Squadron Legacy, Chapter 8
Chapter Eight: Reflection
Tyren wandered slowly down the busy street. Sleek speeders rushed overhead, and bulkier traffic formed long lines high above the towering buildings. All kinds of life forms made their way down the busy avenue. Twi’leks, chiss, humans, rodians. All so very busy, all with important things to do.
But Tyren was in no hurry. He stared in long amazement at the huge buildings, craning his neck to see their tops. And standing on his tiptoes, Tyren could just make out a lone, shining spire in the distance. A quick thrill ran through Tyren, and goose bumps began to form on his skin.
Tyren shook slightly with glee, clutching his tunic. He couldn’t wait to see the rest of the building, it was his favorite. Tyren had seen the building several times in passing, but today was the day he was going to get to go inside.
“Daddy, hurry up!” Tyren called to his father, who was purchasing a snack for the two.
A grin came over the face of Tyren’s father as he spoke to his son, “Okay buddy, I’ll be right there!”
Tyren’s father paid the vendor, and then walked over to his son. The man knelt down on one knee next to Tyren, and handed him a piping turnover.
“Are you ready to go see the Academy?”
Tyren bobbed his head up and down vigorously, his cheeks bulging with food.
“Yes Daddy!” He answered enthusiastically.
“Okay then, son. Let’s go.” Tyren’s father answered.
Tyren felt two strong hands grasp his waist and he was lifted upward swiftly. Tyren’s legs dangled freely as his father brought him above his head. Sitting on top of his father’s shoulders, Tyren felt that he could see the whole world. A vast expanse lay before him, stretching far and wide. Glistening metal buildings shone in the distance, rising like ancient guardians over Coruscant.
Tyren could now see the building that excited him so. And he could just make out a small spaceship on a pedestal at the entrance; it was red and white, and looked really, really fast.
A bright grin came over the child’s face, and he stretched his arms out wide, flying.
Tyren awoke with a start. Quickly trying to sit up, he slammed his helmeted head against a root. A sharp cry arose from his mouth as he slowly realized where he was. Looking down, or up, rather, Tyren could see that he was still strapped into his Aurek, or at least what was left of it. Extending an arm to brace himself, Tyren unclipped the straps that held him in the decimated fighter. Wiggling his legs out, Tyren crumpled to the ground.
Squirming his way through the dirt, under the crashed Aurek, Tyren slowly crawled out. Standing up, the pain hit Tyren. His back ached horribly, sending a throbbing sensation up his spine. Tyren’s legs were also extremely sore. Being scrunched in the small cockpit upside-down for hours had taken a toll on his body.
“Have to…get…away…” Tyren rasped, panicking slightly, breath rapid.
With a spasm of pain, Tyren immediately fell back to the ground, and gasped. He lay on his hands and knees, coughing inconsistently. Saliva sputtered out onto the sand below. Then Tyren collapsed, and rolled over onto his back, his face a grimace.
With trembling fingers, Tyren unstrapped his helmet, and let it fall on the sand.
The blazing sun overhead scorched Tyren, sending a burning sensation across his face. Tyren’s lips were parched and dry, he was extremely thirsty.
“I’ve got to…get some water…” Tyren’s voice faded, and his hand went to his forehead. “There’s a lake right behind me… I’m better than this.”
Tyren dug his elbows into the sand, and slowly sat up, glancing around. Aside from his wrecked fighter, an extremely placid scene lay before him. A golden sand ring wound around the deep blue lake, surrounded by blossoming deciduous trees. Cumulus clouds towered in the distance, rising like citadels above the horizon.
Slowly standing up, Tyren walked clumsily over to the water’s edge, and lowered his cupped hands.
Tyren’s hands rose back up to his lips, water cascading over his fingers. He drank deeply of the water, quenching his thirst. After a drink that came too quickly, he sputtered into a fit of coughing once more.
After recovering, Tyren bent towards the water to drink straight from the lake. He stopped short, seeing his reflection. The dirty and soiled, wild-haired, human reflection surprised Tyren. Looking himself over, Tyren saw that he was in pretty bad shape. He rose once more, and cast off his survival vest. Next, Tyren ripped off his scorched, bloody flight suit, and threw it over his shoulder. Then, he sank to the ground, and quickly removed his boots and fireproof socks.
Standing back up, he waded into the water and fell down. The water was shockingly cold , and chilled Tyren to the bone. Tyren quickly waddled back out of the water, sopping wet, and put his boots and socks back on, shivering.
Tyren knew that he did not have long. His ship had already been there for several hours, and it was only a matter of time before some Mandalorian scout discovered it.
Gathering up his survival vest, Tyren removed his WKL-55 blaster pistol from its holster. Tyren checked the pistol over, and determined that it was most certainly functional. Strapping his vest back on, Tyren holstered the pistol, making a point to leave the holster open.
Tyren pulled out his emergency locator, and stared at it thoughtfully. He could activate it now, and the Republic would be able to pinpoint exactly where he was at. But so would the Mandalorians. If he activated it now, Tyren was almost sure that the Mandalorians would get to him first. So Tyren placed it back in his vest, patting the pocket.
Tyren now had several options. He could try to get the damaged Aurek into the lake, where it would be difficult to spot, immediately put some distance between himself and the crash site, or at least make it look like he died in the crash.
Tyren decided to try and horribly burn the Aurek. Tyren knew that this would undoubtedly mean that the fighter would be found more quickly. But, he reasoned that the fighter was going to be found relatively quickly no matter what. And Tyren decided that he would be willing to trade some time for the chance that the Mandalorians would assume his death. Plus, the fuel that the Aurek burned produced no smoke, a quality which increased the stealth of the fighter and also gave Tyren an advantage.
Dashing up to the fighter, he bent down, searching for the fuel panel. Tyren opened the badly scratched panel, hoping that not quite all of his fuel had jettisoned in his approach over the lake. There it was, still 27 kilograms of fuel. Hardly enough to propel a ship anywhere, but certainly enough to start a decent sized fire. Looking around for something to hold the fuel in, Tyren saw his helmet. It was the one he’d had since flight school, and had personally decorated.
With a sigh, he grabbed the helmet, and began to rip the inside liners out of it. Helmet in hand, Tyren steadied it under a fuel sump. With a small but sturdy twig, Tyren shoved the fuel sump open. Thick blue, syrupy fuel began to spew out of the opening, slowly filling up Tyren’s flight helmet. Once full, Tyren removed the twig, and quickly went around to the cockpit. Squeezing under, Tyren sloshed the fuel up in and around the inverted cockpit. Canopy glass littered the ground. Tyren was surprised that he hadn’t cut himself exiting the spacecraft.
This routine was performed rapidly several times, until all of the remaining fuel was depleted. Then, Tyren gathered up his flight suit and helmet, and shoved them up into the cockpit, trying to give as much evidence as he could that he had died in the crash. Closing the external panels on the ship, Tyren realized that he’d also have to get rid of his tracks in the sand.
Tyren then swept up all of the tracks that he had left around the area, ending knee deep in the lake.
Finally, Tyren pulled out a flare. With slight hesitation, he unwrapped it from the foil covering and ignited it. Tyren looked at the flare in his hand, and back at the Aurek. With a look of sheer disappointment on his face, he tossed the flare toward the wreckage.
Bright orange flames shot up around the Aurek, scorching the once red and white fighter. Tyren made sure that the whole thing was on fire, and then turned away. He couldn’t bear to look at his burning ship.
As Tyren pulled out his aqua rebreather, he could feel the heat from the fire on his back. Tyren waded further into the lake, the cold water sending a tingling sensation through his whole body.
Tyren disappeared beneath the surface of the smooth lake, glowing with the reflection of the burning Aurek.
Finally back up to read it
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