The Senate Justice Council questions Senator Shesh who explains that the vote to protect Bothuwai over Corellia was made because Brand hadn’t been convincing in his argument for the latter. Of course, they all know now that the military had never intended to press the Corellian issue too much.
The Council had been manipulated.
She didn’t believe the Yuuzhan Vong would attack the Core and Fondor was never mentioned as a target. She also admits being willing to work with the Hutts as information suppliers, but as to why they began feeding spice to Bothawui, she can only assume that they were keeping their options open.
Additionally, there’s reason to believe the Vong didn’t trust the Hutts either and let them believe the target was Bothuwai. The fact that Nal Hutta is facing invasion seems to indicate that Borga was a pawn.
When Shesh is asked about the supposed Corellian attack being supported by Talon Karrde and the Jedi, she doesn’t believe either intended to mislead. The Jedi aren’t perfect. The New Republic shouldn’t look to them as saviors. The Vong may have power beyond that of the Force.
Leia and Isolder haven’t seen themselves for two weeks. She is led to him by Astarta who fixes Leia with a harsh stare.
Leia apologizes to Isolder. He reminds her that he had promised not to hold her responsible for anything. But he knows that she knew this would happen.
Leia admits that she sensed some tragedy, but didn’t know when or if it would even happen. She thought that she was just concerned for her children; she couldn’t, however, separate her concerns from her doubts about the Corellian strategy.
Isolder isn’t sure if it would have been easier to be destroyed by the Yuuzhan Vong rather than by a misdirected weapon they didn’t know about. He doesn’t blame Anakin. He knows the boy refused to fire it. He also wants her to understand that they accept what has happened. But the Consortium has split. Those who’d opposed the agreement in the first place want isolationism. Isolder knows that their location won’t hide them for long.
Leia knows some in the New Republic wanted that before Fondor shook them up. Still Brand and Sovv will probably have to either resign or be demoted. Isolder doesn’t know whether it’s better for the New Republic to be able to express its indignation without a duel, but he knows his people. They know that their fleet helped save the day.
He isn’t so sure, but they will be at the next fight, if only to make the deaths at Fondor count.
On Coruscant, Jacen is upset that Thracken Sal-Solo is being credited with saving the day. A vote of no-confidence for Marcha is coming. It’s expected that Sal-Solo will be put in charge of the Centerpoint Party.
The news starts to turn to a droid protest on Ruan when Anakin demands to know why Jacen is so fascinated by Corellia. The only thing they need to know is that they turned Thracken into a hero.
They should also be glad the reports aren’t mentioning their names, lest their father hear about it.
Jacen points out that Anakin is the hero for not firing the weapon.
Anakin is upset because he knows he could have fired it without hitting the Hapans. He also knows it would have been a defensive move. In a war of survival, defense sometimes mean killing the opposition.
Jacen doesn’t know where the line is, but he promised himself he’d keep looking.
Talon Karrde has come to Yavin IV to apologize for putting the Jedi in a worse position with the New Republic government. Luke doesn’t expect him to apologize. They can’t spend their whole lives judging actions by consequences. The Hutts were the ones who misled them, whether they meant to or not. Even then, they provided the information needed to rescue the captives on the war coordinator’s ship.
Wurth made his choice when he allowed himself to be captured. Luke doesn’t add that Skidder’s death hasn’t resolved the gap between Kyp’s Jedi and the others.
Karrde points out that the Hutts certainly didn’t gain anything by deliberately betraying them. He wonders if the Vong realize how neatly they’ve managed to downsize the Hutts and Hapans, while causing trouble with the Senate and the Jedi.
Luke tells him the future is always in motion. All they can do now is learn from their mistakes.
When Leia returns home, she has a call from Han. He admits he was there at Fondor but he’d assumed that the Vong used some weapon to blow up the moon. He had no idea he was at Centerpoint.
Leia tells him the boys were there, but they didn’t fire the weapon. She doesn’t mention Thracken’s newfound popularity. Han tells her that the refugees are with him, but Abregado-rae is withdrawing its invitation. Leia tells him they’re trying to find more worlds, but now Salliche Ag won’t accept anymore on Ruan. Han starts to tell her more, but she moves on to how SELCORE is getting some help from Senator Shesh.
After promising to find someplace where the Ryn won’t be mistreated, she tells him that she’s off to Duro. The conversation grows frosty at this point. He doesn’t know when they’ll see each other again, but Han mentions that it’s a big galaxy.
Leia reminds him that it’s only as big as he makes it.
Pedric Cuf contacts Senator Shesh. His superiors think it’s time they met. He wants to thank her for making sure some missing property was returned. She wonders if he means Elan, but is noncommittal in case he’s a New Republic Intelligence agent.
He decides he’s made a mistake and references a Hutt. She realizes who he is, making a vague comment about his suit. He admits that it fits him well, masking his flaws. She wonders if the company makes suits for women. Cuf is sure that it could supply her needs.
End of Book 5