The_Face: Glad you like Pellaeon. I've always liked him too, which is somewhat rare when it comes to Imperials. Expect to see more of him as the fic moves forward. SithGirl: I don't know if I've given him depth, or if he's just deep as created by Zahn. I think I have gotten into his head a bit early, though. dancing_star: I love going back to Zahn's novels. It seems I always find something new that I hadn't seen before. Liz: I wouldn't be surprised if some of your thoughts see the light of day here, as they're good ones, and somewhat in line with plans I have for the fic. correllian_ale: Sorry for it being short, but I'm still in the beginning stages of the fic. So there's likely to be a few shorter posts, I'm afraid. Sil: Thanks for dropping in! Jade_eyes: You're getting a bit ahead of yourself, but I'll tell this much: you will be seeing Mara in this fic. I'm not so sure about Karrde as of yet. Kripp: Hope so! PHGS: Heir to the Empire was the first one for me too. I actually stopped for a while until a friend introduced me to Anderson's trilogy. I started up again and never looked back. VaderLVR: Glad I'm doing ol' Gilad justice in your eyes. Kevin: Yes, I'm drawing heavily on the beginning of HttE, though more from my memory of the audio version, which I've listened to countless times while cutting the lawn. But I did want to get a little deeper with Pellaeon, so I'm glad it worked! Okay, that'll do it for replies. On with the tale! "Do you know anything about art, Captain?" Thrawn asked, gesturing around the command room. Pellaeon had noticed the art upon entering, but hadn't really given it much thought. "I've never really had the time. My career came first," Pellaeon said. "A pity more of our officers haven't taken the time to truly study art," Thrawn said. "Sometimes it can?" He was cut off as an alarm wailed through the ship, and Tschel's voice came through the comm from the bridge. "Bridge to Grand Admiral Thrawn," Tschel said. "We're under attack!" Thrawn reached forward, touching a control. "Calm down, lieutenant," Thrawn said. "Report." "The fighters are attacking, but the frigate is hanging back. They're apparently afraid of our guns." "Not necessarily, Lieutenant," the Grand Admiral said softly. "Order flight control to release one flight of TIE fighters. Let us see how the Rebels reply." The monitor before Thrawn showed the blips of the Chimaera's TIE fighters as they swept out from the ventral hanger of the Star Destroyer. The Rebel fighters made for the TIEs almost immediately, and Pellaeon smiled tightly. This was going to be a short engagement. "Interesting, how the frigate's hanging back," Thrawn said as the Rebel fighters began to blink out of existence. He touched the control to the bridge. "Lieutenant Tschel, authorize starboard battery one to open fire. One volley." "As ordered, Admiral," Tschel said. The frigate moved away from the fire, as Pellaeon had expected. He did wonder, though, why Thrawn had only authorized a single battery, just as he only allowed one flight of TIEs. "Admiral, if I may, we should take them before they decide to run." "They've already made that decision," Thrawn said. "Or rather, they'll try to run. It's the only option left to them, now that their starfighter screen has been destroyed. You see, Captain, there's a Neimoidian leading this task force." "A Neimoidian?" Pellaeon asked. "In charge of a military task force?" "It happens on rare occasions," Thrawn said. "Otherwise, they wouldn't have played the role in history that they have." Once more, he touched the control for the bridge. "Lieutenant, all turbolaser batteries are given authorization to fire. We don't want the Rebellion learning about us just yet." Then he closed the comm line. "Now, Captain, I believe you're wondering about our next move. Are you familiar with the planet Myrkr?"