Saturday, May 28, 2005

The way we were

So it's really started to hit me that I'll be leaving my buddies on this Star Destroyer. I've done an informal poll of who's coming with me to the "Death Star" and it looks like most of the cool folks here are staying aboard the ship. That means that we won't get to party during the pre-boarding meetings on Coruscant.

I've been reflecting on the real sense of comraderie that we've had on the Devastator. I've served on a few outposts and some Star Destroyers, but no crew as a whole gets along like we do. Whether it's shooting down Rebel ships, talking with local governors about their crappy law enforcement, or just hanging out, the Devastator gang rocks - especially Grand Moff Dabow.

Dabow's a cool dude. I mean, most Moffs are strictly business, and that's really annoying. But Dabow's got a sense of humor and can take a good practical joke. He also LOVES interrogations, and HATES doing audio-only transmissions (he's paranoid that they're making fun of him in the background). My favorite one was an elaborate gag by the crew where we faked intercepting a Rebel transmission (mad props go to Colonol Soxfore for playing the part of the Rebel ship). Dabow broke through the signal, we told him we had their ship in the tractor beam, and he started interrogating the "Rebel" about secret bases, plans, etc. So Dabow's getting into a groove, really laying on threats about sending squads out, turning the ship to the Emperor, etc, and the "Rebel" is just giving up information left and right. Mr. Rebel, however, refuses to go to visual communication, it's just a staticy audio feed. Dabow is getting really mad - he's got all this great information, but he NEEDS to see a face for his interception to be triumphant. He starts berating, swearing, yelling at the "Rebel" about not being a coward, showing his face, and so on.

Finally, after about 20 minutes of this back and forth, the "Rebel" cracks and agrees to go to visual. Dabow, in all his predictable glory, orders the visual to go across every station so the entire ship can see his prize.

The screen flickers...and immediately goes to a video of two Hutts in the middle of a slimy mating ritual set to the popular song "Big Guns and Twi'Lek Tail (Is All I Need)" by the Castle Brown Quartet. There's tails and tongues and slime and things that people shouldn't see.

The entire Devastator shakes with laughter (since 95% of the crew was in on the joke) and applause. Dabow's face drains of color, his lower lip drops ever so slightly, and his hands clench to fists so tight that his black gloves appear to be bursting at the seams. The vein on his neck is pulsating so fast, you'd think Vader's doing one of his asshole chokeholds.

After a few minutes of remaining motionless, the bridge crew finally settles down. Dabow still hasn't said a word or moved a muscle. A few whispers go around - could he be really pissed off? Could he report the crew to the Emperor - or worse, Vader?

Dabow lowers his head and covers his face in his hands. All we can see is the bridge lights lightly deflecting off his smoothly shaved skull. His shoulders shake and his head starts to nod. A low sound emmanates from his gut, like a Rancor trying to break through a collapsing cave. Finally, the noise comes through...

"You BASTARDS! You really got me this time, didn't you?" Dabow roars with laughter. The whole crew applauds and Captain Sakmarsh walks up the bridge ramp and puts his arm around Dabow. Dabow's laughing so hard that he can hardly stand up, his face is pressed into Sakmarsh's uniform. Someone hits play on the transmission and we're all subject to the Huttese mating ritual again, to the collective groan of the thousands of people on the Devastator.

And that's the stuff I'm gonna miss. People say the Empire is humorless, but that's cause the Emperor only has Vader and Tarkin present during his holonet press junkets. If they got to know the crew of the Devastator, they'd know that being in the Empire can really kick ass sometimes.

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