Project Echo: Part 1
Rating: PG
Gillian F. Taylor

Wedge Antilles switched off his work terminal, leaned back in his chair and stretched his arms upwards until something in his spine clicked. He grunted in a satisfied manner and relaxed. He sat quietly for a few blissful moments, then the door to his office opened and his second in command, Tycho Celchu, entered. Wedge looked warily at the datapad Tycho was carrying.

"I'm going home," he stated, straightening up.

Tycho nodded; at the end of the day he looked as composed and as well-turned out as when he'd arrived. His aristocratic looks and self-possession could still somehow make Wedge feel just a little bit second-rate in comparison, even if he did have that extra pip on his uniform.

"This isn't urgent," Tycho said. "It's just the final requisition requests that you need to check and sign."

Wedge held out his hand for the datapad.

Tycho sat in the chair on the other side of Wedge's desk as Wedge scrolled casually through the list of items.

"2 flightsuit magcon generators," Wedge read aloud. "Ten size 5 hydrospanners! What are the mechanics doing with them? 50 litres of black paint."

"That's for putting the kill marks on your new X-wing," Tycho quipped.

"Those Death Stars do use up a lot of paint," Wedge replied. He continued reading from the list. "Two X-wing repulsor capacitors, 3 sets X-wing harness webbing."

He paused, and then read, "I dozen fu-fu valves."

Tycho frowned. "Fu-fu valves? I don't know what those are."

Wedge tapped the datapad. "Did Wes have a hand in compiling this?" When Tycho nodded, he sighed and leaned back in his chair. "There's no such thing as a fu-fu valve. It's an engineering in-joke; a piece of bafflegab used to convince the customer, or a senior officer, that they know nothing, because they've never heard of the fu-fu valve, and that you, the engineer, are a genius, because you do know what it is."

"Like that extruder valve nonsense Kell Tainer tried to pull on you once?"

Wedge nodded. "If I'd signed an order for fu-fu valves, Supplies would be chuckling about it for months." He sighed. "Wes has been a major for how long: eight years? And he still plays these pranks like he did when I first met him seventeen years ago and we were both flight officers."

Tycho's face lightened with a smile. "It's his way of welcoming you back to the squadron.

Wedge snorted, but a grin tugged at the corners of his mouth for a moment. Then, looking across the desk at Tycho, his expression sobered. "Tycho ..." He paused, biting briefly on his lower lip. "I"

"I don't mind stepping down to second-in-command," Tycho said robustly. "You asked me before you wangled your way back to Rogue Squadron, and you've already apologized several times for taking my command off me."

Wedge shrugged. "You've been Rogue Leader for seven years."

"Look, Wedge, I've missed working with you, and I'm delighted to have you back. And as you're a general, and I'm a colonel, of course you're going to be in command - you'd have to punch Ackbar in the face and get demoted a rank or two if you want to be in Rogue Squadron with me still as lead."

Wedge relaxed and chuckled at the idea. "Thanks, Tycho."

"I'm ready for a break," Tycho admitted. "After seven years, it'll be good to have someone else taking final responsibility for the squadron. And for you, it's just the one squadron to be responsible for, not the crew of a Super Star Destroyer, plus the crews of whatever other ships are in your force. A dozen lives, instead of thirty thousand on one ship alone. You're under less pressure; I'm under less pressure. I'd call that a win-win situation. And you know perfectly well that if I were desperate for command, I wouldn't have stayed as your second in Rogue Squadron before you went off to play with the big ships. We're a good team, Wedge, and working together is more important to me than who has the most pips on their shirt."

Wedge smiled. "I'm glad to be back. And speaking of getting back ..." He became brisk with energy as he rose and walked out from behind the large desk, heading for where his jacket hung.

"Syal's what, fourteen months old?" Tycho commented, also standing. "Hasn't the novelty worn off yet?"

Wedge grinned as he shrugged the worn, old civilian jacket on over his general's uniform. "Nope. She seems to be learning or saying something new every day." He paused to glance out of the wide window, giving a fine view of Coruscant.

"Are you walking home again?" Tycho asked.

"It's useful exercise," Wedge said. "I don't have as much time for the gym as I'd like and after being in an office, it's good to get a breath of fresh - well, Coruscant - air."

Tycho nodded amiably as they headed for the door together.

"I'll see you in the morning then."

"Sure." Wedge card-locked the office door and waved cheerfully as they headed in separate directions. "See you."



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