Obviously, this owes a great deal (understatement of the century candidate) to George Lucas, and to Michael Stackpole's "X-Wings" and Kevin J. Anderson's "Jedi Academy" series of novels.
No copyright infringement is intended.

Vignette 11: Nawara

“One last thing, Captain,” said the Twi’lek lawyer.

“What?” asked Tycho, cautiously. Nawara didn’t sound happy, and that wasn’t a good sign. At least, he didn’t think it was.

“Ettyk Halla will be calling Commander Antilles as one of her first witnesses. Among the things she will be asking him is why you were on Coruscant-”

“Nawara, I told you what I want done about that.”

“Yes, you did. I’m obligated to tell you it’s not in your best interest.”

“If I came to Coruscant on my own initiative, as I did to Borleias, it’s not going to make a real difference to my defense. Halla will claim I’d’ve come anyway, whether Wedge told me to or not.”

“It will make a difference. Primarily in establishing pattern of behavior.”

“Except, they’re charging that I was perfectly okay until I killed Corran.”

Nawara’s braintails slipped over his shoulders. Tycho wished he knew what that signified. He hadn’t spent enough time with the pilots to have any idea, especially since for nearly all the time he had spent with them, Nawara had been flight-suited, his braintails neatly tucked away. “I acknowledge the precedent, Captain, but why?”

“Because,” Tycho sat back and sighed. He’d had a lot of time to think about this while Rogue Squadron had been gone and the trial had been in recess. And after a visit from Arien Cracken, whose questions had centered precisely on why Tycho had come to Coruscant when he wasn’t supposed to know anything at all. The way Tycho saw it, he could admit Wedge had broken security, or he could say he had. No contest. He said so.

“Commander Antilles is going to testify that he told you the plan, and ordered you to Coruscant as his backup. He’s going to point out that he needed you, as it turned out. He’s going-”

“Well, tell him not to. There are no records of that.”

“Tell him not to." Nawara laughed. "How long did you serve with him, again?"

"There are no records of it," Tycho repeated, conceding the point without saying so.

"He’s already told General Cracken that he did.” Nawara’s red eyes slitted. “General Cracken isn’t likely to forget it.”

“Cracken doesn’t want to bring Wedge down. He thinks Wedge made a mistake, that’s all. It wasn’t on oath. And if Wedge doesn’t insist on it, Arien Cracken will be willing to forget he heard it. And Pash will certainly be willing to.” Tycho knew that was true, because Pash Cracken had presumed on his father’s position to get into see Tycho, and Pash had been as nearly distraught as that young man could be. He was a key witness for the prosecution, having overheard Corran’s threats. Tycho wasn’t entirely sure what distressed Pash more, betraying Tycho and Wedge, or appearing to be his father’s agent. Either way, he’d agreed that he hadn’t necessarily heard Wedge tell the general that Tycho had been ordered to Coruscant. He finished, “The general won’t go against his son.”

Nawara cocked his head in that Twi’lek fashion, his brain tails looping around his neck and his pointy teeth showing in not quite a smile. “It’s very difficult for me to defend you when you tie my hands, Captain,” he said. It wasn’t exactly a complaint, Tycho thought, just a plaint.

“I’m sorry. But this is the only thing I want to insist on.”

“You would do better not to worry about the commander instead of yourself.”

“Wedge I can do something about.”

Nawara shook his head. “No. He won’t change his story. I’ve talked to him about it, knowing your position. He believes the truth will set you free.”

“He would,” Tycho said with real frustration.


“He’s no good at this sort of thing. He never has been.”

“No,” Nawara agreed. “The commander is very straightforward, very ... essential. The truth has its place in a courtroom, of course, but it seldom triumphs unassisted.”

Tycho contemplated that in silence. It was no more than he’d already figured out for himself, but he didn’t like hearing his lawyer say it. So he changed the subject. “In a very real way, Nawara, it’s good for Wedge that I got arrested.”

“Do you mind if I ask you to explain that?” the Twi’lek’s red eyes widened a fraction.

“Not at all. It’s giving him something to think about besides sitting in that bunker listening to Corran die doing something that Wedge sent him to do because Wedge was out of missiles himself.”

“If Corran hadn’t taken out that power station,” said Nawara, “Coruscant would have been ankle-deep in blood before we took it.”

“You’re an optimist,” said Tycho. “I’d have said ‘knee-deep’.”

“Whatever,” Nawara shrugged. “It had to be done.”

“’Course it did,” acknowledged the Alderaanian. “That won’t stop Wedge from thinking he should have been the one doing it.”

“Do you think he would have survived?” The lawyer sounded truly curious.

“I don’t know. I doubt it,” said Tycho. “It wasn’t bad flying that took out Corran; we’re agreed on that, aren’t we? And whoever gave him up to the Imps had to have had all the Headhunters’ codes, so they’d have had Wedge’s, too. And I will tell you this without hesitation, Nawara: I’d much rather be on trial for Corran’s murder than Wedge’s.”

The Twi’lek looped one of his brain-tails around his throat. “I hope you didn’t have access to Commander Antilles’s missiles, then; I’d hate to have that thrown onto the table, too.”

Tycho laughed without humor. “Wedge would have noticed if he’d been short on missiles. He just didn’t save any coming in.”

“Good. That’s one less complication.”

“It’s gotten harder since they found that money, hasn’t it?”

Nawara shrugged his thin shoulders again. “Yes,” he said simply. “Unfortunately, they don’t have to decide on one attack. Ettyk Halla can tell the tribunal that either you were turned into an unwitting bioweapon, or you were a paid Imperial spy. Or even, both. They just have to believe any of it is true.”

“Both?” Tycho raised an eyebrow. “Even for Iceheart that would be overkill, wouldn’t it?”

“Not if she was paying you for minor treachery and had hardwired you for something major,” the Twi’lek said.

“Great,” said Tycho. “Coming and going.”

“It works that way a lot,” said Nawara. “Captain, I have to say again that it would be easier-”

“No,” said Tycho, annoyed. He thought he’d scotched that suggestion.

“Captain, you can tell me what to do, and I’m bound to respect your wishes, but Commander Antilles will take responsibility in court-”

“Wedge can’t take responsibility for what you can’t find proof of.”

“You mean, he can’t prove responsibility. But he’ll take it, and it won’t look good if he’s saying one thing and you’re saying another.”

“It’ll be better for him if he looks like he’s protecting a friend than abetting a traitor.”

“Captain,” Nawara was being patient. “With all due respect, you’re wrong. The friend and the traitor, they’re the same thing at this point in time. What will protect you both is if his orders to you to come clandestinely to Coruscant were issued long before there was any hint of this problem. Yes, he’ll probably get in some trouble for bypassing security, but he did have a great deal of latitude. And he is a name at the moment, which will certainly make it hard to blame him for going with his best instincts. After all-assuming your guilt for the moment-he had no more reason to suspect you then than he had had for the past year. His actions are consistent with his innocence, if not yours. But, still assuming your guilt, if he didn’t tell you to come to Coruscant, and is only saying so, it can only be in an attempt to cover up your treachery. Or-” he raised a hand, one brain-tail twitching, “-so Halla will argue. I could find myself defending him next. The other way, the most that will happen is a wrist-slapping and no promotion for a while, which-”

“-won’t bother Wedge, I know,” nodded Tycho. “And assuming my innocence?”

“Then your actions will be correct and heroic and nobody will dare bring the Conqueror of Coruscant up on some trifling charge for exceeding his authority in a minor and spectacularly successful way.”

“Wedge told me he found out your name means “Silver Tongue” in Twi’lek. It fits,” said Tycho resignedly.

Nawara smiled, his sharply pointed teeth gleaming in the harsh lighting of the holding area. “Then you’ll let me do as I see fit?”

“I don’t have much choice, do I?”

“Not really.” He began gathering up his datapads.

“Nawara-” Tycho had a sudden thought, a chance to satisfy an itch of curiosity he’d had for months. “Wedge sort of skittered all around what his name means in Twi’lek, after he let slip they’d changed the pronunciation a little. What does it mean?”

The Twi’lek smiled again. “It’s very fitting. Wedgan’tilles,” he dragged the last syllable out sibilantly, “Destroyer of Stars.”

“I like that,” Tycho nodded. “I’ll have to wait for the right moment to use it.”

Nawara shook his head, standing. “Just don’t tell him where you heard it, Captain. I’ll see you before court tomorrow.”

The End


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