Kyrin "Ky" Sunsetter
A hot shot starfighter ace with a chemical addiction to adrenaline, and his own massive ego
Look: Kyrin wears his Imperial issue flight jacket, with it’s hundred pockets, and its torn Imperial Insignia on the shoulder, as well as his standard issue flight trousers, both dyed Imperial black.
His black boots are civilian make, as are his dark spacers goggles and gloves.
Attitude: Hard eyed and sometimes intense, Kyrin does what he does for his adrenaline fix, and to someday, hopefully, drag himself out from underneath the law.
There is something ethereal about coming out of a spacecraft, and into a living, breathing world. You could almost feel the life pulsing all around you, pumping like blood after descending from the cold, empty void.
To be honest, Kyrin preferred the void.
Well, get fucking used to it, he thought darkly. This is your home for the next five years.
No, not if I can help it.
That’s the problem. You can’t.
The landing platform reached out across the pulverized, rocky plain with its own dull, cracked surface. A dozen square kilometers of duracrete poured into the blasted wasteland left by countless starship landings and takeoffs. In the north, high, jagged toothed mountains rose angrily towards the sky, and away south, a wide and placid ocean stirred gently.
But between the two, running like a spine up the continental drift of the Gideon System, like ten thousand kilometers of of discarded rope, the Imperial Starfight Training program had carved brutal civilization into the living rock of the planet.
It was a line of mostly grey and black; conning towers stacked themselves high every few kilometers, and the low, hunched profile of hangers and TIE racks swelled and sank on the horizon like a sea turning to storms, and only the occasional three storied barracks and admin billets broke this view.
Above it all, the incessant whine of ships and fighters of every conceivable class pounded the duracrete landing zone, day and night, and the imposing, bladed profiles of Star Destroyers never left the cloud white camouflage of the powder blue skies.
Kyrin heafted the dufflebag on his shoulder, and pulling his caubeen down low, took off towards the nearest assembly area.
Kyrin threw a glance over his shoulder, slowing. An ensign in his “bridge blacks” was making his akward way through the gathered groves of technicians and stacked equipment crates. Giving a firm salute, he produced a flimsy. Kyrin threw back his own lazy official acknowledgement, and took the plasticized note.
He skimmed the readout without much enthusiasm, and, not waiting to dismiss the ensign, crumpled the plastic sheet while turning to leave, throwing it over his shoulder.
The orders were usual Imperial amendments to his standing; a duty roster for his flight crew, the names of his pit, the specifics of the Lambda and JAKK assault craft he would be piloting.
Would you shut up?
He shook the nagging feeling away physically, and came under the shadow of the assembly tent. Inside, Lt. Commander Horner paced behind a long table manned by several of his creatures who handed out billet signalments to the incoming flightsmen. Kyrin walked behind the tables without so much as a word.
“Commander,” he said.
Horner looked up, and fury crossed his face briefly, before he realized who was speaking, and it washed out to a placid, weary sort of pity.
Well thats a terrible sign.
“Lieutenant,” he waved a lazy salute. “You can get your billet assignment form the-“
“This is bullshit, sir!”
“I am the best goddamn flight commander the Navy has,” rage was flailing through him suddenly, and whatever fragile grip military discipline had managed to grab ahold onto Kyrin in the last few years shook loose and fell away.
“Orders say you-”
“I got fucked! Lieutenant Commander Racelynn fucked me because of the Eyer Canyon thing. Sir.” He added, fumbling, like he almost forgot it.
Like you hate saying it.
“Would you shut the hell up, Ky?” the Lt. Commander took hold of his arm, and led him to the back of the tent. More than a few of the other officers hooked suspicious glances at the two of them. Lieutenants didn’t speak to Lt. Commanders the way Kyrin did.
Imperial command structure was fairly absolute, and there was little room for casual interaction or a lack of military discipline in the lower or middle ranks, but Kyrin had never really fit into the hard edges of military discipline. His own fiery and pathological rejection of authority made military service nearly impossible, but if any branch was going to accept him, it would be the Navy.
Hot shot fighter pilots and aces we’re given a lot of leeway when it came to discipline. It was generally accepted that in order to be a decent pilot, one had to be fairly egotistical and self obsessed, which didn’t play nice with the four hundred and twenty two page handbook on Navy Conduct.
Still, Kyrin had dumped most of his rebellious nature into some secret reservoir inside himself, and welded the hatch shut.
Just get through rap week. Just get through the classes. Just make the cut.
Every goal he had assigned himself was a torture, but the end goal, the ultimate goal, was worth it.
A commission. A ship. Flying with the hardest, baddest, and, more importantly, most well funded fighting force the galaxy had ever seen.
The Imperial Navy.
Then came Eyer Canyon. Then came Racelynn Greeves.
Couldn’t play nice for one more goddamn day, could you?
“You couldn’t play nice for one more goddamn day, could you?” Lt. Cmdr. Horner hissed. “Racelynn is your squad commander, Ky; did you really think you could blow him off the way you did and not expect something like this to happen?”
Kyrin jerked free of the commanders grasp. “So what, because I’m better than him I get punished?”
“You aren’t being punished, Ky, they put you here because you’re good. They need good.”
“I could be shooting down rebel pilots!”
“STOP.” Horner bellowed with the finality of a blast door sheathing shut, and Ky did.
He glanced around the tent, making sure no one else saw their total breach of command structure.
“Listen, you made your bed here. This hot shit pilot attitude you’ve got has to be earned, Kyrin, and you don’t have the hours. I wanted to put you in a squad, I really did, but when Squad Commander Greeves marked you for insubordination, it put just enough grease on your record to make it look dirty. Command wants good pilots here training people, not getting blown out of the sky in stripped down TIE’s. You know how long you last in those? Even good pilots have to have a death wish going in there.”
“I applied to the advanced unit, or even the interceptor school at Caringoton would-”
“Not for an officer who ignores orders.” Horner interrupted. He sighed, and his features softened. Horner liked Kyrin; he always had. The young pilot was nothing if not a natural, and despite his obvious distain for the military hierarchy, there was a great potential in him.
But the facts were the facts: not only was Kyrin Sunsetter a poster boy for holo-flick jockey pilot, disregarding the rules and hoisting his ego over the heads of every commander he had, but he was also older than most of his peers. Nearing 30, he was on the very edges of what combat fighters would allow into their squads, and everyone knew it. In his two years of climbing the ranks to TIE pilot, Kyrin had accrued more demerits than most pilots saw in their entire career, and worse, he wore them like a badge of honor.
His final test was the famous canyon run at Eyer; a jagged scar that ran the Agriassi coastline like a knife wound. four percent of the pilots who attempted the run died trying, and more than half failed to meet the exacting standard of the run, which included precise orders from a squadron commander, simulating battlefield changes and a deteriorating cohesion.
Of course, Kyrin had ignored Greeves, and of course, the black mark had been one too many. If he could have played nice for one day, Horner would have forced Kyrin into one of the Starfire’s elite TIE advanced or interceptor schools, and there, he could have paid for the attitude he liked to carry around with him and spend.
But he hadn’t played nice, and the Navy got what they wanted; a skilled pilot whom they didn’t have to throw out into the void, someone who could run training squadrons, and who wouldn’t have any room to break orders on a place like Gideon.
A five year contract, one he couldn’t refuse.
“I can’t stay here.” Kyrin said finally.
“Then you’ll be arrested for abandoning your post,” Horner snapped, and he nodded at the stormtroopers flanking the entrance. They marched up to the solemnly, and boxed the pilot in.
Anger twisted the younger man’s features, and he balled his fist.
“Sir-” But Kyrin didn’t finish.
“Sergeant, escort Lt. Sunsetter to the detention block and find him a cell. There he will remain until the flight had departed, and the battlegroup accepts their new batch of recruits.”
He turned on Kyrin with a poisonous look. “I’m doing this for your own good, Ky. I don’t want you throwing your life away over some damned vendetta with Greeves, and some perceived slight by the Navy. You made your bunk, son. Sleep in it.”
With that, Horner turned on his heel, and marched back to the receiving area, and left Kyrin Sunsetter to be relieved of his weapon by stormtroopers, pulling him though a puddle of his own rage.
There are worse things to throw your life away for, you know.
Plus, lets be honest; how long was I going to play nice anyway?
Well, they might have let you be the unapologetic cunt you are if you sank a few rebel cruisers first.
Who cares. They’re the ones losing out here.
Unless, you know, they shoot you.
That could be a problem.
And you’ll have to steal a ship. A lambda, by the look of it.
Yeah that’s. Okay, so maybe I –
And, obviously, you’ll have to start killing people. You know you aren’t making it out this without killing someone. At least these two.
The stormtroopers escorting Kyrin were doing so rather coolly. While the dangerous legend of the Imperial stormtrooper was somewhat overstated, and mostly relied on their sheer numbers, the fact of the matter remained; they were highly trained killers in some very advanced armor.
Ky, by comparison, was a Navy pilot. He had gone through a more advanced combat regiment than most recruits, and as a pilot, his natural dexterity made him quite good with both a blade and a gun. But he wasn’t a stormtrooper, and he had two of them on each side, and once they got him into a cell, he wasn’t going to leave it, and even when he did, he was stuck on world.
For five years.
I could escape after the new class comes in.
They’ll watch you like a hawk. Horner isn’t an idiot. Besides, thats next year, a whole other season.
Months in prison. Okay, yeah, I need to get out of here today.
Ky ruminated over his mutiny conceptually as he was escorted across the tarmac and towards a large administrative building. The stormtroopers certainly could have handcuffed him, but he suspected that disciplinary incarceration was probably a relatively normal occurrence on a world as boring and terrible as Gideon, and most of those who were on the receiving end of the Imperial justice probably just took it, so a few course corrections and shoves aside, they were pretty much just walking at his side with their weapons hung low.
He dredged up the memory of his weeks in the Atheron jungle, ground assault combat training, in case of enemy capture, all buried beneath years of starfighter psychology.
Whatever, fuck these guys.
Actually, it wasn’t going to be that difficult, what was coming. Ky had joined the empire because they were the biggest gang on the block. He wanted to fly in top of the line starships, and if possible, he wanted to be on the winning side.
The Rebellion was fielding some impressive hardware, and while piloting an x-wing would have been fun, a lengthy prison sentence or ritual execution wasn’t going to do him any favors either. Aside from that, Ky could always defect should the Rebellion capture him.
The Empire would not be so forgiving.
The admin building was looming closer, and the same senses that tugged at his consciousness when he was being tailed in a wraith fight started gently pulsing inside of him.
A variety of plans went through his mind as he neared the building, but in the end, he did what any any pilot would do when faced with two marks on his tail.
Ky waited until they were a dozen feet from the entrance to the building. A training facility as massive as Gideon was always littered with debris, since the tarmac had to be kept clear for troop deployments and landing, and the TIE racks were always being moved around on repulser power. Just a casual smile, and then he rolled into a flock of power crates used for charging weapons cores.
The stormtroopers flinched, and then he was behind them. The first swung his weapon in front of him, and leaped out on his tail
“Hey! Get back here.”
In accordance with Imperial law, they had relived him of his low slung heavy blaster pistol, but stupidly, they had left him his his backup sidearm tucked into a small holes on his shoulder. A lot off pilots didn’t carry a backup sidearm, and they chose instead to remain lighter, more mobile, or thats what they would argue.
Not Ky. Ky was a survivor.
He shot and killed the trooper and he rounded the crate, the point blank discharge of the powerful bolt shattered the faceplate of the helmet, and sent burning peaces of armor plating showering over him.
Nineteen shots in this thing.
He rounded the power crate, and the second trooper was still getting over the sudden and unexpected shift to mission time, when Kyrin unloaded three shots into him. The blaster rain punched the trooper back, and he slammed onto the ground.
With his foot, Ky clicked open the power crate taps, and as the inner fusion core thrummed to life, he took off at a dead sprint towards a TIE rack. Behind him, the blaster commotion had drawn the attention of nearby mechanics, and the admin building would have had a droid in it somewhere who registered the weapons discharge, and probably the loss of life.
It wasn’t a far run, and no sooner was Ky ascending the TIE racks ladder, than the power crate was reaching critical mass.
TIE fighters were as close to flying beer cans as any military fighter came. They had enough engine to move an X-Wing or a Headhunter, but less than 1/3 the mass. As a result, they moved faster than most fighters out there, and cost next to nothing to build, but their weapons systems failed to generate their own power from the ships fusion core. Fusion converters were heavy, costly, and they consumed a lot of fuel, so TIE’s juiced up “motion winders” that could spin ten or twenty blasts worth of power into two or three thousand shots. Of course, this meant that they had to be drained and re armed before each launch.
The power crates were basically large, unconfined antimatter cores. Without the motion winders to siphon off the power outflow, they tended to do bothersome things like explode.
The power crate exploded.
Ky was halfway into the cockpit when it went off. A white phosphorus blast of pure energy bloomed on the edge of his vision, and the explosion smashed two of the refueling Lambdas near it, causing a chain reaction to roll down the line, and cracking the transperisteel viewports in the admin building.
That’s when base security really woke up.
Ky fell into the TIE, and strapped himself in. The restraints were not designed to hook onto un-suited pilots, but he did the best he could, before the comms pulsed to red, arterial life.
“Fighter RE-1178, we are on scramble, I repeat, we are on scramble. Defensive pattern Oxilia.”
“I, er. Copy that.”
Ky flipped through the ignition sequence, and pissed off the bases mantinance droid by decoupling without his codes. It was technically a breach of security, but with half a dozen ships now ablaze, nobody was bound to notice.
Ky lifted the TIE into the air gently, ever aware of the massive power the twin ion engine were practically screaming to use.
No. No. No.
He scanned the horizon, as more and more TIEs and support craft ascended around him, and a flood of stormtroopers spread over the tarmac like spilled coolant.
The TIE was a short range craft, and wouldn’t get him off world, especially without a suit on. Annoyingly, it seemed as though he had destroyed all the Lamda shuttles anywhere near him, and as far as they eye could see were only the skeletal forms of the TIE racks.
Well, the tie racks and the scout ship. But he couldn’t steal a scout ship, not without a co-pilot.
They wouldn’t expect it.
Because it’s a stupid idea.
I need to consider all my-
“RE-1178, transit clearance codes to establish identity.” A droid dolled out over the internship coms, probably noticing that Ky didn’t have a TIE suit webbed into the ships computer.
Oh well, scout ship it is.
Unlike the scout ship, the TIE did not require a co-pilot. Ky cut loose and sent a dozen rounds of concentrated blaster fire exploding into the admin building, raining the shattered remains of steel and glass all over the sea of stormtroopers, before pivoting, and bringing down several TIE racks. After the fourth volley, he jerked back on the stick, and a twin, emerald shaft lanced before him, as a nearby TIE finally took notice.
Kyrin rolled the TIE backwards on its repulser field, and then slammed the fighter skyward. Part of being one of the best pilots in his class was knowing when he was outgunned, and the forty fighter craft in the air around him was a clear sign.
So what the fuck are you going to do?
Not sure yet, its exciting though, right?
Somewhere inside of him, Kyrin’s instinct for self preservation twisted in pain.
The TIE periced the clouds, and even at one tenth it’s speed, Ky felt himself blacking out. In a suit, blood would have been forced from his legs into his abdomen and head, but in his flight trousers and Imperial jacket, Ky was forced most of his bodily fluids into his feet, and darkness crested his vision, as the holo display blinked to life with bogies trailing behind him.
Something small might have helped.
No. No. No. Fuck.
He banked hard to the right as more neon blaster fire carved its way out of the cloud cover bellow him, and the lead fighter craft punched into view. Instinctively, Ky hammered laser fire at them, but he was looking for better cover, and it didn’t do more than scatter the craft.
This is extremely not good.
Despite the fact that he would be lucky to lose consciousness before the other fighters blasted him into oblivion, the twinges of an adrenal smile were tugging at Kyrin’s lips.
Look who’s talking.
He rolled into the white fog of the clouds again, and corkscrewed as far as he dared push the G’s without his gear. Behind him, the other TIE’s were gathering, and he –
Oh, we could -
I told you I’d –
Laser fire hammered into the side panelling from his left, catching him buy surprise, and the TIE exploded with the force of his speed, and the discharge of his weapons own unexploded power ordinance.
The blue and white cloud cover flashed briefly crimson, and then as the noise punted violently over the plain, all was quiet in the wake of the retreating TIE’s.
Yeah this was a good idea.
In the dense, wet down of the clouds crawling slowly over the plains, Kyrin hung cooly in the parachutes escape harness.
What could go wrong?
The parachute was scan reflective, in case pilots got shot down over enemy territory, and Ky floated gently into the dying light of day. The tarmac was littered with debris, and smoke curled noisily into the sky where the Lamdas had exploded. In approved fashion, TIE’s were patrolling in wide arcs, and rescue crews were fighting the fires now raging across the landing zone.
Bellow him, a single, solitary stormtrooper stood quietly in front of the Imperial Scout ship.
Don’t look up, don’t look up, don’t look up, don’t look up.
The stormtrooper shifted his weight, and glanced back and forth across the duracrete, like an auto-turret slowed down to comical speed.
Don’t look up, don’t look up, don’t look up, don’t look up.
This is so not going to
Don’t look up, don’t look up, don’t look up, don’t look up.
Kyrin grasped the tiny blaster in both hands, thrown down and aimed between his own splayed legs, the chute having been gently steered towards the scout ship.
Don’t look up, don’t look –
Kyrin pulled the trigger until the power pack sang empty, and the trooper was reduced to a broken mess of blood and crumpled armor.
Okay, no problems.
He cut the chutes relate, and fell the remaining ten feet or so onto the crafts wide surface. Waving his rank cylinder over the lock, the top hatch winked open.
This is fine. This is a good idea.
I know it is.
He strolled into the cockpit like he owned it.
I do own it.
That was now almost true.
The startup sequence took about a minute longer than it should have, which was impressive without a copilot. It also exposed the one flaw in his plan; the ships computer systems were newer and more complicated than most freighters, and he had to forgo a lot of the options that may or may not have been more helpful.
Oh well, can’t think of everything.
Aways off, another power crate exploded loudly in the heart of the fire, splashing Kyrin’s face with a flash.
As turbines whined and the blue glow of fuel burning ignited in the gathering darkness, very few people even took notice of him, and no one noticed the ship, except the stations droid mind who suddenly knew exactly what was going on.
Settling into his seat, Kyrin unstuck from the landing pad, and floated smoothly into the sky.
At this point, the ship automatically transmitted his code cylinders information, and everyone started waking up again, but it was too late.
Yeah, we’re definitely not going to regret this.
Kyrin Sunsetter blasted into the bruised sky, and then into the eternal night of the void, while behind him, the Imperial facility burned, and tapped out a galactic bounty mandate in official, quit fury.