Feb 3 2018, 10:29 PM
If there was ever a moment that Sayar could say that the knowledge of his former life would be of importance to his current one, this was it. A stroll through a charged hangar bay was not unlike that of a racetrack mere hours before the flag drop, for the buzz of activity between man and machine was identical. The pressure welling in his stomach was nothing new; he'd been used to performance anxiety and the threat of death from one wrong turn ever since his age had hit double-digits.
The smell of oil and grease, tinged with ozone from oxytorches and fusion cutters carving through durasteel, was almost as welcome as the freshest scents from a perfume shop to the Bothan's nostrils. The heady mixture might well have been a portal back to the old SoroSuub garages; one whiff and it might very well have been the Imperial Centre Grand Prix all over again.
But of course, it wasn't an entirely perfect fit. As a former driver, Sayar had been used to having a team around him, prepared to make any mechanical adjustment no matter how minute, at barely a word or an input. Repulsor core output mapping slightly too open? No problem. Aerodynamic surfaces a fraction of a degree too steep? Nothing a few turns couldn't fix.
The Rebellion, however, wasn't a multi-million credit racing team; there were engineers, but their main task was ensuring performance rather than absolute peak. After all, the airframes had to last, if a few miles per hour had to be lost in the process of ensuring that the fighter could come back, so be it.
But, that didn't mean that the pilot didn't exactly have input, either, and with a few hours behind the screen of a datapad coding interface, the young Bothan had in his hands the means to not only do his necessary pilot work. After all, did it matter if the pilot was seated with the fighter, if hours of simulator training runs provided all the data he'd need anyway? A datapad program to record the information, display it, and allow Sayar to make and send adjustments to his astromech was as close as Sayar could get to his engineering team.
And the freedom it gave? Well, it was certainly...something.
Ducking beneath the S-foil of one of several X-wing fighters, the Bothan continued his walk, face-down in the azure glow of his datapad, with a wry smile slowly parting the fuzzy facade. The X-wing had been a good craft, Sayar had found, but early on his career with the Rebellion, misfortune and unfamiliarity had ultimately shuffled him from behind the yoke of one. However, rather than ending his piloting career, the Bothan had immediately been offered retraining and a place with a new squadron, and it was here that Sayar found his place in the Rebellion properly.
The Y-wing strike fighter was hardly the by-the-seat-of-the-pants experience Sayar had been so used to in his time in SoroSuub, but all the Bothan's former skills translated perfectly to the role of a ground-attacker. G-forces were no issue; the Bothan could take well higher than what the Y-wing could generate on average in atmosphere without need of assistance.
Accuracy and multitasking, again, were no issue; balancing aerodynamics and engine outputs whilst blasting around tight street-circuit corners had given Sayar a double-minded trial-by-fire that managing weapons, navigation and power outputs on-board his fighter were practically afterthoughts, and that was before his astromech droid came into the equation. As a result, the Bothan's effectiveness in the craft was quite high, and it took little time for Sayar to earn a reputation as a talented bomber pilot; what he could not manage in flight, his trusty R-5 could handle, freeing up the former racing pilot's concentration to tasks he could manage.
Around another X-wing, and the orange-clad Bothan soon found himself stopping, for at the very top of his eyes he spied a familiar, yet nevertheless impressive, sight. Speed-addicts and machine-heads could hardly pass up the opportunity to take looks at precision engineering, after all, and what didn't fit that title more than the sleek A-wing interceptor? The moment Sayar had rounded the bulky X-wing engine bank, his eyes immediately caught the smooth contoured nose of the rebel interceptor, and it was like durasteel to a magnet.
Now there was a craft. Sayar loved his Y-wing, but they were two craft of diametrically opposed functions; where the Y-wing was the heavy puncher of the Rebellion, the A-wing hit like a needle; fast and light jabs that knocked the Empire's finest out of the air. Having flown one in simulations, Sayar was a passable hand in the A-wing, but his grades were just not enough to warrant replacing any of the current cadre of the green-suiters; the few that the Rebellion had were some of the finest pilots in the entire corps, after all. Good, or approaching great, was not enough.
But damn if looking at one didn't make him want to jump in. Flashy fuselage livery of red and white, the arrowhead shape of the frame tapering to a point in the nose, the huge turning vanes in the rear enveloping those monster engines; it was enough to have Sayar practically staring, half of his head enjoying the sight and half remembering his wild simulator runs with the nimble beast, feeling the mimicked motions of what could only be like riding a hover-coaster on steroids.
Perhaps one of the few things that felt even crazier than his old SoroSuub speeder, perhaps, had been the mechanical fury before him, and that alone, was exciting. It was enough to nearly completely erode the nervousness for the upcoming battle, the fear of the Death Star melting away into nothingness before the might of the A-wing.
Doubly so, perhaps, once Sayar caught a look at just who was the lucky pilot behind this thing.
"Permission to speak frank, sir, but I'd give your left nut to fly that beast." Sayar offered, a smirk crossing his face wide enough to show teeth, as his datapad fell down to his side. The droid could wait; it had been a while since the tan-furred Bothan had gotten to chat with L'ulo; their targets and mission profiles were at polar opposites, after all...