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chapter discussion thread

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Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 18:

For some reason, her hotel looks perfectly fine when Leia and Chivkyrie arrive. He insists on getting her things for her while she waits. He made a couple of comlink calls while out of her presence and confirms that there are no reports of wide-scale law enforcement activity in the first-tier areas.

Leia suspects Choard will know that she will avoid those places, but Chivkyrie is embarassed to admit that it's more than that. Choard is familiar with the Adrian mindset and Disra is familiar wth Chivkyrie personally. They know he would never permit a guest to stay in quarters not befitting her status. Although he had allowed her to check into the hotel, he had planned to send a servant to retrieve her belongings so she could stay with him.

He reassures her that his fixation on status will not cause anymore problems. His actions have disgraced his standing and he will have to resign his status. She is moved that he is making such a huge sacrifice for her.

They use public transportation to reach the catacombs which is now a slum for beings who came to Shelkonwa for a better life and failed. He tells her that Choard will have these searched as soon as he realizes she is not in the upper-leveled neighborhoods. He plans to leave some of her personal items there later so that any hunters will be confused.

Instead they are going to a tapcafe between two secondhand stores where he has arranged to give her a job. She will be hiding in plain sight, serving customers. The manager isn't convinced Leia can handle the heavy trays but Leia assures her she is stronger than she looks. Leia had been served by droids on Alderaan, but had also been served by living beings elsewhere. Since she barely noticed the servers regardless, she believes that serving is very simple. It takes an hour to find out that she's wrong.

She spends the rest of the day navigating through order-taking from beings as diverse as status-conscious Adrians to drunk humans. When she reaches the employees' apartments that night, she finds Chivkyrie waiting to offer her food. He advises her that the governor's office has
already reported her presence to Imperial Center and they are searching the first and second-tier hotels. Two army garrisons are nearby and could be here before the Rebellion could extract her.

Leia begins to feel discouraged. Han and Luke could have been here with her if she'd not let them be reassigned. The pirate activity is going to be a moot point anyway since Rebellion supply lines won't matter once all Alliance activity ceases here. That is a foregone conclusion.

Eventually, Chivkyrie will be captured and Choard's people are already aware of Vokkoli and Slanni.

She knows her despair is the result of hunger and fatigue so she starts to get some food when she hears the sound of breaking glass. She ignores Chivkyrie's admonition to get down and spots shadowy figures sneaking through the window in a building across the street. Burglars are doubtlessly on the move. Leia is horrified to spot a child's face in one of the windows and decides she must help.

She fires her blaster at a drain pipe that she hopes to use to slide down but she realizes after the fact that she presents an easy target while sliding down and won't have a way back up.

Fortunately, her blasterfire has scared off the intruders. Chivkyrie worries that she's alerted the entire neighborhood. She believes that freeing the galaxy from tyranny also means freeing it from the violent and lawless.

The patrollers never come to investigate the blasterfire and Leia begins to breathe more easily the next day while serving her customers. Her customers are treating her more lightly now and she soon learns why. The family of the child she tried to save last night enter the restaurant.

She realizes that the neighborhood did hear her shot and didn't turn her in. The people of the Shelsha sector may yet be willing to take a stand.

Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 19:

The Suwantek comes up on Shelkonwa. Marcross is particularly moody at this point and uncommunicative. LaRone asks what information he got off of the HoloNet log that he hasn't shared. Marcross explains that the traitor is at the governor's palace.

When they emerge from hyperspace, Quiller spots a command ship in orbit and stiffens in his seat. They are contacted by the Executor for their clearance code. Marcross sends it when Quiller freezes. They are confirmed but they cannot land at the governor's palace due to a military operation that has shut down the landing field there. They choose another landing site further out but less crowded.

Quiller explains that the Executor is supposed to be Darth Vader's new flagship. He's either after the traitor or Solo's rebel friend.

Marcross wants to be dropped off alone so he can go after the traitor. The others argue that they are in this together, but Marcross points out that they don't want Vader capturing them. LaRone reminds him that the 501st is down there so they can just blend in with the other stormtrooper units. The topic then turns to how to handle Solo, Luke and the Wookiee. They can't have them down there running around, especially if their rebel friend is who Vader is after.

Keeping them aboard without shooting them is going to be tough, but they could march them around the city, claiming they are informants. Patrollers will stay away from those being escorted by stormtroopers.

Of course, everyone will have to agree to this plan first.

Mara comes out of a healing trance hungry and thirsty. She gets something to eat and drink just as the ship comes out of hyperspace in full view of the Executor. She is furious and answers the comm demanding to speak with Lord Vader. Vader allows her to come aboard to speak privately, but chastizes her for making demands.

Mara advises that she is on an important mission and wants to make sure that Vader will not interfere. He is not pleased with her choice of words. Mara is on the trail of a traitor, she tries to explain, but he becomes angry and shouts that "she" is the key to finding "him". Mara doesn't know what he means. He ignites his lightsaber. She steps back but doesn't ignite her own as she knows she's no match for him. She tries to evade him while asking what Governor Choard is to him.

He cuts through a table and she ignites her own sabre to defend herself. He shifts into attack position, so she uses the Force to turn the light off. In the moment it takes him to adjust to the lack of light, she drops to the floor and uses the Force to hover her still-glowing lightsaber. He
slashes the saber beneath her blade, then stops.

After a long pause, he closes down his saber and asks her about Governor Choard. She explains that she has determined that he is recruiting pirate gangs to attack military shipments. He had the Reprisal attack the base to cover his tracks and nearly kill her. Vader confirms that his information mirrors hers, but it's not why he's here. He tells her that Administrator Disra has reported Leia Organa's presence in the city.

Mara privately ponders Vader's obsession with the rebels and asks what she's doing here.

He has been told she's conspiring with local rebel leaders and Disra has gone to the palace to collect surveillance records. Mara thinks that he may be trying to destroy evidence. She announces that she needs to get down to the planet. Vader isn't stopping her but advises that she not get in his way either.

Chivkyrie approaches Leia in the cafe and tells her stormtroopers have arrived and, with them, Darth Vader. She is not surprised by this news and urges him to hide. He despairs of evading Vader, but she assures him it can be done. She tells him to hide in the catacombs since patrollers have already checked there by now and won't do so again. Besides, they're looking for her, not him.

The manager asks if she's leaving as well. Leia says she isn't but is told she can leave at any time. The manager explains that few of the beings that come here to hide have shown the honor and courtesy that Leia has. She doesn't belong here but she is welcome among them any time.

Leia urges them to think beyond class statuses and see the commonalities that a yearning for freedom has among people of all worlds. With stormtroopers in the streets, she is better hiding inside. Besides, she has more orders to put in.

Disra arrives at his office to take a call from Caaldra who demands to know what all of these Imperials are doing here. Disra explains they're looking for a rebel leader and they won't be a problem. Caaldra is landing at a spaceport further out, but necessary because he retrieved his missing cargo of 50 AT-STs. Disra offers to contact the Executor and ask that they allow Caaldra to land at the palace instead. He tells Caaldra to change his landing vector and he contacts the Executor.

Mara notices a ship heading toward the planet drifting out of line. She wonders if there's a problem, then recognizes the Happer's Way. She contacts the Executor and asks why the othe ship is breaking approach pattern. She is advises that the ship has been authorized to land at the governor's palace. She orders them to tell the freighter to land at its original, approved site and gives her authorization code. The commander of the ship wants to check with Lord Vader first. She tells him he doesn't have to ask Vader's permission and they don't have time.

He agrees to reroute the ship. She will handle the rest herself so as not to get under Vader's skin twice in one day. The Happer's Way adjusts its course back to its original setting as Mara knew it would. He will have a ten minute drop on her before she lands there, too, and she's looking forward to seeing what he has planned.

  • Mara considers Vader's pursuit of the rebels to be an obsession. Based on his reaction to what he believed was her interference, I can understand that belief. Neverthless, I don't see that hunting rebels would be something that she should chalk up to just Vader being Vader.

Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 20:

Quiller tells Han that LaRone wouldn't listen to him either when Solo comments that the plan is nuts. Nevertheless, they are on the ground in the city in a patrol truck with a speeder bike in front of them. The spaceport had given five armored stormtroopers no problem at all.

Chewbacca is back on the ship under protest.

The secret is avoiding the 501st because, though all stormtroopers look alike, there are subtle differences that would distinguish the Hand of Judgment from Vader's Legion. Fortunately, Luke is able to use the Force to direct them away from the official stormtrooper presence.

They are nervous at the way he can direct them. Han tells them not to bother trying to figure it out as it's a Jedi thing. They are moving along when he tells them to stop the truck immediately. LaRone slams on the breaks just as a small ship spirals down.

Mara lands and watches the Happer's Way, trying to determine if Caaldra has left yet. She decides to find out and jumps out of her ship with her lightsaber in hand. Suddenly, the cargo bay blasts open and an AT-ST comes through. She ignites her saber and dives, dodging and deflecting bolts as she goes. Deflecting shots from a walker nearly pulls her weapon from her hand. She dives underneath an ore hauler and strategizes getting underneath the walker to take off part of one of its legs.

The walker stomps off toward the city streets instead. She races to her ship and flies off in pursuit. She finds the AT-ST easily but her ship's weapons are not top-notch. The walker takes aim at her. When she tries to avoid it, the ship turns and takes a direct hit to the engine. Mara is able to slide the ship through two blocks before stopping. When she exits the ruined ship, she finds that he has decided to take her out instead of escaping.

LaRone orders Luke and Han out of the truck and tells them to go get their friend. They are going to help the pilot of the downed ship. When they arrive at the crash site, they spot a young woman with red hair and an AT-ST headed her way. LaRone suspects that this woman is Solo and Luke's friend as an AT-ST wouldn't be sent out for just anyone. Her friends will be captured soon anyway.

Marcross tells the others they can't get involved at this point. LaRone turns the truck around when the AT-ST fires at Brightwater on the speeder bike. He serves and is able to come back to the truck where LaRone jumps out and points his blaster at the woman who identifies herself as an Imperial agent.

She orders them to contact their group commander for air support. Marcross tells her the AT-ST is jamming them. She orders Brightwater to use the speeder bike to draw his fire and Grave to go for the grenade launcer when the walker turns to track Brightwater. She gives him contingencies in case the walker doesn't do what they expect it to and warns him not to sacrifice himself for nothing.

LaRone is surprised that an agent would care about commandeered troops.

Her plan to wait for the walker by the wreckage of her ship does not strike them as a sane plan, but when LaRone sees the lightsaber in her hand, he knows they are speaking to the Emperor's Hand.

Han doesn't believe Luke when he tells them to stop outside a tapcafe. When he enters, he can't believe his own eyesight as he finds Leia serving drinks. The customers don't seem happy at the newcomers' arrival but relent when it's apparent that Leia knows them and is happy to see them. Han drags her out of the cafe and into an alley. They duck behind some trash bins when Luke gives an alert. Scout troopers are on the way. Han doesn't have much choice but to shoot, but he'll only get one chance and he can't take them all out.

Leia demands the blaster, then wrenches it out of his grip. She uses the blaster to fire along the top of the building, bringing a large drainpipe down on the speeder bikes. Han suggests they take the bikes and save time. She agrees but insists on driving. It appears that the hunt for rebels is not as important as some battle occuring near where LaRone dropped them off. When Han spots the Suwantek flying over the horizon, he suspects the stormtroopers are in trouble and Chewie is charging to the rescue.

The stormtrooper's fire isn't affecting the walker at all as it tries to take down Brightwater's speeder. LaRone approaches Mara and tells her he can get Grave positioned in a building above the walker and try to take out the gyro mechanism. It's a shot but a dangerous one as it will endanger Grave if he misses. Suddenly a freighter arrives above them. Mara tells LaRone to have the freighter move out but he reminds her that the comm is jammed. Mara orders him to wave the freighter off when blasterfire comes from behind the walker.

Luke and Leia, driving speeder bikes, approach the walker. Han wants to warn Chewie off but can't due to the jamming comm systems. He remembers that the comm jamming array on a walker is located in a gap between the command module and leg assembly. He prepares to take it out.

LaRone tries to wave at the ship, hoping Chewie realizes that turning the AT-ST into slag will result in a fireball that will take them all down. Suddenly, jamming stops and LaRone contacts Chewie to tell him not to fire. Mara, realizing that they know the pilot of the ship and that it's reasonably well-armed, comes up with a new plan.

Han thinks it's a crazy plan when Chewie informs him of it over comlink. The Suwantek, after all, is their ride. The ship throws power into its drive and heads straight for the walker.

While the walker concentrates on firing at the ship overhead, it leaves its feet undefended. On the back of Brightwater's speeder, Mara rides until they are underneath and then she jumps. Climbing to the command module, she ignites her saber and cuts into the cockpit. Nothing happens. She opens it to find that it's empty. She shuts it down for the time being.

Caaldra had put the AT-ST in sentry mode where it could maneuver basic city streets without a problem and would fire at anything in its path. She knows he had to have been in it once to get it out of the cargo bay. He's got a lead on her but she knows where he's headed and is determined to get to him first.

The loss of communication jamming now results in the streets being filled with stormtroopers.

A great many of the 501st are headed toward LaRone's group. LaRone explains his group was commandeered by the young woman who identifies herself to the commander. The 501st had been informed of Mara's presence.

They ask the stormtrooper unit's designation and she doesn't know, neither does she care. She wants the freighter moved out of the way and asks Brightwater how the speeder is. The 501st commander tells her he needs to search the freighter, but she tells him to search it at the spaceport so that it doesn't block city streets. LaRone knows from the position of the Suwantek that Chewie landed it deliberately. Surely, Solo, Luke and their friend are aboard now.

He comms the ship and tells it that it's cleared to go back to the spaceport and thanks it for its help. Solo acknowledges. Mara prepares to take LaRone's group with her when the 501st commander demands their group's designation and raises his blaster. Mara steps in and says they're with her and exerts her authority to keep the commander from asking any more questions.

She has the others get into the speeder truck. They are headed to the spaceport first to lock down the Happer's Way to make sure the thief doesn't get back aboard and to retrieve some of her own belongings. Then they are going to the governor's palace. She asks if they have a problem with that and LaRone replies that his unit is at her disposal.

Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 21:

Mara finds that Caaldra has not returned to the ship, but he has tampered with some of the equipment in her bag. She changes her clothes and leaves the rest behind, then has the others drive toward the Governor's Palace. Along the way, she reaches for her lightsaber and tells them she wants to know who they are and why they tried so hard not to give information to the stormtrooper commander.

She tells them she saw the Suwantek on Gepparin and it did not try to attack her, so she knows they were not part of the battle. LaRone explained they were tracking the BloodScars to try to find out who was organizing all of the pirate gangs in this sector. They explain they are known as the Hand of Judgment, a name they chose themselves and that they don't use unit numbers but their names. He gives them to her and she tells them to call her Jade.

She has never heard of a stormtrooper unit without a chain of command, but the Emperor may have arranged for it without telling her. Whatever they are doing now, she wants them with her for a couple of hours. They are her most trustworthy assistance at this point since she cannot get into the palace alone and the 501st is busy hunting Vader's rebels.

Disra is not pleased to find Caaldra in his office. The latter informs him that he's brought the AT-STs, but that the Imperial agent managed to get off of Gepparin and may have followed him here. He also lets Disra know that he's discovered that the Reprisal did not attack Gepparin because of the pirates. He's learned that she may have uncovered information in the ship's files about five stormtroopers allegedly on a secret ISB mission but, in fact, deserted instead. They are probably the so-called Hand of Judgment. Ozzel had the Reprisal attack the planet in order to silence the agent.

So she's not here with a stormtrooper squad after all as she would probably execute them if she encountered them. This means she hasn't made the connection between Disra and Caaldra. She's only following Caaldra because she saw him with the Commodore on Gepparin. She may have found something in the rubble to lead her to Shelkonwa, though, so they will have to be ready for her.

Caaldra advises him to rearrange his security complement and go ahead and declare independence now. Disra is not eager to do this with Vader and the 501st in the city. Caaldra tells him that the pirate groups are ready to hit the Imperial forces and their agents are in place to take and hold key positions in the city.

Caaldra promises to take care of the agent himself. Disra has no illusions that palace security can do that anyway. He prepares to send the records he's promised Vader and has no intention of contacting any pirate groups at this point. He's been playing Caaldra for two years and it's ironic that he has to depend on the man to get rid of the Imperial agent.

On the city streets, Mara and the troopers notice disguised sentries along the way to the palace. It is clear someone has beefed up security. They talk about how to get into the palace and Marcross revealed he grew up here and was a friend of Governor Choard's son. They used to sneak out the private exit all of the time. He shows her where it is but she won't use it because it's likely the conspirators will be using it themselves.

She tells them there are canisters of acidic gas in the wall and uses her lightsaber to cut holes in the wall around the canisters and uses the Force to remove them. Then she cuts a hole in the wall big enough for them to slip through. The others are deployed to survey the area and she uses the opportunity to tell LaRone that they are going after the Governor who has committed treason by conspiring with pirate gangs and by trying to kill her on Gepparin.

LaRone understands. He is somewhat disturbed about plotting to execute an Imperial governor, especially after they sit in space and talk about concepts such as justice and duty. But he wants to protect the citizens of the Empire.

Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 22:

In the garden, they move stealthily as Marcross describes what they will find inside the building. Brightwater reports that there are many expensive landspeeders in front. It appears that the governor is holding a party. This makes things awkward. She prepares to use a small canister in her hand, when they run into trouble.

The garden is outfitted with dangerous plant life that causes trouble for them and requires some use of weaponry that exposes them. They make a run for the palace when swoops arrive. She and the troopers fight them off and she sends them into the house while she takes rear guard. She tells LaRone to finish the mission if she cannot.

She returns outdoor and leaps to a higher level, cutting a hole in the wall with her lightsaber and kicking it out. She pulls herself through the hole into the house and finds herself in a storage area. She finds that there is some kind of liquid on the floor. Recognizing it, Mara jumps onto a cart.

Then Caaldra calls for her.

He has a lighter and will ignite the liquid on the floor. She points out he could already have done that and believes he wants something. He explains he wants completely out of this with no prosecution and no one coming after him. In return, he will leave her alone and give her the records to grab Disra. She is surprised he is involved in this, too, but doesn't believe Caaldra when he tells her the governor doesn't know a thing about it. They need the governor to order garrisons around. Caaldra explains they were only going to destroy the garrisons. She counters that she meant the Reprisal.

Caaldra is delighted to learn how much Mara doesn't know. The Reprisal acted of its own accord because Captain Ozzel wanted to cover his back after five of his stormtroopers deserted. They've been running around the sector since then doing good deeds. Mara realizes that's who the Hand of Judgment are. She's just sent them to kill the wrong man.

She begins moving stacks of chairs in the room in order to get out of there, but decides to keep Caaldra talking to distract him. He's suspicious but answers her questions about his demands. He wants to take the Happer's Way, keeping the AT-STs as his reward for averting a political crisis that would occur when Disra declared independence. Mara argues that Palpatine would never allow it. Caaldra thinks the Emperor would cut a deal in order to keep it quiet. Mara assures him that such a deal would never happen even if she recommended it.

He decides that she's not useful to him then if she cannot influence the Emperor and ignites the fluid. Her chair positioning allows to leap from chair to chair until she reaches the hole she cut in the wall and balances there. She jumps to a higher level, cuts herself in and then cuts a hole in the floor above where Caaldra would be. She leaps down and finds him with three of his cronies. She dispatches them quickly and he pleads with her to let him fight one-on-one.

She tosses her lightsaber aside and he pulls out a small hold-out blaster. His shot is deflected quickly by the saber she pulls back into her hand and hits his chest.

Then Mara runs to find the others before they execute Governor Choard.

The Hand of Judgment races through the kitchens and enter the ballroom where the Governor's elegantly-dressed guests are surprised to see a stormtrooper marching across the room. LaRone announces that the governor is guilty of treason and will be executed. Choard is shocked and refuses to go with them. LaRone is not certain he is able to shoot an unarmed person after the events of Teardrop.

Then Marcross orders the others to put down their weapons and holds his own blaster on them. He approaches the Governor and tells him he's just saved his life and hands over his blaster. Then he removes his helmet. Governor Choard recognizes him immediately. Marcross greets his uncle.

  • I suppose Mara could have just jumped out the hole in the wall rather than positioning chairs, but she did want to get the story out of Caaldra and would need a way out if he ignited the fire before she had a chance to leap. It just seemed kind of convoluted to me, though.
  • So Caaldra really wanted Mara to let him know if the Emperor would cut a deal that would allow the Shelsha sector independence? Really?

    Has he not paid attention to what Palpatine does to dissident systems?

Jedi Cool

Jedi Cool

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chapter 23:

Mara enters the ballroom to find Governor Choard holding LaRone, Grave and Quiller at bay, while Marcross stands there unhelmeted. He explains that an agent has been sent to kill him for conspiring with pirate gangs and stealing Imperial property. He recommends that the Governor call Lord Vader and get some 501st protection as his small group is all he has and Brightwater is holding off the guards at the front gate.

Choard doesn't want anymore Imperials here, though, and turns the blaster on Marcross. Mara realizes she'd let Caaldra trick her. She tries to use the Force to pull the blaster out of the governor's hand but the emotional turmoil of the crowd, combined with some minor burns she got in the fire and the distance make that difficult. So she pulls out the mist canister she was going to use earlier and activates it.

Marcross doesn't understand what his uncle is doing. Choard explains that his nephew never understood power and he has enough now to control the sector. Grave and LaRone point out that people with power always make mistakes. Marcross agrees. His uncle has made many of them. Marcross recognized the governor's private HoloNet code when he spotted it at the emergency bunker on Gepparin. But he didn't know who else had the code, so he gave the governor this chance to prove he wasn't involved. His uncle was always a talker, though, and now he's confirmed that he's a traitor in a room full of people. Finally, he made his biggest mistake in assuming that Marcross would give him a loaded weapon.

Just then, something flies into the crowd and explodes in white mist. The governor's shot goes awry and hits Marcross' arm instead. The other troopers retrieve their weapons and flank him. When Choard tries to fire again at LaRone, it doesn't work. Quiller reminds LaRone that the man is a traitor but LaRone is tired of killing. The governor will be tried and his fate determined there.

Marcross' wound will be fine and he ruefully agrees that it appears there was one shot still left in the blaster.

Mara appears and tells the Governor that he's under arrest for treason. A servant arrives with the news that Lord Vader is here with a contingent of stormtroopers and Chief Administrator Disra. She tells him to escort Vader in. LaRone sees the look in her eyes and he realizes that she knows their secret. But, it was all worth it to prevent the millions of innocent lives that Choard's treachery would have cost.

When Vader arrives, he explains that Disra has given a full accounting of the Governor's plot. Mara understands that Disra has claimed innocence in all of this, but that his information will likely be useful to the Empire. She asks Vader to take the Governor into custody as her ship is not spaceworthy. Vader has heard this.

He also asks about the stormtroopers. He has been told that they refused to identify their unit earlier and that the Reprisal has reported five stormtroopers missing. Mara finds it interesting but shrugs it off. She claims the Hand of Judgment belongs to her and that Vader shouldn't think too much of it since he has the whole 501st.

He accepts this and moves on.

Mara turns to the others and tells them they are leaving now and will pick up Brightwater on the way out. On the way, she wants to know the real story.

Jedi Cool

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chapter 24:

The searchers did not find Leia hiding in the ship's armory and Han was able to explain away the speeder bikes. They will have to fly up to where he's got the Falcon stashed and suggests they get a move on unless she wants to try to recruit the former stormtroopers. She brushes that thought off, seeing as she cannot recruit even him.

He allows that he might stick around but he cannot pledge his allegiance to Mon Mothma or the Alliance leadership right now. She suggests he pledge it to just one person then. He gets a strange feeling until she mentions Chewie. The Wookiee wants to join. Han might try following his friend for once.

Han considers that, while he goes to unlock Luke from the closet, he might give his allegiance to someone at some point.

Mara listens to their story and tells them they should have turned themselves in. There are procedures to deal with issues of self-defense, although they would have had to deal with ISB. It's too late now anyway. LaRone agrees and he's not sure he wants to go back after what he experienced at Teardrop. Mara promises to look into that as the slaughter of civilians is against everything the Empire stands for.

LaRone and Marcross share a look. She may be the Emperor's Hand but she is very naive. She will learn eventually what the Empire really stands for. Now, she doesn't know what to do with these traitors. They point out that they are still serving the Empire in their own way. She asks what false name their ship is running under and tells them she'll tell the Executor to let them leave.

She advises them to stay clear of anymore Imperial forces or they won't be so lucky this time. She also advises them to get rid of the Hand of Judgment name. She's the only Hand in the Empire. She gets out of the truck and leaves.

Brightwater asks if they're really going to stay out of trouble, but they rather like this hero feeling. Hoping Solo is still aboard, they board the Suwantek and ready to fly to the Falcon.

The Emperor chastizes Lord Vader for Leia Organa's escape. Vader points out that one ship was allowed to leave without being searched. Mara explains that the ship carried the stormtrooper unit she'd commandeered. The Executorl's sensors only picked up five lifeforms and no one could have been on board without the troopers finding them.

She suggests that the Princess was never on Shelkonwa in the first place. She believes that Disra concocted the story to get Vader there so that he could give him the evidence he had been collecting on Governor Choard. He could not risk giving it to someone else for fear they might be a fellow conspirator. The Emperor considers that Disra would also want credit for the exposure of the governor in order to further his own ambitions.

He decides Disra won't get the governorship just yet and dismisses both of them.

In the hallway, Vader and Mara walk together. He asks her opinion of Disra. She claims he's a con artist and a conniver and worth watching. Vader intends to. She asks if he could also keep an eye on Captain Ozzel. Neither of them believes that the attack on Gepparin had nothing to do with her and they both share the same contempt for the ISB which is backing Ozzel's claims. At best, Ozzel is stupid; at worst, he's a traitor. Vader agrees to watch him.

She is recognized by General Deerian, the man who thought she was a Countess at Moff Glovstoak's party. He tells her he has been transferred here to oversee planetary defenses. It was a timely transfer as the Moff was arrested on charges of embezzlement. He is appalled that someone in a position of trust would abuse their authority. She is glad for him and muses that, while abuses of power should be dealt with, she owes her allegiance to an Empire that still produces men like this.

  • Let's start with the chapter. I'm a bit confused about the searching/scanning of the Suwantek.The security forces on Shelkonwa searched it first, fell for Han's story and didn't find Luke or Leia on board. So the ship had indeed been searched before it left the planet despite what Vader claimed. The scanners on the Executor read only five lifeforms. Now, we know that the troopers did know there were people aboard the ship, but the scanners of the Star Destroyer should have read more than five when it left the planet. Unless, it didn't scan the ship until after Luke, Han, Leia and Chewie were dropped off at the Falcon and the fact that it was able to do that without attracting attention surprises me. Further, how did the Falcon get out of the system without being noticed?

    But back to the security search. The security that was aboard the Suwantek saw Han and, presumably, Chewbacca, since only Luke and Leia were hidden. Wouldn't those records be available to review? Would there be a discrepancy between security finding a human and a Wookiee on the ship when it was searched on the planet and the Executor's scans showing five lifeforms that Mara states are Imperial Stormtroopers?
  • What We Know About Mara Jade: Based upon this one reading, we learn that Mara has been raised and trained by Palpatine to be his Hand, so to speak. She is used to ferret out treachery within Imperial ranks. She believes Imperial abuses are small in number, has an idealistic view of the Empire and its Emperor, and is trained to use the Force as a tool only. She appears to have no loyalty to either light or dark side of the Force so she does not seem to have been trained as a Sith.

    She may not even know anything about the Sith or that Palpatine himself is one. He seems to treat her with kid gloves, indulging her requests, even though he may not appreciate the loyalty and compassion she shows to others.

    She is young and is capable of making mistakes. I, for one, was surprised she never followed up on Brock's information about the stormtrooper desertion. Though her own misunderstanding of the situation did lead her to the correct place and the right conclusion, it was still painful to read her being so painfully wrong.

    About more than one thing.
  • We are also getting a renewed look at Han Solo. He is still not ready to throw in his lot with the Rebellion, perhaps still smarting from his experience with Bria Tharen. But he's not ready to leave yet either. He appears to be taken with Princess Leia.

    We will be leaving for vacation within a few days, so I'm going to hold off starting our next chapter summary until I get back.

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