revenge is an end not a beginning

Cut my resources then put pressure on me to complete a project a month ahead of schedule?

Hi, so firstly a bit of background. I work as part of an evil empire (multinational corporate) and am the lead continuous development and change analyst in charge of a medium sized project.

So at the beginning of December I completed my initial review for a major part of what is to be delivered and advised that it would take until end of January with my current operational resource to complete some of the required actions from the back of it. I also highlighted that I should be given additional 2 full time people to get it completed before January.

Did I get people? Nope.

Did they take a person away from me because “they didn’t seem to be doing that much”? Yep.

Bear in mind this was being done by two people not in my reporting chain and above me on the food chain, so I couldn’t scream blue murder about it.

Last Monday (19th) they pulled me into a meeting and basically gave me a bollocking because “you are putting blockers in place which affect our year end figures” (they actually mean their incentives by this and realised it would affect them when trying to work out how much they would get) and I needed to get things done by the end of the month.

Right. Fuck you guys, you want to see what that guy was doing? You think you are my boss? (my boss was fucking livid and she is cold decking each of their enhancement requests as soon as she is back in office.)

By the end of day Tuesday I advised that I would have a full plan for acceleration of the project ready for review and sign off. But they would need to be available to for a meeting on Friday 23 (today, last working day before Christmas when they were both planning to slope off early for a few drinks)

They didn’t really like it, but they could hardly refuse as I was giving them what they wanted.

Do you think it’s all over?

I book the meeting time for 12. Aren’t I nice, going to let them work through lunch and still get to the pub.

If you have heard the phrase “Death by PowerPoint” then you might think you know what is about to happen.

46 slides with example investigations into issues found in minute and boring detail.

A line by line review of a twelve page document.

At 16:30 with only a fifteen minute break, they had had no lunch. They had glazed eyes. They agreed to the process outline.

Do you think it’s over now?

I then offered to go through the addendums, or if they wished they could take them home and review them, but if I could get an answer before 10 pm today, as I wanted to turn my phone off for the Christmas period and I’d need to get the ball rolling first thing Wednesday. (this was the riskiest part of my plan)

They gratefully said they would study the addendums at home as they knew it was getting late.

I got the messages from both of them within a few minutes of 9:50, all approved.

Lets take a vote? Do you think they read them?

I know they didn’t, the addendums promise me 18 full time operation staff over the next week and given the holiday period the department will fail to meet other BAU targets which has a direct impact on their incentive.

I’ve forwarded the sign offs with the documents attached to my boss who is going to “raise a concern” that this level of manpower was agreed without referring to their boss, with their boss, on Wednesday. She is also going to raise a concern about the tone of meetings they have had with me and the behaviour they have displayed.

Now it’s over.

Order to watch Star Wars: from beginning to end (2016)

- Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
- Episode 2: Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars Rebels
- Rouge One
- Episode 4: A New Hope
- Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back
- Episode 6: Return of the Jedi
- Episode 7: The Force Awakens

I was re-watching Star Wars and I thought it was interesting that from the very beginning Obi-Wan doubted Anakin and didn’t think he should be trained.

And all throughout Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan kept telling everyone that Anakin was arrogant and not ready to be on his own.

And yet, by the end of Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan was the most hurt by Anakin’s betrayal.

About the Challenge & Rules

Message us to claim your Reason. First come, first Serve.

And remember, It can be a short drabble or a longer fic. It doesn’t have to be explicit at all, you can end the scene before the smutty parts begin, just as long as the story involves the characters having sex for the reason listed

50 Reasons to Have (Richonne) Sex:

1.  Because you can’t get to sleep

2. Make-up sex *CLAIMED*

3. Break-up sex

4. Your friend told you about a new position

5. Revenge *CLAIMED*

6. Rebound *CLAIMED*

7. Paratrooping/Bangin’ for roof *CLAIMED*

8. Nothing good on TV *CLAIMED*

9. Because you’re in a hotel

10. Curiosity

11. It’s raining *CLAIMED*

12. It’s halftime

13. Diet/exercise

14. Celebrate recent weight loss

15. You finally get to show your childhood bed some action

16. Prom night

17. You’re already at their place and don’t want to have to move your car

18. Show off new lingerie

19. Celebrate major victory by favourite team and/or political candidate

20. Your chance to do it in a specific location (ex: airplane, Burger King bathroom) *CLAIMED*

21. To prove we’re not in a rut

22. Stress relief *CLAIMED*

23. Just shaved legs *CLAIMED*

24. Forgot to buy a birthday present *CLAIMED*

25. “Let’s get it on” by Marvin Gaye is playing on the radio *CLAIMED*

26. Celebrating the joy of life after a near-death experience *CLAIMED*

27. Your one chance with a celebrity

28. Time an egg

29. To avoid cleaning, studying or work of any kind

30. She wants to *CLAIMED*

31. It’s cold outside *CLAIMED*

32. Cheer someone up (pity)

33. Keeping up with the neighbours

34. Your roommate is out of town and you can do it on the couch *CLAIMED*

35. Some very protected sex to celebrate the fact I’m not/We’re not/you’re not pregnant

36. Practice

37. They have air conditioning and you don’t

38. Because he/she is from one of the countries you haven’t had sex with a person from yet

39. “Damn, your calves look good in those cargo shorts” sex

40. Called/texted the wrong person but she was into it anyway

41. To make a baby *CLAIMED*

42. Breaking in a new apartment *CLAIMED*

43.  Because he said he loves you and you’re not ready to say it back yet

44. Wingman diving on the friend grenade

45. Your condoms are about to expire *CLAIMED*

46. It’s getting a little hard

47. Miscommunication (Cheetos sex)

48. To reinforce good behaviour (such as shaving& dental hygiene)

49. To change the subject

50. Love <3 *CLAIMED*

This is very random, but here. In the canon Kuro universe, demons exist as well as reapers. You become a reaper if you end your own life. So, for this topic’s sake, let’s say there is a heaven. Now, even more so, let’s say that somewhere down the road, the rapture or any Armageddon of sorts begins and the world is coming to an end.

So, early one morning, Sebastian is preparing the tea, opens the curtains of a downstairs parlor and sees dark clouds, fire, smoke somewhere, basically total chaos. “Ah… Well, this is troublesome.”

And so then Sebastian now has to race to take Ciel and find his captors and help him get his revenge and fulfill the contract before the world is destroyed. Everything is coming undone around them as they travel, nothing matters anymore, not the queen, not the mansion, just the two of them. Sebastian helping Ciel through this world of destruction as they track down the ones that humiliated Ciel, discover many hidden truths now with society basically ruined and find solace in nothing else but each other and the contract that keeps them bound. Not only that but now Sebastian has to find the captors before they are killed themselves within the madness of it all. The clock is ticking, the world is burning and the two of them are all they have left, for now and forevermore. 

And with the World ending, Ciel will be the last soul Sebastian will ever consume. The perfect ending.

Reblog if you are a Star Wars roleplayer primarily based in the Imperial Era

Movies: Star Wars: Rebels, Rogue One, any books or comics set between the end of Revenge of the Sith and the beginning of A New Hope

Potential Muses: Ahsoka, Vader, Leia, Erso family, Krennic, Tarkin, OCs, etc

Other Lists: All Star Wars & Old Republic & Prequel Trilogy & Imperial Era & Original Trilogy & Sequel Trilogy & EU Books

You Owe Me.

Anon asked: Hey! I’ve got a (long, I’m so sorry) idea that could maybe fit your writing, so I’ll put it there if you don’t mind ! So in the beginning of the Revenge of the Sith novelization, there is this long description of Anakin and Obi-Wan basically being rock-stars and being admired from all the corners of the universe. I had this idea of bar-owner!reader, very unimpressed when her customers talks about it and being all like “Hey, they are perhaps good at fighting but they won’t pay your tabs.” And maybe she’s ranting about collegues that got their bar ruined because those damned heroes just ended up chasing an assassin there and destroyed half the furniture, frightening the clients. Of course (won’t be funny otherwise !) they hear about it and try to prove her wrong. Anakin or Obi-Wan-centric, or both, as you like ! Argument, flirting, sass battle, negociations (agressive or not), your choice ! (Thank you for reading that very long stuff and have a nice day of course ! <3)

Author: Zoe

(A/N: I’m glad it was not too long, actually! Nice and specific, plus a good prompt idea! I decided to make this one Obi-Wan-centric because I’m going to get started on tons of Anakin prompts shortly!)

Plot Summary: All you care about is just running your bar. That’s it. Not too much drama in that, right? Well, that is until two highly-known jedi make their weekly rounds trashing and destroying everything while chasing criminals that always use your bar as a gateway. Seriously, are they going to reimburse you or something? This is just getting ridiculous.

Originally posted by xskywalkersx

“Jedi scum! You’re no match for me!”

Great. Another day on the job, and you’ve got another Sith rookie on the run.

“What’s going on, boss?” You turned to your new employee, a part-timer named Artell. Young man, very nice, but not yet ‘informed’ of the events that unfold at your bar every so often.

“Hold on, Art… In three…two…one…” Two jedi burst into the bar as one of your tables flew at them, towards the bar as you and your employee narrowly missed it, customers looking on in sheer wonder.

“Oh my god, that’s Obi-Wan Kenobi! And Anakin Skywalker!?”

 “In the bar, actually fighting!?”

“This is incredible.” Artell mused, looking like a boy on his birthday.

“Say all you want, Artell. They’re heroes, sure. But they waltz in, fight off more Dark Side sympathizers, have a short pow-wow, and go out the door they broke getting in. Leaving yours truly to clean up and pay the fees for them practically burning and breaking my stuff.”

“Oh…”

As you were ranting, the two jedi burned several of your booths, as their opponent ran across your counter, knocking over several glasses and expensive liquors, Obi-Wan and Anakin following suit while the patrons cheered on.

Keep reading

I don’t know about you guys but I actually loved the ending of PTSDee when its revealed that Dee was really just trying to get revenge for Mike saying he was her rock bottom. I loved it because near the beginning of the episode Dee says she is the type of woman who “makes men’s lives better” which is pretty cringey and gross. And for a part of the episode Dee really is trying to fulfill this gross societal role placed on women that we have to “stand by our man” and “be a rock” and “behind every great man is a woman” or whatever and eventually she just goes fuck this and gets her revenge in the darkest way possible WHILE also highlighting the sexism of the whole situation. Mike’s rock bottom should be that he didn’t even recognize his own daughter and fucking humped her face. Dee couldn’t have done what she did if Mike was a part of his daughter’s life or at the very least knew what she looked like for fucks sake.

Dee has always been a character that defiantly does not adhere to the expectations placed on women and her eventual rejection of the “be a rock for your man” role for women was the best display of that I’ve seen on the show in a long time.

Arachnids (Peter Parker x Reader)

Originally posted by heyfunniest

AN: I just wrote this at 2am and it was funny at the time.

“Y/N! Help me!” You hear Peter’s panicked shouts and immediately begin to worry as you rush to his room.

You knew he was Spider-man, so you obviously thought the worst. Had Doctor Octopus found out Spider-mans true identity, now attacking Parker for revenge?! Did Norman Osborn come here to end Spider-man once and for all?!

You sprinted to his room (you were obviously worried for him because you never sprint), and pushed open the door. You were relived to see that there was no villain in sight. 

Instead you find Peter standing on his bed with absolute fear in his eyes, as he frantically points to the ground. You look to what he’s pointing at and see a spider the size of your hand, crawling around on his bedroom floor. 

You laugh hysterically, bending over to try and catch your breath. Spider-man was scared of spiders! You were never going to let Parker live this down. The situation was hilarious, until it started to move towards you, making you remember that you were petrified of spiders .You screamed and jumped next to Peter on the bed, both of you holding onto each other for dear life. 

“Why can’t you get rid of it Parker? You’re the Spider-guy! You’re basically a bug anyway!” 

“Spider’s aren’t bugs Y/N they’re arachnids!” This caused you to roll your eyes.

“That’s besides the point. How is Spider-man afraid of spiders?!” Peter ignored your comment and screamed, wrapping his arms around you as the spider started to move towards the bed.

May comes rushing in hearing all the commotion. However, once she see’s the situation in front of her she sighs. “Teenagers.”

FUBAR

Summary: You and Bucky are returning from a mission and can’t wait until you get to the tower to heat things up… but it doesn’t end the way either of you thought it would…

Based on the following request:

So it’s sort of like the sex scene in “Show me how rough” I think. Bucky and the reader are having sex in the plane and they have to be very quiet. BUT there’s orgasm denials for both of them…..then later at night, they have revenge on each other?

Author: buckysplums14

Pairings: Bucky x Reader

Word Count: 1672

Warnings: mission at the beginning, language, SMUT, unprotected sex, orgasm denial

You ran back to the Quinjet, the building behind you coming down in the explosion.

“We gotta get outta here, Cap!” Sam yelled in the com as he flew above you.

“Everyone get back to the jet, the mission’s FUBAR at this point!” you heard Steve say into the com.

Suddenly there were gunshots on your left and you saw Hydra agents falling to the ground. You stopped and looked over to your other side to see who’d saved your life.

You felt your heart drop in your chest and sighed… it was your boyfriend, always watching your back.

“Thanks Bucky.”

“Let’s get moving!” he ran over to you and grabbed your arm, both of you heading back to the jet. As you approached bullets flew past your heads and Steve stood at the entrance, shooting past you and screaming:

“C’mon! Let’s go!”

“We’re-“ Bucky was interrupted when a bullet grazed his calf and he turned around to shoot the Hydra agents on your tail. “We’re moving as fast as we can, asshole!”

You both got in and Steve closed the door behind you. “Sam, I’ve got ‘em. Take us up!”

The jet took off and after a few minutes you were all safe again.

Keep reading

Some common Nordic deities

AEGIR - God of the sea, brewing, prosperity, sailors, and weather.

AUDHUMLA - Goddess of motherhood, child-rearing, and home crafts.

Associated with the cow.

BALDUR/BALDER - God of the sun, reconciliation, gentleness, reincarnation, and harmony.

FREYJA/FREYA - Mistress of cats and a shapeshifter. Goddess of love, sex, childbirth, enchantments, wealth, trance, wisdom, good luck, fertility, writing, and protection.

Associated with the horse, cat, and amber.

FREYR/FREY - The god of Yule. God of fertility, love, abundance, horses, sailors, happiness, and weather.

Associated with the boar.

HEIMDALL - God of the rainbow, beginnings and endings, and defense against evil.

Associated with the bridge.

HEL - Queen of the Underworld. Revenge, fate, and karma.

IDUNN/IDUN - Goddess of immortality, youth, and long life. 

Associated with the apple.

LOKI - A trickster and shapechanger. God of earthquakes, fire, cunning, deceit, daring, and revenge.

Associated with the wolf and snake.

NJORD - God of the sea, fishing, sailors, prosperity, and journeys.

ODIN/ODHINN - King of the Gods. God of runes, poetry, magick, divination, storms, rebirth, knowledge, weather, justice, and inspiration.

Associated with the wolf and raven.

THOR/THORR - Protector of the common person. God of thunder, storms, law and order, strength, weather, and trading voyages.

Associated with the goat, oak, and lightning.

TYR - The bravest of the gods. God of victory, justice, the law, honor, and athletes.

Conway on the Norse pantheon - a selection from The Little Big Book of Magic.

In the artbook of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith there is a concept art of Anakin and Obi-Wan interrupting their deadly duel to unite one last time to fight Mustafar beast.

It’s such a pity that this scene wasn’t shot. It would have end the questions like “Whether Anakin and Obi-Wan really wanted to kill each other since the very beginning of their duel?“

9

Got to ride The Riddler’s Revenge at Six Flags a few days ago and let me tell you, it does not disappoint. Never one to be scared of getting on a ride, this one gave me butterflies from beginning to end. It’s plain to see why Riddler’s line was by far the longest of the three of them.

Not only was the ride enjoyable but the pathway to it was riddled with…well riddles. While most of them were basic level riddles I was happy to see how many of these were taken from the old Batman tv series. The park also did a fantastic job hiding the answers on the side of the platforms as to not give away the riddles until you’ve moved on to the next.

the real reason chara kills flowey

(undertale spoilers)

there are many different reasons why chara may have chosen to end flowey’s life at the end of the genocide route, but only a few truly make sense. after all, the player is never given any input when it comes to flowey’s death – chara chooses to slaughter him all on their own.

SOURCES:
genocide route: new home / flowey’s story
pacifist route: ruins / asriel’s confession


here is a rundown of all the possibile reasons chara kills flowey:

  1. flowey attempted to kill frisk (whose body chara shares) at the beginning of the game. 

    genocide route: new home / flowey:
    When I saw you in the RUINS, I didn’t recognize you.
    I thought I could frighten you, then steal your SOUL.
    I failed.

  2. flowey’s “kill or be killed” speech near the end of the genocide route suggests that he might be a threat to chara in the future. 

    genocide route: new home / flowey:
    Even after all this time…
    You’re still the only one that understands me.
    You won’t give me any worthless pity!
    Creatures like us…
    Wouldn’t hesitate to KILL each other if we got in each other’s way.

  3. after flowey realizes chara is going to kill him, flowey warns asgore in hopes of stopping or slowing chara down. had asgore listened to flowey, this last second betrayal could have sabotaged chara’s efforts.

    genocide route: asgore:
    Curious.
    I’ve never seen a plant…
    Cry before.
    … huh?
    You must be the one that flower just warned me about.


  4. flowey destroyed asgore’s soul to “help” chara, which ultimately cut off chara’s only way out of the underground.

  5. asriel ruined chara’s plan and got them both killed when he refused to harm humans.

although it could be a little of all of these reasons, number 4 and 5 are probably the most likely candidates. let’s expand upon those two reasons.


4.) chara kills flowey because flowey destroyed asgore’s soul to “help” chara, which ultimately cut off chara’s only way out of the underground.

in a last desperate effort to save himself, flowey  destroys asgore’s soul and claims that everything – all of his recent behaviour – had just been a trick. he tries to convince chara that he’s still on their side despite what he’d said and done only shortly before.

he wasn’t really pleading for help from asgore.

he wasn’t really doubting chara in any way.

it is an act that chara can most likely see through easily. flowey made it clear that he was terrified of chara, and he had nothing left to offer chara anyway; he had outlived his puzzle-solving use. 

for whatever reason, flowey chooses to destroy asgore’s soul. not only had flowey become useless to chara, his actions prevented chara from reaching the surface in this route. now, it’s possible chara may have not wanted asgore’s boss monster soul, but flowey’s interference was unnecessary and unprompted, limiting chara’s options.


5.)  chara kills flowey because asriel ruined chara’s plan and got them both killed when he refused to harm humans.

back when they were still alive, chara’s plan involved using asriel to absorb their soul, become a powerful beast, and destroy humans, under the guise of bringing chara’s body to the golden flowers they wanted to see. then asriel would absorb six more human souls to become godlike. it is unknown whether chara intended to have the rest of humanity wiped out after that. it is also unknown whether chara had any idea that they’d remain conscious inside of asriel once their soul was absorbed.

it turns out that chara and asriel had split control over asriel’s body once he absorbed chara’s soul.

in the end, chara wanted to use their “full power” to destroy the humans from the village. however, asriel couldn’t bring himself to harm anyone – instead, he was able to will the body to smile and then walk back to the underground, carrying chara’s body with him. sharing a body, they both met their end in the garden. 

it makes sense that chara, who planned meticulously and died in the worst way possible for the sake of the plan, would have been extremely annoyed when asriel suddenly pulled the plug on it. all of chara’s efforts were wasted and they ended up dead. flowey seems to come to this conclusion as well.

“back then” most likely refers to when asriel got them both killed. immediately afterwards, flowey tells chara to back off and that “this isn’t a good idea anymore”. as it turns out, chara heard asriel say something very similar on their deathbed:

chara probably didn’t feel like trusting flowey and making the same mistake twice. it is likely that chara saw asriel’s choice as the ultimate betrayal. it is feasible, then, that this betrayal might be the reason chara wants to eradicate monsters now, too – or, at least, it may have been what caused chara to feel indifferent about the monsters’ slaughter. perhaps asriel became just another thing that chara felt the need to take revenge against.


TL;DR

what if the reason chara kills flowey so mercilessly (after flowey cries and begs them not to kill him) is actually because asriel ruined chara’s plan? 

after chara almost had their revenge against humanity – a revenge they died a slow and agonising death to achieve – asriel was the one who stopped chara from killing any humans. asriel got himself and chara (both sharing the same body) killed in the process, completely wasting chara’s efforts. asriel’s kindness was the reason the plan failed. and in the end, flowey’s offer to "be useful” to chara was too little too late. 

Jeremy (MTV Unplugged 1992)
  • Jeremy (MTV Unplugged 1992)
  • Pearl Jam
  • Ten
Play

“It came from a small paragraph in a paper which means you kill yourself and you make a big old sacrifice and try to get your revenge. That all you’re gonna end up with is a paragraph in a newspaper. Sixty-four degrees and cloudy in a suburban neighborhood. That’s the beginning of the video and that’s the same thing in the end; it does nothing … nothing changes. The world goes on and you’re gone. The best revenge is to live on and prove yourself. Be stronger than those people. And then you can come back.”

“…It’s a bit about this kid named Jeremy and it’s also a bit about a kid named Brian that I knew and I don’t know…the song, I think it says a lot. I think it goes somewhere…and a lot of people interpret it different ways and it’s just been recently that I’ve been talking about the true meaning behind it and I hope no one’s offended and believe me, I think of Jeremy when I sing it.“                   

Eddie on “Jeremy”

To my boss - I can see this eating you alive.

My boss (we’ll call him Steve) is one of those guys who’s always attached to his email. Whether he’s at his desk or answering them from his phone, he will stop the conversation immediately and read the email. No warning. The sound will go off, he’ll stop mid-sentence, read and reply to every email. This annoys me. A lot. While going over a very important project (well into the $40-$50 million dollar range and long-term), I’m briefing him on talking points and covering the power point on the projector. A few slides in, he gets an email. Immediately Steve pulls out his phone and begins reading and replying. I’ve dealt with this for years, and this is where the revenge begins.

I’m on slide 6, and while he’s buried in his phone, I progress the slide to 13 and patiently wait for him to end. He looks up, oblivious to my trickery. Mind you, he has to present this within a few hours to top-tier business management, and this a project that we’ve been working on for months. I finish briefing him on the rest of the slides, we take lunch, and eventually the guests arrive for their briefing. Steve’s taking charge of the meeting, and I retreat to my office, where I can still clearly watch the presentation but don’t have to participate.

Steve’s hob-knobbing, talking our guests up, laughing and joking. As he’s talking to one particular VP, he gets an email, and in normal sh*t-lord fashion, he stops mid conversation and reads it. The VP did not like this, not one bit. He interrupts Steve’s email reply with a hand wave and a, “let’s continue.” This is where I get my second idea for revenge.

Eventually Steve gets to the power point presentation, yammering on like he’s the one who spent all the time on the fancy fly-in’s, formatting, research, etc… Until he gets to slide 7. I can see him pause, break his jovial manner, and begins reading word for word what’s on the slide. He’s no longer chipper and poised, he’s floundering. Little does Steve know that I’m about to launch an email war on his psyche that he is ill prepared for. See, since I’ve been in my office, I’ve been collecting all the emails that came in that needed replies, drafted the replies, and have them sitting on my desktop. I’ve CC’d Steve to every one of them, because I’m just that good of an employee. As he skips to the next slide, I send the first email. I hear his phone jingle. He pauses and instinctively reaches for his phone, throwing him off his presentation. He looks around, and then continues. A minute later, I send the next email, then after a short pause, the next… And the next… I can see him sweating bullets, his brain imagining some catastrophic failure somewhere in our building, in shipping, in product sourcing, etc… But he can’t check his emails without breaking from the presentation and pissing off the executives.

It’s still going on. I have about 8 more emails to send, and he has about a hour until he’ll be able to slink away and cower over his phone like Gollum holding the one ring.

I’m glad I went to work today.

Updates:

Keep reading

What if, though. What if.

What if Rukh, when presented with Thrawn’s supposed treachery, actually finishes thinking things through rather than jumping to the conclusion that he and his people have been unfairly taken advantage of solely for Thrawn’s use and abuse. What if he begins to realize, at the very same time he is plotting his revenge assassination, that it was not Thrawn who poisoned their world, not he who brought in the kholm grass, but his predecessors and the very ones the Noghri swore loyalty to in the first place. Thrawn was but the inheritor of their allegiance, their supposed debt.

What if Rukh begins to realize that their world was too far gone to save long before Thrawn showed up, that if he had not claimed their loyalty then someone else would have, and that Thrawn’s harsh and ruthless methods are exactly that harsh and ruthless because they have to be, they are at war, and they are at war with more than just the paltry forces of the New Republic. Rukh has been privileged enough to have heard more than one hushed transmission referring to a gathering threat beyond the Outer Rim, a lurking, shadowy menace that only the strongest and most united show of force would be able to repel, or even merely survive. He would realize that there is no timetable for that kind of threat, no schedule they would keep that could be relied on, that Thrawn is trying, desperately trying, to unify the entire galaxy before that threat shows itself, before it is too late. And they may already be too late.

But his own people may not see it that way – they have not heard the things Rukh has heard. They have not seen fleeting glimpses of the Grand Admiral clutching his bowed head in despair as he listens to the reports of a distant and devastated outpost. They have not seen his barely-controlled rage at the casual dismissal the Emperor gave to carefully-presented evidence, nor the countless fruitless hours of trying to persuade petty squabbling self-appointed warlords to listen for just one goddamn minute to what he is trying to get them to realize.

His people have not seen these things, and so they call for blood. And Rukh will give them blood.

But what the Noghri do not know is that the blood Rukh will give them is but a mere surface wound, a strategically placed injury that, while serious, would not penetrate the vital workings of the Grand Admiral’s body. What the Noghri do not know is that Thrawn is well aware of Rukh’s plans. In the middle of one long and agonizing night of fighting with his own shadows and skeletons, Rukh had approached the Grand Admiral, confessed all he knew, and placed the fate of his life in Thrawn’s hands.

And Thrawn had agreed. There would be blood, and it would happen just as Rukh had originally planned. The Grand Admiral would fake his own death, build a secret empire worthy of the fight against the shadowy threat, and keep it hidden beneath the noses of both the New Republic and the soon-to-be Imperial Remnant. And then, when he was needed the most, he would return.

Rukh has his blood. The New Republic rejoices in their false victory. The Empire mourns.

And Thrawn?

The Grand Admiral waits. He is patient. He is precise. His calculations will not fail, the strings he pulls, the tactics he devises, the battles he wages, will eventually and ultimately drive the threat away from the galaxy, and save them all.

Victory is, after all, an art.