A/N: My first foray onto the Before board. And for a delightful little crackfic here. I do hope you enjoy: Tactics ?Have you formulated your plan of attack, Commander Thrawn?? ?Hm.? His red eyes narrowed to slits as he peered around the room at the assorted works of art gracing the walls. ?You see those two paintings on the left, dating back to the mid-colonial era?? ??yes?? He steepled his fingers as he considered them. ?An eccentric combination of the early expansion period in the region with the later period of isolation and withdrawal. Note the rough exterior edges, the asymmetry of the piece itself; how it contrasts with the smoothness of the core of the work, the elaborate simplicity demonstrated in the complex yet predictable patterns.? ?Sir?? ?This suggests a preference of appearance over truth; a tendency to fortify defenses for the sake of determent when, in fact, the interior strength is deceptively weak and easily conquered.? There was a slight pause. ?Is that it?? ?No,? he pointed once more. ?Note the single straight edge of the left-hand work. An homage to reason and order amidst chaos. A desire for control instead of pandemonium to lessen the? inner turmoil.? Another expectant silence before the other sighed. ?And??? ?Consequently,? his eyes slid slowly around, ?I am forced to conclude that the target of the attack would, in fact, prefer to be conquered- given the proper? incentives. Perhaps a... polite request.? The red eyes of Kthira?yty?nalu flickered, looked between the artwork on the far wall and Thrawn?s eyes twice. ?Very well; your point is made, Commander. But if I may- what was to be your attack strategy, once you described the process of your analysis?? A brow rose smoothly. ?There was none, Aytyn.? She blinked in surprise. ?The sculpture to the right, the elegance of the depiction with painstaking focus on the minute details?? ?Yes?? she asked in almost a growl. ?An emphasis on the obvious; a fear of conjecture, of leaving the fine details to the whims of the imaginations of others. All that was left for me to do was to demonstrate that I knew as much about your mental processes as you do- perhaps more even. Without the mystery, you would see little point in continuing to posture.? He could practically hear her teeth grinding. ?Thrawn?? ?Yes, Aytyn?? ?You?re infuriating sometimes.? ?Hm,? a ghost of a smile crossed his face as he settled back comfortably. ?Aytyn?? ?Yes, Thrawn?? ?Will you keep calling me ?Commander??? Her lips curled in an almost feral smile. ?So that you can display even more arrogance when you argue with Admiral Ar?alani in class tomorrow, Cadet Thrawn?? ?She disapproves of the study of art as military intelligence,? he returned delicately and with only a mild trace of petulance. ?Well, perhaps when you graduate and earn command of your own picket force, you can demonstrate to her the merits to be found in the practice.? He was quiet and brooding. ?Thrawn?? ?Hm?? ?You can demonstrate to me the merits to be found in the practice right now?? Some tension left his body as he glanced at her. ?Of course- keeping the ultimate goal in sight- I?m in violation of the very first principle of procedural strategy.? ?Thrawn?? ?Yes?? ?You?ve a brilliant mind, truly; but stop treating a night spent in my billet like a hands-on exercise in tactical offensive strategy.? X---X---X---X A/N: Blame LoriLynn - I'm not sure why exactly, but I'm pretty sure that this fic is entirely her fault.