Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Opposite Sides
Part of the Rumination series, this one focuses on the relationship between Wedge Antilles and his best friend Tycho Celchu. Wedge answered the call of the Corellians while Tycho answered the call of the Galactic Alliance ... what could have driven two good friends who have been through thick and thin to be on the opposite side of the latest war to tear the galaxy apart? This takes place during the events of Sacrifice and could be considered a companion piece to Helping Hand. This is also subjected to become A.U. depending on the last three books of the Legacy of the Force series.
Wedge Antilles hesitated, his hand lingering on the button that would patch an untraceable call through.
The soft glow of the comm. panel filtered through the main living room of the two bedroom suite Booster had given to his family since their escape from Corellia to the Errant Venture. His surrogate father had insisted that he pay no expenses in the time they had stayed here, but Wedge still felt uncomfortable to be staying in such a luxury suite even though it was now his new home.
"Wedge?" Iella’s sleepy voice startled him from his musings and he turned slightly to see her hovering by the door to their bedroom, a night robe cinched around her waist, her hair a bit skewed from sleep.
"I'm sorry," he apologized quietly, not wanting to disturb their youngest daughter Myri who had a casino shift in a couple of hours.
"Wedge, you've been sitting at the console for the past week now…make the call," Iella walked over, wrapping her arms around him and leaning against his back.
"I ..." Wedge stared down at the ground, closing his eyes, "I ... don't know ..."
"He can't trace this call," Iella nudged him slightly so that she could sit down with him in the seat, snuggling close, "and even if he did, he knows better than to deal with Booster, Han, or Corran."
"I know," A brief but sad smile flitted across his face as he could imagine three very irate aforementioned Corellians staring down those who wanted to harm him.
"And ... you can find out about Syal too," Iella whispered in his ear before resting her chin on his shoulder, "I'm worried too."
He nodded silently ... He too was worried about their eldest daughter. Ever since they had found out that she had been aboard the Errant Venture for some shore leave with a boy, then suddenly recalled to battle, he hoped that she was all right. It had him worried, but Iella had reassured him back then that Syal was ever much his daughter, resourceful and intelligent. He had reminded his wife that Syal was also her daughter and they had shared a laugh at how Syal might have outwitted the intelligence community, the daughter of both a former Rogue Squadron pilot and an intelligence operative.
"Wedge, if you don't make the call, I will," Iella suddenly said, sensing his hesitation.
"You've been hesitating like I have," he shot back.
"But I don't look like someone kicked my baby dewback like you do," her warm and comforting presence suddenly disappeared as she stood up and squeezed his shoulder in reassurance, "make the call Wedge. It can't hurt."
Wedge reached up and placed his hand on top of hers before giving it a brief squeeze. "All right ..."
She slipped her hand out of his before walking quietly back to their room. Wedge heard the click of the door swishing close and once again, stared at the softly glowing comm. screen. He took a deep breath and steeled himself before punching in a series of numbers. It was the personal private line to the person he had been hesitating to talk to, but Wedge knew that he would be answer ... at least that's what hoped. With Colonel Solo out running campaigns everywhere, it was hard figure out who was leading what campaign.
"Celchu here," the gruff audio voice of his long time best friend came over.
"Hello Tycho," Wedge greeted solemnly.
There was a scrambling sound of something being popped together before Tycho's lined yet still handsomely aristocratic face popped onto the screen. "Wedge ..." he greeted neutrally.
He didn't know if Tycho was either greeting him truly neutral and angry that he had defected to the other side of this war or was he relieved that he had called and that they were still the best of friends. With a start, he realized that this was truly one of the first times he hadn't been able to read his friend ...
"How ... are you?" he asked hesitantly. While he knew that this was a secure channel, he didn't know if anyone else was listening into Tycho's end of the conversation. The best friend he thought he knew would probably have retreated to his own quarters or office in privacy, but right now, times were changing and he didn't know what to believe anymore.
"Good ... tired, but you should know that planning a war takes a lot out of the person," Tycho replied, and indeed the Alderaanian did look exhausted. His hair was nearly completely white, and only some light brown color remained near the top, giving him a sharp contrasting look. Taunt exhaustion lines pulled at his face and eyes and he looked more weathered than before, Wedge realized, but those piercing blue eyes still held the same fire he saw in them ever since he met him during the evacuation of Yavin IV.
"Yeah ..." he replied shrugging, "war does that to you."
Tycho was silent for a few seconds before speaking up again, "Holonet showed that there was an attempt on your life a few weeks ago."
"Yeah ... apparently even my own people don't like me anymore," Wedge didn't know where he was going with this line of inquiry but decided to play along, "I guess I told them too many jokes regarding honor and preservation."
"Then again you tend to do that," a hint of a smile appeared on the corners of Tycho's lips and Wedge found that he missed having his best friend around. They were of supposedly the opposite mindsets, but couldn't be more like brothers and best friends than ever. Tycho held him in check and he held Tycho in check during the many missions they had flown together and the battles they had fought together. Both had relied on each other's experience and knowledge to get through their toughest battles ... and through the worst of fights.
He wouldn't deny that even the closest of friends fought, but when he and Tycho usually fought, it wasn't an all-out bar brawl that Wes and Hobbie had a tendency to get into, it was more like a silent warfare. Snippy comments and cold anger directed at each other always punctuated by short terse words and perhaps the silent imagination of blasters being drawn. Wedge knew that if either he or Tycho was Force sensitive, they would have already either electrocuted or lightsabered the other to pieces long ago during their fights.
They were usually resolved by either their friends knocking sense into them, which he knew Corran had to literally do a couple of times, being the Jedi that he now was, or their wives, also best friends with each other, usually did for them.
But this recent spat ... he knew that this was a completely different fight for him and Tycho. They weren't on the same side anymore ...
"Its old age ... makes you antagonize everyone a lot more ..." he replied back, deciding to humor the Alderaanian.
"Then I would have to do the same to you ... I'm older than you, remember?"
"Only by nine months and they don't count."
Tycho gave him a brief smile that cut deep into Wedge before his eyes stared off to one side as if thinking before returning back to look at him. "Are ... you all right?"
It wasn't the way the question was posed to him, but rather, it was the emotional state he read in his best friend's eyes and also his posture. The ice broken, Wedge visibly sagged slightly, tears springing to the corner of his eyes, but he didn't let them fall as he knew for sure that Tycho wasn't spying on him nor was he in a position to compromise his own integrity. He was asking him as a concerned friend and it made Wedge feel a bit better.
He nodded, staring briefly down at the ground before lifting his head up once more. "Corran, Iella, Mirax, and Myri helped me," he replied quietly.
"That's good," Tycho also nodded, "there were reports that a hideously red-bearded man came barreling through with a lightsaber."
"I think Face gave Corran too many ideas," though Wedge didn't know if the Wraith Squadron operative had ever met Corran, the red-beard and wig ensemble that his good friend had worn to rescue him reminded him a bit too much of the ever prankster man.
"Luke's being asked about that," Tycho's tone suddenly turned grim and an icy feeling started to fill Wedge. If it was discovered that Corran had helped Wedge escape, then the Jedi would be held liable by Colonel Solo and the Galactic Alliance, especially since Corran was a prominent Jedi Master in the Order.
"I'll inform a few people I know to put the word out that it was a rogue wannabe Jedi or something," Wedge replied. He knew that some of Luke's Jedi had gone over to the dark side and there was the probability that there were a few crazies out there who liked lightsabers and perhaps had rudimentary Force powers. He had heard from Lando and Han about the adventures of Anja Gallandro, a girl who had no iota of Force powers, but wielded a lightsaber like she had them.
"I'll do the same on my end," Tycho agreed.
He knew that if anyone but Jacen Solo had been in charge of the Galactic Alliance, they would have been able not worry about that piece of information, but since it was Jacen Solo and he did have tremendous Force powers, they would have to be extra careful.
A few seconds of silence passed between them before Tycho scratched the back of his head, "Syal is fine ..."
The mentioning of his eldest daughter made Wedge frown slightly as he remembered seeing her in one of the holotapes of her in the casino with a boy nonetheless.
"... dating someone within the Starfighter Corps ..."
"Dating?!" Wedge hissed in a mixture of surprise and anger.
"Whoa, whoa ... calm down Wedge. I checked this guy out," Tycho held up his hands, "he's good ... and a very hot hand in Gray Squadron."
"Who is he? I'll make his life miserable," Wedge muttered. Even though his daughter was only in her mid-twenties, he still felt a fatherly sense of protectiveness towards his baby daughter. He knew that Myri and Syal looked up to Tycho and Winter as surrogate parents, since the two never had children of their own, but even so ... no one would be dating his baby daughter until he approved it. No one.
"Wedge ... you can't do anything short of shooting him down and I don't think you would want to," Tycho shook his head, "trust me."
"Um ..." in a rare moment, Wedge saw a sheepish look pass through his best friend's face, "because it's one of Gavin's kids?"
Wedge felt his jaw drop completely open in stunned surprise. He knew that Gavin Darklighter and his wife Sera Faleur had adopted children and also had their own, but it didn't really click together for him until now. And it was then that he realized how old he had gotten ...
"I feel old," he commented to no one in particular.
"Tell me about it," Tycho echoed.
They sat in silence for a minute before Wedge noticed that Tycho looked a bit apprehensive. "What?"
"I know you consider Winter and I your children's surrogate parents ... and while I don't exactly approve "
"Tycho," Wedge used his authoritative voice.
"She's also seeing another guy at the same time ..." Tycho mumbled mostly to himself, but Wedge picked it up with his sharp ears.
"What?!" not only was his baby girl dating one of Gavin's boys, but also dating someone else at the same time? What kind of morals were they instilling into the next generation these days? And what kind of parenting did he do to make his baby girl date two guys at the same time?!
"Who?" he demanded.
"Um ... don't tell Corran or Booster," Tycho hastily said, definitely looking at lot less like the General he was when he first answered the private call and more like his old self before this whole war started up, "but ... I did some checking and found out it was Valin."
"It's a secret rendezvous thing that they have going on," Tycho shrugged, "especially with Jacen and Luke on eggshells right now."
Wedge winced before waving his hand at the comm. system's general image, "All right, all right ... I get the exploded view. Just ... make sure Syal knows what she's headed into, all right? I don't want lightsabers, Forces powers, or even V-wings to come into this."
"I'll try Wedge ..." Tycho ran a hand through his hair, "Syal is fiercely independent."
Wedge sighed, rubbing his face impulsively before giving a quick shake of his head. "I know ... she gets that from us ..." he murmured before a more serious matter settled in his stomach. While it was good to hear that his daughter was relatively safe and that Tycho was watching her carefully, there was still that lingering feeling of uncertainty that he knew he had to get out into the open. Part of him feared it may be his last chance, especially with the way the war had escalated. There was the rumor that Mara Jade Skywalker had been mysteriously slain by a Sith, and though Luke wasn't aboard the Errant Venture at the moment, if the rumors were true ...
He shuddered slightly. He, Tycho and their families had all been present at the celebration, had seen the happiness in Luke as he married Mara, and had seen the joys on their faces as they were finally pronounced husband and wife ...
"Tycho ..." he asked quietly, noticing that his best friend drew himself up once more, his relaxed posture wiped away, "why ... are you even helping Jacen in this war?"
"... I could ask the same of you," Tycho replied in all seriousness, "helping Thrackan Sal-Solo? You and I know that he was bad business."
"The Galactic Alliance put a gun to my head and towards my family. You can't expect me to help them after that, not after all that I did for them, not after the Swarm War and Yuuzhan Vong War."
"Oh really," Tycho's eyes narrowed slightly, "well that's exactly what they did to me."
"Huh?" Wedge was confused for a brief moment before his eyes widened slightly as he realized what his best friend was talking about. "They wouldn't," he hissed quietly, appalled at how far the Galactic Alliance Guard would go to coerce someone into working for them.
Tycho's eyes darted from corner to corner, as if to check if anyone else was watching before giving the briefest of nods, confirming his suspicions.
"Say the word and I'll put a call to Corran and Luke to try to work out a plan to get you two out of there," he clenched a fist, his thoughts racing.
"Then who would keep an eye on Syal?" Tycho replied, giving him a pointed look.
"I thought you said Valin "
"He only sees her once in a while; I told you that ... plus, there's more ... I'm not the only one they did this to," Tycho shook his head, "think about it ... Gavin, Face, Hobbie, Wes, anyone who has worked with you before. The Alliance wants people who know how you operate within their midst and they threaten families just to make sure that we can counter your strategic skills."
"Sithspawn," Wedge swore, grimacing. He knew that Gavin would probably be the most vulnerable since he had a rather large family and part of that family was within the Galactic Alliance fleet. But for them to threaten his best friend and wife with swift execution if they did not cooperate and plan strategies against his own?
"But I'm retired-"
"Wedge, you're not thinking straight," Tycho shook his head again, "the way the Holonet spins the story right now, they think that the Corellians staged it and that you're still working for them."
"I hate the media," Wedge conceded.
"And besides, at the rate Luke and Jacen are butting heads, we could be even more vulnerable. Jacen knows the history that almost all the old Rogues have with Luke and he'll probably try to use that to his advantage," the Alderaanian pursed his lips for a moment before looking back up at him, "is there any chance you can talk to Fel?"
Wedge shook his head sadly, "Unfortunately no ... and according to Jag, he himself's been named an outcast from his family through the Chiss way."
"Remember Alema Rar?"
"Kind of hard to forget a psychotic Jedi like her," Tycho winced.
"Well, Jag's got the mission to locate and neutralize Alema Rar in any way shape or form. And that's only the bare minimum to get him back in his family and Chiss society's good graces."
Wedge scratched the back of his head, still desperate to find a way to help his best friend. He sighed before scrubbing his face again, "Tycho ... I'll put in the word to Luke and Corran ... and even Valin if I can find him. We need to get you guys out ... Face and the Wraiths I know are very good at what they do so they won't really need too much help getting out of the Alliance."
"Where do we go then?" Tycho asked, "Ossus seems fine for the moment, though I don't like the feeling I get every time I set down on that planet and I'm not keen on hiding within the Maw."
"We'll be a neutral party and Talon Karrde does have a few contacts," Wedge was careful not to reveal the fact that the Errant Venture would be the perfect place to hide in case there really was anyone listening into their conversation.
Suddenly there was a gentle knock to the suite he shared with his family and he looked behind him at the door. "Hold on Tych ... someone's at the door." He immediately dimmed the display to the comm. system before getting up, his bones cracking slightly from sitting too long and peered through the small eyehole that let him identify who it was. He saw that it was Mirax and she looked like she had been crying.
Opening the door, he stared at her in concern. "Mirax?"
"Oh Wedge ..." she suddenly held her hands up to her face and cried. He immediately wrapped his arms around her before pulling her gently to the room, guiding her awkwardly to one of the suite's couches.
"Is it Corran?" he asked, the icy feeling returning. Please let be anything else but Corran, he thought silently.
"No ... no ..." Mirax hiccupped to cover her sobs, "its ..." she glanced up at him before looking around, her red-rimmed eyes trying to search for someone. "I-Is ... Iella here?"
"Yes ... she's sleeping, do you want me to wake her?"
"Please," she hiccupped once more before swallowing, "she needs to know too. Also ... have you been in contact with Winter?"
Wedge wondered if he should mention that he was currently talking with Tycho and after a brief second of hesitation nodded, "I ... was just talking with him."
"Is he on the line?" she looked up at him with grief filled eyes as he was about the open the door to their bedroom.
"Yes ..." Wedge nodded before jutting his chin towards the slightly darkened comm. console, "I'm sure he'll be happy to see you ..." He didn't know if having Mirax appear to Tycho would be a good thing at all, since if anyone else saw her talking with Tycho and had seen him talking with his best friend, then perhaps they may put two and two together and figure out where he was located. But the way Mirax was crying, he knew it was very serious business, spies be damned.
He pushed a button to let the door to his and Iella's bedroom hiss open and was mildly surprised to see that his wife was leaning against the bed's headboard, reading something on her datapad.
"Iella?" he interrupted gently, bringing her head up to look at him.
"A good conversation with Tycho?" she gave him a faint smile and he nodded before his expression became somber and she immediately frowned, turning off her datapad, "Wedge, what's wrong?"
"Mirax is here ... she says there's something she needs to tell you ..."
"Oh no ... is it Corran?" Iella's breath hitched slightly.
"No," he adamantely shook his head, "but she's pretty distraught."
"I'm coming," she flipped the blankets from her legs and slipped into her nightrobe again before walking towards him. He took her hand into his and squeezed it for reassurance as they headed out of the bedroom to the comm. station where Wedge now saw that Winter was in the forefront, Tycho behind her, worry etching more lines into his face. He realized that Tycho must be at home if Winter was there ...
"Mirax?" Iella released his hand and sat down next to Mirax, gently rubbing her back as she wiped tears from her face before nodding towards the comm. images of Tycho and Winter, "Winter, Tycho ... good to see you."
"You too," Winter replied before looking at Mirax, "what's the matter?"
Wedge stood at the edge of the gathering, and saw that Tycho did the same, not wanting to interfere with the women's privacy.
"I ... just got word ..." Mirax started quietly, "from Corran ... Mara's dead ..."
Wedge didn't join in the exclamation and instead, gripped the edge of the sofa Mirax and Iella were sitting on, suddenly feeling very faint. Mara Jade Skywalker ... dead? So the rumors were true ... but ...
"Luke ..." he whispered as he could imagine the horrific pain that his dear friend was feeling at the death of his wife. He had heard that when Jedi were close or at least through familial bonds, they could feel the death of loved ones. It was how Leia had felt when her youngest son died during the Yuuzhan Vong War and she had described it once to him as akin to losing a part of her soul.
But for Mara ...
He knew that Iella, Mirax, and Winter were all close to Mara, forming a tight knit group of women that also included Tionne Solusar and Leia. It complimented Luke's group of close friends, of which Wedge and Tycho were part of and he knew that Corran was close to Mara Jade Skywalker; something along the vague lines of having helped him out of a few tight spots, including rescuing him from the dead Sith Lord Exar Kun all those years ago.
Part of him wanted proof that Mara was dead, but he knew that if Corran had reported it, then he had most definitely felt it through the Force. While he had long given up on having any delusions of having Force powers, he still respected the power that it gave to others and trusted it. After all, it had saved him more than once, and even most recently to evade the assassins on Corellia.
"We have to ..." Tycho angrily shook his head, "sithspawn ... what the hell is going on here?! A civil war and now good people like Mara are dying!"
It was one of the rare times Wedge had seen his best friend lose his cool, if only for a moment before his mask of impassivity returned, but his blue eyes were hard and filled with anger.
"Corran did tell me ... that there were rumors of dark Jedi and Sith who are influencing this war," Mirax spoke up quietly, finally able to control the tears that were falling down her face.
"If there was any Jedi who are influencing this, it's Jacen," Tycho said angrily.
"Tycho!" Winter looked back at her husband, horrified, "Jacen may be a Jedi, but he isn't a Sith!"
"He may not be a Sith, but look at what he's done! After what he has done to us, to the others?"
Winter was silent for a moment, distress evident on her face. Wedge knew the main reason was that she had been like a surrogate mother to the Solo children throughout roughly the first ten years of their lives and even then, was perhaps blinded by her love for them. "There is still good in him ..." she said quietly.
"Luke's going to need all the support he can get ..." Iella spoke up after a few minutes of silence. "This war will escalate ..."
Wedge nodded in agreement to his wife's words before locking gazes with Tycho, "We'll get you out before then ... all right?"
"Wedge?" Iella and Mirax looked at him while Winter stared at Tycho.
"I explained what happened," Tycho replied to his wife's enquiring look and she nodded, her brows furrowed, her expression unreadable.
"I'll explain it later ... and Mirax, if you could tell Corran that I need to talk to him?"
"I will," Mirax nodded.
"Mirax ... please pass on our condolences to Luke," Winter said.
"I will," she replied before Iella stood up along with Mirax, both women still hugging each other tightly for comfort.
"I'll leave you two to your conversation," Iella whispered, sensing that he wanted to continue his talk with Tycho and Winter also did the same, whispering something in her husband's ear before her image drifted out of the comm's range.
"What now ..." Tycho mused mostly to himself.
"Honestly ..." Wedge shrugged, "I don't know ... There's so many blurred lines drawn in this war. You don't know who's on what side and who's fighting who now ..."
"Question is ... how did we let this happen?"
"No," Wedge immediately shook his head, "it's not our fault. It's the fault of those like Fey'lya who wanted power in the first place. It was never our fault ... the only fault we ever had was that we weren't vigilant enough to pick up on the fact that there are power-hungry people out there who are just as evil as the Empire once was."
Silence once again filled the area before Wedge rubbed his eyes with flat palm of his hands, "I'm getting to old for this..."
"We need another Rebel Alliance to figure out who's on what side," Tycho cracked and Wedge let a brief smile fill his face at the attempted joke. He glanced at the chrono and blinked in surprise. They had talked for so long ...
"Don't you have a briefing or someone to report to?" he asked.
"Shooing me away already? You're a nice friend," his best friend said lightly before a sad smile appeared on his lips. "But yes ... I do have a briefing in about half an hour ..."
Suddenly, Wedge didn't want their conversation to end, and he swallowed past the lump in his throat as he realized he didn't know when would be the next time they could talk so frankly like this. He didn't know if Jacen Solo would end up putting Tycho in command of one of the Galactic Alliance's warships, sent out to the front lines ...
"We will get you out," he said gruffly, trying to hide the emotion that threatened to spill out of him.
"I know," Tycho's sad smile grew a bit wider, "but before that ... take care of yourself Wedge, all right?"
"You too," Wedge nodded, "May the Force be with you."
"May the Force be with you," Tycho replied before the connection shut off, plunging the room into darkness once more.
Wedge stared at the afterimage of Tycho's smiling face for a long time before he finally blinked his eyes and the image disappeared. He wondered how could the best of friends be on the opposite side of this whole war ...
Author's Notes: This idea came to me as I re-read Exile and then plunged into the X-Wing books and comics once more. I really like the dynamic that Wedge and Tycho always had with each other throughout the various books they are featured in. Of course, this was inspired by reading a few of Gillian F. Taylor's fanfics over in Wookieehut. This story is once again, dedicated to my beta reader Algae09 since she's a huge Tycho fan.
Disclaimer: All content is made up, and no profit or lucre is expected, solicited, advocated or paid. This is all just for fun. Any comments, please e-mail the author or WOOKIEEhut directly. Flames will be ignored. Characters and situations are based on those which are the property of LucasFilms Ltd., Bantam Publishing, Random House, etc. and their respective original owners, publishers, agents, and developers. The rest is this story's author's own fault. This story may not be posted anywhere without the author's knowledge, consent, and permission. This story is presented by Wookieehut.com.