A/N: Okay, here it is. Parts of this story are derived from the X-wing series. Therefore, I do not own any worlds, and almost all characters belong to George Lucas and Michael A. Stackpole. The only character I own is Aly Mir.
Events Happen in Threes
Chapter 1: Semblances of Maturity
"Just when we thought our troubles were over…" Captain Tycho Celchu groaned to himself as he stepped into the hangar on Folor Base. It had been a few days since the Rogue Squadron roster was finalized, and while neither Commander Antilles nor Tycho expected all the pilots to become fast friends, the amount of petty bickering and rivalry that was taking place within the squadron was already bordering on problematic.
Though Tycho wasn't always permitted to roam around the base, he was allowed out to assist Wedge with the Rogues' first training exercise. Before the pilots flew out though, the Alderaanian was determined to solve the now ensuing word war.
"Lieutenant Horn, Lieutenant Mir, Mr. Jace, what seems to be the problem here?" Tycho asked sternly, walking up to the three Rogues standing under one X-wing. Corran Horn and Bror Jace lost no time in saluting the more senior officer, while Aly Mir, who had been speaking earlier, followed suit a half-second later.
"We were just having a discussion, Captain Celchu," Corran replied, trying to keep a straight face. Of course, the Corellian recruit 'conveniently' forgot to mention that the discussion had included some betting, and quite a few acid cracks on the others' piloting abilities.
Tycho's eyes narrowed at the trio of pilots. He knew that an occasion for taking down Corran a few pegs was going to have to wait, while Bror's ego was beyond redemption. However, he knew that Aly, being the youngest of the trio, was easiest to deal with. "Lieutenant Mir, Mr. Jace, do you both have anything to add to that?" he asked, hoping he could get the point across.
"Nothing sir," Bror replied, for a moment glaring at his two nemeses.
Aly looked as if she was about to roll her eyes, but she adopted a stoic demeanor. "No sir, but I must apologize for whatever disturbance we were causing," she said slowly. "It will not happen again,"
"See to it that it doesn't. Get into your X-wings. We'll commence the exercise in a few minutes," Tycho ordered. He got into his own training craft and watched as some of the squadron members began powering up their engines.
"The men I could understand, but when is Lieutenant Mir ever going to grow up?" Tycho muttered. He'd known the young woman almost his entire time in the Alliance. She was around four years younger than he was. Over the years, through many misadventures and life-threatening situations, Tycho had learned how to conduct himself properly, while Aly had remained stubborn and quick-tempered.
"I ought to tell Wedge to give her a good talking-to later," he said as he powered up his own engine.
Some minutes later, eleven X-wing fighters and Tycho's ship flew out to the gunnery range near the Folor base. Commander Wedge Antilles joined them a few minutes later to give instructions and oversee the execution of the target practice.
After giving instructions to the pilots, and ensuring that Corran and his wingmate Ooryl Qyrgg would be the first to make a run into the trench, Wedge and Tycho flew over to wait for the datafeed from Corran's astromech droid Whistler to finish transmitting data that the rest of the squadron would use in making their runs.
"You know, we could have sent Lieutenant Mir into the trench just the same," Tycho said to Wedge after telling him about the fight in the hangar.
"I don't know, Tycho. She already knows quite a bit about working with a team. However, getting her to stop being antagonistic…I don't think even Luke managed that," Wedge said, a trace of amusement creeping into his voice.
Tycho looked down at the controls and smiled. "I'm sending the datafeed to the rest of the squadron. Enjoy the show," he said, shifting frequencies.
"That really wasn't right," Bror thought some time later as he and his wingmate Nawara Ven flew back to base. His mortification at Wedge's news for them about the entire squadron using Corran's data stemmed partly from the fact that he felt as if he'd been patronized to the point of having to rely on someone else's reconnaissance when he felt that he could have flown well even without it. The Thyferran had to admit though that part of his being unnerved also was because he would have hated to be in Corran's position.
"Don't gloat, whatever you do," Nawara warned Bror. "I don't think Corran will be particularly happy by the time we get in,"
"I won't," Bror said. "At least I'll try not to. There's no way he could have gotten anywhere near me," he thought as he neared the hangar entrance. He'd scored quite close to 5000 on the run, and Nawara had done almost as well. He had to stop himself from smiling too smugly as he got down from his X-wing to tell Corran his score.
"4800. I see," had been Corran's reply. "I think I know what happened out there,"
"We'll see you later, Corran," Nawara had butted in before hostilities could break out once again. The Twi'lek succeeded in dragging Bror out of the hangar and in the general direction of the DownTime tapcafe.
"I wasn't gloating, wasn't I, Nawara?" Bror said once they were out of earshot.
"Well, not in a manner of speaking," Nawara said calmly. Nawara's training as a lawyer allowed him to remain cool even around irascible individuals.
"What do you think of what Commander Antilles did? It's rather…unethical, and I don't think I'm the only one here who would be ashamed," Bror asked.
"As distasteful as it was, I think that this incident can be overlooked. There is no need to protest so unnecessarily about a reconnaissance exercise. There's a reason for Commander Antilles' actions, I'm sure," Nawara said. "As for the second part of your statement, I think the rest of the squadron is at DownTime. We can test that there,"
Bror smiled uneasily as he and Nawara entered DownTime. When they arrived, only Wedge and Corran were absent, while the rest of the Rogues were huddled around a table in a corner.
"Look who decided to join us," Erisi Dlarit said from her seat not far from the bar. "I guess you both know what happened to Corran?"
Nawara nodded, finding a seat near Rhysati Ynr and Aly. "I'm not really happy about it, despite the benefits of this exercise," he said.
"I say we protest Commander Antilles' actions," Riv Shiel, a Shistavanen, growled after swallowing his drink.
"Is it possible to register our complaints officially?" Lujayne Forge asked, putting down a coin for a drink.
"Well, we can make a letter of protest to General Salm, but is it really such a good idea?" Aly replied thoughtfully.
"I think so. Do you actually condone Commander Antilles' actions?" Bror said to the lieutenant.
Aly raised an eyebrow. "It's not that I am in full agreement of such treatment, but I understand his rationale," she said.
Erisi sipped her drink. "I'm not sure Corran does. I bet he'll challenge Commander Antilles to a death duel with X-wings,"
"So are we going to make that letter?" Gavin Darklighter asked awkwardly, sitting down near his wingmate Shiel.
"Certainly we are," Bror said. "What about the rest of you?"
Rhysati shrugged. "It's more trouble than it's worth,"
"Perhaps we should ask Corran's opinion first," Ooryl suggested.
"I'll do it," Erisi said, sliding off her seat and walking towards the door. Bror shook his head watched her leave before turning back to the group.
"Corran's not going to take things sitting down," Peshk Vri'syk, a Bothan, said as he flipped a credit.
"He'll probably end this whole affair with a shouting match," Lujayne said with a sigh. "I probably would,"
"Punches are a better idea," Shiel muttered.
"I think he'll be reasonable and talk things out," Nawara said.
"Or complain directly to Commander Antilles' superiors. If he doesn't do that, he's dumber than I thought," Bror added as he got a mug of lomin-ale.
"Clearly, you've had little experience with humility," Aly smirked.
"What do you bet on?" Rhysati asked.
"If what I know about CorSec still holds, I think Corran is going to grumble then find some way to prove Commander Antilles wrong. Ultimately, it will end in a dressing-down," Aly said, swishing the ice around in her drink. "In short, Corran will keep calm, and then act irrational,"
Lujayne rapped the heel of her mug on the table. "Corran is here," she announced. Aly looked up to see Erisi, leading Corran by the hand into the throng.
"Glad to see you're okay," Aly grinned at Corran.
Bror, having noticed his rival's arrival, smiled and extended his hand. "I want you to know I would not have flown with your data had I known. I'll be the first to sign the letter of protest to General Salm," he said.
"Letter of protest?" Corran asked.
"Some members of this squadron feel that a protest of Commander Antilles' treatment of you is in order," Nawara said.
"You don't think so?" Corran asked.
Aly's comm beeped and she slipped out to answer it. On her way out of DownTime, she walked right smack into Wedge.
"Ouch! Watch your step," Wedge muttered, stepping back.
"Sorry Commander," Aly said, saluting.
"You weren't answering your comm.," Wedge said. "I came down here to look for you, even if it didn't seem to be the best option,"
"Well, I'm present and reporting," Aly said, managing a smile. "I guess that Tycho told you about this morning?"
Wedge nodded sternly. "How long have you been in Starfighter Command?"
"Six years… and mostly in and out of Rogue Squadron," Aly answered. "I guess I really let you and Luke down this time?"
Wedge paused, trying to think of the right thing to say. "I thought that after all this time, and all your Jedi training, you would have had the sense to act in the manner that is expected of an officer,"
"Permission to speak frankly, sir?" Aly asked.
"Don't you always do that, Miss Mir?" Wedge said. "Go on,"
"I feel that this morning, I was excessively provoked by Lieutenant Horn and Mr. Jace," Aly said. "Tycho didn't see the entire argument, at least not the part when Mr. Jace called me an orange mynock!"
Wedge had to stop himself from chuckling. Aly was easily one of the smallest pilots in Rogue Squadron, and at the same time, one year younger than Corran, and two years younger than Bror. Whenever she was making repairs on her fighter and she was dangling off the wing, she did resemble some sort of hanging creature.
"As offensive as his comment may have been, you were not supposed to respond in kind," Wedge said. "I will not have you squabbling with anyone, especially within this squadron. You know as well as I do how important it is that we all get along, or at least remain on relatively civil terms. I really don't want to demote you or worse, see you get killed, so you must keep your head about you, even now,"
"Understood sir," Aly said. Wedge hadn't lost his edge; they'd had this sort of discussion at least once in the past, and it still left her with a sense of remorse.
"You're dismissed for the rest of the day. I'll see you all in the morning," Wedge said before going away from the tapcafe. Aly took a deep breath and stepped back inside. After buying herself another drink, she slid back into her seat.
"What happened to you?" Rhysati asked curiously. "Don't tell me you got a 'dressing-down' yourself,"
"No, I just had some sense knocked into me by an old friend," Aly said before taking a swig of her drink.
"Which is a euphemism for…" Bror said, trailing off as Nawara, Corran, and Rhysati shot him withering looks.
"Through with target practice yet? A moving target is difficult to hit," Aly said at last to him as she put down her mug with a clink.
"And what do you mean by that?" Bror asked, eyes narrowing at her.
"She means," Erisi interrupted, "that there is no way that you can possibly win an argument against her; she's several steps ahead,"
"Whatever happened outside, it's Aly's business," Lujayne said, holding up a hand. "It's good we're all here now, and that what is eventually going to matter after a mission or two,"
"Well said, Lujayne," Corran agreed, raising his mug.