Ugh. It had been a long day on board the Steadfast. Eli was so tired, he pulled off his shoes and fell face first onto the bed. He was asleep almost as soon as his face hit the pillow.
He thought he’d be out until his alarm went off, but a couple hours after he collapsed Eli woke to the sound of his door opening. He groaned and flipped over in bed just as Thrawn walked through the door. His irritation at someone casually strolling into his room was immediately replaced with elation. He hadn’t seen Thrawn in months.
Eli jumped out of bed and threw himself into Thrawn’s arms. He pulled the taller man as close as he could and kissed him deeply. He would’ve liked to stay like that forever, but he had too many questions.
“Why are you here?” he asked as he reluctantly broke their kiss. Thrawn just gave him a small smile and pulled him close again.
Eli wasn’t going to let him distract him that easily, though. “Where’s the Chimaera? Were you close enough to bring a shuttle? Have you reported to Ar’alani yet? Did…” Thrawn cut him off with a finger to his lips.
He pulled Eli in for another kiss, and then began to remove his uniform. Eli followed suit. His questions could wait for morning he decided as he followed Thrawn to his bed.
He woke the next morning to his alarm, and noticed right away that the bed was empty. Thrawn must be reporting to Ar’alani. At least that’s what he thought until his comm went off.
Ar’alani asked him to meet her in her office at his earliest convenience. She sounded strangely kind and… sad. Hmm. Eli dressed quickly, and made his way there as fast as decorum allowed.
Ar’alani directed Eli to sit as soon as he stepped into her office.
“Lieutenant Commander Eli’van’to, I have received news that the Seventh fleet was attacked over a planet called Lothal. They suffered many losses. Among those losses was the Chimaera. It was last seen being dragged into hyperspace by… purrgil.” She had been referring to her datapad for this information. However, Ar’alani put the device down now, and looked Eli in the eye.
“We do not know what has happened to Grand Admiral Mitth’raw’nuruodo, but we are going to make every effort possible to locate him.”
Eli just stared at her. He didn’t know Chiss were capable of practical jokes.
“Admiral, I don’t know what you and Thrawn are up to, but this isn’t funny.”
She fixed Eli with a hard stare. “I do not know what you refer to Lieutenant Commander.”
“You don’t know what… Look, I just saw Thrawn. He showed up last night, and came by to let me know he was aboard. I figured he dropped by to check in with you this morning.”
“I can assure you he did not.” Ar’alani picked up her datapad, and began pulling up information. She handed the datapad to Eli. “As you can see Lieutenant Commander, we have not had any new ships dock with us in the past two days. Nor has anyone been admitted to this ship outside of its current crew and passengers.”
Eli stared dumbfounded at the datapad. It corroborated her statement, but that couldn’t be right. Eli knew who he’d been with last night. What he’d felt.
He pulled up the video feed from the corridor outside his quarters. He played through the footage for last night. It did indeed show his door opening. However, there was no one outside the door or in the corridor. In fact, no one had even walked down that corridor all night.
Eli just sat there ashen-faced.