Now what? The question raced through Luke Skywalker's mind. Father's hurt badly, I can't go to the Alliance or the Empire- the Alliance would never accept him, and as for the Empire-hey, we just left that party. As if that wasn't enough trouble, this Lambda- shuttle is making, "I'm hurt" noises and the comlink's broken. Now what? What should I do? Where should I go? The thought abruptly occurred to him-Yavin. It wasn't far, the shuttle he had stolen from the Death star docking bay would probably get them there, it was out of the way, there wasn't anyone there to intrude, and it just might be a place to follow Yoda's final command: "pass on what you have learned." Luke yelled into the back of the ship, "Father hang on! I'm taking us to Yavin!" He set the navicomputer, got the coordinates, and pulled the levers, taking them into hyperspace and Yavin IV.
seven years later
"Now what?!" General Wedge Antilles yelled angrily at the door. "Can't I ever get any peace?!"
"Hey, Wedge!" Major Wes Janson stuck his head in the door. "I've got something for you! Come on!"
Wes grabbed Wedge's arm and yanked him up and out the door. Wes frog- marched him down the hallway of Silvlante New Republic Military Base on Coruscant to DownTime, the cantina. There Wedge discovered a party in progress. The smells of hot pizza and alcohol tickled his nostrils appealingly and he turned and looked at Wes.
"Wedge! So what do you think? Here, have a party hat." That was Major Derek "Hobbie" Klivian, coming up and thrusting a crazily patterned conical hat onto Wedge's head. "Come join the party!"
"What's the occasion? Did someone get promoted?"
"No, it's worse than that. We decided that we were going to celebrate your lifeday!"
"Stop talking! Come into party, now!"
Wedge obligingly walked into the cantina and sat down. A motley assortment of wrapped gifts was thrust at him. Wedge grabbed the one nearest to him and glanced at the tag. "To Wedge, from the Wraiths, with love," it read. Oh sithspit Wedge thought. What have they sent me? Wedge ripped off the paper to reveal a white box.
"See? We gave you a useful box to put things in!" Major Garik "Face" Loran, commander of Wraith Squadron said. "You can never have too many of those!"
Wedge opened the box to reveal a pile of lavender fabric. He gingerly picked it up and shook it out. "Lavender hot pants?! Why, in all the hells of the Sith, are you giving me LAVENDER HOT PANTS?!"
"You look good in them, sir!" Face said, laughing. "Put them on!"
"No! I am not wearing lavender hot pants in public again!"
" You're no fun! Hey, open Wes's present for you!"
"Am I going to regret doing so?" Wedge asked.
"Great." Wedge opened the indicated package to discover a life-size stuffed Ewok. "Wes? You're giving me Lt. Kettch?"
"Yup. Now that you, in perfect synchronization with your body, have reached the mental age of twelve, I think, and the Rogues heartily concur, that you are old enough to have a pet."
"Wes, today I turn thirty-two. It is you, not me, that has the mental age of twelve."
"Twelve?!" Hobbie yelled angrily. "Are you going to demean all my years of work?! I've gotten him up to fifteen! He's hit mental puberty and keeps leering at holos of my sister!"
Wedge chuckled and looked around at the assembly. All the Rogues and Wraiths were there, plus some of the civilian "hangers-on" that they had assembled, such as Nawara Ven's wife, Rhysati, and Mirax Terrik Horn. Mirax Terrik Horn. Now there's a sore spot. Mirax's husband, Corran, had gone missing three years earlier, at Bilbringi. The battle had ended, the Imperial ships abruptly withdrawing, and just as suddenly, Corran, who had been muttering and acting strange for a few days, took his green-and-black X-wing into hyperspace. No trace of him had ever been found. Also missing, in unusual circumstances, was Wraith Squadron's Tyria Sarkin, who had gone missing a few days later. Like Corran, she'd acted odd for a few days, then abruptly vanished.
Hiding, these memories, Wedge smiled, opened the rest of the presents and partied the night away with his friends.
Wedge was awakened the next morning by the sound of his personal comlink shrieking for his attention. He sat up in bed and grabbed it from the table next to his bunk. He thumbed it on. "Antilles here."
"General Antilles, please report to Admiral Ackbar in thirty minutes."
Admiral Ackbar wanted to see him? Wedge wondered why as he climbed out of bed and into the shower.
Thirty minutes later, bathed, shaved, and dressed, Wedge walked into Admiral Ackbar's office and saluted. "Reporting as ordered, sir."
"At ease, General Antilles. I have some minor duty to end the monotony of your-and your people's- lives."
"The High Command has decided, on tactical reasons, to reestablish the base at Yavin IV. It is excellently suited as a staging point for assaults against the Empire. Rogue and Wraith Squadrons will accompany you for this mission, just in case there are any hostiles there."
Half a galaxy away on Yavin IV, Corran Horn was running. He liked doing so every morning, it helped to wake him up, get him in the proper mind state for his continuing Jedi training. And it gave him a time and place to think about Mirax. Mirax. His beautiful wife. Corran could only guess at how much pain he must be causing her. He longed to see her again, to hold her against him, to smell her skin, her hair, her perfume. He wished she were here, he wished he could see her in person, he wished… he wished. Sigh. Periodically, during these times, Corran would reach out in the Force for her, feeling her presence. It wasn't the same, and Corran knew it. Twice, when he'd done so and found her asleep, he'd entered her dreams, telling her he'd love her forever. Actually, he'd done more than tell her. Corran stretched, savoring the memory of just how wildly he'd rocked her world, albeit in a indirect, dreamlike sort of way. I will fuck you real again, my love. Corran reached out now, finding her, feeling her, savoring her. Then he moved on, finding the Rogues. When he found Wedge, he noticed that Wedge was in "commander mode" and was busily planning a mission. Always seeking to keep up with the Rogue's activities, Corran delved into Wedge's mind, seeking information. Emperor's black bones! Corran yelled mentally in shock. He belatedly realized that he had yelled into Wedge's mind, that Wedge would have had to have heard him.
Wedge jerked in his seat as the words leapt unbidden into his mind. Suddenly the image of Corran had formed in his mind. Corran had been shocked at something and had yelled, "Emperor's black bones!", the way he'd always yelled when he was in shock. But what he'd been shocked at Wedge couldn't fathom. He tried to think, but couldn't come up with any explanation for the…feeling, the vision, the whatever. Rattled, Wedge went back to his planning for the mission to reestablish the Yavin IV base.
Now what? Corran thought. Tell Master Skywalker? Yes. Tell Master Skywalker and pray he doesn't find out about his…explosion in Wedge's mind. With this mission firmly in mind, Corran set out for the Great Temple of Yavin IV, home of the Jedi Academy, home of the paltry few of the Jedi Knights and Padawans left alive.
Corran ran into the Great Temple, up the steps and down the hallway to Master Skywalker's office. He burst in and ran right into Master Skywalker's elderly father, Anakin.
"Sorry Anakin! Is Master Skywalker here?"
"Yes, I am here, and I would like to know the reason of the abruptness of your arrival," came Master Skywalker's calm voice from behind Anakin's huge bulk.
"Master! Someone's coming! Here!"
Corran felt Master Skywalker reach out in the Force, feeling the space around Yavin. "I don't feel anyone."
"They aren't here yet Master."
"How do you know they are coming?"
"I was feeling for my friends and Wedge was thinking about his upcoming mission to reestablish the Yavin moonbase."
Obediently, Corran guided Master Skywalker to Wedge's mind and was startled at the Jedi Master's familiarity to Wedge's mind, at how easily Master Skywalker delved in, found the information. "Call all the Jedi to the main audience chamber, now!"
Wedge led Rogue and Wraith Squadrons out of Coruscant's atmosphere and beyond. "All right, everyone check in."
"Rogue Two, four green and topped off," came Tycho Celchu's calm voice.
"Rogue Three, let's get out of here and find a party," Wes's voice enthused.
"Rogue Four, my X-wing seems to function…for now," Hobbie dourly intoned.
Wedge listed to the rest of the Rogues and Wraiths tell him, in various ways, that they were ready to go.
"Right, enter hyperspace on my mark! Three, two, one, mark!" Suiting action to words, Wedge entered hyperspace with the rest of his command, heading towards Yavin.
Luke Skywalker really didn't know what to do. There were only forty- five Jedi, and most of them were only halfway trained. He didn't want to leave Yavin, but he also didn't want to cause a Situation with the Republic. He had called the Jedi into the main audience chamber, told them what Horn had discovered, and then asked for suggestions on what to do. The Jedi had tossed ideas around the hall for several hours, none of which would actually work, when they ran out of time.
Continued in Part Two