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chapter 1:


On the planet Ithor, a hunter stalks his prey through the forests. Meanwhile, Han and Leia Organa Solo are here for the Time of Meeting which Leia had attended once as a child.


As Chief of State, she is able to keep tabs on Coruscant’s daily news and is disturbed to find out that Stinna Draesinge Sha was assassinated. She was a teacher at the reknown Magrody Institute who taught one of Luke’s students, Cray Mingla.


A top-notch assassin named Phlygas Grynne did the job, too, which gets Han wondering why someone would hire him to kill a programmer. Of course, it begs the question as to what she programmed. Han knows where this is going. He reminds Leia that Sha may have been one of Nasda Magrody’s pupils, but that doesn’t mean that she was a terrible person. She just happened to work at the Institute around the time the Death Star was built.


Leia tells him that people still whisper that she was behind Magrody’s disappearance, including that of his family. Before she had any power in the Alliance, it is thought that she got her smuggler friends to kill them all.


Han points out that people already say that about rulers. She has been tempted, though. She has the list of those who worked on the Death Star. Some of them are out of New Republic jurisdiction, but she could hire someone like Grynne to go after them. She knows Luke talks about the dark side. It’s easy to use and it gets you what you think you want.


The Solos and Luke are welcomed by Umwaw Moolis, the Ithorian liason to the Senate. They are interrupted by a loud voice calling for Solo. The man heads toward Han, pushing off opponents before he is finally restrained, shouting how they are all going to be killed.


After making sure Han is fine, Leia confirms with C-3PO that Winter has taken the children back to their nursery. Chewbacca has gone with them. Luke plans to probe the would-be assassin’s mind once he comes out of sedation.


Han already knows who it is, though. He is pretty sure that was an old friend named Drub McKumb.

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  • The chapter mentions someone named Dannik Jericho as a possible assassin. They probably mean Dannik Jerriko, the Anzati assassin who appeared in the Mos Eisley Cantina in A New Hope and appeared in several of the Tales short stories, including “Soup’s On: The Pipe Smoker’s Tale”.

  • The time is 12 years ABY. We run into our old problem here. If ANH was 20 years after ROTS, since the novelization of ANH says Luke was 20 years old, then Luke is now 32 and so is Leia. Han would be 42. If, in fact, current Lucasfilm timelines put Luke and Leia at 18 years old in ANH, then they are now 30 years old with Han around 40. Jacen and Jaina would be a little over 3 and Anakin would be 1 ½, regardless.

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I'd rank Darksaber slightly higher than Children of the Jedi myself simply on the basis of being readable. Though Planet of Twilight was probably the single worst major EU book written.

 

Poor Callista. Truth be told, a Jedi from the past unable to touch the Force actually could have made a cool character. And there was the kernel of a nice tragic character in Cray as well. But they just dropped the ball in so many ways in the handling of that first book. And I don't even know what they were thinking when they got to Planet of Twilight.

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I do have to blame this one, though, otherwise we may not have gotten the next two.

 

chapter 2:
McKumb rants on his hospital bed about the children being hidden in the well. The healers explain that the man’s system is full of a hallucinogen called yarrock. The man Han knew would never go for that kind of thing.
A message has been found in McKumb’s pockets, “Han Solo, Ithor, The Time of Meeting, Belia’s Bosom – Sullust-Bay 58, Smelly Saint-Yetoom Na Uun-Bay 12, Fargednim P’taan”.
Fargednim P’taan is a drug dealer on Yetoom, Smelly Saint is a ship running out of the Kimm systems, Belia’s Bosom probably is a ship, too.
McKumb continues to mumble about children hiding down Plett’s Well and having to tell Han. Leia thinks something is familiar about that name. McKumb finally whispers the children of the Jedi.
Dr. Cray Mingla remembers her mother talking about Plett’s Well. They are looking over some of the jewelry found in his pockets, too. Cray remembers her mother and great aunt having jewelry like that. Leia’s aunts, her father’s sisters, Tia, Rouge and Celly – were dowdy women who kept trying to turn her into a proper lady – also had some.
Cray’s fiancé, Nichos Marr says that Plett’s Well was a fortress. Both students of Luke, they had come to Ithor with the delegation to serve as bodyguards. Cray was shocked about the assassination of Stinna Draesinge Sha but has little too tell about her.
Nichos tries to remember more. A victim of Quannot’s Syndrome, he had been put into a droid body Cray had designed. He thinks back to running up and down corridors and hallways cut in rocks. Someone had raised a barrier to keep them out of certain areas, telling them the kretch would eat them. There were other children there, such as Lagan Ismaren and a couple of others whose names he struggles with.
He remembers a Ho’din named Ustu and a woman named Margolis whom Cray believes might have been her mother. Leia wonders if this was a colony of Jedi families.
Cray thinks that her grandmother might have been a Jedi Knight and that her great-aunt was afraid that Cray or her mother would show signs of Force sensitivity. Her mother never did.
Luke remembers the fear that seemed to permeate the Lars’ household when he did something odd. Uncle Owen once blamed him for taking a screwdriver after he’d found it, thinking Luke must have been the one to hide it in the first place. Looking back, Luke thinks Owen knew it was a manifestation of the Force and it frightened him.
It’s possible that some of the Jedi smuggled their families to safety after the Empire began hunting them. They might have left records behind in Plett’s Well.
The Smelly Saint was in Yetoom so Plett’s Well might be located there. Leia notes that there are some Imperial holdouts among the worlds in the Senex sector and the Ancient Houses that rule there have never been very cooperative. House Vandron and House Garonnin were considered questionable about their treatment of sentient beings even when Leia was in the Senate.
Going into McKumb’s mind wasn’t helpful for Luke, but Nichos suggest he try his mind instead. They will be the memories of a child, but it might reveal more about the location.
Cray hopes that she can restore some of Nichos’ Force-sensitivity that left with the transfer to the droid body. Her teacher, Sha, had worked on captured Ssi-ruuk wreckage and came up with the idea of transferring the whole person, not just their essences, into artificial constructs.
In Nichos’ mind, Luke hears a song that seems familiar, then notes the dome over a rift valley that he thinks represents Belsavis. The dome was built over the Plawal rift valley.
Since the world is an independent ally of the Republic, Leia considers taking the Falcon there. Luke warns her about taking the children anywhere near the place.
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  • Plett’s Well was mentioned in Imperial Commando: 501st as being where Master Djinn Altis hid his group of unorthodox Jedi. This would explain the concept of spouses and families that we know the mainstream Jedi did not have hiding there.
  • I find it amusing that the treatment of sentient beings was an issue when Leia served in the Imperial Senate.
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chapter 3:


Luke dreams about his home on Tatooine and the time when he’d gotten up to find that the Sand People had tripped one of the fence alarms. Uncle Owen had come looking for him and they’d heard the lowing of banthas nearby.


He gets the sense of something evil approaching.


Han and Leia are gone, taking R2 with them. C-3PO is here to help Luke with the reason he came to Ithor in the first place, to work with Cray and the Ithorian healers to try to integrate Nichos back into the man he was.


But he needs R2 right now.


Nichos is in power-down mode, but he notes Luke’s uneasiness. Luke asks if he is aware enough of the computerized side of his life to be able to generate random numbers. He thinks that, since Nichos knows how to meditate on the Force enough to pick up numbers that could give them the coordinates of Plett’s Well.


Nichos is willing to try.


The next morning, Luke goes to see Drub again. The healers do not advise a mindlink so he decides to listen to recordings of his rants and compare them to what Nichos was able to provide in terms of random numbers.


He finds that they are coordinates for the Moonflower Nebula on the Outer Rim. He’d like to go there with C-3PO and Cray, if she’s willing. She and Nichos remind him of the dangers of that area of the galaxy and think he should try to borrow a ship big enough for all of them.


The Ithorians lend them the Huntbird. Cray wonders if the coordinates really mean the planet Pzob which is nearby. Luke tells her it was colonized a long time ago by Gamorreans.


In the nebula, they believe they spot remnants of a mining project going on but they are soon attacked by unseen forces. The ship is damaged, so Luke suggests they head to Pzob. One more attack sends him into darkness.

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  • I wonder if they tried using Cilghal to heal Nichos?

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I appreciate that. Some of these books I never want to read again. This one was one of the lesser burdens. :)

 


chapter 4:
Cray wakes him up. He knows he has a concussion so tries to bring the Force to bear on that part of his brain. She tells him they’ve picked up a signal from Pzob that isn’t strong enough to reach into the Nebula. Many of the ship’s systems are damaged so they cannot get much information on what attacked them.
It could be a local Imperial or smugglers allied with one of the warlords. But they don’t have much of a choice at this point.
After landing on Pzob, they get a general idea of what they are going to need to fix the ship. Luke is exhausted, tries to gather strength while hoping that there isn’t anything too hostile on this planet.
He almost blacks out again. Cray suggests he let her and Nichos investigate the signal. He thinks he should go with them. There is something dangerous here. Then they are confronted with an Imperial stormtrooper with a blaster rifle. They raise their hands, Luke not going for his lightsaber due to his concussion and nearly passes out again.
The trooper removes his helmet, revealing a lined face with white hair. He invites them to his camp to recover.
His name is Triv Pothman and he is the only one left of 45 who originally came here. Gamorreans got most but there were a few fights that cost some their lives. He attaches Luke to an old medkit that works well.
He hasn’t seen humans in a long time, figuring that the Emperor forgot about the mission. The Eye of Palpatine was a supership that was to travel across out-of-the-way planets and pick up troopers left there for a top-secret mission. They never found out what it was. Pothman rather thinks the mission was scrapped and they were forgotten about.
Once they get their ship fixed, he wonders if they can drop him off on a more peaceful out-of-the-way place. Luke tells him that the Emperor’s dead and the Empire’s in pieces. He can go wherever he wants now.
They return to the ship and begin their work, but the Gamorrean arrive before they are finished. They throw axes and stones at the ship. Pothman points out the Alpha male of the Galfedd tribe, Ugbuz, as well as some of the others he’s gotten to know.
Their rivals show up and they start fighting amongst each other, so Pothman tells them they can resume work on the ship.
That’s when a shadow falls across the meadow. The huge ship sits above them. Pothman realizes the Emperor hadn’t forgotten them at all. They are ordered to exit the ship and that any survivors will be considered Rebels. Luke identifies it as a recording, but the ship is still threatened so they cannot take chances.
They exit the ship and try to run, but the autocannon gets Pothman. Luke tries to use the Force as tracker droids drift from the lander of the ship. Lowering the body temperature may prevent them from finding him.
Cray shoots at one then is shot by a stunbolt before a tracker comes to get her. Luke feels for his blaster and then presses the trigger as one falls over him.
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chapter 5:


Jevax, the First Person of Plawal, remembers the Children of the Jedi, but not clearly. He explains that it was years before any of them remembered the Jedi had even been here because their minds had been blotted.


For over a decade, no one remembered them at all even though the ruins of Plett’s house show that he’d been living there for decades before the other Jedi showed up. But they still reap the benefits. The Jedi had been industrious during their time here, engineering the means for the planet to develop commercially by companies with records of not exploiting native populations.


The Jedi Master Plett was a Ho’din of great age. He came first and practiced botany. The area he chose is windy, making landing hard and sensors unreliable. The ruins of the house are not big enough to billet ten families even. Jevax confirms that there are no tunnels or secret crypts, despite searches.


All of the rift valleys are called wells, though, so that accounts for a substantial area. He will certainly offer to help them search through records, but life here is fairly dull and enough people have made a hobby of searching for hidden areas that someone would have found them by now if they existed.


He has not seen Drub McKumb here but suggests they check Port Records.


After he leaves, Chewie and Han express their belief that Jevax was lying or that he was lied to. Leia wonders if there are implanted memories at play here. The Jedi may have given their children beliefs after they left. While Han thinks the Empire attacking this place would have caused more damage, Leia still thinks that there’s enough damage that the residents here would have needed help. Corporations that were friendly to natives would have kept the place from being exploited by relatives of the Emperor at least. But she doesn’t think they would have ignored rumors of hidden tunnels.


They look more deeply into Plett’s home, finding a ladder here, a pipe there, that seems to indicate something else entirely. Leia goes over what she’s learned in the last few days: Ithor, the death of Sha by someone too expensive, the obstructions to investigating the matter that House Vandron is tossing up, Drub McKumb and the children in the well. Leia has a vision of children playing, a woman repairing, a man strumming an instrument and an aged Ho’din appearing through a door in the rear wall.


When she opens her eyes, she sees there’s no door there now. It must have been sealed. Han points out that, at least, they know there was an entrance here and that it wasn’t the one Drub used.

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chapter 6:
Luke gathers the Force around him, confused by the memories he’s having of Jedi raiding his village, cutting down family members he didn’t have. He passes out again. He remembers being a 21-year old, confused by what he’d learned on Bespin and wondering why Ben had lied to him. He knew that the young man he’d been would have been drawn to his father the way an orphan generally is.
He remembers the ruins of the farm that was all the home he’d ever had, that Uncle Owen had devoted his life to, that Jawas had scavenged everything from, including the markers of his loved ones.
Luke knows they are going to shell Plawal. They know that already. They’ve been hyperjumping to half a dozen planets along the Outer Rim where the Empire hid troopers for this mission 30 years ago. Everything is automated here.
Gamorreans are being injected and pushed into Indoctrination booths. Luke knows the same thing was done to him. They are aboard the Eye of Palpatine which is probably what was firing on them in the Nebula.
Nobody on board can get to the gun decks even if they could handle this type of weaponry. The ship couldn’t pick up troops that weren’t all these planets anymore, but it has been bringing aboard various species left behind on those worlds and indoctrinating them.
The Gakkfed Gamorreans are here and they have taken to the indoctrination well, acting as if they are stormtroopers. He can see that Triv and Cray are among the devoted, too. Luke pulls Cray aside to speak with her privately when the rival Klaggs show up and start fighting the Gakkfedds.
Luke tries to defend himself, but he is too ill and then passes out. He wakes up in a makeshift hut where Ugbuz hands him some liquor and tells him to drink up. They have a lot of work dealing with the mutineers here.
He has a splint on his leg and feels horrible. Ugbuz tells him they lost a few in the melee and Trooper Mingla has gone missing.
The cleaner droids have been all over trying to clean up messes and take down the huts. Gamorreans are not the only ones here, either. Luke finds that the ship picked up Talz, Jawas, Afytechans and others.
Luke realizes that he will have to evacuate the ship of everyone before he can destroy it. He finds a monitor screen and asks the computer about mission status. The computer is unhelpful, referrering only to the Will in terms of what is going on.

The remaining Jedi, senators such as Organa and Mon Mothma would have objected. The computer notes no alien life forms aboard, will not provide schematics for the entire ship and ascertains no damage to the ship.

Luke knows this is going to be tough.
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  • Obviously, the ship has been damaged if it shows up 30 years later, picks up a bunch of aliens and doesn’t realize what it’s doing.
  • 30 years ago would probably be around the time of ROTS, especially since this chapter indicates that Luke was 18 in ANH and 21 in ESB. But going after the Jedi would not have been a top secret mission then. By that time, Palpatine was the Emperor and the Jedi had been outlawed, besides being overtly hunted. Why the secrecy was needed is a mystery unto itself.
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chapter 7:


In sick bay, Luke and C-3PO find that Jawas have pillaged nearly the entire place. He lays down on a bed, knowing that he is severely injured and needs a working medical bay. As it is, it takes all of his healing power in the Force to keep him from suffering traumatic shock.


Most of the medications have decomposed and most of the bacta has leaked out due to Jawa damage.


He pulls on a gray coverall and stuffs it with as much medication he can find and then goes to look for Cray. They find Kitonaks aboard, then the Gamorreans holding a Jawa over a shredder. Luke uses the Force to knock the shredder away and explains to Ugbuz that he is Major Calrissian of Intelligence and he will interrogate possible saboteurs.


That gets them to back down, but C-3PO does suggest they find some way to prevent the Jawas from furthering sabotaging the ship. In the meantime, he thinks he’s found a partial schematic of the ship. Decks 10-13 are etched into panels, showing some areas. He still can’t get the computer to give him anything outside of the Will of the ship.


Luke surmises that the Will is the core centeral program. He studies what the ship will let them see and makes his way to the hangar where the lander is dead, having fulfilled its purpose and the tracker droids already missing parts courtesy of the Jawas.


He stops a lift and finds his way to the deck 10 hangar where one two-seated Y-Wing sits.


Luke thinks he knows what happened. This top secret mission was automated so there would be no leaks but there was one. Somebody came aboard in the Y-Wing, was able to disable certain parts of the ship, such as the triggering mechanism and signal-relay stations, then left.


They are interrupted by one of the Klaggs running for his life from the Gakfedds, trying to force his way onto an upper level. He gets part of the way up the gangway when lightning begins stabbing out from the walls, electrocuting him to the amusement of the Gakfedds.


He goes back to working on the computer, not wanting the Klaggs to retaliate against Cray. He tries again and again to make the computer give him something.PO tries to dissuade a Jawa from bothering them, but Luke recognizes it as the one he saved earlier.


The Jawa touches Luke’s lightsaber, calls him Master and brings out another lightsaber from his robes.

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  • There’s a quick reference to Ghent, Talon Karrde’s expert slicer, in this chapter.

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chapter 8:


In Spaceport Row, Leia sits and watches Han solicit information from the others at the bar. A Duros tells him that Drub McKumb disappeared about six years ago without his ship. According to his crewers, he’s been poking around the ruins looking for the same crypts everyone else before him tried and failed to find.


There’s no doubt something’s out at Plett’s Well that the higher-ups don’t want people to find, so it’s likely Drub was put on the first ship out of here or he had an accident, fell down a shaft and got eaten by a kretch.


Leia heads off to find the facilities, thinking about the timing of Drub’s disappearance shortly after the death of the Emperor. It could be a coincidence or maybe not. Down in the damp foundations, she turns on her glowrod and sees what has to be a kretch.


Its two sets of jaws and barbed tail lunges at her. She cannot fire a blaster in an enclosed space so tosses a chunk of stone at it. She hopes she doesn’t encounter any others in her search for Plett’s Well.


Han reminds her that she might consider the time period when looking through the records, assuming Jevax hasn’t already removed all sailent bits. Chewbacca reports nothing new. R2 has found all types of export records, health figures, repair costs, but nothing they can use.


She decides to take the droid to the Municipal Center. Han thinks about calling Mara Jade and finding out where the old smuggling landing pads were and why the previous runner of this place left.


She wanders through the dark with the droid, thinking about the beauty of the place that belies the terrible things that have happened here. She has to go after R2, finally finding him. Then he gets stuck in some mud. While working to get him out, she spots a woman standing at the top of a slope that turns and leaves.


She thinks something is familiar about her and wracks her memory, thinking of schoolfriends, someone from the Senate or a relative of one of them or someone she might have seen in the Imperial court.


But she can’t think of why anyone of them would be here.

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chapter 9:


The Jawa has removed a cover from one of the laundry drop rooms where a ladder crawls up the wall. C-3PO isn’t convinced Luke will be alright, but the Jedi insists on checking it out anyway.


Along the way, he wonders what C-3PO had, too. What started the signal up again? In the time the Eye lay dormant, the Empire had grown, then died. The stormtroopers waiting for pick up had grown old and died. Even the Emperor himself had gone.


Luke finds himself in the gun room. The Jawa follows and yanks on the second lightsaber. He takes it to where he found it and shows Luke.


Luke realizes that there were two Jedi here. One left; the other stayed. Luke wishes he could have been here to help the woman who stayed. He can tell by the lightsaber that a woman had made it.


He tries to track where she’d gotten in and finds a turbolift that won’t respond to him, but it probably worked for her back then. There’s a deadly enclision grid that leads up to the computer core, but he won’t be able to get past it.


He finds C-3PO having the same problems with the ship’s computer than he did. A speaker erupts with an announcement of an Internal Security hearing tomorrow. It displays an image of the Klagg village where Cray is bound and gagged; Nichos fitted with a restraining bolt.


Luke tries to persuade Ugbuz of the importance of finding the Klagg village, but he’s stuck in his indoctrination loop about emphasizing the rebel saboteurs. C-3PO has to admit he agrees with this assessment. The Jawas are endangering the life support and other vital systems on the ship.


Luke takes the droid to the drop shaft in the laundry room and levitates him to Level 14. Luke takes level 15 and they are both to scout out the Klagg’s headquarters. Luke notes that the cleaning droids continue to do their job which makes tracking the others difficult.


The Jawas are, indeed, making the ship nearly uninhabitable, but Luke knows that there is nothing they can do to circumvent the Will of the computer core. The ship will still go to hyperspace and will still fire on the settlements on Belsavis.


He comes across a group of Affytechans who seem convinced they are carrying out orders to protect the ship even though the dials and knobs they are using aren’t working. He gets the location of the prisoners from a harried officer, then finds a room with dismembered Affytechans.


Then he has to evade Sand People whom he realizes had to have been picked up with the Jawas. He’s saved with a repair cover hatch drops open.


Back on Deck 14, C-3PO can’t find anything and knows Dr. Mingla is doomed. He urges Luke to get some rest. Luke needs to get to the detention area on Deck Six. He promises he will get rest when he comes back.


He climbs rung by rung, aching, knowing the Will is monitoring him, convinced it is directing him toward danger. But he also gets the idea that something else is watching him, too.

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chapter 10:


Han and Chewie search Plett’s House. His messages to Mara Jade haven’t been picked up and the Municipal Building told him that Leia hadn’t arrived yet, but she could’ve gotten lost in the dark.


He’d spoken with Winter and said hello to his children. When that was over, he decided to come back here and look around. After a great deal of work, they find the door, slip through it and find that someone was definitely in here and less than 30 years ago.


Han spots an old memory chip with xylen backing. The xylen itself would be worth a lot which indicates it was probably being stripped out of these tunnels until no more was found.


A long cut out room is littered with boxes. A kretch scatters at Han’s light. He finds the head of a Clone Wars-era APD droid. He finds crates with all kinds of jewelry and xylem, parts of droids containing valuable material. He can’t see why anyone would leave this here.


Chewie senses something and has Han kill the lights. In darkness, they hear scratching and the smell of kretches.


Something jumps at Chewie and Han brings the light back up. Han stabs at the creature so as not to accidentally hit Chewie with his blaster. They race off to the corridor and find the tunnel floor full of kretch.


They run to find a way back to the vaults, shooting and firing at the things chasing them, doing very little harm as they go, pursued by various creatures until they find a a circle of pillars at the top of the path. With a well.


There are living creatures coming up behind them. Some human; some not but all with the same crazed look Drub McKumb had.


Han tells Chewie to jump into the well. He finds bars across the stream’s course, so begins trying down the other way. He finds their escape down at the bottom.


They lay on the grass, trying to catch their breath. The water had been hot, warmed by the springs. Han knows they can’t stay here. The creatures knew to follow them. He thinks they were smugglers who’d gone into find the crypts and found something else.

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  • I’m surprised Han would dismiss Leia not making it the Municipal Building as her just being lost.

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chapter 11:
Luke had scoured the detention block but saw no sign of the Klaggs or Cray. Just to be safe, he’d pulled the wiring from the Interrogator droids. It’s clear that Cray is considered a Rebel saboteur. At least by the Will which keeps providing accusations against her but no real evidence.
The Gamorreans think it wouldn’t be in the computer if it wasn’t true. Sure enough, the computer provides fabricated evidence and Cray is held over for sentencing. C-3PO has tried to get information from the cleaning droids but they have very simple programming.
Luke thinks that, if it’s programmed to search for Gamorreans, the cleaning droid could be levitated to a higher level than what they’ve already searched and might be able to track one of them.
Back on Deck 15, Luke finds the Affytechans still believing they are fighting Rebel ships in space. He tells the self-promoted captain that he needs the men for an important mission.
Their recalibrated droid is sent off on deck 18. Luke and C-3PO follow but Luke gets the impression that the Will is herding them again, sending them someplace where it can ambush them. The Affyechans meet them back on Deck 15 and report that transport craft have been located in the Deck 16 landing bays.

Eye’s defenses from targeting them, to say nothing of getting the Gamorreans and other species on board them.

Luke knows this but he has to stop this ship before it attacks Belsavis and that means getting everyone off of it. He cannot leave anyone behind, not even the Jawas. Or the sand people who attack him again. Luke swings his lightsaber and tries to get away. He finds no covers or vents anywhere.
At the end of the corridor, a door opens. He heads toward it, walks through and it slides shut behind him.
He can hear the gaffe sticks pounding on it behind him. The Will could open it but it seems like something else is preventing that. It opens slightly. Luke listens, sees something in his eye, swings around and sees only his own reflection on a monitor…and the one of a young female face which disappears.
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chapter 12:


Leia wakes up Han to get a response by Mara Jade who is wearing a gold chain and a shirt belonging to Lando.


Han asks her what she knows about Belsavis. Mara says the file on it was closed when she started working for the Emperor and was quite secure. Even after she broke into it, all she found was that there was a secret mission to target one of the world’s rift valleys at the end of the Clone Wars.


A fighter wing was sent there and a bunch of relay stations were set up but she doesn’t know what they were supposed to activate. Millions were paid out to Ohran Keldor around the same time, though.


Leia knows that name. He was one of the designers of the Death Star and an instructor at the Omwat orbital platform. Another of Magrody’s students, in fact. But he would have been young then.


Mara wondered what it was he had built for the Emperor. It would have been something huge, like an installation of sorts. Whatever the relays were supposed to summon never arrived, the fighter wing was intercepted by a planetary force but they did as much damage as they could before then. Most of the pilots were cashiered out when they came home.


Some of the designers of the project were reassigned to less-desirable places. Keldor dropped out of sight, too, before Tarkin reinstated him at Omwat. She never would have thought the Jedi would be on Belsavis, but it makes sense.


She talks about the Corridor where the smugglers used to head through the Belsavis Run, landing on pads on the ice. Han mentions he’s heard of them. Mara says there used to be a lot more pads than now.


Han asks about Drub McKumb and brings her up to speed on what he saw in the tunnels. He says they didn’t find any drugs in McKumb. Mara knows they didn’t use drugs. Han asks who she means and Leia guesses Vader. Her father.


No, Bail Organa had been her father.


Mara says Vader and Palpatine used semsentients for enclosure guards in some places. They used hallucinogens and then burn the fear/rage centers of the brain using the dark aide of the Force. They would hunt and kill anything in their path. Papatine could control them with his mind.


Leia suddenly asks if anyone from Palpatine’s Court come here after Coruscant fell. Mara doesn’t know of anyone specific, but reminds her that the Senex Sector tries to be a little Empire itself.


That night, Han tells Leia not to worry about Keldor. Someone will find him. She reminds him of Stinna Draesinge Sha, Nasdra Magrody and the member of the New Alderaan movement who’d come to her and offered her funds if she had Qwi Xux murdered.


Han acknowledges that Qwi always seemed like a victim to him, but no one would really blame her for going after the others. She tells him that, as Chief of State, she has to stand with the law. She wants to do those types of thing but she cannot allow herself to, even if everyone else thinks she does.


She has dreams where she’s running through the Death Star, trying to find anything to turn off the beams. She wonders if he would take out those people responsible. He says he probably would but he’s not Chief of State.


But he wouldn’t do it to please her. Not even if she asked.


Leia dreams of her interrogation aboard the Death Star and awakens to the sound of an overloaded blaster. R2 is busy fusing the door shut. When Chewie bangs in the door and rattles the knob, R2 zaps it with his electric cutter.


Leia remembers him getting away from her on the way to the Municipal Center and wonders if this is a substitution. Han leaps over the droid with a blanket, while Leia knocks the water basin over and throws it at him. The electrical discharge fizzles out.


Han bursts open the cupboard door, takes out their blasters, removes the power packs and tosses them to Leia, who covers them with pillows. Chewie comes bursting in afterward.


R2 is motionless, blackened by the discharge.

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  • Odd how Leia seems to be rejecting Vader the father again. She must go through these phases….

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chapter 13:


R2 had done a lot of damage before they’d caught him. Cutting power to the house, fusing the comlinks on top of setting the blasters on overload. Jevax arrives, having already been at the Municipal Center trying to contact a nearby valley with which communication is regularly limited.


He explains the dampness here sometimes wrecks havoc with machinery. Leia knows this is true, but isn’t convinced that is what has happened to R2. After all, the droid hadn’t gone off-kilter on Dagobah.


The droid is R2, though. His serial number matches and he’d only been out of her sight for a short time the night before. She asks him if he can tell her about it.


The droid shuts down. Leia wishes she could speak with Dr. Mingla, then realizes it’s been days since she’s heard anything from Luke’s party. Outside, she sees movement and tells Han to wait here.


This time, she gets a good look at her spy and remembers. When she was 18 and newly-elected to the Senate, she’d been able to be presented to the Emperor in her own right rather than a 17-year old out of finishing school in need of a suitable match in Court.


Her aunts had been appalled, so who knows what they would have thought of who she is now, who she married and what her life is. They’d died before she ever had the chance to find out.


As she chases after the woman, she remembers how she’d not wanted to know what it was like on Alderaan the day the Death Star arrived. Someone had told her about the warm spring evening. She knows where her aunts would have been and what they would have been doing at the time. They were a burden on her when she was young, but they hadn’t deserved that.


Her father had backed her decision to wait until she was a Senator, but the aunts had accompanied her to the levee at the palace that night where she had met the Emperor for the first time. And where she’d seen that woman.


There had been several beautiful women among the governors, moffs, the courtiers, the heads of ancient houses who, along with their children, didn’t seem to be attached to anyone. She’d asked her aunt Rogue about them and had gotten the cool response that the Emperor could invite anyone he wished to these gatherings but she is not required to speak to them.


They were the Emperor’s concubines and this woman was one of them.


Leia catches up with her, remembering her name. Roganda Ismaren has to stop.


She begs Leia not to expose her. The Empire attacked this world years ago and even those who were not willing servants of the Empire have reason to fear retaliation. She came here to start a new life in the hopes that she could avoid both Rebels and the warlords who followed the Emperor.


Roganda invites her to her rooms for some coffee. She labors as a fruit packer here, but Leia can only see the elegant young woman from the levee. She thinks Roganda could have found a better place to hide. Roganda explains that she could not live on a Republic world where some people still don’t understand what it meant to be coerced by Palpatine. He’d lent her to some officials of the Court so going to an Imperial world isn’t much better.


She almost came to help Leia last night when her droid malfunctioned but has had bad experiences with those who remember her from those times. She only wanted to beg Leia to keep her secret.


Leia agrees and refuses another invitation for coffee. Before she goes back to Han, however, she remembers some bit of palace gossip. She asks about Roganda’s son. The woman answers only that he died and vanishes down the path again.


Leia knows that her fears are not unfounded. The day the Rebels had taken Coruscant, the Imperial Palace had been looted. Rebel partisans had killed any member of the Court they could catch, regardless of who they were. This meant, unfortunately, that even many innocent servants died, too.


On the other hand, for a woman who claims to be packing fruit, Roganda’s delicate hands seemed to have lacked the bandages and other telltale signs of those in that business. Leia wonders what would have happened had she accepted the offer for coffee.

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  • Those poor Imperial servants! They were largely chattel, unfortunately, from what we’ve read in previous novels, such as Shadows of the Empire. Remember the Head Gardener that Price Xizor tried to to lure away? That Rebel partisans would head through the palace and kill people like that doesn’t speak well of them.

  • And, of course, we read nothing of this type of violence in the X-Wing books that detailed the retaking of Coruscant.

  • Emperor’s concubines????? Ewwwwww! I’m not saying that dictatorial leaders power do not often have those types of servants, but, just….ewwwwwww!

  • This is the first mention of Leia’s aunts. They’ve not been retconned into any book taking place earlier. However, there are very few stories about Leia as a young girl anyway.

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chapter 14:
Luke types into the keyboard and asks who she is. The answer comes…Callista. Callista tells him that nothing has happened to Cray yet. She’s on Deck 19 in a maintenance hangar.
Luke can be taken up to the cargo lift shaft. It’s booby-trapped, though. Callista tells him he doesn’t have to type into the keyboard. The whole thing is wired.
Luke talks aloud, explaining his injuries and the medication he’s been using. She asks who the droid with the living eyes is, asking if this is a new weapon of Palpatine’s. Luke answers that Palpatine is dead, the Empire broken into several fragments ruled by governors and warlords, while the New Republic rules on Coruscant. She creates elaborate designs on the monitor to emphasize her joy.
He tells her his name is Luke Skywalker and she falls silent. He adds that he is Anakin’s son and that Anakin killed Palpatine.
She wants to know more, but Luke wants to know about her. She explains that she stayed behind because, even though they’d damaged the relay, there was always the chance the station could be activated manually. She exists side by side with the Will but there are things she cannot touch.
She’s been in the gunnery computers all these years. She thought he was an Imperial agent which is why she fired on them earlier. Someone used the Force to turn the relays on. She could sense it.
Luke doesn’t understand what bombing Belsavis could accomplish now. Everyone is called to view the Internal Security session. Luke has a feeling that Cray is being blamed for the Jawas’ work.
At the session, Cray is sentenced to death the next day at 1600 hours. Cray yells out to Luke where she is, how to get there and how the shaft is booby-trapped. Ugbuz and a couple of his fellow Gamorreans notice Luke again. Ugbuz explains that he’s ran Calrissian through the computer and there’s no such person on this ship. Luke tries to explain his name is not Calrissian and then takes off. Callista uses a display monitor to direct him to the laundry wherever there’s a display monitor.
In the laundry drop shaft, he begins to go rung by rung. Deck Six is completely dead, having been looted to the point where the Will is cut off here. But Callista exists side by side with the Will, he’s going to have to find an active computer terminal.
They discuss strategy to draw the Gamorreans away from the shaft long enough for him to get up it. They can encase a voder in a tracker droid, send it up where it will likely still get some hits from the enclision grid, but a droid can handle that better than a person.
Luke realizes that this is what happened to her. She went up the shaft and got hit several times before she made it. He asks where she’s from and Callista tells him where she’d lived before and how she’s been so happy there, but she couldn’t not seek the Jedi once she realized that she had the Force.
Luke knows that his Aunt and Uncle wouldn’t have understood either. She knows they are all dead. Luke tells her that Obi-Wan hid out for a while and taught him before he went to Yoda who has died, too.

 

Later on, while Luke puts together the voder box he’s putting together in the Tracker droid’s casing, he quips how he should have known the sand people would be the ones who took over the rooms next to the transport shuttles.
Luke talks while he works, telling her about the rest of his life, his family, his students, the fall of the Empire and the New Republic. She tells him about her life growing up, about the Jedi enclave on Bespin and Master Djinn Altis.
He mentions Han and Leia being on Belsavis. She tells him about Plett’s House and the crypts in the cliffs.
They are interrupted again by Ugbuz leading his troops out to fight the Klaggs again. He knows they’ve got to get all of these beings off the ship. He spots his reflection in the monitor, along with C-3PO’s and Callista’s.
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  • This is probably Callista Masana whom we met in Clone Wars: No Prisoners, Republic Commando: Order 66 and in Imperial Commando: 501st. She was indeed one of Djinn Altis’s people as this chapter references and part of the sect of unorthodox Jedi who did not reject emotional attachments. She would have met Anakin Skywalker, so likely made the connection between him and Luke, something few people actually do.
  • But her pause when Luke mentioned his name…does that mean she knows what Anakin became or did she just recognize the name as belonging to someone she once knew?
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chapter 15:


Han points out that Roganda may have had other reasons for lying. R2 has already compiled records showing that there is no Roganda Ismaren listed as an employee of any of the packing plants here.


As for Leia, she’s looked through the archives, but found no mention of the Jedi or Plett. Nubblyk the Slyte had run things here before he disappeared about seven years ago. Bran Kemple took over for him. Slyte had bailed out Drub McKumb a couple of times, though.


Chewie lets Leia know there’s a transmission for her. Admiral Ackbar wants her to know that he’s gotten reports from spies in the Senex Sector that the heads of several old Houses have mysteriously gone on vacation at the same time without their families or mistresses.


There are several other uncommitted worlds with representatives that have left at the same time, including those from Seinar Corporation and Drost Elegin who took his family but left them on Eriadu.


Considering how close Belsavis is, he thought she ought to kow. High Admiral Harrsk has been recruiting more and more to his fleet and Seinar is getting extra funding, too. Leia know she should check this out, but there’s something about Belsavis that bothers her. The Jedi brought their children here, Roganda Ismaren is here, too, Drub McKumb had fought tooth and nail to warn her and Han about something and they’ve already nearly been killed in their sleep while investigating.


On the other hand, the heads of the ancient houses wouldn’t come here. They’d even looked down on Coruscant.


But she can’t get the droid malfunctions out of her head. Jevax may think they are explainable, but she wants to find out what the malfunctions they’ve experienced here involved. Han doesn’t want her taking R2, but after he leaves to go find out some more information about Nubblyk the Slyte, she takes the restraining bolt off of the droid and hopes she’s making the right decision.


She walks through the streets, admiring the beauty of this world and how it must have drawn the Jedi Master Plett. She wonders how he tolerated the influx of children here to his quiet home. Having three Force-sensitive children is difficult enough to handle.


Thinking back on Nichos’ description, she remembers him mentioning Lagan Ismaren.


It strikes her that Lagan might have been a brother or other relative of Roganda. If she came from here, she would have memories of the place. And if she’s related to the Jedi, the Emperor had to have known that.


Leia gets angry, knowing now what Roganda had been lying about. The Emperor might certainly have used his powers to coerce her, but he would never have passed around a Force-sensitive to his guests.


She decides to have Ackbar check on Roganda’s trail after Palpatine died. But, as she walks along, she spots Drost Elegin walking with Dr. Ohran Keldor. She realizes this place is more than just a hiding place for one woman.


She follows them as they take a long walk. Elegin complains about the need when the tunnels connect to the smuggler’s pads. Keldor explains that they have to make sure as few people know the way in as possible.


They climb into an ice walker and Leia decides to disguise herself and take an old Crawler to follow them further.

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  • Roganda Ismaren could be using an assumed name. Maybe that’s why she’s not listed as an employee.

  • And, if she was Lagan’s sister, then why was she kept alive? No Force-sensitivity? Palpatine, as I mentioned in I, Jedi, certainly was fickle about Force sensitives. Some he had killed outright, others were recruited as Inquisitors or other Imperial agents, some were left alone. No rhyme or reason to it.

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chapter 16:


Leia remembers Tarkin telling her how she was responsible for his choice of Alderaan as a target. He always did that, blame the victims of his atrocities. She knows now that he’d always intended to destroy her world.


Now, she’s following Ohran Keldor who’d watched Alderaan be destroyed. She doesn’t quite understand how Qwi Xux could be so naïve, but she realizes the woman was raised in a carefully-constructed environment of manipulation and lies. Once she’d realized what her inventions were used for, she’d had the courage to reject it. Keldor, like Bevel Lemelisk, knew exactly what he was doing.


She finds herself at a temporary hangar. The ice walker isn’t in sight, but the hangar might not be deserted. Inside, she finds a ship of the type favored by these aristocrats, heavy weapons and remembers how Jevax had complained about losing contact with the Bot-Un again. She realizes they are using the Corridor on the Belsavis Run to bring them in. Inside a tunnel she sneaks, getting an idea of the scope.


Something big is going on here, something so important they’d assassinated Stinna Draesgine Sha to keep her from realizing it and warning the New Republic. There are labels here from KDY and Seinar. She grabs a few weapons, such as a Forcepike and a flamethrower. Spotting footprints that might belong to a Sullustan, she remembers that much of the Seinar Executive Board is made up of Sullustans.


Leia tells R2 she wants to see how the tunnel links up with the smuggler tunnels under Plawal rift valley, instructing him to get Han if something happens to her. The smuggler tunnel has to surface in Plawal and Roganda Ismaren had lived here. The street on which her house sits backs up against Plett’s House. Leia believes her house is probably built on one of the older foundations.


The only question is why she came back here.


She is attacked by several beings and fights them off with a Forcepike she’d found among the crates in the hangar. Entering an area, she thinks of as a refuge, she walks through an arched doorway and hears the sound of children playing.


They were here. She finds some of their toys which require using the Force to manipulate. Luke has never heard of these. She finds a package of black plastene containing yarrock. The Jedi wouldn’t have left this.


She hears clicking noises and the feeling of darkness approaching. She decides to get out of there, but is confronted by Roganda Ismaren, a boy, Ohran Keldor, Drost Elegin and another man dressed in black. Kretch are all over the tunnel floor.


Leia yells for R2 to go. Elegin and the other man try to cut him off so she brings up a flamethrower. The Force warns her and she throws it before the boy uses the Force to blow up the tank. She pulls the Forcepike and he tries to pull it from her.


R2 starts to leave but the boy orders him to stay. His name is Irek and he has some control over machines as he was the one who set R2 to sabotaging their quarters that night. The third man is called Garonnin, probably of House Garonnin. They try to go after the droid but the boy won’t get rid of the kretches first.


R2 manages to overcome his will and takes off. Irek will not listen to Roganda or anyone else so Leia pulls her vibroblade up. Stunned that this woman would even try to defy him, Irek pulls out a lightsaber and fights so badly with it, Luke would probably skewer him into strips of steak in seconds.


Irek turns to Roganda, calls her mother and complains that Leia is doing something that he can’t fight. Roganda silences her son and reminds him that he shouldn’t lose his temper. The easy way out is best.


Irek acquiesces and tells Leia to put down the Forcepike or he will send the kretches across to her. He starts to anyway, but his mother orders him to stop. Irek complains that with Leia gone, the New Republic will crumble. Garonnin points out that they will actually only elect another Chief of State. He prevails upon Leia to give up and live.

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  • Doesn’t Leia have a lightsaber? I have a feeling even she could’ve battled the little twerp.

  • IIRC, Raith Seinar ran Seinar Technologies and was closely allied with Tarkin and those of a certain species. Is Seinar himself dead? Why is most of his board made up of Sullustans? They didn’t support the Empire.

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chapter 17:


Luke knows there’s something he has to be able to do to stop this ship from jumping to hyperspace. Something is using the Force to call this ship, something that can affect droids and mechanical items. He cannot allow it to continue even at the cost of Callista’s life.


He climbs through the shaft, the Tracker droid manipulated with him. He runs afoul of other Trackers on the way that do not seem to require a stun setting. After an encounter with a huge Tredwell droid, Luke drops and lands on his injured leg, crawling a short time before he passes out.


He has a vision of Callista’s mission here. She and Geith Eris arrived and are at odds. He feels they should leave and get help with this, at least to warn Plett. She thinks they won’t be able to warn anyone if they can’t evade the automated weapons on this thing while getting away.


Geith argues there are ways to do this other than getting themselves killed. Luke understands that he does not want to be the one to climb through the grid while she’s using the Force.


He blames Djinn Altis for getting her and the others believing they should sacrifice their lives for Plett. Callista argues that, if they leave, this ship could go into hyperspace and they will miss their one chance to stop it.


She implores him to stay with her and love returns to his eyes.


Luke wakes up, sees C-3PO coming with a sled. He knows he can’t lie here with Cray in danger.


Callista is in the gun room alone, asking Geith not to do this. She watches as he tries to use a blastboat to escape the ship but it ultimately destroys him. He thinks he wakes again and feels her body around his.


She weeps in his arms and says that Geith thought that she would never try her plan if he left. He wanted to save her life. She’s still angry at him. Luke reminded her that she did what she had to do, used the last of her strength in the Force to bury herself in the gunnery computer to keep anyone else from using the ship.


Djinn had taught them the theory of projecting their minds into something else that would hold the consciousness. All of her life has seemed a dream until the reality of Luke and the others, even the Jawas, intruded.


He understands how Wedge can write poems about Qwi Xux and kisses Callista.

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  • Geith Eris appeared in Clone Wars: No Prisoners and the others, too.

  • Altis knew a way to theoretically transfer one’s consciousness into a receptive vessel? Isn’t that like essence transfer that the Sith were using until the technique got lost?

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It was certainly deemed lost until then. Palpatine's use seems to have been the first since that time. But, then, previous books intimated that he was trying to extend his life.

 

chapter 18:
In one of the bars, Han chats with Bran Kemple over drinks. The latter gushes about the old days when Nubblyk kept his hand in the loot, never telling anyone how he was getting in the tunnels.
Kemple had tried looking, but found nothing, not even the house he lived in. The woman who rents the place now says the location where she sends the rent money changes a couple of times per year. But Nubblyk said that the Emperor’s Hand showed up and he was afraid for his life. Kemple thinks that caused him to pick up and run.
They ran sensor scans everywhere but never found a thing, even a life scan. They fed a line to Miss Roganda who rents the house now and she was very helpful. She seemed to know the Slyte fairly well, showing up a couple of months after he disappeared.
Lord Garonnin escorts Leia to a reasonably comfortable room over Irek’s protests that she should be in one of the lower rooms. Garonnin insists that the princess be afforded some consideration due to someone from the great houses.
It is clear Lord Elegin has the same contempt for the Ismarens’ lack of breeding that Garonnin does. Roganda explains the need for hospitality for their guests, though Leia gets the idea that it’s more for the aristocrats’ benefit than for Leia’s.
Garonnin tells Leia, almost apologetically, that the Ismarens have their uses. It is his hope that they will provide the needed leverage that will assist negotiating with the warlords fighting for control of the Empire. Leia realizes that she may be a Rebel, but Garonnin sees her as the Princess of Alderaan.
She falls back into the role that was drummed into her by her station, asking if she’s to be killed in the brave stiff-upper lift manner that aristocratic ladies are taught. He explains he thinks she’s more valuable as a hostage. She hopes the Ismarens feel the same way. And silently thanks her Aunt Rogue for her lessons in court manners.
Her room is sparse. When the door starts to open, she feels a weight in her head that makes her want to sleep but she knows it’s a trick of the Force. Irek enters and is surprised she is still awake. She reminds him that he is not the only one who can use the Force.
Looking at him, she guesses he’s about 14 or 15. Who knows where he got the lightsaber. He likes showing off his powers, using the Force to create a hole in the wall, where he retrieves a black plastene pouch just like the one she found in the toy room and that Drub had in his possession, then fills in the hole again.
His mother doesn’t think he can handle this but he knows he can. He demands to know why her droid didn’t obey him. She wonders why he thought it would. He says he has the Force. She points out that he doesn’t have it all the time before he storms out.
It takes her much longer and requires more effort, but she finds that whoever built this room put the compartment in it so that the segment of rock could be shifted into another dimension by the Force. She finds yarrock powder inside, doubtless what Irek has been taking, some xylem chips, bundles of notes, some wire and a couple of soldering guns. A ring marking an honorary degree from the University of Coruscant, a gold plaque commemorating the dedication of the Magrody Institute and a woman’s glove. The notes are signed by Nasdra Magrody.
On the backs, though, are journals that are marginless, possibly because he had no other writing material. He laments not paying attention to Palace Intrigue enough to recognize why a concubine would seek out the wife of a robotics professor. There were all kinds of intrigue by those seeking to produce Palpatine’s heir and he hopes that his family doesn’t pay the price for his ignorance.
Leia, like many people, assumed Magrody had taken his family and gone to hide with the Empire. Some attributed his disappearance to her. It appears that Roganda’s people lured him to them instead, holding his family hostage to get his cooperation. She wonders if Bail Organa would have yielded to Imperial demands in order to save her.
He’d thought he’d do one job for them and be let go, but it didn’t happen. He’d noticed she had a lot of funds available, but few people with her. She’d told him this was in the Emperor’s name, but Magrody wondered if Palpatine ever knew at all.
He had been Force-sensitive, but thought no one else knew. He’d done some research on the Force by studying old Jedi records. Roganda explained he was being sought out because of this work. He had deduced that Jedi were unable to affect machinery or droids and conjectured that an implanted subelectronic converter could be inserted into the brain of a Force-sensitive and make up for this limitation. That’s what they wanted him to do.
Leia realizes that Irek was the subject in question. However, Palpatine’s age and Roganda’s ability to plan make it unlikely that Irek is actually his son. He’d been implanted at age five by Nasdra Magrody who had been drugged with antidepressants while living on a planet so inhospitable that trying to escape would have been certain death.
He was supplied with holos of his wife whose face and hair never changed during the four years he was kept there. He got none of his daughter whose growth from adolescent to woman would have demonstrated more profound changes in her appearance.
Irek was trained in the Force starting at age seven and studied Magrody’s accelerated learning program to the point where Leia realizes that the droid malfunctions here on Belsavis could very well be the work of a boy developing powers to control droids.
That explains R2’s odd behavior. After the droid had been rendered motionless by the electrical shocks, Chewie had rewired him which would have altered his schematics such that Irek couldn’t control him again.
She remembers the Court and how Aunt Celly had pointed out how the concubines kept each other at dagger’s length because whoever could produce the Emperor’s child would be the mother of the heir to the Imperial throne. Irek would have been about four then, so Roganda certainly would have been solidifying her power base and training her son.
Palpatine would never have allowed a potential rival for his throne to exist uncontrolled by him. But Roganda had acted for him in the past so it was easy for others to believe her if she claimed to be acting for him again. And, it is also possible that she had gone to him in order to save her life after seeing what happened to Jedi who opposed him.
Leia had been so naïve, pointing out to her aunt the Constitutional rules that would prevent such a transfer of power. Not that it mattered. Even though the Emperor had essentially eliminated that document, his death left a vacuum of power that was claimed by many, none of whom wanted to answer to a woman posing as a regent for a young child.
By the time the final notes are finished, Irek was 13 and dabbling in dangerous substances that he claims enhance his perceptions but he really just wants to defy his mother. Magrody ends his notes begging his friends in the Senate who had prevailed upon him to join them in opposing Palpatine to forgive him for his naivete.
Leia considers that Roganda came here to raise her son and train him in the Force while others squabbled over the galaxy. However, despite all appearances that she is trying to raise an heir for Palpatine, it seems very much as if she is trying to raise another Darth Vader instead.
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  • We know the Jedi of the Old Republic could affect machinery sometimes. Anakin Skywalker certainly could. Perhaps, the Old Jedi records Magrody studied were incomplete? That would make sense as I doubt there were many good records left. And why would he be allowed to publish articles about studying the Force? Wasn’t that banned? Isn’t that why Dr. Uli was going to be arrested in Death Star?
  • Considering that Palpatine was trying to extend his own life, would he even be interested in an heir? And I think Leia is right on target that he would not tolerate a potential rival to his power. If she’d heard rumors that Roganda had had a son, did Palpatine know about that? I can’t imagine he would not know that one of his concubines had a child.
  • The chapter said that Irek had learned so much that he’d qualified for an advanced degree at age 12. Why would rewiring then affect his ability to control R2 again while they were in the tunnels? He has the Force and he was able to do it once before, right?
  • The chapter speculates that Roganda stayed hidden during High Admiral Thrawn’s activities because he might have had evidence that Irek was not Palpatine’s child or maybe just didn’t like her. Thrawn was actually Grand Admiral, not High Admiral.
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chapter 19:

 

C-3PO tries to wake up Luke. He'd been with Callista at his boyhood home on Tatooine, telling her about the Sand People. No one knows anything about them beyond the need to head the other way when they appear. They compare disgruntled relatives before Luke remembers they have to be home by 1600. Then Luke opens his eyes with a start.

 

Luke considers that they need to start programming some things themselves since, obviously, the Will can program beings to think certain ways.

 

He heads to the Gakfedd village and empathizes with Ugbuz’s wife who is tired of the tribe’s boars watching the monitors rather than acting like Gamorreans. When the monitor tells them it is the Will that they go up to Deck 19 and annihilate the Klaggs, the boars nearly trample Luke on the way out.

 

The Jawas, who have to be kept from C-3PO and the anti-grav sled he’s with, tried to cut power to the Punishment Chamber but they were severely injured doing so. He barters with them for some equipment and sends them off on another job.

 

He uses the power cells they gave him to link and hook to the anti-grav sled’s lifters. He persuades the Gamorreans to ignore the order to convene for watching the execution of the prisoner, then heads up to Deck 19 and calls for Nichos.

 

He is unable to help Cray as she is dragged off to the Punishment Chamber. Luke is encountered by Triv who tries to remind him that she is a Rebel saboteur. Luke tells him to remember that there is no more Empire and no more Rebellion, but it doesn’t work.

 

He knows Pothman can’t get past the indoctrination of Jedi killing his family. Luke tries to remind him that he was abandoned by the Empire with his men. They work together to try to get the chamber doors open, only to find Nichos helping them.

 

Luke uses his lightsaber to release Cray and the Force to blast the grid just as lightning hits his bad leg.

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  • Anakin Skywalker seemed to know a lot about sand people in Attack of the Clones. Here, Luke says no one knows if they have male and female genders. Not only did Anakin know this but he knew bits about their culture. Luke comes from Tatooine, why does he not know this?
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