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"Balance Point": Book 6 in The New Jedi Order

Jedi Cool

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chapter 25:

Leia is shoved into a dark storeroom where she senses something else is there. It s Randa who tells her that he had tried to reach the mining laser to sacrifice himself and kill as many Vong as he could. She doesn’t quite believe him and asks where the Noghri she’d set to watch him is.

Randa tells him he was taken. She demands to know everything. He admits he had tried to bargain with them to give his people a safe world. He is sure she would have done the same if she could have. In exchange, he was going to give them a Jedi to study. Not her, but her son, Jacen.

She reaches out for her children and wonders where they are. A power conduit is in the storeroom from floor to ceiling. She remembers this one opens into her tunnel. She asks him for a pebble. Randa produces one and she taps out a distress signal in Mon Cal blink code. When it doesn’t work, she tries to push against the door.

Randa points out he already tried that. Finally, she reaches out to Luke with the Force.

Luke feels a tendril of energy and realizes Leia is in danger. He reaches out to her and is about to rush for his X-Wing when he stops to think what he’s doing. Does he save his sister or stay here and wait for Mara. The Force tells him that this isn’t Leia’s moment, but Jacen’s.

He can’t reach Jacen, but Jaina responds instantly and turns back to help her mother. He can see Leia tapping on a power conduit with a pebble and sends that image to Jaina. Kenth Hamner calls in and tells him that there are no reinforcements coming.

Jacen has crawled into a hole in the admin building as the Force tells him him to wait. He angrily wonders what he’s supposed to wait for.

Having found the hidden antenna in the crawler, Han tries to pick up Leia or Jaina with no answer. He finally gets Threepio who reports no more Yuuzhan Vong. Romany appears and tells him the last ones have gotten through the tunnel.

Droma tells him he will try to get to the Senex-Juvex system which might still be taking refugees. Han promises to put any stragglers on the Falcon. He hands Droma his comlink and heads to his ship.

A clawed hand quickly puts food and water in the storeroom. Leia drinks but refuses to eat what they’ve left and hands it over to Randa. Then she hears a faint pinging from the conduit and realizes it’s in blink code. It’s Jaina.

Leia warns her about the threat to the orbital cities, the enslavement of the refugees and the potential attack on the Core. Mara has to be warned first. Jaina can come back and with her father later.

In Wuht’s office, Mara is told that two humans have already warned him a Jedi would show up to try to force him to change his mind. She can tell these are Peace Brigaders. Mara warns him that a second Vong attack is imminent.

The Peace Brigaders assure her that the aliens only want the planet’s surface, not the cities in orbit. Mara knows Wuht is prioritizing his own people, but surely he can see with his own eyes how the Vong hate technology. It’s an offense against their gods. He can’t really believe they would leave the cities alone.

She gets a com from Jaina which she allows everyone to hear. Jaina tells them that her mother has been captured and was met by the warmaster who told her they are going to purify Duro of the machines in orbit and then take the Core. There is evidence that the Peace Brigade has been using Shipping to get one of the cities prepped to leave orbit. The admiral should his people to that area and get moving as fast as possible. In the meantime, someone needs to hit the Gateway dome and kill that warmaster while he’s still down there.

Mara takes down one of the Peace Brigaders while Wuht holds a blaster on one. There are three Jedi with ships in system and then there’s the Millennium Falcon. They can at least delay the Vong and get more people out.

Anakin patrols from space and uses the Force to determine where his family members are. He has his astromech, Fiver, scanning.

He decides to take down the creature that is already feeding on one orbital city. Using a downed freighter with a live reactor, he flies into the hull and steers the ship toward Orr-Om, decelerates, leaves the freighter and sends a torpedo into it. It hits the ship and he uses the remainder of his torpedoes to fight off coralskippers as he heads for Duro. The explosion kills the monster and it falls off of the city.


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chapter 26:

Jacen sits and wonders who he is. Is he like Kyp who destroys what gets in his way, Luke who spares life when he can, Anakin who is not afraid to use the Force but not mature enough to see how sides of a situation or Jaina who is beginning a rise to glory?

He realizes that the galaxy is slipping into darkness and that standing still in the center won’t save anyone. If he catches the lightsaber flung to him in his vision, he would be expected to use it. He could do so without the Force or give himself over to something too big for him.

Leia and Randa are herded to her old office where the warmaster and Nom Anor are waiting. Lah shows her a pit in which machinery is piled and tells her it is a good day for a sacrifice.

She watches as several warriors drag the smashed mining laser into the pit and then one of the fire breathers ignites the pile. Warriors begin driving refugees toward the pits.

He tells her that this will happen on all worlds. They have removed those who agreed to serve the Vong. Leia can feel their deaths through the Force.

The priestess removes a serpent-like creature. Lah tells Leia that his watchers have reported a Jedi trying to enter this building. Since their kind flock to the injured, he hopes to draw the Jedi here by her suffering.

Randa lashes his tail at Lah and yells for Leia to run quickly. Instead she rushes Nom Anor to grab her lightsaber from him. As Randa is throttled with a living cord, he tells Leia he’s sorry for betraying her. It’s just his nature.

They drag his body off and Leia is pushed to the ground and struck repeatedly in the legs.

Jacen hears her screams and runs down the passage. He battles Vong warriors without the Force, but it’s more difficult. He bursts into the office to find his mother on the floor, bleeding.

She urges him to get away.

A huge warrior recognizes Jacen and explains he thought that he was on Bburru. Knowing that Shipping was collaborating, he holds his lightsaber out and tells them to let her go.

The warmaster taunts him for standing instead of striking. His mother has more courage than he. They prepare to unleash another creature on her. Jacen hears a voice telling him to stand firm. He understands that he cannot fight this darkness without the light of the Force. He reaches inward and grabs the energy, then charges.


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chapter 27:

Mara can sense Leia through the Force as she runs back to the docking bay. Some of CorDuro’s people tell her that they are commandeering every ship, but she points out that her ship will not let them in.

It takes some work, but she boards her ship and threatens to take the docking cables with her if they don’t release them. After taking off, Anakin comes along side and offers to take the debris off her ship.

Luke arrives besides them and helps with the rest.

Jacen recognizes his smallness in the Force, but he longs to serve the light. He knows when the warriors will attack and where. The Force blows through the room, pitching furnishings into the vortex with him and his mother. The flying desks hit the Vong, knocking the warmaster out the window. Jaina appears at the door.

Jacen fashions a tourniquet of sorts for his mother and carries her as he follows his sister.

Outside, Lah has trouble getting up. He orders his warriors to bring Tu-Scart and Sgauru and take down this building. He also wants the well water diverted so the tunnel will be flooded.

Nom Anor arrives and is brushed aside by the warmaster as the creatures bring down the building.

Han orders 3PO up to the cockpit, sit in the co-pilot’s chair and laments sending Droma off with the other refugees.

In the tunnel, Jacen and Jaina slosh through water until Jaina tells him to watch for her. She dives into the water and swims to the tunnel wall. She jumps out and grabs an outcropping, jams her lightsaber into a crack and pulls off her utility belt.

Mara loses all sense of Leia in the Force. She asks Luke where Han is, but he can’t tell. Orr-Om is falling toward the planet as the second wave of attacks begin.

Jaina tosses a cable at Jacen who hooks it to his waste and braces himself to be reeled in. Leia is alive, but barely.

Han hears Jaina calling that they’re coming. He hits the main engines and flies away from the Gateway dome. He hovers over the area and watches Jacen stagger out of the tunnel with Leia in his arms.


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chapter 28:

Duro claims Orr-Om. A coral ship is headed toward one of the unshielded cities and rams it. The prepared city of Urrdorf is pulling away but not fast enough.

Wuht’s defenders are preventing Bburru from being taken thus far. Mara spots three shuttles launching and offers them escort, but they tell her they are headed to the planet. She warns them they will be used as slaves or sacrifices, then spots the CorDuro Shipping label on the ships and realizes they are just defecting.

Jacen treats his mother in the Falcon’s medical bay. He tells her they are evacuating. She worries over the Noghri, Basbakhan, who disappeared. They sedate her before taking the quads.

Han reports to Luke and Mara that he’s escorting evacuation ships. Leia is aboard but she’s hurt badly. Mara watches the cargo haulers move out. Only Urrdorf is left floating now. She’s angry, but knows that it’s poison as bad as what Nom Anor had given her.

She warns her unborn child that this is a wild time to come into the galaxy.

She also knows it’s a he.

As the group leaves the system, Urdorff heads off alone, without pursuers. Han wishes it luck and tells Luke, Mara and Anakin to get out now. Jacen knows Anakin will be the last to leave the system, but it doesn’t bother him. He’s found the balance between inner power and outer might. He is a living sacrifice to the Force.

He reaches out to his family members, sensing his father, sister and brother, then uncle and aunt. Something feels different about her. The Falcon hits hyperspace then and he goes to check on his mother.


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Tsavong Lah’s ankle throbs as he approaches the delegation of Duros and humans. These aren’t even infidels, they are unworthy traitors.

Durgard Brarun protests the extra offensive, but Lah cuts him off. Brarun reminds him they kept the bargain brokered by the Peace Brigade, but the Vong had promised to leave all but one city intact.

Lah demands the name of the cowardly Jedi who escaped their custody. He is told that it is Jacen Solo, the son of the ambassador.

He has slaves bring a huge villip, knowing that the CorDuro officials will soon be digesting in biter’s belly. They had shown how easily his enemies can be turned on each other. He takes the lightsaber from Nom Anor and considers how its false light makes a mockery of the natural.

Then he uses the villip to address the citizens of the New Republic. He tells them that he is on Duro which will be revived. He vows that they will end here on Duro on one condition. They must hand over every Jedi. He will particularly reward anyone who brings Jacen Solo to him, then he flings Leia’s lightsaber into the pit.


The End.

  • Is this Leia’s original lightsaber that Luke had given her in the Thrawn Trilogy or the fancy one he’d given her when he told her that her training was complete?

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