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Alice Bee, Robert Bell, Bob Halula, Christopher Levy, and Jaina Roberts.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:8:4) in the Ringali nebula: Ringali Station.
Kess Berus, Commander Dillon Hobbes, Sergeant Reilly Judah, Flight Captain Connor Merced, Major Elayne Passik, Flight Captain Sienala Pavo, and Commander Julia Starfall.

Ringali Station was once a state of the art gas mining station, but that was a generation, or two, ago. Now it had been converted by the Rebel Alliance with limited resources into a sector command base hidden deep within the Ringali Nebula. It was overcrowded, poorly maintained, cramped, dark, and literally falling apart. There were hanging wires, exposed conduits, and miss deck plating, but it was the best the Rebels could manage. Within the station was a makeshift bar, with a limited selection, dirty glasses, and serving droids that sometimes worked, but it was better than nothing.

Commander Dillon Hobbes of Blackguard Squadron was the first into the bar following the victory at Rhinnal. He was still on edge after the engagement, which had damaged his craft, and nearly cost his life. He needed a drink, badly, but he did not want anyone to know that ... particularly not Major Passik. "As I said boys, first round is on me," he said, as he motioned towards the serving droid for a bottle of Corellian whiskey. His wingmen helped themselves and then moved away, as they knew he wanted to have a moment with the Major. He slid in the back to the small table he usually occupied, and waited for Elayne to join him in a less than obvious manner. He was sure there were rules and regulations against their fraternization, but in a hot sector during a time of war few were getting written up. The Rebellion could not afford to revoke their flight status, nor transfer them to another sector.

Arriving back at the station, Major Elayne Passik was tasked with delivering the damage report at the makeshift command center. She felt like someone had hollowed out her insides as she reviewed just how many X-wings and A-wings they had lost in the battle. It had been taxing, both emotionally and physically. She hadn't even had the strength to pull off her jumpsuit. The meeting ran late, which resulted in Elayne being late to meet up with Dillon. The blue-haired made her way into the bar feeling exhausted. As soon as she saw a serving droid, she ordered a whiskey for herself.

Today, her metal legs felt so heavy. Each step took more effort than the last. It was a Herculean task to reach the small, secluded table where she and Dillon spent much too much time. She lowered herself into a seat. "Damn, that was rough." She said, pushing her damp hair backwards. The serving droid returned to her, quickly, with a full bottle of Corellian whiskey and two dirty glasses for them. She opened up the bottle, serving both her, and Dillon, with it. She said no more until she had taken a drink and the burn of the liquid rushed down her throat. Then, she reached across the table to grasp his hand. "Are you doing okay, Dillon?" As to the rules against romance in the ranks, Elayne didn't care. If they were written up, Elayne would simply laugh. Death was one step away as a pilot. Happiness was rare. No one was going to attempt to take that away from them.

Connor Merced wandered into the "establishment" a few minutes after the Major, having sat in his room for a while to let his hands stop shaking. He had been in plenty of ship combat scenarios before, but this was a whole other animal.

The sheer lunacy of the dogfight he just participated in was not what he had expected. When you run your own ship you have your crew to bring home safe, that was job number one. But it was a lot harder when your crew was spread out into a quartet of starfighters dancing around a combat environment that had a radius of a few miles. There was too much for one person to track.

He had lost one of his flight, his wingman even, when he broke from their skirmish with the TIE Strikers to cover the X-wings from the Interceptors. It seemed like a simple decision to make at the time, their primary mission was to cover the bombers after all. But in retrospect, he questioned his actions...and the ramifications were weighing on him.

He took a few steps up to the serving area to request a drink. "Whiskey, Corellian if you have it." The server shook his head. "Then whatever is closest. Make it a double." He sat down and nursed the first drink for a few minutes as he thought about his decision to retire from the Bha'lir and join the Rebellion.

And so arrived the entertainment. The Dancers stepped in with a variety of hand held strings and horn-like instruments. The music started out with slow, swanky tones of jizz music. The ladies of the Y-Wing squadron euphemistically called the Dancers had made it their business of late to use their earlier training to relieve the stress of battle. Sienalo specifically led the music as she did on the battlefield. The former slave seemed to know all the best ways to get people to do what was needed. From simple manipulation through perceived exploitation, to guiding her opponents to where she wanted them on the battlefield, she knew the music of life.

For now, the tempo was festive, jubilant and celebratory. So the ladies were playing such music to keep spirits going in order to ride the momentum into the future.

"It's only going to be rough from now on, Elayne," Dillon replied to her, in stark terms, as he reached across the table to hold her hands. "We got the target though. That's something," he told her, trying to keep a positive outlook on things. "I'm alright ... my fighter however ... it's going to take the techs a while to fix it," he said, as he had a close call in the battle. He was quick to take his drink, his hand still a little shaky from the battle, as he took a rather large sip. It burned going down, causing him to cringe, but ultimately it would help him get over what they had just been through. He looked towards Captain Merced and Captain Pavo, offering them each a nod from his table. He was trying to get to know the other pilots, but in the back of his mind he wondered how long it would be until an errant laser blast caused one of them to stop coming around. It could even be him. The station's bar was perhaps the most cramped, most dingy watering hole he had ever been in, but it was better than not having one at all. He smiled towards Elayne, content in the fact that they had survived the battle. If they kept surviving battles they would survive the war.

Reilly sat by herself, nursing a glass of asteroid water. The medbay had been busy after the latest campaign but for now everyone was stable and the medics assigned to the station were handling postoperative care. It was a time to relax but that was something Reilly rarely did. Her mind skipped from patient to patient making sure she had done everything correctly. Her thoughts then bounced to various battles, remembering the vacant look in the eyes of the dead. Imperials and Alliance all looked dead the same way. There was a lack of energy; a lack of the Force perhaps after someone died.

There was far too much death, especially for a glass of water, no matter how rare or difficult to collect. Right hand lifted to draw the attention of the servo-droid. Once it rolled over she smiled at it. "I think I need a shot of whiskey for this water." The droid listed several types of whiskey available. Reilly chose the common Corillian variety.

Dillon spoke the cold, hard truth. Elayne liked that he didn't try to paint rainbows and butterflies all over their gloomy situation. He had a damn good head on his shoulders. "Yeah, that's something for sure. It was a mission success in that respect." The lights over Rhire were out now. Elayne had moved past the moral conflictions she had about attacking the hydroplants. She left those behind when they were attacked by the Empire. By default, the people of Rhire had associated themselves with the wrong side. Her hands squeezed his tightly while they recalled the trying day they had just had. "They'll get it up and running again. I'd rather the techs have to fix your ship than the medics having to fix you." When he was hit, Elayne had become conflicted. She proved, to everyone, that she was willing to do anything to keep him safe. She took a short drink, glancing up towards the two pilots who had joined in the cantina. She offered her best, gloomy smile to them. Elayne was not in the best of moods. She figured that several drinks would settle her. As it was, the liquid simply burned.

Elayne had been bit in the ass by reality on Rhinnal. She felt antsy and bothered after facing another life or death situation. Dillon had rooted her in her time of need. She looked down at their hands. "After our next mission is complete, because we both know they've already got somethin' in the works... We should take a few days off. Go somewhere. Relax. Elope." She lifted her head to show him she was completely serious when dropping that little torpedo on him. She didn't justify herself because he knew...he knew she loved him. He knew that either one of them could die at any point.

Connor was finding the nature of being in a Rebellion about as enjoyable as the 'Corellian' whiskey he was sipping. The idea seemed grand and all but the execution was complex and filled with emotional assaults.

He leaned back in his chair panning the small room. He nodded back to his Commander, raising his glass out of respect before watching the dancers perform. They weren't that bad, he realized...he enjoyed their performance through two more whiskeys before he decided to head out.

This unit seemed a little detached at the moment. The squadron commander barely spoke to him since he joined, seeming tomorrow his female companion from the X-wing unit. He walked past the table with Hobbes at it, giving a brief salute with the accompanying "Sir", before heading for some bunk time.

"Elope?" Dillion replied, as his eyes widened at the thought of it. He tried to keep his voice down, so that others would not hear given the potential violation in regulations of serving with one's spouse. However, Commander Xergo *had* married her Yeoman and seemed to be getting away with it. "I think that would be wonderful. Let's do it. New Alderaan?" he asked her, as he leaned forward across the table and took both of her hands in hers. Before she could give an answer he noticed one of his flight leaders, and turned his attention over the Captain Merced. "Good flying out there, Captain," he said with a nod of his head, wondering just how much he had heard. He did not care, as the war was too chaotic for anyone or anything to trouble for him too long. As the Captain Merced moved away, he focused his attention back on Elayne. He though he would have been married by the time he was this age, but he was behind, as the war had cut a lot of people's plans short.

Elayne knew what could happen if people suddenly started caring about their relationship. She would likely be demoted on the spot. The thing was... Elayne didn't care. She had endured so much in her life. Now there was only one something she wanted in life. That something was Dillon. He had proven to her, time and time again, that the skeletons in her closet were not going to scare him away. He had been a positive influence on her from their very first meeting, which is likely why she instantly started falling for him. She noticed Captain Merced while secretly hoping he hadn't heard *too* much of their conversation. A relief smile settled on her face as he agreed to Elayne's outrageous proposal. It certainly hadn't been fancy--in the dingy Ringali Station bar. Dillon deserved better, yet he had agreed nonetheless. "New Alderaan." She agreed, thinking fondly of their future home.

Three years ago a traumatic event had taken everything from her. Before then, she had been an overly positive person. After? Not so much. Before Dillon, each night when she looked down at her cybernetic legs, she felt miserable. Horrible thoughts ate away at her head: the legs made her undesirable, unwanted, and unloved. The tough exterior that had formed as a result of being a prisoner made it even harder for people to get close to her. She scoffed at the idea of getting married because she was so convinced of the things she told herself. Now, everything was changing. She could lay in bed with Dillon, dreaming of a future that might actually exist someday ... or they could both die in the next space battle and leave it all behind. Her hands clutched him. "Do you want to go back to our cabin to talk more?" She asked, feeling uncomfortable by so many people witnessing a raw emotional moment.

It had been a long day, and Julia Starfall needed a stiff drink. She had been there a good solid week before stepping into the relatively small establishment. Like everything in this base, it had been cramped and messy, to say the least. Looking around she noticed many familiar faces that she had seen around the base. Either at staff meetings or in the everyday rush of doing your job. And hey they had some beautiful dancers. A couple of Y-Wing Pilots who she heard had the past as dancers. Well, it could always be worst, she silently chided herself.

Stepping up to the bar she gave a loving smile to the bartender, who gave away a small blush. Her black hair was cut stylishly short and she carried a black pistol on her side. Not that Julia could blame her. She had been through plenty of tough scrapes herself and a good blaster always seemed to calm idiots who didn't know how to handle their alcohol.

"Corellian Whiskey, please."

The raven-haired bartender nodded, her fair skin, athletic body and low cut top added to nicely to her overall vibe. Despite her youth, she seemed like she been with the rebellion a while. Probably a biker. She thought. Besides, it wasn't like she didn't notice her eyes quickly giving Julia the once-over. Good to know that she still had it.

"So what's your name?"

The bartender smiled. "It's Kess. Kess Berus."

"Kess Berus, I like it short and to the point." Kess smiled at that, showing a pair of beautiful teeth and then poured her a glass of the whiskey.

"Well Ms. Berus, how did you join the Rebellion?" Julia asked.

"I was a university student. Studying engineering. I was at the top of my class, and everything was going my way. But, in my last year my name ended up in a group of dissidents. I had never heard of such of thing." Then her face turned. "A couple of days later a group of imperial thugs showed up at my dorm. They questioned me for hours, even after I denied everything. The took me away to prison. It was months before I got the chance to speak to any of my family. I had been blacklisted, all of my credentials had been taken away. I tried to start over that best way I could. I was so mad that went out and looked for the rebellion."

"I'm sorry to hear that." Julia stuck out her hand as a way to reach out to the woman. She took it, and for a moment they were both silent.

After that, Julia looked up to see the woman's face had changed. Almost in a slight mark of defiance. Like the way, a child looks when you tell them to get to bed early. "Well now that you know my name what's yours?"

Julia sighed and sat on the nearby barstool. Making sure to wrap her legs tightly around the rather wobble piece of furniture. "My name is Julia Starfall. Captain of The Valiant."

"The Valiant? Is that the new ship they have in the docking bay." She questioned, giving away a rather puzzled expression.

Julia nodded. "The one in the same."

Sienala and her pilots continued to dance. The music was slow, their movements rhythmic. It was obvious that they had been practicing for a long time. They didn't focus on satisfying the gazes of men who happened to look their way, but also the women. It wasn't so much that they were trying to seduce anyone, but to cause a restful yet arousing stimulation of the senses.

The serpentine twist and arching of their bodies gave the appearance of flat and smooth bellies being rolling grassy hills. Hips swaying, arms extending above their heads. That is except for S'slavo, the insectoid. Her movements were unlike the others but appeared to be linked to them somehow. She darted in and out of the group, spinning and twisting her way around them with a ribbon that would tie them together and then foll them out of the bindings.

Dillon looked around and saw that the Y-wing pilots arrived, as had Commander Starfall and the crew of the Valiant. Rebel commandos like Sergeant Judah were on sight as well. Suddenly he felt as if everyone was watching his spontaneous engagement to his commanding officer play out. "Yes. I think that might be safer," he said, as he quickly reached down to his glass of Corellian whiskey and downed the remnants of his glass. His throat burned as the liquor cascaded down to his innards, causing his cheeks to briefly flush red. "Shall we?" he asked, as he rose from his seat and began to move back towards the exit into the dimly lit, dripping, claustrophobic corridors of Ringali Station. He knew another operation would be coming, so if he and Elayne did not bolt for their little ceremony soon it might be too late. In the midst of the tumultuous war, surrounded by death, he had found something ... *someone* ... to live for.

Elayne slowly rose from her seat. She felt ... happy. As badly as she wanted to run away from Ringali Station as quickly as possible, she realized that they should probably sleep off the alcohol first. "We'll leave first thing tomorrow." She whispered to him while they made a rapid escape from the bar. The growing crowd made her feel uncomfortable. In the cock pit, it was easy to be confident. In person? Not so much. As they moved down the corridors towards their shared cabin, Elayne let herself become excited. Though the war was difficult, there were good things happening in her life.

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