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I dreamed that I was going to try to RP Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul, and I argued that this was possible because he was the viewpoint character in The Andalite Chronicles and in one main sequence book.  (The second part's not true.)  Then apparently I dreamed the book.  Something or other post-series, Elfangor knew what had happened and was apparently alive, and got sent back in time to posses his brother Ax.

He convinced the others of this and plans were made, where he was secretly a little intimidated by the thought that these were the Animorphs pre-strange powers.  Cassie apparently had the ability to "remember the world", for example, whatever that means.  And there was a scene in a gas station convenience store about holding off some thugs and Jake's parents learned what he was, but they "already knew".

It was a longer dream, but I can't remember now.

Also, I'm skimming parts of Legacy Of The Force.  I hate a good eighty percent of it, but.  Wedge Antilles and his daughter Syal.  I love them like burning.

For example, in "Betrayal", Wedge breaks out of an (admittedly low-security and cushy) jail using a videogame, a tumbler of water, and a rolling chair.  This is awesome.

Ladie really wants to see a fic featuring a combination of characters herein: Wes Janson, Wedge Antilles, Mirax Terrik, Corran Horn, Hobbie Klivian, Tycho Celchu, Luke Skywalker, and/or Gavin Darklighter.  Given that she listed so many characters as primary features, please pick whichever ones you feel most comfortable writing for, from the list.  If you can manage, she would also like to see appearances from Han Solo, Leia Organa, and/or Winter Celchu.  The only thing she does not want to see in her fic is slash.  Your three keywords are: "Maintenance," "Delinquent," and "Caveat"

Tycho Celchu picked his way across the crowded hangar floor, his expression professionally neutral.  Gavin Darklighter, going over the spot on his X-Wing's hull that mechanics had just repaired, wondered briefly if he should call out to him now and decided against it.  Tycho could seem strange and forbidding at first, but after only a few missions flying with him he was hard not to like.

Even so, if he was walking this quickly he probably had somewhere to be, and he had a way of projecting limitless patience in the face of wasted time that made Gavin feel like he was about five years old.  He could ask the Rogues' temporary leader later.

On the X-Wing alongside of his, a green-and-white R2 made a long wheedling sound, too complex for Gavin to translate immediately.  Corran Horn, clambering up to inspect the top of an S-foil, laughed.  "You said it, Whistler.  That must have been a very late night with the lady Winter!"

The astromech blatted in response, and this time Gavin caught the two tones that it used for Mirax's name.  Corran laughed again and shook his head.  "No, nothing like that happened.  I have no idea where you get these ideas."

Gavin listened to the exchange with half an ear, paying more attention to his X-Wing.  In all honesty, he found the rapport Corran had with Whistler to be strange.  His own astromech, Jawaswag, was quieter, swiveling its gold-and-white dome and venturing no more than the occasional whistle or coo.

Gavin well remembered how, when he was a rookie - which hadn't been at all long ago, but being a Rogue meant getting a lot of experience very fast - he'd felt sorry for his droid.  The R2 seemed so quiet and shy outside of combat, and he'd fed the technicians some excuse for why they shouldn't wipe him.  And a month at a time the droid had gotten more vocal and started to have definite opinions, which had been all very well until it started getting touchy about orders.

It wanted to argue with the orders he gave, and it started becoming more and more reluctant about letting Koyi or the other mechanics opening up the X-Wing.  The day had finally come when they'd needed a restraining bolt to get past.  Wedge had gently taken him aside after that, into his hardscrabble office with the makeshift furniture.

Wedge had leaned back in his chair, folding his hands together on his desk and not speaking for a long moment.  This had been back when Gavin had still been a little intimidated by him, and so he'd shifted uncomfortably in the re-purposed ejection seat, trying not to look at the odd stains in the cushioning.  No one seemed to know where these ejection seats were from - Emtrey had bought them in bulk from a trader who was probably halfway across the New Republic by now.  It did seem like they'd been used.

Before long, Wedge had marshaled his thoughts.  "There's something that happened, oh - five years ago now.  Before you joined up, before Endor, before the Battle over Coruscant, even - while the Rogues were over Gall.  Wes Janson's astromech took control of his fighter, locked the controls, and tried to shoot down Luke Skywalker."

Gavin had blinked, and somewhat hesitantly ventured, "I thought that was against their programming."

"Overriding the pilot, or trying to shoot down Luke?"  Wedge had waved his hand before Gavin could formulate a response.  "Never mind, I know what you meant.  And it is.  But letting a droid develop quirks and a distinct personality sometimes means letting it find ways around it.  In this case, there's sort of a loophole.  If you get shot up in combat and wounded, but your astromech is still there and enough engines are up to let you escape the engagement zone, it will correct for any, let's call them random movements."

"So you don't crash into your wingmate or the sides of the docking bay," Gavin had said, nodding.

Wedge had returned the nod before his eyes went distant again, clearly remembering the day.  "As I was saying, we had Wes' X-Wing going rogue and targeting Luke.  It wasn't a world-class pilot, but as you can imagine, we were shackled by, well, knowing that Wes was in there and couldn't even eject.  If it had been up to me, I'd have seen if Tycho could get a decap on the droid, but Luke wanted to find out about its malfunction, so he managed to take out the fighter's weaponry and some of the engines before towing them back to base."

He'd looked Gavin in the eye again.  "Now, as it turns out, the astromech had been subverted by a traitorous mechanic, but here's the thing.  It's next to impossible to program a good astromech to do something as complex as wait until a set point and then take over and try to kill someone.  They've got a lot of software around friend-or-foe recognition.  We'll never know exactly what was going on, since the mechanic shot it before we could take it apart, and I shot her when she pulled a blaster on Luke."

Gavin hadn't been able to keep himself from interrupting.  "The mechanic was a traitor?  Imperial, right?"

Wedge had shot Gavin a faintly amused look.  "That's what we thought at first, but Luke says she was tied to Black Sun.  At any rate, what I think happened is that the droid itself decided to betray us, probably with the mechanic's encouragement.  Wes hadn't wiped it since it was first assigned to him - he wasn't the terror he is now, but he's always loved being totally irreverent, and he'd been trying to encourage certain quirks.  Imagination, for one."

"Droids start to build personalities between wipes, to be sure, and they become more and more like people.  When this leads to ones like Corran's and Luke's R2 units, this is a good thing.  They take initiative and get things done without our having to tell them.  But you have to remember that droids don't develop in all the same ways.  Not all initiative is a good things, and not all people can be trusted as much as we have to trust astromechs.  You have to be very, very careful, Gavin," he'd said, leaning forwards slightly.

"Koyi couldn't find any evidence of tampering, and after looking at her report I agree that it was acting up on its own initiative, and didn't intend to harm anyone.  But I know that this isn't just a one-time thing.  If Jawaswag is turning into a delinquent, you'll want to consider wiping him, for the sake of our mechanics at the least.  Think of it as maintenance."

Back in the present, Corran snapped his attention back by falling off of his X-Wing with a shout and being caught by Whistler's heavy manipulator arm.  He swung for a moment, red-faced, until Gavin was there to take his weight and Whistler let go.

"Thanks," the Corellian pilot said when his boots were back on the deck, brushing his flight suit off and checking that it hadn't been torn.  "You'd think that wouldn't happen to the grandson of a Jedi more than once."  On the other side of Gavin's X-Wing, Inyri Forge was laughing like she'd never stop, and Corran shot her a rueful grin.

Gavin had gone back to his X-Wing, and made eye contact with his astromech's round lense.  "Jawaswag?"

The droid burbled at him, a sound he took to mean "Yes?"

"How does the fighter check out?  Is the number three engine back at a hundred percent?"

It whistled an affirmative - and then hesitated.  Gavin wasn't sure how he could tell that this was hesitation and not the droid simply finishing, but he felt like he could.  It had been two weeks since he'd told the technicians not to bother wiping its memory.

"Spit it out."

Jawaswag's holoprojecter lit up and there, hovering in the air between them, was a page pulled off of the Holonet detailing the weather forecast for Anchorhead, the settlement on Tatooine closest to his family homestead.  It was late afternoon there, and the wind was blowing.

"All right," Gavin said after a moment to swallow the lump threatening to rise in his throat.  He hadn't put in a call to his folks in too long.  The hologram vanished.  "Thank you.  But, uh - next time, do you think you could also have a report of what the weather's like on our base on Coruscant?"

Jawaswag whistled another affirmative, and Gavin turned away.  Initiative, huh?  He'd have to see who his droid would become.


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November 2014


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