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"Dark Apprentice": Book 2 in the Jedi Academy Trilogy


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chapter 23:


Kyp is growing tired of Luke’s constant teaching about the Jedi of old. Exar Kun has been opening him up to teachings Luke is too afraid to touch. As the holocron tells the tale of how Yoda became a Jedi Knight, Kyp stifles a yawn.


Tionne sings them a song of Nomi Sunrider who had taken her husband’s place in Jedi training and ended up being pivotal in the Sith War. Though Tionne doesn’t have as much Force potential as the others, she makes up for it with her dedication.


Kyp, however, doesn’t think much of this and questions Sunrider’s contribution which only countered Exar Kun’s idea for increasing Jedi power. Tionne points out that she’s spent time researching that time and everyone knows it. Kyp should have told her if he’d found something new.


Luke wants to know where he learned this information. Kyp explains that he can use the holocron, too. The Sith War should have taught the Jedi to defend themselves. If they had learned that, then Darth Vader wouldn’t have been able to destroy them all, leaving someone barely trained like Luke to teach them now.


A ship approaches and Luke tells Kyp they will talk about this later. Mara Jade gets out of her Z-95 Headhunter and tells Luke she’s here to learn more about the Force so she can use it to help out in the Smuggler’s Coalition. She even brought a robe.


Over dinner, she tells Luke that Daala seems intent on causing damage wherever she goes. She wiped out the colony on Dantooine then destroyed two floating cities on Mon Calamari. She’s lost two of her Star Destroyers, but she’s still got two left.


Kyp resents that they buried the Sun Crusher in Yavin when they could have used it to stop Daala. He tells the other students that they are all wasting time here levitating rocks when they should be helping the New Republic. When Luke tells him that acting aggressively is not the Jedi way, Kyp tells him he doesn’t think he has anything else to learn here and storms out.


Back in his room, Kyp pulls off his simple Jedi robes in favor of the fancy black one Han had given him. He finds a couple of rodents nesting there and, when they scurry, he uses the Force to blast them into ashes.


Then he takes off with Mara Jade’s ship.

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  • If Tionne doesn’t have as much potential as the others, but is still allowed to train as a Jedi, why not let Tyria Sarkin come, too? She was showing some ability to sense things through the Force. Nothing different from what Cilghal was doing, in fact.

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chapter 24:


On Carida, Furgan assembles his best trainees for a special mission. He explains they are going after the infant son of Leia Organa Solo. This will not only strike a psychological blow to the New Republic, but the child is also the grandson of Lord Vader.


He can be raised to perhaps replace Emperor Palpatine as head of the Empire. For this mission, they are going to be using his new Mountain-Terrain Armored Transports. Too long, Furgan has been the head of a world that is heavily armed but useless to the Empire while the Imperial Navy fights with the Imperial Army.


With Thrawn dead and Admiral Daala running around causing trouble with no visible strategy in mind, Furgan knows that having the grandson of Lord Vader will force others to listen to him.

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  • I would assume then that it’s definitely become common knowledge that Luke and Leia are the children of Anakin Skywalker who became Darth Vader. That’s been iffy in the past.

  • ust wondering how the training academy on Carida has been functioning all these years? I know that the Empire has been conscripting recruits. I suppose that they have to be trained somewhere. But, if the army and the navy has been fighting over what to do with Carida, why are they still getting troops from it?

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chapter 25:


Wedge takes Qwi to the beautiful world of Ithor which the Empire left alone after one of the Ithorians gave the world’s agricultural and cloning technology to them. It’s a place where the two of them can be tourists.


They reach Tafanda Bay which rests on repulsorlifts above the pristine environment.


Wedge is concerned when one of the Ithorians greets them. He is called Momaw Nadon and he is accompanied by what appears to be two ten-year old human boys.


He tells them that Mon Mothma wanted them to receive special accommodations. He has sympathatized with the Rebellion since the beginning. He was the one who was responsible for placating the Empire by handing over information to them. For that, he was exiled to Tatooine where he was when Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi met Han Solo in the Mos Eisley Cantina.


After the death of the Emperor, he returned to Ithor to make amends. He escorts them to their staterooms. Qwi asks if he is the caretaker of the children. He explains that they are seedlings grown from the flesh of one of his enemies from Tatooine.


Qwi and Wedge enjoy the beautiful world together. She feels safe being with him.

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  • What would the Empire need with cloning technology? I would think, after the Clone Wars, they’d have all the technology they needed!

  • Momaw Nadon’s story can be read in “The Sand Tender: The Hammerhead’s Tale” in Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina.

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chapter 26:


Jacen and Jaina use the Force to escape from a cage they’d gotten into belonging to one of Coruscant’s mutated creatures before running and hiding.


Jacen and Jaina are grabbed by several sentries downlevel.


Meanwhile, Chewbacca insists on shutting down the holographic displays to make spotting them easier. After threatening the droid in charge, they get the displays shut off, only to find no children. Security soon surrounds both Wookie and Droid.


The sentries belong to a group of feral humans led by a man named Daykim. He laughs that children would be considered a threat. He offers to let them stay here as it’s been too long without young people. Jaina and Jacen want to go home. Daykim warns them about the bad Emperor who lives up there, but he understands the need to go home.


The security forces tell 3PO and Chewie that the Solos returned an hour ago. They are searching the displays and the surrounding areas now and will let them know if the children are recovered.C-3PO doesn’t know how to explain what’s happened.


Inside the apartments, though, they are both surprised to find Jaina and Jacen sitting on their parents’ laps. Leia speaks to a man in tattered clothing with a long raggedy beard. She thanks him for his help and tells him that the New Republic will be glad to repatriate any of his people that wish to come back.


Daykim tells them that the Emperor forgave no mistakes, even accounting ones. Bureaucrats learned to disappear as soon as they found any mistakes that couldn’t be corrected. Leia explains that the New Republic doesn’t punish mistakes.


He thanks them but is ready to return to the underlevels. After all, up here, he was just a file clerk. Down there, he is a king.

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chapter 27:


Kyp takes the ship to Endor where he believes he will be shrouded from Exar Kun who he doesn’t think can leave Yavin yet. Searching through the forest, he finds the remains of Darth Vader’s funeral pyre, hoping to find something left of the Dark Lord.


All he finds are ashes and a dark stain on the ground where nothing grows. It’s cold here and he wraps the cape around himself. He’d learned that Anakin Skywalker had done terrible things but that was because he was unprepared for the power of the Dark Side.


Kyp would not be so naïve and would keep the temptations of brutality at bay.


He thinks back on his peaceful home on the colony of Deyer where the people were democratic, foolishly thinking that they could expect the Empire to be fair and accommodating. There is nothing for him here on Endor. He is the new Lord of the Sith and he can help the New Republic.

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chapter 28:


Daala ponders the loss of half of her fleet while sitting in the conference room with Commander Kratas, General Odosk and Captain Mullinore of the Basilisk. She knows exactly how Tarkin would have viewed her miserable failure.


She explains to the others that she is reassessing their mission. Their orders had been to protect the Maw Installation, but, not only have they lost the Sun Crusher, but they’ve lost half their forces trying to retrieve it. They need to take their fight to the rebels.


All personnel from the Basilisk will transfer to the Gorgon. A skeleton crew of volunteers only will remain on the Basilisk. They will attack Coruscant, using their turbolasers to punch through the planetary shield. Once inside, the Basilisk crew will begin a self-destruct countdown. The Gorgon will turn aside as the other Destroyer crashes against the surface, wiping out a huge section of the capital.


The Gorgon will return to the Maw and defend it to the last. Captain Mullinore is concerned about the loss of his ship, but then decides to volunteer to captain it to the end.

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chapter 29:


Cilghal arrives on Yavin IV with a message from Leia. Leia tells Luke that she believes the Mon Calamari is Force-sensitive and will be an asset to him. Luke welcomes the ambassador hesitantly. Cilghal cannot help but notice he seems preoccupied.


Luke is feeling less confident these days. The loss of two of his students is bringing back the old fear. There are so many questions about what has just happened. He doesn’t understand how Kyp had knowledge of the Great Sith War or how Gantoris had built a lightsaber. He has searched the buildings, looking for any explanation. For now, he decides to get Cilghal into some quarters.


Later, in his own sparse room, he activates the holocron to speak with Master Vodo Siosk-Baas. Vodo explains how Exar Kun fell to the dark side and how she went after him. But Exar Kun killed his own master. He came to dominant the Massassi until a group of Jedi banded together to stop him. The holocron begins to fade, Luke is anxious to get the answers he needs, but, suddenly, the image breaks apart. For a moment, Luke sees a dark figure and hears a deep laugh. Then the holocron burns itself out.


He is left with his questions.

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chapter 30:


Mara approaches Luke and tells him that she’s learned a few things, but can’t stay here and meditate all day. She has an organization to run. Luke understands but she’s stuck without a ship since Kyp took off with hers. He tells her she could wait for the New Republic supply ship. The idea of having someone transport her for once is appealing.


On Coruscant, Lando rushes into the Solos’ apartment to ask Han to let him use the Falcon. Mara Jade is stuck on Yavin IV and he wants to fly her back in style. Han doubts she will be that impressed by the ship, but he would like to see Luke and Kyp. Besides, Leia’s here to watch the kids so he doesn’t have to worry about the droid and Wookiee losing them.


When they get to Yavin IV, Lando takes a few moments to groom himself before playing the gallant gentleman to Mara Jade. She doesn’t take him seriously and is not talking about why she’s stranded here. Luke, however, admits to Han that Kyp stole her ship. He was learning far too quickly and delving into teachings that will lead him to the dark side. He doesn’t know where the young man is now.


On the way home, Lando begs Han to let him tinker with the ship’s food processors so that he can make Mara some exotic recipes instead of the heavy, greasy Corellian foods the processor currently makes. Han will not let him touch anything about the ship. It is his, after all. Lando complains that it was only because he let Han win.


So the game begins again. Mara finds the whole thing reminiscent of a couple of school boys settling a dispute. It would be more amusing if Lando hadn’t been trying to woo her this whole time. Han and Lando agree that this is becoming a big issue, so decide that there will be no games after this one. Whoever wins this time is the owner forever.


His cards betraying him, Han throws them down, the loser. He and Lando both verify that this was it and Lando owns the ship for good. Then Lando reveals that he will give it to Han, in acknowledgement of their long friendship. If Han will allow him to adjust the food processors, he will make them all a great meal.


Mara seems more impressed with Calrissian this time which Han suspects was his friend’s plan anyway.

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chapter 31:


Momaw Nadon leaves Wedge and Qwi to sight-see. Wedge admits to her that the Ithorian is busy and that he would rather be alone with Qwi anyway. They look over the section where baffor trees were destroyed by an Imperial siege many years ago. The trees are sentient, part of a hive mind.


For this reason, Ithorians believe the forest is sacred and any that go down there are exiled. Some feel a calling to go anyway, so they stay in the forests, tending the trees.


After a day of sight-seeing that includes a picnic, Wedge drops Qwi off in her quarters. She admits she had a wonderful time. After he leaves her, however, she is approached by a dark figure. It’s Kyp Durron.


He tells her she has too much dangerous information. Qwi feels her mind bending and knowledge being ripped from her mind before collapsing.


When Wedge goes to her room the next morning, he’s concerned to find the door unlocked. The lights are out. He calls for her and finds her unconscious. When she opens her eyes, she recognizes him, but struggles to remember his name. She tells him that she has lost most of her memories and her scientific knowledge.

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chapter 32:


Kyp returns to Yavin IV, not bothering to worry about the other students or Master Skywalker. He will finish the work Exar Kun began. He will bring order to the galaxy. He’s already wiped Qwi Xux’s memory so that another Sun Crusher can never be built. Now, he must get rid of the one that has been already.


With Exar Kun’s help, Kyp pulls the weapon from the core of Yavin.


Luke wakes up from a nightmare. He goes to check on his students and, finding nothing wrong, steps out of the Temple. There he finds the Sun Crusher hanging over the building. Kyp Durron holds it through the Force.


Luke tells him that they’d both agreed the weapon should never be used again. He’s violating everything Luke taught him by retrieving it. Kyp doubts he learned much from Luke anyway. He’s embarrassed to have bought into what Luke was doing. He introduces Luke to his mentor – Exar Kun – the dark figure that had impersonated Anakin Skywalker and had been the fixture of Gantoris’ dreams. Luke’s lightsaber dies and dark tendrils attack his body until he collapses.

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chapter 33:


Captain Mullinore assures Admiral Daala that his stormtrooper volunteers have readied the Basilisk. She assures him that their sacrifice will not be in vain.


Kyp Durron has been watching the ships for awhile. He’d stolen the information from Qwi Xux’s mind, so he knows how to pilot the Sun Crusher now. The thought of how his home had been raided and his family taken without warning, how Alderaan had been destroyed, how he’d been sentenced to death by Admiral Daala because he was of no use to her…she deserves to be destroyed.


He fires torpedoes into the gas giants in the Cauldron Nebula. It will take a few hours, but they will explode and take both Star Destroyers with them. After a long time, he is satisified and starts to pull away. Then he notices the ships are leaving. He panics. They cannot escape this trap. He fires up the Sun Crusher and moves to intercept them.


Admiral Daala launches TIEs to recapture the weapon when it appears. This changes everything. But the Sun Crusher doesn’t engage the TIEs. She doesn’t understand why he gave himself away. Kratas can offer no suggestion. She orders a tractor beam on it when it passes through.


The comm. beeps and Kyp Durron introduces himself, reminding Daala how she’d sentenced him to death. She tells him that she will leave him free and alive on the planet of his choice if he surrenders the Sun Crusher. He will have nothing to do with that.


Suddenly, the gas giants begin to fluctuate. Daala realizes that he shot torpedoes into them and is trying to stall her ships so that they will be trapped here when the stars explode. She orders a break-off and a jump to lightspeed. Turning to the Sun Crusher caused them to lose the navi-computer lock they had on Coruscant, but she tells Kratas to send them anywhere.


As they begin the jump, the stars explode.


Kyp watches the firestorm overcome the Basilisk and spots another where the Gorgon had been. He flies the Sun Crusher off to find any world that still swears allegiance to the Empire.

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chapter 34:


When Cilghal arrives in the dining hall the next morning, she’s surprised that Master Skywalker isn’t there. None of the trainees know where he is either. Streen complains that it is too quiet now.


Tionne goes to check on him and races back to get the others. They find him unconscious and unresponsive. When Cilghal reaches out to him in the Force, she gets nothing.


They are alone.

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  • None of the Jedi students sensed Luke being attacked by a dark-side spirit?

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