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 8: Zero-Gee

Tycho touched the wall gently and slowly turned 360 degrees. He loved zero-gee, everything was so effortless. It was like his childhood dreams of flying. And as long as they were in the hold, they weren’t going to freeze to death. Most of the pilots looked nervous to one degree or another, probably because they were in somebody else’s hands. These squadrons were used to flying themselves; none of them had spent their career ferried from place to place because their interceptors weren’t hyper-capable. It was a different perspective, more relaxing, not to worry about the driver. He grinned at the thought and contemplated the commandos, most of whom looked like they were napping. That might be a little too relaxed.

Wedge, of course, wasn’t relaxed. He didn’t look nervous, either, but his right hand was clenched into a fist, and he was staring out the small hatchwindow with that falling-into-the-stars look he got. Tycho shook his head: that’s what the Corellian did when life boxed him in. He’d never forget Verbama, Wedge sitting on that hilltop, looking up into the night sky and mourning Leia; oh, Han and Chewbacca and Luke and seven Rogues and six from Gray, and -- knowing Wedge -- everybody else who’d died on Hoth, but mostly Leia. Wedge could find stars to fall into under six miles of atmosphere in broad daylight; now, with only a pane of transparasteel and a magcon field between him and them, it was too easy. Tycho watched Wedge for a moment, and then turned again until he caught Page’s eye. He tapped his wrist and spread his hands. The commando shrugged exaggeratedly, and then flashed his fingers twice, hesitated, and, prefacing it with a wiggle, spread them once more. Tycho waved at him and considered.

With a gentle push, he drifted over to the squadron leader. He doublechecked that his transmitter was indeed off, and then made sure Wedge’s was too before he leaned in to touch his helmet to Wedge’s. There was the slight push of the magcon field, and then the click of contact, audible only to the two of them and, apparently, Wedge’s first hint that someone had arrived. His touched-with-green brown eyes slewed sideways, and he shook his head.

“Scared me out of a year’s growth,” he said. His voice sounded far away through the two helmets.

“You okay?”

“I’m fine,” Wedge said, not protesting the question.

“Hand hurting you?”

“Not really,” Wedge answered. He rubbed his left hand over his right. “Not really, just... you know.”

“Yeah,” said Tycho. “Page says we’ll be here for another ten, maybe fifteen minutes.”

“Well, time flies when you’re having fun.”

“We’ll be ‘having fun’ soon enough, you mad Corellian.” And Wedge would be just fine as soon as they started. Right now, that damned Bakuran drone was on his mind, or, rather, in his nerves. Tycho tried to think of something else to say.

“I hate zero-gee,” said Wedge abruptly.

Tycho knew that, but he didn’t say so. Instead, he resorted to Corellian tactics. “Didn’t you grow up in zero-gee?”

Wedge looked at him in disgust. “Treta had gravity,” he said. “Everything has gravity, everything that is anything. Nothing doesn’t have gravity.”

“What?” said Tycho, partly honestly confused. “Everything, but... oh. You mean, nothing. Like a positive nothingness. No Thingness.”

Wedge closed his eyes and laughed without making any noise. Tycho felt better. “Hey, Wedge,” he said, “want to hear something funny?”

“Sure,” Wedge said.

“Winter dumped me.”

“What?” At least he had the Corellian’s attention. Purely brown eyes were looking straight at him, in what appeared to be unfeigned astonishment.

“Insofar as we were ever an item, we aren’t anymore, and it was her idea--”

“I know what ‘dumped’ means,” said Wedge. “You find it funny? Is this another peculiar Alderaanian sex thing? Like the death-equals-sex poetry?”

Tycho laughed. The only thing he didn’t find amusing about it, though this wasn’t the time to go into that, was that he apparently wasn’t capable of caring enough after four years to get depressed by its ending.

“Or, you find it funny that she... what? Took so long? Picked just this quiet moment? What, exactly, is amusing you?”

“No, no. What’s funny is who she dumped me for.”

“Okaaay,” said Wedge. “I’ll bite. Who?”


“What? Oh, I am going to get you for this, Celchu. You are a dead man.”

“No, seriously,” Tycho protested.

“Admiral Ackbar?” That was completely incredulous. “Or some other Ackbar?”

“Yeah, but, listen: this goes no further than us. He hasn’t a clue. She’s, I don’t know, worshipping from afar up close, or something. She just said we didn’t have a future.” Which was true enough, he’d had to admit.

“Women.” It was an acknowledgment of a profound mystery.

Tycho nodded.

“You’re all right with it?” A trace of worry.

“Oh, sure,” said Tycho. “You know what it wasn’t...”

Wedge slapped him on the shoulder. “Some day,” he said.

“Oh, yeah,” Tycho said lightly. “Some day we’ll meet a gorgeous pair of twins. Rich twins. With their own fleets.”

“Alderaanians have a rich and varied fantasy life,” said Wedge, laughing.

“Yes, we do.”

“And a good thing, too.”

“Hey.” Tycho feigned mortal injury.

The End


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