Despite his harmless appearance and friendly demeanour, Jay "Slipstream" Pelles hides quite a troubled past. Truth is, Jay Pelles does not exist, and the individual behind that name carries quite the baggage as he hides out within the ranks of Renegade Wing
Val Skalli never wanted anything other than to race starfighters. When he was young, the streamlined machines would cut across the sky high above his apartment every week. However, as he grew older, those races would turn from weekly to monthly, then yearly, then, by the time he was old enough to fly, they'd have vanished entirely... At least in theory.
Requiring high-end starfighters and parts, racing was an ideal coverup for groups with more violent ends, and as the growing Rebellion became more of a threat, the Empire cracked down on it in an attempt to prevent them from getting more of this valuable equipment. Nubia was not just home to a thriving racing league, but also to key ship manufacturing companies, which the Empire went to great lengths to control. Of course, starfighter racing was not really gone. It became an underground business, happening at night, in remote canyons and mountains, far from the bustling cities and the Imperial patrols
During his older teenage years, Val would visit these races. Being born to a datapad technician and a dock worker, he did not have the financial means to purchase his own starfighter, or even a speeder bike capable of getting him to the races in a timely manner, so he would use his sociable and friendly nature to make friends and hitch rides, eventually becoming quite well-connected within the community. Val always had a way with people. He was friendly, kind, non-confrontational and overall quite well-liked, he had an easy time making friends.
It didn't take him long to start figuring out that, if he sneaked a half-truth in here and there, he could often get others to help him in his goals. Combining this new-found skill with endorsements from the many friends he had made in the circle, he was able to get himself a loaned starfighter. A retired N-X Police cruiser which was his passage into the racing scene
For someone who had never flown before, he did quite well for a while, seeing some initial success and showing that he had talent. However, with his lack of experience, it didn't take long for him to overestimate his abilities, and he found himself ship-less again, and with massive debt hanging over his head to big fish in the underground of Nubia.
Cornered and with no recourse to pay back the money, he feared for his safety as his lies started to crumble, he called in every favour from everyone who trusted him, borrowing a fellow racer's modified Delta-12 with the promise of using it in a race to earn the final credits he needed to pay back his loan and instead escaped the planet, leaving every bridge and friendship he had formed to burn to the ground as he disappeared from his former life without a trace.
His exile took him to the outer rim. Settling on a space station in a lost corner of the galaxy. He found a job at an under-staffed airship repair shop that didn't ask too many questions, leaving his stolen racing ship to collect dust in the back of the hangar. A few years were spent like this, getting by, making friends with the other workers of the station and trying not to think about the life he had left behind, and all the family and friends he had betrayed... Though this was not to last.
In a remote ship repair shop that doesn't ask too many questions, it wasn't difficult for a low rank mechanic like Val to overhear things. He usually didn't pay much attention. Underground crime deals, bounty hunters discussing targets, hearsay about important events in the civil war... They didn't concern him, but when a particular small crew dropped by talking about their successful heist schemes, he couldn't help but take an interest.
This particular crew, flying a gunship and a couple of snub fighters, had figured out a formula. With the Rebellion gaining on the Empire after Endor, they would scout out planets that they suspected the Rebels would target soon. After outlining the locations of valuables, they would wait. Once the Rebellion eventually launched their attack and chaos ensued, they would sneak in and out before anyone would notice. So far, it had worked out really well. They had a con artist able to falsify documents, a slicer, and enough muscle to survive small skirmishes, but they were struggling with the getaway part, therefore their need for repairs.
Val saw an opportunity to make a good profit. Regretful and in denial, he thought he could repay his debts and return to his old life, so he put his persuasion skills and usual lies to work and managed to convince the crew to take him on board. After all, going fast and getting away was his specialty. Dusting off his Delta-12 and stealing the parts necessary to give the rest of the crew the speed boost they needed was not difficult with everyone in the station trusting him. Once again, he left, leaving a trail of betrayal in his wake.
Months of heisting ensued, and he settled well into his new life of crime as he slowly saved up credits. Staying off the radar was easy with their relatively low profile style and the fact that they never visited the same planet twice. The slicer and the con artist in the crew were able to get them new fake identities before each heist, but when he became "Jay Pelles" he did not know he would be stuck under that name for a lot longer than he thought.
In the end, all it took was a small miscalculation. Might have been a deliberate fakeout meant to fool the Empire to make way for an offensive elsewhere, or a recon unit getting spotted, but the crew sprung out before the battle really began, and they found themselves with the whole Imperial garrison upon them. Though the real attack came shortly after, it was already too late for most of them. In an ironic twist, they would end up making for an excellent distraction for the real New Republic attack, helping them take the Empire off-guard and take the planet with ease.
With his whole crew gone, only a few credits to his name, and his starfighter damaged, Val was able to use the information they had gotten on the planet prior to the heist to spin up a story for the New Republic. He wasn't a thief, or a racer in exile. He was a pilot for a local insurgent cell, which was trying to aid them! There had been real resistance on the planet, which had been crushed only days prior. With Jay believing them all to be dead, as well as his crew, and this world being too unimportant for serious New Republic Intelligence, his lies were believed, and he was offered a spot in Renegade Wing so he could "continue" to fight the Empire.
Though regret eats away at Jay "Slipstream" Pelles as he begins his new life as a New Republic pilot, he has betrayed everyone he's met before and every world he visited. There is no way back, and the only way forwards is continuing to sit atop his castle of lies, serving in a role he didn't earn, and scraping by with the bits of real expertise he picked up along the way. He does his best to genuinely fit in with the brave pilots at the Vigilant, maybe even make friends and be his usual friendly, kind and likeable self. Sometimes it becomes hard to form meaningful relationships as the guilt and regret builds up. Jay hates and rejects these feelings, as he does not want to see himself as evil. Everything he did felt like his only choice at the time, everytime he betrayed or lied to someone it felt justified to him, because of how much more was at stake for him than for them. He is no monster, he's always been nice and has never killed anyone... And yet, deep down he knows it was wrong, he knows what he is doing is wrong right now, and he knows it's a matter of time before it catches up to him. Despite his good intentions, he wonders if when push comes to shove, he will find himself alone and have to pay the price for everything he ran away from.