This is a work of fan fiction. No monetary profit has been gained from its production and no copyright infringement is intended. The Star Wars characters and events used in this fan fiction are the property of George Lucas. Mike Stackpole and Aaron Allston invented or shaped most of the characters with whom I'm playing, so my special thanks go to them for writing such great novels and comics. If you would like to republish the fanfic, please ask me. Any comments are very welcome at cailyn@xwpilots.de.


‘Run! C’mon, run!’ The voice in his head was urgent, but he just couldn’t convince his body to comply. Crouched in a dark corner, his limbs trembling with fatigue and pain, he waited for the guards to find him. To bring him back to his cell. To punish him, possibly even kill him. Maybe the killing thing wasn’t
so bad, definitely an improvement over his current situation. *Stop thinking such nonsense! As long as you’re alive, there is hope. There is always hope.* Hope was all that kept him going. And he had the strange feeling that someone, a person, had reawakened this hope in him, some time ago, back in Lusankya. He didn’t remember anything about it when he was awake, but sometimes at night some tidbits reappeared from the depth of his unconsciousness, an old man smiling at him, telling him that everything would turn out alright. Not that it looked like it right now. He heard footsteps coming closer, and suddenly a bright light blinded him.

“There he is!” He tried to get up, to face his pursuers standing on his feet, at least that, but he was too weak. Hard hands gripped him and roughly dragged him all the way back to his prison block and the block supervisor.

The man took his chin and forced his head up, making him wince with the pain. “You again. Why do I have to teach discipline to you Rebel scum time and again? What did you do in area 37D?”

“I got lost.” He cried out when an acute pain in his groin hid him, unable to coil up or to reach the aching part of his body with his hands which were still hold tight by the guards.

The supervisor shook his head in mocking disappointment. “Lies, always lies. Someone should have taught you scum to answer truthfully to your superiors, someone else than me. I have more urgent business to do.” But the smirk on his face indicated clearly how much he loved to 'discipline' his prisoners. “Get him to the interrogation cell. We need to talk more thoroughly.”


With a start Tycho woke up and sat bold upright on his pallet. It took him a moment to realize he wasn’t on Akrit'tar any longer, that it had been a dream. Again. *It was only a dream, * he tried to calm himself. *Only a memory. I'm safe now.* But his body was still trembling with fear. The dream had been so real.

As had all his dreams in the previous weeks, ever since the New Republic Intelligence had started to use drugs on him to find out what had happened on Lusankya. That had forced him to relive every single day of his mission, his imprisonment and his escape, but nevertheless three months were still missing, he still had no memory of his time in Isard's private prison. He knew he had been there, and he vaguely remembered a few images and feelings which sometimes came back to him when he was sleeping, but that was all. He sighed. For almost two months now he had been questioned by the NRI, examined medically several times, and finally he had even taken the truth drugs, but nothing had been found.

A noise in the hallway before his cell -- his quarters, he corrected himself -- caused him to look up. His stomach tightened. There hadn't been any interrogations for four days now, and he wasn't looking forward to another session. Under the drug influence he had experienced again every painful day, and the images and feelings, the despair and agony had felt so real he had often forgotten that he was at an Alliance base now, finally safe.

When the door began to open he stood up, breathing slowly to calm himself. The young corporal who usually brought him breakfast entered the room, followed by another man in an officer's uniform. His heart jumped when he recognized him, and he had to restrain himself from running over and embracing the officer. Instead he just smiled.

The corporal said, "You have one hour," then he left the two men alone.

"Wedge." It came out as a whisper.

They stared at each other for a long moment, then Wedge broke the awkward tension, crossed the room with a few long strides, and embraced his friend and former second-in-command.


They stood like that for a few minutes, not talking, just feeling. Eventually Wedge put his hands on his friend’s shoulders and gently pushed him back. He was surprised and shocked to see tears glittering in Tycho's eyes. His friend looked lean and tired. "I'm sorry that I come so late, Tycho. Nobody told me you've made it back to the Alliance until three days ago. I flew here as fast as possible."

"It's okay, Wedge, it's not your fault and it doesn't matter anyway." The Alderaanian smiled broadly now. "I'm glad you're here. I missed you and the squadron. What did you do during the last months? Still on diplomatic missions?"

Wedge sighed. "Yes, unfortunately. I shook hands with more world leaders than I knew existed, and I've already forgotten the names of half the worlds I visited. But I met Admiral Ackbar on Sullust two weeks ago and he told me that the Council finally gave green light to rebuild Rogue Squadron. Next month we'll start to look for the best pilots."

Both men had moved over to the small table and sat down on the chairs. Tycho looked at his commander alarmed. "So they still want to establish a brand new squadron, with academy-trained pilots who are presentable in the public?"

The Corellian nodded resigned. "Yes. Ackbar made clear to me that there is no chance to get the old pilots back, not at the moment, they are either already reassigned to other units or will be used to train and establish new squadrons. As far as I know Wes and Hobbie are already on Sagev Sal to build up two new X-wing squadrons."

Tycho grinned. "Wes will be training and commanding a squadron? Does Starfighter Command know what they're doing?"

Wedge snickered. "I doubt it."

Both men chuckled quietly when they remembered some of the pranks the eternal child Wes Janson loved to play on his squadmates. But Tycho became serious again very quickly. "Do you know what will happen to me, Wedge? I'm here for almost two months now, doing nothing most of the time. I'm getting restless. There is nothing more I can do here, I've told the NRI everything I know. I want to get back into the cockpit as soon as possible. But it doesn't sound like I will be allowed to return to the Rogues, does it?"

"No." Wedge leaned back in his chair, trying to keep his face neutral. *How can I tell him?* While he had lain awake during last night he had formed and dismissed dozens of formulations, of encouragements and consolations. But the moment he had entered Tycho's cell and had seen the flicker of hope in his friend's eyes he knew there was nothing he could say to make it easier for him. He watched the slightly older man. He certainly was disappointed that he wouldn't return to Rogue Squadron, but nevertheless eager to learn what else he would do. The Corellian could almost sense his restlessness physically. Oh, Sithspit.

He sighed. "I talked with the NRI yesterday, Tycho. They are ... concerned ... about your time in Isard's private prison. You know, there have been several assassinations committed by people who later claimed to have been broken and brainwashed at Lusankya." He inhaled slowly. Then he braced himself and looked Tycho square into the eyes. "To be frank: you won't be allowed to return to any fighting unit, and they don't know yet whether you will be allowed to remain in the military at all. They think you might be a security hazard."

His friend's face had become rigid while he'd spoken. Tycho stared at him with unseeing eyes, trying to comprehend the meaning of Wedge's words. Finally he got up abruptly and walked over to the small window. Without looking at his commander he asked in a very tight voice, "What do they want me to do instead? Go home?" He laughed mirthlessly.

Wedge went to him and gently put his hands on his shoulders. "Actually, that's what they suggested." He didn't try to hide the anger which boiled up in him again when he remembered yesterday's talk with the NRI. "I tried to talk sense into them, but without much success. But that's not the end of it. I'm not a commander and war hero for nothing. We'll find a way, Tycho, I promise, and if I have to talk to every general, admiral and politician in the New Republic."

Tycho nodded thankfully and managed a weak smile. "I know you will, Wedge. And if you don't succeed on the diplomatic field, you for sure will in battle. At the latest when Isard is dead, I'll be free again." He leaned heavily against the wall. "I thought I escaped from her clutches, but obviously I was wrong." He slowly turned his head and looked Wedge into the eyes. "I'm no traitor, Wedge. I don't remember what she did to me on Lusankya, but I know for sure that I'm no brainwashed puppet of hers. But what can I do to prove it?"

Wedge sighed. "I don't know. But they can't dismiss you only because of a vague suspicion. If they do, they can just as well send half of us home."

"I guess you're right. I hope you are. It hurts to get dropped like that. After all that has happened..."

There was a long silence while both of them were lost in their thoughts.

"What can I do now, Wedge? Staring at gray walls all day long is starting to drive me crazy. I can't just sit around while you're fighting a war out there."

"Take a vacation." Wedge quickly prevented an angry reply with a move of his hand. "I know, Tycho. But right now that is all you can do. And all you should do, actually. You look tired. And you have lost a lot of weight. Take some time off. There are several beautiful planets which are now part of the New Republic. I've been to Cissalc recently; it is nice and quiet with a moderate climate. Use the time you're granted to recover from all you have been through in the last months, and to get in good physical shape again. In the meantime I will start to evaluate pilots for the new Rogue Squadron, and that will provide me with opportunities to talk about your future with Starfighter Command, and to find a way to allow you to return to active duty." He smiled, trying to look more optimistic than he felt. In yesterday's talk it had been made very clear to him that there was no way. *We are Rogues, we do the impossible.* But even the old cliché didn't improve his mood.

Tycho had turned around again and silently stared out of the window.

With a sigh the Corellian squeezed his friend's shoulder. "We'll find a way, Tycho, we will."

"Thanks, Wedge." Slowly the Alderaanian braced himself. "I guess you're right. There is nothing we can do about it right know, so let's not brood over it. I've been completely out of touch for three quarters of a year. Please tell me what has happened in that time."

Wedge searched his friend's features. Tycho now looked calm and even smiled slightly at him. But had he really overcome his shock so fast, arranged himself with his situation? Wedge doubted it, but he knew the Alderaanian well enough to realize that he had no chance to crack his defenses if Tycho didn't want him to. So he returned to the table and began to talk about the things that had happened in the previous months.


When Wedge had left, Tycho slowly returned to his place at the window where he had stood so often during the last weeks. Vacation. He didn't want a vacation. He wanted to return to his squadron. Or, if that was impossible, to any squadron. For six years now he was fighting a war, and he had never even thought about quitting. He hadn't even wanted leave. A few days of R&R, yes, and some spare time to spend with Winter, but that was all. He had a duty to fulfill, and a promise to the people of Alderaan.

He sighed. Alderaan. The Empire had taken his future away from him once, and obviously now they had done it a second time. And the New Republic? A traitor. They thought him a traitor. After all he had done, all he had been through. Years of war, a mission he had volunteered to, months of imprisonment and torture, and now they dropped him just like that, told him to go home. Home to a planet that had ceased to exist years ago. To a family that was dead. All his friends were members of the Alliance's military. And Winter? He hadn't talked with her for more than a year, and he didn't even know whether she still thought about him. He had planned to contact her as soon as possible, but he was a security hazard now, and she was so close to Princess Leia that he doubted they would allow him any contact. He was alone, and standing before the ruins of his future. Again.

The lump in his throat made it hard to breathe, and he felt tears rising to his eyes. This time he didn't fight them. There is always hope. Is there? When he had been imprisoned, his only goal had been to return to his people, to get home. He had never even considered the possibility that they didn't want him back. He still was a prisoner. And how to escape this prison he had no idea.

(c) Petra Genske, May 2009

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