Well Lars, you have definitely made it to the big time! Lars thought to himself as he strode into the hangar bay aboard the Imperial Star Destroyer Warrior.
The whine of fighter engines filled his ears and the smell of lubricants, ion exhaust and paint filled his nostrils, it was bustling with activity and dozens of fighters lined the decks of to his left, several of the larger Lambda Class Shuttles and the occasional Sentinel Class Landing Craft sat off to his right. Mechanics and pilots walked and milled around checking on their craft, painting and repairing. It was indeed nice to be here, and he felt right at home with surprising ease.
Pride of the Emperor's Hammer, winner of competition after competition, this was indeed a good place to be.
He snapped to attention with Imperial precision in front of a man wearing the uniform of a TIE fighter pilot, and the rank bars of a colonel. This was his new squadron commander, one Mark Schueler. To his right was General Jarek La'an, his new flight leader.
Yeah, alright, I guess a General as a flight leader was a little strange, but it really does depend on how well the guy flies.
"Sub Lieutenant Solstar," began the Colonel, "welcome to Theta Squadron, the pride of the Emperor's Hammer TIE Corps."
"Happy to be hear sit, it's an honour."
"Yes it is son, you'll be flying in the shadow of some pretty big characters so you'd best be ready to live up to their reputation."
"I understand sir."
"Be sure that you do. This gentlemen here General La'an will be your flight leader and he will be responsible for ensuring that you are properly brought up to speed with what the Hammer demands and expects of its new pilots."
The General carried a stern expression as Schueler continued.
"You'll find things a little different here, compared to your time in training on the Daedalus. For starters you'll be relieved of your old TIE Interceptor and instead assigned to a much more capable and demanding fighter, the TIE Advanced." He said pointing off to a steely black and grey fighter sitting on the hangar deck.
"Thank you Colonel, Solstar you'll be assigned to my flight as Theta 7, however given our limited numbers at the moment this means you'll be serving as my wingman. I would like to make sure my faith in your abilities is well earned so I will be taking you through a series of drills beginning at 0700 hours tomorrow morning. In the mean time I would suggest that you go get acquainted with your new fighter."
The General favoured him with a lopsided grin, "you'll find the Advanced has controls similar to what your used to, but has abilities far beyond your wildest dreams. Treat her with respect and she'll bring you home in one piece!"
"Sir, yessir! I'll be seeing you here at 0700 ready to fly."
Schueler waved his had to cut off any further remarks and began to speak.
"Excellent, General we'd best head to our briefing with Rear Admiral Mitchell."
After watching the two men depart the bay Lars walked over to where Thetas ships sat. Four missile boats sat next to a quartet of landing craft that made up the mainstay of Thetas assault role. Next to them sat 4 shiny TIE Advanced fighters, one of which was his. He could spot the Generals one easily, rows of X-Wing, Y-Wing and A-Wing silhouettes were painted onto the metal rim which encased the solar panels, each blood red mark was yet something else for Lars to aim for as he tried to reach the rank of ace.
He reached up and touched the cold metal that made up his fighter.
Well here we are, you look after me and I'll make sure we come home in one piece.
Sure, thinking out loud to a fighter was probably the height of pilot narcissism but so be it, most pilots probably had such a streak.
A tech wheeled over a set of steps which he used to climb up to the access port at the top of the ship. Usually they'd be in a set of launch racks or tunnels removing the need for these, but as it was downtime the squadron was on the hangar deck itself undergoing routine maintenance and checks.
Lars dropped down into his seat and dogged the hatch closed. In front of him lay a number of buttons, he punched a couple of them and was rewarded with a whine as the engines ignited and began to power up.
Once the fighter had reached 100% power he cut in the repulsor lift engines and lifted the fighter off the deck, gliding slowly forward towards the open expanse of the hangar deck floor ahead of him. Once out over the empty space he cut in his main engines and roared out into space.
Yes, it was good to be here.