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Jedi Cool

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Posts posted by Jedi Cool

  1. chapter 8:
     
    After checking into a hostel that smells strongly of droch repellent, Luke leads Ben and Vestara out to find the Theran Listeners.  He finds what looks like the hovel of the Oldtimers.  A man lets them in where they find a dozen men and women sitting and watching.
     
    Ben feels like he’s surrounded.
     
    Luke has a short conversation with the barkeeper who sends them to Sel for healing.  On the way out, someone flicks a droch on Ben’s back.  Ben tells his father that this doesn’t seem like it’s changed much from the old days.  Luke answers that they didn’t come after them with clubs this time.
     
    At Sel’s dome, an elderly woman with white hair lets them in.  She knows he is Luke Skywalker.  Luke recognizes her as Teselda, the woman he met 30 years ago.  She admits there are things she doesn’t remember.  He introduces her to Ben and Vestara as the galaxy’s oldest surviving Jedi.
     ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
         •    Yes, Teselda was the crazy Jedi we met in Planet of Twilight.
     
     

  2. chapter 7:
     
    Chief of State Daala sits with her friend, Nek Bwua’tu, and confesses she thinks this planet is a hellhole sometimes.  He is one of her remaining confidantes even though he cannot answer.
     
    The way power on this world is handled is beyond reason.  It is just the discrediting of a rival, but the way people resort to treachery in mere office politics over things of little value.
     
    She, however, plans to stay the course and crush those who crave power for their own ends.  The Slave revolt leaders who just want to replace those they overthrow, the arrogant Jedi, those that use good people in their way.
     
    Desha Lor enters to tell her that Wynn Dorvan is returning right now.
     
    At the Temple, the Jedi are working together as they haven’t for a long time.  The Dust Dancer is coming down. Kyp and Octa are hidden in its smuggling compartments.  Seha is the only pilot and she is not well-known even without the inserts that are altering her facial structure.
     
    Nevertheless, two Masters entering the Senate Building will force Daala’s hand.  They must try, however, to keep this as bloodless as possible.  This involves getting Kyp and Octa the resources necessary to allow them to infiltrate the building, such as disguises.
     
    Leia suggests that they propose some meeting between her, Han and Daala, that will give them the means to get materials to the two Jedi.  Daala will want to speak with Kenth Hamner, so they come up with a cover story.  Feeling that Daala may launch a tactical strike against him personally, Hamner has gone into hiding until the relationship between the Alliance and the Jedi Order has improved.
     
    Elsewhere, in the Temple, Valin Horn gets the name Nam Chorios in his mind.  He knew he needed to go somewhere and that feeling gets stronger every hour.  He can tell that Jysella knows, too.
     
    Kam Solusar comes to sit with them in the mess hall.  He notes that their tests have come back showing that they are cleared of the carbonite sickness.  This means it’s back to work.  They are going on a light courier run to Corellia to deliver some supplies to their enclave there.
     
    Valin suspects their shuttle will have a tracking device on it.  They will land someplace that is not Corellia, try to escape and the fake Jedi will come to capture them or kill them.
     
    Only a crazy person would walk into this trap.
     
    Valin and Jysella engage in some light bantering about how this assignment really only requires one Jedi.  Kam finally agrees to give Valin another assignment.
     -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
         •    Corellia has a Jedi enclave?  I know they had a school during the LotF series. Did that get reopened then?
     

  3. chapter 6:
     
    When they arrive at Nam Chorios, Vestara notes the Golan stations in orbit.  This is a lot of firepower for one world.  Luke tells her the stations are meant to keep ships from escaping, not arriving. 
     
    Though Nam Chorios is a backworld, it also harbors a native lifeform call a droch.  The drochs carry the Death Seed plague.  Drochs breed quickly in dark, damp places before they burrow in to the living tissue of most species. They sample the body chemistry and other traits and begin to mimic them so that even scanner can’t find them.  They grow inside the host body, living off life energy, manifesting the plague.
     
    The drochs continue to breed inside the body. 
     
    Vestara isn’t sure why they haven’t destroyed this place. There are other life forms here.  Violet light from the sun is processed through crystals and through crystalline life forms called tsils which kill the drochs.  So long as one stays close to the tsils and the sun, it is safe.
     
    They will be using the name Lars here under the guise of searching for relatives among the Newcomers. 
     
    The port authority rep lets them know that there’s a harsh winter going on, gives them droch repellent, glow rods and wishes them luck finding their cousins.  Landing directly on the planet requires a lengthy and expensive decontamination procedure, so they decide to shuttle down.
     
    Luke watches the world come into view, different from when he’d been here 30 years ago.  The Oldtimers no longer have to work to keep drochs from leaving the planet or tsils removed against their will.  Medical facilities are burgeoning here due to the violet sunlight, the tsils, the Theran Listeners and the Oldtimers.
     
    Everyone had gotten what they wanted except for Callista who had come here to reconnect with the Force.
     
    Speaking of which, he reminds Vestara and Ben not to use the Force here except in very extreme circumstances and, then, only as pasively as possible.  Part of the environment magnifies Force usage and causes destructive storms.
     
    When they disembark, Luke is flooded with memories of his time here.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
                      •    Luke visited Nam Chorios in Planet of Twilight.
     

  4. chapter 5:
     
    Borleias has had a varied past.  It was a good stopping off point between Core worlds for centuries and was used as an outpost for whoever controlled Coruscant.  An Imperial biological facility was housed here.  The New Republic had used it to capture Coruscant from the control of Ysanne Isard.  The same government had fled here when the Yuuzhan Vong invaded the capital.  Jacen Solo had traded Borleias and Bilbringi to the Imperial Remnant for military aid.
     
    Daala would not allow such an important jumping-off point to belong to a foreign power, so she had negotiated with the Empire to allow them to take Bilbringi and the Galactic Alliance to retain Borleais.
     
    Beyond that, old military careers come here to die.  Officers who needed one more chance to prove a competence no one thinks they have are sent here. 
     
    Still, there are opportunities and Sgt. Dolo Karenzi, the night-shift quartermaster, has found one.  The transport, Dust Dancer, is delivering a load of exotic goods that clearly don’t belong here.  Karenzi can sign for it illegibly, take possession of it and traffic it for a fortune. 
     
    The lovely young woman, who is way out of his league, takes his signature and asks for landing authorization.
     
    No sooner does the ship land, however, than the base sirens start going off.  The starfighters lighting up, Karenzi asks what’s going on. He’s told a Star Destroyer called the Errant Venture has dropped out of orbit. 
     
    They all know that the Venture is wanted for actions against the Alliance.  Just a couple of days ago, it left Coruscant with a huge number of Coruscant’s political, social and military elite aboard playing in a high-stakes sabacc tournament.  It had used it’s presumed hostages to cover the flight of Jedi StealthXs.
     
    It will be very difficult to funnel these goods now.
     
    The base’s commander does not launch the starfighters, knowing it’s pointless against a Star Destroyer.  He’s trying to reach Coruscant quickly.  The Venture begins sending shuttles down with the sabacc players in various moods. 
     
    With them comes their retainers, their luggage, their music.  In other words, the Venture has dumped the remains of a huge party on Borleias.
     
    Wynn Dorvin is one of them.  He’s a bit shell-shocked as he is greeted by General Eldo Davip, a diligent, but uninspiring officer who’d helped defend Borleias against the Yuuzhan Vong.  He’d served well but had been tainted by his association with Jacen Solo.  Though he’d not been accused of any complicity, he was still maneuvered here for a quiet retirement. 
     
    Davip tells him that he’s assured the Chief of State that Dorvan is fine.  She wants a report from him quickly, but Davip would like to ensure the security of the planet first.  He wants to know what to expect from the huge red Star Destroyer in orbit.
     
    Dorvan isn’t sure they can expect anything.  Apparently, they just want to steer clear of the Alliance military.  As soon as their shuttles are returned, they plan to leave the system. 
     
    There are no GA reinforcements coming here, so Davip is going to press a transport that was making a delivery at the time into service getting the card players back to Coruscant.  When he finds out Dorvan won the tournament, he makes a note to look him up after retirement for a job.
     
    Dorvan offers to consider it if Davip can get him a private cabin on the transport.
     
    The final shuttle lands and the pilot of the Dust Dancer knows Lando is aboard it.  She is Seha Dorvald, recently elevated Jedi Knight.  Booster Terrik had arranged for the completely unsullied Dust Dancer to be loaned and filled with luxury items from his ship stores. 
     
    It was placed here first with the belief that it would be forced to ferry the celebrities back to Coruscant.  After all, the shuttles belonging to the card players are being commandeered for now.  They will be used to transport Jedi into the Senate Building.
     
    Her former Master, Octa Ramis, is with her.  Seha tells her that there is a request to give Wynn Dorvan a private cabin.  Octa chuckles at how many special requests will be made.  As it is, the only private cabin on board is hers.
     
    They’ll put a listening device inside first before giving it to him. 
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
     
         •    Borleias was used as a top-secret facility and seized from the Empire in the X-Wing series, used to regroup after the loss of Coruscant in Rebel Dream and traded to the Empire during the LoTF series.
    •    General Davip first appeared in Rebel Dream, then in Rebel Stand and The Unifying Force.
    •    Seha Dorvald was the young woman manipulated by Jacen Solo in the LotF series.  She’s appeared a couple of times since.

  5. chapter 4:
     
    At the Armand Isard Correctional Facility, Tahiri walks into the exercise yard.  It’s filled with yellow-clad prisoners, every one of them a male.  There are also no guards in sight.  A convict approaches her, one that she was responsible for helping to bring in before the war.
     
    A couple of his friends are with him.  Tahiri knows this is no accident.  She’s dealing with a Mon Cal, a Hutt and a Wookiee.  Not willing to wait to be crushed, she takes the initiative and fights back. 
     
    Finally, she is stunned by a weapon that comes down from the ceiling.
     
    She is later marched into the warden’s office, shackled.  A large photo of the man shaking hands with Admiral Pellaeon adorns the wall. This will not go well.
     
    He tells her that he realizes that she has not yet been convicted, despite the evidence that clearly shows she killed a great man, and that a clerical error put her in a high-security area with the male prisoners, but that does not mean she had the right to injure them.
     
    Tahiri doubts that it was an error that put here there.  He tells her that he will make a note about her paranoid delusions. The surveillance cameras show that they were only gathered around her, talking.  They may have been taunting her, but she had no right to respond with force.
     
    She will remain in shock cuffs when not in her cell or in court.  However, she will still be able to eat with everyone else and have her education, therapy and exercise sessions.  Tahiri knows that she is being set up again so that she will be helpless when attacked again.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     

  6. chapter 3:
     
    Through the Force, Luke feels Fala’s energy building.  He can catch touches of memories of the Shelter Jedi Knights whom Abeloth wants back.  He can sense the self-sacrificing touch of Callista.  He sees and feels dark places. 
     
    When he pulls back, weary, worse for the wear after his fight with Abeloth, Fala opens her eyes.  Luke tells her to watch her thoughts, emotions and dreams for the next few months.  If she begins experiencing abnormal things, she must consult a Jedi.
     
    He tells Hallaf that he has bigger things to worry about than a few smugglers.  He’s after the person who would use up another just to distract her pursuer.
     
    Luke tells Ben they are going to Nam Chorios.  Abeloth is calling to the Shelter Jedi.  If she gets strong enough, she could reestablish her bonds with them.
     
    The StealthXs land on the Errant Venture.  Raynar Thul jumps out of his cockpit, spots Kyp Durron’s sunburned face and feels a bit of envy.  He’s grateful that his features have been normalized by many surgeries and that he’s been accept by the Jedi again, but he still sometimes long for even more normalcy.
     
    Kyp tells him he did well today.  The EV pilots are being recovered and the Sith force has regrouped.  They are expected to jump to hyperspace soon.  The Jade Shadow has already left and there’s been no further word from Master Skywalker.  There’s also been nothing from the Temple.
     
    Until they know where Abeloth went, where the Sith are going, what is happening on Coruscant, they really can’t do anything.  Kyp does think that they should make some contingency plans, though.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  7. chapter 2:
     
    Near Meliflar Station close to Almania, the Jade Shadow, Luke can feel living beings aboard it.  Ben thinks it could be pirates or smugglers.  It’s also possible that Abeloth is there.  They have been tracing the Dathomiri blood trail, but it is faint. 
     
    Vestara is sure she is here, though.  There are shapes and shadows in the Force that lead her to believe that Abeloth came here with Ship. 
     
    After landing, they find there’s no one in sight.  Luke announces who he is and that he is not here to shut down the operation.  A container collapses, revealing two humans with vibroblades and blasters.
     
    They fire stun bolts only as the two Jedi and Vestara hold them off.  The attackers are joined by more, but ultimately have to call off the attack.  Luke wants to know who’s in charge here.  He’s told it’s someone named Hallaf who is in the brig because he was being influenced by someone with no business sense.  Cardya is in charge now.
     
    It appears that a slender woman with brown hair and silver eyes arrived in a ship shaped like a ball.  She’d spoken briefly with Hallaf and left right after that.  Hallaf explained to the rest that three Jedi would be arriving soon.  They were to kill the Jedi quickly by using explosives, but the pirates decided they wanted to capture the yacht.  They threw Hallaf and his daughter in the brig and set up the ambush instead.
     
    Luke can still feel a pulse of dark side energy here.  He asks them to escort the group through the station.  Hallaf is a middle-aged man with a gray beard.  His daughter is stretched out on a cot, the whites of her eyes only showing.  Luke feels the energy coming from her.
     
    Hallaf explains her name is Fala and blames Cardya for what is happening.  Luke touches Fala’s forehead.  He asks if she’s studied the Force.  Hallaf tells him his daughter has felt things for years, but she’s never studied as a Jedi.  When that woman came, she asked for wine.  When Hallaf returned with it, his daughter was like this.  The woman told him that she would die unless the Jedi did.
     
    Luke sits down to try to help her, telling Ben to lock down the command center and keep all occupied areas under surveillance so they won’t be surprised.
     -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     

  8. chapter 1:
     
    In the Jedi Temple infirmary, Cilghal handles the decarbonization process of Valin Horn while wondering where Bazel Warv and Amelia Solo have gotten into.  Both reek of something odorous.  His pod monitor flickers out for a moment, causing his status to revert to dead.  But Cilghal doesn’t feel his life has winked out yet.
     
    Tekli checks on Jysella.  They ask both Horns if they can speak.  Both can, but their eyesight is gone for right now.  Jysella and Valin sense each other in the Force and reach out.  Jysella strains to find her mother.
     
    Cilghal sends everyone else out but Corran and Mirax.  They wait to see if the siblings retain any part of the malady that caused their paranoia.  Cilghal would like to monitor them for a few minutes without anyone speaking to them.
     
    An apprentice named Josat comes in to help. 
     
    After the Horns are dismissed into the waiting area, Leia asks Allana what she’s gotten into.  Han quips it must be garbage compacter 3263827.  Allana is noncommittal there.
     
    When alone together watching Josat set up the evaluation, Cilghal and Tekli wonder about the failure of the pod monitor.  They speculate that Valin had been using the Force technique that allowed him to blank out the encephaloscan when he was frozen. 
     
    That could mean that he kept the madness that went along with that ability.  Or it could mean that it was just a spike left over.  Neither likes mysteries.
     
    Josat was chosen because of his constant chatter.  He talks to the siblings while evaluating their progress, telling them they are far away from anyone else in the Temple, but making sure they know to take the stairs if there’s an emergency.  That’s the bait.
     
    Neither of them make a grab for Josat’s lightsaber.  It’s been rigged to emit stunning gas if they try to switch it on.  They do nothing.
     
    In the medbay, though, Valin feels warmth and relief from the people pretending to be his parents.  He wonders if maybe they don’t realize the truth.  They could be clones with memories implanted. 
     
    The apprentice’s lightsaber hangs within reach, but Valin and Jysella need to know more first.  They smile at each other.  They are not alone.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
     
         •    In Outcast, Valin had previously displayed an ability that only Jacen Solo had and demonstrated in the Dark Nest trilogy.  It would then appear that he still has that ability if he is not really cured.
     
     

  9. chapter 35:
     
    Leia finds Saba at the apex of the Temple.  She knows about Kenth Hamner.  She also knows that it wasn’t Saba’s fault.  Saba reminds her that it was her who allowed him to fall. Leia points out that Hamner didn’t give her a choice. 
     
    If she hadn’t, Luke and Ben would be prisoners of the Sith and no one would be tracking Abeloth.  Saba thinks Kenth should have a funeral.  She doesn’t know how to arrange those, though.  Leia offers to help.
     
    They both know Daala will respond to this.  They just don’t know how.  Leia wonders if Saba has considered evacuating the Temple.  Saba assures her that they will be quicker when Daala does respond.
     
    She also wants Leia to get Jaina to see if she can persuade Head of State Fel to stay in orbit a while longer. 
     
    Leia promises to ask and walks to Han.  She admits Saba isn’t handling the death of Hamner well.  It could be a Barabel thing.  Tesar and the others could be helping her, but they’re nowhere in sight and Saba will not broker questions about them.  They could be keeping an eye on Daala.
     
    Speaking of which, they should be watching for Allana.  Han assures her that Allana is exploring with Barv.
     
    Allana kicks a hatch and almost trips over Anji.  Another hatch has been welded closed.  She asks Barv to cut it open with his lightsaber.  When they get inside, a terrible odor reaches them.  They look inside and find a nest.
     
    Tesar, Wilyem, Dordi and Zal are here.  They angrily ignite their lightsabers.  Allana asks if she’s done a good thing.  They tell her she has to stay down here for the next two months until their eggs hatch. 
     
    Barv will not stand for this and tosses a Barabel out of the hatch.  Allana yells that they can work this out.  She knows they’re afraid someone will find out their secret so she offers to trade a secret to them. 
     
    If they tell the secret, she’s in terrible danger.  That’s how they know she will never tell theirs.  They agree.  She explains how she’s not a war orphan named Amelia, but the daughter of Queen Mother Tenel Ka and Jacen Solo. 
     
    A few minutes later, she, Barv and Anji are riding a lift up to the infirmary.  There, she greets her grandparents and stand with them, Barv and Yaqeel as Master Cilghal and Tekli release Valin and Jysella from carbonite.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

    •  Saba not taking the death of a decades-long member of the Jedi Order and the designated leader in Luke’s absence very well is a Barabel thing?  Really?  

     
    End of Book 6

     

     

  10. chapter 34:
     
    The dazed Sith begin drifting back into the village as the three of them approach the Shadow.  Luke and Ben tell Vestara not to panic. They are coming back to their senses still and don’t know Taalon is dead.
     
    Vestara tells him that the Sith will not allow any of them to board the ship without Taalon or her father.  They should hide and flee when the Sith are distracted by Taalon’s body. Luke tells her they don’t have that long.  Abeloth is fleeing the planet which is why the Fallanassi aren’t killing intruders anymore.
     
    They have a good chance of tracking her if they leave now.  Vestara points out that none of them are in good shape and Abeloth keeps finding new bodies no matter how many times she’s killed.  Luke explains that keeping her weak protects the Shelter Jedi. 
     
    They had assumed that the sanity returned because they’d killed her.  Obviously, she is still alive which leads them to question why the Shelter Jedi are still sane.  Keeping her weak and under attack seems to be the key.  If she regains her strength, she will reach out to the Jedi again.
     
    Luke lost enough blood in the battle to use a Dathomiri blood trail on her.  If that doesn’t work, they’ll have to analyze hyperspace jumps. 
     
    This will take time.  If Vestara wishes to stay with her tribe, she can.  Vestara knows that she will be a target for many years for killing someone so high above her station.  For now, she will survive longer if she stays with him.
     
    If they’re going to go, they should go now.  Master Vhool demands to know what has happened to Taalon. Luke explains that Taalon and Khai are still in the hall.  After confirming that Vestara can pilot the Shadow, he orders the Jedi to remain outside under guard.
     
    Vestara fires up the engines, drops the blaster cannon and Ben pretends she hit the wrong button.  Then the StealthXs arrive.  During the battle between them and the Sith ships above, Vhool races back to have them stop Vestara.
     
    Ben gets a warning and pulls his father down.  Vestara uses the blaster cannons to fire on their guards as the two Jedi run up the ramp.  As the Shadow heads into the atmosphere, they spot the Errant Venture.
     
    Lando comms them and tells them there’s a sabacc tournament going on.  Luke reveals that Abeloth is out there and they have to go after her now.  Lando tells him to stay in touch and they’ll catch up.
     
    For now, the Horn kids have been retrieved and are on the way back to the Temple.  In other news, Kenth Hamner is dead.  He doesn’t want to go into it over the comm, though.  Finally, Wynn Dorvan is at the final table of the tournament and is set to win.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
     

  11. chapter 33:
     
    When Luke awakens, he finds himself still her in grip.  Ben is caught in Force energy, writhing in pain.  Vestra looks frightened and sad.  Gavar Khai has been dragged in here, still moaning from his illusory nightmares.
     
    Abeloth tells Taalon that he is weak because he’s not been feeding.  Taalon explains he cannot keep food down since he fell into the Pool.  His healers haven’t been able to find a solution.
     
    She wonders why that is.  She will tell him if he makes Luke suffer.  Taalon uses the Force to draw the energy net tighter into Ben.  Ben gasps not to worry because he has a plan.
     
    As Abeloth draws one of her tentacles into Taalon’s mouth, Luke realizes that Ben is reaching out to Vestara.  He can’t believe his son is relying on her after all the times she’s betrayed them. 
     
    Luke reaches for the ceiling through the Force.  Abeloth squeezes tighter and he pulls harder.  The floor starts to vibrate when a lightsaber ignites.  Tiles and cross-supports collapse over him, Abeloth and everyone else.
     
    He sees a red lightsaber cutting through Taalon several time.  Vestara flips up after making the kill.  Ben, free of the net with the death of Taalon, leaps to attack.  Luke is released.  Ben tries to pull Taalon’s lightsaber to him, but Abeloth grabs him.  Luke summons the weapon instead, inflicting a serious injury that bleeds Force energy. 
     
    Luke finds his own saber is gone.  Ben’s was taken by Taalon.  This means that, between the two of them, they have Taalon’s.  The two flank the injured Abeloth when Luke hears another lightsaber ignite.
     
    Preparing for another betrayal, Luke turns to see Vestara tossing her saber to him.  She yells at him to go and unleashes Force lightning from her hands at Abeloth.  The both attack at once, hitting a wall of energy  that dissipates quickly, revealing Abeloth stumbling from the hall.
     
    Both of them have injuries.  Gavar Khai slowly regains consciousness, a possible sign that the Fallanassi are no longer under Abeloth’s control.  Luke thinks they should get to the Shadow quickly.  Vestara doesn’t think so.  They are in Sith custody now so they should hand over their weapons.
     
    Luke reaches out to her father in the Force as he speaks, admonishing Ben for tricking the girl into killing Taalon only to be betrayed by her again.  Vestara yells that she wasn’t tricked.  Taalon was becoming a pet that would do the Sith no good.  Her father jumps up, yelling at her for killing the High Lord.
     
    She yells that it’s just a dream and he should go back to sleep, then hits him with a Force blast.  Ben asks if she would rather stick around for the justice of the Sith, kill her own father or help them escape.
     
    She gives them their lightsabers back.  And tells Ben he should have just knocked her over the head.  It’s also the last time she saves a Jedi.
     -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
     

  12. chapter 32:
     
    While Sith shuttles search in vain for the Fallanassi village they cannot see right under them, Taalon is growing weaker.  Luke fears that what appears to be Akanah is actually Abeloth.  This could be an illusion, a replication or a mind transfer.
     
    Taalon doesn’t believe that Akanah doesn’t know why Abeloth came here. Akanah tells him that they don’t know who she is.  Frankly, she doesn’t care how he feels as he’s here uninvited.
     
    Taalon gestures to Khai who holds a Fallanassi elder against his lightsaber.  She tells Akanah to say nothing, but Akanah doesn’t think it hurts to explain that Abeloth came here because she is a Fallannassi herself. 
     
    Luke asks if this was always the case or did that happen more recently.  Akanah reminds him that it would tell him if she’s still here and she won’t answer that.  Taalon kills the elder. 
     
    Akanah floats above and gives Khai a terrifying illusion.  Vestara has to use the Force to trip him, lest he embarrass them all by running out of the village entirely.  The rest of the Sith begin to suffer the same malady.  Only, Luke and Taalon, with the two teenagers, are spared.  The Sith cause a great deal of damage, even to themselves. 
     
    Luke is able to see that the Sith are being plagued by green phantasms with distorted faces and tentacles lashing out.  They are terrified.  When one goes tumbling over a wall and falls to his death, Luke knows that no adept of the White Current would use her power to kill anyone like this.
     
    The Fallanassi are under Abeloth’s influence.  Akanah tells Taalon she could end this or she could explain what’s happening to him.  Taalon follows her.  Luke is going to go after them, but wants Ben and Vestara on the ship.  Both of them explain they are safer with him than out here with the Sith.
     
    They move into a gloomy hall full of smoke.  Abeloth and Taalon are at a pit.  Luke doesn’t reveal he knows that she has taken Akanah’s form.  He knows the Fallanassi don’t use the Current to kill.
     
    She reminds him that he convinced Wialu to do that at the Battle of N’zoth.  Luke freezes, knowing only about a hundred people should know about that and Abeloth is not one of them.  He tells her he didn’t ask her to kill anyone this time.
     
    Abeloth tells him it’s the Jedi’s fault because Jacen Solo changed the Current.  Now, the Throne of Balance will be claimed by a usurper.  Taalon asks if she refers to the Jedi queen.  Abeloth tells Luke that the Fallannassi must do whatever is necessary to restore the Current.
     
    Taalon offers to give her whatever the Sith can offer if she tells him about this queen.  Luke claims it’s just another illusion.  He notes that it’s obvious Abeloth is trying to play them off each other.  Taalon knows that, but if she offers enough, it could be worth it.
     
    Luke asks what Abeloth did with Akanah.  Taalon isn’t going to let Luke getting any closer to either of them and starts to cut him off.  Luke grabs him in the Force and tosses him toward the door.  Ben jumps into combat quickly against the weakened Taalon.
     
    Luke attacks Abeloth when Vestara sends Force lightning out that pushes Ben and Taalon into opposite walls. Abeloth screams at Luke that she is Akanah.  Luke knows better now.  He presses his attack, sending Abeloth over the cleft in the floor, losing sight of her.
     
    Ben is defending against Vestara’s attack, still groggy from hitting his head.  Luke sends her tumbling against Taalon who is limping across the floor.  Taalon leaps over Vestara, is grabbed by Luke with the Force, then feels something grab his ankles. 
     
    He realizes Abeloth survived the fall and is pulled onto his back.  Abeloth is on top of him, her remaining limbs entwining his.  She squeezes his throat, snaps something in his leg and three ribs.  Luke jams his lightsaber hilt against her stomach and turns on the blade. It shoots out the other side, yet she still holds on.
     
    He reaches through the Force to bring anything to help him.  A glob of molten heat hits her, causing a hundred voices to wailt from her mouth.  He pulls, trying to open space and they begin to rise.  She pulls in the opposite direction, dropping them to the floor.  Luke pulls himself into the Force, drawing on his love for his son, his dead wife and the Jedi Order.  The light side rushes in, bursting his cells and they start upward again.
     
    Something in the ceiling cracks.  They drop to the floor, her tentacle still around his neck when a beam falls and hits her across the back.  She falls motionless on top of him. He tries to throw her off, in agony.  Akanah’s voice asks forgiveness.  She didn’t understand.
     
    Her body raises up, baring fangs, when Luke drags his lightsaber across her body.  Her head drops.  Ben is still fighting with Taalon and Vestara.  It’s going badly.  Luke pushes the beam aside and nearly collapses due to his injuries.
     
    He spins the beam into Taalon who slices it in half.  One flies past him, the other hits him in the shoulder blades.  He launches into a dive that Luke uses to push him into a wall. Luke calls on the Force to give him strength to go after him.
     
    Ben is only trying to disarm Vestara.  Before Luke can yell at him to finish her off, Callista walks in.  Luke knows this is Abeloth, but so was the being in Akanah’s body.  He doesn’t know how he can kill her again.
     
    Taalon prepares to kill Luke, but Abeloth wants what he offered her first.  She carries Luke to the edge of the pit and tosses him down.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     

  13. chapter 31:
     
    In a holoconversation with Chief Daala, Saba does not sit in the Grand Master’s chair.  She blames herself for not being able to win the fight without killing a worthy Master, a wise teacher and a good friend. 
     
    Daala demands to speak with Hamner.  Saba tells her he’s unavailable and so is the rest of the Council.  Daala asks what they’re planning.  Saba maintains the Jedi have already executed their plans.  The question is now what Daala’s plans are.
     
    Corran and Cilghal arrive.  They all agree that the situation has gone beyond threatening now.  As for the people Daala calls hostages, the sabacc tournament will be over in three days. 
     
    Frustrated at her inability to speak with Hamner, she clicks off.  Though things are going well  now, they know that Daala will bite back.  But, the Errant Venture won’t be back for three days so that gives them some breathing room before she will be willing to try anything.
     
    It might be a good idea to have Lando transmit live images of the tournament so the public can see that everyone is safe and having a good time.  None of them is going to leave anyway with so many credits at risk.
     
    Saba starts to get up, but her pain overwhelms her.  She tells them the masters should assemble and elect a leader to guide them for the next few days.  She has killed another Jedi and must be judged.
     
    Cilghal and Corran assure her that she is the best person to lead for now.  Cilghal is not a warrior and Corran is too filled with anger to not lead the whole Order to the Dark Side against Daala.  Saba has to see this through for everyone’s good.
     
    She agrees, but only until Master Skywalker returns.  Then she will have to stand in judgment.
     
    For now, they are going to have to remove Daala from office.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     

  14. chapter 30:
     
    Tahiri’s courtroom is nearly empty now.  Most of the reporters left when the Errant Venture started blasting orbital mirrors.  The rest when the StealthXs launched.  By the time the Venture jumped into hyperspace, most bystanders left.  Now Daala is threatening martial law so the only ones left inside are those involved with the trial.
     
    Sardonne Sardon really wishes the media were here to see them tear apart the prosecution’s witness.  Bwua’tu is pacing in front of Pagorski, questioning her as to all compartments on the ship being under surveillance. 
     
    She confirms this and, thus, the trap is laid.  Not under Sardon’s normally meticulous questioning which would be detected by the prosecution a mile away, but by the rambling Bwua’tu.  They make a good team.
     
    After confirming that Pagorski hadn’t personally seen Tahiri aboard the Bloodfin, but had been told she was by a friend of hers on the security team that turned out to have been a lover,  the lieutenant reveals her friend had been killed in the mutiny after the admiral’s murder.
     
    Of course, Bwua’tu already knew this and surprises Pagorski by revealing the name of the security officer.  Dekkon objects over this questioning of a witness’s personal life.  Bwua’tu explains he’s casting doubt on her credibility.  He believes she is lying about the claim that she heard Jacen Solo order Tahiri not to kill Admiral Pellaeon because she holds a grudge against Tahiri over the death of her lover.
     
    He produces a box with a military-grade datachip inside, shows it to the jury who sees that it has the crest of the Imperial Navy stamped on it.  Sardon had secured this.  After listening to Tahiri’s version of events, she played on the Imperial obsession with the security to expose the lie. 
     
    She had requested any documentation of Tahiri’s visit aboard the Bloodfin through formal channels and had been assured she would hear back within two months.  After Bwua’tu supplies the comm codes for Head of State Fel’s assistant, Ashik, the original datachips were sent within two weeks by special courier.
     
    After having Pagorski identify the chip, he has her describe the properties:  it self-destructs when tampered with, can withstand damage from heat, cold, water and electromagnetic pulse and can be accessed only with a top-secret passcode known only by the user of each particular ship and their direct supervisor. 
     
    This happens to be a chip from the Bloodfin.  Bwau’tu provides affidavits from Ashik and other high-ranking officers attesting to the nature of the chip, its history of possession and that it has not been altered.
     
    Dekkon is unhappy, particularly since he’s been requesting this material for months.  The chip shows Caedus and Tahiri walking down a corridor.  Caedus starts to tell Tahiri what to do if Pellaeon interferes with his plan in any way when the audio and video becomes staticy. 
     
    Bwau’tu explains that the surveillance equipment suffered a glitch at that moment, but Pagorski’s friend heard the entire conversation.  Fortunately, the defense has managed to have the conversation digitally reconstructed.  It isn’t true, but Pagorski doesn’t know that.
     
    He reads off the statements in which Caedus makes it clear that he is asking Tahiri to get rid of Pellaeon as a necessary sacrifice.  Pagorski explains that whoever reconstructed the conversation made a mistake.  But even if they didn’t, it doesn’t change the conversation she herself overheard.
     
    Bwua’tu remembers the conversation she claims to have heard in which Caedus specifically told Tahiri not to kill Pellaeon.  He would like to know what she did with that information.  He presses as to whether or not, having heard a conversation that discussed whether or not to kill her admiral, Pagorski went to Pellaeon, to ship security, to her superior officer or to anyone else with the news.
     
    She admits she did all three.
     
    Sardon is upset that Bwua’tu isn’t going after Dekkon, insinuating that he coached his witness.  Bwua’tu explains he doubts that Dekkon did.  Besides, it’s not necessary to smear the opposition.  It looks petty and will make this look like a grudge match to the jury.
     
    They insist he at least try.  He heads up, asks a couple of simple factual questions of her and is then asked to approach the bench.  Sardon tells Tahiri that Eramuth is out of his league here.  He’s clearly trying to get himself excused from the case.
     
    Tahiri isn’t sure that’s ie.  Sardon assures Tahiri that she’s been waiting for a big case like this her entire life.  With that, Tahiri decides to ask Judge Zudan to allow her to dismiss one of her defense councilors.  She surprises everyone by asking Sardon to leave.
     
    Judge Zudan hopes she fired the right one.  After the viewing of a second datachip, they understand.  It shows Pagorski sitting at her station the entire time she claimed to have overheard the conversation between Caedus and Tahiri.  Nothing indicates that she is surprised or disturbed by anything, she does not get up or do anything to alert anyone that she believed the admiral might be in danger. 
     
    Having heard enough, Dekkon announces that he would like to apologize to the court for presenting this witness.  Bwua’tu accepts.  Dekkon would also like Pagorski remanded over to custody for lying in a murder trial.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
     

  15. chapter 29:
     
    This time, Han is impersonating an exterminator to get into the Detention Center.   Zekk, Taryn, Jaina and Leia, Natua Wan, Seff Hellin, Yaqeeel Saav’etu and Kunor Bannare all here.
     
    They’ve disguised a heavily-armored transport as a supply van which comes along and dispatches R2 and Threepio. Inside the detention center, they walk down the corridor, passed angry prisoners who cheer when they shoot the holocams. 
     
    Yaqeel reports they’ve got pursuers with concussion missles where she is.  Leia urges her to limit casualties.  The sound of explosions doesn’t help.  Taryn tells her that the speeders have taken out a bridge and a news sled.  Of course, they all know it doesn’t matter that the Jedi hadn’t done the actual killing.
     
    Han thinks they should break off.  Turi takes the van elsewhere, to confuse the pursuers and then come back to pick them up.  Otherwise, there is a fake news van nearby with Doran Tainer and Bandy Geffer nearby to do the job.
     
    Artoo downloads a schematic of the center and opens the bunker.  They confirm the Horns are nearby, but then the guards arrive.  After a quick fight, they get through the vault via Artoo extended catwalk bridges.  He also convinces the center’s computer that there is a prison riot going on. 
     
    A GAS troopsled appears.  Heading into the vault, they find the carbonite pods are connected to power supplies and monitoring stations by cables.  They will have to get more transport.  Natua reminds him they are only here to get the Horns, not everyone frozen here.  Han thinks they should take them all.  Natua has no idea what it’s like to be frozen in carbonite.
     
    There are thousands here, though. Just finding Valin and Jysella will take time they don’t really have.  They split up while Han has Artoo record all of this for the Council.  They end up using See-Threepio’s full-spectrum receiver to track the transmitters put on the slabs.
     
    The van is running into trouble  Turi and Taryn are letting GAS track them to lead them away.  Han thinks they should all escape by foot into the undercity.  Doran and Bandy are waiting there.
     
    Han and Leia stay behind to pull the slabs, only to be trapped by a durasteel panel of a hard alloy.  Leia reaches out in the Froce to Jaina while Han checks the schematic.  He points to a peak that sticks through the roof.  He has a thermal detonator so they can get up on the roof where GAS won’t expect to see them.
     
    They head up the catwalk, Han throws the detonator and rushes out of the hole. When the smoke clears, he checks to see if Leia and the Horns are behind him.  They are nowhere in sight.  The destroyed catwalk is left. Han yells for Leia, panicking that he lost her in the blast.
     
    It turns out she’s already out with both carbonite blocks.  The supply van is there waiting. 
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  16. chapter 28:
     
    As the Jade Shadow lifts up, Luke watches Taalon slumped in the co-pilot’s seat.  He’s still wearing his hazard suit like the rest of the warriors who are now in the back with Ben and Vestara. 
     
    He tries to convince Taalon and Khai that they are already infected because the plague spreads through the Force.  He uses a healing meditation to keep the infection at bay himself.  Neither want to believe him, but he’s planted seeds of doubt so that’s enough.
     
    Soon, however, the two Sith start to panic when they see several ship’s coming.  He suspects they are succumbing to a Fallanassi illusion so plays along with them.  In actuality, only Ship is out there.  The Sith do not want to admit that the fleet of spheres they see aren’t really theirs.
     
    Taalon claims that ship rescued them from Abeloth’s planet and that he controls it.  Luke isn’t so sure about that.  Still, it’s rather entertaining for him to fly among what they believe is a squadron of Ships when there is really only one.  Ben and Vestara start to panic for the same reason.
     
    Taalon wants to return to shore and prepare for reinforcements.  Luke lands the ship abruptly in an area that looks like Abeloth’s planet now.  At least to the Sith.  Outside, the Force is full of anguish and fear. Abeloth is feeding on it and turning it into power.
     
    A group of elders come out, accusing Luke of betraying them.  Luke plays along when he realizes they have a plan for dealing with the Sith.  They pretend to be able to cure the plague, but Lord Taalon’s time in the Pool of Knowledge has given him insight.  He realizes the plague is just a trick.
     
    He wants to see Abeloth.  Akanah appears and tells him he will see her soon enough.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     

  17. chapter 27:
     
    Luke can feel the Balance tipping toward darkness as the ship comes in above the Fallanassi’s island.  Something has happened on Coruscant. It’s coming through the Force in waves of guilt and grief. 
     
    He’s hid the Jade Shadow.  Ben is watching a holovid, covered in sores and looking unkempt.  Neither he nor Vestara are infected, but it’s easier to control Vestara by letting her think that they are.
     
    Luke tells him to prepare to lift.  Ben warns him they cannot break quarantine.  Luke assures him they’ll be fine.  Vestara comes in and Luke notes the arrival of the Sith.  Doubtless, she is the reason they arrived here so quickly.
     
    Luke goes to the cargo hold and secures a combat vest with two blaster rifles.  After making sure that they’ve not been sabotaged, he moves forward.  Whatever has happened on Coruscant is still rippling through the Force.  He wants to reach out to the Masters, but doesn’t want the Sith to feel it.
     
    He races off the ship and crawls into a hiding place in an outcropping.  The shuttle lands, but there is no sign of the Sith descending.  He pulls out a thermal detonator and waits.  Two Sith appear, Taalon and Gavar Khai.
     
    He aims his blaster rifle at Taalon, then notices the eyes are wrong.  They are dark, tiny and bright.  He hesitates, not knowing if this is an illusion.  Luke remembers that Taalon has been in the Pool of Knowledge.  That is why the Balance is shifting.
     
    Taalon calls him through the Force, knowing Luke is lying in ambush.  Luke fires but Taalon knocks them away easily and quickly. He crooks his finger, bringing Luke sliding out.  Luke grabs his lightsaber and rights himself.  Taalon drops him to the ground.
     
    For now, he assures Luke that he cannot win.  There is no need to kill him yet, though.  If Luke does what he asks, his son will leave Pydyr alive.  Luke tells them both Ben and Vestara are infected with the plague.  If Ben recovers, he might consider the offer.
     
    Khai demands to know if Luke has been caring for both young people.
     
    Taalon doesn’t have time for this.  He wants to see Abeloth now.  Luke understands now.  He activates his lightsaber and says he will have to disappoint them.  Several Sith come down to battle.  Taalon holds them off.
     
    The High Lord tells Luke that he intends to kill Abeloth.  He’s seen what she can do and doesn’t want her loose in the galaxy.  Luke explains that there’s something happening to Taalon that only Abeloth can confirm.  Taalon admits there are things that trouble him.
     
    His face withers into a bag with long mouth and two bright stars shining out of his eyes.  He wants help finding Abeloth.  After she tells him what’s happening to him, he will kill her.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  18. chapter 26:
     
    High above Saba, Hamner has the advantage, but he is not prepared to force a confrontation with several Masters.  They tell him he lost their confidence when he didn’t take him into theirs.  He reminds them that Master Skywalker put him in charge.
     
    They point out that it was with the agreement of Daala who surely felt that Hamner would be easy for her to control.  They all know he’s been under stress.  The Council is intended to alleviate the burden of one Master doing it all on his own.
     
    Hamner refuses to let them lead the whole Order into treason.  Saba tells them that she’ll deal with him.  He races off, trying to disable the mag-level generators to delay the launch.  This could severely throw their timetable off while Daala is distracted by  antics of the Errant Venture in orbit and the departure of the Pellaeon.  If they fail to launch, Luke and Ben will be left to fight Abeloth and the Sith alone.
     
    Saba goes after him, trying to avoid harming him.  She throws herself down the catwalk, falling for a couple of his feints.  When she catches up with him, she can tell that he is willing to kill to prevent the launch.
     
    He brings down his blade, she knocks him out with an elbow, but not for long.  He pushes at her chest, sending her down the catwalk.  He tries to go for a quick kill when the one-minute launch warning sounds.
     
    She tries to keep him busy for that long.  He Force pushes her.  She uses her tail to sweep his ankles, knocking him down.  She spring up at the same time he does, driving each other back with their lightsabers. She attacks hard.  He head butts her, she kicks his groin so hard he’s lifted off his feet and then she smells burning flesh.  His lightsaber is pressed into her abdomen to the hilt.
     
    He pulls it out, trying to sabotage the relay box.  She gives him a Force push strong enough to fly into a safety rail, his lightsaber cutting through it and sending him tumbling over.  She catches him before he hits the floor.  Through the Force, she assures him she will not let him drop and they are still friends.
     
    He looks at her with sadness and forgiveness.  He sends his lightsaber through the Force to the relay box.  She tugs at it, but ultimately has to let go of him to stop the saber.  He goes smashing to the deck far below.   The lightsaber is in her hand and the launch starts.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
     

  19. chapter 25:
     
    On the Errant Venture, Booster Terrik is determined to free his grandchildren if it means crashing the ship into the Chief of State’s office.  The last guest boards and it’s an uninvited one.  Wynn Dorvan tells Booster that a 50 million credit tournament attracts attention, especially since no one learned that it would be hosted here until after they paid their entry fee.
     
    The Venture was nearly denied orbit until General Jaxton happened to pull some strings.  He happens to be one of the players.  Booster has an aide check to see if there’s an available seat.  There’s something up here.
     
    He gets word that their friends down below want the tournament to start now.  Senator Treen isn’t here yet, but they are rather insistent.  Booster understands something has changed on the ground.  It may be the reason Dorvan is here, but he doubts the Chief of Staff would be sent to sabotage a Star Destroyer.
     
    He has Senator Treen’s entry fee refunded and allows Dorvan to take his place.  He does, however, ask him to stay on the bridge for a few extra minutes as there’s something he must see. 
     
    He turns the Venture to an orbiting mirror station and blasts the mirrors with his turbolasers.  Then he takes the ship to the next station. Dorvan tells him that he could have killed someone.  If he thinks Daala is going to let this pass, he’s wrong.  The whole Sixth Fleet is out here and they will blast this ship to bits.
     
    Booster reminds him that, if they do, they will also blast both of them, Senator Bramsin, Moff Lecersen, General Jaxton and almost a hundred other very important people.  And, after all, the invitation to the tournament did specify no early departures.
     
    He’s getting his grandchildren back if he has to blast every single mirror out here.
     
    The security brought aboard by the players have already been taken care of with coma gas.  If Dorvan likes, he can contact his boss and send her  list of everyone on board this ship. 
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  20. chapter 24:
     
    Two young Jedi guard the operations hangar when Kenth Hamner arrives.  They confront him over not being in his quarters.  Hamner was requested to remain there with two guards, now unconscious, watching the door, but he assures them that it’s not true.
     
    He tells them that launching the StealthXs is an act of treason.  The Arcona Jedi, Vaala Razelle, reminds him of her name.  He is chagrined to find out the other Jedi, the Bothan Yantahar Bwau’tu is a relative of the admiral.
     
    They refuse to let him enter.  He uses the Force to pull their lightsabers away and knock them out.  Inside the hangar, he finds the squadrons preparing to leave.  Lowbacca, Izal Waz, Wonetun and many of the Order’s best pilots are here.  Jaina Solo isn’t, but he’s surprised to see Raynar Thul among them.  He spots four masters, Octa, Kyle, Kyp and Barratk’l, planning to fly, too.  Corran Horn is gone.  The Solusars are with their students on Ossus.
     
    Saba and the others are in their robes.  If she’s planning to take charge, Kenth fears that she will be aggressive in her defense of the Temple.  Raynar Thul spots him and just smiles.  Hamner doesn’t know what that means.  Thul is a strange one. 
     
    He climbs up to the support level, pondering whether it might be necessary to take out Saba.  He opens himself up to the Force and hears about the extraction team.  He assumes an attempt is being made to recover the Horn siblings.   It appears that Booster Terrik is involved in this plot, too.  They are sending Jedi teams to the Outer Rim to help with the slave revolts.
     
    Cilghal reports that the Solos have been told by Jagged Fel that the Empire will not be joining the GA if it’s led by Daala. Kenth’s surprise echoes in the Force with the others and he knows Saba realizes he’s here.
     
    Fel is preparing to leave orbit soon and that may distract Daala long enough that they can coordinate their departure with his.  Saba tells them to have Captain Terrik start the sabacc tournament now.  They all go in ten minutes.
     
    Kenth steps up and tells them he can’t let them do that.
     ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
         •    A couple of things here.  First, there was a brief mention in the chapter about the Arcona Jedi not having the glassy look that most of her species have, indicating that she has resisted the salt addiction so many of her people have.  The first mention made of an Arcona was in the first Jedi Apprentice book, The Rising Force.  In it, we met an Arcona who explained that salt was as essential to his people as water.  They will die without it.  There was nothing to indicate that the Arcona were addicted to salt, merely that they needed it to survive.
        •    Secondly, it says the Solusars are on Ossus with their students.  I didn’t know the academy on Ossus still operated.  There’s been no indication in any of these books that it’s been reopened since Jacen sent the GAG to hold it in the LotF books.
     

  21. chapter 23:
     
    With Kenth Hamner no longer obeyed, the Jedi Council has sent the Solos to the Detention Center to retrieve Valin and Jysella Horn.  The Masters are working on a plan to send help to Luke without having to fight the GA. 
     
    Corran and Mirax are helping behind the scene.  Natua Wan, recently returned from the Transitory Mists, insisted on being here for the rescue mission. Artoo reports that the tracking devices on the carbonite pods show that they are moving around. Zekk thinks the GA is on to them. 
     
    Han notes how Jaina looks at Zekk and Taryn with envy now.  It’s not that she’s jealous of Taryn, but she is missing her relationship with Jag.  Han knows that those two are not going to work this out until they realize that they have to put their relationship ahead of anything else. 
     
    Jaina doubts there’s anything unusual here beyond just being cautious.  See-Threepio is at the entrance to the office suite, to make sure no one else is allowed in.  Seff Hellin is nearby.  Zekk points out that the moving pods make it difficult for this to be a simple grab.
     
    Taryn asks if they’re abandoning the mission because she won’t leave the poor Horn girl stuck here.  Han starts to come up with another idea when he realizes that one of the trackers has been found.  Then they discover that the pods are being separated.
     
    That’s when Jagged Fel comes in with Ashik and several bodyguards.  He assures them that the GAS doesn’t know anything about this.  He does want to know if it’s true that they are working with the Sith.
     
    Han interrupts an argument about to brew between Jag and Jaina over why they broke up.  Leia explains to Jag how Luke and Ben encountered an entity named Abeloth whom they believe is responsible for afflicting the young Jedi who lived in the Maw during the Vong war with the madness that has been erupting among them lately. 
     
    Luke, without reinforcements from the Jedi, entered into a temporary alliance with a tribe of Sith who claimed that their apprentices were suffering the same way.  It turns out that it was a ruse to try to capture Abeloth instead.  Luke thought she had died, but she fled to Pydyr where he believes she’s hiding among the Fallanassi.  The Sith don’t know that yet, but they will soon.  This isn’t just a couple of Sith, but thousands.  For this reason, the Jedi have been trying to launch their StealthXs.
     
    Jag tells them they need to launch now because Daala has the holovid of Jaina and Lando presiding over the trial on Klatooine.  She wants him to send Imperial forces to put down the slave revolts because she thinks the Jedi are trying to destablize her.  Apparently, she believes that she can secure his cooperation by not releasing the holovid to the public.  For the last three days, it’s worked. 
     
    He would prefer for the Empire to have a good relationship with the Jedi.  Daala’s going to figure out what’s going on soon enough.  He wanted them to know before she did.  It does jeopardize the integration between the Empire and the GA, but, the more he sees her, the more he realizes that the Moffs are right this time. 
     
    They will have to release the Horns quickly and right now.
     -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     

  22. chapter 22:
     
    At the sea, the portmaster tells Luke that the Shadow is in a cave.  He leaves quickly enough that Luke wonders if Ben’s warning through the Force might not indicate that he’s going to be betrayed. 
     
    When he arrives, he is greeted by his old friend, Akanah. She’s unhappy he’s brought weapons here.  Luke tells her he’s tracking a very dangerous being.  Akanah wonders what she has to do to convince him he’s got nothing to fear from her.  Luke would rather she convince him that she is who she says she is.  He asks her what the name of his mother was.
     
    Akanah hoped he’d gotten over that.  Luke smiles, knowing that Abeloth may have known the facts of their meeting years ago, but not about how he’d felt about being tricked.  Still, he cannot convince Akanah that Abeloth is dangerous.

    He knows they are creating the illusion of the plague here.  She accuses him of playing with the Current. He’s just as arrogant as he was before, despite the fact that it’s cost him his wife and two nephews.
     
    He knows he’s made mistakes, but the Jedi do not hide from the galaxy the way the Fallanassi do.  They are compelled to defend the galaxy.  Akanah wonders if it’s really about control.  Surely Luke realizes that the Jedi lost their way,  It started when they decided they were beyond light and dark.
     
    Luke reminds her that the Jedi do not believe that.  A Sith had attempted to corrupt their beliefs.  Akanah thinks she succeeded.  After all, a Jedi now rules the Hapes Cluster, Jacen Solo tried to change the flow of the Current and the Grand Master is working with the Sith.
     
    Luke knows these accusations are true, but he doesn’t know how she can know them.  Abeloth may have told her.  He asks if she knows what Jacen was seeking here.  She admits she sensed a shadow in him when he arrived.  But he was Luke’s nephew and Akanah thought she could help him find the light again.
     
    He left before he was prepared, though. She had wanted him to accept his limitations.  But Jacen had too much fire in him.  He thought he was responsible for saving the galaxy.  That attitude is why so many Jedi become monsters.  They take their vow to protect so seriously that they bring on more burdens than they can handle.  That leads them to desire control which ultimately makes them the ruler, not the protector.  She points to what has happened to Kueller, Tenel Ka and Raynar Thul.
     
    The galaxy pays when a Jedi thinks that they have to rule to defend.
     
    Luke asks if she thinks the Jedi should stand by and allow evil to triumph.  She counters that one cannot fight evil without becoming evil.  The Jedi should have learned their lesson from the Yuuzhan Vong war.  All they did was prevent change from coming to the galaxy. 
     
    Luke asks if that change was necessary enough to allows trillions to be sacrificed to the Vong gods.  Akanah tells him it means the Current is not theirs to control  They can only trust its purpose and not try to bend it.  That’s what Jacen was trying to do and she thinks he succeeded.
     
    Luke must go and leave the ancient one with them.  She may be able to undo the damage.  Luke realizes that Abeloth must have promised to correct the Current.  He doesn’t know if that’s possible, but it’s certainly not a good idea.  Jacen had seen a dark man in armor sitting on a throne.  When Luke had looked into the Pool of Knowledge later, he’d seen Allana on the throne surrounded by friends. 
     
    He reminds Akanah that the future is always in motion.  They cannot know that the course Abeloth will change it to is any better.  Akanah tells him they are sure.  She knows about the vision of the white throne.    Jacen changed the future to one of his choosing.
     
    Luke reminds her that it doesn’t mean he’s actually done it.  Even if he has, Abeloth changing it back doesn’t mean anything.  The course she sets it to will be ever-changing, too. 
     
    He knows Akanah realizes the truth behind the lie that Abeloth is telling them.  She decides that Abeloth is beyond his understanding.  Luke suggests she explain it to him.  Instead, Akanah pulls the rapelling Ben and Vestara down toward the rocks.  Luke uses the Force to direct their fall.
     
    Akanah points him toward the Jade Shadow, telling him that no one can explain Abeloth.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

         •    Of course, Luke met Akanah in the Black Fleet Crisis books.  We last saw Akanah when she was working with Jacen Solo in Betrayal.
     
     

  23. chapter 21:
     
    Vestara secretly follows Luke and his guide while wearing a bright orange hazard suit.  She’s already sent a message to the Lost Tribe, telling them that the Skywalkers have tracked Abeloth to Pydyr. 
     
    When she tries to steal an landspeeder, however, she finds Ben inside.  He insists they go back, but she points out that she’s not going willingly.  Unless he wants this to get deadly, he can come with her.  They are only following his father to make sure he doesn’t walk into a trap.
     ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     

  24. chapter 20:
     
    In the spaceport, Luke sees one other ship in the hangar.  The crew is peering out of the viewports, looking fearful and tired.  He immerses himself in the White Current to see things as they are.  He finds that the crew members only believe they are sick. 
     
    Luke tells the two teenagers to stay here while he goes to find the Shadow.  He sees that others here also appear to be covered in blisters and sores.  Considering how powerful Abeloth’s illusions are, he doubts that he should be able to see through the guise this easily if it were her doing. 
     
    He tells the portmaster that he knows the thief is here and that she’s the carrier of this disease.  She’s immune, though, and Luke has been sent to bring her back to a lab for study.  The portmaster tells him that the ship landed near the seashore.  Luke guesses that it landed near a temple.  Abeloth is probably trying to find the Fallanassi in the hopes of hiding among them.  If so, they are in danger.
     
    The portmaster decides to cooperate.
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