What of Friends, Indeed

Summary: Novel-Thrawn and Rebels-Thrawn are very different. There is no question that in Rebels, Thrawn favours a crueller, harsher command. Eli Vanto returns from the Ascendancy a year after departing, to find a very changed Thrawn. Eli has questions. He may not like the answers. Oneshot, gen. Thrawn novel and SWR both referenced.

I’ve cross-posted this to FFN as well.

There was always something about Lambda-class shuttles that didn’t quite sit well with Eli Vanto.

Perhaps it is the fact that while most Lambdas are used to ferry troops or personnel, they also conveniently double as prisoner transports; every Imperial officer is well-used to seeing even the most toughened of Space-pirates tremble when the distinctive triangular silhouette of a Lambda shuttle settles down before them.

The harnesses can be locked down, certainly, transforming into prisoner bindings rather than simple crash webbing. And there are no viewports – not like the soaring, panoramic views of a star-destroyer bridge.

But the disquiet that flickers through Eli’s thoughts are not only of this shuttle – perhaps the environment is simply a reflection of the greater battle within his mind.

The Lambda shudders slightly as it drops out of hyperspace.

Eli cannot look through the solid durasteel walls, but he knows that far above the shuttle is the insignia of a many-limbed Chimaera, about to swallow the shuttle whole.

It is strange. Not so long ago, he would have considered it an embrace for a returning warrior.

But he has read the reports given to him – Thrawn is anything but lacking in keeping him updated about the goings-on of the Imperial Navy – and what he has read has…disturbed him.

This Grand Admiral, who brings whole peoples under his control – Ryloth, places further afield; kills factory workmen to make an example – setting a workman on a faulty bike the man has built himself, then edging up the speedometer until the bike explodes, and the man with it; allows an innocent Navy officer to be imprisoned, brutally questioned, and almost executed in order to continue to deceive a Rebel spy – is this Grand Admiral truly the Thrawn Eli knows so well? 

Eli cannot reconcile the Thrawn he knows – with his faint smile, his care for his subordinates, and his horror at the massacre of Batonn – with the Thrawn that he reads about, now.

This emotionless, ruthless Chiss warrior, like the blue-blooded, ice-veined monsters of the Wild Space legends; cunning warriors without compassion.

But this is Thrawn. Surely this cannot be all there is to the story; he must have a plan. He always has. 

Eli closes his eyes. In the duffel by his feet, there is a journal, kept dry and clean in a waterproof cover.

Thrawn is not…Thrawn, without compassion. Had he not written in reference to Batonn that sometimes victory is too much for a warrior to bear? And Botajef – had Thrawn not gone to whatever lengths he could to avoid war, and succeeded?

Had Eli not been there with him, one step behind his shoulder on the Bridge of the Chimaera, from the moment she had been given to them?

The Chimaera.

The roar of the repulsors quiet into a gentle hum as the Lambda settles onto the hangar floor.

And Eli is home. 

The ramp descends with an efficient whirr – the smallest of details are stringently monitored on the Chimaera, as they always have been – and then Eli is faced with the familiar view of one of the star-destroyer’s smaller hangars, situated precisely halfway between the bridge and the officers’ quarters, and so most favoured by Thrawn whenever he had reason to leave or return.

Disappointment rises minutely inside his chest when the small welcoming party comes into view, stood sharply a few paces from the end of the ramp – Faro and a few other officers. Not a trace of blue-skinned Chiss in sight.

Eli pushes down on the disappointment, masters it with a grudging twist.

He cannot expect Thrawn to come and greet him himself. It is not traditional, and even less procedural.

But Thrawn had never been one to adhere to those two things.

The doubt that flickers at the edge of his consciousness rackets up another notch.

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Bodhi Rook/Luke Skywalker prompt

Via thelionmachine on Twitter: I’m just cool with the happy AU where everyone DOESN’T die (handwavium, not explanation required) where Bodhi teaches flying stuff.

Bodhi Rook looked out at the assembled pilots in training and tried to hide his dismay. It wasn’t that he doubted their competence–most of them were already pilots: smugglers, contractors, ore haulers, and others familiar with larger transports. But now that he was pushing thirty standard years, the young ones were beginning to look disturbingly young. Too young to be preparing for a mission against another–

That line of thought had to stop, or else he would never get through this talk. He couldn’t break down in front of a dozen of his students. He closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths. The ship, he told himself. He pictured the shuttle’s controls in his mind, running quickly through the controls from left to right and back again. His hands had stopped shaking, or near enough, so he figured he was okay to start.

“The Imperial Lambda-class T-4a shuttle,” he said, cutting through the pilots’ low chatter. “Built by Seinar Fleet Systems. Immediate successor to Seinar’s Sentinel-class shuttles. Anyone ever flown either?”

Two hands went up. Bodhi noted their faces, both human: one male with dark skin and one female with short red-brown hair. Both wore nondescript gray flight suits and had the defensive posture of Imperial defectors. Bodhi’s old Imperial flight suit was stained and patched in places, but he still wore it as a reminder, though with a few new patches. Few people gave him a second look these days.

But in this group, the other pilots looked at the two with their hands raised suspiciously. Bodhi cleared his threat. “Good. That’s good. We’re all gonna need to be as familiar as possible with this shuttle by the end of the day. I need all the help I can get.” He waved for the pilots to follow him into the stolen shuttle.

The next several hours passed in a blur of schematics, questions, answers, and three test flights assessing the most promising of the recruits. His assessment of the three–the male and female defectors and a pale blue Twi’lek with bright red tattoos on their mangled lekku–would be passed along to General Madine, taking this phase of the mission out of Bodhi’s hands. And with that, the worry was back.

He paced the shuttle’s cockpit, drumming his fingers on his datapad. Now that he wasn’t busy, he was thinking, and thinking meant worry. He hadn’t seen Cassian and Jyn for months, though he’d been assured that they were safe. Chirrut and Baze were likewise busy. Bodhi even missed Kaytoo, though the cantankerous droid was away on the same mission as Jyn and Cassian.

And then there was Luke. Luke Skywalker, last of the Jedi and hero of the Rebellion, the best pilot Bodhi had ever seen, and… what? What were they, even? Bodhi knew what he felt–that Luke was a bright star in the void of space, a navigation point he’d be happy to pilot by for as long as he could. But they had barely spoken since Hoth, and with this second Death Star looming over the Rebellion’s heads–

He stopped the thought harshly, slamming a fist against the Tydirium’s pilot seat. He couldn’t think of this now. He had his own mission, and when Madine gave the go-ahead, he would pilot his own ship and lose himself in that. If he was flying, he was in control. He would be fine.

From the open entry ramp, he heard footsteps. “Shuttle’s off-limits,” Bodhi called without looking, ignoring conveniently that he had been ordered to seal the shuttle and leave as well.


It had to be a trick of his still occasionally malfunctioning mind, Bodhi thought. But he turned anyway, and there Luke was, lingering uncertainly in the entrance. He looked pale and worried, washed out by a black jumpsuit and boots and the docking bay’s harsh lighting. Bodhi took a step toward him, but paused.

“It’s–are you–” He stammered over a few abortive greetings before shaking his head. “Welcome back. Are you back?”

Luke nodded. “Yeah. I’m back.”

Bodhi hesitated. “Are you flying out with…?”

Luke shook his head. “Wedge is leading the Rogues just fine. I’ll be with the strike crew on the ground.” He gave Bodhi a crooked smile. “I wanted to check out the shuttle first. And see if I could find you.” He reached out a hand tentatively.

Just as tentatively, Bodhi took it, feeling the faint clicking of the prosthetic joints beneath Luke’s black glove. He exhaled in relief. “I sent General Madine my pilot recommendations. You’ll be in good hands.”

Luke winced. “About that… we rescued Han. And he wants to pilot.”

Bodhi choked back a strangled curse, then laughed. Luke was back. He’d rescued his friend. Maybe it was a sign that they were going to come out of this alive once more, that he was right to navigate by this particular star. He could believe it for now.

Prompt: A morning kiss or before-mission kiss prompts maybe? Pretty please? ;) For @grexigone

Read it on AO3.

Author’s Note: Er, I did both. And then added an after-mission kiss, too. :)

Jyn woke up slowly in stages of awareness. First, she was aware she was awake, but her eyes were still closed. Then, she was aware of the pleasant temperature of the room and the breeze drifting in through the open window.

           Then, she was aware of the warm body next to her, the one she always woke up next to.


           Jyn smiled and rolled over to snuggle into his bare back. He didn’t stir – he always slept more soundly around her, he said – so she kissed his shoulder and moved down his biceps, dropping little kisses on his warm skin, and then moving up again. His alarm would be going off any minute, and just as he did with her alarm when she had to get up before him, Jyn also tended to wake just moments before his alarm went off. She cherished these moments of quiet, where she could just adore his body without him knowing it.

           I love you, she thought, but he didn’t know it yet.

           Well. He did. But she hadn’t said it yet. She was waiting for just the right time, just as he probably was.

           The alarm finally started beeping, and Cassian woke and turned it off. He slowly turned over in Jyn’s arms and pulled her to him, kissing her neck.

           “Buenas días,” he said sleepily, and yawned. Jyn had noticed that he spoke in Festian when he was too tired to use Basic, even if he’d been bilingual most of his life.

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Following two episodes that focused more on character-building than story, Stealth Strike delves right back into good old fashioned Star Wars action.  A great episode with lots of cool scenes, some very funny bits and the hint of darker times yet to come.  

                                        spoilers spoilers spoilers

The cool - 

  • The Interdictor Cruiser makes it’s first appearance in the new cannon.  This mammoth vessel, with it’s gravity-well weapon system played a pivotal role in many of the extended universe tales and it’s great to see it back in action.  
  • Kanan and Rex work the buddy-cop trope better then anyone.
  • It turns out that Captain Jun Sato is kind of a badass, well known by the upper echelons of Imperial Command.
  • I know it’s been used before, but I’m a sucker for zero gravity combat…
  • Karan works through he prejudice toward Rex to go back and save him.  
  • It turns out Ezra has become significantly more formidable with his lightsaber.

the funny - 

  • The gags are actually pretty funny, but don’t come at the expense of plot pacing.  
  • My favorite bit was Kanan’s exasperated declaration that Stormtrooper armor doesn’t seem to offer any protection whatsoever (hey we’ve all though the same thing).
  • Chopper replaying a halo of Ezra accidentally stunning Rex and Kanan after his desperate attempt to make up a story that it hadn’t happened. 
  • How does the Empire keep on allowing the Rebellion to steal so many of their Lambda Class shuttles??

The Dark - 

  • Whatever compunction the Lothal Rebels had against killing Imperials seems to have dissipated in entirety.  Kanan shoots Stormtroopers point blank with his blasters and there’s a wild scene where Kanan uses his force abilities to pull a group of troopers out from cover so Rex can shote’s off one by one.  Not to mention the countless Imperials who perished when the Interdictor imploded.
  • It may be my imagination, by Ezra is definitely letting his anger and rage aide his quickly developing force powers.  As we all know, this can make for a dangerous path.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Inquisitors, or even Vader himself make a ploy at trying to turn Ezra to the dark side of the force.
  • The Rebels have been getting away scott free for a bit too many episodes as of late.  I have to expect that something terrible is going to happen in order to reestablish the looming sense of peril that has been crucial to just about every Star Wars franchise.  I’m extremely worried that a member of our crew is going to die.  

The bad - 

  • Not a lot of bad.  It’s hard to complain that there wasn’t enough of Hera and Sabine considering they both starred in the previous two episodes.  … but I’ll complain anyways: there was’t enough Hera and Sabine.  Also, poor Zeb has been all but absent throughout much of this season.  And where the heck is Asokah!?

All and all, an excellent episode.  One of the best so far.  What did you all think?