Chapter one

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"Join the ranks of the proud!" the HoloNet screen said. "If you think yourself good enough, enter AT-ST training today! The Empire is recruiting to fight off any that might oppose its order."
Wedge smiled. Like us.
Their mission was to infiltrate a world vital to sending martial to ship yards such as Fondor, or Kuat. The world was called Syir five, and seemed to have no clear pronunciation. Some said it as "Sivv", other as "Svit," but the most common was what it was named: "Svir."
The worst part of the mission was hardly listening to Imperial Propaganda, but their mission was over. Wedge, Tycho Celchu, and Hobbie Kilvan had only been sent to scout Svir, and they had located that the world was only a spaceport, producing few minerals of its own.
Tycho Celchu, his call sign being Rogue Nine, looked up at the hologram. "I used to fall for that."
"I did, too, Celchu. So did Hobbie," Wedge said, referring to Hobbie Klivan, known in the cockpit as Rogue four. Wedge himself was known as Rogue Three.
"And so did Biggs." Hobbie left it hanging, and Wedge felt a moment of sadness hit him. Biggs had been a good friend before he had been shot down at the Death Star. All the more reason to take down the Empire.
"I'd thought you'd be concerned with our leaving, Hobbie," Tycho said.
"Oh, trust me, Celchu, I am. How can we escape--in the Pulsar Skate--with a TIE fighter transponder? I know Imperials are stupid, but I didn't think we were stupid."
Tycho laughed. "You're always so skeptical, Hobbie. Have a bit of faith, because if you can't believe that a plan made by General Cracken is going to work, you might as well doubt the Reb--the Max Rebo band--as a whole."
"I do sometimes. How is the Band gonna make its next hit? I don't want to be a downer, because I'm a big fan, but the band's rivals can just slowly rip it apart.
Wedge frowned. "The band can do the same, and that is what we're doing. We've all been through tough things, Hobbie. Tycho was talking to his family when the accident happened. You lost Biggs, and lost other things to the Empire. Me, well, I've lost s good amount of fellow friends. I can't even begin to name them all."
"Wedge is right," Tycho agreed. "All we can do is chip away at the Band's enemies."
"I hope you're right, Tycho. This mission has made me see too many of younger me's. This world is filled with Imperial advertisements. Anyway, if they are younger me's, at least they'll defect like we did, Wedge," Hobbie smiled.
Wedge smiled back, and so did Tycho.
Wedge knew that most of the squadron considered Hobbie the 'skeptic of Rogue Squadron' and it had only increased after Biggs' death. Often, Janson and Zev's jokes would tire Hobbie out. Antilles knew death was near at every mission, but Wedge tried to keep everything he did and said light, but he was able to face the death head on. Hobbie still hadn't learned that, and Wedge hoped to did to at least an extent, because it would wear him down.
Not too long ago, before they could fully complete their mission, Wedge had received a signal on an emergency line, calling them back to base. Wedge didn't know what it would be, but he hoped it wasn't any trouble.
"We need to go, Hobbie, something's wrong at the base."
"I hope Rin and Zev didn't get themselves into trouble," Tycho said.
Tycho, on the other hand, held a large burden, and Wedge knew he felt it at times, but unlike Hobbie, he was able to overcome it. In some ways, Tycho was sure of himself, but in an innocent way, and he tried to make new friends. Wedge suspected the reason was that he had lost too many, but instead of closing himself, he looked for new ones, a trait Wedge admired in him.
The bridge of the Plusar Skate lowered, and Wedge looked up to see Mirax Terrik. "Need a ride, Wedge?"

***

Wes Janson's X-wing reverted out of hyperspace, into the Alliance's Golan two stolen space station. Along side him came Tarrin Datch, and Tenk Lenso. "This is Wes Janson--or Rogue Six--standing by."
Wes heard Tarrin laugh. "Janson, you remind me of my great grand uncle my father used to tell me about..."
"You mean the twentieth family member you've told me about? I don't think I remember him."
Tenk Lenso, Rogue Eleven, broke in. "You two never had any respect for military procedure," Tenk chuckled.
"Sorry," Tarrin said.
"Tenk, you're a bit serious for my likings. Even Antilles jokes more than you!"
"Janson, I just made a joke..." Lenso said.
"It didn't sound like one."
"Your type of jokes are overrated, Wes. I need to spend more time around Zev."
Tenk Lenso, Janson thought, seemed to let dread and fatigue take him over too many times. How could one fly well if dread always filled his every thought? Well, not every, but still. Though, Wes sometimes
Lenso had mentioned Zev Senesca which also seemed to joke like Janson, but to Janson, Zev's jokes never made sense. They seemed more like puns than anything, and you would be hard pressed to actually understand it. And out of all of them, Zev was the most light-hearted, which to a degree Janson could respect, but they were rivals.
Tarrin Datch was more... idealistic, as Wes would put it. The boy didn't seem to know the difference between an X-wing and a Star Destroyer--though he had seen some action--and he wouldn't hesitate a second to attack a Star Destroyer if it gave people, people who he probably didn't even know, a chance to escape. He had come from a big, friendly family, and so he trusted easily, more easily than Commander Skywalker had before X-7.
"Rogue group, this is General Rieekan. Land inside the hangar; we've got a slight problem."

***

"We two, you and me, Rwn we're always the one that dare the most," Zev said.
Rwn Ylrk, the female, nodded. "We make the impossible possible... in our free time."
That one got a laugh out of Zev. While the rest of the squadron was away--a squadron which Zev snd Rin still had to pass the final tests for--Zev and Rwn had headed to Irwin. A rocky planet, with small Imperial control, not-so-happy-ciztens, and Imperial convoys.
The best part about it was that the guards' pets were Womp Rats. And, from what Zev had seen, they didn't treat their pets very well. Rwn Ylrk was an explosives expert, and that combined with a Womp Rat rebellion, they might just be able to take out the Imperial Troop Transport—ITT— roaming the street.
Time to show the Empire that these streets are the Rebellion's, Zev thought.
Zev had never considered himself a joker; just a lighthearted Rebel recruit. But, Rin, he found, was a bit over confident in herself. Zev still hadn't mentioned anything to her, because it hadn't seemed necessary and it still didn't. But Zev hoped something didn't go wrong because of it.
They both knew that their stay on Irwin had been too long, by now the entire squadron was at the base, but Zev hoped Wedge and Luke knew he could take care of himself. He was Rogue two, after all, and one of the first members to apply to Rogue Squadron. For some reason that Zev couldn't imagine, his number was higher than Wedge's, but it was just a number and not a rank. Due to missions with Commander Lurl, he had been late to his trials. But if he did pass them, his call sign would be Rogue Two. Rwn was Rogue Seven, once he passed his trials.
But Senesca made his own tests and trials, and this one was called the Womp Rat tamer.
"I'll give you the signal on comlink, Rwn. May the Force be with you, and maybe a bit of luck too!"
Zev ran off to his position.
It was a good way ahead of the ITT Imperial Transport. The Imperial Convoy was made up of nothing more than that ITT. While many would think it was impossible for two people with one detpack could take on an ITT, they must've never met a Rogue.
In front of the Troop Transport was ten Womp Rats, and two Stormtroopers were standing guard next to them. In the front of the ITT, there was a small console--an add-on, Zev imagined-- that controlled the Womp Rat's leashes. From what he had seen, one of the Stormtroopers would majorly mistreat one of the Womp Rats very soon.
He looked over to a small stone near a side of the house on the left side of the convoy, and ran towards the backs of the homes to it.
He picked it up, and while both of the Stormtroopers were looking away, he threw it at one of the Troopers, and snuck back into where he was before. Like Zev hoped, the Trooper blamed it on the Womp Rat. He started kicking at the Womp Rat.
Zev pulled out his blaster pistol, and fired at the console.
The Womp Rat broke into a mad run at the Trooper which kicked him, then others followed, tackling the other trooper as well.
More Stormtroopers flitered out of the ITT to keep the Womps under control, but they realized it was futile and started to shoot the creatures.
For a second, Zev felt bad for them. And so, he took action, he pulled out his blaster--and fired and two of the Troopers.
One of the shots hit, and the other missed, but either way it gave the Womp Rats time to tackle them. Zev couldn't do anything more, because if he did he would give away his position.
Right on time, the front of the ITT was destroyed in a blast that stopped the whole convoy, and made a few troopers fly into the air. The remaining Womp Rats were either able to escape, or tackle the Troopers. To escape Zev himself, he simply walked into the crowd of screaming civilians and started screaming himself.

***

Wedge saw General Rieekan point at one of the systems in the holographic map.
"This is Iwrin." The Hologram zoomed in. "It is a rocky planet, much like Vanqor, and has little Imperial control. While you two were away, Lieutenant Senesca and Lieutenant Rin Yurk have left for this system. They stated their leave just before leaving, so we weren't able to stop them."
Wes Janson lifted his hand. "Are we going to have to chase Zev?"
"I'm afraid so," he said.
"How do we know they're in trouble and need our help, sir?" Wedge asked.
"They said they would be back around the same time as the squadron. As you've seen, they aren't. We have to assume they've either been captured, or delayed, and I hope it's the latter."
Wes Janson seemed like he was about to say something, but didn't, and Wedge grinned at him. Janson never did well in non-flight missions.
"And what if they have been captured?" Hobbie asked.
General Rieekan took in a deep breath. "Then we save them. Report it to high command the second you find them."
Tenk Lesno looked at the General. "Sir, what if they're dead?"
Rieekan looked around the room, and Wedge did the same. All the pilots weren't happy at the thought of losing one of their own.
"If they're dead, Lieutenant Lenso, you will have to report it."
"How many Imperials will there be?" Tarrin Datch asked.
"Around fifty in the garrison, and fifteen fighters in the sky."
Tarrin nodded. The small boy-ish pilot was looking for some combat. He had always liked fighting, and ideals from his family had made him think himself almost invincible, which Wedge hoped wouldn't come back and hurt him.
Tycho had been quit during most of the briefing; but he raised his hand. "When do we leave?"

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