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- Corran Horn is fixing his starfighter when a tool he uses slips down the ship's hull. In a frantic attempt to catch it, Corran himself slips and starts falling head-first toward the ground... when his astromech droid saves him by gripping him by the first body part within reach: his buttocks.
- Corran reflects on the fact that, as a former Corelian police officer, he is possibly one of the most distrusted, if not outright hated, people among the ranks of the Rebel Alliance's Army of Thieves and Whores. And then it is pointed out that one of his squadron mates is in fact a lawyer. A defense lawyer, no less, meaning even the police officer gets to hate him.
- One of Rogue Squadron's new pilots is a scion of a wealthy family whose primary source of income is selling healing bacta to both the new Republic and the Galactic Empire. Someone notes that the only way Corran will make that guy like him is by making his family richer. Corran proposes they do just that, by driving up Imperial demand for bacta.
- Everyone keeps being weirded out whenever a new quirk of Ooryl's Bizarre Alien Biology pops up, such as the fact that he can store sleep for times when he has to stay awake, or the fact that he only has to breathe when he speaks. Of particular note, Corran's utter embarrassment when Ooryl announces that he finds Corran's snoring soothing.Corran: At least I know you don't snore.
Ooryl: Ooryl does not believe you do either. Ooryl does not sleep in the same manner as most others, so your occasional production of rhythmic nocturnal sound is not a problem. Ooryl finds it somewhat soothing, in fact.
Corran: (blushing) First time I've heard it described as "soothing."
- During a briefing for Rogue Squadron's latest Airstrike Impossible:Nawara: Run up this rift valley, and hit something the third of the size of an X-Wing, without the benefit of a targeting computer? That's impossible.
Gavin: That's nothing. Back home in Beggar's Canyon...
Wedge: (raising an eyebrow) I don't think any pilot from Tatooine ever found a mission tough, especially when it involves racing through a canyon.
- Mirax and Horn have a bit of Unresolved Sexual Tension in his quarters, and they briefly consider what their fathers would think.
- Shortly after the second battle of Borleias, the squadron makes it back, having been forced to abandon Corran there due to fuel issues. They get treated to a recorded message where Corran tells them not to feel bad about leaving him behind on Borleias's moon. Wedge quickly realizes he's being pranked, since how would Corran have known in advance that he was left behind at Borleias's moon? (Turns out Corran had been rescued by Mirax, and brought back aboard the Pulsar Skate ahead of the squadron.)Wedge: Horn, if you're not dead, you soon will be.
- Gavin, who is inserted into Courscant as Outer Rim grifter Vin Leiger, has the unwelcome realization that his cover identity has a more detailed and colorful history than he does.
- Wedge and Pash Cracken's exploration of Coruscant's Galactic Museum is hilarious for the sheer Refuge in Audacity of the propaganda there. Aside from Imperial taxidermists claiming Ewoks have been rendered extinct by "outlaws and malcontents," there's an exhibit where a holographic tour guide Darth Vader explains the Emperor's Heroic Sacrifice at Endor, when he stopped those dastardly rebels from using captured plans to build their own Imperial Planetary Ore Extractor for nefarious purposes.
- Related is when they unexpectedly bump into Mirax there, and she explains how she knew where to find them on a City Planet teeming with billions of people - they're snubfighter jockeys, and wouldn't be able to resist seeing what the enemy was saying about them or the battles they flew in.
- Gavin's thoughts on the Azure Dianoga cantina: "If Mos Eisley was considered the armpit of the galaxy, this part of Coruscant could be considered anatomically lower and decidedly less hygienic."
- When Gavin asks Corran for relationship advice, at first the Corellian is afraid he'll have to give The Talk to the Tatooine farmboy, but it turns out that Gavin's asking about Interspecies Romance. Corran's coworker Iella ends up telling the story about Corran taking a Selonian to a dance back on Corellia, and the two hitting it off quite well... except in terms of biochemistry. He turned out to be allergic to her fur, and she had a reaction to his sweat's acidity, so the end result was a full-body sunburn for the both of them.
- During the Rebel invasion of Coruscant, the battle sometimes cuts away to follow one Lieutenant Virar Needa, distant cousin of that Needa, who is taking his job aboard an automated mirror satellite way too seriously. When he sees the Rebel fleet arrive he tries to organize a defense, only for his crew to remind him that their station is unarmed, and then suggest they keep their heads down until the fighting is over.Needa: But those are the Rebels.
Pedetsen: You think they can find us a worse duty than this? They'll probably hail you as a hero.
Pedetsen: Hey, it was your cousin who was martyred by Darth Vader after he let Han Solo escape Hoth. After all, your cousin had Rebel sympathies that he only confided in you, which is why he let Solo escape. Your having been punished with this duty proves the Empire suspected him, but could prove nothing.
Needa: (That is one way to interpret the facts of the case, I suppose.) Do you think the Rebels would believe that?
Pedetsen: I don't know, but I think if we're dead, you won't be able to convince them that your loyal crew have been waiting for them for ages.
The Krytos Trap
- A diplomatic mission to Ryloth leads to Wedge learning about Twi'lek naming conventions. His squadmate Nawara Ven is referred to as such instead of Nawara'ven, because the former could be translated as "silver-tongued" and the latter as "tarnished silver." In Wedge's case, "Wedgan'tilles" comes out as "slayer of stars," while "Wedge Antilles" can be generously translated as "one so foul he could induce vomiting in a rancor."
- While searching a library for anything helpful, Corran finds a hold-out blaster in a datacard box for The Complete History of Corvus Minor and muses if that summarizes the planet's history, he doesn't want to visit. Then he tries to find the history of Corvus Major hoping "that would contain something more substantial in terms of weaponry. Like an X-Wing."
The Bacta War
- Winter spells out the situation at the book's start: the rogue Rogues have all of one X-Wing between them, while their enemy controls one of the richest planets in the galaxy, a Super Star Destroyer, and three lesser Star Destroyers.Corran: Gavin, this is where you're supposed to tell us that unseating her isn't tough and relate the whole thing to varminting on Tatooine.
Gavin: (blanching) I didn't hear anyone mention a trench or canyon or womp rats. Taking a planet is beyond me.
- While touring Tatooine with Mirax, Corran sees a bartender use the fact that she's the daughter of infamous smuggler Booster Terrik to get a creep to back off. Later when a grizzled, one-eyed space pirate turns out to be competing with them for some supplies, Corran tries the same namedrop only to get an entirely different response.
- And immediately afterword Booster vows to give Corran the beating he was never able to give Corran's father, Booster's nemesis. But Mirax jumps in to defuse the situation.Booster: You don't want me to take a round out of him. You even want me to like him, but there's no reason in the galaxy why I'd like him.
Mirax: Yes, there is.
Booster: Why am I going to like the son of the man who sent me to Kessel?
Mirax: Because I do.
Mirax: (holds Corran's hand) You heard me. Corran's saved my life, I've saved his, and we like each other. A lot. (squeezes Corran's hand) You can jump in any time, Corran.
Corran: Me? You're doing fine.
- Corran Horn learns of his Jedi heritage, but turns down Luke Skywalker's training offer so he can continue his work as a pilot. Since he subconsciously pulled off a Jedi Mind Trick last book, surely now that he knows he's Force-sensitive he'll be fine... right?Stormtrooper: Come with me so I can check you out.
Corran: I don't need to go with you.
Stormtrooper: You don't need to go with me?
Corran: (Hey, it's working!) I can go about my business.
Stormtrooper: You can go about your business? Your business is my business, void-brain.
- In the aftermath of the battle at the Graveyard, when Tycho is explaining where their unexpected reinforcements came from:Tycho: Wedge, I have a situation.
Tycho: Remember that cruiser that took a piece out of the Corrupter?
Wedge: Kind of hard to forget, isn't it?
Tycho: Well, it was the source of the IFF queries earlier on. It appears to think I'm the Another Chance. It has identified itself as the Valiant, and now it wants to know where we're going to go from here.
Wedge: Tycho, any sign of intelligent life on board?
Tycho: Ah, Wedge, it thinks I'm an Alderaanian war frigate, so I think we can rule out intelligence.
- And a bit later on, when they're talking about the battle and how Wedge landed the killing blow on a Victory-class Star Destroyer.Tycho: Zraii's going to waste a lot of paint adding it to your display of kills.
Wedge: (shaking his head) Look, your shots hurt it, I was just in a position to pinnpoint a target. Imps have forever dismissed the threat our torps are to their ships. You'd think, after losing two Death Stars to X-Wings they'd learn, but their ignorance is our margin of safety.
Corran: (smiling) So you'll order Zraii to pull the kill from your X-Wing?
Wedge: (sheepishly) Let's not go too far - it ''was'' a good pair of shots.
- The "About the Author" page, where Stackpole complains about having to write it in the third person as if he were a Gand, among other snark.
- The book opens with the returning Rogue Squadron, only to find their landing zone is being shared with another "Rogue Squadron," the officially-sanctioned, PR-friendly fighter squadron the New Republic military put together while Wedge and his pilots were off playing guerillas. What follows can only be described as competitive parade formation flying.
- When going through a list of prospective pilots, Janson makes sure his CO is paying attention. And a Running Gag is born.Janson: His name is Kettch, and he's an Ewok.
Wedge: (sits upright) No.
Janson: Oh yes. Determined to fight. You should hear him say "Yub yub." He makes it a battle cry.
Wedge: Wes, assuming he could be educated up to Alliance standards, an Ewok couldn't even reach an X-Wing's controls.
Janson: He wears arm and leg extensions, prosthetics built for him by a sympathetic medical droid. And he's anxious to go, Commander.
Wedge: (facepalms) Please tell me you're kidding.
Janson: Of course I'm kidding. Pilot-candidate number one is a human female, from Tatooine, Falynn Sandskimmer.
Wedge: I'm going to get you, Janson.
Janson: Yub yub, Commander.
- Later, when Wedge meets the penultimate candidate:Janson: Next is Voort saBinring, a Gamorrean.
Wedge: Very funny. You had me going the first time, Wes, but that joke won't work twice.
Janson: He's a Gamorrean.
Wedge: It's impossible to train Gamorrean males to something as complicated as fighter piloting. They have glandular balances that make them very violent and impatient.
Janson: He's a Gamorrean.
Wedge: Just keep up your little joke, then, and show him in.
(Janson uses his comlink, and a Gamorrean in a flight suit steps in and salutes)
Janson: Yub yub, Commander.
- The story Face relates to other then-Gray Squadron pilots:Face: So here I am stark naked, locked out of my quarters, running around the corridors looking for a towel, a rag, anything, and I turn a corner and run right into the executive officer. He has about the same sense of humor as a Wookiee with a rash. So I throw my best salute and say, "Major, I regret to report only partial success with the Personal Cloaking Device."
Falynn: So, what did he do?
Face: He turned out to be all right. He made me hold salute for a while, looked me over, returned my salute, and said, "It's obvious this project was a failure. I suggest you go and cover up its shortcomings." So I did.
- Notably, this was apparently done to him by the woman he was sleeping with. He mentioned that they had similar senses of humor, which was why they got together, and "probably why we got apart just as fast."
- After the first training run for Gray Squadron's recruits, several pilots go out to commiserate over drinks. Kell gets his forehead stuck to the table. He also gets off on the wrong foot with Squeaky by interrupting the droid — twice — while he's taking the pilots' drink orders. Squeaky advises him not to do so a third time, otherwise "You would do well not to drink what I bring you."
- And while we're at it, Squeaky's backstory. He engineered a breakout from the spice mines of Kessel with a bunch of other droids. Since most droids' programming prevents them from flying ships, he got around this by setting their ship to fly away from the port on autopilot, flying low a set distance above the ground to avoid getting shot down. Directly through a large area of mountains and canyons. The result has come to be known as the Runaway Droid Ride.Tyria: So imagine you're on this tub of a Corellian bulk freighter, and suddenly you're all over the map, up and down, "Whee!" "Aaah!" "Whee!" "Aaah!" for more than a hundred klicks...
- Wedge's evil bit of revenge on Han when the latter makes a visit to Folor Base: Han has just finished complaining about all the boring diplomatic functions he's had to attend on Coruscant with Leia and asks what recreation is available.Wedge: (with a completely straight face) Nothing. There are no women assigned to Folor Base. Because of the general's philosophical beliefs, there's no alcohol, no gambling, and we can't watch broadcasts from Commenor. This has led to a rather high suicide rate, but there's no getting around that. We do have some holorecordings of Coruscant diplomatic functions, if you'd like to see them.
Han: (pointing a finger as though it were a blaster barrel) You--you--
Wedge: (grinning) I had you going. You believed every painful word.
- Han describing his visit as being officially to coordinate efforts against Zsinj, and unofficially to evaluate the quality of on-base gambling across the New Republic.
- In a nice Continuity Nod, the bar in Folor is introduced before this scene, so we know for a fact Wedge is lying. Besides, obviously, some of the Wraiths being female.
- Meanwhile in the background, Kell Tainer and the squadron's main mechanic observe the meeting.Cubber: There's your brush with greatness, kid. You can tell your children, "I saw Han Solo get off his ship once. He ignored me completely." C'mon, let's get out of here.
- After Falynn gives him a bit of lip about his piloting skills and suggests he retire (at the ripe-old age of twenty-eight), Wedge challenges her to a race in some old creaky hover-trucks and proceeds to school her using every dirty trick possible.Wedge: Keep trying, Sandskimmer. I'm old. I might be tiring already.
Falynn: (swearing up a storm over the comms)
- Kell and Runt's transmissions to the Imperial Star Destroyer Implacable, shortly after tricking it out of a valid target through an Indy Ploy:Kell: You have just been bested by Dinner Squadron!
Runt: And Silly Squadron!
Kell: Consider yourselves humiliated. And welcome to Folor. Out.
- Subsequently, Wedge praises them for their brilliant plan, criticises them for taunting the enemy over an open channel, and says he'll compromise by hammering the medals right into their skulls.
- After the Wraiths hijack an Imperial corvette, Face has to answer a comm call. To avoid being recognized, he improvises a disguise out of Cubber's tool kit, simulating cybernetic modifications by sticking a tube in his ear and nostril and donning goggles that he's spray-painted opaque. Some of the paint gets on his skin, and he can't get it off; Cubber cheerfully tells him that it's designed to only come off with a special solvent... and that Cubber's just used the last of their supply to fix his goggles.
- Face successfully manages to distract Admiral Trigit, who was about to blow the Wraith's cover, by giving a quite realistic, nuanced, moving performance as Captain Darillian. Including referencing Ysanne Isard's perfume, and revealing a crush on her. When the communication ends, the whole ship (who was listening in) erupts into applause.Face: Thank you, thank you. Performances every hour, on the hour. Imperial madmen a speciality.
- How Face and Phanan get their revenge on Grinder once they find out he's the resident prankster (while hiding behind a facade of calling such things a frivolous waste of time): they hack into the ship's medical computer to create a fictitious insect that paralyzes its victims and eats them alive, which just so happens to be easily confused with a harmless one he'd collected while they were planetside, then use hidden speakers and other devices to make him think one was crawling around inside his room and up in the ductwork. It culminates with a fake insect being thrown into his face and, he thinks, the injection of some drug to make him pass out... but after he's been forced to confess and promise no more pranks, Phanan reveals the grave diagnosis: the "brave, ladykiller Bothan" had fainted dead away.
- The scene where Wedge, Donos, and Face are picking out outfits to pass themselves off as tourists, and Face gets them the most ridiculous and silly looking clothes imaginable.Donos: Sir, permission to kill Face?
Wedge: Granted. But keep the hat, like he says.
- The whole infiltration sequence is beautiful, from the Comically Small Bribe ("A whole credit."), to the synchronised head-bobbing, to the reason for their visit being "Brides."Wedge: There are only six beautiful women on Agamar. And they're all married.
Face: There are only five.
Face: Five. Ettal Howrider got shot.
Spaceport official: Gentlemen...
Wedge: Who shot her?
Face: Her cousin, Popal Howrider.
Wedge: I thought he was still laid up from getting bit and the wound festering and all...
- Also gets credit for two details: One, they made the clothes look worn... by marching back and forth over them. Two: The captain of their ship is from the planet they're parodying... and was consulted to make them fit the stereotype perfectly.
- The disciplinary hearing for the soldiers that the Wraiths embroil in a Bar Brawl.Provost: Facts?
Wedge: Drunk and disorderly at Rojio's. Brawling with civilians.
Provost: They're all unconscious. They lost to civilians?
Wedge: Yes, sir.
Provost: How many?
Provost: Five of them against two civilians and they're too drunk to make a good accounting of themselves. They'll pay for letting the unit down.
- To infiltrate Zsinj's organization, the Wraiths take up identities as a band of Space Pirates, and start raiding his holdings in an attempt to get Zsinj's attention so that the ever-pragmatic warlord will make a job offer. They have a lot of fun customizing their fighters and running misisons, but Wedge worries that they're getting Lost in Character.Kell: In our second mission, we struck at Hullis herself. We put Castin on the ground the day before to do what he could with security systems, and then Phanan and I flew in, blew a hole in the side of a building, and flew out with as much cargo as we could load without sacrificing the flying speed of out TIE Fighters.
Wedge: What cargo?
Kell: Imperial credit notes, coin, gems. We hit one of the official money-exchange sites used by the Imperial base.
Wedge: (gaping) You robbed a bank.
Kell: We did. It was fun, too.
Wedge: That's good work. But on this pirate activity, I just wish you all didn't look as though you'd enjoyed yourselves so much.
Phanan: A happy worker is a productive worker.
Wedge: But a happy pirate is a career pirate. You do remember that the Hawk-Bats are a front, a sham?
Kell and Phanan: (exchange "news to me" looks)
Wedge: That's what I thought.
- The "Lieutenant Kettch" Running Gag continues to grow out of control. It starts with a toy Ewok in a flight suit turning up in odd places, then someone alters Wedge's comm to make him sound like an Ewok while playing pirate, Zsinj's forces overhear it so Face has to BS a story about the "Hawk-Bats" having an Ewok pilot, and by the end of the book Wedge is flying a TIE Interceptor into battle with a Ewok doll in his lap rigged like a marionette in order to maintain the disguise.Janson: You know, pretending to be an Ewok is a felony on some worlds.
Janson: And I think it's probably against regulations to fly starfighters while performing a puppet show.
(later, during the battle proper)
Pirate: An Ewok pilot! They've got an Ewok pilot!
Wedge: Bleed and die, yub yub!
- Even better, while listening to the explanation, Zsinj and his Number Two both hold an Aside Glance with each other. It turns out they were running exactly that sort of enhancement and training program on board the Iron Fist, and were quietly freaking out that one of their test subjects may have escaped.
- Shalla, undercover, explains why as a close-combat specialist she's carrying a datapad. "Standard scans won't show this edge is reinforced. If I decide someone needs additional information in his head, I can insert it manually." She later demonstrates.
- Wedge is quietly alarmed when it turns out Baron Soontir Fel is fighting for Zsinj's forces. Fel defected to the Rebels and actually flew with Rogue Squadron for a while, and not many know it, but Fel married Wedge's sister Syal, who he hasn't seen or heard from in years. So while Wedge is flying undercover as one of Zsinj's mercenaries, he finds himself fighting alongside his brother-in-law and tries to surreptitiously learn anything about the whereabouts of his sister. What makes the whole situation ludicrous is related to the above Funny Moment - Wedge is undercover as "Lieutenant Kettch," so he has to ask his questions in You No Take Candle form, and Fel is responding in the same syntax with his sophisticated Imperial accent: "My name Fel. Fel want to fly with Kettch."
Wedge: Yes. Fly with. You see Kettch best pilot.
- Even funnier, Wedge is unable to resist arguing with him about Fel being the best human pilot.
Fel: Well, best Ewok, certainly.
Wedge: Stick with Kettch. Kettch teach good.
Fel: Fel doesn't need Kettch to teach. Fel is best human pilot.
Wedge: No. Other humans say other name is best.
Fel: Luke Skywalker, then. Rebel scum, but a good flier.
Dia: Actually, we've been telling him about Wedge Antilles and Rogue Squadron.
Fel: (bursts out laughing) Antilles? Oh, he's luck incarnate, to be certain, but he can't really fly worth a damn.
Despite himself, Wedge felt a wash of anger.
- Wes and Hobbie show up to pester Wedge about his date, follow Wedge into the lift, and offer unwanted advice. Wedge selects the roof as the lift's destination, and while the others are puzzled about why he wants to go there calls out "about face, forward march!" Obeying the drill on instinct, Wes and Hobbie promptly walk into the back of the lift while Wedge steps between the closing doors and watches as the elevator carries his chaperones up and out of his hair.
- It ends up being a bit Harsher in Hindsight since it is related to how Face realizes the truth about Lara and exposes her, but the moment when they're on Coruscant and an old man at the museum 'recognizes' her (confusing her for her mother, another Imperial spy) leads to a hilarious bit where Face pretends to recognize her as well, using increasingly ridiculous names.Face: (looking at her intently) Gerwa Patunkin?
Face: Totovia Lampray?
Lara: No. Stop it.
Face: Dipligonai Phreet?
Lara: (laughing) Shut up.
Face: Moploogy Starco?
Lara: Face, I'm going to shoot you. note
- Elassar Targon, Master Of The Universe! ...For further context, Elassar is the first Wraith who comes straight out of the academy to the squad, rather than another screwball being given one last chance before being kicked out. Wes jokes that he wasn't nutty enough for the group. Elassar immediately adopts a swashbuckling pose and announces his mastery of the universe. Wes withdraws his objection. Wedge has to wonder if Elassar heard of Wraith's reputation and is playing along or if he's genuinely insane.
- During a scene where the pilots are all trying to figure out how to track down Zsinj, Elassar prefaces his ideas with a few remarks about their commander Han Solo (namely that he's "running scared" from Zsinj)... without knowing Han was in the room in a turned-away chair. Despite the fact Han accepts the criticism and thinks they have some good ideas, Elassar is convinced he is doomed for this and wants the other pilots to Mercy Kill him. This becomes a Running Gag for a good part of the book.
- Gets even funnier when Elassar starts suggesting ways that specific pilots could use their unique skills and abilities to accomplish this. Like how Corran Horn could use his experience as a detective to kill Elassar and leave no evidence. Or how Runt could use his Super Strength to rip Elassar's arm off and claim it was a handshaking accident.
- During the briefing for Face's first run as mission planner and commander, Runt sneezes loudly after Face makes a call for comments or questions about the plan, leading Elassar (who is revealed to be extremely superstitious) to think that the mission was just jinxed (he's Right for the Wrong Reasons). Kell and Shalla reassure him by explaining that Runt is training to weaponize his nasal cavity, and has performed tests in which he perforated training dummies with ball bearings launched out of his nose!
- Elassar evidently doesn't buy the story, as there's a brief mention later of him trying to attach lucky charms to Runt's X-Wing, and Runt having to chase him off.
- After Piggy survives an assassination attempt on Admiral Ackbar, he emerges from his bacta tank to be greeted by several pilots from his squadron.Face: Forgive the intrusion, but we heard that the new vintage of Piggy was being decanted.
Lara: But it looks like it's turned to vinegar.
Elassar: I am pleased to meet you. I need you to kill me. Nobody else will.
Janson: To make sure you remember this little event, we've had some special things made up for you. Bacta-flavored candy. Bacta-flavored brandy. Bacta-flavored cheese.
Shalla: Kell and I worked up an instruction manual for you. It's called, How to Dodge.
- Wedge volunteers to fly a faux-Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca, but gets to wonder why Janson is grinning about Wedge making a mistake.Janson: Well, of course, you're taking Han Solo's place in piloting the Falsehood because he really can't keep on relinquishing command of the fleet for joyrides.
Wedge: Correct. No mistake I can see so far. I have more experience with Corellian freighters than anyone on Mon Remonda, excepting Han Solo.
Janson: And you asked him if Chewbacca would be interested in coming along as copilot and mechanic. He has all that experience keeping disintegrating junk together as it flies.
Wedge: Correct so far.
Janson: And the general said, "Sure, Chewie would be happy to come along."
Wedge: You're three for three.
Janson: Wedge, you don't speak Wookiee.
Wedge: I - oh, Sithspit.
- Then when Janson remarks that he'd pointed this out to all the other pilots and even set up a betting pool on what Wedge's response would be when he realized his error...Wedge: You know, you've finally earned my gravest revenge.
Janson: You don't ever take revenge. That's beneath Wedge Antilles, Hero of the New Republic.
Wedge: (smiling) Dismissed.
- Which in turns leads to someone coming along on Falsehood missions who can translate Shyriiwook and, with the help of some clothing, a mask, and voice mimicry software, disguise themselves as Han Solo: Squeaky the emancipated 3PO unit.Chewbacca: (growls)
Squeaky: Why, that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me. Did I really sound like him?
Chewbacca: (growl of agreement)
(the Falsehood is jolted by enemy fire)
Squeaky: Chewbacca, can't we do all this without the participation of enemy forces?
Chewbacca: (Death Glare)
Squeaky: What did I say?
- Then when Janson remarks that he'd pointed this out to all the other pilots and even set up a betting pool on what Wedge's response would be when he realized his error...
- The legendary Wraith Squadron motto is conceived here: "Pretty. What do we blow up first?" Bonus points for Myn Donos, of all people, coming up with it.
- Wedge's payback for Wes betting against him ends with Wes naked, smeared with food, holding a stuffed Ewok in front of his jewels, in front of the entire squadron, ALL of whom were in on it. The moral of the story:Wedge: Just remember that, when it comes to pranks, you have the necessary enthusiasm, you have the inventiveness, you have the experience... I have the resources.
- "Lt. Kettch" becomes a Brick Joke at the end of the book, when Lara (or Gara or Kirney depending on her mental state), while escaping from Zsinj's flagship, finds an actual Ewok who had been genetically modified and trained to become a pilot. Her first, stressed-out reaction is to shout that she's heard this one already. She then explains to the confused Ewok that "we're both lies that became the truth."
- Zsinj calls Han to offer him begrudging congratulations on his victory. Han offers to let him kiss his Wookiee as consolation, causing Zsinj to go off on a long swear-filled rant in several languages before signing off.Chewbacca: (growls)
Han: No, I wouldn't have really let him kiss you.
- The fact that Han recorded much of that rant to watch later is also funny.
- This whole bit is a Shout-Out to, and explanation for, a Noodle Incident in The Courtship of Princess Leia, Zsinj's first published appearance (as a much less interesting Card-Carrying Villain).
- Also, the fact that Chewie was genuinely worried that Han might make him kiss Zsinj.
- At the end of the book, a communications officer sends Han and Wedge a message from Lara, in her new identity. When Han suggests the guy drop the issue, he's somewhat hesitant, since Lara is technically wanted and the voiceprint is an almost perfect match. Han offers to send Chewbacca up to discuss it with him. The issue is dropped.
- A conversation between Corran and Gavin over fatherhood turns into a discussion about differences in species' mating habits when alien squadmate Khe-Jeen Slee joins in. The Issorian starts discussing how his kind reproduces, opens his flightsuit, Corran and Gavin stammer that they'll take his word for it... and Khe-Jeen blinks and slowly pulls out the picture he was getting.
- Said picture is of Khe-Jeen's parents fertilizing his egg, externally. Corran decides that it looks similar to chefs glazing a roast, but keeps his observation to himself.
- After getting shot down, Corran finds himself going up against a secret Imperial installation, all on his own.
- The Rogues are forced to team up a rogue Imperial starfighter squadron, and get introduced to their new vehicles: TIE Defenders that are faster than A-Wings, pack more firepower than B-Wings, are fully-shielded, have hyperdrives, and squeeze in a tractor beam emitter as a bonus. The Rebels can only fidget and cough uncomfortably as Corran mentally concludes that if the Empire had ever mass-produced these machines, the Galactic Civil War would have gone a lot differently.
- While activating his escape protocols, Whistler wakes up Wedge's R5 unit Gate and brings him up to speed, warning that their mission will be dangerous. Gate retorts that "his microprocessing time was too valuable to waste analyzing meaningless odds."
- The two astromechs eventually are able to book passage on a ship evidently run by space rednecks, who kill time by welding metal dunce caps onto the droids, with streamers to use for low-powered target practice.
Starfighters of Adumar
- General Cracken mentions a probe on its way back from a mapping mission in the Unknown Regions. Wedge, whos trying to make Cracken go away, immediately responds: "If you continue to map the Unknown Regions, you'll have to call them something else."
- Even with the worshipful reception from the Adumari, Wedge is still a little antsy about his role as ambassador.Janson: Oh, stop worrying, Wedge. It's obvious they adore you. You could throw up all over yourself and they'd love it. By nightfall they'd all be doing it. They'd call it the "Wedge Purge." They'd be eating different-colored foods just to add variety.
Wedge: (to Tycho) I thought maybe you'd be able to do what I never could. Get Wes up to an emotional age of fourteen, maybe fifteen.
Tycho: (shaking his head) No power in the universe could do that. Not Darth Vader and the dark side of the Force, not the nuclear devastation of an exploding sun.
Janson: (still waving at the crowd) They'd be competing for distance and volume.
- Tomer Darpen says that he'll need to explain the way the local toilets (called refreshers in the Star Wars universe) work, since Adumar is less advanced than what the characters are used to. Hobbie immediately quips about it being a "Refresher Course". Janson's annoyed that Hobbie beat him to it.
- The four pilots are introduced to their documentarian, a woman who wears a protocol droid head on her shoulder as a recording device. When the droid head malfunctions later, an Incredibly Lame Hurricane of Puns commences. Even Tycho can't resist, though Wedge is appalled. Eventually this leads to the Cartann Minister for Crawling into Very Small Spaces.
- Red Flight's first introduction to the blastsword:Janson: So it's like a blaster you have to hit people with? I have to get one!
Tycho: Don't let him have a new type of weapon. It'd be like giving a lightsaber to a two year old.
- After a few days in Cartann, Janson reveals that the public has already given Red Flight's pilots nicknames.Janson: They have tags for all of us now, and I'm "the darling one." Tycho is "the doleful one."
Tycho: (frowning) I'm not sad.
Janson: No, but you look sad. Makes the ladies of Cartann's court want to comfort you. They're so sad about wanting to comfort you that you could comfort them.
Hobbie: And Tycho is the only one of us with a successful relationship with a woman. Missed opportunities, Tycho.
Janson: Hobbie is "the dour one." Not much romance in that, Hobbie. And Wedge is "the diligent one." That may not sound too romantic, Wedge, but "diligent" has a couple of colloquial meanings here that add to your luster-
Wedge: I don't want to know.
- This conversation:Wedge: We have the right tools to subvert our Imperial admiral.
Hobbie: What tools?
Wedge: Oh, Wes's maturity, your optimism, and my diplomatic skills.Hobbie: We're doomed.
- Wedge patches things up, ahem, with Iella, and is in a chipper mood when he regroups with Janson hours later.Wedge: What?Wes: Did Iella give you the information?Wedge: Oh...yes.
Wedge: Sithspit! What's that?
- Then, as they go outside:
Wes: That's the sun, Wedge. It's after dawn.
Wedge: Well, it offends me. Turn it off.
Wes: It's a hundred thirty, hundred forty million klicks from here.
Wedge: Go up in your X-wing and shoot it down for me.
Wes: Wedge, stop acting like a little kid. You're embarrassing me.
- Straddling the line with CMOA, Tomer Darpen is speaking to Wedge on a balcony and trying to convince Wedge he must stop his sim-weapon exercises and begin killing Adumari pilots in live-fire duels. Wedge, fed up, ends the conversation with this.Wedge: And now it's time for you to go.
Tomer: No, we need to talk this through.
Wedge: You can leave through the door or go flying over the rail, Tomer.
- Janson's method of distracting his opponent, one Thanaer ke Sekae, before a duel:Announcer: Honor or death.
Janson: Wait! look at this.
(Janson uses his blastsword, which leaves a glowing trail behind it when on, to doodle a bantha in midair.)
Janson: Look! A bantha! (beat) Not familiar with banthas? Try this.
(He draws out a local riding animal.)
Janson: An Adumari farumme! Here's another one. (He draws an Adumari starfighter.) A Blade Thirty-Two!
Thanaer: (impatiently) Are you ready to die yet?
Janson: One more! (He draws a stick figure with a tiny head.) It's Thanaer ke Sekae!
- To top it off, how does Wes end the fight? By bitch-slapping his opponent into unconsciousness.
- When the whole world seemingly turns against Red Flight, Wedge has a cunning plan.Wedge: We'll need a wheeled transport, one of the flatcam units our pursuers are carrying, and four sets of women's clothing.
Hobbie: Boss, please tell me you're not putting us in women's clothing.
Wedge: Very well. I'm not putting us in women's clothing.
Hobbie: You lied to me.
Wedge: I did. With my brilliant achievements in the diplomatic profession has come the realization that lies can be powerful motivators.
Hobbie: My faith is shattered.
Wedge: You knew, when I said we needed four sets of women's clothing, that we were going to end up in them. You knew. So any hopes you had to the contrary were just self-delusion.
Hobbie: I understand that. But I'd rather blame you than me.
Janson: So. Who's best-looking in women's dress? I vote for myself.
- A few minutes later, they're stopped by Adumari vigilantes. To complete their cover, Hobbie lets out a very convincing feminine scream of fear. When asked where and when he learned to do that:
- After Wedge and the others make it to Iella's apartment, Hallis declares she can persuade Iella to abandon her mission, go with Wedge and the others, and want to "shoot your superior right in the guts if you ever happen to see him again". After stepping into the next room and being shown the incriminating video of Darpen lying through his teeth to the perator about Wedge being constrained by diplomacy and wanting to be executed to retain his honor, Iella immediately returns, furious and proclaiming she'll do everything Hallis said she would.Wedge (to Hallis): How did you do that? No, really, please. I have to know. It normally takes a vote of the Senate or a planetary collision to get Iella to change her mind. I need to learn how to do whatever you did.
- After some Character Development:Iella: What's happening?
Wedge: Oh, nothing. I think [Cheriss] is finally starting to grow up a few years.
Wedge: Maybe we could make the process into a weapon and shoot Wes a few times with it.
Wes: I heard that.
- By the end of the book, Janson's set his cloak, which is a sort of flexible, wearable video screen, to display a chorus line of Jansons, arms linked, doing high-kicks. Wedge tries to think of some way to space it before they get back to Coruscant.
- Three words: Gamorrean. Strip. Show.
- As Voort meets the new team:Voort: You're working with a Yuuzhan Vong.
Bhindi: And a Clawdite and a Gamorrean and several humans, and, worst of all, a Corellian.
Myri: Cheap shot.
- Jesmin Tainer and Trey Courser are sneaking through an Imperial ship. Jesmin turns back and notices Trey's guilty look.Jesmin: Were you just looking at my rear end?
Trey: Um... I'm not the actor Two is, so I'll just say... yes.
Jesmin: Now's not the time.
Trey: So, theoretically, there would be a time.
- Slightly later, Jesmin and Trey need to get into the ship's auxiliary bridge, but Jesmin doesn't want to force her way in. She asks him to check if the bridge has a toilet by listening through the wall.Trey: No water noises so far. But now I'm starting to need to go. Hey. Are you doing that? What are you doing?
Jesmin: Thinking of waterfalls, wine bottles pouring, faucets gushing, fountains flowing... and I'm putting that out through the Force.
Trey: You monster. I'm... I'm...
Jesmin: Keep it together, Four. Any noises?
Trey: Conversation. I can't make out the words, but it's getting more urgent. (Beat) I understand that urgency.
Jesmin: It'll pass as soon as the door opens.
Trey: Or as soon as I disgrace myself.
(One action scene later)
Trey: You were right. I no longer have to pee.
Jesmin: I'll notify HoloNet News.
- Kirney wants Piggy to understand very clearly that under absolutely no circumstances is he to recruit her children.
- Turman's reaction to FINALLY getting out of a decomposing, organically grown, full-body lobster costume he'd had to inhabit for several days.Turman: Get me to a sanisteam! A pool. A waterfall. An acid bath! Sandpaper! Get me clean!
- The final scores to Trey's game of Backstop, an improvised target shooting game. Most of the players do quite well, except Thaymes, who fired sixteen times, missed the target entirely, and 'killed' Trey, Drikall, Jesmin, and finally, Voort twice.
- Never drug a Clawdite. They get loopy.Bhindi: (ungags Turman) Two, did you plant the charges?
Turman: So it has come to this. Perhaps a Rodian and a Bothan should never have wed, and yet we did. And now our union is as dead as Shacobi there. Yet can we not preserve one last happy memory of our years together?
Bhindi: (re-gags Turman)