“Just a little longer…a little longer…” he mumbled. Kazuda Xiono, was not that good at being patient, and right now flying back to a civilized planet, it was really hard not to think about finally touching down and getting some food that didn’t come out of a ration pack.
At least he didn’t have to worry about being shot down or tracked while he flew, Kaz mused.
Well…not that much anyway…
Less than two weeks ago, the war between the First Order and the Resistance, had been resolved temporarily. No one had won…it was more of a stalemate. A treaty had been signed, passed, and now, the galaxy was at a standstill. After over 7 years of fighting, bloodshed, and horrors unspeakable, everything had just….stopped. Resources were spent…and in a sense- so was Kaz.
Fighting as pilot for the Resistance, Kaz had flown every mission he could and done everything in his power to aid in the cause he was fighting for. To say he was tired, and glad for this armistice, was an understatement.
So much had happened in the past few years. He sighed as he remembered his life before the Resistance. There hadn’t been much to tell. A rich kid growing up on Coruscant, Kaz had lived a pretty sheltered life. He’d been privately schooled all his young days by the family’s Instructor droid, had the best clothes, and lived a very comfortable life. Maybe that’s why he’d been so desperate to get out as soon as he’d hit 18. He’d enlisted with the New Republic air force after his mother had died, and never looked back since.
His father hadn’t been too keen on the whole idea… but what could be done about that now that Kaz’s father was also dead? Along with all the other senators and civilians that had perished during the Hosnian Horror, that’s what they were calling it now, Kaz’s father was no more. His mind drifted as it often did, to what he might’ve said to his Dad…had he ever had the chance. Would he have apologized for leaving? Or, would they just have argued like they’d always done?
Whatever the case.. what was done could not be changed. Kaz had come to terms with it, but not easily. He’d done a lot of growing up over the years…but never let anything make him bitter. He’d seen that happen, and he vowed to never let his circumstances get the better of him. Some days it was hard, and he wasn’t afraid to admit it. In spite of all that had happened, it had been the friendships he’d made along the way that helped him carry on. From those he’d met in the New Republic, to his first mission on the Colossus, to the Resistance, he knew he wasn’t alone.
High pitched beeps pulled him out of his reverie quickly. Kaz laughed as his screen translated the beeps from his droid into a snippy comment on his inattention and how he’d be floating in space by now if it weren’t for her.
“That’s why I love you CB.” Kaz chuckled, as the hot pink droid continued to sass him in binary from her spot in the fighter behind him, just outside of the cockpit.
She reminded him that even though he wasn’t on a mission yet, he wasn’t on leave either.
She was right. Instead, he’d be grouping up with a new team. Smoke Squadron, they were called. He didn’t know too much about them, but had heard their Commander was a tough one. CB had relayed to him as much. She and Kaz had been under some pretty intense commanders before. Nothing I’m not used to… he thought as he pulled out of light speed. Almost instantly, a man’s voice from the comms rose to life.
“Incoming fighter, please identify yourself.”
“This is Kazuda Xiono aboard the Spirit.” Kaz replied, punching his codes in. “Transmitting codes now.” A moment passed, then the comms crackled again.
“Fighter 272 you are clear for landing. Please proceed to the coordinates we’ve transmitted. It’s good to have you back Captain Xiono.” Kaz smiled. Hearing that title would always bring the kid out of him, that little boy who had always wanted to be a pilot with the gap toothed grin, always asking his mother about the constellations and other planets she’d seen in her time as a pilot in the early days of the New Republic.
As the planet’s green surface approached, Kaz’s anticipation for solid ground grew. Not to say he didn’t love flying, but this cockpit had been his home for a few solid months now. The feeling of solid ground under his feet would never be unwelcome to him, no matter how much he loved flying. He landed the fighter, and sighed in relief. He didn’t have much time to relax before CB started snipping behind him about getting his “butt in gear and doing his job”.
Kaz ejected the sparky little droid behind him with a chuckle. “You know-“ Kaz said to CB, lifting the top of the cockpit before clambering out, “if you hadn’t already been named when I got you, I would’ve named you Snips for all your snippy comments.”
CB replied she had no idea what that was “supposed to mean” and whistled for him to follow her into the base. Kaz rolled his eyes good naturedly, and followed the tiny pink ball with a big attitude.
The base was different from anything Kaz had ever seen. Instead of being industrialized, everything was…organic. The base wasn’t a building, but rather, a seemingly ancient archeological structure. Kaz had heard stories of the base on Yavin 4, but nothing compared to seeing it in person. Walking into the base, he found the station hard at work. There might be an armistice, but that didn’t mean everyone could stop working. They had to be prepared for anything. That’s why Kaz was here.
He must’ve looked out of place, because out of nowhere, he heard his name called. A short Togrutan female was waiting by a door, summoning him to follow.
“Guess we’re going that way…come on CB-” Kaz said to her, but the droid was already halfway there. Kaz walked past the busy mechanics, tinkering away at fighters and cracking bad jokes while drinking something unidentifiable. Looks like it’s rations again.. he grumbled internally as he walked through the door the young Togruta held open for him.
“Welcome Captian Xiono,” She greeted. “The Commander is expecting you.” He walked through the halls beside her as CB rolled alongside. The yellow skinned Togruta looked no more than 20- as old as Kaz had been when he’d joined the Resistance 7 years ago. How long ago that seems… he thought, smiling to himself as he remembered his time on the Colossus. What early and formative days those had been for him.
He turned the corner, and wondered why on earth the Commander hadn’t met him out front. He wasn’t offended; just tired, hungry, and wanting to get formal meetings out of the way.
“The Commander is right through here- apologies for the long walk.” The Togruta said, as if reading Kaz’s mind. “She was unable to get away from her office due to an unexpected call.”
“It’s alright,” Kaz lied. “I needed to stretch my legs anyway…uhhh Agent..?” Kaz guessed. The Togruta smiled.
“Captain actually. Captain Kushat. I’ll be flying alongside you in Smoke Squadron.” She replied with a friendly smile.
“Oh- well in that case, it’s good to meet you Captain.” Kaz said easily, CB tittering a greeting chirp from below.
“Likewise.” Kushat smiled. “I’ve heard may good things about you. It’s good to finally put a face to the name.” They stopped as she motioned to the end of the hall. “The Commander is right through those doors. I’ll be seeing you sir!” She saluted. Kaz chuckled and extended a hand.
“No need for that. It’s Kaz- got it?” He smiled as she lowered her hand to shake his.
“Yes si- I mean- sure!” She shook his hand, and then seemed to skip off down the hall back to the busy platform. For some reason, she reminded Kaz of himself when he’d met Commander Dameron for the first time. He shook his head smiling, and pushed the door open.
He was met with a soft blue glare from a hologram that fizzed out before Kaz could make out who it was the figure with his, no…her, back turned to him was talking to. CB rolled in beside him, and the woman turned, before a familiar smile found it’s way to her face.
“Long time no see Kazuda.” She said. Kaz blinked, scrunched his nose, then shook his head.
“No way… Torra?” The woman smiled and nodded as Kaz let out a laugh, before rushing to her as they both embraced the other. Quickly he stepped back and looked at the laughing woman before him. “Commander? Commander Doza? Last time I saw you- you- you were-”
“I know,” she laughed. “It’s been a while huh?” She smiled, taking Kaz back to the days they both were on the Colossus, goofing off and getting into trouble together.
“I almost didn’t recognize you-” Kaz laughed, putting his hands on his hips. Last time he had seen her, Torra Doza had been a wide eyed 15 year old with a taste for danger and drama. Now- well…now Kaz wasn’t quite sure what he saw. She was older sure- but something else too.
“And you- you look the same!” She replied, her arms crossing.
“There’s something…” Kaz murmured- squinting at her playfully. “Something different… New flight suit?” He teased. She snorted.
“Obviously. You look like you need a new one yourself-” She eyed his flight-suit. “Doesn’t Resistance protocol call for orange flight suits- not brown ones?” Torra teased back as Kaz frowned at the mud still on his suit from his last mission. He was in the sky all the time. How did mud still manage to get on him?”
CB chirped from beside Kaz- and Torra’s smile grew.
“CB!” She bent down to the droid, her head bending forward, allowing the full extent of the elaborate braids in her pinned up hair to be seen fully. “How are you?”
“You changed your hair-” Kaz snapped his fingers. “That’s it.”
“I don’t think the buns worked anymore once I joined the fighting Kazuda.” She laughed, rising to her feet.
“I dont know-” Kaz shrugged “I always thought they were kinda cute.”
Torra stopped short, raising an unamused eyebrow.
“Cute?” She repeated, as if daring him to continue. Kaz coughed.
“I mean- for a little girl- which you know- you’re not” He replied. “A…a little girl…”
Torra raised her brow even further. “Right…” she replied. “And speaking of which- now is a great time to remind you it’s not proper protocol to call your Commander ‘cute’.” She laughed, dropping the annoyed facade, as she walked behind the table that had been behind her. Kaz stumbled on what he had been about to say.
“Wait- I said were-” He corrected. “Not are. Were. As in past tense”.
Torra picked up a data pad scrolling through absentmindedly.
“So I’m not cute?” She asked innocently, still looking at the data pad. Kaz made an unidentifiable noise, presumably, with his throat.
“I mean- no- I guess no you’re-”
“I’m…what?” Torra asked, still looking at the screen in her hands.
“Well - not a little girl I…guess…” Kaz mumbled. Is it hot in here? He thought to himself. She wasn’t a little girl anymore. That much was clear. She hadn’t gotten too much taller, but Kaz did notice her face had slimmed. Her cheekbones were much more prominent now, and her blue eyes bigger and bluer. Kaz hadn’t thought the latter possible. She had also filled out in..other places…Kaz jerked his eyes away. Lucky for him, Torra was still scrolling through her pad and hadn’t seen his face go completely beet red.
“I mean - you’re different. More….” Kaz fumbled- searching for words in his head. “More…adult and…Pretty…?” Kaz grinned, nervous all of a sudden for reasons he couldn’t explain. Torra looked up, her big blue eyes just staring at him before she bursted into laughter.
“Oh Kazuda-” she laughed, putting her data pad away before walking around the table and putting one hand on his shoulder standing to his side. “It’s good to have you back.” Kaz smiled, and felt his chest thump when she looked up at him. He noticed how short she still was compared to him, and felt his face go warm again before Torra patted his shoulder and walked to a holo table.
“Now- get over here so we can discuss why you’re really here.” Commander Torra said, pulling up what seemed to be map of territories run by the First Order. Kaz swallowed, his throat oddly dry, as he walked to the table and listened to her rundown on what had been happening the past few moon cycles to some territories in the inner rim.
Kaz realized when he walked out of the debriefing- he’d need his mission statement sent to him via holo pad. Unfortunately, he hadn’t been able to concentrate. Instead, his mind had wandered, and Kaz had found himself wondering what Torra looked like with her hair down. What right did she have for her eyes to be so big and blue? Also…why on Lothal’s moons was he still thinking about her?
CB rolled alongside her friend , whose mind seemed to be elsewhere, as he stumbled around looking for the barracks. CB had a feeling, this was going to be one interesting mission, and their Commander would definitely be a tough one.