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Really sorry about this one.

 

chapter 1:
On the planet of Tatooine, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo ride with the Tusken Raiders, disguised by the Force, and watch a Bantha-less Tusken be abandoned in the desert. His Bantha has died and, since Tuskens believe the beast and Raider bond, they will leave the Raider to either find a new mount and rejoin the tribe or die in the desert.
That night, they listen to a storyteller tell the clan about their exploits against stormtroopers, krayt dragons and moisture farmers They watch an apprentice to the storyteller relate a tale to the word lest his life be forfeit.
Luke tells Han that Tatooine is a harsh world and the Tuskens have had harshness thrust upon them. He is monitoring their minds to make sure that none are alerted to the strangers in their midst. They should reach Jabba’s Palace by tomorrow.
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  • The time is 12 years ABY, shortly after Children of the Jedi.
  • I hope Luke is learning a lot about the Sand People culture he didn’t know about in the last book!
  • I also assume they are riding wild Banthas they found in the desert, considering how attached the Tuskens seem to be to their own.
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Really sorry about this one.

As I said in the last thread, I'd prefer this over Children of the Jedi. If for no other reason than it's a bit more readable. The plot, silly as it is, is also a bit more rooted in Star Wars. The plots of Hambly's Star Wars books were very weirdly small-scale, the stakes unclear and small potatoes.

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chapter 2:


They ride through the morning until Jabba’s old citadel is spotted. Luke uses the Force to distract them as they separate from the tribe and head toward the old place.


The Palace had been founded long ago by exiled B’omarr Monks who were reclusive enough to ignore anyone else who came along and used the place. Jabba the Hutt was the last of the interlopers and, with his minions trying to take over what was left, the monks used the opportunity to try to reclaim their property.


Most avoid the place now but there are rumors that Hutts are sniffing around the place looking for something important enough to risk the ire of the monks. They try to get inside the Palace but the Sand People notice them too soon and start firing.


Luke uses the Force to get them inside and shut the door, then ignites his lightsaber for light. Inside, they are confronted by one of the spider-like monks who asks if they are friends of Jabba’s.


It appears that the spider holds the brain of one of Jabba’s competitors who lost a confrontation with him and was left by the Hutt to the monks. He explains to the two men that many explorers have been here, including Hutts. They were looking for information that Jabba had accumulated over time, including data about both the Rebel Alliance and the Empire. However, the Empire would never pay him enough to make selling to them worthwhile.


The Hutts who came here were looking for Imperial secrets, though. Jabba had access to the Emperor’s database on Coruscant without their knowledge. They found what they were looking for. The Hutts intend to create a superweapon that will make them more powerful than the Alliance or the Imperial Remnant.


They thank the spider for his information and ask if they can do anything else. The spider tells them to defeat the Hutts is all he wants. He has the last laugh on Jabba here anyway.

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  • Darth Sidious and Darth Plagueis agreed in Darth Plagueis that Jabba could be valuable to them. I agree. Why they wouldn’t pay him sufficiently for information he had about the Rebels is a mystery. We know the Imperial coffers ran deep.

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Yeah, Anderson was a hack. But hey, at least he had the decency not to make a stink about it knowing full well that people really disliked his writing. Unlike that crybaby Chuck Wendig who stalks every single dissenter's social media page and calls them homophobes for not liking his crap.

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I never got the Anderson HATE. I mean, I laughed and applauded with everyone else when Stackpole tore him a new one in I, Jedi, but I found him to merely be an aggressively mediocre writer with a few annoying tics. Not a terrible one. And his style fit the Star Wars serial idea fairly well.

 

There are a lot of BAD Star Wars novels out there. Stuff like The Black Fleet Trilogy, Crystal Star, Planet of Twilight, Rogue Planet, and The New Rebellion would be painful to re-read. While I'll go comfortably my whole life without picking up Anderson's work again, the idea of re-reading them doesn't fill me with dread.

 

Now, I say that never having read Anderson's Dune work. Given Anderson's basic talent and the intricate and textured nature of Dune, I can immediately see why that marriage was doomed from the start.

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Yeah, I've been told he crapped all over Dune, though I've never read it myself.

Truthfully, he did a decent job with the Tales of the Jedi comics, particularly Redemption, which is probably his biggest shining moment in Star Wars. And he's done a decent job authoring various source books as well.

I guess he's not all bad. His work is hit-and-miss, I suppose.

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chapter 3:


In the attack by the Tuskens, their Banthas had run off, so Han and Luke find the hangar where even the Jawas are too frightened to scavenge from and take a couple of swoops. Luke wants to stop at the Jundland Wastes first.


At Ben Kenobi’s home, Han waits outside while Luke attempts to contact Ben in the hopes his old mentor might be able to tell him how to reconnect Callista to the Force. He gets no answer but considers that he shouldn’t be looking to the masters for answers. He exits the hovel and tells Han they need to get to Mos Eisley in order to warn the New Republic about the Hutts.

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chapter 4:


At the Hoth Asteroid Belt, Durga the Hutt is working with Imperial General Sulamar on a secret project here that is operating under the guise of a sham mining operation.


Automated Mineral Exploiters are hunting out high concentrations of metals. They were designed by Bevel Lemelisk, designer of several Imperial superweapons. The two Exploiters are working very well until it’s realized that they are detecting each other and not metal in asteroids.


Only Lemelisk has the override codes so, after Durga fries one minion for reminding him that the scientist doesn’t want to be disturbed, someone else goes for him. It’s too late as both Exploiters follow their programming to a T.

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  • We remember our old pal, the birthmarked, hapless nephew of Aruk the Hutt, from the Han Solo books The Hutt Gambit and Rebel Dawn. He was in Shadows of the Empire, still in servitude to Prince Xizor and was mentioned in The Krytos Trap.

  • For a scientist who helped design the Death Star, that Lemelisk wouldn’t think that the Exploiters would naturally seek out each other or something else with metal ( like a huge ship, maybe?) is surprising.

  • BTW, we’ve heard Lemelisk’s name many times before, not only in Death Star, but in Jedi Search and Children of the Jedi.


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chapter 5:


Irritated at being pulled from his quarters, Lemelisk grouses at Durga when he reaches the bridge. Then he sees the damaged Exploiters in space, locked on each other.


Durga roars that he is most displeased with his performance. The old man muses that the Emperor said the same thing when he had him executed the first time.


It was right after the Death Star was supposed to obliterate the Rebel base that he’d been taken before the Emperor who dropped a cage over him and told him that the Rebels found a single thermal exhaust port that one obsolete starfighter dropped a torpedo into and destroyed it.


The scientist hadn’t thought of that and said he’d fix it on the next design. Palpatine agreed but he would have to die first. He dropped the man into a deep pit with the sound of sharp feet at the bottom.


Piranha beetles are native to Yavin IV. Palpatine had them rescued before the moon was going to be obliterated because he thought they were useful. They swarmed over Lemelisk who died in agony.


Before he woke up in a clone body. Palpatine had stolen the technique from a Jedi who really hadn’t been willing to give him all the details but it seemed to have worked. He promised to think of a worse execution next time if necessary.


In the present, Lemelisk chastises himself for being so stupid but brushes the actions of what he calls the two prototypes off and advises Durga that they have two more Exploiters in production. The problem will be rectified with them. He does, however, still need the information from the Imperial Information Center on Coruscant.


Durga has already scheduled an expedition there.

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  • You know, one would think that the Rebels would get the idea that working for Palpatine was not the greatest job in the world. If they weren’t being lied to outright like Qwi Xux, they were being kidnapped and their families threatened like Nasdra Magrody or executed and cloned like Bevel Lemelisk. I know superweapons like the Death Star were not pleasant, but the designers weren’t the ones who actually used the thing. I think, after awhile, the Alliance would just give up on blaming them.

  • And, like I said in Children of the Jedi, that transferring consciousness into a droid body or, in this case, a clone body, sounds a whole lot like essence transfer which had been known by the Sith of old, most notably, Darth Bane who tried it on Zannah, but had been lost when Darth Whats-his-name was killed.

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chapter 6:


Chief of State Leia Organa Solo and her husband prepare for a diplomatic meeting with Durga the Hutt that neither of them wishes to attend.


After saying goodnight to their children, they head off with C-3PO insistent on telling them all about Hutt history, much of which they know, some of which they don’t care to know.


Durga and his entourage appears, the Hutt covered with furry creatures that cause the normally diplomatic C-3PO to ask what they are. He explains that they are harmless pets called Taurill which passed all quarantine scans upon arriving on Coruscant. Leia reaches out with the Force, but she cannot penetrate Durga’s mind and the Gamorreans have virtually no awareness at all.


He offers first his apologies for their past encounters with Hutts. His species is long lived and, consequently, often holds grudges for long periods of time.


Leia asks what a crime lord wants with the legitimate New Republic. Durga is wounded by her words and explains that the Hutts do not wish to war with anyone. He wishes to offer an alliance with the New Republic in order to legitimize Hutt commercial activities. In this way, they are not criminals and the New Republic will benefit from tax revenues, as well as the ability to focus on their true enemies.


Leia doesn’t quite believe this offer is legitimate, but doesn’t have time to respond to it as a couple of the scrounging Taurill causes an honor guard’s weapon to go off, killing one of them.


Durga insists that his pets be gathered up quickly as Han muses he knew he shouldn’t have gotten dressed up for this.


The Taurill are a hive mind organism with individual members that report to an Overmind. Durga had made a deal, promising dispersal of the the hive to different star systems in exchange for the Taurills’ help. Three of them make it into the Imperial Information Center and use the passwords found in Jabba’s Palace to break through.


Leia wonders why one of Durga’s associates didn’t break out the musical instrument earlier as it seems to call the Taurill back easily. Durga counts them, minus the dead one, and mentions she might want to reassign her trigger-happy honor guardsman. She suggests he keep his pets at home if they cannot handle being around weapons.


He likes her strength, inviting her to visit Nal Hutta sometime before departing. Han quips that they really should spend more time with the Hutts before suggesting they get something to eat.

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  • The chapter says the twins are 3 and baby Anakin is 2.

  • Two things about C-3PO’s Hutt history. One, he says he forgot that Han and Leia had been to Nar Shadaa. To the best of our knowledge,PO has had no memory wipes since the one he was clearly given at the end of ROTS. How could a droid forget something? Secondly, he claims that the Hutts are so inclusive that no one outside the clan can know the clan name. If he’s saying that names such as Besadii and Desilijic are not known outside of their respective clans, that’s nonsense. We’ve seen too many examples of the contrary being true.

  • Do not heads of government get information prior to meeting with other dignitaries so that they can avoid asking awkward questions? Why was Leia not apprised of these pets ahead of time? Further, she started off by calling Durga a crime lord. This is not how diplomacy is generally handled, is it? Leia has been a diplomat for a long time…does she normally start off a function by attacking the person she is meeting with? Come to think of it…she did quite the same thing on Bakura during a very sensitive first meeting with Imperial forces right after the destruction of the Death Star in The Truce at Bakura.

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Two things about C-3PO’s Hutt history. One, he says he forgot that Han and Leia had been to Nar Shadaa. To the best of our knowledge,PO has had no memory wipes since the one he was clearly given at the end of ROTS. How could a droid forget something?

 

Logical or not, it's canon that C-3PO can forget things. From A New Hope:

 

C-3PO: Use the comlink? Oh my! I forgot, I turned it off.

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"Forgetting" is just imperfect recall. Once reminded of the comlink, he didn't express any confusion about it. I would hazard that a droid that's been running continuously for decades, likely without memory wipes, would develop imperfect recall. Any information-storage system can read and write to and from memory only so quickly.

 

Darksaber is one of the few stand-alone novels I have in my library. Back in the day, when I was still an EU reader, I remember that I thought this novel was part of a trilogy and couldn't figure out where the other two parts must be. It was also the beginning of the end of the EU for me.

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That makes sense. As for C-3PO and the comlink....I forgot. :D

 

chapter 7:
Callista tries, once more, to use the Force and fails.
Tionne appears at her door, having scoured the records and found an example in history of Jedi losing their powers. Ulic Qel-Droma fought with Exar Kun but betrayed him to the Jedi, leading them here so that they could destroy Kun. In his final confrontation, he was unable to access the Force.
It would seem that, by entering Cray Mingla’s body, Callista has blindfolded herself against the Force, too. Tionne doesn’t have all the answers, but suspects they will someday.
Determined to be the companion Luke deserves, Callista continues her searching. Luke returns several days later and she can tell General Kenobi provided no help. He keeps forgetting she knew Kenobi back in the day.
Admitting that he didn’t, Luke will also not give up until they have the solution.
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chapter 8:
Luke leads his students through the rain out to one of the Massassi temples and announces that three of them – Cilghal, Dorsk 81 and Kyp Durron – have completed their training, built their own lightsabers and are now Jedi Knights. Since Jedi cannot remain secluded in their school, these three are headed out to serve the New Republic in their own ways.
Cilghal is returning to Mon Calamari as an Ambassador. Dorsk 81 is returning to his homeworld of Khomm, hoping the cloned species will learn of the difference he’s made in his life and be inspired by it. Kyp is going with Dorsk 81 as Khomm is in the Core and he wants to make sure Imperial warlords aren’t plotting something.
On the way to Khomm, the two friends talk about what Dorsk 81 hopes to find there. Kyp vows to find out what the Empire is doing out there.
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  • It’s been around one year since the JA trilogy, if that, and these three students are graduating as full Jedi Knights? Remember the years Jedi padawans took to become Knights in the Old Republic? Surely, Luke is now aware of that since he has Callista’s memories. Or was Master Altis also one of those who took Force senstitive adults into training and just taught them the basics?
  • And what is Kam Solusar up to? Wasn’t he an Old Republic Jedi? That’s what the materials say! Does he just not count as an apprentice?
  • It seems to me that allowing Kyp to investigate the Empire is leading him down that same temptation he fell for last time.
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chapter 9:


In the Core, Admiral Daala enters the fortress of Warlord Harrsk, disgusted with how the remnants of the Empire give themselves increasingly ridiculous titles while battling over the bits and pieces. She has come here with her last remaining Star Destroyer, the Gorgon, after failing miserably to demolish the New Republic.


The Warlord was nearly killed during the Battle of Endor and he’s left his damaged face intact as a reminder. He mentions Commander Kratas has already been aboard the Shockwave.


Though Harrsk himself is also tired of the fighting, it is not the Imperial way to work together. Her efforts to unify the Warlords over the past year are admirable, but futile. She needs to ally with him and they will bring these pretenders in.


Daala is concerned that the others will rally against him if he becomes too strong. If they must be independent of each other, fine, but they should all at least agree on strategies to hit the Rebel targets instead of each other.


Harrsk notes that he sees why Tarkin locked her away in the Maw.


She has little time to fume over it when High Admiral Teradoc attacks them with his sizeable forces. Kratas does his best to organize Harrsk’s forces but Teradoc’s ships overwhelm him and destroy the Shockwave. Harrsk is furious at this attempt to humiliate him.


Daala is horrified at the loss of her second-in-command and refuses to command any of Harrsk’s ships. Under penalty of execution, however, she is forced to reconsider.

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  • Harrsk has been mentioned many times before, including a couple of the X-Wing books, I, Jedi and Children of the Jedi.

  • Teradoc has also been mentioned in the X-Wing series, I, Jedi and Children of the Jedi.

  • Poor Commander Kratas spent 11 years in the Maw with Daala and was featured in the JA series.

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chapter 10:


She ends up on the Firestorm, surveying the damage. Though she has twice the number of Star Destroyers Tarkin had left her in the Maw, she doesn’t want to fight Teradoc or Harrsk. She wants them all to knock it off and fight the Rebels. If they can’t do that, they might as well fail.


As for herself, she’s learned that her failures have come in times when she let anger get the best of her judgment. She advises Harrsk not to retaliate sooner than she can come up with a plan of attack.


He insists she follow his orders or she’ll be confined to the brig. She wants out of this command, but will not be tried for treason by him, not with Kratas and her former crew gone.


She tells him she’ll do her best to strike a blow for the Empire.


On the way, she analyzes quickly the data Harrsk bought from other Imperial spies, disgusted that it was even possible to bribe Imperial soldiers.


It turns out that Teradoc knew they were coming and wipes out three of eight ships before Daala mutes Harrsk’s ravings and has the Firestorm lock onto Teradoc’s fortress.


Several Star Destroyers approach and Daala has her gunners ignore them while she takes over the controls, switches the weapons to ion cannon and fires on Harrsk’s Whirlwind, disabling it. Daala orders the shield extended around the Whirlwind.


She holds a blaster on the bridge crew and tells them that she’s done what any loyal servant of the Empire should have done a long time ago. She has a channel opened to all Imperial forces in the area.


Daala explains that she is not out for political power. She will serve anyone who is willing to stop this inane fighting and concentrate on defeating the Rebel Alliance. She condemns Teradoc’s attack on Harrsk and this counterattack on Teradoc. The fighters and ships outside the shield stop their attacks.


She sets the self-destruct on Firestorm and tells them she will destroy this ship and Whirlwind, too, if Harrsk does not order hostilities ceased.


One of Teradoc’s Star Destroyers, X13, is commanded by Vice Admiral Gilad Pellaeon who listens to what Daala has to say and considers it. He’s heard of her, of course. While he approves of Teradoc’s plan to buid up a huge fleet of smaller ships, he does miss the Chimaera.


At the same time, he does agree with her sense of purpose and outrage that Imperial resources are being used on their comrades. He orders an open comm. to his ships, ordering them to cease hostilities.


Over Teradoc’s objections, he proclaims that he feels Harrsk is not his enemy and wants to hear her out. Teradoc proclaims him a traitor if he does not obey orders and asks what Grand Admiral Thrawn would think of him.


Pellaeon considers this and tells Teradoc he knows exactly what Thrawn would think of him and that Teradoc is not Thrawn.

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  • Whatever happened to the Chimaera?

  • For that matter, what happened to the Gorgon? Daala contemplates that her old crew is gone. Yet there’s no indication that the Gorgon was destroyed.

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chapter 11:


Mara Jade arrives on Yavin IV and invites Luke for a ride. She tells him that the Smuggler’s Alliance has noticed that the Hutts are clamping down on their usual information sources and establishing legitimate businesses.


It would be great if they could believe the Hutts are becoming respectable, but they can’t. They are up to something big. Luke indicates that he’d suspected that but wonders why she came here.


She thought she ought to tell him so he can tell Leia. Karrde taught her to keep things low-key. He himself handled retirement well for a few months before getting bored and getting into schemes again. She also finds that she likes seeing Luke every once in awhile.


He invites her to stay for dinner before she gets tired of him again.


In the mess hall, she sits with Callista while Luke settles a couple of more trainees in. Mara knows that Callista is Luke’s new girlfriend. Callista knows who Mara is. She’s heard rumors that Mara used to be interested in Luke.


Mara assures her that the strongest emotions she’s ever had for Luke was when she was trying to kill him. Sometimes, she still thinks it’s a good idea.


Callista isn’t quite sure she believes her, but brings up Lando Calrissian. Mara points out they are business partners only and any romantic interest is purely Calrissian’s.


She finishes quickly and leaves, telling Callista she only stopped by to deliver a message. Callista wonders what that message would be.

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chapter 12:


Luke and Callista travel to Coruscant where Luke arranges a private briefing with Leia. After giving her Mara’s information, he asks if he can have a week or so alone with Callista to work on her abilities without any distractions.


Leia tells him he doesn’t have to ask her permission and wishes him the best.


The family sees them off. Callista sees the Solo children and worries that, if she and Luke were to have children, they would inherit the same Force blindness. He has assured her he doesn’t care, but she knows their only chance is to break the chains severing her from the Force.


Afterwards, the droids head down to the Imperial Information Center where C-3PO had noticed some computer glitches he can’t explain. Nothing was wrong prior to Durga the Hutt’s visit, but the droid doesn’t want to remind Leia of that incident.


Inside, he spots some fur and, when R2 jacks into the system, they find a holorecording of the Taurills inside. It looks like they were copying files which, unfortunately, necessitates that they warn Princess Leia at once. The plans to the Death Star have been stolen.

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  • Death Star plans….ho hum…..

  • Since Luke and Leia’s mother was not Force-sensitive, it doesn’t mean that Luke and Callista’s children would not inherit a connection. Of course, it’s also possible they wouldn’t.



chapter 13:


Back at the Hoth asteroid belt, Durga gives the Death Star plans to Lemelisk. The scientists notices General Sulamar’s hungry look and asks the Hutt why he’s even here. Sulamar explains that he brings Imperial prestige to the project, as well as some of the things they need to pull it off.


He gives a brief history of his reputation which Lemelisk will have to take his word for as he’d never heard of the man.


Lemelisk remembers the day he presented the hologram of the Death Star to the Emperor in Tarkin’s presence. Palpatine asks that they explain it to him. Lemelisk and Tarkin discuss the various features of the weapon and how they can use it to enforce the New Order.


In the present, the second set of Automated Mineral Exploiters is finished minus the flaws of the first. Durga warns him that he wants no further delays as he will execute Lemelisk if he disappoints him.

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  • We know that the moon-sized battle station was presented by Tarkin as far back at Rogue Planet. He got the idea from Raith Seinar. Death Star explains that it was put on ice for years after some preliminary work had been done on it by the Separatists during the Clone Wars before Tarkin was unhappy to find out that the Emperor had finally pulled it out of mothballs to make it a reality. Death Star did name check Bevel Lemelisk but it is unclear here when this presentation to the Emperor actually happened. Palpatine surely knew about this project prior to his becoming Emperor and did not need it explained to him.

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chapter 14:


Lemelisk goes back to work. In the past, he and Tarkin took a shuttle piloted by the Governor’s slave, Ackbar, to the world Despayre where the construction was being done. They had plenty of volunteers from the prison below as the planet itself was dangerous outside of the fortress.


He noted that Ackbar may not pilot enthusiastically, but he seemed to hang on Tarkin’s every word.


When construction was complete, the debris field around the planet would be so thick that passage to Despayre would be impossible. The prisoners would have to fend for themselves after that.


In the present, he gives his modified design to Durga. Since the Hutt doesn’t need TIE fighter bays or living quarters for troops, he’s scaled down the design to increase power while shrinking the size of the hull. It will be cylindrical rather than spherical and the laser coming out of it looks very much like a Jedi lightsaber. Lemelisk has named this the Darksaber Project for that reason.


With this weapon, they can collect protection money, taxes or hold entire systems hostage.

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  • We learned in Death Star that one of the first targets of the new weapon was Despayre itself, since the Empire would not need to spend resources guarding them or keeping them alive. It would appear that, originally, the plan was to abandon them there.


chapter 15:


In hyperspace, Luke relaxes, glad to have no other responsibilities other than helping Callista. He holds her face and gazes into her eyes. She asks if he’s probing her with the Force. He explains that he just wanted to look at her.


He decides to have her engage in some lightsaber fencing. She may not be able to use the Force, but she can still use the weapon. They will get her thinking and moving like a Jedi again.


It is dangerous because, as she cannot sense him through the Force to anticipate moves, he cannot sense her either. She is thrilled to hold a saber for the first time in decades. They end in a stalemate and end up laughing together.


When they emerge from hyperspace, he directs her to a comet which is their destination.

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  • Wait a minute…I got that Callista could not touch the Force, but Luke cannot sense her through it either? How come?

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chapter 16:


The comet is known as the Mulako Corporation Primordial Water Quarry. It returns every century and is near its closest approach to the sun.


For a lot of its orbit, the corporation chops water ice, sores it and distills it before selling it to gourmets and other high-class officials who want the best. It’s not chemically different from any other water, but it’s never been touched or recycled through organic life forms.


There’s a resort inside the ball that’s unusual enough that no one should find them here. It’s shut down when the comet races away from the sun.


She can feel the energy of this place and is sure they will be able to do something about her problem here. Callista admits all ths water reminds her of her homeworld of Chad, full of oceans which she misses. Life was good there, but the Emperor’s crackdown made trade difficult. Her family is probably all dead now. She had felt guilty about leaving them even when she was called to be a Jedi.


But Djinn Altis arrived and took her aboard his ship, the Chu’unthor. Luke tells her they found the wreckage of it on Dathomir and brought it back. She’d expected Altis was dead. He probably ran afoul of the Nightsisters


She tries practicing levitating with the Force, but is unable to do so. She tells Luke that she knows how to do it, she just can’t.


The water here is so different from Tatooine. Luke describes his homeworld as a dry, hot place where most beings die knowing no other place. His Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru did the best they could, keeping the truth from him to protect him from the dangers of the galaxy.


He didn’t know how he was going to tell them he was leaving when Obi-Wan began training him but he didn’t get the chance. His best friend, Biggs, died. He has a couple of friends named Camie and Fixer back home but he doesn’t know what they’re up to now. His life has changed since then.

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  • Palpatine wasn’t Emperor until shortly before the Eye of Palpatine mission that trapped Callista inside the computer. She would have left her homeworld by then so shouldn’t have any memories of what the trade situation there was like. Unless, of course, she was still at home when Palpatine became Supreme Chancellor and left after that. At that time, though, he was a fairly benign ruler.

  • The Chu’unthor, according to The Courtship of Princess Leia, had crashed on Dathomir about 300 years ago. I am absolutely positive that it’s not the same ship as Djinn Altis’s and Luke should know that. Did Altis also name his ship Chu’unthor?

  • Nit-picking but Obi-Wan had not started training Luke before Owen and Beru were killed. He’d offered to and Luke certainly was concerned about what they’d think, but nope, no training had been started.

  • Has Callista even tried to contact her homeworld. People live a long time in this galaxy. It’s possible, even after thirty years, that she still has relatives alive.



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chapter 17:


On Khomm, Dorsk 81 looks forward to emersing himself in his people’s familiarity. A crowd greets them as they emerge from their ship. Dorsk is the only one in recent memory who has done anything unpredictable.


Dorsk points out Kaell 115 who has been leader for decades. However, it appears that this is Kaell 116, the new leader. They fly past identical buildings in identical rows until they reach the home of Dorsk’s predecessor, Dorsk 80, and his successor, Dorsk 82.


Later, Kyp confesses that he doesn’t know how his friend is going to be able to be a Jedi watchman here. It’s too stable and unchanging. Dorsk admits he doesn’t know either. They show Kyp the cloning facilities the next day. The genetic blueprints of all the family lines are held in the computer and they just call up the DNA strings to produce another copy.


Dorsks 80 and 82, however, are unhappy to learn that Dorsk 81 does not intend to resume his normal duties here. He tries to explain that he has new responsbilities now, but they do not understand.


They avoid him for the rest of the day. Dorsk confesses to Kyp that, if he stays here, he will eventually give in to their expectations. It had seemed so clear to him in the beginning, now he doesn’t know what his mission is. Kyp invites Dorsk to come with him, slip into the Core Systems and find out what’s become of the Empire.

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chapter 18:


Pellaeon takes a shuttle to the Firestorm. Harrsk has not responded to Daala’s message about the self-destruct. She hopes he doesn’t think she’s bluffing. They have seven minutes left.


With less than a minute to go, Harrsk gives in. She waits a little longer, then acquiesces when Pellaeon admits he’d like to negotiate with her if she has the time. The self-destruct stopped, she decides to take Firestorm someplace more private for their conversation and invites two of his Star Destroyers to accompany her so they don’t think she’s kidnapping the Vice-Admiral.


The three ships head into hyperspace and emerge in a small desert area of space. In her meeting room, she explains to Pellaeon that she bears no ambition to lead the Empire and resents any implication that she is trying to replace Grand Admiral Thrawn. She believes in the ideal of the Empire though. An orderly galaxy that does not allow its citizens to be confused has been replaced by a vacuum that the Rebels, for all their talk, cannot fill.


On the other hand, she despises the squabbling warlords who had caused as much damage to the Empire as the Rebels have. If they pooled their ships, they would have a fleet as least as big as the one the Rebel Alliance has cobbled together.


Daala gives him some information on her background, struggling through the misogynistic Caridan Academy and then inferior assignments afterwards because she was an Imperial soldier and felt it was her duty. She disagrees with the Emperor on very few things, among them his personal distaste for women and non-humans.


She’d been forced to create a false identity for herself as a male which got the attention of Moff Tarkin who came to Carida only to find that this innovator was a female corporal working in the galleys. Knowing that the Caridan officials would just hide her somewhere else, Tarkin transferred her to his personal staff.


She remembers a fond memory of Tarkin punishing a young officer who he’d overheard muttering that she only got her job because she was sleeping with the governor. He’d put the officer in an environmental suit with a day’s worth of air in a low orbit and left his comm. system open so everyone could hear his frantic pleas for assistance.


It worked and no one ever made such disparaging remarks about her again.


She wants to unite the Empire again under a single leader, but not herself. She just wants to cause as much harm to the Rebels as possible. Pellaeon suggests a Council that can talk and at least agree on strategy, if not a leader. They can strike different targets using methods the Rebels developed themselves.


She suggests he make the invitations to this Council meeting as they are likely not to listen to her. She also gives him a palm-size breathmask if things don’t work out.

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  • We learned much of Daala’s backstory in Jedi Search. The story has been repeated since then. In fact, I believe Death Star may have intimated that rumors of Daala’s relationship was Tarkin was not something one spoke of idly and in the wrong company.

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chapter 19:


Daala chose the site of her meeting to be the heavily radioactive world of Tsoss Beacon. There is a station there with thick enough walls to block the radiation.


Pellaeon arrives the next day with news that 13 of the strongest warlords have agreed to these talks, but he used all his influence to do it.


Daala refuses to allow armed forces near the planet and insists only the warlords attend the meeting and that they be unarmed. Both Teradoc and Harrsk attend, along with Superior General Dalvardus and several other Moffs, overlords, supreme leaders and those with equally meaningless titles.


She conveys to them how each of them has amassed considerable weaponry and, between them, has millions of stormtroopers. They must form an alliance just like the Rebels did and take advantage now. Delvardus refuses to share his glory with anyone else and decides to leave.


Daala has the door locked and sealed so that even she can’t open it for three hours. After the outrage dies down, she insists they choose a nominal leader among them. They won’t have anything else to do anyway.


As the three hour mark grows closer, she becomes increasingly bitter at their constant arguing, bringing up of old enmities and threats of reprisals against each other. When a physical altercation breaks out between Harrsk and Teradoc, Pellaeon breaks it up and Daala gives up.


She tells them she didn’t want to rule but she has no choice if she’s to spare the Empire these old fools. She puts on her mask and Pellaeon realizes what’s happening. He puts on his and she releases nerve gas into the room.


The gas takes seconds, but not too quickly to keep Delvardus from turning his insignia into a knife as he tries to attack her. Nevertheless, they all die and Daala laments it had to be this way.

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chapter 20:


The consolidated fleet arrives at Delvardus’s outpost and lands with several assault shuttles. She, Pellaeon and an honor guard of stormtroopers carrying Delvardus’s body heads to the doors. When they open, a contingent of stormtoopers meets them.


She explains that she has brought a message for the General’s second-in-command, Cronus. A holocube contains the entire recording of their Council meeting. She wants them to see how their leader behaved in contrast to the good of the Empire.


She leaves it and the body, giving them one hour to decide whether or not to join her fleet or be obliterated.


After an hour, Cronus decides to join them. Then he takes Daala and Pellaeon out to a secret location to show them what Delvardus has been using his considerable funds for: a Super Star Destroyer called the Night Hammer.

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  • Just a point. The recording was at least three hours long. Yet she only gave Cronus an hour to review it and make a decision.

  • In the chapter, Pellaeon mentions that the Night Hammer is as big as the Executor and that nearly bankrupted the Empire. Really? The Executor was not the only SSD the Empire had. If one SSD nearly bankrupted the Empire, what did the Lusankya and the other SSDs cost? Did Executor just have a bunch of extra toys on it?

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chapter 21:


The Solos walk through the Imperial Palace and stop at a café to eat lunch like a normal family. Not so normal, though, that there are not bodyguards and security officers watching them. Too many attempts on all of their lives make that necessary.


After sitting down, getting the kids settled and having their meals delivered, Leia explains to Han how running this government is nearly impossible. She almost longs for the days when she could bust in, shoot something up and leave. They all know the Hutts are up to something and can’t ignore it.


She thinks it might be a good idea to distract them so they can do some quiet probing on their own. Durga invited her to make a state visit to Nal Hutta. She is considering taking him up on it, though he couldn’t have been sincere. Nevertheless, he can’t take it back now and, if they show up with a substantial New Republic force, that should be intimidating enough of a diversion to give her a chance to poke around.


Chewie and R2 can take the Falcon to Nar Shadaa in the interim and see what they can find there.

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chapter 22:


Under the pretense of war games, General Antilles brings his ship, Yavaris, into the Nal Hutta system. Qwi Xux is in training as a science officer and standing by his side. Ackbar is bringing his own ships in, too, under the Star Cruiser, the Galactic Voyager. The huge Assault Frigate Dodonna is here, as well.


Wedge smiles when the Hutts contact them, demanding to know what’s going on.


Ackbar’s group arrives and they begin the task of pretending to shoot at each other. General Crix Madine, Supreme Allied Commander for Intelligence, reminds them that they need to keep the Hutts preoccupied so they can accomplish their real mission.


Further, they are less likely to cause problems for the Chief of State if the ships are here.


Ackbar jokes that that’s Madine’s mission. His mission is to defeat the other Rebel ships in wargames. Wedge ends up using Ackbar’s own tactics against him. They agree on a rematch after escorting the Chief of State’s ship to her destination.


Meanwhile, Madine preps his commando team for their covert mission.

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chapter 23:


They gave the Hutts little notice and Leia bullies the representative on the planet into letting them land, despite Durga not being there.


She explains to Han that they cannot allow Death Star plans to float around the galaxy into the hands of anyone who would have the means to build it and cause trouble.

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chapter 24:


Nal Hutta is a gloomy place. A sailbarge takes them to Korrda, a special envoy to Durga, who greets them and explains Lord Durga is coming quickly. He offers them a tour of the dungeons which they refuse and then food which they reluctantly accept.


Korrda is not treated well by the denizens of the dining hall, forced to eat leftover food from plates. He explains to Han and Leia that he has a wasting disease that makes him despised by other Hutts. Durga puts him in a position of authority while he’s gone to mock him.


He seems grateful that neither of them touched their food, possibly thinking they left it on purpose so he could have an untouched meal, before taking them to the bathhouses.


While there, Durga arrives and assures them that the negotiating process needed be rushed. Leia knows that he’s just stalling, as his offer of an alliance was merely a rush to gain access to the Imperial Information Center.


She brushes off his concerns about her warships engaging in simulated battles, explaining it’s been a couple of years since they’ve had any real issues with the Empire, but they must be prepared. Durga offers to have his people look into what it’s been up to lately.

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  • Durga’s treatment of Korra is ironic considering he was once considered too weak to rule because of his birthmark.

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chapter 25:


General Madine makes his way through Nal Hutta’s marshlands where the denizens of the planet who cannot leave live. He heads to the spaceport where many stand and look longingly at the ships they hope will someday take them away from here and launches a mechanical replica of a moon moth at Durga’s ship.


It lands, drops a microscopic tracking device and is then destroyed by Madine.

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  • So, Madine…Supreme Commander of Intelligence is actually on the mission? Isn’t that job kind of like intended for somebody to stay at home and direct while skilled agents carry out the actual mission?



chapter 26:


Luke wakes up to find Callista standing over him. She tells him they shouldn’t be here. It’s beautiful and romantic, but there’s no connection here. She wants him to take her to where he learned the Force.


He decides that taking her to the worlds that influenced his life might help, so their first stop will be Dagobah.


In the planet’s atmosphere, he tells her about the time that his ship sank in the bog and that Yoda lectured him about believing something is impossible. She must believe that she will get her powers back.


Callista knows this place is alive with lifeforms, but she cannot sense the web of living creatures that she should. As it grows dark, they fix some food. Callista asks him why he stays with her when he could have anyone he wanted.


Luke tells her that she’s the one he wants. She thinks she’ll drag him down. They can’t stay together if she doesn’t have the Force because she won’t be his equal. She cannot stay and watch him do things she used to be able to do.


They are attacked by nightbats and pull out their lightsabers to defend themselves. Callista yells that it isn’t fair that she should have to give Luke up after finding him. He is surprised to feel her rage as she chases the bats off.


He pulls her inside the ship before they come back and holds her. They both felt her open up to the Force, but she knows that it was the dark side. He thinks that they may be able to find a way for her to tap the Force now, but Callista tells him she doesn’t want to be a Jedi if it means she has to touch the dark side again.

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chapter 27:

 

Durga is off on some unexpected diplomacy which makes Sulamar more irritating than normal. This is why he doesn’t have much use for the military types. The General has promised to get surplus computer cores from old Imperial shipywards as the Hutts haven’t been able to get them.

 

The flaws in the original Mineral Exploiters have been fixed and the new ones are doing a wonderful job stripping the asteroids while specially-suited Taurills work in the vacuum of space.

 

The prisoners from Despayre weren’t like this. They were untrained, unstable and limited physically. After Lemelisk complained about the constant mistakes, Tarkin executed all of them and brought in Wookiees instead.

 

He’d been there to see the resistance posed by these primitives that caused Tarkin to kill some of them, herd the families into hostage camps and take the rest off to be indoctrinated to work on the station.

 

So the Taurill are better but not without their faults. They get distracted easily as the Overmind looks at any new asteroid or ship that appears and causes the creatures to look, too. Indeed, they’ve managed to construct a huge section improperly so he’s got to go out and have them fix the problem.

 

Relieved that Durga is gone, lest he find out about the delay and have him executed, Lemelisk suspects Sulamar won’t even notice.
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  • So, they used untrained prisoners from Despayre at first, before using Wookiees and bringing up only those from the prison who had specialized training by the time we got to Death Star.

 

chapter 28:

 

On Hoth, Luke points out where Obi-Wan’s spirit first came to him, telling him to go to Dagobah. She wishes Altis would come to her.

 

They find the remains of a ship that isn’t from the old Rebellion as they approach the remains of Echo Base. Inside, they are attacked by a gun turret and work together to get rid of it. Someone calls out to them to hurry up before the creatures come back.

 

His name is Burrk and he was an Imperial stormtrooper who deserted after the Battle of Endor. He works with two Cathar named Nodon and Nonak. They came here because of a black market demand for Wampa fur. They’d led an expedition of big game hunters for a fee. One is still among them. He is Drom Guildi, Baron Administrator of the Kelrodo-Ai gelatin mines. His aide is Sinidic.

 

They’d been using Echo Base as a shelter, doing hunting runs, but they hadn’t counted on the Wampas learning to work together. They’d slaughtered the pilot left behind. Several attacked the expedition, killing three customers and guides. Somehow, the creatures managed to blow up the ship, though that couldn’t possibly have been intentional.

 

The survivors have been here for four days with no supplies. They cannot send a distress signal, but had set up the guns with motion detectors which Luke and Callista destroyed. The small yacht the latter two brought with them has no weapons and is not large enough for all seven. But they can use it to send a signal.

 

Under cover of weapons, they rush out to the ship, only to find that the door is open. There are slashing marks all over the controls and the environmental suits are shredded.

 

That’s when the Wampas attack.
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  • Unless that yacht is like a fighter with two seats in it only, I cannot imagine why they can’t cram five more people into it. They may not all have seats or be comfortable, but surely that’s better than freezing on Hoth.
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