Note: Pink 5 belongs to Trey Stokes and company. All hail to them.

Note: Thanks to FXGuy for betaing this and giving me so much help to get this idea developed. Also, thanks to Kateydidnt and Gardener, who helped me figure out a crucial scene.

For clarity, here are the names of the people:

Buzz: Soontir Fel
Babyface: Wes Janson (thanks to Padawanlunetta for the name)
Sourbutt: Hobbie Klivian
Furface: Biggs Darklighter.

Now, without further ado, here's the story of how Stacey arrived at the Rebellion. TAKING SIDES

This is so stupid. Dude, I did their stupid tests and their freakin' flight tests and now this dumb guy doesn't talk normal!

"IF…YOU…JUST…WAIT…ONE…MINUTE…"

What's his damage? What, does he think I'm deaf?

"Dude, I understand you."

"I'LL…BE…RIGHT…BACK!"

And now he just bugs out of here? What's with these people? Dude, I could so use a latte right now. I've been here all day and I've got major helmet hair.

Well, this sucks!

This place smells funky. They better not smell like this at the Academy. I mean, dude, I've heard the guys there are pretty dang fine, but if they're anything like bigmouth buzzcut dude, it's, like, so not going to be worth it.

Ooh! I've still got my nail file. Finally, something to pass the time.

First finger done. Ugh, all these guys seem to have, like, five different colors of dirt under their nails! GROSS! I am not getting my hands all nasty. That's what we have guys around, to do the dirty work.

Why am I doing this anyway? Oh, yeah. Tracey says guys love the whole do-gooder chick thing. Besides, no way was I going to stay around there. I was so totally over that place.

Oh, grouchy guy's back with a little friend.

"THIS…IS…OUR…BASE…TRANSLATOR…"

Oh, good, maybe he can figure out what this guy's problem is.

"Hi," I say. "I'm Stacey and, like, this guy doesn't understand a thing I'm saying. I have no idea what's up with that, but maybe you can…"

"Sorry, sir," Short Stuff says. "I can't make heads or tails of it."

"She'll never survive at the Academy," Buzz says. "Everyone has to speak Basic."

"I speak Basic."

They stare at me. I stare back. Pop my gum. They can't scare me.

"Of course she won't survive," Buzz says. "She's a woman and she's barely human."

Okay, that's it. I can totally take him. Shoe off, chuck at Buzz's head, problem solved. But no. I told Mom I'd be on my best behavior. Yeah, like she wouldn't do the same.

"Dude, what's your problem?" I snap. "I've got wicked good scores and I can totally take all of you."

They blink. They're supposed to be the smart guys and they can't even understand Basic. Maybe it's because of their stuck-up talk.

Enough of this. I'm catching a ride before the caf shop closes.

"Dude, I'm out of here," I tell them; it's a lot nicer to tell them why I'm ditching them.

"Wait!"

It's Short Stuff who says this. Maybe he's got the hots for me.

"Her scores are impressive, sir," he argues, "and it will do wonders for the Academy's public image."

"I don't care if she'll bring Galactic peace to the fuzzy-wuzzies!" Buzz snaps. "She's not flying with the Empire!"

"If you say so, fuzzball," I snap and kick him in the shins as I pass.

"Wait!"

This time it's Buzz. Do these guys ever shut up?

"All right," he says, making a face. "Welcome to the Academy, Stacey." Uptight helmet dudes follow us everywhere here. It's so not fair, but they get their plastic boxers in a twist if I don't let them, so I guess I can deal.

Buzz guy's back, still ugly, still weird, still hasn't cracked a smile. "My name is Colonel Soontir Fel," he says. "Who are you and what are you doing here?"

"Um…"

What is this guy's damage? I mean, dude, I saw him, like, practically yesterday or whatever. Did he have, like, too many hits on the head during zoneball practice?

"Stacey?" I tell him. "I'm here to be the hottest new look for the Empire."

He's totally not into this. Maybe I shouldn't have dyed my uniform pink. Oh, well, at least I'm stylin'.

"Oh, yes," he sneers. "The foreign exchange student. We still haven't found a translator for you."

"What-ever," I snap. "Just show me where I can find a hairdryer. It was a way long trip and that ship was dripping. I am so not flying coach next time around."

He almost laughs. At least, he makes this stupid noise that sounds like he might laugh if he weren't so stuck up. "You won't need a hairdryer here."

"Beg to differ," I say. "I'm not going out with frizzies!"

He has that weird look on his face again like he's so smart. Yeah, like we all don't know better. "Corporal, show her where she can have her hair taken care of."

Oh, thank god. Someone had their happy medicine today.

"This way," helmet-dude number five says.

Awesome! There are like a billion cute guys here! Maybe they'll be nicer than Short Stuff and Buzz. Maybe I can even find someone to haul my stuff. They made me bring so much stuff! What do we need all this techno crap for?

"Hey there."

About five guys hear this. Two of them don't ignore me, but they're the fat one and the grouch. Well, two out of five isn't too bad. The others are probably just nervous. Pretty girls and first impressions kind of do that.

"Hi," the chubby guy says. "I'm Wes."

"Stacey," I say. "That's a cute name."

He looks cuter when he smiles. "That's not the only thing that's cute about me."

Yeah, real original.

"I bet," I say. "What's your friend's name?"

"Derek," he says, extending a grubby hand. "They call me Hobbie."

Ew. With a nickname like that, the guy probably thinks getting greasy's a major turn-on.

"You guys new here, too?"

"Yup," the kid says. "I've got friends in high places if you want a tour of this place."

If that's true, he might be worth knowing. Might.

"So, um…"

Finally, the line's moving. What's taking so long, anyway?

"What are we doing here?"

"Hair and spare uniforms," the grumpy guy says. "After that, we've got orientation and bunk assignments."

"Oh, great."

This has got to be the most boring thing ever. No wonder it's so easy to get in here.

"So, you guys going to be pilots?"

"Sure are," Babyface says. "You?"

"Ugh! No! I'm not going to do something that grody!"

They laugh at that, like I'm not serious. They probably think I'm joking. Would I joke about this? Are they just clueless?

"So, why are you here if not to be a pilot?"

"Well, they've got some other cool things here," I reason. "I just couldn't stick around and be a housewife like everyone wanted."

"I can't see you as a housewife," Babyface says. "You've got too much personality."

"That's what I tried to tell my mom, my grandma, my great-aunt and, like, everyone!" I say, relieved to find someone who agrees with me.

"So, what do they think of you joining the Academy?" Sourface asks.

I wrinkle my nose. "They think I'll find a nice officer like Buzz over there and make lots of future housewife babies."

"Next!"

Finally, I can see what's going on here. Not a hairdryer in sight, but there's some guy who's probably in charge of the leg-shaving department, 'cause he's the one holding a razor and waiting for us.

"Next," he yells again. "Come on, cadet, I don't have all day."

Babyface walks over and sits down. Why the heck is he doing that? Lice check, maybe? Ew!

Oh.

My.

God.

Oh my god oh my god!

WHAT IS THAT GUY DOING TO HIS HAIR! Check this out. I've got the coolest dorm and no roommates. No big loss—most of the guys around here are all uptight and stuff, but that' s probably because everyone looks like a bowling ball.

Except for me, that is. I told the haircut-dude where he could stick his razor and he left me alone. Maybe if I play nice with short stuff, he'll get me a cuter uniform! This one is way wrong. It makes me look totally hippy!

Knock knock.

Dude, do these guys not read the "Do not disturb" sign? It's Babyface and Sourbutt and their friends, Egoboy and Furface, again. I swear, they've been following me around since orientation last week and it's getting way old. Just because I'm, like, the only cute thing to arrive in the last gabillion years doesn't mean I need an entourage.

But they're totally tight with Buzz, who's now our group leader. Yeah, like he needs more of an ego boost!

"Wes Janson," Babyface says when he opens the door without waiting for me to answer. "Remember? I'm the cute guy from nav class?"

"Whatever," I say, grabbing my brush in case I need a weapon or a ponytail. "You're all just hot for me because the only other girl around here has had a bad hair day for the last twenty years."

Sourbutt actually laughs. He must really need a date.

"What do you want?" I ask.

"Um, well, um…"

"We were going to go study for the astronomy exam at Cody's Point," Furface says, trying to act all smooth. "You want to come?"

"Ugh! As if! There are bugs out there!"

Sourbutt looks kinda scared about that. Great, he's got a bad attitude and is a baby? Like I need another one of those around.

"But I bet if one of you handsome things would lend me your notes…" I suggest, smiling so sweetly that I'll give them either cavities or a major crush.

"Sure!" Egoboy says eagerly. "I'll come back here afterwards and go over them with you."

Great. I was hoping for someone without helmet hair who doesn't have someone that he's already joined at the hip to. Obviously too much to ask, since the others still can't figure out how to look somewhere other than my legs or chest. If I die and they have to identify me, I'm not sure the morgue guys would let them look at those for an ID.

"What about you guys?" I purr, hoping one of them will discover the amazing power of hormones. "I could use some help with the strategy homework."

"The one about destroying a superweapon?" Furface asks. "I've got that covered."

"And I can sneak some food out of the mess hall," Sourbutt suggests.

Now, instead of four whiny groupies, I've got something to work with. Ah, my power over men!

"You guys are so sweet!" I squeal. "Now, don't come too late. I need my beauty rest."

"No, you don't, Stacey," Babyface says in that stupid honest voice.

"No, no arguing," I command. "Catch you later! Ciao ciao!"

They stand there like the big dumb nerfs they can be sometimes and then head off to do my bidding. I could get used to this. I could so get used to this. I haven't had to carry my computer thingy in months and I'm acing all my classes because my entourage is so totally into me. Except for Egoboy. He's one of the Alderwhatevers and likes to be a do-gooder because it turns his girlfriend on.

But dude, Buzz guy's way harsh! He won't let them take notes for me and he makes me wear a helmet in sims. Sure, when your head looks like a big kafamelon, maybe you can afford helmet hair, but how am I supposed to hook up when I look like I haven't taken a shower in a week? It is way not cool.

Babyface is way into me, though. He even got me out of that test last week and tells me all the tricks to scoring in the sims. It's way easier than I thought.

Buzz still doesn't like me, though. Today, he totally crashed my study group.

"Cadet."

He won't call me Stacey because he's all about the last name. Like that's any of his business. So, whenever he says "Cadet," it means me.

"What?" I said, probably a little ruder than I should have, but he's the one butting in.

"Come with me."

Dude, doesn't he get that I've got a physics test tomorrow? If he makes me flunk, I'm totally going to take him.

We're back in his office. If they'd just make him have a normal dorm like the rest of us, maybe he wouldn't be such a jerk, but whatever!

"We just got your test scores back from last week and have reason to believe that there is something amiss."

What, the guy has to talk like a politician, too?

"Well, did I flunk them?"

"No," he said. "You did very well. Better than half of your classmates, in fact."

"Awesome!" I say. "So, what's the problem?"

"You must have cheated," he accuses.

"Or I must be smarter than the other half of the guys," I snap.

"They come from some of the best families in the Empire."

"And I come from the cutest study group in the Empire," I tell him. "Did any of them do well?"

"Cadets Janson, Darklighter, Celchu and Klivian were in the top percentile," he agrees. "I don't see your point."

"My point is that if you try to throw me out for cheating just because I'm a girl, I'll be up in your face faster than you can say 'lawsuit.'"

"Go ahead," he challenges. "You never belonged here as it is."

Oh, I want to break his nose so bad.

"Oh, yeah?" I shoot back. "Then why'd you let me in?"

Aha! Let him ignore that one! He can't blame me being here on someone else!

"Because I admire resilience," he says, "and I believe that if you choose to work hard, you could find yourself excelling here."

"Yeah, right," I tell him. "So, what do you think those test scores are?"

"A fluke," he tells me. "We're going to do some training runs coming up and you won't have your study group to feed you the answers there. If you continue to perform well in those runs, we will reconsider our accusation. If not, we will discover what exactly is going on here."

I am so mad I don't even respond to that. I don't even do the salute thing because he so does not deserve it. How dare he! Like there aren't a billion guys who can't even test their way out of a flimsiplast bag, but because they're from 'the best families in the Empire,' they're still around and having their armored butts kissed by all the teachers!

He is so dead just as soon as I show him up. "This is way unfair."

My groupies are being all sympathetic and stuff, but I don't think they understand at all. They're all, "yeah, he's an idiot," but they're still talking about some dumb strategy homework I haven't even heard of.

"What is unfair," Egoboy's saying, "is the way that the Empire is exploiting the indigenous races."

"It's not just the indigenous races," Furface protested. "I heard of a guy who trained at Carida and got a dishonorable discharge and a few months in Kessel just for freeing a Wookiee."

"Well, that was dumb," I say. "Who wants…"

"Exactly," Sourbutt interrupts.

What is with these guys tonight?

"There aren't very many options," Babyface said. "Everyone seems to get killed or imprisoned for taking a stand."

"We could set one of the training vessels to self-destruct," Furface says.

"Right," Egoboy snorts, "because we're worth so much to everyone dead."

"Well," I try to say. "You could always…"

"There's not much we can do here," Furface suggests. "That doesn't mean we have to stay here."

"Exactly," I snap. "We could just get the hell out of here."

"We don't have the ships," Sourbutt says mournfully.

"Well, uh, duh," I say, "but we can just take the training ship with us."

They just stare at me. Fine. If they think it's a dumb idea, that's their problem.

"Can we get back to my problem now?" "All stations, report in."

"Cadet Janson at navigation, standing by."

"Cadet Darklighter, acting first mate, standing by."

"Cadet Klivian, acting second mate, at helm, standing by."

"Stacey at the lookout thing, standing by."

This is so cool. The training run is on this totally big ship and they're making us run the whole thing! I bet I could totally convince Sourbutt to vape Buzz, since he's flying escort. Probably no chance, since we're supposed to be all acting like real officers out here, but I wish!

"Setting course now, please verify," Babyface says.

"Course is verified," Buzz says, "you may proceed when ready. Your escort will meet you at your destination."

"Confirmed, sir. Clear skies."

Well, that's finally over with. We won't be done with the flight for another ten hours. I'm totally catching some z's before I have to get all technical.

"Hey, cutie," I call to Babyface. "Can you cover me for a bit? I've got to get out of here and find the little cadet's room."

"Sure," he says. "I'll call you when we're almost there."

"Thanks!"

The room isn't so great, but at least I don't have to share it with any of those smelly guys. That would totally suck. Just as soon as I can get these boots off, I am totally going to fall…

What's with all the alarms and stuff? Dude, is it that time already? I totally slept through my shift and we were supposed to get to wherever, like, ten hours ago. AGH! Babyface promised he'd give me a wake-up call. He is so not invited to the next party.

And now my phone's buzzing, probably to chew me out for missing my shift. Great, everybody's a critic.

"Hi there!"

"Hey, Stacey," Babyface says. "We've got some trouble going on, but we don't want you to get in trouble. Can you stay where you are?"

What kind of trouble? If this is going to go on my report card, it is so not worth it!

"Um, sure, but can't I help?"

"No," he says quickly. "We just need to make sure everything's safe."

Fine. I haven't painted my nails in forever and I got this really cute polish on the last shore leave.

I've just finished my toenails when I get another call.

"Stacey, it's Hobbie. Can you help us out on the bridge?"

"Sure."

My nails are still wet, so I'll just put on my flip-flops. Hope this doesn't take too long. I mean, like, all we've got to do is figure out how to get back to the rendezvous point and get our scores, right? Maybe we'll get back before dinner. That cute guy from astronomy wants me to go out with him tonight and I could totally dig him.

It's really quiet. Maybe all the bucketheads are in a meeting on how to be cranky or something. And all the guys from study group are looking really nervous now. What's going on here?

"Don't tell me," I say angrily. "You got lost?"

So typical of them. No guy would ask for directions!

"Um, sort of," Furface says. "We're not lost. We're setting a different course."

"Oh, okay." Sure, now I feel bad, but they don't know that. "So, what do you need me for?"

"Well, it was your idea…"

"Um, not," I correct. "I told you where to go and you wouldn't listen…"

"Well, we're headed for the Rebellion."

I have to think for a sec about that. Aren't they the bad guys? Why are we going there?

Omigod. That whole thing with the training ship!

"You're stealing the ship?"

"We stole," Sourbutt says. "It was easier than we thought, too."

Right, so that's why it took all this time. Too bad Egoboy's not here. I'd believe it coming from him.

"What's up with that?" I ask. "Aren't they the illegal guys with the ugly wardrobes?"

They give me weird looks, but that's okay. Guys never understand me.

"Yes, but they're fighting for the right reasons," Sourbutt says.

Dude, I don't care if they're fighting for the fuzzie-wuzzies in a third-galaxy system. If they're better than the bucketheads, I don't mind at all.

"Won't we get in trouble?"

Babyface grins. "Only if we get caught," he explains, "and the people at the Academy don't know where we're going."

"Oh."

And they probably wouldn't guess that we'd do something this crazy.

"Oh."

This could be cool.

"So, where are we going?"

"Someplace warm," Furface says. "The Rebels are on Yavin now."

"Ooh, great vaca spot!"

I haven't had a chance to go sunbathing in forever. I probably look like I grew up on Hoth.

"Cool," I say. "So, are we there yet?"