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"Delusions of Grandeur": Book 8 in the Young Jedi Knights series


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chapter 1:

Jacen Solo wakes his sister, Jaina, to tell her that his gort egg is about to hatch. She tells him she’ll be there shortly. While he goes to get the others, she tries composing a message for Zekk, urging him to come back to the Jedi Academy , telling him about their adventures searching for Bornan Thul and asking if he has any news himself.

The four friends watch the gort hatch and it’s a female Jacen names Nicta. Artoo arrives to tell them Luke wants them to help Peckhum unload supplies for the academy and the New Republic forces.

Jaina hopes he brings news of Zekk.

Peckhum’s new ship is the Thunderbolt and it’s hard to get used to. Jaina gives him a message to give to Zekk. Peckhum has a passenger with him. He’s brought Raynar Thul back who could use some cheering up. Jacen offers to tell him some jokes.
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  • When Han gave Jacen the gort egg, he told him it would take about a year to hatch. That egg must’ve been partway through its development because it’s not been a year since he was given the egg.
  • Security was such an important factor when Raynar was delivered to his family that Luke Skywalker himself was expected to take him there. Since that time, there has been a kidnapping attempt on himself and his mother and his uncle has been grabbed by IG-88. I’m rather surprised Aryn Thul would allow Raynar to return to the academy at all, much less let Peckhum fly him there. I mean, isn’t the Bornaryn fleet in hiding?​
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chapter 2:

Lowbacca watching a shooting star fly down and wishes it was his friend, Raaba, returning. It is dark and he is wandering the jungle, despite the danger.

He still blames himself for inspiring Raaba to follow his example and try her Rite of Passage alone. That had caused her to be injured early in her journey. Unwilling to return to her family a failure, she had left and joined the Diversity Alliance which is a non-human political movement.

She’d briefly encountered Lowbacca and his friends on Kuar but left after Tyko Thul thoughtlessly insulted Nolaa Tarkona, the leader of the Diversity Alliance.

He fears she will never come back.

The next morning, he calls his sister, Sirra, on Kashyyyk. He explains the situation to her, needing to confide in someone. She is excited to learn that her dear friend is still alive and even her quick disappearance cannot dissuade her.

After leaving greetings for his parents, he returns to his quarters and picks up Em Teedee who is a bit too chipper for Lowie this morning.
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chapter 3:

Back on Borgo Prime, Zekk returns to Droq’l who had hired him to find a trader named Fonterrat. He explains that Fonterrat landed on the human colony of Gammalin and inadvertently exposed the population to a plague that killed everyone. Before that happened, the authorities imprisoned him, destroyed the cargo and burned his ship out, trying to contain the plague. It didn’t work. Unfortunately for Fonterrat, he was left alone in a cell with no food or water and slowly died. That’s good enough for Droq’l whose cargo was in Fonterrat’s ship.

He pays Zekk in full and congratulates him for accomplishing his goal and bringing back proof. In fact, he knows someone who is looking for a bounty hunter that isn’t well known.

He introduces Zekk to a creature in holographic disguise who calls himself Master Wary. Wary wants him to find a kidnapped man named Tyko Thul. He was abducted by several assassin droids recently. He believes the disappearance is related to the one involving Tyko’s brother.

He also wants Zekk to send a message for him. He warns him not to bother listening to it as it will mean nothing to him. It’s to go to the Bornaryn fleet which is in hiding. Zekk is to broadcast it to several specific sites along major trading routes.

He will meet Zekk here in ten days to ascertain whether or not there is any progress.

In the meantime, Zekk decides to listen to the messages sent to him by Peckhum and Jaina. He’s disappointed to see that the message from Jaina is coded, but realizes he put in Wary’s instead. That doesn’t make sense as the Bornaryn fleet would have to know the code.

He wonders if Wary is an employee of the company or maybe Bornan Thul himself.

He races out of the bar to try to find the man but he sees only the discarded disguise.
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chapter 4:

Lowie takes the group out in his skyhopper for a spin. The ship is packed because Raynar is along. None of them had the heart to exclude him with his spirits so discouraged.

They take a quick ride before returning to the temple to help Tionne with the younger trainees.

Master Skywalker is off on another mission for the New Republic so Tionne gathers them all in the courtyard, having taken over the lessons. She tells them the story of Gav and Jori Daragon, siblings who gave up on their Jedi training before they stumbled across the Sith Empire.

She reminds them how they may find things other than what they are looking for. They must learn to listen to the Force to determine which causes they should champion.

After their exercises, they decide to swim in the river. While enjoying themselves, Jaina recognizes the Rising Star approaching. Raaba exits her ship and speaks with Lowie.

His friends decide to leave them alone and take Em Teedee with them.

They spend the next few days together, talking and climbing and flying. Jaina is glad to see his friend’s heart lifted, but she still notices that Raaba isn’t bothering to speak with any humans. It comes as a surprise when Lowie announces that he is leaving the school for a while.

He is taking Raaba back to Kashyyyk to reunite with her family, so he can see his own and so that he can learn more about the Diversity Alliance. He will return in a few weeks. He leaves Em Teedee behind in Jaina’s care and flies off in the Rising Star.
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  • The story of the Daragon siblings occurred in Dark Horse Comics’ Tales of the Jedi series
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chapter 5:

As days go by, they miss Lowbacca. It’s worse not knowing when he will be back. Jaina has put off repairs to the Rock Dragon even though the others could help her.

He’s showing Nicta to Raynar when she appears and tells him that Uncle Luke is returning and wants them to meet him at the Shadow Chaser.

Jaina is delighted to see that Luke has brought her friend, Lusa, a Centauriform girl. It has been years since Lusa had been held, along with Jaina and her brothers, by the Dark Side adept Hethrir who was going to sacrifice a Force-sensitive to an alien being called Waru. Jaina herself sometimes has nightmares about the incident and it looks like Lusa’s eyes are haunted, too.

Luke explains that Lusa has a lot she wants to say, but they need to give her time to settle in first.

That evening, Luke has the twins, Tenel Ka and Raynar eat with him privately so that Lusa can tell her story. She explains that she was very angry after her kidnapping as a child. After returning to her family, they didn’t understand that anger. She had a hard time trusting anyone growing up. Two years ago, she met others who understood what it was like to be mistreated. They had dedicated themselves to making life better for those who have been victimized.

She admired what they stood for and felt accepted for the first time. Each time she helped someone, she felt better. She also noticed that they had one thing in common: they’d been abused by humans.

She began to understand how humans had dominated the galaxy and used their power to take advantage of others. Over time, she was sent on missions to help save lives, rescue slaves and other good works. Ten days ago, she was told to wipe the navicomputers of a geological survey ship whose crew had been negligent and destroyed a forest on Kaisa, causing an entire species to go extinct. She was to make sure the ship’s computers could never again take the geologists to a new world.

After sabotaging the ship, however, she noticed a little girl among them and realized that they might end up lost in space after their next hyperspace jump. She would be condemning them to die. She had never considered that and doesn’t think it’s her place to decide who lives and who dies.

She told them what she had done. They were grateful she’d spared them the danger and fixed the computer. Afterwards, they offered to take her with them. She traveled to Coruscant and contacted Master Skywalker who had extended an offer many years ago to let her study at the academy.

They realize that the organization she is speaking of is the Diversity Alliance. Luke is alarmed to learn that Lowie has gone with his friend, Raaba, who works for them.
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  • We met Lusa in The Crystal Star during which the kidnapping incident she endured took place.
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chapter 6:

Zekk lands on the hostile world of Ziost where the Sith Empire had once had an outpost to transmit the message he is certain Bornan Thul hired him to send.

He struggles with the ethics of hunting a man who’d hired him for a job. He sends the message anyway and prepares to leave Ziost when another ship approaches him. He’s contacted by another bounty hunter named Dengar who wants information about Bornan Thul.

He knows that Zekk transmitted several messages directed to the Bornaryn fleet. After firing a couple of concussion missles that take down Zekk’s shields, he sends another out which turns out to be a dud.

Zekk does some flying that can only be ascribed to his abilities in the Force and blasts the ice below to create a foggy cloud that blinds his pursuer before escaping into hyperspace.
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  • The world of Ziost was first mentioned in Dark Horse Comics’ Tales of the Jedi series. We also read about it in Red Harvest, Darth Plagueis, Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader and The Force Unleashed.
  • Didn’t Dengar die? It turns out that Mara Jade’s encounter with him in Dark Force Rising was actually that of an impersonator named Gunner Groth.
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chapter 7:

On the Tradewyn, Aryn Dro Thul surveys her fleet before sending a message to her headquarters on Coruscant. She retrieves messages sent to her and finally finds one using a Thul family code. She decodes it to find a small hologram of her husband.

He tells her that he’s been hiding for a long time, but wants her and Raynar to know that he is alive. He has learned of a conspiracy that threatens humanity. He cannot contact them again until he is sure the threat no longer exists.

She plays and replays it, full of joy.
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chapter 8:

In the Rising Star, Lowie realizes how much Raaba has changed. She tells him it’s understandable after she learned of the evil perpetuated by humans in the galaxy. That is why the Diversity Alliance is important as a political force.

The Empire was never punished for enslaving the Wookiees, for example. The Diversity Alliance would never allow such a thing to happen. He reminds her that humans are not the only species to mistreat others. They are not responsible for everything that is wrong.

She admits that is true. Lowie asks if the Diversity Alliance opposes the mistreatment of humans. Raaba cannot answer that, but she believes that the Diversity Alliance focuses on alien mistreatment, not human. She urges him to give her friends a chance and listen to them. If he keeps an open mind, he might find he belongs there with her.
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chapter 9:

About 20 years ago, a nonhuman group called the Alien Combine had tried to do what the Diversity Alliance is doing now. They failed because they weren’t willing to take extreme actions.

Havrak escorts her to three Diversity Alliance soldiers who have proven very effective in recruiting others. Rullak is a Quarren whose species had collaborated with the Empire in order to protect their underwater cities while their peaceful Mon Calamari neighbors were enslaved. A Trandoshan named Corrsk has sworn to ignore his bloodlust for any Wookiee who joins their cause. The Devaronian, Kambrea, is left.

Tarkona explains that she would like to give them a demonstration that will prove they are right to follow her. She reminds them how the Empire utilized human scientists to create viruses that attacked non-human species. For example, the scientist Evir Derricote created the Krytos Virus that plagued Coruscant. He also developed one even more deadly, possibly as bad as the Death Seed plague. It appears even Palpatine would not use it. She has a vial of that plague with her.

She has Hovrak bring in a captive human in the robes of a Royal Guardsman. She explains that this man recently conspired to establish a second Empire under the guise of a fake Emperor. He and his comrades were foiled by a group of Jedi.

The Diversity Alliance captured him when he went to the fringe in the hopes of contacting criminal organizations. This man has certain knowledge that may be valuable. Palpatine may not have been willing to use it, but he wouldn’t destroy the plague either. He had it stored in a weapons depot on an asteroid station.

This Guardsman may know where the storehouse is. When he refuses to tell her anything, she crushes the vial and he begins convulsing. He finally dies.

She points out that only humans are affected by the virus. Palpatine may have developed it to wipe out rebel strongholds on colony worlds, but it carries so easily that he couldn’t use it lest it spread throughout the Empire.

A trader named Fonterrat found the facility and stole two samples of it. He brought them to her. Fearing she might harm him for additional information, he agreed to turn his navicomputer with the location of the depot over to her only through an intermediary at a neutral location. The intermediary would then pass over her payment.

She chose Bornan Thul due, in part, to the irony. He met Fonterrat on Kuar, made the exchange and they went their separate ways, but Thul never showed up. It is probable that he learned what he had and decided to disappear rather than meet her at the trade conference on Shumavar as planned.

One of the plague samples was hidden in Fonterrat’s payment so he unwittingly spread it on the human colony of Gammalin. Everyone there is dead now, but there was no one to take it anywhere else.

Though she has used the last sample on the Guardsman, her bounty on Thul should be large enough to get her results.
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  • Could this weapon possibly be one developed by Ovolot Qail Uthan of the Republic Commando series? She might’ve developed one while working for the Separatists or this one could have fallen into Palpatine’s hands afterwards. In Imperial Commando: 501st, she seemed intent on developing a virus that could be unleashed on Coruscant after he destroyed her homeworld of Gibad. That being said, I have a hard time believing there was a virus he was afraid to use, but I suppose even Palpatine wouldn’t want to risk wiping out the human population of his Empire.
  • The Alien Combine appeared in Wedge’s Gamble.
  • Evir Derricote was introduced in the X-Wing series and appeared in the first four books. He was responsible for the Krytos virus unleashed on Coruscant. He was mentioned in a couple of other books, too.
  • I’m sure we remember the Guardsmen plot from Jedi Under Siege.
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chapter 10:

Zekk spends time memorizing the Bounty Hunter’s Creed and is having trouble reconciling it to his current situation. He has a meeting with a man he believes to be Bornan Thul in about a week. He’d promised his friends he would let them know if he had any information, but he cannot betray his employer. Doing so would blacklist him among other hunters.

Of course, he’d been hired to find Tyko Thul, so doing so may bring the brothers together. Having heard that Boba Fett was seen on Tatooine, he decides to go there and meet with Fett.

In Mos Eisley, he steps onto the hazy street and enters the cantina. He tells Chalmun he’s searching for Boba Fett. After being told to wait and make sure to keep buying drinks, he sits for hours until Fett arrives that evening. Spotting Zekk, he freezes.

He asks him what he wants. Zekk tells him he knows where the bounty hunter Dengar was searching for Bornan Thul. In return for that information, he needs Fett’s advice.

Since Dengar is not a fool, Fett wants to know what advice Zekk needs. The young man asks what would happen were he to accept a bounty and, in the course of such a quest, comes across unrelated information that reveals the location of a second bounty. If he pursues both, the second bounty may harm the employer who hired him for the original mission.

Fett answers that he cannot betray his employer. However, his contract ends when the original bounty is closed. He recommends that Zekk complete his original contract. When it terminates, he is not obligated to retain allegiance to his employer and will be free to pursue the second one.

Zekk has already sent the message. If he can find Tyko Thul, he will not be required to protect Bornan’s location. Zekk tells Fett about Ziost and gave some additional details before they part ways.
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  • I would agree that Dengar is not incompetent, but he really didn’t put on a great show in the Bounty Hunter Wars series.
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chapter 11:

Raynar practices with Jacen using stun rods. He wants to be prepared for real lightsaber fighting and Jacen is one of the best. Raynar thinks that Jaina feels sorry for him and takes it easy when they battle. Tenel Ka, on the other hand, shows him no mercy.

They watch Tenel Ka and Lusa take a morning run. Raynar gushes about how amazing she is. Feeling a bit of jealousy, Jacen admits he thinks so, too. He is surprised Raynar just noticed her. The other boy admits he felt that way from the moment they met, but that was only a few days ago. Relieved that his friend is talking about Lusa, Jacen agrees that she is amazing.

Maenwhile Jaina and Em Teedee are working on Rock Dragon. She really wishes Lowie was here to help. Em Teedee wishes he was, too. He fears he’s not much use to his master anymore. Lowie’s friends understand enough of his words to get by so he really doesn’t need a translator.

Jaina decides to give him a lubricant bath and then waterproof him. She tells him he’ll be surprised how good he’ll feel after that.

Raynar hadn’t expected Lusa to agree to come with him to see his favorite waterfall, but Master Skywalker had overheard and encouraged her to accept. He reminded her that she needs to learn to accept more human friends.

He realizes he doesn’t really know how to speak to people he doesn’t know. He struggles to think of a question to ask, finally asking what she looks for in a friend. Lusa thinks and then answers that she values loyalty, commitment and the willingness to look for new solutions to old problems and act on them. She supposes that’s what drew her to the Diversity Alliance.

He raises his arm to point to the waterfall and accidentally brushes her. Startled, she runs ahead. Raynar approaches her and apologies. She tells him that she let the Diversity Alliance poison her mind. It’s hard to unlearn all of that so soon.

She asks if he minds her jumping in the water. He watches her and thinks about the things she values. Raynar wonders what he believes in. He wants to complete his Jedi training, serve the New Republic and then join his family to help run the company.

He does believe in the concept of family, but he can’t really help his family now. His mother has more protection than he can provide, he isn’t needed at company headquarters on Coruscant and he would be just one of a number of searchers already on the lookout for his father and uncle.

Watching Lusa play in the waterfall, he is reminded of the Alderaanian Ceremony of Waters that his mother and uncle love so much. He realizes that he can do something. He can supervise Tyko’s droid operations on Mechis III until his return.

He shares his idea with Lusa who asks if he’s going alone. He doesn’t have a ship after all. He tells her that he has some friends with a ship and is sure they will come with him.
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chapter 12:

Jaina’s recent message tells Zekk that Tyko Thul was kidnapped by IG-88. He appreciates her message and intends to respond someday, when he feels that he can rise above his past with the Shadow Academy.

He compiles a database on Tyko Thul who invested his fortune in rebuilding the droid facilities on Mechis III. After Bornan disappeared, his brother fled to the safety of his family’s fleet before attempting to help Jaina and the others on Kuar where he was captured.

It’s unusual that IG-88 has made no ransom demands. It’s as if he’s just waiting for Bornan Thul to expose himself. Zekk decides to check out Kuar first since he has no other leads.

He finds a civilization long gone there. Finding the remains of the encampment, he lands the Lightning Rod there and surveys the area. Using the Force, he heads to the tunnels where the battle took place is finds a CPU left from one of the destroyed assassin droids.

The model number is less than two months old. An old-style assassin droid like IG-88 surely would have been using other discontinued models. Sensing the combat arachnids are alerted to his presence, he takes the chip and heads back to his ship.

Inside, he runs a check using the Rod’s computers and finds that the droids had been manufactured weeks ago in Tyko’s own droid factory on Mechis III.
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chapter 13:

Mechis III had been the center of droid production for centuries. As the Empire fell, it had gone through a number of changes. The human attendants had been killed, but the systems remained active, continuing to produce droids.

With no one to repair them, though, they began to fall apart. Raynar’s uncle had taken charge and began to work on repairing the systems. Raynar won’t let that work go to waste.

The Rock Dragon approaches the planet and Jacen turns to ask them what an Imperial Star Destroyer wears to a formal occasion. The answer is a bow TIE.

Jaina threatens to strand him here.

They are greeted by 3D-4X who refuses them access. He does not recognize Raynar’s authority either. He scuttles off after Tenel Ka threatens him with her lightsaber.

Raynar tells them they will find their own way to his uncle’s office and he can run the whole place from there. His mother will approve of him training himself this way and he hopes Uncle Tyko will be proud of him.

When they reach the main office, however, he inadvertently triggers an intruder alert which seals them inside the room.

Targeting lasers search for them and begin firing as Jaina searches for a way to get them free. Tenel Ka and Jacen use their lightsabers to take out the targeting lasers. Jaina gets the door open and they rush out only to run into IG-88.

Tyko Thul orders him to stop. Then he asks what Raynar is doing here because he’s ruined everything.
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chapter 14:

On Kashyyyk, Raaba makes Lowie promise not to tell anyone she’s back. She is going to make her appearance tonight when everyone is there.

He goes to see Sirra first who is taking piloting lessons. Her instructor is somewhat disgruntled at her unorthodox methods.

They spend the day togther and head to the ampitheatre where their parents went after work. She doesn’t understand why he would want to go there when these meetings are only relevant to the adults.

She is surprised when Raaba appears wearing her own belt of syren fiber. Raaba explains that she had sought refuge with the Diversity Alliance after nearly being killed during her Rite of Passage.

The Empire’s enslavement of Kashyyyk had taken the life out of their world in a similar way. Lowie is unhappy to hear that she’s giving a political speech. She tells them all about Nolaa Tarkona and invites any of them to join the cause.

When the crowd responds enthusiastically, Raaba joins Lowbacca in the crowd. She tells him she went down in to the jungle and completed her Rite of Passage before surprising her parents. She wanted her trophy before showing herself to them.

But she has to leave for Ryloth that night and report to Tarkona. She invites Lowie and Sirra to come with her and she will tell them all about her adventure. Sirra agrees for them both.
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chapter 15:

Tyko frets about how he has to replace the defense grid in his office. He’d calibrated it not to hit anyone. He explains to Raynar how he was trying to lure Bornan out into the open by making it look like he was in danger. Apparently, it didn’t work.

Barking orders to IG-88 and the others, he elaborates. Tyko tells Raynar that he is certain Bornan has gotten in over his head regarding some scam and is in hiding because he’s too embarrassed to admit it. He’s inconveniencing all of them to say nothing of the distress he’s caused his wife and son.

Tired of watching this whole thing unfold, he came upon an idea to stage his abduction, hoping Bornan would come to help his own brother. Instead of him, the children came.

The assembly line they come across was once used to manufacture Imperial probe droids. Now, they produce the mapping and surveying droids that were used to great affect during the Black Fleet Crisis. The New Republic needs accurate maps so there won’t be any issues with lost colonies and other unknown worlds.

The members of IG-88’s team were recently manufactured using some old plans he found here. He only produced a dozen of them. Raynar protests that assassin droids are illegal. Tyko tells him they have explicit programming preventing them for hurting anyone. They were not in danger on Kuar from his droids, though the combat arachnids were certainly unexpected.

As for IG-88 himself, Tyko found his body here when he took over the plant. He was the one behind the massacre of the sentient staff here. There had been copies made of the droid to do the bounty hunting work. This one uploaded his consciousness into the second Death Star which proved to be unwise. The shell of the droid was left here and Tyko purged the system, replaced the cpu and reprogrammed it.

Raynar is glad his uncle has some real protection in case those who are after his father really do attack him. Tyko believes Bornan has gotten himself into trouble but doubts he’s in any real danger.
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chapter 16:

Zekk lands on Borgo Prime first to meet with his mysterous employer. He waits all day until he spots what he’s sure is Thul in a new disguise entering the room. The man says he doesn’t have much time and needs his report.

Zekk relates how he sent the message. He was attacked by a bounty hunter immediately after that who had thought he had found Bornan Thul. But, of course, Bornan Thul is sitting right here.

The man jumps in his seat. Zekk tells him he’s not going to capture him, but asks how long he thinks he can hide behind obvious disguises.

He hasn’t found Tyko yet, but he has a lead. He will go to Mechis III first to see if he can find out more information. Once the job is done, Thul will have to consider himself a target for capture by Zekk.

Thul asks if he knows the consequences of turning him over to Nolaa Tarkona. Zekk should consider how far he is willing to go to be a famous bounty hunter. It could cost more lives than he knows.

During a bar fight, Thul slips away and Zekk decides to head to Mechis III right away.
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chapter 17:

After they return to the offices, Tyko goes to arrange a meal for them. Jaina turns to Raynar and tells him there’s something about his story that doesn’t seem right.

They don’t really sense he’s lying but his logic is somewhat flawed. Obviously, Raynar’s father is in danger, despite what Tyko thinks. Boba Fett wasn’t playing games at Alderaan and the two bounty hunters who tried to abduct Raynar and his mother were quite serious, too.

Raynar thinks they should tell his mother Tyko is safe so she’ll not worry about him, too. He also wants them to get the defensive lasers working again so his uncle will be protected in case any unwanted visitors show up.

Tyko is pleased to find two of the lasers fixed when he returns with food. Jaina asks about his programming to prevent the assassin droids from killing. She points out that they blasted combat arachnids quite readily on Kuar.

He explains that they aren’t programmed to kill humans. But combat arachnids aren’t human and the droids are, after all, bodyguards. They surmise this means that both Lowie and Raaba would have been in danger on Kuar.

Tyko admits it’s possible, but, at least, nothing happened to the Wookiees. Raynar is very glad that all of the assassin droids were destroyed. Of course, IG-88 is still here, which gives him an idea.

Jaina sets to work on him until the droid can only serve and protect, not kill anyone
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chapter 18:

Tyko takes them on a tour of the factory, offering enhancements to Em Teedee in gratitude for the help. They end up adding ten extra languages to his repertoire and a set of microrepulsorjets to give him some mobility.

They are teaching him how to use the jets when a voice calls out to them to halt.

Raynar turns to see Zekk standing there with a blaster. Recognizing his friends, Zekk asks what they are doing here. Tyko would rather know what he’s doing here. He doesn’t believe Aryn would hire someone this young to find him.

Raynar isn’t sure what his mother would do, but he still feels some lingering resentment for Zekk tossing into the river during the battle on Yavin IV.

Zekk reveals that everyone else is out hunting for his brother who was actually the one who hired him. So far as he knows, Bornan is still alive and well, but is back in hiding.

Tyko doesn’t think Zekk is much of a bounty hunter to give up the credits the Thul family would have paid him. Everyone knows that bounty hunters value credits over honor anyway.

Raynar turns on his uncle and chastises him for faking his own kidnapping in an attempt to draw Bornan out into the open without even knowing what he was facing. That stunt could have killed his father had someone else besides Zekk found him.

Zekk confirms that Bornan’s life is in danger. He was hired to find Tyko and to deliver a message to the Thul family. Handing the message packet to Raynar, he says he’s finished both parts of his assignment.
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chapter 19:

Raaba flies Lowie and Sirra to Ryloth, extolling the virtues of Nolaa Tarkona. Lowie isn’t convinced. To be sure, there are some individuals in the New Republic who have trouble with aliens, but there is no government policy that promotes the oppression of non-human species.

He keeps his thoughts to himself to prevent from upsetting Sirra’s grand adventure. When they land, they are greeted by Hovrak who takes them to Tarkona.

She is pleased to have, not only more Wookiees among them, but also a Jedi. She understands Lowbacca was part of the search for Bornan Thul, the human who stole a valuable cargo the Diversity Alliance needs to continue its work.

Corrsk the Trandoshan enters and it looks like there will be an altercation when Tarkona stops it. She explains they have put aside their differences here to unite against the humans.

Lowie slowly relaxes and admits he must do his best to accept other species and fit in.
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chapter 20:

When sirens sound through Mechis III, Jaina wonders why since only droids are here and they wouldn’t care. It turns out that Dengar is back. He followed Zekk here in the hopes of finding Bornan Thul.

Zekk wonders why everyone assumes that.

After making sure this isn’t another hoax of Tyko’s, they decide to take the Rock Dragon and Lightning Rod out of here to get Dengar to leave.

Tyko won’t leave his factory here to be wiped out by some bounty hunter. Raynar reminds him he might be killed if he stays. Tyko insists he will be fine in the reinforced lower levels.

Jaina flies with Zekk while the others head to the Dragon. Dengar’s bombing is taking parts of the factory complex. He lands and disembarks with huge blaster rifles, demanding to know where Bornan is.

Raynar tells him that Bornan isn’t here. Dengar threatens to shoot them one by one until Thul’s location is revealed. Jacen notices that Raynar seems intent on Dengar’s ship. While Dengar is distracted by Tenel Ka, Jacen uses the Force to jostle his weapons, then the three students mentally push his ship toward the edge of the building. That’s when IG-88 appears. Tyko Thul follows and orders him to protect them.
IG-88 fires at Dengar’s weapons, destroying them, rather than kill Dengar. Dengar races to his ship and it topples over the side. The bounty hunter manages to get it fired up, but he is not able to come after the group again because the Lightning Rod comes after him.
Raynar shouts to Dengar that this will teach him not to mess with young Jedi Knights.
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  • Well, okay, Raynar, I guess you and your friends did a good job slowing down Dengar, but you were saved by the reprogrammed droid and your friend Zekk.
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chapter 21:

Zekk tries to figure out how Dengar knew where to find him. He spends some time with Jaina, working on the Lightning Rod and talking it out with her. It’s possible that he found the droid debris on Kuar and came to the same conclusions that would have led him to Mechis III. But it’s a bit of a stretch.
Jaina suggests that maybe he put a tracking device on the Rod, hoping to be led directly to Bornan. Since Zekk was sending messages to the Bornaryn fleet, Dengar might have thought Zekk was working for Thul. Zekk points out that Denger should have just gone to Borgo Prime instead and found Bornan there. They will have to find out for sure if there’s a tracer on the ship.
They look over the entire ship before Zekk finds what he thought was a failed concussion grenade that’s actually a limpet mine used to plant a tracking device. He pries it off and comes up with a plan. He puts it inside a high-speed courier pod and programs it to fly far away from inhabited star systems, hoping Dengar will follow.
After helping his uncle get the place operational again, Raynar joins the others watching Jaina modify IG-88. She wants to use him to track down Bornan since finding people is what the droid was built for anyway.
Raynar is glad that the droid will not kill anyone else, even aliens. He wishes, though, that he knew why his father is in hiding. Jacen assures him that they will not stop searching for him. It’s too bad Lowie isn’t here to help.
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chapter 22:


Zekk promises Jaina that he will see her soon. He hopes to find Bornan before even IG-88 does or, at least, give him a message.


Meanwhile, Jacen has left several message for Lowie with no response. He hopes nothing is wrong. Tenel Ka contacts her parents, explaining the situation with the Diversity Alliance. They promise to look into it. Privately, Tenel Ka hopes that her grandmother is listening in and will use her resources, as well.


No sooner is that conversation over when they are contacted by Lowie’s parents. Lowie left the planet a few days earlier with Sirra to meet with Nolaa Tarkona. A great many Wookiees are interested in the Diversity Alliance. Knowing what they know, the friends are concerned that their friend is walking into a dangerous situation.


On Ryloth, Lowie, Raaba and Sirra look up at the stars. Lowie misses his human friends, but Raaba tells him that he is among his true friends now.

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End of Book 8
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