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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.