Dime-a-dozen: The Tragic Tale of Vacuum Squadron
by Sarah Kabala [archjedi@iastate.edu], circa 1997

In summer 1996 a spontaneous challenge arose on the Club Jade mailing list: Write a story in which you kill an original character created by (or movie character perverted by) Kevin J. Anderson (author of The Jedi Academy trilogy and Darksaber and favorite victim of CJ snark.)

AUTHOR NOTES:BR> After reading more of the atrocious "Authorized Star Wars Contunuations" than I could bear I had a tremendous need to vent my frustrations. If you like any of these characters, keep in mind that I still have a right to dislike them, and I mean no insult to you personally.

Those killed: Callista, Qui Xux, Kyp. 5 Y-Wings, Biggs, Dalla, Greedo

Commence slaying...

Admiral Dalaa looked out the bridge viewport of her latest Star Destroyer. She had slept her way up the ranks, and it showed through her bumbling incompitence as a military strategist. It became preposterously obvious as the tide of the current battle continued to not turn; the New Republic was still kicking her bantha poodoo.

"We are only a peaceful agricultural community on the fringe of the galaxy of no strategic importance whatsoever. Why are you attacking us?" the planet's prime minister said over the comm.

"Cower before the mighty wrath of the Empire, pitiful Rebels!" Dalaa howled into the comm, and then she flipped the switch to close the link.

Yet another ugly, male pilot careened out of control and crashed his stolen Y-Wing into the Destroyer's hull.

"Why do you suppose it was that the Rebels put up such a half-hearted fight to try to keep those Y-Wings that we stole? It's almost as if they knew they were the crappiest fighters ever designed, and that they'd be no good to us."

"Lieutenant Sense, I have absolutely no interest in anything you have to say," Dalaa quipped. "Vacuum Leader, take your squadron into that conveniently placed asteroid field. I'm *sure* you can outmaneuver the Rebels in there."

"Oota goota, Dalaa," Vacuum Leader confirmed.

"What's 'oota goota'?" Vacuum Five (Biggs) asked. "Can anyone else understand him?"

"Admiral, the Star Destroyer's ghost computer tells me through the Force that she misses her beautiful ocean homeworld," Vacuum Two (Kyp) informed her.

"What do oceans have to do with anything? Just get in that asteroid field," Dalaa ordered.

"Admiral," Lt. Sense called from behind her. "Our standard Imperial strategy droid has something to tell you."

"Can't you see I'm busy fighting a war?"

IQ-20 stepped forward, metal joints creaking. "The odds of Y-Wing pilots sucessfully navigating an asteroid field are approximately 75,980,273,846,987 to one. Maybe you should attack with this Star Destroyer and have the Y-Wings run perimeter around you."

"Silence, fool. I'm an Imperial Admiral so I know a good military strategy from a bad one, and my strategy is pure genius. It has to be; Tarkin himself used it, and look at how well he did against the Rebels."

Suddenly an ethereal whaif of a genius came fluttering onto the bridge. "Admiral I've developed a new superweapon that will destroy any concentration of life forms that it's aimed at. All you have to do is press this button. I think we can use it to end galactic hunger and bring peace to the universe!" Qui Xux handed Dalaa a small grey box with a big red button marked "Super-Megakiller" on it. The box, much like Qui's head, felt light enough to be hollow.

"Nya oafkah!" Vacuum Leader cried, shooting wildly at the gigantic, inanimate asteroids yet somehow missing all of them as his Y-Wing inevitably collided with a fist-sized asteroid and exploded in a burst of fire and smoke enough to make any industrial light magician proud.

"Um, Admiral, I'm having a bit of trouble in this asteroid field," Kyp said. "This ship really sucks."

"Really, how are the rest of you doing?" she asked.

"Hey baby, I'm a shooting star," Biggs replied. "I'll never be stopped. Wait, wait..." Just then Bigg's Y-Wing spun out of control into another Y-Wing flown by some faceless Imperial pilot. "I said, how are the rest of you doing?" Dalaa repeated. "That was the rest of them, Admiral. Everyone else is dead," Kyp responded. "It's taking all my Force-abilities just to keep myself alive in this death pod. But that blasted computer ghost keeps distracting me."

"Whose brilliant idea was it to send the only person who can communicate with our haunted ship out in a Y-Wing?" Lt. Sense asked pointedly, staring intently at Dalaa.

"Argh! I don't *care* if your last lover abandoned you," Kyp cried out. "No, I am not sleepy. Aaaah!" Kyp intentionally swerved his Y-Wing into the nearest asteroid to kill himself before he could be forced to fall asleep where he would be slave to the ghost's nightmares.

"That's the last of our fighters, Admiral," Lt. Sense said. "Should we move into attack position ourselves?"

"No, we'll try Dr. Xux's marvelous new superweapon." Calmly, Dalaa held out the grey box toward the little planet and squeezed the big button. It made a charming buzzing noise. After a few awkward moments she decided it hadn't worked.

"How exactly does this thing kill its targets, doctor?" Dalaa asked.

"Why it disintegrates them of course. From the inside, out," Qui Xux clarified. "Let me see it. Oh, I accidentally painted the words on upside down. Just aim it the other way."

Suddenly Lt. Sense doubled over. With her last ounce of strength she struck the Destroyer's self-destruct button which just so happened to be located on the console in front of her.

"This ship will self-destruct in one minute. All remaining personnel, please evacuate calmly in a single-file line," the computer's voice called over the intercom.

Desperately Callista's spirit reached out from her perch inside the Destroyer's CPU and took posession of Qui Xux's body. "I'm alive!" she cried out. But just as suddenly she realized that the blue scientist's body was too insubstantial to sustain her spirit. "No," she said as Qui Xux's body evaporated.

Callista quickly reached out and took control of Dalaa's body. "I'm alive!" she cried out. "No," she said as the Super-Megakiller's beam began to take effect. Her legs collapsed beneath her as her bones turned to dust. She lay quivering like a bowl full of jelly on the deck, coughing up a nasty, black powder as her innards disintegrated.

Callista watched helplessly as the entire crew crumbled into little piles of ash. The planet was too far away for her to use the Dark Side of the Force to steal anyone's body from there, and all potential hosts on the Destroyer were dead. She could escape no more!

The Star Destroyer drifted out of control towards the asteroid field. Just as it hit the first few asteroids it exploded in a spectacular convulsion of blazing, green and red flames taking Callista with it once and for all.

All characters in this story (except Lt. Sense, unfortunately, and IQ-20) are TM, (C), and (R) Lucasfilm Ltd. They have been used without authorization.