"Heroes For Just One Day"
Flight Officer Mike "Wolf" Kern walked into the Lounge as he did every minute he wasn't flying. Fingering the credits in his pocket, Wolf slid onto one of the many open stools at the bar.
To his surprise Mixer wasn't at the bar table. Instead one of the usual cooks was the man-with-the-towel. When Wolf popped the question on a nearby tech, he was informed that the droid was in repairs.
The bartender came down to him and wiped the table in front of him with the towel he carried over his left shoulder. "What can I getcha?" he said good-naturedly. Wolf frowned for a second, but then pointed towards a bottle. "Whatever that is."
The bartender's eyes widened. "Mister, you don't want that." Wolf leaned forward and closed his eyes to slits. "And why not?" Backing away, the bartender took the bottle down. "This stuff is dangerous… 200 proof version of a Full Throttle. One shot of this will have you shooting Imps down with your head."
Wolf growled. "Then make it three shots." The bartender only shrugged and complied, pouring three shot glasses full of the fizzy, golden liquid. "Rough day?" he asked. Wolf nodded and gulped down the first shot glass.
"Man, you must have," the bartender said, seeing no reaction from the Corsair pilot. "What happened?" Wolf drained the second glass and looked at him. "I'd rather not talk about it. I still don't believe it and I lived through it."
Watching him chug the last shot down, the bartender poured him another. "Hey, it's okay. I'm not gonna tell anybody." Wolf eyed him suspiciously as he downed his fourth shot of the stuff. "Pour me another and I'll tell you." The bartender complied and Wolf picked it up and swished it. "Well it all started when I was walking down to my quarters for some well-deserved rest when…"
* * *
"Hey Wolf, wait up a second!" Wolf heard the voice of Renegade Wing's senior officer come from behind him. Immediately, Wolf turned and snapped a quick salute. Commander Vince "Stryker" Rambo waved it off and caught up to him. "At ease, Flight Officer."
Stryker took a second to catch his breath and then took out a datapad. "What is it, Commander?" Wolf asked. "Death Star plans… no, listen…." He trailed off, gathering his notes. "I've noticed your increased interest in joining Rogue Squadron. Your abilities have become quite impressive."
Wolf was about to thank him when Stryker held up his hand and smiled. "And so, I've assigned you the next twenty 3-am patrols…" Wolf's eyes widened but Rogue Leader wasn't finished.
"Oh, and I hope you don't mind that I selected you to accompany me on a deep-penetration recon flight into Imp territory without support."
Furrowing his brow, Wolf smirked. "Why no, of course not."
"Good, we leave at 0200 hours. See you then." As Stryker walked off, Wolf smiled to himself. Such a kidder that guy is…
Wolf sat in his A-wing cussing quietly to himself. 0145 hours, this is upsetting. In the maintenance bay beside him, Stryker was checking his data-readings. Wolf made out a distinct deep-inhale. "Ah… smell that morning recycled air. I just love these things."
That makes one of us, Wolf said to himself. "Okie doke," Stryker commed in. "Ready?" Wolf replied with an affirmative and raised his A-wing up on its repulsorlifts to follow Stryker into the ready-two position.
Looking out his bubble-canopy, Wolf saw that the hangar was all but empty. Even Mike's not out this early… stang, the Force ain't up this early. Keeping his gray eyes on Stryker's exhaust, he followed Rogue Leader's A-wing out into the vacuum of space.
"Ah…" Stryker sighed again. "Feels good to fly an A-wing 'gain, speed." Wolf had to confirm that statement as he pulled tight onto Stryker's heels. Accelerating to one hundred percent engine power, the two-ship flight passed the nav buoy and slowed to jump speed.
"Downloading nav coordinates to you Wolf," Stryker informed the Corsair pilot. "Hyper on my mark." Wolf set his navicomputer. "Stand by," he said and pulled back the lever that shot his A-wing into hyperspace.
* * *
"I should really stop," Wolf said as he downed his sixth shot of the liquor. "No, no… on me," the bartender said and poured another three shots. "What happened next? You went into hyperspace and all, that's fine-and-dandy, but what's so bad?"
Wolf shook his hands at him. "Ju… just wait, it gets be… better," he said groggily. Quickly gulping down another glass, Wolf grabbed the bartender by his collar. "You can bet your star-trails it gets better… those stupid starlines were making me nauseous… or may… maybe its this dr… drink."
"Please," the bartender said, pushing him back down into his seat. "Continue… its most intriguing." Belching rather loudly, Wolf pointed his finger out the viewport. "I'll say, I don't get it but it happened… w… well when we came out of hyberplace…"
* * *
Wolf pulled back on his hyperspace levers and the starlines reverted back to tiny points of light. "Initial readings… nada, Rogue Leader." He saw Stryker come out of hyperspace a tenth of a second later. "Same here Wolf, same here. Proceed to nav buoy 113-18b. I'll go to 18a."
"Tally-ho and whatnot," Wolf uttered and gunned his tiny starfighter for the nav buoy. The little green, flashing dot that represented the thing popped up on his CMD. "Hey while we're out here, let's get some target practice with some…"
"Nice try," Stryker said, cutting him off. He knew that Wolf and the rest of the Liberty's pilots would just love to waste a sitting-duck nav buoy, but he caught him this time. "Cashews," Wolf said, dejected.
Suddenly, an anomalous blip appeared on his screen. "Sir! Picking up… something out there… can't get a fix…" Then, it appeared. The ship lumbered out of hyperspace, its bulbous projections glowing. "It's an Interdictor! We'd better hyper… it’s powering up its gravity projectors!"
"Negative on that… an Impstar just jumped into our way," Stryker said gravelly. Then, another ship appeared, this time to his six. "Picking up yet another Impstar at 6 o'clock!" Swiveling his head, Wolf caught sight of the gargantuan Imperial starship.
"Any thoughts?" Stryker asked.
"This is not normal," Wolf answered. More blips. "Great, as if the party wasn't crowded enough… tracking at least three squadrons of eyeballs and squints… heading our way… well duh they're heading our way."
Stryker let out another sigh. "Okay, three options. One, we hightail it and risk running out of fuel. Two, we land on a nearby planet and be on the run for the rest of our lives or… three, we blow some Imps up."
Now Wolf sighed. "Well considering there's two of us and a billion of them…"
* * *
And then we fragged the last of the TIEs and proceeded to wipe out the Impstars… saving the Interr… Inter… Interdic… Interdictor for lah… last. Man that blindspot can be really big."
Finishing off his fifteenth glass, Wolf attempted to stand up from his sitting position and grabbed the bar-rail. Turning towards the bartender, Wolf smiled. "Heh, that was so excitin' I have go tell someone else."
The bartender watched him walk out of the bar, given his three falls, and then turned to the man who had been sitting next to the Corsair pilot, identified by a commanding officer's patch. The man just smiled as the bartender tapped him on the shoulder and pointed after Wolf.
"No more alcohol for that man."