Zal gunned her Z-95 Headhunter around the turn of the farthest point of her patrol route in a system at the far end of the Outer Rim. Although it was several months after the end of the Onderon campaign, its end and aftereffects still took up too many of her thoughts and dreams. She kept having nightmares where she pushed the “the Box” over into its final dive over the Imperial Base, but this time she stayed at the controls all the way down… The fact that she had even volunteered for that suicide mission instead of letting Voba steer the Box in by remote control still bothered her. She knew that at the the time she felt it was what needed to be done for the success of the mission, but it was so far removed from her perception of herself as a coldly efficient and logical pilot that it almost felt like she had become a different woman during that campaign. The closeness and savagery of the ground campaign had affected her deeply.
When the team had disbanded after the campaign, she had requested immediate reassignment to a fighter squadron. Hopefully, the cold hard facts of space combat would restore her sense of self. Unfortunately, she had failed her psych eval and had been relegated to transport duty. No amount of arguing and pleading could change that. She was deemed “too dangerous to herself and others” to put in the seat of an Alliance fighter craft. And that two-faced Arkhan had not lifted a finger to help her!
She had hated to lie to Cael about her pysch eval, and its consequences, but when they had run into each other she had already resigned her commission and was heading out to see if she could re-assemble her old mercenary crew “The Flying Dactilions”. Knowing his dedication to the Alliance and the chain of command, she was not sure he would understand.
After scouring the bars and cantinas of numerous Outer Rim worlds, Zal had managed to re-assemble her old team. A motley collection of pilots and ships, but the Alliance gladly accepted her help now. It seems that the Imperial pressure of the past 6 months had really taken its toll on Alliance operations. They were still outside of the official chain of command, but “Commander” Zal didn’t care. She was back in the seat of a fighter and contributing to the cause on her terms…
“Zal, Zal! Are you picking up that alarm?!? I’m reading something. You should have seen it by now!”
Dammit, how had those patrol ships gotten past her?