Pashk "Silk" Vítikan walked into the dim light of the lounge, and gave the patrons a quick once over. There were no pilots here yet; they were still in debriefing, which didnít surprise him given the fact he had just gotten leave from the bridge. With the lounge about empty he found himself with a choice of booths. Silk half sat, half collapsed, into a corner booth near the bar with a viewport close at hand.
"Hey Mixer, a vodka martini please, and make it a big one!" Silk called out. It had been a long day. What had started out as a response to a pirate raid on an Alliance convoy had ended up turning into a major skirmish. Humph! A pirate band! As well armed as they were they had to be mercs. They had arrived in system expecting to find a freighter or two, along with a couple of Y-wings or uglies. Instead the Liberty emerged from hyperspace to find a Dreadnaught and two Corvettes, along with close to four squadrons of fighters. My jaw just about dropped when I saw their fighter complement -- those were no pirates! The space around the convoy was swarming with enemy fighters, at least two squadrons of Y-wings, a squadron of combined Z-95s and X-wings, and a squadron of uglies. The ensuing fight had been fierce and bloody. Pashk had found himself nervous when relaying the Admiralís orders during the battle. I just hope no one noticed.
By this time Mixer had arrived with his drink, which Silk took with relief. He had just taken his first sip when he noticed someone standing at his booth. Pashk glanced up and about choked on his drink. He quickly sprang to his feet and threw a salute. "Captain Evert!"
"At ease, Lieutenant. Mind if I join you?" The grizzled human asked.
"Not at all sir," Silk responded as he motioned for the Captain to sit. "Something to drink sir?" Silk asked politely, then he blushed wondering if he had made a breach in etiquette.
"Thank you. Iíll have whatever you are having," Evert replied with a smile.
"Mixer, another martini!" Silk called.
Mixer returned quickly with another martini. Evert took the glass then held it up, "To your first large engagement with the Liberty." The two clinked glasses and sipped. Evert had a quick coughing spell after he finished his sip. "What in the name of the Force is this thing?" he asked, staring at the drink like it was poison.
Pashkís fur rippled with embarrassment. "Well sir, it is vodka with a little vermouth in it."
The captain eyed the drink again. "And just where did you learn of this thing?"
"Well sir, it is something like this...."
Bothan Martial Academy; one month prior to the Battle of Yavin...
The two opponents stood facing each other with their swords in identical guards. The two could almost have been twins. They both wore the same armor and masks, the only differences being in the appearance of the armor. One set was worn and frayed, while the other appeared nearly new. The appearance of twins was shattered once they started to move. The newer-armored figure rushed his opponent, pulling up at the last second. There was a brief flurry of blows and then the fight was over. The younger one was flat on his back; his sword lay about three feet from his hand.
The one still standing sighed and removed his mask, revealing that he was a Bothan. His fur at one time had been a dark black, but was now streaked with silver. The one on the ground began to move again, and with a groan removed his mask. This Bothan was far younger, his fur still a vibrant black.
Shaking his head to clear away the stars he looked up at his teacher and asked, "What hit me! I had your sword blocked!"
The older Bothan laughed. "Youíre right Silk, you did have my sword blocked, but you forgot about my fists and feet. Remember, you are at the point in your training where anything is fair. You need to start combining your hand to hand training with this," Kothlis Felíkay explained as he offered Silk a hand. Once the young Bothan was standing again, Kothlis asked, "Ready for another round?"
Pashk just shook his head. "I canít. Glain wants to run me through some more flight controller combat scenarios."
"Well I wonít keep you then. But if you could, please come by my room this evening, I need to talk with you."
"Yes sir," Silk replied with a bow, then turned to go clean up.
Kothlisí quarters; 19:00 hours....
"In!" Kothlis called when he heard the knock at his door. As he turned towards the door he found Silk standing there in his Academy uniform. "Ah, Silk, glad to see you could make it. Have a seat. Would you like something to drink?" Silk just nodded as he sat. A few minutes later Kothlis came and sat, but first he handed Pashk a drink. "Hereís to you Silk," he toasted as they clinked glasses. Kothlis downed his drink like water and Silk tried to follow his teacherís example, but he soon found his throat on fire.
Sputtering, he finally managed to ask, "What is this thing?"
Kothlis just laughed, "I guess you are still a little young to be enjoying these. It is called a martini. Try it again sometime when you are a little older -- but have a vodka one, those made from gin are worse." Kothlis smiled for a little while longer, then his face became serious, "Silk, Iíve asked you here to tell you goodbye. Iím being sent out on a mission."
Silk took this well; after all, heíd had several teachers leave for missions while he was in the academy. His main worry was that Kothlis wouldnít be there to see him graduate. In his time at the academy Kothlis had replaced Pashkís dead father as his paternal figure, and the thought of him missing his graduation from the academy hurt. "When will you be back? Or are you free to talk about your mission?" Pashk asked, a serious look settling on his face.
"Oh, I can tell you some things, and I should be back by your graduation." Seeing the smile on Silkís face, he continued, "As you know, our spynet has been supplying the Alliance to Restore the Republic with information on the Empire. This is the best we can do for them now, though we hope that will change in time. Anyway, we have found a lot of material, material that would be used to build ships, has been disappearing from Imperial warehouses. We believe that the Empire is shipping it off to some secret location where they are building a very large fleet. Bothan High Command has finally decided to try and infiltrate this operation to see what is happening. Iíve been chosen to lead the team attempting this."
"Wow. Is this the reason that this yearís graduating class is getting such extensive field training, in both combat and espionage?" Silk asked shrewdly.
"Youíve hit the nail on the head my boy. We believe the war is going to heat up soon, and we want you young ones ready for it. Anyway, we are to leave tomorrow, my entire team was given tonight to say goodbye to their family, and since I donít have any family..." Kothlis left the rest unsaid.
"Well my teacher, I wish you luck on this mission. Of course with you in charge no one but the Dark Lord of Sith could stop you," Silk said smiling broadly.
"So I hope, so I hope," Kothlis replied, then turned and reached behind him. When he turned around, Pashk saw that he was holing his rapier.
"What, not another sparring session. Iím not even armed!" Silk protested in mock anger.
"No, not another sparring match. This was to be your graduation present from me, but since I might be gone for your graduation Iím giving it to you early." Kothlis passed the finely crafted sword over to his student.
Silkís mouth was open in a silent O. "Wwwwhat can I say?" he stammered.
"Say youíll carry it with honor my boy!"
"I shall, thank you."
Kothlis watched his student admire the blade for a few minutes before speaking, "Well now Silk, I have to finish packing. Iíll see you in a few months." Both stood and clasped hands.
"Iíll see you then teacher."
Cantina on Bothawui... one month after the Battle of Yavin...
Today should have been the happiest day in Pashkís short life. He had graduated near the top of his class today, and he already had his first assignment, as Flight Controller in Borsk Feyílyaís task force of Dreadnaughts. But one dark cloud blotted out all his joy. Today he had received official conformation that Kothlis Felíkay had been killed aboard the Death Star, where he was being held prisoner, when it was destroyed by the Rebel Alliance.
"So whatíll it be sonny?" The old Bothan behind the bar asked, bringing Silk out of his memories of his teacher.
"Ah.... Iíll have a martini." Silk mumbled.
"Gin or Vodka?"
Silk looked up at the bartender, "Vodka of courseÖ."
"And that is how I was introduced to this drink."
"So you drink it to honor your teacher?" Evert asked.
"Well at first yes, but then Iíve gotten to like them, so it is just what I order when I get to drink." Silk explained.
Evert nodded, then took a quick look around the lounge. The pilotís debrief must have ended, the lounge was beginning to fill. "Well Mr. Vítikan, I need to return to the bridge. Enjoy your drink." He tossed a half-serious salute to the young Bothan, then left the lounge.
Silk leaned back in his booth, staring out the viewport. He then raised his glass, "To you Kothlis."