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Saga - Legends Hard Time - Rebel pilots, OC challenge-inspired, one-shot, 6/16/16

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Thumper09, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Title: Hard Time
    Author: Thumper09
    Characters: OC Rebel X-wing pilots
    Timeframe: approx. 1 ABY
    Summary: A Rebel pilot has to figure out how to quietly entertain himself during a forced period of inactivity.
    Notes: Though I'm not submitting it for voting in the challenge, this is a short story inspired by the OC thread's Spring Challenge, which is as follows: "Write about a character who is normally always busy doing nothing (i.e. something that is essential for daily survival but not life-altering; ex. Doing laundry). This can be a brief moment of downtime during an otherwise busy day, or someone who is undergoing a long period of inactivity. The writer can decide if their character is happy/unhappy with this state."

    Constructive criticism is welcome. Star Wars is owned by Disney, etc. etc.


    The silence was deafening.

    In turn, the deprivation– or overload– or both simultaneously– of such a favored sense was maddening.

    Oh, sure, the Rebel Alliance claimed they didn’t practice torture. That was the official party line. It made for good PR. But this was proof-positive that they, in fact, did.

    Flight Officer Quiver Yanilr paced in another tiny circle in the bland holding cell of the brig. His senses desperately needed something to do, and the one alcoholic drink he’d had right before getting thrown in there wasn’t nearly enough to dull them. But he was fortunate to be sharing this cell with his best friend; that and that alone guaranteed he wouldn’t go stir-crazy in there with nothing to do and no one to talk to.

    It was well past time to take advantage of that. Quiver stopped, regarded his companion seated on a sleeping berth a meter away, took a deep breath, and yelled, "Aaaah!"

    Flight Officer Darin Stanic jumped high enough at the outburst that Quiver considered asking if he was part repulsorlift. Darin snapped his eyes open, and the initial look of panic was instantly replaced by anger when he saw Quiver just standing there, obviously not being maimed or spontaneously combusting. "Quiver!" Darin yelled back. "What?"

    Impressed that he’d gotten his wingman to actually raise his voice, Quiver took full advantage of the attention. He leaned back against the wall. "I’m bored, and it was too quiet."

    Darin sputtered for a moment, apparently having too many things he wanted to say at once in response. He finally settled on looking at his wrist chrono and said, "We’ve been in here for all of ten minutes, and you’re bored?!"

    "Yeah." Quiver kicked restlessly at the door to the cell. "And you were being boring just sitting there doing nothing."

    "This is the first time all day I’ve had a chance to sit and do nothing, and I’m trying to take full advantage of it."

    "But then it’s too quiet and boring," Quiver insisted. "Hey, I didn’t tell you what Presden told me in the mess hall today–"

    "No. No no no," Darin cut him off. "No stories. Don’t talk to me. Just leave me alone for a while." He closed his eyes and rested his head against the wall.

    Quiver was nearly offended. "What? Why? Don’t be a spoilsport. Can’t we at least get time moved out of molasses-in-vacuum mode while we’re stuck in here?"

    Darin didn’t reply, aside from turning so his back was more to Quiver. He seemed to flinch a bit when a scrape from the altercation, though mostly hidden under his blond bangs, pressed against the wall, but he shifted his position to compensate.

    Quiver snorted. "Hmpf. Fine." The lanky starfighter pilot resumed his pacing around the cell. He and Darin had been roommates– in a less fortified room, of course– for long enough now that Quiver knew how to regain Darin’s attention through loopholes in whatever flimsy constraints his wingman imposed on him. And he would regain Darin’s attention. Few things in the galaxy truly bothered Quiver, but being ignored by his best friend was one of them, especially in a setting like this where it was his only option for entertainment.

    Quiver took another deep breath and converted it into verbal wisdom benevolently imparted to the universe. "I can’t believe how unfair this is. And adding insult to injury, it means I didn’t win the squadron betting pool of the next pilot thrown in the brig. I was so sure it was going to be Slurry. He’s due. Great odds on him too. He never comes through for me. But it’s still unfair. Those Navy guys started it. I was minding my own business with my own drink when they started being dumb. But do they get in trouble? Do they get thrown in the brig? Noooo. The MPs are all like, ‘Let’s grab the starfighter pilots and toss them in the brig, ‘cause you know those Coronas are always causing trouble so it has to be their fault, not the innocent widdle Navy bus drivers. They would never do such a thing.’ And our esteemed Commander Mackin won’t believe me, because he never believes me when I say I didn’t do something, so he’ll just let us rot in here all night when I could be in my nice comfy bed instead, where I have complete control of the thermostat and–"

    "Quiver, I swear I’m going to finish what those Navy guys started," Darin growled without opening his eyes. "Maybe then my time in here will at least be justified. What part of ‘don’t talk to me’ did you not understand?"

    Quiver scoffed, though he was inwardly pleased that his tactic was working. "I wasn’t talking to you, Flight Officer Grumpy. I’m talking to myself. Better company anyway."

    This time Darin did open his eyes, and he glared at Quiver. "Another one of your loopholes! You know perfectly well what I meant. You always do this, and it drives me crazy! Right now I really, really wish you hadn’t talked me into going and getting a drink tonight. Quiver, listen. In your ramblings to the galaxy just now, you were right: Mack isn’t going to believe you. But he’s going to believe me, or at least he’ll be more inclined to believe me. And right now I’m angry and tired and trying to mentally sort through what really happened in that brawl with the Navy personnel and why the hell I jumped in to help you yet again. I think in this case those guys really did start it and that might let us, and more so you, off the hook, but your pestering me with your loopholes and everything is making me not want to figure it out and defend you to Mack. So either leave me alone and let me work this out and calm down enough to want to get you out of this, or by all means keep yammering on and I can guarantee that we’ll both spend the entire night in this cell, and I’m going to be very inclined to physically make you stop talking long enough for me to get some sleep." Darin finally ended his tirade and shut his eyes again.

    Quiver stood there for a moment, unsure how to react. His first reaction was to make a quip that would tell Darin in no uncertain terms to lighten up, but the little voice in the back of his mind, so frequently ignored when a good joke or prank was on the line, caught his attention long enough to think twice. The little voice argued that Darin sounded pretty serious, even more than he usually did, and maybe an offhanded wisecrack in reply would not be welcome just now. Besides, the little voice continued, what if Darin was right and he could get Quiver out of that ISB-designed, Palpatine-approved brig when Mack finally came to talk to them?

    Quiver dug in against the little voice. Even if Darin could perform such a miracle, Quiver reasoned, the cost was too high. That would require leaving Darin alone for an extended period of time, which in turn would drive Quiver mad from lack of interaction and stimuli. What good would freedom be if his mind was too far gone to embrace it?

    The annoying little voice brought up the example of long-range patrols alone in his X-wing, and how Quiver’s sanity had survived those relatively intact, depending on whom one talked to.

    Quiver’s rebuttal was that he had his droid to talk to during the patrols, and that was the only thing that kept the craziness at bay during those infernal things.

    In response, the little voice started a name-calling war that Quiver enthusiastically participated in until he realized he was actually calling himself all those names.

    Now that the initial irateness was out of the way, Quiver considered his options. Maybe the little voice was right. For once. It was better to get out of the cell and thus be able to go to his quarters and the mess hall and enjoy all of the limited, so-called "comforts" the Rebel capital ship could offer. So he’d have to be quiet for a little while and leave Darin alone. So what? He could do this. It wouldn’t kill him. Darin was quiet all the time, and he was still alive. And if Darin could do it, Quiver could certainly do it. No big deal.

    Slightly surprised at the realization of the No Big Deal-ness of it all when the prospect had previously seemed so terrifying, Quiver grinned smugly to himself. He mentally settled in to do what Darin did by default: not talk.

    The first thirty-seven seconds were occupied by mentally congratulating himself on his insight and accomplishment. The next forty-one seconds were spent thinking about not talking and wondering if he was doing it right and if his brain was supposed to be so wound up during this time and maybe Darin had some tips for how to do it better. But he couldn’t ask Darin, so Quiver began pacing again.

    The minutes ticked slowly by, each one more monotonous than the last. It grew difficult for Quiver to keep his comments to himself and not engage with his wingman in some way, especially when Quiver fixated on the thought that Darin must know a secret that made this "quiet" stuff easy. How in the galaxy could something so simple be so blasted hard?

    Distressed, Quiver opened his mouth to say something to Darin, but the words died unspoken when he caught a glimpse of the closed cell door. A few laps later, Quiver took a breath to ask Darin a question but again stopped prematurely when he spotted the cell’s hard, unpadded shelf that served as a sleeping berth. He did some more laps and silently willed Darin to hurry up and figure out what he needed to figure out so this nightmarish purgatory could end. But Darin stayed still, eyes shut, apparently thinking, and not paying any attention to Quiver.

    Quiver desperately grasped at anything he could use to occupy his mind during the interminable sameness. He counted his steps. Then he counted them using scattered, half-remembered numbers in alien languages. Then he ran through his list of better-remembered pick-up lines and curse words in alien languages. Then he paced backwards. He made up stories where he, the hero, was the one who made that trench run shot on the Death Star, and because he was a much better hero than reality had provided he even managed to fly to Imperial Center the day after and capture the Emperor, which ended the war and led to parades and statues and holidays in his honor...

    Quiver had just gotten a new class of starship named after him for his wartime accomplishments when the accolades began to get redundant and boring. Besides, what good was a fun story like this if he couldn’t tell it? If only he could share it with Darin, it would grow exponentially and get better and better, but as it was, it felt limited and restricted in his mind and lost a lot of its luster and enjoyment.

    But maybe he could tell it soon. They had to have been in the cell for hours already.

    Except Quiver’s chrono reported it had only been about fifteen minutes since Darin had given his ultimatum.

    Quiver’s stomach sank. All that, and only fifteen minutes had gone by?

    He couldn’t believe it. This wasn’t working. As badly as Quiver wanted to get out of the brig, if he kept up this "quiet" nonsense he was going to explode.

    After another thirty seconds he could stand it no longer. He prepared to let out a feral whoop whose sole purpose would be to break the oppressive silence and possibly Darin’s last shred of patience, but before he could, the silence was broken by something else. The door to the cell whooshed open, and Commander Mackin stood in the doorway. The leader of Corona Squadron looked distinctly unhappy.

    Quiver didn’t even care about the sour look on his commanding officer’s face. He was just thrilled to have something happen.

    "This had better be good," Mack grumbled.

    Darin had stood and stepped over to stand beside Quiver. The anger had melted from the younger pilot’s face, replaced with the soft, reserved friendliness Quiver was more used to seeing on him. Darin caught Quiver’s eye with a look of gratitude, and then Darin faced Mack, all respectful politeness and deference that Quiver had never quite mastered. With his messy blond crew cut and constant grin, Quiver never looked the part anyway. "Sir," Darin said, "allow me to explain exactly what happened."

    Quiver barely heard the details of Darin’s narrative. He was too busy marveling that he had survived the ordeal and realizing that, sadly, Darin was probably going insane every day from hardly talking. Quiver didn’t know whether to respect or pity Darin for dealing with such a burden.

    He decided that as soon as they were released, he’d buy Darin a drink. That would also be the perfect opportunity to tell his friend about the Quiver-class starfighter.

    The End
  2. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    Ah, perfect! This is exactly what I was looking for when I issued the challenge! :D

    Quiver and Darin have quite the relationship. It's one thing to have your wingman watching your back in the heat of battle, it 's quite another thing to have him metaphorically up your backside in a confined space...even if he is your best friend, but friends and confined spaces don't always equal a pleasant or amusing way to pass the minutes.

    Quiver's imaginary career progression is hilarious. So he not only got to destroy the Death Star, but eventually gets a starfighter class named after him. Nice work if you can't get it. :p

    This was very entertaining and a perfect response to the challenge. :D
    Thumper09 and Findswoman like this.
  3. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    It is a perfect entry for the Spring challenge
  4. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, this is fantastic! I agree with leiamoody and earlybird-obi-wan: this is spot-on perfect for the challenge. "Nothing" may be happening externally in the holding cell, but what's going inside that ever-active brain of Quiver's is the exact opposite of nothing. His giddy impatience about the passing of seconds and minutes is almost kind of cute and childlike—kind of reminds me of that Apple iPhone ad where Cookie Monster is waiting with great anticipation for his cookies to bake, asks Siri to check the timer, and finds out that only a minute has passed since he put them in. But then the situation they're in adds a much more serious, darker dimension to it.

    I love the contrast of the two pilots' personalities in this (those who know me well here know how much I enjoy a good "mismatched friendship" dynamic!), and how they're both reacting so differently to the "enforced inactivity" of imprisonment. The taciturn Darin seems to welcome it as a much-needed respite; his harsh reaction to Quiver's talkativeness shows us, in a way, just how much he really might need that respite, but of course there's a practical element too, since he also needs the time to think up what he's going to say to Cmdr. Mackin. But for talkative, extraverted Quiver, the enforced silence really and truly IS torture, and he has to defuse it in these rather fantastical ways, from shouting matches with the "inner voice" to Lt. Kijé-worthy yarns about his military career. (Which I bet his wingman might actually find rather amusing at another time and place, so I hope he gets that chance to tell him all about the Quiver-class fighter!)

    I love too how at the end Quiver both does and doesn't learn his lesson. Yes, his silence was definitely golden in this case—but bless his heart for his assumption that Darin must be going through the same torture whenever he's quiet. Isn't it so human to think we've walked in someone else's shoes (echoing another OC challenge from the not too distant past) when we've really come nowhere close? [face_laugh]

    Bravissima on another mighty fine tale. =D=
    Ewok Poet, Thumper09 and leiamoody like this.
  5. Jedi_Perigrine

    Jedi_Perigrine Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 22, 2008
    Oh my goodness. As more of a Darin than a Quiver (yet knowing both of those characters so well because you write them so blasted well!), I can say that I was more in Darin's corner than Quiver's. That being said, Q's obnoxiousness is utterly entertaining and believable. He's like a shark, only instead of always having to swim to feed oxygen into his gills and survive, he has to talk. And talk s'more. About the most awesome stuff.

    My quote button doesn't work right now, so when you said "He was too busy marveling that he had survived the ordeal and realizing that, sadly, Darin was probably going insane every day from hardly talking. Quiver didn’t know whether to respect or pity Darin for dealing with such a burden." I almost spat out my tea. one great line out of a stampede of others.

    Amazing job. =D=:cool:
  6. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    That was genius, all the ways that Quiver found to pass the "time", including counting in alien numbers; the spirited name-calling with his inner voice; and then giving Darin an actual reason for needing quiet rather than simply wanting solace.

    Not sure if it was your intent, but Quiver mentally destroying the Death Star, experiencing accolades and parades (multiple!), and almost getting a starfighter - with enough detail to be worth telling his friend, all in fifteen minutes, extrapolates well on the unexplored speed of thought that these fighter jockeys need to do their jobs.

    A Han Solo novel once alluded to it. You have dragged it into the light.

    A splendid work.

    Though it will destroy my entry, this should definitely be entered for the challenge.
  7. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Thank you to everyone for reading!

    leiamoody : Thanks! Their relationship is one of my favorite things to write about. Usually Darin's a lot friendlier to Quiver, but the brig brings out the worst in him, heh. And as for Quiver's accelerated career progression, he's a master at Delusions of Grandeur. We hadn't even gotten to the part where he was offered leadership of the new, post-Imperial government but turned it down due to his overwhelming modesty. :p Thanks for reading and for providing a fun challenge idea that helped me kick some rust off my keyboard and my muse.

    earlybird-obi-wan : Thank you, and thank you for reading! I appreciate it. :)

    Findswoman : Thanks! I've seen that commercial, and Quiver is totally Cookie Monster. Siri would be played by his astromech.
    The odd dynamic between Darin and Quiver is a lot of fun for me to explore since they are very different but also are best friends. Outside of the brig, they're both very good for each other, and Darin would be a willing listener and participant in the Quiver-class starfighter tale. But yes, despite that, there are times (like now) when Darin really, really needs a break from Quiver, and Quiver's not wired in the necessary way to truly understand why. And I agree, Quiver learns (or often doesn't learn) lessons in his own way. ;) Thanks for the comments and for reading!

    Jedi_Perigrine : Good to see you, and thanks!
    That's okay, Peri. Quiver knows you're just saying that to make Darin feel better, and that you actually like Quiver best. The proof is that you compared him to something so naturally efficient and deadly and amazing as a shark, and a talking shark, no less, which is even cooler. If there were sharks in the GFFA, he'd be painting fins and teeth on his X-wing by now. (Don't tell him I agree with you about being more in Darin's corner.)
    Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Sith-I-5 : Thank you! Although I would love to take credit for intentionally showcasing the starfighter pilots' speed of thought, I have to admit that I didn't do it on purpose. Quiver's always had a hamster-wheel-brain, but I never associated it with increased reflexes and thought processes that keep him alive in his day job. I'm glad you saw that in this story, though! :) I'll have to see if I can find that original mention, since it's a fun idea to play with. It's been forever since I read the Daley books. Thanks for the comments and for reading!
  8. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    That is the best author response, ever.

    Though I have no idea where you would find it in the Brian Daley trilogy, I think it was an Academy memory of Han's, where cadets were bounced into the air by their mates holding a blanket or sheet, and having to do the mental calculations necessary to orient themselves in mid-air and throw darts into a dartboard.
  9. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    First of all, sorry for being so unforgivably late with this comment. the previous story you posted, the main character had a sort-of-ex-YU-ish last name. This time, one of the main character has my neighbours' last name, minus the accent on the last letter. I must say that I'm intrigued...what's the deal with this?

    And now to the story. I'm going to join the camp of miserable quitters and say that I'm more of a Darin then the appropriately-named Quiver. And I think most of us are like that, prone to despair. But there is a strange twist I had on my mind. It's probably untrue, but here I go: what is Quiver is a figment of Darin's imagination, because he's been imprisoned for so long that he's going gaga?

    But even if that is a wild, ixxl-poodoo-insane guess, the story is awesome the way it is. What I enjoyed most was Quiver's little roleplaying fantasy where he's so.much.better. than Luke and, in a stark contrast to that, his actual selflessness and unwillingness to leave his best buddy alone; because he is the one who's keeping that brooding, semi-Byronic type sane. Just great!

    Next time you write an OC story, do enter a challenge! Please!
    Sith-I-5 and Findswoman like this.
  10. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Ewok Poet , thank you! As for their last names, these two were just the result of my playing with sounds. I've since learned that variations on Stanic are not uncommon in the Real World™. If that's the one that's close to your neighbor's name, I'm going to sit here with a goofy grin for a minute because I've never actually met someone with that last name in real life and I'm going to live vicariously through you for a moment. :) I have yet to find a Yanilr, but I imagine it's out there somewhere. My own last name is uncommon and not intuitive to pronounce for most people I meet, so I think that makes me play with letters that aren't used as often in names in English like Y's and Q's.

    Regarding your idea of the twist,
    that was really intriguing, and it would definitely put a wild spin on things! Unfortunately, though, they're physically two separate characters. They're my two main OCs, but I haven't posted a story here with them in ages so I doubt more than a handful of people ever heard of them before. Though their squadmates would sure like it better if Quiver was a figment of Darin's imagination, given that their morale officer can be a bit... over the top sometimes, LOL. And after reading your idea I had fun imagining what that would mean if it was true, and then I put Darin into a role like Murdock's in A-Team and had even more fun!

    Quiver appreciates that you appreciate the neverending burden he carries by keeping Darin sane, since it's a hard load to bear and a nearly impossible challenge at times, but he'll make it through despite the suffering because he's just that good. Better than that farmboy Luke. Definitely.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!
    Ewok Poet and Findswoman like this.
  11. Thorn058

    Thorn058 Jedi Master star 3

    Jul 28, 2008
    Thumper I find that after being gone from the boards for months at a time perhaps even years I can still pick up one of your fics and be instantly entertained and inspired as well. I love how you captured the dynamics that exist between fleet and starfighter command, the character interactions and just about everything about your OC's. Man I have missed this place.
    Ewok Poet and Findswoman like this.
  12. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Thorn058, it's good to see you again! I'm sorry for the delay in replying to this. Thank you very much for reading and for your comments. You reminded me that I probably should have used "Fleet Command" instead of "Navy" in this, whoops! I always forget to do that for some reason. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and thanks again!
    Ewok Poet and Findswoman like this.
  13. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    How, how, HOW did this story fall through the cracks when you posted it? This is amazing and I'm so angry at myself for not reading it earlier! And now of course everyone's already been here to comment and I don't have much to add... except that, unlike most of your reviewers, I'm probably in Quiver's corner, except for the fact that I never got to destroy the Death Star :p But I can see how they're driving each other nuts, especially when they're confined to the brig. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant =D=
    Findswoman likes this.
  14. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Force Ghost star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    This was good. I like Quiver. Does he have ADD? He acts like he has ADD. I should know, because I have ADD.
    Ewok Poet likes this.
  15. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    Holy kriff, didn't even think of that!

    If so, I totally support the idea, because we are almost always depicted as funny ha-ha characters, losers or psychopaths. And this is different, look, a bird.
  16. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Force Ghost star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    [face_laugh] I'm not that distractable!
    Ewok Poet likes this.
  17. Kahara

    Kahara Chosen One star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    Missed commenting on this the first time around, so I'm glad that the thread has been brought back up again. The contrasting personalities and Quiver's lightspeed delusions of grandeur are really fun. I'm not sure which of them is having a crueler or more unusual punishment there. :p Congrats on being nominated!
    Findswoman likes this.
  18. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    I realized I totally forgot to reply to the last comments here... [face_blush] Sorry about that, everyone. It wasn't intentional, just me being lazy and forgetful.

    Thanks, Chyntuck! The world needs its Quivers just as much as it needs its Darins, and everything in between. :) Just ask, and Quiver will come up with a way to convince everyone that you too made the run on the Death Star, LOL. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Thanks, Cowgirl Jedi 1701! (and Ewok Poet!) Actually I'd never really thought about those specifics for Quiver. He definitely displays some symptoms of ADD, but I'm not sure if he would be formally diagnosed with it. I'm not familiar enough with the details to say one way or another. He's always looking for something new and exciting to do, and his mind moves fast (particularly while trying to talk his way out of trouble). Thanks for reading and replying!

    Thanks, Kahara! "Lightspeed delusions of grandeur" is a fitting description for Quiver's antics, LOL. I might steal that from you at some point. ;) Thanks for reading and commenting!
    Ewok Poet, Chyntuck and Kahara like this.
  19. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    I think I may have gone to school with Quiver. He ended up as valedictorian, Force help us all. The teacher used to threaten to duct tape him to his chair. Nowadays, she'd never get away with it. He owes Darin a lot more than a drink, and yet he does seem to realize how lucky he is to have a friend like that. I hope that Darin gets a gift certificate to one of those spas with soft lighting and aroma hot tubs and New Age music...

    I remember reading this and I thought I had commented on it, but I guess not... because I would have said how much fun it was and how much I enjoyed these two characters.