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chapter 51:

Wedge’s crew continues to be stymied by his actions. He waits until the Star Destroyers are flanking them and orders people to the top gunpods with blaster cannons. The Destroyers won’t fire upon them because they are being piloted by droids.

Since Wedge is not behaving logically for an enemy, the droids think he’s one of them. He indicates a spot on the target map where he wants the fire concentrated. They have to hit it perfectly the first time, otherwise the Destroyers will fire on them.

Luke reaches into the Force to go where his body had gone when he’d first encountered Exar Kun. He will be out of his body, but protected witin the Force. He would come back stronger and help Leia defeat Kueller.

His blade comes up, Kueller’s swings back, but Luke realizes that he cannot sense the Force. He will die without it. He jumps out of the way, cornered against the wall.


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chapter 52:

Suddenly, the strength has left Kueller. He cannot sense the anger in Skywalker or the fear in his sister. He cannot understand what Luke has done to him. Skywalker’s expression, however, is stunned and he realizes that the Jedi Master is not the one doing this.

He sees two new figures standing in the alley. It’s twilight and he cannot sense them through the Force. Angry, he tosses his lightsaber to the ground. He still has one more trick.

The Yavin is rocked by explosions from one of the Destroyers. With one left, Wedge decides he’s had enough of this. He leaves his second in charge and goes to the gunport himself.

He grips the laser cannon and waits for it to loom overhead, then fires. He orders the Yavin to dive quickly. The shot hits and the Destroyer explodes.


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chapter 53:

R2 leads the other droids onward. C-3PO catches up just as they are confronted by Brakiss. He tells R2 to stay back. Brakiss has a scrambler and will use it, if he doesn’t. To demonstrate, he zaps one of the other astromechs, causing it to go dead. He threatens C-3PO next.

Kueller pulls out the remote Brakiss had given him. It will destroy every droid made by Brakiss in the last two years. Luke swings his lightsaber at him. Kueller dodges and enters command numbers into the remote. Leia raises her hand, a white creature appears behind Luke and the remote accepts the codes.


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chapter 54:

Astromechs break through the glass, bringing shards down on Brakiss. He screams and starts pulling shards off of him. The droids start chasing him after he drops the scrambler.

R2 jacks into the computer system and begins deactivating the detonators. He learns they are being activated now. He sends C-3PO to the computer panel to push a command button which stops the detonations.

Leia can’t feel Luke. The white creature is with him, staring at Kueller. She senses someone else close, though. She turns to find Han and Chewie at the mouth of the alley. Leia wants to run to them, but cannot until she knows what’s happening to Luke.

Leia raises her hand and calls Han’s blaster to her, then it starts to drop. She pulls it faster as a dim mental blanket covers her.

She knows what Kueller is trying to do. Luke calls for her. Kueller turns. She fires at him. The white creature rushes toward her. Luke warns her again. She fires at Kueller agtain, knocking him down. Luke approaches her and takes the weapon from her.

She knows he’s concerned. She doesn’t even know if she shot Kueller out of anger or hatred.

Leia pulls the mask off Kueller’s face, to reveal a young man still. No wonder he used the mask. Such a young man would have frightened no one. Han walks up and tells them he would’ve helped if the creature hadn’t eaten the ysalamiri. Apparently, the Thernbee hadn’t digested them because they did help in the fight against Kueller.

Luke tells them it’s eaten stranger things.


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chapter 55:

R2 has shut off all droids in the factory except those without detonators. This leaves himself, C-3PO and the old astromechs. They find Cole strapped to a bench, nearly unconscious. C-3PO sends messages to everyone he can think of for help. Lando Calrissian responds and promises to arrive soon.

Mon Mothma escorts Leia to the redesigned ballroom. The recall elections are called off. When Leia was successful in defeating Kueller, her political momentum was enough that even Meido had to support her.

Leia still thinks Mon Mothma did something behind the scenes, as Meido was off the Inner Council before she even got back. The former stateswoman admits she’s had more experience dealing with diverse opinions. Leia will have to learn to build coalitions. She reminds Leia that the Imperials in the Senate really didn’t have anything to do with the Empire’s policies. And Leia herself should know better than to blame people for the circumstances of their past lives.

Chewie is taking the Thernbee to its pride. It’d taken two days to digest the ysalamiri so she, Luke and Mara were stuck on the Falcon playing hologames.

Mon Mothma warns her that one of the first things she will have to deal with are senators upset that C-3PO, R2 and Cole Fardreamer took the initiative to go to Telti in a stolen ship.

Leia will not allow the droids to be punished or Cole. He was the one who found the problem with the X-Wings. They are going back to the old models and she is thinking of changing rules for droids. But, for now, after bridgebuilding, she’s going to see Luke out of his bacta tank before going home to be with her family.

Mon Mothma prepares to step down as they enter the temporary Senate Hall. Leia has a speech to make that will set the tone for the new Senate term and this time she will do it right.


The End

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