FSP 37: Components 1The room smelled like oil and sweat, two of Jaan’s favorite things. Today, the cadets were carefully cataloging the N-1 engine parts as they finished dismantling it. The hyperdrive control unit plates were lined up neatly, nothing like the sprawl of pieces in a Coronet City chopshop, but closer to home than the bleached bone hallways of the rest of the training compound. He almost felt nostalgic. Almost.“Permission to speak?” 5194 asked, glancing up from the plate channels he was cataloguing.“Shoot.” “We aren’t going to be flying with a Monarc C-4 hyperdrive. That’s not in the sim-”“So why are you learning how to take the drive apart and put it back together again?” Jaan finished the question for the kid. The rest of the boys stopped what they were doing to wait for an answer. They probably all had the same question. Creepy little buggers thought alike more often than not. “Yes sir.” 5194 straightened a little and put his hands behind his back. Jaan grinned. “Good question. It’s like this, little selba. If you know how a thing works, you can understand why it does what it does. Get the most out of it. True for an N-1 with the Monarc hyperdrive or anything else you end up piloting.” The sergeant gave a half shrug, “If you can do that, you just might get lucky enough to fly a Morningstar C class.” He fumbled with the holo display, finally pulling up the Morningstar in its full glory. “Now that’s a starfighter. Rides smooth, turns fast, and firepower to take out what you can’t run from. If you know what you’re doing in the cockpit, anyway.”The cadets looked sufficiently impressed. All except for 5194, who clearly still had a question.“Sir?”Jaan was tempted to tell him to shut up and get back to it, but with this crew he had to watch his mouth. They took everything as an order. So he just waved his hand, encouraging the little sprite to speak.“I thought we’d be flying Z-95s. That’s what we practiced in our sims. And they don’t have a hyperdrive.”“And all this is in our flash anyway,” 0901 added. That cadet had a big mouth.“We’ll go over the Z-95 too. Just gotta source the pieces. It’s easier to get the left overs.” Jaan shrugged. It’d been skragging hard to talk the Kaminoans into this little exhibit. Fish-men didn’t seem to understand a good soldier knew his gear, and gear was a lot more than your armor and gun. The sergeant glanced over at 0901. “And you, big mouth, if you think flash is as good as real, why don’t you flash dinner instead of going to the mess? Is that the same? Think you get the taste, the feel, of a thing in flash? You think you know it, same as you put hands on it? If that’s the case, why are you even here? Why have training at all?”0901’s shoulders slumped. From one of these kids, that was as close to a sobbing tantrum as you got. Jaan sighed. “Look, flash is great for getting the names, and where things’r supposed to be. But seeing the real deal, it’s always a little different. If it’s a real old thing, it can be a lot different.” He paused, hitting on an idea. His training sessions often went off plan. “Why don’t you all write up a catalog of differences you found in this hyperdrive and why you think it got like that. Best explanation gets bonus time in the Z-95 sim, special mission.” It was the best prize Jaan could think of. Bonus fly time in a world with blue sky, green grass, no rain, and no fishmen. His cadets seemed to agree, what with the sudden smiles and the quiet exchange of whispers between squadmates. The boys set to their work with a little more energy now, and the afternoon passed beautifully. When they finished, Jaan sent them to the ‘freshers. They’d have just enough time to make mess hall if they ran. When the room stopped echoing with the sound of synchronous little boots, he slumped onto a stool and stared at the reassembled Monarc C-4. Damn thing would probably work if he stuck it back in an N-1. It was scary to be teaching kids smarter than you. He fingered the small scar behind his ear. Real scary.Lately, it had taken all his wiles to keep the cadets largely unaware of the boiling tensions in the training center. They had a nose for trouble, they did. But there was no sense letting the boys get worried. Training would go on as always, one day rolling into the next right up until the moment it didn’t. The thought made Jaan wince as he remembered his own two boys, 9343 and 8280, going down in the simulation room. Simulation. That was a joke right there. Real weapons, real damage, and real dead trainees. Some of the sergeants tried to get the training regs changed, stop using live rounds on five year olds - or ten year olds, whichever. Jaan knew it was a failed notion from the first complaint he heard though. Boss Fett had made his opinion perfectly clear. Fact was, live fire training was the law laid down and you could take it or take it. Didn’t matter that cadet losses were going up and squad transfers were a mess. Skragging Terapak was working the angles for more influence amidst the chaos, whatever good that did. He was already the head of the non-Mandolorian sergeants, but for a man like Roddy Terapak that wasn’t enough. He’d pry and poke and squeeze as much out of the situation as he could. That was how the Colonel did business. For Jaan, it was all one big pain to deal with. He tried to avoid what he could, but some things landed in his lap whether he liked it or not. Like his two newest recruits. They’d gotten dropped on him from nowhere, replacements for 9343 and 8280. They were good kids - cadets, he reminded himself - but they were a bit stiff, like real little soldiers. They were forever asking permission for everything. 5194 and 5730 both felt the need to inform and request, and it was always ‘sir’ even when no one was looking. He supposed it could be worse. At least the newbies wouldn’t get him in trouble with Terapak or Fett, slipping up and using his name in public. Or worse, getting an ab-flag over a little innocent asset procurement. He wasn’t sure how many of those you had to get to end up reconditioned. “Ought to check on that,” he muttered. It was important. So far, out of his 100 he’d lost two to live fire practice but not a one to reconditioning. That possibility made him uneasy. It had taken time and effort to untrain some of those bad flash-learned habits and he had no desire to start again. It might even be harder the second time around.Jaan locked the hangar up when he left and went to quarters. It would be another night of Terapak classics, heavy drinking recommended. It was a near nightly ritual for the Corellian training sergeants, at the unspoken request of their commander, the one and only Roddy Terapak. Jaan considered begging off for work, but the Colonel would make him pay for it later if he did. Roddy didn’t appreciate people who didn’t enjoy his jokes, his stories, or his general presence. Especially when those people were Jaan Vilnemer, former CorSec Special Ops, dishonorable discharge.