Authors: Aaron Allston
Tags: #Star Wars, #X Wing, #6.5-13 ABY
|Starfighters of Adumar|
|X Wing |
|Random House Publishing Group (2011)|
|Tags:||Star Wars, X Wing, 6.5-13 ABY|
Star Warsttt X Wingttt 6.5-13 ABYttt
Book 9 in the exciting series!
The X-wing fighter pilots have earned their reputation as the Rebel Alliance's ultimate strike force by overwhelming enemies with their rapid-fire assaults. But now they are about to embark on a diplomatic mission that will prove to be even more hazardous than all-out combat....
The neutral world of Adumar has decided to pick a side in the war to control the galaxy. Delegates from both the New Republic and the Empire have been invited to Adumar, and each camp will be given a chance to plead its government's case. But there is one small catch: since the Adumari prize military skill above all else, they insist that both delegations be composed exclusively of fighter pilots. For pilot Wedge Antilles and his company, it's an unfamiliar exercise in diplomacy--and one that's filled with unexpected peril. For once they arrive, the X-wing pilots are challenged by Adumar's fierce warriors and attacked by Imperial assassins bent on eliminating...
At three klicks, Wedge said, “Break by pairs—”
And the enemy fired. Wedge saw eight flares, two from each oncoming fighter, as the enemy launched missiles.
Wedge whipped to starboard and then instantly began to bring himself back in line with his enemies again. The maneuver yanked him out of his approach vector … but missiles accelerated so fast, and the enemy was firing so close, that his sideslip stood an even chance of forcing an overshoot by the missiles. He saw twin burn trails flash back along his port side and knew he was right.
A split second later, his targeting brackets crossed over one of the oncoming aircraft and flickered from yellow to green. Wedge squeezed his yoke trigger and saw his lasers, red pulses, leap out toward the oncoming aircraft—
He had a glimpse of the enemy, black fighter-craft, and then he was past them. Sensors registered an explosion behind him and three targets beyond that, headed away but beginning tight turns back in his direction.
STAR WARS: STARFIGHTERS OF ADUMAR
A Bantam Spectra Book/August 1999
SPECTRA and the portrayal of a boxed “s” are trademarks of Bantam Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
© 1999 by Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM
All rights reserved. Used under authorization.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
For information address: Bantam Books.
Bantam Books are published by Bantam Books, a division of Random House, Inc. Its trademark, consisting of the words “Bantam Books” and the portrayal of a rooster, is Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries. Marca Registrada.
Thanks go to:
My Eagle-Eyes (Kali Hale, Beth Loubet, Bob Quinlan, Roxanne Quinlan, Luray Richmond, and Sean Summers), who protect me from the worst of my mistakes;
fiction authors who have added depth and detail to the galaxy far far away, most especially Michael A. Stackpole and Timothy Zahn;
Drew Campbell, Troy Denning, Shane Johnson, Paul Murphy, Stephen J. Sansweet, Peter Schweighofer, Jen Seiden, Bill Slavicsek, Bill Smith, Curtis Smith, Eric S. Trautmann, and Dan Wallace, for the resources they have contributed;
Pat LoBrutto and Evelyn Cainto of Bantam Spectra, for all their help;
Sue Rostoni and Lucy Autrey Wilson of Lucas Licensing, for the invaluable coordination they provide; and
Denis Loubet, Mark and Luray Richmond, my roommates, for keeping my head on straight even when it insists on unscrewing itself.
General Wedge Antilles (Red One) (human male from Corellia)
Colonel Tycho Celchu (Red Two) (human male from Alderaan)
Major Wes Janson (Red Three) (human male from Taanab)
Major Derek “Hobbie” Klivian (Red Four) (human male from Ralltiir)
New Republic Armed Forces, Intelligence, and Diplomatic Corps
Iella Wessiri (human female from Corellia)
Tomer Darpen (human male from Commenor)
General Airen Cracken (human male from Contruum)
Captain Geng Salaban (human male from Bestine)
New Republic Civilians
Hallis Saper (human female from Bonadan)
She was beautiful and fragile and he could not count the number of times he had told her he loved her. But he had come here knowing he had to hurt her very badly.
Her name was Qwi Xux. She was not human; her blue skin, a shade lighter than her eyes, and her glistening brown hair, downy in its softness, were those of the humanoids of the planet Omwat. She was dressed for the occasion in a white evening gown whose flowing lines complemented her willowy form.
They sat at a table in a balcony café three kilometers above the surface of the planet Coruscant, the world that was a city without end. Just beyond the balcony rail was a vista made up of skyscrapers extending to the horizon, an orange sky threatening rain, and the sun setting beyond one of the more distant thunderheads. Breezes drifting across the two of them smelled of rain to come. At this early-evening hour, he and Qwi were the only diners on the balcony, and he was grateful for the privacy.
Qwi looked up from her entree of factory-bred
Coruscant game fowl, her soft smile fading from her lips. “Wedge, there is something I must say.”
Wedge Antilles, general of the New Republic, perhaps still the most famous pilot of the old Rebel Alliance, breathed a sigh of silent thanks. Qwi’s conversational distraction would give him at least a few more moments before he had to arm his bad news and fire it off at her. “What is it?”
Her gaze fixed on him, she took a deep breath and held it until he was sure she would begin to turn even more blue. He recognized her expression: a reluctance to injure. He gestured, not impatiently, for her to go ahead.
“Wedge,” she said, her words all in a rush, “I think our time together is done.”
“I don’t know how to say it so that it doesn’t seem cruel.” She gave him a helpless shrug. “I think we must go our separate ways.”
He remained silent, trying to restructure what she’d said into something he understood.
It wasn’t that her words were confusing. But they were the words
was supposed to be saying. How they’d defected from his mind to hers was a complete mystery to him.
He tried to remember what he’d thought she would say when he spoke those words to her. All he could manage was “Why?” At least his tone was neutral, no accusation in it.
“Because I think we have no future together.” Her gaze scanned his face as if looking for new cuts or bruises. “Wedge, we are good together. You bring me happiness. I think I do the same for you. But whenever I try to turn my mind from where we are to where we will be someday, I see no home, no family, no celebration days special to us. Just two careers whose bearers keep intersecting out of need. I think of what we feel for one
another and every time it seems ‘affection’ is the proper word, not ‘love.’ ”
Wedge sat transfixed. Yes, those were his thoughts, much as he had been marshaling them all day long. “If not love, Qwi, what do you think this relationship meant to us?”
“For me, it was need. When I left the Maw facility where I designed weapons for the Empire, when I was made to understand what sort of work I had been doing, I was left with nothing. I looked for something to tractor me toward safety, toward comfort, and that tractor beam was you.” She dropped her gaze from his. “When Kyp Durron used his Force powers to destroy my memory, to ensure I could never engineer another Death Star or Sun-crusher, I
nothing, and was more in need of my tractor beam than ever.”
She met his gaze again. “For you, it was a simulator run.”
“Please, hear me out.” Distressed, she turned away from him to stare at the cloud-mottled sky and the distant sunset. “When we met, I think your heart told you that it was time for you to love. And you did, you loved me.” Her voice became a whisper. “I understand now that humans, in their adolescent years, fall in love long before they understand what it means. These loves do not usually endure. They are learning experiences. I think perhaps that you, shoved from your childhood home straight into a world of starfighters and lasers and death, missed having those learning loves. But the need for them stayed with you.
“Wedge, I was the wrong one for you. Whatever your intent, whatever your seriousness, I think that all you have felt for me has been a simulator run for some later time, for some other woman. One with whom you can share a future.” Her words became raspy. She turned
her attention back to Wedge, and he could see tears forming in her eyes. “I wish I could have been her.”
Wedge sagged back against his chair. At last her words had become her own again.
“And I am at fault,” she continued. “I have—oh, this is hard to say.”