Wolfman's Tale - A New Beginning
"Reentering realspace in 5'4'3'2'1," Michael "Vidster" Videlka's
voice crackled over the comm. Vidster was just assigned as the temporary
commanding officer of Rogue Squadron during Stryker's absence. In
addition to that, Rogue Squadron was finally at full strength again,
and this was its first mission flying with almost a full roster.
It was a combined mission with Corsair, nothing out of the ordinary
- a hit and fade attack on an Imperial convoy in some remote system
no one had ever heard about anyway. I watched the starlines return
to normal dots in space. I had almost been in Rogue Squadron a year
already and these kinds of missions had become something I could
just pull out of my repertoire. I checked my instruments. Shields
and lasers were at full power. I pushed the lever forwards to lock
my S-foils into attack position.
"All Rogues, report in" came Vidster's voice again.
"Rogue Four here, all systems normal."
"Rogue Seven, looking good here."
"Rogue Eight, I'm ready to rock!"
"Rogue Nine, I'm clear."
"This is Rogue Ten, clear."
"Rogue Twelve here, all systems check out okay." Rogue Twelve was
the newest member of the bunch; he had transferred from Black Squadron
into Corsair and worked his way up into Rogue, as many of us have
done, including me. Darklighter was a fine pilot, I hadn't been
able to fly with him very much yet, something I'd have to catch
"Rogue Five, mark this date for the kill-board, fellows. All systems'"
It struck me like lightning. I put my hand on my chest. I could
feel the medallion through my flightsuit. It had belonged to my
sister. It was today four years ago that she had died. God, has
it already been that long? I can still remember the day I came home
and found only a pile of snow 20 feet high where my home town once
stood. She didn't deserve to die yet. There was so much more for
her still to experience.
I was torn out of my thoughts by the crackle of my comm.
"' Rogue Three, do you copy? Jeez, Wolfy, what's wrong with you?"
It was Brennan "Rainman" Roth calling for me. We both joined Rogue
about at the same time. He was a fine pilot. I mean, of course he's
a fine pilot, he's a Rogue. But he was also a good friend.
It took me a while to realize what was going on. There were red
blips on my sensors. Tons of 'em. It must have been a trap. My con
buzzed again. This time it was Vids.
"Lieutenant, move your hot-ass butt and get over here before you
get killed. We're running away from this place, what's gotten into
I was totally confused by now. There were dogfights going on everywhere.
I couldn't get the image of my sister out of my head. Yet I turned
my X-wing almost 180' and headed towards the running Renegades.
I was at least 6k away from the rest of the group.
Suddenly my ship rocked. I checked my sensors. There were at least
five TIEs on my tail and there were more coming. Green streaks rocketed
past my canopy, then my shields failed. There was no way I was gonna
reach the rest in time. I popped the hyperspace lever and prayed
as my hull integrity dropped. Finally after a few seconds which
seemed to take forever, dots turned to streaks and I was on my way.
The flight deck seemed cold and empty with almost all fighters
still struggling in the combat area. I was still paralyzed and couldn't
hear Silk's voice through the comm. trying to ask me why I was back
without the others and what had happened out there. All I did was
pop the canopy, take off my helmet and head towards my quarters.
I had a lot of thinking to do before the rest of the batch got back
' if they got back.
Everyone always seemed to complain about the dim-lit Calamarian
ships. I must admit, it felt kind of comforting then. I wondered
if the Calamarians had psychological problems and that was why they
kept the brightness levels low. Once I got to my quarters I entered
my access code and the door opened. My eyes fell right on the picture
of my sister that was standing to the side of my bed. Pretty much
everyone in the Alliance had lost friends or family, but everyone
felt the same despair, the same fear, the same hopelessness' it
all was building up inside me, turning into aggressiveness and anger
until I couldn't stand it any longer. I cried out. I cried out so
loud, one could probably hear it all across this system, certainly
across the Liberty. Everyone walking in the corridors stood
still for the ten seconds it lasted.
My head was pretty much cleared out by the time the call came for
me to head towards Vids' office ASAP. I had taken a hot shower and
was lying on my bunk when my intercom beeped. I had been expecting
it. I got up and set out for what could have been the end of my
alliance career. Whatever would come, I knew what I had to do. Ever
since my transfer into Rogue Squadron, things weren't going that
well. Something like this was bound to happen. Before then I just
pushed everything away and worked to get into Rogue, I wasn't ready
for the truth then, I'm not sure if I was ready for the truth now.
Everything had happened too fast. But what does a man do after he
completes his goals? I grabbed the medallion from my night stand
and headed for Vids' office.
The corridors were quieter than usual. They were quiet when I had
arrived back, but that had been because everyone was out on the
mission. How many had made it back, only that little? I assured
myself that they were all just enjoying themselves in the Lounge
and everything was back to normal.
I passed Hellcat on the way; he gave me a black look and walked
on without saying a word. I don't blame him, I screwed up and endangered
their lives. I swung my head back towards the door to Vids' office
at the end of the corridor. I paused. I wondered if it would be
smarter just to steal a shuttle and never come back to the Liberty
ever again' then again, they might just court-martial me and that
would solve my problems too. I wasn't sure what to do, but something
gave me the urge to enter that office and find out, like an invisible
hand slapping me on the butt and assuring me it'd be okay.
Vids was sitting behind his desk when I entered. He hadn't even
bothered to change his clothes, he was still in his flightsuit and
boy, he didn't look like a happy camper. I walked up to the desk
and saluted as one must. I wondered how long I'd still be obligated
to do that
"As you were," came Vids' response. "Lieutenant," he sounded like
he was trying to scare a rancor away, "what happened out there was
irresponsible, immature and unacceptable. What in the world was
going through your mind out there?"
"With all due respect, sir," he wouldn't understand anyway,
"I have some personal problems."
I was right, he didn't understand. If he did, he didn't show it.
"You're a Rogue for the Force' sake. You should be able to put aside
your personal feelings when flying an expensive starfighter. You're
supposed to be a model for the younger pilots."
Maybe I should have left in a shuttle. Maybe I should have quit.
"Sir, I don't think I'm able to con'"
Vids' tone was a little lower, although still booming with authority.
"There's no way I'll let you take that easy path. You may hand in
your resignation when Colonel Rambo gets back, but until then I'm
giving you a leave of absence." His tone was more fatherly sounding
now. "I don't know what's bothering you, but go where you have to
go, do what you have to do. I don't want to see you back until Stryker
gets back. If you still want to resign then, fine, but don't run
away from everything, sooner or later it'll catch up with you and
you'll have to face it then. It might come when you least expect
it and you're totally unprepared, like today, only you might not
be so lucky again."
I didn't know what to say. I was expecting to get court-martialed
or something and he didn't even let me go on my own.
"Lieutenant," he added, obviously I wasn't moving, "You're dismissed.
And good luck ' Wolfy."
I left the office and walked back to my quarters. Maybe it was
really time for a visit to Celanon again.
The native population of Celanon were the Nalroni. The furry creatures
had an enormous sense for economy which was also the reason for
Celanon's blooming. The Nalroni's profit had catapulted Celanon
to the last destination on the Celanon Trade Spur, a trade
route that wound through various systems, ending at Celanon. When
the time came, and Emperor Palpatine initiated the new order, the
Nalroni left the surface and hid underground. They didn't stop trading
goods though. It is known, in certain circles, that if something
exists, you can get it on Celanon.
I left Celanon City right at the time as the Imperials took control.
Already then it had been a huge metropolis with a multi-colored
skyline due to the massive holo-advertisements. When the Imperials
came they built a huge spaceport in Celanon City and made it a main
resupply and staging base.
I trotted away from where I parked my shuttle, still swearing to
myself about having to pay 300 credits just to land my craft. Not
wanting to be noticed by the Imps isn't cheap. This was definitely
not the place I left 3 years ago. It's kind of ironic, don't you
think? A man comes back to his home to get even with his past and
finds his past missing. Anyway, my primary goal was to ding a transport
that would get me to where my home town used to be, and finding
someone who could do that didn't seem all too challenging.
The Celanon City Cantina, called the "Triple-C" by most
mercs, was more like a playhouse then anything else, and they didn't
seem to like newcomers - since pretty much everyone in the cantina
threw me a dirty look when I entered. It was a weird feeling. It
made me feel like a total stranger in a place that should have felt
I walked over to the bar and ordered a "Celanon Semi-Dry".
This was a native unrefined wine, that had the tendency to be a
little strong. The bartender looked at me for a moment before he
"You sure you can handle one of those?" he snapped at me, looking
skeptical. I was just about to give him his 'handling' when I suddenly
heard a voice from behind me.
"Just get the boy his drink, Carly. If he dies on you, you can
sell his corpse. I'm sure you'll get enough out of those white teeth."
The barkeeper, apparently named Carly, didn't look happy, but he
brought me my drink. I hadn't been able to catch a glimpse of the
mysterious so I turned around on my barstool and looked at my guardian.
He was a middle aged human male with two or three scars on his face.
He was slimly built and about 190cm tall. He had a BlasTech DL-18
hanging from his belt, a blaster mostly used by smugglers and heavily
popular around Mos Eisley and therefor named the "Mos Eisley
Special" in certain circles.
My thoughts were interrupted as the man spoke up. "Hey kid, you
gonna drink that or did I risk my name for a wimp?" Confused, I
looked at the bar where my drink was waiting for me. I picked it
up and took a sip. Jeez, this stuff was strong. I could feel
the blood running into my head, giving it a bright red color. It
took a great effort, but I managed not to cough. I glanced back
at the mystery man who was obviously getting a kick out of all this
because he was laughing so hard he had to hold himself on one of
the chairs. He managed to catch himself and sat down. He started
to say something, still recovering from his laugh. "Congratulations
kid, that was the strongest 'semi' you'll get anywhere along the
Spur. If you can survive that, you must have a strong character."
I, on the other hand didn't think this was so funny. My throat was
still burning from the alcohol in the drink and it was hard to speak.
The man solved that problem as he went on. "I'm Phil, and they call
me Phil" he said with a grin on his face. "Now, what takes a kid
like you to a place like this. I mean, no offence, but you don't
look like the type. The only people coming here either wear Imperial
uniforms or are coming to do some trading. You don't match either."
"Well, I used to live here, and I thought it might be time for
a visit home. This place changed a lot since I left though. I left
during the Imperial takeover, that wasn't a nice period to be here
"You can say that again!" Phil replied quickly. "I've been transporting
goods along 'The Spur' for a while now. I almost went broke then,
no one wanted to work with an Imperial controlled world at that
time. We had to learn how to keep our clients safe from Imperial
He seemed like a nice guy, I mean hey, he even bought me a drink.
"Did you ever hear the name Dat'nika?" I asked him. Dat'nika had
been my home town while I was still living with my family. But I
didn't want to tell him too much about me yet.
"Dat'nika'," he started, playing with his beard indicating he was
thinking, "yeah, I think I heard that somewhere. Oh, now I remember.
A deserted place. Pretty high, snowy region. Never heard of any
population in that area. It's hard to get there though, Imp patrols
keep that place pretty secure."
A secure Imp area? Why would the Imperials have any kind of secret
intelligence base or something up there? All the time I had lived
there, Dat'nika got little visitors from the cities. Maybe that's
why the Imps picked that region, they didn't think anybody still
existed that knew about it. But what should I have cared anyway?
I was on a mission to get even with my past, not with the Imperials.
I'm a pilot for Christ sake, not one of Rico's commandos. "How much
for a trip up there and back?"
"Into Dat'nika?" he seemed shocked. "That'll cost you a lot my
friend. 3000 credits each way."
"6000 credits?!? Are you out of your mind. It's not like we're
going off planet or something like that!" I protested.
"Hey, going into Imperial controlled airspace isn't exactly a normal
fare either. 6000 or we don't go, and believe me, you won't find
He was right, I would have been lucky if I found someone who was
even willing to fly me out there. "Deal!" I said handing him my
hand. He shook it firmly, probably trying to show me that he was
strong enough to survive.
"You'll have to get some new clothes though, try and blend in a
little, we don't want to look suspicious. When you're set, meet
me at docking bay AA-756. We'll leave as soon as you get there."
He got up and walked away. I took one last look around the cantina
before I too got up and went looking for a new outfit.
Dat'nika, 11 years earlier
"Gabs, wait up!" a little girl cried as she ran out of her house.
"Hurry up Lan, we're gonna miss it." They were on their way to
go see the annual Dat'nika air-show. Gabriel had this huge obsession
with planes. He had many models at home and never missed any chance
seeing any craft land or take off from the nearby spaceport. There
wasn't much traffic, but when there was, they were usually the most
interesting kinds of ships, as no normal pilot would fly out this
far. Most of them just laded in Celanon City, dropped their cargo
and left, but every once in a while some weird guy from the village
had ordered some weird cargo which of course had to be dropped in
Dat'nika, and Gabriel never missed one.
"I'm coming, I'm coming." She grabbed her bike and went racing
after Gabriel who already had a head start. They raced through half
the village before they got to the spaceport. Gabriel had already
jumped off his bike and was standing at the fence looking up at
the squadron of fighters just performing one of their famous solar-spins.
"Don't ride that fast, I can't'"
"Shhh'" Gabriel interrupted her. "Just watch." They stood there
for at least an hour not saying a word, just watching the pilots
perform their dangerous moves.
Suddenly Elana broke the silence. "Gabs, do you ever miss mom?"
Their mother had died a few years ago, when both of them were really
Gabriel woke up from his trance and looked at his sister, who had
tears running from her eyes. He stretched out his arms and gave
her a big hug. "Of course I do. Everyday when I wake up thinking
everything was just a bad dream and she'll be waiting there when
I go downstairs. But then I just think of all the people in my life
that still love me, like you, and that makes me feel a lot better."
He looked at his sister and wiped a tear off her face. "Hey, let's
go get an ice cream. I'll race you there." Elana looked at him with
a huge smile on her face. "3'2'1'.go!" They ran off towards the
ice cream stand on the other side of the field.
I strolled though the various docking bays of the Celanon Spaceport.
They didn't exactly feel inviting. But then again, I guess one shouldn't
have expected too much. Phil's ship didn't exactly look luxurious
either; in fact, it looked more like it should belong in one of
the salvage shops - it didn't look like it ever would see the stars
again. But, I remembered hearing someone talk about some old guy
who supposedly had said: "You're eyes can deceive you, don't trust
Phil had already started up the engines by the time I boarded and
had sealed the airlock. The ship didn't look any more promising
from the inside. There were crates, empty and full piled up every
free inch of space. Phil was calling me from the cockpit.
"Heya, spaceboy, you comin' up here?"
"Yeah, I'll be there in a second." I said, only now realizing that
I was going back to Dat'nika. I walked down the corridor into the
cockpit. Phil was sitting at the controls slowly lifting the ship
up from the platform. A few seconds later we had reached cruise
height and the whole view of the city presented it self.
Dat'nika, 9 years earlier
"Tickets please," the red and white clothed attendant asked
Gabriel as he approached the entrance to Celanon Tours newest addition
to their luxury fleet, the Sa'ara. Gabriel had managed to win a
pair of tickets from a bet he'd made with a friend about getting
some girl from school. Gabriel and his sister walked down the corridor
and up to the upper deck.
"Wow! This is absolutely beautiful," Elana said, " I can't
believe we're actually on the maiden voyage of the Sa'ara."
Gabriel didn't respond, but headed straight for on of the viewports.
As the ship left off and headed for outer space to cruise once around
the neighboring planet and then land again, Gabriel watched green
terrain and wondered if he in his life would ever see something
that beautiful again.
"Hey, you! Get up here". Phil called to me, "we're approaching
the Imperial boarder patrol. A red blip appeared on the sensors
and at the same time the con beeped.
"This is Imperial patrol ship AA-39, unidentified cargo vessel,
please state the purpose of your current course."
"Patrol ship AA-39, this is the Mighty Lion. We're carrying
supplies for the research base PT-7." PT-7 was a small geologists
staging base about a day's flight from our present location."
"Mighty Lion, please re-plot your course to avoid this area. This
is an Imperial development center. We'll transmit you the coordinates
of your new course now."
"Ok, AA-39, I copy. Receiving transmission and re-plotting course
"Excuse me," I cried out, "I thought you could take me to
Dat'nika, not bug out at the first sight of Imperials."
"Cut it out kid," Phil said in a calm voice, "If we try and
do anything stupid now, they'll call for backup and blow us out
of the sky. Trust me kid, I'll get you there."
The Mighty Lion changed it's course and the Imperial shuttle
pulled off. "Now kid, I'll show you how to get places in a world
based on corruption." Phil flipped a switch and a small explosion
rocked the ship.
"What the hell was that," I cried out.
"Calm down kid, I told you, trust me." Phil pushed the flight stick
forward and led the ship into a descent.
A few minutes later we were on the ground somewhere in the tree-covered
terrain not far from Dat'nika. We exited the ship and to my surprise
there was a ground transport waiting for us. Phil must have noticed
my surprise. "It's crazy how many fine people are willing to risk
their lives for a little reward, don't you think kid?"
Phil walked over to the transport. "Hey kid, if you're planning
on staying here all day, let me know, 'cause I'd go take a nap."
I looked at Phil, then took one last look around me before I walked
over to the transport and got in. I actually felt something I hadn't
in a long time . . . home.
The Woods of Cal'tek, 3 years earlier
Gabriel was lying on the ground of the Cal'tek woods staring at
the stars when Elana approached him.
"Gabs, can I ask you a question?"
"Sure Lan, shoot."
"Will you miss me?"
"Of course I'll miss you Lan, but I won't be gone that long. It's
only for a month." Gabriel had just been awarded a job as a liner-pilot
for Celanon Tours.
"It's gonna be lonely without you around. I mean, Dad's almost
never around and stuff."
Gabriel could see tears in Elana's eyes.
"Hey Lan, come here. Give me a hug." Elana crawled over the him
and slung her arms around him. "I'll be back. It's not like I'm
gone forever. I mean, well see each other again. My trips aren't
gonna be longer than a month."
"Everything's gonna change though, Gabs. Why do you have to go?"
"I always dreamt of going to the stars. All I ever wanted to do
was fly. Hey, you know what, when I get back, we'll go over to the
old port and get an ice-cream, ok?"
Elana smiled at the recollection of one of their favorite ways
to spend time.
"Gabs, I want you to take this medallion I carved out of a red
rock I found in the forest. It'll take care of you while you're
on your trip. You can give it back to me when you get back."
Gabriel looked Elana deep in the eyes while taking the medallion.
He eyed it, then gazed back at Elana. He saw a tear run down her
left cheek. Gabriel opened up his arms and Elana slung herself around
him again. She didn't want to let go. Finally she stood up and started
walking back to their house without saying another word. Gabriel
took one last look at the dotted sky before getting up himself and
running after her.
The transport came to a stop at the foot of one of Celanon's highest
mountains, the E'gir. It was starting to get late, but the moon
was almost at it's full, so seeing wasn't a problem. I was the first
to exit the car. I took a few steps forward and stopped. The surroundings
seemed familiar, yet I could match no memory with them. I heard
talking come from the door and turn around to see that the driver
was telling Phil something. I gazed at him with a interested face.
Phil obviously noticed. "He says, this is the spot where your village
used to stand, before the Imps cleared everything away."
I wasn't really listening to what Phil was saying, but my eyes
caught a glimpse of something that was more than just familiar .
. . a few feet behind the transport there was a very odd-looking
tree. It had three trunks springing from the center. All three pointed
almost symmetrically outwards before they curved to grow towards
the sky. I could make out that Phil was whispering something to
the driver, but I didn't concentrate on what they were saying.
Dat'nika, 3 years earlier
The village was in shreds. Houses were totally wrecked, cars half
buried in the snow, light-posts thrown over' Gabriel rushed to what
used to be his house. There were rescue troops all over. His house
was sealed off by yellow tape, just like all others had been. He
didn't care though. He jumped over and rushed into the house, ignoring
the troops orders to stop. Just as he was about to enter the door,
it swung open and a couple of med-techs pushed out to stretchers,
both of them covered with a black cloth. Gabriel was just about
to jump one of the meds when another one held his arm. Gabriel looked
him in the eyes seeking for something to grab onto. All the med
did was shakes his head. He said something too, but all Gabriel
noticed was that his lips were moving. Gabriel broke the med's grip
of his arm and went running off in the opposite direction. He ran
for a few minutes, the noise getting lower and lower the further
he went. Suddenly he tripped on a rock and fell to his knees. He
straightened out his sisters medallion because it was choking him
and looked up at the tree in front of him and suddenly for the speck
of a moment, his thoughts were off the disaster his home-town suffered.
The tree in front of him had an odd shape '
I laid my hand onto my chest. It was still there. I could feel
its contours through my jumpsuit. My gaze turned up towards the
stars and my lips moved a good-bye without any sound emerging from
my mouth. I looked back at the tree and walked over towards it.
I placed my hand on the medallion, removed it from my neck and hung
it on one of the stronger branches. I stood there looking at it
for at least 20-25 minutes, before I headed back to the transport.
When I passed Phil, all I said was "Let's go," and went silently
to the seats towards the back of the transport. Phil and the driver
exchanged puzzled looks, before they too took their seats and the
transport took off. I just sat there staring out at the passing
landscape. I couldn't tell if I was better off than I was before
we came here, but with every meter we distanced ourselves from the
odd-shaped tree, I could feel the weight lifting itself from me.
It was time the end this chapter of my life and start a new one.
The flight deck was extremely busy so I wasn't surprised when no
one came to greet me. I exited my shuttle and started walking towards
my quarters, just longing for a shower. Suddenly I heard Silk call
me from behind.
"Heya, Wolfman. Welcome back. Stryker told me he wants to see you
as soon as you get in."
I nicked and continued my course. "Wolfman," Silk called again,
"where were you anyways?"
I was quite puzzled at that question, but then I remembered I left
very discreetly without telling anyone who didn't have to know.
"I had to give something back to an old friend," I said with
a slight grin on my face. Then I turned and walked out. Silk stood
there puzzled for a moment, obviously I didn't give him the answer
he was hoping for.
Stryker was sitting at his desk behind a pile of papers as usual
when I entered his office. I gave him the formal salute, it felt
somewhat different than it had before I left, it actually meant
something . Stryker responded in the same tone as always, obviously
his reaction was so routine by now that one couldn't ever make out
any emotions in it.
"As you were. Lieutenant, I don't know where or what you were up
to during your leave, and to be honest, I don't think it's meant
for anyone you don't think needs to know. I do have one question
He paused, looked down at his desk, then continued. "Did you find
what you were looking for?"
He was right. I didn't feel like sharing my experiences with others
"Yes sir, I guess you could say that." I wasn't really into conversations.
Stryker seemed as if he was awaiting more, then he went on. "Is
I was just about to say something, but he didn't give me any time.
"Well, then. What are you waiting for, Lieutenant? Go get fresh.
You were gone a while, you have a little catching up to do,"
he said with a sarcastic grin on his face. I didn't really care.
I saluted him, spun 180 on my heel and left his office.
I walked down the hall to my quarters. When I got there, I entered
the unlock code and the door slid open. I threw my stuff onto the
mat and walked to the viewport. I watched the X-wings patrolling
around the Task Force, I was home again.