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In the Empire's Service
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In the Empire's Service . A life dedicated to the Imperial Navy and the TIE crafts. . My name is Deacon Zander and I am a TIE fighter pilot serving the Galactic Empire. I joined the Empire shortly after they stopped using clones. I always dreamed to pilot fighters and I can say I was not disappointed. Upon joining I was assigned to the 174th Fighter squadron assigned to the protection of some of the Sienar Fleet Systems manufacturing plants nearby Corulag. While I did not see as many battles as some of my - often fallen comrades - I had the privilege to be among the first Imperial pilots to see and fly over the latest TIE models of Sienar. I perfectly remember the day we discovered the TIE-Ln fighter. It was a true revolution compared to our previous old V-Wings. The design was so radically different and the performances were outrunning any other known fighter back then. I still picture myself listening to our Sergeant Instructor while the first TIE-Ln was delivered into our Landing Bay LL-918 while being containing my impatience. Back then not many people believe in the TIE concept and the hangar bay was mainly deserted except for Reynor Denton, the other pilot assigned with me to test the TIE marvel, our instructor, a couple of engineers, and the usual guards and maintenance droids of all kinds. Many others simply despised that new design and wickedly nicknamed that new fighter “eyeball”. They could not be more wrong. The success of the TIE-Ln was so impressive that Sienar quickly introduced variants. Among them the TIE-Bomber came first and upon its introduction it had already more supporters thanks to the success of the TIE-Ln. I will never forget that day as I stood next to our instructor, welcoming the Bomber pilots and presenting them their new assault ship. I have piloted the TIE-Bomber during its testing phase and escorted many of them later on. While it was quite less manoeuvrable than our TIE-Ln, its carried destructive power remained clearly impressive. One day, I was awakened very early by my comrades. We had an important visitor coming to see the latest prototype from Sienar: Darth Vader himself. He came in person to monitor the progress of Sienar’s researches and developments. The new TIE-Advanced x1 intrigued him as it combined great performances while offering him – or so I supposed – freedom and independency thanks to a modest hyperdrive. Unfortunately, the x1 was not ready to fly when Vader came and one of Sienar’s engineers paid it with his life, choked to death by some mysterious power named the Force. Vader’s little example iced us and none dared moving to help the engineer or even to carry his body away. In fact, none moved an inch until Vader was long gone. After the TIE-Advanced came the glorious TIE-Interceptor. Its performances were even better than our beloved eyeballs while still providing twice more firepower. Some fleet admirals had even come to be among the first to admire the new beast or “squints” as it would soon be known among enemy pilots. Security was tight on that day as many stormtroopers were guarding our LL-918 landing bay. Only permitted Imperial Navy members were authorized to circulate around the new TIE-Interceptor; Imperial Navy personnel and our indefatigable maintenance droids of course. Sinear Fleet Systems produced many great fighters back then. The TIE-Defender was probably the ultimate fighter. It combined both the advantages of the TIE-Ln and Advanced but also provided shielding capabilities and additional firepower including two warhead launchers. These awesome characteristics made it incredibly expensive to produce and quickly the Imperial High Command decided that defender pilots would only be selected from TIE interceptor pilots who had flown at least twenty combat missions and survived. These would be either the best pilots in the Imperial fleet or the luckiest. In any case, they would provide the best return on investment for the Empire. Knowing that we received the best fighter meant that we were among the elite of the Empire and nothing else mattered. We felt invincible on that day. With the war still raging across the Galaxy, Sienar’s next design was way more pragmatic. Our old eyeball was clearly outdated and Sienar released the TIE-Ln MkII. This second version offered slightly improved performances but also provided simplified production process making it cheaper. However and strangely enough, it had slightly greater dimensions. The last design presented to us was preceded by the most important visitor we could expect. Our Emperor honoured us with his presence. We all anticipated another impressive and powerful design from Sienar. Curiosity rampaged through us, especially as this time we were not permitted inside the famous landing bay LL-918. However, we manage to gather on one of the maintenance corridors. And that is where disappointment struck us. We felt betrayed by the introduction of the TIE Droid. On that day, I have seen a veteran pilot with over 50 kills and 100 combat missions crying. Sadly for him, the Emperor noticed it too and he got soon reassigned to disciplinary unit on some backwater planet. I never heard of him anymore.
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