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Saga - OT Saga - Legends These Things Will Change - Kessel Run Challenge, OC Rebel Pilots

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Thumper09, Jan 13, 2022.

  1. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Thank you! Pellicer has found the value in keeping tabs on the ship's rumor mill from as many people as he can. I wasn't quite sure if I was allowed to write multiple letters like this for the prompt, but I hope so. :p Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Thank you! The "show, don't tell" gets hard for me because I always want to explain every. single. thing. Bad habit to get into. I'm glad you were able to follow what was going on. When I started doing the challenge this way, I thought it would be a good method to really introduce each of my OCs, but it's kind of become the opposite. :p Since I've had to come at things sideways for some of the prompts, I suspect this is actually turning into one of the more difficult stories to follow without prior knowledge of the characters. Oops. [face_blush] I admit I'm a bit nervous without that "get out of jail free" safety net anymore, but, well, we'll see where things lead, LOL. Thanks for reading and commenting! (And give yourself credit-- your entry was good! :D )


    Week 6, coming up shortly.
  2. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Prompt #6: Write an AU (alternate universe) story of at least 500 words where the moral alignment of one of your characters is the opposite of (or drastically different from) what it is in canon and/or Legends (or the source material, for OCs or NSW fandoms).
    (Note: I hope what I did is okay. The word count for the AU portion itself is over 500.)
    Word count: 1586

    Flight Officer Chryse "CC" Cerac, Corona Six

    Captain Chryse Cerac gazed out the front viewport of the Victory-class Star Destroyer Vaapad and soaked everything in. All around her on the bridge, her crew worked at a steadfast pace, and the constant hum of well-maintained computers and ship systems was like a living presence, a reassurance that her ship was happy and healthy under her watch. Low, calm voices exchanged information with the support ships in the fleet to ensure they would be moving to the proper positions soon. And before her, visible through the viewport, was the planet that was to be their new base of operations.

    Most people would probably think it looked homely. Frost-covered and dingy, it was a mid-sized rocky planet orbiting a star that was small and cool, considerably different from her own home system’s hot, bluish star. It was still a bit of an odd notion to think that a populated planet would be so much closer to its star than the larger distance she’d grown up with and considered normal, but her years in the Imperial Navy had shown her a lot. Now the oddity was a mere reflexive blip in her thoughts before she ignored it.

    True, the planet wasn’t the glittering diamond of Imperial Center, but Captain Cerac saw past its homeliness. The frost on most of the surface sparkled where the light hit it just right. Those same frost fields were tinted orangish-red from the system’s sun, which made the surface look a bit warmer than it actually was. Three small moons patrolled in orbit around the planet, and a thin ring of shimmering space dust and rocks circled the planet in plane with the moons.

    That ring was a visual reminder of the difficulty the Vaapad’s fleet had in getting here. Odd placements of outer planets in this small solar system limited the easy hyperspace routes to the interior planets, and massive asteroid belts orbited the star both within and beyond this planet’s orbit. The entire thing spoke of a very tumultuous formation of the system and of several proto-planets that did not survive those early years. Not to be outdone, the planet’s small ring was likely the remains of an obliterated moon.

    This system tried very hard to keep travelers out. And that was the final reason Captain Cerac looked at it with appreciative eyes. Her fleet had eventually managed to make it here on one of the few known, stable navigational paths in. Once the fleet had liberated the world, it would be a simple matter to defend those routes, with or without an Interdictor. She was sure she could do it without one; sometimes Interdictors were mere crutches, signs of lazy strategic thinking. She would be able to come up with a creative way to defend the navigational routes, and not requiring an Interdictor to be tied up here on guard duty would earn her points with her superiors. Interdictors were always in high demand across the galaxy to deal with misguided planetary systems and the hit-and-run tactics of the terrorist Rebel guerrillas.

    Captain Cerac took a deep, calming breath. It was time. The non-humans who lived in the enclosed cities on the surface were about to gain an immense benefit to their society, if they were smart enough to make the right choices. She hoped she could help them while also helping the Empire. It was a win-win scenario.

    “Lieutenant Stanic, take us into geostationary orbit above the region nearest the planet’s capital. Mind the planetary ring,” she said.

    “Yes, ma’am.” The officer at the navigational helm input some commands, and the ship moved toward the planet’s equator.

    “Tactical, keep the Nebulon-B on our inner flank for defense. Send the two CR90 Corvettes to guard our aft on the stable routes into the system. Move the Carrack to a polar orbit for now,” Captain Cerac ordered.

    “Yes, ma’am.”

    “Comm, send a message to the planetary government. Tell them who we are, and that we’ve arrived and will be sending down an envoy for a formal governmental transition within the hour, after which we’ll begin our assessments for reappropriating buildings and constructing new facilities for our base.”

    “Yes, ma’am.”

    With that, Captain Cerac waited. As the minutes passed, she needed something to distract her, so she entered a frequency on her comlink and opened the channel. “Private Yanilr, have you had the mouse droids clean up that oil spill in the hangar yet?”

    “On it right now, ma’am,” came the hurried reply.

    “See to it.” Captain Cerac closed the frequency and waited another couple minutes. The bridge was quiet, though the tension was growing as they anticipated what type of answer they would receive and what it would mean for their next set of actions.

    Finally the Comm officer spoke up. “Captain, we’re getting a response from the government. They are adamantly refusing to transition power to us. They say they want to remain independent and not join the Empire. They’re also asking that we respect their sovereignty and leave peacefully.”

    Captain Cerac sighed. So much for the aliens making the smart decision. Honestly, what kind of being flat-out refused the Empire’s offers of better technology, new infrastructure, well-paying jobs, and better education for their world and its citizens? It never ceased to baffle her.

    Obviously a government that made such poor decisions on behalf of its citizens wasn’t fit to remain sovereign. That would just lead to more people suffering and dying in the long run.

    “All right, then,” she said. “Looks like we’re going to Plan B. Battlestations. Scramble all TIE squadrons. Sensors, find me every single weapons placement on the surface and in orbit. Comm, jam every frequency you can detect on that planet, and encrypt our own. Alert the support fleet, and tell them Operation Burrow is go.”

    A chorus of crisp affirmatives echoed throughout the bridge. The anxiety of uncertainty in the air had been replaced by the razor-sharp focus of those about to engage in battle. There was still tension, but it was a good tension, the kind that kept one on one’s toes. Her crew knew their jobs. They’d been through this before.

    Captain Cerac looked back at the orange-tinted, frosted planet below and narrowed her eyes slightly. She’d tried the civilized way. But one way or another, the planet would still be the Empire’s by the end of the day.


    “...And based on what Scoop told me he thinks is happening, that’s how I’d do this if I was the Imperials,” Flight Officer Chryse “CC” Cerac said. She pushed a stray lock of black hair back behind her shoulder.

    From around their usual table in the mess hall on the Mon Calamari Cruiser Crescent Star, her two best friends did nothing but blink at her for several seconds. Flight Officer “Quiver” Yanilr had even stopped eating his meal, which took some doing. Then he and Flight Officer Darin Stanic looked at each other.

    “Does it scare you how easily and completely she slid into Imperial Captain mode, or is it just me?” Darin asked Quiver.

    “I think Scoop’s rubbing off on her,” Quiver replied. He stabbed a piece of mystery meat on his plate with a fork and resumed eating. “But that doesn’t explain the most important, glaring flaw in your whole story,” he said to CC through a mouthful of food. “I can’t even pretend to take it seriously with something so utterly wrong undermining all of your credibility.”

    “And what’s that?” CC asked, putting some boredom in her voice to defend against Quiver’s blatant set-up. She resumed eating her own meal.

    “Why did Darin get promoted in your little Imperial fantasy, and I got demoted all the way to Private?” Quiver asked.

    “Pfft, that’s simple,” CC said, waving her free hand dismissively. “You’re lucky you’re even on my ship with the high standards I have for my crew assignments. I keep you there only for amusement purposes and as a scapegoat. When you annoy me too much I demote you again and send you off to one of the support ships for a while. Darin got promoted because he’s actually competent at his job.”

    “Wait...” This time it was Darin who paused and furrowed his brow. “Why do you think I’d be a competent Imperial?”

    “Oh, relax, it’s nothing personal.” CC smiled at him.

    “Hold on, I know what the problem is,” Quiver piped up. “You demoted me because I tried to mutiny on the grounds that you don’t know how to properly name a ship. What did you call it? Vapid?” Quiver snorted. “No wonder I mutinied.”

    Vaapad,” CC corrected sternly. “It’s a deadly animal. Perfectly legitimate name for an Imp ship.”

    “But it could have been so much better! Like the underused classic Quiver’s Annihilator. Tell me that doesn’t inspire awestruck whispers of fear in your enemies.”

    “Quiver, that ‘awestruck whispering’ is actually under-the-breath snickering. No. I want people to be intimidated by my ship. And you’ll leave its perfect name alone, or I’ll space you since there’s nowhere to go below Private. I’d send you to Kessel, but it would be a waste of resources.”

    With that matter settled, CC turned back to Darin and said, “By the way, rookie, when you’re finished eating, go back to the serving line and get something for me to take to my obstinate wingman’s quarters. Why he thinks he’s going to skip eating before possibly going on a mission is beyond me.” She shook her head hopelessly. “No one’s decisions make sense today.”

  3. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Like how CC handles the situation as an imperial and the discussion afterwards.
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  4. Findswoman

    Findswoman The Fanfic Mod in Pink star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh ho! Very interesting approach, to frame it as a story / hypothetical situation being discussed (and enjoyed) in-universe! Darin is right: the Imperial role really did fit CC somehow—I think her hard-edged, matter-of-fact manner has much to do with it. (Which makes things doubly cool, because it means you used the AU prompt to really explore a character deeply—very cool!)

    Also, I see I missed your week five piece; very sorry about that! VERY intriguing approach to the letter prompt: piecing together several letters by the same person and none of the responses! A very cold planet in a system with some strange gravitational anomalies… I’d be curious, if you don’t mind sharing, to hear you reveal what it’s all about! And I say a big kudos to Shaun for juggling so many disparate aspects of this mission at once and managing so many people involved—dude sure can multitask! :D
  5. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Thank you! There's a bit of "know thy enemy" going on here. ;) Meal-time discussions between those three characters are probably one of my favorite things to write. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Thank you! Framing the AU this way was the only way I could think of to keep it in the overall narrative, otherwise I would have had to do this prompt as its own isolated entry. I'm living on the edge here as to whether the last three prompts will be conducive to my Master Plan™ or not, LOL. CC's definitely got a spitfire streak in her.

    As to the gravitational anomalies, I'm not great at planning out military strategy, but I also don't like having the Imperials invade somewhere "just 'cuz" if I can help it. The "protected" nature of that system due to the anomalies is my attempt at the Imperials' motivation to capture that system, and the reason for the Rebels having to go in (soon!) to try to prevent it. The cold weather was more to help show Shaun piecing together rumors from his different contacts on the ship and trying to figure out where they'll be going and why. He has some trust issues from his time as an Imperial and doesn't like relying on information from one source or one chain of command, so he prefers to keep an ear on the rumor mills and cultivate different contacts. Thanks for reading and commenting!


    Week 7 will be posted momentarily.
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  6. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Prompt #7: Write a story between 100 and 1,000 words that is entirely introspection. No spoken dialogue, no action.
    (Note: The grammar in this entry may be hard to read, so I've pasted a version in standard English in the spoiler tag at the bottom if anyone prefers to read it that way instead.)
    Word count: 579

    Lieutenant Tictintco “Slurry” Tnis, Corona Seven


    Lonely necessarily not, but... sometimes.

    By himself in the room briefing empty waiting on the others. By himself, the one only of his species on the ship entire, and even in Crescent Star’s fleet entire. The one only who honored his gods particular. The one only who did succumb not to those hallucinations and visions strange and uncontrollable when asleep. The one only who put words in their order logical. Slurry had friends good, certainly, but interactions could be still exhausting when it took effort mental much so to constantly decipher their words and accents and understand their various mannerisms and cultures.

    Even tasks simple were tiring and took time more than they should have. If one of the others needed a shirt new, they could go down to the quartermaster’s office and come back with one in minutes fifteen, assuming an extra was available. No forethought or planning extra needed. But if he needed a shirt new? Go down to the quartermaster’s office, put in a requisition special, maybe get measurements done, and in days few they would be able to make one or modify one to accommodate his arms four. Same with goggles or eyewear other for his eyes four. He fit standards normal few very here. Everything with him was custom-made, order special, a hassle, time extra wasted.

    Transferring to a ship or a unit with Bilgana other in it would make sense most, and he’d considered seriously it more than once. He missed that sense of bonding, of the mentality herd-type protective that came second-nature to other Bilgana but not in the way same to Humans and humanoids other. But most of the Bilgana other (few admittedly) who had joined the Rebellion were in the forces ground to take advantage of their speed and reflexes sharp. And that did interest not him. It wasn’t who he was.

    Slurry enjoyed flying, and it came easily to him. He considered himself a fit good for his wingman, too, and he prided himself on filling his niche special in the squadron. Snubber was a flier excellent and demanding, and as the squadron’s XO he was replaceable less little than some of the rest of them, so protecting him was important. With arms two only, the others could multitask not generally in the cockpit as well as Slurry could, so he could keep up usually with Snubber despite having not as much skill piloting pure. Plus Slurry’s vision peripheral wider made it harder much for enemies to sneak up on them, so his sense of awareness situational was excellent in combat. It was rare for the wingpair to end up in a spot tight that Slurry wasn’t prepared for. Slurry made sure that Snubber could focus on what he needed to focus on when they flew.

    And that... maybe that was all he needed. Maybe that was enough. To know he was doing something important and doing it well. To know that his actions made a difference at the end of the day.

    Besides, this ship entire was full of aliens with biologies different very from his own. That alone was enough to intrigue endlessly him and squash any notions remaining about transferring somewhere with personnel Bilgana predominantly. If the day came when he could fly not anymore, Slurry would dive happily into his passion for biology instead.

    The universe was weird. And it fascinated him.

    He wanted to explore as much of its weirdness as he could.



    Not necessarily lonely, but... sometimes.

    By himself in the empty briefing room waiting on the others. By himself, the only one of his species on the entire ship, and even in Crescent Star’s entire fleet. The only one who honored his particular gods. The only one who didn’t succumb to those strange and uncontrollable hallucinations and visions when asleep. The only one who put words in their logical order. Slurry had good friends, certainly, but interactions could still be exhausting when it took so much mental effort to constantly decipher their words and accents and understand their various mannerisms and cultures.

    Even simple tasks were tiring and took more time than they should have. If one of the others needed a new shirt, they could go down to the quartermaster’s office and come back with one in fifteen minutes, assuming an extra was available. No forethought or extra planning needed. But if he needed a new shirt? Go down to the quartermaster’s office, put in a special requisition, maybe get measurements done, and in a few days they would be able to make one or modify one to accommodate his four arms. Same with goggles or other eyewear for his four eyes. He fit very few normal standards here. Everything with him was custom-made, special order, a hassle, extra time wasted.

    Transferring to a ship or a unit with other Bilgana in it would make the most sense, and he’d seriously considered it more than once. He missed that sense of bonding, of the protective herd-type mentality that came second-nature to other Bilgana but not in the same way to Humans and other humanoids. But most of the (admittedly few) other Bilgana who had joined the Rebellion were in the ground forces to take advantage of their speed and sharp reflexes. And that didn’t interest him. It wasn’t who he was.

    Slurry enjoyed flying, and it came easily to him. He considered himself a good fit for his wingman, too, and he prided himself on filling his special niche in the squadron. Snubber was an excellent and demanding flier, and as the squadron’s XO he was a little less replaceable than some of the rest of them, so protecting him was important. With only two arms, the others generally couldn’t multitask in the cockpit as well as Slurry could, so he usually could keep up with Snubber despite not having as much pure piloting skill. Plus Slurry’s wider peripheral vision made it much harder for enemies to sneak up on them, so his sense of situational awareness was excellent in combat. It was rare for the wingpair to end up in a tight spot that Slurry wasn’t prepared for. Slurry made sure that Snubber could focus on what he needed to focus on when they flew.

    And that... maybe that was all he needed. Maybe that was enough. To know he was doing something important and doing it well. To know that his actions made a difference at the end of the day.

    Besides, this entire ship was full of aliens with biologies very different from his own. That alone was enough to endlessly intrigue him and squash any remaining notions about transferring somewhere with predominantly Bilgana personnel. If the day came when he couldn’t fly anymore, Slurry would happily dive into his passion for biology instead.

    The universe was weird. And it fascinated him.

    He wanted to explore as much of its weirdness as he could.

  7. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    I love Slurry and his grammar. Easy to follow and great insight in him
    Findswoman likes this.
  8. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    Not difficult to follow the grammar at all, and I appreciate the challenge. (It reminds me a bit of reading the Uncle Remus stories, by Joel Chandler Harris, in the original dialect, instead of "translated" into standard American English. It was quite satisfying to finally find the flow of the words.)

    May I ask what species Slurry is? I'm not familiar with that one. And good for him for sticking it out in a place not really designed for him.
    Findswoman likes this.
  9. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Thank you! I'm glad it was easy to follow. I don't do as much with Slurry as I should since he's more complicated to write. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Thanks! I'm glad it was easy to follow for you as well.

    The logistics for the Rebellion or any other large-scale organization that need to accommodate so many different species on a day-to-day basis just blows my mind sometimes. It's got to be hard when a species doesn't fit into the majority.

    Slurry is a Bilgana, which is a species of my own creation. About 5' tall, four eyes, a set of upper arms, a set of stronger lower arms, thick taloned fingers, two legs, knees that bend backwards relative to a human, no hair, skin in varying shades of charcoal grey. Distantly descended from a prey-type herd animal. They can run faster than humans by getting lower to the ground and using their lower set of arms as a stand-in set of "forelegs." I'm not sure if that actually works physiologically since I had no clue what I was doing when I first came up with the idea for them. He's had to have a bunch of modifications done to his cockpit and ejector seat, though. Thanks for reading and commenting!


    Week 8 will be posted shortly. I was so close to being able to insert it easily and seamlessly into the ongoing narrative, but some irreconcilable differences in the IU timing of things meant I had to approach it with an odd tactic. The start-to-finish narrative from Week One to Week Eight is already kinda drunk, though, so what's one more drink? :p
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  10. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Prompt #8: Write a story of at least 400 words from the POV of a character you hate/dislike and make them sympathetic.
    (Note: I can do POV of this character fine, but it's about as sympathetic as I can get in this case. :p )
    Word count: 1154

    Lieutenant Colonel Adaic Trainneer, Rebel Special Forces / (Lieutenant Steen "Snubber" Weas, Corona Eight)

    Several months later, Lieutenant Colonel Adaic Trainneer sat at his desk and pored through completed mission reports. It was slow, tedious going, but it had to be done for the good of Crescent Star’s fleet. Normally he would delegate a task like this to one of his subordinates, but he wanted to be sure that nothing got missed, inadvertently or not, and it was hard to explain to someone else what he was looking for in the first place. He knew it when he saw it, though.

    Luckily he did have some help from one other person, Lt. Nervensage with Rebel Intelligence, who seemed to know exactly what Trainneer was after. Nervensage was going through Intel reports while Trainneer worked through the others. Hopefully between the two of them, they would make progress before it was too late.

    Trainneer had started with the reports he had easy access to, namely the missions that Special Forces had been involved with at some point. The report he was currently reading was about a mission to Grebet III. He himself hadn’t been involved, as that was before he’d been assigned to Crescent Star to become the Special Forces CO onboard, but his predecessor, Major Brexxil, had been. And one thing Trainneer appreciated about Brexxil’s style of command was his organized paperwork. Like always, Brexxil had linked to the various other branches’ related reports on the mission in his own document.

    There it was: a link to the Grebet III mission files submitted by Corona Squadron. Trainneer pulled them up.

    He started with the report from the pre-mission briefing. Like most of the others, it had been written by the Coronas’ Executive Officer, Lt. Weas. With as sloppy and lax as the Coronas were with every other aspect of discipline and protocol, it still surprised Trainneer that the XO had done his duty. The reports were even written professionally with a factual, concise, no-nonsense tone.

    Then it dismayed him all over again that correctly doing a bare minimum requirement should be considered cause for praise with this squadron.

    The Rebellion deserved better. This fleet deserved better.

    He brought his attention back to reading.

    The minutes from the pre-mission briefing started with an overview of the mission objective. The colony world of Grebet III had asked for urgent, immediate help from the Rebel fleet after they received notifications that an Imperial fleet was navigating through the two stable hyperspace lanes to their planet. They’d had no previous dealings with the Empire and wished to remain independent, but the Empire’s sudden, determined effort to send ships there did not bode well. With the gravitational anomalies and resultant navigational hazards in the Grebet System, Rebel Command had been very concerned about the difficulties in getting the Imperials out if they managed to get a strong enough foothold there. They hadn’t wanted the Imperials to essentially have an unassailable stronghold where they could do whatever they liked. As the nearest significant Rebel forces, Crescent Star’s fleet was ordered to go to Grebet III at best possible speed to prevent the Imperials from taking the planet.

    Trainneer frowned as he kept reading and the briefing started to go off the rails. Commander Mackin had given the pilots their orders, that they would be going in with Crescent Star’s fleet once the fleet had navigated all the way to the closest stable hyperspace route to the Grebet System. But instead of simply accepting and following those orders like they should have, the report went into detail about a considerable back-talking discussion that followed. A couple pilots argued about the length of time that would take when planetary invasion was likely imminent. Trainneer sighed. Did the pilots think their superiors in the fleet didn’t know that already? Did they really not trust their superiors to look at such basics as travel time in a time-critical situation and factor the cost-benefit analysis into the orders given?

    Then another pilot, a Lt. Forsgren, said something truly crazy. Something about a Procurement officer’s sister who was doing hyperspace and mass shadow research. That they should ask her if there was a way for the small X-wings to skirt through a narrower navigational path in hyperspace than the large capital ships in the fleet could manage, so the X-wings could get to Grebet III first, a lot faster, and the fleet would join up when they arrived via the regular-- though circuitous-- hyperspace route.

    The whole notion was idiotic. It did nothing but risk ten very valuable starfighters as well as pilots who-- presumably-- had cost the Rebellion a lot of resources in training and sustaining. If they arrived first, alone, all they would do is get annihilated by the numerically superior Imperial fleet and leave Crescent Star’s fleet with only its squadron of Y-wings to defend it and continue fighting the Imperials. Plus it would alert the Imperials that Rebel forces knew of the invasion and were coming to help, so they would be even more prepared when Crescent Star’s fleet showed up.

    It was the stupidest, most dangerous, most wasteful thing Trainneer had read all day. And that made it all the more baffling when Mackin and Weas commed the scientist and asked her to come to the briefing immediately to determine if the idea was feasible.

    Or maybe, Trainneer reflected, it shouldn’t have been so baffling that these pilots had ignored their orders and actively pursued something that was so dangerous to their own fleet. That’s what they seemed to do, after all.

    This was a perfect example to include in his collection. When he and Nervensage were done going through all these previous mission reports, he hoped to have a comprehensive dossier he could take to Crescent Star’s captain to convince him, once and for all, how dangerous these pilots were to the fleet and why they should be transferred elsewhere or disbanded. Captain Tralkett hadn’t believed him before when he’d tried to make his initial arguments, but once he saw in black and white how often it happened and how many times the Coronas had actually endangered the fleet, Tralkett would be forced to come to terms with it. The Mon Cal wouldn’t be able to side with the pilots and keep looking at them with rose-colored glasses. He would have to face the truth... the same truth Trainneer had known since his first couple disastrous missions working with this loose-cannon squadron that had gotten some of his Special Forces teams killed.

    Trainneer knew he wouldn’t be winning any popularity contests onboard by doing this, but the popular thing wasn’t always the right thing. He had a duty to protect the fleet, his subordinates, and his crewmates, the same as every other Rebel onboard did.

    And he would.

    He annotated the Grebet III mission in his list and then resumed reading. Unfortunately, he had a feeling there were more such examples waiting for him.

  11. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    a grumbling officer, not liked at all searching for disastrous behaviour. Great response to the challenge
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  12. Findswoman

    Findswoman The Fanfic Mod in Pink star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Catching up on your wonderful series!

    First of all, I loved Slurry and his unique thought/speech pattern in week 7! You did a great job of making him truly alien—I am, of course, a sucker for a good alien POV—and I really enjoyed the progression of his thoughts from the ways he doesn’t fit in to reflecting on the unique things he does bring to the squadron. Wonderful job, once again, and I would be very excited to see more of this fellow in future writings!

    Now, as for this Lt. Col. Trainneer… ah, well, he doesn’t seem to really quite get the Coronas, does he? Of course, he is ultimately just trying to keep things orderly and safe—laudable goals, so I guess that might be the sympathetic part of him here. But yeah, I don’t think he really gets the point of what Corona Squadron is all about, does he? (Also, is the correspondence he’s looking at by chance the one you showed us in week 5? Very cool connection, if so! :cool: ) Great work on another awesome entry, and keep them coming! =D=
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  13. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Thank you! Unfortunately Trainneer has a pretty broad definition of disaster, but that's probably my fault since when I created him way back when, it was to be an antagonist, and my opinion of him hasn't gotten better since then. :p Thank you for reading and commenting!

    Thanks! I'm happy Slurry came across as sufficiently alien, since he's honestly not as developed as he should be. But that made it a good exercise for me to do the introspection with him. I should include him in more stories in the future if I can get out of my go-to character comfort zones. Slurry has been more patient with me than I deserve. :p

    Yeah, Trainneer and the Coronas aren't very compatible. They didn't exactly get off on the right foot together, either, since the first time he worked with them, he thought they were to blame for getting some of his subordinates killed on a mission, and it never got better between them after that. The Week 5 correspondence was essentially Pellicer's personal e-mails before the squadron's mission briefing takes place. Trainneer is looking at the official report written by Weas about the squadron mission briefing itself. So same topic, some of the same info, but two different pilots writing them. I needed to do the mission briefing last week with Weas, and this was the only way I could contort it in, LOL. Thanks for reading and commenting!


    Week 9 coming up. Though one of my pride and joys is the work e-mail I wrote using nothing but "Roses are red" stanzas, poetry isn't something I'm particularly adept at. But here we go...
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  14. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Prompt #9: Write a poem in any style/form, and of any length.
    Word count: 441

    Flight Officer Darin "Thumper" Stanic, Corona Nine

    In the chill of the hangar, the X-wings sat waiting
    In bliss unaware of what they’d be undertaking.
    But suited up in his orange and with his gear all equipped,
    Darin knew all about it and didn’t like it one bit.

    He’d had enough problems with his glitchy droid
    To know messing with hyperspace was a thing to avoid.
    The course they’d been given should be fine in theory
    But equations and practice often disagreed.

    He tried not to think about what could go wrong
    As he prepped his X-wing and hurried along.
    And if they survived the hyperspace flight
    They’d soon be engaging in a deadly fight.

    It was part of his job, and he would follow it through
    But it wasn’t something he was eager to do.
    His main concern as a result of the fray
    Was that he and his squadmates would see a new day.

    Lieutenant Weas was calling for haste:
    With the Imperials coming, there was no time to waste.
    Darin climbed in his cockpit and strapped himself in,
    Then finished his checklist. It was time to begin.

    They reported their readiness one at a time,
    Then the powered-up X-wings started to climb
    Away from the deck on repulsors and zipped
    Out through the magcon field off the ship.

    The minute the X-wings were all clear of Star
    The fleet jumped to lightspeed, for their journey was far.
    Mack formed up the squadron and transmitted their path
    Made of nothing but hope and theoretical math.

    They flew single-file to increase the chance
    That they’d skirt past the mass shadows with nary a glance.
    Botch beeped to say they were ready to go,
    And with a deep breath Darin engaged his controls.

    Hyperspace swirled in bright blue and white
    As the ten X-wings started their flight.
    They all had committed, there was no turning back
    Though soon they’d be drowning in lasers and flak.

    He thought again about the people below
    Watching the Imps overhead from their plains of snow,
    Waiting for help to save all their lives,
    Helpless until the Rebels arrived.

    Not for the first time, it made him think
    About his own homeworld, back on the brink
    Of Imperial invasion and knowing no one
    Was coming to help them; assistance was none.

    That was a feeling he wouldn’t desire
    Anyone anywhere to ever acquire.
    And so he pressed forward with hope that he might
    Make some sort of difference in this people’s plight.

    The silence stretched on as his X-wing sped past
    The too-close-for-comfort shadows of mass.
    Of all rules of combat, this was the first:
    The time before fighting was always the worst.

  15. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    He is a fantastic poet, voicing the moments before the fight begins
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  16. Findswoman

    Findswoman The Fanfic Mod in Pink star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Ooh, very nice ballad here, capturing those tense interminable moments before battle, and all the racing thoughts that go along with it! I can totally believe that those moments are the worst—because once battle is joined, there’s at least catharsis of a sort. And I loved “nothing but hope and theoretical math” too—a very fine summary of the whole hyperspace phenomenon! Wonderful work once again—you are acing this challenge in so many ways! =D=
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  17. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Thank you! It felt a bit odd doing a poem about that, but oh well. :p Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Thank you! I always hate the waiting and anticipation of big events, and I imagine it would be a lot worse for activities with such high stakes. Or, to paraphrase a saying I've heard, being a fighter pilot is 95% boredom and 5% sheer terror. It takes a better mentality than I have to deal with something like that. And thanks, the theoretical math was one of my favorite lines, LOL. I appreciate the compliments! Thanks for reading and commenting!


    It's a bit later in the week than I'd planned on, but Week 10 will be posted shortly.
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  18. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Prompt #10: Write a story between 100 and 400 words, and include these three words: galvanize, cavalier, adversary
    Word count: 397

    Flight Officer Hentil "Quiver" Yanilr, Corona Ten

    Quiver dropped his X-wing out of hyperspace at the tail end of the squadron. The line of individual snubfighters immediately formed up, and Quiver settled into his usual position off Darin’s wing. His R2, Sonic, beeped to indicate they’d reached their target coordinates, and Quiver was honestly somewhat surprised that crazy hyperspace route had worked.

    In front of them was a whole lot of planet. Since this approach was on the opposite side of the planet from the stable hyperspace lanes, the Coronas had taken the chance that the Imperials wouldn’t expect anyone to come from this direction due to its inaccessibility. So far that risk was paying off: no Imperial ships were in sight, though the system’s civilian comm traffic left no doubt that the Imperials were attacking the world.

    Quiver frowned as he listened to some of it, and the joking, cavalier attitude he worked so hard to maintain was dampened.

    Commander Mackin led the squadron full-throttle on an orbital trajectory to get a speed boost as they came around the planet and into the Imperial fleet. The Coronas only had one opportunity to hit hard while surprise was on their side. After that, they would be vastly outnumbered until the rest of the Rebel fleet showed up.

    Like the others, Quiver maintained comm silence-- though he hated comm silence with a passion-- while he readied his shields and weapons and locked his S-foils into attack position.

    Over the horizon, the edges of the Imperial fleet rose like ominous destructive moons. Sonic beeped again, and Quiver saw targeting data being transmitted to his X-wing along with a countdown. Their target was the engines of a Nebulon-B frigate immediately ahead. The distance was closing fast.

    Quiver got ready. When the countdown hit zero, he fired two proton torpedoes, which were joined by torpedoes from the other three X-wings of Two Flight. One second later, One Flight fired their torpedoes, hot on the tails of the first group.

    The Two Flight torpedoes hit the shields of their adversary and overloaded them just enough for the second barrage to slip through the momentary shield gap and impact the engines in a fiery storm.

    That hit served to galvanize the Imperial forces. Imperial comm traffic spiked. Nearby ships adjusted their courses to determine what was happening.

    “Coronas, you have your orders,” Mackin said. “Plan Aurek. Break by pairs. Go.”

  19. Findswoman

    Findswoman The Fanfic Mod in Pink star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    A tense moment—and another one of those “waiting is the hardest part” moments that were the theme of your week nine poems! Very cool how that carries over, and from what I remember of Quiver, that seems like it would be extra hard for him. But he did the right thing at the right moment—something I know he’s good at. And that got things good and galvanized for sure—thanks to his decisive action, it’s (almost) home free for the Coronas! Whom I’ve really enjoyed getting to know through this series of stories—thanks so much for sharing, and I can’t wait to see what you will do with the 5+1! =D=
  20. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    great to see the action being a succes. But com silence for Quiver must have been tough. Now for the final part
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  21. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Thanks! Yup, Quiver's not exactly a patient person-- being bored is the Worst Thing Ever for him, so inactive waiting is not on his list of fun. Now the Imperials know they have a fight on their hands, and that will carry over into the 5+1, which is the story's conclusion. I'm glad this challenge helped with getting to know some of the characters better. Thanks very much for reading and commenting!

    Thanks! Yeah, if Quiver ain't talking, then Quiver ain't happy. :p Now we'll see the fight the Coronas are getting into. Thanks very much for reading and commenting!


    The final entry, the long 5+1 vignette, will be up in a bit.
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  22. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Author's note: Here's the final entry. I'm honestly surprised that my original intention to focus on a different pilot each week and do a single story narrative from the start of Week 1 to the end of the long vignette here worked out to the degree that it did-- I thought I would have had to scrap the entire idea within the first few weeks. Granted, the overall narrative story got pretty drunk in some areas and isn't exactly a beacon of clarity, but this long viggie is what I've been planning on since January to conclude this story. Certain details within it regarding the particular mission morphed a bit as things went along, especially due to Week 3, but the basics and the intention are pretty much unchanged. Thanks to everyone for following along on this odd little experiment.


    Long Vignette Prompt: Write a longer vignette/one-shot between 2,000 and 8,000 words using the "5+1 Times/Things" format. This is typically a series of scenes or shorter vignettes connected by an overarching theme. The first five sections will usually have the same "thing" in common, while the last section is an inversion of the previous sections.
    Word count: 4882

    Corona Squadron

    They’d arrived too late.

    Commander Quentell Mackin had hoped that the Imperials wouldn’t have already entered orbit and had their planetary invasion of Grebet III underway before the Coronas got there. It was much harder to repel an already deployed and active enemy than it was to prevent them from reaching their objective in the first place. However, as soon as the Coronas had reverted to realspace and he’d heard the planetary comm traffic, he’d known they were well past that point. It severely limited the squadron’s options.

    So, of all the pre-planned scenarios and objectives he’d hastily coordinated with his superiors prior to launching from Crescent Star, the current situation meant that Plan Aurek was the most viable: do whatever quick, major damage was possible in orbit, then head to the surface to defend the civilians until Star’s fleet arrived. Ten X-wings were no match for a slugging contest against an Imperial fleet of the size they were facing, and staying in orbit to fight those capital ships alone would be pointless and suicidal. On the planet’s surface, in atmosphere, the X-wings had a slight advantage over the non-aerodynamic TIE Fighters, so they could whittle down the Imperial starfighters while trying to protect the civilians from TIE damage, strafing runs, and any ground forces.

    After the Coronas’ coordinated torpedo strike in orbit hit the Nebulon-B’s engines and Mack enacted Plan Aurek, he suited action to words by twisting over to port and pointing his X-wing’s nose at the inhabited, snow-covered continent on Grebet III far below. He didn’t ease up on his throttle and tried to maintain the small speed boost that their inbound orbital trajectory had imparted. Ikoa stuck with him, holding position off of his wing. Hopefully they would get far enough away from the Imperial fleet before the smaller capital ships had a chance to regroup after the surprise attack and come after them.

    “Bluehill,” Mack said to his R2, “you and Rudder get as much sensor data of the Imp fleet’s complement and position as you can, then package it for transmission. Transmit it to Star or any of our other ships as soon as you hear they’re in-system.” He wished he could give Star’s fleet the information now, before they got here, but without a hypercomm on his X-wing he was stuck waiting until the fleet was back in realspace and within communications range.

    Bluehill chirped an affirmative and got to work with Rudder, Ikoa’s R2. Ikoa’s X-wing had better sensors and might be able to gather more data.

    Mack and Ikoa entered Grebet III’s atmosphere. Mack put his shields full-front and continued down as fast as he dared, probably faster than he should have done. The atmosphere ionized against his shields, and the friction of the superheated air molecules sent plasma flames around his X-wing, partially blinding him.

    At last they were through the thickest part of the atmosphere and the flames died away, allowing him his first good look at the situation on the surface. Below them was a vast, flat plain of snow. A distance to the north was a decent-sized city. Most buildings in the city were not more than ten stories tall, and many of them were clustered together in small, tight groups underneath large, transparent domes. The domes completely encompassed the buildings within and were meant to protect the city’s buildings and inhabitants from the planet’s harsh weather. The bottoms of the domes rested on the planet’s surface, sealing off the city from the outside world entirely.

    Several of those interconnected protective domes were now shattered and broken, with thick, black smoke rising from destroyed buildings through jagged gaps in the transparisteel. A stiff wind tried to dissipate the smoke when it reached open air, but the smoke was too thick to fully thin out. TIEs swarmed the city like angry insects spitting green laser venom as they whittled away at intact areas of the domes. Smaller groups of TIEs were also between the Coronas and the city, strafing remote, unprotected buildings in the surrounding areas on the snowy plain below. The nearest outlying groups of TIEs were adjusting their courses to meet the new X-wing threats roaring down toward them.

    With a glance at his sensors, Mack gleaned the relative positions of the four other Corona wingpairs, the closest TIEs, the highest threats, and the nearest objectives. He was too far away to make much difference with the outlying TIEs who were turning toward some of his pilots, so he aimed for the thickest swarm of TIEs over the city. His flight path would also intersect with two TIEs pursuing some landspeeders fleeing the city across the plain. They could tangle with those first.

    “Lead.” Ikoa’s voice.

    Mack keyed his comm. “Go ahead, Two.”

    “I did some research before we left,” she said. “The prevailing winds on this continent are from the east. They feel pretty strong today, too. That might help us with those TIEs.”

    “I’ll take whatever we can get. We’ll adjust when we’re just about in weapons range so they have less time to recover.”


    Mack evened out his shields, made sure they had fully recharged after the aggressive atmospheric entry, and pushed his fighter as hard as he could as they swiftly approached the two TIEs pursuing the civilian landspeeders. Ikoa kept pace beside him.

    The TIEs were still out of the X-wings’ weapons range. Normally Mack would have started shooting anyway, even ineffectively, to try to deter and distract the TIEs from their run, but he couldn’t this time with civilians so close to his line of fire. He willed his snubfighter to go faster.

    One TIE opened fire on the landspeeders. The landspeeders exploded in balls of flame, smaller than what Mack was used to seeing when starfighters were destroyed. Then the two TIEs immediately turned to meet the Rebels head-on.

    Mack focused on the TIEs and didn’t let himself look at the burning wreckage. He wondered if there had been a family in those landspeeders. Someone’s wife. Someone’s young daughter.

    He hadn’t protected them.

    He and Ikoa were almost there. Mack adjusted their course, angling his X-wing to try to force the TIEs to face him in such a way that their large solar panel wings would be hit broadside by the wind.

    They did, and were immediately buffeted by the gusts. It threw off the aim of the Imperials’ first laser blasts, sending the green lances wide.

    Mack and Ikoa both fired. The leading TIE took a red X-wing laser through its cockpit to its engines and exploded. The second TIE flew past, apparently unharmed, and immediately climbed. After a moment it heeled over and sped full-throttle toward the safety of numbers by the city. Its flight path was slightly erratic as wind buffeted it from the side.

    The pair of Coronas continued on toward the city in its wake.


    Lt. Jayke Forsgren, always called Chopper, had a choice to make. To port, there were a few convenient TIEs messing with some isolated buildings. Ahead and slightly to starboard, there were a lot more TIEs messing with the city.

    But actually, it hadn’t really been a choice at all. He veered his X-wing toward the target-rich environment to starboard and jammed in his throttle.

    Beside him, Kalre tried to overtake him, but Chopper put some discretionary power into his engines and kept the lead.

    The private frequency he shared with his wingman popped open. “So,” Kalre said, a bit of a sulk in his voice. “Any other surprises I should be aware of, Three? Did you modify your X-wing with equations from the Super Smart Theory of Laws about Lasers so you could double your weapons range? Or maybe adjust your shields with some Hypothesis of Inverse Explosion? Heard all the big universities were working on that one. I just want to know if I’m on the same playing field, or if the first hit you take from an Imp is going to overload some experimental science-y component and swallow me in a miniature black hole if I’m too close to you.” Kalre’s X-wing shifted away from his slightly.

    “Blast, Four, will you lay off? The hyperspace thing worked, didn’t it?” Chopper retorted.

    “I don’t even know who you are anymore.”

    Chopper rolled his eyes. “How long have you been waiting to snark at me about this?” he asked.

    “Since the briefing, when you proved you did know what that science nonsense was all about and my worldview was shattered, you liar,” the Rodian said. “But then we left so quick I didn’t get a chance. And after we launched we were under comm silence until a minute ago.”

    “So you get a bit of a surprise about something, and you turn as whiny as Quiver," Chopper said. "Good to know my wingman’s a wimp.”

    “You take that back, Brain Boy,” Kalre snapped.

    “Make me.”

    Kalre muttered some Rodian curses at him, including a particularly vulgar one Chopper hadn’t heard before involving several household items. Chopper made mental note of that new one but otherwise ignored them, instead taking the opportunity to ready his shields and weapons. He set his laser cannons to quad-fire as he typically preferred. It took longer for them to cycle and recharge, but each shot was more powerful. Besides, it wasn’t like he needed a fast cycling rate. That was for people who missed what they were aiming at, not him.

    Chopper grinned to himself while his X-wing raced above the snowy plain. Kalre could sulk all he wanted. When Chopper got back to the ship, he was going to try to get a date with Renizi’s sister. Tilar’me, he thought her name was. The scientist. When she’d been at their mission briefing to discuss the experimental hyperspace route after he’d brought up the possibility to Mack and Snubber, she’d been sharp and intense. Just his type. Maybe he could say he wanted to give her a first-hand report of the results of her experimental navigation.

    They finally reached the outermost edges of a thick swarm of TIEs over the city. Some broke away from the group to confront the two X-wings. Kalre began firing a split second before Chopper did, but none of their shots landed. Below, another TIE sped past on a roughly perpendicular route, closer to the ground. Chopper took the opportunity and dove after it. He settled neatly on its tail.

    A pair of TIEs that had been advancing on them from the main group followed Chopper. Kalre looped around hard to try to get behind them. Chopper reinforced his aft shields and kept going.

    Chopper itched to pull his trigger, but the TIE he was following was skimming along beside a protective dome, making collateral damage a distinct possibility on any misses. The TIE was dancing evasively, making himself just hard enough to hit that Chopper couldn’t risk it. He growled in aggravation.

    Too late, Chopper realized where the TIE was going. Directly ahead was a large, broken gap in the protective dome. The TIE fired into the gap, and a building inside became a smoking ruin. Beings on the street below ran for cover. Some didn’t make it.

    Chopper cursed at his inability to destroy the TIE before it had done its damage. He barely noticed the shots from his own pursuers impacting his shields until his astromech, Fluke, shrieked at him. Chopper fired at the TIE ahead, and two shots later it became a fireball. One TIE behind him met the same fate from Kalre’s laser barrage.

    Chopper and Kalre continued their dogfight.


    Lieutenant Shaun Pellicer hated it when he was right about things like this. He’d known he’d pieced things together fairly well from his rumor mill when they’d been briefed on their mission, but in this case he’d prefer to be adjusting his rumored perceptions and guesses for being wrong than watching everything accurately play out before him in real life.

    He was the only wingpair lead who hesitated at Mack’s order to proceed with Plan Aurek. Shaun knew, possibly better than most of the others, how dangerous the Imperial capital ships in orbit were. He also knew, definitely better than the others, that the Imperials weren’t going to just give up and walk away from this world because some Rebels were annoying them. It was too valuable for them, and it was the planet they wanted, not necessarily any of the infrastructure or the colonists on the surface. An orbital bombardment was not out of the question. Shaun looked at the turbolaser armaments bristling on the surfaces of the various Imperial capital ships, and he longed to go throw a torp or two at each. He almost did.

    But he didn’t. The full squadron couldn’t take out all those shielded weapons themselves, and one measly wingpair certainly couldn’t do it. That objective would have to wait for the Rebel fleet. So he followed orders and led CC to the planet’s surface.

    It was that hesitation that put them behind the other Coronas, and Shaun circled a bit farther out on their way down. He studied his sensor readout, attempting to determine if the TIEs attacking the city were following any specific Imperial protocols that he could predict and use against them. Shaun tried to match the movements of the swirling red dots on his scope with memories of the maneuvers he’d been drilled on himself when he’d been a TIE pilot.

    Like always, he briefly wondered if he knew any of the Imperial pilots out there that he would be firing on momentarily. He hated this.

    While he was watching his sensor screen, he noticed an unknown blip briefly flare to life on the edge. Some red dots pursued it. He keyed his comm and asked, “Six, you see that anomalous sensor reading near 305 mark 9?”

    “Um... Affirmative, Five. And-- wait, Ruby’s picking something up on comms from that general direction. Punch in the frequency he’s sending you,” CC replied.


    Trip, Shaun’s R4, beeped to indicate he’d received the frequency from Ruby, CC’s R2. Trip patched the transmission through Shaun’s comm system. It was being broadcast in the clear with no encryption.

    “--ead? Rebel X-wings, repeat, do you read?” The voice was accented and panicky.

    Shaun frowned and transmitted a reply. “We read. Who is this?”

    “Thank the Force! This is the shuttle Fardan. We were on our way back to the settlement from our plant out west, and we ran straight into this attack! I don’t know what’s going on! Now there are TIEs after us! They’re not responding to our comms, and they’re trying to kill us! Please help!”

    “Hold on, Fardan, we’re coming.” Shaun wanted to say more, but it was very likely the TIE pilots pursuing the shuttle were listening to the open transmissions as well despite the Imperials’ lack of responses. He aimed his X-wing toward Fardan’s location and punched his throttle in full. CC stayed tucked in on his wing.

    “Hurry! They’re shooting at us!”

    When the two Coronas got close enough, Shaun saw a decrepit Lambda-class shuttle flying as fast as it could in straight-and-level flight. Three TIEs easily kept pace behind it. Once in a while one would lazily fire off to the side, making Fardan jerk away from the near miss and continue fleeing.

    Near misses, but intentional misses. The TIEs were probably at half-throttle, at most. The pilots were playing with their prey.

    The TIEs began to group together more tightly as the X-wings approached, and Shaun knew they were about to get serious in the face of an actual threat. “Six, ready with lasers in case they scatter,” he said on the squadron frequency. He switched his weapons back to torpedoes and aimed at the group of TIEs. He breathlessly waited for a target lock, but it kept sputtering at that distance.

    Moments before he could achieve a lock, the TIEs fired at Fardan again. These shots weren’t meant to miss, and they didn’t. Fardan exploded in an expanding ball of light.

    The TIEs broke formation and scattered up and out of sight. CC’s snap shots were out of range and missed.

    Shaun resisted the urge to slam his hand against a cockpit console while the debris from Fardan rained down. Fardan had relied on them for protection, even begged for it, and he’d failed. He couldn’t stop some of the Empire’s most efficient killers, even though he’d once been one himself.

    A long moment later, a comm came in. “Five?” CC’s voice was subdued but insistent.

    Shaun exhaled forcefully. “Go ahead, Six.”

    “These leaking buckets of Hutt drool got away, but there are a lot more still messing with the city.”

    Shaun took one last look at the dissipating cloud of black smoke that used to be Fardan, then he turned his X-wing toward the city. “Yeah. Let’s go.”


    It was just like One Flight to make Two Flight clean up the mess.

    Lieutenant Steen “Snubber” Weas, Two Flight lead, actually didn’t honestly believe that, but stress always caused unbidden thoughts to bubble up when he didn’t have the mental energy to prevent or contradict them. And there was lots of stress just then.

    Mack and Ikoa were way out of position to deal with any of the nearest outlying TIEs that were approaching. Chopper and Kalre had predictably blown right past them. He had no idea where Pellicer and CC had ended up. So that left Two Flight to engage them.

    “Nine, Ten, take that group to port. Seven and I will handle the others,” Steen said.

    “Yes, sir.” Darin and Quiver peeled away.

    “Come on, Seven.”

    Slurry clicked his teeth together. “Here right with you, Eight.”

    Steen pulled up and rose into the sky with Slurry keeping pace. Steen quickly spotted the binary system’s primary star, a cool but swollen orange orb. Its white dwarf companion was far beyond the planet’s orbit and not currently visible, though it was out there somewhere, doing its inconvenient duty of complicating the gravity wells of this system. Steen leveled off, oriented himself, and then dove for the oncoming group of TIEs with the sun at his back. It wouldn’t fool a TIE’s sensors, but if it made it even a little harder for the TIE pilots to see them, staring into the sun, it might give the Rebels a brief edge.

    Some glare hit Steen’s eyes from the orange-tinted snow below, which was made an even odder color through his yellow-hued helmet visor. He kept diving, full-throttle.

    Ahead, the TIEs criss-crossed each other and scattered up into the air like a starfighter geyser. It momentarily threw off Steen’s perception of how many there were and where they went.

    Some TIEs-- three of them-- regrouped from the scatter, turned, and fled before the X-wings, heading back toward the city. Steen continued after them for several long moments.

    “Eight, break port!”

    Steen immediately followed Slurry’s command and jerked his X-wing to the left. Green lasers, descending from above, vaporized the air where his X-wing would have been.

    Slurry pointed his X-wing skyward and fired at the two TIEs above that Steen had lost track of. The error irritated Steen: it was a sloppy mistake that he shouldn’t have made. Steen pulled his turn harder and joined up with Slurry as they climbed. One of Slurry’s shots damaged a TIE.

    The pair of Imperials fired back. A brief skirmish later, those two TIEs were nothing but debris falling down to the snow.

    “Thanks, Seven.”

    “My pleasure, Eight.”

    Steen nosed his fighter down to continue after the three TIEs that had fled ahead of them. As he did so, he saw they had adjusted their course slightly to fly over an isolated building that looked like some sort of manufacturing plant. Numerous landspeeders that had to belong to employees sat in the parking area outside.

    The TIEs swooped down and strafed the plant with lethal laser fire. Then the Imperials were past, and they continued at full-throttle toward their brethren above the city. In their wake, the demolished plant spewed thick black smoke and bursts of flame. It had been reduced to rubble. Nothing stood, and nothing stirred.

    The failure was a bitter taste in Steen’s mouth, and he narrowed his eyes at the engine glows of the three TIEs far ahead.

    He led Slurry after them, toward the city.


    Far ahead of them was a house.

    A normal house, for a normal family living a normal life.

    The part of that scene that wasn’t normal was the TIE Fighter lazily flying toward it after the same TIE had casually leveled the neighbor’s house a klick away in this isolated area. Two other TIEs screened that fighter and were aggressively approaching the X-wing pair.

    Flight Officer Darin Stanic’s stomach churned with acid. He desperately needed to get to that house in time, but he didn’t know how. They were too far away, and the Imperials were too close to it.

    He took the first crazy idea that came to mind. “Ten, how soon until you think you can get some decent shots off at the TIE approaching the house?” Darin asked.

    There was actually a silent pause as Quiver considered. Of the two of them, he was by far the better shot in an X-wing. “Another klick, maybe,” Quiver said. “But I can’t get there with those two coming. They’ll intercept us first.”

    “I’ll distract them. Just do what you can to shoot down or chase away that TIE going for the house. Use a torpedo if you have to.”

    “Modified bait game, huh, Nine?” Quiver said. “Okay. Eight’s gonna kill you if he finds out, though.”

    “So don’t tell him.” Darin started reconfiguring his X-wing to optimize his shields and weapons to his bait preferences.

    “Ooh, a secret. Blackmail material. I can get behind this.” Even as Quiver chatted, he drifted laterally and up, away from Darin’s X-wing, getting a better line of sight for a shot while also giving Darin more room to maneuver and evade.

    Ahead, the two oncoming TIEs looked like they were about to split in response to the Coronas’ shifting positions. Darin couldn’t afford to give them that opportunity. All their attention needed to be on him to free up Quiver.

    Darin quickly switched to torpedoes, bracketed the TIE with the most altitude of the pair, and fired before he was close enough to get a solid targeting lock. Immediately he switched back to single-fire lasers and fired at the lower TIE.

    The TIEs twisted apart, going evasive. The torpedo missed. As the distance between Darin and the TIEs dwindled, he kept firing, forcing them to focus on him. To make himself a more appealing target, he didn’t evade as much as he should have, and their return shots splashed across his forward shields.

    He sheered off the wing pylon of one TIE, and that starfighter crashed to the ground.

    In his peripheral vision, he saw the red reflection on his canopy as Quiver fired.

    “Too far yet,” Quiver said, distracted. “Hold on.”

    Then a muffled blast sounded from ahead. Darin’s stomach turned inside-out; he knew without looking what had happened.

    “Damn it,” Quiver hissed, confirming Darin’s fear. “That Imp hit it.”

    A surge of blind anger made Darin squeeze his trigger harder, made him push his fighter into a more punishing maneuver after the second TIE. A few moments later, the second TIE was hit and detonated.

    Darin looked over. There was a smoking crater where the house had been. The TIE that had destroyed it was heading back toward the city.

    His chest tightened with old, familiar pain. It felt too personal. One of the main reasons he was here in the Rebellion was to prevent the exact thing he’d just let happen. But he hadn’t saved them. So what did--


    Darin snapped out of his quicksand of thoughts. Quiver’s insistent tone indicated he’d been trying to get Darin’s attention more than once already without success.

    “Sorry, Ten,” Darin replied, subdued. He could already feel the sticky guilt taking hold in his gut and spreading. “Come on, the rest of the TIEs are over the city.” He led Quiver that direction.

    As they flew past the destroyed house, Quiver piped up again with an upbeat voice Darin could tell was forced. “Hey, who knows, maybe no one was even there,” Quiver said.

    Darin shook his head. “I think they were, Ten,” he said softly. Because he knew that when someone was in danger, the instinct was to go home. Where it was safe. Where there was protection. Nowhere was safer than home.

    That’s what he’d tried to do when the Imperials attacked his town. Go home.

    That’s where he would have been if he’d lived here.



    Death and fear had taken over her home. They were everywhere.

    Ybbne ran as fast as she could through the city’s streets, though her squat Ortolan legs did her no favors. More lithe beings, such as Togrutas and an occasional Sullustan, raced by her in a panic. They dodged stationary landspeeders in the roadway that were abandoned in the gridlock or crushed by fallen rubble. Ybbne also passed by other Ortolans, some dead in the streets, others peering out from their doorways and windows in terror, their trunks and large ears flattened protectively against their heads.

    That had been Ybbne at first, but after she’d seen the building next to hers implode from a TIE’s laser blast, she’d decided that she didn’t want to wait around for the same thing to happen to hers.

    Thick dust and the stench of smoke hung in the air. It was freezing; gusts of wind were blowing the frigid outside air through the shattered protective dome above her into the city, but she barely noticed the cold thanks to her physiology. Ybbne was having much more difficulty with the noise: the shrill city-wide sirens, beings screaming, the howl of the wind, and various explosions were assaulting her sensitive hearing, making it almost impossible to run without clamping her hands over her large ears and screaming or bugling herself to try to drown everything else out.

    Still she ran. Not too much farther away was the closest entrance to the underground tunnels the Sullustan colonists had built for the coldest days in winter when not even the protective domes could prevent the city from experiencing a deep freeze. Maybe they would be safe down there. Away from the lasers. Away from the Imperials. Away from death.

    Ybbne wasn’t the only one with that idea. Most of the other beings on the street were running in the same direction, making the same turns to get to the tunnels’ entrance.

    She ended up running next to an adolescent Togruta. He looked terrified, but without a word he checked his pace to stay with her.

    They ran down the sidewalk of the last block before reaching a large open area used for unloading emergency goods from speeders for use in the tunnels in winter. They were almost there.

    The Togruta put out a hand to stop Ybbne before they left the cover of the last building. “Wait,” he said, slowing to a stop himself. She did so. The adolescent peered around the corner, scanning the sky in all directions. Ybbne did as well. Starfighters swarmed in the sky above, their red and green lasers criss-crossing everywhere as they shot at each other and at the city’s domes. The dome was broken here as well, and Ybbne could hear the starfighter engines and weapons.

    Finally there didn’t seem to be any starfighters immediately above them. Ybbne and the adolescent started forward again at a run across the open duracrete. Other Togrutas and Ortolans who had arrived and waited while they scouted out the situation joined them.

    When they were about halfway across, Ybbne heard a drastic change in engine pitch that caused her to look up. An Imperial TIE Fighter had seemingly materialized out of nowhere-- were they really that fast, that maneuverable?-- and was flying directly toward the largest hole in the protective dome above. At that angle, its lasers would decimate the crowd running through the open unloading area.

    Ybbne’s life flashed before her eyes. The adolescent Togruta, a stranger she’d met several minutes and a lifetime ago, also saw the TIE heading for them with their inevitable fate. He kept running with Ybbne but reached over and tightly took her thick hand in his slim one. Beings in the panicked crowd around them screamed.

    Two X-wings swooped down from above. Red lasers from one of the Rebel ships hit the TIE before it could fire. The TIE spun, careening out of control, and impacted the ground somewhere outside of the protective dome. The dull thud of the TIE’s crash reverberated through the cold air.

    Just like that, Ybbne had a chance at a future again. A chance at life.

    As she, the adolescent, and the rest of the crowd finally made it across the unloading area and down into the relative safety of the tunnels, Ybbne offered some thoughts of gratitude to the unknown Rebel who had saved them.

    The Rebel’s action had changed everything for her.

    The End
  23. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Exciting stories about the fighting and loss of lives and saving in the last part. A great response to the 5+1 challenge
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  24. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    Whew. I am exhausted after reading your 5 + 1 entry -- there's a lot of action, and so much of it seems so difficult and futile, right up until the end, when we discover there were survivors and the squadron did save lives -- a lot of them, apparently. From watching TIE pilots blow up a freighter just because they can, to knowing someone was home when the house blew up, I can't imagine how disheartening some of these scenes must be to Corona Squadron. I hope they get to hear the good news concerning those who made it out alive.

    Congratulations on a successful experiment with this challenge. Each of your characters has a distinct voice, sometimes difficult in an ensemble piece like this, and most of the entries built toward the final showdown at the end. Nicely done!
  25. Findswoman

    Findswoman The Fanfic Mod in Pink star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Wow, this is a truly impressive 5+1! I’m seeing it as “five of the tragic things that go wrong during wartime and one of the things that went right,” or “five times innocent life was tragically lost during wartime and one time it was saved.” And I love the way you structured it around the wingpairs of Corona Squadron, with all the various thoughts and reactions that make them who they are (because during wartime you don’t necessarily stop being yourself—right?). And then you let that crucial sixth section be from civilian eyes. (And I love that it was an Ortolan! You really have a knack for writing alien characters, as of course we’ve seen so beautifully done in Going Within, Going Without!) Like @Seldes_Katne , I hope the Coronas will be able to hear about the lives they saved and the things that went right, just so they can feel that what they did was worth at least something. (Acknowledging, of course, that no loss of life is really “worth it,” which really is the crux of this story.) Congratulations on hitting it out of the park with this culminating story—I have been very impressed with your series from start to finish and have really loved getting to know your characters! =D=
    Kahara and earlybird-obi-wan like this.