Luke looked up in complete surprise as he recognized the voice. "BIGGS!" He turned around so quickly that he almost hit his head on the nearest S-Foil and enfolded Biggs into a bear hug. "How have you been, where did you go after you left, has it been fun in the Rebellion," he babbled. Seeing Biggs' face, he slowed down not a micron, but switched to telling what had transpired on Tatooine and the Death Star. "Well first there was this R2 unit-" Artoo took that moment to bleep importantly, "And he was carrying this message from this girl named Leia and she's a princess!" Luke blushed furiously, then blushed harder when he realized that he was blushing, "And she sent a message to Obi- Wan Kenobi, and he's a Jedi-- was a Jedi," Luke stopped blushing and smiling, "And we hired the Millennium Falcon to take us to Alderaan except Alderaan isn't there anymore, it's just this asteroid field because the Death Star blew it up, and now it's coming here, and I finally get to fly an X-wing! Isn't that cool??!!" He thought for a moment, "Oh yeah, um, we rescued the princess but Ben died fighting Darth Vader," his face had fallen a little, "So how have you been?" At that moment, threepio tottered up to him," Master Luke, there seems to be a shortage of Artoo units, so they want to put R2-D2 in your X- wing, would you like me to request that they put a different one in?"
"Whoa, Luke, slow down a little - we'll have plenty of time to catch up with each other after this mission but come with me right now - we'll get you something to eat and I want to introduce you to two of my three roommates who will be flying with us - my fourth roommate is in the infirmary and I can introduce you to him later. If you want, there is room in our quarters for one more and you can room with us," Biggs told his childhood friend as he led him from the hanger and towards the chow hall.
Luke obediently followed his old friend to the mess hall, doing his best not to gape, and managed to keep his mouth shut until they had found a table. He looked doubtfully around at many unfamiliar faces, and was suddenly nearly overwhelmed by a memory of Ben, looking at him from atop a dune with his back to the twin setting suns of his homeworld. Forcing himself back to the present, he gave Biggs a boyish grin, "Where are these roommates?"
Biggs briefly looked around the chow hall and then he spotted them - Wedge and Piggy were in line getting their food, "There's two of them now," he said pointing in their direction, "You sit right here and I'll go tell them where we are sitting and get us some food as well; if they get back here before I do, the smaller guy with the dark hair is Wedge Antilles and the bigger, heavyset guy is Jek Porkins but we call him Piggy - my other roommate, Wes Janson - who is also Wedge's best friend - is sick and in the infirmary, been there a few weeks now - it will be his place you will be taking - he's really quite sick and is going to be there for some time," Biggs spoke as he rose, "Be right back with some chow," as he headed for the chow line.
Biggs walked up to where Wedge and Piggy were in line and quietly spoke to them, pointing in Luke’s direction – both men nodded their heads and Biggs left to get in line: Wedge and Jek finished getting their meals then went to sit with the new comer Biggs had pointed out to them, taking seats on the opposite side of Luke. Wedge set his tray down and extended his hand, “You’re Luke Skywalker, Biggs has told us quite a bit about you; I’m Wedge Antilles and this,” he inclined his head towards his roommate who was already devouring his food, “Is Jek ‘Piggy’ Porkins – welcome to Red Squadron.”
Luke's eyes widened and he eagerly shook the other pilot's hand - he looked suspiciously at Biggs, "What did he tell you," he asked doubtfully.
Wedge gave Luke a very boyish grin looking up at him from under the shock of brown hair that seemed to be constantly in his eyes and making him appear much younger than his nineteen years, “Just about your adventures back on Tatooine and in Beggar’s Canyon,” Wedge said his voice suddenly becoming very quiet and shy – next to him, Piggy snorted and guffawed into his food; Wedge ignored him and began to slowly pick at his food – under his breath and so quiet he wasn’t sure if either of them heard him, “And also how you got your nickname.” Before Luke had time to respond to Wedge’s comment or even acknowledge if he heard the Corellian pilot’s hushed comment, the trio were joined by Biggs.
Setting down the tray, Biggs began to divide the food and drinks on it between him and Luke, “So buddy,” he addressed the Tatooine native, “What kind of horror stories have these two been filling your ears with?” He sat and began to cut into his grilled nerf burger – watching Luke and waiting impatiently for his answer - he had so much he wanted to share with Luke about his life since leaving the Empire with his friend Derek Klivian, the Rand Ecliptic and their entire crew for the Rebellion.
Luke eyed his friend for a moment, "Mostly I'm wondering what YOU told THEM," he said grinning. "But how did you get here anyway, I mean, everyone seems to know about the Princess, and how I got here, but I haven't heard from you in ages!"
As Biggs and Luke began swapping stories of what they had been doing since Biggs left Tatooine, Wedge quietly excused himself from the table, stood and left heading to the Med Center to spend some more time with his friend Wes – that is where he was when the alert came for all pilots to man their ships, the Death Star was heading towards Yavin IV. Giving his friend’s shoulder a quick reassuring squeeze, the young Corellian stood, “I’ll tell you all about the battle when I get back, Wes, wish you could be with us,” he said smiling, projecting as much confidence into his voice as he could – and felt – before running to his X-Wing.
Continued in Part Four