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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:41 pm 
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Came up with a better title the other day. Thought you might all get a kick out of it. :D

This first part was originally posted in Plot 15l. It's since been edited and more parts will follow.

<One week after the Battle of Bormari>

* * *

It was Katunda, the second day of the week. A boring day for most. A rather warm day for Coruscant. Three beings, all human, sat in a moderately-sized waiting room on some high-up floor of Starfighter Command headquarters. Each sat in a different corner, eyeing the others suspiciously. The smell of caf had long been soaked into the cushy seats they all occupied. They had all been waiting for about ten minutes.

"What have you two heard about the Colonel?" the lone woman in the room broke the silence as she motioned to the door at the far end of the room. She wore a brown leather jacket that matched her bobbed hair. In her right hand she clutched what the other two presumed was her certificate saying she had made it to the interview stage.

"It's a job, who cares?" one of the men spoke. The woman looked down at his belt. A lightsaber hung from it, naked and intimidating.

The other man smiled, "I agree with him."

The woman pursed her lips and switched her focus between the two men. "You both act like you're in already. What makes you so sure the Colonel is going to choose you automatically?"

The first man pointed at his lightsaber giving the woman a "What-are-you-blind-you-sarlacc-for-brains" kind of look. "Rac Lawrey," he spoke, "I'm here per request of Master Skywalker. My friends call me Lord."

"Lord Lawrey?" the other man asked quickly. "Isn't that a bit…evil of a name for a Jedi Knight?"

"I wanted to be a judge when I was a kid, before the Order found me to be Force-sensitive."

"Kids want to be judges? When did this happen? And why would the Jedi Order send you to fly with a non-Jedi squadron?" the woman asked. Lawrey gave her an icy stare.

"I just did, alright? Leave it be. Who are you to judge a wannabe judge, anyway?"

Bypassing the joke, the young woman sat up markedly in her chair, straightening her back, looking almost regal in stature.

"Miranda Erador, at your service," she said proudly. Lawrey scoffed. Before he could come back with some witty remark about how she was an unknown, a tremendous crash could be heard through the grey door where the mysterious Colonel supposedly waited. The three people all stiffened in their chairs. Was he throwing a fit? Did he have anger management problems?

"It's not like him to throw things or push things over…" the second man said. Lawrey and Erador returned their attentions to him.

"How would you know that?" Lawrey asked.

"My cousin and the Colonel used to be close friends," he said solemnly, looking down at the navy blue carpet at their feet. Out of what the other two took to be a nervous twitch, the black-haired youth took part of the white collar of his polo shirt and began rubbing it between his index and forefinger.

"'Used to be'?" Miranda asked.

"He's dead now…" Lawrey jumped in, evidently proud of himself for mind-probing the man so quickly.

"Stay out of my head," the man said with a lack of energy behind his words. Lawrey had evidently struck a chord.

"What's your name?" Miranda asked, trying to bring some optimism back to the room. "You know ours after all."

The man looked up and gave the faintest hint of a smile.

"My name's Lowell."

"That a first name or a last name?" Lord Lawrey shot.

Lowell grinned, his good spirits now returning. "It's my first name. Full name is Lo--"

He cut himself off as the door they all entered from swung open, revealing an Ugnaught. He was short, as was to be expected for an Ugnaught, and his hair was blond. Very young-looking in fact, with very few wrinkles around his snout and none of his tusks broken. Strangely, he wore civilian clothing like the rest of them.

"'Fresher's the next door over," said Lawrey, "no waste baskets in here for you to take out."

"What?" the Ugnaught snorted. Though rare, Ugnaughts were known to speak Galactic Basic.

"Janitor, right?" Lawrey continued, "There's no trash in here, and the Colonel doesn't want to be disturbed."

"This is outrageous! I am no janitor! I am here for an interview with the Colonel!"

Dead silence, mixed in with a dash of astonishment encompassed the room.

"Really?" Lowell asked; the only one brave enough to break the silence before a visibly angry Ugnaught.

"Yes…"

"Seriously?" Miranda pulled her chin inward in disbelief. The Ugnaught crossed his short arms in front of his chest.

"YES…"

"This is incredible!" Lawrey threw his arms up and began pacing around the room.

"This Colonel is completely daf!" he said as he came to a stop. "This is one of the best squadrons in the fleet. Depending on how many pilots survived the Battle of Bormari there could be up to three spots available in the X-wing flight. My competition for those three spots is a nobody girl from nowhere, a hotshot who thinks he's in just because his fourth cousin knew the Colonel, and an Uggy?!"

"My name is Ogrand Splott! You will address me as such! Call me 'Uggy' ever again and I will shove that lightsaber down your throat and turn it on!" the Ugnaught snarled in a deeper voice than seemed possible for an alien of his height.

"You're not very good with people skills, are you, Lawrey?" Miranda asked quizzically, once again trying to lighten the mood.

"I'm not very good with non-Jedi," Lawrey snapped out of his anger and immediately sat back down.

"That's why you're here, isn't it?" Lowell asked. By now, Ogrand the Ugnaught had dismissed the whole lot and took a seat closest to the Colonel's door. "The Order is making you work with non-Force users."

"How'm I doing?" Lawrey asked, now completely calm, attempting a grin. Jedi meditation techniques had taken over for Lord.

"I'd accuse you of being an Imperial sympathizer," Miranda deadpanned, "but you hate everyone equally, not just other species. You need some work."

The three humans chuckled. Ogrand remained not amused.

"I'm sorry there, mate," Lawrey turned his attention back to the Ugnaught, "all in the spirit of competition, eh?"

"Bah…" Splott said.

"How do you fly an X-wing anyway?" Lowell asked, "How do you reach the rudder pedals?"

"I have designed my own prosthetics and extensions that help. I am a mechanic as well as a pilot."

"A-wings have smaller cockpits. Haven't you tried those instead?" Miranda inquired.

"It is true, I am much more adept at flying A-wings, but the Commander of the A-wing flight of this squadron rejected me. I thought I would try my chances as an X-wing pilot. I have logged considerable time in both types of craft."

All four beings now turned their heads in worry as another tumble could be heard through the Colonel's door.

"Exsqueeze me!" a faint voice could be heard through the door.

"It's…it's okay…just…leave, please…" another voice spoke. Then came another crash.

The door opened, revealing everyone's worst fears. He was tall, and gangly, with long floppy ears, an oblong and goofy nose, and splotchy pink and yellowish skin.

"Hiya!" the being said to the other four in the waiting area, "Meesa Abbel Nappa! Meesa super bombad pilot!"

"We're competing for spots in High Flight with a Gungan?" Lawrey shrieked in near terror.

"No!" someone called from behind. The Gungan stepped aside, revealing a man in a drenched uniform. He was tall, with thick, currently disheveled brown hair and green eyes. He looked almost as if he was gasping for air; either that or in relief. His rank signified he was a Colonel. "Mister Nappa is being sent to see General Horn. He is uh…overqualified and has been given my recommendation to audition for a spot in Rogue Squadron."

"Oh thankies, Colonel Kadorto!" Abbel Nappa's long snout betrayed a gigantic smile. "Meesa pay for all damages. Okieday?"

"Fish tanks can be replaced…it's alright." Kadorto said. "General Horn is waiting for you."

"Meesa all too happy to be havin' this opportunity! Thankies again, Colonel! Meesa make yousa and General Horn proud! Okieday?"

Before the Colonel could say anything more, Abbel Nappa twirled around in place and hopped out the door that Ogrand had left open. The four humans and Ugnaught could hear his high-pitched squeals of joy for minutes afterward as he tripped and sprinted in a jolly manner down the hall.

"A Gungan is more qualified than us?!" Miranda exclaimed.

"No, by the Force, not a chance," Colonel Kadorto stammered. "It's the only thing I could think of to say to get rid of him. Gosh, I sure hope General Horn doesn't kill me for this one. That's a pretty cruel joke, isn't it?" he laughed. No one laughed with him. They were all much too shocked, staring at his sopping uniform.

"Allow me to introduce myself," he said, carrying on, "I'm Colonel Halley Kadorto, CO of High Flight Squadron. You can call me Halley if you like, but Colonel whenever Admirals Ackbar or Kre'fey are around. Thank you for all coming on such short notice and for taking my advice on the whole 'dress in civilian clothing' instruction. I have narrowed you all down from over thirty applicants. Commander Astrey of A-Flight and Commander Ardele of B-Flight are holding similar interviewing sessions as we speak."

"How..how many spots are we competing for, sir?" Lawrey stammered, finally gaining control back over himself after the Gungan ruined his concentration.

"There are two spots available in X-Flight which means, obviously, two of you will have to be let go by the time these interviews and the subsequent simulator runs to follow are completed."

Now the game had completely changed. It wasn't just a matter of knocking one person out of the running, now it was two. All four of the new recruits in the room eyed one another as competition. The odds for each of them being accepted had dropped considerably, and they would do anything to increase them.

"Now if you'd all stand in a line and give me your name, rank, and former occupation or squadron, we can get started," the Colonel said, "for everyone's benefit."

The potential High Flights did as they were told and sounded off:

"Flight Officer Ogrand Splott. Formerly of Shriek Tail Squadron. Served as A-wing pilot and chief mechanic."

"Nice to meet you, Mister Splott," Halley said with a smile, "Your skills as a pilot and as a mechanic can definitely be used here." He motioned for the next person in line.

"Rac Lawrey. Jedi Padawan. Here by request of Master Skywalker."

"Luke asked me personally to advance you up to this stage of the choosing. You must be pretty good in a cockpit," Halley smirked, "He also told me you had trouble with authority coming from non-Force types like me. Am I going to have any problems with you obeying orders, Padawan?"

"No sir," Lawrey took in a deep breath, once again to calm himself.

Halley's sullen expression returned once again to a look of nonchalance. "Great. Next please!"

"Flight Cadet Miranda Erador. Just out of basic training on Chandrila. I am very honored to have made it this far so quickly."

"If there were any more spots available in Rogue Squadron, I'm sure General Horn would have interviewed you as well. Good luck, Cadet," Colonel Kadorto patted her shoulder reassuringly and moved on to the final man.

"Flight Cadet Lowell Hailfyre. Also just finished with basic training. My cousin spoke very highly of you during his time in Galaxian Squadron."

Halley looked down briefly, his smile once again wiped away. The other three pilots in the room now began to catch on. They had done the research on the Colonel. Galaxian was his former squadron that was wiped out. Lowell was one of the relatives of Halley's now deceased squadmates.

"That's why you think you're in automatically!" Miranda spoke up unexpectedly in revelation to Lowell. "Did you choose him because he was related to your friend?" she now turned her attention to the Colonel.

"No," Kadorto was quick to defend himself, "All the applications were blind. I couldn't see your names. I based it all on record alone, with the exception of Lawrey, obviously, since he is here by Luke Skywalker's request. I didn't find out your names until after I had chosen you all to come. Now either have trust that I'll be objective in my decisions or you can leave."

Everyone stayed put. Even Miranda got back in line with the others, standing at attention. Unfair as it seemed, even when factoring in that Lowell Hailfyre essentially had a freebie, that still left one spot open, and they were all going to make sure they got it.

Again, Halley's expression softened, though this time only a smidge.

"Good," he said, "then let the games begin."


Last edited by Halley Kadorto on Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Making the Flight
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:43 pm 
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New Republic - Starfighter Command Division
Colonel Halley R. Kadorto, CO High Flight Squadron
Serial Number 7827909.LRF

<Official Pilot Interview Private Log>

Interview Subject #1 -
Name - Flight Officer Ogrand Splott
Serial Number - 8863574.BLL
Species - Ugnaught
Age - 19

-- Let me say first of all, I had no idea so many Ugnaughts were serving in the New Republic beyond maintenance and engineering duties. Many more pilots than one would expect, which I think is great. Officer Splott did not seem all that enthused for some reason. Time restrictions did not permit me to ask why.

That being said, based on his interview, a fantastic officer. Follows protocol at all times. In fact, it was his idea for me to create this log under some article guideline or something-or-other saying I have to do this for official paperwork. I'll have to admit, I have my reservations about letting Officer Splott fly an X-wing, even with the prosthetics he designed. I feel he would be much more useful in A-flight. When I told him my worries in this area, he actually jumped up on the table and gave the most provocative speech about how he had recently outmaneuvered a giant space slug in an asteroid belt near the Hoth system while flying a Y-wing. His CO confirmed the story.

I put an inquiry in to Commander Broyl as to why Officer Splott was denied. She says that he didn't meet the qualifications she was looking for when narrowing down her own set of applicants. I do have to keep in mind her application search was blind for both name and species, just as mine was. He was smart to submit his resume for both flights. Still, I can't help but wonder. He met my criteria for his secondary ship and didn't meet Broyl's expectations for the ship he claims to be better at flying. Could it be I'm setting my sights too low? I think I'll put him in for an A-wing sim run along with the two already scheduled X-wing simulator runs, just to shake things up.

I really have no qualms with Officer Splott whatsoever. An exemplary officer by all accounts. He comes with one of the best recommendation letters from his former CO in Shriek Tail Squadron. Maybe a bit flamboyant based on his jumping on the table, and his insisting he makes the best caf this side of Kamino, I wonder how well he follows orders in a battle seeing as how he's a bit quick to try and impress. If he doesn't make the final cut, I'll be hiring him on as our primary mechanic should he accept and General Antilles allow it.


Interview Subject #2 -
Name - Rac Holt Lawrey (Honorary Ranking: Flight Cadet)
Serial Number - None Listed in NR Database
Jedi Order SN - 002486.PL (Padawan)
Species - Human
Age - 22

-- Has an obvious problem with authority. Was very dismissive of my questions and comments about his exemplary record. Originally from Fondor, and his father worked at one of the Imperial shipyards, so he's very familiar with Imperial craft. This is a background I can definitely use should Mr. Lawrey prove more agreeable.

Prefers the nickname of "Lord." A bit spooky if you ask me, for a Jedi and all. Luke did warn me this guy was a handful, but also stressed his talent in the cockpit is exceptional. The Jedi Council sent him my way because he has very little respect for non-Force sensitive beings. Their hope is that I can convince him to shape up.

He seemed to me to be quick-tempered but could just as easily put it back in check. He's also a bit old to have harbored such disdain for non-Force users have just started training a few years ago. I see this as his being let into an elite group, much like the Empire must have felt. He's been conditioned to believe that whatever social group he's in must be the best and all the others don't matter. If anything, I'm glad he's not a xenophobe. No place for that in my squadron. This looks like an uphill battle though. As I stated before, he was dismissive during his interview. Continued to boast that he would fly circles around the other candidates. He hasn't logged that much official time in any NR ship or simulator but he stood out considerably in all the simulator and real-life craft trials the Order sent him through.

Despite his aggression towards me, I am impressed with him. He made it clear to me near the end of the interview that he thought it was unfair about how I was playing favorites. He accused me of already having decided that Cadet Hailfyre is in the squadron no matter what and that I should be more objective. I felt no need to defend myself against him, though he did almost succeed in evoking a response. I may just be asking for a mental breakdown, but between him and Feylis constantly questioning my orders (a growing problem on Feylis' part; the reason she and Commander Astrey are choosing their own candidates for my final approval instead of me choosing directly), it's feedback I can ultimately use instead of making hasty decisions. He's an active thermal detonator, but he's also the candidate that I'm most drawn to picking at this early stage of the game.


Interview Subject #3 -
Name - Flight Cadet Miranda Yuhle Erador
Serial Number - 8863570.TVI
Species - Human
Age - 20

-- The idealist of the bunch. To be honest I see a lot of myself in her when I was her age. She's here simply because she's great at flying and not much else. Her family didn't die in some horrendous Imperial attack, and she's never really lost anyone close to her. She's here because it's the right thing to do. She's serving a cause she feels is worth serving.

She does have a certain level of naiveté that troubles me, however. She sees the Imperial Remnant as a group that simply needs to be wiped out rather than a group of people that should be negotiated with first for peace. Her simple willingness to kill a huge group of people isn't exactly what the New Republic is looking for, but my feeling is she feels this way towards the Imperials because she appears to be very impressionable. It's obvious all these ideas about the Imperial Remnant she has were instilled during her training on Chandrila. I'm confident it has very little to do with her actual upbringing. Still, her optimism is something not found in ample amounts in Rogue or High Flight.

Possibly the least experienced of the four candidates, but easily the one with the most natural skill. She would need hand-to-hand combat training, but I'm sure the Wraiths would be more than happy to help out with that one.

Like Splott, she's quick to impress, even though her record isn't all that extensive. She has less than five hours experience in a T-47 for instance. I admire her persistence, especially since she's made it this far in the interviewing process. I really can't say much more except that I'm eager to see how she does in the simulator runs.


Interview Subject #4 -
Name - Flight Cadet Lowell Salek Hailfyre
Serial Number - 3175718.JLH
Species - Human
Age - 21

-- Overall, an excellent pilot and man. He's so much like his cousin, Jaren, I can hardly believe it. I hate to say it, but it's going to be difficult for me to remain objective about him. We reminisced for a bit about Jaren. We had a few laughs over some of the jokes he had told both of us. A couple I was surprised Jaren had taught Lowell at all since they're a bit off-colour. Like the one about the Twi'lek dancer in the trash compactor! What a classic!

Based on his record alone, he's slightly under par with the other three candidates, but I can already tell we would have excellent chemistry as wingmates. Seeing Cadet Hailfyre really brings back memories.

He completed a few basic hand-to-hand courses and is currently enrolled in a slicing class. He's definitely trying to become a well-rounded officer, though he does seem to have a lot of lapses in time between classes. In each of those periods his simulator and actual combat mission hours declined as well. When asked about this, he assured me it was nothing serious and pointed out that even when stretched pretty thin with classes and training, he excelled in all fronts. I'm inclined to believe that his marks being slightly lower than the other three candidates has more to do with having too much extra-curricular training than it does a lack of skill.

Again we have another young cadet eager to impress a potential superior officer. Perhaps a bit smug, but so was Jaren at his age. If Cadet Hailfyre does think he's made the cut already, I don't sense it from him. Cadet Lawrey sensed arrogance in him, but I don't get that at all based on my own intuition. Jedi have been known to be wrong from time to time after all. It could just be that if Lawrey sensed anything at all, he mistook Hailfyre's self-assurance for arrogance in his ability.


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 Post subject: Re: Making the Flight
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:57 pm 
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"All I can say about the mission is: good luck."

As Halley finished his ominous statement, the "Hopefuls," as some of the High Flights chose to call them, each ran to their designated simulators. There were twelve in all, the top four pilots per type of ship available in the squadron. They formed a full squadron of potentials to fill in for the pilots lost at the Battle of Bormari. A late meeting the night before between Colonel Kadorto, Commander Ardele and Commander Broyl had sparked the idea to have them all do their simulator runs together as a team. This would start building bonds between the pilots that would eventually make the cut and would also save a lot of time.

They were told nothing about what they would encounter on the simulator run, and in Halley's mind, winning wasn't the key to success. It was how they all worked together. Though they were paired off with wingmates, no squadron leader was designated. There were flight leaders, however, each of whom were eager to see who would emerge as the clear Alpha Leader in the pack of young'uns.

Halley, Feylis, and Astrey stood around the simulators, datapads in hand to monitor the progress of each of the pilots they were responsible for. In the large room, speakers boomed out the comm traffic for them to hear.

"What in the fierfeking galaxy is that?!" someone called that Halley didn't recognize.

"It's the Sithing Jedi Temple!" Lawrey's voice grumbled through the other awes.

"We have to protect the Jedi Temple?" another voice, possibly the A-wing pilot, Chanto, a Falleen if Halley remembered correctly.

"From what?" Erador asked meekly.

Silence befell the "squadron" as they all, Halley guessed, were looking around for a threat of some kind. Halley grinned and looked up at the two Commanders.

"They're never going to guess in a million years what's waiting for them," he said with a smile.

"It was inventive, though pretty ridiculous and even more unlikely," Feylis shrugged, keeping her eyes on her datapad the whole time, raking in all the raw information.

"Do you have to spoil all my fun?" Halley asked.

"This shouldn't be fun, it should be a learning experience for us and the new recruits. We have to make our final decisions by tomorrow you know," Feylis countered.

"I know it, I know it," Halley was forced onto the defensive. His rebuttal was cut short by the gruff voice of Ogrand Splott.

"By the light of Gentes, is that a Death Star up there?!"

"You know, Hales," Broyl said, "If Splott does well here, I may just have to steal him from you. I'd rather he work on my A-wings than your X-wings."

Halley winked at her, "Over my dead body. You gave him up. He's mine now."

"Where, Uggy, I don't see it," Lawrey again, distress in his voice caused by not being able to sense life "out there" in the simulator world.

"Call me 'Uggy' again and I'll slit yer face! Check your visual scanning. It's on the opposite side of the sky from the sun!"

"Stop arguing and get it together," Hailfyre spoke up, melting away Halley's attempt at a poker face as a smile jutted through. Feylis immediately caught sight of it with her peripheral vision. She waited for Hailfyre to finish before saying anything.

"We know of two ways to take this thing down…" Lowell continued, "a badly designed exhaust port, and a straight shot to the core. We need to split up and try both!"

"Your mind is made up, isn't it?" she continued her offensive on Halley. This time Halley looked down.

"And we need a group to stay here and protect the Temple and Senate building from ground forces!" another voice held firm above the rest in the simulators in response to Lowell's game plan.

"What are you talking about?" he asked Feylis, clearing his throat.

"It doesn't matter how your four pilots do. You're going to choose Hailfyre no matter what."

"I'm treating him with the same level of objectiveness that I am the other three."

"That's a load of frak!" Feylis nearly shouted to be heard over the comm chatter about TIEs coming in from all sides. The pilots were already sounding fatigued and most of the simulator pods had exhaust fans going, pumping out all the hot air from the cockpits. This simultaneously added to the noise level in the room and made the air feel a might musty for the three High Flight leaders.

"Excuse me?" Halley asked, though it wasn't really a question at all. Halley's level of anger did catch Feylis off guard, though, and she took a deep breath before speaking again.

"I meant no disrespect, sir," she started, decibel level more near a lightsaber hum rather than a podracer whooshing by, "but I just don't think it's possible for you to be objective here. This man isn't your old friend."

"I know that. He's more than qualified for this position though. His record alone can put him in this squadron."

Before anyone could say anything more, a simulator hatch opened off in the distance. The first casualty of the day. The young man jumped out and kicked the base of the simulator in frustration.

"Well, maybe you should base it on how he works with everyone else," Feylis took a few steps away so as not to draw curious stares from the downed pilot.

"He seems to be holding his own," Halley offered.

"For the moment," Broyl added with a smirk, trying to diffuse the incredibly awkward mood set in the room.

"You see? You're already running to his side to defend him," Feylis looked down at her datapad dismissively again. "This isn't a competition for these people anymore. It's just a simulator run that proves nothing."

By this time, a few more cockpits had pop-hissed open, revealing more disgruntled and sweaty pilots. Lord Lawrey was among them, much to Halley's surprise, though he didn't let it show outwardly. Whether or not Lawrey could sense his surprise would remain unknown, at least for the time being.

They all stood watching Colonel Kadorto and Commander Ardele argue. This worried Halley to let these potential new pilots see his authority being undermined by a subordinate. After all, Feylis may have been a pilot longer than Halley, but he had advanced more quickly and had stayed with Rogue Squadron. Feylis had gone off to who-knows-where for a while and had only recently come back. Halley was in charge. Why wasn't she respecting that?

At the same time, maybe she was right. Maybe he wasn't seeing Lowell…Cadet Hailfyre, objectively. It was his choice though, wasn't it? Yes, it was. But, his being related to Jaren didn't give him a free pass. He had flaws, just like the other three, and maybe Halley wasn't seeing them.

"Yeehaw!" a decidedly triumphant voice boomed over the loudspeakers. Halley and Feylis, along with everyone else on the simulator room floor, looked up at the sound. It was definitely Hailfyre.

"Session terminated," an automated monotone female voice said as the remaining cockpit hatches lifted upwards. Lowell tumbled out, exuberance on his face.

"I, I don't understand," Feylis said, scrambling to find the answer on her datapad.

"You should have seen it, Colonel!" Miranda Erador rushed up to Halley gleefully, "Lowell blew up the Death Star himself!"

"Wha…? How?" Halley asked. Sure, Luke Skywalker had managed to destroy a Death Star practically by himself, but Halley had designed this to be a team exercise. Before the Colonel could ponder it any further, Lowell was pushed forward by his peers, blushing a bit as they patted him on the back and shook his hand along the way.

"I don't know, sir, the idea just kind of came to me," he stated with a shrug.

"What idea?" Astrey asked, just as caught up in the excitement as everyone else.

"Well, the Death Star was about to fire on the planet, and it suddenly came to me…this was all based on a theoretical idea put to me in my amateur slicer class of all places, if you can believe it… that a precisely placed torpedo hit at the Superlaser's focus lens right as it's about to fire--"

"Causes the beam to feedback through the Death Star itself and makes it go kablooey!" a peppy Sullustan interrupted and laughed in amazement.

"Well done, Cadet Hailfyre," Feylis walked up to Lowell and shook his hand, looking equally as confused as Halley, but also perhaps a bit more excited, "you just found a third way of destroying a Death Star. Now let's just hope you never have to use that method in the real world."

The "Hopefuls" all laughed at the Commander's joke and began to disperse. Their amazement hung in the air as even Lawrey looked impressed. "Something only a Jedi could pull off," he would tell Lowell later that day.

Halley snapped back into consciousness and gave an order to the wandering pilots to head to lunch before the next simulator run.

"Pretty amazing, huh!" Astrey gawked as she headed out with the others to the mess hall.

"What he's talking about is impossible," Halley said when everyone but Feylis had exited the room, "it's unfathomable."

"The point is he did it," Feylis retorted matter-of-factly, though the skepticism about Hailfyre from earlier still hung in her voice.

"I just don't see how," Halley looked down at the datapad again to analyze all the results.

"I guess I'm beginning to see why you believe in him so much," Feylis walked up to Halley, looking him straight in the eye as he looked up from his datapad at a loss as to how Hailfyre had pulled off the stunt.

"Yeah," Halley said as Feylis turned toward the door and they both headed out for some food, "He's a catch."


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 Post subject: Re: Making the Flight
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:59 pm 
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Location: Bay Area, California
His dark hair sprayed perfectly so not a single hair dangled against his forehead, Lowell Hailfyre looked sharp. Today was the day he was going to be accepted into High Flight Squadron. And the interview process, just like when it began, was taking place in Colonel Kadorto's temporary office at Starfighter Command Headquarters. Lowell sat himself in the seat on the right side of the waiting room, closest to the Colonel's door. He wasn't trying to show off, really, and although decisions had already been made, he wanted to appear as confident toward his new commanding officer as possible.

The other three were there, Splott, Erador, and Lawrey. Lowell inwardly grinned at the sight of them, all sitting there quietly in silence.

They're probably nervous as hell.

They had all been there at least five minutes, on time, of course. The Colonel still had yet to emerge from his office. None of the individuals in the room had spoken a word to one another, but any bystander would have been able to sense the high stress level of the room.

Just call me in and give me the job, sir. I'm ready for it.

A minute or two later, the door opened, and Colonel Kadorto emerged, wearing his military uniform. The three humans and one ugnaught, or the three males and one female, or the three non-Force sensitives and the one Jedi, all stood at attention even before Halley had the door open completely.

"Splott. You first," he said, his voice betraying no type of emotion at all that Lowell could detect. That was frustrating for Hailfyre. Now he would have to wait to find out who his wingmate would be instead of figuring it out based on the Colonel's outward signs.

The cheeky little ugnaught walked briskly by, giving Lowell a tusky smile as he passed. As soon as he was in, the Colonel's door closed, and rather hard.

The three people left in the room returned to their seated positions, not knowing exactly what to make of the Colonel's abrupt door slam.

"He's…annoyed, I think," Lawrey said, "and maybe a bit uncertain about something."

"Maybe he hasn't made a decision yet and is worried about his deadline to choose us," Miranda offered, eyes wide and innocent, not unlike an Ortolan.

"I don't think so," Lord shook his head, looking forward in ponder, "it seems more specific than that."

Lowell would have had a retort ready for a line like that, but decided for once to hold it back. He didn't really like Jedi all that much. Why the galaxy had decided to bless a certain chosen few and leave the rest to fend for themselves never seemed fair. And why the galaxy had decided that these blessed chosen few should have everything in life just handed to them, like clothing, food, shelter, and fame, when the rest of the galaxy had to work and earn for themselves. It wasn't so much that he despised Jedi, it was more that he didn't like the way society had its priorities placed.

The Jedi didn't need help. The average Joes did.

The conversation between the three potentials died there. They were all secretly straining their ears to the limit to try to hear anything that was going on behind the Colonel's door. No such luck.

Miranda's chair squeaked as she fidgeted in it, no doubt a mash of excitement. That being the only noise emitted in the room the whole time Splott was beyond the closed door with Kadorto.

Five tense minutes later, the door opened and Splott emerged. Lowell found his emotions difficult to read since he didn't have enough experience with non-humans and their facial expressions. He quickly looked to Lawrey for a hint since he could read emotions better, but the Jedi betrayed even less emotion than the ugnaught.

"He wants you next, Miss Erador," Ogrand said to the young woman. She began standing almost as soon as Ogrand looked her way. The door again slammed behind her as she crossed paths with the ugnaught pilot.

"I am not at liberty to discuss my status with this squadron until you have all been informed of your placement," Ogrand said before Lawrey and Lowell could say anything. That frustrated Hailfyre to no end. Sure, it was protocol, but that didn't make it any less nauseating to deal with.

Still, his mind was searching for a pattern or logic of some kind in all this. First Splott, then Erador. They were the two with the lowest scores. Kadorto must have been going in order of rejects followed by those he would accept. That left him and Lawrey of course. Well, he didn't particularly care for Lawrey, but he was the best choice alongside Lowell himself.

Ogrand took a seat next to Lawrey. The Jedi paid him no mind. This piqued Lowell's interest. If he was cut, he would have left the room. Had Kadorto accepted him? That didn't make any sense at all.

"Is there something on my face?" the ugnaught asked. Lowell refocused his attention only to find that the Flight Officer was talking to him.

"What?" he asked, blinking and sitting up in his seat.

"You keep staring at me. Had you been a young ugnaught I would have taken it as a sign of disrespect and have had provocation to give you a severe lashing."

"Just uh, staring off into space," Lowell raised his eyebrows. Ogrand crossed his arms in front of his chest, looking smug.

"Please stare off into space somewhere else."

A few minutes later Miranda stepped out of the room. She did her best to look passive but Lowell could detect a bit of pep in her step that signaled she was excited about something.

What? There's no way he chose Erador! She wouldn't survive a day in a real squadron, much less a real skirmish or battle. What did Jaren ever see in him?

"You're up next, Lowell," the peppy flight cadet said as she sat down in her previous seat.

Not saving the best for last, eh Kadorto? What's going on here?

Hailfyre stole a quick glance at Lawrey again to try and see if he could reveal any more information about any of the events of the last twenty seconds. Again his efforts were futile. Lowell finally stood and paced slowly and confidently into the Colonel's office closing the door with authority behind him.

"Take a seat, Cadet Hailfyre," Colonel Kadorto said from his desk, staring Hailfyre sternly in the eye. It was a little intimidating. The Colonel usually offered a bit more emotion than this. Something wasn't right and Lowell suddenly found himself very tense. He sat down on the other side of the desk as ordered. Behind the Colonel was a viewport with a grand view of the next building over. Okay, so the Colonel didn't have much of a view, but this was a temporary office at best. What did pilots need with offices anyway? They were constantly on the move. Having an office planet side that they would use maybe five times a year would be a complete waste of space. Why this office had a fish tank in it then that was prone to being broken by clumsy Gungans, Lowell couldn't even begin to speculate. He shifted uncomfortably in his chair but kept his expression firm. The Colonel never took his eyes off of him.

"Your scores are exemplary, Cadet," the Colonel said, finally lowering his eyes to the datapad in his hand.

"Thank you, sir."

Okay, cut the small talk and tell me when we're shipping out for training.

"The squadron heads out tomorrow to an undisclosed location for training," the Colonel said.

Wow, I'm good.

"Understood sir. When should I report to the transport shuttle?"

The Colonel kept his eyes down and hit a few more keys on his datapad. Lowell assumed he was checking it for a certain time of departure. He could barely keep his excitement at bay. He had made it. He was one step closer to Rogue Squadron. This was brilliant!

"You'll be leaving today, Cadet, on the first shuttle back home to Corellia," the Colonel's words brought the Flight Cadet back to reality.

"Sir?"

The Colonel set the datapad down flat on the desk and raised his eyes to meet Lowell's. Hailfyre could almost feel himself sinking back down into the chair.

The Colonel was decidedly upset.

"I double-checked your simulator scores last night," Kadorto began.

"Sir…"

What's going on?

"Top notch. You scored the highest in both runs."

"Yes sir."

Hailfyre began to keep track of whether or not the Colonel was even blinking, his stare down was so intense.

"Your scores leading up to these sim runs were lower than everyone else's. I'm curious to know how you were suddenly able to best everyone."

"Guess it just proves I really want this job, sir."

There's no way he knows…that's impossible.

"It proves you're a cheater, Cadet."

He knows…but how?

"I…I don't understand, sir."

"Cut the nerf guano, Cadet. I know you inflated your scores."

Hailfyre looked down, gritting his teeth in frustration. He could feel goosebumps and sweat beginning to form around his collar as his own internal temperature rose. The Colonel continued speaking after a few long seconds.

"I became suspicious after the first sim run when you destroyed that Death Star. I thought it was impossible," Kadorto was now standing, walking back and forth behind his desk, recounting the chain of events, "To your own credit, you did destroy it and I commend you for that. But you still shouldn't have achieved the highest score. You left your squadmates behind. Your score should have reflected how well you took orders and it didn't. With the second run it was the same story."

The Colonel paused to see if the Cadet was going to fess up to what he'd done, but Hailfyre never looked up at him.

"I did some investigating of the simulator computers and found the system had been hacked. A decent slice too. You set the simulator to give you almost double the points it should have in every point category. Did you think I wouldn't catch something like that?"

Lowell continued gritting his teeth and didn't respond.

"I expect an answer, Cadet Hailfyre."

Lowell stood up immediately and looked back at the Colonel, red around the cheeks.

"Yes, I raised my scores. But what does it matter? People in Rogue Squadron break the rules all the time. They slice everything in sight! They blow up and destroy even more!"

Colonel Kadorto kept his voice low and in control. "Rogue Squadron doesn't slice computers to cheat and fool each other…unless it's a prank…we do it in order to better the enemy. What you did compromises trust within our team."

Lowell hadn't thought about it that way. The Colonel had a point, but he shouldn't be punished for this by being denied a spot in the squadron. That was unfair.

"But I'm the most qualified person here. Sure I may not have the highest sim scores but I have the most skills you can use."

His pleas were only met with a heavy sigh from the Colonel. "The sad part is you're right. And that's what makes this so hard. You didn't need to boost your scores. I don't understand why you did."

Lowell had to think about that for a second. Why had he? He knew he was in. It didn't make much sense to him either.

"Because I could, sir."

Kadorto nodded understandingly, even though Hailfyre suspected he hadn't the slightest clue as to why he had done it.

"You've shown me I can't trust you, Cadet. I can't have someone in my squadron I can't trust." Colonel Kadorto sat back down in his chair. "You may go. Please send in Cadet Lawrey on your way out."

Lowell Hailfyre couldn't help but stand there dumbfounded for a moment. He'd likely be reprimanded in some way by command, and knowing he had to fly back to Corellia that day wasn't good news either. He would probably have to repeat basic training or something. Best case scenario he could hope for a second rate squadron stationed on Corellia, far from the center of the action.

He thought about telling the Colonel off right then and there. He wanted to tell him that Jaren never liked him and would have left him behind in an instant should the right opportunity ever have come up. But that would have been the biggest lie Lowell ever told.

Jaren never spoke higher of anyone in his life than he did his good old buddy, Hales. His cousin said Halley had the greatest sense of morality than anyone he had ever met. There was no one more devoted to his friends. And even though that was years ago and Lowell was just a boy at the time, those words stuck in his mind.

Flight Cadet Lowell Hailfyre turned and opened the door to the waiting room.

"You're up next, Lord," he said and walked right out the door, not making eye contact with anyone.

* * *

Colonel Kadorto stood facing the three pilots before him. They all were standing themselves, upright and proper.

"Congratulations on your acceptance into High Flight Squadron," he began, "We leave tomorrow at oh-eight-hundred hours for training offworld. I suggest you keep your celebrations to a minimum as that is fairly early.

"Cadet Splott here will be joining the A-wing flight under the command of Commander Broyl. It seems in the end your talents both in the cockpit and with a hydrospanner have changed the Commander's mind. She's decided to steal you away from me."

"Can you really call it 'stealing' when it's given you the opportunity to command three out of your four finalists when you only expected to gain two, sir?" Erador piped up.

The Colonel grinned. "Point well taken, Cadet Erador. That being said, we have a lot of work ahead of us. There are a lot of squadrons out there gunning to have the title of being second only to Rogue Squadron. We need to prove to them we deserve to keep that title. May the skills the Force has bestowed upon you all keep you safe in battle for years to come. Move out, Cadets!"


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