Thrawn’s gaze was turned toward the Calamari artwork, his head tilted slightly to the right. He was silent for a long time.
When Parck started to fidget, he spoke.
“You lost three Dreadnoughts.”
The Captain flushed. “Sir.”
“One Victory-class Star Destroyer.”
He wanted to die. “Sir.”
“Fifteen TIE squadrons.”
He might get his wish. “Sir.”
“And one Interdictor Cruiser.”
Parck bit back a groan. “Sir,” he whispered.
“I’m sorry? I didn’t hear you?”
The human took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Sir,” he repeated, louder.
“And that means what, precisely?”
Park’s jaw hurt from clenching it so tight. “I lost almost everything we went in with, Sir,” he grated out. He forced his hands to relax; a trip to Medical wasn’t on his list of things to do today.
“Ninety-five percent of your task force was completely wiped out.”
Dieing might be. “Yes, Sir,” he sighed, shoulders finally slumping with defeat.
“You admit defeat, then?”
It hurt to admit it. “Yes, Sir.”
“Then I suppose there is really only one end to this meeting.”
Parck wondered if his punishment would be painless. He doubted it. “I understand, Sir.”
Thrawn finally turned to him, a slight smile playing on his lips. He reached across the table and flicked a switch; above them, icons denoting commander and commanded switched places.
“You, Captain, have just been demoted.”
There was no mistaking the pleasure in the alien’s voice; it was the fifth time in row that he’d completely swabbed the deck with Parck, and it was a stupid children’s game, at that.
He was never going to live this down.