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Saga - PT Spacer Slicer Sponger Spy | Thrawn, OC, post-Rebels | Short story, fic-gift for Nehru_Amidala

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Chyntuck, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Title: Spacer, Slicer, Sponger, Spy

    Timeframe: Saga - PT, somewhere between Rebels and ANH

    Continuity: New Canon

    Length: Multi-post short story; this will be posted in short instalments over a few weeks.

    Genre: Spy fiction

    Characters (in order of appearance):
    Kuba Hrdost (OC) – ISB undercover agent
    Wilhuff Tarkin – Grand Moff of the Galactic Empire
    Mitth’raw’nuruodo/Thrawn – Grand Admiral of the Galactic Empire
    Wullf Yularen – ISB colonel
    Harus Ison – Ubiqtorate colonel
    Rosita Turuy – ISB major, assigned to Pryce’s office (this is an expansion on a minor character from the Thrawn novel)
    Arihnda Pryce – Governor of the Lothal sector
    Minerva Hektor (Nehru_Amidala’s OC) – A Force-sensitive young woman from Earth who was transported to the GFFA, married Thrawn and became a lieutenant in the Imperial Navy
    Rhiannon (Nehru_Amidala’s OC) – the infant daughter of Thrawn and Minerva
    Fava Fasolia Faké (OC) – Hutt crime lord affiliated with the Crymorah syndicate
    Eliskandro Fasolia Faké (OC) – Hutt hairdresser and groomer of galactic reputation


    This story is a gift for @Nehru_Amidala, written for the 11th holiday fic-gift exchange. Nehru’s request was a story in the PT involving the first edition of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, hot chocolate and the Edward Scissorhands soundtrack, with the characters Thrawn, Minerva (OC) and their infant daughter Rhiannon, without Eli Vanto and without references to the Rebellion. You can read more about Nehru_Amidala’s OCs Minerva and Rhiannon in her story Ballad of the Winter Rose.

    Special thanks to @Mr Chyntuckopoulos for showing me how to create a SW opening crawl.

    Nehru, I did my best to do your OCs justice and to fulfill your request.
    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all the best for 2018!

    Table of contents
    Chapter I: Storytime
    Chapter II: Castle on the Hill
    Chapter III: Beautiful New Home
    Chapter IV: The Cookie Factory
    Chapter V: Ballet de Suburbia
    Chapter VI: Eliskandro the Barber
    Chapter VII: Etiquette Lesson
    Chapter VIII: Ice Dance
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
  2. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Spacer, Slicer, Sponger, Spy

    This was not the sort of tapcafé Kuba Hrdost was used to.

    It was, of course, fairly common for underworld informants to arrange their appointments with their Imperial Security Bureau handlers in tapcafés. As a matter of fact, Hrdost couldn’t remember meeting his unsavoury contacts from the milieu of organised crime anywhere but in the darkest, dankest, rankest drinking establishments of the galaxy’s far-flung worlds where Imperial officials were few and law enforcement virtually non-existent. Mobsters preferred locations where they could remain inconspicuous, where shady characters came and went and where covering one’s face was the norm rather than the exception. This often meant dim-lit, smoke-filled cantinas in the Outer Rim where disreputable scoundrels liked to gather, associate and strike deals for their legal or not-so-legal businesses.

    Which made the choice of this particular tapcafé, with its luminous terrace in the middle of the central plaza of Ceska’s capital city, all the more singular for this particular meeting. But then, the person Kuba Hrdost was about to meet was not your everyday defector either.

    The ISB agent spotted the table his contact had indicated in the encrypted message he’d received that morning – the only one where the floral arrangement included a bright purple bloom – and opted for the chair that gave him the best view of his surroundings. As agreed, he placed his walking stick across the table, with the carved japor ivory knob hanging over the edge. A quick look at the menu made his head spin. The tapcafé offered everything one could wish for; they even served hot chocolate, despite the fact that cocoa was among the scarcest commodities in these days of constant shortage thanks to the Crymorah’s food hoarding operation. He ordered a cup with double cream and leaned back in his seat to savour it.

    A fat man with a wobbly chin waddled up to the table and sat on the chair facing him without saying a word. This morning was turning out to be full of surprises. Hrdost had envisioned the would-be defector as younger and more vigorous, but the fact that he was obviously not a field operative was very welcome news. The information that he had provided to the ISB so far was evidence enough of his good standing within the criminal syndicate, but if, as his appearance indicated, the defector was one of the masterminds behind the Crymorah’s operations, Hrdost had struck gold. He was about to engage the mobster in conversation when a pair of stormtroopers materialised at their side and asked for their identification.

    The fat man began to sweat and tremble, but Hrdost took it in stride. He stood up politely, extracted his ISB identity chip from his pocket and placed it calmly in the trooper’s armoured hand. He expected that within a fraction of a second the patrol would be on its way.

    * * *

    Grand Moff Tarkin’s face barely twitched, but there was cold fury in his voice. “Stormtroopers, Grand Admiral Thrawn? Stormtroopers?”

    “Those were not stormtroopers, Governor. I investigated the whereabouts of every single trooper in the Ceska garrison at the time of the crime. None were on patrol near the central plaza.”

    “Therefore, individuals unknown. In stormtrooper armour. On Ceska, in the Inner Rim, in broad daylight. They walked up to our agent, shot him in the chest and walked away undisturbed.”


    Tarkin’s voice took a dangerous inflection. “Do you have an explanation for this, Grand Admiral?”

    “There is only one possible explanation, Governor,” Thrawn answered calmly. “We were betrayed. It was a trap.”

    “Precisely. It was a trap, and you, Grand Admiral Thrawn, the self-proclaimed greatest mind of the Galactic Empire, fell right into it, at the cost of Kuba Hrdost’s life – the life of one of the ISB’s best agents, of a man who was gifted with the contacts, the experience and the know-how resulting from a decade in the service of the Empire.”

    The Chiss Grand Admiral remained impassive in the face of Tarkin’s outburst, as did the remaining participants in the task force’s emergency meeting. Colonel Yularen stared at his datapad, Colonel Ison quietly placed his hands flat on the table and Major Turuy was suddenly very concerned about a broken fingernail. Only Governor Pryce was still looking straight at the angry Grand Moff, and Thrawn thought he saw the faintest of smiles play across her face. He was opening his mouth to speak when Tarkin stood up.

    “I see that these much-vaunted deduction skills of yours are somewhat overrated, Grand Admiral Thrawn. You have failed this task force, and in that, you have failed the Emperor and the citizens of the Empire.” He paused for a moment of heavy silence and added, “You are hereby discharged from the Imperial Navy. I am giving you twenty-four hours to gather your belongings while we prepare a new home for you on...” His voice trailed off as he glanced at the star chart on the wall. “Yes, this will do nicely. An ice world. Ando Prime.”
  3. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 7

    Oct 3, 2016
    Ooooh, a spy thriller! I love, love, love this! SQUEEE! Love this so much.

    I had a feeling you were assigned my request. Can't wait to see the rest! :)

  4. gaarastar58

    gaarastar58 Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 19, 2010
    Great start, I love a tale of skullduggery! Having Thrawn in the mix is just whipped cream on the hot chocolate. Can't wait to see how the story develops.
  5. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    Spys! Intrigue! I'm intrigued!
    Woah! Thrawn messed up big time! (Or did he??)

    I love that not only did you make an opening crawl, but that you used the Edward Scissorhands theme on it!
    I look forward to more!
  6. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 7

    Oct 3, 2016
    I am dying to see how @Chyntuck wrote Minerva and Rhiannon.
    AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  7. Master_Lok

    Master_Lok Force Ghost star 6

    Dec 18, 2012
    [face_dancing]This is brilliant. The setting was perfect and I felt I was watching La Carre from a certain point of view. :p Looking forward to the next thrill packed episode (post.)
  8. The_Mandalorian316

    The_Mandalorian316 Jedi Master

    Oct 25, 2004
    AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  9. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 7

    Oct 3, 2016
    I have a theory about who killed the undercover ISB agent... it was someone working for the Hutts!

    Mav Edit: I know you are excited and that is fine, but please don't spam the story thread. We have unlimited edit so if you have something you want to add to your comment before a new chapter is added, you can edit a previous comment. Thanks!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2017
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  10. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! I'll be updating this story frequently because I'm hoping to have most of it posted before the deadline, but they're short chapters anyway so I hope it won't make it too difficult for readers to keep up.

    @Nehru_Amidala I'm so glad you like it! And I hope the rest won't disappoint. Rhiannon won't have much dialogue in this story – or any at all beyond 'areuh' and 'gah', since she's still a tiny baby here – but she does have an important role to play. As for how I'll write Minerva... that's coming right up, and I have a bad case of stage fright right now [face_worried]

    @gaarastar58 Thank you for your kind words! I'll try to sprinkle that whipped cream with a bit of cinnamon now; I hope it works!

    @mavjade Thank you! I scratched my head a lot to decide how I was going to include the Edward Scissorhands soundtrack in this story – until I noticed the titles of the pieces, and then the chapter list and the idea of opening crawls popped into my head. So there's going to be one for every chapter :)

    @Master_Lok Thank you and welcome again to fanfic! I'm very flattered at the description of my story as "Le Carré from a certain point of view", but I'm not sure I can live up to your expectations now!

    @The_Mandalorian316 Thank you and welcome back to the boards! I can see from your join date that you've been a member here for a long time, but it looks like you haven't posted in a while.

    Thanks again for the comments and thank you to everyone who stopped by to read! Next chapter up as soon as the opening crawl finishes uploading on YouTube.
  11. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Chapter I: Storytime

    “Oh no,” Minerva muttered. “I did it again.”

    “Not to worry, darling, not to worry,” Thrawn answered with an amused smile. “We have a tried-and-tested solution to this particular issue.”

    They made for the bedroom, where their daughter was crying in her crib. Rhiannon had inherited her mother’s Force-sensitivity, and Minerva, who was still exploring their bond, was not yet quite adept at shielding her emotions from her child. As a result, the infant often became unsettled and fidgety when Minerva was troubled, and it was up to Thrawn to appease her and put her back to sleep.

    Thrawn hand hovered over the shelf where they kept Rhiannon’s bedtime stories. He gave his wife a knowing glance before making his choice, and he inserted a datacard in his pad to begin to read aloud.

    At first Minerva was too focused on suppressing the turmoil of her soul to pay attention, but as the child calmed down and started cooing at the sound of her father’s voice the mother began to listen as well. Thrawn was reading a tale that he favoured for its themes; it told the story of a knight who served a mighty king and who, despite the machinations of the king’s treacherous advisor, continued to pledge his allegiance to his lord even in adversity, betrayal and death. Minerva had often commented that Rhiannon was far too tiny to understand any of this, but Thrawn always countered that it was never too early to start teaching a child about loyalty and honour – and at any rate, their baby girl obviously enjoyed her father’s deep, soothing tones, which was as good a reason as any to tell her the tale. Tonight, however, Minerva was quite certain that her husband had chosen this story as much for his wife as for his daughter.

    She waited patiently until the infant’s eyelids drooped and, once they were certain that Rhiannon was fast asleep, they tiptoed back to the lounge. “You’re right, of course,” she said as she took a seat on the couch. “We’re Imperials. Tarkin didn’t take that from us. We can continue to serve the Empire, even in exile.”

    Thrawn helped himself to a glass of brandy and came to sit at her side. “Actually, my dear, only I will continue to serve the Empire in exile. You, on the other hand, are still a lieutenant in the Imperial Navy, and you will be serving the Empire during the remainder of your maternity leave.”

    Minerva raised an eyebrow. “You want me to leave our daughter behind and return to active duty? Under the orders of that horrible, prejudiced man?”

    “It may well be that Grand Moff Tarkin is prejudiced, and I will refrain from making any comments on his appearance, but I said nothing about orders. As a matter of fact, what I had in mind was a bit of freelancing.”

    She gave him an annoyed look. “Will you for once stop speaking in riddles?”

    Thrawn raised a finger. He seemed to be greatly enjoying himself. “Soothing thoughts, darling, soothing thoughts. You would not want our daughter to interrupt this conversation again, would you?” A splatter of brandy landed on his shirt as she smacked his forearm impatiently. “All right, all right,” he said with a chuckle. “An idea came to me while I was reading Rhiannon’s favourite tale –”

    “It’s not her favourite tale, it’s yours,” Minerva interrupted. “She still has no idea what you’re talking about.” He tilted his head ironically and she added very fast, “But I think we should talk about your idea instead.”

    “Ah, yes, my idea. You see, I remembered while I was reading Rhiannon’s favourite tale that Fava the Hutt has a secondary residence on Ando Prime. I believe that she is actually visiting the planet at the moment.”

    Minerva’s eyes widened. “Fava the Hutt? Fava Fasolia Faké, the Hutt you suspect of being behind this entire food hoarding operation?”

    Thrawn nodded gravely and stared at her as she leaned back on the couch to digest this new piece of information. “If we could somehow infiltrate her palace…” she said after a while. “Yes, if we could infiltrate her palace, we might find something useful. But of course, you’re too recognisable –”

    “And eliminating me from the task force was obviously the ultimate purpose of the trap they laid for Agent Hrdost,” Thrawn added. “Which means that this part of our little freelance operation falls to you.”

    She scratched her chin and started ticking items off her fingers. “I’ll need a fake identity – preferably a spacer who isn’t associated with the Crymorah. Also, a ship with a large cargo compartment and stolen Imperial codes – but no crew, I don’t trust anyone to help us at this stage. And binary loadlifters, or better, sleight boxes. Yes, sleight boxes should do the trick. If Fava is indeed behind this food hoarding operation, she’ll love the idea of a spacer who can ferry cargo undetected.”

    Thrawn downed the last of his brandy and stood up. “Give me a few moments to make arrangements for the ship and the sleight boxes; there are a few favours I can call in. Then I will begin to pack our belongings. If we are going to be exiles, we must look the part at the spaceport tomorrow.”

    “What about my fake identity and the codes?”

    He smiled. “We are freelancers now, my dear. For the first, and hopefully the last time, you will have to put your slicing skills to good use against the Imperial databases.”


    Notes and Wookieepedia links

    Fava Fasolia Faké is an OC, and, like most of my OCs, her name has a meaning – in this case, it means ‘Fava Bean Lentil’ in Greek. Blame an old April Fool’s challenge for the middle name and surname, and late-night inspiration for the first name.

    Sleight box
  12. Master_Lok

    Master_Lok Force Ghost star 6

    Dec 18, 2012
    @Chyntuck love the family details and Minerva knowing her husband all too well. I laughed at Fava’s first name and that she hoards food. Having a lot of fun with this. Looking forward to the next installment when time permits you.
  13. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 7

    Oct 3, 2016
    I loved this chapter so much, I was tearing up a little bit while listening to the music. I loved how you wrote Minerva and Rhiannon, Thrawn loves his girls very much. So sweet! Of course Rhiannon likes those kinds of bed time stories, she'll inhale Narnia by the time she starts kindergarten.
    AzureAngel2, Chyntuck and Master_Lok like this.
  14. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    Great update!
    I love how you keep the music in the video even after the crawl so I can continue to listen as I read. That's a nice touch!

    I really enjoyed seeing this quiet moment between the family. I'm sure anyone would enjoy listening to Thrawn's voice. I haven't watched Rebels where he comes on, but he always had a lovely voice in my head.

    This was lovely!
    AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  15. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    @Chyntuck -- I tiptoed in here because of the surealness of you writing Thrawn with another OC [face_laugh] but oooh, whee! I am captivated by Rhiannon (awwww!) by Minerva's snark and intelligence :cool: and the entire ISB/freelance plot =D=
    The ISB agent that was taken out in the opening prologue -- has great taste in beverages ;)
    A Hutt food hoarding scheme to unravel. [face_thinking]
    Tarkin is perfectly in character. He probably thinks he has totally gotten Thrawn out of the way. Yeah you just keep thinking that. :p
    I find it cool indeed that Yularen and Pryce are among the cast of characters. [face_thinking] Yularen is a great ally of Thrawn and Pryce -- she has agendas within agendas [face_worried]
  16. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! A few quick replies before I post chapter II.
    Thanks! I hadn't realised that Fava's name is entirely about food, so your comment made me laugh too! Anecdotally, the middle and last names, Fasolia Faké (i.e. "Bean Lentil") come from another Hutt OC of mine who will also appear in this story, and who was created for a challenge in which one of the requirements was to have an oversized bean :D
    [face_relieved]I'm so glad you liked the way I wrote them! It's tricky to write someone else's OCs, and I really wanted to do them justice. Thanks for the review!
    Thank you! I haven't watched any of Rebels yet, so I have no idea what he sounds like for realz, but my head canon was always that he has a deep, melodious voice. I guess it comes with the territory of being Strategic Sherlock Holmes in Space!
    Thank you and welcome to this story! I'm finding it very interesting to write Thrawn with Nehru's OC, because the dynamics are completely different – and, more generally, to write Thrawn in the new canon continuity. He has different allies and adversaries here and it's a challenge to get those right. Thankfully Nehru didn't want Eli Vanto in this story, because that would have entailed a loooot more research!

    Thanks again to readers, reviewers and lurkers! Next chapter coming right up.
  17. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Chapter II: Castle on the Hill

    Fava had long been in the habit of keeping tabs on up-and-coming young smugglers, and she knew everything about Ricka Katram before the woman ever set foot in the Castle on the Hill. The Hutt was mildly surprised to see that the spacer was rather pretty by human standards, as this detail didn’t feature in any of the reports she had read about her – but then, spacers were known to keep their helmets on at all times and spacers involved in any sort of illegal activity did everything in their power to avoid prying eyes anyway. Furthermore, Ricka Katram’s reputation for discretion was only second to her well-deserved fame for speedy and efficient deliveries, and she had been on the market only for a few years. There was, however, a catch.

    “I’m told that you botched your latest operation,” Fava said without preamble as the woman walked in.

    The spacer gave a start. “How d’you know that?”

    “Word gets around.”

    The woman paused for a moment’s meditation and shrugged. “The cargo didn’t fit in my sleight boxes, but the client insisted I take it anyway. Foolish, if you ask me. I had to demand a non-delivery contingency clause.”

    “And that client would be?”

    Ricka Katram smiled impishly. “That info’s not for sale… yet.”

    The Hutt blinked her nictitating membranes. “What about the nature of the cargo?”

    “That’s not for sale either… but it’s bound to make the rounds. A male rathtar.”

    Fava burst out laughing. “Indeed, rathtars can be rather difficult to hide on anything smaller than a Star Destroyer. How did you get rid of the Imps?”

    “I just let the rathtar loose.”

    The Hutt huffed. “Efficient – if inelegant. And how did you put it back in its cage?”

    There was that impish smile again. “I didn’t. I spaced it. Non-delivery clause, remember?”

    There was another pause as Fava studied the woman standing before her. The spacer’s tale wasn’t inconsistent with what she’d heard through the grapevine, and she knew for a fact that King Larna had agreed to the non-delivery contingency clause – but there was always the possibility that Ricka Katram had been arrested by the Imperials and somehow blackmailed to act as a spy. She summoned her chief of security and sent him off with a few whispered instructions, then returned her attention to her visitor.

    “I’m assuming that you came here looking for work. I don’t do contingency clauses, if you were wondering about that.”

    The spacer gave her an impish smile once more. “I’m looking for work as long as it fits in my fifty size-besh sleight boxes. I’m sure any foodstuff can be packaged, compressed or condensed to a small enough volume for that.”

    The Hutt’s eyes narrowed. “Why do you think I’ll ask you to smuggle food?”

    “Word gets around.”

    The chief of security returned with a handheld scanner and held it up to Ricka’s face. The little device whirred and beeped, and the indicator on top switched from red to green. “It all checks out, Your Highness,” the man said. “The retinal scan matches the Imperial database. And there’s no record of her ship ever being impounded by the Imperials.”

    Fava waved him away and turned back to the spacer. “Excellent. Come back tomorrow morning and ask for my operations manager, young lady. He’ll have an assignment for you.”

    * * *

    Minerva forced herself to maintain a leisurely pace as she left the room, but she couldn’t wait to be away from the Hutt’s presence. She was confident that her slicing skills were top-notch and she had known all along that her cover story would hold – the real Ricka Katram, whose identity she had borrowed, was on her way to an Imperial labour camp from which it would take weeks, if not months, for word of her arrest to spread – but the foul-smelling heat and humidity of Fava Fasolia Faké’s sauna had almost caused her to pass out. It was a relief to exit the Castle on the Hill and find herself in the planet’s frigid atmosphere. She slipped her helmet back on and activated the flightsuit’s autoheat function, and she headed quietly back to her freighter.

    A careful inspection of the snow at the foot of the boarding ramp revealed a second set of footsteps next to her own. As expected, one of Fava’s henchmen had come on board while she was inside the castle to place a monitoring device on the ship. It took her a while to find it and even longer to find the backup, but once she had spotted both it was a matter of minutes until she had connected them to an audio recording of music that would keep the Hutt’s security service busy while she placed her call to Thrawn. The Crymorah’s spy transmitters were of excellent quality, but they were amateurish compared to the technology the Empire had to offer.

    She extracted from a hidden compartment in the galley the cloaked two-way comm device Thrawn had procured, set the encryption to maximum and turned it on. She forced herself to ignore the sound of an infant cooing at the other end of the line – as much as she missed her daughter, she knew that the transmission would remain undetectable only for ten seconds and that she had to act fast – and spoke as clearly as she could.

    “I’m in. And they have access to the Imperial databases just like we thought.”
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  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Super post! I love Minerva's demeanor with Fava. Didn't crack her composure or her cover story thankfully. And her slicing skills -- totally up to the task! :cool:
    AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  19. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 7

    Oct 3, 2016
    Aw, Rhiannon's with daddy? :( Probably just as well, saunas aren't the best place for a baby. Can't wait to see how you describe Rhiannon's physical traits. ;)
  20. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    Woah, go Minerva!
    I loved the back and forth between her (as Ricka) and Fava! They were sizing each other up (figuratively, of course. :p ).

    [face_laugh] Well that's one way to do it!

    Great update! =D=
  21. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! I'm sorry for the slight delay in updating; the end-of-holiday packing and driving home process got in the way.

    Quick replies before chapter III:
    Thank you :) Minerva is a brave and talented young woman, and one of her main skills (she's a mapmaker) will come in play later in this story.
    Thanks! Hehe, yes, Rhiannon's with daddy, and he may have bitten off more than he can chew :p I wasn't really planning to describe Rhiannon because I don't know how you imagine her, but if I have your blessing to improvise there's a future chapter where the description will come in useful.
    Thanks mav! I had a good time writing this chapter too; it's always amusing to imagine someone trying to double-cross a Hutt :D As for the rathtar, I can't really claim credit for the idea since it was in TFA, but it also happened to be a convenient plot twist for this story – it's not like Fava can send someone to check if there's a rathtar floating in space somewhere in the galaxy...

    Thanks again, everyone! Next chapter coming right up!
  22. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    WARNING: This chapter contains minor spoilers for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and for Nehru's fic Ballad of the Winter Rose.


    Beautiful New Home

    Like all infants, Rhiannon had good and bad days, and after a week alone with her Thrawn found out that both were equally exhausting. He had expected that a soiled diaper or an upset tummy would be the main culprits for his lack of time to reflect on the murder of Kuba Hrdost, but it turned out that his daughter was extremely excited to be in their new home, and his efforts to put up cheerful decorations were proving to be a double-edged sword. Being half-Chiss, Rhiannon was growing up faster than Human children and she already had an uncanny ability to focus on specific elements of her surroundings. This often meant that she kept her father up late into the night as he took her from one piece of furniture or one holopainting to another to examine at her leisure. He had given up by now on reading bedtime stories and described instead the objects they were observing, and he soon realised that this was as effective a way as any to put her to sleep.

    One of Rhiannon’s favourite items was the bookcase in the study, in particular the shelf that held the books her mother had brought from Earth. There were several Sy Bisti – or, as Minerva called them, Greek – classics, as well as a few volumes from a place named Ancient Rome and a few more in Basic. Whenever the child’s whims brought them to this corner of the house, Thrawn told her fondly how he had met with his wife through a conversation across the cover of a highly embellished and imaginative version of his adventures. It seemed to him however that his daughter didn’t understand the full importance of the novel titled Heir to the Empire in her parents’ lives, as she was far more interested in the older books. He had to take great care not to let her tear out the pages. There was one volume in particular that Minerva valued above most of her possessions, a copy of the original edition of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by one John le Carré, and Thrawn had no doubt that his daughter would be intent on grabbing the autograph on the front page for herself – perhaps as a nighttime snack.

    It was during an evening when Rhiannon was being particularly difficult that Thrawn finally took Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy off the shelf and opened it. He showed the autograph to his daughter and explained its meaning, he told her about the value of owning such a book, and, as she continued to babble and gurgle giddily, he settled her in the crook of one arm while holding the book at an appropriate distance from her little hands with the other and he began to read.

    At first he was mostly focused on Rhiannon, who appeared to find the story of this George Smiley character very entertaining, but as he ploughed through the pages he had to admit that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was a captivating read. He was unfamiliar with the places and the organisations mentioned in the novel, but he was able to understand that this was high-quality spy fiction written by a master of the trade. Furthermore, the similarities between the plot and recent developments in his own life were striking, and, since his daughter wouldn’t allow him any free time to reflect, reading a story not unlike his own was, after all, a way to process his thoughts.

    He was a few chapters into the book when he realised all of a sudden that Rhiannon was very quiet indeed, and he tore his attention away from the page to see that she was fast asleep. He left Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy on the couch and carried her to her crib, then returned to the study and went to sit at his desk. However, it was already late and he was too tired to focus on his personal troubles. Hopefully Rhiannon would sleep in the next morning to give him time to think. For now, he decided, he would continue to read. He was curious to see how John le Carré would pull the strings of his story together.

    It was a shame, he thought, that Kuba Hrdost hadn’t survived the attempt on his life like the novel’s Jim Prideaux, for his testimony would certainly have given Thrawn the clues he needed to piece this mystery together. But then, the Crymorah was not the Soviet Union – whatever that was – and Hrdost would certainly never have become a despondent foreign language teacher on a backrocket world of the galaxy. Similarly, Minerva was clearly nothing like this Ann Smiley, whose relationship with her husband appeared to be awkward at best. But there was one point to which his mind kept returning as he read on: the tinker, the tailor, the soldier, the poor man and the beggarman – the only five people, in addition to the head of this bizarrely-named Circus, who knew of Jim Prideaux’s mission behind enemy lines.

    Just like only five people, in addition to Tarkin, knew of Kuba Hrdost’s plans to recruit and exfiltrate a Crymorah defector: Yularen, Ison, Pryce, Turuy and Thrawn himself.

    He sprang to his feet and began to pace. He hadn’t considered until now the possibility that Hrdost hadn’t been baited into a trap by his contact in the Crymorah, but that, instead, both the contact and Hrdost had been betrayed by a Crymorah mole in the highest levels of the Imperial hierarchy. It was difficult to believe that any one of the members of the task force was a traitor – Tarkin, being fanatically devoted to the New Order, was above all suspicion – but it was a hypothesis he could not exclude, particularly not after Minerva had confirmed that the criminal syndicate had access to the Imperial databases. This was yet another option that he would have to investigate.

    This also meant that he would have to sweep the house again for monitoring devices. He had conducted daily checks since his arrival on Ando Prime and he was fairly certain that there were none, but his wife was in the rancor’s den and he didn’t want to leave anything to chance. He placed a scrap of flimsi between the pages of the novel as a bookmark and was about to extract the portable scanner from the drawer of his desk when a sharp wail pierced the night.

    Rhiannon was awake. Perhaps she needed a clean nappy, or perhaps she was hungry. Perhaps she just wanted her father’s company. Well, if it was the latter, it would be easy to resolve, Thrawn thought with a smile as he went to fetch her from her crib. John le Carré had given him the mother of all bedtime stories.
    AzureAngel2 and Nehru_Amidala like this.
  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Aww. I love Thrawn in daddy!mode. [face_love] [face_love] Rhiannon is very well detailed. Has the innate universal curiosity of all younglings that age. ;) Happy that the "bedtime story" helped analyze the current crisis/potential source of the treachery.

    It does help matters that Tarkin is above suspicion for being the double crosser; we know Thrawn isn't. That leaves 3 to investigate. [face_thinking] I would put my creds on Pryce :p because I don't think Yularen is a "Benedict Arnold" either. @};-
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
  24. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 7

    Oct 3, 2016
    I have been looking forward to the update, and here it is. I loved the interaction between Rhiannon and Daddy!Thrawn, that was just too adorable for words. Loved the Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy mention, looks like the book has given Thrawn some ideas. I also think Pryce is in on this, she's already sold out the people of Lothal, so why not?

    I also give you my blessing to describe Rhiannon in a later update. :)

    I am dying to read what happens next.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
  25. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    Daddy!Thrawn is adorbs! <3

    I guess there are worse things to be obsessed with! Of course, little hands destroying favorite books isn't the best, but a kid loving books is always a good thing! The image of this was so cute!

    This cracked me up! Of course she would! It would be the best tasting page!

    I love the mental image of Thrawn getting sucked into a spy novel! And that he gets some thoughts on his own predicament from it is perfect! I love how you didn't just mention the book from the request, but actually added it into the story both in mention and using the plot.

    =D= I look forward to more!