Authors Note: This story involves a cast that is of my own generation interacting with characters and events from the original and expanded Star Wars Universe. I've used what I know of the Star Wars timeline to create my own story that works as best as I can manage within that timeline. Many of the events that I mention are from the X-Wing series interpretation of the original trilogy so some items may not match up entirely with original canon.

Present, interrogation room aboard the Mon Cal cruiser Home One, Bilbringi Shipyards

The glow lamp flared on in front of me, blinding me for a moment. As my eyes adjusted I saw my interrogator had taken their seat across from me, the light prevented me from being able to tell whether it was a man or a woman, or some other gender entirely. I looked down at my cuffed hands resting in my lap; leaning forwards I put them on the table and smiled.

"So when does the torture start?"

The figure's posture shifted uncomfortably, nervous I supposed, guess I wasn't important enough to warrant a veteran. The silence, and the annoying light, dragged on for several minutes as my would be interrogator looked over a datapad.

Then they finally broke the silence.

"We don't torture our prisoners, we aren't your Empire."

Her voice was attractive at least; I hoped the rest of her looked alright. "Well then, I suppose I have nothing to fear and I doubt we have anything to discuss."

She leaned forwards, I still couldn't see her face thanks to the light, you couldn't have everything I suppose.

"You're Garin Durives, commanding officer of Hades Wing; we have questions pertaining to your operations prior to the Empire's downfall."

I chuckled; it was a nice voice, strong, yet pleasant and musical at the same time. Maybe I would enjoy this, I leaned forwards as much as I could, being secured to a chair can make that difficult.

"You're right, you aren't the Empire, you'd have tried to scare me by now otherwise."

I saw the subtle shift in her posture again, she really wasn't used to this, what was the Republic thinking sending a child to question me?

"We might not be your Empire, but at least we don't destroy planets to prove our points."

Her voice was bitter, angry, and I winced, oh boy. This had just taken a turn for the worse.

"Alderanian huh, I'm sorry for your loss. I truly am, that was a case of excessive force and even I won't deny that it was wrong, atrocious. Tarkin went too far."

I heard her draw in a breath as she leaned away from me.

"Let's start with the questions now."

I snorted. "You can't seriously think I'm going to answer your questions."

She shrugged easily and I could almost hear the smile as she spoke.

"You're a prisoner of war with no hope of rescue; I would think that cooperating would be in your best interest."

Well she had a point, besides was there really a reason to not answering? As far as I was concerned the Empire had ended with Thrawn's death, now it would just degenerate back into the petty bickering that had ruled before Thrawn's appearance. There was no longer an Empire to remain quiet for, just egotistical men and women with delusions of grandeur.

"Turn off the light."

"Excuse me?"

I glowered. "You heard me, get that damned light out of my face."

There was a pause, then she reached for the glow lamp and the blinding light dimmed. That was much better, I smiled at her, she had a pretty face. A little young for me I supposed but not at all bad looking. Long honey colored hair tied back in a pony-tail with shimmering green eyes. Huh, not bad at all, at least I'd have something pleasant to look at. Ley'te and Daru would have scoffed at me for thinking about that.

She looked down at her datapad.

"How did Hades Wing come into being?"

"That's one broad question, by the way, you know who I am, do I get to have the pleasure of your name?"

She glared at me. "Stop karking around Commander. Tell me about the Russani campaign."

My insides iced over, did we really have to start there? I still had nightmares about Russani it had all gone wrong from the moment we'd arrived in system. I was not looking forward to this.

"Something wrong Commander?" She asked with a rather mean smile.

I was starting to dislike her, she knew what had happened at Russani, or at least that it was something that would trigger pain for me. Maybe she was more experienced than I thought, great.

"We'd just graduated from the academy, we thought we were invincible, the best of the best. It was a cake run to quell a war between the sectors poorly supplied and poorly organized inhabitants…."

Approximately seven years earlier, onboard the Nebulon-B2 frigate Viper, en route to the Russani Sector

Garin laughed with everyone else at the jokes and banter around him, and why shouldn't they laugh? They were the best and this mission was a laugh. All two-dozen of them had to take down a few local warlords with outdated equipment, bad supply lines, and poor organization. This was going to be a vacation compared to the academy. Garin stumbled as someone tackled him; he turned into the impact and spun to see Toth smirking at him.

"You're going to get hurt if you don't watch your back out there Gar."

Garin snorted and waved his hand dismissively. "Right, like these indigs have anything that can touch a TIE, besides that's why you're out there; to cover my rear."

He frowned, sniffing Toth's breath for a moment. "Are you drunk again?"

Toth saluted lazily, which was ridiculous since they were both the same rank.

"Sober and accounted for, I just passed a bottle around with some of the guys."

Garin sighed, shaking his head. "You're hopeless."

Toth opened his mouth but was cut short; everyone in the room was cut short, as a crisp, sharp voice sliced through the briefing room like a knife. The sound of two-dozen pairs of boots snapping to attention in the confined space was deafening, and the silence that followed was just as powerful. The two officers standing at the briefing room door let the silence drag on for what felt like an eternity before finally returning the salute and entering the room. The pilots all waited until they'd reached the holo screen before sitting, and when they did so it was all as one.

One officer stepped forwards. "I am Captain Siril; you've been stationed here as the Viper's new squadron and I expect you to live up to your academy records. Lieutenant Commander Adranis will now give you the mission briefing for this campaign."

The Commander stepped up and the holo screen flickered to life, showing the Russani sector, it zoomed in on a blue dot marked: SST 271.

"This is Space Station 271; it's a commercial interdiction and inspection station setup along the major trade lane into and out of the Russani sector. The Viper is carrying the remaining components to complete the station's construction. Once that has been accomplished the Viper and her squadron, that's us, will be tasked with protecting the station until its permanent squadrons arrive and take over from us."

He tapped his datapad and the screen changed again to show the whole sector again.

"There are two species indigenous to the sector and they are currently at war with one another, part of our task here is to quell this petty dispute and stabilize the sector. However we will not undertake that mission directly until the permanent squadrons arrive and we are reinforced."

Adranis eyed them all. "This is not the academy, you're all new pups and I don't want to see any funny stuff out there. It's your butts and mine on the line if you pull anything stupid. There are twenty-five of us including myself so we'll be dividing up into five squads of five each. I'll assign squads and squad leaders before we arrive. The data will be transferred to your pads so keep an eye on them. That is all."

The Captain stepped back to the forefront. "Pilots, you have leave until tomorrow, at 0900 Galactic Standard you will begin drilling in the simulators in shifts until 1200 you will be taken to hangar and given your craft. That is all, dismissed."

They all stood as the two officers left the room, Toth turned to Garin, smiling.

"Well don't they look pretty."

Garin snorted, "yeah I wonder if they really believe we need the additional training. We're Carida graduates after all, what the hell do we need the sims for?"

Present, interrogation room aboard the Mon Cal cruiser Home One, Bilbringi Shipyards

"Confident weren't you."

I shrugged, "we were fresh, we had no idea what real combat was like. I've never met a recruit who wasn't like that."

She nodded quietly, looking over her datapad. "According to the mission reports things weren't exactly as easy as you thought they'd be once you got there."

I nodded; shrugging again though inside I winced at the memory. "Yes, we joked that we'd all make ace by the time we were done."

"The sector natives were more prepared and better equipped than you thought though."

I sighed, smiling tightly at her. "Yes, and I suppose you know what else happened."

"Tell me anyways, I want to make sure we have the whole picture."

I couldn't help myself, I laughed that seemed to make her nervous good. She wanted the whole picture huh? Well that was easy enough to give her, in all the gritty details.

"We were coming up on the station…."

Approximately seven years earlier, onboard the Nebulon-B2 frigate Viper, en route to the Russani Sector

"Why are we sitting in our fighters again?" Toth grumbled over the com.

Garin smiled; this was Toth's fifth complaint in the last half hour. "Why don't you ask the Commander?"

"Nah, he doesn't like me, ever since I complained about Blythe and Harkness he's had it in for me."

Garin chuckled; they'd gotten their squad assignment and as luck would have it the two of them had been assigned to Adranis' team. Unfortunately they'd also been given Blythe and Harkness, two rich boys who looked down at everyone and anyone not up to their social standards, Toth and Garin fit that bill nicely. Toth had tried to complain of course, he always did, but Adranis had told him to shut up and deal with it like a soldier was supposed to, and after that had been particularly hard on Toth in the sims and everywhere else.

"Just think of it like additional training."

Toth groaned. "I hate training."

"Alpha flight report," Adranis' voice cut in.

Garin looked over his diagnostics, everything was in the green. "A-Two lit and green."

"Alpha three ready and waiting for some fun."

"Shut it Luixana." Adranis admonished Toth.


Harkness and Blythe both reported lit and green, Garin didn't hear the other four flights queue up but he didn't have to, he wasn't in command.

"Thirty seconds until realspace." Came flight control's voice, Garin turned the volume down on his helmet to cut some of the static out.

Outside the hangar he watched as the ship dropped out of hyperspace, then the emergency klaxon went off in his helmet and he was grateful that he'd turned down the volume.

"Station 271 is under attack," came Captain Siril's voice. "All flights launch and engage."

"Alright gentlemen, this is it." Adranis sounded much less calm than Garin felt, which was odd. What was there to worry about?

He felt the clamp holding his TIE in place release and he accelerated out of the hangar behind Adranis' fighter, forming on his wing. Looking down at his sensor display he counted at least thirty hostiles attacking the station, which was good, more kills for everyone involved. Garin's eyes went back to the view screen as he followed in Adranis' wake. He could already see the light show flashing around the station, this would be fun.

"Hey look, they've got some nice wings there don't you think?" Toth chimed in.

Garin looked at his readout, R-41s, Z-95s, Razors, and Tridents, they all had shields and carried missiles provided the natives had armed them with missiles, but none of them could match the maneuvering ability or speed of the TIE Fighter, and the TIE Bombers in Gamma and Epsilon flight carried enough ordnance to counter any superiority in missile fire. This would be easy, his entire body coursed with excitement as the enemies broke off their attack on the station and headed reformed to face the oncoming TIEs.

"Alpha, Beta, and Gamma flights break and flank, Delta and Epsilon take center and use your missiles."

Garin pulled his yoke around and followed through with the order, a moment later his sensors showed the missiles from Delta and Epsilon sailing out towards their opponents, a few of the oncoming fighters loosed missiles of their own, but most scattered and dropped flares and chaff to divert the oncoming warheads. He swung back around, following in Adranis' wake just in time to see the first missiles hit their targets.

"Alright, all fighters take them out, bombers stay clear."

Garin didn't need anymore encouragement, he accelerated towards his selected target and opened fire, his lasers were absorbed by the shields and he spun away as laser and ion bolts spat towards him. He came around in a roll and was on his opponent's tail a second later, he opened fire with his dual lasers and watched in satisfaction as the shields buckled and the enemy fighter exploded as his shots hit the engines. He flew through the debris and turned to find his next target, his klaxons wailed and he dove, rolling to evade the missile lock. The TIE had no flares but it had chaff and he keyed his dispenser, the electro magnetic current was designed to detonate missiles before they reached their target and provided the missile hit the current before it hit the fighter it would work.

The missile warning died away and he stole a glance at his sensors to see the missile had gone wild. He selected the fighter that had fired at him and wheeled around to engage.

"Hey Garin I got your wing, how many you have so far?"

"One, about to nail another," Garin said tightly as he tried to line up his shot.

"Hang on, I'll bracket."

Green laser fire cut across his target's path and the fighter veered away in an attempt to evade Toth's fire, the maneuver brought him right under Garin's guns and he tore into the ships shields and then hull, lancing the cockpit directly. That was one pilot who wouldn't have felt a thing. With Toth on his wing he turned back to the rest of the furball. It was disastrously one sided as far as his instruments could tell, why had Adranis seemed so tense, these indigs didn't stand a chance against trained pilots. He found Adranis again and formed up with him and Toth barreling back into the heat of the battle.

"So how many did you end up getting at days end?" Toth asked, leaning back in his chair.

"Three and a half, that last kill I shared with Harth."

"Arusi?" Toth asked curiously.

"Yeah that's the one."

"Hah, you're lucky he didn't shoot you for getting in on his kill."

Garin snorted, sipping at his bottled water, "okay so he clocked the instructor during a bar fight. He's not a bad guy, besides they were both drunk."

Toth snorted. "Sure, and a rancor won't eat you."

Garin shook his head and looked out the view port at the station, now that the battle was over the Viper was just hanging in space besides the station, transferring the personnel and equipment needed to complete its construction.

"Do you know what we'll be doing next?" He asked.

"Yeah, we're going to be inspecting transports for the station; trying to intercept any contraband that the indigs might be using for their little turf war."

Garin snorted, "first we fly rings around them and now we get to play customs officers. Hell of a first cruise."

"You won't hear any disagreement from me." Toth said, eying his own water. "Want to go over to my cabin?"

"What's in your cabin?"

"My footlocker."

Garin was tempted to ask what was in his footlocker as well, but he already knew.

"Just one drink."

Toth feigned insult, "why I'd never imagine getting you drunk on duty!"