David Scott Winters was born on Corellia 23 years before the Battle of Yavin. His father died in the Clone Wars when Winters was only 3. His father was known as "Stern" Winters, and was a Jedi Knight who was betrayed during the Battle of Qwell near the Outer Rim. Loraine Winters, David's mother died shortly after his birth, due to a fatal disease compounded with the loss of her husband in the wars. Winters was then moved to an orphanage on Corellia, near Coronet where the Winters family used to reside.
At the age of 18, David left the orphanage immediately to pursue a military life in the Imperial Navy. He took a shuttle off Corellia to the nearest Imperial Naval Space Station and enlisted on the spot right there. He went to basic training as part of the not-yet-commisioned 45th Imperial TIE Fighter Squadron, and was the best pilot in his unit. He had an early knack for understanding flight mechanics (especially with TIEs in atmosphere, making him particularly deadly in combat) and spacefighter tactics. Upon making it through basic, his unit commander recommended him and his best friend in the unit, Kyle Tellix, to the Carida Naval Academy which was under the prestigious command of Admiral Clermont Veers. Winters and Tellix endured the grueling curriculum and training schedules, and Winters was one of the top 5 of the Academy's graduating class. Tellix was in the top 10.
Winters impressed Admiral Veers so much by graduating so incredibly quickly, that the Admiral personally inducted Winters and Tellix into his flagship's TIE unit. He commanded the unit overall, and Winters and Tellix were his best pilots. Winters was now 20 years old. Veers was notorious for being ruthless and remorseless. This was apparent to Winters, though he never seemed to think otherwise. It was his duty, as far as he was concerned, to fulfill his task to the best of his ability in order to serve the Empreror and the Empire. It wasn't until Winters and another pilot from his unit happened to get accidentally mixed up in a small stormtrooper patrol of a small village that thinks went downhill in his military career. The patrol found no sign of terrorists, pirates, or Rebel soldiers in the village, yet the very next day, Veers ordered the sqaudron to strafe and utterly destroy the village under the suspicion they were housing undercover Rebel spies. Winters had personally seen the town but worried about publicly voicing his concern. After the first strafing run, Winters saw families attempting to escape into the hills when a few TIEs gunned them down. That was enough, he thought. Throughout the rest of the mission, he strafed empty streets or already destroyed buildings, not wanting to be responsible for the death of innocent civilians. His sense of duty faded that day. During the planet's night cycle he stole his own TIE Fighter and attempted to go AWOL and flee from Veers, the squadron, and the Empire itself. A few of his squadmates on a Combat Air Patrol, however, spotted him leaving and warned him not to disobey orders. When he didn't acknowledge their orders, they fired upon him. He barely made it into the atmosphere of the planet when his starboard solar panel was crippled beyond repair. His TIE took a sickening spiral into a deep, freshwater lake where it almost immediately submerged. The two TIEs on patrol circled the lake twice, reported that the traitor Winters died upon impact and returned to the Star Destroyer.
A small civilan fishing boat, who hadn't seen the aggressor TIEs, thought pirates shot Winters down, and helped rescue him from the lake before he drowned. When Winters was feeling better, he snuck out of the fisherman's home and got on the first shuttle to Tatooine, where he knew he could hide in relative safely. The Empire's presence wasn't particularly strong on Tatooine. Winters was 21 years old.
He restarted his life as a mercenary for hire, and performed a few jobs as an escort for some business men in more untamed areas of the Tatooine wilderness. He never bothered to ask what they were doing or why. He had become desensitized to a degree of the motivations of others. He calloused himself, realizing that the only apparent way to get by in this universe was to be ruthless, and so he was. He acquired the trust and friendship in another wayward human by the name of Warrick Lo. For months Lo and Winters were unseperable until a false bounty tricked them into an ambush. Their quarry was actually their employer, and managed to shoot Warrick Lo in the back four times before Winters crashed his speeder into a rock near a lake and was once more presume dead. Confronted with the loss of his one best friend, Winters drifted from cantina to cantina, trying to find a purpose,a reason for all the suffering in his life.
Two years had passed as a mercenary when he was finally contacted by the Rebellion. They knew of his Imperial TIE Pilot days and of his reputation as a modest mercenary on Tatooine. His skills were exactly what they wanted for their new covert operations squadron called Black Nova. Ground combat skills with fighter pilot skills, and his knowledge of Imperial tactics from Carida and fighter strategies didn't hurt either.
---to be continued---