God! I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself
a king of infinite space, where it not that I have bad dreams.
- William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2
"Alliance Cruiser, this is TIE Interceptor Alpha One, I hereby
surrender myself and my craft. Do not fire!"
The words still rang in his mind as his ship was tractored inside
the giant slug-like Mon Calamari Cruiser, mere moments after his
wingmen had been prevented from killing him, destroyed by the rebel
Jeoffrey "Mauler" Weigle activated his aft screen, a lump rising
in his throat as he saw more of his comrades being sent to their
fiery deaths, victims of a trap sprung upon them as they intercepted
what seemed to be a blockade runner smuggling goods for the Rebel
Alliance. "Well," he grimly thought, "at least we weren't completely
When he had seen the Rebel Cruiser flicker out of hyperspace on
top of him, he knew that there was no hope, and that this was the
time that he should act, lest it be too late. He did what he knew
had to be done, and defected.
Mauler glanced back at his monitor, wincing at the sight of countless
torpedoes homing on his former home, the Imperial Nebulon B Frigate
Impetuous. "Remember," Jeoffrey reminded himself, seeking
reassurance, "those were the ones that destroyed Alderaan, that
murdered your family, that paid no heed to your life and those of
"Aye, and now I have betrayed my comrades."
With a clang, his Interceptor was lowered on the deck, though the
tractor beam still kept it's grip upon it, as TIEs did not have
any landing gear. Reluctantly, Mauler removed any thoughts of the
ongoing battle from his mind and disconnected his suit from the
craft's life support unit. Punching in the release sequence, the
fighter's topside hatch swung open and he climbed out of the Interceptor's
ball cockpit and stood on top of it. Around him stretched the Cruiser's
cavernous flight deck, an impression accentuated by the rounded
and irregular walls and ceiling characteristic of Mon Calamari architecture.
After being cooped up inside a frigate for a year, Mauler could
not help but be awed by it's size.
Precariously, Jeoffrey slid down towards a ladder that had been
propped against the Interceptor's canopy. As he reached the deck,
a voice rang out and said: "Imperial pilot, drop your sidearm immediately".
Without turning towards the voice, Mauler drew his blaster and
let it fall at his feet.
"All right, turn around, slowly," continued the voice in a somewhat
Jeoffrey obeyed and saw what appeared to be a rating flanked by
four armed guards, their blaster rifles all aimed directly at him.
"I - I wish to join the Rebel Alliance," Mauler said hesitantly
after several uncomfortable seconds staring at the Rebel rating.
"Yeah, I heard," replied the rating, not without a touch of sarcasm
in his voice, "you can take off that helmet now."
As Mauler removed and dropped the bulky TIE pilot's helmet, the
man motioned two of the guards to approach him. "You're going to
be taken to the brig while we check out your 'defection'. I'd get
comfortable if I were you, It'll take a while."
Not knowing what to say, Jeoffrey merely nodded and walked off
in the direction indicated by his escorts. For several minutes he
walked along the Cruiser's meandering corridors, paying no heed
to the wry glances cast at him by the passing crew members, though
he could not help but be disturbed by the disproportionate number
of aliens on board. "If I live through this, I'll definitely have
to get used to seeing these... things."
Occasionally, muffled thumps reverberated throughout the ship,
no doubt created by torpedoes hitting the Cruiser's hull. "Well,
at least they didn't down without a fight," Jeoffrey thought grimly.
Finally, his escort led him into the ship's brig, which seemed
smaller than he had expected. At the guards' urging, Mauler walked
into a cell, it's door sliding shut and locking as he examined what
was likely to be his home for the foreseeable future.
As he sat down on the cell's small cot, he heard cheers coming
through even the cell's thick door, and knew that the Rebels had
With thoughts of his comrades being reduced to vapor in the Impetuous'
fiery death assailing his mind, Jeoffrey lowered his face in his
hands, and wept.
"We're going to land in a few moments, so you should strap in,"
recommended the Tyderian shuttle pilot to Mauler as they approached
the Liberty's flight deck. "Sometimes control doesn't get
it right, and I have to do some last minute acrobatics," he added
with a wicked smile.
Jeoffrey silently nodded and fastened the shuttle's passenger seat's
straps. It had been nearly a year and a half since he had seen one
of the large Mon Calamari Cruisers, and still felt awed by the sight.
Yet, he could not help but remember that it had been one of those
ships that had killed his companions.
Though he had spent nearly a year in flight school and a few months
aboard the Strike Cruiser Corel's Freedom, few had been those
among the Rebels that he could really count as his friends, so isolated
from the others had he been. He knew, without a doubt, that very
few actually trusted him, and many had requested to be taken off
his wing. This was certainly accentuated by Mauler's demeanor, which
still showed traces of imperial conditioning.
Jeoffrey had had to milk every bit of the pity the Rebel Alliance
had for Alderaanians in order to obtain this transfer, and hoped
he had made the right choice.
In the Imperial Navy, pilots assigned to Star Destroyers tended
to be colder and to care less about their actions, obeying blindly
the Emperor's orders, while those assigned to smaller, less glorious
ships tended to be more relaxed and forgiving... Mauler hoped the
Alliance worked in the opposite manner. At least the cold words
and hateful glances he had received aboard the Corel's Freedom
seemed to indicate that this was a definite possibility.
After an uneventful landing, Mauler was escorted to the office
of his new Commanding Officer: Captain Chris "Electro" Schock, Leader
of the Corsairs, the Liberty's interceptor squadron.
Doing a quick once-over of his uniform, making sure it was spotless,
Jeoffrey stepped up to the office door and signaled his arrival
by pressing a button.
"Come in," a voice called out.
Without hesitation, Mauler entered and, seeing a Captain leaning
on a desk and facing him, snapped to attention, declaring: "Flight
Officer Jeoffrey Weigle reporting for duty, Sir!".
"Good," Electro replied, a slight smile playing on his face, "I've
been expecting you." Suddenly, Electro stood up straight and walked
up to Mauler, extending his hand, "Welcome aboard the Liberty,
Still coming to grip with the Alliance's apparent disregard for
proper protocol, Jeoffrey hesitantly took his CO's hand and shook
it. "Than - thank you sir."
Suddenly, a small four-legged furry creature, which he had taken
to be some sort of embalmed trophy, stretched and slowly moved towards
Electro. Alarmed, Mauler took a step backward and exclaimed: "What
in the Empire is that!?"
Just as soon as the words left his mouth, Jeoffrey looked back
at his CO, his face ashen, fear clearly showing in his eyes. "I'm
- I'm sorry sir, I didn't mean to-"
"Relax Mauler," Electro said, despite the annoyance he could sense
from Kerbe, "you're not in the Imperial Navy anymore."
"Huh, yes sir," Mauler replied, after having regained his composure.
"Sorry, it's hard to shake that kind of thing, I once saw a man
executed for doing something similar."
"I see..." Electro declared, frowning. "Anyway, to answer your
rather pressing question, this is Kerbe, my life partner. I suggest
you apologize, she was a little offended and hasn't exactly taken
a liking to you," he added, a smile replacing the frown.
"The feeling's mutual, I can assure you," he thought but only murmured,
"Ah... I'm sorry.," not believing that he was actually apologizing
to a pet.
"All right, now on to business. Take a seat," Captain Schock ordered
as he stepped behind his desk and indicated a chair opposite his
own. "I assume you've already read all the relevant briefing material
on the squadron?"
"Yes sir, I've also studied the Liberty's latest operations,
and have reviewed the personnel files on the other Corsairs."
"Fine!" Electro commented, grinning, "you're saving me a lot of
work. As for me, I've reviewed your record quite carefully, and
I find your request to transfer here rather interesting."
"Now what does that mean?" reflected Mauler, then quickly put the
"You've shown some rather good scores during your A-wing training,
and I think you'll fit right in. Incidentally, we've already received
a replacement A-wing for you, so you'll be able to fly in around
24 hours, time enough for the techs to do a complete check-up of
the fighter. If I were you I'd use the time to get acquainted with
your fellow pilots and tour the ship."
"Understood sir," Mauler replied obediently.
"Well, that's about it, I've got a meeting with the command staff
in 15 minutes, and I have to get ready," Electro gathered several
data pads that were stacked neatly at the side of his desk and looked
back up at Mauler. "Oh yes, there was one more thing I wanted to
"I noticed that you scored better in an X-wing than an A-wing,
which seems to make sense, given your record as a TIE Interceptor
pilot. Why did you insist on piloting an A-wing?"
Mauler silently stared at his CO for a few moments, then took a
deep breath and said: "Respectfully sir, I just think I'll get less
blood on my hands this way."
"I beg you pardon?" Electro asked, genuinely puzzled.
"Well, in an X-wing you sometimes have to fly attack missions to
take out capital ships, and I know from personal experience that
most crew members on board a cap ship, be it Imperial or not, don't
deserve this fate... I don't want to be responsible for that many
"I see," Electro reflected, a bit of concern in his tone, "well,
as long as it doesn't prevent you from flying to your fullest, your
reasoning is sound enough. But, if you ever have to take out a capital
ship, in your A-wing or not, I expect you to do it without hesitation,
do I make myself clear?"
As Mauler left the office and the door irised closed, Electro glanced
down at the furry quadruped at his feet and said: "Oh relax Kerbe,
you're going to have to live with that guy for a while, so you'd
better get used to him."
After finding his quarters, which seemed more like suites to him
after his stay on the Corel's Freedom, Jeoffrey wandered
around the Liberty, trying futilely to visit every part of the kilometers-long
ship, until he made his way to the Lounge, weary after having walked
for nearly 2 hours.
As he had learned before, the Lounge had another name, but it sounded
almost as disgusting as the species that had named it, so he preferred
"the Lounge" anyway. He made is way around the darkened room towards
the curving bar and sat on an empty stool.
Before he could order anything from the waiter droid, a voice called
out from behind him: "Hey, Mauler, why don't you join us?" Jeoffrey
swiveled on his bar stool to see a group sitting around a table
looking expectantly at him. One of them was motioning him to join
them. From what he could tell, each of them seemed to sport a Corsair
Squadron emblem on their uniforms.
Jeoffrey stood up and walked up to the table. The man who had called
out to him motioned him to take a seat and extended his hand to
him. "Hi, I'm Rafael Costa Guerra, call sign Hyl," said the man
in an easygoing manner, "I heard that you'd come aboard, but wasn't
sure until now. Glad to meet you."
Mauler shook his hand and the others', saying: "Hello, huh, nice
to meet you too," this kind of welcome hadn't been expected, and
made him decidedly uncomfortable, "nice lounge you got here, you
know if you've got any Alderaanian brandy?"
Laughing, Hyl presented the others as Parody, Porky and Rooster
and added: "Sure, but I wouldn't try to get some if you're going
on duty anytime soon, Mixer is a stickler for that kind of thing."
But Jeoffrey paid no attention to Hyl, and instead focused it on
the rating that had walked in the Lounge, and was now moving towards
him. A dry lump in his throat, Mauler stood up and faced the man,
still unable to believe the horrible mistake he had made.
"By the Empire..."
"So," the rating said, sarcasm filling his voice, "looks like you've
finally made your way back... I'm surprised your still with us."
"You're - you're the guy that arrested me when I -"
Cutting him off before he could complete his sentence, the rating
said: "When you 'defected'? Yup, the one and only. I'm Lieutenant
Kevin Koernig, the Liberty's security officer."
Instantly, Mauler's training took over and he snapped to attention.
"Why the hell isn't he wearing his uniform?" Mauler thought.
"Cut that 'sir' thing, I don't like that crap."
"Kevin," Hyl interrupted in a puzzled voice, "what's going on here?"
"Well, you probably weren't with us yet, but we picked up Mr. Weigle
here in his squint a couple of years back."
"That's right, I defected," Jeoffrey told Hyl, looking down.
"How in the empire did I manage to stick myself in the very cruiser
that picked me up?" he thought, "and that guy sure ain't gonna make
"Oh," replied Hyl, "so what? He's not the only one you know, my
parents defected when I was younger, and I was with them, so I defected
"I know that," Kevin said, smiling at his friend, "but why don't
we let him talk about all those Rebel kills he got?"
Mauler examined those around him, noticing the faltering smiles
from the other Corsairs, and the hard stares coming from nearby
tables. "Yes, I got a few kills, but I'm not proud of them. In fact
I gave them up, my record now shows that I haven't got any at all."
"But you still killed rebel pilots, didn't you?" Kevin pressed
Lowering his gaze, Jeoffrey nodded, "Yes, but I was only doing
my job... just like we're all doing now. If I could bring those
pilots back I would, but there's nothing I can do about that now.
The only thing I can say is that I'm as loyal to our cause as any
"Perhaps," warned the security officer, "but until you can prove
it I'm gonna be watching you. You better be clean."
Mauler merely nodded, unable to speak. With a final suspicious
glance, Lt. Koernig walked off and out of the Lounge.
"Mauler," Hyl said, his voice a bit less confident, "you can still
"Thanks, but I'd rather be alone right now." Mauler nodded goodbye
to the Corsairs and made his way back to the bar.
"Good," he thought as he looked down at his timepiece, "still got
20 hours until I get on duty."
Sitting down on a bar stool, Jeoffrey ordered some Alderaanian
Brandy, which the waiter droid, apparently named Mixer, reluctantly
Trying to forget what had just transpired, Mauler filled a shooter
to the brim and drank.
As time passed he drank to the Rebel Alliance.
He drank to the Liberty.
He drank to Corsair squadron.