Title: much art such thrawn wow Author: Ewok Poet Genre: Humour Characters: Thrawn, Eli Vanto, the crew of the Ghost Timeframe: 2 BBY Rating: G Length: Short Summary: Thrawn mentors Eli Vanto, again, and gives him a valuable lesson on an important topic! A/N: This is the award fic for Raissa Baiard, whose splendid portrayal of the original relationship between Mara Jade and Ezra Bridger earned her an award at the last year's Golden Yodas. I promised her that this story will be better than the 2016 award fic I wrote for her. This fanfic is automatically winning the 2020 best EU character interpretation award for its flawless portrayal of Thrawn. And because it's Thrawn, duh. Also...this fic is obviously a crack!fic based off a fun convo among three friends. No Thrawns were harmed while making this. [hr][/hr] “You see, Eli, my young man, you’re certainly worrying me.” The red-eyed man approached the brown-haired one. With his intimidating stature and indisputable authority, he had always been somewhat of a threat to the former Wild Space outcast. He was afraid that his mentor could read his mind and discover him swearing in Sy Bisti. He feared that, despite being the Imperial Liason to the Chiss Ascendancy, he would always be looked down, in a way. After all, he was talking to THE Grand Admiral himself. “It’s the doonium, Thrawn.” He finally said. “I have been surrounded by it ever since I have returned from my duties in the Unknown Regions. I hereby regret to say that it has an ongoing impact on my sanity.” Thrawn did not seem surprised, but he quickly dismissed the theory. “It cannot be doonium. The way they used it for the Death Star was incredibly, incredibly artistic. Doonium is right up there in the perfection hall of fame, together with other superior materials.” He turned around, which prompted a quick and discreet shrug from Vanto. Seconds later, he was gazing through the viewport, his eyes half-closed, his hands crossed behind his back. “D-do you admire the…composition of…space?” Eli asked. “No. I am ruminating on the best way possible to deal with stress. That is indeed what is bothering you. You have not achieved your full potential…yet.” The Chiss gracefully scratched his cobalt-blue nose. “But, I thought that you said…when you arranged for them to send me to…” “Quiet, please. I am close to an idea that embodies both perfection and practical use, yet does not procure many resources.” “And what is it?” “The incomparable art of preparing the finest dishes from across the Galaxy.” “You mean…cooking?” “You could put it that way, yes.” Thrawn attempted to hide his discomfort with Eli Vanto’s lack of verbosity. “Indeed, you could. So, what would be the meal that tickles your fancy most?” Eli had to think hard. His demanding job was not allowing him to fully embrace the simple pleasures of a privileged life. He didn’t even know how to check his privilege, as those pesky Rebels were known to say. Oh, dear, was he really quoting them in his confused mind? “Hmm, I think that it would be the dustcorn cheese pie. My mother used to make it for me back home!” Thrawn was not surprised. He expected something with the air of rustic charm. “So, remind me, how does one make it?” “Umm, for eight slices, you need the sun-yellow dustcorn flour, a large handful of young bantha cheese, a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate, some vegetable oil, and the right amount of fizzwater. You mix it up, grease the pan with nerf lard and bake it for five minutes at 275 degrees…” of The younger man was nervously dragging his feet across the immaculate flooring. “That’s it, if I can recall it right. Yes.” “No, no, no, my young man! You have to devote every single particle of your existence to perfection. Here is how I would do it: the sun-yellow dustcorn floor would have to be imported directly from one of the Core’s agriworlds, for it’s of superior quality, compared to what you’re used to, I assure you. The cheese needs to adhere to the newest Imperial standards and be of the right colour, which would be #EEEEEE. The fizzwater is best when processed on the lesser-known ocean worlds. As far as the oil goes…” Eli dared to interrupt the being that brought him to his current position. “Err, how the perfection of the ingredients compares to the sentimental feeling that I would get from those ingredients back on Lysatra, after my classes at the academy? Nothing could possibly replace…” “You need to let go!” Thrawn clenched his fists and raised his muscular arms in the air. “Let it go, let it go!” Then, he went silent, possibly thinking deeply, once again. Eli knew better than to interrupt him again, so there was an air of uncomfortable silence between the two for quite a while. Finally, Thrawn spoke again. “Come here, Ensign Vanto. I am using your last name because this is an order. I have read numerous books on art and its history, but also on food preparation and I shall demonstrate you how to make a meal that will properly soothe you and make your stress go away like the torrential rain once the twin suns have shown up!” The Chiss Grand Admiral led the young Imperial to the spacious, spotless kitchen. Eli was intrigued by the level of hygiene and wondered if Thrawn had a wife. The shocking truth about his mentor having a different wife on every single planet and in multiple parallel universes didn’t even cross his mind. Not that any of those alleged wives could have achieved the level of culinary perfection matching his genius strategies. “I shall begin this primer by delivering you the inside scoop of the Galactic fine dining – most cooks are not well-read and they refer to creation of meals as art, but they do not care as much as they would claim to. The point being – I considered cooking as my secondary career for a long time, but staining my attire was not a desired option.” The Human was squirming in anticipation. They were probably going to make an authentic Chiss meal the name of which he bet he could not even be able to pronounce, despite his best efforts to master Cheunh. He nearly slipped on the floor when Thrawn opened the luxury conservator and pulled out a glass jar with what appeared to be beebleberry jam. No, it must have been turbulence…of hyperspace, or something. Thrawn knows what he’s doing, he couldn’t be squibbing him! His eyes followed the Grand Admiral in an overly curious manner, as he brought what appeared to be a gold-plated butter knife, a silver-plated bread knife, a loaf of something blindingly white and way too precisely made to be real and… …a jar of premium tok nut butter that did not sport a picture of a menacing bald man on it. There was just a plain image of a genuine, semi-cracked tok nut proper. Was he ever to expect anything else from Thrawn? “Look, this is one of my best-kept secret recipes. But you gained my trust over the years of my successful life and I shall let you in on it.” Was this really, really what Eli thought it was? “I appreciate that, Thrawn.” “I was aware that you would have appreciated it. Either way, this is called the ‘Brhw’haa’govn’ and it’s a delicacy known only to the noblest of us, Chiss. This is why I’m cutting the ice-bread with an ornate knife that has previously been sharpened with microscopical precision. The other knife was rumoured to have belonged to a Drall Duchess of Mastigophorous! The tok nut beurre was personally given to me by the Emperor Palpatine himself – he claimed that he had previously cleaned it off pretty much every possible toxic substance in the known universe, by the power of static electricity.” To Eli’s shock, Thrawn then removed the upper part of his uniform and stood there, bare-chested, sweat dripping from his brow, as he made his best effort to spread both condiments evenly. There was a point where he muttered something in his native language, or so the young man thought, when the two knives got close to touching each other’s blades. Eventually, Thrawn wiped off his golden-yellow sweat and presented Vanto with a napkin containing the emblem of both the Galactic Empire and the Chiss Ascendancy, the said napkin carrying what he couldn’t believe was anything more than a plain tok nut butter and beebleberry sandwich. “Make sure you use different taste buds for beurre and the delicious fruit concoction. And…” Thrawn was not able to finish his sentence. An alarm buzzed and he frantically rushed to the nearest holocomm. Eli shrugged again, stuffed the culinary masterpiece in his mouth and followed him. The blue and white flickering projection was one of a rather beat-up spaceship. “I have installed a homing device on their inferior flying object.” The Chiss managed a small smile, or at least it looked like one. “They have not discovered it…and they never shall. For it was artistically done.” “Who are ‘they’, Thrawn?” Eli asked. “They have been a real dolour in the posterior regions of the Empire to the area around Lothal recently. We need to dispose of them, but I am waiting for the right moment, when it can be done in a way that will serve as a warning to…ahimé, look at how mundane and banal their recreational activities are, Eli!” Eli closed one eye and glanced at the projection. It seemed to be showing a green Twi’lek woman in coveralls having a quiet moment with a Human male in a cockpit. There was nothing wrong with “trying a little bit of tenderness”, as his relative Keli used to say back in the days. Plus, it was nothing more than an embrace and a closed-mouth kiss. But Thrawn didn’t seem to agree with that viewpoint. “Look at those horny simpletons! I’m shocked and aghast!” He switched a knob on the holocomm. Seconds later, there was a different projection, one of a young Human female with a bob, drawing. The strokes were quick. “Naif art. Pfft. Eli, remove this repeat offender from my sight, I enquire you to!” Eli shrugged for the third time and switched the picture to two beings sitting in what appeared to be a common room. He zoomed in closer. One large individual of an unknown species was looking at a static-picture of a similarly large female with a braid hanging from her head, or so it looked like. The Human adolescent across the table from him gazed at a photo of a long-haired girl of striking beauty, and a somewhat intimidating look in her eyes. “Primitive delights are such a Rebel fad, my young protégée…we have clearly seen enough.” “Wait!” Eli gestured to Thrawn with his right hand. “Something else appears to be moving in the upper corner.” He zoomed in until the screen was completely peexel-ated. There was an astromech droid, something out of the days before the dawn of time, whatever. The droid was carrying something! Eli had to squint, but he managed to figure out what it was - a pair of tok nut butter and beebleberry sandwiches. The astromech delivered the food to the two beings at the table. Initially, there was no reaction coming from them, just something resembling dreamy sighs. The astromech then let go a loud sound, something in the lines of, “Bwop-bwop!” The two beings jumped in their seats and grabbed their sandwiches. The large alien gestured to the droid to bring two more. “Huh, ‘bwop’…” Eli pulled his face into his best, HoloNet-worthy grin. “I don’t think that the droids have used such a primitive call ever since…wait, Thrawn? THRAWN?” Too late. The Grand Admiral was walking around the kitchen, still shirtless, shivering and repeating some barely-intelligible phrases that seemed to be largely out of character. “much sandwich very lasat wow so art not munchies girly problemz wow…wow…wow…” “Thrawn? Please, answer me, I beg you to!” “very mandalorian too drawing smoochie-smoochie total cockpit wow” “Thrawn, shall I call a medic? You are clearly in a state of shock!” “wow wow wow droid sandwich can good too wow” At that point, it appeared that the well-mannered Chiss was almost drooling. Eli tried to remember where his friend's secret stash of not-exactly-Perigen-but-shush had been hidden back in the days they had first met, but he couldn’t recall. He figured out that Thrawn would snap out of trance after a good nap, but he decided to keep an eye on him. Just as he was about to switch off the surveillance system, he looked at the projection for one last time. The large alien and small Human were running around the table, tossing pieces of sandwiches as each other. “You’re having it so badly for her!” he thought he heard one of them say. “Who’s telling me? Look at you, making those bunk eyes at just a plain static image! Househusband!” Eli turned the knob all the way round and the flickering blue moving picture disappeared back to wherever it had come from. “Whatever.” He did not have the time for this, he had his deranged mentor to take care of. Besides, sometimes a sandwich was just that – a sandwich. [hr][/hr] Footnotes Spoiler Doonium is metal used for ship and space station construction. Sy Bisti is the language spoken in Unknown Regions, Eli Vanto is a fluent speaker. Lysatra is Eli Vanto's homeworld. Thrawn's multiple wives would be various OCs he's paired with. Mastigophorous is the name of a Drall clan, as well as a city on Drall. Brhw’haa’govn’ and Eli's cousin Keli were made up on spot. The two characters Zeb and Ezra are swooning over are @Findswoman's OC Shulma Trilasha and @Raissa Baiard's Disney Canon AU version of Mara Jade. Beebleberry is a fruit. Tok nut butter is soft butter made from tok nuts. The phrase "horny simpletons" was lifted from the infamous Harry Potter fanfic, My Immortal. The recipe Eli memorised is real, it's how I make a dish called proja. Fizzwater is my fanon term for sparkling water. Ice-bread is my fanon for some type of a bread from Csilla. Of course that it's *not* made of actual ice.