"Star Wars: Last Call at the Zero Angle" is a Short Story set in the Star Wars universe written by Jason Fry with art by John Van Fleet. It debuted in Star Wars Insider 156. It takes place a few weeks after the destruction of the first Death Star.
TIE pilot Tana Chellaine and her fellow members of Nashta Squadron are drinking at the Zero Angle following a bloody mission that left three of them dead and one badly injured. Tensions over their recent missions, and too much alcohol, lead to a fight breaking out between the army pilots (ground-hogs) and navy pilots (vac-heads) before an understanding is reached and bad news arrives.
This short story contains the following tropes:
- The Bartender: Florn, a former TIE pilot who had to retire after a crash left him mostly a cyborg.
- Drowning My Sorrows: What Nashta Squad, minus Chellaine, are doing at the Zero Angle after a particularly rough mission.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Sax Hastur has a small scar going through his left eye.
- Hidden Depths: Chellaine notes that despite his boisterous nature and poor impulse control, Trompo is a great pilot with natural tactical instincts.
- Inter Service Rivalry: The TIE pilots of the army and navy do not get along due to the navy pilots getting all the glory while flying in atmosphere takes more skill. That being said, some pilots in both branches refuse to take part in the rivalry and try to encourage more cooperation and mixing. At the end of the story, that divide no longer exists when it is announced that both branches are being folded into one after the destruction of the Death Star.
- The Leader: Sax Hastur is the leader of Nashta Squadron and Heiwei Akrone is the leader of Banshee Squadron.
- Local Hangout: The Zero Angle is one for both army and navy pilots, with the wall covered in holo images of pilots from both branches who died on missions after flying out from Axxila.
- Lower-Deck Episode: The story focuses on a group of TIE pilots mourning over the loss of their comrades.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Bruiser, a pilot in Banshee Squadron.
- Punch-Clock Villain: None of the Imperials in the story come across even the tiniest bit evil.
- Retired Badass: Florn was a ace TIE pilot who is widely respected by all of the pilots, regardless of what branch they are in.
- Those Two Guys: Huck Trompo and Sully Olvar are usually causing trouble as a pair, with Trompo taking the lead.
- To Absent Friends: The pilots of Nashta and Banshee squadrons bond by reminiscing over mutual friends whose holos are on the memorial wall.
- Token Good Teammate: While none of his squadmates are evil, Artur Essada is the only one among them who is actively questioning the actions of the Empire.
- Truce Zone: The Zero Angle is supposed to be one between the Navy and Army pilots. Anyone who violates that truce through a barfight gets subjected to a sonic attack from Florn's astromech, with possibly an added shock from a probe.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: When discussing the Rebellion, some of the Imperials dismiss them as nothing but terrorists who endanger civilians by having safehouses filled with explosives within cities.Trompo: You want to blame someone, Artur? Start with the rebels for once. They claim they're fighting for the common people, and now thousands in that city are dead because of what they did.