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Agents of Chaos I: "Hero's Trial" - Book 4 in The New Jedi Order

chapter discussion thread

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#1
Jedi Cool

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chapter 1:
 
At Obroa-skai, the priest, Harrar, receives an indication from an acolyte that Commander Tla is unhappy with the role of the priesthood in this venture.
 
The battle for the planet is impressive.  Harrar suggests that Tla be told to allow some of the smaller ships to escape so that word of this may spread among the infidels.  Several hundred prisoners have been captured so he may have his pick for the sacrifice.
 
Among the prisoners, he is disgusted to find droids clothed in garments marking them as research assistants.  Harrar moves among them and finds a Gotal who identifies himself as a priest of H’kig.  They believe in simple living and good deeds.
 
Harrar confronts him over how his gods have abandoned him.  The Gotal tells him that they still have the Jedi.
 
Harrar decides that they need to understand how the Jedi operate and vanquish them.
--------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
 
 
edited to correct title...thanks, Lucas.


#2
Lucas1138

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Isn't "Hero's Trial" the first book in the Agents of Chaos duology? 



#3
Jedi Cool

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You are absolutely right....somehow, someway, this got waaaay off.

 


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#4
Jedi Cool

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chapter 2:
 
On Kashyyyk, Chewbacca’s closest friends and family are gathered for his memorial service which is presided over by Ralrracheen.
 
It’s been six months since Chewbacca was killed on the world of Sernpidal.   His father, sister, wife and son, assorted relatives, including his nephew, Lowbacca, are here.  The only humans present are Luke, Leia, Han, Jacen, Jaina and Anakin.  Mara had to stay on Coruscant due to a relapse of her condition and Lando Calrissian had sent word at the last minute that unexpected developments would keep him from attending.
 
C 3PO watches attentively as Ralrra details Chewbacca’s life and his devotion to both his natural family and his adopted one.  It’s difficult for the droid to understand grief.  A man he’d once deemed impossible is now distraught beyond words and the droid doesn’t know how he can help Han beyond what his programming was designed to do.
 
He’d known warfare his entire existence, but this is different.  In the past, droids were generally kept out of the conflict.  With the Yuuzhan Vong destroying any droid they find, C 3PO wonders if he will gain an understanding of death sooner than he thinks.
 
Han refuses food.  Mallo and Waroo come to him and give him Chewie’s first bowcaster and his carry pouch.  They want to come with him to assume Chewie’s life debt.  Han is adamant that the Wookiee people have sacrificed enough for him.  Chewie saved his life many times and died saving his son.  He tells the son of Dewlannna that she was kinder to him than his own mother, Salporin’s wife how her husband died protecting Leia from the Noghri and to Shoran’s cousins, Jowdrrl and Drylanta, how the Wookiee died aboard the Pride of Yevetha saving him.
 
He’s not ready to replace Chewie.  It’s too soon. 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Salporin died in Heir to the Empire

  • Shoran died in Tyrant’s Test

  • Dewlanna was the Wookiee who took care of Han when he was a pawn of Shrike’s in The Paradise Snare.

  • Han also remembers Groznik from Dark Horse Comics’ Rogue Squadron series.

  • Jowdrrl and Drylanta appeared in Tyrant’s Test.

  • And the young Jedi Knight Lowbacca, of course, appeared in the Young Jedi Knights series.

  • Ralrra appeared in Heir to the Empire.

  • Since the time is six months after Vector Prime and we were speculating that Jaina and Jacen were closer to 17 since Anakin is already 15, does that mean that the twins have reached their 17th birthday?

 


#5
Jedi Cool

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chapter 3:
 
Commander Tla apologizes for subjecting Harrar to the infidels’ machinery, but they’ve not yet been able to transfer this information to villips.  The library on Obroa-skai contains a wealth of information that they can use to analyze the psychological make-up of the species that live here.
 
However, it seems singularly devoid of any information on the Jedi.  It’s as if it either never contained that information or the data was purged.  The Jedi themselves may be secretive.  They do know that the Jedi, at some point, learned to access this energy field called the Force and eventually moved into positions of guardians.
 
This would require an army, yet the Jedi have not sent an army after them.  It is speculated that their numbers are small due to opponents of theirs called the Sith.  Thse Sith can use the Force as well.  If there are any left, they could be potential allies.
 
The Priestess, Elan, arrives with her familiar, an avian creature named Vergere.  They view the sacrifice of 200 captives and droids sent into the nearby star in honor of the Creator, YunYuuzhan.
 
Harrar then turns the conversation to the subject of the Jedi.  They have not yet come up with a way to counter this Force of theirs, but he believes they have another solution.  He introduces her to Nom Anor, a field agent who has been instrumental in stirring up local populations in this galaxy.  Anor will be working with him on this new project.
 
Vergere urges her mistress to be careful with that one.
 
Anor explains that he successfully seeded an illness among many that affected one female Jedi who has managed to hold off dying where the others did not.  He believes they can use this illness to assassinate the Jedi.  It will cause morale in the galaxy to drop and they will be able to seize control faster than Overlord Shimrra expected.
 
Elan, being a priestess of the deception sect, will be most helpful here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • It would appear that the Vong do not seem to be aware of the Empire’s purge of the Jedi, though they are aware of the Sith and the Imperial Remnant.
  • I’m sure we all remember Vergere, the avian Jedi who first appeared in Cloak of Deception and disappeared in Rogue Planet while investigating a species she called the Far Outsiders.  Part of the Jedi mission on Outbound Flight was to look for clues of her disappearance.  It would appear then that the Far Outsiders were the Vong who were also the mysterious threat that both Sidious and Thrawn discussed in Outbound Flight and the one that Parck and Baron Fel were planning to fight in Spectre of the Past/Vision of the Future.


#6
Jedi Cool

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chapter 4:
 
Seeing Han standing too close to the edge of a bridge, Leia approaches him.  She heard about Mallo and Waroo’s offer.  Han refuses to accept their help; this Wookiee life debt thing has to end now.  Leia remembers how the Noghri would initially guard her on the way to the refresher.
 
Han reminds her that she still has the Noghri guarding her, too.  The difference is that she can command them to leave her alone. The Wookiee life debt doesn’t work that way. 
 
He cannot allow another member of Chewie’s family to die.  Han thought that the memorial service would help, but he cannot get past the feeling that he’s missing something.  He also can’t help but wonder how things would be different.
 
He was the one who allowed Chewie to follow him all over the galaxy rather than be with his family.  Leia reminds him that he saved Chewie from slavery.  He would have died in an Imperial labor camp or on some construction project. 
 
Han asks her how long it takes to grieve.  She tells him it’s not a question she can answer.  Life is full of change.  The Noghri went from being her enemies to her bodyguards.  Pellaeon went from enslaving Wookiees to fighting alongside them.  Who could have predicted any of that?
 
What worries him the most is that he’s starting to forget and he doesn’t want to.  He wants to make the Yuuzhan Vong pay for what they did.  Leia expects that from someone as young as Anakin, but Han should know better.
 
He points out that he doesn’t know anymore about life than Anakin.
 
In the meantime, a Yuuzhan Vong warrior demonstrates the effectiveness of a bacteria called bo’tous which kills quickly.  It is also deadly to the host. The plan is to have Elan pose as defector with information about the coomb spores that infected the beings here.  She will have to be careful as the Jedi have some kind of divining power. 
 
Elan turns to Vergere for counsel.  Vergere would not have her do it, but knows her mistress desires to be tested with a mission worthy of her.  Harrar will allow her to take Vergere if she wishes.
 
She will have up to four breaths to use against the Jedi at a time where they can be afflicted most.  She will likely die in this mission, but will be exalted.
 
On Kashyyyk, Han wants to leave a day early.  Luke tries to talk to him about running away, but Han won’t have it.  Luke may have suffered losses, but his link to the Force is something Han doesn’t have.  Han can’t see Chewie the way Luke sees his father or Obi-Wan. Luke tells him to look past his anger and he will.
 
Han storms off, telling them to take the Falcon to Coruscant and he’ll find his own way back.
 
Meanwhile, Nom Anor hopes this mission goes well as he is not held in esteem since the defeat at Helsa.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • There was a moment when Luke tells Han that the Force toppled the Empire.  I do realize that there is some speculation that the Emperor held the Imperial forces together using the Force and that factor caused chaos among the troops when he died.  However, I do want to point out that, all we know for certain, the Death Star was destroyed when the shield generator was taken down and Rebel starfighters knocked out the main reactor.  It was rebel forces that retook Coruscant.

 
 


#7
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chapter 5:
 
Jaina and Leia take the Falcon out while Luke is returning everyone to Yavin IV at Streen’s request.
 
Jaina worries about how her father will get back home, but Leia points out that Han is self-sufficient enough that he’ll probably beat them back.  Jaina notes that he doesn’t seem to need help at all.
 
Leia warns her not to confuse refusing help with needing it.  Her father spent his early years without the support of a family or a stable home.  He had to learn to rely on himself which makes it difficult for him to ask for help.
 
He knows he’s not the only one grieving Chewie, but he is suddenly facing a vulnerability he never had before.  He knows now that his family and friends can die.  She reminds Jaina how protective Han had become after they were kidnapped by Hethrir.
 
Right now, he’s afraid to give in because it means he would have to really grieve.  He’ll come back home.
 
The sergeant at arms of the Senate has to call for order again, recognizing the director of the Obroan Institute, bel-dar-Nolek.
 
The director continues his accusations that, despite the importance of the library on his world, the New Republic did nothing to protect Obroa-skai from the Yuuzhan Vong.  Chief of State Fey’lya assures him that the small force they did send was all that could be spared. 
 
The director is upset that ignoring the Outer Rim worlds is bad enough, but to allow a world of preeminence to fall is preposterous.  He implies that Obroa-skai is more important which raises the umbrage of many.  Senator Viqi Shesh of Kuat points out that a lot of data was transferred to Coruscant before the attack.  While the loss of information that couldn’t be transferred is unfortunate, the New Republic forces cannot be expected to spread themselves even thinner.
 
Bel-dar-Nolak insists that they try to bargain with the Vong to preserve the data or Obroa-skai will forge a separate peace with them. Shesh reminds him what happened the last time a member of their body tried to negotiate with the Vong. 
 
The director blames the Jedi for that.  Indeed, they only have the word of the Jedi regarding how this started.  They seem to be absent now as they were not defending Obroa-skai.  He thinks they are in league with elements in the military, such as Admiral Kre’fey, to cause this conflict.
 
Fey’lya tells him that the Jedi cannot be everywhere at once and that his accusations are inflammatory.  The director asks who speaks for the Jedi now.  The Old Republic at least had theirs under rein.  He thinks that they should send another emissary with no ties to the Jedi to negotiate with the Vong.
 
Shesh points out to her colleagues that they can be thankful he’s not a military strategist.  She warns them that they cannot lose confidence in the Jedi over a few defeats.  If they weaken the Jedi, they only weaken themselves.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • First appearance of Viqi Shesh.

 
 
 


#8
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chapter 6:
 
Luke returns to Coruscant and greets Mara.  He tells her Streen had him return to Yavin IV because he’s concerned that the occupation of Obroa-skai will lead the Vong to the academy.  They may have to relocate the younger students.  For now, Streen, Tionne and Kam Solusar are handling things.
 
Mara admits it’s not been her best week and that the doctor she’s seen can’t tell her anymore than any other doctor. Both Cilgal and Ism Oolos can’t give her any help.  The sole remaining sick person has died of the illness.  Tests run on the beetle they found on Belkadan do not connect it to the illness.
 
She asks about the memorial.  Luke is worried about Han.  She reminds him that Han is surrounded on all sides by Force users.  It’s another reason he and Chewbacca were so close.  She’s reminded of Darth Vader hurling someone against a bulkhead for not showing proper respect for the Force.
 
They both know they can’t do that to Han, but it does seem like the Jedi are expected to handle the Vong that way.  Ironic that these are the same people who fear the Jedi taking over.  
 
Luke remembers Mon Mothma asking him how he thought the Jedi would fit in with the New Republic.  She had suggested he take a more active interest in politics to set an example.
 
He wonders if he has spent too much time fighting rather than considering her words.  Jacen is right about there being alternatives to fighting.  He’s a young man, but he’s a deep thinker.  Luke thinks he’s been missing the big picture and not focusing on a larger Unifying Force.
 
He’s always tried to keep his Jedi separate from the New Republic to keep them from becoming an army.  Mara tells him he sounds like Akanah Pell of the Fallanassi.  Luke tells her he doesn’t know where her people went and they both agree that the Vong are unlikely to be suspceptible to their illusions.
 
Mara does point out that the women in Luke’s life, Akanah, Gaeriel Captison, Callista and Tanith Shire all showed up during times of crisis.  She asks if she should be worried about someone else coming into his life.  He tells her that their personal crisis is the one that worries him most and they need a victory.
 
On the bridge of the Soothfast, Captain Skent Graff tells his shipmates about how Seti Ashgad had tried to spread a plague about 12 years ago. 
 
He tells how Han Solo and Chewbacca had been searching for Solo’s wife when they’d come across Graff’s father and several other victims of radition and gotten them to safety.  A Ho’Din doctor was doing what he could to treat them, but they got moved to the bacta wards due to overcrowding and then died of the Death Seed plague.  He just wants to point out that cheating the odds still doesn’t keep you from becoming a statistic.
 
They are alerted to the arrival of a ship in system that appears to be Yuuzhan Vong.  After a fight in which they are somehow able to destroy it, the ship ejects an escape pod which the Soothfast tractors in.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Tanith Shire appeared in the Star Wars comic strip.

  • Ism Oolos first appeared in Planet of Twilight.

  • Of course, the Death Seed plague appeared in Planet of Twilight , too.

  • Akanah was in the Black Fleet Crisis series, Gaeriel we meet in The Truce at Bakura and Callista I’m sure we remember well.

  • Mon Mothma had her conversation with Luke in Ambush at Corellia.

 
 


#9
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chapter 7:

 
Though the Falcon’s berth on Coruscant’s landing strip is leased to Vyyk Drago, everyone knows the ship there.  Han himself has been through a lot with that ship and could never understand how Mara could let the Jade’s Fire go.
 
Everywhere he looks are memories.  He remembers J’uoch and Egome Fass taking off with her, the time he evaded the Imperials by latching onto the Avenger and the time she’d helped destroy the second Death Star. 
 
The modifications made over the years remind him of Shug Ninx on Nar Shaddaa, the outlaw techs in the Corporate Sector and the Yevethan Crisis.  The ship had become more peaceable with time, but no modification can fix what’s wrong with her now.
 
He walks through, remembering how he had started stripping her down to specs around a year ago.  This was before the Vong invasion, of course.
 
The main hold has carpet now, but he can still see Luke practicing with a remote and Chewie playing dejarik on the game table that, years later, Leia, Elegos A’Kla and Admiral Pellaeon sat around discussing peace.
 
He’d kissed Leia here.  A slaver named Zlarb had been killed in the hold.  Han himself had nearly been killed by Gallandro in his bunk. He’d made food for Leia in the galley after kidnapping her and taking her to Dathomir.
 
The Togorian Muuurgh had flown with him, but Chewie had been his real partner. He can either put her away, like he had his blaster, or donate her to the Alliance War Museum on Coruscant.  Like him, it belongs in the past.
 
He is on his way to the transport center when someone calls for him.  It’s Roa, the smuggler Han last saw in the Corporate Sector.  Roa’s wife, Lwyll, died a few months ago and he expresses his condolences about Chewbacca.
 
He actually came to see Han and they walk to a restaurant, remembering the old days and the old gang.  Roa asks if Han remembers Reck Desh.  He was a fellow smuggler who has now gone over to a group of mercenaries working for the Yuuzhan Vong.
 
They call themselves the Peace Brigade and they are stirring up anti-Jedi sentiment along with scouting out worlds like Sernpidal.  Han doesn’t believe Desh would do anything for the Vong because he was so fond of Chewie.  Roa notes that Desh may not know about Chewie or the money might be good.  He doesn’t know for sure, but he’s telling Han this because Lwyll died on one of the worlds the Peace Brigade softened up.
 
He doesn’t know where Reck is now, but he knows where to find out.  Han asks if his ship is here, but Roa is surprised that he is not insisting on the Falcon. Han tells him that he was once told that the ship is better for running away than fighting.  Besides, it’s a ghost ship now.
 --------------------------------------------------------------
  • Egome Fass and J’uoch appeared in Han Solo and the Lost Legacy.

  • Shug Ninx appeared as far back as The Hutt Gambit.

  • The outlaw techs in the Corporate Sector appeared in Han Solo at Stars’ End.

  • Gallandro appeared in Han Solo’s Revenge and Han Solo and the Lost Legacy

  • Zlarb was killed in Han Solo’s Revenge.

  • He kidnapped Leia in The Courtship of Princess Leia.

  • The peace process began in Vision of the Future.

  • The Togorian Muuurgh appeared in The Paradise Snare.

  • Roa appeared in The Hutt Gambit and Han Solo’s Revenge.  Lwyll appeared in The Hutt Gambit

  • Vykk Drago was an alias used by Han in The Paradise Snare.

  • Among the gang Han and Roa talk about are Tregga, Vonzel, Sonniod and the Briil twins from Han Solo’s Revenge.

 
 


#10
Jedi Cool

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chapter 8:
 
Colonel Ixidro Legorburu explains it’s hard to get aggressive when one doesn’t know what the enemy’s battle plan is.  However, they are able to get a sense of the path the Vong are taking based on their movements.
 
Although the ExGal scientists believed that the Vong have come from outside the galaxy, the New Republic forces have supposed they originated in the Tingel between the Corporate Sector and Imperial Remnant.  They cannot find evidence to that effect, though.  It’s possible the Vong are indigenous and just stayed out of sight before reappearing.
 
Been L’toth explains they are too powerful to have originated in the Tingel, but the area is largely unmapped due to the Clone Wars stopping exploration of the area.  They can only assume that the Vong really are from another galaxy.
 
General A’baht wonders why they use the same hyperspace entry points as they do, if they are so advanced.  Legorburu supposes that they may have been traveling for generations.
 
They are trying to determine if Emperor Palpatine knew about this threat as he apparently did the Ssi-ruuk.  Moff Sarreti of the Imperial Remnant has given them access to Outbound Flight records.
 
Sarreti tells them via hologram that, while the records do not contain any mention of the Vong, it is known that the Emperor sent Grand Admiral Thrawn out to the Unknown Regions when he learned the Chiss were making preparations to defend against an unknown threat.
 
They would have to contact the Chiss to confirm whether or not the Yuuzhan Vong were that threat.  Jagged Fel is not interested in serving as a liason in this way and no response has been returned from Nirauan.
 
The Vong are using the Tingel as a rendezvous point and staging area.  They are estimating 1000 capital ships are deployed in task forces. The Senate has ratified a universal conscription bill and the shipyards are working on doubling their production by next year.
 
That may not be enough.
 
The Chief Analyst, Ayddar Nylykerka, goes on a comparison between the forces, including the fact that it appears the Vong forces are coordinated by something called a yammosk.
 
They are moving to the Core, but they cannot speculate much further.  At the present course, the Vong will past the Hapes Cluster and Kashyyyk, but will cross the Meridian sector, Hutt space, Bothawui, Rodia and Ryloth.
 
No one believes the Vong are just passing through and destroying planets on a whim.   Admiral Pellaeon has returned to the Imperial Remnant.  The New Republic is spread along the Hydian and Perlemian routes.  A lot of their fleet is positioned Coreward near Borleias. Others are Coruscant, Kuat, Chandrilla, Commenor and Fondor.
 
Senator Sovv thinks it’s important to understand what kind of beings they’re dealing with.  Dr. Joi Eicroth assists here.  She had been briefly married to Admiral Drayson and still works with him as an operative in Alpha Blue.  She had been one of the first to look at the Qella years ago.
 
She explains they are dealing with a near-human species that goes through painful physical alterations as part of a warrior or spiritual mentality.  The markings on their bodies indicate a complex social hierarchy.
 
All technology is based on organic innovation.  They are strong and utilize living armor, but they can be killed by both conventional weapons and lightsabers.  They show some allergic reaction to the bafforr tree pollen, but that will take time to synthesize.
 
Commodore Brand asks what they want from them.  He doesn’t understand what this war is about.  Do they want territory, resources, a spiritual revelation or vengeance for some injustice committed against them in the past?  Are the worlds here considered heretical as they were with the Yevetha or are their life energies craved as with the Ssi-ruuk?
 
The director New Republic Intelligence comes in and tells them that the light cruiser Soothfast intercepted an escape pod jettisoned by an enemy vessel and captured two living Vong who have requested political asylum.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Legoboru, A’baht, Brand, Mylykerka and Eicroth all appeared in the Black Fleet Crisis books.

  • Didn’t Vector Prime say that Drayson had retired?  Is he still working as an operative for Alpha Blue in New Republic Intelligence?  And he was married to Eicroth? 

  • Been L’toth is the son of Kiles L’toth of the Astrographic Survey Institute from the Black Fleet Crisis.

  • Of ourse, we know that Palpatine knew about the Yuuzhan Vong to a certain degree, though he may not have been fully aware of what they were.

  • At the end of Ruin, Jagged Fel was staying behind.  Has he since returned to Nirauan?

 


#11
Jedi Cool

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chapter 9:
 
Roa kids Han about the fancy lifestyle he’s become accustomed to.  He finds C 3PO inside picking up Leia’s scarf for a trip she’s packing for. Han goes upstairs and she tells him she’s taking the droid to Ord Mantell.
 
The refugee crisis is overwhelming.  Besides the physical discomforts, there are rumors that the New Republic will try to annex several worlds once the Vong are dealt with.  She’s been asked to meet with several heads of state to discuss solutions.
 
He asks her if she ever gets tired of mercy missions.  Leia reminds him that it’s what she does to help.  He tells her he’ll be away for awhile searching for a mutual friend with Roa.  Leia is unhappy that he’s headed off for parts unknown. 
 
She tells him he should wait to tell Anakin good-bye first and chastises him on his mixed signals.  He may tell Anakin that he’s not responsible for Chewie’s death, but his silence says something else.
 
Han tells her that Anakin has the Force.  His kids have grown beyond him now.  Leia points out that the Force cannot give Anakin love. Tired of arguing with him, she tells him it might be best if he went off for awhile.
 
She does worry, though, when he pulls his old blaster out to take with him.
 
On Nim Drovis, the man clears customs without an issue and heads to the sector medical facility.  He introduces himself as Cof Yoly and asks for Dr. Saychel.
 
Saychel greets him as Major Showolter and they are both members of New Republic Intelligence.  Saychel takes him to see the two specimens.  An attractive Yuuzhan Vong female and a pet of sorts of a species either engineered by the Vong or indigenous to their part of the galaxy.  The pet seems to be just as intelligent as the mistress, though.
 
The Vong female is a priestess named Elan who claims to have information on a spore-borne illness the Vong released before they invaded.  The director of Intelligence wants them transported to Wayland to be debriefed.
 
These two are obviously setting a trap, but Intel cannot pass up the chance to interrogate one of them.
 
Roa takes Han aboard his ship, the Happy Dagger.  A silver protocol droid called Void approaches Roa who explains to Han that Void escaped destruction on Rhomamool.  The incident was traumatic enough to require a memory wipe. 
 
Void tells them a stranger is approaching the ship.  A look at the console screen shows Anakin outside.
 
Anakin insists he wasn’t sent by his mother.  He gives Han a survival tool that Chewie had made for him.  He wants his father to have it. Han doesn’t want to take it but knows refusing it will just make the issue with his son worse. 
 
He tells Anakin everything will be alright.  Anakin asks what will be:  the war, his feeling bad about Chewie or his father taking off without letting anyone knowing where he’s going?
 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Major Showolter appeared in Shield of Lies.



#12
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chapter 10:
 
Commander Tla is unhappy that the ruse has cost them a ship.  The advisors tell him that Elan’s flight had to look credible.  As it happens, she has been taken into custody, along with her familiar and with the villip sent with her.  They will be able to communicate with her.  In fact, their own matching villip tells them she is going to Wayland.
 
On Wayland, a shuttle lands containing Belindi Kalenda, Joi Eicroth and Dr. Yintal.  Major Showolter meets them there and escorts them toa safe house guarded by Mobvekhar and Khakraim.
 
The village of New Nystao is filled with various species.  Showolter explains that the Debble Agreement allow for the return any works of art found in Palpatine’s fortress to the culture that created it. This has resulted in curators and aquisitors from all over showing up here.
 
Élan is dressed in loose-fitting clothing and demands to know where Vergere is.  They explain she is downstairs eating and is fine.  They are interested in knowing what her relationship to Vergere is.  Elan tells them that Vergere is her familiar. 
 
They ask her additional questions about her culture, but she gets frustrated when they do not automatically understand her answers.   She does tell them that some Yuuzhan Vong do not believe that their gods have approved of this journey across the voids.  She has come because she wants them to see the light in ways other than conflict.
 
Yintal accuses her of being a spy because the ship that carried her was destroyed too easily.  There was a larger ship in the vicinity that they could have used against them.  Elan is weary of dealing with such a suspicious man.  She explains that she has information to give the Jedi.
 
Yintal will only agree to arrange a meeting with the Jedi if she provides him with military data.  He demands the name of the next world they will attack.  She looks to answer when a shout is heard and a large man enters.  The ooglish masquer peels from him.  Elan shouts that he’s an assassin.
 
Yintal steps in front of the warriors and is knocked across the floor with such force that it snaps his neck.  The two Noghri jump the warrior and drive him into the side of the hut.  He regains purchase and flings them off of him, grabs hold of Elan and is about to throttle her.
 
Mobvekhar launches himself at the warrior again and bites his back.  Kalenda is knocked out.  Showolter fires and gets the warrior between the shoulder blades.  Two more shots kill him.
 
Then the hut is rocked by an explosion. Coralskippers are in the air.
 
From space, Nom Anor tells his pilots not to try too hard, but do enough to convince them.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Belindi Kalenda was a New Republic Intelligence agent in the Corellian trilogy.

  • Dr. Yintal was in Shield of Lies.

  • Mobvekhar was introduced in The Last Command.

 


#13
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 chapter 11:
 
Roa has the Happy Dagger jump first to Anobis and then tells Han they are headed to Ord Mantell.  Han laughs and Roa asks if he might run into someone from the past.  Han tells him it’s more likely they’ll run into his wife.
 
Since being the Grand Marshal of the Derby, Han has noticed an addition to Ord Mantell.  A space station cobbled together from scavenged parts called the Jubilee Wheel is in orbit.  They also see ships of all kinds and all ages, some recommissioned ships of 50 years ago.  There are loads of refugees looking for a temporary home.
 
After landing at the station, Han and Roa are approached by a group of Ryn who offer to guard the ship or clean it.  They refuse both. Roa explains the Ryn have a bad reputation for con games and thievery, but he’s never really had a problem with them.
 
All manner of refugees are here, even important diplomats and professionals who are reduced to any job they can get until they are given clearance to leave.  In a tapcaf, Roa goes to find his contact while Han has a drink.
 
He’s approached by two Ryn who ask for passage to Rinnal.  Their family was supposed to meet them here, but they are delayed and Rinnal was the backup rendezvous point.  Han brushes them off and Roa returns with someone named Fasgo.
 
Fasgo tells them that he knows who Reck’s new employers are but he can’t tell them where he is.  He does refer them to a Boss B who could probably tell them.
 
They don’t get much further when three Trandoshans approach the table.  One of them is Bossk who recognizes Han and taunts him about Chewbacca. That’s when the fight starts.
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  • Han was the Grand Marshal in the YJK book [i]Return to Ord Mantell[/b].

 
 
 


#14
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chapter 12:
 
Belindi Kalenda explains she spent time in a bacta tank on the way to Coruscant.  The Security and Intelligence Council is meeting to hear her report.  The council consists of Diamalan Senator Miatamia, Senator Krall Praget, Senator Gron Marrab or Mon Calamari, Tolik Yar of Oolidi, Ab’el Bogen of Ralltiir and Viqi Shesh of Kuat.  Luke and his nephew Anakin are also there.
 
Kalenda reports that the strike on Wayland caused a lot of damage to the village, but few casualties.  Right now, the two defectors are on Myrkr. 
 
Elan had given them some information in the interview that reiterates their belief that the Vong are here to cleanse this galaxy and convert the population to their religion.  Elan explained they’d rather convert than terminate. 
 
After the attack, she provided information that is potentially valuable.  If it pans out, Kalenda would like to move them to Coruscant where they can be hidden among the huge population on a world more difficult to target.  The senators are uncomfortable with that thought. 
 
She knows that it’s possible Elan is an agent, but she could still provide vital data.  She claims to know where Vong operatives on New Republic worlds are, including the identities of agents recruited here.
 
In fact, they believe that one of those cells calling itself the Peace Brigade is responsible for passing along Elan and Vergere’s whereabouts to the Vong.  This group is also responsible for stirring up anti-Jedi sentiment.
 
Tolik Yar is concerned that Elan could be telepathically linked to the war coordinator and sending it information about the New Republic. Kalenda assures him that the defectors are being kept isolated from anything of strategic value.
 
Senator Shesh wonders why they are eager to defect and what their motivations are.  Kalenda mentions Elan does want to meet with the Jedi Knights regarding an illness the Von introduced prior to their arrival. 
 
Luke is eager to meet with her if this is the case.  In the meantime, Elan has also provided the location of the next target: Ord Mantell.
 
Leia watches the ocean from Ord Mantell’s Government House.  Right now, she’s dealing with the government here which is reluctant to take on the burden of refugees when there are many habitable planets elsewhere.  Leia reminds them that the goal is not to just get rid of an inconvenience.  The people housed here have lost everything.  They need shelter on a planet with an infrastructure.
 
The heads of state gathered here from various worlds understand her ideal situation, but point out that, though the New Republic has promised to bear the cost of feeding and sheltering the refugees, they may not be able to do so indefinitely and then it would fall to host worlds.
 
Leia reminds them they are fighting a world that could be catastrophic for the entire galaxy.  The plan is to put the refugees in enclaves where they can be self-sufficient.  It might be necessary to put compatible groups together, for a time, but populations can be moved closer to the Core and maybe even on uninhabited worlds.
 
They argue tht she is essentially talking about containing refugees in camps.  If more worlds fall to the Vong, there will be more and more refugees packed onto fewer worlds.  The representatives from Gyndine and Ruan offer to accept refugees for now. 
 
Leia quickly exits after the meeting is over so no one can grab her ear. She finds droids moving quickly toward the building’s doors.  C 3PO tells her that Ord Mantell has been targeted for attack by the Yuuzhan Vong.
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  • Senator Miatamia appeared in Spectre of the Past/Vision of the Future.

  • Senator Praget, Senator Yar and Senator Bogen were in The Black Fleet Crisis series.

 


#15
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chapter 13:
 
Elan expresses her concern that the attack might have damaged the bou-tous, but she can feel them ripening.  She is eager to perform her mission so that word will reach the ear of Overlord Shimrra.  Vergere reminds her that it will be her domain that profits.
 
Elan points out that Harrar will be able to retrieve them. Vergere thinks that Harrar will do what he can, but she suspects that Showolter will move them repeatedly until they hidden so well that even Nom Anor can’t find them.
 
Right now, they don’t know where they are, save on some heavily-forested world. 
 
Élan considers her familiar.  Vergere had been sent to the main fleet two generations ago by one of the first teams to survey this galaxy. The scouts had brought dozens of specimens to the worldships.  Some were sacrificed, some died, others were given as pets to the children of the elite.   Elan was the youngest daughter of an advisor to the Overlord Shimrra.  Vergere was given to her as a constant companion, confidant, friend and tutor.
 
Elan asks if she is glad to be among her own kind.  Vergere tells her that the Fosh have never really felt at home among these kinds of people.  They are too few in number.
 
Elan tells her she could reveal the truth to Showolter and be welcomed back.  Vergere answers that they are linked until death.  She would have been sacrificed or disposed of years ago were it not for Elan.
 
The attack on them at Wayland has gone a long way toward convincing the Intelligence operatives that their defection is genuine.  It’s too soon to tell whether or not they will be given a chance to meet the Jedi.  Vergere knew of the Jedi when she lived here, but is surprised they are so few now. 
 
She is vague about describing the Jedi view of the Force. The Vong would do well to study it, but she doesn’t think they are able to employ it with skill.
 
At Ord Mantell’s moons, two old veterans, Admiral Poinard and General Sutel, command the New Republic Defense Forces. They debate the worth of this world, but they have to acknowledge that the Vong’s previous targets had no strategic value either.
 
When Yuuzhan Vong warships arrive, the two officers are glad to see both forces are evenly matched.  This time, the Vong don’t know the fleet is there.
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  • We know that Vergere was a Jedi so she knows a great deal about the Force that she’s obviously kept from Elan.

 


#16
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chapter 14:
 
Han, Fasgo and Roa sit on the floor and talk about the Trandoshans in the cell across from them.  The three humans are released without being arraigned which means someone got them out.  Obviously, word has reached Leia.
 
They are approached by an aqualish on the way out who tells them that Boss B. is requesting their company.  They are escorted to the immigration station where a voice tells them that he’s the one who put the Trandoshans up to the fight.  He also arranged for them to be released.
 
He is a humanoid whom Han recognizes as Big Bunji.  The latter prefers to be called Boss Bunji now.  Han can’t believe the old acquaintances he’s encountered lately and jokes that he half expects to see Ploovo Two-For-One now.
 
Bunji explains he tried to relocate his business to Tatooine where he was run off by Jabba.  Then the Hutt crippled his cash flow for a few years until Han’s wife killed him.  Bunji had to deal with Lady Valarian, of course, but he made a few shrewd deals during the Thrawn years and built this station about a year ago.
 
He’s partnered with Borga the Hutt, but most of it’s his.  That is, so long as the Republic can handle the Vong.  Han tells him that’s why they’re here and asks about Reck Desh. 
 
Bunji tell thim that Reck is running with the Peace Brigade which has been colluding with Vong operatives by helping spread anti-Jedi sentiment and destabilizing planetary systems by either sabotaging them or convincing the worlds to surrender.
 
They’re operating in Hutt space right now.  Bunji offers to make some inquiries for old times’ sake.  He was sorry to hear about the Wookiee.
 
Sirens begin to blare and the station shudders.  A tech announces that the Vong are attacking.  Roa tells Han to get to the Happy Dagger so they’re not here when the Vong arrive.
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  • We met Big Bunji in Han Solo at Star’s End.

  • Ploovo Two-For-One was also met in Han Solo at Star’s End.

  • Since the final story arc of the YJK took place in 25 ABY and this book is said to take place then, too, it would seem to corroborate my theory that Jacen and Jaina are close to 17 if they haven’t hit it already.  Return to Ord Mantell to this book has probably been about a year.

 


#17
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chapter 15:
 
The task force moves out to meet the Vong fleet.  The brutal battle culiminates in the destruction of a Mon Calamari cruiser.  The Vong warship sends out a living hose that grabs onto the station and shakes it.
 
Han, Roa and Fasgo race down the corridor to the docking bay.  The artificial gravity fails and they find themselves floating with hundreds of others.  A gaping maw begins sucking debris and people into it.
 
Fasgo goes first, then Roa tells Han he’s just too old to hang on anyway.  He hears Lwyll calling him.  Telling Han to finish their business with Reck, he lets go and is sucked in.
 
Han screams in anger and holds on.  A Ryn flies past and grabs onto Han’s legs.  He explains that the maw isn’t vaccum, but a huge mouth inhaling everything into it.  He doesn’t think they can stuff it with something but they may be able to stifle it with a blast shield.
 
The Ryn eases himself down until he dangles from Han’s ankles then grabs the support strut.  Han lets go and is grabbed by the Ryn’s tail. He kicks the blast shield button and it drops to the ground.  Everyone falls to the ground.
 
The Ryn leads Han to the docking bay and gets the door open with the help of an R2 unit.  Everyone runs for a civilian shuttle that Han knows he can pilot.  There are coralskippers in the air, pursued by TIEs and X-Wings, so he warns the passengers they are not out of this yet.
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#18
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chapter 16:
 
Han flies through the hundreds of ships in the shadow of the station.  Spotting the hose-like creature attached to the Wheel, Han heads back to help his friends.  The Ryn tells him that they are unarmed and can’t do anything to help.
 
Han suddenly remembers that he is not on the Falcon right now, but on a shuttle with tons of innocent people who don’t deserve to have their lives risked by a madman flying a defenseless ship.
 
He also realizes he’s in the same position that Anakin was in on Sernpidal. 
 
He can’t help but take a flyby of the creature to annoy it and does so well enough that it snaps at them and they get caught in a dovin basal.  The Ryn opens the engines into a climb that takes them over the warship.
 
Then they are chased by coralskippers.  Han decides to plot a course back to the station, dives through the spokes and out into space. 
 
He has to evade projectiles until a huge luxury ship takes off from the station and clears the way for them.  Han’s guessing that was Big Bunji. 
 
He finally gets past the last skip and heads to Ord Mantell. 
 
Admiral Poinard and General Sutel watch the shuttle head down to the planet while the rest of the Vong fleet begins retreating.  The New Republic lost one frigate and three gunboats, but the Vong lost more. 
 
The station is holding together and Ord Mantell has had some damage, but not a lot.
 
Poinard doesn’t know how they did it, but they managed to chase them off.
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#19
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chapter 17:
 
Reck Desh is in Kuat City, telling his colleagues to watch him and not do anything unless he gives a sign.  A telbun sitting behind him, tells him to signal that he’s okay. 
 
He knows that Desh is working for the Peace Brigade which answers to the Vong and offers him a way to put him in good with his bosses.  The New Republic has a Vong defector in custody, a type of priestess.  She defected in the Meridian sector and the Vong have already tried to kill her once. 
 
Based on information she provided the New Republic, a Vong attack was thwarted at Ord Mantell.  She’s traveling with a companion and they are being transferred to Coruscant.  Whoever returns the defector will be doing the Vong a favor.
 
In exchange for the toute they are taking to Coruscant, the telbun requests that Desh keep him apprised of the Peace Brigade’s future dealings with the Vong.  If he doesn’t, the telbun will bring the military and New Republic Intelligence down on Desh.
 
The two defectors are being sent to Bilbringi first aboard a ship called the Queen of Empire.  He suggests Desh keep this between himself and his two cronies, then leaves.  Desh calls his cohorts to chase after the telbun, but they find themselves in a courtyard filled with telbuns dressed exactly the same.
 
Leia has sent Threepio to make sure their spacecraft hasn’t been damaged in the attack.  The droid is relieved to see that it is well, especially since several others aren’t. He doesn’t know what would happen to him had the attack succeeded.  He might be in a scrap heap or at the bottom of a pit of incinerated droids.
 
It’s disconcerting to be singled out for annihilation.  He wonders what droids could have done to someone like Nom Anor to fill him with such hatred.  He also wonders why he fears deactivation so much. 
 
Then he spots Master Solo arguing with a Ryn.  They part ways angrily as C 3PO calls for Han.  Han confirms Leia is at the hotel and asks if C 3PO would not tell her he’s here.  Knowing that it won’t happen, he has the droid lead him to her.
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  • Queen of the Empire appeared in Rebel Dawn.

 
 
 


#20
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chapter 18:
 
Leia treats Han’s minor injuries, telling him she can’t believe he’s here and asking about his friend Roa.
 
He tells her Roa got sucked into the snakeship attached to the Jubilee Wheel.  He wants to go look for Roa.  Leia doesn’t know how he intends to do that.  Han tells her he can’t pretend it never happened. 
 
She tells him that he acts like she doesn’t know what it’s like to lose a friend.  He’s changed and she tells him that he’s being reckless wandering around the galaxy with the Vong out here.  She thinks he should fly around Coruscant until he’s got this worked out.
 
He thinks that’s a good idea and leaves.
 
At the bar back on the station, Han asks the bartender how one changes the past.  The bartender advises him to change the way he remembers it.  Han looks around and sees the gamblers rejoicing in their good fortune.
 
He would be in that mood, too, if it weren’t for Roa and Fasgo.  Knowing he can’t drag Leia down with him, he considers forgetting about the Peace Brigade and going back to Coruscant.
 
The Aqualish stops him from leaving and says that Boss B thought he might be found here.  He’s learned that Reck Desh has an operation planned for Bilbringi and soon.  Han decides to make his way to Bilbringi. 
 
For that, he needs passage arranged.
 
C 3PO meets him at the Ord Mantell spaceport.  The droid isn’t comfortable with mimicking Leia’s voice.  Han reminded him he did it to fool Thrawn’s forces once.  C 3PO tells him that he did it to protect her from assassins, not to protecting Han from he doesn’t know what.
 
Han tells him that, if Leia asks him, he can tell where Han’s gone.  But he assures the droid that sometimes knowing things are worse than not knowing them.  C 3PO admits that the logic of stretching the truth is just as confusing as ceasing to exist.
 
Han asks why he’s thinking about death as droids can’t die.  C 3PO points out that he can be deactivated and then his memories will lay dormant.  Who would benefit from knowing where he’s been and what he’s accomplished?  Han assures him they can download his memory to a data storage facility. 
 
C 3PO can arrange the passage, but tries to tell Han that the ship headed to Bilbringi is the Queen of the Empire and it’s a jinxed ship.
----------------------------------------------------------------
 


#21
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chapter 19:
 
Showolter watches Elan don an ooglith masquer.  She looks more human than she did before.  He gives her clothing to wear and tells her they will be traveling in the guise of refugees from Sernpidal.  Vergere will pretend to be their servant.
 
A couple of female NRI agents are going to be wearing the same clothing as Elan and are going to let themselves be seen in Hyllyard City before going to Gyndine and then Thyferra.
 
Once the real team have reached Coruscant, they’ll be notified to drop the act.
 
They’ll be traveling on a decript starliner so Showolter doesn’t know what the Vong would want with that.
 
Han looks at the luxury liner and realizes what C 3PO was trying to tell him.  The Queen of the Empire was designed to provide elegant service to its passengers.  In its heyday, it had rivaled the other liners and even newer vessels, but had been a popular target for pirates.
 
He’d never been aboard, but Lando had and had met Han’s first love, Bria Tharen, aboard the ship.  The liner is now full of refugees packed anywhere they can be stuffed.  He dozes for a moment in his cabin before going to eat and finding the ship cafeteria packed with starving passengers.  Food is limited and there are no utensils in sight.
 
He remembers the survival tool Anakin had given him and is glad to find a fork attached to it.  He’s about to grab the last piece of nerf steak when he finds himself in a battle for it with the Ryn.
 
They agree to share it and the Ryn introduces himself as Droma.  Han gives him an alias.  After determining the food here is inedible, Han invites Droma to the restaurant instead, but the waiter will not seat the Ryn.  This is about to start a fight, when Droma tells him that it won’t help their appetites. Han orders two specialties to go and they eat on deck chairs in the observation bay.
 
Han asks where the Ryn come from.  Droma tells him they are from the Core but don’t know which one.  There are various schools of thought as to why they were forced to leave.  They might have been musicians sent to a world with no art or they could be warriors.  Their language contains many military terms.
 
They were chased to the Corporate Sector eventually because other beings were suspicious of their skills, as well as their secrecy.  They were allowed to settle here after they healed an important Authority executive.
 
Still they have been dogged by unjust rumors and made scapegoats for the crimes of others. 
 
He was part of a caravan of ships that left the Corporate Sector after the Vong destroyed Ithor. The ships were scattered and he’s been searching for his family ever since. He’s a pilot and a scout. 
 
After confirming that Han can fly and fix ships, too, Droma asks if he’s trying to return to his family.  Han suggests he might be as he leans back and listens to “Smoky Dreams” sung the way Bria Tharen used to.
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  • Lando and Bria were aboard the Queen of Empire in Rebel Dawn.

 
 


#22
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chapter 20:
 
Luke has had several Jedi come to Coruscant to meet with him at the Ministry of Jutice.  He tells them there are two enemy defectors in custody.  One is a priestess, while the other is her companion of sorts.  They are being brought to Coruscant because they provided information that led to the recent victory at Ord Mantell.
 
Kyp Durron is excited about this opportunity to debrief them.  Cilghal suggests this has to be some kind of trick.  Luke assures her that NRI is being cautious.  If the defectors provide more intelligence, they’ll be treated with less suspicion. 
 
He explains that the priestess has requested a meeting with the Jedi regarding an illness the Yuuzhan Vong introduced before they launched their attack.  He wants to believe it’s the illness that has afflicted Mara, but he will have to wait and see.
 
Cilghal asks if they should assume that the Vong know Mara is ill.  Luke isn’t convinced, but Wurth thinks they have to know and that they are using Mara to get to the rest of the Jedi. 
 
Anakin points out they’ve been scanned for that kind of thing.  Luke thinks they should meet with the representatives as an accommodation to the New Republic to show them that they can work together. 
 
However, he’s going to propose that only he and Mara meet with the defectors.  Jacen accuses him of knowing it’s a trap.  Luke should let them meet with Jacen or Streen or Kam.  Cilghal agrees that Luke and Mara should not assume the risk here.
 
The others agree, too.  They want to meet with the Vong together.  Luke tells them he’ll inform the NRI.
 
Meanwhile, Han is gambling on the Queen of the Empire and wins a pure sabaac, after being put on the spot by Droma.  The Ryn demonstrates to him the spiritual nature of the game.  He tells Han the Ryn created the facecards for sabaac. 
 
Dealing cards out, he analyzes Han’s personality and future.  Han is determined that this is just a bunch of lucky guesses, but he’s unnerved at the near accuracy of Droma’s observations.
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  • The scene with the Jedi includes not only Lowbacca, but Tenel Ka whom we’ve not seen since the YJK books. 

 
 


#23
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chapter 21:
 
Harrar’s ship waits at Obroa-skai under the command of Malik Carr.  The priest, Carr, Anor and Tla analyze a swirl of systems produced by the war coordinater now embedded on the planet.
 
The campaign is proceeding and a group of captives from the station is being assigned a special project.  The enemy has deployed its forces along the colony regions.  The worlds that lie along the Vong side will take them straight to Coruscant. But they must proceed cautiously.
 
Anor has already met with Borga the Hutt and explains that the Hutts in general do not want to go to war.  Their space is extensive and includes many worlds easily remade, including one that has already been provided to the Vong.  A detour into Hutt space is not impossible. 
 
The Jedi are being infiltrated by Elan and their days are numbered.  Harrar stops to take a message from a villip and reports that it appears the Peace Brigade has taken it upon itself to return Elan to them.
 
They’re not sure how the Peace Brigade learned of this, but they have been told how she’s being taken to Coruscant.  They will have to prevent the agents from striking the ship.
 
Showolter tells the officer at the boarding gates that the woman is his wife and they are coming from Sernpidal.  They are provided space aboard the Queen of Empire and make contact with those who are supposed to be other NRI agents.
 
Then another knock at the door brings more would-be agents.  The first two hide while Showolter questions the new arrivals.  They tell him that there is back-up on the ship.  Showolter determines that they are the real agents and shoots at one of the first two.  During the scuffle, one fake or both real agents are killed while Showolter gets a serious injury. The last one, a Rodian named Capo, gets away.
 
Showolter tells Elan and Vergere that he has to get them out of here.  He reaches for his bag which has painkillers in it, but Vergere offers to help.  She holds her hands to her eyes, then rubs them together and presses them into his wound.  He has a short-lived pain, but then feels better.  She tells him that he will need medical attention as this is a temporary fix.  They will have to find his back-up but he doesn’t know who it is.
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#24
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chapter 22:
 
Han is grumpy, having not slept well because Droma’s tail kept waking him up the night before.  He heads down the passageway when someone grabs him from being and calls him by his real name.
 
Han recognizes the NRI agent Showolter who tells him that agents working for the Yuuzhan Vong killed two of his people and that one of them is on the loose.  He needs a secure place to hide the two Vong defectors he has with him.
 
He needs Han to hide them until Bilbringi and then collapses.  Han calls for medical attention and tells the two defectors not to give him any trouble.
 
Droma questions all of this, but does offer that it’s best to hide the two defectors down below with the refugees.  The ship is suddenly lurched out of lightspeed and Han realizes it’s been done so forcibly.
 
The captain explains that raiders are attacking the ship.  Elan, however, knows her people are responsible.
 
Luke reminds Leia that Han has gone off alone before.  After all, he and Han both went to Crseih Station.  Leia points out that he was just nostalgic about the good old days then and was trying to find his place after resigning from the military.  This is about Chewie.
 
Grief is natural, but Leia knows he wants revenge.  She explains that an old friend named Roa showed up and they took off for Ord Mantell.  Luke tells her that Obi-Wan had noticed that Han has more to him than just a callous front.  Only a special person would have found a Wookiee for a friend.
 
Leia says that Han needs some kind of companionship now.  Stopping her own musings, she asks how Mara is doing.
 
Mara says she’s stronger and, in conversation, they realize Leia hasn’t been told about the Vong defector coming here to meet the Jedi. They are interrupted by a shriek that turns into an argument between the droids.
 
C 3PO tells Leia that the newsnet reports the Queen of Empire has been attacked by raiders near Bilbringi.  Master Solo is aboard the ship.
 
He admits Han asked him to arrange for his passage by using Leia’s vocal patterns.  He doesn’t know why Han needed to go to Bilbringi. 
 
Luke considers that help will be on the way, but Leia reminds him that a few thousand refugees falling into Vong hands won’t be much of a priority.  Mara points out that they probably couldn’t get there in time until Leia mentions they will by flying the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.
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#25
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chapter 23:
 
The captain’s plea for calm doesn’t work.  Han has to push through mobbing refugees panicked at the thought of falling into Vong hands. In the docking bay, he spots the raider’s ship and sees the insignia of the Peace Brigade on it.
 
He realizes that Reck is after the defectors.
 
A Yuuzhan Vong warship is with it.  Han turns to Elan and quips she must be very important.  Elan says she has to speak with the Jedi Knights about an illness her people brought here.  Realizing what she’s saying, Han doesn’t quite believe she would object to bacterial weapons after what her people have already done.
 
But he’s torn.  If he stays here, he might be able to finish business with Reck, but taking Elan to Coruscant could save Mara.  He tells Droma to find different clothing for the females.  They are going to steal one of the raiders’ ships.
 
Reck Desh and his escort exit the docking bay along with the Vong overseer he’d persuaded to help him.  One of his agents here tells him that Capo is still alive and has seen the defectors. Further, a Yuuzhan Vong ship has shown up, too.  The warrior tells Reck that he had to send word of this operation to his superiors and they probably sent a ship to support them.
 
Reck is angry because New Republic forces will be called in now.  He takes the PA system and tells the passengers that they are not hijacking the ship.  They are looking for two passengers who may be in the company of a wounded human male. 
 
Nom Anor watches the Queen from his ship and tells the others that he has his agents under surveillance.  He will prevent the agents from leaving.  Harrar points out that they will wonder why Anor isn’t coming to their assistance when they can’t leave.
 
Anor is only interested in making the New Republic think that they are trying to use the Peace Brigade to retrieve Elan.  A New Republic cruiser enters the system, too.  Anor thinks this will be of use as the Peace Brigade will just be captured by them and Elan will stay in their custody.
 
Unfortunately, this means that the warship must appear to be chased off, but he assures the captain that this will not be held against him. 
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