Fandom: Star Wars: X-Wing Series
Characters: Wedge Antilles, Wes Janson, Face Loran, Ton Phanan
Disclaimer: Not mine. Non-profit organization.
Summary: "Wedge Antilles, are you actually asking me to perform a prank?"
Author Note: Written for Yuletide 2010 for Suzelle. Set early in the Wraith Squadron series. Unabashedly silly.
Wedge Antilles wiped cleaning foam off his face, trying to ignore the way it stung his freshly-shaved skin. Next to him, Wes Janson frantically shook his head, sending blobs of foam flying in all directions. Wedge didn’t bother to duck.
Thirty seconds ago, they had entered Wedge’s tiny office and been greeted by an explosion of pressurized cleaning foam. The white goop had splattered all over the furniture, walls, floor, and them. Some wires and the remains of a large, plasticine bag—the kind that usually encased ration bars—hung from the ceiling.
Wes ran his hands through his hair again and again, flicking foam off his fingers. “Do you think this stuff is going to bleach our hair?” he asked, a touch of panic in his voice.
Wedge looked at him, blinking. At the small squeak the plasticine made as it reached the limits of its expansion, the instincts Wedge had honed after years of combat and knowing Wes had kicked in, and he’d clamped his eyes and mouth shut just in time. He had foam in his eyelashes, though, and he didn’t want to know how it’d feel in his eyes. “What?”
“This stuff is industrial strength. It’s bleaching the hell out of our uniforms right now, I guarantee it.” Wes’s voice was higher than usual. “Can it do that to our hair? I do not look good with blond hair, Wedge. Trust me.”
Wedge wiped foam off his arm, peering at the fabric underneath. His black flight suit was already turning a sickly, pale orange. Great.
He wiped his hand off on his leg, then pulled his comlink from his pocket. After reporting the “malfunction” and summoning a cleaning crew, he slipped the comlink back into his pocket.
“So,” he said, “theories?”
Wes looked thoughtfully at the ceiling. “Simple, really. Fill the bag with foam, run some wires through the ceiling from the door to the bag, and seal it off. Opening the door sends a jolt of electricity through the foam, which sparks a chemical reaction. Boom.”
Wedge looked at him. “I meant culprits.”
“Oh. Loran and Phanan.”
Wedge nodded. “My guess, too.”
“It’s not a guess.” The door chimed, and Wes pressed the fingers of one hand to his temple and raised the other as though to stop Wedge from speaking. He attempted a solemn, all-knowing look, but it failed as he still had foam on his face. “That’ll be them. Bet you a thousand credits.”
“You don’t have a thousand credits,” Wedge said. He raised his voice. “Come.”
As the door slid open, Wes muttered, “Do too. Just not here.”
Loran and Phanan stood side-by-side in the doorway, mirroring looks of surprise on their faces. The surprise almost hid their amusement.
“What in the Force happened in here?” Phanan asked. “Uh, sir?”
“Did a snow cake explode?” Loran asked.
“What do you want, Flight Officers?” Wedge asked, not bothering to hide his annoyance.
“We wanted to know when training starts today,” Phanan said cheerfully. “We can’t remember.”
“0900,” Wes said. “Like it has for the last week.”
“Right! Of course.” Loran slapped Phanan on the back. “We’d better get to the mess and eat breakfast, then. Unless you need any assistance?” The corner of Phanan’s mouth twitched, but Loran was the definition of innocent concern. Wedge had the childish impulse to smear cleaning foam in his face.
“With what?” he said instead.
Loran blinked, smiled, and said, “See you at 0900, sir.”
The door closed.
“Why aren’t they cleaning this up?” Wes asked. “Or getting kitchen duty? Or torturous, morally-laden Antilles lectures or demerits or something?” He looked around the room and muttered something about a mirror. His hands clutched his hair.
“Demerits?” Wedge repeated. “This isn’t the Taanabian youth cor—what do you mean, ‘torturous, morally-laden Antilles lectures’?”
Wes’s disdainful look was somehow more effective in his disheveled, blotched state. “You know exactly what I mean. You can out-talk an Old Republic senator when you’ve got the moral high ground.”
Wedge glared at Wes, but as usual, it had no effect. “They’re not getting demerits because I have a better idea for them.”
Wes brightened. “Shooting them?”
“No.” Wedge moved around his desk and picked up his datapad. A large glob of foam had landed on the screen, but once he wiped it away with his sleeve, the ‘pad seemed fine. He turned it on and it immediately glowed up at him.
Wes gave up his search for a reflective surface and came to stand next to him. “Okay, I’m intrigued. What are you thinking?”
Wedge indicated the tattered strips of plasticine hanging from the ceiling with his chin. “You know how they did this?”
“Can you rig something similar, but on a much larger scale, in their quarters?”
Wes’s eyes widened. “Wedge Antilles, are you actually asking me to perform a prank?”
Wedge found the file he wanted and pulled it up. “I’m authorizing it. Tell me what you need, and it’s yours.” Wes’s mouth fell open a little, and Wedge smirked and showed him the requisition form. “Welcome to pranking with resources.”
Wes whistled. “So much for the moral high ground.”
Face Loran tried to wipe cleaning foam off his face, but his hands were coated in it as well, so he only succeeded in making the layer covering his face a little thinner. He carefully opened his eyes, too stunned to do anything beyond stare at the nightmare around him.
Somehow, the quarters he shared with Ton Phanan had been completely filled with cleaning foam, floor to ceiling. When Ton had opened the door a few seconds ago, a huge wave of it had crashed over them, completely coating them in foam.
To Face’s right, Ton coughed once, then more forcefully. Face opened his mouth and took a tentative breath. Chemicals stung his throat, and he fought down a cough. They stood almost waist-deep in white, sticky goop, which oozed rapidly down the corridor in either direction.
“This feels strangely familiar,” Ton said, his voice hoarse.
“Yeah,” Face agreed.
“I’m going to make a wild guess that we are the victims of revenge.”
Face nodded. He’d heard about Lieutenant Janson’s reputation for mischief, of course, but he hadn’t expected retaliation at this level. The shock started to wear off, and Face couldn’t help feeling a little impressed.
Face closed the door to their quarters, trapping what was left of the foam inside, though he wasn’t sure why he bothered. The foam in the corridor had spread out enough that it only reached their knees. Face shifted his feet and felt something squelch in his boots.
“Loran! Phanan!” a voice barked. “Explain yourselves.”
Face briefly closed his eyes and turned toward Commander Antilles. He heard Phanan do the same, foam squeaking as he moved. The commander and his XO stood at the far end of the hall. Face saluted, ignoring the blob of foam that fell off his hand.
“It would appear,” Lieutenant Janson said, “that whoever sabotaged your office has struck again, Wedge.”
“Hmm.” Antilles glowered at Phanan, then Face, then down at the foam creeping up his ankles. “How unfortunate.”
“And coincidental,” Janson added cheerfully.
Antilles lifted one foot, shook it, then set it back in the foam with a squish. “Do you think our mysterious saboteur has more pranks planned, Wes?”
Janson shook his head. “Oh, no, not after this. I suspect he—or they—“
“Or she,” Antilles said.
“Or she—has realized the error of his or their or her ways.”
Antilles nodded. “I certainly hope so. Imagine how horrific the consequences would be if they were to continue.”
Janson sighed sadly and looked up at the ceiling. Antilles stared evenly at Face, who couldn’t help swallowing.
“Sir,” Face said weakly. Ton echoed him.
Antilles checked his chronometer. “It’s nearly 2100. Good thing this corridor and the affected quarters will be returned to their original state by 0800 tomorrow morning.” He let his arm fall back to his side. “Isn’t that right, Flight Officers Loran and Phanan?”
Apparently taking their stunned expressions as agreement, Commander Antilles grimaced again at the substance sticking to his boots, turned, and strode off.
Lieutenant Janson followed, pausing at the corner of the corridor junction to say, “You’d better get it out of your hair, and quick.” He raised his eyebrows as though imparting some deep meaning, then flashed them a bright, delighted grin and disappeared.
“Did that just happen?” Ton asked. “I mean, did what I think just happened really just happen?”
“I think so,” Face said.
“Which means Commander Antilles actually…”
“So it would seem. Either that, or all the fumes we’re inhaling are causing hallucinations.”
Ton looked down at himself, then examined the hallway. “This hallucination is going to take us lightyears to clean up.” Face watched him lift a hand and press the panel to open the door to their quarters. A languid wave of foam sloshed out, licking at their knees as it spread itself over the foam already filling the corridor. “I’d give my other eye to know how they did it.”
Face looked at him.
“Okay,” Ton amended. “Maybe my eyelashes.”
Face sighed and rubbed a hand over his hair, sputtering as the movement sent an impressive amount of foam sliding down his face. “No more pranking the commander,” he said once he’d cleared his breathing passages. “Or the lieutenant.”
“Agreed,” Ton said. He looked around again, confusion evident even through the white substance coating his face.
“What?” Face asked.
“Where do we find a bucket?”