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"Trouble on Cloud City": Book 12 in the Young Jedi Knights series

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chapter 1:

Jaina runs through the forest of Yavin IV , followed by Tenel Ka and Lowie, until they reach the waterfall where Raynar and Lusa are already waiting. The group had planned to swim together, but Zekk and Jacen decided to help Anja Gallandro with her lightsaber skills.

Raynar suggests they could have invited Anja to swim and make her feel more at home. However, everyone gathered here agrees that Anja doesn’t seem willing to feel at home here or associate with any of them, save Jacen and Zekk. This, of course, is of some concern to Tenel Ka and Jaina.

Raynar hopes they know what they are doing. Training someone who isn’t trained in the Force can be dangerous. Jaina points out that they are Jedi and aren’t going to let anyone get hurt. She suggests they swim anyway.

Meanwhile, Jacen is being singed on the arm and jumps back. Zekk tells Anja that she is supposed to be learning control. Anja doesn’t think she should have to since she fights so well. Zekk points out places where she left an opening for a serious opponent to hurt or kill her.

Anja assures him she knew Jacen would not have done that.

Jacen is about to counter that when he sees Master Skywalker approaching. He tells Luke about Anja’s way of doing things. Luke explains to his nephew that he’s had a few practice sessions with Anja himself and has sensed no Force potential at all in her. Jacen asks him to let her stay longer because it could just be repressed. Luke allows that it’s possible, but he’s not certain. He wouldn’t let her stay here at all if Han hadn’t asked him to as a favor. She carries a shadow inside of her that disturbs him.
  • Well, I’m glad that was covered. I had wondered why Luke would allow a woman who has professed no allegiance to the New Republic, has found virtually nothing worthwhile to compliment on Yavin IV and has shown no ability to use the Force at all to spend weeks at the Jedi Academy practicing controlling a dangerous weapon. Jacen is obviously a bit infatuated with Anja which explains why he’s forgetting that Zekk had a hard life, too, and still didn’t repress Force abilities. Surely Anja would have shown some talent with the Force by now.
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chapter 2:

Tenel Ka and Jaina do some unnecessary work on the Rock Dragon. They had gone for a run this morning, only to be joined by Anja as they headed back to the Temple . She’d obviously done no calisthenics this morning and raced ahead of them, to the approval of Jacen who was watching. Tenel Ka has tried not to resent the time Jacen is spending with Anja, but she cannot help but miss him. So, she and Jaina throw themselves into work.

She wonders if she can get off Yavin IV for awhile and clear her head. Lowie announces that there are visitors arriving.

The Lady Luck signals the arrival of Lando Calrissian who has an invitation for them. He’s already spoken to their parents who’ve given them permission to travel to Cloud City where Lando still owns a bit of property there.

He has a business partner named Cojahn who is helping him develop a line of family-friendly amusement centers. They are calling it SkyCenter Galleria. He’s had this idea ever since dabbling with a place called Hologram Funworld.

Luke appears and asks if there are any rides that only a Jedi can test. Lando doesn’t think so, but wants to borrow the students anyway. Cojahn has young children, but Lando wants some older youths to test out the attractions and give their suggestions. He promises he will allow no one to be kidnapped this time.

Jacen asks if they can bring a new friend along with them and Lando doesn’t see why not.
  • Anja is at least 25 years old. Gallandro died in Han Solo and the Lost Legacy which took place, at the latest, the same year as the Battle of Yavin. At that age, she is hardly the type of person who would find a family-entertainment center an attractive destination. Zekk is a good 6 years younger than she and Jacen is at least 9 years younger. Just FYI.
  • Also, it must be nice to be able to up and leave your school whenever a friend or family member shows up and wants to take you away on a trip. I know Luke’s teaching style is open-ended, but these students spend a lot of time not focusing on their studies.
  • Hologram Fun World was mentioned in the book Queen of the Empire, one of the infamous “Glove of Darth Vader”/Jedi Prince series of books that we did not summarize.
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chapter 3:

Anja packs quickly and ponders her situation. She had followed the Solo children to Yavin IV, assuming that hurting them was the best way to hurt their father for killing hers so many years ago.

But the young Jedi have been open, patient and helpful. Jacen loves animals and has a silly sense of humor that Anja finds refreshing. She wanted to hate them all, but can’t, even though she knows they want to change her.

They have to show their true colors eventually.

She is a little flattered to be greeted by such a handsome man as Lando Calrissian. Jacen tells her that Lando is one of his father’s oldest friends and a former smuggler, too.

Anja notes that she likes smugglers but has always gotten the impression that former smugglers are too self-righteous for their own good. Lando confesses he will have to change her mind about that.

Jaina thinks her comments are fairly rude and Jacen explains Lando has been like an uncle to them since they were born. He’s one of the best people Jacen knows and he wants Anja to give him a chance. After all, he’s letting her come with them to Cloud City , even though he doesn’t even know her.

Anja agrees to lay off Lando. Jaina assures her that he doesn’t insult too easily.

When they land on Cloud City, Lando is approached by a group of city officials who tell him that Cojahn is dead, the victim of an apparent suicide.
  • Hold off, Lando. You’re old enough to be her father. And aren’t you married to Tendra yet??
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chapter 4:

Lando takes all the young people ito the construction site of the entertainment complex. No one is particularly in the mood for fun.

The new shift supervisor reports that everything is on schedule. The old one was an Ugnaught fired by Cojahn a few days before his death. The supervisor was always arguing with him about something. He even burned a patch of fur off his head when he refused to follow safety procedures. The new supervisor was happier with Cojahn who didn’t mind slowdowns so long as safety was maintained.

Jaina mentions that such a person would not be likely to slip and fall off a balcony. Lando agrees that Cojhan was uberconscious about safety. Anja suggests he could have jumped, though.

Lando doesn’t think he did that either. Work was going well and this would have been their big break.

Inside a mirrored house, they see painted holographic images of ugly creatures everywhere. Jacen thinks they look ridiculous and no one will believe they could exist for real.

He suggests they be painted more like real land-based predators and add different directions so they respond to the movements of visitors.

They pass through an antigravity play chamber that Jaina thinks looks like it’s already been used due to the dents all over the place. Lando shows them a holographic representation of their plans.

He doesn’t know how he’d going to do all the work himself now. Jaina asks if there aren’t others who might be interested in investing. Lando allows that there could be, but it won’t be the same without Cojahn.

He takes them into an area he designed and causes them to drop through a chute where they are buffeted by heat and wind before landing at the bottom.

Jaina wonders if Cojahn wasn’t pushed off the balcony. Anja doesn’t think they should assume anything is wrong here, but Lowie believes he senses something off about the place. The Jedi offer to investigate.

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chapter 5:

Lando requests an official investigation into Cojahn’s death from Cloud City Security. Meanwhile, the students head to an observation platform where they watch the gas refineries and enjoy the spectacular view.

A show starts, featuring thrantas, creatures native to Alderaan, which were brought her as beasts of burdens. These are probably the only ones in existence since Alderaan was destroyed.

Several figures jump from a launching ramp onto the creatures. Jacen realizes they are the thranta riders. It’s a sky rodeo that performs here once per month. They are watching a rehearsal and can only imagine what the real thing looks like.

Anja doesn’t think the mystery of Cojahn can be solved by a bunch of students. Alderaan should have defended itself better. She suggests maybe Cojahn wanted to be a rider and fell.

She is surprised when Tenel Ka and Zekk consider this seriously. Jaina also suggests that they find out about the Ugnaught shift supervisor who was fired. Anja still thinks this was a stupid accident.

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chapter 6:

The Cloud Dance restaurant is where they meet Lando for their morning meal. The high location appeals to Lowie even if the food turns out to be dreadful. Lando is glad they could join him, although he notices that Anja and Zekk are not here.

Jaina noticed, too. She thinks they’ll be here shortly, though. Zekk is spotted heading towards them and Jacen thinks Anja just has some pent-up energy to get rid of. Lando considers this and mentions that an excess of energy is enviable, but he hopes they will not be duped into trying andris spice.

At first, they don’t understand what he’s saying. Tenel Ka surmises that Lando thinks Anja is addicted to andris. Landois apologetic, but he’s had some experience dealing with people like that. The symptoms are easily recognizable to him: restlessness, widely-dilated pupils, excess energy, a big appetite that isn’t associated with weight gain, a quick temper, especially after going off alone for a short time to get their fix.

Jacen thinks he would have known, but Zekk seems to be replaying recent events in his mind. Jaina sees Anja is coming so suggests they just ask her.

No one speaks to her at first until Jaina brings up the subject of andris. Anja insists it’s not hers and she’s just keeping it for a friend. Jacen is stunned that she actually has some. They tell her that no one went snooping in her things. They are asking her because she is showing symptoms of an addict.

Anya maintains she can quit when she wants to. She uses it because she likes it and everyone knows that andris has legal uses, too. She storms out because of this line of questioning.

Angry that these so-called friends of hers would interrogate her, she fumes. This was supposed to be a fun trip, despite the death of Cojahn. It’s not her fault he was clumsy. Still, she knows it’s not likely he jumped on purpose. Czethros has an interest in some of the gambling casinos here and she has reason to believe Cojahn might have run afoul of Black Sun.

All of this is just making her more antsy and she really wants more andris. Her supply is small enough. She will have to give Czethros information so he’ll give her more. She sneaks into a private comm. center. Anja tells Czethros where she is and how Cojahn’s death is being investigated.

It’s obvious he knows something about it. She hopes he will make it worth her while. He promises a reward and Anja decides to reward herself a little more spice.
  • Thank God Lando is smart enough to recognize a spice addict when he sees one. Considering Luke has rooted out Imperial spies at the academy the second they landed, I was very disappointed that he couldn’t sense Anja’s treacherous intentions.
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chapter 7:

Tenel Ka has never known Lando as well as the others, but she is more impressed with him as the day goes on. They go on another tour, but she can tell that he is also on the lookout for clues about Cojahn’s death. He asks them to use the Force to sense sabotage, shoddy materials, malicious workers and other hidden dangers.

While they handle that, he reviews logs and interviews crew members with probing questions. He leads them into the Climateria where visitors can choose from different climates and view animals that live those types of areas. They will also be able to eat food, listen to music and visit information kiosks from those regions.

Tenel Ka asks to try out the swamp region. He gives them all jumpsuits to protect their clothing and leads them inside. He assures them that the water has been artificially muddied in color, but it is perfectly clean.

There are tables set up in a serving area called Bayou Buffet. He plans to put Bith musicians here to play real swamp music. A young man working on the sound system tells him that Cojahn already did: Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes. They started here already and then quit. They ran off into the night the same day Cojahn died. They left no explanation and didn’t collect the credits that were owed them for the promotional appearances they made in the casino.

Lando doesn’t think the timing is a coincidence and it’s not like Figrin not to pick up a paycheck. He thinks they’ve gone to ground on the Bith homeworld.
  • Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes were the Bith musicians who were playing in the Mos Eisley Cantina in A New Hope.
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chapter 8:

Czethros is a well-respected businessman on Ord Mantell, but he is also a lieutenant in Black Sun, a powerful criminal organization. This public face is annoying, but it serves to keep nosy New Republic officials out of his business.

Once his plans go through, he won’t have to worry about that. He had been once worked as a hired killer for leaders like Xizor or Durga the Hutt. When Black Sun was forced underground, many thought it was dead. However, Czethros and a few others are working on bringing it back.

Weapons sales are down, thanks to the meddling of Solo and his kids on Anobis. Anja hasn’t been able to eliminate them yet and he can’t really tell her why it’s important for her to do so because she doesn’t know he was the one behind the selling of weapons to both sides of the conflict.

He is working on infiltrating gambling and entertainment activities on worlds like Bespin and Borgo Prime. His opposition on Bespin is gone so he can move from there and send operatives to Mon Calamari’s floating resorts.

He has pirates hijacking shipments of illicit spice in order to drive up the price. He is planning to take over the mining operations on Kessel soon.

However, that could be in jeopardy if these Jedi discover he is behind the death of the business partner. He sends orders to get rid of them to his operatives on Cloud City.

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chapter 9:

The Lady Luck is prepared for a visit to the Bith homeworld of Clak’dor VII. Jacen, Tenel Ka and Lowie will stay here to keep working on the investigation. Jaina and Zekk are going with Lando, while Anja keeps to herself.

She does show up before they leave to say good-bye.

Clak’dor VII had once been beautiful, but has been damaged ecologically. There was a nasty conflict here that ruined the ecosystem. It’s settled down some, but it will take time to recover completely.

Protective domes scatter around the landscape, but Lando’s sources tell him that the band is hiding outside. He’s sent tracers out. Fortunately, D’an and his band are not very bright. He’ s a sabaac player who recently spent a lot of credits, registered some property and bought wilderness supplies. Apparently, they are hiding in one of the bayous.

The Luck lands on a sandbar and they go trudging through the swamp until they come across several huts on stilts, with music coming from inside. Lando calls up to them and a pink Bith head pops up. From inside, a voice calls out to leave them alone.

The Bith start shooting mud bombs at them. Lando threatens them to let him inside. Figrin tells Lando that they thought he was Black Sun.

Lando wants them to tell him what happened to Cojahn.
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chapter 10:

Lowie works with the others on the Climateria, pretending to enjoy themselves while searching for evidence. Anja doesn’t see how searching a treetop will help them at all. She nearly falls before Jacen and Tenel Ka grab her.

Tenel Ka points out that she’s right in that they need to search someplace more likely for clues. They decide to find a construction site instead.

Anja is glad to be on the move again, but finds she’s uncomfortable knowing Czethros has interests here that may have caused Cohahn’s death. She wonders if she might have to cover up for him. He certainly would never have reached out a hand to save her as Jacen and Tenel Ka did.

They enter a snow environment as she ponders how she should have tossed Jacen off the tree. An accident would certainly have hurt Han Solo the way she wants him to be hurt. She grabs a snowball and tosses it at Jacen who laughs. A fast snowball fight erupts.

When they return to the central hub, Em Teedee spots an Ugnaught carrying a case. In fact, he’s sure that the same Ugnaught was lurking about the seashore environment earlier while building their sandcastle. It had the same patch of missing fur.

Jacen spots it disappearing through a trapdoor. It may be the same foreman who was fired a few days ago. If it is, he shouldn’t be here at all.

Anja wants to desperately return to her room to think and maybe get some spice. She suggests the Ugnaught just came back to get his tools. Tenel Ka gets a sense of danger through the Force. The others agree, but Anja refuses to go along with it.

She tells them she’s going back to her room and will see them at dinner.

She hurries to the turbolift, desperately needing andris, finds her hands shaking. She dumps her bag out in her room and finds the vial, accidentally drops it into her clothes and grabs it again.

The three Jedi follow the tunnels for several meters, speculating that the Ugnaught is heading to the lower levels. Em Teedee intercepts a comm. transmission in the Ugnaught dialect regarding a spice transaction.

Jacen thinks they should stay on the Ugnaught.
  • If Em Teedee noticed the Ugnaught with the missing fur while they were in a previous environment, why didn’t he say something then? He knew that they were on the lookout for such an Ugnaught matching that description.
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chapter 11:

After awhile, they think the Ugnaught is lost. They arrive in Port Town , a seedy part of Cloud City , where they nearly lose him several times. Jacen runs through what he knows about the species. They’d come here to work in slavery for a rich developer named Ecclessis Figg who had promised their freedom in exchange for helping him build a city in the clouds. They are now among the most respected of the inhabitants of the city, filling important positions. This Ugnaught had been an engineer.

He doesn’t seem to notice the Jedi, yet they all sense some tingling. Inside a large storage chamber, the danger is nearer. Lowie thinks they’ve been led into a trap.

Several creatures appear with heavy weapons in their hands. The Ugnaught confirms that these are the ones in question. The thugs wonder where Lando and the other kids are.

Jacen suggests that, since they cannot fight all of them, they’d better run. They race through the underlevels of the city, deflecting bolts, trying to find a way back up, unable to ignore the fact that the thugs had been waiting for them and expected the others, too.

When they get cornered, the Ugnaught hits a button and the floor drops out from underneath them, sending them down a chute and out of the city where Lowbacca grabs onto a transmission antenna with his legs. He grabs Tenel Ka who follows and Jacen grabs her leg, but slides down to her ankle and drops into the sky below.
  • I know these are books intended for young people, but it would really be nice if they would stop putting the characters in the exact same situations as their predecessors. It’s bad enough when they start quoting lines from the OT, but hanging from Cloud City is a little silly.
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chapter 12:

Figrin D’an has always been about the music. Though he regularly loses their earnings at sabaac, he cannot resist the game anymore than he can stop playing music. They’d played for Jabba, then at the wedding of Lady Valarian in Mos Eisley before being stuck at the Cantina. They’d moved from planet to planet since then.

D’an tells Lando that Black Sun has been underground for years, trying to rebuild. They are trying to get a foothold on Cloud City. Cojahn reported them to the authorities here on Cloud City, but the complaint was lost or misfiled. He tried again and fired the Ugnaught boss when he found out he was working for Black Sun.

Not long after that, he died. D’an and his band ran because the organization is trying to get into the Intergalactic Musicians’ Guild, too. They wanted triple membership dues. When D’an wouldn’t bite, he found stinger eels in the mouthpieces of their instruments.

Lando decides to return to Cloud City and promises D’an double wages the first week he returns to play for them once Black Sun is taken care of.

D’an tells him to keep the sabacc tables open for him. He may lose money, but he always wins it back. Lando gets the feeling the other band members don’t have that much confidence.
  • The incident at Lady Valarian’s wedding occurred in “We Don’t Do Weddings: The Band’s Tale” in Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina.
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chapter 13:

Tenel Ka wishes she’d had her other arm. She might’ve been able to prevent Jacen from falling.

Lowie holds on and she sees determination not to lose another friend. Lowie uses his brute strength to pull them both up toward the antenna. They hook legs over the crossbar and pull upright.

A few minutes later, the hatch opens and Em Teedee tells them he doesn’t know how long he can keep it open. He tosses a line down to them and asks where Jacen is.

Lowie can only bellow.

Anja is under control again. She has her priorities. She knows who she is and who her enemies are. She doesn’t need friends.

When there’s a knock at the door, she rushes to it and hides the bag in a corner. Lowie, Tenel Ka and Em Teede drop in. Tenel Ka is bloody and Lowie’s fur is sticking out.

Anja calls for medical assistance, then turns and asks if Jacen is torturing Ugnaughts with jokes. Em Teedee tells her that Jacen is dead.

Anja knows that she caused this. She’d told Czethros that they were here, assured him she wanted them dead, too. She hadn’t meant it. Jacen, who had helped save her, was dead because she wasn’t there to save him.

She stumbles into the refresher and sobs, scrambling for the spice that would put her back in control.

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chapter 14:

Jacen keeps falling. He plunges from the city and stops screaming when he realizes it’s wasting energy. He uses what powers he has to slow his fall, trying to make himself lighter.

Bespin is a gas giant with no real surface, but he’ll be crushed by the atmosphere before he gets there anyway. He cannot make contact with anyone through the Force and calms himself.

Spotting a shape through his peripheral vision, he realizes there’s a thranta nearby. He calls for help. The flying creature drops down and the rider brings it under Jacen’s descent.

Jacen drops onto the back and the rider flies them upward. The rider tells him not to jump unless he knows his mount will be there to catch him. Jacen says he was ambushed and fell.

The rider’s name is M’kim and he’s seen that happen before here. He’s worried that, if he takes Jacen back too soon, whoever ambushed him will still be waiting. It’s better for his friends to think he’s dead for now.

Jacen doesn’t know if his friends have been rescued yet. M’kim decides to take him someplace private so they can talk first.

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chapter 15:

On a small island of algae on the surface of Bespin, M’kim explains that he saw Cojahn while he was practicing flying his thranta. Cojahn was accompanied by three men. The head was large, wearing a visor, a red optical sensor and short green hair.

Jacen recognizes this as Czethros. M’kim tells him he shows up every once in a while. The Cloud City Gambling Authority ignores some of the illegal activities that occur here sometimes. He meets with some of the officials.

Cojahn was having an argument with him and Czethros picked up him, yelled at him and tossed him off the balcony. Jacen realizes that M’kim let him fall.

M’kim was very high above Cloud City. He swooped down, but the winds were strong and thunder was sounding. He vanished into the clouds and couldn’t be found.

He couldn’t report it because he didn’t know who he could trust. Someone in authority could arrange for a harness to be sabotaged or a thranta to be drugged before a show. He flies Jacen back up to Cloud City, avoiding the predatory velkers that are attracted by lightning.

Jacen arrives, hoping his friends are still alive.

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chapter 16:

Tenel Ka waits with Anja and Lowie as the Lady Luck lands, dreading telling Jaina that her brother is dead. When the docking bay doors open, however, Tenel Ka turns and sees Jacen walk in. she runs to him and throws her arm around him. He tells her this is almost worth falling. Lowie grabs him and Anja is trembling. When Lando emerges, he wonders what he’s missed.

They all decide to talk about what they’ve learned.

Lando, Jaina and Zekk explain what they learned from Figrin D’an about Black Sun’s attempts to infiltrate the businesses of Cloud City . Tenel Ka and Lowie add how the Ugnaught had led them into an ambush. Jacen picks up by describing how M’kim rescued him and told him how he’d seen Cojahn be pushed by a man that fits the description of Czethros.

Anja doesn’t think they should trust the word of an eyewitness who claims to be close enough to identify a man who pushed someone off a balcony, but not close enough to rescue the man who was thrown. Lando prefers proof himself and decides to use his access codes to determine if Czethros was actually here.

The search comes up with nothing, but Zekk points out that a man with illegal connections would know how to cover his tracks. Lowie goes through docking records and the holocam images. Em Teedee finds that the images have been tampered with. Fixing the edits, they confirm that Czethros was indeed there. Obviously, he had something to hide. Anja argues that it doesn’t mean he killed someone.

Jacen points out that he was here at the right time, secretly, and tried to erase evidence of his being here. They have reason to believe Black Sun is threatening people here on Cloud City and that a witness claims to have seen Czethros throw Cojahn off the building.

Lando looks through more records and has reason to believe that Czethros may not just work for Black Sun, but be one of the key figures running it. If records have been doctored, he must have influence over several important people in Cloud City ’s administration.

D’an had told them the authorities here had done nothing when Cojahn had reported the threats. Jaina thinks it’s time someone takes this threat seriously.

In her quarters, Anja grabs her luggage and keys the comm. Czethros hopes she appreciate the deaths of the Jedi that he arranged. She tells him that they’re not dead. She warned him they were resourceful. Students trained by Luke Skywalker aren’t going to be easy to kill. In any event, sending a bunch of thugs to kill a few teenagers seems a bit over-the-top. Czethros warns her about feeling sorry for the children of the man who killed her father. He’s sent word to his operatives already. They will eliminate the Solo twins, Calrissian and their friends. He can’t afford to let anyone find out about what they’re doing here.

Anja asks about the spice he promised. He tells her she’ll get it as soon as he can arrange it. In the meantime, she needs to stay away from the others.
  • Why would operatives already have orders to kill Jacen, Jaina and the others when Czethros thought they were dead when she called him?
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chapter 17:

Lando demands an investigation into the attack on the three Jedi and the students are summoned in for an interview.
Lando finds trouble at a construction site he has to attend to and asks them to go to the interview themselves at an unfamiliar address. Jaina, Zekk and Anja volunteer to go with Lando to help him.

At the site, however, they find nothing wrong, even though a riot was indicated down here. Lando wanders around with everything unattended, calling for any workers that are around. An Ugnaught squeals and runs off, before the doors open to reveal Cloud City Security Wing Guards who open fire on Lando’s group.

They duck down behind panels and think of ways to get out of this. Zekk suggests they climb up, but Jaina notices a group of shadows. The gray-skinned creatures who’d attacked them on Ord Mantell are here, too. That must have been a Black Sun plot, too. Jaina hopes Jacen, Tenel Ka and Lowie are enjoying their meeting while this is going on. Lando doesn’t think they should trust anything. He hopes they are safe.

The debriefing facility turns out to be an abandoned hangar dock with old-model vehicles waiting. Two Wing Guard security officers are there with two of the thugs who attacked them.

Em Teedee notes that the thugs still have their weapons.

The three Jedi back up until they reach the edge. Lowbacca knocks Jacen into the nearest Cloud Car and jumps in one himself. Tenel Ka gets into Jacen’s and they all take off.

Newer cars pursue them.
  • I’m surprised Lando didn’t confirm the unfamiliar address for the debriefing, just to make sure everything was on the up and up.
  • Jacen doesn’t have his lightsaber. Why? Is it because he was going to a debriefing or is it because he lost his?
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chapter 18:

Jaina has a difficult time counting the camouflaged aliens. Lando frets over not having his blaster. He stopped packing weapons ever since he became respectable. Zekk wishes he had his old lightsaber right now.

Jaina and Anja will have to defend the men. Jaina cuts through the main pillar that supports the central section of a hovercoaster. The brace comes down and the coaster tilts. When the framework topples, the aliens are shaken from their perch. The security guards begin firing.

Lowie flies through the sky, ignoring Em Teedee’s reminders that he has no experience flying a Cloud Car. The pursuing Car is thwarted by thrantas with riders which fly into their path. The creatures pluck the guard and thug out of it and fly off with them.

Lowie looks around for a sign of Jacen or Tenel Ka.

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chapter 19:

Lando gets an idea. They lure the guards into the attractions and start activating them. The hunters freeze and fire their blasters at holographic monsters. They run through the antigrav room and jump into the vortex chute. The guards follow, but Lando and the others get down first. Lando activates the security overrides and a force field clamps down on the top and bottom of the chute, trapping the guards.

Anja wonders if they call more Cloud City security here, they might get a few who aren’t working for Black Sun. Lando thinks they should call all of them.

Jacen tries to evade his pursuer. He suggests Tenel Ka use her lightsaber to deflect the blaster bolts, then he decides to fly the ship into a storm. He doesn’t think they will be followed. The Cloud Car does not stop and then Jacen finds they have fleown into the middle of a pack of velkers. They are huge, armored, beasts, soaring about like hawk-bats. Tenel Ka uses her lightsaber to slash the side of one, then another. The others attack, but Jacen uses the Force to try to convince them to ignore this car and focus on the other one.

The velkers swirl and concentrate on the pursing car. Jacen spins his around and heads back to Cloud City.
  • Tenel Ka was going to the same debriefing and she had her lightsaber. So, what happened to Jacen’s that he didn’t have his?
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chapter 20:

Back on Cloud City, everyone waits on an observation deck while Lando wonders why something happens everytime he takes them on a vacation.
He is, however, proud of everything they tried to do for him. He told Cojahn’s wife that he didn’t commit suicide. She is comforted by the fact that they know who is responsible.

Lando will be exposing those in Cloud City who have been working with Black Sun. The conspiracy runs deep based on information he’s found.

They all sit and watch the official thranta riders’ show and Jacen recognizes his friend, M’Kim, among them.

Lando tells them they will have to get back to Yavin IV after this.
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chapter 21:

Anja doesn’t know what she’s going to do. Sitting on a ledge of the Great Temple , she hates feeling helpless. Czethros has disappeared, draining all credits and shutting down his business on Ord Mantell.

She has no way to contact him and no way to get more andris.

She’d done everything he’d asked. They had a partnership and he’d even set her up with the Solos. Now, she has to take care of herself just as she had since Solo killed her father.

She isn’t even sure that really happened. Anja hadn’t wanted to believe her father might have been respnosible for his own death. Han Solo had been a good scapegoat.

Jacen shows up to invite her to go exploring with them. She turns him down. Jacen assures her they want her to feel included. Uncle Luke doesn’t think she can access the Force, but that doesn’t mean she cannot better herself here.

She knows all that and wants him to stop treating her like a baby.

Jacen thought he was treating her like a friend.

After he leaves, she wonders what she’s going to do now. She questions whether she really wants to hurt Jacen and Jaina just to get back at their father for the death of a man she’d never really known.

There’s nothing left for her here. She doesn’t want to be a Jedi. She’s got a strong urge for andris and no where to get more.

Jacen returns to his friends and tells them Anja’s not going. Jaina thinks she needs time alone. The rest head off into the jungle as Tenel Ka asks if they’ve heard the one about the Jawa that mistook a rancor for a ronto.
  • Did Lando tell Luke that Anja is an andris spice addict? I hope he did!

End of Book 12

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