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chapter 20:


Cray laments that Nichos could do nothing to help her, but kept telling her he loved her. Luke reminds her that he had a restraining bolt on. She’s angry and tells him she knows that. She wishes she hated Nichos for being what he is, but she doesn’t.


Callista offers to watch over her while Luke checks on Nichos, Pothman and C-3PO. Nichos doesn’t expect Cray will want to see him again. Luke removes the restraining bolt while his friend wonders if he really is still the man he was. Luke cannot answer that question. Nichos examines the bolt and thinks that, in his flesh and blood body, he would have felt bad for not being able to defy the programming.


Callista comforts Luke, reminding him that Jedi students make many mistakes. Luke explains how he’s lost students due to his own ignorance. The Learn While You Teach method doesn’t really work. Ben Kenobi can attest to that.


Callista reminds him that it was Ben Kenobi’s student who was able to destroy the Emperor. Whatever Luke’s father became, he still possessed the teachings that helped him overcome.


She has been recording everything she remembers about Djinn Altis and his teachings so that Luke will have them. She points out that he cannot allow this ship to fall into the hands of someone who knows how to affect the computer core with his mind.


He understands. He’s diverted everyone else to the main mess hall and has figured out how to neutralize the Sand People.


Pothman tries to help Nichos overcome his angst. He points out that Cray will be just as angry at him for being indoctrinated. C-3PO tries to help by adding that she fell for indoctrination too for a short time so she must understand.


At the mess hall, C-3PO makes his way through to the food slots where he asks for twenty gallons of syrup which begin to appear. He hands them to Nichos who takes them to Pothman and the sled.


Between the food fight among the Gamorreans and the Affytechans and their constant drilling,PO isn’t sure Luke’s admirable attempt to save all of these beings is a good idea.


Luke argues with Callista over destroying the ship. She points out that whoever is manipulating it will come looking for it if it’s still out here. Destroying it is the best chance they have that it won’t be used. A Jedi will have to use the Force to interfere with the firing of the enclision grid above the gun room ceiling in enough time for a second person to climb it. She and Geith were going to do it that way.


She can tell Luke or Cray which levels to pull. At the time, she hadn’t known there was a mission-log jettison pod in the bay. The person who stays at the bottom can make it there if they run.


Luke confesses he loves Callista and doesn’t want her to die. Cray could help her transfer her self into another object. She’s done it with the ship already. Callista reminds him that a thing is not human. She still has humanity to her though she’s dead. In a droid body, she would lose even that.


Cray advises Luke against doing to Callista what was done to Nichos. He isn’t human and he realizes that. She will go up the shaft since Luke’s bad leg will make climbing it hard and he cannot levitate that far. They’ll program the lander to take off with the Sand People so it can be towed back to Tatooine. Nichos and C-3PO will pilot a shuttle each and transmit distress signals. It’ll be someone else’s problem to deprogram the Gamorreans and the Affytechans. He’s got an idea as to how to get the Kitonaks on the shuttles.


Suddenly, there’s a lurch that throws Luke to the floor. They’ve gone to hyperspace.

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  • How did Cray overcome her indoctrination?

  • How did Nichos manage to help with the Punishment Chamber door when he still had his restraining bolt on?

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chapter 21:


At the records office, Han is told that Leia is not in the building. He’s furious that she went out with R2 and knows that she pulled the bolt off of him. Mara Jade contacts him and tells him she’s got the coordinates.


He confronts her about not telling him she’d shown up here after Nubblyk the Slyte. She knows something’s wrong and he tells her Leia’s disappeared. Lando appears behind her and is brought up to speed.


She asks why wants to know about Nubblyk. She never saw him the whole time she was here, which wasn’t long. Han explains his contact told him the Emperor’s Hand had been here about seven years ago. This was after Mara stopped working for the Empire.


Mara throws a fit, realizing that there were, indeed, other Hands that Palpatine hadn’t told her about. He’d told her she was the only one, but she knows now that everything he told her was a lie.


Lando reminds her that it was a long time ago and the Emperor’s dead anyway. Mara explains that what this means it that Palpatine used her and this other Hand as pawns to use against each other. She wants to know if the Hand is still on the planet.


Han can’t be sure but he says there is someone named Roganda here who might be that person. Mara recognizes the name and cuts the transmission.


Garonnin tries to persuade Roganda not to use a drug to keep Leia quiet. This particular one has sat around for decades and could be contaminated. Some people end up fine; a smuggler four or five years ago died.


She explains that their guests tonight are important and they cannot risk Leia escaping. Garonnin finally agrees, stunning Leia when she tries to resist.


Leia’s consciousness swims outside her body. She can see the room as it used to be and how it is now. She can see beyond the room into the tunnels to where Roganda’s guests are. She recognizes many of them from the Imperial Court.


While some are not convinced Irek is the true heir of Palpatine, they are more intent on what he may be able to do. It’s explained that the Eye of Palpatine was an immensely powerful ship constructed for a mission that was aborted and forgotten about.


Irek demonstrates how he is able to control what a droid does. Then he gets a sense of Leia in the room and announces he’ll find her. He orders a small steel ball from the toy room brought to him and seems intent on using the Force to draw her spirit into it. He is interrupted by his mother who orders him back and by the arrival of the Eye of Palpatine.

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  • In Dark Force Rising, Thrawn indicated to Mara that she was not the only Hand. Mara seemed to think he was trying to throw her off. Surely, by the end of The Last Command, it appeared that Mara had come to terms with the fact that the Emperor had been manipulating her. I guess not, because the realization that Thrawn had been right really throws her into a tizzy.

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chapter 22:


Though the computer says there is twelve hours until shelling of the planet begins, Callista argues that it’s only what the Will is saying. The Empire would never have given that much time for the Jedi to prepare for an attack.


Luke and Nichos pump syrup into the Sand People’s water supply and leave. They find the Tuskens in the shuttle hangar with sugary water everywhere. Luke boards a shuttle and finds it doesn’t seem to be hooked into the Will. Pothman warns him he was never trained to fly one.


Cray offers to slave both shuttles together so Nichos can handle them. The Talz assit Luke is holding him up. Subdued by the sugar water, the Tuskens are lying on the floor. The Talz drag them into the lander where it can only hang out in space until someone can get it to Tatooine.


Han and Chewie appear at the Municipal Center to confront Jevax about Leia’s disappearance and Roganda Ismaren living here. Jevax doesn’t know much about her but offers to take them to her home.


He takes a Chadra-Fan with them who can determine if someone is in the house first. Along the way, he explains that the landing gates have shut down, along with the comm. system. Han doesn’t like the fact that there’s been so many technical problems in so short a time.


At the house, the Chadra-Fan determines that no one is home. When the door opens, though, it’s not one human. It’s R2-Detoo.

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  • How did the sugary water knock out the Sand People? Not used to it, maybe?

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How did the sugary water knock out the Sand People? Not used to it, maybe?

Put basically, they were all fallen down drunk. Sugar water is like super powerful alcohol to Tusken Raiders. Spiking the water caused of an impromptu drunken blowout.

 

Callista and Luke both call it a "party".

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So basically they drank the water, got a sugar high they'd never experienced before and then fell asleep!

 

chapter 23:
Aboard ship, the indoctrinated aliens are told that all personnel should evacuate on the shuttlecraft on Deck 16. Callista has had 30 years of experience with the Will to know how to imitate it.
The Kitonaks are still exchanging recipes when the sprinkler system erupts.PO directs them all to the Deck 16 shuttlecraft where the water is…because Kitonaks mate in water.
Meanwhile, Leia struggles to regain consciousness, knowing she has to stop Roganda and her son before they create an alliance with the Senex lords. She may have to get a message out like Drub McKumb obviously tried to do.
Magrody was gotten rid of because he knew too much which explains why his student, Stinna, was assassinated. She seems to recall another student who’d died under mysterious circumstances a few years ago. Qwi Xux’s life was probably saved because her memory was wiped.
However, Ohran Keldor was Magrody’s pupil, too.
Garonnin and Elegin come inside and revive her, explaining that Roganda wishes to see her. Inside the room, Roganda, Irek and Keldor wait. They dismiss the two lords and Irek demands again to know why her droid did not obey him.
It seems the Eye of Palpatine has arrived and it is not obeying Irek. Keldor explains that Irek reactivated the relay and the ship came to Belsavis because it was programmed to do so…and destroy all life here.
Leia knows it was because the Jedi were here and turns to Roganda who was one of the children living here at the time. Roganda explains she changed with the times or else she would have been destroyed along with her family. The Jedi had too many rules that shackled them and anyone associated with them.
The ship will be in range of this world in 40 minutes. They have to prevent it from firing on them which is why they have to determine why R2 did not obey Irek. Leia explains the droid was rewired after its tampering. Magrody had claimed such a thing was impossible but spaceport mechanics seem to be a creative breed.
So far as they know, no one has rewired the Eye but they have no way of knowing if the Rebels got a saboteur aboard. Roganda wonders if Irek can disable the Mission Control aboard the ship if he goes up there.
Irek thinks he can which, Leia notes, being on the ship will protect him from a planetary bombardment if he cannot. Roganda orders a ship for the three of them plus Leia prepared. Leia tries to think of a way to make Garonnin aware that he’s being betrayed.
Keldor warns that damage to the ship may be enough that the Will may not let them aboard. Roganda grabs some money to make sure she’s not without resources in case this fails.
Leia realizes that Roganda still sees her as the privileged princess who aunts would not speak to one of the concubines and who the ancient houses condescended to. She provokes Roganda with an attitude she remembers from her youth causing the woman to slap her. This gives Leia the opportunity to push her against Irek, slam an alarm button on the wall which brings Garonnin and yell to him that they are abandoning him on this planet with a ship in orbit preparing to destroy it.
For good measure, she uses the Force to cause the box of credits to fall open. Garonnin pulls his comlink before being killed by Irek. Leia pulls the dying lord’s blaster to her and runs.
She heads out a window and climbs down vine-coffee plants with Irek in pursuit. They end up on a catwalk where she tries to fire at him. Keldor is aiming for her, too, when Irek cuts the catwalk and she ends up hanging high above ground.
Keldor reaches her with his blaster when Han jumps from another bed of vines onto him, grabs his blaster and yells for Leia to run. She knocks out Keldor instead. The bed of vines is unstable. Jevax reaches out with a pole to steady it before the pulleys overhead snap.
Leia and Han jump while Keldor falls to his death. By the time they reach safety, Irek is gone.
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  • I would have thought that Leia would try to appeal to Keldor about his possible obsolescence after he helps the Ismarens, particularly considering what happened to everyone else.
  • Do the Imperials really believe that Qwi’s memory is gone? I mean, they don’t believe other stories related to the Sun Crusher, right?
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chapter 24:


All of the other beings are aboard the shuttles and the lander, prepared to launch. Nichos and Pothman will follow the lander out. Luke tells Cray about the pod at the end of the gunnery deck. He wants her to get out in it once he’s at the top of the shaft.


He doesn’t think he can make it to the pod but has rested and should have enough strength to levitate to the top after misfiring the grid. He’s going to try to cripple the guns rather than destroy the ship. If he can’t, he’ll overload the reactor.


They should try to think of a way to get Callista off the ship. Callista argues that even if he really can cripple the ships and not just be told by the Will that it’s done, he’ll be stuck in orbit until he find some way to repair the ship. He cannot find those types of parts on Belsavis.


In the meantime, the Imperial warlords will rush to this place to grab the ship. Someone sent for this thing and will be after it. She urges him to blow the reactors. He understands and tells Cray she will still be the one to stay below and leave at the right time.


That’s when she stuns him.


While Leia barks orders to Jevax, Han reveals R2 brought them both through the house and into the crypts. He wants to know who all these people are.


Leia quickly explains Irek’s control over mechanicals and how the ship in orbit is going to fire on everyone. The vine beds are stabilized so the remaining nobles start crossing. Lord Elegin extends his hand to help Leia. She explains to them all that Irek and his mother have abandoned them all after discovering the boy cannot control the Eye of Palpatine. She urges them all to seek shelter in the crypts.


The creatures in the crypt turn out to be directionless without Irek and leave everyone alone as they pile into the passageways, through the cold to the ice landing pads where they find Lady Vandron’s ship gone and her crew members tied up.


Elegin explained they only wanted to be left alone by everyone, but have been repaid for their greediness by allying with those unsuited to this station. Han tells Leia that Roganda was one of the Emperor’s Hands which explains how she was able to have Magrody kidnapped and use Imperial funds.


They will all have to get under cover now and hope that the New Republic fleet can alter some of its ships to be able to counter Irek’s manipulation of them when the time comes.


Callista apologizes to Luke when he wakes up in a shuttle bed. She and Cray had feared he would back off of destroying the ship so he could save Callista, so they plotted together.


Cray will use the Force against the grid and a droid can make it up the shaft without being too damaged. Nichos has agreed to do this. They all know he is really already dead. Luke protests as he watches the Eye explode.

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chapter 25:
Mara Jade picks them up later aboard her ship, preparing to take Luke to a medcenter in Plawal where his serious injuries can be healed. A signal in the debris field reveals an escape pod that Cray appears to have taken anyway. Luke is surprised as he didn’t expect her to want to live anymore.
Pothman has calmed down the beings on the shuttles and the diplomatic corps wants someone to help them reorient the former captives. Mara has the pod brought aboard.
Upon opening, they find Cray there…but not Cray. It’s Cray’s body but she has Callista inside of her. Callista explains that, Nichos was hit badly and shut down while setting the core to overload. Cray wanted to stay with him and cross over. She stepped over so that Callista could have her body.
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chapter 26:
Callista knew there would be a risk by doing this. She doesn’t know if she would have made the same decision again. They look over the toys found in the crypts and she explains what they used to be used for.
The masters had problems with children born to non-Jedi parents. Most of the time, the Force is passed on, but not always. It manifests itself sometimes in people whose parents have no idea how to deal with it. Those were most at risk from the dark side so the Masters tried to catch those early. Children who inherited only a little Force strength from their parents were sometimes the most dangerous, though.
She wishes she could show them how to use them but she lost the use of the Force in the transfer.
Searchers have gone into the crypts and found the disturbed beings who roam the crypts. Psychologists and healers are coming to help rehabilitate the Eye’s former prisoners so they can return to their former lives.
Except the Gamorreans who refused and are negotiating to be used as bodyguards for Elegin.
Triv Pothman is signing up to work in Plawal as a horticulturalist.
When Luke wakes up in the medcenter, Callista is there. She wonders if she should have stayed where she was. He tells her that it isn’t the Force that made him love her. He invites her to Yavin, but understands if it’s hard for her to be around Force adepts. He just thinks it would be helpful to have her input about methods of training.
They are holding each other when Han, Leia, Chewie and the droids appear. Leia wants to leave them alone for awhile longer.

Leia looks around the ruins of Plett’s house. Callista was here only a short time but has provided as much information as she can remember. In looking around, Leia thinks she gets the sense of children playing here. Wondering if they are children in the past, such as Nichos and Roganda, or the children of the future.

Han calls for his friends to hurry up. Callista asks if they can be dropped off on Yavin.
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  • Aha! So, most of the time, children do inherit the Force from their parents! It IS inherited, it IS, it IS!
The End
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