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"Hitchhiker", chapter 1/? - A Bith waitress in a jizz bar [Jul. 26th, 2006|08:36 pm]
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    Title: Hitchhiker

     Author: Shezan

     Fandom: Star Wars (EU book- and comicverse, canon compliant)

     Summary: Young Thrawn  story, 12 years before ANH. After Captain Parck discovered a talented alien on an uninhabited planet, and brought him back to Coruscant, Thrawn still had to make his way up in the Imperial Navy... Uses background provided in Timothy Zahn's story Mist Encounter, as well as Michael A. Stackpole's In the Empire's Service and Blood and Honor.

     Rating: PG-13 so far, and het - I find it incredibly difficult to push that envelope in SW.

     Disclaimer: Thrawn, Piett, Vader, Wynssa Starflare, Wedge Antilles etc. belong to George Lucas, Tim Zahn and Mike Stackpole. George, don't sue me, I ain't got the money. And I'm spending whatever I have on SW toys anyway. I made up Rory Mikam, Per Theel, Chief-Engineer Bron and a couple of others, not that I think anyone is likely to steal them from me (although I'm rather proud of my medical droid.)

HITCHHIKER

1. A Bith waitress in a jizz bar

     "I don't like this."

     "Like they'll ask our opinion next time."

     "Look, she's a major holostar, she makes millions of credits. Why does she need to thumb a lift on a Star Destroyer?"

     "Because it's more fun, that's why."

     "Fun for who? We get all those spittle-and-polish extra troop reviews, and this is going to delay all leaves by at least two weeks."

     "Fun for Captain Corlag. He gets to show us off and to dine with her every night."

     "Every night? Fun for him, definitely not fun for her. Unless she's got lousy taste."

     "What do I know what Coruscant holostars like or don't like? Pass me that brush."

     "Hey! That's my clothesbrush. Get your shoe brushes from your locker."

     "You're such a wuss."

     "Give me that!"

     "Come get it--if you can!"

     "You Bantha dropp--"

     "Giving up already? Knew you couldn't knock out a Bith waitress in a jizz bar."

     "Sshhh! The freak's back."

     

     Lieutenant Per Theel hated the way the newest junior officer had of turning up in their dorm, or indeed anywhere else, without a sound. Suddenly, he was there with no more warning than--

     "I believe that's my bunk," the freak said, in his infuriatingly posh accent, as if anyone could believe he came from one the best Core families. What a joke.

     "Oh yeah? So what?"

     "And I need my dress uniform from the locker behind you."

     "So what's that to me?"

     "You may choose to be late for the bridge review. I don't intend to be."

     "Look, buddy--" Theel started, but his friend Rory Mikam was already up on his stockinged feet, grabbing his half-polished boots. "Prak it, Theel, we gotta be there in seven minutes!"

     "Six," the freak said, and there was no mistaking the cool satisfaction in his voice. One day, Theel thought, I'm going to punch that smug smile from your--

     But there indeed was no time. Theel shrugged himself into his well-brushed olive-green dress-jacket, hurriedly checking insignia, rank cylinder and regulation regimental pips; running a quick comb through his short chestnut hair. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the new junior lieutenant take the extra few seconds to hang his undress jacket with precise gestures before pulling the other one out of his locker. Yet another dry twig onto the smoldering fire of his resentment -- the new man never seemed to look less than impeccable, the crease in his regulation trousers vibroblade-sharp, never one blue-black hair out of place...

     Freak.

         

     The three lieutenants piled out of the dorm and into the nearby turbolift. 34 levels to the bridge. Mikam's ears popped, and he swallowed reflexively, casting a glance at the rapidly changing digits. Their flicker backlit the new man's impassive profile: high brow, slightly aquiline nose, thin but well-defined lips, firm jaw. There were no lines on that smooth skin, but Mikam suddenly sensed that the other lieutenant was older than either of them. Although how anyone could tell—

     The lift doors swooshed open, and the three junior lieutenants sprang out and up the stairs to the main bridge. A small group of olive-garbed officers had already gathered on either side of the starboard crew pit. Captain Corlag, at the forward viewport, could be seen talking to a slight figure in a jade-green dress, blonde hair to the shoulders. Mikam instinctively checked the time at his wristcom, and stumbled on a step, feeling himself trip with a hollowing in his stomach. At the same instant, his left elbow was grasped in a steel grip, righting him up without breaking their pace. They'd reached the top of the stairs. Surprised, Mikam turned to meet the new man's strange eyes.

     "Er, thanks."

     "Don't mention it. Better take our places."

         

     Wynssa Starflare, the HoloNet star, and Captain Corlag's personal guest on the "Empire's Revenge", pasted a smile on her beautifully made-up lips, followed the captain's expansive gesture to take in the spectacle of rows of impeccably groomed officers, and inwardly groaned. Zilkha, her agent, had insisted that she seize the opportunity offered by the Navy officer who'd besieged her dressing-trailer after he'd discovered she was shooting a new holodrama on Chandrila. "Think of the holo opportunities for the flimsies and the grids! Not only will he fly you back to Coruscant twice as fast as any liner, but I promise you by the time you dock, there'll be newsbeings ten deep to record your arrival with an Imperial hero. You can't buy that kind of publicity."

     "Doesn't mean I want it for free."

     "Oh, please."

     "Look, Zilkha, I'm tired, the past three weeks' shoot was exhausting, I've got two new offers already, I really don't feel--"

     "Fine. Fine. Just don't come to me next time you don't get script rewrites approval, or next time you get locked in a contract with that nauseating little trained monkey, Garik Loran, or…"

     Wynssa had thrown her hands up at that. Had to -- Zilkha really was trying her best to get her the kind of bargaining power that would give her her independence. But now, half-listening to Corlag's unctuous speeches, she regretted not sticking to her guns. Whatever possessed military officers to think their attractiveness depended on how many men they could line up in neat stiff rows? She'd been on the "Empire's Revenge" for three days, had seen at least four reviews, and wasn't looking forward to another week of that regimen.

     "May I introduce you to my staff officers, Miss Starflare?"

     Keep that smile firmly on, Wynssa. "Certainly, Captain."

     There had to be a downside to the smaller numbers of soldiers present this afternoon on the bridge. She hadn't been expected to shake hands with every stormtrooper during yesterday's docking bay review. No helping it, though. She followed Corlag down the olive-green line, mouthing polite platitudes to every man in turn. Most were frankly admiring, which really, she chided herself, she couldn't complain about. You're the one who wanted to leave the refueling station, Syal. You're the one who wanted to make it in holos. Deal.

    

     Almost at the end of the row, with the junior ranks, Per Theel, his earlier grumbling forgotten, stared at the holostar working the line, finding a few words for each officer. Wynssa Starflare was smaller than he'd expected, but no holo could do justice to her translucent skin, brilliant blue eyes and flashing smile. Her soprano voice, with her clear actress's elocution, stirred emotions he hadn't known he could feel. When she finally reached him, he felt himself blushing with dismay.

     "How do you do? Have you served on the 'Empire's Revenge' long, Lieutenant?"

     He stammered something. Suddenly, saying: "Two years and seven months" seemed more arduous than solving a dual-vector hyperspace astrogation problem. The holostar moved on to the next officer--

     And very briefly paused. The freak. She was bound to notice the only non-human officer on the Star Destroyer. That idiot Corlag should have found him something to do at the other end of the ship: his precious holostar wasn't going to thank him for making her greet a prakking alien.

     "How do you do, Lieutenant? May I ask from which world you come?"

     "My homeworld is in what you call the Unknown Regions, Miss Starflare," the freak answered in the same cool voice he always used. "I have the advantage of you in this respect -- you are Corellian, are you not?"

     The star's large blue eyes widened even more: "How can you tell? I didn't think I'd kept any accent--"

     "Almost none at all. Perhaps those hard 'n's. You see, the first citizens of the Empire I ever met were Corellian traders. They spoke the earliest Basic I heard."

     Wynssa Starflare looked with interest into the junior lieutenant's strange, glowing red eyes. "I can't believe you learned Basic from Corellians. Quite frankly, lieutenant, I would have sworn it was your mother tongue."

     "You are very kind, Miss Starflare."

     "Not at all. I'm an actress. Speech is my profession, lieutenant..."

     "Thrawn."

     "Lieutenant Thrawn. Congratulations."

     In a haze of red-hot jealousy, Theel saw her move on to Mikam at the freak's-- Thrawn's -- right. And swore to himself that the uppity alien would soon be made to regret showing off to Wynssa Starflare.

    

     Per Theel hadn't been alone in noticing the attention the visiting holostar had paid the newest flag lieutenant. As the staff disbanded to take their stations, the "Empire's Revenge" 's first officer made his way to the tac console, where Lieutenant Thrawn was grading holos of the latest missile exercises.

     "Living dangerously, lieutenant?"

     "Sir?"

     Commander Piett leaned into the holo viewspace and smiled pleasantly: "Save us both some time, lieutenant. I'm sure you can imagine what I'm talking about; you're not stupid. So let's say your little chat with Miss Starflare was undiplomatic. It is further suggested that you contrive to be anywhere else than in her presence in the next eight days she will spend on this ship. Do I make myself clear?"

     The strange red eyes were unreadable. "I think so, yes, sir."

     Piett's own grey eyes narrowed. "You think so, lieutenant Thrawn? Care to share all that cerebral activity with us?"

     "I was wondering whether Captain Corlag had sent you, or whether you were trying to prevent an incident, sir."

     Piett considered the strange non-human Fleet Intelligence had recommended for this post. One of their special projects; had fast-tracked his way through Academy exams; it was rumored the Emperor approved of his existence. The "Empire's Revenge" 's first officer very much doubted the latter: Emperor Palpatine's anti-alien prejudices were well-known. But the young man was extremely competent, no doubt about that. Pretty self-contained, too, but that wasn't surprising -- few of his peers were likely to want to socialize with him. Not coming from a Core family himself, Piett had a fair notion of how Thrawn -- an alien, not just a provincial -- must have been received by the staff officers of a Navy Command flagship like the "Empire's Revenge". The memory of old but never-quite-forgotten slights somewhat softened his next remark. "The captain was, shall we say, very keen on Miss Starflare's visit. She asked him about you a moment ago. I don't expect this would be his conversation topic of choice with her. Even if she's only talking out of curiosity. Got me?"

     The non-human lieutenant nodded once. Was he imagining it, or had the young man's broad shoulders imperceptibly slumped for a second? But there was still no easily-read expression on that blue-skinned, somehow aristocratic face. "Good. Carry on with your tactical analysis. We'll need the rundown in two hours, before the next exercise starts."

     "Aye, sir."

     Cold fish, Piett thought. For all I know, his kind are hermaphrodites or seasonal breeders or lay eggs.

LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: artaxastra
2006-07-27 07:00 pm (UTC)

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A very interesting glimpse of Thrawn in his youth, self contained and aristocratic even then. And I like Piett here to give us perspective on him.
[User Picture]From: shezan
2006-07-27 07:50 pm (UTC)

Thank you!

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Awwww! My VERY FIRST comment here! You're too kind for words!

I mean, it's Star Wars. Adventure, space battles, etc. Not, er, literature, right? But I had a fine time tying everything to movie , book & comic canon. And it was fun to write Early Thrawn...
[User Picture]From: artaxastra
2006-07-27 08:23 pm (UTC)

Re: Thank you!

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Star Wars is fun! And there's so much canon now that it's a challenge to make it all work together. You write Thrawn very well. I'm going to work my way through the rest of this tonight or tomorrow!

Can you love me even if I'm a liberal and a Bonapartist? *g*
[User Picture]From: shezan
2006-07-27 08:58 pm (UTC)

Re: Thank you!

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Most of my friends are liberals, and quite a few are Bonapartistes, although rarely in the same combination.

It makes you speshull!
[User Picture]From: artaxastra
2006-07-27 09:35 pm (UTC)

Re: Thank you!

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I can see that it's rarely at the same time. The Left is supposed to hate the military, one of the more asinine edicts out there. Alas, when other teenage girls were crushing on Sting, I was crushing on dead marshals! I can't remember a time when I didn't collect engravings of fellows on the Arc de Triomphe with equal avidity that I collected pictures of David Bowie. It always seemed much more interesting to me to conquer most of Europe than to play the guitar. I suppose I'm as bad as Elza that way!
[User Picture]From: shezanfics
2006-07-28 02:21 am (UTC)

Re: Thank you!

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... next thing you know, we'll find you fangirling the 82nd Airborne, and then where will we be, hmmm?

(But I am reading a huge novel on Caesar right now, and generals = good.)
[User Picture]From: artaxastra
2006-07-28 03:19 pm (UTC)

Re: Thank you!

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LOL! Actually, I intended a career in the Air Force, but bisexual women aren't allowed to serve. Faced with the choice of giving that up, or spending my entire career lying and hoping I wouldn't get caught, the career was a wash-up, because I'm simply too poor a liar to get by with it.

And yes, I still have a thing for men (and women) in uniform.

In fact, when I was 20 something, I used to wargame Age of Sail naval and Napoleonic miniatures with some guys from Pope AFB and Bragg. They always were such poor sports when I sunk their little frigates, though! Simply didn't understand a stern rake.... And could not deal with playing against a woman as an equal.

The military men and women I encounter now tend to be much better sports, if only because many of them are serving in defiance of the ban and don't have such rigid ideas about gender identity. I am by no means anti-military or a pacifist. I just think this particular war is a bleeping disaster.
[User Picture]From: shezan
2006-07-28 11:28 pm (UTC)

Re: Thank you!

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What fucking business of them it is what you get up to (or down to) in bed? Quels crétins. But I can see why you didn't want the stupid pressure to lie.

(Remember the scene in The West Wing when Admiral whatsisname, the Joint Chief, tells the president that yes, gays will disrupt the military, just the way blacks did once, and the military got over it? Love Sorkin to bits. If all Dems were like him, I'd have NO problems.)
[User Picture]From: artaxastra
2006-07-29 08:08 pm (UTC)

Re: Thank you!

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Yes, well. I didn't particularly want to end my career spectacularly with a dishonorable discharge, or else lie all the time until I finally got caught. And given that more than 6,000 people have been discharged for sexual orientation in the last eleven years, it happens all the time. Including 6 out of a department of 13 Arabic language specialists on the eve of the war in Iraq. New commander came in who wanted to clean out the queers, so all six wound up in trouble and called SLDN. Cause we sure don't need any Arabic translators right now. *drips sarcasm*

And as for disrupting the military, women were supposed to disrupt it too. Because no army in the world before 1980 ever had any women along. *rolls eyes*
[User Picture]From: shezan
2006-07-30 04:48 am (UTC)

Re: Thank you!

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Actually, I had a discussion with a couple of Pentagon/intel types in Washington about this very subject last May. I remember telling them it was asinine firing gay Arabic translators, especially since they'd had problems with some of their translators who felt more Islamist than American, which wasn't very likely to happen with gays considering how they are treated in islamist regimes. I think I went something like "You've been firing the very people whose loyalty you had good reason to rely on? That's shooting us all in the foot." It was interesting to see them go wooden.
[User Picture]From: shezan
2006-07-28 11:35 pm (UTC)

Re: Thank you!

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Oh, and remember the Goldwater line? "You don't have to be straight to shoot straight"?
[User Picture]From: shezan
2006-07-27 08:59 pm (UTC)

Re: Thank you!

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... and thanks for reading!!!

(Didn't have a beta on this, so shall welcome any comment & criticism.)
[User Picture]From: artaxastra
2006-07-27 09:35 pm (UTC)

Re: Thank you!

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You are very welcome! I will do so as I read on!