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By: Dragon

The hydraulic door hissed as its security bolts unlatched one by one and the disc at its center rotated 180 degrees. Three seconds later, the door opened. Bright light flooded the dimmed solitary confinement cell and Dragon squinted. There was a figure standing at the threshold, but he couldn't make out who it was.

"Second Lieutenant Kell Arcfire?" It was a female voice, calm, composed—melodic even—but with a dangerous edge.

"Maybe," Dragon said tentatively.

The door shut behind her, and the lights in the cell brightened. Blonde hair, blue eyes, pretty good looking—with the kind of looks that kill. A table and two seats slid out of the wall.

"Sit," she said.

"I'd rather not."

"Suit yourself." She produced a datapad, glanced at it, and raked Dragon with her gaze. "I'm Captain Darlene Orvan, with New Republic Intelligence . . ."

"Oh great, a spook," Dragon scoffed.

She cleared her throat, annoyed at the interruption. "I'm here to talk about the Tug Incident. I was informed you volunteered for Tug duty." She leaned back on her chair. "No one volunteers for Tug duty, Second Lieutenant. Care to explain yourself"


"Excuse me?"

"Name's Dragon."

Darlene took a deep breath that sounded like a low growl. "Right, you flyboys, your callsigns, and your nonsense." She leaned forward. "Listen up, smartass, you are in the deep end of a Bantha's rectum. We can demote you to the bottom of the ladder, and we can ground you permanently, or worse."

"Damn, Mynocks chew on your power cables or something?" Dragon noticed her pursed lips and tight jaw, and went for the throat. "Darling, was it?"

"Captain Orvan," she replied, ice in her voice.

"Oh, my apologies, Darlene . . . pretty name by the way," Dragon flashed a grin. "I was bored. Figured I could be just as bored doing something useful."

If the Captain were a starfighter, her eyes would be shooting lasers right about now. "What exactly do you consider 'doing something useful' Second Lieutenant?"

"Collecting salvage."

"Uh-huh," Darlene touched her datapad lightly. "Care to explain why the Heavy Lifter Kuun, your vessel, was armed with twin ion guns and a plasburst cannon?"

Dragon shrugged. "It wanted to be a starfighter, I guess."

Darlene slammed her fist on the table, and Dragon stifled a smile. "Vessels are inanimate objects, Second Lieutenant. MACHINES! They don't WANT things."

"Hey Darling, no offense, but that's why you're a spook instead of a pilot. Ships want things like hull integrity, fully charged lasers and shields, regular maintenance, and a delicate touch—something you clearly don't understand."

Darlene bared her teeth at him for a moment, and, after a few deep breaths, attempted to continue her train of thought. "The ion guns and the plasburst were crudely spliced into the Kuun's power supply—clearly an amateur's handiwork—and WELDED to the hull. Does that ring a bell in your beskar-thick skull?"

"Yeah, does ring a bell. Many bells, actually. My ears are ringing."

Darlene hissed. "Are you an authorized technician, mechanic, or maintenance chief, Second Lieutenant?"

"Can't say I am, no, but . . ."

"You help out with starfighter repairs and maintenance from time to time, right?" Darlene glared at him. "You have access to off-the-record privileges."

"Whoa, I do?"

"DON'T PLAY COY, YOU KRIFFIN' PIECE OF . . ." Darlene closed her eyes and rubbed her temples—migraine was coming. "Fine, whatever," she growled. "After jury-rigging weapons onto the Kuun, you also welded thick sheets of durasteel to its front and sides, why?"

"The Kuun required additional protection."

She stood up. "WHAT FROM?"

"Come on, Dar . . . lene, you got all that info in your fancy datapad. Do you really want me to spell it out for you?"

Darlene felt the first painful pulse of a broodmother of a migraine. "Please do."

"Tug Wars," Dragon said flatly.

Darlene buried her face in her hands as the migraine slowly flooded her brain. "Tug Wars? REALLY?" She groaned. "We're done here, Second Lieutenant. You've shown complete disregard for authority, as well as an appalling lack of respect that borders on CONTEMPT for a superior officer. You've made unauthorized modifications to Republic-owned vessels that cost more credits than you'll earn in a lifetime, and you've also endangered said vessels, AND YOUR CREW, while engaging in some childish space-jock power fantasy. I will personally strip your wings and have you sent to the most remote and inhospitable prison planet in the whole Galactic Republic." She stood and turned to leave.

"Hit the brakes, Darling, and cool those afterburners."

She stomped towards Dragon and grabbed him by the collar. "IT'S CAPTAIN ORVAN YOU MALFUNCTIONING, HALF-WITTED, INBRED LASER-BRAIN!!!"

"Feeling better, Darling?"


"Well, then cut the damn druk. I'm sick of your nonsense."


"NO, YOU LISTEN!" Dragon roared in Darlene's face.

She let go of his collar and took two steps back, shocked.

"You expect me to believe I was put in solitary over, what did you call it, a childish space-jock power fantasy?" Dragon snarled. "You expect me to swallow that a high-ranking spook came all the way here to interrogate me, a bottom-rung flyboy, over Tug jousting?"

"Tug jousting? W-what?" Her brain was pounding like a power hammer, and her wits had all but abandoned her.

Dragon pulled his left sleeve up. "It's about this, right? You think I'm a spy."

Darlene closed her eyes and sighed as she sat down. "Migraine is killing me, okay? Please, have a seat." "Very well." Dragon sat down.

"You are indeed a person of interest. New Republic Intelligence has had eyes on you since your arrival." She shook her head. "What did you expect? You're a high-ranking member of the Secret Order of the Emperor."

"Was," Dragon replied curtly.

"All right, fine," she said. "Then, tell me what transpired when an Imperial Star Destroyer conveniently rendezvoused with your jolly Tug flight group in the Ord Biniir Orbital Scrapyard."

Dragon crossed his arms. "NRI didn't provide that data to you? Psh."

"Humor me, Second Lieutenant." She leaned forward. "I've been very patient with you and your nonsense. Any other officer would've subjected you to harsh disciplinary measures for disregard of authority and outright insubordination—maybe even court martial. You owe me this much."

Dragon smiled inwardly. "As I mentioned earlier, we were Tug jousting."

Darlene knew she was going to regret this. "Elaborate, please."

"Mostly hurling space junk at each other."

She began tapping the table with her index finger. "About that Star Destroyer . . ."

"It hypered in, and we decided to start hurling space junk at it instead of at each other."

"There's nothing of the sort in the data I have, Second Lieutenant!" She hissed. "Are you trying to get a rise out of me?"

"No," Dragon said without any hint of sarcasm.

"The data does say, however, that after a very strange battle, you forced the Imperials to retreat." Darlene tapped her datapad. "HOW?"

"Turns out a pair of massive tractor beams, in reverse and at full power, can really do a number on deflectors and hulls." Dragon nodded.

"Okay," Darlene shook her head. "What of the incessant chatter about Porgs in the Imperial communication channels?"

"We made a special delivery of a few vacuum-sealed Porg crates into the Star Destroyer's hangar—programmed to open once their sensors detected atmosphere, of course."

"You didn't bring any of those things to the fleet, did you?" Darlene glared.

Dragon let out a mischievous smile. "Can't confirm nor deny."

She massaged her temples in a vain attempt to ease her migraine. "Whatever, not my problem. Still, a Porg infestation wouldn't have been enough to force the Imperials to retreat."

"You are correct, but the chatter was hilarious."

"No doubt, Second Lieutenant, no doubt. Now, would you kindly tell me HOW did you force the Imperials to retreat?"

"I raked the Star Destroyer's shield generators with the forks of the Kuun, my Heavy Lifter, and then our Tug-314, the Wayfarer, launched a disabled Tie bomber right into its bridge."

"Unbelievable . . ." Darlene groaned.

"Indeed, the Star Destroyer survived the impact and engaged its hyperdrive." Dragon shook his head ruefully. "We should've used an A-wing."

Before Darlene could muster a reply, the cell door opened and Lieutenant Colonel Chris 'Jalb_k' Reynolds stepped in. He shot her a bemused, expectant look, and once she realized who had just entered the cell, she stood at attention and saluted.

Lieutenant Colonel Reynolds returned the gesture. "At ease, Captain Orvan. Are you done here?"

Darlene closed her eyes wearily and let out a soft sigh. "Yes, thank the Force, I am."

"Good, Second Lieutenant Arcfire and I need to have a little chat."

"I'm very sorry to hear that," she replied as she prepared to leave.

Dragon grinned, looking at Darlene. "You know, you're not too bad, for a spook. If you're ever around the SSD, I may even let you buy me a drink."

Darlene turned around. Confusion, outrage, and anger waltzed through her face. "W-what? Y-you . . ." She glared at Dragon and slapped him hard across the face. "YOU KARKING SPAWN OF A SPACE SLUG! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?"

Dragon, right cheek burning, smiled and saluted her crisply. "See you 'round, Darling."

"Hmph!" Darlene turned around and stormed out of the room.

"That's the worst pickup line ever, mate." Lieutenant Colonel Reynolds sat down.

Dragon stood and saluted. "Noted, sir."

"It's not very smart to make enemies out of New Republic Intelligence agents."

"What are they going to do, sir? Confine me in solitary?" Dragon grumbled.

"Touche." Lieutenant Colonel Reynolds leaned back on his chair. "You owe me a report, and an explanation. First of all, tell me your excuse, and make it a good one."

"Porgs, sir," Dragon said.

"Try harder."

"Live Porgs frolicking and thriving inside an Imperial Star Destroyer for generations to come, sir. They'll have to scuttle the ship if they want to get rid of that."

"Very well. Now tell me exactly what in the nine moons happened out there."

"It all started with Tug Wars . . ."

The End