by Commander Wedge
This insistent beeping of his comlink finally woke the pilot out of his sound sleep, bringing him to full wakefulness by the time he answered, "Yes, Sir, I will be there immediately," he stated crisply as he pulled on his uniform pants and tunic; the comlink was still warm as he dashed out the door and headed for his personal speeder.
The subsequent call did not wake its receivers, in fact it saved the caller from having to make another call - they were together, just returning to their respective quarters when it came through; hurriedly they reversed their direction and headed back to the speeded bay arriving seconds after the first pilot left the area in his own speeder. "I guess we should just follow him," the dark-haired pilot said to his friend as they tailed the first speeder.
The third, and final call, interrupted a planned romantic evening, one of the few the recipients were able to snag whenever they were on Coruscant at the same time: as she listened to her husband speak to the caller, she began to gather his uniform together; brushing a strand of hair behind her ear, "Itís bad, isnít it."
"I donít know yet but it is not sounding good," he replied, taking his clothes from her and pulling them on, "You heard I have to pick him up on my way there."
"Iím coming with you," she stated, the tone of her voice leaving him no room for argument - they hurried out the door of their apartment, stopping several doors down and pounded on the door.
A young man, groggy with sleep, answered their knock; upon hearing the news, he motioned them in and to have a seat while he quickly dressed unsuccessfully trying not to wake his sleeping companion. "Whatís wrong," came a soft feminine voice murmured from the doorway where she stood leaning against the frame, a nightshirt covering her slim figure, reaching to just below her hips. "Thereís been an accident, we think, actually we hope," the young man looked to his two visitors, "The theory being tossed around right now does not make any sense - get dressed, youíre coming with us - Force knows heís going to need as many of us that can be there for him now."
Thirty minutes later, the quartet of pilots arrived at the medical center; rushing in the doors of the Emergency Department, they were met by the three other pilots who had arrived shortly before them. "Do we know anything yet," the shortest of the newcomers asked the others.
"Nothing more than what, I presume, we were told when we were commed," the shorter of the two blonde haired men began; he was interrupted by the arrival of two superior officers - a human male wearing the rank insignia of a general in New Republic Intelligence and a Mon Calamari male in the uniform of an Admiral, his rank cylinders indicating that he was the Commander of the Fleet and, along with Cracken, one of the heads of the New Republic Military.
The pilots of Rogue Squadron saluted their superior officers who dismissed them. "At ease and as you were," Ackbarís gravelly voice cut through the tension in the waiting room, "The medical staff has set aside a private room for us where we can speak without being overheard or interrupted," he continued as he began to lead them through the doors he and Cracken had just entered through. "Miss Terrik, excuse me, Mistress Horn, I am glad to see that you came with your husband, maybe you can shed some light on this matter for us," the Admiral addressed Mirax, falling in next to her and Corran as they walked; the pilots were oddly quiet.
Upon reaching the conference room, General Airen Cracken ushered the group in, "If everyone would please quickly take a seat, I can elaborate as to why only certain members of the Rogues have been notified and why you cannot inform the others of what I am going to disclose to you. As you know from the communiquť you received from Admiral Ackbar, Commander Antilles was found earlier this evening, beaten, bloody and unconscious, in one of the alleys of Coruscantís lowest levels," he paused as he let his words sink in before continuing, "At first the police believed that he had been the victim of robbery but after getting the routine lab reports back on his blood and stomach contents, they now believe that he attempted suicide - vast quantities of several different types of narcotics and other drugs, some we now know Commander Antilles is sensitive to, have been identified; however, they are still unable to determine how he ended up in his present condition."
The Rogues tried to talk over each other, rapidly firing questions at both Ackbar and Cracken; when Tycho quickly realized that drowning each other out was not going to get their queries answered, he stood and took control, "Admiral, General, that just does not sound like Wedge - he would never even consider suicide much less attempt it," the Rogueís Executive Officer stated one to the things foremost in everyoneís thoughts, "This has to be some sort of conspiracy - for what purpose I donít know - yet - butÖ" his voice trailed off as words failed him.
"And that, Captain Celchu, is precisely why only you five have been notified, and why I was pleased to see that Mistress Horn arrived with her husband," the Mon Calamari Admiral began, "You, Lieutenants Janson and Klivian and Mirax know Wedge probably better than anyone else; you know his moods, his thought patterns, what may be troubling him; Lieutenant Horn, your time spent with CorSec allows you to approach this analytically - you are able to distance yourself from your person beliefs and feelings."
Gavin shifted uneasily in his chair, "Begging the Admiralís pardon, but why am I here, Sir?"
"Excellent question, Mr. Darklighter and one I hope I can give you a satisfactory answer to - you are here Gavin, because Commander Antilles has noted in you personnel file that through your uncle Huff you were acquainted, in a rather round about fashion, with the Tatooine underworld thereby giving you some insight as to how who ever did this to Commander Antilles might work and think, and therefore the General and I want you to work closely with Horn on this as we agree with Captain Celchuís evaluation - someone or ones is attempting to eliminate Commander Antilles in such a way as to bring shame and humiliation upon his name, reputation and Rogue Squadron."
To be Continued...
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