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chapter 22:

Karrde listens to Solo’s proposal, asks a few questions and then determines it’s not right for his operation. He cannot risk the Empire finding out he’s working for the New Republic and he’s not naïve enough to believe that the New Republic can prevent the Empire from finding out.

He does, however, know of a slicer Solo can use and invites them to dinner. They are introduced to several of his associates, the slicer Ghent and Mara Jade.

Ghent is enamored of Han, having heard stories about him facing down Zygerrian slavers and giving the ship to the former slaves. During this story, Karrde receives a message that calls his and Mara’s attention away from dinner momentarily.

After they leave, Lando tells Han he’s seen Mara before but doesn’t know where. She wasn’t a smuggler either. Han thinks they should just enjoy their meal while they figure it out.

Aves tells Karrde that the Chimeara entered the system ten minutes ago and Captain Pellaeon is asking for Karrde personally. Karrde tells him to move the Millennium Falcon closer to the forest and put a camo over it. Mara assures Karrde that she didn’t call the Imperials, though she wishes she had.

Karrde answers the call and finds himself speaking with Grand Admiral Thrawn instead. Thrawn needs more ysalami and ships. He also hopes to speak with Karrde about refusing to help find Skywalker. Karrde explains that his group was busy with other commitments at the time. Thrawn find the choice of words interesting as the search is still going on.

Karrde is surprised as he’d understood that the starfighter was dead in space and life support could not have sustained the pilot for long. Thrawn mentions Jedi have techniques for prolonging their lives under such circumstances. He hopes to speak more of this face to face. Sure enough, two shuttles with TIE escorts are coming down from the Star Destroyer.

Karrde orders Mara to go directly to Aves and have him move the Falcon even further. He will deal with Solo and Calrissian directly. She's unhappy that he’s going to protect them, but he reminds her that they are his guests. Those guidelines don’t apply to Skywalker, of course, but he’s not going to bargain over the Jedi with a Star Destroyer in orbit. Calrissian can tell her what doing business under the threat of stormtroopers will get her.

She asks what that business about ships was. She saw he had an interesting reaction to it. Karrde tells her to ask him again later.

Right now, he has to get rid of Solo and Calrissian before have a personal conversation with Grand Admiral Thrawn about Skywalker and warships.

In the meantime, Luke’s rigged power source gets the door open. He frees Artoo and takes the restraining collar off of him before going to look for the ship. He has to evade several men and Mara before getting to the hangar to find his X-Wing gone. He ends up swiping a long, lean ship that Artoo thinks they can handle.

Mara checks on Aves and the Falcon before deciding that she is the only one with a right to decide what happens to Skywalker. She marches to the shed to find him gone and one of the Skipray blastboasts in the air. She cannot let the Imperials find out he was here, so jumps into the other Skipray and flies off after him.


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chapter 23:

Luke realizes Mara is after him and also realizes why the move to the shed when he sees the Star Destroyer in orbit. The other fighter is on his tail, so he twists the control stick, jams the throttle and runs into the trees before crashing.

Grand Admiral Thrawn meets Karrde and notes the fighter chase they observed on the way down. Karrde had hoped that wouldn’t have been noticed and brushes it off as a disgruntled employee deciding to steal with another associate in pursuit. Thrawn tells him the first ship crashed in the forest and sends his stormtroopers out to find any survivors as a courtesy for the ysalamiri help Karrde has given them.

Ghent really would rather Han and Lando keep coming along with him, but they are more interested in watching the Imperials. They wonder about the Skipray chase they saw. Ghent only knows some prisoner they were keeping got away. Han is more disturbed when he notices one of the gray-skinned aliens with the Imperials. They ask more questions about the prisoner, but Ghent doesn’t know anything about that either.

Seeing a blue-skinned, red-eyed being in a white Imperial officer’s uniform, they asked Ghent who that is. He says it’s some Grand Admiral whose name he does not know. This surprises Han and Lando who decide to get back to the Falcon and find out what Karrde is up to.

Luke should be in pain, but he isn’t. He pulls Artoo out and finds the second fighter in worse shape than his own. She’s in the cockpit and he really should get Mara out, but he does need to get going. He cannot, however, allow his concern for galactic affairs win out over the individual.

Unfortunately, she pulls a blaster on him and tells him to get the survivor’s kit out of a compartment. Luke hopes they won’t be walking all the way back. The whine of a ship comes over and Mara realizes it’s not one of theirs. She orders him to drop and they hide in the bushes, where she holds her blaster on him to prevent him from making a sound.

He considers finding a way to surrender to the stormtroopers coming down from the shuttle. In space, away from the forest, he can use his powers again, but she knows he’s thinking of doing something like that. After the troopers begin their search, she tells him it’s three days until they could reach Hyllyard City, the closest civilization. She would rather not deal with the Imperials until she knows what story Karrde has told them.

As for the droid, she’s leaving him here in pieces because of what he knows. Luke tries to convince her that Artoo can help them both through the forest. She isn’t buying it and he asks if she’s allowing her emotions to cloud her judgment.

Mara tells him that she has dreamed of killing him for a long time now. He asks what he did to her. She only tells him that he destroyed her life and she’s planning to do the same to his.

Luke suggests they use the balloon in the survival kit to send up an encrypted message that Artoo can set up. Karrde can use the computer in Luke’s X-Wing to decrypt it. Artoo and the ship’s computer have worked together for five years now and the ship flies better because of it.

Someone is bound to check on the ship eventually. She resents that this plan requires both him and the droid, but doesn’t think R2 will make it across the terrain. Luke assures her the droid’s done it before but they can rig up a travois to drag him. He watches her use his lightsaber with skill enough that she makes it a point to tell him she shouldn’t try to make a grab for her blaster.


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chapter 24:

Karrde apologizes for running Han and Lando out of dinner. Han confronts him about dealing with the Empire. Karrde notes that Ghent seems to not know when he shouldn’t speak. He explains that the Imperials came for the ysalamiri and he doesn’t know what they use them for.

Han asks who the Grand Admiral is and Karrde reminds him that information costs. They would rather leave right now, but there is a Star Destroyer in orbit and it seems a shame to let dinner go to waste. It can be put back together fairly quickly. He had anything indicating that there were guests here removed as the Grand Admiral is very observant.

They decide to go check the Falcon first, but, after they ditch Karrde, Han tells Lando he wants to look in the storage shed where the prisoner was being held. They find one that has two rooms in it and looks like a busted lock. The door opens when they utilize what appears to be a makeshift power supply.

Karrde comes to check on them and finds Han, quipping that he seems to have gotten lost and also lost General Calrissian in the process. Han points out a droid restraining collar and asks if he was also holding a droid prisoner.

Karrde insists he’s not dealing in kidnapping or slaving. The prisoner dropped into his life quite literally. He isn’t selling the name right now, but Calrissian comes out of the other side of the shed with a micrel power supply that was manufactured by a company that specializes in bioelectronics.

The fact that there was a droid in the other side of the shed is enough for them to turn to Karrde for confirmation that he was, indeed, holding Luke Skywalker prisoner. Skywalker actually did escape in one of the Skipray blastboats, but crashed it in the forest. Mara Jade went after him and the stormtroopers investigating both wrecks reported they were deserted. Karrde hopes they are working together at this moment because Mara has a great desire to kill the Jedi.

He tells them that Skywalker’s X-Wing was dead in space and that, if Mara hadn’t led them to him somehow, he would have died there. He was put in the shed so that the Imperials wouldn’t find him. He also points out that he hasn’t turned Han and Lando over to them either.

He recommends they stay the night. There are wild vronskrs in the forest and the Grand Admiral in orbit. They can’t do anything for Luke and Mara now.

With nightfall, the Imperials cannot find the survivors either. Thrawn asks about a pulse transmission that was picked up after sundown. Pellaeon confirms it came from the crash site but it was too brief. It was encrypted, too, and they’ve tried all known Rebellion encrypts.

The survivors will probably emerge from the forest at Hyllyard City. Thrawn orders three squads of stormtroopers and half a biker scout unit to set up an observation post in town. Karrde lied to them. Whatever went on this afternoon, it wasn’t about a thief and he wants to know what it was.

Pellaeon points out that they are smugglers so it makes sense there are things they won’t want others to know. Thrawn agrees but points out that Karrde’s group refused to search for Skywalker and it’s got him wondering if the Jedi was involved in the chase. He knows it’s unlikely, but it’s worth looking into.

They cannot push back the Sluis Van attack. Three squads of stormtroopers should be enough.

Mara had twisted her ankle in the crash and is grateful to be off of it. Skywalker is laying down looking at the night sky. She wonders why she’s trying so hard to get back to Karrde’s camp. The man can bug out at any time and hide in one of the other places he’s got set up. But she knows he won’t. He’ll sit it out and wait for her to come out of the forest. When she doesn’t, and when Thrawn jumps to the wrong conclusion, she knows Karrde will be interrogated and executed.

Artoo picks up some movement in the forest and a wild vornskr jumps out at Luke. Mara shoots it in the head. Luke notes the difference between the wild one and Karrde’s domesticated pets. Mara had noticed Sturm and Drang were not particularly friendly to Skywalker and this wild one seemed fixated on Luke.

He seems unusually calm for someone who just faced down death. She thinks that he can wish again if he’s hoping she’ll sleep. She pulls out a stimulant while he lies calmly down and closes his eyes.

Obviously, there’s more to him than meets the eye. She wants to know what happened at the end that saved him. She will find out before she has the pleasure of killing him herself.

Aves approaches Karrde and tells him that they still haven’t figured out Mara’s message. They may have more assistance from Skywalker’s ship computer tomorrow. Solo and Calrissian are aboard the Falcon where they feel more comfortable.

There was an assault shuttle that left the Chimaera not long ago. They are probably going to Hyllyard City to wait for Mara and Skywalker to show up. Karrde asks Aves if he can put together a team, travel to the city and take them from the Imperials if necessary.

Aves is pretty sure that’s going to be easy. A lot of the talk in camp is positive regarding Skywalker who saved a lot of people who were in hock to Jabba the Hutt.

Those warm feelings made not help Skywalker if they cannot prevent the Imperials from getting him. They may have to kill him.

Karrde brings his pets inside, knowing the Grand Admiral isn’t going to be happy at all, and that his life here is over.


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People can like what they like and I admire your EU coverage-- but good gravy is this story needlessly packed and boring.


How many times can a situation be set up only to have the target know it's coming?


I know this book was the one that started it all but it reminds me how even when I read, being young and starved for Star Wars content, I was bored by how non Star Warsy it was.

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That does happen amazingly a lot in the EU, yes.


chapter 25:
Leia tries to sleep but believes she’s stayed too long here. The Wookiees guarded her for days afterward while the city was searched, but found nothing. Over time, with no visible enemy, it was hard to remain vigilant so they returned to their normal lives. Only Ralrra, Salporin and Chewie are left.
She decides they need to leave and reaches for her comlink. A hand reaches out to seize hers and she reacts instantly, kicking out and reaching for her lightsaber under the pillow. Igniting it, she cuts through the alien only to find another. She battles it until he jumps on her, then abruptly releases her.
He addresses her as “Mal’ary’ush”. Chewbacca barrels into the room and Leia has to yell at him not to kill the creature. Chewie knocks it out instead. Ralrra arrives and explains that there were three of the creatures outside dead. Both he and Chewie are injured and Salporin was killed. The creatures started a fire nearby as a diversion. They will have to get out of here.
She decides to climb down into the undercity. Ralrra warns her she cannot do this herself. He and Chewie insist upon taking her with them.
They crawl with all four limbs, utilizing claws, underneath the branches, Leia holding onto Chewie for dear life. A repulsorlift car flies nearby. It’s unlikely that this could be rescuers, so Leia ties some rope to a tree branch, attaches her lightsaber to it and swings it out until it hits the car and cuts through the repulsorlift generator. Then they decide to climb back up and head toward the ship. Leia has another stop in mind first.
In the security office, Leia has been asked specifically to meet with the would-be assassin. The creature is a Noghri who calls himself Khabarakh. He explains they were told her name but not that she was the Mal’ary’ush, the daughter and heir of their master Lord Vader.
He tells her that starships met above their world and fought endlessly until their world was devastated. Lord Vader came and told them that this was done on purpose to drive fear and terror into the souls of the Emperor’s enemies.
Only Vader and the Emperor came to them in their time of need, so they served Vader and now serve his designated heir. Leia realizes that she will have to tred lightly. Avoiding criticizing Darth Vader, she explains that the Emperor never really cared about his people and that the Rebel Alliance would not have deliberately harmed another world. Obviously, their new master has not been very honest with them if he did not tell them who she really was. She urges him to go back to his people and tell them what he knows.
He will not tell her where his world is or take her there. There is nothing she can do anyway. Their new master has told them their world cannot be helped. She would rather see that for herself. She urges him to go home and seek the counsel of those he trusts. If he is willing to bring her to his homeworld, she will meet him above the moon of Endor in one month.
The Wookiees gather for Salporin’s memorial. Leia gets the ship prepped to leave. She wants to get back to Coruscant and find as much information about the Noghri as possible.
  • I don’t get the statement that the attack was done deliberately to strike fear and terror into the hearts of the Emperor’s enemies. If Vader was trying to convince them the attack was done on purpose and was trying to recruit them as servants, wouldn’t it make more sense to say that the intent was to strike fear and terror into the hearts of those who supported the Emperor? I mean…the Noghri may not necessarily have been enemies of the Emperor or anyone else at the time of the battle.
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The PT wasn't very Star wars-y either. But from my POV, for the exact same reasons as Heir. Little action between tons and tons of politics, characters that seem to have everything figured out without a bit of conflict, what conflict there is only works because it is written to do so, and most of all BORING!

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I found myself more annoyed on this reading than I have in the past. So, yes, respect the effort, but it's flawed.


chapter 26:


Both Luke and Mara are tired, particularly as she hasn’t had any sleep in two days. When a vornskr attacks Luke again, she is slower to shoot it. They find a clearing to send up the balloon and she finds Skywalker asleep again.


R2 chirps that there’s a message. She tells him to play it and finds it’s from a golden protocol droid. The droid explains that Captains Karrde and Solo are glad to know Luke and Mara are both alive. However, there are Imperial stormtroopers waiting for them in Hyllyard City. Karrde has told them that an employee named Jade went after a former employee. He suggests that Luke and Mara trade places since he never specified Jade was a woman.


Luke, drifting in and out of sleep, thinks it’s a good idea. She has plans other than pretending to be his prisoner, but is knocked out by something heavy before she has the chance. Luke jumps his feet as a vornskr has his mouth at her neck.


Too far away and weaponless, Luke bellows the cry of a krayt dragon which startles the creature, but doesn’t scare it away. He does it again and Mara wakes up, pulling at its throat. Luke jumps off of the tree trunk and gets hit in the face by the creature’s tail. R2 gets a shock off his welder before the vornskr knocks it off.


Luke tells R2 to grab the tail with his grasping arm. The tail slows the vornskr down just enough, before pulling the arm off, that Luke has time to grab his lightsaber and kill it. She asks him what took so long before pulling her blaster on him and telling him to put down the lightsaber.


He checks over R2, not believing that she’s still intent on harming him after they saved her life. He wants to know what happened to her. She tells him that he came from a nothing planet, destroyed her life and doesn’t even know who she is. She was a dancer in Jabba’s palace the day he came to rescue Han Solo.


Luke realizes that she didn’t actually work for Jabba. He thinks Vader sent her there, knowing he’d come for Han. Mara points out that Vader was a treasonous fool. Her master sent her to Tatooine to kill Luke, not recruit him.


Luke realizes she worked for the Emperor. He tells her that Palpatine tried to recruit him, too. Mara argues that it was only because she failed. The Emperor knew Vader had offered to help Luke overthrow him. And what the Emperor knew, Mara knew because she was the Emperor’s Hand. She served all over the galaxy, hearing his call and reporting back to him through the Force.


She exposed traitors, brought down enemies and helped him control the bureaucracies. She had everything until Jabba refused to let her go with the execution party on his sail barge. Luke realizes this was the vision he’d seen.


After the Emperor’s death, she had nothing. There was nothing official about her role, no one knew her for who she was and she was left to slog around the galaxy for the last four and a half years. She's worked hard to get where she is and won’t let him ruin it. Luke tells her he doesn’t want to ruin anything; just get back to the New Republic. She wants the old Empire back. Since they don’t always get what they want, she tosses some salve at him and tells him to take care of the welts the vornskr left on his face.


  • After reading about Mara’s exploits in Allegiance and Choices of One, I find it hard to believe that she couldn’t have found some way to get on that Sail Barge. I mean, she wasn’t chained to Jabba, right?
  • She certainly makes it sound like the only thing that made her special was her ability to hear the Emperor’s call across the galaxy. We know that she is Force sensitive. While it was sad to read her naivete when it came to the Empire, it’s equally sad to read how bitter she is.
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chapter 27:


Thrawn prepares to have the cloaking shield tested on a freighter. He asks if there’s any word from Myrkr. Pellaeon reports nothing yet. The Sluis Van count is now 112 warships with 65 as cargo carriers.


He doesn’t like sending his men into battle without communications. Thrawn assures him that timing is important here and he knows exactly how the Sluissi will respond and when. Pellaeon thinks C’baoth would be helpful here.


Thrawn explains that they need to be able to function without C’baoth. Depending on him too often is certainly undesirable but they also don’t want to give him a taste of too much power over their ships. Once they give him Leia Organa Solo and her children, he’ll have all the power he wants and will consider these ship enhancing trips distractions.


Pellaeon reminds him the Noghri will have to find her first. Thrawn believes that her protectors will eventually run out of places to hide before he runs out of Noghri.


He has the cloaking shield activated and the freighter just sits there. Pleased, Thrawn gives the green light.


In the meantime, Wedge Antilles is unhappy with being assigned escort duty. The dispatcher points out that this is Ackbar’s doing. Not to worry as there are rumors that Borsk Fey’lya is about to make his move.


He’s not so impressed with Wedge once he realizes the man isn’t a fan of Fey’lya’s. He reminds Wedge that Ackbar’s time has come and gone. Fey’lya is the only one who really cares about their welfare.


Wedge decides that a little escort duty will do just find if it gets him away from Coruscant. At least, he can shoot at the Imperials if they take a poke at him.


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chapter 28:


Before long, Luke and Mara hear the whine of speeder bikes. Mara believes that they are creating an opening for the two of them to walk into town observed so they can be caught. On the other hand, deliberately avoiding the scouts makes it look like they have something to hide. Luke suggests they stroll through the path, make it look like they need help and follow Karrde’s plan of role-switching. Mara isn’t keen on that as it requires Luke have a loaded weapon.


She uses some plants nearby to disguise Luke’s face when he has an allergic reaction to them. He hides the lightsaber in R2’s hidden compartment. He still won’t be able to access the Force here, but it might be useful.


When the scouts pick them up, Luke calls himself a bounty hunter named Jade, indicates Mara as his prisoner and the droid as being the property she stole. She insists it’s payment for what Karrde owes her. The scouts take both of them prisoner.


In town, Luke spots a group of locals marching someone in their midst. The stormtroopers intercept and interrogate the men. One of Karrde’s men, Chin, indicates Han Solo and explains they caught him wandering around the forest, possibly looking for the prisoners.


Han is taken into custody, too. As the group nears the center of town, Luke realizes it would be the perfect place for an ambush. In fact, the stormtroopers have to realize that, too. Luke decides he has to alert Karrde’s men that this is not a good spot.


He knocks over R2 and, during the picking-up process, tells him to tell 3PO to wait until they are at the archway to attack.


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chapter 29:

The Imperial stormtroopers are quite poised when four of their comrades blow up at the archway. They return blasterfire at their attackers while several toss grenades, Luke, Han and Mara behind pillars. R2 rolls to join them. Luke asks Han how good he is at causing a distraction. Han has already used a piece of metal to jimmy the manacles on his wrist.

Mara grabs Luke’s arm and tells him whatever he’s planning to do had better start now before the Imperial Assault Chariot lands in front of the archway and blocks off their rescuers.

Luke is counting on that.

Aves is not and, when the Chariot blocks the archway, Lando finds he’s been shot in the arm, Aves leaning over him, blaster in hand.

Han and Luke race forward through the stormtroopers, using their manacles to hit faces and grasp necks. R2 tosses Luke’s lightsaber to him, he catches and ignites it. Unfortunately, the ysalamiri influences extends into town so he cannot do much with the Force. He slices a couple of stone pillars of the arch in half, causing it to crash on top of the troopers battling the attackers and the Chariot.


  • I’d like to point out how often 3PO tries to give important information and no one listens to him. It began in The Empire Strikes Back and repeats itself every so often. One would think the people who know him well would stop doing that.

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Guest El Chalupacabra

The PT wasn't very Star wars-y either. But from my POV, for the exact same reasons as Heir.

From MY point of view, Driver is the one that isn't Star Warsy!

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chapter 30:


Karrde looks at the destruction of the archway and the Chariot and muses that one man caused all of this without the Force. He notices Lando Calrissian being helped into a speeder and asks if he took a shot. Aves allows that Calrissian almost took one of his as Aves thought they’d been betrayed.


He doesn’t think the other two Chariots got off any messages before taking off. They could still be hunted down. Karrde doesn’t think so. There’s no way to hide their part in this from Thrawn, so they’ll have to evacuate. He hadn’t realized how much he loved Myrkr until now.


He gives Aves instructions to begin the evacuation, advising him to give Mara something to do far away from both the Millennium Falcon and Skywalker’s X-Wing. Then he goes to Solo. The two make arrangements with each other for getting Aves’s ship out of impoundment on Abregado and for Han to provide a cargo ship, something he’d already told Karrde the New Republic needed, to help the operation get off Myrkr before the Imperials return.


Secretly, Karrde is hoping he can steal the ship, too, and give it to Thrawn to appease him. He knows, though, that it will take a lot more than that to make up for what happened here.


After rigging Luke’s X-Wing to tow, Han tells Luke that there were a couple of bikes and Assault Chariots missing. Someone might be planning to attack them so they won’t have to report failure to the Grand Admiral.


Luke thought they’d accounted for all of them. Han hopes they can trade the name by letting Karrde use an empty Star Cruiser for moving his cargo. At least, the Force has returned to Luke.


Han asks what Mara has against Luke but his friend would rather not talk about it. The Falcon takes off, headed for Sluis Van where Han hopes to find better medical care for Lando, repair Luke’s X-Wing and, perhaps, borrow something Karrde can use.


After that, they’ll go back to Coruscant where Luke is warned that things are getting dicey.


The Imperial task force emerges from hyperspace near the Sluis Van shipyards. The Judicator reports in that all ships are battle ready. Amid the force is one old build freighter which is the key to the operation. The cloaking shield has been primed.


In the midst of this, Thrawn asks for a report from Myrkr. The team last reported in 14 hours ago. Their orders were to do so every 12 hours. Thrawn knows that something has happened and that Skywalker is responsible. No one else could have helped him but Karrde.


However, this operation must be prioritized. They’ll have to deal with Karrde later.


He orders the cloaking shield activated and watch the freighter move toward the system. The Chimaera will follow it in a little over six hours. The crews of their ships are to be reminded that they are to engage in no special heroics as the goal is to gain more ships, not lose them. The final victory over the Rebellion begins here.


  • Ya know...I'm going to think Karrde's right when it comes to that cargo ship. Imagine, if you will, Karrde saying to Thrawn, "Yes, I know I wouldn't look for Skywalker and I know that I lied to you when you came to Myrkr and I know that I didn't tell you that Solo & Calrissian were there, too, and I know that they caused a lot of problems in town and I know that their presence at Sluis Van disrupted your plans, but...here's a New Republic cargo ship! They really really need those right now!"
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chapter 31:


Captain Afyon of the Larkhess is frustrated at having to man a huge ship with a skeleton crew, taking supplies to Bpfassh, especially when Rogue Squadron pilots just sit around the lounge, not doing much.


Wedge would rather tell the man off, but he’s not a senior officer and understands the captain’s irritation. He hopes Afyon will calm down once they leave Sluis Van with the cargo.


Wedge sits, sipping his drink and watching the traffic in the shipyards, noticing a freighter sitting there with no escort.


It’s moving much more slowly than it should for a ship with no cargo. Afyon checks on it and finds it was apparently jumped by pirates, dumped its cargo and came here for repairs. Truth be told, it’s a plausible story and there probably isn’t anything wrong, but Wedge decides to deploy the Rogues anyway to take a look.


They take a casual flight around the ship which suddenly blows up, flinging TIEs everywhere.


As the Millennium Falcon approaches Sluis Van, Han reads a ship explosion nearby before he is blasted with laser bolts. They spot several Star Destroyers and get a comm. from Wedge telling them there are at least 40 TIEs plus about 50 cone-shaped things.


Luke won’t have time to get to his X-Wing, so he heads to the gun well, wondering if the cone-shaped items are Lando’s mole miners.


Thrawn spots the Millennium Falcon towing an X-Wing enter the battle. He advises Pellaeon to have the other ships choose their targets carefully, the mole miners manned by spacetroopers to concentrate on the Mon Calamari Star Cruisers and to warn all that the Falcon is here. This means that Skywalker is likely here, too, and that Karrde has a great deal to answer for.


During the battle, Wedge and the other Rogues notice the mole miners attaching themselves to the hulls of ships. Han sees it, too, and realizes that the miners are being used, not to destroy the fleet, but to steal it.


Luke wonders if he can get aboard one. If he can’t retrieve all of them, he has to find a way to disable them. Han tells him to make sure Sluis Control knows not to let anymore ships out of the orbit-dock area, then get to the quads.


They hit one mole miner and a spacetrooper is knocked out. He’s armed with a couple of proton torpedoes which he fires at the Falcon. Han decides to ram him instead. He flies toward the spacetrooper, accelerating quickly, before dropping under him and letting Wedge blast the mole miner his X-Wing’s laser cannon.


Han gets the idea there’s something else going on here, but he can’t figure it out.


Thrawn orders the TIE Fighter wing to pull back to the perimeter. The task force will withdraw as soon as their new ships join them within the next 15 minutes. Only 8 mole miners have been destroyed. The rest are attached to ships.


Han wants to think of some way he can take out a capital ship before it’s stolen. Luke wants to go topside and use his ilghtsaber on it. Han would rather get Lando up here. He remembers that communications were jammed on Nkllon when the Imperials stole the mole miners. But they aren’t being jammed here which begs the question why they were jammed on Nkllon. It’s not like they could have called for help anyway.


Lando appears and answers that question. Most of the mole miners were running on radio remote. He still has the command codes for a lot of them. Han wants him to start all of them running, as they are likely near bridge or controls. If the miners burn through enough equipment, they will eventually be knocked out.


Sure enough, the Frigate grounds to a halt before the miner bursts out of it aflame. It happens all over the spaceyards. Thrawn orders a withdrawel once their Cloak Force TIE Fighters return. This was to have been a preliminary, not the whole campaign. They still have Mount Tantiss and that’s what will assure their victory.


He will not risk men and resources to change what cannot be changed. Pellaeon admires the fact that Thrawn is a warrior with a goal in mind, not someone out for personal glory. He wonders, again, what the Battle of Endor would have been like with Thrawn in command.


  • Since the theory is that Palpatine was directing the battle through the Force, I’m guessing there’s not much Thrawn could have done to replace the loss of that Force presence. I’m not convinced the Battle of Endor would have ended that much differently, assuming that Thrawn’s theory was right in the first place.
  • Thrawn also believes that Luke Skywalker was in Karrde’s hands on Myrkr. I don’t know that he ever got definitive proof that was the case. Obviously, we know he’s right, but there really wasn’t a moment in which Thrawn determined it was true. He’s viewing the presence of Skywalker’s X-Wing here as evidence that Karrde let him go.
  • Since the freighter could obviously be seen, I’m guessing the cloaking shield was not used on it. However, Thrawn called the Cloak Force TIES which leads me to believe they were cloaked inside the freighter which is why the cargo hold read empty when it wasn’t.
  • And 40 TIEs against Rogue Squadron? We all know that’s not an overwhelming force for them to fight against!
  • Luke wanted to get to his X-Wing but there wasn’t time. Fair enough. But even if he’d had time, isn’t that ship badly in need of repair?
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chapter 32:


The Imperials leave behind a shipyard full of severely-damaged ships. Even though they saved the ships from being stolen, Captain Afyon points out that some will consider the damages just as bad.


A message comes in from Coruscant for Han. Leia tells him she thinks she’s taken care of the problem with the aliens for the time being, but he and Luke will have to come back to Coruscant now. Ackbar has been arrested for treason.


Wedge will have Luke’s X-Wing ready to fly in two hours. The Falcon will go ahead of him. Han tells Luke they haven’t gone through everything they have just to let an ambitious Bothan ruin it.


End of book 1

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