Star Wars: Last Call at the Zero Angle
Author: Jason Fry
With the new Star Wars: Rebels series based during the Rebellion against the Empire, most of the recent short stories found in the Star Wars Insider Magazine have been set during this time period. Star Wars: Last Call at the Zero Angle, by Jason Fry, is also set during this time frame, but offers up a different look at the war.
The story opens at a pilots' club called the Zero Angle. The bartender himself is a war veteran and allows pilots quite a bit of latitude when they party at his club. He knows they need to blow off steam. He also knows when they need to be reigned in a bit, like when the Imperial Army pilots who fight air battles planet-side, known as groundhogs, get into it with vac-heads, pilots that engage from the Imperial Navy's various battle cruisers in deep space.
On this particular night, one such brawl has just been broken up. Bartender Florn reminds the pilots that, no matter where they fly, all have lost people. He points to the memorial wall and pilots on both sides realize they share something in common - they both have knowledge of many of the pilots on the wall. As they start to ruminate on the recent events in which they have lost people and the poor intel provided by the higher ups, a Commander walks in and informs them that the Death Star has been destroyed.
A shocked silence passes through the group. The Death Star space station had been a rumor to them. Realizing that the Death Star was real and that all aboard perished brings on a new sense of unity among the pilots. They are all in this together. They'll have to set differences aside if they are even to have a hope of destroying the rebels.
While we usually read stories of angst and honor among the Rebels fighting for their cause against the evil Empire, Star Wars: Last Call at the Zero Angle offers up the other side of things. Imperial pilots are just like those of the Rebel Alliance in one aspect - they believe they are fighting for the right cause. We often forget that the pilots in the Imperial Army and Navy have families and friends they are missing. It hurts these pilots when they lose people just as much as it hurts the pilots in the rebel squadrons.
This short story shows the human side of the individuals in the Imperial military, something we don't see enough of. That makes s Star Wars: Last Call at the Zero Angle a must read for any Star Wars fan.