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Saga The Way -- Imperial TIE Pilots, OCs, OT, complete 6/17 (extras 6/24)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Thumper09, Feb 19, 2008.

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  1. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    Title: The Way
    Author: Thumper09
    Timeframe: OT era, sometime between ANH and ESB
    Characters: OCs, mostly Imperials
    Genre: Drama
    Summary: An Imperial TIE pilot experiences a life-changing event.
    Notes: This story is my response to the "OC Project" in the [link=http://boards.theforce.net/fan_fiction_resource/b10304/25562370/]Essential Guide to OCs[/link] thread. Without the effort put forth for that Project by ale and all the other collaborators, Chase wouldn't be around right now. In other words, I blame them. :p But seriously, thanks to all who made it happen.
    Updates will be made weekly on either Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
    Disclaimer: George still hasn't sold Star Wars to me, so I have to admit that it isn't mine. I'll put the universe back when I'm done.

    Constructive criticism is most welcome. Hit me with whatever you've got.

    ----------

    "The Way"


    Prologue

    Chase Barton stared at the ceiling through the darkness while he lay in bed. The bedroom window was open as it was almost every night, allowing the fresh sea breeze to blow in off the bay. Chase inhaled deeply and savored the salty-smelling air. This assignment might have put him out on one of the farthest edges of the galaxy thousands of light-years from nowhere, but it was a million times better than the cramped, polluted conditions of Coruscant.

    From beside him, his half-asleep wife snaked her arm across his chest. "You still awake?" she mumbled, eyes closed. "Get some sleep."

    Chase laid his hand atop Lataise's and kept his voice quiet. "I will." His accent still betrayed the origin of the pilot in his mid-twenties, and his light brown military crew cut gave a less traitorous hint to his general profession.

    Lataise pried her eyes partway open and squinted at him. "You are awake. Can't you sleep?"

    With a shrug, Chase whispered, "Just thinking."

    "About what? It's too late to be thinking."

    "I'm working through some schedules in my mind. I think I can finish getting the baby's room painted before I leave if I come home during my lunch break today and work on it then." Chase already had gotten some of it done, and finishing it shouldn't take long; he had all the supplies he needed.

    The slight confusion in Lataise's green eyes showed that she was still not fully conscious. "You'll only be gone a few weeks. You'll have more than enough time to do it when you get back."

    Chase figured Lataise must really be tired if she thought this was something he would put off. It was too early in her pregnancy for her to even be showing yet, but that hadn't stopped him from diving headfirst into the preparations with her. Sometimes she even teased him that he was more excited about it than she was, and sometimes he wondered if that might be true.

    He hadn't thought it would be possible for him to adore his wife more than he already did, but when she had broken the news to him that the baby they'd been trying for for so long was finally on its way, he'd realized it truly was possible.

    He couldn't wait to be a father. He couldn't wait for Lataise to be a mother. This child was going to be special--it was going to be theirs--and he couldn't wait to share the galaxy with him or her and in turn see the wonders of the galaxy through his child's eyes. Life seemed more complete and meaningful with that prospect.

    Sure, they would have lots of time after Chase got back before the baby arrived, but so what? Chase smiled a bit and said, "I know. But I'm happy to do it. I want to." Chase leaned over and kissed her gently, then she enveloped him in a sleepy hug.

    Lataise soon fell back asleep with her head on his shoulder and her arm around him. Chase pulled the blanket up farther to protect her from the cool breeze, and then he softly brushed some stray strands of her mussed-up wavy brown hair away from
     
  2. Jade_Max

    Jade_Max Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 28, 2002
    Interesting way to start a fic about Imperial Tie fighters.. showing that they're human lends a whole new dynamic to their backstory.

    This was a sweet opener but for me I got undercurrent of unease. Any time anyone thinks they have all the time in the world, it's like they're being set up to die...
     
  3. Luton_Plunder

    Luton_Plunder Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Hey Thumper! Sorry it's taken me so long to get here.

    This was a great start to the OC Project! Chase is brilliantly portrayed with the prospect of fatherhood making him a doting dad already. Already we can get a really good idea of what sort of a character he is. Loves his family - and even though it's a small detail, probably insignificant, I really appreciate the way you describe his thought process with an emphasis on protection.


    Things like that, it really establishes the theme of keeping his family safe. Great job, just great :D

    Looking forward to more, count me in! If I could have a PM when a new update is posted, that'd be great - the link will be put up in the OC index in the next update, once the challenge is done.
     
  4. JediMindTrick000

    JediMindTrick000 Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Dec 14, 2004
    That's a fantastic start, Thumper. Mostly because of its all-too-realism. Being in the Navy with a wife, two little padawans already and hopefully another one on the way soon, I can say from personal experience you hit the nail right on the head with this one. Well done.
     
  5. The_Face

    The_Face Ex-Manager star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Great work, Thumper! Very nice job writing Chase and the missus ? it?s clear they?re in love with each other, but you don?t give your readers cavities. :p

    And I think I?ve mentioned in the Guide already that I love the Imperial focus. If you?ll be having a PM list, I?d like to be on it. [face_batting]
     
  6. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    Thanks to everyone for reading! :D

    Jade_Max: I like portraying Imperials (especially lower-ranked ones) as everyday people with a different outlook on the galaxy, and the OC Project? helped encourage the creation of a (hopefully) sympathetic character. I'm glad Chase comes across as human.
    And of course they have all the time in the world. Nothing to worry about. [face_whistling]
    Thanks for reading!

    Luton: I'm glad you picked up on those different aspects, because they're large parts of who Chase is. He's got to have some motivation for willingly climbing into a flimsy TIE Fighter, doesn't he? :p I'm glad to have you on board, and thanks for the R&R!

    JMT: Wow, thanks so much! [face_blush] Congrats on the potential third padawan. :) I try to get at least some semblence of military realism in my stories, but I know it won't all be perfect. Plus, this is the first time I'm writing organized Imperials in-depth instead of the sloppy, unorganized Rebels. :p If there's anything glaringly wrong, I would love to hear your insights on it so I can fix it. :) Thanks for the reply!

    Face: Better dental hygiene through OCs. ;) I'm happy that it wasn't too over-the-top between Chase and his wife, and I'll do my best with the Imperial focus. Thanks a bunch for reading!

    w00t, my very first Update PM list...I guess that just goes to show how long it's been since I posted a multi-post story here, huh? :p I've got Face and Futon on it, and if anyone else would like to be included, just say the word. You can opt out at any time. (I can never think of PM lists without thinking of Season One of Heroes...)

    And now, a slightly longer post than the last one...

    --------

    Chapter One

    The pair of TIE Fighters from Fireburner Squadron of the 321st Imperial Fighter Group followed their designated course through the interplanetary space of the Craci System. Chase's sensors were active as he and his wingman kept watch for any ships not on an approved flight path or which otherwise seemed suspicious. The system's location and situation made it susceptible to pirates and smugglers, and ever since the planetary defense satellites around the two inhabited planets had been destroyed, the Empire had stepped in to assist with protection of the populations.

    From inside the leading TIE Fighter, Chase looked around at the familiar starfield through his cockpit windows. "It's strange to think about, Four," Chase remarked to his wingman, Lieutenant Junior Grade Radek Deror, while addressing him by his squadron designation.

    "What is, Three?" Radek asked.

    "That this will be our last patrol out here for a while."

    "Eh, I don't care," replied Radek. "Nothing ever happens way out here, and patrols day after day are enough to drive you crazy. I'm really looking forward to some real action!"

    Chase meant it when he said, "I'm glad you're looking forward to it so much. I'm happy to do my part and all to make the galaxy safer, but I'll be glad to get back here when we're done with this temporary duty tour."

    He divided his visual attention between his sensors and the view outside while they talked. Chase loved challenging himself by navigating by sight; navigational instruments made the feat too easy.

    The pair passed the docking structure TIE pilots could use to board suspicious ships out in the interplanetary space. It marked the halfway point for their patrol lap, and Chase smoothly guided his TIE into a turn to their next checkpoint, still trying to maneuver and orient his flight path by sight alone. Radek kept perfect time beside him.

    "Yeah, I'll bet you won't be able to wait to get back," Radek said once their flight path straightened again. "Gotta get back to those smoochies smoochies, right? Right? Poor Junior Lieutenant Barton, gettin' himself no wife-lovin' for a few weeks."

    "My relationship with my wife is no concern of yours
     
  7. JediMindTrick000

    JediMindTrick000 Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Dec 14, 2004
    When I signed up with the Navy I wanted to go after some Rebs, not babysit some wimpy far-flung planet.

    Kinda reminds me of my own sentiments. I joined the Navy to blow some stuff up, but really I just go around in circles for a few months and come back.

    Fantastic update. Your depiction of the military is actually right on. Those farewells are the hardest part, no doubt. And those conversations you wrote were all too realistic. and I tell you what, you say "only five weeks" ahead of time, but man oh man do they turn out to be a long five weeks.

    Definitely add me to your PM list. =D=
     
  8. Arcalian

    Arcalian Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Mar 13, 2005
    Very, Very Good.

    You have my attention.

    The TIE pilots were the one imperial rank that always interested me.

    Put me on the PM list, please....
     
  9. Luton_Plunder

    Luton_Plunder Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Aha! I'm getting the impression that Radek is looking forward to being deployed elsewhere ;) hehe.

    Very well handled Thumper! It was a very good introduction to the squad culture, and it was great to see TIE pilots bantering like regular people as opposed to being faceless bad guys. Putting masks over their face was a masterstroke by Lucasfilm so that when the triumphant good guys killed all those pilots they wouldn't look like people. I have a sneaking suspicion you're going to deconstruct that misconception ;)

    Oh, and nice thread-weaving between Chase's wife-life and his issues with his brother. Personal conflicts, ahoy :D Looking forward to the next post! And sorry this reply took so long. It's the rain's fault, I promise ;)
     
  10. reagan64

    reagan64 Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Feb 26, 2006
    It's nice to see another Imperial Military-themed story on the boards! Your OCs are great, very 'alive.' It really make me want to learn more about them. Keep up the good work.
     
  11. The_Face

    The_Face Ex-Manager star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 22, 2003
    I can never think of PM lists without thinking of Season One of Heroes...)

    Ah yes. ?Save the Private Message; save the board.?

    The words helped his stride, but they didn't fill up the void that materialized in the pit of his stomach.

    Lines like this really put us into Chase?s shoes. You?ve done an awesome job here with giving the reader a connection with our hero and portraying the TIE Fighter pilots very realistically and sympathetically.

    Fantastic start, Thumper! =D=
     
  12. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    JMT: Thanks for your comments! It's hard for me to find a good balance with scenes like the farewells. And Chase is going to start feeling that time drag by pretty soon. Radek, on the other hand, is the exception to the rule. :p Thanks for reading!

    Arcalian: Thanks for the compliment. :) I agree, TIE pilots are pretty neat (and aside from Fel, very underused, IMHO). Thanks for reading!

    L_P: Poor Radek, dreading deployment as much as he is. :p
    I will do my best to prove that TIE pilots are people too. In doing so, I will attempt to undermine everything that Lucasfilm has built on their "masked bad guy" foundation. ;) Next stop: stormtroopers.
    Thanks for the R&R! Send some of that rain my way--the lawn looks icky. Well, ickier than usual.

    reagan64: I'm always surprised that there's not more Imperial-themed fiction on the boards since I know a lot of people who are fascinated by the Empire. Thank you very much for the compliment and for reading!

    Face: Heh heh, yeah, that and all the stuff about Dr. Suresh's List too. ;) Darn cool show.
    I'm really glad Chase is turning out to be connectable (is that a word?) and realistic. :) Thanks a bunch for the reply!


    Okay, now that most of the background is done...

    ---------

    Chapter Two

    Chase Barton stared at the ceiling from where he lay on his bunk. Blast, he was tired. He hadn't been sleeping well on these rock-hard so-called "mattresses" in the bunks his squadron had on the Nebulon-B Nashtah...or at least, that was what he told people.

    He turned onto his stomach and looked at the wall at the head of his bed. He had taken holos of Lataise, Kane, his older sister Jina, his parents and a few good friends, including one he had attended the Imperial Naval Academy with, and printed them out on flimsi sheets and adhered them there to the wall. Another picture was of the group of kids he and some other adults were teaching to camp back on Craci IV. All of the kids and adults had signed it and wished him luck on his combat deployment. And finally, there was a piece of flimsi on which Lataise had written a date: 32 Yelona. The pilot reached out and traced the writing with his fingertips. That was the day when, at long, long last, they were expecting their first child. He felt some of Radek's impatience rubbing off on him as he thought about how far off that date still was.

    His gaze found its way back to Lataise's picture. It had only been a week, but already he was counting down the days until he would be back home. And even though it had been a week, he could still taste that last kiss she gave him. Chase closed his eyes and lived that moment over aga--

    His chrono beeped, signaling the imminent beginning of his duty shift. Chase grumbled at the interruption as he opened his eyes and silenced his alarm. He climbed down from his top bunk and walked past the other Fireburners' bunks on his way out of the sleeping quarters to the hangar. He had to concentrate on his job now. Besides, Chase was certain that his wandering thoughts of what was happening back home would keep him awake tonight as they had the other nights. There would be time enough to contemplate things on the homefront then.

    The flight he was in was due to launch on a patrol soon and scout out the area around the planet where the small fleet would be refueling. The refueling wouldn't take long, as most of the ships were small cargo transports without the capacity to hold a large amount of fuel, but it was also a time when they were vulnerable, and the job of Nashtah and the TIEs aboard her was to protect them. In an area of space where Rebel attacks were becoming more frequent, the captain of Nashtah was insisting on a security recon patrol.

    There was a small room near the hangar where details of patrols were ironed out between the participants before they left, and when Chase got there he found the other three members of the flight already present
     
  13. yodas_waiter

    yodas_waiter Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Oct 31, 2006
    Very interesting start to the story. I've just finished reading Death Star which depicts the always not so interesting life of a TIE pilot and you too have capture that feeling very well, if not better than the authors of the book! I love Chase too, he is a very sympathetic character. :) Can't wait to see what happens with these shifty looking Y-Wings. Well done Thumper! =D=
     
  14. The_Face

    The_Face Ex-Manager star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 22, 2003
    I'm liking the time you're taking to put a lot of detail into Chase's character. The Y-wing incident worked nicely to show the differences between him and Radek.

    Excellent update! Thanks for the PM (the Imperial signature is a particularly nice touch :D).
     
  15. Arcalian

    Arcalian Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Mar 13, 2005
    I get the sinking feeling that if Chase keeps going on and on about the "right way to create Order" that Radek is sooner or later going to start thinking he might be a Rebel sympathizer.

    Oh, I think Radek is a real @#$@@% in case you hadn't noticed. Heh.

    The Y-Wing Pilot's response is perfectly in character for a Rebel, too.
     
  16. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    yodas_waiter: Aw, now you're gonna make me blush. [face_blush] Thanks for the compliment. I've heard some interesting things about Death Star. Unfortunately we're done with those particular shifty-looking Y-wings as the rest of that activity was status quo on the Imperials' end, but there's always more where that came from. ;) Thanks for reading!

    Face: For some reason I've always been more comfortable writing longer stories like this as opposed to viggies, and in this case too it took me a while to get a handle on Chase. All of that kind of resulted in going slow at the beginning like this, but I'm glad it's working. :)
    I'm still trying to figure out how I want to do these update PM's, but I am fond of that Imp signature. ;) Thanks, and thanks for reading!

    Arcalian:
    ...that Radek is sooner or later going to start thinking he might be a Rebel sympathizer.
    Possible. Possible. [face_whistling]
    I know some of the Fireburner pilots would agree with you regarding Radek's personality, LOL. Thanks for reading!

    ---

    Now...Chapter Three. In a story where 94% of it is outside the realm of what I usually write, this chapter was by far the hardest. I'm still not entirely happy with some parts, and please don't hesitate to let me know of any problems with it. I've also been going back and forth on whether to post the whole chapter or break it up. Posting the whole chapter means it's a long update, but breaking it up messes up next week and doesn't really work either. So I'm posting the whole thing and just warning you all up front that it's longer than my more "normal" updates. It figures that it's the chapter with Chase's designation number that's causing me the most problems. :p

    --------------

    Chapter Three


    A week and a half and two small skirmishes later, Nashtah had placed its on-duty TIE pilots on alert as the fleet had come out of hyperspace at an Imperial transfer point in the late morning. As per standard operating procedures, Chase and the other pilots had been fully suited up and staying in the hangar near their ships. It was the perfect breeding ground for a continuation of the squadron's latest internal debate when the commander and executive officer weren't in earshot.

    "I can't believe I actually agree with Deror," one of the pilots was saying. "We know that Y-wing was up to no good or it wouldn't have been hiding on that moon. You should have shot it, Barton."

    "Yeah. What if it had gotten away? It could have taken out both of you. It was a totally unnecessary risk to not eliminate the threat once and for all," another added.

    Chase was tired of all the flak he'd been getting from some of his squadmates over his actions on that patrol. He crossed his arms. "I stand by my decision," he said stubbornly. "In that situation, it was the proper thing to do."

    "Are you guys still going at this?" a third pilot piped up. "Didn't it ever occur to you that live prisoners equal a source of information we can use? We've had many, many Imperial lives saved because of what we've learned from captured enemies."

    "But we wouldn't need--"

    The discussion was interrupted by the deafening blare of Nashtah's battlestations sirens. The pilots ran to their fighters as the ship-wide intercom announced the call to battlestations and incoming fire. The hangar instantly snapped into organized chaos.

    Chase's crew chief told him his TIE was good to go as Chase ran past him and climbed into the cockpit. While the hatch closed, Chase put on his helmet, strapped himself in and finished powering up the few systems the crew chief hadn't had a chance to get to yet. When he turned on his comm system, his headset instantly bombarded him with the talk and instructions coming over his squadron's frequency.

    In a minute the 321st Fireburners reported ready, and they began to launch into space. Nashtah's other TIE squadron, one from the 487th
     
  17. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    This chapter is more of a normal length. Also, the next update will take place on Sunday since I'll be without Internet access the rest of that week.

    --------

    Chapter Four


    The first thing Chase became aware of was the disgusting taste of bacta in his mouth.

    It brought him back to consciousness more effectively than any audible chrono alarm could have. He squeezed his eyes shut harder, grimaced and opened his mouth to get that taste out of--

    "Chase?"

    He recognized his name.

    "Chase? You awake? You okay?"

    He recognized the voice now too, though it was sounding nervous, a far cry from how it usually sounded. Chase slowly pried his eyes open and turned his head a bit. Sure enough, sitting there in a chair beside the bed was Radek with his big eyes even wider than normal. His head was tilted to the side somewhat.

    It was much warmer here, though he still felt chilled deep within. Chase pulled his bed's blanket up some more.

    "Radek?" he managed weakly. "You're dead too?"

    Radek tilted his head more as Chase spoke and furrowed his brow in concentration, then after a short pause he replied a bit loudly, "Did you ask if I'm dead? Hell, no, I'm not, and you're not either."

    That didn't make sense. "What happened?"

    "Well, I knew your TIE didn't explode from that hit, but I couldn't tell if you were still alive before we had to pull out, and you were out of range of Nashtah's tractor beams. We regrouped and were doing damage control and repair when a smaller Imperial ship contacted us about a day later and said they had found you near the transfer point, but they didn't have the capability to bring you onboard. So then Commander Wiantance convinced the captain to send a rescue shuttle back for you. You were in pretty bad shape when they found you: hypothermia, frostbite, some broken bones and a bit delusional. It didn't look like you were going to pull through. They confirmed your identity with DNA testing, then you were in bacta for your bone and frostbite treatment, and they pulled you out not too long ago."

    "So I've noticed," Chase muttered, smacking his lips. "So...I'm not dead." It was a welcome yet almost foreign concept to him now, and larger than he could wrap his mind around at the moment. Maybe that was why he didn't feel as happy as he would have expected. Chase mustered the strength to move to a different topic. "Are you okay? How many people did we lose in that fight?"

    "You bet I'm okay. It takes more than a little dogfight to get rid of ol' Radek. Right? Right?" Radek smiled a bit, but it seemed forced. After a pause, he continued in the same slightly louder tone but in a more serious voice, "We lost six: Bridger, Hailen, Fikri, Rostecek, Arliss and Eairrsidh. The 487th lost four. A couple more, like you, are down for injuries here in medbay. They're trying to get some more TIEs sent here for the backups and other shift pilots to fly so we can be back to a full fighter complement soon. Sorry, but they did the memorial services while you were in bacta."

    Chase nodded and allowed the news of their lost squadmates to sink in. Damned Rebels, fighting dirty. Ten good men were dead because of it. Ten good men would never return to their families because of it. Well, no more.

    Radek looked past Chase, and then he said, "Uh oh, the doctor's giving me that look, the one all the bartenders give me right before they throw me out. I think he wants me to let you get some rest. I better do that before he pokes me with something sharp." Radek at least didn't sound as nervous anymore. He stood and said to his wingman, "Take it easy, and I'll come by to see you later, okay, Chase?"

    "Sure. Thanks for the visit."

    Radek gave a grin in reply and walked out. Chase suddenly thought of something and said, "Oh, Radek, wait a second," but Radek never stopped or turned aro
     
  18. Idrelle_Miocovani

    Idrelle_Miocovani Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Feb 5, 2005
    I can't believe I didn't catch this earlier! :oops:

    Fantastic story, Thumper! I've recently developed a taste for fics featuring OC pilots (Imperial or otherwise), so this is quite a gem! :D I love your OCs. Wonderful character development so far; I'm looking forwards to more!

    Could I be added to the PM list? [face_batting]
     
  19. Arcalian

    Arcalian Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Mar 13, 2005
    Fooled me. I thought the Rebels were going to find him, and he would learn they didn't do "horrible things to their prisoners". It's very likely he won't learn better until after the battle of Endor....if he survives that long. And even then he might go into the ever shrinking Imperial space.

    As for his "Buddy" Radek, it's real simple. He wants to live fast, die young and leave a martyr to the Empire's cause. Flying is all he knows.

    The TIE versus X wing stuff was good, reminding me of the old stoires about F-15s versus MiGs. The TIEs are more maneuverable, sure, but much less stable. Hard to control.

    Never saw a proton torpedo used in ship to ship combat before, but that is perhaps not surprising as I've not read much X Wing or TIE pilot fiction before this. Kudos!
     
  20. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    Idrelle_Miocovani: Welcome to the wild and crazy world of OC Pilots. ;) Be careful: once they have you, they never let go. Thank you very much for reading and for your compliments! Hopefully the character development will not disappoint. I'll add you to the PM list. :)

    Arcalian: Very true. The Rebels don't mistreat their prisoners, but even if they were decent to him I think Chase would be expecting an ulterior motive. ;)

    You hit the nail on the head--flying is all Radek knows or really cares about.

    I don't remember where I first saw the torpedo salvos in a dogfight, but I think it was in the X-wing novels (which I highly recommend everyone read if they haven't already ;) ). Wherever it was, though, I think of it as a standard Rebel starfighter tactic and I use it a lot. I think it's meant to whittle down the numbers of the TIEs quickly to even things out more before the dogfight starts.

    Thanks for reading and replying!

    -----

    Here's the promised Sunday update since I'll be offline the rest of this week. The next update will be back on the normal schedule next Tuesday or Wednesday (4/1 or 4/2).

    --------------

    Chapter Five


    Chase's countdown reached zero at long last, and after a couple days' delay they were heading back to Cracian space.

    The return flight seemed longer than the flight out, and during his off-duty hours Chase restlessly stalked the corridors of the Victory Star Destroyer that was transporting them back to the Corporate Sector. Like on the outbound trip, the squadron was using the return trip to get themselves oriented to the local time zone of their destination, and this time it meant Chase's daytime took place during the Victory's night cycle. It felt a bit strange to think the temporary assignment was actually over and he'd soon be back in Legis Bay with its normal, laid back, day-to-day life. He couldn't wait to be with Lataise again.

    The various moods of the rest of the Fireburners underscored the fractured state of the squadron since they had lost their six pilots. Some wanted to stay out on the front lines and exact revenge for their fallen squadmates. Some wanted to put it all behind them. All of them were still trying to cope and mentally recover, but Chase knew that as Imperial officers, not a single one would admit to such a weakness. He wouldn't either.

    At the end of their journey, Wiantance still didn't allow Radek to fly down to the base in a TIE and instead was ordering him to go on a transport. Radek was angry almost to the point of insubordination, and Chase quickly pulled him aside and shut down Radek's outburst before he said one word too many. Wiantance had been insisting on stricter discipline since the loss of their pilots, and if he caught wind of Radek's attitude and anger during the flight preps, it would lead to a confrontation, a chewing out and yet another landing delay.

    Though even with as floundering and fragmented as the pilots were, it was hard to tell anything was wrong from an outside perspective based on the smooth way the Fireburners all formed up outside the Victory in Cracian orbit and flew down to Legis Bay Imperial Naval Base in perfect formation. The familiar landing racks were a welcome sight to Chase when his fighter broke through the grey clouds of the late afternoon.

    After the squadron landed, he secured his fighter with the help of a temporary replacement technician from another group. Transports were landing, and the base around them was alive with activity to receive the pilots and support crews who were returning.

    Commander Wiantance gathered all the Fireburner pilots together, then he waited for a sulking Radek, another injured pilot and the other shift pilots to disembark from their transport and join them. He began to go over the schedule for the next few days, when and where the pilots were expected to report next after some time off, and other information.

    Chase waited with growing im
     
  21. Idrelle_Miocovani

    Idrelle_Miocovani Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Feb 5, 2005
    Thank you for the PM! Twas quite an interesting note. :p

    Except that it wasn't. It almost had been Lataise going through that pain now. His squadmates had been killed by the Rebels, and the Rebels were still out there, endangering everyone and everything. He suppressed a shudder at the vivid memories of being stranded in his TIE, face-to-face with the end of his life and the loss of all he had. For the first time Chase didn't feel safe in Lataise's arms, and he knew she shouldn't feel safe in his either. He couldn't protect his family from the Rebels unless he did something more drastic than endless system patrols on the edge of the Corporate Sector. He hated thinking he was so powerless and so worthless that he couldn't even keep the people he cared about safe.

    =D=

    It's really cool to see things from the Imperial point of view. We're so accustomed to seeing the Rebels as the good guys because that's what George showed us in the OT. We're so used to picturing them all as "bad guys", but really, they have feelings too and they're fighting for something just as much as the Rebels are. I love your depiction of this. It's so realistic -- wonderful!

    Wonderful scene with Chase. I'm liking him more and more as this fic develops. :)
     
  22. LordGoldenArrow

    LordGoldenArrow Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 13, 2002
    I want to be on this mysterious PM list!

    Great job Thumper! Awesome work. I'll send you my comments by email as always.

    Please write more!
     
  23. Arcalian

    Arcalian Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Mar 13, 2005
    Home isn't what it was, eh? I feel sorry for you my man, I really do. But going back out wont help, especially since you're so afraid every time you fly.

    Lots of people beleived in the Empire, yes. Lots of people beleived in the Separatist Confederacy, too. Sad, isn't it?
     
  24. The_Face

    The_Face Ex-Manager star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Oh dear I missed some posts. :oops:

    Great work with Chase lost at sea ? er, space. The desperation and excruciating wait aren?t easy to get across on the page but you did an excellent job; I think the slightly extended length helped in that aspect.

    Speaking in my capacity as a guy who doesn?t really go for ?hard? sci-fi, I?m enjoying the level of realism in this fic relating to the role of a TIE Fighter pilot and the setting you?ve put him in. You?ve struck a pretty good balance where it adds to the richness of the story rather than distracts. :D

    And some of the reason behind that we see particularly in the next chapter: You treat the characters right. Good work with Radek and Chase?s shifting dynamic, and before that Chase?s shifting attitude toward the Rebellion. It all really rings true.

    Man, rough chat with Kane though big brother didn?t notice. No wonder Chase has confidence issues.

    Brilliant chapters, Thumper! =D==D=

     
  25. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    Idrelle: (Is it okay if I call you that, or do you prefer your whole screen name?) Doing things from the Imperial side has certainly been an eye-opener for me. I agree with you: Imps are people too. :) I'm very glad it's coming across as realistic, and please let me know if it ever stops being that way--we're starting to get into the bigger after-effects of Chase's combat experience. Thanks for reading and replying! :)

    LGA: There's nothing mysterious about the PM list, except for me trying to figure out the ins and outs of it. :p I'll add you, and thanks for the comments. Two quick answers will be at the beginning of your PM.

    Please write more!

    NO! I REFUSE!

    :p

    Arcalian: Yes, unfortunately Chase's home life is a bit different now than what he had, and his regular piloting job is hard too after what happened. That doesn't leave much that he feels he knows and is comfortable with, unless things get better. But on the bright side, from his point in time the Empire is still in the prime of its life, its glory days. Nothing to worry about. ;) Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

    Face: I'm glad the "lost at" section worked for you. Trying to figure out the pacing on that was a nightmare, especially with the first part being so fast and then the last part being so insanely slow. :p
    Thanks for the compliments on the balance and the character dynamics. This Project has certainly been a challenge with trying to keep in line with the characters through it all, and I hope it continues. (Okay, that sentence made more sense in my head...)
    The dynamic with Kane is sure a convoluted thing to try to figure out, LOL. But yes, one big effect of it all is Chase's confidence issues, particularly when they relate to his brother. Thanks for reading and replying! :)

    --------


    Chapter Six


    Learning to live with a pregnant woman just entering her second trimester was challenging in ways Chase hadn't fully anticipated.

    "Chase, are we out of fertilizer for the outdoor plants?"

    "Yeah, I used up the last of it yesterday. I wrote it on the list to get more."

    "You were right by the base's store today at work! Why didn't you stop and get another bag?"

    "Because it's raining and we wouldn't be using the outdoor fertilizer today anyway. I didn't see any reason to. The plants won't need it for a couple weeks."

    "Didn't you ever think that maybe I was planning on doing some yard work tomorrow on my day off? I was looking forward to that, and now you ruined it!"

    "It's supposed to rain tomorrow too."

    "That's not the point!"

    Learning to live with a fighter pilot who had just come off a near-fatal combat duty was challenging in ways Lataise hadn't fully anticipated.

    "Not the point? Lataise, don't you think I have more important things to do than jump on every little task you decide you want done? I get enough of that from my CO! Blast, it's like I'm in Basic Training again."

    "What important things? All you do is sit around or roam the house."

    "Maybe because I'm still trying to realize I don't have to constantly worry about eating a torpedo or inhaling vacuum!"

    "It's been a couple of weeks already! How much longer is this 'realization' going to take?"

    "If I have to duck and cover at every one of your mood swings so I don't get my head bit off, it's going to take a little bit longer!"

    That was why, on one particularly challenging day, Chase was relatively relieved to be inside his TIE cockpit and out flying a routine system patrol. He'd been forced to fly in space so much after getting back to the base that that activity was very slowly becoming tolerable again. It helped the most when he could avoid thinking about it too much, and today most of his thoughts were on his latest argument
     
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