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Chickenman

Chapter 1: Baptism By Fire

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Chickenman

It is eight years after the Battle of Yavin. Warlord Zsinj, the most dangerous of the former imperial warlords has been defeated. Meanwhile, the remains of the Empire crumble more and more each day. After a decade of hard fighting, it seems the New Republic will finally take back the galaxy and win the war.

The galaxy is still a dangerous place, however. The New Republic?s hold over its territory is shaky at best. Pirates and smugglers are taking advantage of the galaxy?s disorder for their own personal gain. The remaining warlords continue to harass New Republic and Empire alike. And, while the Empire is weakened, it is still a formidable opponent, willing to do anything in its power to topple the New Republic.

Following the success of the Wraith Squadron experiment, the New Republic Defense Force has ordered the creation of several similar squadrons. They will carry out the New Republic?s toughest missions, the ones too explosive for regular commandos and too secret for an ordinary starfighter squadron. It is these secret units, operating in the shadows that stand between peace and chaos in the galaxy?

There wasn?t a single wrinkle in his uniform. Not a medal unpolished, not a single patch out of place, not a single button undone. He wore it as though he might never wear it again. And in his mind, he probably wouldn?t. He had recently come back from his ordered leave of absence, ordered after his last disastrous missions. Upon his return, he had been told to immediately report to one Admiral Besav. An Admiral. A kriffing Admiral. Fierfek, he had screwed up!

?Lieutenant Tunon,? called Besav?s secretary, ?the Admiral will see you now.?

Reluctantly, Lieutenant Aeric Tunon rose from his chair and made his way to the Admiral?s door. Aeric idly wondered why a death march was not being played in his wake. He passed the threshold and saluted smartly.

Admiral Besav rose from his seat, and gave Tunon a sad smile as he repeated the salute. ?At ease, Lieutenant. Please, take a seat.? Aeric all but collapsed into the armchair before the Admiral?s desk. The Admiral took his seat as well, got settled in, and smiled again. ?How are you doing, Lieutenant??

?Fine sir,? Aeric lied.

?Good. And I trust your leave of absence was relaxing??

?It?allowed me some time to meditate on recent events, sir.?

The Admiral frowned. ?I?m sure you?ve heard enough of this already, but I extend but I?m sorry for what happened.?

?Permission to speak plainly sir??

?Of course.?

?What?s this about, Admiral??

The Admiral frowned again, and reached into a desk drawer. From it, he produced a box. Aeric frowned too. My resignation papers.

?Go on, Lieutenant. Open it.?

Aeric slowly reached out and picked up the box. It?s over. He popped it open.

The Admiral was beaming. ?Congratulations??

Aeric found himself face to face with the insignia of a New Republic Starfighter Captain.

??Brevet Captain Tunon.?

Aeric?s hand trembled, the box nearly slipping from his grasp. His mouth moved, but he could not form words. Finally, he managed a single syllable.

?What??

?You?ve been promoted, son,? the Admiral explained to the shocked pilot.

His hands trembled more. The shock was beginning to turn to rage.

?Why??

?For your actions at the Bemulan Nebula.?

Aeric had to clench his fists to stop the trembling.

?I don?t deserve this,? he muttered to himself.

?Excuse me?? asked the Admiral.

Aeric picked up his head, staring at the Admiral.

?I don?t deserve this.?

?Don?t give me that. I?ve read the after-action report. You performed exceptionally. Now shut up and accept this promotion. And that?s an order.?

Slowly, Aeric closed the box and rested it on the chair?s arm. ?I wasn?t sent here just for a promotion,? Aeric observed, avoiding his acceptance of the promotion.

The Admiral grinned, nodding. ?Very intuitive, Captain. You?ve been selected for a new project.?

Aeric leaned forward, interested. ?Project, sir??

Besav nodded. ?The brainchild of Commander Wedge Antilles, in fact.? At mention of the hero?s name, Aeric leaned forward more. ?Basically, he came up with an idea for an elite fighter squadron that could fill two vital roles. Of course, space combat would be one of them. First and foremost, though, they would be commandos and spies. I understand you were with SpecForce before transferring to Starfighter Command??

?Yes sir. So you want me to be a part of this experiment??

?Oh no, Captain,? Aeric flinched inwardly each time his new rank was repeated, ?The experiment was tested by Commander Antilles himself. The squadron in question succeeded far beyond our expectations. In fact, without giving much away, I?ll tell you that they were instrumental in bringing about the fall of Zsinj.? A surprised Aeric suppressed a whistle. ?Anyway, the testing phase is over. Now it?s time to put these units into mass production.?

?And where do I come in, sir??

?Captain, I want you to command one.?

Aeric swallowed. ?Are you sure you want me, sir??

?Positive.?

Aeric paused, wrestling with the twin forces of accepting the post or turning away from the opportunity.

?Yes sir. I accept this post.?

?Excellent, Captain.? Besav stood from his seat and strode to his window, staring out it.

?I have a feeling these units are going to change the face of this war, Captain. Dismissed.?

Nice teaser, eh? As soon as we get a full roster, we can start.

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Rogue

The small shuttle landed soundly in the hanger of the hidden base chosen for the training of the two new Squadrons. The Tall Twi'lek pushed a long, dark blue lekku over his shoulder and out of his way as he walked down the ramp to the ferracrete floor below. He remembered hearing news of the new project, inspired by Commander Antilles Wraith Squadron, and knew immediately that he wanted to be a part of it. He had been in the top percentile of his class at the Pilot Academy on Coruscant, and had spent a few months training new candidates himself before being placed in a Squadron. He had combined all that, and his two-years of service in the ground-forces in a very neat, well written resume. Still however, he had been utterly surprised when he had been selected for the position of Executive officer.

Surprised, and relieved. He could only hope that he could live up to the standards of his new commanding officer.

The hanger was alive with support personnel. Mechanics and droids fluttered about as the new X-wings were flown in. Two dozen plain starfighters, fresh out of the factory. Starfighter Command had high hopes for this project. He hoped that this was a good sign. It would be terrible if they had funding issues down the line.

Following the instructions given to him by one of the workers, Nat Riamor passed through a maze of corridors until he was standing outside his Captain's office. The doors were open, droids rolling in supplies. Riamor walked past them, saluting to his commanding officer. "Captain Tunon, sir. Nat Riamor. It is a pleasure to meet you at last."

Edited by Rogue
Chicken has no life and insists on pointing out small errors when you all know what the hell i'm tslking about :P

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Chickenman

Aeric stood up from his desk and gave the Lieutenant a winning smile. He had just been rereading his resume, and Aeric was impressed. He had also noticed that he had been a graduate of the New Republic Fleet Academy, whose officers tended to be much less...innovative than the scoundrels and rogues that had joined before the establishment of the New Republic. This was reflected in Nat's performance record. It read like a stat sheet, very straightforward. They needed to talk.

"Welcome to the squadron, Lieutenant. I hope you'll take a walk with me, and we can discuss how the squadron's going to be run, make sure we're on the same page." He didn't bother waiting for an answer, just started heading out the door.

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Rogue

"Yes sir." The dark Twi'lek followed his human Captain out the door, his suggestion taking him a bit by surprise. The people he usually worked with discussed matters in offices and conference rooms, not in hallways filled with support personnel. It threw him off, and made his lekku twitch just slightly. "I am anxious to get started. I've been told the rest of the Squadron will be joining us today." He had wanted to arrive sooner though, so that he could meet his Captain before-hand, and had managed to get a ride on the ship that was ferrying over the new snubfighters.

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Chickenman

Aeric led Nat down the winding hallways until he located an exit, which led to a balcony overlooking a small field.

"So Lieutenant, tell me what you already know about this squadron."

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Rogue

"Well sir, I know that our purpose is to serve both as an active Squadron, and a commando team, taking care of the missions that need an affinity for both." His golden eyes stood out like stars across a midnight background as he looked to his commanding officer, his hands held at the small of his back. "I have also looked over the files you sent me on our new recruits."

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Chickenman

Aeric nodded, satisfied. Clearly, this officer was thorough, never missing a detail.

"And your impressions?"

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Rogue

"I have...mixed sentiments towards them." He replied with a flick of his lekku. "Many of them have solid backgrounds and good reputations. Flight Officers Aston Kendall and Atuarre both have some field experience, the former working for a small yet disruptive resistance movement back on Coruscant, while the later has almost a decade's worth of experience for the Trianii Rangers." Quite a feat, Nat believed, because it couldn't be easy to use a sniper rifle when you had a large furry paw. "However there were a few cases that I believe could be problematic."

Edited by Rogue

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Chickenman

Aeric frowned.

"How so, Lieutenant?"

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Rogue

Nat mimiced his expression. "Well Captain, despite his aptitude for droids and all things associated, Flight Officer Vaar is a novice pilot at best, and I believe it might take some time to get him up to speed with the rest of the pilots, sir."

One lekku crossed his collarbone to his other shoulder in an expression of thoughtfulness. "Also, it seems out weapons specialist has a history of selling said weapons illegally, while our insertion specialist not only has a criminal record of her own, but also has charges filed against her within Starfighter Command."

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Chickenman

"Flight Officer Nasrin?" He frowned. "Her charges are minor, at best. She's probably just made a few mistakes in her career. You forget, Lieutenant, that the Alliance was founded by criminals. Some of our greatest warriors have been criminals. General Han Solo comes to mind. But I assure you, if she does prove to be a hopeless case, she won't be a member of the squadron for very long. Not that I believe she will be a problem. Are there any other concerns?"

Edited by Chickenman

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Rogue

"My only other concern, Captain, is that the Squadron as a whole seems to be undisciplined, and unpredictable."

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Chickenman

Aeric frowned. "Lieutenant, that's kind of the purpose of this unit. With the missions we're going to get, we need to be unpredictable. We're going to be thrust deep into enemy lines, with nothing to help us but each other, and our minds. We need to constantly have the upper hand on the enemy, and we need to constantly surprise him with something new. That kind of unpredictability comes from being undisciplined. I'm not saying our squadron needs to be a unit of anarchists, but the squadron is going to need to be...lax. Constant drilling and parade practice makes a unit uniform. Uniformity leads to using the same tactics over and over. And that, Lieutenant, leads to death."

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Rogue

The lieutenant thought that over, his lekku twitching involuntarily at the thought of a squadron of anarchists. "I understand the need to be innovative, Captain." Riamor conceeded after a moment. "But I believe there must be a certain degree of uniformity within any military unit, sir. I'm afraid that such a 'lax' enviornment as you put it, would cause them to lose any sense of respect, for both the orders of thier commanding officers and their missions. I believe a serious enviornment is needed to show them that this is not a game--that they will be facing life and death situations, and they are going to need to work their hardest in order to be the group that leaves a battle alive."

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Chickenman

"A valid point," said a smiling Aeric, for he always enjoyed a good debate, "but if they are in a 'life and death' environment, as you put it, do they really need an equally demanding situation back at the barracks? That kind of relentless pressure leads to a decline in morale, and thus less effective fighting, and thus death. Granted, I do believe in discipline. Actually, I think the real answer is the midpoint between anarchy and fascism. I just believe that with this particular unit, we might have to lean a little more on the anarchy side."

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Rogue

"It is your Squadron, Captain." Nat offered him a slight grin, conceeding the arguement. Each of them could see the other's side, and continuing the arguement would only serve to put pressure on both of them. There was no point straining the Captain/Executive officer relationship on day one. "I shall assist you in any way I can."

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Chickenman

Aeric grinned as well. The two had different views when it came to leadership, but they respected each other's opinions and that was the important part. And such a clash of ideas might keep one from taking control. Yes, the two officers would make a good team.

"Come on Lieutenant, we've got some time to kill before the kids arrive. Let me buy you a drink."

Cue the rest of the squadron arriving by shuttle! Have fun guys.

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Rogue

She sat in the back row of the shuttle, not wanting to attract too much attention just yet. Attention wasn't something she always strived for, although she had to admit she sometimes did. For the twenty-three year old Zeltron, attention was something that people couldn't help to pay her. Maybe it was her flawless pink skin, or radiant red-brown hair that drew the attention of passerbys wherever she went. Someone had told her once that it was her long legs and fit physique, the way her clothing seemed to always fit her just right. Or maybe it was science. Certainly she could increase the flow of pheromones her body produced, but she could not decrease them past a certain point.

Whatever the case might be, attention was something that was drawn to her, and beyond her control---even when she was sitting by idly as she was now. Even in the back row, she could feel eyes on her.

She uncrossed her legs and reached into the lime-green bag perched on the chair beside her. Her hand came back victorious, and she popped the earbuds to her music-player securely in her ear, turning the music on to drown out the sound of the engines and her own nervous heart. Another squadron, another chance. She wondered idly just how many chances she had left. With Lieutenant Ruvan filing charges against her, she had been given two clear options: find another Squadron to call family, or risk forfeiting your military career.

It was obvious what option she chose.

She just hoped that her skills would be put to good use here. She didn't mind the slight pay increase either. It was actually quite a relief. She needed that money more than she liked to admit.

Twenty pilots sat in the passenger space of the shuttle. Twenty pilots headed to the new base. She wondered briefly which of those twenty were members of her new squadron.

Edited by Rogue

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Radioactive Isotope

Atuarre hated shuttles. Especially when they were packed full like this one. At nearly two meters, it was difficult for her to squeeze into small spaces. She?d been here awhile and her folded up limbs had been cramping for hours. Oh how she longed to get up and stretch! Her ears twitched in annoyance as she yet again caught the scent of someone?s pheromones. Patience, she told herself. You?ll be there soon.

Idly, she wondered what this new squadron would be like. She was making a huge change in her life going from a covert ops group like the Rangers to squadron fighter pilot, but from what she?d heard, this was no ordinary squadron. She hoped her unusual prowess as a sniper would make up for her lack of pilot training. She?d flown a few ships before, but never anything like a starfighter. Still, she was a quick study and as long as she got into the simulators, she felt confident she could learn anything.

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Bad furday

Jya took a calculating look around the shuttle. The big Trianii a row ahead of her was fidgeting in annoyance. That was understandable, as Jya also thought that this flight was taking too long. Straining her hearing, she tried to make out their location through what the pilots were saying.

They were laughing.

Jya wished she could step into the cockpit and give those two nerfherder pilots a piece of her mind. They wouldn't be laughing when she was through with them.

She resisted the urge. An outburst like that on the first day would be a sure way to get kicked off the squadron.

When her superiors has suggested to her that she'd be perfect for this new fighter squadron, at first she had resisted. Flying in an X wing wasn't her best asset.

"It's not just a fighter squadron," Major Hisk had explained to her, " It will also carry out a variety of missions where flying a Republic X wing would seem...suspicious. Your background knowledge of smuggling routes in both Republic and Imperial space would be invaluable!"

That was that. There had been no argument. Instead, Jya found herself reporting at 0600 to the military spaceport, where she had ended up on this shuttle.

Brushing her hair out of her eyes, she turned and eyed the young man sitting a few seats next to her. He was occupying himself with a mechanical journal concerning the R7 series. The only noticeable feature were his golden eyes, rare for a human.

The sound of music being filtered in somewhere caused her to turn around. A Zeltron sitting in the back row was listening to her music player, nodding her head in rhythm to the beat.

Jya wished she had brought a music player.

Edited by Bad furday

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Rogue

Layla felt eyes on her and looked up from her music player. Her gray eyes came into contact with brown ones, belonging to a human female with like-wise colored hair. She quickly tugged a music bud out of her ear. "Sorry. Do I have it up too loud?"

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Bad furday

"Oh! err..I-I just heard music and was wondering where it was coming from...sorry.." Grimacing inwardly at drawing the attention of everyone on the shuttle to her, Jya turned back in her seat, embarrassed.

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Rogue

Layla smiled slightly to herself at the reaction. Everybody was on edge. She could feel it radiating off of them as surely as her pheromones radiated off of her. Sighing, she leaned back.

And decided that the uncomfortable nature of the seats were not helping matters any.

"Blaster bolts..." she muttered. "Just how much longer can this trip actually be?"

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Ender

Jaim Adarra prided himself on always having a way out. It was helpful, especially with the kinds of people he had associated with in his lifetime. This time, he had a way out of a crowded shuttle.

Not being a true member of the Republic, Jaim had more freedom of movement. To that end, he had bucked the offer of a shuttle ride in favor of his own vessel, a fast light courier called the White Riot. It made trips such as these much more comfortable.

After landing on station, he received many curious looks from the ground crew. It wasn't often that they saw "civilians," especially someone like Jaim. He was wearing a black leather jacket, blue pants, and a collarless white shirt that was unbuttoned at the top. He also wore a DL-44 on his right hip, and his swagger indicated that he knew how to use it.

Jaim smirked as the crew went back to its work. If only they knew how much weaponry he was actually carrying.

Jaim honestly didn't really know why he was here. The Alliance had been slow with jobs recently, ever since Zsinj had gone down, and he didn't fancy going back to less-reputable jobs. He had made too many enemies.

Sighing slightly, he exited the hangar and made his way to the office where he would meet this squadron leader. Probably some fresh trainee right out of the Academy who had never seen action. Oh well, at least it's an offer.

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Mara

Kaden sat towards the back of the shuttle on the left in a viewscreen seat. No matter how many missions he flew, he could never get over the fact of all the wonderful stars out there in the universe. It was always a beautiful sight.

He stared out into the distance, watching the stars, which were starlines now as they were in hyperspace travel, entranced by them and completely tuning out everything else that was happening on the shuttle.

He could have been thinking what in the worlds he was doing on this shuttle, traveling to a secret base to be part of a new X-wing squadron, but Kaden believed he belonged there because of his superior skills. It was only a matter of time, in his opinion, before he was transfered out of the Golden Eagles and put where he knew he could do the most good. No disrespect to Y-wing pilots, but Kaden knew that the X-wing was vastly superior.

Shaking his head, he turned from the window and sat back, closing his eyes to wait out the rest of the trip. He couldn't wait for what was waiting for him on this base. He was just itching to get back into an X-wing again.

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