MC80 Cruiser Solari
“Is it worth even asking what happened here?”
The question was a rhetorical one, something voiced in the absence of a better question. It was easy to see what was happening. Moved from its usual resting place amid the regimented groups of freshly repaired X-Wing fighters and B-Wing attack bombers, the Fire Hawk had been moved into the centre of the hanger and was being systematically torn apart. As well over two dozen engineers clambered over the ship’s patchwork hull, each was probing for anything of worth, ripping whole systems free and adding them to the growing piles around what remained of the vessel. Judging from what he could see, there were few truly usable parts left at all.
Having been patched up and reworked so many times that little to nothing of the YT-2000’s original hull remained, it had been a rusting joke of a ship. Barely operational and malfunctioning to the point where its landing gear had repeatedly failed to activate upon coming to rest in the hangar, the ship had been a rusting joke in its final months. Yet, there was an inherent wrongness to seeing it slowly picked apart by swarms of engineers; watching it being so casually gutted and stripped away into nothingness.
“Orders,” the burly quarren to his left answered, Kassek, giving a noncommittal shrug. “Strip it down, remove it, open up space for working ships.”
“The Admiral’s,” Kassek corrected, turning towards Tarvitz and giving him a knowing look. “You should have expected this.”
Perhaps that was true, but Tarvitz was still surprised nevertheless. Admiral Cortel had rarely voiced any concerns over the ship’s presence until now. Damaged and badly in need of extensive refits as it was, Tarvitz had been permitted to perform his work with few to no complaints until now, save for Kassek himself and a few of the ranking engineers. Even then, that seemed to stem more from the use of their equipment over the ship’s actual presence here.
“You could have given me more time,” Tarvitz said, not taking his eyes off of the sight before them.
“You’ve been working on it since you arrived. That should have been enough, if it could have ever been fixed in the first place,” Kassek said, gesturing to the main engines as they were pulled away from the vessel and dumped to one side. “And before you object, we need anything of worth left. Given how many YT-2000s keep showing up, it’s becoming harder to find replacements each passing month.”
Tarvitz didn’t bother to answer, already knowing attempting to do so would get him nowhere. Even if he might have swayed Kassek’s opinion, Cortel wasn’t the sort to brook any argument once she had made up her mind. He could have argued against her until the stars themselves burned out and she would remain steadfast in her decision, and attempting to quietly rebuild the Fire Hawk elsewhere certainly wasn’t an opinion. His knowledge of patching up a ship or keeping it flying with rudimentary repairs didn’t extend to reconstructing one from scratch. The simple truth was that the vessel which had served as much as his home as his personal transport was gone.
“Well,” Tarvitz said with a loud sigh. “I always did want a faster one anyway. I’m guessing you wouldn’t happen to have a spare X-Wing someone would be willing to part with then?”
The quarren gave something between a hacking cough and a laugh in response. He clearly hadn’t been expecting that.
“A T-70? Not for every credit you’re worth,” Kassek muttered, before pointing a clawed hand towards the far side of the hanger. “But if you’re interested, take a look into slot nineteen. It’s where we’re keeping most of the junkers and has-beens people keep bringing in as salvage. Perhaps you’ll get lucky and find something you can put to good use.”
Tarvitz was about to thank him, but the quarren waved it away, heading off to join the other technicians taking the Fire Hawk to bits. Tarvitz had the distinct feeling that he was more than happy to simply be rid of the Jensaarai, and that the sooner he was finished troubling the crew the better.
Unfortunately, Kassek’s words had not been far off the mark when he had described the group as “junkers and has-beens” of ships. As he made his way down the row upon row of attack fighters, assault shuttles and heavy bombers, the quality of each vessel rapidly dwindled one by one. The moment he was past the remainder of the fleet’s A-Wing fighters, the vessels present were little more than junkyard fodder. A half-destroyed light freighter rested in one slot, a courier vessel burned by one too many atmospheric drops awaited in another, and a transport ship was spilling out from its own slot, where it had been seemingly partially assembled on the spot. A few had even been freshly picked apart by the crew, retaining the acrid scent of plasma torches and welding equipment, along with the angular cuts into their hulls. They were a sorry sight to be sure, but it was better than nothing at least.
With a slight sigh as he narrowed the list down to the few which were most flight capable and combat ready, he began the laborious and extensive task of checking their systems one by one, confirming main system capabilities, hull strength, reactor capabilities; the sort of thing you desperately needed to be certain of during a battle. In the end it eventually proved to be a surprisingly simple choice. Half buried beneath a pile of disused parts and with a cracked canopy, the sleek hammerhead design of a N-1 pattern starfighter lay hunched in the dim lighting. One engine was hanging from the ceiling, suspended by a series of chains and partially complete, evidently in the process of being dismantled while the main torpedo launchers had been upgraded and refitted for more numerous - if less powerful - ion munitions.
What little history was behind the ship amounted to finding it in an asteroid field, where it had seemingly been abandoned and left to smash itself against the rocks for a good ten years. Hardly a glamorous history to be sure and yet, with all that said, was in remarkable condition. Plus, Tarvitz had to admit he had a personal love for old Nabooian aesthetics. Even ignoring the old ship’s reputation as capital ship killers, the sleek build was near perfect for rapid atmospheric entries and rapid turns even against extreme weather conditions. Now he just had to find an astromech droid and someone to piece it together.
“Leave that one be,” he eventually said, jerking a thumb back at the N-1 as he returned to Kassek’s small group, most of who were busying themselves by ripping one of the quad-guns free from its housing. “I need to speak to someone with more skill at putting together ships than me.”
“Anything else we should know?” the quarren said with disinterest, hardly bothering to look up from his work.
“One thing. Either me or that ship is going to end up covered in very bright and very colourful paint, and probably a few flowers as well. If you see that, ignore it. That just means i’ve found the right person for the job.”
Ignoring Kassek’s incredulous look, and deciding it would be infinitely funnier to withhold context to that particular comment, Tarvitz left, heading off to find the Clan’s local droid enthusiast.