper call sign.”

    “Oh. But Lieutenant Kiedevar said we were the dregs. I thought that was the name of our squadron.”

    There was a very long pause after that, then another voice broke in, male and irritated. Not Kiedevar. “Gold Ten, I assure you, you are not the dregs, and that is not the name of your squadron. Stand by for clearance.”

    Jazz could hear her wingmate on the other comm channel. “You’re just asking to get us kicked out, aren’t you?” She glanced over at Ambri’s fighter. Through the transparisteel canopy, she could see the other pilot grinning.

    “What? Basic is my second language, you know,” she said, widening her black eyes in false innocence. “It’s an honest misunderstanding.”

    “Gold Nine, Gold Ten, launch now.”

    And now they had to focus. They came out of the hangar into a grey, overcast day, with flakes of snow blown up off the ground by powerful wind gusts, which buffeted their craft.

    The four troop carriers were in the air, slowly moving towards the points of light in the sky marking the ships.

    “Nine, Ten, stay in close,” ordered the base.

    “I’ll take the top spine, you hug the flank,” suggested Ambri.

    “Got it.”

    Jazz spared a quick glance down in the direction of the ground troops. Most of them were evacuating, with just a handful spared to try to hold off the Imperial forces. The likelihood of them getting away was miniscule. She couldn’t see the snowspeeders, which the Rogues were flying, trying to provide some air support for the soldiers.

    “Breaking atmosphere,” noted Ambri.

    They were through the cloud canopy, leaving the thin atmosphere of Hoth, and black velvet space bloomed around them. No matter how many times Jazz saw it, the beauty of it made her catch her breath. Ahead of them, they could see the two ships they were supposed to be protecting, the Meridell and the Patchwork Queen. The latter was aptly named, thought Jazz. It might originally have been Corellian, but it looked as if four completely different ships had a head-on collision, with external armor welded over the result and painted with whatever someone’s grandfather had leftover on a shelf somewhere. The transports split into two groups and headed towards them.

    “Gold Escort, this is Patchwork Queen, we are loading the jump ships now.”

    “Standing by, Patchwork Queen.”

    “There’s the Meridell, at two point three,” said Jazz.

    “I see it. Oh, stang!”

    “What?”

    “TIE fighters, just on the other side of the energy shield. S-foils to attack position, just in case.”

    Jazz looked and made a face. Eight TIE fighters. Yikes. She followed her wingmate’s example, and swung her ship around to check on how the docking was going for the Queen. The two T carriers were slipping into the landing bays smoothly.

    Patchwork Queen, what is your status?” asked Echo Base.

    There was a short pause, which seemed to Jazz to last for hours, but which was probably only a heartbeat or two. “Birds are in the nest, Base,” said the Queen.

    “Copy that. Meridell, what is your status?”

    “Birds in the nest here, too, Base.”

    “Copy that. Patchwork Queen, Meridell, we are dropping the energy field, prepare to jump.”

    “Dreg Ten, get ready for those fighters,” said Ambri, pushing her ship forwards to the front of the Meridell, the foremost of the two ships. Jazz laughed.

    “Right behind you, Dreg Nine,” she said.

    What happened next happened quickly. The energy field came down, almost simultaneous with one shot from the planetary ion cannon. It missed the TIE fighters, of course, but grazed the side of the Star Destroyer waiting on the other side of the energy shield. Sparks and energy blossoms danced along the Imperial ship’s hull. The power fluctuations would keep them from being able to fire, for a few precious seconds. The TIE fighters made a beeline for the two carriers.

    “They’re going to try to block them and prevent them from jumping!” said Ambri, aiming her fighter at them.

    “You know there’s eight of them,” pointed out Jazz. Her jowls were quivering, an involuntary reaction.

    “It’s called a ‘target rich environment’,” said Ambri. “No matter what we’re shooting at, we’re bound to hit something.” Ambri wasn’t deviating from her course, sliding along the left flank of the Meridell and swinging out to approach the fighters from their right. “Remember, the biggest weakness of their ships is that they have NO peripheral vision whatsoever. They’ll be relying on scanners.”

    “Come in on the flank, roger that.” Jazz hesitated. “You sound like you’ve done this before.”

    Ambri didn’t answer, too focused on the ships in front of her.

    Two fighters broke off, coming towards them. Jazz looked to see if Ambri would respond, but she was on her original course. “I got this,” she said.

    “Be careful.”

    Jazz banked sharply, turning to face the fighters head on while jigging her ship to make herself harder to hit. “R4, give me more power on forward shields,” she said. A glance at her control panel showed that the small droid had complied. The blasts of the TIE fighters hit her shields, and she winced, knowing that she was taking damage.

    “Vape one, aaaaaand…vape two,” said Ambri. “They make it so easy when they fly in straight lines.”

    “Gold Escort, this is Meridell, we are clear and we are gone.”

    “Copy that, Meridell.”

    Jazz was firing at her quarry. One burst, two, she was flying directly at him and he went up in a ball of flame. “Woohoo! Got him!” she crowed.

    Over the taclink, she could hear Ambri muttering, “Come on, big guy, forget the Queen, you know I’m the one you want.” Jazz could see two other TIE fighters falling in behind her friend, but there was one swinging around to fall in on her own tail and there wasn’t much she could do to help out.

    Patchwork Queen, are you clear?” said Ambri, who was flying crazy zig-zag patterns all over the sky, two TIE fighters in close pursuit. She was trying to lure them out of the path of the Patchwork Queen, and fired a few shots at a lone TIE, who dodged, diving below the flight path.

    “Thank you, Gold Nine. We are clear, jumping now.”

    The Queen seemed to stretch, and then winked out of existence. Now it was only the two X-wings and way too many TIE fighters.

    Jazz cocked her head, considered her options. Then she chuckled, rolled sharply to the right and cut the engines while simultaneously engaging reverse thrust. She slammed forward into the restraining harness, gasping as the force knocked the wind out of her, but it had the desired effect. The enemy fighter roared past her as if she was standing still, unable to respond in time, and she was able to lock on to him easily. She pushed the forward thrusters to max, and stayed tight behind him as he tried to escape. It took a few bursts, but he went up, too. “Got another one!”

    “Great, J. Are you clear? Jump now!”

    “But there’s two behind you!”

    “Yeah, and I’ve got the hyperspace coordinates locked in. I’m ready to go when you are.”

    “But—“

    “Our job is done. We covered the transports, we’re not here to knock out TIE fighters. Let’s go! The rendez-vous might be on one of those pink beaches you keep talking about.”

    “Oh, well, if you put it that way—“ Jazz took a quick look at the navicomputer. “R4?”

    The droid confirmed that they were on course. She took a quick peek to her right, and saw Ambri’s ship vanish into hyperspace, leaving behind four frustrated fighters. With a sigh of regret –she would’ve liked to make a clean sweep, but they had done what they’d come to do, after all—she hit the hyperdrive controls and watched the stars blur into white light all around her. Mission accomplished.
     
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  16. GigaMach

    GigaMach Jedi Knight

    Registered:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Yee-haw! Great post! I love the ladies' adoption of "Dreg", and the action was tight and fun! I especially appreciated the note on the the TIE's lack of peripheral, and the inclusion of some of Jazz's physical features in the descriptions. :) She really is cool, and I'm kinda stoked to get more insight into a character that isn't human, though very relate-able. More to come, I hope?
     
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  17. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    I've gotten behind, but please don't take that as a criticism, I love this story! (I'm just terrible about keeping up!) And these few updates were great!

    I really enjoy seeing events we know from the point of view of new characters and different places than are heros are!

    [face_laugh] I really enjoy these two! And I feel like I've been there, not with being a fighter pilot, but medicine has just as many superstitions and paranoia. Anytime someone says things are light or quiet, things go crazy!
     
  18. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Thank you, GigaMach! You'll soon find out how Ambri knows about a TIE fighter's weaknesses. I like Jazz, too... she doesn't look much different from other Sullustans (not to human eyes), but her attitude is much larger than her physical form. :D

    It's easy to get behind, mavjade; so many good stories on the boards to try to keep track of. I think the idea of things going crazy falls into the category of "Be Careful what you Wish for." I really should have used that title. Oh, well.

    This is the last post for this. I hope everyone enjoyed it, and thank you mavjade, GigaMach, Venator88 and Kahara for your kind comments. And to all the lurkers (with this many page views, I'm sure you're out there!), I hope you enjoyed it, too, and that you got a smile out of it.

    And now, the grand finale (the role of Colonel Morannan is being played by Sam Elliott and his mustache):

    * * *
    The fleet was slowly assembling, and they were ordered to land in the hangar of the Yellow Aziqui. Ambri shut down the systems, loosened the locking gear for her astromech and leaned back in the seat of her ship with a long sigh. She’d flown mock battles and computer simulations hundreds of times, but she’d only ever flown actual combat once before, and very little was at stake then. This was different. And she was exhausted and, for some reason, soaked in sweat. She unfastened her harness and took off her helmet. The canopy was opening and one of the ground techs was peeking in.

    “You okay?” he asked.

    “Yeah, thanks, Chief,” she replied. “Just tired.” She was moving slowly, like an old woman as she climbed out of her cockpit and down the ladder to the deck.

    Jazz was there, doing a little victory jig. “Two! I got two!” she said.

    “I saw, nice going, J.”

    “I wish we could’ve stayed and gotten the other two.”

    “The Empire won’t run out of TIE fighters, don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll have another chance.”

    Jazz snickered, poking at her friend. “Target rich environment!” she said.

    Ambri smiled, and looked down at her boots. “A friend of mine came up with that.”

    Her wingmate looked her over. “Are you okay?”

    “Yeah. I’m just tired. You wouldn’t think it would be so strenuous, would you?”

    “And you missed lunch.”

    “That, too.”

    Jazz hesitated. “You…you have done this before, haven’t you? You were a fighter pilot.”

    Ambri shook her head. “No,” she said quietly. “I was a test pilot. A long time ago in another life that I’d rather not talk about.”

    The officer of the deck logged them in and directed them to a briefing room, where they saw some of the others from their group. Ambri saw Xexxna and some of her group as well. She didn’t see Rievner, the pilot they’d come in with, or any of the Rogues. In fact, there seemed to be a lot of faces missing.

    Xexxna saw them and came over to give them a bone-crushing hug. “Way to go, newbies! Two each on your first time out!” Jazz grinned, but Ambri just felt embarrassed.

    She looked around. “Where’s Rievner and that other one…Skyrrin?”

    Xexxna shook her head. “Imps got ‘em.”

    Ambri shuddered. Rievner had arrived on the shuttle with them. He’d been a Rebel pilot for all of four days. “Where are the Rogues?”

    “Still trying to cover the evac. They’ll be headed over to the Wish. But you two! Dreg Squadron!” Xexxna laughed. It sounded like a gravel mining device.

    Jazz tried to look innocent. “It was an honest mistake!”

    “You’re my new hero, kiddo. Colonel Morannan overheard, and boy, was he mad! Kiedevar’s been spouting off for a month now, but he didn’t realize any of the new pilots was actually listening. I heard that Morannan gave him a dressing down that would carve channels into the walls. Kiedevar’s busted down to supply, and Morannan’s taken over.” She shook her head. “Of course, all the bets on the airlock are off, but everyone’s so happy to see him go, no one cares.”

    A tall man with dark hair sprinkled with silver and a lavish moustache came into the room. Xexxna nudged Ambri, almost knocking her to the floor. “That’s Morannan now.”

    “I’m Colonel Morannan, we’re going to do a quick debrief and reassignment. Once everyone is away from Echo Base, we are going to split up and redeploy in smaller numbers. It’s too risky to stay together, so High Command is going to work on gaining some territory and winning a few battles in the MidRim, until a suitable target presents itself.” He hesitated, glancing at his datapad, then searched the room, letting his eyes rest on Jazz. “Also, several of you are new to the Alliance, and we are all glad to have you. Whatever you may have been told, you are NOT the dregs. Everyone here has a critical role to play, and we are confident you will perform well, or you wouldn’t be here at all.”

    He called on each of them, then, getting a quick report of how things had gone. Most of them had little to report, apart from getting their ships safely away from Hoth. A few reported losses, and one or two had managed to take out a TIE fighter.

    He got Ambri’s report, studying his pad. She figured he’d gotten the datadump that the astromechs sent out. “And you got two TIE fighters?” The room turned to look at her. She took a deep breath, trying not to blush.

    “Well, yes, sir, they were flying right next to each other. I was aiming at the first one, it was hard not to hit the second one. Sir.” Someone snickered. Ambri thought she saw Morannan’s moustache twitch.

    “And this is your…third day?”

    “Uh, fourth, sir, not counting flight school…sir.”

    Morannan looked at Jazz. “You got two as well. On your fourth day.” The Sullustan girl grinned.

    “Yessir,” she said. “I wish we could’ve finished off the rest of them.”

    “No, your job was to protect the transports and you did just what you were told. Well done, you two.” He gave them both a long, hard stare. “Two TIE fighters in your first encounter. Don’t let me hear you calling yourselves Dreg Squadron again.”

    “No, sir,” they chorused.

    He shook his head, tapped on the datapad, then looked up at the assembled pilots. “Your long term assignments will be sent to you in a few hours. Be ready to go when you get them. All right, dismissed.”

    Xexxna was the first to slap them on the back, which left Ambri wondering if a quick trip to the med ward would be in order. Many of the other pilots came to congratulate them, too.

    Jazz finally fended them off. “Alright,” she said, “we have to finish this in the mess hall. Ambri missed lunch. Iced sweet cream for everyone!”

    Ambri looked at her. “Iced sweet cream? We just left Hoth!”

    “We don’t have it on Sullust. I keep hearing about it, I’m dying to try it.”

    Xexxna chuckled. “Make a hole, people. Dreg Squadron is coming through!”


    THE END​
     
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  19. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Aww... what a great ending!
    I love that they proved that they weren't the Dregs, but embraced the name anyway.
    I really liked the differing reactions, how Jazz was, well... jazzed and Ambri was much more subdued. But I'm glad they both got the recognition they deserved!

    I've really enjoyed this story! Thanks for sharing it with us!
    =D=
     
  20. GigaMach

    GigaMach Jedi Knight

    Registered:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Great! Very, very fun. And yes, reading Morannan with Sam Eliott's voice was a pleasure.

    I liked this a lot: " Xexxna laughed. It sounded like a gravel mining device. " :)

    As well as that ending. It feels real. A definite victory achieved, but more danger to come.

    Thanks for a fun ride!
     
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  21. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    It was his moustache, GigaMach. As I was writing it, he was so clear in my mind, and just as I was getting ready to post it, I realized who I had based him on. :)

    I'm glad you liked it, and you too, mavjade. Not the battle that saves the Galaxy, they didn't ward off AT-ATs, but everyone has their role to play. And the little guys in the background deserve some attention, too.

    Thank you all again!
     
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  22. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    AAAARgh! Double post [insert Corellian epithets here...]
     
  23. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    This is such a cool little story! I really liked your OCs here (heck, I like *all* your OCs!) but I'm particularly intrigued by Ambri. There's a not-so-happy story in her past that permeates through the zaniness and fun here. You tell us that she's from the Corellia system and that she was a test pilot (she even has her own astromech!), but from the get-go I got the impression that she knows more about the Empire than she's willing to admit.

    I liked how you showed Jazz's alienness -- the fact that she needs a translation device, that she doesn't taste food, that she feels the cold more keenly than humans do, and, most importantly, that she doesn't understand human pick up lines :p The prank she and the other ladies pulled on Wes was priceless, and I'm curious to know what the Rodian asked when they all piled up on his bed -- I suspect it would have made me laugh even harder. Plus, you showed that Wes is really a nice guy in the end :D

    It was great to see the escape from Hoth from the perspective of the sidekicks to the main plot. Not fair that Rogue Squadron get all the screen time, and about time the "dregs" got their chance to shine! They're turning out to be pretty good pilots too, when you see them in action. Colonel Morannan can say anything he wants, I suspect that the name Dreg Squadron is going to stick, now that Jazz and Ambri adopted it.

    I'm looking forward to the sequel!
     
  24. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Thanks, Chyntuck! I think writing OCs is easier for me than canon characters, for some reason. I guess I feel I have more freedom. Yes, Ambri has a dark, sad past and doesn't have Jazz's optimistic outlook. They'll be good for each other. While Dreg Squadron will never be official, I think that at future get togethers they will proudly own up to the name.
     
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  25. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh I love your OCs. I love their personalities and back stories, and their unique names! LOL on the pranking. You have Wes down to an art and a science! Quite the accomplishment. Love the welcome and bonding among squad mates and from Luke at the beginning. He's a darling.

    Great teamwork and action to close it out! =D=
     
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