Autobiography of an Imperial Admiral by Chris Anderson

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Lucasfilm, Ltd. No money is being made and no infringement is intended.

It's such a strange idea. Spilling his soul out to total strangers- total strangers, and people from his own world- people like his young friend Jaina Solo, who doesn't know... doesn't *need* to know... so many things in his past.

He's sitting here, though, staring at the terminal, the flashing cursor. Remembering the look on Jaina's face when she'd given him the transmission codes, instructions on how to connect...

She's had so many mentors, so many teachers- and he, too, thinks of her as his protégé. When they gave her the Colonel's stars and none of the schooling in tactics that ought to have gone with them, she came to see him. He's not Thrawn, not by half, but he studied under Thrawn a long time, and has learned no small amount on his own. He's proud of the girl, as proud as if she were his own daughter.

It's been another of those days, the bad ones, the ones he doesn't like to talk or even think about. He had been on his way to see Bel Iblis- how the hell the other man can get real Corellian whiskey in the middle of the war he doesn't know, but he *can*, and just then it seems the most natural thing...

"Admiral Pellaeon..." He hears her but he doesn't answer. If he can just get to the quarters where Bel Iblis has taken up residence, it will all be alright...

"Sir... Damnit! *Gil*!" And he turns then, because how could she know that this is what his friends used to call him?

She actually shakes her finger at him. "No more of Bel Iblis's whiskey. It's not going to help. Try this."

She is holding, of all things, a data card.

He sighs. "I don't think-"

That's when she drags him back to his office, and logs onto the network. Shows him her journal. "Give it a try," Jaina says.

"What do I have to do?" he asks.

"Say hello. Introduce yourself. See what the others are talking about. Talk about that, if you want."

He nods, turns to the screen, and begins to write.

My name is Gilad Pellaeon, and I blame my presence here on a young friend of mine, Jaina Solo. She seemed to think that this place would benefit me more than another evening spent with my friend Garm Bel Iblis and his whiskey bottles. She's probably right, but I'd almost rather be there than here. Garm doesn't ask any questions, and nor does the whiskey.

No... That's not right. (Oh, it's right in the sense that it is true, but it's not the way I wanted to get started here.) *sighs* I'm really not good at this sort of thing. I, ah, don't have much of a social life anymore.

Sad, isn't it?

Well, then. My name is Gilad Pellaeon. My friends call me Gil. (Most of them are dead now, of course... and the ones that are left, well, we don't speak as much as perhaps we should.) I have the honor to serve the Imperial Remnant as Grand Admiral and supreme commander. A little over eighteen years ago I became the flag captain to the old Empire's last Grand Admiral, Thrawn. He was not human, which was an amazing thing; the late Emperor had a very strong prejudice against nonhumans. At any rate, Thrawn was brilliant. I knew him for several years, and there were many things about him I never figured out.

One was the way he seemed to be able to discover an enemy's weaknesses. He would study their art- study it in great detail- and somehow out of that study came strategies and tactics, made to order, as they say. I learned not to second-guess him; even if his plans made no sense to me, even if I couldn't see a reason they would work... He knew what he was doing.

Right up until the end.

Thrawn was killed by his Noghri bodyguard, Rukh, in return, I suppose, for the way he had used the Noghri race all those years. Rukh struck me down on his way to Thrawn, and the moment he hit me, of course, I knew what he was doing- but he'd seen to it I couldn't move. I don't think I even had time to shout a warning.

Thrawn was my commanding officer, my comrade, but never exactly my friend. He did take me into his confidences, though- Sometimes I wonder if he did so in order to have someone around who would appreciate the full genius of his plans. I'd had brain-storming sessions with other officers, where we would sit and discuss the opposing force or the engagement we knew was coming, tossing ideas back and forth- what to do, how to do it, that sort of thing. Thrawn, though... he knew what he was doing. And so he would do most of the talking, while I stood there... Most of my contributions to the conversation weren't exactly stunning: "Yes, sir. No, sir. What do I think of the art? Well, it's very interesting, sir..."

I admired and respected him. And I knew I couldn't take his place. When he was killed- in the middle of a battle with the New Republic- I knew I couldn't pull off a victory. I called a retreat, and we crawled off to lick our wounds.

Eventually I ended up working for one of the Warlords- former Imperial officers who'd split off from the fleet after the Emperor's death and gone into business for themselves. They all gave themselves self-promotions to ranks that hadn't existed before they thought them up; High Admiral, Supreme Admiral, High Moff, that sort of nonsense. There were a few counterfeit Grand Admirals, as well, which I found very annoying.

The original Grand Admirals were twelve of the best and brightest officers of the old Empire, hand-picked by Emperor Palpatine himself. As far as I know, Thrawn was the only one to survive the war years.

But who was I to argue with the people who paid me? I wasn't happy about the situation, but eventually practicality won out over pride. I had to live, after all.

When Admiral Daala came along and killed off the dozen or so most obnoxious warlords, I thought things might have changed. I thought there might be hope... But she turned out to be almost as much of a pretender as the warlords. She had gone to the Academy, where she'd been shunted aside to some menial task because she was a woman. There she languished for a while, until her discovery by Grand Moff Tarkin, who promoted her to Admiral and made her his mistress. *raises eyebrows* Yes. Exactly. She threw several temper tantrums, and in the end reminded me more of the insane Jedi Master Thrawn had recruited to help us than she did Thrawn himself. When she threw up her hands and left command of what was left of the Empire in my charge, I wasn't entirely sad to see her go.

Eight years ago, I finally saw the writing on the wall. The Empire's day was over. I sent an emissary, an old friend of mine, to the New Republic to sue for peace. Little did I know three enterprising people were in the process of faking Thrawn's return. Of course, they in turn had no idea the lengths I would go to in order to help my friend and to preserve what was left of the Empire.

In the end we signed a peace treaty (in the lounge of the *Millennium Falcon*, of all places) and the Empire became the Imperial Remnant. And we had our troubles now and then, but we weathered them well enough...

And then came the Yuuzhan Vong. For some time they left us alone, and the political arm of the Remnant thought they would continue to do so if we only didn't push them. I didn't agree, and when the New Republic asked for our help, I went to help them. But the Vong won that day in the end, and the Moffs called me home for a bit of a chewing-out.

I've never seen them happier than when the Vong brought the war to us, and they thought I was dead. I hated to disappoint them, really, but, well... Oh, the hell with it. I was *overjoyed* to be able to upset their plans by the simple act of still breathing. (I was badly injured, though, and all things considered I think I could've done without the agony and the weeks in the bacta tank.)

The Jedi came up with a plan to win the war, involving a living world called Zonama Sekot, and just after they found it, the war began to turn in our favor.

Earlier this year, I did a rather selfish thing. I ordered my son Mynar Devis, a ship captain, to take command of an Interdictor cruiser, hoping to keep him out of the battlefront. Of course, I hadn't counted on Han Solo- his childhood hero- happening by and asking for help.

He did exactly what I would have expected him to do in that situation; left the ship in his second's command, borrowed a TIE fighter from his ship's wings, and went with Solo. And he died, helping Solo come to the aid of mutual friends of ours.

If I had known my son a bit less well, I would have blamed Solo. But Myn knew what he was doing, of course. He asked Solo to tell me that he had done what he thought best. Which is typical.

I'm hardly the only person to have lost a child in this bloody war. But I... *sighs* He was my son, and I can't help feeling that I could have done better by him- and that somehow, if I had, he would still be alive.

It's thoughts like this that usually send me to Bel Iblis and his liquor stash. Garm understands; his children were killed long ago- murdered, really, by the Empire. It's amazing that he doesn't blame me for it, though I had nothing to do with it. But it has been a very long time, and all of those responsible for his family's deaths are dead. For years we were adversaries of the type that have become scarce now; we truly respected one another. And when we found ourselves on the same side, well... you can't ask for a truer friend.

But Garm lets his demons overwhelm him sometimes. I might, too, if I could afford it. But I am constantly afraid that if I lose control even for a moment, the Moffs will take the opportunity to do something stupid and incredibly selfish, such as recalling the fleet to protect their estates. And other men and women's sons and daughters will die, needlessly.

No, as tempting as it is, Garm's answer isn't mine. Not anymore.

I've found my most recent holo of Mynar, taken just before he left with the Interdictor, and placed it on my desk. I've taken to talking to it- been yelling at him a fair bit, lately. Foolish, stubborn boy... why couldn't you stay safe?

I know why, of course. I couldn't have stayed there either, not when I could have been of better use...

Oh, his mother was right- I should have kept him out of the fleet. But he never would have forgiven me, and he wanted it so much... Who was I to deny him his dream, out of my own selfish fear? I, too, know the risks, and accept them every time I put on my uniform.

Of course, she was as much a hypocrite as I am- she went and got herself killed on a mission to- no, damn, that's still classified. Stubborn, prideful woman. *Refused* to marry me- flatly refused. I asked on average of once a year; it used to make her laugh.

Oh, stubborn, frustrating woman...

I loved her madly, of course.