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Posted: May 5 2009, 02:46 PM
Member No.: 128
Joined: 8-January 06
Everything belongs to Mr. Lucas and Mr. Stackpole.
Takes place during the beginning of Krytos Trap.
The newly christened Department of Informational Security was an imposing building with thick ferrocrete walls. Originally a factory to manufacture ration bars for Imperial troops, the building had been designed withstand both external attacks and the occasional detonation of the extremely volatile chemicals that went into the MREs. Due these unusual design features, New Republic Intelligence had claimed the building as its own, deciding that the décor was more cheerful than the mythic, blood soiled halls of the Imperial Intelligence Complex kilometers away.
Pash gave the imposing building one last baleful gaze before stepping inside. His father, currently head of the NRI, had wanted to speak with him and Pash had a nasty feeling it had to do with Tycho Celchu.
Captain Tycho Celchu had been one of Rogue Squadron’s most talented, loyal pilots but after Imperial Intelligence had captured him, no one but Rogue Squadron’s commanding officer, Wedge Antilles, had any trust in the man. And with a Rogue dead due to sabotaged Z-95, it appeared Antilles’ trust had been misplaced. What sickened Pash the most how his father expected Pash to give him an advanced preview of Pash’s testimony in the upcoming treason trial. So much for not being Intel’s squadron spy.
Pash’s self pitying introspection was brought to a halt as he passed the corridor that lead to the high security cells, which his father had placed no more than four doors from his office, ‘to better keep an eye on things’. Two men stood at the detention door, staring down the young, nervous guard. Pash could practically see the kid’s finger twitching on the trigger of the heavy blaster rifle he was pointing at the men.
Both of the uniformed men were of average height, one more muscular than the other, but both were clearly capable of taking on the skinny guard. The larger, dark haired one was currently gesturing violently at the battle tabs on his blue day uniform, shouting at the guard. “Kid, you see this tab here, this tab means I’ve been with Rebellion longer than you’ve been out of grade school. All I want to do is a say a nice ‘hello’ to my friend down that hall who has served the Rebellion ever since the first Death Star blew his family to smithereens. Now, unless you want to personally experience being blown to smithereens, in which case I’ll happily oblige you, I suggest you move out of the way now!”
“Excuse, is there a problem here?” Pash interrupted.
The young guard saluted before quickly putting his hand back on the trigger of his weapon, but the two men simply gave him an appraising glance before returning their attention to the guard, who blurted, “These men want to see the traitor, sir, but he’s not supposed to have visitors!”
“He’s not a traitor,” the lighter haired man muttered darkly, glaring at the guard.
“I’m sorry, gentlemen,” Pash interjected, “but Captain Celchu is under a security lock down. You’ll need permission from the Tribunal to speak with him.”
The men glanced at Pash again, taking in his innocuous plain day uniform. The dark haired one gave him a disgusted look and waved him away. “Go bug a senator’s apartment or whatever it is you do here. You don’t want to be around when I’ve decided that I’ve lost my patience with this little twerp.”
Pash took a step closer to the nervous guard, hoping to bolster his courage long enough to keep him from accidentally shooting someone until help arrived. “Tell you what gentlemen, why don’t we let this young guard do his job and I’ll take you to plead your case in front of General Cracken himself.” A genuine smile touched Pash’s lips. After all, it’d be an excellent way to avoid his own appointment with his father.
The two men exchanged uneasy looks until the slighter spoke, “It’s not like we were making any progress here.”
The other snorted. “But it’s not like Cracken is known for his kind and agreeable nature. I think we’ll have better luck with the twerp. And least he and I speak the same language.” At this, his hand dropped to rest on the butt of his service blaster. The young guard gulped, but his blaster rifle didn’t waiver.
“Just how happy do you think the Commander is going to be when he has spring three of us instead of one?” the taller muttered, his voice barely audible.
Pash felt his own patience fraying. Clearly, there was something bigger going on here then just two cranky veterans not getting there way and by the way they spoke of his father and Intel, the problems dated back long before the young guard dared to do his duty. “Listen, either I escort the two of you to speak with General Cracken or I’ll let the guardsmen decided whether he wants his associates to haul you out alive or in bags. Your choice.”
“I don’t know who the hell taught you your manners kid,” the larger man growled, “but isn’t polite to stick your nose in other people’s business. Who the hell are you anyway?”
Pash’s eyes narrowed into a steely expression. “Lieutenant Pash Cracken, Rogue Squadron.”
At the revelation of his name, he expected the profuse apologies he often encountered at pilot bars just after some poor drunken soul had delivered a profanity littered diatribe about his father and the NRI in general, but neither man reacted, save for the slight raising of the dark haired man’s brow. “I thought Wedge only picked the smart pilots?” he uttered to his companion.
The light haired man shrugged. “He always made an exception for you.”
Pash frowned. It was logical that if the two men knew Captain Celchu, they would most likely know the Captain’s best friend, Commander Wedge Antilles, but there weren’t too many in the service who referred the conqueror of Coruscant and hero of a thousand battles by first name. “Now that you know who I am, perhaps if you told me your names I may be able to help.”
The dark haired pilot jerked his thumb at himself and then his companion, saying, “I’m Wes and this is Hobbie. We flew with Wedge and Tycho before your father and the rest of the political control freaks decided that they didn’t want our handsome mugs drawing attention from the heroic, brilliant, but otherwise bland leader of Rogue Squadron.”
Pash nodded his head in recognition of the names. “The Commander has mentioned you once or twice. Something about being glad to no longer command a squadron full of immature adolescents and the sharp decline in paperwork from the MPs.”
Wes shook his head in disappointment. “Clearly the current squadron is not living up to its name,” he moaned.
Hobbie rolled his eyes at his friend before settling his gaze into a firm lock with Pash’s own. “So now that you know who we are, you understand why we need a few minutes with Tycho.”
“After all that rubbish they’re spewing all over, we want him to know he’s got more than Wedge and Winter standing in his corner,” Wes added. His continued glare at Pash clearly indicated that he thought the new Rogues were lacking in things other than MP paperwork and a sense of humor.
Pash sighed. “I understand where you’re coming from but I don’t have the authority to let you in. Commander Antilles only got permission because Counselor Organa feared that he would defect if he didn’t. Even Lady Winter isn’t officially allowed to see him.”
“Then let us in unofficially,” Hobbie injected. “Five minutes, that’s all we ask.” He waved his had towards the guard, whose confused glance darted between the men, his finger still firmly on the trigger of the heavy blaster rifle, “Just relieve the kid long enough so that he doesn’t wet that crisp new uniform of his.”
“We promise we’re not here to cause trouble or spring Tycho or anything,” Wes ground out. “I’d have brought my other blaster for that.”
Pash eyed the guard for a moment in silence. The kid tightened his finger on the trigger, the large heavy blaster rifle looking like an absurdly large-scale toy in his hands. “Guardsmen, you’re relieved. Go use the refresher and then report back. I’ll man your post until you return.”
“But sir, you’re not even Intel, you can’t…General Cracken would flip,” the guard stuttered.
“I’ll deal with my father,” Pash replied, “You just go take a break. Take a breather before someone accidentally gets shot. Report back in ten minutes.”
“Yessir,” the kid squeaked. He shouldered the rifle and walked away, but kept casting worried glances back at the trio until he turned the corner.
Pash assumed military attention in the spot the guard had vacated and closed his eyes. “You have five minutes,” he muttered.
Neither man said anything, but Pash felt a friendly pat on the shoulder as they passed. Pash knew that they wouldn’t consider themselves in his debt. This was a matter of brotherhood. Debts didn’t matter because they would die for him if ever needed, just as they would have allowed him five minutes if the circumstances were reversed. It was a strange family that had adopted Pash the moment he had given up his command for the chance at improving his confidence in Rogue Squadron. And Pash was sure that he’d find out just how strange over the drinks those two would soon be buying him.
Posted: May 5 2009, 05:49 PM
Member No.: 86
Joined: 12-July 05
thank for that one. There are not enough Pash-stories out there. And he is an extremely interesting character.
Posted: Jun 11 2011, 12:05 PM
Member No.: 72
Joined: 16-June 05
Can't believe I haven't read this one before- it's really well written! Pash stories are few and far between so it's nice to read one.
Posted: Jun 13 2011, 06:52 AM
Member No.: 148
Joined: 27-June 06
Serves me right for not checking in more often - I've only just read this.
As the others said, it's nice to see a story with Pash in a central role. The story is a nice 'might have happened' that plays out very well. Good work, and keep writing.