2BBY (Before Battle Yavin)/0AT (After Transition)/2170CE - Fringe Terminus Space
"Commodore Faro, what's the status of the Seventh?" Thrawn's calm voice carried an air of confidence as he stepped clear of the turbo lift. That was something that many of the longer serving crew appreciated about the Grand Admiral. He always seemed in control, like he had a plan and answers, even when he truly did not. It was part of why they were so loyal, despite his inhuman disposition.
"Secure from hyperspace, Grand Admiral. The fleet has dispersed into standard security positions. Nothing else will surprise us sir." Commodore Faro's response was nearly as confident, but Thrawn knew the woman well enough to read between the lines. That meant the vague reports he had initially received at his terminal were true, and they'd managed something impossible.
Despite the hidden uncertainty plaguing the officers of the ISD Chimera, her bridge was the peak of efficiency, and Thrawn would accept nothing less. Even that uncertainty was underpinned with a layer of confidence. The Chimera, like all of the Seventh Fleet's Imperial-I Star Destroyers, had been refitted with heavier turrets mounting eight barreled heavy turbolasers as her primary armament instead of the standard dual barrels. Not that those turbolasers would do them any good if Chimera's sensor readings were correct however.
"Excellent, commodore. Coordinate with the fleet. I want to know everything there is to know about the sector of space we have found ourselves in. Dismissed."
Faro snapped off a quick salute, a brief "sir", and disappeared into the Comm Station at the rear of the command bridge. Her disappearance prompted Thrawn to turn to his flag captain, Albus Marinith. "Now captain, tell me exactly what has happened, and why I see a dead system, when I should be looking at the highly populated planet of Lothal?" Thrawn's question was a valid one, as was the thinly masked annoyance that leaked through. Unfortunately, the captain's own lack of understanding of the situation precluded any sort of real answer.
"Sensor logs say the Seventh passed through some sort of Hyperspace anomaly. We don't know much else, but the most reasonable assertion is that we were propelled beyond the hyperspace barrier at the galactic rim, and into another galaxy." Marinith finished his report and silently thanked his lucky stars he served under the Grand Admiral. Many an Imperial officer would have reacted with anger, and thrown the bearer of bad news into the brig, or worse. Thrawn led by respect, not fear, and as such knew better than to punish his sailors or soldiers for telling the truth. Suddenly a thought occurred to the Captain, so he continued, "And we've cross referenced your data from the wider unknown regions, as well as all Imperial star charts contained within the ships computers. We came up with nothing."
Thrawn was at a loss, not that it showed. If the situation was as it appeared, he needed to keep calm and in control. If the situation was as bad as it seemed, emphasis on if (jumping to the worst conclusions would bring nothing but disaster after all), there was no better time for it. The Seventh Fleet, Thrawn's powerful command, was fresh from rest and refit in the shipyards of Kuat, and freshly reinforced. Full of provisions and equipped to massively expand the imperial occupation of Lothal. What was originally a force to be reckoned with was now a force of terrifying power. Ten ISD-Is had turned to Thirty. Sixteen ISD-IIs Had turned to Fifty. His two Interdictor Star Destroyers had been doubled to four. And that was just the Destroyer class ships. The emperor really wanted this Lothal rebelion stamped out, and he trusted Thrawn to make it happen.
Thrawn exhaled slowly to focus himself. He had all the resources he needed, he had good and well trained Imperial sailors, and all the firepower of a heavily reinforced Imperial fleet under his command after all. He refocused on the officer in front of him and began issuing orders anew. "Sound the general alert," Thrawn turned back towards commodore Faro's position and spoke loud enough she could clearly hear, "Bring the fleet to general quarters!"
Klaxons echoed throughout the fleet, and the voice of the duty officer rang throughout the ship calling all crew to their stations. Thrawn wasn't taking any chances. His fleet was escorting ships carrying the staff and equipment necessary to expand his TIE-Defender facility, particularly the new (to him)orbital Imperial Construction Modules which would allow for nearly triple the output - if he could deliver those Imperial resources that is. If he was going to crush the Lothal insurrection, he would need those new TIEs, but more importantly: he was going to need to find a way back to Lothal.
He turned back to his flag captain, already trying to figure the possibilities. "Captain Marinith, you are in charge of reviewing the sensor logs. Find where we passed through this hyperspace anomaly. If it isn't there, figure out how we can generate and reverse it. Am I understood, Captain?" Thrawn's tone brooked no argument, and Captain Marinith delivered none. He would not fail his Grand Admiral, at least not without exhaustive effort and enough data to prove success was literally impossible. Thrawn was not a murderous leader, but he still would not abide sloth or premature surrender in the face of realistically attainable victory.
Captain Marinith snapped off a quick salute, exclaimed a quick "sir," and descended into The Pit to join the sensor technician who was already working to identify the nature of the anomaly. After a long glance out the window at the fore of the bridge which made his chest swell with pride at the sight of the fleet before him, before he turned to watch his bridge crew carry out his orders.
It had been nearly five days, three since the Seventh fleet had stood down from constant combat alert. One day since the senior officers had come to the conclusion that, without equipment that would take years to reproduce with what they had, return was all but impossible. Maybe with a few years and that equipment, return could be possible, but it was highly unlikely. Far more likely, they would be atomized in the attempt to return. In fact, based upon what they had observed of the data, it was highly likely that the anomaly they had transitied had in fact duplicated the Seventh near exactly at the atomic level. The anomaly had then shunted them from the alternative dimension of hyperspace into a further distant realspace dimension not their own.
Thawn found this both oddly disappointing and comforting. It meant that he had succeeded in delivering the resources to increase TIE-Defender production, which meant it was all but inevitable that he had crushed the rebellion in its Lothal cradle. However, it also meant that Thrawn - this Thrawn that is - would never see that success. The Empire would long survive, and finally succeed in bringing peace and order to the galaxy. If only he could be there to see it.
That reflection brought him back to the present. He had a great many men and women under his command, lost imperials in need of a purpose. Purpose he would have to deliver, or lose them to the situation or whims of their commanding officers. Most of the officers of the Seventh were loyal to him personally, there were perks to leading by respect and skill rather than fear, but even they had their limits. He would need to start issuing fresh orders, and step one was to ensure that his men didn't fail him before his ships. It was a major stroke of luck that this dead system was apparently identical to the Lothal system (save for the people), meaning the primary habitable world was well suited to humanoid life, and rich in the critical resources that were needed to power the new government he had long hoped to found in the Unknown Regions, but would found here instead: The Empire of the Hand.
To achieve his first step, he ordered his fleet to begin deep surveys of the primary habitable world, New Lothal, which would be the backbone of his new empire and enable its future conquests. How ironic considering the reason he had been stationed over Lothal to begin with. His second step was the establishment of the factory equipment, though they would focus more on producing droids at present to enable mines to be opened on the planet and food to be farmed to extend their supplies. His third step was to explore local space, ensure The Hand's security, while locating life to conquer. The Hand couldn't survive off of just the crew of his fleet and a small army of factory workers after all. Steps one and two were already progressing well.
They'd rediscovered nearly all the ore veins in imperial records, perhaps most importantly, the doonium that made the original Lothal so important to the empire. The new Imperial Construction Modules had practically jumpstarted the factories weeks ahead of what he had expected. The foreman had estimated moderate production capacity within a week, and full production (raw resource permitting) within the month.
Now it was only a matter of step three. Fortunately the question of whether or not the local sector, or more importantly the galaxy as a whole, were populated were soon answered for him. "Sir! Long range pickets report contact on sensors, it's moving Faster than Light in realspace! It's on course to New Lothal." That the ship was moving FTL in realspace was a shock to all the crew on the bridge, but they were professionals of the Imperial Navy and marshaled their reactions.
Thrawn's reaction was nearly instant, "Bring the Fleet to General Quarters! Signal Immobilizer to bring the Interdictor Field online. Relay to the fleet: I want Prisoners! Inform Major Ayer to ready his Stormtroopers to board and capture the crew!" Thrawn turned to face the window and watched as his fleet executed his orders perfectly. A voice cut in from the sensor station, "Sir! Immobilizer did her job, I have solid contact on a ship! 147 meters, Classification Unknown, Type Unknown, Her silhouette doesn't match any vessel in the Imperial Database! She's a complete unknown!"
Thrawn watched as half a dozen Ion cannon rounds struck the ship from three different vessels seconds after she dropped from FTL. Moments later, the tractor beam latched on and the unknown vessel began drifting slowly towards the ventral docking bay on Chimera where Major Ayer's troops were waiting.
A nudge here, a different course taken there, the actions of a few dozen individuals, had managed to forever alter the paths of two incredibly different galaxies.
Welcome to my new story, Thrawn Effect. Thrawn is easily one of my favorite characters in fiction, and I always felt he was under represented in crossovers, so I might as well contribute. Please let me know what you think. For Star Wars, this is obviously an AU. In the real star wars timeline, Thrawn gets basically the bare minimum and nearly defeats the rebels before they can form into a wider force. In this universe, the Emperor and Tarkin decided to put a little more faith in thrawn, and gave him whatever he needed to destroy the rebels. Whether or not he goes on to do so in the Star Wars universe is up to you and will not be covered by this story, clearly Thrawn thinks he does, but that should be of little surpise.
Where this fits in the ME timeline more exactly will be made clear very soon. I look forward to the feedback on this story, though please be kind as this is my first actual effort to write more than a tiny fragment, and is as much for the sake of putting this plot bunny to paper as it is to improve my writing in the manner of actually making myself put words to page.