Fan Fiction Monday – Returns! Briefly for fun… “TIE Fighter: Alone in the Dark” Chapter 1, Part 1

Okay, so I’m going to post chapter 1 of an older Fan Fic I’d begun. It isn’t finished but if you’re interested in seeing some of my older, less polished, and yet amusing work… here you are. This features my alter ego, Miek Kenr, a character I created when I was 14 and haven’t… yet… rid myself of him. He was fun and he’s back! This time he’s a plucky hero in a TIE Pilot’s uniform, fighting on the fringes of civilization in a dead-end job guarding… nothing. Things quickly pick up for our heroes however as most of his friends were sent to Endor for a special operation…

Enjoy! Or flame. Doesn’t matter 🙂

 

Episode I: Alone in the Dark

Cast

Lieutenant Miek Kenr (Miek, prn. ‘mee-ek’) (Alpha Five) (starstenian male from Starstenia)

Flight Officer Eliber “Wart” Raun (Alpha Ten) (human male from Jorsch)

Flight Officer Jaz “Frog” Elameen (Alpha Four) (human male from Dantooine)

Flight Officer Kell “Sleepy” Crosse (Alpha Eleven) (human male from Denab)

Flight Officer Jacob “Prince” Evisarii (Beta Four) (human male from the Hapes Cluster)

Lieutenant Kristofer “Boom-boom” Ralgar (Beta Nine) (human male from Bespin)

Colonel Worl Vagon (Base Commander) (human male from Coruscant)

Chief Petty Officer Para Rengali (Imperial Intelligence) (humane female from Telaviiv)

Corporal Ren Tully (Imperial Scout) (human female from Ursine XI)

Lieutenant Bennet Vanderly (Imperial Navy) (human male from Corellia)

1. MIEK (Part 1)

Lieutenant Miek Kenr sat in the only lounge aboard Platform C-16. With booted feet up on the table, his chair pushed back on its hind two legs, he shuffled through a stack of sabacc cards. They were face-down and plucked one card after another off the top of the deck, paused, staring at it, and then turning it face-up on the table. Each card flip was followed by a curse, except with the very few occasions where dumb luck guessed the right value.

The lounge was all but empty, and the clock on the wall flashed 0213. Most of the pilots not on 3rd Watch alert status were asleep, or should be. Miek was the only one up for alert launch that night, despite the normal procedure calling for three. The station was too short-handed. They barely were able to keep two-man patrols with most of the 982nd recalled back to Endor. All that was left was a skeleton crew to man the station and pilot the aging TIEs.  Not much happened out here at the end of space. When Miek had joined the Imperial Navy he expected adventure and ports of call. Instead he ended up on a derelict Communications Platform in the middle of an asteroid belt. The most exciting thing that happened here was when some important bit of data was tossed through C-15 and routed to them, where they would decrypt it, read it, and re-encrypt it to send onto other stations or capital ships operating in the area. And the 982nd Fighter Squadron’s job was to protect this good-for-almost-nothing station.

“Still trying to convince yourself that you can use the Force?”

The voice was female, older in tone, though still energetic enough to make the chief’s age dubious. She was raven-haired and pale, with dark eyes and a short chin. Her hair was always tightly bound at the back of her head, and her uniform pressed like she never sat down. Miek glanced up from his cards to her. He let out a grunt and slapped down another card he’d failed to guess. “Morning chief, what has you up at this perfectly sane hour?”

She walked passed him to the wide, thin viewport that extended nearly a quarter of the lounge’s round walls, showing a view of the green gas planet below. Large asteroids floated idly by the viewport as well, some bigger than the station itself. Chief Petty Officer Para Rengali stood by the expansive view on one side, staring out. Miek looked back down at his cards. He knew she’d be silent for a while. As the only member of Imperial Intelligence operating aboard the Platform, she carried with her an air of self-importance and intrigue. Most of the pilots avoided her at all costs and Miek was no exception. Part of him was glad she didn’t respond to his statement and he was beginning to forget she was even there when she did speak.

“The Rebellion could be crushed as we speak,” she said, and Miek felt her gaze on him. He didn’t look up. “Swell,” he offered, choosing another wrong card. The chief’s voice returned, still going on like Miek was hardly there. “That’s why I’m up, lieutenant, waiting to hear something about the battle.”

“I’m sure it’s going fine,” he said, and this time picked the correct card and felt such elation he put more emphasis into his theory. “I’m sure that Dim and Bucket and Sour will all come back bragging about how they saw the big Calamari ships explode while we sat here looking at rocks.”

The woman grunted and when Miek looked up at her, she was staring out the window again. When another card came up wrong, he sighed and hit a button on the table to switch on the holoprojector. He wanted to scan the latest holonet dumps about what celebrity moff was seen with which celebrity dignitary in a sleezy getaway resort on station in the Outer-Rim. He loved the news out here. The work may be boring, but the locals could sure cook up some fantastic dirt.

“How do you stand that garbage?” the chief asked him as he focused on Moff Diggs and some Princess from Boswai VI. Miek shrugged and turned up the volume slightly. A shot came up of a blurry image of the supposed Moff pulling off the poor young Princess’s all-to-easily torn dress. The newscaster looked horrified in a suitably fake fashion. “What’s not to love?”

She was about to comment when the feed went dead. The holonet connection seemed to just dissipate before his eyes. “Aw c’mon, no! No that’s not fair! We were just getting to the good part!” He rapidly hit a few buttons, trying to reset the connection but nothing was happening. “Damn it.”

“What is it?” the chief asked, looking over from her window again, frowning.

“Stupid holonet disconnected,” he complained and checked another table, and then another. They were all similarly dead. His eyes eventually tracked to the wall and the clock, which was fed directly from the Coruscant standard clock tower. The numbers flashed 0000. The chief seemed to catch this at the same time he did, and she quickly moved from the window towards the door.

“Probably just a glitch, I’ll contact C-15.” And then she was gone, and Miek was left standing alone in the lounge again, half of his cards uncounted.

 

By the time the remaining pilots of the Squadron were called into the meager briefing room, scuttlebutt had thoroughly decided the reason for the loss of communications was due to yet another kind of ore found in the asteroids. The ore was obviously extremely valuable and their post out here was actually an honor. Of course, someone else suggested that if it was ore capable of disrupting any kind of communications then obviously it was infecting everyone aboard the platform with some kind of weird disease. After that, no one suggested that it was an ore of any kind.

“What do you think it is?” Wart asked Miek in the cafeteria just before the announcement that all pilots should report to the briefing room. Wart was born Eliber Raun, but his face was full of warts and small boils that the nickname had stuck since the first day he’d come aboard as a fresh Flight Officer. He’d become something of Miek’s protégé, though there wasn’t much he felt he could pass on to the young man. ‘Don’t get shot,’ he’d told Wart the first day he’d been asked for help.

“What do I think it is? I think it’s a conspiracy by the holonet producers to make each and every episode of As the Galaxy Turns a cliffhanger due to power outages.”

“Really?”

“No,” Miek said with a snort. “It’s probably just a solar storm or something.”

But it wasn’t a solar storm and as the Platform’s commanding officer, Colonel Worl Vagon, informed them, the situation was much different than any of them had anticipated. An animated man with graying hair, a short mustache, and spectacles, Vagon always talked while demonstrating with his hands like an orchestra conductor. He preferred to stand in front of the podium, rather than behind. Chief Rengali manned the holoprojector, keeping it going to where the Colonel indicated. The projector was focused currently on a readout of the sector, with each blue dot on the spherical map indicating an imperial outpost. Their own outpost was labeled, as well as Platform C-15.

“As of 0210 this morning, our communications link with the hologrid and imperial DATACOM was cut. The cause for this interruption is unknown but we’ve been unsuccessful in reaching anyone. Long range sensors are picking up a lot of activity at the fringes, near Buoy B-12.” Rengali hit a button and the map highlighted a buoy near Platform C-15 as Vagon went on. “Chief Rengali believes that perhaps pirates or privateers are taking advantage of the weakened imperial presence here to raid our communications bases for intelligence.” The Colonel seemed to find this act disgusting and his facial expression was like he’d tasted something bitter, his hands were held, palm up, offering his next words to his pilots. “I’m sending a transport and some escorts to C-15 to find out what’s going on. If they’re being attacked, drive off the intruders and allow the transport to land. It will be carrying engineers on board to help fix the uplink between our stations. When that’s back up, we should be able to find at least a weak signal back to a relay station. I can’t stress how important it is that we maintain a connection to DATACOM while the Battle at Endor rages on. If we’re needed…”

There was a murmur among the pilots. None of them seemed to believe anyone would call on this outpost for more help than they already had given. Their experienced pilots were already with the SSD Executor, fighting rebels. They were just what was left, a skeleton crew to keep this station going.

“Settle down people,” the colonel said with a sigh. “Lieutenant,” he said, indicating Miek. “I’m sending what little is left of Alpha to escort and I want you leading it along with Wart and Frog. You three are the best we have left and this is vital.” Miek blinked at the order and opened and closed his mouth several times before he nodded. “Uh, yes, sir. Got it.”

The colonel nodded and the screen flipped to a readout of their remaining fighter compliment. “We have precious few fighters left on this station, pilots. I’m sending Alpha in what few TIE Interceptors we have left. Try not to damage them, we’ll need all the equipment we can get. Are there any other questions?”

Miek gave a smile to Wart before he raised his hand and was acknowledged. “Sir, in the event that the rebels attack us instead of Endor, how big of a medal would I get for saving the Empire?” The room rippled with chuckles and snickers. The colonel made a grim expression, but Miek was unable to hide the mirth in his own.

 

Later, the pilots were in the ready room, pulling on their flight suits and prepping for the mission. Miek tapped a last few notes into his datapad and slipped it into the pocket by his left knee. The datapad contained all the mission notes and briefing details that had been discussed and he’d be able to glance at them during the mission if something slipped by. The main thing was to make contact with C-15 and drive off any raiders that happened to be there. The pirates of the Green Moon clan were vicious but ultimately cowardly. They wouldn’t risk a full loss of forces if they could avoid it, and their battered Y-wing compliments were hardly a match for a seasoned pilot in a TIE Interceptor. Still there was only going to be three of them and when last he checked, they were hardly seasoned…

“So, a flight leader today?” Wart said to him as Miek pulled his helmet off the rack and attached the hoses to the monitor on his chest guard. He nodded to the smaller man and sniffed a little, shrugging. “Aside from Boom-boom, I’m the highest ranking pilot so I guess it makes sense. Besides,” he said, looking at Wart with a roguish grin. “I’m a natural leader. That’s what that crazy woman said we pulled off the derelict last week. And remember how I talked you and Frog into putting laxative into the chief’s drink?”

Wart frowned. “That was a stupid idea.”

“But you listened.”

Hanging his head, Wart nodded. “Yeah.”

Miek smiled and donned his helmet, then walked over towards the exit door that would lead into the hangar deck where three TIE Interceptors were being prepped for launch. Typically he and his friends had always been assigned simple TIE Fighters, and it was only when he’d received his Lieutenant pins that he’d been cleared to fly the Interceptor with any relative frequency. But today they would need the speed if it came to a fight, and the Interceptor was better at power maintenance. It would be a long flight at sublight speed.

As he climbed the catwalk to the cockpit and the canopy was lowered, he double checked the mission briefing goals and tried very hard not to think about his real home of Starstenia. His eyes, which were the blue of chilled ice, looked over his primary objectives. Get the Jennies on station and be on the look out for pirates, he thought, checking them both off in his mind. I can do that.

“Alpha Two, Three, this is One. Check flight status.” As he waited for their replies, he powered on the ship’s systems and anti-grav systems, waiting for launch control to rotate the craft toward open space. He checked behind his flight couch for the extra oxygen reserves and found them sitting where they ought to be. Satisfied, he looked up. Ahead he could see the hangar bay exit shimmering. He gave a nudge to the engine’s power and moved off the mag-lock that kept his fighter in its rack.

“One, Two is green.”

“One, Three is green.”

“Alpha One, this is Transport Omega with a crew full of anxious engineers. We’re ready when you are.”

“Omega we are exiting Hangar Bay Two, we will swing around Bay One and pick you up, be ready for us.” After receiving an affirmative from the transport, Miek throttled up and broke free of the artificial gravity of the station. The whine of the twin ion engines behind him was nearly muffled by his helmet, but he could still feel it. His shoulders were tight against the crash webbing as weightlessness attempted to pull him in every direction as he banked away from the Hangar Bay’s extension arm. Glancing behind him, he caught sight of Wart and then Frog in his wake. Satisfied everything was in order, he momentarily inverted his interceptor in relation to the station and rolled back and forth, waggling his solar panels at his wingmates. The other two did the same, making him smile. Some people talked to each other, they had their own ways of saying ‘we’re all right.’

Miek led the flight of three interceptors around the base to Hang Bay One where Omega was sitting, waiting for them. “Come on in Omega,” Miek said with more than a little amusement in his voice. “The water’s great. We’ll doggy paddle you all the way to C-15.”

“Let’s ease the chatter Alpha One.” The voice was the Chief’s. Heaving a sigh, Miek clicked over to a private channel with his wingmates. “I bet Buck Starlighter never has to deal with this kind of pudu on One Star to Live.”

The crew formed up and sped away from the station as fast as the transport could go. Miek double checked the coordinates and set them into the rudimentary navicomputer the TIEs had onboard, which were good for nothing more than holding data and displaying it on his sensors later. Flight time was to be eighteen hours to C-15. He flipped a switch to lock his flight controls so he would keep on his present course and filched his datapad from a thigh pocket, tapping it on. His comlink lit and he switched to his squadron frequency again.

“Hey, Miek.”

“What is it Wart?”

“Do you think they have any girls on C-15?”

“None for you Wart,” croaked Frog, who then bellowed a guffaw. Miek had a good chuckle at that too. All Wart came back with was “My mom said I was handsome.” Shaking his head, Miek snorted the last of his laughter and coughed. He wished he could reach beneath his mask and wipe his nose but there was nothing to be done. It was sealed and releasing that seal would suffocate him or worse. He tapped the screen of his datapad and selected one of his pre-recorded episodes of As the Galaxy Turns. At least he’d find out if Shalara was actually dead on this trip. He guessed she wasn’t, after all she died off screen, pulled into an alleyway by a shadow. These shows always brought back the heroine.

“Miek?”

He paused the recording. “What, Wart?”

“What are we going to do if there really are pirates attacking the station?”

“What do you mean ‘what are we going to do’?”

“There’s only three of us!”

“Wart, I saw you single-handedly remove half a rebel squadron flying just a TIE Fighter the other morning. What are you worried about?”

“That was a sim!”

“Yeah… well… it’s the same thing.”

“No it’s not Miek, there’s less death involved in a sim.”

“If you want, Wart, I’ll make it more involved,” Frog commented with another guffaw.

“Shut it Frog. Listen if there’s pirates we’ll, you know, ask them to leave.”

“And if they don’t?”

“Then we’ll ask them to leave politely with some laser cannon fire.”

“But…”

“Trust me, one look at us and they’ll turn tale and run.”

“One look at Wart’s face and they’ll run. I saw we just have him float naked out there.” Frog’s comment was followed by the guffaw again. Miek cringed.

“Shut up Frog. At least I have a chin,” Wart said.

“I have a chin!”

“Somewhere. Your mouth looks like a Hutt’s.”

“Okay children,” Miek broke in with a bit of a smile to himself. “Let’s settle down. I have a lot of important reading to do on the way. So let’s not interrupt the lieutenant.”

“Copy.”

“Copy.”

He checked his chronometer. Still seventeen hours, forty-five minutes to go. He made a private prayer to the Fates of Starstenia that they all arrived at C-15 without him blowing them both up himself. Settling in again, he restarted his show. Silence prevailed over the comlink for several minutes before Wart broke in: “Ninety-nine bottles of juma juice on the wall…”

 

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