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Saga Before the Saga Beyond the Saga The Life and Times of the Dancing Gamorrean | Humour, mommy issues | One-shot & short story series

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Chyntuck, Mar 28, 2018.

  1. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    The Life and Times of the Dancing Gamorrean

    Title: The Life and Times of the Dancing Gamorrean

    Timeframe: From a few years before TPM to the ST and possibly beyond
    Continuity: Canon
    Length: Series of one-shots & short stories (six currently planned out, but it could be more in the end)
    Genre: Humour
    Characters: Zane the Gamorrean clown from Preigo’s Travelling World of Wonder (TCW S05E08)
    Notes: Phew, there’s a long story behind these fics. The Gamorrean clown in TCW isn’t called Zane; as a matter of fact he has no name at all. It all started from this video of an aircraft marshaller dancing on the tarmac; it got mentioned in the X-Wing Fan Club: Home of the Dancing Gamorrean thread where we discuss the Black Sheep Squadron RPF, and it all snowballed from there. Blame Mistress_Renata for the name and me for the stories.

    Table of contents
    Life Is a Tapcafé – How Zane became a Rebel
    The Making of a Hero – How Zane became a hero
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2023
  2. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Title: Life Is a Tapcafé
    Timeframe: Before and during the very beginning of TESB (including minor references to the
    Darth Vader comics)
    Characters: Zane, unnamed OCs, established character cameos
    Summary: How Zane became a Rebel
    Notes: This is a repost from my old
    Chyntuck’s Ramblings thread, where you will find the original reviews and replies. Special thanks to Sarge for providing the slang ‘wand waver’ for ‘aircraft marshaller’.

    Life Is a Tapcafé

    Punishments for those who incurred Jabba the Hutt’s wrath were as terrible as they were varied. Some were ripped apart by combat arachnids, others were fed to the rancor. Those whose offenses towards the Bloated One were beyond comprehension were dumped into the sarlacc’s maw. Bounty hunters were sent after the fools who thought they could evade the Hutt’s galaxy-spanning criminal network, sometimes with the explicit order to disintegrate their prey. The small fry were enslaved until they could pay their way out of indentured servitude to the mobster, or until he became tired of them and handed them over to one of his monstrous pets. But no one had ever been relegated to the rank of majorette on Jabba’s sail barge, much less one of the Gamorrean guards. Until now.

    It was true that Zane had messed up pretty badly and that he deserved to be punished. He had been on duty on the day when Jabba visited his townhouse in Mos Eisley for a secret appointment with a high-ranking Imperial, and he had chosen the wrong time to perform a little dance and practice his juggling skills with the Hutt’s gorgs instead of standing guard in the hallway. But really, how was he supposed to know that Darth Vader’s envoy would exit the conference room just then and there? Those had been very short negotiations indeed, and it was only several days later that Zane understood that the Imperial had merely come to announce the dark lord’s impending visit. It hadn’t been Zane’s intention to cause all that kerfuffle, or to offend the Empire in any way – but there it was, he’d done it. Given a choice between becoming Jabba’s majorette and hard labour in the spice mines of Kessel, he’d chosen to be a majorette.

    It was also true that Jabba was, in more ways than one, doing Zane a favour. After all, Zane had spent the best part of his adult life working as a clown for Preigo’s Travelling World of Wonder before coming in the Hutt’s employ, and it was nice to reconnect with the performing arts even though dancing had never been his strongest suit. Also, his new position meant that he wasn’t around when an unfortunate slip of Jabba’s tongue – the Hutt had called Darth Vader a Jedi! – resulted in the death of several fellow Gamorrean guards at the Sith lord’s hand. And, well, Zane was still alive. He hadn’t been dismembered by the arachnids, or eaten by the rancor, or digested by the sarlacc. That had to count for something.

    Still, the whole story was deeply embarrassing, and Zane wasn’t sure how he would explain it to his mother when she found out. She’d chastised him many times for his eccentricity in the past – no Gamorrean with an ounce of self-respect would choose to work in a circus, she said – and they’d only mended ties when he was recruited as a guard in Jabba’s palace. She wouldn’t be happy at all to see him demoted to majorette, and that was something that worried Zane just as much as murderous Hutt flights of fancy or the threat of Imperial retribution. Mum was a fearsome sow, and she was the clan matron. If she ever got wind of her son’s predicament, he was in for more trouble than he’d ever bargained for.

    For the time being, however, Mum was not around and the Empire hadn’t shown up looking for Zane, so his main concern was to give Jabba satisfaction lest the Hutt decided to resort to a more, ahem, radical form of punishment. He made sure that he mastered every step of the dances he was required to perform, and he found out that baton twirling came easily to him given his natural talent for juggling – except, that is, on that fateful day when a gorg had slipped out of his paw and... well, what was done was done and there was no point brooding over it. Some of the more acrobatic dance moves gave him grief because he just wasn’t cut out for cartwheels and backflips, but he was able to strike what he liked to think of as a mutually beneficial agreement with the Max Rebo Band. By this, he meant that he pointed out to the musicians that he was far more likely to trip and send them overboard into the sarlacc’s pit if they chose to go with the bouncier tunes of their repertoire. They didn’t need to be told twice, and every time Jabba hosted a party on his sail barge, all Zane had to do was to jig about and twirl his baton while Sy Snootles sang Life is a Tapcafé.

    Several months went by and Zane was growing accustomed to his new position in Jabba’s court – heck, he was actually beginning to enjoy it – when two unwelcome news items reached him at once. The first was that the Empire required the Hutt’s services once more, and that a new meeting with Vader’s envoy had been scheduled in the Mos Eisley townhouse. This wouldn’t be such a major issue had the Bloated One not insisted to entertain his visitor; but the plans for the afternoon meant that Zane would find himself under Imperial scrutiny as he performed on stage, which was the last thing he wanted. The second news item was a disaster, pure and simple: Mum had sent word that she was coming to Tatooine for business, and she was intending to pay a visit to her son on the same day as Jabba’s appointment.

    Zane thought of it long and hard. He could try to pass as a different Gamorrean than the one who had, ahem, catapulted a gorg on... but no. It was a fact that Humans were not very good at telling Gamorreans apart, but the chances that this particular Imperial had met more than one dancing, baton-twirling Gamorrean in his life were nil, zilch, nada, zero. At the same time, failing to dance would attract Jabba’s ire, and that was something Zane couldn’t afford. As for Mum... he considered telling her that he was undercover in the palace, acting as one of Jabba’s operatives in a role in which he wouldn’t draw attention to himself, but he knew that she wouldn’t believe him. Gamorreans were hired muscle – or, in his case, hired talent – but they were no spies. She would see right through his lies, and boy was he going to get it. Mum hated liars even more than clowns and majorettes.

    There were no two ways about it: Zane needed to escape. And he needed to escape to a place where he’d be safe from Jabba, from the Empire and from his mother. The problem was that, as far as Zane knew, such a place did not exist.

    The morning of Jabba’s appointment and Mum’s visit came, and Zane’s anguish at the prospect of a painful death at the hand of three different beings was beginning to evolve into panic. He didn’t have a proper plan to escape, let alone a place to escape to, but he decided as he slipped on his dance costume that attempting to run for it was better than not running at all. He plastered his most cheerful smile on his face as he made his way to the sail barge, and he danced with great gusto throughout the trip to Mos Eisley. Once they reached the narrow streets and the barge’s passengers had to disembark, he took up his position ahead of the Hutt’s repulsor dais and led the way into town, waddling along and twirling his baton as if this were an exceptionally festive occasion. He stood aside for Jabba to enter the townhouse and went on dancing beside the door as the Hutt’s retinue followed him inside, and as soon as the last guard had gone in, he discreetly pressed his paw to the control panel, activated the lock from the outside and sprinted away as fast as his fat legs would carry him.

    He wasn’t so foolish as to believe that his mad dash for freedom would go unnoticed. He chose to favour speed over stealth and went straight to the spaceport without even bothering to cover his tracks. He hid in a corner to take off the frilly dance clothes and remained in the leather briefs and vest he always wore underneath, but he kept the twirling baton as a weapon if need be. A small freighter appeared to have finished loading; the pilot was exchanging greetings with the ground staff. This was perfect. As soon as everyone had their back turned, he trotted up the ramp, headed towards the back of the ship and dived into the cargo hold. He didn’t know where the ship was going, and it wouldn’t be comfortable to travel here among the crates, but anywhere that wasn’t Tatooine was good enough for him.

    To Zane’s great satisfaction, the journey through hyperspace lasted several days. He wasn’t very knowledgeable about astrophysics, but he understood that this translated to a great many parsecs between himself on the one hand, and the vindictive Hutt, the angry Imperial and his outraged mother on the other. He was a little alarmed at first when he examined the contents of the crates and found out that the freighter was ferrying Imperial military rations; but it clearly wasn’t an Imperial ship and, given the nature of commerce on Tatooine, this was probably a load that had fallen off the back of a Star Destroyer. Also, it was food, and Zane experimented with the various flavours as time went by, planning all the while how he would leave his hiding place unnoticed when the freighter reached its destination.

    On the morning of the sixth day, a faint shudder told him that they had reverted to realspace. He immediately put his plan into action and made his way to a supply closet he had spotted during his night-time explorations of the ship. It was a tight fit for a being as large as him, but it would do. He heard the pilot’s footfalls as the man walked past him on the way to the ramp, and then snatches of conversation.

    “Great place you guys found this time,” an ironic voice said. “Can’t complain, it’s clean. Spotless white for that matter.”

    “At least preserving food isn’t a problem here and that’s good for your cargo,” another voice replied. “Remember how many fridges we had to run back on Yavin?”

    “That’s why I’m carrying food instead of coolant, innit? You wanna offload now?”

    “Gotta clear your manifest with my boss first, but we have to hurry. The patrol’s coming back soon, they need a place to land.”

    Zane held his breath and listened carefully for a few more minutes, but all there was to hear was the regular hustle and bustle of a hangar bay. He opened the supply closet’s door and peeked outside. A blast of glacial air blew across his snout.

    Going out in naught but his briefs and vest in this cold was going to be even less comfortable than travelling in the cargo hold, but there was no time to dither. He sneaked down the boarding ramp and found himself in a giant ice cave where ships of every possible kind were stationed. All bore a red symbol that looked like a stylised starbird. He made his way as discreetly as he could across the makeshift hangar, hugging his twirling baton and wondering where he would find adequate clothing, when a hand landed on his shoulder. He turned around to see a young woman with military insignia on her jacket.

    “New recruit, eh? Welcome to Echo Base. They didn’t prepare you too well for this place. Come on, I’ll kit you out.”

    The woman led him to the far end of the cave and extracted thermal coveralls from a pile. “This should be your size. Suit up, I’ll get you the rest.”

    Minutes later, Zane was wrapped in the warm fabric. He was smoothing it out and noticing a patch bearing the same strange starbird symbol on his chest when the woman returned with a hat, a scarf and gloves. “You’re all set up now,” she said cheerfully. “What’s your field? I’ll point you in the right direction.”

    Zane wasn’t too sure what she was asking, so he grunted noncommittally.

    “I mean, what is it that you do?” she explained patiently. “Technician? Cook? Infantry?”

    Oh. So the woman was asking for his profession. Zane picked up his baton and twirled it in the air.

    “Wand waver, eh? I’m glad we’re finally getting help on that front.” She rummaged once more in the pile behind them and pulled out two glowsticks. “This is the type we use here. The patrol’s coming home now, care to show me what you got?”

    She pointed in the direction of the freighter. The food crates were now carefully stacked on a pallet; a binary loadlifter was picking it up and taking it away while the pilot boarded his ship. Zane shook his head in panic.

    “Oh, come on, don’t be shy! Captain Manar will leave on his own, but the speeder pilots need directions. It’s the first time they’re able to fly on this frigging snowball. I’ll be there to help you.”

    The freighter rose in the air and slipped out of the hangar, disappearing into the sky. The woman placed her hand on Zane’s shoulder and marched him to the middle of the landing area. A group of snowspeeders could be seen on the horizon, flying towards the mouth of the cave. “That’s right,” she said encouragingly. “You know the basics of spacecraft marshalling, don’t you? Nothing you haven’t done before.”

    Zane took a deep breath. He didn’t know where he’d found himself, he didn’t know who this woman was and why she was managing such a large fleet of fighters, but he had to show his mettle before the game was up. He planted his feet firmly on the frozen ground, he raised a glowrod in each hand and he focused on his moves. His stage fright vanished as he waved the sticks rhythmically in the air and directed the speeders to land. This wasn’t so hard after all; it felt easy, almost familiar. He grinned. He was away from Tatooine, but somewhere in the back of his mind, Sy Snootles was singing Life Is a Tapcafé.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
  3. Jedi Knight Fett

    Jedi Knight Fett Chosen One star 10

    Feb 18, 2014
    A very good read. I always love it when official stories tie so closely to others and I might like it more with Fanfiction. Your use of such a backaround character was great. I also really liked the tie in with the first Vader marvel series
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
    AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  4. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Title: The Making of a Hero
    Timeframe: The Battle of Jakku and its aftermath (chiefly two years after Life Is a Tapcafé)
    Characters: Zane,
    Carlist Rieekan, Thane Kyrell, Tracene Kane, Birt, OCs
    Summary: How Zane became a hero of the New Republic
    Notes: The events of the
    Battle of Jakku described in this story, in particular the strategy used to bring down the Ravager and the boarding of the Inflictor by a Rebel commando, are borrowed from Aftermath: Empire’s End and Lost Stars respectively. Also, many thanks to Kurisan for letting me know that the audiobulb is the GFFA version of a walkman. Zane’s audiobulb makes a brief first appearance in this story, but you can be sure it’ll be back in the future as well!

    The Making of a Hero

    Zane wasn’t too sure what was going on, but whatever it was, he didn’t like it.

    He’d seen a fair bit of action since luck or fate – or maybe just fear of Jabba the Hutt, Darth Vader’s agent and his mother – had conspired to dump him straight into the arms the Rebel Alliance. He’d been assigned to a variety of ships; he’d been in several battles; and he’d had to evacuate more than once in transports whose seats were clearly designed for beings far smaller-bodied than Gamorreans. But this was different. This time, the action was the dramatic, volatile, kaboom sort of action, and it was way too close for comfort too.

    Only moments ago, the Amity and the Unity had been right there. He’d been able to see them through the magnetic field that kept the Concord’s atmosphere from venting into space, and, beyond them, there had been a fleet of Star Destroyers. Granted, even in that configuration the Concord had taken a few hits, but Chief Damaya had told the hangar bay crew that the shields of Starhawk-class battleships could take a lot, and all in all the Concord was holding together. But then… then there had been a blinding explosion outside, and a shockwave that sent Zane tumbling into a stack of crates, and when his eyes deigned to fulfil their role again… the Amity and the Unity were gone, chunks of hulls and bridges were flying across space, and there was a gap in the Imperial formation.

    And through that gap, the mother of all Star Destroyers was unleashing a relentless barrage of turbolaser fire at the Concord. The battleship was trembling around him, the emergency alarms were wailing, and he didn’t like it at all.

    The pandemonium was such that it took him a while to realise that the voice he could hear over the loudspeakers was Commodore Kyrsta Agate’s. He couldn’t quite make out what she was saying, but he saw everyone else in the hangar bay pick themselves up from the durasteel floor and head to their duty stations while the fighter pilots rushed out of their ready room. He scrambled to collect his glowsticks – the blasted things had rolled under a pallet where his thick paws hardly fit – and he followed suit. Chief Damaya was already issuing instructions to the crew, and Zane was determined to do his bit for the Alliance. After all, he hadn’t run into Jabba, or vindictive Imperials, or Mum for the past two years. That had to count for something.

    * * *

    Tasse Damaya wasn’t happy about abandoning the Concord. As one of the New Republic’s most brilliant minds, she’d been tasked with the development of battleships from pieces of dismantled Imperial craft, and her success with the Starhawks had earned the honour of being assigned as chief engineer to the first such ship that was assembled by Nadiri Dockyards. The Concord was her baby – but, she reminded herself, it was a baby that she had designed as a blunt instrument of war, and now that peace was at hand, she wanted to live to see it. If Commodore Agate’s gambit were to pay off, peace would be just around the corner. Evacuating the Concord was an acceptable price to pay for that.

    What Tasse Damaya was happy about was that, even in the chaos of battle, even after the loss of the Amity and the Unity, even with the bulkheads of the Concord shaking around them as if she were threatening to tear up at the seams, her crew was operating like clockwork. The mechanics gave the X- and Y-wings a last inspection and headed for their escape pods; the refueling crews checked that all fighters had a full tank and followed suit; the astromechs were lifted into their sockets. The pilots were inside their cockpits, signalling that they had all received the details of the course that had been plotted for them from the main bridge, and the wand wavers stood at the ready to direct them out of the hangar bay and into the fight. She raised her arms and crossed her wrists in an old Dantooinian sign of farewell and victory, and she went to prepare the last escape pod while the squadron rose on its repulsorlifts and pointed its collective nose towards the blackness of space.

    One by one, the wand wavers joined her in the pod after their pilots were gone, and she was about to close the hatch and activate the release mechanism when she realised that Zane the Gamorrean wasn’t with them. She rolled her eyes. How typical.

    It wasn’t that Damaya disliked Zane. He was as dedicated as any member of the Concord’s crew, and that habit he had of waddling to the music he played on his old-fashioned audiobulb while marshalling fighters and shuttles in and out of the hangar bay always made her smile. But he was, well, a bit slow on the uptake, and this wasn’t the time to be slow.

    She was standing up to go looking for him when a violent blast rocked the Concord,and the ship’s artificial gravity went off.

    * * *

    Zane still didn’t know what was going on, but whatever it was, now he couldn’t make sense of it.

    Another explosion had rattled the Concord, so powerful that it had sent him flying upwards. So far, so good. What he couldn’t understand was why he, or any of the objects that had been blown towards the ceiling, weren’t falling down as they should. Not that he was particularly looking forward to dropping to the durasteel floor like an overripe muja fruit, but that was what was supposed to happen to anything heavier than air – and Zane knew for a fact that he was heavier than air and than a great many other things too. Instead, he was soaring like a balloon, and for a fleeting moment he wondered if he was dead.

    The upside, however, was that he could now understand why the last Y-wing at which he had been gesticulating in a vain effort to shoo it out of the hangar bay hadn’t budged. The pilot seat was empty, and the cockpit was wide open. In the panic of the evacuation he hadn’t paid attention, focused as he was on getting all the ships in his charge into battle – but his natural airheadedness explained why he’d been the last sentient left on the hangar floor while his colleagues were heading to the escape pods. He made a mental note to remedy that in the future, although a small voice in the back of his mind that sounded suspiciously like his mother’s told him that it was a lost cause.

    He had reached the ceiling now. All he had to do was to stretch an arm and he would be able to touch it. This was definitely bizarre, and he couldn’t make sense of it at all.

    It was then that one of the headphones through which he’d been listening to music slipped off his ear, and he heard a voice calling his name from somewhere below. He looked down to see that Chief Damaya was holding on to the hatch of the escape pod with both hands, trying not to float out and away. “Zane? You have to come down now.”

    How was he supposed to do that? He gave her a puzzled grunt.

    “Listen to me carefully,” she said in the calm, soothing tone that she’d got him used to – he was in fact fairly certain that she only ever spoke that way when addressing him in particular, although he wasn’t sure why; she sounded like Mum just before she blew up at him, with the difference that Chief Damaya never blew up. “You’re going to push softly against the ceiling to propel yourself towards the Y-wing, okay? And once you’re there, you’ll push again with your feet and rebound towards us. Got it?”

    So Chief Damaya had an explanation for all this. It was somewhat comforting. But first, he had to get to her because she didn’t seem to be in a particularly comfortable position so as to be able to explain things right now. He positioned both of his paws against the ceiling, pointed his feet at the Y-wing and nudged himself away.

    He was gliding downwards now, and he could see that the battle was still going on outside the magnetic field, when the Concord rotated a little to reveal the orange-brown planet that the Alliance was trying to conquer. Somehow the planet seemed closer now. Much closer. And then, something happened: the battleship tilted abruptly, Chief Damaya let out a yelp, everything that had been floating in the hangar bay crashed to the floor…

    … and Zane plummeted into the open cockpit of the Y-wing and slammed into the pilot’s seat.

    * * *

    “Fury Squadron, this is Fury Leader,” the commander’s voice said over the intercom. “The Rebel battleship is pulling the Ravager down with her tractor beam. She’s almost within Jakku’s gravity well, we have to take her out before the Ravager gets caught in it too.”

    “Copy that, Fury Leader,” the TIE pilot who served as Fury Seven replied when his turn came. “Looks like they launched the last of their fighters as well.”

    “Forget the fighters, Fury Seven. We –”

    “All squadrons, this is Grand Moff Randd,” a new voice came over the comm. “Rebel craft are circling the fleet to hit us from behind. Squadron leaders, redirect defenses as appropriate. The fleet formation must hold at all costs.”

    Fury Seven’s comm went silent for a moment while his commander conferred with his peers. “All right, Fury Squadron,” the leader said at last. “Fury Two, Five and Six, bring down that battleship. Everybody else, on me. Let’s kill the fighters to starboard, Wrath Squadron will take out those to port. Good hunting.”

    Fury Squadron re-formed around their leader’s TIE and zoomed towards the group of X- and Y-wings that had launched from the beleaguered battleship. Fury Ten had to break formation at some point because two A-wings were tailing him, and seconds later a burst of static on the comm indicated that he was hit, but there was no time to stop. From this distance the Rebel craft looked like a swarm of angry wasps, and given their trajectory there was only one possible conclusion: they were planning to bombard the Ravager’s rear engines while the battleship’s tractor beam pulled her in her fall, with the intention of crashing both capital ships on the surface of Jakku.

    Fury Seven took advantage of a lull in the fighting to check his ammunition supplies. He was out of torpedoes and missiles, but his laser cannons were still more than adequately charged. He was about to return his attention to the battle when a blip caught his attention on the edge of the scope. Something had just exited the battleship’s hangar bay – the battleship herself was well within Jakku’s gravity well by now – and a closer inspection revealed a lone Y-wing that was now speeding to catch up with the flight ahead of them.

    “Fury Leader, Fury Seven,” he said in the intercom. “Looks like a straggler launched from the battleship just now, he’ll be on our tails soon. Awaiting instructions.”

    “Turn around and shoot him down, Fury Seven. Could be that he’s carrying missiles to give the Ravager the deathblow after the others soften her up.”

    “Roger that, Fury Leader. Fury Seven out.”

    The TIE pilot pulled his ship in a wide arc and flew back towards the battle, juking hard from side to side so as not to make himself an easy target. He could see that the Y-wing, which was heading towards him at full throttle, had no such qualms about its trajectory. It was advancing in a straight line, oblivious to the laser bolts that rained around them, yet it never bothered to shoot one of its own or even to alter its course when it became obvious that Fury Seven was coming for it. Man, that bloke sure had guts, the Imperial thought as he calibrated his targeting equipment. Flying straight at the enemy was something you could afford to do when you could get out of their firing line in a fraction of a second with the speed and manoeuvrability of a TIE fighter, not when you were in an outdated bomber just about nimbler than a duracrete slug.

    He was almost within range now. He knew that the Y-wing had shields, but he was confident that a few well-aimed shots would breach them and that the Rebel bomber would soon be space litter. He adjusted the targeting computer and he was preparing to hit the thumb trigger when several things happened at once.

    The Y-wing lurched violently to starboard and started spinning on its axis in a sluggish roll. Fury Seven would have snorted at the other pilot who didn’t realise that he was sitting behind the commands of a bomber, had the Rebel ship’s ion cannons not come to life. The TIE pilot swerved wildly to starboard to avoid the incoming fire, but he was committed to a frontal attack now and all he could do was to fiddle hastily with his controls to secure a new target lock. Then, the Y-wing suddenly stabilised upside down and two more ion blasts flew from the dorsal turret. One of them hit the TIE fighter squarely on the solar array and Fury Seven’s instruments erupted in a shower of sparkles.

    His systems now disabled, Fury Seven was left floating in the middle of the raging battle while his attacker sped away.

    * * *

    Zane had no kriffing idea what he was doing.

    One moment he’d been gliding smoothly towards the Y-wing, getting ready to propel himself towards the escape pod. The next, he’d crashed in the pilot’s seat, the transparisteel canopy had fallen in place with a loud clatter, and the bomber had taken off on its own.

    He was terrified. It was utter chaos out here; turbolaser bolts were flying in every direction and pieces of destroyed ships large and small were brushing past him as they twirled across space. He didn’t know where the Y-wing was taking him, or even why it had chosen to go anywhere, and he was pretty certain that his last hour had come.

    He desperately wanted to be back aboard the Concord, to hear the familiar hum of its engines, to listen to Chief Damaya’s reassuring voice as she gave orders to the crew. But the battleship was already far behind him and he didn’t know how to coax the Y-wing into taking him back there. He craned his neck for a better look. On second thought, the Concord didn’t seem to be in particularly good shape. As a matter of fact he could clearly see that she was sinking towards the planet, and explosions dotted her hull. Maybe it was for the best that he’d fallen into the Y-wing after all.

    But the Y-wing was acting of its own accord, and that was something he had to remedy as soon as possible. The problem was, he had no idea how.

    He started tapping buttons and flipping switches at random on the instrument panel, hoping against hope that instructions would appear on the monitor to tell him what to do. At one point the words ‘shields activated’ flashed in front of him – that had to be good – and soon thereafter the schematics on the screen turned green. He wasn’t sure what that meant, but green was a fine colour. He was about to try another lever when he caught a glimpse of a TIE fighter that was flying straight at him.

    So this was it. He balled his paws into fists around the handles at the end of the armrests to stop himself from trembling, he shut his eyes tightly, and he waited for the end to come.

    When he reopened them, his Y-wing was zooming past the TIE that now spun languidly in space. The planet was above him instead of being below – how had that happened? – and he saw, to his great dismay, that he was heading towards the Star Destroyers.

    At least he was still alive, even if it was just for a few minutes longer. That had to count for something.

    He let go of the handles to rub his snout. The Y-wing abruptly flipped over, causing him to stop mid-gesture. So this was how they controlled the direction. He laid his paws back on the armrests very slowly and cautiously to avoid throwing his craft on an unexpected path and took another look at the battle to decide where to go.

    There weren’t any good options. The fighting was everywhere around him, with freighters, cruisers, fighters and battleships trading blows in every direction. The only opening he could see – but that was still a fair distance ahead – was in the middle of the Imperial fleet, where the giant Star Destroyer that had been bombarding the Concord now had her nose pointed at the planet. This left a gap in the Imperial formation, and it was somewhat reassuring gap, as the massive ship’s cannons were not directed at him.

    All right then. He adjusted his headphones on his ears, looked up Life Is a Tapcafé on his audiobulb and set it to play in a loop. There wasn’t much else he could do anyway. He would remain on his present course and hope for the best.

    * * *

    Carlist Rieekan stared at the man who was standing in front of him. “You think we’re wasting our time.”

    Thane Kyrell nodded. “I’m certain of it, sir. I’ve known Ciena Ree since we were children. She’s deeply attached to the Jelucani First Waver code of honour. She lost all respect for the Empire, but she’ll never betray her oath of service. She won’t give us anything.”

    The general grunted. “I hate to say it, but I’ve got to respect that. We’ll have to put her on trial for war crimes like all Imperial officers though. If we find that she’s innocent as you seem to think, she’ll be included in a future prisoner swap.” He eyed the young commander. “But that’s not what you really want, is it?”

    Thane blushed a little. “It’s true, sir. I’m not challenging the fact that she should stand trial, all Imperials should. But I hate the idea that she’ll be returning to the Empire – I’m pretty sure she’d hate it too – and I’d like to offer her a way out.”

    “And what do you have in mind?”

    “She needs to be dead,” Thane said bluntly.

    Rieekan was taken aback. “Are you telling me that you went to the trouble of rescuing her forcibly from her Star Destroyer only to kill her yourself?”

    The young man laughed nervously. “No, sir, that’s not at all what I meant. I meant that we need the Empire to believe she’s dead.”

    The general scratched his head. “That would take a secret trial. It would be bending the law a bit, but it should be feasible, and if that wins her over… Fine. We’ll still need people like her in the future. How did she die?”

    “The simple solution is to claim that she was still aboard the Inflictor when she crashed on the surface of Jakku, sir. It was her intention anyway, she even informed her crew before they evacuated. All we’d have to do is to never mention the rescue.”

    There was a pause. “It won’t work,” Rieekan said finally. “We’d be making her a hero of the Empire who scuttled her ship instead of surrendering, and they’ll plaster her face all over their propaganda… It won’t be much of a way out if she has to live in seclusion forevermore. We need a cover story that makes her just another casualty of the war.” He eyed the commander again. “Since you mentioned a simple solution, I take it that you also have a complicated one to offer?”

    Thane smiled brightly and pulled a datachip out of his pocket. “I do, sir.”

    Rieekan took the datachip and inserted it in the correct slot on his desk. A holo materialised between the two men, revealing a scene from the space battle above Jakku. The recording was surprisingly clear and linear, without any of the jerks, swerves and shakiness that were typical of footage captured in a war zone. “What am I looking at?” he asked.

    “This is from the black box of one of our Y-wings that crashed on Jakku, sir. It was piloted by a Gamorrean spacecraft marshaller from the Concord.”

    The general raised an eyebrow. “A Gamorrean spacecraft marshaller?”

    The young man chuckled. “It’s a long story, sir. Zane fell in the Y-wing and it took off on auto-pilot.”

    “He fell?” Thane opened his mouth to speak, but Rieekan waved a hand before he could start. “On second thought, I’d rather not know the details. What did he do?”

    Thane pointed at the holo to indicate four Rebel craft nestling against the hull of a Star Destroyer. “This is us boarding the Inflictor. We got Ciena, we detached…” He waited a little until a moment when the recording jolted violently. “This is when it happened. The Y-wing was hit from behind, the shock released his torpedoes…” – he paused for effect – “... and they slammed straight into the Inflictor’s bridge.”

    Rieekan grinned at the cloud of bright speckles that was blooming on the holo. “With a very satisfying explosion too. This is excellent. We could simply leak this bit of footage to the media, without the section that shows the boarding craft. Like many others, Captain Ree died on the bridge of her Star Destroyer.”

    “At the hand of a wand waver, no less. That’s not propaganda material at all. We could even put Zane in front of the cameras for extra oomph.”

    “He’s still alive?”

    “Heavily bandaged, but definitely alive, sir. Zane’s got to be the luckiest Gamorrean in the galaxy.”

    * * *

    Zane wasn’t too sure how he’d found himself here, but he wasn’t complaining.

    The Chandrila Hospital staff were very kind to him. They changed his bacta bandages every day, they brought him his favourite foods at mealtimes and they even saved his morrts in a jar until he could attach them to his skin again. Furthermore, he’d received several visits from a certain Thane Kyrell who told him that he’d brought down a Star Destroyer all by himself and that he would be granted the New Republic’s medal of valour for that outstanding feat. All in all, things were looking up for him. Jabba the Hutt was dead, the Empire was gone, and Mum would be proud enough of her son to forgive him for standing her up on Tatooine two years ago. Yes, things were looking up.

    Today, however, he was a little nervous. Commander Kyrell had said that a news reporter was coming to interview him about his role in bringing down the Inflictor, and Zane was naturally shy. It also concerned him that he couldn’t quite remember the bit about the Star Destroyer, even after the commander had shown him the segment of footage that was already playing in a loop on every channel of the HoloNet. He did recall flying towards the Imperial fleet, but that was about it. The doctors had told him that he’d suffered a concussion and had made him promise that he wouldn’t get into a cockpit without a helmet in the future, which was all fine and good since he firmly intended to never fly again – but how was he going to answer the reporter’s questions? He didn’t want to make a fool of himself just in his moment of glory. Mum would be furious and he’d never hear the end of it.

    The door to his room opened with a swoosh, and he did his best to sit up against his pillows as a young man walked in, followed by a protocol droid, a tall woman with long black hair and a Sullustan who was carrying a holocam. “Zane, this is Tracene Kane and her camera operator Birt, of the Queen of the Core Network,” Commander Kyrell said.

    “And you must be Zane, the daredevil of Jakku!” the woman said enthusiastically. “The crewman who, when the going got tough, chose to jump in a cockpit and save the day!”

    Zane’s cheeks took a light shade of purple under his bandages and he let out a mumble.

    “Zane says that this isn’t exactly what happened,” the protocol droid translated. “Something strange happened on the Concord and he was floating near the ceiling when –”

    “Oh, but you are far too modest!” Tracene exclaimed. “Are you capturing this, Birt? I can already imagine the segment title: ‘A Most Unassuming Hero’. The audience will love it!”

    Commander Kyrell placed a hand on Zane’s shoulder. “We should tell Zane that the audience loves him already. I was in a restaurant last night and his exploits in the Battle of Jakku are the talk of the town.”

    “Absolutely!” the journalist said. “How do you feel about that, Zane? Knowing that sentients of all species around the galaxy admire you and look up to you?”

    Zane wasn’t too sure how to answer that. He grunted. “Zane says that he is glad he made his mother proud,” the droid translated.

    “How adorable! She must have been a wonderful mother to you.”

    Well, not quite. He grunted again. “Zane says that his mother is actually quite terrifying,” the droid said. “When he was little, she –”

    “Zane means that his mother is a formidable lady,” Commander Kyrell intervened. “She would have to be, to have raised such a formidable son.”

    “Indeed. Are you getting this, Birt? Good. Tell me, Zane, where did you learn to pilot Y-wings? Was it during the downtime in the hangar bay? Did you sneak in the sims when no one was looking?”

    What was she talking about? He let out a long rumble. “Zane says that he never learned how to pilot Y-wings. It was his first time in the cockpit, and he’d rather not repeat the experience.”

    “Tsk, tsk.” Tracene patted the Gamorrean’s snout. “You can tell us, you know. No one will punish you for fiddling around with Republic property, not after what you achieved.”

    How in the galaxy was he going to talk himself out of this situation? He settled for a series of barks. “Zane says that Chief Damaya would be very upset to find out what he did while she had her back turned. She’s very by-the-book, but that also makes her an outstanding engineer. He’d rather you not play this bit on air.”

    “That’s perfectly understandable – we wouldn’t want to ruin a long-standing friendship, would we? Birt, make sure to tag that as off-the-record. Now, Zane, tell me. What were you doing, what were you thinking as you flew towards the Inflictor?”

    What could he reply to that? The truth was usually the best option, no matter that he’d just told her a lie. “Zane says that he was listening to Life Is a Tapcafé.”

    “You were listening to music? Oh my, you really are fearless, aren’t you? Mind you, I should have known from your ship’s holos of the battle. You didn’t even try to evade the bolts that were flying around you.”

    She looked at him expectantly. He had to come up something, anything, if he wanted to make a good impression. He grumbled and gurgled. “Zane says that there was no time to waste.”

    The reporter was left slack-jawed. “This is extraordinary dedication,” she murmured. “You were truly committed to restoring the Republic.”

    Zane had no idea what that meant. He simply nodded.

    “And then, we come to the crucial moment – the moment when your ship was hit from behind, but instead of trying to save yourself, you aimed at the Inflictor and shot your torpedoes. I was told that you don’t remember it or anything that happened after that.”

    Zane pondered her words for a moment and growled. “Zane says that he doesn’t remember it at all. He doesn’t know how it happened.”

    “It’s a pilot’s reflex,” Thane Kyrell intervened. “Get to the target, even if you’re about to die. Zane really is a natural; it’s a shame we wasted his talent on the hangar floor during the years of the Rebellion. He’s such a gifted pilot, he could even compete with Luke Skywalker.”

    Zane didn’t know who Luke Skywalker was, so he kept mum.

    “Do you have what you need, Tracene?” Kyrell continued. “You heard what the doctors said, their patient needs to rest and all that.”

    “Oh yes, we’re absolutely fine. Zane, would you like to add something?”

    Did he? Yes, he did. He rumbled happily. “Zane says hi to his Mum and tells her that he’ll be home soon.”

    Tracene Kane smiled. “And you just gave us the punchline we needed. Thank you so much, Zane. Did you get it all, Birt?”

    “I did,” the Sullustan said. “Great stuff too. The self-effacement, the concision, and those fearsome tusks… A great combo, if I say so myself.”

    The woman’s smile widened. “It’s in the box. We’ve got our hero.”

    A very cheerful Commander Kyrell winked at a very puzzled Zane. “Indeed we do. It’s in the box.”


    Notes and Wookieepedia links

    Battle of Jakku
    Ciena Ree

    Jelucani First Wavers
    Grand Moff Randd
    Imperial Instruments of Surrender
    Kyrsta Agate
    Muja fruit
    Nadiri Dockyards
    Queen of the Core Network

    Starhawk-class battleship
    There is no traditional Dantooinian salute that I know of in canon; the gesture I chose is a reference to the Oromo people’s protests in Ethiopia in 2016.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh, Chyntuck! What a fun read and tie-in to so many things! =D= Only you could do that so effortlessly. @};-
    Thane and Ciena :cool: and the AudioBulb strategically used ;)
    AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  6. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    This thread proves once more how versatile and inventive you are as a fan fic author, @Chyntuck. You invent characters that readers can relate to immediately. One wants to stay put for more stories, learn more about that person. Wonderfully done!
  7. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    I wish I could hit "like" more than once. This...was...PERFECT! So sweet, so Zane... dear, clueless Zane... and I love that his Mum is still right up there with Jabba and the Empire as the things he fears. And true to the essence of Gamorreans, not really very bright, not able to be articulate... but not all are thugs and brutes; some just want to get along. Love Chief Damaya's patience with him.

    And you have four more bunnies for this?!!! Oh, such joyful anticipation!
    AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  8. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Force Ghost star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    I'm always looking for fics about non-human characters, and I enjoyed this one very much. What a unique and imaginative set of stories! Gamorreans are so often considered as good only for mindless muscle, but there was enough character development here to set Zane apart from the average. First he finds his niche, then he rises above it -- all entirely by happy (mostly) accident. I wish Zane well in his new-found role as Republic hero. :)
    AzureAngel2, Findswoman and Sarge like this.