"Oh, they're accidents just waiting to happen," I hollered from underneath one of the factory new snubfighters.
Commander Wedge Antilles had entered the hangar on Folor Base to inspect the new X-wings that had been assigned to Grey Squadron. His inquiry to Cubber Daine, the squad mechanic, as to the condition of the fighters was met with a derisive and concise "Terrible." Cubber's crew, including me, who were ripping apart and rebuilding the X-wings to fix lethal mechanical mistakes and redesign Incom's 'improvements', all shouted their approval of Cubber's diagnosis, along with other colourful negative assessments.
Wedge wanted the X-wings flight-ready the next day, and looked unhappy with the myriad of technical problems that plagued the fighters.
"And if a miracle occurs on the extruder valve tests, we could theoretically have all four ready. Maybe," Cubber informed Wedge. I giggled from my uncomfortable position, sprawled on my back between the two rear landing struts, staring up at the innards of the fighter's underbelly. There's no such thing as an extruder valve on the X-wing design. I grinned appreciatively at Cubber's command of 'discouraging mechanic talk'. It makes us mechanics look so much more proficient when we complete a job quickly and efficiently after such talk.
After about fifty minutes of extensive work on the X-wing, the mechanic who'd been rewiring the inside of the cockpit, a human from Coruscant called Dran Kedron, whispered to me. "Chavrin?" I stood up and climbed up the ladder so he could keep his voice low. "We're almost done here, but we can't take off while the Commander's still here."
I nodded. "I could give Antilles' X-wing a once-over whilst you finish up here. I think he'd like the extra attention lavished on his craft."
Dran grinned at my suggestion. He knew I understood the Corellian ego, as it was my home planet and I had a traditionally sizeable ego myself. "Good idea. I can stretch this job out until Commander Antilles finds something better to do than oversee us."
I clipped my hydrospanner back onto my belt and walked over to Wedge's battle-scarred X-wing, hearing Dran behind me loudly dramatising what disasters could occur when the inertial compensators were wired in the fashion of the new snubfighters.
I started Wedge's R5 unit, Gate, on the initial diagnostics on the X- wing, and almost immediately Wedge was beside me.
"Any problems?" he asked nonchalantly, but I detected a hint protectiveness in his voice.
How sweet, I thought, The boy who doesn't want anyone else to play with his toys unless they promise to be careful with them, but I could see why he wanted the fighter in perfect condition. X-wings were a valuable and necessary commodity to him, and he wasn't in possession of a full squadron of them yet. "None so far, Commander," I replied, "But I'm giving her a full check to make sure she's in pristine working order." Gate whistled cheerfully to indicate that he had not yet detected any anomalies.
Wedge cocked his head as he looked at me. "Are you new to Cubber's crew? I don't think I've seen you working on the fighters before."
I turned away from the X-wing to face him fully, and was more than a little dumbstruck with what I saw. Those deep, warm brown eyes, deliciously floofy dark hair, flightsuit fitting so perfectly over what I imagined was a trim but muscular form. Sithspit, he even wears New Republic orange well. I had previously only seen Wedge from a distance, and had not even spoken to him before, the Commander of the squadron whose X-wings I was newly qualified to work on. I wasn't sure of the protocols involved in such a situation.
Hoping he hadn't noticed my glazed pause as I took in the view, I held out my hand to shake his but hesitated when I saw how grease- stained my glove was. "Er."
Wedge smiled. What a smile! "It's OK, my gloves are dirty too," he said, and shook my hand.
"Chavrin Myslif, sir. I've just joined Cubber's crew. I think he likes to work with fellow Corellians."
"But not with factory new X-wings, yes?"
I laughed. "I don't know what blueprints they're building them from, sir, every new batch seems more inconveniently kitted out than the last."
He leaned conspiratorially close to me, and my ribcage got quite a battering as my heart beat double-time. "Since you're not a squadron member angling for a promotion, you can call me Wedge. But don't spread this news around, other people may want the privilege."
"I'll be discreet," I said with a wink, noticing the already- surfacing ego. Is he flirting with me? Or is that my Corellian genetics making me think he's interested? Did I just flirt back? Gate chirped victoriously, derailing my ego-and-libido-fueled train of thought. "Systems are functioning at 100%." I looked at the sparse laser-scores that decorated the X-wing's fuselage and s- foils. "Since the other fighters are getting repainted, do you want this one touched-up?"
"It's not really necessary," he replied, but regarded the blackening with disdain.
"And go into battle in an unpretty X-wing?"
"Oh, go on then," he said, then added, "If you're not too busy with the new batch."
A faint pop indicated that a ship was breaching the magcon field of the enormous hangar. It was a YT-1300 Transport, the Millennium Falcon.
Wedge touched my shoulder lightly, one of the least stained areas of my grey jumpsuit, and gestured towards Han Solo's ship. "I'd better go and greet General Solo. I'll see you around, Chavrin."
"I'll get the red paint out, Commander."
He shot me 'a look', and I rephrased my comment.
"I'll get the red paint out, Wedge," I said with a sheepish smile. He gave me an amused parting nod, and walked over to the Millennium Falcon as its repulsorlift engines were killed and the boarding ramp descended. I couldn't help but watch his rear as he walked.
Gate beeped disapprovingly at me, and I retorted, "I'm only looking."
But we'll see where looking leads, Commander Antilles..... I
left the whistling astromech behind and went off to find the red
paint, with a very silly grin on my face.
Continued in Part Two