Jordan had caught me in the middle of the hallway, told her I wanted to talk to her for a second.

I hated that she was back around. I thought I had put away the drama of the Academy behind me, and with the last note I got from Bastion, I wasn't doing that great. And with [i]her[/i] back here, it really did feel like I was back on Carida. But the fact she was probably the closest thing I ever had to a best friend, that annoyance always passed in...I don't know, minutes? It went away, that was the more important part as I smiled at her.

"Just for a second. Need someone to listen."

She spoke a few words to that...well...I wouldn't call him exactly handsome but he was definitely [i]very[/i] easy on the eyes, XO of her's before she nodded at me. I gestured to the nearby meeting room that, thank the Emperor's bones, was empty and devoid of people.

"What's going on, Belliarus?" She asked me, using my first name. She probably saw right through that smile of mine, and I don't blame her for doing it; she was always more perceptive of things than I was.

"Remember my father being rather ill the last time we spoke, about a few days ago?"

She nodded in the affirmative.

"He's gone."

Jordan gave me that look of confusion before it dawned on her, and it only took her maybe a few moments, three seconds at most, to realize I didn't mean retire or honorable or dishonorable dischage. But dead.


"The illness spread to his lungs. He just...coughed up a lot of blood, died. Didn't get a chance to read his letter he sent yesterday, but...kind of afraid to now, you know?" I admit, I was very nervous. My father had been the kind of man who breathed down my neck and my life for literally all of my existance; even when I was at the Academy, I found out he was keeping close eyes on me and who I hung out with. But he was there for me when I needed him to be, even after he drove me into the ground. He never said no, just asked 'why'.

I respected the old bastard.

"I'm sorry..." She said, giving him a look of concern.

"I am too...I'll let myself get emotional when the battle is over, if it ever happens." I chuckled. She chuckled as well, shaking her head left to right.

"You're going to be alright?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I will. Just felt like I needed to talk to someone about it before Dunn gets back. You should have seen the glare he gave me."

She laughed. "Keep your eyes up, alright, Aganox?" She asked, giving me a punch in the shoulder before I nodded, breathing out. She knew how I operated. Bottle everything up, breathe, deal with it later.

She made a motion to get out of the room before I chuckled and spoke up. "You know, I'll feel a lot better if you keep Rardin around."

"Hey." She said, giving me a look as she closed the door behind her, shaking her finger in a no motion before the door closed. My smile dropped and I leaned up against the table, folding my arms over my chest and fought down the emotions at my chest, breathing out, bottling them up.

"Well...training time."

Oh hey, I'm alive!
Matheron Post
The morning alarm sounded off with a blast that shook Quintin awake from his dreamless sleep, making the human slowly arise from his bed. He was used to his routine. Half a second pondering if he should even get up at all, followed by a second of self berating before his body caught up with his brain and threw one foot in front of the other, swinging over the bed and walking away from it. His alarm was on the other side of the room, one of his many habits that helped him get out of the bed and stay out of the bed. He shuffled into the shower, disrobing and setting the heat to temper from hot to cold.
After this routine, dressed in his socks, underwear, and white shirt, he made his way to his kitchen. The beeps of the finishing caffa machine made him smile; he was that closer to fully waking up. [i]Have to get some bread, hungering for toast.[/i]" He thought to himself as he flipped through his food sticker book, one of the few things he kept from the Imperial Housing Officer that came by his small apartment every now and then. Seeing that he didn't have the appropiate stamp for it, he sighed, pushing it near the sink and leaning back.

"Well, I can have something on the way." He shrugged, taking the black caffa that was done brewing and pouring it into a travel mug. He sipped at it and activated his holo-viewer, looking through the alerts and mails he received in the night. Murder, some looting...nothing out of the ordinary.
Compared to the Green Zone, where Detective Quintin Raltus rarely worked, the Yellow Zone was a desolated warzone, and he wouldn't go near the Red Zone unless his life depended on it, and so far he hadn't need to test fate in getting close to there. They were starting, [i]starting[/i] to clean up the rubble that was left in the middle of the streets, but that was about it. Murders weren't uncommon, and looting was always a problem. Raltus, save for this VIP hit, rarely dealt with Resistance cases, and he certainly never had to deal with Green Zone problems. He reflected on that once he left the holo-viewer and got his uniform and gear on.

Leaving his apartment in the Green Zone, he made sure he kept his pistol on his belt. He didn't made a view on having it visible, but he had it there, and his badge was clearly visible. White dress shirt, slacks, his police belt with pistol and his vest he wore over it. 'We're in the Green Zone!' was sometimes spoken to him on his attire, but he constantly reminded people this was still potentially a warzone. Last night's drone attack only solidified his fears that there were some long years ahead of them.

Getting into his vehicle was easy enough, and so was starting the engine and beginning his route towards the Yellow Zone. The hard part of the day was actually making it to work.

His alarm buzzed inside the vehicle.

"Raltus." He replied immediately once his fingers flipped the toggle up to answer the alarm.

"[i]This is Yellow Control. Respond to crime scene on Second and Dalaar.[/i]"

He swore. "Control, confirm location, over."

"[i]You heard me, Raltus. Second and Dalaar. You're already in the Green Zone and you're the clos---[/i]"

"Roger, confirm orders. Raltus out." He replied, deactivating the comlink and quickly making the nearest left turn to get to the crime scene. Of course getting to work was always the hardest part of the day. Had to be a murder. Never fails.

But, as he drove into the deeper part of the Green Zone to get to the crime scene, he paused at an intersection near the rebuilt industrial zone that Moff Aath and Dodonna's forces had managed to convert to construction companies. One of them, a truck marked 'Malton Reconstruction', stuck out to him as he stopped his vehicle.

"...Those drones, they had no markings but they could be from any of these companies." He thought to himself. Intelligence was probably looking at cameras, not at manifests. That stuck in his mind as he drove past, debating on stopping here before he settled on making plans to come back after his shift today.


Delt bit his lip as he leaned back, the programs closed and the network connections terminated for the game, leaving it on only for his defragmentation and hunter-killing worms work their way through the files protected in the computer systems. Delt, for a lack of a better word, was cautious.

The idea that he could actually [i]help[/i] the Resistance was very interesting, even more so that this entire plan was designed by an AI. The biggest problem, though, that Varin saw to all of it was that he wasn't particularly loyal to the Empire. He could care less about what the Empire did or wanted to do, as long as he got paid. If the Resistance wanted to give him a lot more than just money, he would be [i]all[/i] for that.

But he was loyal to Maarco. That belligerent tall man saved his life once, and even if Varin acted the pompous tech worker, he still liked the man. Obtuse and a little direct and forceful, but still someone who he had to give respect to for what he did for Delt.

He smiled, because, in the same vein, he also saved Maacro a lot. A lot, actually; there was no telling how many times he had saved him and the rest of that Ghoul Squad or whatever he deemed to call it. So many times he broke a secure firewall for them, so many times he set up data protect packets and sent wrong information around. Definitely wasn't as simple as saving him, but they definitely owed Delt more than they paid him.

Because of all of that, this was an incredible quandry. He had never been in this situation before, never decided what to do and where to do it, but a few minutes later, as the data collection and defragmentation programs continued to run their course through the system main files, the man smiled.

Why [i]pick[/i] a side? He'd certainly look the hero if he found some Resistance ploys and plots, saving the Ice Queen's life as well as Maarco's, perhaps, and that meant more money for him. But he'd certainly be a hero too if he found out where some Imperial infranstructure was in the grand scheme of things, perhaps even disabling some important Imperial data network...oh, this could be the greatest game of all.

Oh, Delt, he thought to himself, you magnificent bastard!


"Time of death?"

"Two hours ago.  Looks like self-inflicted gunshot wound. Can't say for certain until we get him over to the Morgue."

Raltus sighed as loudly as he could. He didn't even want to be here; he hated the Yellow Zone. Before the Occupation, he worked primarily in the 'Green Zone' area, dealing with petty crimes, but since the Occupation began, he was more focused on violent crimes in the Yellow and Green Zone. He had gotten used to having to travel around with his safety switched to off for his sidearm; just the potential ganger or Resistance member trying to board his vehicle and kill him in the confusion of the War.

But now here he was, in the middle of the Yellow Zone, on the intersection, inside a few numerous apartments that were clomped together, a design choice appealing only to those who assemble pre-fabricated structures. Another sign of the booming construction business on Salis'Daar from the Imperials. A man roughly forty two years of age on the ground in front of him laid silently, a pistol in one hand and a gaping wound in his forehead.

"Who reported it?"

"Anonymous tip."

Raltus bit the inside of his lip when he heard that. Anonymous tips usually meant they weren't exactly anonymous to the victim. Right there after hearing the words leave the crime scene investigator's mouth, he had to rule out suicide.

"Angle of the gunshot?"

"I know." The man said as he leaned back. He hated this guy; he never learned the man's name since the re-shift of prescints but something about his demeanor and that stupid salt and pepper goatee made him untrustworthy. And Raltus was usually wrong about impressions, but this struck, and he didn't like that. "I already ruled out someone taking the gun to his head, firing, and then putting the gun in his hand. Too much heat damage from the blaster firing from point blank. No fingerprints on the hand either, so he had to have had shot himself and only himself in the forehead."

Smug bastard. "Well, then close this up, get him prepped for the body bags. I'm going back to prescint then." Raltus spoke with a bit of a step in his voice, determined to get out of here. Half of it was the fear of being shot here in the Yellow Zone, but the other half was that nagging feeling about the construction companies.

Fuck it, he thought to himself. He'll keep this case open, and since it took a little bit to get back to Green Zone Control, he could afford to look around for a bit, see if these companies were missing some drones...

Had to do this SOMETIME

-slams third empty glass that once held tequila-

Okay, writer, let's do this.

1. What's your worst fear? And your second worst? I don't know, buddy, you tell me. Dying out here? No, wait, being lit on fire. I'm a pilot; dying certainly is at the top of the list. Second worst is a little more difficult...uh...Letting someone die for me. Nobody needs to do that. Nobody should do that. I definitely don't deserve that...so yeah, I guess that's a big fear of mine. Definitely not the first though.

2a. What do you want readers to know about you? Easy enough: I'm really not this emo nor am I this depressing. I hide my stuff behind alcohol; I'm actually a pretty funny drunk, and I'm not touchy either! I'm a teacher and I'm a trainer; once being in command of my own squadron, I know how to make people think when behind the seat of a snubfighter. God damn it, it's the only real thing I know what to do besides cook up a mean agnolotti with red sauce, so I do it as well as I can, even if now I'm only in the middle of the chain of command (I used to do this when I was busted to the lowest!). I adore to drink and I abhor the nightmares when I don't, so I often do, and I'm gonna stick around for as long as I can.

2. What do you want story characters to know about you? I AM NOT ALWAYS DRUNK, DAMNIT! I may be bitter because I'm an old 'salty dawg' and I may be willing to tell a good joke every now and then sober. Not looking for love either; save that for the romantic movies about pilots. I'm a survivor, so stick with me and I'll get you through this, alright?

3. What would you most like to hide? My 'incident' with then Admiral Ackbar of the New Republic fleet. My rank currently...hell, hide my whole life. It's not great when people call you 'the wash-up' and it certainly ain't pretty when people begin to talk behind your back about it. When I was a flight officer again, every squadron commander pitied me and looked at me like I was a rot or a disease; no one wants the black sheep, I'll tell you that. I'd hide that, my drinking problem, and my record if I got the chance.

4. What would you most like to change about your life? If you gave me a single chance, to go back in time and keep my comments to myself when I was talking to Admiral Ackbar, to where I could have stopped my life from exploding inward, I'd take it in a god damn heartbeat. I wouldn't be a drunk (to this extent), I wouldn't have to hear about my old squadron losing men and women out in the Outer Rim without me and I wouldn't be here, in an X-Wing again, when I should be flying an E-Wing. I could be a Rear Admiral by now, maybe at least a Commodore...Not a day goes by, no matter the good, that I regret not keeping my stupid mouth shut.

5. Why should you care about you? What the frell kind of question is that?! I'm Corbin Starlight, most experienced pilot in the squadron, holder of some brilliant and charming good looks, and boundless intellect only surpassed by the latest computers and software money can by! When I fly, I make the air around me jealous, with dips and dives and... I lost you, didn't I? I'm the old, salty dog of the squadron; I'm the guy who will be around when everyone else is gone. I got the stories, I got the horrors, and I got the memories that can constantly make you come back. It's what I'm used to, and quite frankly, I could give a damn if you don't care about me, but you have to at least be interested in me, or else you wouldn't be reading this, would you? I hate you, Writer, making me write why people like me. You got a lot of --

6. What were-- HEY! DON'T CUT M--- you doing before this story started? Fine. I was flying with the 4th Snubfighter Squadron, 'Red', on the Pandora. Long story short, I was the guy no one wanted to fly with; too much of a liability. So they pushed me to Womprat Squadron, where I felt a little more at home with the wash-ups and the frak-ups. But, hey, luck would have it that I'm in Rogue Squadron, of all frakking places. Don't even ask me how, I don't even know. Maybe one of Corran's cruel jokes; I don't think he forgot about what happened years ago, because I sure as hell don't. And don't cut me off again!

7. Fine. Do people understand you? If not, what do they get wrong? Of course they don't. I don't even understand me, how could someone else understand that? I can tell you most people think I'm a drunk off-duty and they'd be right. I've gotten a few Conduct Unbecoming Articles before, so it's not like it's out of the blue. Definitely don't know why I drink though. Some do, some don't.

8. If I met you for the first time, would I immediately know what you were like or would it take a while to get to know you? Hell no. It'd definitely take awhile to get to know me. I don't wear myself usually on my sleeve. People say I'm a quiet guy; look at the answers above this! I'm a loud motherfraker when I'm off duty and buzzed. I guess, in retrospect halfway through, if I was drunk and you caught me, you'd get a pretty honest portrait.

9. What sort of people like you? Do adults like you? Do boys like you? Do girls like you? Why? Or why not? Military folk, usually. Civilians used to love me, now I'm no longer in the limelight so they ignore, which is what I prefer. Do adults like me? Sure, I guess? If you mean kids, sure? I don't know, this is a weird question you're asking me. Boys and girls? Sure, I guess? Spice is pretty fun, so is Misch. But then again so was Maguire and Jack. I--- Oh. Wait. Oh, man, now I get it. I like women. I've never been propositioned like that either from both genders, I usually do the propositioning. If you're asking why women like me...I told you, I got boundless good looks! Duh!

Are you happy on your own? (As above.) What does being alone mean to you? I've always been alone. I had a companion for a time, a mechanic, but she left and I gave up on that years ago. I've grown to like being on my own from a lot of things, but, you know, knowing someone cares is great, and waking up alone after the nightmares is never a good thing.

11. What are you going to achieve in my story? I don't know, writer, you tell me! That last answer was depressing, let's not go there again: I want to live! I want to at least save one person's life and then just do my job, even if I have to die to do it. I want to be the hero again, so bad I bleed it. I want to never be the Corbin people whispered about, never god damn again.

12. What trivial but annoying habit do you have? I bite my lip, a lot. Actually, retrospectively, I bite my lip when I'm angry or bitter, so I do it a lot when I'm flying or in the simulator, or getting out of the simulator. I also tend to take a swig of my whiskey when I'm in the sims too, or when I'm walking around them. I bet people find that annoying. And when I'm sitting down, and occasionally my spine will not react properly and there will be this odd whizzing sound as the cybernetic parts try to re-align and I'll make a pained scrunged up face that I bet annoys the frak out of people.

13. What trivial but annoying habit do you dislike in other people? You know when people grab a snack, like a pretzel, and then they begin to chew and then talk with their mouth full? But there's that little food spittle that lands on your face? That drives me insane, with furious anger! Or not keeping eye contact with me when I speak.

14. What four (or three or five) adjectives best sum you up? Loyal, courageous, vulnerable, passionate, spiteful (I know, I know.)

15. Are you going to die in thi -- HELL NO   I don't plan on it, at any rate.


New section? Nice. Hold on, let me grab another drink.


There we go. Continue!

1. What is my home like? How do I visualize its boundaries? I remember it wonderfully. Large white house, two stories, wide yard, and outside were huge fields of grains that the nearby farm took care of. There was this huge silo outside of the property full of grain that I would buzz when I got my pilot's license and my first trainer craft. Jack and I used to fly all around Teyr...I really do miss it, when I get really nostaligic. But leaving was the best thing for me.

2. What weather and physical conditions do I consider normal? What do I fear? I love snow and rain and sun. I love it all, and I love it even more to fly through. My instructors thought I had a death wish when I applied for my all-weather flying certification when I was a young boy. I've never flown through a tornado, but I've flown through a hurricane, and I've flown through snowstorms. I've fought in a rainstorm before too. I don't fear weather; I've conquered that fear a long time ago.

3. What kind of topography did I grow up in, and how did it influence my physical condition and my concepts of comfort? Concept of what? I've grew up in the grain fields of Teyr, in the off-beaten paths. I'm talking huge fields, miles long, and endless sepia and blue skies. I was physically active all the time because it was always beautiful outside. I hunted, I fished, I did lots of things. I still try to stay physically active.

4. In what kind of place do I feel most at home? What shapes and textures give me comfort, or discomfort? I never feel more comfortable, even when I'm home, then when I'm in the pilot seat of a snubfighter. I will never, ever replicate the feeling I have when I sat down in my E-Wing pilot chair. That thing has seen hundreds of hours of combat time, so I'm used to the shape and style of a pilot's chair, duh! ...But it can give him discomfort. On extended missions, the stance I have to sit in can cause my spine to derp on me.

5. Who is in charge here? Do I respect them, fear them, both? I don't fear Antilles, nor do I like him, but I respect the rank like I respected it from commanders and squadron leaders before him. I'll respect him like my men respected me when I was his rank. No idea of his style of command so I can't comment if he's truly in charge of his squadron, but I'll find out.

6. How do I show who I am in the way I dress? What is comfortable? Will I endure discomfort for the sake of looking good or looking powerful? I dress normally? Jeans or slacks, collared neck long or short sleeve. More comfortable in my uniform, be it flight or dress. I'll never look powerful outside of the uniform beyond muscle shirts and I ain't ever wearing something like that, I'll tell you what.


7. Where do the things I own come from? Do I worry about getting more?
I buy my things with my salary. I have an apartment on Coruscant I've kept since I was originally a Captain in the Navy and leading my own Group so I still have that, but it's barely furnished and I use it to sleep rather than do anything with it. I really never worry about more because I don't need more. I fly. I love it. The only thing I love just as much as flying is cooking though. Holy crap, I just realized that's probably the only thing furnished in that whole apartment. The kitchen! You know, I picked that up when I first participated in a skirmish, Asteriod Engagement Seven Two Five Aelph. You'll never hear about it because it's in a manual somewhere so people skim over it because it was written by a buearucrat, but man...I lost seven pilots out of 14. I lost half a squadron. I literally lost it when I got back, so I hid in my office and wrote the letters to their parents and then paced, and drank. I stopped when I found my mother's cooking book I kept when she moved out of the house. I literally cooked my anxious anger and depression away...shit, I'm sorry, I got on a tangent there. Next question!

8. What is delicious to me? What do I consider unworthy of consumption? Pasta. I can cook a mean pasta and I'm proud of it. White, red sauce, olive oil base or even vinegar (The one time I trusted a Bothan cook and it turned out better than expected), I can do ti and it will be grand. Anything that wiggles or isn't cooked, I can't eat and I'll throw it out.

9. What are my most prized possessions? Do I hoard anything? Do I have so much of anything that I care little if I must give it away? Oh, man, hold on, you'll love this...there. Look at this. This is the first medal I won, the highest honor you can achieve in the Rebel Alliance and in the New Republic, the Kalidor Crescent. I got this by saving some diplomat on a ship, fighting off a squadron. This is the first real achievement I ever got, and I did it by doing what I always did; surviving. It's when my career took off, so it's the first chapter of my life beyond my parents. It's special to me. I don't hoard much, maybe some old bottles that mean things...like, here, hold on. See this bottle of gin? I drank this when I was 'transferred' to Yellow Squadron in 15 ABY. That bottle of Anaxian bourbon? Green Squadron shared that when I was promoted to Captain...I drank that bottle of wine when I was demoted to Flight Officer. Beyond the bottles and the medals, I have nothing.

10. Who do I consider to be unlike me? Are their differences charming or alarming? Anyone who's not a drunk or has PTSD! Cay, by far, is so alike and so different from me. She's got the attitude down but she's a lot smarter than me, first glance. Corran is the opposite of me, even by flying, and I'll never related to any of the Imperials so why even bother?

11. Am I in control of my own actions and the happenings around me? What or whom do I believe in? We're all in control of our own destiny. Don't prattle that Force nonsense to me; I've seen somethings, and I've seen somethings, and trust me when I say that fate is always in the hands of people, not some unseen force. I'm still here, aren't I?

Sorry about that...got a little depressing. See what I mean? Someone get me a shot! I bloody need it.

I remember the look clearly. One of those million dollar scowls that could speak hundreds of thousands of words with just a tilt of the head and a show of emotion, but it didn't fill me with smug satisifaction that events like that did when I was a boy at Carida. Roleff was pissed, very much so, and he was usually the one with me, defending my actions. But now, looking at him, he was pissed. And that made me even more so.
Anger is one of those emotions that clouds judgment, makes reasoning with something or being reasoned with that much harder. I haven't been as furious as I was at the Academy before, never before in my life was I like that. There was a reason why they called me Echo; I can do orders without complaint, follow them to the letter, not let a wingmate dying distract me. Well, used to, but the fact was I was never as angry as I was right there, hearing the closest thing to a father at the Academy I had not understand me.
“Firing on a [i]force damned ally[/i]!?” He barely contained his anger as he leaned at me from his desk. Of course he had the right to be pissed. Of course I also had the right to be angry at him. But it was three days ago, and with the review tomorrow, he couldn't accept that I had acted on virtue of the orders of the mission.
“He was attempting to surrender.” I hissed, before I added in the honorific “Sir.”, to wedge my thought in firmly. This seemed to only make him sweat and glare even more, and now the anger was either intensifying or I was getting so worried I could only get angrier. Probably the latter; I knew if I  got kicked out, that was it. I was gone from my history. No money, no family, nothing. When you have a sand panther against the wall, he's terrified, but he's mean. I think that analogy fits perfectly.
“The number one objective of this mission was to not fire on each other, like every other training exercise. This is the third time you've done this with [i]intent[/i] on destroying a fellow pilot. Explain.”
“I said he was trying to surrender, sir! We were losing and he was purposefully giving away our flight position in the asteroid field.”
Roleff was about to speak, and from what I saw, it was going to be horrible before a voice stopped him. It was a simple command, “hold”, but it grabbed the man's attention and he stopped. Roleff's eyes trailed over my shoulder to the figure in the corner that had, so far (and most likely thankfully), remained quiet.
“Cadet, be honest. What exactly was going on during the simulation, from your point of view? I know the incident took place three days ago, but you must still remember.”
I was worried. Whoever this black haired, thin man was, he gave me the creeps, but I had to answer. I saw the look Roleff gave him; I was under the impression  at the time that either he was a spook or he was a higher rank. Deferrence and all that. But now, knowing what happened on the [i]Vindication[/i] some years after I graduated, I [u]know[/u] he was a spook. So I'm glad I answered his question the way he wanted me to.
“Cadet Odenas was complaining through ship com that we were fighting a hopeless battle. Four on two was not hopeless, so I informed him that he was wrong and tighten up around the veldspar asteroid. I wanted to ring around it and come up from below them, but he refused, and attempted to climb. I told him he was giving away our position, and he de-activated his com.”
“What did you do then?”
“I opened fire.” I responded back quickly. “One shot into the cockpit and he exploded. The aggressor flight followed the trail to the explosion, where I waited and then hunted them down once they split up.” It sounded so simple when in reality the entire time I was flying on pure instinct, and it showed greatly when I climbed out of the simulator drenched in sweat. But I hid using the asteroids as sensor blockers, and when they split up around Odenas' wreckage, I attacked.
Roleff, I think, would have been proud of me if I hadn't had killed Odenas in the first place.
“So, you believed your wingmate was betraying your position due to overwhelming odds against you, in his words, so you fired on him?”
I think my answer here was what decided the course of my life from this meeting, but I have to confess, I thought it was the best damn answer I could think of.
“He was a traitor. I did what I should always do to traitors.”
The black haired man looked at me for what felt like days when in reality it was only a few collective seconds before he smiled and looked back over my shoulder, to Roleff. His voice made me cringe; I still don't know what it was, but it made me simulantiously hate him and fear him as I looked back to the flight instructor. The look on his face cooled, and he looked back at me.
Again, before he could speak, the spook did first.
“Well, I think we're done here. I don't think there should be any such hearing.”
At the time, I was so excited. I went from being the sand panther in the corner back to the old hunter in the open field, ready to strike. But I'm older now, much more tempered, and I look back here and I should had been much more afraid.
“Are you sure, sir?” I asked, unable to hide my growing anticipation.
“Positive. I think you were acting in the spirit of the orders. In your opinion, you saw the pilot attempt, to my eyes, either leave the combat zone or try to, indeed, surrender to the aggressor force. And, in short order, you turned a potential near loss to a sound victory. I wish our current corps of pilots in the Navy emulated your style of combat, Cadet Aganox.”
I was beaming. I was swelling full of pride.
“I'll make sure the Commandant hears my report.” The man said, leaving the room quickly from his chair. That left Instructor Roleff and I in the room. And what he did next, I will never forget, and I am forever glad I did what I did earlier.
“Listen to me clearly, Aganox. I saw the recorder, and I know what you did.” He started, leaning forward. Gone with the anger, he was either bordering on quiet fury or tempered experience, but I knew the man personally and I [i]know[/i] he was both. “I can't prove it and neither can the rest of the instructors who, thank the Emperor, don't know you like I do, but don't get involved in this Lane business, you understand?”
I was going to ask how he knew, how he suspected, before he continued. “There is already enough problems with that situation than you realize. I don't need you tangled up in it. Not like that. Send in Cadet Odenas when you leave.” Roleff replied with a glare sent my way, his thin body standing up and looking at me.
“Yes, sir.” I spoke, lying about not involving myself any further as I shuffled, standing up and saluting.
He softened up as he returned the salute. “If it makes you feel a little better, Flight Instructor Agernath and I are investigating the incident during the exercise ourselves.”
“It does.” I couldn't help it, it really did. Knowing my instructor wasn't blind or dumb made me feel a little more at ease, and he looked a little relaxed as well. With a nod, he gestured to the door, and it didn't take long for me to grab the handle and walk out of it, dress shoes hitting against the floor as I closed the door behind me.
“Odenas.” I said as I turned my head to the small couch near his office, the one made of uncomfortable leather that made a student not want to be there. I saw the smug little shit look up at me with that smile on his face, right until he saw the same smug smile in my face. His face faltered as I gestured to the door.
“Instructor Roleff will see you now.” I said, and then turned my back on him and walked away. I know now I made an enemy, but back then, I was foolish and thought myself invincible. And who wouldn't? I went from a scared pilot to a powerful man in the span of fifteen minutes; who was getting excited at the prospect of life.
It's kind of the high that kills people.
So, with the rest of the day in my hands, I decided to take a stroll towards the medical bay. I didn't know for sure if I wanted to see Jordan or if I wanted to find something to waste time, but the closer I got to the medical bay, the more I began to think about the eye-candy that laid near her bed in the infirmary. I smiled and let a little bit of a skip into my stride as I made my way to the doctor's.
When I got in, I made sure I said hello to Jordan first, telling her I'd catch up to her in a second and winked at her, making sure I could tease her a bit as I made my way to the other side, towards the man who still plagues me to this very day.
Byron...is probably the closest thing to unrequited love I'll ever have in the galaxy, I think. It wasn't that he was particularly more handsome than anyone else, and I would contest he's rather above average but not stunning in that department, or that he was smarter or quicker or just understood me better. I wouldn't even say he treated me so much different from anyone else here in the Academy either; he actually treated me with some distance, because we barely knew each other.
Explaining love, at least from my point of view, is hard enough, but actually feeling it is about ten times worse because I can't even allow something like that enter my life. So, like a typical boy, I stifled it and pretended it never existed, which is beneficial on my part because I never allowed myself to get like...well, the Bellarius that I never allow myself to be. But Byron somehow manages to make it tug a bit.
At least before I throw it down. I don't need [i]that[/i] Bellarius in my life anymore.
“Hey, Byron.” I said by way of greeting, looking at him. He responded in kind with a nod, a simple spoken word of 'Aganox' back at me. Hard enough to look him in the eyes, now I have to deal with him in a hospital bed. Looks so damn vulnerable right now.
Ignore, I thought to myself, disciplining myself and taking a seat next to him, spinning the chair around so the back of it was facing him and I was leaning against it. Nonchalant. I was going for that, at least.
“Figured I'd come down, give you a small update while you recover. Heard you're almost out of here.”
“Almost.” Byron rolled his eyes. “A few more days, maybe just one if I'm lucky.” He responded, giving me a moment to think how to word my thoughts before I spoke. I was happy enough to really even talk to him, let alone let him know my thoughts on what happened.
“Oh, good. We've all missed you in the practice sims.” I immediately thought as I gave way to him speaking before I realized that was a little weird for me to say something like that, barely knowing the man at the time. I breathed in. “But, I have some news about the shooting.”
Byron raised an eyebrow.
“I think it was Odenas, or at least he was part of it.”
That caught Byron's attention, raising an eyebrow at me. “You know?”
“Of course not.” I replied, looking him in the eye before I looked over my shoulder. No one was around, or at least no one I didn't trust to whisper around, so I looked back at Byron, hooking a slight smile. “But I think I'm on the trail. And I think one flight instructor is on my side...for now. But keep this between you and me and Jordan, alright?” I asked him.
Normally, I would have been a little more direct and to the point, but Byron had this effect on me. Has, really, still does, but stifling it down has gotten easier with age. At the time, though? I was surprised I was able to hide my real emotions as I looked at him. He nodded, giving me a chance to get up and turn the chair back around.
“I'm gonna check up on Jordan. I'll come by with some treats or something later.” I chuckled, to which I got a smile from Byron before I left.
I hoped, anyways, Jordan would like to hear what I suspected, but I was hoping she hadn't heard anything about the flight exercise. This is the second one I've had this semester against fellow students, and I'd hate to admit it but not only was that reputation affecting my social life here (if you could even have one at an academy, anyways)...but I was enjoying it.
As I walked to her, I thought about that. Bellarius the Butcher.
Had a ring to it.

Elina and Others Post!

“Can you believe this?” Detective

Quintin Raltus asked as he leaned down at one of the bodies that was
going to be brought in. The cold air nipped at his face as he stood
up, sighing. The older officer took a look at his partner after
hearing nothing short but silence, his grey hair pickling at the lack
of reaction on the “boy's” face.

Dunley wasn't from Bakura, but from
Imperial Center, and thank all that is Bakuran that he didn't act or
look like it. He remembered the word 'Navy' tossed around a few times
but he hadn't elaborated since the recent influx of troopers that
wore the red bandanas arrived with Dunley. He was the Imperial
liasion between his office in the recently re-established Bakuran PD,
and while Raltus could ask for better men, what he got wasn't that
bad. Just wished he didn't look so much younger than he did; standing
next to the Imperial made him feel old.

But it was his bloody lack of reaction
that got to the older man as he rose an eyebrow.

“Should have been on Imperial Center
when they let the rapists loose ten years ago.” He said, instantly
destroying any sort of good mood that Raltus could have mustered in
the chaos outside of the Hydrocon building. Sirens did not scream but
they soundlessly blinked as they surrounded the building, the night
sky illuminating the oscilliating colors that flashed out against the
blackness of the sky. Some of the investors that weren't injured were
already being escorted to their vehicles, but Raltus had seen no less
than five bodybags wheeled past him.

“Any leads?”

Raltus looked up at the newest arrival,
a police lieutenant with the nametag of 'HAVRIN', but Raltus didn't
recognize him at all.

“Resistance.” Dunley replied,
motioning with his hand to the building as another bodybag was carted
near them to the ambulance. “Only group that could afford a drone

The lieutenant swore. “Great. Now my
paperwork just got higher.” He walked past the two of them after
speaking, leaving them alone as Dunley continued to stare at the dead
body that they were examining. It was one investor from the party,
the name on the dataslate that Dunley had and that Raltus didn't care
to read; he'd have to write up a report anyways since he was the
first responder, so he'd have it remembered by then. But the way the
lieutenant spoke about what happened, that this latest tragedy was
just paperwork, made Raltus hiss slightly as he looked at the man's

“Bastard doesn't really care that a
lot of people died tonight.”

“It's because they were rich. If the
Resistance killed sympathetic school teachers, you would have a mob
behind you screaming for blood.” The Imperial replied coolly as he
let one of the hands he was examining slowly drop against the
stretcher. “All of the wounds we've seen were caused by close
combat drone attacks.”

“[i]All[/i] of them? There's not even
a single blaster scar?”

“No. Tearing or rended wounds, no
sealed scar marks.” The Imperial replied, removing the sterile
gloves he wore before throwing them into the nearby trash can on the
sidewalk. They've placed their temporary crisis command center near
the street; Hydrocon was in lockdown and Raltus didn't exactly blame

Made his job a little harder though,
and he could complain about that as he saw fit.

“Great. There's tons of worker drones
like that. They could have a lot more.”

“Maybe. I'll put feelers out tonight
and see which areas in the city have a shortage. Then we'll simply do
inventory past that.” Dunley said, to which Raltus hid his concern;
that was like trying to find a needle in a ship's cargo compartment.
Salis'Daar was not the place to find that.

“Can you do me a favor and get an
official statement from Director von Aath?”

“Why? I heard he's not even in

“No, no; Moff von Aath's daughter is
the chief executive officer of Hydrocon's Bakura branch here.”

Raltus “ahh'd” and then followed
that with a nod. “Yeah, sure. Make sure the press stay out of the

“Mmhmm.” Dunley's remark was quiet
as he pulled the bag over the body again, shaking his head.

“Damn terrorists.” He whispered.


[i]Dear Mister Rey;

I apologize for the lack of security
last night. I feel if our security team was more stringent and worked
harder, there would had been much less death, and hopefully you would
have not suffered the injury you had. It pains me to say this but a
lot of Bakuran feel strongly against any and all Imperial
institutions, and I just happen to be the one giving jobs away.

If you need anything from myself, let
me know. But I was hoping that you would be available for lunch
tomorrow. Seeing as how you left your vehicle here, maybe I could
convince you to come by here and pick it up after a small meal?

Maybe we can get somewhere. Some
investors were scared off, some strengthened, and some not sure at
all about anything. I'd love your help.

Please confirm at your earliest

With regards,

Elina von Aath[/i]

With that done, Elina closed the
electronic pad after sending its contents along the interspace
highway. She was so tired from the night that she couldn't even try
and make her own cup of recaf; that fell on Maarco's shoulders today,
and she noticed just how willing he was to tend to her little needs
after a night like this. It was one of those small moments deep
within the panic room, within the center of the new building, that
Elina was thankful that her father was paranoid enough to send Maarco
to her aid.

“Have we gained any new information
on what happened besides the actual attack? I know Delt was running
numbers.” She asked out loud once she finished her sip, looking up
at her security advisor. If Antonius Maarco was tired, he hid it very
well, and when the man turned around she found herself trying to see
if he was suffering any of the effects of lack of sleep. She gave up
after a few seconds when he started to speak; not only was anything
he said at this juncture most likely important, it was also fruitless
to try. The man looked alert and awake as ever.

“Negative. The only thing we can be
sure of is that it wasn't a false-flag from Intelligence or one of
Admiral Aath's enemies. I know it had to be from the Resistance,

“Without any direct evidence, we
assume it could be anything, I know. I don't think Vector Industries
did this.” She stuck her tongue out. On Malastare, Vector was one
of their top rivals and competitors; she was fairly certain that the
Malastare branch was still dealing with the company, but she was of
the opinion that there was no reason they found out about Bakura.

“I agree; I think it was the
Resistance.” He spoke again as he sat down across from her, his
hand playing and tendering to his own cup of re-caf, looking over its
creamy brown surface with a scowl before he tore his eyes back up to
the woman across from him.

“Delt's been looking into those
viruses planted into our system, but he stressed that he couldn't do
much until they tried to re-surface. He knows they exist, though, and
if we can narrow down where these bugs are, there goes one problem
out of the way. What worries me is that if Delt wasn't on duty, we
might not have noticed the intrusion for what it was.”

The look on Maarco's face when he spoke
made Elina think for a moment, taking a long sip of her re-caf,
hiding the pained look when she realized it was much hotter than she
originally guessed, before she spoke. “Say your thoughts out in the
open, Maarco. I appreciate any and all advice [i]you[/i] can give
me.” She said, the neutral and tired look on her face slowly being
replaced by a nice and easy smile that threatened never to leave.

Maarco took that as an order and spoke.
“This wasn't some guy in a basement with access to old Bakuran
military drones. This was a well-coordinated attack from men and
women determined to kill you. If we don't rule out corporate
espionage, which I can't do just yet but the pieces don't fit, then
that means that the Resistance sees you as a threat, and a very high
one at that. No one wastes a potential hack window and expensive
drones just because he doesn't like you.”

Elina swore. “Great. I thought they'd
like me coming here.”

Maarco chuckled. “To the Resistance,
you're the oppressor made manifest. New company with Imperial
sympathies that throws jobs out to these civilians who haven't yet
made up their mind? You can bet your life savings that, besides
Admiral Dodonna, you're the biggest threat out here.” Maarco said,
taking a drink of his re-caf. It was even hotter than Elina's and she
didn't even notice a flinch.

“Don't worry, though; that's why I'm
here.” He added, giving her that charming little smirk.

Damnit. She hated that; it always
sucked her in. Before she could respond with a similar flirt, there
was a small blinking light in the communicator built into the table.
A ping sound accompanied it, alerting to Elina that it was a
vox-communication from within the building itself. She leaned down
and pressed a small button, and the words 'SERVER BASE 21'. That was
the computer room, Elina thought, as the flickering image of Delt
appeared in one of the seats nearby, complete in all of his blue

“[i]Good evening, mam. Maarco.[/i]”
He said dismissingly of the man across from her, and Elina resisted
the urge to correct him. Delt was someone who always was a little too
sarcastic for his own good, but tonight, he earned his keep.

“Do you have anything to report?”

“[i]Yes. I've deconstructed the
mainframe's security system and rebuilt it. They won't get in the
same way as before. But that's not the problem. I don't know what's
going to happen when these hidden files.[/i]” He said honestly, and
the look of tiredness was in his eyes, much more so than her's. Looks
like he really did spend some time doing this.

“What exactly are they?”

“[i]Worms, to use a simple term. But
they're much more than that; I've never seen this used this her way
before. I'm actually impressed; either they got a damn good slicer or
it's a cabal of sorts. I'm not sure yet, but they were using dummy IP
signals to get to our mainframe. I think the next time they try to do
this kind of attack, I can trace the true location from where they're
broadcasting from.[/i]”

She was ecstatic.“You could find out
where they're located?! The Imperial Garrison would love to hear
this!” She beamed. Even if she was dead tired from almost being
assassinated, that was wonderful news.

“[i][u]Maybe[/u], I said. I can't
promise anything right now but I can definitely try. Especially with
the salary you're paying me.[/i]” He smirked in his holographic
projection, the shit-eating grin almost too much even for her, and
she could see Maarco keeping his tongue.

“We'll talk money later, especially
if you find their location. Keep me appraised.” She reported,
before she ended the call, the shimmering blue field of the man
disappearing. Elina leaned back into the comfortable leather of her
seat with ease, her hands folding over her stomach as she looked at

“Good news on that front at least.”
The woman replied with a smirk. Maarco gifted it with a similar

“So far.” He added as a warning as
he stood up. “I'm going to do my rounds. Don't let anyone in until
we've verified who is who.” He said as he reached into his jacket
and pulled out a small, hold-out blaster pistol, barely fitting into
his palm. He slid it across the table with a smile, but before he
could leave, he stopped, putting a finger to his ear and waiting, his
eyes moving left to right quickly before he nodded up and down.
“Alright, I'll ask...No press, but the police officer in charge
wants to do a quick, official statement from you.” Maarco's words
were quick as he turned his head over to the woman in charge of
Hydrocon's important Bakuran project.

“Absolutely. You can bring him here.”

Maarco gave her a look.

“Oh, I am not staying in this room
for a long period of time, Maarco; even if my life was endanger, I'm
not going to wither away in a stale room.”

Maarco's eyes kept a lock-on with
Elina's before he shifted them away, nodding in his agreeance before
he disappeared behind the door.

That left Elina alone for some minutes
as she turned around in her chair, leaning back as she stared at a
blank wall for some long moments, sighing as she took in a big gulp
of her coffee. A gulp she immediately regretted once she realized how
hot the coffee was, but she persevered through it and then finally
felt her throat stop burning. She'd need to fix that, or at least
train herself to take smaller sips and not do so when the coffee is
scalding hot.

“Malastare. Night. Capitol.” She
said, thinking for a moment about what she wanted to see before the
wall disintergrated by pixel squares, before the wall gave way to a
cybernetic window, showing a real and life-like video of what she
used to see from her office at night on Malastare. Buildings sat tall
against the faintly highlighted sky, stars swirling constantly in the
nightscape along with the aerial highways in the distance.

It reminded Elina of her home away from
home, with her father and mother.

“Miss von Aath?”

She turned around in her chair to see
the figure before her that she guessed had to be the detective that
Maarco was talking about. He was taller than her, with muzzle on his
face, and his hair was bright grey, clashing with his brown overcoat
that he wore that displayed his badge; Bakuran PD.

“Yes. You're the first responder,
aren't you?”

“Detective Quintin Raltus, yes 'mam.
I won't be long, I just need a description of the night's events
while they're fresh in your mind, and then I'll leave you alone.”

She nodded, gesturing to the seat
closest adjacent to her at the cylinder-like table with a hand and a
smile. Detective Raltus nodded and sat down, pulling out a dataslate
and began to set some programs to work.

“Let's start from the beginning...”


Dunley was the first person to greet
Raltus when he came back, holding a dataslate in his hand and
promptly handing it to the approaching detective.

“What's this?” He asked, still
thinking about the interview that taken slightly longer than he
thought; he had assumed it would have been a quick twenty minute
report, but she had given him enough details in thirty minutes that
he knew his report would be padded with them.

“Your Captain wants you to pack up.
Hydrocon called in Imperial security.”

Raltus swore. “Damnit! Dunley, we can
handle this.”

“I know. I wasn't the one who called
it in. Your Captain did.” Dunley replied, watching the detective
grip the slate with whitening knuckles.

“Damnit! Frakwit!” He swore again,
practically slamming the dataslate on the nearby engine hood of his

“It's fine. You have your report;
you're still in the loop.” Dunley said, walking forward and looking
the detective in the eyes. Compared to Raltus, Dunley had blond hair,
starkly blonde, and he had height to match it. He may not act like an
Imperial, but he sure looked like one, the detective thought as he
calmed a bit.

“No, that's right. I do have that
report.” He said, looking at the dataslate in his pocket.

“Good. Now come on, the night's
almost over.” Dunley replied, picking up his examination bag from
the ground and walking to the passanger's side of the vehicle. Raltus
sighed as he pulled the keys out from his own jacket, moving to the
driver's side.

“How much do you want to bet
Hydrocon's going to make a similar incident, and then it's just going
to escalate from there?”

For the first time, Raltus saw Dunley
smile and chuckle.

“I wouldn't even bet a single credit
against that.”

PS: This is what I was thinking for Raltus, Math: http://i42.tinypic.com/wafs46.png

Reply to Matheron Post

Elina hated speeches like that. The most important speeches, the ones that mattered when you tried to convince the board of investors to go ahead with a sinking ship just to save face, were the ones where she excelled at, where her discipline reined in by her adoptive father could be put to good use. It didn't mean that she was smart through the speech, actually it was quite the opposite; she had the right amount of energy, some conversational tones and verbage in the middle of the speech, and best of all she kept it short and easy. And when she got a little nervous, a small sip of water was all it took to keep her energy right on track. 

She never regretted taking that speech elective back on Coruscant before she left. Doctor M'zurreln taught her a lot, and it stuck. 

"Good speech, mam." One of the investors said as she left the podium, the wave of applause ripping through the group as Elina smiled. She guessed it hit all of the right notes to be effective and attention-getting, and now she had a small problem with some of the investors clamoring for attention near the podium. But, like the diplomat she could be, she shook her hand with all of them and thanked them by name, or asked if they were newer members of the investor group, even if Maarco and her had gone over each and every one of the newer group members by name, rank of stock, business savvy and other things.

"How was it?" She asked her 'aide' as she approached him, some of the investors getting invested in the small and paltry bar nearby before Elina's eyes were distracted by the appearance of the serving girls from Rey Industries that appeared into the room, pushing with them a cart full of confections and food that was making her a little hungry before she looked back. "It was more than fine. You did a good job." The aide said into her ear, making it appear like he was giving her important information, but Maarco took a look at Elina who raised her eye when the girls entered the room, apparently not recognizing them.

"Ryate Rey. Head of Rey Industries." He replied, his eyes trailing up to one of them who approached with a glass of alcohol. Elina took it, smiling and thanking the server, while Maarco refused it.

"Your show, 'mam." The man replied with a smile and a wink to Elina, before he took his place on the other side, pulling a datapad out of his dress coat to appear the part of an aide, but respectfully waiting to type away on it.

When Mister Rey made his speech, Maarco was in the corner of the room by himself, a hand on his inner ear com bead.

"Delt, anything new?"

"Anything new, what?"

There was a limit to how frustrated Maarco could be, but almost always it involved Delt. Even on Termina, when the war was bottling down to land tactics led by rich nobles, he wasn't that frustrated. 

Delt broke him.

"...I'll go down to that damn server room and---"

"Relax, Antonius, it's a joke. Nothing new on scanners. If I see anything, I swear to the Ice Goddess down there with you that I'll be nice and proper and serious, okay? Okay."

Maarco cut the line in time to see Elina raising her glass to him with everyone else. A good toast, Maarco thought, before she saw her finish her drink, and with his hawk eyes he saw her approach the man, intent on making conversation with the stockholder who appeared to be very anxious to meet her.

Maarco sighed. He had a bad feeling about this.

omg one post in one day. THIS IS NOT NORMAL
(I wrote this in a day. Please, please be gentle. I didn't even really proofread :( )

Dancing among the angels of the sky is a fun, fun thing to do. To hold a lofty ace's hand and dance with them the fatal twirls and spins of the Dance of Death is an exhilierating, fun dance that either has you come to be the victor, or the loser. My father was the kind of man who took flying as something like writing a poem or painting on a canvas; anyone can draw or write, but only true artists can make cherished legends on paper or beautiful pictures on canvas.

I fully believe that flying, especially dogfight, is not so much a skill as much as it is an art. Space shows prove my point; twirls and dives can go from simple dogfight manuevers to look like paint strokes on a canvas. But killing someone in a dogfight is the same. You can't just rush in like a barbarian with a cudgel and expect to be victorious just because you have the biggest stick. Accuracy, intelligence and a cool head make dogfighting go from a simple part of the battle to perhaps being one of the most beautiful.

Bloodletting is just the bonus that comes with it, I'd suppose.

I pulled back, my Interceptor forcing one of the X-Wings to follow me into the clouds, forcing it to break off from the pack. 

"Harrigan, stay with Captain Lane!" I ordered, and I watched on my sensor screen that he pulled back, letting me kite this X-Wing into a different direction, hopefully to let me get it away from the freighter.

"[i]Thi...nyx...dive t...[/i]"

I ignored the communicator. Nearly all of the communications I was receiving were either garbled or blocked to the point where I have no idea what they were really saying. My primary concern was the X-Wing on my tail. 

I have no idea why I thought this was a good idea, because in truth it really wasn't a good idea at all, but I knew for a fact that one less X-Wing in the actual fight would be one less X-Wing that could kill these damn rookies. No damn Imperial deserves to die on this rock.

Seeing the X-Wing try to lock on me, I forced the TIE to twirl back down, looping tightly before I could clearly see what exactly was going on. I couldn't. The damn clouds were everywhere, and this bastard on my backside was really starting to piss me off. Maybe thoughts of my father were clouding my judgment, but there was a point where I wish we were fighting on the ground, so I could rip this...

...Yeah, thoughs of my father were creeping me. I steeled myself, whispering a prayer of battle that warriors of old used to whisper before charging gaping maws, and forced my TIE to engage the shielded X-Wing in obscured cover. 

With luck, maybe I could outmanuever him. X-Wings are good fighters, made for the kind of dogfights that TIEs couldn't handle. But with my thoughts cooled, and the clouds giving me a short time to think clearly, I knew that this pilot was not smart enough to engage me with his wingmate. He was overzealous and he wanted me dead. He was quick, but not on turns. 

With one twist on my control, I forced my ship to bank left, [b]hard[/b]. My TIE, on my sensors, almost slapped into him from the side, and he banked under me to avoid. I smiled. One thing about combat pilots is that when a combative foe makes a mistake, you take it. Snapping my control back, I re-angled myself, trying to follow. The pilot tried to bank the other way, as if he was trying to chase me, and he flew across my bow.

Right into my crosshairs.

Shields on a X-Wing are strong, but when you have their engines and their backside, and you can follow them for more than a few stray shots, they're dead to rights, even to a TIE. I blasted him apart quicker than a gundark can tear open a hutt that tries to 'run' away. His wreckage bloomed after the explosion of durasteel and fire in the Tatooine sky, and I pushed forward, trying to catch up back to the fight, my eyes opening to fully see what was going on.

That frakking freighter was doing all of the damage. The lasers coming off of that thing, as well as the torpedo salvos, was what killed the two rooks so far. They were tearing everything apart, and the X-Wing pilots, save for that very overzealous pilot and another pilot that got unlucky, the X-Wings were just forcing them to back off.

"Beta Group, stick with your wingmate! Someone give cover for me for another attack on the enemy. Do not get seperated!" I ordered out on the comms, before I received a few clicks in reply. I saw Sandbat Four, Pavor Harrigan, pull out of the four man squadron he and Sandbats Five through Seven formed near Captain Lane, where I ordered him to stay near as the fighting got thick. My TIE screamed towards the freighter, as I watched him bait a single X-Wing. As it turned to meet him, that's when my TIE was in range of the Freighter.

It was the greatest feeling in the Galaxy to dip below another X-Wing that tried to meet me as I ran through this gauntlet of fire and lasers that met me. It was as if the gods of Space were trying to stop me as I banked across the bow of the ship, where the X-Wing was climbing to meet Pavor's challenge. 
One and a half seconds of squeezing the trigger was all I needed to destroy the X-Wing.

I flew through his wreckage, a very dumb idea, and banked hard as I heard the sound of targeting indictators all around me. An X-Wing was on my backside, but I saw on my sensors that a TIE, Onyx 3, it seemed, took it out. I smiled.

"Good kill!" I said, and banked again, rejoining Pavor on my side as we came behind Captain Lane. It was akin to a strafing run, the four of us strafing across the bow from a distance before we pulled away.

When it exploded, I could hear minor cheering. No reprimands from me. They killed rookies who had no right getting into a dogfight with seasoned X-Wing pilots. I'd say a little cheering is in order.
The rest of the chase-down was for them. I pulled back a little and made sure they didn't try to pull back any further, but Onyx and Captain Dunn made sure that was the case; the retreating X-Wings couldn't break gravity to use their hyperdrive, and they died like dogs. 

I'd say a job well done, even with two deaths on our end, but death should never be celebrated, a voice in my head cautioned. I ignored it, and heard Captain Lane request us to land and refuel and repair on the [i]Banisher[/i], which was quite fine by me.

Flying to land is incredibly easy, at least for me. Countless hours upon countless hours of practice made it second-hand, and soon I found myself in the [i]Banisher[/i]'s hanger bay, my TIE parked next to Pavor's.

When I climbed out, I could see him, sitting on a box that looked like it carried fuel cells, his helmet between his knees and staring at the ground. I knew he and Flight Officer Varel were close, pretty good friends it seemed like, and he was probably taking his death a little hard.

Maybe it was because I was a little attracted to him, maybe I was going soft, maybe my father had to do it or maybe I was really maturing up to my position, but I walked over to him, my helmet in one hand and my canteen in the other, filled with water.

"Lieutenant, I---"

"Drink. Trust me." I said, as neutrally as I could, giving him the canteen by forcing it into his hand. He reacted with a look, before he sighed and nodded, and took it and drank it down, calming himself. He was like I; sweat patted my forehead, my breathing just a little panting but still nominal.

"...Good flying, Lieutenant." He said to me after a moment, bringing a forced smile to his lips.
"I'm sorry. But you know how I cope?" I ignored what he said, it was flattery and he was trying to not think about it, and I knew how dangerous bottling up emotions could be. Flight Officer Pavor Harrigan was about to say something before I cut him off. I'm trying to help the damn man and he was trying to talk over me. I'm going to have none of that.

"When we get back to base, go to the cantina when you got free time, get two glasses, and drink to his honor. Don't make his death meaningless by forgetting but don't let it consume you. Go relax, let the stress and anxiety of dogfighting just melt away right now. Drink some water. That's an order." I said, and then I let a smile crease my lips. I quoted almost word-from-word what my first commanding officer said to me. He turned out to be a rebel sympathizer and I blasted him in oblivion when he tried to defect, but that was good advice, I'd have to admit.

Pavor seemed to agree. He'd mourn later, but I could tell he wasn't going to let it get the best of him right now. He nodded, taking another gulp of water from his own canteen before he stood up.

"Thanks, LT."

I nodded, and he walked to join some of his own friends. I sat down where he was siting, and leaned back, thinking about my father.

Dancing with the angels...I smiled. My father couldn't die. The invinicible pilot always won his dogfights. [i]Take risks when it's not stupid, and destroy your opponents[/i], I could hear his voice telling me the advice he told me before I left for Carida, the advice I took to heart.
I'm never going to let you down, I thought to myself, and closed my eyes, smiling.

This was a good dogfight. A very good one.


Ahh, the smell of fresh air.

And the sound of breaking bones.

The sun was bright, the sky was blue,
and the sounds and smells of the Caridan game field were alive with
cheers and boos of the gridiron fans of the schools. The Caridan
Troopers were pressing against the Corsucant Flight Academy's
'Sharks', the defending galatical champions of colliegate gridiron
ball, and we were tied, 14-14. We had the ball, and the play was
snapped. I was behind the linemen, turning from them and extending my
hands, catching the ball that was thrown from our second-string

I leaped and spun myself over the back
of one of the Coruscant Flight Academy's linemen, the large man
trying to reach up to stop me from attempting to gain an extra yard.
The ball was locked in my hand, the feeling of synthetic pig skin
against my ribs as I landed on my feet, my eyes locked forward as I
forced my feet to carry on.

One step, two step.


I don't even look at the linebackers
coming in from the left. I wait for them to get in range, and I push
my arm out. It stopped the defender as he attempted to reach me with
his hand, as I pushed him back against my palm. My eyes locked on the
goal line.

I was sweating. I had to make it. There
was nothing else but victory in my head.

I could feel the man pulling on my arm,
but gravity was in my favor, and I pulled him with me for those last
few steps.

Three yards.



...and then I stop, looking at the wide
eyed medical midshipwoman, and the small crowd around me. She was on
the verge of gasping, eagerly listening to my words as I stared at
her in the eyes, before I swung my eyes to the left, to see the other
people who decided to sit around me in the cafeteria in Carida's
domitory wing. The cloudy day had made my free day a little less fun,
and thus, I can pretend I take drama class and entertain myself.

The game wasn't that close. They got a
lead early on but their star quaterback broke his back and we were
just slowly tearing them apart. They won't even be a threat next

You just have to love coaches who
specialized in special operations before becoming athletic
coordinators at the school.

“And then!?” The midshipwoman
asked, her eyes locked with mine.

“And then we won.”

They all smiled.

Spinning a story is one of my favorite
things, because it's saved me so many times. The art of a story, as I
continued to talk a little more, is something that can make people
utterly sucked in for a few moments and then they become to revere

It's how I got Ensign Harick Dansun to
my quarters last night, and it's how I got him to 'switch sides'.

I leaned back a bit as I smiled, before
I looked at the nearby chrono. I knew I was cutting it close today
but damn, I might actually be a little late to the library. The
slowness of my mind sometimes made me forgetful, and I had been
actually rather excited to be working again with my seemingly only...

I hated to use this word. It implied I
need one, or something akin to that. But Cadet Jordan Lane was
perhaps my only friend on this college that I could...well...actually
call a...

Nope. Can't do it now. Besides, you
know the word I'm talking about so why do you want me to say it?

I stood up and bid my audience a
goodbye, before I took off to the library, to do yet another project
for Professor Arrogant Pompousness' class.

When I got to the library, she wasn't
here, and I realized that I was actually about thirty minutes early,
at least I realized that when I looked at the datapad and wondered
where the hell she was. She was even more punctual than I was, which
was a quality about her that I honestly very much enjoyed and liked,
and I knew it had to be me when I looked at the datapad in my
hand...and I was completely right.

It was ample enough time to begin
writing a small note in my pad about the events last night, and
wonder about if Harick's little forey last night into unknown
territory with me was but a simple act of experimentation with a man
he probably figured he wouldn't see again after the semester, or an
actual, albiet very reluctant, entrance into the world of Imperial

Who knew? Time would tell. But I wrote
these notes down regardless because I needed to do this. It was a
simple matter of fact. I believed in very few things, but a penchant
for superb record keeping was a big thing for me. As I wrote this, I
gathered a few books on the history of sociology and the affects it
has had on society in general, the topic of the partner project.

I realized then, however, that some of
the collection of books I had so far picked up were, although
perfectly fine texts that would help us, they were written by alien

I stopped as I stood near the texts,
getting everything collected for the little study/project session I
planned with Cadet Lane, tapping my index finger against the texts,
thinking to myself. I know for a fa---, well, educated guess, that
the pilot herself would hate to read stuff by alien authors.


Am I being nice? This was new.

Tapping my index finger to one of them,
I sighed and I took the datapads loaded with the alien authors and
put them somewhere safe and out of sight. Better to not make her any

Wait, what the hell am I doing?

Before I could react and fix myself, I
saw the pilot nearby, walking towards me. I smiled, and waved to her.
I noticed a little bit of a difference in her stance; she appeared a
little less uneasy, more relaxed even, but I wouldn't exactly go that
far. She's never exactly relaxed, always kind of wrapped up tight. I
honestly maybe seen her smile only a few times.

Maybe that's why I like her. She never
seems to waste anything. Even her emotions.

And I thought [i]I[/i] was cold.

“Aganox.” She said by way of

“Lane.” I replied back.

And then pretty soon, it was back to
basics. Her asking questions, me replying. Myself asking a question,
her replying. Back and forth, back and forth, talking and talking and
writing and planning.

It was actually kind of fun, and nice.
She's smart, I'll give her that. Strong, I'll give her that too. I'll
give myself a lot of credit too and say I'm built like a brick wall
when I get ready, you know, clenching the body. But she hits, when we
were sparring, like a frakking charging ronto.

My datapad, in the middle of a small
conversation about how sociology works not only within the Imperial
society but also affects the other societies around it, beeped
loudly. I sighed after I glanced down to see who was sending me the
small bit of information: Cadet Harick. Reading what I saw, I knew he
wanted to talk about what happened last night.

Cold feet. Of course.

It looked like he was still typing, so
I wanted to stop this immediately.

“...Excuse me. I have a small
problem, I'll be right back.” I said to Jordan, and I stood to get

But Fate has a funny way of punching me
in the face. I slipped, my hands flying about wildly as I made a
sound, a surprised gasp, before I hit the floor. Before Jordan could
react, I forced myself to kneel, wobbling a bit as I stood up. “I'm
okay, don't worry. I'll be back.” I said, fumbling around with the
datapads on the floor, picking up mine before I made a bee-line for a
secluded corner of the library.

As I walked, I began to think about a
lot of things. Why I continued to do this, even though I know it is
VERY much frowned upon in the Empire. Why I continued to endanger the
careers of cadets around me. Why I kept on hiding my secret.

And then I remember. No matter who I
am, I am loyal to the Empire. My blood will forever run black and
white for the rest of my life, and honestly, that's ALL that matters.
These thoughts carry myself for a few minutes as I walk, thinking
also how huge this library really is as I pass row after row and
common area after common area.

The Empire, I think to myself, affords
a lot to future career officers.

...and then I think to myself my career
can come crashing down all around me, and I began to feel a huge pull
in my stomach, as if Jordan had punched it, and for all I know, she
might just do that right now.

I was holding a copy of Rien Haldt's
The Understandings of Sociology in General Studies,
not my datapad. Not the one with my diary or the now possibly
messages from Harick that Jordan is reading.

doomed.” I whispered, breathing very hard and very deep, my hands
shaking before I stop myself.

to face the music.” I sighed, biting my lip as I turned around,
back to Jordan's area, wondering if she is loyal to the Empire like I

to the point of reporting friends for ungentleman conduct.

Addition to First Bellarius Post
Nothing feels better than conditioning. Muscles sore, the feeling of dehydration, and a bunch of shirtless men panting. Every cheerleader’s wet dream.

Taking a nice, long shower and then getting dressed in my uniform, I walked to the flight commons. I saw her sitting by a window, but with her back to the wall. Not just the wall, but also where she could slip out into the aisle too.

Better take note of that.

“Lane.” I said, simply, and she looked up.

“Aganox.” She replied, with a slightly raised eyebrow. There was something else too behind the eyes, maybe hesistation? Bah, forget it. I’m not here to get deep in her mind, I’m here to get this project done.

“I did a little work on the project before I went to practice.” I tell her, pulling out my datapad and opening the file, sliding it to her. “I tried to get a little bit done before next class. I don’t think, though, that we’ll be able to do a lot of work before the next lecture. That’s how Rentz teaches…” I tell her as I lean back in the chair. Plush leather? Damn. Gotta love Imperial funding.

“…what do you think?”

Bellarius Post ( :( )

If you were an Imperial and you wanted a career as a Stormtrooper or a pilot, you’d wish to go here. Some kids found it easy with family connections, others had to fight tooth and nail to get where they needed to go. Some couldn’t, and wished they could. Little Imperial children dream to get here, and almost every enlisted Stormtrooper and pilot would kill to get here. I’m sure some of the people who I’ve met here probably did kill to get here. But make no mistake about freshmen and older; this is a military college. You have clicks. That’s normal.

First click you have are Stormtrooper officer candidates. First thing you notice is not a speck of lint. Nothing. These guys keep their hair in nonexistent form and never seem to relax. Tight shoulders, rigid backs. They live and breathe the Drill Code as if it’s the only thing they can survive on. All of them are human males. And only about a fourth of them come from families with money. These troopers are here for the best ground training that the Empire can provide, not to put in terms of service and then get the prestige of being Imperial officers and then leave. These guys work. I actually prefer to spend my time with them, since these guys aren’t ones to lie or be dishonest.

Like I said, they live and breathe the Drill Code.

And then you have the Navy personnel. Most of these people are fleet support officers, people who work in supply, ordinance, or places like medical who are taking their primary medical classes here at Carida or just simple naval command officers. These are normally people with money, or people who had a lot of family prestige. They’re more lax, more lazy, and generally quite the opposite of infantry officers. I guess that’s why I hate them.

But then, you have pilots. Best and worst of both. Either you had a hard working pilot who’s hard and crass, or you got an aloof and lazy pilot who’s here because of money. You’ll find us all over the place. Some of us will wear Stormtrooper uniforms because our intended career will have us flying dropships, or you’ll see us wearing medical badges, because we’ll be piloting medical frigates. We’re the smallest group of the three and yet we’re the most diversified.

We’re kind of a big deal anyways if you ask me, but that’s my vanity talking.

First day of class are usually rough. The beginning of the second semester and already a Navy cadet was put in a bacta tank because of a scuffle between himself and three Stormtrooper cadets. The grapevine was already hinting that he’d started it in the first place but it looks like the Stormtroopers finished it. Good for them. The hallways, at least the one I walked today, were bustling with people from all three groups. And, now, I’m a sophomore. Freshmen regarded me with respect, when they weren’t being ordered around. That was satisfying enough to see it, and great to even do it yourself.

At the corner of the social sciences wing, I stopped and pulled out my datapad to check what my first class of the day was. Sociology 101 with a Professor…dammit.

If there’s one thing I despise, its people who talk too much. Especially those who just regurgitate information.

Professor Alba Rentz, Sociology, was at the top of my shit list.

When he walked up and down the small aisles between seats, with that smug smile, it reminded me of my father in the worse way. His short cut hair, his glistening white teeth, his imperfect smile. All of it. I barely made it into the classroom and sat down with my datapad opened and ready before I heard three chimes. Classes began.

“Almost didn’t make it, Mister Aganox.”

How about you jump into a fire, you stupid, ugly looking piece of ---

“But I did, Professor.”

He smiled.

“Don’t make it a habit. Okay, class, my name is Professor Rentz. Two time winner of the Imperial Sociology Award and winner of the …”


Finally, class was over. For the most part. I look down at my group assignment…frack. A group assignment. “With a partner, take the study of Merchant’s Study of Husbandry and compare it to modern day riot behavior. Assignment due Natunda. All subsequent lectures will give further information to use in your project.”

I skip the rest for the moment. It’s just how to structure the report. But I looked around the class, seeing who was picking partners. It was kind of funny; there isn’t a lot of female cadets here at Carida, but, they always stick together. Four female cadets were already grouped up in pairs of twos, but they were all medical. The other male students had already broken up in to their groups. The Stormtroopers were all together, and the Navy were all lazily standing around. That left one other cadet.

Oh wow, her? I didn’t even see her when I walked in.

“Hey. Jordan?” I asked as I approached her. She looked up from her datapad.

“…Bellarius, right?”

“Yeah…you wouldn’t happen to have a partner, would you?”

She looked around for a second before she looked back. "No. But I need one."

"So do I."

"I don't have a free period until..." She stopped and looked at her chrono. "...after 1700. Do you?"

I thought for a second. Nope.

"I'm good. Commons?"


Well, that's one problem taken care of. I nodded and then took my datapad and then walked out of the classroom. I was lucky, at least; after this class, it's physical fitness, all day. You can never go wrong with that.


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